So this weekend is likely to be a bit crazy for you guys, so I'm jumping "ahead" on my scheduled posting day for this week. I hope I don't hear any objections ... ? ;)

This is one of my favorite pieces that I've written, but I've avoided posting this one over here because I had created a number of graphics to serve as scene dividers, and won't let me include any/all of those. *sadface*

Anyhow, I've since retyped the details of the newspaper articles (which is what all of the images were meant to be, from a illustration standpoint) for posting here, so use your imagination a bit to recreate those as you read, if you'd like. I swear it *is* complete, and I'll be posting up the second part next week.

For the record, spoilers through 212, but it's pretty AU for the series as a whole. Happy reading, and I'll see you at the bottom!

Car slips into ravine, killing man, wife

CARMEL, CA – Logan Echolls, son of movie star Aaron Echolls and the late Lynn Echolls, died Saturday, when he and his wife, Veronica Mars-Echolls, were driving to Neptune, California. The recently married pair was returning from their honeymoon when they lost control of the vehicle on the rain-slicked highway, causing it to careen off the road where it burst into flames. Relatives declined comment, but long-time friend Madison Casablancas said that
»» Please see ECHOLLS, Page 13

14 APRIL 2010
"Thanks," a tall man says as a petite brunette holds the side door open for him so that he can exit the hotel while burdened with his numerous bags and suitcases.

"Not a problem," she responds with a kind smile. "Drive safely."

He nods in acknowledgement, and she slips through the door, heading for the nearby fire stairs and room 837. Climbing up eight flights of stairs is hardly an easy task, but she knows that it's necessary to do everything she can to maintain a low profile.

She's not supposed to be here – she's supposed to be visiting her family in Boston. Except she doesn't have any family in Boston, not really.

She catches sight of the golden numbers of the room she seeks and pauses to catch her breath as she pulls a bobby pin from her hair. She quickly inserts it into the old-style door lock and twists and jiggles it until she hears the latch turn. Her pepper spray is in one hand as she kicks the door in with one brown leather boot. Scanning the room quickly for any unfamiliar figures or cautionary signs, she sees nothing that signifies any impending danger.

However, she's aware that there could still be a surprise hiding past the first room, through the doorway, and inside the bedroom. She knows that she took every possible precaution, taking three different cabs to get here from the train station. She did everything she could to avoid being followed, and she hopes that he did the same.

He understands the importance and sensitivity of their subterfuge and knows just how important it is that they continue with their work undetected. And if he did everything as planned, there shouldn't be any problems.

Of course, subtlety has never been his strong point.

Stepping slowly and carefully towards the bedroom, she hears the door click shut behind her. She knows that her pepper spray will not protect her from every possibility that could be awaiting her, but at the same time, it just isn't feasible for her to carry a gun.

She cautiously sticks her head inside the bedroom, surveying the spacious room before relaxing at the sight of one very hot man napping on the bed. Only he could sleep at a time like this.

Glancing carefully underneath the bed and inside the closet and bathroom, she moves to latch the deadbolt on the hotel room door. While searching the entirety of the suite for bugs, she runs her fingers underneath tables and chairs, around the base and shade of the lamps, and checks inside various drawers and cabinets throughout each room.

She finishes up her task in the bedroom as he continues to sleep. Idly, she wonders how he would have been able to protect himself had someone who wished him harm entered the suite while he slept.

Her right hand is feeling the surface of the bedside table drawer, and she's contemplating the best way to wake her sleeping comrade. Then her hand brushes what she first dismisses as merely a piece of cloth, but, actually, upon further investigation, it appears to be a solid, velvety item. She's well aware that listening devices rarely come in the form of solid, velveteen objects, but her curiosity gets the better of her, and she removes it from the drawer.

It's a small, royal blue box, similar to one that might contain a ring. Cautiously, she opens it, unable to contain her gasp of surprise when she sees a ring that looks very familiar.

"I see you found your surprise, Cynthia," the man in the bed greets her with a smirk.

"I thought you were asleep, Jacob," she returns, taking a seat on the bed by his feet. "Why did you bring this here?"

He takes the box from her and carefully removes the ring. "I've missed you, Veronica," he whispers. "Marry me?"

She laughs and nods, totally surprised by his second proposal and their re-engagement. She leans down to meet his lips in a sweet kiss.

A moment later she pulls away, a bright smile on her face as she says, "I now pronounce us husband and wife, once more."

Jury acquits movie star of all charges

NEPTUNE, CA – Hollywood star Aaron Echolls, charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of assault, and one count of statutory rape, was found not guilty of all counts on Monday. Echolls's representatives released a statement following his acquittal, saying that the actor was happy that the jury saw his innocence and he hoped the real murderer of Lillian Kane will soon be brought to justice. Star witnesses, son Logan Echolls and his girlfriend Veronica Mars, declined comment but were noticeably shaken after the verdict was read. Friend Richard Casablancas, Junior, said that
»» Please see ECHOLLS, Page 9

5 MARCH 2007
"Goddammit, this is all my fault!" A clearly-frustrated Logan pounded his fist against the countertop loudly.

Veronica jumped back in surprise at the loud sound. She knew that Logan was less than pleased with the verdict and that he would never hurt her, physically. So while she would very much prefer that he take his rage out on an inanimate object than on an actual person, she didn't have to like the reminder that at times her best friend/boyfriend/lover still had problems keeping his temper under control.

Then again, she was hardly one to talk. She tended to bottle up her anger or channel it towards possibly dangerous pursuits in attempt to extract vengeance from those that she felt deserved it.

And, of course, now that Aaron had been set free by his star-struck peers, both of them would probably need anger management classes and perhaps serious amounts of therapy to deal with these new developments.

"It's not your fault," Veronica said tiredly as she'd told him this more than once already. "The star-struck jurors were too dazzled by your father's celebrity and wealth to be able to see past the elaborate fabrication his high-priced lawyers concocted."

"But I destroyed the tapes," he persisted. "Yeah, we testified to them, and Lamb testified to them, but it didn't have the same effect on the jury as seeing them would have."

"And Lamb was too fucking incompetent to have an expert verify that they hadn't been tampered with before they got stolen," she remarked disgustedly. "He didn't give the jury any reason to believe that they hadn't been manipulated by some computer geek."

"But if I hadn't destroyed them, they could have been tested later," he returned, leaning onto the countertop and reaching for a piece of chocolate cake.

"And if I hadn't told Lilly about you kissing Yolanda, you never would have broken up, and your dad wouldn't have killed her. Logan, we can sit around playing 'What if' all day, but it's not going to change anything."

"So what do you propose we do, oh wise one?" he responded, walking towards her to feed her a small piece of chocolate cake.

She savored the bite for a moment before answering, "Well, my original idea involved isolating ourselves in our bedroom, but that cake was so good, that I feel the need to mix it up a little."

"Ice cream sundaes?" Logan asked with a teasing leer.

"Ice cream is a bit colder than what I had in mind," she responded, rolling her eyes.

"I'll keep you warm, baby," he whispered huskily, causing her to laugh aloud.

"Save the cheesy come-ons for when I'm drunk enough to appreciate them, Logan," she advised, before turning to open the fridge in search of supplies.

"Chocolate covered strawberries?"

"Did you buy any fruit last the time you went shopping?" she queried.

"I bet we could get Albertson's to deliver some," he suggested earnestly, and Veronica could hardly believe the total one-eighty change in his mood. Then again, Veronica learned early on that she could easily distract Logan – at least temporarily – with sex or even just simple innuendo.

"No, I was thinking of something more involving, like, chocolate syrup," she suggested, presenting the squeeze-bottle with a salacious smirk. She tilted her head back and squirted a gush of chocolate into her mouth. "Ooops, did I get any on my face, Logan?"

"Yeah, let me help you with that," he offered, his voice taking on a self-sacrificial tone that forced her to resist the urge to laugh.

He started by kissing her lips, by tasting the syrupy chocolate of her kiss. But then he eagerly, willingly moved his mouth to help rid her cheeks of the sticky-sweet nectar.

She waited patiently, happily enjoying the feel of his lips on her mouth, jawline, and nose. One arm threaded around his back, gently easing his shirt up his chest and over his back. She interrupted his cleaning mission, of course, but the moment his torso was free of the green tee, she used her other hand to douse him with a few sprays of liquid chocolate.

"Oh, Logan, look at the mess I've made!" Veronica stated with mock-horror. "Let me help you get cleaned up."

Logan, however, had other plans, and he held her at arm's length while ridding her of her orange tank. He then took the opportunity to pull her close and rub his chocolaty chest against her until-then-clean self.

"Logan!" she exclaimed in surprise at his action, although she should have known that he'd do something to even the score. Any annoyance she might have felt faded the moment that he traced her breasts with his tongue, insistent on removing every last bit of chocolate he could find.

After a few moments of glorious torture, he raised his head from her chest and asked, "Shower?"

With thoughts of the two of them cleaning each other up before getting on to more interesting activities, Veronica nodded and reached for his hand, pulling him in the direction of their bathroom.

They would have time later to think about what the day's verdict would mean for them and their future. For now, however, she just wanted to enjoy life and the man she loved.

Meeting at Mary Ott's poetry reading seemed
like love at first sight. I'd love to meet for drinks.
Please call 904-1410 and ask for Georgia.

14 APRIL 2010
Each time they are reunited after months apart, Veronica wants to spend time refamiliarizing herself with the man she loves. Before everything changed, she knew every slope of his face and every inch of his skin by heart. She used to be able to read his every thought in his eyes and predict his every word before it left his mouth.

Well, not his every word. But a fair number of them all the same.

And it's not that she doesn't know him anymore. He hasn't changed that much in the past three years.

But still, he's changed, grown, matured. Just like she has.

She thinks of how they have both taken great measures to not look like their old selves as she runs her fingers through his shaggy black hair. Sometimes when she looks at him, she wonders what happened to the Logan she fell in love with.

But then he smiles or smirks or just gets that seductive glint in his eye, and the memories come rushing back. They had many happy moments with each other during their all-too-brief time together, but those eighteen months of love just don't feel like enough when they're stacked up against thirty-six months of separation.

"God, I've missed you," he growls, pulling her towards him and wrapping his arms around her back.

She giggles as her gravity shifts causing her to topple on top of his strong form. He reaches for her, wanting to kiss her senseless if her guess is right, but she stalls his movement with one hand and one word. "Wait."

Exhaling a put-upon sigh, Logan fixes an impatient look on his face, but she knows that after their four previous clandestine meetings, he's used to this by now. She traces her fingers over the planes of his face, padding her fingertips over his jawline and nose and lips and forehead.

"Veronica, I'm not a pile of Play-Doh waiting to be molded to your whim," he complains, which makes laughter bubble in her chest as she presses a sweet kiss to his brow.

"No, you're not," she agrees amiably. "But I just want to reremember every curve of you and exactly how your body feels."

"Does that mean that I can feel out all your curves?" Logan asks a moment later, his teasing tone suggesting that he wants to start in on that task immediately.

"Later," she promises, silencing him with a sweet kiss.

"Ladies first. Of course," he grouses good-naturedly, and she knows that he doesn't really mind waiting too much. Especially not if the way he shudders when her hands move downward is any indication.

"How much do you love me?" she questions, tracing the slope of his six-pack with her fingertips before beginning to lay open-mouthed kisses on his well-toned stomach.

"More. Than I. Can say," he grunts out in short gasps, as her mouth slowly moves downward and her hands brush against him through the thin linen of his pants.

She reaches for the top buttonhole on his slacks and thinks about how easy it would be to just fall into bed with him again, to finally connect with him like that once more. She's more than a little sexually frustrated, having been apart from him for the past seven months, and he clearly wants the same thing she does.

Sex. And lots of it. Now.

But at the same time, she knows from previous experience that once that happens, there's no going back for the rest of their all-too-short time together. They've always had great sex together, and their time apart hasn't changed that. She knows that once Logan's hot and sweaty body is intertwining with her own, they won't be able to separate long enough to do much of anything else until it's time for her to depart.

Relaxing against the taut muscles of Logan's lean frame, Veronica wonders if she really even wants to do anything else for the rest of the next twenty-odd hours.

No, no – they have things they need to discuss, and she just wants to relax with his arms wrapped tightly around her as he catches her up on his life in rural Nebraska.

She pulls herself back up his body, relishing the feel of his hardness pressing in the most tantalizing of locations, and gently lays her head against his chest and listens to the rapid yet rhythmic beating of his heart.

Asking price $33.94-84.21.
Call 604-1410 and ask for Mary.

5 MARCH 2007
"We can't let him get away with this, Veronica," Logan stated later that night over spaghetti dinner.

"I know, Logan, but what can we do? Our forefathers didn't make an exception for double jeopardy in the instance that a law enforcement officer was too incompetent to do his job."

"Come on, Veronica. My dear old dad is hardly an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. Yeah, we can't put him in jail for what he's already done – killing Lilly, coming so close to killing you – but I know him. He hasn't learned anything from this whole experience except that because he's famous he can get away with murder – literally."

"What do you have in mind?" Veronica questioned, setting down her silverware to give him her complete attention.

"We'd have to get close to him, and really gather concrete evidence of him doing something illegal – preferably repeatedly. I've been thinking about this, and I figure statutory rape is our best bet. There's always plenty of girls who drop out of school and want to make it as actresses. Knowing my sex-fiend of a father, he probably knows just how to manipulate them into thinking that if they sleep with him, he'll get them a role in his next big movie."

"You think he's going to keep doing movies after all this?" Veronica asked dubiously.

"You think he won't?" he answered incredulously. "He'll be doing the talk show circuit now that he's free, and that's like free publicity for any movies he gets involved in. Plus, all of America is going to want to see the wrongly accused movie star in his comeback role," Logan finished, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Logan, we could never get close enough to him to get anything on him. He knows us, and he knows he has no reason to trust us. It just won't work."

"Well, I can't. I know that much. He may not love me or give a damn about me, but he at least knows what his son fucking looks like. But you? To him you're nothing more than a piece of ass." He cleared his throat uncomfortably at the look she gave him, and he added, "Not that I think of you that way, my dearest darling sweetie-pie honeybunch."

"Right," she responded with a roll of her eyes. "So I'm supposed to get close to him and get him to seduce me? Logan, I'm not a minor anymore, and my credibility is ruined after this trial."

"Veronica, if you think for one second that you're going to be the bait for this plan, you're out of your goddamned mind. I know better than anyone how dangerous he can be. For fuck's sake, he locked you in a refrigerator and set it on fire!" He stopped his tirade of disbelief after a moment, taking a deep breath and pulling himself together.

"I love you, you know that, but I won't be able to be there to protect you while you do this. I know you want to get him as badly as I do, but you can't be the bait. You'll have to be the uninteresting and unappealing woman in the background that he doesn't look at twice. I'd rather that he gets away with this, with everything, forever than let him hurt you again."

"Okay," she agreed, reaching for his hand. "I'll do some brainstorming over the next few weeks and see what I can come up with. We'll have to be undercover, somehow. You know as well as I do that he'll never trust anyone by the last name of Mars again."

Five-year-old succumbs to infection, community devastated

TOLEDO BEND, TX – The whooping cough epidemic that has spread through the Toledo Bend area claimed a fourth victim on Thursday, when Cynthia Lauren Andrews died at the age of three. She is survived by her parents and younger brother. Her family released a statement Thursday evening thanking the hospital staff for all
»» Please see ANDREWS, Page 10

14 APRIL 2010
She misses the quiet times the most.

Had she been asked before everything changed, she would have insisted that if she were she forced to be apart from Logan for a prolonged period of time, she'd miss the hot sex most of all.

She always loved the fervent, frenetic makeup sex that they'd have after a big fight. Sometimes, she would even intentionally provoke him with a well-timed snark just so that she could ensure they would end up in a sweaty jumble of limbs before the night was out.

She thinks that sometimes he might have done that too.

Now, however, she knows that while sex is wonderful, sometimes cuddling really can be the best part.

It was easy enough to dismiss the comfort and reassurance and relaxation that snuggling provided when she thought she had a lifetime to spend with him. Now that they have to make do with stolen moments scattered months apart, she wants to spend whatever time they have together attached at the hip.

No, not like that– at least, not always. Sure, she and Logan could spend their day in the shadows having sex time and time and time again, and it would be hot and erotic and wonderful.

On the other hand, Veronica prefers to spend their fleeting moments with his arms wrapped around her as they catch each other up on everything they've missed in the other's lives.

She knows that they're hardly the typical married couple, and she honestly doubts that they ever will be. Even after their subterfuge accomplishes their goal, she doesn't think that she could ever become Susie Homemaker or that Logan could ever be Johnny Breadwinner. More than likely, they'll live and fight and love together, just like they did before their world changed forever with the reading of one verdict.

The important thing is that they will be together. Finally, together again.

And, really, that's all that matters.

Like new. Asking price $837.
Call 404-1410 and ask for Andrew.

31 MARCH 2007
"Logan, if this is going to work, we'll have to assume new identities," Veronica began one night, breaking the silence that had fallen over their apartment. "And that means that we'll need to fake our own deaths."

He looked up from his textbook in surprise at her sudden statement, his upcoming finals forgotten. "But your dad," he stated. "And Wallace."

"I know," she replied, her heartbreak over the situation clear.

"It's okay," he responded. "We don't need to go through with this. It'll be okay. Someone else will get him the next time he breaks the law."

He didn't believe that, not really. And judging from the look on her face, she didn't either.

"Fuck, Logan, if lying to yourself makes things easier, fine. Just don't lie to me."

"I wasn't, I didn't – " He cut himself off after a moment. It was of no use to attempt to explain what he'd meant – he could see in her eyes that she knew what he'd been thinking. "I'm sorry."

She nodded in understanding before she continued, "I've found two identities that I think will work for us."

"Veronica, really, you don't – "

"I want this – need this – just as much as you do," she interjected. "He killed my best friend and tried to kill my father. And after what he did to you, growing up? He needs to pay for his crimes. And I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen."

"Thank you," he said, not really wanting her pity but at the same time understanding that there was more to her words than just pity. Yes, she wanted to avenge his wrongs, but she also wanted to punish his father for the physical and emotional injuries he had inflicted on her.

"We won't be able to move forward until we deal with this," she replied. "This is for both you and me – for us."

Second death tied to Ford Lake Fish Market

YPSILANTI, MI – Four days after celebrating his older brother's birthday at the Ford Lake Fish Market, Jacob Michael Davis died from Salmonella-associated meningitis. He was five years old. The Ford Lake Fish Market has released a statement saying that they stand by their food preparation procedures; however, the CDC is currently
»» Please see DAVIS, Page 10

14 APRIL 2010
"So have you made any progress over the past six and a half months?" he asks later that evening after he places their mostly uneaten dinner outside the suite.

"Well, Cynthia Andrews was promoted last week," she replies, knowing that he's well-aware – just as she is – that it's been six months and three weeks and four days since they last saw each other. Not that it's worth focusing on. Knowing how long they've been apart – almost down to the minute – doesn't make the time fly by any faster.

"To most seductive secretary?" he questions, sitting beside her on the sofa and kissing the slope of her neck.

She revels in the feel of his lips playing on her sensitive skin for a few moments before saying what she can to get him back on topic. He, after all, was the one that had brought up this subject, and she does need to update him on her progress.

"Well, your dad actually prepositioned me last week," she replies nonchalantly. "Mmm, yeah, right there. Oh, that feels nice."

"He came onto you?" Logan asks a moment later, his voice filled with venom. "I'll fucking kill him."

Veronica can't hold in her laughter in at the misinterpretation she knew his hormone-addled brain would draw from her statement. He'll probably be a little upset at her intentional misdirection, but she's certain that she can make it up to him later.

"What the fuck are you laughing at? This isn't funny."

"Oh, but it is," she gasps out between hiccups of laughter. "I said that your dad prepositioned me, Logan. He didn't proposition me. He directed one of his assistants to send a memo tome. 'To' is a preposition. So he prepositioned me. Get it?"

"That's still not funny," he complains as he settles back on the couch before pulling her into his lap.

"It was a little funny," she teases, and he sticks out his tongue playfully. She resists the urge to capture it with her mouth and instead clears her throat to continue telling her story.

"You are now looking at the top assistant to Mr. Echolls's scheduling secretary."

"Wow, Cynthia. I'm so proud of you," he replies in a bored-sounding monotone. "It's only taken you three years to be the assistant to one of his secretaries."

"Hey, now!" she replies. "I'll let you know that as a top assistant, I have an assistant of my own now."

"Good to know that dear ol' dad is putting the money earned by swindling America to good use," he responds dryly. At her raised eyebrow, he quickly amends his remark, saying, "I just meant that I wish it hadn't taken this long to get you an assistant of your own, honey."

She rolls her eyes at his fake-nice tone of voice, but she knows that should she agree and voice her agreement, nothing good will come of that. She too is frustrated by how slow her mission has proceeded, by how much time she has been forced to spend apart from the man that she married.

"Well, now I'll have better access to his schedule, which will hopefully result in more productive surveillance. And I should be able to plant some bugs in his house at some point. Wiretaps, video feeds, audio recorders – the usual. You know what that means?"

"No, but I'm pretty sure you're going to tell me," Logan replies, with a smirk.

"It means that I am now that much closer to getting the evidence we need to put that asshole behind bars. And that means that I am even closer to being able to abandon my L.A. life and finally spend the rest of my life with the man I love."

"So you love this guy, huh?" he asks.

"Yes," she replies before giving him a promise-filled kiss. "I love you very much."


Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any comments or critiques, I'd love to hear from you. Reviews are better than chocolate! ;)

Check back next week for Part 2!