Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Veronica Mars-iverse. Or, anything from Macbeth for that matter. Happy reading!
Spoilers: Everything up to "Not Pictured" is fair game. Nothing from Season Three. Why? Do you know something?
He was the first friendly face Veronica had seen in a week. Logan, standing there, beaming up at her as she bounced down the escalator. She flung herself into his waiting arms, unashamed.
"I'm glad I didn't lose you to the bright lights of the big city," he remarked, holding her tight against him.
"I don't think I will ever go there again. I'm pretty much avoiding all of the east coast from now on," Veronica replied, looking up at him. She laughed at his goofy grin. He dropped a possessive kiss on her lips, effectively cutting off further conversation.
When they finally parted and made for the baggage claim. "So, what did New York do to offend the illustrious Veronica Mars? I know that petty crime is your scene, so it must have been something awful, like show tunes playing in Macy's or that Naked Cowboy guy," he made a face of mock horror, "Tell me it wasn't Dick Clark. I've heard since his stroke, he goes around questioning people about New Year's resolutions all year long now. A shame, really."
"First, I happen to love naked cowboys. Second, petty crime is more your scene," the blonde replied with a laugh, spotting her red shoulder bag riding alone on the carousel. Apparently, Logan's warm welcome had outlasted the rush of travelers on her flight.
"Actually, I go for big tabloid splashy crimes of passion these days. Didn't you watch any television?" Logan asked, plucking up the bag before Veronica could grab it. "Oh. It's heavier. Presents?"
"Maybe. Depends on how well you've behaved in my absence," she replied, twining her fingers into his as they exited.
"Neptune is erecting a statue in my honor in the park for acts of heroism heretofore to be determined and I helped an old lady reach some decaf in the grocery store," Logan counted off each point on his hand, "And, I consoled the bereft Casablancas."
"Which translates into you partied with him until he couldn't remember his name. And what were you doing in a grocery store? Did you run out of shower gel?" Veronica asked as they approached the bright yellow Nissan SUV. Logan open her door and walked around to the driver's side before answering.
Once his keys were in the ignition, he wiggled his eyebrows at her. "I have a surprise for you."
Veronica grinned and clapped her hands, "Let me guess. My dad told you about my childhood dream and you got me a pony?"
Logan grinned, "No, but close." He focused his attention on maneuvering out of the parking lot and into traffic.
"Don't leave me hanging, Logan Echolls. You know I hate surprises," Veronica chastised, knowing full well that he wouldn't tell her. And knowing that he knew that she sort of enjoyed surprises.
He grinned and glanced at her, "Now, now. No one likes an impatient Mars," he feigned a wince, "And I really mean that." Veronica retaliated by punching him in the shoulder. "Really, though. Why did you come back all pouty from the Big Apple?"
Veronica slumped back into the passenger side seat and watched the scrub on the side of the road pass by. "It wasn't the city. It was beautiful and invigorating, just like I pictured it. The trip just lacked my dad."
Logan laid his hand on Veronica's arm, "I'm sorry. You should have called me, I would have been by your side in an instant. You know I would."
Veronica turned ans smiled at him, "I know."
"But, it's not the same. I know," he came back. Silence fell, but it wasn't oppressive. The space between them was traversed by their linked hands.
When the first sign indicating that they'd crossed the Balboa Country line appeared, Logan broke the silence, "You know, you're dad came to see me while you were in New York."
"Oh? And, you lived to tell the tale?"
"What can I say? I'm scrappy," he replied.
Veronica laughed. "What about? I promised him that I'd only sleep with you if you took that gun from beneath your pillow. Did he come to make sure you had a permit?"
Logan smiled. "No. And, please don't tease me. I've had a case of the blues since you left."
"Well, I'll break out my harmonica. Maybe you and I could play some gigs at the Hut."
Logan sent her a meaningful glance. Realization dawned on Veronica quickly. "Oh. Oh! Ew!"
He just laughed and squeezed her hand. "Not that I wouldn't love to torture another blush out of you, I just wanted to let you know that your dad is working with Kendall."
Veronica nodded, "I sort of know. He wouldn't discuss it with me over the phone, of course. He kept trying to insist that I enjoy my trip. What did he ask you?"
"A lot of questions about my relationship with the former Mrs. Casablancas. And about Be-" Logan stopped and corrected, "Cassidy."
Veronica arched her eyebrows and fixed Logan with a long look, "The former Mrs. Casablancas?"
Logan shrugged as he executed the necessary turn to exit the freeway. "I guess she came into some of her own money so she didn't need to siphon from her husband any longer. I don't really know. I just told your dad all he wanted to know."
"And you do mean all?" Veronica asked, settling back into the cushion.
Logan just nodded. "Sordid details were discussed. I just want you to be prepared. I'm not so sure he likes the idea of us together."
I was Veronica's turn to squeeze Logan's hand, "Logan, my whole life for the past two years has been nothing but sordid details. As Fate would have it, you've been the respectable shining star." She laughed at Logan's mockery of a shocked expression. "I know imagine that. A respectable Echolls." Veronica smiled and continued, "Look, I'll deal with Mr. Mars, you just keep me happy so I don't have to call out the calvary."
Logan nodded and gave Veronica a reassuring smile. "You got it. Keeping you happy will be my full-time job."
As they passed the Neptune Grand, Veronica glanced across the console. "The surprise isn't in your suite?"
Logan grinned and shook his head to the negative. They pulled into a residential part of Neptune, eventually pulling into a familiar driveway. Logan turned off the ignition and looked at the house in front of them. It was the former Kane residence.
"Logan," Veronica began delicately, "Why are we here?"
"I bought it."
Veronica brought her hand to her mouth and sat back against the seat, staring up at the mansion that held so many memories. "Oh, Logan."
Keith Mars glanced at his watch. It was 6:17. And still no call from his daughter. He knew she was angry with him for standing her up. But, Kendall had been insistent and the case was of the time-sensitive variety. But he still regretted his decision to allow Logan to pick her up at the airport.
He stood and strode out into the reception area of the office. It had felt much colder without his vibrant, witty daughter at the desk. He had set a vase of white and yellow daisies on the blotter. They were Veronica's favorite and it never hurt to garner a woman's favor with flowers.
As he was about to pour himself yet another cup of coffee, his cell phone buzzed in his jacket pocket. He withdrew it and seeing Veronica's name and number appear on the display, he smiled. "Finally." He pressed 'Talk' and brought the phone to his ear.
"Thank goodness, honey. You really know how to worry a man. I'm old, you know -" he stopped abruptly.
"Okay. I'll be right there. Just stay put, okay, honey?" He ended the call and hurried out the door, locking it quickly behind him.
"Dammit, Logan!" was all he could manage as he drove to the former Kane residence.
"Somehow, I thought you'd be happy," Logan said, clutching the steering wheel with both hands. "Bu, no, it seems I've just fucked up again."
"Logan, I'm not mad. I just, well, this is that last place I ever want to be," Veronica answered, trying to avoid looking at the doorway.
"Too many memories of Duncan and Lilly? Or, did you just wipe the Kanes from your memory?" he replied, sharply. Veronica drew back against the passenger door. She'd seen Logan cold and angry before, but he was worrying her. This little rant was headed in the direction of a padded room.
"You and I both know that's not how it is," Veronica answered, her voice small in the silence.
"Well then, how is it?" Logan came back. "You have all the answers, tell me."
"Logan, please," Veronica answered, putting her hand on his arm.
He shrugged it off and opened his door. "You can see yourself out?" He tossed back as he slammed the car door and strode up to the front door and disappeared inside.
Veronica just sat, staring at the hulking home of her former lover and best friend. All she saw was Duncan's face as he said goodbye to her that day at the Sunset Cliffs and Lilly's broken body by the pool. Bile rose in her throat, but she forced back the urge to vomit. So far, life as a high school graduate wasn't treating her the way she'd hoped.
Moments later, her dad pulled in behind Logan's SUV. She opened the door and pulled her bag out from the seat behind her. Keith got out to greet her and she just walked past him and let herself into the car.
Keith frowned and joined her in the still-running vehicle and closed the door. As he put the car in gear to back out of the long driveway he broke the silence. "I suppose I deserved that."
"You did. Aren't you going to ask me about New York?"
"No. I'm sorry I couldn't reach you in time to tell you about Logan."
"You knew?" Veronica retorted, folding her arms across her chest. "Maybe I should have stayed in New York."
"Come on, honey," Keith began, glancing at her, "The sale just closed yesterday. I didn't even think it was a serious offer."
"Why would he do it?"
"I can think of a hundred reasons, and so can you. But," he paused for effect, "And I'm saying this off the record. You and I both know Logan is a good guy. He's just had one hell of year. And, you know him better than anyone in Neptune."
"Off the record?" Veronica asked, her frown fading.
"Completely. If you tell anyone I stuck up for an Echolls, I'll deny it."
A small smile spread across her face as she turned toward the passenger side window. "Ah, Neptune, just how I left you."
"So, we're both out a date tonight, I guess," Veronica said, sliding into a booth across from Wallace.
"Doesn't look that way. Do I have to buy the coffee, or do you still insist on going Dutch?" her friend joked.
"I won't object to you paying," Veronica replied.
"I will. That little jaunt to France put a serious dent in my finances. I might have to beg for the employee discount again."
Veronica smiled at her friend. "You got it." She stood and went back to work. As she approached the counter to pick up a gelato for table number three, a brunette woman pushed through the front door of the Hut.
Rebecca James strode past the hostess straight to Veronica. "I need your help."
"Gee, and I was just starting to forget what that phrase sounded like," Veronica began, moving to push past her to the waiting table. The counselor blocked her path and showed Veronica her hands, palms up. They were red with blood.
"Have you tried 'Out damn spot'? Or, better yet, the police?" Veronica asked, setting the dish of dessert in front of the patron, who was beginning to frown.
Rebecca nodded her head toward a dark corner of the blissfully quiet restaurant. Veronica followed, reluctantly. She signaled her boss on the way past that she was taking a break.
Both women slid into the unoccupied booth. "Look, Ms. James, I'm not really in this business anymore."
The brunette choked back a sob that she'd apparently been containing for the proper moment. "Please, Veronica! Listen to me when I tell you I can't go to the police."
Veronica sighed, resigned to at least listen to the distraught woman. "What happened?"
"There was a man. He came in through my apartment window and," she looked down at her hands, "And I... I think..." she choked an another sob and put her hand into her folded arms.
"You think what? That you killed him? Why did you come here, Ms. James?" Veronica insisted, glancing around to make sure the woman's loud display wasn't being overheard.
"No. I mean, I know he's dead. But I didn't kill him," she stuttered out from beneath her tears. Veronica wrinkled her forehead.
"I am very confused. Why is there blood on your hands? Why didn't you call the police."
"I can't. I mean, well, I've been living upstairs, you know. And, I just knew you'd be here. I just can't go to the police. They'll accuse me!"
"Of course they will. You're a hysteric with blood on your hands. But, then they'll investigate and find out the truth. And, if you really didn't do it, they'll let you go. We like to call it 'due process.'"
The counselor scoffed, "Come on, Veronica. You know as well as I do that justice is rarely served in Neptune. I'm not wealthy."
The detective did not have an answer for that, as she agreed of course. Unless you counted vigilante justice. And that didn't rate a mention in this circumstance. "However," Veronica continued, "When they find you've fled the scene of the crime, you'll be suspect number one. And, don't think they won't find you."
As if on cue, the red and blue lights that hailed the arrival of the police flooded the café. Sheriff Don Lamb pushed through the glass door and with his flunkies in tow, marched up to the table where Veronica and Rebecca were sitting.
"Veronica Mars, you are under arrest in connection with the murder of Clarence Wiedman," Lamb began.
Veronica stood up, "What!" she demanded as Deputy Sacks placed handcuffs on her wrists.
"You have the right to remain silent, and I suggest you do," Lamb continued.
Veronica glanced at the high school counselor, who had slid further into the booth, palms mysteriously hidden. Wallace was nearing the scene and Veronica just shrugged at him.
"Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney and have the poor fool present during questioning. If you cannot afford counsel, a lawyer will be appointed to you."
Veronica held her tongue as she was escorted and pushed unceremoniously into the police car.
Wallace had already dialed Cliff McCormack.
When Cliff entered the interrogation room, he found Veronica and Logan, sitting side by side, cuffed wrists in front of them. Sacks was guarding them. Or, at least, he was present and doing his best impersonation of Lamb's stare.
"Ah, my two favorite clients. I'm glad I have both of you at once for a change. It's so hard juggling the charges against each of you," Cliff stated wryly. He directed his next statement at the Deputy. "Uncuff them. They've made bail."
Veronica looked up at Cliff. "Thanks for coming on such short notice. Perhaps we should set up a bail fund or something for situations like these?"
"One, I always come to Veronica Mars show and two, why don't you just stay out of these sorts of situations?"
Logan lifted his head to study the public defender, "And what about me?"
"They've already chiseled your name above cell block three."
"Oh, that must be what they meant by erecting a statue," Logan responded dully.
Cliff sent another look at the Deputy. "They're free. Don't you need to shine Lamb's badge collection?"
Sacks shot the lawyer what he thought to be a withering look as he stood and crossed the room, "They'll be expected for questioning first thing tomorrow."
"Spare me the trouble of a response next time, huh?" Cliff remarked as the door swung shut on the interrogation room, leaving the lawyer with his clients.
"What are the charges?" Veronica asked. Logan just stared at some spot above Cliff's head as he too the chair across from them.
Cliff shook his head and opened his briefcase. "In your words, fuzzy and circumstantial. It appears Wiedman was last scene leaving Kane Software at six p.m. or thereabouts yesterday. And, an eye witness links Logan's vehicle to the same location at the same time." Cliff explained. He aimed his next remark at Logan, "You really need a stealthier mode of transportation."
Logan didn't even bother to look at the lawyer. Veronica spoke for the both of them, "Impossible. We were in the driveway of Logan's house at that time. He'd just picked me up from the airport."
"Any witnesses on your behalf?" came the next question. Veronica tilted her head and huffed exasperation. "I believe you, you know I do. But, both of you have had problems with Wiedman in the past and you know it's what Lamb is going to ask. So?"
"My dad came to pick me up from Logan's."
"Six thirty, maybe. I called him shortly after we'd pulled in."
"Too long of a gap. You could have traveled from Kane Software to the Neptune Grand in that time."
"I don't live at the Grand anymore." Logan finally spoke.
"Ah. It's alive. So where, pray tell, do you live?" Cliff asked.
"1793 Adams Drive."
Cliff scanned the paperwork before him and began to jot down the address. He got all the way through 1793 A-D before his head shot up. "The Kane house? Really, Logan?"
He smiled sardonically and quirked his eyebrows, "Really, Cliff."
The lawyer shook his head and finished the note. "Well, I'll get to work collecting what neighbors might have seen, then. Do you crazy kids want a lift home?"
"Cliff, could you take us back to the Hut?" Veronica asked, standing. Logan stood as well. The lawyer nodded.
Once Veronica collected her bag from her boss and gave her apologies for her unusual exit, she rejoined Logan at her LeBaron. Cliff had to run back to the courthouse to take care of a hooker who'd torn a co-worker's favorite pair of fishnets. And, who had clawed her so badly, that she needed stitches.
So, Veronica had to drive Logan back to the Kane house. Or was it the Echoll's house? Talk about full circle.
She unlocked the car and got in. Logan followed suit and soon they were on the way back Veronica's least favorite place in Neptune. Well, short of Don Lamb's office.
"We need to talk," Veronica began, looking everywhere but at her reticent passenger.
"Understatement," he scoffed.
"Look, I overreacted to seeing that house. You had to know I would."
"Initially, yes. But, I was hoping that the whole 'Oh, Logan, you're so wonderful' thing would cancel out your distaste for the house. Guess I was wrong. Score another point for the Mars family."
"I don't whine like that," Veronica came back, wrinkling her nose at Logan's impression of her. "Anyway, I meant it. You've always been there to catch me when I fall. I'm sorry I punked out on that last bit."
Logan snorted and stared out the passenger side window. "And, sometimes, you do whine like that."
Veronica smiled and pulled into Logan's driveway.
"Home sweet home," Logan remarked as he moved to open the door.
Veronica reached her arm out and laid it on his forearm to stay him. He turned to look at her.
"Do you remember last year when I told you I was tortured?" he asked, leaving go of the handle.
"Yes. I thought you didn't remember," Veronica replied, more sharply than she'd intended.
Logan had the good sense to look abashed a moment before meeting her eyes. "Well, I do. Remember that is. But, I also mentioned something else, if memory serves. I said our love would span years and bloodshed. Stupid, I know. Not exactly poetry."
Veronica held his gaze and nodded, waiting for him to take his point somewhere.
Logan pressed on, "I meant it Veronica. I just wish that you'd stop doing the torturing and causing the bloodshed and pushing these non-existent miles between us."
He broke eye contact, pushed out of the car and made for the house.
Veronica hesitated a beat before rushing after him. She jogged up and caught the door before it fell shut on her, pushing through it.
Logan turned to face her.
The house was cold. There was no furniture or curtains. A little pile of rags and a few crumpled bits of paper had been swept into a neat pile in the foyer. But, Veronica didn't notice. She pushed the door shut and strode right to Logan and pulled his face down to meet hers for a kiss.
It was one of those epic kisses. The kind where the world goes all swirly around the people kissing. The kind that's like a first kiss at the beginning of something wonderful. The kind where words aren't necessary.
Veronica broke the kiss and looked up at Logan. "I won't-" she began. Logan laid his finger across her lips and smiled. He bent and scooped her up in his arms and carried her up the stairs.
He had no bed, just a flimsy pile of blankets and a pillow. All most likely pilfered from the Neptune Grand. Veronica smiled. He had chosen a guest bedroom.
"Sorry the digs aren't fancy."
"They're much better than your previous residence, I promise you that," came Veronica's reply. Even she was unsure of whether she was talking about the video-rigged bedroom at his father's estate or the Kendall-tainted, pillow-topped hotel bed that reminded her of Duncan.
He smiled at her, all sincerity, as he laid her upon the blanket. Not to be outdone, he kissed her with equal measures to what she'd given him downstairs.
Clothes fell away in a way that was familiar to them both, but unexpected and refreshing. They mapped one another in a way that belied their long and detailed history.
Finally after the sweeter version of torture, Logan tumbled Veronica against the lone pillow, holding her tightly, afraid she might recant her decision. She smiled up at him, taking one last kiss before nodding up at him. He grinned, almost shyly at her. And, at long last, he made her his own.
Shutters held back the last bit of Neptune's beachy sunshine. The room did not feel cold to Veronica anymore as they lay there, her fingers twined with Logan's.
"You know, I bought it so no one else could have it," Logan said unexpectedly.
Veronica turned toward him and propped herself up on her elbow. She didn't speak. It never did to interrupt Logan if he was saying something serious as he sometimes failed to make a point.
He looked at her. All of his bravado and anger had melted away. He looked like the Logan she remembered from a time before Lilly was killed. He smiled at her. "I'll leave tomorrow."
Veronica leaned over a kissed him.
Veronica walked right into her father as he was exiting Mars Investigations.
"Oh, honey, you're here! You really are going to be the death of me. I called you about forty-two times," Keith chastised her as she made for her desk.
"Cliff hasn't called you?" Veronica asked, ignoring her father's worry. She thought she already knew the answer. She was wrong.
"Yes. I know. 'Fuzzy and circumstantial.' Where have you been?"
"At Logan's. So, what did you find out?"
"Logan's? You mean the Kane residence?"
Veronica fixed her dad with an exasperated stare, "Focus. Clarence Wiedman murdered. Possible prison time for your only child. Probable scandal involving the Mars family." When her father still seemed primed for more Logan talk, Veronica threw in, "Definite not going to college."
"You're right. Detecting at the office, ranting about poor relationship choices at home," Keith responded, moving to his own desk to retrieve a file folder.
"Logan is not a poor choice. You were defending him yesterday!"
"Hey, it's your choice to talk about Wiedman," Keith reminded with a smile. He laid the folder down open on her desk and pointed to a crime scene photo.
It was grizzly. It looked as though the head of security for Kane Software had been gutted, slit from groin to sternum. Veronica flipped through the photos, none of which appeared to be very illuminating, save for the fact that most showed a floral bedroom and more than one pair of heels littering the carpet.
"How did you get these?" Veronica asked, looking up at her father.
"I am sorry. I cannot reveal my sources," he replied, doing a terrible stilted southern accent.
"Who's that? Deep Throat?" Veronica asked.
"No, Scooter Libby. It's like you don't even know me," came the reply.
"Anyway, it would appear that either Mr. Wiedman had a feminine side with which he was very in touch with or he was found somewhere other than his own home," the junior Mars pointed out.
"Right, he was discovered, oddly enough, in the apartment above the Hut. While you were working. By one Rebecca James."
"She came to me during my shift. I was talking to her when Lamb arrested me. She was asking for my help."
"Your help with what?"
"I'm not entirely sure. I got the impression that she killed a man coming in through her window and wanted me to prove she didn't kill him. It was confusing and she kept crying. And, her hands were covered in blood."
"What did you tell her?"
"That she should see the police."
"Well, the call came from her apartment phone. And, in the notes, it says that the phone was covered with bloody fingerprints."
"What was your source telling you that the police think?"
"For that, all I had to do was turn on the television. Don Lamb never disappoints his fans."
Veronica snorted an unpleasant reply.
Keith eyed her but made no rebuke, "Right, well, he said that it was cut and dry. Wiedman didn't have many enemies. Family man and all that. Someone cut him up and dumped him somewhere convenient. Ms. James touched the body to make sure he wasn't breathing," Keith inserted his own derisive snort before continuing, "Panicked, then called the police."
"But, why would she come downstairs to me if she called for them? She kept insisting that she couldn't go to the police," Veronica puzzled aloud.
Kieth got to the answer first, "Maybe Ms. James didn't make the call."
"We need the tapes. Call Karl, dad."
"Detective. Hello?" came the young sleuth's reply.
"Amateur," the elder Mars retorted as he lifted the cradle of Veronica's desk phone.
That evening at home, they listened to the boring recording of 911 phone calls.
"We should make a recording of this and play it for special occasions. I especially love Mr. Horton's sniveling rendition of 'The boy next door throws rocks at me.' Definitely a classic." Keith commented, passing his daughter the bowl of popcorn. His insisted popcorn helped hone one's acoustic sensibilities. After all, it was the choice of theater-goers nationwide.
"We can mix it with Mrs. Buchanan's rocking rendition of 'My cat just ate my hamster." You know a record producer, don't you?"
"Yeah, but this is too gangsta for Bone," Keith replied.
"Gangsta? Really, dad, I need to get you a street cred tutorial. Maybe I can ask Wallace," Veronica began. Keith held up his hand and stopped the CD on his laptop. He backtracked a few seconds and pressed 'Play.'
"911, state your emergency."
"Please help me! I just found a dead man in my bedroom!"
"Where are you, ma'am?"
"Coastal Highway. The apartment upstairs from the Java Hut. You know the place?"
"The address is 412 Coastal Highway, correct?"
"Yeah, that's the place. Look, can you hurry up?"
"A unit is three blocks away and will be there soon. What's your name, please?"
Then there was a crash and a shout. And a dial tone.
Keith looked at his daughter, "That was not Rebecca."
"And that shout was a man's voice."
Keith replayed the conversation again. Indeed, the shout, though so faint the content was inaudible, the voice was definitely male.
"So, we have two perps, which means they're more likely to stumble somewhere along the way," Keith remarked.
"I love it when you get all tough-guy cop and use words like 'perp.' Perhaps now would be a good time to rekindle your relationship with Ms. James?"
Keith nodded and stood, "But, you're not off the hook about that Logan Echolls."
"Am I ever off the hook?"
Her father laughed, "Not since you could walk." He grinned at her, donned his jacket and left.
Veronica immediately dialed the very same Echoll's boy for which she was expecting to get a talking to about.
"So, Cliff called to tell you that your neighbors didn't see anything?" Veronica asked.
Logan nodded, continuing the trace the lines on her palm. "Yeah, so there goes our alibi. Think they'll let us be cell mates?"
"Somehow, I doubt it. But, I have a few friends in the law enforcement business. I'll see what I can do."
Logan met her eyes and wiggled his eyebrows, "Well, if I can bunk with you, I'll confess to anything. I hear they're still looking for that grassy knoll guy."
Veronica laughed and sat up as she heard her father's key in the lock.
Logan promptly dropped her hand. Veronica fixed him with a bemused stare, "Why, Logan Echolls, I do believe you're afraid of my father. His shot gun aim isn't what it used to be, I promise."
Logan looked up at Keith,who was wearing an equally bemused expression.
"Don't go telling him that, honey. Hello Logan," came Veronica's father's reply. He removed his jacket and tossed his keys onto the island. He then moved to sit in the chair nearest his only child.
"Hello, Mr. Mars. Oh, well, look at the time. The hotel will be, uh, closing up soon. Or something," Logan started, moving to leave. Veronica grasped his hand and shook her head.
"So, you've found a new residence?" Keith asked.
"I moved temporarily back into the Neptune Grand. I'm really not good at laundry, you know."
"Well, you certainly have enough of the dirty stuff hanging around," came Keith's retort.
"Dad!" Veronica chastised. "Please. We need to talk."
Keith sighed and looked at his daughter. "Can't you be normal?"
"Normal is overrated. And, like you said, Logan is a good guy."
"Deny deny deny," her father responded.
"Look, I'm going to date him whether or not you want me to. So, you might as well just want me to."
Keith nodded and offered his hand to Logan, "Veronica's right. I'd be too hard on any guy that she chose. But, honestly, I'm sort of glad it's you. At least you have jumped to her defense once or twice."
Logan took the elder Mars' hand and shook it, "Give or take."
"Remember that I did say sort of."
"Duly noted," Logan replied with a small smile. Veronica beamed at them both.
"Well, this is just great. Now, we should discuss where we'll hold the ceremony. I like daisies. Maybe the reception should be small. The Neptune Grand is just so... done, you know?"
Both men looked at her. Logan, wide-eyed and terrified, her father wide-eyed and furious.
"Wow, you two really need to learn to take a joke."
"Veronica," Keith began with a warning tone.
"I know," she answered, pulling on the collar of her top, "Hook. I'm still on it. But, really, we do need to discuss the fact that both Logan and I are accused of involvement with the Clarence Wiedman murder. Did you get anything from Ms. James?"
"Not much in the way of information," Keith began, averting his eyes.
"Dad, tell me you didn't... you didn't..." Veronica trailed off.
Keith quirked an eyebrow. "You do whatever you like, child of mine, and leave my personal relationships out of it."
"Ew," came Veronica's disgusted reply as she sank back into the sofa, willing away all manner of gross thoughts.
"Way to go Mr. Mars. Ms. James is a stone cold fox," Logan congratulated.
Veronica poked him in the side, "Not helpful."
"It is to me," Keith replied with a rueful grin. "She is saying she called the police, however. And I know she's lying."
"So, you slept with a liar?"
"Well, I hadn't gotten that far when we... don't bait me, Veronica," Keith demanded. He stood and walked to the refrigerator. "You want anything? Logan?"
Both shook their heads to the negative.
"Have you two gotten any closer to figuring out who might want to frame you?"
Logan chuckled, "Have you got a pen and six hours?"
Keith didn't smile.
Veronica jumped in, "I can't figure out the voice. I think I recognize it, but I can't place it. And, why would anyone want to kill Clarence Wiedman? Well, except for me."
Logan looked at her, "Me, I guess. I mean, if things were different between my dad and me, I might."
Veronica looked sharply at him, "What?"
Keith filled in. "While you were in New York, they tied the gunshot wounds in Aaron Echolls' head to a gun with a silencer. The type of gun previously registered to Kane Software's head of security."
"And we've waited until now to tell me this? Anyway, that's ridiculous. I mean, why would the guy use his own gun to murder someone. That's an amateur mistake."
Keith shrugged, "Well, that's the thing. The gun had since been returned and the license expired. Gun's that have silencers are heavily guarded. So, no private person can have one if they don't pass a background check. And, Clarence had some shady times since he was in the FBI. No one would clear him for a gun with a suppressor."
"So, it was Clarence's gun from his FBI days?"
Veronica's father nodded. "And, it had since been reported missing from the Bureau's safekeeping."
"Still, it's too easy."
"Sometimes people make mistakes. But, he was never charged because the Bureau vault was searched and the gun was found. But, it's all rather suspicious."
"So, if my father and I had a better relationship, I might care to off the man who killed him after he was cleared of banging and killing my girlfriend, driving my mother to suicide, then trying to kill another girlfriend. But, we didn't. So, I didn't." Logan put in, with a shrug. Veronica squeezed his hand.
"But, of course, the Sheriff's department doesn't really know all of that. Nor is it an easy thing to prove. And, Kane Software's security records show that a bug was delivered to Wiedman's office. Your bug, Veronica."
"That man was a bureaucrat through and through. You'd think he wouldn't record a thing like that. I'd be ashamed is a high school girl managed to bug my office for months without discovering it."
"That's you, though," Veronica's dad retorted, "And, of course, the two of you don't serve as a very good alibi for one another. You had apparent motive, means, and opportunity."
"So, we're screwed. Boy, it's always nice to spend a quiet evening the in Mars household," Logan put in, sinking back against the couch cushion.
"No, if we can find out if someone else knew about Aaron Echoll's murder. Or even why Clarence Wiedman might have done it. We might get our names cleared."
Logan stood, "I think I'll have some coffee now. We might be here awhile."
Veronica joined him at the counter, "You know how to make coffee?"
Logan nodded, "I am a man of many talents." He glanced back at Keith. Veronica's father was ensconced in something on his laptop. Logan grinned and dropped a kiss on the short blonde's lips. She smiled up at him.
"If you're going to continue, please do so outside. I need a minute alone to think," Keith remarked. Logan stepped away guiltily. Veronica grinned and grabbed his hand and led him to the door.
"Call us when the coffee is ready," Veronica tossed over her shoulder. Keith grumbled some sort of reply.
"You're getting me in trouble with your dad, you know," Logan chastised, his grin taking the bite out of his words.
"Some trouble is worth it," Veronica answered, pulling him down for a kiss.
She pulled back and led him a little farther from the window. She pressed Logan back against the wall and leaned up against him. He was staring over her shoulder.
"What's so interesting?" she asked, not bothering to look.
"Veronica," Logan replied, "I think I need to hear that recording again."
Veronica looked up at her boyfriend, puzzled. She turned and followed his line of vision. There was a parked car sitting in an out-of-the way spot. She could see the a man with dark hair at the steering wheel. He was looking right at them. When he saw Veronica turn, he turned on his headlights and the ignition roared to life.
Logan grasped her hand and pulled her back into the apartment.
Keith glanced up at them. "Coffee isn't-" he stopped when he saw their stricken expressions. "What's wrong?"
"Play the tape again, dad," Veronica said, moving toward the coffee table.
Keith did as requested. As soon as they heard the female's voice, Logan and Veronica exchanged a look.
"Meg Manning," Veronica said, as sure as she'd ever been. Logan nodded, gravely.
"But she's dead," Keith offered. When no one made a move to respond, he threw out his hands, palms up, "Come on, honey, clue in the old guy."
Logan answered, "Duncan Kane is back in town."
Author's Notes: First, I had no idea about the street addresses, so they are purely figments of my imagination. Don't put a hit out on me if they're wrong. Second, this is just my pathetic little exercise in fandom while I await the new season. So, none of this stuff is going to happen on the show... and if it does, well, color me psychic :)
Reviews would be greatly appreciated.