A/N: Yes, this is the long version of "Red and White" which I promised. So everyone who liked that... read this. And don't let me give up on it and forget about it.
One: Lilly and Veronica
Neptune, California. Home to the rich, powerful, and pretty. Also home to the poor and powerless, under the thumb of the rich. Neptune had a very defined social order – the rich are in charge, and loved. The poor aren't. But then there was us.
We used to fit into the mold, yeah. We were still rich, but in charge? No way anyone would listen to us on anything. Loved? No way in hell.
"Oh god," Duncan rolled his eyes as he saw the crowd gathered around the flagpole. "Who's your boy tormenting now?"
I shrugged. One of the many problems with dating the leader of a motorcycle gang – he tended to do stupid mean shit. I worked my way through the crowd, seeing some new black kid taped there, buck naked, except for duct tape covering his privates. The bikers had written "SNICH" on his chest, implying A) why he was there, and B) we really need better English teachers.
Some guy was getting the new kid to pose for a photo. "Say cheese," he chirped, holding his phone in front of them. I rolled my eyes.
"Move, douchebag," I informed him, and he seemed amused by my appearance.
"Why, Miss Lillian Kane," the guy mocked me. "What, you're keeping an eye on your boy's prize? He promise you a, uh, 'sample tasting'..." the douche's voice trailed off when I pulled out my pocket knife. Sharp instruments? Good at getting people to shut the fuck up.
I turned my attention to the poor kid on the flagpole. Must talk to Weevil about this. "So, you're new here, right?" I said as I cut the tape holding him. The crowd disbursed slowly.
"Welcome to Neptune High. And yes, everyone is as big a shit here as those crowds and the guy who put you up here," I elaborated. No point getting this kid's hopes up. "Some have hidden hearts of gold. Rarely. That actually includes the guy who put you up here, so I should be able to get him to back off," he was freed from the pole, and I gave him a hand down.
The kid smiled at me. "Thanks. Wallace."
"Lilly," I returned. "Though you may have figured that out from that guy before."
"Yeah. He doesn't like you?"
I shrug. "Him and half the country. By the way, the mime behind me? That's my brother, Duncan. He does actually talk... sometimes..."
Duncan chuckled. "Hey."
"Anyway," I continued, "Knowing Weevil, your clothes are gonna be around here somewhere... likely underground."
"Yeah, he put 'em under the dirt," Wallace explained, and I saw a flash of fabric. I pulled his clothes out, and shook the dirt off as best I could. "Uh, there. Kind of sucks for you, but you have clothing now."
Wallace smiled again. "Thanks."
I grinned. We hadn't screwed this up yet. "Anyway, us two have classes to get to, and I really don't think you want us to see you changing, so, yeah. See ya later," I concluded, and Duncan gave a little wave as we walked away.
"Lilly," Duncan said, "Did we just have a conversation with someone who doesn't hate us, that you're not having sex with?"
I laughed at that. "Let's take a few seconds. Let the cosmos realign."
Our table used to be the popular table. Now it's just us sitting there. The new popular table is just a few feet away, though, so we can see them all, happy and laughing. If you had told me a year ago this would be what would happen to us, I wouldn't believe a word of it. We were the very center of that popular 09er group – I mean we were the Kanes. The two children of software billionaire, Jake Kane – he had invented streaming video, turned half this town into millionaires. The town used to love him for it.
It's not like we were the only insanely rich kids, though. There's still people like Shelley Pomroy, who's Dad was ambassador to Belgium, or Luke Enbom, who's Dad owned his own airline company. You know what I said about Neptune having a lot of millionaires?
There's the Casablancas brothers, of course. Dick pretty much embodied all things about 09ers that sucked – he was completely thoughtless and a borderline sociopath. I didn't like him much. His brother Cassidy, well, no-one really knew him. He didn't seem to really want to be at the 09er table, but I don't think he really wanted to be anywhere else. Cassidy was just tiny and quiet, and no-one saw him. If you blinked at the wrong moment, you might just find him gone. Cassidy Casablancas – the boy who would have been my baby-daddy.
And at the center of all this, there's Logan Echolls. Son of famous actor Aaron Echolls, and less famous actress, Lynn Echolls. If anyone in this damn school hated me, it was him. But he was one of the few people I couldn't blame for it – I hurt him, not my mother. It never used to be like this, of course. He used to be my boyfriend.
All in all, the be at that table, you had to be alarmingly rich, or have an in with those that were. But there was only ever really one girl like that at the table – Veronica Mars. Okay, she had a certain cachet, being the Sheriff's Daughter and all. But it was mostly us – she was my best friend since I was in fifth grade, she and Duncan had been dating since they were in ninth. We were the big reason she was honorarily an 09er. I guess it was ironic she was the reason that we honorarily weren't.
She was found outside our pool. I was lucky enough to be the one to discover her body.
I'm at my house. I just got a text saying Veronica was coming over, she had to tell me something.
I'm standing on the patio. "Oi, Veronica! You out here?"
It takes a few seconds for me to notice her laying flat on the ground. There's blood pooling around her, and I run up to her in a panic.
"Veronica!" I scream, and grab her body. "Holy shit, Veronica!" I shake her a few times, getting blood all over me – it's coming from her head. "No, no, no, Veronica, wake up! Please, come on, wake up! Wake up!"
Dad had told Keith Mars everything – he and Lianne Mars, Veronica's mother, had been high school sweethearts. They had an affair while Lianne was with Keith, and Dad was with my mom. When Duncan started dating Veronica, it became a problem – Dad thought he could be Veronica's father. Mom had always known what happened, and eventually, told Duncan Veronica was his sister. Duncan had told me all this days before Veronica died, but nobody told Veronica – she was just so sweet, and no-one wanted to hurt her.
Somebody leaked the recording, you know, the one the police have to make when interviewing people? Suddenly, everyone knew about the Kane dirty laundry – and popular opinion inverted like that. They hated us, and they thought one of us had killed Veronica. Mom's blood-splattered suit was found pretty quickly after that.
She never admitted it was her, of course. She always maintained Keith was setting here up. I didn't buy her bullshit, and neither did Duncan. Poor Duncan blamed himself, of course. As did Dad. I didn't, because I simply couldn't justify feeling guilty about that – this wasn't about me. It amused me a little, however, when the blood tests proved once and for all, Veronica wasn't a Kane.
I snapped out of my reverie to realize that suddenly Duncan and I weren't the only people at our table. It was Wallace, the kid from this morning.
"Damn, I thought the names sounded familiar," Wallace was saying. "You're seriously the Kanes?"
I groaned. "Great. There goes our chance of having someone not hate us."
"Whoa girl, I don't hate you," Wallace chuckled. "I'm guessing you're a bit on the bitter side?"
"My mother killed by best friend because she thought she was product of my dad's cheating," I said dryly. "It happens."
"Look, Wallace," Duncan explained in measured tones. "If you know who we are.. Why are you sitting here with us?"
"Most people run far, far away," I added.
"Okay, the way I see it?" Wallace explained. "So your Mom's a killer? Not your fault. So I don't care. That stuff with Aaron Echolls? Girl, you didn't put them cameras there. And you were kind of in a bad place when you sent those tapes to the tabloids. So it's far from unforgivable. And, take all that baggage away, you two are still the ones that cut me down when I was taped to that poll, while everyone else laughed at me, took pictures of me. So yeah, I reckon I'm better off with you two."
Neither Duncan or I could suppress a grin.
Weevil and the PCHers chose that moment to appear. "My bitch," he said to Wallace, and I rolled my eyes at his badass attitude. "Didn't I tell you to wait for me at the flagpole?"
Wallace laughed nervously. I took pity. "Guess he just didn't listen, then."
Weevil suddenly noticed he was at my table. "Oh, Lil," he said. "What are you doing now? Looking out for some skinny negro, some narc who got us all in this shit?"
I rolled my eyes. "God, Weevil, what are you doing? 'Sides, he doesn't seem to hate me. I'd like to keep it that way. Now stop being a shit, already."
Weevil chuckles. "Come on, sugar, it's too late for that."
I raised an eyebrow. "And... why?"
Weevil laughed and wandered off. "You're gonna have to pick a side, Lilly!"
I blinked. "Okay. That was vague." I looked at Wallace. "'Splain."
"Oh," Wallace said, and I looked on expectantly. "I work at Sac-N-Pac, you see? The other night, a couple of those guys came in, just started stuffing 40s in their pockets like it was no problem. I hit the silent alarm."
I smiled. "Oh, you well-trained store clerk, you."
Wallace continued. "Well, yeah. The police showed up, and then I noticed there was a whole damn gang out there, so I kinda backtracked. Said it was a mistake," I chuckled.
"Okay, I know my Weevil. That? Not really gonna earn his respect."
He looked at me skeptically. "Yeah, whatever. Anyway, that sheriff guy found all those 40s, got the security tape, so those biker guys are still busted. And pissed at me. But that sheriff guy was pretty cool about me lying and all."
I smiled. "That's Ol' Keith Mars. He's kind of just awesome."
The sentence caused a lump in my throat, but I kept it under control. "Yeah."
Wallace pressed his lips together. "Yeah, that's... kind of the whole story, then."
I sighed. "When's the court date?"
Wallace shrugged. "I dunno. Why?"
"Problem with having been the Sheriff's daughter's best friend, and currently being girlfriend of the leader of the motorcycle gang? It means I have to work my funky Veronica-stolen magic and get him out of this crap," I explained. "Should also get him to leave you alone, and then I've got like, three people at this school who like me."
I could figure out my brilliant plan later. I was just getting home for now. Then my getting home process was interrupted by a certain partly justified asshole ex, and his unjustified cronies. Great.
"What's up, Logan?" I ask. "Your therapist give up and send you in search of an emotional punching bag?"
He laughs at me. "Well, how am I meant to resist? You're just so... punchable," he smirked and we both saw an innuendo in there, though I wasn't quite sure what for.
I climbed into my car. "Logan. Be elsewhere, I don't really feel like putting up your shit now," I paused. "Or, y'know, ever."
"Hmm," he continues, "Where else exactly would you like me to be?" He paused. "I can remember there were a few places you used to like me being..."
I roll my eyes. "Used being the active word here."
Dick Casablancas opened his mouth. Nothing good could come of that: "Come on, man. You know here, that wasn't about you – just give her anything with a dick and she's there."
I sighed. "Yup. That's it. I'm a big old slut, now go away."
They didn't seem to hear that last bit. Logan continued. "Anyway, who's it now? That new black kid, the one who doesn't seem to get you're a whore? Maybe I should write him a note."
I nod. "You do that. Don't forget all that stuff about my diseases; it's crucial information."
Logan ignores that. "You just watch out for his girl, if he's got one. Oh, wait – you don't care." There was suddenly pain in his eyes, and probably in mine. I slammed the car door shut on him, and drove off. That was just not fair, when we're just having a pointless snipe-fest, he shouldn't be able to play the "You made my mother kill herself" card.
I'm at some society function, all the rich families are here. I'm just sixteen, and hanging on Logan's arm. We're happy and giggly.
His parents approach us. "Ah, Lilly, my parents – who you already know very well, and hence this isn't an introduction."
Lynn smiles at me. "Hello Lilly."
I smile back. Then Aaron takes my attention. "Hello, Miss Kane. I must say, that dress is... flattering."
I laugh and look down at my strapless black dress. "Gucci. You like?"
Aaron smiles. "Very much so. I assume my son is in good hands?"
"In a manner of speaking."
Lynn looks distinctly uncomfortable, and Logan leads me away. "He shouldn't talk to you like that," he mutters, and I roll my eyes.
"God, Logan. Jealous much? He's like forty. It's nothing," I put an arm around his back. "He's your dad. I've got you."
My hand trails on his back, and he winces a little when I hit a particular spot. "What's wrong?" I ask. Logan's back is weirdly vulnerable to making him wince.
He shakes his head. "Nothing. Just a fall a few days back."
Okay, when I said the Aaron thing was nothing? Yes, I lied. Still, nothing happened until Logan and I were broken up. Okay, yes, again – we were great at the on-again off-again thing. But we were off and I had a sexy movie star to play with.
"Hello Lilly," Aaron says. "Logan's in Mexico this weekend, so if you came to see him..."
"I know. We're split anyway. For like, two weeks, knowing us," I inform him, and drop myself on the couch, stretching out my legs. He sits with me.
"Logan told me about that," he replies. "He's been a mess, really."
I raise my shoulders. "I'm a heart breaker. He's probably off filling his Lilly-shaped void with some foreign tart."
Aaron smiles at me. "So then, Lilly, why are you here? I don't think I have any foreign tarts to fill a Logan-shaped void..."
I laugh. "Well, you never know what you'll find. Besides, you're interesting. I thought we could talk?"
That seems to flatter him. "Alright then, Miss Kane. You want something to drink? Soda, water?" he rises and walks to the kitchen. I sit there.
"Orange juice?" I call over my shoulder, and quickly he appears with a glass of it. I take the liquid and sip. That's not just orange juice.
"Vodka, Mr. Echolls?" I ask, affecting a southern twang for no real reason. "Why, I'd say you were trying to take advantage of me!"
He smiles and sits back on the couch.
"And if I was, Miss Kane?"
My breath hitches. Come on, Lilly, I think, This is what you came here for. I return his grin.
"All you had to do was ask."
He pulled me into a strong kiss, and all I could see was Logan wincing.
Okay, yes, I screwed my boyfriend's Dad. On-again off-again be damned, that kind of just marks me as big a whore as everyone said. And what happened next kind of made me even worse, not even trying to keep it from Logan. But still, I really couldn't anticipate what would happen next.
I'm lying on the bed in the Echolls' pool house. Aaron's late. I look up at the ceiling. God, can he just get here so I can have crazy hot movie-star tabloid-fodder sex?
Looking up at the ceiling, I notice something on the fan. The center looks odd – it looks like a lens. I follow the line from the lens, and to the wall. The wall also looks odd, sort of disconnected. Like it can be slid away.
I get up and slide that piece of wall away. Oh god. Behind here, there are camera screens, and tapes. Aaron taped our sexy fun times.
I chuckle to myself. "Oh, you dirty bastard," I say quietly, and taking the tapes and closing the wall covering, I exit stage left.
I found those tapes the day before I found Veronica, but didn't release them until after Mom's arrest. Everyone hated us anyway, I might as well air this dirty laundry now. The tabloids offered me so much money for those tapes, but I didn't take it. I wasn't really sure why, and I wasn't sure why I was doing all this, but I couldn't take money for it – all I could see when they offered it was Logan wincing at me.
The scandal was epic, of course. Maybe the extent of my sluttiness wasn't as big a shock as everyone liked to pretend it was, but still – Aaron Echolls screwing his son's girlfriend made the media go crazy. It felt like victory, sort of, when I saw the press screaming at him, though I couldn't tell you why.
It didn't feel like victory, however, when I saw Lynn's Echolls car abandoned on the Coronado Bridge, plastered across my TV screen.
"Lilly?" Duncan calls to me, and he sounds shook up. Like his voice is breaking. "You gotta see this."
I trot into the room, concern on my face. "Donut, what is it?" he points at the TV, where I see a red car on a bridge. I know that car.
"The actress is assumed to have leaped to her death following recent scandal, after sixteen year old Lilly Kane released tapes of Lynn's husband, Aaron Echolls, having sex with her, to the media. Lynn references these tapes, and her husband's infidelity, in a suicide note left on her Blackberry..."
I can feel my whole world go black.
I never thought something like that could happen. I never even thought of Lynn in all this – I'd had to spend a lot of energy to keep Logan's image out of my mind, but Lynn? Never even occurred. But she never seemed like the suicidal type. Shows how well I knew people, huh?
I'm at school. Logan's finally returned from his "My Mom Just Died" break, and he's standing far away from me. What a shock.
I sigh, and close my locker. I have to talk to him. "Logan?" I call after him, and he starts to walk away. "Logan!" I call again, and start to jog to catch up with him.
I'm suddenly standing in front of him, with no real words to say. "Logan," I start, tearful. "I am... so sorry. I had no idea-"
"Lilly," he cuts me off, and his voice gets very quiet. "Stay away from me and my family from now on, or I'll kill you."
He walks off, and it's over.