For the past hour and a half, Marie had been in Logan’s room watching TV while Alexandra slept peacefully in her arms. It was all that she could do to keep herself distracted. As much as she liked pretending to be the strong one, Marie hated being away from Logan after everything that had happened. So with Logan gone for his second surgery, it was all Marie could do to keep from worrying.
Marie had been relieved to hear that the second surgery would take nowhere near as long as the first. According to Logan’s doctors the surgery would take roughly three hours to complete. Marie wasn’t sure if she’d be able to last through another six hour surgery.
It was the first time in three days that she was alone. Ever since she had arrived at the hospital at least one member of her family had been milling about, watching over her as she watched over Logan. Now that the danger was gone and Logan was safe, Marie had forced them to all return to Mississippi. She didn’t want them to put their lives on hold because of her. There had been much protesting, but Marie had conquered in the end.
So, once again, Marie and Logan were on their own. With the exception of Alexandra, of course. The infant, though, was a welcomed addition.
Sitting with her knees drawn up, Marie used them to prop Alexandra up when she woke up. “Wow, Alex, yer sittin’ up like a big girl!” Marie praised, bringing one of Alexandra’s hands to her lips and pressing a kiss against her palm. “Yer Daddy will be so proud of ya. Only a week old an’ yer sittin’ up by yerself.”
Alexandra gave a cry of delight and latched onto both of Marie’s index fingers.
“That’s right, sweetheart, yer sittin’ up!” Marie cooed, bouncing her knees slightly. “An’ as soon as Daddy gets back here an’ wakes up, we’ll show him. Whadaya think o’ that?”
This time Alexandra’s response was to spit up.
Marie burst out laughing, leaning over to press a kiss to her rounded cheeks. Alexandra’s skin was so warm and smelled wonderfully of baby powder. When she used to baby-sit as a teenager, Marie had despised the scent of baby powder. Now that it was her child that smelled of the milky white powder, Marie had fallen in love with it.
“Now remember, sweetheart, we’ve gotta have big smiles on our faces when Daddy wakes up,” Marie informed her daughter. “He’ll be lookin’ fer us an’ we have t’ be right there--”
Suddenly the door of Logan’s room flew open, startling Marie. There was no need for any of the hospital workers to come in and Marie’s family was back in Mississippi. Ron and Cal were at work so Marie had no idea who could possibly be storming into Logan’s room.
“Where is my son? Where’s Morgan?” a middle-aged woman with strawberry blonde hair demanded, her eyes darting wildly about the small room.
Marie clutched Alexandra protectively against her chest, shushing her cries with soft murmurs and gentle hands. There were now four people standing in Logan’s room. The middle-aged woman, a man who was obviously her husband and two young woman, probably their daughters.
“They told us our baby was in here. Where is he? Tell me where he is!” the woman demanded shrilly.
“Will ya be quiet!” Marie hissed, bouncing Alexandra in her arms to quiet her. “Yer scarin’ mah baby. Now who are ya an’ what the hell are ya doin’ in here?”
It was the husband who spoke this time. A kindly looking man with dark, piercing eyes and a bald head. He put his hands on the woman’s shoulders, holding her still. “What my wife means to say is that the woman at the desk told us that our son was in this room. Morgan Vance. Though I suppose I could be mistaken.”
Marie was about to tell him that he was. She had her mouth open to tell him those exact words when she remembered one vital fact.
Less than two years ago, her Logan had been their Morgan.
These were Logan’s parents.
The only people capable of taking Logan away from her.
“Oh Gawd,” Marie gasped, placing a hand to her mouth. “Ah didn’t think that ya’d come. Ah didn’t think.... Oh Gawd....”
“So our Morgan is here?” the woman, Maureen if she remembered correctly, pressed.
Marie shook her head, tears shining brightly in her eyes. “No, yer Morgan’s not here. Mah Logan is.”
“But the woman told us that Morgan was alive and in this room,” Maureen insisted, glaring at her.
Marie took a deep breath to calm herself. She was silently cursing whoever had gotten in touch with the Vance family for not explaining what had happened to Logan all those months ago. She wasn’t ready to deal with them yet. Marie didn’t think that she’d ever be ready to deal with Logan’s former family.
“Well, where is he?” Maureen demanded.
Her husband, Charles, pulled her back against him. “Maureen, you’re upsetting the girl. Please calm yourself.”
“I will not calm myself!” Maureen shrieked, turning her glare on her husband. “That woman is keeping our Morgan from us and I won’t have it! I want my son!”
“Maureen, if you would stop your screaming, perhaps the young lady would get a chance to speak,” Charles prodded.
Maureen spun around, her arms crossed over her chest. “Well? Talk. Where is my son?”
“Did anyone tell ya what happened t’ him when he disappeared?” Marie asked, her voice quiet so as not to upset Alexandra.
The older woman seemed more annoyed than anything else. “That he was in an accident. What of it?”
Marie glanced down at Alexandra and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Well when he was in the accident, Logan smashed his head against a tree. He lost his memory. Yer son-- yer Morgan --doesn’t exist anymore. At least not as far as Logan’s concerned. He doesn’t remember bein’ Morgan. All he knows is Logan. That’s who he is now.”
For the first time one of the younger women spoke. A tall blonde with striking blue eyes and a slender frame. “That’s your opinion, little girl. I happen to know for a fact that Morgan would never forget me.”
Marie felt like she was trapped in a corner with no way out. It was her alone against Logan’s lost past. She was on her own with no one to back her up as she was surrounded by people who had known Logan his entire life.
“An’ just who are ya?” Marie asked, doing her best to stay strong for her, for Logan and for Alexandra.
The blonde tilted her chin up, a superior expression on her face. “I’m Tanya, little girl. Morgan’s girlfriend.”
For the first time since they had entered, Marie felt like she was the one with the advantage. “Nice t’ meet ya, Tanya. Ah’m Marie, Logan’s fiancée. An’ this is our daughter, Alexandra.”
Now it was time for the third woman in the group to speak. Her voice was very quiet and the only reason Marie had been able to hear her was the fact that her earlier words had shocked everyone into silence.
“You make my brother happy?” the dark-haired woman said, her eyes startling similar to Logan’s.
Marie grinned broadly, feeling very at ease around the woman with Logan’s eyes. “Far as Ah can tell, Ah do. He’s always smilin’ an’ laughin’ a lot so Ah like t’ think he’s happy.”
“You make him happy,” the other woman confirmed, returning Marie’s smile. “And for that, I thank you. I’ve been worried about him these past few years. My name’s Madison, by the way. Mor...” Madison hesitated for a moment before continuing. “Logan and I are twins.”
“There is no Logan!” Maureen shouted, upsetting Alexandra who had finally stopped crying. “His name is Morgan! Morgan Nathaniel Vance. I named him that the day he was born and he is going to keep that name until the day he dies!”
Marie glared at the older woman and hissed. “If ya insist on yellin’, Ah want ya t’ get the hell outta here now! Yer upsettin’ mah daughter who, Ah might add, is barely a week old. So either quit yer squawkin’ or get the hell out! This is the last time Ah’m gonna warn ya. Next time Ah have Logan’s doctor ban ya from the room.”
“You can’t order me around like that!” Maureen cried, advancing towards Marie.
It was Charles’s hands on her shoulders that stopped her and pulled back. “Maureen, why don’t you and Tanya go wait outside. We’ll never get anywhere with the two of you in here shouting at poor Marie. And you’re upsetting the infant.”
This time, Maureen’s anger was aimed at her husband. “You can not seriously be taking this child’s side over mine.”
“I can and I am. Like it or no, this young lady is the mother of our granddaughter and knows about what happened to our son over the past two years,” Charles said calmly to his shocked wife.
Marie was equally shocked by Charles’s defense of her. She hadn’t expected him to take her side over his wife’s. But he had and Marie was eternally grateful for it. With a huff and a violent turn of her head, Maureen stalked out of the room, followed by Tanya who had been glaring daggers at Marie since her revelation about Alexandra.
“I must apologize for my wife,” Charles said as soon as the door was shut. “She hasn’t been taking our son’s disappearance very well and the fact that he has amnesia can’t be sitting very well with her. Though I suppose we should have expected as much. It was either that or he was dead. At least this way he’s still alive.”
“Ya can thank a man named Victor Creed fer that. May he rot in hell,” Marie mumbled the last bit under her breath. Alexandra made a grab for her hair at that point, reminding Marie of her presence. Grinning down at the infant, Marie returned to her earlier position, using her knees as a support for Alexandra’s back while her daughter sat on her lap.
Madison gasped, a hand flying to her mouth. “Vic did this to him? He caused that accident?”
Marie nodded her head, tears filling her eyes as an image of Logan dangling from the ceiling of that wretched basement entered her mind. “Not only did that bastard cause the accident, but he’s also the reason Logan’s in here now. He almost.... He woulda killed Logan if the police hadn’t found him in time.”
“Victor hurt him badly then?” Charles inquired, his voice infinitely calm, but the darkness in his eyes betrayed his emotions.
“Well right now Logan’s havin’ a second surgery on his right to repair what Creed did t’ it.” Marie was hard pressed to keep from breaking out into sobs as she remembered Logan’s whispered pleas for her to be there when he came back from the surgery. He’d been half conscious at the time-- the anesthetics already working their magic --but had been adamant that she be the first thing he see when he woke up. “An’ Ah really don’t wanna talk about the rest ‘cause then Ah’ll just start cryin’ an’ Ah don’t know if Ah’ll b able t’ stop.”
“Don’t worry about it, my dear, it is completely understandable,” Charles assured her. “You are obviously very upset by what happened to my son, which is to be expected. After all, you love my son.”
Marie gave him a watery smile. “Ah do love him. More than Ah ever thought possible.”
Alexandra gave a cry and pulled on a strand of Marie’s hair.
“Ya love Daddy too, don’t ya?” Marie cooed, grabbing Alexandra’s hand and pressing a kiss to the back of it. “Ya, course ya do! Yer Daddy’s little girl, aren’t ya!” Suddenly, Marie pulled back and smiled at Charles. “Would ya like t’ hold her? She is yer granddaughter after all.”
Charles stared at her in shock. He glanced from Marie to Madison and back at Marie. “Are you serious, my dear? Really, there is on need. We have only just met and I would understand it completely if you chose not to.”
Marie shook her head, shifting Alexandra into her arms. “Ah want ya t’. Not only are ya a nice man, but yer also Logan’s father. That makes little Alex her yer granddaughter. What other reason do Ah need?”
While Charles continued protesting, Marie slid off the bed and walked over to him. He was still trying to deny any right to hold Alexandra when Marie placed the infant in his arms. Alexandra didn’t make any fuss after the transfer was made. She merely stared up at Charles with wide eyes, taking him in.
“She’s very beautiful,” Charles told her, grinning down at the infant. “She reminds me of Morgan and Madison when they were babies.”
Unlike she had done to his wife, Marie didn’t feel the need to remind Charles that Logan no longer answered to the name Morgan. He was merely lost in the memories of the son he had lost. It was clear to Marie that Charles and Madison understood what happened to Logan. Of the four, they would be the ones who wouldn’t expect Logan to be the same person he had been before.
“Did you meet my brother right after the accident?” Madison asked as Charles passed Alexandra to her.
Marie shook her head, smiling at the woman who had undoubtedly been Logan’s closest companion when he was growing up. “No. We met about six months after that. Logan was passin’ through the town we live in an’ had a little mishap on his bike. He ended up stickin’ ‘round fer a while an’ somewhere along the line we fell in love. He decided t’ stay after that. One thing led t’ another an’ Ah got pregnant, Logan proposed. We were just gettin’ t’ the happily ever after part when this happened.”
Considering the events that had surrounded their meeting, Marie thought it best that she make up a meeting. Bend the truth a little so as now to alarm Logan’s family.
“Were you aware of my son’s accident?” Charles inquired, discreetly trying to see if Marie had taken advantage of Logan.
“Right from the start,” Marie assured him. “Logan was pretty up front ‘bout it with me once we started spendin’ a lot o’ time t’gether. Logan wanted me t’ know the truth. There’s not many people he’s told, Ah’m one o’ the few actually. Ah was the first person that he really told.”
“He must trust you a lot then,” Charles commented, a smile appearing on his face.
Marie shared his smile. “Ah like t’ think that he does. After everythin’ that he’s been through lately, he kinda needs someone t’ trust completely an’ he knows Ah’ll give him that. That Ah won’t hurt him. It’s somethin’ he counts on.”
“My son made a very wise choice in choosing to love you,” Charles told her. “It is one of the best he’s ever made.”
Marie was truly touched by the older man’s words. With the exception of the last twenty months, Charles had known Logan his entire life. Having his approval meant a lot to Marie even if she didn’t want it to. At the moment, Logan had no clue who any of these people were. The only people outside of herself and Alexandra, and possibly Kurt and Daniel, that Logan considered his family were Cal and Ron. Logan and Ron were as close as brothers and Cal provided the guidance that a father would offer.
But now Logan’s real father was there. So was his sister, his mother and the woman he had been involved with before the accident. Even though Charles and Madison seemed to be on her side, Marie still felt strongly outnumbered.
Marie was suddenly very afraid that she would lose Logan.
Lose him to his family.