The snow is half melted as he watches his dog frolic through some trees. Annie finds the one dry spot on the grass and proceeds to lay on her back with all four legs up in the air. She starts scratching her back against the grass, pure bliss written all over her face.
He'll never understand dogs.
"Annie!" She raises herself from her prone position and trots over to him. She watches as John digs around in his pockets. She starts to pant, her tail wagging uncontrollably, she knows what he's looking for. "Go get it!"
She follows with her eyes as the yellow ball sails through the air and bounces a few feet away. She runs after it, barking madly.
John watches as Annie picks up the ball with her mouth and starts to run back to him.
He turns and sees Dora standing next to him. "How do you do that?"
"The whole stealthy walk thing. Didn't even hear you coming."
She laughs. "Learned from the best, kid. Speaking of which, I called him a couple of nights ago."
"So? What did he have to say for himself?"
"If you were looking for an apology from him, you'll probably have to wait till hell freezes over."
He doesn't have a response for that, he guesses he should have known better than to expect the great and mighty Wolverine to say he's sorry for blabbing his secret to the one person he didn't want to know.
Seeing her again only brought back memories -- memories he thought he'd gotten over. Now all that he's left with is the same dull ache he had when he left the school all those months ago. Or maybe that ache never went away, he's just been ignoring it as best he could.
But he can't dwell on that anymore, she's going to be someone else's wife and Annie's waiting for him to throw the ball again.
"He told me he won't be at the number he gave me for a while. Said something about going to Boston."
She watches for his reaction but all he does is pick up the ball and throw it as far as possible.
"Yeah... I'm fine. Knew it was going to happen, you know? Told her to go back and everything."
She just gives him a pat on the shoulder and smiles. "You come around later, all right? We're having chicken. And I need somebody else to talk to or George will regale me with baseball stories again."
He laughs and says, "I'll be there."
She gives his shoulder a squeeze and leaves as quietly as she came.
Annie comes back and drops the ball at his feet. He throws it again, wondering if she was now officially Mrs. Robert Drake. They're probably getting married at that church in Boston that Bobby never shut up about -- he always went on and on about how he was going to have a big fancy ceremony there. He probably asked Peter to be his best man. And she probably asked Jubilee to be maid of honor. He wonders briefly how uncomfortable Logan would be in a tuxedo and how drunk Kitty could get at the wedding. She could never hold her liquor and she loved to dance when she was -- lots of flailing arms too that inevitably hit someone in the eye.
Annie barks at him, pawing at his leg. He crouches down and taking her head in his hands, lightly scratching behind her ears.
"I think we need to get you a new ball, what do you think? You chewed through this one pretty badly."
She barks again but this time not at him, something behind him. He turns slightly and thinks for a moment he must be going crazy.
"I think you need to get her a new ball and maybe some treats too," she says with a smile.
Her smile falters as he continues to stare at her, not saying a word. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, hoping that he'll say something soon.
He straightens, still staring at her. "Where's Bobby?"
That's the last thing she expected him to say to her. Where's Bobby? What the hell? Why isn't he glad to see her?
"He's probably still in Boston."
"Then what are you doing here?"
He sounded angry. Why was he angry? She thought he would be happy to see her. Did she just make the biggest mistake of her life? Why was he angry?
"I...I wanted to..." she starts to stutter.
"What? You wanted to what? God, what the hell are you doing here?"
He's definitely angry, she thinks. And that makes her angry. She didn't spend 500 on a one-way airline ticket, spend an eight-hour layover in Seattle, ate two lousy cheese sandwiches (or at least, she hoped it was cheese), and left behind a hotel full of disgruntled wedding guests behind just for him to get angry at her.
"What am I doing here? I came here for you, asshole!"
"Came here for me? What? So you can tell me all about how lovely the ceremony was? Why don't you spare me the details, okay?"
"What the hell are you talking about? Did you really think that I would fly all the way here just to tell you about a fucking wedding ceremony? We didn't get married, jackass!"
"Why the fuck not?"
"Because I'm love in with you, you idiot! That's why!"
"Well, that's just great!"
"Because I think I'm still love with you!"
"Well, good! You damn well should be!"
"I think you should kiss me now!"
But before he can even make any kind of move, she grabs his jacket and pulls him toward her.
"You were moving too slow," she murmurs against his lips. He smiles and deepens the kiss, sliding his arms around her.
They only part when breathing becomes an issue but he still holds her and she still clings to him, her arms around his waist, molding her body against his. She nuzzles her face against his neck and breathes in his wonderful scent.
"You just left?"
"Did you at least talk to him before leaving?"
He chuckles lightly. "You gonna answer me with more than just 'kind of' and 'sort of'?"
"Maybe," she grins.
"My name... It's Marie."
"Marie." He likes the sound of that. It suits her. "So, Marie...are you gonna give me a straight answer?"
"Nothing much to tell." She snuggles deeper into his arms. "I just told him I couldn't marry him."
"And...he said that he knew."
"That's all he said?"
"He said that he always knew but he hoped that..." She takes breath, distracted when he shifts his weight and, whether intentionally or unintentionally, rubs against her in just the right way.
How does he do that to me? she thinks, clutching a handful of his jacket, pressing herself into him.
She sighs and realizes that this is where she always wanted to be. This is home. This is her home.
He looks down to see her with her eyes closed, a smile of content on her face.
It doesn't matter. She's here with me now and I'm not letting her go again.
He places a kiss on her forehead and holds her closer.
Annie is sitting quietly to the side, cocking her head at them as if she was trying to analyze the situation.
She'll never understand humans.
Logan smiles, folding the letter and slipping it back into the envelope it came in. He takes another drag from his cigar, looking at the return address again.
It was the third letter from her in the past week.
He pulls out the pictures she sent along with this letter.
His smile widens as he flips through them. He likes the one of them sitting together on a park bench, his arm carelessly draped across her shoulders. They're laughing as a German shepherd stands on its hind legs, doing some kind of weird doggie-dance in front of them.
He'll have to remember to buy some frames.
He puts the pictures back in the envelope and thinks to himself, The dangerous guy can be the good guy – it was about time someone realized it.