Chapter Fourteen: Reconciliation

"It's really foul out there."

Sadie peered out of the window of the Starlight Mansion, a grimace crossing her pretty features as she surveyed the weather. "If I didn't know better I'd say I was back home in Brum. It's tipping it down."

"Still?" Sylva glanced up from where she had been half-heartedly showing Hollie how best to match shapes to the shape-shorter. Sadie nodded.

"Yep." She agreed. "Alex is on stake-out tonight across the city...I wouldn't like to be him. He's gonna get soaked if they have to move in at speed."

"Perk of the job I guess." Sylva said with a shrug. "Though with all the hot weather we've been having, I guess it had to come back at us sometime."

"Are you all right?" Sadie frowned, fixing her friend with a scrutinous gaze. "You've been kinda...limp all day, if you want the truth. Topaz left us in charge of the midget here while she was out with Morgan, and you've barely said a word to her all evening."

"Well, at least I'm playing with her." Sylva pointed out acerbically. Then she sighed. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm not really here this evening. My brain's on Logan and Jack...and it really shouldn't be on either one of them. You're right, Topaz trusted us with Hollie and I'm not being much of a playmate."

"Green." Hollie interjected at that moment, banging a green cube on Sylva's leg as if in agreement. Sylva grinned down at her sheepishly.

"Yeah, okay, I get the message, squirt." She said affectionately. "Where do we put the green one, huh? Can you guess which hole it matches?"

Hollie chewed on the cube for a moment, then, with a smile that could be interpreted as triumphant, she rammed the object down into the correct hole, giggling with pleasure as it clattered into the box. Sadie laughed.

"She's getting too smart for this game." She observed, coming away from the window.

"Yeah." Sylva nodded. "It's hard to believe she's almost two."

"It is." Sadie nodded. She paused, eying her companion for a moment, then, "Well? Are you going to tell me why Jack and Logan are taking priority over America's cutest toddler tonight or what?"

Gently she lifted Hollie up onto her lap, and the baby clapped her hands, reaching to explore Sadie's jewelled belt.

"It's a bit messy." Sylva sighed. "In the shortest possible form, Sade, Jack's decided he has a crush on me and Logan's jealous of me spending any time with Jack. You know that last night wasn't exactly the way I planned it anyhow...Logan seems to think that me stopping with Courtenay at Jack's place in a crisis is a cover for something else."

"I see." Sadie pursed her lips. "And you're what? Mad at Logan? Confused about Jack? You did like that guy for the longest time - are you even a little bit tempted to take up with him?"

"Sadie, don't you start!" Sylva exclaimed, causing the toddler to stare at her in surprise.

"I wasn't starting anything." Sadie shrugged. "I was just asking a question."

"I know, and it's one I've got fed up of asking myself." Sylva admitted. "But see, the honest truth is that that ship sailed when Jack and I had that fight over Melanie and what she was doing to Court. I've never wholly forgiven him for it, in truth. I mean sure, we're friends and I'll always be there for him. But I couldn't have a relationship with him now. I don't have those feelings any more and I know it. Unfortunately Logan doesn't...and I like Logan a whole lot."

"Logan's an idiot if he thinks you're the type to cheat." Sadie said bluntly. "Okay, Hollie, that's my hair...I know you like pink, but please don't pull!"

Sylva laughed.

"Guess she is bored. We should put on a DVD for her or something." She suggested. "And yeah, I know. Logan is an idiot sometimes...but he's a guy and guys are. And, well, I like him. I just wish he trusted me, that's all. He hasn't called me since our blow out this morning and I'm wondering if he's even going to. It would totally suck to lose him because I did the right thing by a friend...I didn't think he was the possessive type."

She looked pensive.

"I'm sure, you know, that this is all part of Robin Sheppard's curse."

"You and the curse." Sadie looked amused. "Did you think about calling him?"

"And back down? That would suggest he had the moral high ground and he so doesn't." Sylva sighed. "What do you do when you and Alex fight, Sadie? You're engaged, so you must be doing something right."

"Cry, often." Sadie admitted ruefully. "Alex means the world to me and I hate fighting with him. But as time goes on, I dunno - I guess I've got more confident in holding my opinion in a row with him. I know it won't mean he doesn't love me if we disagree. To begin with, I know I called him when we fought a whole lot more and just blurted out my feelings over the phone, which was a bit tragic. Now I try and talk things out with him when we've both calmed down."

"Well, Logan and I are still at the unsure stage, I suppose." Sylva acknowledged. "But I'm not really the type to go crying on the phone after a guy."

"So you have to wait." Sadie shrugged. "See if Logan cracks first. Just don't leave it too long, huh? Some rifts are never breached."

"I know." Sylva grimaced at her friend. "What do you reckon? Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast?"

"Beauty and the Beast. I always loved that one." Sadie said decidedly. "And I can cuddle Hollie if she gets scared of the Beast."

"Okay, Beauty and the Beast it is." Sylva got down on her hands and knees, reaching for the right disk.

"How is Jack's Mum now anyhow?"

"Hard to say." Sylva say back on her heels, considering. "I spoke to him just before we got back this evening and apparently she's woken up briefly. She's not...well, there's stuff not right, let's put it that way. They think that she'll live, but she has some extensive damage down her left side and her speech is slurred. She kept asking for Courtenay so Jack took her in...he said he had reservations about it upsetting the kid, but what else can you do? If it helps..."

"Right." Sadie nodded, her expression one of compassion. "Poor Jack. Is he an only kid?"

"Yes." Sylva agreed, slipping the disk into the player. "And his Dad passed years ago. He's on his own with this, really. Except for me. And I'm not going to run away and leave him and Court in the lurch when they need my help."

"No, of course not." Sadie agreed. "And I'm sure Logan knows it too, Syl. Deep down."

"Well, he has a funny way of showing it." Sylva observed ruefully. "I don't think I'd be half so mad if he hadn't stalked me to work this morning. What was that about? What did he hope to do - catch me in the arms of some other guy?"

"Who knows how men think?" Sadie shrugged her shoulders. "I gave up trying to interpret them a long time ago."

"Yeah, you're telling me." Sylva grimaced. "Though this is the guy who keeps his salt and pepper in the anything's possible."

"Well, each to their own." Sadie looked amused. "I...hey, was that the doorbell?" As there was a sound from the hallway.

"I didn't hear anything." Sylva frowned. "The weather?"

"No, I'm sure I heard something." Sadie got to her feet, gently setting Hollie down on the carpet. "I'll go see. Maybe Nancy forgot her key."

"Nancy never forgets her key. She's queen of anal about things like that." Sylva said dryly. "But okay. I still think you imagined it, though."

"We'll soon see." Sadie shrugged, pulling open the door and heading out into the hall. As she did so, the bell rang again and she quickened her pace, fumbling with the lock.

"Coming!" She called through the door, mindful of the pelting rain that thudded against the wood. At length she got the latch undone, pulling the door open and letting out an exclamation.


"It's wet out here." Logan observed unnecessarily, pushing back rain-sodden sandy hair from his face with a rueful grimace. "Can I come in?"

"Oh! Yes, you better had, before you catch your death." Sadie got a grip on herself, ushering him into the warm hallway. "What are you doing here on a night like this? Driving must be mental!"

"Driving is pretty much impossible - visibility is nil." Logan agreed. "I's really shorter than they tell you."

He pursed his lips. "Is Syl home?"

"She is." Sadie nodded her head. "But she's a"

"Mad?" Logan raised an eyebrow. Sadie nodded.

"Something like that." She agreed. "Here, she's in the lounge...go through and I'll run upstairs and grab a towel so you can dry yourself off a bit. Don't worry," As Logan looked apprehensive. "She can't kill you. She has Hollie with her."

"Oh." Logan looked sheepish. "Okay. Thanks, Sadie. And thanks for not asking too many questions."
"Just go talk to her." Sadie said with a grin. "I'll be right back."

Logan pushed open the door of the sitting room, pausing for a moment as he surveyed the scene. The opening titles of the Disney movie were playing across the television screen and his girlfriend was curled up on the end of the sofa, a small redheaded bundle cuddled in her lap. She seemed unaware of the fact she had company at first, her attention on the infant, but at length she glanced up, shock flooding her gaze.

"Logan!" She exclaimed, followed by, "Dammit, are you crazy? You're drenched! You'll get pneumonia!"

"Evening to you too." Logan leant up against the doorframe.

"What are you doing here!"

"I came to speak to you, of course. Why else would I be here?" Logan raised an eyebrow.

"Did you never hear of a phone?" Sylva's eyes became huge. "I can't believe you came out in that just to talk to me...are you completely crazy?"

"Yes, apparently." Logan nodded his head. "And you're ruining the film for the little one with all the shouting." He indicated Hollie. "I'm sure she'd rather not hear it."

"Well, Sadie and I are babysitting." Sylva said slowly. "I can't very well ditch the kid."

"Yes, you can." Sadie slipped into the room at that moment, clutching a big blue towel which she handed to Logan. "Here, best I could better stick your jacket on the heater to dry off. Syl, I'll sit and watch Hollie. You and Logan go into the kitchen and talk - you both need to and you can't with the little one around."

"Well..." Sylva met Sadie's gaze, and then frowned. "Fine. I was just comfortable, but all right. Here you go, Hol. Auntie Sadie's coming back to play with you now...I'm going to go talk to Swamp Thing in the kitchen but I'll be back soon."

With that she shifted the baby gently onto the cushions, getting to her feet and smoothing down her skirt. Logan eyed her carefully, then led the way to the Mansion's spacious kitchen, slipping off his jacket and dumping it over the heater as he did so. For a moment he bent his energy to drying as much of him as he could manage, and Sylva perched herself on a barstool, watching him in silence.

Finally the quiet began to grow oppressive and Logan pushed the towel aside, meeting his girlfriend's quizzical expression with one of his own.

"Are we still fighting?" He asked.

"I don't know." Sylva admitted. "Do you still think I'm running off to sleep with Jack when his mother's in the hospital?"

"I never said that."

"No, you didn't have to." Sylva shook her head. "It was implied by your behaviour this morning. Seriously, Logan, it's not cool. I know I broke up our date and I'm sorry for that. But if Aaron had had a call like that, you'd be right there to help him out, wouldn't you? Hell, if it comes to it, so would I. You wouldn't be jealous of me doing it for Aaron, so why Jack?"

"Because that guy was scoping you out at the beach as if you were the eighth wonder of the world." Logan said bluntly, dropping down heavily on an empty chair and shrugging his shoulders. "Even if you didn't see it, Syl, I did. I know that look. He wants more than just friends."

"So what if he does?" Sylva asked softly. "It doesn't mean I'm prepared to give it."


"No buts." Sylva shook her head. "I went to help Jack in a crisis. And yes, he has spoken to me about feelings other than platonic ones. I wasn't going to tell you that, because I thought it would upset you. But since this has all spilled out, I'll be straight. He said he liked me, and do you know what I told him? I said that I would always love him as a friend, but that I was with you now. Because I loved you. Not him. And he accepted it."

"I knew he liked you." Logan's eyes narrowed and he clenched his fists. "I...hey, wait a minute! Did you just say you loved me?"

"What, do you have rainwater in your ears?" Sylva demanded. "That's what I said, yes. But not when you're being a jealous moron! I know you had issues with your last chick and I'm sorry about that. But I'm not her, Logan. I'm me. I don't do the cheating thing. It isn't cool. I may be popular and pretty and I might be a flirt. But I'm not going to run around with any old guy. I don't want to be with Jack. If I did, don't you think I would be? I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in you. I thought you knew that."

Logan stared at her blankly for a moment, as if the wind had been taken entirely from his sails. Then, after a lengthy pause.

"We haven't ever really said the L word. Not properly."

"No, we haven't." Sylva agreed. "But I need to get it into your thick head somehow. Logan, I love you. You're driving me mad right now, but I've had a rotten day because of our fight this morning. I've been distracted and I've played badly and Nancy is currently at Misfits Music trying to piece together additions and whatever else to fill in bits where I just blatantly fell to pieces. If I hadn't been so mad at you, I might even have burst out crying. So stop being such a moron! I only have so much waterproof mascara and I'm not skipping round Los Angeles like a raccoon just because you have an insecurity complex."

Logan gaped. Then he burst out laughing.

"Don't laugh at me!"

"I'm sorry." Immediately he was contrite. "It was the image of you playing the raccoon. I'm sorry, Syl. Really I am. I'm a bonehead. But I really like you too. And yeah, Jack made me uncomfortable because I know about your past regarding him. Last night was bad timing after the encounter at the beach. I guess I should trust you better, though. You're right in that you're not Jenna. I shouldn't expect you to behave how she did."

"No, you shouldn't." Sylva folded her arms across her chest.

"I guess I didn't know that you...well...that the L word was coming into this."

"Are you in high school?" Sylva raised an eyebrow. "You can say the word, you know. Or don't you feel that way?"

Logan frowned.

"Of course I do." He said quietly. "I just didn't know we'd got to that point, that's all. If I say it, it might go away. It's all so new...I'm scared to lose you. There. That's the truth of it. You're a celeb and you can probably do better. This was why I didn't want to let myself fall for you. Because I knew if I did then it'd be a major case."

"Yeah, I can see that." Sylva eyed him speculatively. Then she relented. "Oh, you're so dumb sometimes, you know that? After everything that we've been through? New York? Everything? Do you really think I'm going to jump ship so soon? This is the first serious relationship that I've had, and you know what? I like it. I like being with you. I like all the other things it means, too. That it's not just a date and a good looking guy to take me to prom but someone I can talk to and have a blast with. So what if I'm in the public eye a lot? Trust me, I'm not falling into that trap and neither am I going to let you do it. I'm Sylvina Martescu. Take me as I am, and forget about Sylva and Jewel. Because I'm in love with you, and that's that."

Logan eyed her for a moment. Then, without a word, he got to his feet, crossing the kitchen to slip his arm around her shoulders. She did not pull back, and he offered her a rueful smile.

"I'm sorry." He said again. "Now I feel like the biggest loser on the planet."

"That's about fair." Sylva told him, but there was a teasing sparkle in her blue eyes. "But I guess I forgive you. This time. It's a freebie, because it's the first time we've had an issue like this. I won't be so kind next time - be warned."

"I love you too." Logan retorted. Sylva raised an eyebrow.

"Do you?" She asked bluntly. "Or are you just playing words with me now?"

"No..." Logan hesitated, then, "No, I actually do. It just takes a guy a bit longer to put those things into words, is all."

"Threat to the machismo?" Despite herself, Sylva giggled. She reached up to pull him to her level, kissing him gently.

"There, does that make it worth it?"

"I guess it'll do." Logan bantered back. "I'm glad we're not fighting any more. And I'm sorry about your friend's Mom, Syl. I really am. I guess I haven't helped with that whole situation."

"No, but you haven't made it worse." Sylva said pensively. "Jack's gonna need my support, Logan - you need to accept that here and now. I won't let him down. Him or Courtenay."

"And I won't ask you to." Logan assured her. "Now I know where we stand. I'll be fine, I promise. And you're right...if was Aaron, I'd expect you to do the same thing."

"Then we're good." Sylva said decidedly. "And ew, you're still damp."

"Well, I just walked through a rainstorm to see you." Logan retorted. "Is it any surprise?"

"You walked here?" Sylva stared at him. "Geez, you are mad!"

"Completely." Logan agreed cheerfully. "But I wouldn't trust my driving in weather like this and I know the way. I grew up here, remember? I know the short cuts."

"Yeah, but still..." Sylva shook her head slowly. "Well, I'm not letting you go back out in it, so it looks like you're stopping the night here."

"Added bonus?" Logan raised an eyebrow. Sylva swiped him playfully.

"We have several guest rooms." She told him archly. "There's an almost two year old in the house and the Starlight is hardly a quiet lover's retreat. Besides, you can't fight with me and then expect to sleep with me the same night. It so doesn't work like that."

"I don't see why not." Logan appraised her thoughtfully, a playful gleam in his hazel eyes. "You're hot and I need to get out of these wet clothes..."

"Oh, stop it." Sylva grinned. "I'm warning you. There are house rules and besides, unless you want to make Hollie a little playmate, you better put the idea out of your head. I've nothing here."

"Pity." Logan looked regretful. "Oh well. There's always another day."

"If you're lucky." Sylva agreed. "I'll think about it."

"Syl? Logan?" At that moment the door of the kitchen swung open, revealing an anxious looking Sadie. "Syl, listen...I'm sorry to interrupt, but I just had a call from Misfits Music. From Jetta."

"Jetta?" Sylva looked startled, disentangling herself from her boyfriend's casual embrace. "Is this a late night Jewel summons or something? Because Topaz is out, and I'm not calling her back."

"No." Sadie bit her lip. "No, it's something else. One of the lifts at the company has snapped a cable. The car just fell six floors."

"Yeouch." Sylva pulled a face. "So?"

"So Jetta thinks Nancy was inside it." Sadie said quietly. "And right now, they can't get any kind of response."

Prologue: Flashback: Carrowville, Arkansas
Chapter One: Memory
Chapter Two: Spies and Secrets
Chapter Three: Jack
Chapter Four: Flashback: The Hartlin Bar, Carrowville
Chapter Five: Margot's Plan
Chapter Six: Confidences
Chapter Seven:Flashback: The Wedding Reception
Chapter Eight: Fallout
Chapter Nine: Advice
Chapter Ten: A Friend In Need
Chapter Eleven: Logan
Chapter Twelve: Flashback: Sian's News
Chapter Thirteen: Ambush
Chapter Fourteen: Reconciliation
Chapter Fifteen: Flashback: Farewell
Chapter Sixteen: The Curse

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