A/N: First of all I want to apologize for taking so long. SORRY! This is still a part of Lisa's "Christmas in July" present. You can find her wish list in chapter one. DA and all its characters are only borrowed to have some fun.
Hope you enjoy!
Logan's penthouse, 7:25 P.M.
Max's normally so lively figure was frozen into place, a tiny remnant of a smile still curling the corners of her lips upwards - unnoticed. A soft tingle crept inexorably from her neck, over her jaw line, to her cheeks, leaving a pinkish shade on her olive skin.
And finally the smile vanished off her face, being displaced by a rather embarrassed look. Her eyes seemed suddenly large and even darker than normally, deep furrows appearing between her eyebrows. Max shuffled uneasily from one foot to the other, and suddenly every single nerve in her stood on end. Kendra's dream instantly bounced back into her mind at Logan's sight, and her anger at her roommate was renewed with sudden fierceness.
Yep, she'd pay Kendra back for this one, definitely!
It didn't exactly help that Logan just sat there, a shocked expression on his face, like a deer caught in the headlights. Aside from his breathlessly uttered "Max" he hadn't said a word in what seemed like an eternity.
A small part of Max felt almost magically drawn to Logan, and an even smaller part admitted reluctantly that he indeed looked hot.
The mission… I gotta get the coms and the blueprints, the little soldier in her piped up, adding almost furiously: Just do something!
Again Max shifted her weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other, her eyes detaching from the unusual sight in front of her, dropping to the ground, as if there was something extraordinarily interesting to watch; a crack in the hardwood floor … a tiny dust particle … an invisible hole.
The silence between them became heavier with every second that ticked by, until Max finally sighed, slowly lifting her head. "I'm so sorry, Logan," she murmured. "I should've knocked … or have ringed the bell … or somethin'." Hey eyes dropped to the floor again, and the dark haired girl looked intently at the tip of her shoe.
Again silence stretched out between them, like a gloomy, all consuming vacuum and the two of them seemed to be worlds apart. Both scrambled desperately for something they could say, something that wouldn't sound awkward, something that wouldn't make this embarrassing situation even more embarrassing.
But the sound that suddenly broke through the silence was surprising for both of them. There was a low, rasping sound that slowly turned into a soft snuffle.
Logan's head shot up. His eyebrows furrowed, disbelief written all over his handsome face.
The snuffle became louder and suddenly sounded suspiciously like a giggle.
Had he ever seen Max giggle?
"Sorry, Logan," she bit out between clenched teeth, clearly fighting to restrain the laughter. Her hands were closed into fists, fingernails digging deep into her palms. Her beautiful lips quivered and her eyes were almost closed. He could see that it took all the strength and self-control she could muster, not to collapse.
She was laughing about him, wasn't she?
Anger and embarrassment bubbled up inside of him. This wasn't funny at all!
But somehow he pressed his lips together, deciding not to show that he felt hurt, not to withdraw from her. He took a long, deep calming breath and allowed himself a detached look at the situation, unconsciously breaking a pattern in their porous, nondescript relationship.
Yeah, he sat there in front of Max, his chest bare – so what? She'd apologized, and she clearly felt uncomfortable with the situation, so did he really want push her even further away? And didn't she look cute in some way, how she stood like that, fighting the laughter?
He couldn't avoid the warm wave that suddenly crept through his body.
He couldn't avoid the smile that hesitantly lit his face.
And he wasn't able to avoid the first fits of laughter that erupted from his throat, apparently out of nowhere at first and then from deep within him.
"Look at us," he croaked.
Max rolled her eyes, desperately trying to be serious. "Pathetic," she answered.
And finally both of them gave in, convulsing with laughter
Logan's penthouse, 8:00 P.M.
The atmosphere in the apartment seemed warm and comfortable, now that Logan was properly dressed. The shared laughter seemed to have washed away all awkwardness and embarrassment and left Max and Logan more relaxed around each other than they'd been in weeks. The two of them sat at his kitchen table, bent over a pile of papers, intently studying the blueprints of Northwest Pharmaceutical Inc., a huge Company which had its headquarters in Seattle.
"You know, Kendra told me you'd look hot," Max told him with a shrug and an amused quirk of her lips.
"Uhu, that's nice of her," the cyber-journalist admitted absently, still focused on the blueprints. "I think you should go in here …," Logan pointed his index finger on the building plan. "… through the eastern side entrance. I'll hack into the surveillance system and keep your tracks covered, while I feed them wrong data."
"She told me she dreamt of you," Max's smile became wider, almost teasing now and dropping her voice to a soft whisper she added: "She said your eyes could see straight into her soul, and that you'd made her shiver." The dark haired girl took a big bite of her turkey-cheese sandwich and examined him quizzically.
A first shadow of a blush became visible on his cheeks, but Logan angrily brushed it away.
"Max," he hissed, slowly but surely losing his patience. "I thought we were going to plan the mission." He looked up from the printouts, his green eyes reproachful, somehow realizing that he sounded patronizing, even to his own ears. Nevertheless he continued, his voice softening a bit: "This is not the newsstand next door you are going to break into. Their security system is on a pretty high level."
And suddenly the old tension between them was back.
The warmth between them threatened to fly out of the window and both of them felt their defenses shooting up.
For a few seconds they glared silently at each other.
Max pressed her lips together, as the old fury and disappointment, she'd felt just a few weeks ago, resurfaced. Yeah – it's all about the mission, she thought. Obsessing about saving the world again, aren't we? But somehow she bid her lip, for once deciding not to follow her first instinct and angrily snap at him. We're doing this for me too, remember? A soft voice inside of her reasoned.
"Sir, yes, Sir," she suddenly barked in her best soldier voice, throwing him a mock salute.
And slowly a lazy smile appeared on her beautiful face. Her eyebrows shot up and with a surrendering lift of her hands she admitted. "Yep, you're right mighty Eyes Only. Your field officer better concentrates on the mission than discuss her roommate's nasty fantasies."
Max didn't realize that she had just broken a barrier between them; she didn't notice that she'd just thwarted an old pattern by taking one step ahead instead of two steps back in their everlasting dance around each other. And surprisingly, instead of loosing something in the progress, she did feel a soft tickle of victory.
- TBC -
I know it's only a short chapter, but as I'm not very good with endings and as this felt like a good place to stop, I decided to post now. AND my last update has been far too long ago, so I thought it might be better to post a short chapter than nothing, just to show that I'm still writing. ;-) The story is all planned out and parts of it are already written. I'll try my best to post more regularly now, though I'm afraid RL will not loosen its strong grip on me soon.
I admit it's kinda hard to imagine Logan laughing like that, but somehow I liked to write that part and couldn't bring myself to delete it again.
As always, comments of any kind will make my day – please let me know what you think and leave a review! :-)