A/N: Sorry it took a couple of days to post. My brain wandered down the path of the next story, and I had a hard time bringing myself back to this one - mostly because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do here. I finally found some inspiration, so I guess that's a wrap for this story, or whatever catchphrase they use for writing.
I tried for the entire story to "keep the camera" on Logan - capturing only his thoughts and reactions to this strange new life he'd fallen into. I decided to switch things up here for the epilogue.
Logan Echolls Jr. Age 12:
Seven years ago, my dad "rose from the dead" and showed up at our front door. I wasn't exactly happy to see him at first. He'd hurt my mother in the past, and he could only bring more turmoil into our lives, right?
Well, actually he turned out to be pretty cool. I'll admit now, everything became better when dad came home. See, he's not like other dads. He doesn't take himself - or anything - too seriously. And he's cool. Like a James Dean kind of cool. And he's not the least bit uptight like many of my friends' dads are.
We still surf. We've actually been all over the world surfing ASP Junior Pro events: Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia. I've been accumulating a lot of points, and already have had some sponsors fighting over me. I let my dad worry about that stuff. I trust him to make the right choices for me, and I know I couldn't have come as far as I have without him. I'm pretty lucky to have a father who will pick up and fly me across the world to pursue my dreams. Uncle Dick comes along, too. He can't surf anymore due to a back injury, but he's always holding the video camera, and working on my press kit. When we're home, dad and I teach surfing to the five year-olds: Ricky, Uncle Dick's son, and Megan, my little sister. Ricky and Meg are almost as good as I was at that age. Almost.
Morgan and I started middle school a few weeks ago. It's weird to go to different classes all day long. It's really weird to pass my twin in the hallway as we head in different directions. I feel like we've kind of grown apart lately, but I'm still closer to her than anybody else.
Lilly was held back a year when the Kanes moved to Neptune, so she's only one grade ahead of Morgan and I. She saves seats for us at lunch every day. The three of us sit first, and then the rest of the kids fill in around us. It's as if we're the royalty of the school. Mom teases us about being 09ers. What can I say? I like the attention.
What I don't like is how weird Lilly is. I don't understand her at all. When I sit next to her, she completely ignores me. When I sit somewhere else, she gets mad, and when Sarah Bishop talks to me, Lilly has a meltdown, as if I'm her personal property. My friends are all crazy about her, and I guess maybe I am, too, but she annoys me like crazy. Why can't all girls just be cool, like Morgan?
Morgan and Lilly are still the best of friends, but Morgan only sits with us long enough to eat her lunch before she wanders off and works on her cases. She calls the other 09ers stupid sheep who only like us because we're rich and have famous parents. I don't buy that. People have always liked me, even before dad came home with all that money.
Actually, we're not the only kids in seventh grade who have famous parents. My best friend, Aiden Gant comes from a publishing empire. Dylan Enbom's dad is famous because he owns an airline. Janelle Bloom's grandfather is the Bone Hamilton. But none of them can beat my parents, because my parents are famous for being Badasses. Seriously. Between the two of them, they've survived a ton of murder attempts. Mom has been on the news a million times for capturing the bad guys that the police can't catch, and when she needs muscle, my dad is always there to help. My grandfather was an Action Star, but my father is an Action Hero. At least that's what my mom calls him when she's flirting with him.
Speaking of my dearly departed homicidal gramps, I may have inherited a little genetic material from him. I tried out and won the role of Danny in the school musical of Grease. I'll have to sing and everything. If this works out, maybe acting can be a second career for me for when I'm like 30 or something and too old to surf. Did I mention that Lilly is playing Sandy?
I guess everything would be perfect in my life if I could just manage to stay out of fights. I try, I really do. But that Marcus Navarro kid always manages to say something to set me off. He's Uncle Weevil's cousin, so you would think we'd be cool, but I guess my dad didn't get along with his dad, Chardo, so we're picking up where the last generation left off, and I end up right back in the principal's office. Every time Principal Long sees my mom and dad sitting together, he rubs his head like the people in the migraine commercials.
Mom gets upset about the fights, but dad is surprisingly understanding. He and I are a lot alike: quick to anger and quick to forgive. Too emotional for our own good. But as long as he's around, I know there's always somebody out there who has my back.
Morgan Echolls Age 12:
I'd always known that my dad would return to us. Even before I'd overheard Grandpa and Uncle Cliff talking about him, I'd always had a feeling that he was out there somewhere. I would daydream about what it would be like if my dad came home. Strangely, the reality was even better than the fantasy. Dad is fun. He always has time for me, no matter what. To say that I'm a Daddy's Girl is to put it mildly. My mom can yell at me all day long, but one stern look from dad is enough to make me cry. I just never want to be a disappointment to him.
Now that Lo and I are older, he's told us a bit about what it was like to grow up with Aaron Echolls. I think he still holds a lot of it back. We know he was abused, but I think he underplays it. He wants to shield us from the gritty details. But we know that he grew up being a constant disappointment to his publicity hungry father and he never wants us to feel that way. He pays attention to our grades, but never judges us too harshly. I study hard for my straight A's. Lo gets good grades as well, but he never seems to crack a book. It's not fair sometimes how Lo just breezes through life without a care in the world.
So Remember when I was younger and was always trying to get my parents to kiss? Well not anymore! It seems like every time I enter a room, I catch them kissing. They even kiss in public. It's nauseating. Don't they realize they're old?
That's not the only thing that's changed in the years since Cassie's grandpa shot Dad.
Mom and Dad got married. Obviously. I wanted them to have a giant royal wedding, but they ended up getting married on the beach in Hawaii with only Lo and I to witness it. OK, I admit, it was pretty beautiful, with the sky all orange and pink at sunset, and they looked so much in love. They still look that way. Isn't that lovey-dovey stuff supposed to wear off after a while?
Mom complained a lot when dad moved us to a big estate in the '09 zip. She acted as if living somewhere nice would be like betraying her poor roots, but I think she was faking it. She got over it pretty quickly when she realized she wouldn't have to clean and do laundry anymore. Dad just kept reminding her that we had a state of the art security system, and that we'd be a lot safer.
He's right of course. Grandpa Keith let me help him install the security system and program it. I know where all of the cameras are hidden at the front of the house, rear of the house and all entrance points. They're all practically invisible unless you know where to look. No psycho killer is going to mess with my family in our own house again.
The best part of estate, are the stables on the grounds. Dad started me off with a pony, but now we have several horses from champion bloodlines. I ride at some point every single day. Mom rides a lot as well. I'd like to start breeding so that we could have baby horses all the time, but mom says we have enough money already. I'm trying to convince her that we should do it just for fun. Maybe we could give the money to charity or something.
My Aunt Mac gives me hacking lessons a couple times a week. Mom says that when I get arrested I'm on my own, but I think she's secretly proud. She's even come to me a couple of times when she's needed computer work done on one of her cases. Nothing too illegal, of course.
I guess the biggest change was the addition of Megan to our family. She's five now. with long curly blond mermaid hair and brown eyes like mine and she's a complete tomboy. Mom jokes sometimes that she had my sister Megan just to make my father make-up for all of the diaper changes and late night feedings he'd missed with Lo and I. If so, the joke was on her, because Meg was born quiet and happy. She never gets into trouble like Lo and I do. Yet. That Ricky Casablancas has a gleam in his eyes. He's going to be trouble someday, and no doubt, Megan will be right there beside him like she always is. I'm glad dad got his chance to raise a child from birth, but I admit I'm a bit jealous that he wasn't here with Lo and I from the beginning.
So, I've been making a little money on the side at school lately. Joey Rivolli paid me to find out if he was adopted. He wasn't. Laney Hill paid me to find out who her secret admirer is. It was Dylan Enbom. Sarah Bishop paid me to find out who set up a fake Facebook account in her name saying mean things about her. I refunded her money. I promised my best friend Lilly that I wouldn't tell on her if she took the page down. I've always thought Sarah was really nice. I don't know what Lilly's problem is with her.
Oh, and we have a cute new boy at school. All of the girls adore him. His name is Trent, and he has twinkling eyes, as if he's looking for trouble. The weird part? He barely notices Lilly, but pays all of his attention to me. Scary, huh?
The Echolls Family - Neptune Middle School
"Mr. Echolls, please come in and have a seat, while we wait for the other parents to arrive." Principal Long said, making the after you gesture.
Logan entered the inner office, taking the middle seat opposite the principal's desk.
Three kids sat in orange plastic chairs lining the far wall. Morgan, looking bored, sat in the leftmost chair, appearing tiny next to her tall and lanky brother. Lo glared at the boy sitting on his other side. He was smaller than Lo, cherubic looking, with mischievous eyes. He looked slightly familiar. Like somebody from a long time ago.
A man's voice came from outside of the office.
"Hi, am I on time?" He asked.
"Sure...sure...Come on in." Principal Long said, gesturing to another chair.
Logan looked up at the newcomer, and a smirk briefly appeared on his face.
"Troy Vandegraff." He said, standing and holding out his hand. "It's been a while. Since right after Tijuana, I think."
"Logan Echolls." Troy responded, shaking his hand with a smirk of his own. "Don't remind me of Tijuana.
He dropped down into the chair on Logan's left. "I'd heard rumors that you were dead."
"Greatly exaggerated." Logan snarked. It never got old. "Yours?" He asked, gesturing to the mischievous looking boy.
"Yep, he's mine. I assume she's yours?" Troy asked gesturing to Morgan.
"Both, actually. Twins." Logan shrugged.
"Will your wife be joining us tonight, Mr. Vandegraff?" Principal Long asked.
"No." Troy began sadly. "My wife Shawna and I are going through a divorce right now. I'm a single father. Moving back to Neptune is our fresh start."
"How about you, Mr. Echolls? Will your wife be joining us this evening?"
"She should be here any minute." Logan said.
"Well then, would you mind if I step out of the office for a moment while we're waiting? I need to check on something." Principal Long asked.
Both men gave their assent, and the principal stepped out.
"Planning to look up any old friends now that you're back in town?" Logan asked pleasantly.
"There's one or two I wouldn't mind catching up with." Troy smirked, the gleam in his eye implying exactly whom he had in mind.
"Duncan's back in town, now." Logan said, knowing he hadn't meant Duncan.
"Yeah, I'll have to look him up." Troy said vaguely. "Among other people."
Logan nodded at him knowingly.
"So you actually talked a girl into marrying you." Troy joked lowering his voice so that the kids wouldn't hear him. "That old friend of mine used to console herself every time she had an unpleasant run-in with you, by saying that you would die miserable and alone."
"Ouch! I almost did end up miserable and alone." Logan said. "Luckily, the love of my life took me back when I came home to Neptune. And if you're talking about the girl I think you're talking about, then yeah, she pretty much thought I was Satan himself." Logan said.
I should not be having this much fun in the principal's office when Lo is in trouble again.
"Are you claiming you've changed your evil ways?" Troy joked.
Logan shrugged. "I don't know; you'll have to ask my wife when she gets here. She has a stronger moral compass than I do`."
Just then, Veronica bustled into the room, dropping down into the chair to Logan's right.
"Hi, sorry I'm late." She said, leaning over to give Logan a chaste kiss. "What did he do this time?"
"Hi pumpkin. I don't know what he's done yet, but look, an old friend." He pointed to his left with his thumb.
Veronica hadn't realized that she and Logan weren't alone.
"Oh." She said.
"Troy Vandegraff?" She asked in surprise.
Troy looked shocked. He looked from Logan to Veronica and back again. Three times.
"You set me up." He said to Logan finally, laughing.
Logan shrugged. "You walked right into it."
At Veronica's questioning look, he asked, "Have I reformed my evil ways enough, or do I still deserve to die miserable and alone?"
"Neither." Veronica smiled affectionately. "You're still evil, but you're my evil. And you allow me to channel all of that evil at those I see fit, so I'll keep you around for a while."
"You're such a romantic." Logan smirked at her.
"The thought of you two being married and reproducing is terrifying." Troy joked. He looked over at the kids on the far wall. "Should I start auditioning private schools now?"
"That depends on which twin has the problem with your son." Veronica said. "Can I get back to you on that?"
"Here's a hint." Logan said, conspiratorially. "The girl is much scarier."
"Just like you two." Troy responded pointing at Logan and Veronica.
Just then, Principal Long returned.
"Oh, Mrs. Echolls. Thank you for coming. Now that you're all here, we can get to it."
"As you know, Mr. and Mrs. Echolls, your twins have been in middle school for about a month now, and we've already had several...incidents."
"I understand, Principal Long." Veronica said. "I've talked to Morgan about her eavesdropping, and we've already had two conversations with Lo about fighting with Marcus Navarro and the Future Motorcycle Gangbangers of America. However, I'm not sure that Marcus' father is having the same conversations with his son. We're friends with other members of the Navarro family, and they seem to think that Chardo Navarro is encouraging the fighting."
"I'll keep that under advisement for the next time, but I didn't call you here today about Marcus Navarro. Logan and Morgan seem to have found a new adversary."
"Both of them?" Veronica asked, turning to give the twins a hard stare. Lo had the grace to blush under his mother's scrutiny. For his part, Logan tried his hardest to look stern, but had trouble keeping the smirk off his face.
"Yes, both of them." The principal said.
"I know of a couple good private schools." Veronica said to Troy apologetically.
"Logan and Trent Vandegraff here were brought in for fighting." Principal Long said.
"Lo, why were you fighting with Trent?" Logan asked.
"Trent was mad because Morgan doesn't want to go with him, so he told everybody that she and Lilly were lesbians."
OK Logan, giving your son a high five in front of the principal and the other father is bad form. Look stern. Don't laugh. LOOK STERN already!
"Logan, what have we told you about solving your problems with your fists?" Veronica said, shooting her husband a glare for passing those particular genes along.
"Mr. and Mrs. Echolls, there's a reason that both of your children are in the office."
Two sets of eyes turned to look at Morgan. She looked unapologetic. "He had it coming." She said, shrugging.
"What did she do?" Veronica asked, fearing it may be worse than Logan's fight.
"What did she do…?" Principal Long said slowly, drawing out the moment. "Well, your daughter managed to get a recording of Trent telling a friend how he'd made up several rumors about her. He described three of the rumors in the recording."
"Well, there's nothing wrong with that." Veronica said. "If he was spreading false information, she had the right to get proof that he was lying about her."
"I agree, Mrs. Echolls. If it would have stopped there, but it didn't."
Veronica looked over at Morgan worriedly.
"Your daughter, your son, and a gang of their friends, commandeered the A.V. room right before Afternoon Announcements today. They locked the door, and strong-armed the student announcers out of the way. Morgan then played the audio she'd procured of Mr. Vandegraff over the P.A. system. She also leaked two pieces of private information that could only have been found in his permanent file."
"Morgan!" Veronica exclaimed.
"She would have had to pick the lock on the filing cabinet." Principal Long continued.
Veronica groaned, head in her hands, and Troy shot Logan the chip-off-the-old-block eyebrow. Luckily, he seemed to be taking it with humor.
"That's not all." Principal Long said. Suddenly, he looked very uncomfortable.
"I regret to inform you of this, Mr. Vandegraff." Principal Long started. "But, two of our teachers discussed your son in a rather unpleasant manner." He looked everywhere but at the parents. "I can assure you they've been severely reprimanded, but unfortunately, Morgan played a recording of that conversation over the P.A. as well."
Veronica's head was back in her hands. Logan messed with his hair, anxiously. Troy quirked an eyebrow, still apparently more amused by the novelty of Morgan than upset by the violation.
"We searched the teacher's lounge and found a small listening bug stuck to the bottom of the table the teachers had been sitting at."
"You have no proof that I put it there." Morgan said belligerently.
Suddenly, Troy burst out in laughter, shaking his head.
"Am I missing something, Mr. Vandegraff?" Principal Long asked, confused.
"No, sorry. Go ahead, Principal Long." Troy laughed shaking his head at Veronica.
"Mrs. Echolls, I believe you run a Private Investigations office with your father, is that correct?" Principal Long asked pointedly.
"Yes." Veronica admitted.
"And could this listening device." He set a small bug on the desktop. "Have come from your office?"
"It's possible." Veronica said. "You know they all look alike." She shrugged.
"I'm going to ask the students if they have anything to say in their defense."
"Logan? Do you have anything to say about your behavior?"
"I can't let him spread lies and rumors about my sister. And Lilly." Logan answered belligerently.
"I'm afraid that that's not a defense. I'll have to give you three days suspension, since this is your third fight this year. Why don't you wait for us in the hall?"
Lo rose and stalked out of the office.
"Morgan and Trent. Would you like to explain how this feud started?" Principal Long asked.
"She was mean to me." Trent said. "Well not at first. At first, I thought she was the most interesting girl I've ever met, and I liked her. I was really nice to her, but then all of a sudden, she just started acting mean to me for no reason. I guess I just wanted to make her feel bad too."
"Morgan, why did you start acting mean?" Veronica asked, baffled. "That's not like you. You've never been one of the mean girls."
"He stares at me all of the time." Morgan grumbled.
Veronica and Logan met each other's eyes. "Oh no, the dreaded stare." Logan snarked.
"And Lilly said that's how you're supposed to treat boys. She says she acts that way to Logan all of the time, and he's still her friend."
Logan ran his hands through his hair again. It was time for him to have a little chat with his son.
"Morgan?" Veronica said. "Going forward, please stop taking advice from Lilly Kane."
"I'm going to need to reprimand both of them." Principal Long said. "Trent for creating false rumors, and Morgan for creating mutiny in the A.V. room. I would suspend Morgan if I had any proof that she'd planted the bug or broken into my filing cabinet, but unfortunately, I don't."
He shrugged his shoulders at a loss for what to do.
"May I make a suggestion?" Logan asked.
"Be my guest." Principal Long said.
"I think you should give them detention together, and put them to work. Have any graffiti you need painted over or other odd jobs?"
"Logan? You really think that's a good idea, considering how they get along?" Veronica asked.
"It worked for me and Weevil." Logan answered. "At least for a while. And imagine all the pain and suffering you and I could have avoided if they'd forced us to work together like that."
"It's hardly the same thing." Veronica said.
"Isn't it?" Logan quirked an eyebrow.
Veronica eyed him and then smiled. "I guess it is."
"Would that work for you?" She turned to Troy.
"Well, it's cheaper than private school." He joked. "Maybe they'll be able to work out their differences."
"As long as we keep Logan and Lilly out of it." Veronica mentioned.
They all turned back to the principal. "A week of detention it is." He said. "And I'll be thinking of some creative chores for the two of you. Good thinking Mr. Echolls."
Before they left, Logan invited Troy and his son to join them for the next Friday Night Dinner at the Echoll's estate. They were now alternating hosting duty with Dick and it was their turn this week. He was feeling magnanimous. He had gotten the girl after all.
"Trent Vandegraff?" Logan laughed once they were in the parking lot. "Could he have picked a more pretentious name?"
Veronica let out a little giggle as well. "Trent Vadegraff of the Neptune Vandegraffs." She said.
Logan touched his son's arm to have him hang back a bit on the way to the car.
"If you tell your mom I said this, I'll deny it, but I'm proud of you for defending your sister."
Lo nodded at his father with the tiniest of smirks.
Veronica made sure that Logan was outside of earshot.
"You know, there wasn't a thing you did today that I haven't done before." She told her daughter.
"Really?" Morgan asked.
"Really." Veronica said. "You know what the difference was? I never got caught. You should have just substituted your audio for the audio they were planning to use, and gotten out of there. They could never have pinned it on you. And the bug under the table in the teachers' lounge? Too obvious. Next time, look for a plant or a decoration to slip it into."
Morgan nodded at her mother with the tiniest of smirks
More Random Author's Notes:
A/N 2: On Dick Casablancas Sr. : I always thought the scene in the shooting range was a Chekhov's Gun thing: like the family-loving sharpshooter introduced in Act 1 would come into play at some point in Act 3. Other than Logan having an empty gun to pull on the Fitzpatricks, it never panned out. I always wondered what the point of that scene was. Logan never had any repercussions for sleeping with Kendall and the domino-effect that came from it. Maybe they just wanted to put Mr. C on screen one extra time, which I'm perfectly fine with, as he was pretty damn hot.
A/N 3: On bringing back Troy. OK, I wanted L & V together from the moment I heard him say "Fun, fun, fun.", but I always thought Troy was an adorable temporary bench-warmer. I loved how mischievous he always looked, and I loved how seeing him with Veronica seemed to drive Logan crazy as much as Duncan. I also loved the Logan, Troy and Luke scenes in Tijuana - and the implied friendship away from Veronica. So I thought a mini version of Troy without the nasty drug dealing girlfriend might make a cute match for Morgan. Sidenote - Am I the only one who never realized that the emo-werewolf Josh on 'Being Human' is played by the same guy who played pinata-smuggling fence-vaulting GHB-sharing Luke?
A/N 4: (Last one. I promise). I already have the next story almost completely outlined and plotted. However, I don't think I'm going to post anything until I have at least half of it written. I found so many times while writing this one, that I wanted to go back and insert a detail into one of the earlier chapters, but it was too late because they were already posted. I think I could do a much better job if I kept at least a few chapters in reserve to allow me to make changes. I'll see how that works. Next story is completely different from the first three. Hopefully, you all will like it.
A/N 5: OK, I lied, but this one really is the last one. Ignore any updates to this story after this one. I noticed some typos on some of the previous chapters, and their existence is bothering the heck out of me. I'm not sure if it sends updates if you fix your typo and then replace the chapter.