Summary: AU, Pre-Series. She doesn't believe half of what comes out of his mouth. But when he's kissing her, he's not really talking. Dammit. Logan. Veronica. Oneshot.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own them.
A/N: Not my best work. Not at all.
He's absolutely full of shit.
Normally she's not one for expletives, but it's really the only thing she can think about when she meets him. He wraps his hand around hers and smiles, politely, like it's just a well-placed veneer that his parents have asked him to put in place with new people, and Veronica thinks it's ridiculous.
"—meet you," Logan finishes his congenial proclamation and she narrows her eyes slightly, but returns the overly-false smile in kind.
"You too," she nods and pulls her hand back, shaking it uncomfortably and sliding it behind her back. The skin is slightly sweaty, and Veronica isn't really sure how long she was actually shaking his hand for. She doesn't get nervous around boys, or at least not around Duncan, so that can't possibly be the reason behind the sudden moisture on her palm.
Deciding to play nice, she pastes a smile on her face and widens her eyes curiously, inclining her head toward him slightly. "So, when did you move he—" Logan turns around halfway through the question, distracted by his best friend yelling his name, and she huffs indignantly and turns on her heel, stomping back onto the field and kicking up patches of grass with her cleats as she goes.
He shouts after her a minute later and she rolls her eyes, ignoring Lilly's persistent yammering on how adorable her little brother's best friend is. As far as Veronica Mars is concerned, Logan Echolls is nothing more than a pretty-boy jerk.
Throwing an arm around her shoulders, Logan smiles and pulls her close to him. "How goes it, Ronica?" She tenses and shrugs his arm off of her, shoving the last bite of her ice cream cone into her mouth to delay her answer. Informing him of the family fight that broke out last night would not be wise, and she really isn't in the mood to get advice from the king of dysfunction, anyway.
"Peachy," she responds, and she's proud to hear the extra little snap in her voice. Normally when she's around him she's quiet, even a little tongue-tied. But today she's irritated and functioning on barely any sleep, and Logan Echolls is the last person in the world that she wants to spend the afternoon with.
"Glad to hear it," he smiles at her and she swallows, backing away from him so that they're no longer touching. A frown colors his expression briefly and then he looks around, furrowing his brow. "And the Kane siblings are…"
"Not here yet."
"Oh. Well, then," he chuckles and locks eyes with her. "Guess it's just you and me, huh?"
She folds her arms across her chest, brushing her fingers against the long, braided strands of her hair, and shrugs. Gnawing on her bottom lip, she contemplates calling her mother and asking to be picked up early. If Lilly and Duncan don't show up soon, she'll follow through on the plan.
Even if her parents are fighting like crazy.
"You really don't like me much, do you?" he asks, and the question makes her heart skip a beat. Looking up at him, Veronica inhales sharply at his look of utter confusion and shrugs again. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, something she's come to realize in the brief time they've spent together in the past month, and she's not used to a boy that's so open and vulnerable. Duncan tends to remain impassive and stoic.
Right now, she kind of loves that most about Duncan.
"What makes you think that?" she sits on the bench outside the water park and keeps her arms folded across her chest, staring at him curiously. He joins her and she doesn't protest, though part of her really thinks she should.
"Veronica, you're not the hardest person to read," he tells her, and it sounds practiced. Idly, the image of him practicing his speech in front of a mirror floats through her mind and she bites back a giggle.
"Oh?" she wonders, watching him from the corner of her eye.
"Oh," he nods and then smirks, turning to look at her. She does the same and locks eyes with him, then narrows hers slightly. He starts leaning toward her and she panics, but decides not to retreat.
Veronica Mars is nothing if not a fighter.
"Your eyes tell all your little secrets," he waves his hand flippantly and she swallows thickly. "In fact, if I were to bet, I'd say you're thinking about how hot I am right now, aren't you?"
Only half-feigning disgust, she swats at his shoulder and scoots over until she's practically hanging off the edge of the bench. "Don't be so sure of your ESP, Logan. If you think I like you then your mind-reading powers clearly aren't up to snuff."
He opens his mouth to retaliate and then a familiar, high-pitched voice screams both of their names from across the parking lot. Veronica stands, relieved to see her best friend and Duncan crossing the blacktop. Maybe now Logan will be too distracted to continue their conversation.
"Somebody's defensive today," Logan mutters as he steps up next to her and waves jovially at their friends. She rolls her eyes and folds her arms across her chest, tapping her foot impatiently.
After what seems like hours, Lilly and Duncan finally meet up with them and they turn to head into the water park. Logan rests his hand on her lower back briefly as he rushes ahead of her to walk with Duncan, and tiny chills bracket her spine.
"Veronica Mars! Seeing ghosts again?" Lilly wraps her arm around Veronica's and the shorter of the two takes a deep breath, pasting on a bright, if not somewhat confused, smile as she looks at her best friend.
"You look a little pale," Lilly explains.
Veronica shrugs, "Guess I'm just in serious need of some sun time." Lilly looks pleased with this answer and Veronica sighs softly, glancing at Logan's back as he and Duncan push through the security check to get into the actual park. She narrows her eyes and tries to burn a hole through his t-shirt with just the power of her gaze.
And then he takes his t-shirt off and she feels her cheeks burn the color of tomatoes.
Closing her eyes, she runs her right hand through the water next to her raft and continues to float blissfully in the sunlight, tracing small designs and words into the rubber floating device with her other hand. Sighing softly, Veronica smiles to herself and arches her back to pull her sticky skin away from the imitation vinyl.
And then she's falling, and a second later she's engulfed in water.
Surfacing, she splutters and pulls her sunglasses off of her head, wiping her eyes furiously. When she opens her eyes, she sees Logan standing just a few feet away and she groans in irritation. The sight of her attacker standing on the other side of the inverted raft with a huge, self-indulgent grin on his face just pisses her off even more.
"Logan! What the hell?!" she swims over to the side of the pool and sets her sunglasses down on the wet cement before agilely climbing out. Once she's standing, she pulls her wet hair to one side of her neck and starts to wring the chlorine out of it impatiently.
"What? I thought you came over here to have fun!" he protests, looking genuinely confused by her indignation. Her jaw drops and she lets go of her hair, resting her hands on her hips. There is no way he believes that throwing her off of a bright pink raft for no good reason could be considered fun for anyone but himself.
"I was having fun until you did that!" she points at the raft and huffs. Logan laughs at her and she narrows her eyes, staring at him for another second before storming off in the direction of his pool house. All she has to do is grab her clothes and find Lilly and then she can leave and never come back.
A warm hand lands on her arm and pulls her to a stop, infuriating her even more. Turning on her heel, she points her finger and jabs a princess-pink-painted nail into his chest. "You are a jerk!" she proclaims.
"I'm sorry," Logan says seriously. Veronica doesn't believe him, and she struggles to break free from his grasp on her. He squeezes her arm slightly and then grabs her other, looking her straight in the eyes. He even ducks his head so that they're at the same level and she feels her breath catch without her consent. "Veronica, I'm sorry."
"Fine," she says softly. "Let me go, please."
Nodding slightly, he lets go of her and shoves his hands into the pockets of his swim trunks. They stand there for a moment, both staring off in separate directions, and she feels like an idiot for not knowing how to move past the moment. He always has to throw her off, no matter how hard she tries to keep him from doing so.
"Where are Lilly and Duncan?" she asks after a moment, realizing that the Kane siblings aren't anywhere to be seen. Logan smirks slightly and runs a hand through his hair, grinning sheepishly.
"Celeste came and picked them up about half an hour ago," he tells her. Suddenly she feels warm, like her entire body is blushing, and she wraps her arms around her stomach protectively. "I think you fell asleep out there," he gestures behind him at his pool, "Because you didn't even respond when Lilly said goodbye."
"Oh," she nods and ducks her head to hide her flushed cheeks. "Okay," she nods again and tightens her arms around her body slightly. She shouldn't feel this awkward being alone with Logan Echolls. Yet there isn't anything she can think of that would make her feel more vulnerable. "Can I use your phone to call my dad?"
"You don't have to go," Logan touches her arm and she jumps slightly. "Sorry," he apologizes again and she wants to smack him. Her fingers almost itch with the temptation, but she refrains as she returns her gaze to his and smiles.
"Okay what?" Logan asks warily. Veronica's smile brightens and she laughs at his increasingly worried expression, realizing that he's not used to seeing her open and happy when she's around him.
One night can't possibly hurt, though, right?
"I'll stay," she nods. He grins and she takes a step forward, jabbing him in the chest and causing him to stumble back a few steps. "But the second you throw me in that pool," she jabs him again, "I am calling my dad," and again, "And leaving," and once more just for good measure.
With that last push, he tumbles backwards into the deep end of the water. She brushes her hands together and grins, satisfied, before resting her hands on her hips and waiting for him to surface. When he does, he wipes his eyes and then stares at her as he treads water.
"Are we even now?" he asks, completely deadpan. Veronica tilts her head to the side and ponders the question for a moment. Then she sits down on the edge of the pool and shakes her head, aware of the dangers of being so close to him.
"No," she tells him decidedly, shaking her head back and forth. Logan rolls his eyes and she smiles, shocked at how much she's actually enjoying this little interaction. After a moment, he swims over to her and she squeals as he pulls her into the water with him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck to keep from going under. He wraps his arms around her waist and runs his hands up her back, laughing quietly when she shudders.
"Never saw you as the clingy type," he murmurs in her ear. She smacks him, but the hit is lacking in strength due to how hard she's holding onto him. "Ouch," he deadpans. "I think that one might've left a bruise, Veronica."
"Do you ever stop talking?" she asks, irritated again.
He smirks and pulls away from her slightly, running his eyes over her face in a way that makes her feel like maybe she's not the only one that feels the heat radiating between them. Unwrapping her arms from around his neck, she moves to pull away from him completely and he tightens his grip on her waist, ducking his head.
"Do you want me to?" he retaliates simply. Veronica groans, closing her eyes, and she squeaks in surprise when something soft presses against her mouth. Her eyes open of their own accord and she gasps slightly when Logan pulls away only to kiss her again a moment later.
"Logan," she pushes him away and tries to catch her breath, angry with her body for betraying her when her mind is so clearly screaming at it to stop reacting to his touch. "Stop," she murmurs softly. "I can't—"
"Lilly and Duncan," she tries to explain, though where the explanation came from she has no idea. The Kanes don't have anything to do with this, so why is she trying to make it seem like they do? Veronica takes a deep breath and looks Logan in the eye.
"What about them?" he whispers, eyes scanning every inch of her face for some sort of hint, she thinks, of how he's supposed to react to this. She shakes her head and kisses him against her better judgment, tangling her fingers in the wet hair at the base of his neck.
"Nevermind," she murmurs when they pull apart. He nods and dips his head to kiss her neck, giving her reasonable doubt as to whether her decision not to believe anything he says was a good one.
They don't talk about the kiss when they meet Lilly and Duncan for lunch at a local burger joint the next day, but Logan rests his hand on Veronica's knee under the table and she wonders if maybe this is the beginning of something new.
"So how much fun did you two have last night?" Lilly asks. Veronica's eyes widen and she swallows her French fry, imperceptibly shaking Logan's hand off of her leg. He looks hurt for a brief moment, but she ignores the expression and focuses on her best friend.
"I didn't stay very long after you guys left," she replies. "My dad wanted me to get home," she continues earnestly, shocked at how smoothly the lie falls from her lips. Logan smirks next to her and she rolls her eyes.
"Boring," Lilly comments, flinging her hair over her shoulder and hitting her brother squarely in the face. Duncan scoffs and Veronica giggles, shaking her head slightly. "I totally expected something more exciting than that."
"Why?" Logan asks her. "Think you're rubbing off on the girl?" There's a bite to the comment that makes Lilly's eyes darken, and Veronica shifts uncomfortably in her chair.
"Logan, don't," she says softly. He turns his head to look at her and she shakes her head back and forth a little, refusing to look at him. Just when she thinks he can be a decent human being, he says something that makes her want to take back the ten-minute make out session from the night before. It would have been longer had her father not called and requested that he pick her up early because he had to go deal with Neptune's criminal element, and now she's kicking herself for it.
Grabbing her hand and pulling her up to stand with him, Logan says something she doesn't catch to the Kanes before dragging her off down the boardwalk. Veronica struggles until he intertwines their fingers and then she stops, realizing that she won't win in a tug-of-war with him.
"What are you doing?" she asks, exasperated. "People are going to think we're a couple," she looks up at him imploringly and watches his jaw tighten as they continue to stroll down the pier, mostly unnoticed by the masses.
"Is that a bad thing?" he questions. Her heart skips a beat and then skips another just a moment later when he squeezes her hand.
"No … not necessarily," she starts, then shakes her head and stops walking abruptly. Logan continues his meandering until she pulls on his hand to make him stop and face her. "Yes, it is," she tells him seriously.
He furrows his brow, "Why? Last night you seemed fine with it."
"Because all you ever do is perform!" she yanks her hand free from his, finally, and runs the newly-freed appendage through her long hair. "I know you grew up in Hollywood, Logan, but you shouldn—"
She's cut off by his mouth pressing to hers and she freezes. It takes her a moment to decide on a response, and when she does, she kisses him back despite how much she wants to smack him for distracting her. When he finally pulls away, she shakes her head back and forth slowly.
"See? You like it when I push your buttons," he says softly.
"Get over yourself," she says seriously. Logan ducks his head to catch her eye and Veronica sighs heavily, letting him take her hand in his. Reluctantly, she looks into his eyes and nods decidedly. "If you don't, this is never going to work."
A grin spreads across his features that is so genuine it makes her want to cry. He kisses her cheek lightly and murmurs, "I'll do my best." And for the first time in a month and a half, she believes every word.