|James "Logan" Howlett (snikt) wrote in thedisplaced,|
@ 2017-10-31 11:54:00
Halloween wasn’t really Logan’s cup of tea. Sure, the kids loved it and he couldn’t say that he didn’t like all of the candy that was around, but that was the extent of his appreciation for it. He’d take the kids out for trick-or-treating if they wanted, too, like he did for Anka Irene that night, but he was the ever brooding grandpa type that watched cautiously from the sidewalk and would sniff the treats that were handed out to make sure they were safe. Maybe he was a little bit paranoid what with all of the people running around in masks. Thankfully his sniffer never let him down so if anyone did try to pull one over on him they’d be in for a surprise.
But the night was winding down. Most of the kids were in bed and Logan was in serious need of a drink. He made his way down to the Roadhouse just a few minutes before it would close its doors for the night. It was a shitty move, but he really didn’t feel like dealing with folks much. Hopefully Jo wouldn’t kick him out.
“How’s it goin’, darlin,” he said to the blonde as he settled upon one of the stools. “Hope it ain’t too late for a drink or two.”
In point of fact, Jo was glad for the quieter Halloweens in Tumbleweed - though quiet seemed relative, when her life in past years had been spent chasing down actual ghosts and monsters who’d taken advantage of the holiday. She rarely made plans for the day itself, and the same went for this year, and after sending home the rest of the staff as business slowed down, she had started to work on closing up.
Glancing at the door when it opened, she quashed the annoyance she’d felt when she’d first heard the sound, and instead smiled at Logan as he sat at the bar. “Just barely under the wire,” she replied. “Though the law says I gotta tell you that last call was twenty minutes ago.” Despite her teasing words, she was already pulling out a beer of what she knew he liked and popped the top off, then set the cold bottle in front of him.
“What brings you here so late?”
He appreciated that Jo wasn’t going to enforce last call with him. Would have defeated the purpose of going to the bar in the first place. He smiled when she placed the beer in front of him, and nodded his appreciation before he took a long sip.
“Just wanted a quiet drink that didn’t involve drinking alone,” he admitted to her. Truth was there was plenty of alcohol at the ranch that he really didn’t need to go to the Roadhouse at all, but the ambience and the company were too good to pass up.
“Feel like joining me,” he asked her. “I promise I’ll make sure you get home safe.” He winked playfully at Jo before he took another drink.
“Quiet drinking usually means being alone,” she pointed out, but she smiled anyway, then nodded. “Lucky for you, the owner doesn’t mind me drinking on the job,” Jo said dryly, since she was one of the owners. “Just a sec.”
Heading out and around the bar, she moved to the doors to flip the lock, then turned off the outside light and a couple of the inner ones. She had already wiped down the tables, but left the chairs for the moment to return to the counter and get out a beer for herself. She still had a little work before she left for the night, but it was good to be able to sit and relax for a bit, first. By the time Jo sat next to Logan with an open beer of her own, the only lights in the room were a couple behind the bar and the lights from the jukebox and deer hunting arcade game next to the pool table.
Taking a long drink from her bottle, she set it down, then shot him a smile. “Speaking of quiet, haven’t seen much of you lately. Everything okay?”
Logan wondered why that was everyone’s first question when he disappeared into himself for a while. He was there in the town, physically at the very least, and he went about his business as he normally would. But he hadn’t engaged with folks, not really. He was quiet and withdrawn, typical Logan for those that knew him well. When he couldn’t leave to be off on his own then being a recluse was the next best thing.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Keeping busy with the kids at school, the gym.” He took a sip of his beer. “Been fixing up the ranch to make it decent.” Not that it wasn’t already, but I got more kids wanting to come over. Gotta make it better for them.” He paused for a minute staring off at the shelves of liquor behind the bar.
“What have you been up to?”
“I’ll have to check it out sometime,” she said, one hand lifting to rub the back of her neck absently. She was tired and sore in general from work, but it was the good, almost satisfying kind of sore, because it meant she’d been doing something meaningful.
“Not a whole lot. Just running this place, for the most part. Hanging out with Snow a little - she’s back and this time her kids are with her, so every few days she bullies me into having dinner over there and I let her.” She flashed a quick smile, sipping from her own drink.
“Yer welcome to come by anytime, Jo,” Logan said, an open invitation to his companion before he finished off his beer. It was times like these (when the alcohol stopped flowing) that Logan wished he was telekinetic. He’d just summon a beer for him and for Jo so that neither of them had to get up. Wishful thinking on his part; he was cursed with the healing and the claws. He supposed that meant he had the time to get his ass off the bar stool to grab another drink.
“Mind if I grab another one,” he asked her as he stood to his feet. When Jo nodded Logan made his way around the bar to the cooler full of beers. He grabbed two knowing that the blonde would need another in just a few minutes. She could put away alcohol with the best of them.
“Got you one,” he said as he set it down in front of her. Logan settled back into his seat and used a single claw to take the cap off his own bottle.
She followed him with her eyes as he moved behind the bar, bemused at how comfortable he seemed, then nodded a second time when he returned, this time in thanks. Lifting her first, Jo took a longer drink this time while her hand dropped away from her neck, then stood to start flipping chairs onto tables.
“I’ll do that,” she told him. “Come by at some point. Thanks for the offer.” Starting at the far end of the room, she moved almost rhythmically, the routine of closing being a familiar one to her, then pointed at the opposite end. “Up for giving me a hand with these? It’ll go quicker.”
Logan wondered what exactly was the point of flipping the chairs onto the tables when they were just going to be back on the ground the next night. Sure, there was the whole “mopping” thing that probably had to happen, but the same concept applied — people were going to drink their beer and spill it the next time. Cleaning up almost seemed pointless. But Jo took pride in her establishment, and Logan could appreciate that.
“Sure, I can do that,” he said as he moved to the other end of the room to start cleaning up. He flipped the chairs one by one, and though the movement wasn’t familiar to him as it was to Jo he found himself doing it in stride. It was relaxing, almost calming. He liked it.
She finished her side while he was still flipping chairs, which left Jo heading into the kitchen. A minute later, she came back out with a broom and a dustpan to start getting up all the crumbs and spilled food and napkins people had left in the past couple of hours. When she reached Logan, Jo swept around him efficiently, moving quickly. She’d timed herself once and knew she could do the entire area in less than five minutes. Once the sweeping was done, she headed back in for the mop and a rolling bucket of water that she had filled up shortly before he had shown up, and repeated the process.
It took about 20 minutes, but eventually she finished up the cleaning and sat at the bar with Logan again, stretching this time before picking up her first beer and finishing it off.
“Thanks for the help.”
“No problem,” he said with a nod. He settled back onto his stool and started on his second beer. “Woulda done more but you were pretty quick.” He grinned at her, and spun in his stool so that his back was pressed against the counter. “It’s a mighty fine place you got here,” he said. “If I ain’t ever told you that before.”
His beer was held lightly in his other hand as his eyes scanned around the room. “I noticed you ain’t got a dart board in here,” he said. “I think one would fit pretty finely on that empty piece of wall right over there.” He nodded his head toward one of the walls, and looked over at Jo. “I can make one for you if you want.”
Jo tilted her head as she met his eyes, and smiled happily at the compliment on the Roadhouse. “You haven’t lately, so thanks,” she said, and glanced around herself. “It’s not the same as the one I grew up in, but it’s a damn nice place to call home, anyway.” Sure, she owned it jointly with Damon, but she still couldn’t help but think of it as hers.
Returning her gaze to Logan at the offer, she grinned. “Yeah? I’m not going to say no to that,” Jo replied, lightly bumping her thigh against his since the angle was just right. “Thanks, Logan.”
“Don’t mention it,” he said, and stopped himself before saying the words that so many people hated. Kid. Especially when Jo was anything but a kid. Sure, she was younger than he was (nearly everyone was), but she was a grown woman with a business of her own. She knew how to hunt, and she could hold her liquor, and dammit all if Logan just didn’t enjoy her company.
Attachment was a problem for the Wolverine, though, and he intended to keep it friendly. For as long as he could at least. “Why don’t you stop by the ranch this Saturday,” he said suddenly. “I’ll cook us up a couple of steaks. I’ll have your dart board ready by then. We can enjoy the sunset on the new back porch I built. That is, if yer willin to make the drive out there.”
“That’s not a problem,” she replied in reference to the drive, then smiled again. “I’ll be there. Just got to have one of the others cover my shift here. What time should I show up?” Picking up the second beer he had set in front of her, she pulled a bottle opener out of a pocket and opened it, then took a long drink as her dark eyes settled on him. It’d be good for her to actually get out and do something for once, she figured.
“Five sound okay with you?” The sun started to set in the sky around six-thirty, and he reckoned that they’d be done with dinner by then. The good thing about Texas is that it rarely ever got cold, and an evening out on the porch watching the sun disappear behind the horizon was pretty damn nice. Not that the cold ever bothered him — he lived in it for the majority of his young life — but he knew it wasn’t for everyone.
He smiled over at Jo, and then finished up the rest of his beer with one swallow. “Last one for me,” he said. He didn’t want to keep Jo at the bar any longer than she needed to be there. “I’ll walk y’home, if you want.”
“Five o’clock Saturday,” she replied. “It’s a date.” She had to grin a little, remembering the post she’d seen on the network from a teenager freaking out over those words, but Jo was pretty sure they were safe enough to say in this situation. “I just have a couple things to finish up in the back, but sure. I have to run the day’s money over to the bank first.” She took another sip from her own bottle, then stood. “I’ll just be another five minutes,” Jo told him over her shoulder with a smile, then disappeared into the back.
It’s a date, she had said, and Logan couldn’t really argue. Two adults sharing a meal seemed like a date in his eyes, but he was cautious. Time tempered him in a way he couldn’t explain, and maybe he was still a little gunshy considering all the women he had thought to date or had feelings for had disappeared or just ran in the opposite direction. He thought of Jean specifically, but knew he had to move past her. They were friends and nothing else.
“Take your time, darlin,” he said just as she walked away. “I ain’t goin’ nowhere.”