Chapter 23: Couples' Night
Parker debated all afternoon on what she could do to cheer up Duncan. She knew that saying goodbye to his daughter had to be one of the hardest things he had done, especially since he didn't know how long she would have to be gone. Their relationship was still new, so she wasn't yet confident of her place or what he would want or even appreciate from her. However, it wasn't in her nature to not try and help someone she cared about. She decided for a casual approach. Bringing by a pizza to share with him wouldn't be too pushy. At least that's what she hoped. Both Jazmin and Mac had plans for the evening, so she had nothing else to do. Parker didn't know if she should call and ask him or not. When she was depressed, she often avoided people. But people were always what made her feel better.
Deciding to take a risk, she stopped and bought a large supreme pizza to take by to him. Most men she knew liked supreme. She had developed a habit at a young age of picking off toppings she didn't like. It saved time and arguments over food toppings growing up.
When the doorbell rang, Duncan got up to answer it. He had seen all his friends today, and his dad was out of town for the weekend. He looked through the peek hole and smiled in surprise when he realized it was Parker. He opened the door. "This is a nice surprise. Come in. I was meaning to call you," he said.
"I hope it's okay that I just dropped by like this. I thought you might be feeling a bit lonely with your mom and Lily gone," Parker said. "I brought dinner. Have you ate yet?"
"Actually, I haven't, so I'm really glad you stopped by," Duncan said, offering her a grateful smile. He had wanted to call her, but he didn't feel that he was good company. Now, however, she was here, and he felt better already.
He led her into the kitchen and got out some plates and napkins. "What would you like to drink? Coke? Beer? Water?" he asked.
"Whatever you're having," she replied. She sat down the box and opened it up.
Duncan got out two ice cold beers. "It seems like forever since I've had a beer and pizza. Mom doesn't like Lily to eat pizza," Duncan said. He sat down next to her and handed her a beer.
"My first semester at Hearst I ate it all the time. When I went home, I stayed away from it for awhile. No one makes pizza back home like Mr. Cho does," Parker said. She dished them both out a slice.
They ate in companionable silence. Duncan liked the fact that they were able to do that. It was something he had always been able to do with Veronica. She loved to eat, and he had loved to watch her relish in the art of eating. With her, it had been an art form. Meg had barely ate. Jazmin had a healthy appetite, but she had such perfect manners. She was as different from Veronica as any girl he'd ever known. Parker was more like Meg in personality, but at times he saw a much more outgoing side to her. Then she reminded him of Veronica. Duncan knew that it was past time for him to quit comparing all women to Veronica. The person Veronica was now didn't fit him. He knew that. But the memory of the girl she was before Lilly died still haunted him at times. If he hadn't been so hell bent on recapturing what they'd had before Lilly died, maybe he would've been a better boyfriend to Meg. Maybe she'd still be alive and his daughter would have her mother with her. Sometimes that thought kept him awake at night.
Parker finally spoke and broke him out of his nostalgic musings. "What are you thinking so hard about?" she asked.
"I was thinking how nice it was to share a simple meal like this with a pretty girl. It seems like it has been forever," Duncan said. "The lengths I've had to go through to get you to finally spend time with me!" he teased.
Parker smiled at the compliment. She felt relieved that he was happy about her impromptu drop by. "I'm glad. I thought you could use it and the company. I hate what you've had to go through lately," she told him. She lightly touched his arm in consolation.
"Well, it's mostly my fault. I'm the reason the Sorokins are hell bent on revenge," Duncan said, a note of self-loathing in his voice.
"People are responsible for their own actions. You for yours and Sean and his family for theirs. Your friend's death is not your fault. You didn't plant a bomb or make them go that route. As my grandma always told me growing up, 'Don't borrow trouble.' Don't take things on you that don't belong there. We all mess up. None of us are perfect. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and move on. Teach our children what we've learned," Parker said.
Duncan looked at her in amazement. Her complete acceptance of him and what he had done floored him. She was always surprising him that way. It'd been such a long time since he'd felt that kind of acceptance from a woman. Only from Lilly really. His sister was never one to cast stones on him even though their parents always blamed her for everything. Without giving it much thought, he leaned over and kissed her. It was a kiss of friendship and admiration. A kiss that wasn't allowed to turn into anything else before he pulled back. "Thank you, Parker. You can't know how much your acceptance means to me," Duncan said.
"I'd like to think I could be a good friend to you if you'd like," she said.
"I think I'd like a whole lot more than friendship from you, Parker Lee. I'm starting to find it harder and harder to resist you," Duncan confessed. He gave her a look that spoke volumes.
Parker felt her body grow a bit warm at his heated glance. She took a risk and leaned forward to kiss him. This time she opened her mouth slightly to let him know that a kiss of friendship wasn't what she was hoping for.
Duncan took the hint and gave her the kiss she wanted. Before the kiss got out of hand, he pulled back. They gazed at each other in wonderment. He grabbed her hands in his, and they stared at each other. Duncan brushed a hand across her face. "I am crazy about you, Parker," he confessed.
Parker gave him a searching look before replying. Was she ready to get close to another man again? The pain of Piz's abandonment still stung. "You're pretty amazing yourself. Piz really hurt me. We have to go slow," she told him.
"We can go as slow as you like. I know you'll be worth waiting for," he said.
Her brilliant smile warmed him. Finally, something in his life was falling into place.
*****Jazmin and Eli*****
Jazmin was waiting for Eli outside of the maintenance building on campus. She hadn't got to spend much time with Eli due to the case they just wrapped up. When she slept over his place, she'd be asleep when he got in, and sometimes he'd be gone when she got up working on the case. Now that it was over, she was determined that they spend some quality time together. She was sending a text message to her brother when a voice called out to her. She looked up and saw David walking toward her. Feigning a friendly smile, she said, "Hello," as he came up to her.
"I'm glad that I ran into you. How have you been?" David asked.
"Fine. And you?" she asked politely.
"Good. I wanted to apologize to you. I know I was an ass the last time we saw each other. I don't take rejection well," he admitted with a rueful smile.
Jazmin was relieved at his overture and gave him a genuine smile. "I hope we can be friends," she offered. "I know what it's like to be in a new place and not know anyone. That was me last year."
David's expression brightened at her warm smile. "I could never disappoint a beautiful lady," he told her. "I'll be seeing you." Jazmin waved goodbye, feeling good about their encounter. She hated conflict.
Eli was coming out of his building and saw David walking away from Jazmin. He couldn't prevent the annoyance and possessiveness that came over him at the thought of another guy sniffing around her. He didn't like Wallace's roommate. A guy that went out of his way to appear like a harmless cowboy had to be hiding something. Eli's suspicious nature refused to take his Texas Southern charm at face value. He went to Jazmin. "Was he bothering you?" he asked her, his annoyance obvious.
Jazmin rose when she saw him. "Actually, he was very nice. He apologized for being a jerk the last time I saw him," she said.
"He was a jerk to you? What did he do?" Eli asked, his fist clenched at the thought of anyone being less than cordial to her.
"It was nothing. He just didn't like the fact that I'd rather date you than him," she said, giving him a teasing grin. She put her arms around his neck. "Are you jealous?"
"Of that dumb cowboy? Hardly," he scoffed.
"I kind of like you all jealous and protective. It's kind of sexy," she said. She leaned closer to him and nibbled on his ear, knowing the affect that would have on him.
A low growl erupted at her boldness. "I don't like other guys sniffing around you," he admitted. Then he punctuated that confession with a passionate kiss, feeling the need to remind her that she was his.
Jazmin pulled back, breathing heavy. "This is too public a place for a kiss like that," she said looking around, suddenly feeling very self-conscious. PDA wasn't something she ever did.
Eli laughed at her sudden shyness, finding it sweet. "It's not my fault your irresistible. You started it!" he accused, taking her hand, so they could walk to his car. "Did you drive?"
"No, I came to campus with Parker. She was working up her courage to go see Duncan when I last saw her," Jazmin shared.
Eli gave her a quizzical look. "Does that bother you? Her dating your ex?" he asked, trying to sound casual.
Jazmin, of course, saw through his attempt at casualness. The subject of Duncan Kane was never a topic he could be casual about. She laughed. "No, not at all. I don't care who Duncan dates. Parker would be a good match for him," she said.
"He cares who you date," Eli said. "He doesn't like you dating me."
"Well, that's his problem. Not mine and not ours. Not unless you try to make it our problem. Duncan and I broke up several months ago. I never loved him. If I did, I wouldn't have been able to move on so quickly and date Wallace," she said.
Eli gave her a sour look. He didn't like to be reminded of the other guys she had been with before him. He hadn't been able to even think about another girl since he first met her a year ago. He didn't reply to her comment.
Jazmin waited for him to say something. When they made it to his car, he opened the passenger door for her. She looked at his grim face and realized he was upset. She reached out and touched his face. "Hey, what's wrong? Are you upset with me?" she asked, puzzled.
"No. I just don't like to be reminded that I wasn't your first choice," he said. He turned to go to the driver's side of the car.
Jazmin was stunned by his comment. She got in the car and stopped him from starting the car by putting her hand on his. "Eli, we need to talk about that. Look at me," she ordered.
Eli looked up at her expectantly. "It's okay. I know I'm lucky that a girl like you would even look twice at me. I shouldn't have said that," he said, not wanting to upset her. They hadn't been dating long enough for a true disagreement. He had waited too long for her to let anything come between him, especially not his stupid insecurities or jealousies.
"You were always my first choice, Eli. Don't you know that by now?" she said earnestly. "I wanted you from the first day we met. But you were so intense and so abrasive with me. I didn't know how to handle a guy like you. You didn't seem to want me, remember?"
Eli frowned at the reminder of what an ass he'd been when they met. She'd already met and liked Duncan, and he'd been insanely jealous from the start. "You were already dating Duncan when we met," he reminded her.
"It's not my fault I met him first. But no man has ever made me feel so much so fast the way you have," she said, wanting him to understand how important he was to her.
"I get you hot, huh?" he teased.
She blushed at his comment and his searing look. "You know that you do," she said. He leaned over and kissed her. Her arms went around his neck, pulling him close. Their tongues dueled for dominance. He kissed her like he would never get enough of her. Once again, she pulled back and looked at him. "I love you, Eli Navarro," she said softly. "I really do. And I don't want you to ever feel like you're not good enough for me. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I want you to know that."
Eli felt a lump in his throat at her words. She had never told him before that she loved him. Not even when he said it to her. He hadn't minded because he had just been so grateful to be with her. Now, however, after hearing the words, he realized that a part of him had been waiting for her to say it. Feeling emotional, he cleared his throat before replying. "I love you, Princess. More than anyone or anything." Then he kissed her once again, wanting her to know how much she meant to him. When he felt like he was going to explode if he didn't get inside of her soon, he ended the kiss. "We need to go somewhere more private before I make love to you right here in the car," he said.
Jazmin took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing pulse. She smiled at his words. She loved the affect she had on him. Reaching over to grab the seatbelt, she felt a burst of happiness flow through her. No matter what else was going on in her life being with Eli made her feel so much better. She had been waiting her entire life to feel this way. When he reached over to hold onto her hand after they pulled out, she smiled happily at him. No guy she'd ever been with had ever felt such a need to constantly touch her. It made her feel so special, so loved. He may look rough, but he was so sweet with her, so loving. She never was allowed to forget for one moment that he treasured her. It was like he had been waiting his entire life to love her. Duncan may make more sense on paper, and Wallace may have been the safe choice in some ways. However, both guys disappointed her. The very nice Wallace had betrayed her. With Eli, no part of her doubted him. He may not look like a Prince Charming, but he was hers.
She looked over at him and said, "You know I am very lucky to have found a guy like you. A guy who makes me feel so treasured."
Eli gave her that slow, sexy smile of his. It never failed to make her melt. "Lucky for you, I love Italian," he teased.
Her laughter rang out. Eli smiled a smile that few ever saw. A smile of pure joy.
*****Dick and Mac******
Dick went over to see Mac feeling restless and out of sorts. Mac was on her laptop in the living room when Dick came in. She smiled to see him. "I'm glad you came by. We have the house to ourselves this evening," she shared happily.
Dick nodded and sat down next to her. Mac frowned. He usually would've had his shirt off by now if she told him they were alone. "What? Tired of me already? Have we already become like an old married couple?" she joked, expecting him to either laugh or looked horrified at her suggestion. When he did neither but picked up the remote, she grew concerned. She nudged him and asked, "Dick, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
Dick looked at her and shrugged. "I'm okay. Things have just been kind of sucky lately, especially at the house," he shared morosely.
He was so rarely in a bad mood that Mac was taken aback. She had gotten so used to him letting everything role off his back that she took his congeniality and laid back nature for granted. She moved closer and took the remote from him. Turning off the TV, she said, "Please tell me what's bothering you. I hate seeing you so down."
"The guys at the house are giving me a hard time. Some of them are really mad about Sean being accused of stuff. Then since Wallace attacked him, they've gone ape-shit. A few have always resented the fact that I have close friends outside of the fraternity. Like I'm betraying them or something. I'm sick of defending myself. Defending my friends. I'm thinking of quitting," Dick admitted.
Mac waited a few beats before replying. Although as a rule, she hated frat guys and frat-boy mentality, she knew how much Dick loved it. He loved being a part of something with tradition and structure. He had no family to speak of and loyalty was bred into his bones. He loved the entire Greek system, and she knew he would seriously hate it if he walked away.
"Well, I can understand why your fraternity brothers would be angry. They can't really understand why your high school friends are so important to you. You can't really blame them for that. If Wallace had been another guy you didn't know attacking one of your fraternity brothers, you'd be just as angry as them," she said.
Dick nodded and gave a loud sigh. "Yes, you're right. But it wasn't some other guy. It was Wallace. He never gets mad about anything. He's kind of like me that way. That's why he's so cool to hang out with it. Logan, Duncan, and Veronica are always so intense and easily worked up about stuff. Wallace just goes with the flow. He'd have never acted like that if he hadn't been drinking. The booze combined with all the shit that's been going on was just like too much, ya know?"
Mac nodded and rubbed his shoulders to let him know she understood and was listening. She had to hide her smile. Not even for a second did it occur to Dick to be upset with Wallace for putting him in this position. His absolute loyalty always astounded her.
"I sort of wanted to hit Sean a time or two myself. This is some insane shit we're having to worry about. Sweet Lily having to leave town just so we don't have to worry about her being blown to smithereens. It's crazy. I hate it! And I just can't deal with my fraternity brothers giving me such crap because I can't really explain everything to them. Not to their satisfaction anyway. I'm mean Chip gets it, I think, but no one else really," Dick said.
"Do you want to know what I think?" Mac asked.
"Yes. Always," Dick replied.
"I think you shouldn't quit something you love because of a shithead like Sean," Mac said.
Dick's eyes widened at Mac's use of profanity. "You said shit!" he exclaimed. Then he grinned, obviously pleased by her crassness.
"I also think that you need to use some of that famous Casablancas charm to win over your fraternity brothers. Start sharing with them about Julie, the mad bomber, using Wallace and him feeling like a chump. Remind them that she is Sean's cousin. Plant some doubts about Sean without actually saying anything against him. If you come out against him because of your non-Greek friends, they are honor bound to defend him. However, if you just share some crucial details and let them draw their own conclusions, you'll find more of them looking at him with distrust. I guarantee," Mac advised.
Dick grinned at her. "You've been hiding your deviousness from me! I knew you were like a genius, but I didn't know you could compete with Ronnie as the master manipulater," he said, pleased at seeing a new side to her.
"I am Q to her Bond for a reason," she replied smugly. "Besides, guys are fairly easy to lead-no offense. Now conniving bitches, that's another thing."
"You said bitch! You're turning into a bad girl! It's so hot!" Dick exclaimed. Then he wondered, "What bitch are you referring to?"
"Madison Sinclair, of course. I have to go to a family brunch tomorrow. It's with both families, so I know she won't be able to get out of it," Mac shared. "Will you come with me?"
"Sure. I can handle Maddy. Lots of practice dealing with her bitchiness. I'm like immune by now," Dick said proudly.
"Good. Do you want me to order some Chinese? I'm hungry," Mac said.
Dick agreed, feeling a ton better. Mac always made him feel so good about himself. Just one of the many reasons why he loved her. After she ordered some food, she said, "So it'll be at least a half hour before delivery. Whatever will we do until then?" She gave him a saucy grin.
He returned it with a wolfish grin of his own, knowing what she wanted from him. "I can think of something," he said. She giggled as he covered her body, pressing her back onto the couch.
*****Jason and Daisy******
Daisy was a bit nervous as she rang Jason's doorbell. She had never liked a guy as much as she liked him. However, her natural inclination was to be wary of all men, especially a guy like him. He was too smooth, too confident. Too much like her in so many ways. But he was just different enough to keep her guessing, to keep her interested.
Jason greeted her at the door with a warm smile. He cast an admiring look as he took in the outfit she had on. She wore a very short black dress with a square bodice. "You are too beautiful for words," he said, giving her a whistle. "Come in. Dinner is almost ready. Just a few light touches."
She followed him into the kitchen and watched him finish getting everything ready. "Can I help?" she asked.
He gave her two dishes to take to the table and followed her with two more. "Have a seat while I get out the wine," he said.
Daisy sat down and watched him move around the kitchen. He seemed so comfortable. Not awkward like most of the men she'd known. Chip could barely find the refrigerator most days. "You seem at home in the kitchen," she remarked.
"I have an Italian grandmother who believed that I couldn't trust American girls to keep me properly fed," he said, flashing a fond smile at the thought of her.
"The grandmother who hosted Veronica and Mac over the summer in Italy?" she asked.
"Yes. She's a special lady. She's mainly the reason Jazmin was allowed to come to school here. My grandfather can rarely refuse her anything," Jason shared.
Daisy didn't really want to talk about Jazmin, so she changed the subject. "You know, no man has ever cooked dinner for me," she confessed.
Jason looked surprised. "Really? That just goes to show you what idiots you've dated before me," he bragged.
"You know I dated your good friend Wallace, right?" she pointed out.
"Well, Wallace has his good qualities, but he can also be an idiot when it comes to girls. He did kiss another woman while dating my sister," Jason said, annoyed at the memory.
Daisy did know that, but she was still surprised. Wallace never seemed like the type to stray. His ex must've been some girl. She didn't comment further but took a bite of the Chicken Marsala. Relieved that she wouldn't have to lie, she said, "Hmmm. This is really good. I'm impressed."
"You don't have to seem so shocked!" he exclaimed as he took a bite himself. He chewed with an obvious sense of satisfaction. He loved it when something he worked on turned out the way he anticipated.
They had a very nice dinner. Each shared a little bit more about themselves. Both were pleased to discover they had the same taste in music. Jason loves Blues, but he could rarely get his sister to go to any of the Blues clubs in Chicago. Daisy shared how her dad had been a huge fan and had passed on his love to her. The music always made her think of him and the good times they had together.
After they finished eating, Jason put in his favorite B.B. King CD and held out his hand, so they could dance. "Here?" Daisy said in surprise.
"Sure. Why not? It's just the two of us," Jason replied with an easy smile.
She got up and took his hand and let him pull her close.
"It's a good way for me to get my hands on you," he teased.
She laughed and pulled back slightly to look him in the eyes. "Are you that desperate to get your hands on me?" she asked coyly.
"You have no idea," he said. Then he pulled her back against him, and she rested her head against his chest. They fit together perfectly. For several minutes they swayed gently to the music, letting it wash over them.
After the song ended, Daisy looked up to see Jason look at her with longing. She rose up and kissed him. He returned her kiss with fervor, pulling her even closer against him. After a few minutes, he backed her up to the couch and slowly eased her down on it, never stopping or slowing the kiss. She allowed him to lower her onto the couch, enjoying the feel of his body cradled against her softness. He released her lips and moved his mouth down her neck, kissing it softly. She wanted his lips back and tugged him back up to her mouth. The kiss grew even more heated.
Jason broke off the kiss, breathing heavily. "God, can you kiss!" he moaned in admiration.
"You're not so bad yourself," she replied with a satisfied grin. She pulled him back to her and the kissing continued. It wasn't long before he reached his hand into her bodice to squeeze her breast. She moaned in pleasure at his touch. Just when he was about to bare her breasts-it'd been too long since he'd seen them-she pushed him back and sat up.
He gave her a quizzical look. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"I appreciate the dinner, but I didn't come over here to sleep with you," she told him, trying to get her own racing pulse under control.
Jason sat back a bit, trying to calm down. He pushed down his instant protest and smiled easily. "Why not? I can tell you want me," he said.
"Of course, I want you. What woman doesn't?" she said, shrugging carelessly. "But that's not the point. I'm not going to be one of your easy conquests."
"Easy? I've told you before there's nothing easy about you!" he protested. "I can barely sleep for want of you!"
Daisy smiled in delight at his confession. She leaned forward to kiss him. Before the kiss got out of hand, she broke it off. "I really like you, Jason, but I don't want to have sex yet."
"We've slept together before, so I'm having trouble understanding your hesitancy," Jason admitted, struggling to figure out her angle.
"I don't mean to be a tease. But you know how things worked out before," she replied, sitting up all the way and moving her feet to the floor. "You walked away and basically forgot it happened. That hurt me. I'm not trying to punish you, Jason. I'm really not. It's not easy for me to forgive anyone, but I have. However, forgetting will take a bit longer."
Jason gave her a contrite look. "I really am sorry about that. Life gets crazy sometimes. It wasn't because you were so forgettable. I was an idiot. I really regret it," he said sincerely.
"Yeah, I know you do," she said, laughter in her voice as she eyed his erection.
Jason actually flushed at her jab and looked. He grabbed a pillow and put it on his lap and threw a glare her way. "Not just because of that!" he insisted.
"Maybe not. But I know it makes it a bit harder for you. And I can appreciate it," she said. "I like sex, Jason. And I really liked sex with you. I think if we wait and get to really know each other this time, it could be even better. We could have something special. I'm tired of not being a guy's first choice. I think I deserve more than I've been holding out for from guys."
Her frankness surprised them both. For the first time in her life, Daisy felt like maybe pleasure shouldn't be all there was to a relationship. The physical shouldn't be the center. Jason made her feel so many things. It scared her. She wasn't going to give herself to him again unless she was convinced she truly meant something to him. This guy could really hurt her; she wasn't going to let him.
Jason's look softened at her confession. "You should never settle, and I don't want you to," he said.
"I should go," she said, getting up.
Jason grabbed her hand and pulled her back down next to him. "How about you stay? I'll control myself. We can just be together. Watch some TV," he suggested.
Daisy hesitated for a moment. "Okay," she said slowly, a bit surprised he still wanted her to stay.
"Good!" Jason enthused. He sat back, pulling her up against him until she snuggled into his side. He kept his arm around her and grabbed the remote with his other hand, turning on the TV.
Daisy allowed herself to relax against him, enjoying the feeling of being in his arms. She was beginning to believe that sex really wasn't all he wanted from her.
******Logan and Veronica******
Veronica came home after spending some time with her stepmom. She really liked having Alicia in that role. Although they had started off rocky back when she and Wallace first became friends, they now had a great relationship. Her dad had told Alicia about her pregnancy, and she was very excited. She was dying to tell Wallace, so she was pressuring Veronica to tell Logan already. Veronica tried to explain all her reasons for not telling Logan. Alicia's look of disappointment rankled. But Veronica wasn't ready. It hardly seemed real. Things were barely okay between her and Logan after the whole Hannah fiasco. And now Sean was going around planting bombs. Lily was sent away for her own safety. Things were a mess. After the P. I. job, and Duncan and Logan's latest conversation, Veronica knew Logan would go nuts with worry if she told him now. She'd barely be able to go to the bathroom without an escort. Just thinking about it made her feel suffocated.
Feeling dejected, Veronica went inside the beach house. "Logan?" she called out. The place was quiet. "Trina?" She sat her purse down and went in the bedroom. No one was there. She heard a noise coming from the kitchen. She turned and walked toward it. When she opened up the kitchen door, she blinked in surprise. Logan smiled at her, obviously pleased with himself. He had prepared a delicious smelling candlelight dinner for them.
Veronica stepped into the kitchen. "Wow! This looks great, Logan. What did I do to deserve this?" she asked. She went and gave him a light kiss.
He hugged her to him. "I miss you. Things have been out of control lately. You've seemed distance since the mess with Hannah. I wanted to remind you of us, and I know you're upset over Lily leaving. I thought a nice, romantic dinner was something we both could use," he said. He pulled out a chair for her.
She sat down. "I don't mean to be distance. It's just been one thing after another the past few weeks," she replied.
Logan poured her a glass of wine. Veronica mentally winced. How to get out of drinking it? She could pretend to sip it. "Can I have a glass of water, too? I'm thirsty. All the talking with Alicia," she said casually.
"Did you have a good time?" Logan asked as he got up to get her a glass of ice water.
"Yes. I'm really glad dad married Alicia. Dad's out of town doing you know what, so Alicia was missing him already. She's not had to deal with him being gone much like I did when he was a P. I. As Sheriff, he gets to mostly stay home," Veronica said. She looked down at her plate in surprise. "You ordered from Luigi's!"
Logan grinned. "Hey, why should I try to improve on perfection? You love it. I enjoy it, and I wanted to give you a nice dinner without the stress of you having to get dressed up to go out," Logan replied.
"You spoil me," she said, giving him a look of love.
"I plan on it," he replied, giving her one of those intense looks that never ceased to make her toes curl.
"How was your day?" she asked after she took her first bite.
"Good. I have some good news for you," he said. "Hannah left today to go back to New York to start her Maybelline shoot."
Veronica smiled. "That is good news. Now I don't have to worry about you catting around on me," she joked.
However, the joke fell flat as Logan looked wounded at the jab. "Do you really think so little of me? Of us?" he asked.
"No! Of course not! I was just kidding. I know you'd never really cheat on me," she assured him.
"Do you really? Because I never have. And never will. In fact, I've never cheated on any girl I dated. Remember, it was always Lilly stepping out on me. So did Caitlin. You always looked at my sleeping with Madison as a betrayal. You reacted like I cheated on you, but I didn't. We'd been broken up for weeks," he said flatly, as if reciting a litany he'd thought of many times before.
Veronica hated to think about that particular time between them. She knew she'd overreacted. Her insecurities and naturally distrustful nature had turned her somewhat psychotic. When it came to Madison Sinclair, she just couldn't be rational. Veronica liked to think that maybe if it had been anyone but her, she would not have broken up with him.
She put down her fork and got up from her chair. She knelt down next to him and said, "Logan, you have to forgive me for hurting you over that because I truly and honestly have forgiven you for sleeping with Madison. I never think of it, and I know you would never ever cheat on me. I really did mean nothing by that comment. It was a careless joke. Please, don't be mad. You made a beautiful dinner, and I really appreciate it. I love you more than anything."
Logan gave her a searching look. Then he pushed his chair back and reached down and pulled her into his lap. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be so sensitive. I just hate be reminded of those days and how I lost you," he said.
She smiled. "You never really lost me, you know. I always belonged to you. I was just kind of stupid and stubborn for awhile," she replied.
"Stupid and stubborn," he repeated as if savoring the words. "Can I quote you on that?"
She laughed. "Shut up and kiss me!" she ordered.
"My pleasure, snookums," he said. He relished in kissing her, in knowing that she was his and he was hers.
I hope you liked my happy love chapter! I'm relocating the 15th, so I'll try to get chapter 24 written and posted before I leave. I already have chapter 25 ready to go. It's a doozy of a chapter, so I wrote it first. Love to hear from you!