Disclaimer: No infringement intended. Not affiliated in any way with anyone. Nothing to sue here people, move along.

Author Note: I am new at this and still experimenting. I want to thank Sim-r for beta and naming this for me. Truly above and beyond. Music is the last name of the actress that played Marianne, so I stole it as her maiden name. Real original, I know. Please let me know if this style works for you.

The Invitation.

Act 1, Scene 1

Bennett Cale exits the elevator and crosses the small entrance to knock on Logan Cale's front door. Bling answers the door wearing jeans, black polo shirt, and his sidearm. Bennett is obviously unnerved by the gun, and Bling's aggressive stance. When Bling does not recognize Bennett his hand goes to his rest on his sidearm.

"Hello. Can I help you?" asks Bling.

"Umm … I … Is Logan here? This is the address that I have," Bennett stammers hesitantly.

"Yeah. Who can I tell him is here?"

"Bennett. His cousin. Bennett Cale." Bennett smiles uncertainly and offers his hand.

"Logan!" Bling shouts, but his eyes never leave Bennett.

"What?" replies Logan.

"Your cousin Bennett Cale is here to see you."

"Bennett!" Logan rolls into the hall. "Hey, Bennett. What are you doing here?" Logan nods to Bling, and smiles at Bennett.

"Sorry. … There have been a couple of break-ins in the neighborhood lately," Bling offers lamely. It is the only excuse that he can think of off the top of his head. He certainly cannot tell Bennett what is really going on.

"No problem. I'm just not used to guns. Or anyone thinking I'm threatening." Bennett laughs nervously.

"So, Bennett, what brings you all the way up here?" asks Logan

"Well, I came to get you to come to dinner," says Bennett.

"Oh! That's tonight? Damn, I meant to get back to you about that… Max and I have plans. I'm sorry, I can't make it."

"Bring her," states Bennett matter-of-factly.

"Bennett… Max wasn't real comfortable with all the Cales. She and Jonas …" Logan tries to come up with some explanation.

Bennett laughs, "I heard."

"You heard?" Logan asks.

"Everyone heard. Listen, Logan, Marianne isn't from our 'social circle' either. Nobody else from the family is going to be there. This is Marianne's first attempt at a dinner, and no one from my side of the family will come and mingle with 'her kind' of people." Bennett pauses as if searching for the right words, then sighs and continues. "Logan, please…"

"What time?" Logan takes pity on his cousin.

"Thank you Logan! I told Marianne that once I told you Margo wouldn't be there you would come." Bennett finally smiles genuinely. "Thanks. You have no idea what this means to me, to us."

"I think I am getting the idea. What time?" Logan asks.

"Seven. You can defend the Cale family honor. Her uncle will be there and he always slaughters me at chess. So do you." Bennett grins. "I want him to see that there is some intelligence in the Cale genes."

"I will definitely bring Max."

"She plays chess?" asks Bennett.

"Oh, yeah!" Logan replies. Logan smiles and thinks that Bennett will never know the half of how good Max's genes really are.

"Great! Maybe I can finally beat someone. She's what, 18? 19?" Bennett asks. He smiles and gives Logan a wink.

"Don't count on it." Logan ignores the comment on Max's age. What could he say? She's about twenty, but neither of them knows for sure.

"I'm not that bad. Marianne and I have been playing. I've gotten a lot better."

Logan just laughs. Max was made for strategy and tactics, but that isn't something he can explain to anyone. Ever. "Is this dinner or a chess tournament?"

"Whatever. I am just glad you're coming." Bennett says with obvious happiness. "I think you'll like Marianne. Thanks for at least giving her a chance. I can't wait to talk to Max. She plays chess, hmm?"

"See you at seven," said Logan.

Bennett shakes Logan's hand, then leaves. Bling returns.

"You and Max really have plans?" Bling asks.

"No, I suppose I could say she got sick."

"All things considered, taking Max with you if you are going out is a good idea."

"Going over to Bennett's should be safe enough." Logan smiles, "I'll ask her."


A/N: What do you think? Is this look like it's worth finishing? Or is it lame? I do have one more chapter that I will definitely polish and post, but ...