Title: Breaking Free
Summary: It's hard to break free. Sometimes, you can only do that with the help of someone else. Someone special. AU. Rogan.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Gilmore Girls.
Copyright: Sarah Diaz 2006
Author's note: I really shouldn't start yet another story. But I really wanted to do something AU beside Different and Curveball that's different right from the beginning of Rory and Logan – not too different though because we love those two for a reason after all, right? I hope you'll enjoy their journey in this alternative universe.
Thanks: To my beta Emma, who's mad enough to tackle yet another little novel of mine and sees to it, that the English's correct. Thank you so much!
Chapter 1: Superstitious Snob Or Burglar In A Cat Suit?
Logan looked up to see his father heading towards him, his eyes shooting daggers at him and he sighed. Great. He had hoped that news about his little 'joke' of the other night hadn't reached his father yet. But then, he should have known better.
"If I'm not back in half an hour, go call in the National Guards," he muttered under his breath to Finn and Colin, only half joking.
Colin looked at Logan's father approaching and sighed. "I guess he heard the news," he said.
"Fear not, we'll rescue you from the terrible wrath of your father," Finn dramatically promised Logan.
"Look at the positive side… the house is full of guests. It's unlikely he'll rip you open and risk loosing the façade of loving father and son," Colin tried to reassure him as well.
Logan glanced at him. "You remember where we are? Hartford's biggest estate? He could torture me to the point that I'm screaming in agony and none of the caviar-eating and champagne-drinking guests would hear a thing."
Neither Finn nor Colin had time to respond because at that moment, Mitchum Huntzberger had reached the three young men who had just entered the Huntzberger mansion.
"Dad," Logan greeted him with a sigh.
"Spare your breath Logan. Just follow me," Mitchum told him in a tightly controlled voice and turned to head towards his study.
Logan winced. Yep, his father was pretty mad. Not that that was anything new. On a scale of one to ten this was perhaps a six or seven. He had survived worse. He looked at his two best friends and made a face. "See you later," he muttered and turned to follow his father.
His father's study was on the other side of the house and in that house that meant quite a walk. Not that Logan minded. It gave him some time to prepare some answers for his father. And despite his worried comments to his friends, he was kind of glad that his father had the decency to wait with ripping his head off until they had reached the privacy of his study. He wasn't keen on the whole Hartford society, including his friends, to overhear the major chewing down he was about to get. At the same time he was also fairly sure that he'd survive it with his body and his credit cards intact. He had just gotten busted for racing after all. Truth be told, he had done a lot worse things than drive in a race. So it couldn't be that bad, could it?
Finally, they reached the study and his father unlocked the door. The study was his father's domain and God forbid that anyone else other than himself enter the big sanctuary, unless it was on invitation. Or on order. Logan entered the room after his father and softly closed the door behind him. Then he turned to face his father and waited. He didn't have to wait long.
"Want to know who gave me a call just forty minutes before this goddamn party started where you, of course, came late again, despite the clear orders you got from your mother?" his father asked, narrowing his eyes on his son.
Logan shrugged. "No idea," he answered truthfully. His father had contacts everywhere so he really had no clue who had rat him out already. "And traffic was heavy," he added with another shrug.
His father glared. "Or rather said you and your friends prolonged it to the last minute to get here by hitting every bar between New Haven and here," he said with heavy sarcasm.
Logan chose to remain silent. There would be no point in denying it anyway. First of all, because his father wouldn't believe him, regardless of what he will say and second because it was the truth after all. Though they hadn't hit every bar. But he and his friends for sure weren't as crazy as to attend such a society gathering without at least a bit of alcohol in their bodies. Or, like in Finn's case, a lot of alcohol.
"But it's not as if I had expected anything else from you and your sidekicks so let's get back to the call I got," Logan's dad picked up their conversation again, sending him a very icy glare. "It was from Keith."
Ah… so that's who had been his father's source. Keith Wellington, their family's lawyer. Or rather said, one of the many lawyers that worked for the Huntzberger family. Logan sighed. So much for client's confidentiality. But then technically, Wellington worked for his father and got paid by him. So Logan probably shouldn't blame him for ratting him out. In fact, he should be thankful that Wellington had waited almost forty-eight hours before he had contacted Logan's father.
"You pulled a lot of stupid stunts in your life, Logan, but seriously, what in the hell has gotten into you?" His father asked, shaking his head.
"It was just a race, Dad," Logan said. "I don't see what the problem is. I've participated in races before. And there's a pretty big racing car industry out there and car racing is a sport as well."
His father started to pace. "No, of course you don't see the problem here. Why would you? You have never had any sense of responsibility. Barely have one sensible bone in your body. You just live in the moment, only caring to have fun." He stopped in front of Logan. "But let me tell you one thing… doing illegal races on dangerous roads is not just far from being fun, it pretty much is also the dumbest thing you ever have done since sinking your headmaster's car. And of course you sinking our yacht this summer."
"Wow… amazing that I held out that long…" Logan muttered sarcastically under his breath. It was just the break of fall after all.
Unfortunately, his father had heard him. "Oh, you don't have any reasons to be so damn cocky about it, mister."
Logan straightened and with a cleared face, he nodded. "Yes father," he answered in his most perfect dutiful, respectful son voice.
Not that his father hadn't already heard that one before and wasn't fooled by it anymore for years. "You may not take this seriously, but I do and by God, I'll make you take this seriously as well."
"Dad…" Logan finally tried an honest attempt at apologizing to get this behind him.
"I'm not finished yet," his father interrupted him. "I can't ground you anymore though God knows I'd love to do that now. But I can cut off your money Logan, and you better never forget that."
'As if I can ever forget that!' Logan thought bitterly. It was one of the first things his father had taught him after all. But what did he mean, he could cut him off? His father wasn't honestly cutting off the money for a stupid little race?
"As it is I will close off half of your accounts for a month," his father told him.
"What?" Logan incredulously asked.
"And if I ever catch you doing a race again I'll cut you off completely, do I make myself clear?" his father proceeded to tell him.
"Have you lost your mind?" Logan asked, loosing his cool. He knew it was the very wrong thing to say, but really.
"Watch your mouth, Logan," his father warned him.
"It was a race, Dad, not a high score crime, not a major felony and nothing thousands of other people haven't done as well," Logan protested. "I get that you're mad, but this is not justified!"
"Those other thousands of people are of no interest to me. They are not my only son. They are not the heir to our fortune, not the future head of our family company and last but not least, they do not carry our name," his father told him coldly. "But you are. And don't even try to sell me that race as harmless. You got caught driving down a curvy road at 160 mph! That's not only risky, it's deadly dangerous. If something had gone wrong, and it would just have been a rabbit crossing the street when you two idiots came along, it could have cost you your life. At least you were smart enough to not be drunk while driving."
Logan frowned. First of all, that last remark had been unfair. Yeah, he had done a lot of things, but he never ever had driven after having had too much to drink. For that he had Frank. And then… if he didn't know any better, he could almost believe that his father had been worried about him. But he did know better. There was no love lost between his father and him. Actually, love was a foreign concept in their family. Well, with the exception of Honor and him. So he wondered what his father really was aiming for.
"We have invested way too much time and money in you as our heir for you to throw away your life like that. I will not have it," his father told him.
Ah, of course, Logan thought bitterly again. What a shame if the precious heir would have hit the dust before taking over the empire. Or God forbid, before he produced the next heir to add to the long list of reigning Huntzbergers.
"Don't worry, your precious heir was never in any danger," Logan assured him, not able to help the bitterness in his voice. Not that he would have cared about that. But in the eyes of his father it would be a weakness. Like every human emotion was a weakness in Mitchum Huntzberger's eyes.
"At 160 miles per hour?" his father asked sarcastically.
Logan could have told him that it hadn't been quite that fast and only while on a straight road. He could also have told him that the street had been closed off with guards to guarantee that no accidents were going to happen unless one of the drivers lost control of the car. Which could of course always happen, but they had first trained on a race track and no one who wasn't a good driver had been allowed to participate. He could also have an accident while driving from Yale to home or back. Logan happened to like his life. And yeah, he liked adventure and loved to take risks here and there, but he wasn't suicidal. He wouldn't have taken Jenson on his challenge if he hadn't been fairly sure to get out of it with his body intact and as the winner. And he did win the race. Too bad that the police had crashed the victory party before it could even get started. Yeah, Logan could have told his father all of that, but past experience had told him that it would be futile. So he just shrugged.
"We took precautions," he said vaguely, not going into details.
"I'm sure you did," his father retorted with heavy sarcasm and shook his head. "It doesn't matter. It was still a dumb and risky thing to do and I really thought you'd know better than that, though I don't know why."
"As if you never did risky things yourself in your youth," Logan pointed out.
"I have, yes, but never so stupid ones and with that much at risk," his father answered him with a frown. He didn't like it if someone contradicted him. Least of all his son.
"Whatever," Logan muttered, trying to hold back what he really thought this time. If he didn't, he'd start to yell and then he'd be stuck there for a lot longer. His father hated being yelled at. He preferred to do the yelling.
"And it's time for you to start getting your life under control," his father continued.
Alarmed, Logan's head snapped up. He didn't like the sound of that one little bit.
"You can't just live for fun and parties anymore. You're in your third year at Yale. Next year you'll graduate and then you'll start working for the company," his father informed him.
Logan frowned and waited. That hadn't been anything new after all. But when his father started to talk like that there was for sure something more to follow. Something he most likely wouldn't like.
"So, I expect a lot more from you this year than so far. Starting with excellent grades, even if that means you'll have to attend a class here and there," his father started his list of demands from Logan. "Then I expect you to provide at least one article to the paper per month. I've already talked with that annoying boy who's currently editor to make sure that he assigns you a topic to write about every month. And it's high time that our employees and contacts start to know your face. So I decided that from now on you'll attend at least a meeting every month with me as well."
Yep. Logan definitely didn't like the sound of that. "Dad…"
"Don't even start. I gave you enough time to be wild. For years now I watched you do one stupid thing after another. I paid the damages you've caused, I bailed you out of jail, I paid the lawyers… and, I more or less put up with your recklessness," his father interrupted him. "I foolishly thought that you'd calm down a bit in college. But it only got worse. You had last year off from school, to do whatever you wanted, to be as wild as you can be. But that year is over now. This is life, regardless of what your destiny is and what the future holds for you. You will work, you will go to classes and I don't want to hear about more stupid stunts or pranks. If I have to bail you out again I might just let you do the thirty days for a change. If you don't do what I say, you'll feel it in your wallet. Everything clear?"
Logan shook his head. "You all promised me to give me until the end of Yale before you will start to hone down on me. Like you yourself said, I still have two years to go."
"That was before we let you sail around the world for a year," his father informed him coldly. "And before you started to risk your life on some stupid games."
"Oh, so that's why you let me take the year off in the first place, didn't you? I always wondered why you let me go so easily," Logan said, his voice rising. "That was your plan all along, wasn't it? Give me that year off but steal my last two years in return. Jeez! Why didn't I see that coming?"
He had grown up with that man dictating all his life. Of course he should have known that sooner or later he'd have to pay the price for that year off. But out of some strange reason Logan had thought that for once, his father might have even understood him. He had taken time off as well after all, years before. Once upon a time, his father had been in the same situation as Logan.
"I'd hardly call that stealing," his father said, but there was the hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth.
"Oh, yeah? What would you call it then? I'm surprised you haven't hired a babysitter for me, just to make sure I'll go to my classes!" Logan retorted.
"Don't be ridiculous," his father said with disgust.
"Of course, you don't need a babysitter for that, do you? I bet you alerted all my professors to keep you informed, didn't you?" Logan spat.
"You didn't really leave me any choice, did you?" his father asked with a shrug.
"I may not have attended every class but I never, ever, brought home bad grades, have I? You never had to complain about my grades," Logan pointed out angrily. He couldn't believe this!
"This is college now. You've missed a year. And I don't want good grades, I want you to live up to your potential and finish off next year in the top three percent. Anything less is unacceptable," his father told him.
"And what if I don't? You threaten to cut me off again? To ground me?" Logan wanted to know sardonically.
"Don't get snappy at me, Logan," his father warned him.
"I'm not snappy! You haven't heard snappy yet!" Logan impatiently corrected his father. "And what did you expect? That I'd just let you ruin my life without a fight?"
"Ruin your life? I'm saving that rotten life of yours. Just because you've been born rich with a respected name doesn't mean that you can party away your entire life. Even you have to work and I'm only making sure that when you take over the family business, I'm leaving it in your very capable hands… that you won't ruin what I've build up my entire life, what your grandfather build up and his father before him… that you'll not ruin everything in less than five years," his father said icily.
"I never asked for this!" Logan hissed.
"Oh I'm sure you'd rather be some lost kid in the streets of New York," his father mocked him.
"Have you ever thought that perhaps you could just give me enough air to breathe on my own? To let me live my life and let me make my own decisions? Without being constantly on my back?" Logan asked resentfully.
"Yeah, I see how well that turned out," his father said dryly.
"No. No you don't. Because you never gave me the chance. Never," Logan accused him. He didn't know why he even bothered. It was nothing new that Mitchum Huntzberger didn't listen to what his son had to say or anyone else in their family for that matter. Not even his own father. Not anymore.
"You have your chance now. Prove to me that you'll get your life under control and I may go back on one or two conditions," his father offered him.
"And I should believe you, why?" Logan asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
His father shrugged. "That's entirely up to you."
"Yeah sure," Logan said and shook his head. He wasn't one to give in easily. But he never had had a chance against his father. His father's mind was set and nothing, nothing could change that. He sighed, resigned. "Fine Dad. That's all? Can I go back to my friends now? I still have to greet Mom after all. Not to mention to mingle with the guests."
"Sure, just remember our little conversation," his father nodded and waved him on.
Logan gave a short nod and turned to head towards the door.
"Oh and Logan?" his father stopped him after he barely had taken three steps though.
Frowning, Logan looked back over his shoulder. What now?
"Your mother would like you to meet some particular people," his father mentioned casually. "Be sure not to vanish with your friends before you do that."
Logan's frown deepened. This was definitely another thing he wasn't going to like, he just knew it. "What people?" he asked suspiciously. He hoped it wasn't what he feared what it was.
"Oh, just some of our friends with their kids," his father said with a shrug, managing to sound even more casually.
Logan didn't buy it. "Kids?"
"Yeah you know. Kids," his father nodded.
Slowly, Logan turned to face his father again. "And they don't happen to be all girls by any chance?" he asked distrustfully.
When his father said nothing, Logan shook his head, his blood boiling. "Forget it."
"Like I said Logan, it's time you calm down. That also goes for all your acquaintances. This sleeping around has to come to an end," his father told him with a little frown.
"Oh…" Logan managed to utter through gritted teeth.
"Frankly said, it's time you settle down. There are quite a few girls here tonight who your mother and I think would be a suitable companion for you," his father informed him.
"No," Logan said sharply.
His father, his entire family trying to dictate his life and future was bad enough as it was. But there was no way that he'd let them butt into his love life too. Not now. Not ever… if he had any say so in that matter. But that was the problem. He wasn't entirely sure that he had a say in it in the end.
"No. I'll write the articles. I'll go to classes. I'll even go to your stupid meetings. But I won't let you order me what girl or how many girls I date. If I want a girlfriend, then I'll find one. And at the time I think appropriate," Logan abruptly told his father, decisively. This wasn't a point to back down or show any weakness to his father.
"The last girl you brought along to a party hardly remembered her own name," his father pointed out, his frown deepening.
"She had other qualities," Logan said with a shrug.
"Yeah, I've seen them," his father dryly replied. "Really, Logan. We expect you to attend more parties now and we expect your date to get along with our friends and associates. Or at least get past the introduction part with them. So far the girls you brought along were hardly acceptable. But your mother…"
"Mom's taste is not exactly my taste," Logan interrupted him. "I'm well capable to search for a suitable lady companion myself."
His father already started to shake his head again.
"And I'll promise that whoever I'll take along to those boring parties will know how to handle the folks," Logan promised, cringing inside a little. That meant he had to actually find one of the society girls willing to accompany him to those stupid parties and play the act with him. But then, he had some friends who were probably facing the same problem as he was and wouldn't expect anything out of those 'dates'. But if that was the price to keep his last freedom, then he'd pay it.
"You don't have exactly the best track record of choosing the appropriate people," his father said doubtfully.
"Leave Finn and Colin out of this," Logan said curtly, knowing exactly what his father meant and not wanting to get into yet another fight.
"But they are excellent examples of what happens when you're left on your own decisions," his father though argued, apparently having no qualms to start another fight.
His father had never liked Finn and Colin anyway, not since it got clear that they were as bad and uncontrolled as Logan, if not even worse, at least in the case of Finn. The only thing in their favor was that they were both from as powerful families as the Huntzbergers. And Colin's father was an old friend of Mitchum Huntzberger, going a long way back. It was hard then to forbid his son to see his friend's son. He had tried to break the close friends apart by sending Logan to different boarding schools from Finn's and Colin's. Thankfully, that hadn't worked. Despite the great distance, they stayed as close friends as they always had been… if not even closer. But truth be told, neither Finn's parents nor Colin's father were too happy about their friendship either. Yet, their friendship was one of the few things none of the boys had let their parents take away from them.
"Yeah, they are. But of course you don't see that. You never see what you don't want to see," Logan hissed.
"I see enough. I see that they are always there whenever you get into trouble. And I see that neither of those two is taking his life seriously or his responsibilities," his father said, his voice rising now as well. "They drag you down. They hold you back when they shouldn't ,and, none of those two had a bit of sense left to hold you back from doing yet another stupidity. I can only hope that you'll have so much to do this year that…"
At that moment, the door to the study opened. Startled at the interruption, his father fell silent as they both turned to see who dared to disturb Mitchum Huntzberger in his inner sanctuary. Everyone in this household knew better than to do that.
But the girl that appeared in the doorframe was definitely not a member of this household. Actually, Logan had no idea who the girl was and, after glancing at his father, he was pretty sure neither had his father.
"Oh sorry. I hope I didn't interrupt anything?" she asked shyly, her cheeks blushing. "I knocked but I guess neither of you heard me."
"What do you want?" Logan's father asked rather rudely, abruptly. He didn't like interruptions. Especially not by strangers.
"It's just… your wife's looking desperately for you, Sir," she answered nervously, her eyes meeting those of Logan's father. To Logan's immense surprise though, her eyes then turned to meet Logan's. "And for you too, Logan. Plus, Finn and Colin are asking for you as well, saying something of dying of boredom if you don't show up soon."
Logan stared speechlessly at the girl. He could have sworn that he had never seen this girl before. Yet, here she was, talking as if she knew him and his friends very well. He frowned. And he wasn't the only one. His father was frowning as well.
"My wife sent you?" he asked doubtfully.
It was very unlikely. Logan's mother, like everyone else in this family knew better than to disturb Mitchum Huntzberger in his study. And if she had needed to do so, she would have sent a maid, not a guest. Unless… perhaps this was some evil scheme for Logan to meet this girl and fall for her. Yeah, that would be just like his mother. His eyes narrowed on the girl. The only thing that spoke against that was the fact that this girl was hardly similar to the girls that his mother usually picked for him. For one, she wasn't blonde, but brunette. His mother liked blondes. Secondly, she was definitely pretty, but not out of the ordinary. Though her eyes, which shone with the clearest blue he had ever seen, were really beautiful. And most of all, there was something in those blue eyes that spoke of intelligence and humor. Nothing his mother ever went for in a girl, perhaps because she herself had nothing else up in her head but gossip, nor had she any humorous bone in her body. Then again, that could just be her trick this time. Pick out some girl for him he knew wasn't exactly her type. Because though his mother wasn't exactly a genius, she for sure was a damn good schemer and a vicious one at that.
"Yes, Sir. It sounded kind of urgent," the girl said nodding, her voice perfectly respectful.
"I better go see what this is all about," Logan's father said after another moment of scrutinizing the girl under his eyes. Not that she seemed to be impressed or even affected by that which was quite extraordinary. Normally, people shivered in fear of Mitchum Huntzberger. Shaking his head, he glanced at his son. "And you…"
"I've heard you," Logan said stiffly, cutting him off. Regardless if the girl was a decoy of his mother or not, he didn't want to go into this again, right in front of her.
His father actually seemed to share this feeling as he nodded curtly and then waved for the girl and Logan to leave the room. Naturally. He wouldn't even allow the president of the United States to remain alone in his sanctuary. The girl didn't seem to need another invitation as she already backtracked and Logan quickly left the study as well. It wasn't as if he liked being in there. Nothing good had ever happened in there for Logan. Besides, he was curious to learn more about the girl. He watched her hovering close to the wall while his father locked the door to his study once again.
Finally, his father turned to look at the two young people. With a nod of his head, Logan told him to go ahead. His father frowned and looked from the girl to Logan, before giving Logan a stern look. "Don't take too long," he said in a half warning, half disgusted sound. Apparently he seemed to think now that Logan had a way more basic interest in the girl. But he did turn to head back to the main hall full of guests waiting for their host, without another word.
Logan snickered. What did his father think? That he'd do a swift quickie with that girl? The only reason why he had lingered back and had not just gone back with his father was because he wanted to know who she was. Or more precisely, if she was what he thought she was. A decoy of his mother. He turned to face the girl, watching her for a moment. When she had entered the study she had looked pretty confident and sure about herself. She hadn't backed down while faced with his father's annoyance. Now though she looked a bit uncomfortable.
"So my mother sent you?" he asked after a moment, inclining his head.
Her eyes darted briefly towards him. "It seems so, doesn't it?"
"Sure. I just wonder why she didn't simply send the maid or the butler," Logan remarked casually, never letting her out of his eyes.
She shrugged, but avoided his eyes. "Perhaps no one else was around at the moment or too busy," she answered vaguely.
Logan narrowed his eyes. This girl was lying, as much was obvious. She wasn't a very good liar. The question was in what point she was lying and why. Though he began to have a hunch. He nodded slowly. "Perhaps… say, my mother still in her black hair phase?" he asked.
When she blushed and said nothing, Logan nodded. That's what he had thought. This girl had never been sent by his mother. In fact, he was pretty sure now that she probably had never met her so far. That was a relief. Then again, that left the question what she was doing back here. This part of the house was not open for the guests. Was she perhaps sneaking around? Not a thought that pleased Logan particularly either. But then, she had mentioned Finn and Colin. Perhaps the boys had sent her. True, it was unlikely as well, but on the other hand you never could be sure with what a drunken Finn on a mission could come up with.
Well, there was a pretty simple way to put an end to all these questions that plagued Logan right now. "What are you doing here?" he asked bluntly, not in the mood for polite interrogation after the fight with his father.
She sighed, glancing at him again. "I guess it doesn't have much sense to try the messenger story again, huh?" she asked, resigned.
Logan felt a tug at the corner of his mouth but suppressed it. Instead, he shook his head and narrowed his eyes to slits. "No."
"I thought so," the girl said with another sigh. "But just so you know, I wasn't trying to sneak around. I know it may look like that, but I honestly wasn't."
Logan said nothing and just raised an eyebrow. He actually believed her. She did seem to be honest here. Or then she was a damn good actress. Something he doubted very much, considering the horrible way she had lied. It still left the question though what she was doing in this part of the house.
As the girl realized that he was waiting for more, she continued. "And though it may sound lame, but I got lost. But honestly, this place is huge. It's no wonder I got lost. I bet a lot of people get lost in here. Seriously, they should put up sign posts!" She shook her head and this time, Logan couldn't hold back the smile. Not that she noticed. She was too lost in her rambling for that by now. "Anyway, you see, Grandpa and another old guy started talking about books and got into a fight about a scene in Faust. The other guy got so agitated that he wouldn't stop anymore and wouldn't give a rest until he saw the proof that he was wrong. Because he was wrong you know. But like I said, he was pretty stubborn, I don't think he's used to hearing no'. So, not very surprisingly, they soon headed to the library and I tagged along as I really wanted to see the library. Considering how big this mansion is and after having seen the Velasquez and the Rafael and all the other stuff I'm pretty sure of that they are the real thing and not in fact copies I thought that the library probably would be pretty impressive as well. And boy, it was! Never seen so many first editions or signed copies in a private collection, not that I've seen many private collections, only that of my grandpa and mine of course, but that one doesn't really count because there's nothing of much worth to be found there but the few things Grandpa gave me. Won't stop me to love my books though of course. Okay, not important, I know. So, there we were and while they looked up the scene in Faust, I wandered around, looking at the books. And yeah, I pulled out some books to leaf through them a bit. I'm not sure if that was allowed but hey, books are there to be read so that's what I was doing and then I look up at one point and see that I'm suddenly alone in there and my watch was telling me that almost half an hour has gone by without me noticing it. So I leave but do you think I had any idea where I was or how to get back to the party? I'd have followed the chitter-chatter and those boring music that's playing but guess what? I couldn't hear a damn thing." She shook her head annoyed. "Really, if you ask me, this place is way too big. I mean sure, I guess the grandeur for sure impresses and tells anyone that hey, here live some really rich people, and boy, they sure have a great collection here, it's like in a museum. I just think a home shouldn't feel like a museum. Can you imagine being happy, living here? Anyway, so I wander around, trying to find my way back to that stupid party but I probably took the wrong turn because I ended up here and I tell you, I was seriously considering calling the police to launch a search party for me when I finally heard voices from there." She nodded at the study and shrugged. "I was so relieved to hear voices again. Then I realized though that… yeah well it sounded as you and your father..." she stopped.
"Were having an argument, a fight," Logan helped out, more than just a bit amused by her ramble now.
She nodded, blushing. "Yeah. And I wondered if I should not just go on and hope to find my way back on my own again, but I was hungry and thirsty and then I heard your father's comments about your friends and I really don't like it when someone criticizes another person's friends so I thought what the hell, I might as well put a stop to both our miseries by interrupting you. I'm sorry I lied about your mother sending me, but when your father looked at me as if he wanted to skin me alive I thought suddenly that perhaps me being lost isn't the best excuse to disturb you two and already I was telling that story I told." The girl finished and took a deep breath.
Logan couldn't blame her. That was the longest rambling monologue he had ever heard in his life. He had no idea when that girl had breathed, but she must have at some point in time. Amused he watched as she bit her lip and looked embarrassed at him as her ramble dawned on her, causing her blush to intensify into a deep crimson red. It had been some time since he had met a girl who actually still had the ability to blush. Or that could ramble like that and at the same time prove that she really was intelligent or at least well educated. The Rafael they had in the lobby was a pretty famous painting of the artist, one that the family often loaned out to museums. Not the Velasquez though. That one was a rare piece of art and even in their highly educated circle only a few could actually recognize it. It intrigued him. Actually, Logan realized with a start, this girl intrigued him. And it was a while since that had happened, if ever. He got attracted pretty fast to a girl and he definitely felt that too towards her. But intrigued? Hardly ever.
He let his eyes glide over her again, this time taking time to give her a proper once over. She was wearing a dark green evening dress, velvet, that hugged close to her body, pointing out her slim, but delicate figure and at the same time it accentuated her curves in a nice, but decent way. Very nice curves. The dress was floor length so he couldn't have a good look at her legs but the tiny feet, naked in black sandals with little high heels, promised that he'd like them as well. His eyes glided up again, taking in the white, porcelain skin that he bet was silky to touch, the neckline that was a bit too up-closed for Logan's tastes but somehow, with this girl, it was just perfect that way, the simple, but elegant dark green pendant and the fitting earrings. Her dark brown hair that curled softly around her face. Blue eyes and green seldom match, but here the dark green brought out the clarity of her crystal blue eyes. But somehow he missed the sparkle he had seen there before for a moment during her ramble and he found himself wishing to bring the sparkling back into those eyes.
The question was how so. But then, mostly, humor would do the trick. Or perhaps also annoyance. Well, he was good at both so it shouldn't be so hard to achieve to get those eyes sparkling again.
"So you got lost," Logan summarized finally after a moment, smirking.
Her eyes narrowed a tad. "Yeah. I think I said that clearly."
"Because you kind of got caught up in the library," Logan clarified further, his smirk growing.
"Yes," the girl said briefly.
"Right," Logan nodded. He wasn't quite sure if he wanted to believe this. His instinct told him that the girl said the truth, but he had still a little trouble believing the story. First, why would a young, pretty girl stuck around her grandpa and even follow him to the library? And then get lost in the books? To then get totally lost. Though the house was big. And he couldn't believe that anyone could fake such a ramble – or such a cute blush. Okay, so perhaps he did believe her. Didn't mean though he couldn't tease her a little. Something told him that it was a great fun to tease this girl. "And how can I know for sure this is the truth and that you didn't sneak around to later break in and rob the house clean?"
Her eyes widened as she stared flabbergasted at him. "What?" she asked incredulously.
He shrugged. "I mean, that's the classic scheme, isn't it? First con your way into a fancy party to then sneak away to memorize the blueprint of the house and the locations of the good and worthy stuff. Who would suspect a pretty girl like you after all? With those big, blue, innocent looking eyes? But later, when the owners are away, you come back and break in."
The girl snapped for air. "Are you seriously hinting that I'm a thief? Jeez! Have you lost all your marbles now? Do I look like a thief? Or like Jessica Alba? And how stupid do you think I am? I'm checking out the house and then draw attention to myself by interrupting two people arguing when you never would have known that I've been here at all?"
He had been right, this had done the trick. There was the sparkle in her eyes again. And he started to really enjoy this conversation now. Logan took a step closer to her, wanting to get closer, drawn in by some powerful attraction he felt. His eyes locked onto hers. "That could be just your master plan," he pointed out softly.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "You're completely nuts and believe me, I know nuts. You are definitely nuts if you really believe the crap you just said."
Logan took another step closer, causing her to take one back with a confused look at him and which brought her back right up against the wall. Hmm, somehow he very much liked this sight. It held a lot of promises. "Of course it could also be that your mommy pointed me to you and you were following me, waiting for the right moment to approach me and draw my attention to you," he suggested, his voice growing huskier.
"And why should I want to do that?" she snorted, but he could see that her chest rose and fell more now, indicating that her breath had deepened. Not a bad sign.
"Oh, I think the few billions I'll inherit are a pretty good reason for that. Not to mention my position in society and the power that comes along with that. I am the big price on the current market after all," Logan pointed out casually. His eyes locked with hers, sparkling with fire now, and, enticed by that fire, he leaned into her, capturing her with his arms and body against the wall, but not touching her. Not yet. "Or," he said, almost a whisper now, his mouth only inches away from hers. "Or you've fallen madly in love with me and are now desperately trying to make me notice you, going to some really drastic measures," he suggested and started to lean his body even closer to hers.
"In your dreams perhaps," the girl answered, but Logan noticed that her breath got caught slightly. His nearness seemed to affect her. And he couldn't say that he was displeased about that either. Quite the contrary actually.
"Oh, I can guarantee you that I'd do much more interesting things with you in my dreams," he said suggestive, with a smile, his voice going deeper. Logan loved to flirt. And he loved to tease. To do both at the same time was always a special treat for him and he found himself wanting this girl more and more by every second that went by.
This time, the girl's breath got definitely caught and Logan watched with rising excitement as her eyes stared at his lips for a moment before she dragged them up to look into his eyes.
"You better keep it in your dreams, Logan, before I make sure you never do it again in your life," she told him so sweetly and with such an innocent smile, that Logan's brain needed quite a while to process her words. When it did though, he quickly checked in her eyes if he could ignore her warning or if he better took it seriously. The glint in her eyes gave him his answer.
What a shame. He had the feeling that the two of them could have been very, very good. Too bad she didn't want to take him up on his offer.
With a laugh, he pushed himself away from her and stepped back. "I think in that case I prefer to be content with dreams," he chuckled, looking mischievously at her.
Huffing, she quickly pushed herself away from the wall as well, making a wide detour around Logan, her eyes shooting daggers at him. Surprisingly though, he didn't mind them at all. Anger suited her. Suited her damn well. So good that he wished he hadn't pulled back so abruptly. Perhaps she would have been open to a little convincing.
"You're impossible," she hissed.
Or perhaps not.
"What? Already regretting your decision?" Logan smirked. "You should, you know. It's your loss."
"Thank you, but I think I can live on just fine," she said sarcastically. "Well, it was nice meeting you… not. See if I ever try to help you again," she told him and with a last fiery glare at him, turned and headed away from him.
"I thought you were lost?" Logan called after her.
"I am. But I'm sure I can find my way back to the party perfectly on my own," she called back, not bothering to look back at him or to even stop.
"Oh, sure, I have no doubts about that," Logan said, sounding anything but sincere. He saw her back stiffen, but she still didn't stop. "Hey Max!" he called out.
To his surprise, she actually stopped to turn back to him after a moment, raising an eyebrow at him.
Logan grinned. "The party's the other way," he told her, pointing into the opposite direction from where she had went off.
She frowned. "Your father headed this way," she pointed out.
"Perhaps he got lost as well," Logan answered with a shrug. Actually, his father had taken a little shortcut, one he had no intention of showing this girl. The official way went into the other direction altogether. "But if you want to stray for a few hours longer around in this house, sure, just go on. Like you said, this house is enormous. But don't worry, if you haven't found your way back until I leave I'll send out a search party for you."
He could tell that she wasn't quite sure what to do. In the end, though, she held up her head and brushed past him into the direction he had pointed out to her. Snickering, he ambled after her. At the end of the corridor, she hesitated shortly, before turning right.
"Left Maxie," Logan corrected her, catching up to her.
She let out a little growl but did turn around to go left, Logan on her heels now. After a few steps, she stopped and whirled around to face him angrily. "Stop following me!"
Logan raised an eyebrow. "Me? Following you? Sorry honey, got to disappoint you. I'm just heading back to the party myself," he assured her. "Remember? My mom's looking for me. I couldn't let her wait, now, could I?"
"Ugh!" was her only response before she turned again to follow through the corridor.
Logan grinned. "Besides, I gotta make sure you don't get 'lost' again, shouldn't I?" he added casually.
"Hmpf!" she huffed, but otherwise tried her best to ignore him.
But if Logan didn't like one thing, it was to be ignored. And he downright loved a challenge. Besides, annoying this girl was fun. He needed some fun now. It did a great deal to let him forget the news his father had for him. At least for now.
"I don't want the risk of ending up as your accomplice after all," he continued in the same casual tone. "When are you going to do the break-in? This weekend? I believe the family will be away then. Oops, I probably shouldn't have said that, hmm? Oh well, I'll just have to hope that the judge will see that I'm completely innocent, having fallen victim to this alluring, deceiving burglar, mercilessly using my weakness for anything beautiful for her vicious plans."
"Ha!" The girl couldn't stop herself from retorting, causing Logan to grin widely. "And if he isn't convinced by that, something I very highly doubt, Daddy will just have a nice chat with him and leave him a nice, little bribe," the girl threw back dryly and stopped to look right and left, trying to figure out where to next.
"Right," Logan provided helpfully.
She glared again, but turned right.
"You know, we could make this a lot easier if you just let me take the lead. Will give you a good opportunity to check out my behind as well, though you undoubtedly have already done that, haven't you," Logan suggested. "And don't worry, you're not the first girl who melted to mush at that indeed glorious view."
"Must be nice to live in such a delusional state," the girl remarked, sending him a death glare.
"Just stating the truth here," Logan corrected her.
"God's gift to women, huh?" the girl asked and he was pretty sure that she had rolled her eyes, saying that.
"See? You're admitting it finally," Logan immediately fired back.
"You're not my type. But I'm sure there are girls out there that are so desperate or so dumb that they can look past the obvious character flaws in you and may perhaps even be able to stand you," the girl protested, flustered.
"As Wilder stated so poignantly: Nobody is perfect," Logan said with a shrug.
"Yeah, but there are things that are forgivable. Like a woman being a man in reality. And I find it highly interesting that you chose that quotation of all the many great words spoken on celluloid by the way," the girl pointed out and sent another glare his way. "But there are things not forgivable and superstitious arrogance is definitely one of them."
Logan frowned lightly. "Careful Maxie, I may start to believe that you don't like me anymore," he said with a little pout.
"I never liked you in the first place. I don't like rich, arrogant playboys, never have and never will, especially when they honestly believe that they're God's gift to women and that no being with two X chromosomes can ever resist them," the girl told him curtly.
"And I'm a rich, arrogant playboy?" Logan asked with a grin. Well, he was undoubtedly rich. And definitely a playboy. Nor was it any secret that he was a ladies' man. He disagreed a bit with the arrogant part though.
She stopped to give him a poignant look before she moved on again.
"Well, then you're a snob," Logan calmly stated.
Boy did that sent her up the walls!
"What?!" she almost shrieked, whirling around to him again.
"You're a snob," Logan repeated with a nod.
"I am not a snob! I'm anything else but a snob. In fact, I'm the exact opposite of a snob!" she defended herself furiously. Wow, she really didn't like to be called the mean s word.
"You judge me without knowing me. While you told me your being 'lost' story you judged the man that your grandfather challenged and weren't too nice about the people living in this museum, as you called it. I'm sure I'm right when I assume that you know none of these people. Judging people without knowing them equals snobbism," Logan lectured her. "Plus, you seem to have issues with wealth. So when you decide to automatically dislike anyone rich, you're definitely a snob."
For a moment, she stared open-mouthed at him and he grinned smugly. Looked like he had just won their little debate.
"Which brings me to the fact that you're probably superstitious as well, because you may not like the rich but obviously you're yourself one of them, judging by the fact that that very nice dress you're wearing can't be found in any Wal-Mart or thrift shop or the fact that you're here at this party in the first place because believe me, anyone attending here tonight has at least a few millions in his or her bank account. Not to mention that those stones you're wearing aren't cheap either, quite the contrary," Logan continued his lecture, enjoying the way her eyes narrowed more and more until they were nothing more than two cobalt blue slits, shooting two big laser beams at him. "Or you are, like already mentioned, a very convincing pretty thief who somehow managed to get into this party." He waited a beat before finishing. "So what is it, Maxie? Superstitious snob or burglar in a cat suit?"
"I tell you what it is, Mr. So-Sure-Of-Himself-That-This-Stratosphere's-Not-Big-Enough-For-Your-Ego," the girl hissed, poking a finger into his chest, hard. "It's the girl that will shove your balls so much up your ass that you'll be unable to move even your pinky finger for at least a week if you don't stop following me, annoying me and hitting on me. And then I'll go out there and tell every single guest and the whole world that you couldn't bring it up even if you'd had a ton of Viagra, not that it matters anyway because there's not really anything worth standing up. Now leave me alone and for your own sake you better not come near me again, cretin," she finished with a last stab into his chest and turned around to walk away from him.
Rubbing at his chest, Logan grinned. That girl has a very mean finger. "Love you too, Maxie!" he called after her.
She stopped and looked at him with an intense laser glare that would have made him explode into a million pieces, before she turned again and went on, not saying another word. Logan let her go this time. She just had to head straight and she'd be back at the party.
But Jeez, that girl had some temper, he thought grinning. And character. Logan hadn't known so far that he liked temper and character in a girl but apparently he did, because he definitely had enjoyed his encounter with the little spitfire. So much that he actually hoped that she indeed was one of his parents' guests. He needed to find out who Maxie really was. Because he definitely wanted to bug this girl a bit more. Actually, he wanted to do a lot more than just bug her. And, none of the things he had in mind were anything but x-rated.