"Explain this to me again?"
Veronica looked nervously over at Mac who was casually checking through her emails, the only sign that she was listening to the conversation was the smug half smile painted on her lips. Veronica turned back to Parker and her smiley folder full of paper, and raised her eyebrows in apprehension.
"It's a dating service. Valentine's Day is coming up and there are a lot of loser types-" Parker glanced up at Veronica sheepishly, "I mean, totally independent people, who are alone. They need dates, they have money. Ergo Parker's 'Love Actually' Valentine's Day service."
"God Veronica, turn on your TV set. Love actually is all around us, duh!"
Veronica rolled her eyes, "That's so nice and corny. And so little to do with me, and yet…"
"You're single" Parker punctuated meaningfully, "Incidentally the only one in this room. Plus you're totally hot, I need hotness to push up the numbers."
Veronica fiddled with the edges of her jacket, "Would I get a cut of supposed profit?"
She asked finally, unwilling to respond to Parker's hopeful expression.
"Yeah, I could do you $200 for the night. And me and Mac would help with your…" Parker cleared her throat meaningfully "Accessories…"
From her respective side of the room Mac was stifling giggles. Veronica tried to silence her with a scathing glare before following Parker's appraising gaze,
"There is nothing wrong with my…" Veronica gritted her teeth, "Accessories. Why are you doing this to me Parker? Why?"
"Actually-" Parker ignored Veronica's irritation. "There kinda is if you spend 75 of your free time looking at Lora Croft and her 'accessories'. Help me out here Veronica and I'll totally owe you one."
Veronica bit her lip, "I'm going to have to wear cutlets aren't I"
Parker nodded solemnly and Veronica glanced pleadingly up at the heavens.
"Fine." She grumbled finally, reaching for her stuffed carrier "But you will owe me two Parker Lee."
"Don't be so sulky about it Veronica," Mac told her innocently, "Parker got Dick to help, and he barely said a thing."
Parker joined her roommate in her glee, "Except for," She frowned, "What was it Mac?"
Veronica's departing snort of disgust couldn't be heard among the chorus of giggles that filled the room.
"I hate Valentine's day!"
Veronica had given up counting the favors Parker had called on by the time she begged her to give Dick his reservations three days later.
"I had to get them changed because his date was, like, totally persnickety," Parker told her wide eyed as she juggled with a mounting pile of employers. "And I'm swamped… Plus I don't want to run into Logan. It's been completely awkward."
Veronica looked at her in exasperation, and Parker shrugged uncomfortably "And you think it won't be for me? Hello, earth to Parker."
Parker patted her hand condescendingly and smiled sweetly, "But you're stronger then me. So you'll handle it."
A sweaty freshman, who taped Parker on the shoulder with the poise of a chess club geek approaching the prom queen, interrupted them before Veronica could respond. Parker beamed at the boy and accepted the money he wordlessly handed her.
"My name's Oliver Mutts, and I'd…"
Parker rolled her eyes at Veronica over Oliver's head and grinned wickedly. Oliver looked at Veronica with an inappropriate amount of awe, and for a second Veronica was worried he was going to touch her hair.
"I know you!" He said in disbelief, "You're Veronica Mars."
Parker's twenty-watt smile wavered and she half-playfully slapped the boy on his shoulder. Her nose wrinkling slightly as she exchanged a look over his head with Veronica.
"I'll call you with your blind date details."
Oliver tore his eyes away from Veronica who was openly glaring in her friend's direction.
"Is that the guy I'm going to get?"
The freshman opened his mouth, and Parker quickly motioned for him to run off.
"I'll call." She yelled after him.
She turned to Veronica with a frown, and fiddled irritably with her bag strap.
"I don't know who you'll get. Mac has this friend in her computer class…" Parker paused and bit her lip coyly, "Don't ask. Anyway, He designed this algorism to match the dater with the date- likes, dislikes, turn offs, turn ons… Whatever, we're getting some real cuties signing up, not just tomb raider nerds. So don't worry about it." She cocked her head thoughtfully, "Well maybe worry about the Hearst dating scene. If some of these guys can't get girls then we are in real trouble…"
Veronica let her mouth flop open, "So I won't know who I'm dating until when?"
"The night." Parker supplied calmly, "It's a surprise for all, a blind date. You just get a restaurant and a table number."
Parker got up and handed a business card to Veronica, her handwriting staining the back in pink ballpoint.
"Give this to Dick." She said handing it over and sending Veronica on her way.
The Cafeteria was her and Logan's neutral, friendly meeting place of choice. It had been silently, and mutually agreed upon in the awkward months surrounding their break-up, when Logan would seek her out to hand back a box of stuff left in his suite, or when Veronica was forced to spend time watching his and Parker's relationship blossom. It was designed to ward against the awkward silences of ex lovers and the bad (and to a lesser extent good) memories that it seemed every corner of Neptune were privy too. It had been designed in the days when they needed to change belongings with out eye contact and despite the fact the Veronica and Logan show was officially closed, Veronica still hadn't managed to voluntarily drag herself to anywhere less then the neutral ground she was currently on.
It didn't make this fun.
Veronica searched the crowd of human debris, which sprawled around the plastic tables and chairs, and her gaze caught on a familiar blonde mop of hair on the far edge of the room. She wouldn't have needed to see it; the sound of oafish sniggering would have carried her far enough. No one noticed as she approached and hung awkwardly on the side for a few seconds as she watched Dick and Logan flirt with the sorority sisters and bond with the fraternity guys. She would have walked up to the 09'er table in high school over her cold dead body, and she didn't particularly want to go up to the collage equivalent.
Still, she had promised Parker. Parker who she had thought the worst of and hence been a player in the one thing she would never wish upon anyone, ever. Parker who she owed, Parker who despite everything had even asked permission to date her ex-boyfriend. She would do this, there was nothing he, err they, could say or do to her, he, err, they, hadn't before.
"Hey." She announced as she appeared at Dick's side. She noted Logan's eyes flick up in surprise, but refused to meet them. Dick chuckled gaily and sent out an arm to pull her against his side.
Veronica tactfully pulled away and made a face at the bitchy titter coming from the direction of one of Dick's (or Logan's) whores.
"Hey Dick." She forced a smile on her face as she handed the card over. Dick's forehead crinkled for a moment as he studied the writing before shrugging and throwing the card on the floor.
Veronica rolled her eyes before leaning down to pick up the discarded card. She handed it to Logan, who looked at it, and then up at her in surprise.
"Make sure Dick makes it. I don't want to have Parker freaking out in my ear for the next month because he was too hung-over to remember to come an hour earlier for his 'mystery date'."
Logan chuckled dryly and pressed Parker's business card against his bottom lip.
"So Parker managed to rope you in too." His eyebrow quirked up in his obvious amusement.
Veronica grimaced and nodded.
"What can I say, the girl has turned emotional blackmail into a fine art. Plus," She added perkily, "She said I could wear fake breasts so in the end it was like totally an obvious decision."
She ignored the way Logan's gaze lingered on her breasts, and the way that her heart began to quicken when his lips twisted into a bemused half smile.
"But officially it was for the money." She added seriously.
He chuckled softly and Veronica let go of the breath she had held since…God knows when. She raised her hand and waggled her fingers goodbye, turning to leave.
"Hey Logan!" She paused at the wicked amusement in Dick's tone, her hazard sense turning on red alert. He had used the same voice in high school when he was preparing to call her a particularly heinous name. Dick was smirking obnoxiously at Logan, whose dark eyes flashed and his tongue snaked out to wet his lips.
"Why don't you introduce Ronnie to your new girlfriend?"
Veronica felt her breath hitch as she watched Logan glance at the red head next to him, whose lips had just turned up like those of a cat who got the cream.
She was unpleasantly reminded of Madison Sinclair.
The red head nodded coolly at her, and Veronica shifted uncomfortably as eyes like chips of ice looked her up and down.
"You're Veronica Mars?"
The red head wrinkled her nose a little. "Huh."
Veronica told herself the bile that was rising at the back of her throat came from the injustice of Neptune's social hierarchy.
"Veronica this is Amy." Dick introduced formally, the effect ruined by his ugly sneer. Veronica's gaze flitted momentarily over to Logan, who was studying the carvings on the cafeteria tabletop.
"Congratulations," She told Dick curtly, "She's not blonde. You must be so happy. Maybe he'll get through this relationship with his bulls in tact"
It couldn't be the fact that Logan has moved on again, that he had a new girlfriend that was making her hurt, she reasoned as she stalked away from the table of sniggering Pi-Sig's, because that would mean she cared. And she didn't, she couldn't…
"You can't possibly expect me to wear that!" Veronica told Parker flatly.
Parker had judged Veronica's wardrobe too 'conservative ' to be considered appropriated, so she had brought her some of her own outfits, much to Veronica's disdain.
"Why?" Parker asked innocently, "You look good in red."
The colour of the dress laid out on the bed was not the issue. The level of the dip that revealed her cleavage on the other hand, was.
"Guys like red." Parker implored seriously, "And you have to be seriously knock-out tonight."
"Because the tomb raiding virgins might ask for their money back?" Veronica deadpanned.
"Right!" Parker cried victoriously. With a sigh she flopped onto her single bed and studied her friend with one appraising eye. "You know you should be taking this more positively,"
Veronica's carefully painted red lips twisted into a smirk, "Because god knows I'm a positive person"
"Because you might actually have a good time, find something you don't have."
Veronica beamed indulgently at Parker and batted her eyelashes, "Like true love?"
Parker threw a stuffed pig at her and scoffed. "When did you get so jaded Veronica Mars? You never know…"
Veronica sighed and slumped down onto the ground beside Parker, leaning against the soft cushioning of her bed. She rubbed her forehead irritably.
"I don't believe in true love." She muttered, "I used to… but just not anymore."
For the longest time Veronica Mars had been a running advocate for True Love. Duncan Kane had been the Romeo to her Juliet, the Prince Charming to her Aurora. In the pre- Lilly days they had talked in whispers and planned for the future and everybody said their names in one breath DuncanandVeronica. Veronica had wanted a big white wedding, and Lilly would be her maid of honor, and Logan would be the best man and her life…her life would be perfect. Perfect was shot to hell in one foul swoop one day when her Prince Charming dumped her without a word and Lilly's blonde hair became eternally and irreversibly stained with blood. When they did finally find their way back together, they didn't fit like they used to. Veronica was no Aurora and while Duncan was still noble, intelligent and funny he wasn't the perfect Prince Charming that made her tingle from scalp to toe. And what was the point of Prince Charming if he didn't lift you up where you belong etcetera, etcetera.
Logan was different.
From the very beginning of their relationship there were no illusions, they knew with disarming clarity how fucked up they where. There weren't notes passed in math or stuffed bears with 'I wuv you beary much' sewn onto their chests, there was lust and hot kisses and hard arousal pressed against her stomach. Everything he told her was the truth, even when he was lying (especially when he was lying), because even if his mouth could utter the untrue words, his body and his eyes couldn't lie to her, no; his eyes could never lie to her. Veronica got lost in his harsh truths; somewhere along the line she had forgotten how to pull herself out. How to free herself from the pieces of himself he left inside her. Logan was never meant to be the permanent choice. He was broken and wild and a jerk 80 of the time, but…
Is this how it's going to be, all this hurt every time Logan dates a new slut?
The worst part was not being in his life, not being a priority, not to kiss him, not to be kissed by him, not to love him, and not having to feel loved by him, not even to snark at him in the hallways. The worst part was missing him.
But she had walls, she had put up those walls to survive, when there was no other option, so she was guarded, anything Logan forced her to feel, she tucked it well within herself. She wasn't going to be the sappy ex-girlfriend pining over some guy she couldn't have.
Yet Parker was looking at her with utmost compassion like everything she felt ever was graffiti-ed across her face.
"Not even with Logan?" she asked gently.
"You think Logan, the guy you used to date, is my true love?" Veronica asked incredulously, Parker shrugged and sunk down off her bed next to her.
"I think you're his true love after I've dated him, doesn't that say something?"
"I'm not having this conversation." Veronica pleaded absently to the ceiling, "God, tell me I am not having this conversation."
Parker patted her shoulder and smiled, "Would it help if I told you I have chocolate in my drawer?"
Parker reached over and pulled a block of Cadbury Milk from her bedside table, she snapped off a square for herself and then offered it to Veronica. Veronica popped the chocolate in her mouth and munched on it in consideration.
"Whether Logan is my 'true love' or not," Veronica gave Parker a very hard look for even bringing it up, "It's all kinda moot. Logan has a girlfriend."
Parker frowned, "No, he doesn't."
Veronica rolled her eyes and huffed, cracking off another piece of chocolate. "Yes he does."
"No he doesn't!" Parker looked really agitated and Veronica raised her eyebrow,
"You sure you're not still interested in Logan?" She asked sardonically, "Because I'm really pretty sure he does."
"I asked Dick just the other day and he said Logan was sailing the single wave."
"So Dick likes you better then me." Veronica retaliated nonchalantly, sucking hard on the chocolate she had popped in her mouth. "Big surprise."
She frowned and studied Parker carefully. Parker was biting the inside of her lip irritably, like she was anxious or worried. She smiled and rested her hand upon her friend's forearm.
"Do you still like Logan, Parker?" She asked softly, "I wouldn't be mad if you…"
"No!" Parker interrupted with a forceful shake of her blonde locks, "I'm just…"
Parker dismissed the subject with a wave of her hand. Veronica grinned ruefully,
"You know this is getting dangerously close to girl talk."
Parker returned the smile, "I think we're pretty much swimming in the deep end of girl talk Veronica."
"I wouldn't know." Veronica commented lightly, "Mac has been pretty much my only gal pal for a while now. And she doesn't really do sleepovers and gossip nights. I don't think I've girl talked since sophomore year." Her stomach burned as the comment reminded herself just how long it had been since nightgowns and chocolate chip cookies in the nighttime. Not since Meg, not since Lilly.
Parker sighed and to Veronica's not quite unpleasant surprise rested her head against her shoulder.
"I'm going to be your girl talk buddy from now on Veronica Mars." Parker told her, "Everybody needs one, even Little Miss Girl Detective."
"You probably won't like being my girl talk buddy," Veronica pointed out, "I'm so much more teen noir. Plus I think I've forgotten how."
Parker grinned and jumped to her feet, Veronica's eyes widening in horror as she headed for her make-up bag.
"It'll be fun, popcorn, chick flicks, Ben and Jerry's. I'll explain it to you while I do your eye make up." Parker tilted her head and appraised Veronica with slightly rabid pleasure, "So are you a summer or a spring?"
Luigi's was a quality-dining establishment. It had a nice formal, but not too formal attire about it with its mood lighting and blush leather booths. It smelt like a mixture of champagne, tomato sauce and perfume and Veronica could eat her body weight in Manicotti there. Veronica had been coming to Luigi's since she was seven years old and every time she walked in the front door, Loretta would wave and wink at her from her desk and memories of dates, late nights and warm comfortable kisses would slam into her and envelope her like a security blanket.
And yet she was sure no amount of Tortellini would save this night, it was just destined to be awkward.
She plastered on her smile like it was the lipstick on her lips, its every so slightly wavering edges matching perfectly with her soft, creamy silk dress (decided upon with some tactfully reasoning on Veronica behalf), and her favorite Jimmy Choo sling back heels. The only visible sign of her discomfort was her freshly manicured nails disappearing into the tender flesh of her palm, leaving sore red crescents across the milky white.
"Reservations under Parker." She informed the dark haired concierge.
"Veronica Mars right? You're with Parker's dating service. I'll get a waiter to show you to your table." The girl leaned forward conspiratorially, "Just to let you know, if you don't want your date. Then I definitely do."
Veronica laughed hollowly as the waiter appeared to take her away. Her grip tightened on her beaded clutch as she was weaved through the tables of laughing diners and down a short corridor into one of Luigi's 'private' parlors. Veronica rolled her eyes as Paulo, the waiter, paused to open the glass doors; trust Parker to find a way to make an expensive, awkward situation even more awkward and more expensive. The private parlors of Luigi's offered no solace from the uncomfortable, dating silence.
She didn't expect to see a familiar mess of spiky brown hair as she entered.
Veronica's voice pinged around the almost empty room as she approached. She almost smiled at Logan's double take. Paulo presented the table, and Logan, with a bow and Veronica looked between the two in confusion.
"There must be a mistake." Logan croaked, his voice low and grave from ill use. Veronica rolled his eyes at him and looked pleadingly at the waiter.
"Paulo he's right, there has to be a mistake. I'm under the Parker reservations, I'm meant to have a blind date. This isn't blind, I know him, and I've dated him. Trust me. It was total 20/20."
Paulo shrugged at the blonde and handed her a menu.
"This is the table we have under Parker. She told us it was reserved for Mars and Echolls."
Logan and Veronica's eyes snapped to together, and slowly the truth began to dawn on both of them.
"Please." Veronica asked desperately, her hand clutching on waiter's arm, "There must be a mix-up…"
"No mix-up." Paulo peeled her finger's off his arm gingerly and patted the blonde's shoulder, "Sorry Veronica, you're stuck with the guy. I'll be back for your orders shortly."
Veronica froze as she watched her only chance of interference leave the room; slowly she turned and gave Logan a dangerous smile.
"Heya, you know what? You remind me of a guy I used to date."
Logan smirked wearily, his hands spreading to silently offer her, her seat.
"Yeah, I used to know a girl like you. Blonde, tendency of a pit bull."
Veronica sat and studied her fingernails for a moment, wondering idly how exactly Parker had got them to gleam so. Like ivory talons dripping with synthetic blood, how fitting.
"So…" Logan began, his finger's fiddling with a bread stick. "Parker screwed us?"
Veronica chuckled tentatively, trying to curb the irritable tapping that her shoe had begun to carve out of the hard wood floor.
"They probably got the booking wrong."
Logan tutted and shook his head apathetically, his eyes still cool and impartial despite his casual teasing. Veronica realized that she hadn't really met them for the longest time, in the same breath she realized that was probably a good thing, she was able to resist a lot of things but Logan's gaze had never been one of them.
"Never doubt the criminal mind that is Parker Lee, Veronica."
Veronica laughed apprehensively and raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, she's a fluffy, girly, pink ninja, eeevil."
Still, despite her sarcasm Veronica couldn't help but remember Parker's subtle meddling earlier and her frustration upon hearing about Logan's girlfriend.
"Why are you even here?" Veronica asked, her voice rising in irritation as she reached for her phone. "I didn't think you'd be up for the whole 'blind date thing'."
"I would think whoring myself out would be exactly what you would expect me to do." Logan smiled sadly and the intended lightness of his tone was betrayed by something not unakin to bitterness, Veronica coughed in distaste.
"Are you ringing Parker? It's rude to make phone calls during a date." His smile quirked back into its trademark smirk.
Veronica glared and scrolled through her phonebook, a scowl riding over her features.
"This isn't a date" She growled, "Ignore the mood lights, fancy clothes and Italian food because you and me Logan," She indicated between them with one hand before punching the connect button on her cell. "We are not doing the date thing."
Logan opened his mouth to retort but Parker's voice invaded the dial tone in her ear. Veronica clicked the speakerphone and grinned menacingly.
"Hey Parker." She cooed, "How's it going"
"Peachy Keen. How's the date?" Parker voice sounded tinnily through the phone. Logan cocked his head and snorted impishly.
"Great! Really, really... You'll never guess who's here!"
Parker paused, which suggested she did know who was there, before answering hopefully
Logan leaned forward towards the phone with a smile. "Hey Parker. How's life treating you in the dorms?"
Veronica rolled her eyes at Parker's obviously faux gasp of surprise.
"One and only."
"You set me up!" Veronica accused into the phone angrily, "you set us up. Which means when I'm done here I am really coming after you. And after that, I'll send you to your own private padded cell."
"I didn't."Parker's voice pleaded, "I swear."
"Is that true?" Logan asked sternly, but to her chagrin Veronica was pretty sure she could see a twinkle of mischief in his eye. Parker hesitated.
"No." she confessed with a tiny sigh.
Parker gave a snort of exasperation, "Because you guys are idiots. You think you're so friggin broken, like you can't be fixed but guess what? You fix each other, you think that whatever has happened in the past has made it so that you can never be together but it just means you should!" She finished, taking a breath after her tirade of explanation.
Veronica hazarded a glance over at Logan, his own eyes flicked to hers and for a second they met, Logan's lips quirking into a smile, like he knew something she didn't (didn't he always). The regular beat of Veronica's heart quickened and a burst of pain exploded in her gut as she curbed the impulse to just lean over and…
"Even if all of that was true," She replied quietly, her eyes trained purposefully on the phone, "Parker, Logan has a girlfriend."
There was a slap, like Parker's phantom hand had just landed heavily on her desk and a growl of irritation. "No. He. Doesn't!"
Veronica gaped wide-eyed at the phone, which was now loudly emitting its dial tone; and Logan ran a hand through his gelled spikes.
"Ok, I have to start running back-ground checks on the girls I sleep with. I keep getting crazy ones."
A bark of laughter ripped itself from Veronica's throat, leaving a trail of pain in its wake. More burbles of laughter spilled out of her throat and decorated the air, and Logan looked at her for a moment before joining in, her high giggles harmonizing with his low, grating sniggers. Logan chuckled softly for a few seconds before he sobered up, picking up the menu and studying it. He looked at Veronica over the menu, and she looked back at him, for the first time properly meeting his eyes without reserve.
"I don't, you know," He implored gently, flicking the plastic carte du jour absentmindedly. At Veronica's confused look he added. "Have a girl friend."
Veronica rolled her eyes and scoffed, "You do actually. Or was that awkward little interlude the other day just a fun way to hur- humiliate me?" Her voice began to generate the accusing tone she had always fallen back on when it came to dealing with Logan.
She picked up her own menu and dragged her gaze away from Logan's, trying to study the swimming black font in front of her. She refused to admit that seeing him laughing, flirting, dating without her, hurt, or that he had sway in her emotions and her heart. That way led only to heartbreak, more pain and more humiliation. She wouldn't let Logan Echolls hurt her again.
Logan smiled ironically, and he pushed away the menu.
"I fucked her once." He told her, his voice even, but his cool betrayed by his long fingers tangling with his cuffs, "I was drunk, I was single and I was bored. She isn't my girlfriend."
"Just a cheap fuck right?"
Veronica hated the highness of her tone, the way her face was twisting in disgust. Her heart tattooed on her forehead for everyone (Logan) to see, and she hated the spark of satisfaction that she saw drift across Logan's features coupling with the hurt she had also stained him with, and the deep burn in her stomach that told her that yes, she did actually care. She closed her eyes for a second, and when she opened them she reached for her phone with a scowl, stuffing it into her clutch as she rose to leave. Logan sighed resignedly and leaned back on his chair, observing her theatrics with a weary rise of his eyebrow.
"I don't even care Logan, I just…" She shook her head, "I'm gonna go now."
"Stay." Logan threw out, his tone stopping her in her tracks, calling her eyes to his.
"The dinner is paid for, you've got yourself dolled up and how are you going to explain leaving to Parker?"
"You mean between beating the crap out of her?" Veronica deadpanned, but she did, against her better nature, slide back into her seat. Maybe it was the logic in his argument, or maybe it was the softness of his first word, maybe that one would have been enough (maybe it was all because she just refused to back down, because Veronica had never backed down for an Echolls). Logan leaned forward onto his elbows under the pretence of grabbing a breadstick, and leaned dangerously into her personal space, eyeing her with a silent expression she really hoped wasn't compassion.
"You can say it you know. It's allowed to hurt."
Veronica glared at him, her teeth biting into the corner of her lip until the coppering tang of blood flooded her mouth.
"I don't even know why I'm surprised!" She spat, not even knowing if she was angry with Logan or more with herself because she simply couldn't distance herself from him and his actions. "Or disappointed. You go on about 'changing', and me not trusting you, We even break up over it, but you know what? You still do everything I expect you to do."
She regretted her words the moment she saw Logan's expression shutter, his mouth twisting into a pained smile. She tensed and waited for him to return her misgivings in his own form of snark, but when he finally did speak his voice was carefully measured and icily calm.
"I tried, at least I did that. That's more than you can say. And I never lied to you either. We both know I'm not above screwing some random freshman if it means getting my kicks, but what you don't get is the distinction."
Veronica tucked a wayward strand of blonde behind her ear and looked at Logan with some genuine curiosity. Logan looked up at her, holding her gaze for a moment before finally looking away.
"It was just sex Veronica." He sighed, "It's just a thing I do that makes me feel better, or helps me forget. You know I lost my virginity at 13, in the back of some fucking trailer during the break of my dad's fucking movie. So sex? Not that special for me. Kind of a glorified hobby."
Veronica blanched softly in pity, and not for the first time did she wish she had the ability to rewrite their history, but this time when her blue eyes met Logan's amber ones, he met them with fiery disregard. She flinched as he reached over and took her hand, but she didn't pull away as he threaded his long fingers through hers.
"I know you think that every time I fuck someone who isn't you I'm betraying you, or betraying your memory." He shook his head as Veronica opened her mouth to disagree, "Shut up. You think I can't see it every time you look at me? When you looked at me last week? I know you too well. What I'm trying to say is that…"
Logan furrowed his brows, as if reaching for new words or ways to tell her things he had already told her time and time again, and then suddenly a sheepish smile spread across his face, and his spare hand rose to cup Veronica's cheek.
"You know what? This is stupid, I'm trying to explain something that is so simple and so complicated and all I really want to do is…"
Veronica wasn't sure how Logan's lips made their way to hers, because she was pretty sure that if she had seen them she would have stopped them, if only for the sake of her sanity. But suddenly there they where, pressing against hers, nipping and spreading her lips, and immediately his tongue was granted access as the kiss gained momentum and her hand tightened on his while his grip against her neck pulled her closer against him. Veronica felt herself get lost in the kiss, his smell and the feeling of his lips, chapped and soft, against hers stifling her senses until she couldn't breathe, couldn't think about any thing but him and his lips and hands on her.
"God…" Veronica breathed, reluctantly breaking the kiss to inhale some vital oxygen. Logan nodded mutely, his fingers tenderly tracing the line of her jaw and the cartilage of her nose. Finally when Veronica looked into the soft brown irises inches from hers, she found what she had been relentlessly looking for, answers.
A soft cough broke them apart. Veronica let go of Logan like he had held hot wax to her and looked over mortified at the waiter, who was standing stiffly waiting for their orders. She heard Logan chortle softly and shot him an ugly glare.
"Are you ready to order Miss?"
"I'm… err… I…" Veronica suddenly couldn't breathe, couldn't think anymore. The ghosts of Logan's hand on hers burned an imprint on her skin, refusing to be ignored. She was on her feet, reaching blindly for her bag, suddenly desperate to reach the door and find air and space in which Logan didn't occupy. She paused as she felt his cool hand slip over her forearm, and when she looked down at him she hoped he couldn't see the tears that she refused to let fall.
"I have to go." She whispered, trying not to choke on the words "I'm sorry."
It took all her willpower as she pulled away, not to look back.
Veronica decided not to go home, her car traveling through the dark unprotected streets of Neptune like a silent beast, leaving nothing and gaining nothing as it slid through the blackness. Her thoughts whizzed too urgently and too loudly to allow her any solace in sleep, but she refused to return to an empty apartment with nothing to protect herself from them.
It was almost three o'clock before she found herself standing, still in dress and heels, her hair mussed and makeup smudged by tears and anxiety, outside the Grande and Logan's suite, and she still wasn't sure why it was a good idea. Why was she here? Why had her car, seemingly independently, decided to park itself in its usual spot outside Logan's home, why had her legs carried her outside his door, why was her arm raising to knock? What was she looking for and, more importantly, what did she hope to find? But that was what it all came down to in the end wasn't it? No matter what passed between them, no matter how many words, wounds, lives where swapped, exploited and used between them, a small part of Veronica would always be looking for Logan, always.
Veronica smiled shyly when a sleep ruffled Logan appeared behind his front door, but despite all her carefully planned openers and icebreakers, words eluded her. Logan gazed at her with tender contemplation when he opened the door, leaning against the doorframe, his dark eyes made even darker in the dim lights.
"Hey." Veronica said finally, "I'm sorry if I woke you"
Logan shrugged, and tilted his head towards the apartment, raising his eyebrow inquisitively; Veronica smiled and nodded as she walked over the threshold.
"You didn't." he muttered simply, "Come to my bedroom, Dick is bunking tonight. I think his date went maybe a little better then ours
"So not well"
She followed him as he padded softly into his fortress; his eyes flicking quickly back at her as if to check she really was following him. He sat heavily on the end of his bed, patting the seat next to him, and Veronica made sure her eyes never left his as she sat down next to him, their thighs lightly pressed against each other.
They sat it silence for a few minutes, but again it was Veronica who broke the silence. Because suddenly in a moment of clarity she knew what needed to be said.
"We're just gonna fuck this up again. You know I want to try, more then anything. But I don't want to hurt you either, I don't want to be hurt, and I don't think I can have both. Us and Each other ya' know"
Logan just looked at her, looked at her with those loaded eyes. Throwing hurt, anger, and love (definitely love) in her face with those deep brown pits leading to nothing (and everything). He just looked and looked until his forehead was pressed against hers and their eyes where still locked together. Then he pulled her down onto the bed and his mouth closed over hers, and Veronica was falling, falling, falling into the darkness of his sheets and he smiled against her and said.
"Lets be fucked up together Veronica Mars"
And it sounded like a challenge so she just has to accept.
"Here comes trouble." Logan intoned gravely, his fork freezing halfway to his mouth in a move that spread a small, exasperated smile across his partners face. Veronica rolled her eyes as a forkful of chow mien fell off Logan's fork and onto his ninety-dollar Mooks t-shirt.
"I pity the fool who washes your clothes."
"I'll have you know Mrs. Fratarkis has magic hands when it comes to stains."
Veronica swatted him and followed his gaze with a chuckle, her smile very quickly crumbling into apprehension as she watched Parker bounce towards them. A considerably less enthusiastic Mac trailed behind her.
"Hey gal pal." She greeted dryly as Parker flung her self into the seat across from them.
"You guys," Parker punctuated meaningfully, "Are so adorable. Call me matchmaker super girl because honestly, I am so good."
Logan, Veronica and Mac exchanged looks of bemused, exasperation. Oblivious Parker beamed at the reunited couple.
"So what was it?" She dug eagerly, propping her chin on her hands like a child listening to a fairytale.
"What was what?"
"What sealed the deal, what was it that convinced you two that you guys are just perfect for each other"
Logan smirked at his ex-girlfriend and pulled his current one firmly onto his lap, ignoring her squawk of protest.
"Some things are just inevitable, you know?"
Veronica grinned as Logan leaned forward to press his lips against hers, His mouth stifling her squeak of anticipation, and she realized that for the first time in god knows how long, in this moment, she really was just happy. Free, fancy, laughably, bubbly, happy. And as his hands traced trails down her back, and she tasted peach ice-tea in his mouth, and Parker cheered, and Mac groaned good-natured Veronica realized something else.
That if Happily-Ever-After was going to begin, it was going to begin now, in this kiss, in this moment, and frankly, Veronica was ready to live it.