4346Fic: The Object of His Affections: 2/2: L/R
- Jun 14, 2002Disclaimers etc. in Part 1
The Object of His Affections
Logan drove like a maniac, cigar stub jammed between his
It wasn't that he was afraid Marie was in danger. He
just always drove like a maniac, and the lack of traffic
at mid-morning on the Thruway did nothing but encourage
He made the trip in about half the time it would
normally take, and pulled the BMW into the Mobil Station
just off Route 17.
Marie, her two friends, and a seedy-looking character in
grease-stained coveralls were sitting on the hood of the
Neon, eating McDonald's.
Marie was laughing, her head thrown back, the column of
her throat bared. He stopped and stared through the
Marie's neck was mysterious territory, rarely seen and
usually covered by one of her many scarves. He wondered
what it tasted like, then shook himself.
He got out of the car and the gas jockey jumped up, as
if suddenly remembering he was supposed to be working,
not flirting with Logan's girlfriend.
<Whoa. Slow down, bub,> Logan told himself. <She's not
your girlfriend. Yet. And if you don't play it cool, she
never will be.>
"Rogue," he said, keeping his voice low and neutral.
"You ready to get out of here?"
She blushed. <Uh oh.> Did that mean she liked the gas
jockey? Or was something else going on?
"Yeah," she said. She ducked her head and grabbed her
Kitty and Jubilee smiled guilelessly at him, and he knew
he was in trouble. He wasn't sure yet what exactly the
trouble was, but he knew he was neck deep in it and
would keep sinking unless he got control of the
"If you just pay Todd for the repairs, we can get out of
here," Kitty said.
"Pay--" he growled, reaching into his wallet. "What
happened to your credit card?"
Kitty flushed. "Uh, we maxed it out."
"What's this 'we,' kemo sabe?" Jubilee said, cracking
her gum. She turned to Logan. "KitKat bought some book
for the Prof, so we were over the limit. If you just pay
Todd, Kitty and I'll drive the rust bucket and you can
take Rogue." She sniggered. He narrowed his eyes, but
she didn't stop. Obviously, she'd intended that double
entendre, and damn his body for responding eagerly to
"I could have just given the guy the credit card number
over the phone."
"Yeah, but then you wouldn't really be rescuing us,
would you?" Jubilee answered reasonably.
"Jubes!" Rogue said from the front seat of the Beemer.
Something was definitely going on, and it had nothing to
do with his credit card or the car repairs. He leveled a
long glare at Jubilee, who shrugged and cracked her gum,
slipping her sunglasses off the top of her head and onto
Ten minutes later, they were cruising back down the
Logan shot curious sideways glances at Marie when he
could, but she stared out the window. She hadn't made
eye contact with him yet, which was kind of worrisome.
She took the red bandanna out of her hair and pulled the
heavy mass into a ponytail. He breathed deep. She
smelled of sweat and gas, leather and Marie. It was a
"Oh God," she said suddenly. "I must stink. I'm so
sorry, Logan. I should have ridden with the girls."
<Shit.> He hadn't expected her to notice him breathing
her in. "Nah. You smell good."
From someone less delicate-looking, the sound she made
would have been called a snort, but even when she was
knocking back shots of Jack and swearing like a sailor,
there was something curiously ladylike about Rogue.
"Yeah, okay." Her disbelief was obvious.
He took another deep breath and thought, <This is it. Do
it now. Tell her.> "You always smell good." He nodded
decisively. "I think that's why I trusted you right
Another snort. "I hadn't showered in a week, Logan. I
must have stunk like a... really stinky thing."
"No. You smelled good. Natural. Like you. I like it."
<Work with me here, kid,> he thought.
She darted a quick glance at him, a smile lighting up
her face, before she turned back to the window.
He grunted in frustration. She was going to make him say
romantic stuff. He hated saying romantic stuff. It never
came out right and made him sound like a pansy.
"You look good, too."
She looked down at herself, and he looked as well, when
he could take his eyes from the road. She was wearing a
short, white v-neck t-shirt that exposed a strip of
lethal skin above the waist of her low-riding blue
jeans. Her arms were encased in gloves made of the
softest black leather he'd been able to find, hand-made
in Italy just for her. The bandanna, which had probably
started out around her neck, was now holding her hair in
"Not exactly ready for the cover of 'Vogue'," she said.
He shrugged a shoulder. "You always look good." <I sound
like an idiot.> Where was his usual charm? His ability
to flirt the pants off any woman in a fifty-mile radius?
When had he turned into a twelve-year-old boy?
She smiled again. "Thanks."
There. That was it. That smile. That's what made him
feel young and stupid. Because he didn't want it to go
away. He wanted to make her smile like that all the
time, and he was afraid that if he said the wrong thing,
she'd never smile at him again.
<This is it. Don't fuck it up.> He removed the cigar
from his mouth and took a deep breath, steeling himself
for the hardest thing he'd ever had to do.
"I'minlovewithyou," he blurted, rushing the words
She turned to face him so quickly he was afraid she'd
get whiplash. "What?"
"I'm in love with you." Slightly slower this time.
Her reaction was not exactly what he'd been hoping for.
She burst into laughter.
She was still laughing.
He sucked hard on the cigar and shook his head. He was
sure he was having a dream now -- a nightmare, really --
and it was time to wake up.
He flexed and extended half an inch of adamantium from
each knuckle, and it *hurt*.
She was still laughing.
Not a nightmare then. At least, not one from which he
could wake up.
"What's so funny?" he demanded, as her giggles subsided
and she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"How much did Jubes and Kitty pay you to say that?"
<What the--> "What the fuck are you talking about,
The good humor fled from her face. "It's not a joke?"
"A joke? I tell you I love you and you think it's a
fucking *joke*? Jesus Christ, kid." He shook his head.
That stung more than he thought it would.
"I'm sorry," she said tentatively.
He said nothing.
She reached over and took his hand off the steering
"I just -- You've been flirting with me." She turned his
hand over, tracing the lines on his palm with her index
finger, then rubbing his knuckles. "I just figured it
out today." She twined her fingers with his. "You told
me you loved Jean, and that I was too young," she
reminded him. "I believed you."
"Well, I thought it was true when I said it," he
allowed, "but it's not true anymore." He gripped her
hand tightly. "So, what do you say?" He held his breath,
waiting for her answer.
She laughed again, a nervous chuckle instead of the
full-out laughter of earlier. "Um, I love you, too,
He froze. "But?"
She winced and grabbed his wrist. "You're hurting me."
He dropped her hand as if it was on fire.
"But?" It was a low growl.
"It took me a long time to get over you, to deal with
the fact that you didn't want me. I can't do that again.
So, if this is some sort of, of pity thing or
"I'm telling you, it's not. It's definitely not pity.
Listen to me." He glanced over at her, and saw she was
chewing her lower lip, always a sign of nerves or deep
thought. "I know you, and I know you know me. And you
love me anyway. We're not -- it's not some sort of
fantasy thing here. It's real. It's us. It just took me
a little longer to figure it out. Do you know what I
He huffed, exasperated. "So, you and me -- are we a
thing, or not?"
"I love you. I never denied that, Logan. But you're
going to have to give me some time to get used to the
idea of you and me being -- a thing."
"I can do that," he said immediately.
"Marie." Ignoring common sense and all driving
etiquette, he cut across three lanes of traffic, pulled
the BMW onto the shoulder and threw it into park, so he
could face her without worrying about driving.
"Kitty and Jubes--"
"Know the way home. They've been ahead of us the whole
"Yeah." He wasn't going to let her change the subject.
He turned to look at her, resting his hands on her
shoulders. "Darlin', I just told you I loved you. I've
never said that to anyone before." She opened her mouth
and he said, "Let me finish. I might have said it
*about* Jean, but I never said it to her. And I never
will. Because I love *you*. I don't know how many more
times I'll have to say it to convince you, but I will.
Because it's true."
He raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Right here, on the
side of the road?"
She blushed and he wondered how far down her body it
extended. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out. He
leaned in close, his lips almost brushing her ear. "I
wanna make love to you, Marie."
He could feel her body's response, but she sighed and
said, "That's not what I meant."
He sat back. "Oh. 'Cause I don't mean to brag or
anything, but it'd be really good."
"You have no idea, sugar," she purred, giving him a look
that warmed his blood and sent it racing south. "But I
meant, I need you to act like you're in love with me,
not just say it."
He bit back his first response. He had to handle this
carefully. "Okay," he said after a few moments. "Can you
help me out with that? Maybe give me some guidelines?"
"First, if we're a -- thing, you can't be with any other
"Of course," he said immediately. "Not interested in
anyone but you." It was her turn to raise an eyebrow. "I
may look," he continued. "I mean, I'm not dead. But it's
you I want."
She nodded. "Two, you can't play the big manly man all
the time. If we're in a relationship," and he fought
back an instinctive wince at the word, "we discuss
things and make decisions together. We're partners. I
don't want to be your 'little woman' or some other
"Fine. I'm not up on all this Oprah bullshit, but I'm
all for us being equal partners. I want you to have your
space, because I want mine."
"Okay. The thing is, though, Logan, you actually have to
*do* this. You have to remember to *talk* to me. You
can't just --"
"Don't I talk to you now? Tell you shit I don't tell
"Well, then-- Look, I'm not perfect. I know that. I know
I'm not exactly Prince Charming." He reached out a hand
and ran a finger over the white streak in her hair. "But
I can show you that I love you, if you let me."
Her eyes widened but she didn't pull away at the close
contact. "What are you saying?"
He brushed the pad of his thumb lightly over the curve
of her cheek, too quickly for her mutation to kick in.
"Let me touch you."
She swallowed hard. "I-- Logan--"
"I want you to believe me."
"I believe you." It was barely a whisper; if he hadn't
had hypersensitive hearing, he'd have missed it. Her
eyes were bright with unshed tears.
"Don't cry, darlin'," he said, running a hand over her
hair and hugging her to him. He wanted so badly to touch
her, not even to show her how he was feeling, but simply
because she was Marie and he needed to touch her, to
reassure her that he was there, even if he screwed up
"I'm not," she sniffed. "I just -- God--" She pressed
her lips to his chest, over his heart, and he buried his
face in her hair, breathing deeply. "I never thought --
never -- that you would want me like this. And now you
-- God." Her words were muffled from being cradled
against his chest, but he had no trouble hearing her.
"Hey, hey," he said. "I'm an idiot. I know."
She looked up at smiled, and again he realized how happy
she made him, how happy he wanted to make her. "It's
okay," she said. "I won't tell if you don't."
"That's my girl."
She squirmed, and suddenly was in his lap; she straddled
him, pushing him back against the soft leather of the
driver's seat. "Now what was that about wanting to make
love to me?" she asked, looking up at him coyly through
He didn't have to be asked twice. In a move that would
have been impressive from a smaller man in a larger
space, he had her on the back seat of the car in a
When they strolled into the mansion kitchen two hours
later, hair mussed and lips swollen, looking satisfied,
"Good thing we called you to rescue us," she said.
"Yeah," Logan answered. "Good thing."
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