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?
"Remind us why we have to be here rather than in the Lovemobile?" Logan complained as he and Veronica stood on the walkway that led to the Omega Theta Pi house.
"First, did you really call that yellow monstrosity the 'Lovemobile'?" Veronica asked, with a wrinkle of her nose. Logan lips quirked in a mock tormented frown. Veronica pressed on, "And second, we're here to get the details on Ms. James' boy-toy from the boy himself, little bro." She urged him forward with a sisterly-looking shove.
The party was already in full swing, as evidenced by the upstanding college students carrying red cups of beer and other beverages around on the porch and in the yard. One such example of academic achievement was sprawled face forward on top of a large inflatable alligator with an empty bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz still clutched in his fingertips. And it was only eleven o'clock.
Inside, the fraternity house was papered in all manner of streamers, empty beer cases, and pizza cartons. Half-empty bottles were grouped on every available surface and upon entering, one party-goer informed Veronica that there were three kegs in the kitchen. One was already kicked.
"Great," Veronica answered with a smile. She glanced up at Logan. "I'll start in the kitchen. Why don't you run along and see if you recognize anyone from the arcade or wherever it is you kids hang out these days." Her boyfriend answered her with a roll of his eyes, but complied.
The kitchen did not prove fruitful in the search for Mike Loman. But, Veronica did earn a beer and a small contingent of male followers. So, she decided to milk them for answers.
"So, like, are you guys brothers?" she asked, twirling her hair and taking a sip of the putrid yellow liquid.
"Yeah, O-T-Pi for life!" came the answer from a curly-haired man in a green rugby shirt. The other two thumped their chests once, then high-fived one another. Veronica suppressed the desire to gag.
"So, you know Mike? He's who invited me," Veronica chirped, taking another tentative sip. Being bubbly was thirsty work, after all.
"Loman? Yeah, he's a jackass, but he's a smart jackass," replied one of the chest thumpers. His shirt read "I Heart Hot Moms." Really charming.
"Oh, I just wanted to say hi to him," Veronica began. "Like, um, he mentioned a girlfriend. Do you know her?"
Green Rugby answered with a grin, "Well, I don't know if he'd call her a girlfriend." He glanced at the other brother. He had a baseball cap on that bore the Notre Dame's fighting Irishman. "What would you say, Paddy?"
Paddy chuckled, "I met her once. She's like, forty. And she's a guidance counselor at my little cousin's high school. Hot though. But, you shouldn't worry about competition. You're fully hot."
Veronica faked her best giggle and dipped her head behind her cup to hide the look of annoyance.
Hot Mom Lover raised a finger. "We should do a shot in honor of Mike and his upward mobility."
Veronica shook her head and started to back away. "You know, I should really go and look for Mike."
"Come on, stay. It'll only be one and it's sort of in your honor, too. You can't let us down," Green Rugby pleaded. As Veronica looked for an escape route, Hot Mom Lover poured four measures of a gold liquid into four Dixie cups. He put one in Veronica's hand.
"To you, uh, what's your name?" Paddy asked, holding his cup aloft.
"Betty," came Veronica's quick reply.
"To Betty!" replied the boys and they downed their shots. Veronica followed suit after a beat. It was terrible. It practically burned her lips and definitely sent a trail of fire down her esophagus and into her belly. She really did gag took a drink of the newly appealing beer to quell the taste.
"What was that?" she croaked, giving the cup back to the Hot Mom Lover.
"That is the finest tequila college student money can buy," he replied with a smile.
"Okay, how about we try something else?" Paddy offered, looking around.
Green Rugby reached behind him and produced a bottle of peach schnapps and held it up. "I keep this around for the girls," he noted, unscrewing the cap.
Veronica, looking alarmed, tried to think of an excuse to get away. But, feeling a little fuzzy, none came immediately. The new shots were poured and handed around. Veronica smelled hers, suspiciously. It smelled like peaches, so she bit the bullet and gulped the shot.
The boys did the same and watched her for a reaction. Veronica smiled, "That's much better." The cheered her and another round was poured.
Meanwhile, Logan was having no greater success with the mission. After walking in on two guys making out on a bed while a girl looked on and nearly slipping in vomit in the hallway, he finally spotted Mike. Or, Mike spotted him.
"Hey! You're that chick from the beach's brother, right?" he called, striding toward him with a smile. A smile that said 'I want to bang said sister.' Logan forced a smile of his own, struggling but suppressing the urge to knock the guy out. Mike continued, "So, she must be here?"
Logan nodded, "Yeah. I lost track of her. But, I'm sure she's looking for you."
When Mike was about to push past him, Logan stayed him, "Hey. I'm thinking of coming here. Being a brother must get you some awesome tail."
A chance to discuss women he'd nailed was obviously enough to make him hang around. Even if it was with the brother of the next chick he wanted to add to his bedpost. Logan again had to fight down the urge to punch the guy.
"Definitely. I score left and right. Partying and conveniently having a place for drunk chicks to crash is a real help in that department," Mike boasted. "And, the best part is, I have a girlfriend who lives a couple towns away and she never has to know."
"Sweet. Sounds ideal. I'm into older girls myself, though. Like, older than college chicks. I'm guessing you don't get many professors over to spend the night," Logan prodded.
"Nah. But, then, a little sorostitute is a great way to pass the time. My own tastes usually run towards broken in, myself. My girl I told you about is older and she really knows how to please a man, you know? And," Mike continued, leaning in conspiratorially,"Since she's older, she kind of appreciates the attention I give her."
Logan nodded, completely sickened on the inside of Ms. James in flagrante. Well, not completely.
"But, I'm gonna get going and find that sister of yours. Have fun tonight, okay? And, if you're thinking of rushing, just remind me whenever you do. I'll help you out," Mike said, turning toward the living room.
Logan just grinned and made as if to head in the opposite direction. As soon as Mike was gone, he doubled back and hoped to find Veronica before Mike did. He succeeded.
When he spotted her, she was doing a handstand on top of keg, drinking from the tap. Two guys were holding her legs and her top was slipping down, revealing more than necessary of her flat belly. Logan rushed forward and pushed the guys away, and pulled her into his arms. The crowd that had formed protested and booed.
Logan tossed a fierce look in their direction and hoisted Veronica's bag onto his shoulder and he carried her toward the door. "Jesus, Veronica! What in the hell are you doing?" he demanded as he set her down to walk on her own.
She folded her arms across her chest and pouted, "Apparently I was doing a keg stand. What are you doing?"
"I was saving you from becoming some guys fuck buddy, or do I have to remind you of the dangers of binge drinking at parties where you don't know who's making the drinks. God, Veronica!" he raged as he strode towards his car.
Veronica stopped in her tracks and looked as through Logan had smacked her. Her lip trembled, but she would not let the hot, angry tears spill over her lashes.
Logan stopped when he realized she was no longer beside him and turned to see her standing in the road, throwing knives at him with her eyes. He spread his hands out in front of him, "Look, I'm sorry. That was insensitive. But, what you did was still stupid."
Veronica looked away and pushed past him to the car. She tried the handle, but it was still locked, so she leveled an angry kick at the the running board. She missed and overbalanced, falling onto her ass in the street.
Logan rolled his eyes and walked to her side. He bent to help her up and clicked the unlock button on his remote. He opened the door and helped her in, more than a little irritated that she would not look at him. As soon as he closed the door, he saw her double over and he wrenched the door back open. She had her head between her knees, so he pulled her toward him to see what was wrong. She was white and she'd broken out into a sweat. She made eye contact with him, smiled and murmured his name before promptly vomiting at his feet.
Logan smoothed her damp hair back from her forehead. "Classy, Veronica. Really."
He waited a few moments until her breathing evened out and helped her settle back into the seat before shutting the door and walking around to his side.
"What am I going to tell your dad?" Logan asked as they headed back toward Neptune. The only answer he got from his sleeping girlfriend was an obnoxious snore.
Keith was startled when a knock sounded at the door. He had been expecting Veronica to come in hours ago, so he was still awake on the sofa. However, he knew his daughter would have no reason to knock.
He stood and crossed the door. Duncan Kane awaited him on the other side.
"How much did you drink, anyway? And, did you eat rocks for dinner?" Logan grumbled as he carried Veronica across the parking lot of the Sunset Cliffs to her door. She wasn't heavy, but dead asleep, she was a considerable burden. He juggled to hold her as he drew her keys from his pants pocket.
He knew Keith would still be waiting up for Veronica. He'd prepared and rehearsed his statement (which, mostly, involved the truth as it was inescapable) on the drive from Long Beach. So, he made no attempt to be quiet as he fumbled the key into the lock. He turned it and pushed through.
"Before you load your gun, Mr. Mars-" Logan began. When he saw that Keith wasn't alone, his explanation died on his lips. He replaced it with a question, "What are you doing here?"
"I have to talk to Veronica," Duncan answered. His face looked peaked even beneath the tan he'd acquired during his travels. His cheekbones stuck out more than they had before and his shirt looked a size too large. Living on the lam was obviously a great diet.
"Well, as you can see, she's a little incapacitated right now," Logan replied, nodding down to the sleeping detective. "But, I'd love to chat. Commit murder lately? How about grand theft? Which felonies haven't you checked off your 'ten crimes to commit before thirty' list again?" he asked as he moved to carry Veronica to her bedroom.
Keith followed, but Duncan stayed on the couch. "What the hell happened?" Keith hissed as he turned Veronica's comforter down.
Logan deposited her between the sheets and as Keith took off her shoes and tucked her in, the complete truth came out. Duncan had caught him off guard, so the the veneer he'd perfected on the car ride slipped away. Keith shook his head.
"I don't need to tell you how irresponsible that was. But, I'm glad you were sober. And, I'm sure her hangover will be punishment enough."
"Sobriety's a new thing I'm trying," Logan responded. He tilted his head toward the living room. "When did that happen?"
"About a half hour ago. He won't tell me what he wants with Veronica."
"He'll tell me," Logan asserted as he strode toward the front of the apartment. "So, let me guess. You haven't ruined enough lives and you came back to make sure you got everyone again."
"Stay out of it, Logan. It's none of your business," Duncan replied wearily.
"No, you're wrong. Veronica is my business. And I can just tell that anything you have to say to her will just fuck with her."
"Cut the territorial boyfriend thing, all right. I'd never hurt her."
Keith chimed in from behind Logan, "No, Duncan. He's right. You make her so blind that she can't think straight when she's with you. I've seen it first hand. The last time you were around, you ran away with another girl's baby and left her with the kidnapping charges. So, spare her and tell us what you came for."
Duncan stood up and walked toward the door, "I'll be back tomorrow." He was gone before either man could reply.
"Whatever it is, it can't be good. Coffee?" Keith asked, moving around to the other side of the island in the kitchen.
Logan was unsure. He'd been expecting to have to fight with Keith over Veronica and here he was, being offered coffee by the same man who'd pushed him into a wall. Not that he hadn't deserved it.
"Logan? Coffee?" Keith insisted, measuring out the grinds.
"Sure," Logan answered, taking a seat at the island.
"Did you find anything about Ms. James while you were at the party?"
"Not really. Other than the fact that she has terrible taste in men," at Keith's glare he amended, "Present company not included." Keith chuckled as he took the opposite seat.
"I'm still dead in the water on why someone would kill Wiedman," Keith began, and then his eyes widened with that strike of lightening look, "Wait!What did you ask Duncan when you came in?"
"I asked if he'd committed any felonies lately," Logan answered. A moment after the words came out of his mouth, he realize what Keith was thinking, "You think Duncan killed Wiedman."
"He certainly had reason. I mean, if he was the one who had your dad killed, he might have gotten paranoid and come back to tie up loose ends."
"Yeah, but why bother? I mean, he was halfway across the world. Even if someone eventually figured it out, why would he come back and risk getting caught?"
Keith shrugged. The coffee maker let out a hiss, indicating that it had finished brewing, "How do you take it?"
"Black," Logan answered.
"A man after my own heart," Keith fell silent as he poured the beverages. When he set Logan's mug in front of him, he said, "If you want, you can crash on the couch tonight. I mean, I know you're going to want to be here when Duncan comes back."
Logan's eyes registered his shock. First coffee, now a slumber party invite? Keith laughed. "Don't look like that. I never disliked you, you know? I just don't like it when anyone makes Veronica frown. I'd like to reach into the television and pop the President one when he signs a bill that displeases her."
Logan nodded. "I get that. I definitely agree. I won't let her down."
Keith nodded and stood with his mug. "I'm going to take this on the road," he said, nodding toward his bedroom. "Sheets are in the hall closet. And, I assume you know well enough that if you go further than the bathroom, I will know. And I will break your kneecaps."
The younger man smiled at his mug and nodded.
"In other news, a man was apprehended early this morning in connection to the Clarence Wiedman murder case. For more, we turn to Kathy Singh, on location on Neptune."
"Thanks, Mark. Here in this town, renowned for beautiful beaches and affluent homeowners, murder and scandal are not new. Clarence Wiedman, the former head of security for Kane Software was found dead in a local woman's apartment on Tuesday. Finally, this morning, his apparent killer was taken into custody.
This man, Jeffrey Wright, was a former employee of Wiedman's. Sheriff Don Lamb had more to say about him at this morning's press conference."
"He has confessed to killing Wiedman. They had a falling out a local bar early Tuesday evening and he sad he dumped the body in the apartment because he panicked," Lamb said. He went on to say, "We expect the trial to be quick."
"Back to you, Mark."
Keith clicked the television off and looked at his daughter and her boyfriend. Veronica was pale and had yet to change out of the clothes she'd worn last night, but she didn't have time to bemoan her pain when she heard about Duncan's visit.
Logan was the first to speak, "Hell of a campaign slogan: 'We expect the trial to be quick.' Maybe we should make that Neptune's motto."
"And change 'Bloodbaths and Beaches'? Never," Veronica sniped.
"Well, at least be glad that you two are probably not wanted anymore. Unless you have a beef with Mr. Wright?"
Logan was about to reply when there came a knock at the door. The three exchanged another look before Keith got up to answer it. Instead of Duncan, Wallace stood in the doorway.
"Morning, Wallace," Keith greeted, standing aside to let him in.
"Hey Mr. Mars. My mom sent these," he said, depositing a foil package in his hands before entering. Upon seeing Veronica, Wallace stopped in his tracks. "You trying a new look?"
"Yeah. I hear shitty is all the rage in Milan this year," she snapped back.
"Well then, you got it goin' on. Hey Logan. It's an early day for you, huh?"
"Someone had to be here to see the hangover in it's fully articulated glory. I've never seen one from the sober point of view before," Logan answered. He made his hands into a frame and captured Veronica's face. He donned a faux British accent and narrated, "See the blonde as she vomits all over the ground. Note the pungent aroma of smoke and peach schnapps. Gracefully falling to the ground after assaulting a stationary SUV, the drunk will inevitably have a mood swing or three before passing out. I think I have a career as a documentary filmmaker."
Keith answered from the kitchen, "Don't forget to mention the good stuff, like violent headaches and that nasty taste in your mouth that won't go away for at least twenty four hours."
"Duly noted," Logan answered.
"Okay, okay," Veronica pleaded, holding up her hand to stop them. "I feel terrible. Big funny. I get it."
Wallace jumped o her rescue, "So, I guess the two of you are off the hook for murdering Wiedman. I heard that they caught the guy."
Veronica shrugged, "I don't know. It sounds a little Abel Koontz-y to me. There are too many coincidences, what with Ms. James' apartment and Duncan being back and all."
"Whoa! Hold up. Duncan's back?"Wallace asked, incredulously.
"What did you turn off your Veronica Radio?" Logan asked. "Yes, Duncan's back and sniffing around after his former flame."
Veronica raised her hand, "That'd be me."
"I got that. Have you seen him?"
As a response, another knock came from the door. Everyone looked up expectantly. Keith opened it and let Duncan in.
"Great. A Mars Fan Club meeting," he muttered. He looked right at Veronica, "We need to talk."
"So it would seem."
"Alone," he said, looking pointedly at Logan.
Veronica stood and stepped over Wallace. "Fine."
"Veronica?" Keith asked, looking at her with concern.
"We're just going to my bedroom. If I need help, I'll yell. And, you all know that anything he tells me, I'll tell you," she leveled a look right at Duncan, "And, I will."
Duncan held his tongue, but his sharp look told Veronica that he wasn't happy.
Veronica sent a reassuring smile to Logan before leading the way to the back of the apartment. She pulled the door closed behind them.
"Finally. You're a difficult girl to get a hold of," Duncan said, pulling Veronica close and pulling her face to his for a kiss.
She pushed him away. "No, Duncan. I told you I can't. I'm with Logan now, and I will not do that to him."
Duncan's face fell, but he didn't answer her. Finally, he said, "Did you get it?"
The blonde nodded and pulled open her bureau. In the middle drawer, beneath a collection of tee shirts, she removed a manila envelope. It's bulky contents were clearly outlined.
Duncan opened the envelope and peered inside. He nodded when he confirmed the contents and tucked the envelope into his jacket pocket. He turned to leave but changed him mind and turned back to face her. "It doesn't have to be this way, you know."
"It does. My heart doesn't belong to you anymore. You beat it up too much whenever I offer it."
"It belongs to Logan, then?"
"It's beginning to look that way," she answered as she walked past him to the door. Before she turned the knob, she looked back at him. "And Duncan. Please don't come back again."
Charges against Jeffrey Wright were dropped early this evening when a package was found in the Sheriff's department. The contents included a bloody hunting knife and $20,000. There was also a typewritten note bequeathing the cash to Clarence Wiedman's widow, Clara.
The DNA on the knife revealed the blood was Wiedman's. Fingerprints on the weapon linked it to Duncan Kane, who has been missing since earlier this year. Kane, son of software mogul Jake Kane, has also been accused of kidnapping his girlfriend, Meg Manning's newborn daughter. Neither the Mannings or the Kanes could be reached for comment.
A manhunt is on for Duncan Kane and the Neptune Sheriff's Department is asking for any information anyone has in this matter.
"Do they ever do their own job?" Logan asked, as he finished the last of the fudge brownies that Wallace's mom had sent to Keith.
"Do you ever stop eating?" Veronica asked. She'd finally showered and changed her clothes,and was sprawled across the couch, toying with Logan's hair. He was seated on the floor at her side. Wallace had another date with the same mystery girl that he refused to talk about. Keith had gone out to do some clean-up work on his prostitute bail-jumper (she'd been found, claws retracted).
"So, let me get this straight. Duncan killed Wiedman and then he gave twenty grand to his widow?" Logan asked for what had to be the thirtieth time.
"Apparently. After all, it wasn't her fault."
"But, now his kids are out a father. Is that only worth twenty thousand bucks?" Logan replied a little bitterly.
Veronica shrugged, "I don't know. All I do know is that Duncan came here and tried to get me to leave Neptune with him. Sort of glad I didn't."
"Sort of?" Logan asked, looking up at her sharply.
"Very?" she tried. He smiled. "Very glad I didn't go with him," she confirmed. Silence fell between them as the evening news changed to some sitcom rerun. Finally, Veronica spoke up, "I didn't say or do anything stupid last night, did I?"
Logan grinned and looked up at her, but stayed quiet.
"What? What did I say?" she asked panicked.
"Just that you loved me and that you wanted to wear white for our wedding and you liked the name Teresa if we had a girl and Steven for a boy," he answered, watching the TV instead of her.
She punched him in the shoulder, "I did not. I don't like Teresa. And, I am so not wearing white."
He laughed and picked himself up off the floor to sprawl on top of her on the narrow couch, "Oh? Are there some indiscretions you'd like to share with me? Say something really naughty that would prevent you from wearing the purest of colors?"
She grinned. "Nothing I want to share," she teased.
He raised his eyebrows, "Oh? Well, are there any sins you'd like to commit, then? Because I am very willing to oblige any of those fantasies that brew in that vanilla brain of yours."
"Vanilla, hmm?" She paused, pretending to think it over, then rolled him off of her and onto the floor. She straddled him triumphantly, "Well, I always wanted to tie someone up."
He beamed up at her. "Veronica Mars. Never call her dull."
Author's Note: I forgot to mention Luvs, CHiPs, and Bedazzler as trademarks that don't pay me in my last chapter. So, there it is.
And, I'd really love more reviews, even if you hated it and you thought it was a decroded piece of crap (not to mention a contrived fantasy), drop me a line.