Disclaimer: I don't own the characters

There should be no doubt about what this chapter contains. If sexual descriptions offend you, now would be a good time to stop reading.

On another matter, I realized I probably drew out this scene beyond the limits of necessity. I admit to adding way more detail than either the show, characters, or my original plan would tolerate. My only defense is that relationships are never simple in the world of DA. :-)

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She made it four steps before he reached her; Max's inner voice petulantly stated she wouldn't have forgiven him if she'd reached five.

For the second time that day Logan reacted with force, grabbing her upper arms and turning her body to face his.

"I'm not going to let you do this Max."

It was the same, low and intense voice that he often used to back up his humanitarian declarations, but one look into Logan Cale's eyes revealed his rational side had checked out for the moment, and pure visceral instinct was currently running the show.

The part of Max that was still her sarcastically thought, 'I'd like to see you try and stop me,' but the animal in Max responded to his gaze and shivered. Before she could think, she answered both voices simultaneously as she smiled and she'd pressed her body against his.

They both moaned.

Lust and surprise shot through her as Max realized on contact that Logan was aroused; she could feel it and she knew… that he knew… that she knew.

"Max, I'm sorr.."

He didn't get a chance to finish before Max used her enhanced strength to pull his mouth toward her.

Again, a jolt ran through their bodies, and Logan found himself fighting both Max's and his desires to deepen the kiss and intertwine their bodies. His hands made their way to her hips, completely unsure if they were suppose to pull her closer or push her away, as various nerve endings shot out conflicting messages.

Their lips remained together only so long as Max held him. Her mouth eager and insistent, as something like growl escaped her throat. Logan's body responded to her - it had been so long, part of him groaned - but his head and his heart rebelled. This wasn't her, this wasn't Max, and it was for her that he had been waiting.

When she finally released his head to pull at his shirt, Logan pulled his mouth away and lifted her. Instantly, Max wrapped her legs around his torso, excitement drummed through her as she waited for him to carry her to the bed. Instead, Logan made his way to the bathroom. Max barely noticed as her lips pressed against the erratic heartbeat in his throat and as she grinded her body against his.

Logan didn't bother to separate Max from him when he turned on the shower, figuring the cold water would do them both good. It beat down on their joined form for a few chilling seconds before Max sprang away from him. He held on until he was sure she was steady and sanity was returning. He saw the pain in her eyes, the self-recrimination and the rejection, and it took a great deal of willpower not to reach for her then.

Softly he said, "Max, do what you need to do, so we can finish this conversation rationally. I'll leave some dry clothes out here for when you're done."

When she refused to meet his eyes Logan added, "We both need a few minutes to calm down."

Figuring that was all he could safely say, he left her in peace, and after grabbing a towel and a change of clothing for both of them, stationed himself in front of the door to the hallway in case she tried to escape and evade.

It was an unnecessary precaution, when Max emerged from the bathroom minutes later she seemed willing to stay, with her walls up and the soldier in control. Her expression completely inscrutable.

Evenly, almost coolly, Max stated, "We have a problem Logan, which your chivalry isn't going to fix. We have two choices. Both options have merit, either we take care of this now, you and me, which will prevent outside variables, or I go to Gregson and take our relationship to the next level. As I said, the heat won't discriminate, so you need to decide which you have the…" her eyes flashed down briefly, "stomach for."

She was all business, focused and indifferent, only her eyes revealing the raging hormonal battle going on within her.

"Max…" Logan desperately whispered, "How can I be the one to make that decision for you?"

Choosing to ignore his statement for now, Max added: "I do have some concern about the lasting effects of either course of action. Frankly, I've never given in to the heat this early in the cycle, I'm not sure how long the relief with be. Nevertheless, on the chance that it will stop or curb the urges it's worth the risk."

"Max, there has to be another way."

"Logan, the mission is clear. Can you or can you not perform under the circumstances?"

There was a military click to her voice, which annoyingly reminded him of Zack.

"Dammit Max, how can you expect me to talk about it like it's some duty that needs performed? Can I physically do it? Yes, of course I can. Every cell in body wants you, has wanted you for a long time. But like this? Taking advantage of you in this state?"

Logan voice became soft, almost pleading, he needed to reach her through her walls, through the heat. "You're not some soldier to me Max. You're so much more. Tell me what you feeling, what you want. I'll do anything."

His words touched her; Max realized this man wasn't a fellow soldier or an enemy, he was her friend, and at this moment she desperately needed a friend.

She suddenly felt extremely sad and tired as she looked at him. His intense blue eyes expressed his emotions more clearly to her than his words. She knew he wouldn't budge until she talked to him.

Tears threatened to fall, as Max felt the utter unfairness of this moment. After everything they'd done, everything they'd been through, everything they'd sacrificed, didn't they deserve more than this? Didn't they deserve more than some Manticore-induced roll in the mud that would inevitably change the most significant relationship in their, in her, world?

Finally letting herself voice her feelings, Max murmured:

"I hate this Logan, but I'd have to deal with it anywhere. I… I just feel like this is microcosm of my life, choosing between worst case scenarios, my genes dictating my actions, feeling guilty because I have sick urges I can't control…"

"None of this is your fault, Max. None of it defines you." Logan words reached out to caress her.

"Logan," Max whispered, "I don't want him to touch me, but…"

"but what Max?" Logan wasn't sure what she'd say: that she desired Gregson, he was after all a handsome man, or that she just couldn't be with Logan it that way.

"I can't lose you."

She looked like a lost child, so innocent then.

"You won't, not ever, I promise you that Max. No matter what."

He willed her to believe him.

And Max found she didn't have the will to resist his comfort, not even to spare him.

"Then Logan, please."

He saw her choice in her eyes, and he went to her. Standing just in front of her, he felt the heat seep from her body into his. Logan clenched his jaw, so she wouldn't hear the moan of desire that threatened to break from him. He wanted her, but this wasn't about his own passion.

Slowly he raised his hand to her face, pleased it didn't shake.

"Forgive me Max, I wanted our first time to be so different."

"Logan?"

"Yes."

"Please don't let me get too out of control, please I couldn't stand it."

Not really understanding what she meant, he smiled reassuringly at her, before bending to kiss her.

It wasn't like a spark or flash, but an explosion. Their lips clung sweetly together for a moment before instinct roared through them. Her scent overwhelmed him, his blood pounded in his ears, and he crushed her body against his own. He felt the second her body switched to autopilot. Her mouth opened of its own accord and their tongues began to duel, not teasingly but in a primal need to mimic their joining. He wanted to slow down, to enjoy the feel of her body against his, to touch his lips to her neck, to run his hands through her soft, curly hair, but her body was already feverishly hot, rubbing and stroking him so that he couldn't get her to hold still.

He buried his hands in her hair, attempting to take over the drugging kisses, to slow them down to extend the foreplay. But she wouldn't let him. Her hands were everywhere at once, leading him back into the room, unbuttoning his shirt, twining in his hair. With a growl she pushed him back onto the bed, and immediately followed him down.

Before he could adjust himself, she was on top of him. Kissing, biting, scratching. And his body responded in kind, his arousal spiking to an intensity that dazed him, made it impossible for him to do anything but attempt to fuse their bodies together. He held her hips to his, thrilling in the closeness as she tried to buck against him. He felt her frustration at their clothing, and he knew that she would soon lift herself up enough to remove it.

When she did, he used the momentum to turn them so he was on top. Again she bucked against him, pushing him to hurry up and take her. But something equally primitive responded in Logan, he wasn't about to surrender that easily. This was Max, and he was going to be damned if he let something Manticore had done to her completely take over this moment. So instead of acquiescing to her, he leaned down and began to press his lips to her neck and collar bone, allowing his hands to roam up and down the side of her body and under her hips as he gently pressed himself into her.

She was moaning, but she was also frustrated at their lack of progress. When her hands braced themselves against his shoulders in what Logan knew would be an attempt to push him up and over, he swiftly lifted his chest from hers and grabbed both of her wrists, pinning her to bed. Her eyes flashed in anger, but before she could use her X5 strength to fulfill her intention, Logan knelt to her ear and clearly whispered: "Max."

Her body stiffened, as some part of her that was separate from the heat responded to her name. "Listen to me Max. I know you have the strength to take over, but I'm telling you, if you want a willing participant, you need to let me be in control for a while. We'll get there, just more slowly."

He pulled back and saw some sanity staring back at him. "Logan, I'm…"

"Shhh.." her murmured before he captured her lips in a deep kiss.

That wasn't the end of the heat fuel desperation, but Logan was able to slow the pace a bit to see glimmers of Max staring back at him from time to time. However, it was difficult to resist her raw need, it spurred on his own, and way before he wanted it, he found both himself and Max naked, with him poised at her entrance.

Thanking the gods that he was able to cling to a bit of sanity, he stilled her hips with one hand and pulled her hair back from her face with his other.

Once again he called to her from the depths of her instincts: "Max." His voice was gravelly and deep, but still his own. And after a moment, she came up to meet him. He could see the instant she returned and realized what was about to happen.

"Logan?" her voice was half plea, half recognition. She needed this, and so did he.

So deliberately, he entered her, never letting his eyes leave hers. They'd danced so long and far with just their eyes to tell the truth. He wanted her to remember this and remember the look in his as he completed their journey.

Their eyes acted as a fragile connective cord. Logan could feel her: tight and hot around him, but he resisted the urge to thrust. He concentrated all this energy on extending this moment of closeness, to keep her with him as they existed in a place where barriers were useless. It lasted only a few moments, Max's body contracted around him and Logan's eyes slammed shut against the overwhelming sensation, effectively breaking their link.

And then there was nothing but heat, and passion, and insanity. Her nails upon his back. His lips on her neck. They climbed the heights quickly, nearly incoherently, only a small part of Logan registering when Max came apart around him, her spasms generating his own climax. His own release slamming through him, forcefully and suddenly, threatening to render him unconscious.

Soon the pulsing was replaced with a bone deep weariness that Logan struggled against. He needed to assess how she was. He felt the tremor that pass through her body, when Max came out of her haze and back to reality.

Using what was left of his strength, Logan pushed himself onto his forearms so he could look at her. Her face was turned to the side, a look of utter shell shock on her features. He could almost hear her berating herself.

"Max, please look at me."

Slowly she met his gaze. He didn't know what to say to make her feel better. He considered telling her he loved her, but knew that those words weren't the magical elixir others thought them to be. So instead he lightly brushed his lips against hers, noting the small trickle of wetness that met his chin.

Lifting his head, his words came out in a bit of slur, but coherent nonetheless: "You are everything to me today that you were yesterday. Nothing about you has changed in my eyes. Look at me and tell me you understand that."

Her eyes searched his blue depths for the truth, and slowly she nodded.

"Please let me hold you for a little while."

Again she nodded, granting permission, not the soldier but the little girl. So shifting to his side, Logan held her until he was deep in sleep and couldn't protest when she slipped from his bed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

When Logan awoke, it was late-morning and Max was gone. Deeply concern about her emotional state, Logan quickly turned to his computer, switching through the different screens to try and locate her. He found her on the floor of the casino, with Gregson beside her; they were watching a game of poker. The image wasn't close enough to get a good idea of her expression, but when Gregson leaned in to put his arm around her, he watched as Max's body convulsed in what appeared to be a sneeze.

Logan grim smile returned, the ruse seemed to be working as Gregson removed his hands and offered her a hanky. As the day progressed, Max's supposed sickness actually worked well for their mission. The flush to her face and the heat her body was radiating seemed to confirm the presence of a fever. And she was able to join the business men for lunch to see them hand out files and could still gracefully dismiss herself afterward on the premise of taking nap.

It also kept Peter Gregson from become overly aggressive. He couldn't very well attempt to get a sick woman in his bed. Even if did he think Max looked particularly delectable that day he at least didn't do anything about it.

Logan, on his end, felt physically better than he had in a long time. His body was rested and energetic, his mind sharp and focused. And he generated his energy at the mission ahead, realizing there was nothing he could do to help Max at the moment and wanting to make sure he cleared up loose ends so he could be there for her when they had finished this assignment.

Nevertheless, when the necessary files and been hacked, e-mails sent, and phone calls made, Logan felt anything but relief. He didn't know what the consequences of this morning would be, but he knew it was bound to change everything.

Sighing Logan leaned back in his chair and tried to process this new information about Max's feline DNA. Logan had wondered in the past about Max's previous sexual encounters. She was so gorgeous it would be impossible for her not to attract the attention of men; Logan admitted that his own first encounter with her, unusual as it has been, had included a powerful reaction to appearance. But somehow in his musings Logan had always considered Max to be cool, confident and in control of these run-ins. Apparently, this wasn't always the case.

Logan tried to image what it must have been like for her, out in a world that wasn't like you, hiding from your past, always on your own, only to find that one day your own body betrays you into unwanted, and probably incomprehensible, intimacy. She must have been scared.

His mind wondered back to the dinner party and Max's outburst at Sketchy:

"actually after I have sex with some guy, the first thing I think about is taking a hot shower to remove their disgusting grim from me, and curse whoever made us for our screwed up genetics."

Logan internally winced at the memory. How much worse did that comment sound now that he knew the undertones of it? And how terrible was it to know he was, in all likelihood, one of those guys.

Removing his glasses, and pinching the bridge of his nose to release the tension, Logan felt the unrestrained waves of guilt come coursing through him. From the moment she had hugged him, after he told her about finding Hannah, Logan had wanted to protect her and please her, realizing the fragile girl that existed under the armor. She was tough, smart, and fierce, but she was also someone who yearned for family and friends, a place in the world, peace. In his own way, Logan had given some of that to her, but now he had to wonder if he wasn't grouped with all the faceless sleazes fortunate enough to run into Max during a time of weakness.

Another man might have taken comfort in knowing that he had tried to protect her from a worse fate, but Logan wasn't particularly interested in pretense. He knew it was his fault that Max was here, away from the protection of Cindy. It was he who convinced her to act as Gregson's girlfriend, exposing her to his sexual advances. The heat was just a catalyst for a course Logan had placed Max on; if it hadn't been heat, it could have been her seizures or a moment of physical weakness. He should have known that, should have realized his supergirl wasn't invulnerable and was too precious to endanger.

The fact that it had been him rather than Gregson didn't make it easier; Logan could only view his actions as totally self-centered, a palliative for him and not Max. When she had been in the cold shower, giving him a short reprieve to think, Logan had had vague notion of holding himself back from receiving release should the union happen, a symbolic gesture of respect to her. That naïve though noble sentiment hadn't made it past the moment her tongue penetrated his lips.

Logan was galled by his own weakness.

He wondered if Max had chosen Gregson over him, if he would have let her go. If his selfishness would have extended to manipulation or coercion, he honestly didn't know. No, from the moment her biological cycle had kicked in Max had certainly been damned if she did or damned if she didn't.

He only hoped she was doing okay now. He had been keeping a watch for her in the monitors and he had noticed the increasingly tense way she held her body as the day had gone on. Her gaze sometimes lingering over a male form or engaging a passing figure in a conversation before shaking herself and running away.

Again, Logan felt the nagging sense of protectiveness over Max. His jealousy and guilt and anxiety all served to make an interesting mixture of bile in his stomach. He was relieved finally to see Max enter her room, probably getting ready for the night's dinner party. Instead, she switched on her television, and Logan reached for the phone…

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For such a life altering mission, Max reasoned that the actual leg work had been pretty easy. She had spent the day doing recon, and deducing where she could find the necessary documents. She had managed to keep her mind on the objective, only allowing a few images of her morning with Logan to interrupt and disconcert her.

After a few hours with Gregson, she had used her sickness as an excuse to plead out of the dinner party to do some cat-burgling into Silas' room. The mission had gone as planned, and Max felt slightly disappointed that she hadn't been able to kick some ass to relieve the mounting tension within her.

Her earlier conversation with Logan slipped through her mind as she slinked back through the hallways.

Earlier…

She had immediately switched on their signal, not giving herself a chance to make up any excuses; she only had to wait a few seconds for Logan's call and she briefly wondered how closely he had been watching her today.

Max had kept her tone of voice professional and efficient, "Hey, I've got the lowdown on the files, I'm going to ditch the party and head straight for Silas' room; I need you to give me a breakdown of the room's layout and security.

"Sure thing Max, just a second."

If he felt weird about their previous encounter, Logan didn't show it in his voice. It was neither cold nor overly intimate – it was just Logan, and Max appreciated it. As she heard his fingers rapidly tapping the computer keys, Max felt a sense of comfort at the familiar exchange. This was them; they hadn't disappeared in the magnified moment.

Logan filled her in on what he could learn from the monitors and room layout Kennedy had given him. Together they had decided that Max entering from the window, lowering herself from the roof, would be the best strategy. And unlike most plans, this was one that had actually worked – no one had discovered Max's breaking and entering outing, yet.

When they had finished with business, there had been a slight hesitation on both their parts. It was Logan who broke the pause.

"Max… hurry."

Max shivered. How any man could convey so much meaning in a word mystified her. Logan hadn't gone all sappy on her, maintaining a focus on the mission that any Manticore field officer would be proud of, but he had managed to express a concern over her well-being in the form of and mission-related command. Max knew he wasn't telling her to actually move faster or get started; he was telling her that he knew she was getting antsy, and that he was worried for both her physical and emotional well-being. She also noted he didn't seem ready to burst in and pull a white-knight act, an annoying habit she had needed to break him of when he regained the ability to walk. For now, he was content to stay in combat mode.

The brief contact had been reassuring and had allowed Max to finish the day with her mind alert to the task at hand. Now all they needed to do was get the information to the right people and get the hell out of here. Then she could deal with the consequences of her inner cat.

XX

Reentering her room, Max didn't bother to turn on their signal but immediately reached for the phone.

There wasn't time for awkward banter, Logan was anxious to relay some important information to Max, and so he immediately switched into work mode.

"Hey, listen, Gregson's on his way to your room, you'd better appear sick."

"Gottcha, I'll get rid of him then bring the file over. Late."

Max quickly stripped off the outer layer of her cat suite, put the file and phone under her mattress, and rumpled the bed. She had just registered the knock when she realized a key was being used to open the door. Max dived under the covers, just managing to get them over her when Peter stumbled into the room.

He didn't leave any doubt as to why he was here; he simply stumbled over to sit on the edge of her bed and ran his hands through her hair: "Wake up sleeping beauty, this frog wants a kiss."

"Peter?" Max managed to sound groggy as if just having woken up. "What are you doing here? I thought I locked the door."

"Benefit of owning the building," he slurred. "Come on, I've been thinking about you all night and I just can't wait any longer."

Pushing her on her back, Peter Gregson leaned over Max and kissed her hard. Max could taste the alcohol and unpleasant smell of cigarettes, but she could also feel her heat-induced body responding to his demands, her desires had been growing in intensity as the day progressed. Involuntarily, her arms wrapped around him, and she could feel his body stretching out on top her.

Inside her mind, the two sides of Max Guevera were warring. The rational half of her brain was screaming out in indignance, livid that this drunken fool had barged into her room expecting to get some because he had purchased her a few presents. The instinctive half of Max's mind was just as insistent, arguing that she shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, she had a willing male body leaning over her, ready to stop the fierce pounding of the heat that threatened to engulf her.

Fortunately, a third side of Max decided to take this moment to weigh with an observation; the emotional side of Max volunteered that it would much rather be doing this with Logan.

Logan! All three sides came crashing back together as Max realized Logan was undoubtedly watching this. Swiftly she pushed Peter off her, pretending to be having a coughing fit.

Looking up over at him, Max gave what she hoped was an apologetic and sickly smile and stated: "I'm sorry Peter, but I ralphed twice tonight."

Max watched the emotions of disgust and disappointment play across his face as he finally muttered a "sorry" and departed her room.

Max felt a little shaky as she got up from bed. She went into her bathroom, brushed her teeth and splashed water on her face before heading back into her room and snagging the files from under her bed. Nodding to the hidden camera, Max snuck out of her room.

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After the aforementioned scene with Max and Gregson, Logan Cale could be found sitting in his chair in his hotel room in front of his desk and computer with his legs stretched out before him. His glasses were off, and one hand was covering his eyes and the upper half of his face. Everything about him radiated tension. Finally bringing his hand down, to rub against the stubble on his chin, Logan was able to calm himself slightly and put his emotions in some semblance of order, preparing to see Max.

As if answering his thought, Max chose that moment to enter his room.

For the most part, the room was pitch black, only a halo of light was cast from a lamp on Logan's desk. Therefore, it took a few moments before Logan could see the expression on her face. Finally, when she was just inside the circle of light she stopped walking and just looked at him.

To Logan, her eyes seemed sad and tired, and strangely needy. She had been shaken by the experience he realized; probably angry at her body's response to Peter and wary of Logan's reception. She reminded him of the quiet, sick Max who laid so still after her seizures.

Slowly, as if not to startle her, Logan rose from the chair and reached out his hand for her.

Max hadn't needed to wait to see Logan's face; as she walked across the room she could see he looked tense and tired, and oddly upset. He was wearing a black fitted sweat and charcoal pants and seemed to be the very essence of masculine beauty and strength. He also seemed so comfortingly familiar.

She wanted him, on so many levels.

When he stretched his hand to her, she went willingly, letting him wrap his arms around her and hold her close to his body.

Max wasn't particularly comfortable with human touch, so she only stayed within his arms for a minute or two, but that was enough. As she backed out, Max looked up in his face, searching for something.

"Logan?" Just one word, but it contained all the loneliness and longing that she felt.

In response to her unspoken question, Logan searched her eyes, it only took a moment, but he wanted to make sure he understood what she was asking. Then, he leaned down and kissed her.

He tasted the mint of her toothpaste and felt the warmth of her body; he also noticed the shiver of anticipation run through her and he felt his own body's answering reaction to her desire. Before her animalistic cravings could take over, however, he lifted her body so she could wrap her legs around him and strolled over to the bed where he laid her gently.

He did his best to make slow, leisurely love to her. She needed to feel warmth and softness; he did his best to make her feel their connection, to let her know he wasn't just some guy. He did his best, but inevitably the heat took over.

One minute his thumbs were running smooth circles up her rib cage, his tongue sensually tangling with hers as her hands hesitantly caressed his shoulder blades. The next, his thumbs had reached the underside of her breasts, and the jolt that seemed to rock her entire frame turned her fingers to claws and her kisses to a war for dominance. Logan couldn't remember something that engendered such polarized responses within him; he was both acutely disappointed and violently aroused.

She ended up on top, desperately seeking the peak. Screaming in pleasure, she found it, but when she tumbled down the mountain, as she always did, she fell into Logan's embrace.

She cried then, cried for previous experiences and future mistakes. She cried for what had just happened, and what had happened long ago. And he let her. Eventually, she stilled and began to retreat to safer ground.

"If I find out from Bling that I've been labeled "the crier" I will so beat your ass."

He smiled up at her, but continued to stroke her face; "Just as long as I don't become an example at one of Kendra's dinner parties."

"Deal."

She shifted out his arms, unable to continue with this level of intimacy. Realizing that she needed to retreat and lick her wounds, Logan reluctantly decided to get up and send the information they had just found to Matt Sung.

While Logan's eyes were safely secured on the screen, Max found her clothing and contemplated her next course of action.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she jumped a bit when Logan said: "Well that should do it. The residents of Genoa, Idaho can rest easier tonight, knowing they won't end up as guinea pigs for bio-war agents."

"Now we need to see about getting our asses out of here before we become victims of the Gregson family goons." Max replied.

Before the heat sets in again, before Gregson makes another pass at me, before I have time to think about the consequences of my actions….Max's mind echoed.

"The way I see it, this information won't make it into Gregson family radar until tomorrow night, if not later. That gives us time to make graceful, separate exists."

"Logan, not that I don't appreciate the whole graceful exist thing, but why can't we just blow this joint tonight? Get away before they have a chance to find anything?"

"Because, unfortunately, we used our real identities to get in," Logan had a fair idea of why Max was anxious to leave, but he'd promised her this wouldn't be exposure for her, and to do that they needed to be careful about their exit strategy.

"Couldn't we just make something up? Pretend that we decided to reconnect, the whole exes get dirty again thing. We could drop hints to the person manning the front desk, and hell, the whole thing would have a nice continuity to it."

Max's face looked calm and collected, and her voice carried her usual sarcastic attitude, but Logan could tell that being here was really bothering her. She wouldn't have touched so closed to their recent activities if it didn't.

"Max, if that's really what you want to do, we will. But personally, I'm not very thrilled about having our intimate moments pawed over by Gregson and family."

"What do you mean? You've blocked the feed from the cameras."

"That's true, but do you really think that Peter Gregson isn't going to check the security tapes to see where amid your outings and supposed sickness you found time to hook up with me? And if that footage doesn't exist, don't you think they'll get suspicious when things go down?"

Seeing her disappointed face, Logan continued: "I can do it Max, but I will have to doctor something up."

"No. Don't do that. We'll find a way to leave tomorrow."

Walking over to the window, Max stared out, her expression unreadable.

She seemed very detached from him at that moment, and Logan couldn't resist the urge to attempt to reconnect.

"If you want to, you could stay here tonight." He offered. Seeing her eyes flicker to his, Logan felt self-conscious and attempted to clarify his statement, "We can sleep, or play chess, or whatever…"

"It's the whatever that I'm worried about," responded Max, as her eyes quickly scanning down his naked chest.

Feeling his body's reaction to her innuendo, Logan became uncomfortably aware of how little his silk boxers did to cover his modesty.

Smiling as if she could read his thoughts, Max replied: "Nah, think I'd better head to my own room. But what do you say, give a girl a ride back to town? I'll meet up with you in front little napolini pizzeria at noon tomorrow?"

"Think I could swing by. Do you know what you're going to say to Gregson?"

"Yeah, I have an idea of what our relationship ending fight is going to be about. Night Logan."

"Max!"

She turned to face him and he felt himself stumbling over the words, not quite sure how to ask his question without sounding offensive: "Are you going to be, you know, okay?"

She smiled at his discomfort, amused that a man who had just had sex with her twice in 24 hours due to a certain feline problem would be embarrassed to ask about the state of that same issue.

"I'll be alright Logan, and if I get an uncontrollable itch I'll be sure to ask you to scratch it."

He didn't trust himself to answer, so he nodded instead.

"Good night Max."

XXXXXXXXX

Logan Cale, of the Seattle Cales, checked out around 10 the next morning, anxious to go back to his journalistic endeavors. Silas Gregson saw him checking out and wished him a safe ride back and to tell his aunt hello the next time he saw her.

At 10:40 a.m. Peter Gregson found out how much Max Guervera hated him stumbling into her room at night, when she was sick, demanding sexual favors.

She told Peter she felt he had exploited his social position when he used a key to enter her room. An action which was, she said, unforgivable. Yes, she could clearly see that he regarded her as nothing but a body without a heart or soul and so she was going to be on the next bus back to Seattle. But… she was keeping the earrings.

At around 11:30 a.m. Max got off the bus at a small pizzeria; her ride was already sitting there anxiously waiting her arrival.

Her internal monologue went something like this: God, Logan looks hot. No, down girl, you've already wore out your welcome on that boat…

Around 11:45, with pieces of pizza in hand, the two took off for Seattle in Logan's Aztek. The first third of the car ride was enjoyable as they exchanged stories about their departure.

Logan particularly liked the bit where Max had accused Gregson of breaking and entering; not particularly subtle, but amusing nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the windows began to fog up as the unmistakable scent of pheromones permeated the car. The rest of the ride was conducted in agony. Max attempted to focus on the passing view and on controlling her breathing. She wanted nothing more than for Logan to stop the car so she could straddle him.

Logan spent the ride painfully aware of his companion's conundrum; debating each mile whether it would be appropriate for him to bring up her discomfort. He wanted to suggest that they pull off somewhere and ease their mutual stress. However, Logan Cale was too much the gentlemen and far too infatuated with his companion to risk offending her.

And, ultimately, without ten thousand lives in the balance, they both lacked the courage and impetuous for pushing things. Nevertheless, neither could claim that were oblivious to the other's physical presence.

Yes, when they got back things were going to have to change. Of that much, at least, they were both certain.

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So ends my original plan for this story arch, which I thought would be much shorter. However, I'm not sure if I'm finished yet. I think I might try to take it a step further into the backlash of such an event. So if you're interested, I'd love for you to keep reading along.

Thank you so much for the reviews, I didn't know how delightful they would be to receive! I appreciate all of them, but especially the ones from those of you considerate enough to point out lines or scenes you like; they give me an idea of where to go with what I'm doing.