Lilly always had trinkets. She deposited them like little tokens of her affection, to whoever swayed into her path – boyfriend, friends, family. She got them different things, but for Veronica it was mostly jewelry. Bangles, bracelets, rings; Lilly was all to happy to drop cheap, pretty plastic on her best friend's lap. It wasn't at all the jewels and prices you'd expect from the Kanes, but that was good. That was what made it home. What made it theirs. Veronica always lost the jewelry, but it didn't matter, because it all cost a few bucks and there would always be more.
Until the night there wasn't.
Veronica rummaged through her room that next, sobbing her eyes out and looking for any shiny piece of plastic she could find. She had been so obscenely, monumentally stupid – these things had been Lilly's affection in physical form; how could she lose them? How could she lose Lilly?
Veronica's room turned to a mess of books, clothes, whatever; until she finally found her hand clutching a necklace. One of those kind of cliched ones; where one half said "Best" and the other "Friend," and you broke it in half. Lilly had called the necklace corny and the sentiment totally ironic; neither girl would admit they found it sweet.
Veronica cried some more. Cried because Lilly was just gone and this pathetic scrap of tin was all she had left. There would be no more trinkets. No more late night calls, when Lilly knew even the Marses would get cranky. No more secret limo parties. No more fashion magazines and one guy after another and constant homework help and just there would be no more Lilly.
Lianne burst into the room then, vodka on her breath and tears in her eyes. Lianne hadn't known Lilly all that well, but Veronica knew she had liked her, and appreciated her as the official Daughter's Best Friends. Lianne enveloped Veronica in a wide hug as the teenager clutched on to a "Best" half-heart for dear life. They sobbed onto each other's shoulders, as Keith watched heavily from the doorway. Lianne let her palm fold over her daughter's and touch the chain, both women holding the cheap metal in prayer.
(Her daddy never got her many presents. They never had the money. She couldn't understand why; why couldn't they just make more money? He held her and told her she couldn't understand. She didn't want to understand, really.
Friends never gave her presents either. There were no friends. She had a dad that the kids at school – and teachers – were a little scared of; she had a kind of funny smell. That was all it took to lock her out forever. Her teachers wound up calling it her "attitude problem", which it was, but they wouldn't accept her anyway. It was easier for her to shut them off before they had the chance to do the same to her.
So there were few presents. What could be scraped together for birthdays and Christmas. Until one October, when she was presented a shiny silver necklace for no reason. She beamed.)
Veronica wore that necklace every day after Lilly died. Wrapped it around her neck like it might keep her tied to the Earth. She wore it over somber black to Lilly's funeral, a tiny shiver of glitter.
Her father had a strong arm around her shoulder; edging out muffled sobs for a girl he never really had the chance to know. Her mother held shaky hands with her daughter; openly crying for Neptune's favorite daughter. Veronica looked around as the preacher read out; Logan wouldn't meet her eyes – Veronica thought of Yolanda; how she had broken Lilly and Logan up. Did he blame her?
Duncan wouldn't raise his eyes, wouldn't look. He hardly seemed to realize what was happening. No tears fell from his eyes, but somehow there was a bottomless pit in him; a million times more pitiful and deeply frightening. Jake's whole body, whole soul was wracked with the force of his tears – Veronica thought he might bring the church building down. Celeste just stared glassy eyed at the coffin; helpless incomprehension in that usually-so-cold face.
The building was flooded with the force of their grief; people who barely knew Lilly Kane lining up in the streets to cry for her. Veronica looked into the coffin – open, because Lilly would have nothing less – and saw the shine of silver. There was an obvious "Friend" being buried with her. Veronica felt it was fitting, but she died a little inside too.
(Daddy asked again and again if it was okay; if she wanted more. She knew this sudden, random present would probably signal something bad – she didn't care. It was hers and it was from her daddy; it showed how he loved her. She told him it was more than enough, and he hugged her. They were perfect.)
She wore that necklace through it all; while her father accused Jake Kane of the murder, while he lost his job, while Logan mocked her, while the 09ers shooed her away, while Duncan avoided her, while her family packed their bags for a small apartment, while she read over her mother's goodbye note, bleary-eyed. She would tug on it sometimes, and beg Lilly for help. She knew it was just a piece of metal she got from a dead girl; it couldn't really do anything for her. Yet she kept trying to believe it was some sort of path to heaven, because if there was one thing she always needed to believe, it was that Lilly could save her.
She was wearing that necklace when she stumbled into Shelley Pomroy's end of the year party. She felt unconsciousness taking her, and she tugged on her necklace for salvation.
She woke up, and it didn't work. It was like a raw, burning, bright nightmare; she felt broken and used and dirty. She tried to do the right thing, to trust herself to authority, but it shooed her away. Laughed at her. She wasn't good enough.
Her father was off hunting down a bail-jumper somewhere as a freshly minted PI, so she was glad she didn't have to sneak past him and pretend to be okay. She crawled toward the bathroom and turned the water on searing hot, and she stared down at the necklace hanging around her neck. She had never taken if off to shower ever since Lilly died; never taken it off period. She wouldn't break the connection, not even for a second.
She grimaced and felt a little rage. What kind of a connection was this? This wasn't Lilly. This hadn't kept her mother, kept her friends, kept her reputation, kept her virginity. Lilly would never have let those things happen. This thing was a worthless, painful reminder of what she had lost. Nothing more.
She tore off the necklace and climbed into the shower, sobbing, and half wanting to wash away into the drain. But she didn't throw her trinket out.
(She felt – knew – she was wearing it wrong. It was a "Best" necklace, it was meant to have a "Friend." There was no-one to be that for her. She kind of knew that to get half of it, it had to be someone else's – someone with an actual best friend. Well, tough. Those two had their time for this symbol; it was her turn now.
She wondered who would really be wearing that "Friend." She liked to think she would like them.)
After Aaron was caught, Veronica let out a long, deep, shuddering breath. The same one she hadn't noticed she had been holding for a year and a half now. It was done; Lilly's killer was caught, her father vindicated, her respect restored, the question of her mother finally answered – it wasn't a perfect ending. She wanted her mom back. She wanted Lilly back. But she had done okay.
She found a necklace in the bathroom; sweet, cheap metal with half a heart reading: "Best." She put it on, let herself cry, and felt something like freedom.
(Daddy looked anxious after giving her the necklace. She asked why. He didn't answer. She was glad.)
She cried after the night on the roof. She had lost... her father. Her world. Her everything. The one constant that had always supported her, comforted her; the one thing that had always just... just... just been hers.
He was gone. And it was her fault.
She was an idiot. How could she believe that lie? This is Neptune, nothing happens accidentally, but it was easier to think of tragic mistake after tragic mistake. That was what she did, after all.
She had nightmares that night, although she wasn't sure if Logan saw them as she lay on his lap. The roof making her taser wounds sting; sway of GHB; Duncan disappearing once, twice, three times; her father dying in a ball of flame, Cassidy's simple words: "Nothing happened." Meg's face blaming her – oh god, Meg – and Lilly walking away.
Veronica lurched up and found Logan was asleep. Good. She started to fumble for the clasp on her necklace, she needed to get it off off off. She couldn't bear another weight of the world she once knew anymore. Easier to cut herself off from that past; what did she have tying her to it? Logan, but she could – would have to – make him something new. Lilly was gone, Duncan was gone, Mom was gone, Meg was gone, Dad was gone...
She hesitated as her fingernail caught the mechanism. She looked at Logan, and remembered that world – love, joy, hope. She could hold on to that. She had Logan to hold her to it; she had Wallace, Mac, those who cheered for her to create something new. She was not a broken girl who needed to cut out her past like a tumor. To do so would be to give in, to let Cassidy and Aaron win. She let the necklace stay where it was, and she held Logan as tight as she could.
When her father walked in through that door, she leaped for joy. Hugged him like she's never let go, and thought that for once, praying on Lilly's necklace – her spirit – had worked.
(Her daddy was crying as he approached her, deputies by her side. She shook her head in confusion. They said only bad people went to prison, and her daddy wasn't a bad person. He was her daddy.
"Darling," he said, clutching her tiny hand. "I love you... I made a mistake, sweetheart. It's not your fault. You deserve everything, anything I can give you," he gently tugged on the necklace around her neck, and she tried not to cry. She saw the sheriff smirking in the distance; she always knew he was a jerk.
"I love you, Daddy," she said. Then the deputies led him away and she was storming up to a girl's car; it was that woman's fault.)
They had no right to take it from her. That necklace was her past, it was her Lilly. She needed that, and it wouldn't mean a thing to them. It was just a stupid trinket on its own, but to her it had so much value. She needed it. They didn't.
She stormed. She blew up the investigative fury she was so known for, and found the goddamned bastards that had taken it from her. She would make them pay. She even managed to do it legally, oddly enough – Lamb didn't even piss her off much this time. But she still didn't have her symbol of Lilly back. Then she saw silver around her Bad Guy's daughter's neck.
(The woman wrenched the necklace off her, and she gasped. This woman had taken away her daddy, and now she was taking away her reminder of him too. Why? What had she done wrong? She didn't no this woman.
This woman was evil. A fancy Hearst newcomer, dropping in and destroying everything she could. The woman's car drove off and she raged.)
She tore the necklace off, and clutched it – clutched Lilly – like a rosary. She felt righteous.
(She felt righteous.)