A/N: I got the idea for this back in January. At some point in February I managed to get the first page written. By the time I graduated in mid-June though, I had only added on five more pages. It turned out much longer than I thought it would, but, unusually, it's almost exactly what I intended, and I'm nearly completely satisfied with it.
I hope you all enjoy the story and for info. about my other works please check my profile.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. And I see it as an unfortunate and depressing twist of fate that Ol' Danny boy does since he does so with such a thoughtless flare.
This is dedicated to Katie (LadyKatyUltimateFan) for being so awesomely supportive. Thank you:)
Summary: Stay: who knew a four-letter word would be the most important thing ever said between them? A DL tale told in six parts. One-(very long)-shot.
I. You stood in my doorway with nothing to say
After spending three years completely out of each other's lives, Dana and Logan literally crashed into each other.
She had gone to Saint Tropez, France with her roommate whose family had a small vacation home there. Summer classes were over and fall term didn't start for another two weeks so they were glad that they had somewhere they could go and escape from their busy school-filled lives in Paris.
He had gone to Saint Tropez, France at his parents insistence they spend time together in their new vacation villa as a family. His parents left after four days, he had spent five by himself and only had two more nights to go.
The only light on the dark sandy beach came from the moon, the stars, and the bon fire someone had illegally decided to build.
He was bored as hell in the vast villa all by himself so this particular night he started wandering down the beach and happened to stumble on the party a half a mile from the newest addition to his list of homes.
Her friend knew the person who planned the somewhat impromptu party and she soon found herself all alone, left by her friend for the other people she knew there. By the last time she saw said friend, she was guessing the girl would need someone to hold her hair back right about now so she headed toward the crowd, which seemed to be concentrated around the fire.
He headed toward the fire, making his third round looking for someone to capture his attention. There were plenty of hot girls in bikinis, but his problem seemed to be finding one that spoke English so they'd understand his charm. Or one that simply found his smile charming enough to spend some time with him.
A refrigerator of a guy was slurring his words as he yelled in French about his girlfriend cheating on him with some other guy. Dana understood the yelling, but wasn't interested. The problem quickly became her own as he stumbled toward her in a rush-the girlfriend stealer was a guy who had grazed her thigh with his hand when she squeezed through the crowd by him two steps back. She was pushed out of the way, to her right, which, luckily, was the opposite direction of the fire. She landed in the arms of a person.
Logan suddenly had a person thrust into his arms. His reflexes allowed him to secure his arms around the person, to catch them, instead of toppling over in surprise.
Dana looked up to apologize to the person she had landed on and she suddenly felt like she was standing an inch from the fire instead of three feet away. Her heart fluttered and a genuine smile graced her lips. "Logan," she breathed in complete shock.
Logan was equally stunned to see who had landed in his arms. The instant she smiled his pulse began to race. He noticed how differently she said his name now instead of the angry or annoyed scream of before; he hoped the change was permanent. "Dana," he said with a smile of his own.
"What are you doing here?" Dana asked, the smile on her face still not faltering.
"What are you doing here?" Logan asked, turning her question around on her. He didn't seem to notice that he was still tightly holding her in his arms or that he was reciprocating her smile.
"I live here, well not here, but in Paris, so it's more likely I'd be anywhere in France than you, you aren't even from anywhere on this continent," Dana rapidly responded formulating the answer as she spoke and still stunned by the fact that he was there.
"My parents just bought a new vacation house just down the beach," he responded offhandedly and rushed on to the thought that was now pestering him, "but, wait, you still live over here?"
She nodded, "Yeah. You don't listen when Zoey and Chase talk do you?" She didn't wait for a response before she continued, "If you did I'm sure you'd hear them mention me at least occasionally since I do keep in touch."
"Maybe it's not that I don't listen, maybe they just don't talk about you because they don't miss you and they just keep in touch because they're too nice to tell you that they don't actually want to keep talking to you," Logan offered, knowing it wasn't true, but just because he could.
Dana sighed, her smile still remaining, "Nope, you just don't listen."
Silence settled over them as they continued to beam at each other. It was strange. They had yet to make a snarky, sarcastic, or insulting comment toward one another. She hadn't looked at him like she was disgusted by him. He had yet to rudely randomly hit on her in some very lame way. They were just different. Maybe it was the fact that they were so surprised by the others sudden and random appearance. Maybe it was that three years had passed and they had both grown up, matured. Whatever it was, they weren't the same and it seemed to be for the better.
Someone else bumped into Logan from behind and that caused him to stumble forward slightly causing Dana in his arms to stumble back with him, reminding both of them that she was still securely wrapped in his arms and being tightly hugged to his body.
Logan removed his arms from around Dana and they both looked away from each other for a second. This was not how either of them remembered things to be between them.
"So," Dana said taking a step forward and looking to him, a sign that she wanted him to follow her, "how's PCA?"
Logan took the hint to follow, the thought briefly entering his mind that he would have followed her without an invitation and even if he was very unwanted.
They headed down the beach straying further and further from the party just talking. It was actually a first for them. They had never had an actual conversation before, just arguments and conversations with each other and many other people so it wasn't like they were just talking to each other. But this time it was just the two of them alone and they talked about everything from PCA, Dana's school, college the following year, and their home lives with their families to their favorite television shows, surfing, and their mutual lack of faith in astrology.
"What are you talking about? Juno was a great movie," Dana said turning to face Logan. They were once again nearing what he had earlier pointed out as his house. The first time they neared it, they turned and headed further toward the ocean, walking slowly, continuing to talk, stalling the inevitable. This time they were on the second of three steps that led up to the house, stopped because Dana turned to question him.
"It sounds like a movie about a guy's worst nightmare, not exactly a feel-good comedy," Logan explained, instantly coming to a stop as well, as soon as she gave them the opportunity.
"So you haven't seen it?" Dana easily deduced, "Then how do you know it's not good?"
"Because you like it," Logan responded with a smirk good naturedly.
Dana smiled as she rolled her eyes, "Of course."
Silence settled and they didn't have any reason to stay stopped, so they stepped up the last step and continued to the door.
"Wow, nice," Dana commented glancing through the French doors before them, which she could easily see much of the family room and kitchen through since Logan had left the lights on.
"Wanna come in?" Logan asked quickly, hoping that he didn't sound like he wanted her to say yes as much as he wanted her to say yes.
Dana bit her lip, trying not to smile too much even though he had asked her just what she was hoping. "Sure," she agreed, trying to sound casual.
Logan showed Dana around the spacious one-story modern beachfront villa. Eventually there wasn't any more to see and as the tour came to a close they both knew there weren't any more excuses and she would leave and he would let her.
Logan opened the front door for her as they reached it again. Dana took a step through it so that she was already on her way out, but turned around and said, "Well, I should get back. Kelly's probably back at her parent's place wondering why I'm not there and not at the party."
Logan nodded in understanding, though he also knew that earlier Dana had said that said roommate and reason for being in St. Tropez never liked to leave those parties alone and wasn't likely to be worrying or noticing Dana's whereabouts at all. But it didn't really matter what she said, they both knew leaving was simply what had to happen. It was the end of the night, they weren't friends, they hadn't missed each other, there was no reason to stay in the other's presence- other than the odd and new desire not to leave. But, sticking to what made more sense they both accepted that this was the "necessary" parting of ways.
"So," Dana drawled out. Her eyes wandered the room, but fell back to his as she said genuinely, "It was good to see you."
"Yeah," Logan agreed. "Who would've thought?" Logan added with a chuckle.
Dana laughed as well as she replied, "I know, weird."
Silence settled yet again. It was time to go; ways to procrastinate had completely run out.
"Bye Logan," Dana forced out finally and turned to leave because that's what's supposed to happen in a goodbye.
"Bye Dana," Logan responded, causing Dana to glance back at him as she continued to descend the steps to his house. She gave a small wave, which he returned.
He shut the door once she was out of sight and headed for his bedroom as he wondered what the hell just happened.
Ten minutes after she said goodbye, Dana was standing before the first of the three steps up to Logan's house from the beach.
She had said goodbye to Logan and walked down the beach just like she planned. But the thing was, she realized as she got further and further from his house, with him was the only place she wanted to be right now. And it didn't make sense, especially not based on their past, but right now she didn't feel like she had ever wanted something so much and she didn't want to think about how crazy or stupid it may be, she just wanted to be with him.
Dana headed up the steps quickly and knocked on the door before she got the chance to think about what she was doing.
Logan rushed out of his bedroom hoping that Dana was the one knocking on his door-which was pretty likely since she was the only one to know where he was at the moment. He had realized that he wished she had stayed, but he knew that why she was still there and his thoughts hadn't managed to progress past wishing things had been different.
As soon as Logan saw Dana through the glass doors his paced picked up and he tried not to smile too much.
"Hi," she said with a small smile, her cheeks burning from trying to contain its size.
"Hi," he said in return, no longer trying to hide the size of his smile, nor his slight confusion as to why she had returned.
They stood in silence smiling at each other again. Dana was holding her hands behind her back, a slight form of a self-restraint. Logan had one hand on the side of the door he was holding open and the other hanging by his side, the somewhat dumbfounded look on his face remaining.
Dana moved forward closing the two feet between them quickly and suddenly as she caressed his lips with her own.
Logan responded immediately. His eyes closed as he made sure her lips didn't leave his by cradling her head with one hand and pulled her flush against him by wrapping his other hand around her waist.
Dana attempted to pull him even closer to her as she wrapped her arms around his torso.
He stumbled a couple of steps back and slammed the door shut as the kiss was deepened.
Logan's hands found her waist, gripping them almost bruisingly and fisting the material of her white smocked terry strapless cover up dress like he was ready to rip it to feel some skin.
Dana felt like her insides were liquid fire; breathing was impossible. It was the most exhilarating, alive, best feeling she had ever experienced.
He knew he needed to make sure that she was okay with letting this lust progress as far as he so desperately wanted it to. He knew he need to ask if she was sure about this, what she had seemingly shown back up for, but possibly he was misinterpreting because he wanted her so much. But his desire for her had long since erased rational thought from his brain and words from his vocabulary. He managed to breathe out a single question, a plea of a word against her lips, "Stay?"
Dana knew that if she had let herself think about her decision to come back after leaving she would probably think that this was one of the stupidest things she had ever done. But she didn't want to think about it because she wanted it to happen; she had absolutely no doubts about that when his voice was as heavy with want as her mind felt.
She answered him by nodding her head slightly into the kiss and walking forward, forcing him to walk backwards, in the direction that she knew from the tour earlier was his bedroom.
Somewhere in the back of his mind Logan knew how unfathomable this situation was. He was in his parents' new vacation home, in France, and at the moment he could literally feel every centimeter of a girl he never thought that he'd be in this situation with.
He was lying in his bed, one arm supporting his upper body, one hand in the curve of Dana's waist, the other gripping lower thigh. He dipped his head to kiss and gently nip at the place where her neck met her shoulder, his hand sliding from lower to upper thigh in the process.
Her hand clawed into his shoulder at the movement. "Oh god, Logan," she moaned in a strangled breath, and he realized that he had never enjoyed hearing her say his name so much.
Maybe that was what brought them here now. Every time she said his name, he loved the way she said it so much more than the annoyed yell it always used to be before.
She dragged his face back to hers and kissed him hard, tugging at his hair at the same time, and all thoughts of why they had arrived at this place were completely lost.
Dana awoke to the bright sun of dawn. She attempted to sit up, but was restrained by an arm lazily lying across her waist.
She laid back down, trying to remain perfectly still so she wouldn't wake him. Being with him, even now like this when he was asleep, it made her feel how Nicole acted. Giddy. Happy. And she knew that those feelings weren't because of how…talented Logan was-though he was-, but that that bursting joyous feeling was why she had let the previous night happen.
It wasn't like she did something like this frequently. Actually, she did this sort of thing never.
She had only been with one other guy. It was during the last school year, they had dated for four months, it was her longest relationship, and though she knew it would end because she just didn't see herself with him for too much longer, when it came to sleeping together she figured why not? They broke up shortly after, but amicably so and remained decent friends.
Being very unfamiliar with this type of situation-spending the night with someone she had absolutely no form of a relationship with-Dana didn't know what to do.
She decided to follow her desires again and do what she wanted.
Logan awoke to an empty bed. He had been in situations like this before a few times, one night stands. There were two things wrong with it this time though. First, he was usually the one to leave, not the one being left. And secondly, he didn't want her to leave; he didn't want it to be just one night. Rationally, he knew it couldn't be more. They lived thousands of miles apart and he had never been in a real relationship, he doubted he even could be in one. Still, he wished she would have stayed.
There was a clamoring from somewhere. It sounded like pots and pans.
Maybe she hadn't left after all.
Logan headed for the kitchen. When he got there he found Dana in one of his tee shirts and apparently nothing else, standing at the stove pouring what appeared to be some type of egg concoction from a pan onto a dish.
Logan and Dana had both decided to do the same thing: do what they want, don't question the actions of the other, and enjoy this while they could.
"Hey," Logan said casually as he walked into the kitchen.
"Hey," Dana returned, adding a few things to the plate of food in her right hand.
Logan hopped up and sat on the counter opposite the stove where Dana was. She turned around, plate of food still in hand, and said, "Here, try this."
"You made it?" he questioned, looking at the offered plate auspiciously. It actually smelled really good and made him realize just how hungry he was, but since the opportunity to hassle her arouse…
"Yes, and don't make that face at it. Remember those non-academic classes I take during the summer so I don't have to go home?" She asked, referencing something they had talked about as they walked on the beach the previous night. She didn't wait for him to respond before continuing, "Three of them were culinary. So I happen to be a great cook."
She pushed the plate toward him further with a smile, which he took with a smile. She turned to go back to the stove and clean up, but he caught her hand.
"Where do you think you're going?" Logan asked as he pulled her back to him with the hand he had reached for her arm with and put the plate in his other hand down on the counter beside him.
"I was just-" Dana began to explain that she was just going to put the pans she used in the sink to soak, but she was cut off by Logan cupping her face and bringing his lips to hers, kissing her for the first time that morning.
Logan was tempted to drag Dana up on the counter with him, but she was about to do something when he kissed her and it could have been something important like turning off the stove, so he stopped after a minute. He let his forehead rest against hers as she sighed contently.
They stayed like that for a minute before Dana remembered what she was about to do and pushed away from him, going back over to the stove as she said, "I don't want to ruin your pans so I have to get these soaking."
Logan took a couple of bites of the breakfast she made for him while she filled the sink with soapy water and placed the two pans she used in it. When she was done she turned around and said, "And now I need to take a shower." She headed for the hallway, but when she got there she turned back to him with an impish smile and a suggestively raised eyebrow and prompted, "Coming?"
Though the breakfast was delicious, Logan didn't hesitate to ditch it and follow her.
"You know, I rather like this God fellow. Very theatrical, you know. Pestilence here, a plague there. Omnipotence ... gotta get me some of that," came the voice of Stewie Griffin from the TV and Logan could feel Dana's chest vibrate with laughter.
It had been a few hours since their shower, long enough that Dana's hair was mostly dry-except for a small spot near the nape of her neck. They had been doing the same thing since they exited the shower-watching the seasons of the Family Guy he had brought with him. They were lying on the couch, her halfway on top of him, her head on his chest, his chin resting against the top of her head, his arms around her. It seemed so normal, common even. Yet it wasn't, not at all.
Maybe if they were drunk or high, or if she was vulnerable and he was lonely, or if they had anything but the past that they did, where they were now could actually make some sense. But they were just here, with no good reasons, no drug induced assistance, and it felt good, it felt right. This feeling that was just suddenly and inexplicably there since they ran into each other was starting to make Logan think that he wanted everyday to be like this day; having her in his arms always, even if they were doing nothing. This new and intense feeling had Dana dreading the following morning when she would have to leave this unusual yet perfect place with him because her ride would be leaving town early morning and a few hours later he would have to catch his flight home.
Their separation was inevitable and they had both known that all along. So they didn't talk about what they were, because the distance ensured that they couldn't be anything.
She'd cook them dinner. He'd actually eat this time. They wouldn't sleep that night, knowing that if they did morning would come that much sooner and their time together would be that much shorter. She didn't make promises to call or write. He didn't promise to be faithful to her until they could be together again. There was nothing either of them could do about the thousands of miles between them and though they had a great thirty-two hours together, neither of them had enough faith in them to believe that trying something would turn out well. So she kissed him goodbye in his doorway, in the same place she first kissed him, and he went back to his room and packed for his flight as she caught her ride back to Paris.
II. It's the last place I should be, but I'm dying to see you
There was a chill in the air, but not much of one considering Logan was experiencing this December weather in Malibu. It was early afternoon and he had just finished his last mid-term before winter break. Yet, he sat on his couch, turned on the TV, and relaxed while most of the other student's of PCA packed to go home.
It had been a long first semester. He had to start paying attention to his grades sophomore year because he didn't want his parents involved in his college selection. But on top of actually working hard in school, he hadn't heard from Dana. He didn't expect to and he made absolutely no attempt to contact her, but he did think about it, often.
His cell phone rang, he didn't recognize the number calling but answered it anyway, "Hello?"
"I'll be at LAX in an hour, American Airlines flight 312 from Pairs, pick me up," came Dana's voice, calmly, a little hopefulness seeping through. She hung up immediately, not waiting for his response.
As shocked as he was, Logan didn't hesitate to get up, grab his bag from under his bed, and start packing. He didn't know what this was, but he didn't care. She wanted him to come get her and he wanted to go and that was all he needed to know to get his ass in gear.
Chase entered his room and saw Logan packing, which may have been right for most of the other kids on campus, but not for Logan. "Hey," he said catching Logan's attention for a second before Logan continued on, not distracted from his task of getting the hell out of there to go get Dana. Chase continued on, "Why are you packing? We were all supposed to hang out for the week while campus is still open since it's our last year here and all."
"I know, but I can't anymore, gotta go," Logan answered not even looking at Chase.
"Go where?" Chase questioned as Logan zipped up his very full duffel bag.
"See you next year," Logan said as he hurried out the door, ignoring the question not on purpose but because he was really only concentrated on one thing at the moment and it wasn't whatever his roommate was saying to him, it was a girl that would soon be flying into town.
He was there, second row of waiting cars in the American Airlines arrivals terminal. Dana wasn't sure that he'd come. She hoped he would, she hoped he had spent the last four months wishing that they weren't a continent and an ocean apart because that was how she had spent the last four months. He wasn't the guy for her, that much seemed clear the first time they met. But the second time they met, that night four months ago, it didn't seem so clear. And part of her hoped that she'd come here and everything would be completely different than it was in Saint Tropez. He would be a jerk who talked about all the girls he slept with in the four months, he'd constantly check out other girls if they were anywhere in public together, he wouldn't have missed her but would have come just to get her into bed again, and he'd just be an all around jackass. But then there was that other part of her, the one that hoped he showed up for her for the same reasons she came for him.
Logan was leaning against the passenger door of his black Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. His feet were crossed at his ankles, heels resting against the ground, his arms crossed across his chest, looking like he was trying to be casual.
He watched her approach and didn't move as she did. Once she got in range for him to hear her without her having to shout she said, "Well don't you look very Jake Ryan, minus the letterman's jacket."
"You realize that that'd make you Molly Ringwald. Do you really wanna be her?" He returned as she came to a stop a foot in front of him. He tried not to immediately eye the size of the suitcase she had been dragging behind her so he could try and tell what she was thinking.
"Good point. Molly was especially homely in Sixteen Candles," Dana reasoned. He was there and though it hadn't been long, there weren't any traces of a jackass yet. She knew she had to get this over with and just see what guy came for her, the one she wanted but that made everything complicated, or the one she needed because it made everything easier.
So, Dana closed the space between them slowly, keeping her eyes on his so she could catch any hints. Before she got all the way to him he pulled himself off the car, cupped her face in his hands, stared at her for just a second, and kissed her.
Her arms wound their way around his neck as she realized she was in trouble. First, her suitcase was unattended and could easily be stolen, but that wasn't important. What was important was that he wasn't kissing her like all he wanted was sex. Well, it was a little bit like he wanted to drag her somewhere private, but more than that it was tender and sincere, and it said, "I missed you." She hoped that her return of the kiss said the same thing to him, because she meant it and as impossible as they were she wanted him to know that.
By the time they broke apart he was once again leaning on his car with her leaning against him. She took a step back to allow him to stand up.
"Okay," he said and paused before continuing, "Get in." It sounded decisive, as if he had just made up his mind that nothing had changed and he still wanted this, her. He brushed by her and retrieved her suitcase as she let herself into the passenger side of the car.
He stopped for a second as he held her case above his open trunk. The weight of it, he couldn't judge. Maybe she'd packed for her entire break so it didn't say anything about how long she'd be staying, maybe she was a light packer, maybe she was a pack rat. Basically, the size and weight of her case ultimately told him nothing. He'd have to ask.
Logan got in the driver's side of his car and found Dana fiddling with his stereo and he did not appreciate it, "What do you think you're doing?"
"You were listening to crap. I'm making in better," Dana offered easily since in her opinion calling Flo Rida crap was being extremely nice.
"Crap? I do not listen to crap," Logan contested adamantly as he buckled up and put the car into gear.
Dana followed suit and buckled her seatbelt as she argued, "No just consumerist rap that you managed to be easily persuaded to buy based on its frequent radio and MTV play, edited of course."
"Consumerist? As in it was meant to make money? Yeah, all music is," Logan retorted as he inched forward in the stop-and-go traffic that seems to surround every airport.
"Maybe the crap that you listen to," Dana easily responded, "but good music is made by artists who care about the music not the money."
"Everyone cares about the money," Logan insisted.
"Of course, you, the guy with the Ferrari, would think that," Dana argued.
"You don't like the car?" Logan asked, because it was a really nice car and people always liked it.
"I didn't say that," Dana immediately pointed out because it was an incredibly nice car and she'd by lying if she said it wasn't. She amended, "But the fact that you can own a car like this gives you a more pessimistic view of the motivations of others than people who don't have unlimited funds."
"So what 'non-crap' music did you put on?" Logan asked, trying to veer away from the direction the argument was taking so that it could possibly go a way he'd win.
"The Rolling Stones," Dana replied quickly, but she had just noticed that they were on the highway so she cut herself off and continued, "Where are we going?"
"Oh, uh," Logan paused; he didn't know how to answer this exactly. He didn't want to misinterpret why she came and he didn't want to assume anything, but he had tried to think of a way to deal with her sudden appearance on the way to get her. His voice was slightly questioning, slow and careful, when he responded, "I can't stay at my house this week, my parents think I still have classes until next Friday so…I booked a hotel room on my way to the airport."
Dana knew they were going to have to talk about this, though she was still hoping that any conversation about them just wouldn't happen because she didn't have any answers. She didn't know what this was or why she really came or what she wanted out of it. She just wanted a little bit more of that thirty-two hours from back in August, so when the opportunity arouse, she came. She tried to respond to him as simply as possible and hoped they wouldn't continue to talk about it, "Oh, okay, good. My parents think I have classes until next Friday too, but considering the time difference I'm on a very, very early flight home next Friday morning."
"Alright," was all he could reply. He was glad for the coincidence that they both had three weeks off for winter break, but had told their parents only two. But he didn't know what else to say about them. He was glad that she decided to take a chance and come, because he had been too scared to take that chance. He didn't know what exactly they were taking a chance on though, he had no idea what they were or if they were anything at all. And he didn't want to try and figure it out when they only had a week. He changed the topic and asked, "So what do you want to do this week?"
Thank God, Dana thought as she breathed a sigh of relief. She was glad that they were no longer the topic and hoped they wouldn't be again for the week. She answered, "Well, the only places I've been around here are PCA and the airport and that beach we accidentally got stranded at and that's it. So, I'm up for anything."
Though they ended up spending about half of the week in the room Logan booked at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel, they spent at least part of everyday doing something touristy for Dana's sake since she had never seen any of the sights.
After spending the rest of Friday in the room, they spent Saturday at Disneyland. Logan held Dana's hand as they strolled the park from ride to ride, churro cart to Mickey shaped ice cream cart. They got kicked of off the Tea Cups for what security called "inappropriate behavior" and perhaps their making out was a little too enthusiastic for a children's ride, but they didn't apologize as they left the security guard.
On Sunday they took pictures in front of the Hollywood sign. In one they were kissing, in another it managed to look like they were going to eat the "H" in the sign, in another Logan made a crude gesture, which earned him the slap in the following picture. They also explored Grauman's Chinese Theater and matched their hands and feet to those of celebrities. Both were slightly disappointed by the results as it turned out Dana had the same size feet as Tom Cruise and Logan the same size hands as Elizabeth Taylor, which was a bit disturbing. They explored Hollywood by foot for the rest of the night.
On Monday evening Logan got them courtside seats to the Lakers game. His arm rested around her shoulders as she leaned into him for most of the surprisingly uneventful game.
Tuesday found them at Universal Studios and Six Flags, Wednesday at the beach and a brief trip "shopping" on Rodeo Drive. Logan paid for everything they did since Dana's lack of funds was implied by the fact that even though she traded in her Paris to Cleveland ticket that her parents bought her for the following week on a more expensive airline for a Paris to L.A. and L.A. to Cleveland flights on cheaper airlines, she still had to spend nearly all of her money just to get to him. Logan, meanwhile, had unlimited funds and paid for everything without hesitation or a second thought. When they went shopping he tried to buy things that were neither food or for fun, but simply things-un-necessary and expensive. After he had bought two things for himself, Logan tried to buy something for Dana-just new sunglasses- and she suddenly really wanted to go to the beach, he went along with it and didn't ask questions. Any questions asked between them could always lead to more and possibly to questions about them and what, if anything, they were. So, they both knew better than to ask questions about anything that was even slightly serious, because it could lead to something they both feared.
They didn't leave their hotel room Thursday. For their last, way too short, day together they both ignored that he would drop her off at six in the morning and maybe it'd be the last time they saw each other. They pretended that only this day and this moment and only they existed. And as enjoyable as playing ignorant for a day was, it also meant that they once again didn't talk about them, which avoided the scary conversation about the fact that this, they, had to be nothing since the distance was still present.
Friday morning at five-fifty Logan's car was parked in the drop off zone for Southwest's departure terminal at the airport. Logan sat in his driver's seat, Dana sat in his lap facing him, her whole body as wrapped around him as she could, her whole body hugging him goodbye. She had climbed over to him as soon as he parked the car and hoped that the intimacy of the position she put herself in and the way she savored every kiss with him, that he got the message she didn't plan on verbalizing, that she loved this week and she wished she could stay.
Logan wasn't quite getting her message as he was more wrapped up in thinking about how much he enjoyed every second he spent with her, even the ones where they argued about something stupid-which was often. He also missed the message she hoped she was giving him in the many kisses because he was nervous. Before she left he knew he would do something that scared the hell out of him.
As soon as they broke apart for a second, Logan took the opportunity and began the feared conversation, "So, uh, when do you have spring break?"
Dana resisted the urge to smile. She wasn't expecting him to mention seeing her again, though since she was the one to make the second move-and the first-it was kind of his turn. "The first two weeks of April," she responded as she ran her hand through his hair slowly, stroking his scalp in a way that made him close his eyes slightly, sigh, and revel in the feeling.
"Any chance your parents don't know about one of them?" He asked hopefully.
She shook her head, disappointed, "No, they've known since my first year that the school gives two weeks in the spring."
"I have the first week off and my parents have already requested that I be home towards the end of my time off for Easter. Maybe I should spend the first half of the week in Cleveland though," Logan suggested. He didn't want to suggest a long distance relationship because he didn't believe that they worked in general. But trying to date other girls hadn't worked out since August either, by the end of the evening he was always comparing his date to his limited memories of her. Maybe this whole thing with her didn't make sense, and maybe he hadn't ever had an actual relationship longer than two weeks, but he had never been tempted to try and he had never wanted anything more. So he put it out there, in this small way he was making the big gesture, and he hoped that she wanted this impossible and insane thing that they were as much as he did.
Dana was elated and she couldn't hide her smile as she responded trying to sound casual, "Well, everyone should visit the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame at least once in their life."
She kissed him again before he had a chance to say anything else, before she had a chance to let something serious slip, like the fact that she couldn't seem to stop thinking about him since the last time they met in August or how much that scared her.
They would have to soon break up their kisses goodbye again as Dana's flight was soon leaving. She kissed him for the last time leaning against the trunk of his car just after he pulled her suitcase out for her. They said goodbye again and though the space between them would remain essentially the same, they parted this time with the promise of seeing each other again.
III. Give me a whisper, give me a sigh, give me a kiss before you tell me goodbye
The first Saturday of April Logan found himself in a suburb of Cleveland. He parked his rental car down the street from the address he was given over the phone. He watched and waited until he thought the coast was clear. When the two cars in the driveway of the right house had darted off he got out of the car and walked down the tree lined street of single story houses until he got to the one with the basketball hoop in the driveway. Once he got to the small front stoop he took a deep breath before ringing the doorbell because he knew he'd be waking her-it was early, he was early.
Sure enough Dana answered the door in plaid pajama pants and a tank top, yawning, and looking annoyed…until she realized who had woke her up. "Hi," she said, not even realizing she could say anything else since it was far too early and she was far too surprised.
"Hey," he responded with a smile just because he was there.
"You're early," she said as she realized it; sleep still flooding her mind too much for her to notice it sooner.
He nodded and explained, "Decided to take an earlier flight. Then I had to wait and make sure your parents left because it was a really early flight and I've actually been here for a bit, had to get up hours ago."
That he made such an effort to get there just a bit sooner because he wanted to spend as much time with her as he could was implied, though never said.
Dana moved aside and opened the door wider, a gesture for him to come in. As he did she attempted to make conversation because there was something awkward about being together again. They had actually talked since she had come to see him. Two to three times a week one of them would call the other at an hour that was way too early or way too late and they would talk for a while. They still never talked about what they were, what was actually going on between them, or what they wanted out of the semi-relationship they had forming because it was still very much the feared conversation. They did talk about the rest of their lives and had many petty arguments and random conversations about nothings. But here, now, together again, there was something unsettling about them. And that was how Dana ended up asking the safe and lame question, "So, did you have any trouble finding the place?"
"Nope," he replied stepping inside, all the way through the door and to her other side, "Between your directions and the ones on my iPhone it was fine. Plus, I knew this had to be your house since it was the one with the basketball hoop outside."
"Well I had to practice somewhere to be able to completely slaughter you back in eighth grade," she responded easily, glad that he found something to make them seem a bit more normal.
"You did not win," he immediately denied, "I just let you think that you did because you're hot and I thought it would get me somewhere."
"Um, first, yes I did win. Really the girls only beat you guys because of me-"
"Cocky much?" Logan interrupted.
"And secondly, that plan didn't pan out for you too well did it?" Dana continued on as if he hadn't said anything.
"I think it worked very well," he said as he gently pulled her to him by sliding his arms around her waist. He simply held her for a couple of beats, held her eyes with his, and finally kissed her for the first time in months.
They both feared and hoped that something would have changed. That it wouldn't feel as good to be together again, that they would immediately want to part after this meeting, those were things that would make more sense than them, that would finally right both of their worlds because they shouldn't have fit. But that didn't happen. Nothing had changed. It still felt right to simply be near each other again because even if they didn't make logical sense, they were right for each other.
After a few minutes of kisses that once again said the sentiment that neither was ready to let slip- "I missed you"- Logan pulled away just enough to ask, "So, do I get to see your room?"
"You shouldn't," Dana declared, pulling away from him fully as she continued, "you woke me up really early and then you imply that I suck at basketball. I should show you back to my front door." They both knew she wasn't serious; the small smile she wore as she spoke revealed that instantly. She let it linger for a second anyway and then continued, "But I've never really liked doing what I should do. So…my room's down the hall, first door on the right."
He picked her up around the waist, making her squeal in surprise, and quickly dragged her through the rest of the living room to the hallway and into her bedroom.
Five hours later at the much more favorable hour of noon, Logan and Dana found themselves recently awoken by a particularly loud neighbor of hers and having the same conversation they had been having for weeks as they laid together in her bed.
"We've been talking about this for weeks," Dana said, her frustration seeping through. She sighed and concluded not for the first time, "We were never able to come up with anything else so it's fine, I'll just do it."
Logan ran a hand through his hair and tried an already voiced suggestion, "I could sneak in here with you at night. I can be stealthy. And you've said yourself that your parents aren't exactly involved so they won't notice."
"They don't talk, that doesn't mean that they're stupid or oblivious," Dana corrected, "Besides, it's five days, there's no way you're getting away with staying here for that long. I'm just going to call." Before Logan could continue to argue Dana got out of bed, grabbed her phone, and headed to the bathroom across the hall and shut the door.
They had been over this many times in the past few weeks. If Logan was coming all the way to Cleveland and her parents were home, how was she supposed to spend time with him? Daytime was easy; her parents were at work. Actually, they tended to work at least a little late so she was probably safe until seven or eight each night. But it had been nearly four months, again, and they hadn't discussed the future and if there was another possible time they would be able to see each other again so twelve or so hours during each of the five days he could be there wasn't nearly enough. Five whole days wasn't even enough, but they'd have to settle for it. They didn't have to settle simply for daytime though, not if they figured something out. The only thing they came up with was a complicated lie that could easily seem suspicious. And Logan really didn't want her to get caught and get punished so he wouldn't see her at all, which was why he so desperately tried to come up with something else. But here she was, sitting on the counter in her bathroom getting ready to call her mom and give her the fake situation to get away with Logan.
She rehearsed the lie in her head a few times. Got up and began to pace the small length of the bathroom. She took a deep breath and dialed her mom's work number.
"Vanessa Cruz," her mother answered.
"Hi Mom," Dana responded.
"Dana? Is something wrong?" Vanessa immediately asked since her daughter never called her at work, she knew better to call then because she wouldn't have time to talk so the only times she called her at work was when something was wrong.
"No, everything's fine," Dana assured, "But, um, remember Zoey that I went to PCA with? She's in Chicago for a few days and I…" Dana trailed off. She had never had a problem lying to her parents; it wasn't like she thought they were completely honest with her so she didn't see the need to always tell them the truth. But, she froze. She knew the cover, she had rehearsed it in her head many times, and still, she just didn't want to say it.
"You what?" Vanessa asked since Dana had stopped talking and had been silent for a few seconds.
And then something happened that Dana thought would never happen to her- word vomit, just like Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. She let it all spill out as she spoke rapidly, "Actually, forget what I just said, it isn't true. The truth is, is that there's this guy and I never get to see him and I want to see him and he's here and I'm going to go with him for a few days because even though it doesn't make any sense I can't let an opportunity to be with him just pass me by and I don't care if you and dad don't like it or don't want me to go or forbid me from going with him, I'm leaving before you get home from work and I'll be back after he leaves town." Dana finally took a breath, realized what she had just said to her mom, and promptly hung up before she could hear what her mom would say in response.
Dana sank down to the floor of the bathroom, trying to calm her breathing rather unsuccessfully. She couldn't believe what she just said. It was all true and she knew it, but even though they had been quasi seeing each other for eight months she had never said anything like that out loud. She knew she wanted to be with him, she had admitted that to herself by the time she changed her plane tickets to go see him, by the time she walked back to his beach house and kissed him. But what she just did, admitting to her mother that she was essentially running away with him for a while, that she was willing to and did do that for Logan, it was ridiculous.
Her cell phone suddenly began to ring and vibrate from its place on the bathroom counter. She reached up and grabbed it. She wasn't really surprised to see it largely and ominously read "Mom". She debated whether to answer, but since she could always hang up if it was unpleasant, she decided to let her curiosity get the better of her. "Yeah," she answered.
"How long will you be gone?" came her mother's voice calmly, a hint of resolve. Vanessa had been stunned by her daughter's outburst over the phone. While she was away she made sure to call her daughter at least three times a week, but in that last conversation now, her daughter had never said so much or been so honest. They mostly talked as if they were distant aquatints, and she had never liked that about them, but she had never tried to fix it either, it was easier just to let it go and there was always so many other things she needed to do that actually forming more of a mother-daughter relationship with her daughter had never happened. One of them had finally said something real though and she wasn't going to let the opportunity to finally right her wrongs slip through her fingers, not without at least trying.
"Um," Dana responded confused that her mother seemed okay with what she was going to do. "He leaves Wednesday morning so I'll be home by the time you get back from work that day," she responded honestly.
"Okay," Vanessa replied and paused. After a couple of beats of silence she admitted, " I didn't even know you were seeing anyone."
Dana didn't know how to respond to that. She wasn't seeing anyone, not exactly. She didn't know what her and Logan were and she didn't want to talk to him and find out because what if he said that they were nothing? She believed that ultimately they would be nothing, this feeling of wanting to be with him was just temporary, it couldn't be permanent, not with Logan. But here she was, willing to risk a lot just to spend four days with him, him having traveled halfway across the country to do so when he could get any girl so easily, and maybe that meant something big. Whether their future or present, they didn't have a label, or even anything clear about them, so Dana didn't say anything at all.
Her mother sighed on the other end of the line and continued, "I'm not going to try to stop you from leaving because I don't think I could, but if you don't come back when you said you would I'm going to be looking for you. And also when you come back I'm going actually leave work on time or early, I'll make sure of it, and we need talk. Now, tell me the lie you had planned so I can tell it to your father because there's no way he would let you go off with some guy."
So, Dana told her mom every part of the cover she worked out and her mom took notes to make sure she had every detail ready for any question her husband may have-not that she expected many, that would require him to actually speak to her and they rarely did that anymore.
When Dana was done divulging the cover, Vanessa began, "Just one more thing…" she paused, considered for a second and retracted, "actually, never mind."
"No, what were you going to say?" Dana pressed on, curious as to what her mom could possibly decide against saying.
"Well, I wanted…I guess, just please tell me he's a good guy so I don't spend the next four days worried about you," Vanessa plead. She had more questions and really wanted more answers, but decided it could all wait, except for this one answer she needed.
"Yeah, he's a great guy," Dana assured immediately, without even needing to think about it and with a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth because he really had been a great guy to her.
"Alright," Vanessa said with finality, "I'll see you Wednesday. Be safe."
"We will," Dana guaranteed, hoping that her mother meant in general and wasn't referring to what she probably suspected they had for sleeping arrangements.
The exchanged goodbyes and Dana hit end on her cell as she let out the breath she didn't know she had been holding. She waited for a second, letting it all sink in, and headed back to Logan.
When Logan asked if her mother believed the cover she simply said yes, not yet willing to be as honest with him as she had been with her mom.
After a game of one-on-one (Dana won again, though Logan maintained that he let her), and quick showers, Dana packed a bag and followed Logan down her street to his rental car.
During Logan's stay they did make it to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame for an entire afternoon as Dana had initially mentioned to Logan as a reason to come to Cleveland.
They didn't do a ton of touristy things as they had in L.A. Instead they did some more date like things. They took in a couple of movies, a game of mini-golf, and bowling.
On Tuesday they did decide to go to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and try canoeing. Upon getting in the canoe they immediately could not agree on the correct way to paddle in order to move successfully or the correct way to steer the boat. After an hour of going in circles they managed to both end up in the water. They rode back to their hotel in Logan's boat of a rental car (a long, huge Cadillac was the only luxury car for rent) soaked and they dried off in their room next to their fireplace as they ate room service and stayed in for their last night together.
As usual, morning came much too soon and they found the time to be eleven o'clock and themselves to be standing on the curb of a terminal of an airport again. They had just returned Logan's rental car and were standing in front of the terminal he needed to check in to. Logan moved in to kiss Dana goodbye because he once again had to leave her, but she stopped him.
"No, you can't. Remember? Sore throat, blocked up nose, I think I'm definitely getting sick. I've started feeling worse since we woke up and I don't want to get you sick," Dana said, her voice a little scratchy and with a few sniffles thrown in.
Logan gently moved his hands to caress her face. His finger tips brushing the back of her neck, thumbs softly stroking her cheeks. He looked at her for almost a minute before whispering, "Maybe I want to get sick." Before she could protest he pulled her to him and kissed her thoroughly.
It was a stupid thing to say, but she got it and that meant that it was also the sweetest thing anyone ever said to her. He was saying that he didn't care if kissing her got him sick, he wasn't going to risk going God knows how long without kissing her. And though she didn't want to get him sick too since she felt like hell, she wasn't going to let the opportunity-possibly the last-pass her by.
She sighed as he let her go. They said goodbye again. They parted without discussing the future because neither knew what it held. On her part, Dana knew that there had been discussion by her parents of getting her a summer job with one of their friends and as for college the following year she was still waiting for some replies-one especially. Logan knew that it was pretty likely one of his parents would enlist him to work for them of the summer, he just didn't know who or what that entailed yet. He was also awaiting acceptance from the college he really wanted. They didn't know anything in their futures so they didn't make plans that would likely have to be broken and they said goodbye knowing it could be the last time they saw each other.
Two hours after Dana got home and took the maximum amount of cold medicine recommended, she found her mom home unusually early. She didn't think her mom was serious about talking since that really wasn't them.
Vanessa took a seat on the coffee table across from Dana who was sitting on the living room coach. She looked down, as if she was ashamed, as she began, "One day a while ago your father and I simply stopped talking. I didn't worry about it at the time; I think we were both even too busy with work to notice. But we never started talking again and I think we're both resolved to the fact that things will never be like they were again, the distance isn't fixable anymore. But I never meant for that to carry over into our relationship and I'm so sorry that I let it."
Her mother had reached for her hand, gave it a little squeeze as she talked about them. Dana didn't expect any of it. As her mother had said that her and her father were resolved to the fact that they were distant, Dana had grown accustomed to the same thing not only between them but between her and each of them as well. She didn't really want things to be that way either though, even if it did make it easier to be away and stay away. She reciprocated the squeeze and responded, "It's alright, it's not too late for us."
"Okay," Vanessa replied happily and got right into the talking that had been absent from their relationship for so long, "So how long have you had a boyfriend?"
Dana didn't want to start off her new, hopefully closer, relationship with her mom by lying. She admitted, "I don't know if he's my boyfriend really."
Vanessa thought for a second and asked, "Has he called you since he left?"
"Three times. Once after he finished checking in, twice from the plane," Dana answered feeling her cheeks heat up with a blush because he kept calling to see how she was; he was so concerned about her.
"I think you have your answer then," Vanessa replied smartly.
Dana tried not to smile because it would have been a happy, goofy smile and she didn't want to get ahead of herself. Maybe he acted like he was her boyfriend, but still, they didn't know if they'd ever see each other again and she didn't want to think he was something, they were really something, when their end not only seemed inevitable, but near.
Her mom noticed that she didn't seem as happy as she should have been so she asked her what was wrong. For the first time Dana told someone everything (almost-not the details her mother didn't need to know) about her relationship with Logan. Her concerns, her worries, her fears; she laid them all out on the table for her mom and by the time they were done Logan had interrupted them by calling two more times and Dana's father finally stumbled in the door three hours after he should have been home from work.
When Dana returned to school she still only talked to her mom about three times a week, but now, since both of them had finally been honest with each other, they actually talked. Vanessa would always insist that Dana had to be positive about her relationship with Logan, but Dana was convinced that she was Dana and Logan was Logan and that meant that as much a she missed him and wanted to be with him they weren't right for each other.
Secretly, somewhere around the time that they started talking four times a day, she hoped that she was wrong.
IV. Return to me for my heart wants you only
"Pomp and Circumstance" could be heard faintly playing in the background, the sound of the cheering crowd drowning it out.
Hats had just been thrown in the air, hugs were being exchanged, and students headed to their families.
Everyone was melting under the heat from the early June sun, but as they were finally declared as graduated from high school no one seemed to care.
After pictures with their respective families a group of friends made their way to each other for one of the last times. Individual embraces were exchanged-some awkwardly-followed by a group hug that Logan was dragged into despite his protests.
"Well, this isn't really goodbye," Chase began, but was interrupted.
"Especially not for you and Logan since you'll be rooming together at USC," Michael interjected. He wasn't bitter or anything. He was heading off to the University of North Carolina to be near home for a change. But he had taken up frequently teasing his now former roommates by acting like they were leaving him out.
Chase ignored the now common joking pout from Michael and continued on, "We're all going on senior trip tomorrow so we've got a bit more time to hang out together."
Logan had been dreading this, but he couldn't let them think it any longer, especially since if he did he could be late. He admitted regrettably, "Actually, I'm not going. There's somewhere I have to be."
"What could be more important that going on senior trip with your friends who will all be leaving soon?" Zoey asked curiously.
Logan hadn't really been listening to her question as he remembered to check the time and when he did he had to say, "I've got to go. Now. Uh, if my parents ask then I'm going on senior trip, but if you guys are too pissed to tell them that it's cool, I deserve it, but right now, I just have to leave."
He headed out through the crowds of people without a second's hesitation. He felt bad about ditching his friends, but he had to go to Paris.
Logan had been told the correct room number a while ago. She didn't tell him knowing he'd actually use the information, but here he was in a dimly lit hallway in a dormitory in Paris at two fifteen in the morning.
He had a plan for dealing with a locked door. That plan involved the bobby pin in his pocket and a video on YouTube he watched repeatedly. Yet, as he placed his hand on the doorknob and gave it a try, Logan found that all of his planning had been pointless because Dana apparently didn't feel the need to lock her door at night.
He entered the dark room as quietly as he could and stopped immediately to let his eyes adjust to the darkness before he ran into something. Once he could see again he noticed the bed next to the wall to his left with the girl he came to see sound asleep in it. He dropped his bag on the floor, walked over to the bed, paused for a minute, and attempted to crawl into the bed next to her as gently as he could.
Logan wasn't really surprised when he made it all the way in the bed, settled and comfy, without waking up Dana-she wasn't exactly a light sleeper. But when he wrapped his arms around her and ever so slightly pulled her so that her back was flush against his chest she stirred a bit, realized there was someone else in her bed and sprang up.
"It's just me," Logan offered quickly so as not to freak her out.
"Jesus Christ you almost gave me a heart attack," Dana exclaimed. She quickly realized though that his presence was not only unusual, but completely unexpected. Instead of asking him what he was doing there first she hugged him tightly and savored being in his arms again after their two month absence from each other. She let him go so she could look at him when he responded to her question, "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged, as if him traveling halfway around the world to surprise her wasn't a big deal, and responded stroking her arm with the backs of his fingertips as he said, "You weren't going to have anyone here for your graduation since your mom has her leg in that cast, sling thing and your dad…since I figured out a way to be here, I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity."
Dana leaned forward and kissed him then because she couldn't think of a better way to thank him for doing something so wonderful for her. Her mom had gotten in a car accident about a week earlier. She wasn't seriously injured, but she was still in the hospital with her leg in a cast and, what her mother referred to as, "that annoying thing that keeps my leg up in the air constantly." Her mom was planning on coming to her graduation and felt terrible for not being able to, but it wasn't her fault so Dana had tried to assure her that it was fine and they'd just buy the video of the graduation and watch it when she got home. Her dad had long since forewarned that he would be way too busy with work when Dana graduated to take off to Paris and when her mom got in the accident he still maintained that he couldn't come even if that meant no one was coming for her.
Of course, Logan did end up coming, somehow. When she pulled away from him, now laying back down on her bed, both of them on their sides, she asked, "How long can you stay?"
Logan was technically supposed to soon be leaving for his senior trip, which was only five days so he knew that was all he could get away with. "I fly back Thursday," he replied. If she couldn't stay that long though, then he didn't have any reason to stay that long. The answer could completely dash his hopes, but he had to ask, "How long can you stay?"
"I can probably get away with staying until Thursday too," Dana answered, knowing that her mom would understand and probably even insist on it despite her condition. Dana hadn't told Logan that her mom knew everything and that was why she could stay with him and she wasn't about to share that bit of information now. Telling him that she talked to her mom about them made it seem too much like an actual relationship, which they didn't have because they rarely saw each other and neither one of them could help but think that they were just an infatuation that was meant to end but had lasted this long because the distance made every bit of time they got to spend together seem more precious.
They fell asleep after that; her comfortably wrapped in his arms. They still didn't say anything real to each other exactly. If they never admitted that something was there, then there wasn't anything they could lose when it all stopped. Neither wanted whatever they were to stop, but this time to see each other was lucky, there was no guarantee they'd be lucky again.
Actually, Dana had attempted to set something in motion for the future, which she felt much more secure about doing since he came to see her, since he still seemed to want to be with her. But, there were obstacles in the way of her completing what she wanted so she wasn't sure if it'd even come true.
So, once again, for what felt like way too many times now, they were seeing each other without knowing if they ever would again. They could really only hope that their paths would cross again, that maybe destiny would be kind enough to give them more time.
When Dana's name was called the next morning at her graduation she had the general tame rumble of applause from the crowd at large and one annoying jackass shouting her name repeatedly, standing up and blocking the view of the people behind him. As she looked out into the crowd as she walked back to her seat and saw him there beaming at her, she couldn't have been gladder.
Dana made her way to Logan through the crowd as soon as her class was officially declared graduated. She leapt into his arms, her legs securing herself to him by wrapping around his torso, and they proceeded to give a display that some of the elderly women in the crowd shot dirty looks at as they deemed it highly inappropriate.
When her feet were on solid ground again, Dana asked the question that she hadn't gotten to ask all morning in preparing for the ceremony, "What do you want to do now? I don't think I can be in my dorm room for more than another day so we'll have to find somewhere else to stay."
"Yeah, I already thought of that," Logan responded mysteriously with a smirk as he took Dana's hand and began to lead her through the crowd, all the way out of the courtyard the ceremony was in, and out towards the street. Once they reached the curb, Logan stopped them in front of a long black limo and explained, "Your entire room is packed and stored. A bag of your things was set aside to take with us to my parent's beach house. If you want to go that is?"
"I'm suspicious about this 'packing' job," Dana attempted to say seriously, but didn't manage long before a smile broke out and she kissed him and said, "Let's go."
They spent most of their five days doing nothing but simply being together. They laid or sat together on the couch watching TV and movies a lot, which lead to a lot of stupid fights about things like which actor played the best Batman. But the dumb debates weren't important, nor were they dwelled on. It didn't matter that Dana thought Logan was challenged for thinking that Val Kilmer was the best Batman when she believed it was so clearly Christian Bale, and visa versa. What mattered was that he had grown accustomed to ending a spoken sentence by kissing her cheek and he'd do so at least five times a day. What mattered was the way she would sigh and let her eyes slip closed whenever he gently stroked her back as she rested on his chest.
And what really mattered above all else was that he no longer had a single doubt that he would return to her any chance he got and she would always want him to.
But on Thursday, after days that always seemed too short even if they had managed to watch dozens of movies and try to one-up each other on a surfboard, fate seemed cruel again, because they were parting again-without the promise of a reunion.
Dana managed to get a flight for around the same time Logan's was leaving so instead of parting outside the airport on a sidewalk, they said goodbye in front of his gate as his flight was being called to depart.
They had pulled away from one last long lingering kiss just a minute ago; his forehead was resting on hers, his hands were in hers-fingers intertwined and being held to her waist so he was holding her. This wasn't an unusual thing for him; he seemed to have some kind of need to always be touching her, she never tried to stop him.
"I-" he began but stopped himself. He had the strong urge to say something honest, something like "I wish I could stay" or "I hate leaving you." But saying it wouldn't make leaving any easier. If anything, it would only make it harder. So he changed tactics and finished what he was saying by continuing, "I should go."
She nodded, kissed him briefly again, and tried to ignore the water welling up in her eyes as she watched him walk away from her.
Fifteen minutes later as Dana sat and waited for her flight near her departure gate her phone rang. She wasn't sure if Logan would continue to call her. There was a pretty good chance that they wouldn't actually get to see each other again so why keep talking when it was ultimately hopeless? There really wasn't any reason to torture themselves like that. Except, of course, that she wanted to.
She answered her phone and was greeted by, "I thought of another reason why Val Kilmer was the best Batman ever."
Apparently, he wanted to too.
V. But you can't be close enough unless I'm feeling your heartbeat
Logan stood at the back of the crowd of his fellow freshmen. Chase was somewhere near the front taking notes.
"Your campus ID card is your ID, on campus," the moronic orientation leader announced. It wasn't the first obvious thing that she took time to explain and that made Logan wonder how she ever managed to get accepted and stay at the school.
He didn't notice anyone come up beside him; he was too busy zoning out to pay attention to anything at all. Since he didn't know there was a person beside him, it was quite a surprise when he suddenly heard, "You know, the next thing you know they'll be explaining how to open a door. Pull or push and possibly and or twist; just way too hard for a lowly freshman to understand."
Logan tried to play it casual, even if every hair on the back of his neck was standing up, his heart was racing, and all the muscles in his face all wanted to move to form a smile. He took her up on her prompted conversation and offered, "And then they'll explain to us how keys to dorm rooms work because even though we met all the admissions requirements we couldn't possibly figure out something so complicated."
Logan full on turned to face Dana then, not able to resist any longer.
She kept playing it nonchalant, her eyes on the crowd in front of her as she asked, "Is Chase actually taking notes?"
"Yep," Logan confirmed, turning to look in front of him again, not sure what they were really doing.
After about a minute pause in which the orientation leader uselessly pointed out something that neither one of them were really listening to, Dana mentioned, "They put me in this awful dorm room with three other girls and a bathroom that's shared with all the girls on the floor. I mean, they make you fill out that long housing questionnaire and they didn't even listen to my many responses of 'I hate people and tend not to get along with any."
"That sucks; especially for your roommates. But I wouldn't know anything about the campus housing, I'm renting a small house just off campus, letting Chase rent out the other bedroom," Logan mentioned, hoping that this conversation was going where he thought it could be going.
"Sounds nice," she began and when he didn't say anything she continued, "Maybe you should show it to me sometime."
Logan smiled for a second before he regained his composure and responded, "Yeah, I could show it to you now, you know, if you don't mind missing out on valuable information."
"We can borrow Chase's notes," she said looking at him fully, an impish look on her face, and taking a step backwards despite the fact that she didn't know if that was the correct way to his place.
He followed her so she must have been right. When he caught up with her he took her hand and intertwined their fingers; touching her to make sure she was really there, holding on to make sure she didn't leave.
An hour later as Dana scanned his bedroom as they laid in his bed, limbs still tangled, she realized he was mostly unpacked. She hadn't really noticed the rest of the house as he was already kissing her by the time they got inside. She knew the front door opened to a living room, which was mostly open to the small kitchen, and that they went down a short hallway off the right side of the living room to get his room. She couldn't recall if the rest of the house seemed as settled as his room, but she did know she saw other furniture. All of this information prompted her to ask, "How long have you guys been living here?"
"Since my dad finally released me from working for him a few days ago," Logan answered. He realized though that she still seemed to be thinking about something and he took a shot at what it could be, "The lease was mine at the start of July though and when I was in town to get the keys I had some movers take care of the furniture. Then Chase got here same time I did and since all he wanted to do was unpack and not play the new Halo game, I didn't really have anything else to do either."
Part of Dana wondered why, when he had a few days off not working for his dad as he had been all summer, he didn't come see her. The other more rational part of her knew how difficult that would have been to arrange and how hard it would have been to come knowing it was only a day or two until he'd have to leave again. She tried to ignore it and focus on something else, so she said, "It may be a small house, but it's way more space than I've got."
"I know," Logan agreed, "Those housing people must have been crazy to put you with so many people. Don't they even realize they're putting three girls' lives in danger?"
"Yeah, I should probably just go to the housing office and apply for a room change now," Dana said seriously contemplating the idea because she knew there was no way she'd be able to make it living in close quarters with three other girls-no matter who they were-until the end of the year, she just wasn't that much of a people person.
For a minute, Logan considered what he was going to say, what he wanted to say. She must have been planning this for a while. Fall term application deadlines are in the early winters at the latest-January maybe. And she had decided to apply and by the time she got accepted she still wanted to come and by the time the term started she still wanted to come and she was there, with him. If she had put so much effort into giving them a real try at a relationship then the least he could do was return the favor. He suggested, "Or you could just stay here."
Dana froze for a second and hoped that her hesitation didn't show. Yeah, she chose her college based on him. He had mentioned a year ago, when they first ran into each other on that beach and spent hours talking, that USC was the only university he wanted to go to. In December, when USC's deadline was set, she decided to fill out an application because she was going half-way around the world just to see him and what if she still wanted to do that come September? She wanted to at least have the option of the school should she be accepted. She got her acceptance in May, but there were problems. USC was a lot of money, being a private university, and her parents had already been spending a ton of money to send her to boarding school in France for four years. She knew they didn't have endless funds, or anything near it. And she knew that they wanted to pay for her college but were probably expecting her to go to one of the many great public universities in the country. So, getting to go to USC was a discussion that, thanks to their rekindled relationship, her mom was fully behind even if it meant she'd be working longer hours than the long hours she already worked. Her dad finally caved about mid June and said that they'd be able to afford it fine but to apply for any scholarship she got the chance to just in case. And Dana did all that just to really be with Logan for the first time since their quasi-relationship started a year earlier.
The problem was, she hoped for their future, but she didn't have faith in it. And maybe all of this was way too much. She was eighteen, should she really move in with a guy?
"You're serious," she checked, "You mean stay here, with you, not something like kick Chase out of his room or take the couch?"
"Yeah," Logan confirmed, "I mean stay right here." As he spoke Logan pulled Dana to him with the hand he had resting on her hip and kissed her chastely before pulling away and looking into her eyes hopefully.
"Alright," Dana found herself saying without even thinking about it again for a second. It just slipped out on impulse and by the way he lit up and kissed her so fervently, got up and made space for her clothes in his closet and drawers, she had a feeling that it was the right decision.
Thirty minutes after Logan got himself an additional roommate, he had her sitting on their kitchen counter, his hand on her thighs, and kissing her sloppily because he couldn't seem to stop smiling.
Dana also found herself strangely giddily happy. Logan had already eaten all of the food he and Chase bought the previous day and even though she was starving, she wasn't mad. She wasn't even the slightest bit frustrated by the fact that neither boy thought to buy a single cooking utensil-not for now at least.
What finally brought Dana out of her happy daze was the sound of keys in the lock on the front door. She was only in a t-shirt and boxers of Logan's so she pushed him off of her, hopped down from the counter, and dashed into their bedroom as the front door swung open.
Chase stood in the open front door having seen a blur of a girl go by and saw Logan in their kitchen with nothing but his boxers on and groaned. "Already. I mean, I don't think I saw you with a single girl last year so I thought that sharing a place wouldn't be that bad and we wouldn't constantly have random girls here, but we've only had orientation and you already have some girl here," Chase complained as he shut the door behind him and went through the mail they had stacked on a table near the door. He thought that Logan had matured past his previous semi-man slut ways and he was really dreading if he hadn't because he didn't really didn't want to hear…anything from across the hall or have to sleep with earphones in-they always made his ears sore.
"You never used to refer to me as just some girl," Dana said coming around the corner from the hallway and into the living room now dressed in the clothes she had arrived in.
Chase's mouth literally hung open in shock. He watched as Dana made her way to Logan, who was standing at the edge of where the kitchen turned into the living area and she kissed him quickly and said, "I'm going to get my stuff."
Chase hadn't snapped out of his shock until she got all the way over to him by the door.
"Gee Chase, awesome greeting after four years," Dana said sarcastically, teasing him to hopefully get a response.
"I'm sorry," Chase said snapping himself out of it and shaking his head. He leaned forward and hugged her as he said, "It's so good to see you again."
"Yeah," Dana agreed. She picked up her bag that she had tossed onto their couch on her way in and headed around Chase for the door as she said, "But I've got to go now so we'll catch up when I'm back roomie."
She was out the door before Chase even managed to catch either reference made to her moving in.
Logan knew that he'd have to tell him, but decided to see if he would figure it out for himself given the huge clues. Logan was about to say something, thinking that Chase was really dense, when a light bulb finally seemed to go off in Chase's mind.
"Wait," he began, "What did Dana mean when she said she was getting her stuff?"
"Yeah, sorry for not talking to you about it," Logan began, but he wasn't really sorry even if Chase was a good friend because it was Dana and he wasn't sorry for anything that meant he was with her. Logan admitted, "She's moving in."
"What?" Chase asked confused, "Like to crash on the couch? How's that going to work?"
"No, uh," Logan said and cleared his throat in a way that he hoped didn't seem nervous, "she's going to be in my room, with me."
Chase didn't know where to begin asking questions. He came around the couch and sank down onto it as he stated simply, "I'm confused."
Logan didn't catch on as to what he could be confused about. He tried to say it again thinking that that was the problem, "She's moving in with me."
"I got that part," Chase responded and stopped trying to sort out all the questions in his mind and just go with one, "How did this happen?"
"Housing put her in a quadruple and you know that's just a recipe for…homicide," Logan responded, still not getting Chase's point.
"I mean you and her," Chase said, spelling it out for him.
Logan hadn't talked about this thing he had going with Dana to anyone ever. He didn't really feel comfortable doing so still even if he did just ask her to move in with him. He didn't want anyone making a big deal about it because he had grown used to taking their "relationship" one day at a time and that was all he really thought he could handle. Who knew, maybe tomorrow he'd want her to move out.
So, in response, Logan shrugged and said, "You know, just…happened."
"No, I don't know," Chase said, frustrated by the fact that this conversation felt one-sided. He tried a different question, "How long have you been with Dana? Or did you just see her and decide all of this today?"
"End of August," Logan said shortly.
"That was like a week or two ago," Chase exclaimed baffled because why would anyone move in together after a week or two.
"End of August last year," Logan amended.
"Oh," Chase said and suddenly things began to click in his mind. Logan, his player of a roommate since fifth grade, had been in a long-distance relationship for a year and he couldn't think of a time that he saw Logan with another girl in that time. And now, he had just decided to move in with said girl, who, pretty likely, came to their current university for him.
For once in this conversation Logan seemed to know exactly what Chase was thinking and declared casually, "It's not a big deal."
"Are you kidding?" Chase cried, "This is the definition of a big deal."
"Psht," Logan said, brushing it off, "We'll probably be fighting in a week and then she'll be moved back out."
Chase simply shook his head. He knew he was fighting a losing battle because Logan didn't like to take anything seriously until he was ready to be serious about it-and it usually took him a while to get serious (even if he had already had a year apparently).
Logan began to head back to his bedroom, deciding if he left then the conversation could be dropped. He turned around and added, "But for now, while she is actually here, don't enter a room without knocking…loudly."
"Oh no," Chase said getting up, "This whole house is not going to be your guys'...I'm going to make up some house rules right now."
Dana awoke in her and Logan's room with a smile on her face because she was in their room. About ten minutes later Logan awoke as well and she kissed him good morning chastely on the cheek. When he advanced on her she fended him off declaring that he wasn't allowed to kiss her properly until they both got rid of their morning breath.
He let her have the shower first since she would take-slightly-longer to get ready. They found a rule of Chase's posted on the bathroom door-one occupant to the shower at a time.
It wasn't the first of Chase's rules; he had voiced a few after they finished catching up over dinner the previous night. They included such things as no "couple" activities in shared rooms and no drinking from a milk carton.
In spending five hours of the previous night talking Dana had also learned that Chase had planned to go explore campus for the day in a panicked induced attempt to memorize where everything was so he never got lost. Knowing that he had left a few hours before she and Logan even awoke, Dana was surprised to hear a noise coming from Chase's room as she passed it on her way to the kitchen after she was finished getting ready for the day. She paused at the door, but when she didn't hear anything she brushed it off as something that must have actually come from the bathroom and therefore been Logan's fault.
She proceeded to the kitchen where she toasted pop-tarts that they had picked up, along with a few other things, from the 7-11 a couple of blocks over on their way back from dinner.
A few minutes after Dana finished her processed food breakfast she was joined by Logan. Logan could only stay briefly because he had an appointment his parents were insisting he keep with one of their friends who was a professor in the film department, which they were hoping would get Logan more interested in the family business. Before he grabbed the pop-tart she prepared for him he made sure to give her the proper good morning kiss she didn't allow him to earlier.
The reason for the noise in Chase's room chose that specific moment to let her presence be known and she did so in the form of a loud squeal.
"Oh my gosh," exclaimed Nicole bouncing into the room, "you guys are actually together!"
"You managed to wait all of ten hours to see if it was true too," Dana responded having pulled away from Logan at the sound of the squeal. She was referring to the previous night when Nicole called Chase while they were hanging out and he announced the news of his new roommate and the not so new relationship to her.
"Well I wouldn't have had to wait this long if you guys had been up sooner," Nicole responded inviting herself to a seat across the small kitchen table from Dana.
"How long have you been here?" Logan questioned, more than a little wondering how she got into the house since Chase-paranoid as he was-would have locked the doors when he left.
"Since Chase left about three hours ago," Nicole responded honestly. Chase had told her what time he wanted to get started on his campus memorization at and he was always punctual so she was waiting when he opened the front door to leave. She realized that they might have been wondering what she had been doing in her time there so she added, "I've just been hanging out in his room. You know, he's surprisingly very organized. And there isn't a single embarrassing thing in there…well, not really. He does still have a box of stuff from his relationship with Zoey, I kind of thought he wouldn't have brought it with him here though."
"Me too," Logan agreed, "I saw him shove it under his bed the other day when he was unpacking and I was in there bugging him. He didn't want to talk about it though and it's not like I understand it anyway. I have no idea why he'd hang on to all that stuff when it's so definitely over."
Nicole simply nodded in agreement while Dana didn't venture to have an opinion since the information of Chase and Zoey's turbulent relationship was still news to her-they never mentioned it in their occasional e-mails.
"Crap," Logan said glancing at his watch, "I've got to go." He pecked Dana on the lips-to which Nicole exclaimed, "You guys are so cute!"- and sarcastically told the girls to play nice as he headed out the door.
Twelve minutes later Dana found herself at the nearest café with Nicole for lunch. She also found herself unquestioned by Nicole, which shocked her since she had never seen Nicole show that much resistance. So she was basically waiting for when Nicole would finally begin her line of questioning.
Nicole made it until their waitress brought them their drinks, six whole minutes after they sat down. It seemed as soon as her iced tea hit the tabletop Nicole suddenly couldn't resist any longer. "So, how did it happen?" Nicole questioned, eyes sparkling with a special curiosity in her that only came out on the topic of romances.
Dana gave Nicole the brief version of the story. It was basically the same version she gave to her mom-without her added confusion coming into it. She had never shared specific details- everything they did or said to each other- with anyone because that was just theirs and no one else's.
"You were in town when we were and you didn't come see us?" Nicole questioned when Dana mentioned that she came to see Logan the past December.
"I guess we forgot," Dana admitted with an apologetic shrug, which Nicole accepted immediately so Dana would continue with the story.
When Dana had finished her summary of events ending with moving in with Logan the previous day Nicole questioned, "Why didn't you write anything about you guys in your once-a-year long e-mail to me? Or ever mention it in your short semi-frequent e-mails to Chase or Zoey?"
"I don't know," Dana offered, because she wasn't going to admit that it was because she was constantly so uncertain about everything concerning them. She continued, "I'd say why didn't you tell me everything about your life in your two-a-year super long e-mails to me, but you did. But neither you, Chase, or Zoey mentioned anything about their problems, why not?"
"Well, it wasn't my place," Nicole responded as to why she never said anything about them because their relationship was their business. She couldn't really speak for either Chase or Zoey but she speculated, "And I don't think Chase would have said anything because he never liked to believe that anything…bad was ever happening between them. Zoey, well, you know how she likes things to be 'perfect' and if you didn't have to know that they weren't then that's probably why you didn't."
Dana still didn't fully know what had happened between Chase and Zoey, but given the fact that they were currently broken up for good and how miserable Chase seemed at any mention of her, she was really curious. She asked, "Chase didn't really talk about it last night. He just said they weren't together because Zoey had made it clear that that was what she wanted. But, what happened?"
Nicole sighed and looked like she had just been told that her favorite love story was originally about a man and his dog and not a man and a woman. "Well," she began, "you know that after Chase went to London for Zoey and Zoey came back for him, he came back for her?"
Dana nodded for the happy part of the story had been shared with her.
"I was still away then, so it's entirely possible that, like you, I was only getting the positives, but there were actually many negatives about their relationship. I don't know. But I do think that, at first, it was good," Nicole explained. "I mean, Chase seems to have some happy memories of them," she added reflectively.
"Since my parents finally let me come back to PCA for senior year I got to see this year first hand though. A couple of time Lola had said something about the fighting not being new, but she also seemed surprised at the scale of the fighting too so I guess that they did used to fight, but not nearly as bad," Nicole clarified. "They'd yell, so much," she added sadly.
"What about?" Dana couldn't help but ask.
Nicole shook her head and offered, "Everything. She didn't respect him. He didn't trust her. They just…fell apart." Nicole had thought about the relationship a lot, but she hadn't told anyone what she had come to think. It was out of character for her-to be so un-optimistic- but she thought Dana would understand so she told her, "I always thought Chase and Zoey seemed so perfect for each other. I mean, the way he loved her from the first moment he saw her; it was just so sweet. But I don't think she ever loved him the same way. He loved-loves- her so much and she never felt the same way and that just seemed to become clear last year. He could have never used her like she used him. She broke up with him six times last year and gave into his groveling when she got lonely again. Then she broke up with him for the last time a week before prom, after he bought their tickets. She went with someone else. He sat in his room all night. He could never do that to her, he's way too great of a guy, and he could never hurt her like that."
Dana nodded in understanding. She knew she was only getting one view of the story, but romance was Nicole's niche and Dana knew how observant and thoughtful and understanding she could be when it came to relationships so she knew that what Nicole thought had happened was probably true.
Another thought crossed Dana's mind though: If Chase and Zoey, who seemed so perfect for each other, couldn't survive in a relationship then what chance did she and Logan have? She had thought that maybe they had a month or two before one of them would want out, but now, she was starting to wonder if they even had a week.
Wanting to distract herself from that depressing thought, Dana asked something she had picked up on while Nicole was talking. She decided that while direct was her style, it wasn't Nicole's so she took a hinting tactic and asked, "So, what's up with you and Chase?"
"What do you mean?" Nicole responded looking convincingly confused. In fact, Dana was impressed with her obvious ability to lie.
Dana rolled her eyes and retorted, "You know what I mean. Chase wasn't surprised you called him last night. It seemed like that occurs pretty often."
Nicole shrugged casually and said, "Well, I told him I'd call him last night so I guess he remembered I said that and that's why he was expecting me to call him."
"Uh huh," Dana said doubtfully. She decided words really weren't getting her anywhere so she simply stared, unblinking, at Nicole.
Nicole was surprisingly resistant to the stare down and managed to hold out for a whole two minutes. But she did inevitably cave. "Alright, alright," she conceded, "It's…things aren't like they were when you left or when I left. Last year when I came back Zoey and I were as close as always at first, but then she started causing all of that drama and she never said why. I think she wanted to want Chase, but she didn't actually want him and she was struggling to be okay with that. But the way she was struggling was by dumping Chase and randomly taking him back-sometimes dating other guys in between and then later telling us not to tell Chase. She didn't need anyone, but Chase, he was miserable and he needed a friend. I mean, he had Michael and Logan of course, but Michael was distracted by his relationship with Lola and I'm guessing that the distraction that Logan had that I couldn't figure out was you. But I've been single so when he was depressed and needed someone to lift his spirits, I was around to try."
"So you're really good friends now," Dana concluded for Nicole, but continued, "but is that all you are?"
"Of course it is, Chase will always be in love with Zoey," Nicole answered hopelessly.
"Maybe not always," Dana offered, hoping she sounded convincingly optimistic since it wasn't a role she was used to playing.
"It doesn't matter anyway," Nicole said shaking her head, "I may think Chase is a great guy, but who wouldn't? And you know me thinking that a guy like Chase is the type of guy I want is largely a result of my relationship history. You remember the guys I told you about, right?"
Dana nodded as she responded, "Yeah and my offer to kick their asses still stands."
"That's exactly what Logan said. You guys are so meant for each other," Nicole digressed. But with a "oh, please" look and eye roll from Dana, Nicole got back on track, "Date a guy for six months and have him end your relationship when you're on stage getting crowned homecoming king and queen and he uses the microphone to ask another girl to dance and declare his desire to be with her when he never even hinted that he didn't want to be with you, and a super sweet guy like Chase sounds exactly like what you want." Nicole caught what she had been saying and added hastily, "But I don't want to be with Chase like that. He's a good friend and I want him to remain my friend. I've just realized that what I'm looking for in a guy is a guy that's a lot like him."
"Right," Dana said doubtfully.
Before she could continue Nicole changed the subject, "We didn't come here to talk about me though, I came to talk about your relationship with Logan. Has he told you he loves you yet? Was it romantic or was he like super casual about it? Are you going to marry him? I bet you're so going to marry him and have the cutest kids like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes."
Dana barely comprehended everything Nicole so rapidly said, but she tried to get away from it all the same by ignoring it, "So how's UCLA? Are you living on campus or off?"
"Don't try and change the subject," Nicole demanded, "But UCLA is great. I got a single room on campus-didn't want to deal with roommate drama anymore. Started classes last Monday but lucky for you I don't have any classes on Friday's this term so I have all day to spend with you and you can tell me all about where you think your relationship with Logan is headed."
Dana groaned and offered, "Can't I just tell you how he is in bed?" She was much more comfortable talking about the physical versus the emotional.
"No," Nicole said firmly, but after a second of a pause she added, "Well, later." Nicole proceeded to give Dana her own version of a stare down, which included Nicole smiling at Dana encouragingly.
Dana couldn't take all the smiling any more and finally answered honestly-yet still briefly-, "I don't know where our relationship is going. We spent the last year not seeing each other most of the time so we didn't really have a relationship in any traditional sense. It's me and Logan though and after we actually spend more than a week around each other one or both of us will probably want out. So, I'm taking this one day at a time and I figure by the time day ten of our relationship rolls around it'll be over."
Now, it was Nicole's turn to look doubtful.
VI. When this whole world comes to an end, I'll be standing there holding your trembling hand
Nine months later at the start of May, Logan and Dana sat cuddled on the living room couch watching American Idol.
The first week of living together, then the first ten days, then the first month had all kept passing without either having the desire to leave so the school year was coming to a close and they were still together-much to their surprise.
Actually, neither were currently surprised by it because recently they had had some very honest revelations. They had yet to share their individual revelations with each other though. So, as was always common for them, they sat together, knowing they were together, but without anything between them ever being officially declared or feelings voiced.
That was all about to change though.
Slightly over four months before the May moment on the couch Logan entered his global politics class for the first time as the spring semester began.
Five minutes after the class should have started a girl came barreling into the class and plopped into the seat next to him.
"Did I miss anything?" She asked him in a semi-hushed shout.
"Nope," Logan responded simply, without even a glance to her.
"Well, aren't you friendly," she said sarcastically as she pulled a pen and a notepad out of her bag and sat back in her chair.
"What?" Logan questioned turning toward her. He answered her question, what else did she want? His whole life story?
She turned to him and responded, "You're the first guy all day that hasn't tried to look down my sweater. Not that I blame them, I have great breasts, but a hot girl sits down next to you and starts talking to you and you respond with single syllables."
"Awfully confident aren't you?" Logan questioned, to which the girl gave him a look that said she knew she had the body of a Playboy centerfold, she had a cute face, and her long blond hair was really working for her and there was no point denying any of it. Logan continued, "Well, I'm not interested."
Her brows furrowed for a second before shooting up in realization, "Oh, you're gay."
Logan laughed out loud in response, not able to resist.
"Well, what is it then?" she asked confused.
"I'm in a relationship," he admitted a bit slowly, still not used to the words.
"So?" she questioned, "the guy that hit on me ten minutes ago was doing so with his wife by his side. A relationship never prevents a guy from being interested in other girls. I should know, I've been cheated enough times."
"That sucks," Logan said hoping it was an appropriate sympathetic response, "But I'm not one of those guys I guess."
"Really?" she questioned doubtfully. Her gaze remained fixed on him and he didn't falter so she conceded, "Fine, then tell me about this great relationship you're in. Who's this perfect girl that makes you oblivious to all other girls?"
"Why should I tell you personal stuff like that? I don't even know you," Logan countered. Though the idea of talking to a stranger about his relationship did sound surprisingly slightly more appealing than talking to someone that knew him.
She shrugged and responded, "Because I need a reason to believe in relationships again. So tell me your great love story and make me believe that good relationships exist."
"I don't know if I could do that," Logan said honestly doubtful that he could restore someone's faith in love-it sounded like an awfully taxing task.
She thought for a second and asked, "Are you happy?"
"Yeah," he answered, not even needing to think about it.
"Then you'll do," she said decisively. She offered her hand and said, "I'm Amanda by the way."
"Logan," he returned, shaking her hand.
"So what's the girl's name and how did you meet?" Amanda questioned jumping right in as she let go of his hand.
Five minutes later the professor finally seemed to get the power point properly projected and began class, but every Tuesday and Thursday that they had class Amanda would show up just early enough to question Logan about his relationship with Dana a bit and continue for minute as they packed up their things at the end of class.
She came in one day in March and began with her traditional question, "Still happy with Dana?"
"Yep," Logan answered simply and honestly.
"So, no trouble ever at all?" She questioned finding that concept hard to believe.
"Of course," Logan said with a snort because to think that they didn't fight was only something complete strangers could have the capability to think about them. He explained, "We disagree about small things constantly. And we've fought about big stuff too."
"Like what?" Amanda prompted.
He sighed and revealed, "I wanted her to lie to her parents about how much time we have off for spring break so she would spend more time with me, but she wanted to go home. We were arguing about it this morning actually. And pretty often she has these issues about money. She doesn't like it when I pay for certain things. She says she can only eat my food if I eat food she's bought-which isn't a problem because I tend to help myself to everyone's food. But then I'll go and pay the entirety of the cable bill or the electric bill or something and she'll get mad saying that she can pay for herself and she's not my responsibility."
"But you still want to be with her?" Amanda interjected, "You told me you take your relationship one day at a time and on a bad day when you fight you still want to be with her? No temptation to leave?"
"No, I've never wanted it to end, even if I'm mad at her," Logan realized.
Amanda sighed and said actually believing it for the first time despite all of the detailed relationship questions she had come to ask, "You really love her."
Logan thought for a second, reflected on all of the things he had said, took a deep breath and agreed, "Yeah." From then on he wasn't taking it one day at a time because he had come to realize that no matter what any day entailed, he still wanted one thing to be the same, he wanted her there with him, he wanted her to stay, always.
"And I believe it now, so I guess I'm done with my questions," Amanda responded. After a beat of silence she couldn't stand it anymore though and said, "Okay so not done, but two more things. First, do you have any single friends you wanna set me up with? And second, did you do any of the reading, because I forgot about the quiz and I know absolutely nothing."
Logan attempted to respond but was a bit too caught up in his recent realization and declaration to pay attention to anything very well.
He had done the reading, but he scored a five out of ten on the quiz that day. He couldn't have been happier.
Six weeks before Dana found herself sitting on a couch hoping Logan followed her frequently voiced American Idol viewing rules, she found Chase walking in on a secret of hers.
It was late March and Logan had left for class twenty minutes prior and said class should have just officially started. Chase was likewise supposed to be in class.
But as Dana had just pulled out her hidden item from behind the pots and pans-where Logan would never look- Chase walked through the front door. She immediately pulled the item behind her back, but by the curious look on Chase's face she knew that he was going to find out-unless she literally beat him into intimidation.
"What's going on?" Chase asked suspiciously as he dropped his bag near the couch and proceeded into the kitchen.
"Nothing," she responded, figuring maybe she could get away with lying. She tried to distract him and asked, "Why aren't you in class?"
"It got canceled," he answered.
Shit. Cancelled? She hadn't even thought of that as a possibility. "You don't think Logan's class could have gotten canceled too do you?" Dana asked, her worry apparent.
"No," Chase responded firmly and explained quickly, instantly trying to calm a worried girl was in his nature, "It was just that my professor has been sick so he's been kind of flakey lately and we don't have a TA. But if Logan's class was canceled too he would have been back by now."
Dana released a shaky breath.
"What's going on?" Chase asked, truly concerned.
Dana hesitated, looked away, bit her lip and brought the bag out from around her back. She met his eyes as she pulled the box out of the bag. It was a pregnancy test.
Chase's eyes went wide, but seeing the nervous girl in front of him he tried to regain control. He was visibly freaked out, but tried to act calm as he said, "Oh, okay. I guess Logan doesn't know then."
Dana shook her head and responded, "I don't know if there's anything for him to know. I just realized yesterday that I was supposed to get my period and I didn't all day so on my way home I picked this up just in case. But this is the first time Logan's been gone since then and I didn't want him to know unless there's something to know and after I've gotten the chance to think about it if there is something to know. You won't tell him right?"
"My lips are sealed," Chase promised.
An awkward silence settled over them.
"Well, you can't take that in here," Chase said gesturing to the kitchen in an attempt to lighten the mood. Dana managed a small smile. He continued, "I'll stay out here and you should go take that so you know if you'll have something to tell Logan and, if you want, I'll wait for the results with you."
She nodded and came over and hugged Chase as she said, "Thank you."
"No problem," he said assured as she made her way to the bathroom with the test in hand.
A minute later Dana came back out of the bathroom with the box and test in hand. She put the box on the table and the test on a paper plate-it didn't really seem sanitary to let it touch the table even if the part she peed on was covered.
Chase picked up the box and started reading the directions for how to tell the results. He found himself quickly done, "Oh so this will actually read out 'pregnant' or 'not pregnant.'"
"Yeah, it wasn't really much more money so I decided to go with the one with the clearest answer," Dana responded and began to fidget with her hands nervously. The down sided of this test was that it took five to ten minutes for the results to appear.
Chase nodded in understanding and took her hand so she'd stop fidgeting. He smiled at her, hoping that such an act was reassuring-he didn't know if it would be, he had never been in a situation like this before. The silence was starting to get to him as it was clearly getting to Dana so he just started talking, without thinking unfortunately, "I think Logan would be okay with it, you know if you are pregnant." Upon Dana's surprised/confused look he continued, "I mean, he loves you, right? So he'd never like, abandon you or anything, he'd be there for you and the kid and he'd make a good dad." As an afterthought he added, "If you wanted to keep it if there is one that is, since it is your choice in all."
Dana shook her head and smiled, "You're kind of bad at this you know." Chase gave her a crooked smile and let go of her hand to run it through his messy hair- at least he got her to smile. She thought for a minute before she decided that she might as well tell Chase all of her secrets since he was already going to be keeping this big one. She asked, "Can I tell you something?"
"Sure," he responded instantly. But come to think of it, if it was going to be something like "I don't think there's any chance Logan would be the father if there was a baby," then he really didn't want to know.
Luckily Dana didn't say anything like his fear, but actually something's he had come to conclude on his own by living with both her and Logan. She sighed and admitted, "Logan and I are on the same page in our relationship, I think. We don't talk about it, but I think we're just taking it one day at a time. We don't talk about feelings because that implies a future and we don't talk about the future because that would mean we're taking things more than one day at a time. You know?" Chase nodded so she continued, "I don't want to have a baby at nineteen. I'm way to young. But…" She hesitated saying this next part because she still had trouble believing it was true, that she had even thought it at all.
"What?" Chase encouraged.
"I don't…hate the idea of it completely either," she forced out. Chase seemed slightly confused so she elaborated, "I believe in the right of any woman to choose, but I couldn't do that. And then when I think about what if I am pregnant? I think about…" she trailed off again. She admitted the next part in a rush, "I think about how that would mean possibly spending the rest of my life with Logan and I'm okay with that."
Chase smiled, he had been waiting all year for one of them to say something like that. He needed to hear it confirmed again so he questioned, "So actually thinking about the future of your and Logan's relationship for once, you've realized that you'd like a long future with him and you like the idea of having kids with him." When Dana didn't respond but tried to keep her mouth sealed shut, he pushed, "Come on, you can say it. It's just one word."
She resisted for another minute before finally giving in, "Yes, okay? Are you happy now?"
"Yep," Chase responded simply. He still wore this big knowing grin, which was annoying the hell out of Dana and he knew it.
She tried to turn the tables on him, so to speak, and questioned, "What about you? Anyone you'd like to have in your future?"
"My friends," Chase responded questioningly, unsure of what Dana was getting at.
"What about Nicole?" Dana asked, completely giving up on beating around the bush.
"Um…" Chase began, still seeming genuinely confused about her point.
Dana elaborated before Chase could continue whatever his thought was and said, "You hang out with her constantly. In words she uses, you're totally bff's. You talk to each other like six times a day."
"Yeah," Chase responded, not denying that they were friends because he did consider Nicole to be very good friend. But he still wasn't catching on to Dana's point so he had to ask, "So?"
"You guys took a swing dancing class together," Dana cried exasperatedly.
"So?" Chase cried again in response, truly oblivious.
Dana rolled her eyes and tried another tactic. "You haven't dated since Zoey," she stated, "isn't it past time that you start?"
"Maybe," Chase admitted. It had been a long time, it had even been a long time since Zoey moved on-he had heard-and most of the time he had accepted the fact that they weren't right for each other and not only would they not be in each other's futures, but they shouldn't be as well. "What does that have to do with Nicole though?" He asked, still not getting it.
Dana groaned slightly in frustration before she asked, "Do you like hanging out with Nicole?"
"Yeah," Chase responded immediately. He had a great time with Nicole.
"Do you have fun with her?" Dana asked, hoping her line of questioning would get him to se her point.
"Of course, Nicole's easily the funnest person any of us know-even though I know 'funnest' isn't a word, it is an accurate description of Nicole, it's fitting," Chase rambled slightly.
Dana smiled and asked, "Do you find her attractive?"
Chase had a feeling that he knew her point now, so he answered, "Well, yeah, she's gorgeous, but so are you and so is Lola and I've just been very blessed to have very attractive female friends. I know what you're getting at, but you're wrong. None of it means anything."
"First, thank you," Dana said, appreciating the compliment. But just because he said something nice didn't mean she was going to let it go. She still fully believed that Nicole wasn't just into the idea of a guy like Chase, but just into Chase. She continued her argument in a way that she knew would nag at Chase because he wasn't the type to let things go, "Well, maybe you're right. Maybe you're just meant to be friends. But she's a hot girl that you truly enjoy spending time with. If I was you I wouldn't rule it out."
Chase thought for a second and came up with an idea he hoped would end this line of conversation for good. He offered, "How about I make a deal with you? If you marry Logan and Nicole and I are both still single, then I'll invite her to the wedding."
"As your date not your friend," Dana clarified.
"Yes," Chase agreed. He figured if Dana and Logan took just over a year and a half to admit that they had feelings for each other just to themselves and not even to each other, then marriage definitely wasn't coming any time soon. By the time it did come he was pretty sure that he would have found the will to date again and Nicole would have met some guy and probably be married herself-though they had a pretty full schedule of activities so neither was probably going to happen for either of them soon, especially not with the pottery class they were starting soon, taking up yet another weekday night.
"Okay," Dana agreed. She knew that even if she was pregnant marriage might not be in their future at all. She didn't know how Logan felt and maybe he was opposed to the institution of marriage all together, she really had no idea. But since she was starting to really like the idea of it being in their future she hoped she'd be able to make Chase keep his promise.
Chase glanced at his watch and offered, "It's been seven minutes, do you want to see if it's ready?"
Dana nodded and took off top paper plate-that she had covering it so she wouldn't have her eyes glued to it anxiously waiting for words to appear.
She had her eyes closed, which prompted Chase to ask, "Do you want me to look?" He hadn't looked yet out of respect for her, even though he could.
She shook her head and said, "No, I can do it." She took a deep breath and opened her eyes. She let out a sigh of relief when she read "Not Pregnant" clearly on the test. "Oh thank God," she breathed. She stood up from the table and leaned over and hugged Chase again as she said, again, "Thank you."
"Your welcome," Chase responded genuinely, "you know that if there's a next time and you want someone to wait with you, I'm always here."
She smiled at him gratefully and they proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon watching movies, the weight lifted from her shoulders that had been there for the last-and longest-twenty hours of her life.
Later, she realized that when she counted the days to calculate that she was late she was using a calendar that was two years old (her first clue should have been that though it was the 23rd, it wasn't a Wednesday-but she was too freaked out to realize her mistake) and therefore she wasn't actually late, just in need of a good room cleaning so that they didn't have useless things like an old calendar lying around anymore.
So here they found themselves at the start of May watching a horrendous rendition of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me," both knowing what they wanted their future to be and only needing to now tell the other what that was.
They had managed to admit to themselves that they wanted each other and, eventually, that maybe that idea wasn't so crazy. They had managed to admit to themselves that they hated how limited their time was together the previous year and that they wanted more than just a few days every few months. They had even managed to admit to themselves that they loved the other person and wanted their futures to be together. But in the one year and nine months that they had been together, they hadn't really let the other person know any of that, not exactly at least.
Logan had been thinking that he had to tell Dana that he wasn't just thinking about them as a let's-take-this-one-day-at-a-time-relationship anymore. And he knew that she wanted to be with him and he knew that she hated how little they got to see each other the previous year too. She had never said any of that to him, but he knew it and when he realized how he knew that, he knew how he would tell her how he felt about them now.
When it was Paula's turn to critique the horrible performance Logan tapped Dana's shoulder.
"I know its just Paula," she said, eyes still glued to the screen, "but the rules still stand. No talking until commercials."
He sat up, causing her to have to get up off of his chest as well. He turned to face her, but she had simply moved back against the back cushion and was still facing the TV.
Simon was talking now, but he was tired of waiting. He had been thinking about doing this for a while and it was time that he just go for it. He tapped her shoulder again to get her attention.
"What?" she snapped as she turned to him.
"I've got something to ask you," Logan responded, not at all intimidated by her tone. He had gotten quite used to that tone, in fact, he had told Amanda that he'd probably miss it if it should ever go away permanently.
"Well it better be good if you're breaking my rules," Dana said knowing that it was fully possible for Logan to do something just because it irritated her-not that she'd have it any other way. She warned him, "You know I'm willing to hurt you if this is pointless."
"How?" He asked curious as to what her threat would be this time.
"Withholding sex," she replied easily.
Eek, she was serious, and he should have known that by how strictly she had continuously enforced her American Idol rules. He responded, more than a bit relieved himself, "It's a good thing this is important then."
"What is?" she questioned, hoping he'd finally get to the point of whatever it was that was so important that he need to interrupt some really good Simon insults.
He fished around in his pocket-which garnered Dana's interest-having to turn towards her more in the process in order to be able to dig.
Finally, after Dana had grown anxious about what he could possibly be doing, he pulled out a ring.
Her heart stopped, her eyes widened.
He asked her the one question that had begun it all. He said the one word that had always let him know that she felt the same way about him that he did about her. He asked simply, "Stay?"
He had the ring offered out to her. He was smiling adorably, his eyes sparkling with hope.
She nodded as she confirmed, "Yes." She wasn't the crying type, but she couldn't stop a few happy tears from escaping as she tackled him and kissed her fiancé enthusiastically.
He was flat on his back on the couch now, her on top of him, he may have been slightly crushed but he didn't care. She pulled back from the kiss slightly and he put the ring on her finger. She looked at it, so at home on her hand, for only a second before attacking him again-letting him know just how happy she was.
Chase chose that moment to enter and when he saw what was happening on the couch, he admonished, "Come on guys. The couch is a shared area. Can't you go to your room?"
In response, and without stopping kissing Logan, Dana simply held up her left hand.
"No way," Chase exclaimed in shock at sight of the ring. "Congratulations," he said genuinely though he knew that they probably wouldn't notice that he said it given that their display hadn't stopped.
Dana detached herself from Logan just long enough to shout at Chase's retreating form-he figured they could break his rules just this once. She yelled, "Go make good on your promise to me."
Chase groaned and he would complain about it later. He'd argue how he never actually thought they'd get married this soon and it just wasn't fair. But he'd end up having a great time at the wedding with Nicole.
Dana smiled down at Logan and said, "You know, I was never really planning on going anywhere."
"Just making sure," he said taking her left hand in his right and threading their fingers together.
She kissed him again, American Idol completely forgotten.
They may not have said, "I love you" to each other, but just like always, they said everything they needed to say to each other in their own way. While they were separated by the unavoidable distance, they said "I missed you" in a kiss. Now, their kisses said many things; "I want you," "I'm happy with you," "I love you." And as far as things said aloud, they said everything they really needed to. In the end, the only thing that really mattered was that there was never a time that one of them didn't want to stay with the other.
So, for a final time, he had asked her to stay to ensure that she'd stay forever just as he wanted.
She was happy to oblige his wish and agree to stay with him always.
Thus days of uncertainty were officially over because they both knew that the other person wanted nothing more than for them to spend forever in this state where they were always together; to, for all eternity, simply stay.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the story.
The section titles were song lyrics. In order those songs were: "Foolish Games" by Jewel, "One Night Is Not Enough" by Snowpatrol, "Don't Cry" by Guns N'Roses, "Return to Me" by Dean Martin, "All For Your Love" by HelloGoodbye, and "I'll Let Nothing Separate Us" by Otis Redding.
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