Twelve: The Girl Last Year
Logan and I were both relieved by not finding ourselves having to watch more sex. However, the yelling we actually saw on the tape, didn't imply anything better, even if it was less icky.
"You come back here, Lynn!" Aaron screams at his wife. "You are going to listen to me. I am going to say what a mistake I made, bewitched by that girl. You are going to play the loyal, demure, forgiving wife, and in not so long, everything will go back to normal."
"Statutory rape, Aaron!" Lynn exclaims. "That's never going to just "go back to normal." And I'm gone."
She starts for the door, but Aaron grabs her arm roughly. "You're not going anywhere, bitch."
"And how do you plan to stop me?" she asks skeptically, and with a grin, Aaron emerges an object from behind his back – a glass ashtray. Lynn's face falls.
"Remember this, Lynn? I don't think old Sheriff Mars would be too happy if he looked at this, would he?"
Lynn shakes her head, tears welling in her eyes. "No. No, Aaron, you can't. You wouldn't do that to me, to Logan – You helped me!"
"And now, I'm not, unless you do what I say. Don't underestimate what I can and will do. You screwed up Lynn – and now, I own you," he informs her smugly, and her face hardens.
"No. You don't."
She walks out, and Aaron fumes.
I took in a deep breath as Logan sank back onto the bed, trying to understand. I checked the date on the video – November 13th. The day Lynn died.
I suddenly reached for my phone, and Logan looked up with an expression of confusion. "Lilly, what are you doing?" I indicated for him to shush with my hand.
"Hello, Van Lowe investigations."
"I need to speak to Vinnie."
His mother quickly transferred me, and I sighed. "Hello. Who is this and why didn't you give ma your name?"
"Vinnie. Quick questions," I started. "It's Lilly Kane. A few weeks ago, someone gave me Veronica Mars's old diary – the one talking about what Logan Echolls did to her," in the background, I saw Logan wince, but I brushed it off.
"Oh," he was barely even trying to affect surprise or confusion.
"Vinnie, did you give me that diary?"
He paused for a few seconds before admitting it. "Yeah. Although now I've heard about that Caitlin thing, I'm kind of confused. But still, I decided someone had to make the bastard pay for what he did – but I wasn't going to go against Aaron Echolls son myself. So I left it up to you."
I nodded. "Okay, the important bit – how did you get the diary?"
"Well, when I was tailing you, Mars was with you a lot. She left it there once, I was tempted by the idea of the real world of our good Sheriff. Then I read and realized what happened, well, I took it then."
"You were there because you were tailing me," I repeated. "You were tailing me for Lynn. And when you got the diary – did you give it to her?"
"I showed it to her," he said uncomfortably. "I guessed she had the right to know what her son had done. Maybe that's a bit of why she jumped in the end, I don't know."
"Thanks Vinnie," I said quietly, and I hung up. Logan stood and looked at me, and I stared at him with heavy eyes.
"Lilly?" He asked.
"I know what happened," I whispered, barely paying attention to him. "I know what happened."
Lynn is fumbling as she types a message on her son's cellphone. Meet me at L and D's house. Let me explain.
Veronica pulls her arms toward her as she walks across the pavement next to our pool. "Logan?" she calls out, voice breaking a little as she does so. "You said you could explain."
"I can't," Lynn says from behind her. "I can't explain. I just need to talk to you."
Veronica's eyes narrow at the woman. "So – what? Logan was going to talk, but then instead decided to send Mommie Dearest to do his dirty work for him?"
Lynn shakes her head. "I took Logan's phone, I sent that message. He doesn't know I'm here."
"So what do you want to say, Lynn?"
"Veronica, I'm sure you've got it wrong. Logan wouldn't do that. You can't go forward."
Veronica gasps at Lynn's nerve. "What, you can actually come here and tell me to keep my mouth shut?" she pauses. "I always thought you were nice, Lynn. Then again, I thought Logan was too."
Lynn shakes her head. "Do you expect me to apologize? He's my son!"
"Do you expect me to care?" Veronica asks in a vicious satire. "He's my rapist!" there are tears falling down her cheeks. "I'm gonna make him pay for it – just as soon as the thought of telling stops making me throw up."
Lynn grabs Veronica's arm. "No!" she yells. "I've lost everything. But you're not taking him away!"
"Everything?" Veronica's voice is tinged with hysterical disbelief. "What do you know about everything? 'Cause that's what he took from me!"
In a split second, Lynn reaches for the glass ashtray on the table. Veronica barely sees it coming before it connect with her skull, and she falls at Lynn's feet, dead.
In the Echolls poolroom, Aaron smirks and opens the cabinet to collect the latest tapes. His grin falls when he realizes the tapes are already gone, and he swears under his breath.
"Lilly!" Aaron charges into our home, bellowing. "Lilly I want those tapes back!"
It takes a few seconds before he registers that his wife is there, and more than that, the sheriff's daughter's corpse is lying in front of Lynn. "Oh my god," he mutters, and stares at Lynn, who whimpers.
"Lynn!" He exclaims, and roughly grabs the ashtray out of her hands. "What did you do?"
"I... I had to. For Logan," Lynn whimpers, eyes still fixed to the dead girl. Aaron takes a deep breath, and leans down to take Veronica's phone.
"Come on," he grabs his wife's arm. "Come on. Come on we have to go," he quickly leads her away, forcing her into his car.
They drive back in silence, him breathing heavily and her near catatonic. When they arrive at the Echolls house, he's quickly throwing a white suit at her blood-soaked formed.
"What- Aaron, what are you...?"
"It's Celeste Kane's," he clarifies. "Get the blood on it, we'll dump it somewhere. It'll point the finger at her, and she fucking hates Veronica anyway," he steps closer to Lynn, and kisses her on the forehead. "It'll be okay. I promise."
She nods, letting the blood get on the suit, and he grabs Veronica's phone.
"Aaron, what are you-?" she asks with a twinge of panic in her voice.
"Someone has to find the body."
I'm lying on my bed, in my room, reading a magazine; to be interrupted by the ring of my phone. I look down at it, to find Veronica's texted me: I need to tell you something. I'm outside, by the pool.
I wonder down in confusion, wondering if maybe V will finally tell me what's been up with her the last week. I arrive at the patio near the pool, eyes searching over the estate for her. "Oi, Veronica? Are you out here?"
In just a few seconds, I notice that she's lying flat out the ground. "Oh god!" I call out in fear and shock, running to my best friend. I grab her body.
"Holy shit, Veronica!" I shake her a few times, desperate for her not to be dead, but all I accomplish is getting the blood from her head all over me. "No, no, no, Veronica, wake up! Please, come on, wake up! Wake up!"
"No," Logan replied, tears brewing in his eyes. "No. Don't you say that. Don't you fucking dare say that!" Logan was furious, shaking his head at me and gritting his teeth.
"Don't!" he yelled, and I flinched. "My... My mom, she wouldn't," he said, but he didn't sound like he really believed it. "I mean, I knew my mom, you knew my mom, she couldn't kill Veronica, she wouldn't cover up something like this, she..."
"Loved you," I whispered. "Too much, I guess. After being with your dad for so long... guess she clung to what she had left," I shook with pain and rage. Rage that my best friend's murderer was dead, that I would have no justice.
Logan sank back onto the bed. "I didn't do anything wrong, you know?" he said with a mocking smile. "Beyond being a moron. Apart from that, I'm squeaky clean. I never touched her."
I nodded at Logan, and tentatively reached for his hand. "I'm sorry."
He suddenly burst into sobs – body-racking cries that broke my heart. I didn't the only thing I could possibly think of to do in that moment. I wrapped my arms around him, and told him the old, comforting lie – that it would be okay.
"I don't think old Sheriff Mars would be too happy if he looked at this, would he?"
"No. No, Aaron, you can't. You wouldn't do that to me, to Logan – You helped me!"
"And now, I'm not, unless you do what I say. Don't underestimate what I can and will do. You screwed up Lynn – and now, I own you."
"No. You don't."
Keith switched off the tape and his whole face crumpled. I bit my lip with sympathy. "I'm sorry, Keith."
"You figured it out," he told me with a small, appreciative smile, and I shrugged. Yeah, I had. "Thank you, for that."
I nodded. "She was my best friend. I had to do it," I paused. "What happens now, Keith?"
He sighed deeply. "Well, Lynn Echolls is dead – so there will be no trial. No punishment. We just... know."
"And where's the justice in that, right?" I asked. I shook my head. "God, it was just so pointless. It's not like Logan even did anything wrong. Jesus, I feel sorry for him..." I trailed off.
"Did you catch Caitlin yet?" I asked. "She's evil. And she's like, the one person we can actually make pay for what happened to V."
"Not yet," Keith answered. "But believe me, I'm not going to let her get away. No way in hell."
"Good Dad," I replied.
"Yeah. I like to think so, anyway."
We both paused, waiting for something to say. He was the one to speak again first. "Lilly – have you forgiven me? For Celeste?"
"Not really," I answered quickly, and he showed an "It figures" smile. "I'm never going to be okay with what you did. But then again, well, non compos mentis. You were looking for your own daughter's killer and you went kind of nuts. You should never have been on the case in the first place, really, but you're the only one around here even near being a good officer," Keith shrugged at that. "I'm willing to let it go. To be the good, law-abiding citizen. But you really can't expect me ever to trust you again."
Keith shook his head. "I'd be appalled if you would."
"Good," I replied, and stood to look out the window. "I want to fix it," I admitted. "I just wanna go back."
"Me too," he commiserated.
"But what's done, is done," I said heavily. "Veronica is still dead. Lynn and Aaron Echolls are still dead. There are still a lot of people in a lot of pain, including us."
"And we're just going to have to deal."
I smiled. "I'll see you later, Keith."
I walked out of the Sheriff's department, my head held high.
I wasn't really surprised to find my father at home with Duncan, and I welcomed him with a hug. "Hey Dad," I replied. "Donut called you over?"
He nodded. "I think what's left of this family should come together," he said. He looked away and let out a sigh. "I heard about Lynn Echolls, Lilly. We both did; it's been all over the news."
I nodded. "Yeah. I guessed it would be – famous dead actress killing someone and all."
"You figured it out," Duncan chimed in from the couch.
"Yeah," I confirmed. "Yeah, I figured it out. I mean, I guess I had to," I sat down next to my brother. "At least the fucking thing's finished now."
"Lilly-" Dad warned at my swearing, and it made me giggle.
"Wow. Someone criticizing me for swearing. Now that's a blast from the past."
Dad smiled. "I'm glad I'm back, Lilly."
"I'm glad you're back too, Dad," I answered. "I think Donut would be glad you're back, but he like, seems to have something against talking, right now, so..."
"Lilly," Duncan rolled his eyes. "You know I'm glad he's here."
Dad smiled. "It had nothing to do with me," he said, so quietly I really wasn't sure we were meant to hear. But we did, and he continued in a normal tone of voice.
"I spent... so long, feeling so guilty. Because she had died because of me, because of the mistakes I made. And even after I realized Celeste was innocent, I still felt it would, in the end, come back to me. And now, it hasn't – I'm not quite sure how to feel."
"Relieved would be my guess," I paused. "You don't have to feel mad guilty anymore. Nor do I, really, since it turned out the woman I made kill herself was evil," I didn't tell them that, for whatever reason, that didn't quite alleviate all my guilt. "Now it's poor old Logan who has to carry that around."
"How was he? When he found out?" Duncan asked.
"Bad. He yelled. Then he cried. You know Logan."
Duncan leaned back against the couch. "He let this happen, you know."
"I know," I answered weakly. "Do you really think you have what it takes to hate him for it?"
Duncan shook his head, and I smiled.
"What's done is done," I told them, and Duncan raised an eyebrow.
"Lilly, you hate Shakespeare. You wanted to stab Macbeth to death with pointy objects."
I shrugged. "Whatever."
I went to bed that night, feeling somewhat... surreal. I finally had the truth, and I couldn't seek justice. It was... strange.
I'm walking through the Neptune High gymnasium, which has clearly been prepared for a dance. A banner I cannot read is strung above a table carrying punch, and strobe lights flicker over the room. There's no music, however, and the floor is deserted.
I blink to find myself face-to-face with a smiling girl in a soft pink dress, and I grin. "Hey V," I hug her. "You look good for a dead girl."
She shrugs. "Must be all the truth coming out," she answers, withdrawing from my embrace. "Does wonders for the complexion, you know."
I laugh out loud, and we sit on chairs at the side of the room. "You know," I start. "This still doesn't feel real."
"Well that's because it's a dream."
"No. I mean, like, the Lynn thing," I explain, and Veronica shrugs. "I can't believe she'd really do it."
"And yet you do."
"I'm a strange person."
We both pause, and I fidget with my dress. "You didn't trust Logan. He was one of your best friends, and you thought he would do that to you."
Veronica nods. "I know. And if I were alive, you'd probably be pissed about that. But the thing is, I'm not alive anymore. So, do you really think you can hold it against me?"
I shake my head. "Guess not. Although it would have been nice if you could have not gotten yourself killed."
She shrugs. "Like you said, Lilly. What's done is done."
"I still miss you."
She smiled sadly. "I know," and suddenly our attentions were called to the banner above the punch, now transformed into a projection screen. On it, we saw four happy teens, playing "I Never", laughing and having fun. Lilly, Logan, Duncan, Veronica – masters of the universe.
"You got so ripped off," I told her, and her eyes fell back to me, away from the scene.
"True image, Lilly. That's why you needed this so badly."
"You and your puns."
She laughs. "Don't forget it, Lilly. Don't forget me."
"How could I?"
I woke up peaceful, calm, and rested. I hardly ever felt any of those emotions, so this was a good morning. Night. Whatever.
I sighed. It was done – I had closure. I knew what had happened to my best friend, and even if there was no justice to be had on her killer, I could deal with that. I had it. True image, right there in my head.
So I smiled, and I went back to sleep.