She relished in the silence as they worked together to clean the mess. With Logan there, everyone had been on their best behavior so there wasn’t too much to do. Just as she was stuffing the last pizza box into the over sized trash bag, she heard him clear his throat.
“So, big dance coming up?” He asked, catching her attention. She looked at him questioningly and he wanted to kick himself. If it had been any one else, he would have just jumped into flirting and laid it on thick. But this wasn’t just anyone. This little slip of a woman was the strongest person he knew. Had ever really known as far as he could remember. Before, he had always been proud of her strength and survival instincts. But now, he just found her intimidating.
“I guess so,” she said a little quietly, drawing his attention back to her. He was starting to feel like an ass.
She wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but knew that it wasn’t small talk. He had never been one for something as trivial as that. “I think most of the girls are pretty excited. Why?”
The feeling to kick himself grew stronger as he wiped his now damp palms on his jeans. “Are you excited?”
“Not really,” she shrugged as she began to toss the cans into a box marked recycling. “I probably won’t be stable enough. And, even if I was, it’s not like I’ll be asked. I’m not exactly a comfortable date, you know.”
He was taken aback by her own self view. It wasn’t really something he had expected of her to think, not after all she’d been through, all she’d done.
“That’s not true,” he said as he walked forward. He did something then that he had wanted to do since the party started. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, wanting her to feel the safety he was offering just as much as he needed to feel her softness. “Don’t ever think of yourself like that, Darlin. You’re better than that and any of the guys here. Better than all of them. No one else was willing to make the sacrifice you were out there.”
“You were,” she whispered as she looked up into his hazel eyes. Eyes she had never seen so soft and arm and sad all at the same time. A look she had never expected to be on the receiving end of.
“Yeah, but not for the same reasons.” he sighed as he tightened his hold. “I’m a selfish man with selfish motivations. You should know that better than anyone.”
“Maybe I had my own selfish reasons that night,” she whispered back as she hid her face in his shirt.
He grabbed her chin with his right hand, not loosening his left, and made her look at him. “What ever your reason’s were, you saved a lot of people. There were a number of ways that what happened on that island could have been done differently. They could have stayed, but they ran. They took the easy way out and helped SOLDIERS escape.”
“You let them,” she reminded him, “you told them to go.”
“Yeah, and that was my own selfish ass getting in the way. If I hadn’t, they probably would have stayed. Instead, we all took the easy way out and did what we thought was best for us. You were the only one who was thinking of someone else. That makes you better than everyone here.” He pulled her back in, squeezing her tightly. “Look, I'll make a deal with you. You keep getting stronger and you get a hold on this thing, and, if you feel secure and the psychics give the ok, and if you want to, I would like to take you to that dance thing. What do you say?”
She wasn’t sure if he was asking because he wanted to go with her or for her, but, right then, it didn’t really matter. It was a chance to feel normal again.
“I’d like that, Logan.”