Chapter 29: Free At Last

If she knew Logan at all, Marie guessed that the thing he would have missed the most in their home was the couch. Besides its many conventional uses, it was also the place they had first made love. He’d been broken and bloodied then and Marie had no doubt in her mind that Logan would use it to his advantage a second time.

“Whatever happened to my bike?” Logan mumbled sleepily on the drive home. He was seated next to Marie in the passenger seat while Madison and Alexandra rode in the back.

Marie glanced over at Logan and grinned. “It’s waitin’ fer ya at home. Cal, Ron an’ the rest o’ the guys at the shop fixed it up fer ya. It’s as good as new.”

“I can’t wait to go riding on it again,” Logan sighed, his eyes drifting shut. “How long did Hank say it would be before I could go riding again.”

“Ah think he said somethin’ ‘bout three months,” Marie said absently, looking at Madison through the rearview mirror and grinning at the other woman.

Logan moaned pitifully, opening his eyes a tiny crack. “Please tell me you’re joking, darlin’. Please don’t say I have to wait months to ride my bike again.”

Marie smacked his thigh lightly, grinning over at him. “Ah hate t’ break it t’ ya, but it’s gonna be a while before ya can ride yer bike again. Especially with yer shoulder. An’ don’t even think ‘bout poutin’ at me ‘cause it’s not gonna work.”

“Not fair,” Logan murmured, drifting off to sleep.

Marie stayed quiet long enough for Logan to fall asleep. He’d need his rest to get through what she had planned for him. Marie had noticed that Logan got tired very easily this past week and that wouldn’t go over well with what she wanted to happen that afternoon.... And possibly well into the evening as well.

“Has Logan always been this much o’ a baby when he’s hurt?” Marie asked once she was sure that Logan was asleep.

Madison started to laugh softly. “Oh yeah! You’ll never get him to admit it, but Logan loves to be fussed over. I’ve never known a guy to get off on being treated like a baby as much as my darling brother.... At least until he gets sick of it. Then he’s as miserable as they come.”

“Then Ah guess Ah’ll just hafta keep him entertained so that he doesn’t get sick o’ it,” Marie declared, glancing over at a snoozing Logan.

“Just remember that he’s my brother and that there are certain things I don’t need to know about him,” Madison pleaded. “And I’m sure that Alex doesn’t need to know where she came from just yet.”

Marie waved her hand absently. “Don’t worry. Yer in the clear fer now. We’re on week two o’ ‘the six weeks Logan doesn’t get any.’ Cal told me that there’s a pool going where Logan works. All of the guys are bettin’ how long Logan will last before this no sex thing starts t’ drive him crazy. Winner gets a hundred bucks.... Ah picked next Friday.”

“Marie, you didn’t!” Madison cried, barely able to hide the laughter from her voice.

“It’s awful, Ah know,” Marie lamented, bobbing her head from side to side. “But yer brother is just so damn predictable. The funniest part is that once Ah’d picked a date, all the other guys changed their dates t’ get as close t’ mine as possible.”

“Does Logan know about this?”

Marie couldn’t keep from laughing as she nodded her head. “He knows ‘bout it all right. Ron was beggin’ him fer weeks ‘bout it. Tryin’ t’ figure out which date would be the best one t’ pick. Logan just doesn’t know that Ah’m in on it. An’ he’s not gonna either, so ya keep it zipped.”

“I might have to talk to Cal and get him to let me in on this,” Madison mused, joining Marie in her mirth.

“No usin’ any o’ yer twin vibes fer this, ‘cause that’s just cheatin’,” Marie teased, pointing a finger at Madison’s reflection in the rearview mirror.

The two of them continued their playful bickering as they continued the rest of the drive back to Marie and Logan’s home. Marie knew that Logan was anxious to get back home. He hadn’t been home for over a week and it would be good for him to get back to a more comfortable environment.

“Oh my God! This place is amazing!” Madison cried as Marie pulled into the driveway. “You and Logan actually live here?”

Marie nodded her head, pulling up beside Logan’s bike. “Ah moved up here ‘bout three months ‘fore Logan an’ Ah met. Ah’d dreamed ‘bout livin’ in a cottage up in Alaska since Ah was a little kid an’ finally managed t’ save up enough money t’ move here. Never once regretted it,” Marie said with a smile as she looked down at Logan. After unfastening her seatbelt, Marie turned towards Logan and began shaking his shoulder. “Rise an’ shine, Logan. We’re home.”

Moaning softly, Logan forced his eyes to open. As had been the case all week, it took a few moments for Logan to wake up completely. He blinked owlishly several times before finally deciding to keep his eyes open and focused on what was directly in front of him. Which just so happened to be their house.

“I’m home,” Logan said wistfully. He then turned to Marie, a wide grin on his face. “I’m home again.”

“Actually, all yer doin’ right now is sittin’ in the driveway,” Marie informed him. “T’ be home, ya actually have t’ go inside.”

Logan looked over at Marie, his smile never faltering. “Then let’s get me inside.”

While Logan pushed himself into a more upright position and unfastened his seatbelt, Marie hurriedly got out of the jeep and ran around to the passenger side. By the time she got there, Logan had the door open and was starting to swing his legs out the door. Logan slipped his left arm Marie’s shoulders to help balance himself as he slid out of the jeep and onto the driveway. Since it had been over a week since Logan had last walked on his own, Marie insisted on keeping an arm around his waist. He didn’t protest her actions, but Marie did notice that he was allowing as little of his weight to rest on her as possible.

“God, I can’t wait to lie down on the couch again,” Logan murmured as Marie reached for the doorknob. “I’m just gonna crash there and not move unless I absolutely have to.”

Marie just rolled her eyes and flung the door open. Everything inside was just as she’d expected it to be.


At the sound of the loud cheer, Logan’s head shot up. Gathered inside the cabin were the people that Marie had wanted to be there when Logan finally returned home. All of the guys from the shop, Cal and his wife Wendy as well as Martha and her husband George. Ron was the ringleader. Marie had called him immediately after her talk with Bruce that morning and he quickly thrown the entire thing together. Even down to the banner that hung from the edge of the loft bearing the same words that had been screamed a few moments before.

Logan turned to Marie, his mouth hanging open in shock. “How... how on earth did you manage this, darlin’? We only found out I was going home about three hours ago.”

“An’ three hours ago Ah called Ron an’ told him t’ get everythin’ ready,” Marie told him, reaching up to brush a kiss against his cheek. “Ah wanted t’ see how well he works under pressure.”

“And I pulled it off with flying colours,” Ron declared as he separated himself from the crowd. Quickly bypassing them, Ron immediately went to Madison who was carrying Alexandra. “Hey there, Alex! Did you miss your Uncle Ron? And who is this beautiful lady you’ve got carrying you?”

While Madison and Ron made their introductions, Marie led Logan further into the house. Martha and Wendy both gave Logan very tender, motherly hugs, each one patting his cheek and telling him how happy they were to see him up and about.

“You brought food, right?” Logan asked Martha, an eager smile on his face.

Martha rolled her eyes and gently patted Logan’s stomach. “My dear boy, I’d be worried if that stomach of yours was ever full. Don’t worry, if you look towards the kitchen you will see all of your favourites.”

Logan looked down at Marie, his eyes alight. “Please tell me it’s lunchtime, darlin’. I’m begging ya here!”

This time it was Marie who was rolling her eyes. “How ‘bout we get ya over t’ the couch then Ah’ll get ya some lunch. Think ya can last that long?”

With a serious look on his face, Logan lifted his left forearm which was still dangling from her shoulder and held it up for her to see. “Look at how big this shirt is on me, Marie. It’s practically hanging off of me.”

“That’s because the shirt is two sizes too big,” Marie informed Logan as she began guiding him towards the couch. “Until those bandages come off o’ yer shoulder, yer gonna be wearing shirts that are too big so that they’ll fit across yer shoulders. So quit yer squawkin’, ya big baby.”

Logan scowled at her, but willingly sat down on the couch. “I’m not being a baby. Alex is the baby.”

“Yeah, an’ she’s not making a peep,” Marie teased, brushing a quick kiss against his forehead. “Yer the grumbly one. Now behave yerself while Ah get ya somethin’ t’ eat.”

Logan flashed her a brilliant grin and settled himself back against the couch.

Home for only a few minutes and Logan was already in better spirits. Dressed in sweat pants and the over-sized sweat shirt, the only real evidence that Logan had been hurt were the two gashes on his left cheek which had caused a lot of bruising around his left eye, the sling that Logan would have to wear to keep his shoulder as still as possible for the next eight weeks and the end of the brace that kept his right wrist secure. Other than those three things, Logan looked completely normal. The rest of the damage was hidden by the massive sweat shirt he was wearing.

As she filled a plate full of food, Marie kept her eyes on Logan as he was laughing and talking with the men that he worked with. Marie knew, without a doubt, that this was what Logan had needed. He needed to be in a familiar setting with familiar people and no doctors and nurses poking their heads in every few minutes. Logan needed some normalcy even if it included Ron dancing around the living room with Alexandra, showing the infant off as though she was his own.

“I take it that you’re happy to be home,” Madison said, appearing suddenly at Marie’s side.

Marie glanced over at the other woman, a huge smile on her face. “This is better than the day we found Logan. Right now, at this very moment, things are as close t’ normal as they’ve been in a long time. Logan is happy again an’ well on his way t’ bein’ healthy. Ah couldn’t ask fer a better day than this.”

Once she was sure that she had enough food on the plate to keep Logan content for a while, Marie headed back into the living room where Logan now had Alexandra on his lap. His right leg was drawn up and he was using that to prop her up and his left hand to keep her steady.

“Hey, Momma, look who sitting up,” Logan said, tearing his eyes away from Alexandra’s smiling face to grin up at Marie.

Marie returned Logan’s smile and set the plate down on the coffee table before retrieving a TV tray from beside her computer desk. When she returned to the couch, Alexandra had Logan’s index finger firmly implanted in her mouth.

“Is mah little angel hungry?” Marie cooed at the infant as she set up the tray and put the plate down on it. “Ya must really have yer Daddy’s appetite,” Marie said as she scooped Alexandra up into her arms. “Accordin’ t’ yer Aunt Madison, when yer Daddy was little, he ate an entire birthday cake all by himself. An’ he growled at yer Aunt Madison whenever she tried to take a teeny tiny piece.”

“Hey!” Logan cried, a forkful of scalloped potatoes balanced just in front of his mouth.

Cal burst out laughing and came to stand behind the couch. “You should see him when the Metro truck comes at noon. I swear sometimes he’d eat the plastic if it tasted halfway decent.”

Logan turned his attention towards his boss and friend, the potatoes completely forgotten. “This isn’t a ‘make fun of Logan’s eating habits’ party. It’s a ‘welcome home’ party. That means no making fun of Logan.”

“Well where’s the fun in that, my boy?” Cal asked, looking truly perplexed.

Giggling quietly to herself, Marie headed back over to Madison who was most likely feeling like a fish out of water surrounded by all sorts of people she didn’t know. Marie was glad that she had come. She truly did like the other woman who was providing them with a window to Logan’s past. Unlike Maureen who would undoubtedly try to cram facts down Logan’s throat and force him to act accordingly, Madison just offered up little anecdotes of their shared lives to help Logan fill in big hole that his past had become.

“I’ve got twenty bucks that say Logan will start to drop off in about an hour,” Madison said as Marie came to stand next to her.

Marie didn’t bother to hide her amusement as she sidled up to the other woman. “Ah’d take ya up on that if Ah wasn’t already thinking the same thing. Logan’s gonna wear himself out an’ will probably end up sleepin’ the rest o’ the afternoon. Alex will probably go down too then an’ Ah’ll have somethin’ Ah haven’t had in a long time....”

“Quiet time?” Madison guessed.

Marie let out an exaggerated sigh and nodded her head. “Quiet time. Ah can just flop down on the couch, watch a movie an’ not have to think about anythin’.”

“Add some chocolate ice cream to the mix and you’ve got my definition of heaven,” Madison mused, a blissful smile on her face.

“Already in the freezer,” Marie confirmed. “There’s a second pint with yer name on it if ya want to stay an’ join me in mah relaxation fest. Ya could probably use the wind down ‘fore ya have t’ go back an’ deal with yer mother an’ Tanya.”

“I think I may just have to take you up on that offer,” Madison said with a frustrated grunt. “I don’t even want to imagine what type of mood my mother’s gonna be in. She probably at the hospital right now yelling at nurses and threatening to get them fired if they don’t tell her where you live.”

Marie gave an echoing grunt. “Ah’m just glad that Ah talked t’ Pete an’ Bruce an’ got them both t’ agree that they wouldn’t give our address out t’ yer mother. After what happened this mornin’ Ah want t’ keep her an’ Tanya as far away from Logan till he’s ready t’ deal with them. Ah’ll give Logan a few days t’ regroup an’ see what he wants t’ do.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Madison agreed, reaching out to clasp Alexandra’s tiny hand. “Besides, it looks like Logan already has enough older woman to spoil him.”

Marie glanced back towards the couch where both Martha and Wendy were fussing over Logan. Logan looked like he was in heaven and Marie couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Oh he’s spoiled all right. Martha an’ George an’ Wendy an’ Cal are kinda like our extended families. Since mine lives so far away an’ we weren’t even sure Logan had one till a few days ago, they kinda took over the role of parents fer us. We went t’ Martha an’ George’s fer Thanksgivin’ an’ t’ Cal an’ Wendy’s fer Christmas. Neither o’ them have any kids themselves, so they love treatin’ us like family. Ah love it too. It’s nice t’ feel like we have family considerin’ it’s just me an’ Logan out here.... Oh, an’ Alex now too. Though, if Logan has it his way, there will probably be ‘bout ten o’ us livin’ in this little cabin.”

“Has his mind set on a big family, does he?” Madison asked, arching an eyebrow.

Marie let out a long breath as she nodded her head. “Huge. One time he said he wanted t’ have a kid that played each position on a hockey team. That’s six kids at the least. Twelve if he wants t’ supply both sides.... It’s sweet the way he keeps deludin’ himself inta thinkin’ it’s gonna happen.”

Madison shook her head in disbelief. “At least he’s toned down his estimates a little. When we were in high school, Logan played football. He didn’t just play it. Every aspect of his life had to do with football so he told one of his girlfriends that he wanted to have enough kids to field a football team.... She never came back after that.”

“An’ just how many people are on a football team?” Marie asked cautiously.