"What in the world do they see in you?"
Once again, Alec got up Logan's nose with a smart-ass remark. Declining to reply, Logan shot him a dirty look and went back to work at the computer. Sometimes, no, frequently he wondered about Alec. What was his problem, anyway?
So, left to his own devices, Alec thought he would ask "them" – women who seemed to fall all over Logan – to answer the question. It bugged him that Asha had Logan's phone number in her book, but not his, even though she had asked him for it. And it really bugged him that Max came running every time Logan snapped his fingers. What did that guy have that he, Alec, didn't, other than a wheelchair and an exoskeleton?
The next day, at Jam Pony, Alec decided to confront Max with the question. So, he lurked around the locker room, hoping to catch Max for a few minutes. As usual, she was late for work. Alec paced back and forth in front of his locker until she appeared. When she finally showed up, she gave him a funny sideways look.
"What's up with you? Got something on that pea brain you call a mind?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. You got a few minutes?"
"I guess so. Normal isn't bellowing at me. Whatcha want?"
I gotta ask you a question."
"Yeah?" Max was beginning to wonder what his problem was. He looked more agitated than she'd seen him in a while.
"What do you see in Logan?" There, he'd said it.
"What kind of a question is that?"
"Well, just answer it. What do you see in him? What is it about that guy that makes women fall all over him?"
"You're trippin, Alec. Women fall all over Logan?"
"Yeah, they do. Asha would give her right -- arm – to jump his bones right now, even if we do have something going. And the two of you --."
"Don't go there, Alec."
"You can't even touch him because of that virus, but you won't even give me the time of day. So, what's he got that I haven't?"
"Well, I wouldn't give you the time of day even if I didn't know Logan! But since you're askin', try sensitivity for starters. Something you wouldn't know about if it bit you in the ass. I can't tell you how many times he stayed with me or held me when my seizures kicked in really bad. Or how many times he arranged to get Tryptophan for me through the black market because he knew how much I needed it -- and he never asked me to pay him back."
"Right. Like he couldn't afford to pay whatever it cost…" Alec mumbled under his breath.
"And he arranged for several children to be adopted when they lost their folks or their loved ones. He made sure each of them had a good, loving home. He didn't have to do that, but he did it anyway."
"OK, so he's a goody two-shoes."
"Hardly. But he's also the most courageous guy I know."
"Oh, come on! Logan? He's a computer geek in a wheelchair or an exoskeleton!" Alec said incredulously.
"Yes, Logan. Since I've known him, he's been shot helping get a woman and her daughter into witness protection – that's how he ended up in the wheelchair. He's taken on Lydeker any number of times on my behalf and ended up on old Don's and Renfro's hit lists – as you know. He exchanged himself for me and other hostages when a bunch of terrorists took over a hotel – he ended up being thrown off a roof for his efforts, I might add. Even when he knew that more activity might further cripple or kill him, he helped Zack get me out of Seattle when the police and Lydecker were looking for me. He was bitch-slapped and threatened by a white slaver he went after. Brought him down too. He took on the South African Red series soldiers when they set a trap for me and saved my life. He was humiliated in front of me by a bunch of knuckle-dragging mouth breathers in a small town up the coast. When they came after us because I discovered their nasty secret, I was incapacitated by seizures. Not only did Logan protect me & a boy they'd come after, he killed them all. And so on. And all of it from that wheelchair. Get the picture, Alec?" Max glared at him.
"I'm beginning to. So, Logan's not just some computer geek who you help out?"
"Not hardly. He can take care of himself – and me too." Max slammed her locker door and stalked off.
Still grumbling, Alec went to Crash that evening and sat at the bar. He ordered a beer and stared into it for a while. When he looked up, he saw Asha walk in. She caught his eye and smiled brightly at him. With a movement of his head, he indicated that she should join him.
"Hey, Alec, how's it going?" she asked cheerfully.
Alec grumbled something incoherent.
"Ah, you're in a bad mood. Maybe I should sit elsewhere," Asha commented, not wanting to deal with a moody X5.
"Sorry. No, please don't go. It's just been a bad day. I've got something on my mind and it won't go away."
"Penny for your thoughts, then?" she said as she ordered a draft.
"You asked me for my phone number."
"So why isn't it in your phone book?"
"Good grief! Is that what you're all spun about? It's on a Post-It note in the back. I haven't had time to enter it – I've had other things on my mind lately, like being betrayed by one of our own, remember?" Asha replied. "And what were you doing looking in my phone book anyway?"
"I was picking up your stuff after the S1W got busted and I found your book. I just wondered. You had Logan's number in it and I wondered why you didn't have mine."
"You're weird, Alec."
Alec drained the glass of beer and motioned to the bartender for another. He so wanted to ask Asha another question, but he couldn't think of how to phrase it politely; he'd never been accused of being polite, anyway. Taking a deep breath, he just blurted it out.
"Asha, what do you see in Logan?"
"What?" She couldn't believe she heard him properly.
"What is it about Logan? I've seen the way you look at him. What do you see in him anyway?"
"Alec, are you jealous of Logan?
"Me, jealous? Hell no!" he retorted. "I just want to know what women see in him. It's like he snaps his fingers and women fall all over him. I can't figure it out."
"Alec, you really are an idiot. I've known Logan for five or six years – longer than anyone else here in Seattle. He's been a crusader for as long as I've known him. When we worked together at a newspaper in San Francisco, he was into exposing government corruption, writing fiery editorials about how the people were being screwed by their own elected officials. He was always for the little guy. Logan is one of the most caring people I've ever known. I'd risk my life for him and what he stands for."
"OK, so he's a good guy, but what do women see in him?"
"You are jealous!" Asha teased.
"Come on, just answer the question."
"Well, what can I say? Besides being one of the good guys, Logan is a caring, sensitive lover and terrific in bed. There, you satisfied?" Asha smiled coyly.
"For crying out loud! He's a cripple! He can't walk without that exoskeleton. When he takes it off, he can't even move! How can he be a terrific lover?"
"You are a pig, Alec. You obviously don't realize that a man's most important sex organ is the one between his ears, not between his legs, "Asha retorted.
"Oh, well I guess I stand corrected," Alec said defensively. He looked at her and noticed the smile on her face. "Are you jerking my chain?"
"Not at all. I wouldn't do that to you. You asked me a question and I'm trying to answer it honestly."
"That wasn't an answer I expected to hear. So, Logan's great in the sack, eh? I'd have never expected it from – such a computer geek."
"Oh, Logan's a man of many talents. You'd be surprised."
"I guess I would." Alec shook his head and dove into another beer. His mood had not lightened.
Asha, realizing that Alec would be lousy company fort eh rest of the evening, took her beer and went over to join some friends at a table on the other side of the room. She thought they had something going, and his obvious jealousy toward Logan surprised her. How could he possibly be envious?
For his part, Alec decided that he needed an impartial opinion from a female who didn't jump whenever Logan snapped his fingers. He got up from his barstool, beer in hand, and sought out Original Cindy.
He found her sitting at a table with Sketchy and a couple of other Jam Pony messengers. She motioned for him to join them, casually cocking a long finger at him. Damn, he thought, too bad she's gay. She's a fine woman and a guy could drown in those eyes.
"Can I have a few minutes of your time?" he asked.
"Sure, boo. Give me a sec to get rid of this crew." She shooed Sketchy and his friends away with a "Me and Alec gotta talk" look. "Sit yourself down and tell Original Cindy what's on your mind."
"Ah, well, it's kind of a delicate matter."
"What's eatin' you, boo?" Cindy looked him in the eye.
"I'm, ah, trying to find out what women see in Logan. I figured you could give me an unbiased opinion."
"Why you want to know that? Checkin' out the competition?"
"Logan? Competition? Hah! That'll be the day!" Alec snorted. "Just an unscientific poll is all. I've been brought up to revere physical prowess – strength and agility, stuff like that. I thought that was what women liked, you know, strong men who could sweep them off their feet."
"And you're wondering why Max would fall for a guy who can't do any of that. You think maybe she feels sorry for him?"
"Max, Asha, name some female, yourself excepted, who comes within 20 feet of that guy…" Alec complained.
"Alec honey, Logan does sweep women off their feet. He just does it differently from you. He showed up at Jam Pony one night to take Max to his cousin's wedding. He was all done up in a tux and he was so hot that I would have jumped in his lap. The man is fine. He hides that body under baggy clothes, but trust me, the man is built. And strong. Just cos his legs don't work don't mean he can't deliver the goods."
"I've already heard that story!" Alec said, rolling his eyes.
"Ya know, looks and charm can only get ya so far. You've got both. Logan does too. A couple of days before he got shot, he came in here one night lookin' for Max. He sauntered in like he owned the place. You'd have to be dead not to have noticed him – looks and charm out the ass. He played her like a violin and she fell for him right then and there. Nothin' anyone could do about it. Later, after he'd gotten out of the hospital and rehab, she went right back to him."
"Out of pity, right?" Alec was hopeful.
"Well, she did feel responsible for him getting shot, but he never felt that it was her fault. It was an occupational hazard of his job and he knew it."
"Man must be a saint," Alec mumbled to himself.
"And he is the most loyal man I've ever met. He adores Max and really would lay down his life for her – "
"Yeah, I've heard about that too!"
"And generous. When he still had the scrilla, he would buy Max anything she wanted. And he used his money to help people start new lives – buy new IDs, give them a stake to get over the border and start over. Hell, now that he's lost his fortune, he's been selling off his artwork to pay for a cure for that virus."
"I didn't know that. No wonder Max was so mad at me when she paid that guy to zap that thingy in my neck."
"True dat. She's a better woman than me. I'd a let your head explode."
"Max said she wished she had."
"I've seen him drag himself across the floor to save Max, boy. He went after Manticore single-handedly when he thought she was dead. You know he's Eyes Only. How many people would do that kind of thing – put their ass on the line every day – just out of a sense of justice? Would you?"
"Not me. I kinda like bein' in one piece," Alec admitted.
"I suspect Logan did too. Like bein' in one piece, that is. But it didn't go down like that. Now he deals with it."
Cindy poured herself another beer from the pitcher, emptying it in the process. Alec, looking almost chastised, went to the bar for a refill. .
"Anything else you want to know about my boy?" Cindy asked him when he got back with a new pitcher.
"No. I think I've heard enough." Alec drained his beer and poured a refill. "I've obviously underestimated Logan."
"Yeah, I guess you have. You shouldn't be jealous of Logan. You've got your own good qualities – and I guess some day I'll figure out what they are – and you've got women falling at your feet. Just not Max. You'll never have Max. But you've got one thing going for you that Logan doesn't have and may never have."
"Yeah, what?" Alec asked blearily.
"You can walk. Any time you think you want to trade places with Logan, I'm sure he'd consider swapping." Cindy looked at him with narrowed eyes.
"Point taken," Alec said. He got up and left, more enlightened than he had been the day before. Maybe he should hang with Logan and learn from him, he thought. That would be interesting….THE END