Disclaimers, etc. in part one.
Two nights after the funeral, Logan learned what he needed to know.
Still unable to go in his bedroom, still unable to sleep, he wandered
around the darkened suite, each item he came across causing a
separate pain. Anna had been released from the med lab that
afternoon on the condition that she didn't overexert herself, and now
he had to face the flood of memories his surroundings inspired.
Soft whimpers drew him to Anna's room. She was having another
nightmare. She couldn't toss and turn effectively with the clumsy
cast on her arm, but her whines and kicking legs made it very clear
that she was upset.
"Pun'kin, wake up," Logan whispered, grasping her left hand and
stroking her hair.
Anna continued to sleep, mumbling incoherent words in a nervous,
"Anna." Logan said louder.
Her eyes snapped open and she said, "I'm sorry," her voice full of
guilt and regret.
Blinking up at her father in the dim light, she realized what she had
said, and her scent immediately changed to fear. "N... nothing."
"Anna," Logan said in a soft, almost pleading voice as he sat down on
the edge of her bed. "Tell me what's botherin' you. I can't help
you if I don't know."
"Nothing's bothering me."
He didn't need heightened senses to know that was a lie. She was
almost shaking with emotion, twisted up in the sheets of her bed.
"You said, 'I'm sorry.' What are you sorry about, darlin'?"
Anna just shook her head. "You'll hate me."
Logan pulled her up into his arms, hugging her tenderly before
pulling back. He grasped her cheeks in both hands, gently turning
her to face him. "There is *nothing* you could ever say that would
make me hate you."
"This will," Anna said closing her eyes.
Dammit, the girl had his and Marie's combined stubbornness. He
decided to try a different tactic. Hazarding a guess, he said, "The
accident wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was!" Anna blurted out before she could stop herself. She
brought her hand up to her mouth, but the words were out and she
couldn't recapture them. "I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. I'm so
sorry, Dad. Please don't hate me."
Quietly he said, "Tell me what happened."
"I was mad... Mad 'cause you were late, and Mom had to come get me.
Mad 'cause I had to wait after everyone else was gone. She was just
trying to help, and I was being so snotty. How could I've acted like
that? I mean, that's the last thing she knew of me. Me actin'
mean. I didn't even tell her I loved her before... well, before..."
"She knew you loved her, baby. She loved you with all her heart."
Logan tried to reassure her, wiping the wetness from her cheeks.
Anna just shook her head, tears falling in earnest now. "But that's
not even the worst of it."
"I... she told me to put on my seatbelt... I did, but, well, she
didn't have hers on, either, so I... I told her." Anna stopped
talking, sobs starting to shake her body. Her cast jiggling up and
down with every hitched breath.
"What happened, baby?"
"She... she turned... to get it, ya know?... and there was this big
crash and it hurt so much and everything was spinning and she died.
She died, Dad. I killed her."
"Look at me," Logan commanded. When tear-filled hazel eyes met
weary, almost broken hazel eyes in the dimness of the room, he
said, "It was *not* your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It
was an accident."
"But, if I hadn't said..."
"It could've happened anyway, darlin'. Accidents happen," Logan
pulled her into a strong hug, his shirt growing wet as she sobbed
After a long time, Anna's tears finally dried up, and she pulled back
to look in her Dad's face. Unshed tears glistened in his eyes as
well. "I miss her so much, Dad."
"I miss her too, baby. I miss her too."
After Anna had fallen back asleep, Logan retreated to the living
room. Emotionally and physically exhausted, he collapsed to the
couch. Speaking to the empty room, he said, "How am I gonna do this,
darlin'? How can I raise them without you?"
A whisper of sound caught his attention. It was a soft footfall
coming from his bedroom. A sliver of light peeked from under the
closed door. Mike. He must've woken up and gone in there when he
was with Anna.
Opening the door, he was assaulted by Marie's scent as well as the
bright light flooding the darkened living room.
"Mike?" he asked, blinking away the black dots dancing in his vision.
"No, sugah, not Mike."
Her voice was as soft and sweet as he'd remembered. It had been
almost five days since he'd heard it, but it seemed like an eternity.
She was sitting on the edge of the bed, smiling brightly, her streaks
complimented by the white summer dress she wore. The same dress
she'd been buried in. Buried. She was dead.
"This is a dream," Logan said, sadness filling every pore of his body.
"Yes," Marie confirmed with a sad smile.
"Oh, darlin'," he whimpered, leaning against the door frame, "I've
missed you so much."
Marie rose and came to him, pulling him into a tender embrace. Her
smell flooded his senses as he buried his face in her hair. The feel
of her arms around him, her body pressed to his, it was everything he
wanted and couldn't have again.
"I'm so sorry," Logan apologized. "I love you. I'm just so sorry."
Marie pulled back so she could look at him, holding his hands in
hers. "Sugah, it was an accident. It wasn't your fault any more
than it was Anna's."
"But if you hadn't been driving, you wouldn't have died."
"Maybe not, but as you told Anna, accident's happen. If it was
anyone's fault, it was mine."
"Yes. I'm the one who always went on and on about seatbelt safety,
and then I die because I'm not wearing a seatbelt? You must be
furious with me."
"Oh, c'mon. I'm pissed at myself. Why shouldn't you be, too?"
"I can't, Marie." he said, wearily shaking his head. "I just miss
you too much."
"Oh, sugah," Marie said, hugging him again. "I miss you, too. I
wish I could still be here. I worry about you. You, Anna and Mike."
"Don't worry, darlin'. I'll take care of them."
Marie looked at him with a wry grin, "You promise?"
"Yeah," Logan replied, choking up as he whispered, "I promise."
Marie looked up, head cocked to one side as if she was listening to
something he couldn't hear. "I have to go."
"No," he begged, despair filling his voice.
"I have to, Logan. It's time for you to wake up."
"Will I see you again?" he asked desperately.
"Absolutely," Marie replied, a smile brightening her features until
she shone with radiance. "Not for a long time, but I'm good at
waiting for you."
"I love you, darlin'."
"And I love you too, sugah. See ya later."
Logan woke in their bed, clutching her pillow to his chest. The
smell of Marie surrounded him in the empty room, and even though it
still saddened him, it comforted as well. He could hear Mike already
up and watching cartoons in the living room. He and Anna'd be
wanting breakfast soon. It was time to get up and start fulfilling
his promise to Marie.
One last part in the series remaining: Time and All Eternity. Can
you believe it's humor?