Every game you play, every night you stay.

*

Senior year had been a difficult enough time as it was – school, a murder trial, therapy for nearly everyone they knew – so neither Logan nor Veronica had really made moves to regain their relationship.

"Are you kidding me? What are you doing, Logan?" she demanded from the ridged plastic chair.

His eyes opened again, more definitely this time, "Huh? Where am I?"

"In the hospital," she gritted, "on suicide watch," her voice choked over the last word, "again."

He swallowed painfully. Logan was about to open his mouth to voice 'sorry' when Veronica left the room – looking to his right he saw Duncan sitting to his other side.

"You can't keep doing this, man," he shook his head.

"I know, D, I didn't mean—"

"Save it for Veronica, you really scared her this time."

Logan let his eyes fall closed as he slumped back against the pillow his whole body aching from his stomach pump, "Tell her I'm—"

"I got it," Duncan nodded, hitting the button for the nurse.

Logan nodded as Duncan headed to the door, looking up as Duncan called back softly.

"She loves you, man."

Logan opened his mouth to protest when Duncan waved him off with a hand, "I said she loves you, she's not in love with you."

Logan again resigned himself to an awkward nod against the tight, cream sheets.

"I love you," he avoided Logan's gaze when the other boy looked up, "just—just don't do it again, Logan. Please. Not after Lilly."

Logan swallowed at the cheap shot – his best friend emotionally blackmailing him with the girl that used to be their sister and girlfriend, respectively.

"She would never forgive you…"

"Lilly?" he asked tightly, knowing the real answer.

"Don't make us do all this again," Duncan pleaded finally before stepping through the door.

The decision not to renew their romantic relationship wasn't really discussed, things just didn't work out that way - after a while they stopped actively avoiding each other. Logan and Veronica had both developed their friendships with Duncan, working towards some kind of closeness again and therefore it wasn't too much of a leap for them to work towards regaining whatever friendship they had had when Lilly was alive and collectively they were the Fab Four.

There were only three of them, and there was certainly nothing fabulous about most of their time together that year but before long Veronica and Logan were legitimate friends again, and although they never talked about their brief yet colorful relationship it was always there, lurking in the background. The way Veronica licked her lips, the way Logan ran his fingers along a table. All the little things that made the other shiver after one drink too many, all the games of truth or dare, spin the bottle, I never, strip poker... Senior year was a difficult yet mostly platonic time.

The pair were thrown into close proximity far too often for it to be anything other than a cosmic joke.

"Duncan's in the hospital."

"What?" she blinked.

Logan clarified, his voice shaking down the phone even as he tried to fake calm, "Celeste just called me – he had some kind of episode."

"What happened?" Veronica demanded.

"I don't know, but he hit his head or something. They took him in about twenty minutes ago."

She checked her watch. "Where are you?"

"I was about to head over," he admitted.

"Pick me up?"

"I'll be there in ten," he promised.

When Logan reached Veronica's apartment she was already fully dressed – despite the late hour – and she hopped down the stairs, hurriedly jumping into the passenger seat and snapping on her seat belt without so much as a 'hey'.

The journey was tense and awkward – Veronica's eyes kept darting over to Logan, who couldn't look back properly as he kept his gaze fixed on the road. Neither of them said anything of any importance until they reached the parking lot of Neptune Memorial.

"Do you think he's okay?"

Logan didn't want to lie to her, "I don't know."

Without him really realizing Veronica had gripped his hand in hers, practically dragging him towards the building and its reception.

"Hi, we're looking for Duncan Kane," she chewed on her lip nervously as the receptionist keyed Duncan's name into the system, searching for a room number. That was a joke in itself – everyone in the whole damn building had to know where someone like Duncan Kane was.

"302, honey. But it's limited visitors," the receptionist replied.

Logan flashed his cell phone redundantly, "They know we're coming."

Pointing down the main corridor with a pen the receptionist called after them, "it's just in the left wing, can't miss it."

Once they finally (can't miss it my ass, thought Logan) found the right room down the right anonymous corridor Veronica and Logan were informed by Jake Kane that they wouldn't be able to visit Duncan tonight. On tip toes Veronica peered through the criss-crossed pane of security glass in the door, spying Celeste in a chair next to the bed, holding Duncan's unfeeling hand. Jake nodded and excused himself, heading towards the vending machines as Logan slumped into one of the waiting chairs outside. Veronica did likewise, falling down beside him with a sigh.

"If he was that bad they would let us see him right?" her voice was more timid than it had been in years, or at least it sounded that way to her ears. And the way that Logan was regarding her, Veronica guessed she must be right.

When she turned to him Logan kept his gaze trained on the opposite wall, not looking at her as he answered, "Yeah, I guess."

It was only about twenty minutes later that Veronica looked as if she was nodding off and Logan patted her shoulder gently as her head lolled. "Veronica? You want me to drive you home?"

She stirred, coming awake slowly as she rubbed furiously at her eyes for betraying her. "I kind of want to be here," she confessed.

"Okay," he nodded, "me too."

Veronica shifted slightly so that her head was resting on the wall behind her once more, but this time facing Logan – her eyes wide open. Finally he turned to look at her, uncomfortable under her scrutiny.

"What?"

Her eyes were glassy, "what if we lose him too?"

"Everybody dies," his voice was cold and tight as he tried to be blasé, dismissive. Tried to pretend that his best friend hadn't nearly died in the same pool his girlfriend had laid beside as a corpse – blood crusted to her hair.

He wasn't sure how he felt when Veronica called his bluff.

"Not like this," she countered softly, "not everyone leaves," she breathed out, as if trying to convince herself. Turning to face Logan properly, a small hand hot on his thigh she said very definitely: "Duncan didn't die."

Logan swallowed with difficulty, "if no one was home he would have."

His eyes caught with her watery gaze but Veronica blinked before he could catch her crying, not that he would say anything about it anyway. Not there and then. There was a thick smothering of the threat of death, time marked out in muffled heart monitor beeps and more blood on the Kane's poolside.

Veronica's lip was quivering and Logan didn't think much at all before he stilled it with his mouth, pushing open her lips with his tongue as she grasped his shoulders tightly, her fingers full of need. They were both looking for reassurance, they were edgy and worried and tense – that's how they rationalized their first kiss in months once it was over. They agreed it didn't matter.

And it didn't.

Neither did the one when Veronica's mother was found OD'd in a hotel room in Arizona. Or when Aaron was finally given the death penalty and Logan had been so full of emotion just indescribable joy and sadness and so much of everything in between that he couldn't keep it confined to his own body – talking into her mouth while her back was pressed against his bedroom wall.

None of these kisses mattered because it never went any further, they were just friends. If you didn't have a relationship, then you couldn't fuck it up – simple as that really. Nobody knew, they never talked about it and it had only happened maybe three or four times – nothing at all.

Nothing that counted anyway.

The year continued as normal – and unlike years before – when something went wrong Veronica actually had people to be there for her, some stability outside of her father. She had Wallace and Duncan and Logan and really it was a nice change coming home every day after school and trying to hide her more teenage problems from her dad. She loved him, but there were just some things that Veronica never wanted to discuss with Keith Mars – ever. And on those occasions she always had an escort for her problem drowning of choice, be that liquor, ice cream or movies – sometimes all of the above.

And yes, on the odd occasion Logan had been the problem drowner of choice – because it was easy, because he didn't ask for validation or commitment, but mostly her senior year was a blanket of platonicness topped off by going to Prom without a date. Or with three dates, it depended which angle you looked at it from, what you thought about the amount of time three boys spent with her that night instead of their own dates – and really, a whole lot of her life was like that, iridescent and indefinable.

The event itself was pretty tame, especially by Neptune High social event standards. It was only later, in a honeymoon suite rented for the purpose of a party by Logan's very convenient platinum card that the real 'goodbye and good riddance' to school began.

The extensive room service menu was fully plundered, the mini bar raided and several bottles of smuggled vodka downed in ridiculous drinking games that they should have all outgrown. The night continued in the same vein until Veronica let herself fall onto the bed, flopping down to eavesdrop on some conversations until she woke up enough to make her way home.

The dim light was muggy when her eyes opened painfully, dry and raw as Veronica pulled herself up, head fuzzy and arms sore as she readjusted herself on the bed. It took a moment for her to realize what she was doing asleep – fully clothed – on a hotel bed and once that brief moment of panic had passed she looked up to find somebody, after all the room had been full and spinning when she apparently fell asleep. The only other person in the immediate vicinity seemed to be Logan who was sitting by a vanity dresser coaxing a drink from the mini bar.

"What time is it?" she rasped.

Logan squinted blearily at his watch. "Just after three."

Blinking a couple of times Veronica looked around, noticing the severe lack of other people. "Where's everyone else?"

"Most of them went home, or back to their rooms," he set the drink down, stretching his arms out a little.

"My dad is gonna kill me," she groaned, running a hand through her hair.

"Come on dad, I'm nearly nineteen."

"That's exactly why I don't want you to go."

"But it's prom, how many times have you begged me to do some normal, teen girl things? This is as normal and teen girl as it gets."

"Veronica—"

"I'll behave, cross my heart."

"I don't know."

"Dad, please. It's a party—"

"At a hotel."

"Yes, at a hotel, but it's not like I'm getting a room alone with some guy. There will be plenty of chaperones around."

"Drunk peers don't count as chaperones, honey."

"But this will be the last time I see everyone."

"Remind me of the good times when you hated everything about that school."

"Yes, they were golden. But we need to stay on topic – I can't ditch Wallace. That's so un-BFF. And Duncan and—"

"Logan?"

"He's not my date."

"Honey, I'm sorry I just—"

"You want me to attach a tracker to him? Maybe one to Duncan too?"

"Don't be silly."

"Daddy, please?"

"Veronica…"

"Please?"

"I want you back before morning."

"It's too late to get a cab, just crash here," he waved a hand towards the bed.

Veronica pulled her legs up under her, rearranging the delicate material of her Prom dress, "Isn't this your room?"

"Yeah," he yawned.

"Then what about you?"

Logan looked at her pointedly before standing, "This is the honeymoon suite, the couch is almost the same size as your apartment – I think I'll manage."

He headed through to the next room and half an hour later – still in her dress and make-up – Veronica padded through to the main room of the suite, perching herself on the coffee table that ran parallel to the couch Logan had spread himself along.

His eyes were closed as he muttered, "Hey."

"I can't sleep," she murmured back.

Logan kept his eyes closed, moving an arm up to curl in between the couch and his face as he replied, "You shouldn't have fallen asleep at twelve then."

"Maybe I wouldn't have if someone hadn't spent all night feeding me drinks," she huffed.

Logan grinned against his arm, "You flashed Dick."

Her mouth dropped open in annoyance, "It was truth or dare – and you dared me."

He shrugged, lifting himself up to lean back against the armrest – body still sprawled along the length of the couch. "You still did it."

"I didn't exactly trust you to assign a forfeit," she smiled back.

The room went quiet as Logan closed his eyes, letting himself fall back into the couch, they opened slowly as he felt the cushion indent next to him, looking up to see Veronica propped on the very edge – he shifted slightly to give her more room and continued to stare at her expectantly.

With a slight shove from her small hand he moved further along, making room for her to lie next to him – Veronica tugged on his wrist, pulling out Logan's arm to rest the back of her head on as they both watched the ceiling.

He sighed deeply, his tone profound, "Everyone else sucks."

Veronica stopped a laugh in her throat, "Because they left you all alone at Prom?"

"Because they couldn't take the pace," he clarified.

"I'm still here."

"Only because you passed out," he observed.

"Maybe I passed out deliberately," she teased, "so I could be around for this spectacular party of yours."

He moved to face her, arm still cushioning her neck, "you don't think my party's spectacular?"

"I may have to be persuaded," she replied more breathily than she had intended, caught up in how close his face was to her own.

It only took a fraction of a second for Logan to close the distance between their bodies, his lips pressing firmly against Veronica's as he caught up her mouth with his. She made a small sound in the back of her throat, grasping him closer as his hand wrapped in her hair – it was a few minutes later when Logan was rolling her beneath him that Veronica's hands pushed up into his chest – stalling him from her.

"Wha—?" he was barely able to talk, jolted so suddenly from her mouth.

Veronica pulled down the zipper of her dress, sliding it quickly off her hips and onto the floor leaving her in a bra and panties. When he eyed her she climbed back onto the couch next to him, explaining softly, "I don't want to rip my dress."

He grinned against her cheek and she rolled her eyes, "You've seen me in a bikini, Logan."

He just shook his head before pulling her more firmly to him, shifting until he was comfortably between her thighs, her arms wrapped around his neck as he bent to kiss her again.

It was less than half an hour before her underwear was on the floor again, and Veronica (who had had sex with boys that weren't Duncan by this point) discovered that she was a whole new kind of stupid. Not because Logan – the Logan whose name was tacked onto the end of so many of her issues – was sitting between her knees ripping a condom packet. Not because she was about to have sex at Prom despite promising her worried father that she would be home by one. But because when Logan thrust into her with little regard for the upholstery in the luxurious suite, Veronica realized that all the times Logan had kissed her better he could have been doing this. And senior year would have probably been a lot more bearable.

But she was drunk so when Veronica woke up the next morning, half of her leg falling off the oversized couch – practically stuck to Logan, his arm jammed awkwardly under her she decided that this didn't really mean anything either.

She used a small hand to swat at his chest, too hung-over to really move properly, when he half opened an eye in response she mumbled, "We had sex."

"Good sex," he amended with a yawn, not bothering to open his eyes any more.

She rolled her eyes, unable to disagree – mostly because of her limited experience but also because for drunken sex it had been good, "We shouldn't be having sex."

He moved slightly beneath her, turning to face her, his hand reaching out to push back some of the bed-head covering her features, "There's not exactly a rule."

"We were drunk, Logan, we're friends for the first time in forever – why would we ruin that?" she murmured into his chest with a furrowed brow.

He stilled under her for a moment before agreeing, "Yeah. I guess this was kind of inevitable."

The two of them were caught in a standstill, Veronica unwilling to move and collect her scattered clothing only for Logan to see her naked, Logan unable to move until she climbed off of him. Veronica knew that her modesty was a little redundant now, but still – she was sobering up and the couch didn't exactly have a sheet to wrap around her.

Her leg pressed down the length of his thigh was warm and sticky, his chest moving in a regular rhythm beneath her face, but eventually Veronica pulled herself up, one arm wrapping across her chest automatically as Logan quirked his mouth in a melancholy smile and clamped a hand over his eyes while she gathered up her underwear and the discarded Prom dress.

Once she emerged from the bathroom Veronica was relieved to see Logan was at least partly dressed in jeans as he rooted around in his bag, pulling out a t-shirt as she stepped towards him. He pulled the cotton over his head and Veronica paused before crossing the room to the door, watching him as if she was gauging for some type of reaction, "So, this…"

"I won't tell anyone if you don't," he promised.

"Okay," she nodded, "cool."

"Veronica?" his voice was quiet as she turned back.

"Yeah?"

The word was hardly past her lips as Logan pushed her up against the door, tongue pushing into her mouth roughly as he gripped her waist. Veronica caught Logan's bottom lip between her teeth, ending the kiss as she pulled back with wide eyes.

"Secret's safe," he grinned against her, pressing his lips to hers in a sound peck before he pulled away, holding the door open for Veronica as she tried not to laugh at the absurdity, heading for the elevator while she braced herself for the imminent confrontation with her dad.

Graduation had gone more smoothly than anyone could have ever predicted. Duncan had won the race to valedictorian – but had refused to accept the scholarship considering his parents had to pay for his college education anyway. That meant that Veronica was offered a full scholarship to the University of her choice – anywhere in the United States – so when she decided to stay in the SoCal area most people thought she was crazy.

"I don't want to leave my dad on his own," she had confided to Logan one night when the credits had long since run dry on the DVD they'd been watching and Duncan was in the kitchen topping up their popcorn.

"Why aren't you going to college?" she'd prodded, "It's not like you can't afford it."

He just shrugged, "Trust fund kid. No real ambition."

"That's such a lie," she had protested, "there has to be something you want to do."

"Live by the beach, surf, drink… oh, yeah, and waste all my father's money," he had replied glibly.

Veronica hadn't been satisfied by the answer but Logan didn't seem willing to discuss the matter any further – he wasn't going to college and that was that. By the time Duncan got back with the popcorn and another two oversized bags of Doritos the conversation had already turned towards which movie to watch next and when was Wallace going to get back from camp and let Logan off babysitting duty.

Duncan had rolled his eyes as he threw a bag of chips at the bickering pair, choosing the next movie while they were distracted by their latest round of half-hearted insults.

After summer Duncan headed to the East coast for school, Veronica moved to Malibu for law school (about the closest she could get to her dad's line of work without him severely disapproving) and Logan true to his word didn't go to school at all. He turned up at her dorm one day early in the first semester with a wad of glossy paper, holding out a sheet that held the details of a beach house in Venice. California, not Italy, she thought with a mild amount of disappointment.

The house in the picture was excessive, a giant beach front cottage with two floors, beach stretching out at the bottom of the garden and more space than one human being could possibly ever need.

"Most people downgrade when they move out," she reprimanded.

"I am downgrading," he insisted, "this only has four bedrooms."

Veronica didn't look impressed, "you don't need four bedrooms."

He grabbed the brochure back, pointing at some facts typed in small print, "Two bathrooms?"

Her face remained resolute.

"Oceanside view!" he tried, "Plus it's only two point three," he justified.

Veronica rolled her eyes and he gave her a small glare.

She returned his gaze pointedly, "My apartment has less than four rooms and you need three guestrooms?"

"I don't need them – they come with the house," he pointed out with a smile for her benefit.

Veronica wasn't going to give up that easily, "But you're buying the house."

"Yeah, I like it." Logan shrugged in response.

"Fine," she sighed dramatically, "waste your money."

"I've got money to waste," he countered.

"That doesn't mean you should."

"It's a house, that's like an investment, Veronica."

"It's still over indulgent."

"Never said it wasn't, maybe I just like being indulged."

"Maybe if you would get a job—"

"I don't need a job."

"You don't need a two-million dollar house."

"Sorry—I meant, I don't want a job."

She glowered at him and not just because she was jealous of his freedom, sure, she was a little jealous that he didn't have to work an unsatisfying job to pay the bills like she almost certainly would – but mostly she was just angry at his wasted potential. Logan bought the house much to her chagrin.

He was twenty-five minutes away from her on clear roads, but Veronica was on the road for at least forty minutes when she got out of class to find slurring voicemail on her cell. The traffic was ridiculous and she promised herself that she would kick Logan's ass if he wasn't already dead in his own vomit by the time she got there.

Banging loudly on the front door for a few minutes she found the back to be open and headed to the main bathroom she found Logan slumped on the floor next to two bottles – one completely empty, the other half-full.

Her hands rubbed firmly down his back, warm and soothing against the tense muscles as he choked out acid and liquor and bile. She squeezed an arm around his shoulders gently as he rested his head on the cold, ceramic rim of the toilet – exhausted. As soon as Logan seemed to have settled Veronica handed him a wad of tissue – which he promptly spat into, turning it over to clean his tongue – and a glass of water which he sipped at meekly, leaning back again the wall as she knelt down next to him.

"What are you doing?" she sounded angry and he gagged against the back of his hand, fighting to keep anything left in his stomach down.

He was still drunk and leaned heavily into her touch as Veronica ran her hands up and down his arms despite herself, unable to keep some small form of comfort from him.

"Got bored, just having some fun," he mumbled thickly through his acid-stained mouth.

"It's lunchtime, Logan. On a weekday," Veronica didn't know whether to laugh or cry or scream at him, she sighed in frustration and moved closer, sidling down next to him – Logan pale and shivering as he leant his head against her and Veronica ran her fingers through his hair affectionately.

"You're an idiot, you know that, right?"

He groaned slightly at the volume of her voice.

She continued, "This is why you should get a job."

Her lecture received another small moan as he buried his face closer to her neck.

"It could be interesting," she insisted, "stop you getting 'bored' at least."

"Yeah, if 'interesting' became a synonym for 'hell'," he muttered against her skin.

"Quit being a drama queen, your acting sucks, Logan."

"So did my parents' – and they still made millions."

Veronica wanted to reply with, 'and look where it got them'. But making cheap shots about the fact that one of his parents jumped off a bridge and the other was offed at the request of the Supreme Court just seemed tacky. Especially when the boy in question was still dry heaving and clinging to her.

After a few more awkward moments with Logan's face much too close to her chest for comfort, Veronica pulled away lightly, "I have class," she started.

He nodded, bringing a hand up to his pounding eyes as he slumped away from her, supported by the tiled wall.

Veronica was loath to leave him on his own, but she doubted that any of his friends would be a good influence at that point, remembering Dick's steadfast conviction to Bloody Marys as a hangover cure.

"I'll check on you later," she added in goodbye.

His voice was low and gravely, rough from too much vomiting, "You don't have to."

She ignored him, repeating, "I'll check on you later."

She had returned to Logan drowning himself in glass after glass of water, curled on the couch with a box of aspirin. She had ended up crashing on his couch, partly naked and before long she was sneaking him into her dorm room while her roommates were out.

The comforter was ripped off of Logan's chest as Veronica stage whispered urgently, "Get out!"

"Wha—?" his sleep slurred voice was ragged against the pillow.

"Sara's coming."

"What the hell? It's two a.m."

"I'm sick!"

"No you're not," he dragged a hand across his eyes, flipping to face her.

"She thinks I am."

"So what?"

"She's going to check on me."

"And?"

"And you're here. So I'm obviously not sick."

"You can't have sex if you're sick?"

"No! I mean… yes, but she wanted me to go out."

"So? You're 'sick', you had to stay in bed," he dismissed rolling back into his pillow.

A small hand reached out and slapped his back. "Out!"

"Where the fuck am I going to go, Veronica? Out the window?"

She raised her eyebrows in a 'duh'.

"No way."

"Come on, Logan – she'll be in any minute now."

"I'll hide."

"Where?"

"Right here," he mumbled as he pulled the covers over his head.

"You're still kind of visible there."

"Tell her you got fat," he groaned from under the sheets.

Less than five minutes later and Veronica was throwing Logan's jeans at him as he scrambled out of the window, straightening on the other side he walked straight into Veronica's roommate Sara.

"Sara, hi," he held his crumpled jeans in front of him as Veronica leaned out the window with his shirt in her hand. As she brushed the hair off her face Veronica finally saw the reason Logan wasn't moving.

"Uh, Sara, hi – good night?"

Sara raised an eyebrow, "I would ask the same," she waved a hand in the direction of Logan's near nudity as she trailed off, "but…"

"Yeah," she clutched the sheet wrapped around her chest tighter, "Logan was just checking on me… because I'm sick."

Sara nodded a slight grin on her face, "how sweet of you Logan."

He suppressed a grin in return, "And now I really need to get home, Veronica's bound to need her sleep since she's sick and all. Oh, but make sure she gets plenty of hot lemon – wouldn't want that cold to stick," he darted his eyes at her just long enough to catch the deathly glare.

"I don't lik—"

"No, he's right Veronica – you don't want to be ill for the deadline next week."

Veronica couldn't tell if Sara was serious or just playing along with Logan for kicks. She pursed her lips as Sara headed round the side of the apartment block to let herself in and Logan pulled on his jeans, grabbing his shirt from her. He winked at her, heading towards his car and Veronica grimaced as she heard the kettle click on in the next room.

"I'll get you back," she warned to Logan's retreating form, unable to see the glee in his eyes.

It was only a few weeks later when Veronica hesitantly stated down the phone, "I'm not gonna come over tonight."

He waited for an explanation, answering when Veronica didn't continue, "Okay. Why?"

"I just don't think it's a good idea."

"Right," there was an extended pause, "why?"

"We've just been spending a lot of time together lately," she justified.

"And?"

"Don't be awkward Logan."

"Don't be oblique Veronica."

She sighed heavily, "Look, I just can't see you right now."

"Okay, then when?"

"I don't know."

"Are we breaking up?"

"We weren't together in the first place."

"Right," he breathed tightly.

Veronica wrapped the phone cord tightly round her fingers, twisting and untwisting the plastic-coated wire until it started to lose its shape. On the other side of the line Logan slumped back against the wall his disappointed sigh audible.

"Okay," she swallowed.

"Yeah."

She hung up the phone before he could make her feel anymore guilty about abandoning him. It wasn't like they were a couple. Sure, they'd had sex – but that was just… boredom and familiarity. It was easy. When they had hung out things had always had always tended towards the sexual and now that they were free of the never ending rumor mill, now that Duncan was across the country and they were a good distance away from her dad and his gun Veronica didn't see the harm. Just as long as they never got serious – she didn't think either of them could handle the fallout of a relationship like theirs.

Maybe spending every night for the last two weeks was a stupid idea, even if the guys in the room above hers had a certain predilection for old school techno music in the early hours of the morning. At least that's the pretence under which she arrived on Logan's doorstep fourteen nights in a row, nine of which she had ended up straight in his bed, no argument, no pretending.

Tonight would have been the fifteenth night (probably the tenth) if someone hadn't called Logan her 'boyfriend'.

She stuttered, "He's not my boyfriend."

"Sure," Sophie grinned in return.

"He's not, we're just friends from High School."

"Friends who have sleepovers."

"Nothing's going on," she insisted.

"Sara's caught you guys with your pants down more times than I can count, V."

"It's nothing," she swallowed, "me and Logan, we'd be terrible together."

"So… where are you going with the overnight bag full of condoms?"

"Nowhere," Veronica threw herself back down onto her bed.

Sophie nodded knowingly, "Okay, but don't miss out on a good thing, Veronica. He's so into you, whether you think so or not."

It had only taken Veronica ten minutes of indecision before she picked up the phone and told Logan she couldn't see him anymore. She wasn't really even sure why. Just that there was a tight pounding in her chest and she was not going to let things between them every get as out of control as they had in High School.

With that thought firmly in her mind she set her phone down next to her bed and shrugged into the covers, trying to get comfortable even though it was only eight p.m. Maybe, if she was lucky, she could just sleep away the rest of the week.

Veronica was almost asleep when her cell phone started to vibrate, the shaking plastic case drumming loudly off her bedside table until she couldn't take the noise anymore and hit the 'answer' button hastily. She could hear a dry voice down the line that almost sounded like a sob.

"God, Veronica, everything's just so fucked up," Logan practically gasped the words in pain, frustration flooding his voice.

She sat up a little straighter in bed, clutching the covers up around her chest, "Logan, what's wrong?"

"You're not here—" he began.

"Logan—" she tried to interrupt.

"—No one's here," he mumbled, ignoring her. His words were a little slurred around the edges, a little more labored than quick-wit would usually allow for. He sounded sad and desperate – and Veronica was incredibly grateful that Logan wasn't there in person, because he wore those emotions much too well. Veronica was a coward, confining these talks to the phone, but it was for his own good anyway – they would only hurt each other more in the long run. They could only ever end up as a divorce statistic at best.

"You're drunk," she sighed in disappointment.

"Yeah," he admitted, voice thick.

He would spend all his time drinking away their problems and she would be passive-aggressive until she snapped and they would argue all the time and she would never trust him and he would be convinced that she would leave him. And then she would. This is how Veronica knew it would all go down.

People loved you and then they fucked up and left. She wasn't really in the market for losing Logan too.

"Logan…" she didn't want to lecture him again, but she didn't want to have to drive to Venice and find him passed out either.

"No, don't—" he drew in a harsh breath, "you're always leaving."

"You're one to talk," she shot back.

"I don't run away, Veronica."

There was a tepid silence on the line and Veronica could hear his amplified breathing, irregular and hitched. She opened her mouth to speak half a dozen times before the line cut dead and all she could hear was the dial tone – the buzzing sounded like guilt.

The next morning she found herself on his doorstep before eight a.m. with a bag full of donuts and coffee in cardboard containers. When Logan finally pulled back the door with mussed hair and heavy eyes he pushed a small key into her free hand muttering, "I'm not getting up next time."

She pursed her lips at the sight of the key but pocketed it without discussion, following him as Logan headed back to his room. He climbed under the sheets pulling them up around his face and she sat on the edge of his bed behind him, sipping from the scalding coffee every few minutes.

"You okay?" she asked eventually, tracing a hand down his arm through the sheet.

He didn't respond but she could feel Logan shift in reaction to her touch. His eyes were closed tightly and the sharp pain in his head refused to go away – she set the paper bag on the floor and settled down on top of the comforter, Logan still facing away from her. Slowly she ran fingers up his shoulder soothing up his neck into his hair, trying to ease away his hangover – it was mostly her fault anyway.

He sighed shallowly, turning to face her – his face flushed and eyes bleary from alcohol and sleep. Veronica brushed her fingers through the front of his hair, pushing it away from his face, "You don't have to get drunk every time something doesn't go your way."

"You don't have to leave every time something goes wrong," he mumbled back painfully, his lips almost on hers just from the angle at which they were lying against the pillow.

"I don't—" she cut herself off, not worth trying to lie to him on that matter anymore.

"What's wrong Veronica? What have I done this time?" the cracking note in his voice made Veronica hate herself a little.

"Nothing," she pressed her lips together firmly, "I just, I don't want to ruin this – our friendship," she clarified. "Things were just getting kind of… heavy."

He snorted into his pillow in response, "So you using me won't ruin our 'friendship'?"

She could practically see his eyes roll behind closed lids when he emphasized the word 'friendship' like it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard.

"I'm not using you," she pulled herself up and Logan fell onto his back, looking up at her.

His mouth quirked into a sad grin, "Sure you are – I'm not complaining, but face it Veronica, you want all the perks with no strings."

"You've never seemed that bothered by it before," she observed.

"I'm not," he shrugged, rolling over so that he could break her gaze, "I just don't get it."

"What?" she asked softly.

"Your mom ran out on you, you know what that feels like – I don't get how you'd do that to someone else."

"You drink all the time," she spluttered back.

"I'm not an alcoholic though."

"Working your way towards it," her voice shuddered.

"I'm not," he sat up, wrapping his hand around her wrist, "I'm not hiding vodka in the cleaning cabinet or topping up 'water' bottles. I don't have a bottle stashed in my other purse; I'm not going to leave you some note."

"Good to know," she swallowed avoiding eye contact.

He released her hand with an exaggerated sigh, throwing his hands palm up to show defeat before he flopped violently back onto the mattress, causing the bed to bounce slightly.

Veronica lay back down next to him, her mouth against his shoulder, "This is stupid."

He remained silent.

"Are you mad?"

"No," came the muffled response.

"Wanna go to the beach?" she asked finally as a peace offering, smiling as he wriggled a hand under her to wrap around her waist – clutching her to him tightly through the covers.

Things slipped back into their relatively normal routine with Veronica eventually banning Logan from driving out to her dorm again.

"I have a car – and roommates," she argued when he protested, "suspicious, nosy roommates."

"Fine," he shrugged, "enjoy the traffic."

On this particular day she had been thankful for the distraction and delay of bad Californian traffic and packed roads, and now sitting on the floor of Logan's lounge she realized that something was moving in front of her face.

"Veronica… Veronica?"

"Huh?" she looked up from her daze.

Logan let the hand he had been waving past her eyes settle on Veronica's knee. "You spaced."

"Oh, sorry," she apologized carelessly, "I was just thinking."

"About?" he prodded.

"London."

"Huh," he cocked an eyebrow questioningly, "care to elaborate?"

"Uh, school has a program where you can take a semester out, go study in London. They asked me this afternoon if I wanted a place."

"Oh."

"Yeah," she stumbled, "it's probably too much money and it's kind of a long time, but it sounded sort of cool."

"Yeah," he nodded slowly.

"You don't think I should go," it was a statement rather than a question.

He shrugged, "It's not up to me," after a pause with her gaze prodding at him he continued, "Sounds like a great opportunity."

"It is," she admitted, "but?"

"Nothing," he furrowed his brow defensively under her eyes.

She grinned teasingly, "Will you miss me?"

"Oh, yeah. You and the hole in my head," he scoffed, bravado officially back in place, as she crawled into his lap – pushing him gently backwards with two hands planted firmly on his chest.

"Aw, the one thing you and Dick have in common – your lobotomies," she taunted with lips inches above his mouth.

"You really wanna bring up Dick right now?" he asked darkly as her hips pushed down against his jeans.

Veronica cocked an eyebrow wickedly in the direction of his pants, causing Logan to roll his eyes as he pulled her head closer, Veronica's mouth falling soundly against his.

"Bad sex jokes?" he murmured into her mouth, "you can definitely pack your bags now."

Veronica pulled away, Logan's hand on the back of her neck quickly dragging her lips back to his, "Not right now."

It was less than a month later that Logan grudgingly accepted that Veronica would be spending the fall in Europe, that she didn't want him to fly out there with her. They never actually verbalized that rule, but Logan wasn't about to start following her all over the country and Veronica wanted some freedom, something new and all her own.

He couldn't grudge her that and appear blasé about whatever was between them, so he tried not to. She flew out at the start of September, Veronica didn't cry as she was boarding and Logan didn't wait around at the airport for her plane to take off.

Once home he prepared himself for a long four months.

His skin was saturated with salt water, his bar needed stocking up, the shopping network had gotten old much quicker than expected and there was still another two and a half months until Veronica came home. Logan was officially bored.

It wasn't right; he should be able to entertain himself for four months, not even a whole four months. His pool table was ruined from at least one too many spilled beers on the felt and Logan had never been great at sitting still long enough to watch TV. He inevitably got bored and wandered away only to miss the point of the show.

The first week she was gone everything was fine, he surfed and drank and wasted a bunch of his father's (because it was never really going to be his since he didn't work for it) money. It was cool, and after the first three days of a very cranky Veronica informing him that it was very, very early morning in London he actually bothered to go calculate the time difference between GMT and California. Or at least, he looked it up on the Internet while trying to make pop tarts. The pop tarts didn't turn out so well, but from then on Logan tried to refine his calls to around four p.m. – which had to be sometime before midnight in England.

Veronica stopped complaining and Logan didn't even really notice that he had started calling just to say goodnight – because logically what else did he have to say? He didn't do anything all day. In fact it was starting to get embarrassing – Veronica was off exploring a whole different country (which Logan had been pretty unimpressed with himself, frankly) and he was sitting doing fuck all just because she wasn't there to provide him with constant distraction. Logan was no lapdog, especially not to some girl who wasn't even his girlfriend.

Resolutely Logan slammed his glass down on the large coffee table for show (despite being the only one in the house) and began to work an idea through in his – only partly – scotch fogged brain.

London was a far cry from Neptune or Malibu but at least, Veronica thought, it was easy enough to get local papers from home – scale away some of the homesickness. She did not however expect to see Logan smiling up at her from the grainy black and white print. Sitting up in her chair she flicked to the start of the article and began to read.

Walking to the nearest payphone she filled it with change waiting for the ringing to be answered.

"Hey?"

She did hesitate, "You're in the paper."

"Oh, yeah. Had to do something while you were gone," he justified nonchalantly.

"You didn't tell me," she sounded at least a little upset.

"You're busy," he tried offhandedly

"Not that busy, we've talked almost every night and you didn't think to bring it up?"

"It's nothing, okay?"

"That's not 'nothing', Logan. That's a lot of money, for a good cause."

"Yeah, well, it's no big deal," he argued.

"It is. I'm proud of you," she smiled, "I wish I was there."

"Well come home."

She sighed shortly, "Don't start, Logan."

"What?"

"You know I have another month," her tone was weary, the result of having this exact conversation over and over again.

His voice grew petulant, "Don't 'wish' you could be here then, you could be."

"I'm not talking to you if you're going to be like this," she resigned herself to another argument; Veronica really didn't want to end the call on a bad note, not when she wasn't actually there, when she couldn't actually see him – didn't have the luxury of being able to read his body language. Their communication problems were only worsened by telephone lines. And her change was running out.

"Then maybe you shouldn't talk to me at all," Logan knew he was being irrational and immature, but he couldn't help it.

"Fine, maybe I won't!" she snapped, "Suddenly I'm not feeling so homesick."

"Great," he threw out harshly, "'cause I suddenly don't miss you so much."

"Perfect," she bit out.

"In fact if you love it so much, why don't you just stay there?" his voice raised.

Veronica was fuming by now, shouting down the line, "Maybe I will!"

"Good! Have a fantastic life."

She hung up, furious.

London in the winter was dull and grey, covered by an almost permanent drizzle. Veronica had spent her fair share of time in big cities like San Diego and LA but there was something about the smog and dirt when combined with rain – as if filth, thick and muddy, clung in the air.

She brushed down her skirt, tugging on the back as she leaned over to wipe clean a table. This wasn't exactly something she had ever planned on doing in her life – waiting on tables (illegally) and living in a hostel – but she didn't really feel like going home to the mess of her 'real' life either – law degree or no. Right now though she was just wasting her vacation while Keith called continually to beg his baby girl to reconsider and come home – not to throw her life away because of a boy.

Veronica told him that she was smarter than he gave her credit for – that she would just go to school in England, and she added emphatically that this was not about a boy. Either way, Duncan was pulling in some favors from his father's friends and hopefully she could get everything sorted out soon. Above board and everything.

Logan didn't call.

It had been just over a month since she last talked to him and Veronica was trying desperately not to miss him. It was hard though, she had spent a good part of her last few years mostly revolved around Duncan and Logan. She told herself that with the latter it was just sex, but given a new setting some lies are more difficult to swallow and during the past few weeks without him she had fumed a good deal of hot, angry tears over their combined stubbornness. Because even when Veronica had first flown over she hadn't felt alone, not when he called her every day with a 'goodnight' – although it was mid-day for him.

Homesickness had well and truly set in. She missed her dad – so much. She missed Back Up, missed her roommates and the annoying guy called Brad who played out of date techno music above her room. She missed Logan and that pissed her off more than it upset her, because he was an ass and she had no reason to miss him and his selfish, spoiled self.

Six weeks had passed since their last conversation before Logan realized that Veronica was serious about not coming home. He had been keeping himself unusually busy – working on various charity events in the area, surfing a lot, drinking even more than that. Anything that would distract him from the thoughts that Veronica should be home by now, but he had ruined that with his inability to just keep his mouth shut for once. Logan had done his best to ignore Veronica's absence and her ever present tendency to run, but it hadn't worked much.

It was when he called Duncan for the first time in months and realized that Veronica almost had a work permit for the UK that Logan swore never to be that busy again. If you kept yourself busy then you missed the important stuff – things like your not-quite-girlfriend moving to a different continent, permanently. Logan bought two first class tickets for British Airways and by the end of the day he was sitting in the VIP lounge at LAX waiting for his plane to arrive.

The wait was almost painful as Logan drummed his fingers on the edge of his seat, drank about four liters of soda and paced the floor for a while – much to the annoyance of the other passengers. Eventually the process of getting onto the plane started, again achingly slowly. After much too long Logan finally found himself in a first class seat, drink in one hand and return tickets in the other as he nervously tapped the envelope containing them against his armrest.

It didn't matter if you were underage – BA were a British company and focused on service, you sat yourself in a first class seat and you were going to get your drink, no questions asked.

That's how Logan ended up with three tiny bottles of tequila and a scotch inside him before they touched down in Heathrow. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best way to appeal to Veronica to come home – she had never really approved of excessive drinking and he had rubbed plenty of salt in that wound left by her mother.

At least, he thought, the weather is always fucking awful here, as he stepped off the plane, thankful for the lack of blinding sunshine. The sky was dark and overcast, heavy with rain as he moved outside and into a taxi whose driver was no doubt going to try and double the fare because of Logan's accent.

Throwing his bag into the back Logan suddenly realized that he had no idea where Veronica was staying – her university provided accommodation would have dried up at the end of the semester, and that was nearly two weeks ago.

He signaled to the driver with a finger, indicating 'one minute'. The phone rang three times before it clicked onto call, Duncan was not happy.

"Come on, man, it's not that late," Logan glanced at his watch – still on California time. It read just past midnight.

"Try it on Eastern," came the muffled reply.

"Oh, right, sorry man," he apologized.

"What do you want, Logan?"

"Where's Veronica?"

"London," he yawned.

"Funny. I know that dude, I need an address."

"Please tell me you're not in London."

"Running up a meter outside Heathrow itself," he grinned into the phone.

Sighing Duncan eventually gave up the address of a small hostel nearer the centre of the city. Logan promptly hung up the phone and turned to the driver – who was surreptitiously watching the price sky-rocket up on waiting tariff – to relay the address. A satisfied smile settled on his face, finding Veronica had been the most difficult part of this trip – the rest would be cake. Chocolate cake if Logan had any say.

The cab pulled away and Logan squinted into the lightening morning sky, watching out the window as they headed closer to wherever Veronica had been hiding herself.

Veronica pulled her hair back into a neat ponytail, letting her bangs fall loose as she doubled the elastic over. Slipping into her uniform she grabbed a nametag off her bed and contemplated eating something before work. She didn't have long but it was probably not the best idea to pass out at work. Homesick or not, food seemed to be a necessity.

Fifteen minutes later she emerged from the hostel – newly fed – and started a leisurely pace towards work; it was just then that a taxi pulled up on the opposite side of the street.

As he spotted her Logan threw a couple of fifty pound notes at the driver, not waiting for his change as he stepped hastily onto the pavement (not sidewalk, his inner monologue rambled, and it was funny how he always managed to think of the most trivial things when he was nervous) and called her name.

"Veronica!"

Her head flickered but she didn't turn around and he couldn't be sure that she had heard him at all over the roar of the traffic. Running slightly to catch up he grasped her elbow tightly in his hand, receiving a purse to the head for his trouble.

"Get off! Get off m—Logan?" she stopped suddenly, mid-tirade, her hands still pressed against his chest where she had attempted to throw him away.

"You should pay more attention – never know when that purse is gonna come back into fashion and some jerk might actually try and steal it," his voice was much too soft for the actual comment.

She pulled her hands away, crossing them over her chest as she took a firm step back. "What are you doing here?"

"Someone told me it was nice this time of year – they lied," he deadpanned.

Veronica started to walk away as he called after her, "Come home."

She stopped in her tracks, turning to face him. Everything about her expression belied how pissed off she was. Veronica was quite proud; despite the surprise ambush she managed to remain relatively poker faced – showing Logan only the emotions she wanted to, it was stupid and immature but she wouldn't let him win by cracking.

He took a step towards her. "Come home," his tone was almost pleading.

Her arms wrapped around herself defensively, "Why would I do that?"

"Because I need you," he confessed, "I fucking need you, Veronica so just come home, okay."

"You don't need me, Logan, you're doing just fine – check the papers."

"I just—I can't believe you someti—"

"I'm not going back," she cut him off, chest held tight.

"I love you—"

"Don't—just don't," she stopped him.

"Veronica…"

"I'm not going home, Logan. And I've got work," she dismissed, turning from him.

Logan watched numbly as she hurried down the street towards a small café. Pulling his bag over his shoulder he looked around for the nearest bar – never a time to love the British drinking age more.

He was almost disappointed when they didn't ask to see any ID. It was kind of early to be drinking but it hadn't taken him long to find a small hole-in-the wall pub complete with old wooden tables and burgundy leather booths around the walls. There was nobody by the door and when he walked up to the bar the middle-aged woman took his order without a second glance. Logan thought he could get used to London.

He'd been before, but not since he was about fifteen – the last time his father had been required to show up at the Leicester Square premier of one of his movies. There hadn't been much time to check out the nightlife – not when he was busy playing the living prop to his parent's happy ever after charade. It had always amused Logan that they had met on The Pursuit of Happiness, the irony killed him every single time.

Veronica was going to be so pissed with him when she found out he was sitting in a pub, early morning, chain-drinking. But he figured she probably couldn't be any madder than she already was, so fuck it. He wanted a drink and Tracy – name as deciphered from the regulars – was more than happy to provide him with one, and then another – and maybe just one more, who was he to turn her down?

Another two hours later and Logan was probably slightly tipsier than he should have been when he charmed his way into Veronica's room and started piling her belongings into a waiting taxi.

When Veronica stepped out of the café she managed to walk straight into Logan who was waiting by a taxi, hand gripping a lamp post for support.

"What are you doing here?" she acknowledged him.

"I came to pick you up, give you a ride home."

She started on her way, "I live just down the street."

"No, you live a few thousand miles away – you're staying down the street," he corrected, frustrated beyond belief.

"Just go home, Logan," Veronica sounded tired.

"Not until you come with me," he was determined.

She stopped, just looking at him. "Why are you doing this?"

His voice was exasperated when he asked, "Why are we even arguing?"

"I don't know," she admitted after a lengthy pause.

"Come on, Veronica. It's cold and wet and fucking boring here. How many times can you go to the same museum or look at that giant carnie eyesore by the Thames?" he tried.

"This isn't about London."

He sighed silently, resigned. "Just get in the cab then."

When Veronica climbed into the back she saw a large gym bag belonging to her, stuffed full. "Is that my clothes?"

"Yeah."

"Did you break into my room?" she demanded.

"No," he defended, "they let me in."

Before she could take off Logan grabbed her arm, waving a slip of paper at her, "First class. Come on, you wouldn't want to waste all that money, would you?"

Veronica scowled, looking at the plane ticket and sucked in a sharp breath, "Where are we going?"

"Heathrow."

She climbed into the back, throwing her bag across the seat, "This does not make everything okay." She hated letting him have his own way, but if Veronica was perfectly honest she did want to go home – just not for Logan, whether or not she was still missing him.

He ducked his head in response, "Sure."

If Veronica had never flown first class before you certainly couldn't tell. She blended in effortlessly and Logan tentatively allowed himself to relax now that she was on the plane and being… civil. Her sudden shift in mood was unnerving – but this was Veronica Mars, as fast as she could turn on the charm like a trooper she could switch it off again.

It had been a full day since Logan and Veronica had landed in LA and endured a mostly silence drive back to her dorm in Malibu – and Veronica felt awful. Maybe it was just the jet lag but her body ached, her nose was running, her eyes were puffy and swollen and she felt like the flu was kicking her in the head repeatedly. After twenty-four hours of well-meaning check-ups and hot lemon drinks her roommates were driving Veronica up the wall. She fumbled to get her cell off the mattress and hit speed-dial, waiting for Logan to pick up.

"Hi."

"Hey," his voice sounded mildly concerned. "Are you crying?"

"No. All the fluid in my body is just migrating," she hacked into the receiver.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. It's nothing," she lied.

"I'm coming to get you," he insisted.

"Get me where?"

"Come stay with me."

"Why? So you can get ill too?" she queried with less conviction than she would have liked.

"Veronica, you phoned me," she could almost hear his smile.

"They're making me drink hot lemon," she admitted.

"You hate hot lemon," he grinned.

"I know that."

"I'll be there in twenty-five, think you can drag yourself out of bed – or do you need me to come in there and get you?"

"Yeah, 'cause we'd get to your house that way."

"I'm just trying to help my girlfriend out of a fix."

Her breath shorted at the G-word. There was an awkward silence before his voice sounded down the line again, more subdued this time. "So, yeah, I'll be there soon."

The car journey had been stifled, the atmosphere crushing even in his oversized car. Veronica had realized the moment he walked into her room that she was still pissed about his little London mission and if he hadn't been right there, offering her some peace and quiet and a sanctuary from the evil of hot lemon drinks then she would have called him back and told him not to bother.

But he had grabbed her overnight bag, wrapped a hand around the shoulder nearest him and walked her out to the car.

Now she felt increasingly tiny as he shadowed over her, hand gently pressing into the small of her back, edging her towards the right room. Once they reached his bedroom – the only habitable of the four bedrooms – he pulled back the sheets, letting Veronica climb in before he dropped them. She fiddled with the high-quality cotton – tugging it tighter around her chest.

He stood awkwardly. "Okay?"

"Fine," she huffed.

Logan couldn't quite work out what was wrong.

"Uh, the guestrooms are full of junk," he justified, although she already knew. Logan wasn't sure why he was bothering considering the amount of times she had slept – warm and naked pressed up against him – in that particular room.

She sighed, "It's cool."

"Okay. You need anything?"

"Orange juice?" she peered out from under the covers to ask.

"Uh," he braced himself, sensing she was in the mood for a fight, "I think I'm all out."

"Okay."

"If I'd known you were just going to be pissy I wouldn't have bothered taking you home," he said finally.

She glared at him, "Maybe I wouldn't be so pissy if you hadn't kidnapped me to get your own way."

"You were more than willing to use the plane ticket."

"I just don't like how you manipulated me."

"Like there was any other way – you're so stubborn, Veronica."

"Look who's talking," she shot back.

"I'm not arguing with you about this," he sighed.

"Why not? Scared you might have to admit you were wrong?"

"Fuck you, Veronica. If you didn't want to come home I didn't force you."

"You stole all my stuff."

"You were in the cab with them! It wasn't like I shipped your clothes back before you."

"It still doesn't make it right," she insisted.

There was a long pause before he filled the silence, "Why did you even call me?"

"I don't know," she breathed tightly, "I'm beginning to wonder myself."

His mouth curled into a harsh smile, "You should have stayed in London – it suits you, Veronica – miserable weather for a miserable bitch."

Before she could respond Logan stormed out of the room, closing the door soundly behind him. Veronica bit her lip, rolling onto her stomach to push her pounding head into the pillows.

Veronica was being a cranky, unreasonable bitch, she knew this – but it was just the jet lag. There were a million reasons for her to be pissed with Logan and sure, it wasn't like they didn't have their fair share of repressed issues, but the only reason she was snapping quite so much was the jet lag. She was convinced of this.

She knew he was trying, but she couldn't quite let go of that last little piece of pride that kept her angry façade up.

Momentarily Veronica wondered what the hell she was doing in Logan's bed when she hadn't seen her dad in months – he didn't even know she was in the country again. Duncan too, he was probably still pulling strings to get her paperwork in order.

Veronica swallowed as guilt started to flood through her stomach, Logan was making her go crazy – stupid arguments about nothing, dancing around their issues, cringing at commitment – she was going absolutely insane. It wasn't a nice feeling. Veronica had been pretending that he didn't matter – that they were nothing – for years now, and it was slowly getting harder, maybe, she considered, it just wasn't worth it anymore.

As she heard the front door slam Veronica sank her teeth back into her bottom lip and allowed tears to spill over quickly – hot and soothing as they burned the skin around her eyes. Pride was really, really overrated, she decided.

The surf was awful and clouds had gathered in time for a storm, the heavily overcast sky cracking with cloud bursts as Logan trudged back up the beach towards his house, jeans and shirt quickly soaking through. He had been sitting on the beach for at least half an hour now, originally he had contemplated some surfing but the weather wasn't great – he hadn't been ready to go face Veronica though – not if he wanted to avoid saying something he was sure to regret.

The air was thick with the downpour by the time Logan got close to the house. Through the grey-blue sheets he saw a small figure appear by his door – starting an awkward sprint down to him. He shouted through the rush of water as soon as she was close enough to hear.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Veronica ignored the question, blanket around her shoulders sodden to her skin, hair plastered over her face as she threw her arms around his neck – face pressed into his chest as she clung to him. Logan caught his balance, hands coming up to her back as he pulled her tighter.

"You'll get sick," he protested near her ear.

She smiled against him, eyes watery, "I'm already sick."

"Sicker," he clarified with an exaggerated sigh against her hair.

"I love you, you know," she blurted out against his shoulder.

He grinned into her hair, "yeah," a hand rubbed down her spine warmly, "you too."

"Good," she sobbed against him, smiling, "because as my boyfriend you're gonna have to go get me orange juice."

He laughed against her, clinging tighter, "I think I can manage that."