The first time I ever saw Logan Malory was when I was six, playing in the living area with my Barbie dolls.
He was twenty-four at the time, and our fathers were best buddies, so his visits to my house were frequent. Sometimes he came alone, sometimes with a girl from his college.
Every time that he showed up, he brought something for me. Be it my favorite candy or toys, Logan had successfully weaved his way into the heart of an innocent little girl.
He was the first man apart from my father that I adored. Maybe I had my mother to blame for that, since she would tell me bedtime stories about a tall, blue-eyed, handsome prince who lived in a white castle.
When I looked at Logan, I was convinced he was the prince of my stories. His house was also white-bricked so it really made sense to me that he was royalty.
He was the definition of perfection with his thick dark hair, features smooth like a Hollywood star, and eyes so strikingly blue, you wouldn’t be tempted to visit the ocean.
To the six-year-old me, he was the prince I was going to marry when I grew older. The snot-dripping boys at my school didn’t stand a chance.
I even told him about my feelings on my seventh birthday, when he showed up with his girlfriend at the party.
“Logan is my Prince Charming, and I’m going to marry him!” I remember declaring in my bubble-gum pink dress, wearing a small crown on my head.
The crowd laughed, including my parents, along with Logan and his girlfriend at the time. The damn party was in hysterics.
“Did you hear what she said, Lo? Isn’t she just adorable?” she cooed.
He was laughing when he said, “Of course, honey. Logan will marry you. He’ll just have to wait another twenty years.
“I would wait for my princess for as long as it took.”
Ironic how he never married and circumstances now are so twisted that we are going to be forced to marry each other in a matter of four weeks.
“Mommy, can I have a chocolate donut with sprinkles on it?” my four-year-old son Chase asks me as he polishes off the remaining crumbs of his muffin. He looks at me with those innocent puppy eyes that are impossible to say no to.
“Sure, sweetie, here you go.” I fish for the change from my purse and hand it to him.
Chase has a bit of a sweet tooth, just like me, and recently he’s been having a ton of desserts. Unlike the fussy mothers I know of, I think I’m a little too soft on him.
I watch my son almost jumping his way to the counter excitedly. He’s a great kid, very easy to please.
I down my second cup of coffee while I do some people-watching. This is one of my hobbies when I’m outside. I like to look at people around me and guess what’s happening in their life.
For instance, the couple that sits two tables down from mine. They seem happy. The girl smiles at something the guy says to her, but her smile is strained, and she seems distracted by her phone.
I wonder what their life is like, if she’s checking her phone because she’s cheating on the texter with this guy, or if this is her husband, and the cheater is the one who’s texting her.
I like to solve puzzles. It helps me keep my mind off things.
I take the last bite of my donut before dusting the powder off my fingers. Chase returns to the table with two chocolate donuts. One has a Spider-Man web decorated on it.
“Who are we meeting here, Mommy?”
That’s the cue for the café’s door to open.
Logan walks through the door like he owns the place. He’s wearing a tailored navy-blue striped suit, and I honestly have no clue how someone with a sturdy, muscular body can look so elegant wearing it.
He looks like a mix of a Ralph Lauren model and a member of a SEAL team. The thick, unruly dark curls are tamed, but the wind has somehow managed to flop his plan a little.
Gone is the boyish touch. In place of it is a man aged like fine wine. There is a sprinkle of silver hair at his temples, but that does not take away from his beauty.
He’s so good-looking at forty-one, it hurts to watch and should be illegal.
The only difference is that he barely smiles now. The carefree Logan who laughed with abandon is dead, and in place of him is this older, cynical man.
I wonder if I’ve imagined it. Maybe I was too young to realize that he used to put up a facade for everyone to see.
“Did your father tell you why you’re here?”
“Hello to you, too, Mr. Malory. This is my son, Chase. Chase, say hi to Logan.”
“Hi, Logan,” Chase says shyly, picking up the action figure that he takes everywhere, sometimes even the bathroom.
“I figured you’d want to get straight to the point.” He doesn’t smile and skips the greetings all together. In fact, he looks annoyed, and I have a growing suspicion that I’m the reason behind that frown.
“Let’s get to the point, then.”
Then I realize Chase is still here sitting with me, and I don’t need him to listen to this conversation.
I fish out another few dollars from my purse and hand it to him. “Honey, why don’t you go play in the kid’s play area?”
“Okay.” He looks all too happy to grab the money and get the fuck out of this adult talk.
“Come back here in thirty minutes, okay? Wait, what did I say about strangers?”
“No accepting candies?”
“Never. Have fun, baby.”
When Chase is out of earshot, Logan turns his icy blue eyes in my direction. “I was hoping you would convince your father that marrying me is a bad idea.”
I smile at him. “Absolutely not.”
This story is very complicated and starts with a screaming match.
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