It hadn’t been a conscious decision for her to have Logan stay with her. In all honesty, Marie didn’t even know why she’d done it. She had just suddenly found herself telling the doctor that she’d make sure Logan behaved himself while he was getting better. A part of Marie knew that she’d never be able to live with herself if she left Logan to fend for himself. He couldn’t really walk and had to be extra careful of his broken ribs. Even though he hadn’t said anything at the time, Marie had clearly been able to see the confusion on Logan’s face as she had been talking to the doctor.
“Why are you helping me?” Logan asked her once they had started back to cabin. The only thing she could detect in his voice was curiosity. Logan was genuinely curious about why she was helping him.
Glancing over at him, Marie shrugged her shoulders. “Ah’m really not sure. It’s just somethin’ Ah feel like doin’. ‘Sides, Ah wouldn’t be able t’ live with mahself if I Ah let ya fend fer yerself when yer like this.”
“I can take care of myself,” Logan insisted, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
“Oh Ah don’t doubt that,” Marie assured him. “Ya seem like a real tough guy. Ya barely made a peep with all those broken ribs an’ yer fractured ankle. Ah’d o’ been screamin’ an’ bawlin’ the entire time.”
Logan grinned at her, cocking his head to the side. “I think that you’re a lot stronger than you believe. You got my bike outta the ditch, after all.”
“Well that was easy. All Ah had t’ do was push it up a hill. Pain is a completely different matter. Ah hate pain. Ah even start cryin’ when Ah get a papercut,” Marie told him, her cheeks flushing slightly.
“A papercut?” Logan demanded incredulously. “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
Marie shook her head, grinning from ear to ear. “Ah kid ya not. Me an’ pain tend t’ avoid each other as much as possible.”
“Pain’s not so bad once you get used to it,” Logan said absently as he stared out the passenger side window of the jeep. “After a while it just becomes a part of life. No big deal.”
Eyes wide with shock, Marie stared at Logan for a moment before turning her attention back to the road. “Yer not bein’ serious, are ya? Pain is awful. If Ah had it mah way, no one’d ever get hurt.”
“It’s not like I’m going outta my way to get hurt,” Logan assured her. “It’s just sometimes it can’t be helped. I’m kinda a magnet for it.”
“An’ now that Ah’m completely weirded out, let’s move t’ another topic. Where are ya from?” Marie asked, shuddering slightly at the thought of someone used to getting hurt.
Logan dipped his head down so that he was staring at his lap. Marie could see the somewhat pained expression on his face and it broke her heart. Marie hated to see people in pain even if it was someone that she’d known for only a few hours. She wanted to say something but wasn’t sure that there was anything she could actually say.
“I don’t know where I’m from,” Logan admitted at last, keeping his eyes on his lap.
Taking a deep breath, Logan raised his eyes to look at Marie. “About six months ago I woke up not knowing anything. Not even my own name. I’d been in a car accident. Smashed my head real hard and got amnesia. I don’t even know if Logan’s my real name. It’s just one I liked.”
The only sounds that existed then were the ones made by the car. Logan had fallen silent and Marie didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know if there was anything she could say. Marie had never known anyone with amnesia and suddenly wasn’t sure how she should act around him.
“I ain’t stupid or nothin’,” Logan said suddenly, snapping Marie out of her thoughts.
“I’d never even thought of it--”
“Only problem I have is that I can’t remember my life. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with me ‘sides that,” Logan said defensively.
“Well ya seem pretty normal t’ me,” Marie said, placing a hand on his leg. “Yer a little stubborn, but so are most guys Ah know.”
About a half mile down the road, Marie felt Logan’s hand rest lightly over hers. His hand was warm and callused. It was almost like he had an internal furnace, he was so warm. If he had been the one driving, Marie probably would have scooted closer to him. The heater in the jeep was a little finicky and didn’t always work. There were many people telling her to get rid of the jeep and buy a new one, but Marie just couldn’t bare to part with her beloved jeep. She’d bought it when she was sixteen and planned on keeping it until it died once and for all.
“Whadaya do fer a livin’?” Marie asked, hoping that it was a question Logan would be able to answer. “Ah’m a writer. Nothin’ special. Ah just write those cheesy romance novels ya see at the supermarket, but it pays the bills. Ya must have a pretty good job t’ get a bike like that. Yer Harley’s gotta be worth at least thirty grand.”
“Thirty-five actually,” Logan corrected her, his thumb absently moving over the back of her hand. “I’ve had it for about two and a half months. It took me a couple o’ months to work up the money to buy it. I uh.... I’m a fighter.”
That caught Marie’s attention right away. “Ya mean like a boxer?”
“Not really,” Logan said, bobbing his head from side to side. “There’s this uh... a uh, fight circuit. Goes all over Canada and the States. I started out just trying to make some money after I got outta the hospital... but then I started winning. A lot. So I just kept up with it. Those guys your dog scared off were pissed off ‘cause I beat them all last night. I won about a grand last night.”
“You made a grand in one night?” Marie demanded, unable to believe what she was hearing. “A grand? As in one thousand dollars?”
Logan nodded his head in confirmation. “Yep. I made a grand. Last night was a good night. Normally I only make $800 at most.”
“Ah wish Ah could make that much money in one night,” Marie lamented, pouting slightly.
“It’s not like I fight every night,” Logan pointed out. “It takes a hell of a lot outta you to fight in the cage. Still, it’s a good way to make money if you can fight.”
“Ah didn’t even know things like that existed,” Marie whispered in awe. “It’s like somethin’ out o’ a movie.”
Shifting in his seat, Logan looked over at her with a lop-sided grin. “Trust me, it does. You just gotta know where to find it.”
“How did ya find it?”
“I just kinda found it,” Logan told her with a shrug. “I went into a bar looking for work, and happened to find a fight. The purse was pretty big that night so I tried my hand at fighting. Ended up winning so I just kinda stuck with it.”
Marie chewed on her bottom lip, unsure of how to ask her next question without offending Logan. “Haven’t ya ever thought about, ya know, doin’ somethin’ a little less violent?”
To her relief, Logan didn’t seem the least bit offended. He had an odd expression on his face. Marie wasn’t quite sure how to describe it, but the closest she could come was bitter amusement.
“I did a whole lotta times. It’s just that most people won’t hire you when you’re an amnesiac with no work experience. So other than day labour this is really the only way I can make money. And this pays a hell of a lot better than day labour.”
“Ah can imagine. But it’s gotta take a lot outta ya t’ live like that. Have ya ever been hurt as bad as this before?”
Logan was silent for a moment, considering her question. “I’ve been hurt. It’s kinda hard to avoid it. But I’ve never been hurt like this. Mainly ‘cause I’ve never been outnumber three to one. I may win most of my matches, but not with those odds. And not when all three of them are a hell of a lot bigger than me.”
“Why were they attacking you?”
“I won last night. Me and one of those guys were in the final fight. He lost, I won and that pissed him off,” Logan said rather bluntly.
A sudden thought occurred to Marie. Something she hadn’t even considered before. Marie highly doubted that the fight circuit would wait for Logan to recover before continuing. That meant Logan’s way of life was leaving without him.
“Will ya be able t’ catch up t’ the fights once ya get all healed up?” Marie asked as she rounded a corner that went around an outgrowth of a massive forest.
For the first time since she had first met him, Logan looked nervous. “That’s the problem. I don’t know. There’s no real set schedule. The circuit’s illegal so they can’t have a set schedule or it would get shut down. We only ever find out at the end of the night where it’s gonna go to next. It might take me a year or so to find it again.”
Marie felt very bad for Logan. Because of a man’s stupid grudge against Logan, he had probably just lost his way of life. It had only been six months since his accident so Marie didn’t doubt that Logan was still adjusting to everything. To lose the only constant he had would only make it worse.
“Ya know yer more than welcome t’ stay with me till ya figure out what ya wanna do,” Marie told Logan, glancing over at him out of the corner of her eye to gauge his reaction.
The shock was written clearly on Logan’s face as he turned to stare at her. “How come you’re doing all this for me? We’ve only known each other a couple hours. You don’t really know much about me.”
“Ah’m not entirely sure mahself,” Marie admitted. “Ah’m normally not so trustin’. But Boris seemed t’ like ya an’ Ah trust his judgment.”
“Boris is your dog, right?” Logan asked.
Marie nodded her head and tapped the picture of Boris that hung from her rearview mirror. “That’s Boris. Ah picked him up off the side o’ the road in Alberta. He was just wanderin’ around, barely more than skin an’ bone when Ah found him. Ah normally wouldn’t stop, but he looked so wretched that Ah just had t’. Fell in love with him soon as Ah stopped the car. He just started whimperin’ an’ whinin’. Ah gave him part o’ a sandwich that Ah had in mah cooler then next thing Ah knew he had jumped inta the jeep. Haven’t been able t’ get rid o’ him since.”
“I should be grateful that you have a thing for picking up strays,” Logan commented, squeezing her hand which was still resting on his thigh.
Marie rolled her eyes. “Ah’d hardly consider ya a stray, Logan. Yer more o’ a.....”
“No. Yer a... a-a wayward traveller,” Marie corrected him. “Ah happen t’ be fond o’ wayward travellers. After all, Ah’m one mahself. At least Ah was till Ah found mah cabin. Now nothin’ will get me t’ leave. ‘Course now Ah gotta figure out where yer gonna stay. There’s only one bedroom an’ that’s upstairs. There’s the couch, but Ah’m not sure how comfortable that is.”
“I don’t mind the couch,” Logan assured her. “I’ve had worse in the past six months. There were a bunch of times that I had to sleep on the ground next to my bike. Those nights were real cold. And before that I had a clunky old car that barely ran and had no heater.”
Marie felt awful for Logan. He seemed like such a sweet guy and she hated that he’d had it so rough. No family. No one to help him adjust after such a horrible accident. Marie was surprised that Logan didn’t have any family out there looking for him. It had been six months. Anyone would think that his family would have gotten worried about him and started searching. But they hadn’t and Logan was still on his own.
Not anymore, though.
Even though she had only known him for a few hours, Marie liked Logan more than all the guys she’d gone out with. There was an innocence about him that Marie felt completely endearing. At the same time, he was tough. A man’s man. She could easily turn him into a hero in one of her novels. Even with the huge, ugly bruise covering his ribs, Logan would have looked amazing. He had an amazing chest and arms that she would have loved to have wrapped around her. There was a lot more that Marie would have liked to do with Logan.
Marie berated herself silently. She barely knew Logan and she shouldn’t have felt so attached to him already. It was wrong. Very wrong.
“You’ve gotten real silent,” Logan said quietly, squeezing her hand to gain her attention.
“Ah’m sorry,” Marie apologized, glancing at him quickly. “Ah was just thinkin’. Ah tend t’ do that a lot. Comes with bein’ a writer. Mah mind is constantly on the go. So don’t mind me if Ah get quiet. Just do somethin’ loud an’ ya’ll get mah attention right away.”
Logan nodded his head and started to bring his arm up as though to salute, but stopped when the pain kicked in. His enthusiasm didn’t waver, though, because he was still grinning as much as he had been before. “Will do. Why did you decide to be a writer?”
“Well.... This is gonna sound bad. But Ah used t’ write a lot durin’ high school. An’ not in mah free time. Ah was writin’ when Ah shoulda been doin’ mah work. Ah still got good marks, but Ah couldn’t o’ told ya half the stuff Ah learned during the class. Ah just borrowed notes from mah friends and photocopied them,” Marie explained, blushing slightly.
“I wish I could remember going to school,” Logan said softly, his smile fading as he turned his head towards the window.
“Trust me, ya don’t. School is nothin’ more than an annoyance ya hafta get up fer real early,” Marie told him, hoping to make Logan feel better about his lost memories.
While his smile didn’t return, Logan did look back at her. “I’m not saying that I want to go back to school. I just wish that I had the memories. Something tangible about my past, you know? I just want some memory that I know is mine.”
“Ya could always make up a past fer yerself. Be whoever ya wanna be. It’s a second chance fer ya t’ start over,” Marie said, her voice filled with excitement.
Still, Logan didn’t look convinced. “Great as that sounds, I’d really like to know who I am. If I have any family out there. It’s something that’s been bugging me since I woke up in the hospital.”
“Then Ah’ll be yer family,” Marie announced, surprising even herself.
“You’d be my family?” Logan asked, arching an eyebrow.
Marie nodded her head, deciding to go along with her sudden thought. “Sure. Ya don’t have a family an’ mine’s thousands o’ miles away. Ah could use some family ‘round here. Whadaya think?”
That got a smile out of Logan. “I think you’re insane, but you’re not half bad. I’d be proud to be your family, Marie.”