He’d been looking forward to this night for weeks and now that it was here he was nervous. Nervous that Logan wouldn’t like the gift, nervous that this thing might feel less now that he was free. He wasn’t exactly sure what Logan had planned in terms of the date but he’d go with casual since they both seemed to do well with that. A soft blue button down and a pair of dark jeans was what he chose and he made his way out of his apartment to Logan’s door.
Logan had given Ehren a copy of his key for Daisy but he’d loaned that copy to Finn to help out with the surprise while they were on their date. He gave a knock to Logan’s door and waited patiently outside for him to answer.
It was odd trying to get back into a routine in a sense. For weeks now he’d been so idle, bored, furious. And now he was back in his apartment with no idea where to begin and with everything needing his attention. Work was something he had dreaded; most of the clients he had served before his incarceration still needed and wanted his help, while some of them stopped requesting him to come for repairs. That hurt but he couldn’t hold it against them, people believed what they wanted to believe even with solid evidence.
Showering was a blessing. His sheets were soft, the way he remembered, and after catching a bit of a nap (he was more exhausted than he’d realized) Logan got up to shower and dress. He wanted to look nice for the occasion but without a resource for what one might consider nice threads he opted for the best he had. Dark fitted jeans, a light colored shirt that would button up the front. Sleeves would be rolled up to his elbows and he did the best he could to comb back the wild mane that was his hair.
With that done, Logan pulled on his best pair of sneakers and filled his pockets with his wallet and keys. He hadn’t missed his mobile device and couldn’t even remember where he’d left it. So he didn’t regret not having it.
The knock at the door came as expected. Suddenly he felt a bit nervous without knowing really why. What he did know was that he liked Ehren a lot, more than he knew that he should, and he didn’t want things to be as turbulent as they’d been with Casey. He wanted to take this second chance and make the best of it.
Wandering slowly to the door he eased it open and smiled at the other man. “Hey.”
And just like that his nerves were eased. Logan’s smile did it every time. “Hi.” He replied, more like the bashful Ehren Logan had met than the confident spirit he was now. He wanted to rake his fingers through Logan’s hair, to push him into the bedroom and not even leave the apartment but this was a date. Dates were meant to get to know the other person. While he felt like he’d grown to know Logan, there were still things he hadn’t explored.
Fiddling with something in his pocket Ehren let himself sway on his feet. “You look really good.” He said, smiling back wide at Logan wider than he had been before. It was true, Ehren could tell Logan had put some thought into what he was wearing and it made his stomach do flips.
“You ready?” He asked, since it seemed like he was. Ehren was happy to go on the date, but he couldn’t wait to surprise Logan after. This had been his masterpiece of romantic gift giving and he couldn’t wait to see the stupid look on Logan’s face.
His smile widened a bit and he grew a bit bashful. Those nerves had butterflies fluttering in his stomach which he knew was ridiculous, but he found it interesting all the same. This felt so foreign to him yet he also found himself falling back into a few old habits easily.
“Thanks. So do you,” he replied, looking Ehren over. There was not a time he could recall that the other man didn’t look good - even with a bruised face he was endearing.
A nod would come. Logan stepped out of the apartment enough to close and secure the door before surrendering himself to Ehren completely. He would ask about the wedding ring later once things had settled down, but he hadn’t forgotten about it.
“So where would you like to go?”
Still fiddling with the thing in his pocket he smirked over at Logan. “I was thinking that I’ve been craving a greasy burger and a milkshake. Diner?” He asked, starting the walk out of the apartment complex toward the marketplace where all the restaurants were. “We can listen to doo wop music and pretend like we’re in the 50’s.” He did always love going to those places with the nickel jukeboxes.
His head turned around to see if Finn had come out of his apartment yet and by the time they reached the corner he saw him leave his apartment. “Honestly I’ve been craving a burger for weeks but I have a low metabolism.” He patted his belly. Ehren had bloated before and it was always in his best interests to stick with a diet and exercise regularly.
Eyes would glance around with caution. He half expected all of this to be a dream, to wake up back in that little cell in shackles with his face hurting from a beating from a guard. Or for the guards to try to take him away again. He couldn’t help the sense of paranoia. “Sure,” he murmured, turning back to Ehren. He tried not to think of the bad things and focus on the good that lay ahead.
Moving alongside the other man he took in the familiar sights of their walk, finding some measure of comfort in it. It was good being free. Good seeing the sun and breathing fresh air.
Burgers did sound good and it was hard to mess them up. Anything edible sounded good after what they’d been serving in jail and he suddenly found himself hungrier than he’d realized.
Logan was quiet and Ehren could imagine it was going to take some time to recalibrate. He was in that cell for a while and freedom probably didn’t seem like it was coming. But now here he was and this was the one thing the two of them had been looking forward to. Ehren looked over at the other man and grasped his hand as they walked toward the market. “I’m happy you’re out. I thought I’d never get to see you again.”
The air was cool tonight and he felt good being outside. If time was an issue still, maybe he could convince Logan to go out on a walk. “You know I spent a night in a jail cell once. Some guy I worked with invited us all out for drinks and didn’t tell us he just wanted us to kick some dudes ass. I didn’t do it, but I was there so I went with them. Worst work outing ever.” That last part was said with a little laugh. Nothing he went through was anywhere near Logan’s experience but he thought maybe that might help him to feel better about it all.
Ehren’s fingers finding his caught his attention and with a small grin his fingers parted to take Ehren’s between. He didn’t have shame as they walked hand in hand together, it felt good to touch someone without regulation. His smile was small but radiant, “Me too.” He’d thought he would never make it out, that all of the fighting was for naught.
A wince and then Logan laughed, “Yikes. What an asshole.” Why anyone thought it was a good idea to invite others out for violence was something beyond Logan’s ability to understand. Especially pulling someone like Ehren into the mix.
He wouldn’t lie and say he didn’t feel a bit better. Ehren had a way of brightening up the darker times.
He could see some of the tension release in Logan and it made him feel good. For once it was nice to focus on someone else. “Yeah that guy got fired after he stole some high retail auto parts.” He missed working in a garage sometimes, even the kind of people that he worked with, as different as they were, were just like him. Just trying to find their way.
In the distance the marketplace came into view and he squeezed Logan’s hand a bit. Everything felt so easy with Logan. The conversation, the touches, like two puzzle pieces. “What was the dumbest thing you ever did as a teenager?” He asked, since that was always a fun topic. Ehren had stories for days and most of them were embarrassing.
There were way too many stories he could recall. Logan had been a wild and crazy teenager, there was no doubt about that. He was glad all of those days were behind him, though. A small smile would creep over his face as he considered which story to tell. “Uh, a group of us broke into a store once. A seven eleven. We wanted slurpees. Probably not a good idea. As soon as the door opened the alarm came on.”
To a kid that sounded like a great idea - break into a place and get a snack. Life wasn’t that easy. But back then you didn’t consider consequences.
“What about you?”
He thought about it for a moment as they came into the main area of the marketplace. Overall Ehren had been a good kid, but he kept some less than desirable friends. “When I was thirteen, me and this girl I had a crush on smoked weed in an aluminum foil pipe right next to an office building. My dad was not happy when the cops dragged us home.” They entered the restaurant and were led to a booth at the back of the diner. It was nice, away from the noise of the busy restaurant goers.
“I was happy though, scored my first kiss that day.” He added with a smirk, peering down at the menu to see what he wanted to order. He’d been to every restaurant here, usually with friends so he knew what he was getting himself into.
The story was interesting though he’d heard it before in a different context. Who hadn’t tried weed when they were young? Logan was glad for the happy ending, though.
Into the restaurant he followed Ehren. The booth was perfect and Logan let go of the other man’s hand, slipping into the seat across from Ehren. Amusement creased the corners of his eyes, “I knew there was wild in you somewhere.”
Pulling the menu into his hands he browsed though like Ehren he’d been here several times.
“Thanks for coming out with me.”
As the waitress came he ordered himself a bacon cheeseburger and waited for Logan to order before returning his attention back to the other man. “There’s more still to come.” He replied with a wink. Ehren would never pressure Logan into sex but it was clear the both of them wanted it.
“Of course. I’ve been looking forward to this since before they took you.” If he recalled, he’d asked Logan if he wanted to get dinner later that week. His plans were ultimately thwarted by Logan’s incarceration. A hand reached across the table to grab Logans and gave it a squeeze. “Remember, we had to do it for the kid.” Which was of course a lie, Ehren knew he wanted to be with Logan at this point, this was just the icing on the cake.
Ordering the same thing, Logan folded up the menu and set it aside. Inwardly he was scolding himself for being so awkward. Dating wasn’t something he’d thought he’d ever do again and he found himself struggling a little bit with it.
That wink and small, playful smile had Logan’s own grin widening a touch. “What are you up to?” He inquired, teasingly. The idea of a surprise that was coming had him curious, he had a feeling Ehren was up to something but he would do his best not to spoil the plan.
“Me too. I thought about it a lot while I was locked up.” Literally every moment of the day, when he couldn’t sleep, while he was sitting impatiently in his cell for new news. For any news.
As that hand found his, Logan twisted his fingers around so that they slid comfortably into the spaces between Ehren’s. “Sure, for the kid.” He laughed softly, the end of his nose crinkling. He hoped that it wasn’t just for the puppy, but he had a feeling they both were on the same page with things.
Ehren shook his head with a shit-eating grin. “You’re just going to have to wait.” Just like he did. For days before Logan surprised him with Daisy he thought about what might be coming his way. A dog didn’t seem possible at all but low and behold, Logan made it happen, for him.
He’d been on more than a few dates recently and up until this point he’d been scared. Things with Meg turned sour quickly, he’d thought things were going well with Dorian but then it was over. Logan was different, Ehren had needed something from those two. Protection, attention, it was all a means to an end. With Logan, he only wanted to make the other man happy.
His fingers squeezed as Logan’s interlaced with his and a soft smile came to his face. He was still floored by the fact that someone like Logan liked him and he couldn’t let go of the idea that he could still fuck it all up. “I know you have this idea in your head that you’re nothing special and I get it, I feel the same way sometimes. But Logan, you’re…” he struggled to think of the words to describe what he saw. “...you’re the most loyal person I’ve ever met. There’s so much good inside of you that I think sometimes it weighs down on you.” He brought a hand across the table to lightly stroke his cheek. “Stay that way, but don’t let it crush you.”
He didn’t know how Logan would feel about him laying him bare like that but Ehren felt it was important for him to know that he liked him for who he was.
That grin earned more amusement but Logan only nodded and smiled. He could wait a bit longer - what was another lifetime in comparison to this one? That was the thing about surprises. It was nearly akin to being a child at Christmas, waiting to see what lay beneath all of the wrapping paper. Logan could remember that feeling, that sense of wonder when the moment finally came. Maybe they were both just destined to wait for each other about something.
As Ehren began to speak about self worth his eyebrows would arch and his smile would recede a touch as he listened. All of those compliments showered over him - he felt undeserving of them but Ehren would get no protest from him. “Thanks,” he managed, leaning into that touch. He was aware of the way that most people saw him, how the Government saw him, but Ehren didn’t view him in that light. He was glad for it, baffled by it, but truly gifted with the knowledge. “I like you too.”
His vocabulary was nowhere near the expanded list that Ehren had but maybe he’d learn a thing or two from the younger man. How could he hold that against anyone? Being honest was a good trait to have.
As their food came he let go of Logan and sat back to look at the spread before him. It had been a while since he dared eat a cheeseburger but he was insanely happy that he was. He didn’t mind that Logan didn’t have much to say, that was his nature. He had an actual filter unlike Ehren who kind of just said whatever was on his mind. If that hadn’t turned him off of Ehren yet then he felt pretty safe.
“When did the wolf come around?” He asked, picking up his burger to take a big bite out of it. Maybe Logan had said so before or maybe it was another thing he’d kept to himself. Ehren was curious, he was only eight when his visions first started to happen.
Hand would pull back and he thanked the waitress before turning to look at Ehren. Reaching over, he stole a French fry from Ehren’s plate and ate it, watching the other man with a playful glance. He didn’t say much when he was out in public but later on he was sure there’d be more conversation.
“Couple of years ago,” Logan replied. He couldn’t recall having told Ehren that, but the wolf had come long after Casey had died. “Came here for a ball game and I guess the rumors of tainted water were true or something, I can’t really say for sure.” And then the manifestation had happened. He was still learning things about himself and the wolf.
The burger was good. Logan could taste the gristle from the flat top, the bacon was savory and the cheese a complimentary addition. He consumed it quickly, making sure to wipe any morsels from his mouth and beard, any grease from his fingers.
Ehren was famished and made quick work of the greasy burger, smirking when Logan grabbed a French fry off of his plate. Somehow imagining Logan at a ball game seemed appropriate, the old traditions deep in his blood. Maybe someday he’d be able to make a meal for Logan, but for now this was the best possible meal they could have had.
He listened to Logan as he talked about the wolf, the small mistake that changed the rest of his life. If Ehren could go back in time, he’d do his best to save him. Taking a sip of his water to wash down the food he looked over at Logan. “That must have been terrifying.” He replied, leaning over to steal one of Logan’s fries. Tit for tat.
“Do you remember the first time you transformed?” He asked, grabbing his burger again to bite into.
“Yep,” came the answer. He didn’t want to talk about the transformation, even now. It was painful; it’d been so frightening and agonizing the first time and he could recall the exact time and place that he’d shifted. Making himself smile Logan finished eating and when he was done he wiped his face and hands, pushed the plate aside, and waited for Ehren to finish.
Any sports games he was a fan of, but when you lived in Chicago rooting for the Cubs was in your blood.
And there it was, the part of Logan that was shut off. He knew there was probably a lot Logan still hadn’t talked to him about and while he wanted to know he wouldn’t push the subject. Finishing up what was on his plate, Ehren smiled at the waitress and asked for the check. They were quiet for a moment before Ehren spoke up again. “I don’t mind if you don’t want to talk about something just let me know if you ever do, ok?” He pleaded.
A nod would come. He felt bad about being so closed off on certain things but he’d been through a lot. Dredging up old memories, changes in his life, that came with burden and pain he wasn’t yet mentally strong enough to handle. And so he avoided it. “Okay. Sorry, I just — “ he sighed, shaking his head. “There are just some things I’d rather forget about.”
Reaching over he caught one of Ehren’s hands and held onto it. “I’d rather be in the here and now than in the past.” He hoped that made sense.
The waitress left the check on the table and he squeezed the hand in his. “Okay, let's be here and now.” He said with a smirk, his other hand stuffing into his pocket to feel the little object that was there. He couldn’t wait to show Logan his surprise and he let go of Logan’s hand to grab his wallet out of his pocket.
“Or you know, be somewhere else in the future.” He said, with a wink, taking out some money to use on the food they’d just eaten.
Logan wanted to protest Ehren paying and had things been normal he would have. But right now he was without any money and it was selfish to think Ehren would foot the bill - he felt it - but part of him was grateful. He made a mental note to pay Ehren back for the meal considering this had been his own idea.
Hand would recede. He sat there waiting and feeling a bit ashamed that he couldn’t provide for them both.
Nodding, Logan waited.
Ehren never needed Logan to pay for him and how would he ever be able to when he was locked up. He was just happy that they were finally doing this. When the waitress came back he gave her the money. “Keep the change.” He said and as she walked away he stood up.
“So are you ready for your surprise?” He asked, offering his hand out to Logan to lead him to said surprise. Finn should have had it set up by now and Ehren was brimming with excitement to see Logan’s reaction.
He felt bad still, regardless. Asking someone out meant paying. But he had nothing. He didn’t look at the waitress as Ehren paid and only when she walked away did his gaze lift from where it’d fallen to his lap.
A nod. “Sure,” he breathed, sliding out of the seat. His hand would lift and he caught Ehren’s hand, the prickle of excitement touching the ends of his nerves. “What do you have planned?” Eyes would squint playfully.
A smirk came to his face as he lead Logan out of the restaurant to head back to his apartment. Tonight Daisy was with Riley and Finn so they’d have the place to themselves. “Patience is a virtue.” They made their way out of the restaurant and back towards the apartment complex.
Once they were out of the restaurant he let go of Logan’s hand and slinked his arm around the other man’s torso. “You know in certain parts of Alaska they have days where there are only two hours of darkness.” He said as they walked, squeezing his side a little.
“You’re frustrating,” he teased. Holding Ehren’s hand Logan followed easily after the other man. He didn’t have a lot of patience normally but he made himself endure the moments ahead for Ehren. He figured this was the way the other had felt when he had put Ehren through the same thing.
“I did know that,” he confessed. Alaska was one of his dream places to live. Leaning into the embrace of the other he moved along, curious.
Letting go of his torso, Ehren grabbed Logan’s hand again and began to walk faster. This had to have been more exciting for him than it was for Logan. At least until Logan saw it. “Come on.” He said with a smile and began to pick up the pace. The apartment complex was on the horizon and the object in his pocket was weighing heavy.
Hand would be clasped and he walked alongside Ehren. As the pace began to pick up he matched the stride with ease, curious as to what lay ahead. He wanted to know what someone would put together for him in mind. Surprises for him - good ones - were rare.