Logan waited on the doorstep, the floral scent of his grandmother’s roses filling his nostrils. He heard the faint echo of footsteps coming from the other side of the door and he plastered a happy expression onto his face just as the door opened.
His grandmother beamed as she looked up at him. He was only a little over six feet tall, but compared to him, she was tiny. “Logan, sweetheart.”
“Hey, Grams.” He leaned forward to hug her and kiss her on the cheek. The floral aroma met Logan’s nose once more, but this time it came from his grandmother’s skin. “How you been?”
“Fine, just fine,” she told him, ushering him inside before she closed the door behind him. “What about you, sweetheart? They haven’t been working you too hard at the store, have they?”
Logan smiled, but felt his stomach clench. His gaze strayed to the faded yellow wallpaper that lined the hallway. “Of course not.” He didn’t want to tell the truth and worry her.
“That’s good,” replied his grandmother, an almost mischievous grin now on her face. “I thought for a minute you were working so much that you didn’t have time to get your hair cut.”
Logan felt a blush begin to heat his cheeks, and ran his hand through his light brown hair, smoothing it down. His hair was almost brushing the collar of his shirt, but he liked it this length.
“It’s how everyone’s wearing it, Grams,” he mumbled.
“If you say so.”
With a small smile he followed his grandmother into the living room and found his grandfather reading the newspaper while sitting in his favorite recliner.
His grandfather looked up at the sound of his voice. “Logan, my boy. Come sit down and tell me what you’ve been up to in the last week.” He put down the footrest of the recliner and set the newspaper aside on the table next to him.
With a smile, his grandmother went into the kitchen and Logan sat down on the couch. A familiar squeak met his ears as he sank into the cushions and his hand settled on the lace doily that hid the threadbare patch on the arm of the couch. His gaze, like always, was drawn to the photographs displayed around the room.
There were photos of his grandparents on their wedding day, his grandmother on the set of a movie she was in when she was younger, his grandfather in his Army uniform. Logan loved all the photographs, but there were two that were his favorites. The first was of him in the garden with his grandmother, who had a smear of dirt across her forehead. The second was a picture of when he was five years old, dressed in red overalls, sitting on his grandfather’s knee.
It always amazed Logan that he was actually taller than his grandfather now, who when Logan was little used to be able to carry him around on his shoulders. Logan liked remembering such moments from his childhood, when things weren’t so complicated, but seeing his grandparents and remembering those moments also reminded Logan of how old he was. Twenty wasn’t old, but sometimes he longed for the days when he could play in the dirt, stuff himself with candy, and be carefree.
There were other photos around the room, more pictures featuring Logan with other members of his family, but he diverted his gaze from these. The memories they evoked were too painful.
Logan cleared his throat. “I haven’t been up to much. Just the usual. Sleeping and working.”
He felt guilty as he told his grandfather this, but he just couldn’t tell his grandparents the truth.
“No girlfriend yet?”
“Pop! I thought Grams was the one who was supposed to ask those types of questions,” he joked, trying to hide his embarrassment. “And no, I don’t have one.”
“What you need to do is go out more,” his grandfather told him with complete seriousness as he sat forward in his chair. “To those clubs. Or you should try that speed dating.”
Logan groaned. “It’s not really my scene, but thanks for the suggestion.”
His grandfather thought for a second then slapped a hand against his knee. “Mrs. Wilkinson has a granddaughter around your age. Maybe we could set you up with her.”
“Frank!” yelled Logan’s grandmother as she re-entered the room carrying two drinks. “We are not setting him up with that Wendy girl. Logan’s far too good for her.”
Logan smiled. No matter what everyone else in the world thought of him, his grandparents loved him unconditionally and always saw the best in him.
“I wasn’t exactly thinking he should marry the girl,” explained his grandfather. Then in a lower tone to Logan he muttered, “If you know what I mean.” He winked.
Logan couldn’t help laughing, but quickly quietened as his grandmother glared at him.
She set down the drinks on the coffee table then left the room again and he resumed laughing, while his grandfather chuckled.
“That was a close one,” said his grandfather. “Better not annoy her too much, or she might burn our lunch.”
Logan helped serve lunch, which thankfully wasn’t burnt, and sat down with his grandparents in the dining room to eat. They didn’t speak much, but Logan didn’t mind. It was a comfortable silence, and he relaxed in their company.
“Are you working Wednesday?” asked Logan’s grandmother as he helped her take the lunch dishes into the kitchen.
He set his load of plates and cutlery on the counter beside the sink. “Maybe,” he mumbled, not wanting to give a definite answer.
His grandmother looked at him for a moment and Logan averted his eyes.
She turned on the tap and the hiss of water filled the room as it splashed into the sink. “Because I was going to be in your area and thought I’d stop by your apartment if you weren’t.”
The scent of lemon met Logan’s nose as his grandmother squirted dishwashing liquid into the water. He picked up a red and white dish towel and clenched the cloth in his hands. “Okay. I’m probably not, so it would be cool if you stopped by.”
His grandmother smiled, and Logan assumed it was at his use of the word ‘cool.’
As Logan’s grandmother washed the dishes, he dried, and he could feel her eyes on him every now and again. It always made Logan a bit uncomfortable when his grandmother watched him so closely, because her eyes were too similar to his mother’s. Dark blue, with long lashes. But where his grandmother usually looked at him with kindness or concern, his mother’s eyes were now filled with sadness and disappointment whenever she saw him.
Logan blinked his own hazel eyes rapidly to stop the stinging.
“Is everything all right, sweetheart?” His grandmother’s soapy, wet hand gently touched his arm. “You haven’t been right since you got here.”
Logan put on a brave face. “I’m fine, Grams.”
His grandmother frowned, obviously not believing him.
His grandfather entered the kitchen, the same concern on his face that was on his grandmother’s. “Has something happened?”
Logan was about to lie once more, but he just couldn’t. He sighed.
“I lost my job last night,” he told his grandparents softly.
Neither of them spoke right away, and Logan looked up from where he had been staring at his hands, wiping an already dry plate.
His grandmother took the dish towel and plate from him. “What can we do? What do you need?”
Logan smiled slightly. “Another job.”
“Do you have any money put aside?” inquired his grandfather. He leaned back against the refrigerator as he crossed his arms. “If not, we can lend you some.”
Logan shook his head.
“I can’t ask you to do that,” he told them, not quite answering that he didn’t have any money put aside.
“But we want to,” whispered his grandmother.
Logan shook his head again. “If Mom and Dad find out, they’ll be angry. I don’t want to make them upset with you as well. I know they’re already not happy about me having lunch here every Sunday.”
Logan watched as his grandmother met eyes with his grandfather. They both knew he was right. His parents made it very clear his grandparents weren’t to help him financially, and Logan wasn’t sure what his parents would do if they found out his grandparents had.
His grandmother reached over and squeezed his hand, and Logan saw sadness in her eyes. This sadness was different from the look that grew in his mother’s eyes when she saw him. This was an unhappiness because of the situation, not the heartache of a mother who didn’t know whether she still loved her son.
Logan squeezed back, a lump now in his throat and his eyes starting to sting once more.
“At least let me make dinner for you,” his grandmother said and Logan laughed, his heart lightening at least a little bit.
© 2012 Jade Fowler