Authors: Avery James
As Logan tossed the suit onto the bed and started to change, his phone lit up. Expecting Callie, he picked it up and answered without looking. “Hey, are you ready already?” he asked.
“I was born ready, son,” the voice drawled on the other end of the call. “You know that.”
Logan froze. “Dad?”
“The one and only.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I was calling to let you know that the legislation I’ve been working on finally passed.”
“I know,” Logan said.
“I know you know,” Hank replied. “I heard through the grapevine that someone paid a visit to Jack Coburn a few days back.”
“Oh yeah, who?” Logan asked.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Hank said.
Logan hated doing this back and forth with his dad. Nothing was ever good enough. If Hank didn’t get it done on his own, then he would rather it hadn’t gotten done at all. “He’s a good friend. You know that. I was just checking in. Was there anything else? Or should I go?”
“Hows the house guest doing?” Hank asked, the slight hesitation in his voice revealing the true reason for his call. He wanted to know why Callie wasn’t checking in. He wanted to know if his precious bill was still slated to go to vote.
“I know why you sent her here,” Logan said. “And I’m letting you know that I don’t need a chaperone.”
“What are you talking about?” Hank asked. His indignation at the question rang through even clearer than his words. Damn he was good at lying. Maybe that’s where Logan had learned that skill.
“I like her, dad. I like her a lot. And if you care at all about me, you’ll drop all of this crap now.”
“Logan,” Hank said, as if the name alone were enough to voice his disapproval.
“We’re dating? Okay?” Logan said. “I don’t need your permission to see her. I’m not a kid anymore.”
“You think bringing a girl out a few times means you’re dating? I mean, for you, that’s progress, but it’s far from a serious relationship. At some point, you have to take responsibility for yourself and for others. She quit her job this morning. Did she tell you that? She called up her pregnant sister and quit, just like that. She has commitments, responsibilities. She has a future Logan, and she doesn’t need you getting in her head. When I heard that you two were consorting, I had hoped maybe she’d be a good influence on you. It looks like the opposite happened.”
Callie quit her job?
Logan felt a hollow shock inside. This is what he had wanted, what he had pushed for, but for some reason, it didn’t make him happy at all. In fact, it just made him feel guilty. She was going to give up everything for him, and he was hiding the truth from her, lying about what he was doing, trying to cover up what he had done in his efforts to be with her. No. He wasn’t going to let his father make him feel bad about this. This was Callie’s decision, and Hank would have to respect it. “She’s an adult too,” he said. Logan never actually thought Callie would go through with it. It had been a taunt, a tease, a way of reminding her that their situation wasn’t permanent, but it was more than that too. It was his way of asking her what their relationship really meant. Now that she had answered that question, her response terrified him.
“She has a job, Logan. She has a family.”
“This again? You could have just asked me to talk to Jack. You could have admitted for once that I could help you. I don’t need you cleaning up my messes for me. I’m a grown man. And I’m fully committed to taking responsibility.”
“Like last summer, when you ran off with that pop singer? Or this year, when a sex tape popped up? All while you were too busy partying to pay attention to anything else. Last time I checked, you were living on my boat and using my mansion as your personal function hall.”
“I spent the past year trying to forget what happened with Nikki, and trying to make something of myself, trying to make you proud, but it’s never enough,” Logan shouted. His voice echoed through the room. It was never enough.
Nothing was ever good enough for his father. Not the first business, not the second, not the repeated attempts to become something more than a party boy.
Hank’s voice softened. “Logan, you know I’m proud of what you’ve done, but at some point, you have to acknowledge reality. Think of the man she thinks you are, and think of the man you know yourself to be. Are they the same?”
“I love her, dad.” Logan swallowed hard and waited for the barrage to come, a lecture about true love, a speech about Hank’s decades and decades of marriage and dependability.
“True love requires sacrifice, son. Ask yourself what you’d give up to make her happy.”
“Everything, the house, the boat, the money, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“Hopefully it will never come to that,” Hank said.
Logan snorted. “You just can’t believe that I’m capable of being happy, can you?”
“That’s not it at all, son,” Hank said.
“Dad, I have to go. Hopefully I won’t screw everything up for you.” Logan ended the call and stared out the window. Callie was down in the guesthouse, getting ready for their big date. The sun beat on the windows, and everything, from the lush, green lawn, to the perfectly manicured trees and gardens to the gently rolling bay, everything looked picture perfect. Callie had quit her job. He had won. She was his, and he felt sick to his stomach about it. He was leading her down a bad He should have been able to forget the phone call and go on with his day, but he was so worked up that his blood practically boiled in his veins.
True love requires sacrifice
. Logan knew what his father had meant: you’re not good enough for her. You’ll never be good enough for her. What was worse was that he knew that his father was right. True love requires sacrifice.
You have no idea, dad
Callie looked across the sea of pastel dresses and seersucker suits as Logan led her to their seats. The dead heat of August had lifted for the afternoon, and she was glad to feel the cooler air for a change. She had told Logan that she wanted to see some traditional Newport before she left, and he hadn’t disappointed. Everywhere she looked, everyone was impeccably made up. Most of the men wore suits, and the women wore sundresses and party dresses. Here and there, there were even entire bachelorette parties decked out in matching attire, but the real draw was the wide field before them. As Callie followed Logan to their seats, she watched the field stretch off into the distance, a yawning expanse of grass larger than any sporting field she had ever seen.
Logan stopped just short of the sideline and pointed to two cloth lounge chairs set up on the grass. Between them sat a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne on ice.
“I was inspired by your picnic at the vineyard, but I figured I’d add a little bit of my personal touch to it.”
“Is that where the five hundred dollar bottle of champagne comes into play?” Callie asked.
“I know they say horse racing is the sport of kings,” Logan said, “but polo and day drinking has been the sport of the Newport elite since long before I was born.”
“This sounds like a sport I could enjoy,” Callie said as Logan popped the cork. After the plume of fizz settled down, he poured her a glass.
Logan raised his glass in a toast. “To us,” he said.
“To us,” Callie replied, clinking her glass against his before taking a long, slow sip. As the bubbles tickled her tongue and rolled down the back of her throat, she thought back to Logan’s speech about feeling like the only two people in a crowded room. Sure they were outside instead of inside, but that was exactly how she felt with him, like everything else was just background noise, like he was the only other person in the world, like there was no place she’d rather be than right there with him.
She stared into his eyes and felt an urge to kiss him, but he leaned in and kissed her instead, sending a rush of warmth and excitement through her body as he slid his tongue against hers. She closed her eyes as their lips parted. The sun warmed her face and the breeze gently flowed over her, but she felt nothing but Logan’s soft kiss as it lingered on her lips.
, she wanted to lean in and kiss him again. Maybe she could sneak another kiss in when everyone was looking in the other direction.
As the match started, Logan explained the basics of the sport, the teams and the layout of the field as well as the rules and the periods, which she refused to believe were called chukkas until she heard the announcer say it over the loudspeaker.
Soon, something else caught her attention, something off to the side of her field of view. She couldn’t help but stare off to the side at the couple sitting across from her at the tent. Henry and Evelyn leaning against each other, watching the match from inside the VIP tent. Apparently Henry had lived up to his promise of giving Evelyn a honeymoon to remember. She was surprised that they were still in town. As far as she knew, they had only been planning to stay for a little over a week. Callie had been in town for close to a month, but she couldn’t deny that they were there. And they were there in style. Even Logan hadn’t been able to score seats that good.
“Ahem,” Callie said, elbowing Logan in the side. “I think it’s time for you to admit defeat.”
“What in the world are you talking about? The match just started, Callie.”
“I’m not talking about polo. I’m talking about them.” She pointed over to the old couple. They were holding hands as they watched the match flow back and forth across the field before them.
“Oh,” Logan said. He scratched his chin and squinted a bit, feigning confusion. “Hey is that that old couple you wanted to introduce me to?”
“You know exactly who they are,” Callie said.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Logan said. He was either a terrible liar or he was enjoying letting Callie know he was playing dumb.
“You’re going to lose our bet, just admit it. They’re completely in love, and nothing could make them happier.”
“I still think I could easily make them both happier,” Logan said.
“And you’re wrong,” Callie shot back.
Logan grinned. “Why don’t you bring me over, and we’ll ask them together?”
“I’m not letting you anywhere near them. I don’t want you to taint their perfect honeymoon.”
Logan shrugged. “Have it your way. You should at least go over and say hi. Don’t worry. I’ll stay here and mind my manners.”
Callie gave him a suspicious look and looked down at the champagne. “This isn’t some kind of trick, right? Either there’s something in this champagne, or you’re actually being considerate. Promise me you won’t bother them.”
“Not until you call me over,” Logan said. He struggled to hold back his smile.
Callie laughed and shook her head. “I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
“Go say hi,” Logan said.
“I’m sure they won’t even remember me.” As Callie spoke, a group of riders thundered past on their horses, pulling her attention away from the conversation. The horses were beautiful and frightening from such a short distance, and they seemed perfectly attuned to their riders who were lunging and positioning themselves to knock the ball back and forth across the pitch. She watched in awe as they rumbled past again and again.
Logan elbowed her, breaking her concentration. “Ahem,” he said, “I don’t want to distract you, but I think your friends are waving.”
Callie turned and waved back to Henry and Evelyn. “I guess they do remember me.”
“How could anyone forget you?” Logan asked.
“Not everyone wants to sleep with me, you know.”
“You don’t know that,” Logan said. “You really do assume the worst of my intentions, don’t you?”
“Would you expect anything less?” Callie joked.
Logan laughed. “Of course not. Now go over and say hi. The half is almost over. I’ll meet you out on the pitch for the divot stomping.”
“The what?” Callie asked.
“The divot stomping. At the half, everyone goes out onto the field and stomps down all of the divots that have been kicked up during the match. Think of it as a chance to do some of that dirty work you like so much.”
“That’s more of a figure of speech,” Callie said.
Logan waved his hand, as if to dismiss her. “Yeah, yeah, go on. Your fan club is waiting for you. I think you should give me a kiss before you go though.”
“Oh do you?” Callie asked.
“Unless you want me to kiss you,” Logan said.
“What if I don’t want either?” Callie replied.
“Skipping right to the good stuff instead?” he asked.
Callie leaned in and kissed hm on the cheek. “We’ll see about that later. Once you admit I’ve won our bet.”
“Sounds perfect,” Logan said.
When Callie reached Henry and Evelyn, they both stood up and wrapped their arms around her in a hug. The old couple was beaming. They were both tanned, and energetic and seemed much younger than they had the first time Callie met them. “We don’t know how to thank you,” Evelyn said.
“It’s really beyond anything we could have dreamt of,” Henry said.
“What are you talking about?” Callie asked.
“Our honeymoon. What you’ve done for us was so above and beyond anything we could have imagined.”
“I let you move to my seat. It wasn’t a big deal.”
“No big deal?” Evelyn asked. “Little did we know on the plane that we were rubbing elbows with someone of influence. Oh, the sunset dinner cruise, the upgraded suite and extended stay at the hotel, the guided tours of mansions, it’s all been a dream. I don’t know how we could ever thank you.”
Callie looked back up the sideline toward Logan, who seemed like he was purposely avoiding looking over to her. “You said there was a note left for you on my behalf?”