Morning was a welcome friend to Logan as the sunlight finally began to ease over the horizon. Her nights during the past year had been difficult to endure, but this last one had proven to be even more disturbing to the stoic detective. She had returned home to the empty house and rather than going to bed, had sat in an old comfortable chaise lounge in the sunroom the remainder of the night, going over the last few hours she had spent with the doctor.
The afternoon they had spent roaming the countryside had been the most relaxing day she had spent in a very long time and she knew without a doubt that the small blonde was the reason. What Logan couldnít figure out was what she was going to do about the feelings that were stirring within her soul. Uncurling her long body from the warm lounge, the detective stood and stretched, the vertebra in her back popping as they slipped into place. Padding to the kitchen, the tired woman started a fresh pot of coffee and opened a can of food for Clancy, before going to the bathroom to shower.
Twenty minutes later while sitting at the bar in the kitchen, reading the morning edition of the Pitts Post-Gazette and quietly enjoying her second cup of coffee, the shrill ringing of the phone disturbed the peaceful silence of the house. The detective stared at the phone for two more rings before answering; she had hoped to spend the day cosseted in her house, away from the demons of the night and the realities of the day.
Logan dropped the paper in annoyance, and practically snatched the phone off the wall, her voice leaving no doubt to the caller that the interruption was an unwelcome one. "McGregor."
"Logan?" The hesitant voice, almost a whisper shook the detective from her dark mood and brought gleaming smile to her face.
"Good morning" The gruffness suddenly gone, replaced by what she would otherwise consider in others to be a sappy tone. "Did you sleep well?"
Madison could feel the same warm heat from the night before return to caress her body. "Well, Iíve slept better, butÖahhh, yeah, I guess it was okay."
Logan could sense the hesitation in Madisonís voice. Not sure how she should respond, she chose to keep the conversation on safe territory. "How did Officer Freeman work out last night? Did you have any problems?"
"Umm, yes, I mean she was fine, and no there werenít any problems." Sensing a distance in the detective's demeanor, Madison wasnít sure if she should ask the next series of questions, but decided to forge ahead anyway. "You know, I was wondering if you wantedÖI mean, if you werenít doing anything today, if you might want to take a drive up to Midland with me. Itís such an unusually warm day and, well, I board a couple of horses at a stable up there andÖumm, I know you said the other day that you liked to ride, and you see if I take one out and not the other I have a jealous horse on my handsÖsooo." Madison knew she was stammering and stuttering like a lovesick kid, but couldnít get the words to form properly. Luckily for her, Logan helped her out.
"Yes, that sounds like a great idea, I love to ride." Suddenly locking herself in the house was the farthest thing from Loganís mind. A smile came to her face and in her voice as she contemplated spending another day in the company of one very attractive doctor. "So how many other hidden pleasures do you harbor Doctor?" Geez, McGregor, that was smooth, very smooth, you smuck.
Madisonís mood began to lighten considerably as she listened to Logan teasing banter. Unable to resist the temptation, she added in her own low voice, "Well, youíll just have to stick around and find out now wonít you Detective. Why donít I pick you up around eleven?"
The detective's heart skipped at the sound of the sultry voice, and then a frown settled on her forehead as she considered the prospect of the doctor driving into the city unescorted. "Iíll make you a better offer. Why donít I pick you up at eleven? I know a great little café just outside of town where we can have brunch."
About to protest the inconvenient traveling, ahe opened her mouth to protest, and then stopped, realizing what the detective was trying to accomplish with her offer. "Okay, but on one condition, brunch is on me."
The doctor could hear the quiet laughter from the other end of the line, knowing the detective was pleasantly surprised by her offer. "Finally. I was beginning to think I was going to have to take out a second mortgage to keep you fed woman."
Their conversation continued with the easy repartee for a few more minutes, neither woman wanting to end the conversation. Finally needing to finish dressing, Logan ended the call and headed to the bedroom, her step much lighter and confident than earlier in the morning.
The doctor prided herself on her obsessive qualities; always making sure her appearance was appropriate for the occasion. Normally she would have known exactly what to wear for an afternoon out riding, however, after thirty minutes of changing from one outfit to another, she was frustrated and becoming irritable. What does it matter? After last night, Iím sure she doesnít want anything more than friendship. Finally deciding on the outfit she had first put on, Madison was walking down the curved staircase to the main floor, when the doorbell rang. Glancing at her watch, she smiled, on observing that it was exactly eleven oíclock. Why does that not surprise me? The perfectionist cop with perfect timing, what more could I ask for.
On opening the door, Madison stood pleasantly surprised to see the detective in a pair of form fitting faded blue jeans, and a dark blue shirt that offset her eyes and made their color even more vibrant than usual. The doctorís eyes made a slow perusal of Loganís body, beginning at the Doc Martens on the tall womanís feet, slowly rising to the slim hips, which evolved into an even smaller waist then tapered out into a strong muscular torso and broad shoulders.
She knew she was making a fool of herself but couldnít tear her eyes away from the sensual examination. Her eyes followed Loganís shoulders inward until her clavicles gave way to a delightfully appetizing neck, strong jaw, and chin. The covetous journey stopped momentarily as Madison focused on the soft, full lips that had captured hers only a few hours before, finally continuing on to meet silently questioning dark blue eyes, accented with a single raised brow.
"Am I presentable, Doctor?" The teasing smile that spread across Loganís face rendered the growling inquiry ineffective as she watched the womanís face redden.
"Ahem, umm, yes, veryÖI mean, you look fine Detective. Come in." Madison stepped back from the doorway, allowing the woman to enter and couldnít stop herself from noticing how well the tight jeans hugged Loganís small firm buttocks. "IÖummm, Iím just about ready. Why donít you have a seat and IíllÖahhh, just get my things."
Logan walked into the den and as she spied the couch, a flood of memories from the previous night ran through her head. She was still standing in the doorway a few moments later, reliving the tender moment they had shared, when Madison came up behind her and spoke. "Afraid to return to the scene of the crime, Detective?í
The startled woman turned and found herself facing Madison, the scent of her perfume wrecking havoc on her senses. Leaning closer, Logan looked deeply into the questioning green eyes. "Afraid? Not at all, Doctor. I was just savoring the moment." Their eyes held, neither willing or able to break the spell, then in a moment of pure unrestrained need, the detective bent her head closer and captured the warm inviting lips.
Madisonís arms circled the detective's slender neck, and her fingers intertwined with the dark silky hair as she pulled the taller woman closer, her lips parting to accept the warm probing tongue that searched greedily for hers. Breaths became ragged and heartbeats pounded, as what began as a leisurely kiss became wanting and needy with lust.
Loganís hands encircled the blonde's waist and dropped to cup the doctorís small hips, pulling the woman closer into her, hearing a low groan escape from the woman's throat. Knowing the kiss was quickly turning into more than either needed, she broke the kiss, her lips already aching and hungry for more. "Well Doctor, if we donít get a move on, those two kids of yours wonít be seeing us today."
Releasing a frustrated sigh, Madison nodded, knowing herself that she had to keep things slow with this mysterious woman. "Umm, yes, youíre right. We canít keep Steeler and Mercy waiting, now can we?" Closing her eyes, the doctor unconsciously licked her lips, and then bit down gently on the warm tender flesh delighting in the remnants of the passionate kiss before turning and picking up her keys from the table. "Letís go get some lunch, Iím starving."
Madison treated the detective to brunch at Josephineís in Midland about 40 miles Northwest of Bridgeville, then they traveled on to the Horse Around Stables, just outside of town. The view was breathtaking after turning off the highway and clearing the trees as the thick green carpeting of pasture spread out before them. "This is beautiful." Looking out the window, Logan could see nothing but wide-open space as horses ran, across the green expanse, enjoying the freedom and safety of their home.
She drove the Pathfinder further down the long winding road through the pastures until they reached the stables. The buildings appeared to be out of a classic Norman Rockwell painting, with the picturesque stables and open fields. As they climbed down from the truck, Logan inhaled in the first breaths of the freshest air she had smelt in ages, the subtle scents of grass, wood, and hay filling her senses.
Stepping into the stables, Madison instantly heard Mercy snorting, as her ownerís scent reached nostrils, flared with excitement. Smiling, the doctor ran to the majestic horse, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Ohh, baby, Iíve missed you." Hearing Steeler snort his own greeting, she quickly walked to the adjacent stall and embraced the other, slightly larger animal, kissing him on the end of his long nose. "Iíve brought company today fellaís, so we can all go out and have a nice ride together."
Logan stood back, enjoying watching the excited doctor play with her two horses. She was leaning against a nearby stall, smiling when Madison turned back towards her. "You think Iím crazy, donít you?"
Walking over to the excited woman, Logan reached up and stroked Steelerís long neck. "Absolutely not. If I had these two beautiful horses, Iíd be running around the stable like a little girl off for her first ride too."
Smacking the detective on the arm, Madison snarled her lip up mischievously at the taller woman. "Stop teasing me. Itís been a long time since Iíve seen my babies." Turning back towards the horse, she gave him another tender caress along his neck. "I havenít seen my two boys in almost three weeks."
Their private conversation was interrupted as Sam the resident stable master came walking in. Logan thought he looked like a modern-day Roy Rogerís dressed in his chaps, boots and Stetson hat sitting low on his brow.. The only thing missing was the guitar, but the detective suspected that it wasnít too far away. Madison made the introductions, and after a few minutes of preparation, the horses were saddled and the two women were riding out into one of the vast pastures that made up the ranch.
The doctor led them northwest through the open pastures, then onto a wide, smooth, riding trail into the woods. Taking in her surroundings, Logan watched as Madison rode Mercy in front of her, the woman obviously a seasoned rider, unlike herself. As horse and rider moved together in a synchronous dance that revealed years of companionship, The quiet detective mused about their quickly forming friendship. She had never warmed to anyone the way she had to the small, blonde, and couldnít help but smile as she remembered their first few meetings. Well, she certainly wasnít all warm and cuddly then, now was she McGregor?
Loganís thoughts were broken as the doctor called out to her from ahead. "What did you say?"
Turning in the saddle, Madison regarded Logan curiously. "Iíve been talking to you for five minutes Detective. Has the fresh air completely saturated your brain?"
Logan shrugged and grinned innocently as she gently heeled Steeler, urging the horse to catch up with the doctor and Mercy. "Umm, no, I was just enjoying the view."
Shaking her head, Madison chuckled thinking this was the first time she had seen the detective so relaxed. "Well, just wait. In about five minutes weíre going to clear the trees and you will see one of the reasonís I love to come up here so much." The horses had finally settled down into a relaxed gait and the two women rode along beside each other, simply enjoying being outdoors in each otherís company.
A few minutes later, they cleared the trees and Logan almost gasped as the scenery around her changed from the embracing shadows of the woods to reveal a beautiful lake, reflecting the surroundings off the deep blue, pristine water. "Madi, this is absolutely breathtaking."
The doctor smiled as she listened to Loganís response to her special haven, her heart warming as her nickname flowed from the detectiveís lips. Reining in the horses, they sat for a few moments appreciating the unspoiled landscape before them. "I didnít know places like this existed any longer."
Madison gently nudged Mercy forward continuing towards the edge of the lake. "I didnít either until I boarded Mercy and Steeler here. It took me over a year to get them into the stables, but Iím certainly glad I waited. They love it hereÖso do I."
The women climbed down from the horses and Madison unstrapped the bags, handing them to her companion. Logan hadnít thought to ask what was inside the saddlebag and was surprised to see that the slender, blonde-haired woman had packed quite a large selection of cheese, crackers, and wine. She had to turn away to keep the doctor from seeing the grin on her face. Damn, that woman can put some food away.
They led the horses a little closer to the waters edge, Madison handing Logan a blanket and asking her to pick out a spot. She then proceeded to secure the reins and remove the saddles allowing the horses roam free, join the woman a few minutes later on the blanket the detective had placed in a sunny spot beside the water.
The horses grazed nearby and Logan watched as they moved further away. "Arenít you afraid Steeler and Mercy will roam away?"
Lying back on the blanket, Madison put her hands under her head and smiled up into the sky, her body warming under the sun's gentle caress. "Nah, they wonít go far. They've been out here many times. I hate to tie them to a tree, I guess I feel a little guilty sometimes for not being able to spend more time with them, I mean, they get a lot of attention from Sam, but itís just not the same." The doctor glanced over at the detective to see if she was making any sense to the woman. "I look at us being out here as an afternoon adventure for them too. Theyíll snoop around for a while, then theyíll settle down for a nice rest, just like we are."
Logan stretched her tall frame out on the blanket facing the petit blonde. "I see. I never thought of it that way. Is that why you took off the saddles?"
Madison smiled shyly at Logan, seeing her explanation had hit home. "Yes. I want them to enjoy the outing too." She turned on her side, tilting her head to look at the very relaxed detective. "So tell me, why did you decide you wanted to be a cop?"
A gruff laugh churned out of Loganís chest as she turned her head to look out over the calming water. "Itís a long story, but I guess you can say I wasnít really given a choice. It sort of found me."
Madisonís brows furrowed as she tried to discern the meaning behind the detectiveís words. "Did your parents make you go to the academy?"
Logan turned to lie back, tucking her hands beneath her head. "No, nothing quite as simple as that, Iím afraid." She had never told the story to anyone, not even to Hen, and she really didnít know where to start, or even if she wanted to. For some unknown reason, she felt a compelling need to tell Madison about her past and she found herself suddenly in the midst of the story that had changed her life forever. "My brother was murdered when I was seventeen and the cops in my hometown didnít do too much to investigate his death."
Madison was listening quietly, deciding not to ask the hesitant woman any questions for fear the she would shut down and return to her customary stoic manner. Logan glanced over at the blonde and saw the openly curious look. "My family wasnít very well off, financially, hell we werenít even able to pay our bills most of the time. The only work my father ever did would entail only enough labor to buy his next bottle of scotch." Looking over at the doctor, she released a frustrating sigh. "This isnít really very interesting, you know. Isnít there something better we can talk about?"
The pain and anger Logan felt towards her father was almost palpable and Madison knew by the womanís demeanor that she was embarrassed by her past. The doctor knew, more than likely, the detective hadnít told this story to too many others and she also knew how cleansing a good emotional purging could make one feel, so smiling at the other woman, she shook her head. "Nope, too late, youíve already captured my undivided attention."
Logan sat up, her face turned, providing enough of a barrier so that Madison couldnít see the pain etched across her brow. "Anyway, my mother worked three jobs, trying to keep my brother and I fed and clothed. Richard, my brother, was four years older than me. He and my father would argue all the time because of pop's drinking, lack of a job and the way he treated my mom." Taking a deep breath, she focused on calming the anger that was raging in her gut before continuing. "Well, mom had to have an operation and since we couldnít afford insurance, the doctorís refused to operate until we had the money to pay for it. Richard was on a full academic scholarship at the University of Kentucky and when that happened, he quit college and got a job at a local grocery store to help raise the money."
Madison interrupted for the first time since Logan began telling her story. "The hospital wouldnít allow you to make installment payments?"
Logan snorted out a harsh growl. "No. We lived in a relatively small town outside of Lexington and all the area docs knew my mom. They also knew she was the sole breadwinner in the family. I guess they thought if she were incapacitated, no one would be able to make the payments. You have to remember this was a while back, before the government required hospitals to provide a certain amount of indigent care."
Madison nodded, knowing that today her mother would or at least should be able to get the care she needed. She watched as Loganís hand raked through dark silky hair, pushing a few stray locks away from her face. "Go on."
"Well, anyway, Richard had been working twelve hour shifts for almost three months and still couldnít raise the money. Mom was getting worse by the day, missing work a lot, and the regular visits to the clinic were taking almost everything Richard was making." Logan was praying the doctor couldnít see her face or the tears that began forming in her eyes at the painful memory. "It was an endless uphill battle and I think mom and Richard finally realized that time was running out. On her last visit to the doctor they found that the tumor she had on her ovary was malignant."
Running a hand through her hair, Logan tried to covertly wipe the tears from her eyes. "One night mom got really sick so I called the grocery store to get Richard to come home and found out he no longer worked there, he had quit three weeks before. His boss didnít know where he had gone after he quit and just assumed Richard had gone back to school."
The doctor sat up, easing herself closer to the detective, placing a supportive hand on her shoulder. She needed, in some small way, to let Logan know she was there, listening, not judging, but supporting her through the pain.
Leaning into the gentle touch, she risked a glance into Madisonís eyes. What she saw was not pity, or disgust, but understanding and compassion. "When Richard got home late that night, I confronted him with what I had found out. We argued and finally he told me he was running drugs for a local dealer in order to get the money for momís surgery. He made me promise not to tell her and he promised that as soon as mom was better he would return to school get on with his life."
As Logan looked out over the water, thinking back on that night and the weeks that followed, a tear streaked her angular face. "Three nights later, Richard was shot in what was determined to be a bad drug deal. Although the local cops pretended to investigate, they didnít put too much effort into it, thinking that one more drug dealer dead was better than one more alive."
Madison dropped her hand to Loganís lap and took the other womanís hand in hers. "You mean they just let it go and did absolutely nothing?"
Nodding, Logan released a pent up sigh. "Yeah, they did. Weeks went by and nothing ever happened, no arrests were made, nada, so I decided to start doing a little investigating on my own. I went to the dealer Richard worked for and asked him for a job. He knew how desperate we were to get the money for mom, so he gave it to meÖthe job that is. After a couple of months, I had the money and I was beginning to get some answers. A rival gang was the one responsible for Richard's death, in an attempt to put the dealer I was working for out of business. The day mom had her surgery, I went to the local police and told them what I had been doing and gave them the name of the guy responsible and all they did was laugh and threaten to arrest me in the process."
Madisonís face revealed the shock she felt. "Youíre kidding me right?"
"I wish I were, but no, they still refused to do anything about it. I guess luck was with me though I was at the hospital, sitting in the waiting room when this big burly guy walked in and sat down across from me. We started talking, I found out he was a reporter that worked for the newspaper in Lexington, and he was there for his fatherís surgery. We spent three days talking and getting to know each other and finally I told him what I knew about Richardís death."
Smiling, Logan shook her head at the memory of Jack Silverstein. "He couldnít believe that nothing was being done about it either, and for the first time, I thought there might be hope, but a couple of days later he was gone and I was back to square one. I finally got to bring mom home and then once she was able to take care of herself, I went out and found another job."
Madison ran her thumb gently over the soft hand that held hers tightly as she thought about all the pain the detective had lived through. "I guess your father was no help then."
Anger that even she didn't realize she still harbored spewed from her mouth. "My father was an asshole who only cared about one thing, his next drink. No, he was no help at all and continued to sit in that fucking chair everyday drinking and smoking. The only time we heard a word form him was when he ran out of smokes or booze."
Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm her anger, and glanced over towards Madison still not believing the woman wasnít recoiling in shock and disgust. "About a month later this cop comes walking into the fast food joint I was working at and asked for me. I just knew they had decided to come arrest me for what I had told them earlier, but instead this cop was actually the chief."
A smile flashed across the detective's face as she fondly remembered the event. "Supposedly, my newspaper friend had started snooping around and found out that what I told him was true. He called the police chief and threatened to expose the entire story if something wasnít done about it. The Chief was there, not to arrest me but to ask me for an official statement. Seems no one ever bothered to tell him my story, or so he said. Anyway, they eventually arrested the guy that killed Richard and he is now serving a life sentence upstate."
Sitting quietly, Madison knew in her gut the story was not yet complete and she gently caressed the detectiveís hand, silently letting her know she was there whenever Logan was ready to continue. "A few months later mom got really sick again and we found out the surgery to remove the tumor came too late. She died a few weeks later."
The exhausted woman reached up, wiping away tears she could no longer stop as they slipped down her cheeks. "After the funeral I went home, packed what I could carry into my backpack and left. There was no way I was staying in that hellhole with that drunk, so I headed to Lexington. When I got there, I lived off the streets for a while until one day I was walking downtown and saw Jack Silverstein, the reporter from the hospital.
I stopped him and we started talking. I told him everything that had happened since that day. He took me home with him that night, fed me and gave me a place to sleep, then got me a job in the mailroom at the newspaper the next day. Jack and I kept in touch and one day when we were having lunch in the park, he asked me if I wanted to ride the police beat with one of the crime reporters at the paper."
The detective remembered that fateful day. "I did and not too long after that I found myself at the Police Academy and two years later, here in Pittsburgh." Madison noticed the small smile crossing the woman's face, yet remained quiet, waiting for the woman to reveal her thoughts. "Actually, Jacko introduced me to the only real friend I've ever had. His niece Jennifer Phillips is the crime reporter for the Pitts-Post Gazette and more often than not a pain in my ass when I'm working a case."
Lifting Loganís chin with her fingers, she turned the detective's face towards hers. "I canít believe you had to endure all of that alone and I'm glad you found Jennifer to help you begin to rebuild your life. I donít think I would have had the strength to do it."
Using her thumb, Madison wiped away a tear that had slipped down the detectiveís face. "I know you probably thought I would be disgusted by your story, but youíre wrong. Iím sorry for what you had to go through, but Iím also amazed at your determination and strength. You should be proud of yourself Logan, proud that you beat the odds and turned out to be a good cop." Smiling into the deep blue eyes that were looking back at her, she leaned in, gently placing a kiss on the womanís lips, tasting the salt of her tears. "I know Iím very proud of you. Thank you for telling me your story, I know it was difficult."
A sad smile eased across the detectives face as she regarded the doctor. "I just wish my mom could have known that I escaped from that hell hole. I think she worried about that more than anything else."
Drawing Logan into her arms, Madison held her close and could feel the tension leaving the detective's shoulders. "Oh I think your mom knows and I think she is very proud of you too."
Madison lay back on the blanket, pulling the mentally exhausted woman with her. They lay there holding each other for a long while, each lost in their thoughts until the doctorís stomach released a loud growl. With a chuckle, Logan lifted her head and looked down at the blonde's flat, muscular stomach. "I think we need to feed the beast soon, or we might not survive the rest of the day."
In an attempt to hide her embarrassment, Madison crawled over to the bag, removing a bottle of wine and some crackers. She tossed the bottle to Logan and retrieved plastic cups from the bag, sitting them on the blanket. The detective poured the wine and as she handed the cup to her companion, their eyes met and held. "Thank you." They were two simple words but words that spoke volumes.
Raising her cup, Madison grinned at the detective, "To new beginnings." Touching glasses, they drank of the sweet wine, each wondering exactly where this new beginning would lead them.
Continue to Part Twelve of Code Blue
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