Alaidh and catherderPairing:
A very shippy look at Logan’s family. Takes place some 13 years after Freak Nation.Chapter 6 – Grandma’s Feather Bed
Logan transferred and sat on the edge of the bed as Max crossed the room after checking on the baby. As she sat in front of him, he reached for her, bringing her head close to his for a deep kiss, running his long fingers through her hair. She reached with one hand to undo the buttons on her top, but he stopped her and started to undo them himself.
Max reached behind Logan and pulled his t-shirt up over his head, ruffling his hair, and lightly raked his back with her nails. He pulled Max's top down her arms and threw it behind him, leaning into her, forehead to forehead. Logan ran his hand down the cleft between her breasts, circling her stomach, feeling for the drawstring on her pyjama bottoms, then pulled the knot undone. Max stood, allowing them to drop to the floor. She knelt and removed Logan’s shoes and socks, then pushed his chest gently so he toppled onto his back.
Logan smiled up at her lazily, his face a maze of planes and shadows in the dim light. The only light filtered through from a cloud-covered moon outside and a dim lamp which they’d left turned on in the living room. Max gazed back at him, a slight smile curling her lips. He started to sit up, but she put a hand out and stopped him, pulling his jeans and boxer shorts off, and lifted his legs up onto the bed. She stretched herself alongside him, stroking his arm, his chest, his head. Logan gently pulled her face up to his and kissed her deeply, tongue flicking in and out, holding the back of her head with one hand while he massaged her breasts, her stomach, her back, her buttocks with the other. The touch of his hand burned through her like an electric shock.
Max propped herself up on one elbow for a moment and murmured in his ear huskily, “Damn if you’re not still the sexiest man on this planet.” She laughed quietly, thinking to herself that she was so glad to have found such a considerate, thoughtful lover. While they had their disagreements and conflicts, this was one aspect of their lives where there had never been an argument, right from the first time in Terminal City on the floor of that abandoned building he had called home for a time.
Tickling him gently with her fingertips, Max ran her hand down his belly until she found his shaft and started to massage it gently, running her hand up and down the length. Then she moved further up, tickling his armpit, teasing his nipples. Logan’s hand found her mound and, when she parted her legs, one long finger found her moist, welcome opening.
Rolling onto her back, she waited for him to climb on top of her, then locked his legs in place with her own, guiding him inside her and rhythmically squeezing as she moved beneath him. She gazed into his eyes, her own eyes black shadows, holding him steady with a firm hand on each shoulder, drinking him in.
“You still have the most singularly beautiful face I've ever seen,” he whispered, leaning down to her ear. Sensing his shoulders starting to tremble with effort, Max gave a flick and a twitch, and they found themselves reversed, with her on top. “All these years, and I still don’t know how you do that,” he whispered. She laughed throatily in reply.
They both came together, Logan’s orgasm rippling through his chest and Max giving a muffled cry, and she collapsed over him, spent for the moment.
“Damn, this place does it to me every time,” she said softly in his ear. “What did you do, bury Bast under the bedroom floor?”
He stifled a laugh. “I think you hid her under the mattress.”
“Big ole’ four-poster bed...” Max slowly rolled off onto her side, dragging him with her. She reached one leg over his and pulled him closer, feeling the different texture of the scars running the length of his thigh against her inner leg. “I know what it is,” she giggled. “Your Aunt Margo put a hex on the place...”
Logan gave a small laugh. “Or maybe it’s just because you still have the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.”
“Or maybe it’s because you’re the sexiest man on the planet...”
Eva whimpered softly in her sleep. They both turned their heads to look in the direction of the basket, holding their breath. She moved, rustling the covers, then didn't stir again. Max and Logan let out their breaths, relaxing into each other. Max rolled onto her other side, then snuggled her back into Logan's belly where he lay on his side, her head on his arm. She reached for his free hand and twined her fingers with his, resting his palm on her stomach.
"I love you, Max Guevara Cale," he breathed into her ear.
Max gave a small, secret smile to the night, wriggled infinitesimally closer, and relaxed into sleep.
Logan awoke to the smell of frying bacon – while still not a gourmet chef, Max could at least manage that much. He was alone in the room, which was bathed in bright sunlight from the open window. Some desultory chatter filtered through to him from the kitchen as he pushed up into a sitting position and found himself stuck there – sheets wrapped around his feet like mummy bindings. He briefly wondered how that had happened, then put it down to the fun and games of the night before.
Max had picked up his clothes from the floor and left them within easy reach on the seat of the wheelchair. Logan untangled his feet and shimmied into his boxer shorts, leaving the rest of his clothes on the end of the bed. He headed straight for the shower.
Twenty minutes later, Logan, now showered and dressed, followed the aroma of the food to the kitchen.
“’Morning, sleepyhead,” said Max, who sat on the end of the kitchen counter where it abutted the seldom-used side door, holding a steaming cup of coffee. Ben was overseeing the frypan on the stove, spatula in one hand. One of them had retrieved the bouncer from the storeroom in the loft for Eva, who was on the floor below Max happily banging a rattle.
“’Morning. How long’ve you guys been up?” Logan asked. Eva’s face lit up in a gummy smile when she saw her father.
“Hours, dad,” Ben responded, reaching for a mug. “We’ve already walked to the end of the lake and back.”
Ben handed his father a fresh-brewed cup of coffee then returned to the stove.
“Wow, and you didn’t even wait for me?”
“Not everyone gets to sleep half the day.” Max nodded at the battered clock on the wall, which she had set the night before.
“Would have helped if you hadn’t worn me out and tied me to the bed last night,” Logan winked at Ben, who rolled his eyes.
Max spluttered her coffee. “Excuse me, I did no such thing.”
“Coulda fooled me.” He winked at Ben again.
Max shook her head in amusement. “How’s the food coming, sunshine?”
“Nearly there, mom.” He reached into the lower cupboard for some plates, noisily placing them on the counter.
“So, what’s on the agenda for today?” Max asked.
“Need to head down to the store and buy some supplies.”
“You mean, you need to go and gossip with Jack at the store,” she corrected with a smile.
“Hey, I don’t gossip, and you don’t tie helpless ordinaries to beds.”
“Mind you...you did a pretty good job of tying yourself to the bed. Love to know how you got the sheet wrapped round your feet like that,” she winked.
Logan gave a small, embarrassed laugh. “So would I. What else...hmm...need to do a bit of maintenance around this place before the weekend. Boat could do with a lick of paint and there’s a loose board on the back porch.” He counted his fingers. “Do the loft stairs need a new pull cord?”
“No, dad, the old one’s still okay.”
“Anything else you can think of?”
“Washbasin tap is dripping,” Max looked at him deadpan.
“No it isn’t.” He turned to the table, which was pushed against the wall to allow easier access for the wheelchair, as Ben set a plate of food down, then immediately backed around to the drawers when he realized there weren’t any eating implements.
“When’s Jonas gonna be here?” asked Ben.
“Bennett didn’t say,” responded Logan. “Sometime tomorrow.”
“They bringing the...” Max raised her eyebrows at Logan.
Ben’s eyes lit up. “They’re bringing the bikes, aren’t they!! Woo-hoo!!” he whooped.
“No, I think they’re bringing Marianne’s grandmother instead,” Logan replied. “Of course, they’re bringing the bikes. What else would we do with you two terrors all day.”
Ben gave him a dirty look.
Max dropped lightly from her position in the corner as Ben put the second plate on the end of the table, bringing her coffee cup with her. “So, you’re off to the store...what are we gonna do with ourselves?”
“Well, you could come with me.”
“I suppose so.” Max replied thoughtfully. She already looked more relaxed than when they had left Seattle.
“Ben, would you be able to go up and see if there’s any of that red paint left?” Logan asked. “Should be in the loft somewhere.”
“Can I eat first?”
“Sure, I’m not going anywhere yet.”
Logan backed up carefully and put his plate in the sink. The kitchen wasn’t very large and he had to be careful to avoid the bouncer in the corner. With Bennett and Marianne there, they would have to pull the table out, which was going to make it very difficult for him to maneuver.
The cabin had originally been a one-bedroom affair, built as a hunting lodge by some Cale in times past. Logan’s Uncle Jonas had converted the loft into a bedroom and proper storeroom during the 1990s as his family of boys started to grow up. The loft entrance was via a pull-down staircase, which was set into the ceiling of the living room, near the front door, accessed by a long cord. Uncle Jonas, and Logan’s parents, until their deaths, had continued the tradition of using the place for both family holidays and as a hunting lodge, taking turns at staying there with all four boys...Jonas had also used it for more nefarious activities. Logan had many memories of family summers with Bennett and his older brothers, and of being coerced into creating havoc with the local wildlife by his uncle, until he eventually refused to go hunting at all.
For weeks every summer, all the boys had crammed into the two sets of bunks upstairs, leaving the grown ups their peace and sanity downstairs at night.
There was a long period where Logan had not come near the place, leading up to and following the shooting. Once Jonas died, however, there seemed to be no reason to stay away. Five years before, with the exoskeleton permanently out of commission, he had finally had the access ramp built. The wood construction in front of the kitchen doorway spoiled the rustic façade of the rear of the building, but when the alternative was to drag himself butt first up five wooden stairs, risking splinters in his hands and butt, practicality won out over aesthetics every time. He seldom ventured into the loft for the same reason, and had only been to the upper floor on a handful of occasions in recent years.
“Logan, will you take Eva?” Max asked, her back to him as she put her plate into the sink with a clatter.
“I guess. Give me a minute.”
Logan headed out of the room and went back to the bedroom for what Ben described as his “dorky daddy” gear – Eva’s Snuggli front pack. As he had found with Ben, it was far and away the easiest and safest way for him to carry her. He leaned down to pick up the baby, straightening himself with a hand on the counter top. “Um, Ben? The paint?”
“Yeah, okay.” He got up and Logan heard him pull the stairs down and clomp up. “No paint, dad. Not even a paintbrush.”
“Thanks!” he responded, tucking Eva into the pack.
Max had sat down again with the chair reversed, leaning her head on her arms.
“You look flushed,” Logan looked at her closely. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” She flashed a warning look.
“You’re not...” he raised his eyebrows at her.
“That would explain a lot then,” Logan smiled grimly. “Hope it’s over before the weekend.”
Max still had heat cycles, although they were lessening in frequency and severity with time. They had learned to cope. Her last heat cycle had coincided with their previous trip to the cabin, which resulted in Eva.
“You weren’t joking about me burying Bast under the floor, were you?” Logan grinned.
Heat cycles were always a matter for concern. They had often resulted in multiple births among X5 females with all the consequent complications, the abnormal hormonal surge tending to cause the release of multiple ova. Considering the frequency of intercourse during these periods, Logan was surprised at how long it had taken Max to fall pregnant again, putting it down to the reduced (in fact, all but non-existent) motility of his sperm – another of the less pleasant consequences of his spinal cord injury. Eventually, he put her first pregnancy down to some lingering effects of the transfusion he had from Joshua. After Eva, though, he wasn’t so sure.
“Will you get outta here, already?” Max sighed, frustrated with herself and her botched genetics.
Logan gave her a reassuring smile, brushed a stray hair from her face gently and turned to go.Chapter 7 – Out & About
Logan carefully parked on the main street outside the general store. The town was about five minutes from the cabin by car, up a deeply rutted track, although it could also be reached the long way round from the highway. He and his cousins had walked there almost every day of their holidays throughout their youth and knew the proprietor, Jack, well. Jack, now in his late seventies, had run the store all of his working life. He was a small-town institution and the fountain of all knowledge for the area. But there were some things even he didn’t know. Logan, unloading Eva from the back seat, grinned to himself at what was about to occur.
Logan stretched up to put the capsule back into the car, having safely inserted Eva into the Snuggli. He slammed the door shut and headed up the sidewalk to the shop entrance, popping a small wheelie over the single step in the doorway.
“Hey, there, Jack,” he called, hearing noises from within.
“Be with ya in a minute,” came a gruff voice from the rear. Logan heard a couple of crashes and a muffled curse, before Jack emer