The King of Neptune High

Characters: LoVe, Ensemble

Summary: A high school romance story involving Veronica, Logan, Lilly and Duncan. Alternative to the LoVe story had events leading up to Lilly's death not happened. Just say this is completely AU.

Rating: PG13-R

AN: Lilly is not dead. Thus, pink Veronica hasn't metamorphosed into Keith's action-figure daughter yet.

I have to step a little bit outside the mystery genre. It takes a lot of planning and makes my nose bleed. At times, I just want to exercise my fingers and have fun exhausting the words in my brain. Thus, I have decided to have a finger exercise story going that I can update when I need to take a few days plotting the next part of the mystery fic.

So please don't expect grand revelations or angsty past mistakes. This is me writing without the plot outline that rules most of my other stories. Simply put, just like the original title of this story – This is Just a Love Story.

Part 1

One thing amazing about high schools is, no matter how rebellious young adults got when it came to authority, they would not hesitate to create their own monarchy.

Neptune High was different from many schools in America. The high school boasted a class of young men and women who would, in about ten years, be gracing Fortune magazine. Yet like many schools, Neptune High had a tier system that had a figurehead for each division.

On the far side of the tracks were the intriguing but scandalous PCH bikers, whose leader was Eli Navarro, better known as Weevil. All the girls at Neptune knew they were untouchable, and that made them want to touch even more. The guys regarded them as lowlives, and as such feared them. The bikers had nothing much to lose after all.

Pomp and glitter, breeding arrogance and allure, were Neptune's white ass rich boys. They surfed; they shopped; they had food delivered. They were on top of the food chain and attended classes in buildings named after their grandfathers, slept overnight in hotels their parents owned, and drove cars from manufacturers they had personal stock in.

When the parking area of Neptune filled with luxury cars and SUVs, and in strolled the rich kids, one young man was conspicuous at the very front. When he was running behind, the crowd parted to make way for him. No one walked in front of Logan Echolls.

He was, for all intents and purposes, the King of Neptune High.

It was a distinction not easily achieved. Logan was a prince at birth, of course. His parents were critically-acclaimed, award-winning, box office-leading A-list actors. He had the best designer outfits, highlighted hair and devil-may-care attitude. But that can only get a guy so far. Had those been the only requirements, Logan may trail behind Connor Larkin, who was an actor in his own right.

Logan took care of his place. He had carefully crafted practical jokes and he reveled in pissing off the administration. He irritated the hell out of the biker gang and he flirted enough to make ladies swoon, yet at the same time flirted just enough to break their hearts.

It may be exaggeration, but it seemed that Neptune High worshipped Logan Echolls. He was gorgeous, wealthy, playful and witty.

In the same school, the prince of Neptune attended. No, he did not rule the high school. His parents held in their hands all working families of the town and thus, Duncan Kane automatically commanded respect. And respect came. It came in the form of hushed whispers about secrets that lurked in the Kane mansion. He held the same intrigue that titillating crimes had. His name buzzed enough that he was proclaimed president of the student council. He was, after all, his parents' son. Neither did it hurt that he had known the adored and gossiped about Logan Echolls since they were children.

And so the PCH bikers crowded around one table in the quad. At the other end, the rich kids lounged in several large tables, surrounding their Chinese and Italian food delivery.

At the center of the quad, halfway between here and there, sat a girl who hid behind her long golden hair. She tentatively sipped her tetra pack juice.

"Hey Veronica Mars!"

She looked up in surprise. Homecoming queen and the prodigal princess of Neptune, Lilly Kane, in all her glory, stood beaming at her. "Hi Lilly." Veronica glanced around her, checking if people were staring.

"Yes, they are," Lilly said proudly. "Everyone's looking. Who's not gonna look when the most gorgeous ladies in the planet are here?" She took a seat in front of Veronica and placed her lunch tray on the table. "What's the matter, Veronica? You're looking pasty. I have just the thing!" Lilly opened her handbag and scrounged inside. "It's a wonderful foundation I got shipped from Europe."

"Lilly—" Veronica said timidly. Her nerves made her fidget, and she got a scrunchie to tie her hair up in a ponytail. "Why are you over here? Didn't you know—I'm out."

Lilly's eyes went up to Veronica's face. And then she burst into laughter. "That is so butch, Veronica Mars! So not you. It's kind of lesbian, which is so exciting." Veronica blushed. "But I know what you mean. My ex can't touch you. Don't worry."

"Of course he can," Veronica said wryly. She watched as Lilly laid out the food she got from the cafeteria. She truly loved Lilly. Lilly had everything Veronica could only dreamed of yet out of sheer weirdness on Lilly's part, she hung out with Veronica and made sure Veronica wouldn't feel down or out of place.

Lilly dumped some of the food in front of Veronica. "Nutrition for you, my sweet," Lilly pronounced. "The bony look isn't as hot as my sheer voluptuousness."

"Lilly," Veronica reminded her best friend, "Logan's parents are going to divorce because my dad stumbled upon Mr. Echolls having an affair close to one of the crime scenes he was investigating."

Lilly rolled her eyes. "Veronica, are you going to insist on this drama? Seriously, life has to be more fun!"

"Sorry." She sighed. "I just wish I can make everyone stop whispering about me. They're been talking about me behind my back since the news broke out last Friday."

"And Logan hasn't talked to you since then, right? Oh Veronica, he's probably been busy. You know, life!" Lilly shrugged and bit into her apple. Veronica nodded. Seeing something from over Veronica's shoulder, Lilly brightened. "Oh the irritating angel is here for you again!"

Veronica turned around and saw Lily's brother Duncan approaching them with a small pizza box and a paper bag.

"I come bearing gifts!" Duncan greeted.

Lilly clapped as Duncan opened the pizza box in front of them. Duncan drew out a Styrofoam package and opened it, then handed it to Veronica. "Fried dumplings."

"Your favorite!" Lilly exclaimed.

Veronica accepted the food, because she really enjoyed dumplings. Duncan sat beside her. She saw Lilly looking at the two of them fondly, and Veronica uncomfortably shifted away.

"I was a little disappointed that you didn't join me at our table, Veronica," Duncan said shyly. "I wanted to ask you something." He glanced at Lilly, and jerked his head to the side.

Lilly took the hint. She got a tissue and grabbed a slice of pizza. "I'm going to ask Shelley about that blouse. That would make you look so hot, Veronica. We gotta know where she bought it." When Veronica was about to stand up to come with her, Lilly waved her back down. "Stay here. Donut needs to talk."

Veronica watched Lilly's retreating form longingly. Then she turned back to Duncan. "You were saying?"

"That maybe you'll want to go to the Valentine's Day dance with me," Duncan told her.

Veronica bit her lower lip. "Ummm…" She glanced at the school, then back at Duncan. "I don't know, Duncan."

"Need to think about it?" Veronica winced. "It's okay. Think about it. You know Lilly would love it if you came."

Duncan stood up and squeezed Veronica's shoulder. Veronica watched as Duncan went back to the 09er table. Lilly asked Duncan something and he shrugged. Then Lilly jogged back to Veronica's table. "I don't blame you," Lilly said flippantly. "My brother's a little bit vanilla. Between the two of you, it'll be a total snoozefest. However, he really does like you, Veronica Mars. I don't think you can do better in this school. Think about it."

"I will, Lilly. Thanks."

Lilly placed her elbows on the table and leaned forward. "Now about that blouse. We can pick up a purple one. It would totally look amazing on you."

"Lilly, you know I don't have enough money to afford something Shelley Pomeroy is wearing."

"It's my treat," Lilly told her. "It's so worth it to see how people would notice that the same blouse on you can look ten times more amazing than it does on Shelley."

"Lilly!" Veronica protested. "You shouldn't be wasting your shopping money on me. And," Veronica added as an afterthought, "Shelley's supposed to be our friend."

Lilly grimaced. "Number one, I can do anything with my shopping money and this is what I want to do. Number two, and remember this, Veronica Mars, all these other girls are people we go to school with. You and I, we're friends. All of the others are just that—others." Lilly reached out for Veronica's hand and squeezed. "Best friends."

Veronica smiled. "Forever."

"So let's go shopping!" Lilly squealed. "Mushy moment over."

"Lilly, I have to go to work."

"Argh, Veronica!"

"We'll go in the weekend, Lilly. I promise! I'm just saving up for my dad's birthday gift."

Lilly sighed. "I'll drive you to work."

"You're the best!"

"I know," Lilly said offhandedly, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Lilly blew kisses at Veronica as Veronica waved her away in front of the cake shop. When Lille was gone, Veronica proceeded to the backroom where she placed her things in her locker.

In her underwear, Veronica grabbed the locker handle as she slid into her uniform. She reached for the zipper at the back. Hands closer over hers and the dress was zipped shut. Veronica sighed in relief and smiled.

"How were you ever going to zip that without me?" the voice behind her murmured.

The young man behind her dipped his head to kiss the crook of her neck. "Oh… Oh…" she whispered. "That feels wonderful, Logan." Veronica turned around. Logan grinned down at her and kissed her on the lips. "I was going to ask the other waiter Jack," she answered. "He's always happy to oblige."

Logan growled and grabbed her waist. "You wouldn't."

Veronica shook her head. Then she looped her arms around his neck. "I thought you were never going to talk to me again."

"I'm sorry, Ronnie," Logan mumbled. He bent down to kiss around the collar of her uniform. "Everything's just been a mess at home. I wanted to come to you so bad."

"It's okay. At least I know now you're not mad at me."

He took her hand and led her to one of the chairs. "I heard about how they're been treating you at school."

"It was expected," she said. "My dad screwed up your life, Logan. I'm just shocked you're still talking to me."

"My dad screwed up our lives, Veronica. Your dad just stumbled across the Echolls' piece of hell."

Veronica reached out and cupped his cheek. Logan turned his head to place a kiss on her palm. "I missed you."

He nodded. "I missed you too. I'm gonna make up for the lost days though."

"About that," Veronica started. "I'm not too sure about what you wanted, Logan."

"Veronica, Lilly's not in love with me," he assured her. "And I sure as hell for more in the weeks since we hooked up than I ever did while I was with Lilly. You only wanted to keep it a secret so Lilly won't be hurt, right?"

"Logan, Lilly will be hurt. I think she wants me to be with her brother. I love Lilly."

Logan took a few steps back. "You're kidding me, right? You love Lilly so much than you're willing to be with Duncan so she won't feel bad?" Logan repeated in disbelief. "That's sick!"

"No, Logan!" Veronica cried. "I'm saying let's keep this quiet until I'm sure finding out about us isn't going to disappoint my best friend! You understand the concept, don't you? Duncan's yours. Don't you think he'll be hurt when he finds out?"

"He'll survive," Logan spat.

Veronica stepped closer to Logan, and reached for his arm, but he flinched away. Veronica's face fell. She sniffled. "You have to go, Logan. I have to clock in," she whispered. Veronica turned to the door. When she pulled it open, she felt his arms come around her from behind. He embraced her tightly and he buried his face in her hair. "Logan, my boss will deduct every minute I'm late from my pay," she said softly.

"I'll give you a check. Just stay with me."

At that, Veronica gasped and whirled around. Logan frowned. Her eyes narrowed at him. "What the hell do you think of us, Logan!"

"What did I do now?" he roared.

Veronica pushed him away. "Get a clue!" She stalked to the front to surrender her time card.

During the entire four hours of her shift, Logan stubbornly occupied one of the tables, glowering at her and her customers. When she finally had her time card signed by the owner, and she changed into her regular clothes, Veronica grabbed her bag and made her way out through the back door. The shift had been busy and she limped. She was walking down the street when someone grabbed her bag and took her by the elbow.

Veronica was too exhausted to argue. Logan led her to his SUV and opened the door for her. She looked around to check if there was anyone loitering around who knew her.

Logan used the control in the driver side to roll up the heavily tinted windows. "No one will be able to see from outside," he said gently. "And I'll drive in the sidestreets so no one sees me in your neighborhood." He reached for her knee and squeezed.

Veronica quickly jumped from her seat and into his arms. "Thanks," she whispered into his ear. "And sorry for being a bitch."

Logan smirked. "A bitch? You? You're an angel, Veronica Mars."