Chapter 31 Venus and Mars Are All Right Tonight
IN THE MOUNTAINS
Veronica had gotten into the back seat of the car with Logan. Keith pulled a first aid kit and a blanket out of the trunk, which he handed to Logan who declined to put it across his bloody shoulders. Seeing the look on Veronica's face, Logan tried to smile.
"I've been in worse shape," he told her. "I'm just…really tired." He looked down at his hands, which he had tucked between his thighs. "These hurt."
She scooted across the seat toward him and took his hand. The blood flow was returning, which was painful but the color was looking much better. As Keith drove down the mountain, she put antibiotic ointment on Logan's wrists and bound them in gauze. Then she did the same for his ankles. He let her look at the long lacerations on his back.
"We should get you to a hospital," she said. "These may need stitches."
"No. No hospital." Logan said firmly. "I don't want any of this to end up on Youtube."
"No." He looked at her. "Just bandage it, please."
"Logan!" she tried to argue but her dad cut her off.
"We'll get him home, honey," he said. "We can find someone who'll come to the house."
"We can't find a doctor who'll make a house call in the middle of the night!"
"I can find someone." Keith said. "Don't worry."
Veronica turned back to Logan and saw that he'd fallen asleep. She reached out and touched him. He flinched, his eyes flying open in a panic but then he saw her and relaxed. Without a word, he leaned into her and was quickly out again. She eased him down until he was lying on the seat with his head pillowed on her lap.
"Oh," she suddenly remembered. "Can you toss me my bag?" Keith held it over the seat and she grabbed it and fished her phone out. Holding Logan with her left arm, she dialed Mac with her right hand.
"I've got him. He's a little messed up but he's okay." Veronica reported.
"Good work, Bond!" Mac said. "How'd you leave Gory?"
"To the tender mercies of his Uncle Lev," Veronica smiled grimly. "Who promised us Gory would never darken our door again."
"Oh God. Well, Good. I'll pass the word."
Veronica ended the call and dropped her phone into her bag. She ran a hand through Logan's hair, then gently pulled the blanket over him, careful not to touch his tender back.
WALLACE AND PIZ'S ROOM
Mac ended the call and looked over at Max. "It's over, she's got him!"
"Oh." Max looked a little disappointed. "That was easy."
Mac dialed Dick and gave him the good news.
"Sweet!" Dick said and she heard him yell to whoever he was with "Logan's back! Party at the Pi Sig house! You and the rest of the nerds drink free, Macster!"
"Free drinks at the Pi Sig house." She said to Max.
"I always drink free there." Max said. "Those guys owe me big."
A little more than a half hour later, they were all at the Pi Sig house; the nerds, the surfers, the basketball team, the radio geeks, the PHAT kids and Piz and Parker. The impromptu celebration was nothing like the advertized and over hyped bacchanals that the fraternity was known for but everyone involved was relaxed, relieved and having a good time. There was no cake.
Several of the lined pieces of paper had made their way from Wallace's wall to the Pi Sig house and the words B.O.N. V.A.G. were taped up, which Dick felt summed up his sentiments, exactly.
"I should've grabbed the 'Y' instead of the 'N' in honor of you, huh?" Dick said, elbowing Piz, who studied him for a moment.
"You're a moron." Piz said.
"You're just jealous 'cuz Logan is my BFF and not yours." Dick shrugged.
Later, Piz and Wallace were regaling Parker and several members of the basketball team with what they knew of the adventures of Logan and Veronica over the past week.
"Oh, for Heaven's sake!" Parker said. "I was never cut out to date Iron Man. I just want a super cute boyfriend who doesn't run off to South America without giving me a thought. I'm perfectly happy to leave life and death heroics to others."
"Well, I did leave my fate in the hands of a spineless and semi alcoholic has been rock star, once." Piz said.
"My hero!" she smiled adoringly at him.
At that moment, Dick climbed up on a table and got everyone's attention. He held up a beer cup and said "To Logan! I have no idea what he did, but I'm sure it kicked ass!"
THE NEPTUNE GRAND
Keith pulled into the parking lot of the hotel just before eleven o'clock. Reggie, the head of security, met them at the service entrance with Jeff Ratner, who brought along a robe.
"Come on, Moneybags," he said, helping Logan get the robe on over his sore shoulders. "We can't have you wandering around here looking like the star of one of your own bum fight videos."
"Do I at least look like I won?" Logan smirked.
"God no." Ratner answered. "Not unless the other guy is dead."
Keith had called an EMT buddy on the way back into town. He asked Jeff if he had arrived yet.
"Yep." Ratner nodded. "He's in the room, all ready to stitch up the Admiral, here."
"I don't want stitches," Logan turned back toward the door.
"Cowboy up, Echolls!" Veronica said, turning him back. "You want to spend the rest of your life explaining why you look like you got run over by a train?"
"Is it that bad?" he asked, his eyes wide.
"It ain't pretty." She told him.
"Matches the rest of me, then." He sighed, but followed them to the service elevator.
After ushering them onto the car, Ratner stepped back and offered to go get them dinner. "I'll have it upstairs by the time you're finished." Logan just nodded.
"Thanks." Veronica said. Once the doors closed, she looked at Logan. "I think you're wrong about him," she said. "I get the impression he definitely gives a shit about you."
"Well then, he's fired." Logan said.
"Don't fire him before we get something to eat!" Keith chimed in.
An hour later Logan was cleaned up, stitched up and fed. After they were through with dinner, Keith hadn't even raised an eyebrow when Veronica said she was staying. He had simply kissed her on the forehead, told Logan to quit being such a pain in the ass and left.
Logan lay on the couch, his chin propped in one hand, idly channel surfing. Veronica sat down next to him and he dropped his arm, letting his head fall into her lap.
"This has been the toughest finals week, ever." He murmured, turning off the television.
"Why can't it just be like this all the time?" she asked, running her fingers through his hair. "Why do there always have to be other people?"
"You'd get bored." He said, running his hand up and down her shin. "Just me and room service would drive you crazy. 'Course, I think you're fun when you're crazy."
"I can't even imagine being bored with you. But I probably would want to get out of the room every week or so…" she said. "I'll always come back."
"I'll try not to get into too much trouble while you're gone."
"Hey, you gotta be you."
"I'm a mess without you."
"You looked like you were doing okay."
"I was faking it. That just prolongs the agony. I never have to pretend when I'm with you."
"Come with me." she urged. "I've …we've missed each other enough. I don't know about you but I can't take it any more."
"Do you really want me to follow you out there or are you just afraid of what I'll do back here on my own?"
"I'm not afraid of anything you'll do. Not anymore. And I really want…everything. I want to do this internship; I want to see what it's like at the FBI; I want to get out of Neptune and I want to have you with me, all the time. I'm selfish. I admit it."
There was a knock on the door. He lifted himself on his elbows and they looked at each other for a moment, then Veronica moved to get up. He shook his head and put a hand on her leg and said "Don't. It's after midnight. Nothing good ever happens after midnight."
"Plenty of good things happen after midnight." She said, leaning down and kissing him. Then she stood as another knock sounded on the door.
"This has been a rough day." He said, sprawled face down on the couch.
"It's after midnight," she said over her shoulder. "That was yesterday." She went over and opened the door to see Weevil.
"Hey, V. I wish I was surprised to see you here. How's your boy?"
"Says he's been worse. What are you doing here?"
"My uh…my Grandma sent me. Someone told her what was going on. I don't know…maybe Arturo. She said to give this to him." He held up a brown paper bag. "Be careful with that. My Grandma makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world." He shook his head. "I will never understand what it is about that guy."
"Thanks, Weevil." She said. "And thanks for your help today."
"I guess you know what you're doing. You always do." He looked like he wanted to say more but he just nodded and turned for the elevator. Veronica shut the door and went back to Logan. He was sitting up now, his elbows on his knees. He looked at her, a question in his eyes. She held up the bag.
"Next month's rent." She said. "Mrs. Navarro knew you had a bad day."
LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Logan lounged on a bench, his legs stretched out in front of him, looking out across the sand to the water. His ankles and wrists were still pink but no longer bandaged.
"Dude!" Dick called, strolling over from the side walk in front of Amy's Ice Cream, an enormous cone in his hand. "Don't you want a cone?"
"I put my order in," Logan answered, as Heather came bouncing over to the bench.
"Here you go!" she said, handing him his double scoop; peppermint bon bon and rocky road. "This is SO MUCH FUN!"
"Where's yours?" Logan asked her.
"I'll get it, I'll get it!" she skipped back across the walk to where her sister and Veronica were picking up their ice cream. Melinda handed Heather her own peppermint bon bon/rocky road mix and sashayed over to Dick with her single scoop of chocolate almond fudge. She was wearing closed toed sandals.
"I like Dick." Heather said to Veronica. "He's funny and he gets me. I hope Melinda stays married to him."
"They seem happy enough today." Veronica shrugged. "So do you."
"I think being happy is smarter than being sad." Heather explained. "I mean, unless you really can't help it; like Logan couldn't help it when I met him." She looked sideways at Veronica. "I had pretty much decided that when I grew up, I'd marry him, even though he'd be, like…thirty." She shook her head, trying to comprehend such an ancient age. "But he really loves you, so this is much better."
"Thank you," Veronica laughed. "You seem to be a stellar judge of relationships."
"I'm glad you saved him." Heather said, quietly. "He's…he's…"
"Yeah, he is."
Heather grinned, happy to know that Veronica understood her. She skipped back over to the bench and danced around it, eating her cone. Veronica worked on her moose tracks and looked up and down the beach, expectantly. She turned to Logan and said "Hang on a minute, I'll be right back!"
He watched her trot down the beach. About a hundred yards away, she met someone and they slowly walked back together.
"Don't worry, dude." Dick said, eyeing the tall stranger with Veronica. "I'm sure it's not what it looks like. Ronnie and I have an understanding." He slapped Logan on the back.
"Ow." Logan said, conversationally.
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry." Dick grimaced.
"Whoever he is, he's cute." Melinda said, watching Veronica approach.
"You and I should have an understanding too," Dick said, frowning.
"What? I didn't say he was as cute as you!" Melinda smiled and licked her ice cream.
"I love being married!" Dick sighed.
"You guys are so gross." Heather shuddered.
Logan had lost all interest in his ice cream, watching Veronica come up the beach laughing, arm in arm with the tall young man. He swallowed hard as the pair came up to the bench.
"Logan Echolls," she said with an excited smile and a dramatic pause, "I'd like you to meet Charlie Stone…"
Logan was so stunned, seeing the outstretched hand and looking up into the face of his brother that he almost missed the rest of Veronica's introduction.
"…my future brother in law."
He cut his eyes away from his brother's face and met hers, which were shining with happiness.