[A/N: This one starts off sad, but I promise it improves. It's also my first multi chapter. I promise to have at least the second chapter up by week's end, if not sooner.]
She had been in the P.I. business for a long time. She was more than familiar with a client's prerogative to change their mind. How many curious wives had stared at the manilla envelope in her hand and decided they loved their husbands too much to know the truth. How many once curious people had been within inches of that long lost relative and then decided it was better not knowing? But she was Veronica Mars, and she did not turn away from information, no matter how harmful it was…
Logan had moved away at the end of their freshman year at Hearst. He'd done it the right way, had called her and asked to have a chance to talk. She'd gone. It had been months since they'd really spoken. So she'd shown up at the Grand, and what she found inside his room had stolen her breath. Suitcases, boxes, all the signs of abandonment.
Veronica. Listen to me. I need to get out of this town. You of all people should understand that. Everyone knows me here. Every where I turn I see Lilly or my father…or us. It's too much, it's stifling. A few semesters on the east coast will do me good. Some time away from Neptune will let me heal. I'm not abandoning you. If you ever need me, EVER, even if it's just so you don't have to go the movies alone, call. I'll have my phone. And I will come home. Veronica, I love you. Even after everything that's happened between us, from that first day I saw you on the soccer field, I'm yours to command. I really hope that one day, when you're ready, you'll call me. I'll be waiting for you. I know you don't want to hear this, because you're still mad at me, but know this. If you believe nothing else that I say to you, know that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, nothing is more important to me then you. .
She'd wanted to argue every word, dispute every point. But she couldn't, because he was right. She did understand his need to run, because she was usually the first one to start the race. She saw just as many ghosts in Neptune as he did. She was surprised by his maturity, his ability to recognize the fact that he needed to heal. She was proud of him for it. And her heart had both broken and swelled at his declarations. She wanted so badly to say she was ready right then and there. But he was admitting his own faults, so how could she deny hers? She loved him, but she wasn't quite ready to forgive him. Logan. I love you. I wouldn't have survived the last three years without you. What I said about not wanting you in my life anymore was a lie. But you're right, I'm not ready right now. One day, in the future, I'll come find you. I promise that much. Just please don't disappear on me. Give me that much.
He reached his hand up, cupped her cheek, pulled her close. His forehead gravitated toward hers. It's yours. I'll never be more then a phone call away. But on the off chance you don't call, here. This is my new address. Whenever you're ready, you can find me here. I'll be waiting. He leaned in, kissed her one last time. And left.
Veronica was surprised to hear the click of the hotel door over the breaking of her heart. The tears that welled in her eyes removed the room from her view. She collapsed on the floor. But she only gave herself a few moments to feel the pain. Then she stood, put the envelope in her bag and left the Grand.
A little over a year had passed since that day. Veronica sat on her bed, envelope in hand. It had been a long 15 months. The intense case load at the office had put her father into early retirement, recovering from a minor heart attack. Weevil had once again joined the staff at Mars Investigations, to help Veronica pick up the slack. Veronica had considered dropping out of Hearst, but her father had refused to let her. The cases she'd worked had left their mark, several of them being permanent scars. A scorned ex-wife had left a nice scar running from her right shoulder between her breasts to her left hip. The wound had been shallow, but the stitch count had been high. She'd also gotten 12 in her forehead, above her left eye, the result of nearly falling out a window. Weevil promised that it only added to her beauty, she was convinced he was lying.
Wallace had enjoyed Africa so much he'd decided to stay not only the summer but the fall semester as well. He'd come back in the spring, but had been on a plane again within an hour of his last class as a sophomore. It was her phone call that had brought him back from Africa this early, he'd planned to stay another two weeks. Now he and Weevil stood in her doorjamb. Both wore looks of concern. She imagined how she probably looked: Black dress, messed up hair, red rimmed eyes. She never was one who could cry her eyes out and still look good.
And cry her eyes out she had. The pain she'd felt this last week had been something akin to the pain she'd felt in the months after Lilly's death, something entirely familiar, but wholly different. What was it about her life that made pain come in bone crushing waves? Today she'd had to bury both her parents.
Her mother had been found in a ditch off the PCH, she'd gotten behind the wheel drunk. Veronica could only be thankful that she'd hit a tree and not another car. It sounded harsh, but her mother had abandoned her, stolen from her, betrayed her trust. Veronica had long come to grips with her disappointing mother. She mourned her mother, but she'd known that the alcohol would catch up to her eventually.
Keith's death had been a staggering blow. The cancer had hit him hard and fast. By the time the doctors saw it, the best option was to simply keep the pain at bay. He hadn't wanted weeks of chemo, weekly trips to the hospital. He'd wanted a month with his daughter, nothing more. He'd been struggling for three days just to breathe when the call came in about Lianne. He'd shook his head once, a soft chuckle escaping his lips. Guess that's my cue then. I'm sorry honey. I love you, Veronica. Whatever happens now, I want you to be happy.
That night they'd all gathered in the kitchen when they thought she was asleep, Wallace, Weevil, Mac, Parker, Piz, even Dick. She listened in, knowing it was childish but being unable to stop herself. When she was finally able to focus, they were already in the middle of their discussion.
Alright, Dick, where is he? Mac's voice was easy enough to identify.
He was in New York, where else? The only place a guy like him could find a distraction. Dick's response caused her brow to crease. East Coast, she couldn't quite recall why that was so important.
Weevil's slightly defeated voice came next, Well I think you'd better call him. I hate to say it, but she needs him more then us right now.
Wallace's voice was as thick with tears and pain as hers had been last time she heard it. Weev's right Dick, we need to call him.
But it was Parker who spoke up now, There's a slight problem.
What? He can't be bothered? He's too busy? He's just a jackass, she doesn't need him. Piz's anger was nothing new. Ever since Veronica pulled the plug on their relationship, his hostility toward Logan had been commonplace. They all knew that's why she'd told him it would never work.
It's not that simple Piz. He was in New York. Trina called him last week. She needed him. He flew to Europe on Sunday night to be with her. He won't be back till Sunday and I don't have her number. Dick said the words apologetically, like it was his fault. Veronica didn't blame him though.
Damn. We could find him. With the equipment at the office, it wouldn't take too long. Weevil's P.I. instincts had been born with a vengeance. Veronica was proud of how far he'd come.
But will he come? The doubt in Mac's voice burned Veronica. She still didn't get what Logan meant to Veronica, and vise a versa.
Of course. Dick, conviction.
Why wouldn't he? Parker, just a hint of jealousy.
He loves her. Weevil, trust, hope.
Probably not . Piz, apathetic.
A beat. He always does. Wallace belief, a hint of sadness.
Weevil's chair scraped the floor as he stood, I'll go find him.
Veronica was out of her bed and in the other room before she could think. No. Leave Logan out of this. I have to do this without him.
They'd all fought with her on that, even Piz. Her denial only convinced them all more that she needed Logan. The argument waged for hours. Slowly they all gave in to her. When it was over she sat on the couch, Wallace at her side, Weevil in front of her, the others gone for the night. You wanna know why, don't you? She knew they did, she'd managed to convince the others with half truths. These two however would require the truth. They both nodded.
When he left, he told me he'd wait for the day I was ready. He swore he'd be there if I needed him. I'm not gonna lie, I would like nothing more then to curl up into his arms right now. But I can't. I won't call him just because I need him. I told him I would come find him when I was ready, but I won't be until after this. He comes home Sunday? The ceremonies will be on Saturday. I'll go to him after, alone. I won't make him abandon Trina, she's his only family. Please respect my wishes on this one.
And they had. Grudgingly, and with much protesting, but in the end they listened. She had stood in the bright sun over the two graves alone, for hours. She stood there till it was only her friends left with her. They went back to her apartment. Piz was the first to leave, unable to comfort Veronica the way he wanted, unwilling to watch her in pain. Mac, Parker and Dick left together; all promising to be back in the morning. They'd slept about as much as she had in the last week, all of them staying up with her, helping her plan the details for the ceremonies.
So she sat on her bed. The two men who had become her brothers keeping watch over her as she struggled with her decision. I've never had this much trouble opening an envelope before. God, it's so stupid.
C'mon V. The love of your life is in that envelope. Stop being so damn stubborn about this. There was no anger or malice in his voice. Weevil had earned the right to speak to her this way. He was her partner, and he only wanted what was best for her. And he was right. Since her father's heart attack, she'd known what she wanted. To have Logan hold her again, to be in his arms. She'd put it off though. She'd finally forgiven him for sleeping with Madison. But she couldn't forgive herself for the stupid mistakes she'd made in their last few months as a couple: refusing to back off the rape case, constantly blaming him, never having faith in him. When she looked back at their relationship, she was amazed he'd stayed with her. She had treated him horribly almost the whole time they'd been together. She'd always been waiting for the storm, for him to screw up, to cheat, to leave. She was always looking for a reason to be the one to walk away first. And she'd so rarely told him the words he needed, the I love you's and I trust you's that would have meant the world to him.
She had stayed away while she worked through her own issues. She'd had to get over her fear of putting her heart in his hands. By telling Weevil and Wallace everything that had happened, from the time Lilly died, Shelley's party, up through the night on the roof of The Grand, to the conversation she'd had with Logan the day he left, she'd learned trust. Now when she thought of Logan, there was only love. No guilt over dating Lilly's boyfriend, no regret over how she'd acted, No pain over fights they'd had, she'd dealt with it all. Now she was ready to see Logan. And if he had changed his mind, no longer wanted her, she believed she would be able to let him go.
She slid her finger under the envelope flap, opening it. She removed the paper and read the address. She couldn't keep in the small chuckle. Wallace questioned her reaction, so she read the name of his house aloud. Marshmallow Promises. I hope that's not the building's real name. Not very manly. She stood up, grabbed her small duffle bag and walked to her door she gave each of her friends a hug. I'll be home Tuesday, with or without Logan. She hoped they couldn't read how badly she wanted it to be the former.