A/N: This is my very first VM fic ever, and I'm extremely nervous, so HUGE thanks and lots of love goes to taken_with_you for the beta, encouragement, suggestions and overall time and patience. I couldn't have done it without you! Mwah!!
-Written for the vm_library Losin' It Challenge.
Author's note: As I said, this premise is based on the incredible book The Time Traveler's Wife. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it; it's a great read, and I think there are shades of Logan and Veronica in Henry and Clare.
Because it's based on this book, I used the same type of format and style the author used, which is first person, present tense narrative, with both Logan and Veronica POVs.
Basically, in addition to all of the horrible things that have happened to Logan throughout his life, he also has a disease! That makes him involuntarily travel back in time! While he's time traveling, he visits Veronica throughout various points in her life. So while Logan didn't actually meet her until he moved to Neptune at around twelve-years-old, Veronica has known future versions of him for years. The dates and current ages head off each section, just like in the book, to try and help make things as less confusing as possible. And even though this is an AU fic, I tried to keep as much canon as possible. Any feedback would be awesome. Thanks!
always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the
Wednesday, April 19, 1995 (Logan is 30, Veronica is 7)
LOGAN: Standing naked in the Mars's Evergreen shrubs is almost always a bad idea. I tap on Veronica's bedroom window, and she knows the routine. She's covering her eyes with one hand while she slides up the glass pane with her other.
"Logan!" She's excited, and I'll never get tired of a Veronica who is happy to see me, no matter what her age.
"You know the drill, Sarge. Clothes?" She hands me sweats and a t-shirt that her father hasn't missed, and while they're far from a perfect fit, they serve their purpose. I dress outside and climb in her window, and she's bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet before she rushes over to me and wraps her arms around my waist.
"When are you coming from?" she asks dutifully, heading over to her little desk to write the information on the piece of paper. Veronica at seven is more efficient and responsible than I was at seventeen, and it just makes me love her all that much more.
"From October 22, 2018. It's a Monday."
She jots down the date I tell her, along with the current date. Later, when Veronica and I are both nineteen, I'll find out that I've been visiting her for years. She'll show me this list of dates (of when I visited her, and when I was coming from), and I can use it to plan ahead and let past-Veronica know when she'll see me next. It's been nothing but helpful and has saved us both a lot of anxiety and headaches.
I relax on the floor beside her bed, and hear music playing softly in her room.
then a hero comes along With the strength to carry on And
you cast your fears aside
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
"Mariah Carey, Veronica? Really?"
She looks at me innocently and shrugs. "Wanna listen to the Ace of Base tape I got for Easter?"
"Thanks, but I'd rather have a lobotomy."
"What's a lobotomy?"
I think for a moment, choosing my words carefully. "It's a kind of brain surgery. I was just being sarcastic about the music."
"Oh, I know." Of course she does.
She sits across from me, cross-legged, and stares. "What are you doing in 2018?"
Teetering on the very edge of insanity
"You know I can't tell you that."
"What am I doing in 2018?"
Doing your best to push me over
"And I definitely can't tell you that."
She sighs, exasperated. We do this every time.
"When are you coming back?"
"According to the handy, dandy notebook, I'll be back on July 26th. Okay?"
"July? I'm not going to see you again until July?" she whines.
"Sorry. But it'll be okay. I promise you, there will be a time when you can't get rid of me."
"Really?" Her voice is small, and her sadness is weighing down her curiosity, which doesn't happen often. Sometimes I still can't even believe it: Veronica happy to see me. Veronica missing me when I'm gone. It's a nice change of pace from the hormonally-driven shrieking terror I'm with right now.
"Really," I assure her. She looks up at me and smiles, and just like that, she's happy again—one of the many magical things about childhood.
"Want to play a game?"
"Sure. Which one?"
"Mall Madness?" She's grinning, trying to sway me with her Veronica charm.
"Nope. No way. If I played that with you now, you'd make fun of me for it later."
"No I wouldn't."
"Oh, trust me. You would."
She's resigned, and I can see her contemplating her other options.
She's searching under her bed for the board game when I decide that now would be a good time to practice my dad voice.
"Have you finished all of your homework?" I ask, seriously.
"Yep, Daddy helped me with it earlier." She looks at me for a second, and then her blue eyes widen as she remembers something. "Oh! I got back that book report you helped me with!"
I try to remember what she's talking about. For her it has only been a couple of weeks since I helped her with this paper, but for me it's been a couple of years.
"Oh yeah? How'd you do?"
She plops the game box down beside me and goes to her Tweety Bird book bag.
"Here," she says, handing me the paper. "I got a B+."
"B+? You just got a B+?" I quickly read over the three page report on The Boxcar Children. I remember talking about it with her now, about how tragedy forced Henry and Jesse to grow up too quickly, the importance of family, and how the rich grandfather reveal at the end was a complete cop-out. I can't believe she only got a B+.
"Well, that's embarrassing," I tell her, handing back the report. "Maybe I shouldn't help you out with papers anymore."
She giggles. "I liked the paper. Mrs. Taggart just isn't very smart."
"Well, we can't all be Veronicas," I tell her, tweaking her little nose. She smiles and playfully bats my hand away, and then we work together to set up the game.
"Logan?" she asks while flipping up the face cards on her side.
"Do you know who did that today? The bombing?" She asks me very casually, like she's simply inquiring about my day.
I have to think for a minute about what she's talking about, and then I remember the date. "Oh, yeah. They find out who did it."
"Are they punished?" she asks, still concentrating on setting up her game.
I see no harm in telling her. "Yeah, they're definitely punished."
I look up to see her watching me, and I swear there's a little twinkle in her eye. "Good," she tells me, resolute.
Yep, that's my girl.
Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation. -Eudora Welty
Wednesday, November 8, 1989 (Logan is 18)
LOGAN: My first thought is: Fuck, I'm freezing. Being bare-ass naked probably isn't helping matters any.
My second thought is: Not now. Not again. It's been awhile since it last happened. Over three years. The last time, I was with Lilly in the pool house and she was draped across my chest and asleep and so goddamn beautiful and peaceful, and I remember thinking, "Jesus, Lilly. Why can't you just always be like this?" And I was happy. Actually happy.
And then I was lying in the sand on Dog Beach, and it was hot out, and sunny, and there were people. And I was naked. And fuck, there were people. I didn't know the date; I didn't know how long I would be there. But for once the crowd wasn't paying any attention to me and I was able to slip into the ocean to swim unnoticed, pretending to be just like everyone else (always pretending). Tra la la la la, just like everyone else.
I treaded water for what felt like five minutes, and then I was back just as quickly as I was gone. Lilly was still asleep.
Minutes (hours? days?) ago, I was with Veronica. Finally with Veronica, in all the ways I wanted to be with her since what feels like forever. It was good. Really good, and natural, and right. And I was happy. She was curled up by my side, snoring softly, and I was thinking about how I would tease her about that in the morning, when suddenly, I'm here. Wherever, or whenever, "here" is.
My third thought, connected to my second (and I'm surprised it's not my first) is: Veronica! Find Veronica. Veronica will know. Veronica always knows. I think she used to hate me, but I don't think she hates me right now.
But it's no longer right now. Not actually. And if Veronica is around, if she's even been born yet, there's the very real possibility that she still thinks I'm an asshole, a waste, a disaster. After all we've been through together, the thought of her hating me depresses me.
It's cold and it's dark and I'm scared and I'm not going to cry. I'm not.
Saturday, July 22, 2006 (Veronica is 18, Logan is 18)
VERONICA: I wake up slowly and reach for Logan, but he's not there. The clock radio reads 4:17 a.m., and I think he might be in the bathroom. I get out of bed and pull his t-shirt on. He's not in the bathroom, and a quick walk through his suite tells me that he's not anywhere in his hotel room. I go back to bed, expecting to see his clothes in a pile atop the twisted sheets, the only evidence he leaves behind when he goes. But then I remember that he wasn't wearing anything tonight, so there would be no clothes to find.
I crawl under the covers and try to sleep, try not to worry. I know I don't need to worry, that wherever he is, he'll come back. And he'll be fine, all in one piece. I know this because I saw him almost six weeks ago, and he was fine. A perfectly fine 35 year-old man. And he's come to me older than that, in my past and in his future, and he's always fine.
I turn away from his side of the bed and close my eyes, willing him to come back to me. I want him here, now.
I fall asleep again, and when I wake up it is 4:52 a.m., and Logan's still gone. I'm worried. I can't help it; worrying is a trait encoded in my DNA, just as this thing is encoded in his, in every cell in his body. Making him. Taking him. From me now, to me then.
He doesn't know that I know. Not yet. He doesn't know that I've known him for almost as long as I can remember. He doesn't know that I'm with him now because I'm already in love with the person he will become. He doesn't know that when I pull away, that when I yell and when I leave, it's because he has told me that I have to.
He'll know soon enough. He will visit my pre-teen self, and I will tell him. And then when he returns to the here and now, he'll probably be confused, maybe even yell at me for keeping such a secret for so long, and he'll ask a million questions. I hope I can answer some.
I feel the mattress shift, and suddenly Logan is back. He takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, and I turn to face him, pretending to have just woken up.
"Hey," I whisper, feigning grogginess. He looks anxious, and perspiration dots his forehead.
He rolls on to his side and stares for a long moment, like he's studying me. "Hey," he finally replies, and there's a hint of a smile on his face, relief in his tone. I wonder where he's been, what he saw. I want to ask him, but I can't.
I inch toward him and snuggle against his body. He wraps his arms around me. I can hear his heartbeat, and soon I fall asleep.
First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity: no really self-respecting woman would take advantage of it. –George Bernard Shaw
Sunday, August 13, 2006 (Logan is 18)
Tijuana, Mexico. 2:37 a.m.
LOGAN: My head is pounding and I haven't been this wasted in awhile. I'm already dreading tomorrow's hangover. This was a bad idea. A very bad idea. I'd give anything to just be back home, sleeping beside Veronica. But she's in Neptune, working on cases all weekend, and I'm in another country, listening to Mercer and three girls giggling in the adjoining room.
This was a very, very bad idea.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003 (Logan is 18)
LOGAN: My heart is racing and my pajama bottoms are gone. I'm still in a bed, but it's not the lumpy old mattress I was trying to sleep on in Tijuana. It's firm and comfortable and the sheets are soft and expensive. I open my eyes and look around the room.
"God, Logan, what do you think you're doing?"
My heart stops.
She's standing by her door, wearing a tight-fitting white and pink striped polo t-shirt and barely-there white shorts. Her hair is down, falling around her shoulders, surrounding her. Her eyes, the biggest, bluest eyes I've ever seen, are fixed right on me. Her arms are crossed, and she looks pissed.
"If this is your pathetic attempt to get me back, it's not going to work. Really, Logan, take a page from Lloyd Dobler. Boom boxes and Peter Gabriel music? Good. Showing up in my room naked when my dad is home? Bad."
There are so many things I want to say to her. A million thoughts are going through my mind. I want to tell her I hate her. I want to tell her I love her. I want to tell her I'm sorry.
She steps closer to the bed and looks me up and down, one eyebrow arched. "Have you been working out?"
"Lilly, look…I have to tell you something…"
"Uh huh," she nods, coming closer. She reaches out to me and runs her finger down along my bicep. "You have been working out." She stares at me, her head tilted to the right, like a curious puppy. "You look different."
I'm trying to find words when she grabs my cock, taking me into her hand and pumping up and down. I practically bow off the mattress, my hips instinctively rising to meet her rhythm. "Lilly," I call her through gritted teeth. "Lilly, stop!"
She actually listens for once and releases me from her grip before stepping back and away from the bed. "You're so predictable. Do you want to talk first?" She's mocking me again. That's what constituted a majority of our relationship.
"Yes! I-" I'm trying to talk, to tell her, to warn her. But I can't. It's like I'm verbally paralyzed. My mouth is open but I can't speak. I can't even move.
"Logan, what are you on? And do you have any left for me?" She's smiling, and if you didn't know her, you'd think she was sweet and innocent.
Stay away from my dad, Lilly! Just stay away from my dad!
I can't talk. I can't.
Lilly rolls her eyes and turns to leave the room. "We're leaving for Italy tonight. I'll call you when we get back next month. You gotta get out of here."
God, Lilly, just stay away from my dad! Please!
And then she's gone. And soon, so am I.
Sunday, August 13, 2006 (Logan is 18)
Tijuana, Mexico. 3:18 a.m.
LOGAN: There's a loud thumping noise reverberating through my head, amplifying my headache. I still feel like I can't talk, like I can't move.
"Logan!" It's Mercer, pounding on the door joining our rooms. "Logan, c'mon. We gotta go! Now!"
This was a very bad idea.
The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate. –Douglas Engelbart
Thursday, September 5, 1985 (Logan is 18)
LOGAN: I'm coming and going now more than ever, and it's starting to piss me off. I have no idea what day it is, but at least it's warm out. It's nighttime, and there's a blindingly bright streetlight right above me. It must be really late out, because the streets are empty, save for a few parked cars.
But I can't risk it, so I start to run, looking for anywhere I can hide. There's an alley to my right, and I'm heading for it when I hear the sirens, see the red and blue lights dancing across the brick building in front of me.
I hear the tires squeal to a stop and the car door slam. "Hey, hey you! Stop! Stop!"
And it figures that, out of all of the places in the world I could go, of all the times I could travel to, I would end up naked in an alley with Keith Mars on my trail.
I know I'm cornered, so I do the only respectable thing I can think of: I drop to the ground, roll up into a ball, and cover my face.
I can hear him approaching me, his heavy boots hitting the cement with each step. "What in the hell do you think you're doing? Where are your clothes?"
I keep my hands over my face, but curiosity gets the best of me and I sneak a look at Keith through my slightly splayed fingers. Damn, he's young. He even has hair.
"Answer me," he demands. He's totally got the cop part down, and he's good at it. And I have to admit that while he's intimidating, like always, he's not being an outright asshole. Unlike certain others I've had the pleasure of encountering.
I try to think of a good lie. Keith still gives me the "You know, I have a bunch of handguns" look every time I come over to see Veronica, but he has softened on me a little. I really don't need this right now.
"It's a frat thing," I tell him from behind my hands. "They took my clothes and left me out here."
"Have you been drinking?"
He sighs. "You need a ride back to campus?"
"No thank you. I'm sure my frat brothers will pick me up soon." I still keep my face covered and my knees tucked into my chest.
"Well, I'm not leaving you out here. You'll scare the cats."
My stomach is swirling patterns, and I know I'll be going soon. I motion like I'm going to stand, and Keith turns to head back to his cruiser. Once his back is to me, I take off as fast as I can. I can hear him calling out to me, yelling something, but I duck behind another building and then I'm gone.
Marsh: Stan, you're not being very nice to your future self.
Randy Marsh: Yeah Stan, don't be so hard on yourself.
Monday, November 27, 2006 (Logan is 18 and 31)
LOGAN: I've been trying to pull a Veronica, ignoring her calls and messages since Friday. She stopped by yesterday, but I told her I needed to study. She gave me that Yeah, Right look, which was like even more salt in the wound, but I ignored her and went into my bedroom until I heard her leave. I don't know what to do.
So needless to say, I'm not in the best of moods. When I hear a knock on the door, I think for a minute that it's Veronica, and she's come to apologize and tell me that she loves me and wants to have lots of sex and run away with me, but then I remember that she has a key and wouldn't need to knock. Oh, and that she would never say any of those things.
I go to answer the door, and when I open it, I'm staring at myself.
"Going to invite me in?" I smirk. I sigh, and stand back, motioning me or him or whatever, in.
He's wearing sunglasses, a too small black leather jacket, and too short jeans. He's barefoot.
"So, did you wrestle a member of the Village People for that outfit?" I ask.
He ignores me and walks to my bedroom. When he reemerges a few minutes later, he's wearing a pair of my cargo pants and one of my favorite polos.
"What the hell are you doing here?" I ask, getting to the point. "What if Veronica walked in and saw you?"
"Don't worry," he tells me. "She doesn't."
"How old are you?" I ask.
"Just turned thirty-one," he replies nonchalantly, taking a seat on the leather couch.
"Ah, so I know I live to be at least thirty-one. I guess it's safe to take up sky-diving now."
"Are you going to shut up long enough for me to tell you why I'm here?" he asks me, mildly annoyed.
I lean back in my seat and think for a moment. "You didn't just want to visit? I'm hurt. I can be so inconsiderate sometimes."
"I was downtown when I saw the date. The Hearst rapist will be caught soon," he tells me.
This catches my attention, and I sit up. "What? Who is it?"
He laughs at me and just shakes his head. "I can't tell you that."
"Why the hell not?"
"Because I didn't know, so you can't know."
I'm starting to get pissed, and he can tell. Then a thought flies through my head, and I'm panicked. "Veronica! Is she okay? He doesn't hurt her, does he?"
I can tell he expected the question. "Don't worry about that," he tells me, emotionless.
"How the hell do you expect me to not worry about that?" I ask in disbelief. "Is she okay?"
"You have to break up with her," he tells me suddenly, an edge to his voice. "The next time you see her. You just have to do it."
"What?" I've been thinking about it. That's how hopeless and desperate I've felt. But the idea of being without Veronica still makes me feel sick.
"You can't keep feeling like this. It's bad for the both of you. You just have to do it. You have to."
I want to argue with him, wage a protest. But I can't. I wonder for a second if my breaking up with her is somehow contingent with her safety, if that's why I'm here now and telling myself this. I won't risk Veronica getting hurt. Not for anything.
"You know what you have to do," he says, getting up and heading to my room again.
"Wait!" I call out desperately, and he turns around.
"Are things…good? In the future?" I ask.
He looks at me for a second and smiles softly. "You have to find that out for yourself."
And then he's gone.
On reflection, one of the things I needed to learn was to allow myself to be loved. -Isha McKenzie-Mavinga
Sunday, May 13, 2007 (Veronica is 19, Logan is 19)
VERONICA: I've been expecting a visit from Logan for awhile now. On some days, I was actually looking forward to it. On others, I was just dreading it.
I let him into the apartment. Dad's gone for the weekend and won't be back until tomorrow. I had been studying for finals when Logan knocked on our door. He looked kind of stunned and very white, and I knew that this was the visit that I had been told about a long time ago.
"How could you not tell me, Veronica?" he asks, a million emotions playing on his face.
I'm ready for a fight, expecting the worst. Logan has always been very picky about what he tells me when he comes to me, and so he rarely tells me anything. All I know right now is that Logan has just come back from the first time he met me. And now he knows that we didn't really meet when he was eleven and I twelve, but rather that future versions of himself have been visiting me for years. I remember the conversation. I was twelve, and he was the youngest I had ever seen him. He was really confused, and I was probably too excited. I rambled a little, telling him happily that I knew that we were going to meet soon for real, and eventually become friends. I told him about the list.
"You, you said something about a list?" he asks, as if reading my thoughts.
"Follow me," I sigh, going to my room. The original list is in my top drawer. Copies of it are pretty much everywhere else.
I hand him the pale yellow piece of construction paper with dates and times scrawled all over it. It's a combination of my handwriting and his, over the years. January 15, 1996 is written in messy cursive. I had been practicing. The first date, at the very top, is Logan's handwriting. August 11, 1993- I was just about to turn six when I met him for the first time. At the bottom is the date from two weeks ago, which I printed myself. The date directly below that, in parentheses, is August 1, 2017. The twenty-nine-year-old version of Logan was the latest one to visit me.
Logan takes the paper from me and sits on the end of my bed.
"October 1, 2003," he says, looking at me.
"Yeah. I was still upset over Duncan, and you came to me and told me that things were going to get bad. Really, really bad, and that you were going to do a lot of horrible things, but that I shouldn't ever give up."
"Well that's me, ever the poet." He reads over the rest of the list, quietly and carefully.
"The oldest I ever come to you is forty-seven," he says, looking at me. "What do you think happens?"
I've wondered that very thing many times. The worst of the pondered possibilities is that Logan has died, but I can't and don't really believe that. "Maybe you were cured," I tell him.
"It's a disease?" he asks, disbelieving.
"Yeah. You never told me too much about it, but you did say that it's some sort of syndrome and that you'll find out that you're not the only one with it."
"Did I tell you if I learned how to control it?"
"You didn't say. You still didn't know what exactly causes it. You told me once that you had believed that different things could stave it off, like exercising or drinking, but nothing was foolproof, so you stopped trying to fight it so much. You really just can't tell."
"Yeah, I used to think that it happened after sex with someone I loved," he says, looking at me. "But that's a little too Angel for my taste. Anyway, it's still happening, so that can't be it."
"Maybe it's stress?" I venture.
Logan looks doubtful. "I didn't leap once after Lilly's death, or during the whole thing with my dad and then Felix."
I smile and he looks at me funny. "What?"
"I just think it's cute that you call it leaping," I tell him.
He chuckles. "Yeah, well what can I say? I'm a Scott Bakula fan."
I'm starting to remember how much I've missed him, so I immediately try to focus on something else. It's just too hard. It feels like I've had my heart broken too many times. "There's different kinds of stress," I say, getting back to the matter at hand. "Maybe when you have something else to focus on, like torturing the hell out of me, or finding out who framed you, or whatever…maybe then you're too preoccupied, so you can't go anywhere else."
"Yeah, but I don't know. There just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason. I mean, I'm really busy now with classes and Charlie and everything, but I'm still going."
"I guess we'll never know."
"Maybe not," he replies.
Logan shifts on the bed to get more comfortable. "What do we talk about? I mean, I was here the last week of April. What did I say to you?"
"You don't talk as much as you listen," I tell him, a bit reluctantly.
"Wait, you mean you actually tell me stuff?" he asks, smiling.
I'm feeling a bit sheepish now, so I just shrug. "You'll find out for yourself."
He looks pleased. "God, Veronica. We are so fucked up."
I grin. "Actually, I think this whole thing is one of the more normal aspects of our relationship."
"Yeah," he agrees. The smile on his face slowly starts to disappear as he becomes lost in his thoughts. "Do I…Do I ever tell you anything about us? I mean, are we together?"
I stare down at the carpet and trace an imaginary pattern with my toe. "No. You never say."
He laughs softly, one part bitterness, one part tiredness. I know exactly how he feels.
"I miss you," I blurt out unexpectedly, surprising even myself.
He looks up at me and nods. "I miss you, too. You couldn't begin to know how much."
I nod sadly and look back down at the carpet. I just want so much for Logan to already be the man I've known since I was a little girl. I know it takes time, of course, but I want it now. I see glimmers of him sometimes, and if I were honest with myself, I could admit that I see it more and more every time I talk with him. But I can't risk it just yet; this Logan is still growing, still evolving. This Logan is still crushing my heart every time he messes up or simply fails to be that Logan.
I remember a different visit when I was twelve; the one when he told me that I'd be meeting the present Logan soon. I was expecting to be able to have my best friend with me whenever I wanted. I was expecting the Logan I already knew. But things turned out to be so different than what I had expected or wished for, and at first I was immensely disappointed. But over time, it was okay. Things fell into place with Lilly, and then Duncan. I could somehow completely separate the two versions of Logan in my universe, and appreciate them both for what they meant to me. Then Lilly died, and everything changed. Both Logans changed. One was practically unrecognizable- a former friend who treated me like an enemy. The other became more evasive as I asked more questions. I knew he had all the answers, but he wouldn't, or couldn't, tell me anything. I was left desperate and even more hungry for the truth, determined to get it anyway I could.
"I don't think we can be together," Logan says, interrupting my thoughts. I look up at him as my stomach does a somersault. "Not right now, anyway," he clarifies quickly. "I mean, we don't know what's going to happen in the future. But right now? I just think we hurt each other too much."
He's right, and I know it.
"But I still miss you. I want to see you. I want you in my life, as a friend. I want you to be able to tell me things now."
"Oh God, Logan, I want that too," I tell him, choked up.
He stands from the bed and grabs me in a strong hug. I practically collapse against him, having missed the way I can just melt into his arms and feel at least a little bit better. I can feel him kiss the top of my head, and I take the moment to breathe in his scent. We stand like that for a few minutes, embracing, before we slowly and reluctantly break apart.
"I should get going," he says quietly, and I nod. He tries to hand the list back to me, but I tell him to keep it. "I'll write down any more dates on one of the copies I have," I say.
"Thanks," he says, putting it in his pocket. "So…how about lunch tomorrow? Food court? 12:30-ish?"
We smile at each other again, and he heads for the door. I'm tagging behind him, to walk him out, when he suddenly spins around, facing me again.
"One more thing," he says, his voice serious.
"How do I look at forty-seven?"
I laugh. "Truthfully? At the risk of inflating your ego, you look really good."
"Really?" he asks happily, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, really. You look pretty much the same, just more distinguished."
"And my hair?"
I laugh again. "Still perfect. A little gray, but the Clooney thing totally works for you."
He grins triumphantly, and I playfully push him out the front door. "See you tomorrow," he says, waving good bye.
"See you tomorrow," I wave back, smiling as I watch him go.
the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, 'I told you so.'
Friday, September 6, 2013 (Logan is 25)
LOGAN: Phone calls at 3 a.m. are seldom good news. If it's not Dick asking me to pick him up somewhere, then it's likely an emergency. I'm not a fan of emergencies.
I'm in a deep sleep when I hear the telephone ring. I have to get up early for a meeting, so at first I burrow under my pillows and ignore it. But it rings incessantly, so I'm mentally cursing Dick as I finally pick it up.
My heart drops to my stomach, and I know immediately that it is bad news. Keith Mars doesn't call in the wee hours of the morning for a chat.
I swallow thickly and try to find my voice. "Keith?"
"It's Veronica." He chokes back a sob, and I could swear my world is ending.
There's something about going off on her own, and gunshots and life-flights and surgery and dammit, Veronica!
"Are you with her?" I ask after finally finding my voice.
He tells me that the next flight available doesn't leave for another six hours, and I'm trying to think of what I can do or who I can call to get us both across the country as soon as possible.
"I'm going to make a call and I'll get a private jet. Be ready to leave within the hour."
And this is officially the worst night of my life.
They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. –Andy Warhol
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (Veronica is 26, Logan is 25)
VERONICA: I'm on the lot for all of fifteen seconds before Trina spots me and rushes over.
"Oh my god, Veronica!" she squeals, and tentatively places her arms around me for a weak half-hug. "I'm so glad you could make it! How are you feeling? Do you need like a wheelchair or something?"
"No, thanks, Trina. I'm fine. How's everything going here?" I'm a little tired and very sore, and I can think of about a million other places I'd rather be, but apparently I made a drug-induced promise to Trina to come down to the set and check out the filming of the loosely based story of my life. Obviously I thought I was on my death bed, or I would have kept my mouth shut.
"Well, Kevin Bacon dropped out a few days ago, but we've actually gotten an even better Kevin to take the role." She's waiting for me to guess, smiling expectantly.
"Costner?" I venture, wondering what an Oscar winner would want to do with a USA network movie-of-the-week produced by Trina Echolls. But then I remember Water World and it all makes sense.
"Sorbo!" she happily clarifies.
"Hercules?" I'm actually dumbfounded. "Hercules is going to play Aaron?"
"Isn't it great? I really think he has the right look to pull off Dad, you know?"
I'd like nothing more than to finally set Trina straight about her father, to let her know that he was nothing more than a philandering, abusive and murdering asshole. But as Logan has explained to me numerous times, she's Trina and so it'd be a waste of breath. "Just humor the crazy, Mars," he says. "You can punch a wall later to feel better."
"Is Logan around?" I ask, scanning the area.
"He was here earlier, roaming. Look, I know neither of you are happy about this movie," she pauses dramatically, her eyes closed tight for maximum effect. "But I promise you this film is tastefully done. You'll love it, I just know it."
"Um, I'm going to go find him. I'll talk to you later, okay?" She nods happily and I walk away in search of the ever-elusive Echolls.
I don't have to look far. He's about twenty feet ahead, his back turned as he watches the actors who were hired to play us. Or the closest version of us that Trina could manage without a lawsuit. I have to admit, the actress who is supposed to portray me bears a striking resemblance, aside from being a green-eyed brunette who's about nine inches taller and three cup sizes bigger. Imposter Logan looks like he just stepped out of the pages of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.
I sidle up beside Logan and keep my eyes trained ahead, to where our fake selves are running lines. "Just like lookin' in a mirror, isn't it?"
I sneak a peek at his face, and his eyes are still focused forward, on the actors. But there's a slow smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "I am so relieved that they found someone with my classic good looks. That was my biggest fear over this whole thing, you know." He turns toward me now and smiles big. "Why aren't you in a bed?"
There's a joke there somewhere, I'm sure, but I'm too tired now to try to find it.
"You haven't been taking any calls; your home phone is disconnected. Even your dad's been in the dark about what you've been doing." He doesn't even sound angry or disappointed anymore. Just resigned. We've been through this all before.
"Yeah, I've been kind of busy," I tell him, and he knew those words were coming. "With moving," I add, and he looks at me with surprise. "I'm back in Neptune now. For good, I think."
He blinks, and it looks like he's about to say one thing, but decides to change course and say something else. "So I guess I can cancel my flight out to Virginia tomorrow, then."
"Unless you wanted to catch the annual Pancake & Sausage Breakfast in Quantico this weekend," I manage, looking down at the ground. "It's some good eats."
"What's going on, Veronica?"
I take a deep breath. "Well, let's recap: I didn't listen. I put myself in danger. People are pissed . So, nothing new with me. You?"
"Were you fired?" his voice is low, and his eyes are searching mine.
"Actually, I was asked to leave the program. But if you want to get technical about it, then I guess I was fired."
"So what are you going to do now?"
"I don't know," I reply seriously. I've never felt so lost before. "I got in this morning, and went to my dad's. I really can't afford my own place until I find another job. You know he only has the one bedroom, since he moved. I really don't want to cramp his style-"
"So cramp mine," Logan says, reaching into his pocket.
"You wouldn't mind a roomie?" I ask, trying to pull off both hopeful and disbelieving in my tone.
He hands me his house keys. "Just keep your fingers out of my peanut butter and we'll be good."
"Logan, are you sure?"
"Veronica, I have three spare bedrooms. I'm almost always working. You being there would actually really help me out. Now I can buy a houseplant and you can water it. It'll be great."
"Are you really sure? I mean really?"
"I want you there. Believe me." His eyes lock with mine, and I feel some of the weight lift from my shoulders.
"You sure I won't be interfering with your rock 'n roll, bachelor lifestyle?"
"Isn't that what you do best?" he smiles. "Go get some copies of the keys made. You already know the code to the security system. This rock 'n roll bachelor has to get back to the office, and then I'm meeting Charlie, but I'll see you tonight and help you get everything settled, all right?"
I nod. "Thanks for everything, Logan. Really."
He leans over and gently kisses my forehead. "Anything for you. I have to head out now. See you at home?"
"See you at home."
He starts to leave, but then turns back toward me. "And take it easy tonight! No moving furniture, or putting out fires on oil rigs."
"Well, there go all of my plans."
He mutters something about me being a smartass, and I watch him walk away.
Time is the only comforter for the loss of a mother. –Jane Welsh Carlyle
Monday, March 30th, 1998 (Logan is 25 and 10)
LOGAN: I'd like to get back quick this time. In my present, it's Christmas Eve, and it's shaping up to be a really great holiday. I usually hate Christmas. I've got my reasons (so many reasons.) But it's not always bad, and this is a good one and I don't want to miss any of it.
But I'm not sitting on my over-stuffed couch, watching Veronica decorate our tree while I make fun of her old homemade ornaments that Keith dropped off earlier. Nope. I'm presently (pastly?) hiding behind a trailer of some sort. It's daytime, and warm. There are people milling about. I really need clothes.
There are two things that I always have to search for immediately: clothes and the date. I need to know if there's somewhere in particular I need to be, and until I find myself in a nudist colony, clothes will continue to be somewhat of a necessity.
I carefully peer around the trailer for a little look-see. There's a small cluster of people about fifty feet to my left, and they're completely preoccupied with the papers they're each leafing through. There are a few others here and there, but if I'm fast, I think I can make it into the trailer unnoticed. Stealth is the word, after all.
The door is hanging open, thank God, and it's empty. I scramble inside quickly and look for something that could pass as presentable, or at least not get me arrested. I see a pair of khakis thrown over the back of a chair and it looks like they'll fit. There's a pretty big dresser in here, too, so I search for a shirt. While I'm rummaging through the drawers, I notice a copy of the LA Times on the dresser top. It's dated March 30th, 1998. It's not a time to visit Veronica, so I'll have to find other ways to occupy myself until I can go home. I grab a plain white cotton t-shirt and throw that on along with the khakis. It's a decent enough fit, but the clothes are a little short for me, and everything is kind of baggy. I'm probably my thinnest at twenty-five, after having given up the crazy weight training program I was obsessed with in my late teens.
Shoes. Shoes would be the icing right now, if I could actually find a pair. I search around, by the dresser, under the bed. It's a pretty nice trailer. Really big, with all the luxuries of a rich, cold home. It feels familiar.
I spot what looks like a closet door on the opposite side of this room. Shoes. Maybe.
And there are shoes. Several pairs. Expensive Italian loafers, running shoes… There are also a few belts, hanging meticulously from the custom fixtures inside. I feel my stomach lurch; I remember now. My dad's trailer, my dad's movie set. My dad. Aaron.
Merry Fucking Christmas, Logan!
I need to get out of here, fast. I grab a pair of Nikes and tie them on, and I look around frantically for a second, seeing if there's anything else I need. Money. Money would be good. I find some cash on the nightstand, along with a pair of Ray-Bans, which I also take. Stealth is the word. A part of his script is on the bed, and that's the last thing I take with me before sneaking out. Maybe carrying it around will help me look like I fit in here, like I'm not actually displaced in time. I try to remember if my younger self got blamed for these missing items. I'm sure I probably did, but everything has already happened and I can't do anything now to stop it.
I look down at the script cover. Burden of Proof. I can laugh now at some of the ironic titles of shitty films Aaron starred in back in his day. It's like watching a movie that you haven't seen in forever, but was a favorite when you were little, and you suddenly get all of the adult jokes and innuendos that flew over your head when you were six.
I slip on the sunglasses and head for the craft service table. I'm starving. Apparently fucking up the space-time continuum makes a man hungry. My only goal this trip is to avoid Aaron at all costs. I don't want to be upset or pissed when I get back to Veronica on Christmas Eve.
I'm lost in my thoughts when I see her, and I stop in my tracks, frozen. My God, she's so gorgeous. It's before her back-to-back collagen injections and her choppy, stylish haircut. She's as pretty as ever, with shoulder length chocolate colored hair and big, brown eyes. Mom. Mom.
I'm with her, of course. I was always clinging to her side, whenever I could. I always wanted all of her attention on me, and for all of her faults (so many faults) she did at least make me feel, many times, like I was the only person who actually mattered to her. At least until things really started to fall apart, and she just couldn't do it anymore.
There's still the light coloring of bruises around my nose and eyes, a birthday present from my father a few weeks earlier. I can't remember what excuse he gave everyone for that, but I'm sure it involved me doing something stupid and him coming to my rescue. Sometimes I wonder if, in all of his fucked-upness, he might have truly believed that. But then I try not to think of such things. He won't hit me in the face again; I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, but I bruise easily and heal slowly.
She's standing over me, gently stroking my ten-year-old cheek as she tells me something. I can't remember what she's talking about, but I remember feeling safe with her. Both versions of myself, me now, me then, are staring at her like she's a lifeline. Like she has all the answers, and I have a million questions.
I remember what happens next. A tall stranger who feels like a ghost approaches my mother, and I go off to play video games in Aaron's trailer. This scene is already been written, and now I have to play my other role.
I do so cautiously. I haven't seen my mother since the day she took a dive off the Coronado Bridge, almost nine years ago. When I time jump, I visit the past. Sometimes it's my past, and sometimes it's not. I've visited Veronica—or will visit Veronica—the most. Of course. But I've also visited Lilly, Duncan, Lianne Mars, Keith, Aaron, Dick, Cassidy, Hannah, Charlie…the list goes on. But until now, I've never seen my mother. I hope that my future includes her past. Sometimes I miss her so much it feels like it's hard to breathe.
"Lynn Echolls?" I will my voice not to crack, but I can feel my throat tighten.
"Yes?" She glances up from me, to me. She smiles, and I can finally exhale.
"Um, I'm sorry to bother you. It's just, I'm a big fan."
She grins, and replies with a genuine, "Thank you so much! Really? You're a fan?"
God, they can say what they want about my mother, and they do. But she was a good person. I know that now, after finally letting go of all my anger towards her. She was a good person.
"Yeah, I am. I really loved Summer in San Francisco. It's one of my favorites, actually." Summer in San Francisco is a very cheesy, very predictable action/thriller/romance from the late '80s. It's not a good film by many, many standards, but my mom was the second lead, and Aaron's not in it, and she was always proud of the work . And she had every right to be, because she was good, even if everything else sucked.
"Really? Thank you! I had so much fun filming that movie. You know, we used a real shark."
Ten-year-old me is bored now, and I tug on my mother's shirt and let her know that my Playstation beckons. I give my older self a somewhat annoyed look before I rush off. I could be a real brat sometimes.
I watch as I leave and Mom calls out to not make a mess of the trailer. I won't.
"So…" She turns her attention back on me now, and smiles brightly. She's about to say something else but she stops herself and just looks at me for a moment.
"Have we met before?" she asks, perky but a bit confused. She's searching my face and recognizing her son.
"Nope. I haven't had the pleasure."
"Are you sure? You seem so familiar…"
Maybe I do visit her more, later, and that's how she recognizes me. I back-peddle a bit, just in case.
"You might have seen me around. I'm an assistant to the script supervisor. I work on a lot of films." It's amazing how easily the lies roll off my tongue.
She accepts my explanation and smiles again. I suddenly feel a bit light-headed, like I always do before I go back, and I know I have to make things quick.
"I just…I wanted to tell you that I think you're great."
You're a great person, Mom. You are.
"Aw, how sweet. Thank you!"
"And…" I look over at the trailer, where I'm off playing Crash Bandicoot. Say it. Tell her. "And it seems like you're a really good mom, too, and I really admire that."
She seems a bit taken aback, and she drops the eye contact. "Thanks. I…I try. I do."
I know. I know you do. I love you for it.
"Well, trying is what really counts," I tell her. She looks up at me and I can see tears in her eyes, and I'm thankful for the sunglasses because I know there are tears in mine, too.
"I hope that's true. My son, he means the world to me." She says this almost wistfully, and there are still glimmering pools threatening to spill down her face, and I cannot speak.
Oh god, Mom. Don't do it. I need you. Don't ever jump.
I nod, and I turn away. And then I'm gone.