A/N: Okay, so I'm back, and I bring you my newest LoVe fic! Anyone who read Saturday will know that this, my new venture into LoVe, is partially based on another movie - anyone who can guess which by the end of Chapter 1 gets a big cookie ;-) In the meantime, if you're all sitting comfortable, we'll begin...
Disclaimer: All recognisable chaacters from Veronica Mars belong to Rob Thomas and other important people who aren't me!
Life of the rich and famous wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and Logan Echolls knew that better than anyone. It was fine for his parents, they chose this life, lived for their acting careers, and the fame and money that came along with it were just bonuses for the pair that wanted everything and therefore got it. The world Logan had been born into was no more his choice than anything else in his life had ever been, and it was starting to drive him crazy.
At eighteen years old, Logan knew little or nothing of the real world. Sure, he had every video game he could want, closets full of all kinds of designer clothes, the latest in everything, plus servants to clean up after him and ensure he was never wanting. Unfortunately, they couldn't give him what he really craved, and that was simply freedom.
Poor little rich boy, that's what people would say if they knew of his thoughts. The kid has everything, more freedom than anybody else. That's what they thought, but they had no idea how caged he really was. Every potential friend was just another gold digger, any girl who showed an interest would either end up falling all over his father the moment his back was turned, or just dating him long enough to get jewellery or something juicy for a magazine story. Logan hated all of it, and spent most of his time alone in his room, knowing at least there no-one was playing him for cash or fame of their own.
This night was much the same as any other. Logan had his X-Box hooked up and was thrashing six other teens around the world at the latest games. At least online he could lie about who he was, use a fake username and enjoy the easy company of other people who were probably hiding from their lives too. Of course, it wasn't the same, but it was the best he could do.
Mom and Dad were out at some awards dinner or something, Logan couldn't be bothered to care, and was only really staying up so late so his sleep wouldn't be disturbed by his parents pouring themselves into bed in the early hours. He didn't go to those functions, it really wasn't permitted. His father, Aaron, didn't trust him not to make a scene, and besides, they had this whole thing about him not being too well known for fear of his safety and such being compromised. Logan had pointed out that made no sense, since in the very next breath he was being prohibited from leaving the house alone for fear someone would recognise him. How the hell did that make sense?
The finish line appeared just ahead of him on the screen, and Logan pushed the buttons on the console, sending him careering across in first place. Winning so often was getting boring, but video games were one thing he could do in his solitary confinement, interacting with those around the world, without them ever knowing who he was. This activity became a ritual, and that ritual started to wear thin after years and years. As a kid, he'd loved it, as a young adult he craved so much more.
Throwing the controls to the floor with a loud thud, Logan half considered, pulling the whole console free and just hurling it out of the window in frustration. It was more than his life was worth to actually do it. The splash as the electric box hit the pool below would alert attention, but not the kind he wanted. Besides, if the servants were taking a sneaky swim he'd probably kill them, and even Logan knew that was wrong.
Diving backwards onto his over-sized bed, Logan lay there with his hands behind his head, staring long and hard at the ceiling. Everywhere he turned there were walls. People would hate him and call him ungrateful if they knew what he thought, but honestly he'd welcome it, just to have these other people to talk to! He wanted out, in any way possible. Sure, money was great and all, but he was not allowed to enjoy the wealth or fame he had inherited.
With a sigh he turned on his side, eyes catching on the half open drawer and the papers sticking out of it. The edge of something bright red made him want to smile and yet scream with frustration at the same time. He had a concert ticket, one that was almost impossible to get, but he'd managed it. For a change it was not because he had cash or privilege, but because he was lucky. Logan had heard the competition on the radio one morning, first caller to phone in and answer three questions about the band, won two free tickets and back stage passes to the LA concert on the sell-out tour. It was like a dream come true, and Logan had been so thrilled to know he'd won. Immediately he mentioned any of this to his parents, the smile faded and the joy turned to sadness and anger. Aaron and Lynn had forbidden their son to attend the concert or to ever call another radio contest again in his life. He had enough already, he didn't need to win things meant for what his father liked to call 'the less fortunate'. It made the ordinary people sound like peasants on the street, when in reality they were the people that Logan wanted to be amongst. He wanted to make friends who liked him for him and not his cash, date girls that would just find him attractive and funny and sweet, not just want to sleep with him so they had a 'famous person' story to tell their friends later on.
Logan had thought about this a million times, in spite of the fact it was pointless. He was never going to have a normal life, not ever, and he was starting to get resigned to the fact, however crazy-making the concept was. Getting up off the bed, he crossed to the window and stared out from what felt like his prison, a gilded cage some might say. Poor little rich boy, that's all the world would see if he told them how he felt, all his parents would see too. They didn't care about him all that much, they couldn't, or they would've been around today. After all, it was his Birthday.
...The Next Morning...
"Good morning, Dad!" Logan called, too loudly, as he swept into the main living room.
"Logan, please" Aaron begged of him, holding his head in his hand as two aspirin were popped into his hand by a butler.
"Sweetheart, last night was very stressful for your father and me" explained Lynn, looking to be suffering in similar fashion to her husband, though dark glasses hid her heavy eyes and she looked a little less green around the gills somehow.
"Right" said Logan sharply as he stood before them, "Yeah, yesterday was a rough day, I get it" he agreed with a nod of his head, "I mean, I know I could've had a better time" he told them, sure they weren't listening yet but determined they would be in a moment, "God knows I do love having my Birthday completely forgotten and ignored!" he said, deliberately too loudly as he watched his father turn his way with wide eyes, his mother dropping her sunglasses down some so she could better see her son and husband both.
"Yeah, that was yesterday" Logan confirmed when his parents continued to stare, first at him, then at each other, with apparent shock and disbelief, "Don't worry, it was only my eighteenth, not a huge milestone or anything. Still, a card would've been nice" he said cuttingly, turning on his heel then and leaving just as fast as he'd come in, slamming the door as he left the room and making both his parents wince terribly.
It was ridiculously childish behaviour, and Logan knew it, but if they were going to treat him like a kid he may as well behave like one. He made it to the bottom of the staircase that led up to his room when the door he had just slammed a moment go opened and his mother crept out.
"Sweetheart, we're so sorry" she said, even going so far as to remove her sunglasses when she looked his way.
"I know" replied Logan, looking back over his shoulder at her, "but honestly? Doesn't change much" he told her with a shake of his head, before taking the steps two at a time up to his room.
Another long day spent alone, Logan Echolls was getting used to them, but that didn't mean he enjoyed a single one. He had hoped that yesterday might prove a little different, being as it was his Birthday and all, but apparently not. He had tried the guilt trip on his parents, but a vague sorry from his mother was all there had been so far. Imagine his surprise when suddenly he heard voices beyond his door, and then an envelope appeared underneath bearing his name.
With a slight frown, Logan paused his computer game and went over to see what this was all about. A Birthday card meant for a much younger boy than himself was inside the envelope, but that didn't matter much to Logan when he found his real present.
"You're kidding? This is a bad joke, right?" he asked loudly as he yanked open the door and found his now less-hungover parents on the other side.
"No joke, son" insisted his father with a smile that was almost genuine, "It was unforgivable of us to miss your birthday, and your mother and I know how much you crave a little freedom so..."
"Tickets to a premiere? Two tickets?" he gasped again at the sight of the items in his hand, "You never let me go anywhere, with anyone" he pointlessly stated the obvious.
"Well, you're older now, Logan, and I'm sure we can trust you to be careful" his mother said kindly, dropping a bomb on the whole thing a moment later when she added, "And you know I'm sure Richard Casablancas' son would love to go with you"
Logan's face dropped at the sound of those words. This was a set-up dressed up as a special gift and he ought to have known it. Finally he was allowed to attend an event the like of which he never got a chance to experience, but as usual there was a catch. It wasn't that Logan minded taking a friend along for the ride, and Dick was an okay guy. Of course, he knew better than to think his parents were just trying to help him and the son of a wealthy business be better friends. They wanted to score points, they wanted a friend in the big real estate magnate, and they were quite happy to use their son to do it. Still, Logan was not about to argue with this deal, not that he was done brokering it yet.
"Okay" he nodded once, "I'll take Dick to the premiere, play nice, not make a scene" he promised, waving his tickets around, "but I do not want security guards at every corner and doorway breathing down my neck" he said definitely, giving both his Mom and Dad a serious look.
Neither Lynn nor Aaron looked convinced, that much was obvious from the way they looked at each other then. Of course, the movie theatre would have plenty of security itself, and Logan wasn't all that well known to get mobbed or anything.
"Two bodyguards that stay close at all times" said Aaron definitely, "Take it or leave it"
"Which guys?" his son wanted to know before he agreed to anything.
"Whichever Keith says are his best shots" he shrugged, referring to the head of security he trusted with the lives of himself and his family.
"Fair enough" agreed Logan, holding out his hand for his father to shake, "We have a deal"
...The Next Night...
"Dude, this is like so awesome!" enthused Dick as he and Logan rode in the limo towards the glitzy premiere of the long-awaited Avatar sequel.
"Yeah" agreed his so-called friend, though honestly the whole evening wasn't quite as he would've liked it.
A date of the female variety would've been cooler, but hell, at least he'd been let out of the house, and the watchful eye of Daddy Dearest wasn't so much watchful at this range. Only two security guards were flanking him and Dick tonight. Sachs looked alert as ever in the seat opposite, whilst D'Amata looked relaxed and cool as he always did. They were good guys, good at their jobs and all, Logan knew that. They were to be personal protection for himself and Dick tonight, the only guys looking over his shoulder, which did please Logan. He got his own way with his father for a change, and he was out of the house, seeing something new - things were definitely looking up.
Unfortunately, it was almost inevitable that things would not run smoothly, and the moment he stepped out of the limo onto the red carpet, Logan knew it...
...Fifteen Minutes Later...
"It's no big deal, Dad" sighed Veronica, holding the cell phone firmly to her ear, "It's just a jam thanks to the glitzy little premiere down the street" she explained the traffic crisis she was currently trapped in, "Worst case scenario, you'll see me tomorrow morning instead of tonight is all"
"I feel terrible, Veronica" he apologised in her ear, "I should've called and warned you about that, it's not like I didn't know..."
"Dad, please" she urged him, "Don't stress on it, I'm fine. The traffic will clear soon and it'll all be good" she promised him.
"I don't like you out there in the dark alone" he told her, as much the perfect caring father now as he had been when she was a little girl.
Now she was twenty-one and a qualified Private Investigator. Little did her Daddy know, she'd been in much more dangerous situations than a locked car in a night-time traffic jam. It didn't do for a girl to share all the details of her job with her over-protective father, not when she was in her line of work.
"Ah, we have movement!" she suddenly told him with a happy grin, "I'll see you soon, Dad" she said, hanging up the phone and tossing the cell back into the glove compartment as the line of traffic before her started to disperse.
Unfortunately for Veronica, she got a whole fifty yards at a crawling pace before the light at the next junction turned red.
"Typical" she complained as the cars in front drove off at speed, leaving her waiting, an impatient foot hovering at the gas pedal.
Suddenly, something in the edge of her field of vision caught her eye. A young man came bolting out of the side road, sporting the starts of a black eye she realised, as he was illuminated by the head lights of the car behind her. She knew who he was, oh she knew very well, though the guy in question would see her as a complete stranger. Something told Veronica he wouldn't care too much about that right now as she swiftly unlocked the passenger door of her car and flung it open as he approached.
"Need to make a quick getaway?" she offered, much to his apparent relief.
Jumping in the car, he barely got the door shut as the lights turned green and Veronica put the pedal to the metal. Tyres squealed as the car shot off down the street, taking a corner she had not originally intended but knew she must now take.
"Where are we going?" the young man beside her asked, putting a careful hand to his eye and immediately regretting the action.
"Right now? Wherever you want, I guess" shrugged the blonde in the drivers seat, "I mean, you're the one running away from something, I'll let you decide"
"Anywhere far away from here" he said, leaning back in the passenger seat and breathing heavily as he undid his tie and top buttons.
"Works for me" she nodded, glancing his way, "I'm Veronica, by the way" she introduced herself"
"Logan" he told her, glad at least that she seemed oblivious to his situation in life.
"Well, Logan" she said with a smile he found oddly infectious, "Looks like we're headed wherever the road takes us tonight"
To Be Continued...