"Stop squirming sweetie," a soft female voice murmured, as Logan felt himself drifting toward consciousness. A small foot connected with his thigh a moment later, as a younger voice answered the first.
"But I gotta pee," Bella whispered urgently.
With a groggy chuckle Logan spoke without opening this eyes. "Outhouse is out the back door, you'll need your shoes and coat, you'll have to go with her M'rie and make sure she doesn't fall in," he mumbled. As the girls slipped out of the bed and fished for coats and boots, Marie murmured an apology for waking him. "No problem, it's morning anyway," he noted, not even needing to open his eyes to detect the increased light level. "If she wants breakfast you should be able to find something in the kitchen, top the fire up, but let me sleep for a bit longer," he added, drifting back to sleep even as he heard the girls giggle in response.
A couple of hours later, with a yawn and a painful sounding stretch, Logan dragged the rest of his clothes on, and headed out to find coffee. The girls were playing a game of checkers on the kitchen table, where they found it he didn't know, and the fire was crackling away merrily. The coffee kettle was hanging near enough to the fire to keep warm without boiling dry, and a pot with some leftover baked beans was keeping warm on the hearth.
"This for me?" Logan asked, nudging the pot, as he filled a mug with hot coffee.
"Yeah if you want it, Bella's eyes were bigger than her stomach," Marie replied, grinning at the little girl who childishly stuck her tongue out at her.
For the first time it struck Logan that he hadn't really thought this through very carefully. His cabin was tiny, little more than two rooms, though there was a little loft where he would set up a bed for Bella. He didn't have indoor plumbing, or even running water. He only had one set of dishes for goodness sake, he remembered, as he recycled his spoon to eat the last of the warm beans straight out of the pot, so he didn’t have to wash the bowl too.
The girls were watching him closely, Marie still just a little wary, Bella curiously. That little girl was constant questions, and he could tell from the look on her face she was about to start asking them again.
"Why is your toilet outside?" Bella asked suddenly. "And why does it not have a flusher? Why does the hole go down so much? If I fall in it will I die?--"
Logan cut off her flood of questions with a chuckle. "Well kiddo, this house was built a long, long time ago, it used to be that all houses had their toilets outside, out here it has the advantage that there's no water pipes to freeze in winter, the hole's so deep so you don't have to smell what comes out, and yes, if you fall in, you could die, it's been known to happen. I'll make you a special seat so you don't fall in, how about that?" he quickly offered, on seeing the little girl turn wide eyes to Marie.
"I told you so," Marie just giggled, as the little girl made gagging sounds, as she focused on the part where she could die if she fell in the toilet. "Does that pump work?" Marie turned to ask Logan, gesturing toward the manual water pump.
"Most of the time," Logan confirmed, "The water tank is underground and it only draws up when you crank it, it can take a few pumps to get the water moving- where did you get the water for the coffee?" he asked curiously.
"There was some fresh snow outside," Marie replied with a semi embarrassed shrug, "I figured it would be okay if I boiled it first."
"Yeah, it would be okay without boiling so long as it's fresh, no animal tracks near it," Logan responded with a satisfied nod, pleased at her ingenuity. "I have to go to town today and get some more supplies," he added, "If there's anything specific you need me to get you, write a list," he informed Marie, pointing to a drawer on the sideboard where she found a notepad and pencil when she followed his direction.
"Can I come?" Bella asked hopefully, bouncing off her chair and over to where Logan sat in the old leather armchair by the fire. She looked for all the world like she wanted to climb into his lap, so, Logan set aside his coffee and scooped her up, setting her on his knee.
"No sweetheart, not this time," Logan advised, grimacing when the little girl pouted adorably. "Sweetheart, you know the place where I got you from- the bad men?-" the young girl nodded- "Well darling, one of the reasons they had you was because of your pretty wings--"
"You think my wings are pretty?" Bella asked in innocent surprise.
"I sure do sweetheart," Logan replied with a grin, "I think they're adorable, and perfect, and pretty- but not everyone else thinks that, and there are people out there that- well, they want to hurt you, for having pretty wings, I don't want that to happen, not to you, and because I'll have to kick their butts if anyone does hurt you, so for now, you need to stay here but I'll find you a coat or a cloak or something that hides your wings and maybe next time you can come to town with me, okay?"
"Oh, okay, are you going to take Marie with you?" Bella queried, pointing out logically, "She doesn't have wings."
"Nah kiddo, someone has to stay here and make sure you stay out of trouble," Logan replied, tickling the little girl when she grinned impishly at him. When the pair finished their impromptu tickle fight, and Bella lay across his lap, stretching her tiny feet out toward the fire to warm her toes, Logan turned his attention back to Marie. "List done?" he asked, catching her attention from where she had been absently staring into space.
"Um, I think so," Marie returned hesitantly, handing him the paper she had scribbled a few things on.
Logan scanned over the list. "What size clothes are you both?" he asked, noting the lack of clothing items, aside from 'socks', on the list. He made a few additions of his own to the list before tugging on his jackets, boots, and collecting his keys and a handful of cash. "Don't burn the place down while I'm gone," Logan commented, ruffling Bella’s hair before he slipped out into the chilly morning.
"What are we doing now?" Bella asked excitedly, as soon as the rumble of the truck disappeared.
"Well..." Marie began, glancing around the small cabin. It was quite small, the main room was about fifteen by twenty feet, the small bedroom, about fifteen feet square, there appeared to be a small loft above the bedroom too but there was no ladder to access it. Outside didn't provide much more, there was an open lean-to along the back length of the building, full to the brim with stacked firewood in one direction, and then the outhouse in the other - the outhouse was slightly less inconvenient to use due to it being accessible from the lean-to, so you couldn't easily be blocked off by snow to get there.
"Well, I think the first thing to do, is clean this house, let's start with making the bed shall we?" she suggested, smiling as Bella animatedly threw herself into the task.
After making the bed, they set about collecting and folding the clothes that had been left around the room. They searched through the bureau drawers until they found where all of Logan's clothes went - though Marie set aside the ones that she thought could do with being washed. Their own clothes amounted to what they were wearing, and the coats they hung on the pegs by the backdoor. Bella insisted on sweeping the floor, and Marie used her distraction as a chance to be nosy, she wanted to know as much about her... owner, as she could. It wasn't that she didn’t trust him but... well, he did buy her after all, from human traffickers, and he seemed to have no intention of letting them go.
When she opened one of the drawers in the rustic bedside table, she felt her cheeks warm as she blushed. Her promise to him flooded back to her. Dear god, no wonder this man wasn't letting her go, she essentially promised to be his whore, and he had enough damn condoms for that. With a nervous sigh, she glanced across the room at Bella, who was dancing around the room humming happily to herself as she 'swept'. If her sacrifice, her discomfort, saved little Bella from what would have been a terrible fate for such a sweet little girl, she could live with that she decided, as she silently slid the drawer closed.
There was a curtain rod above the rooms lone window, in fact - there were curtain rods over all four of the tiny cabins windows - but no curtains to be seen. From standing on the kitchen counter Marie could see a chest in the loft, and wondered if that might perhaps contain curtains. She also spotted what looked like it might be a ladder, pushed up the top. Using the armchair, which was thankfully solid enough for her to climb onto the back of when it was pushed up against the wall, she managed to reach what she thought was the ladder and drag it down, she also found the anchor point to fix the ladder into place.
She was pushing the lid of the chest open just as she heard Bella's voice behind her.