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Fic: Definitely Someday - 1/1 - Rogue POV [L/R]

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  • victoria p.
    I m posting this for a friend... All feedback needs to go to Pete Meilinger at mellnger@bu.edu or p_meilinger@hotmail.com ~~*~~ TITLE: Definitely Someday
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2001
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      I'm posting this for a friend...

      All feedback needs to go to Pete Meilinger at mellnger@... or
      p_meilinger@...

      ~~*~~

      TITLE: Definitely Someday
      AUTHOR: Peter Meilinger
      E-MAIL: mellnger@..., p_meilinger@...
      SUMMARY: Rogue. Logan. Mush.
      RATING: PG?
      TIMELINE: Hell if I know. Call it a couple years after the movie.
      DISTRIBUTION: Anyone who's already got my stuff is welcome to this as
      well. If anyone else actually wants
      it, I'd be tickled pink to hear about it. This and all my stories can be
      found on my site at

      www.unfitforsociety.net/pete/fiction.html

      SPOILERS: None, I don't think.

      DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, and I'm not trying to make
      money.

      DEDICATIONS: To Vic, Jen, Meg and Dot. Especially Vic, 'cause she's the
      one who made me write this.

      NOTE: Vic pointed out that I might want to mention that my take on
      Wolverine is based more on the comic book
      version than on the movie version. Then I added about a million pounds
      of mush, just to make Vic's teeth ache.

      ***

      I watched Logan while he mowed the lawn. No surprise there.
      I'm always watching him. If I could get a salary, and maybe
      medical and dental, I'd be happy to make a career out of it.
      Especially when he's mowing the lawn or doing anything else
      that he takes his shirt off for.

      But watching is all I can do. All I'll ever be able to do.
      Not just with Logan, with anyone. I try not to let that
      depress me, and usually I succeed, but just then it was
      hitting me pretty hard. I sat there for a few minutes,
      letting myself be depressed. Sometimes you just need a
      good funk.

      "Hey, kid." Logan's voice scared me half to death. I
      hadn't heard him come up. I looked up at him, trying
      not to stare. He was smiling, like he always does when
      he startles me. He was still bare-chested, and he had
      sweat and little pieces of grass on his chest. I managed
      to stop myself from licking my lips in appreciation, but
      then I realized I was staring. I blushed and turned away.

      "What's wrong?" He hadn't noticed me staring at him. Of
      course not. He didn't think of me that way, so it didn't
      occur to him that I would think of him that way. Sometimes
      I hate having him inside my head, hate how well I know him.

      "Nothing's wrong, Logan. I'm just tired. Got a lot of
      studying to do, y'know?" I held up my chemistry notebook
      to prove my point.

      He shook his head. "I don't see how you can sit still
      through a whole class, kid. Must be boring as hell." He
      opened his mouth to say something else, then closed it
      and chuckled. When he saw the confused look on my face,
      he explained. "I was gonna offer to help you study, but
      I don't imagine I'd be much use. I can't remember if I
      even went to school, let alone anything I learned."

      His voice was light, but I heard the pain underneath.
      Logan doesn't talk about his missing memories very often.
      He doesn't like to think about it. It makes him feel weak
      and incomplete. He probably doesn't realize I know that.
      I've never told anyone, not even him, just how much of him
      I still have inside my head. His memories and personality
      have faded, but there's enough still there that I think
      it's safe to say I know Logan better than anyone else.
      Maybe better than he knows himself.

      I smiled to take his mind out of the past. "Tell you what,"
      I told him, "I'll let you know if there's something you
      can help me with."

      He smiled. Not a big smile, but this is Logan we're
      talking about. Any smile is a victory. "You do that,
      kid. You do that. In the meantime, I gotta take the
      lawnmower apart. The engine's all screwed up. I'll see
      ya later." Without waiting for a response, he turned
      and walked away.

      "Bye," I called after him. It sounded pathetic. I wanted
      to hit myself. But then he half-turned around and gave
      me a wave and a smile. I smiled back. Two smiles in one
      conversation, I thought to myself. The Wolverine must
      be going soft.

      Or maybe he's starting to see you as more than a kid,
      the hopeful part of my brain added. I squashed that line
      of thought. I doubted Logan would ever see me as an adult,
      no matter how much I grew up. And I couldn't allow myself
      that kind of hope. I'd never be anything more than Logan's
      friend. I had to accept that.

      Still, I mused to myself, being his friend means a lot.
      And hey, he said he'd help me with my homework if he
      could. That's pretty amazing. I'll have to keep an eye
      out for something he can help me with.

      ***

      I might have to start believing in Fate, because I found
      the "something" the very next day. In Home Ec, if you can
      believe it. Mrs. Porter gave us our project for the month:
      find someone outside the class to teach us a recipe and
      help us make it. The results would be judged by the entire
      class.

      Not an assignment that would make most people think of
      Logan, but most people don't have his memories in their
      head. I knew it was something he could help me with, and
      I knew he'd enjoy it, if only he'd let himself. That was
      going to be the hard part, convincing him to do it.

      I found him down in the garage, working on the bike he
      and Scott keep stealing from each other. Boys and their
      toys.

      "Hey," I said to announce my presence, even though he
      must've heard me coming all the way down the hall.

      "Hey, kid. Be with ya in a sec," he said while he finished
      tightening the bolt he was working on. When he was done,
      he wiped his hands clean on a greasy rag as he stood up
      and turned to face me. "What's up?"

      "Why does anything have to be up?" I teased. "Do I need
      a reason to spend some time with the nasty old Wolverine?"

      I expected him to laugh, but he didn't. He just gave me
      a lopsided grin as he said, "'Course not. You're welcome
      anytime, you know that."

      The look in his eyes told me it was as much a question
      as a statement, so I smiled at him as I answered it. "I
      know." Then I blushed as I admitted, "Actually, I do have
      a favor to ask."

      That got me a laugh. "Anything you need, kid, it's yours."

      Oh, I'm gonna hold you to that, sugar, I thought to myself.
      Aloud, I said, "Remember yesterday when you said you'd help
      me with my homework, if you could?"

      "Sure," he said, surprised. "You mean you've got something
      I can help you with?"

      I didn't say a word, just nodded and handed him the
      assignment sheet. He read it quickly, then stared at
      me in disbelief.

      "Cooking?!" His tone indicated I was asking him to do
      something worse than fight Sabretooth, Mystique and
      Magneto all at once.

      I chuckled. "Cooking," I confirmed. "What, you don't
      think you'd look good in one of those white chef's hats
      and an apron?" And nothing else? I added to myself with
      a blush.

      He glared at me, but there was no heat in it. "I don't
      know how to cook," he told me as indignantly as he knew
      how. He turned back to kneel beside the motorcycle.

      "That's not what Tiny Tim Hunter tells me," I drawled.
      I laughed as Logan shot to his feet so fast he knocked
      the bike over.

      He glared at me again, then broke down and laughed with
      me. "Dammit, kid, it's no fair, you knowing what I know.
      Makes lying a losing proposition." I just smiled at him,
      and he went on. "So, you know about Tiny Tim, huh?" I
      nodded, and he sighed. "Okay, then, you got it. Meet me
      in the kitchen after cleanup tonight."

      He pulled the bike upright and went back to working on
      it, muttering all the while about punk-ass kids who know
      too much for their own damned good. I giggled and left,
      a huge grin on my face.

      ***

      Logan ate dinner with Kurt and Ororo that night, like he
      usually does. I eat with them some nights, but I figured
      I'd best give him some space if I wanted him to be in a
      good mood after dinner. So, I ate with Jubilee and Kitty
      at a table across the room. They just about busted a gut
      laughing when I told them Logan was going to teach me a
      recipe.

      "Logan?!" Kitty squealed.

      "Cooking?!" Jubes screeched.

      "Quiet, you two!" I hissed as half the nearby tables
      turned to look at us.

      "Oh, no, babe. This is not something to be kept quiet,"
      Jubilee informed me. "This is something to be shouted
      from the rooftops."

      "Yeah," Kitty said, still giggling. "I mean, the Wolverine
      in the kitchen? Talk about a fish out of water."

      "I'll have you know," I informed them smugly, "that I
      have it on good authority that he's a damn fine cook."

      "What authority?" Jubilee demanded, then nodded to herself
      as Kitty and I just looked at her. "Oh, right, the memory
      thing. Duh. Kinda weird, though, you knowing something
      like that about him."

      I nodded and smirked. "Logan says it's not fair how much
      I know, since it means he can't lie to me."

      "Aww, poor Logan," Kitty crooned, and we all giggled.
      We turned to look across the cafeteria at him.

      He was staring at us. When we looked at him, he shook
      his head and smiled. He raised his beer in salute, then
      turned to say something to Kurt and Ororo. They both
      laughed and looked at us. Kurt blew us a kiss, with his
      tail instead of his hand.

      We all giggled and turned back to each other.

      "God, Kurt's cute," Kitty mused.

      "Yeah," Jubes agreed. "It's the fur. Him and Hank both."
      She thought for a moment, then grinned evilly at me.
      "Hey, there's a thought. Maybe you should go after one
      of those two, Rogue-baby. I bet the fur would mean you
      could touch 'em just fine. If ya know what I mean," she
      finished with a wink and a leer.

      I blushed and started to reply, but Kitty beat me to it.
      "Forget it, Jubes. You know there's only one man for our
      Rogue." I glared at her, and she stuck her tongue out at
      me. Then her eyes lit up, and she got a wicked grin on her
      face. "I just thought of something - you've got Logan's
      memories in your head, right?"

      "Some of 'em, yeah," I allowed, wondering where she was
      headed. I had a feeling it was nowhere good.

      "Do you have any memories of him naked?"

      I just stared at her in shock. I couldn't believe she'd
      asked me that. Jubilee I would've expected it from, but
      not Kitty!

      As if on cue, Jubes jumped in. "Ooh! That's a damned
      good question, Kitty-Kat. What's the answer, Rogue?
      Any naked memories? Or better yet, any naked-and-not-
      alone memories?" She licked her lips and gave me another
      wink.

      "Keep your voices down," I hissed. "People are looking!"
      There wasn't actually anyone looking at us, but it bought
      me some time to get myself under control. Jubes and Kitty
      turned to see who had overheard them, and by the time they
      turned back to me I was okay.

      "None of your business," I informed them smugly.

      "She does!" Kitty squealed in delight. I just smiled.

      "She certainly does," Jubilee agreed. "Now, the question
      is, are we talking R-rated or Triple-X?" When I blushed
      again, she pounced. "Aha! Porn it is, huh? Well, well,
      well. We want details, girl! Length, girth, stamina, all
      the good stuff."

      I glared at her. "There ain't no way you're getting
      details out of me, Jubilation Lee. You should be ashamed
      of yourself, asking me that!"

      She waggled her eyebrows at me. "You just want to keep
      the images all to yourself, don't ya, babe?"

      I looked down at my plate and refused to answer. And I
      continued to refuse all through the rest of dinner, much
      to Kitty's and Jubes' annoyance. Every once in a while,
      I'd look up at them and smile dreamily. It drove them
      nuts. It was the most fun I'd had in ages.

      ***

      I was still in a great mood when I walked into the
      kitchen to meet Logan later on. He was looking through
      the cupboards and cursing under his breath.

      "Whatcha doin'?" I asked.

      He snorted and shook his head. "Not much. This place
      doesn't have half the stuff we're gonna need."

      He started counting off on his fingers. "Peppers, beans,
      spices, meat, all sorts of shit. Stuff," he amended quickly.
      He's so cute when he's watching his language.

      "Sounds great. What are we making?"

      He looked at me in confusion. "I didn't tell you?"

      I shook my head. "Nope. You just growled at me to be
      here and went back to the bike."

      "I didn't growl," he protested.

      "I heard a growl," I assured him.

      "There was no growl," he insisted.

      "Well," I admitted, "maybe not a growl, but there was
      definitely a glower."

      Logan nodded. "Yeah, I'll cop to the glower, I guess.
      But you had it coming."

      "Did not!" I protested.

      "You did, too," he assured me calmly.

      "Did not!"

      "I'm not gonna argue with you, kid."

      "You are, too!" I said with a grin.

      "I am not!" he snapped. Then he realized what he'd said
      and we laughed for a while.

      I love to laugh with him, about anything or nothing at
      all. He's all mine when we're laughing together. That's
      a strange way to put it, but it's the truth. He never
      jokes around like that with anyone but me. He gets
      along great with Kurt and Ororo, and he's friends with
      a lot of other people here at the mansion, but he always
      keeps his guard up, just a little bit. He'd never argue
      about the difference between a growl and a glower with
      anyone but me. It's stupid, but it makes me feel closer
      to him.

      When we stopped laughing, I reminded him, "You still
      haven't told me what we'll be making."

      "Texas Rattlesnake Chili," he informed me proudly.

      "Chili? Cool, I like chili. But why's it called
      Rattlesnake Chili?"

      "Because it's got rattlesnake in it," he said with a
      look that told me he was wondering how I could possibly
      not already know that.

      "Snake meat? I am NOT eating snake meat!" He opened his
      mouth to say something, but I cut him off. "And if you're
      about to say 'it tastes like chicken' then you're gonna
      have to explain why the hell we can't just use chicken."

      His mouth snapped shut. After a moment, he chuckled.
      "Yeah, good point. It doesn't really taste like chicken,
      though. And besides, who the hell ever heard of Texas
      Chicken Chili? It's just wrong."

      Okay, he had me there. "Where can we get rattlesnake
      meat?" I asked.

      "Hell if I know," he admitted. "I'll figure it out
      tomorrow. When's this thing due?"

      "Not until next Thursday."

      "Good. Gives us plenty of time."

      "Yeah," I said. "But I was hoping to get started tonight."
      That was only half true. I didn't care when we did the
      chili, but I wanted to spend some quality time with Logan.

      Maybe he felt the same way, or maybe he could just tell
      I was disappointed, because he looked around the kitchen
      and said, "Well, I guess we could do something else. You
      up for some cookies?"

      I'm sure my jaw hit the floor. "You know how to bake
      cookies?"

      He gave me an embarrassed smile. If I didn't know him
      better, I'd have sworn he was blushing. No, dammit, he
      *WAS* blushing!

      "It's not rocket science, kid. It's just cookies. Why
      wouldn't I know how?"

      "Why *WOULD* you know how?" I demanded.

      "I learned working for Tim," he said with a shrug. "I
      thought you already knew all about this," he accused.

      It was my turn to shrug. "The memories are pretty fuzzy.
      I just knew you worked for a guy named Tiny Tim Hunter
      as a cook and bartender in his bar. I don't even know
      where the bar was."

      "Right outside Vancouver."

      "Okay," I said, nodding, "I remember that now. And Tim
      was a short guy, right?"

      "Yeah," Logan confirmed with a grin. "About five foot
      nothing, maybe a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet.
      All of it muscle. We called him the Little Big Man. He
      used to box as a flyweight, a long time ago. He was
      about sixty when I knew him, but he was still hell on
      wheels in a fight."

      His eyes lost focus, the way they do when he's remembering
      something good. I don't get to see that look on his face
      nearly often enough, and I cherish it every time I do.

      "And he taught you to bake cookies?" I asked, to get
      him going again.

      That got a chuckle out of Logan. "Yeah. He taught me
      how to cook all sorts of sh... stuff. Him and his wife,
      Linda. They were both great cooks, but they preferred
      to stay out in the main room, where the action was.
      They knew everyone in the neighborhood, and everyone
      loved them."

      "But why did he teach you to bake cookies?" I prodded.

      Logan glared at me. "You're not gonna let that go, are
      you?" When I shook my head, he snorted. "Fine. Tim and
      Linda liked cookies, that's all. So did everyone else
      at the bar. I tell you, it's amazing how well a couple
      of chocolate chip cookies can taste after you've had
      a few. We used to put 'em out in baskets next to the
      peanuts, a couple nights a week. We'd be baking all
      day long."

      "The bar went through that many cookies?" I don't know
      why, but that didn't ring true to me. Maybe it was a
      piece of his memories coming back to me.

      His eyes darted away from mine, and I knew it was
      definitely something. "Well, no," he admitted slowly.
      "It wasn't just for the bar. We gave a lot of them
      away."

      "Away to who?" I sing-songed. I couldn't quite see the
      memory that would've answered my question, but I knew
      it was going to be good.

      "There was, uh," he stalled. "There was a shelter next
      door, and we used to send a few dozen a week over there.
      And we brought some more to another place."

      The memories finally clicked. "It was a battered women's
      shelter!" I laughed. "And an orphanage! There was an
      orphanage right outside town." I gave him my most wicked
      grin. "You used to bake cookies for orphans, Logan."

      He blushed again, and I swear it was the sweetest thing
      I've ever seen. "I did not!" he denied. "I baked them
      for Tim. What he did with them was his own damned business."

      I closed my eyes so I could visualize the memories I'd
      just recalled. "As I remember it, it was you who delivered
      them. And the kids loved to play with you, didn't they?"
      My eyes snapped open and I gasped in delight as I hit the
      mother lode. "They all called you Uncle Logan! And you
      gave them piggyback rides!!"

      I started laughing so hard I thought I'd bust a gut.
      And when Logan hung his head and refused to look at me,
      I just laughed even harder.

      After awhile, I slowed down to the giggles, and eventually
      those went away too. I looked over at Logan. He was glaring
      at me, but I could tell he was hiding a smile.

      He shook his head in disgust. "I suppose this is gonna
      be all over the school by tomorrow morning?"

      I smiled at him. "Not a chance, sugar. This is too good
      to share." And it was. It was another little piece of
      Logan that I could keep all to myself.

      My smile grew more serious as another thought occurred
      to me. "The kids here like you too, y'know. You're good
      with them."

      He looked away and shrugged. "Yeah. I like kids, most
      of the time. What you see is what you get. And we have
      some common interests."

      That was the truth. The younger kids at the mansion had
      learned to follow Logan around, because he was always
      willing to explain things to them. How to break down an
      engine, how to fix a broken window, how to cut down a
      dead tree. It was mostly stuff they didn't understand,
      but they didn't care, because he talked to them like
      they were equals. Kids like that, and he got along
      pretty well with them.

      The teenagers were another matter. Logan put up with
      Kitty and Jubilee for my sake, but he avoided the rest
      like the plague. Which was hard, given that most of
      them thought he was pretty cool. I was the only one
      my age that Logan ever really talked to. It made me
      feel special.

      I realized I hadn't responded to Logan's comment. I'd
      just been staring at him, lost in my thoughts. I started
      to blush and stammer out some sort of reply, but then
      I saw that he was staring at me, too, and he seemed to
      be lost in his own thoughts.

      "What are you thinking about, Logan?" I asked.

      He jumped a little, startled, then smiled. "This and
      that, darlin', this and that. How 'bout yourself?"

      I nodded. "Nothing, really." Which was a lie, of course.
      I was thinking about what a damned good father Logan
      would be, and wishing I could be the one to help him
      realize that. But I could never tell him that, as much
      as I wanted to.

      We stood there for awhile, looking at each other, then
      he turned and started pulling things out of the cabinets.
      Cookie-things. "Looks like we can do oatmeal or chocolate
      chip," he said. "Or peanut butter, I guess. What do you
      think?"

      I started to answer, but stopped myself. "What's your
      favorite?" I asked.

      He considered the question, and said, "I'm a chocolate
      chip man at heart, darlin'."

      That was the second time he'd called me darling in just
      a few minutes. I liked it. I liked it a lot, actually.
      I tried not to read too much into it, but it was hard
      not to.

      "Chocolate chip it is, then," I said.

      He smiled at me, then turned to the ingredients. "Okay,"
      he said, "turn on the oven, will ya?"

      "What temperature?"

      "Somewhere between three-fifty and three-seventy-five."

      "Okay," I said, turning the knob. "Oven's on. What's
      next?"

      "Grab some eggs and butter out of the fridge."

      I went and got the butter and eggs. When I got back to
      the counter, Logan was using a spoon to scoop flour into
      a mixing bowl.

      "What are you doing?" I asked. "Aren't you supposed to
      use the cups?"

      "Measuring cups," he informed me, "are for wimps."

      I just looked at him for a minute. "Measuring cups are
      for wimps?" I demanded.

      "That's right," he said. I thought I detected the hint
      of a smile on his face, but I couldn't be sure. He's
      good at hiding them when he wants to.

      "Measuring cups are for wimps?" I asked again. He nodded.
      "So, you only bake cookies if it's manly, is that it?"

      "That's right, darlin'," he answered, throwing a pinch
      of salt and baking soda in with the flour. "Only way to
      bake."

      "Tell me," I asked with a smile, "exactly how did you
      manage to turn baking cookies for orphans manly? 'Cause
      I gotta say, I just don't see it."

      He shrugged and started mixing with the spoon, but this
      time I know I saw the smile. "Well," he said, "I'll admit
      that was a challenge. But once I started mixing gunpowder
      in with the flour, I was okay."

      I laughed, and he let the smile out as he chuckled with
      me.

      We laughed a lot over the next few minutes. It felt good.
      Felt great. It felt normal, like Logan and I were just
      two ordinary people baking cookies, not the untouchable
      girl and the killer without a past. It felt normal.

      Maybe that's why I kissed him.

      It's not the only reason, of course. Being that close
      to him has always made me want to kiss him, but I'd
      never succumbed to temptation before. Maybe it was the
      everyday, domestic feel of it, I don't know. Or maybe
      it was the smell of baking cookies. After that night
      in the kitchen, I'm willing to state that chocolate
      chip cookies are definitely an aphrodisiac.

      The first batch was in the oven, and we were dropping
      the second batch onto a cookie sheet. We hadn't said
      much for awhile, but that was okay. I like talking to
      Logan, but I like being quiet with him even more. And
      he was still smiling, a small, secret little smile. I
      knew he was having fun. I knew he was happy to be spending
      time with me.

      I wasn't wearing my gloves. I took them off when we
      started mixing the first batch. They were getting too
      dirty. Most people get nervous when I take my gloves
      off, but not Logan. He never batted an eye. That's
      another reason I enjoy spending time with him. Another
      reason I felt like an ordinary person.

      Our hands touched while we were reaching into the mixing
      bowl for more dough. I didn't move for a second. It felt
      good to touch him. Then I came to my senses and jerked
      my hand out of the bowl, looking fearfully at Logan.

      He looked back at me calmly. "It's okay, darlin'. No
      harm done."

      He was right. The connection hadn't started, so it was
      okay. But he was still looking at me, and I couldn't
      decipher the emotions I saw in his eyes.

      And then I moved. I grabbed the scarf from around my
      neck, and I pressed it against Logan's face, and I
      kissed him.

      He froze. For a long second, he didn't move, and I
      thought I'd made the biggest mistake of my life. Then
      his arms were around me, and he pulled me against him,
      and it was wonderful. I brought my hands up and ran
      them through his hair. I was getting cookie dough in
      his hair, and he was getting it all over my shirt, but
      I didn't care. My hands wandered down to caress his
      neck.

      It was only after I felt the connection start that I
      remembered I wasn't wearing my gloves.

      First came the prickly heat that I'd felt the other
      times I'd touched Logan. It flooded through me like
      adrenaline, making me even more excited.

      Then came the senses. I could hear our hearts beating,
      smell our arousal, taste the lust we felt for each other.
      I moaned and pulled myself closer to him. He groaned and
      ran his hands over my body, and I was in heaven.

      But then I felt his emotions. Fear and guilt and shame
      hit me like a sledgehammer, and I pushed him away with
      frenzied strength. He was off-balance and weakened from
      the drain. He tripped and hit the floor hard.

      I stood there for a moment, breathing hard and staring
      at him. He looked up at me from the floor, his eyes full
      of emotion. Fear. Guilt. Shame.

      I turned and ran from the kitchen.

      ***

      I was on the bench by the pond when he found me. I like
      to go there to think, or just to be alone. Most everyone
      knows to leave me be when I'm out there. Ororo comes and
      sits with me sometimes, but she never says anything, so
      I don't mind.

      I heard Logan coming, of course. I knew his senses would
      be with me for at least a week before they faded. The
      emotions would fade, too, but I knew I'd never forget
      the way he looked at me. I'd never forget the way he
      rejected me.

      "Hey, k... Marie," he began, as he sat down next to me.

      I laughed bitterly. "I'm not a kid anymore, huh?"

      He sighed. "You haven't been a kid for a long time.
      Since before I met you, I guess."

      "No," I agreed. "Not for a while now. I'm surprised
      you noticed."

      That drew a snort of disbelief out of him. "Be hard not
      to notice, darlin'. And..."

      "Don't," I cut him off. "Don't call me that, Logan. I
      don't want you calling me that anymore."

      He closed his eyes and let out a long breath. I'd hurt
      him with that, I could tell. Good, the spiteful part
      of my brain whispered.

      "I'm sorry, Marie," he said, looking at the ground.

      I laughed again, humor mixed in with the pain. "You
      don't have to be sorry, Logan. It's not your fault
      you don't want me."

      His head whipped up. "Now, where the hell did you get
      that idea?" he demanded.

      I looked at him scornfully. "You're in my head, Logan.
      I know what you felt when I kissed you."

      He shook his head. "No, you don't, Marie, because I
      definitely wasn't thinking that I didn't want you."

      "What?" It was all I could say.

      He sighed, and looked out across the pond. "It's not
      that I don't want you," he said in a very low voice.
      "It's that I can't have you."

      "What?" I asked again. I was completely bewildered. I
      had never even imagined that Logan might see me as more
      than a sister. I knew he cared about me. I had never
      doubted that. But he wanted me? I couldn't believe it.
      "What do you mean?" I asked, hoping against hope that
      he might feel the same way I did.

      He chuckled softly, but there was no humor in it. "It's
      like," he began, then trailed off. He didn't say anything
      more for a minute, and I didn't say anything either. I
      just sat there silently and let him collect his thoughts.
      To be honest, I don't think I could have spoken if I'd
      wanted to.

      "I knew you had a crush on me," he said, finally, "but
      I thought it was just kid stuff."

      "It's not," I said, willing him to believe me. "It's
      more than that."

      "I know," he agreed, nodding. "If you say it's more,
      I believe you. But I didn't know that until tonight.
      So I told myself it couldn't happen. That there were
      too many reasons we couldn't be together."

      "What reasons?" I demanded.

      He sighed again. "Age, for starters. I'm too old, Marie.
      And you're too young."

      "Well, you are too old," I allowed, and he laughed.
      A real laugh this time, and my heart soared to hear
      it. "But I won't always be too young," I went on,
      after he stopped laughing.

      He nodded. "That's true."

      "So what's the problem?" Before he could answer, I
      went on. "I think I'm old enough now, Logan. Even
      if you don't think so, I will be, soon enough. So,
      if not now, maybe someday...?" I let the question
      trail off.

      Logan closed his eyes, and I could hear the pain
      in his voice when he spoke. "I don't do too well
      with someday, Marie. I don't have a past. You know
      that."

      "I don't care," I assured him.

      "I know. I know you don't. But what that means is,
      I feel like I don't have a future, either."

      "You can," I told him. "We can. Together." I couldn't
      believe how sure I was, considering how uncertain and
      scared I'd been just a short while before. But I was
      right, I knew it. It felt right.

      "I want that," he said, his voice full of emotion.
      "I want to have a future, and I want it to be with
      you. But I can't see it. When I look, it's not there."

      "What do you mean?" I asked. I had no idea what he
      was talking about.

      He waved his hands in the air, searching for the words.
      "I can't get my head around it," he said. "That's why
      I live in the here and now. The past is gone for me,
      and the future is impossible to see. It's not real.
      I have a hard time understanding things that I can't
      see, or smell, or touch."

      I felt tears coming to my eyes. "And you can't touch
      me," I said, and all the pain came out in my voice.

      "No!" he cried, finally looking me in the eye. "That's
      not what I meant, Marie. That's not what I meant at all.
      I'm doing this all wrong." He brought his hands up to
      my shoulders. I tried to shrug them off, but he wouldn't
      let me. He pulled me into a tight hug, then leaned us
      both back against the bench, keeping his arm around my
      shoulders. I sighed contentedly and rested my head on
      his shoulder.

      "That's not what I meant, Marie," he repeated. "I can
      touch you whenever I want to." He brought his head down
      to rest carefully on mine. "Sometimes," he whispered,
      "I'd swear you're the only person in the world I've
      ever really touched, or who's ever really touched me."

      I tried not to cry, but it was hopeless. The tears
      started streaming down my face, but I was smiling at
      the same time. I put my arms around Logan and squeezed
      him as tight as I could. "I love you, Logan," I said,
      then froze. I couldn't believe I'd said it out loud,
      and I waited fearfully for his reaction.

      He brought his thumb up to wipe at my tears, brushing
      them away before my skin had time to affect him. "I
      love you, too, Marie," he said softly, and I started
      crying and smiling even harder.

      "But not yet," I said, after a moment.

      He kissed the top of my head. "Not yet," he agreed,
      and I could hear the regret in his voice.

      "Maybe someday?" I asked, knowing the answer.

      "Definitely someday," he promised, and it was enough.

      ***

      So that's where we stand. Someday we'll be together.
      We don't know how long it'll take, but that's okay.
      It'll be worth the wait.

      Oh, and for those who are interested, we did eventually
      make the chili. It went over pretty well. I got an A.
      And Logan's cookies are the smash hit of the season.
      And the way we've been acting together has all the
      gossips talking.

      Life is good.

      END
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