Junior year at Hearst College started with the usual good weather and bustle of students getting their books and finding their classes. Logan met his girlfriend Parker, her room mate Mac and Mac's boyfriend Max for lunch. They discussed their schedules and professors for a few minutes and then Mac shared that she had run into Wallace Fennell that morning.
Parker asked how Wallace was doing and Mac told them he was fine. She swallowed a bit of her salad and said that Wallace had told her he had something really exciting to tell them.
Logan asks Mac if she has any idea what his exciting new is. Mac had kept in touch with Wallace during sophomore year but had not talked to him often over the summer. Mac tells the group that she doesn't know. She adds, "It is probably about the basketball team or something."
She pauses and then adds, "He also mentioned that Veronica was back in town." There was silence around the table as everyone thought about what it means that she moved back to California. Mac was watching Parker's reaction and could see that she was not pleased with the news.
Logan looked a little hurt and Mac figured it was because Veronica had not told Logan she was coming back. After a few seconds pause, Logan asked Mac if she had seen Veronica yet and she had replied that she hadn't but Veronica had her first class soon and she was going to stop by and see Mac at her dorm when it was over.
As if their discussion of her conjured her up, Veronica walked into the cafeteria pushing a stroller and carrying a diaper bag. The lunching friends wore four identical looks of shock as they all registered that in the year Veronica had been gone, she had a baby.
They all looked at Mac who shook her head in silent answer to their unspoken question about her knowledge of the baby. They turned back to look at Veronica who was making her way into the cafeteria. They watched as Wallace ran up to her. He leaned over her shoulder to look at the baby in the stroller.
In shock, they watched as Veronica laughed at whatever he said to the baby and then Wallace came around and lifted the baby out of the stroller and held the baby to his chest. The baby was in a blue outfit so they all decided he was a boy.
Veronica reached in the diaper bag and showed Wallace a bottle. She put the diaper bag over the handle of the stroller. She leaned in and kissed the baby on his forehead and then said something to Wallace and then headed off towards the English building for what they presumed was her first class. She had obvious not seen them sitting there.
Mac stood up and waved to Wallace calling his name. He smiled and nodded in response. He tucked the baby in one arm and pushed the stroller with the other over to where they were sitting.
Wallace greeted them all. Max pulled another chair over for Wallace and Wallace sat down thanking Max. Wallace reached into the diaper bag and pulled out a bottle. He deftly pulled the cap off the bottle and tested it for warmth. He soothed the fussy baby and then put the nipple in his mouth and smiled when the baby eagerly sucked the formula.
Once satisfied the baby was fine he looked up at his friends. He said, "Guys I want you to meet my son, Matthew Eric Fennell."
Wallace pushed back his son's cap and turned him so they could see his face. He had dark eyes, dark curly hair and deep brown skin. As expected the girls oohed and awed over how cute he was. Wallace just smiled proudly and stated he was handsome like his father.
Parker exclaims, "He's beautiful Wallace. How old is he?"
Wallace proudly tells them, "He's almost three months old now." Wallace proceeds to tell them that he was born in May and was seven pounds, three ounces when he was born.
Logan listens as Wallace answers questions about how big Matthew was at birth and how big he is now. He is in shock. He can't imagine that Veronica and Wallace had a baby together but it was obvious they had.
He tunes back into the general conversation as Mac laughs that she doesn't have to guess who bought Matthew the outfit he is wearing. Logan looks and sees it is a Padres outfit and he immediately knows Keith Mars bought it. Wallace laughs and says, "Keith already has dreams of Matthew playing baseball.
Parker says, "He must be a proud grandpa."
Wallace smiles and says, "He dotes on Matthew almost as much as my mother does."
Wallace looks around the table and says, "They have been a big help."
The group nods. Wallace looks at Mac and says, "Do you want to hold him?"
Mac looks a little worried but nods. Wallace gently puts his son on his shoulder and burps him. Then he puts him softly in Mac's arms and she obviously melts looking into his sweet face. He hands her the bottle and she puts in near his mouth and laughs when he eagerly latches onto the nipple and sucks hard. She says, "He eats like Veronica."
Wallace laughs and says, "He does like his food."
Wallace looks at Mac and says, "Do you mind watching him while I get some lunch?"
Mac shakes her head and says, "No, go ahead." Wallace gets up and leaves.
Max leans beside her and they both look down at Matthew as he eats.
Parker teases them about this giving them ideas of their own and they both quickly deny it. '
Max says, "I can't believe that Veronica never said anything to you about having a baby."
Mac looks around and says quietly, "I can't either."
Logan meets her gaze and sees the hurt in it. He says, "If he was born in May then she got pregnant in August or September last year. Wallace must have gone to Virginia to visit her."
Mac sees the hurt in Logan's eyes. Max oblivious says, "Maybe she came to back up things when she moved to Virginia."
Mac looks down at baby Matthew as he eats and says, "I don't see any of Veronica in him."
They all gaze at Matthew trying to decipher any of Veronica's features.
Wallace arrives back and says, "I never realized how hard it would be to even get a meal with a baby."
Parker smiles and says, "You seem to be handling him like a pro."
Wallace smiles his thanks and says, "I don't know what I would do without Keith, my mom and Veronica. I wouldn't be able to stay in college without them."
Wallace eats some of his hamburger and then says, "We worked out a schedule so I can play basketball and still keep my scholarship. It's busy but doable."
Max gets up and tells Mac that he has an appointment across campus and tells her he will call her later. He leans down and gives her a kiss goodbye. He leaves telling Wallace congratulations.
Wallace acknowledges his congratulations and continues eating. Mac looks at Matthew's innocent face and smiles as he has fallen asleep in her arms. She says, "Where are you living Wallace?"
Wallace tells her he and Veronica are renting a two bedroom apartment close to the university. He says that they don't see that much of each other as they are taking classes and have scheduled them so that one of them is always home with Matthew.
Logan asks how Veronica's time at Quantico went and Wallace pauses. He finally says, "Actually, Veronica has changed her major. She has decided to give up the PI/FBI business and is majoring in photography now."
Logan looks at Wallace in shock. He can't imagine she would give up her dream of being in the FBI.
Mac seeing Logan's shock says, "I guess this little guy changed her mind."
Wallace looks over at his sleeping son and says, "I didn't ask her to but I am kind of glad she did,"
Logan gets up and says, "I have to meet Dick." He leans down and kisses Parker goodbye and tells her he will call her later. He leaves abruptly and Parker frowns after him.
Wallace finishes his hamburger and throws away his garbage. He comes back to the table and says, "I am going to take this guy home and let him sleep. I will talk to you guys soon." He leans down and takes his sleeping son from Mac and places him gently in the stroller. He takes the bottle, puts the cap on and puts it in the diaper bag. He says goodbye to Mac and Parker, unlocks the stroller and heads off towards his car.
Parker watches him leave and says to Mac, "I had no idea that Wallace and Veronica got together last year."
Mac turns and looks at her friend and says quietly, "Me neither."
Parker asks, "Did they ever date in high school?"
Mac immediately shakes her head and says, "No they were best friends. There was never any feelings like that between them."
Parker says, "Well maybe they realized they loved each other after he got back from Africa and she came home from Virginia."
Mac says thoughtfully, "I guess."
Logan meets Dick at the beach and while they are dressing to surf tells him about Veronica coming back and how she and Wallace have a son. Dick is blown away and says, "I thought it was weird that they were best friends."
Logan says, "I guess I was the stupid one."
Logan answers the door to his house and sees Wallace standing there. He invites him in and asks Wallace if he wants anything to drink. Wallace shakes his head no and says, "I need to talk to you alone for a minute."
Logan says, 'Parker isn't coming over until later. I'm alone."
Wallace sits on the couch and says, "Logan, I am just going to come out and say what I have to say."
Logan nods, "OK."
Wallace says, "Why did you go off on Veronica like that in the cafeteria?"
Logan frowns and says, "Did she tell you that?"
Wallace shakes his head no and says, "One of the guys on the team overheard you talking to her. Apparently you weren't too quiet about it."
Logan says, "It's between Veronica and me Wallace. It doesn't concern you."
"That's where you are wrong. If you can't be civil to V, then we can't be friends anymore." Wallace tells Logan firmly.
Logan stays quiet looking at Wallace.
Wallace stands and paces and then turns to Logan and says, "Why would you call her a slut?"
Logan says, "Come on Wallace. Are you going to tell me there was nothing between you and Veronica all those years?"
Wallace looks at Logan and says, "Oh my god Logan. You don't think Veronica and I?" He adds indignantly, "She's my sister."
Logan looks stunned and says, "What?"
Wallace says, "Matthew's mom is a girl I dated from the group that went to Africa. She stayed in Africa and I came back here. She doesn't want children but she was too far along for an abortion once she got back to America so she agreed to have the baby if I raised him."
Wallace sits down across from Logan and says, "Once I found out I talked to my family. Keith and my mom got married, you knew that?"
Logan shakes his head no.
Wallace says, "Veronica came for the wedding and I told everyone that I was going to be a father and I wanted to quit college and raise my son alone. My family sat down with me and told me that they would support me. Veronica came to me and told me that she would transfer back and live with me and help me raise Matthew."
Wallace looks Logan in the eye and says, "Otherwise I would have had to quit college and get a job."
Logan is quiet and Wallace can see he is stunned. Wallace says, "Veronica did well in her FBI internship. They wanted to pay for her college in New York. They were really impressed with her. She gave it up to come back here."
Logan puts his head in his hands and groans. He says, "We all thought you and Veronica had a baby together. I thought that she, you both had lied to me while we were dating."
Wallace surprised asks, "You all thought that?"
Logan nods. Wallace explodes, "Logan you are an idiot! Veronica would never have cheated on you or anyone. She's not like that. I would never have done that to you. God! Do you know us at all?"
Wallace looks angrily at Logan and says, "I guess I was wrong about us being friends Logan." He stands and walks out of the living room. Logan sitting on his couch hears the front door slam and then Wallace's car start and drive off. He puts his head back on his couch and groans.
The front door opens and Dick walks in. He says, "Dude, was that Wallace that just left? He looked mad."
Logan agrees, "He is mad."
Dick looks at his friend questioningly, "What has his panties in a bunch?"
Logan answers quietly, "He found out what I said to Veronica the other day in the cafeteria."
"So he was defending her honor. Good luck with that," snarks Dick.
Logan tells Dick, "The thing is, Veronica is not the mother of Wallace's baby."
Dick says, 'Really?"
Logan says, "She gave up a scholarship in New York to come back here and live with Wallace and help him raise his son. Mr. Mars married Wallace's mom. Wallace and Veronica are brother and sister now."
Dick says "Whoa, dude. So you yelled at Veronica in front of everyone for nothing."
Logan says, "Yeah."
Dick laughs and says, "I would still love to have seen you trash Veronica. A lot of us would pay money to see it. You are our hero."
Logan says frustratedly, "Dick, I was out of line and wrong."
Dick shrugs and says, 'So, it's only Veronica."
Dick looks out the door missing Logan's glowering face. He says, "It's too bad Wallace is mad. He's cool."
Logan says, "Wallace just told me we aren't friends anymore."
Dick says, "Sorry dude."
Logan gets up and says, "I'm going for a drive. I'll talk to you later."
Logan sits on the tailgate of his car looking at the ocean. He was so upset when he found out that Veronica had a baby with Wallace and immediately jumped to the conclusion that she and Wallace had played him for a fool.
Now that he thinks about it he can't believe he thought that about Veronica and Wallace. Neither of them are the kind of people to do that. God he was such an idiot! Then he went off on Veronica in front of everyone in the cafeteria. He thinks about how he confronted her and how shocked and hurt she looked when he told her he knew she had cheated on him and she was no better than a slut. She hadn't defended herself. She had just walked off. God she must have been so embarrassed!
Logan can't believe he humiliated Veronica like that. He never even gave her a chance to explain herself. He just tore into her. He doesn't even know why he was so willing to believe the worst of her.
Logan's phone rings breaking him out of his introspection. He looks at it and sees it is Parker. He depresses the answer button. She tells him she is waiting at his house. He tells her he will be there in a few minutes.
He shuts his phone and thinks about his life. He should be happy. He is doing well in college. He owns a nice house. He has good friends and he has a great girlfriend. He sighs knowing he hasn't been happy for a long time. He gets off the tailgate and shuts it. He goes to the door of his car and gets in.
A few days later Logan shows up at Wallace and Veronica's apartment to talk to them. He had asked Mac for the address. He owes them both a huge apology.
Wallace answers the door and looks at Logan. He motions him to come in. Logan walks into the entrance way. Before he talks he hears a woman's voice singing. He realizes it is Veronica singing and he listens.
Wallace noticing Logan's attention to Veronica's singing motions him to follow. Wallace leads Logan to the kitchen and they both look in the doorway and watch as Veronica bathes Matthew.
She is gently washing him and while she washes him she is singing to him. Her voice is beautiful and sweet. Matthew is looking up at Veronica and his arms and legs are moving excitedly to her singing.
Logan's heart skips in his chest at the beautiful picture she and Matthew make. After she finishes bathing him, she gently wraps him in a soft towel and holds him close to her body and dances with him to her singing. It is obvious she really loves her nephew.
She turns with Matthew in her arms and sees Wallace and Logan in the doorway. She stops singing and her face becomes a mask. Wallace says, "Logan wants to talk to you V."
They look at each other and Logan can tell that they are communicating silently. Veronica hands Matthew to Wallace and then leans down and kisses his forehead. Wallace carries his son to his room to dress him.
Veronica washes the small tub and dries it. She cleans up the sink, wipes her hand on a towel and then turns to Logan. She looks at a point beside Logan and says stiffly, "Is there something else you forgot to say the other day Logan?"
Logan inwardly groans. He says, "No I think I said more than enough."
He steps closer to Veronica and says softly, "I'm here to apologize for my rudeness and tell you I am so sorry for what I said."
Veronica looks at Logan and waits quietly. Logan sees the closed look on her face and feels genuine pain that she is so completely closed off to him again. It reminds him of high school when they were enemies.
Logan steps closer and says, "We all thought you and Wallace were Matthew's parents. I guess when I thought that you and Wallace got together that you had not been truthful with me about your relationship with Wallace. I thought you and Wallace were more than friends while we were dating.
Logan adds, "It made me angry that you would break up with me for Madison while you were will Wallace while we were dating."
Logan can see she is not surprised so he realizes that Wallace told her what they all thought. She is very closed off to him and he really can't read what she is feeling right now. He braces himself for her to be cutting knowing he deserves it.
Veronica looks at Logan. She takes a deep breath and then says quietly, "Logan you have been so angry with me over the years for jumping to conclusions without checking the facts. I guess we are both learning what the other side feels like."
Logan nods and says, "It's easy to assume bad things. I'm really sorry Veronica."
Veronica looks at Logan and says, "Thanks for coming over here and telling me that Logan."
Logan says a little hopefully, "So are we OK?"
Veronica looks away and for a second Logan can see the hurt in her face before she covers it. She says quietly, "I need some time."
Wallace comes out of his room and shuts the door. He is holding a baby monitor. Veronica walks over to Wallace and takes the baby monitor. She says, "I'll listen for Matthew while you study." She takes the monitor and goes into her room and shuts the door.
Wallace looks over at Logan and says, "Did you get to say what you came to say?"
Logan nods and says, "To Veronica. I still want to apologize to you."
Wallace looks at Logan. Logan says, "You're right. I am an idiot. Once I actually thought about it, I knew that you wouldn't have cheated or abused our friendship. You aren't like that. I should have known better. I'm sorry."
Wallace nods and says, "Neither would V."
Logan nods and says, "I know Wallace."
Wallace says, "Your apology is nice Logan but it doesn't really help Veronica when she gets comments and looks when she tries to go to the cafeteria, walk around campus or go to class."
"I know. I just don't know what to do about it." Logan looks upset about what he knows she is going through.
Wallace shakes his head and says, "There isn't anything you can do. It will eventually blow over. It's just Veronica was really trying to just blend in. She was able to just be a generic college student in New York. It was nice for her."
Logan stays silent and Wallace can see he genuinely feels bad over what he did and he knows Logan is not happy about Veronica getting teased because of him. Wallace knows how protective of her Logan is.
Wallace walks over to Logan. He puts his hand on Logan's shoulder and says, "You and me, we're OK."
Logan nods and says, "Thanks."
Wallace smiles and says, "I'm going to kick you out Logan. I have a lot of studying to do and Matthew doesn't sleep through the night yet so I have to get my beauty sleep and studying done while he is sleeping."
Logan nods in understanding and says, "Sure. Thanks for listening to me."
Wallace says, "No problem. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Logan nods and heads to the door. He looks back at Wallace and sees Wallace sit down at the kitchen table and open one of his textbooks. Logan leaves and quietly shuts the door.
He sits in his car and looks at the apartment. He sees the light on in Veronica's window. He doesn't know what to think about their conversation. She was so great with Matthew and Logan had felt his breath catch at how beautiful she looked singing to her nephew. She had listened to his apology but had not said whether she accepted it or not or what it meant to their relationship. Her comment about how they had switched roles really got to him. He knew how much it hurt him that Veronica hadn't trusted him and then he had gone ahead and done it to her.
Mac and Logan are sitting in the cafeteria talking a few days later. Logan asks Mac if she has talked to Veronica and Mac nods.
Mac tells Logan how hurt Veronica had been that all her friends thought she would have fooled around on Logan and especially with Wallace. Mac says, "I don't know what we were thinking. I guess it was just she was away when he was born and she looked so natural holding him."
Logan says, "I went over and apologized to her for calling her out in front of everyone."
Mac winces and says, 'I have heard about it from quite a few people."
Logan looks pained and admits, "I went over the line."
Mac asks, "What did she say when you apologized?"
Logan shrugs but his eyes show his worry, "Nothing really. She just said that our roles had reversed and she thanked me for apologizing and then went into her room."
Mac grimaces a little and says, "I apologized to her and she was quiet but told me that what really hurt is that we all thought she could be like her mother."
Logan feels like he has been kicked. He had not thought about her mother being unfaithful to Mr. Mars and how it affected Veronica.
Mac carries on not noticing the pain on Logan's face, "I told her I was really sorry and she said not to worry about it. I still feel bad though."
Logan says, "I also apologized to Wallace. He told me we were OK."
"I talked to Wallace too. He says he doesn't get why we thought he and V would do that but he is willing to let it go." Mac tells him.
They are both quiet for a minute and then Mac says, "Wallace says Veronica gave up her scholarship in New York to help him. Now she is working, going to college and looking after Matthew. She is a really good sister."
Logan nods. He asks, "Where is she working?"
Mac says, "She is working with one of the art galleries as an assistant. She likes it. She says she is learning a lot."
Logan says, "I can't believe she changed her major."
Mac says, "I am not sure what happened. She isn't really talking about it but I think something happened when she was working for the FBI and it changed her opinion of criminology."
Logan says, "Did Wallace say anything about it?"
Mac shakes her head. She says, "No but he wouldn't. Those two are BFF and brother/sister. Matthew has brought them even closer."
Logan nods in understanding. He says, "They will do a good job raising Matthew."
Mac nods. She looks at her watch and says, "I have to run. Are you and Parker still going to the party on Friday?"
Logan nods. Mac stands and says, "Talk to you later."
Logan sits for a few minutes. He has class in half an hour. He looks at the coffee line wondering if he should get another cup and sees Veronica waiting in line. She looks tired. Logan guesses that Matthew kept her up. He gets up and walks over to her. She looks over and sees him walking towards her and immediately looks down. When she looks back up her features are schooled. Logan feels a tug in his gut that she is so reserved and distant with him. He says, "Good morning."
Veronica nods and says, "Hey."
Logan notices that they are getting a lot of attention. He knows that his outburst is probably still a hot topic of conversation. He says, "How is Matthew doing?"
Veronica smiles and says, "He's great. He has a diaper rash so he has been cranky lately."
Logan says, "Don't have much experience with that so can't really give you any advice."
Veronica smirks a little and says, "Well I bought all the different creams in the pharmacy and we are trying a few to see which ones work. If you ever need advice in the future, you know who to call."
Logan laughs and says, "I doubt I'll be requiring any baby advice for a long time."
Veronica tilts her head and says, "I bet Wallace was saying that last year."
Logan smirks and says, "Touche Veronica."
They are at the front of the line. They both order and Logan pays for their coffees. Veronica tries to hand him her money and he shakes his head and says, "On me."
Veronica says "Thanks"
She grabs her coffee and says, "This is going to hit the spot." She takes a sip.
Logan says, "Are you going to the rave on Friday?"
Veronica shakes her head and says, "Wallace has an out of town tournament this weekend. He's leaving Friday morning and he won't be back until Monday so it's going to be me and Matthew this weekend."
She looks at Logan and says, "Are you and Parker going?"
Logan nods and says, "Yeah, it should be fun."
Veronica says, "I hope you have fun. I have to get to class." She waves her coffee at Logan and says, "Thanks again. Bye." She turns and walks away without looking back.
Logan watches her leave and wonders how long their conversations are going to be stilted.
He remembers how much fun he and Veronica had at the raves when they were dating. He thinks about her working full time and helping Wallace with Matthew and how much she is sacrificing. He wishes he could help her but he knows she won't let him.
Saturday afternoon Veronica arrives at her dad's and Alicia's house to pick up Matthew after work. He is still sleeping so she decides to take Back Up for a walk on the beach. He is more than happy to go with her.
She walks along the beach watching as Back Up runs around chasing birds. She is wearing a skirt suit in a royal blue and her hair is pulled back with a clip. She looks professional and neat. She has kicked off her shoes and is carrying them as she walks along the water's edge. Back Up chases the ball as she throws it.
Logan and Dick sitting on their surf boards talking notice Veronica walking. She looks alone. Dick says, "Have you talked to Veronica?"
Logan looking at her nods, "I went over and apologized to her and Wallace."
Dick sees Logan's preoccupation asks, "What did she say?"
Logan answers, "She was good and Wallace said we were OK."
Dick says, "That's good dude."
Logan nods and says, "She is really good with Matthew. Wallace says she gave up her scholarship and internship with the FBI to help him raise his son."
Dick says, "Her choice dude."
Logan says, "She doesn't have much time for partying or going out between work, school and helping with Matthew."
Dick says, "What do you care Logan? You two are over and you are with Parker now."
Logan says irritably, "I know Dick. I can still worry about her."
Dick says, "Dude, no you can't. You aren't a part of her life anymore. You need to stay away from her. She will suck you back in."
Logan frowns at Dick. Dick says, "You almost ruined your relationship with Parker because of her once."
"I know Dick," his voice annoyed.
Dick adds, "I'm just saying. She is trouble for you."
Logan says firmly, "I get it Dick."
Dick wisely drops the topic. They both watch as she walks down the beach with her dog. Veronica pulls the clip out of her hair and stretches. The wind blows her hair and pulls her skirt and blouse to her body highlighting her trim figure.
Dick notices the look on Logan's face when he sees Veronica stretch. He shakes his head and says, "Let's head back Logan. The waves are almost gone anyways."
Logan looks back at Dick and says, "OK."
Logan looks back at Veronica before he picks a wave and rides towards shore.
A couple of weeks later Logan sees Wallace in the courtyard holding Matthew. He walks over and says, "Hey Wallace."
Wallace looks up and sees Logan and says, "Hey Logan. What's up?"
Logan sits beside Wallace and watches as he bounces Matthew on his leg. Logan says, "He is really growing."
Wallace smiles and says, "It seems like he is bigger every time I come home."
Logan smiles as Matthew giggles. Logan questions Wallace, 'How is his diaper rash?"
"How did you know about that?" Wallace asks.
Logan says, "I ran into Veronica and she told me."
Wallace nods and says, "It's better now. I called the doctor and we changed formulas. It really helped."
Logan nods. He looks at how happy Wallace is holding his son and smiles. Wallace is going to be a great father. He says, "How is the team looking this year?"
Wallace smiles and says enthusiastically. "We are a lot better than last year. We should move up in the rankings."
Logan happy for his friend says, "Good. I saw your picture in the paper on Wednesday. It sounded like you were on."
Wallace says, "Thanks. V took the pictures. She says she wants to make an album for Matthew showing how great his dad was."
A little surprised, Logan asks, "Veronica goes to your games?"
Wallace focuses back on his son and says, "Yeah. She goes a lot. She has become the unofficial team photographer. She has taken over the team's website."
Logan thinks about how busy she is with school, work and watching Matthew. Now she is looking after the basketball web site. He says, "Well she is good at it."
Wallace smiles at his son and says, 'That she is."
They both look up when they hear a feminine voice. "Who is what?"
Wallace smiles at Veronica and says, "We were talking about you taking pictures of the basketball team and what a good photographer you are."
Veronica smiles at Wallace and says, "Stop or you'll make me blush."
She bends down to look at Matthew and he smiles when he sees her. Wallace says, "How was class?"
Veronica answers a little absently as she focuses on her nephew, "Good. My prof liked my pictures of Matthew and gave me a good grade on them." She continues to make gentle faces at her nephew.
Wallace says, "How could you not get a good grade with a Fennell as your muse?"
Veronica laughs and says, "I know."
She stands up and looks over at Logan and says, "Hey."
Logan looks back at her and says, "Hello Veronica."
Veronica turns and reaches in the diaper bag pulling out a dark blue snugly. She focuses on putting it on and then reaches for her nephew. She picks him up and lifts him in the air. He giggles.
She sniffs him and says, "Matthew Fennel did you leave me a little surprise?"'
Wallace immediately stands and says, "Sorry V. I could hear him passing gas when I was playing with him." He looks at his watch and says, "Well I have to go. See you later."
He rushes off. Logan laughs at the look on Veronica's face.
Veronica looks at Logan and says, "What is so funny Echolls?"
Logan continues laughing and says, "The look on your face Mars."
Veronica smiles at Logan. She turns back to her nephew and says, "Well it is a long walk to my car so I had better change you before we go." She blows on his neck and he giggles. She says, "We just got rid of your diaper rash, didn't we?"
Logan stands and says, "Here, give him to me. I'll hold him while you get ready to change him."
Veronica looks surprised but hands Matthew over. Logan gently cradles him in the crook of his arm and talks to him while Veronica gets the changing pad, wipes and a new diaper out of the diaper bag. Matthew looks up at Logan with his big brown eyes.
Veronica puts the pad on the bench and Logan gently lays Matthew down. When Veronica opens his diaper, Logan frowns and says, "Man, what are you feeding him?"
Veronica laughs and agrees with Logan's unspoken complaint about the smell, "I know. You can't imagine something that foul can come from someone so cute."
Logan watches as she cleans him up and puts cream on his buttocks. She efficiently puts a new diaper on him and does up his pants. She folds the dirty wipes into the old diaper and holds it out for Logan to take.
He looks at her in shock and she giggles. She says, "Watch Matthew while I throw this away will you?"
Logan still a little taken a back says, "Sure. For a second there I thought you wanted me to take the dirty diaper."
Veronica laughs. Logan picks Matthew up and holds him to his chest.
Veronica stands and walks over to the garbage and throws the dirty diaper away. She pulls some liquid hand cleaner from her purse and uses it and then puts it away in her purse again.
She comes back over to Logan. She puts the pad and wipes away in the diaper bag and says, "Thanks for watching Matthew."
She reaches for him and Logan offers, "I'll carry him to the car for you."
Veronica says, "I'm OK Logan. I'll just put him in the snugly. He's not very heavy."
"I know Ronnie. I don't mind. I'll just carry him to your car. Lead the way." Logan holds him securely as he starts walking.
Veronica looks at Logan for a second. She pulls off the snugly and tucks it into the bag. She picks up the diaper bag and says, "I parked in the east parking lot."
Logan veers off towards the east parking lot and Veronica falls in beside him.
Logan says conversationally, "It's still weird for me to think of Wallace as a father."
Veronica agrees, "Yeah. I know what you mean. He's a real good dad though."
Logan looks over at her and comments, "You're a good aunt Veronica."
She looks over at Logan and their gazes meet. He can see she is touched he would say that. She says, 'Thanks, I appreciate that."
Logan says, "I mean it Veronica. Not a lot of people would give up a scholarship and their dream job for their nephew."
Veronica's eyes look a little teary and she swallows before she answers, "Wallace would do the same for me. We're family."
Logan's dark eyes flash with some undefined emotion and he says, "It's good you have each other."
Veronica can see the loneliness in his eyes. She agrees, "I am lucky."
They arrive at her car and she opens the back door. Logan leans in and places Matthew gently into his car seat.
Veronica leans in beside Logan to lock Matthew into the seat. They both feel the awareness that they always feel when their bodies are close. Logan quickly steps away. Veronica places the diaper bag on the floor and then tells Matthew that they are going home.
She shuts the back door and then opens the driver's door. She looks back at Logan and says, "Thanks for the carry. Have a good day."
Logan looks down at Veronica and says, "You too Veronica."
He steps over and holds the door while Veronica gets in. He shuts the door and steps farther back watching while she starts her car and then backs out of the stall. He waves in answer to her wave and watches while she drives off and turns out of the parking lot.
His gaze is pensive as the thinks about how emotional she got when he complimented her on being a good aunt. He knows she is worried about what kind of mother she will be.
He sighs and turns to walk towards Parker's dorm room. It's been over a year and he still feels the pull; the attraction to Veronica.
Logan knocks on the apartment door quietly. He is not sure if Matthew is sleeping and he doesn't want to wake him if he is. He looks up as Veronica opens the door.
She is wearing comfortable grey sweat bottoms and a pink t shirt. Her hair is braided back and she is wearing no make up. She looks great. She looks puzzled at Logan and says questioningly, "Logan?"
Logan pulls out the pizza box and a bag with ice cream and says, "I thought you might want a supper you don't have to make."
Veronica opens the door wider and says, "That would be great! Wallace is still at practice."
Logan says, "Well then you can eat and save him some for later."
Veronica nods and steps aside for Logan to come in. He walks in and sees that her lap top and books are out on the table and the baby monitor is there. He looks towards Wallace's bedroom and says, "Is Matthew sleeping?"
Veronica nods and says, 'I think I tired him out at mother/baby exercise classes."
Logan looks sharply at Veronica and says, "You are taking him to exercise classes?"
Veronica laughs and says, "It is through the Y. All the mothers do exercises with their babies to help strengthen their muscles and then we get in the pool with the other babies and sing and splash. It is pretty fun."
Logan thinks about Veronica in a bikini in a pool singing and splashing with Matthew and he feels his body tighten. He says, "Does Matthew like the water?"
Veronica laughs and says, "He loves the water. He moves his arms and legs almost continuously. He is getting so strong."
Logan half smiles at Veronica's enthusiasm. She continues, "Actually the best thing is talking to the mothers. I get ideas from them and it's kind of nice to talk to someone going through the same things as me."
Logan looks at her face and sees her blush. He realizes she is a little embarrassed. Logan gently reassures her, "I think it's great you are helping Matthew grow up strong and healthy."
Their eyes meet for a second and Logan sees a flash of something in her blue eyes that looks like love. She looks away immediately.
Logan says, "Are you ready for pizza now?"
Veronica smiles and says, "I am. I guess the water made me hungry too." She takes the pizza from Logan and puts it on the kitchen counter. She takes two plates out of the cupboard and opens the box enjoying the fragrance of the pizza. Logan puts the ice cream in the freezer and turns back to accept a plate from Veronica. They both take a couple pieces of pizza and walk over to the kitchen table. Veronica moves some of her books and puts her plate down. Logan sits across from her. Veronica goes over to the fridge and asks Logan if he wants water, juice or maybe a soda. He tells her water is great and she brings two waters out and shuts the fridge. She hands him a bottle of water as she sits down. They both take a few bites out of their pizza in silence.
Logan asks Veronica how her classes are going and what classes she is taking. She tells him and then they talk about his classes. He asks her about her job and she tells him how much she is learning and how much she likes it.
He asks her if he can see some of her pictures and she readily agrees and turns her lap top towards Logan and opens an icon labeled recent photos. She sets them to scan and Logan watches her photos while he eats. There are the expected pictures of Matthew as baby and ones with everyone holding him.
Veronica tells Logan that the next few pictures are the ones she turned in to her photography professor. There is a picture of Wallace shirtless with his son just in a diaper lying on his chest. The look of love on Wallace's face as he gazes at his son is touching. There is a picture of Alicia nose to nose with Matthew and one of Keith holding Matthew up at eye level and Matthew has his hands on Keith's bald head. There is one of Veronica kissing Matthew's tummy and he is giggling. There is a really cute picture of Wallace's brother and Matthew watching TV together side by side on the couch. Logan loves the picture of Back Up lying beside Matthew protecting him.
The pictures change and they are of strangers. There is a couple on campus walking together. Veronica has captured a look between them of love. There is an elderly couple sitting side by side on a bench watching the ocean. The man is handing the woman a sandwich and there is look of understanding and love between them. There is a young boy surfing and he is just about to fall off but his face is full of life and exhilaration. The next picture is of a little girl in a one piece swimsuit holding a sea shell and she is entranced by the markings on it. Next is a picture of a sunset over the ocean with a bird flying lazily through. It is restful and absolutely beautiful. There is a picture of a man holding a kite up for his son while the boy is starting to run with the string. There is a picture of two men playing chess and their total concentration is on the game. They had identical looks of excitement and happiness on their faces. There is a picture of an older home nestled in a block with newer homes. The older home looks dignified. Next is a picture of a bright yellow flower starting to open. There are drops of water on the leaves. There are some grittier pictures of a fireman coming out of a building covered in soot. He has a hard expression on his face like he had to see hell inside. There is a picture of a cat carrying what is obviously a dead kitten in her mouth. There is a picture of a dog looking through a fence at children playing wanting to go in but being kept out. It is sad to see his desire to be with the children. There is a picture of an ambulance pulling up to the emergency room of a hospital. The driver is partway out of the door and a doctor and a nurse are running towards the vehicle.
Logan is blown away by how good her pictures are. He says, "Well I guess I don't have to ask my next question."
Veronica looks at Logan puzzled. He says, "I was going to ask why you quit the PI business but after seeing your pictures, I already know."
Veronica sits back and says, "Really?"
Logan shakes his head at Veronica and says, "You obviously have a gift Ronnie."
Veronica's face softens and she says, 'Thanks Logan. That means a lot coming from you."
They look at each other.
The moment is broken by a cry on the baby monitor. Veronica breaks eye contact with Logan and stands up. She heads into Wallace's room and Logan gets up and follows. He watches as she soothes Matthew and takes him over to the change table. She turns on an overhead mobile while she changes him. He stops crying and watches the mobile and is soothed by the soft music. After she changes him she picks him up and cuddles him to her chest.
She walks towards Logan at the door. He moves aside and lets her leave the room and follows her out to the kitchen. He listens while Veronica talks to Matthew telling him that she is going to heat a bottle for him and then he can eat. She opens the fridge and pulls out a prepared bottle and sets it in the automatic warmer and turns the warmer on. Matthew begins to fuss and Veronica soothes him telling him she knows he is hungry and it won't be long until his bottle is ready. She lifts him up and kisses his tummy and then pulls him close to her and hums softly while she dances with him. Logan watches entranced. He loves all sides of Veronica but marshmallow Veronica is his favorite. He can see it when she is with Matthew and in her pictures.
Veronica looks over at Logan and meets his gaze. She looks away but Logan could see the softness in her eyes when she looked at him. He feels the twinge in his heart and he knows it is dangerous for him to be around her. Veronica looks over at the bottle warmer and sees it has turned green. She goes over and gets the bottle out and shuts the warmer off. She grabs a dish towel and goes over to sit on the couch to feed Matthew.
Logan says quietly, "Can I feed him?"
Veronica smiles and says, "Sure, go ahead and sit down and I'll hand Matthew to you."
Logan sits on the couch and Veronica leans over and gently sets Matthew in Logan's arms. He settles him and then looks into his face. Veronica tests the temperature of the formula and then hands the bottle to Logan. Logan smiles up at Veronica and takes the bottle. He tentatively puts the nipple near Matthew's mouth and Matthew immediately turns and latches on to the nipple and starts hungrily sucking.
Logan gets a big smile on his face. Veronica watches and feels the emotions rise up in her chest. Logan would be such a great dad. He just wants to have something to love. Veronica gently shows Logan how to keep formula in the nipple and then goes over the kitchen to put away the pizza.
Veronica's cell phone rings and she goes over to the table and checks the caller ID and answers it. She says, "Hey Wallace. How was practice?"
Logan watches as she listens to what Wallace has to say. She gets that soft look on her face and says, "Matthew is eating now so you have 3 to 4 hours before he'll need to be fed again. Go out with the guys, have some fun. You deserve it."
She is quiet for a few seconds and she says, "Really Wallace, I don't mind. I am going to study."
She laughs at whatever Wallace says and then says, "Have fun. I love you too. I'll kiss Matthew for you."
She says "Bye, " and hangs up her phone. She goes over to where Logan is feeding Matthew and puts the towel on his shoulder. She gently breaks the seal on the nipple and pulls the bottle out of his mouth.
She shows Logan how to put Matthew over his shoulder on the towel and rub his back to burp him. After a minute or so, Matthew gives a loud burp and Logan laughs. Logan brings Matthew back down to his arms and gives him back the bottle. He drinks but looks up at Logan. Logan gazes back at Matthew and says, "He is so trusting and needs so much care."
Veronica says, "I know. It's too bad life teaches so many kids to be untrusting."
Logan looks up at Veronica and sees the sad look in her eyes. He says, "I hope that doesn't happen to Matthew."
Veronica smiles gently and says, "Well it never happened to his father so I guess there is hope for Matthew."
Logan sees the pain in Veronica's face and he wishes he could hold her. He says, "I like to believe there is hope for everyone."
Veronica meets his gaze for a second and then looks down. Logan thinks he hears her says, "Me too."
Logan finished feeding Matthew and then Veronica put Matthew in the swing. Logan refused ice cream telling Veronica he would leave the pints in her capable hands. He stopped in front of Veronica and took her hands in his. He looks down at their joined hands and says quietly, "I am really sorry I jumped to conclusions over Matthew."
He looks up and meets her gaze and says, "I know you aren't like your mother. I know you would never have cheated on me." He sees Veronica take a breath in and her eyes swim with tears. Logan adds, "You were seventeen when you jumped to conclusions about me. I am coming twenty. By now I should be more adult like in how I handle things. I should have thought things out better and I never should have confronted you in public like that."
Logan squeezes her hands and says, "I promised you in high school that I would take care of our friendship and that I would never hurt you like I did after Lilly died and here I am doing it again. I wanted to see you and tell you that I feel badly about hurting you like that and I hope you will forgive me."
Veronica says, "One of the things I always admired about you was your capacity to forgive. I am older now too and I am getting better at letting things go."
Logan says, "Are we going to be OK then?"
Veronica nods and says, "We're OK."
Logan smiled at Veronica and then excused himself and went home. As he was leaving he saw Veronica move Matthew's swing over to where she was studying and turn on the timer. He watched while Matthew swung and Veronica sat reading her book and making notes. He realized that Veronica had changed. She was no longer angry with him, no longer angry with the world and definitely no longer bitter. She was growing up and growing up wonderfully.
Let me know what you think of this story...... you know you want to.