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Logan was grinding his teeth together as he stormed down the hall and away from Veronica. A battle was waging inside him; he was mad at Veronica for pulling away and he was mad at himself for letting his choleric nature get the better of him. Logically, Logan knew that Veronica's confusion was warranted–he was confused himself. But emotionally he had thought that they had made some kind of connection last night, that their relationship had shifted. At least that was how it had felt to Logan when he had fallen asleep curled around Veronica.
The memory of how Veronica's small frame had felt wrapped up in his arms floated up, followed by the image of her father's face when he had found them in bed together this morning; Veronica had taken a risk for him letting him stay with her, because she cared. And how does he repay her, by getting pissed and storming off without giving her a real chance to explain. If he wasn't careful he might destroy what he had with Veronica before it even really started.
"Jackass!" he cursed himself, sending his fist into the nearest locker. Pain shot up his arm as the cuts he'd incurred from hitting his father the night before reopened. "Ahh," he hissed, shaking his hand out.
"Hey, man, what'd the locker ever do to you?" asked a voice from behind him. Logan spun around to see Duncan looking at him, a smirk of amusement touching his lips–that is until he noticed the bruise on Logan's face. "Uh... it didn't happen to give you that shiner did it? Cause if that's the case, go ahead, kick its ass. Need help?" He chuckled, a bit awkwardly. He had a very good inkling of where Logan had gotten his black eye from. He'd known about his father's abuse since they were 12. Whenever his dad would go off on him, Logan would usually come to Duncan's house and spend the night on the floor–Duncan always left his bedroom window unlocked just in case. Duncan's brow knitted wondering why he hadn't come over last night.
"Uh... everything okay, man?" Duncan asked him.
Logan smiled tightly as he shoved his throbbing hand into his pocket. "Peachy. And yourself?" He turned back around and continued his walk down the hall.
"Um, I'm cool," Duncan replied as he trailed after Logan. They stopped at Logan's locker and Duncan waited as Logan expertly spun the dial of his combination, considering whether or not to bring up the subject most on his mind right now, considering whatever it was going on with Logan and his dad. But in the end he found it was eating at him too much to just let go.
"So, I tried to get a hold of you a bunch of times this weekend, man," he ventured casually. "Where were at?"
"Lost my cell," Logan replied.
Duncan nodded in understanding. "Oh. Well I just wanted to know what the hell went down at the party. I mean it was pretty weird right, how Veronica's dad busted the place up like that, and right after I saw the two of you going off alone together."
Logan's body stiffened, his grip on the door of his locker tightening with white-knuckle intensity. He slammed the locker shut and slowly turned around to face Duncan.
"And just what the hell are you trying to get at, man?" he asked Duncan. "What you think something happened with me and Veronica that made her call her dad–that I did something to her?"
Duncan put up his hands. "Whoa, hey Dude, I didn't say that."
"No, but you sure were beating pretty loudly around that bush," Logan retorted.
Logan's jaw tensed, along with the rest of his body. Now he really understood more of why Veronica had pulled away from him; of course she wouldn't want someone seeing them in a conspicuous situation and having it get back to Duncan or Lily before they could explain themselves. Logan wouldn't want that either. His friendship with Duncan was too important. Logan owed it to Duncan to be the one to tell him himself–as soon as he knew what it was he had to tell him; as soon as he and Veronica worked out what it was going on between them. Which, right now, was still up in the air.
Logan cleared his throat and shrugged. "Sheriff Mars said he got a noise complaint," Logan said to Duncan.
"Hey, no, come on, man. I wasn't trying to say anything like that. The thought never even crossed my mind," Duncan insisted. "It's just, you know, kinda weird how you two are hanging out so much lately. First at the party and then Casey says he saw her getting out of your car this morning. I mean, I can't remember the two of you so much as having lunch by yourself before. What's going on?"
Logan chuckled acerbically. "Oh, now I get it," he said. "You know, Duncan, I think you gave up your right to play the jealous boyfriend crap when you dumped Veronica like a sack of garbage. Where the hell do you get off keeping tabs on her?"
"I never said I was jealous, just confused," Duncan shot back. "Why, is there a reason I should be jealous? Is something going on with you and Veronica?"
Something, Logan thought. I just wish I knew what the hell it was.
"Let's just that me and Ronnie have bonded lately over shared experiences," he told Duncan. "We've recently discovered we have a lot more in common than we ever knew."
Duncan let out a scoff. "Oh, yeah, like what?"
"Oh... I don't know," Logan said casually as leaned back against the locker bank crossing his ankles one over the other and his arms over his chest, "well for starters we both know how it feels to be screwed over by a Kane."
Duncan's jaw clenched, his mouth pressing into a firm line. "All right," he said, "I admit that I didn't exactly handle ending things with Veronica in the best way, that's fair enough, but you're the one that broke up with my sister so how the hell did she screw you over?"
"Well by screwing every other guy in sight when she was supposed to be my girlfriend, that's how," Logan hotly replied.
Anger flashed in Duncan's usually placid blue eyes. He took a menacing step toward Logan. "Hey you better watch your mouth, Echolls," he warned.
Not intimidated one bit, Logan further breached the narrowing gap between him and his best friend. "Or you'll what?" he challenged.
"You really don't want to find out," Duncan said.
Logan's fingers flexed in and out of fist, his blood was still simmering from the brawl with his father; he was still raring to go for another fight, he just needed an excuse. And here Duncan was goading him; it was like dangling meat in front of a hungry Rottweiler. The corners of his mouth curved up in a wry smirk.
"Oh, actually I do," Logan said. "In fact, I'm dying to find out. So...?"
A small crowd began to gather as Logan and Duncan stood locked in an intense staring contest. Their was a hush in the corridor as the onlookers waited for one of the clenched-fisted, testosterone fuelled teenagers to take the first swing; if bets were being placed the odds would have been on the notoriously hot-tempered Logan against the usually mild mannered Duncan. But the way the latter was looking at his opponent, it wouldn't be too big of a surprise to see an upset. Unfortunately for the bloodthirsty crowd, they would never get to find out, because before either boy could make a move the last call bell pealed, cutting through the tension that had built up between the best friend's.
Logan smirked, backing off first with an affected sigh. "Ah... saved by the bell," he quipped. "Now how often do people actually get to use that expression? Well..." He looked at Duncan, giving him a curt nod and mock salute and took off down the hall, passing by the onlookers as they grumbled disappointments.
After a few seconds, the crowd cleared off, leaving a very confused Duncan standing there all alone.
Veronica was sitting alone at one of the work stations in the chemistry lab–she used to sit with Duncan this period... but that wasn't really an option anymore, was it? She was chewing contemplatively on the eraser end of a pencil, thinking about what had happened in the hall with her and Logan. It made her chest hurt remembering the hurt look that flashed in his eyes when she had pulled away from him. And was it any wonder? After what had happened the last few days, finding out about Lily and his father, of course being rejected by someone else you cared about would cut to the quick.
But, I wasn't rejecting him, Veronica averred to herself. It wasn't like that. She had to make Logan see that. That is if he wasn't too mad at her and let her explain it to him. He had to listen, she needed to make things all right between them again.
Veronica was brought out of her thoughts when a group of her gossiping classmates passed by her desk and she heard one of them say, "And Logan Echolls, right out in the hallway. I swear to god!"
Momentary panic struck Veronica as she wondered if the person before that 'and' had been herself. Surely they weren't talking about the almost PDA with her and Logan. But, at Neptune high, you never knew. Even the most innocent of things could get blown out of proportion. Veronica bit her lips and leaned back, straining to hear more of the conversation.
"Hey, is this seat taken?" The question pulled Veronica's attention away from the gossips and she whipped her head around to see a pair of apologetic and hopeful brown eyes looking down at her. The contrite expression on Logan's face made Veronica's heart soar with relief and her throat tightened, happy tears springing up into her eyes. She blinked them away and cleared her throat.
She smiled up at Logan and said, "It is now." She moved her book-bag out of the seat beside her so he could sit down.
The pair held each others gaze as Logan sat down. The smiled at each other a tacitly telling the other that everything was all right.
"Mr. Kane, your late," Mr. Turner chided loudly, popping the little bubble that had formed around Logan and Veronica.
"Hey, sorry, alarm clock didn't go off," he mumbled.
Veronica's brow furrowed, she could have swore she saw Duncan's car in the lot this morning.
Duncan shuffled toward his seat giving Logan such a cold look when he passed by that it made Veronica shiver.
Well, perhaps things weren't quite as all right as they seemed after all.
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