disclaimer: see chapter 1
They sat at a large table near the back of the restaurant, and were deep in discussion about dental health.
"What's wrong with rinsing with Listerine? I would think it is far more preferable than having skunk breath." Maggie nibbled on her dinner roll, and glared at Logan.
"This is just between the kid and me. I just don't like that smell choking me when I'm in the middle of a workout. That's all I said." Logan was tiring of this whole discussion. Maggie overheard him and the boy talking about it, and made it a hot topic for discussion.
Francis and Toni sat by, next to each other, listening to the exchange. Francis was amused by it, and Toni appeared horrified. She was not as yet familiar with the bickersome relationship that Logan and Maggie shared. Francis tried to ease the tensions. "Granny, I just over did it, that's all. I can't blame Dad for getting a bit peeved. It is a strong smell. I will just wait until after the workouts to gargle, that's all."
Logan glanced at his son. He was proud that he had never mentioned their frequent visits to the Danger Room to Maggie, or anyone else for that matter. It was Xavier's request that they do not discuss it, and refer to it as a simple work-out. Many of the students remained unaware of the existence of the Danger Room, for their own safety, and were told of it only after they had reached a certain age and maturity, when they were ready to begin their training. Francis was the exception to the rule.
Toni still looked horrified, but she seemed to have relaxed considerably since she first came to the school. She no longer just sank into the background, but she was not a talker either. Francis took care of that for her.
"You ready to hit the salad bar again? Come on." He took his girl by the hand, and she followed after him, blushing slightly.
Logan watched them go, and winced at the sight of the long braid falling down the back of the kid's neck. He turned to Maggie, and noticed her smiling at the two children.
"She is so cute. I wish she talked more. So shy." Maggie pushed away her empty plate, and rubbed her stomach.
"So was the kid when he first came, but he grew out of that in a hurry." He looked up once more at the salad bar, and watched as Francis dutifully placed several items on her plate. She did have a beautiful smile. "I wonder if she has an older sister?" His question got the desired response from Maggie.
"Ugh, you are such a pig." Maggie got up, and headed for the dessert counter, as the two kids made their way back to the table. Francis was carrying his plate, and Toni's. He noticed the look on his grandmother's face, and glared at his father when he sat down.
"What did you say this time?" His voice carried all the exasperation of someone who had seen it all before.
"Not a thing." Logan began to nibble on his chicken wings. "She's just got a bad case of gas, I guess."
Francis narrowed his eyes at his father. "Riiight." He turned to Toni, and began to make small talk as she nibbled on her pieces of lettuce and broccoli. Logan watched the two in their animated conversation. When the boy was dating Stephanie, it seemed more of an intense friendship than a full blown love affair. They would hold hands, and hug and kiss, but the whole relationship lacked passion. This relationship differed drastically. Logan could see simply by the way they looked at each other that they truly cared, and passion was certainly present. She responded to him in a way that showed warmth and her eyes showed her pleasure in his company. A sudden thought popped into Logan's brain at that moment. He decided he was definitely not ready to be a grandfather just yet.
Maggie returned with a plate full of desserts. Logan's eyebrow lifted in amazement at the assortment and volume present on her plate. Francis cleared his throat, and gave him a stern warning look. Logan wisely said nothing.
They finished their meal with simple small talk. Actually, it was Francis and Toni doing all the talking, while Logan and Maggie simply watched, grinning. Maggie also took it upon herself to play up her grandmother role, and chide Toni for eating so little.
"Oh, sweetie. Are you sure you ate enough? There is plenty to choose from up there. How about another salad? Or some fresh fruit?"
Toni blushed and looked at her empty plate. "No. I'm fine. I ate quite a bit."
Francis rolled his eyes, as he continued to nibble on his dessert plate. "Oh, leave her alone. If she wants more, she'll get more. Right hun?"
Toni beamed, and nodded. Francis bit into his brownie, and much to everyone's surprise, he offered it to Toni, and she accepted, taking a petite little bite, and blushing once again.
It was all so sweet; Logan's teeth began to hurt. "Well, folks, how about we call it a day, huh? Or is anyone going to take another trip to the dessert bar?" He pointedly looked at Maggie, who proceeded to kick him under the table, immediately sorry she did. "I bet that hurt." Logan smirked, and started to stand.
Francis jumped to his feet. "Wait! Sit! We aren't done yet." He looked down at Toni and nodded. She got up from the table, and trotted out the door, to the van.
Logan and Maggie simply looked at each other in puzzlement. They both looked at Francis as he stood waiting for Toni to return, a wide, sheepish grin on his face.
"What's going on?" Logan's voice carried a small warning.
Francis only smiled wider. "You'll see." He turned to see Toni returning, carrying a large gift-wrapped box.
Logan muttered and grumbled, suddenly very embarrassed. She handed the box to Francis, who in turn handed it to his father. All eyes in the restaurant were on him, and he glared at Francis for all he was worth. "You had to do this? Here? Now?"
Francis just looked bored, and shoved the package toward his father. "Oh, shut up and deal." He crossed his arms and waited for Logan to open it.
Logan looked around at everyone. Maggie smirked, Francis grinned, and Toni crept up and to look over the boy's shoulder. He took one last grumble, and began to rip open the wrapping. When he finally removed all the paper, and opened the box, he found a brand new leather bomber jacket inside. It was brown, with a fur collar. He glanced up at Francis, who stood by, waiting for a response.
"Well? You like it? You said you were going to get one."
Logan could not find the words, and just sat there, shocked. Maggie snorted and patted his shoulders. "Oh my God, Franky! He's speechless! It's a miracle!"
Logan gave her a side-long glare, and stood, picking up his box, and walked toward the door. He called over his shoulder. "Pay the bill."
Francis watched him walk out the door. He wore disappointment on his face, until he looked out the window, and saw his father standing by the van examining the jacket, running his hand over the fur collar. His smile returned. "He likes it.'
Maggie gathered up her belongings. "Sure he does. What did you expect? You took him completely by surprise. He never expected that." She gave him a hug and a kiss on the forehead. "That was a great gift."
Francis grinned at Toni, who blushed once more and leaned into him. He wrapped his arm around her, and proudly followed his grandmother to the cash register, to pay for the meal.