They're no longer speaking -- on the phone anyway -- so it's not a surprise when he sends her an email. It's just so formal, seeing it in her inbox. Veronica kind of misses the stuff he used to send her -- emails with smiley faces in the subject line, and interesting news stories he thinks she'll like. Little things too, that he could text, but for some reason chooses not to. Dinner plans and weekend dates and idle, sweet nothingness. Piz was good at that, being sweet and present, and Veronica feels the guilt rattle through her all over again at the email.
Subject: (no subject)
I boxed up your things and took them over to UPS. They should be arriving in a week or two. I wasn't sure what you wanted to do about some of the books, so I packed the ones I thought you'd want. But let me know if there's something missing.
Congratulations on the case. Logan's a charmed man.
"Saw that one coming," Wallace says when she tells him she's back with Logan. "Can't say I'm surprised at all."
Veronica makes a face at him. They're eating lunch at Neptune again, and the surreality of the situation is weirding her out. Didn't she leave? Why is she back at this table?
"Sucks for Piz," he continues.
"Yeah," she says, ducking her head. "Not one of my finer moments."
Wallace sighs. "Well. You and Logan. We all knew. Even Piz. Especially Piz."
"I loved him," she says.
"I know, V. You don't have to tell me." Wallace takes a long sip of his soda. "When's Logan shipping out?"
"Two weeks? Roughly."
Wallace whistles. "Six months?"
"That's the deal." Veronica smiles wryly. "Me and the government -- we have a custody agreement."
Veronica nudges her two chocolate chip cookies over in Wallace's direction. "Look, I know you're not Logan's biggest fan -- "
"Nah," Wallace says, cutting her off. He takes one of the cookies. "Logan's fine with me. As long as he makes you happy. Are you happy?"
She thinks about her dad, still in the hospital, but recovering well. About sitting at the beach at sunrise, sand dusting her shoulders, watching the waves roll in. She thinks about Logan in his uniform in the pre-dawn light, his face -- all angles where there used to be baby fat -- and his smile. Sometimes, in dreams, it's the sixteen-year-old version she's with, and the twenty-eight-year-old version she wants.
"I'm happy," she says.
"So when do I qualify for some porn?" Logan asks, leaning in close to the screen.
Veronica admires the lean line of his shoulders beneath his uniform, and almost forgets what he says. It takes a certain talent to look good over Skype. The picture's grainy, sometimes freezing, and the audio goes in and out. But Logan, the sight of Logan really, still makes her breath catch. Veronica wants to reach through the computer and climb him like a jungle gym. She's not gonna let him leave the bed when he gets home. They can get food delivered.
"Veronica?" he says, snapping his fingers. "Are you listening to me?"
"I'm listening. What do you want to see, lieutenant?" she purrs at him, mock-sexy.
He smiles, the corners of his eyes crinkling. She can feel warmth pooling in her lower stomach as she smiles back. "Cool it, Mars. I'm not asking for a striptease on camera. I just thought I've earned some naughty emails at least."
"Hmm, what's this? The three-month mark?"
He leans his head against one fist, and she can see the muscles in his arm -- down, girl. "Just about."
It's been eighty-seven days, actually, not that Veronica's been counting. "You might have earned yourself a dirty mag or so."
Logan throws his hands up, gleeful. "As long as they feature you."
"Aw, how sweet. Just what every girl wants to hear. 'Baby, I wanna jerk off, but I only want to jerk off to you.'"
"Hey," he says. "I've got nine years of fantasies to make up for."
She's not actually considering it. She knows better. These things have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass. Look at the sextape incident. Besides, she's not really sure what to even say.
"Tell him how much you want him," Mac suggests over lunch at the office. "Um, and that you...miss him? And his huge co -- "
"Okay, this conversation is over," Veronica says. "Thank you so much for that."
She's not going to do it.
She does know how to make that shit untraceable. And Logan does deserve a little something something. So she buys a few Harlequin romances from the Barnes & Noble downtown. Research purposes only. Amateur erotica-writing career, here she comes.
Subject: You asked for it…
I thought about you in the shower this morning. I stood there until the bathroom was steamed up, under all that hot water, thinking about you on your knees in front of me, my hand in your hair. I thought about your mouth and your fingers and your cock and
Sorry. I just wrote "cock" in an email. I have to take a minute and process how my life has led me here, to this moment, writing "cock" in an email to a Naval officer.
Okay, I've thought about it too much now, and I can't keep going. Mood's ruined. Sorry! You should take some comfort in the fact that I definitely got off though (the trespassing charges from last month -- but also in the shower). ;)
Subject: Re: pictures or it didn't happen
You know better. Don't try to get it either. I know how you work. (I'll show you when I get home.)
Glad to hear about the Clever case. I'd be happier if you hadn't broken into their garage, but what am I saying, my bar's obviously set too high.
Skype Wednesday? 8pm your time?
It's Logan's a-hundred-and-twelfth day in god-knows-where, and everything's starting to set Veronica off. Three years of psychology classes tell her she just misses him, but it doesn't stop her from picking fights. The prickliness helps when she tasers a bail jumper outside of the Seventh Veil. There's that momentary feeling of satisfaction when she nails the burly six-foot-seven guy in the ribs, bringing him down to his knees. It's like the closest she's come to sex in weeks.
It's not just the sex (though what she wouldn't give for an hour in a closet and Logan's hands). She misses him. She spends a week in the beach house after he's gone, burrowed in sheets that smell of sleep and deodorant and the sharp scent that has always been Logan to her. The presence of Dick eventually drives her away -- but not before she swipes Logan's car keys and a few shirts. She sleeps in the shirts, long t-shirts that are worn around the collar. There's one particular button-down she likes, the cotton cool against her skin. She rolls the sleeves up four times before they reach her elbows.
"Trying out a new style, honey?" her dad says, when he swings by unannounced, and she opens the door with a wet dishtowel and Logan's shirt over a pair of shorts.
"What did I say about coming by without calling? You're gonna see some things you wish you hadn't," Veronica teases, letting him follow her into the kitchen of her tidy apartment.
He helps himself to a beer from the fridge. "You can always live at home, you know."
"Dad. Come on." Veronica stirs the boiling pasta on the stove. "That's a slippery slope. Next thing you know, I'll be agoraphobic and living in the basement."
"We live in southern California. We don't have basements."
"Metaphor. Keep up!"
Keith regards her from across the Ikea-purchased butcher block. It's doubling as her kitchen island. "You okay these days?"
"Yeah, sure. You know. Business is good. I closed the Clever case today, got the money shot. I wanted to tell you."
"Mac said you've been a little...short. And not just in stature."
Veronica pops a piece of carrot into her mouth. "Har har," she says around it. "Like I don't hear enough short jokes. These are your genetics. You only have yourself to blame."
"He'll be back soon, Veronica."
She stills at the stove. "I know." She forces a smile and stirs the pasta sauce. "Only sixty-eight days until the ol' ball and chain's back on land. You better cram your daddy-daughter time in while you still can."
Veronica can hear him moving around behind her. She turns around just as her father wraps his arms around her, his hug solid and reassuring. "I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but it's soon."
"Yeah," she says into his shirt. "I know."
plane's landed, her phone chirps at her. Veronica bounces on the toes of her feet at the arrivals area. They were delayed earlier, and she's already been here for twenty minutes, getting a coffee while she stared at the screens for updated flight information. The caffeine may have been a bad idea in retrospect.
people disembark so slowly, Logan sends next.
Veronica grins. She texts back, just get out here already.
doing my best!
She locks her phone, and leans her back against the wall. The strap of her bag's digging into her shoulder, but she can't be bothered to fix it. It feels like she's been holding her breath for months, waiting for this, for him, waiting until she feels stretched out thin.
Her phone makes a noise again: hi.
Veronica looks up. Logan's smiling at her in his dress whites, his hat set on his head, tan and muscled and almost unreal. She falters for a second, drinking him in.
"You gonna say hi back?" he asks, stepping close to her, his hands slipping onto her waist.
She tilts her head up, kisses him. His mouth is furious and tender, all at once. She's already calculating how she's going to strip him of his clothes.
"Hi," she says. "Welcome home."