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A Hard Habit to Break

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Haven in West Hollywood at eight o'clock on a Friday evening wasn't Veronica's choice for this particular drinks date, but at least the cocktails here are strong and they have a table outside. Ray had picked the bar without knowing it was a lesbian haunt, because it’s near Veronica's work. She doesn't have the heart to tease him about it.

He walks away from her, his feet dragging slightly and his shoulders slumped, making him seem shorter than he is. Veronica finishes her drink with a sigh, wondering for the thousandth time this week what the hell is wrong with her. Ray’s great in all the ways a boyfriend should be great: he's not dumb, he's not crazy, he's handsome in an endearingly nerdy way, and he loved her. Better than most women had any right to expect, yet Veronica ruined it like she ruins all her relationships: by working too hard, by neglecting him. Truthfully, by not caring quite enough, and being forced to watch him lose his self confidence, become bitter and sad, until the man she'd fallen in like with was barely recognizable. Today wasn't about doing the right thing, it was about taking pity on him.

She's not completely abnormal though. She feels regret, shame, relief.

Some pleasure.

Okay, she has issues, and she'd hate herself for what she’s about to do if her body wasn't already buzzing with anticipation. She stands up, leaves a couple of twenties on the table and waits for the valet to pull up in her black Saturn. Hopping in and checking her reflection in the rear view mirror, she isn't overjoyed by what she sees, but that's not about to stop her. Logan claims he prefers her without make up anyway, and what she wears is of no importance to him whatsoever.

Checking her phone, she has a text message from Wallace.

How did it go with Ray? Don’t go to Logan’s.

Twenty five minutes later she pulls into the driveway of Logan's rather modest -- comparatively speaking -- house in the hills, and parks haphazardly, her chest tight with nerves. It's been seven months since she saw him last and she has no idea if he's even there because calling in advance is not how this works. She just hopes to God he is there because she needs him badly. Ray had been one of those "considerate" lovers that Veronica finds duller than a night at the opera, and even when she did manage to have orgasms with him they were peculiarly forgettable.

It takes a good three minutes of staring at Logan's front door before she's able to put on her game face and ring the bell. An indefinite amount of time later the door swings open and Logan stands there, smiling at her, his eyes dark and moody.

"What a pleasant surprise this isn't," he says, tilting his head. "Get dumped?"

She walks past him, close enough so the back of her hand brushes against his hip, and makes her way toward the kitchen. She needs a drink. "I was the dumper not the dumpee this time."

"Aw, the poor sucker," Logan coos, following her. "Come on in by the way."

The scotch is in its usual spot, on the bench next to the fridge, but there's something different about the place, although Veronica can't put her finger on what. Is that a new smoothie maker? She pours herself a couple of fingers, and some for Logan too, holding his glass in front of her chest so he has to walk right up to her to take it. He stands in her space so she can breathe him in, feel the energy radiating off him, feel it envelop her like a cloak made of pure, raging desire. They both knock back their scotch, and then he plucks the glass from her hand and bends his body around her so he can set them down on the bench behind her. He kisses her on the lips with his mouth slightly open, wet but not too wet, tender but not too tender. He tastes like scotch and frustration.

"This one lasted longer than usual," Logan points out, hands slipping under her shirt, short, blunt nails digging almost painfully into her back. "I was getting bored waiting."

Veronica tips her head back to give Logan better access to her neck, and as his mouth sucks and bruises her she sighs, "I'm sure you managed to amuse yourself."

"You're such a bitch," he murmurs, clutching her ass in both hands, slipping fingers between her legs and pressing up hard. "You can't even pretend not to be."

God she’s missed those hands.

She scrambles at her fly and he pushes down her pants, slips a warm hand inside her panties, between her thighs, and stabs his fingers inside her in an angry rhythm that gets Veronica so hot she can't stop herself from laughing. They both have serious issues.

Will he fuck her here in the kitchen? On the bench? The floor? The table? Veronica's perfectly okay with any of those options; as long as he puts his dick inside her within the next few minutes she doesn't give a rat's ass where they do it.

"The condoms are in the bedroom. Let's relocate," Logan whispers, groaning into her ear as she rocks purposefully against him.

Pulling her pants back up feels like time wastage but it means she'll be able to move faster, and the bedroom is miles away, so she zips herself up and trots after Logan, through the reception foyer, up the staircase, down the hall. She slams the door shut behind them and stops in her tracks, suddenly painfully aware of what's different. Instead of stripping the way Logan is doing, her eyes travel slowly around the room, cataloguing all the things that shouldn't be there: a red cardigan and a pair of nude slingbacks strewn across the floor next to the bed, a bra hanging over the back of the armchair, a sparkly black clutch on the seat of it.

"You're seeing someone," she says sharply.

"So?" he says, stepping out of his jeans and boxers and kicking them aside. He opens the top drawer of the bedside table and fishes out a condom. "You see people." He tears open the wrapper and rolls the condom down over his erection.

"I don't fuck you when I'm in a relationship. That was part of our understanding."

He smiles at her irritably and walks around the bed until he's standing in front of her. She’s far too pissed to undress herself but she lets him pull her top over her head because he's naked and hard and she still wants him terribly. "There is no understanding, Veronica. It's just me being here for you whenever you've got an itch only I can scratch.” He reaches around her back, unhooks her bra, pulls it down her arms, and flings it aside. “And I've had girlfriends during some of our past trysts I'm sorry to tell you; just none as messy as Jessie."

"Oh God, don't tell me her name, and no rhyming," Veronica replies, grabbing hold of his cock and squeezing it in her fist.

"Jessie Hunt," he says, eyes crossing and mouth falling open. "She's a model."

"Shut up," Veronica snaps, shoving him. He stumbles into the absurdly over-sized bed and falls, landing on his back with a laugh. Lifting himself up on his elbows he grins at Veronica, and she wonders if he can see the longing on her face as she looks him up and down, assessing the subtle changes to his body since the last time she saw him. How is it, that at thirty, even with a slightly thicker waist line, he looks better than ever? She kicks off her shoes, sheds her pants, watches him watching her.

"She's beautiful," he tells her as she crawls up the bed astride his long, muscular thighs. He sucks in a shaky breath as she sinks down onto him. It feels fantastic. "And she lets me fuck her in the ass whenever I want." Logan's upward thrusts are fast, hard and mean, and the jealousy Veronica feels only makes her want him closer, deeper. Even when he's being a world class jerk she can't take her eyes off him. He rolls them over till she's on her back and slows down the pace. "Admittedly she's kind of a dimwit, but with an ass that tight who am I to complain?" It comes out strained and breathless and wonderfully insincere.

Then he bends his head and bites one of her nipples, twisting it with his teeth, making Veronica scream in pain and come harder than she has in seven months, every muscle in her body clenched up tight, her arms and legs wrapped around him and her problems forgotten.

When she opens her eyes he's gazing down at her dazedly and she knows that expression intimately. It means many things: that he's about five seconds away from coming himself, that he loves her and always will, that he wishes things were different between them.

His mouth is on hers when his orgasm hits, and she adores his wet, tormented face and his shuddering cock inside her for the seconds it takes to subside, and then she lets her mind go blank. He pulls out, slips away. They fall asleep.

~~~

It's the best sleep Veronica's had in forever and she wakes up disoriented, aroused and smiling. The room is dark, Logan is sleeping soundly and silently next to her, and as the memory of the night before creeps back into her consciousness, she reaches out and places a hand on the warm skin of his chest, kisses his bicep, breathes in his familiar scent and makes a plan to stay there with him all day. All night again. All week if necessary.

She continues kissing his arm, trailing fingers through the hair on his chest, crawling on top of him and kissing his chin and cheeks, his mouth, until he starts to kiss her back, slowly waking up. She's sitting on top of his hardening penis and he does exactly what she wants him to do: he reaches around her, grabs his cock and inserts it into her slippery, welcoming cunt. They've always been lazy about using contraception with each other. Strict with everyone else, but not with each other, because sometimes there's just no time. Sometimes she needs him in her that instant and he needs it too, and that's more important that any possible negative consequences. In her darker moments, she wonders if maybe a part of her wants him to knock her up -- they might never be able to make a relationship work, but a child would tie them to each other forever. But it's not that because it would be a nightmare and she's not that sick -- Logan and Veronica as parents? No child deserves that. Anyway, they've "forgotten" to use condoms enough times for Veronica to further wonder whether one of them is infertile. As for disease, for some reason they both trust the other not to infect them with anything nasty, and so far so good.

Issues.

They come within a couple of minutes, a sticky, sleepy, urgent fuck that leaves her feeling awake but exhausted.

"You're staying, right?" he asks her.

"Yeah," she replies, panting. "Do you mind?"

He laughs breathlessly. "Can't say that I do." He pulls her against him and she snuggles up, throwing a leg over his thigh and burying her face into his neck.

A few hours later they do it again. Slow but aggressive, Logan talking dirty to her just the way she likes, with plenty of name-calling, truth telling and real pain in his voice.

"Why are you such a whore for my cock? Don't answer that, I know why. It's because I'm the only one who can properly get you off. That's so pathetic, Ronnie. Really. You're -- nngh -- pathetic." He pulls out, sits on the edge of the bed and roughly hauls her over his knee. She tries to wriggle free, squealing no no please no, but he's too strong for her, holding her down, his erection pressed into her flesh. "You're not strong enough to get away from me, Veronica. You may as well relax." He spanks her ass so hard she howls in pain, but it doesn't stop him. He keeps hitting her, making her scream.

"Please."

Then his hand stills and he gently squeezes her red raw flesh. "Please what?" He stands up and throws her face-down on the bed.

She's wailing oh God oh God and the moment he enters her she starts to come, and if she were rating the intensity and duration of the orgasms she's had since she arrived here yesterday, this one would be the winner. It lasts so long when she finally becomes conscious of her surroundings again she realizes Logan came as well, and now his arms are wound tightly around her waist and he's gasping for breath.

When he pulls out she can feel his semen dribbling down her inner thighs. They forgot to use a condom again.

~~~

Hunger wakes her at some point during the afternoon; her eyes fly open in alarm as she tries to figure out when she last ate.

"I'm starving," Logan mumbles beside her. "And I'm too weak to do anything about it. You've annihilated me, Mars." He lies completely still, looking over at the bedroom door forlornly.

"We should call someone for help," Veronica replies, equally unable to move.

"Like who?"

"Domino's?"

They both crack up.

~~~

There's no one she enjoys drinking with more than Logan, the great enabler.

They sit at the kitchen counter and drink neat vodka between slices of pizza, and Veronica's having a laughing fit because Logan's truly terrible Sean Connery impression is a thing of beauty.

"You have the mannersh of a goat and you shmell like a dung-heap."

A precedent was started soon after graduation. For the first time in two years they were single at the same time, Veronica having just ended things with a heartbroken Piz, who she'd adored, just not enough to follow him to New York, or to agree to carry on their relationship long distance. The day Piz jumped on a plane, Veronica drove away from LAX feeling a great weight lift from her shoulders. She ran into Logan buying ice cream at Amy's in Neptune, and discovered that he was soon moving to LA to work for the Times as a junior sports writer assigned to the Lakers. They'd always been awkward friends, but the urge to spend time with him was irresistible.

God they'd had fun.

As much as Veronica had cared about Piz, being with him had meant avoiding Logan as much as possible, because Piz understandably disliked him and Veronica felt guilty for not being able to. Being faithful had always been easy for her, being indifferent to Logan not so much.

She'd let go of her guilt that night, and as they giggled and found reasons to casually touch each other, both openly excited to be together again, free from commitment, there was never any question about what would happen. As it turned out the sex was much better than it had been while they were in a relationship; it was, in fact, one of the most gloriously joyous sexual experiences of her life.

Was it the lack of expectations?

They parted ways with easy affection, their union leaving Veronica sated and content. It became something she needed periodically, and Logan was always more than happy to oblige. He always needed it too. And he always let her go afterwards.

~~~

She lies between his legs on the couch, her head laying against his chest. They are watching Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, eating popcorn, occasionally talking.

"How's the FBI?" he asks, enunciating each letter mockingly.

"Great," she replies.

It's not great. Work is a grind. If Veronica had been a cynical misanthrope at age seventeen, they need a new word to describe her complete and utter loathing of humanity now.

She enjoyed being Special Agent Mars for a few years, until Frank Quinlan, amateur bomb maker, serial killer and woman hater, AKA the man Veronica killed. She was twenty five going on forty when it happened.

It was the look on his face that made her do it. She'd seen that look before, on Beaver's face, just before he'd pressed the button that had blown up her father's plane. Quinlan wore the same desolate smile: that of a psychopath with nothing left to lose, and he had a detonator in his hands too. He was going to do it, she was sure of it. Terrified of it. Everyone said afterwards that she’d made the right call, saved countless lives.

A bullet between his eyes. A perfect shot.

"How's the newspaper business?" she asks.

She feels him shrug in response. They fall silent again and Veronica tries to get into the movie.

"I'm bored," Logan says after a while. "How about we take a shower and go out for a bite to eat, maybe a fruity cocktail or three."

Veronica frowns. He's trying to break the rules again and she doesn't understand why. They don't ever go out in public together, because that's the way it's always been and it needs to stay that way.

"Are you high? We're not going on a date, Logan."

His annoyed sigh is audible. "Fine." He pushes her off him and stands up. "You're welcome to stay here but I plan to wash my body and go out for some fresh air, with or without you."

Veronica grins up at him. "Bring back Chinese food!"

He walks off but he's smiling.

Uninterested in being alone, Veronica gets up and follows him to the bathroom. She slips into the shower with him and wraps her arms around his waist. They kiss each under a steady stream of hot water.

"If you're trying to make peace with me, you know what you can do, right?" Logan murmurs, glancing down pointedly.

Veronica quivers with lust and drops to her knees. She once came just from blowing Logan; it was more embarrassing than anything else, and it turned Logan into an even bigger obnoxious asshole than usual. He insisted on calling her Deep Throat for the rest of the weekend, and in fact, if she recalls correctly, that was why she left in a rage after only a day and a half. It's not as if it had happened before or would ever happen again. She hadn't seen him in a year and she was unusually aroused; so much so that everything about the act seemed more exciting than normal: the look, feel, taste of him, the smell, the sounds he was making, the pressure of his hand on her head. She'd orgasmed seconds before he did, and afterwards he'd laughed at her.

When he comes in her mouth, she's so turned on she insists they finish their shower and go to the bed so he can return the favor.

~~~

The next morning they eat breakfast in the kitchen, drink coffee, read the paper. Just like a normal couple might.

A car pulls up outside.

Logan leaps off his stool and moves swiftly to the window, pulls the curtain aside and peers out.

"Shit," he hisses. "Fuck. Shit." His head jerks around and he stares at Veronica. "Make yourself scarce."

"You've got to be kidding me," she says, feeling suddenly nauseous.

"Do I fucking look like I'm kidding?" He doesn't. "Go to the bedroom. Close the door. Don't come out." He's stressing every single word like they're of the utmost importance but if he thinks this will stop Veronica doing what comes naturally, he’s lost his mind.

She holds up her hands. "Fine, okay. It's your girlfriend, who you're cheating on. I get it. You don't want her to find out about me." She can hardly believe she just said those words.

"You don't know anything about it. Just get out." He visibly deflates, as if realizing just how totally screwed he is. "Please," he sighs, his eyes downcast.

Veronica stalks out of the kitchen, but instead of climbing the staircase, she slots herself behind a large, black, abstract sculpture -- probably an important piece of art by an important artist; Logan started collecting in his mid twenties when he learned that he had an eye, that he liked beautiful art, and that he needed something worthwhile to spend his money on -- and tries to will her heart to stop thumping so fast. This girl is just a casual fling. There’s no need to feel nervous, or guilty.

The door opens. Silence.

"Hi," Logan says.

"What's going on?" a quietly hurt female voice asks. She waits but doesn't get an answer, then continues. "I called you. Several times. I was worried."

"I know. I'm sorry." He sounds it, too. There's pain in his voice and Veronica knows exactly what he looks like: brow knitted, eyes pleading and sorrowful. "Come in."

Veronica waits until they're safely in the kitchen then pads over to the door, which is slightly ajar, and stands with her back flush against the wall next to it. She's sorely tempted to sneak a look inside, and she'd almost certainly get away with it, but she forces herself to keep still.

"Has something happened, Logan?"

The way she speaks is alarming. Her accent, her diction and her tone suggest intelligence and emotional commitment; she's no dimwit.

"I don't know how to tell you this," he starts. "I can't believe I have to."

"Oh God," the woman whispers, and the heartbreak in her voice makes Veronica gag in horror, instantly overwhelmed with self loathing.

"Veronica--"

"Is she here?"

Pause. "Yes. God, Jessie, I'm sorry. I wish I could -- say no. I wanted this to work, you have to believe me. But what I have with her, it's. It's hard to explain."

Veronica presses a hand to her mouth to stop herself from vomiting.

"You warned me," the woman says with quiet incredulity. "You said this might happen and I said I was willing to take the risk. I didn't think you were serious."

"I wish--"

"I wish too. I wish I hadn't been so stupid. Did you even -- mean it when you said you loved me?"

"Yes," Logan replies, his voice full of anguish.

"But you love her more."

He takes a long time to respond. "I hate her. She's a fucking bitch. But we belong to each other."

The enormity of his words send Veronica racing silently across the floor and up the stairs. She can't listen any more.

They've made such a mess of Logan's bedroom; the duvet cover has fallen off the bed and lies in a heap on the floor, their clothes are all over the place, the pungent aroma of sex lingers in the air. She takes off Logan's t-shirt and hurriedly pulls on her own clothes. She needs to get out of here, she needs to get as far away from the trouble she's caused, she needs a drink.

By the time she's put on her shoes, she feels more composed, and that's when Logan opens the door and walks in, his dejected expression turning quickly to anger.

"You heard," he says through gritted teeth. "Of course you did."

"She didn't sound like the skank you made her out to be," Veronica spits back. "Apparently you love each other. How could you cheat on her?"

"Don't even try to pretend this is a one way street," Logan snaps. "You came to me, remember. And when you found out about Jessie, you chose to stay."

"You were acting like you didn't even care about her. How was I to know what I was getting in the middle of?" She can't stand feeling this guilty. She can't believe she's the other woman.

"And you know what effect you have on me. Shit," he sighs. "Why do we fuck up everything around us?"

"We're both built that way I guess," she says, pushing past him, yanking open the door.

"Veronica!" Something about the way he says her name causes her to turn around and look at him. He's smiling slightly and his eyes are free of anger. "I'd be willing to give us another shot if you were. Just say the word. I’ll be waiting."

He just ended things with her, she thinks numbly, walking down the stairs with legs like lead. Right foot, left foot, don't forget how to escape. It's clear what he meant: we either stop doing this or we actually make a commitment to each other, and it's not like Veronica hasn't considered the possibility a million times over the past decade, it's that she can't bear the thought of it not working out. Their arrangement means he will always be there for her, but if they try having a relationship again, if they fail... they can't go back to this. It'd be over. Forever.

That would be unconscionable.

~~~

Traditionally, after a rendezvous with Logan, Veronica leaves feeling angry with him, and it's easy to reassure herself that they are a terrible partnership, good with each other only in small, sporadic doses.

Today Veronica fights back tears for the entirety of her long drive home, and when she closes her apartment door behind her she immediately crumples to the floor and bawls her eyes out. She truly hates herself for being, essentially, Logan's mistress, and for being fifty percent responsible for Jessie Hunt's broken heart, but the despair she feels over losing Logan is even more overwhelming.

She's relieved to find a nearly full bottle of vodka in the freezer. Soon her pain is wonderfully numbed.

~~~

Weeks go by and Veronica loses herself in work in an attempt to keep her mind off Logan. There are always bad guys to be caught, there's always paperwork to be done.

After two months, however, Veronica is so depressed she takes a couple weeks off and goes to Neptune to see her dad.

"You know, Veronica," he says to her, putting down his burger and taking a swig of beer. "You could call him."

"No I can't," she says stubbornly. "What would be the point? I'll call him, we'll make a go of things, we'll end up killing each other, and then you would have our deaths on your conscience. Why would you want that, Dad? Why?"

"It's good to see you kids are as melodramatic now as you were at eighteen."

"Hey, we had plenty of very good reasons to take things too seriously back then."

"And what's your excuse now?"

She sticks her tongue out at him, but feels marginally cheered.

~~~

It's a Friday afternoon, three months after she walked out on Logan, and Veronica keeps picking up her phone and hanging it up again without dialing.

"Oh for crying out loud, do it!" Cary, her partner, shouts across the desk.

"What?" she says defensively.

"Call. Him." He rolls his eyes, picks up his empty coffee mug, and storms off in the direction of the kitchen.

Heart thumping, palms sweating, she gulps, takes a deep breath, and picks up the phone, dialing Logan's number at record speed and forcing herself to hold the receiver up to her ear. He won't see that it's her because company numbers don't show up on cells, but this fact doesn't make her feel any less terrified.

"Hello?"

Oh God, he answered. Veronica had expected an inspirational message, but it's his voice, it's him, he's on the line, she's on the line with him.

"It's me," she says, trying to control her breathing.

"Hey," he says, and she can hear the smile in his voice, warming her from the inside out.

"I was, um. Uh, I was wondering. If maybe. Um. Shit." You can do this, Veronica, you can do this. She takes a deep breath. "Doyouwannagooutwithmetonight?"

The silence on the other end of the phone is deafening. She's an idiot. He's already got himself a new girlfriend. Jessie took him back and he's making a serious go of it with her, he'll never cheat on her again. Veronica missed her window. He's over her, he's laughing at her, he's--

"Veronica Mars, are you asking me out on a date?" Logan says, and she suddenly wishes he were in front of her so she could punch him in the face.

"I'm going to hang up now," she says.

"Wait! Wait. Just wait." He sounds so delighted she can't help but grin. "I'd love to go out with you tonight."

"Good. Dress casual, be ready at six, I'll pick you up."

It takes a while for him to respond and she knows she's rendered him speechless. Then, sincerely, "I can't wait."

Truthfully, neither can she.

~~~

She'll never tell Logan that she spent the rest of her afternoon blowing off work, buying a sexy new top, getting a hair cut, carefully applying lots of makeup to look like she's not wearing any makeup, staring at her reflection in the full length mirror in the bathroom at work for so long three people catch her at it.

She leaves early and arrives in Logan's neighborhood at quarter to six, parks down the road and sits in her car doing calming breathing exercises for ten minutes in an attempt to quell the feeling of impending doom sitting in the pit of her stomach. This is the worst idea she’s ever had.

At six on the dot she rings his bell.

Logan answers the door with a very genuine smile on his face. "Prompt!" he points out.

Veronica grins at him. "Come on," she says, grabbing his hand and leading him to the car. She opens the door for him and he hops in looking bemused.

"Where are we going?" he asks her as she starts the car.

"It's a surprise," she replies, looking over at him with a smile. God it's good to see him. They've spent much longer apart than three months before, but it's different this time. Everything has to be different this time.

Logan bursts out laughing when Veronica pulls into the parking lot at a fair ground on the outskirts of the city. As she hops out of the car she feels his fingers brush against her hand and when she turns her head she finds him staring at her, clear eyed, relaxed and gorgeous.

They wander around the fair hand in hand, eating cotton candy and cracking jokes. They work off some aggression and sexual tension in the bumper cars, hurling gentle abuse at each other with grins plastered on their faces. They talk more seriously when the Ferris wheel stops with their carriage at the top.

He's clutching her hands in his, face the picture of concern and devotion, as she finishes telling him about Frank Quinlan. "That's when I started drinking," she confesses. It's the sorry end to a story she’d never told Logan until now, because they'd stopped sharing anything truly personal or meaningful with each other a decade ago.

"I always wondered what had happened. Couldn't bring myself to ask."

"A lot's happened, Logan. To me, and I'm sure to you too."

He nods. "Did I tell you I got a book deal? My column's pretty popular actually. The book's going to be a best of sort of thing. It's stupid really."

"Oh Logan, that's amazing." Veronica leans over, wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him on the cheek. Pulling back, she says, "Not being a big sports aficionado, a lot of what you write goes over my head, but I read your column every week."

"Seriously?" he asks her incredulously. She nods.

"God, I love you, you're the love of my life," he says, shaking his head, laughing helplessly, grabbing her face in his hands and kissing her on the lips.

On the ride back down to earth they gaze at each other dopily and don't speak.

She drives him home and walks him to his door. He opens it and starts to walk inside.

"Stop!" she calls out.

He turns around, frowning. "What?"

"I'm not coming in."

"Why?" he asks, confused.

"It's not that I don't want to," she tells him with a reassuring smile. "Believe me I do. I just thought -- maybe -- we should take this slow. Break some habits, form some new ones." She squeezes her lips together and looks up at him hopefully. "What do you think?"

He looks surprised, impressed and ever so slightly frustrated. Then he pulls her into his arms and hugs her tightly. "My dick says no way," he intones. "But my heart says yes. So yes. Let's call it a night."

"Okay then." Is she crazy? She can't think of anything she'd enjoy more right now than a roll in the hay with the love of her life, but she must be strong.

"So," he says. "You free tomorrow night?"

She nods.

"Good. Dress smart casual. I'll pick you up at seven."

Then he kisses her on the mouth with such passion, and for so long, her knees go weak; if she wasn't clinging on to him for dear life she'd collapse onto the ground. When he pulls away, erotically licking his lips, Veronica is so turned on she strongly regrets their decision to take things slowly.

Logan smiles, steps back and shuts the door in her face.

Veronica laughs and wanders back to her car, giddy with happiness.