Disclaimer: Veronica, Weevil, Felix, Grandma Letti, and all other characters mentioned here (with the exception of Manny) are the property of UPN, Rob Thomas, Stu Segall, and Silver Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
It was inevitable.
Veronica has to keep telling herself this every few minutes, or she will lose her mind. But it's true - Weevil was never going to sit around pining for her. Sooner or later, she was going to see him with another girl. She just never imagined that it would be like this. Veronica takes deep breaths as her head lolls back, knocking against the wood siding of the Navarro house.
"Hey," a voice greets. Veronica nearly jumps, but when she whips her head around she finds that it's only Felix, with his goofy grin and long, lanky limbs that never seem like they're moving in the direction they're supposed to. "You okay?" he asks, peering at her.
"I'm fine," Veronica assures reflexively. Felix nods. He doesn't press her further; instead, he offers her one of the cigarettes from the box in his back pocket. At the moment, Veronica seriously considers taking him up on the offer, but she makes herself decline. Felix shrugs and lights one for himself. There's a moment of only slightly awkward silence as he smokes and she fidgets.
"So, what's the deal?" he asks finally, when he's about halfway through the cigarette. "You into him?" Veronica shrugs, because honestly, she doesn't even know herself. She knows that Weevil is safe and trustworthy and unendingly loyal, despite how fervently he tries to make everyone believe the opposite. She knows that she smiles more when she's with him, that there's a familiar heat that builds in her belly when he casually slings an arm around her waist. Put together, the signs probably do add up to the fact that she's into him. And this is the final piece of the puzzle - the fury that she feels at catching him in a very compromising position with a curvy, unfamiliar brunette.
The image of the two of them is burned onto Veronica's retinas, much to her chagrin. It's the pair of tawny limbs tangled together so that it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began, and the frenzied rocking motion that caused the banging of the headboard against the wall; the very sound Veronica and Ophelia had gone to investigate. It's the sinking knowledge that her own pale skin would stand out against his rather than blend into it. It's the inadequacy of watching someone else give him what she herself is not ready to give.
"Who is she?" she asks. Felix blows out a mouthful of smoke in a perfect ring and crushes the butt under the toe of his shoe to extinguish it. He shoves his hands into his pockets.
"Her name's Manny," he says. "She's twenty-two. She used to baby-sit for us, back when we were kids." Veronica barks out a short, unamused laugh.
"Banging the babysitter?" she scoffs. "Well, that's pretty much the ultimate male fantasy, isn't it?"
"Nah. She was okay, but I always had a thing for blondes." With his elbow, he nudges her in the side. "You decide you don't want that cholo, I'm always around, huh?" This time, Veronica's laugh is genuine. She pushes off of the house and leans over to give Felix a kiss on the cheek.
"I'll keep that in mind," she says. Her feet shuffle back and forth across the concrete before she finally says: "I should probably get going." With one last smile in his direction, she heads towards the front of the house.
"If it helps," he calls after her, "Ophelia ran to tell on him for having a girl in his room. He's getting his ass reamed tonight, that's for sure."
Veronica just laughs. While Felix pulls out a second cigarette, she pulls herself together - squares her shoulders, holds her head high, and steps onto the stone walkway. Her car is sitting against the curb, gleaming in the late afternoon sun. In her purse, Veronica's fingers close around her keys, prepared to make a quick exit.
But the world just doesn't seem to be on her side today; Weevil is sitting on the front porch, also having a smoke. It's a wonder her dad hasn't questioned her before now, Veronica thinks, because she knows that she smells like an ashtray when she comes home from the Navarros'.
"Hey," he says quietly. Veronica forces her lips into a smile.
"Hey yourself," she returns. Watching her, Weevil's head tilts to the side slightly, studying her. He's perceptive - he knows when there's something wrong. Something in her demeanor must clue him into the fact that she really doesn't want to talk about it, however, because he chuckles and turns the conversation on himself.
"Well. That was embarrassing," he says. She nods. The silence between herself and Felix was a little awkward, but with her and Weevil...it's so unconfortable its almost physically painful. He still has three-quarters of his cigarette left, but he puts it out against the deck and tosses it aside, gesturing to her. "C'mere," he says.
There are a million reasons why she shouldn't. For one, she simply doesn't want to - she's exhausted. At the moment, all she wants to do is go home, hug and kiss her dad, and curl up on the couch with Backup, a pint of Moose Tracks, and her well-worn Man on Fire DVD. Weevil's head is still tilted to the side, however, and the corner of his mouth turns up into a half-smile. Adding that to his deep, sincere eyes is just unfair, and an unbeatable combination. With a world-weary sigh, Veronica drops her purse at the bottom of the stairs and sits down beside him.
Weevil wraps one arm around Veronica's waist, while the other reaches over to intertwine the fingers of their right hands. His chin tucks into the hollow of her throat, where he places a gentle kiss. They don't need words - it's the closest to an apology and an admission as Veronica is ever going to get. She'll accept it, so long as he keeps holding her like this, with the solid bulk of his chest pressed against her side. And the silence has lapsed out of awkwardness and into something comforting and intimate.
The sun sets in a fiery display of warm pinks, purples, and oranges. Veronica and Weevil watch the phenomenon, still clinging to one another. When the moon peeks from behind the clouds, Weevil glances at his watch and gently disentangles them. "We should probably get you home," he says.
Their hands are still linked together. He switches so that she's holding his left hand, so that they can walk side-by-side and hand-in-hand down the flagstaff path to the street and her car. Valiantly, he takes her keys out of her purse and opens the door for her, sweeping his hand towards the car's interior in a gentlemanly gesture.
"I'll see you around, V," he says, but his inflection makes it sounds more like a question. Veronica tosses her purse onto the seat and then turns to look at Weevil; really look at him. They're each on one side of the door now, and his face is open and vulnerable in a way that she doesn't see on him very often. A slow smile creeps across Veronica's face, and she makes a last-minute decision. Before she can talk herself out of it, she leans forward and presses her lips against his.
Sickeningly-sweet cherry assaults her nose and taste buds, and she almost pulls away, but instead she forces herself to press closer. Veronica kisses him until all she can taste is cigarettes, toothpaste, and her own honey-vanilla lip gloss. When she does pull back, there's a smile on both of their faces. She leaves him that way, staring after her car in amused confusion.
After all, passive acceptance was never Veronica Mars' strong suit.