Chapter 5: Sweet Devil Virgin
As it turned out the Brigadiers were easily convinced. Well, perhaps not that easily, but it hadn't been as hard as he had originally feared. The rest had been child's play. He had informed Maxie that their 'date' was a go and that had been the last he had seen of her as he had been too occupied with the preparations for the event.
He and his friends were determined to make this the best event the Brigade had ever done and to reach that goal there was a lot to do. But everything was ready now and it was time to head out. Finn and Colin were already waiting in the car and the only ones missing were Logan and Maxie. Not that Maxie had any idea that it was time, he thought with amusement, watching her from the doorway of the newsroom for a moment. Sitting by his desk, deeply engrossed in whatever she was writing. He wondered if it was already a preliminary draft of the LDB article or if it was something else. Well, she'd have to postpone finishing that one later; he smirked mentally and pushed himself away from the doorframe to go over to her.
She didn't see him coming. All the better. Stopping behind her, he leaned down, entrapping her with his hands firmly set on the desk, his body pressing onto her back. He felt her get startled and tense up, and with a grin, he stroked back some of her hair away from her ear with his nose before whispering into it. "Time to get rolling, Maxie."
Her head jerked, she leaned back as much that was possible since she was still being trapped by Logan. "Jeez, Huntzberger, are you trying to give me a heart attack?" she scowled.
His grin widened. "Come on, the clock's ticking. Grab your bag, save your work, get up."
Finally, his words seemed to dawn on her as she looked at him incredulously. "Wait, we're leaving now?"
"I always knew you were smart," Logan mocked and pulled her up. "Hop, hop, we're on a tight schedule here."
"But... it's not the 29th yet! That's tomorrow," she protested.
Logan smirked. "Who said anything about the event starting on the 29th?"
Her eyes widened. "But… I can't leave right now! I've got plans for tonight! And my classes! And the paper that's due Friday!"
Logan shut down the computer for her and turned back to her, gazing into her eyes. "This is very simple, Maxie… you want that article, you come with me now. If you don't want it, you can stay here. But don't think you'll get another chance at this."
She stared at him, but he was pleased to see that her arms slowly fell on her sides and she grabbed her purse. Flashing her an approving grin, Logan took her by the arm and quickly led her out of the newsroom, steering her outside. It took her one minute to protest again. "Wait, you mean we leave right now?"
"Always the perceptive one, aren't you?" he answered, ushering her forward.
But she abruptly yanked her arm out of his grip and stepped away. "That's crazy! I don't have any change of clothes or underwear for tomorrow and my toothbrush! I need at least my toothbrush!"
"Everything's been taken care of," Logan just told her and grabbed her hand to drag her the rest of the way out to the waiting SUV. The moment his fingers touched hers, a bolt ran up his arm and right to his very core.
He caught her startled glance at their joined hands and wondered if she had felt that bolt as well, whatever it was.
But before he could dwell any longer on that thought, she glanced back at him, narrowing her eyes. "Wait, what do you mean everything's been taken care of?"
"You'll see," he just told her, enjoying how very much she didn't like that answer. He had expected the reaction from her; otherwise, he would have been seriously disappointed if she hadn't been pissed by the way they were going to leave.
That's why he hadn't warned her ahead of time that they would be leaving a day earlier and forced her now to come with him, completely at his mercy. The way he saw it, she definitely deserved this for blackmailing him like she had. Among other things. His Maxie had a couple of interesting days ahead of her and if he wanted to be honest, he couldn't wait to see how she'd tackle them. From all he had gathered about this girl, she was going to rock. Perhaps be a bit hesitant at first and she definitely would protest a lot – these past few minutes a clear proof of that – but in the end, she'd pull through for them, he was sure of that.
"This is kidnapping. That's way a bigger crime than a little blackmail."
"Come on, Maxie," he snorted. "This can hardly count as a kidnapping when you invited yourself to the event in the first place. I'm just picking you up, like any other decent guy would pick up the girl for his date." He smirked. "You do remember that this is supposed to be our second date as well, don't you?"
"We agreed for Thursday, not starting Wednesday for a two-day date!" She frowned. "It is only two days, isn't it?"
The only answer he gave her was a big, blinding smile.
"No. No way! I can't miss three days!" she protested and when she looked at him again with wide eyes, he could see some real panic in them.
He sighed. "Relax. Technically, it's only two days. Remember, it's only early afternoon. I promise we'll be back at Yale by noon Friday." He perked up. "And hey, wasn't it you who said on our last date that we never agreed on a time frame for our dates?"
She snapped her mouth shut and threw him one of her patented glares. He laughed and, having reached the SUV, opened the passenger's door and turned back to her, making a little bow. "Milady."
For a moment longer, she kept her glare fixed on him, but then she huffed and went to the backseat, sliding over. "Stooges two and three," she greeted dryly as Logan slid in behind her.
Finn grumbled and Colin threw her one of his ingenuous looks. As soon as Logan had closed the door, Finn pulled away, groaning when the sun shone directly onto his face. With a curse, he slammed down the car sun visor. Arching up an eyebrow, Maxie glanced at Logan.
"It's still a bit early for Finn," he explained. "You better leave him alone for a couple more hours. He should come to life then."
Finn grumbled something more.
Maxie sat back, crossing her arms. "Considering that I'm not exactly here on my own free will, why should I not pester the hell out of you all?"
"I told you to warn her ahead. Now she'll be pouting the whole time," Colin groaned, shooting Logan a deadly glare.
Logan ignored him. "Hey, you can get out any time you want," he answered Maxie. "Get out of the car, forget about the article," he made it clear.
Her glare intensified. "Like hell I will and you know that very well. But you could have warned me about this."
Logan shrugged. "Now, where would the fun be in that?" He laid his head to the side. "Besides, what do you expect after blackmailing your way into this? An engraved invitation and a red carpet?"
"Ah, so this is about revenge," Maxie nodded with understanding.
Logan shook his forefinger. "Now, revenge is such a strong word. Why not just say that I'm merely balancing out the score."
Maxie grinned a feral smile. "You do remember that I'm doing an article on your event? You really want to risk displeasing me, knowing what I can do?"
"But, Maxie, I absolutely trust you to be strictly professional and honorable about this article. You won't bust it up just to take a petty shot at me," Logan replied confidently.
Her eyes searched his for a moment, and then she shook her head. "Point for you," she admitted, her eyes burning into his. "But don't think this is over yet."
"I wouldn't dream of it," Logan told her, truthfully actually. He leaned in, noticing that his nearness definitely affected her, that cute blush blossoming on her alabaster skin once again. "In fact, I'd be very disappointed if it were over just like that," he said, his voice low and sensual.
She drew slightly back, deep red by now. "You're impossible."
Logan leaned back with a satisfied grin. "Aww, not impossible… just persistent."
She glared at him, and then turned forward, clearly trying to ignore him. "And where exactly are we headed?"
"You'll see," Logan answered.
She ignored him again. "And how much longer will it take us to get there?"
"As long as it takes," Logan once again gave the answer.
Her eyes flickered back at him. "Are you going to tell me anything anytime soon?"
"Not until we've reached our destination," Logan said.
She gave a deep sigh. "And what are we supposed to talk about until then? Or should we just spend this drive in silence? If that's what you want you better have packed a book for me… preferably one of my textbooks so I can get some work done. And what about my laptop? Did you pack it as well?"
"Love, for Heaven's sake, we're heading out to have fun. Working, a terrible sin, is strictly banned for the next two days," Finn growled.
"Uh, Finn, you do remember that I'm coming along in order to write the article. And that's work in itself?" she reminded him.
Finn muttered something unintelligible.
"And you do remember that this is also our second date, Maxie, don't you?" Logan himself reminded her obligingly.
"Oh, I remember," she snorted and eyed him mistrustfully. "But what exactly is that supposed to mean?"
Logan mustered up his most innocent smile. "Just that you remember that this is also a date, Maxie, nothing more, nothing less."
He could tell that she didn't like his answer at all – all the better. This time, she was on his turf and under his conditions – and he planned to make the best out of this date. After all, this was their second and last one. Well, there was still the back massage, but other than that, he had to convince her in the next two days to continue to see him, to date him. And he had every intention of accomplishing this.
She wouldn't know what hit her.
"Not bad, huh?" Logan asked, not taking his eyes off Maxie as they walked onto the clearing, wanting to see her reaction.
She looked impressed. But she only gave a vague nod. "Hmm, not bad."
Logan glanced at the little village of white tents, the old-fashioned bonfires, the discreetly hidden water-closets, also old-fashioned, at least from the outside and thought about the playfields they prepared for tomorrow. "Come on, you've got to admit that this is way better than just 'not bad'."
She tore her eyes away from the sight in front of her to regard him. "I'd say it's obvious that a lot of preparation went into this… and a lot of money. How are you financing all this? It can't be all alumni donations. And what about those who can't afford to dress up? Speaking of that," she nodded towards the brigadiers who were already assembled around, dressed in the roaring-twenties style. "Did you take care of my costume or am I branded as the outsider for the whole event?"
"You are an outsider," he pointed out.
"Is that a yes?" she countered.
"Look for yourself," he just told her and opened the flap of the tent they've set up for her.
She gave him a look but went inside with Logan following her, watching as she took in the cot, the night table, the dark wooden chest, the little mirror, the antique wash bowl, the wooden chair.
Turning back to him, she cocked her eyebrow. "No potty?"
Logan laughed. "No, we thought it's in everyone's interest to provide proper facilities."
"Good thinking," she agreed and took another look around. "Now, back to my question..."
"The chest," he hinted, nodding towards it.
She went over to open it, her eyebrows shooting up when she saw a change of her own clothes along with three white boxes. "You'll need only the first for today, the other two are for tomorrow. I'll give you half an hour to change, then I'm back to escort you to today's festivities." Grinning and not giving her any chance to respond, he ducked out of the tent and went to the tent next to hers, which was his own.
It just felt good to have the last word.
"Are you ready?"
There was a muffled reply from inside the tent that Logan assumed was a 'no' or a 'just a moment'. "You've got three minutes left. After that we'll go, no matter what state of dress you're in," he warned. Then again, if he wanted to be honest, he wouldn't mind that much if she wasn't ready yet when he went inside. Feeling a certain part of his body enjoying that possibility a bit too much as well, he pushed these dangerous thoughts away again. "Two minutes!"
Truthfully, he really was impatient. He was very curious and even eager to see how Maxie was going to fit in with the LDB. Would she recognize the freedom and liberty the Brigade stood for or would she just condemn them for their money and upbringing she seemed to like doing? He hoped it was the former because, otherwise, he'd never hear the end of it from the other brigadiers. Also, it would really be a shame. "One minute!"
"You're really annoying… has anyone ever told you that?" came from behind the still closed tent flap.
"No, not that I can remember. All I ever hear is how smart I am, how very good my taste is and of course, what a God I am in bed," Logan replied, amused.
The flap flew to the side and Maxie stepped out. "Please… I think I need a brown bag 'cause I definitely feel like throwing up especially when I meet such a delusional, so wrapped up in arrogance egomaniac, on top of everything else."
There surely was a clever comeback he could tell her but for the life of him, he couldn't think of one. Actually, he couldn't think of any words right now other than Wow, with a big W. He had thought the egg-white, turn-of-the-century-styled dress would look good on her but damn, she looked hot in it. The soft material hugged her curves, accented her long legs and though almost close-necked, it showed more than enough to tantalize anybody of what a treat would await anyone lucky enough to unwrap her out of that dress.
And damn, he wanted to be that lucky guy.
"Careful, Huntzberger, or one could get the idea that you actually lost that suave tongue of yours."
It was hard, but he ripped his eyes away from the enticing images in his mind to smirk. "So, you admit that the tongue hasn't lost its magic on you?"
"Can't we just move on to the embarrassing and humiliating initiation rites you undoubtedly have planned for your neophytes?" she asked with an eyeroll but he didn't miss the faint blush creeping onto her cheeks.
"Oh, Maxie, you still have so much to learn," he sighed, taking her elbow to lead her towards the woods.
"And I guess you'll now offer to teach me these oh so important wisdom, oh great Obi Wan." When he grinned, she held up her hand. "Just save it. You know, Mom always told me to not go with strangers."
"I'm hurt, Maxie. I'm hardly a stranger."
"She also told me to not follow the big bad wolf anywhere, let alone into the woods."
"Then it's a good thing you have your knight in shining white suit with you to protect you from the bad wolf and any other pervert or serial killer lurking in the shadows," he retorted, spreading his arms to show off his white suit.
Maxie made a face. "Ugh… with lines like that I'm surprised you ever convinced a woman to sleep with you, let alone a long line."
"Aha! So, you admit it finally!" Logan triumphed, pointing a finger at her.
She frowned at him. "Admit what?"
He grinned at her. "That my charm hasn't failed and you're into me."
"Ladies and Gentlemen… he lost it," she said, staring at him.
"You know about the line. Actually, that's the second time you mentioned it already. Hence, you were curious enough to investigate my love life… which you wouldn't do if there's not even the slightest interest of becoming a part of it," Logan smugly pointed out to her.
She shook her head. "First of all, I don't do lines, Mr Huntzberger. If I'll ever be so crazy to date you, it will be only me or not me at all. Second, I blackmailed you so if I did any investigating about you it was purely for work and not any misguided lust and, last but certainly not least," she counted off her fingers, giving him a look that could freeze over hell, "there's no need to do any digging on you to learn about the line. I was informed to get in line or regret it the first moment you openly talked to me in public, apparently that's being equivalent to you showing interest in dating me."
It was his turn to frown. "What?"
She raised an eyebrow. "What? Had no idea just how efficient that line of yours works?"
No, he actually didn't. Not that he had ever taken this ridiculous line seriously. He was dating whomever he wanted – or so he had thought. Could it really be that some of those crazy chicks had been allowed to cross his way? Or that others had been scared away?
Nah, that couldn't be – or could it?
"Cat got your tongue?"
Forcing his thoughts away, he leered at her. "Is my tongue in your mouth?"
"Just shoot me," she murmured, rolling her eyes again. "Are we near the slaughter bank or do you intend to walk all the way to Alaska?"
"Impatience is such an unfitting trait, Maxie," he told her, leading her through a row of trees that led to the pathway to a big clearing. "Welcome to the early twentieth century, Ms. Gilmore. The era when the air of revolution and new adventures are awaiting us… people enjoying their freedom are ecstatic about what lies ahead, while having fun like no generation before them… the world at the brink of a new beginning."
She took in everything – the bonfires lighting the clearing, the music playing in the background, the people milling around, talking, laughing – and remained silent.
Logan smirked. "Cat got your tongue?"
She slowly looked back at him. "It's not what I expected. You always go to such length and effort?"
"It's the Life and Death Brigade… what do you think?" he asked back. "Come on. Let's mingle and see how much you can learn from them."
"Is that a challenge?"
"They've not been too happy when they heard a reporter is coming to spy on them. So yes, Maxie… this is very much a challenge," Logan told her openly, loving the way her eyes lit up.
"You're on," she nodded and moved past him to take the lead. Grinning, he followed her, ready to enjoy the show.
"Well, learning a lot about us?" Logan asked, feeling quite smug. It was almost three hours later and while he had let Maxie work the crowd alone, he had always kept an eye on her, watching her interact with the Brigadiers. It had been fun to watch how the irritation about the evasive answers had slowly grown in her, but even more interesting was how she had interacted with them. They were a tough, certainly spectacular, pretty particular group of people and he guessed that a person had to be of a certain mindset to understand or accept them. Or even fit in. As much as he thought his Maxie was quite special, he hadn't been sure if she had that mindset.
But he shouldn't have worried, she fit in just perfectly.
She regarded him with annoyance. "You would be surprised," she tried to snub him, only causing him to grin widely.
"Yeah," she insisted but he still heard the defensiveness in her voice.
"Huh! And I thought they were a real pain in the ass by avoiding your questions and giving no direct answers," he retorted, not letting her out of his eyesight, suppressing a smile when she shifted uncomfortably. "Must have been wrong."
"I'm sure I don't have to point out to you, Mr. Huntzberger, the fine art of unsaid answers and things," she answered, sounding more confident. "Trust me. I got enough to get me going… and the rest I'm sure will be easily gathered and collected in the days to come."
Hmm. Perhaps she really had gathered more information than he had thought. She was, after all, a pretty damn good little ace reporter. "Sure, Ace," he drawled, deliberately sounding very doubtful. He couldn't help it – he just loved to see her all riled up.
Her eyes narrowed. "The name's Ro-ry. Two little syllables. You're an Eli, it should at least be manageable for you to remember it. Then again, you're rich and blond. In my experience, rich blondes seem to have trouble remembering said two little syllables."
"You know, just because you met one obnoxious, rich, blond guy in high school, doesn't mean that that is true for all blond, rich guys. In fact, I very much object to being put into the same category as DuGrey. I am so above him," he chided her lightly.
"Well, as so far I have yet to meet another type of guys who insist on giving me ridiculous nicknames, I fear you have no chance of escaping the comparison… unless, of course, you finally stop calling me Maxie or any other name not my name," she pointed out to him with a deriding smile.
"Now, where would the fun be in that?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "You're way too cute all riled up over nicknames, Gilmore."
She sputtered. "Cute?"
Choosing not to elaborate on that, he looked down onto her notebook. "So, you've got enough to get you going?"
With narrowed eyes, she held it up. "Yep, already in my second notebook. I've got enough for now."
Strike! "That's wonderful! So we can move on to the fun part now."
Instantly, she frowned mistrustfully. "Fun part?"
He gave her his biggest smile. "Our date of course."
Her eyes widened slightly. "Well, we already..."
"You didn't think I would consider you mingling around, interviewing the other Brigadiers and not spending any time with me as a sufficient date, did you?" Of course she did, but she definitely thought wrongly. "Oh! No, Gilmore, not like this. After all, the whole concept of our little deal here had been, I get my second date while you get your inside scoop. You don't want to bail out on our deal, do you? Because if you do, then I'm sure we can find someone to drive you back right now," he added, very smugly, knowing exactly that she wouldn't want that.
And sure enough, she slowly shook her head, her annoyance obvious though. "Of course not. A deal's a deal."
Another blinding smile for her. "Right! So let me tell you how this whole date/article research is going to work. You get to do the whole reporter thing and once you've finished or after I deem you have enough and are really only stalling for time, you put your little notebook away and our date begins. This holds true for tomorrow also. While date time is on, you're absolutely forbidden to ask any questions for your article, take a note or try to snoop around. After all, it's a date, right Maxie?"
He was positive that she gritted her teeth as she answered, quite gruffly. "Sure."
Ah, he just loved to outmaneuver her. Though she really should have known, after everything they've already been through, there was no way she'd get off the hook so easily. "Good. So now that you're finished being an annoying reporter, how about we start our date with something to eat?"
She looked over to the buffet tables, making a face. "I've already eaten or at least tried to. There's way too much salt in everything. So I suggest we better skip that part."
"It's Finn, you know? Australians' taste buds are just screwed up, trust me. We tried to prevent him from touching the food, but somehow, he's sneaky in that regard," Logan explained with an apologetic smile. "As I know Finn for a long time now, I was so wise to anticipate the salt attack and saved some food before Finn got to it. So, you still want to skip on a real non-salty late dinner?"
He had thought he'd score some points with the saved food but he hadn't thought he'd get quite as rewarded as he did, as he watched her eyes practically blazing up, a genuine smile finally being directed at him. And before she could say anything, there was a rather loud rumble from her stomach, causing her cheeks to color. Laughing, he took her hand. "I think that was a quite obvious answer. Come on, let's feed that beast of yours."
For once, there was not one single protest coming out her lips. Now, that was a promising start for their date.
"It's amazing how much better the same food can be when there's not too much salt in it," Maxie sighed contently, leaning back and rewarding Logan with another smile.
"Yeah, amazing," he agreed, glad that she had liked the midnight dinner so much. Apparently, providing her with food was definitely the way to her heart, he noted to himself, having every intention of exploiting this little bit of knowledge for the future. "I tell you, whenever Colin and I visit Finn in Australia, we tend to cook our meals ourselves. And Colin hates to cook, you can believe me on that. Nor is he especially good at it. But desperate times, desperate measures."
She chuckled, eyeing him. "And you're any better at cooking? Have you ever even held a spatula in your hands?"
"You mean unless I misuse them as swords just like when I was five?" he smirked. Still, something urged him to tell her the truth, so he continued. "You'll be surprised to hear this but I'm actually a pretty decent cook."
As he had expected, there was already a raised eyebrow. "Really?"
Skeptical much, wasn't she? Then again, he could understand her skepticism. Cooking wasn't high on any elitist's lists of skills. "Yeah. We have this cook, Louis who has been with my family for ages, since before my parents married, actually. I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen when I was home and he taught me quite a lot."
Her head tilted slightly to the side, she studied him quite intensely, making him feel a bit uncomfortable. While he had wanted her to believe him, he hadn't quite planned to tell her this much. Somehow, it had just come out without him really realizing it until now. Not the first time this happened with her, he remembered, unsure what to think about that.
"I get that," she said after a moment. "There's this cook in the inn my mom worked in, where I grew up. Her name's Sookie and she became Mom's best friend rather quickly. She's like an aunt to me, which is nice 'cause my parents don't have any siblings, so she's pretty much it. I too spent a lot of time in her kitchen, talking with her. Unlike you though, she never managed to teach me the fine art of cooking."
"Not much of a cook then, huh?" he asked, ridiculously pleased that she had shared this information with him and not digging any deeper on the reasons just why he spent so much time in the kitchen. He wasn't ready yet nor in the mood to go in deeply about his depressing childhood. Probably, she could imagine it, after all, her mother ran away at seventeen.
She shrugged, grinning. "Let's put it this way: if I ever offer you something I've cooked myself, you'd be wise to refuse it. Most likely, you'd get food poisoning from it - with or without that being my intention."
"Thanks for the warning, I'll remember that," he replied dryly.
"My pleasure though I might regret it in the future. Who knows when I might deem it justified to give you a little discomfort for yet another stupid thing you said or did..." She shook her head sadly before once again giving him a scrutinizing look. "But you know, I still have my doubts about that skill of yours. After all, you tend to overestimate yourself with that ego of yours. So I'll only believe it when I see it."
His eyes lightening up, he leaned forward, eagerly. "Why, Ms. Gilmore, have you just asked me out on another date?"
"What? No!" she protested, startled.
But he nodded vigorously, pointing a finger at her. "Sure you did! You demanded proof, hence you just asked for another dinner date with me, one that humble me has to cook for you so you'll believe that I'm a good cook. That, my dear Maxie, is definitely you asking me for a date."
She opened her mouth but no word came out. In the end, she crossed her arms and glared at him. "You tricked me!"
"Oh no, you don't get to blame this on me! That's all you, Baby, your deepest desire of being with me showing its face," he argued with her, enjoying the fire in her eyes. "Don't be sad. Sooner or later they all will see the light of day."
Shaking her head, she regarded him with a look that could have made hell freeze over. Not that it had any effect on him. Quite the contrary. "It's really pitiful. There are these nice moments, just like some minutes ago, and then that ego of yours shows its ugly head."
"And yet you just asked me out on another date," he pointed out, pleased with the turn of events. Still, it was probably better to not push this hard now but just move on. "But let's wait with that until after this date is over."
They were sitting in front of his tent, near the clearing, where a group of Brigadiers just started to sing near the campfires. A few others had opened the dance floor as well, dancing to Charleston music. Glancing over, he stood up to go around the table and hold out his hand to Maxie who looked up at him with surprise. "Wanna dance?"
Looking toward the dance floor, she shook her head. "I can't dance, let alone the Charleston."
"If you look more closely, you'll see hardly anyone dances the real Charleston. And I don't believe you can't dance. Everyone can dance," he argued.
"Ha! Not this one here," she protested though. "Trust me, I've tried. Miss Patty, our dance teacher in Stars Hollow and the poor feet of my ex-boyfriend will only be too happy to confirm to you that me and dancing - so not a good combination. After all, dancing is like a sport and you've seen me play golf."
She was serious. Huh. All the more reason to insist on a dance, if you asked him, he liked a challenge. "Well, to quote you: I'll only believe when I see it. In my experience and that's quite a colorful one - Mom sent me to my first dance class when I was five and never let me forget my dance lessons - I assure you that a lady is only bad at dancing when her partner sucks. Tonight, being extremely lucky to have such a good and well-trained partner like me, you'll see how easy dancing is and how much fun it is. So come on. Let's see who'll be proved wrong here, though I daresay it will be you."
To his delight, she laid her hand into his, causing an electricity-like current to shoot up through his arm, straight down to every different part of his body. Huh, so strange. This happened quite a lot when they touched – something that has not happened with any other girl. A part of him wondered what that sensation was all about but a big part of him though just wanted to enjoy the new sensation.
"Okay… it's your feet after all. Just don't say I didn't warn you."
Pulling her up and leading her over to the dance floor, never letting go of her hand, he chuckled. "Just like I warned you that you'll love dancing with me. Perhaps, so much so, that you'll never want to dance with anyone else. Fair warning."
"You just can't stop it, can you?" she asked, rolling her eyes.
"Only the truth, Maxie, only the truth," he assured her, drawing her into his arms as soon as they were on the dance floor. Much to his delight, the music changed to something slow just then. Good. If she really was as inexperienced as she had said, then it would be much easier to teach her during a slow tune than with a fast one. He started to sway her to the rhythm of the music, a blues, but had to find out quite soon the biggest problem her ex-boyfriend probably had with her. He stopped and looked down into her eyes. "Now, Maxie, I know this may be hard on you, but as soon as your feet touch the dance floor, women rights and women power are left behind. On the dance floor there is only one who's leading and that's the man. As the lady, your only task is to relax and follow my lead. Got it?"
When she met his eyes, she was anything else but a happy camper. "That's so sexist, you know? A woman can lead as well as a man."
"Actually no, she can't," he lectured her. "First, she's not in the right position to have a strong lead hand. Second, as the man usually is taller than the lady it's only natural that he's got to lead as he can see better than her. Third, it is a fact that only one can lead and as we've just established, this has to be the man. And fourth and most importantly, as my dance teacher always told me, there's nothing as wonderful and sexy as to just be able to let go and let a strong male take over, if only for a moment."
"I still think it's sexist. But fine, do your thing and let's get this over with," she only replied, sighing deeply, her nose cutely crumpled.
"Oh, all that eagerness just warms my heart," he told her sarcastically, but once again started to sway her to the music. "Relax," he instructed in a murmur. "Look up at me and forget about the steps and the rhythm and let me worry about all that. You just enjoy the music and follow my lead."
She let out another deep sigh, but he noticed as most of the resistance he had felt in her slowly started to dissipate and sure enough, after a minute or two she had managed to let go and actually let him do his job. By the time a second song started to play, thankfully once again a slow one, she was actually easy to lead and he thought he saw surprise and pleasure filling up her eyes. "Good. See… no protesting feet as of yet," he said softly, smiling down at her.
"For now," she replied, but there was neither heat nor any gruff in her voice anymore.
He smirked, but said nothing else. Instead, he continued to lead her through the dance, trying a few more complicated routines and she danced each of them perfectly. No, she definitely wasn't a bad dancer. Rather, as he had suspected, she probably never had a good partner, one who actually knew what he was doing. In his arms though, she soon became very easily led. Even more, he reveled in the revelation of just how good it felt to have her in his arms. How well she fit into them.
They danced on, song after song, somehow all of them rather slow, not that he complained. Not at all. He wouldn't want it any other way. Soon, he lost track of time, having no idea just how long they had been dancing. They hardly talked, but the silence between them was neither boring nor uncomfortable. No. Somehow, their silence rather augmented the tension? Anticipation? He wasn't sure what it was he was feeling, but it was definitely something that felt good. A feeling that caused them to get more and more lost in the eyes of the other, until he had forgotten everything else but the beautiful girl he held.
More romantic souls than him would say that they were living a moment of pure magic.
At one point though, the music changed to some hot, fast rhythm of the roaring twenties, breaking through the world the two of them had fallen into. Looking around at last, Logan noticed that the lights had started to die down as more and more Brigadiers had either gone to their assigned beds or to the tents of someone else. They were part of the last still hanging out with other Brigadiers around the clearing.
The realization of how he had just lost himself in another world because of the girl in his arms made him somewhat breathless. Looking back down at Rory, he was somewhat relieved to see that he could at least see the same surprise and confusion he was feeling mirrored in her eyes. "It's getting late. We should probably turn in now. It's a big day tomorrow."
She nodded, still dazed apparently. The fact that she didn't use the opening for more questions about next day's program was only more telling of how thrown off she was by what had just occurred between them. Well, she sure wasn't the only one.
Not willing to let go of her yet, he turned her in his arms so that his right hand slid down to the small of her back, his left hand still holding hers firmly in his. "Come, I escort you back to your tent," he told her, not able to help the slight roughness his voice had taken on.
Without one word of protest, she let him lead her across the clearing to her tent. They stopped in front of it and she turned to him. He had the feeling she wanted to say something, but no words came out off her lips. Well, he could relate to that. He too wasn't sure what to say.
For a brief moment, his eyes glanced to her tent. Heaven knew he badly wanted to go in with her for the night, so much so that the intensity of his desire scared him. But he also knew that the chances that she'd invite him in were slim anyway and if he propositioned her now, he had a hunch that that would have been the last time she let him this close again, if at all. Looking back at her after eyeing her tent, he had to smile wistfully at the expression on her face as she apparently had followed his gaze. Nope, definitely no happy night for little Logan tonight.
At least, seeing some of the annoyance he came to know so well on her face, he knew how to break the awkward moment. He leaned into her personal space to look deep into her eyes. "Now tell me that wasn't fun," he said, this time keeping his voice deliberately husky.
Her cheeks blushed as her eyes lowered to the ground.
Charming. As much as she was really a spitfire at times, throw a little innuendo her way and she would immediately turn into an enticing innocence. "You're good at dancing," he continued, letting her off the hook a little, for now.
Her gaze rose to meet his and she shrugged lightly, her cheeks still a deep red though. "You too."
It sounded a bit grudgingly to his ears, but then, he could very well live with that. "I believe that was just a compliment. Huh. Now if that's not a good end for this part of our second date, I don't know what is."
"Don't let it get to your head," she replied, narrowing her eyes slightly.
Ah, now, that was his Maxie!
"I wouldn't dream of it." Grinning, he quickly leaned in again. "Sweet dreams," he whispered into her ear and before she could draw back, he gave in to his urge and kissed her cheek softly. Every fiber of his body screamed to kiss her properly, and the sweet taste of her on his lips now did nothing to help control this almost primal urge. But, heroically, he managed to draw back and only offer her a sincere smile. "Good night, Rory."
She stared at him in utter surprise and with this cute sight, he turned away to briskly walk over to his tent. It wasn't easy, leaving her behind, when it was not what he really wanted to do. But deep down he knew that with this girl, he had to be slow or he'd cause her to run away from him and probably never speak to him again. And as much as he wanted to have sex with her, he would rather keep her talking to him, which was more important. Besides, the sex was just postponed or so he hoped.
Because one thing was for sure. This Logan wanted to have his Maxie as much as their counterparts in Dark Angel. Though he still thought he was Alec rather than Logan. Not that it mattered. Everyone knew that Alec had just waited for the moment Max went into heat and her body was going to open her eyes to what she really needed instead of some fairytale dream she kept harboring.
Yeah, that would work for him as well.
"Well, well, you and that reporter seemed pretty cozy last night."
Looking up from preparing a plate from the morning buffet, Logan only glanced briefly at the guy who showed up beside him. "Is there a point, Robert, or are you just being your annoying self?"
"Just wanted to make sure you haven't slipped the secrets of the LDB to her just so you can take along your newest bed bunny to the event," Robert said, trying for nonchalance and failing miserable.
Loading a sliced bagel onto his plate and on the one he was preparing for Maxie, he snorted. "Why ever should I do that? Doing this article was never my idea. And you very well know, I can have a bed bunny, as you worded it, wherever and whenever I want and even if your ludicrous suspicion were correct, then I would not have spent the night alone but would have had wild monkey sex with her."
Robert held his hands up. "She could just have turned you down, Huntzberger. Sooner or later, they all have to realize that there's no substance to you."
"I'm not you. Every girl who's been with me will be happy to confirm to you that there's nothing to complain about," Logan replied unfazed, adding some bacon and eggs for Maxie while choosing a grapefruit for himself. It had become clear yesterday that healthy was definitely not the Gilmore way to eat. "I'm still waiting for your point. If you have none, why don't you just remove yourself out of my sight?"
Robert raised an eyebrow. "My point? There's no point, only interest. You and that reporter… are you together or something?"
"What's it any business to you?" Logan asked back, leaving the food and pouring some coffee for them.
"She's hot," Robert simply answered with a leer.
Looking sharply at the obnoxious guy, Logan's gaze darkened in warning. "Thank you, Robert, I kind of noticed that myself. That's why she's my date." He emphasized the possessive adjective to describe the word 'date'. The jerk better not have any ideas about his Maxie.
Because Robert was stupid, he seemed to not totally grasp the subtle warning, as once again, he shrugged with his disgusting leer still in place. "Oh well, then I guess I'll just wait until she gets tired of you. I can always ask her out later. Won't be that long a wait, knowing you and your history with girls."
Something absolutely foreign happened to Logan at hearing these words and the thought of Robert and his sleazy fingers being anywhere near his Maxie. Blood pumped through his veins twice the normal speed and he thought he could actually hear it rush in his ears. Taking a deep breath to get the sudden rage under control, he forced himself to stay calm. He was not letting that jackass goad him into anything.
Still though, there was one thing Robert needed to understand. Taking the service tray with the plates and the cups of coffee into his hands (perhaps gripping the handles a bit too tightly), he turned to head towards Maxie's tent. Walking by Robert, he stopped momentarily, though. "She's mine, Robert. Hands off," he warned straight out, his voice low and menacing.
He had no idea why he felt this strong need to warn Robert off, he just knew he had to. Briefly looking into the asshole's eyes, he was satisfied to see that his warning had registered with Robert, judging from the apprehensiveness and surprise in his pale green eyes. Nodding, he left Robert behind, resuming his way.
Though it wasn't really a long way to Rory's tent, he once again got interrupted on his way as all of a sudden Colin fell into step with him. "So… you and Rory seemed to hit it off quite well last night."
He shrugged, careful of the tray he was holding. "We had fun, yeah."
Colin snorted. "Looked like a lot more than just fun. And even a lot less as well. After all, you weren't invited in, eh?"
Logan sighed. What was it with these guys today? Had they all gone mad? "And your point being?"
"Nothing. Just wondering. You've got to admit, that's not your usual modus operandi. Then again, the lovely and charming Ms. Gilmore is not your usual type either, so I guess you just adapted to that fact, huh?" Colin studied him intensely. "I mean, it's not as if you've really fallen for that girl, is it? I mean she's hot, sure. And intelligent. I can see how a guy can fall for her. But of course not you, right?"
Stopping cold, Logan stared at Colin to check if he had sprouted a second head or something. Nope, no second head. What the hell... "Are you crazy? Of course there's no falling involved here. You know me. I don't fall, period. Maxie and I are just having fun."
Stopping as well, Colin looked back at him, his hands buried deep in his pockets. "I thought so. I mean you and falling. But..." He hesitated and Logan got the feeling that his friend was going to say something he wasn't going to like. "You sure though she's only having fun? She doesn't seem the type to just have fun. Rather, she seems like the type whom you've got to commit to first before you get anything. And when I say commit, I mean commit in a real permanent type of way that at least requires the status of a boyfriend. You're aware of that, aren't you?"
"Excuse me, but are you trying to warn me off her here?" Logan asked, incredulous. He must have heard wrong. Colin wouldn't talk to him about how to treat a girl. Never.
"No!" Colin protested at once though, giving relief to Logan, but only briefly, as Colin continued. "Yes... I'm not sure. Maybe I am. It's for your sake though. I can see you like her. You've got the hots for her. Understandable. As I have said before, she's hot. Still, Logan… she's different and before you go any further you should perhaps step back, cool down and think this through for a moment. 'Cause I don't think you want what she'll want in order to take you to her bed." Colin's eyes were still locked with his, albeit reluctantly.
"This is ridiculous!" It really was! First of all, there was absolutely nothing to be worried about. And second, even if his worries were justified, which they weren't, but if they were, Colin had no business whatsoever sticking his nose into it. "Rory and I are having fun. If we take the fun to another level, you can be sure we'll both know exactly where the other stands. Not that it's any of your business what I do or don't do with her."
Colin's hands flew up in a gesture of peace. "Hey, no need to rip my head off. I just want to make sure that you're aware of what you're getting yourself into so you can stop before hearts get broken in a really bad way." He took a step back, his head tipping to the side as his eyes narrowed. "Just a last question: You sure you're only in it for fun? Because I gotta tell you, you're acting real strange here. First you get all territorial as it seemed as if you're ready to rip out Robert's throat while castrating him as well. What's up with that anyway? Since when do you get possessive over a girl? Anyway, this hasn't been the first time. Ever since you've met her you've been awfully secretive and territorial about her. And now you're even picking a fight with me over her. This looks a lot like falling to me, so are you really sure that you have not already invested more than just having a little fun with that girl?"
"This has absolutely nothing to do with her but everything with Robert being an ass, going after a girl who's here as my date and you having gone crazy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to get this coffee to her before it gets cold," Logan gave back, seething. The nerve of them! "Come back when you're lucid again."
Thus said, he stomped away. Really. Robert's always been an asshole, that was nothing new, but what on Earth had gotten into Colin? So he and Maxie had had a good time last night. And hell yeah, he did very much plan to take her to his bed in the near future, but just because he was taking his time with her and had not jumped right into it didn't mean that there was anything different with this girl, unlike the others. Not in the big picture at least. Maxie just had to be approached in a different way, not similar to how he would have dealt with the bimbos he usually bedded. Plus, Colin was right. Maxie wasn't the one-night-stand type. Still, in his experience, even the commitment girls wanted to just have some fun sometimes and something told him that she was ready for said fun. If not, well, then no problem at all either. It wouldn't be the end of the world to not have her.
Though, it would be a damn shame.
Reaching at last the tent she was sleeping in, he put the tray on the table outside her tent and stepped to the closed flap, trying to hear if he there was any movement inside. Absolute silence. "Maxie?"
Debating only for a moment, he pulled the flap open and carefully peaked inside, letting his eyes adjust to the dim light in the tent. Ah. Sleeping beauty hadn't risen yet from her slumber. Looked like a wake up call was in order. Smirking, he snapped a cup of coffee from the tray and quietly entered the tent, letting the flap close behind him. Kneeling down beside her cot, he regarded her for a moment. The longer he looked, the faster the smirk vanished to make place for a real smile – that signaled his amazement. And as the seconds ticked by, even the smile slowly vanished.
In the past, whenever he read books about how someone would just contently watch another person sleeping, he would always roll his eyes. It was a so overused cliché. Now, he wasn't so quick anymore in rolling his eyes. Something about watching her sleep moved something deep inside him, something that has never moved before. He didn't know what but it made him catch his breath.
Having forgotten his original purpose of waking her up, he was startled when all of a sudden, her eyelids fluttered open and those startling blue eyes albeit still heavy with sleep, stared straight into his. She blinked, a small frown appearing between her eyes. "Logan?"
Something about how she said his name, all sleepy and dreamy, caused a quite unexpected reaction from his body, especially considering the confusion this moment had caused in Logan. And feeling himself harden now only deepened that confusion. Jeez! Standing up abruptly, he put the coffee onto her night table. "Yeah. It's time to get up. Today's festivities will start in an hour."
Her frown deepened. "You're wearing a tux."
Glancing down at her, he felt the smirk from before returning and tugging at the corner of his lips. "I can always count on you stating the obvious, huh, Maxie?"
The sleep cleared from her eyes and she flipped over from her position on her stomach to sit up, revealing that she was wearing the shirt she had worn on the drive yesterday. A very tight and small shirt that revealed even more of just what was hidden when she lifted her arms to ruffle her hair, only to make it even more look like the perfect bed/sex-hair. His already excited penis grew immensely more excited, causing him involuntarily to step back in order to keep himself from closing the distance between them and crash his mouth against hers.
At the image this little word conjured, he practically moaned. God. He needed to get out of this fucking tent!
Shit. He abruptly turned his back onto her. "Most important rule with the LDB… The integrity of the event always has to be safeguarded and respected. The next box will ensure that integrity. Showers are on the left…" Shower! "... and there's some breakfast on your table outside. I'll come back to get you in a little less than an hour."
Without giving her any chance to respond he fled the suddenly very warm confines of her tent, taking some deep breath, eagerly drawing in the fresh morning air. Damn. Damn! He hadn't been this turned on by absolutely nothing really since his teenage years. And even then it had involved Baywatch, the Playboy or some other men's magazine, a porno or at least his history teacher Ms. Lennings in her usually too tight sweaters or spying on his sister's girlfriends in their pajamas the few times they stayed over. Not by a girl who did nothing other than say his name and sit up.
Snapping the plate and coffee he had prepared for himself, he stomped off towards his own tent. Dammit! He had looked forward to having breakfast with her, and it was supposed to be another step in seducing one Lorelai Leigh Gilmore the Third. But the way his body had just betrayed him, there was no way he could bear sitting across this luscious vision of innocent beauty and not be able to do anything about it.
To hell with it, he thought darkly, trying to walk off the uncomfortable hardness he still sported. Whatever was up with this world this morning?
When he went back to go pick her up, he had thought normalcy had returned to the world. Then she stepped out of the tent, in the dark blue ball gown he had gotten for her, the gem stones sparkling on the deep blue silk have nothing compared to the sparkle of her eyes, her cheeks once again colored in a faint blush and her face meeting his with a very self-conscious and unsure expression that told tales of just how unaware she was of how strikingly beautiful she was.
With or without the gown.
"Here's your integrity," she opened their conversation, draping the pale blue pashmina shawl over her naked shoulders. "I hope it meets the required standard."
Nope, absolutely clueless she was. He nodded slowly, unable to take his eyes off her, even though it almost hurt to have to look at this stunning vision in blue without being able to act on what his dirty mind demanded him to do. Swallowing, he tried to find his voice. At the second try, it worked. "Don't worry, you'll pass. Come on, we're going to be late," he continued, waving her forward.
For a ridiculous moment, he hesitated, before he gingerly laid a hand onto the small of her back to lead her through the woods to the place where the games and the stunt would take place. He hurried, practically making her run, desperately wanting to get to the others, not trusting himself alone with her for one moment longer. When she stumbled and nearly fell, he caught her though, once again reminded of just how good she felt in his arms.
"Thanks," she mumbled, embarrassed, straightening up.
Shaking his head, he tried to clear away the fuzz his mind seemed to be caught in ever since that moment in her tent this morning. Perhaps, it was just best to return to banter. "Hey, no need to. Don't let the lady fall onto her nose… I think that's rule number five on the date rulebook."
"A very sensible rule." Thank God she played along. "Though I'm curious… what are the first four rules?"
At last relaxing from the weird thing happening to him this morning, Logan and her resumed their way at a way slower pace. "Rule four: Always go pick her up and bring her home afterwards. Rule three: Don't let her look stupid when talking her into something she's unsure about, just like when you had this totally ridiculous idea of not being able to dance. Rule two: Make sure she has fun. Rule one: Always keep her happy by providing her with enough food and drink. In your case that would be food for a whole basketball team and enough coffee to have an entire submarine crew going during a mission," he made them up without hesitation.
"Ah… and what number is the part where you blackmail her into the date in the first place?" she asked, looking expectantly at him with a wicked glee in her eyes.
"Now, that's not in the date rulebook. That's in the how to get a girl come to her senses rulebook," he gave back, winking at her. "Rule three: After the usual and every sensible way fails, blackmail her into it. Always remember, in the end she'll thank you and you're one happy camper."
"Huh… I thought that's out of the rulebook for how to be an incorrigible, arrogant elitist with an ego the size of Eurasia," she deadpanned.
"Nope, you've got that wrong," he countered, relieved that things finally seemed to have gone back to normal.
They arrived at the clearing, preventing her to make any more comment. The other Brigadiers already assembled around Colin who was chosen to be the ceremonial master for this event.
"I do declare here gathered, one hundred and eighth assembly of the honorable Life and Death Brigade," Colin said as Logan and Rory joined the others and Finn passed them glasses of champagne.
"I guess now's the time for the ritualistic sacrifice," Rory whispered, looking around and curiously eyeing the seven-story high scaffold they've build for the event.
Logan elbowed her lightly. "Shhhh!"
"Please raise your glasses," Colin asked the gathered group and raised his own. "In Omnia Paratus!"
"In Omnia Paratus!" echoed the group.
He turned to Rory to hold his glass to her lips, guiding her glass to his lips. A bit startled, she sipped the champagne. Using his free arm to pull her closer, he whispered into her ear. "Cover your ears."
Too late. Finn was already swinging the mallet against the gong and the Brigadiers erupted into cheers, racing towards the games waiting for them. Logan though stayed with Maxie, watching with amusement how she took in all the extravagance of their annual event.
"I've got to say, you sure know how to set a new standard for a theme party," she eventually commented dryly.
"If we do something, we do it right," he agreed wholeheartedly. "And to think that some groups just go bowling or throw a house party once in a while."
"Yeah, how boring and unimaginative." Slowly, they walked towards the main area for the games where the others were already starting some games. Some had mounted horses for a polo game, some of the women had ridden the litters for the man-horse-version of polo, others were just hitting the first ball of cricket and quite some of the guys had moved eagerly to the shooting range. "Of course though, very few groups could afford this level of festivities. Seriously, Logan, how is the LDB financed?"
"Mostly with alumni fees. Most of our alumni are pretty successful, partly thanks to the LDB. We have excellent contacts and offer our graduates mouth-watering interest rates for loans and incentives for business start-ups," Logan explained. "So you see, we're not only about partying. Well, maybe during undergraduate years, but then, that is the time to really live and enjoy life."
Stopping to watch the polo game for a moment, she looked at him. "And my Grandpa is also a LDB member? Really?"
"Oh! Yeah. And he's still pretty active within the alumni part of the LDB," he told her, watching her for a reaction. She showed nothing though.
But then her next question piqued his interest. "And how exactly do you become a member now? You said it's not by legacy alone for example."
Was he just imagining it or was there perhaps more than just professional interest behind this question? "No. Legacy only guarantees that you'll be considered as a possible new member. In the end though, legacy or not, rich or not, all aspirants have to fulfill the same criteria: self-confidence, a certain level of intelligence, a good sense of adventure, ready to take on a few risks and most importantly a desire and willingness to live life to its fullest. If three members of the LDB think you meet these standards and would be an asset to the LDB, the group together will vote."
She was silent for quite a while after that. "So last year, I was probably, thanks to Grandpa's membership, considered. As I never received an invitation, I guess I failed your criteria, huh?"
He shrugged. "I wasn't here last year, so I can't say for sure. But yeah, it's possible. You're not surprised though, are you?"
Her eyes narrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Hey, relax," he pacified her, holding up his hands. "It's just you know yourself that your idea of life is mostly studying right now. Nor are you exactly the type who takes risks, aren't you? If you've been considered last year, the others probably deemed that you have no interest in joining any group other than a study group."
The glare was still in place. "Just because I have my priorities and interests different from you doesn't mean I don't have a life and a good one, might I add. And I do take risks."
"I never said your idea of life is wrong or bad. Just not what we're looking for in the LDB maybe. Or at least it wasn't. Your little blackmail scheme made you a lot interesting, Ms. Gilmore," Logan justified his words before he snorted. "And just what risks might that have been? Contradicting a professor?"
This time it was her who rammed her elbow into his side and not too gently either. Laughing, he jumped out of her reach. "Hit a nerve, huh, Maxie?"
"Don't you have a horse to mount or something?" she asked through gritted teeth.
He raised an eyebrow. "And leave you all alone? Now, what a companion would that make me?"
"One who lets me do my job and doesn't distract me by getting on my nerves," she added with a dark look.
"Okay, you're the boss. Hey, we could participate in the litter polo. You in the cabin, me carrying milady," he suggested, glancing over to the game in question. To be honest, he wasn't that eager to play a human horse, but a few rounds he could do.
She snorted. "You've seen me at golf… you really think me swinging around a long-stick mallet, trying to hit a ball a good idea?"
Put it like that though... "Then again, maybe it's best you simply watch from the sidelines. Or play cricket. I think a game of cricket should be safe for everyone."
Rolling her eyes, she turned away from him. "I'll catch up with you later."
Smirking, he watched her go before he himself went to join the games. After all, he was not a dangerous hazard to every living creature in a half mile radius.
It was maybe an hour later that she found him at the shooting range, showing up beside him just as he readied himself for the next shoot. "I have a question."
The guy handling the throwing machine mistook this as an order for him and let loose three target disks. Logan still managed to hit two and only grazing one of them.
Beside him, Maxie looked from him to the area where the targets he just shot down fell. "Do you hunt as well?"
"Only armed with the camera," he replied with a shrug, reloading his rifle. "Pull!"
Another three disks flew in the air and again his bullets made them explode into a few hundred pieces.
"You're pretty good with that," she mentioned with a frown.
After putting the rifle safety on, he handed the rifle to the next shooter in line. "Me knowing how to handle a firearm and hit my target doesn't automatically mean I also like to shoot a living target. Killing's not really my thing." He stretched himself, craning his neck. "Didn't you have a question?"
"Yeah." She pointed to the scaffold. "I couldn't help but notice that there are people climbing that thing. Why?"
"Aww, Maxie, now you disappoint me, wasting a question for something obvious like that," he said, shaking his head sadly.
"They're gonna jump?" she asked, incredulous.
"And again a question wasted. You continue like that you'll run out of them and gather no information at all."
Her eyes wide, she waved at the scaffold. "Are you guys crazy? That must be at least six-stories high!"
"Seven, actually," he corrected her, proudly. Five stories high had been the record so far.
"Six, seven… tomatoe, tomato. Jumping off that thing has to be dangerous!"
"Well, it is called the Life and Death Brigade. A little danger and adventure has to be part of the deal," he nonchalantly pointed out.
"But living to the outmost like you guys preach and celebrate is kind of hard if you're dead!" she argued.
He waved her protest away. "No one has ever died on one of our stunts. Only old alumni have died, that's about it. As you said, we value life, therefore all our stunts are perfectly safe. Like you'll see for yourself in a little bit when all six of us land safely on our feet in front of you."
Looking up, she squinted her eyes. "I only see four."
"I'm heading up in a moment as well," he told her, calmly.
"Of course, you will. And let me guess? Finn as well?" she guessed.
My, my, she had come to know them pretty well. At least to some degree. "Yeah well, that was the plan but he broke a rib during the games and his place is free now."
Shocked, her head snapped towards him. "Finn broke a rib? Is he okay?"
Touched by her genuine concern, he nodded. "Yeah, he's fine. Probably, the rib's only bruised anyway, we're not sure yet, but he'll be back on his feet in no time. You'll see."
"Good." Her eyes wandered up once again. "So who's jumping then? Colin?"
"For that he'd first have to overcome his fear of heights. I swear, put him on a ladder and he morphs into Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo… only he squeals like a blonde in a cheap horror movie," Logan answered with a chuckle. "He's asking around to see who wants the place."
She was still staring up the scaffold. "And it's really safe?"
"As safe as it can be," he assured. "Why? Interested?" he asked in mock, knowing full well the answer to that.
"Yeah. Do you think I can take Finn's place?"
Or perhaps not, he thought dimly as he gaped at her. "What?"
"Finn's place. Is it possible for me to take it?" she repeated.
So he had heard her right. But that was... "You want to jump from a seven-story high scaffold?"
Slowly, she turned her head back to him. "You and those four people up there will do it. You said it's safe. So yeah, why shouldn't I?"
"I..." Yeah, why shouldn't she? "I'm just surprised. You don't seem the type for something freeing like this."
"Now how would you know that? We barely know each other," she asked, her voice taking on an edge.
"Come on, Maxie. You just seem more like the ones who would rather read about something than actually live it," he justified himself, but really, she had to see that her breaking out of her little safe shell was a little bit astonishing.
"I also want to be an overseas correspondent so I can experience life out there. Why not start here and now?" She turned her full attention on him now. "I'm here to write an article on the LDB… who you are, what you do, what you're all about. What better way to get a real inside scoop than by joining you on this stunt?
Her points were of enough value – if he could just wrap his head around her actually asking to join the jump in the first place. Would that girl ever stop throwing curveballs like this at him, flooring him completely?
She was still waiting for an answer from him, rather impatiently. "What's the matter with you? Do you have something against me jumping with you guys?"
"No, of course not," he was quick to reply. "Not at all. I do think this jump will do you good, to go out there and risk something, do something stupid but oh so adventurous nevertheless. Just… are you really sure you want to do this?"
"Jeez, Logan, yes, otherwise I wouldn't have asked to have Finn's place," she huffed, exasperated. "So, what is it now? Am I in or what?"
Staring into her eyes he could only see determination. Well, good for her. He for sure wasn't going to stop her. Actually, sharing this experience with her could turn out to work in his favor. After all, a rush of adrenaline had been grounds for many romantic adventures ever since mankind existed. Oh yeah, the more he thought about it, the more he started to love the idea. Slowly, he nodded. "You're in, Ace. I just need to talk to Colin first." He nodded towards the scaffold. "If you want, you can start your way up. I'll be right after you in a moment."
"All right. You won't have any problem catching up with me. Climbing that thing in these clothes will be a bitch," she sighed, turning away from him.
Looking her attire over, he could only agree. As beautiful as it looked on her, it wasn't made to climb a ladder. "Be careful," he told her, actually asking himself if it was maybe not even best to ask Seth to put her on the safe road as soon as possible, just in case. Those shoes couldn't give her much hold. Hell, her climbing the scaffold in this outfit was probably more dangerous than the actual stunt! "See that guy standing beside the ladder? His name is Seth. Tell him you'll do the jump with me and to secure you right away."
She gave him a strange look, but surprisingly enough, she simply nodded and headed towards Seth without having anything else to remark.
Like predicted by Maxie, Logan had indeed caught up with her halfway up after his talk with Colin. He had found his friend in the tent where Finn was resting, discussing who they'll allow to fill Finn's place. When Logan told them about Maxie's proposition, Finn had laughed out loud, cheering for the little ace reporter among their midst while Colin had had a hard time believing her doing it at all, let alone it being her idea. When Logan had left to head up himself, they had already moved on to bet on her getting cold feet once up on the scaffold and seeing how high it really was. For once he hadn't joined the bet. He had seen the determination in her eyes. There was no way she was backing out.
If only to prove himself right that he had been wrong about her, he thought with a smirk, climbing higher and higher.
To his relief he noticed that Seth had followed his instruction and had fastened the security harness and cord on her already. He was still quite baffled that she had actually suggested herself to do this. Maybe her dream of being an overseas correspondent had more substance after all than he had thought. Whatever it was that had motivated her to do this step, he respected her for it. If it was courage to do this in order to make her article better, if it was curiosity to see what it was like or if it was simply to break free of the usual safety of her world – her daring to jump with them, fighting for the chance even, was something he admired her for.
Reaching the top, Ken, Seth's partner in crime in designing and building this scaffold, helped her over by the edge of the scaffold's platform before he held out a hand to help him as well. Placing a hand on Maxie's back, he guided her to the edge of the scaffold, handing her an umbrella. While Ken secured him as well, he watched her looking down at the group assembling below to watch them jump, her face losing some of the color the climb had caused.
"You don't have to do this," he told her quietly so no one else would hear them. "No one would take offense if you change your mind."
Taking her eyes off from the sight below, she looked at him. He could see the nervousness in her eyes, the fear – but also determination. "Yeah, I have to," she responded as quietly. "Besides, can't have you having all the fun by yourself." She paused for a moment, a twinkle in her eyes took over the look of anxiety. "Though I think this at least should get me out of that dreadful massage you keep insisting on."
"Nice try," he laughed, opening his umbrella. "But no way am I giving up that massage. Not in a million years." Looking down, he saw Colin giving them the sign that they could jump now. "Ready?"
"Too bad." He grabbed her hand and pulled her with him as he jumped off the scaffold. She squealed, but her hand tightened around his, their fingers interlacing firmly as they fell.
The rush caused by the jump was incredible. Just incredible. Making his heart beat rapidly and high in his chest. The moment they started to fall to the ground, the rush and the motion seemed to be an eternity, although, he knew it could only be a few seconds. But by God, what a moment it was! One single moment of pure freedom, pure perfection.
All too soon, the cord slowed down their fall and his feet already touched the ground, forcing him slightly into his knees. Beside him, Maxie had a harder time finding her balance; letting go of the umbrella, he slang his arm around her waist to steady her. Holding her close to him allowed him to feel her heart beating as wildly as his was and when she looked up at him, he saw the same amazement and wonder written all over her face that he felt as well.
"That was something, huh?" he asked breathlessly.
"Something?" She laughed freely and brightly. "Logan, that was… incredible. Truly an experience of a lifetime!"
He could only wholeheartedly agree. It was an experience of a lifetime, definitely. As this was his third jump since he joined the LDB, never had a jump been so remarkable and marvelous and part of him wondered why this one had been so much more – just more. "Yeah."
Freeing her hand from his, Logan expected her to pull away. So he was quite flabbergasted when instead, she grabbed his face and pulled him down for a harsh, deep and fiery kiss that had his entire body on fire instantly.
Unfortunately, as soon as her lips had captured him, they were gone again and now she stood back, flashing him the most brilliant smile he ever had seen. His mind still in a stupefied freeze, she was whisked away by well-wishing and congratulating Brigadiers before he could think of something to say – or even better, pull her back and reciprocate the kiss with ten times its power.
Then again, he mused while blinking, that maybe that was for the best. Any more passion and the woods around them may just catch fire.
Much to his chagrin, it was evening until he was finally able to catch up with Rory again. Until then, either he or she had always been in the middle of a group. At last though he had seen her going back to her tent, probably to change into the last set of clothes he had given her for this event and he quickly went to move to his own tent, changing in the meantime his quite sweaty shirt to a black cashmere turtleneck pullover before dashing over to her tent, hoping he hadn't missed her yet. Some low rustling noises from the inside though confirmed to him that she was still in there.
Sitting down once more by the little table outside her tent, he took a deep breath, his eyes focused on the closed tent flap.
The memory of the kiss she had given him after the jump wouldn't leave his mind. And not just because it was one hell of a kiss that practically screamed for more. Far more than that, it confused him. Why had she kissed him? Her kissing him was really not something he had expected. Sure, he had been pretty confident that eventually, she would succumb to his charms, last night only adding fire into that hope, but so far she had always been so very enticingly resisting. Nothing had indicated this sudden mood change. Nothing.
And not just that. She had kissed him! He would never ever imagine that their first kiss would be initiated by her at all. She never came across as being forward. With all the blushing and sudden shyness whenever he had come close or had insinuated his very evident sexual interest in her, he had been certain that he would have to take the first step, once the time had come. Now instead, he had just only been able to stand there like a stupid teenage boy receiving his first kiss!
And that him!
He hadn't been as surprised into immobility as that since... Ever! Never had a girl managed to do that, not even his first one.
Of course though, back then, he had kissed the girl, not the other way around. Still, even later on, the more forward girls had taken the initiative but they never had managed to shock him like Rory had been able to do with that kiss.
That was another thing. Why had that damn kiss affected him so much? Why on Earth was he sitting here now like a loser, contemplating this searing kiss, rather than going in there and finally kiss her back? Preferably without leaving that tent again until they had to head back to school tomorrow.
But deep inside, he knew that despite her kiss this afternoon, the possibilities of having anything more was being wishful in his part rather than being realistic. Don't ask him how he was so sure about that, he just was.
The tent flap was pushed to the side and the little troublemaker occupying his very thoughts stepped out, clad in the pale lilac gown with the short, black cashmere blazer he had gotten for her. Not all of the Brigadiers would change for the rather mellow affair in the evening. He had brought another change of clothes for himself because after the jump and all the games, he had known he would need to change clothes. He got this lilac gown – which would give her some warmth during the outdoor, formal dinner – for Rory only because he could not decide between the dark blue, which she had worn during the day and this one. And besides, he was uncertain if she'd let him buy her clothes ever again or even go out with him again at all. So in the end, he bought the blue and lilac gowns, knowing she would be beautiful in both of them and wanting to see her wear them both.
His eyes trailing her delicate body up and down, he slowly nodded to himself. Just as he had thought. She looked stunning in it.
Seeing him, her steps faltered for a second before she sauntered over to him, hips swinging so lightly that he doubted strongly that she put any extra effort into it. All the more enticing, he thought, feeling part of him harden with determination.
"You're here as my watchdog or date for the evening?" she asked, stopping in front of him, looking down at him.
For a short moment he had a vision of her sitting down onto his lap, straddling him, and he had to suppress an embarrassing groan as he became even harder.
Fuck it. He was no inexperienced school boy anymore, for Heaven's sake. She should not be able to put him into such a state!
With more force than intended, he stood up, determined to cool himself down. Not an easy task, especially not with the temptation standing right in front of him, but as it was established, he was no school boy anymore. He was in control. Flashing her a dashing smile, he held out his arm for her to hook under. "By participating in this year's stunt, you don't need a watchdog anymore."
Actually, she was now officially a member but he wasn't going to tell her that until after her article came out. Who knew, maybe she got the screwed idea that they had taken her only to stop the article from being published.
"Do I? Huh. Nice," she replied, a twinkle still evident in her eyes. "So this is just the date part?"
"You bet it is," he emphasized. "After all..."
"Yeah, yeah, I know," she interrupted him with an eyeroll. "The deal is that this is the second date. You know, I don't have exactly the memory of an elephant but I do, barely, manage to remember a few things without you reminding me."
"Well, you do show certain tendencies to forget parts of our deal, like the back massage I have to keep reminding you, so I deem it justified to help you along once or twice," he replied, leading her once more to the clearing where they had gathered last night.
"I assure you, it's not necessary. As for the massage, forgive me, but I do like to ignore things I really don't want to do or don't like, which both is the case here. But as you have said, you won't let me forget it, so..." She stopped cold as her sight fell onto the clearing, all prepared for tonight's festivities. "Oh my..."
"Speechless the lady is, me thinks," Logan chuckled, glad to see how impressed she was. Taking a good look around, he couldn't blame her.
China, silverware and glassware were elegantly and properly placed on each side of long tables covered with white linen and chandeliers lighted the whole dinner area. The planned banquet, a silver service dinner in grand style, was going to be performed by waiters in hangmen attires. A little to the north side of the tables, an orchestra played decent classical music of the middle ages; the musicians clad in attires that were in fashion for that historical period. Much later, after the seven-course dinner, they would change the music to rock and pop so the party could really liven up.
Finding her voice again, Maxie definitely didn't ask a question he had expected. "What would you have done if it had rained?"
He smirked. Why was he surprised even? "Gotten wet?"
Shaking her head, she turned to him. "Oh no, not getting away that easy, Mister. I'm serious. All the games, the stunt, last night's event and now this… what would you have done if the weather hadn't been this good?" she narrowed her eyes. "You got some weather machine hidden somewhere here?"
"We are a powerful group," he deadpanned without even blinking once.
To his immense enjoyment, she whined. "Logan!"
Oh, now he was rewarded with a glare. He laughed. "Seriously, Maxie. It's no big deal. We closely watched the weather reports. They only promised good weather. Otherwise, we would have just ordered a few party tents. As for the games and stunts… we're the Life and Death Brigade, a little rain won't stop us. Now come on, the banquet will start any moment now."
He led her to the head of the U-shape table where Colin and Finn were already seated with the other four jumpers. Holding out the chair for her, he let her sit down between himself and Finn.
Acting again as the ceremonial master, Colin stood up as Logan sat down. "Fellow Brigadiers. It's time for the traditional closing banquet." He raised his hand, performing a fancy wave. "Garçons!"
From the trees, a line of waiters, dressed as hangmen appeared, carrying plates with soup.
Colin raised his glass of champagne, everyone following him. "In Omnia Paratus!"
"In Omnia Paratus!"
"Jeez, I am full. So full like it shouldn't even be possible to be full. Ugh. This is worse than Thanksgiving," Rory groaned, pushing the second and last dessert plate far away from her.
"No one forced you to eat everything served, really, without leaving anything on the plate either, Maxie," Logan pointed out to her, halfway amused, halfway stunned about how much one single person, and with as delicate and petite a figure as this person had, could eat.
"No, I couldn't. First, it would be a terrible waste, second, it is a mission. If challenged with food, a Gilmore girl does not waver or back down," Rory explained, leaning back with closed eyes. "You just might have to roll me back to New Haven though. I'm not sure I'll still fit into the car tomorrow."
"I think you'll manage," Finn said, gazing at her with big, admiring eyes. "Love, I gotta say, I bow in awe to you. I never in my life had as much fun watching anyone eat as tonight. It sure was a treat."
Halfway opening her eyes again, she regarded the Australian. "Whatever do you mean?" she asked innocently.
"Just that it is beautiful to see a girl enjoying her food for a change, that's all," Finn answered as innocently.
Logan snickered. He wasn't sure if Rory's innocence was only acted or not, but he definitely knew that Finn's was. While he undoubtedly was right and that it indeed was refreshing to be in the presence of someone who wasn't dieting, it was rather the way she ate that had Finn admiring. Rory ate as if each single bite was a little orgasm, especially the dessert. To watch her savoring each bite had been one of the sexiest damn things he had ever seen and it looked as if Finn agreed wholeheartedly in that point. He couldn't blame him, of course not. But Logan was surprised to see that a tiny part of him was actually annoyed at Finn's open interest.
Looking away, he swirled the scotch in his glass, thinking about that. Between the three of them, there never had been any jealousy involved. Generally, they stayed away from each other's flings of the moment – but none of them had ever minded if anyone had thrown an eye on the girl as well – or even taken her into their bed, once the other was done with her.
Hell, this rarely had happened.
It looked though as if this unsaid cardinal rule among them was not going to work with Rory. He may hate it, but for once, Logan didn't like anyone else ogling, not even his best friends. And he knew instinctively that there was no way he'd ever be ready to share her with anyone, most certainly not another guy.
He was really possessive of her, he realized with a start, flabbergasted. What the hell was wrong with him? He didn't do possessive. He didn't do jealousy.
Beside him, Rory and Finn were still bantering. Then Finn suddenly grabbed one of her hands with both of his, giving her his best puppy dog eyes and Logan felt, deep down, an uncomfortable feeling rear its ugly head again.
But apparently, all of a sudden he did do those things.
"Come on, Love, just one dance. You can't say no to me!" Finn pleaded.
Rory raised an eyebrow. "Why not?"
"Because it's me!" Finn answered, looking at her as if she really should know better than to ask such a stupid question.
"Sorry, Finn, it may be you, but no can do. This full stomach refuses to move for at least half an hour," Rory, much to Logan's relief, declined the invitation.
"She said no, Finn," Logan interrupted him, wincing at how unfriendly he sounded even to his own ears.
Rory didn't seem to notice it but Finn sure gave him a curious look. He had every right to. Finn was his best friend after all and not doing anything he hadn't done a hundred times before.
Still. This time, it was different.
"Leave her alone," he told him quietly, relieved that at least this time, his words weren't sounding as harsh as just before. Maybe more pleading, but with that he could live better.
Finn's green eyes pierced him, surprise quickly fading to a knowing realization that was beyond Logan, something that he didn't want to touch right now. If ever. Holding up his hands, Finn sat back. "All right, man. Your loss. Dancing with me is an experience of a lifetime, I assure you."
"Thanks, but I had enough of those today," Rory answered, seemingly unaware of the silent conversation that had just taken place between Logan and Finn.
As if on cue, a redhead appeared behind Finn. "Come on, Finn, you promised me a dance!"
Turning around, Finn looked at her up and down, his charmer grin appearing on his face. "I have, haven't I? Then by all means, let's not have you wait for this best experience of your life any longer."
Giving them a dirty grin, he let himself be dragged away.
"Finn for sure has no inferiority complex, huh?"
Dragging his eyes away from his friend's retreating back, Logan met Rory's amused gaze. "Not really, no." Holding her eyes, his need to know what was going on suddenly became overwhelming. "Why did you kiss me?"
Surprised, Rory cocked her head to the side. "It's called an adrenaline rush. I would have thought you, Mr. Life and Death Brigade, are familiar with the concept."
Well yeah, he was. But... "And that's it? Just adrenaline?"
"Yeah, I just felt like it. Why?" Her eyes bored into his. "What else should it have been?"
Yeah, what else should it have been? That, he didn't know. But it definitely had been more than just adrenaline rush. He knew that one and the kiss had been something entirely different. Not willing to let her see his confusion though, he forced himself to shrug it off. "Dunno. You realizing what a great catch I am and finally succumbing to what your body knows since our first meeting?"
Both her eyebrows shot up. "And what would that be?"
"That we will have fantastic sex together," he pointed out the obvious.
He wasn't too surprised when she started to laugh hard. After all, she was oblivious to these things, apparently. Otherwise, they would have had sex already a long time ago. But that was okay. Sometimes, waiting a while was worth it and he was sure, waiting for this girl would pay out huge dividends.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Huntzberger," Rory said, once her laughter died down a bit. "Don't let that kiss get into your head. You and I are still a long way from jumping each other's bones."
"Hmm, about a hundred and ten feet," he guessed with a smirk, nodding towards where the tents were.
Shaking her head, she actually tapped his hand. "Dream on, Buster."
"Oh, I will, don't worry. And once it's time, you'll see how good those dreams had been and you'll beg to star forever in my dreams if that's the salary you get for it." Logan watched with pleasure as her cheeks colored at his blunt reply, the same time as her eyes sharpened into the all too familiar glare.
That was his Maxie.
"You are just sick."
"Nah, just horny. After all, my date's been holding out on me for two days now, not counting all the lonely time before we got here," he reminded her, wriggling an eyebrow at her.
To his surprise, instead of working up a temper as he had expected her to, she suddenly laughed again. "You are impossible and obnoxious. And funny. Let's leave it at that and enjoy the rest of this truly memorable event before you let out something out of that mouth of yours that really annoys me."
For a moment, Logan thought to protest, but then let it go as well. "So, what do you suggest instead?"
Smiling, Rory nodded over to the dance floor. "Hmm, how about some more dance lessons?"
It was his turn to cock his head. "I thought your stomach was on strike?"
"That was before. When there had only been that awful head-banging and jumping music. Now that they are playing something slow that I can dance to, my stomach has no protest anymore," she explained, her smile deepening.
Standing up, he held a hand out to her. When she placed her hand on his, he smirked, pulling her up. "Just admit it, Maxie. You just want to dance with only me and no one else."
She rolled her eyes. "Uh, let me think for a moment... Nope. Definitely not that."
"You just keep telling yourself that. We both know better," he shrugged off her comment, leading her over to the dance floor. "And admit it: you were listening to the girls behind you in line for the ladies' room, complaining about their feet after Finn danced with them last night, didn't you?"
Her eyes gleamed with mischief. "Huh. I thought that hangovered blonde girl in front of me looked a little familiar. And here I thought you aren't into cross-dressing. It's always the ones you think no way, right? But now that you've mentioned it, your hips are kind of curvy and though seeing you almost always these past days, I didn't even notice the slightest shadow of a beard. Estrogen surely would also explain all these delusions you keep on having. Hey, any trips to Sweden planned anytime soon?"
Oh, she was good! Pulling her into his arms, he looked down into her eyes. "Nah, not anytime soon. But what about you? Wouldn't have thought you being into the same gender either. I mean, you kissed me, right? So if..."
"Logan?" she interrupted him.
"Shut up and dance with me."
Grinning, he saluted her. "Yes, Ma'am."
"Here we are again," Logan mused, turning to Rory as they stopped in front of her tent, a couple of hours later.
Hours. They once again had spent hours dancing; he had managed to talk her into a little walk before heading back towards her tent. Interestingly, they had managed to refrain from their usual banter and actually had a quite fascinating debate on the president's latest achievements and debacles. She sure knew her politics, that he had to give her.
"Yes, seems so." Looking at her tent briefly, she turned to face him. "And before you ask, yeah, it had been fun. This whole day… the event even and amazingly so, even spending time with you one on one was surprisingly not so painful after all."
Clutching his chest, Logan threw back his head in a theatric gesture. "Ah, my poor heart! To hear such endearments from the lips of my beloved milady! Stop, stop, I do not know how much more I could bear. So hush now, my sweet virgin and let words not mar the beauty of this perfect moment."
Crossing her arms, she gave him a look. "Finished now?"
"I guess, yeah," Logan nodded, letting his hand drop on his sides again.
She sighed, her arms falling on her sides also. "A little advise… scratch acting from your career list. Trust me, that's not the right thing for you."
"My literature teacher in Andover would vehemently disagree. He still cries because I didn't choose to join the Shakespeare theater club after being the lead performer in no less than three plays: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello," he informed her.
"Oh well, that probably explains why Andover rates about five places behind Chilton. Know that my performance as Juliet is still talked about in awe in the halls of Chilton," she told him, nodding for emphasis.
Taking a step forward, right into her personal space, he looked down at her. "And who was your Romeo, Juliet?"
Her lips opened just a bit for the tip of her tongue to briefly flash up. Blinking, she leaned back slightly. "You wouldn't guess."
He leaned down just a bit. "No?"
She smiled. "No."
"Was he good?" he asked, huskily.
"Depends," she whispered back.
"On how you look upon it. There was no last kiss in the dying scene..."
What? And forgo a chance to kiss those luscious lips? Idiot! "Well, definitely a loser then."
"... but as my Romeo was Paris, I think it was rather good thinking of her to forgo the kiss on that one," she finished her sentence.
He needed a second to process her words. When he did, he drew back, blinking. "Paris?"
She grinned widely. "Hmm. The original Romeo couldn't make it so she stepped in."
"That's just..." He had no words for it. To ruin such a moment with something like Paris being his Maxie's Romeo. Really...
"Then again, maybe her going through with the kiss would have been better after all. Turns out, she's one damn good kisser, if I may say so myself. That kiss she gave me last year on spring break?" She fanned herself. "Puh, Logan, what can I say? I simply can't forget it. And any kiss since then just has to automatically measure up to it. Can't say many achieved that since then."
"Goodnight, Logan!" Laughing brightly, the little blue-eyed devil twirled around and practically danced into her tent, the flap falling close behind her.
Logan could just stare after her, open-mouthed, trying to get his mind around Paris and Maxie kissing on spring break.
Oh, what a cruel, cruel way to cheat him out of his goodnight kiss!
(Author's note: I know. It had been AGES since I updated this one. Partly because I thought it best to put it on the backburner while working on the other, more progressed stories, partly because originally, I really wanted to do a different LDB event than on the show. While having a few other ideas that you may see here or in other stories of mine one day, in the end, I realized that the show's version is just perfect, so why change it after all? I like the significance of it, the double meanings. So same event with quite some twists though. I do hope you had as much fun reading this as me writing it. And I hope the next chapter won't take as long as this one did. Thank you all for your continued support and enjoy!)