Keith could see the tension radiating off the couple the moment he walked into the kitchen. He was fairly surprised at this turn of events, considering Logan hadn't even been home twelve hours at this point. He eyed his daughter as she removed a whisk from a drawer and then slammed it closed.
"Hey Kiddo." He tested the water. She nodded in response to her loving father's attempt. He noted she was obviously too angry to speak. "Hey, Logan. Welcome home."
"Thanks." Logan mumbled, as he waved a measuring cup at his father-in-law. With the gesture and his task complete, he sailed the cup over his wife's head and into the sink with a crash of metal hitting metal.
"Would you knock it off?" Veronica snapped at him.
"Whatever you say, Dear." Logan growled back and he took the whisk from her so he could stir the waffle batter. She swiftly moved around him to begin slicing the strawberries. Keith wondered if they'd take his head off for pointing out how well they worked together, even while obviously embroiled in a searing battle.
"Mommy?" The little mousy-brown-headed girl asked as she tip-toed into the kitchen, dragging a brand new floppy-eared bunny with her.
"Yes, Baby?" Veronica asked as she halted cutting and turned to face the littlest of her children.
"Are you and Daddy fighting?" Her head tilted and her eyes widened as she asked the question.
"No." Both Logan and Veronica responded in unison. The little girl looked skeptical. Keith had to suppress a smile at his five-year-old granddaughter's astute observation.
"Could you be quieter? We can't hear Sharpay's song." She pulled the bunny up to hug it to her chest, tightly as she reprimanded her parents. Keith rubbed his face urgently, to keep from laughing out loud. Logan noticed the gesture and glared.
"What do you want on your waffles, Angel Face?" Veronica changed the subject.
"I want Daddy to make them!" She charged. Veronica refrained from rolling her eyes at the request. Logan beamed at his baby girl.
"He will, Emily. But, what do you want on them?" She assured.
"Daddy knows how to make them!" She answered, seriously. Logan unsuccessfully attempted to cover his snort of pride with a cough. Veronica set her knife down with a thud and pasted on a smile for her daughter.
"Why don't you go make sure the twins are ready for breakfast?"
"Okay." She ran back through the kitchen door and three sets of giggles erupted. It was clear to the adults that her older siblings had put her up to the interruption.
"So. What ARE you fighting about?" Keith asked to end the glares they sent across the kitchen at each other.
"As usual, Veronica thinks she's invincible." Logan began his tirade. "You'd think that the three children relying on her would convince her otherwise, but no. She thinks she can just go after every serial rapist-turned murderer out there." He expected an instant agreement from his father-in-law, but Veronica jumped in before Keith could speak.
"Of course, the fact that their father has been gone for two months, gallivanting around, surfing, and clubbing until all hours while I have been HOME, slaving around the kitchen and chauffeuring them all over town, and holding them all night while they cry about missing their daddy proves that I couldn't possibly consider my children's concerns before my own. God forbid I have a job."
"It's a book tour, Veronica! I wasn't gallivanting! And the fact that you have a job is not the issue. It's that you lied to me about working with the FBI again to solve a string of rapes and murders of women who look exactly like you!" He threw empty egg shells into the trash can next to her.
"Stop throwing things, Logan!" She hissed and threw a handful of chopped berries at him. All of them hit him squarely in the chest, leaving red stains on his tee shirt and unbuttoned over shirt as they fell. Both men's jaws dropped in astonishment at her outburst.
"Gladly, Veronica!" Logan emphasized every syllable of her name as he retaliated by breaking an egg on her head and smashing the yolk into her hair. She shrieked in disbelief.
"Yeah." Keith announced to the room. "I'm gonna get out of the crossfire and go hang with the more mature members of the household. You know, the five and seven year olds?" Keith retreated from the kitchen.
"That hurt." Veronica stated as she tried to remove egg from her hair and moved over to the sink. She washed the dripping yolk from her hands.
"Yeah, well, this is my favorite shirt." Logan groused, wiping at the stains with a paper towel. "Y'know, the one my wife gave me for my birthday?"
"Speaking of which, what are we doing for Drew and Lizzie's birthday? It's next Saturday." She calmly pointed out, bending down to clean the berries from the tile floor.
"They said they want to go to Disneyland when we were on the phone the other day." Logan answered. "I figured we could invite the Casablancas clan and make a day trip of it." As his wife stood back up to throw the berries into the trash can, Logan pulled bits of eggshell she missed from the top of her head.
"I'll call Mac this afternoon and we'll hammer out the details." Veronica sighed. "Wouldn't want to leave the planning up to you and Dick after last year's cake fiasco."
"Veronica." His voice was more tender and serious, so she looked up at him. "When I'm gone I keep busy so I don't have to think about how jealous I am that you're here with the hugging and the driving and the breakfasts and I'm out there. Alone. Missing the fuck out of you guys." He leaned against the counter
"Watch your language." She said on autopilot. She leaned against the counter next to him. "I don't want the kids to start cussing before they're even ten."
"Fuck that. I fucking missed you." He said quietly, with a teasing smirk. She smiled at his rebellion.
"Must you say that word?" She chided without energy, and then lightly elbowed him.
"What the fuck's wrong with the word fuck?" He trudged further into her annoyance zone.
"Nothing when it's an action. Everything when it comes out of our five-year-old's mouth. They worship the ground you walk on, Logan. It's not hard to grasp that they will mimic anything you say."
"Once the novelty of me being home wears off, they'll go back to loving you more. Don't worry, Veronica." He teased, knowing the kids had been decidedly Team Logan all morning.
"They do not love me more." She rolled her eyes.
"Whatever! The minute they're upset, it's always Mommy they go to." He pointed at her. "Never Daddy." He pointed at himself.
"Mommy tends to be better with bandaging injuries and less squeamish than Daddy." She frowned at him.
"I am not sque…" He started to counter her statement when she interrupted him.
"I didn't lie to you. I may have left out some facts, but no lying occurred. And I only help with the desk work and some profiling. I haven't gone to even one of the crime scenes. And I make sure Callie and I only meet at the Bureau. So, there's no way anyone outside the FBI could know I'm even involved in the case. And you can't really blame me for jumping at the chance to work. I hadn't interacted with any other adults for the two weeks before they begged me to come on as a consultant. Do you have any idea how jealous I am that you get to be out there working and my PI job just gets put on hold until you're back? It's not like I can be out doing stakeouts with no one home to put the kids to bed." She rattled off, as if she'd been planning the speech for a month. He listened intently and then paused to reflect on the conversation before answering.
"Okay, I'm slow out of the gate this morning. Blame it on the jet lag. Did you just say you wanted to fuck a few minutes ago?" He moved to pin her against the counter with one hand on either side of her. He raised his eyebrows curiously.
"It certainly would have been better than you coming home last night and fawning over the kids for an hour and then bitching at me until you passed out. I didn't get so much as a goodnight-I'm-glad-to-be-home kiss."
"I take that as a yes?" He grinned, suggestively. Before she could reply, he'd lifted her up to sit on the counter.
"What are you doing?" She leaned back to gage his actions and looked to the door to the living room, expecting her dad or a kid to come barreling through at any moment.
"You're short." His grin grew more lascivious by the second.
"Dad is in the next room, Logan." She whispered with less conviction than intended. He silenced her with a single glance, and then his lips were traveling from her shoulder up her neck.
"I missed you so fucking much and I am so fucking happy to be home." He sighed into her ear. Her breath hitched and she dug her fingers into his broad shoulders.
"Was that so fucking hard?" She snarked at him, before pulling his face to hers for a long, deep kiss.
"I'll show you 'so fucking hard'." He lifted her from the counter and she wrapped her arms and legs around him to keep from falling.
"We can't do this here." Her voice rasped with desire as she playfully nibbled on his ear. She mentally kicked herself for saying here instead of now. She meant now, when kids were waiting for waffles and her father sat in the next room.
"Wasn't planning on it." He stifled a moan into her shoulder as she hit a particularly sensitive spot. He knocked the flour over on the counter as he attempted to grab something from behind her. "You need a shower, Mrs. Echolls. You're filthy with all that egg in your hair and whipped cream on your chest."
"Whipped CRE…" She began to ask when he sprayed the can he now held onto the bare skin above her shirt collar. "Oh, it's SO ON." She challenged as she leaned back and grabbed a handful of berries and mashed them onto his cheek and down onto his neck. She proceeded to use her tongue to clean him off.
"Whoa. Veronica, Hold up." He breathed heavily. "I have to get us up the stairs."
"Hurry the fuck up, already." She groaned against his Adam's apple as quietly as she could. "Do you have any idea how much I fucking missed YOU?"
"Watch your language." He chastised her as he moved them across the kitchen and up the back stairs as quickly as his brain would let him while she attacked his pulse point.
"Grandpa!" Emily squealed in alarm as she ran back to the living room. "Mommy and Daddy are gone! Who's gonna make me waffles?" Keith sighed, silently hoping they hadn't just moved the argument upstairs and out of hearing distance from their children. Knowing how stubborn they both were, Keith figured the argument was far from over.
"Well, guys? It looks like it's time for Grandpa to make the waffles." He said decisively.
"But only Mommy and Daddy make them right!" Emily said with trepidation.
"She means with syrup and strawberries and nothing else." Drew explained.
"Emma, I'm your mommy's daddy. Who do you think taught your mommy how to make waffles?"
"Grandma Alicia?" All three kids answered as if it were obvious.
"What?!" Keith scoffed. "She wishes. Waffles happen to be my specialty. I could iron circles around your grandma." He stood up and rolled up his sleeves. "Come along, children. I need three chef's assistants."
"I'm not allowed to help with waffles." Emily said, eyes wide with surprise.
"She stuck her hand on the waffle iron last time." Lizzie added.
"It just so happens I have a job for iron-less chefs too." Keith threw Emily up over his shoulder as she giggled.
"She's not allowed to use knives either, Grandpa." Drew challenged.
"You two are worse than your mother with all this skepticism. Trust me. I have a job in mind." He ushered the children into the kitchen and surveyed the mess. Spilled-flour, mashed-up strawberries and eggshells littered the counter. "Everyone wash your hands, please." He declared and he helped Emily to hover over the sink to wash her hands.
"Mmm." Veronica smiled against Logan's chest as they collapsed into a heap on the bed, wrapped in towels. "We should definitely do that more often."
"Whipped cream? Hell yeah." He kissed the top of her head. "Except I almost dropped you at one point because you were so slippery."
"Actually I just meant the sex part. But I'm okay with whipped cream being involved. Or maybe chocolate." She smiled at her suggestion and grabbed his left hand to kiss his knuckles.
"What do you mean we should have sex more often?" He questioned, the offense clear in his voice.
"Once every two months just isn't cutting it for me, Tiger." She explained, playing with his wedding ring.
"Yeah, but I was gone. It's not like we normally have sex only once every two months." He said pointedly.
"So, you agree with me, then? Good. Now that that's settled…" She turned her head and began kissing his neck.
"Why do I feel like I just agreed to something without seeing the fine print?" He ran his fingers over her wet hair and pushed her chin up to look in her eyes. She was grinning at him.
"No fine print. We agree you aren't allowed to leave me for two months ever again." She said seriously.
"Baby." He chuckled. "I have to go on book tours or they won't publish the books. You know that. And you know that I hate being gone as much as you…"
"I go crazy when you're gone one day. I cannot handle two months. End of discussion." She interrupted and snuggled her face into his shoulder.
"Okay. I'll ask Renee to book shorter tours." He conceded.
"One month max." Veronica stated firmly. He sighed, knowing he stood no chance of changing her mind.
"Fine, one month max."
"With three weeks off between engagements." She added, seeing how easily he'd given in.
"Veronica!" He complained. "Renee will have an aneurism. One week."
"Three weeks." She pouted, tilting her head at him.
"You're abusing my vulnerability in the afterglow." He frowned at her. "Ten days."
"Need I remind you your daughter screamed thinking you were a monster last night because she didn't recognize the strange man in her bedroom?"
"Two weeks, Veronica. That's it."
"Three." Veronica whined. She then moved to straddle him and repeated it over and over as she sucked on the spot on his neck that drove him wild.
"Okay, okay, okay! Three weeks." He exclaimed. "Damn, woman, you are evil." She repositioned herself to curl up into his side and pulled his arm around her shoulders.
"I know. I mean, I love you and I want you to be home. I'm such a bitch." She sighed, happy that she'd claimed victory. He turned to face her.
"I love you too, Baby." He planted a kiss on her lips.
"Logan, come with me." She suddenly declared.
"What? Again? Isn't your dad waiting for us?" He sputtered.
"To the field office for my meeting with Callie." She punched his side teasingly. "You're a good profiler. Maybe you'll catch something we missed."
"Does that mean you're letting me in on your case so I can be sure you're safe?" He questioned. She nodded at him. "Thank you." He smiled and kissed her forehead.
"We need to feed the kids." She grinned.
"I'll let you go on one condition." He wrapped his arms around her tightly.
"You meet me here tonight for round two." He waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively.
"I'm thinking rounds two, three, and possibly even four." She bit her bottom lip and smiled.
"Fuck yes." He nodded.
"And if you're a good boy, today? I'll show you what I bought while you were gone." She licked his earlobe.
"What'd you buy?"
"There's your incentive to be a good boy."
"At least give me a hint. Are we talking clothing or a toy?"
"Hmm. Let's just say, I doubt you'll let me take it off all night."
"Oh." He closed his eyes trying to stop thinking about what she'd just said. "I wish it was tonight already."
"We have to get downstairs now. Dad is here and I'd prefer you don't get killed if he comes around looking for us."
"We're married. And we have three kids. Does he really think we don't have sex?"
"As far as Dad is concerned, we had sex twice. Once for the twins and once for Em."
"Grandpa makes the best waffles!" Lizzie declared as her parents finally walked into the dining room where their children were eating happily. Logan carried plates for himself and Veronica and set them down at the empty place setting.
"Where's the other chair?" He asked the room.
"It might be downstairs in the game room." Veronica said sheepishly.
"Okay, I'll go get it." He offered.
"NO!" She responded quickly.
"You can't!" Drew, Lizzie, and Emily yelled in panic.
"Why?" Logan asked, suspiciously.
"It's sort of the cornerstone for the fort." Veronica smiled, nervously.
"We built a castle, Daddy!" Emily exclaimed. "Don't break it!"
"You built a fort without me?" Logan sighed sadly, sitting down in the seat in defeat.
"You can play in it with us, Dad." Drew offered as conciliation.
"Yeah!" Emily and Lizzie agreed.
"After breakfast." Veronica nodded. Logan pulled his wife over and sat her on his lap. They both started eating, hungrily.
"Grandpa let me help!" Emily stated excitedly. "I'm a good ironesssheff." Veronica and Logan grinned at their daughter, not caring that they had no idea what an 'ironesssheff' was.
"That's great, Angel Face." Logan added.
"She just measured the scoops of batter." Lizzie teased, causing Emily's face to fall a little.
"Shut up, Lizzie!" Drew growled at his twin. "You did good, Emma."
"Thank you, Drew." Emily said and then stuck her tongue out at her older sister.
"Emily, don't stick your tongue out at Lizzie. Lizzie, don't be mean to Emily. Drew, we don't say 'shut up' in this house. And Dad, ice cream for breakfast? Seriously? You're teaching them bad habits." Veronica rattled off quickly.
"Impressive." Logan mumbled into her hair.
"Sorry, Mommy." Emily answered.
"Yes, Ma'am" Drew and Lizzie replied.
"Drew and Emily, apologize to Lizzie." Logan directed.
"Sorry, Lizzie." They murmured.
"Lizzie, apologize to Emily." He continued.
"Sorry, Em." She sighed. Emily nodded.
"Yeah, well…" Keith finally answered his daughter's chastisement. "I would have used whipped cream, but my daughter doesn't seem to have any in her KITCHEN." He emphasized the last word and Logan choked on a piece of his waffle, realizing his father-in-law, an investigator, had been in the kitchen when it sat out on the counter. Veronica squeezed her husband's thigh under the table to note her embarrassment.
"It helps to chew first, Logan." Keith added mischievously.
After the dishes from breakfast were cleaned, the kids dragged their father down the stairs toward the game room. Veronica followed with her dad, keying him in on the surprise awaiting her husband. When they finally reached the basement room, Logan's jaw dropped in surprise. A huge fort had been set up using the pool table, couches, and the chair from the dining room. On the front of the fort was a huge sign surrounded by balloons that read 'Welcome Home, Daddy!' and had obviously been hand made by his children. Keith hugged his daughter as she watched the scene in front of her with tears in her eyes. Her husband had disappeared with the kids under the sheets while she and her dad got caught up on each other's lives.
"Hey." Logan said breathlessly as he popped up next to Veronica from under the pool table.
"Hey." She smiled.
"We held a vote and you lost." Logan declared to his wife with a smile.
"What did I lose?"
"Three to one." He teased.
"Three votes for?"
"For you to be put in the dungeon. Sorry. It's out of my hands." He held out his hands to emphasize his point.
"Who had the dissenting opinion?" She asked, raising a suspicious eyebrow at him.
"Sorry, votes are anonymous to protect the jury from retaliation." Logan shrugged.
"Mommy! Run! Daddy's gonna throw you in the dungeon!" Drew yelled when he finally popped up from behind the couch, with Emily and Lizzie trying to pull him back down into the fort.
"You voted against me?!" She charged to Logan, moving so that Keith was between them watching the scene with amusement on his face.
"The king automatically sides with the majority of his subjects." Logan laughed.
"If I'm married to the king, that makes me the queen, yes?"
"Of course." Logan agreed.
"So then, I have diplomatic immunity and you can't put me in a dungeon." Veronica stepped backwards to get more space between them.
"Tell that to Henry VIII's wives." Logan taunted. He jumped around Keith and grabbed at Veronica's waist as she evaded him, but ran into the corner without an escape route because the fort left no other option.
"And you used to be an FBI agent." He mocked her choice, capturing her easily, wrapping her in his arms.
"Dad! You're obviously a King from another land. Declare war on him or something!" She squealed and tried to get out of Logan's grasp. The kids all climbed on top of the couch to watch the scene unfold.
"Honey, declare war against the man who paid handsomely for your hand in marriage? Don't you think I should take some time to weigh my other options?"
"Dad!" She exclaimed.
"Uh oh, Queen V. Sounds like you lost your appeal." He moved to throw her up over his shoulder, when she noticed her kids on the couch and ducked out of Logan's hold.
"Emily! Get dow…" She started to yell at the little girl standing on the couch arm, but it came too late as the little girl toppled over the edge. She cried out a second after the impact.
"Mommy!" She wailed from the ground beside the fort.
"Come here, Baby." Veronica said as she rushed over to pick her daughter up from the ground. She soothed the crying by rubbing her daughter's back and rocking her gently. Logan turned to Keith with a smile.
"Your daughter just fell, and you're here smiling. Shouldn't you be more concerned that she was injured?" Keith questioned.
"Drew and Lizzie. Get down from there, guys." Logan called to them. They moved down off the arms of the couch. "Sorry, Keith. I'm really not smiling because she fell, I'm smiling because I was right in an argument Veronica and I had earlier. They always call for her when they get hurt. Never call for me."
"Probably because you're so squeamish." Keith harassed.
"What are you talking about? That's the same thing Veronica said. You're both crazy."
"Logan, when Drew broke his arm at soccer practice you almost fainted on the way to the hospital." Keith laughed.
"The bone was sticking out. That's hardly a good example."
"Veronica was fine." Keith added.
"You two just live to torture me, don't you?" Logan sighed.
"Pretty much, yeah." Keith chuckled.
"You want Daddy to kiss it better?" They heard Veronica ask Emily as she carried the girl over to her husband.
"Yeah." Emily nodded. Veronica looked to Logan for assistance.
"Come here, Baby Girl." Logan held his arms out for his daughter and she went to him, happily. She instantly clung to him and rested her head on his chest.
"Yes, Angel Face?"
"I don't want Mommy in the dungeon." She said sweetly.
"Did Mommy tell you to say that?" He tickled her.
"Yes." His daughter giggled, loudly.
"In that case…" Logan growled and pulled his wife and daughter down onto the couch and started tickling them both. Suddenly, the twins jumped over to the couch they were on and joined the tickle fight. Keith laughed as he pulled a camera out of his pocket and captured the moment in a round of pictures. This moment was exactly what he'd expected when he came over to welcome Logan home. The fact that it had all started with a fight was erased from his memory as he heard a familiar voice.
"Hey! Forget about us. Everybody get Grandpa!" Veronica called above the ruckus. The kids all charged toward their grandfather with fingers wiggling. Logan seized the opportunity to pull his wife into a deep kiss.
"I'm never leaving home again." He proclaimed with a huge smile as they pulled apart to watch their kids tackling their grandfather to the ground.
A/N: Thanks for reading this. It means SOOO much to me. Please leave comments. I love them. OH, and this is just a fling I have on the side of Escaping Neptune, no worries, I'm still pounding away on that one.