It wasn't until the day after his sentencing that Veronica paid Weevil her first visit. He'd been in lock-up for over a month by that point but between the aftermath of Cassidy's revelations, Aaron's murder, her trip to New York, and trying to put her life (Logan's life, Mac's life) back together again, the problems of Eli Navarro didn't really register on her radar.
Or at least they didn't until Cliff let her know that Leticia Navarro wasn't expected to live out the week. Cliff thought that, as they were friends, it would be better he hear it from Veronica.
If anything could be counted as a blessing in this situation, it was that Weevil only got convicted of your basic assault. This meant a sentence of less than a year spent in the county jail. It could've been much worse. The murder charge Lamb tried to pin on him wouldn't stick because of lack of evidence and Cliff managed to plead the D.A. down to the assault charge.
It was just her luck that when she got to the police station Lamb was standing at the desk. But he led her back to the jail with only a smirk and managed to keep the comments to himself. He pointed to the last cell and turned to walk out.
"Can you let me in?"
"This prisoner isn't allowed conjugal visits, Veronica. You'll have to get your cheap thrills somewhere else." Lamb was obviously having the time of his life and she wanted to wipe the grin right off of his face. But she had a hunch she might need to ask him for something in a few minutes' time and didn't want him pissy.
"Please?" Begging was kind of a kink for Lamb and if she did a little pleading now, he'd be a lot more receptive later. Even if it did make her skin crawl. "No funny business, you can have Sacks stand outside the cell the whole time, but I have some things that I need to tell him and I don't want to do it through steel bars."
Lamb stared at her for a minute, trying to assess something before he turned and walked out of the cell block. She shook her head in disgust and was walking towards Weevil's cell when Sacks overtook her. He unlocked the door for her and after shutting it behind her, waited a respectable distance away.
Weevil was sprawled out on the single bunk. "Well, if it isn't the girl detective. To what do I owe this honour, Veronica?"
"Cliff tells me you lucked out," she stalled.
He sat up and shrugged. "I don't know if I'd call having to spend the next eight months in the same building as Lamb lucky, but at least I'm not going to Chino. Thumper's got a brother and some cousins up there. Probably wouldn't have made it out alive."
"It shouldn't be the entire eight months. You can maybe get out in two months with good behaviour."
Weevil snorted. "Yeah, right. Because Lamb will definitely go to bat for me and say I'm a model prisoner. He's also going to be best man at my wedding to Angelina Jolie." His eyes gave her a quick up and down, not his usual open leer, but more of a quick assessment. "You've lost weight."
Automatically folding her arms in front of her, she looked him over and replied, "So have you." Maybe they could start their own weight loss centre – either stress people out to make them drop the pounds or throw them in jail and make them do push ups all day.
"Yeah, well prison food will do that to you." His voice softened a bit. "What's wrong? Why aren't you eating?"
"Gee Mom, I didn't know you cared." He gave her a hard look so she relented. "You hear about Cassidy Casablancas?"
"Did you hear about Aaron Echolls?"
"Bastard got what he deserved." Amen.
"True, but he was still Logan's dad and Logan's been having some trouble dealing." Understatement of the year. "And we're all still having trouble dealing with the Cassidy stuff."
He stood and started pacing a little. "So you and Echolls are back together?"
For some reason she found it hard to look at him. "Yeah, we're back together."
Forgetting for the moment why she had come, she let her anger flare up. Anger felt better than helplessness and grief. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing." He stopped pacing and met her eyes, looking incredibly weary. "Look, V, I know you didn't come here to discuss your love life. Did you need something or what?"
And it came slamming back. What she had to tell him. "Eli, maybe you should sit down."
"'Eli'? That can't be good." He tried to smile but it didn't reach his eyes. He sank down onto the cot and after a second she sat next to him. "It's Abuelita, isn't it?"
Veronica fiddled with the hem of her shirt noticing how the thread frayed. "She doesn't have much time left. The doctors think she'll probably pass away some time this week."
It became very silent and she realised they were both holding their breath. Then, in a flicker of motion, Weevil stood up and punched the cement wall. Hard. And he did it a second time and a third before Veronica's breath came back to her and she grabbed his arm to prevent him from punching a fourth time.
As soon as she touched him Weevil deflated and sank to the floor. Sacks unlocked the door, startled by the violent outburst. Veronica knelt next to Weevil and gently assessed the damage to his bloody hand. She looked up at Sacks, "We're going to need some bandages. And probably a doctor."
Sacks re-locked the door and headed off for help.
"I'm fine," Weevil grimaced.
"You're bleeding all over the place and you've probably broken about ten bones."
"I don't care."
"Yeah, well, I do." She was wearing two t-shirts layered on top of each other and pulled off the top one to press against his knuckles and try to slow the bleeding.
The cell door opened and Sacks came in carrying a first aid kit.
"I'll be right back," she told Weevil.
She caught Lamb just as he was entering the jail and dragged him back into the office. "Look, Weevil's hand is probably broken. His grandmother is in St. Jude's right now and she doesn't have a lot of time left. Can you just take him to the hospital and let him see her one last time?"
"So that's why you were being nice," Lamb said, a knowing sneer twisting his mouth. "You wanted to spring your boyfriend so you got him to break his hand and then when we take him to the hospital you help him escape."
"Are you really that much of an ass? You know that his grandmother is dying. For once in your life, don't be a sadistic bastard. He just wants to say goodbye."
Lamb tilted his head with false sincerity. "Sorry Veronica, I'm not in the habit of doing favours for convicts. Maybe Weevil should have thought of his dying grandmother before he killed Thumper." He pushed her out of the way and went to Weevil's cell. "Get him up and into the squad car," he told Sacks. "Dr. O'Brien is waiting for us at his office."
Veronica tried to follow them out to the parking lot, but Lamb barred her way at the back door. "Sorry Veronica, no girlfriends allowed. Wouldn't want you to slip him a nail file or something."
Forced to watch them drive away, Veronica wracked her mind. She couldn't help but smile bitterly when it came to her. "Time for Plan B."
"Did I mention how bad of an idea I think this is?"
"Come on, Cliff," Veronica smiled. "When have you ever passed up an opportunity to put one over on Lamb? Besides, you just have to stall him if he shows up. He's not even on duty today."
Cliff grimaced, but nodded. "Just hurry up."
That taken care of, Veronica hurried into the station. Inga was waiting for her.
"Thank you so much, Inga. This means to the world to me." The receptionist waited for a deputy to leave the area and then quickly unlocked the door to the jail.
"It is my pleasure, Veronica," Inga replied in her heavy German accent. "My mother died before I could say goodbye. I wouldn't want anyone else to go through that."
The super huge deputy who had helped her put one over Rashard's uncle was the guard on duty in the jail. He unlocked Weevil's cell and told her to let him know if she needed anything. Weevil sat up, confused. "What's going on, V?"
"If Lamb won't let you visit your grandmother, then at least you'll be able to talk to her and see her." She pulled her laptop and a webcam out of her computer bag and turned everything on. Her phone rang just as she was typing in her password.
"Hey Mac, you guys ready? She is? Good, we'll be ready to go here in thirty seconds."
"Veronica?" Weevil still looked confused.
"Mac and Logan are setting up a webcam in your grandmother's hospital room and luckily she's awake right now, too. She's kind of weak and probably won't be able to see you very well, but you can see her and you can talk to her." She opened up her voice messaging program and put the computer in front of Weevil on the cot. She typed in Mac's username and then she was looking at Mrs. Navarro trying to sit up in her hospital bed with Logan's help.
"Elias, is that you?"
Weevil passed a hand over his eyes and Veronica could see he was struggling not to cry. "It's me. How are you feeling?"
"Not so good," she chuckled dryly. "The doctors keep telling me to keep faith, but I know."
Logan, having gotten Mrs. Navarro to a sitting position, drifted off-screen to give them privacy and Veronica moved to the opposite side of the cell to do the same.
"You should listen to the doctors. They're smart men."
"I'm smart, too. And I know my body. It's tired. I'm tired."
Tears streamed down Weevil's face but he kept his voice steady. "I'm sorry."
"For what, mijo?"
"I should be there with you. Taking care of you."
"It is not for you to take care of me. And even if you were here, it wouldn't change the outcome."
Veronica heard her exhale unsteadily and Weevil edged closer to the computer. "Abuelita? What's the matter?"
"It's okay. Logan, could you - ? Thank you dear." Veronica moved to the other end of the cell so she could see the monitor without intruding. Mrs. Navarro was drinking some water and handed the glass back off screen. She took a deep breath. "Elias, this is probably the last time –"
"No!" Veronica had to fight the urge to go to him. To comfort him.
"Mijo, yes. I don't like it either, but there are things that need to be said." Mrs. Navarro was tiring. That much was obvious. Weevil must have realised because he didn't argue any more. "You are a good boy, Eli. You are better than this. I want you to promise me that after you get out of jail you'll start fresh. No more stealing for Angel, no more hanging with the PCHers, no more taking the law into your own hands, no more fights. Do you understand?"
"Yes." He choked the word out.
"Promise me." She may have been weak, but there was steel in her voice.
"I promise, Abuelita."
Mrs. Navarro sank back into her pillow, relieved. "You always keep your promises. Such a good boy. You have so much potential, Eli. I don't want you to waste it."
"I won't. I'll make you proud of me."
She smiled gently. "I always was." Her eyes began to flutter close. "Mijo, I wish I could talk longer…"
Weevil flinched, but he kept his voice even. "You're tired. You should rest. I just want to thank you, you know, for everything. Te adora, Abuelita."
At first Veronica thought that maybe Mrs. Navarro had already fallen asleep, but just as Weevil looked away from the screen they heard a mumbled, "Te adora, Elias."
There was a moment of silence until Mac said off-screen, "We're going to shut this down and let Mrs. Navarro sleep. We'll see you later." And the screen went blank.
Veronica shut off her own computer. Weevil hadn't moved, hadn't made a sound and when Veronica looked at him, she realised he was trembling. "Weevil – "
He got to his feet and began pacing about the cell, speaking very quickly. "Thanks, you know. You didn't need to do this and you must have called in a lot of favours. Once I'm out I'll make it up to you, help you with cases or whatever. And thank Echolls and Mac for me, too. They sure as hell don't owe me anything and they went to a lot of trouble. It was good, to see her, to be able to say – " His voice cut off and he stopped pacing, rocking back and forth on his feet.
She approached him hesitantly and laid her hands on his shoulders.
"No." He flinched and moved away but didn't start pacing again.
Moving in front of him, she saw the tears running down his face. Ignoring his attempts to ward her off, she wrapped her arms around him and held him. After a second's struggle, he laid his head on her shoulder and took the comfort she was offering.
It took a little while for his breathing to return to normal, but when he finally lifted his head he looked calmer. Before letting go, Veronica kissed him on the forehead.
She packed up her gear but before she left she sat next to him on the cot. "I'll come see you tomorrow. Maybe I can get Lamb to let me bring in some cards or something."
"Actually V, I know you've already gone above and beyond but…" He seemed embarrassed to be asking a favour.
"What do you need?"
"Could you spend some time with her? I don't like the thought of her being alone and my sisters both work two jobs."
"It's no problem."
Two days later Veronica found herself sitting with Mrs. Navarro as she slipped from this life to the next. She did it quietly, in her sleep.
She visited Weevil and he seemed to know as soon as she walked in.
"Was she in pain?"
"No," she reassured him. "She was asleep and she was at peace."
He sighed in relief. "Good. I guess it's better for her. She'll be with Papi now."
Sacks let her in to the cell and she sat next to him on the cot. "Tell me a story."
"About your grandmother."
Grinning, he reclined against the wall. "Did I ever tell you that she's the one who gave me the nickname of Weevil?"
Veronica couldn't help the startled laugh. "What?!"
"When I was eight. Me and Chardo had been fooling around in her backyard. She used to have a small shed back there next to her garden where she kept her hoses and the lawnmower. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to jump off of the shed into the neighbour's yard. I climbed on and just before I was about to jump the shed started to sway beneath me. I pushed away and the shed fell apart and crushed about half of Abuelita's garden. I thought I was in so much trouble but she just shook her head and said I was like a boll weevil – small, but destructive. It just kind of stuck after that."
For the rest of the afternoon Weevil told stories about his grandmother and Veronica listened, knowing he needed an outlet. At dinnertime Sacks came in and let her know that Lamb asked that she be removed from the cell.
She turned to walk out and was surprised when Weevil grabbed her hand and pulled her into a hug. "Thanks V."
Hugging him back, she whispered in his ear, "That's what friends are for."
As Sacks shut the door behind her, she turned to look at Weevil and for the first time in years he looked peaceful. And Veronica knew that, despite being in jail, he would be okay. He'd made a promise to his grandmother and Eli Navarro didn't break his promises.