Our story takes place in a world where Veronica and Piz broke up right after Logan hit Gorya (her look made that inevitable). Veronica went to Virginia for the FBI. She and Logan made up before she left, but they didn't get back together. Piz went to New York for his internship. Logan and Dick went to South America for a few weeks. Wallace went to Africa. Parker went home to Colorado. Keith became Sheriff (not because I think it was likely, but because it's my story and I love him) and began seeing Alicia again. And Mac? She stayed in Neptune, working for campus IT and Kane software and was still dating the motivationally challenged Max.

Finally, Mac thought, as she saw her phone ringing, Logan Echolls. Mac was glad her long summer of hard work was coming to a close and that her friends were trickling back into town. Her sophomore year was going to be a breeze compared to 80 hour work weeks.

"Mr. Hollywood, " she answered with a grin, "To what do I owe the pleasure."

"Q, It's been too long. How are you?"

"I'm good. I'm richer than I was last time you saw me, but not tan and relaxed like you must be. Are you back in the 'tune?"

"I am. I just got back today and Dick and I are again taking up residence in the penthouse suite at the Grand."

"Hey Logan? I know you're like a millionaire or something and this might be cliché, but don't you think it's about time you left the hotel for your beach front mansion?'

"Leave the Grand? But who would do my laundry?"

"I don't know, a maid?"

"Well, I may be a millionaire, but Dick's a billionaire and decided to buy the whole damn hotel, so this way we save on a mortgage and paying a maid."

"He bought the Neptune Grand? Unbelievable. But you're still sharing the suite?" she asked with a smile.

"Yeah, BFFs for-ev-er."

"Cute," she said laughing, "So what's up? Your girl's not back yet, is she?"

"Nope. Well, she's not my girl, but she won't be back for a couple more weeks."

"Well, I'll give it a couple of weeks and a day and things will be back to normal."

"Ah normal," he mused, "that nauseating rollercoaster of soul-crushing tirades and raucous romps."

Segue, please. "So? Can I help you with something? Need a mad tech genius to solve your problems today?"

"Not today, Mac" he said, "This is a purely social call. I was just calling to say we're having a 'Welcome Back Us' party tonight at the suite and you should come."

"Done," she said, "What time?"

"Wow, that was easy," said Logan. "No 'Is Dick going to make a drunken fool of himself again?' or 'Am I going to have to share oxygen with vapid and scantily clad 09er girls?'"

"Well, that's because I know the answer to both those questions: yes and yes. But both of those are more entertaining than my current social life which includes my Mom, my Dad, and my 9 year old brother."

"What about Max?"

"Max… he's in the picture."

"Uh-oh. Trouble in paradise?"

"Nah, I just need a break. He's the only person besides my family I've been hanging out with for weeks. He deserves a night with his nerdy-felon friends."

"Excellent. And you deserve a night of mocking drunk rich kids. Okay, see you any time after 8."

"Thanks, Logan. See ya!"

Mac finished her shift at Kane software, and went to check on her work at Hearst. Not much was going on—she already had everything smoothed out for the new freshman class coming in and was basically biding her time until they arrived. Mac had learned a lot this summer and was happy she'd stayed in Neptune; only now that the summer was dwindling was she feeling like she missed out on a vacation. Then and there she decided to take a little time off next week from Kane. What good is living in a beach town if you never see the beach?

Mac went to her dorm room—she had asked to move in early to be ready for the longer IT hours during freshman orientation. She had become invaluable to the department and was enjoying the perks that came with that status. However, she realized all of her skills still left her short handed when it came to socializing outside of her element. Her closet was seriously lacking anything that would help her fit in at an 09er party. These are the times she missed Parker. And Parker's wardrobe.

A few minutes later, she pulled up to the Neptune Grand and took a deep breath. Mac always hating driving past the curb where Cassidy ended his life. There were so many memories of him in this hotel for her. She couldn't believe Dick would buy this place. He had to be reminded of him too… Maybe that was the point.

Mac had decided against dressing any differently than normal—she was who she was and Logan's posh friends could just deal. But she did think she looked kind of cute. She had on a couple of layered tank tops, her comfy boots, her favorite jeans, and she had pulled part of her purple-streaked hair up. Nope, she wasn't an 09er with a designer dress, but she was glad for that. Take that Madison! she thought as she traveled up the elevator.

She sent a quick text to Max: I'm at a party at the Grand. Have fun with your friends!

By the time she got off the elevator, she had a text back: No you're not. :)