Duncan and Logan walk in silence down the path until they get to the area where Lilly is buried. The two friends have made this trip many times. In union they leave the path, their shoes making little sound on the soft green grass. They heard her voice before they saw her.
"I miss you Lil," her soft voice floating on the gentle breeze. "I think this is the last time I am going to be able to come." Both young men immediately recognize the voice. It is a voice that was once an important part of both of their lives. They take a few more steps until they can see her clearly in the moonlight. They both stop taking in the sight in front of them. The young woman's short blonde hair is covering her face as she lay face down on the grass on top of her best friend's grave. Logan made to step forward and was stopped by Duncan's arm. Out of the two of them Logan is more confrontational. In his mind, she has no right to be here. Logan looks over at his best friend who imperceptivity shakes his head.
"I think the cancer has spread to my head Lil," her voice clear in the quiet night. "The headaches and dizziness are getting worse." The two boys freeze as her words run through their heads. They look at each other in shock.
"Dad is not ready to let me go yet. He wants me to try this new chemotherapy."
It is quiet for a few seconds and then they hear her voice almost breaking, "I am so tired and I don't have any more fight in me. I just want it to be over Lilly."
They hear her crying softly. She takes a few deep breaths. Neither boy moves. They are both trying to process what they are hearing. Finally she says, "It has been so hard on Dad. Every time the doctor gives us bad news, Dad just keeps saying that there must be something else we can try. This new chemo is so expensive and we both know it's not going to help. There are so many medical bills Lil. I hear Dad on the phone making arrangements to pay over time. I'm going to be dead and buried and he will still be working hard to pay for all those treatments that didn't work."
The boys stay silent looking at her. Her arm is rubbing the grass over Lilly's grave like she used to stroke her friend's hair when they lay together. Her voice continues, "I'm not scared Lil. I know you will be there when it is my time." Her voice breaks, "It's my Dad. I feel bad about leaving him behind. Who will look after him Lil? Everyone has deserted him. He'll be all alone. Will I be able to watch over him like you have been with me?"
There is silence for a minute. The boys are beyond shocked. They just stand unable to move. It is as if they are both frozen in place. They can't move; can't speak. They can do nothing to break the spell they are under. Her sweet voice floats over to them. "Lil, I am really sorry that I didn't find out who killed you. I know Abel Kunz didn't do it. I saw the traffic ticket you got at 6pm that day. You were so beautiful singing in the car as you went through the light, not a care in the world. Abel Kuntz confessed to killing you two hours before you died Lilly. I snuck his medical file. He's dying of cancer and so am I. Weird right?"
Logan and Duncan look at each other. Neither can believe what they are hearing. Veronica's voice continues, "My dad has been so busy working since I got sick to pay the bills that he hasn't been able to work on your case either. All I wanted was to get justice for you Lilly. I failed you. I'm so sorry."
The night is eerily quiet. The boys hear her sniffling. She just lays there. The time of peace allows the boys to break out of their trance. Just as the boys were starting to walk towards the grave, she began to speak again, "I left notes for everyone. I know you didn't get a chance to do that. I put them on my computer and gave my friend Mac the password to open them. After I am gone, she will send them to everyone. I had a hard time writing the letters but it felt good. I finished my letters to Duncan and Logan last. I wasn't going to write to them. They aren't my friends anymore but I guess I still think about when we were all together and how great it was." She pauses and then says her voice a little dreamy, "It was the best time wasn't it? "
The two stunned young men hear her sigh and say, "After you died, we fell apart. Duncan still doesn't talk to me. I wish he wasn't so drugged up Lil. Life is short and he is wasting his walking around like a zombie."
Logan looks over at Duncan and sees tears in his eyes. "And Logan," her voice continues; "Lil, he hates me so much since you died. I don't know what to say to him. You would have known what to say. You could always make him smile and take away some of his pain. He will probably feel glad when I die, he hates me so much."
Logan's face pales as he listens. He feels like he has been kicked in the gut.
The boys hear a motorcycle in the distance. They see Veronica lift her head at the sound. She says, 'My ride is here Lil. My head hurt so much today so Eli gave me a lift." They watch as she kisses her fingers and then touches them to Lilly's headstone. "I love you Lilly Kane." The petit blonde gets up slowly and puts her hand to her forehead as she stands. She picks up her messenger bag and staggers a little as she stands back up. Logan half steps towards her to help her. She gathers herself together and walks away from the two boys towards the sound of the motorcycle. She doesn't look back or she would see two frozen young men standing watching her leave. She disappears through the trees and a couple of minutes later they hear the motor cycle rev up and leave.
Logan and Duncan walk the few steps and both sit by Lilly's grave in silence. Logan bends over holding his abdomen. Her words keep running through his head. Logan looks over at Duncan. Duncan is mumbling. Logan leans over to listen and Duncan is saying, "I can't lose another sister."
Logan looks at him puzzled and says, "What do you mean DK?"
Duncan says, "Veronica is my sister. I can't lose her."
Logan a little irritated says, "Lilly was your sister. Veronica is not your sister."
Duncan sighs and then looks at his friend. He makes eye contact so Logan knows he is telling the truth. He says, "My dad and her mom had an affair and Veronica is my dad's so that makes her my half sister."
Logan looks at his friend in shock. He can see Duncan is serious. He thinks for a few seconds putting things together in his head. "Is that why you broke up with her?"
Duncan looks at Lilly's grave and says, "Yes. My mom had a test done on her during the summer when she had her appendix out. The results came back in September."
Logan trying to grasp what Duncan is saying, exclaims, "Oh my God! Did Lilly know?"
Duncan smiles as if remembering and says, "Lilly said she always knew that Veronica was her sister. Now it was blood too."
Logan feels like his head is going to explode. He holds his head in his hands trying to wrap his thoughts around this new information. So much has happened in the last few minutes, he is not sure what to think or feel. He moans and says, "What are we going to do DK?"
Duncan is quiet for a few minutes and then with his usual, practical manner, says, "I think I am going to talk to dad. Maybe he can get a specialist in to see her or something." Duncan kneels by Lilly's headstone and touches it. He says, "I miss you Lilly."
Logan says, "Why did Veronica say those things about Lilly's murder?
Duncan says a little vaguely, "I don't know. I don't remember that day."
Logan shakes his head. He says, "We need to talk to Veronica."
Duncan his face showing more emotion says, "I don't know if I can. I still love her. It has been really hard to see her at school."
Logan looks at Duncan. He sees his friend still has strong feeling for the petit blonde. More emotional than Duncan, he bursts out, "This is so fucked up."
Duncan says, "Let's go Logan. There is nothing we can do tonight. I want to talk to my dad either tonight or tomorrow morning before school." Logan looks at his friend in frustration. He doesn't understand how he can be so calm. Logan stands and they walk towards the parking lot in silence. Logan is thinking about everything that happened tonight.
After he drops Duncan off at home, he drives around and finally parks at the beach. He sits on his tailgate watching the waves. He thinks back on the last few weeks. He noticed Veronica was losing weight and she was pale. He remembers commenting in front of everyone how bad she looked and how maybe her lack of sleep was due to all the extracurricular activities she was involved in… like doing the baseball team. God he was such an ass! Here she was taking chemotherapy for her cancer. He remembers commenting on her short hair. Now he realizes it was probably a wig because her hair fell out with the chemotherapy. Today she had stumbled into him on the stairs and he had roughly pushed her away saying he didn't want to catch something from her. She was unsteady from the pain in her head. Logan groans as he thinks about his behavior towards Veronica. She was right when she told Lilly he was so angry. When had he become abusive? He had picked Veronica as his target and he had been unrelenting in his hate. Now she may die. His gut clenches just thinking about it.
Logan is also shocked about Veronica's statement about the traffic ticket. If she can prove Lilly was alive at 6pm, why hasn't she gone to the police with the information? Why haven't they opened the investigation again? The police must have a copy of the ticket. If it exists, Logan knows he needs to see it. He opens his phone and dials information asking for the Mars home number. He is told there is no such listing but there is a Mars Investigations. He hangs up. She has an unlisted home number. Logan imagines it is from all the crank calls they got. He decides he will stop by her house in the morning and maybe run into her there.
The decision made, he shuts his tailgate and gets in his Xterra. He drives home feeling on edge and upset. He knows he won't sleep so head up to his room and changes into a swim suit. He goes down the stairs and turns on the lights to the pool. Outside he dives into the pool and swims laps to help him relax. When he is finished swimming, he sits in the hot tub and looks up at the stars.
Logan hears steps and looks over to see his mother walking towards him. She has obviously just gotten in from her dinner with Aaron and his agent. She is wearing a short black dress with her hair pulled back in a twist. She looks beautiful and sophisticated. She says, "What are you doing up so late Logan?"
He tells her he couldn't sleep so he decided to take a swim to relax. His mother pulls a chair over and sits down. She asks him what is upsetting him. Logan looks at her and tells her that tonight he learned that Veronica has cancer. His mother looks stricken. He remembers how much his mother liked Veronica when she used to come over. She asks him what kind of cancer Veornica has and how she is doing. Logan tells her he doesn't know. He tells her that since Lilly died and she sided with her father they have not been friends.
His mother looks at him in understanding and says quietly, "Oh Logan."
Logan hears the sadness and disappointment in her voice. Defensively he tells her that as far as he is concerned Veronica turned her back on Lilly and that is unforgivable.
Mrs. Echolls leans down and caresses Logan's head and says quietly, "She was loyal to her dad just like I hope you would be loyal to me."
Logan looks at her in surprise. He had not thought of her decision as loyal to her father. He had only thought of it as disloyal to Lilly, Duncan and him. Lynn looks at her son and says, "Mr. Mars may have made a mistake blaming Jake Kane but he is still Veronica's father and she loves him. You can't expect her to turn her back on him like that."
She goes on, "Besides Veronica is loyal like that. I remember hearing her and Lilly have an argument over how Lilly was treating you."
Logan looks at his mother in surprise and says, "When?"
She says, "A couple of months before Lilly died,. You and Duncan were in the pool. I was going into the pool house to get my book when I heard Lilly and Veronica talking int he pool house bedroom. Lilly was telling Veronica that she was going to break up with you if she met anyone at the college party she was going to that night. Veronica told Lilly that you were not a toy and that you deserved better treatment than being used until something better came along. Lilly told Veronica to chill and Veronica told Lilly that she would tell you what was going on. Lilly laughed at her and told her you knew and that you would always go back to her. I decided to come back later and all of sudden the door to the pool house opened and Veronica appeared all red in the face. She slammed the door and went to the chair by the pool, grabbed her bag and left. I remember that you and Duncan were in the pool and both of you were kind of surprised that Veronica left so suddenly. Lilly came out of the pool house and when you guys asked her what was going on, she told you Veronica got called home by her parents."
Logan remembers that day. Veronica and Lilly did not talk for a while after that and he always wondered what had happened. Had Veronica really defended him to Lilly? He remembers when Duncan suddenly stopped talking to Veronica, he had never defended Veronica. He had sided with DK even though he thought DK should have treated Veronica better. He thought that since he was friends with DK, he had to side with him. Yet Veronica had gone against Lilly for him. His mom was right. Veronica was loyal. He had expected Veronica to go against her dad when DK wasn't talking to her and he wasn't really her friend. God he was an idiot!
He looked at his mother. She had been watching the expressions cross his face. He looked at her and said, "Even though I am not friends with Veronica any more, I am worried about her. Can you talk to her dad and see if there is any way we can help?"
His mother nods and says, "I will definitely talk to Keith tomorrow. I will let you know what he says, "
She stands and looks down at her son. She says, "You had better go to bed Logan. You have school tomorrow."
He nods and says, "I'll head up there in just a minute."
She smiles at him and says, "I'll see you tomorrow."
He tells her, "Good night." Logan sits for a few more minutes in the warm water. His mind is still racing and he is not relaxing. Groaning, he gets out of the hot tub and heads up to his room. As he is standing in the shower, he feels the tears in his eyes.