Chapter 29

A reunion with Logan...six years. Waiting for his phone call the morning after? Eternity. Veronica occupied her time with theories.

Theory 1 – the missing girl was none other than the drunken, puking girl Veronica had saved from public humiliation and then left in what she had thought were the capable hands of Pan High's most treacherous math teacher, Mrs. Lucca. However, it seemed unlikely though that Lucca would have let her out of her sight, except to deposit her into the backseat of her parents' sedan.

Theory 2 – The allegedly "missing" student was not really missing at all. Veronica would have never put her father through the graying, balding, and worry, but didn't kids end up breaking curfew all the time after prom? How does one conclude less than ten hours after the end of the prom that the girl was, in fact, missing?

Theory 3 – Someone had been watching her a lot more closely than she had been watching for evidence of human trafficking in the past few weeks. Was the photograph of her and Logan at all connected with the disappearances? Could it have been taken by a jealous student with a crush of her own on Logan? A curious colleague of Logan's hellbent on ruining his career, credibility, and reputation? Her ex-lover, Matt, trying to scare her away from a chance at true happiness?

The more Veronica thought, the more her head ached. She anxiously awaited sounds of stirring within the house because she thought she might go batshit crazy if she couldn't talk this through with Wallace or Mac, or hell, she'd even settle for Dick's dipshit logic right now.

Suddenly her phone began to zip across her nightstand. ZeeeeeZeeeeeZEEEE. Veronica's pulse quickened as she slid her finger across the screen to unlock her phone. It was Logan.

Like magic. I will it, and it happens.

"Hello?" she breathed into the phone. The two-syllable word passed her lips with such force, she wondered if it sent him reeling.

"I need to see you now," Logan began without preamble.

Normally a demand like that would send shivers down her spine, but his somber tone was enough to push the very air from her lungs and cause unpleasant heart palpitations.

"What's going on?" Veronica asked tentatively, hoping for at least a clue that would prepare her for the horrors that were sure to follow.

"Nope, you're not getting anything out of me til you're here. I need to make sure you're sitting down for this."

Sitting down? Wait til he hears my news.

"I would say to stop over, but we've got a full house right now." Not to mention, if you show up on my doorstep, my father really might never talk to me again. The feeling of losing Keith's approval of her every whim was so foreign to her that it only compounded the impending doom she was feeling.

"No, I need you to come here. I got home later than I expected to, and Aimee was a little cranky this morning because I think she expected her boyfriend to come over and keep her company, but he never showed last night. I need to be here when Jake wakes up anyway."

"I'll be there in twenty minutes."

Exactly twenty minutes and a lukewarm shower later, Veronica treaded the steps to Logan's porch lightly. Before she could tap on the open door, Logan appeared behind the screen door with two coffee mugs in hand.

"I put a pot of coffee on," he said, stating the abundantly obvious, while ushering her into his home.

"Coffee, huh? If that's not a sign that we're getting older, I don't know what is," Veronica quipped, grasping a mug from his hand.

"Well, what can I say? Drama, crime, and chaos seem to follow you; I'm just trying to keep up," he responded edgily.

Veronica face crumpled and her shoulders sagged under the weight of his lightly-intentioned words. She turned away from him quickly to hide her disappointment.

When her mother had left and Lilly had died and her father had become the butt every joke in Neptune, Veronica had learned to compartmentalize her feelings, and she prided herself on her ability to mask her emotions. She didn't know if she was overtired, oversensitized or just head over heels in love and sick of denying it, but Logan's dig, joke or not, was like a knife to her heart. Tears pricked at her eyes as she fingered a piece of Jake's art work that hung from the fridge by a magnet. Logan had built a nice solid life for himself. He had a career that allowed him to stay out of the harsh limelight, and he had a little boy who meant the world to him. What was she doing here, dragging him into a criminal investigation that could derail his career or threaten the safety of his family? It didn't matter that she wasn't really a high school student. The circumstances could easily be explained, but it wouldn't change the fact that it would messily drag him back into the spotlight that he had clearly spent years trying to evade.

"Veronica, I didn't mean that the way it sounded."

But she couldn't bring herself to respond. She knew Logan cared for her to a fault. She had made a lot of bad decisions in her life, and probably the worst was walking away from him in the past. She wasn't sure that they could get back to where they were before, even with a night of passion that proved the spark was still there. Too much had changed.

She felt Logan's presence behind her, just inches away. "Let's face it, Veronica, I couldn't stay away from you if I wanted to." His arms slowly circled around her petite frame as he nuzzled his face into neck. "And I don't want to," he murmured, his lips now pressing into her neck, causing a slow-burning blush to spread over her face and neck.

"Being with me complicates your life. Is it really worth it to you?" Veronica asked, as she moved out of his embrace to turn and face him.

There are times when words can smooth over all the hurt one is feeling. There are times when talking things through can clear up all miscommunications. This wasn't one of those times.

Logan's brown eyes stared intently into hers for a fraction of a second before his hands clasped her tiny face and tipped her mouth open, plunging in for a kiss that made her world stop rotating on its axis. She reached her arms up around his neck to pull him tighter, as he grasped at her hips fiercely to make their bodies one.

Time stopped, crime ceased, and the background fell away from them. When Veronica pulled back, it was to catch her ragged breath, but as she drew her hand across her swollen lips, she spied a tiny little boy, his hair still wet from sleep and pushed up on both sides, giving him a style that resembled a Mohawk. Her eyes were wide, and embarrassment danced over her features. Jake stood at the corner of the room, looking at them curiously.

It was hard to believe that there was a third person in the equation that was Jake, because he was the spitting image of Logan – every feature, every mannerism, even the way he stared at her so intently and unwavering. His cheeks were pink and chubby, and a small, tattered blanket was held tightly in his grasp and draped the floor. He was the picture of innocence, and represented the sweetness of childhood that Logan had been deprived of, growing up with two selfish movie star parents.

Logan recovered more quickly than Veronica. "Hey buddy. You remember Veronica, right?"

Jake remained silent, standing in the corner of the room, and for a brief second, Veronica wondered if he was sleepwalking because of his trance-like state. But then slowly he crossed the space, blankie in tow, and planted himself just to her left and encircled his arms around her thigh while resting his head on her leg. "Hi, Ronnie-ka," he mumbled sleepily but with Logan's endearingly sweet smile.

"Uh-oh, looks like I have competition here!" Logan laughed, while Veronica was pleasantly surprised by Jake's unexpected affection.

She gazed down at Jake who was shyly sucking his thumb and looking up at her with big, dark eyes.

"Uh, we talked about that thumb-sucking, mister. You suck on that thumb, and I bite it off!" Logan teased, reaching down to scoop up Jake, who was now fully awake and screaming gleefully while trying to protect his thumbs from Logan's chomping jaw.

"C'mon, buddy, let's show Veronica how Stone men roll on Sunday mornings!"

With disaster averted, as Jake sat happily in front of cartoons on tv slurping down a bowl of Cheerios, she and Logan sat at the dining room table ready to broach more adult topics of conversation.

"They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but the Navarro family has exceptionally bad luck. Lily Navarro was reported missing this morning."

Theory 1 was blown, but Veronica desperately grasped at the strings of Theory 2. "How do they know that she is missing, and not just-just-" Veronica sputtered, hoping that her rationalizations could make it untrue, "late?"

Logan looked at her with a mix of sympathy and incredulity. "Her phone is off, no one has seen her or heard from her since half way through the prom, and her cousin went missing mere months ago. Something tells me that this isn't a false alarm. She's a responsible kid, and she wouldn't put her family through the worry of wondering why she didn't show up last night."

Veronica dropped her face into her hands. She refused to let herself utter the pathetic words 'but I just saw her' that were flashing through her mind, because she knew it was no excuse. She promised Weevil she would help find Ophelia. And not only had she not held up her end of the bargain, but she'd allowed his family to experience yet another tragedy. Never in her life had she felt like such an utter failure. She felt like giving up, selling insurance or something.

Reading her mind, Logan reached out and grasped her wrist. "Hey, you're not helping anyone, least of all Weevil, by beating yourself up about this. It was unpreventable. All you can do is move forward with the investigation. You're doing the best you can with what you have to go on. Weevil trusts you to figure this out, and for good reason. You bailed us out more times than we'd care to remember. I have faith that you are going to get to the bottom of this too."

"Yeah, well let's just hope I figure it out before anymore lives are lost."

"Wait, hold up, what? Are you saying that you think that these disappearances are in fact homicides?" Logan questioned, clearly thrown off guard, as he wasn't privy to the information from the Jeanette, the psychic.

"I honestly don't know," Veronica mused, eager to change the somber subject, "All I know is that the more time that elapses, the worse it looks for any of those girls...And speaking of things looking worse, I have something I need to show you." Veronica slid the glossy eight by ten photo out of its sheath.

Logan's eyes lit up, amused, as he let out a low whistle. "Damn, honey, what's the occasion for gifts? But, I have a feeling Principal Rainey wouldn't like this little number framed on my desk. It's a little NC-17 for the kiddies."

"I didn't take that; I found it on my porch. Geez, I'm a pretty skilled photographer, but I haven't yet mastered how to clone myself so that I can be both in the picture as well as behind the lens."

"That motherfucker!" Logan exclaimed, quickly glancing over the Jake, but thankfully the little guy was softly snoring on the floor in front of the tv with his blanket fanned out around him.

Lowering his voice to just above a whisper, but loud enough that Veronica could detect the outrage in his voice, "I'll give you three guesses as to who is behind that photo. One, the only person who has anything to gain from our relationship being exposed. Two, a sorry excuse for a man who doesn't know when to give up, and three, the same asshole who was shooting me daggers during the emergency faculty meeting that was called this morning. The good agent, Matt Adams, must have been running surveillance on the two of us rather than keeping his eyes where they belong – investigating what happened to those girls."

"The thought had crossed my mind as well, to be honest," Veronica admitted reluctantly, "but I can't rule out the possibility that it could be connected to the disappearances. I guess this changes things between us."

The words hung there like a wet towel with the cold realization that Murphy's Law was yet again ruining their chances at a normal relationship.

Logan shook his head, disgust written all over his face. He abruptly got up from the table and crossed the room to sweep Jake up in his capable, strong arms. He cradled him for a minute with a little smile on his face as he murmured, "Usually you wait until the second course to conk out for naptime." He walked Jake up the stairs, presumably to his bedroom, returning moments later with a determined look on his face.

"Veronica, we haven't done anything wrong. You are not a student, and our past together proves that I knew that and didn't do anything unethical. Did I want our relationship to be exposed in this way, possibly splashed across the front of tabloids which will undoubtedly have a renewed interest in an Echolls family scandal? No, of course not. But, does it change things between you and I? Fuck no! That would be letting that son of a bitch have more power over us than he deserves. I'm not going to let him force us apart for even another second, not after it took six years to get you back here. We'll deal with this, if and when the time comes that we're exposed, together. That is, if you're still willing."

Veronica couldn't remember taking in more bad news in such a short period of time, but the look in Logan's eyes gave her the faith and confidence she needed that things could still turn out okay. Lily and Ophelia would be found and returned safely to their family, along with the other missing girls. Her relationship with Mac would be repaired and stronger than ever. Her father would someday understand her decision to leave the FBI and support her once again. And, she and Logan would be together, the way she knew they always should have been.

"Yes, it's all I've ever wanted, Logan."

"Good, then that settles it." He scooped her up into his arms, much the same way he had with Jake, moments ago.

"Hey, what are you doing?" she laughed playfully, a sound foreign to her own ears after such a shit show of a day.

"It's naptime, Ronnie. And I can't think of anyone I would rather share my bed with," he said, kissing her lips soundly to quiet her protests.

Logan deposited Veronica onto his neatly-made bed and then crawled up next to her. She eagerly snaked her hand behind his head and brought his mouth down to hers. He kissed her with reckless abandon, their hips grinding together, before he snuck his hand up her t-shirt. She responded by running her nails greedily up and down his back.

"How long does naptime usually last?" Veronica panted, eager to rip off the clothes that were constraining them.

"On a good day, couple of hours."

"And on a bad day?"

"Thirty minutes or so."

"Well, this is about one of the worst days I can remember having in a while, so I guess, we'd better get you out of those clothes, Echolls," Veronica retorted, tugging at his shirt which tumbled off to reveal a well-defined chest and abs.

Logan dipped his hand down the elastic waist band of her track pants and then smiled up at her teasingly. "No panties, Mars? I like it."

Veronica frowned, confused for a second. Shit, I must have really been in a rush to get over here. "Hey, I said I'd be here in twenty minutes. Sacrifices must be made in order to keep to a time-frame like that. Just be happy I remembered to throw pants on."

"I'm not complaining. Panties are overrated and are absolutely, definitely optional when you're with me," he breathed into her ear, as he plunged his fingers slowly and deeply inside of her.

Veronica cried out and was pretty sure she'd come right on the spot, as Logan lightly covered her mouth with his other hand. "Veronica, we are trying to extend naptime to its fullest, not alarm the neighbors, love."

"Yes, sorry about that," Veronica said, with a smirk of her own, as she reached down his pants to return the favor.

His eyes just about rolled back in his head, but she gave him credit, he kept his composure and was completely silent, as his quickened his touch.

She felt her pants whoosh over her hips, and suddenly she was overcome with a new and even better sensation – his tongue. His assault was agonizing, and she grabbed fistfuls of his hair in her hands because it was all she could do to keep herself from screaming out his name.

He reached over her to grab a small square foil packet from the inside of his nightstand, and then tore it open.

She looked at him curiously but was out of breath and rendered completely speechless.

"We didn't use anything last night because I didn't have protection, but given the circumstances, we probably shouldn't take any chances."

She simply nodded as he put the condom on and then braced herself for part two of the marathon of lovemaking. She had once joked Logan should "go pro", and he certainly hadn't disappointed her last night; he was even better than she'd remembered.

He propped her left leg up and then entered her slowly, quickly putting his mouth on hers so she wouldn't make a sound. He rocked her gently, picking up a dizzying pace only to slow down, and then repeated the sensation over and over, again and again. And, she matched him thrust for thrust, reminding him why he had aptly nicknamed her Bobcat. He timed their climaxes perfectly, and before long they were sweating and clinging to one another.

As he discarded the condom, she rolled onto her side away from him, expecting him to spoon her and maybe catch a few minutes of rest. But instead he grasped her shoulder and pulled her around to face him.

"Again?" she deadpanned. "Doubt we'd be so lucky as to have Jake sleep through a second round. It's already been an hour."

"You okay?" he asked with a sweet concernedness about him.

"Yeah, considering everything that's happened in the last twenty-four hours, I'm holding up."

"I don't mean that." He looked slightly embarrassed, as though he wasn't sure he should proceed, but then mustered enough resolve to spew out: "You kind of got a funny look on your face when I pulled out the condom."

A hot blush spread over Veronica's face and then crept down her neck. She couldn't see it, but she could feel it, and she was sure that Logan had noticed so there was no point in denying it. They'd pledged honesty, so she attempted to put her thoughts together.

"It's not that I figured that you-" She stopped herself, trying to figure out how to put this into the least mortifying words she could find. "I just– well, you know. I-" What she was doing a piss poor job of getting out of her mouth was that seeing Logan reach into his drawer and fumble through an economy-sized box of condoms just made her wonder how many women graced his bed during naptime. The thought was unwelcome, but she was a detective; it was her job to deduce things, even if the realizations she made were uncomfortable and slightly irrational. Envy definitely did suit her.

Breaking into her thoughts, Logan explained the unspoken thoughts that plagued her mind. "I bought them this morning, babe. On the way home from the faculty meeting. I felt bad that I didn't have something last night, and I hoped it was the start to something."

"Oh?" It was all Veronica could manage, before a huge grin broke over her face.

"And there's still one hundred and seventy-one of those suckers left, so I hope you're planning on sticking around awhile," Logan joked.

"You bet I am," Veronica murmured, pulling him in for another kiss.

I have appreciated your reviews more than you could ever know! It renewed my sense of spirit, and the heartfelt feedback really made me smile. Any thoughts of where you'd like to see it go next? Your ideas are always welcomed!