Spoilers: preseries, spoilers up to 1.09
Veronica had never gotten detention before. Before Lilly died, when she was still friends with Duncan and Logan, the four of them did plenty of things that would warrant it, but Lilly would either talk their way out or Duncan would take the fall for her. Lilly had been dead for nine months now and while Veronica hadn't been the innocent girl she used to be since Shelley Pomroy's party, she'd flown under the radar. Her life was downright boring these days. Wake up, go to school, go to the office, go home. On the weekends she mixed things up by occasionally going to the movies with her dad, Cliff if she was absolutely desperate, and going on runs with Backup. And the fact that no one at school would speak to her made it easy to avoid trouble.
Still, there were a couple of people who treated her decently. Meg was always nice but, of the old group, she was the only one. And then there was Corny. Back when Veronica was an 09er, she'd never even acknowledged his existence but he didn't seem to hold that against her. While the other non-09er students enjoyed her fall from grace and heckled her as much as the rich kids, Corny was sweet, almost protective. He partnered with her when no one else would and always said 'hi' to her in the hallways.
So when Clemmons and Sacks cornered Corny and a few of his chemically altered friends just as Veronica happened to be walking by she created a diversion by spilling her bag at their feet and managed to snag the baggie she knew Corny kept in his back pocket and stuffed it down the front of her jeans with no one the wiser. She just thanked her luck that Buster hadn't been present. The dog was harder to trick than Sacks.
About an hour later she got called to Clemmons office. Unfortunately, he wasn't that easy to fool. In that time she had stashed the pot in Lilly's old locker which hadn't been reassigned and still had her lock on it. Clemmons offered her a deal – tell him what happened to Corny's pot, thereby confirming that Corny had brought drugs onto the campus, and she would be free and clear. If she withheld that information, she was looking at a week of detention.
Veronica was not about to rat out the one friend she had so she cheerfully asked Clemmons where she should go for detention.
And that was how she found herself in Ms. Hauser's classroom at 3:15pm on Monday afternoon. The only other person in there was Weevil Navarro, a guy that her dad had arrested about a dozen times when he was sheriff.
Mrs. Hauser watched them from her desk. Veronica was doing English review as finals started the following week but Weevil was slumped across the top of his desk watching Veronica. After about ten minutes, Mrs. Hauser stood up. "I'm going to the faculty lounge for a few minutes. I'll be back quickly so don't even think about doing anything other than sitting quietly in your seats."
She left, closing the door, and Veronica tried to return to her studying. But Weevil also went back to staring at her, pretty much blowing her concentration.
Turning on him, she asked, "Can I help you?"
He shrugged, "Nope." And kept right on staring.
"Do you mind looking somewhere else?"
"Nothing else to look at." He grinned.
He was infuriating. Kinda hot, but infuriating. "Don't you have homework to do or felonies to plan?"
"Nah. Staring at you is more fun."
"So torturing me is fun for you." Laughing, she muttered, "Yeah, well, why should you be any different from the rest of this school?"
"Hey, I just like looking at cute girls. What's wrong with that?"
She glared at him, thinking he was giving her a hard time, but the amusement she saw in his eyes wasn't malicious. If anything it was flirtatious. And that threw Veronica off-guard. He chuckled and she realised with horror that she was blushing.
"Please, find something else to do," she pled.
To her relief, he stopped staring at her and turned around to dig through the pockets of his leather jacket. She was about to return to her English assignment when he fished out a pack of cards. "You know how to play poker?"
Veronica didn't know how to play poker, but she was learning. She tried to decline at first, sure that Mrs. Hauser would walk through the door at any minute, but he said he'd done plenty of time with their Health teacher and once she went to the faculty lounge, she wouldn't be back until detention was over at four-thirty.
It was an afternoon full of revelations. First of all, when Weevil smiled, not smirked, grinned, or leered, but genuinely smiled, he ranked pretty high on the adorable scale. Secondly, poker was harder than it looked, especially when you were playing against someone who threw you off guard with suggestive comments and eyebrow waggling. Thirdly, and this was something that would keep her father awake at night, she kinda liked Weevil Navarro.
They talked as they played and she discovered they had a few things in common. They both hated the newly minted Sheriff Lamb. They were both avid fans of boxing. And they both wished Logan Echolls and Dick Casablancas considerable bodily harm.
As Weevil dealt a new hand, he asked, "So, what's the Sheriff up to these days?"
"Not being the Sheriff," Veronica bit out.
"Ah, he'll always be the Sheriff. Doesn't matter if Deputy Dog has the shiny star, your dad is the law."
"Well, the law is currently working as a private investigator out of a rat-hole office on Main. Tailing cheating husbands and tracking down bail-jumpers."
Weevil laughed as he scooped up his two cards. "Well, at least you guys won't starve. Bound to be plenty of bail-jumpers now that Lamb's in charge."
"And that's our silver lining." She threw three pennies into the pot and Weevil followed suit then dealt the flop cards.
"I heard your mom skipped town. That's rough."
He said it casually, but there was pity or something like it in his voice that raised her ire. "What do you know about it?" She threw another couple of pennies into the pot and he did the same and dealt another card face up.
"Haven't seen my mom since I was six," he replied. "She went to get some bread and never came back. We sat waiting for her for nearly a whole day before my older sister went to the neighbours because we were so hungry. Got a letter about five years ago, said she was sorry but that she never wanted kids and that she knew that she'd be happier on her own and that we'd be happier with our abuela." He matched her bet of three pennies and dealt the final card.
She laid down her cards. A ten and an eight to give her a straight with what was already on the table. Weevil just had two pairs and he gestured for her to take the pot which she gleefully did.
"Where's your dad?" she asked.
He shrugged, gathering the cards to shuffle them. "Don't know. Never knew him. I asked my abuela once and she wouldn't give me a straight answer. I'm guessing he's either dead or in jail." He shuffled the cards a few times and handed them to her to deal.
Sometimes she forgot that other people had it rough, too. That her life, until Duncan broke up with her, until Lilly died, had actually been pretty blessed. She dealt their new hand and picked up on Weevil's non-verbal desire to change the subject.
"So what do you guys do?"
"What guys?" He tossed three pennies into the pot and she followed suit before continuing to deal.
"You know. Your gang."
"Bike club," he corrected her.
"You say tomato, I say criminal syndicate."
"Syndicate? Hey, we're just a few guys with motorcycles who like to cruise our stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway." He shoved fives pennies into the pot.
She matched and dealt out the next card. "Sure you are. I'm sure my dad's suspicions of a car-jacking ring were sorely misplaced."
"Anyone ever tell you your dad is kind of scary?"
"It's usually just implied." After another round of betting Veronica lost to Weevil after he pointed out his full house beat her flush.
Weevil gathered the cards but didn't shuffle. "What did you do to land in here?" he asked, curiously.
"Refused to kowtow to the Man."
A raised eyebrow encouraged her to explain further. "Clemmons wanted me to rat out one of the only people who still likes me. I decided a week in here was more desirable."
"Fight the power." His tone had a hint of sarcasm.
"Well, what did you do?"
"Please, like I actually need to do anything to get detention with Hauser. I think I laughed at some dumbass comment John Enbom made. So I end up in detention and he gets to go on his merry way. Typical."
"Oh, the woeful life of a teenaged hoodlum."
"Who you callin' a hoodlum?" he glared.
She suddenly found herself in dangerous waters. Weevil seemed genuinely pissed that she had called him a hoodlum, even in jest. The old Veronica would have blushed, stammered out an apology and tried to placate him. The current version didn't really care if she hurt his feelings.
"Generally if a person has spent more time in juvie than out of it in the last two years, calling him a 'hoodlum' isn't really out of line."
He frowned at her for a moment but she met his eyes and didn't look away. After a minute a small smile appeared on his face, he nodded, and dealt another hand.
"I can't believe it," she laughed.
"Beginner's luck," Weevil grumbled.
Gathering all the change on the table, barely two dollars, she couldn't help but giggling. "I kicked your ass!"
"That you did," he agreed.
And there was that smile again. She swore, if it wasn't for the fact that she was fairly certain it would give her father an actual heart attack, she might try for a ride on Weevil's bike. He was making her knees a bit watery.
He caught her staring at him but instead of looking away, she held his gaze. For the first time since she broke up with Duncan her heart thumped erratically because of a boy. She knew that this boy wouldn't hurt her. This boy would protect her but not treat her like glass.
Weevil's eyes darkened and she knew something was about to happen. He slid out of his desk –
"What's going on here?" Mrs. Hauser's shrill voice smashed the delicate moment into pieces. "Were you two playing cards?"
Veronica tore her eyes from Weevil's and turned an innocent gaze towards Mrs. Hauser. "I'm sorry, were we not supposed to?"
"Miss Mars, I understand you're to spend the rest of the week with me, but I think we can add two more days next week, one for the card games and another for your impertinence. Hopefully, you're able to behave yourself after that as there are only nine more days left in the school year. Mr. Navarro, I'll let it go this once."
Weevil waited for her to pack her back and walked her out to the parking lot. He gestured to his bike. "Need a ride?"
She badly wanted to say yes, but she was going to be in enough trouble for getting detention. The only way to make it worse would be explaining her pulling up on the back of Eli Navarro's motorcycle.
"Thanks, but I've got my car."
Getting into her car, she saw he was still watching her and as she pulled out of the lot, she waved to him. She couldn't help but think that maybe she'd have one more ally at school next year.
Six months later …
"Do you even know how to play poker?" Logan asked.
Time to play the dumb blond card. "No, but it must be really hard if all of you play it." She tried to keep a self-satisfied grin off her face at the looks on Logan, Duncan and Sean's faces.
Turning to leave, she winked at Weevil and he smiled. Her poker skills were just fine. She'd learned from the best.