He was about to leave the police station when he saw her walk in. Veronica Mars had been Lily's best friend that much Eli Navarro knew about her. Lily hadn't told him much else about her life, except she loved Veronica Mars like a sister, and she was fiercely protective of the girl. So when he saw her walking up the stairs in her dirty white dress, make up smeared on her face, and he heard her tell the foreign secretary "I need to repot a crime," he decided to wait around.
It wasn't long before she was ushered back into the sheriff's office, which he realized up until a week ago that had been her father's office. Sheriff Mars had been dismissed after accusing Jake Kane of Lily's murder. After Lily died, nothing was the same anymore. Not ten minutes had passed when Veronica tore out of the office, past him, and back out of the station. He could hear the Sheriff laughing in his office, so Eli quickly followed after her.
She hadn't made it far, he found her on her knees in the grass in the park. Luckily for her, no one was around to see her mild meltdown, except for him. "Veronica?" He called out to her, and she whipped her head up to look at him. She stared at him in confusion, slight recognition in her eyes, she knew they went to school together but she never figured that Eli 'Weevil' Navarro would know her by name. "You okay?"
The laugh that escaped her chilled him to the bone, it wasn't the cute girly giggle he had heard from her in the halls of school before; it was a haunted empty laugh. "No." She didn't say anything else, just wiped the tears from her face and stood, brushing the dirt from her knees.
"Here, let me give you a lift home." He began to offer, but when she started to shake her head vehemently he was at a loss. Whatever happened either she didn't want her father finding out, or it happened at home. Either way, he wasn't about to leave her alone Lily would never have forgiven him for leaving her alone in this state. "Okay, then how about we just get you out of the middle of the park?" He suggested softly, walking up to her like you would a stray you didn't want to spook.
"Why are you even talking to me Weevil?" The fact that she knew his name didn't surprise him, he had quite the reputation. However the way she said it without malice was new.
"You look like you could use a friend." Was all he could manage to say, "Let me at least walk you to your car." With a sigh she led him to her convertible LeBaron, and he was shocked at the words written on the car. "You've got to be shitting me." He hissed when he read the vicious Abel, it should have been her written on the back window. When he walked around to the front he saw someone had labeled the driver's side to say SLUT.
"Yeah well apparently that's what happens when you crash an 09er party." She muttered, he wanted to point out that up until Lily's death she had been considered an 09er by default, but now was obviously not the time. They had turned on her. And for what, because her dad accused Jake Kane of killing his daughter. Like she made him do so. He wanted to ask her what else happens when you crash an 09er party, but he figured it still wasn't the time.
"Come on, give me your keys," he told her, when she looked at him in confusion he continued, "I got an uncle with a garage, they got a carwash I can use for free." He also didn't want her to have to drive anywhere, not with an arrow with the word slut pointing to her perfect face the whole time. From what Lily had told him, Veronica Mars was still a virgin, and aimed to stay that way until she married Duncan Kane. Even after Duncan dumped her before Lily died.
"I don't think…" she was hesitant, looking at him with distrust. However he didn't take it personally, he knew someone had hurt her bad, he could see it written all over her.
"I ain't gonna hurt you, V. Lily would haunt my ass if I tried." At the name of her deceased best friend she stared at him for a while.
"You knew Lily?" The question soft, but not as disbelieving as he would thought it would be. People like Eli and Lily didn't mix, which is why she made him swear never to tell or she swore to god he'd be sorry. However, now she's dead and it didn't matter who he told, nobody would ever believe a girl like Lily Kane used to call him just to say "I love you, E."
At his nod she didn't say anything else, just handed him the keys and climbed into her passenger seat. He hopped in, adjusting the seat to his large frame, and then pulling away from the curb and down towards his neighborhood as she looked in visor mirror and scrubbed at her face. She didn't even seem to notice, or mind, where they were going, she rid herself of whatever black make up had run down her cheeks. After, she stared blankly out the window it was obvious she was lost in deep thought so he didn't talk, just drove. When he pulled into the garage lot, he swung over to where they detailed the cars for customers.
He could see the two different looks he was getting, from his Uncle Angel's workers. One read the astonishment at the graffiti on the car, and the second, utter disbelief when they realized it was Eli behind the wheel. When he parked, she looked up at him startled for a minute but then relaxed again as if realizing who she was in the car with. "I'm gonna talk to my Uncle for a minute." He said hesitantly, "You wanna wait here?" He watched her nervously look around, her eyes landing at the men leering at them in curiosity. "Or you wanna come in with me?"
"Can I come with you?" She nearly whispered.
"Yeah, come on." He said, climbing out of the front seat and slamming the door behind him. She got out much slower, her arms wrapping around herself as if she was trying to hide. He quickly shrugged off his leather jacket and walked around the car, dropping it on her shoulders.
Veronica's surprised look was not the only one he was getting. Eli was not one of those guys who did gentlemanly things, yet here he was driving around a white girl and giving her his jacket. He ushered her towards the garage entrance where his uncle was standing staring at the pair. She stayed close to his side, her eyes darting wildly around. Eli's uncle looked like he was about to tear him a new one for bringing a preppy little white girl to his less than legal place of business but stopped when he got a good look at her.
She didn't greet him politely like she normally would anyone she met. He had seen her rush to meet the new kids at school just to make them feel welcome. Instead she kept her head down and clutched the leather jacket completely around her so you couldn't see her arms or hands. "What's going on, Eli?"His uncle asked, genuinely curious.
"Somebody messed up her car, wanted to use the wash." Eli told him.
Usually his uncle would say something smart, but instead he cast the defeated looking girl one more look before telling Eli, "You know where everything is at, man." And then he turned back to the shop and wandered off to do whatever had to be done.
Eli wasted no time pulling the car up and getting to work scrubbing the nasty words off her car. "Can I help?" The question was so soft, he almost missed it. When he looked up to tell her that he had everything under control he caught the look in her eye. He knew the look well; it was the look of someone about to break unless they did something, anything that got them out of their own head.
"Yeah," he nodded, grabbing window cleaner and another rag, "Knock yourself out, chica." He said with a smile before going back to the back window. It didn't take them long to clean off the windows and neither seemed to know what to say or do after. "You ready to go home yet?" He asked her after he put the cleaner away and the climbed back into her car.
She looked at her cell phone, as if to see what time it is before nodding, "Yeah." When he started to pull away from the garage she spoke up again, "Do you need to go anywhere, is your bike at the park?"
"Nah," he flashed her a smile, "Lamb was nice enough to give me a ride to the station earlier today." Lamb had dragged him in on some bogus charge to hassle him and then cut him loose like Lamb always does since Eli was investigated in Lily's murder. The thing about being someone's secret lover, when they're murdered you're always suspect number one. "I'll have my boy Felix pick me up."
He headed to the richer part of town where he remembered Lily pointing out her house when they drove by in the middle of the night during their secret rendezvous'. "Turn left." She told him, before he could cross out of the 90902 zipcode towards 90905 or 06 where she lived. He knew she wasn't an 09er by income, just association. She had lucked out being Lily's friend, but she still wasn't poor.
"Thought you wanted to go home." He said an eye brow quirked, complying nonetheless.
"I do." She responded, "At the next light go right." She directed, and he obeyed, her giving vague directions at every turn they made until finally they pulled into the Inn at Cliffside, which was really the last stop before you had to move in to Eli's neighborhood.
"What are we doing here?" He was genuinely confused, he had seen her house. Two stories, a brick exterior, and a perfect lawn. Hell they even had the white picket fence.
"I live here." She sighed, looking at the place like she didn't quite believe it either. "As of two weeks ago." The last part was a lot quieter. They got out of the car, and Eli debated on if it would be quicker to wait for Felix or just walk. "Thanks for…", she hesitated, "helping me." She looked like she had more to say, but he was a stranger to her so this was where they parted ways.
"Anytime, V." He nodded, "You be safe, alright?" It was more of a command than a request, and with her nod he left her bay her car, watching him walk away.