Move On and Break Down
The title comes from the Mat Kearney song Breathe In and Breathe Out.
She sits at a table outside of Kelly's, sipping her vanilla latte, in her cute size two dress and her cute size five shoes, pretending as if the world is a beautiful place and she is a happy girl. Maxie started this game on the day she got hired by Kate Howard and now she is really good at it. Its like the games Spinelli plays on his laptop but it's real life. She can be this character who has a fantastic career and is moving up in the world, who isn't ugly inside, isn't sad, and has never lost anyone that she has loved. She's getting better and better at this game everyday and soon she will surely be an expert. She'll be that girl- the happy one who doesn't think too hard- rather than the one who stood by her sister's grave, hating everyone in the world, especially herself, for still being alive while Georgie lay dead.
But on this particular sunny spring day, Maxie's little fantasy world grinds to a hard halt when Logan rounds the corner, heading for the back entrance to Kelly's diner. The only indication that he sees her at all is how he tilts his head away from her, his eyes dropping to the ground rather than meeting hers, and a pained half smile forms on his lips. Something crackles in the very air between them, and before she can even take in another breath a dam breaks in her heart. The guilt mixes with pain and flows like an out of control river rushing through her veins. She can actually feel it moving beneath her skin. No matter how much she liked being single minded and happy, she can't just feel those placid, safe emotions anymore.
She's feeling everything she would rather not and it nearly makes her pass out. She hates him- for making her feel all this again. Damn you, Logan Hayes, she curses silently.
She'd like to smack him senseless. Like to tell him that he can go to hell. That he can't smile now that Cooper is gone, and that she doesn't appreciate him walking by and messing up her good day. That she has no intention of giving over her life over to serving some penitence that won't change a thing- even though she thinks Logan should do just that. Half of her wants to cuss him out...but the other half wants to say I'm sorry. Everything inside of her is swirling around so fast that she can't figure out which side is winning the internal battle.
He's gone from her sight before she can say a word, leaving her sitting there at the table with her mouth in a O shaped, her perfectly glossed lips quivering, and all the memories she never wants to think about again rolling around in her head.
Logan takes the stairs two at a time. He tries to make his mind blank. He does not want to dwell on seeing Maxie a minute before. He doesn't want to think about her, about the past, or about what he is about to do. He just wants to do it and get it over with.
Ever since Cooper died he knew he had to do this but it wasn't something he looked forward to. He'd let Lulu and Johnny and then getting bashed in the head with a wrench distract him for a few months but now it's time to face this and get it over with. God knows, he's stalled long enough.
He had asked Mike Corbin about renting Coop's old room but found out someone else had already moved in there- some nurse from General Hospital named Regina. After sneaking around the hospital and chatting up Nadine, he found out Regina's schedule and decided to sneak in when she was at work. She'd never know the difference, he figured. Logan could have just asked her to let him in but that thought had honesty never crossed his mind.
Besides, he doesn't want an audience for this.
The memories will flood his mind, he's sure of it. Iraq, roadside bombs, guns jamming, always looking out for each other, his only brother...the blonde that pulled them apart. How she was worth losing Cooper over and how Logan hated knowing what a bastard that made him to still think that to this day. All of that is about to hit him and he doesn't want anyone looking at his face when it does.
Blank is so much better. He wants to stay blank forever now. But he knows that's impossible because Logan is the type who feels everything too deeply to ever stay detached for long. He's obsessive, he's bitter, he's violent; he is everything that scares the world off. Except Cooper. Except Maxie. But they are both gone from his life now. Gone for good. One in the ground, the other not wanting to ever see him again.
And if he doesn't see her he has a much better chance of staying shut down, so Logan isn't about to seek Maxie out. Hell no, he thinks as she stops in front of Cooper's door with her still on his mind.
Looking down the hall in both directions, he makes sure he is alone and then drops to his knees in front of the door, pics the lock and slides into the room. His eyes flutter close for a second. Logan
thrusts the image of Cooper hanging from the rafters out of his mind. He fights to stay blank. Blank is the only way he can get through the next five minutes.
Maxie moves on instinct. Her heels click on the stairs, the sound echoing in her mind as images dance behind her eyes of all the things she should have never done and all the love she couldn't manage to hold onto. She's thumping with pain and wants to find someone to take it out on.
She jogs down the hall. The doors are all closed but she is sure she knows which room Logan is in. Her skin is warm and flushed by the time she flings the door open. He is crouched down in the corner of the room, with a floorboard lifted, pulling out a yellow manilla envelope.
Like cruel balls of fire she spits her words at him. "Stealing from a dead man? You've never heard of the word shame, have you?"
He stands up slowly, with no emotion on his face or in his eyes, looking so still and cold that she feels a shiver go down her spine. "This ain't got a thing to do with you."
"What is that you're holding?" She stomps toward him. "Let me see."
As she reaches for the envelope, Logan jerks it high in the air over her head. "Get out of here. Go back to pretending you don't know me."
"I swear, Logan, don't start with me. If it has to do with Cooper you can't keep it from me!" She wishes she felt as strong as she sounds. Her eyes thunder with a million confused emotions as she stares Logan down.
"Oh, can't I? What you plan on doing about it?"
She spins around quickly, her hair whipping against his chest, and heads for the door, nearly screaming "Mike! Mike! You have an intruder up here. You better call the-"
His hand wraps over her mouth. They both freeze. She smiles against his fingers, knowing she has won.
"Fine," Logan says in a resigned tone. But he doesn't move away right away. He leans down and speaks close to her ear. "But don't say I didn't warn you."
She's never heeded a warning in her life and doesn't plan on starting now. He lets go of her and moves away. She could just leave. Walk out on him and the past. Go back to her game. It was such a fun game- really, she loved it. Career Girl on the Go. Career Girl didn't cry herself to sleep. Career Girl didn't wonder what might have been. Career Girl wasn't afraid of living and dying and making love. She really wanted to be her, and though a part of Maxie was in everything that persona was, it wasn't all of her. Not by a long shot.
She just wasn't that simple.
And all the ways she was complicated were the same ways Logan was. He had to be in this room, confronting Cooper's ghost, and as long as he had to be...then she would too. Because he wasn't about to know something about the man she had loved that she didn't. Her curiosity, her need to finally be in a room with Logan and prove that she could survive all she felt, and her pure stubbornness keeps her from running out the door. Instead she closes and locks it, and then turns to face Logan again.
The silence lingers for a long moment. Two pairs of cold, angry eyes stare each other down. They have no one else left alive to blame for all they've done wrong, and no one left to tell them it really wasn't that bad. No one left to grant forgiveness. And so they blame each other- because twisted logic is something they both specialize in.
Maxie reaches for the envelope again, ready to rip it right out of his hand, but Logan takes a step back and she misses grabbing it.
Letting out a long sigh, he says "Just relax. I'll show it to you. But not here."
"Like I'm going anywhere with you."
"Like I'm staying here and waiting on the cops that your loud mouth's probably caused to be on the way."
"Fine. Whatever. You're such a whiner. You know that, right?"
"An insult. Takes me back to our lousy old days."
"You want to know what is in this or not?" Logan asks.
"Lead the way."
She doesn't slide to the side, so he has to squeeze past her and this time, unlike downstairs, his eyes stay right on her. Examining, connecting, discovering all over again.
Its just like she feared. Maxie feels every emotion she knew she would ever since the day she found out that Logan had woken up from his coma: shame, hunger, regret, and thousands upon thousands of lustful butterflies moving through her stomach- beating out their need and not caring that it only made it harder on her. Logan is the one man alive who can make her facade crumble like glass,
leaving her sparkling happy go-lucky Career Girl mask laying broken on the ground.
But if she isn't that girl...then who in the hell is she now?
Note- So Guza isn't going to write Logan and Maxie ever talking about Coop? That's just unacceptable. This fic will be all about if Lomax can work out their feelings about losing Cooper and about if they want to be in each other's lives now. I'm writing this because I am a big fan of Logan and think he deserved better than to have his storyline dropped on GH.