Chapter 23: Alphabet Soup

"So, FBI Barbie, are you sure about your boyfriend's goon squad?"

"Yes. He told me they only followed us around in Virginia. He said they were from the area. No one is here with us. I believe him, Nacombe."

"Well, someone is still shadowing. It's weird. It's almost like they want us to know they are there, just not who they are. You can't think of anyone else?"

"Last time I checked I didn't have any mysterious spy friends, so…I'm going to go with no."

"Easy, Mars. We're just trying to figure all this out," Agent Fuller added, trying to defuse the two hotheads before it got out of hand.

"That you'd actually think I would see someone following me around, know who it is, and not tell you... I mean, really? Do you honestly think that I don't truly get how my ass is on the line here?"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it, Blondie. So you don't know what's up," Nacombe relented.

"That makes us pretty even, then," Veronica snapped.

This is just super. I've gotten myself neck deep in a mob case with Mayberry police department for backup.

"SAC thinks we might be dealing with some professional shadows. Some of the alphabet soup," Ford finally chimed in.

"Wow. You've really bolstered my confidence in our federal government. Are you honestly telling me that another government agency is trailing the FB-friggin-I and you don't know about it?"

"This happens all the time, unfortunately," Agent Fuller sighed. "We're all good at what we do. It's very possible that CIA or Homeland or NSA is in on this and is poised to steal our thunder right after we make our play. That's why we need you to be on your toes, Veronica. We have to figure out who it is and block them from stealing our case."

"So what do we do?" Veronica asked.

"We think the Russians will make their move after school is in and you've settled into a routine. They're smart enough to know that they'll have to watch for a while and wait for the best opportunity. The trick is to make the shadows think they're moving sooner."

"Are you saying we are going to play fake-out with spies. That sounds like a valid plan," Veronica snorted.

"Well, Blondie, since you're such an expert would you like to offer alternatives?" Nacombe retorted.

Veronica was silent.

"Yeah, I didn't think so. So – shut up and pay attention."

"Look, you two. I am not being paid to be a babysitter, so stop it," Agent Fuller snapped. "We're basically going to let them see us gearing up for the Russians to make their move. If we play our cards right, they'll move in and show us just enough."

"Then, we should get started," Veronica said.

….

"Hey there, Sugarbritches. Did you get that paperwork for your FBI friends all straight?"

"Oh, who knows. They'll probably call tomorrow with something else they forgot to have me sign. You know how those government people are," Veronica said with absolute truthfulness, hoping whoever was listening on the other end got her message. "So did you get your schedule today?"

"Yes, I did. I got everything turned in and picked up my schedule. I hope it lines up with yours at least a little," Logan said sweetly.

"Wow! Where did that come from? Are we that couple now? Do I need to change majors so we can walk hand in hand to class every day?"

Logan smiled that trademark jackass grin.

"Are you kidding? I don't need to be smothered, woman."

Veronica rolled her eyes as Logan wrapped his arms around her.

"What exactly do you want, Mr Echolls?"

"Really just one thing…" Logan began. "It's short, and cute, and…"

"OOH, OOH," Veronica spat out excitedly, "I think I know this one."

Logan smiled down at her as he smothered her lips with his.

When Logan stopped suddenly, Veronica pretended to pout.

"Why did you stop?"

"Because…" Logan began.

"Hi, honey. I'm home!" The voice rang out loud and clear as it entered the front door.

"…of that," Logan finished.

"Are you psychic or something? How did you know he was home?"

Logan shrugged.

"I heard the key in the door."

"Ok, Spidey, you have super hearing now?"

"You understand, small one, the moment I began living under the same roof as your dad, a lot of my senses heightened."

"I see," Veronica laughed. It was still amazing to her that Logan was still intimidated by her father. Maybe that was a good thing?

"I thought I heard voices," Keith said happily.

"Yeah, we tried hiding, but we wouldn't both fit under the counter, so we gave up," Veronica joked.

"Ten thousand comedians out of work and this one's got jokes," Keith said in his best Groucho voice.

"So what about food? I'm hungry."

Logan and Keith looked at each other with that familiar question in their eyes.

"What?" Veronica shrugged. "I have good metabolism?"

"Sorry, I would have cooked but I got home about ten minutes ahead of you, short-stuff, so…"

"You two have been acting like such responsible adults lately. Why don't I treat us? Let's go out?"

"After you," Veronica said, pointing towards the door.

(-)

"Logan, is everything okay?"

"Yes. Why wouldn't it be?"

"You just look like you've been told surfing has been made illegal."

Logan managed a laugh.

"Oh, funny, little one. No, that was the B and B. A little pipe leak that's going to cost me a few grand, but nothing serious," he lied, throwing his phone on the night stand.

"Well," said Veronica, inching closer to him from behind on the bed. "Why don't I just rub that tension out of those shoulders there?"

Veronica began massaging Logan's shoulders and neck.

"Wow, now that I know you're capable of all that, I won't have to pay for it anymore."

"Excuse me," Veronica feigned offense.

Logan grinned and spun around to face her.

"As long as you don't expect a happy ending," she smiled.

"Oh, not only do I expect a happy ending – I insist on it," he grinned. "A happy ever after."

Well, that's it. I really am in Mayberry, aren't I?