Veronica blinked, her vision blurry, as she struggled to focus in the dimly lit room. Her head was pounding, surely a result of the hit she took, and she was certain that there was going to be an ugly bruise left on the side of her face. However, that was probably the least of her worries at the moment.
She licked her lips, stifling a pained groan as she shifted in her seat. Her arms were tied behind her back, the rope was burning into her skin with each movement. Her pajamas were twisted and ripped, and she saw a smear of blood on the collar of her wifebeater. Confusion filled her for a moment as she tried to remember whether it was her blood or her assailants.
At least that whole mess could be explained. They had grabbed at her, she twisted away, her pants ripped, and she fought harder, injuring at least one of them. It was stupid, in hindsight, but at the time, it made sense. The pajamas were ones that Logan had bought her for her birthday, and it was currently her favorite pair. White with red heart doodles, she loved it as much as Logan did.
“Veronica Mars. You're awake. Good.”
Veronica inhaled sharply, glancing in the direction of the voice. Female, cold, with an edge. Veronica hadn't seen the woman anywhere in the room, she must've been sitting in a dark corner as Veronica struggled.
She licked her lips as the woman stood, walking towards her. “Listen, I don't know what-”
“I'm Regina,” the blonde interrupted, rubbing her hands on her tight, black jeans. “You did a number on my boys, little one.”
Veronica was silenced by Regina’s cool demeanor, and she nodded as she struggled to stay calm. Regina the drug dealer. Of course. She looked around the room, finally spotting the men who had broken into her home and attacked her, right behind Regina. One had a swollen nose, another with a bloodied sweater. ‘
She finally chuckled, not knowing what else to do. “They broke into my house. I defended myself.”
Regina slowly smiled. Not a nice smile. “That you did.”
A chill suddenly ran down Veronica's spine, and she wondered for a moment if she was going to get out of this situation alive. Regina was scaring the crap out of her, just by being so damn poised. “I-I don't know what you-”
“No, but your boyfriend does,” Regina said, her voice shaking with what Veronica safely identified as rage.
Veronica's eyes closed shortly at the mention of Logan. The pain was still fresh, still sharp, and it was just another blow. The emptiness in her only seemed to deepen with the mere thought of the loss. Not a loss. There was no body, there was no loss. “Logan,” she whispered.
“This isn’t about pettiness, Miss Mars,”Regina said softly, circling Veronica. Her icy eyes stayed on Veronica’s head as she moved around the chair, flexing her fingers slowly. “This is about respect and justice. He entered my place of business, stole my property, and cost me many, many customers when that mess with the Casablancas boy came out...” she trailed off, stopping right in front of Veronica. “I just want some revenge.”
Veronica laughed nervously, shaking her head. “I-I’ll find the book. I’ll find it and return it-”
Regina sighed, shaking her head slowly. “It’s not about the book anymore, Veronica Mars. The damage is done. I want revenge.”
“Listen, Regina,” Veronica said quickly, licking her lips anxiously. She could talk her way out of anything, she just needed to keep talking before Regina grew bored. “I’ll get the book. It’s probably in our apartment-”
Regina nodded, placing her hands on her knees as she bent over in front of Veronica, her face inches away. “Where's Logan, Veronica Mars?” she asked coolly.
Veronica swallowed hard, angry at herself as she started to tear up. She shook her head violently, blinking back tears. “I don't know.”
“Where's your boyfriend, Veronica Mars?”
She inhaled sharply, her teeth clenching as the tears threatened to spill over. “I don't know!”
Regina's jaw set as she stared at Veronica, her long blonde hair framing her angry face. “Logan Echolls fucked me over badly, little one, and I don’t like getting fucked by some kid right out of juvie,” her voice had risen to a shout, and she inhaled sharply, gathering her composure as Veronica flinched in front of her. “He fucked me and he's going to pay, whether it be personally or through those he loves, and it is very important that you realize this.”
“I don't know where he is,” Veronica said quietly, her voice trembling.
“I don't believe you.”
Veronica met Regina's gaze, doing her best to ignore the shaking of her body. “I...I haven't seen him in months. I don't know where he is. I woke up and he was gone,” the tears were falling now as she was reminded of that night, so many months ago. “We slept together and then he was gone, I don't know where he is.”
Regina licked her lips slowly, shaking her head. “I don't believe you. We were following him-”
Before Veronica could stop herself- “When? For how long? Do you know where he is?” she asked softly, inhaling sharply as the tears slid down her face.
Strength and spunk had broken and given way to desperation and hope, just on the off chance that this woman had any clue whatsoever of Logan's location. She had spent too many months searching and hoping and crying, it was all finally catching up to her.
“I need to know where he is,” Veronica said, sniffing loudly. She blinked once, twice, rapidly, trying to stop those damn tears from falling.
Regina ignored Veronica, the irritation clear on her face now. “Veronica Mars, where the fuck is your boyfriend?”
“I want him now, Veronica Mars.”
“I don't know where he is!”
“He's going to pay-”
“Logan's DEAD," Veronica said shrilly, a broken sob escaping her. For the first time, the words were out of her mouth, spoken harshly and loudly, and for the first time, it was real. It was finally true, what Lamb and her father and Wallace had all been trying to tell her after they found Logan’s truck, abandoned, at the Coronado Bridge.
Be prepared, her father had said.
Veronica gritted her teeth as she tried in vain to stop the tears from falling, and she shook her head, attempting to free herself from her restraints. “He's dead, he's dead, he's dead,” she chanted miserably.
Regina shook her head, the annoyance in her eyes dulling away to something colder. “Don't believe you,” she muttered, her tongue clicking along the top of her mouth. “You're lying to me."
“Why would I lie?” Veronica whispered, staring down at her lap. All she wanted was for Logan to hold her, to protect her. It wasn't going to happen, ever again. “I have nothing. I...I can't lie anymore.”
“I told Logan that I wanted a life for a life. He ruined mine...”
“Logan's dead,” Veronica said softly, a weary sigh escaping her. “He’s gone.”
Regina rolled her eyes. “Whatever. We’re not done, little one.”
Veronica lifted her head slowly, meeting Regina’s gaze. “He’s gone,” she said shakily, but as firm as she could. “I wouldn’t lie.”
Regina nodded, straightening up. “You put up a fight today, hurt Trey's arm. As your boyfriend will find out, I believe in an eye for an eye, Veronica Mars,” she glanced at the largest man in the room, her gaze blank. “Break her arm.”
Veronica let out a shuddering breath, shaking her head as she struggled to comprehend Regina's words. “What? What?” Regina didn't respond, turning on her heels and exiting the room. The large man started to untie Veronica, and she inhaled sharply, glancing at the door, as if Logan would show at any moment.
He wouldn't. He wouldn't come to save her this time. Not anymore.
“Wait-” Veronica choked as the man lifted her up, and she struggled to get out of his hold. “Wait-”
She struggled violently now, and he grabbed her up by her pants, slamming her into the table near the door. Panicked gasps escaped her as her arm was forced up, and she tried to crouch down, to no avail. Her eyes locked on the man Regina had called Trey. His arm was bloodied from the unicorn horn that she had sent into his flesh, and he held onto his wounded arm stiffly as he glared at her.
Veronica continued to scream and beg, pulling and twisting under the man’s hold. Her forehead slammed into the table, and she groaned as a fresh pain shot through her head, tears falling onto the smooth surface. She inhaled sharply, still hoping that Logan would come to save her before they broke her arm.
But, he wouldn't save her. Not anymore.
The man's grip tightened on her arm, and Veronica let out a cry, her eyes shutting tightly. She stiffened as a crack filled her ears, and she nearly passed out, her knees buckling. Out of all the things she should've been thinking of, all she could worry about was her father, how he was going to react to the current events unfolding.
Then again, nothing mattered anymore.
The honeymoon was over.
A week after they had arrived in Puerto Rico, the phone call came from Wallace, advising them to stay away for a couple of more weeks.
The national media had gotten hold of the drama in Neptune.
It had gotten so bad, Jackie had run off to New York to live with her mother until it all died down. Wallace was miserable, but Veronica found some solace in the fact that he was keeping her father company during the storm.
As soon as Logan found out what was happening, he began to drink. Heavily. Veronica tried to ignore it, she even tried to join him so he wouldn’t feel alone, but it didn’t deter him. After a short phone call with Jackie, Logan had broken down crying in Veronica’s arms, and all she could do was hold him.
Somehow, she should’ve known things wouldn’t stay perfect forever, no matter where they were.
Veronica knew Logan blamed himself for what had happened to her and Jackie. To be honest, a part of her blamed him, as well. It didn’t change her feelings for him, but a small part of her knew if he hadn’t stayed friends with Dick Casablancas, none of this would’ve happened.
That mess, along with the lack of intimacy, didn’t make for a very good vacation, in the long run.
The drive home was awkward, the sound of the morning show on some rock station the only break in the silence. Veronica kept herself on the far side of the passenger seat, her head resting on the window, while Logan sighed deeply next to her as he drove.
She cried the last time he tried to touch her sexually, almost a week ago. He hadn’t made an attempt since. He was angry, though. That time, he was angry at himself. And at her. Definitely at her.
So much for the nice, understanding boyfriend spiel.
Veronica knew she couldn’t really blame him, he was a twenty year-old male. He wanted to touch his girlfriend, and he couldn’t. It was her fault, and she couldn’t really blame him. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself.
She sighed, brushing a piece of hair behind her ear. “Home again,” she murmured.
Logan had been miserable since they got on the plane. She knew he didn’t want to go back to Neptune, he preferred the island to the town where his life went up in flames. He wanted the anonymity, but she wanted to go back to her father.
She supposed she was to blame for that, as well.
“...And how about that new drama with Logan Echolls, huh? That kid’s a freakin’ mess, man! He’s worse than Lindsay Lohan!”
“No kidding! Him and that hot girlfriend of his. His mom kills herself, dad gets offed, and now, his girlfriend almost gets killed by his best friend? What the hell, man? It’s like an episode of The Sopranos!”
Logan abruptly lunged forward, shutting off the radio with a flick of his wrist. He chucked dryly, shaking his head. “I-I don’t know why I still listen to that station...”
Veronica crossed her arms over her chest, a faint sigh escaping her. “Just get us home.”
“We’re almost there.”
She felt guilty for not calling her father to let him know they were coming back. Not even Wallace knew, but they just needed some time alone. She frowned, pulling her cell phone out of her bag and quickly texting Wallace with a simple- We’re back. We’ll call you.
Veronica lurched forward as the car pulled to a stop in front of the row of apartment buildings, and another sigh escaped her. “Home Sweet Home.”
She bit back the urge to snap at him, unfastening her seatbelt. “Well, we know the drill. No talking to the press, no beating up any paparazzi, no watching television or reading the newspaper, no-”
“Hey,” Logan grabbed Veronica’s arm, pulling her to his side. “I love you,” he said softly, leaving a light kiss on her mouth.
Veronica inhaled sharply, her hand curving around the nape of his neck as she brought her mouth back over his, her lips parting for him. He moaned gratefully against her mouth, his hand cupping the side of her face as the kiss intensified. Veronica knew the drill for this round as well- it would lead to nowhere good.
Finally, Veronica pulled back, just enough to breathe. There it was, the feeling. Heat. Something was pooling and stirring between her legs and she silently thanked God for not letting her get nauseated like before. They had gotten further than this in Puerto Rico, enough for clothes to be discarded, but always stopped because of her.
Now, she felt like she was okay. She felt different here, maybe the town brought out something in her. Maybe there was something good about Neptune, after all.
“Not here,” she said breathlessly. “Inside.”
Hope flashed in Logan’s eyes, then, and his eyebrows rose. She nodded, pressing her lips against his again, and he immediately responded, his fingers rubbing against the inside of her thigh.
She grabbed his wrist, stopping him. “Inside,” she said firmly, wanting then to just get the hell inside their apartment.
“Don’t tease me,” he warned sharply, his eyes burning into hers.
“Inside,” she said, kissing him harder.
Then, a flash.
Logan froze, his eyes opening. He glanced out the windshield, pulling his mouth away from Veronica’s. His eyes narrowed as he spotted a single paparazzo, hiding behind a parked car. He inhaled sharply, starting to open the door. “Dammit-”
“Don’t,” Veronica hissed, grabbing his arm. “You’re just giving them ammo. Just get inside the house.”
He stared at her hard for a long moment before nodding. “I’ll get the bags. Go inside, make sure the curtains are shut,” he said softly, and Veronica nodded, climbing out of the car.
Logan watched her go, watched as she pulled her gray sweater over her hands. At least she was smart enough to dress appropriate for the weather, he had stupidly kept a t-shirt on, and the temperature was more than just a bit nippy.
He moved out of the XTerra, ignoring the clicks of the camera several feet away as he shut and locked the car. He walked over to the trunk, opening it and pulling out three duffel bags. Slamming the trunk shut, he threw the bags over his shoulders, swiftly moving up the stairs toward the apartment.
If he got laid, it would make his year instantly better. They had celebrated New Year’s in Puerto Rico, and he made a silent prayer, asking for a better life for him and Veronica. Maybe this time next year, they would both be alive and married.
Then again, married couples tended to have sex once and a while.
He knew he promised Veronica he would be patient, and he tried. He tried desperately to be understanding for her, but now, now it was getting to him. She would undress in front of him, get out of the shower, curl up next to him, and it took all his power to keep from taking her. He needed to go slow for Veronica, the healing process took a long time.
However, she was moving slower than molasses. Maybe he should’ve taken up her offer on a break.
Immediately, he felt guilty for thinking such a thing, and immediately struck the thought from his mind. It wasn’t Veronica’s fault, none of this was her fault. He needed to be patient, she would come around.
Judging by the action in the car, she was definitely coming around.
Logan moved inside of the apartment, dropping the bags on the floor. He locked the door securely, glancing around the dark apartment. She had done a good job of closing every curtain, there was no way the insane paparazzi would be able to peek in.
He turned towards the kitchen, inhaling sharply at the sight of Veronica in front of him.
She was still so very beautiful. Her hair was long and pulled back in a messy ponytail that he just wanted to tug free, and her blue eyes were shining. Hope? Lust? Love? It didn’t matter, all he knew was that she was stirring something in him.
He licked his lips slowly, giving her a slight smile. “So.”
Veronica wordlessly reached over, grabbing the sides of Logan’s face and pulling his mouth down onto hers. He grunted at the action, immediately spinning them around and pushing her against the door. She gasped as his mouth moved to her neck, her fingers digging into his shoulders as he grabbed her waist, picking her up. She left quick, clumsy kisses on his face as he carried her over to the couch.
A cry escaped her as she felt Logan’s cock harden against her thigh as he lowered her to the cushions. He wouldn’t last long- it had been far too long of a wait for him. It was more than sex, though. She knew that. He needed it, he needed that confirmation that everything was okay.
She wasn’t sure if she could give that to him.
Logan yanked Veronica’s sweater up her torso, and she immediately lifted her arms, allowing him to discard the piece of clothing. He swallowed hard, lowering his mouth to the top of her breast, his hands cupping and squeezing her breasts in a rather hurried fashion.
Veronica licked her lips, trying to concentrate. She wanted him, she wanted him badly, but he needed to move quicker, before her body decided to rebel. Before her mind started to scream. If she had to force the pleasure out, she would do just that.
“Logan,” she gasped, clutching at his hair. “Fuck me- hurry up-”
He nodded, unbuttoning Veronica’s jeans. He tugged, pulling her underwear along with the denim. He got the material down to her knees before she sat up, kicking it off hastily. She started to undo his pants as he slipped between her legs, forcing her down on the couch again. His hand moved down her stomach, and a soft groan escaping him at the feel of her skin. Only her bra remained, and this was the closest he had gotten to her naked body since before the attacks.
“Slow, go slow,” Veronica said, ragged pants coming from her.
Logan hesitated, confused. She told him to hurry up, then told him to go slow- he wasn’t sure what to do. Finally, he just kissed her, slipping a finger inside her. She moaned, and he kissed her harder, moving another finger inside. She wasn’t wet enough, but he would get her there. He had to.
Veronica’s eyes shut tightly, her fingers clutching Logan’s shoulders as he moved his fingers inside her. She tried to move her hips, trying to match his rhythm with no success, and she grit her teeth in frustration. “Logan-”
He kissed her jaw roughly, his other hand moving down her thigh. “It’s okay, Veronica-”
“Logan-” Tears of defeat sprung in her eyes, and she felt her body immediately begin to tense up. For a moment, just a moment, the image of Dick dragging her into that bathroom crept into her mind, and she choked back a sob, shoving at Logan. “Stop.”
Veronica’s lips pressed together as he kept going, and her feet dug into the couch cushions as she pushed against him. “Logan, please-”
“Baby, please, let me make you feel good...” Logan pleaded desperately, kissing her cheek hard.
He froze, his head dropping to her shoulder in defeat. He removed himself from her body, thrusting himself to the other side of the couch. That ugly, all-too-familiar anger began to swell in him, and he quickly reached down, picking up Veronica’s jeans and underwear from the floor and throwing them in her direction.
Veronica sat up slowly, pulling on her underwear as Logan buried his face in his hands. He was breathing deeply, and she knew he was trying to stay calm. Ashamed. She felt ashamed, and she hated him for a moment for making her feel that way. It wasn’t her fault.
She licked her lips slowly, tugging on her jeans. “Logan...”
“Dammit,” he said harshly, removing his hands from his face and rubbing them over his knees. “God-fucking-dammit...”
She shuddered at the sound of his furious tone of voice, and quickly moved her gaze down to her lap. “I’m sorry, Logan,” she said shakily. “I’m trying.”
“So am I, Veronica.”
Veronica inhaled sharply, nodding once as she pushed her ponytail over her shoulder. “Give me ten minutes,” she said, determined. “And we’ll try again. I-I want to do this, I just have to-”
“Don’t bother,” Logan said with a slight laugh, rubbing the corners of his eyes wearily. “Just don’t bother.”
She nodded quickly, blinking back the frustrated tears welling in her eyes. She rubbed her lips together, nodding once more. “Don’t be mad, Logan.”
He coughed, running his hand over the back of his neck. “I’m not mad, Veronica. I’m just...frustrated. I’m really frustrated right now.”
“Just give me ten minutes-”
“To what?” he interrupted harshly. “To prepare yourself? Fuck, Veronica, I don’t want to feel like I’m fucking raping-” he cut himself off at the flash of hurt in her eyes, and he swallowed hard. “I didn’t mean it like that, baby.”
Veronica nodded, jumping to her feet. Normal was the Watchword, after all. “We should shower,” she said, trying to ignore the shaking of her voice as she collected her sweater off the floor. “Dad’s probably going to want to come over later. I should call him.”
“Yeah,” Logan stood, walking over to the table next to the hallway. He eyed the answering machine. Twenty-four new messages. “We’re popular, aren’t we?” he murmured.
Logan pressed the appropriate button, waiting. Then-
“Logan, it’s Casey. What the fuck happened with Dick, man-”
Logan pressed the delete button, waiting.
“Logan! It’s Madison! Oh my GOD, Shelly just called me. What-”
Veronica smirked, walking into the kitchen. “Well, aren’t you the popular one...”
Logan smiled humorlessly, waiting.
“Veronica, Logan. Cliff, here. As your pseudo-lawyer, I advise you both not to do anything particularly stupid for the next couple of months. No getting arrested, no talking to the media, but that shouldn’t be a problem, should it? I’ve contacted your father, Veronica, so we should talk when you two get back. Be safe.”
“It’s Duncan. What the hell is going on? I have everyone from high school calling me- what the hell happened? I hope you guys are okay-”
“It’s Duncan, again. Who the hell is Cliff and why is he telling me not to do anything stupid for the next couple of months-”
Logan laughed, deleting the message. “I think I’ll save the other twenty for when I feel like killing myself.”
Veronica walked up to the table, ignoring Logan as he backed away from her. “Or,” she leaned over, deleting all the messages before giving him a faint smile. “Done.”
He stared at Veronica hard, a flash of pain running through him at the sight of the anxiety in her eyes. “Don’t think I don’t love you, Veronica,” he said softly.
“I know you do,” she replied, forcing a grin on her face. “We’ll get over this,” she said with as much confidence as she could manage before moving past Logan. “We have to.”
“Hey,” Logan grabbed Veronica’s wrist, gently pulling back. “Lay one on me, please.”
Veronica smiled, standing on her toes and leaving a faint kiss on his lips. She nodded, pulling her arm out of Logan’s grasp and moving towards their bedroom. That would have to do. Anything stronger, and everything could come crashing down.
Baby steps. It would have to do.
Veronica blinked slowly, staring straight ahead. Her living room was suddenly huge. Hell, it was huge when they bought the place, but Logan had insisted it was perfect for all the crap they would be buying. The warm colors she had purchased to paint the condo now felt so very drab and cold, and she ran her hands over her arms, trying to warm herself.
Lamb said Logan’s car was found abandoned at the Coronado Bridge, the headlights on and the car still running. Music was blasting- Sinatra, she thought Lamb said- and the driver’s side door was wide open. His wallet and cell phone were on the passenger side seat, along with his empty flask. Nothing was removed from the wallet, all his possessions were there. Credit cards, cash, photos, license, Hearst ID, all there.
They had asked her the typical questions. Was Logan depressed? Not that she knew, he was distracted, though. Was he having financial troubles? Are you kidding? Were you two having problems? No. Are you sure? Yes.
Her father sat next to her, his hand on her knee, and Wallace was somewhere nearby. She wondered if he was still looking for the coffee filters.
She still expected Logan to walk through the front door at any moment, loudly complaining about all the people in his home. She still expected Logan to walk in, telling everyone to stop upsetting his girlfriend and get the hell out.
Veronica lowered her head, staring at her lap dully. This was just a big mistake. Logan probably got drunk and just stumbled away. He was probably in a jail cell, recovering from a horrible hangover. Everything was going to be fine.
He just needed to call her.
Lamb made it sound like Logan might have jumped, but there was no way. He wouldn’t just leave her alone. He wouldn’t just decide to end it all without consulting her, suicide wasn’t even his thing. If he was going to commit suicide, he would’ve done it a long, long time ago.
Logan was just fine. None of it made sense.
Keith squeezed Veronica’s knee, moving his hand to her fingers and squeezing again. “Veronica, honey,” he said gently.
She lifted her head abruptly, staring at her father hard. “Can they get out? They woke me up early and I’m tired.”
Veronica laughed dryly. “It’s not even an option. I’m bored with the idea already. Make them go away.”
She stood before Keith could respond, walking up the three steps to the hallway. She moved to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. A shuddering sigh escaped her as she leaned against the door, her eyes closing as she prayed for Logan to call her.
He just needed to call her, and everything would be fine. She just needed to hear that phone.
There was nothing but silence.