He's studying the cracks of a bus stop, waiting for others, when she plops down beside him and lights a cigarette. Even in her uniform, designed especially to be harmless and unobtrusive, she catches the corner of his eye like a butterfly circling a dandelion. He turns a few degrees to get a better look at her profile and she catches his glance. Her mouth quirks a few millimetres and she reaches into her pocket for her carton of cigarettes, offering them to him with a graceful arch of her hand.


He pulls a short cheap cigarette from the box, forgetting for the moment his own carton of longer, fancier fags and replies automatically.

"Logan Echolls."

Her half smile raises another couple millimetres and then it falls away completely with a bow of her neck, which maybe or maybe not a nod of recognition. She turns away to study the melting palette of the LA skyline, long fingers tightening around the cigarette as she takes a drag. Her skin is too pale and her blonde hair to unkept to keep with the perfect Californian look genetics seemed to want to thrust upon her. Her hands are dirty with more then nicotine stains and her eyes are rimmed with dark circles. Still, she has something that draws him like a moth to fire, hardness in her eyes he recognizes in her own, strength under her fragile body that makes his heart beat with adrenaline, like she's baiting him just sitting there. She's a stranger, another nothing decorating dirty, filthy streets. She's intoxicating in her foreignness. She's intoxicating.

She leans back against the plastic chair and stubs out the butt of her cigarette out on the brittle walls of the bus stop, her hair falling back over her shoulders like a veil as she exhales. There is a start in the base of his gut as he watches her, and suddenly Logan is feeling calm, calmer then he's ever felt, because he has a feeling that just sitting here next to this messy, out of reach girl, he's completely untouchable.

The bus pulls up with a jerk and a whoosh of dust and hot, Californian air. There's a hard feeling of Deja Vu lodged between his heart as she pulls herself up on long, tired legs and glances back at him, with a obligatory grimace of recognition.

"Goodbye Logan Echolls."

Then with a whiff of cheap floral perfume and a flick of $14 discount haircut hair; she disappears as quickly as her ass landed on the set next to him. The bus pulls out and on the other side a flicker of colour lights up the drab, vandalized streets. Two of the perfect Californian girls that Logan compared Veronica against contrast against their grey exterior as they stumble arm in arm towards him.

"Hey doofus!"

Lilly Kane is waving and laughing as the blonde next to her giggles into her shoulder. Her brother strolls behind them, perfect Californian boy looking after his perfect Californian friends. Madison Sinclair gazes at him under sly lids, perfect face marred by her imperfect sneer,

"Hey, Logan. Who was the slutty random?"

Something dark inside him makes it hard to breathe, and when he looks into Madison's empty blue eyes, and sees them greener and sharper, he suddenly feels less perfect. He suddenly feels not perfect at all.

She would have been a perfect one-night stand, and it shocks him later that it never occurred to him. Especially since something about her has lodged itself into the corners of his psyche. Maybe it was never meant to be more then a random encounter, maybe they where never meant to have a relationship longer then a cigarette and a goodbye. Still… Sometimes he dreams of worlds that might have once existed. A flash of a girl she could have been, a flash of a boy he wants to become, a flash of something beautiful, a flash of something terrible. Ok, so maybe it is in his head. Dwellings and romanticizing of a poor, white rich kid. Or maybe not. Whatever.

May it's not a coincidence a week later, as he breaks up with Lilly for the umpteenth time, an image of a skinny blonde girl, smoking a cigarette in a bus shelter a thousand miles away, refuses to let go.