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Marshmallows and Moonlight

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Chapter 1

Veronica carefully shifted in her seat, hoping to avoid detection from the two people in the front of the car that she was actually awake. She'd pretended to be asleep for the last hour or so, but what had started out as a fairly comfortable position was now starting to feel less so. She was also starting to get thirsty and she wasn't sure she'd be able to stealthily drink from her water bottle without one of them noticing that much movement.

She had initially closed her eyes hoping that maybe she'd fall asleep for real, but the intermittent arguing from the front seat had kept that from happening. She watched the scenery whisk by her on the highway from behind her dark sunglasses, cursing her marshmallowy side for getting her into this mess in the first place. At least the backseat of the Audi wasn't that terrible. It's not like she'd been thrown in the trunk and forced to go along, although at some point she swore she’d heard someone mention that, along with duct tape and what gauge rope might be best.

She was starting to wonder, given that there had been silence from the front for a while now, if the blonde in the passenger seat might have actually fallen asleep herself. Of course like all good things that never last, the silence was broken by a blare from the Audi's horn as some asshole in a BMW cut rudely in front of them and the driver in the seat in front of Veronica laid on the horn to announce his displeasure.

"Fuck Bennett," the blonde who was now definitely wide awake yelled as she reached over to punch the driver in the arm.

"Come on Dinah. That guy was being a fucking asshole," Bennett protested as Veronica saw him shake his head angrily.

"Well so are you for blaring the fucking horn when you know I have a headache," Dinah shot back angrily as she quickly turned her head away from him, causing her mess of blonde curls to flip around a bit, though it wasn't as dramatic as Veronica figured she intended it to be with the headrest getting in the way.

"And whose fault is that Dinah?" Bennett asked angrily. "I'm not the one who bought you those shots, nor encouraged you to take them."

"I'm so not having this discussion again," Dinah shot back as she crossed her arms across her chest.

Please let that be true... Not like when she said that the first two times of this hellish drive. At least this time she hadn't spun around to face the backseat to try to make Veronica defend her.

Veronica had come to adore Dinah, but if anyone could channel the absolute diva that Lilly used to be sometimes, Dinah was absolutely it. And it didn't help that she was in the drama program at Stanford.

With the tentative silence returning, Veronica couldn't help but think about how she'd ended up in her current predicament, traveling 80 miles an hour up the I-5 to what would certainly be one of the worst weeks of her life. She tried to ignore the fact that it would actually be more like 10 days since they were staying all the way thru to Sunday. She'd just finished her junior year at Stanford, literally having just taken her last final the afternoon before. Dinah was best friends with Veronica's roommate, Bianca, who had found herself in need of a new roommate at the end of their sophomore year when Dinah decided to move in with Bennett after his roommate had dropped out and moved back home. Bianca was in a few of Veronica's criminology classes and while she was brilliant about anything found in a text book, sometimes she could be a bit ditzy about everything else. But for what ever reason it may have been, they'd really clicked. Veronica realized she'd rather share an apartment with Bianca than endure another year in the on-campus student housing so ended up moving in with her.

Besides being occasionally ditzy, Veronica had quickly decided that Bianca's other shortcoming was her boyfriend Jack. Bianca, Jack and Dinah had all grown up together in Redmond, Washington. Similar to Neptune, there were many wealthy families there with ties to Microsoft, as well as Nintendo and AT&T. All three came from well off families, although Jack's was by far at the top of the list. Jack and Bianca had been good friends for many years growing up, and then dated in high school. They ended up breaking up at the start of their senior year before they finally reconciled shortly after graduation. In many ways they reminded her of Logan and herself, minus the death and criminal drama, of course. Before they’d reconciled, they'd already applied to separate colleges, her Stanford and him UCLA, and neither was willing to change, but somehow it seemed to work for them. Jack was usually able to avoid Friday afternoon classes, and frequently made the slightly over five-hour drive up to spend weekends with Bianca.

Jack wasn't really that bad. Veronica had certainly known worse. But he had one habit that drove Veronica absolutely nuts. Bianca said he'd always done it, so she was just used to it, but for some reason Veronica didn't find it quite as endearing as Bianca did. Jack always called everyone by some nickname that he'd assigned to them. Bianca had told her that if he gave you a nickname it meant he liked you, because if he didn’t like someone he wouldn’t. She sometimes wondered if he even knew her real name anymore, since he'd never once called her Veronica after choosing Birdie for her. Apparently he'd taken some botany class and knew the plant Veronica was also commonly called Bird’s Eye, so she immediately became Birdie. At least Dinah and Bianca didn't encourage him by using it too, although they both just called her V. After a while it seemed pointless to try to get Jack to stop and eventually she quit trying.

Veronica had decided that Birdie was better than his name for Bennett, which was Toad. She didn’t actually know the reason for that and didn’t dare ask because it would likely end with some long-winded rambling explanation. Dinah, predictably, was Wonderland, because clearly Jack sometimes lacked creativity in what he came up with. Bianca had been Twiz for years because of a childhood obsession with Twizzlers.  Jack had started going by Dallas at some point since his initials were JR, but Veronica usually just called him Dullass instead. Not because he was boring, but just to irritate him. He was actually a very friendly, outgoing guy, who loved adventure and living life to its fullest. And that sense of adventure, Veronica's marshmallowness, and Bianca's puppy dog expert level begging were all to blame for her current predicament: Riding up with Toad and Wonderland, to spend a week with Dullass and Twiz on a house boat with two guys Dullass knew from UCLA. Veronica only knew the two guys as GQ and Worm, and also knew that one of them was bringing his girlfriend along too.

There were several red flags that were glaringly obvious, but once Bianca had started begging, agreeing was the only solution she could come up with to make her stop. The first red flag was that the two couples who had made the trip the prior two years with them had both declined to go this year. She couldn't help but wonder how bad it was going to be if neither of them wanted to join them for a third year. Although she'd spent enough time with the quirky foursome to know what they were like, and aside from the current disagreement in the front seat, they usually all got along just fine. The second red flag was that Veronica knew nothing about GQ or Worm, and that while one of them had a girlfriend, the other didn't, well at least not in the last month since she'd been roped into this.

When they'd originally reserved the houseboat, it was for four couples, so they'd reserved a four suite houseboat, but then one of the guys apparently broke up with his girlfriend and they had an open spot. Veronica had adamantly refused to get drafted into some couples vacation, but the recently single guy had insisted that Bianca should bring her friend along, which was also a huge red flag. He'd apparently said he'd let Veronica have the bedroom and he'd sleep on a couch in the common area. Even though Bianca had insisted there were no strings attached, Veronica still had a bad feeling about it. On top of it all, Bianca kept forgetting to ask Jack if it was Worm or GQ that had been dumped. Not that it really mattered, but she thought it would be nice to know who might be hitting on her all week. Of course with Jack's nonsensical nicknames, it probably really didn't matter if she actually did know. Bennett was not a toad and she was not a bird, so GQ was probably not a hot model and Worm hopefully was not some slimy guy. Although with her luck, he would be and that would be the single guy that would be hitting on her all week.

And that’s how she found herself now riding with Bennett and Dinah up to Lake Shasta. The morning had started out badly with them arriving over an hour later than planned to pick her up. They'd gone out to celebrate the end of the term the night before, and Dinah had hit snooze on their alarm and they'd fallen back to sleep until Veronica finally called to find out if they were still coming to get her. Of course she realized how stupid that was in hindsight, because she maybe could have just bailed on the entire trip, but her marshmallow center knew that Bianca would be really disappointed in Veronica if she didn't come along.

Bennett and Dinah had started fighting before they’d even made it on to the freeway. The fight was about a guy in Dinah's playwriting class who had bought her celebratory shots the night before and, in Bennett's mind, was totally flirting with her. Dinah had dragged Veronica into the argument the first two times it had come up and that had led to Veronica pretending to be asleep. Knowing them, they'd fight about it most of the day, have exuberant make-up sex that night, and then be fine in the morning.

She tried not to think too much about hot make-up sex. It's not that she hadn't been with a couple guys over the past two years, but unfortunately passionate was not an adjective she'd use for any of those short-lived relationships. The last time she'd had really hot passionate make-up sex was when she'd gotten back together with Logan after their first breakup at Hearst. Of course even non-make-up sex with him was always passionate too, but those days were very far in the past now. Veronica didn't even think Logan was currently on the same continent as her anymore. The last she'd heard, he'd gone to Europe after their freshman year at Hearst while she was in Virginia. She hadn’t talked to him since his fight with Gory in the cafeteria and they’d never really worked things out after she had told him he was out of her life forever. She'd seen several celebrity magazines with pictures of him at high profile events every once in a while. She’d be browsing a magazine at the dentist’s office or when she was stuck in a terribly long line at the grocery store, and there Logan would be… pictured in Paris or London, but never back in California, or even the US for that matter. She knew he’d never returned to Hearst since Wallace and Mac were both still going to school there. None of them had bumped into him around Neptune either although she had heard that Dick was still attending Hearst. She hoped that Jack's UCLA buddies were more like Jack and less like Dick, since it sounded like they were also from wealthy families because they thought nothing about paying for the week long trip on a very luxurious houseboat.

She saw a sign go by that indicated they were only 30 miles from the lake. Bianca and Jack had both finished their finals a day earlier, so they had driven up ahead of them to get everything set up. GQ, Worm and the unnamed girlfriend were also supposed to have driven up the day before with the other three joining them today. Veronica started pondering about whether there was actually bus service out here that she could use to escape if things got too bad.

She saw Dinah pull out her phone, probably to text Bianca that they were almost there. Bianca had told her that the guys had also rented a speedboat for wakeboarding and so they also wouldn’t have to move the houseboat around the lake too much. The plan had been that she would come and meet them at the marina they had rented the boats from when they arrived. Veronica started to count the mileposts silently to herself, knowing that once she reached 30, she’d have to face the reality of this trip head-on.

When they finally reached the marina and parked the car, Veronica instantly spotted Bianca sitting on the front of a speedboat waiting for them. She had her dark brown hair pulled up in a messy twist and was clearly dressed for an afternoon on the water. She hopped down and quickly came up to meet them, giving Veronica a big hug as she climbed out of the backseat.

“I’m so glad you didn’t back out! Dallas owes me $100 now,” she said gleefully as she stepped away from Veronica and gave her a sparkling smile.

“I think I deserve at least half of that,” Veronica replied with a determined look in her eye.

Bianca laughed and nodded. “I’ll give you the whole $100, just so long as I don’t have to pay up to him.”

Veronica crooked a brow at her. “I probably don’t even want to know what your side of the bet was, do I?”

Bianca’s smile became very naughty and she shook her head and laughed. Veronica visibly shuddered, which made Bianca laugh even more. Bianca glanced over at Bennett and Dinah, who were arguing as they pulled their bags out of the trunk of the car.

“What’s up with them?” she whispered to Veronica.

“Terrance,” Veronica whispered back as she rolled her eyes and shook her head slightly.

“Oh… not again,” Bianca replied as she studied the other two carefully.

“Yeah, it was congratulatory shots this time,” Veronica told her as she pulled her own bags out from the backseat. “So did you do some reconnaissance for me on Jack’s friends? Is it Worm or GQ that I owe my soul to now?”

Bianca laughed at first and then shook her head. “No… sorry.” Veronica raised her eyebrow in an unhappy, questioning expression. “They got delayed coming out of LA and didn’t get into town until after dark last night. They just rent a hotel room and then intended to meet us this morning. I came back over to the marina with Dallas when he was going to meet them, but took off to go into Redding to get some more supplies, so I didn’t get a chance to meet them. They were already out wakeboarding by the time I made it back to the houseboat again, and they haven’t come back in yet.”

Veronica glanced down the dock at the speedboat Bianca had been on with a confused look on her face. “Two speedboats then?”

Bianca nodded and smiled. “Yeah, you know how frivolous the rich can be sometimes,” she replied with a tone that was definitely intended to be mocking. Veronica knew Bianca liked to tease Jack about being a pretentious rich boy, when in reality her family was probably almost as wealthy as his. Bianca just tried to be much more modest about it than Jack and Dinah were.

Dinah and Bennett had closed the trunk and walked over toward Veronica and Bianca. Bianca gave them a quick welcome hug as well and then made a face at Veronica behind their backs, clearly making fun of how ridiculous they were being. Veronica tried not to laugh, but Bianca made it so hard sometimes. Once they dragged all their bags down to the speedboat, they were on their way out on the lake.

As they were nearing a cove where an opulent looking houseboat was anchored, Bianca pointed to a speedboat near them and shouted that the rest of the group was on that one. Veronica watched as the current wake-boarder, clearly not Jack, was expertly doing flips off the wake from the boat, zig-zagging back and forth behind the quickly moving speedboat and flipping gracefully in the air. They were far enough away that it was hard to make out too many details of his features, but he clearly was in very good shape. He had wide shoulders and very muscular arms, though not too extreme. Veronica certainly had never been one to go for those over-the-top muscle builder type guys anyway. She also noticed what looked like some sort of tribal tattoo on the arm that was closest to them. It was hard to tell the color of his hair since it was wet, but she would have guessed a light brown or dark blonde. She could tell that Jack was driving the boat since he was the only red-head onboard. There was another guy that she could make out on the boat with much darker hair and dark sunglasses, but with his position, she couldn’t tell much else. There was also a girl on the boat, not sitting with dark hair guy, but sitting across from him, clearly watching the wake-boarder carefully. Veronica couldn’t really blame her because the guy definitely had skills and wasn’t hard on the eyes either, at least from the distance she was at. The girl was wearing a bikini top and had her hair partly pulled up, but the wind was blowing it around quite a bit. She guessed it looked like her hair was ombre style, with much lighter ends contrasted against the darker base color as it was pulled up against her head.

Jack must have noticed they were coming back because he waved at the wake boarder, who waved back and dropped the rope as Jack stopped, though he still easily surfed in on the remaining wake to climb back into the boat. Ombre girl walked over and started to hand him a towel as he climbed in and shook his head in her direction, effectively soaking her like a dog would, causing her to squeal and jump back. Veronica would put money on the two of them being the couple, and dark hair sunglass guy being the one who was her benefactor. Veronica turned her attention back in the direction that they were headed and couldn’t help but be impressed by the houseboat they had rented. There appeared to be a hot-tub on the very top sundeck and a water slide that also came down off that deck as well. She also noticed that there were a couple of wave-runners tied up along side the boat. Her attention was still focused on the houseboat as Bianca was slowing down their speedboat.

She heard Jack’s familiar voice yell out from right beside them. “Damn it Birdie! I really thought you’d bail on us. Now I have to pay up and I don’t get my prize.”

Veronica pasted an evil smirk on her face and turned to give him crap, when her eyes landed on a familiar pair of brown eyes staring with equal surprise right back at her. She swallowed hard and blinked a few times before she recovered from the immediate shock. Both boats had stopped now and she quickly glanced at the other two faces and wasn’t sure who among all of them was more surprised.

“Veronica?” Casey Gant said as he stood up from his seat and walked over toward her. “You're Birdie?” Veronica let out a disbelieving laugh and nodded. They awkwardly hugged across the edge of the two boats that were now side by side.

Veronica glanced at Ombre girl, who gave her a small awkward smile. “Hey Veronica. It’s been a while.” Veronica nodded and tried to smile back, but she was sure at this point it likely looked totally forced.

“Hey Shelly,” she said in reply. She turned her attention back to the dark eyes that were still staring at her from under his shorter, much lighter wet hair.

“Hey Veronica,” he said as he gave her a crooked half smile.

She swallowed the lump she felt in her throat and nodded in reply. The guy she thought was half a world away was standing 6 feet away from her, and she had no idea how she was going to survive this week now.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

"So you all know Birdie?" Jack asked breaking the awkward silence that seemed to have settled suddenly across the two boats.

Veronica watched Logan nod as the two of them continued to stare at each other.

"Yeah, we all went to high school together," she heard Casey explain from a few feet away from her.

"That's a bizarre coincidence," she heard Bennett say from behind her. Apparently the universe likes throwing insanely bizarre coincidences at me.

"Yeah, it is," Jack agreed. "So you already know Worm, Shelly and GQ then. That's Toad and Wonderland," Jack added. Veronica could see him point at Bennett and Dinah out of the corner of her eye. "And my girlfriend Twiz." She could also see Casey out of the corner of her eye and noticed he was nodding at the others on her boat.

"GQ?" She heard Bennett ask as he moved closer to her and held out his hand to shake Casey's. "It's actually Bennett for me."

Casey laughed and reached out to shake Bennett's. "Yep... Casey."

So Logan's Worm. Of course he is… Birdie and Worm… just fucking perfect. Shelly was still sort of standing between the two guys and Veronica was anxiously waiting to see which one she moved toward. She felt her heart beating rapidly in her chest as she tried to better read the situation. She really hoped of course that Shelly wasn’t with Logan. She knew Shelly and Duncan had dated briefly junior year of high school and wondered if Logan would really hook up with another one of Duncan’s exes. She realized the precedent to that though had already been set with her. She also couldn’t help but notice that Jack hadn’t given Shelly some nickname. Apparently Jack’s not a fan of Shelly either.

“And that’s Logan,” Casey continued, apparently pointing at Logan. That drew his attention away from Veronica and she watched him focus in the direction of Bennett and Dinah with a friendly smile and a nod.

“Dinah,” she heard Dinah say in reply as well.

She’d been so focused on staring at Logan that she hadn’t realized Bianca had been tying their speedboat up alongside the houseboat.

“You timed your arrival perfectly,” Jack said as he pulled out some bumpers to secure the two boats together. “We were just saying we should come in and get some lunch.”

Logan still had the ski vest on and started unzipping it as Veronica saw Shelly pick up a tank-top that was sitting on one of the seats closest to her and hand it to Logan. “Thanks Shell,” Logan said as he slipped off the vest and took the shirt from her. Veronica looked away from them, not really wanting to see the two of them getting any friendlier than that.  She reached down and grabbed her bags and then turned to climb over the edge of the boat to where Bianca was already standing on the deck of the houseboat. Bianca must have noticed something was wrong and gave her a concerned look. She knew Bianca wouldn’t make a big deal in front of a bunch of people, but she gave her a quick smile anyway hoping to diffuse any worry. She looked around the deck area, trying not to focus back on Logan and Shelly at all.

“We’re just going to go change,” she heard Shelly say, and then she walked by Veronica into the main cabin area. Veronica steeled herself to watch Logan follow behind her, but was relieved to see Casey quicken his pace to catch up to her instead. As they walked through the door, she saw Casey wrap his arms around her waist and kiss her on her bare shoulder. Veronica felt the tension that had built up in her body since she realized Logan was there and potentially with Shelly finally start to leave.

“Your room’s the first one on the starboard side, Birdie,” she heard Jack call out. Damn Jack and his sailing lingo. His family had owned sailboats for years, so he knew his way around nautical vessels very well.

She turned toward Jack with a confused look on her face and saw Logan give her a small smirk. “I need to grab something from my bag, so I’ll show you,” he said as he started to walk toward her. As he got close enough to her he whispered, “They put you closest to the kitchen.”

She rolled her eyes slightly, but secretly loved that he’d find that amusing. Dinah and Bennett were arguing again, although she wasn’t exactly sure what it was about at this particular moment, but she did hear Dinah threaten to dump Bennett’s suitcase in the lake if he didn’t stop being such a pain in the ass. Veronica tried not to laugh because she really didn’t want to encourage her. Dinah was sometimes like a young child and encouraging her bad behavior only made things worse. Logan was leading the way and she took the opportunity to check him out from behind. He definitely seemed leaner than the last time she’d seen him over two years before, and while some things seemed very different, a lot of things were still very familiar about him too. Of course the tattoo was definitely something new. She’d noticed his abs looked extremely cut when he’d unzipped his vest, before she’d turned away, and she could see his shoulders, barely covered by the tank-top, looked more muscular than she remembered.

She was so focused on him that she really wasn’t paying much attention to the inside of the cabin at all as they walked through it. Logan turned right into an open door and she followed him inside. There was a large duffle bag sitting on the end of the bed and he walked over to it and unzipped the main pocket. “If you’d rather I not keep my bag in here, I’m sure I can find someplace to stash it out in the main cabin,” he said breaking the trance that she seemed to have fallen into just watching him. She heard a squeal and a loud laugh through the wall, coming from the adjoining suite and looked in that direction for a moment before turning her attention back to him.

“No, that’s fine. I’m sure there’s plenty of room for it in here,” she replied as she glanced around the room. It was bigger than she'd been expecting when Bianca had first told her about the boat they rented. She seemed to recall though that two of the suites were slightly larger than the other two and wondered if this was one of those or one of the smaller pair. There still wasn’t much space in it for more than a bed, and a small nightstand on one side of it. There was also a small narrow built in dresser, that at least offered a little bit of space to put things.

“Thanks,” he said as he gave her a curious look. “I still can’t believe it’s really you.”

“Yeah, you're the last person I ever expected to see here,” she said, not intending it to come out as abruptly and harshly as it did.

A slight frown crossed his face, apparently a reaction from the tone she had inadvertently taken. “Sorry if it’s such a disappointment. Were you hoping for some random stranger you could hook up with?”

“What?” she looked at him with indignation. “No, of course not… I didn’t mean…” She let out a frustrated breath. “Look I just never expected in a million years for you to be on this boat.” That maybe wasn't any better, Veronica.

“Well lucky for you it’s a very big boat and I’m sure we can easily avoid each other most of the week,” he quickly replied. The angry expression on his face remained unchanged.

“Logan that’s not…” She paused and let out a deep breath. “I’m sorry… can we just start over?” She gave him a conciliatory smile and hoped it would work. She really hadn’t meant to sound as frigid as she was sure her first response came out. She was just completely caught off guard finding him here and had put up her defenses out of habit, not sure what exactly would happen.

“Sure,” he said as he nodded his head hesitantly.

“I didn’t even think you were in the US, so can you cut me a little slack for being surprised to see you?” she asked with an apologetic smile. He nodded again and she noticed the crease that had been across his forehead finally started to relax again. “How is it you’ve been going to UCLA all this time, and you never show up in any celebrity magazines? The only articles I ever see pop up from time to time are of Logan Echolls in Paris or Ibiza… at wild parties or big celebrity events.”

She watched his smile become a little cocky and realized that she probably shouldn’t have asked that, because now he knew that she’d actually noticed articles he’d been in and it sounded like she was actually trying to keep tabs on him. She expected some smart ass comment, but instead he unzipped another pocket on his bag.

“That’s because Logan Echolls is the one in Europe… Logan Lester is the guy who goes to UCLA.” He pulled out a pair of dark rimmed glasses and put them on, giving her a mischievous grin.

She laughed and shook her head. “So you think you’re Clark Kent and Superman?” He smiled more and nodded. “And that actually works?” she asked in disbelief.

Logan laughed too and nodded again. “So far… yeah.” He ran his hand through his hair. “I usually keep my hair shorter and lighter when I’m here too and if I’m going over to Europe for a visit, I let it grow out a bit more and darken it before I go.”

She gave him a puzzled look. “All that so you keep you being here a secret?”

“Yeah… it’s much easier… and um…” he gave her a hesitant look. “I decided it was probably better for safety reasons too… um… beating up someone with connections to the mob wasn’t one of my smarter moves… and don’t even try to say anything… you warned me…”

She cringed and swallowed down a sudden ill feeling that hit her. “I’m sorry…”

“Hey no…” he waved his hand in the air at her. “You warned me… I was a stupid ass and didn’t listen… Gory thinks Logan Echolls is in Europe and that’s good for lots of reasons. And I also couldn’t have gotten where I am right now if I had to constantly deal with all the crap that was tied to being an Echolls anyway. And who knows… Gory’s probably forgotten all about me by now anyway… but it really is just easier not being someone who has a famous last-name, especially in LA.”

She tried to give him an understanding smile, but she wasn’t sure how convincing she was being. She still felt bad about the whole Castle ordeal… how much danger she’d put all her friends in… what it did to her dad’s campaign to be sheriff again.

“Hey… I’ve got a present for you,” he said with a playful smile. She gave him a confused look as she arched an eyebrow at him. “Close your eyes,” he said before she looked more skeptically at him. “Trust me,” he added with a pointed look.

She let out a loud sigh and closed her eyes, very nervous about what he might have. She heard him digging around in his bag again and then heard him move closer to her. He grabbed her hand with his and then he placed something in it and closed her hands around it. It felt like a small box and she was a little worried about what actually might be in it. “Okay, you can look now,” he said and she could tell he’d take a few steps away from her again by the sound of his voice.

She opened her eyes and looked curiously at him before she opened her hand to see what he’d given her. She laughed and shook her head as she saw it was a box with a pair of ear plugs. “Really?” she asked with a skeptical look.

“Oh trust me… you’ll be glad you have them later tonight. Shelly is quite the screamer and they're the ones sharing a wall with you,” he explained as he pointed at the adjoining wall. “And houseboat walls don’t have any soundproofing.”

Veronica laughed and shook her head. “Well... thanks... and I hope I don’t actually have to use them.”

He laughed too. “Oh you will… I’d be willing to bet on it… up for a wager?”

She gave him a thoughtful look, and then heard another squeal and a bang against the wall next door. She shook her head at him. “Nope… on second thought… thanks.” She walked over to the small nightstand that was next to the bed and pulled the top drawer open to drop them in there for when she went to sleep. She cringed slightly as she saw a box of condoms in the drawer with a note attached that was definitely in Bianca’s handwriting. The note said, ‘Better safe than sorry – Love B.’ She quickly tossed in the ear plugs and slammed the drawer shut, hoping Logan hadn’t seen the box as well. She figured since he’d been out wakeboarding ever since Bianca got back from her shopping excursion that hopefully he hadn’t. She turned back toward him with what she was sure was a light blush on her cheeks and saw that he was grabbing his bag off the bed.

“I’ll just put my bag in the closet,” he said as he went over and opened the door to the small closet and set it inside. “And I can trust that you won’t rifle through my stuff right?” he asked with a stern look, although the look quickly vanished and he smiled at her instead. “Seriously though… feel free to dig through it if you want… I’ve got nothing to hide.” He shut the closet door and then started walking toward the outer door. “Well I guess I’ll see you out there for lunch in a little bit. I’d better go help Dallas with the grill, unless you want your burger more like a hockey puck and less like a juicy hamburger patty.” Before she could say another word, he’d opened the door, stepped out into the hall and then closed it behind him.

She let out a deep sigh and flopped back on the bed. She was only lying like that for less than a minute when she heard a light knocking at her door. She was sure she knew who it was so yelled ‘come in’ with out moving. She glanced up to see concerned brown eyes with long black lashes staring back at her. Bianca came over and flopped on the bed next to her.

"Yeah... fascinating ceiling isn't it?" Veronica said jokingly.

"You okay?" Bianca asked, not reacting to the ceiling comment at all. "He was in here for a while."

Veronica let out a deep sigh. "Of all the houseboats in all the world... he had to show up on mine."

She saw Bianca roll on to her side out of the corner of her eye. "I saw the way he looked at you... I'm guessing you were more than just casual acquaintances?"

Veronica turned her head toward her friend. "Yeah... remember the guy I said broke my heart and I sometimes regretted how that all ended?" One night over too many glasses of wine, she'd told Bianca a bit about Logan, but never brought herself to actually say his name, as if the anonymity would make it hurt less.

"Oh fuck..." Bianca said as she rolled over onto her back again. "I'm so sorry V, I had no idea..."

They laid there in silence for a few minutes before Bianca rolled on her side again. "So do you think this is good karma or bad karma?" she asked with a curious look.

Veronica let out a deep sigh. "I don't really know. Thank god he wasn't with Shelly though or that would have qualified as the absolute worst karma for sure."

Bianca gave her a sly smile. "You still like him, don't you?"

Veronica shrugged. "I don't really know him anymore."

"Well I guess this is your chance to get to know him again. Some higher power must have thought you needed him back in your life."

Veronica laughed and shook her head at her always optimistic roommate. Bianca always believed in higher powers causing things to happen regardless of what a person may think they want. Sometimes Veronica tried to be as optimistic as Bianca was, but was typically much more pragmatic. "I don't know about that, but you're right that I probably will learn who he is now.”

"Well Dallas has always spoken really highly of him… of both of them actually."

"And Jack's such a great judge of character."

"Hey... he loves me," Bianca protested.

Veronica gave her a playful smile. "And I love you too Twizzz."

Bianca laughed and shook her head. "I know I'm in trouble when you call me that."

Veronica nodded and gave her a wicked smile.  "If this week goes to hell, you know who I'm going to blame..."

"Dallas of course," Bianca replied back with a big grin. "Let's go get you liquored up. I told Dallas to make us a pitcher of piña coladas... And based on how the scene on the speedboats went, I said to make them strong."

Veronica laughed and nodded. She knew Jack wouldn't actually make it ridiculously strong though. He knew quite well that Veronica was very careful about what and how much she drank, and he was always very cognizant of that whenever they all went out together. He never pressed her about it, but she'd come to rely on him to help keep her safe. She may like to pick on him, but he really was a good guy that she’d grown to trust unconditionally. Which was another reason she hadn't been too worried about the trip, knowing that he felt the guy who'd be sharing her room was a decent enough person to invite her along in the first place. She was still having a hard time believing that guy had turned out to be Logan though.

Bianca stood up and held out her hand to pull Veronica up from the bed. Bianca wrapped her arm around Veronica’s shoulders and started to lead her to the door.

"I saw your note," Veronica said in a judgmental tone.

Bianca laughed and shook her head. "If only I'd known... I would have picked up two boxes instead..."

Veronica shook her head and hip checked Bianca as they walked toward the door.

"Our room is right across the hall from you... if you need anything," Bianca said as they walked out into the narrow hall.

"Did we both get the larger rooms then?" Veronica asked as she glanced in the direction of the other room. Bianca nodded. She knew they had agreed that the couples with the larger rooms would pay a little more of the rental share. Of course Casey and Logan could both easily afford whatever the amount was, but she was a little surprised he had stuck with the larger one knowing he wasn't going to actually be using it. Unless of course he was hoping Bianca's friend would turn out to be easy. I wonder how disappointed he is now?

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Veronica and Bianca found Jack just turning off the blender with a pitcher of piña coladas as they walked out into the kitchen area. He poured the white icy liquid into two large glasses. "Sorry Birdie," he said with an apologetic expression as he handed her a glass. "I really had no idea."

"Maybe if you could actually learn people's real names this wouldn't have happened," Veronica replied with a stern look on her face.

"You know that's never going to happen," Dinah interjected as she walked into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of rum that Jack had been using and a shot glass.

"Do you really think that's going to help your headache?" Bennett asked from his spot next to Veronica.

Dinah gave him an angry glare and quickly threw back the shot.

"I'm sure Dallas knows names, he just chooses not to use them," Bennett continued, apparently choosing to just ignore Dinah now.

"Right," Veronica replied with a laugh. "What's my real name Dullass?"

Jack studied her carefully for a moment. "Fuck, it's been too long since I took that botany class... Violet?" Veronica shook her head. "Verbena?... man that would be a fucking horrible name wouldn't it?" Jack shook his head, knowing that wasn't right either. "Do I get points for knowing that it starts with a V?"

"No," all four friends said at once causing them all to laugh. Since they all frequently called her V, him knowing it started with a V was not really that great of an accomplishment, although was also probably one of the reasons he didn't know it was Veronica.

"God Jack," Dinah said in an incredulous tone. "They all just called her Veronica not 15 minutes ago? Do you ever actually listen to anyone?"

Jack just shrugged and looked over at Bianca. "I listen to Twiz," he replied with a sheepish grin.

Dinah let out a frustrated sigh and shook her head.

"Good thing you're pretty… and rich," Bianca teased Jack, as she patted his cheek and took the drink he'd poured for her. She held it up to clink against Veronica's glass.

Casey and Shelly stumbled out of their cabin at that moment causing the five of them all to look in their direction as Shelly continued to giggle. Casey and Shelly smiled a bit awkwardly at the group and then continued out past them to where Logan must have been manning the grill. Dinah had already changed into a bikini while Veronica was in talking to Logan and then Bianca, so she announced she was going to go lay outside while she waited for lunch to be prepared. She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge as she exited the kitchen area and made her way outside.

The other three could clearly see that Bennett was pouting, but no one said anything about it. Getting in the middle of one of their arguments was something they all tried to avoid at all costs. Jack asked Bennett if he wanted a beer, to which he nodded and Jack handed him one. Even though Jack was initially just Bianca and Dinah's friend, he and Bennett had gotten pretty close during the last three years of dating Dinah. Bennett asked if there was anything he could do to help with lunch. True to 'Lilly Diva' form, Dinah couldn't be bothered to offer to help, although if someone had asked, she would have reluctantly helped, with some minor whining.

Veronica told herself she wasn't avoiding Logan by staying inside, but part of her really was nervous to go outside with everyone. She hung out with Bianca in the kitchen cutting up some fruit that Bianca had picked up on her shopping trip that morning. As she'd said earlier to Bianca, she really didn't know Logan anymore, but he also didn't know her anymore either. What if the person I am now is someone he doesn't like any longer? She didn't think she'd changed that much in two years, but she certainly wasn't exactly the same either. Starting over at a new school where no one knew her gave her the chance to create a new version of herself. She never took cases anymore, or at least a few times that she did, she kept it under anyone's radar.

When they'd first started at Hearst it had bothered her that Logan wasn't as interested in trying new things and being open to some of the cultural things she wanted to experience. At Stanford, she went out of her way to really explore new things, although that was partly to keep busy when she hadn't really made new friends yet. Of course she later thought about how Logan's parents had probably forced him to endure similar things when he was growing up, and wanting to avoid those memories was understandable. She knew the version of him that showed up occasionally in the tabloids, still seemed to be the immature party boy, but was that just part of his act now if the UCLA version was never discovered. Jack certainly hadn't shared any wild stories about Worm or GQ. Although she'd partly wondered if Jack did that because he didn't want to get himself into trouble either. While Jack usually came up to Palo Alto to see Bianca, there were several weekends that he ended up staying in LA, so who knows what sort of trouble they might have all gotten into then.

Veronica was absentmindedly slicing up tomatoes for the burgers when the door from outside opened and Logan walked in. He gave her a quick smile before turning his attention to Bianca.

"Hey Twiz, Dallas said there was sliced cheese for the burgers?" Logan asked as he walked closer to the two of them.

"Yeah, let me find that," Bianca said as she opened the fridge and started moving things around inside of it.

"Are you going to keep hiding in here, or come out and socialize?" Logan asked Veronica with an amused expression on his face.

"What? I'm not hiding," she replied adamantly and a bit too quickly. At least I didn’t slur my words. She realized she was starting to feel a slight buzz from the second piña colada that she’d just finished off. "I was helping Twiz with the food."

"Ooookay," Logan said with a smug smile as he took the cheese that Bianca had handed out for him. "Thanks. Do you want cheese?" he asked Bianca who nodded. "You too, Birdie?"

Veronica narrowed her eyes and nodded. "Yeah, thanks Worm."

Logan smirked and nodded and headed back outside.

"Wow," Bianca said after the door closed. Veronica turned toward her with a questioning look. "I haven't seen you quite that flustered by a guy." When Veronica gave her a disagreeing look Bianca continued. "Come on V, you never just call me Twiz in a normal sentence."

Veronica's eyes got a little bigger. She hadn't even realized she'd called her that. "Fine... maybe I'm a little thrown off by him being here… or maybe it was the second colada."

Bianca laughed and nodded. "Let's start taking the food out, shall we, Birdie?"

Veronica laughed and shook her head. "Please don't encourage them."

Bennett and Dallas helped carry out the food from the kitchen as well and soon they were all sitting around the deck eating. There was a dining area on the outside lower deck, but it really only sat about 6 people, so Logan, Casey and Shelly ended up sitting on some of the lounge chairs, while the other five used the table.

When Logan had handed her a plate with a burger he learned close enough so he could whisper in her ear. "I put two slices of cheese on for you," he said softly and gave her a quick wink before retrieving his own plate and filling it with food. She had felt a small smile tug at the corner of her lips, touched that he remembered that was how she'd do her burger at her apartment when they'd cook there sometimes.

Veronica was sitting between Bianca and Dinah, trying not to stare too much at Logan while they ate. At least she’d put her sunglasses on again, so it would be much harder to detect what exactly she was looking at. Dinah and Bennett were apparently still fighting and sitting on opposite sides of the horseshoe shaped dining space. Most of the conversation had gravitated to discussing how they all thought they did on their finals. She couldn't help but wonder what Logan was majoring in, but he seemed to be the quiet one of the group on that particular topic and she really couldn't get a sense of what he was taking at all. I could ask if he aced his weight lifting class, but he may not find that particularly funny. She did figure out that Casey and Jack had a couple of business classes together, so assumed that could be how Jack had become friends with them. It sounded like Shelly was in one of the same classes with them too.

After lunch Bennett decided to take a nap since he claimed he was exhausted from the long drive and waking up early. As he moped off to their cabin, Dinah rolled her eyes and let out a loud sigh.

"I suppose I should go and try to make up so we aren't fighting all day," Dinah said, sounding totally put out as she stood up to follow Bennett inside.

The three at the table gave her a knowing smile while they all tried not to cringe externally.

"Boating?" Jack asked as soon as she was gone.

"God yes!" Bianca said quickly as she let out a visible shudder. "There's no way in hell I want to stick around here for that. Remember spring break?"

Veronica and Jack both cringed and nodded in unison.

"How about you three?" Jack asked Logan, Casey and Shelly. "Want to go out on the speedboat again?"

Casey looked at Shelly who shrugged, but didn't look super excited. "We were talking about taking the WaveRunner out. If that's okay?" Casey asked as he turned back to Jack.

"Yeah, of course. How about you Worm? You going to stay and listen to them 'make-up' or want to go out wakeboarding again?"

"I'm totally game for going out again," Logan replied with an almost devious grin.

"You'd better go put a suit on if you're going to wakeboard too, Birdie," Jack suggested as he looked in Veronica's direction.

Veronica shook her head. "I think I'll just watch." She'd never gone wakeboarding before and didn't want to make a fool of herself now.

"Come on Birdie," Logan taunted. "At least put a suit on and you can ride on the giant float tube."

"Yeah, come on V," Bianca pleaded. "It's big enough for two and I'll ride it with you."

"That's what she..." Jack started to say before he grunted as Bianca elbowed him in the stomach and Veronica rolled her eyes.

"We banned that joke, Dallas," Bianca said sternly. "If you don't want to spend the rest of the week sleeping out on that giant tube all alone, you'd better behave."

Veronica heard Logan let out a small huff of a laugh, though he tried not to get caught. She shook her head slightly at him and he gave her a sheepish grin and shrugged.

"Alright, I'll go change… quickly," Veronica said as she stood up and headed inside.

Once she was in the room, she spent a few minutes staring at the suits she'd brought along. There was a very modest one piece that she'd picked out and a couple bikinis that Dinah and Bianca had pressured her into buying. 'You only live once,' she thought as she grabbed one of the bikinis and changed into it. She pulled on a pair of short denim cutoffs and a tank top after she finished putting on sunscreen. There was a knock on the door right as she was about to open it to go back out. She opened it and found Logan standing on the other side.

"Sorry, I just needed to grab something out of my bag," he explained with a chagrined smile.

She nodded and moved to the side for him to enter. "I'm sorry I didn't say this before, but thanks for letting me use the room. Of course you didn't know who you were actually giving it to I suppose, but I still appreciate the generosity."

He gave her a modest smile and nodded. "Yeah, no problem. I have to admit I was curious to meet this Birdie that Dallas was always talking about. Of course not as much as he talks about Twiz, but still... you definitely make an impression on people."

"Disappointed?" She couldn't help but ask, thinking back to how he may have been the one hoping for some easy no-strings-attached hook-up for the week.

"Absolutely not," he said with a sly grin as he shook his head.

She couldn't help but give him an almost coy smile in return as she saw his reaction. "Good," was all she said before she turned and walked out of the room. She was never really one for dramatic exists but felt a little rush of satisfaction as she made her way back out to the main deck, thinking about the way his expression became even more lascivious at her reply.

Of course her thoughts were quickly side-tracked as she made it to the outside deck. "I can't leave you two alone for even a few minutes, can I?" Veronica asked, interrupting Bianca and Jack kissing passionately on one of the lounge chairs.

"You really should know better, Birdie," Jack said a bit breathlessly as he finally pulled his lips away from Bianca's.

"You were supposed to get this out of your system last night when you had the boat to yourselves," Veronica replied as she kicked the chair they were sitting on causing Bianca to giggle and place her hand over Jack's mouth.

"Don't encourage his naughtiness, V," Bianca teased.

Veronica shook her head. "With how pervy he is, I'm not sure I can say anything without him twisting it into something else anyway."

"That's called creativity, Birdie dear," Jack replied as he finally pried Bianca's hand off his mouth. "You could certainly use a bit more of that in your life too."

"Perviness or creativity?" Logan asked from behind Veronica, evidently hearing most of their conversation. Veronica felt a hot blush spread across her cheeks, much to her displeasure, causing Bianca to giggle again. Where did shy, embarrassed Veronica come from? That's so not me.

"Sorry," Bianca mouthed silently when Veronica gave her a death glare.

At least Veronica was able to recover quickly, though she was surprised she had actually been embarrassed by it in the first place. I could always blame the piña coladas I had with lunch. "Oh come on Worm, I'm sure you don't really have to ask," she replied as confidently as she could with a salacious smile on her lips and a quick wink.  

Logan certainly looked slightly surprised by her answer and a wicked half smile formed in his lips. I'm certainly in trouble now aren't I?

At least any potential awkwardness was interrupted by Casey and Shelly also reemerging from inside. "And you complain about us," Casey said under his breath with a raised eyebrow at Logan. Even though he may have been trying to be discreet, they could all still hear him. Ah, the "making-up" must have begun.

"Sorry. We at least put them in the room next to ours. Usually Twiz's moaning and screaming blocks it out for us anyway," Jack replied with a lecherous grin. Veronica tried not to smirk, knowing how true that probably was, as Bianca smacked Jack on the chest.

Great this is going to be even worse than I imagined. Three loud, incredibly horny couples and me trying not to remember all the things I've done with Logan . Maybe I'll fall off the giant float tube and drown.

"We're just taking the larger WaveRunner out, so there will still be the two smaller jet skis if anyone else wants to use them," Casey announced as Shelly started dragging him in that direction. "See you all later."

"If they get to go have sex too, why can't we?" Jack asked giving Bianca a petulant look.

"They're not... They're going out exploring..." Bianca tried to naively argue.

Veronica cringed to herself trying hard not to visualize what Casey and Shelly might be going off to do.

"Righhhht babe," Jack replied with a skeptical smirk as he shot a quick look at Logan who Veronica heard chuckle softly. Maybe they'll all be so exhausted tonight that I won't have to listen to them through the wall... Or across the hall... Thank god for Logan's earplugs. Of course I'll get a reminder of what I'm not doing when I go to dig them out of that drawer again.

"Need help getting the float tube over to the boat?" Logan asked Jack, apparently ready to move on from the subject of everyone having sex as well.

Jack nodded and pointed to the far side of the house boat. "It's tied up over on that side if you want to go and grab it," Jack said as an amused smile formed on his face. "Can you give him a hand, Birdie?"

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head at Jack. "I'm sure Worm is completely capable of handling the giant tube on his own."

"She's not even playing fair!" Jack protested to Bianca who just shook her head at him.

"You started it and you know it," Bianca replied to Jack before she gave Veronica a conspiratory smile.

She heard Logan chuckle as he started walking off around the side of the boat in the direction that Jack had pointed.

"Can you help me with my lotion?" Veronica asked Bianca as she gave Jack a teasing smile. "I need help rubbing it all over my bare, naked back... and maybe some spots I missed on the front."

Jack shook his head and narrowed his eyes at Veronica. "You're lucky that I want to get lucky later, or I so wouldn't be behaving right now." He said as he stood up. "I'm going to grab some drinks and snacks to take on the boat with us. I'll leave the two of you to pretend you're actually taunting me."

"Oh Bianca, that feels soooo good," Veronica said in a sultry voice as Jack walked by her shaking his head. She started laughing though as soon as she heard Bianca giggle too.

Logan returned a couple of minutes later pulling the giant float tube in the water next to the boat. It was actually bigger than Veronica had expected and she actually felt a little guilty that she hadn’t gone to help. Although she probably would have just made him pull her on it in the water, because that looked awfully fun too. Bianca and Veronica both just sat there and watched as he tried to carefully climb from the houseboat, over the first speed boat, to pull it up on the bow of the other boat so it wouldn’t be dragging while they were wakeboarding. Veronica felt even guiltier when he actually slipped and fell in the water. Of course it made her feel even worse knowing that it was mostly for her benefit that they were even bringing it along since Bianca was really good at wakeboarding too. At least Logan had swim trunks on. Once he climbed back on the speed boat he took his tank top off and held it over the lake ringing out the water. Veronica couldn’t seem to tear her eyes off of watching him since his back was toward them and he didn’t know she was doing it. Of course Bianca knew very well what she was doing and bumped her knee into Veronica’s and then gave her a sly smile. Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head at Bianca in response. Jack reappeared a moment later and shook his head at both of them when he figured out that they were sitting there ogling Logan as he was trying to deal with the float tube.

“Are you two done with your lube session?” Jack asked with an amused grin.

“Sunscreen, Dullass,” Veronica replied with a smirk. “There’s a difference… I would think you’d know that?”

Jack opened his mouth to say something back as Bianca, who had stood up from the chair, covered it with her hand again.

“Okay you two,” Bianca said in her best authoritative mom voice. “If you’re not going to play nice, I’ll send both of you to our cabin and you’ll have to stay there and listen to Bennett and Dinah ‘making up’ while I go boating with Worm… Logan.” Jack and Veronica both gave her a petulant look before they nodded in agreement.

A short while later they were out farther on the lake, with Logan wakeboarding again. Veronica knew he was impressive on a surf board, and was amazed that watching him on the wakeboard was even more awe-inspiring. Even though her tank top wasn’t all that heavy, she was starting to get a little too hot with it on out under the sun, so decided to take it off to feel a bit cooler. She happened to pull it off right as Logan was doing a flip and he completely bit it when he came back down. Bianca signaled to Jack that Logan had fallen, which took him completely by surprise as well. Veronica couldn’t help but snicker to herself, wondering if her tank top removal was what distracted him, causing him to fall into the water. They circled the boat back toward where he was bobbing in the water with a totally embarrassed expression on his face.

“Dude, what happened?” Jack asked as he killed the motor and Logan started to climb back in. “I’ve never seen you crash.”

“Must have been a rogue wave from another boat,” Logan mumbled as he reached for a towel. Veronica’s smirk grew a little larger, knowing there weren’t any boats really close enough to have caused that.

Birdie and Twiz? Did you two want to ride on the inflatable for a while?” Logan asked with a grin. “I see Birdie’s already half-way undressed for it now.”

“Yeah,” Bianca replied with a grin. “Let’s go V. It will be fun, I promise.”

Veronica gave her an amused smile and nodded. “Sure, why not. It was getting hot and a little boring just sitting here in the sun anyway.”

Logan narrowed his eyes at her before he spoke. “Sorry that watching me wakeboard was so boring.”

Veronica gave him a sly smile and nodded. “Apology accepted,” she said playfully.

Jack had already untied the inflatable tube and was pulling it around to hook on to the back. “Your chariot awaits, mi lady,” he said to Bianca with a flourish of his hand.

He gave them a quick overview of hand signals for faster or slower, to which Bianca just nodded and rushed him along. “Come on V,” she said as she slipped out of her shorts and climbed out onto the round float tube.

Veronica gave Logan a quick glance before slipping out of her shorts and climbing out to join Bianca. Jack went back to drive the boat, leaving Logan to be the one to watch the girls and pass on the instructions to Jack. “Gun it,” Veronica could hear Logan say to Jack with a devious grin on his face, before the boat took off and they started flying across the water.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

When they finally made it back to the house boat, Dinah and Bennett were out on the deck curled up together on a lounge chair. Apparently they had gotten over being angry at each other, at least until the next incident occurred. Veronica was a bit annoyed with Logan at that point, although it was more in jest than too much seriousness. He had claimed that he didn’t see that she was signaling to have Jack slow down while they were out on the tube. She didn’t fall off, but they were going much faster than she had wanted to and then Jack started weaving the boat side to side, so the tube would also go side to side and not stay in a straight line. Logan claimed that the weaving was all Jack’s doing, but she wasn’t entirely convinced. Logan had been apologetic, although she could easily tell he thoroughly enjoyed watching her bounce around and feeling completely out of her normal comfort zone.

Casey and Shelly returned a short while after the foursome in the speedboat and they all discussed dinner plans. There were a couple restaurants on the lake that they could go to, or they could grill up some steaks and vegetables that Bianca had picked up that morning. The majority vote was to just stay on the houseboat and to wait to try one of the restaurants the next night. Logan helped man the grill again and spent some time in the kitchen preparing the vegetables for grilling too. Veronica was certainly surprised at how comfortable he was cooking, given he had spent so much time living off of room service when she was last with him. This time she didn’t avoid him like she had when he was cooking lunch, and actually asked if she could give him a hand. Having Logan give her instructions on what to do in the kitchen was certainly something she’d never before had happen. Well not instructions on cooking at least. He may have made other inappropriate requests in the small kitchen at her apartment back when they were dating. Some including food, particularly chocolate sauce, and where to put it, which wasn’t on ice cream. She tried to focus on the task at hand and not on wondering whether there was any chocolate sauce on the houseboat.

"So, should we start up a game of poker after dinner," Jack asked as they all sat around the inside table eating the mouth watering steaks Logan had grilled.

"I'm totally beat tonight," Bennett whined, causing Jack and Bianca to give him their 'I wonder why' sarcastic look. "Hey, I had to drive while the two blondes slept most of the way here."

"I thought you took a nap while we were out boating?" Veronica asked as seriously as she could.

Bennett gave her an irritated look, knowing he was busted and shrugged. "For some reason I couldn't fall asleep."

"And I'm sure if you'd fallen asleep with Dinah on top of you, we would have had to dredge the lake to find your body," Jack playfully added.

Dinah held up her hand and flipped Jack off, but didn't say anything to the contrary.

"I brought my left-right-center dice," Bianca offered enthusiastically.

Veronica heard Jack groan softly and thought she saw Bennett grimace.

"Why don't you ladies play that, and us gents will go hang out on the top deck and enjoy the Cubans that GQ brought along," Jack suggested with a hopeful grin. During spring break Bianca had made them play the dice game over and over and the guys had clearly lost interest by the end of the trip.

"Fine with me," Bianca replied, not losing her enthusiasm at all. "Ladies?"

"Sure, why not," Dinah replied, though much less enthusiastically than Bianca sounded. Veronica nodded in agreement as she stuffed another grilled mushroom into her mouth and tried not to moan in pleasure from how good they were. No sense in inflating Logan’s ego about his exceptional cooking skills.

"Shelly?" Bianca asked next since Shelly hadn't said anything yet.

"Oh... Sure, if you'd like me to. I don't know how to play though," Shelly answered. Veronica thought she sounded genuinely surprised to be included. Veronica had never been a fan of Shelly’s since she had been good friends with Madison and she dated Duncan for a short while, but Shelly had never really done anything directly to Veronica. It was still a bit awkward having to spend a little over a week with her though.

"It's super easy... and fun," Bianca replied with an excited grin on her face. When Bianca was enthusiastic about something it was hard for a little of that not to rub off on other people. Unless of course it was Jack and Bennett and the topic was left-right-center.

After they all cleaned up the dinner remains, Casey, Bennett and Jack started heading up to the top deck. "Coming Worm?" Jack called out to Logan who had taken a spot on one of the sofas in the common room.

Logan shook his head. "Nah, I think I'll just watch the ladies play. Last time I got that horrible migraine just smelling the cigar smoke, remember?"

Jack nodded and the three guys continued out the door. Veronica was a little surprised Logan stayed behind, but didn't comment. She was also surprised that cigar smoke had started causing him to have migraines.

Dinah got a sly grin on her face before speaking. "Oh no, there's no watching. If you're staying you have to play too." She turned to look at Bianca. "We are playing for money, right Twiz?"

"Of course," Bianca beamed. "We didn't say how much. 1's, 5's, 10's or 20's." She paused and reached into her pocket. "Oh that reminds me." She pulled out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to Veronica. "This is for you." Bianca winked as she handed it to her.

"Thank you," Veronica replied with a grin. "I'll have to remember to thank Jack for betting against me."

"Twenties then?" Dinah asked with a devious grin. Veronica and Bianca both smiled and nodded in agreement. "Sixty dollar buy-in work for you two?"

Logan gave Dinah a puzzled look. "How'd we get from twenty to sixty or is that some extra tax on the newbies who've never played?"

"You have to buy 3 chips," Bianca explained as she headed over to pull out Jack's box of poker chips. "So you two good with that?  Winner gets to keep the full three hundred."

"Sure," Logan said as he stood up from the table. "I'm willing to throw my money away since I don't expect to win at all."

"It's really just a game of luck," Veronica chimed in to help explain. "So even someone like you could win," she added with a smirk.

He gave her an amused smile. "I'll be right back with my donation," he said as he headed into her room to get his money.

Shelly and Dinah also went off to their rooms for cash, while Bianca pulled three twenties from her pocket. "You're prepared," Veronica commented with a smirk. She wondered how many other twenties Bianca had in there, since she was skeptical that she’d stick to one round.

"I'm surprised you trusted me with your wallet," Veronica teased as Logan returned and handed his twenties to Bianca.

"Oh, I made sure to count how much I have, so don't get any ideas, Birdie," Logan replied playfully.

Shelly and Dinah came back out and handed their money to Bianca as well. Veronica handed Bianca her one hundred dollar bill and received two of the twenties in return. Bianca started pulling fifteen chips out of the box. Veronica had taken a seat at the table sort of across from Bianca. Shelly took the chair to the right of Bianca leaving two empty seats around Veronica. Dinah sat between Veronica and Bianca, leaving room for Logan between Veronica and Shelly, on the left side of Veronica.

"We're playing dot-out or double pot right?" Dinah asked looking between Veronica and Bianca.

Both women nodded their heads in reply. "Of course anyone can forfeit if they want," Bianca clarified.

"Hopefully no one will be lame like Bennett and Jack though," Veronica threw out there, causing Dinah to laugh.

"Of course they only quit early because they thought they'd have a better chance of getting laid, but that didn't work out so well for them did it," Dinah replied, looking at Bianca with an evil grin.

Bianca and Veronica both laughed and nodded. Logan and Shelly gave them a curious look, but neither said anything.

"So how does this work?" Logan asked, perhaps to get them back on track before things went where he didn't really want to hear them go.

"Really easy," Bianca explained. "We each start with three chips. There are three dice and on your turn you roll them. There's an L, R, C and three dots on each one of the dice. You pass a chip left, right or into the center pot, depending on what letter you roll unless you get dots. Dots let you keep your chips. Whoever has the last of the chips wins, but you have to roll and get a dot to keep the final one. Even if you lose your chips, you can still get one back at any time. You have to roll a dice for each chip that you have too, up to three, so if you have more than three then the extra ones are safe. Really easy."

Logan and Shelly both nodded. "Who starts?" Logan asked as he looked around at the others.

"We should let the token male go first," Veronica said with a wicked grin.

Logan narrowed his eyes at her. "I'm taking going first is not an advantage?"

Bianca and Veronica both shrugged at the same time. "It doesn't really matter. We're just superstitious, because I don't think any of us who've gone first have ever won," Bianca explained.

"Maybe I'll be the first then," Logan said as he reached out for the dice. No one objected so he rolled first.

Logan's first roll was a dot, an L and an R so he had to give one to Shelly and one to Veronica and kept one.

"Thanks Worm," Veronica said with a mischievous grin as she took it from him.

"Don't get too attached," Logan replied with a wink.

When the dice made it to Veronica she rolled an L-R-R. Logan took his same chip back from her and kissed it before setting it down in front of him. Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head at him.

Logan got lucky on the next roll and got to keep both of his chips and then Shelly rolled an R and a dot and kept one of the two she had left and gave the other one to Logan. Logan gave Veronica a big grin since he had three and she had one. By the time the dice made it back to Veronica she still only had one and rolled an L, making her the first one to lose all of her chips.

"Thank you," Logan said happily as he took her chip at the same time that Dinah said "Fuck."

"What?" Logan asked looking between Veronica and Dinah in confusion.

"Every time V loses her chips first, she comes back and wins the pot," Bianca explained with a less than pleased expression.

"Not every time," Veronica protested. "Only 4 out of 5."

Logan let out a loud sigh and shook his head as he grabbed the dice. He rolled dot-R-C and was the first to lose one to the center pot.

"Thanks," Veronica said cheerfully as she took a chip from him.

Shelly was the next one to lose all her chips, but she did get one back when Bianca rolled.

"How long do these games typically last?" Logan asked as Dinah took her roll.

"Depends on how frequently we roll the C. This one is actually going slower than some, but it can really vary," Bianca explained. "Then if the final person can't hit the dots to keep their chips and they all go in the middle, then we buy in another round and go for a double pot."

"Or triple," Dinah chimed in and glowered at Veronica.

"Hey, that wasn't my fault. I didn't miss the dots, your boyfriend did on the first and Bianca did on the second. I just got lucky on the third," Veronica replied in defense.

"Yeah and walked away with over one thousand dollars," Dinah grumbled.

"One thousand eighty to be exact," Veronica replied with a smug grin.

Logan must have been doing the math in his head. "So there were six of you playing?"

"Yeah, over spring break," Bianca clarified.

"Right... I heard about that trip from Dallas," Logan replied as he quirked his eyebrow at Veronica.

Veronica pretended not to notice, but internally cringed wondering what sort of stories Jack may have told Logan about her and whether he was now connecting those dots. That spring break trip had not gone terribly well. Veronica had been dating a guy for about a month and they convinced her she should bring him along when they went to Jack's family's vacation home on the San Juan Islands in Washington for the week. That had turned out to be a major mistake and the nail in the coffin for their short lived relationship. She had gotten more than a little annoyed at some chauvinistic thing he said and made him sleep on the couch for the last half of the week.

They continued playing the game with several of them losing their chips completely for a bit before things would shift and they'd get them back. Logan had gone about four rounds with no chips at all before Veronica had finally rolled an L and had to give him her only chip. On the preceding rounds when he was chipless, she had given him a devious smile each time she rolled and didn’t hit an L. He would give the dice a forlorn look as Veronica would hand them to Shelly and had whispered sadly, ‘maybe next time’ to them once, causing Veronica to chuckle softly at him.

The speed at which the chips were moving to the middle had picked up speed somewhat and over half were finally in the center pot. Jack had come below deck to see how the game was going because the three of them on the upper deck were talking about using the hot tub and was hoping the rest of them would join them too. He watched them play a round before he returned to the top deck with an armful of cold drinks for the three of them up there. After another half hour or so, they were finally down to only three chips which were split between Dinah having two and Logan having one. Dinah rolled an L-C and then they were down to two as Veronica took the chip and one of the dice. She took a deep breath and kissed the dice for luck before she rolled it. She let out a defeated sigh as it landed on a C, leaving Logan with the last chip.

"Roll one of the three dots and the pot is yours," Bianca said with a smile as Logan reached for one of the dice that Veronica hadn't just used.

Logan copied Veronica and kissed the dice before rolling it, drawing an eye roll from her. Veronica let out a squeal of delight as an R came up on the dice. Bianca and Dinah both groaned, having witnessed this same setup several times before. Veronica took her time shaking the dice in her hand before she finally tossed it on the table.

"No..." she cried out in defeat as the L appeared. Dinah and Bianca seemed thrilled with the outcome, so Veronica glared at both of them. "Thanks for the support," she grumbled under her breath. They both shrugged and gave her innocent looks.

Logan took the chip back and picked up the dice. "Come on dot," he said softly as he shook it and released. The women all let out loud cheers as it landed C side up. Logan grumbled slightly and shook his head. "No wonder Dallas and Bennett bolted when you suggested this game."

"You don't have to buy back in, if you'd like to go join your buddies in the hot tub," Veronica quipped back quickly. "You can leave your sixty dollar donation and flee."

"While that's probably the smart decision, I'm not going to give up my money that easily," Logan replied, causing Veronica to laugh at him. "You know me, not one to ever make the smart decision."

Veronica gave him a teasing grin before she replied. "You said it, not me."

Logan nodded and smiled in response.

Veronica stood up and stretched for a minute. "I've got to grab another twenty from my room."

Shelly and Dinah had brought their purses out so they were in the process of taking more money out as Veronica stepped away from the table. Logan said he needed to grab more cash too and started to stand up from the table.

"I can grab it for you... If you trust me," Veronica offered with a sly grin. She wondered how trusting of her he actually was after everything she'd done in the past. She wasn't quite sure how serious he was earlier when he'd teased her about going through his stuff.

"Thanks. My wallet's in the outer small zipped pocket," he said as he gave her a faint smile. "Can I get a fresh drink for anyone?" he asked the others as he made his way toward the kitchen. Veronica could hear the others calling out various requests as she turned into her room.

Her purse was in one of the bags she'd brought along, so she dug it out to get her money first and stuck it in her pocket. She then went to the closet and knelt down to find Logan's wallet. She was actually a little surprised that he didn't make some snarky comment about not trusting her and get it himself. She unzipped the pocket that she thought was the right one and pulled out his wallet. She ran her fingers over the smooth leather before unfolding it. She doubted it was the same wallet that he had before, but it looked very similar. She took a deep breath and opened it, not exactly sure why she was anxious about it. She grabbed three twenty dollar bills but before she closed it, noticed the edge of a picture in one of the inner slots. Her fingers lightly traced the edge of the photo, wanting more than anything to see what was on it. The edge was worn from how it was not entirely pushed into the slot and likely the fold from the wallet was rubbing it.

"Did you want another piña colada?" Logan asked from the door way, causing her to jolt in surprise and drop his wallet on the floor. "Sorry," he said as he must have realized he startled her.

"It's okay," she said as she quickly picked up the wallet and stuck it back in his bag and zipped the pocket closed.

"Did I have enough twenties?" he asked as she started to stand up.

"Yep," she answered and waved them in the air.

"Great, did you want another drink?" he asked as she handed him the three bills.

"Yeah, thanks," she said with a smile, hoping he couldn't tell how fast her pulse was still beating from nearly being caught snooping through his wallet. I’m definitely out of practice on being stealthy.

"How strong?"

"Medium is fine," she answered as she moved to set her purse next to her other bag again.

"Need a loan?" he teased with a smirk.

She shook her head and smiled back. "I'm sure I couldn't afford the interest you'd likely charge."

His smirk turned a bit lecherous as he shrugged. "I'm sure we could work out something amicable."

She shook her head at him again, but couldn't help the sly smile that crept across her lips.

"I'd better go make you that drink," he said with an amused grin as he glanced down at the ground almost nervously before he turned and disappeared down the hallway.

She took a deep breath and glanced back at his bag one last time before following him down the hall. Well that's certainly going to drive me crazy with temptation later.

Veronica handed her money to Bianca and then took her seat again. Logan finished up the drinks and sat back down with a bottle of water for himself.

"I promise we won't take advantage of you, if you wanted something a little stronger," Veronica teased as she gestured toward his bottle. "It's not like we're playing that complicated of a game. It’s pretty much impossible to cheat at this."

He chuckled and shook his head. "Thanks for the assurance. I'm fine with water though."

Veronica cocked her eyebrow in a questioning glance but didn't say anything as she took a drink of her colada. She was surprised that his version tasted even better than Jack's. "This is really good..." She commented after taking a second drink. "What did you do differently from Jack?"

Logan gave her a devious grin. "What makes you think I'll give away my trade secret that easily?"

Veronica shook her head at him. "Fine, but now you're going to be designated as the official colada maker all week."

Logan smiled back and shrugged. "It will give me something to do at least."

Veronica wasn't sure if that was a subtle complaint about not having better things to do or not. Bianca had started handing out the chips again and Logan turned his attention back to the game.

"Who starts this time?" Logan asked as he started fidgeting with his chips.

"Shelly would since you were the last one to go," Bianca explained as she handed Shelly the dice that she had collected in front of her again.

The rounds went a bit quicker the second time, with the pot in the middle growing faster than the first time. Jack and Bennett had both popped back down to see if they were almost done because they still wanted to use the hot tub with their respective girlfriends. They ended up pulling up stools to watch and a few minutes later Casey joined them as well.

They were finally down to only four chips, which were spread thin and mostly rotating among Bianca, Veronica and Logan, although they'd occasionally make it to Shelly and Dinah as they passed among the other three. Bianca had passed her only chip to Dinah who then rolled a C and took them down to three. Veronica had two and Logan had only one at that point. Veronica took a deep breath and kissed the dice again, losing one with a C and the other to Logan. He gave her a devious grin as he shook the two dice in his hand and then closed his eyes before he rolled.

Veronica let out a small excited squeal as the dice settled on C and R. Logan shook his head and tossed one into the pot and made an exaggerated gesture as he handed the other to Veronica. "Good luck," he said with a sly smile.

"Thanks," Veronica replied as she took the chip from him and then stood up so she could reach for the third dice that Logan hadn't just used which was closer to Bianca.

"A little superstitious?" Logan asked with an amused smile.

She nodded and then kissed the new dice, shook it in her hand and tossed it out on the table.

The room erupted with various outbursts as the dice landed with a dot facing up. It was hard to identify who said what with everyone yelling at once. Veronica thought she heard Dinah say 'damn it' although it could have been Bianca. She definitely made out Logan's voice saying 'good job'. Even after all these years I’d never not recognize that voice even in a room full of other shouting voices..

"At least you can't complain about not having money for poker now, Birdie," Jack said as the rest of the group was quieting down.

Bianca pulled out the 600 dollars from where she’d put it during the game and handed it all to Veronica. “Thank you,” Veronica said as Bianca gave her a mischievous glare.

“Five out of six now,” Bianca commented as Veronica took the cash and nodded in reply.

Finally… hot tub time,” Jack said enthusiastically as he stood up from the stool he was sitting on and pushed it back under the counter.

The others started dispersing from the table and heading back to their rooms to change into swimsuits again. Veronica debated about just skipping it and doing a little reading in bed instead. “You’re coming too right?” Logan asked as he stood up to head back toward her room. She shrugged and gave him an uncertain look.

“Please don’t make me be the odd one out,” he asked with a pleading expression.

She let out a defeated sigh and nodded. “Fine, I’ll join you all too.”

“Thanks,” he said with a grateful smile. “I’m hoping it keeps me from getting too sore from all the wakeboarding today. It’s a bit more exertion than I’m used to. Tons of fun though. You really should try it tomorrow.”

“Maybe…” she said as she squished up her face causing him to laugh and shake his head slightly. She was a little surprised about his getting sore comment, since he seemed to be in much better shape than freshman year, so while whatever he was doing for that may not have been as exerting, it was certainly working.

He let her lead the way to the bedroom. There were small attached bathrooms for each of the bedrooms since the houseboat was a top of the line model. “I’ll just pop into the bathroom quickly to change into my shorts and then get out of your way so you can change too,” Logan said as he started searching through his bag. “I hung the pair I had on earlier out on the deck to dry and forgot to grab them, so I’m just going to put on a different pair.”

“My bikini’s hanging in the shower, I’ll just change in there and you can change out here,” Veronica suggested instead.

“Sure… If I’m going to be in your way at all… just tell me… and I’ll figure something out…” he replied with a concerned look on his face.

She shook her head. “Don’t be silly… it’s technically your room… I really do appreciate you letting me use it though.”

“Okay… I just didn’t want you to feel awkward about it.”

“I don’t,” she answered quickly with a determined look on her face. If anyone suddenly seemed to be awkward with these arrangements, it’s definitely you and not me.

“Good,” he said as he nodded.

She turned and headed into the bathroom, wondering why all of a sudden he seemed to be acting weird about their current situation. The only thing she could think of that may have caused a change in his behavior was figuring out that she was the one that Jack had told stories about. Other than that she wasn’t really sure why he’d act any differently. It did make her wonder again what sort of stories Jack may have told Logan. She tried thinking back to some of the more embarrassing or awkward things that had happened during the last two years and which ones Jack may have known about. Of course the spring break trip definitely stood out in her mind, but there had been a few other failed relationships that Jack had witnessed as well. She suddenly felt a bit at a disadvantage if Logan actually now had a better idea of what she’d been up to in the last two years and she still hadn’t really figured out much about his recent past at all.

She slipped back into the same bikini she’d been wearing earlier, with a little smirk forming on her face as she thought about how Logan had crashed when she took her tank top off. She twisted her hair up into a tighter bun so it wouldn’t get wet in the hot tub, grabbed a towel off the shelf and cracked the door open a little to check whether Logan was still changing? “Logan?” she said in a quiet questioning voice through the small opening. She waited a second and didn’t hear anything, so opened the bathroom door the rest of the way. He had already left and the room was empty. She glanced at the closet again, her mind returning to curiosity over the picture in his wallet. Probably not a good time to go digging for that right now. She let out a deep sigh and headed out of the room.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Veronica hadn’t been up to the top deck yet, though she had seen it when they were out on the lake. It was roomier than she expected with several large built in couches and a few other lounge chairs. There was also a small bar, which they must not have stocked well yet since Jack had carried drinks up earlier for them. The hot tub was large enough for eight people to fit comfortably with 2 on each side of the square shape. Of course all the couples were cozied up with their significant others, leaving the only empty spot as the one next to Logan. Veronica gave him a slightly awkward smile as she climbed in next to him. The hot water actually felt really good after the long ride in the car and getting tossed around on the inflatable tube, so she was glad Logan had convinced her to join them.

She rested against the wall of jets and leaned her head back looking up at the stars. It really was beautiful out on the lake, although there were several lights on around the deck which interfered with seeing the stars very well. Conversation seemed to be lacking, likely due to the hot water draining everyone of energy after the very long day. At least it also seemed to prevent the couples from getting too amorous which Veronica had feared she’d have to deal with. Watching other couples passionately making out while she was causally sitting next to Logan would have been excruciating.

Dinah and Bennett were the first couple to decide they were ready to head back down to their room for the night, with Casey and Shelly taking their exit as a chance for them to leave as well. Jack and Bianca were sitting across from Logan and Veronica and with the space around them now open, Logan scooted over to where Casey and Shelly had just left and spread his arms out wider while he sunk a little lower into the hot tub and leaned his head back to stare up at the sky too.

“It’s a really great boat, Dallas,” Logan commented as he continued to stare up at the cloudless star-filled sky.

“Yeah, this one is nicer than the one we rented last year… I guess we had better funding this time,” Jack added with a chuckle.

Logan laughed as well and nodded his head, finally sitting up a little bit more. “Well you should have known Casey and I weren’t going to balk at whatever amount you threw out there.”

Jack nodded in agreement. “I think we’re about ready to head back down to our room too… were you two going to stay a while longer?”

“I’m ready to go in too,” Veronica quickly replied as she stood up and started to climb out of the water to grab her towel. She wasn’t sure why she suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable about the prospect of being left alone with Logan, half naked and wet, in the hot tub.

“I’ll be down in a little while…” Logan replied with a slightly hesitant look on his face. “I'll give you some time to do whatever you need to do before I come down to change again… just um… I’ll just wait out on the deck I guess and you can let me know when I can come in.”

“Sure, sounds good,” Veronica said as she wrapped her towel around herself and headed back to the stairs. She really hoped the entire week wasn’t going to be filled with these types of awkward interactions and still wondered where they had even started coming from. Things earlier between them seemed much smoother than where they were after they finished playing dice.

After she made it to her room, she took a quick shower to get the chlorine from the hot tub off her skin and then slipped into the tank top and sleep shorts she’d brought along. Logan hadn’t shown up at the door yet, so she went out to let him know he could come in and change too. She found him sitting out on the main deck on a lounge chair drinking from a bottle of water.

“It’s all yours,” she said giving him a small smile.

“Thanks… I’ll just take a quick shower and then be out of your hair. You don’t have to leave the bedroom while I’m doing that if you don’t want to.”

“Okay, thanks,” she replied and turned to go back to the room. She crawled onto the bed and pulled out the kindle reader that she’d brought along and opened one of the e-books that she'd downloaded for the trip.

Logan gave her a small smile and grabbed his duffle bag from the closet and then disappeared into the bathroom. She could hear the shower running and got distracted thinking about him in there until her thoughts were interrupted by a bang on the wall and a loud moan from Shelly and Casey’s room. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to tire themselves out earlier today, did they?

Logan appeared a minute later with his bag still over his shoulder. He’d changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. There was an extra pillow and blanket in the top of the closet and he grabbed those just as another loud moan made its way through the wall followed by some more banging. He gave her an apologetic smirk and shook his head. “At least you have the earplugs,” he said as he headed toward the door.

She noticed he didn’t leave his bag behind this time, but thought it would be strange to ask about it, so she didn’t say anything.

“Have a good night… See you in the morning,” he said as he opened the door.

“Goodnight,” she called out as he stepped out into the hall. He gave her a quick nod and then closed the door behind him.

Of course the noise from the bedroom next door only got louder. After several “Oh god yes’s” and a few “More baby more’s” she decided the ear plugs were her best course of action. She took them out of the drawer and fidgeted with the box in her fingers. Her mind was too preoccupied over seeing Logan again to easily fall asleep though and just sitting there reading with ear plugs in her ear made her feel a bit ridiculous. She was hoping that she’d get sleepy if she read another chapter or two of her book but was terribly thirsty and hadn’t thought to grab something when she came through the kitchen. She let out a deep breath and decided to go and get a drink of water at least before she put the ear plugs in. I’m just getting water, not stalking Logan.

She was surprised when she headed into the kitchen that Logan wasn’t on one of the built in couches in the main cabin. Her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to see where he’d vanished too. Okay, maybe I am stalking him a little bit. She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and then headed out the door to the main deck. She didn’t see him out there either, but as the door to the cabin closed and made a clicking sound, she heard some motion from the top deck.

She climbed up the stairs and found Logan stretched out on one of the couches.  The moonlight was really the only thing illuminating him, since there weren’t any other lights turned on outside now. He was lying on his back staring up at the sky, his head resting on the pillow he'd taken from the closet with the blanket draped loosely across his waist. One of his legs was covered with the blanket, but the other one was uncovered and bent at the knee.

“Hey,” she said softly, not wanting to startle him.

“Hey,” he replied back, turning onto his side slightly so he could look at her. “Did the earplugs not work?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t try them yet, and came out for some water,” she explained as she held up the bottle. “Wondered where you’d disappeared to.” She walked over and took a seat on the other couch. The two were set up in an L shape, and Logan’s head was at the end closest to where the other one was joined.

“Marshmallow,” he said as she sat down.

“Excuse me?” she asked caught off guard by him calling her that.

“Did you want a marshmallow?” he clarified as he held up a bag filled with medium sized marshmallows and shook it slightly.

She laughed and shook her head at him, but then reached over and took one. “Did you steal Bianca’s s’mores supply?”

Logan laughed and shook his head. “No I brought these.”

"Since when do you just eat marshmallows out of the bag?” she asked with a surprised tone.

He shrugged and shook his head again. “I don’t know… a while…”

She laid down on the opposite couch with her head down toward his and stared up at the sky. Now that the lights on the boat were out, the stars were even brighter and the moon was full.

“It’s so beautiful here, isn’t it?” she asked after she finished off the marshmallow.

“Yeah,” he answered and she glanced back over at him. She noticing he was watching her, although as soon as she turned, he changed his position to look back up at the sky again.

“So Birdie, hmm? Did you go through a phase of wearing feather boas or did you have a run as a golfing champion and you were always one under par?” Logan asked with an amused tone.

She laughed softly and shook her head, although with the lack of light and their positions, she wasn't even sure he saw her move. "No, but both of those are more interesting than the real story. I guess Jack was taking a botany class..." Logan's chuckle interrupted her.

"Bird’s Eye... Veronica..." Logan said as he laughed.

"How did you know that?" Veronica asked, slightly surprised.

"Dallas and I took the same botany class," Logan replied with a note of amusement still in his tone. That means he knew Jack before I even moved in with Bianca.

"So how about you, Worm? I'm guessing some debaucherous anecdote involving a tequila worm," Veronica asked pretentiously.

Logan chuckled again and she glanced over and could tell he was shaking his head while he looked up at the sky. "You would think that, but no, actually. Think more academic..."

"You and academic aren't typically the first association I would make," she replied in a teasing tone.

She heard him scoff in response. "I'm surprised you haven't had Mac hack into the UCLA records yet to check up on me yet... or have you? To see if I’m as big a slacker there as I was at Hearst." Logan replied as he turned his head so he could see her as well. She could tell he had what looked like an almost bitter expression on his face.

This wasn't where I wanted this to go, but it's my own fault. I should have known he wouldn't find that comment funny. Of course her initial reaction was to spar back even if that wasn’t the wisest move. "Reception's not that good out here, so I guess I'll have to wait until I get home to get the Intel." She at least had a playful smile on her face if he could make it out.

"Hopefully you're not disappointed," he replied as he rolled onto his back again, gazing up at the sky once more. "I've actually been making pretty good grades. Not straight A's, but I've kept above a B average."

"That's great Logan..." She replied more sincerely. She still had no idea what his major actually was. "So Worm... Some incident in a science class dissection?"

Logan chuckled softly. "Nope… Strike two."

"Hmm... Something involving a wormhole? Taking some sci-fi writing classes?"

"Ah, strike three... you're out..." he replied with a slightly derisive tone. He paused a moment before he continued. "It was actually because he thought I was a bookworm."

Veronica couldn't help but laugh softly at that. "I suppose that would go along with the Clark Kent persona."

"Well I really was actually studying and not just pretending," he replied sounding a bit defensive. She hadn't meant to upset him and let out a soft frustrated sigh.

"And what are you studying?" she asked rather than going for some flippant response that might lead to more hurt feelings and arguing.

"I'm working on a BA in Architectural Studies with a minor in sociology," he replied as she watched him reposition his arms behind his head again.

She wasn't quite sure what to say. That certainly wasn't anything she'd expected, although she knew he'd done well with his sociology class freshman year. "Architecture huh?" she finally asked again after being silent for a minute or two.

"It's just a BA, more around architectural history and theory rather than designing buildings, but I'm enjoying it. I'd have to go on to a master's program to be an actual architect."

"Are you considering it?" she asked next wondering what he planned to do with that as an undergrad degree.

"I've thought about it. If not though, Casey said he'd hire me to oversee the technical manuscripts that go through Gant Publications. They are lacking a bit in that area and would like to attract some new writers, but haven't had anyone that could successfully manage that area and he thinks I might be good at it."

"Do you want to design architecture?" Veronica asked curiously. It had never really come up before as something he might be interested in, although occasionally he had made comments about different architectural styles when they were dating.

"Yeah, maybe. I'm going to wait and see how things go next year in the program though."

"Well that sounds really interesting, Logan" she replied as she rolled onto her back again and stared up at the sky.  She realized how unsettling it was to realize that she really didn't know him much anymore. Someone she'd been so close to for so many years was now almost as much a stranger as anyone she'd met at Stanford.

"And you're doing criminology right? I know Twiz is and thought Dallas had said her roommate was as well."

"Yep, minor in communications... focusing on journalism."

"Those seem to fit you well."

Yeah, I'm predictable... unlike you. But isn't that why you came out here to find him? To get to know who he is now.  "So how did you meet Jack?" she asked, hoping it might give her a little more insight into what else he was up to now.

"We live across the hall from each other in the same apartment building."

"You and Casey are roommates right?" She thought Jack or Bianca had mentioned that the two guys coming on the trip were roommates.

"Yep, it's a much larger space than the grand though. Over 1800 square feet."

"Well that's much larger than our slightly under 1000 place, but I can't complain at all. Bianca's giving me a great deal. She just didn't really want to live on her own, more than actually needing some one to pay half the rent... thankfully."

"Dallas has talked about her place before, sounds like a nice apartment."

"Hmm... so how much has Jack talked about me?" Veronica wondered if anything Jack had ever said about Birdie reminded Logan of her.

Logan chuckled softly. "He did mention Twiz had an interesting roommate. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect from someone he nicknamed Birdie." Logan paused a moment. "Did he ever mention me?"

"No... He doesn't talk much about things in LA, well not around me at least. But I didn't get much info from Bianca about you or Casey either."

"Well he talks about Twiz... Bianca... a lot." Logan paused and let out a low laugh. "You know... They reminded me a lot of us... Well excluding all the death and drama, but the way they started out as friends, then got together, split up and then back together... Of course we ended a bit differently."

She felt a pang of sadness pass through her. So many times over the past two years she'd wished things had ended differently for them too. When she'd returned from her internship he'd been gone and she didn't feel like it was her place to track him down. She kept expecting that she'd hear from him at some point, but he had just vanished from her life. Once she saw him pop up in the celebrity stories from Europe she had decided he was through with her and making a new life for himself there. A part of her wished she'd known he was actually living right across the hall from someone she saw on an almost weekly basis. She still couldn't believe how close their two lives must have been to almost intersecting over the last two years. Of all the regrets she had, losing him had turned out to be one that hurt her more than she ever cared to admit. "I'm sorry things ended like they did... with me being so angry at you," she blurted out before she gave it a second thought.

She heard him let out a huff of air. "It's fine... Bygones..."

"Well I just... I wanted you to know I'm sorry..." she continued feeling a need to get that off her chest.

"Thanks... I'm sorry too... I'm just as much to blame... For all the things I fucked up too."

"You mentioned Gory earlier... Did he... Did he retaliate for the incident in the cafeteria?"

Logan let out a long deep breath. "Luckily I had some friends in opportunistic places." He paused again before he continued. "A few people who knew about his mob connections heard he was trying to find out who I was. And then security at the Grand caught him lurking around there. Thank god for security cameras... He'd actually messed with my SUV, but was caught leaving the parking garage on camera so security checked it out. There just wasn’t enough proof to tie him to anything."

"Messed with… like 'let air out of your tires' sort of messed with... or worse?" Veronica couldn't help but feel like her stomach was suddenly tied in knots.

"It doesn't matter now... I found out and disappeared out of the country for a while. Then I ran into Casey in Europe, hatched my Clark Kent plot, came back to California and transferred to UCLA. I'd actually heard that you'd transferred to Stanford before then too."

"Oh... how'd you hear that?" And he still chose to stay over 5 hours away.

Logan took another deep breath. "Your dad."

"My dad?" Veronica asked incredulously, her earlier thought about him choosing UCLA replaced by surprise that he'd talked to her dad.

"Yeah... I ran into him before I left for Europe. I guess you'd already found out when you were in Virginia and told him?"

"Yeah..." She had gotten a call when she was in Virginia and accepted the offer and scholarship opportunity. It had been completely unexpected, but apparently the scholarship she'd applied for the prior year had been reassessed. They'd said that they had looked at everything she'd done at Hearst and offered her a new scholarship that had just been created that year.

"Are you happy there?" Logan asked with something in his tone that she couldn't quite identify. She wished she could actually see his expression to figure out what she couldn't detect from just his tone.

"Yeah, I'm grateful that I was given the opportunity to go there. I don't know if my dad told you about the scholarship I was given, but it would never have happened without it. I hadn't even expected to hear from them again, so it was a wonderful surprise. I'd always wanted to go there."

Logan chuckled softly. "Yeah I remember..." He paused for a moment. "Since elementary school..." This time she was certain his voice had taken on a nostalgic tone.

"Yeah," she replied with a soft laugh.

"I remember you and Duncan talking about it too. Jake was so set on Duncan going there. You never really know how things are going to turn out though, do you?" His voice started to take on a more somber tone.

"Yeah... fleeing the country with his illegitimate daughter was certainly not something Jake would ever have approved of." Not that Jake could judge Duncan considering he didn't even know if I was his daughter or not.

"I'm sure if Jake could go back and do things differently, he may have had a change of heart about that situation," Logan replied. Veronica was a bit taken back by that and wondered if Logan knew whether that was actually true based on his tone. She also wondered if Logan had been in touch with Jake more recently. She knew things had gotten very strained after Aaron was accused of murdering Lilly, but Logan was really as much a victim in all of that as Lilly was. She could understand how they might blame Logan though since Aaron was his father, but that didn't make it right.

"Do you ever wonder where they might have ended up and how they are?" Veronica asked as she looked wistfully up at the sky. They'd never really talked about Duncan after he'd left, but since they'd already broached the topic she thought she'd keep going.

"Yeah... his daughter is what three... almost four now?"

Veronica hadn't really thought about how old little Lily would be now. "Yeah... four in December."

"Do you think he should have stayed?" Logan asked. She heard him moving again and rolled over so she could look at him too.

Veronica shrugged. "The Manning's would have likely gotten custody of the baby, which Meg had begged not to let happen."

"Do you wish he'd taken you with him?" Logan asked with a somber tone. Even with the low illumination from the moonlight she could still see insecurity in his expression. She wouldn't have been surprised to see that if they were still dating, but it caught her a bit by surprise to see it now.

They'd never had this conversation before although maybe they should have. She'd always wondered what he'd thought about it but she supposed that neither of them had ever had the courage to bring it up before.  He'd asked her right after Duncan left if she knew where he'd gone, but after that it was as if Duncan no longer existed since neither of them ever spoke about him again. She shook her head and gave him a determined look. "No... I've never wished that I could have gone with him."

"He really loved you, you know?" Logan added next, surprising her with his candor.

Veronica swallowed the lump she suddenly felt in her throat. What could it hurt to finally be honest with him, Veronica? Doesn't Logan deserve it after everything we’ve been through? Some of which she was certainly responsible for. "I thought I loved him too... but I didn't know the difference then... But then once you realize what real love is... and you know the difference… you figure out what you thought was love actually wasn't."

She heard him take a deep breath and saw him nod and then he rolled on to his back again. She kept her position, just watching him, wondering if he realized she was talking about him or not. Maybe I should have said more... but maybe he did realize and didn't want to deal with that now. She wondered if she should go back to her room. Nothing like an awkward conversation about old exes to set the mood for the week. Maybe I should bring up one of his flings to further destroy the night. She shook her head at herself in frustration.

"He'd be glad that you were able to go to Stanford even though he couldn't," Logan commented, interrupting her thoughts. "Have you ever heard from him after he left?"

"No... you?" she asked, suddenly wondering if there was more to this conversation than what she'd initially thought.

"No calls... no postcards... I guess keeping up with old childhood friends when you're trying to evade the FBI is a pretty low priority."

She'd expected a simple yes or no answer, so the specificity of his reply caught her a little by surprise. Don't be so suspicious Veronica... Logan was always one to reply to simple questions with elaborate answers.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Logan speaking again. "I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to make a deal to come back eventually. I guess I'm more surprised it hasn't happened already. Given Jake's wealth and connections, I'm sure he could easily work out a deal that would be worthy of a Kane heir." His tone this time was definitely a mixture of many emotions. There was certainly some spite and anger, maybe some anxiousness too. He certainly didn't sound overjoyed at the thought that his old friend could come back. "I'm sure Duncan would be excited to come home though and I'd imagine he'd be eager to make a reasonable deal so he could. Being all alone in the world definitely sucks."

Veronica felt an overwhelming sadness hit her wondering how alone Logan felt sometimes. He wasn't completely alone though. He had Casey and probably was still friends with Dick, but as far as she knew he never patched things up with Trina. Not that she was a great sister to him most of the time. She also doubted he’d ever fixed things with Charlie after that whole misunderstanding. Even with all the difficulties he had with his mom, Veronica knew he had loved her unconditionally and she wondered if he'd ever really gotten over losing her.

"You still awake over there?" Logan asked after a couple of minutes of silence. Veronica had gotten lost in her own thoughts and realized she hadn't actually responded to anything he'd said for a while.

"Yeah," she replied softly.

"So... spring break... was that Piz that went to Washington with you?" Logan asked next, catching her totally off guard.

Wait... Why would he think that... Rockstar... of course... Jack called Bryce that because he would always drink those Rockstar energy drinks. "No... I broke up with Piz before I went to Stanford," she replied after a few seconds.

"Oh... I thought maybe that was..." He trailed off and didn't finish whatever he was going to say. "Sorry..."

What did he think? Not who made me realize the difference between first love and real love I hope. "It's fine. We just didn't work that well together... We were just too different."

"Want another marshmallow?" he asked after a few seconds. She wondered if he was regretting his last question and trying to change the topic.

"No, I'm good," she answered with a slight tremble. She hadn't really been paying much attention to how chilly it was starting to get and involuntarily shivered as she answered, which was evident in her voice.

"You sound cold," Logan said as she heard him sit up. He stood from his seat and carried his blanket over, tossing it over her. She couldn't help inhaling as the soft warm fabric fell over her. The blanket already had that unique scent that she always associated with Logan and was still warm from his body heat.

She enjoyed the comfort for a few seconds before she objected. "But now you'll be cold..." Before she could say that she should probably just go back down to her room, he interrupted her.

"I'm fine. I've got a sweatshirt in my bag." She heard him unzip his bag as he was talking. She knew that he hated sleeping in heavy clothes though and felt like she was troubling him now.

"I should probably just go back to my room," she suggested, thinking that might be best.

"Tired of my company already?" He asked as he stilled his movement. His back was toward her so she couldn't see his face.

"No... I just didn't intend to come up here and steal your blanket and inconvenience you," she answered trying to keep her tone light.

"I'm not inconvenienced and I'm enjoying talking to you." he replied as he turned toward her with a faint smile on his face.

"I'm enjoying it to," she said softly.  She took a steadying breath. "These couches are huge. We could just share your blanket until I go back downstairs."

"Okay," he replied with his lips quirked up into a larger smile before he turned back toward the other couch and grabbed the pillow. She sat up slightly so he could lay the pillow down under her head. She lifted up the blanket and scooted over so there was room for him to lie down too. After he positioned himself on his back next to her, she handed him the edge of the blanket and he pulled it over his side, making sure she still had enough to be fully covered. The couch really was large and with her petite size, they wouldn't have had to have had any contact at all, but their shoulders ended up touching as they shared the pillow. She could certainly smell that scent that was uniquely him now and it brought back so many memories as she took another moment to just enjoy being so close to him again.

"It really is amazing how bright the stars all seem out here," Logan commented as he pulled his outer arm up to rest his head on. She could tell he’d placed his other arm on his stomach so that his hand wasn’t too close to her.

"Yeah, it’s nothing like being in the city," she replied as she also stared back up at the sky.

"I took an astronomy class at UCLA," Logan continued as they both stared up at the stars and moon. "Decided I liked reading about the mythology of constellations much more than the scientific aspects of it."

"Astronomy, botany... Sounds like you really were running the gambit of random extracurricular classes," she teased.

Logan chuckled softly. "Guess I was a little directionless when I first started there."

"What was your favorite constellation myth?" Veronica asked as she continued to stare up at the stars.

“Hm… well there was one that reminded me of this blonde, petite girl I used to know…” he replied with exaggerated nostalgia. It made her think back to when they were in high school and she’d asked about who else Duncan had dated.  Well, there was this one girl. She was blonde, petite… smelled of marshmallows and promises.

“Really, you don’t say?” Veronica replied back with a whimsical tone to her voice.

“Yeah… it’s called Coma Berenices… it’s um…” he started moving his head around a bit before he finally stopped and pointed above them. “It’s right up there close to Leo.”

A sly smile formed on Veronica’s lips, although she didn’t think Logan probably saw it. “I’m a Leo…” she said coyly.

“Really, you don’t say…” Logan replied, mimicking how she’d said it just a moment before.

She laughed and elbowed him softly in the ribs, causing him to chuckle and wiggle slightly against her. “So where is this Coma Bernice?” she asked to get him back on track.

“Coma Berenices,” he corrected. “Do you know which stars make up Leo?”

“No,” she said softly as she shook her head. He pointed again at three bright stars that made a triangle. “Those three are the hindquarters and tail of Leo then the other six make up the mane and shoulders. Straight up from the tail, which is called Denebola, are another three and then a whole lot of smaller ones. That’s Coma Berenices.”

“So what’s the story?” she asked as she stared up at the stars he’d pointed to.

“Well… Berenices was an Egyptian queen… It was said that she had beautiful long amber-colored hair…” he paused for a minute before he continued in a sly whisper. “… but it could have been blonde.” She chuckled and shook her head before he continued. “She was worried because her husband was away at war and she asked the royal oracle what to do. He advised the queen to offer her hair to Aphrodite for the safe return of her husband. After weeks of waiting, he finally returned safely. Her husband was not happy when she told him about the promise she made to sacrifice her hair for his safe return though. According to the story, the king thought her hair was the crowning glory of his queen… it was admired by many… even giving inspiration to poets. Nothing of course would change the queen’s mind and so she went off to the temple where her beautiful locks were cut off and laid on the alter by the priests. The next day when the king went to the temple he was furious to find that the hair had been stolen. He was about to put the priests to death in his rage, but the royal oracle told him to wait until that night and he would show him where her hair had gone. So when it was finally night time, the oracle took the king outside and showed him this cluster of stars in the sky.” Logan pointed back up at the stars again. “He told the king that the golden locks were too beautiful for a single temple to possess and Jupiter had descended from the heavens to place them in the sky so they could be admired by the whole world.”

“I’m positive my hair was never that beautiful,” Veronica said with a soft laugh, though she was touched by the fact that the story reminded him of her.

“Oh, I’m sure I’ve read poems written about it,” he replied with a chuckle. “Veronica’s Golden Tresses.”

She laughed softly again and shook her head. “Hardly… but I appreciate the compliment.” She paused a moment before she continued. “Thanks for sharing the story with me.” She couldn’t help letting a loud yawn escape as she finished thanking him though.

Logan laughed a little louder than they’d been talking. “Well I can see it was definitely a riveting story if it put you to sleep.”

“No… it wasn’t the story…” she tried explaining, but she couldn’t stop another yawn from slipping out.

“Ah… then it’s the company,” he teased in reply.

“No, it’s just been a really long day… I loved the story… and the company too.” She paused for a moment. She knew she should probably go down to bed, but she really didn’t want to. “Tell me another?” she asked with a hopeful tone. She really wasn’t ready to go back down to her room all alone. She had no idea what the next day would bring and she wasn’t ready for this to end. Having this chance to lay under the stars with Logan was something she never imagined she’d have the opportunity to do and if it was only for tonight, she wanted to savor it for as long as possible.

“Okay…” he said softly. “But if you fall asleep, I’m not carrying you down to your bed.”

“Fair enough,” she replied as she nodded her head.

“Hm…” he mumbled as he started looking around the sky again. “How about Draco…” He leaned a little closer to her so he could point to another group of stars not too far from the ones they were just looking at. “Draco is Latin for dragon, although it was more of a snakelike creature in mythology…”

Veronica listened as he told her that there were a couple different versions that went along with the Draco constellation. Listening to him recall the various tales as he spoke softly right next to her ear made her feel more at peace than she could remember feeling for a long time. She felt herself getting sleepier with every minute that went by and eventually she dozed off with a warm content feeling coursing through her entire body and the echo of Logan’s voice drifting into her subconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

When Veronica woke up it was still dark and she felt a cold breeze blowing across her shoulder. She still felt extremely drowsy, so she pulled the blanket up higher as she shivered slightly and closed her eyes again. Her movement must have woken Logan up, or maybe he was just still awake.

"You could go down to your room if you’re cold," he whispered softly. She could tell that he was still lying next to her when she'd first opened her eyes, but given the darkness she couldn't tell which direction he was facing. When he spoke it sounded like he must have been facing toward her, though his head was slightly higher on the pillow and she felt his warm breath on her forehead.

"Too far," she grumbled sleepily.

"Well I'm not carrying you, but I don't want you to freeze to death either. I think your friends might not like me much if I let that happen," he responded in a quiet voice. She scooted a little closer to him, able to feel his body heat the closer she got. He let out a deep breath and then put his arm around her. "Better?" he asked softly as she felt the warmth from his arm through the light fabric of her tank top. She nodded her head and snuggled a little closer to him before she closed her eyes and fell back to sleep.

"Veronica?" Logan whispered softly, what seemed to her like only minutes later, pulling her out of sleep.

"Hmmm..." She mumbled, not ready to wake up at all. She could still feel his arm around her and she inhaled a deep breath enjoying the feel of him so close to her. She blinked her eyes for a moment, and realized it was now starting to get light out.

"I wasn't sure if you wanted to go back to your room before everyone else started waking up," he said in a low voice.

It probably would be better if the others didn't know she'd slept up there with him all night. She could just imagine the teasing she might get for that, even if it was just good natured ribbing. Of course her friends likely wouldn't believe that all they had done up there was talk and sleep. She let out a frustrated sigh. It was just so warm and comfortable snuggled up against Logan and she really wasn’t ready for it to end.

"I don't get a discount for you not using the room you know?" he added with a slightly teasing tone.

She laughed softly and shook her head. "I suppose I should go back down there," she said quietly though somewhat reluctantly.

"Next time you fall asleep up here, I'm going to go use the bed," he added in the same teasing tone. His comment made her laugh softly again and she nudged him playfully in the stomach with her elbow. She couldn’t help but notice when her elbow made contact how muscular his abs were compared to how they used to be. She wanted to run her fingers across them, but figured that probably wasn’t very appropriate given their current status as what… friends? It felt good to at least consider herself his friend again after all these years, and given how things had been going after their initial miscommunication in her cabin, she thought that was a fair assessment.

She took another deep breath and started to sit up, quickly realizing how chilly the morning air still was. “Too cold,” she whined as she snuggled back down under the blanket. Logan chuckled and shook his head at her.

“Just take the blanket with you,” he suggested as he started to shift it off of himself. “I’ll just grab my sweatshirt and sweatpants.” He sat up and reached for his bag that was sitting on the ground next to the couch and pulled out his sweatshirt, pulling it over his head. She couldn’t help but give him an amused smile as she saw it was a UCLA sweatshirt.

“Go Bruins,” she said playfully, earning a grin from Logan.

“I have matching pants,” he said in a conspiratorial whisper. She chuckled and shook her head at him. He reached into his bag again and pulled out the pants, causing her to laugh a little harder.

She wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and climbed off the bed. She started to head toward the stairs, but then stopped and turned back toward him. “Thanks for last night,” she said with a tender smile.

“Anytime,” he replied with a similar expression on his face. She couldn’t help but smile a bit more before turning to head back down to her room.

She decided she should probably be a little quiet so she wouldn’t wake anyone else up. She carefully opened the door to the main cabin and then turned back toward it as she closed it after she’d walked inside. As she turned back around to head to her room, she realized Bianca was standing in the kitchen watching her. Bianca crossed her arms in front of herself and gave Veronica her best, ‘you’ve got some explaining to do’ look.

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head. “It’s not what you think,” she said in a whisper as she walked closer to Bianca. A mischievous grin formed on Bianca’s face as she nodded in reply.

Sure, it’s not,” Bianca replied with a sly smile.

Veronica shook her head again. “I just fell asleep upstairs while we were talking… nothing more… just talking.”

Bianca gave her a discouraged look. “Well that’s disappointing.”

Veronica rolled her eyes again. “Jeez Bianca, we haven’t seen each other in over two years, it’s not like we were just going to instantly hook up.”

“Well why not?” Bianca asked with a puzzled look on her face.

Veronica chuckled and shook her head again. “You know me better than that.”

“I know, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that you just go against your nature every once in a while,” Bianca replied with a sly smile. “Especially with a hunky ex like Logan.”

Veronica rolled her eyes slightly at Bianca. “I’m going back to bed for a while,” she announced as she started walking toward the hall tugging the blanket a little tighter around her. “What are you doing out here anyway?”

“I’m setting up the coffee maker for a little later. I forgot to set it up last night and you know how Dinah is if she doesn’t have her daily dose of caffeine first thing in the morning?”

Veronica gave her a conspiratorial smile and then continued on to her room. Dinah really could be a nightmare if she didn’t get coffee when she woke up. And of course she would never be the one to actually figure out how to setup the coffee maker to be ready for when she woke up. Veronica couldn’t really imagine how Bennett was able to live with her and not go insane sometimes. The things people will do for love.

She made it back to her room and crawled into bed, snuggling against the blanket that she’d brought from upstairs that still smelled like Logan. It didn’t take her long to doze back to sleep with thoughts of the night before still replaying in her head.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep when she was awoken by a soft knocking on the door. She figured it was either Logan or Bianca since she couldn’t imagine anyone else wanting to come into her room, so she said ‘come in’ without climbing out of bed. She cracked open an eye as the door opened and Logan walked in.

“Mm… what time is it?” she mumbled as she pulled the blanket over her shoulders again.

“It’s almost 8. I figured it was a more reasonable time to be spotted leaving your room, so decided to risk it since I was getting cold up there without my blanket,” he said as he gave her a slightly admonishing look.

“Hey, you said I could take it,” she replied with an innocent expression on her face. He chuckled and nodded in reply.

“I was thinking I might actually take a shower if that’s okay with you,” he asked as he walked a bit closer to the bed. “The thought of a nice hot shower sounded really good.”

She smiled and nodded in reply. She really just wanted to suggest he crawl into bed and she’d help warm him up, but chickened out. Bianca’s comment from earlier about going against her nature popped into her mind, but she still couldn’t quite make herself do it.

“Of course it’s fine with me,” she said as she rolled on to her side and watched him continue on into the bathroom. She let out a disappointed sigh as he vanished into the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

Maybe I should go against my nature, but it’s been less than 24 hours since he's even been back in my life again. I don’t even know if the girlfriend he supposedly broke up with might still be in the picture or not. People do get back together sometimes. God knows the two of us did several times over. Maybe she’s who’s on the picture in his wallet. She snuggled her head into the pillow and repositioned the blanket, making herself comfortable again. She decided to close her eyes for just a few minutes while she waited for him to come back out of the bathroom, but felt herself drifting off to sleep again.

When she woke up again she could smell the very strong scent of coffee and bacon filling her room. She glanced around and realized she’d fallen back asleep and Logan must have snuck out again. The door to the bathroom was open and she could tell there was no sign of him in there. She noticed his UCLA sweatshirt was tossed onto the small built-in dresser and something about it beckoned to her. She climbed out of bed and went over and grabbed it. She buried her face against the fabric before she pulled it on over the tank top she’d been sleeping in. She noticed that his bag was back in the closet again and she momentarily thought about getting into it to check out the photo in his wallet. She shook her head and stopped herself though. Snooping never turns out well, Veronica. She quickly popped into the bathroom to brush her hair and pull it up into a pony tail before heading out to see what was going on in the kitchen.

She could hear a couple voices before she even made it through her doorway. It sounded like Bianca and Shelly and maybe Casey. She knew Jack was never a morning person since he stayed practically every weekend with them and typically he’d be asleep long after Bianca and Veronica had hung out and had at least one cup of coffee together. As she walked into the kitchen area she saw that Casey was sitting at one of the counter stools and Shelly was standing behind him with her arms wrapped around his neck. Her head was resting on top of one of her shoulders so that their heads were right next to each other. Bianca was standing at the stovetop, flipping what looked to be pancakes. Logan was standing next to her, just leaning against the counter, drinking from a coffee cup. He was facing the direction Veronica had come from and gave her a sly smile as soon as his eyes landed on her. He made an exaggerated motion of glancing down at the sweatshirt before looking up at her and raising one eyebrow. She just smiled innocently and shrugged. He shook his head slightly, not enough that anyone else would have likely noticed, but enough for her to see what he was doing.

“Do I smell bacon?” Veronica asked as she walked a bit farther into the room.

“Of course,” Bianca replied with a big grin as she turned from the stove to look at Veronica. “I’d never invite you along on a vacation and not be sure we had plenty of bacon.”

“Wise,” Logan added with a smirk, earning an admonishing look from Veronica. He chuckled at her and grabbed a coffee mug from the cabinet behind him. “Coffee?” he asked with what looked like a peace offering expression.

Veronica nodded and he reached for the coffee pot and poured her a cup. The cream and sugar were sitting on the counter by him as well. He pointed in their direction and she nodded again. She watched as he meticulously added just enough cream and sugar for it to be just the way she always took it.

“Thanks,” she said with a warm smile as she walked closer and took it from him. She felt a warm sensation pass through her as he momentarily brushed his hand slowly along her own as he passed the cup carefully to her. “Anything I can help with?” Veronica asked as she turned toward Bianca, trying to find something to do to take her mind off Logan’s hands.

“Nope. They all offered too, but I’m about done. The bacon’s warming in the oven and I’m just doing a bunch of pancakes. We still have all the fruit you and I cut up yesterday too,” Bianca explained as she flipped another batch of pancakes. “You could go wake Dallas up,” she added with a sly grin.

Veronica laughed and nearly spit out her coffee. “Oh, he loves it when I wake him up, doesn’t he?”

“I didn’t pack your squirt bottle, so you’ll have to just wake him up a normal way,” Bianca replied playfully.

“What makes you think I didn’t bring it?” Veronica asked back before taking another drink of her coffee. Bianca chuckled and shook her head.

“I suppose I shouldn’t pit you two against each other so early in the morning. There’s one more batch to cook after this one if you want to finish it up and I’ll go wake my sleeping beauty,” Bianca said teasingly as she handed Veronica the spatula.

“And who’s going to wake Dinah and Bennett?” Veronica asked with a hesitant tone to her voice.

“I’ll make Dallas do it,” Bianca replied cheerily before she disappeared back down the hall.

Veronica glanced over at Logan and saw that he was watching her cook with an almost mischievous smile on his face. “Did you sleep well?” Logan asked playfully. “Or were your neighbors too loud.”

“Thanks Logan,” Casey grumbled under his breath.

Veronica narrowed her eyes slightly and shook her head at Logan. “Actually I think there was an annoying mosquito that kept buzzing around my ears,” she replied with a devious look on her own face. She just couldn’t help teasing him considering he was the one who started it.

“Annoying, huh?” he asked with an amused expression. “Well hopefully you’ll be pest free tonight.”

“And how did you sleep?” she asked back with a challenging look on her own face, wondering what sort of quip he might come back with.

“Best sleep I’ve had in a long time… guess it was the fresh air or something,” he replied as he looked intently at her. She’d expected some barb back, not the answer or look he’d given her and she felt her breath catch for a second. She wasn’t sure why she felt so flustered about it though and quickly turned her attention back to the pancakes.

Bianca, Jack and Bennett walked into the kitchen right as she was flipping the last batch of pancakes. Bianca told both Jack and Bennett where the mugs for the coffee were, and as expected, Bennett made two cups as Bianca and Veronica moved the pancakes, fruit and bacon to the center of the dining table. Veronica watched as Bennett headed back down the hall with the cups, and then returned a few minutes later for two plates of food.

“Is Princess Dinah too tired to actually eat at the table with us?” Veronica teased.

“I’m not surprised by how many times they…” Jack started to say before an elbow to the side drew a loud ‘oomph’ from him.

Veronica saw Bennett flip Jack off before he grabbed the two plates and headed back to his room. The rest of them sat down at the table and started filling up their own plates.

“Since when do you have a UCLA sweatshirt?” Jack asked Veronica after swallowing a bite of pancake.

“Since she stole mine from her room,” Logan replied before Veronica had a chance to respond.

“Well you didn’t think I wanted to get syrup on my own, did you?” she commented with an evil smirk. Logan chuckled and shook his head.

“There’s a small washer/dryer in the storage space under the stairs to the top deck if anyone does need to use it,” Bianca explained as she poured more syrup on her pancakes. “Of course we need to be mindful of using it too much since it will go in the same tanks as the toilets and we don’t want to have to go and dump them all the time.”

“Gross….” Jack commented as he squished up his nose. “Leave it to my girl to work toilets and dumping into the breakfast conversation.” The rest of the group laughed as Bianca shrugged and shook her head.

“I’m just trying to be informative. Mostly because I don’t want to hear you bitch about having to move the houseboat and losing our spot in the cove, like last year,” Bianca replied without any remorse.

“Well the tanks on this one are twice the size as last year’s so we should be good,” Jack responded.

“So what are the plans for the day?” Bianca asked next, moving them on from toilet and tank talk.

“I’m guessing more wakeboarding?” Jack asked as he looked between Logan and Casey, who both nodded.

“You gonna try it today, Birdie?” Logan asked as he looked intently at Veronica.

She really didn’t think she would be good at it and was a bit too intimidated to try it. “Um…” she started to reply, trying to come up with a reason to get out of trying.

“It’s a lot of fun V,” Bianca interjected. “You really should try. I’m sure you’d be great at it.”

“I can teach you,” Logan added as he gave her an encouraging smile.

“Maybe later this afternoon when it warms up more,” Veronica replied, hoping that by afternoon they might forget about it, or all find other things to do.

After breakfast Dinah and Bennett finally made it out of their room. None of the women wanted to wakeboard that early since it wasn’t very warm yet, so the four guys headed out in the speedboat leaving the four women behind on the house boat. Bianca and Veronica headed up to the top deck where they could watch the guys wakeboarding out a ways from where they were anchored. Dinah and Shelly ended up sitting on the lower deck, discussing a play that they’d both just recently seen.

“So, what did you two talk about last night?” Bianca asked curiously as they sat on two of the lounge chairs looking out at the lake.

“So many things… school… astrology… ex-boyfriends…” Veronica started listing off.

Bianca laughed in surprise when she got to ex-boyfriends. “That doesn’t sound like that would be a great topic to discuss with another ex-boyfriend.”

“Yeah… it was a bit odd… but good in some ways too…” Veronica replied, more or less pondering it herself. “I um…” she decided to confide the rest of the story to Bianca since she didn’t see what harm that could do. “I dated Logan’s best friend, Duncan, before I dated Logan, and then when Logan and I broke up before our senior year, I dated Duncan again.” Bianca gave her a surprised look. “Oh it gets even crazier than that!” Veronica said with a laugh. “You remember I told you about the bus crash and the classmate who was in a coma then died after having her baby?” Bianca nodded. Veronica had told her how insane things in Neptune had been when she was growing up, and that was one of the tragic stories she’d told her. “Well the baby was Duncan’s and he kidnapped her and fled the country.”

“Oh. My. God,” Bianca replied with a shocked look on her face. Veronica nodded.

“Logan and I got back together several months later after high school graduation. We never really discussed my relationship with Duncan until last night. I think it went pretty well though…” Veronica continued thinking back to the conversation from the prior night. “I didn’t realize before, but I think Logan may have thought that I loved Duncan more than I loved him, but with Duncan being gone, settled for him. I’m not exactly sure I completely clarified that for him yet though. Although at least he knows I didn’t love Duncan enough to want to go away with him.”

Bianca gave her a compassionate smile. “That sounds like a pretty heavy conversation to have.”

“Yeah… I guess we were never able to talk about it before when we were actually in a relationship, but now… I don’t know… out under the stars… it just seemed easier to talk to him than it had all those years ago.”

“Mm… I think it is good karma that you are both here then,” Bianca said with a satisfied grin.

“You might actually be right,” Veronica answered with a sly smile as she looked out toward the lake again. Logan was the one currently wakeboarding and just like the day before, it was very entertaining to watch him. She couldn’t imagine being able to flip in the air the way he did. Even though he was good at surfing, she realized from watching him, wakeboarding really didn’t seem very similar at all. Of course having good balance certainly couldn’t hurt. He’d tried to teach her to surf a couple of times, and she had been mediocre at best.

After all the guys had taken several turns wakeboarding they came back to the houseboat. It was getting close to lunch time, and Bianca had also picked up food to make sandwiches.

“I picked up stuff for fresh guac if anyone wants to make some,” Bianca said as she spread out the sliced deli meats and cheeses on the counter next to the loaves of bread she’d already set out.

“I’ll do it,” Logan said as he went over to the kitchen counter and started pulling out the ingredients he needed.

Veronica walked over by him. “Can I help?” she asked as she watched him setting things by the cutting board.

“Sure,” Logan replied with a grateful smile. He handed her a couple of tomatoes to dice up while he worked on the avocados. She was surprised when he corrected her slicing technique.

“Since when are you the expert chef?” Veronica asked with an amused smile. He shrugged and went back to mixing things together. “Let me guess… elective course?” Logan shook his head and looked a bit uncomfortable. “Ah… girlfriend,” Veronica stated with a knowing look.

Logan let out a deep sigh, “I don’t know if I’d classify her as that, but yes… a girl I dated for a while was a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in LA and taught me quite a few things.” He shrugged and still looked a bit chagrined. “And I actually enjoyed it, so after she left I kept trying different recipes and may have taken to watching some cooking shows.”

“She left… or the two of you broke up?” Veronica asked, curious to find out more about what had happened in his life over the last two years, even if it involved other women. She had of course dated several guys so had only expected that he’d also dated other women too.

Logan gave her a suspiciously puzzled look. “She got a head chef job at a fancy restaurant in Vegas so she left.” Veronica smiled and nodded. She really wanted to try to do things differently with him this time, regardless of where this might be going, and not being jealous over past relationships was definitely something she wanted to strive for. “Have you gone to see her and eaten there?” she asked next.

He shook his head. “No, I’ve avoided Vegas since I’ve been back. I guess that would be more of a Logan Echolls destination and not Logan Lester,” he explained in a hushed tone.

“Well her loss is certainly our gain,” she said with a coy smile as she grabbed a chip and dipped it into the guacamole that he’d just finished mixing up. “Mm… definitely our gain,” she added earning a bemused smile from him. He nodded and picked up the bag of chips and the bowl of guacamole to take over to the table where the others had sat down with their sandwiches.

The group was a little slow getting around to doing anything after lunch and the couples sort of split up into different areas of the boat, leaving Logan and Veronica hanging out at the dining table alone.

“So ready for your wakeboarding lesson?” Logan asked with a determined expression. I should have known he wouldn’t forget about it. She couldn’t help the uncertain look that crossed across her face. “It’s not as hard as you might think it is, Veronica.” She let out a soft sigh. He had mostly just been calling her Birdie, and the way he said her real name with so much warmth and tenderness made her feel the way she always used to with him.

“Come on,” he said as he stood up from his chair and reached for her hand, tugging her out of her seat as well. “I’ll show you some of the basics on the deck and then you can put a suit on and get in the water and I’ll teach you the right way to get up before we go out on one of the speedboats.”

She knew she probably wasn’t going to get out of at least trying, so she let him pull her out toward where the speedboats were tied up. He dropped her hand and climbed through the first boat, into the second boat where he grabbed a wakeboard and made his way back to her.

“Kick your sandals off and step into the boots,” he instructed as he knelt down in front of the board. She let out a deep sigh and started to do as he said. He reached out his hand for her to take so she didn’t lose her balance, and she gave him a grateful smile as she took it. Once she was in the boots, he released her hand and then carefully tightened the boots on her feet. He stood up in front of her and demonstrated how she should balance on the board after she was standing, giving her some tips of what not to do when she was first pulled up out of the water. Of course she couldn’t mimic him correctly, so he walked around behind her and put his hands on her hips so he could shift her into the correct position. He left his hands on her hips and pushed her slightly so she’d lean different ways as he explained what would happen if she did it in the water. She really did try to focus on his instructions and not just the sensual feeling of his fingers on her hips, but it was challenging to say the least. He also had her lean back against him to show her the angle that she’d need to be at when she was coming up out of the water. That was trickier than just standing flat on the board, but with his strong arms, he easily held her in the position he wanted her to be in. He kept his hands on her hips as he had her resting against his chest and continued to explain the proper technique she should be using. Feeling his body pressed up against hers like that made it even harder to focus on what he was telling her and not imagining what she’d rather be doing with him instead.

After trying to focus on his words and not his touch for an excruciating 10 minutes or so, he knelt back down in front of her and started loosening the boots so she could step out of the board. “Time to practice getting up out of the water now,” he said as he stood back up.  “Go ahead and put on a suit… I’d recommend a one-piece if you have one.” She chuckled and gave him a confounded look. “What?” he asked with a puzzled expression.

She shook her head and had a sly smile on her face. “I don’t think I’ve ever known you… or any guy… to suggest a one-piece instead of a bikini.”

Logan laughed and shook his head at her. “Yeah… the end of days are definitely upon us,” he replied with an amused smirk. She chuckled again as she turned to head back into her room.

She changed into the one-piece suit that she’d picked out and then headed back out to the deck. Bianca and Jack were cuddled up on one of the lounge chairs now. Apparently they had emerged from their room when she was in changing.

“Worm said he was giving you some wakeboarding lessons,” Jack commented as she walked by. She turned toward them and nodded. “Well he’s pretty awesome at it, so I’m sure he’s probably a good teacher too.” Veronica noticed a small smirk on Bianca’s lips.

“Have fun getting wet,” Bianca added as she quirked her head in the direction of Logan. Veronica narrowed her eyes slightly at her and shook her head at her roommate as Jack snickered at her comment. Of course as Veronica turned so she could see Logan, she realized why Bianca was teasing her. Logan had taken his t-shirt off and was in the process of putting on sun screen with his broad tan back toward them.

Logan glanced over his shoulder and saw her looking at him. “Hey, could you do me a favor and get my back for me?”

Veronica heard Bianca giggle softly and she turned back toward her and stuck her tongue out before she walked back to Logan.

“Sure,” Veronica replied as she held out her hand for the tanning oil he was using. Of course it would be oil and not just regular lotion. She took the bottle and squeezed some into her hands before she started rubbing it over his back. She may have taken longer than really necessary, but she was just trying to be thorough. He certainly didn’t complain about how long she was taking to rub the warm oil all over is hot muscular back. She thought about how most of the scars he’d had when he was younger had faded to small lines and ridges, with only a few being large enough to really notice now. She found herself tracing her finger along one of the worse ones as she finished up with the oil. She thought back to when they were first dating and how self-conscious he had been about her touching them, but them after some time together, it shifted to where he said he found it soothing instead. Like her touch had helped him erase the painful memories and think of her instead.

“Can you make sure I covered my shoulders well enough too?” Logan asked as he finally glanced back at her with a relaxed smile on his lips. She nodded and put more oil on her hands and started covering his shoulders too. She ran her hand down the side of his arm, over the tattoo that was around his left bicep. She paused there and traced part of the design with her finger.

“What inspired this?” she asked as she studied it. Up close she could tell that the design appeared to be waves, but in more of a tribal design. It was high enough that when he had on a normal t-shirt it would be covered. He shrugged and then turned back toward her, pulling his arm away from her fingers in the process.

“Ready for the rest of your lesson?” he asked instead of answering the question. She narrowed her eyes at him for a second, but then nodded in reply. She wasn’t sure if he just didn’t want to talk about why he’d gotten the tattoo or if there really wasn’t a story behind it. His expression didn’t seem guarded, but she still wondered if there was something more to it.

Logan started explaining again about the angle she’d need to keep the board at and to be sure not to try to fight the boat, but to use its motion to get her out of the water instead. He also reminded her about what would happen if she overcompensated in different directions. He grabbed the wakeboard that was still sitting on the deck and climbed into the first boat. “Are you coming?” he asked as he stopped and turned toward her. She gave him a hesitant look again. “The rope’s in the other boat, so I was going to sit on the edge and pull you up there.” She nodded and slowly followed him.

When he climbed into the second boat, he grabbed one of the life jackets for her to put on. She took a deep breath as he helped her put it on. He gave her a reassuring look, apparently sensing her apprehension again. “It’s going to be fine Veronica. Just relax and have fun,” he said as he gently squeezed her forearm. She gave him a small smile and nodded in reply.

Logan sat the board down near the edge and had her step back into the boots so he could tighten them for her again. At least the temperature outside had heated up quite a bit, so the cool water would feel better than if she’d been doing it earlier in the day. He gave her a few more instructions, and then helped her ease backwards into the water. He handed her the rope and then took a seat on the edge of the boat, dangling his legs in the water in front of her. He gave her an encouraging smile and then put his feet on the edge of the board and pushed her slightly away from the boat.

“Okay, I’ll pull on the rope, just like the boat would when it starts out and you can practice your technique for getting up out of the water,” Logan explained.

She nodded and took another deep breath. She couldn’t help notice how his biceps flexed as he pulled on the rope. The first time he pulled her up she was so focused on his arms, that she completely forgot what he’d told her to do and she quickly fell right back into the water. He laughed softly at her and shook his head. “Were you even listening to me?” he asked.

She rolled her eyes and nodded and got back into the starting position. She was sure she’d heard at least seventy-five percent of what he’d told her. The other twenty-five percent lost due to her distraction when his hands were first on her hips.  It took a few more pulls, but she started to get it after a while. Bianca walked over and started watching too, giving a few pointers herself.

“I think Dallas is going to take the other boat out with Casey and Bennett, and I’ll go with you and Logan so they can do some wakeboarding too while you’re learning. I think Shelly wanted to try it today too, so she might come with us,” Bianca explained as Veronica started to climb out of the water back into the boat. “Unless you want to go with the other guys?” Bianca asked looking at Logan.

Logan smiled and shook his head. “And miss the fruits of my labor?” he asked with a teasing smirk. “I’ll stick with you and Birdie.” Bianca nodded and said she was just going to go in and change and check with Dinah too. She said she’d be back in a few minutes as she headed back over to the house boat.

“You could go wakeboard with the other guys. I’m sure I’ll be fine with Bianca,” Veronica suggested. She really didn’t want to make a fool of herself, and figured if it was just her and Bianca, she could talk Bianca out of making her do it.

He shook his head as he handed her a towel. “No, I’ll stay with you. I did enough wakeboarding this morning, and I’m sure you’ll get tired after a little while and then Bianca and I can take turns too.”

She took a deep breath and nodded in reply, resigning herself to not getting out of doing it now. She slipped out of the life jacket and wrapped the towel around her shoulders. “You put sunscreen on before you came out right?” Logan asked as he peered down at her.

“I put some on this morning when Bianca and I were on the deck,” Veronica replied as she dried her hair a bit with the towel.

“You’d better put some more on. Probably something strong with your fair skin,” Logan said matter-of-factly as he moved closer to the front of the speedboat and pulled out a bag of supplies that Bianca must have stashed on the boat. He dug through the bag and pulled out a bottle of high SPF sport lotion and handed it to her. “Let me know if you need help with any hard to reach spots,” he added as he waggled his eyebrows in an over-exaggerated way and then chuckled at himself. “Seriously though… let me know if you need any help.” She nodded and started applying lotion on her legs and arms. “I’m going to run into get my other sunglasses. Need anything from inside?” She shook her head and a second later he was gone.

Bianca made it back out to the speedboat before Logan did and helped Veronica put some sunscreen on her back where she couldn’t quite reach. Veronica was a little disappointed she didn’t get to ask Logan to return the favor from putting oil on him earlier, but maybe it was safer this way. Bianca let her know that Shelly and Dinah were both going to go out on the other boat so it would just be the three of them on theirs.

Logan returned a few minutes later and they headed out in the lake. Veronica convinced Bianca to wakeboard first so she could watch her for a little while before she had to go. Bianca had grown up wakeboarding on Washington lakes during the summers, so she was almost as skilled as Logan was and easily did flips and spins in the air. She’d finally had enough and signaled to stop, so Logan eased off the gas and Bianca rode up to the boat and climbed back in.  

“You’re turn, V,” Bianca said as she slipped out of the vest and wakeboard.

Veronica took a deep breath and felt a bit frozen. She felt Logan put his hands on her shoulder and lean in a little closer to her. “You’re going to do fine, Veronica,” he said confidently. “Just remember if you do fall, make sure you let go of the rope.” She nodded, but still didn’t feel all that great. “Remember how I showed you to start, right? You’ve got this.”

Bianca handed her the ski vest and then Logan leaned down to lace up her boots. He gave her an encouraging smile as he looked up at her. “Show us what you’ve got, Bobcat,” he said quietly with a sly grin, making Veronica’s breath catch for a second in her throat. I am a bobcat and I can do anything I set my mind to, right? She smiled a little more confidently and then climbed out of the boat, waiting for Bianca to hand her the rope.

Of course the first time, she didn’t quite get up correctly, and as Logan pulled the boat back around to her he leaned over the side and told her what she needed to do differently so she wouldn’t fall again. A part of her wanted to just climb back in the boat and quit, but as she looked at his encouraging expression and listened to the confidence in his voice as he told her that she almost had it, she knew she couldn’t just give up. The second time, she changed what he had told her that she was doing wrong and was able to stand up for a few seconds before she overcompensated and went crashing into the water again.

He pulled the boat around and gave her another encouraging smile. “You know what you did wrong?” he asked gently, rather than just telling her what it was. She nodded and told him what she thought it was and he beamed a bit more and nodded in reply. Bianca tossed her the rope and then Logan got the boat into position again.

Third time was definitely the charm, and she was able to get up easier than the second time and this time she stood like he’d shown her before on the houseboat and she felt much more stable and at ease on the water. She stayed up for several minutes the third time before she lost her balance and went tumbling into the water again.

“Much better,” Bianca said with a big smile when they came back with the boat again.

“You want to try it again?” Logan asked with a questioning expression. She could tell that he didn’t want to push her too hard, but she also sensed that he was hoping she wouldn’t give up yet.

“Yeah… I want to try it again,” Veronica replied with a more confident smile.

Logan smiled in return and since he was closer to the rope than Bianca, he tossed it to her this time. “Just have fun and don’t try to fight against the flow,” he said with a reassuring expression. Veronica nodded and got into the proper position as Logan lined the boat up again.

She had a much better run on her fourth try, and while she certainly wasn’t ready to go and jump over the wake from the boat, she did experiment slowly with shifting her weight just enough to make her sway a little from side to side. She got a little braver after she’d been stable for a while and ended up crashing, but she did much better than the other times. She decided she’d take a break for a little while after that and let them know she was done. Logan nodded in agreement as he helped her back in the boat.

“You did awesome,” he said as he knelt down in front of her to help her out of the boots.

“I had a great teacher,” she said as she beamed down at him.

“Nah… you’re just naturally gifted at anything you decide to do,” he said with a modest grin.

She couldn’t help but smile in reply and shake her head slightly. “Your turn?” she asked as she stepped out of the boots and started to unzip her vest.

“Yeah,” he said as he stood up, and stared down at her now. “Hopefully I won’t bore you like yesterday.”

She bit on her lip for a moment and looked up at him with a coy smile. “Like anything about you could ever be boring, Logan.”

She saw him get slightly flustered at that, and he seemed to be out of witty comebacks. He took a deep breath and then reached for the larger ski vest and slipped it on. She always loved it when she was able to throw him off balance a bit. They’d brought two wakeboards along with them, and he also reached for the larger board too.

He gave her one more quick smile before he hopped back into the water and Bianca tossed him the rope. Veronica took a seat in the back so she could watch him while Bianca drove the boat. And as she’d told him moments before, there really was nothing boring about him, now or ever.

Veronica took another turn on the wakeboard after Bianca had gone again and she had a much easier time than the first time. They finally headed back to the houseboat after Logan had gone out for one more run. Veronica couldn’t help but notice that their flirting seemed to be increasing the more they interacted, and Bianca must have noticed it too based on some of the looks she gave her. Veronica was certainly looking forward to see what might happen later when they got a chance to be alone together again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

When Veronica, Logan and Bianca made it back to the houseboat the rest of the group was already back as well. As they pulled their speedboat up to the houseboat, Veronica noticed the others were all hanging around on the deck. They had all changed back into normal clothes and were no longer in swimming shorts and bikinis. Veronica assumed they were probably waiting for the three of them to return to make arrangements for dinner.

“So what’s the plan for the night?” Jack asked once Veronica, Bianca and Logan had tied up the speedboat and joined the rest of the group on the houseboat.

“I wanted to go listen to that band tonight, remember,” Bianca told Jack with a pointed look.

He took a deep breath, and Veronica knew that look too well. Jack didn’t want to go listen to the band and hoped Bianca would have forgotten about it. Come on Jack, we both know that was never going to happen.

“Why don’t you all have your big millionaire’s high stake poker game tonight, and V and I will go listen to the band,” Bianca said as she walked next to Veronica and put her arm around Veronica’s shoulder.

“What kind of band is it?” Shelly asked innocently.

“Country music,” both Jack and Bianca said at the same time, although with much different inflections in their tone. While Jack and Bianca had lots of things in common, their taste in music was very different. There were some types of music that they both enjoyed, but Bianca’s love for country music was not shared by Jack. Bianca also wasn’t fond of some of the rap music that Jack occasionally tried to get her to listen to. Veronica had witnessed more than one argument between the two of them over music in the past two years.

“Oh,” Shelly replied, and it was clear from her expression, she fell on Jack’s side of not being fond of country music as well. Veronica hadn’t really liked it before she moved in with Bianca either, but she had to admit there were some bands and songs that Bianca listened to that she’d actually started to like. She still wouldn’t listen to country music voluntarily if she was alone, but she could tolerate it, and sometimes enjoy it, if Bianca was with her. Veronica also knew that Dinah wasn’t a huge fan, and so didn’t expect her to want to come along either.

“It’s fine.” Veronica jumped in to Bianca’s defense. “Bianca and I will go and the rest of you can hang out and play poker.”

“I don’t know about you two going off on your own,” Jack started to protest, but Veronica knew that was going to be pointless.

Puhleese,” Bianca replied back indignantly. “Did you forget that V and I were at the top of our self-defense class? I’d like to see anyone mess with us.”

Jack let out a defeated sigh and shrugged. “Fine… and dinner?”

Veronica could tell that he wasn’t going to try to argue with Bianca about it because it really would be pointless. He at least had the good sense to know when he was defeated and to not make it worse. Once Bianca had her mind set on something, it was pretty impossible to change it. You either went along with her, or stayed out of her way.

“Why don’t we all head over to the pizza place on the lake, and then V and Bianca can go to the other place to listen to the band, and the rest of us can come back here?” Dinah suggested. Clearly, as Veronica suspected, Dinah wasn’t planning on joining them.

“You can all go have pizza,” Bianca replied adamantly. “V and I will just grab something at the bar.” Dinah let out a sigh and then nodded. Veronica knew neither Dinah nor Jack could change Bianca’s mind when she got like this, so she just planned to go along for the ride. “Come on V. Let’s go and get changed,” Bianca said as she turned and started guiding Veronica inside with her.

Logan had been standing behind them during the entire interaction, and Veronica had no idea what his reaction to it all of that had been. Once they were inside and almost to their rooms Bianca said a small quiet ‘thanks’.

“Of course,” Veronica replied with a soft smile. “I’ve always got your back, you know.”

Bianca gave her a grateful smile and nodded before she turned and headed into her room to shower and change.

“Hey,” Logan said softly from behind her, though still startling Veronica and causing her to jump slightly. “Sorry,” he said with a grimace.

“It’s okay,” Veronica said as she caught her breath. She headed into her room and gestured with her head for him to follow her.

“I just…” he stopped and looked at the floor before looking back up at her. “You’re sure the two of you will be okay on your own?”

While his concern was sweet, it was also a little unnecessary. “Yeah, we’ll be fine. I have some pepper spray in my purse if needed and like Bianca said, we were both at the top of our self-defense class. And I don’t think LakeShasta is anything like Neptune or LA.”

“I don’t doubt that you could seriously kick some ass if needed,” Logan replied with a smirk. She could tell he still wasn’t thrilled that the two of them were going alone though.

“Do I get a story tonight?” she asked, hoping to distract him with something else. Something they could maybe both look forward to for later that night.

His expression became much more relaxed and he nodded. “Yeah… of course… if you want one. I’ve got plenty I can share.”

“I do,” she said with a coy smile and nodded. “I’d better get ready so Bianca doesn’t get annoyed with me too. Did you need to use the bathroom before I jump into the shower?”

Logan shook his head and waved his hand in the direction of the bathroom. “I don’t want to hold you up. I can tell having Bianca mad at you would not be good.” He paused for a moment before he continued. “She actually reminds me a lot of you. I can see why the two of you have become such good friends.”

Veronica smiled and nodded. While they were different in many ways, there was something very similar between the two of them, which probably was what drew them together as friends in the first place. They were both very determined, loyal, competitive, and maybe a little stubborn. And they both could kick some serious ass if they wanted to, even if they were both pretty petite. They were not a pair of women that anyone should ever underestimate.

"I think I'll grab my bag and see of I can use Casey's shower since it seemed like the rest of them were ready to go to pizza. I'm sure he won't mind," Logan added as he walked toward the closet. He turned and gave her a quick smile before walking back out of the room with his bag over his shoulder.

Veronica headed into the bathroom excited to get the country music portion of the evening over, so she could come back and hang out on the top deck with Logan under the stars. She couldn’t help but wonder if there would be marshmallows again too.

When Veronica made it back out to the main cabin, she spotted Logan's duffle bag on one of the couches. There wasn't any noise at all, so she assumed the larger group had left already to go to the pizza place. She was a little disappointed to miss out on pizza, but figured they might go there again later in the week.

Bianca appeared from her room a few minutes later. "I see the others left already," Veronica commented as Bianca headed toward her.

"Yeah, Dallas came in to let me know and to try to change my mind," she answered with an annoyed look.

"Silly boy," Veronica replied with a smirk, earning a confirming nod from Bianca.

"So... Bobcat?" Bianca asked with a teasing smile.

Veronica felt her cheeks heat up slightly. "I was hoping you hadn't caught that," she replied with a slightly embarrassed tone. She didn’t think Bianca was listening when Logan called her that on the speedboat.

Bianca chuckled and gave her a sly smile. "Fits you better than Birdie, but I promise not to tell."

Veronica nodded in appreciation. "Ready to go get our cowboy on?" Veronica asked with an amused smile. Bianca nodded and grabbed the other set of boat keys from the counter. She then looped her arm through Veronica’s and pulled her out the door.

The bar they went to at least had great food and since Bianca felt a little guilty about dragging Veronica there with her, she insisted on paying for dinner.

"Don't think I'm going to put out just because you bought me dinner," Veronica teased as they finished eating and watched the band start to set up on the stage.

"I guess I'll just have to get you really drunk then," Bianca teased back with a smirk.

The bar was starting to fill up with more people now, and they were glad they'd gotten there early enough to get a decent table where they could watch the band after they ate. They were on an outside patio where the band would be playing, which also had a space in front of the stage for dancing.

"How many songs until you think we'll get hit on to dance?" Bianca asked playfully as she started looking around the growing crowd.

Veronica started glancing around too. While there were quite a few tables with couples, a lot of the other patrons seemed to be larger groups made up of varying degrees of what looked to be singles looking to hook up. "Three," Veronica answered with a chuckle.

"I don't know," Bianca replied. "Mister dark jeans and plaid button-down over there has been keeping a pretty close eye on you. I'm guessing two."

Veronica laughed and shook her head, covertly looking in the direction Bianca had indicated. She spotted the guy in question and caught a shy smile cross his face before he turned away. At least he didn't look too sketchy, but seeing his reaction to her looking his direction she figured it would be much longer than two songs before he worked up enough nerve to come and talk to her.

"Come on Bianca at least three," Veronica joked as she turned back toward her. Bianca shrugged and gave her a mischievous grin. "And no going over and asking him to ask your friend... that's cheating, and you know it," Veronica added.

"I know, I know. It's not like we're actually betting on it, this time," Bianca replied defensively. "And I swear I didn't send that guy over last time either."

Veronica laughed at her and shook her head. "Sure... It's also cheating if you have any of our group do it though."

Bianca shrugged and took another drink of her piña colada. "Logan's were much better," she commented, receiving an agreeing nod from Veronica as she also picked up her own glass for another drink.

The band started playing a short while later and they were actually pretty good. Bianca had certainly dragged Veronica to some that weren't. The band had just finished their second song when Veronica glanced over at Bianca and chuckled softly to herself. She was actually surprised that it hadn't happened sooner given how long they'd been there. Jack gave Veronica a quick wink before he placed his hands on Bianca's shoulders and leaned down to kiss her cheek. It's not that Jack was overly possessive or mistrusting of Bianca, but he was certainly smitten with her and keeping the two of them apart for long never seemed to happen. And Jack would typically cave and go along with whatever it was that Bianca wanted. Veronica watched Bianca's lips quirk up into a triumphant smile. Bianca obviously wasn't surprised he turned up there either.

She couldn't hear Jack's voice over the new song that had just started, but she saw his lips move and then he gestured his head to the dance floor and Bianca nodded before she stood up. She gave Veronica a quick smile before giving Jack a deep kiss and then let him lead her out to the floor.

Veronica glanced toward dark jean guy wondering if her sudden lack of a companion would instigate him pouncing. She was surprised when his expression changed to look disappointed. Maybe he was actually watching Bianca and not me.

Veronica practically jumped out of her seat a second later as a familiar husky voice spoke into her ear. "Want to dance?" Logan asked as he leaned down next to her from where he was standing right behind her.

Veronica spun toward him and was a bit thrown off at first when she saw him. She gave him an amused smile as she realized he was incognito as Logan Lester with his dark rimmed glasses in place. She was even more surprised as he moved so he could take her hand and pulled her up from the chair. He smirked at her as he gave her a quick little wink and then tried to pull her out toward the floor. Veronica wasn't great at country dancing, but Bianca had dragged her out enough that she could at least follow along with someone who knew what they were doing. Dancing with someone who had no clue certainly never worked out well though. She was already on her feet before she realized what was really going on, but then shook her head slightly.

"Come on. It's just country dancing, Veronica. How hard could it be?" Logan asked with a smug grin.

She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Fine, if he wants to get trampled and make a fool of himself, I'm not going to stop him. Everyone knows the guys lead and when disastrous things happen, they're the ones generally blamed.

He pulled her out to an open space and pulled her into the correct position at least. He started moving, with her following his lead and she was shocked that he actually knew what he was doing. She laughed and shook her head as he spun her.

"Please tell me you were forced to take some country dancing elective and that you didn't willingly learn how to two-step," Veronica asked with an amused smile.

He shrugged and shook his head. He looked a bit sheepish as he started to answer. "The chef loved to country dance, so in return for teaching me to cook I had to learn the two-step... and maybe some line dancing."

Veronica smiled even more and laughed, which must have put his mind at ease. "Well again, her loss, my gain," she replied with a pleased expression before he spun her again. She hated to admit that she actually thought country dancing was fun with a good partner. She caught Bianca looking at her with an astonished expression. Veronica gave her an 'I know!' silent look back.

When the song ended the band switched to something closer to a slow song and most of the couples that had remained on the dance floor moved into more intimate positions. Logan gave Veronica a questioning glance, perhaps wondering if she wanted to quit. Veronica took a step closer and wrapped her arms around his neck. He gave her a warm smile and put his hands loosely around her waist until she pressed closer against him and he moved them to hold her a bit tighter.

"So... master chef... country dancing pro... astrology wizard... What other secrets are you keeping from me?" Veronica asked as she quirked an eyebrow at him playfully. At least she'd intended it to come across as playful, but maybe given their history, keeping secrets was a bit too sensitive of a topic. Logan's expression became a bit uneasy and he shrugged and shook his head. He looked out toward the crowd instead of at her. She really hadn't meant to make him uncomfortable and felt instantly guilty. "Hmm... rodeo clown? ... magician’s assistant? ... circus performer?" she asked with a playful smile. He looked back down her, at least a bit more amused now and shook his head. She shrugged in a faux defeated gesture and then rested her head against his chest. She could easily hear his heart beating and while the prior dance could have been the reason for the fast staccato, she couldn't help but think he did have a secret that he really didn't want her to know. Maybe whatever it is can just stay buried this time. She really didn't want to jeopardize whatever this was that was happening between them. She'd tried to change her incessant need to uncover the truth when she went to Stanford, realizing how much she'd already lost. Digging up the Castle's secrets had certainly cost her a lot. She had no idea that Gory had gone after Logan when she was in Virginia. She took a deep breath and squeezed him a little tighter still not sure exactly what Gory had tried to do to him. She was so thankful that she was getting this chance to know him again though.

They took a break when the next song came on and Logan went to go get some water for them all. Dark jean guy must have thought Logan was gone for good and finally decided to make his move. Jack and Bianca were back at the table as well and since it was only a small table with two chairs, Bianca was sitting on Jack's lap. Bianca gave Veronica a warning look right before dark jean guy got there.

"Would you like to dance?" he asked with a hopeful look.

"No thank you," Veronica answered with a friendly smile. She thought she would at least be polite about it.

The guy looked a bit frustrated, but didn't leave. "Are you sure? What's the harm in one dance?" he continued, getting a bit more aggressive. He was slurring his words slightly so he must have had more than enough liquid courage to get him over there in the first place. He reached down and grabbed her arm. “You danced with that other guy… you could at least do the same with me.”

Logan must have walked up behind her right when she first turned the guy down and overheard what was going on. "The lady said no," Logan said firmly, standing a bit straighter and looking a bit more intimidating than before, even from behind his glasses.

The guy gave Logan an angry glare as he released Veronica’s arm. "I was just trying to be friendly, man. She didn't need to be a bitch about it."

Veronica watched Logan's jaw clench and his expression got even darker. “I think you’d better apologize,” Logan said in a menacing tone. Veronica saw something change in the other guy’s expression as he studied Logan more carefully.

Dark jean guy glanced quickly at Jack, likely to see what sort of reaction he was also having to what was going on. After a second he looked back up at Logan and looked less aggressive than before. "Take it easy, dude. Sorry..." dark jean guy mumbled as he finally turned to head back to his table.

"Thanks," Veronica said with an appreciative smile to Logan, perhaps catching him a bit off guard based on his reaction. "I'd hate to have had to waste my pepper spray on a guy like that."

He smiled and nodded as he sat the tray of water glasses down on the table. He looked around, likely to see if there were any empty chairs nearby to borrow. Veronica stood up and waved at the chair. "We can share," she said as she moved to the side for him to take a seat. He gave her a questioning look, so she put her hands on his torso and guided him into the chair. She pushed his knees together and then sat sideways across them, so she could rest her arms on the table, similar to how Bianca was sitting as well. Logan put one hand on the table and let the other hang down to his side. Veronica was a little disappointed that he didn't put either of them on her, but was still enjoying being as close to him as she was.

After their brief water break the two couples went back out to dance to a few more songs. Veronica was glad to see that whatever uneasiness she'd caused earlier regarding the secrets comment seemed to have gone away and Logan seemed to be enjoying dancing with her again. They ended up staying until the band finished their last set and then the two couples started making their way back to where the boats were moored.

Jack and Bianca were leading the way with Jack's arm wrapped around Bianca's shoulders. The temperature had started to drop again and Veronica involuntarily shivered as they were walking along. Logan glanced over at her and held his arm up for her. She smiled and nodded and moved closer to him to be warmer. He wrapped his arm across her shoulder and pulled her a little tighter against his side as they continued to walk.

The boat that Veronica and Bianca came over on was closer and Jack said he’d drive that one back as he handed the keys to the other boat to Logan. Logan had dropped his arm before they stopped by the first boat, so neither Jack nor Bianca saw that they had been walking that way.

“You can go with them,” Logan said to Veronica with an encouraging smile. “The other boat is down a bit farther.”

“It’s fine,” Veronica said as she gave him a determined look.

“Okay, I guess we’ll see the two of you back at the houseboat,” Logan told Jack and Bianca as the other couple started to climb into the first speedboat.

Jack and Bianca said a quick goodbye and then Logan and Veronica started walking again. She looped her arm around his waist, just as she used to do when they were dating, and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders in return.

“So did you guys even play poker tonight?” Veronica asked as they continued to walk.

Logan chuckled and shook his head. “Nope, Dallas started pouting before we even got to the pizza place, so when we got back he announced he was going to go back over to catch up with the two of you.”

“Did he ask you to go along?” Veronica asked next, wondering whose idea that had been.

Logan shook his head again. “Nope, I said I wanted to go too.”

“Well thanks. It’s never fun being a third wheel,” Veronica replied. “And I was very impressed with your dancing skills.”

Logan chuckled. “You weren’t too bad yourself. I take it that wasn’t your first rodeo?”

Veronica laughed before she shook her head. “Nope and Bianca actually did drag us to a rodeo once too.” They walked a little farther, both chuckling slightly as they went. “So was the pizza good?”

“Yeah, it wasn’t quite as good as Cho’s but a very close second.” He paused a minute before he continued. “I did happen to have some left over of the one I ordered and brought it back to the houseboat.”

“Pepperoni and sausage?” Veronica asked hopefully.

Logan nodded. “With some mushrooms, bell peppers and pineapple too,” Logan added causing Veronica to laugh.

“You used to hate it when I wanted vegetables and fruit on it.”

Logan shrugged. “I guess it grew on me.”

They continued walking toward the speedboat. She was a little surprised that after all this time he still remembered what she liked on her pizza and that he ordered it that way even if she wasn’t there. “I think there’s a blanket on board actually,” Logan said as he helped her climb into the boat and then turned to look in the storage areas under the seats. “Here you go,” Logan said as he wrapped the blanket around her shoulders.

“Thanks,” she said with a grateful smile as she sat down in the space next to the driver’s seat.

Logan didn’t go too fast on the way back to the houseboat, likely so she wouldn’t be even colder. It was extremely peaceful out on the lake at night, and she could see lots of other houseboats anchored in the various coves that they went by. She could occasionally hear music and laughter coming from some, while others were peacefully quiet. It took them about fifteen minutes to make it back to the houseboat. Jack and Bianca had arrived before they had since their boat was closer to the bar and they may have gone back faster too. Logan carefully tied up their speedboat and then helped Veronica climb across over to the houseboat again. Jack and Bianca were kissing in the kitchen as Logan and Veronica walked into the main cabin.

“Get a room,” Veronica teased as she saw the two of them.

“Brilliant idea, my dear Birdie,” Jack said as he scooped Bianca up, causing her to squeal in surprise.

Veronica shook her head and laughed softly at them as Jack made his way toward their room. The other two couples must have already been in their rooms too because no one else was out in the main cabin or on the deck when they arrived.

“So you said something about left over pizza?” Veronica asked with a sly smile.

Logan laughed and shook his head at her. “Didn’t you and Bianca have dinner at the bar?”

Veronica gave him an offended look. “Did you forget who you’re talking to?”

“Silly me,” Logan replied as he walked toward the fridge. He opened the door and pulled out a small pizza box. “Cold or heated up?” he asked with a raised brow and a smirk on his lips.

She quirked her own brow back at him and he chuckled as he opened the cabinet for a plate. He put two slices on the plate and opened the microwave, receiving an approving smile from her. While he was heating up the pizza, Veronica pulled out a water bottle and asked if he wanted one too. He nodded and she grabbed a second one for him. He pulled the pizza out of the microwave and sat it on the counter in front of where she’d just taken a seat.

He watched her carefully as she picked up one of the slices and took a bite. She let out a slow moan as she savored the flavor. “Mm… this is really good,” she said after swallowing the first bite. An amused smile spread across Logan’s face as he nodded in agreement.

“Told you so,” Logan said as he continued to watch her carefully.

“You can have the other piece if you want,” she said after she swallowed another bite.

“If you’re sure,” he asked as he gave her a questioning glance. She nodded and he reached down and picked up the other piece. “It’s good, and I don’t like to brag, but I do have to say I think I’ve made some that were actually even better.”

Veronica laughed and shook her head at him. “Good thing you don’t like to brag,” she said making him roll his eyes slightly. “What makes yours better?” she asked curiously.

“The wood-fire pizza oven we had installed on our deck at the apartment,” he explained with a sly grin. Veronica couldn’t help smiling at that.

“Mm… that sounds delicious too. But I think I’m going to have to reserve my decision on which is better until I actually get to taste yours,” she said with a sly expression.

Logan smiled a bit more and nodded. “Deal. You come and visit me in L.A. and I promise to make you one of my pizzas.”

“Deal,” she replied back with an even bigger smile. They finished off the rest of the pizza with slightly goofy grins on their faces. She loved feeling this comfortable and easy going with him again.

“I still get a story tonight, right?” she asked as they walked toward her room. She certainly wasn't ready for the evening to end and hoped he hadn't forgotten about his earlier offer.

“Of course,” he replied with an amused smile. “Get changed for bed and then I’ll meet you up on the top deck. I’m just going to grab my pillow and blanket again.” She glanced pointedly at his clothes, since he had jeans and a button down shirt on. “Come on, I’m a surfer Veronica. I’m quite capable of changing clothes under a towel when needed. I’ll just change upstairs.”

She shook her head at him. “You can use the room to change if you want to.”

“It’s fine,” he said as he gave her a little wink and headed out of the room with his bag, and the pillow and blanket.

She laughed softly as she went to get her sleep shorts and a tank top out of her bag. After she pulled them out, she decided she’d at least put a pair of yoga pants on instead of the shorts, but didn’t want to be too warm up on the deck, or she wouldn’t have a good excuse for snuggling up next to Logan under the moonlight again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

When Veronica made it up on deck a short while later, she found Logan lying on the same couch that he was on the night before, but scooted toward the back so there was clearly room for her next to him. She noticed he’d changed out of the clothes he’d had on earlier into shorts and a t-shirt. He was staring up at the sky and turned to give her a pleased smile when she started walking toward him. He pushed himself up so he was inclining against his elbows.

"Did you want to steal my sweatshirt now or later?" He asked with a smirk as his eyes slowly fell from her face, down her body and then back up.

She gave him a devilish grin as she moved closer. "I'll just start with appropriating a portion of your blanket."

"Only a portion?" he replied, feigning surprise as he put his hand to his chest in an exaggerated motion. "You're actually going to share it with me tonight?" She loved how expressive he could be with just his eyebrows. Even if he hadn’t said a word to her, she still would have guessed exactly what he was thinking by the look he gave her. Who’d have thought one of the things she’d missed about him was the way he could convey an entire message with the slightest arch of his brows.

Veronica gave him a puzzled look, glancing at the blanket slung slightly across his legs and then back up at his face. "I shared last night."

Logan laughed and then shook his head slowly. "My cold back would have had to disagree with you. At least the side you snuggled against was warm."

"Would your back like on apology?" she asked with a sly grin as she moved toward him.

"It's okay, I think it got over it when you rubbed oil all over it earlier today," he replied with a soft laugh.

She let out a soft snicker as she shook her head and then sat down in the empty space next to him. "No dessert tonight?" she asked lightheartedly.

He laughed and pulled the bag of marshmallows from the far side of him where they had been blocked from her view and shook it slightly. “I figured you’d want something sweet to balance off the pizza.” She rolled her eyes slightly as she reached to take one out of the bag. He took one as well before he put the bag back down.

"What did your master chef think of your marshmallow obsession?" Veronica asked curiously, actually intending it to just be an innocent question, after she took a bite of hers.

Logan took a deep breath and looked away from her for a moment before he answered. "I didn't share that with her," he replied a bit reluctantly.

"Probably wise," Veronica continued, not giving it a chance to become awkward as she feared it might from his immediate reaction. "Because then she may not have offered to teach you to cook and then you wouldn't have learned to two-step and then I wouldn't have benefited from all that. Maybe I should get her address and send her a thank you card... wait, is your secret piña colada recipe from her too?" His smug smile finally returned and he nodded. "Forget a card… she definitely deserves a fruit basket.”

Logan chuckled and shook his head at her. She was glad that it seemed as if he was relaxing again. She really didn’t blame him for being a little gun shy this time around. Honest conversations hadn’t always worked out so well for them in the past, especially if they involved other women. She really was trying to do things differently this time and hoped that he would start to realize that too. Of course she wasn’t feeling confident enough about where things were headed yet to just come out and say anything about it. While she wanted to be better this time, being completely honest about her feelings was still an area she was a bit uncomfortable with. She pulled her legs up as she sat down next to him and stared up at the sky. "Good skies for star gazing?" she asked as she turned and leaned back, putting her arms behind her head.

Logan laid back onto the pillow as well and stared back up at the sky. "Yep, another clear, cloudless night."

"So what story do you have for me this time?" Veronica asked as she turned to study him.

"I thought I'd let you pick a star and see if I know the constellation and its story," he explained as he turned and smiled back at her.

"Okay... that sounds more challenging for you. Of course I'll have no idea if you're right or not, so I'll just have to trust you." Veronica glanced around the sky a bit then pointed to a very bright star. "How about that bright one?"

Logan chuckled. "Speaking of trust... That bright star is Vega. It's part of the constellation Lyra. It's also the second brightest star in the northern hemisphere. The story is a sad one, although I suppose a lot of them are... the Greeks sure loved their tragedies." He paused for a moment and then pointed out the rest of the constellation to her before he started telling her the story about it.

“Let’s see… So Lyra is actually a harp… the Lyre… It was given to Orpheus and when he would play it, people and animals would stop what they were doing to listen. He usually would play love songs to his bride Eurydice. One day, Eurydice died suddenly which broke Orpheus’ heart,” he started explaining before Veronica interrupted him.

“Yeah… this one sounds positively upbeat…” Veronica mumbled sarcastically.

Logan chuckled before he continued. “Orpheus attempted to win his love back from Hades and traveled to the underworld playing his lyre on the way there. When he reached finally reached the underworld, he kept playing his lyre and Hades really enjoyed listening to the music. After a while though, Orpheus stopped playing and when Hades asked him to start playing again, Orpheus said he would on one condition. Of course the condition was that when he finished, Hades would release his beloved Eurydice and allow her to return with him. Hades agreed to the deal, but then when Orpheus finished playing, Hades also had one condition for him.”

“Sounds like politicians in Neptune making shady deals,” Veronica added causing Logan to chuckle softly again.

“Hades told Orpheus that he had to trust him to keep his word and return to the upper world playing his music, not ever looking back to see if his wife was following. If Orpheus didn’t trust him and looked back, Eurydice would be taken back to the underworld forever. So Orpheus started his trip back, playing his lyre as he walked along. He could hear her footsteps behind him at the beginning, but when they were almost near the upper world they passed through a pine grove and he couldn’t hear her footsteps any longer. He finally couldn’t take it after a while and glanced back over his shoulder. Unfortunately when he turned he witnessed her fading right before his eyes, taken back to the underworld by Hades. When Orpheus later died, Zeus placed the constellation Lyra in the sky in honor of his beautiful music and his great love for Eurydice.”

"So his lack of faith cost him the woman he loved?" Veronica asked sadly.

"Yep," Logan replied somberly. "I suppose there's some lesson there about having faith in people even when you may not be sure that they are still there for you."

Veronica sucked in a deep breath. "You're right, that one was a depressing one. I suck at picking stories."

Logan chuckled. "Of course one of the brightest stars would have a sad story. The glitter just drew you in though. But don’t feel bad, lots of people get distracted by shiny objects.”

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head at him. "Are there any happily ever after stories?" she asked with a sigh.

"It’s Greek Mythology, not Disney, Veronica. Usually to get a constellation named after you something major had to have happened to you."

"But it could be a good major thing," Veronica replied obstinately. She thought about mentioning how after everything bad that had happened to them, they really deserved their own constellations, but didn’t want to go down that particular path tonight. Stay away from the bad memories, Veronica.

"I suppose," Logan replied with an amused tone.

"So... tell me a better one? You don't want me to have bad dreams, do you?" she asked coyly.

"No I certainly wouldn't want that," Logan replied as she heard his head turn toward her. She turned and gave him a soft smile. He stared at her for a few seconds before he turned back up toward the sky and started looking around at the stars again. She watched him instead of also looking up at the stars. She could tell he was studying the sky intently, either trying to remember the stories or where each constellation was.

"How about Andromeda and Perseus? Heard that one?" Logan asked as he turned back toward her with an almost reverent expression.

"Hmm... I've …heard of Perseus before, but don't remember the story."

"Are you going to fall asleep half way through like last night when I told you about Draco?" he asked as he quirked an eyebrow at her.

She smiled a bit more and shook her head.

"Just remember, if you fall asleep, I'm leaving you here and going to use your bed." His smile became a bit more smug as he narrowed his eyes slightly at her.

"I remember," she said with a sly smile and a slow nod.

“Let’s see… Perseus has a much longer back-story, but I think I’ll just tell you Andromeda’s story. Andromeda and Perseus are actually right next to each other in the sky by Pisces.”

“Pisces, like you,” Veronica added.

“Yep,” Logan replied as he smiled at her again for a moment before pointing to the various stars that made up the two constellations, as well as showing her where Pisces was. “So Andromeda’s mom, Cassiopeia really liked to brag that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, even more beautiful than the gods.”

Veronica couldn’t help interrupting with a sarcastic comment. “Ah, she must have been a Neptune 09er.”

Logan laughed and nodded before he continued. “You can guess that her bragging didn’t go over so well for her. Sort of like some 09ers who went up against you.” Veronica was the one to chuckle and nod in reply this time.

Logan continued his story after a few seconds. “So Poseidon took offense because he felt that his sea nymphs were the most beautiful beings ever, so he created a sea monster, Cetus to ravage the seas and the coast where Cassiopeia lived. To get rid of the sea monster, they had to sacrifice Andromeda. So they left her chained to a large rock that was projecting out into the sea, waiting for the sea monster to come and eat her.”

“I thought you said this was a happy story,” Veronica interrupted again with a skeptical chuckle.

“Well… if you’d let me finish, Miss Impatient… Before the sea monster came to eat her Perseus was passing by, coming back from a quest to kill Medusa and had her head in a special bag. He instantly fell in love with Andromeda the moment he spotted her. Love at first sight and all that. So when the sea monster showed up, he pulled out Medusa’s head and saved the girl. He of course claimed her as his bride and took her home with him to be his queen…” He paused and looked toward her again, causing Veronica to look at him as well. “And they lived happily ever after,” he added with a smirk.

"That one was much better," Veronica half laughed and half mumbled. Even though she found his ending amusing, she was definitely starting to feel sleepy and let out a loud yawn. It had been an exhausting day with wake boarding and then dancing.

"Mm hmm..." Logan said softly in reply, as she heard him turn his head slightly. "Always better when the guy gets the girl." He paused before he added, “even a sleepy girl.”

She turned toward him and stared intently into his eyes. "Thanks for the perfect ending to a perfect day," she said softly.

Even though it was dark outside and the moon and the stars were the only light they had, she could still make out his eyes darting momentarily to her lips and then back to her eyes. He swallowed hard and nodded slowly. She momentarily considered if she should go down to bed now, but she really didn't want to go without him. She wondered for a moment what was holding him back from trying to kiss her, and then asked herself what was holding her back. A second before she could lean forward and kiss him though, he rolled so that he was facing up at the sky again.

Veronica barely contained the frustrated sigh that nearly slipped out. She stayed in the position she had been in and closed her eyes. While she'd been sleepy a few minutes before, the adrenaline that had started coursing through her when she was about to kiss him had washed away the drowsy feeling and her heart was pounding erratically. She was intentionally trying to keep her breathing slow so Logan wouldn't notice though. They were lying like that for a few minutes before she heard him roll his head toward her again. She felt his warm lips press against her forehead before he whispered a soft ‘goodnight Veronica’ against her skin. She opened her eyes and stared at him for a second. She couldn’t quite tell if he had expected her to be asleep or not, but before he could even react, she moved her head and pressed her lips against his. She kept her eyes open long enough to watch his close as a serene expression passed over his face.

She felt his hand come up and gently brush against her cheek before it moved into her hair. The kiss was more than just chaste but not over the top either. It actually reminded her of the first time that they kissed on the balcony at the Camelot; several soft shorter kisses, followed by several longer, more intense kisses. She couldn’t help but notice how soft and warm his lips felt against her own. She could taste just a hint of marshmallow when his tongue brushed against hers. When their lips separated she opened her eyes and saw a tranquil smile spread across his lips before he slowly opened his eyes too. His hand was still on her head and she felt his thumb gently stroke her temple. "Now it's a perfect day," he said almost dreamily as he took a deep breath.

She smiled happily and slowly nodded in agreement. He leaned toward her and kissed her tenderly on the lips again and she could feel the smile on his lips as they continued to kiss. There were times in the past when it seemed as if his kiss would completely consume her and other times when it felt like she was the most important thing in the world to him, this was definitely one of the latter and made her feel warm all over. He stopped after a minute or so and then nuzzled his nose against her cheek, kissing her softly there as well.

She wrapped her arm around his waist and he removed his hand from her head so he could pull the blanket up higher and cover her up. "Are you sure you don't want to go down to your room?" He asked quietly. She repositioned her head so it was resting on his chest and shook it in response to his question.

"No, I'd rather stay out here under the beautiful stars with you," she replied as she squeezed him a little tighter. “Tell me Perseus’ back-story now?” she asked softly.

“Are you going to fall asleep?” he asked with a slightly amused tone to his quiet voice.

“Probably,” she replied with a soft sigh. He kissed her forehead one more time before he started telling her about Perseus. She realized how much she’d missed listening to his soft soothing voice as she rested her head against his chest. Hearing his heart beat steadily beneath her ear as he told her the story also made her feel so content. She felt herself falling asleep, and didn’t try to fight it because being wrapped in his arms was exactly where she wanted to be.

The next thing Veronica knew, she felt cold air on her shoulders and then realized she was being picked up. “What?” she mumbled out, not able to complete a full sentence in her half asleep daze.

“It’s too cold up here and you were shivering in your sleep. I’m taking you down to your room,” Logan said in a low soothing tone.

“No… wanted to stay,” she said weakly, fighting to wake up a bit more.

“Don’t be so stubborn,” he whispered against her ear as his breath warmed the side of her cheek.

She took a deep breath and felt sleep start to overtake her again. She must have fallen asleep again while he was carrying her, but then the sensation of being gently lowered onto the bed startled her awake and she forgot what was going on. The falling sensation was likely intensified by being part of a dream since he certainly hadn’t dropped her, but she felt her heart beating rapidly and she gasped for air for a second. The room was softly lit by the bathroom light that she’d forgotten to turn off when she’d gone up to the top deck to see him and she could see concern in his expression.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Logan said softy as his hand came up and brushed through her hair. He must have noticed the sudden sense of panic that shot through her.

She took a deep breath and nodded, then reached for his t-shirt and pulled on him. “Stay… don’t go,” she pleaded softly as the initial feeling of anxiety started to melt away.

Logan nodded and gave her a soft smile as he reached over and pulled the blankets down farther so she could crawl under them and then he crawled in next to her and wrapped one of his arms underneath her again. He pulled the blankets up over them as she rested her head against his shoulder with a hand on his chest. So much better and warmer. She felt his lips on her forehead again as he placed a tender kiss there. Logan’s lips. She felt even warmer as she starting thinking about what she really wanted to do with him and those lips. She inhaled a deep breath and felt the desire grow even stronger. She tipped her head up and watched as he opened his eyes to look at her.

Veronica shifted up slightly and turned so she was on one elbow as she pressed her lips against his again. She couldn’t help the hunger in her kiss now. Maybe it was being in that half-awake, half-asleep state, but the small amount of self control that she had held on to earlier when they kissed was completely gone now. He was certainly enjoying it, kissing her back just as fervently. His hands had moved from being innocently wrapped around her waist, to roaming lower, one caressing over the curve of her ass and then down her thigh. The other hand went in the opposite direction, up her back, ending at the base of her head as he pulled her tighter against him to deepen the kiss. 

The kissing was amazing, but it wasn’t enough. She had missed him so much. She realized that the longer they had been apart, the more her feelings for him had changed. The feelings of anger or fear that she once had about him had vanished a long time ago. There was just longing and regret that she’d lost him, which had only gotten stronger as time went on. She wanted to feel the weight of him on her so it would feel more real to her and not like a dream that would vanish when she’d open her eyes. She’d had way too many of those over the last two years. She moved one of her hands from his chest, up behind his head and pulled him with her as she rolled on to her back. He continued kissing her and moved with her, not crushing her, yet shifting so his chest was on top of hers, using his arm that was under her back to keep just enough of his weight off of her so he wouldn’t hurt her. Even though his chest was now over the top of hers, he’d only slightly moved his hips and legs and they were still resting on the bed, just barely touching hers. His other hand was still caressing her outer thigh, slowly making its way back up toward her hip. She really wanted his hand to be in a different position though, and shifted her hips slightly trying to encourage him to do more. The unexpected movement of her hips caused his hand to slide more toward her center which elicited a sensual little moan from her and she felt him take a shaky breath as well.

He finally broke the kiss and panted above her while he rested his forehead against hers with his eyes closed. The hand that had been down by her hip moved up to rest next to her face and she felt a few of his fingers ghost along her cheek. She nipped lightly at his lips, trying to coax him back to kissing her again since it seemed like he was slowing things down, which was not the direction she was trying to go. He must have sensed her impatience when he didn’t kiss her back.

“I don’t want you to do something you’re going to regret tomorrow,” he warned her in a husky lustful tone as he slowly opened his eyes again. She could tell he was right on the edge of losing control himself and a delighted smile spread across her lips.

“I’m trying to fix my regrets,” she replied as she nipped lightly at his lower lip again. She could easily see the emotions warring behind his eyes though. There was definitely desire and want, but also uncertainty and fear. She couldn’t remember anyone else ever being afraid of being with her, but she could understand why he would be. They’d certainly broken each other so many times in the past.

She watched him swallow hard as he pulled his head back a little farther. He was looking so intensely into her eyes that she couldn’t help but wonder what it was he was searching for. She reached up and stroked his cheek gently as she looked back at him longingly with her expression softening more.

“Sex never fixes anything, Veronica,” he finally said a bit reluctantly after a second. He took a deep breath before he continued. “We still have seven full days here, and I really want to enjoy the time with you and not have it destroyed by an impulsive decision that you may regret in the morning.”

She took a deep breath as well. She knew his reaction logically made sense, even if she didn’t agree with it at all. And they did have seven more days together before they would leave the following Sunday. She probably would have pushed harder if it wasn’t for that glimmer of fear she saw in his eyes. How could he expect this to be anything more than a short lived fling when she wasn’t even sure what she really wanted out of all of this either.

She smiled slyly at him before she spoke again. “Alright, I won’t force you to tarnish your pristine virtue,” she replied in an obviously playful tone. “Not tonight at least… but I can’t promise I’m going to behave tomorrow. You know us bobcats are rather unpredictable and insatiable at times.”

The disappointment of not getting exactly what she’d wanted was immediately forgotten by the way his face lit up in response to her reaction. If that’s what he needed to look at her that way again, she’d gladly make that sacrifice. She’d missed that look of adoration and amazement that he use to give her, even more than the physical relationship they used to have. She’d had sex with other guys, but no one else had ever looked at her the way he had back then. There was something so provocative about the way he would gaze at her, that took their physical interactions to an entirely different level.

She had also realized it was more than just the way he made her feel when he would look at her. No one else ever saw her exactly the way he did either. He’d always loved her for who she was and not who she pretended to be. He knew all the chinks in her armor and all the pain that they’d both lived through. He knew her weaknesses as well as her strengths and what really mattered to her more than anything. Stanford Veronica wasn’t exactly who she really was and maybe that’s why she’d never found a connection with any of the guys she dated there. That, and the fact that she was still in love with Logan, even if that was the one thing she was still terrified to admit. She smiled back at him in reply, and was rewarded by his lips pressing against hers again.

“I look forward to tomorrow,” he said a bit breathlessly when their lips separated a minute later.

“Mmmm… me too,” she replied with a smug smile as she ran her fingers along his scalp and tousled his hair. “I’m going to have fun seeing how much you’re willing to protect that pristine virtue of yours,” she added as she waggled her eyebrows at him.

Logan chuckled as he shook his head slightly. “I can already tell I’m going to be in so much trouble.”

“Yes you are,” she replied as she tipped her head up slightly and grabbed his lower lip between her teeth and pulled on it slightly. She released it after a few seconds and then looked up at him with a devious grin.

“Then I suppose I’d better get some rest while I can,” he said before he placed a warm firm kiss on her cheek.

She nodded and gave him a coy smile. “Sweet dreams,” she said with just a hint of lust in her tone as she rolled on to her side with her back toward him. She reached for his arm and then pulled it across her chest to rest up by her face with her own hand intertwined with his. She felt him scoot a little to get more comfortable and then he placed a kiss on her bare shoulder before she felt the weight of his head sink into the pillow behind her. She felt him kiss the back of her head next before she closed her eyes and started thinking about all the things she planned to do to him the following day.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Veronica woke up to light softly filtering in the windows of her room and the sound of rhythmic breathing right next to her ear. She let out a content sigh as she felt Logan’s arm still wrapped over her. She wiggled carefully onto her stomach and then onto her side again so she could face him. His eyes parted slightly, and then a pleased grin spread across his face as he let his eyelids fall shut again.

“Best dream ever,” he whispered softly. She laughed and kissed him on the tip of his nose. “So life-like… even with realistic morning breath…”

She scoffed and poked him in the stomach causing him to laugh and grab her tightly around the waist. He rolled so he was slightly on top of her and kissed her deeply on the lips. She laughed as well and shook her head. “What about morning breath?” she asked with a faux annoyed tone.

“Totally worth it,” he said as he kissed her again. After their lips separated, he shifted so that his head was on the pillow again and reached up to toy with hair. “Good morning,” he said with an affectionate smile.

“Yes it is,” she replied back coyly.

“So…” he asked with a long exhale. “What’s the plan for the day?”

“Hmm… I thought I made that clear last night… torment you all day until you give in to my evil ways,” she responded with a sly smile as she ran one of her hands seductively up his chest.

He chuckled and shook his head slightly. “As much as I’m looking forward to that… I was wondering about how much you wanted your friends to know…”

“Oh… well your friends are here too…” Veronica replied, a little surprised by the question.

“My friends don’t have a bet on us hooking up though,” he told her as he quirked an eyebrow at her.

She closed her eyes for a second and let out a frustrated sigh. “This would have been good information for you to have shared last night,” she complained as she opened her eyes to glare slightly at him.

He gave her an apologetic expression. “I was a bit preoccupied by a blonde siren…” He twirled a piece of her hair in his fingers. “…that rose out of the lake and tried to seduce me with her bewitching song.”

She couldn’t help the amused smile that spread across her lips. “So what did Jack and Dinah bet on?” He gave her an impressed look and she shrugged. “Jack and Dinah always find something to bet on.”

“It wasn’t terribly clear actually… I accidentally overheard them talking before we went to get pizza. They were standing in Dinah’s room when I came out from using Casey’s shower and didn’t know I was there I guess.”

“So what did you hear?” Veronica was hoping he’d heard enough to help her at least piece together what Jack and Dinah might be up to.

“Let’s see… something about a spread… and Dallas had early and Dinah had late.”

Even though she was a little annoyed that they were betting on her, yet again, she found it endearing that Logan had played good little spy and not alerted them of his presence. “Did they say what they were actually betting on? What proof to win the bet was?”

“Yeah… they settled for just lip to lip kissing…” he looked slightly uneasy and she could imagine other less innocent ideas were probably mentioned knowing Jack and Dinah.

“How much?”

“Um… well Jack wanted thousand, but Dinah said she wasn’t that confident that you wouldn’t fold, so she said hundred, but agreed to doubles… whatever that means.”

“Did they say days?”

“Today through Saturday.”

“So if they see us kiss today, Jack wins $600, then it goes to $400 the next day, then $200 the next day and then neither wins if it’s Wednesday, then it goes back up for Dinah for the last three days, $200, $400 then $600.”

“What about me staying the night in here… does that mean Jack wins?” Logan asked with a puzzled look on his face.

Veronica shook her head. “No, they usually have to have visual proof and usually they both have to see it, or have an impartial third party as a witness.”

“They take their bets quite seriously.”

“You have no idea,” Veronica replied with a chuckle.

Logan quirked an eyebrow at her. “I’m guessing you don’t want Dallas to win $600.”

“Not really… my guess would be he’s the one who instigated it,” Veronica theorized and Logan shrugged in reply. “Jack loves to bet on things, if you haven’t figured that out already.”

“Yeah… he tries to get me and Casey to bet on things with him too… though none quite this elaborate.”

Veronica laughed slightly. “Yeah… the two of them love coming up with the most ridiculous things to bet on sometimes.”

“So no kissing in front of them… reminds me of a time long ago… there wouldn’t happen to be a mop closet on board would there?” Logan asked as he waggled his eyebrows at her.

“I’m sure we can improvise,” she replied with a devious grin. “I do happen to know there’s a shower in this very suite that no one can see into,” she continued with a coy expression as she ran a finger lightly along his jaw line toward his lips, and then slowly ran it across his lower lip. “You wouldn’t want to go check that out with me would you?” she asked with a seductive look on her face. “I promise not to touch you if you don’t want me to.”

He blew out a loud breath and rolled on to his back, looking up at the ceiling. “You don’t play fair at all,” he said still looking up and not at her. She laughed and stood up from the bed, watching to see what he would do. He remained motionless on the bed, not turning to look at her as he continued to just stare up at the ceiling. She walked over to the bathroom door and paused looking back at him. He finally slowly turned his head to look at her. She could easily see how badly he wanted to follow her in there, but, surprisingly, he was refraining himself from doing so. She bit on her lower lip for a moment before she turned her back toward him and looked over her shoulder while she pulled off her tank top.

“Fuck Veronica,” she heard him moan from the bed before he turned his head toward the ceiling again, but this time tightly closed his eyes. She laughed softly and then tossed the tank top at him before she closed the door behind her.

Veronica had half-way expected him to follow her into the bathroom, but as she stripped out of the rest of her clothes and started the shower, the door remained closed. She climbed into the shower and smiled to herself thinking back to his reaction though.

She’d also expected him still to be in the room when she came back out from her shower, wrapped only in one of the big luxurious towels that had been provided with the houseboat, but the room was empty. She was a little disappointed that he’d bolted and she didn’t get to keep tormenting him.

Even though her bedroom door was closed, being right next to the kitchen, she could smell the strong aroma of coffee already filling the inside of the boat. Either Bianca had been up early again, or she’d remembered to set the timer on the coffeemaker before she went to bed. Knowing Bianca, it was probably the latter.

When Veronica made it out to the main cabin a short while later, she still didn’t see Logan anywhere, but did find Bianca sitting at the counter sipping on a cup of coffee and scanning through something on her phone.

“Good morning,” Veronica chirped as she pulled a mug from the cabinet and poured herself a cup of coffee.

Bianca gave her a mischievous grin and nodded. “And how was your night?” Bianca asked as she stared at Veronica over the edge of her coffee cup.

“Good…” Veronica replied a little cautiously. Jack shouldn’t be able to win the bet if he didn’t see them kiss, and it would have had to have been after midnight for it to count since they were pretty serious about their rules generally. “Everyone else still asleep?” Veronica asked innocently.

Bianca shook her head and kept a scrupulous gaze on Veronica. “Bennett was up early and convinced Logan to go running with him on one of the trails around the lake.”

“Oh…” Veronica replied with a slightly perplexed look on her face.

“Dallas is still asleep… any idea what he and Dinah are up to, since Bennett is not usually an early morning running guy?” Bianca asked with a questioning expression.

Veronica quickly weighed her options. Bianca would likely find out at some point about the bet that they’d made, but it would probably be better if she didn’t know that Veronica already knew. Bianca was pretty good at keeping secrets, but generally not from Jack. Veronica gave her an innocent look in return and shook her head.

“Hmm…” Bianca replied, still looking at Veronica a bit skeptically. “Logan seemed a bit off when he came down from upstairs with his bag and found me in the kitchen. He claimed he was going to see if he could take a quick shower in your room, but I could hear your shower was going, so I let him know it was occupied. Bennett popped out of their room a minute later and suggested going running. After a bit of coercing, Logan agreed to go with him instead… tousled bed-head and all.”

“Are there many trails around the lake?” Veronica asked, not wanting to tip her hand at all.

“Yeah… quite a few. Some short ones and one that’s over 10 miles long. We’re pretty close to the longer one, so I’m guessing that’s where they’ll be going. They took the two smaller jet skis over to shore.”

Veronica nodded in reply and took another sip of her coffee.

“So…” Bianca started again. “More talking last night?”

Veronica gave her a sly smile and shook her head. “Are you fishing for details, Twiz?”

Bianca laughed and shrugged. “Of course I am. You know I’m dying to know how things go between the two of you. I still think fate brought you two together because it was finally the right time for the two of you to try again.”

Veronica chuckled and quirked an eyebrow at Bianca. “I don’t think fate is ever that considerate where we’ve been concerned, but if that’s the case, I’m not one to argue.” She should have known that Bianca was just curious, rather than fishing for information for Jack.

“Well the two of you seemed to really enjoy being together last night at the bar. And wow… that boy can two-step like a pro. You never told me you dated someone who actually knew how to country dance like that.”

“He didn’t… not when we were together… nor did he know how to cook. Apparently sometime in the last two years he met some woman who was a gourmet chef and taught him to cook if he’d take her dancing.”

Girl Fieri!” Bianca proclaimed excitedly.

“What?” Veronica asked in confusion.

“You know… like Guy Fieri, but she was a girl. She lived in their apartment building. Dallas would talk about her sometimes. She had dinner parties and would invite the other tenants over every once in a while. Especially when she was trying out some new dishes and wanted to get opinions. He didn’t mention Logan and her, but of course he didn’t talk that much about those sorts of things. But I’d be willing to bet that’s who taught Logan to cook.”

“Logan said she got a job in Vegas and left.”

Bianca nodded. “Yeah… I sort of remember Dallas saying she’d moved away. It was like a year ago I guess, maybe less. Dallas was bummed that he wouldn’t be getting anymore free gourmet meals.”

Veronica scoffed at that and shook her head. I’m sure Logan was more bummed that he wouldn’t be getting anymore other types of benefits. They heard a door open down the hall and turned to see Dinah emerge from her room.

“Good morning,” Dinah said as she walked into the kitchen and grabbed a cup to pour her coffee into. Veronica couldn’t help but notice she seemed a bit pleased with herself. “So… spa day today?” Dinah asked as she looked back and forth between the two of them.

Veronica glanced at Bianca and saw she looked slightly surprised, although Veronica knew they had gone into Redding other trips to spend time at a spa. “It’s Sunday… is there even a place open today?” Bianca asked a bit skeptically to which Dinah nodded.

“Yeah, I called and there’s a place that’s open on Sundays during the summer,” Dinah answered. “It’s the place we really liked the year before last year. With finals and all the assignments I had to finish the week before, I didn’t make it in for a pedicure before we left.”

Veronica gave her an uncertain look. Bianca and Dinah both knew that spending time at a spa was not Veronica’s thing and if she acted too eager they may know something was going on with her. She knew though, even if she didn’t go along, the guys would all still be around, so she couldn’t just do whatever she wanted with Logan. “I’m not sure… why don’t you two just go?” Veronica suggested.

“No… you have to come along…” Dinah insisted, met with a confirming nod from Bianca. “I’ll even treat everyone to lunch,” Dinah added persuasively. “It can be a total girl’s afternoon, with Shelly too.”

Veronica would have preferred not to have Shelly tagging along, but given she couldn’t really just be openly affectionate with Logan all afternoon anyway, maybe it was less likely they’d get caught if she was gone for a while. Her hesitation in answering must have worried Dinah. “I’ll even pay for whatever treatment you’d like,” Dinah said, still trying to be as persuasive as possible. Well, if I’m getting free spa treatments out of the deal, that’s even better.

“Come on, Veronica,” Bianca insisted. “It will be fun and relaxing. They had great massages there last year.” Veronica sighed and gave them a reluctant nod.

“It’s settled then,” Dinah replied cheerfully. “I’ll go call and make the reservations for us and we can leave right after breakfast.” Before either Veronica or Bianca could say another word, Dinah had disappeared back down the hall to her room.

“Well that was certainly suspicious,” Bianca said as she spun around and looked critically at Veronica. “You’re sure you don’t know what’s going on?” Veronica shook her head in reply. “I’m guessing she made some bet with Dallas, based on how she’s acting. I suppose I could go wake him up and make him tell me.” Bianca gave her a mischievous smile. “I have ways of making him talk.”

“Yeah… I’ve lived with you for the past year… I’m pretty familiar with those ways,” Veronica replied with a laugh.

Bianca laughed in reply. “Oh well… I’ll save the interrogating for later, after he’s refueled with some breakfast.”

Bianca had been looking at some photos she’d taken with her phone from the past two days when Veronica first came out and went back to looking at those again, showing some of the shots to Veronica too. Both Bianca and Jack always had to have the latest technology as soon as it was released and they’d both just gotten new iPhones right before the trip. Bianca had been excited that the built-in camera was going to be even better than her older phone and had mentioned it several times before the trip. Veronica had brought along her regular camera too, but hadn’t thought to take it out on the speedboat the day before. There were several nice shots of Logan wakeboarding in the ones that Bianca had taken and Veronica really wanted to get a copy of those, but was a little reluctant to ask.

“I’m going to post the better ones on my Facebook page, in case you’re interested,” Bianca commented, as if she was able to read Veronica’s mind. “You really should create your own page, you know? I keep telling you it’s a lot of fun to keep in touch with all your old friends.” Veronica scoffed at that and shook her head. Bianca rolled her eyes at her obstinate friend. “I’m sure you have some friends you’d like to connect with right? Other than Mac and Wallace of course.” Veronica gave her an uncertain look and shrugged. Mac and Wallace had come up to visit Veronica a couple of times and she’d mentioned seeing them to Bianca on the few occasions that she’d traveled back to Neptune. Veronica chuckled slightly thinking about whether Weevil might have his own page and what his profile would say… ex-leader of the PCH bike gang?

“Email me the link to the album, and I’ll check them out that way. I’m not sure I really want my own page though,” Veronica replied as she ran her finger around the edge of her coffee cup. “What’s that other thing you and Jack use sometimes?”

Bianca rolled her eyes again and shook her head. “Twitter… really V, you’re a college student, you should be all over this stuff.”

“Right,” Veronica answered with a condescending head nod.

After they’d looked through all of the pictures, Bianca suggested that maybe they should go ahead and start working on breakfast. Veronica was a little surprised that Logan and Bennett weren’t back yet because it had to have been over 45 minutes that they’d been gone. Veronica agreed that starting on breakfast sounded like a good idea, and so after debating on what to make for a little while, they both agreed on French toast. When they were about half way done, Casey and Shelly emerged from their room.

“Can we help with anything?” Casey asked as they walked into the kitchen.

“If you want to slice up some cantaloupe and strawberries, that would be great. We used up all the fruit Veronica and I had already cut up,” Bianca suggested as she went back to working on the French toast. Veronica was in the process of frying up some sausage and quickly said good morning to Casey and Shelly as well.

Casey and Shelly worked on the fruit together and a few minutes later Dinah finally emerged from her room. She’d obviously spent time showering and getting ready for the day before she decided to join them again. Veronica wondered if she was also stalling so she wouldn’t have to help them actually make breakfast. “All right. We’re all set for today. Oh hey… good morning.” Dinah gave Casey and Shelly a warm smile. “Did Bianca and V tell you all about our plans for today?” Dinah asked excitedly.

Shelly and Casey both shook their heads, since no one had mentioned it yet. Dinah gave Bianca and Veronica a disappointed look and scoffed at them. “Well… we’re going to have a girl’s day at the spa.” Shelly looked a bit surprised at Dinah’s announcement. “We do it every year. It will be lots of fun. We’ll head into town right after breakfast, and then after we’re done, we’ll have lunch before we come back to the lake. The guys can do manly stuff while we’re gone.”

“You should go babe,” Casey said encouragingly. “I’m sure you’ll have a great time.”

Veronica could tell that Shelly was a little hesitant to come along, and she figured it likely had to do with her. Even when Veronica had gotten back together with Duncan and was more or less accepted as an 09er again, things were still strained due to the whole Meg situation. She and Shelly hadn’t really gotten very friendly again at all during those few months. Veronica decided she should at least try to do her best to not make things awkward since they were still going to be spending quite a while together on this trip. And who knows… if Logan and her ended up together again, not being at odds with his roommate’s girlfriend would probably be a wise idea.  “Yeah Shelly, I’m sure it will be fun,” Veronica added trying to sound encouraging as well.

“Okay… yeah. That would be great. Thanks,” Shelly replied with a faint smile.

Right after Shelly answered, they could hear the jet skis pull up along side the boat. Veronica felt her heartbeat speed up slightly. She wasn’t sure why all of a sudden she was feeling a little anxious about seeing Logan. Maybe she was a little worried that the others would figure out something was going on between the two of them once they were in the same room again and she wasn’t actually sure she was ready for that yet. A few minutes went by and then the two guys walked in through the main door.

“Perfect timing for breakfast,” Bianca announced with a welcoming smile. “How was the run?”

Logan nodded and gave Bianca a smile that Veronica instantly recognized as one of his fake ones. “It was great,” Logan replied with faux enthusiasm. Veronica saw Casey trying to hide a smile, obviously knowing Logan’s tells as well as she did. “I’m going to just go take a shower before breakfast.”

“Me too,” Bennett said as he quickly made his way through the main cabin back toward his room.

“Oh… I think my suit is still drying in the shower… I’ll move it for you,” Veronica said quickly and headed to her room, walking slightly in front of Logan. She escaped any comments or questions from Dinah or Bianca by being as quick as she was at least.

She stopped in the middle of her room, and turned back to look at Logan as he walked through the door behind her. He closed the door and leaned against it staring at her. “Well that sucked,” he said softly as he gave her an exasperated expression. She could see sweat still forming across his brow even though they’d had a short break to ride back to the boat.

“I am so sorry,” she whispered back.

“Dinah seems to be quite intent on keeping us apart. Poor Bennett, I felt almost as bad for him,” Logan commented quietly as he shook his head. “And the dude would make a horrible secret agent. Please tell me you never have him help you with any cases?”

Veronica gave him an amused smile and shook her head. She moved closer toward him. “I don’t really do that anymore… and yeah… Bennett would definitely be the last person I’d pull into some caper with me.”

Logan raised an eyebrow as he chuckled softly. “The poor guy kept trying to subtly check his phone every few minutes to see if it was safe to return or something, I guess. Then he got us lost. We had to circle back a longer route until we finally found the jet skis again.”

“I’d better not stay in here too long,” Veronica said with a discouraged tone. “My excuse sort of sucked too.”

Logan gave her an adoring smile. “Maybe you’re a little rusty on your espionage skills. We’ll have to work on some better excuses to sneak in here again later.”

About that…” Veronica replied with a slight grimace. “Dinah insisted on going into town for a spa day for all of us girls. So I’ll be gone for a while.”

Logan laughed softly and shook his head. “She really is determined isn’t she?”

“Yeah,” Veronica replied with a coy smile. “I’ll have to make up my lost torture time later though.” She gave him a quick wink and then whispered, barely loud enough for him to even hear. “Do I get a quick kiss now?”

“I’m so gross and sweaty Veronica…” Logan said quietly with a disgusted sigh.

“I like it better when I’m the reason you’re all sweaty,” she said with a salacious grin, causing him to open his eyes wider. Logan shook his head after a second though, apparently realizing it was part of her plan to torment him.

“You’d better get back out there.” He reached out and grabbed her hand and kissed the back of it. “That’s all you get for now. Two can play the torture game,” he added with a sly smile before he stepped away from the door and opened it.

Veronica shook her head back at him and narrowed her eyes slightly. “Enjoy your shower…” She walked closer to him so she could lean up and whisper right against his ear. “Don’t think about what I may have done in there all by myself earlier… naked…” she deviously whispered into his ear. She heard him mumble ‘fuck’ under his breath as she quickly walked past him out into the hall with a pleased smile on her face.

Bianca and Dinah had both vanished from the kitchen when she returned. Veronica gave Casey and Shelly an inquisitive look when she found only the two of them still remaining.

“Bianca went to wake up Dallas,” Casey explained as Veronica walked farther into the kitchen. “And Dinah said she was going to go and talk to Bennett about her plans for the day.” Veronica gave him an understanding nod in reply. “I still can’t believe you’re the mysterious Birdie,” Casey added with a disbelieving expression. “You’ve lived with Twiz, sorry Bianca, about a year right?” Veronica smiled and nodded before Casey continued talking. “His nickname deal gets so confusing sometimes. I seriously thought her name was Twiz until he started calling me GQ and then I found out his name really wasn’t Dallas. But by that point he’d been Dallas for so long, it was too hard to change.”

“Yeah… his affinity for nicknames is rather annoying at times,” Veronica agreed. “So, Logan told me where Worm came from… how about you and GQ? Just the obvious handsome guy, or the fact your family has a publishing company?”

“Yeah,” Casey replied with a chagrined smile. “Pretty much a combination of the two. How about you? Birdie? Did you have a pet parakeet or something?”

Veronica laughed and shook her head. “No… it had to do with botany and the plant veronica.”

“Oh right… Logan had botany with Dallas too… Man that term sort of sucked. I got so tired of hearing random facts about plants.”

Veronica chuckled softly again before Casey gave her a warm smile. “It’s really good to see you again though. I don’t think I’ve seen you since I graduated the year before you guys all did.”

“Yeah… I think you’re right,” Veronica replied before she noticed that Shelly seemed a bit uneasy again. “So… how long have the two of you been together?” Veronica asked as she looked back and forth between Casey and Shelly with a friendly smile on her face.

Casey looked at Shelly with a questioning expression for a second. “I guess it’s been what, almost nine months right?”

“Yep,” Shelly replied back with a tender smile. “We had a class together at the beginning of this school year and ended up as partners on an assignment for it… and then… well we just really clicked.” Shelly answered as she gave Casey a loving smile in return.

It was actually sort of heartwarming to realize that they really seemed to genuinely care about each other and it wasn’t just some convenient hook-up. She’d seen the better side of Casey when he was part of the Moon Calf Collective and she was glad to see that so far, he seemed more like that version of Casey and less like the entitled arrogant 09er that he could be at times too. Veronica heard a door open behind her again and turned to see Bianca coming back out of their room.

“Dallas will be out in a few minutes, but we can all start eating without him if you’re hungry. No sense in the food getting cold because of his lazy ass,” Bianca said as she walked by them all and grabbed the platter of French toast that she’d placed in the oven to keep it warm. Veronica couldn’t help but notice Bianca seemed a bit annoyed with Jack. It could be because he didn’t want to wake up, or it could be because she found out about the bet and wasn’t happy with them. If Veronica had to guess, it was probably the latter, although she still wasn’t going to tip her hand yet. Dinah reappeared a moment later and Veronica saw Bianca shoot her a slightly annoyed look too. Yep, definitely found out about the bet.

They milled around a bit, getting the rest of the plates and utensils all set out before the five of them sat down at the table. Logan was the first of the three guys to make it to the kitchen, showered and changed and looking much better than when he’d just returned from running. Bennett joined them shortly after Logan and thanked him again for going running with him.

“Which trail did you take him on?” Dinah asked curiously.

“The upper part of the Clikapudi trail.”

“You should take him on the lower part tomorrow morning. It’s a great work out with gorgeous lake views too,” Dinah suggested.

Veronica tried not to laugh as she noticed Bianca barely restraining herself from rolling her eyes and poor Logan’s reaction.

“Yeah… maybe…” Logan answered as noncommittally as possible. She guessed he would have rather just outright refused to go.

“I’ll go with you guys tomorrow,” Casey interjected. “I’d love to get some runs in while we’re here.”

Great,” Logan replied, although Veronica could easily tell that wasn’t really what he wanted to say. She had to hand it to him though, Logan played along quite well and didn’t look at Veronica at all throughout the conversation. When they were finished discussing how early they should all three go running the next morning, he gave her a quick glance before focusing back on his plate.

Jack joined them when they were all about finished eating. “Hey Dallas,” Logan said with just a hint of annoyance in his tone. “You should go running with all of us tomorrow morning too.” Veronica had to work very hard to keep a smirk off her lips. She knew that Jack hated to go running, but if Logan was suffering because of a bet that Jack made, she could understand him wanting to drag Jack into it too. Jack reluctantly agreed after some persuasion from the other guys as well as Bianca. Veronica thought she noticed one of Bianca’s ultimatum glances at Jack. One of those, ‘if you don’t do it you’re not getting any’ type of looks.

The appointment at the spa was fairly early, and so they had to leave right after they finished eating. Bianca put the guys in charge of cleaning up all the dirty dishes from breakfast and taking care of any leftovers. The girls all went back to their rooms to gather up whatever they were taking along. Veronica was a little surprised when Logan popped into the room right after she’d walked in.

“I thought I’d just pop in so I could give you a more… personal… goodbye,” he said softly with a shy smile on his face.

“Ah…” Veronica replied as she nodded and quirked an eyebrow at him. “Personal goodbye… sounds nice,” she added as she walked closer to him with a lascivious grin. He leaned down and was about to kiss her when there was loud banging on her door.

“Come on V!” Dinah yelled from the other side of the door. “We’re going to be late if we don’t go now.”

Logan closed his eyes and shook his head as an amused smile crossed Veronica’s lips. He opened his eyes a second later and leaned in to give her a quick peck on the lips. “Go… before she breaks the door down. Without a door, we’d never get any privacy.”

Veronica laughed softly and leaned up to give him one more quick kiss before she grabbed her purse from the bed and turned back toward the door. She gave him a quick little wave and then walked out to the hallway to join the others.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

Veronica thoroughly enjoyed the pampering at the spa since Dinah was paying for it. She figured it was the least Dinah owed her for actually making a bet like that. The massage was very relaxing and now her feet looked extra cute thanks to a pedicure as well. Veronica was surprised that Bianca hadn't said something about the bet at some point, but nothing had come up yet when they finally left the spa and headed to a Chinese restaurant that Dinah and Bianca had both highly recommended for lunch.

Veronica had just taken her seat in the restaurant when her cell phone went off. She glanced at the screen and saw that it was her dad calling. "I'd better take this call. You know what I like Bianca, so can you just order for me?" Veronica asked as she started to stand up. Bianca nodded and Veronica headed back outside where it was quieter to talk to her dad.

"Hey pops," Veronica said as she answered the phone half-way to the door.

"Hi honey. How's the lake?"

Veronica was a little surprised to have her dad checking up on her since he was certainly used to her doing her own thing over the last two years. They had started a fairly consistent routine of just checking in with each other about once a week and she’d just talked with him Thursday after she’d finished her finals. She could tell something seemed a little off in his tone though and wondered what was up. She momentarily thought about mentioning Logan being there, but then decided she wasn’t really ready to discuss that with her dad yet, so kept it to herself for the moment. "It's great. Really beautiful up here."

"Are you still planning to head back to Neptune when you're done?"

Ah... so that's the real reason for the call, isn’t it? "Yeah, I was. We drive back to Palo Alto on Sunday, so I wouldn't head down to see you until Monday at the earliest."

"I actually may not be back until the following weekend... But you're welcome to come and stay at the house whenever you want to head down here."

Veronica did her best to not let out a frustrated sigh. Her dad’s current living arrangement wasn’t something she was totally thrilled with. Keith had run into Harmony again about a year ago. She had just finished finalizing her divorce, and the timing seemed rather suspicious to Veronica when she later heard the full story. Of course the two of them started dating again since they were both officially free and single. Even though Harmony was no longer married, Keith had still been reluctant to mention it to Veronica and so it was about six months after they had started seeing each other before Veronica even heard about it. She wondered if he would have even mentioned it if she wasn’t coming home for Christmas at that time. She momentarily thought about her own reluctance to mention Logan, but rationalized that her situation was very different and she certainly wouldn’t see Logan for six months before even mentioning it to her dad.

"Harmony has a conference in Seattle and asked me to fly up with her," Keith added a bit hesitantly.

"Yeah... Thanks for the heads up."

"You're still welcome to come down honey. We just won't be here... But she's fine with you staying at the house."

Veronica sighed slightly. And three months ago Keith gave up his apartment and moved into Harmony’s house that she got to keep in her divorce. Veronica was actually dreading this visit a bit anyway since it would be the first one since he had moved in with her. Of course Harmony's daughter would likely be there part of the time too since she split time between both her mom and her dad.

"I've got some things to do in Palo Alto anyway. I'll just drive down when you're back."

"Okay... sorry if I messed up your plans at all," Her dad replied and she could easily sense the regret in his tone.

"It's fine dad. Have fun in Seattle." She paused a second and cringed externally. "And tell Harmony I said hi." Veronica figured she at least owed it to her dad to try to be happy for them. Maybe he’ll give me the same consideration if this turns out to be something serious with Logan.

"Thanks honey. I will." At least he sounded a bit more relaxed by the time they said goodbye.

As Veronica arrived back at the table the others were passing around some appetizers that their waitress had just delivered to the table.

"You've got to try this!" Dinah said excitedly as Veronica took her seat between Bianca and Dinah. "It's delicious." Veronica turned toward Dinah who was holding up a small bite of something on her fork. Veronica didn't really think anything about it, as they frequently shared stuff like that and opened her mouth to take a bite. It wasn't until she started to swallow that a panicked feeling coursed through her.

"What was that?" she asked, trying her best to not completely freak out.

"Lobster and cream cheese wonton," Dinah replied innocently. "Wasn't it delicious?"

"Wait... Isn't one of the guys allergic to shellfish?" Bianca asked from her seat next to Veronica.

Shelly nodded her head as Veronica tried her best to not completely come unhinged.

"Oh right... Well good thing he's not here. Logan did mention that last night when we got pizza, didn't he?" Dinah continued with the same innocent smile on her face. Veronica couldn't help but wonder if she'd always been this good of an actress or if the classes at Stanford had enhanced that. "It would really suck to have a food allergy. Did you know the toxins can stay in your saliva for up to like 24 hours or more? My cousin had an allergic reaction from just kissing his girlfriend the day after she'd had some shellfish."

Veronica couldn't believe Dinah would actually stoop this low just to keep Jack from winning a bet.

"I can't believe you Dinah!" Bianca blurted out from the other side of Veronica. Apparently Bianca pretending to not know about the bet was coming to an end.

"What?" Dinah asked with the same innocent tone. "I didn't give it to Logan."

Veronica stared across the table at Shelly, who seemed to be completely perplexed by what was now going on.

"But if Veronica had kissed him..." Bianca started to protest.

"I'm sure she wasn't... V's not like that... Right V?" Dinah asked next giving Veronica an inquisitive look.

Before Veronica could reply, Bianca was talking again. "Don't act all innocent Dinah. Dallas told me what's going on."

"Okay... okay... I'm sorry," Dinah replied looking contrite.

"Wait. What's going on?" Veronica asked looking back and forth between them, noticing Shelly shrugged and shook her head as well.

"Nothing... Don't worry about it," Dinah replied as Bianca gave her a little glare. They must have included forfeit of the amount to the other person if their significant other leaked there was a bet. They’d had many years to work out all the fine details of their complex little betting games. At least Dinah was trying to keep Jack from immediately losing his $600 due to Bianca saying they had a bet. Veronica wasn't really surprised though since they clearly did it more for the competition than the actual winnings. Bragging rights between the two of them were more valuable than money ever was. "I just didn't think pushing you to get back together with your ex was a good idea and Jack disagreed. That's all," Dinah added. Veronica had to hand it to Dinah, she was very good at keeping secrets. Veronica would actually consider using Dinah on a caper even if Bennett would be terrible at it.

"Oh... well who knows what may happen... But obviously nothing is going to happen for the next 24 hours now," Veronica replied glaring even more at Dinah as the reality of that sunk in. While she was furious with Dinah for tricking her, Veronica should have been more careful too. It's just that after two years, she'd gotten out of the habit of worrying about things like that. Veronica also of course realized how dangerous even second-hand toxins through saliva could be. She’d read about studies where allergic reactions occurred through kissing, even if the non-allergic person had brushed and used mouth wash.

Shelly still seemed slightly confused about what was going on, but didn't say anything either.

"Who was the call from?" Bianca asked, apparently trying to change the topic and not strangle Dinah. Of course Veronica would not have gotten in Bianca’s way if she had.

"Dad..." Veronica replied with a slight sigh.

Bianca gave her a sympathetic look. "Oh... Harmony?"

Veronica had told Bianca about her conflicted feelings when it was obvious that she was upset about him moving in with Harmony. "They're going to Seattle next week when I was going to go down to visit."

"I'm sorry... I know you were already anxious about that anyway. Dallas and I will still be in town though, so you can hang out with us," Bianca offered with a compassionate smile. They usually went up to Washington for several weeks during the summer to visit their families and spend time at Jack's family vacation house.

"Thanks," Veronica replied with a grateful smile.

"You could also come to Washington with us. Delay your trip to Neptune until the end of the summer."

Veronica shrugged and gave her an uncertain look. She was looking forward to seeing Wallace and Mac, but not to spending a lot of time with her dad and Harmony. Christmas break had been awkward enough and that was when her dad still had his own place. "We'll see," Veronica answered back a bit noncommittally. Bianca gave her an understanding smile and nodded.

As they were leaving the restaurant, Bianca suggested a stop at the grocery store to stock up on more food while they were in town. She knew she hadn’t bought enough food to last the entire ten days and had planned to buy more at some point, so this would potentially save her from making an extra trip. Shelly and Veronica ended up with one shopping cart and half of the list Bianca had made.

"So, do you think you might get back together with Logan?" Shelly asked a little hesitantly as they were finishing up in the produce section.

Veronica shrugged. "I don't know... It's been really great seeing him again though." She wasn't really sure how much she should reveal to Shelly at this point.

"Well he seemed really eager to catch up with you again last night after pizza," Shelly shared with a sly smile. "He seems pretty interested in you again if you ask me."

Veronica couldn't help the little smile that spread across her face. "Well between you and me, I was really glad he showed up with Jack last night."

Shelly nodded in reply. Veronica quickly considered her options. She knew she could probably try to get a little information from Shelly if she really wanted to. She could try to find out more about the girl Logan was dating when they had initially planned the trip or maybe even about the chef. Veronica also wondered for a moment if Shelly might know whatever secret Logan seemed to be a bit nervous about. But she really did want things to be different this time for them and starting with a fresh slate seemed like the best idea. Digging into things behind his back was sure to lead to nothing good. So instead of talking about Logan, Veronica asked Shelly what plans she had with Casey for the rest of the summer. As they continued finding things from Bianca’s list, Shelly shared that they were also planning to go visit family in Neptune for a little while after this trip before they headed to Mexico for a couple of weeks.

By the time the girls made it back to the houseboat it was getting close to 3pm. They'd all theorized that the guys would be out wake boarding as they drove back, so they were surprised when they got to the houseboat and found the other speedboat and jet skis all tied up.

Instead of being out on the lake, enjoying the sun and the water, they found the guys inside doing a much less strenuous activity. There was a large flat screen TV in the main cabin of the houseboat and the guys were playing some video game on it. Well all the guys except Logan.

"Did you guys drown Logan?" Bianca asked curiously as she sat the bags she was carrying down on the counter.

Jack laughed and shook his head. "Nah... We went wakeboarding for a few hours earlier though and Worm decided he'd sneak in a chance to actually use the bed and take a nap. You know… since Birdie isn’t being a gracious lady and sharing," Jack said with a smirk.

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head slightly.  "How dare he?" she protested with a fake offended expression. She started to help Bianca put the groceries away as the other two girls squeezed in next to their guys to watch them play their game.

"You can go check on him," Bianca said with a small grin. "Just don't forget..." She pointed to her lips and gave Veronica a sad look.

Veronica gave her a grim frown and nodded before she headed down the hall. How could I actually forget that? She’d been obsessing about it off and on ever since they’d left the restaurant. She quietly opened the door and saw that Logan was stretched out on his stomach with his head buried in a pillow. She could see his back rising and falling in a steady motion and could hear the muffled sounds of his light snoring into the pillow. She carefully closed the door and then headed into the bathroom. She thoroughly brushed her teeth and swished with some mouthwash, although she knew that wouldn’t really be enough, but at least she felt a little better being around him now.

As she turned to leave the bathroom, she noticed he had woken up and was watching her with half opened eyes. “Hey you’re back,” he said sleepily with a soft smile. He paused and took in her expression and then seemed to wake up a bit more. “And you don’t look happy.” He gave her a puzzled look and leaned up on one arm as he kept watching her. When she didn’t move at all he patted the space next to him on the bed.

She shook her head and stayed over by the bathroom. “I can’t kiss you,” she said softly.

Logan quirked an eyebrow at her and glanced around the room. “Why… did they install spy cameras while I was sleeping?”

Veronica let out a bitter laugh and shook her head again. “No… Dinah tricked me into eating lobster at lunch.”

Logan’s eyes opened wide. “Wow! She really takes this seriously doesn’t she? And I thought the morning run was bad… now she actually made you poisonous.”

“I am so sorry…”

“Hey,” he said with a soft smile. “It’s not that big of a deal Veronica.”

“Not a big deal? You could die if I kiss you and you say it’s not that big of a deal,” she couldn’t help the slight bit of hysteria in her tone.

Logan scooted toward the edge of the bed so he could actually reach out and grab her hand and pulled her on to the bed with him. He reached up and brushed some of her hair away from her face. “While kissing you is always enjoyable… maybe this is just a sign that we need to take things slower… like I tried to tell you last night.”

She scoffed and shook her head. “It’s not fair though,” she replied with a pout.

He looked at her lips and then bit his own. “I do have an epi-pen in my bag… we could just risk it.”

Veronica opened her eyes wider and shook her head.  “No… are you crazy?”

“Maybe,” he replied with a sly grin.

She gave him a concerned look. “You never used to carry an epi-pen… did something happen?”

He shook his head and then gave her a slightly hesitant look. “No… the um… chef… she made me get one when she found out I was allergic to shellfish. I guess she’d witnessed several allergic reactions at restaurants she’d worked in and thought it was insane for someone allergic to something like that not to carry one around.”

Veronica reached up and caressed his cheek gently. “I guess I should thank her for that too.” She’d tried to convince him he should carry one when they were dating, but he’d been reckless and stupid then.

He took a quick breath and nodded. “Yeah,” he said as he gave her a soft smile and then leaned toward her and kissed her forehead. “At least I can still kiss you places other than your lips.”

She gave him a salacious grin and waggled her eyebrows at him. “And what did you have in mind?”

He laughed and shook his head at her. “Is it wrong that I’m sort of enjoying making you wait?”

“Yes,” she protested as she poked him in the stomach.

“So… how was the spa?” Logan asked before his expression changed to be more concerned. “She didn’t have them rub some sort of shellfish all over your body too did she?”

Veronica laughed and shook her head. “No… it was good. Like my toes?” she asked as she pulled her feet up onto the bed and wiggled her toes for him.

“Mm hmm…” he mumbled as he turned on the bed so that his head was down by her feet and he placed kisses on her feet right above her toes. He looked up at her with a playful smile as she shook her head.

“I like your toes… and your ankles…” he placed a kiss on both of her ankles. “And your calves…” he kissed her calves next.

She quirked an eyebrow at him as he grinned up at her. “I like the direction you’re heading,” she replied in a sensual tone.

He moved down to the end of the bed so he was kneeling down by her feet and then placed some kisses on the inside of her legs, moving from her calves up toward her thighs. She sucked in a deep breath as his lips moved higher along her thighs. He lifted his head up and gave her a devious grin before he shifted so he was hovering over the top of her. She let out a frustrated sigh that he’d stopped when he did. He leaned in toward her so he could whisper in her ear. “That’s for teasing me before I took a shower,” he murmured before he nipped at her ear lobe and then rolled over on to his back next to her again.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Maybe I should kiss you after all.”

He laughed and shook his head. “I promise I won’t be much fun if I’m dead,” he teased back.

“Hmm… Well right now you’re not much fun alive either,” she replied with an annoyed tone.

“But if you killed me, then who would you have to tell you bedtime stories?” he asked innocently as he reached over and twirled some of her hair again.

She let out a huff. “So… how was your afternoon?”

Logan chuckled and shook his head. “As blatantly obvious as Dinah is about trying to keep us apart, Jack was just as obvious about trying to get us together. Every chance he got he was telling me how fabulous you were and how he thought we should definitely get back together again.”

Veronica rolled her eyes and let out a sigh. “Seriously? I swear that guy can not do subtle, ever.” She suddenly felt a little anxiety course through her as she thought about Jack’s questions and gave Logan a more serious look. Did he want to get back together again? “What did you say to him about that?”

He must have been able to read her mind and looked at her a little more affectionately. He reached up and brushed some hair from her face and rested his hand on the side of her head, gently stroking her cheek with his thumb. “I said that was up to her… that I’d be thrilled if she’d consider taking me back… that she was the one who ended things last time… but I never stopped caring about her… ever.”

Veronica took a quick breath and felt her chest tighten. After all this time he could still completely turn her insides to mush. She looked at him longingly before she spoke again. “Damn Dinah and her stupid wonton… I so want to kiss you right now.”

His lips quirked up more on one side. “I’ll try to come up with something else romantic to say to you in about…” he glanced at his wrist as if there was a watch there. “24 hours.”

She chuckled and shook her head in frustration. Of all the things Dinah could have done to try to keep Jack from winning the bet on the first day, this was absolutely the worst. She was still lying next to him and let her head fall so it rested against his chest. He kissed the top of her head and let out a soft laugh. “Two years Veronica…” he said softly against her hair. “We can easily wait another 24 hours before we take things any farther… I told you last night, there isn’t any reason to rush anything. I’m still going to be here for the next seven days. Rushing back together didn’t work out so well before… We’ve never really tried the ‘take-things-slow’ approach before.”

Veronica chuckled against his chest. “Why Logan Echolls,” she said in her best southern belle accent. “Do you intend to court me?” She tipped her head back up so she could see his face again. He took a deep breath and then leaned toward her so he could kiss her cheek and nuzzled his nose by her ear.

“Yes…” he whispered so softly she could barely hear it, but she could feel the warm puff of air against her ear. She took a deep slow breath and wished so badly that she could kiss him. Fucking Dinah. She ran her hand up his arm, over his shoulder and into his hair as she closed her eyes and exhaled just as slowly.

“Hey…” he whispered softly as his lips slowly ghosted along her jaw line. “How about we ditch the others tonight and I’ll take you to dinner at one of the restaurants along the lake?”

She let out a soft frustrated breath and shook her head slowly. “If I’m alone with you… out at some romantic dinner… do you know how hard it’s going to be not to kiss you?”

“Oh right…” Logan replied as he moved his lips a bit lower to her neck. “How about we do that tomorrow night when you shouldn’t still be poisonous.”

“Good plan,” she replied as she let out a deep sigh.

“So what do the others think you’re doing in here with me right now?” Logan asked curiously as his lips moved lower down her neck to the juncture of her shoulder.

“Hmm… well Dinah and Bianca… and Shelly too… know we definitely aren’t kissing.”

Logan chuckled softly against her shoulder. “Well they are a little wrong, but I see your point.”

“The guys were all playing video games, so who knows if they’ve even noticed I’m missing.”

“Oh I’m sure Dallas probably noticed… and he’s probably keeping his fingers crossed that we are kissing,” Logan added with another soft laugh.

“Well not if he heard about the lobster… he’d never win if you died,” Veronica replied matter-of-factly.

Logan laughed a bit harder and she felt him nod against her neck. He placed a longer kiss along her shoulder and then rolled back away from her slightly again. “I’d better stop, or I may get carried away too… and I would hate to die before I had my chance to properly court you.”

She gave him a sly smile and nodded. She reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. “So what sort of courting rituals did you have in mind?”

“Well…” he mumbled as he reached up and tangled his fingers with hers on his head. He bit on his lip and an embarrassed expression formed on his face. She quirked an eyebrow at him waiting for him to continue. He shook his head slightly before he started talking again. “I know you’re going to totally tease me about this… but I actually took a sociology class…” Veronica giggled and shook her head as well. “…where we had to study dating rituals throughout history and in different cultures.”

“Of course you did,” she said as she continued to laugh softly. “Why am I suddenly terrified about what you might suggest?”

Logan brought her hand down from his hair so he could kiss the back of it. “There were definitely some very disturbing ones.” She gave him a questioning look and he shook his head at her. “You probably don’t really want to know.”

“Humor me,” she said with a sly smile.

“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He looked up toward the ceiling for a moment, apparently trying to remember some of the rituals from his class. “So in Austria in the 19th century single girls would keep a slice of apple crammed under their armpit during dances. At the end of the night, she’d give the slice to a guy who she was interested in. If he was into her too, he would eat it.”

“Oh my god,” Veronica groaned as she cringed, causing Logan to laugh.

“I warned you… There was actually another one in Scotland with rotten eggs…” Veronica covered his mouth with her hand.

“Okay… maybe I really didn’t want to know.”  He laughed and kissed her hand. “Promise me you don’t plan to do any thing gross like that?” she asked as she moved her hand to rest on his cheek.

“Alright… no gross rituals… I promise,” he said as he reached up and gently stroked her temple.

“You know…” she said coyly. “Telling me stories under the stars is pretty romantic and a bit courtship-like.”

“Mm hmm…” he agreed as he gave her a tender smile.

“Wait… have you been courting me since the first night?” she asked with a questioning expression.

“I was wondering if you’d eventually figure it out,” he replied with an amused smirk.

“And the dancing?” she asked next as her expression softened a bit. He nodded and leaned forward so he could kiss her temple.

“Maybe I’ll even let you beat me again tonight if we all play poker,” he said with a sly smile.

She laughed and shook her head at him. “Now I know you couldn’t have intentionally lost left-right-center the first night.”

“It would make for a better story if I had,” he said wistfully as he gazed into her eyes again.

“I think our story is going pretty well this time as it is,” she replied with a warm smile. “Maybe it will end up being worthy of a constellation.”

“As long as I don’t have to die to get said constellation created, I’m all for that.”

She laughed softly and nodded. “No tragic ending to this story this time,” she said with a hopeful tone to her voice. He nodded back and placed a long, tender kiss against her temple.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

When Veronica and Logan rejoined the group, Veronica could easily tell that Jack was furious with Dinah for her lobster stunt by the way he was glaring at her from his spot at the kitchen counter. He did perk up a little bit when he saw the two of them walk into the kitchen at the same time, though. Bennett and Casey were still fully engaged in whatever warfare video game they were currently playing and didn’t seem to notice that they were there yet. Dinah of course had a smug little grin on her lips as she sat next to Bennett and glanced over in Jack’s direction. Bianca was sitting on a stool in the kitchen area by Jack and gave the two of them a warm smile when she saw them. Veronica headed to the opposite side of the counter and Logan followed her, so they both ended up leaning on the counter across from where Jack and Bianca were perched on the kitchen stools.

Veronica really did want to make Dinah pay for tricking her and there was one thing that she suddenly remembered that would at least be a good start. “Hey, we should all go to the bar we were at last night for dinner tonight,” Veronica said mostly to Bianca, but loud enough for the others to hear her. “Wasn’t there a sign that tonight was their special all-you-can-eat-BBQ-ribs night?”

Bianca thought about it for a moment before a sly grin spread across her lips too. “Yeah, you’re right. Mm… BBQ ribs sound good to me. I think that’s a great idea.”

“You like ribs too, right Logan?” Veronica asked him with a determined smile that he must have recognized as her being up to something.

“Yep, that sounds great,” he replied as he nodded, but he still looked at her a little suspiciously.

“I thought we were going to hang out here so we could start playing poker early,” Jack commented with a frown on his face.

“Nope,” Bianca replied with one of her don’t you dare disagree with me looks. “How about you four? Up for BBQ ribs?” Bianca called out loudly to the rest of the group. “They of course have lots of other choices too and our meals were delicious last night.”

Veronica really hoped Dinah didn’t catch any of the subtle signals that were going on between them in the kitchen area, but Dinah had mostly been watching the game, so Veronica doubted she’d noticed anything. Casey and Shelly agreed that having BBQ ribs sounded great and Bennett didn’t object at all.

“There’s no country band tonight right?” Dinah asked as she looked at Veronica and Bianca with a slightly suspicious glance.

“Nope, that was just a Saturday night thing,” Bianca replied with a smile.

“Yeah… thankfully,” Jack replied, earning an angry glare from Bianca.

Bianca talked Logan into making them another batch of his delicious coladas, and coaxed Jack and Bennett into taking a few shots with them as well. Logan volunteered to be the designated boat driver for the evening, so the others could drink as much as they wanted. Veronica realized she still hadn’t seen Logan drink any alcohol since they’d been there and wondered if that was part of his Logan Lester persona. He would certainly be less likely to get into compromising situations by staying sober. The others had all gone back to watching Casey and Bennett finish their game, leaving Logan and Veronica alone in the kitchen. He must have noticed her giving him a curious look.

“What?” he asked as he cocked an eyebrow at her.

She glanced down at her colada before looking back up at him and shrugged. She lowered her voice slightly so the rest of the group wouldn’t hear them. “I was just surprised you haven’t had any alcohol since we’ve been here. Does that go along with being Clark Kent?”

He smiled and nodded. “Yeah… I’m sure you know I used to get myself into a bit of trouble in the past when I had too much to drink.”

She gave him a faux look of disbelief and he laughed and shook his head at her.

“I also didn’t want to make an ass out of myself in front of you after all this time, so thought it was better to be on the safe side,” he replied with a little wink. “But if it bothers you…” he added as he reached out and took her glass. He gave her a devious smile as he took a quick sip.

“Hey, now!” she protested. “I never said it bothered me… I was just curious. Give that back, Mr. Designated Driver.”

He chuckled and took one more sip before he handed it back to her. “These weren’t really all that strong, and I can always make more.”


“I’m going to hold you to that,” she replied before she took another drink herself and gave him a devious grin.

Shelly decided she’d like a colada as well, which finished off the first pitcher, so Logan made up another batch after stealing a couple more sips of Veronica’s. Veronica asked Jack and Bennett if they wanted another round of shots and this time Casey joined them as well. A short while after that Dinah said she was going to change into something nicer for dinner. The other women decided to change as well and all headed back to their rooms.

"Can I grab something before you change?" Logan asked before Veronica reached her door. She nodded as he followed her into the room.

"Okay, little miss schemer. What are you up to?" He asked with a quirked eyebrow after he had closed the door.

Veronica couldn't help but laugh slightly, as she realized just how well he could still read her. She gave him an exaggerated look of innocence, which he certainly didn’t buy, before she explained what her real plan was. "I may have forgotten to mention that they are also having karaoke there tonight, and Dinah hates karaoke, maybe even more than country music. But that's mostly because Bennett loves karaoke and is absolutely terrible at it. And it's even worse when he's had a little too much to drink."

Logan laughed and shook his head at her.

"She really should know not to mess with me," Veronica added with an evil grin.

"Everyone should know not to mess with you," he replied thoughtfully. "You really should just have some sort of big warning label attached to you."

"That wouldn't be any fun for me, though," she replied mischievously.

“So karaoke?” Logan asked and Veronica nodded in reply. His smile became a bit devious as well. “So I actually get to serenade you tonight?” Veronica’s eyes opened a bit wider and she shook her head. “Oh come on, Veronica. Serenading is totally one of the top courting rituals.”

Veronica laughed as she shook her head again. “Karaoke isn’t the same thing as serenading.”

“That’s only if you don’t do it right,” Logan replied with a seductive grin as he closed the space between them. Veronica gave him a worried look. “Don’t worry,” he said softly before he leaned in closer and started to kiss her neck. “I’ll stay away from your lips,” he murmured against her skin before she let out a slow sigh. She put her hands on his head, gently tousling his hair with her fingers. He let out a low growl and then stood up so he was looking down at her. “I’ll let you get ready to go,” he said with a crooked smile and then placed a kiss on the tip of her nose.

“I take it you found what you needed,” she asked with a scrutinizing gaze.

“Mm hmm,” he replied as he gave her a wink and then headed out the door.

Veronica was the first of the women to return to the main room after she changed clothes and touched up her hair and makeup. She was happy to find the guys, excluding Logan, playing a round of quarters with shots of scotch while they waited for the women to be ready to go. Logan gave her a conspiratorial smile as Bennett lost again.

“Okay you guys,” Dinah warned when she came back into the kitchen. “We aren’t going to carry your wasted asses up to the restaurant, so if you actually want to have dinner, you’d better slow down on the drinking.”

Jack and Bennett rolled their eyes at her, but did stop playing. Bianca and Shelly came out of their rooms a short while later and they all headed over to the restaurant. Dinah was distracted by something as they walked in, and didn’t notice the karaoke sign while they waited for a table. They’d just finished placing their orders with their waitress when one of the other restaurant staff members announced that they would be starting karaoke soon and that they’d have a sign up list up by the stage. The look on Dinah’s face was priceless as she heard the announcement. It must have only taken her a second to realize she’d been played and she turned to glare at Veronica and Bianca. Veronica gave her a little wink which only infuriated her even more.

Bennett of course had the opposite reaction as Dinah and an excited expression lit up his face. Jack must have also realized what Veronica and Bianca had been up to and gave them each a pointed look and shook his head slightly. Even though he may have meant to look admonishing, it didn’t really come out all that convincingly.

“Wow, how fun!” Veronica exclaimed with a devious grin. “It’s karaoke night and all-you-can-eat ribs.”

Despite a small protest from Dinah, Bennett still went up and signed up to sing. Veronica was glad that Logan hadn’t gone up as well after his comments on the houseboat. As they started to eat their dinners, Casey talked Shelly into doing a duet together. When Casey stood up and said he’d go and sign the two of them up, Logan gave Veronica a questioning glance and she quickly shook her head at him. Bianca, who was sitting right next to Veronica, caught it though and giggled slightly.

“Come on V,” Bianca pleaded. “I’m sure a duet with Logan would be fun. I’ll do one with Dallas if you do one with Logan.”

Logan gave her his best pleading puppy dog face as Veronica shook her head again.

“How can you say no to that,” Bianca continued as she pointed to Logan’s pouting face. Bianca gave Veronica a more mischievous grin. “If you won’t go up with him, then I will. I’m going to go and sign us all up.” Before Veronica could protest, Bianca had stood up from the table and headed toward the stage.

“I hope you’re happy now,” Veronica chided Logan. He gave her a smug grin and nodded in reply.

Bennett was the first one of their group to be called up to sing. He’d had at least one more drink while they were waiting for dinner, and as Veronica expected, went with his usual choice for his selected song. Dinah cringed as Bennett started singing ‘She’s Lost that Loving Feeling’ to her, very loudly and off key. Logan gave Veronica an impressed look as Bennett finished up the song and leaned closer to her to whisper in her ear.

“You are an evil genius. I don’t think Dinah is going to be crossing you again anytime soon,” Logan commented quietly to her.

“She’d better not,” Veronica replied back with a satisfied smile.

There were a few other names called before Casey and Shelly went up and sang their song. They settled on ‘Up Where We Belong’. They actually did a great job and most of the audience applauded when they were finished. Right after they were done, the DJ called Logan up. Veronica glared at him as he stood up and gave her a quick wink before heading to the stage. Veronica glanced at Bianca to see if she may have just put Logan’s name down separately and she shook her head, likely already knowing what she was wondering. “I put both your names down. This wasn’t me,” Bianca whispered in reply. Veronica assumed Logan had asked Casey to do it in advance since it was called up right after their duet.

An amused smile formed on Veronica’s face as the familiar notes to Elvis Costello’s ‘Veronica’ started to play. Lilly used to play it all the time when they were growing up and Logan and Duncan would join in with Lilly and they’d all sing it to Veronica. She was glad that if Logan had insisted on serenading her, at least it was a fun song, and not an over-the-top mushy love song that would likely have embarrassed her.

“Nice choice,” Veronica said with a smile as Logan returned to his seat next to her.

“One of my favorites,” he replied with a sly smile.

There were a few other singers called up before Bianca and Jack’s names were called. They went with Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s ‘Lucky’. Veronica had to admit that they were absolutely adorable signing it together. She’d heard them do a few other duets other times they all ended up at karaoke together, and that was by far their best choice. As they were getting close to the end of their song, Veronica started getting anxious knowing that she and Logan would likely be the next names called.

“Let me pick?” Logan asked with a playful smile before they stood up from their chairs. She gave him a concerned look before answering him. “Please?” he added with a head tilt that mimicked the ones she was known to give.

She huffed out a laugh. “Fine,” she replied as she shook her head. She was slightly worried, but was sure that whatever he picked, it couldn’t be any worse than Bennett’s performance anyway.

Logan leaned in and spoke low enough to the DJ that she couldn’t hear him. They walked up on the stage and each took a microphone. She saw the name of the song pop up on the screen at the same time that the music started. She couldn’t help but laugh thinking back to his comment at the Sadie Hawkins dance their senior year. He gave her a quick wink and smiled broadly as ‘I’ve had the Time of My Life’ started playing through the speakers. She couldn’t help but have fun singing it with him. They’d all watched Dirty Dancing enough times to know all the words without looking at the screen, thanks to Lilly’s insistence on watching it so many times.

“You’re such a sentimental softy,” she teased when they walked off the stage after the song.

Logan laughed and nodded in reply. “Well at least the crowd didn’t boo us off the stage.”

“It’s a pretty mellow crowd here. I wouldn’t recommend that particular song selection if you go to karaoke with us in Palo Alto though,” she added as they slowly made their way back to their table. “They tend to get ruthless if the music isn’t more upbeat and exciting.”

“Is that an invitation?” Logan asked with an inquisitive look.

She smiled and shrugged. “Maybe,” she replied demurely.

“Well I hope it is, and you can be sure I’m not going to forget it,” he replied with a determined grin.

“And I’m not going to forget you promised to make me pizza in LA either,” she countered back.

“Oh, you won’t have to remind me of that,” he responded with an affectionate smile.

Veronica was glad they were sitting out on the deck just like the night before because there weren’t a lot of bright lights around the tables. Most of the lights on the deck were aimed at the stage with only a handful of lights keeping the rest of the deck from being a huge safety hazard. As Logan and Veronica took their seat at the table again, she reached under the table and rested her hand on Logan’s leg. It felt so natural that she didn’t even think much about it when she first did it. He immediately covered her hand with his own and stroked the side of her hand gently with his thumb as he interlocked their fingers together. They’d given each other a few furtive glances during dinner, but for the most part she didn’t think they’d been too overt about their rekindling feelings for each other.

Bennett had apparently either gone back up at some point and signed up for a second song, or had signed up for two when he first went up there. Shortly after Logan and Veronica sat back down, they called Bennett’s name again. Veronica saw Dinah let out a sigh and roll her eyes slightly. This time he chose Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and sounded even worse than the first time he went up. At least it was only bad enough to grate on Dinah’s nerves and not have him totally booed off the stage. Surprisingly, there had actually been a few other singers who were worse than Bennett and Veronica also enjoyed Dinah’s reaction to them as well. She was certain Bennett as well as those other singers would have definitely been booed if they had been in Palo Alto instead.

Veronica hadn’t been paying too much attention to how much Bennett was drinking after their food arrived, and guessed based on his performance on the stage during his second song that it had been quite a bit more. However much he’d had while they were eating, Bennett was clearly feeling the effects of having too much to drink by the time they left the restaurant. Dinah certainly didn't look pleased at all, although from her condition when she and Bennett had picked Veronica up in Friday, she probably didn't have any room to talk. Jack, as usual, played the dutiful friend and wrapped his arm around Bennett to help navigate him back to the boat.

"You're going to have quite the hangover tomorrow, buddy," Jack pointed out as they walked toward where the boat was docked.

"Guess early morning running is probably out?" Veronica asked with a gleeful tone to her voice.

"Oh god yes," Bennett quickly replied, his speech slightly slurred.

Veronica and Logan had been walking at the back of the group and she glanced over at him as he gestured skyward and mouthed 'thank you' silently. Veronica tried not to laugh but a little huff escaped and he gave her a quick wink.

They put Bennett at the rear of the boat because they weren't sure he was going to make it back to the houseboat without getting sick. The rest of the group, excluding Logan, had been drinking too, but no one else had gotten as bad as Bennett. Veronica stuck close to Logan, so she was at the front of the boat and didn’t have to worry about dealing with Bennett or Dinah on the way back to the houseboat.

Veronica was sure there wouldn't be any loud moaning coming from Dinah and Bennett's cabin that night at least. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for Casey and Shelly, who quickly said good night to everyone as soon as they made it back to the houseboat and headed for their room. Jack had helped Dinah get Bennett to their cabin, and was headed back out to rejoin Bianca, Veronica and Logan a few minutes later.

“You two are wicked,” Jack said as he gave Veronica and Bianca a devilish grin.

“What? We didn’t make Bennett drink too much, or force him to sing karaoke,” Veronica protested with a sly smile.

“You don’t honestly expect me to believe that you didn’t expect that to happen knowing there was karaoke there tonight?” Jack asked with a suspicious expression.

“Come on, Dallas,” Bianca interjected as she took his hand. “I’ll let you interrogate me in our room.” She gave him a suggestive look as she started pulling him back down the hall. “Have a good night, you two,” she called out playfully to Logan and Veronica.

Jack apparently knew he wasn’t going to win the bet due to the lobster incident anyway, so didn’t resist Bianca’s suggestion and happily followed her into their room.

“Alone at last,” Veronica said with a broad grin as she turned toward Logan. “Too bad we can’t be doing something a little more exciting right now.”

Logan grinned sheepishly and nodded. “Yep… your evil plan to torment me all day didn’t really work out too well for you, did it?”

“Just wait until tomorrow… when I’m not poisonous anymore… I’m going to be relentless,” she warned.

“Are you going to be ready to let Dallas win, or are you only going to torture me in private. Because we both know secrets can be pretty hot too,” he said as he waggled his eyebrows at her.

Veronica shrugged as she gave him a mischievous smile. Initially she hadn’t wanted either Jack or Dinah to win to teach them not to bet on her, but after the lobster stunt, she had considered making Dinah lose for that alone. Dinah suffering through karaoke had been great, but it wasn’t really enough to satisfy Veronica’s desire for retribution. “I haven’t decided yet. I’m not terribly happy with Dinah right now. But you are right, secrets can be hot too.”

“So… are you coming up to join me on the roof for another story tonight or did you have something else in mind… that doesn’t involve me potentially dying of course.” Logan walked closer to her but stopped a foot in front of her and bit on his lip. He lowered his voice before he continued. “I know I can’t kiss you, but it’s been fairly torturous all evening not really being able to even touch you.” He let out a deep sigh and gave her a wolfish look. “And being right out here… where anyone could walk back out… I’m not sure what I’m allowed to do.”

Her grin grew larger and a dangerous glint formed in her eyes. “I like your suggestion of going somewhere that you can touch me,” she replied salaciously.

Logan laughed and shook his head. “I’m not sure we’re talking about the same kind of touching,” he responded with an innocent expression on his face.

Veronica laughed in reply. “Right…” she said skeptically. “You’re going to play all virtuous now? You know that’s not going to work with me right? I know you a little too well to be fooled about that.”

He smirked at her before his expression became predatory and he closed the distance between them. His mouth landed right below her ear where he sucked lightly before he lightly bit her ear lobe. “You’re too tempting to resist,” he whispered in a husky voice into her ear. “Can we at least move to the bedroom so my epi-pen is handy for when I go into anaphylactic shock?”

Veronica let out a deep sigh and shook her head. “I don’t want to kill you.”

“No, you just want to torture me,” he replied as he leaned away and quirked his eyebrows at her.

“Well yes… but I guess that’s not really fair is it?”

He shook his head and smiled more affectionately at her. “We both know what your idea of touching leads to… whether we intend to keep it innocent or not.”

“I know…” She took a deep breath and looked at him more intently. “And I do want to thoroughly enjoy our first time together again and not be worried about you needing to be rushed to the hospital.”

He reached up and gently caressed her cheek. “Me too.”

“You’d better think of some great story to distract me with tonight,” she teased in reply as she took his hand and started to lead him to her bedroom. She was caught off guard when he stood frozen instead of following her.

“Why don’t I meet you upstairs,” he said as he looked cautiously at her. “You can grab the pillow and blanket right?”

“Are you afraid to come into my room now?” she replied in surprise.

He bit on his lip again and nodded. “Maybe a little…” He looked down at his feet for a moment before looking back up at her. “I’m still me, Veronica. I can pretend to be all noble and whatever, but when you look at me a certain way… I know I’ll cave and do anything you want.”

She turned all the way back so she was directly in front of him again. “This taking it slow thing… it really means a lot to you, doesn’t it?” she asked curiously.

He swallowed hard and nodded. “I just…” He closed his eyes and looked almost nervous. It was really similar to the same reaction when she asked what other secrets he had.

“Hey,” she replied, causing him to open his eyes and look at her again. “It’s fine Logan. I promise I’ll behave the rest of the night. If it’s that important to you, then I can go along with it too.” She quirked an eyebrow at him before she continued. “But not for too long, okay?” she added teasingly. “You know patience was never my strong suit.”

He reached up ran his hand over the side of her head. “I know this probably seems totally out of character to you. I just… I just want things to be better this time.”

“Me too,” she replied with a tender smile. “But I’m still me too… and you should know better than anyone that playing the demure innocent girl was never really me.”

He took a deep breath and nodded. “Yeah… I know… thus the hesitancy to follow you into your room.”

“Good… but for tonight… given our situation… I’ll try to be all innocent and virtuous for you.”

“Thank you,” he said as he leaned closer and kissed her forehead.

She grabbed his hand and led him back to the room, giving him a sweet smile as she turned to close the door behind them. “We could just hang out in here if you want?” she suggested. She certainly didn’t want to fall asleep upstairs again and make him carry her back down. A second after she suggested it though, there was a loud bang against the wall and a loud ‘Oh yes’ could easily be heard from the other room. “Or not…” she said as she cringed slightly. Trying to behave herself was going to be even harder if she could hear Casey and Shelly in the room next door.

“Yeah… that’s probably not a great idea. We can come back in a little while when it should be safe again,” he replied with a slightly embarrassed expression.

“Will you wait for me tonight?” Veronica asked as she went to pull some sleep clothes out of the dresser where she’d unpacked her things.

“Sure, if you want,” Logan replied with a soft smile.

“I do,” she said before she walked into the bathroom to change. She knew the whole lobster issue was one reason to not get too intimate right now, but she couldn’t help but feel like there was still something else bothering him. She wanted things to be better this time too, but wasn’t entirely convinced they needed to take things too slow. She was hoping that one more night of waiting would be enough to make Logan feel more comfortable about them getting more serious again.

When she came out of the bathroom, Logan was sitting on the bed. He’d changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. She noticed his bag was back in the closet, although he had the blanket and pillow out already, as well as the bag of marshmallows.

“Did you want some dessert?” he asked as he picked up the marshmallow bag and shook it slightly. They’d actually ordered desserts with their dinner at the restaurant, and surprisingly she was still full.

“I think I’ll pass tonight,” she replied with a sly smile.

He chuckled and nodded. “That huge slice of chocolate cake that you had at dinner did look delicious.”

“It was,” she replied as she raised an eyebrow at him. “And here I thought those glances I noticed were for me, but really you were just scoping out my dessert.”

“You looked delicious tonight too,” he said as he gave her a quick wink. “Poisonous perhaps, but delicious none the less.”

Veronica laughed and shook her head. “Well I promise not to eat anything Dinah offers me without thoroughly inspecting it first.”

“Good,” Logan replied as he stood up from the bed and reached up to touch the side of her head. “I miss being able to kiss you properly, because come on… making out under the stars is totally courtship gold.”

Veronica laughed slightly and nodded. “Yeah… I definitely agree.”

Logan took a deep breath and then bit on his lip for a second while he shifted his gaze down to her lips. “How many hours has it been? I’m sure you’re probably fine now.”

“Oh no…” Veronica said as she pushed lightly on his chest. “We are not going to risk that!”

“Spoil sport,” Logan replied teasingly.

Veronica gave him an admonishing look and shook her head. “Come on,” she commanded as she reached out and grabbed his hand. “Time to go amuse me up on the deck.” She grabbed the pillow from the bed and thrust it at his stomach before grabbing the blanket to carry herself. She did a quick scan of the hallway before they stepped out of her room and headed to the stairs.

“So…” Logan started to ask after they’d gotten comfortable on the deck-top couch. “Any particular constellation you’d like me to tell you about tonight?”

“Hmm…” Veronica pondered as she looked up at the stars. “I’m not really that familiar with that many of them… other than the zodiac signs of course… oh and Orion. Where is Orion anyway?”

“Actually you can’t see Orion this time of year at night in the Northern hemisphere. That’s more of a winter constellation.” Logan chuckled for a second before he continued. “You do know that in one of the stories about him, that his dad is Neptune.”

“No… I didn’t know that,” Veronica replied, all of a sudden reminded of her own call from her dad in Neptune earlier that day. Logan must have noticed a change in her tone and propped himself up on his elbow so he could look at her.

“Do you make it back to Neptune very often? You’re dad still lives there right?” Logan asked as he watched her curiously.

“Yeah,” she shrugged as she glanced over at him before looking back up at the stars. “I make it back every once in a while and he does still live there.”

“I still know you well enough to know when something’s bothering you, Veronica,” Logan said as he reached over and placed his hand on the side of her face, gently turning it back toward him while he ran his thumb tenderly across her cheek. “What’s going through that brilliant mind of yours?”

Veronica let out a sigh as she gave him a half smile. “I talked to my dad earlier… and I don’t know… things are just sort of difficult with us right now.”

Logan quirked an eyebrow at her. “Did you mention I was here with you?”

Veronica grimaced slightly and shook her head. She really hoped that wasn’t going to upset him, but she didn’t want to lie either.

“Well if things are already difficult with the two of you, throwing my name into the mix might not be the wisest thing anyway,” Logan replied with an understanding smile. “So what happened?”

Veronica took a deep breath before she answered. “I’ve had a hard time adjusting to his latest relationship.” She realized as she said it that it probably sounded a bit judgmental. “It’s not that I don’t want him to date, or that I dislike her that much… it’s just… well he didn’t tell me about her until they’d been seeing each other for a little over six months. And I really don’t think he would have even told me then if I hadn’t come home for the holidays.”

Logan gave her a puzzled look and then his eyes opened a bit wider. “He’s not dating Ms. James again is he?”

Veronica huffed out a laugh and shook her head. “Actually maybe I’d be more okay if it was her.” She paused a moment before continuing. “No, this was a client who hired my dad to find out if her husband was cheating on her. The husband wasn’t, but she and my dad got involved while he was working for her. She’s divorced now, but I guess I still have a hard time trusting her since she was willing to be unfaithful before.” Logan gave her an understanding smile and nodded slightly as he ran his fingers through her hair. “Shortly after Christmas, my dad moved in with her.”

Logan’s eyes opened wider again. “Wow, so I guess they are pretty serious, aren’t they?” Veronica was the one to nod this time.

“Yeah, and she also has a daughter. She’s about twelve I guess. She’s a really sweet girl… full of all sorts of hopes and dreams… Of course Harmony wants us to be great friends… but you know.” Veronica let out a frustrated sigh.

Logan stroked her cheek again and looked more intently at her. “You’re dad gets a long really well with the kid too, doesn’t he?” Veronica gave him a sad smile and nodded. “And I bet a part of you wishes you could be that way again too… young and naïve… not tarnished by all the horrible things that have happened?” Veronica nodded and closed her eyes. Logan pulled her against his chest and stroked the back of her head with one hand while he rubbed her back with the other. He placed a tender kiss against her head. “I’m sure you’re still the most important thing in the world to your dad, though.”

Veronica nodded against his chest and took a deep breath. “I know,” she whispered softly. “It’s just… it’s just hard. She lives with them most of the time, and I get to hear stories about things they all do together… like a family… that I’m not really a part of anymore.” She took a deep breath before she continued. “But I know that’s not really fair for me to be upset about because I’m a grown up now… away at college. And they’d like me to come back more… I just haven’t really wanted to.”

“Sorry I brought up Neptune,” Logan said softly as he continued to caress her back.

“Don’t be…” Veronica replied. “It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about it… who understands why it’s hard.” She shifted so she was resting on his chest but able to see his face again. “Someone who knows the real me… and everything that’s happened.”

Logan looked at her tenderly and gently ran his fingers across her forehead, moving some of her hair away from her face. “That’s the one bond we’ll always have,” he said softly. Veronica took a deep breath and nodded and buried her head against his shoulder. She’d missed that connection so much. Even though they’d fought over secrets in the past, she still knew more about him than anyone else did, and the reverse was true as well. He kissed her head and wrapped both arms around her.

“So, Orion?” Veronica asked quietly a few minutes later as she turned her head to the side and rested her cheek against his chest.

“Yeah, the hunter,” Logan replied softly as he reached up and started to gently stroke her hair with one hand. “Apparently he was a cocky guy,” he explained, causing Veronica to laugh. “So you know things usually don’t turn out to well for them. And, at least in two different versions of his story, he gets taken out by a scorpion.”

Logan went on to share the various stories about Orion with her. When he was finished, Veronica turned so she could look up at the sky again and they spent a little time looking at the stars. Logan pointed out a few other constellations and told her about those as well.

“Did you want to come back downstairs?” Veronica asked as she rolled up on her elbow so she could look at him again when he was done with the latest story. “I promise I’ll behave.”

“What about the others… if they realize I slept in there with you,” Logan asked a little hesitantly.

Veronica smiled and reached up so she could run her hand through his hair. “I don’t care if they know. I just want to enjoy being here with you and not worry about what anyone else thinks about it.”

Logan’s face lit up with a broad smile. Veronica stood up and reached out her hand to pull him up from the couch. When they made it back to her room, she was glad that Casey and Shelly must have finally gone to sleep since they didn’t hear any sounds through the wall. Veronica crawled into bed first, and then cuddled up against Logan once he joined her under the covers.

“Hey, what would you think about going on a hike tomorrow? Just the two of us,” Logan suggested after they’d settled into a comfortable position. “There’s a waterfall we could hike to.”

“I think that sounds fabulous. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with Dinah or Jack trying to interfere with our day for their own personal gain.”

“We could even sneak off in the morning before they all wake up and pack up some stuff for a picnic lunch.”

“Mm… and find a nice secluded spot to enjoy it?” Veronica asked seductively.

She felt Logan laugh softly under her. “Here I was thinking an innocent picnic sounded like a perfect courting opportunity… I should have known you’d turn it into something not quite as virtuous.”

“Who me?” she asked innocently before she let out a playful chuckle.

“Yes, you,” he answered as he squeezed her a little tighter. “My temptress of the high seas.”

“Better bring that epi-pen along just to be on the safe side,” she teased in a sultry tone.

“Mm hmm…” he mumbled against her head, before placing a tender kiss there. “Goodnight, Bobcat,” he whispered after the kiss.

Goodnight,” Veronica replied softly with an extremely blissful smile on her face as she closed her eyes and squeezed him a little tighter.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

Veronica felt warm puffs of breath hitting her forehead as she slowly struggled to wake up. From the steady deep rhythmic breathing coming from the body she was resting against, she assumed that Logan was still asleep. Unfortunately, the way she'd prefer to wake him up wasn't really an option with the slim chance that any shellfish toxins were still in her system. She was trying to remember what she'd read about that several years ago and whether it was only saliva or other types of bodily fluids too. It's not worth the risk, Veronica. You can wait a few more hours, regardless of how excruciating that sounds right now.

Veronica slowly tipped her head up so she could see Logan's face. As she moved, his eyes opened ever so slightly and then his lips curved up into a faint smile.

"Good morning," Veronica whispered softly as she smiled at him.

Logan let out a deep sigh. "It would be better with some kissing," he replied sleepily, his lips curling up even more playfully. His eyes were still mostly closed, but she was sure he could see her through his eyelashes.

Veronica shook her head at him. "I'm not going to start today off with you going into anaphylactic shock."

Logan's smile became more relaxed. "Well it does warm my cold, cold heart to know that you care enough not to poison me," Logan said with an amused, lazy tone.

Veronica laughed as she let her head fall against his chest again. He tipped his head down so that he could kiss the top of her head.

"I love waking up next to you," Logan mumbled into her hair as he wrapped his arms around her and nuzzled his face against her head.

She smiled against his chest. She couldn’t agree more. "Me too," she admitted softly before tipping her head back up to look at his face again. She watched as he opened his eyes a bit more than he had before.

"I wish I could kiss you," he said disappointedly as he brought one hand up to stroke the side of her head.

"Me too," she replied with just as much, if not more, frustration.

He forced a smile across his face before he spoke again. "Just a few more hours though… unless you're feeling lucky?"

Veronica let out a deep sigh. "When has luck ever been on our side, Logan?"

His smile actually became more genuine and she could see his eyes light up brighter. "Now," he answered without any hesitation. "This... us being here together... how lucky is that?"

She smiled and nodded in agreement. He narrowed his eyes for a split second, and before she could even react, he pressed his lips to hers. She tried to pull back, but his hand was on her head and held her in place. Given that it was totally unexpected, her lips had opened slightly in surprise, allowing him to kiss her deeply.

"Logan!" she protested after the kiss. "Are you insane?" she asked angrily, but then she instantly changed to being worried. "Are you okay?" She studied him as carefully as she could, trying to watch for any sign he was starting to have an allergic reaction.

"I'm fine," he replied with a smug grin on his lips. "You only had a small bite and it’s been at least sixteen hours. And I wanted to prove to you that luck is on our side this time, Veronica. Do you have any idea how lucky I feel to have you in my life again?"

She felt herself melt at his admission. She did know how lucky he felt because she felt the same way too. "I'm still mad at you for being reckless," she chastised softly.

Veronica wasn’t quite buying his obvious attempt at looking contrite. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled softly as he gave her a sheepish smile. “I just really couldn’t help myself though. You’re just too irresistible.” She rolled her eyes and shook her head at him. “You don’t believe me?” he asked as he looked at her questioningly.

She smirked slightly and shook her head again. A wolfish grin spread across his lips and then a second later he’d flipped them so that she was pinned underneath him. She loved the feel of his toned upper body pressing her slightly into the soft bed below her.

“You know I’ve never been able to resist you,” Logan whispered as his lips gently brushed against hers. This time she kept her mouth closed tightly so that he couldn’t surprise her with another deep kiss, although it took every ounce of her will not to kiss him herself. He reached up with one hand and stroked her hair while his gaze changed from predatory to reverent. “You’re absolutely gorgeous, Veronica, but you know that’s not the only thing that constantly pulls me to you. You’re one of the most tenacious and inquisitive women I’ve ever met. And your loyalty and compassion, while not easy to earn, are by far the most genuine and worthwhile rewards I could ever receive.”

Veronica felt herself suck in a quick breath. She hadn’t expected him to say those things at all and she really wanted to kiss him. Maybe it has been long enough of a wait? If he didn’t have a reaction already, we’re probably safe kissing again now. She bit nervously on her lip for a moment while she contemplated what to do. Her window of opportunity shut quickly though as his head dipped down away from hers toward her neck. She let out a soft moan as he started kissing her right below the ear, slowly moving lower toward her shoulder and then back up again. This kind of kissing is good too. She moved her hand so she could slip it under the edge of his t-shirt, savoring the feel of his warm taught body under her fingertips. She felt him let out a low moan as well against her neck as her hands moved down toward his lower back. She was about to trace a path below the waistband of his shorts when he abruptly rolled off of her.

She gave him a disgruntled look as he stared helplessly back at her. “I’m sorry…” he quickly stammered out. “We should wait… until later…”

“Why?” was the only word she could manage with her brain having a hard time forming anything else coherent with the amount of desire coursing through her. Wasn’t he just saying how much he wanted me a few seconds ago?

“I just…” he replied as he looked at her nervously for a second before he continued. He seemed to be trying to rationalize something to himself, but the excuse that came out next didn’t really sound all that convincing. “I thought we were going to sneak off to the waterfall alone. We should probably head out early if we don’t want the others to interfere.”

The thought of spending most of the day alone with Logan, at least mollified her a bit. She bit back her sudden frustration at him spurning her advances again. He must have been able to tell that she wasn’t very happy with him though, and she watched as his brows furrowed slightly. He reached up and gently caressed the side of her head. “I know you’re upset with me. I just want to enjoy the day with you, and I think there are some things we should talk about before we take that next step. Sometimes… in the past with us… well, talking about things never went the way I hoped they would. Can you understand why I’m a little hesitant?”

Veronica reached up and stroked his cheek. “That was two years ago, Logan. I’m not exactly the same person that I used to be. I’ve tried hard to change so that I’m not to so judgmental and distrusting of people.”

Logan looked at her a bit skeptically as he nodded. “Okay… but can we just enjoy today before we dig into serious topics that could potentially not go over well. I don’t want to keep anything from you this time, Veronica. We both know how destructive that turned out before.”

A part of her wanted desperately to know what he was so afraid to talk to her about, but she quickly realized that was exactly what he was worried about. My undying need for the truth rarely ever worked out well in the past. I really do want to prove to him that I’ve changed. “Of course,” she forced herself to say in reply. “An enjoyable time alone sounds wonderful to me too.” She bit on her lip for a second before she continued. “But Logan, please don’t be afraid to talk to me about things. I promise I won’t react the way I would have in the past.”

Logan let out a soft sigh and nodded. She wasn’t sure that he completely believed her, but she really couldn’t blame him either. They did have a lot of bad experiences to overcome, and her verbal reassurance probably wasn’t quite enough yet. Neither of us are going anywhere, anytime soon. I just need to give him time to believe me and then everything will be fine.

It only took them a short amount of time to strategize how to get ready to sneak off alone for the day. Once they had settled on a plan, Veronica grabbed some clothes and headed into the bathroom, while Logan changed in the main room. When Veronica came back out to the bedroom, she smelled the scent of coffee and hoped that it was just the automatic timer rather than someone already being out in the kitchen. Logan also gave her a questioning glance before they headed out of her room. While sneaking off without running into any of the rest of them would be easier, Veronica wasn’t going to let anything come between her and spending the day alone with Logan.

Veronica let out a small sigh as she reached the end of the short hallway and spotted Bianca sitting at the counter stirring a cup of coffee in front of her. Bianca gave them an amused smile before she said good morning to both of them.

“I’m glad to see Logan made it through the night alive,” Bianca teased as Veronica headed toward the cabinet with the coffee mugs. Veronica opened it and handed one to Logan as well.

“I’m happy about that too,” Logan replied with a smug smile on his lips. As soon as Veronica saw Logan’s eyebrow quirk up, though, she knew he was about to say something lascivious. “Although I’m not happy about what that meant I had to miss out on though,” he added in a quiet, lusty tone.

Bianca laughed softly and nodded in reply, while Veronica shot him a sharp look. “Oh come on, V,” Bianca commented playfully. “I’m not clueless you know.” Bianca narrowed her eyes a bit more at Veronica before she continued. “And I’m pretty sure you’re not either. Dallas and Dinah may not think you know, but I know that you do.”

Veronica shrugged, but she couldn’t help a mischievous smile creeping across her lips. Veronica knew she wouldn’t be able to keep that she knew about the bet from Bianca for too long. Bianca was much too perceptive to not figure it all out. She also noticed that Bianca was still being a bit vague, probably trying to not directly interfere even if she didn’t like the fact that the other two came up with these bets all the time. “Maybe I do and maybe I don’t, but I don’t want to get you into trouble either,” Veronica replied slyly.

Bianca smiled and nodded in reply while Logan watched them with an amused expression on his face. “It’s almost like watching two evil geniuses,” he said when the other two had stopped talking for a moment. Both women rolled their eyes, causing him to just shrug in response.

“So, what are you two up to so early?” Bianca asked as she turned her attention back to Veronica. Veronica quickly filled her in on their plan to take one of the wave-runners farther up the arm of the lake and then hike to the waterfall. Veronica also mentioned that they were planning to take along a picnic lunch.

“You two should head over to the restaurant at the marina where we all parked. They have really amazing cinnamon hazelnut pancakes there,” Bianca suggested as she looked back and forth between the other two. “I’ll help you pack a picnic lunch too… it’s the least I can do since my idiot boyfriend is one of the reasons you want to run off alone for the day.” Bianca gave them both a devious look before she continued. “And I’ll make sure the houseboat’s empty after lunch if you decide you want to spend a little time here alone too.”

Veronica knew she could count on Bianca to have her best interest at heart. She smiled at Bianca and nodded. “That would be wonderful,” Veronica replied as she glanced over at Logan, who seemed a little surprised at Bianca’s offer. When their eyes met though, he gave Veronica a smile and nodded as well. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was still slightly worried about the two of them being completely alone on the houseboat later. She also wondered if he might have been a bit skeptical that Bianca could actually pull something like that off, but Veronica had every confidence in Bianca’s abilities to make it happen.

It didn’t take long for the three of them to put together a picnic lunch to take to the waterfall. Bianca even pulled out the perfect cooler for them to take along with them. It had plenty of room for their lunch, as well as an extra section for a blanket and would easily fit on the wave-runner and was completely waterproof. Bianca said that, if the others asked where they were, she would tell them that the two of them had decided to go off and do some exploring, but she wouldn’t tell them where. Veronica wouldn’t put it past Jack to try to track them down just to get proof of him winning the bet, and she was sure that Bianca realized the same thing.  

Veronica had decided to bring her camera along this time and put it in a waterproof bag that Bianca had loaned her when they were both packing for the trip. Logan secured both the cooler and the other bag to the wave-runner before they said a quick goodbye to Bianca. Veronica was relieved that she and Logan were able to head off before anyone else emerged from their rooms.

They took Bianca’s suggestion and headed back toward the marina to eat before going off to find the waterfall. Veronica was glad to see that Logan seemed to be acting relaxed around her again and must not have been worrying about whatever had caused his nervousness from earlier that morning. Logan wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her a little closer to him as they walked up the dock toward the restaurant. Veronica had definitely missed him during the last two years, and was relieved at how easily they seemed to be falling back into a comfortable rapport with each other. She really hadn’t dated anyone who was as openly affectionate as Logan had been and had found herself longing for that reassuring touch more than once over the last two years.

Since it was still fairly early, the restaurant wasn't very busy when they arrived. There was a 'Please Seat Yourself' sign at the front counter, so Logan asked if Veronica would like to sit next to one of the large windows that looked out onto the lake. He graciously pulled out her seat for her as they reached the table. She couldn't help but give him an amused smile as she thought back to their earlier courting conversation. Before she could comment though, a waitress appeared and asked if they'd like some coffee.

"I'm really looking forward to spending the day with you," Logan admitted as he reached across the table and took her hand with his once the waitress had left them alone again.

"And I'm looking forward to Bianca's promise of alone time on the boat later too," Veronica added with a devilish grin.

Logan chuckled and nodded. "Think you're finally going to have your way with me, do you?" he asked with a smirk.

As she nodded in confirmation, he pulled her hand up to his lips and kissed her knuckles.

"I've definitely missed having a determined bobcat in my life," he said as he looked up at her through his lashes. He placed another kiss on her hand before setting it back on the table, but still held it with his own.

She felt her focus shift slightly away from thinking about what she was planning to do to him later, to wondering why he hadn't tried to contact her if he'd missed her. She wanted to ask, but she also didn't want to start their day off with a potentially touchy subject. She looked down at their interlocked hands and tried to shift her thoughts away from wondering about what had kept him from reaching out to her at some point. Unfortunately though, Logan knew her tells too well, and just like the night before, seemed to know that she'd drifted off to thinking about something troubling.

"Did I say something wrong?" Logan asked with a slight edge of worry in his voice.

Veronica looked up and shook her head, trying to will herself to not show any sign of unease. Logan squeezed her hand a little tighter and gave her a skeptical look. She decided trying to completely drop it probably wouldn't be a wise choice. If they were trying to do things differently this time, they both needed to be more honest about their feelings. Maybe talking briefly about the topic would be better than blowing it off all together.

"I just missed you too. And I wish I had known you were at UCLA. But I didn't. But you knew where I was..." She trailed off, suddenly realizing she was starting to feel a bit judgmental even though she hadn’t wanted to.

"I'm sorry," Logan replied as he gave her a tender smile. "I honestly wasn't sure you'd want to hear from me. We didn't part on the best of terms at the end of freshman year. I guess I figured if you wanted to find me you would. You always were good at finding people. And I still had the same cell phone number, Veronica.”

"You don't need to apologize," Veronica reassured him with a deep sigh. Time to change my approach if I really do want to prove I’m different now. She gave him an affectionate smile before she continued. "What matters now is that we found each other again. I shouldn't have been thinking about the last two years."

Logan nodded and lifted her hand up again to place a slow long kiss on the back of it. "We'd better figure out what we're going to order before the waitress comes back," Logan commented after the kiss. Veronica nodded and let go of his hand so they could both look through the menus the waitress had left with them. "And I hope you stay away from the lobster omelet," Logan added teasingly after he started reading through the choices.

"Absolutely," Veronica replied with a determined nod. There’s no way I want to delay being with him any longer than we already have.

They both ended up ordering the cinnamon hazelnut pancakes that Bianca had recommended. As they waited for their food, Veronica had asked Logan what some of his other cooking specialties were. They spent most of breakfast talking about different dishes that he'd tried to prepare, with several humorous stories regarding some terrible failures as well. By the time they had finished eating, the earlier uneasiness seemed to be completely gone.

"So, where's your car?" Veronica asked as she spotted both Bennett's and Jack's parked near each other as they left the restaurant. She wondered if Logan still had the black Range Rover, or if he'd bought something new in the last two years.

"It's back in LA. I rode up with Casey and Shelly," Logan replied, pausing for a moment before continuing. "I, um... I wasn't planning on riding back with them, though. I had actually thought about renting a car and driving down the coast instead of heading straight back to LA. I didn't have anything specific to be back there for, and playing third wheel to them isn't that much fun."

Veronica gave him an understanding smile. "Yeah, I know that feeling. I tend to be the fifth wheel more often than not," she replied jokingly.

"Well you're welcome to ride back with me if you'd like. Of course, only if you don't have something you need to be back right away for," Logan suggested with a hopeful tone.

"I don't," Veronica replied with a pleased smile. An invitation to spend more time with him sounded absolutely wonderful, especially now that her original plan to head to Neptune after the trip was being delayed. Logan dipped his head slightly and she watched as a delighted smile form on his lips.

"Any specific day you do need to be back?" he asked as they reached the wave-runner at the dock.

She couldn’t help being a bit mischievous as she answered. "Well I should return before classes start in the fall, but other than that, no."

Logan chuckled softly and pulled her against him. She smiled up at him before he placed a kiss on her forehead. "I'm pretty sure I can promise to return you by then. Although I'm certain I won't be happy about it."

Veronica gave him a sly look. "You say that now, but after a few more days with me, you may be ready to leave me at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere the first chance you get."

"Never," Logan replied with a confident smile. "I can't imagine ever wanting to leave you, Veronica." She caught a momentary flash of worry cross his face but he seemed to quickly recover. "And I'll do my damnedest not to do something this time to make you want to leave either."

Veronica felt a tinge of guilt pass through her, and looked up at him lovingly before pressing her face against his chest and kissing him there. "I really don't want to lose you from my life this time either, Logan. I promise I'll be more understanding and work through things better with you. No more snap judgments or hasty reactions."

She felt him take a deep breath before he kissed her on the top of her head.

"We'd better head toward the waterfall before Dallas or Dinah start searching for us," Logan said as he leaned back slightly and smiled at her. She couldn't help but wonder if he believed she would be able to keep that promise given their history, but he didn't seem to want to discuss it more. I'll just have to prove to him that I really do mean it if something difficult comes up.

It was still early enough that not a lot of activity was happening on the lake. There were a few boats out with skiers or wake-boarders, but for the most part, the lake still felt extremely serene. Veronica had positioned her arms beneath Logan's ski vest under the guise of keeping warmer, but she was also enjoying slowly running her fingers along his abs. He certainly hadn't objected to it at all and had even loosened the vest when she'd first commented that the wind was a bit chilly on her arms.

Veronica was a little surprised that Logan seemed to know exactly where he was headed as they made their way across the lake. They finally reached the area he must have been looking for, and he slowed the wave-runner down and took it to shore.

"Have you been here before?" Veronica asked curiously as Logan helped her climb off.

Logan nodded and grimaced a bit. "Yeah, but it's been a really long time. Don't you remember one summer when the Kanes and my family came up here for a week?"

Veronica had forgotten that Lake Shasta had been one of their joint family vacation destinations. When Logan's family had first moved to Neptune, the two families would occasionally go on vacations together. Of course Celeste would never let Lilly bring Veronica along, no matter how much Lilly whined about it. Veronica generally had been bored to death waiting for the others to come back to Neptune. Those family trips seemed to end once the kids were a more appropriate age to leave at home without their parents. Of course, when both sets of parents still went off without the kids, Logan and Lilly started getting into all sorts of trouble together.

Veronica sighed and nodded. "Right, I'd forgotten."

"Duncan and I heard about the waterfall from some guy at the marina and spent a day hiking around looking for it. I mostly used it as an excuse to get away from Aaron, though. I'd accidentally knocked over a glass of cranberry juice and it spilled onto one of his favorite jackets, so it was only a matter of time before he was going to make me pay for that."

Veronica gave him a sympathetic look. She suddenly remembered that was the trip Logan had returned with a nasty black eye. "I take it you didn't trip and fall on the deck that trip then?"

Logan shook his head as he sucked in a deep breath. "It was a plausible excuse though. Jake even lectured Duncan and me on being more careful when we were running around on a boat and how slippery the deck can be."

"I'm surprised you'd actually want to come back to the lake after that," Veronica commented, wondering how many other reminders of that trip he'd been thinking of. Maybe that was actually what led to our conversation about Duncan the first night. How could he be here again and not think about both Duncan and Lilly?

Logan gave her an affectionate smile. "Well I'm very glad that I did. Much better memories this time." Veronica nodded in agreement before he leaned in and kissed her forehead.

After they took the cooler and her camera bag off of the wave-runner, they headed in the direction Logan thought they needed to go. Logan shared the story of his adventure with Duncan when they had tried to find the falls all those years ago as the two of them walked along a trail that she assumed was the right one to reach the falls. Being city kids, Logan and Duncan had gotten a bit lost, but finally came across a couple who were on their way back from the falls and they gave the two boys directions on where to go. Logan told her how it was unusually hot that day, so they were relieved when they finally made it there and spent the afternoon jumping off the rocks into the water at the base of the falls. Logan also told her that he’d delayed heading back to their houseboat for as long as possible, but eventually Duncan had insisted they go back. They’d tried to talk Lilly into going back with them the next day, but she was more interested in sun bathing than hiking around the woods.

When Logan and Veronica finally made it to the waterfall, she was amazed at how beautiful it actually was there. She took several pictures of the scenery and then found a good spot to set up the camera to take a few pictures of the two of them since they were the only ones who were there so far. She hoped that no one else would arrive after them since it really was a perfect romantic spot for the two of them to just spend several hours alone at. Of course, one problem with being alone in a romantic location with Logan was her increasing desire to kiss him. As usual, he must have been able to read her like an open book. After they had hiked around the base of the falls for a short while, Logan took her up a side path that ended up leading to a few large rocks that overlooked the waterfall. She noted that it would actually be difficult to see them from down below with all the trees and foliage.

“I know the look you keep giving me, all too well, Veronica,” he said with a lecherous grin as he lifted her up on to one of the smooth boulders. She crooked an eyebrow at him in a ‘do tell’ expression. “It’s been probably close to twenty hours now, and I did bring my epi-pen like you insisted,” he said as he stepped closer to her, standing right between her legs. “I’m sure it’s safe to kiss me if you really want to,” he said as he leaned a bit closer to her. His expression matched the salacious tone of his voice.

“You’re being a bit presumptuous there, mister,” Veronica replied playfully. She hoped he hadn’t noticed that with every inch of space he was closing between the two of them that her heart was beating even faster.

“Hmm…” Logan pondered thoughtfully as he continued to get even closer. He’d put his hands on either side of her on the boulder after boosting her up on the rock, although she’d really wished he’d left them on her hips. He seemed to be totally teasing her now, and she was sure he knew exactly what he was dong. “I suppose that is one of my flaws,” he replied in a low husky voice. “I guess I’ll go find my own boulder to sit on,” he said as he started to push himself away from her.

Veronica quickly hooked her legs around the back of his thighs so he couldn’t move away. “Not so fast there,” she said with a devious smile. “I think your current location is exactly where I want you.”

Logan leaned toward her again and gently brushed his lips against hers. “Good. I sort of like my current location too.”

Veronica took a deep breath and grabbed his shirt so she could pull him even closer to her. “You’d better be right about me not being poisonous now, or I’m going to kill you,” she said as she looked longingly into his eyes. Logan laughed at her comment and nodded before he pressed his lips to hers. The boulder was the perfect size to accommodate for their difference in height, and she took full advantage of that. She wondered if the build up of anticipation was finally starting to get to Logan as well, because he seemed a bit more passionate than he had been before. Their kisses quickly went from barely chaste to something much hungrier and needier than when they were kissing earlier on the houseboat.

“God, I’ve missed you,” Logan moaned as his mouth left hers and moved toward her neck again.

“Mm… me too,” she replied as her head fell back slightly and she sucked in a deep breath. She let out a soft moan as one off his hands slid across her lower back so he could pull her tighter against him. His mouth quickly returned to her lips, ravishing her tongue with his own until they were both panting roughly.

“We should find a place for our picnic,” he finally suggested breathlessly as he paused and rested his forehead against hers.

They were close enough to the falls that, even if other people had arrived, all Veronica could hear was the crashing of the water into the deep pool below them.  She glanced around and couldn’t see anyone around at all either. She shook her head and kissed his lips again. “I want you Logan… now… here… I don’t want to wait anymore. Please,” she whispered pleadingly. She could easily tell that his body wanted to do more than just talk. He was wearing board shorts and it was easy for her to slip her hands under the waistband and grab his ass, causing him to moan again. She rocked against him and felt his breath quicken as he became even more aroused against her.

Logan let out a shaky breath as his head dropped to her shoulder for a moment. He sucked in a deep breath a few seconds before he looked back up at her. "I don't want our first time together again to be on a boulder in the woods, Veronica," he replied with a pleading expression. "As painfully difficult as this may be, I think we should wait until we're alone later."

She was about to protest when a golden retriever bounded up the path toward them and let out a loud, happy bark.

"And I don't think we'll be alone for long," Logan added with a loud exhale.

Veronica narrowed her eyes at him for a second before she heard a man's voice calling out 'Rigby!'. The dog turned his head for a second toward the voice but then looked at Logan and Veronica before barking again. The man’s voice called out the dog’s name again and sounded like he was much closer now.

“Tattle tale,” Veronica teased over her shoulder at the dog who was standing there wagging his tail at her. Logan chuckled and placed a slow kiss on her forehead before turning toward the dog as well.

A few seconds later, a middle aged man appeared on the path, calling out the dog’s name again. “Sorry about that,” the man said as he spotted Logan and Veronica a few feet away from the dog. “Come here, Rigby.” This time the dog turned and ran toward his owner. “He’s usually much better about not running off.”

“It’s fine,” Veronica said with a polite smile. Of course, it really isn’t fine, but what else am I going to say. Logan shot a quick look at her, with a quirked brow, obviously not buying her lie at all.

“Enjoy your afternoon,” the man said with a friendly wave as he and the dog headed back down the path toward the base of the falls.

“Yes, let’s get back to enjoying our afternoon,” Veronica said in a sultry voice as she grabbed Logan’s shirt again to pull him back toward her.

“Veronica…” Logan started in a slightly hesitant tone. She leaned toward him a placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

“What? You promised me a picnic, right?” Veronica asked with an innocent expression.

Logan laughed and nodded in reply. “Yeah, I did,” he replied with a more relaxed smile. “Let’s go find a better spot for that.”

Veronica nodded in agreement and let him help her down off the boulder. “And then when we’re finished with that, we can pick up where we left off, back in the privacy of my room on the houseboat.”  Logan laughed softly again and pulled her against his side so he could kiss her temple.

“And there’s my feisty bobcat again,” he said with an amused tone as they headed off to find some place to enjoy their picnic together.

When they left the rocky area by the falls, Logan led them higher up to where they could walk along a trail that followed the river that fed into the waterfall. They finally found a somewhat grassy area that looked perfect for having their lunch. Logan spread out the blanket, and then they both started unpacking the food that Bianca had helped them pack. As they were eating, Veronica noticed that he seemed quieter than earlier on the hike to the waterfall and couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking about.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she said with a playful smile. Logan chuckled softly and shook his head.

“Just thinking how lucky I am to be having lunch here in this beautiful spot with a beautiful woman,” he replied before leaning forward to give her a quick kiss.

Veronica studied him for a second before she shook her head. “Nope, that wasn’t your appreciating nature expression. That was more of your worrying about something look instead.” Veronica put down the sandwich she was eating and sat up so she was closer to him. “I promise there’s nothing to worry about, Logan,” she said reassuringly as she reached up and stroked his cheek. “Clean slate… the past doesn’t matter now. All that matters is that we found each other again and that we’re starting fresh after too many years apart.”

Logan’s expression remained a bit uneasy as he nervously glanced between her and the blanket. “A bit of a one-eighty from the girl who wanted to tell all to be totally intimate with each other,” he replied a bit hesitantly. “I want to believe you, Veronica. I really do. But you know… once bitten…” he trailed off as he looked down at the blanket again.

This isn’t really helping my undying curiosity, damn it. But I really don’t want to be that way anymore. “With age comes wisdom,” Veronica replied back with a comforting smile earning a soft chuckle from him.

“Okay,” he replied as he nodded at her. Veronica leaned up to kiss him before he could say anything else. They were always better communicating physically anyway. After a minute of just sitting next to him and kissing, she moved again so she could sit on his lap. She noticed his hands immediately went to her hips, almost as if he was trying to keep her from moving too much. She was tired of being patient and figured they’d been gone long enough that Bianca would hopefully have everyone off of the houseboat by now.

“I’m ready to go back now,” she announced as she broke the kiss and gave him a mischievous smile. Logan took a deep breath and nodded, placing one more kiss on her lips before he moved his hands so she could climb off of him.

When they finally made it back to the wave-runner, Logan insisted that Veronica  drive it back to the houseboat. She could tell that he wouldn’t take no for an answer, so she finally agreed and let him have his way. It didn’t take him very long to explain to her how to use it, and a few minutes later they were flying across the lake, headed back to the houseboat. While she had been looking forward to being free to do whatever she had wanted with her hands on the way back, she had to admit that driving the wave-runner was exhilarating as well. There were more speedboats out on the lake now, and Logan had her flying over some of the waves from the wakes they left behind. The slight adrenaline rush from their ride quickly gave way to eager anticipation as she spotted the houseboat and could tell one of the speedboats was gone.

Once they had tied up the wave-runner, they headed into the main cabin together. Logan grabbed two bottles of water out of the fridge for them as she started to read the note that was sitting on the counter. Veronica laughed softly and then started to read it out loud to Logan as well.

“V – sorry that we didn’t wait around for you, but Dallas and the other guys wanted to go golfing and us girls thought we’d go shopping while we waited for them to finish. We’ll be back at dinnertime. Hope you enjoyed exploring the lake.”

Logan quirked an eyebrow at Veronica, apparently able to tell she was reading more into the note than what it said. “Is there some secret code in there between the two of you?” he asked as she set the note back on the counter.

Veronica laughed again and shrugged. “Well I’m pretty sure Jack didn’t really want to go. Has he ever asked you and Casey to go golfing?” After Logan shook his head she continued. “Jack doesn’t really like to golf. Bennett loves to golf though. I’m sure that Bianca threatened Jack with some sort of ultimatum to get him to do it. And the reason Jack hates to golf with Bennett is because Bennett’s too much of a perfectionist and takes forever on his shots. So Bianca definitely picked the one thing that would ensure we’d have the boat alone for the longest amount of time.”

Logan laughed softly as well. “See? You two are evil geniuses.”

Veronica nodded and took a step closer to him. “But we try to only use our powers for good,” she said with a sultry gaze. “Why don’t you come back to the bedroom and I’ll show you just how good.”

Logan let out a shaky breath and nodded. She reached out and took his hand before pulling him toward the hallway. Even though she assumed that they would have plenty of time alone, she didn’t want to worry about bad luck striking now and having the others arrive home unexpectedly while they were getting intimate out in the main cabin. As soon as Logan pulled the door shut behind them, she pushed him against it and kissed him hungrily. He instinctively lifted her up and spun her around so her back was pressing against the door. His hands went to her thighs so he could keep her pinned there, allowing him to reach her mouth more easily. She was so relieved that it seemed like he was finally ready to stop fighting whatever had been holding him back before. She hoped he was starting to believe her assurances from before that she wasn’t going to do something to sabotage them this time.

After a few minutes of kissing against the door, she moaned out ‘bed’. He kept his grip on her legs as he spun them toward the bed. He sat her down and bit on his lip as he looked down at her. “Are you sure about this?” he asked breathlessly.

“Yes,” she replied as she took advantage of the slight distance between them to reach down and pull her shirt up over her head. She saw him take a deep breath as his eyes glazed over with lust. A second later, he was pushing her farther up the bed as his mouth made its way down her neck and her chest, finally landing on one of her breasts. He nipped lightly at her through the lace of her bra before stealthily removing it himself. She moaned out appreciatively as she arched up towards him. She tugged at his shirt, momentarily causing him to remove his mouth from her, but he quickly returned it to her other breast.

Even with the distraction of his mouth on her, she was still able to slip off her shorts and let out a deep sigh as one of his hands traced down the side of her body, caressing all of her curves. Her next objective was to get him out of his shorts as well which wasn’t too difficult to accomplish with some help from him. Once they were both naked she shifted enough to get him to roll on to his back so she could sit on his stomach.

“One second,” she panted out as she leaned toward the drawer by the bed where Bianca had left the box of condoms. A wolfish grin formed on his lips when he must have realized what she was getting.

“I’m not sure if I’m grateful or concerned about Bianca’s thoughtful gift,” he commented as she put the box near them on the bed. Veronica’s eyes opened a bit wider, realizing he must have seen the box earlier and the note as well. Logan chuckled at her reaction and pulled her closer to him. “Definitely grateful,” he whispered against her ear before sucking lightly on her ear lobe. 

While foreplay with Logan was always enjoyable, the main act was even better, and Veronica desperately wanted to move on to that. She reached down and touched him, causing him to moan against her neck. She grabbed a foil packet from the box and started to open it when Logan reached up and grabbed her wrists unexpectedly. “Wait,” he said as she watched the uneasy expression from before slip back onto his face. “I really do think we need to talk first,” he panted out as he gave her a pleading expression.

“We’ve talked enough,” Veronica replied as she stared down at him and tried to pull her hands out of his grip.

His grip wasn’t firm enough to keep hold of both of her hands, and one broke free just as he started to talk again. “I need to tell you…” he started to say again before she covered his mouth with the hand she’d freed.

“No, Logan,” she said as she shook her head adamantly. “You don’t. It’s okay… I’m not going to go digging for secrets this time.”

“But…” he mumbled from behind her fingers and she shook her head again.

She wanted him so badly, and she was so worried that what he was going to say would ruin all of this. Maybe he’s just being overly paranoid over what happened in the past. She quickly thought through the major issues that had destroyed them before. “Does it have to do with another woman?” she asked as she looked down at him, her hand still covering his mouth. He shook his head in reply. “Did you do something illegal?” she asked next, to which he just shook his head again. “Whatever it is, Logan, I really don’t need to know. I’m not going to dig around for secrets this time. You don’t have to worry. Trust me, okay?” She slowly removed her hand from his mouth, hoping he’d believe her.

“Okay,” he said as he stared longingly up at her and nodded slightly.

She took a deep breath before leaning down to kiss him again. She was more than relieved when his hands went back to touching her body instead of holding on to her wrist. She’d waited more than two years for this and her thoughts immediately shifted away from wondering what he was worried about to blissful enjoyment of what he was doing to her body. He must have finally decided to let it go too, because there was no uneasiness or hesitation in the way he touched her now. She’d always been impressed with his stamina and control, as well as his ability to make her completely fall apart several times over. She’d missed this, missed him, so badly over the last two years and there was no way she ever wanted to lose him again.

They ended up in a sweaty, panting tangle of limbs after he finally let himself join her in his own release. He reached up and brushed the damp hair that had fallen in her face back so he could place soft kisses on her lips and cheeks. He didn’t say the words ‘I love you’, but, based on the way he looked at her and touched her, he didn’t have to. She was certain he still loved her just as much as he had before. She wasn’t surprised that he didn’t want to actually say it yet, though. She hoped he could see the same thing in her expression as well. She felt herself start to blissfully drift off to sleep as he pulled her tightly to his chest and place a slow kiss against her temple.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Veronica felt fingers gently stroking across her lower back as she slowly started to wake up. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep, but she could tell that it was still light outside when she cracked open one eye, so at least she hadn’t slept past dinner. She remembered Logan crawling out of bed after she had started to doze off. He’d cleaned up in the bathroom, but then he’d joined her again, wrapping his arms around her right before she started to fall asleep. She listened to see if she could hear sounds of others on the houseboat, but it still seemed to be peacefully quiet. She was pretty sure if the others had come back, someone would have knocked on her door to check on them anyway. She was surprised how tired she’d felt earlier, but was sure it was a combination of waking up early, the long hike to the falls and then the blissful reunion sex with Logan that had totally wiped her out.

She placed a slow kiss to Logan’s bare chest, resulting in his other hand moving from wherever it was resting to tangle into her hair at the base of her neck. “Hey, sleeping beauty,” Logan whispered before he placed a kiss on the top of her head.

Veronica shifted so she could look up at Logan with a blissful smile on her lips. “Hey there yourself, handsome,” she replied as she gazed into his eyes. He effortlessly pulled her up higher so he could press his lips to hers. “Did you sleep too?” she asked after the kiss. He shook his head as he moved his hand that had been behind her head so he could fidget with strands of hair on the side of her face. “How long have I been asleep?”

“Maybe an hour,” Logan answered before he nuzzled his nose against hers. “I was enjoying your little snuffle sounds,” he added with a soft chuckle and then kissed her on the tip of the nose.

She rolled her eyes and shook her head slightly. “I appreciate you trying to put a nice spin on the fact I was snoring.”

“You’re little sounds are too cute to be called snoring,” Logan teased back as he smirked at her.

“Right… potato, po-tah-toe,” Veronica said as she rolled her eyes again. “I still think you just make that up though since I’ve never actually heard myself snore.”

Logan chuckled harder, and she felt him shake gently underneath her. “So… I was thinking… since you already succeeded in seducing me… we could take that shower together that you offered yesterday morning,” Logan suggested with a leering grin.

Veronica was more than ready to take him up on that idea. She was also relieved that he seemed to be over whatever had been making him hesitant about being intimate with her. At least this Pandora’s Box is one I’m more than happy to have opened. She nodded and matched his expression with her own. “Bianca did say we should try to conserve water, didn’t she?” Veronica teased as she started to sit up.

“I’ve always been a big proponent of conservation,” Logan replied as he ran his hands appreciatively from her hips down to her upper thighs. Veronica laughed softly and gave him an amused smile. That had frequently been his excuse for why they should shower together in the past.

“Ah yes… all the sacrifices you had to make for the environment,” Veronica teased back as she pulled him off the bed. “I haven’t forgotten. Although given we really do have a limited fresh water supply here, maybe we should get a little dirtier first before we actually try to get clean.” She reached for another condom from the box and flashed him a seductive grin before she continued to lead him into the bathroom. She also had quite a few explicit memories of all the non-cleaning things they had done in the shower and was eager to recreate a few of those before the others returned. She didn’t want to have to worry about either of them actually trying to stay quiet for whatever they might end up doing.

After their second round of getting reacquainted, they actually did turn on the water and slowly enjoyed helping each other get clean. Veronica took her time with a soapy washcloth, slowly rubbing it across his broad shoulders when he’d turned to face away from her. After a few minutes of that though, he’d spun back around and captured her lips for a hungry kiss.

“Have I mentioned how much I’ve missed you,” he panted when their lips parted again. She laughed softly and nodded.

“Yeah, I think you may have mentioned that earlier this afternoon,” she replied with a playful glint in her eye. She gave him another long lingering kiss and then smiled against his lips. "I really missed you too." She could feel him smile against her lips as well before he kissed her again. She let out a giggle as he picked her up and spun her so he could press her against the shower wall.

"Limited water supply," she reminded him since she could tell he was quickly getting aroused again.

He let out a disgruntled sigh as he released her and let her slide back onto her feet. "I also suppose being in the shower when everyone gets back might not be the best idea either," he commented as he ran his fingers through his hair under the stream of water, removing whatever may have been left of the shampoo he'd put there while Veronica was working on his back.

"Yeah," Veronica agreed somewhat reluctantly. She still didn't want to let Jack win the bet, but that meant another thirty-four hours or so of not being able to kiss Logan around them.

Logan must have noticed her hesitation because he reached up to push some of her wet hair back farther from her face and gave her a questioning look. "Unless you're ready to let Dallas win?" Veronica let out a sigh and shrugged. "I remember how hot it was back when we were trying to keep us a secret junior year," Logan shared as a salacious smile formed on his lips. "The stolen glances… the secret rendezvous in the bathroom." Veronica couldn't help but smile in response to that. She had to admit it had been exhilarating at times.

"I reserve the right to out us if it gets too unbearable," she replied as she smirked slightly at him. "I think I had much better restraint back then."

"Either that or I've just gotten even more irresistible now," Logan teased sarcastically. Veronica quirked an eyebrow at him as if she was seriously considering the comment. She could tell he was joking, but a part of her actually thought that it might be true. Even though they'd only been back in each other's lives for a few days, this version of Logan was everything she'd always loved about him in addition to all the new changes in his life. All of which seemed to be positive.

"Ready?" Logan asked as he gestured toward the faucet handle with his head. She gave him a timid smile and then took a second to sensually rinse off under the water one more time, drawing a quick breath from him.

"Ready," she confirmed with a sly grin as he reached around her to turn off the water. He placed one more lingering kiss on her lips before he opened the shower door and grabbed a towel to wrap her in. After she was wrapped up, he grabbed a second one for himself.

Logan followed her back out to the bedroom after they’d dried off a bit, although they were still just wrapped in their towels. Veronica turned and started walking backwards into the room, giving Logan a devious grin before she let her towel fall to the ground. She watched as Logan's eyes started to darken and he sucked in a deep breath.

"I thought we were getting dressed before the others came back?" Logan asked in a husky tone.

Veronica shrugged and took a step toward him, causing his eyes to glance down her body before looking back up to her face. "I don't hear anyone here yet," she said with a flirty grin as she placed her hands on his bare damp chest and stared up at him.

Logan took a deep breath before leaning down to capture her mouth with his own. He placed his hands on her waist and lifted her up slightly as he spun her toward the bed. Right as her legs touched the edge of the bed, her cell phone chimed with an incoming text.

Veronica let out a deep sigh as she looked toward where she'd tossed her phone earlier. "I'd better check that," she announced reluctantly.  Logan let out a loud breath as well as he nodded in reply.

A less than pleased expression formed on Veronica’s face as she read the message. "They're just now leaving the marina," Veronica read as she quirked an eyebrow at Logan.

"That's not much of an early warning," Logan pointed out as Veronica started scrolling through her other missed messages.

"Apparently Bianca did send a couple while we were in the bathroom too, so you can't say she didn't try," Veronica told him as she read through them.

Logan gave her a dangerous look as he took a step closer to her. "The door locks, and without visual proof, no one wins the bet, right?"

Veronica laughed and shook her head. "Would you really not expect Jack to figure out how to unlock the door if he thought he could win a bet?"

Logan dramatically shivered. "I really don't want to have him barge in on us like that."

Veronica laughed and nodded in agreement before she cringed as well. "You at least don't live with his girlfriend. I forgot one of my text books when I was supposed to be at the library for several hours studying and walked in on something I'd rather have never seen."

"Don't forget I lived with Dick for a while. Talk about things you can't un-see but wish you could," Logan commented and grimaced. Veronica was the one to visibly shiver that time.

"Okay. No more references to things we'd rather have never seen," Veronica said firmly. Logan waggled his eyebrows as his eyes raked over her naked body again.

"Of course this is one sight I can never get enough of," he said leeringly as she laughed softly and shook her head. "I'm serious," he said, his expression becoming more genuine.

Veronica couldn't help the playful smirk that spread across her face as she reached out and stole his towel. "Ditto," she replied with a giggle.

Logan scowled slightly before he spoke again. “You know, giggling when you said that didn’t exactly do much for my ego,” he said with an exaggerated abashed tone.

Veronica laughed again and shook her head. “Oh, come on. You’re hot and you know it,” she commented salaciously. Logan’s scowl quickly disappeared as he pulled her against his chest.

“Why can’t we just stay alone in here the rest of the day?” He paused a moment and he looked like he had just remembered something. “Why do there have to be all those other people in this world?” Logan continued with a teasing grin as he stared down at her.

Veronica tipped up to give him a quick kiss. She knew that the longer they stood there pressed together without any clothes on, the more likely they’d move on to something that they shouldn’t be doing when the others got there. “I’m going to pretend that was rhetorical and you really don’t expect an answer,” she replied, shaking her head slightly. “And we should probably get dressed before they actually do get here.”

Logan bit on his lip for a moment before he nodded, placing a quick kiss on the tip of her nose and then releasing his hold on her. “And you don’t think matching wet hair is going to look a tad suspicious?” he asked as he tousled her still damp hair.

“Well lucky for us, we’re surrounded by a very legitimate excuse,” Veronica answered as she reached for her bikini that was sitting on the dresser. “I’ve been wanting to try out the slide anyway,” she added playfully as she started to step into her suit.

“You couldn’t go with your one piece?” Logan asked with a frustrated sigh as he hungrily watched her getting dressed. Veronica smirked and shook her head.

“Hurry up and get dressed too,” Veronica teased as she gave him a challenging look. “You don’t want to make me swim all alone, do you?”

Logan chuckled as he grabbed his swim shorts and started to slip into them. Veronica was about to open the door when Logan spun her back toward him and lifted her by her waist, pressing her swiftly against the door. She gave him a questioning look before he pressed his mouth to hers and kissed her fervidly. He let out a deep sigh as he rested his forehead against hers. “I needed something to tide me over until later,” he commented as he gazed lustfully into her eyes.

She smiled and nodded before placing a chaste kiss on his lips. He let her slide down the wall and then took a step back so she could open the door. “Showtime,” she said playfully before stepping out to the hall. Luckily the others still weren’t back yet, so she headed up to the top deck with Logan trailing right behind her.

“Ladies first,” Logan commented as he waved his hand with a flourish toward the slide.

“Always the gentleman,” she teased in a southern drawl before giving him a wink and climbing onto the slide. “Meet you at the bottom,” she added before she pushed off and headed down toward the water. It only took a few seconds for her to hit the brisk lake. At least that might help cool both of us off before the others make it back to the houseboat. She started to swim off to the side of the slide, and a second later, Logan was hitting the water as well. He popped up a foot or so from her with a devious grin on his face. As his hand stroked up her thigh and then gave a slight tug to her bikini bottoms she realized what the look was for.

“What happened to the gentleman at the top of the slide?” she teased as she playfully swatted his hand away and then pulled on her bikini to make sure it was still in place.

Logan laughed softly before diving under water and swimming to the side of the houseboat. He hopped up so he could sit on the edge and then held his hand out for her. “Better?” he asked as he gave her a contrite look.

She nodded and let him pull her out of the water. They were only sitting on the edge of the houseboat for a few seconds when the sound of the returning speedboat alerted them that the others would soon be there. “Shall we?” Logan asked as he gestured with his head toward the other side of the houseboat where they others would be docking the speedboat.

Veronica nodded a little reluctantly. She wasn’t really ready to go back to pretending that something wasn’t going on between them, but she wasn’t willing to let Jack win either. Logan stood up and then extended his hand to pull her up to her feet. Bianca had pointed out a cabinet earlier that had extra towels and they each grabbed one as they made their way around to greet the others.

Veronica leaned against the back of a lounge chair as she started to dry off, while Logan went over to help tie up the speedboat. Veronica noticed a very suspicious look on Jack’s face as he studied both her and Logan as they all disembarked from the speedboat.

“You two took off pretty early this morning. I guess you were desperately in need of some alone time,” Jack commented as he and Bianca stopped near Veronica. Logan had also headed back in her direction, but took a seat on one of the other lounge chairs instead of getting any closer to where she was.

Veronica shook her head slightly at Jack. “We thought you couples might enjoy some time without your third-wheels around. It was nice exploring the lake without being reminded of the fact that we’re both currently unattached,” she answered a bit flippantly.

“Right,” Jack answered, clearly not really buying her explanation. “Did you have a good time exploring?”

“Yep,” Veronica replied with an innocent grin. “The waterfall was gorgeous. I’ve got some pictures if you’d like to see them.”

Jack rolled his eyes slightly. “I’ll pass.”

“Did you have a good time golfing?” Veronica asked, replicating the same inflection that he’d used to ask her about exploring. Jack grumbled at that and shook his head as Bianca giggled slightly.

“Did you at least beat Bennett this time?” Veronica asked, receiving a scowl and another headshake from Jack.

Dinah and Bennett walked over and took a seat on one of the other lounge chairs by them. “It was a great course,” Bennett commented as he shifted on the chair so Dinah could sit between his legs. “Too bad you weren’t able to join us, too,” Bennett directed to Logan. “Are you a golfer?”

Logan shook his head slightly. “Not really. I guess I spent most of my free time surfing instead of learning to swing clubs.”

“And he’s a badass at riding those waves,” Casey added as he slapped Logan on the shoulder. “Always kicks my ass whenever we surf together, at least.”

“Everyone can kick your ass,” Logan replied with a chuckle as he shook his head at Casey. Casey shrugged and let out a sad sigh, apparently agreeing with Logan’s assessment.

“So, what are the plans for the rest of the day?” Dinah asked as she leaned against Bennett, silently watching the rest of them talk up to that point.

“I was thinking dinner, a movie on the big screen and then hot-tubbing,” Jack answered without leaving much room for debate in the way he said it.

“Big screen?” Veronica asked in confusion. The TV in the main cabin was pretty large, but she wouldn’t have thought it would qualify as a big screen.

“One of the perks of this houseboat,” Bianca explained as she pointed toward the wall of the main cabin. “There’s a built-in big screen that you can pull down to watch movies out on the deck at night.”

“Cool,” Veronica replied, wondering if she was the only one who didn’t actually know about it, since the others had been more involved with planning the trip. No one else seemed phased by it at least.

“What movie?” Casey asked as he wrapped an arm around Shelly who had taken a spot next to him on the deck.

“Well Birdie and Worm’s duet last night put me in the mood for Dirty Dancing,” Jack replied with a smirk. Veronica watched Bianca’s eyes light up. She knew that Bianca loved that movie almost as much as Lilly had when they were kids. Veronica also knew that usually Jack would grumble about her making him watch it though, and wondered if he was either trying to suck up to her to get himself out of trouble, or to pick something with a romantic vibe to it, hoping to push her and Logan closer together. And of course if they’d brought movies along, that one would certainly have been in Bianca’s collection.

“I thought you guys wanted to play poker tonight?” Dinah interjected, looking less than pleased about Jack’s suggestion.

“I lost enough on the course today to GQ and Toad,” Jack grumbled as he shook his head in disgust. “I think I’d rather wait another day before I try my luck at gambling again.”

Veronica noticed both Casey and Bennett smiling at Jack’s comment. She couldn’t help but wonder how much money Jack had actually lost to them.

“Dallas’ plan sounds like an excellent idea to me,” Bianca chimed in, evidently trying to ensure that she dissuaded anyone from going along with Dinah. “We have more steaks we can grill up and lots of options to go along with those.”

Veronica watched as Casey shot a quick questioning glance at Shelly and then they both nodded in agreement too. She was beginning to notice how in synch they tended to be and all the communicating they did without any words. At first she’d been skeptical of their relationships, but the longer she was around them, the more she could see that they really seemed to be pretty good together.

“What do you say Birdie and Worm?” Jack asked as he looked between Veronica and Logan. “You two okay with that too?”

Logan raised his eyebrows as he shot Veronica a questioning glance and shrugged. “I’m up for anything,” he replied as noncommittally as possible. Although Veronica could tell that he actually did like the possibility of snuggling up with her on deck to watch a movie, particularly a romantic one at that. It certainly fit well with all his courting plans.

All eyes seemed to turn to Veronica as if her decision was the only important one.  She of course had planned to go along with the idea if for no other reason than she could tell Dinah didn't want to do it. "Sounds great to me," Veronica answered, shooting a quick defiant smile in Dinah's direction. "I'm sure you and Bennett could find something else to do if you didn't want to join us though, Dinah. I think the bar at the marina had karaoke tonight." As Veronica added the last part, Dinah narrowed her eyes slightly.

"Dinner and a movie sounds fine," Dinah replied before she gave Bennett a chance to jump at another night of karaoke.

Jack and Bennett both headed off to their rooms to change out of their golf clothes, followed by Bianca and Dinah. Veronica thought it was a little strange that Casey hadn't taken their lead and that he and Shelly had remained behind, although as soon as the door to the main cabin closed she quickly discovered why.

"Any idea why Dallas was so interested in grilling me about your previous relationship this afternoon while we were golfing?" Casey asked as he glanced between Logan and Veronica. Veronica shrugged and shook her head to which Logan did the same. "Well, he was certainly persistent," Casey continued with a perplexed expression.

"What did he want to know?" Veronica asked curiously. She wasn't terribly surprised that he might be fishing for information to help him win the bet. She knew Bianca wouldn't give him any help and there wouldn't really be any leverage he would have over her to make her change her mind. It was abundantly clear to anyone who had the upper hand in that relationship.

Casey shrugged. "Mostly he asked how you two got together and what your relationship was like." Casey paused as he gave both Logan and Veronica a curious look. "Neither of which I actually knew the answer to. I remember hearing you two were together at the end of my senior year, but then everything got a bit… crazy… and then I went off to Europe for the summer before starting at UCLA."

Veronica grimaced slightly and nodded. They'd been together so briefly before the night both Aaron and Logan were arrested, and then after that, Logan had missed the rest of school until after the trial when he started summer school. Even though they’d reconciled during that tumultuous time, only a few of the other 09ers likely even knew. And of course that had been the start of their rather rocky relationship. Veronica noticed Shelly was avoiding eye contact at that point, likely not wanting to share her perspective of their relationship. A flash of anger quickly passed through Veronica at that moment though, wondering how much of the Madison scandal Shelly might know about. Don’t go down that path, Veronica. That caused you to lose enough time with Logan already. Dredging up those issues isn’t going to help at all.

“Well it certainly was odd,” Casey continued when neither Logan nor Veronica said anything. “And it also seemed strange that he only asked about it when Bennett was far enough away to not over hear us.”

Veronica just shrugged again and shook her head. “Jack can be a bit peculiar at times. I suppose it would be a little odd to find out that two people you knew individually for quite some time had actually been a couple at one point in the past.”

“I guess,” Casey said, although he still seemed a bit suspicious about it. “If he’s so interested, why didn’t he just ask one of you?”

Veronica gave him a clueless expression. “Good question… and I have no idea. He has been acting a bit stranger than normal the last day or so. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

Casey nodded, but still looked slightly suspicious. “Well, I’m going to go in and change clothes too. Coming Shell?” Shelly gave him a demure smile and nodded before she took his hand and they headed into the main cabin together.

“Alone at last,” Logan said with a leering smile as he stood up from his seat and took a step toward her. Veronica gave him a warning look, to which he laughed and shook his head. “I wasn’t going to kiss you… not out here in the middle of the deck,” he replied in a hushed tone. He glanced toward the stairs that led to the roof top deck. “But I thought you might want to take another trip down the slide while everyone else is busy in their rooms.” He waggled his eyebrows at her and then headed toward the stairs.

Veronica laughed before she turned and followed him. He waited at the top of the stairs and then picked her up by the waist and spun her slightly. “No one can see us up here,” he said with a spark in his eyes before he leaned in to give her a quick kiss. She knew he was right, and they would hear the main cabin door open if anyone was on their way out, so she didn’t hesitate to kiss him back.

“You know we could blow off everyone and sneak away again so we could have dinner alone if you wanted to,” Logan suggested after the kiss.

“It could be fun to mess with Jack and Dinah too though,” she replied after thinking about it for a few seconds. “We just have one more day before their bet will be invalid, and then we can go out for a quiet dinner alone after that.  I’m sure we can have some fun with almost kissing… you know… flirting and teasing and making them both anxious while they wonder if we might or might not.”

Logan narrowed his eyes slightly, although she could tell he wasn’t trying to be terribly serious. “I do seem to recall you were very good at letting me almost kiss you at Alterna-prom,” Logan said as he reached up and touched her cheek. He pulled his hand away a second later. “I was this close,” he continued, holding his thumb and finger only an inch apart. “This close to kissing you, before you turned and bolted out of the room.”

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head. “How many times are you going to give me a bad time about that?” she asked with a faux annoyed expression on her face. Even though the next morning when she’d come to see him, he couldn’t remember what happened the prior night, he did eventually remember it all. There had been several times after they'd gotten back together that Logan would intentionally do the same thing to her. Veronica would lean in to kiss him, and he’d turn at the last second and say he needed to go. Of course he’d usually get a swat on the arm or a shove to the chest when he did it. That usually led to him pinning her to a wall and then kissing her senseless before she had time to complain about it anymore.

"I wasn't aware there was a statute of limitations on that," Logan replied with amusement. He gave her a quick wink before he leaned in to try to kiss her and she turned her head, causing him to chuckle. "Yep, just like I remember."

She gave him a seductive wink before she dashed for the slide and jumped onto it feet first. She could hear his footsteps right behind her and was barely into the water herself before he splashed in right behind her. He tried to grab a hold of her in the water, but she wiggled out of his grasp, laughing and swimming toward the boat. Logan had always been a much better swimmer than she was, and he easily beat her to the side. He effortlessly hoisted himself onto the edge of the boat and then reached out his hand to help her up again. He pulled her up so she could sit right next to him.

"Thanks," she said as she bumped her shoulder into his. He nodded in reply but had a longing lustful look in his eyes and she was sure he'd rather be doing more than just sitting there. Unfortunately they were too much in view of the main cabin where they were, so they had to behave themselves.

Logan’s tattoo caught her eye as they were sitting there, and she thought back to the first time she'd asked him about it. She ran her fingers over it as she looked more carefully at the design again. "You didn't really answer my question the other day about your tattoo," she reminded and looked up into his eyes. "I really like the design, but I’m a little surprised that you got one."

"I got it quite a while ago," Logan explained as looked away from her and stared down at the ink on his arm. "I um... I got as a reminder of things that mattered most to me. I was far from home and wasn’t sure if I’d be coming back to Neptune or not…” he let out a small sigh. “I was feeling particularly nostalgic at the time, I guess… I was in Madrid…” he paused and ran his fingers over the design for a moment. “I was thinking about all the things I’d loved… before I left.”

She looked between him and the tattoo again with a puzzled expression on her face. “Waves? For surfing?” she asked, wondering if that’s what it represented. Certainly being stuck in the middle of Spain would make him of all people miss the ocean.

He nodded, but she could tell that wasn’t all there was to it. Her expression must have conveyed her thoughts because his mouth shifted into an uneasy smile. He turned his body so she could see a different angle. It was more of the angle that he would see looking down on it as compared to what someone would see just looking at it as she had been. He pointed to a part of it that had LL in elegant scroll blended in with the waves in such a way that if he hadn’t pointed it out, she wasn’t sure she would have noticed it.

She gave him an understanding smile, as she reached up and traced over them. “Lynn Lester,” she said softly to which he nodded. He took her finger and moved it to another part of a different wave, exhaling a slow unsteady breath as he did. Her pulse started to race and she sucked in a silent gasp as she realized what was blended into the other wave. “VM,” she whispered as her fingers traced over the elegant design. There were so many emotions racing through her, that she wasn’t quite sure what else to say. It was a bit overwhelming to consider the implication of him including her initials in the tattoo… something so permanent and something that he’d have to explain to other women in his life. His mom’s initials would be easy, but her own… she couldn’t really believe he had done that. She sat frozen, just staring at the letters as her fingers traced over them a second, and then third, time.

“I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have shown you…” Logan started to mumble nervously, and she realized that her reaction must have worried him.

“No it’s… I’m just surprised,” Veronica said as she looked away from the letters and back up at him. She could see just how worried he was when they made eye contact again. She understood now why he didn’t want to talk about the tattoo when she first brought it up.

Logan took a deep breath again before he spoke, unable to hide the apprehension in his tone. “I told you once… and I meant it, Veronica… I only want you… I always have and I always will…” Logan paused and tried to force a smile on his lips, but she could tell he was very uncertain of what he was doing. “And no matter what happens… you’ll always have a special place in my heart, Veronica,” he added as he continued to look at her nervously.

Veronica took a deep breath but still felt like her heart was going to burst right out of her chest. “And you’ll always have a special place in mine as well,” she finally replied when she could actually trust her voice enough to speak again. Her words seemed to alleviate the anxiety he was feeling, because his expression became slightly more relaxed again.

“I really wish we weren’t sitting out here in the middle of the deck, so I could kiss you,” Logan whispered a few seconds later. Veronica chuckled softly and nodded in agreement.

A part of her wanted to kiss him so desperately at that moment that she really didn’t care if Jack won the bet.  She gave Logan a determined look before she stood up and took his hand with hers, pulling so that he would stand up. He gave her a puzzled look, but stood and then, as she started walking toward the main cabin, he followed right behind her, still holding her hand.

Veronica was glad it was Dinah and Bennett, and not Jack and Bianca, who emerged from their room as she and Logan reached her door. “We need to get changed for dinner,” Veronica said as she opened her door and pulled Logan in behind her. Veronica saw a slightly worried look on Dinah’s face before she turned into her room.

Veronica was already spinning back to face Logan as he pulled the door closed. She dropped his hand so that she could put both hands on his face as she tipped up on her toes to press her lips to his. Her momentum was strong enough to cause him to lightly hit the door with his back, but it wasn’t loud enough to draw too much attention. Veronica felt his large hands wrap around her waist right before he lifted her enough to make it easier for them to kiss. He then spun both of them so that she was pushed up against the door. It was easier for him to hold her with the extra support and he pressed his hips between her legs to help keep her in a higher position. With his body now supporting hers, he could remove his hands from her waist to touch other parts of her body.

She finally let out a soft laugh as their lips parted and she sucked in a deep breath. Their heads were still pressed together, with only an inch or so separating their mouths.

“I guess you’re not mad about the tattoo?” Logan asked quietly with a slight hint of uncertainty in his voice.

Veronica smiled and pressed her lips to his for another short kiss. “No… surprised and a bit overwhelmed, but not mad.”

“Good,” Logan said with a relieved sigh. “When you asked the other day I was terrified about how you’d react if I told you that I added your initials to it too. I know it probably seems like a really crazy thing to do… but when I thought about the people who I would always love, no matter what happened in my life, you were certainly one of them.”

Veronica sucked in a quick breath. That was as close to saying ‘I love you’ as he’d come since they’d reunited, and it had a stronger impact on her than she’d expected. Perhaps it was the way he’d said it, but, for whatever reason, she started to wonder if there were other hidden initials as well. Logan had loved Lilly so much and he’d lost her, just like his mom, and she suddenly wondered if he’d put her initials in it also. “Did you add Lilly’s, too?” Veronica asked innocently, hoping he wouldn’t take the question as her being jealous or upset.

Logan tipped his head back so he could see her better and gave her a heartfelt smile as he shook his head slightly. The look on his face was so tender and sentimental before he started to speak that she started feeling emotional before he’d even said a word. “You know, I thought I loved Lilly... but I didn't know the difference then... But then once you realize what real love is... and, you know the difference… you figure out what you thought was love actually wasn't,” Logan said softly, repeating back to her what she’d said about Duncan the first night on deck.

Veronica sucked in a sharp breath as she felt a tightness growing in her chest. Saying ‘I love you’ had always been so hard for her in the past. She’d always been so guarded and worried about giving anyone, even Logan, the power to hurt her. She knew it hadn’t been fair, given how much he’d loved her, that she couldn’t reciprocate in exactly the same way back then. Her hands had shifted to his shoulders as they were kissing, and she reached up to caress his cheek again with one hand as she pressed her forehead up against his. She wanted to say that she loved him, but she couldn’t work up enough courage to actually say it yet. She so desperately wished she wasn’t afraid to verbalize it, but those old fears still paralyzed her at times. So instead, she tried to say something that she hoped would make him understand how she actually did feel. “Learning the difference meant more to me than I ever expected… and, when you lose that love, it hurts more than I ever imagined… and it makes your want to do whatever you can to get it back,” Veronica said softly.

Logan gave her a tender smile before he nodded slightly and then pressed his lips against hers again. She was pretty sure that he understood what she was actually trying to say by the way he responded. They became completely lost in the kiss, and she felt one of his hands wrap around her lower back as he pulled her tighter against his hips. Unfortunately their blissful moment was abruptly interrupted by a loud knock on the door she was pressed up against.

Jack’s voice came loudly through the closed door. “You two going to come out to help with dinner?”

Veronica let out a frustrated low growl as she panted for breath. She closed her eyes and grimaced slightly before she answered Jack. “Yeah… Logan’s in the bathroom changing, and I’m just waiting for my turn. We’ll be out in a few more minutes.”

“Okay… don’t take too long. I don’t think you’d like my culinary skills as much as your expert chef in there,” Jack replied mischievously. Veronica opened her eyes again to see Logan staring longingly back at her.

“I’ll tell him to hurry up then,” Veronica yelled back as she reached up to stroke Logan’s cheek again. He turned his face so he could press a tender kiss on her palm, before leaning forward and kissing her lips just as tenderly.

After the kiss, they remained in the same position for a few seconds, their lips just barely grazing against each other and their foreheads pressed together. She could feel his warm breath against her cheek, and one of his hands was tangled into her damp hair.

“I don’t want to hurry up,” he whispered as he rocked his hips against her. She let out a soft moan and closed her eyes. Getting dressed and going back out with the others was absolutely the last thing she wanted to do at that moment.

“We do need to get out of our swimsuits to get dressed,” she whimpered as he thrust against her again.

“Mm hmm…” he mumbled as his mouth found the spot just below her ear that always sent shivers down her spine. She heard Casey and Shelly talking on the other side of the door as they walked down the hall toward the main cabin. Veronica reached down to make sure the door was locked.

“We have to be quiet,” she warned breathlessly.

“Mm hmm…” he answered again as he repositioned his hands so he could carry her over toward the bed. It only took a few seconds for both of them to shed their swimsuits and for Logan to grab a condom out of the drawer. As she sat down on the bed it squeaked and she stood back up.

“Against the wall?” she asked salaciously.

“Mm hmm…” Logan answered as he moved her toward the wall between her room and the other cabin. Even if Casey and Shelly were still there, which Veronica assumed they weren’t, she didn’t think they would say anything to the other four about what they may hear. Logan and Veronica had been quite vocal in the shower earlier when they knew they were the only ones on the boat, but this time they intentionally tried to muffle their moans. She could tell Logan was really struggling to stay quiet and knew that she wasn’t fairing much better. Luckily, or not, the circumstances they were currently in seemed to add even more exhilaration to what they were doing and it pushed them both to a very quick release.

Logan let out what sounded like an embarrassed huff as he rested his forehead against her shoulder. “So much for not hurrying up,” he groaned. Veronica couldn’t help but chuckle softly as she ran her fingers through his hair.

“I’ll let it slide,” she teased in reply. “But you owe me later.”

Logan laughed softly and pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “I’ll be sure to make it up to you next time.”

“We’d better actually hurry up now and get dressed though before Jack comes back to bug us again,” Veronica suggested a little reluctantly. Logan nodded in agreement and took a deep steadying breath before he pushed himself away from her. He leaned toward her to place a quick kiss on her lips before he headed toward the bathroom. She found enough energy to rifle through her stuff to find some clothes to change into. Logan returned a minute later and quickly got dressed.

“You should probably head out first and I’ll be out in a few more minutes,” Veronica suggested after he finished pulling his shirt over his head.

Logan nodded in reply and gave her one last quick kiss before she grabbed her clothes and headed into the bathroom. She heard the outer door open and close as she leaned against the bathroom door, still trying to regain her composure. She knew she’d need a few more minutes, at least, or she worried that Bianca would easily figure out what they had just been doing. She glanced in the mirror at her tussled hair and kiss-swollen lips. Bianca was far too observant not to notice something like that. Of course Bianca likely expected that she and Logan had been doing that all afternoon in the empty houseboat anyway, but Veronica could just imagine the reaction she’d have if she knew they’d just had sex right then.

After regaining enough composure to rejoin the rest of the group, Veronica headed out of her room. As nonchalantly as possible, she strolled into the main cabin and took a seat at one of the stools at the counter. She quickly assessed what the rest of the group was doing, trying to not let her gaze linger to long on Logan. He was next to Bianca, near the sink, slicing up some vegetables. Bennett and Casey had started up the video game system and seemed to be enthralled in whatever they were playing. Dinah and Shelly had joined them on the large built in sofa, and while Shelly seemed to be watching the game, Dinah was focused solely on her phone.

Jack was the only one unaccounted for, but he soon came in from the deck, giving Veronica an amused grin as he headed toward her. "As requested, the grill's started," he commented in the direction of Logan and Bianca.

“Thanks, Dallas,” Logan answered as he glanced over at Jack and Veronica. Logan’s eyes locked on Veronica’s for a few seconds before he turned back toward the counter again. She noticed his lip quirked up, and he dipped his head the slightest amount likely to try to hide it from the others.

“It makes a lot more sense now,” Jack directed at Veronica as he took a seat on the stool next to her. Veronica raised an eyebrow at him waiting for him to continue. “Knowing that you two used to be together. It explains why none of the guys I’ve seen you date worked out. It’s obvious none of them could ever measure up to Worm.” Veronica saw Logan glance over his shoulder for a second before he turned back toward the counter again. Veronica wasn’t sure she liked the way the conversation was going, but before she could redirect it, Jack continued. “I mean, Worm really is quite the catch. Handsome… wealthy… intelligent… charitable.” Veronica wasn’t surprised that Jack was doing what he could to push the two of them together, but the charitable comment did catch her slightly by surprise. Her emotions must have flashed across her face because Jack smiled a bit more broadly before he continued. “I’ve always been impressed by how passionate he is about the charities he works with.” Logan glanced over again and she wasn’t sure if he was a little worried about what Jack was starting to share or not. She thought that she detected a slight bit of nervousness in his expression, but he didn’t interject or try to stop Jack either.

Since Logan was looking in Jack’s direction, Jack changed his focus to Logan instead. “And now I get why Worm was never really interested in any of the women GQ and I tried to set him up with. Obviously they all paled in comparison to Birdie, whose intellect and ferocity is quite a combination. I always suspected Worm started hanging out with Girl Fieri so we’d stop trying to set him up. It all makes a lot more sense knowing the benchmark you each were holding other people to.”

Veronica shook her head at Jack, hoping to discourage him from continuing. She certainly wasn’t going to argue that he was wrong on any points, but wasn’t going to openly agree either.

“What?” Jack asked at her reaction. “You can’t say it’s not true. I bet the two of you were great together. How lucky is it that you both ended up here together this week after being apart for the last couple of years?”

Logan was still looking in their direction and his eyebrow quirked up slightly at the mention of being lucky. Veronica was sure he was thinking the same thing after their conversation that morning.

“Logan was one of my dearest friends before we ever dated,” Veronica countered back, not wanting to let Jack think he was making progress on pushing them back together. “Being a couple didn’t really work out for us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be good friends now,” she continued, hoping that Logan would know it was only part of the act for Jack.

“Veronica’s right,” Logan interjected with an affectionate smile, reassuring her that he knew exactly what she was doing. “We were friends for a long time and I definitely missed having her in my life. It’s been great to catch up with each other again, and friendship really is more important than anything else to me too. The couple thing turned out to be a disaster for us.”

“Total nightmare,” Veronica added with a sly smile as she stood up from her spot and walked over to where Logan had been cutting vegetables. Her expression became even more devious as she stopped right by him. “He was a hell of a kisser though,” she teased with a sparkle in her eye.

Logan bit his lip slightly and she could tell from his expression that he knew exactly what she was trying to do. “Yeah,” he said a bit dreamily as he tipped his head toward her. “She wasn’t too bad herself.” He leaned close enough to let their noses bump before he laughed and straightened up. “But it’s a good thing we figured out we were totally incompatible as a couple.”

“Exactly,” Veronica added before she stole a slice of bell pepper from the cutting board and wandered back over to her seat.

Jack narrowed his eyes slightly at Veronica, seeming to be assessing her sincerity. “I saw the way you two danced and looked at each other at karaoke. I’m not really buying the ‘just friends’ story.”

Veronica shrugged and gave him her best ‘I could careless what you think’ look. “Sorry, but just friends,” she reiterated again.

Veronica caught Bianca rolling her eyes from her spot at the counter behind where Jack was sitting. She mouthed ‘liar’ at Veronica as she shook her head at her. Veronica didn’t acknowledge it, which made Bianca roll her eyes again. “Well, I think you two make the cutest pair of friends ever,” Bianca chimed in with an overly perky tone. “Birdie and Worm… it’s like you were made to be a pair… of friends that is.” Jack had turned to look at Bianca, so now it was Veronica’s turn to roll her eyes at her roommate.

“The steaks and veggies are ready to go out to the grill,” Logan announced, perhaps to escape the kitchen and where the conversation might go next.

“V, could you be a good friend, and help Logan carry the food out to the grill?” Bianca asked with a sweet smile.

“Of course,” Veronica answered with a quick nod as she stood up from her seat and headed around to the counter. Bianca shoved a platter of seasoned veggies in her hand while Logan grabbed the platter with the steaks.

“You don’t really think he bought that do you?” Logan asked once they were out by the BBQ grill and the door to the main cabin had closed.

Veronica let out an amused huff before she answered. “Probably not, but it was still fun.”

“Well, I certainly hope you don’t kiss all your friends the way you were kissing me earlier today,” Logan teased as he smirked at her. “Not to mention all the other things we did in the bedroom… and shower.” Veronica laughed and shook her head. “I did mean part of it…” Logan continued a bit more seriously. “I did really miss you and I’m so glad to have you back in my life.”

Veronica smiled and nodded. “Me too.” She watched him as he started to put the food on the grill. “So charity work, hmm?” she asked, still curious about the comment that Jack had made.

Logan turned and gave her a soft smile and nodded. “Yeah… I um… I’ve done some work with a couple different groups in LA that work with abused children and domestic violence… because… well, you know.”

“Yeah,” she replied back softly. “I think that’s great, Logan.”

“Thanks,” he said with a quiet sigh. “I don’t get a lot of free time to actually volunteer, but have helped with some fundraising things, which is why Dallas knew about it. I had asked him and Casey to donate, which of course they both did. I also figure if the architecture thing doesn’t go anywhere, the sociology minor might come in handy if I do more work in that field too.”

“Well I think you’d be great at it if you did,” Veronica replied. “I know you’ll be great at whatever you decide to do.”

“You really think so?” Logan asked as he gave her an uncertain look.

Veronica smiled more broadly and nodded. “Yeah, I do.”

Dinner was of course delicious since Logan had helped make most of it, and by the time they had all finished eating and cleaned up everything, the sun had already set behind the mountains. Logan, Veronica and Bianca were the last three to finish up in the kitchen and head out to the deck. Jack and the others had rearranged the lounge chairs so they were all facing the movie screen. Veronica also noticed that a few of the single lounge chairs had been pushed together so that there was now room for 4 couples.

"You don't mind sharing with your friend, right?" Jack asked Veronica with an obnoxious smirk as he handed her a large fleece blanket.

"Nope," Veronica replied without missing a beat. "It will be just like when we had movie nights when we were twelve," she added as she took the blanket from Jack and headed toward one of the two open chairs. Veronica noticed Dinah didn't look thrilled as she walked by her and Bennett.

Bianca took a seat on the other open lounge chair while Jack finished setting up the movie. Logan followed Veronica to the one she'd selected and sat down next to her.

"I wonder how many times Lilly made us watch this movie?" Veronica asked with a sentimental smile as she unfolded the blanket to cover their legs with. "I remember you used to snuggle with both of us while Duncan complained in the corner chair that he had to watch it again." She gave him a sly smile as she took his arm and wrapped it around her shoulder. He quirked his eyebrow at her and she just smiled in reply.

"I remember Lilly would always send poor Donut to get the popcorn before we'd start it so that he'd never get the couch spot and I wasn't going to pass up sitting between both of you," Logan admitted with a fond expression on his face.

Veronica laughed softly and nodded in reply. "And then the three of us would steal the popcorn bowl and not share any with him," she added with a wicked grin.

"Sounds like Dallas, Dinah and I," Bianca shared as Jack took a seat by her after he finished setting everything up.

"Yeah," Jack replied. "Even down to Wonderland's little brother getting stuck in the corner. He had a huge crush on Twiz."

Bianca laughed and shook her head. "Payton's like six years younger than we are."

“Oh, come on. You had to know he had a major crush on you with the big puppy dog eyes he’d always give you,” Jack commented. “Good thing you were never into younger guys,” he teased before he let out an umph sound from Bianca elbowing him in the stomach.

“Are we starting the movie, or reliving our middle school days?” Dinah asked a bit impatiently.

“Chillax, Wonderland,” Jack replied with a chuckle before pressing a button on a remote control, starting the movie on the large screen.

Veronica snuggled a little closer into Logan’s side and pulled the blanket up a little higher. She noticed that Jack had positioned himself so it was easy to keep an eye on them, which she wasn’t surprised about at all. She had no intention of letting him win the bet, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t enjoy snuggling with Logan during the movie. She wrapped an arm around his waist and rested her head against his chest. His other arm was under the blanket as well, and he positioned it so he could lightly stroke her arm that was resting around his waist. About half way through the movie, she moved her arm so that her fingers could slip under his shirt and glide along his toned abs. She teasingly traced a path that got lower and lower as she went. She could feel Logan suck in a slow controlled breath as her fingers dipped below the band of his shorts. A second later he captured her hand in his and pressed it firmly against his stomach, much higher than she’d been exploring. She glanced up at him and he narrowed his eyes at her slightly as she gave him a salacious grin. He mouthed ‘tease’ at her to which she just smiled and shrugged. She turned back to watch the rest of the movie and felt him press a silent soft kiss to the top of her head. She let out a content sigh, realizing how perfect the evening really was even if they couldn’t be as openly affectionate as they may have been at times in the past. It was still amazing to just be in his arms again, and after everything that had happened earlier in the day, she was certain he still loved her as much as he used to. She could wait until everyone else went to bed to show him just how much she loved him as well.

Chapter Text

After the movie was over, Jack immediately brought up his suggestion of using the hot tub again. He also offered to make some drinks if anyone was interested in something other than the beer and wine they’d had during dinner.

“I’d love a piña colada,” Bianca quickly replied, although she looked immediately at Logan. “But Logan’s are so much better than yours. Any chance you’d whip up a pitcher for us?”

Logan chuckled softly before he said he’d be happy to after he changed. The group then split up to head to their rooms to change into swimsuits for the hot tub.

“Alone at last,” Logan whispered into Veronica’s ear as soon as the door closed and he wrapped his arms around her from behind. He placed a few tender kisses on her neck before she spun around to kiss him on the lips. “Mmm… missed these lips,” he mumbled between kisses.

“Do you think they’d notice if we didn’t join them again?” Veronica asked with a small whine when they finally broke apart.

Logan let out a deep sigh before pressing another quick kiss to her lips. “Somehow I think they might, especially with Bianca waiting on her pitcher of coladas.”

“Well if you didn’t have to be such a good bartender that wouldn’t have been an issue,” Veronica teased as she ran her fingers up his back under his t-shirt.

“The curse of perfection,” Logan replied with a smug cocky grin. Veronica laughed and shook her head at him.

“So modest too,” she countered with a smirk. He nodded and pressed his lips to hers again. The kissing quickly escalated from soft gentle kisses to hungry ravenous ones.

Logan finally pulled his head up away from hers, breaking the kiss with a deep inhale. “I’d better go make those drinks before we get too carried away in here.” He paused and waggled his eyebrows at her. “As it is, I may have a hard time concealing my excitement.” He rocked his hips closer to her and she felt exactly what he meant.

“Sorry,” she replied coyly as she stepped away from him. “Don’t mind me, I’m just going to change into my bikini now,” she announced as she pulled her shirt over her head and then followed that by pushing her shorts down. She turned and shook her ass at him as she went over and leaned down to the drawer she’d put her extra bikini in. She heard him groan loudly, which only made her chuckle softly as she glanced over her shoulder at him.

He shook his head with a pained look on his face. “What did I do to deserve such torture?”

“I’ll be sure to make it up to you later,” she replied seductively, causing him to take another deep steadying breath.

“If the coladas taste terrible, it’s all your fault that the blood that was supposed to be in my brain is missing,” Logan replied helplessly. “Maybe a towel around my board shorts won’t look too inconspicuous,” he pondered out loud as he headed to the closet and grabbed his duffle bag, still shaking his head at her.

He busied himself with changing into his other shorts with his back toward her, obviously trying to prevent getting even more aroused by watching her change into her bikini. She did feel a little guilty thinking about what she was putting him through, so grabbed one of his t-shirts that had ended up on the bed and pulled that over herself.

“All safely covered now,” she announced and was amused by how slowly he turned to check for himself. She could tell by the expression on his face that he was surprised she wasn’t actually still toying with him.

“Hmmm… although seeing you in my clothes is an entirely different type of turn-on,” he said in a low husky voice.

“Well, you can’t say I didn’t try to help you out,” she replied with a sheepish grin.

“You’re a saint,” he said sarcastically as he walked toward her with a leering grin. “Since I’m going to have to behave for the next hour or so…” he leaned in and pressed his mouth to hers. She slid her fingers up into his hair and pulled him down even closer to her as they kissed. They were both a little breathless by the time they broke apart again. Their foreheads were resting against each other and she could tell he was about to initiate kissing again when someone pounded on their door.

“Hurry up in there,” Jack’s voice boomed through the closed door.

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head slightly. “Asshole,” she muttered under her breath, causing Logan to laugh and quickly kiss her on the tip of her nose.

“There’s that refined lady I remember so well,” he said sarcastically with a chuckle. Veronica poked him in the stomach causing him to laugh a bit harder before he kissed her again on the forehead. “Okay… show time?”

She nodded and tipped up to give him one more quick kiss on the lips before they reluctantly separated to head back out to the main cabin.

It didn’t take long for all the drinks to be mixed and for everyone to reassemble up on the top deck in the hot tub. Veronica noticed that it seemed a bit breezier than earlier, and as she looked up above her realized that the clouds were now starting to block out the stars. That doesn’t bode well for looking at constellations later tonight. Logan must have realized what she was looking at and surreptitiously squeezed her hand under the foamy water.

“So, how did the two of you end up together back when you were dating?” Jack asked with a smug grin. “The daughter of the local sheriff and the bad boy son of two Hollywood actors; that had to have been an interesting tale.”

Veronica had wondered how much Jack knew about Logan’s real identity but hadn’t gotten around to asking about that. Given that he was living with Casey and likely ran into other people who knew him like Shelly, keeping the truth from other close friends did seem a bit unlikely. She hadn’t shared all the gory details of her life growing up in Neptune with Jack and Bianca, but they’d have enough pieces from what they did know to construct some picture of it. She glanced up at Logan and he had a slightly uneasy look on his face and the light stroking of his thumb across the back of her hand under the cover of the bubbling hot tub water had ceased.

“Which time?” Veronica asked as she smiled coyly at Logan. He seemed to relax when he saw her smile, and she watched him take a deep steadying breath.

“How many times were there?” Jack asked, obviously intrigued now to learn more. She wasn’t surprised he thought going down memory lane might be a way to push them back together. She briefly glanced at Dinah and could tell she didn’t look terribly thrilled about where the conversation was headed, and that, of course, only spurred her on.

“A couple,” Veronica replied with a soft chuckle. “The first time was probably the most romantic though,” she gushed in a way that was reserved more for past undercover performances. Logan quirked his brow at her, clearly picking up on the shift in her demeanor and recognizing it for what it was. “He came to my rescue when I was more or less kidnapped at gun point,” she continued on in an almost theatrical way.

“What?” Jack asked in disbelief as he looked quickly between Veronica and Logan, perhaps trying to figure out if she was lying. He glanced over at Casey as well, who just shrugged, but didn’t look the least bit surprised. Veronica noted that the rest of the group was also looking at her with a bit of disbelief.

“Yeah,” Veronica continued as she looked up at Logan with a fond smile. “He was totally my knight and shining armor… even showing up at Camelot for me.” Logan smirked slightly at the Camelot reference and nodded in agreement. She glanced back at Jack who looked a bit puzzled, but was clearly still waiting for her to tell the full story. “I had followed this new student who I suspected was up to no good and Logan just happened to call me while I was watching the guy. I didn’t see the guy notice me and jump into my car until it was too late. He was armed and told me to drive him back to the sleazy Camelot Motel that he was staying at. Logan was still on the line and heard what was going on and was actually able to beat us there. Logan decked the guy as he was dragging me to his room at gunpoint.” Veronica paused for a moment, looking around at the others to gauge their reactions. Everyone, as expected, was quite captivated by the story. “As Logan had the guy on the ground, throwing his second or third punch, I noticed the guy’s wallet had fallen out and he had a badge. Turns out he was an undercover ATF agent.”

“Way to go, Worm,” Jack said half impressed and half mocking. “I’m sure that went over well.”

“I got the girl, didn’t I?” Logan replied with a smug grin causing Veronica to chuckle.

“Well the guy turned out to be a total douche anyway. He was actually trying to frame one of our classmates for trying to blow up the school,” Veronica explained before glancing back up at Logan. “And yeah… you got the girl.”  Their eyes locked and neither of them tried to hide how sentimental they were feeling.

“And after all that, you two still broke up?” Jack asked clearly bemused by their past.

A mischievous glint formed in Logan’s eye as he broke the stare with Veronica and turned back toward Jack. “Well, she did have me arrested for murder a couple weeks later.”

“Nobody’s perfect,” Veronica quickly objected with a laugh. “And that did happen to you a lot, so clearly it wasn’t entirely my fault.”

Logan glanced back at her with a playful smirk. She was glad he seemed to be enjoying dredging this up and not letting it bother him at all. “Even the same murder twice,” he added with an amused tone to his voice. Veronica knew his tells well enough to usually know if he was putting on a show or not, and she was pretty certain that he wasn’t. She was wary though of how much farther to push it. They could easily slip into territory that may not be as easy to navigate, and she really didn’t want that to happen. There were certainly enough issues in their past that she was worried about stumbling over an unexpected landmine.

“So now you know,” Veronica continued on, hoping to wrap up this conversation.

“I remember that,” Casey interjected and all eyes turned toward him. “That was when we had all those bomb threats and you wrote that article for the school paper that freaked out all the students and their parents.” As Casey finished, Shelly nodded in agreement.

“Yep, and thanks to that whole ordeal, I also got our journalism teacher fired,” Veronica reminisced a bit sadly. Logan gave her hand another comforting squeeze under the water and she stole a quick glance at him.

“Well, I think she was better off as a pep squad advisor anyway,” Logan commented with a reassuring smile. “I’m sure she landed on her feet,” he added with a wink. Veronica chuckled and shook her head at his weak attempt at a joke.

“How many other times did you two get back together?” Jack asked, apparently trying to continue the trip down memory lane.

“A couple,” Veronica answered, still hoping to move the conversation to something else. “Like we said earlier, we finally figured out it just wasn’t meant to be and that we’re better off just being friends.”

Veronica could tell Jack wasn’t ready to give up yet and was about to say something else when a loud clap of thunder rang through the air. Well that’s the first time I think I’ve been saved by an act of nature. No one had noticed the preceding lightning, but the sound of thunder was unmistakable.

“As romantic as a summer storm may sound, I’m thinking sitting in a hot tub on the top of a big metal boat probably isn’t the safest idea with a lightning storm passing through,” Logan commented with a slightly worried look on his face.

A second later, rain drops started falling as the sky lit up with a flash of lightning.

“I’m with Logan,” Casey announced as the others also started agreeing and climbing out of the hot tub.

The rain quickly changed from a light sprinkle to a downpour. Shelly and Bianca both squealed a bit as they grabbed their towels and headed for the stairs. Dinah and Bennett were out almost as quickly and also scrambled for their towels as the downpour strengthened and another clap of thunder roared through the night. Logan had stood up in the hot tub and wrapped his hands around Veronica’s waist to help her out as well. “I’ll help Dallas get everything secured up here,” Logan said as he glanced at Casey and Veronica. Veronica nodded and grabbed her own towel, which was already starting to get soaked from the rain. Another flash of bright light lit up the dark sky as she made her way down below with Casey a step or two behind her.

“The lightning is still quite a ways from here,” Casey commented as they made it into the main cabin and Veronica glanced back toward the door. She assumed she had a look of worry etched on her face and he was trying to put her mind at ease. She gave him a grateful smile and nodded.

The others all seemed to have disappeared into their rooms to get changed and Casey headed down the hall toward his. Veronica paused for a moment, worrying her lip between her teeth wondering if she should wait for Logan, or go on to her own cabin to change as well. It was easy to tell the downpour had gotten even heavier by the sound of the drops hitting the roof of the cabin. She shivered slightly as the door to the cabin swung open and the breeze blew in on her wet skin. Jack preceded Logan and they both looked completely drenched. Apparently neither had even bothered to try to use the remaining soaked towels from the deck to dry off.

“Well that wasn’t exactly how I was expecting this evening to go,” Jack said with a laugh as he walked by Veronica, heading toward his room.

Logan gestured with his head toward the hall and she nodded and led the way to her room. A flash of lightning lit up the inside of the dark cabin as Logan closed and locked the door behind them. A louder rumble of thunder followed behind that, sooner than the previous ones had occurred.

“It’s getting closer,” Logan muttered as he looked toward the ceiling, listening to the loud booming sound as it rattled through the cabin.

“I’m not sure if I’m upset that Mother Nature ruined my nightly bedtime stories under the stars or grateful that she saved us from Jack’s incessant meddling,” Veronica confessed with a sigh. At that moment, a different sort of sound echoed through her room. Obviously changing clothes had turned into other activities for Casey and Shelly in the room next door. The bang against the adjoining wall was followed by a ‘God, yes’ from Shelly. “Okay… definitely pissed that Mother Nature subjected us to that,” Veronica concluded as she looked irritably at the wall.

“Well…” Logan mumbled as he stepped closer and put his hands on her hips. “We could always attempt to out-moan them. I’m pretty sure Shelly’s still afraid of you and so she wouldn’t mention anything, and I know Casey would never say anything either,” he continued as he gently pushed her backwards to the bed. The room was still dark and another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the cabin so she could see the hungry look in his eyes. He magically timed the impact of them falling onto the bed with the next crash of thunder. There was something about the pounding of the rain on the upper deck above them and the tingle of electricity in the air from the lightning storm that made what they were doing feel even more exciting.

“That sounds even better than a bedtime story,” Veronica purred as Logan’s lips found that spot on her neck that always drove her crazy. “Maybe I’m not so angry with Mother Nature after all.”

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Veronica woke up in the morning feeling refreshed and safe with Logan’s strong arms wrapped around her. She wasn’t sure when the rain had stopped falling, but she remembered dozing off to the sound of raindrops still hitting the roof. She smiled to herself thinking back to how amazing the prior night had been and briefly wondered how Logan had seemed to be so in tune with the storm. It amazed her how he seemed to be able to match the intensity and timing of what he was doing to her body with the flashes of lightning and loud clapping rolls of thunder. She pressed a kiss to his chest and felt his fingers tangle slightly in her hair. She thought he had tried to slowly kiss the top of her head, but she could tell he was still fairly groggy. Curious as to the time, she shifted so she could grab her phone off the nightstand.

"Less than seventeen hours to go," Veronica announced happily as she glanced at the time on the display.

"Mmmm," Logan mumbled dreamily as a lazy smile crept across his lips. "Just think of all the fun we'll have."

Veronica nodded and snuggled up next to him again.

"My offer still stands to whisk you away for the evening," Logan offered sleepily.

Veronica practically giggled with amusement. "I could just imagine Jack going on a frantic search for us. We could even leave false hints for him so he'd go in the completely wrong direction." She stopped and pondered it for a few more seconds. "It would serve him right to spend his evening on a wild goose chase. Of course Bianca might not let him try either, but I'm sure if I conspire with her, we could make it painful for him. And I’m sure Bianca would be more than happy to help make it as painful as possible."

Logan laughed softly and then placed a slow kiss on her forehead. "It's so much better to be on your good side."

"Don't you forget it, buddy," she teased back with a sly wink.

"Never," he replied as he shifted her so he could capture her lips with his. When the kiss ended he reached up to play with her hair. She wasn't sure when his obsession with touching her hair had started but he certainly seemed to always be drawn to it. "So... want me to make you an frittatas for breakfast? I'm pretty sure I saw a couple dozen eggs and other ingredients I’d need in the fridge." Veronica couldn't hide the delight that his offer brought to her. Logan chuckled and tapped her on the nose. "I'll take that gleam in your eyes as a yes." She nodded before sitting up briskly and pulling on his arm. He laughed at her eagerness. "I take it someone’s hungry?"

"Someone didn't get any marshmallows or a story last night," she replied with a pout.

"Well someone was insatiable for other things last night and I was way too exhausted to do anything other than pass out," Logan replied with a teasing smirk as he sat up and moved to the edge of the bed.

"I'll let you make it up to me by cooking breakfast then," she smugly commented as she reached for his UCLA sweatshirt again. He gave her an amused look as he reached for a pair of boxers.

"Why do I get the feeling that sweatshirt is not making it back to LA with me?'

She gave him an innocent look as she shrugged at him and went to finish dressing her bottom half. "I'm sure you can get another," she teased as she winked at him mischievously.

She wasn't surprised to see Bianca sitting at the kitchen counter when they made their way down the hall. Veronica was about to propose her plan to send Jack on a wild goose chase when she heard footsteps in the hall and turned to see Jack also joining them. I'll have to wait to catch her alone later, I guess. She was a bit surprised to see Jack up that early since he tended to sleep later than both of the women did.

"Good morning," Jack cheerfully announced to everyone as he walked behind Bianca and nuzzled his face against her neck.

"You're up surprisingly early," Veronica pointed out suspiciously.

"Didn't want to miss anything exciting," Jack replied with a devious smirk.

Veronica quirked an eyebrow at him. "And what sort of exciting things are you expecting to happen?"

Jack only shrugged as he looked between Logan and Veronica. "Well after learning how you two got together last night, who knows... kidnapping... bomb threats... murder accusations... armed robbery."

"Neither of us have ever been involved with an armed robbery," Veronica replied with a smirk.

"Well there's always a first time for everything," Jack pointed out smugly.

Veronica rolled her eyes and shook her head at Jack.

"I offered to make Veronica frittatas for breakfast. Does that sound good to you both too?" Logan asked as he moved toward the fridge, not really acknowledging the conversation they were just having.

"Sounds great," Bianca answered as she stood up from the stool and headed toward Logan.

Veronica walked over and asked what she could do to help while Jack grabbed a mug for coffee and then sat down on the stool that Bianca had just vacated. Veronica was a bit irritated by the way Jack was studying her and Logan, but was thankful he hadn't started in on them yet. Maybe he needs more caffeine before he goes on the offensive again.

Logan was almost ready to start adding the eggs to the other ingredients when Casey wandered into the kitchen and headed straight for the coffee.

"Did you check your messages this morning?" Casey asked Logan with a devious smirk.

Logan quirked an eyebrow at him and shook his head. "Nope, my phone’s buried in my bag," he answered as he looked almost wearily at Casey.

"Well you owe me a hundred bucks," Casey exclaimed as he held his phone up so Logan could see the screen.

Veronica glanced over to see what they were looking at as Logan groaned. "Is that..." Veronica started to ask before Casey interrupted her.

"Yep, Dick and Carrie Bishop," Casey replied sounding like he was trying to hold in a laugh.

"I really thought she had better taste and more common sense than that," Logan replied as he shook his head. Apparently not, based on the way she’s straddling Dick's lap and kissing him with what is surprisingly not a disgusted expression.

Casey finally laughed a bit, perhaps at the look of disturbed horror on Veronica's face. "Dick heard she was going to be in Cancun this week and was determined to hook up with her. Logan said there was no way in hell that would happen, and obviously he was wrong."

"So you two bet on it?" Veronica asked, a little surprised by that.

"I figured it was easy money," Logan explained with a resigned sigh. He shook his head as he focused on the frittatas again. "Hey would you mind grabbing a hundred, from my wallet for me?" he asked glancing at Veronica.

"Yeah, sure. Maybe I'll take an extra one for a stupidity tax," she teased before she headed to the hall. Shelly was walking out of their room at the same time and the two women exchanged a quick ‘good morning’ before Veronica turned into her own room.

Veronica walked over to the closet and easily found Logan's wallet in the same pocket it had been in before. She unfolded it and then hesitated for a second before running her fingers lightly over the edge of the mysterious photograph. A small voice tried to tell her not to look, but her curiosity was much too strong. Before she knew it, she was sliding the photo out from its slot. A warm feeling coursed through her body as she recognized what it was. She ran her fingers tenderly across the image and let out a happy sigh.

It was a picture of her and Logan taken on her nineteenth birthday. They'd managed to sneak off to Santa Barbara that weekend without her dad finding out. Keith had felt bad that he'd gotten the lead on a bail jumper with a huge reward right before her birthday. The minute Logan found out that Keith would be gone for a couple of days, he'd called a couple that had been friends with his family for many years and owned a fabulous vacation rental there. As luck would have it, the rental was available, and Logan whisked her away for an unforgettable time. The couple's house was on the same property and the wife had been the one who took the picture of them. We both looked so happy and in love in the shot. We were so happy and in love then.

She ran her fingertips over the picture one more time and then, as she went to put it back, a small slip of yellow paper fluttered to the floor. It must have been stuck to the back of the photograph and she had pulled it out with it. She bent down to pick it up, immediately recognizing Logan's handwriting even after all this time. It took her a few seconds for her brain to process what was written on it... a name and a phone number. All of a sudden she felt her chest tighten and it suddenly hurt to breathe as she realized the implications. Why couldn't it just be some random ex-girlfriend's number? She felt an odd mix of panic and anger start to wash over her.

"Hey, is everything okay? The frittatas are ready." Logan's voice startled her and she quickly spun toward him. She could tell the instant he knew something was wrong.

"Please tell me this isn't what I think it is?" she asked angrily as she held the small yellow piece of paper out toward him. She watched as he swallowed hard and then ran one if his hands through his hair. "And don't lie to me," she added at his reaction, her voice quickly sounding more hysterical.

"I tried to tell you..." Logan said softly as he stared at her helplessly.

"No!" Veronica yelled in reply. "This isn't some minor secret Logan. I can't believe this! You didn't have any right to do that!"

"Veronica..." he weakly tried again.

Veronica hadn't even realized the door to her room was still open and of course being right next to the kitchen it was likely someone would hear her yelling at him. "Hey, is everything okay?" Jack asked as he suddenly appeared in the doorway looking angrily at Logan. She'd seen Jack's protective side several times since they'd become friends and clearly he was considering Logan as a threat at this very moment. Even though she should appreciate his concern, her anger was quickly preventing any sort of rational thought.

"No, it's not okay," she yelled at Jack. "I'm stuck in the middle of a fucking lake right now and it's all your fault!"

Bianca must have been just a few steps behind Jack in the hall and stepped in front of him giving Veronica a concerned look.

"Okay," she said as she shoved on Jack's chest and glared at Logan. "Both of you, out now."

Logan gave Veronica one last pleading look before he ducked his head and walked out the door. Bianca kept shoving Jack toward the door as well, closing it once he was in the hall.

Veronica let out a deep breath and stared up at the ceiling for a few seconds before looking back at Bianca. "I don't want to be here right now," Veronica said shakily.

"Okay," Bianca answered softly as she walked toward her roommate with concern etched on her face. "We can go to shore... go into town for the day... whatever you want."

What do I want? For this not to be true? Clearly that can’t happen now.

"Just... let me go get my purse and talk to Dallas for a minute and then we can go."

Veronica nodded and then realized she was still holding Logan's wallet and the slip of paper in her hand and tossed them both on the bed. She felt the anger course through her again as she clenched her jaw tightly. It then dawned on her that she was still wearing his sweatshirt as well. She scrambled out of it and quickly grabbed her own shirt, slipping it over her head, grabbing her purse and sandals next.

There was a soft knock on the door, which Bianca had closed on her way out. She felt her heartbeat speed up and her very strong fight or flight instincts starting to amp up again. The door opened slowly and Bianca poked her head in with a compassionate smile. "Ready?" she asked softly.

Veronica nodded, but wasn't looking forward to walking through the main cabin where everyone likely was.

"It's okay," Bianca said encouragingly as she walked over and wrapped her arm around Veronica’s shoulders. "Jack and Logan are on the top deck and Casey and Shelly went back to their room to eat."

Veronica let out a frustrated sigh and let Bianca lead her out the door. It only took a few minutes for Bianca to untie one of the speedboats and start off for the marina. Veronica sunk down a little lower on her seat and closed her eyes. She was beginning to think karma really did have a personal vendetta against her.

Veronica opened her eyes when she felt the boat start to slow down. She was still angry, and spotting the restaurant where she'd eaten the morning before with Logan didn't help at all. Bianca moored the boat and then hesitated as she studied Veronica for a few seconds.

"Let's go get some breakfast at a diner in town and then maybe you'll be ready to talk about what happened back there." She paused and gave Veronica a fond smile. "I know you're even more irritable when you haven't eaten, so maybe things will seem better after a good meal."

"I doubt it," Veronica said with resignation as Bianca wrapped her arm around Veronica's shoulders again and they started up the dock toward Jack's car.

Veronica stared out the window on the drive into Redding, grateful that Bianca knew her well enough not to push her too soon on this. She knew eventually Bianca would insist on talking through it, but appreciated the brief reprieve.

Bianca drove them to a small café that was called ‘Déjà vu’. Upon the ‘really?’ look that Veronica had given her when they pulled up, Bianca explained that they had excellent corned beef hash. Veronica couldn’t help but laugh a little at that since it was something that Bianca always tried to order when they’d go out for breakfast and rarely would any of the restaurants that they went to actually make it. Veronica was a little concerned when they were seated right away. She wasn’t sure if it was the fact that it was a weekday that the restaurant wasn’t terribly busy, or if it wasn’t actually that popular. Once she took a bite of her own meal, she certainly couldn’t imagine why it wouldn’t be popular given how delicious it was. Bianca gave her a quick ‘I told you so’ look as she watched Veronica enjoying her first bite.

"Do you want to talk here... or there's a park nearby that we could go walk around and talk there," Bianca asked after the waitress had cleared their empty plates and left the bill.

Always being more than happy to delay dealing with difficult issues, Veronica opted for the park. She was still too upset with Logan to put up much of a fight when Bianca said she'd pay for breakfast, and so as soon as that was taken care of they headed for the car.

Bianca drove them to a spot near the Sacramento River that they could walk along the water. They walked in silence for a little while before Bianca spotted a fairly secluded area with a bench and suggested they stop there.

"So..." Bianca started out, appearing cautious but also not willing to just let it go either. Veronica couldn't say she was surprised, knowing Bianca as well as she did. "Tell me what happened on the boat this morning?"

Veronica took a deep breath and then slowly exhaled. "I found a name and number in Logan’s wallet when I went to get the money for him." Bianca looked at her expectantly when she paused for a second. "It said 'Penelope' and had a Stanford administration number on it." Veronica paused again and let out a loud sigh as Bianca watched her with a puzzled look on her face. "Penelope is the name of the woman who handles my scholarship," Veronica explained. It took a few seconds for Bianca's expression to change to one of understanding.

"Oh... so..." Bianca started to say before Veronica cut her off.

"Yeah, Logan's been paying for my tuition there for the last two years... Hell, he's been paying for more than that since the scholarship covered books and other expenses too."

"Well..." Bianca countered, her expression clearly showing that she was trying to figure out how to position whatever she was going to say next. "Some people would see that as a really generous gesture," she paused and took in the scowl on Veronica face. "But obviously not you."

"He knew... he knew how mad I'd be when I found out and also knew I would never have agreed to it in a million years... but like everything else in his privileged life, he just did it anyway without consideration for anyone else." Veronica felt a renewed sense of anger coursing through her. "It's just like the time he hired a body guard to follow me around without telling me."

Bianca let out a deep sigh. "Well, obviously he loves you a great deal... I mean to do either of those things…"

"You shouldn't try to control the people that you love," Veronica snapped back at her friend.

Veronica could tell Bianca was going to disagree before any words even came out of her mouth. "If he was trying to be controlling, then why wouldn't he have gone to Stanford too? I don't get how giving you the chance to go to the college you'd been obsessed with since grade school is being controlling."

"It just is," Veronica answered with a sigh. Honestly though, she couldn't quite figure out why he'd done it either. The only thing she'd come up with was that maybe Logan saw it as a way to get out of her being angry that he'd beaten up Piz. Of course she couldn't imagine how he thought that would work since she'd obviously be furious when she found out. Which she now was. "I technically owe him now... And fuck, I still have another year to go." She’d been so angry about finding out what he did that she hadn’t even thought about what she was going to do about the next year.

"Do you really think he did it so at the end he could say 'surprise, you owe me'?" Bianca asked incredulously.

Veronica let out a frustrated breath. "No, of course not. But I don't know why he did it either."

"Well, maybe you should have talked about it instead of immediately getting angry at him?" Bianca asked with a slightly chastising look on her face.

Veronica rolled her eyes and let out a disgruntled scoff. "Maybe... But you know me well enough to know that wasn't likely."

Bianca gave her a grim smile and nodded. "I'm sure I would have blown a gasket too. At least you didn't start throwing things at him." Bianca let out a guilty laugh and Veronica couldn't help but laugh briefly too thinking back to the fight Bianca had with Jack a few months before when she hurled several items from their kitchen counter at him. At least the sharp objects were safely put away that day.

"I really wanted things to be different this time," Veronica confessed sadly a moment later. "And now, knowing this is between us, how can it be?"

Bianca gave her a tender smile before she bumped her shoulder into Veronica's. "Maybe talking about it rationally will help."

"Maybe," Veronica replied resignedly. "I guess it couldn't get worse, right?"

"There's my overly optimistic roommate," Bianca replied sarcastically with a laugh. "How about we go do a little therapeutic shopping and then get ice cream before we head back? Give you a little more time to cool off."

Veronica nodded and let Bianca pull her up from the bench. Maybe some of Bianca's optimism and positive outlook would rub off on her before they made it back to the houseboat.

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It was several hours later before they finally went back to the houseboat. Veronica still wasn't sure what she was going to say to Logan, but she agreed with Bianca that they should at least try to talk about it. At a minimum they needed to come to some sort of neutral ground to survive the rest of the week together. Bianca had offered to get the rest of the group off the houseboat when they got back so the two of them could have a little privacy. Veronica at first said it wasn't really necessary, but if things escalated again, she really didn't want everyone to hear them arguing.

Dinah and Bennett were the first two they ran into when they boarded the houseboat. They were lounging around out on they deck and said a quick hello as the two women passed by them into the main cabin. Veronica couldn't quite decipher the look Dinah had given her. They must have heard about her yelling at Logan earlier and she couldn't tell if it was pity or concern.

When they entered the main cabin she spotted Casey and Shelly sitting on the couch playing some video game together. They didn't immediately notice Veronica and Bianca and were laughing and bumping each other's shoulders as they tried to beat each other in whatever game they were playing. When Casey did briefly look over at Veronica, there was clearly worry in his eyes.

Jack was getting something out of the fridge and so, not wanting to deal with another look of concern, Veronica headed to her room while his back was turned. She was guessing Logan must be in there, likely worrying about what was going to happen when she returned. She was surprised when she walked through the door and found that the room was empty. She tossed her purse down on the bed and turned to go back out to the main cabin when she realized Logan’s bag was also gone from the closet. She tried not to overreact, but could feel her chest tighten as an uneasy feeling swept through her.

"You did what?" she heard Bianca ask angrily as she made it back out to the hall.

Veronica felt even more uneasy as she made it out to the kitchen just in time to hear Jack's reply.

"I told him it was probably better if he wasn't here when the two of you got back," Jack replied before his gaze moved from Bianca to Veronica.

"He's gone?" Veronica asked with a shaky voice as she tried desperately not to start panicking.

A/N – I’m sure some of you may be less than pleased with where this one ends, so hopefully you’ll forgive me a little if I promise to not make you wait 6 weeks or more to get to the next chapter. I’m thinking I’ll skip Rocky Shores in this rotation so I can do the final chapter of Wildest Dreams and get to the next chapter of this one sooner. It will be good to get Wildest Dreams finished, so that I only have two active stories going again.

I really appreciate all of you reading along and the comments you leave. If you have a minute or two, please let me know what you thought of this chapter.

And as always, thanks to my fabulous beta!

Chapter Text

Veronica couldn't believe that Logan had left. How could he just leave? She'd been angry that morning but she didn't want this. There had only been one other time when he’d been the one to walk away from them, and that had completely devastated her. She tried to remind herself that Jack had told him he should go, so it hadn’t been entirely Logan’s decision. But the fact Logan hadn’t disagreed and fought Jack about it still made her feel anxious, and she couldn’t help but worry about how he had interpreted her reaction that morning. Has he finally decided he’s been on this ride one too many times and wants to just get off of it for good?

"Did he go back to LA?" Veronica asked softly when she trusted her voice enough to not crack as she spoke. Bianca looked at her with a sympathetic expression while they both waited on Jack's answer.

"I don't think so... not yet anyway," Jack replied somberly.

She'd forgotten about Logan’s plan to drive down the coast instead of heading straight back to LA until she considered Jack’s vague reply. She briefly wondered if he had rented a car and headed toward the ocean already. Has he given up on us? Given up on me? Worry and doubt coursed through her as she tried to figure out what to do. After missing him for two years and then finally getting him back, the thought of losing him again was much too difficult for her to even consider. Even though she was still angry over finding out he’d been paying her tuition at Stanford, the fear of losing him was quickly pushing her anger to the back of her mind. She was so consumed by her own thoughts, that she hadn’t heard Casey move over toward them until he spoke a minute later.

“He got a room at the hotel by the marina for the night. He’s in room 208 if you want to talk to him,” Casey offered compassionately.

Veronica felt a small sense of relief pass through her. He hasn’t left. He hasn’t given up. He’s still here. “Thanks Casey,” she replied with a curt nod. “I do want to talk to him.”

“I’ll take you over,” Jack offered quickly. It looked as though Bianca was going to object, but then she must have read something in Jack’s expression because she just nodded in agreement instead. Casey gave Veronica’s shoulder a tender squeeze before he walked back over to sit by Shelly again. Veronica noticed that Shelly was carefully watching them and gave Veronica a grim smile as she glanced in her direction.

When Veronica walked back to her room to grab her purse, she finally noticed that Logan's UCLA sweatshirt was neatly folded on the small dresser. She knew she'd flung it on the bed when she'd ripped it off that morning, so it seemed as though he'd intentionally left it there for her. A parting gift or a sentimental reminder? She couldn’t deny that a part of her was still angry at him for what he did, but the thought of losing him again was just as terrifying. But I still have no idea exactly how to get past this.

The ride to the marina seemed excruciatingly long even though Jack was going at the same speed that they had travelled at every other time. When he finally reached the dock and turned off the engine, he gave her a concerned expression. "Are you sure about this?" he asked cautiously. "You could always wait until tomorrow to talk to him if you need more time. I could just call him and let him know you’ll come over and talk to him in the morning if you’d like.” She couldn’t help but wonder just how anxious she actually looked given his concerned expression. “I could tell by how you reacted this morning that you were pretty upset about whatever it was that he did,” he added with a frown.

“He didn’t tell you?” she asked, curious now about what sort of conversation they did have. Jack shook his head in reply. She narrowed her eyes slightly at him, considering for the first time the implication to Jack of what he had told Logan to do. It certainly didn’t seem like he was pushing for some quick reconciliation either by suggesting she wait until the next day to talk to Logan. “I’m sort of surprised that you gave up your chance to win the bet by sending him away,” she commented dryly.

Jack gave her a half smile and shrugged. “I sort of thought you may have figured out there was a bet,” he paused a moment before he continued. “But you’re more important to me than some stupid bet, and if you were furious with him, I thought it was best to send him away. I really do care about you, Veronica.”

She gave him a tender smile before she spoke. “See, it’s not that hard to use my real name, is it?”

He smiled a bit more and shook his head at her. “Don’t get too used to it.” She chuckled softly and nodded in reply. “Do you want me to wait here for you, or do you want to give us a call later to come back for you?”

“I really have no idea how long this may take, or how badly it may go. I’ll just call you or Bianca though,” she replied as she climbed over the side of the boat onto the dock. “And thanks for looking out for me, Dallas,” she added with a knowing grin. He gave her a quick wink and nodded before she turned and headed up the dock.

The hotel wasn’t very large at all. It had definitely been built long ago, but the owners at least seemed to keep up with renovations and maintenance. It was the type of structure with exterior entrances and no elevator or grand lobby. It was certainly a very far cry from the Grand, although not quite as bad as the Camelot. She took the stairs up to room 208 and hesitated at the door before she finally knocked. She didn’t hear any sound coming from within the room and no one came to the door either. If he told Casey how I could find him, he obviously wasn’t trying to avoid me. She knocked louder the second time, thinking maybe he just hadn’t heard her. But what if he hadn’t told Casey where he was so that Casey could share it with me? What if he just told him so Casey would know where he was? She was trying not to panic, not to assume the worst, that he may have changed his mind and not stayed the night. She tried to tell herself that she was just being paranoid and to stop thinking like that. He would have told Casey if he’d left, wouldn’t he have? She decided knocking again was pointless, as it was clear he wasn’t there. She was about to call him on her phone, when she glanced back toward the marina and remembered there was a small bar attached to the restaurant they’d had breakfast at the prior morning. Of course! When the going gets tough, Veronica Mars runs and Logan Echolls gets drunk.

Since it was only late afternoon, the small lounge wasn’t crowded at all. Even though he was facing away from the entrance, it was easy to spot Logan when she walked in. He was sitting on a stool at the bar, his elbows resting against the hard surface, his shoulders slumped forward and his head hung down. As she moved closer, she could see a full glass of an amber liquid in the tumbler that he held in front of him on the bar, his eyes seemed to be staring at it, but he had a faraway, unfocused look on his face.

“Fourth or fifth?” she asked somberly as she slid onto the stool next to him. She imagined that by this time he’d likely have gone through quite a few and wondered if he’d finally reached the point of slowing down because he’d had too many. She assumed his faraway, blank expression was the result of having too much to drink. She’d certainly seen him in that state several times over the years. At least he’s still able to sit on his stool.

“First,” he replied hoarsely as he turned toward her with a broken look on his face. She furrowed her brow slightly in surprise but didn’t comment. “I’m so sorry, Veronica,” he continued, the pain he was feeling obvious in his tone and expression.

“Not here,” she replied softly as she shook her head. He nodded in understanding and then glanced away from her toward the bar again. She took a deep breath and reached for the glass in his hand. “Maybe we could both use a little drink to take the edge off before we talk,” she suggested as she lifted the glass out of his hands. She drank about half of the smooth scotch before she handed it back. He nodded and took it from her, finishing off the rest of it and then giving her an uncertain look. “Your room?” she suggested as she stood up from the stool. He nodded and pulled out his wallet, throwing a twenty on the bar before turning and following her out of the lounge.

Neither said a word on the way to his room. It felt strange now to be walking right next to him and to not reach out to take his hand, or wrap an arm around his waist. She still wasn’t sure exactly what to say other than she was furious at him for doing what he had done. At least she had matured enough to know that really wasn’t going to lead to anything good even if she didn’t know what to say instead. He slid the cardkey out of his pocket when they reached the room and opened the door, allowing her to walk through first.

“Not exactly the penthouse,” she commented as she inspected the room, finally breaking the uncomfortable silence. The room had very little furniture. A single king bed was against one wall and a small table with two chairs sat against the opposite wall. There was a cabinet with a TV and mini-fridge, as well as a small dresser with a tiny microwave and coffee maker on it. The interior obviously matched the basic hotel accommodations you’d expect from looking at the exterior of the hotel. At least everything looked very clean and well kept.

“Surprisingly, it’s better than some of the other places I’ve stayed,” Logan commented dryly as he closed the door behind him. Veronica briefly wondered what sort of places he’d stayed at while he was trying to keep Gory from finding him. She couldn’t help but notice that he seemed to be unsure of himself now as he stood by the door staring helplessly at her. He was fidgeting nervously with the card key that he was still holding instead of putting it back into his pocket.

She glanced between the bed and the chairs before deciding to take one of the chairs. She looked expectantly at him, waiting for him to move away from the door and take a seat somewhere. He finally let out a deep sigh and then walked over and took a seat on the end of the bed across from her. She bit on her bottom lip, waiting to give him the opportunity to speak first, but after a few seconds she finally couldn’t contain herself any longer. “I just don’t understand why on earth you would have paid for me to go to Stanford, Logan. You obviously knew I’d be furious, which I’m assuming is why you didn’t want to tell me.” He nodded when she paused for a moment. “Then what the hell made you do it?”

He took a deep breath before he gave her his unexpected yet simple answer. “Duncan.”

“What?” she asked in utter confusion. “What the hell does Duncan have to do with you secretly sending me to Stanford?” At the anguished look on Logan’s face, she suddenly suspected there was a lot more to this than she already knew. “Why do I get the feeling that the scholarship wasn’t the only secret you’ve kept from me?”

“I’m sorry, Veronica,” he pleaded helplessly. “I really did want to tell you… everything… I just… things were going so well, and I knew as soon as you found out it would all fall apart. And I honestly was going to tell you. I tried to tell you… But then you… you told me you didn’t care about the past and… I don’t know… I foolishly tried to convince myself that you meant it and that things would be okay.”

She clenched her jaw and sucked in a sharp breath between her teeth. You did tell him that, Veronica. Of course that was before I knew it was a secret that has an enormous impact on my own life. “Tell me now then,” she said sternly, trying her hardest not to storm out as her anger suddenly swelled up again. Realizing that there was more than just one secret he was keeping from her was not helping her calm down at all.

He nodded and let out a shaky breath. “After the car bomb…”

“What?” she interrupted angrily. “There was a fucking car bomb, Logan?”

“Well, it didn’t go off,” he replied with a grimaced expression. She clenched her teeth again and gestured for him to continue. “Like I said before, security at the Grand noticed a guy that looked like Gory sneaking around my car and so they investigated it.”

“And he wasn’t arrested?” she asked, her voice going up an octave as she internalized the situation even more.

Logan shook his head. “I guess the head of security at the Grand is somehow connected to Jake Kane, and when Jake found out what happened, he got involved. I think they contacted him before they’d even contacted me. Jake sent over his head security guy…”

“Weidman,” Veronica interrupted again, to which Logan nodded.

“Yeah… Weidman explained that it was better for him and Jake to handle it… for me to leave the country for a while rather than going to the police. Apparently, Jake has strong connections to the Sorokin family and explained that even if I had Gory arrested, that still wouldn’t guarantee me any safety because of his family. That it would be better for me to disappear for a while and to let them sort things out.”

Veronica felt a lump in her throat form as she realized that Logan could have been killed and it would have been all her fault. She was the one who crossed Gory initially, not realizing how dangerous he actually was. Not only did she put Wallace in danger and cost her dad the election, but she nearly got Logan killed. He could have died for just trying to protect my honor.

“So Weidman put me on the Kane’s private jet and said someone would meet me when it landed.” Logan paused and gave her an anguished look and Veronica knew exactly who that someone was without Logan even saying his name.

“But you said you didn’t talk to him, Logan. You lied to me about that too?” Veronica asked angrily.

“No… I didn’t… I never lied… I’m sorry… I didn’t elaborate, but I never lied. I said ‘no calls, no postcards’ which was true,” he explained although by the remorseful expression on his face, she could tell he knew how badly that sounded and that what he had done was still wrong.

Veronica scoffed angrily and shook her head at him. I knew that answer had been way too specific even then. I should have known something had happened between the two of them. “Fine,” she replied with indignation clear in her voice. “You didn’t lie, but that still doesn’t make it right, Logan.”

“I know,” he said with a defeated sigh. She gestured for him to continue, since clearly they hadn’t gotten to why he’d decided to pay for her to go to Stanford. “I hadn’t expected Duncan to be the one to meet me. Neither Jake nor Weidman had mentioned him at all. At first it was great… seeing him again. It seemed like the silver lining to the dark cloud that my life had become at the time. And apparently whoever set up him meeting me, hadn’t filled him in on exactly why I was there either. He hadn’t asked at first since he was just excited to see a familiar face again. It was the third or fourth night when he finally asked what sort of trouble I’d gotten into that I needed to flee the country. So then I told him about Gory and how I’d gotten into a fight with him at Hearst over something that involved you.” Logan paused and took a deep breath, biting nervously on his bottom lip for a moment. “And I don’t know… it was like a switch flipped… he was furious that I was such a selfish, arrogant asshole that I’d get you mixed up with a Russian mob family. And how I’d risked your safety because of my recklessness… and that he’d never forgive me if something happened to you… if you ended up dead just like Lilly or my mom… because he was still in love with you.”

The revelation that Duncan was still in love with her made her feel a bit nauseous. That certainly explained some of the things Logan had said the first night. She could imagine that it was also likely the reason he hadn’t wanted to say he’d talked to Duncan. Of course her relationship with Duncan had always been a sore spot with Logan. It was definitely one of the reasons they’d avoided that topic in the past. She also felt terrible for Logan knowing that Duncan had dragged the death of Lilly and Lynn into their conversation. The motivation for his actions was certainly much clearer now.

“And then he went on about me leaving you behind, in harm’s way, while I fled the country to save my own ass. That the Sorokins wouldn’t think twice about retribution against you for even just being associated with me.” Logan had grown increasingly agitated as he continued. “I don’t know… I mean, I hoped you would be safe in Virginia doing your internship for the FBI. That Gory wouldn’t be that desperate to do something, but what happened when you came back to Hearst? I definitely couldn’t protect you if I was dead, and if I went back to Neptune there was a high likelihood of that happening. I was pissed at Duncan though, so I still caught the first commercial flight back. Of course Weidman met me at the gate and told me I was a fool to come back before they’d gotten the situation under control. I asked him if he could guarantee that you’d be safe if I left, and when he couldn’t guarantee that, I decided to do whatever I could to try to protect you. I knew you were likely still pissed at me over what happened with Piz, and since you’d never handled it well if someone tried to tell you what to do, I contacted an old friend of my mom who worked at Stanford and set up the scholarship, hoping you’d take it and leave Hearst.” He paused and let out a loud sigh. “I honestly wasn’t sure if Gory would make good on his threat to kill me and I figured using some of my money to do that for you was better than it just going to waste if I died. I doubted that if I tried to leave money to you in my will that you’d actually accept it, and so this way, I could be sure that you were safely away from Hearst and Gory. I was so relieved when I ran into your dad and he told me you had decided to go to Stanford. I wouldn’t have been able to leave Neptune if I wasn’t sure you’d be far away from Gory.”

Veronica had never imagined that he’d sent her there to try to protect her. As angry as she still was that he’d done it, a part of her was touched that he’d gone to so much trouble just to be sure she was safe. He’d also risked his own safety by coming back to Neptune before Jake had taken care of everything. Regardless of that though, she was still frustrated with him doing it behind her back. “You should have just talked to me, Logan,” she tersely replied, although sounding less angry than before. “You should never have set up the scholarship and you certainly should have told me when you first saw me here.”

Logan let out a defeated sigh and nodded. “I know… I just… I was so excited to see you again. I missed you so much and the thought of getting another chance to be in your life again… I didn’t want to risk that. But I knew I should tell you… that’s why I kept insisting we slow down because I didn’t want this big secret between us when we finally were intimate again. But then… well, you know… and I naively told myself that I could believe you and that everything would be okay.”

As annoyed as she was that it was the second time he’d pointed out she was the one who told him he didn’t need to tell her, he did have a very valid point. It still didn’t make her feel much better about the situation, but she was trying to be more understanding than she would have been in the past. Especially since she had assured him of that and she did want to show him that she’d changed. “It’s just…” she started again, not as angry as before, but still upset about the entire situation. “I can’t just take your money, Logan.”

“How about we worry about that later?” Logan suggested although she could tell that he doubted that she was going to agree to that by the expression on his face.

“It’s a big deal, Logan,” she countered, seeming to squash whatever small bit of hope was in his eyes. “I don’t know how, but I’m going to pay you back.”

“You know you don’t have to do that, though. It’s my fault you wouldn’t be safe at Hearst. I’m the one who didn’t listen to you and attacked someone in the Russian mob. Can’t you for once let me make amends for some of the fucked up things I’ve done?” he pleaded softly.

“Logan…” she started before she paused, finally realizing he wasn’t just talking about the Gory mess. He must have still felt guilty about everything else that had happened between them before that. The least she could do was compromise and let it go for now. His logic may have been totally flawed, but he had still had the best intentions. “It wasn’t your fault that I got mixed up with Gory in the first place. I know you meant well, but you have to know this isn’t something I’m going to just accept either.”

He nodded slowly while he looked at her somberly. “I know… I hoped that maybe you could, but deep down I knew it wouldn’t be that easy. It never is with us.”

For whatever reason, what he’d said to her at alterna-prom popped into her head. “They don’t write songs about the ones that come easy,” she quoted back to him nostalgically and then saw a flash of recognition pass across his face. For the first time since she’d seen him at the bar, she finally saw the smallest of smiles start to appear on his lips. “It really is a lot to digest right now… maybe it would be better to take some time to figure out the best way to deal with it. I’m not going to just let it go though.”

“I get it… and thank you for offering a brief reprieve at least,” he said softly with a relieved expression on his face.

She nodded and studied him for a few seconds before she spoke again. “But that’s it, right? I know I said it didn’t matter and that I wouldn’t go digging, but as you can tell, even when I don’t intend to, things just seem to surface unexpectedly. Maybe it would be better if you just tell me if there are any other secrets that you haven’t told me. You know, come clean now and start with a fresh slate.” She could easily see the way he grimaced before he looked down at the floor and exhaled. Great there’s more… and what’s behind door number three?

“Logan,” she prodded when he didn’t say anything and kept staring at the floor.

He let out an audible sigh and slowly looked back up at her. “I was 99% sure you were Birdie and that you would be here this week,” he reluctantly admitted.

“You knew?” she asked incredulously. “How the hell?” She paused a moment and thought about it, but only one explanation really came to mind. “Did Jack actually say my name at some point and you realized it had to be me?” She figured if Logan knew a little bit about Bianca’s roommate and that she was a blonde named Veronica, that he could have deduced it was her.

Logan shook his head and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He clicked on the screen a few times and then held it up for her to see. It was a picture from New Year’s Eve of her and Bianca and another girl they knew from their criminology classes. The caption said ‘Having a blast with Twiz, Birdie and Moose’.

“Dallas tweeted this picture on New Year’s. And well… he’d shared other pictures of Twiz, so I knew which one she was, and the more I heard about Birdie… well, I was certain it had to be you.”

Jack and Bianca and their annoying addiction to social media apps. Why am I not surprised? She sat there staring at the picture for a moment while her mind tried to play catchup to what he’d just told her. But all she could come up with were more questions. “Then why… why did you wait until this trip to see me… why didn’t you tell Jack you knew me when you saw the picture at New Year’s?”

“Well,” Logan started a bit reluctantly. “I didn’t actually see the picture on New Year’s because I wasn’t using twitter then. But about a month or so later, when I finally relented to Dallas’ constant pestering to try it, I did. And when I added him, I was glancing at his pictures and saw it. I was going to say something, but then Dallas announced your group’s plans for spring break… and well… I thought you were still with Piz.”

Rockstar,” Veronica mumbled softly. Logan nodded and gave her a grim look.

“But then after… well, I hadn’t really pried because part of me didn’t want to know how happy you may be with him after all those years. But then Dallas mentioned at some point later that you’d obliterated the guy during spring break and then he’d mentioned the houseboat trip and I… well… I really wanted to see you, and so I subtly encouraged him to invite you along after we set it up.”

Veronica took a minute to think back again to how her being invited on the trip had transpired. “What about the girlfriend you had when you set up the trip? I remember Bianca saying you’d broken up with a girlfriend after the arrangements were made.”

Logan exhaled a slow long breath before he answered. “I may not have taken the thought of you still being with Piz all that well and agreed to go out with a girl in one of my classes who’d been pursuing me since the start of the term. I think we’d gone out on a couple dates before I found out that you were single again, and I guess Dallas just assumed I’d be taking her along.” He looked at her shamefully before he continued. “I know it probably sounds like a shitty thing to do, but she never knew about any of it and I ended it before anything got serious with her.”

Veronica gave him a grim look and nodded. She wasn’t terribly surprised that Jack would have just called the girl Logan’s girlfriend given Jack was constantly simplifying things and she’d corrected him on more than one occasion that guys she’d gone out on one or two dates with were not her boyfriends. She also knew she couldn’t judge Logan at all for who he was with during their years apart. That was certainly one thing she’d wished she could have learned to handle better before everything fell apart for them at Hearst.

“So… that’s it then?” Veronica asked, slightly worried that there was still more that he hadn’t told her yet, but she really wanted to hope there wasn’t. When she’d first been suspicious he was keeping something from her, she never imagined any of this. At least he’d wanted to do the right thing before she had stopped him from divulging everything for her own selfish reasons. She took a steadying breath as he shook his head the slightest amount.

“Duncan also told me that he was determined to come back. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t already, actually. He said Jake had connections in the FBI and he was working with them on a deal,” Logan explained unhappily.

“Oh,” Veronica replied slowly as she was trying to consider the implications of that bit of news. Of course that would be another reason Logan was so intent on digging into the Duncan topic the first night. He was undoubtedly worried about what would happen if Duncan returned. Worried about whether she was actually still in love with Duncan. She hoped after their talk that first night, that he wouldn’t still be concerned about it, but based on his current demeanor she assumed a small part of his worry was still lingering. She wouldn’t be surprised if Jake’s connections were actually members of the Castle and she couldn’t help but wonder how much Duncan had actually known about the Castle when they were growing up. Since the Castle operated out of Stanford as well as Hearst, and Jake had been pushing Duncan to attend Stanford, it was very likely Jake was expecting him to be accepted into the fold. She was thankful that she hadn’t knowingly crossed paths with any Castle members while she was at Stanford. Sometimes it’s better when a secret society stays secret. Duncan’s inclusion in the Tritons at Neptune could very well have been a first step toward his later initiation into the Castle. She’d been so focused on trying to get back to normal during senior year, that she hadn’t even broached that topic with Duncan either.

“I meant what I said about him the other night, Logan,” Veronica reaffirmed, hoping to chase those doubts of his away. Logan’s expression still remained dour, but he nodded in understanding. “Anything else?” she asked, holding her breath slightly, hoping there wasn’t actually something else he still hadn’t shared. He still looked extremely somber as he shook his head. Now that everything was out in the open, she wasn’t exactly sure what the best next steps were. She decided to try to go for some light banter as a start at least. The chair and the bed were close enough that with his long legs, she could easily reach out with her own foot and nudge his. “Hey, look at us. No screaming or yelling this time,” she teased lightly as she pushed her foot into his. “And even a little bit of compromise,” she added with a coy smile.

He let out a deep breath and she could see the corner of his mouth quirk up slightly. “Yeah… the end of days must be upon us,” he countered with just a hint of self-loathing in his tone.

“You still promised me dinner, if I’m not mistaken,” Veronica reminded him as she stood up from the chair. She could see a bit of surprise cross his face as she moved a little closer and held her hand out for him. “Don’t think I would ever forget an offer that involved food, no matter how furious I might still be with you.” Logan let out a weary laugh and let her pull him up from the bed. “And you’re definitely buying me dessert. Something decadent and I’m not yet sure whether I’ll share any with you,” she continued as she led the way toward the door.

“It’s the least I can do,” Logan commented as they moved across the room with his hand still in hers. She was still upset about what he’d done, but finally having a physical connection again, no matter how small, was starting to help tamp down some of her anxiety of whether they would be able to fix things or if they’d implode again.

“It most definitely is,” she agreed as she glanced over her shoulder at him and gave him a reassuring smile. She was relieved to see him smile a bit more in return. She briefly wondered if things between them would ever just be normal and easy, but then again, those aren’t the types of relationships that make epic love stories either.

Chapter Text

Dinner started out slightly awkward, which was not surprising given the conversation they'd just had. Veronica could tell Logan was being more reserved than he'd been recently around her and she couldn't really blame him with everything that had happened so far that day. After some uncomfortable silence as they looked over their menus, Logan had asked how Mac and Wallace were doing, so Veronica spent some time updating him on things that had happened with them over the last two years. Talking about the two of them was definitely a safe enough topic to cover during dinner and they didn't stray very far from that. She shared a few stories of when they’d come to visit her in Palo Alto and things they’d done there together as well as how they were doing back at Hearst.

When they were finally finished eating they headed back outside. Logan hesitated after they'd passed through the restaurant doors and stuck his hands in his front pockets as he looked meekly at Veronica.

"So, what time were you supposed to head back to the houseboat?" he asked with the slightest trace of anxiety in his tone.

She couldn't help but wonder now if that was why he was so nervous during dinner. Of course he'd be wondering where things stood now after their conversation in his hotel room. It's not like she explicitly said things were okay with them at any point. And if she was being totally honest with herself, there were still issues that they needed to work through before everything was entirely okay again, but she wasn't going to give up on the two of them now.

"I wasn't given a curfew," she replied with a coy smile, happy to see that he at least relaxed a bit with her reply.

He nodded and glanced nervously toward the hotel and then back at her. "Would you like to come back to my room for a while then?" he asked, all of a sudden sounding the shiest she'd remembered hearing him in ages.

"Hm..." she replied thoughtfully. "Even if you'll be at risk of me having had enough time to process everything you told me earlier and have my follow-up cross-examination ready?" It was only logical that once they were alone again, they'd start talking about everything he'd told her and she wanted to see how he was going to react to that.

She saw him swallow a little harder than normal before he nodded. "Yeah, even if you are ready to completely lay into me for what an ass I was about keeping all that from you." He paused and took a deep breath before he continued. "I'd still like for you to come back there with me and talk some more."

"Okay," she replied as she nodded and reached out her hand for his. If he wasn't going to shy away from difficult conversations now, neither was she.  He pulled one of his hands out of his pocket and took a hold of hers. The sun had set and the moon was already high in the sky, reflecting brightly off the clear dark surface of the lake. "Hmm... a moonlit stroll by a lake... sounds like one of those things that would be on your courting list, doesn't it?" Veronica asked with a flirty lilt to her voice.

She heard Logan let out a soft sigh. "Yeah... it was number seven," he replied in a tone that she couldn't quite tell if he was joking or being serious.

She glanced over at him and raised her eyebrow questioningly. "So, is this list all official and like laminated or something?" she asked with a playful smirk on her lips.

"Yep, and color coded by theme," he added, perhaps without giving much thought to the quick quippy reply. She saw his lip quirk up slightly, before he took a deep breath and became a bit more serious again. Apparently, he was still slightly on edge and not ready to let himself just fall right back into easy banter with her yet.

"Was the armpit apples coded in a puke green color?" she couldn't help but ask as she laughed slightly at the thought, hoping it might loosen him up a bit too.

He at least chuckled softly as well. "Nope, red," he replied, slowly sounding a little bit more like confident, flirty Logan again. "For red apples of course. The only kind I'd ever eat."

"Oh, yes," Veronica continued as she shook her head slightly. "I remember many arguments with you that green and yellow apples were blasphemous. Only apples from the red varieties counted as real apples and the rest were some other second rate fruit."

"Exactly," he agreed as they reached the top of the stairs and continued to walk toward his room. She noticed that he suddenly seemed to get more serious again. "I never told you why though, did I?"

She realized he hadn't and just thought it had been something he liked to joke about, so she never bothered to ask if there really was a reason. Even when they were younger they would frequently find ridiculous things like that to argue about.  They'd reached the door to his room at that point and he pulled out his keycard and opened the door for her to walk in first. She went over and sat on the edge of the bed this time and looked at him expectantly, wondering if he was going to share more about the apples.

"It was the pears," Logan said as he sat down next to her and stared down toward his feet instead of looking at her. She let out a sad sigh and reached over to squeeze his hand that he'd rested on his leg. She should have been able to put that together once she heard the pear story after the imposter pretended to be Charlie and they talked about what Logan had told him.

"I'm sorry, Logan," she told him compassionately as she gently stroked the back of his hand with her thumb.

"I'm sorry I fucked things up again," he quickly blurted out as he turned to her with a nearly terrified look on his face. It was easy to see just how much anguish was there now and she wondered how badly he was internally beating himself up during dinner over everything. She was a bit caught off guard though, as her mind had been thinking about apples and pears and his monster of a father and not everything that had just happened between them earlier that day.

"No," she replied as she moved her hand up to tenderly caress his cheek. "You didn't," she added as she shook her head and looked at him reassuringly. "This... everything that happened earlier today between us... it's not going to push us apart... I won't let it." She looked at him with obvious determination. "I don't want to lose you, Logan. Not again. I know things between us will likely never be easy. But I believe what we had... what we have now... it's worth fighting for."

She could tell by the look on his face and the way his eyes darted down to her lips, that he really wanted to kiss her. It looked to her like it was taking every fiber of his being to restrain from doing so. She was a little disappointed, but not at all surprised given everything that had happened that he'd be acting cautious now and not want to do something to upset her.

"This would be one of those 'perfect time for a romantic kiss moments'," she couldn't help but say with a demure smile. He let out a relieved breath before he leaned in and captured her lips with his.

They were both a little breathless when they broke apart. Logan gave her a shy partial smile as he looked intensely into her eyes. "So..." he started as he leaned slightly away from her. "As much as I'd rather just sit here and kiss you all night, I'm guessing there are still some things we need to discuss."

She scrunched up her nose for a second before letting out a sigh. "I suppose you're right, although the kissing all night part sounds pretty good too."

He chuckled softly before leaning toward her and placing a quick kiss on her nose. He then pressed his forehead against hers and took a deep breath. "Whatever you want to do," he told her as he looked at her with a tender expression. "I'm just thrilled you came to see me today. I honestly thought it might take you a day or two to calm down enough to talk to me again."

She gave him an understanding smile as he sat up a little straighter. "Yeah... the old me could really hold on to my grudges, couldn't I? But I have changed... not enough to not freak out when I get sidelined by something big, but my cooling off period has certainly gotten noticeably shorter."     

"I was um..." he started, looking a little nervous as he glanced away from her for a moment before making eye contact again. "I was thinking more about the scholarship thing and... I um... I want to say something, but I'm worried you might not exactly agree and I don't want to make things even worse."

She gave him a reassuring smile and reached over to squeeze one of his hands again. "I promise I'll keep an open mind now, okay?"

He nodded and then took a steadying breath before he continued. "I know you well enough to know that you've never been okay with taking something that you think you don't deserve, but you do deserve this, Veronica. It's not really my money either, if you get technical about it. It was Aaron's and after all the horrendous things he did, many of which impacted you, don't you think you deserve some rectification for all of that. He tried to kill you and your dad..." he paused and swallowed hard before he continued. "He killed your best friend. And I know as well as you do that if Lilly hadn't died, your life would have been so much different."

Veronica bit on her lip for a moment as she considered what he'd just said. Of course she'd always wanted Aaron to pay for every terrible thing he'd done. Not only killing Lilly, but also for the way he had abused Logan too. She'd been furious when he'd been found innocent during the trial. She could still remember the smug grin he'd given her in the elevator when he'd basically confessed to killing Lilly. Even though it was Logan's inheritance now, it had been Aaron's money before and maybe Logan did have a solid argument. Someone's always supposed to pay, right?

"Well that certainly sounds like the easiest solution, doesn't it?" she commented as she gave him a resigned smile. He nodded and looked at her with what seemed to be a cautiously hopeful expression. "It's just... I still feel a little uncomfortable about it, but you do make a good point. I still wish you'd have just told me about what was going on with Gory back then." She felt that panicky feeling course through her that she’d felt earlier when he’d mentioned the car bomb. "You could have died, Logan... and it would have been all my fault," she told him with her voice shaking slightly. He quickly shook his head in disagreement prompting her to go on. "No, Logan. I'm the one who had to find out who made that video of me and Piz. I'm the one who couldn't let that go and then bugged Gory's room even though I was warned he could be dangerous."

"And you warned me to stay away from him," Logan said as he reached out and squeezed her hand. "So you can't feel guilty about him coming after me." She looked at him, not convinced at all that she shouldn't feel guilty. "I'm the one that humiliated him in the cafeteria. I made it personal at that point."

"Because of me though," Veronica countered.

He gave her a tender smile. "You'd be worth dying for though, Veronica."

She let out a disagreeing scoff and shook her head. "Please just promise me you won't do anything else dangerous on your own now. That if something comes up, that you'll come to me, no matter what. I really couldn't live with myself if something happened to you because of me."

"I promise," he reached up and caressed her cheek. "Logan Lester really has avoided trouble and I don't plan on changing that now."

"Good," she replied with a firm nod.

He tilted his head slightly as he studied her. "Can you make the same promise to me? I know you said you haven’t really been investigating any more, but if something does come up, can you promise you’ll keep me in the loop too?"

She wasn't terribly surprised by his request, given everything that had happened to her back when he was still in her life. But as she'd told him before, she really hadn't worked any dangerous cases since she transferred to Hearst. She could tell from his expression though that he may have doubted she’d be willing to be that forthright with him. She certainly had a bad track record for always being honest with him in the past, though, but she wasn’t that person anymore either. She held up her hand to him. "Deal," she said with a broad grin. He smiled back and reached out and shook her hand, definitely looking surprised by how easily she’d agreed.

"Do you... do you have any idea if Gory is still in California?" she asked, wondering how likely it was that Gory might still be trying to get his revenge against Logan.

Logan shook his head. "No... I checked in with Jake a few months ago... I um..." he looked a little nervous again. "I wanted to be sure that Gory didn't pop up in your life either, so I try keeping tabs on where he's at. He's back east these days. He graduated from Hearst last year since he was two years ahead of us. Working for the family business I heard."

Veronica involuntarily shivered at that, but was glad that Gory was on the other side of the country. She nodded in understanding.

"So..." Logan started a bit hesitantly. "You haven't really said much about the fact that I saw Duncan. I was expecting a bigger reaction to that one."

"Oh..." Veronica replied thoughtfully. Honestly with everything else that he'd told her, Duncan was certainly the lowest on her list of concerns, but she understood why it likely wasn't for him. "Right... I'd almost forgotten about that." He gave her a disbelieving look. "What?" she asked as she shrugged. "I was much more concerned about Gory trying to kill you than you seeing Duncan."

His expression softened slightly and he leaned toward her again and kissed her temple. "I do appreciate the concern."

"So... how were they?"

Logan gave her a curious look, perhaps because she sounded so detached and polite with the way she asked. "I thought you'd be a little more interested than you seem to be," he commented.

She shrugged. "Look... after he left... even before he left... things weren't all that great between us. I guess I felt some loyalty to both Meg and Lilly to do what I could to help at that point, but I don’t know... Once he was gone, I guess I had a lot more time to think about everything... about the way he acted... the way he treated me... All of the things he’d done…" She let out a soft chuckle. "They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but for me it just enlightened me to my true feelings."

"So if he comes back... are you sure... are you sure you don't want to give him another chance?"

Veronica shook her head and reached up to cup his cheek. "No. Absolutely not. He's not the one I want. He's not the one I love."

Logan sucked in a quick breath as his eyes softened. "I love you too," he said before he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.

The more they kissed, the more she felt like she was done with the conversational part of their evening. She fell back onto the mattress, pulling him along with her. He didn’t hesitate to follow along, his kisses getting more intense by the second. She reached down and started tugging on his shirt so she could pull it over his head. Before she’d even gotten it up to his shoulders, her cell phone sent a shrill ring through the room.

Veronica didn't have to look at the phone to guess that it was probably Bianca calling to check on her. She internally cursed herself for not texting her when they were at the restaurant. "I um... I'd better get that," Veronica groaned in frustration.

Logan exhaled as he rolled off of her so she could get her phone out of her pocket.

"Hey, Bianca," Veronica said after confirming the ID and then answering the call.

"Hey... um... I hope I'm not interrupting," Bianca replied with obvious discomfort in her voice. "Is everything going okay?"

"Yeah," Veronica replied as she smiled happily at Logan. He likely could hear Bianca since he was still lying right besides her and he gave her a tender smile in return.

"Well we wondered if you were going to come back tonight or not. Dallas is trying to get everyone to play that stupid drinking game of his, and I wanted to be sure someone was able to come and get you if you were coming back tonight."

Veronica quirked an eyebrow at Logan, feeling pretty certain that he heard the question too. “Please stay,” he whispered with a hopeful, pleading look on his face. She of course would much rather have the night just to themselves and not have to deal with their friends on the houseboat for now.

“I’m going to just stay here tonight,” Veronica replied with a demure smile. Logan smiled as well and let out a relieved breath. “Why don’t you see if anyone wants to come over for breakfast in the morning and we can ride back after that. I could certainly go for some more of those cinnamon hazelnut pancakes.”

Bianca chuckled slightly before she replied. “Have an enjoyable night, Veronica. I’ll talk to you in the morning.”

Veronica’s smile broadened. “Oh, I’m sure I will. Bye,” she replied before she ended the call.

“Now where were we?” Veronica asked coyly as she tossed her phone on the nightstand and then ran her hand sensually up Logan’s arm.

“Hm… I think you were trying to undress me,” Logan replied with a lascivious look on his face as he reached down and grabbed her hip, pulling her closer to him.

“Oh, that’s right,” Veronica replied as if she’d actually forgotten what they had been doing. “But I don’t know… the moment’s sort of passed now,” she continued with a sly grin. “Maybe we should just turn in for the night.” She feigned a loud yawn and patted her hand over her mouth.

She could tell Logan was trying not to smirk at her as he shrugged and tried to feign indifference. “That’s fine,” he said casually as he rolled onto his back and put his hands under his head, staring up at the ceiling. Veronica laughed and then climbed on him so she was straddling his stomach. He cocked an eyebrow at her. “I think it’s going to be a little difficult to sleep like that,” he commented, keeping a serious look on his face.

“Right… I’ll probably get too hot in this shirt,” Veronica replied salaciously has she reached down and then pulled her shirt over her head.

“And I doubt those shorts will be very comfortable either,” Logan suggested with a slightly bigger grin.

“Good point,” Veronica said as she stood up on the bed, with one foot on each side of him and then carefully took the shorts off without falling over. Once they were off she bounced back on her knees so that she was sitting on his stomach again, being careful to not squish him too much as she came down. He still let out a big exaggerated huff of air as she landed.

“You may want to lay off those desserts for a while,” Logan commented with an evil smirk on his face.

“Maybe you should do a few more sit-ups so your abs are a bit more muscular,” Veronica countered with a mischievous glint in her eye.

The corner of Logan’s mouth lifted up more as he sat up toward her still keeping his hands behind his head. “One,” he said before he lowered himself back on to the bed again. She felt his stomach muscles clench as he started to repeat the move again. “Two,” he said with a smirk as he lowered himself down again.

“This would be a much better show if your shirt wasn’t on,” Veronica suggested playfully.

Logan smiled as he sat back up “Three,” he said and then reached down and quickly pulled his shirt off with some wiggling from Veronica to allow him to pull it out from under her. After he tossed the shirt toward one of the chairs he put his hands behind his head again and lowered himself back down to the bed. “Four,” he said, although it came out with a bit of a groan as Veronica shifted back on him slightly and ran her fingers over his bare chest. He paused a bit longer and moved his lips closer to hers, until she quirked her eyebrow at him and he let out a soft laugh before he lowered himself again. “Five,” he said as he sat back up. This time Veronica was running her fingers over his well defined abs.

“That’s enough warm-up,” she said with a sultry tone as she leaned forward and captured his lips with hers. His hands didn’t remain on his head much longer and Veronica felt them land on her hips, his thumbs pressing firmly into her flesh.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to do some push-ups or hip thrusts,” he asked with a sly grin after their lips separated.

“Definitely some hip thrusts,” Veronica replied as she waggled her eyebrows at him.

He laughed and shook his head slightly as he looked at her adoringly. “God, I missed you so much, Veronica,” he commented a moment later, a bit more reverence slipping into his tone.

“I missed you too,” Veronica replied tenderly. Logan leaned forward to capture her lips again and then effortlessly flipped them so that she was on her back and he was spread out over her.

It was nice to be able to enjoy being with each other without worrying about being too loud since they really didn’t care what anyone in the rooms next door might think. Veronica was thrilled that they could start being openly affectionate with each other the next day on the houseboat as well, but having this night just to themselves was perfect. It was nice to just focus on each other without worrying about what sort of grief they might get from her friends. She knew that’s just how they were though and she had witnessed enough teasing between the other two couples not to expect that it wouldn’t be directed at them as well. At this point though, she wasn’t really sure that she cared if it meant four more nights like this one.

Veronica woke up to faint sunlight streaming in under the curtains and a light snoring sound coming from Logan who had his face pressed up against her shoulder. They’d thoroughly enjoyed the privacy provided by being away from the others for the night. She wasn’t even sure how late it was before they’d finally dozed off from exhaustion. She wiggled slightly to try to get out of bed without waking him up so she could go to the bathroom. Logan started to mildly protest as she slipped out from under his arm, but his head soon sunk into the pillows and he started lightly snoring again. She smiled fondly to herself realizing how infrequently when they were dating before she had actually gotten to spend the entire night with him. There were a few times when her dad was out of town on cases, with the most memorable one being the trip they took to Santa Barbara. Waking up on the houseboat with him hadn’t been quite as leisurely since they had to worry about keeping things a secret, at least up until now.

Veronica figured Bianca would be up already so she sent her a text when she entered the bathroom to see if Bianca could bring her some clothes to slip into before they went to breakfast. Veronica hadn't wanted to be presumptuous the day before so she hadn't really brought along a change of clothes or anything to sleep in, although the latter hadn't really been a problem. As she expected, Bianca immediately responded to her text and they worked out plans for meeting for breakfast as soon as the rest of the houseboat guests that wanted to come along were all ready to go.

Veronica decided to enjoy whatever private time she and Logan had left, so when she was done making plans with Bianca, she headed out of the bathroom to see if Logan was awake yet. He was still lying in the same position she’d left him in, sprawled out on his stomach with his face pressed into the pillow. She could also hear him just faintly snoring still. She crawled onto the bed and then stretched out on her stomach on top of him. He took a deep breath and she could tell he was starting to wake up. “Time for your morning work-out,” she purred into his ear.

She watched as his lip quirked up on one side and then he slowly opened one eye. “Please tell me you’re not making me go for a run around the lake again?” he asked in a pleading but light-hearted tone.

Veronica laughed and shook her head before placing a kiss between his shoulder blades. “I’m sure we could think of some other form of physical activity that we could do without even leaving this room,” she replied seductively.

“Push ups?” Logan asked playfully before he used his arms to push himself up, with her still lying on top of him.

Veronica laughed again as he lowered himself down on the bed. She could feel him chuckling slightly below her as well.

“Well I was thinking of a different type of activity… a two-person activity,” she replied as she rolled off of him and landed on the bed next to him. He turned his head to look at her and gave her a leering look.

“Mmm… I do enjoy two-person activities… with you,” he replied as a salacious grin spread across his face. He shifted his body so he could hover above her and then lowered himself to kiss her before pushing back up again. “Kissing push-ups?” he asked with a quirked brow. Veronica laughed and shook her head at him. She reached up to pull his head down to hers again and he slowly lowered his torso against her body too.  

“As amusing as you may be, the others are still coming over to join us for breakfast, so you may want to keep that in mind before you make your next suggestion,” she warned him with a devious grin.

Logan chuckled and shook his head slightly at her. “Point taken,” he replied while he shifted down onto one forearm while his other hand slowly traced a path down her side. His lips left a trail of kisses from right below her ear down toward her clavicle.

“Mmmm… much better,” she moaned as his hand that wasn’t busy supporting his body moved on to a much more sensitive part of her anatomy. She could feel him smile against her skin as he continued placing kisses along her neck and chest while his fingers did their own bit of magic to her. She really hoped there would be some late risers on the houseboat so she could continue to enjoy his impressive skills until she was thoroughly satiated.

Veronica’s wish apparently came true, because they eventually moved from the bed to the shower and she still hadn’t gotten a text from Bianca that they were on their way over yet. She finally heard her cell phone indicate a new text message shortly after they’d finished towel drying each other off after their shower. She was actually a little relieved because after their rather exhausting morning activities, Veronica was starting to feel quite famished for actual food.

They finished getting ready while they waited for Bianca to arrive with Veronica’s clothes. Logan loaned her one of his clean t-shirts to wear until she had her own clothes to change into. He had also started packing up the rest of his things so he’d be ready to go back to the houseboat with everyone else after breakfast.  

“Special delivery,” Bianca chirped as she knocked on the door. Veronica decided she’d answer instead of forcing Logan to deal with her roommate’s peskiness. As Veronica carefully cracked the door open, she kept her mostly covered body partly hidden by the door just in case anyone else had tagged along. She was glad to see that Bianca had been able to keep to their original plan of sending everyone ahead to get a table at the restaurant while she brought the clothes over alone.

“As requested,” Bianca said with a devious grin as she handed a bag out toward Veronica.

“Thanks,” Veronica replied as she took it and shook her head slightly at Bianca. “We’ll meet you at the restaurant in about 10 minutes, okay?” She knew Bianca was probably dying to make some comment about the two of them enjoying their night alone.

“Okay,” Bianca replied with a small disappointed sigh. “Don’t get side-tracked though,” she did tease before she turned and headed back to the stairs.

It only took Veronica a few minutes to finish getting ready to go once Bianca left. “Ready?” Veronica asked as she held her hand out toward Logan who was sitting on the bed waiting for her.

“Yep,” he nodded as he stood up and took a hold of her hand. “So um… what’s the plan with your friends now? Full disclosure?”

Veronica gave him a sultry smile and nodded. “Yep,” she replied loudly, popping the p. “No reason to hide anything anymore.”

Logan smiled in reply and pulled her flush against him. “Mmm… I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to being able to kiss you whenever I want now.”

“No side-tracking!” Veronica scolded slightly when she recognized the salacious look in his eyes.  

“Fine,” he replied as he placed a quick kiss on her forehead and then released her so he could grab his bag. “I’ll have to try side-tracking you later then.”

Veronica smiled and nodded as she started to pull him toward the door. She definitely needed to fuel up if there was going to be a repeat of their prior night activities.

It was easy to find the large group once they reached the restaurant. She wasn’t sure if all 3 couples would all come over for breakfast, but they were all there. When they were almost to the table, she stopped and turned to give Logan a very devious grin. He quirked his eyebrows at her and she could tell he wasn’t sure what to expect based on his expression. That didn’t stop her from reaching up to pull his head down to hers and kissing him thoroughly. She laughed against his mouth as she heard their friends at the table start to clap and whistle softly. Logan laughed and shook his head slightly too as their lips separated. “Wanted to make sure that was all take care of. I didn’t want there to be any schemes from Dinah to delay for a bigger payout while we were eating,” she whispered softly as she gave him a little wink and then pulled him the rest of the way to the table.

“Good idea,” Logan quietly replied as they made their way to the two empty seats. “I did see a sign for lobster omelets on our way in.”

Veronica nodded in agreement as he pulled her chair out for her and then he kissed her quickly on the temple before helping her scoot the chair back toward the table.

“So I hear they have some pretty good cinnamon hazelnut pancakes?” Casey commented out loud to the rest of the table, shooting only a quick grin at both Veronica and Logan before glancing down at his menu again.

“They’re the best,” Veronica agreed loudly as she scooted her seat a bit closer to Logan’s so she could more easily wrap her arm through his and thread their fingers together above the table. Logan tilted their joined hands up so he could place a quick kiss on the back of her hand before resting them back on the table again. The rest of the group started discussing other menu items before moving on to update Veronica and Logan on the mishaps of Jack’s drinking game the night before. Veronica had to agree with Logan’s earlier comment that it was great to be able to be openly affectionate with each other now, and she was glad that the rest of the group seemed completely unphased by it. She was definitely looking forward to enjoying the rest of the week with him now that everything was finally out in the open.    

Chapter Text

While they were eating breakfast, the group decided to spend most of the day wakeboarding since, with all the other things that had been going on, they hadn't done much of that the last few days. Veronica was still a little nervous about it since she'd only gone out one time, but Logan was very encouraging and promised to help her get more comfortable with it. They decided they'd use both speedboats since everyone was planning to go out and it would be rather crowded on just one boat. Casey suggested that he and Shelly go with Logan and Veronica since Shelly was also still learning. They could take their time letting the two girls get more comfortable with it. Veronica thought Bianca looked a little put out by the idea, but she didn't press the issue. Veronica guessed that Bianca probably was looking for an opportunity to ask her how things had gone the day before with Logan. Obviously with Veronica's deliberate kiss when they reached the group at the restaurant, combined with the fact that she'd stayed the night with him, things should appear to be fine between them now, but Veronica figured Bianca probably still wanted to chat more about it. Of course Bianca wouldn't have any idea about all the other things Logan confessed to Veronica the night before. No one could ever have expected all of that.

It was definitely nice not having to curb their affection in front of the full group now. In addition to holding hands and a few chaste kisses at the restaurant, Logan and Veronica also snuggled up together on the speedboat on the way back to the houseboat. Once there, Logan didn't hesitate to put his hands around Veronica’s waist to help her maneuver out of the speedboat and onto the deck of the houseboat. After everyone had disembarked, the couples split up and headed back to their respective rooms to change clothes before they reconvened to go out wakeboarding.

"So," Logan drawled as he closed the door behind himself. "Do I get to refer to this as our  room now?" he asked with a mischievous smirk.

Veronica chuckled and gave him a sly grin. "Hmmm.... I suppose you’re paying for it aren't you?" Logan nodded as he tossed his bag on the floor near the closet and stalked toward her. Veronica raised her eyebrows curiously, wondering what he was up to, although based on the dangerous look in his eyes, she was pretty sure she knew. A second later he'd wrapped his arms around her waist before spinning and falling onto the bed, landing on his back and pulling her down on top of him.  

"Best investment ever ," he replied as he smiled up at her.

She laughed and shook her head. "I still can't believe you knew it was going to be me."

She felt Logan shake slightly as he chuckled as well. "Well I didn't know for sure . There was a chance that you actually were Mouse instead." Veronica gave him a disbelieving look. "What? You are awfully small," he teased, causing her to poke him in the ribs.

She became a bit more serious. "What would you have done if I hadn't been Birdie?"

Logan shook his head and looked a bit more somber. "Spent the entire week trying to figure out how to find Mouse ?"

"I hear cheese works well," she teased with a soft smile. She hadn't intended to get all serious on him. They'd had enough seriousness the day before and she just wanted to enjoy their time now. He gave her an amused smile and nodded before she continued. "But luckily for you, I was Birdie... and birds do love worms," she added as her smile deepened.  

"Do they?" Logan asked with a slightly vulnerable look on his face as he gazed up at her.

Her smile softened as she nodded slowly. “Well this Birdie, loves this Worm,” she replied tenderly before leaning down and pressing her lips to his. She felt his warm hands slip under her shirt and move up to caress her back. When she leaned back enough to see his face again, the vulnerability had been replaced by a hopeful smile.

“You have no idea how good it feels to hear you say that. I was so worried that we’d been apart too long, and you wouldn’t want me back in your life at all,” he admitted as he looked up at her. “Before the trip, assuming you were Birdie, I realized that this had the potential to go terribly wrong. That instead of finding out whether there was still a chance for us, I’d be struck with the harsh reality that you didn’t still have any feelings left for me. I um… I nearly backed out at the last minute, but then… well, the chance to see you was too much to pass up, even if my dreams were at risk of being totally crushed.” He paused and reached up with one hand to stroke her cheek. “I was hoping that, at the least, maybe we could just be friends again… but this… hearing that you still love me too… I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me, Veronica.” He smiled a bit more before he continued. “I love you… so much … I never want to lose you ever again.”

Veronica couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face as Logan was talking. She was so thankful that he hadn’t backed out. She could certainly sympathize with not wanting to have your dreams crushed. If she were being honest, that was one of the reasons she never tried to track him down. She knew she’d been keeping some small amount of hope alive that someday he’d end up in her life again and at the time that seemed better than facing the possibility that he’d moved on without her.

“You know, when we first got here, and I realized you were Worm…  Bianca told me that some higher power must have thought that I needed you back in my life,” Veronica shared with Logan. “I was skeptical when I first saw you that day… but now… now I feel like it’s the first time in my life that karma finally got something right.”

“So… would you still like to ride back and tour the coast with me after the week here is over?” Logan asked with a hint of uncertainty in his tone.

“Yes… of course,” Veronica replied as she nodded. “I’d still love to do that… if you still want me to join you, that is.”

“Of course,” Logan quickly confirmed. “I’d love to spend as much of the summer with you as possible… but I’m sure you have other people you’ll want to spend time with too…”

“Yeah, but you could come with me for that too if you don't have other plans… You and Mac always seemed to get along well… back at Hearst… And well… I know things were a bit tense with you and Wallace after the Piz incident… but I’m sure he’s gotten over that by now... ”

Logan nodded but looked a bit unsure.

“I never want to lose you again either… so my friends… they need to accept that... and I’m pretty certain Bianca already adores you… so at least if you come visit me at Stanford, you know she’ll be happy to see you.”

“I’d given Dallas a hard time before I found out you were possibly Bianca’s roommate... about how often he made the drive up to Palo Alto… now knowing you’re there… I’d be tempted to drive up every weekend just to see you,” Logan admitted a bit sheepishly.

Veronica couldn’t help but smile at that. “Well, I know Jack always made the drive so Bianca didn't have to drive down by herself, but now that we both have boyfriends there, maybe we could drive down together,” Veronica suggested without really thinking much about it.

“I would love to have my girlfriend come visit me,” Logan replied with a flirtatious grin.

“Hmm… what else would you love to have your girlfriend do?” Veronica asked seductively.

A low growl rumbled through Logan’s chest while a salacious grin spread across his face. “How much time do you think we have?” he asked, his voice sounding much huskier than moments before.

As if they’d timed it perfectly, they heard Shelly’s giggle and a loud thump come through the wall. “Sounds like they’re doing more than just changing clothes,” Veronica commented as she looked up at the adjoining wall for a second before she turned her gaze back to Logan.

“Well we’d better at least get started changing our clothes too,” Logan replied as he sat up and shifted Veronica so that she was straddling his lap instead of laying on top of him. He reached down and lifted her shirt above her head, placing slow, hot kisses up her neck as his hands adeptly undid her bra. He paused from kissing her long enough so she could pull his t-shirt off and then she pressed her naked chest against his. They sat like that for a short while, kissing and caressing each other before he flipped her on to her back and helped her out of her shorts. He placed kisses along her hips and stomach before he finally stood up and slipped out of his own shorts, stretching to open the drawer by the bed that contained the condoms. He quickly moved back to brace himself above her on the bed, allowing just the right amount of his body to press into her without crushing her. The feel of his warm, taut body above hers caused her body to throb in anticipation. She loved to have him touch her, not only with his fingers and mouth, but with every inch of his body. She wrapped her legs around his thighs to pull him even closer to her as they went back to ravenously kissing each other. They quickly got so consumed by what they were doing that they both seemed a bit startled by a loud thump against the wall and Casey moaning out loudly ‘oh baby, so good.’

Veronica bit on her lip and tried to hide an embarrassed smile, but Logan caught her anyway. “Maybe we should sneak off to the hotel again tonight,” he suggested with a sly grin on his face. She was pretty sure he was just teasing, but a part of her was tempted to take him up on the offer. While she was sure they’d enjoy the rest of the week on the houseboat, she also started to wonder how much crap they’d get if they bailed early and headed down the coast alone. That thought was quickly lost though as Logan started moving again and all her mind could focus on was how great what they were doing felt.

When they were finally dressed again, they headed out to find Casey and Shelly. Bianca had knocked on their door and yelled that they were headed out but would be back later for lunch. At least by that point they were sprawled out recovering on the bed, so they actually did hear her.

Once in the main cabin, they found Shelly in the kitchen. It looked like she was trying to load some drinks and snacks into a small cooler. Shelly told them that Casey was out getting the boat ready to go while she packed up some stuff for them to take. Logan said he'd go and help Casey with the boat after Veronica offered to help Shelly with the drinks and food.

“Looks like you two are officially back together?” Shelly asked with a questioning smile.

“Yeah,” Veronica replied feeling slightly embarrassed that Shelly may have heard them through the wall. Although Veronica realized that it was a bit ridiculous to be embarrassed after everything she'd heard from their room so far this trip.

“Well, I'm very happy to hear that. Like I told you the other day, I could tell he still had feelings for you.” Shelly paused and looked slightly uncomfortable before she continued. “I know things were pretty terrible between us at times during high school and I just wanted to say I'm sorry about all that.”

Veronica was definitely not expecting an apology, but tried to hide her surprise and gave Shelly a quick nod in reply.

“Good. I'm guessing we'll be seeing a lot more of each other since our boyfriends are roommates.”

“Yeah, I'm sure I'll visit him in LA sometimes.”

“Well, their apartment is way more spacious than here on the houseboat. And it has a gorgeous view of the city from the rooftop patio. I tend to spend a lot of time there with Casey,” She paused and seemed a little anxious. “My lease is up at the end of the summer and um… Casey suggested maybe we should move in together.”

Veronica was taken a little by surprise with that. Shelly and Casey had seemed quite close, but moving in was a pretty big step.

“I don't think he's mentioned it to Logan yet though,” Shelly continued a little nervously. “I'm not sure how he'll feel about it… although I guess with how often I'm there, it probably wouldn't be all that different.”

Veronica nodded her understanding but wasn't really sure what else she should say. When she’d dated Logan at the beginning of freshman year, he'd jokingly said they should just get a place together, but she'd never taken him seriously. Of course they were just out of high school then; it seemed like a lifetime ago now. Veronica was surprised to realize she actually felt a little jealous. It would be nice to be able to entertain that option with Logan, but being over five hours away meant that wasn't a possibility at all. She quickly chastised herself though; here they hadn't even been back together for a week and she was already lamenting their inability to move in together.  

“Casey said he'd talk with him about it when we get back from Mexico,” Shelly continued as they finished packing things into the cooler. Veronica wondered if Shelly suddenly regretted mentioning it. She considered that perhaps Shelly was just trying to figure out someway to bond with Veronica and that was the first thing that had come to mind. Veronica decided she'd give her a break at least.

“I'm sure Casey knows him well enough to know if it was going to actually be an issue. I doubt he'd have mentioned it to you if he was worried about it.”

Shelly smiled a bit more and nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, I'm sure you're right. Shall we go join them?” Shelly asked with a warm smile.

Veronica nodded and let Shelly lead the way out to the deck. Bonding with Shelly Pomroy certainly hadn't been something she'd ever expected to be doing this week. Of course, given everything else that had happened, that was definitely the least surprising thing about this week.

Logan and Casey were discussing which section of the lake to head to as the girls approached the speedboat. They stopped talking when they spotted Shelly and Veronica. Logan was the first one to move over to the side closest to the deck so he could help them in. He first held his hand out to take the cooler from Shelly before extending his hand to help her in. After Shelly was in the boat, he helped Veronica in, spinning her slightly so he could give her a quick kiss before releasing her.

"Ready for some fun?" Casey asked with a big grin while he moved to sit behind the controls.

"Definitely," Shelly answered as she took the front seat across from him.

Veronica watched as Logan worked on untying the speedboat from the deck of the houseboat. Once he was finished, he sat down on the seat right behind Shelly that faced out toward the back of the boat. Veronica was about to take the spot behind Casey when Logan reached out his hand to her. She gave him a demure smile as she moved toward him and then took a seat sideways across his lap.  

"This is so much better than before," he whispered in her ear and then nipped lightly on her earlobe.

She tried to give him a scolding look but was certain it didn't come across very serious. A moment later Casey was maneuvering the speedboat away from the houseboat, quickly picking up speed, sending them sailing across the lake.  They headed in the same direction that Logan had gone when they went to the waterfall, but then took a different direction at one of the places where the lake split into different arms. Veronica enjoyed the feeling of Logan’s arms wrapped tightly around her as they flew across the water. While she was at least trying to appear to be appreciating the scenery, Logan was mostly just nuzzling his face into her neck, placing warm, soft kisses against her skin.

Casey finally slowed the boat to a stop when they reached a deserted smaller arm of the lake.

"So... who's up first?" Casey asked as he killed the engine and looked between Shelly and Veronica.

"Logan?" Veronica suggested with a hopeful expression.

"No, no, no," Logan replied softly with a tender smile as he shook his head. "This was going to be more practice for you and Shelly."

"But I'd much rather enjoy watching you ," Veronica replied as she batted her eyelashes at him and gave him a seductive smile.

Logan smirked at her and shook his head again. "You know you enjoyed it when you finally got the hang of it the other day. It should be much easier this time too."

Veronica made a disappointed pouty face which caused Logan to laugh and he gave her a quick peck on the nose. "Fine," Veronica reluctantly agreed. She glanced at Shelly, silently questioning  if she'd want to go first.  Shelly shrugged, but didn't look any more eager to go than Veronica had been feeling.

"Come on, Bobcat," Logan whispered huskily in her ear.  "Show them how awesome you are at this."

Veronica gave him a skeptical look but then nodded and stood up from his lap. He reminded her of the tips he'd given her the first time as he helped her get the life jacket on. When she was ready to get in the water, he swung his legs over the side like he'd done before to give her instructions on getting into the right position. Once she was all set, Casey started slowly pulling the boat away to tighten the line, and when Logan yelled 'ready?', she nodded her head. She was surprised at the way she seemed to immediately remember what to do to prevent the mishaps she'd had the first time. She was even more surprised to get up and stay up on the first try. She focused on the feel of the board underneath her and keeping her balance. She was doing surprisingly well until they neared the end of the arm, and the water got a bit rougher and a rogue wave threw her off balance and she fell into the water.

"You did awesome," Logan beamed as the boat slowly came up beside her. "Want to go again or rest? Casey can head back up the arm where the water will be calmer."

"One more time," Veronica replied as she got into position again. Logan's smile became even prouder as he nodded and carefully tossed her the rope.

She stayed up even longer the second time, even surviving through a slow turn when Casey had to redirect them back toward the main lake again. She of course was nowhere near brave enough to try jumping the wake or doing anything other than really just following right behind the boat. It was still a blast though and she could easily see the allure. When she fell the second time she was ready for a break. Logan helped her up into the boat and gave her a big kiss.

"That was so hot ," he murmured into her ear as he wrapped her in a big towel once she was out of the life jacket.

Veronica laughed and shook her head at him. "Doubtful, but thanks for saying that."

“No... seriously... hot.”

She gave him a doubtful smile but loved the way he was looking at her. She suddenly wished that they were alone so she could show him just how much she appreciated the compliment. Instead, she leaned up on her tiptoes and placed a tender kiss on the corner of his mouth, not wanting to start something they couldn’t finish until much later. He gave her an amused grin and then kissed her temple as he helped her continue to dry off.

Shelly went out on the wakeboard next, and even though she’d tried it a couple of times before, she had a harder time than Veronica did staying up. Both Casey and Logan were giving her advice and being supportive, which seemed to motivate Shelly to at least keep trying. She finally decided she needed a break after about the sixth fall. Since Veronica didn’t feel like going out again yet, Logan ended up being the third one to go out. Veronica marveled again at how agile he looked out on the wakeboard. He really was amazing to watch. She’d always loved to watch him surf as well, but wakeboarding allowed him to be even more acrobatic. He finally gave a signal that he was done and Shelly let Casey know so he could stop the boat.

“That was so hot ,” Veronica whispered in his ear after he’d climbed back into the boat and sat down next to her. He chuckled a deep throaty laugh and kissed her on the side of the head.

“Mm hmm,” he mumbled as he gave her an amused grin. “Flattery will get you everywhere , you know?”

She gave him a sly grin and nodded. “I’m counting on it,” she replied with a seductive bat of her eyelids.

Logan chuckled before placing a quick kiss on her lips and then standing up to take over the controls so Casey could wakeboard next.

Casey was pretty good at wakeboarding, but not as good as Logan. He tried to do a flip like Logan had and ended up completely wiping out. He tried to flip a few more times, though, before he finally gave up and just went back to jumping the wake and zig-zagging back and forth. Veronica and Shelly each went out for another run before they decided to head back to the houseboat for lunch. Casey offered to drive back so Logan could wakeboard most of the way back if he wanted to. Out in the main lake, the water was quite a bit rougher, but that only seemed to make it even more fun for Logan based on his enthusiastic grin as they made their way back to join the rest of the group.

The other speedboat was already tied up to the houseboat when they arrived, and Veronica could smell that someone had already fired up the BBQ grill. Once the speedboat was secured, the four of them headed into the main cabin. Veronica and Logan were leading the way, with Shelly and Casey following a few steps behind them. The door to the main cabin was open and they could hear voices overlapping, making it hard to tell who exactly was speaking, but then a loud unmistakable laugh drowned out everyone else. Veronica stole a quick glance at Logan who looked equally dumfounded to have just heard it too. She barely made out Logan mumbling 'what the hell?' to himself under his breath.

"Ronnie?"  the uninvited Dick Casablancas said in surprise as the four of them walked all the way inside.

"Wait... shit..." Bianca said as a frustrated expression formed on her face. "You didn't say he was from Neptune too," she directed at Jack who looked at her in confusion.

"I um... I didn't know..." Jack mumbled as he shook his head at Bianca giving her a look that clearly was pleading with her not to be pissed at him.

"What are you even doing here, Dick?" Logan asked, sounding more exasperated than Veronica would have expected.  

"Well, if one of you losers would have checked your phone, you would have seen that I did send you both a message," Dick directed at Logan and Casey. Casey looked just as bemused by the blonde's sudden appearance as Logan and Veronica had.

"We had to stop at the dock to get more gas for the speedboat and ran into them," Jack started to explain a bit cautiously. It was clear to tell that he was a bit worried about the situation now given everyone's reactions.

Them ? Veronica was about to ask who else was there with him when the door to Shelly and Casey's room swung open and the answer to that mystery became extremely clear and just about the last person on the face of the earth that she ever wanted to see walked out into the hall. Veronica felt Logan's arm that had been loosely wrapped around her waist stiffen suddenly. The uncomfortable silence was suddenly broken by Shelly's voice.

"What are you doing here, Maddie? I thought you were in Cancun this week," Shelly asked, sounding just as surprised and confused as the rest of the group.  

"What am I doing here?" Madison repeated back sounding offended. "What is she doing here?"

" She was invited, and you were not ," Logan quickly interjected, sounding anything but friendly. "What happened to Carrie , Dick?" he asked next, obviously not caring if he made either Dick or Madison angry at this point.

Madison was the one to reply before Dick could formulate an answer: perhaps before he'd even completely processed that someone had asked him a question. "Oh, please ," Madison scoffed in reply. "Dick wasn't going to waste his time with that tramp after he bumped into me ."

"I thought we were going to grill up some steaks," Dick interjected, apparently oblivious to there being any sort of uncomfortable situation occurring. "I'm starving." He took another swig from the beer bottle he was holding, tipping it all the way up in the air. "And in desperate need of another one of these," he added as he held the empty beer bottle out in front of himself.

Bianca was giving Veronica a worried look because she obviously could tell there was a lot more going on than Dick just knowing them all from Neptune. Jack also looked worried, but likely more about how this latest development would impact him if Bianca was going to be upset about it. Veronica glanced up at Logan, who had his jaw clenched tightly shut. She could tell he was extremely angry that Dick and Madison had shown up, but there was also a trace of anxiety there too.

"I'm going to go and get changed," Veronica announced, unsure of what else to do. As she started to walk forward, Logan's arm slipped off her waist, but then his hand was grasping for hers. She let his fingers intertwine with hers as they continued down the hall to their room.

"I didn't know..." Logan blurted out as soon as the door closed behind them.

"I know," she replied as they dropped hands and she took a step away from him. "I don't think I want to stay."

"No," Logan quickly pleaded, his voice sounding sad and desperate. " They should leave... I'll tell Dick and her to leave... please don't run away from me again..."

"What?" Veronica asked and then realized how what she'd said must have sounded to Logan. "No..." she said shaking her head as she took a step toward him and reached for both of his hands. "I meant, us... both of us... I was thinking this earlier, and now... well, why don't we just take off early and head to the coast? The houseboat is fun and all... but I'd much rather we had time alone... and, well, now..."

Logan exhaled loudly and pulled her to his chest, wrapping his arms tightly around her. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head and nuzzled his face into her hair.

"I'm done with letting her ... or anything she's done... ruin things for me," Veronica told him in a reassuring voice.

She felt Logan sigh and nod against her head. "I love you so much," he whispered still sounding slightly distraught.

Before Veronica could even respond and reassure him that everything was fine, there was a knock at the door. Veronica assumed it was Bianca, checking to be sure everything was okay. She detangled herself from Logan and gave him a reassuring smile as she walked over to answer the door. As she opened it, she certainly was not expecting to find Shelly on the other side.

"Can I come in?" Shelly asked sounding a little unsure of herself. Veronica nodded and opened the door wide enough for her to walk in and then closed it once Shelly was inside the room. "I um..." Shelly started, sounding nervous. "I know you both don't like Madison at all... I just wanted you to know that I didn't have anything to do with them showing up here. And if you want them to leave, I'll help ensure that they do."

Veronica was certainly surprised by that, and after quickly glancing at Logan, she could tell that he was as well. Their dual look of unexpectedness seemed to prompt Shelly to continue. "When I first started dating Casey, he mentioned that you'd told him you never wanted Madison at your apartment under any circumstances," she explained to Logan with a slight shrug. "And I know you two were not friends at all at the end of high school," she added looking at Veronica.

"Thanks, Shelly," Veronica replied, definitely taken aback by her offer and honesty. Maybe Shelly had changed a lot since high school too.

"Of course," Shelly responded with a weak smile. "Just let me know what you want me to do."

"Were they actually planning to stay ? On the houseboat?" Veronica asked curious about what they were even planning to do.

"Oh no," Shelly said as she quickly shook her head. "Madison said they reserved a room in Redding at a hotel... although she was complaining about there not being any 5-star hotels in town, so maybe they won't even stay there long. She was grumbling about how they should have gone to Napa instead. But if you don't want them to stay for lunch, I can tell them and have Casey drive them back to the marina."

Veronica gave her a grateful smile. She'd never expected Shelly to come to her aid. "Thanks... I don't think sending them off before lunch is necessary."

"Okay... if you're sure. It definitely wasn't cool of them to just show up here without being invited." Shelly paused and let out a loud sigh. "Dick is such a dick sometimes."

Veronica couldn't help but laugh and nod in agreement. She even heard Logan let out a low chuckle.

"I guess they were on their way to Napa instead when Dick had the idiotic idea to take a major detour up here." Shelly shook her head when she paused. "I have no idea what she was thinking getting involved with him again."

"Certainly not for his brilliance or sparkling personality," Veronica replied with a laugh.

Shelly nodded and then turned to head back to the door. "Dallas said the steaks would be ready in about twenty minutes. I was going to go and change too."

Veronica nodded in understanding before Shelly opened the door and left. Veronica turned back to face Logan who still had a slightly stricken look on his face. After everything else they'd been through, rehashing his one night with Madison was not something she felt the need to do. She was happy to hear that he'd been very clear about never wanting her at his apartment. She had wondered earlier in the trip whether Madison may have shown up from time to time with Shelly since they'd been good friends in high school, and the last she knew, Madison was also going to school in LA at USC.

"So..." Logan started hesitantly. "We're okay then?"

Veronica gave him a tender smile and nodded. "Yes... and I love you too," she added, remembering what he'd said right before Shelly knocked on the door. She glanced down at his still damp shorts and gave him a sly grin. "We're supposed to be changing clothes, remember?" Logan let out a relieved sigh and nodded as he walked toward her and wrapped his arms around her again. She placed a kiss against his chest, right above the seam of his tank top.

"Are your friends going to be upset with you if we leave early?" Logan asked, still sounding a bit more solemn than she was hoping for, but obviously seriously considering her suggestion.

Veronica shrugged. "Bianca will probably be a bit disappointed, but I think she'll understand that we just want some more time alone. Maybe we should at least stay through tonight and then we could start on our grand adventure tomorrow," she suggested as she turned her head to look up at him.

"What about... them ?" he asked with a scowl across his face.

She reached up and smoothed the creases in his forehead. "I told you... through letting her ruin anything for me. And like Shelly said, they aren't planning to stay the night, so I don't know... maybe we can avoid them after lunch... take one of the jetskis and find a secret spot where just the two of us can have some quality alone time. If Dick came to wakeboard with you guys, he could go out with Casey and the others."

A smile finally started to appear on Logan's lips. "I’ll never object to quality alone time."

She smiled as well and nodded in agreement. “Now about these damp shorts,” she teased as she slipped her fingers into his waistband, tugging on it slightly.

“They really need to go, don’t they?” Logan questioned with a lascivious smile. She nodded and gently pushed them down over his hips.

“Shelly said twenty minutes, right?” Veronica asked as she squeezed his now bare butt cheeks and thrust slightly against him. Logan groaned and nodded before she continued. “I think a shower would be wise to get the lake water off of us, and it would take too long to do it separately…” she suggested coyly.

“You have the best ideas,” he replied as she started pulling him toward the bathroom.

“I do, don’t I?” she agreed smugly. He nodded and then gestured with his head toward the nightstand that held the box of condoms. She gave him a knowing smile and released his hand so he could grab one.

As soon as she was in the bathroom, Veronica tugged the tank-top she’d been wearing off over her swimsuit and started slipping the straps of the suit down her arms. Logan quickly pulled his own tank-top over his head and Veronica couldn’t help but smile as she admired his now naked body. He wasted no time closing the distance between their bodies and effortlessly lifted her up once his arms were around her. She’d always loved it when he’d pick her up to close their very significant height difference. She moaned as his lips found her neck and then she fumbled with getting the shower door open. He continued kissing her as he carried her into the shower. She debated about trying to start the water, but figured they should at least try to conserve some of it and enjoy some time together before they actually did go about the business of getting clean. As Logan pressed her against the wall of the shower, thoughts of the uninvited guests quickly melted away.

They were just finishing up getting dressed after their shower when there was a knock on their door again. Veronica gave Logan an amused smile as she murmured “I wonder who it will be this time.”

She gave Logan a quick kiss before he reached for a t-shirt to slip over his head. She walked over and cracked the door open. Bianca’s concerned dark eyes were staring right back at her.

“The steaks are done,” Bianca announced as Veronica opened the door a bit wider.

“Great, I’m famished,” Veronica replied as she glanced at Logan thinking back to exactly why she was as hungry as she was.

“Could I talk to my roommate for a moment?” Bianca asked Logan once she walked into the room.

Logan immediately looked at Veronica for her response to that and she gave him a reassuring smile. “We’ll be out in a couple minutes,” Veronica assured him.

“Okay,” Logan replied and took a step closer to Veronica so he could place a kiss on her temple before walking out of the room.

Soooo ... that was a pretty intense little scene earlier,” Bianca commented as she crossed her arms in front of her and watched Veronica carefully. “I take it, little Miss Pretentious was not a friend of yours in Neptune.”

Veronica laughed and shook her head. “No… she was pretty much my most hated nemesis.” Bianca cringed at Veronica’s reply.

“I’ve only been around her for less than an hour and I’d already want to throttle her and then dump her body in the lake. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have gone to school with her for years.”

Veronica wasn’t terribly surprised that Madison was already getting on Bianca’s nerves. Even though Bianca, Jack and Dinah all came from wealthy families, none of them ever acted anything close to the snobby entitlement exhibited by Madison.

“And Dick!” Bianca continued as she shook her head. “How can he not have flunked out of college already?” Veronica laughed and shrugged in reply. Bianca became a bit more serious before she continued. “We can take them back right after lunch… I had no idea… Dallas said he’d hung out with Dick several times in LA and I figured since he seemed to be good friends with Logan and Casey, that letting them come back with us wouldn’t be a big deal. I know Dick was talking about wakeboarding… but I think we should just take them back instead.”

“Actually, Logan and I were talking about taking one of the jetskis after lunch to go do a little more exploring,” Veronica replied, trying not to let a salacious grin spread across her face.

Bianca still quirked her eyebrows at Veronica and gave her a knowing grin, but then her smile faded.“Oh God… I certainly don’t want to be stuck with that overbearing witch!”  

Veronica laughed and gave her a sympathetic look. “I’m sure you can also come up with some way to avoid her... but if you do end up committing a murder this afternoon, I’ll help you come up with a compelling defense argument.”

“Gee thanks,” Bianca replied sarcastically as she laughed as well.

Veronica took a deep breath and decided that now was as good as any to mention their plan to leave the houseboat early. She knew Bianca would likely be disappointed about it, but she really hoped she’d understand too. The other three couples had been together for quite some time, and were at much different stages of their relationships than just starting out… again .  “Logan and I were talking and… well, he was planning to drive down the coast after the week was over and asked if I want to go with him instead of going back to LA with you guys.”

“That’s great!” Bianca told her as her eyes lit up.

“Yeah,” Veronica agreed with a broad grin. “And… um... I think we’ll take off early for that and not stay until Sunday. We were talking about leaving tomorrow morning.”

“Oh,” Bianca replied, her expression becoming more contemplative and then her eyes opened wider. “Oh no… no, no, no… you are not vacating your cabin so idiot surfer dude and entitled snobby bitch can take it!”

Veronica laughed at Bianca and shook her head. “Well… that wasn’t our plan at all.”

“No… you can’t let them know you’re leaving… or leave before they are totally gone. I forbid it!”

“You can’t hold us prisoner against our will,” Veronica replied, laughing harder at her roommate now.

“Oh, I can… and I will !”

“Okay, okay,” Veronica said with a placating smile. “We’ll be sure they don’t know… and that they are gone… Shelly said they didn’t want to stay on the boat anyway.”

“Well the high-maintenance one may not want to, but I think the stupid one does. The guys started talking about playing poker tonight and he was all for hanging out and crashing on a couch. When Blondie complained, he said maybe her and Shelly could go back and have a girl’s night at their hotel. Casey didn’t look too thrilled about the idea, but Shelly had already disappeared down the hall to change by then.”

“Well… Shelly mentioned Napa; maybe they’ll take off for there in the morning.”

“They’d better,” Bianca said as she narrowed her eyes with a displeased look on her face. “Or I may have to take drastic measures… and no one will like that.”

Veronica bit on her lip to keep from laughing again. She knew better than to challenge Bianca on something like this. She was almost feeling a little bad for Jack, knowing he’d probably be the one she’d take most of it out on since he’d invited them over to the houseboat in the first place. “Let’s go get some food into you… you’re almost worse than I am when you’re angry and hungry.”

Bianca let out a small growl, but nodded and let Veronica wrap her arm over her shoulder. Veronica guided her out the door, wondering how crazy the rest of the day might actually go.

Chapter Text

Veronica heard Dick's voice as soon as she walked out into the hall. He was boisterously commenting to someone about how he couldn't wait to get out on a wakeboard, but Veronica didn’t hear anyone reply. Entering the kitchen area, she spotted Logan leaning against the counter with his arms crossed over his chest and a less than happy expression on his face. Obviously Logan was who Dick was talking to, even if Logan was a less than enthusiastic recipient. Logan smiled slightly as his eyes met hers, but she could still tell he seemed extremely anxious. She gave him a reassuring smile as she walked toward him. She was relieved when she saw the tension leave his shoulders as he relaxed a bit. Dick was loading food onto the plate in his hand and must have noticed the slight shift in Logan also, because he glanced back at Veronica and Bianca.

Ladies ,” Dick drawled with one of those grins that he likely thought was smooth but Veronica found ridiculous.

Dick ,” Veronica replied with a bit of extra emphasis on the word, making it sound slightly more like an insult than just his name.

“How fuckin’ crazy is it to run into you here, Ronnie? I never bump into you around campus, and here you are on the same boat in the middle of Lake Shasta.”

Veronica shook her head and let out a slightly annoyed sigh. “Dick, I haven't gone to Hearst for the past two years.”

“Ohhhh,” Dick replied as he slowly seemed to process that. “So that's why I never see you with Ghost-world or Wally.”

Veronica narrowed her eyes slightly as she tried to figure out who Dick was talking about. “Do you mean Mac and Wallace?” Veronica asked, unable to keep bitterness out of her voice.

“Yep,” Dick agreed happily as he nodded, again seeming to be totally oblivious to Veronica’s annoyance.

“Veronica goes to Stanford now, Dick,” Logan interjected. She could tell by his tone that he was bothered by Dick as well.

“Oh… isn’t that where Dallas’ chick goes too?”

Chick ?” Bianca interjected with a hostile look that Veronica knew too well.

“Right… you !” Dick replied, still smiling stupidly and nodding.

Bianca looked at Veronica, clearly silently questioning whether Dick could really be this idiotic. Veronica shrugged and nodded in reply.

Veronica and I are roommates,” Bianca confirmed tersely. Veronica couldn’t help but grin slightly, loving the idea of Bianca putting Dick in his place.

“Sweet,” Dick responded with a smile. A second later he seemed to have lost interest in the conversation. He looked to the outside seating area where some of the others were already eating. “Well, it was lots of fun catching up, Ronnie, but I’m gonna go scarf down some of this chow.” And with that, he gave them a quick wave and headed out the door.

“Dear god, are they still here?” Dinah groaned as she walked into the kitchen from the hallway.

Veronica noticed that she must have not only taken the time to shower and change, but she’d also done her hair and makeup again. “I was really hoping someone would have sent them back to shore by now. I have no idea how you all can tolerate that imbecile. And the blonde—talk about a condescending bitch.”

“Oh yes, I had the pleasure of going to highschool with them,” Veronica shared with exaggerated fake enthusiasm.

“You poor thing,” Dinah consoled, her expression grim. “Thank god we didn’t have anyone that bad at our school.”

Bianca gave Veronica a knowing smirk. “Yeah, Dinah. I’m so glad we never had anyone condescending at our school.”

Dinah caught the silent message between the other two and rolled her eyes. “Come on… I wasn’t that bad.”

Dinah had walked close enough for Binaca to pat her on the head. “Whatever you say… you know we love you anyway.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Dinah replied sounding

mildly annoyed as she walked over and grabbed a plate. “Dallas really shouldn’t have been so benevolent when we bumped into them at the dock. I mean it only took me a few seconds to imagine what a disaster having them come over was going to be.”

“Yeah, well... good judgment isn’t Dallas’s strong suit,” Bianca grumbled as she grabbed a plate and began loading it up with food as well.

Veronica grabbed two plates and handed one to Logan. “You’d better fuel up for this afternoon,” she whispered with a salacious wink. She had tried to say it quietly enough so Dinah and Bianca wouldn’t hear her, but Bianca let out an amused giggle and Veronica knew she’d been busted. Logan smiled a bit more as he nodded and took the plate from her.

When the four of them headed out to the deck, they found Madison, Dick, Shelly, Casey and Jack all sitting at the built in seating area. Bennett was near them on one of the lounge chairs and Dinah headed toward him. There was still enough room next to Jack, but Bianca chose another lounge chair to use, drawing a disappointed look from Jack. Veronica gestured to one of the other large lounge chairs for her and Logan to share.

“So all eight of you are staying on this tiny boat?” Madison asked incredulously after they’d all sat down and started eating.  

“It’s not that small,” Shelly quickly responded earning a scoff from Madison.

“Your cabin is half the size of my walk-in closet,” Madison countered. “I’d hardly call that spacious.”

“You’re welcome to leave anytime,” Bianca quickly rejoined, causing Madison to give her a slightly offended look.

“I’m just surprised, that’s all,” Madison back-peddled as she glanced around at the others sitting at the table with her. “When Dick mentioned that you had all rented a boat, I imagined something more like my family’s yacht than... this .”

“Come on, Mads, sometimes close quarters have their advantages,” Dick offered with a leering bob of his eyebrows. Madison scoffed and gave him an annoyed glare in reply. “One night, babe,” he continued, surprisingly attune with her annoyance. “We can go out for some wakeboarding on the lake, then you and Shelly can hang out while I play poker with the guys, and in the morning we can head to that spa you were so hot and bothered about in Napa.”

“It’s a blast speeding around the lake, Maddie,” Shelly assured her with an encouraging smile.

“Are there at least some hot clubs we can go to tonight?” Madison asked skeptically.

Veronica could see Bianca laughing to herself, but just as Bianca started to open her mouth, Shelly told Madison that they could as least find a nice place to go to dinner.

Veronica could only imagine what sort of establishment Bianca might have sent them to. While it would have been fitting to send Madison someplace terrible, Shelly really didn’t deserve it with how helpful she was being to them.

“There are quite a few nice karaoke bars in town,” Bennett offered helpfully. Veronica tried not to laugh at the look of disgust that Madison shot in his direction, but she couldn’t help herself. Bianca also chuckled while Dinah rolled her eyes and shook her head at him. “What? There are,” he replied, sounding a little defensive. “Not everyone hates karaoke, Dinah.”

“Oh, come on,” Bianca jumped in gleefully. “Dinah doesn’t hate karaoke , Bennett. She just gets jealous about all the groupies that try to follow you home.”

Dinah glared at Bianca in obvious annoyance, causing Bianca to laugh even more.

“Well I thought karaoke the other night was a lot of fun,” Shelly commented, apparently feeling the need to play peacekeeper. “You thought so too, right, Casey?” she asked as she turned her attention to him.

“Yep,” he replied with a quick nod and a slightly pained smile. Veronica wondered if Casey was perhaps more uncomfortable than any of the rest of them were now. He obviously knew that Logan despised Madison and that Logan was not happy at all that she and Dick had shown up; being Logan’s roommate, the situation couldn’t be easy for him. Casey was also the one who’d end up sleeping alone for a night so Shelly could entertain Madison and keep her out of everyone else’s hair. While Veronica was not happy that Madison was there, she’d already made up her mind not to let it ruin her evening. As Veronica glanced at Logan, though, she realized it was probably a close tie between him and Casey at that point as to who was more uncomfortable. Logan still hadn’t seemed to relax much at all and the frown that had been on his face earlier was back again.

“Well, I certainly loved being serenaded by my hunky boyfriend,” Veronica announced with a coy smile. She could tell that the comment caught Logan a little off guard, but it only took a second for the frown that had been there before she spoke to disappear. The corner of his mouth quirked up a little and he looked slightly embarrassed by the compliment.

“Thanks,” Logan replied softly as he picked up her free hand near him and kissed the back of it. She gave him a reassuring look and nodded in reply. She really didn’t want to let Madison get to him either.   

“I swear Dick is tone deaf,” Madison commented, causing Dick to shrug uncaringly. “I still remember when he got kicked out of choir.”

“I remember that,” Shelly added with a soft laugh. “Freshman year right?”

“Like that teacher had any idea what he was doing,” Dick claimed defensively. “I’ve been told I sing wonderfully.”

“Yeah, by drunk chicks who knew you were loaded, I’m sure,” Casey teased.

“Well that still counts,” Dick replied as he waved his hand through the air dismissively. Casey and Jack went on to tease him a little more about failed attempts to impress women with his vocal skills when he’d gone out with them in LA a few times.

The rest of lunch was pretty civilized with the guys at the table moving on to talking about various golf courses and why one was better than the other. After he’d kissed her hand, Logan had kept a light hold of it while they continued eating. Even though Veronica could have easily pulled it away if she’d wanted to, the contact seemed to be helping him relax, so she hadn’t. The guys would occasionally toss a question Logan’s direction, keeping him partially engaged with the conversation, but for the most part he was fairly quiet. Veronica couldn’t wait to finish lunch and take off someplace secluded away from the rest of the group.

By the time the group had finished eating, they’d all decided on their plans for the rest of the afternoon. Jack, Casey, Shelly, Dick and Madison would take a speedboat out, while Dinah, Bennett and Bianca had all opted to just stay behind and relax on the houseboat. Given the speedboat would be fairly crowded with the five of them, no one seemed to question Logan and Veronica’s plans for the afternoon. Veronica could tell that Bianca was still annoyed with Jack and she hoped that Bianca would thaw out more before they started playing poker later that night. Jack certainly must have hoped that also and was making every extra effort possible to get on Bianca’s good side again—he’d even offered to do the dishes before they left.       

“Feel like doing something a little adventurous?” Logan asked as they walked back into their room, sounding more enthusiastic than he had been during lunch.

Veronica looked at him curiously, wondering exactly what he had in mind. Besides just getting away from the rest of the group for a while, she hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to what they might actually do. She would have been content to just find a nice spot to hang out and enjoy some more time alone, but now she was intrigued by what he was going to suggest. “Hm... what did you have in mind?”

“It’s a surprise,” he replied with a playful smirk. She was relieved to see him relaxing again after what had happened earlier and she was more than happy to play along.

“Hm… I’m not always a big fan of surprises, but for you…” she coyly teased with a wink.

“Great,” he replied excitedly as he went to his bag and pulled out his cell phone. She gave him a puzzled look, wondering what he needed the phone for. “I’ll um… I’ll be right back, okay. Just stay here… so you don’t ruin the surprise.”

“Okay,” she answered with a laugh.

He walked close enough to place a quick kiss on her temple. “No cheating… stay here.”

She laughed harder and shook her head at him, shooing him away with her hands. “Go already… I promise I’ll be good and wait for you here.” She of course had a burning desire to actually sneak out and listen in to figure out what he was up to, but resisted the urge and took a seat on the bed instead. She really was happy that it didn’t seem as though he wasn’t going to spend the afternoon brooding about Dick and Madison crashing their trip. She had thought he’d seemed better after their shower, but then when they went out to each lunch, that dark cloud of worry seemed to return. She really couldn’t blame him though when the reason for their final breakup showed up unexpectedly.

It didn’t take him too long to return, and she noticed he seemed even happier than when he left.

“Any hints?” Veronica asked.

He gave her a smug grin and just shook his head in response.  


 

Because Logan had to make a phone call for whatever he had planned, Veronica was a little surprised when Logan headed up one of the arms of the lake rather than going back to the docks. As the wave-runner sped in the opposite direction than she’d expected, she deduced that she could rule out an ‘adventurous’ afternoon holed up in a hotel room again. She was even more confused when they arrived at a small dock and saw that they weren’t alone. Several people appeared to be waiting to board some sort of tour boat. Veronica cocked an eyebrow at Logan as he reached out his hand to help her off the wave-runner once he’d tied it up at the dock. He only smiled and didn’t offer an explanation yet.

“Mr. Lester?” asked a man who had started helping people onto the boat. Logan nodded and the man gestured for them to join the others waiting in line to board the boat.

“A boat ride?” Veronica asked a little skeptically. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t spent enough time on a boat cruising around the lake already. This certainly wasn’t what she’d imagined when he suggested an adventure.

“It’s not about the journey, but the destination,” Logan replied with a smug grin. She laughed and shook her head at him for saying the quote backwards.

She didn’t have to keep wondering about what Logan had planned once the boat pulled up to their destination; waiting for the group was a bus with Lake Shasta Caverns written on the side.

“Caverns, huh?” Veronica asked with a sly grin as they waited their turn to disembark the boat.

Logan gave her a sheepish grin. “Hopefully it’s not too disappointing. I thought they were pretty impressive when Duncan, Lilly and I came here before, but I guess I was only thirteen then.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fun,” Veronica reassured him as she held up her hand for him to take. He smiled in reply as he took her hand and led her off the boat.

It was actually fun to get the chance to just act like a very normal couple doing normal touristy things. They hadn’t really had many opportunities for that when they were dating in the past. Veronica had brought her camera along and several times strangers asked if they could take a picture for the two of them. She had to admit that the caverns were quite beautiful and not at all what she’d expected. She was relieved that being far away from the rest of the group seemed to settle Logan again, and by the time the tour was over, he was back to acting the way he had before Dick and Madison had shown up. They seemed to frequently end up lagging a little behind the rest of the group as Veronica took pictures of the unique formations, allowing a few private moments just to themselves. Of course they didn't get too carried away, but their brief interludes were still very satisfying.


 

Veronica had tried not to worry about how things would be when they returned to the houseboat. She was still determined not to let Madison bother her ever again, but that didn’t mean that she wanted to spend any more time with her than absolutely necessary. As they approached the houseboat, she spotted Casey out on one of the lounge chairs on deck, but couldn’t see anyone else. It didn’t take long for Logan to tie up the wave-runner, and then they headed toward the main deck, hand in hand.

Veronica could tell that Casey looked to be texting on his phone as they approached. She also spotted a plate with a couple of uneaten slices of pizza on it sitting by him. He glanced up and gave them both an acknowledging nod.

“Hey, Casey,” Veronica greeted, wondering where everyone else was.

“Hey,” Casey replied with a small smile. He quickly glanced toward the main cabin and then back at them. “Everyone else is inside, well other than Shelly and Madison, who’ve already headed into Redding for the evening. No one felt like cooking, so we just picked up several pizzas while we were dropping them off if you’re hungry.”

“I’m sorry you’re lady-less tonight,” Veronica told him sympathetically. She really did feel bad that he was the one suffering due to Dick’s inconsiderate party crashing.

“It’s fine,” Casey replied with a small shrug. “She’ll be back tomorrow and they’ll be gone, so no worries. I’m sorry I didn’t see Dick’s text soon enough to tell him not to come.”

“That’s not your fault,” Logan interjected as he went over and sat on the lounge chair next to Casey. He held his hand out for Veronica, who took it and then took a seat across his lap. “You know Dick. Even if you’d tried to discourage him, if he had it in his head that’s what he was going to do, he would have ended up here anyway. Plus, I missed his messages too, so you can’t take all the blame.”

There was suddenly a loud ruckus from inside. It sounded like several guys yelling in frustration at the same time.

“Dick, Bennett and Dallas are all playing video games,” Casey explained as he glanced toward the noise for a second and then back at Logan and Veronica. A sound chimed from Casey’s phone and he quickly glanced down to read the message. “Sounds like Shelly and Madison found a nice restaurant for dinner. Some place that their hotel recommended,” Casey explained as he looked back up at Logan and Veronica again.

“No karaoke?” Veronica asked with a teasing grin.

Casey at least chuckled and shook his head. “No, not that she’s mentioned anyway.”

“Do you want to grab us some pizza and a couple drinks?” Logan asked with a slight raise of his eyebrow. She quickly got the hint that he must have wanted a few minutes alone with Casey, and she gave him an understanding smile and nodded.

“I’ll be back soon,” she replied before leaning in to give him a quick kiss. She then stood up and headed into the main cabin.

As she walked inside, Veronica spotted Bianca and Dinah eating pizza at the large table, while the three guys were on the couch, completely engrossed in whatever game they were playing.

“Ah, you finally made it back,” Bianca commented with a leering grin. “Enjoy your afternoon alone?”

Veronica rolled her eyes slightly and shook her head. “We weren’t exactly alone . Logan took me to tour some caverns, which were really cool, but filled with quite a few other tourists too.”

“Oh yeah,” Bianca replied as she glanced back and forth between Veronica and Dinah. “Remember, we did that our first summer here, Dinah.”

“That cave place?” Dinah asked, sounding less than impressed. Veronica wasn’t surprised at all that Dinah probably would have spent most of the time complaining about the moderate hike they had to make, as well as all the stairs that were inside the caverns.

“Yeah,” Bianca answered as she rolled her eyes slightly in Veronica’s direction. Veronica grinned in reply, confident that Bianca’s reaction was likely due to Dinah hating the caverns when they went. Logan had actually commented while they were there that Lilly had hated them as well when they’d gone to see them. Lilly had constantly complained about all the walking and how she would have rather just stayed back at the boat instead of letting Logan and Duncan talk her into going. “Well I’m sure that was still a lot more fun than hanging out with our uninvited guests,” Bianca added with a loathsome tone.

Veronica grabbed a couple of plates and started loading them up with pizza. She nodded in agreement to what Bianca had said. “At least you two didn’t have to really deal with them either, did you?”

“Well, we have had to endure that one since they got back from wakeboarding,” Dinah commented unhappily as she gestured in Dick’s direction. “I can’t believe the guy hasn’t failed out of college. Although, I wonder if he had, if he’d actually even realize it.”

Veronica chuckled and shook her head. “Well he didn’t get to graduate with our class but still miraculously got into Hearst, so he does seem to defy logic quite often.”

“Yeah, I can’t see him and logic being great friends,” Bianca added as she shook her head in his direction before a devious grin formed on her face. “I take it you’re looking forward to destroying him at poker tonight though, aren’t you?” Bianca asked as she looked at Veronica again. Veronica couldn’t help smiling at the prospect of that, causing Bianca to laugh at her. “I know you too well,” Bianca commented with a soft chuckle. “I’ve also seen you obliterate the competition at the poker table more times than I can count.”

“I definitely won’t lose any sleep over taking his cash,” Veronica replied as she flashed a devious grin at Bianca. “And it’s not my fault the competition has been so easy to beat,” she added teasingly before heading back out to the deck, balancing two plates of pizza and two water bottles.

Logan was telling Casey about the caverns as she walked back out to join them. She was a little curious about what he’d wanted to talk to Casey about, but she wasn’t going to pry. She doubted Logan had asked for privacy to discuss their afternoon excursion, so she was sure something was up.  

“Thanks,” Logan said appreciatively as Veronica handed a plate of pizza to him; he shifted over to give her room to sit on the lounge chair as well.

Casey filled them in on how the wakeboarding had gone while they were gone. Apparently Dick hadn't adapted to it as well as Casey and Logan had and he’d taken quite a few hard falls. He’d even split open his elbow, cracking it on the wakeboard as he crashed. Of course being Dick, he'd insisted he was fine, and after a quick bandage, was out on the water again. Casey suspected that Dick should probably have gone to see about getting a couple stitches, but none of them could convince him of that. When Casey finished his story, he excused himself to get another drink from inside, leaving Logan and Veronica alone.

"Thanks for giving me a few minutes alone with him," Logan told her as soon as Casey disappeared inside.

"Of course, no problem," Veronica replied, quashing her desire to find out what they talked about.

"I know the situation is less than ideal,” Logan started, as he fidgeted with the edge of his plate. “I didn't think he'd complain about it, though, in front of you. I was hoping he might be a bit more honest about it if it was just the two of us. I felt bad that Shelly had to leave just to keep Madison away from the rest of us. I suggested that you and I could head back over to the hotel for the night if he wanted to have Shelly and Madison come back after dinner. I didn’t think you’d mind if he did want to take me up on that, but he didn't. I should have thought to ask you about it before we came back, but didn’t think about it until I saw him looking all sad and broody out here on his own."

"No... that would have been totally fine. We had a pretty good time the other night at the hotel," Veronica commented with a lecherous grin, leaning into him a bit.

"Yeah, we did," Logan replied back with a matching smile before grabbing his next slice of pizza off his plate. "I also mentioned your idea of leaving early to him."

Veronica's eyes widened, thinking about Bianca's warning from earlier. She hadn't told Logan not to say anything until after Dick and Madison were gone so that Dick wouldn’t try to talk Madison into taking their place for the rest of the week. "Oh no... I forgot to tell you that Bianca was worried Dick and Madison might try to take our spot, so she forbid me from letting them know we were leaving. I hope Casey won't say something about it in there now to Dick."

Logan laughed and shook his head. "Nope, his first reaction was ' God, please tell me you didn't tell Dick that? '. I'm pretty sure he doesn't want them to stick around anymore than Bianca does."

Veronica exhaled in relief and gently nudged him with her elbow. "Thank goodness. I do still have to live with her when this trip is over, and I know how difficult she can be when she's not happy about something."

"Yeah, I can imagine. She doesn't seem too happy with Dallas right now for inviting them over."

Veronica nodded in agreement. "I suppose he could have been a bit more perceptive about things and thought about the fact that Dick was from Neptune too, although I really doubt that would have stopped him from inviting him over if you've all hung out in LA together."

"Yeah, I don't think it would have. Dallas seems to get along with just about everyone and even though Dick can be a pain in the ass sometimes, the two of them have always gotten along really well together."

"That doesn't surprise me at all," Veronica agreed as she picked up her water bottle for a drink. "Jack can be quite amiable, much to Bianca's chagrin."

Casey returned a minute later, carrying two bottles of beer. He thrust one toward Logan. "I know you've been a good boy on this trip, but you can at least have one beer right? Show a little solidarity?" Casey’s eyes were slightly narrowed, and he spoke as if he was daring Logan.

Logan chuckled and grabbed the bottle from him. "You're just trying to get me drunk so you have a chance to beat me at poker tonight." He held the beer up to toast with Casey and then took a long swig.

"Casey's not the one you need to worry about," Veronica commented with a smug grin. "You do remember the last time we played poker right?"

"As I recall, we didn't get to finish that game... I was just setting you up so I could run the table after our little snack break," Logan countered with a teasing smirk. "I had you right where I wanted you and I was just waiting to take you down ."

Veronica laughed and shook her head at him. "I think your memory of that night was quite a bit off from reality, but don't worry, Snookums, I'll give you a refresher tonight."

"Is that so?" Logan asked, clearly amused by her boldness. "You may have gotten lucky at Right-Left-Center, but poker takes a bit more skill than that... I'm not saying that you don't have some skill, but I think I'll be able to hold my own this time against you. I definitely know your tells better than I did back then." He lifted his bottle in a silent toast to her.

" Tells ? Veronica Mars has no tells!" Veronica protested, her eyes wide in mock horror.

Logan nodded gleefully and lightly bopped her on the nose, which made her scoff at him. "You, my dear, have lots of tells."

Casey sat quietly laughing at the two of them, clearly not wanting to get into the middle of their friendly disagreement. "This should definitely be an entertaining evening, shouldn't it?" he finally interjected giving them both an amused grin.


 

Logan and Veronica eventually made their way into the cabin together to snag a couple more slices of pizza. Dinah and Bianca were still at their spot at the table, and Bennett had moved over to join them. Jack and Dick were still battling each other on some video game and loudly protesting back and forth to each other that the other one was taking cheap shots.

"Any chance you'd be willing to make up a batch of piña coladas for us?" Bianca asked Logan with a persuasive smile. "I'm sure Veronica would also appreciate it if her hunky boyfriend did that for us," Bianca added teasingly.

"You're just jealous," Veronica countered as she wrapped her arms around Logan's waist and gave Bianca a playful wink.

"Of course I am," Bianca replied, not putting up any level of protest. “He makes killer drinks, he's a pro in the kitchen, and from the smile that's been on your face for the past couple of days, I'd say he's a pro in the bedroom too."

Veronica could feel her cheeks heat up as she gave Bianca a scandalized look. Bianca only laughed at her and didn't look apologetic at all.

"About those drinks," Logan interjected, sounding a tad embarrassed himself.

"Please make them extremely strong so we stand some small chance of actually beating Veronica tonight?" Dinah chimed in.

"I really don't think that would help," Bennett added as he shook his head slightly.

Veronica gave Logan a smug grin and made an 'I told you so' face at him.

"We'll see," he commented as he cocked his eyebrows slightly. "And I certainly don't want you using my drinks as an excuse when I beat you, so if you'd like to monitor how much alcohol I add, you're welcome to."

"So cocky," Veronica commented with amusement.

Logan nodded and gave her a quick wink. "You know you love a challenge," he added before kissing her temple and moving toward the cabinet where they'd stored the drink supplies.

Veronica let out a faux frustrated sigh. "I so do... too bad there isn't anyone here who could match my skills and actually give me a challenge."

"We'll see there, Mars," Logan replied with a confident grin.

"Maybe you two should pass on playing," Bianca suggested, sounding almost earnest. "We wouldn't want the adorable love birds to have a falling out over this."

"Nice try," Veronica responded. "We're both good sports, though, and I know Logan won't hold it against me when I win."

"And I already know the top deck has some comfortable sleeping spots if she kicks me out of our cabin when I beat her," Logan added, causing Veronica to loudly scoff and roll her eyes at him.

"Maybe if you split your winnings with her, she'll share the room," Dinah offered.

"Or offer her some other consolation ," Bianca added with a suggestive snear.

Logan bobbed his eyebrows at Veronica causing her to laugh and shove him slightly in the chest.

"Well, that won't be necessary, because I'm sure I can beat him," Veronica replied and then narrowed her eyes slightly at him. "And don't encourage Bianca, or she'll just keep at it and she will get worse."

Both Dinah and Bennett emphatically nodded their head in agreement.


 

Logan had let Casey know that they were going to stay inside after he’d made the pitcher of coladas, but Casey had opted to stay outside for a little while longer. He’d finally wandered back in and joined the other guys on the couch as the girls were finishing off the first batch of drinks. Logan had just started making a second pitcher of coladas when Jack let out a loud objecting groan.

"Enough of this shit—who's ready to play poker?" Jack proclaimed as he tossed his controller down in obvious frustration. "Five-hundred-dollar buy-in good with everyone?" Jack asked after he'd walked over toward the kitchen.

"Yep," Veronica quickly replied, knowing her entry was already covered with her winnings from Left-Right-Center the first night. She doubted any of the rest of the group would balk over that amount at all and didn’t expect anyone to protest. A four-thousand-dollar win would certainly be a wonderful way to end their time on the houseboat.

Veronica figured she had an advantage over Logan since she'd played enough times with Bianca, Jack, Dinah and Bennett to know how to read them. She'd picked up on several of Logan's tells the night they'd played together back in high school and so that just left her with quickly figuring out Dick and Casey's tells as well. She couldn't imagine Dick being that hard to read. She was still fairly confident she'd be able to win as long as the luck of the draw didn't go horribly against her. Dinah had actually been the hardest for her to figure out when they'd all started playing together—not that she would have ever admitted it to anyone—so she figured that Dinah would be tough for Logan to read as well. Veronica was also certain that she herself didn't really have any tells—at least not anymore.  

Jack suggested that, since it was such a large group, they could split into two smaller groups of four and then the top two from each of the sub-groups would fight it out for the top spot. Bianca, Dinah and Bennett quickly said they wanted to be a group and asked Casey if he wanted to join them. Jack seemed a little annoyed that he'd gotten shut out of their group, but not surprised either. It was no secret among the five of them that Veronica usually won, and so of course the others wouldn't want to go up against her to start off. At least Veronica wouldn't have to figure out Casey yet, and she could just focus on eliminating Dick and Jack first. While she talked big, she knew Logan could hold his own, and she was expecting that the two of them would likely take the top spots at their table unless one of them had really bad luck. She was also hoping that Casey wouldn't make it to the top two from the other group because that would definitely make it even easier on her; she’d already know how the other three played.  

There were quite a few lead position changes as they played out the first several hands. She was definitely having a much harder time reading Logan than she’d expected. He must have learned how to downplay the tells that he used to have, because she wasn't picking up on all those she remembered. Dick on the other hand was even easier to read than she’d expected, and she wondered if he'd ever won more than a handful of hands in his entire life. Given how terrible he was, she was actually surprised that he'd wanted to stick around to play with them. Jack and Logan must have also already known all of Dick's tells because they were easily defeating him as well. Dick lasted about an hour, but then made a grave mistake, going all in on a weak hand and Logan took him out of the game.

Logan, Veronica and Jack had been staying pretty close, but with Logan’s wins from the hand that took Dick out, he had gained a sizeable advantage over Jack and Veronica. On top of that, the moment Veronica would think that she'd figured out one of Logan's tells, he'd do the opposite of what she expected, leaving her a bit frustrated and confused. She also couldn't tell if he was doing it on purpose just to bait her. There was even one point when she'd risked a bit more than she probably should have and was worried she might not actually make it to the top two of their table when Logan unexpectedly folded and let her have the pot. They were sticking to strict rules of not requiring the players to show their cards when they folded, so she couldn't be sure, but she really did think he let her have the hand so she wouldn't risk going out. After that hand, she played more carefully. It didn't take too much longer for both her and Logan to widdle away at Jack and finally get him out of the running. Even though they'd eliminated Jack, Logan still had a sizeable lead on her that she'd have to work hard to overcome as they started over with the winners from the other group.

The other table still had Dinah, Casey and Bianca playing, as they'd just put Bennett out a few hands before. Veronica took the opportunity for a quick bathroom break as they waited for the other team to finish and when she came back out, she found Dick and Jack playing video games again, but no Logan.

"He's out on the deck," Casey told her when he must have seen her looking around in confusion.

She gave him a quick nod of gratitude and then headed out to find him.

Logan was stretched out on a lounge chair staring up at the stars. She walked over and took a seat next him. "Draco?" she asked as she pointed up at a cluster of stars that she was pretty sure was the one he'd told her about.

"Yep, very good," Logan answered with a nod, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her a little bit tighter against him.

"You threw that hand, didn't you?" Veronica accused him curiously.

"What hand?" he asked, obviously feigning innocence.

"You know which hand... I guess I should say thanks, but I'd feel better knowing I made it to the end without any help."

"I'm sure you would have come back on your own. You’re definitely a formidable foe."

"I promise I won't make you sleep out on the deck if you win," she started, sounding sweet before she changed to a warning tone. "But I will if I think you throw another hand just to make me feel better. You know I don't like charity."

Logan chuckled and nodded before he kissed her forehead. "I know... I promise. You'll have to earn your wins on your own the rest of the night. But I'm also pretty confident that won't be a problem."

The sat silently staring up at the stars for a few minutes until Casey came out to inform them that the other group was also done.

" And ?" Veronica asked, curious as to who they were going to have to play next.

"Oh, Dinah and I won," Casey replied. "She's taking a quick bathroom break and then we'll get started."

"Okay," Veronica replied, after a moment’s hesitation.

"Hm..." Logan commented as Casey disappeared back inside. "I take it Dinah's pretty good and you didn't actually want to have to play her?"

Veronica turned so she could see his face and narrowed her eyes in a questioning expression.

"You do have tells, my dear," he told her before placing a quick kiss on her nose. "Adorable tells... but tells all the same—and I know you way too well not to notice them all."

Veronica scrunched up her nose in disapproval which caused him to chuckle and kiss her on the nose again.

"Let's go show them how it's done, Bobcat," he added as he stood up and offered her his hand.


 

Veronica was glad that, perhaps due to having quite a bit to drink, Dinah was playing a bit more carelessly than she had in the past. Dinah did at least start the round with a slight advantage over Casey, but between a couple of wins by both Veronica and Casey, they’d evened the chips out quite a bit. Veronica didn’t seem to be having any more luck at predicting what Logan was going to do or what sort of hand he had versus the first round. And unfortunately for her, he seemed to be getting even better at figuring her out and wasn’t letting anything slide—which was more infuriating than she’d expected. She’d attempted to bluff on a hand and he must have known she was bluffing and asked if she was really sure she didn’t want to just fold. She’d been adamant though and stuck to it and he called her on it and took over a large portion of her chips. Of course the little wink he gave her as he pulled the pot toward him made her a little annoyed, but she’d been the one to tell him not to take it easy on her in the first place.

Luckily for Veronica, Casey seemed to at least have really bad luck, and Veronica was able to earn back enough chips to put her on steady footing again. Dinah got exceptionally lucky on a hand that Veronica was sure was going to put Dinah out of the game, and based on Logan and Casey’s bets, they did as well. That hand certainly changed the tide of the game and two hands later, Casey lost his final small stack of chips.   

There were only a couple of times when Veronica actually had more chips than Logan, and while Dinah had gained back some ground when she took Casey out of the game, her luck didn’t hold and she ended up going out several hands later.

“And then there were two,” Logan announced with a satisfied grin.

“Some of us want to go up and use the hot-tub, but don’t want to miss how this ends, so maybe you two could hurry this along?” Bianca requested as several of them moved over closer to the table again.

“Don’t worry, the blinds are already huge and they’ll just keep getting larger,” Veronica replied as Logan dealt the next hand. She at least still had a slight lead over Logan with her win that had taken Dinah out of the game. “It shouldn’t take me too long to finish him off,” she added, trying to sound confident even if she was starting to doubt she’d be able to beat him.

Logan gave her an amused grin and nodded. She could tell he wasn’t buying it at all, but he didn’t object either. They battled back and forth several hands with wins being fairly even between the two of them. Veronica finally got the kind of hand that she’d been waiting for all night and decided this was her best chance to try to finish the game. She was at a point with slightly more chips than Logan had, so when she went all in, it forced him to as well. Although she knew if she lost, she wouldn’t have enough left for the next round, so he’d take it all. She probably should have been worried when he didn’t even hesitate when she called it and when he flipped over his cards, she saw why. His hand wasn’t quite as good as hers, but had way more possible options to be the winning hand than hers with two cards left to flip. The first card was good for both of them, so she was at least relieved that it hadn’t put him at an advantage yet. She held her breath as he flipped over the final card and then heard the loud cheers of the rest of the group—well, at least all of her Stanford friends.

“Sorry,” Logan said with a sheepish grin. “You played a good game, though.”

Veronica shook her head in disbelief, but couldn’t be angry at him for her bad luck on the last card.

“Still love me?” he asked with a slightly worried look.

She may have been unlucky at cards that night, but Veronica certainly didn’t feel unlucky in love. She smiled and nodded as she answered him. “Always.”  

Chapter Text

“So, should I grab a pillow and blanket for the top deck while I’m still in here?” Logan asked teasingly after the door to their room was closed; a mirthful grin was plastered on his face.

“I’m sure you can come up with some creative ways to make me feel better about my loss,” Veronica purred seductively, bobbing her eyebrows for extra emphasis.

“I’m more than happy to do whatever the lady desires,” Logan replied as his lip curled into a wolfish snarl. “I’ve always been a giver when it comes to you.”

“I certainly can’t argue with that,” she agreed as she wrapped her arms around his neck. He leaned down and placed a quick kiss on her lips.

“Hot-tub time?” he asked, raising his eyebrows questioningly.

It was a bit early to try to sequester themselves in the room. Since they'd already agreed to join them out there, her friends would certainly start banging on their door if she and Logan didn't come back out.  “Yeah, if this is our last night here, we’d better take advantage of it one more time.”

After some brief fooling around that seemed inevitable whenever they had to get naked, they finally managed to get their swimsuits on and headed out to join the other two couples on the top deck. Right after the poker game was over, Dick and Casey decided that they were just going to play video games rather than having to endure hanging out with three half-naked couples in the hot-tub. As Logan and Veronica walked through the main room, Veronica noticed that Dick and Casey were so enthralled in their game they didn't even acknowledge them.

“Would they even notice if the boat were sinking?” Veronica asked teasingly while they climbed the stairs to the top deck.

“Doubtful,” Logan replied with a chuckle.

“Twiz had me make another batch of coladas,” Jack shared before Veronica and Logan climbed into the hot steamy tub. “I know it's not as good as Worm’s, but there's plenty left in the blender on the bar if you want some too.”

“That sounds great,” Veronica replied as she glanced toward the outdoor bar.

“I'll grab it for you, if you want to climb in,” Logan offered. “I’m sure it's a little chilly up here in just your bikini,” he added quietly so no one else could hear him over the hot-tub jets.

Veronica smirked and nodded her agreement. Logan had tried to convince her to wear her one-piece so he wouldn't be tempted to misbehave in front of everyone else. After she’d put on her bikini, she’d denied that ignoring his request was punishment for him beating her at poker. She assumed that he was now likely trying to get her submerged as quickly as possible.

“So, I hear you two may be leaving us sooner than planned,” Jack commented as Veronica eased herself into the bubbly hot water.

An unhappy pout formed on Bianca’s face.

“Yeah, probably in the morning,” Veronica confirmed.

“You can't leave before bonfire night,” Bianca whined. “That's one of the best parts of the trip.”

“She's right,” Bennett interjected, drawing a nod of agreement from Dinah.

“One more night with us isn't going to kill you,” Jack continued.

“But I might kill you if you leave before the bonfire,” Bianca added with a faux threatening glare.

Veronica couldn’t help but laugh at her roommate. Veronica was probably one of the very few people who Bianca couldn't scare into doing whatever she wanted; although it was definitely better to not piss off your roommate. Veronica glanced at Logan, who shrugged indifferently, as he handed her the drink and climbed in next to her.

“We'll make hotdogs and s'mores over the fire,” Jack shared coercively.

“One more night, Vee,” Bianca continued, more pleading than threatening. “It’s not like you two don't have the rest of the summer to play catch up. I know you have a lot of lost time to make up for, but neither of you have any pressing deadlines, right?”

Veronica glanced at Logan who only shrugged again. Bianca was right, neither of them had anything else that they'd committed to doing, at least nothing that they couldn't do together. In order to keep Bianca happy, Veronica decided to relent.

“Fine, we’ll stay for the bonfire tomorrow night and then leave on Friday morning,” Veronica conceided, earning a delighted cheer from Bianca.

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Bennett and Dinah were the first couple to decide to head downstairs, followed a few minutes later by Bianca and Jack. Logan and Veronica decided to stay in the hot-tub a little longer since they’d come up later than the other two couples.

“I’m certainly going to miss being able to see the stars so clearly,” Veronica commented as she stared up at the sparkling sky.

“Well, there are several great observatories around LA that we could visit,” Logan suggested as he tilted his head up to peer at the sky as well. “My astronomy class visited a couple. At Mount Wilson, you can actually even book private viewing nights.”

“I’m guessing those aren’t terribly cheap,” Veronica deduced derisively.

“Well, that depends on your definition of cheap ,” Logan replied, sounding amused by her reaction. “Hey, that’s what I could do with my winnings—book us a private viewing night.”

Veronica sputtered for a second before replying. “It costs four thousand dollars? That’s not cheap , Logan!”

Logan laughed at her as he shook his head. “I should have said part of my winnings, although for a full night at the large telescope, that is five thousand, but the smaller telescope is much more affordable and more than sufficient for the two of us. I’ve heard you can get some really spectacular views of several nebula and stars as well as a planet or two.”

Veronica glanced at him to determine if he was serious. She could easily see by the look on his face just how excited he was about the idea. “That would probably be a better use of your winnings than frittering them away on booze and bimbos,” she replied with a wink.

“I’d still have a little over half of it left if I booked the sixty inch for a full night for us, plenty for frittering .”

“Well, that does sound like a very romantic courting opportunity, doesn’t it,” Veronica commented affectionately. “I wouldn’t object if you wanted to use some of your winnings on that.”

“I look forward to that immensely,” Logan replied, nuzzling his nose against her cheek and placing a soft kiss there.

“Even though we don’t have a private observatory tonight, I’d still take another story to tide me over until then,” she purred softly, enjoying the feel of his mouth trailing more kisses along her jaw.

“Mm…” Logan replied as he kissed right below her ear, drawing a soft moan from her. “I did say earlier, whatever the lady desired.” Veronica nodded her head in agreement. “Did you want it now, or should we change clothes first?”

“I don’t want to turn into a prune, so maybe we should get out of the tub first,” she suggested, sounding a bit more breathless from the sensations shooting through her from what he was doing to her with his mouth.

“There might be a blanket up here that we could snuggle under,” Logan suggested as he stopped kissing her and glanced over at the built-in seating area. There were a couple of cabinets flanking the built-in couches.

As Veronica dried off with her towel, Logan wrapped his own towel around his waist and went to check the cabinets.

“Voila,” he announced as he pulled a blanket out of the second cabinet he opened. He walked back and wrapped it around her before going over to turn off the hot-tub jets and replace the cover. A few minutes later, they were snuggled up under the blanket on one of the large built-in couches.

“Any special requests,” he asked softly as the stared up at the stars. Veronica shook her head in response. “Hm…” he mumbled as he moved his head slightly, looking in different directions in the sky. “How about Gemini—the twins, Castor and Pullox?”

“I’ve heard of Gemini before of course, but I don’t think I know the story.”

“Okay… um,” Logan muttered as he glanced around for another few seconds. “Do you see those two really bright stars right up there?” Veronica nodded as she followed his finger to see where he was pointing to. “Those are actually called Castor and Pullox, and if you drew lines down through about a dozen other stars, it would look like two stick-figures. Like many of the constellations’ namesakes, there are variations of their mythology. For the most part, though, both twins shared the same mother, Leda, but in several stories, they had different fathers. In some versions, Castor’s father was the King of Sparta, Tyndarus, making him mortal, while Pollux’s father was Zeus, making him a demigod and immortal. Helen of Troy was actually their sister, and they both fought in the Trojan war too. Castor was an excellent horseman and proficient at fencing while Pollux was famed for his boxing skills. The two were also part of the Argonauts’ expedition to get the golden fleece. Pollux’s boxing skills came in handy when Amycus, a son of Poseidon who ruled Asia Minor, refused to let the Argonauts leave until one of them fought him in a boxing match. Pollux accepted the challenge and easily won.”

“Hm… boxing skills… now who does Pollux remind me of,” Veronica interjected playfully. “Oh, that’s right, you .”

“Technically, that was Logan Echolls … Logan Lester is much more of a lover than a fighter .”

“Well I certainly won’t complain about that character trait,” Veronica purred salaciously. “But seriously, while I’d certainly never condone violence, it was sort of nice to know you’d be there to protect me or defend my honor when necessary.”

“Anytime you need someone to fight a son of Poseidon, I’m your guy,” Logan replied with a soft chuckle.

Veronica laughed as well. “I know I’ve crossed some questionable people in the past, but I don’t think any would qualify as demi-gods. If I do end up in that situation, though, you’ll be the first to know.”

“That’s comforting,” Logan said a little sarcastically before turning to kiss the top of her head.

“So, is that how they got their own constellation? By helping to get the golden fleece?”

“Nope,” Logan said as he shook his head slightly and turned his head upwards again toward the stars. “As with many greek tragedies, this one included forbidden love which ended in death. Well at least according to some versions.”

Scandalous ,” Veronica teased.

“Very. It was even another set of twins that brought their tale to an end. The twins Idas and Lynceus, who were also former Argonauts, clashed with Castor and Pollux over two women, Phoebe and Hilaira. The other two brothers were engaged to them, but Castor and Pollux fell in love with them and carried the women off. Idas and Lynceus pursued them and in the end there was a fight between the four. Lynceus stabbed Castor with a sword and when Pollux saw that his brother had been stabbed, he killed Lynceus. When Idas saw his own brother die, he attacked Pollux, but Zeus intervened and sent a thunderbolt which saved his son. Pollux asked Zeus to share his immortality with his dead brother and the god placed them both in the sky, where they remain inseparable as the constellation Gemini.”

“Well that’s what you get for carrying women off, I suppose,” Veronica pondered with a chuckle as she continued to stare up at the sky.

Logan laughed as well. “Do you remember watching that Travolta and Nicolas Cage movie Face/Off once with Lilly and Duncan?”

“Vaguely… I think Lilly dragged me off shortly after it started because she was mad that we didn’t get to watch the movie she wanted.”

“Sounds about right,” Logan replied with a scoff. “Well Travolta’s character is Sean Archer and Cage was Castor Troy. Cage also had a brother named Pollux in the movie. Sagittarius the Archer constellation is diametrically opposite the constellation Gemini. So like the characters, the constellations are also complete opposites. I stumbled across that when I was doing some research for a paper. I loved that they used Troy for the last name too, given the connection to Helen of Troy.”

“Talk about trouble from carrying off women,” Veronica remarked. “Their family just had all sorts of trouble didn’t they?”

“Speaking of carrying off women ,” Logan growled as he unexpectedly rolled so he could hover on his elbows above her. “I’m thinking about all the trouble I could get into if I carry you back down to our room. Are we done with star-gazing for the night? I think I’ve been pretty well-behaved given the fact that you’ve been sitting next to me nearly naked for the last hour. Instead of gazing at stars, I’d much rather enjoy my very own goddess and show her just how much I worship her.”

Veronica bit on her lip and nodded. She was pretty sure her face had gotten a little flushed as she felt just how interested in moving to the privacy of their own room he was when he pressed closer to her.

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Veronica woke up once again to the strong aroma of coffee wafting through the houseboat. Logan’s arms were possessively wrapped around her as he spooned her from behind. She could hear his deep steady breathing and knew he was still sleeping soundly. By the time they’d finally fallen asleep, it had been more like early morning rather than nighttime. She wasn’t sure what time it was at the moment and considered trying to go back to sleep when the unmistakeable smell of bacon made it’s way along with the scent of the coffee. After another few seconds, there was a loud banging sound on their bedroom door.

“Hey, sleepyheads!” Jack yelled. “If you want to actually eat breakfast, you’d better haul your asses out of bed before it’s all gone.”

Logan groaned and buried his face against the back of Veronica’s head. “Is he like this when he stays with you and Bianca?”

Veronica chuckled and shook her head. “Nope, usually I’m the one yelling at him to get out of bed if he wants food. He must still be extremely anxious about the unwanted house guest that he brought home.”

“Ah, trying to get back on Bianca’s good side? I can feel for the guy. I seem to recall needing to do that a number of times with you.”

Veronica rolled over so she could face Logan. He loosened his hold on her, but repositioned his arms around her once she was done moving. “I’m sorry for not being more understanding back then and making you feel like that more times than you deserved.”

“Hey,” he said softly as he reached up and stroked her hair. “We said we were going to leave all that in the past right? I appreciate the apology, but you don’t need to feel bad about that now, okay?”

She nodded and leaned forward to kiss him. She wasn’t quite sure why what he’d said seemed to hit a nerve with her. Maybe it would just take more than a few days—no matter how wonderful they had been—to feel like they’d moved beyond everything in their past. “Okay. But, I really do want things to be different this time. You mean way too much to me to lose you again.”

Logan’s smile softened as his thumb gently stroked her cheek. “You mean the world to me too, and I don’t plan on making any of the same mistakes ever again.”

Before she could reply, a loud growling sound emanated from her stomach.        

Logan laughed and moved his hand so he could playfully rub her belly. “And keeping you properly fed is definitely on the top of the must-do list for staying out of trouble. Let’s go get you some breakfast.”

As they started to get dressed, Veronica couldn’t help but smirk at him when she grabbed his UCLA sweatshirt and slipped it on.

“Are you still going to want to wear that when I get a new matching one? We’ll look like one of those couples that dress alike,” Logan asked, his lip curving up into an amused grin.

“Well then there won’t be any question you’re mine ,” she replied playfully. “Maybe we should look into getting other matching items as well”

“I promise you don’t have to worry about staking your claim on me,” Logan assured her as he finished pulling a t-shirt over his head. “I could always get another tattoo though. Property of Veronica Mars? Right across my heart?”

She could tell by the way he was smiling that he was only teasing her, but the fact that he’d already permanently tattooed her initials on his body made her pause. She reached out and ran her fingers over his tattoo. “I’m still amazed that you put my initials on your arm.”

Logan’s expression softened and he pulled her closer so he could kiss her on the top of the head. “Well my heart does belong to you, even if it’s not spelled out in tattoo ink.”

After taking a few seconds for what was clearly a mutually appreciative kiss, Logan grabbed her hand and lead her out the door.

Veronica was a little surprised when they reached the main room that Bianca, Dinah and Bennett were all sitting at the table, while Jack was the one carrying plates of food over to them.

“Just in time,” Jack announced as he spotted Logan and Veronica.

“Where’s tweedle dum?” Veronica asked, glancing around the cabin, expecting to see Dick.

“He and Casey already headed back to shore to have breakfast with their ladies,” Jack explained while Logan pulled out a chair for Veronica to use. Veronica gave Logan a grateful smile before sitting in the offered chair; scooting toward the table as Logan pushed it back in for her.

“You cooked?” Veronica asked Jack skeptically as he sat a platter of pancakes down in the center of the table next to a large plate of bacon and a bowl of sliced fruit.

“I am capable of doing that,” Jack scoffed as he took the empty seat next to Bianca.

“Well you rarely do, so it is a valid question,” Bianca chimed in as she reached for a pancake.

“I thought I'd make up for my spectacular lack of judgment yesterday,” Jack replied while passing the plate of bacon to Veronica.

“You'll never hear me complain about bacon,” Veronica commented, snagging several pieces off the plate. She glanced at Logan who had a small smirk on his face. He was obviously very familiar with her love of bacon.

“Well, I wanted to make sure everyone had a good breakfast before we start the fishing derby today,” Jack continued.

Veronica scrunched up her face. “The what ?” she asked in confusion.

“The fishing derby,” Jack started to explain while Bianca, Dinah and Bennett all nodded in agreement. “It's tradition too, just like the bonfire and you two can't leave until we have it. Twiz was certain I wouldn't convince you to stay another full day, so we'll have the derby before the bonfire. With any luck we'll catch several nice bass and can cook them over the fire for dinner—in addition to hotdogs if you still want those.”

“It's a contest to see who can catch the biggest fish,” Bianca added over a mouthful of pancake.

“Of course it is,” Veronica replied, not at all surprised to hear that. “And I'm guessing there's a wager involved?” She heard Logan laugh softly and she gave him a small smile.  

“Why the hell would someone have a contest and not wager?” Jack asked with an incredulous expression on his face.

Veronica shook her head and let out a small sigh. “So how much is the wager? Are you hoping to win back your loss at the poker game last night?”

“That would be nice, wouldn't it,” Jack replied with a broad grin.

“We normally just do fifty per person,” Bianca chimed in. “Of course there are generally side bets too.”

“Of course there are,” Veronica laughed. She raised her eyebrows questioningly at Logan, wondering what he thought about it.  

“We don't want to miss out on the full experience just because we're leaving a little early, now do we?” Logan replied, definitely looking intrigued by the idea.

“I didn't notice any fishing gear on the boat, and don't you need a license?” Veronica asked as she swirled a piece of pancake through the syrup on her plate.

“We’ll rent some at the marina and we can pick up licenses for anyone who wants to fish that doesn’t have one yet. But I think most of us have them already,” Jack explained.

“I’ll pass on actually fishing,” Dinah announced. “But I’m always willing to consider offers for side bets,” she added with a sly grin.

“Well, as the reigning champion from last year, I’m definitely in,” Bennett confirmed.

“Casey, Shelly and I already picked up our licenses while we were waiting for Dallas to pick us up at the Marina since he’d mentioned we might do some fishing,” Logan shared with the group.

“So are you game, V?” Bianca asked, giving Veronica a questioning look. “I’ll even share some of my secrets with you if you decide to fish with us.”

“Toad stole Twiz’s title last year,” Jack explained, giving Bianca a sympathetic smile. “She’d won two years in a row before that, but he got lucky and caught one that was just a quarter of an inch longer than hers.”

“This year we’re renting a scale and going by weight , not length ,” Bianca protested. “Mine was fatter than his, so I still don’t believe he was the legitimate winner.”

Jack laughed and nodded. “I didn’t forget. Already planned to get one, my dear.”

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As the group finished their breakfast, they decided that Jack, Bianca, Logan and Veronica would go to the marina to pick up the fishing gear while Bennett and Dinah would take the larger WaveRunner out and scout for a spot that they could use for the day. They were planning to fish along the shore and then needed a good location for their bonfire as well. Jack had even brought a tent along that he planned to set up at the site. As they were leaving the marina, Jack had shared that during their past trips, he and Bianca would always stay the night at the campsite and then finish cleaning up everything in the morning after the sun was up.

By the time they made it back to the houseboat, Casey and Shelly were back as well. Veronica was relieved that it was just the two of them and that Dick must have stuck to the plan of heading to Napa after one night with them. Even if she and Logan were leaving in the morning, she really didn’t want to have to endure anymore time around Dick and Madison than absolutely necessary. She was skeptical that Dick and Madison’s relationship would likely last long anyway, but regardless, she was glad that Logan was currently living with Casey and not Dick. Thanks to this trip, she’d already learned that she could easily get used to spending time with Casey and Shelly anytime they were all in LA. And, at least during the school year, she'd most likely be riding down to Logan's with Bianca who would just be right across the hall.

Dinah had stayed at the site that she and Bennett had found for them while Bennett came over to guide the others back to it. The site they'd found was right on the lake and close enough to a formal campground where could use the restrooms when necessary. There was already a nice established fire pit for them to use as well, and they brought several folding chairs from the houseboat to set up around it. Given her friends’ competitive nature, they all had to start the fishing contest at the same time after Jack was done setting up the tent.  Logan and Casey volunteered to help, so Veronica took a seat and enjoyed watching them cluelessly try to help an increasingly frustrated Jack. Bianca also seemed to be amused watching the three of them and gave them what she likely thought was helpful advice, although based on their success, Veronica wasn't so sure it was.

“So, I take it you didn't have an elective course on tent assembly,” Veronica teased as they headed along the shoreline carrying their fishing gear. She felt Logan's hand reach out to grab her elbow, providing extra support as she carefully climbed over a large log in their path.

“Nope,” Logan chuckled as he followed her over the obstruction. “Maybe I'll check into one next semester.”

“And fishing? Do you have some secret skill there that I don’t yet know about?”

Logan laughed a little deeper and she turned back to watch him shake his head in reply. “Nope, although I do know a few amazing recipes that I could use to prepare any fish we do catch. How about you?”

Veronica shrugged slightly before she answered. “We did a little fishing up in Washington over spring break, and then my dad took me a few times when I was younger too.” A puzzled look formed across Logan's face, prompting her to continue. “It was before you moved to Neptune. Before he was promoted to sheriff. I guess we did more things before that happened.  He had more time for family activities before he was responsible for the entire department.”

Logan nodded in understanding. “So are you going to mention our trip down the coast to him?” he asked, catching her a little off guard. She hadn’t actually given her dad much thought since they’d talked about him several nights before.

“I don’t know. It might be more fun to just show up at his house and surprise him,” Veronica replied acerbically.

“Was that what he did to you with Harmony?” Logan asked, a little more perceptively than she’d expected.

Veronica let out a loud sigh. “I'm sorry, that wasn't fair to you at all. I certainly don't want to put you in an awkward position with my dad just because I clearly still have issues with how he handled the whole Harmony situation with me.”

“Well, he may not be too thrilled about seeing me again regardless of whether you surprise him or not,” Logan commented somberly.

“I don’t think that’s true,” Veronica countered, drawing a raised eyebrow from Logan. “I think he’ll be pretty impressed when he hears how well you’ve been doing at UCLA—not to mention everything you did to keep me safe.”

“You’re going to share that with him?” he asked, sounding a bit nervous about the prospect.

“Well… he doesn’t really know about my issues with Gory, so maybe I shouldn’t, but I want him to see you the way I see you. I want him to know what an incredible man you really are.” Veronica could easily tell from Logan’s expression that he seemed skeptical. “What?” she asked as she stopped in the middle of the trail that lead to a spot that Bianca said would be good for fishing. “You are incredible, Logan.”

“I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I do appreciate the sentiment,” Logan replied reticently. “We’d better get moving or we’ll miss the start time,” he added and gestured up the trail with a tilt of his head.

Veronica frowned, not budging from her spot. “I’m sorry that I let my own selfishness get in the way of him seeing that before. It was easier to let him believe whatever he might think rather than me admitting I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing.”

“Hey… remember we said we’re not going to dwell on the past,” he reminded her with a gentle smile. “And there were certainly plenty of things your dad caught me doing that justified some of his thinking.”

“Well, I certainly could have worked harder to make him see you in a different light back then.”

“Come on,” Logan urged as he glanced warily up the trail again. “If we don’t get to the spot, we’ll seriously impede our chance to win first catch.”

Veronica let out a huff and begrudgingly started walking up the trail again. It didn’t take them long to find the spot that Bianca had described. There were several large flat boulders that jutted out into the lake and they carefully made their way across them, sitting on the farthest one away from shore.

“So,” Veronica asked after they’d been sitting mostly in silence after casting their lines out. “Did you have a route charted for our trip down the coast?”

“Not really,” Logan answered, staring out where his line disappeared into the water. “I had planned to just meander down the coast, stopping if someplace seemed interesting. Although I was hoping to spend a night or two in Santa Barbara.”

“With Henry and Madeleine?” Veronica asked excitedly.

Logan chuckled and nodded. “I guess I don’t have to ask if you remember that weekend,” he commented with amusement.

Veronica couldn’t help the delighted grin that formed on her face. “Of course I remember that weekend! That was one of my best birthdays ever.”

“I would have to agree that it definitely topped my list of Veronica’s birthdays too,” Logan teased with a salacious smirk. Growing up, he’d been invited to several of her birthday parties over the years, but of course those were way before they’d gotten together as a couple. “I talked with Madeleine a couple weeks ago, and she mentioned that the cottage was going to be open all summer. They had rented it out to a college student from France who’s gone home for the summer.”

“The entire summer?”

Logan’s smile grew even broader. “Yeah, she said I was welcome to use it as much as I liked. She figured I’d enjoy being close to the beach again after being stuck in LA for most of the last two years. They know I’ve been going to UCLA, and we’ve had dinner together a few times when they are in town.”

“I know I should make it down to Neptune at some point to visit my dad, Mac and Wallace, but I’d definitely be open to spending even more than a night or two there,” she shared, delighted by the prospect.

“Well, it is a two bedroom cottage, so if you wanted to invite anyone up for a few nights, we could probably do that too.”

“I’m not sure I want to share a small two bedroom cottage with my dad, who would likely drag Harmony along, but I bet Mac and Wallace would enjoy it—but not right away—I want to enjoy time there with just you.”

Logan smiled and nodded in agreement. Just as he opened his mouth to speak again, the sound of both of their cell-phones going off in unison interrupted him. Veronica pulled hers out first and looked at the group text, holding her phone up so he could see it too since he hadn’t pulled his out of his pocket yet.

“Looks like Casey won the first-catch pot,” she said, sounding a little disappointed. “So much for Bianca’s sure-to-catch-a-big-one spot.”

“Well you could still catch the largest one. That pot is the biggest anyway. The one Casey caught doesn’t look that—whoa.” Logan quickly put his second hand on his fishing pole to better secure it and stared wide-eyed at the end of his pole which was erratically jerking up and down.  

“You’re suppose to reel it in,” Veronica told him with an amused chuckle.

“Oh right,” Logan replied before he moved his hand again so he could crank the reel on the pole.

“Hey, didn’t you go ocean fishing with Duncan a few times?” she asked curiously as she watched him attempt to bring the fish to the shore.

“Well yeah… but there were crew people on the boat who did most of the work. We just turned the handle and then posed for photographs,” he admitted a little sheepishly.

Veronica laughed and shook her head at him. “Well there’s no crew here, so you’re going to have to deal with the floppy, slimy fish all yourself, buddy.” She couldn’t help but laugh harder when she saw the slightly horrified look that flashed across his face.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Veronica and Logan spent about another two hours fishing at the spot that Bianca had recommended. Even though the two of them hadn’t made any side bets about which one would catch the first or bigger fish between the two of them, Veronica couldn’t help but be a little competitive. She’d caught a couple fish that were smaller than Logan’s, so she’d released them to keep trying for a larger one.

“If this one’s smaller than mine, I’ll let you claim mine as your own if you’re that worried about having a chance to win the contest,” Logan teased as she reeled in yet another fish. He’d told her that one fish was plenty for him after trying for a second fish for close to an hour without any luck. After that he’d spent the rest of the time lying with his head on her lap attempting to take a nap. She couldn’t help it if every time he’d finally start to doze off, she’d get another bite on her pole and disrupt him.

Veronica shot him a look of disapproval as she continued to reel in her fish. Logan sat up on the boulder and peered into the water as she brought the fish closer to shore.

“I know things look larger in the water, but this one actually might be bigger than mine,” Logan declared when it was finally possible to see it.

Veronica couldn’t help but snicker at him, earning her an eyeroll.

“I think you’ve been out in the sun too long if you thought that was funny,” Logan scoffed.

“You’re probably right… good thing Dick isn’t still around, you might compare my humor to his. But I think you might be right… this one sure does look bigger than yours.”

“We’ll see,” Logan countered, apparently not yet ready to agree completely.

It took her a few more minutes to haul the fish out of the water so they could compare it to the one that Logan had caught earlier.

“Hm…” she said as she squished up her nose. “Well yours might be a little bit longer, but mine looks a bit girthier.”

It was Logan’s turn to snicker at that. “Okay, Miss Mine-is-girthier-than-yours , why don’t we head back to camp and weigh them on the scales then? And if the others are still all fishing, we could sneak back over to the houseboat for a real nap. For some reason, I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Veronica teased with a smug grin on her face. Logan shook his head as he started collecting their fishing gear so they could follow the trail back to camp.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“Nice ones,” Jack commented as Logan and Veronica entered the campsite.

Veronica noticed that there was now a large pile of chopped wood next to the fire-pit and it looked like Jack was starting to arrange pieces into the center of the rock lined circle for the bonfire later.

“You’ve been busy,” Veronica commented as she gestured toward the pile.

“Dallas chop wood?” Dinah laughed from the chair she was currently occupying near the tent. She sat the book she was holding down on her lap and looked judgmentally at Jack. “Puhlease, you know him better than that.”

“Hey, I did haul it over here from the campground,” Jack protested. “With no help from you, thank you very much.”

Dinah shrugged, clearly not feeling guilty at all about not helping Jack.

“I thought you were fishing too,” Veronica commented, carrying her fish and gear toward some coolers that had been brought over sometime since they were there last.

“I fished for a little while, but then I decided I should work on getting the campsite ready,” Jack replied. “Seems like this area of the lake has been a little over-fished lately, and I didn’t want to waste my time if I wasn’t going to catch anything anyway.” There was something a little off in his demeanor, but Veronica couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

Bianca suddenly appeared in the clearing right behind Logan and Veronica, and let out a loud laugh. “ Overfished ?”she countered incredulously. “And that’s the story you’re going with? Really ?”

Veronica glanced back and forth between Bianca and Jack, trying to deduce what the real situation was. Bianca looked smug while Jack looked chagrined; actually a fairly common thing for the two of them.

“So what’s the real scoop then?” Veronica asked, her curiosity peaked.

Jack let out a small grunt and went back to arranging logs in the fire-pit, apparently done participating in the conversation.

“Dallas was so excited when he hooked into a huge bass. It definitely looked bigger than any of the ones I’d ever caught here before. He almost had it all the way to the shore where he could grab it and unexpectedly the fish had a huge burst of energy and bolted; breaking the line in the process. Dallas got so mad, he slammed his pole down and snapped the tip of it off against a boulder. So then he said he was done fishing and stormed back to camp,” Bianca explained almost gleefully.

“Ah, poor Dallas ,” Veronica said with an amused smirk, knowing she’d get his attention using the name she never called him.

“Yeah, thanks,” Jack replied sarcastically shaking his head and still keeping his attention focused on arranging the logs for the fire.

“So, it looks like you two did pretty well for being newbies,” Bianca commented as she checked out the two fish that Logan and Veronica were carrying back. “They look like they are almost identical.”

“Mine’s girthier,” Veronica immediately chimed in, causing Logan to chuckle.

“Well, good thing we have a scale this year,” Bianca exclaimed as she headed over to the gear near the tent. Veronica spotted what must have been Jack’s pole with the broken tip among the other gear as she walked over to Bianca.

Jack halted his work on the firepit to watch Bianca weigh Logan and Veronica’s fish. Dinah also stood up from her chair so she could wander closer to the other three to watch as well.

“Wow,” Bianca said after she’d finished weighing them both. “They actually weigh exactly the same. Aren’t you two just the perfectly matched pair?”

“Yes we are,” Logan agreed as he leaned toward Veronica and placed a kiss on the side of her head.

“Well, where’s your catch?” Veronica asked Bianca, wondering how her roommate had fared.

“It’s already in the cooler,” Bianca explained with a large grin. “I was just out checking on Bennett to see how he was doing.” Bianca lifted up the lid to the cooler and pulled out a fish. It was easy to tell that her fish was definitely larger than the two that Logan and Veronica had caught. “Bennett is still holding out hope that he can catch one to beat me again this year, so I thought I’d pester him a bit.”

“I’m sure he appreciated that,” Veronica commented with a snort.

“Yeah,” Bianca replied with a smirk. “I’m sure he enjoyed the company.”

“Well as much as we enjoy your company,” Veronica teased. “Logan and I thought we’d head back to the houseboat for a little while. Grab some lunch, take a quick nap… you know.”

“Riiiight,” Bianca laughed with a teasing smirk.

“Any idea how Casey and Shelly are doing?” Veronica asked, ignoring the look Bianca had given her. “Are they done fishing already too?”

“Yeah, they quit a while ago. They said they were going to pack a lunch and take the larger WaveRunner out exploring again,” Bianca answered. “So you have a pretty good chance of having the houseboat all to yourselves.”

“What were you four planning to do for lunch?” Veronica asked, trying to gauge just how much alone time she might get with Logan.

“We’ve got plenty of food in the coolers. No plans to head back over to the houseboat for anything, right?” Bianca asked as she glanced between Dinah and Jack.

Dinah had a smirk on her lips too as she shook her head in reply. “Nope. Knock yourselves out over there with loud kinky sex if you want.”

“Dinah!” Veronica scolded unconvincingly as Jack and Bianca laughed at Dinah’s comment. Veronica glanced at Logan who seemed a little surprised by what Dinah had said, but he didn’t seem to be embarrassed by it. When his eyes met Veronica’s he waggled his eyebrows at her. She tried to give him an admonishing look, but knew it couldn’t have been very convincing. “We’ll be back later,” she finally huffed out and grabbed Logan’s hand, dragging him down to the edge of the lake where the speedboats were both tied up.

Chapter Text

“Looks like we won’t be able to take on Dinah’s challenge of having loud kinky sex after all,” Logan teased as he pulled the speedboat up next to the wave-runner that was still tied up at the houseboat.

Veronica wasn’t disappointed; she just wanted to be with him. “Oh well, someone seemed set on a nap anyway,” Veronica countered with faux annoyance. “I’m beginning to question your priorities.”

“Hey, I was going to make sure you were fed lunch before I took a nap,” Logan responded, trying to sound defensive but the grin on his face didn’t quite match his tone.

“I suppose that wins you back a few popularity points,” Veronica replied with a demure smile, unable to hide her approval at the mention of food. They’d taken a few snacks with them while they were fishing, but she’d gone through those pretty quickly and was more than ready to eat again.

Logan chuckled as he started to tie the speedboat up to the side of the houseboat. Once the boat was secure, he hopped onto the deck and then reached his hand out for Veronica, effortlessly yanking her up and out of the speedboat. “Come on, Bobcat, let’s go get you some lunch.” He tipped his head down once she was standing next to him and pressed a kiss to her lips. “And you should know by now that you’re always my number one priority. In fact, I plan on spending the rest of the summer showing you just how big of a priority you are,” he added with a lopsided grin after the kiss ended.

“Well, I’m sure you won’t hear me complaining about that,” Veronica admitted with a playful smile, but then she looked at him more seriously. “I know we keep saying we’re leaving the past behind, but I do want you to know that I never doubted that I was a priority in your life. Looking back at things after you were gone, I realized just how many times you did put me first, while I can’t honestly say that I did the same for you. But I don’t want it to be like that this time around.”

“Well,” Logan replied with a tender smile as he pulled her against his chest and ran his fingers soothingly along her head, looking lovingly down at her. “I appreciate the acknowledgement and the promise of a new and improved outlook. One thing we can at least say about the past is, if nothing else, it taught us both how not to do things, which makes me feel even more confident that this time things are going to be even better.” He leaned in so he could place a soft kiss on her forehead. “Now, let’s go see if there’s still some leftover pizza for you to devour so I can finally take that nap I’ve been dying to have.”

Veronica huffed out a laugh and shook her head slightly before they turned and walked to the main cabin. It was easy to tell that Casey and Shelly were in the main room before they even passed through the already open door as the unmistakeable sound of flirty laughter drifted out to the deck.

“I told you I heard a boat,” Shelly told Casey with an admonishing tone as she slapped him lightly on the chest.  Casey looked over at Logan and Veronica, pulling away from Shelly’s neck where he’d been kissing her. He looked a little guilty as he straightened up and slid to Shelly’s side.

“Good job with the rushed redressing, but your tank-top’s on inside-out, Shel,” Logan teased, causing a soft blush to spread across Shelly's cheeks.

“At least she got it back on,” Casey replied with a smug grin, earning him another smack from Shelly. “What?” he protested as he rubbed the spot she'd just hit. “It's not like these walls aren't paper thin and they haven't heard us as much as we've heard them.”

“Oooo’kay…” Logan interjected, sounding a little less confident than when he’d been teasing Shelly. “Maybe we should just keep pretending that's not the case so our last day isn't any more awkward than necessary.”

“Agreed,” both Veronica and Shelly said in unison, causing them both to laugh softly. Casey shrugged, apparently indifferent as to whether there was any awkwardness or not.

“So, we were just grabbing some lunch before we head out again,” Shelly commented as she moved away from Casey and opened the fridge. “There's still a ton of leftover pizza if you guys want some too.”

Logan raised an eyebrow in question as he glanced at Veronica.

“Sounds good to me,” Veronica replied, feeling her stomach rumble at the anticipation of food.

While eating lunch, the foursome initially started off talking about their fishing endeavors that morning, but eventually Casey and Shelly asked about the waterfall and how to find it. The day was quickly heating up and the pair thought a dip at the falls sounded refreshing. When they were finished eating, Casey and Shelly headed off to find the waterfall after getting thorough directions from Logan on how to find it. As Logan stood up to carry his empty plate to the sink, he let out a loud, genuine yawn.

“Wow, someone really does need a nap, don’t they?” Veronica asked in amusement. “Maybe I’d better pace you a bit more since I didn’t realize how out of shape you are. Hopefully with some hard work and dedication I can get you back to peak performance,” she added with a sly grin.

Logan chuckled softly as he rinsed his plate off and then reached out for hers. “All great athletes do need to have a strict training regimen,” he countered.

“Hm… sort of along the lines of practice makes perfect?”

“Exactly,” Logan agreed with a smirk. He dried off his hands and then pulled her firmly against his body. “I’m definitely looking forward to you whipping me into shape.”

“Well I suppose getting enough rest is important for athletes too. Can’t expect top performance if you’re exhausted.”

“Such a wise and benevolent trainer,” Logan teased as he leaned down and placed a quick kiss on the tip of her nose.

“Come on,” she instructed as she took his hand, and pulled him out of the kitchen.

Once they were in the bedroom, she spun back between him and the door, closing it behind him. Then she pushed him until he flopped down on the bed. She hadn’t intended to land on top of him, but he’d grabbed ahold of her at the last minute as he was falling backwards and tugged her down as well. Even if he had been tired before, the look on his face was anything but sleepy as her body pressed into his.

“Maybe we should take on Dinah’s challenge after all,” he commented as he stared hungrily up at her.

“I thought someone was tired?” she asked coyly.

“Maybe that was just my ruse to get you back here so I could take advantage of you,” he teased before moving his head so he could place kisses along her neck.

“Is it taking advantage if I’m a willing participant?” Veronica purred as she tilted her head to give him better access and started running her fingers through his hair.

He unexpectedly stopped ravishing her neck and moved so he could stare up at her again. “I still keep wondering if this is all a dream. Being with you again… I’m half afraid I’m going to wake up and none of it will be real.”

“Well, running into me on a houseboat in the middle of Lake Shasta is a bit hard to believe, but I assure you, I’m very real and I don’t plan on vanishing the next time you wake up.”

“Promise?” he asked, with just a hint of what might have been actual seriousness coming though his otherwise playful tone.

“I promise,” she replied before leaning down to kiss him. “From now until I have to go back to school, you’re stuck with me,” she added after their lips parted.

“Well, I’d better make sure to take full advantage of that,” Logan commented, a suggestive grin forming on his lips.

“Hm… like making sure I have plenty of vivid memories to keep you in my thoughts when we’re hundreds of miles apart? Give me something to help me through all those long, lonely nights?”

“Exactly,” he agreed with a nod as he moved his hands from resting innocently on her hips to a more sinful hold on her ass. He placed kisses up her neck, stopping right below her ear. “You have no idea how hot it is to imagine you thinking about me when you’re all alone in your room at night,” he whispered huskily against her skin, nipping gently at her earlobe when he was done.

Something about his tone and the way his lips barely grazed the shell of her ear made her pulse race and she sucked in a shaky breath. “What else turns you on?” she asked breathlessly.

“Mm…” Logan murmured as he trailed kisses along her jawline. “Imagining you straddling me, your long golden curls falling over your naked shoulders while you have your way with me.”

“Like the night in Santa Barbara,” Veronica replied faintly, closing her eyes as she thought back to that night, causing her to shiver as she inhaled deeply.

“You have no idea how many times I’ve thought of that night, Veronica,” Logan confessed softly as he kissed below her ear again, his voice sounding as affected as she felt. “It was so perfect… you were so amazing.”

“We were amazing together ,” Veronica countered lovingly. “We’ve always been amazing together. No one else has ever made me feel the way you do.”

He pulled his head back slightly so he could stare intently into her eyes. “Words can’t even express how you make me feel, Veronica.”

“Then show me,” she replied, smiling at him demurely.


 

After thoroughly ravaging each other, Logan was finally able to get that nap he’d been not-so-subtly hinting at. Veronica ended up dozing off as well, listening to the soothing sound of his heartbeat, her head pressed against his chest. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep, but she woke up to the feeling of warm fingertips gently caressing across her naked lower back.

“I think we need to include a daily nap in our coast touring agenda,” she announced with a sleepy yawn, finding it a little harder to wake up than she expected. She could feel Logan chuckle softly, his chest shaking slightly under her head.

“Like I'd ever complain about getting you into bed,” he replied before placing a kiss on the top of her head.

“Well, now that we're properly rested … and still naked,” she said suggestively, shifting so she could swing one leg over his body and rest her torso on top of his chest.

He bobbed his eyebrows at her as the corner of his lip quirked up in a wolfish snarl. “What did you have in—,” his words cut off with a sharp knock on the door.

“Hey! I need the master chef in the kitchen,” Jack yelled from the other side of the door. “Wrap it up and get your ass out here.”

Wrap it up ?” Veronica repeated incredulously. “What the hell, Jack?” she yelled back at the door, not appreciating the interruption at all.

“You heard me,” he yelled back. “Or feel free to continue while I stand here and add my own commentary,” he taunted back.

“You’re an ass!” Veronica yelled back as Logan started to laugh from underneath her.

“Maybe when I come up to visit you at Stanford, I should get us our own hotel suite,” he suggested with an amused grin.

Brilliant !” she replied gleefully.

Logan leaned up and pecked her on the cheek. “Come on, Bobcat. For some reason I’d prefer not to listen to whatever commentary Dallas may be planning on sharing.”

Veronica laughed as she rolled off his side. “Why don’t you go and see what he wants help with while I  take a quick shower. I’ll join you soon.”

Logan gave her a sad pout.

“Fine, I suppose we can’t hear his commentary from the shower, now can we,” she relented with a coy smile.

“I’ll be out after a quick shower,” Logan yelled toward the door as he started to follow Veronica toward the bathroom.

“Don’t forget about the limited water supply!” Jack yelled back, the end of his comment partially drowned out by the sound of the shower starting.


 

Veronica and Logan kept their fooling around in the shower to a minimum so they wouldn’t run out of hot water. Veronica was the first to comment on looking forward to the privacy that would soon be theirs, and Logan quickly and wholeheartedly agreed. After they were dressed, they headed out to the kitchen holding hands to see why Jack had bothered them.

“It’s about damn time,” Jack commented, trying to look annoyed, but Veronica didn’t really buy it.

“Where are the others?” Veronica asked as she took a seat on one of the bar stools, inspecting the four fish that were laid out on the counter. “Is that one mine?” she asked, pointing to one of the four.

“They’re back at camp. Well I don’t know where GQ and Shelly went, but the other three are. I said I’d come back over and get Worm to help me filet and prep the fish to take back to grill at the campsite.”

Veronica narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Jack. Something seemed a little off with him.

“Fine, I lost a freaking bet and I had to do the fish all by myself. But they didn’t say I couldn’t get Worm to help,” Jack admitted with a huff. He never did hold up very well to even silent interrogation. She’d quickly learned from being around Jack and Bianca, how to make him confess when he’d done something wrong.

“That sounds more like it,” Veronica replied with a satisfied grin as Logan let out a small amused chuckle.

Veronica watched with amazement as Logan took over filleting the fish when Jack couldn’t do it quite the way he wanted him to. As Logan continued working on the rest of the fish, he instructed Jack on what seasoning and other ingredients to add to them. With Logan’s exceptional filleting skills and crisp directions to Jack, it didn’t take very long for them to have everything prepped and ready to head back to camp.

“So I was thinking—” Jack began while grabbing more beer out of the fridge to also take back with them.

“Oh no! That never ends well,” Veronica interrupted with a smirk.

Jack narrowed his eyes in what was probably supposed to look intimidating, but Veronica just laughed at him.

“I was thinking,” he continued again, “that you know Twiz almost as well as I do, and she’s probably going to continue to think of reasons for you to stay. Tomorrow it will only be two more nights, and if she can get you to stay for one, then she’ll have an even bigger argument for you to just stay until Sunday.”

Veronica let out a sigh, realizing that he was definitely right. Although she was a little surprised he’d given it any thought at all.

“Since she’ll be staying at the camp tonight, if you wanted to, after the bonfire, you could just take one of the speedboats and head to the marina. Get a room there again and leave the keys with the front desk. Two of us can go over and get it back tomorrow. That way you can escape before she plots some other way to make you stay.”

Veronica glanced at Logan who shrugged slightly but also nodded his agreement. Veronica narrowed her eyes slightly at Jack, trying to figure out why he’d be so willing to help them leave. Regardless of his motive, she was sure he was right. Bianca would definitely try to come up with reasons to keep them there longer. If she’d had this vacation all planned out in her head, having it not go according to plan would drive her nuts. Veronica had already wondered how much it bugged her that they did the fishing derby and bonfire ahead of schedule and on the same day.

“Are you still mad about the fishing incident and trying to get back at her?” Veronica asked, wondering if that was his angle on all of this.

“No,” he quickly replied, then let out a soft huff. “Well, maybe a little. But if she’s plotting against you, I’ll certainly be impacted by it.”

“And if I tell her it was all your idea when we all get home again?” Veronica asked, testing to see just how committed Jack was to this plan and which one of them Bianca would be the most angry with.

“Well I guess that would be the truth, but by then, we’ll be back from Washington and hopefully she won’t even ask.”

Veronica looked at Logan again. “What do you think? Feel like springing for another night at the hotel?” she asked, trying not to look too excited by the prospect.

“As long as I won’t be the one you two throw in Bianca’s crosshairs, I think it’s a marvelous idea.”

“You wouldn’t take a figurative bullet for me?” Veronica asked with a faux pout.

“Bianca is sort of scary, snookums,” Logan replied as he bopped her under the chin.

Veronica and Jack both laughed at the same time. “Yeah, okay,” Veronica relented. “I want her to like you if you’re going to be coming to see me a lot during the school year. We probably won’t be able to hide out in some luxurious hotel room every time.”

“We could certainly try,” Logan responded with a wink.

“Hey, come on. You two aren’t already planning on ditching us?” Jack asked, acting offended by the insinuation.

“Oh, come on ,” Veronica parroted back. “Like you wouldn’t love having the apartment all to yourselves!”

She could tell that Jack was trying to feign indifference, but he obviously loved the idea. “I’m sure Twiz will insist we do some couple things together, but I guess having the place to ourselves wouldn’t be so bad.”

“Exactly,” Veronica replied back with a conspiratorial grin.


 

The sun was starting to set over the mountains as they all finished up eating their dinner. The fish was probably the best Veronica had ever eaten, and she marvelled once again over Logan’s impressive cooking skills. She was certainly looking forward to many more home cooked meals throughout the rest of the summer and wondered if that might be a good angle for Logan to score some points with her dad. Santa Barbara was only a couple of hours away from Neptune, so maybe after they’d had some time to enjoy the cottage themselves she could see if her dad and Harmony would want to drive up for a day or two. She figured she could recommend a nice hotel for them to stay at near the cottage—close, but not too close. She really did want things to be different with her dad and Logan this time around and was determined to do whatever she could to make her dad see just how much Logan had changed in the past two years.

The campfire had started out relatively small, but once all of the dinner dishes and leftovers had been cleaned up, Jack and Bennett started adding more wood to it. It didn’t take too long for them to have quite a large blaze going. Even though it had been relatively hot earlier that day, the evening seemed to be cooling off quickly and the fire provided just the right amount of warmth to offset that. While there were probably enough chairs for everyone to have their own, Veronica still ended up sitting across Logan’s lap, curled against his side while she watched the flames dance up toward the darkening sky. One of Logan’s hands was resting on her leg, her fingers intertwined with his, while his other hand had slipped under her shirt, tracing indistinguishable patterns across her skin.

Growing up they’d had bonfires on the beach numerous times, but that was back when Logan was dating Lilly. She realized that this was actually their first one together as a couple and found the experience even more enjoyable than she’d expected. There was something so romantic and wistful, curled up together, listening to the crackle of the flames and seeing little sparks dance up into the darkness before they burned out and disappeared. Of course some of that feeling was definitely aided by the fact that they were not seated on the side opposite the breeze.

“Damn it,” Dinah grumbled as she stood up from her seat, moving it for at least the third time in the last ten minutes. “I swear the wind changes everytime I move my chair.”

Veronica tried not to laugh at her, but it was hard not to. Although as Dinah headed toward her and Logan, she quickly stopped laughing.  “Oh no! You're not sitting next to us. We're very comfortable here and we don't want to be inundated with smoke.”

“It's been fine over here after you moved the last time,” Bennett offered. He must have decided to stick it out after he'd followed Dinah the first time she moved and had stayed in the same spot since then.

“Fine,” Dinah huffed, shooting a disgruntled glance at Veronica.

“Is it just me, or does she act a little like Lilly used to?” Logan whispered into Veronica’s ear.

“You have no idea!” Veronica agreed as she turned and looked at him with a smirk. “Total diva most days. Even more than she’s been so far on this trip.”

Logan raised his eyebrows apparently questioning if she was serious, to which Veronica gave him a sincere look and nodded. He mouthed a silent ‘wow’, causing Veronica to giggle slightly before she tilted her head to place a quick kiss on his lips.

“Time for s’mores?” Bianca asked loudly as she stood up from her chair next to Jack and headed toward the supplies by the tent. Most of the group answered in the affirmative, with no one actually objecting.

“Mm…. marshmallows,” Logan commented quietly before nuzzling his nose against Veronica’s neck and sucking lightly right below her ear.

She laughed again and gently shoved him playfully before standing up to help Bianca with the s’mores ingredients. In addition to setting up wood for the fire, Jack had also rounded up several long sticks that were perfect for roasting marshmallows on.   

Since Veronica still wanted to sit on Logan’s lap, she offered to make a s’more for him first before she made one for herself. He seemed a little surprised, but didn’t object either. After he took a big bite of the one she’d made for him, he held it out in offering to her; she of course didn’t object and happily finished it for him.

After making several more for both of them, Veronica ended up curled up on Logan’s lap again, watching the flames dance off the burning wood.

“It’s amazing how many cultures have customs that involve bonfires,” Logan commented quietly, sounding a bit reflective as he also watched the fire.

She let out a soft chuckle and turned to face him, raising an eyebrow questioningly.

He shrugged and looked a little embarrassed that he’d said it outloud. “Sociology class—again—we had to write a paper on similar customs that are found around the world.”

“Of course you did,” she replied with a smug grin. “So what was something interesting you learned from that,” she asked, turning to look at the bonfire again.

Logan tightened his arms around her a bit more and rested his head on her shoulder, allowing him to more easily talk quietly into her ear. “Well, most of the customs centered around seasonal changes, like the spring, summer or winter solstices. Not surprisingly, several had ties to witches and Halloween. I think the most unusual thing I read about was piano burning.”

Veronica pulled away slightly so she could look at him, a puzzled expression on her face. “Piano burning?” she asked skeptically.

Logan smiled, nodded and then repositioned his head as she turned toward the fire again. “Yep. There are several theories about how and why it started exactly, but it seems to have originated with the Royal Air Force between the first and second world wars. One legend was that there had been a piano-playing pilot in the Royal Air Force that played to his fellow airmen each time one of them had been killed. When he himself was killed in action, his comrades decided that if he couldn't play the piano any more, nobody would, so they dragged it outside and set it on fire. Another frequently told theory was that before the Second World War, the Royal Air Force had to select its pilots from the common population, instead of their usual preference for upper-class families because so many men had died in the First World War. They had attempted to educate the pilots on refined manners, including playing the piano, which they thought would not only improve their level of culture but also their dexterity. As you might guess, those lessons weren’t very popular among the pilots. According to the story, there was an accidental fire at one of the bases and their only piano was destroyed and the lessons had to be cancelled. Word spread, and soon pilots at more and more Royal Air Force bases began to burn the pianos to avoid lessons.”

Veronica couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m certainly glad Lilly didn’t know about that! Do you remember how much she protested taking piano lessons when we were in middle school? She finally convinced Celeste to let her quit, but if she’d known about burning pianos I bet she would have tried that.”

Logan chuckled as well and nodded against her shoulder. “I could totally imagine her pushing it out to the patio and lighting it on fire.”

Since the fire was starting to die down a little bit, Jack stood up from his chair and reached for another log to add to it.

“I think we’re ready to head back to the houseboat,” Casey announced as Shelly climbed off his lap so he could stand up too. While Jack, Bianca, Dinah and Bennett seemed to all opt for individual chairs, Casey and Shelly had followed Logan and Veronica's lead and curled up together on one as well.

“I’m ready to head back too,” Dinah announced, looking questioningly at Bennett. She’d complained a few more times as they were making s’mores about the smoke following her around and how she was dying to go take a shower to get rid of the smell. Bennett nodded in agreement and stood up from his chair as well.

Veronica saw a pout starting to form on Bianca’s face and knew she was about to protest everyone leaving so early. Veronica herself was certainly torn, knowing that once they headed back to the houseboat, they’d get to leave for the hotel again. A second later, the anticipated protest from Bianca started.

“You’ll stay a while longer, won’t you V?” Bianca asked, giving Veronica puppy dog eyes. “ If you’re leaving tomorrow, it will probably be a few weeks before I get to see you again.”

It didn’t escape Veronica’s notice that Bianca put a little extra emphasis on the word ‘if’, confirming that she was probably already trying to think of more excuses to get them to stay longer as Jack had mentioned earlier.

“Since GQ and Shelly brought the wave-runner over, you two could take the other boat back later and I’ll retrieve it in the morning,” Jack suggested, likely trying to earn some goodwill with Bianca, knowing she’d probably be angry when she found out in the morning that Veronica and Logan had snuck off without telling her.

Veronica decided that earning a bit more goodwill herself probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. “Sure, we could stay a while longer, right Logan?”

Logan let out a very faint laugh but nodded in agreement.

“You know you two could come up and spend some time with us on the island,” Bianca suggested shortly after they’d said goodnight to the rest of the group. “After you’re done with your little coastal tour. I guess depending on how long that even takes, we may not be gone yet. We could all road-trip up there together. That could be a lot of fun.”

While Veronica appreciated the offer, that certainly wasn’t what she hoped to be doing after their drive down the coast. Spending several weeks at the cottage in Santa Barbara was definitely her top priority.

Actually ,” Veronica started, her voice taking on a dramatic flare. “Logan’s friends offered him use of their cottage in Santa Barbara for the summer, so we’ll likely end up there for quite a while.”

“Santa Barbara, hm?” Bianca replied, a mischievous grin forming on her face. “Maybe we should come and visit you there instead.”

“Come on, Twiz. Give them a break. They'll still be in honeymoon mode at that point,” Jack interrupted.

“Wait, what— honeymoon ?” Veronica blurted out, surprised at first that Jack had told Bianca to back off, but then used that as his justification. “We just reunited this week and you're already throwing that out there!”

Bianca and Jack both laughed at Veronica’s reaction.  “I didn't mean it literally ,” Jack explained with a smirk. “Although you two do seem pretty unpredictable, so who knows what could happen on your epic trip down the Cali coast.”

“Mmm… epic ,” Logan whispered quietly into Veronica's ear.

Veronica turned and gave him a questioning glance, realizing he must have remembered at least parts of his grand speech at alterna-prom. He smiled coyly at her and pressed a quick kiss to her temple.

“Well, you'd better not get married without us,” Bianca chimed in. “If we get back from Washington and find out you eloped or something, there will be consequences,” she added with a stern expression.

“I'm positive we can promise no unplanned nuptials, right, Logan?”

“Well, Dallas has a point—we are pretty unpredictable. And I certainly never would have predicted we’d end up here, like this at Shasta, so I don’t think that I want to rule anything out,” Logan responded, a bit of capriciousness in his tone.

Veronica turned to look at him again, her eyes wide and an incredulous look on her face. She opened her mouth but no words came out. Logan chuckled and leaned in to kiss her cheek.

“I’m just kidding. Of course we won’t get married on our trip,” he clarified with an amused grin. “I do love leaving you speechless, though.”

“That’s definitely an impossible feat,” Jack declared with a laugh.

“Hey!” Veronica protested, more in defense of them all picking on her rather than it being completely untrue.

“You know we all love you, V,” Bianca reassured her with a broad grin. “But it is pretty hard to leave you speechless.”

“Well I guess if anyone’s ever had that effect on me, it’s been Logan,” Veronica admitted with a tender smile directed at him.

He looked slightly surprised by her statement but then leaned in and kissed her soundly.

“I think Birdie’s appeased your neediness enough tonight, hasn’t she?” Jack asked Bianca with a sly grin. “We should probably let the two of them head back to the houseboat before it gets any later, don’cha think?”

Bianca let out a disgruntled sigh, but nodded reluctantly. “Fine.”

“Thanks for talking us into staying for the bonfire. It really was a lot of fun,” Veronica told Bianca as she stood up and gave her a hug.

“Mm-hm. Told ya,” Bianca said with a smug grin as Veronica stepped back toward Logan. “You two enjoy the rest of your night,” Bianca added suggestively.

“Oh, I’m sure we will,” Veronica confirmed with a wink before she grabbed Logan’s hand and started to drag him back to the boat.


 

Veronica stared wistfully out the large windows at the tranquil lake as she swallowed the last bite of her cinnamon hazelnut pancakes. The night before had been absolutely perfect and they’d made good use of the king size bed in their hotel room. They’d woken up fairly early, having decided the night before to grab breakfast at the restaurant before they started their drive to the coast. Since it was still early, there weren’t many boats cruising around the lake yet and it seemed so perfectly peaceful.

Logan reached over and squeezed her hand that was resting on top of the table. “If you’re not ready to leave yet, we could stick to the original plan of staying another two nights and leaving with everyone else on Sunday.” He gave her a little wink as she turned to look at him before he added, “I’m pretty sure Dallas hasn’t already rented our room out to another couple.”

Veronica shook her head and gave him a loving smile. “Nope. I’m sure we’ll be back again. This is an annual tradition , ya know?”

“Well, I’ll always remember it as one of the best weeks of my life. The week I was lucky enough to be given another chance with you,” he admitted to her as he lifted her hand up and then placed a tender kiss on the back of her hand. “I’d gladly celebrate that every year for the rest of our lives.”

“Me too,” she replied, beaming at him. “And to think, this is just the beginning of an entirely new chapter in our epic love story ,” she added lovingly.

Logan took a deep breath and nodded before he leaned in and kissed her firmly. “Shall we get started on the next chapter of our happily ever after then?” he asked as he rested his forehead against hers.

Veronica bit on her lip to keep from smiling too broadly as she nodded in reply. This time she was definitely willing to fight to make sure that they both got their happy ending— together .