DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything Dark Angel. Just the DVD's, which are pretty fun to watch when I'm bored as all hell. Otherwise, the franchise belongs to Fox and Cameron/Eglee.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the JamPony Fic-A-Thon in January for a prompt for Alyse.
Fic prompt #1: Two guys walk into a bar. Alec and Logan, drinking and semi-not-really-bonding-but-approaching-something-close-to-an understanding-anyway. Bonus points if it manages to hint at Max/Alec and Logan not being an ass about it.
Alec sat on a stool, hunched over his drink resting on the bar. Crash was at its usual: noisy, over-crowded, and hot. But he barely noticed any of the people who accidentally bumped into him all night, nor the noise from the loud speakers and raucous chat and laughter all around. He had turned the usual noise into a dull buzz, and the constant stream of people who came up to the bar for a drink were pushed to the periphery of his vision. And the heat didn't bother him as his body cooled itself lightly, regulating his temperature much more efficiently than a normal human could have.
Tonight, all he saw was the dark amber liquid of his scotch. He had been sitting on the same stool for well over an hour now; yet he still hadn't touched his drink. Hummer knew better that to question him when he was being as moody as he was now. He was a good customer—always bought the expensive stuff and paid his tab on time. But it didn't stop the bartender from sending looks of concern towards him.
Still, Alec pretended not to notice those looks. Just like he pretended not to notice the way some women were trying to catch his attention. One girl had even "accidentally" fallen against him, seductively brushing her assets against his leather-clad back.
He might have taken their blatant invitation. He might have downed his scotch, smiled at the girl, and walked out with her towards the nearest exit.
But tonight, he found himself grunting in annoyance, and throwing the girl a look of displeasure that had her blushing to the very roots of her hair. Quite obviously, he just wasn't interested in her.
It had been six months.
Six months since he had agreed to 'play-along' with Max's charade. Six months of constantly being by her side. Six months of falling into a comfortable pattern. Yeah, six months was definitely long enough to figure out why he was getting broodier and moodier each day that passed.
He was slowly, but irrevocably falling in love with Max. He didn't know how it started. It kinda just snuck up on him. Then one day, like a caveman thunking him over the head with a gigantic club, he had thought that he ought to buy Max warmer socks for the winter because her feet were always cold.
And he had found himself legitimately purchasing those socks, a bottle of her shampoo, cherry lip balm, and some watermelon-flavored bubblegum along with a can of his shaving cream, a tube of toothpaste, a green and a blue toothbrush, and a bag of pork rinds.
He had stared at the cashier blankly for all of eight seconds, wondering how in all hell everything had totaled to $53.09.
He had stared down at the innocuous little pieces of evidence in shock.
Socks, cherry lip balm, girly shampoo that smelled like strawberries, Max's favorite gum, and an extra toothbrush.
He never realized how much of Max he knew. Little tidbits of her, the sum of which added up to the conclusion that he loved her.
He had smiled charmingly at the cashier, commented on inflation, and handed her three twenty dollar bills. Just so she would stop looking at him like he had gone nuts, he let her keep the change.
Six months ago felt like a lifetime to him now.
Alec sighed heavily and cradled his drink in his fingers for a moment. Then he threw back his head and downed the rest of the drink in one smooth swallow. It burned briefly, almost relieving him. But soon, the warm sensation that traveled along with the amber liquid settled in his belly and died.
A small rumble in that belly reminded him that he was more than a little hungry. He grabbed a few bills from his back pocket and tossed them carelessly on the counter. "Thanks, Hummer," he hollered. He took his jacket and slipped it on, getting ready to leave.
Just as he turned around, he bumped into a familiar figure.
The taller, blond man teetered slightly from the contact with his frame so that Alec had to reach out and steady him. "Oh, hey, Logan," he said as he grabbed the bespectacled man's upper arm. "Didn't see ya there, buddy,"
He pulled Logan to balance carefully on his exoskeleton. Logan smiled tightly at him; his piercing blue eyes stared at Alec for what felt like a full minute.
A full awkward minute.
"So," he prompted the older man, who was still blocking his way. He gestured slightly, indicating that he wanted to leave.
"So," repeated Logan, tone matching his. He also stood his ground.
Alec gazed calmly at Logan, trying to stomp out the feeling of guilt that always came up every time he saw the cyberjournalist. It wasn't like he had really stolen Max away from him. It wasn't like he had actually done anything wrong. Besides, it was six months ago!
But it seemed like he had stolen Max from Logan. Their situation screamed that Alec had put the moves on Max and had succeeded. He looked like the kind of jerk who had stolen someone else's girl. It didn't matter how long ago it had been.
And it sure as hell didn't help that at the moment, Alec wouldn't have minded by half if he had done all the things that Logan was undoubtedly silently accusing him of.
Because, strangely enough, Logan had never said anything to Alec about stealing Max or anything like that. In fact, all he had done was tell Alec to "treat her right." Which, as far as he was concerned, he was doing pretty well.
He had bought her a toothbrush and some socks. Which, over the course of time, had escalated into more socks, a couple of black t-shirts, a brand spankin' new V2 racelite speedscreen for her Ninja, a new pair of leather bike gloves, her favorite foods, lots of beer, and even some of those girly bath things she loved. Basically, six months worth of things that he had somehow just accumulated and brought home with him. All that had to count towards the "treating her right" category.
"I really gotta go," he mumbled as he ducked his gaze away from Logan's. The guy still hadn't stopped staring! Not only that, but there was a sizzling hostility in the normally placid blue eyes behind the glasses. What was the problem?
"You should," said Logan curtly, as he finally stepped aside to let Alec pass.
"That's what I said!" he snapped at the older man, shocking himself slightly. Well, not shocked so much as feeling chagrined that he had let his emotions get the better of him.
He hated being the guy in the middle. Because as much as he loved Max, he hated the idea that she was still somehow pining away for Logan. So, even if it seemed like Alec had stolen Max away from Logan, he didn't actually have her anyway. In fact, he was pretty sure that she still loved Logan.
Which, if he thought about it, was just one more reason for snapping at Logan. Including the rude staring and the blocking of his way.
"Why do you come here every night?" asked Logan warily, before he could completely by-pass the older man.
Alec's jaw tensed. He had seen Logan at Crash for the last few months. Sometimes he was with Asha, sometimes he just sat at the bar and chatted with some people, probably Eyes Only contacts. But Logan had always thrown Alec these slightly hostile glares.
"Keeping track of me, are you?" he drawled indolently. "I didn't know you cared. It's almost sweet, in a creepy, stalkerish kind of way."
"What about Max?" asked Logan tightly, ignoring Alec's jibes. He was used to them by now.
Alec gritted his teeth. "What about her?"
"Does she know that you're here at night…talking to other girls…and…and…" Logan was turning red.
Aah. So Logan had seen the handful of other girls that had left at Alec's side every now and then. Hey, a guy needed a release. And truthfully he had no commitments or obligations to Max or any other woman. He had seen no reason not to go home with Cherie, or Charise, or was it Clarice?
"It's none of your business," he said coldly, sure that his eyes reflected the same ice as his tone.
Logan sputtered slightly, obviously angry. "But it's Max's business," whispered the older man calmly, shaking his head slightly. Alec could practically feel the waves of disapproval rolling off of Logan.
"We might be part animal, Logan," replied Alec, his voice taut with control. "But we don't come with leashes."
"She deserves better than a…jerk like you."
Alec shrugged lightly. "Probably." With that, he turned his shoulder to Logan, and left. "But she picked me." He intoned clearly, a little more cruelly than he intended. It was a low blow, but Alec figured that since he was already down and out for the count, he might as well take Logan with him.
He stood just inside of his—their—apartment, and looked around. He dropped the box of pizza on the counter by the door. He stomped his feet lightly to get rid of mud and rainwater that still clung to his boots before walking around the place.
His apartment in Terminal City had two rooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. Max had invaded the second room five months ago. To keep up with the charade. He hadn't protested. In fact, because he and Max had started to get along so well, he had actually looked forward to the company.
But now, every second with her went agonizingly slow. Maybe it was his way of making each moment last forever. He was strangely pathetic in that way. A fool in love, in every way, making each moment count. He sighed tiredly at the thought. Another day was almost over, and tomorrow would just be another fight to keep himself from getting hurt.
"Hey," he called out to the apartment. "I'm home!"
He knew she was home by the warmth in the apartment generated only when there was a living body that walked around in it. He could also trace her scent everywhere.
"Did you bring food?" she asked from her room.
"Of course," he replied.
"My favorite?" she hollered back. He chuckled lightly. That was sort of a running joke between them, since Max pretty much ate anything that was edible. She was indiscriminate when it came to food. He could hear a rustling of clothes in her room. She was probably lying around in bed working on TC paperwork, or reading the newspapers trying to track public opinion or the Familiars.
"Guess," he called back, and then threw the cardboard cover over the pizza top. He knew she would sniff it out.
"Sicilian sausages, green bell peppers…mmm," she smiled as she came out of her room, making sniffing gestures.
Alec swallowed inaudibly as he stared at her. Honestly, the woman had no idea of her effect on him. She was wearing his red fleece sweatpants, and a tight black camisole. She had casually thrown an unzipped hooded sweatshirt over the black top and her hair was pulled up into a haphazard ponytail. She looked stunning.
She climbed onto a stool across the kitchen counter from where he stood. She was already reaching for a slice of pizza before she regarded him skeptically. "How do you do this?" she asked.
He cocked a brow. "Do what?" he asked, wearing a look of innocence.
She grinned. "Get good pizza in this economy," she clarified, before taking a gigantic bite of her slice.
"I have my sources," he drawled, as he leaned an elbow on the counter and reached for a slice himself. He noticed that she had already flicked off the black olives from his half of the pizza and from most of hers, knowing that he didn't like those darned things.
He only ordered olives because he knew she liked them. The first time she had picked off olives from his side of a pizza, he had been a bit surprised to find out that she noticed he didn't like them. He hadn't said a word, just smiled inwardly…and fallen just a smidgen more in love with her.
She rolled her eyes at him. "Whatever." She said dismissively.
"You asked," he pointed out.
She smirked at him. "You didn't exactly answer."
"You know as well as I do that one never discloses one's sources," he said with mock severity. "It's just not ethical."
She chuckled. "Ethical?" she drawled skeptically. "You? Noooo."
"Hey, you'd be surprised at how ethical and moral I am."
"Puh-lease," she smirked. "This is coming from the guy who sells Andy, sleeps with a different woman every night, sells stuff he stole from others on the black market, and who thinks that scruples can be bought."
He wore an injured expression. "Max, Max, Max," he berated. "I don't sell Andy anymore. It kills my clientele in the long run. It just wasn't economically feasible. And sleeping with a different woman every night?" he looked at her intently, "When was the last time I did that? I should really thank you for inadvertently curing me of that. Having a fake girlfriend tends to cramp a guy's style."
She had the decency to look contrite.
"And I only steal from bad guys and sell to the good guys…" he continued. He paused, frowning a bit. "Or was that steal from the rich to sell to the poor? Or stealing from bad guys to sell to the highest bidder?"
She smacked his shoulder. "Jerk!" she chuckled.
"And scruples-rubles…they're like Russian money. Can't get anything with them."
"God, you're such an ass!"
Alec just grinned. Her insults had long ago lost their edge. Now, they were often veiled compliments, accompanied by a smile. He sighed heavily. They were such good friends these days that he was afraid of ruining what they had with a declaration of his love.
This had to be enough. He just had to make every moment count.
Like now, leaning on the counter and eating pizza with her for no more than twenty minutes, but he could make each one of those minutes last longer. Like in the way he watched her lick her lips after each bite. He always wondered why she did that. Maybe she had an oral fetish.
His eyebrow quirked at the thought, which elicited an accompanying eyebrow quirk from her, questioning his expression.
"What?" she asked suspiciously.
"You have some sauce on the corner of your mouth," he lied.
Her tongue darted out again, and he had to suppress a groan. He watched in veiled fascination as her tongue circled her full lips, searching for the non-existent smudge of sauce.
"There's no sauce is there?" she narrowed her eyes dangerously at him.
"No, no, no, you totally got it when you were doing this," he said, imitating and exaggerating her attempts. He pretended to try to lick his nose, going cross-eyed in the process.
She smacked his shoulder again. "Dick!" she cried. But she smiled a slow smile at him. Alec's breath hitched just a little bit—unnoticeably, he hoped. He loved her smiles, especially the slow, personal kind. Her smiles had come grudgingly at first, like she didn't want to smile at him at all. Then, slowly, the smiles came easier, until she just smiled at him for the heck of it one day.
That smile, just as he had woken up and crossed the small space between his bedroom door and the kitchen, had nearly caused his heart to stop beating. She had looked up from a pot of coffee she was stirring and had smiled slowly at him.
"Hey," she said softly, her eyes roving over him. Alec felt goosebumps rise over his skin at her perusal. "Sleepyhead."
"Made us some breakfast," she said, pointing at the counter where four pieces of toast and scrambled eggs were. "Coffee's coming right up."
"Uh, thanks," he said, slightly perplexed at this very nice Max. He walked warily over, and sat down on the counter, afraid she was playing some kind of joke on him. "Why're you doing this?" he blurted out.
She paused in her stirring. Their eyes locked, and Alec had sucked in his breath because he could have sworn he saw some tenderness in those brown eyes. But she had ducked her head and sighed. "Cuz, I always make coffee and breakfast. House rules. I don't sleep, remember? Ask Kendra or Original Cindy."
And that had been that.
The memory made him smile softly. That had been the start of a beautiful friendship. If only he knew how to fast-forward from being her friend to being her…everything else. He wasn't even sure there was a way forward past friendship. He sighed heavily, the thought depressing him slightly.
She cocked her head at him in question. He shrugged her off, and turned around uncomfortably, crossing the small kitchen area towards the fridge. He reached inside and took out two bottle of beer. "Here." He tossed one over to her and she caught it effortlessly in midair.
He started to fit the bottle into his mouth, fully intending to pry the cap open with his teeth.
"Hey! Don't do that!" she cried, snatching the bottle out of his hands in a blur. "You'll ruin your teeth."
He stared incredulously at her. "You realize that our teeth are practically unbreakable, right?" he asked.
She pulled a face at him, just before she popped the cap on the kitchen counter. "You never know," she retorted. "Practically unbreakable doesn't mean that it isn't."
He grinned widely at her until he was sure she could see all thirty-two of his teeth. "I didn't know you cared."
She shrugged. "Whatever." She handed him his beer.
"Hah!" he cried triumphantly. "You do care!"
"In your dreams," she smirked, before popping her own bottle cap and taking a long swig out of her bottle. She turned around in her seat, her back to him. She hooked her elbows on the counter, and sighed what sounded like a contented sigh.
Alec smiled tenderly at her back. A smile he would never otherwise let her see. He was so busy trying to stop himself from reaching out to run his hands through her dark hair that he almost missed what she was asking him.
"…were you tonight?"
She glanced at him over her shoulder briefly. "Nothing," she said hastily. "Never mind."
"What'd you say?"
She turned to face him and sighed, "I just asked where you were tonight. You kinda just left after we wrapped up everything at HQ for the night."
"Oh, yeah," he sighed. "Went to Crash…the usual." He replied uncomfortably, remembering exactly why he went to Crash every night. He rolled his shoulders to ease the sudden tension. A frown crept its way between his brows as he recalled his encounter with Logan tonight. He wondered if he should tell her about that.
Max pursed her lips and put her hands up in a gesture of surrender. "All right, fine," she snapped. "None of my business anyway." She took one final swig of her beer and all but slammed the empty bottle onto the counter. Then with a huff, she jumped off her stool and walked back to her room without another glance backward.
Her door slammed shut with a bang, leaving Alec staring after her, utterly confused, beer bottle frozen halfway to his lips.
Alec leaned heavily over the bar, forearms resting protectively around his drink.
Another night. Another drink.
Someone leaned against him, and he turned his head slowly. He regarded the beautiful redhead with hooded eyes. She smiled invitingly at him, her ruby red lips pouted slightly.
"Hey," she said. Alec cocked an eyebrow. She had one of those low, throaty, sultry voices. Vibrations from her voice sent the tiniest hairs in his ears on end.
A smirk slid onto his full lips. Why not? he thought to himself. It'd been a good three months or so since the last time he went home with someone. And it wasn't likely he would be getting some from his girlfriend. This whole pining-away-for-Max deal had to be bad for his health. It wasn't doing his heart any good, and his pride was getting a hell of a stomping along the way.
He licked his lips, and she did the same. "Hey," he drawled, his voice husky.
He turned his body towards hers, I sign of his interest. Her eyes lit up, and she laid a hand on his chest. His eyes traveled towards the door, and all he had to do was tilt his head towards it. "Your place."
He swallowed the rest of his drink, and they both turned to leave.
He bumped into someone at the door just as he was about to exit. "Hey, watch it," he mumbled, just before he recognized the man. "Logan!"
"Alec?" asked the redhead. "So that's your name, huh?"
Logan's eyes flickered towards the girl, then back towards Alec. He stared defiantly back at the older man, just daring him to say something.
"Alec?" the girl whined, her foot started tapping at the pavement. "We going or what?"
Suddenly, her voice was grating on his nerves, and he realized he didn't want to go back to her place. He had never really wanted to. But for a moment there, all he had wanted was to be who he used to be. Before Max. Before falling in love with Max. Without all the emotional roller coaster that Max brought out of him. But he'd be lying to himself if he said he wouldn't regret going home with her.
Because he would. Because she wasn't Max.
Making up his mind, he sighed inwardly, but kept his expression blank. He turned to look at her, his face cold and detached. "I changed my mind."
Logan still hadn't stopped staring; his anger was practically coming off in waves. Alec could feel how Logan was practically shaking with rage.
"What?" the redhead sputtered, perplexed, angry.
"I said, I changed my mind," he repeated, slowly, as if she were a child.
"Fine!" she huffed, spinning around and walking into the night.
Alec didn't even watch her walk away, but turned to stare back at Logan. He cocked his head to the side slightly, looking like he was bored. "What?"
"I only asked one thing," said Logan, shaking his head. "Treat her right. And you can't even do that." With that, Logan pushed past him and walked into the bar.
Alec gritted his teeth. "Damn it," he muttered under his breath. He couldn't help it. He followed Logan back inside Crash, settling himself onto the stool next to him.
"Look, Logan," he started, but realized he didn't know what to say. He had wanted to defend his honor or whatever…but he realized that given the givens, it didn't look like what he had been about to do was really all that honorable.
Logan glanced over to him. "She wants you, you know," he mumbled.
"'Course, she does," he replied glibly.
"I'm talking about Max," growled Logan.
Alec chuckled slightly, not believing Logan in the slightest. "Look, no offense, but that's none of your business. You don't know what you're talking about."
Logan stared at him. "Least you could do is tell her the truth," he continued, ignoring Alec's jibe. He gestured for the bartender to hand him a drink. Without missing a beat, the bartender also slid a scotch in front of Alec.
"And what truth would that be?" asked Alec, eyes narrowed.
Logan regarded him intently through the shine of his glasses. It made Alec feel oddly uncomfortable to be scrutinized so closely, as if Logan could see right through him. The glasses reflected off too much light, and he couldn't even see the older man's eyes. It made him feel like he was at a tactical disadvantage. He shifted slightly in his seat, but held the older man's gaze.
"That you don't feel the same way," repeated Logan. "Sometimes, it's just…kinder…not to string someone along. Bad news is best received from the source."
Alec almost laughed out loud. "You don't think I want her?" he smirked. Yeah, that was laughable, all right. He wanted Max so much he ached every night at the thought of it. He wanted her so much that he couldn't breathe at the idea of another man being with her.
Logan tilted his head slightly. "Not in that way," he murmured.
"In what other way would it be?" he demanded.
Logan shook his head. "I can't believe I'm having this conversation with you," he muttered. He took a drink of his beer and sighed heavily. "She loves you."
Alec felt like someone had pulled the stool from under him. "Wh-What?"
He watched as Logan slipped his glasses off and massaged the bridge of his nose tiredly. "I saw her a few weeks ago…" he sighed. "We talked. She loves you. She chose you."
Alec snorted, sure that everything was some kind of joke.
Logan slammed his beer mug down with a heavy thud. A few heads turned towards them, and he smiled contritely at some. But his eyes were angry when they locked back with Alec's.
"I told her good luck. That I wished her the best," he growled. Alec was slightly taken aback by the ferocity behind Logan's words. There was no doubt that Logan really loved Max. "I let her go because I thought that you might be better for her…"
Alec felt a lump in his throat. He understood now. Why Logan was so angry with him. It wasn't because he had taken Max away—well, maybe that, too—but mostly because it didn't look like he was treating her right.
"Look, Logan," he sighed. "I don't know exactly what words she used, but I doubt—"
"Oh, her words were clear enough," Logan cut off bitterly. "'I love him,' she said. 'He's a good guy,' she said. 'Give him a chance,' she said." He mocked slightly.
Alec felt like all the air had been sucked out of him in a whoosh.
"Only I know better," continued the older man. "Only, I see you here almost every night. Only, I see you about to walk out that door with another girl."
"Did she really say all that?" whispered Alec.
"Just tell her the truth, Alec," he sighed. "Tell her before she accidentally sees you with someone else. Tell her before she finds out. Tell her before she hurts…"
Alec knew Logan didn't have to say it out loud. Tell her before she hurts the way I do.
"Logan," he sighed, his voice unusually grave. "Max and I…"
The glasses glinted again, and Alec felt blinded.
"Sorry." He said, knowing how lame his words must sound.
"If you can't treat her right, then at least be fair to her," sighed Logan. He dropped a few bills onto the counter and stood up to leave. He had taken two steps away before Alec called out. "Hey, Logan, did she really say all those things to you?"
Logan turned around slowly, shaking his head slightly. "You must be blind, deaf, and even dumber than I thought not to see how much she loves you when you're already with her."
But that was the problem. He wasn't. He was too busy trying not to show her how much he loved her that he missed any signs from her.
"Logan," he called out. "For what it's worth…I do feel the same way about her. We—Max and I—we've been getting some mixed signals lately."
Logan regarded him skeptically, but finally he gave one firm nod. "Don't screw this up."
Alec was home in record time.
The door slammed shut behind him. His heart was pounding erratically in his chest as he paused in the short hallway, trying to regain his composure.
Max loved him.
She had told Logan that she loved him.
Was that also a lie? To push Logan even further away?
"Hey?" she asked, coming out of her room in a small rush, having heard the heavy slam of the door. "You okay?"
His eyes were burning as he looked her up and down. She was wearing his fleece pants again, the red ones, but this time, she only had a sports bra on. Her body was all sleek muscles and soft curves. Her hair was unbound, and fell down her back, her eyes were wide and concerned.
Concerned. That had to be something.
He took a deep breath. "Talked to Logan," he started, keeping his tone neutral, conversational. Like his world hadn't suddenly been turned upside down by his chat with the cyberjournalist.
Her eyebrow shot up. "Really?"
He stalked forward, his eyes never leaving hers. "Yeah."
"'Bout what?" she asked hesitantly. He noticed her swallow nervously, and he continued to saunter slowly towards where she stood. Along the way, he shed his jacket and tossed it onto the kitchen counter. Her eyes followed the jacket, before snapping back up to meet his.
"Just guy talk," he replied easily. "You know, two guys walk into a bar..."
He came to stand in front of her, only an arm's length away. "Found out some of the most interesting things. I didn't know Logan was so interesting."
"He has his moments," she replied, her voice slightly breathless.
"What about me, Max," he asked quietly. "Do I have my moments?"
Her eyes flickered towards his lips, before meeting his eyes again. Alec didn't know how it happened. But it felt a lot like being pulled, being drawn forward by something he couldn't control. He had swayed forwards toward her subtly, and she had leaned up towards him just as minutely.
And the next instant their lips were touching in the barest hint of a kiss.
He felt his shock and hers at the first contact of their lips. It was a second frozen in time, just before he slanted his lips over hers possessively. This time, he pulled her to him by the upper arm, and she came willingly, falling into his embrace easily. He drew his hand up to rest at her nape, holding her close to him, all the while easing away her tension. His other hand slid down her bare back. Her skin was soft and smooth, and he could feel her burning against him.
One of her arms slid up his chest then wrapped around his neck, the other one slipped around his waist, fitting her body against his.
He groaned heavily and pulled her even closer to him until she was practically on her toes, their bodies melded from lips to knees. He deepened the kiss, seeking entrance by running his tongue at the slight opening in her mouth. She moaned in assent, and pulled him even closer, her fingers threading into his hair.
Alec plundered. He tasted her, teased her, his tongue stroking over her mouth tempting her. Making her want him as much as he wanted her now. He murmured her name, "Max," his voice rough with desire and need, and something more.
She responded with a low moan, her tongue darting forward to touch his lips.
Alec's hand moved from her lower back, and traced the curve of her hip. His knuckles brushed lightly against the side of her breast, and she gasped. Her eyes fluttered open, and she pulled away slightly.
Alec almost stopped breathing. He didn't know if he would be able to take it if she pushed him away now.
But she didn't. She leaned back against his arms to look up at him. Her brown eyes were swimming with emotion, her lips slightly parted. She looked like a girl who had just been kissed senseless.
"What took you so long?" she whispered.
He cocked a brow. He ran a knuckle gently down her soft, flushed cheek. "You gave bad directions."
"Maybe you just didn't know how to read the signs," she quipped back, purring slightly as she leaned against his caress.
Alec couldn't help but smirk at that. "Well, someone did tell me that I was probably blind, deaf, and extremely dumb not to see all the signs…I had to get some special help."
"Logan?" she asked incredulously.
"Like you said, the guy has his moments," he drawled.
"So, what do you think of all the signs?" she asked, hesitantly. He noticed that her hands had slipped off his neck, and were resting slightly over his upper arms.
"Which signs?" he asked, playing dumb.
She smacked him slightly on the shoulder.
"That one, I really don't get. Mixed signals and all," he said.
"How 'bout this: I love you, Alec," she whispered. He saw a hint of fear and uncertainty in her eyes, but her voice never wavered, and she kept her gaze straightforward.
He crushed her into a fierce hug, his arms pulling her flush against him. "Dammit, Max, how hard was that?" he groaned. "You know how long I've waited to hear that?"
"Not as hard as I thought," she whispered into his ear.
"I love you, Max," he whispered right back, his lips trailing kisses from her ear to her jawline. She tilted her head back, and he continued to lavish kisses over her face. "You're right, that wasn't so hard."
Then, their lips met again in a searing kiss.