Temptation Bound: Part Two
Title: Temptation Bound: Part Two
Rating: NC-17 overall for sexual content and violence, but this part is G-rated.
Summary: Another take on how Logan and Marie get together.
Archive: If you have the others, you can take this one.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them and I don’t make any money off of them.
Feedback: You can contact Ransom via her LiveJournal
Warning: Future installments of this story are going to contain references to an underage girl and a grown man having a sexual relationship. If this squicks you, please do not read.
Notes: I'm ignoring a lot of things here, like camping permits and specific geography. Don't think about it too much, okay?
Date Completed: July 7th, 2002
Temptation Bound: Part Two
Logan made a huge breakfast the next morning, expecting the kid to eat heartily, which she did. After he had eaten his fill, he leaned against the log and sipped at his coffee. He hadn't slept well, and as a result was feeling tired and surly. She'd coughed a lot during the night, a sound that had only added to his restlessness. There was something in her lungs that wasn't right; she was sicker than he had originally thought.
She spent the next two days at the campsite with him. She didn't make any move to leave and he didn't ask her to go, so they simply co-existed. She slept a lot, curled up like a kitten on the bed. No matter how deep her sleep, the smell of a meal cooking never failed to rouse her. The kid ate well and often, and immediately began to look less haggard.
Aside from the fact that her name was Marie and she was from Mississippi, she was not forthcoming with details about herself. Logan figured it was just as well, as he wasn't much into sharing personal information either.
After the second day she ceased to be nervous around him at all, and by the morning of the third day she was teasing him about his fondness for bacon. He was still under the impression that he hadn't yet made up his mind what to do with her when he reached for his coffee and said, "I figured we'd move out today. Head for Cut Rock."
She nodded, and bit into her toast. "Okay."
He wasn't sure how he'd feel about traveling with her, but the first two days on the road were surprisingly non-stressful. She didn't demand things of him, was more than willing to help with any chore, and seemed to know when to best leave him alone. Which was pretty often, truthfully. She was respectful of his pet peeves, and he rarely had to tell her anything twice. Best of all, she was someone to play cards with in the laundromat.
Logan hated the laundromat. Hated the hard chairs that hurt his ass. Hated the smell of fabric softener. Hated the insipid dialogue of the daytime soap operas, guaranteed to be playing on a TV somewhere in the place. Hated the also-obligatory screeching kids that made him want to tear his over-sensitive ears right off his head.
But laundry was a necessary evil, and one that really needed to be faced. Soon. Most of the kid's clothes were so dirty as to be completely unwearable, and he was rapidly running out of things to loan her. To his delight, the endless minutes of a dryer cycle were much more tolerable when they were spent teaching Marie how to play 5-card stud. She'd never be able to beat him by bluffing—no one could—but when she got a good hand she was perfectly capable of wiping the table with his ass.
It took three days to reach Cut Rock, and they were all much the same as the first days they'd spent together. He cooked, she ate. He slept under the stars, she slept in the camper. She had found a book in the laundromat, and she spent a good portion of her waking hours reading it, which was fine with him. He was considerate of her, if not particularly friendly, and she seemed satisfied with that. Being a guy who had a distinct dislike for demands being made upon him, this sat well with Logan. His life was running smoothly, just the way he liked it.
Which meant, of course, that it wouldn't last.
They arrived in Cut Rock a day earlier than necessary, which was exactly how Logan had planned it. He had business to attend to, but some recreation to squeeze in beforehand. Marie, who had taken to propping herself against the door of the truck while she read, straightened and looked around when they pulled into the parking lot of the motel.
"Thought we'd get a room. Cable TV, big water heater, free soap."
She nodded, excited by the idea, and reached behind the seat to cram her book into her backpack. The dark circles under her eyes were almost totally gone, he noticed.
She waited in the truck while he checked in, which was a relief, once he began the process. Not that the guy behind the desk looked like he'd give a shit if he knew, but Logan couldn't help feeling like anyone who laid eyes on him would automatically know that he was paying for a motel room for himself and fifteen-year-old girl who was most definitely not his daughter.
Even as he plucked the key from the counter, he was weighing another night in the woods against the allure of ESPN and unlimited hot water. It was with those thoughts in his mind that he returned to the truck. He pried his small duffle from behind his seat and dropped it in her lap, and she cast an uneasy glance his way, as if sensing his troubled thoughts.
He nearly groaned when she opened her mouth to speak, so strong was his desire to not be asked what was wrong. She surprised him. "Do they have donuts in the morning here?"
That question he was willing to answer. He'd seen a small sign advertising a free "Continental breakfast" on the folding table in the corner of the lobby. "Yeah. From eight to ten." All the stale donuts and weak coffee a person could ask for.
"I haven't had a donut in ages," she sighed, obviously looking forward to the morning's feast much more than he was. "I hope they have jelly ones."
"Those go pretty fast," he informed her. "Better get there early."
She lugged their bags to their room while Logan unhitched the camper, backing it into one of the parking spaces right outside their door. As he propped the hitch up on a cement block, he could already hear her flipping through the cable channels. They were going to have to have a talk about who controlled the remote, he could tell already.
She was sprawled at the foot of the first of the two double beds, watching some kind of music video, and didn't even look up when he shut the door behind him. His duffle bag occupied the other bed, he noted with a touch of irritation. He thought about telling her they'd have to switch, because he liked to sleep by the window, keep an ear open for anyone messing with the camper. Then he decided that, if he was lucky—and he was fairly confident he would be—he wouldn't be sleeping in that bed much anyway. It wasn't worth mentioning.
The music on the TV got worse as he removed his boots. What *was* that crap? He got up and headed for the shower, then turned back to fetch his bag from the bed. This wasn't like the camper, where Marie poked at the fire or picked wildflowers while he showered and dressed. He couldn't come barging out of the bathroom without a stitch on and dig around for some clean clothes. This was a whole new situation that would require a whole different set of rules, and it seemed a little much on top of all the adjustments he'd made to his routine already.
Suddenly, getting a room was looking like more trouble than it was worth.
She sat up and watched as he dug around in his duffle. "Is that why you keep stuff in that bag? For when you don't sleep in the camper?" She'd obviously noticed that he'd carefully re-stocked it with clean clothes after their trip to the laundromat.
"That's a good idea." It was. Saved him from having to traipse out to the camper in his boxer shorts to get his toothbrush.
"Yeah," he replied, almost automatically.
She flopped back onto her stomach and went back to her videos. He glanced at her briefly, then retreated to the bathroom.
He took a seriously long shower. One thing he loved about hotels was the abundance of hot water, and the abundance of space in the shower. No need to worry about knocking his elbows on the walls.
Rather than reveling in the luxury, however, he found himself in an even fouler mood once he was done. The bathroom was hot and humid, even with the fan running, and as he shaved he found himself wishing he could stand at the sink naked and have the door open at the same time. When he could take it no longer he grudgingly secured a towel around his hips and swung the door open. The cool air of the room was wonderful on his heated skin.
He swiped a clear patch in the condensation on the mirror and raised his razor to his cheek. Movement behind him caught his eye. He could see Marie in the mirror, still on the bed. She had looked his way when he opened the bathroom door, then glanced quickly back at the television. Now her eyes continued to dart to him as he finished up one rough cheek, her unease apparent. It irritated him. He was covered, for chrissakes, and he wasn't planning on trying anything with her.
He wasn't some goddamned pervert, and he hadn't gotten the room with the intention of seducing her. He wasn't a child molester.
Best left untouched was the knowledge that he vaguely felt like one anyway. That this situation would appear suspect to almost anyone. He had every intention of getting laid tonight, but it in no way included the young girl who was scooting backwards on the bed, out of his line of sight.
He had no choice but to close the door while he dressed. His clothes stuck to his damp skin, and he started to sweat almost immediately, the tiny bathroom far too humid. Jeans and a T-shirt were all he could manage before he had to get out, bursting into the more comfortable climate of the room with a scowl.
She didn't say anything as he tied his boots, but he could feel her eyes on him and it sent his already substantial annoyance up another couple dozen notches. The honeymoon was definitely over, as far as he was concerned. Driving during the day, setting up camp at night—that had been easy. A pattern they followed that required little thought and presented little opportunity for conflict.
And now, Logan was seeing a definite conflict. He was used to doing what he wanted, when he wanted. Having to include another person in his plans was suddenly a reality, and he was feeling the true weight of it for the first time since she'd joined him. The thought of making that effort for the next month, week, day, whatever, was unpleasant, chafed at him.
"What?" he snapped, knowing he was looking for a fight.
He could feel her shrink from him, confused by his tone. "Nothing."
He stood and buckled his belt. "I'm goin' out." As he picked up his jacket he remembered that there'd be no entertaining overnight guests in the room. Not with her here. "Be back by morning," he added.
"Okay." He voice was small, and the tone was a familiar one, her posture telling him that she was trying to be as little trouble as possible. A manner he recognized. He hadn't even realized that she'd had it and then lost it. Hadn't realized it until right now. Now that it was back.
He shot an irritated glance her way as he passed between her and the TV. She had her knees pulled up to her chest and was staring at a stain on the knee of her jeans, tracing it with a gloved finger. As he strode to the door, he knew that she'd be gone when he got back.
"Have a good time," she said softly as he dug his keys out of his jacket, and he wondered if she was really saying goodbye. He stood in front of the door, doing a rapid mental inventory of his options. Then he considered her options, for tonight and tomorrow and beyond.
She hadn't done anything but ask him for a meal. Everything that came after that he'd done of his own free will. It seemed neither fair nor justified to treat her this way. He turned around as he pulled his wallet out and extracted a twenty-dollar bill, which he placed on top of the television. He didn't look at her. "Here. Get a pizza or something. Whatever."
"Okay," he heard her say as he shut the door behind him.
There were four slices of pizza in the mini-fridge, carefully wrapped in napkins, when he returned to the hotel just before dawn. She was still there, a small, motionless lump in the bed. Pretending to be asleep.
He gobbled the pizza, washing it down with his last beer. Another quick shower, an even quicker tooth brushing, and under the sheets he slid. There was a note on his pillow.
He sighed and plucked the crinkled paper from under his head, sincerely hoping it wasn't some sniveling apology. Or, even worse, a pitiful request to just ask her to leave if he didn't want her around. He sat up and turned on the small bedside lamp.
Please wake me up in time for jelly donuts. – Marie
He spent several minutes fumbling with the cheap alarm clock bolted to the nightstand before he finally got it set for what he hoped was 7:45am. He noted with a grimace that 7:45 wasn't that far off, and then, after beating his pillows into submission, fell asleep almost immediately.
End Part Two
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