It's Friday. A week after Shelley's infamous party. Plenty of time to edit and publish pictures in Scoop! magazine.

Imagine my surprise, walking through the grocery store checkout line, only to find my gorgeous mug staring back at me. Logan Echolls' New Conquest. Ho Ho Hoe?

I skim over the cover in shock. My yearbook picture and a shot of me and Logan in Shelley's hot tub. I quickly grab all the copies in the rack and sheepishly shove them in my cart.

I take self-checkout to avoid the judgmental stares of the ladies at checkout. Once I'm back to my car, I immediately make my way over to Logan's. I key in the pass code and park my car. I ring the doorbell and to my surprise, Logan opens the door.

"And a good afternoon to you, Sugarpuss." He says with a smirk, ushering me in. He's holding an icepack to his cheek, possible evidence that he's already received the memo.

"Who did-?" I gently trace my finger around the bruise.

"Duncan." He says simply as he sits down on the couch.

"But…why?" I sigh as I unfurl the copy of Scoop! clasped in my hand.

"You…apparently. Me exposing you the press...God knows…but the dude was seriously pissed."

"He has no right to-!" I trail off.

"Apparently he's yearning for the Wondercouple days."

"Too bad." I reply harshly and then mellow out "they're not coming back."

Logan suddenly says quietly "Not even if he fulfilled every romantic comedy requirement? Stood outside your house with a boom box? Sang a song to you in the bleachers?" He smirks.

"Nope." I reply and then point to the thin line of my lips. "Stoic."

"Hm." He nods and takes the tabloid from my hands, examining it.

"Plus…I think I like someone else."

"And who might this be?" He adds with a weak smile, still looking at the article.

"Oh you know, tall, handsome, currently nursing a bruise the size of New Jersey…"

He takes my hand, looks me in the eye, and says with complete certainty "The feeling's mutual."

"You think I'm tall?" I scoff jokingly.

"No, I think you're short, sassy, and sexy beyond all reason."

"Sexy? Really?" I coo and snuggle up next to him.

He gives a succinct nod. "Look, I don't know if you're ready to springboard into anything…I don't even know if I am…" He sighs and then picks back up "And I know this is like, completely complicated, and I definitely understand if-"

I place my finger to his lips with a giggle. "No disclaimers, okay? I think I know what I'm getting into." I whisper.

"I don't want to make you uncomfortable."

"You're not." I assure him. "Don't even worry about that. We've had enough to deal with, we can give ourselves a break for a minute…it's okay."

"I don't want to compromise our friendship if you-"

"Okay seriously, I'm the over-analyzer here. Just…stop." I sigh. "No more what-if's."

"Okay." He finally says, visibly relieved.

"We don't have to go full throttle just yet, no pressure. We can keep it quiet."

"Meet in the janitor's closet? Pass love letters?" He smirks.

"If you want."

"Rockin' around the Christmas Tree at the Christmas party hop…"

As I put the finishing ornament on our Christmas tree, and admire my father's Padres decorations, I spy a pair of Coach tennis shoe clad feet. I look up and see Lilly's bright shining face peering back. She's sucking on her signature lollipop.

"These house-calls are getting to be a regular occurrence." I smirk and watch the glimmer coming off my mom's old blue star ornaments.

"Psh." She sits down. My dad peeks in the room with an unsure nod…I'm pretty sure he doesn't approve, but it's really kind of a moot point now.

"So…what's up?" I sit down beside her, pleased by my handiwork.

"Thank you." She whispers seriously, looking me straight in the eye.

I bite my lip and nod quietly. "I couldn't let anything, you know, happen to you…"

"Just thank you. Really. Duncan told me how-" She bites her own lip and sighs…Lilly Kane doesn't do tense. "Okay. So onto something a bit more cheery now. Guess who's covering the annual Kane Christmas luncheon?"


"Y-O-U. Fabulous journal-ista and photographer Veronica Mars! Celeste is livid, of course…"

"You shouldn't have!"

"Isn't it-?"

"No, really…" I insist. "Lilly, you shouldn't have. Veronica Mars: the help. The 09ers and company will have a field day!" I offer up a weak smile.

"Oh, let them. There is no wrath like a Lilly Kane scorned."

There's something about her confidence that's so assuring, like nothing could go wrong. No wonder I followed her for so long. Now there are no shadows, no lime lights. We're equal in our supreme fabulousness, or so she likes to say now.

She gives me her most focused look and I can't help but laugh.

It's early Christmas morning. Our living room is practically covered with paper and ribbons and styrofoam peanuts. I got a nice laptop and a few little kitschy things for my bedroom. I gave my father a Padres player guide and a gag gift of Doggie and Me yoga sessions at the community center. He seemed rather appreciative, actually.

In the middle of our happy, blissful morning, the doorbell rings. I scramble to the door and answer it.

"I have some flowers for a Miss Veronica Mars."

"This is she." I answer politely as the flower delivery guy presents them. He's actually not that much older than me and may I say, rather attractive. In his hands is a beautifully decorated Poinsettia pot. With a smile, I check the tag.

Merry Christmas, Veronica! I love you, always will. Never forget that.


My jaw drops, I'd expected them from Logan maybe, but never my mom.

"Do you have contact information for this person? A return address?" I ask, almost begging.

He fumbles for a receipt and then decisively shakes his head. "They paid in cash. I'm sorry."

"Thank you anyway." I smile and take the pot from him.

"No problem. Merry Christmas." He says politely as he walks back off to his delivery van. Manny's Flower Hut glares from the side and I make a mental note to check it out. Investigative instinct must be somewhat of a hereditary trait…

I go back inside, completely stunned. Dad looks up with a concerned expression. "What's wrong, honey?"

I absentmindedly hand him the pot and before he checks the tag, he attempts a joke. "What? Logan didn't send you a pine tree?"

Finally he reads it, and his face goes pale, mirroring my own.

"She's nearby. She got it at Manny's Flower Hut. She's been in town all this time and we-"

"Veronica…" My dad trails off and sits down on the couch, patting the spot next to him. I sit down too and try to understand. "that's not necessarily true. She might be in town to do something, she might not have been here the entire time…"

"How…how could you not have looked for her, Dad? You're the Sherriff for God's sake, you could probably find her in a minute."

"Have you ever considered that maybe she didn't want to be found?"

My cheeks are flaming. I'm upset and bound to get worse by the second.


"She left us, Veronica! Do you not see that? She didn't want to be here anymore…" His voice explodes with angry emotion and my heart pangs as I watch his face turn beet red in frustration.

Then, I calmly say in a quiet voice "She shouldn't have sent it."

"No. She shouldn't have." He notes in agreement. I take a deep breath and he hastens me carefully "Don't go looking for her, honey. When and if she wants to come back, she will." He sighs and gets up painfully, only to go to his room and shut the door, presumably to dwell in his…our heartache.

Christmas in the 09er zip is never your traditional holiday.

While the average kid's Christmas stocking might be chock-full with puzzles and candy, the 09er's might find a signature bright blue box or a new credit card, or hey, fancy this, a luxury car key. Or so I've heard today from the incessant chatter of Madison Sinclair and Shelley Pomeroy. Madison found a Louis Vuitton monogram clutch and a key to a new BMW, while Shelley was sadly disappointed with a new Platinum Mastercard and a Tiffany diamond bracelet. Poor girl!

I mean, really, how frivolous can you possibly be? Decked out from head to toe in designer seasonal clothes, they enjoy delicate pastries and a bit of vintage wine. Oh, and not to mention, a ham roasted by a gourmet chef.

I snap the occasional picture of Christmas cheer and then take a break to munch on a chic cookie.

Celeste sidles up to me, displeasure evident in her expression.

"This is not a craft services table, Veronica. Even though our situation has been cleared, so to say, it doesn't mean you can get comfortable. I suggest you do your job." She looks snidely at me, only to flutter off to socialize with Neptune's elite.

I look at the door and see Lynn Echolls come in bright and smiling, ever the picture of dignified elegance. Logan follows in tow. He immediately spots me and offers up a wide grin. Lynn takes a seat with the other society women, who immediately turn their attention away from Celeste, who glares unhappily and crosses her arms. For awhile, Celeste had been shunning Lynn because of the Lilly/Aaron debacle, but apparently a fellow Junior Leaguer (in a higher position, might I add) found it unreasonable and basically threatened Celeste's membership. Long story short: Celeste and Lynn are now, again, faux-friends in the least.

Logan comes up to me as I snap a picture of Lilly and Duncan, looking oh so happy (or more accurately, not in the least) in their inherent Christmas cheer.

"When's your break?" He asks softly, whispering in my ear.

"Mm, about five minutes?" I reply.

"How about you meet me in the coat closet?"

I blush immediately. "That could be arranged."

"We have to be sneaky though, doubt the old fogies could handle the scandal." I can practically feel his smirk. His hand lingers on my lower back for a second, then he gives me a salute and a knowing smile, only to return to his mother's table. He's, no doubt, about to regale the Junior League with one of his more PG rated tales.

As Lilly giddily bounces over, Madison's eyes can't help but suspiciously watch Logan's retreating figure.

I raise my eyebrow at her and she finally stares back at me, as if putting up a challenge.

Bring it, bitch.

"You two are like so cute, Veronica!" Lilly gushes.

I stare at her blankly.

"What, you think I didn't notice? Okay I'm not book-smart, fine, but I am an exceedingly good observationalist. If that's a word? Anyway… I definitely approve." She immediately links her arms with mine "Let's go gossip, that sound fabulous enough?"

Logan's placing light butterfly kisses all over my neck and I can't help but feel ecstatic. "Imagine what a scandal this would be…" I murmur into his ear.

"Right, like nobody even knows we're together? Hah!" He smirks and smiles back down at me, holding me tight.

"But in the Kane coat closet? All we need is a paparazzo…" I pause and then pick up my camera. "Oh, wait, that's me."

"Here's my idea. Anonymously turn some photos in…spruce up the Le Baron. It's a win-win."

"I think my car is gorgeous, thank you. But as for your Big Bird…"

"Don't hate what you don't understand." Logan notes mock-defensively.

"Don't understand that it's a jackass-mobile?" I smirk back and he momentarily looks stumped.

"Don't understand its inner beauty." He attempts to clarify.

"Hm. Whatever." I finally concede with a slight huff, realizing that that's a battle that I'm not really willing to fight.

Feeling victorious (I'm guessing), Logan grips me in a kiss.

"Hm. The Kane's could use a bit more publicity." I note sarcastically, knowing that's really not the case.

"I agree whole-heartedly." Logan snaps a picture.

A/N: Sorry for the delay. I've been incredibly busy with school stuff. Like no lie! Hopefully the pace'll speed up anytime now, update wise. Reviews?