They met that night at a restaurant in Neptune. Veronica's hair was down now, and she'd curled it. Normally, Weevil didn't notice girls' hair, but this meant she'd spent time getting ready to go out tonight. He wondered what that meant, but thought it was a good sign. Veronica was also wearing a drapey blue dress. It looked soft, and he wanted to touch it. He hadn't known what to wear, so he'd just showered and put on nice jeans, a clean, black button-down and his favorite leather jacket. The jacket reminded Veronica of high school. He'd looked like a grown man even then.

"I'm surprised you wanted to meet in Neptune," Weevil said.

"I'm spending the night at Dad and Alisha's."

"I can't believe Wallace is actually your stepbrother now."

"And don't you feel bad for taping my brother to the pole?"

"He probably wouldn't be your brother if I hadn't taped him to the pole."

Veronica's brow furrowed. "I want to argue with that logic, but I can't."

"You're welcome. Seriously, aren't you afraid of running into someone you know?"

"What, like I'm ashamed to hang out with you?"

"No, more like you tend to avoid your ex like the plague."

"I know I'm going to run into Logan sooner or later," Veronica admitted. "Neptune wasn't my first choice, but the agency had practically written it off, like Chinatown," she said, referring to the movie they'd watched together years ago as "orientation" when Eli briefly worked at her dad's P.I. agency. In the movie, LA law enforcement had come to accept that they would never be able to thwart crime in the twisted, secretive neighborhood. "Between the background check and my polygraph test, they realized I actually understand how things work in Neptune. And I have connections on all levels, so they've made it clear that Neptune is my responsibility."

"Shit, V!"

"No kidding. It's like high school all over: dealing with Kanes, Fitzpatricks, rich jerks and PCHers."

"But you haven't talked to Echolls yet?"

"I sent him a text warning him that I was going to be back in Neptune."

"That's cold, V."

"Look, I'm done with that mess. It took me too long to get past it, so I'm not going to stir things up. We ended on decent terms at graduation, and hopefully we can keep it that way. Logan turned out to be a decent guy, but there's just too much 'bloodshed and lives ruined.'"

"But our friendship is clean as the driven snow," Eli remarked sarcastically.

"It's different with us, Weevil. We were fighting on the same side." He wasn't quite sure what she meant, and Veronica was glad he didn't ask her to explain. She couldn't have managed it. She had never known where she stood with Logan. They'd spent all their time falling, knocking each other over, and trying to pull each other back up. Eli and Veronica just took turns catching each other.

After dinner, she walked with Weevil on the beach. "This is the part of Neptune I missed," Veronica said, the breeze in her hair. She shivered a little, and Eli took off his jacket, draping it over her shoulders. Veronica slipped her arms into the sleeves, pushing them up to free her hands. She looked so tiny in all that black leather.

"This is the part of Neptune I missed, too," Weevil said, looking right at her.

Veronica turned to look at him, quizzically—his chocolaty eyes and full lips. "Weevil…" Her right hand was on his heart. It was beating as fast as hers. Eli wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close, and lowered his forehead to hers.

"V, is this what you want?"

Veronica nodded. "You're what I want, Weevil."

He lowered his mouth to hers, kissing her without an audience for the first time. Eli wasn't the best with talking—not like Veronica's exes, who used their words to win her back after hurting her over and over. But he was good at this. Maybe his kiss could show Veronica that he would always fight on her side, and that he could be more—more than the pal she came to for favors. He could just be hers, and she could be his.


AN- That's the end, unless people request more. I hope you enjoyed it! Comments are welcome.