Chapter 15: Right-Side Up

After six months, Marie was finally starting to believe that she had her life back in order. For the first few weeks after “it” Marie refused to leave the house unless Logan was with her. She had tried to go grocery shopping one afternoon while Logan was at work and nearly had a panic attack. She’d ended up curled on the couch, trembling all over until Logan came home an hour and a half later.

“We were outta chocolate ice cream,” Marie murmured against his chest as he held her tight against him. “Ah wanted chocolate ice cream.”

It was a week after that when Marie went out by herself for the first time. Logan had fallen asleep one afternoon while the two of them were watching a movie, so Marie decided to order a pizza for dinner. Not wanting to wake him, when the time came to pick up the pizza, Marie had gone herself. She forced herself to put on her coat and boots. Marie then managed to convince herself to open the front door. Lastly, before she could talk herself out of it, Marie got into the jeep and pulled out of the driveway.

When she pulled back into the driveway twenty minutes later, Logan was waiting in the open door with a wide grin on his face. They had celebrated Marie’s achievement that night, making love well into the middle of the night.

However, it wasn’t until Dave was sentenced two months after the horrible Saturday night that Marie really felt safe to go out on her own. Because he was eighteen, Dave had been tried as an adult rather than a youth. Still maintaining that he hadn’t done anything wrong, Dave pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, possession of an illegal substance and adulteration. Until the trial began, Marie had never heard of adulteration. According to the lawyer prosecuting Dave, it simply meant that he’d given her the drug without her knowledge or consent, something Marie wholeheartedly agreed with.

The day that she had been called to testify, Marie had been a nervous wreck. She was hyperactive, talking very fast and fidgeting up until she got onto the stand. Once she began to give her testimony, though, Marie was in tears, shaking and whimpering while she answered the lawyer’s questions. She fared even worse when Dave’s lawyer began asking her questions. He tried blaming everything on her, saying that she led Dave on and made him think that she wanted him. Marie had met Logan’s eyes at one point and could tell that he was seconds away from erupting into anger. As soon as the judge had dismissed her, Marie bolted from the stand and to Logan who was standing in the aisle with his arms open for her. Logan had taken her from the courtroom then, holding her in his arms while she sobbed and shook. As much as Marie had wanted to leave, they had been unable to because Logan still had to give his testimony.

Marie had sat in a far corner of the courtroom while Logan gave his testimony. Never one to pull any punches, Logan had given a vivid account of what had happened that night. Events that Logan had refused to speak of until then. He told about going to the bar to pick her up only to find out that she had left with Dave. About his frightening ride to Dave’s house and the horrendous sight that had greeted him in the living room.

“Marie was lying there in nothing but her bra and panties. I could tell right away that something was off ‘cause she was just lying there. No movement, no nothing. And Dave was... the Goddmaned bastard was fucking naked and had his disgusting hands all over her!”

“Mr. Hunters, I’d ask you to curb your language,” the judge said calmly.

“The bastard tried to rape the woman I love! I think language is the least of your concerns right now,” Logan growled, his eyes trained on Dave’s terrified face.

By the time Logan was finished giving his testimony, Marie was sobbing quietly. As soon as he was done, the two of them left the courthouse and headed for home. The court’s decision wouldn’t be made till the end of the week so they could simply enjoy some peace and quiet and try to forget what had happened that day. Logan had taken the week off work so he didn’t have to leave in the morning which was a good thing. Reliving that night made Marie incredibly edgy and she wanted some alone time with Logan.

“After Friday, this’ll all be over, right?” Marie whispered as she and Logan drove back home from the courthouse. “We can ferget all about Dave an’ what happened?”

Logan nodded his head, reaching over to squeeze Marie’s hand. “That kid’ll never hurt you again. I won’t let him.”

Taking comfort in that, Marie shifted closer to Logan, resting her head on his shoulder. His arm slid around her shoulders then, holding her against him. The only thing keeping Marie from leaning right against Logan was the gear shift that separated their seats.

With a dramatic flare as they were walking towards the front door, Logan scooped Marie up into his arms and spun around in a circle. She began to laugh outright when he then maneuvered her onto his shoulder so that she had a nice view of his ass.

“What are the chances o’ me seein’ this naked tonight?” Marie asked, alternately slapping both cheeks.

Logan smacked her butt in return before opening the front door. “All you have to do is ask, darlin’. I’m yours to command,” Logan said as he set her down in front of him.

With a grin playing on her lips, Marie reached up and wrapped her arms around Logan’s neck, snaking her fingers into his hair so that she could pull his face closer to hers. “Ya sure yer willin’ t’ risk that? What happens if Ah turn out t’ be a mean master?”

“I don’t see that happening anytime soon,” Logan whispered against her lips. “You’re too sweet to be a mean master.”

“Hey, Ah can be mean when Ah need t’!” Marie shouted, punching him in the chest good naturedly. “It’s just that most o’ the time Ah chose not t’ be mean.”

Logan grinned down at her, smoothing his fingers through her long hair. “How about you head upstairs and change into something. Not that I don’t love seeing you in that short skirt, but I don’t think it’s exactly lounging clothes. Meet me back down here in five minutes. I’ll have a surprise waiting for you.”

“That so?” Marie inquired, arching an eyebrow.

“Yep. And, trust me, you’ll like this surprise,” Logan assured her, absently tracing her bottom lip with his thumb.

With a grin and a nod, Marie slipped out of her heels. Lightly cupping Logan’s cheek in her hand, she gave him one final kiss before heading upstairs to their bedroom. As soon as her feet touched the stairs, she could hear Logan struggling to get out of his boots, talking quietly to Boris at the same time. Giggling to herself, Marie decided that she was in no rush and slowly made her way up the stairs.

Standing in front of the antique vanity she’d bought at the second hand store in town, Marie carefully removed the pins holding her hair up. She was still trying to figure out how she’d managed to get all thirty-two of them in when she finally located the last one and pulled it out. Shaking her head, Marie watched in the mirror as her hair fell around her in curling waves of auburn, the two bleached streaks framing her face. Marie stared at her face silently for a few minutes before turning away abruptly.

Heading over to the closet, Marie removed her white silk blouse and hung it back up. Her skirt soon joined her blouse in the closet then Marie went and sat down on the bed. With a little bit of wiggling and some shimmying of her hips, Marie eased her tights off and tossed them into the hamper across the room.

Dressed in only her bra and panties, Marie walked over to the dresser and removed a pair of thick wool socks from one drawer and a pair of black fleece pants from another. A blank tank top completely her outfit. After pulling her hair up into a sloppy bun, Marie headed downstairs to see what surprise Logan had waiting for her.

Not seeing Logan right away, Marie headed into the living room where Boris was lounging on the carpet in front of the gas fireplace. “Hey, Boris, ya know where Logan’s hidin’ at?”

Boris seemed to roll his eyes then went back to his nap.

Seconds later, Marie felt a pair of arms wrap around her and let out a startled yelp.

“Easy there, darlin’. It’s just me,” Logan said softly in her ear.

Letting out a relieved sigh, Marie relaxed against Logan’s chest. “It’s not nice t’ sneak up on a lady. Us Southern girls frighten easily. We’re very delicate creatures.”

Logan snickered, pressing a kiss behind her ear. “Delicate, my ass! You’re about as tough as they come, darlin’.”

“That’s yer opinion, sugah,” Marie murmured, her eyes watching the flickering flames. Suddenly, she turned around in his arms, grinning up at him. “Now, what’s this surprise ya have fer me?”

Logan smiled broadly, his fingers dancing up and down her back. “Well you’re just gonna have to wait and see, won’t you?” Logan stepped away from her suddenly and held out an arm, indicating for her to take it. “Shall we then, my lady?”

“Ah think we shall, mah lord,” Marie murmured, linking her arm with Logan’s. “Do Ah get a hint?”

Without a word, Logan guided her towards the bathroom. The door was shut, but Marie could see a faint glow seeping out from underneath. “Shut your eyes, darlin’,” Logan whispered in her ear, pressing a kiss against his temple as he spoke.

Smirking up at him, Marie did as he instructed. Making a big production of it, Marie batted her eyes a few times before finally closing her eyes. She felt Logan slide his hand down her arm before linking his fingers with hers. The door to the bathroom was opened then and Logan led her inside. Logan led her to what she assumed was the centre of the bathroom before shutting the door.

“Can Ah open mah eyes yet?” Marie asked, perking her ears for any sounds that would give away Logan’s surprise.

“Keep those eyes of yours shut,” Logan told her amidst the sounds of shifting cloth. After a few moments, Marie felt Logan’s hands on her again. “Lift your arms, Marie,” Logan order as he gripped the hem of her shirt.

Marie did as he asked and couldn’t help but ask again, “Can Ah open mah eyes yet?”

Logan chuckled slightly, pressing a kiss between her breasts as he removed her thank top. “No you can’t open your eyes yet, Marie. You still have all your clothes on.”

“Oh but of course. How silly o’ me,” Marie giggled, rolling her eyes as Logan’s lips trailed down to her belly button before unfastening the clasp of her pants. “Ah’d really like t’ open mah eyes now,” Marie moaned as Logan eased her pants down over her narrow hips.

Running his fingers lightly up the insides of her thighs, Logan pressed another kiss to her belly button. “Just a few more minutes, darlin’. Step up.”

Logan quickly removed Marie’s pants and socks, tossing them somewhere behind her. The next article of clothing to be removed were her panties. Logan pressed an open-mouthed kiss against the flesh just above the waistband of her panties before pulling the black silk cloth down her legs. Once the panties had been removed, Logan’s hands trailed up her body, his lips taking the same path.

“Logan, please....” Marie moaned, her hands finding their way to his shoulder. “Ah really want t’ open mah eyes now.....”

Marie could feel Logan grin against her collarbone as he mumbled, “I’m almost done, darlin’.”

Then his lips were on her nipple, sucking it through the her bra. Marie moaned loudly, arching into him and barely managing to keep her eyes closed. Logan’s hands on her back were the only thing that were keeping her upright at that time. She could feel him fumbling with the clasp of her bra. She wanted to help him, but needed to keep her hands on his shoulders to maintain his balance.

“Logan....” Marie whimpered, sinking her fingers into his hair.

“Keep your panties on,” Logan mumbled as he trailed his lips from one nipple to the other, making sure to press a kiss against the skin in the hollow between her breasts along the way.

“Ya already took those off,” Marie reminded him, arching against him.

Logan glanced down then up at her face, a sheepish grin on his face. “Forgot about that. Buuut... now that I’ve got your bra undone, we can proceed to your surprise.”

“So Ah can open mah eyes?” Marie asked as Logan pulled her bra off. There was a long pause during which Logan was driving Marie completely insane. “Come on, Logan. Ah’m all naked an’ Ah’m not even sure if yer naked.”

“Then open your eyes and see for yourself,” Logan whispered in her ear.

“It’s about damn time,” Marie mumbled, slowly blinking her eyes open.

What Marie saw when she opened her eyes made her heart swell. The interior of the bathroom was lit entirely by candles, giving it a comforting glow. The bathtub was filled with scented bubbles, the warmth of the water filling the room. Smiling broadly, Marie turned to Logan, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him down into an intense kiss. Logan was caught off guard and squealed when Logan scooped her up in his arms, holding her tight against him.

“I figured you could use a night to relax,” Logan murmured against her mouth as he set her down into the warm water.

Marie moaned as the warm water enveloped her body. She sunk into the water until it billowed over her shoulders, luxuriating in the feel of warm water soaking into her skin. Logan gestured for her to slid forward a little bit and slid in behind her. Logan pulled her back against him, molding her body against his chest.

“Has anyone ever told ya that yer the most amazin’ man on the face o’ the planet?” Marie asked, tilting her head and placing a kiss against the underside of his jaw.

“Just you, but that’s how I like it,” Logan whispered, brushing his lips against her forehead.

That night had been exactly what Marie needed. The two of them had simply sat in the tub, their fingers dancing over available limbs and skin. Marie had loved the way that Logan’s hands felt on her body. She would have been content to stay like that forever, but the water started to get cold after a while.

When they got out of the tub, Logan dried her off carefully. He ran the towel lightly over every inch of her body, making sure that he dried off all the water. Once he was satisfied, Logan quickly dried himself off then scooped Marie back up into his arms. He carried her from the bathroom and up to their bedroom before depositing her on the bed.

“Ya better not be plannin’ on goin’ anywhere that’s not here,” Marie murmured, reaching up and pulling Logan down on top her.

Logan went willingly, holding himself up on his elbows as he peered down, inches from her face. “I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. In fact, I was thinking of staying right here. Maybe more like this.”

Marie moaned, arching her back sharply as Logan slid slowly into her. She clutched at his shoulders, her legs wrapping around his waist. “Yeah, more like that,” Marie sighed, angling her head so that she could press her lips to his.

Logan was unbelievably tender and gentle with her. He held her lightly, cradling her against him as he worshipped her with his lips and hands and every other available part of his body. It wasn’t long before Marie was spiraling out of control more and more every passing second.

Two days later, Marie felt herself regaining a bit of the control she had lost when Dave was sentenced by the judge.

Unable to bear the pitying eyes of other people on her, Marie had sat in the back with Logan’s arms around her. Whenever she would begin to shake, Logan would hold her a little tighter, pressing a kiss against temple. Marie hated feeling so helpless, but knew that Logan wasn’t pitying her like so many others had done since it had happened. Logan was just being Logan. A rock for her to lean against when things got too hard for her to bear. He had brought her through the horrible event and got her living again when no one else could.

And as much as she knew Logan wanted to celebrate the fact that Dave had been sentenced to 10 years for what he had done, he didn’t make a single comment. Simply pressed a kiss to the side of her head and led her from the courthouse.

Marie didn’t know quite what to think. A part of her was sad that Dave would lose 10 years of her life for one stupid mistake. But considering how much worse that night could have been and what that night had done to both her and Logan, Marie felt that Dave needed to realize just how serious what he had done had been. Had Logan not arrived when he did, Marie didn’t have a doubt in her mind that Dave would have gone through with raping her.

Just before she and Logan felt the courtroom, Marie turned back. She met Dave’s eyes for a moment, just long enough to see the sorrow and disbelief in his eyes. As soon as she left the room, Marie was determined to put Dave from her mind forever.

Six weeks later, Marie was given just the distraction that she needed. While Logan was at work one day, Marie came to a sudden realization. A quick trip into town was all that Marie needed to get the necessary supplies. Like Logan’s bubble bath surprise, Marie’s surprise took only a few minutes to prepare.

When Logan came home to a hyperactive Marie, he was instantly confused. Within five minutes of him entering the front door, he and Marie were upstairs making love within a halo of candlelight.

“Do I get to know what brought this on?” Logan murmured against her skin as his climax began to wear off. He was lying between her legs, his head resting on her stomach. From the contented look on his face, Marie could tell that Logan would have been perfectly content to stay like that all night long.

“Ah was thinkin’ that we could redecorate,” Marie said softly, running her fingers through his damp hair.

Logan chuckled quietly, turning his head and pressing a kiss against her stomach. “Is this your way of telling me that I’m gonna be knee deep in paint this weekend?”

Marie shook her head, her grin growing. “Ah was thinkin’ that we could add a new room onta the side o’ the house.”

“You after a new writing room?” Logan asked, still obviously confused.

“Actually, Ah was thinkin’ that we could turn it inta a room fer a baby,” Marie said softly, nervously waiting for Logan’s reaction.

Logan’s eyes got real big. He stared at her stomach for a few minutes in completely silence before crawling up her body, a wide grin on his face. “A baby? We’re gonna have a baby? You sure?”

Marie nodded vigorously, her grin matching Logan’s. “Ah’m sure. Ah took a test today an’ it said Ah’m pregnant.”

Logan’s lips came crashing down on hers. Slowly, his lips trailed down her body before finally arriving at her stomach. Marie felt tears in her eyes at the awed expression on Logan’s face. He brushed several light, open mouthed kisses on her stomach before lying his head down on her hip, running his fingers in a haphazard pattern over her stomach.

“I hope your Momma and I didn’t bother you too much with what we were doing earlier,” Logan said softly, his eyes trained on her stomach. “I’ll try to be real gentle with your Momma from now on when we do that. Can’t have you coming out with a concussion or motion sickness now can we?”

“Logan, what are ya doin’?” Marie giggled, swatting his shoulder playfully.

Logan rolled his eyes and placed another kiss on her stomach. “That’s yer Momma. She’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever met and I know you’ll love her just as much as I do.”

“Yer Daddy’s pretty great too,” Marie added, linking her fingers with Logan’s over her stomach.

Arching an eyebrow, Logan crawled back up her body so that they were at eye level. “Pretty great? I’m only ‘pretty great,’ am I?”

Marie pretended to consider it for a moment before nodding her head. “Yeah, but Ah love ya anyway. More than Ah can ever remember lovin’ anyone.”

“Same here, darlin’. Same here.”