Pale Grew Thy Cheek and Cold, Colder Thy Kiss

By Catheryne

RATING: PG13 - R

PAIRING: Logan/Veronica, Casey/Veronica

SUMMARY: A murder and a broken promise first tore them apart.

SPOILER: S1

WORD COUNT: 2,500

DISCLAIMER: VM is RT's.

http/catheryne. inspired by Lord Byron's When We Two Parted.

iWhen we two parted
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this!

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow;
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me -
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met:
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee? -
With silence and tears./i

Part 1

Over time, it was easy to find out the best traits of people. Veronica met Casey's eyes over the heads of her customers. When he saw her from across the shop, his intent face lightened with a smile. He waved, and so did she.

Veronica stood up and excused herself from the couple that she was speaking with. "You can look through these two theme albums so you'll have a better idea of the work I do," she told them.

She made her way through the smaller tables, smiling and nodding to her clients. She met Casey by the door, and looped her arms around his neck. He leaned down and returned the embrace. When he pulled back and looked down at her, he flicked her nose and greeted, "Business doing great huh?"

Veronica turned around and saw exactly what Casey saw. Before he had left for college, this room had been an empty, unfurnished, for lease space. Now, Veronica's five little tables were all occupied by couples going over their desired wedding themes, choosing photography packages or giving their down payment. "What did you expect?" Veronica parried. "I'm a success at whatever I do!"

Casey grinned then pulled her hand. "That you are." He pulled again, and Veronica stumbled slightly then fell against him. When she looked up to tell him off, she saw him regarding her seriously. "Missed me?"

"Of course." Veronica beamed up at him, then rose on tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek. "Welcome home. Now shoo! Go home and show your parents you're still alive. I'm a working girl, and I'm on the clock."

Casey pouted half-teasingly. "I get back after five months away and that's all I get?"

"I'll drop by later with ice cream and movies?" she suggested sweetly. "I'm sorry, Casey. I've got a business to run."

He shook his head, then glanced back at her clients. "Whoever thought you of all people can pull off a wedding coordinator business?" Casey chuckled. "You're so butch!"

Veronica slapped him on the arm, then forcefully turned him around and pushed him out the door. "I'll see you later!"

She remained by the doorway and waved a Casey jumped into his Jaguar and blew her a kiss before speeding away.

Veronica smiled and turned around, then regarded the shop the way that Casey must have seen it. It had started out as her simple strategy to save up more money for college. After high school, Madison Sinclair had decided that she was going to marry Dick Casablancas. Their Hollywood wedding photographer decided to turn paparazzi for a day when on the way to the wedding, he chanced upon Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. When the photographer canceled, Madison Sinclair screeched until her parents had found Veronica Mars and asked her to take photos. With the held of Mac, Veronica produced a multimedia digital wedding album, and ensured that she would be booked for months.

The accident turned into a profitable business. When Meg leant her voice to sing during a girlfriend's wedding, and Mac set up a website, Wallace decided to refer them to a teammate who knocked up the congressman's daughter. It was that grand wedding that placed Veronica on top of Neptune's wedding business. It was a simple matter to set up the place and go full on as an all-around provider for wedding needs.

"This romance thing is really good business," she thought to herself.

That was all it was going to be.

She forced a smile to her lips.

i"I'm thinking of just running away to Vegas. It's so much easier, you know," she said softly, playing with the sheets he had thrown over their cooling bodies.

"An Elvis chapel in Vegas is not romantic. No!" he rumbled decisively.

"But it's perfect! It's hassle-free."

He tipped up her chin so that she would meet his eyes. Then he shook his head. "Your wedding is going to be a once in a lifetime event. You deserve more than thirty minutes of preparation, a rented gown and a priest with sideburns!"

Veronica giggled at the image he created in her mind. "So if you had a choice, what would your dream wedding be?"

"St. Peter's Cathedral, six hundred guests, you with a thirty foot train and the Russian Children's choir flown in for the occasion," he answered easily.

Veronica hit him with a pillow. "Don't be funny! You don't even know what you want, do you?"

He chuckled and caught the pillow and snatched it away from her. Then he wrapped his arm around her waist and drew her up against him. "It doesn't matter where or when," he told her, meeting her lips with swift kisses, "it's going to be perfect as long as it's going to be you walking down that aisle."

Her heart swelled at that confession. Veronica smiled and picked up his hand, placing a kiss on his fingers. "Okay, that's…" She cursed at herself for how her eyes teared up at that simple statement. "How does this sound? Dog Beach. Five pm. Thirty guests. A flowered arch. Barefoot in the sand."

He sighed, and Veronica held her breath. She was reminded of how often that type of wedding occurred in movies, and she could not bear it if he thought it was trite, and so unsuitable for the son of millionaires. Then he smirked at her, and said, "Sounds like you and me."/i

"Veronica, I think Jenny and Mark already chose their theme."

Veronica blinked away the memory and focused on Mac, who was staring at her oddly. "Oh?"

Mac stepped closer, holding on to four rolls of fabric. "Are you okay? You've been standing there in a trance for a whole seven minutes since Casey left. He didn't break up with you, did he? If he did and he was grinning all the way, he's an idiot and you're better off without him."

Veronica shook his head and chuckled slightly, then threw her arm around her friend's shoulders. "Casey should hear everything you say about him behind his back."

"Oh you'd never tell!" Mac looked up at Veronica. "So you didn't break up?"

"No!" Veronica exclaimed. "Now go and do what you need to do with all that."

"It's for the Sanchez wedding. She wants a multicolored, multilayered bridal train," Mac muttered.

"That's bound to jack up the price," Veronica concluded. "Go for it!"

As Mac turned to the Sanchezes, Veronica returned to the couple she had abandoned earlier. She hoped that they had chosen the third package. It was the most expensive one, after all. Then, she, Mac and Meg would be able to afford a new logo to put their business up in lights.

She wondered when she became so cynical about love?

i"Shut the hell up, Veronica!" Logan spat out, glaring at her as he gripped the bloody knife. He was drenched in blood, and Veronica couldn't help but glance at the prone figure at his feet.

She had screamed until she was hoarse, and Veronica fell to her knees, soaking her pants with the warm blood. Veronica reached down to take Duncan's shoulders so she could turn him over. "Oh God!" she sobbed, because Duncan did not stir.

"Don't touch him!" Logan yelled. "I don't want your fingerprints on him!"

Veronica flinched and jumped back. She focused on the knife. "Logan, your prints will be all over that," she whispered.

"I'll take care of it," he said curtly. He looked her up and down, assessed the bloodied clothes. Logan pulled her up by her elbow. "Who knows you came to see me?"

Veronica allowed herself to be pulled up, her eyes remaining on Duncan. "No one," she murmured. "You know no one knows about us."

"Good." Logan placed the knife on the table, and cupped Veronica's face with his hands. He saw her wince and noticed that he had smeared her face with the blood from his hands. "Veronica, no one can ever know."

"I have to tell!" she choked out.

"No!" he exclaimed. "From now on, you are never going to come see me. And I'm never going to see you," he said intently. "You and I don't talk, Veronica."

"What? No!" Veronica grasped at the hands cupping her face, and he heard the sick sound of the blood on hers mixing with the blood on his. "I'd rather tell!"

"Shut up!" he spat. "I'll take care of it, but I want you to go home and never ever tell anyone about being here tonight."

She moved away, with every step her heart sank at the thought their future was going down the drain.

"Wait," he said. Veronica's breath caught. He had changed his mind. Please, let him have changed his mind. "Take off those clothes," he told her. "I'll burn them. You can wear the dress you left last night. I'll pack up anything you may have left behind. Expect an unmarked box at your doorstep in the morning."

"Logan, I don't want this."

He shook his head. "We don't have a choice."/i

"So you were able to choose your package and your theme, I hear," Veronica said in a jolly tone as she made her way back to the table.

"We did," Jenny beamed. "And was that Casey Gant? I didn't know he was your boyfriend."

"Jenny's been in Switzerland," Mark offered. "That's why she's so behind when it comes to news."

Veronica smiled, and she was proud that the smile did not waver. "I hardly think that our love life is news."

"Oh it is when you've hooked a publishing multimillionaire," Jenny teased.

i"You're not going to college because you need to save up?" Casey repeated as he held her hand while she told him about her plans. "You do realize I can buy the community college so you can tear it down for fun."

Veronica stiffened in her seat as she saw Logan walk through the doors of the coffeeshop. He glanced towards their table, and Veronica snatched her hand out of Casey's.

Logan merely nodded at Casey.

"Hey," Casey said softly, "are you embarrassed at the thought of Logan Echolls seeing us together? You barely dated a month. I'm sure he's not going to be upset."

"Of course not," Veronica argued. "He barely pays attentions to me as it is."

Casey looked towards Logan as he slumped in a booth. He shook his head. "It's such a pity, isn't it? He's gone downhill since Duncan Kane's murder. God, I can't imagine a family with as much bad luck as the Kanes!"

Veronica swallowed heavily and allowed her gaze to drift towards Logan.

"And he'd been doing so well the months right before Duncan was found stabbed and dumped in Dog Beach." Casey looked at Veronica. "I'm almost afraid to leave you here."/i

"Believe me, Casey has the same weird habits as any other guy," Veronica shared. "He forgets to call, he drinks too much when he's with friends, and he loves his car more than he loves me when I'm being a bitch." She looked down at the albums that they had put aside, then at the album that they had chosen. It wasn't the most expensive package, but it was certainly the most popular for young couples. "So what did you choose?"

"Out first date was a picnic on the beach," Mark said shyly. "So we're going for the beach wedding. Right at sunset. We'll only have about a hundred and fifty guests."

"Let me guess," Veronica said. "Dog Beach?"

Jenny screwed her nose at the suggestion. "Too many bikers there, and there are dogs everywhere! I'm thinking of something more upscale."

Veronica kept her smile pasted on as she took note of the details. After jotting down the specifics, she suggested, "Given the open air and the gorgeous scenery, might I suggest the third package for your video and photography needs? No other package would fit as well."

Mark looked down at the package details, and ticked off the included services. "That looks about right," he said. "You have designers here, don't you?"

Veronica nodded, and picked out a CD that contained a slideshow of sample designs together with the names of designers available. "You can choose among all of the names we have here. I assure you they're the best."

"I was thinking Vera Wang," Jenny said.

"Vera can make a wonderful gown for you, I'm sure."

"I just want to know if you have some nice stilettos that will go with this," Jenny said, pulling out a magazine clipping of her chosen dress.

Veronica's smile finally wavered at the intricate and heavy gown design. "Jenny, stilettos don't really say beach wedding. You might also want to check out the design of Samantha Chase in the CD. Just a thought."

Jenny and Mark finally rose to discuss whether Jenny should change her gown or they just choose a different venue. Veronica leafed through the pages of requests that the two had already placed for their wedding.

She stood up and stretched her arms. Veronica glanced at the clock. She only needed to stay a couple of hours more, and then she can finally settle back in bed. Then she remembered that she was going to drop by Casey's house, have another veiled insult thrown at her by his mother, then listen to Casey tell her about college.

i"Are you crazy?" she demanded. "Why in Dog Beach? That's where we were gonna be married!"

"I told you not to contact me," Logan hissed.

"Just answer me that, Logan," she sobbed into the phone.

There was a long silence, and then he told her, "I didn't do the dump. I hired someone. There's no point preserving it. We're not going to get married, Veronica."

"God, I hate you!" she screamed.

Logan hung up the phone./i

"Veronica!"

She turned and saw Meg frowning at her. "Oh sorry, Meg. Did you need any help?"

"I called your name four times. I think you should go."

"What?" Veronica shook her head. "It's just two hours more before closing. It's fine, Meg."

Meg grinned and pointed to the door. "Well that ice cream's not going to stay frozen for two more hours."

Veronica turned around and saw Casey smirking at her with a bag that suspiciously looked like it contained a gallon of ice cream. "Pizza and movies in the car," he told her.

"I'm working, Casey!" she protested, although she was grinning at how much he deflected.

"Go on, Veronica," Meg urged her. "Casey only comes home every few months. Don't let him melt."

Veronica shook her head, but grabbed her bag. "All right, Casey. Come on!"

Casey drew Veronica close and called out, "Thanks, Meg!" He gave the ice cream to Veronica, who seemed eager to look inside to check the flavor. "Ooooohhh double rocky road mint fudge! You've been bumped from an eight to a ten in the hot guy scale."

tbc