Normally, Lamb would be happy to see a blonde perched on his desk, but Jake Kane isn't someone he wants to mess with, and his daughter's at least two years away from being legal.

"Deputy," she purrs as he approaches, and he takes a moment to wonder where the hell she learned to talk like that. He's met her mother; she'd been as polite as possible while making it perfectly clear that he had no business being in the same room as her, and he decides she didn't pick it up at home.

"Lilly," he says, as calmly as possible. He hesitates a minute as he tries to decide whether he should swerve around her, and she laughs, tracing a finger down his thigh as he draws closer. He glances towards the door quickly to make sure they're alone, and when he looks back at her, he knows she caught the gesture.

"What are you doing here?" he asks finally, deciding it's better to sound pissed off than turned on. He isn't sure how well he manages it.

She shrugs, and hops off the desk, pressing against him in the process. "I was bored. Veronica seems to like it here." She smiles wickedly, and it goes straight to his groin. "I think I can see why."

For a second, Lilly Kane is replaced in front of him by Veronica Mars, apple of her father's eye. He shakes the image off, but Lilly looks like she knows anyway; she laughs again, and he wishes he could shake her. Of all the things he wants to do to her right now, that's probably the safest.

"You shouldn't be here," he says, and manages to take a step back. She reaches out as if to touch him again, and he grabs her wrist.

"Go home, Lilly," he says, and walks away.

-

He first meets her at a cocktail party, and he should have known then that she was more than a trophy wife. There's something in her eyes a smarter man would stay away from, but caution has never been one of Lamb's strong suits.

"Martini," he says, and glances over at her as she finishes her olive. "Two."

She smiles at him, and it isn't quite friendly, but he'll take what he can get. He raises his glass to her silently, and takes a sip. Gin's never really been his drink, but that's hardly the point.

"I'm Don," he says, and smiles at her. She looks him up and down, and he feels like he's being appraised.

"The sheriff, right?" she asks, sounding a little more interested than he's used to. It's probably an act, but that doesn't really matter. "I wouldn't think this was your scene."

He shrugs, trying for casual. "I like to keep an eye on my community."

She smiles, as if at the notion that this is really his community, but if she doesn't come right out and say it, he can pretend it isn't there. He finishes his drink, and wishes it were whiskey instead.

"Kendall Casablancas," she says finally, putting a slight emphasis on the last name. In case he needed the reminder, he supposes, or maybe she's just drawing a line.

Her husband walks past, and he straightens. She glances over, but doesn't leave, and when he's gone, she leans forward.

"I'll have another martini," she says, and Lamb can forgive her tone that sounds like she's speaking to the help for the smile that says something entirely different. He gets her another drink.

-

"He'll be with you in a minute," the secretary says in a bored voice, and Lamb clenches his jaw. If he didn't already resent being pulled out of his office on a whim, being told to wait is almost enough to make him turn around and leave. If Woody Goodman were anyone other than the mayor, he would.

Instead, he sits down, and is about to pick up an old magazine when a voice interrupts him.

"Hey," it says, and he glances over at the girl sitting beside him. "You're Sheriff Lamb."

It sounds kind of like a question, but she doesn't pause long enough for him to answer. "I"m Gia. Gia Goodman. This is my dad's office."

I know, he opens his mouth to say. He's seen the pictures on Woody's desk, knows he transferred his daughter to Neptune. Before he can speak, she cuts him off again.

"Are you waiting for my dad? Do you guys have a meeting? I don't have an appointment. I don't really need one. I just came here to say 'hi.' And to ask my dad if he can help me with my government project. Sheriff's, like, a government position, right? Hey, maybe -"

Lamb thanks whatever gods are listening when Woody's door opens, and Woody smiles out at his daughter. He doesn't even mind waiting for Gia to go in first.

-

Lamb would never admit that he knew the drug tip off was probably a bust. He doesn't get to see Veronica Mars this time, which might be the first sign of the apocalypse, but the group of girls that watches him as he walks down the hall is more than compensation enough.

He recognises one of them; Carrie, he thinks. Dark hair, glossy lips. She was willing to go down in Neptune history as the girl who slept with her teacher. He wonders what else she's willing to do.

Ten minutes later, it isn't Carrie Bishop's underwear he's pushing aside with one hand while he presses her up against the wall. This one's blonde, and if she told him her name, he doesn't remember it.

Madison. It comes to him as she does, and he stifles her moans against his mouth. She tastes like cherry lip gloss, slick everywhere he touches, and he pushes her down by the shoulders as he checks his watch.

He takes her number afterwards, because that's what you do, and he tells himself he isn't going to call as he props the slip of paper up on the counter.

An hour later, phone in hand, he remembers the way she felt against his hands, and thinks it's okay.

-

"Veronica Mars," he says, and he can't help the smug tone that creeps into his voice whenever he says her name. She glances at him, and he catches the slight stiffening of her shoulders as he approaches.

"Deputy Lamb," she says, and his smile fades. "What's the matter? TV kick you out?"

"I'm here on a case," he says. Not that he has to explain himself to her. "And if I'm not mistaken, you're in a bar."

"Technically, it's a hotel lobby," she says. "And I'm not drinking."

"Waiting for a client?" he asks, and wishes it came as clever, or at least as dirty, as it sounded in his head.

She shrugs. "Waiting on a friend."

He knows exactly why she's there, if they're both being honest, and he wishes it weren't for the same reason he is. Really, he just wants to catch this guy before she can force his hand.

"Can I buy you a drink?" he asks instead, only because he knows what her answer is going to be. She doesn't disappoint.

"That would mean I'd have to go into the bar," she says, and smiles at him fakely. "And it would mean having to be in the same room as you for more than a minute. I'll pass."

Lamb frowns, and as she walks off, he realises he's missed his suspect.