A/N: Finally, the final instalment of RT4ever's Christmas in July present. Hope you guys enjoy this!
Never Be Alone
It was one those rare moments Max just wanted to just fall asleep. Usually she didn't mind staying awake, taking pride in her ability to stay awake for days on end and sometimes working on her bike until the wee hours of the morning, and then leaving for work. Usually. This time, she desperately wanted, no, needed, to sleep. Her bike was in fine condition, not to mention running out of gas for her to go cruising aimlessly on the city streets, she hadn't slept in days and the images of the blonde walking out of Logan's guest bedroom were plaguing her mind like a tune that you couldn't get out of your head until you remembered what song it was from.
She tossed, turned and gripped her pillow so tight she imagined it would assume the shape of the pancakes Logan made for breakfast once she let go of it. She closed her eyes, counted sheep, and still all she could think of was the sweet strawberry smell which wafted towards her as the blonde stepped out, in the oversized shirt which she herself had worn once after a very dirty mission went wrong.
She'd arrived home very late, thankful that Original Cindy had already retired for bed so she didn't have to put up with the questions which were bound to be asked. She'd contemplated throwing things around before rationale took over and she decided it would just prove that she was really jealous of that woman, if she started breaking things unnecessarily. And so she thought of doing something remarkably normal, like sleeping.
Which wasn't going very well at all.
She gritted her teeth and willed herself to just push the woman out of her mind and fall asleep. She was tired and extremely frustrated that she'd allowed such a menial thing like a woman to affect her so badly.
It's because you wish you were that blonde in Logan's arms tonight.
She growled at herself and got up. It was no use. A quick glance at the glow in the dark numbers of her bedside clock told her she had nearly three hours until she had to get to work. Of all things Manticore could have prepared and trained them for, they couldn't have included a simple sleeping technique for those who needed it.
It would be highly inappropriate to wake Cindy up now wouldn't it?
Yes, she concluded, not to mention the questions that you'd have to deal with about Logan once she does.
She sighed and resigned herself to a very, very long three hours of restlessness.
Logan, on the other hand, slept soundly and woke up feeling more refreshed than he had felt in a long time. Lingering thoughts about Max made him smile, and the smell of brewing coffee put him in an even better mood and he quickly went to shower.
He emerged, his hair still semi wet and mussed up by the quick towel dry after the shower, and smiled at Carrie sitting on his couch staring out into Seattle.
"Morning, Carrie." He greeted her, pouring himself a cup of coffee and taking a small sip, enjoying the strong flavour before noticing she hadn't made any indication that she'd heard him at all.
She looked up at him from where she was sitting on the couch. "I'm really sorry about last night." She suddenly said and it was a few seconds before Logan understood what she was talking about. He'd forgotten how he had snapped at her the night before, and immediately felt guilty for making her feel bad.
"It's okay. For what it's worth, I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that." He settled himself next to her and drank more coffee. Carrie remained silent, but there was a smile on her face as she detected the subtle change in her cousin's attitude. He was smiling, no sign of the previous night's 'grumpy' Logan anywhere near. She couldn't help it and ignored the nagging voice in her head to stop pushing him. She simply had to try.
"Max seems like a nice girl." She started, watching Logan's features carefully.
Logan's eyes met hers for a moment and she wondered if it was too early to try again.
"I was wondering when that would come up."
Logan said and shot her a teasing smile, a clear sign he was truly okay with the subject now. Carrie didn't know what had happened after Logan had stormed into his room, but whatever it was, it definitely made Logan a much more pleasant person to talk to. Carrie smirked and turned fully to him, pulling both feet under her.
"She's really beautiful, you know."
"Yes, Carrie. I noticed." Logan muttered sarcastically, rolling his eyes at her. Carrie fell silent, unsure of how to proceed. She was determined to get more out of her stubborn cousin.
"What was that thing she invited you to yesterday?" She asked casually.
"Just a thing at the bar she hangs out at." Logan noticed a sly grin starting to form on Carrie's lips and hastily added, "- it's nothing big, she always asks me to these things."
"And you've never accepted? Not even once?"
"Once or twice..." He trailed off, not really remembering if he'd accepted any at all. Carrie grinned widely at him and started to speak. Logan cut her off before she could say anything, and told her that yes, he was going to Crash that night to look for her, and that yes, he was going to bring her too. Logan shook his head at Carrie's satisfied smirk. At least he'd managed to make someone happy.
Logan had arrived with Carrie at Crash around ten, and he could see that everything was in full swing. The music was blaring and there were conveniently more people than he had ever seen in Crash before, some already staggering around half drunk. He had paged Max earlier in the day, but as he had anticipated, she didn't call him back, and so here he was.
Logan couldn't see Max anywhere. He saw her friends though, Sketchy, busy chatting up a girl who probably didn't even know she was being talked to, and Herbal in a corner with some other bike messengers Logan had recognised from the few times he had picked her up from work. But neither Max, nor her two girlfriends were anywhere in sight. Carrie had darted off to the bar the minute she stepped inside the club and Logan was left standing, feeling slightly out of place near the entrance and at a loss as to what to do next.
A small tap on his shoulder made him turn and he smiled.
"Cindy, hi." He said, relieved. He noticed the look on Cindy's face and his smile faltered a little. She reminded him of his Aunt Margo that time she discovered Logan had accidentally allowed Bennett too close to a Christmas fire and he nearly had both his eyebrows burnt off.
"What 'chu doing here?" She asked, her eyes narrowing and Logan couldn't help but notice the huge amount of glitter that had been applied onto her eyelids.
Cindy had every right to be slightly angry. Her home girl had spent the entire day moping around, barely speaking to anyone as she did her runs for Normal. It was only after being pestered by Cindy, and then by Kendra when she joined them for lunch, that Max related to them about seeing the blonde in his apartment. It was then decided that Max needed to go to the party at Crash anyway just to let off some steam, and that the three of them would go together.
Cindy fixed Logan with the dirtiest look she could muster. Anyone capable of messing with her boo upside down like that deserved the worst.
"I'm looking for Max. She said she'd be here tonight." Logan managed, before Kendra, dressed in a tight top and the tiniest skirt Logan had ever seen in his life, walked up behind Cindy and fixed him with another angry glare as well. She lifted her eyebrows at him as if to say "You don't have any business here. Go away. Now." Logan swallowed.
What exactly had Max told them?
"I wanted to ah... talk to her, explain things." He quickly added, flashing them a quick smile.
Cindy and Kendra exchanged glances. He stood helplessly in front of them, not at all understanding the silent communication between them.
"She's over there." Original Cindy finally said, still looking slightly pissed off as she pointed to somewhere behind Logan, and Kendra nodded, a dreamy smile suddenly appearing on her face.
"Getting real cosy with that hunka muscle by the bar." Kendra said.
That made Logan turn around. She hadn't been there before when he was looking around, but he spotted Max almost immediately now, leaning against the bar, a beer in one hand chatting with a guy with muscles which could rival the nearest Red. She was dressed casually, normal jeans and a red sweater, but she was still breathtaking. She laughed at something the man had said, and Logan felt like walking over there and strangling him.
"Who are you here with anyway? You can't come in unless you got a partner." Kendra said, and Logan turned back to look at her. Suspicious looks now crossed both their faces, and Logan was quick to speak before they could draw their own conclusions.
"My cousin, Carrie. She's here for the week, taking a break from work. She's here somewhere." Logan explained, waving his hand generally around the club. Realization dawned upon the two women.
"Cousin." Kendra said to Cindy, receiving a nod in reply from her friend. They exchanged another meaningful look with each other, leaving Logan in no doubt that Max had told them of her encounter with Carrie last night.
He glanced back at Max, still chatting easily with the man and he felt a surge of jealousy rise in him. The fact that the man wasn't too bad on the eyes didn't help the situation and Logan started to wonder if this was what Max got up to whenever she frequented the bar.
If so, it definitely was a lack of better judgement on his part to have never accepted her invitations. At least he could have saved her from talking people like that man, clearly just out to get laid that night. He made a mental note reminding himself to accept next time she invited him. If she ever did again, anyway.
Logan didn't recognise him, and from Kendra's earlier reaction, confirmed that he wasn't a friend from Jam Pony either. Casting one last look at them, he turned back to the two women and smiled at them.
"Excuse me." He said, and then after receiving knowing smiles in return from the women, he turned around and headed towards Max, knowing that he wasn't going to let Max spend a moment more with the sleazy guy.
Max laughed politely. She was barely listening but she still laughed. The man opposite her grinned, and Max knew it was going to break his heart once he realised she wasn't going to make any of his fantasies come true that night. She didn't normally do this. Chatting with some random, although kind of cute guy, actually listening to the crap the man was saying. Normally, she would brush guys like him off, knowing they were a waste of time and hang out with her friends.
Tonight though, Max wanted to let go. Hell, she was entitled to some fun too, wasn't she? And so, after convincing Cindy she would be fine on her own, she settled by the bar and decided to indulge the man who had very nicely offered to buy her a beer. To his credit, he seemed to be slightly more decent than the other men she'd had the unfortunate luck of meeting. At least she'd get free beer from all her trouble with this one.
She smiled at him sweetly as he made a nice comment about her shirt. His name was Robin, he said, introducing himself to her as he came to stand beside her. He was cute. Not hot, but cute, she concluded. She noticed he had dimples when he smiled and his hair was a nice shade of brown, probably dyed because they were nearly black at the roots. She could see he had muscles beneath his shirt, and his arms were solid.
Pretty good looking guy...
She felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle, and was on an immediate alert. She glanced around, caught a movement at the corner of her eye and turned slightly. She felt her pulse pick up and she swallowed.
Logan was walking to her. She didn't know what he was doing in Crash, not like she cared anyway, but here he was, walking directly towards her with a small smile gracing his handsome features. He was cleanly shaved and his hair was spiked up more than usual. The dark blue shirt accented his broad chest very nicely and Max gave him the once over appreciatively. His eyes twinkled at her beneath his glasses and she realised now how Robin paled in comparison.
Now this is hot.
Yeah, and guess who was looking at him being hot all night, last night? You're supposed to be mad at the guy.
She turned away quickly and faced Robin again, determined to ignore Logan for as long as she could. Logan however, had other plans. He came close and stopped beside her. Robin noticed him trying to get her attention and straightened up, casting an irritated look at him.
Max mentally chuckled. Boys.
"Can I help you?" He asked politely, moving so that he was blocking Max from Logan's view. Max moved away, slightly annoyed. She wanted to watch this. Robin's eyes never left Logan's, each challenging one another in a silent male dominance thing she would never understand. Women, in her experience watching Cindy and Kendra, would just straight up give it to the other woman.
While some others just storm irrationally out of penthouses without explanations.
Max quickly banished that thought and watched as Logan smiled back, equally politely and indicated towards her with a small nod of his head.
"I want to talk to Max." There was no hostility in the way he said it, but one could tell that he expected his wishes to be complied with. Max sensed, however, that Robin didn't like the way Logan was dismissing him and seeing the way Robin narrowed his eyes at Logan told Max it was time to intervene. She touched Logan's arm, making him turn to face her and she looked back at Robin apologetically.
Robin nodded slowly, gritting his teeth and gave one last suspicious look at Logan before making his way reluctantly to the other end of the room.
"He doesn't look like a very nice guy." Logan said, after Robin was far enough out of hearing range. He leaned back onto the bar counter so that he was now standing side by side with Max.
"You came all the way here to tell me that? I was having a nice conversation." She snapped, still refusing to make eye contact with him.
"No, and it looked like it was pretty one sided." Logan shot back. He realised Max was really still angry with him and softened his expression. She wasn't looking at him however, instead gazing blankly into the crowd.
Max folded her arms, resisting the urge to look at Logan. She swept her gaze around the room and took another mouthful of beer before Logan decided to speak again.
"See that woman over there?" He pointed to a foosball table surrounded by people. Max felt her grip on the mug tighten and hastily put it back onto the bar before she broke it. She had spotted the blonde as one of those cheering by the table.
The blonde. Logan must have came to Crash with her.
"As clear as glass." She replied, her mood starting to darken.
"That's my cousin, Carrie. She's staying with me for a while. You left yesterday before I could introduce you to her." The way Logan said the last bit made her turn to him, and it was then Max realised Logan was teasing her.
Max felt her cheeks colour almost immediately and suddenly felt stupid. She lifted her eyes to look at him.
She's his cousin. Look who's laughing now, Maxie! Freaking cousin...Cindy is going to have a wonderful time with this.
Logan obviously had noticed her sudden realisation and was now intent on staring back at her with an arrogant smirk on his face. She couldn't bring herself to look away from him now. His eyes spoke a thousand words, sparkling under the soft lights and conveyed the apology he had came here for in the first place. She really didn't think he should be apologising for anything and that she was the one who should be feeling bad about storming out on him without cause.
She smiled softly, and Logan returned it.
Everyone's entitled to a little bout of irrationality once in a while. She decided.
"Looks like she's having fun." She murmured, watching as Carrie left the foosball table where she also spotted Kendra and Cindy, and moved towards the other patrons on the dance floor when the DJ struck up a slower tune.
Suddenly, without a single word of notice, Logan grabbed her hand and had dragged her onto a corner of the dance floor. She resisted and pulled back, but Logan wrapped his arms around her, engulfing her in a scent that was uniquely 'Logan' and hugged her to him.
If it was any other day, or person, she mentally added, he would have been lying in a pool of his own blood for even attempting a stunt like that. But this was Logan, and she had had a pretty shitty day to begin with. A little comfort in a corner of Crash where no one was really watching was okay. Especially when Logan was holding her to him like he was never going to let go. She decided this was okay, provided it was a once in a lifetime thing. She shut her eyes momentarily and just swayed with Logan silently before she pushed him a way gently and looked up.
There was something in his eyes, in the way he was looking at her that told her something about him had changed. Something big, and it was something to do with her. There was an obvious rise in the temperature as she continued looking at him and she swallowed again. She was crossing into dangerous territory here.
"Sorry for being an ass." She said quietly, wanting to break the silence.
Logan laughed and brought a hand to rest on the side of her face. His thumb stroked her cheek, sending comforting shivers down her spine and Max wondered when exactly they had crossed that thin line which allowed him to do these things to her. She was freaking dancing with him, and in public no less. Her heart was beating like she'd just completed a marathon.
"It's okay. A little jealousy is okay once in a while." Logan said, once again teasing her. She pulled back further, getting a better look at his handsome face, his eyes shining bright blue.
"Says the one who nearly beat up a guy who was just innocently talking to me." She retorted, remembering Robin and suddenly feeling slightly sorry for the guy. Then again, Robin never even had the slightest chance in the first place.
"I don't think he was that innocent." Logan remarked, earning a snort from Max before she leaned back into Logan's broad chest and placed her hands on around his shoulders as Logan pulled her back into his warm embrace.
She knew she would get an earful from Cindy and Kendra if they were watching her. At the moment she didn't care. It was as if she and Logan had reached a mutual agreement, a silent understanding of how things were changing between them. The scary thing was that she liked it, and she had a feeling Logan was kind of liking it too. She sighed, realising this was probably going to come back and bite her in the ass in some way or other.
Logan placed a kiss in her hair before resting his head on top of hers, and it was then she made her decision.
Bite her in the ass or not, at least she wasn't alone in it.
End Part 3 of 3.
Well, that's it then. My first completed multi-chapter fic. WOOHOO! Reviews much appreciated.