Disclaimer: Blah, blah, not mine, blah.

Playing Hide and Seek With the Truth

This is the third story in the Truth series. That sounds very pretentious and self-important, the TRUTH series. Picking story titles is a bit of a challenge. I tried on a few, but this one is the right one for where this story will go. Some try to hide the truth, others seek it. This story will likely go through December of their Senior year, then a new story will deal with the last half of the year. Otherwise this story would end up with 100 chapters and a million words. Not joking.

What you need to know: LoVe got together in January of Season 1 (after New Years). They were together then broke up when Lynn tried to commit suicide. She failed, but it messed Logan up. LoVe reconcile after V helps Logan find Lynn who goes missing from the hospital. (Lynn is alive.) V finds out who raped her, and Logan's friendship with Duncan is irreparably damaged. Lynn goes to rehab then returns for Logan, who gets emancipated. After the confrontation with Aaron (who did kill Lilly), V is messed up and Keith is in the hospital for his injuries (burns). V moves in with the Fennels until Leanne (who's back in Neptune with V's heretofore unknown baby sister) gets custody. LoVe breakup again- mostly due to confusion and an inability to communicate. They get back together and work on their relationship throughout the summer. Keith and Alicia are going strong, Keith wrote his book (published with Casey's company) and has been away on the book tour.

Dick has changed and grown as a character but for the most part he's still Dick. His growth includes being nicer to his brother, who is now known as Cassidy. Dick has a crush on Mac, who has been dating (Logan's friend) John Enbom. Their relationship takes a turn for the worse after the 09er boys go out for Ram's birthday and end up crashing their car killing Chester and injuring Felix who remains in a coma. The class warfare heated up as the boys refused to reveal who was driving, and cut a deal for lesser charges and community service. To honor Chester's memory, the boys begin making a string of bets, and the girls get into the action too.

During the summer Veronica finds out what secrets Meg has been hiding (crazy cult parents) and what happened to Marisol Reyes. Dick starts seeing Betina and Madison, Mac goes on vacation with her bio-family (minus Madison), and Logan reconnects with his family on Lynn's side.

There is a lot more, but you'll have to read the stories or at least the recaps to get it all.

Now on with the story...(before I lose my nerve to begin what will undoubtedly be another 500k words)


Chapter 1: New beginnings, old problems

(Tuesday, Sept. 6, first day of Senior year)

Neptune High School. Veronica walks up to the front entrance of the school, tugging her short skirt down a bit self-consciously. She is dressed in a nearly backless shirt that hangs off one shoulder, held on by a thin strap that connects the two shoulders together, a short dark wash denim skirt, and the black zippered boots Logan had given her. Her hair is down to her shoulders, cut bluntly with no layers except for her bangs which are still growing out.

Veronica Voiceover (VVO): Here it is, senior year. A fresh start. Try not to screw it up, Veronica.

Several signs welcoming students back to school are visible. Lots of students stand in small groups talking, laughing and catching up on summer adventures.

A loud noise from the parking lot draws her attention and she turns around to see Dick pull into the parking lot in a beat up 1970s Pinto. The car's backfire had drawn the attention of half the school. As Dick climbs out, a faint blush on his cheeks though he tries to appear unaffected, several of the students laugh.

Beaver pulls into the parking spot next to Dick, driving a shiny new BMW 3 series.

Beaver: (noting the embarrassment on his brother's face) I offered to drive...

Dick: Thanks man, but you need to focus on getting a hottie freshmen girl to let you drive her home, and big brothers are a guaranteed cock block.

Now it's Beaver's turn to blush. Dick swings an arm around his much smaller little brother and the two make their way towards school, stopping to exchange high fives and fist bumps as well as good natured ribbing from their friends.

Veronica turns back around to see Mac walking towards her. Veronica smiles, her own discomfort forgotten as she grins at her friend, who happens to be strolling hand in hand with her 09er boyfriend, John Enbom.

Veronica: Mac-attack. You look very nice today.

Mac manages not to glare at Veronica, raising one eyebrow in acknowledgement and warning, then makes a display of looking at Veronica's outfit.

Mac: (facetiously) You too. A bit... sluttier than usual, but...

Enbom looks Veronica over too and doesn't think she's dressed all that differently than usual.

John Enbom: I think you look nice Veronica.

Mac glares at him.

Mac: You would.

John Enbom: What?

Mac: Seriously?

Veronica: (hands on her hips, causing the shirt to slide off one shoulder) Yeah John, seriously?

John Enbom: (obviously uncomfortable, to Veronica) Where's your boyfriend?

Veronica: (annoyed) Oh, he's around here somewhere.

John Enbom: So he got back from visiting his family.

Veronica: Yes. (sharply) Did he forget to update his Facebook status?

John Enbom: (defensive) Sorry for asking.

Meg appears.

Meg: Who?

John Enbom: Her boyfriend.

Meg: Oh, I just saw him go into the school with Rams.

Veronica and Mac both peer at Meg.

Meg is dressed in jeans, a tight black tank top that leaves a sliver of her stomach bare, and a soft looking tight leather jacket.

Veronica: Not fair.

Mac: Yeah. Totally not fair.

Meg: What? I'm paying here too. It's hot and I feel ridiculous.

The weather is indeed hot, the morning temperature already hovering around the 80 degree mark, with the day promising to rise to near the century mark. Meg's hand flutters over the exposed inch of her stomach, trying to hide herself.

Veronica: Right. Wanna trade?

Meg takes in Veronica's outfit, with Veronica turning helpfully to show Meg the full effect.

Meg: Uh, no. Sorry. But at least he has good taste.

Mac: (wistfully looking at Meg) I could do leather. But makeup? Eye-shadow and liner? Or (shuddering) lip gloss?

Veronica: (sighing) That wasn't the bet. We have to be outside our comfort zones.

-Flashback

Marisa (Logan's cousin): Veronica, I'd like your punishment to be that you have to come to our family reunion.

Veronica: No Marisa.

Marisa: Why?

Veronica: Because I think Logan needs to reconnect with your family, his family, and that won't happen if I'm there.

Marisa: Are you sure?

Veronica: Yes.

Marisa: Well that sucks.

Veronica shrugs with a smile.

Marisa: Fine, in that case your punishment is... to... (she thinks hard for a moment then issues an evil smile) let Logan pick out your clothes for the first month of school.

Veronica's mouth falls open, protest all over her face.

Marisa: That's my decision. Starting your first day of school, Mac wears makeup for a month, you let Logan dress you, and Meg has to wear edgier clothes for month as well.

Veronica: (arguing) Edgier is relative, she could not wear pink and be edgier and Mac could slap on some lip-gloss, Logan could make me go commando for a month and I'll never get to wear jeans.

Marisa: Then it's good that the weather is nice here. (chiding) And really Veronica you don't want to wear jeans if you're going commando.

Veronica glares at Marisa who simply smiles back.

Marisa: Two birds one stone, your punishment, Logan's birthday present. Sweet.

Veronica: (eyes narrowed) You're a traitor to your own sex.

Marisa is unconcerned.

-End Flashback

John Enbom: So what, so Mac has to wear a little makeup and Meg has to be a bit edgier, and Veronica… (he stifles a laugh)

Veronica: (menacing) Keep laughing Chuckles, I'll tell my wardrobe consultant you were staring at my ass.

Enbom sobers, then smiles and shrugs off the threat, reasonably certain that Logan would at least ask before he punched.

John Enbom: Look on the bright side, it's only for a month. Dick has to drive clunkers for six months.

The girls smile momentarily.

Mac: This still sucks.

Meg: I'm never making a bet with Marisa again.

Veronica is too busy trying to arrange her shirt on her shoulders to respond.

-VM—VM—VM-

Veronica enters the school with Meg at her side, passing through the new metal detectors and security guards at the entrance. One of the two security guards takes her bag (the new messenger bag Mac got her for her birthday) and glances cursory inside it.

VVO: The metal detectors are new, but they come as no surprise. Tensions in Neptune are the highest they've ever been between the haves and the have-nots…

The guard hands her back her bag and Veronica pauses to wait for Meg to have her bag inspected as well.

Guard: Go ahead.

The guard returns Meg's bag and the girls continue on their way.

VVO: …09ers and non-09ers.

Veronica marches purposefully down the hall, Meg chattering at her side. Veronica slows when she notices something ahead.

Biker: Check it out, check it out.

It is Weevil and three of the bikers, standing and talking in the hall. They spot Veronica and stop talking. The rest of the students are giving them wide berth, no matter their zip code. Weevil turns his head and his eyes follow her as she passes. There is a lot of tension between them as Veronica passes by quickly and wordlessly. Weevil meets her eyes but neither smile. Meg is noticeably uncomfortable but offers Weevil a hesitant smile. Weevil frowns and Meg links her arm with Veronica tugging her towards their lockers.

VVO: Weevil and I actually had something of a working truce this summer. (Her eyes shift back to him as he stares her down.) I guess that was only while we were alone.

-VM—VM—VM—

Veronica enters her first class and sits in the last row. She opens the text book already on her desk. She is reading the introduction to French when she sees another student sit in the seat next to her, she glances up, not really interested in who it is but then is taken aback to see Logan grinning at her.

Logan: Bonjour mon amour.

She narrows her eyes at him.

Veronica: Bonjour. But we already said good morning when you blackmailed me into riding to school with you.

Logan: But now we're in French class, so… bonjour. And I didn't blackmail, you offered a deal. A deal in which you got something in return.

Veronica: Why are we in French? You don't take French.

Logan: I do now.

She stares at him, silently demanding an explanation. He shrugs lightly, reclining back in his chair.

Logan: I changed my schedule.

Veronica: Logan we talked about this.

Logan: Yeah, you said I couldn't change my schedule to be in all your classes.

Her lips tighten, but her eyes show that she is not really annoyed.

Logan: (sing song) Loophole.

He grins as she rolls her eyes.

Veronica: Which other classes should I expect you in?

Logan: (grinning happily) Just Journalism. (She is pacified.) And Health.

She glares at him again, then shrugs.

Veronica: Fine. I guess I can consent to you being my robo-baby daddy again.

Logan: Ah, good times.

The teacher enters the class, and immediately begins speaking in French. Except for an odd word in English, Veronica is lost.

Logan: I wonder if Van has closed the trust fund loophole in our family planning budget assignment this year.

Veronica: (whispering) What is it with you and loopholes?

Madame Rousseau: Mademoiselle Mars. Dans dans ma classe, je demande à ce que vos soyez attentive. Et si vous devez parler, faites le en français. (Miss Mars. In my class, I expect that you listen. And if you must talk, do it in French.)

Veronica: Uh, sorry Mrs. Rousseau.

Madame Rousseau: Madame Rousseau.

Veronica: Oui.

The teacher goes back to her lecture and Veronica tries to focus. But she can feel Logan staring at her the whole time. Finally she glances over at him.

Veronica: (hissing) What?

Logan: Just wondering what you want for lunch today.

She turns back to him but Madame Rousseau is on them again instantly.

Madame Rousseau: Monsieur Echolls, est il nécessaire que je vous sépare de Melle Mars? (Mr. Echolls, is it necessary to separate you from Ms. Mars?)

Logan smiles at Veronica.

Logan: Let me know about lunch. (turning to the teacher) Ce serait dommage car j'aime beaucoup sa compagnie. (That would be a shame because I do enjoy her company so very much.)

Madame Rousseau: Vous parlez très bien français.
Logan: Ma famille a passé quelques temps en Europe quand j'étais plus jeune, J'ai réussi à le ramasser. (My family spent some time in Europe when I was younger, I managed to pick it up.)

Madame Rousseau: Vous avez une oreille pour les langues?

Logan shrugs.

Madame Rousseau: Je vous remercie de ne pas perturber la classe. (Thank you for not disturbing the class.)
Logan: Mes excuses. (My apologies.)

She harrumphs and returns to her lecture, thankfully in English.

When the bell rings, Veronica and Logan get up to leave but the teacher calls them back.

Madame Rousseau: Veronica, (she pauses, smiling) you have the look of your mother. (Veronica's eye brows draw together in a frown.) And Mr. Echolls. I'm guessing from that little display earlier that you are fluent in French.

Logan nods cockily.

Madame Rousseau: Then why are you in this class?

His eyes shift to Veronica.

Logan: Why not? I already took three years of Spanish.

Madame Rousseau: Fine. But I expect you to pay attention or at least be quiet during lessons, and Veronica is to do her own homework.

Veronica: I will, Madame Rousseau. I'm here to learn.

Madame Rousseau: Good.

She takes a slip of paper and hall pass off her desk and hands it to Veronica.

Madame Rousseau: Mr. Clemmons wants to see both of you in his office.

The young couple shares a look.

Logan: Don't look at me, I haven't done anything.

Veronica sighs.

Veronica: Fine, let's go.

The teacher smiles after them as the exit the classroom with Logan's arm wrapped around Veronica's back, his hand resting on her hip.

When they enter the school office, Veronica looks for Wallace, but doesn't see him. She frowns, then smiles charmingly at Mrs. Molly, the elderly school secretary.

Veronica: Hi Mrs. Molly. I have a note Clemmons wants to see us?

Her expression is casual with just a hint of concern.

Mrs. Molly: Oh, don't worry dear, it's nothing. Go on ahead to his office, he'll be right in.

Veronica: (smiling engagingly) What's going on? Seems busier than just first day stuff.

Mrs. Molly: Woody Goodman is coming to tour the school this morning. His daughter is enrolled here now. Part of his election campaign, I'm sure. Clemmons and Principal Moorehead have been scrambling all morning to get ready.

Veronica smiles.

Veronica: OK.

Veronica enters Clemmons' small office with Logan close behind her, as soon as he crosses the threshold he closes the door behind him and circles Veronica's waist with his arms turning her around and drawing her in for a kiss. She is startled but kisses him back until she feels his hands curling around her ribcage under her shirt sliding upwards with clear purpose. She breaks the kiss and pushes Logan back, but he quickly follows her, pulling her close again, his hands cupping her butt.

Veronica: (prohibitive) Logan. Stop.

Logan: Why?

Veronica: Clemmons' could be back any minute, and I do not want to start the year getting busted for making out with my boyfriend.

Logan: Why not?

She tries to evade his hands but in the small room she has nowhere to go.

Veronica: Do you want to explain why I have detention to my dad?

Logan pauses for a second then he smiles and dips his head down to her neck, kissing down it seductively.

Logan: So we won't get caught.

He maneuvers Veronica around so she is pressed between the door and Logan's larger body. Effectively keeping anyone outside out.

She sighs.

Veronica: You're going to get me in trouble.

But she tilts her neck to give him more access and she can feel Logan's lips curve into a smile against her skin.

Logan: Trust me.

She shakes her head and frames his face with both her hands pulling his mouth back to hers for a deep kiss. Logan's hands slide down her sides, past her hips to her legs. Curling his hands around the back of her thighs he lifts one of her legs up and curls it around his leg helpfully.

She is the first to break the kiss again, her face alarmed as her body responds to his heat, her own blood pumping rapidly.

Veronica: (prohibitive) Logan.

Logan: (playful) Five minutes?

Veronica: (amused) Why would I say yes to that?

Logan: Because you love me.

He says it playfully, but there is a shadow in his eyes. She smiles at him, but her eyes are serious as she angles her head in to kiss him again. The kiss is light, barely open mouthed, but it is full of emotion.

Veronica: (serious) I do love you.

She kisses him again, quickly this time.

Veronica: (more playfully) I love you, but I'm not having sex with you in Clemmons' office with Clemmons outside.

Logan grins, but still looks disappointed, releasing her leg and putting a few inches of space between them before taking her hand to lead her over to one of the two chairs in front of Clemmons' desk. Veronica sits, but Logan wanders around the room, until he is behind Clemmons' desk, where he flops down in the vice principal's chair and puts his feet up on the desk.

Veronica grins at Logan's disregard for anyone in an authority position.

Logan: You know, first day of school is like New Year's.

Veronica: How so?

Logan: Whatever you spend the day doing, you'll spend the rest of the year doing.

Veronica: Oh really?

Logan: Of course, I spent last New Year's eve chasing you around, didn't I?

She narrows her eyes at him then gets the look that means she has just had an idea. A smirk curves her lips and Logan drops his feet to the floor and sits forward at attention.

Logan: What?

Veronica: (grinning) Nothing.

Logan: That's not nothing. That look always means something.

Veronica: I'll tell you…

Logan: (resigned) Later.

Veronica: Yes, later, and I guess it would be more accurate to say I'll show you.

Logan looks intrigued, but before he can try to pry some more information out of her, Clemmons enters the room, shutting the door behind him and managing to keep his cool reserve as he shoos Logan from his chair. Logan grins, unrepentant as he sits in the uncomfortable chair next to Veronica.

Logan: What's up big guy? Can't wait to hear about our summer vacations? Well, let me tell you –

Mr. Clemmons: (interrupting) Mr. Echolls. Perhaps another time.

Logan fakes looking vastly disappointed.

Mr. Clemmons: I've brought you two here to discuss our current situation.

Both Logan and Veronica look cautious.

Veronica: Which situation?

Mr. Clemmons: This school values the privacy of our students and takes your security seriously.

Veronica: Is there a problem?

Logan: (frowning) Besides the ever present paparazzi?

Mr. Clemmons: Exactly. To that end, with a generous donation from your father…

Logan and Veronica share an alarmed look.

Mr. Clemmons: …we have added two new full time security guards to our campus security.

Both the teenagers are silent as they process that, trying to fathom Aaron's motivations, and easily grasping how this could be bad for them.

Veronica is the first to ask a question, Logan's face still frozen in a hard mask.

Veronica: Did Aaron hire the guards or did the school?

Mr. Clemmons: He provided the funds in the way of a donation. The guards went through the normal hiring process at the District.

Logan: (scornful) Well that's reassuring, considering that last year alone one of your hires was revealed to be having an affair with a student, actually knocking her up, and another was unable to even begin his position because he was arrested for beating his wife to a pulp. I'm sure your screening process on this one is fool-proof.

Clemmons looks annoyed.

Veronica: What I think Logan is trying to say, is that Aaron could be using these guards to try to get information on anyone associated with his trial. Logan, me… even Duncan.

Clemmons frowns, appearing to take her words seriously.

Mr. Clemmons: Every precaution will be taken. And if you have any complaints about the guards, other faculty or staff, or media following you onto campus you should bring your concerns to me immediately.

Leaving Clemmons' office Veronica smiles at Logan seductively.

Veronica: Meet me in the girls' bathroom later? We can work on… setting the course for the year.

Logan grins and salutes jauntily.

-VM—VM—VM—

Veronica slips into her 2nd period English class late, and takes the open seat next to Wallace. She looks around and notes that Enbom, Angie Dahl, Kate, and Luke are all in the class too. Mrs. Murphy walks them through the syllabus and reading list for the year and Veronica tunes out, a silly smile on her face as she thinks about Logan.

As Veronica walks out the door after the period ends, Wallace catches up and keeps pace beside her. Veronica turns and body checks him.

Veronica: Seniors rule!

Wallace: Uh-huh. (smiling) You're in a good mood.

She opens her mouth, but he cuts her off.

Wallace: No. No Logan related details.

She opens her mouth again.

Wallace: Not even one. Not even teasing. Nada.

Veronica: Way to rain on my happy feeling.

She pouts then turns to him again.

Veronica: Hey, what period do you have office aide this year?

Wallace: Believe it or not, I didn't sign up for a second year of office aide.

Veronica: (taken aback) Yeah, that doesn't work for me.

Wallace: Well you can take that up with Moms. She had these crazy ideas about me having a well-rounded education. But don't underestimate me. (He holds up a key.) The master key.

Veronica takes the key, pleased. Wallace scoots closer over to her, pulling out a slip of paper.

Wallace: Yeah, and I got all the administrative passwords I could get my hands on.

Veronica grabs the paper.

Veronica: Ooh, you're good.

Wallace: You know, you know. I get all my criminal tendencies from you. Now are you gonna be nice to me and never, ever tell me anything about you and Logan that wouldn't make it onto Degrassi.

Veronica smiles angelically and Wallace looks worried.

Veronica: You know those kids got nasty after awhile. Blow jobs and venereal diseases in the mouth. Logan and I...

Wallace: (frowning)Let's make a deal.

Veronica: What'cha got?

He takes a pink hall pass pad out of his pocket and waves it in front of her face. Her face is full of excitement as she makes a grab for the passes, but he pulls them back from her.

Wallace: Do we have a deal?

Veronica: Yeah, whatever, just gimmie.

He grins and hands her the passes, which she promptly flips through noting that they are stamped with Mrs. Moody's signature.

Veronica: Nice.

Wallace: (smug) There's more.

Veronica: (eyes comically wide) More?

Wallace: I made a deal with the new office aide to file the hall passes on the DL.

Veronica: Sweet. You're the best almost-brother a girl could hope for.

Wallace grins and the two friends move through the teeming hallway side by side.

Veronica can hear a loud yelling and some high pitch screeches. She turns her head and sees that Dick has a water gun, more like a water bazooka, and is spraying down the Freshman hallway. Several sophomores and juniors get sprayed too as they try to get to their classes. Veronica sees one of the PCH bikers look angrily at Dick about to approach him when Rams and Luke enter the hallway laughing at Dick's prank and congratulating their friend. Cervando falls back, but still looks angry as he swipes at the discoloration on his jeans. There wasn't just water in the toy guy, but bleach.

-VM—VM—VM-

When Veronica makes her way to her 3rd period class, organic chemistry, she sees Duncan already seated at a lab station one back from the front. She pauses in the doorway, a frown creasing her face. Duncan's gaze skims across her then he drops his eyes to the science book in front of him. Veronica's gaze continues around the room noting that Harry Didden is also in the class.

Veronica nods to Harry then takes a seat next to Kat, one of the few kids who like Veronica lived in the 90905 zip code, just one or two tax brackets above the 02er income.

Veronica: Hey Kat.

Kat: Hi Veronica. How was your summer?

Veronica: Good. How about yours?

Kat: Great, I got a scholarship to a summer dance program in Atlanta. It was amazing.

Mr. Wu enters and calls out the names of several of the students, including Veronica and Kat.

Mr. Wu: You lucky students have been selected to show groups of our new students around campus for this period. Report to the counseling office and get your students.

Veronica frowns, looking incredulous that anyone would select her to play the role of welcome wagon.

Cut to Veronica leading around five Freshmen, three girls and two boys.

Veronica: This is the lunch quad. Be careful where you sit. Sit in someone's spot and if you're lucky the least they'll do to you is dump a soda on you. Cafeteria food sucks, join an extracurricular activity and get Pirate Points and you can get off campus food delivered.

Freshman girl: Can we leave campus?

Veronica: No.

Cocky boy: Aren't Pirate Points only for sports?

Veronica: Not anymore.

She leads them back inside and waves idly down the hall.

Veronica: The nurse's office is down there. You know where the office is and the counselor.

They turn down another corridor and Veronica sees Logan slipping coins into a vending machine to get a bottle of water. He sees her and turns to lean back against the machine as she approaches.

Logan: Hi, I'm Logan.

She frowns, but plays along.

Veronica: Veronica.

Logan: That's a pretty name.

Veronica: Thank you.

Logan: Do you have a phone I can borrow? I need to call God and tell Him that one of His angels is missing.

Veronica: That's a cheesy line.

Logan: I know, I have been out of it for a while.

He leers at her, leaning in for a kiss. She turns her head so his lips land on her cheek. The freshmen girls with her sigh, as he cups his hand around her jaw lifting her face so he can drop a kiss on her forehead.

Veronica: Are you hitting on random girls in the hallway now? Last time I looked, you had a girlfriend.

Logan: Maybe next time you look, I won't.

Veronica: That's what they all say.

Logan: What can I say, I'm in demand.

Veronica: Wow, with pick up lines like that, it's a wonder I resisted you for so long.

She smiles up at him for a moment then leads her group down the hallway.

Veronica: (instructional tone) Now one of the most important decisions you'll make in high school is who to be friends with. (Logan continues to watch as she walks away, grinning in anticipation of her words.) Take that one back there, for example. Bad choice.

Freshman girl: Isn't he your boyfriend?

Veronica frowns.

Freshman girl: I heard you've been together for like, a year.

Veronica: Like I said, some decisions haunt you. So, be careful who you associate with, people will judge you on the company you keep.

Logan grins.

-VM—VM—VM—

Logan is waiting for Veronica outside the journalism classroom door when Duncan comes into view. Logan's easy smile fades and his mask slips into place. The boys stand awkwardly for a moment, then Duncan nods at Logan and moves inside. Logan blinks and for an unguarded moment looks after his former best friend.

He is distracted quickly when Dick and Veronica appear. Madison is also approaching the classroom and simpers at Dick.

Madison: Hi Dick, I didn't see you this morning.

Dick nods at her shortly then turns back to Veronica.

Dick: We're having pizza for lunch. It's a first day tradition.

Veronica: Well, I want tacos.

Madison huffs and stomps her foot.

Dick: Pizza.

Madison: (sugary) I'd like pizza, but no cheese, OK babe? I'm on a diet.

Dick frowns at her.

Dick: Order whatever you want. (nodding to Logan) Pizza today, man?

Logan: Yeah, but we can order tacos too.

Dick: Pussy.

Logan shrugs Dick off and smiles at Veronica. Madison stomps into the classroom. Veronica grins up at Dick and then Logan and allows him to escort her into the very full classroom.

Mrs. Dumass: Please find a seat wherever you can, everyone.

Veronica sees Meg and walks towards her, the two boys following her.

Veronica: What's going on?

Meg: Woody Goodman is touring the school and stopping in to visit with all the media classes. Journalism, broadcast news, film production and yearbook are all here.

Logan sits back on the counter that runs along the back of the room, and Veronica leans back against him, inside the V of his legs. Dick and Meg take up positions on either side of them, with Beaver slinking in to stand next to his brother.

Veronica glances around and notes that a few new kids are in the room as well as Kimmy, Lars, and Pam.

Dick: (to Beaver) Hey, who's the lovely young flower blossoming into womanhood?

He nods towards one of the new girls.

Beaver: Let me guess: you want to pluck her.

Logan grins.

Woody enters the classroom with Clemmons and Principal Moorehead at his side.

Woody: Hello, I recognize some of you. (He nods to Duncan, then Veronica.) I even coached a few of you back in Little League.

He glances at Beaver, and a few other students, smiling genially.

Woody: As many of you know, I'm running for Chairman of the Neptune Board of Supervisors. And I thought it was important as a candidate for public office, my daughter, Gia, attend the public high school in Neptune.

The girl Dick was checking out smiles and waves.

Woody: Her favorite class at Country Day was newspaper. So, I thought I'd visit the journalism classes and give Gia a chance to make some new friends.

Dick, leers at Gia as she stands up to join her father.

Dick: Hello, friend.

Gia: Hello. Okay, so far, working.

Woody: Yes.

Gia: Okay, just so everyone knows, I don't always dress like this.

Veronica cocks her head forward, in a "Say what?" way.

Gia: I didn't know if you guys were doing, like, relaxed beachy, or the West Coast wannabe East Coast urban, so, F.Y.I., it's not a statement. I'm just doing the new-school blend-in thing.

Veronica and Meg share a glance as Gia returns to her seat.

Woody: My daughter, she's a cool kid. Play nice.

He drones on for a few minutes, giving his stump speech, including a request that anyone eligible to vote get registered to do so.

Woody: I wanted to invite each of you out to a game at Shark Field. You'll be in my owner's box. (boasting yet boyish) Best seats in the house, right behind home base. The Sharks are playing the San Francisco Giants on October 25 and you're all invited.

-VM—VM—VM-

Walking out to the lunch quad, Veronica sees Wallace ahead of her and walks quickly to catch up with him.

Veronica: Hey bro.

Wallace: Bro?

She nods happily.

Wallace: You think so?

Veronica: What else would our (air quotes) "family meeting" tonight be about?

Wallace shrugs.

Wallace: So, where's your boyfriend? I expected to be ignored at lunch today.

Veronica: Why do people keep asking me that? I'm not his keeper.

Wallace busts out laughing loudly.

Veronica: (indignant) I'm not.

Wallace: Right.

She rolls her eyes and marches ahead of him to her normal table, which now permanently has an umbrella over it. She sits down just as Mac and Enbom appear and take a seat too. Wallace is still grinning as he sits down.

Logan and Dick appear carrying several pizza boxes and Styrofoam containers of Mexican food.

Dick sets his boxes on the normal 09er guys' table, before sliding onto one of the bench seats. He waves his brother over. Rams and Kate are already there, and apparently still together. With those two you never knew if they were together or not, but you always knew that they would be together again, soon enough.

Veronica looked around and saw Meg across the quad with some of her other friends. Logan sets the food down on the table and sits down next to Veronica. They begin to eat and talk about their classes, and Veronica notes that Enbom appears to be back to normal. Mac is smiling and happy and that's all that matters. She turns her attention to Wallace who is looking back at the doors to the school. Veronica turns her head to see a pretty black girl exit the school alone. She looks around then walks to an open table. Her head is held high, and Veronica reads it as more cocky than confident. She glances back at Wallace who is still staring. She nudges his arm.

Veronica: Eat. Staring is creepy.

Logan laughs and Wallace looks down, stuffing another bite of pizza into his mouth.

Wallace: Maybe I don't want a sister after all.

Veronica pouts cutely until he smiles back at her.

At one of the other 09er tables two new girls, sisters, are sitting with Madison and her crew. One has light brown hair, deliberately streaked with blond highlights. She laughs loudly and talks animatedly as she regales Madison and Emma Harris with tales of growing up in Beverly Hills. She is dressed in every trend of the season, from designer purse and shoes to ultra short skirt a preppy sweater over a very low cut shirt that shows off an expanse of cleavage. Her sister has dark brown wavy hair, and eats quietly, only speaking up when the other girls focus their attention on her. She is dressed more subtly, carrying a messenger bag, and wearing a 1970s era vintage shirt with jeans.

-VM—VM—VM-

In 6th period economics/history, Veronica meets another new student, Milo. He is average height, 5'8" or 5'9", with somewhat delicate features, medium brown hair, and an odd demeanor. He seems nervous. Nervous and uncomfortable. Veronica wonders why.

The teacher assigns them into pairs to analyze a period where the market was either very high or very low and determine what factors were responsible. Veronica is paired with the new student, with Luke working with his partner in the chairs immediately in front of them.

Veronica: OK, so let's get started. I'm Veronica by the way.

Milo: I know, (alarmed look, back peddling) I mean, I've heard.

He laughs awkwardly and Veronica looks at him curiously.

Milo: Someone filled me in on the gossip around here already.

Veronica: I thought guys didn't admit to gossiping.

Milo: Oh, uh, yeah. (flushing) So what do you think... did the stock market crash in the 80s because of the bad fashion?

Veronica continues to look at Milo thoughtfully. Something was off about this kid.

Veronica: Overvaluation, illiquidity, something about computers and speculative trades. But for the overall economy it was the rising cost of housing, the trade deficit, huge amounts of jobs being outsourced, and rising national and personal debt.

Milo: Wow. Did I miss a week, I thought this was the first day of class?

Veronica smiles.

Milo: So back up, what is illiquidity?

By the end of class Milo has Veronica laughing as he spins outrageous tales of why the market really crashed in 1987, mostly leading back to cocaine and shoulder pads. Leaving after the bell rings, Veronica tilts her head and looks at Milo.

Milo: What? Do I have something in my teeth?

Veronica: You look familiar. Have we met somewhere?

Milo: (stammering) No. Nope, not that I remember. And I would remember a hot chick like you. I mean damn girl. Look at you.

Veronica just stares at him, her eyebrows slightly quirked, trying to figure out what it is about him that feels wrong.

Milo: Uh, I gotta go, see you next class.

He races off.

Veronica: There is something odd about that guy.

Luke comes up behind her and laughs.

Luke: Seriously. He showed up at soccer practice last week. Weird kid, just weird. But he's actually a pretty good soccer player.

-VM—VM—VM-

Leaving school Veronica looks around for Wallace. Not seeing him she shoots him a text.

-text msg. to Wallace from Veronica

I need a ride, where are you?

A few minutes later her phone beeps, and she glances at it frowning. Wallace had a shift at the Sack-N-Pack and had already left campus. She is about to track Logan down when she sees Meg.

Veronica: (yelling) Meg, wait up.

Meg: What's up Veronica?

Veronica: Can I hitch a ride?

Meg: Sure.

The girls walk towards Meg's sensible Honda.

Meg: Did you drive with Logan today?

Veronica: Yeah, it was part of our deal that he not go to extremes with my wardrobe.

Meg: So he gets to pick you up each day for school. (overly sweet) Ooh! That's so cute.

Veronica: Hardly. Not having a car is already a pain in my ass.

Meg: Have no fear gal pal, after what you did for me this summer, consider me your own personal chauffer, at your beck and call.

Veronica: Right, I thought you had cheerleading tryouts today?

Meg: I do, but I forgot my shoes. Besides it doesn't start for another half hour, so I have just enough time to take you home first.

Veronica: Thanks Meg.

As they reach the parking lot Veronica sees an incredibly attractive guy get to his jeep that looked like it had seen a lot of off-road action. She stops and stares. Meg smiles.

Meg: I know, right? He's new.

Veronica: I think I would have noticed that before.

Meg: (teasing)Veronica, are you checking out a guy that is not Logan, and objectifying him to boot?

Veronica: Hey, sexual harassment and objectification are equal opportunity fields.

Meg giggles.

Meg: His name is Jason Nash. He just moved here from San Juan Island. He's a senior...

Veronica: He's hot.

Meg: Yeah. Looks a bit like...

Veronica: Jared Leto.

Meg: Yeah.

Veronica: So how do you have all the 411 already, do you have a little crush? What will Richie think?

Meg blushes, thinking of the guy from Pan that she has been dating.

Meg: He's in my algebra class.

Veronica: Unfair. I want some eye-candy in my trig class.

Meg peels with laughter again and the boy in question's gaze goes over the two girls quickly as he reverses out of his parking spot. He doesn't smile.

Veronica: (appearing intrigued)Oh, I sense angsty moodiness.

-VM—VM—VM-

Cut to Logan and Dick sitting in the bleachers above the football field with Enbom and a few other 09er guys. Rams is on the field below with the rest of the team, doing what looks like slow motion jumping jacks. Harry Didden runs out onto the field, arriving late and the guys jeer him. As he runs out to join his teammates he turns to flip off his other friends, who return the favor. The guys heckle him then turn their attention to the men's soccer team as they run past on the track the circles the field. Luke, Duncan, and Borris are on the soccer team and lead the rest of their team as they run three miles as part of their warm up and conditioning.

The guys in the bleachers are drinking, and appear well on their way to being drunk except for Logan who has only been sipping at his flask.

Dick: Dude this is a total sausage fest, where are the girls?

He looks around for the cheerleaders, but doesn't see them anywhere. The girls' soccer team practiced on the practice field around the back of the school.

Enbom: Man, you have enough girl trouble already, you looking for more?

The guys all knew about Dick seeing Madison again this summer, and her wanting a commitment from him now. They didn't know about Betina, except for Logan who only knew that Dick was sleeping with someone else in addition to Madison.

The football team begins running drills and the soccer team stops their cardio to form loose circles so the coach can evaluate their passing skills. This week was the official tryouts for the teams, but everyone pretty much knew who the teams would be, with the exception of a few latecomers trying to earn a spot. The passing drill included one player in the center who was supposed to block any passes they could. When the new kid, Milo, was up, he proved to have quick feet. Then a kick launched the ball off the ground and straight into his nuts. All the guys on the field and in the bleachers groaned and moved to cover their own family jewels. Milo looked around confused for a moment, then reacted.

Milo: Oh, right.

He lets loose a horrible groan, pleading for the pain to stop as he drops to his knees then curls up on his side on the field. The coach approaches.

Coach: Walk it off kid, some ice tonight and you'll be fine.

Logan shakes his head.

Logan: Well that was fun. I'll catch you later.

He bumps fists with Dick.

Dick: Hey man, can you handle the libations for Friday?

Logan: Beach party, right?

Dick: Absolutely.

Logan: Got it.

Logan leaves sliding down the side rail of the bleachers, despite the memory of Duncan taking a header off that same spot last year. At the bottom he salutes his friends and heads back into the school.

In the school Logan barges into a janitor's room, happy and relaxed. He stops short on seeing Lucky who is standing in a large bucket wearing only jeans and a catcher's mask. Logan looks surprised and troubled at the view.

Lucky: Dude, I think I got gangrene.

Lucky is pouring bleach on his feet from a large plastic bottle.

Logan: Yeah. Uh, so I need some kegs delivered to the beach Friday.

Lucky is very agitated, physically shaking.

Lucky: You know, they're doin' something to me. Or I'm, or I'm, or I'm poisoning myself.

Logan is perplexed.

Logan: Yeah man. Maybe you should lay off the bleach. Get some rest tonight.

Lucky nods emphatically and leaves a few folded up hundred dollar bills on the pile of Lucky's clothes on the floor.

-VM—VM—VM-

Fennel home. Keith and Alicia stand in front of the couch, where Veronica, Wallace and Daryl are sitting. Wallace and Veronica are grinning, Daryl looks excited.

Keith begins, with a very serious look on his face and levels his pointed "be serious" look at both teenagers. They struggle to smooth their countenances into sober expressions

Keith: Alicia and I wanted us to all sit down together to discuss some changes that will affect all of us.

Keith: After talking to Alicia, I've made the decision to run for sheriff again.

Veronica's face reveals her surprise, her dad hadn't mentioned it to her at all.

Keith: I'll officially announce in the next few days, but considering my previous stint as Sheriff, we need to expect the campaign to have some bumps.

Wallace: Why? You've been totally cleared, even Jake Kane said you were right, and the whole town was wrong.

Veronica: Lamb.

Keith: Among others. There are people in this town that don't want an effective sheriff, and especially not me.

Veronica: OK, so we all need to behave, be a picture perfect little family.

Keith: That's one of the things that will be changing.
Veronica's slow grin fades as Keith continues.

Keith: Veronica and I will be moving back to our apartment.

Veronica: What?

Keith: I won't subject Alicia and you boys to the media attention that would follow us all living together when your mother and I are not married.

Veronica: But…

Keith: Veronica and I will move back to the apartment.

Wallace: When?

Keith: Tomorrow.

Veronica: But…

Keith: Tomorrow Veronica. It's for the best.

Daryl: (unsure) Are you breaking up?

Alicia: No. But we don't want to rush into getting married because of the election.

Keith: Alicia's right, marriage is a big decision, and not one to be made rashly.

-VM—VM—VM-

(Wednesday, Sept. 7)

Morning, downtown Neptune. Logan and Veronica pull into Java the Hut in Logan's Xterra.

Veronica: So you're afraid to drive the Audi to school in case someone… touches it? Are finger prints corrosive now?

Logan: Maybe, have you seen some of the unwashed humanity that attends our school? (She frowns and opens her mouth to call him on his snobbery, but he continues, easily cutting her off.) But, you're missing the point.

Veronica: What is the point?

They climb out of the SUV and walk towards the door.

Logan: The Audi is a fine piece of delicate machinery. Taking her to school is asking for trouble.

Veronica: Her? Tell me you haven't named her.

Logan: Well, now you'll never know.

Logan holds the door to the café open for her, but she pauses in the doorway.

Veronica: I'm heartbroken. (She points to her own faux-sad face.) See this? This is my look of abject sadness that our relationship will never last.

Logan: Huh?

Veronica: If we can't share our innermost secrets, what chance do we have?

Logan looks at her with amused tolerance.

Logan: I think we'll survive.

She sweeps inside, with Logan following her. She is wearing a graphic pattern sun dress with wood bead details around the neck (from Spring Break) with a blazer over the top. They bypass the hostess stand and order drinks to go at the counter. Where they continue to banter until Logan realizes he left his wallet in the car. He refuses to let Veronica pay, and she rolls her eyes and agrees, but as soon as he leaves she hands the barista a $20.

She is waiting for their drinks when she feels someone come up behind her. She turns to see Kelvin Moore, a black classmate, best known for being a bully and a jock.

Veronica: Kelvin Moore. I didn't figure you for the coffee type.

Veronica: Oh yeah?

Veronica: Well, to be fair this is the first two seconds I've put into thinking about you, but I would have figured you a more Monster energy drink or Pimp Juice.

Kelvin: I need your help, Veronica.

She continues on her train of thought as if he hadn't spoken.

Veronica: Pimp juice, is that Nelly or Ludacris? I get confused.

He looks annoyed, but tries not to show it as he tells her that he's been kicked off athletics for his entire senior year because he failed the mandatory drug test. Veronica asks why he's surprised, since he failed it last year, too. Kelvin goes on to tell her that he's been clean for ten months now. She appears speculative.

Veronica holds out her hands.

Veronica: Give me your hands, look into my eyes, and swear to that fact.

Kelvin puts his hands in hers, and looks into her eyes.

Kelvin: Veronica, I swear that there is no possible way I could have failed that drug test.

Veronica gives the appearance of being deep in thought.

Veronica: Hmm.

Kelvin: So, am I lying?

She shrugs.

Veronica: I don't know.

Kelvin: (laughing) Then what was all that for?

Veronica: I just wanted to see if you'd do it. You were very convincing, but I'm gonna be tied up the next few days. And I just don't care that much.

Kelvin: (angry) So, who's supposed to help me out then?

She shrugs again.

Veronica: Encyclopaedia Brown? I hear he's good.

Kelvin: I guess it's true what they say about you then, huh?

Veronica: (peeved) Probably, but you're going to have to narrow it down for me.

Kelvin: (derisive) You're a 09er now. You went and landed yourself another rich boyfriend. A-a-and last year was just some-some big old act for you. You gotta pick sides in this town these days. You picked yours.

Veronica opens her mouth as if to answer, but says nothing despite her clear anger.

Kelvin: Figures how none of the rich kids failed their drug test now, huh?

Logan reenters the café looking flustered, then seeing Veronica with Kelvin comes towards them quickly. Kelvin sees him and backs away from Veronica.

Kelvin: Well, I gotta jet. See you around, Veronica. You sleep well.

Veronica: (condescending smile) I will.

Logan: What was that about?

Veronica: (bright smile)Nothing.

Logan huffs, but lets it drop.

Logan: I must have forgot my wallet at home.

She grins and pulls his wallet out of her bag.

Veronica: This wallet?

Logan looks shocked. Veronica fakes looking into her bag more closely.

Veronica: How'd that get in there?

Logan: You pick pocketed me?

Veronica: Did I?

Logan: We both know you did.

Veronica: (grinning) Prove it.

She takes both cups off the counter where the barista had just placed them and hands him his before brushing past him.

Veronica: For all you know I could be a good Samaritan who found your wallet and then returned it to you. (mock disappointment) You have so little faith in your fellow human.

Logan: You found it in my pocket.

Outside he opens the passenger door of the Xterra for her and then leans in to kiss her.

Logan: Thief.

Veronica: Your word against mine.

-VM—VM—VM-

In 1st period French class, Logan is actually helpful to Veronica when it's time to practice pronunciation for common greetings and introductions.

Walking towards her next class, Wallace falls in step with Veronica.

Wallace: Hey. You didn't call me back this morning.

Veronica throws her arm around him.

Veronica: Don't go getting all girl on me.

He glares at her, clearly upset. She grows serious.

Veronica: I was in class.

Wallace: Man, I got kicked off the basketball team.

Veronica freezes.

Veronica: What?

Wallace turns back to face her.

Wallace: I failed my drug test. I'm booted from athletics for the whole year.

Veronica is flummoxed.

Veronica: You don't do drugs.

Wallace: You know that, I know that, but when my mom hears about this she's not gonna believe me until I pass a drug test every day for a year. During which time I'll be under house arrest.

Veronica: So?

Wallace: (freaking out) So? So? So if I'm not allowed out I can't help you when you get a harebrained idea. Or when you want me to cover for you so you can be with Logan.

Veronica: (unconcerned) Well since we won't be living together anymore after today….

Wallace: Come on V, you gotta help me, moms will kill me.

Veronica: Ask me nicely.

Wallace: (cute pleading look) Please?

Veronica: (smiling) Of course. Now give me the deets.

Wallace: The what?

Veronica: The details, the 411, the P's and Q's, the fine print.

Wallace: Mixing generas much?

Veronica: (superior) Do you want my help or not?

Wallace fills her in on what he knows. Five athletes in total were kicked off their teams. Jimmy Day, the starting quarterback, passed the test, even though everyone knows he did drugs. Veronica says she heard no 09ers failed the drug test. Wallace asks if she thinks it's a conspiracy, and Veronica replies that nothing happens accidentally in Neptune. Wallace tells her she's wrong about no 09ers failing; one did fail. Meg. Veronica is shocked for the second time that morning.

Veronica: Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

Wallace: When were you out?

Veronica: I haven't taken on a case since Marisol, have I?

Wallace: So helping Meg didn't count?

Veronica shrugs.

-VM—VM—VM-

School Counselor's office. Rebecca James is behind her desk. Logan enters with a swagger.

Logan: Becky.

Ms. James: Logan. And it's Ms. James.

Logan falls back into an arm chair. He stretches out his feet in front of him, his arms clasped over his stomach. He shakes his head sadly.

Logan: Being so formal hardly inspires me to want to open up to you Becky.

Ms. James: I'm sorry to hear that Logan, but I must insist, it's Ms. James.

Logan Well since we won't be discussing my inner traumas, (aw shucks face) no trust, what will we do for the allotted 20 minutes?

Ms. James: Have you thought about your future Logan?

Logan When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened. (pause) John M. Richardson. (another pause, then with flourish) Junior.

She smiles calmly, not allowing him to provoke her.

Ms. James: And which are you?

Logan: I don't know, I guess we'll see. Look me up in ten years.

Ms. James: What do you want to do Logan? With your life. How do you want to spend it? (leading) Anything. What's the first thing that comes to mind?

Logan: Ohis this where you ask us what we'd doif we had a million dollars and we didn't have to work. And invariably what you'd say was supposed to be your career.

She sits back realizing she was never going to make it past his defenses unless he decided to allow that. Which wasn't going to be today.

She sits back in her chair, her tone is off-hand, disinterested.

Ms. James: So what should we talk about for the remainder of our session (waves towards the door) unless you want to go back to class?

Logan hesitates.

Logan When you're not busy messing with students' heads, you double as a career counselor, right?

Ms. James: Correct.

Logan You have my grades, my test scores in my file.

An open file is sitting on her desk.

Ms. James: Yes.

Logan What would I need to do to get into an Ivy League school?

Ms. James: (surprised) You want to go to college?

Logan: (arrogant) I haven't decided.

Ms. James: (frustrated) Which schools are you interested in Logan? Each school has their own standards.

Logan: Stanford. Yale. Maybe Berkley. Brown. Colombia.

Ms. James: (dryly) Anywhere else?

Logan: Not that I can think of right now.

She looks at his file.

Ms. James: Your grades are good. But they could be better. (Her look implies she knows that Logan doesn't try, merely coasts on his intelligence and memory.) Your SATs are excellent. You'll need to do well on your ACTs as well. Beyond that I would suggest two courses of action. Improve your grades and add some extracurricular activities or volunteer work.

Logan frowns.

Ms. James: You directed the Spring play last year. You could do that again.

Logan frowns harder.

Ms. James: A team sport, school club, something. Anything.

Logan: Does testifying against my father count as an extracurricular activity? (seeing her nonplused face) No? Well, I suppose at least it will give me great material for the entrance essays.

-VM—VM—VM-

School hallway. Veronica sees Meg ahead of her and hurries to catch up with her. Madison and a few other of the bitchy 09er girls are laughing at Meg and pantomiming smoking pot. Meg keeps her head high and walks on. Veronica smiles.

Veronica: So, glad we're almost done with this place?

Meg glances at Veronica with a smile and her shoulders, which had been tensed, relax.

Meg: Senior year. Thank God. But I will miss a few people.

Veronica smiles genuinely.

Meg: What's up Veronica, do you want something?

Veronica: Well, I heard that you were kicked off the cheerleading squad.

Meg: Yeah, but you know me, I'm a major stoner. It was really affecting me too. I was like, (in cheer rhythm) "Let's go, let's go, L-E-T-S...duh..."

Veronica: (grinning) Right. So, can you think of anyone who might have done this to you?

Meg: Well there could be a few.

Veronica: Oh?

Meg: Madison. (pause) Shelly. Emma.

Veronica: Why would they come after you?

Meg: (chipper) Well you see, I chose this outcast girl over them and now she's one of the most popular girls in the school and dating "the guy." You know that one senior guy who is so cool that all the girls want him and all the guys want to be friends with him. So yeah, the list is kinda long. If you're planning on helping me out, I'd say you're going to have your work cut out for you.

Veronica: Don't worry M-and-M. I got your back.

Meg: M-and-M?

Veronica: Yeah, you're all gangster now, wearing leather, (eyes wide and overly admiring) smoky eye shadow during the day, and now a drug offense? Damn girl.

Both girls laugh as they continue down the hall.

-VM—VM—VM-


-AN

OK, not much action in this chapter, but I figure you guys will give me a pass just to get the first chapter up before Christmas.

And, yeah, baseball season usually ends before Oct 25, at least regular season does, but I'm using some creative timeline allowance here.

I'm going to try for a chapter every 10-15 days, two a month, but remember reviews do inspire me to write. I've been a good author this year, stuff my FF stocking with goodies and see if positive reinforcement really works!

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