Characters/Pairing: Veronica, Wallace, Logan, Mac, Weevil, Keith. Veronica/Logan.
Summary: "Logan, for god's sake. Just leave me alone," she hissed. "How am I supposed to do this when you're always there?"
Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
Spoilers: Up until Hi, Infidelity.
Thanks: Thanks so much to takenwithyou for the beta!
She watched impassively as the crimson gushed over her fingers, sliding across every line on her hand like some kind of macabre henna tattoo. Her arm throbbed with an aching intensity, but she just continued to stare.
She could feel the gravel of the road digging into her skin, breaking through the delicate layers that protected her body.
"Jesus Christ," she heard a man exclaim. "I didn't see her! I swear, she just stepped into the road."
"Excuse me?" another voice said, female this time. "Can you hear me? Tell me your name?"
She closed her eyes, and let the voices fade out.
"I'd rather you stayed in over night, Miss Mars," the doctor said disapprovingly, looking at her in the condescending way most teachers look at a student. You're beneath me, the look said.
"I'm fine," Veronica said quietly. "I just want to go…" She was about to add home, but that was unlikely.
The doctor patted the cut on her forehead with a ball of cotton. The antiseptic stung the stitches on her brow, and she cringed. Veronica swore he swabbed a few more times than what was absolutely necessary. Maybe he was punishing her for not following his advice.
"Right. You'll have to fill out some paperwork."
"With my teeth?" Veronica sighed, with a glance at her arm cast.
"I'll get a nurse in to help you," the doctor said, pursing his lips, "and to sort out your painkillers. It might be awhile."
Veronica nodded, leaning back against the firm pillows that graced the thin bed. As the doctor left the cubicle, pulling the curtain shut behind him, she shifted forward and swung her legs across the bed. She gritted her teeth as her vision swam dizzily, and she jarred her arm at the same time, fighting to get to her feet without swaying too much. She crouched down and rummaged through her bag that someone had kindly put in the ambulance for her cell phone.
Once she was back in the bed, she scrolled through her contacts. Dad. She hesitated briefly over the name, longing to hit the call button. Her eyes shut for a second as she imagined her father breezing into the room, unable to hold his worried expression at bay as he took in the angry cut across her forehead, the bruising around her eye, the hand she'd cut on some broken glass and her fractured wrist. She'd crack jokes; he'd tell her the whole thing was no laughing matter.
But it was really. A classic cliché. Boy meets Girl. Boy falls for Girl, and Girl falls for Boy. Girl has monumental trust issues Boy can't put up with. Boy dumps Girl. Girl is too busy crying to notice the Buick LeSabre coming towards her. Girl ends up in hospital licking wounds, and craving morphine.
And of all the cars to get knocked down by, it couldn't have possibly been something slightly cooler like a Bentley or an Austin Healey?
She carried on flicking through her phone book, forcing herself not to hover over Logan's name. No way in hell.
Parker had dragged Mac to a spa for the weekend. Relaxation, reflection and healing, she'd said. Mac protested briefly, before giving in, and they'd walked away – side by side. Veronica hadn't been jealous. Really. What did she need pampering for? She'd sent a text message to Logan instead, asking if they could hang out all weekend. She'd hoped to stay with him, at the Grand – she was getting pretty damn sick of Wallace's floor, and waking up to Piz staring at her, then acting like he hadn't been. Then she'd got the message back from Logan.
Yeah. Come over, we need to talk.
She reached Wallace and hit the send button. It rang shrilly, gouging through her over-sensitised eardrums like a dentist drilling through a tooth, hitting a nerve on its way. His voice message clicked on.
"Hey, it's Veronica. Can you call me back as soon as you get this please?" Her voice sounded empty and hollow, even to her own ears. She hit the end button and lay back, trying to ignore the painful pulsations coming from her wrist.
"Wallace?" she said, as she opened his dorm room door. He was sitting at his desk, hunched over his books.
He pulled one of headphones out of his ears without turning around. "Hey, V. Do you mind hanging out with Logan for awhile longer? I've got to get this chapter read."
"Oh, okay," she said softly, stepping backwards. He must have heard something in her voice because he immediately turned around, a frown on his face. His mouth dropped over.
"What the hell?" he said, jumping out of his seat. "What happened?"
"Bad day," she offered, feeling self-conscious as his gentle brown eyes took in her various bumps and scrapes. "I don't actually have anywhere else to go," she confessed, avoiding his eyes. "I'll be really quiet, I promise."
"Sit down," Wallace said, waving her towards the bed. "Do you need anything? Do you want me to call your dad? Logan?
"I'm fine," she said, as she sat down softly on the bed. "Tired. Didn't you get my message?"
He shook his head. "Sorry, I had my phone off while I was studying. Did you drive home from the hospital?"
She shook her head. "Walked."
"Veronica!" Wallace exclaimed. "What were you thinking? You look like you just escaped from Azkaban or something."
"I'm not even going to ask how you're making Harry Potter references. Actually, I bite… why?"
"I read them to Darrell!" he protested. "And it's beside the point."
"Can I just… sleep?" she asked as she reached down and tried to pull her shoe off. She took a sharp intake of breath as she jolted her wrist, and pulled on her stitches. Her tongue brushed over her split lip and she grimaced at the coppery taste of blood.
"Here…" Wallace offered, dropping down to the floor in front of her. He pulled them off gently.
"Thanks," she said. She knew there were a million jokes she could make at that point, but she couldn't summon the energy as she expelled a puff of air. Before she knew it, Wallace had laid down on the bed, and put his hand on her shoulder. She shot him a grateful look as she curled into his side, as carefully as she could. His arm slid around her in comfort as she closed her eyes.
"Shh," she heard Wallace hiss a few hours later. She decided against opening her eyes to the harsh light, and even harsher realities.
"Sorry," Piz replied, before she heard him gasp. "What happened?" he asked, lowering his voice to a whisper.
She felt Wallace shrug. "Your guess is as good as mine."
"Is she okay?"
Okay. What did that even mean? Alive? Yeah, she was alive. All limbs intact. So what if they were a little damaged around the edges? They'd heal.
What about if they looked closer? Beneath the skin, sinew and bones. Would they understand that she died a little more with every breath she took? Would they see that she was fractured glass and she had no idea how to put herself back together again?
Wallace didn't answer. Maybe he did understand. He always seemed to see what others didn't, like when he plopped his cafeteria tray down on her table and sat down with the most hated girl in school.
"I'll come back later," Piz offered and she heard the door click shut behind him.
"Logan broke up with me," Veronica said hesitantly, breaking the stillness of the room. Wallace jumped, not expecting to hear her talk. "I walked out in front of a car. I didn't see it."
"Oh, Veronica," he said into her hair. "I'm so sorry."
"It hurts," she murmured, not caring how pathetic she sounded. His arms tightened around her.
"Is this okay?" Wallace asked, as he handed her a plate with a cheese sandwich on. "I'd cook, but it wouldn't be pretty…"
Veronica attempted a smile, but was sure it fell flat as a grimace. "Thank you." She paused, looking at the sandwich. Her stomach rolled in protest, her throat tightening. "I think if I eat this though, it wouldn't be pretty either."
"Alright," he conceded with a worried look, taking it off her plate and shoving it in his mouth. She rolled her eyes.
"Don't you have to study?" she pointed out. "You don't need to baby-sit me."
"Nah, it's okay. I can catch up tomorrow." He sat down on the chair and looked at her, almost expectantly.
"I think this is the part we watch Thelma and Louise, paint our nails and curse men as the bane of woman's existence," Veronica said, enjoying the look of horror that crossed his face briefly.
She pulled her knees up, resting her chin on them and wrapped her left arm around them. Her face throbbed painfully, and a glance in the mirror had shown that her cheekbone had began to bruise in a beautiful array of colours.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" Wallace asked.
She shook her head. "Not really."
It was times like this Veronica missed Lilly.
Lilly would have probably cursed Logan, and immediately tried to set her up on a string of horrible blind dates. She'd drag her shopping, telling Veronica he was never worth it anyway, even if Veronica knew Lilly was wrong. She would have bought her some random gifts to cheer her up and made her go to TJ to 'take her mind off things'. Most likely Veronica would've ended up in the corner of a bar, nursing a Diet Coke while Lilly took her own mind off things, by sticking her tongue down someone's throat.
But it didn't stop Veronica from missing her.
Wallace looked up sharply when he heard a knock on the door.
"Oh, crap," he said.
"What?" Veronica asked, her forehead wrinkling.
"Please don't be mad…" he began hesitantly.
Dread tightened in her stomach at his words.
"While you were asleep, before I knew you'd broken up… I sent Logan a text."
"What?" she hissed, pulling the duvet tighter around herself, as if it could protect her. "What did you do that for?"
"I didn't know what happened to you! I was worried," Wallace tried to explain as he walked over to the door at a second knock.
"Make him go away," Veronica pleaded. "I can't do this right now."
Wallace shot her an apologetic look as he opened the door.
"Hey, man," Wallace greeted, standing dead centre of the doorway. "Look about the text – false alarm. I completely forgot to send another, telling you not to come over."
"Just let me in, Wallace," Logan said, in his familiar mumbley way. It made Veronica physically ache to hear it. She wasn't allowed to sit and listen to what happened to him in class that day, while curled in his strong arms. Wouldn't again have the feeling she got when he switched between whispering dirty or sweet things into her ear while buried inside her.
Veronica paused pensively, watching Wallace's dilemma. He stepped back, letting Logan through and she gritted her teeth. That boy was never getting snickerdoodles from her ever again
Logan stopped in his tracks when he saw her, worry and guilt flitting across his face.
"Ah, the pity visit," Veronica said, shaking her head and looking away. "I'm not dead – no need."
"Veronica," he said softly, stepping towards her. "What hap…"
"Just don't, Logan!" she snapped. "Don't act like you care. Just leave."
"You think I don't care?" he asked, looking stricken. "How can you say that?"
She shot him the darkest look she could muster up and he seemed to physically shrink in response. "What exactly do you want?" she asked.
"I just wanted to see if you're alright," he said, as he pulled his sleeve down further over his hand.
"Well, you've seen me. I'm fine. Just a minor didn't-look-both-ways-before-crossing-the-road incident."
He stepped towards her, and reached out. His thumb brushed gently across her face, and her eyes fluttered shut as her heart rate doubled. "You don't look fine," he murmured.
"Just what a girl longs to hear," she replied, but she couldn't even bring herself to sound angry any more.
"I should have been there," he said self-deprecatingly.
"I don't think it's common etiquette to walk someone home after dumping them." She glanced at Wallace, who was still hovering awkwardly near the door.
"So, uh, what happened with the car?" he asked hesitantly.
"Jesus, Logan," she snapped, "I didn't jump in front of it on purpose, if that's what you're thinking. I'm upset, not trying to kill myself." A look of relief flittered across his face. "You should go. You don't need to hang around feeling guilty."
"I never wanted it to be like this," Logan said sadly.
"What did you expect, Logan?" she replied angrily. "You just want me to say, 'oh, so you don't want to be with me any more? No worries, let's watch Easy Rider!'" she enthused with false cheer.
"No!" Logan said, his voice raising a little. "It's not that I don't want to be with you, just… It's killing me too, you know."
"That makes me feel so much better. Really," she said, her voice cracking. She swallowed hard and looked down at the floor. There was no way on earth she was crying in front of Logan Echolls.
"Maybe you should give her some space, Logan," Wallace pointed out.
Logan sighed and walked over to the door. "Call me if you need anything," he said hesitantly.
Veronica rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right."
She managed to go through the weekend without any repeat visits from Logan, and Wallace even gave up the bed for her to sleep on during the night. She wanted to get through the first Monday back at college quickly, and without additional damage.
Paying for her lunch with the money she'd already got out of her purse, she awkwardly tried to hold the tray with just her left hand as she began the long walk across the cafeteria to an empty table.
She could feel the eyes of other students burning into her, mockery and laughter dancing in their eyes as they took in her cuts and bruises. Deserved, she knew they were thinking.
She didn't even see Jeff Ratner coming towards her, until she was crashing into him, and her tray tumbled to the ground. The plate cracked in half, spilling the fries and burger she'd decided on, as the only food that was easy to eat with one hand. She gasped, white-hot pain shooting from her wrist and up her arm. She tried to take calming breaths, as the nails on her other hand dug into the palm of her hand.
Jeff had an annoying smirk on his face as he continued to look at her like she was scum. "I'm not paid to pick up your food here," he laughed, casually strolling away like nothing had happened.
She swallowed hard as she bent down to scoop up the fries as best she could, her cheeks aflame.
"Are you okay?" Logan asked, suddenly appearing next to her. "Let me do this."
She didn't even fight him, wanting to clear up and get the hell out of their as fast as possible.
"I didn't see what happened," Logan confessed. "Was that Ratner?"
Veronica ignored him, standing up and throwing the contents of the tray in the trash can.
"Thanks," she said hollowly, turning to leave until his hand gently touched her shoulder.
"Veronica, wait," he said. He was shifting from one foot to the other, yanking his shirt down and most annoyingly of all – guilt was still shining from his eyes.
"Logan, for god's sake. Just leave me alone," she hissed. "How am I supposed to do this when you're always there?" She practically ran out of the cafeteria, tears burning in her eyes.
When Duncan broke up with her – or didn't, as the case may be, it was like a swift kick in the stomach, that eventually dulled down to an ache. The ache came and went, when she saw him walking down the corridor, when she spoke to him, and then later, when she saw him with Meg.
With Logan, it was like the constant first pain of being kicked in the stomach. She hated that she'd let it happen. She was so used to not letting people in to her life, under her skin, caring for them, that when the few who were close left or betrayed her, it was so much worse. A knife to the gut that she couldn't pull out again, and she just bled and bled and no one could do anything.
She was rushing down the hallway towards the exit when she spotted Weevil painting a wall directly in front of her. She stopped dead, and tried to subtlety turn in the other direction when he looked up, catching her gaze.
His eyes widened in surprised, before they narrowed into slits. "Who did this?" he spat. She could smell the thick stench of turpentine coming off of him as he stepped closer. Her eyes focused in on the splatters of magnolia that decorated his arms, little patches of dullness. "Was it Logan?" he sounded angry and Veronica just wanted to slide down the wall, her fingers pressed in her ears – blocking the world out.
"Of course not," she said instead, but he just looked at her like he didn't believe it.
"I'm going to kill that bastard," he growled. "After what he did to Lilly, too."
"What?" Veronica asked in surprise. "Logan never hurt Lilly."
Weevil shook his head. "Did you see the bruises on her?"
Veronica's mouth dropped in surprise. Her mind began to flick through the possibilities. Jake, Celeste, Aaron… Who?
Weevil smirked bitterly. "I always told you Logan was nothing but scum. Just like his father."
Veronica stepped forward, her fingers curling around Weevil's uniform, fury burning through her veins. Weevil blinked in surprise. His arm tightened like he wanted to push her away, but they remained by his side.
"Logan is nothing like his father," she said furiously. "He wouldn't have laid a hand on Lilly if he had a gun to his head."
"Come on, V," Weevil protested.
She shook her head and stepped backwards, breathing heavily. "Stop repeating those lies. I don't know who hurt her, but it wasn't Logan."
"How do you know?" he asked. She stared at him, her lips parted as she tried to come up with the words to explain. How did she know?
"I just do," she answered softly.
When she got back to Wallace's room, she found he'd left the first season of Arrested Development on his bed, and a large bar of chocolate.
It was like a damn had burst, as she dropped down to the floor, her chest heaving with sobs. She buried her face in her hand as the tears slid down her face, collecting in pools along her collarbone. Her throat felt raw as her breath came in sharp gasps.
There was a single knock at the door before it clicked open. She couldn't even bring herself to look up as she heard someone cross the room, until their arms wrapped around her. She flinched.
"Oh, Veronica," Mac said sympathetically, and relieved Veronica buried her face in Mac's shoulder. "I'm so sorry."
She hated being a pathetic teenage girl. She hated being pitied because her ex-boyfriend had broken her heart.
Mac rubbed her back soothingly. "It's okay," she said.
Veronica wanted to yank away, furious and bitter. Mac's boyfriend had thrown himself off a roof. If anyone knew it wasn't okay, it was her. But it was something that was said, wasn't it? Like asking someone who'd just fallen if they were alright, even when they clearly were not.
"Sorry," Veronica said as she pulled away, wiping her reddened eyes.
Mac was looking at her understandingly, and Veronica just wanted to sink into the floor.
"Did you have fun at the spa?" Veronica asked.
Mac's nose wrinkled. "Face masks and being… girly isn't really my thing. But Parker had fun."
Veronica managed a watery smile. "Good."
"Got anymore classes?" Mac asked and Veronica shook her head. "Shall we get started on the DVDs and chocolate then."
"Thought being girly wasn't your thing?" Veronica asked.
Mac smiled. "I can make exceptions. Especially for Arrested Development."
"I miss him," Veronica said quietly. "It's only been three days and I've even seen him today, but…"
"I know," Mac replied, handing her a piece of the creamy chocolate.
She felt a flicker of guilt. How could she even be saying this to Mac, of all people? "I'm sorry," Veronica said, shaking her head.
"Don't be," Mac assured quickly. "Just because… doesn't mean I can't… well, you know…"
Veronica gave her a small half smile and brushed Mac's hand with her own. "Yeah."
The computer screen was the only source of light in room, washing everything with a silvery glow. Veronica waited for the email to open impatiently.
Please don't cut me out of your life. I still want to know what's going on with my daughter, even if you won't come home.
I love you.
Veronica bit down on her lip harshly, and immediately tasted the tang of blood as she re-opened her split lip. Her taste buds protested as the metallic liquid washed across her tongue.
She hadn't even realised she'd clicked the reply button and the email had loaded a freshly white page for her to type on.
I can't breathe.
She closed the browser window without sending.
She spotted Jeff Ratner sitting alone at a table, deeply involved in the book that was in front of him. She purchased a glass of apple juice and walked towards him. She stumbled at the last second, the drink splattering across his lap.
"What the fuck?" he cried, jumping out of his seat.
"God, I'm so sorry," Veronica said in wide-eyed innocence. "I'm so clumsy with this cast."
Yes, she felt like she was in fifth grade again. It was immature and not even clever.
But by god, it made her feel better.
Skin itched when it began to heal. Veronica found that out the hard way.
"No, it needs to be thinner," she said in frustration as she threw the pencil back onto the desk Wallace had got for her.
Wallace glanced around the room. "Like what?"
"A knitting needle?" Veronica suggested.
Wallace's eyebrow raised. "Oh, yeah, I'll just go hunt in my knitting bag, where I keep the scarf I'm working on."
"Hey," Veronica said dryly. "Knitting is cool. Julia Roberts does it. And Russell Crowe!"
Wallace looked at her blankly.
"Anything will do," Veronica said desperately. "Anything that will fit into the cast."
"I'm trying to think!" Wallace protested. "Alright, I'll go down to the boiler room, see if I can find… something." He shoved his sneakers on and headed towards the door. "I'll be back soon."
Veronica groaned as the door shut and the tingling along her arm intensified.
The sun danced across her skin as she walked out the door and towards the next lecture. She spotted him across the quad as she walked to class, sitting alone, seemingly gazing into space. His expression was downcast, his shoulders slumped.
She wanted to feel glad – he deserved it. He dumped her, he broke her heart. He knew about her trust issues, chose to date her regardless and then dumped her when they got too much. Instead, she just felt sad. Was that what it was all for? To leave them both alone and in pieces?
He looked up, as if he felt her gaze. His expression brightened and he lifted his hand.
She frowned in confusion, before she found herself lifting her hand in response. She looked away and walked through the double doors into the college.
"What you doing?" Wallace asked, as he came home to find her packing her things clumsily into her bag.
"Going home," she said with a sigh. "I can't avoid him forever, and I'm sure you're desperate for your bed back."
Wallace shook his head in denial. "Stay as long as you need," he said.
She zipped the back up and turned to him, before she pulled him into a one-armed hug.
"Thank you," she whispered. "You're the best BFF a girl could ask for." And she meant it.
His lips widened into one of his Wallace smiles, one of the ones that made you glow inside, and feel a fraction of what he was feeling.
She knocked on the door. It felt wrong just to burst in. She wasn't even sure it felt like home any more.
The door opened and her dad was there, his eyes widening as he took in her bruises with concern, before his expression changed to relief. He didn't immediately demand to know what had happened, so she knew Wallace had told him about the accident.
There were no words as his arms closed around her, holding his only child close to him.
"Hi, dad," she mumbled against his chest, with a smile of her own.
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