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FIC: Choices, 19/?, R/NC17, W/R R/G W/f

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  • fyrdrakken@JUNO.COM
    DISCLAIMERS REPOSTED IN PART 0 * * * Unsurprisingly, Marie was the first to learn of Logan’s new private bedroom. Not because of any carelessness on
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2001

      * * *

      Unsurprisingly, Marie was the first to learn of Logan’s new private
      bedroom. Not because of any carelessness on Logan’s part — his new
      quarters were no one else’s business as far as he was concerned. Prickly
      closemouthed tendencies to privacy plus an unpleasant family situation to
      conceal equaled rabid secrecy. He made damned sure that no one ever saw
      him entering or leaving the room, or even the hallway leading to it.

      But Marie was a special case. The fact that he came closer to confiding
      his genuine problems to her than to anyone else was part of it — as was
      the fact that he loved her. There was no one he’d rather allow into his
      inner sanctum.

      But what it really came down to was that he wanted somewhere to talk to
      her without fear of careless interruption.

      Logan found Marie’s marital problems to be nearly as absorbing as his
      own. More so, in fact — he preferred to forget about his own
      Cicely-related difficulties as much as possible, whereas Marie’s issues
      with Remy were a source of deep personal interest. From the early wish
      for the pair of them to split up (thereby freeing Marie for himself) to
      the more recently-discovered preference for Marie to be happy, come what
      may — however things went for the Le Beaus, Logan cared about the
      outcome. And as the only person Logan felt even slightly inclined to hint
      around the edges of his own dissatisfactions with, Marie more than rated
      a sounding board in return.

      And she seemed to need one. She was having a problem with her husband,
      Logan could tell — and he wanted to know what, and whether there was
      anything he could do about it. But she didn’t want to talk about it in
      the kitchen, or the rec room, or any of the other public areas of the
      mansion. Nor in one of their customary juke joints or pool halls — even
      more public. Nor in her quarters with Remy — and he barely even
      considered bringing her to the quarters that he now thought of as Cissy
      and Max’s. Instead he led her up the back staircase and down a deserted
      hallway to his isolated little room.

      "Logan, what *is* this place?" She glanced around, frowning as she
      recognized a few things of Logan’s, signs of occupancy.

      "This is my bedroom." At her uncomprehending look, he elaborated. "I
      don’t want to sleep with Cissy, she won’t have me sleeping with anyone
      else, so this is the compromise."

      "And she *lets* you have your own bedroom?"

      "What she doesn’t know about, she can’t argue about." Flat, final. "And
      we didn’t come here to talk about *my* problems."

      A sigh. "No, we didn’t." She set her jaw for a minute, and Logan
      suspected that she was making a mental note to bring up his sleeping
      arrangements at the earliest convenient opportunity. Subject dropped for
      the moment, she still showed no inclination to go on to the next one.

      Logan decided to give her a little nudge. "So why don’t you want to go
      down to New Orleans with Gumbo next week?"

      Pause. "Because I don’t feel like dealing with a bunch of thieves?" she
      suggested weakly.

      "Shouldn’t have married one, then." [And that’s not the real reason. Try

      Quieter, "Because I don’t want to be spending so much time alone with
      Remy with nothing to talk about."

      "Nothing to talk about?"

      "Nothing I *want* to talk about."

      Patiently, "And what don’t you want to talk about?"

      "About — anything, really."

      "Why not?"

      "Because — because I don’t think we have anything left to say that either
      of us wants to hear."

      [Well, *this* is an informative conversation.] Deciding to risk a wild
      stab, he said, "How much of this has to do with you not having kids?"

      A pained look. "That’s just it. We were going to raise a family together,
      and be happy, and normal, and — and we can’t, and there’s no point..."
      She broke off, strained.

      He waited.

      "...I don’t know if there’s any point in us staying together."

      [Damn. Lucky guess.] "Why not?" At her blank look, he added, "Not
      everyone gets married to start a family."

      Softly, "But *we* did."

      "So? Is that the *only* reason you wanted him? Because you thought he’d
      make good kids?"

      "No, but..." Words failed her again.

      "There’s more to being married than having children together. If the two
      of you picked each other for the right reasons, then this — it’s bad,
      it’s a disappointment, but it shouldn’t be a reason for the two of you to
      split." His words were flat, even unsympathetic — because of the effort
      it cost him to keep his feelings out of his voice. It wasn’t just the
      harsh experience that had taught him what marriage *shouldn’t* be, but
      the bitter irony at the realization that — chained to Cicely as he now
      was — he would rather have Marie happily married to another man than
      single and lonely.

      Whether his brusque dismissal of the importance of children in a happy
      marriage had rubbed her the wrong way or she was actually having some
      worries as to whether she and Remy *had* "picked each other for the right
      reasons," Marie’s response was rather waspish. "Coming from the man who
      only stays married *because* of his son, that’s very meaningful advice."

      "Damn straight — don’t make the mistake *I* did."

      "Which was?"

      "Letting a kid be the only reason to get and stay married. It’s not
      enough to make things work."

      "If it’s not enough, then why don’t you get a divorce?"

      An impatient snarl. "You *know* why not."

      "Then either it *is* enough, or you’re being a hypocrite."

      He turned and began pacing the cramped confines of the room. "What Cissy
      and I have... It isn’t a marriage. Not really. We’re just handcuffed
      together because of Max. It shouldn’t be that way. But it happened. It
      was a mistake but we’re stuck with the consequences."

      "And the consequences are sleeping in separate bedrooms while staying

      He shrugged, more of an irritated twitch of the shoulder muscles than a
      gesture of uncertainty. "The *consequences* are staying shackled together
      long enough to see Max grown. The separate bedrooms are just to — keep
      problems from happening. Let us both stay close to Max without getting on
      each other’s nerves as much."

      Making a weak attempt at humor, "You really *aren’t* made for long-term
      relationships, *are* you?"

      He whirled to face her. Doubly unavailable as she was, it was nonetheless
      suddenly important to him that she understand this. "For the right woman,
      I would be. Cissy ain’t her."

      She stared at him, stricken wordless for the moment. Whether merely
      surprised at his reaction or because she had guessed — or more likely,
      *thought* she guessed — who the "right woman" was, he couldn’t tell.

      He resumed pacing, wanting to shift the conversation away from this
      dangerous ground. "If just picking who you’d have good kids with was what
      was important, Cissy and I would be perfect for each other. But that
      isn’t anywhere near to being enough. I wouldn’t want Max to ever hear
      this, but his mother and I would both be a lot happier right now if he
      had never existed. But he does, and I love him to death — and I’m willing
      to give up the next twenty years of my life taking care of him, keeping
      him safe and making him happy." Pause, as he turned to face her again for
      the almost whispered, "But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish to God that he
      had a different mother."

      Equally softly, "But at least you have *him*. Even though things have
      gone sour between you and Cissy, at least you have Max — so the time with
      her hasn’t gone for nothing. You’ve got your son to show for it — even if
      the two of you *do* split. If I break with Remy, I’ve got nothing."

      "Except memories." Softly, "Children are important and I won’t try to say
      they aren’t. But they aren’t enough to save a relationship that’s already
      doomed, and not having them doesn’t mean that the time you spend together
      was wasted." Stepping closer, "If I was with — with the woman I wanted to
      be with, we’d take each day for all it was worth, enjoy every moment. And
      if we had kids, I’d love it — but if we didn’t, that doesn’t mean I
      wouldn’t be thankful for every day we had together, and I wouldn’t call
      any of our time wasted just because we didn’t have a family."

      They stared at each other for a long moment. Watching the quivering
      brightness in her eyes as she fought back tears, Logan eventually —
      reluctantly — remembered the point of this whole conversation. "And Remy
      isn’t *that* much of an idiot. I don’t think he picked you *just* to have
      half a dozen babies with — and I don’t think he’ll stop wanting you just
      because that doesn’t look too likely now."

      The shine in her eyes threatened to spill over. "I... I don’t know what
      I’d do without you, you know that?"

      He gave her a wry half-smile. "Probably get killed, or do something
      equally dumbassed."

      That earned him a shaky laugh, and a very light swat at his upper arm.
      Logan flinched reflexively, then chuckled awkwardly, trying to pass it
      off as a joke. Apparently it worked, since the next thing he knew his
      arms were full of Marie. "I just love you, you know *that*?"

      He should have taken it in context, should have realized that the kiss
      was aimed for his cheek, shouldn’t have responded to the affectionate
      gesture quite so fervently. But instinct just took over.

      It was undoubtedly her surprise at finding herself in an unexpected
      clinch with one of her best friends that caused her to open a connection.
      Just for a second or two — with her control, nothing life-threatening or
      even debilitating. Nothing more than a light skimming of his thoughts, a
      quick peek into his head, no doubt to find out what the hell he was
      thinking in kissing her like *that*. Instinct just took over.

      He felt it when she triggered her power — but what *really* got his
      attention was the way she stiffened in shock. Belatedly realizing the
      magnitude of his own error, he cautiously released her from his arms.
      Stepping back and not quite meeting her eyes, he muttered something along
      the lines of, "Maybe I should just let you go now?"

      "Maybe — maybe you should," she managed.

      As he listened to the sound of her rapid steps fading down the corridor,
      he numbly wondered how much she might have gotten from him with that

      * * *

      She Whose Quotations Are Both Exotic and Appropriate
      Keeper of his Deadly Startle Reflexes, Guardian and Examiner of the
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      -- "Mithra," _Encyclopedia of World Mythology, Arthur Cotterell ed.
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