Storyline: In this fic Veronica attended school with Lilly, Duncan and Logan but was not part of the 09er group. She is not Lilly's friend, never dated Duncan and the Fab 4 is Lilly, Logan, Duncan and Meg. Lilly is now a senior and Duncan, Meg, Logan and Veronica are juniors at Neptune High School.

Logan Echolls looks in surprise at his friend Dick Cassablancas. Normally he doesn't find the tall blond to be insightful, but sometimes, despite his goofy manner, Dick just sees past all the complexity. Maybe today the answer to Logan's problem lies in the basic realm.

He leans back and says, "Dude, sometimes you can be a genius."

The 09ers at the lunch table look at their leader in surprise. He doesn't often tell Dick he is a genius. In fact it is really not something that is heard in conjunction with Dick's name.

Logan, seeing the look on the rest of their faces, laughs. He was upset because Lilly Kane, his on again, off again girlfriend of four years, broke up with him again. His friends used to the routine, attempted to make him feel better by giving him suggestions on what to do until Lilly wanted him back. The suggestions ranged from going to Mexico for the weekend, to picking a freshman to date, to having a huge party, to going to LA to club, to going to a college party.

Dick had finally put his two cents worth in. He said, "What you need is a challenge; something different."

When Logan had looked at Dick in question, Dick had supplied, "You've done all that shit before. You are Logan Echolls, all you have to do is wiggle your finger to get a new girl."

Frowning Casey had asked, "Who would be a challenge then?"

"I don't know." Dick had shrugged and then said, "Someone you've never thought of before."

Unbeknownst to Dick and the rest of the male 09ers, Logan had spotted the perfect girl to take his mind off Lilly. He had leaned back and smiled. Perhaps Dick was right. Perhaps he needed something or someone totally different. Perhaps that someone has been right in front of him all along.

Although Logan's friends didn't understand his smile or why he thought Dick's comment was so insightful, they were happy to see he seemed less upset about his breakup with Lilly Kane.

After school at the beach

Logan sits on his surfboard and looks out away from the beach; towards the ocean. He watches the waves come in and sees a few boats pass. It is a beautiful day today and the waves have been pretty good. He feels pleasantly tired. Although he loves the exercise that surfing brings, mostly he loves to surf because it always helps him quiet his mind. He is able to totally focus on the wave, zone in on the challenge of riding his board and magically, the rest of the world disappears.

Two days ago he caught his girlfriend cheating on him again at Kim's party. He had beat up the guy and then had a huge, loud and painful fight with Lilly. It's funny but she probably leaves more scars on him than his father during his worst episodes. Although he doesn't have the physical markings from Lilly, he has plenty of psychological scars from their breakups.

His life is so fucked up! A father who never wanted him and thinks he needs to train him to 'be a man'; a mother who is so beaten down by life that she hides in her pills and booze; an adopted sister who is a self-absorbed Paris Hilton want-to-be; and the love of his life is a girl who is not satisfied by him and is constantly seeking out other guys.

Back at school today he could see that Lilly is done with him for a while. She has someone else who has caught her attention and she has no intention of taking him back for a while. He could see that he is off her radar.

Hurt and upset he had sat with his friends at lunch. While he was listening to their suggestions on what he should do or what girl he should date until Lilly wanted him back, he had spotted her. He had watched as she walked out of the school carrying her lunch tray towards the table where she sat with some of the soccer team.

They were all in their uniforms, getting lunch before they got on the bus to go to a game. Logan felt his breath catch and his heart skip a beat when he saw her. She walked with grace and confidence. She was wearing short black shorts with the green and yellow soccer shirt that was tight to her tiny waist. Her long blond hair was tied back with multiple green and yellow ribbons. She wore green knee socks and white athletic shoes. It wasn't a sexy outfit but on her, it was a combination of innocent, athletic, flirty and was a direct shot to his groin. She was laughing as she walked with one of her team mates. He is not sure why but, at that moment, he wanted her to be walking towards him.

He doesn't know much about her even though he has attended the same schools as her since he moved to Neptune when he was twelve years old. Truthfully, her family is not wealthy so he has not had much to do with her. Mostly though, he has been wrapped up in Miss Lilly Kane and no other girl has interested him.

He does know that she is the daughter of Sheriff Mars. She is fighting it out with his best friend Duncan to be the top student in the class.. She is a starting player on the varsity soccer team. When they were in Middle School, his best friend Duncan had lusted after her for a while but nothing had ever come of it. Logan can't remember why but it was something about her mother not approving; although that can't be it because who wouldn't approved of their daughter dating Duncan Kane?

Duncan had turned to Meg Manning instead and they had become the IT couple of Neptune High. In one of those weird twists in life, Meg Manning and Veronica Mars are friends.

Veronica comes to some of the 09er parties. Since she is a hot girl and friends with Duncan and Meg, no one cares. Logan has never seen her drunk or seen her make a fool of herself. She has not joined in the games the 09ers play at their parties either. Logan has never kissed her in spin the bottle; been in the closet for seven minutes of heaven with her and he has never seen her play 'I Never' or 'Truth or Dare". She seems to avoid all those games. He doesn't know if she behaves because her father is the sheriff or she is truly uninterested in most of the 09er guys.

He remembers that in their freshman year, she dated the most sought after senior guy; Josh Britton. Rumors were that before Veronica came to high school he was a 'different girl each night' type guy. Once he started dating Veronica, there hadn't been anyone else for him. In fact the rumors were that Veronica broke off their relationship when he went to college. Meg told them that Veronica didn't think their relationship could survive a three year separation and he should have fun in college. Logan remembers that Lilly had totally agreed that Josh should explore all his options once he went to college. Logan had been hurt that Lilly was so anxious to find new guys to date.

In sophomore year she dated the Valedictorian of the senior class. The 09er guys talked about how Veronica must be great in bed to keep the attention of two of the most sought after guys in the school. They had laughed about how tiny her hips were and how tight she must be.

Tied up with Lilly, Logan had never wondered why the top guys in the school dated her. He had seen her around school and at some parties but hadn't really ever talked to her.

Being a guy he noticed she was good looking. He had also noticed a spicy side to Veronica. She liked to dance and could really move her body to the beat. He has heard her give guys verbal smack downs at parties if they decide they needed to touch her or won't take no for an answer.

Vaguely he remembers listening to the 09ers guys talk about now that she is free again asking her out and how she invariably refuses. There was some discussion that she was now dating an older guy who was a deputy working with her father in the Sheriff's office. Lilly had winked and said she understood why Veronica might be attracted to older guys.

Lilly had not bothered with Veronica Mars at all. She had dismissed her as too good to be interesting and Logan had followed along not giving Veronica Mars much thought.

Tuesday at Neptune High

Logan's chance to talk to Veronica comes during a fire drill in the Journalism class they share together. He follows her out and then sits beside her as she leans back against a brick wall closing her eyes, enjoying the sunshine.

Feeling that someone has sat beside her, she opened her eyes and looked at Logan. He didn't say anything, just looked at her, so she spoke first, "Logan."

He smirked a little and answered formally, "Veronica."

When he doesn't say anything more, she tilts her head and looks at him in obvious question.

He continues to watch her without speaking. Although the pause is long, Veronica is not uncomfortable. Finally she says in a questioning voice, "If you have nothing to say, say nothing."

Immediately Logan smiles. He answers, "I do like Mark Twain." He leans forward a little and says, "I prefer 'Silence is more eloquent than words."

Impressed, Veronica smiles back a genuine smile and sits up. Logan can read her posture and sees she is more interested in him now. She says, "Mark Twain and Thomas Carlyle…. I can see why you would like both of their writings."

Nodding in acceptance of her obvious jab about him relating to writers who are known for their love of the pleasures of life, he comments, "They are both always interesting." He looks out around at all the students gathered in small groups talking, waiting to be called back into class.

Looking back at Veronica he meets her gaze and adds, "One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears."

Puzzled she looks at him and he adds, "Dean Rusk."

She shakes her head and tells him, "I don't know who that is."

Tisking a little at her, he says, "I thought you were in the AP classes?" A little dramatically he pauses and explains, "Dean Rusk was the Secretary of State under a number of presidents."

She has to smile at his attitude. This conversation with Logan is really surprising her. He is a lot smarter than she realized; a lot better read.

Leaning a little closer he says, "Aren't you curious as to what I am going to persuade you to do?"

"Well I must admit I am puzzled as to why you are seeking me out to talk to me today," she shares.

Looking at her for a few seconds before he speaks, he likes how her hair looks pulled back. She has a heart shaped face. Her chin is a little pointed but her cheek bones are high and her mouth is nicely shaped.

Veronica feels her heart skip a little at his perusal; however, she waits to hear what he is going to say, opting for silence as the best option.

He leans in a little closer and says, "I think we should go out."

Her eyes widen in surprise and her mouth opens a little. Tiny little lines on her forehead appear and she opens her mouth and then closes it without speaking. Finally she says, "That is not a good idea."

Logan is surprised. He has very little trouble getting dates. He knows he is handsome. He is rich and his parents are famous actors. The 09er girls want to date him and most women he meets don't hesitate to go out with him. However, he can immediately see that the idea of dating him has never occurred to Veronica.

The bell rings and she leans over to pick up her books. She says, "I am not interested in being your fling girl."

"Interim girl," he corrects.

Her eyes flash and she retorts, "Don't you think it is a little egotistical to think all the girls in the school are waiting their turn to be with you?"

A little surprised and stung by her annoyance he answers back, "I don't think that."

She takes a deep breath and then lets it out. "Look I think we should end this conversation before we are both offended."

She starts to walk off. Logan gently grasps her arm and turns her back to him. He looks at her and says, "I am not trying to offend you." He lets go of her arm and says, "I am interested in you."

She claps her hands together in mock excitement, "I am so thrilled that it is finally my turn. I have been waiting all this time for you to notice me." She bats her eyes and exclaims in an obviously false voice, "I have to rush out to the store to buy a new outfit for our first date; something slutty so that I look good on your arm," she ends with an over the top giggle and shy pose.

Logan is speechless at her reaction to his asking her out. He is sure that he looks ridiculous with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open in surprise.

Complete with a head bob and hand on hip, she says, "FYI Logan. I am not anyone's appetizer. I am the main course." She walks off.

Logan watches as she walks away. He is shocked by her words and attitude. He has never had a girl be offended he asked her out. She seemed genuinely upset that he would think of her as an interim girl. That head bob was so cute! He is sure that she feels she really told him off but his main thought right now is that Veronica Mars is really gorgeous when she is pissed off. He smiles. She really is different; a challenge.

The students waiting at the front of the building watch as Logan sits next to Veronica. They talk and both laugh. Veronica leaves Logan and enters the building but he watches her walk away. Then he smiled. The rumors start.

On Wednesday at lunch, Logan is asked about his conversation with Veronica Mars. He flippantly puts his hand to his chest and says, "It shouldn't be shock to see me talking to a hot girl."

He sees the delivery guy arrive and puts his hand up getting the guy's attention. He reaches for his wallet to pay.

The guys laughed at his humor, but Casey noticed that Logan never answered Dick's question about whether he was going to date her.

Thursday after school

Logan is sitting on the beach alone. He was surfing with his friends but they left to go home for supper. He didn't want to go home yet so he thought he would sit for a while and think. He has seen Veronica at school but she has ignored him, as usual. He can see she is serious about not dating him. It is an unusual experience for him but he finds that he is intrigued by her.

While he is sitting there the girl he is thinking about walks by. He calls her name and she looks over at him. He sees she is walking a mean looking pit bull dog. She pauses and then waves to him.

Logan watches as she tries to continue to walk her dog down the beach away from him. Unfortunately for her exit and plan not to talk to him, her dog pulled her over.

Veronica is disconcerted to find out her new puppy totally loves Logan Echolls. Hopefully her father can train that out of him but right now, her dog is lying on his back begging for a belly rub from the spoiled, rich, king of the 09ers.

Logan, who has never had a pet, finds the pit bull puppy too much to resist. He is so open and honest in his wants. Logan is happy to give the dog a good neck rub and then laughs when the dog rolls on his back waiting to have his belly petted.

Watching the dark haired boy pet her dog gives Veronica time to notice how hot he looks in his board shorts. She is not blind; she has noticed how good he looks in his tight jeans and polo shorts. If she didn't notice, the girls at the school make it clear that he is very, very attractive. However close up on the beach, her eyes are drawn to his broad shoulders, muscular trim arm muscles and flat abdomen. His hair wet falls over his forehead instead of standing up in its usual spikes. She finds she wants to push it away from his forehead. The boy is entirely too handsome for his own good.

Logan, although busy with the puppy, definitely notices how tiny she looks in her short shorts and tight t shirt. Her flat abdomen is visible and her legs look long and slim. He waves her to sit down and after a brief pause, she settles on the beach on the other side of her new puppy.

Smirking at her reluctance to sit with him, Logan comments, "Cute puppy."

She frowns a little and says, "I just got him."

"He's energetic." Logan notes.

This makes Veronica smile as she looks at him. She nods and agrees, "That he is."

"What is his name?" he asks genuinely curious.

Reaching a hand over to gently rub her puppy's head, she sighs knowing the reaction she will get to his name, "Back Up."

Logan laughs and quizzes, "Really?"

Veronica explains that her father bought him for her and that he will train him to protect her.

Teasing her, he comments, "Well he doesn't seem like much of a man killer right now."

She agrees, "No he's not." She looks at her puppy, "He also doesn't like to be on the leash, stay in the yard or stay out of the garbage either."

He smiles at her dry comment.

They both watch the ocean for a few minutes. Finally Back Up sees a bird and decides to chase it. His abrupt movement pulls the leash out of Veronica's hand and he runs off down the beach with the leash dragging behind him.

Veronica yells at him to come back but he is in chase mode and continues running farther down the beach. She gets up and chases him.

Logan, laughing at Veronica's obvious upset, gets up and chases as well. He runs after the dog and petit blond. Veronica is fit and a fast runner and catches up to Back Up who is periodically stopping to smell interesting things on the beach. He sees her and avoids letting her get the leash. Logan laughs as she dives and misses catching the leash. The dog is obviously having a blast running from her and playing the chase game. He runs by her; taunting her by going close enough for her to try and grab the leash again. Then when she makes a grab for his leash, he agilely moves out the leash out of her grasp by changing directions.

Logan goes over and gives her a hand up. She frowns as she can see he is laughing at her. She does take his hand and allows him to help her up.

The teenagers work together to corner the rambunctious dog; to no avail. Finally, they both fall exhausted and laughing onto the sand. Veronica lays on her back and huffs, "I give up."

Logan looks over and he is struck by how absolutely beautiful she looks. Her hair is a mess and her face is flushed by the exertion. Her face is open and soft with her laughter. Her eyes are sparkling and bright blue.

He watches as her puppy runs over and kisses her face. She laughingly pushes the dog away but has the presence of mind to grab the leash.

Logan observes, "You should get your soccer coach to let Back Up train the team."

Veronica looks at Logan and breaks out in fresh laughter. She agrees, "He would keep us in shape."

She notices how good he looks laying in the sand beside her. It had been a lot of fun chasing her dog with him. He had been very athletic and agile trying to help her corner her energetic pet. He had surprised her with his good natured humor over the whole situation.

The two teenagers just enjoy their time. They lay together resting and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Veronica finally sat up and told Logan she had to get home. She stood and looked down at Logan who stayed supine on the beach. She quietly thanked him for his help and had left him on the beach.

There had been a poignant moment where their gazes locked and the awareness between them had intensified; but Logan let her go without attempting to talk to her further or deepen their connection.

He thinks that he may need a new plan to date Veronica. She will not be easily won but, somehow, he feels getting to date her will be worth the effort. She is a challenge. She is definitely different. She is real!