WHO : Logan and Lainey WHAT : Two years after Lainey runs away on their wedding day, the two collide once more.
Logan ` The beats of Eminem's Till I Collapse drilled through his ears, and to his brain causing his head to nod alongside the rhythm, holding onto every lyric for they characterized every aspect of his life. Logan took every step with purpose as he prepped himself up before going to see the woman that crushed his dreams, and swept it out from under him without any notice. He couldn't believe that she was only a couple of miles from where he was staying at. It had been nearly two years since she left him at that altar; he dealt with his cold feet by sporting a pair of heavy athletic socks. Not only was that humiliating, but it was the constant verbal abuse he put on himself; what did he do wrong? How could she leave him? He didn't even suspect the slightest bit of hesitation on her part up to the actual wedding -- he thought they got closer through the planning process, if anything. He played the perfect fiance role to the T; he was the textbook definition of what a flawless boyfriend should be, and nobody expected what she did. Usually confident in all of his feats, Logan shook from the core, fearful of even the thought of seeing her again. He relived and replayed the fantasy of confronting her over and over again. He even had the perfect lines rehearsed to say in that moment, but his mouth went dry. No words. Nothing but pure fear of what he would find out.
Lainey ` The cigarette pressed between the two petals of her lips jostled as she spoke. ``She has you slipping notes under her door? And you tried reasoning with her? How long has it been since she's come out?`` Trails of wispy white smoke danced before her, ``Tell her, `Alice, I won't give you dinner until you come out.` What do you mean you tried? You are feeding her, aren't you?`` She pushed the cell phone to her ear. ``Dad, you know I don't understand her. If Alice wants to isolate herself -`` Pause. ``I will call her Alice. She never complains.`` She removed her cigarette and watched the smoke drift upwards. ``Well, the half of my genetic code that belongs to her is either suppressed or inactive.`` The toe of her brown boots crushed the remains of her cancer stick. ``Come to visit? If you can't get her to leave her room, how on earth could I convince her? I love you, too.`` She closed the phone and slid it in her back pocket. Her favorite worn blue jeans. The back patio was quiet and she could look out on the courtyard behind the apartment building. Walking back inside, she looked around the apartment. Anders had it decorated so nicely. It reminded her of Logan's taste. Less ecclectic than her own tastes. Cleaner lines. Less crazy designs. In fact, a lot reminded her of Logan. Since the phone call, she could not get him out of her mind. He was haunting her again. He was in her head. She prayed to God he did not ask questions, did not look deep into her eyes. Prayed to God he would not search her out, break her down, destroy all the strength she had so heartily built up as a defense. Fingers smoothed out the red paisley blouse she wore. One she had sewn herself. He was coming here. She sensed him near. Her thoughts wandered. Would he smell the same? Look the same. The rumors of the injury were a mystery to her. She wondered if she would even know him but, mostly, if she wanted to.
Logan ` It had been nearly two weeks since the hired help in his shady detective-like attire approached him with all of her contact information including rolls of pictures. Logan never asked for those; it just came with the package. He planned to call her immediately, but always found himself hanging up before pressing that final digit. Instead, he spent most of his leisure with a glass of scotch on the rocks, and those countless strips of film where he studied every facial feature, and wondered what she was thinking just then when that picture was being inconspicuously taken. When he used to play sports, habits such as smoking and drinking were nonexistent, but he discovered that those indulgences helped ease the pain: both physical and emotional. He could never look at those pictures without a buffer nearby. Logan sat in his brother's truck, white knuckles baring as his fingers wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, and yet still shaking. He felt that familiar lump grow in his throat as breathing became more of an arduous task than something we never think about. He feared that she never loved him, that it was all an act. If that were the case, that would mean he invested his entire being into nothing. He had waited this long; he couldn't understand why he didn't just bust open that front door, and finally get the closure he deserved. Perhaps it wasn't closure that he needed; it was her.
Lainey ` In the time she stood there, she thought of everything - the good the bad, the ups the downs, the best and the worst. The memories flooded back to her. His smile, frown, laugh - his love. His kindness, the endless sea of love he bathed her in daily. Many days she had been affectionate and loving, in return. And, yet, many other days she had been the wild, unpredictable, and stubborn woman she always had been. Things were so different now. She had distanced herself from all the people around her- her mother, Logan, her sister, and, even, her father. The whole world was rebuilt and, now, it was all crumbling down again. The phone call. She did not know how he found her. The PI would have had some interesting photos, ones that raised questions. Constantly with an angelic blonde curly-haired girl, holding her, feeding her, playing with her. Park. Playground. School. Craft store. Shopping. Everywhere. The pictures at home with the appearance of the handsome and ominous Anders. The character that slid in and out, his meaning undefined, their relationship vague. The pictures of smiling and laughter and fulfillment. The boutiques she visited that bought and sold her designs. The long days and evenings at the University, talking with professors, burying her familiar nose in new books. The record stores. She had changed so little, in a sense. She loved the same old things. The art. The galleries. She moved towards the door and felt her hand shaking as she laid in on the door knob. She didn't know why she was doing it. Just knew that she had to. She felt closer.
Logan ` She was completely 180 from him. He was dragged to that damn art show by his friend who wanted to impress a girl by acting like he was sophisticated enough. Logan would have rather stayed at home in his sweats watching the game, or dropped by one of his favorite sports bars. Compared to the creative mind of Lainey, he fell short. He wasn't going to lie; the arts were never a part of his life until she barged in. Logan would have fared better with a woman that wasn't so spontaneous and Bohemian as she was. Much of his life had been pre-planned, and she was his first conflict plot. She was the dramatic irony. But she complemented him in more ways than one; she completed every aspect of his being. Taking a deep breath, he swallowed his pride for once, and donned a face of anger. The memories kept flooding in and out; those pictures of that unfamiliar man who seemed to fit her better than he ever could, and that little girl who resembled so much of her. Did she lie that entire time? Was that little girl his? It couldn't have been. His friends unanimously agree that he had been 'played'. He was playing with fire, and got burned. Opening the car door, Logan exited that truck again with purpose. Each step he took forced him to use all of his strength to lift and move forward. That hand that shook before rolled up into a fist and lunged it forward, As it connected with the door, a slight pain jolted from his hand to his core. He knocked again for maybe she didn't hear it the first time.
Lainey ` She kept wishing it would be easy. He would walk in, see her, and walk out. Walk out with his closure or his answer or whatever the hell he needed from her. Whatever the hell he wanted from her. She hoped he would get it. Then leave. He reminded her of her greatest failures, her worst fears, her most threatening desires. It was safe to live in this ignorance. The sound shook her. The sound broke her. The sound of him. Her other hand reached out, rested on the wood of the door. This was unreal. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead against the door, closed her eyes, breathed sharply. On the other side of this ... on the other side. All that is between us - wood. He knocked again and she stood up, turned the knob. The door opened quickly. There she stood with her long, wavy golden hair falling wildly about her face, spilling over her shoulders. Those clear eyes. That bright, white smile. Her small and shapely frame covered in milky white skin that was always so soft. Her smell drifting towards him - the scent of country apple and paint. Her eyes did not scan him over. They were straight, focused on his own. Her smile was honest. Her lips parted and she struggled a moment. ``Logan.`` that deep, rich, lovely voice. The slight accent that reminded one of someone well-traveled. ``It's so good to see you.`` She sounded honest.
Logan ` He had never shed a tear. Crying was a sign of a weakness. He held it all in. He held it in when she left him standing there all alone. He held it in when he felt his shoulder dislocate from the rest of his body, and knew that his career would halt right there. He held it in when the doctor confirmed that he would never play again. He held it in when his contract was shredded. He held it in when he lost his house, his many European cars, and his supposed friends. But at the mere sight of her brought that lump all the way up to the tip of his tongue, and he was near the edge of breaking down. No, she already stripped him of his pride and trust -- he couldn't afford to lose his alpha-male image either. He still had some dignity leftover that he needed to preserve. The unfamiliar heat flashed in his eyes as he knew that once he blinked, those tears would break through his barriers, and come flooding. So he didn't let it slip. On the surface, he looked calm and ready, but he was focusing hard on not letting go. She was the only one that knew him inside and out. She knew him more than he did, and she must have known that leaving him would destroy him. He wanted to so badly hate her -- he wanted that more than his career, his livelihood. He heard his name echo in her sweet tone. Say something. Throat became parched, mouth dry, and no words would come to him. Instead of the why's, Logan forced on a smile that made his face contort. "Hi," was all he could say without losing it.
Lainey ` She was standing dumbly before him, blocking the door way. She felt it welling up inside her and, when it happened, she didn't stop herself. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her face buried in his chest, her fingers sliding through his hair. Her chest rose and fell and her hair brushed against his jaw. ``Logan.`` She was embracing him. Her warm body was so close against his. She felt his body against her own and buried her face deeper into the fabric of his shirt. She took a deep breath. She had missed it. She pulled her arms back and stepped inside. ``Come in.`` she was smiling, hand motioning him into this home - this foreign place where she lived her own life, without him. A life with another man, whether they were in a relationship or not. A life with a little girl - a child that could have been their's. A child the same age as their's would have been. She closed the door behind him and looked at his back, his strong shoulders, his thick neck. But he was different, weaker, less assured. Broken. The injury. She had forgotten. She wanted so badly to reach out and touch him, to hug him again, to - - - she stopped herself. ``Would you like something to drink?`` A question she was notorious for asking. It was just like old times. Yet, not at all. Two different people together again. The battle inside her raged on. She fought herself, denied herself the priviledge of forgiving herself for what she did to him. He stood there before her, and she felt it could not be real. He was a ghost - a phantom. A shadow of what once had been her own.
Logan ` Once he felt her being intertwine with his, he couldn't help but let his guard down, and fall in love with all over again. It only took a minute of her to let that strong image he built for himself to mask his pain of losing her to crumble. He inhaled taking in that familiar scent that he longed for in his sleep, thoughts, and even nightmares. He felt her heart beat as she pressed against him, and for that moment, the two were breathing in unison. That's just how it was. Two years, countless dates, and none of them would ever come close to her. The mere sight of blondes made his insides flip, only to realize that they weren't her, and he would succumb to his pity party again. He felt the potential for bliss again; ultimate euphoria that not even the best trip Prozac could provide him. But then she pulled away. This was real life, it had to end sometime. Despite his efforts to be the masculine figure he longed to be, he was weak in front of her. Already, he was wrapped around her fingertrip, entranced by her language. And when she invited him in, he automatically followed. "Any alcohol if you have some. Or if you don't, water is fine." After he answered, he made a bold movement, and strided towards her with that same concerned look he had when he asked her if everything was all right just two days before their wedding day, and she reassured him that it was just an upset stomach, and he believed her. Why wouldn't he? He so badly wanted to continue that embrace, but he knew he had lost that right when she chose to leave him. That reminder was too painful so instead, he forced small talk to mask the tension. "How have you been? You look amazing."
Lainey ` Her fingers pushed the silver chain around her neck out of the way. Her neck was adorned with jewelry. She always had a knack for finding rare and unique pieces. The long silver chain was bejewled with emeralds and rubies; the chain beneath that one boasted a pretty silver flying sparrow. Up and down her arm were silver and gold bangles, interrupted by her own multi-colored hemp creations. As she moved her hands, the tinkling of metal filled the quiet air about them. Her fingers pushed the collar of her blouse open and a delicate silver chain sparkled from within. She fingered something on the end of it, something hard to see. She buried it once more in her shirt and ran her fingers through her hair absently. Her eyes went over him slowly, making no effort to mask her gaze. Smirk danced across pale pink tiers as her blue eyes rested on his once more. ``You look great yourself,`` she said as she moved into the open kitchen. She rummaged about in the cupboard, bending over, clanking bottles. She always was clumsy as hell. She finished and brought him over a Bloody Mary :]. She sloshed around a bit and spilt a tad on her jeans. When she noticed, she blushed. She took a long sip of her own drink before answering. ``I have been - damn, Logan. You know how much I hate small talk. If you mean how is my state of physical well-being then the answer is, fine. I am healthy. If you mean how am I emotionally - well, it's complicated - it always is. That the human state. You know how I am. If you mean my professioanl life then I'm doing just marvelously. Just smashing.`` She paused. ``How are you?``
Logan ` It was a reflex for him to reach over with the sleeve of his shirt, and before he could realize what he was doing, it was too late and he had found himself already dabbing at the spill with the material of his own long sleeve shirt. He was never too logical either; a napkin would have been the better idea, but there was none available, so his own sleeve was the next best answer. His own face flushed two shades of red when he realized that he had stepped over his boundaries, and into hers without warning -- they were supposed to be just acquintances now, if anything, even strangers. He cleared his throat, and mumbled an apology before retreating back to his seat. He knew of her blunderous tendencies, and instead of dismissing them, he was always there to catch her when she'd fall. He was glad that she began to talk, and hopefully forget his own slight blunder. There she went -- her candidness that flew out of her mouth with no real discretion, and that was what he fell in love with. Well at first he was intimidated by her ability to be real with him from the beginning, but she taught him to put down those guards, and just be himself. It was raw, refreshing, and unusual. The frankness of her conversation always killed any awkward tension there might have been, and he couldn't help flash her one of his genuine toothy grins. For once, he felt comfortable again, and feelings of animosity subsided for the time being. She was just so bold with her words that it caught him off guard despite knowing better of her demeanor. "Absolutely shitty. Shittiest it can be in any human state. Physical, emotional, and professional." He still offered her that smirk to display some humor in his truthful statement.
Lainey ` When she noticed him cleaning her up, she laughed shyly. ``We never change, do we?`` but she did not even know what she meant by that. She was scared of what she meant. He was not doing well. She nursed her drink. She looked at him. He looked great to her. Then, again, he would have been good looking if he appeared on her door step as a corpse. She was so happy - well, taken aback to see him, it made no difference. When he had apologized for his assistance, she had reached out and taken his hand in her own. She squeezed it tight. ``Thank you.`` and she released it, placing it in his lap. There were never any boundaries between them. In fact, even though she had been worried and doubtful weeks before the wedding, they had continued like normal. He would recall, as she did, that the night before the wedding the two had engaged in the most passionate romance of their relationship. That night they lay in each other's arms and told each other how big their love was. How vast. Indescribable. The months after she left him, she would lay in bed and miss the feeling of his naked, warm body. Miss that night and the nights before it. Miss the way her body conformed to his. They were one. Miss the way that she molded right with him and how they danced in the dark night, breathing, kissing, whispering. Their secret. Their romance. She never forgot. She looked at him, sitting across from her, and took a long drink. ``What happened to you? I've heard so much and not believed a single word.`` Her friends told her about parties and binge drinking and women and suicide and mental hospital and any sensational story they could come up with. The injury itself seemed unreal, not plausible. But it had happened. She could tell by looking at him. ``I always wanted to hear it from you.`` Of course he knew what their 'friends' had been like. They had hated them together - mismatched, `wrong for each other`. The tabloids reflected their opinions, as well. They would say and do anything to split the two. They would lie and plot. Surely his friends had told him she had cheated, ran away with another man, was pregnant, was addicted, was dying. Anything to make him angry or help him forget.
Logan` "I must have screwed up in a previous life, because karma kicked my ass. Well right after," he paused not knowing how to address how she left him without making her feel uncomfortable, he just skimmed over that part awkwardly. "I uh tried to be the big star, and outdid myself." He lifted his right arm up only to the level of his head without being able to stretch it out beyond that -- that hand still shook due to nervousness but also out of consequence to his injury. "Not even in this 21st century technology can give me that baby back," he admitted. "I can still drive, open the door, write, paint, well I couldn't paint even when I had full control," he joked trying to alleviate the sad truth of his condition. "I'm living off of my brother's hospitality right now. I'm trying to get back on my feet, but that's been tough especially when my only special talent doesn't work anymore." Bringing the glass to his lips, he welcomed the bittersweet taste of the drink as it numbed that lump in his throat, and made it disintegrate. That was why he began loving the drink, depending on it to get him out of these tight situations. He was starting to feel sorry for himself again, and he needed to snap out of it. She remembered him to be the strong, healthy, and vibrant figure, and he had to live up to that expectation -- he still didn't want her to worry -- he was ashamed of letting her know that he was a washed up athlete without a future, without a love. He didn't want her to feel guilty or pained despite everything that she did to him. He avoided all eye contact in fear that she might feel his pain, and that would ruin the purpose of his covering up. "Things are different now. Funny how life never goes to plan, no matter how much time you spend on planning."
Lainey ` She watched him try and lift his arm. She moved closed. Her hand touched his shoulder gently. Her fingers moved down his arm lightly, gently brushing the skin through his shirt. She stopped at his hand and she lifted it up, looking at it. His left hand. Her fingers slid up either side of his ring finger. This was how things were with them. She was exactly who she was. No reservations. What she was doing may have brought back painful memories, but it made no difference. It could not hurt any more than seeing her now. ``Hm...`` she looked up at his eyes and put down his hand again, ``Logan, your talent was never in your shoulder,`` she touched it, ``or your legs`` she touched his thigh, ``or your hands,`` she brushed his fingers, ``it's inside you.`` She smiled. It was the thing that broke her off from those serious moments where she was trying to say or do something significant. Those memorable moments where she told him something or did something that was truly Lainey. She giggled, ``You never could paint.`` The evenings in their apartment where she brought home two canvases for painting night. One for him. One for her. She painted him, mostly. His strong bone structure, his jaw, his eyes, his brows. She painted his back, his profile. His legs running. His arm throwing. His eyes shining. Whenever he painted, she loved it. Whatever it was. He had something within him. When people said they were so different and he was so - such a jock! She laughed. He was more of an artist than she was. He just channeled it differently. ``I stopped planning a long time ago, Logan.`` She took a sip of her drink and placed it on the coffee table.
Logan ` When he felt her warm touch, he froze in fear that one wrong movement would take that feeling away. Logan swallowed hard as she reconnected with him through his senses. His nerves had been desensitized up until this point where her touch ignited his once lost control of his physical body. Hearing her laughter, seeing her smile, smelling her familiar fragrance, feeling her touch, Logan realized there was only one thing missing from his entire sensory adventure whenever he was with her. His own content expression subsided, and brows narrowed together as his lips pursed into a frown -- seriousness masked that happiness that once resided. Lifting himself up from the couch, he approached her, and knelt in front of her. Bravely, he slowly leaned in closing in on the distance between them, and did the last thing on his list to feel that ultimate satisfaction -- ultimate reconnection. Lips firmly pressed against hers as he got to taste her being again. Now his deed was accomplished. He had his closure. That was enough. All he needed again was to reconnect with her for one last time. Explanations would have helped, but this would more than suffice. After doing so, he broke the kiss knowing that it would end sometime, and was afraid that the longer it lasted, the harder it would be to get over her again. He then apologized again not for the kiss itself, but acting on his own accord without consulting with her first. She was usually the bold one -- the leader. He didn't wait for any signs on her part -- he acted on instinct. This is what he wanted, and he went for it without considering the consequences. No more planning. Just acting.
Lainey ` Time froze. This could not be happening. This was not real. She would wake up in her bed - cold, hungover, with a headache and a heartache. She would look in the mirror and feel lost and empty. It is how she felt most days, whether she admitted it or not. Always missing something. He was knelt before and closer and closer and closer till his breath was on her lips, followed by his skin. Her own satin lips pressing against his, moving, alive. She felt her eyelids grow heavy and her eye lashes fluttered down. He kissed her like he knew what he wanted - maybe what she wanted. When he pulled away, she opened her eyes and tried to control the sides of her lips from falling down. ``Please don't ever apologize to me, Logan. I -`` and then she felt it kick in. Instinct. The drive. The desire. The need. The magnetism. She leaned back in and kissed him again, softly. She kissed his jaw, his neck, his collar bone, his wounded shoulder. Her hands moved around his neck and her fingers snaked into his hair. It was what she did quite often in the past while they kissed. She had leaned forward and he was still kneeling before her. When she pulled away, she took his hands and tried to get him to stand up. ``Don't hold yourself like that. You'll hurt your knees.``
Logan ` The kiss was all too familiar, like deja vu. It was the kiss he would have given her the day the public and God recognized the two as lovers for life. Whenever he showed her affection, it was never done in vain. He offered his soul and entire identity to her every time, which was why he was so vulnerable afterwards, and the road to recovery was never successfully taken. He never stopped loving her; he loved her more than football, more than money, and more than life itself. When she left him there that day, he felt like he had nothing more to lose, which was why he dove in for that ball. That impossible play that he succeeded at the cost of his career. Life wasn't fair. His team went onto the championships because of his winning throw, but he never went there with them. During the days he was recovering in that hospital alone, he hallucinated her presence, only to find that once he awoke from his drug-induced sleep, she would be gone. Her reciprocation of his bold act was taken by surprise, but he welcomed it with open arms. Eyelids shut automatically, and train of thought stopped, as he tried to focus all of his senses on her touch only -- no possible distractions. Breathing became heavy as he began to invest all of his lifeblood into that moment only. Tongue pushed through the double doors of her lips hoping to reunite with hers, and that shaking hand cradled the side of her face, while the palm of his other hand grazed against her side. That was when she pulled up at him, and attention momentarilly lingered to her voice. "I don't care about that. Might as well ruin those too." But he stood up, her advice sounding rational enough.
Lainey ` ``I don't like to hear you talk like that, Logan. You know I don't like to see you so - heavy. Can't we just - I just want to leave all of the weight and the baggage - all of the stress - I just want to let it burn. When I am with you, I just want to pretend ...`` she looked down and closed her mouth. She bit her lip. ``I just want to pretend that there is nothing outside of this - and before - I just want to pretend ..`` Pretending is what got her into this mess if the first place. ``I don't know what I'm saying, Logan. I just want to - feel you again. I just want to be a part of you.`` She closed her eyes and felt her face grow hot. ``Oh God, Logan. Oh God.`` She shook her head. Blue eyes. Wet. The tears stayed there, hanging. Wanting to fall but, unwilling. ``Look at us, Logan. Look at us. Shit.`` She felt herself start breathing faster and was aware her hands were shaking. She pushed a hand to her chest, the spot over the chain hidden in her shirt and looked at him. ``Do you know me?`` She grabbed his hand, shook it. ``Do you know who I am?`` She shook her head. ``Do you honestly want to? Because - shit, Logan.`` She put down his hand and hung her head. ``Oh God, Oh God. Who are we? What have we become?``
Logan ` He recalled moments like this when her thoughts would be sporadically spread out all over the place, and she would go on rambling with a panic-striken voice. He would reach over and remind her that he loved her and that everything would be all right because he would make sure of it. This time, however, her tirade started to make sense, for they were treading on his own fears. He wanted to forget that nothing was wrong, and that everything was back to normal. Complications always existed when the two opposites got together, but they were all worth it because the connection was so intense, and one-of-a-kind. Logan covered up his own concerns, and he sat next to her. Arm wrapped around her petite frame as he tried to contain her worries within himself. "Lainey, ssh. Just do it. If you want to do it, just do it. We don't have to make things complicated." But her questions, and her panic were what he felt. "Why do we have to focus on this now?" That's when the flurry of hard questions came his way. Of course he did. Did, past tense. He hoped he did. Instead of answering her hypotheticals, he stood up from his seat and turned away from her, as he hated how she would make things so difficult. How she would blow things up, and make situations more complicated than they were. "Does it matter? Isn't what's important our love for each other, or my love for you? You always wanted more.... I tried to give you my entire being, but that was never enough. What do you want me to do, Lainey? Because in all these years, I still can't figure it out. I loved you so much, and you..." that was when he paused, and turned his head feeling that evil lump return.
Lainey ` His tenderness at first was appreciated. When he questioned her concern, she looked at him and blinked the tears away. He stood up and moved away. She stared at his back and felt her insides grow cold. She had frusterated him. ``And I,`` she stared at his back, ``and I, and I - what? I did what? Look at me, dammit! I did what?`` she waited. ``I ran. Because I was ... you are right. It doesn't matter, does it? What does matter is you are here and I am here.`` She stood up. She moved up to him, ``You are real. I am real.`` She wanted to touch him to double check. Didn't. ``You did everything right, Logan. You always did.`` She sighed, ``One day, maybe, just maybe you can understand that that was the problem. I ran because -`` she was not ready to say. The look in her eyes said so. ``This feeling. Between us. That's real, too. Isn't it? And that is what is important.`` She looked at him and her blue eyes were honest. Could he ever believe her again, though? So much was hanging in the air. So many unanswered questions. So many things needed to be explained. But now was not the time. Now was the time to decide. ``One day at a time.`` Pause. ``What do you say?``
Logan ` "I did everything right... right." He didn't believe those words -- it was like those generic bullshit breakup lines that he was fed so that conversation would hopefully cease. "Then why?" His voice reached a new high as he was trying to suppress that lump while make his question be known. That was it. He felt the hot rush of tears spring to his eyes, and he turned away from her shamed that he was so weak and vulnerable in front of her. Why couldn't he be a man about his situation? Why couldn't he just call her all the derogatory names in the book, and write her off? That same sleeve reached up, and wiped away at his face, as he inhaled hard hoping to take it all back in. He couldn't allow her to see him in such a weak state. But she kept insisting on looking at him, and once their gazes met, he stood there without protesting further. "It was always real, Lainey. I made sure that I never offered you anything less than real. What was the problem then? Should I have fucked up once in awhile?" He tried to laugh, but it came out funny. Showing her his weakened state would have never been a problem in the past, but because she was the cause of it, he inevitably feared her.
Lainey ` She was not ready for all these questions. When he questioned 'them', he questioned her. The essences of who she was. In him, she saw everything that she was not. The thought of waking up beside someone every morning who was just so .... she could not bear the thought. He was too much of her. He was all of her. He controlled her. He owned her. Or he was close to it. Too close. She would sign the document - change her name. Lose all of herself. Then it was done. She would be his forever. She was not ready. She opened her mouth to speak but not a word came out. Her knees grew so weak. Her heart hurt inside her chest. She saw the pain in his eyes, the need for answers. But answers would provide closure. Closure meant it was finished. And she wasn't ready for it to be finished. She took a slow step forward. ``Stop. Please stop. I just need some time. You have to give me that.`` He was just as stubborn as she was. He needed just as much as she did. She wanted to apologize but, they both knew she never did. Didn't believe in it. Not once had she done it. Her hand latched onto his forearm. ``Please, Logan.`` Her hand moved to his chin, tracing the outline of his jaw gently. ``One day at a time. One step at a time.`` Pause. ``Logan, look at me.`` She put her face closer in front of his own. ``I'm not leaving. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not running. We have time.``