Logan nursed his beer and toured the various groups at the barbecue, talking up his possible post-college career in the Big Apple one he passed the first stage of law, getting shit from some of the guys over anything they felt like talking about.
It was home, and Logan felt at peace.
He’d loved NYU, enjoyed every second his time in the city, but this dry, warm expanse of green and gold was as much in his blood as his family was.
He’d lost sight of Cassie but finally found her deep in conversation with a besotted looking Luke.
“You okay?” he asked in passing.
She winked at him and inclined her head to Luke. Yep, she was fine.
“Logan, you wanna help me move the beer?”
Logan immediately followed his dad into the house; beer sounded good, and the cool kitchen was the best place to get his dad on his own and to talk.
“Can I get your opinion on something?” He asked before Josh could talk about something like college or girls, or the other stuff dads came out with that were lame.
“Sure,” he said, picked up the crate and placed it on the big kitchen table.
“I’m thinking of coming back down this way,” he began, carefully. His dad had this whole thing in his head about Logan using his degree up in New York. Even though Logan always said he’d come home and work with his dad, Josh wasn’t that impressed, said that Logan could do better than a backwater lawyer.
“For your mom’s birthday?” Josh opened one of the beers and passed it to Josh. The liquid was icy cold and a welcome hit to his overheated body.
“No for longer. I’m thinking of transferring closer to home.”
“Why?” Josh said, aghast. He got his own beer out and chugged some down. “I thought you were happy up north.”
“I am, I like the courses, and the people, and the university, I just don’t love it.”
“UT in Austin. I can drive home at weekends, maybe come work for you when I can.”
Josh sat on the nearest chair and placed his beer on the table. “We talked about this.”
“No dad,” Josh sat opposite him. “You talked about it.”
“You want to stay in a New York, the money you get up there as a lawyer is insane.”
“It’s not about money, dad. I want to work with you. I want to help local people; I want to work with animals and charity and a hundred other things. What I don’t want is to work corporate law in New York.”
Josh went silent, but Logan was used to that. His dad was a deep thinker, and ultimately he would say something, and it would be profound and well thought out. Still, there was a delay, a long one, and Logan’s beer was warm by the time Josh sighed.
“If that is what you want.”
“I do dad.”
Josh nodded, and picked up his beer, grimacing at the warmth and pulling another one out of the cooler. “Your mom will love it.”
Josh looked at Logan and smiled. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah,” he repeated. And that was enough.
They parted when they got outside and dumped the beer. “You tell your mom yeah?”
“Last I saw she was with Riley.”
Josh went back to the barbecue, and Logan split off looking for his mom and Riley. They weren’t anywhere obvious, and he ended up doing one huge circle before heading off to the horse barn. There was no sign of his uncle or mom, but he spotted someone he did want to talk to. The same person that had been avoiding him since he got here.
“Hey, Hayley,” he said. She was leaning on a stall door, fussing Red, her back to the door. She stiffened when he called her.
“Hi,” she said, but didn’t turn to face him.
“Been hoping to talk to you,” he said, and joined her at the door, leaning over it to give his own fuss to Red.
“Looking forward to college?” That seemed like a safe question and stopped him from blurting out what he really wanted to ask.
“Guess so,” she said.
“It’s hard being away from home.”
“I’m not too worried; I can fly back if I need to.”
No doubt Riley would charter a plane, or Jack would drive and pick her up.
“I’m coming back home,” he said, so quietly, like he didn’t want to admit it to Hayley before he spoke to his mom.
That got her attention, and she turned to face him. He got his first proper look at her since last Christmas, and every day she was more heart-stoppingly beautiful. “Back here? What about the rest of your degree.”
“I’m transferring to Austin, and working on holidays with my dad. It means I could come home some weekends.”
“Wow,” she said, and gone was the caution in her eyes, replaced by interest. “How did Uncle Josh take that?”
“He was cool actually.”
They stood in silence, broken only by Red snuffling his hand for treats.
“I like your girlfriend,” Hayley said.
“Cassie? She’s not my girlfriend; in fact, she’s out there with Luke right now.”
And there is was, the guarded look was back in her eyes.
“Oh,” she said.
“I’m not dating anyone,” Logan said, hoping she’d see what he was saying without him putting his heart out there for her to stomp on. What if he was wrong, what if she wasn’t interested in him? “Are you?”
“Me? God no.” She laughed then, but he knew her well enough to discern her fake laugh from her real one.
“Maybe… I had this idea…”
She blinked up at him and tucked her long blond hair behind an ear. “Yeah?”
“One weekend when I’m back, would you like to get a drink.”
“Yeah, with me.”
A smile tugged at her lips, and he really wanted to kiss her there and then. He held himself back.
“I’d like that,” she said, and this time the smile reached her eyes.
Logan couldn’t help himself, he took her hand and held it gently before kissing the palm and closing the fingers over the kiss.
“Keep that for later,” he said.
They could have talked more if Riley hadn't found them. If hi mom and dad hadn't walked in after Riley. Or if Jack wasn’t set on tracking down Riley.
It seemed like everyone wanted to be in the horse barn.
But Logan didn’t care. He’d asked Hayley out, and she’d said yes.