Timeframe: Season 1. Sometime between Art Attack and The Kidz Are Aiight. So Logan can walk. Let's forget about the Lydecker, Zack and the Reds. This is supposed to be a story about Valentine's Day – M/L style.
AN: Okay. Here is my answer to the Valentine's Day Challenge. Part two will be posted shortly. Please read and review. I hope you like it. No plot or bad guys here. Just our two favorite characters and their usual banter and sexually charged interaction.
Thanks to my new beta Maria656 and all the people who encouraged me to write this.
Chapter 1: A friendly Valentine
"All love that has not friendship for its base is like a mansion built upon sand." – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Jam Pony: Friday, February 14th 2020, 9:00 am:
"Whatch'a doing tonight, boo?" Cindy asked Max while they got changed for work.
"Don't know? Why? You wanna do something?" Max replied, putting on her jacket and storing her non-work clothes in her locker.
"Suga, you have no idea what day it is, do ya?" Cindy said, rolling her eyes at Max indifference when it came to classical holidays – especially the more romantic ones.
"What? You mean Valentine's Day? Sure I know that it's today. But we're both single, so I thought we'd kick it tonight. Make fun of all the sappy couples." Max explained, already knowing that in a second or two Original Cindy would start talking about her and Logan.
"So you're not gonna hook up with roller boy?" Cindy asked, already knowing that in a second or two Max would start saying that she and Logan weren't like that and were just good friends.
"Logan and I aren't like that. We're just good friends. We can hook up each and every day of the year. But not Valentine's Day. That would just be weird." Max defended her strictly platonic relationship with Logan. If he had made any plans for tonight then he would have told her so days ago. Or at least last night when they were having dinner after an EO mission. But he didn't say anything, so she figured that he intentionally didn't invite her over. She was disappointed for a good minute before realizing that it was probably better that way.
"Whatever ya say boo. But Original Cindy has to bail on you tonight. Picked up a nice lickety chick last night while you were at your boyfr.., ahm, good friends' place for a candlelight dinner." Cindy said and smiled a knowing smile.
"So you going out with her tonight?" Max asked, ignoring Cindy's boyfriend and candlelight dinner remark.
"No. I invited her over to our place for a nice dinner and whatevah the night brings." Cindy explained with a wink. "And that's where you come in. Or not come in as a matta of fact. You know Original Cindy loves you like a sista. But ya gotta hang elsewhere t'night. Aiight?"
"But what am I supposed to do? Kendra is having a romantic evening with Walter. Yuk. Herbal spends the night with his wife and even Sketchy has plans." Max said. Every other night she could just go to Logan's. She could even spend the night – in his guest room of course. But tonight?
"Don't know boo. You could always go to Logan. Eat, play chess or whatevah you guys are doing." Cindy suggested.
"Yeah, yeah. Don't worry bout me. Enjoy your evening. I'll be fine," Max said and walked over to Normal's desk to get her first run.
"Bip, bip, bip Missy. Today is one of the biggest days for us. Lots of presents need to be delivered. Try to be a little nicer today," Normal yelled and threw a heart-shaped package to Max.
"This day is gonna be a bitch," Max mumbled, stored the package in her backpack, grabbed her bike and headed for the exit.
Fogle Towers, 10:00 am:
...Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lungs with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone...
"Jesus Christ." Logan sighed and turned the radio off. After trying a few different channels he finally gave it up to find one that didn't quote love poems non stop.
"What's the matter Logan? No date for Valentine's Day?" Bling asked after entering the kitchen.
"Valentine's Day. It's just a cheap marketing campaign from the flower and candy industry. We have 364 other days a year where we have the opportunity to show that we love someone. But we don't. And come February 14th we all run around like headless chicken trying to find chocolate or fresh flowers and plan a special evening. It's pathetic," Logan said finishing his breakfast.
"So I'm right. No date for Valentine's Day," Bling repeated, looking at Logan with amusement.
"Let's start with our work out session. I have important things to do today," Logan said in annoyance and brushed past Bling towards the therapy room. So he didn't have a date. Big deal. It's not like he wanted one anyway. Sure he could've asked Max to come over for dinner, but he didn't know how she would react to that. Would she think it was a date? They weren't like that. Okay. He liked her a lot. Maybe more than she liked him. But she was also his best friend. Funny. He didn't even know her for that long. But still. She was his best friend and he couldn't afford to lose her. He wouldn't do anything to jeopardize the friendship. And if that meant denying his feelings – so be it.
"So is Max coming over tonight?" Bling asked while Logan started lifting some weights.
"I don't think so. We have no plans," Logan answered truthfully. If she wanted to come over and join him for dinner and maybe a movie than that was fine. If not he would spend the evening working.
"You haven't invited her over for dinner?" Bling asked again.
"I already told you. We made no plans. Why?" Logan replied, slightly annoyed with Bling.
"I know, I know. You two aren't like that. I just thought you guys would have dinner. I mean you have dinner all the time. Why not tonight?" Bling explained his interest.
"We had dinner yesterday. She's not over every night you know," Logan answered, a little out of breath.
"Forget man. I'm sure she understands," Bling said, dropping the topic.
"What do you mean – she understands? Do you think she expected me to invite her over? Should I have? I don't even know if she is free tonight. Maybe she has a date." Logan defended his decision to not invite Max over.
"Logan. If Max is not with you she is at work or hangs with Original Cindy and her other messenger friends. If there were anybody in her life right now I'm sure you'd know," Bling said and handed Logan a towel to wipe off the sweat.
"Why would I know? She doesn't need to tell me if she's seeing anybody. You think I should give her a call?" Logan asked while Bling started to work on his legs.
"I'm not telling you what to do Logan. All I'm saying is that you and Max are probably spending Valentine's Day alone. You might not be ,'like that', but you are friends. That's all I'm saying," Bling finished.
"Okay. I think about it," Logan answered.
"Whatever." Was all Bling had left to say. He wouldn't push Logan into doing something. But he could at least nudge him in the right direction a little.
Jam Pony, 11:30 am:
Max had been right. This day really was a bitch. She didn't know how many Valentine's Day packages she could deliver to quirky females anymore. And how surprised they had all been. Like they didn't expect it or something. Good thing she was immune to all that. Phony sentimentality. Yeah. That was it. Pathetic.
Still, she grabbed her pager and checked it again. He hadn't paged her. Maybe she should just go over to him after work. She had a good excuse. Cindy had kicked her out of the apartment for the night. Where else could she possibly go? No way she would go alone to Crash. It wasn't a romantic place where you would take someone for a Valentines date, but insensitive idiots like Sketchy would definitely be there with their dates. No she wouldn't go there. She was young, she was hot, she was free. She didn't need any pity. She didn't need a man.
She checked her pager again. Why the hell didn't he call?
Fogle Towers, noon:
"Max. Hi. I'm calling to see if you had any plans for tonight. Nothing special, really. Just two friends getting together for dinner and a movie. Maybe. I know it's already late so if you have other plans it's okay. I mean why shouldn't you have other plans? Ahhhhrrrrgggg. Great Cale. You stutter like a little school boy. It's nothing special. So stay calm," Logan chided himself. He already tried five different ways to ask her to come over tonight but he always ended up stuttering. And she wasn't even there. Why was that so hard? If he didn't do it soon it would be too late anyway.
So he picked up the phone, took one last encouraging breath and dialed the familiar number. He punched in his number and set the phone back in the cradle trying to collect his thoughts for when she called back.
Which was about 35 seconds later.
"Me hitting you back," Max said as her usual greeting.
"Hey Max. That was quick," Logan observed, but also tried to save him some time.
"Yeah well. It's lunch break. What's up?" Max asked, hoping he at least called her to do some leg work since he didn't invite her for dinner earlier.
"Not much. More like nothing at all. Eyes Only is unusually quiet. I hope it's not the calm before the storm," Logan explained, still trying to buy him some time.
"No downtrodden to protect or drug dealers to bust. World is coming to an end," Max joked, wondering why he had paged her when there was no work to be done.
"I hope not. Hey. I just wanted to see if you had any plans tonight," Logan said, hoping he didn't sound as nervous as he was.
"Plans? Me? No. No plans," Max answered quickly. Damn. She needed to calm down. That so didn't come out as cool and indifferent as she had planned it to sound.
"Well, I thought since there is no work and since the rest of the world is behaving crazy due to Valentine's Day, we could just hole up at my place. Have dinner and watch a movie or so," Logan suggested. There. He said it. Without stuttering. Even though he didn't plan on mentioning Valentine's Day.
"Sure. Sounds good to me. Is it okay if I come a little earlier today?" Max asked. "Cindy has a date and has kicked me out of the apartment." She wanted to ask if she could stay over tonight but she figured that would be a little bold.
"No problem. You can take advantage of my hot water supply while I get dinner ready," Logan suggested, feeling very happy and enthusiastic all of a sudden.
"How could I refuse? So I'll be over after work then," Max said, trying hard to suppress the smile that crept on her face. Better not let him know how thrilled she was that he asked her over for the night.
"Okay. See ya soon Max," Logan replied, now smiling himself.
"See ya Logan," Max said and hung up. Maybe this day wasn't such a bitch after all.
Max & OC's apartment, 6:00 pm:
"Smells good boo," Max said after entering the apartment and pushing her bike behind the curtain of her bedroom so it was out of the way. "Didn't know you can cook."
"If you give Original Cindy a good enough reason she can do almost everything," she replied and threw another handful of ingredients into the sizzling pot.
"Yeah well. Just don't get your hopes up too high. You've only known the girl for a few hours. Don't think just because you cook dinner for her she'll put out." Max warned good-naturedly.
"Original Cindy won't even listen to you. If everybody moved with the speed you and Logan move, then nobody would ever get the happies," Cindy countered.
"Oh please. Not again. I'm gonna grab some clothes and then I'm outta here," Max announced and moved to her room to stuff some clothes in her backpack.
"Where ya going boo?" Cindy asked, entering Max's bedroom and leaning on the dresser.
"I'm going to Logan's. And don't even start. I had to go somewhere since you kicked me out," Max declared and gave Cindy the 'don't-mess-with-me' glare.
"Whatevah boo. Enjoy your Valentines dinner. Just don't come home too early tomorrow morning. Original Cindy might not be a morning person when it comes to work, but when it comes to pleasure..." OC trailed off and left Max alone to finish packing.
Fogle towers, 6:30 pm:
"Hey, why am I not smelling anything heavenly?" Max asked as soon as she entered the penthouse. Usually when he invited her for dinner it already smelled like food by the time she arrived.
"Hey Max. I'm still chopping everything up so it's ready when I need it. I didn't know if you wanted a shower or a hot bath first," Logan explained. He noticed Max's stuffed backpack but didn't dare to get his hopes up that she might stay for the night – or even the weekend.
"You mean that if I wanted to soak in your tub for an hour you'd wait with dinner till I'm ready?" Max asked, helping herself to a glass of wine and refilling Logan's'.
"Yep. That's the plan," Logan confirmed and smiled at her excitement about taking a bath.
"So you got any bubbles?" Max asked, grabbing her glass and backpack and moving towards Logan's bedroom.
"Check the cabinet under the sink. You'll find everything you need there," Logan instructed and stopped chopping for a few seconds to watch Max's retreating form – especially the swaying of her jeans clad hips.
She seemed to be relaxed and in a good mood tonight. He had been a little nervous about the evening because he didn't know whether Max thought it was a Valentine's date. But seeing her so relaxed helped him relax too. It would be just a normal dinner as friends.
Music! We need music. Oh and candles too.
After soaking in Logan's huge bathtub for over half an hour Max decided that it was time to get out. After all, Logan and one of his culinary miracles were waiting for her. She could really get used to all that. Endless hot water supply, freshly cooked food and the company of the man she l...iked.
She wrapped herself in one of Logan's big, fluffy towels, opened the bathroom door a few inches and yelled, "Logan. I'll be there in 15 okay."
"Take your time Max. I'll get dinner started," Logan yelled back and turned on the stove for the oil in the wok to heat up. Next he poured the dressing over the salad and pulled out a pot to boil the rice in.
While Max had been in the tub he had busied himself picking out the right music, setting the table and lighting lots of candles. He uncorked the wine and even put a vase with a single red rose on the table, hoping that wasn't too over the top romantic.
He didn't have time to reconsider that, since the oil was hot enough and he had to start frying the meat and the vegetables and put the rice in the boiling water.
Five minutes later Max entered the kitchen, dressed in loose grey sweatpants and a long-sleeved navy blue shirt, and inhaled deeply. "Now that's the way it's supposed to smell."
"It'll take another 10 minutes. Wine?" Logan asked and lifted the bottle of pre-pulse Chardonnay.
"Sure," Max agreed and hopped on the kitchen counter, holding out her glass so he could pour the wine.
"So how as the bath?" Logan asked, stirring his vegetables but focusing solely on Max. She looked even more relaxed now. Her hair was still damp and a little curly. Her cheeks where a little flushed from the hot bath and her outfit was casual and she only wore socks. She looked like she felt right at home here. He could get used to that.
"Uhhhm. It was awesome Logan. Beat the shit out of heating pots of water for two hours," Max answered, sipping her wine and watching him cook. It all felt really domestic to her. Of course she had noticed the candles and the music and that simple red rose. But that was Logan. He manages to make every dinner special. And tonight was no different from any other night. He didn't do all that because it was Valentine's Day; he did it because he liked pampering her. She would never object.
"Okay. Dinner is about done. Would you mind bringing the wine and our glasses to the table while I get the rest ready?" Logan asked already busy arranging the main course.
"No problem. I can do that much," Max said and jumped off the counter to get the whine while Logan carried the rice, salad and stir-fry over to the candle lit table.
"Smells great Logan. Let's eat," Max announced, put the bread on the table and took her seat across from Logan.
They ate a few minutes in relative silence, only occasionally interrupted by some compliments to the chef from Max.
"So you said you got kicked out of the apartment?" Logan suddenly asked, trying to make conversation, but also trying to figure out if Max would stay for the night.
"Yeah. Cindy met this girl last night at Crash and is cooking her dinner tonight. She even warned me not to come home too early in the morning." Max answered and continued to eat. Then she realized what she had said and looked over at Logan to see how he too her 'morning' statement. Maybe he didn't want her to stay over. Or maybe he would have liked a choice in that matter.
"I wouldn't worry about coming home too early. After all, I never got to impress you with my breakfast skills. Pancakes, Omelets, French toast and Waffles. It'll take all morning to eat all that – even for you," Logan teased her. He was glad that the 'sleeping-arrangements' talk was settled. Now all they had to do was relax and enjoy the evening.
"Cool. So what's on the agenda tonight?" Max asked, relieved that he seemed to be quite thrilled about her staying over night and about serving her a huge breakfast in the morning.
"Whatever you want. We could watch a movie, or play chess or just sit and talk," Logan suggested, finishing his dinner.
"Well, the night is still young. We can do all of it. Let's start with the movie. Why don't you go set everything up and I do the dishes?" Max decided and started gathering their plates.
"I can help you," Logan offered but Max shook her head.
"No, no. You cooked, I clean up. Take the wine and our glasses and go to the living room. I'll be there in 5. I just put it all in the dishwasher," Max ordered.
"Okay, okay. I set the DVD player up. Any preferences on the movie?" Logan asked while moving towards the living room.
"Nothing too serious, heavy or sappy. Maybe something funny," Max mused, not really familiar with pre-pulse movies.
"Funny? Okay. Ever heard of Mel Brooks?" Logan suggested. "Really funny. Really old too, but funny."
"I don't care. If you say it's good then let's watch it," Max agreed and stored the last pot into the dish washer. That done, she killed all the lights in the penthouse and carried the candles from and around the dinner table to the living room where Logan was already sitting comfortably on the couch, sipping his wine and waiting for her.
"Okay. We're all set," Max said as she plopped down next to Logan. He smiled at her and handed her the wine glass.
"Alright. Let's start the movie. It's Mel Brooks' Dracula – Dead and Loving It. You'll gonna love it," Logan promised and started the movie. Max pulled her legs up on the couch, set her glass on the coffee table in front of her and cuddled further into the couch cushion.
"Comfortable?" Logan asked, watching her with amusement.
"Very much," Max confirmed, gave a grin and a wink in his direction and concentrated on the movie.
"That was one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen Logan." Max said and stretched out on the couch while Logan turned the DVD player off and hooked the satellite receiver back on.
"Oh come on Max. You were laughing so hard I had to rewind a couple of times so we wouldn't miss a few scenes," Logan reminded her.
"I didn't say it wasn't funny. It was just really stupid," Max explained.
"Wait till we see 'Spy Hard' or the 'Naked Gun' trilogy. They are all stupid. But you gonna love them," Logan promised, refilled their glasses and gestured for Max to lift her feet so he could sit back down again.
"So you wanna play some chess now?" Logan asked, wanting to follow through with Max' agenda.
"No. Not really," Max replied and without giving it a lot of thought put her feet in his lap so that her calves rested on his right thigh and her feet touched his left one.
"Good. I didn't really feel like getting my ass kicked anyway," Logan said and rested his hands on her shinbones – hoping he wouldn't get his ass kicked for that move. But Max didn't seem to mind. On second thought, she seemed to enjoy it since she closed her eyes and relaxed.
"I wonder what Original Cindy is doing now," Max wondered out loud.
"I don't know. I'm no expert on that topic," Logan answered, even though he wasn't sure if Max really expected an answer.
"On what? Lesbians or dating?" Max asked and blinked one eye open to look at him.
"Lesbians, I guess. Not really my expertise." Logan replied.
"Yeah. From what OC says things develop rather quickly in their world. They see each other, like each other and then move in together," Max explained, remembering what Cindy had told her not so long ago.
"Well if it works out, that's good. But if they move too fast, they might ruin something that could've been something serious and lasting," Logan said, unconsciously moving one of his hands up and down her lower leg.
"Maybe. But if they don't move at all they might be missing out on the real thing," Max argued. She was acutely aware of his hand moving and wondered if they were actually still talking about Original Cindy and her new lickety chick.
"You never know for sure. That's why it's so damn complicated. If you risk it you might lose," Logan continued.
"But if you never risk it you might lose too. And you're left with a lot of 'What-if's'," Max replied.
"I guess you just have to decide what you would rather want to cope with. Regret for something you did or 'What-if's' for something you could've done but never did," Logan summarized their conversation results so far.
"I suppose you can regret both. How did the old saying go: Better regret the things that you've done than the things you haven't done. Or something like that," Max said and finally opened her eyes to find Logan looking at her intently.
"Are we still talking about Original Cindy?" Logan asked in a deep, slightly raspy voice.
"I don't know. Are we?" Max answered with a question of her own. What if she says the wrong thing? What if he didn't want the same? And what the hell was it that she wanted?
"You know there is no way we can take it back Max," Logan warned her. Before he made a move he needed to know that she wanted the same thing.
"No. Not this time," Max replied, reminding him of their first miserable attempt at being more than 'just friends'.
"No regrets then," Logan said with a smile and slowly lowered himself towards Max.
"No regrets," Max echoed with a hushed voice.
Logan moved still closer, all the while looking into Max's eyes. A few inches from her lips he stopped. He had heard Max say that she wouldn't regret it. Now he needed to see it in her eyes before he made that last, final move.
Max was a little confused at first when he stopped. But now she knew that he was giving her one last chance to bolt from this, from them. But she was more than ready. More than willing to take the next logical step in their 'relationship'. So she slowly raised her hands to his face and pulled him the last few inches towards her waiting lips.
END of Chapter 1
AN: So how did you like it? More to come soon. And since it's a challenge you all know that it will have whipped cream in it – what more could you ask for?