Chapter 1 - Skinny Dipping for Lilly

"You look beautiful honey." Keith wrapped his arm across Veronica's shoulder and gave her a squeeze.

Veronica had decided to take the fashion advice of the ghost of Lilly and wear the red satin dress for homecoming. It was a little more daring than she was actually feeling and not exactly how she wanted to present herself to Troy, but, when she had seen the dress she could almost feel Lilly's presence. If only she had remember that Lilly wasn't to be trusted…

"Thanks Dad." She smiled as a knock came at the door. Wanting to limit Troy and Keith's time together she rushed to the door. "Good, you're on time, night Dad! Don't wait up…" Pushing Troy right back out before Keith could get in a word.

Wallace and Georgia were already in the limo talking excitedly as Veronica slid across the seat. She was sitting on the bench along the back of the limo just like she had in another limo a lifetime ago. The memories were bittersweet. So much happiness and all the unbearable pain that followed. She let her eyes drift to the window as they drove and saw the deserted beach.

I've never…gone skinny dipping.

"Do you mind if we make a stop? There's something I need to do."

A skittish look crossed Troy's face at her words. "Well, I don't think that's a good idea, we should probably go right to the dance, right? I told your dad…"

Veronica ignored him and directed the driver as to where she wanted to stop.

A few minutes later the limo pulled into the parking lot and Veronica opened the door and started to undo the straps on her heels. "You have to stay here," she told Troy.

As she walked away from the limo Wallace's words made her smile, "Don't ask me, man. Stopped trying to figure her out day one."

The bottle of champagne was starting to get a little warm but he didn't care. There were several more bottles in a cooler in the back of his truck. Fuck, should have just lugged the fucking cooler down here in the first place… He got up from the blanket he'd tossed on the sand and headed to retrieve the cooler.

As he approached his truck he saw a limo pull into the parking lot and watched as a small figure emerged from the back. She was carrying her heels and walking toward the water. It was too dark for him to get much of an impression beyond small and in a dress. But his curiosity was piqued. The interior lights of the truck were set to off, so he was pretty sure his presence had gone unnoticed. He grabbed the cooler and started making his way back to the place he'd staked out just up from the high tide mark.

Settled back on his blanket he could now make out more of the little intruder and he was sure he recognized her. Surprising even him—not an easy thing to do—she stripped and moved towards the ocean. She hadn't looked his way so he figured she thought she was alone.

"Here's to you Lilly!" she yelled as she entered the water.

Holy shit! That's Veronica Mars…That's Veronica Mars, naked, and not even twenty yards away from me…

His breath hitched at the memory 'Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. I've never…gone skinny dipping'. His heart began pounding in his chest and his mouth went dry. He watched her for a few moments and then pulled off his shirt, dropped his pants and boxers, and moved towards the water.

"Can you see her out there?" Troy asked an amused Wallace, as he squinted out the window trying to see anything in the darkness.

"Naw, man. But it's V, if she'd wanted you to join her she would have said so. Just cool your jets." Wallace shook his head and smiled at Georgia, who, much to Troy's frustration, seemed totally unconcerned with Veronica's strange behavior.

Troy continued trying to see what Veronica was doing when he was sure he saw another figure further down the beach moving toward her. But it was so dark he couldn't be sure. He'd give her five more minutes and then he was going down there.

The water was cool but not unbearable. Veronica decided she didn't care about ruining her hair and completely submerged herself in the calm water. She stayed below for a few seconds enjoying the rush of the water washing over her and imagining Lilly's reaction.

Veronica Mars, skinny dipping is supposed to be a team sport… but points for effort!

"I've never been skinny dipping with Veronica fucking Mars!"

Veronica let out a little scream as Logan lifted a bottle of champagne to his lips laughing.

"Dammit, Logan! What the hell are you doing here?!"

He held out the bottle to her. "Drink?" He chuckled as she accepted the bottle and took a long sip. "I was just minding my own business, getting drunk here on the beach. And I see a little blonde strip and head for the water." He tilted his head and bought his index finger to the corner of his mouth. "And I think to myself, the ocean can be a dangerous place so late at night, I'd best offer her my services." He waggled his eyebrows at her.

"God, Logan!" She punched him in the shoulder as he moved closer to her and took another sip of the champagne. "Seriously, why are you here?"

His eyes softened and didn't break contact with hers. "I couldn't stand the thought of going to the dance without her…you know, but I also couldn't stand being at home. Aaron's home and wanted to 'bond'. Fuck that! So here I am, naked in the ocean with you." His eyes darkened and moved down her body as if the water wasn't up to her shoulders earning him a smirk.

"Echolls, are you checking me out?" She asked him saucily.

"I've been checking you out since I was twelve years old." He winked at her, taking back the bottle.

What the hell am I doing? Am I flirting with obligatory, psychotic, jackass Logan Echolls?

Except he wasn't being a jackass, he was being the old him. He took another pull from the champagne before offering it back to her.

"Okay, she's been gone a long time. I'm going in." Troy opened the door and started making his way to the water. He came across the pile of her clothes and bent to pick them up. Well, well, well… maybe I was supposed to follow her down here after all.

As he got closer to the water he heard her voice, "…you checking me out?" Troy smiled to himself thinking this was further confirmation of his last thought when a familiar voice responded to her question, "…Since I was twelve years old."

Shit! Is that Echolls? What is she doing with him? He looked down at the bundle in his arms. What the hell is she doing naked with Logan Echolls?! His mood had shifted from excited to well and truly pissed.

"What the hell, Veronica?!" he shouted at the two shadowed figures as he moved closer to the water's edge.

"Troy? I told you to wait in the limo," Veronica replied shortly, while Logan snickered loudly.

"Wow, Troy, you must not be much of a date to have missed this invite…oww! You pinched me!"

"Shut up! Troy, Logan here, saw me and wanted to make sure I was okay, which I am. If you could set my stuff back up where it was, I'll be back to the limo in just a minute."

Troy fumed. Who the fuck did she think she was?

"Yeah, I don't think so…this is fucked up! I'm leaving, but I bet Echolls here can help you find your way home."

With that Troy stalked back up toward the limo. What the hell am I going to do with her clothes? Can't let Wallace see, he'll never let me get away with it. But no way in hell am I letting her get away with that! He thought furiously and pulled out his cell phone.

"Hey, man, my date ditched me, can you pick me up at the entrance to the beach by the park?…Great, see you in a few."

Troy continued around to the other side of the limo, away from the water, and opened the door, being sure to keep the bundle of Veronica's clothes out of sight. "Hey, Veronica wants to just sit out here for a while, I called a cab, we'll catch up with you at the dance."

"Are you sure man? We don't mind waiting, right Georgia?" At Georgia's disappointed expression Troy knew he had won.

"Really, Wallace, it's fine, get the lovely Georgia here to that dance. We'll see you soon."

"Okay, I guess. Just remember, Mr. Mars'll have your ass if you hurt her, and so will I." Wallace gave him an only somewhat joking look. And Troy nodded seriously, shutting the door.

Like I care what you or 'Mr. Mars' will do, I'm outta here in a few days anyway… fuck them.

"Well, that was interesting," Logan chuckled to himself as Troy stomped away back to the limo. He turned to look at Veronica. "What the hell do you see in that asshole, anyway?" He reached out for the bottle.

"Less than I did before tonight. Um…Logan, I'm pretty sure he didn't leave my clothes on the beach like I asked. And those lights are the limo leaving." She turned to meet his eyes, nervously chewing on her full lower lip.

"I'll bet he didn't. Don't worry about it, I gotcha." His smirk deepened and his eyes glittered wildly in the moon light. His voice softened at her less than pleased expression, "Seriously, don't worry, he didn't grab my clothes. You can just wear some of my stuff and I'll take you home."

"Ugh…Okay, you know Lilly is loving this, right?" He nodded his agreement. "Oh, god, you're going to tell everyone about this, aren't you?" she sighed heavily and pouted toward where the limo had departed.

Oh my god, that was adorable, I'd forgotten all the little sounds she makes. I wonder what other sounds I could get her to make…His eyes unfocused and a barrage of images of him and Veronica flew through his mind. Where the hell did that come from? Good thing this water is so cold or this could get embarrassing really fast.

He coughed, his voice a little rougher, "I think I can give you a pass this one time, in honor of Lilly and all…" he trailed off with an elaborate hand gesture from his free hand as he offered her the bottle back. "So here's the thing, right now we are both very much naked." He reached out and touched her shoulder, giving it a little squeeze, that sent a shiver down his back and caused her to tremble at the contact. It's the cold, it has to be.

"Trust me, I haven't forgotten." Her eyes moved from his face to his bare upper chest, where they lingered long enough to send another shiver down his spine. Shit!

He cleared his throat, "Right, um… yeah. I have towels in the truck. I'll go get them and meet you in shallower water?" He looked at her, she was short but much shallower water and she would be flashing him the goods, not that he had a problem with that. He couldn't help the smile that lit up his face.

"I don't think so. You go get the towels and leave me one while you go back to your truck and put on clothes. Got it?" He nodded, his smile not fading in the least.

Well, this is going better than it could have, but not quite what I had in mind when I got this harebrained idea. Thanks a lot, Lilly.

Veronica took another sip from the almost empty champagne bottle while she watched Logan move out of the water. The moon offered enough light that she could see the water glistening on his bare, toned back. I must be tipsy, I'm checking out Logan Echolls' back. And suddenly, it wasn't just his back she was admiring. As his ass appeared fully from the water a gasp escaped Veronica as a feeling of warmth spread through her.

"I heard that, who's checking out who now?" he laughed in a deep, sexy, voice.

Shit, I am never living that down. What is wrong with me? It's gotta be the champagne.

"You are so full of yourself, the water is just getting really cold, so hurry it up!" She tried to recover but he only laughed louder.

"Whatever you say, Mars!" He was now fully out of the water and took a couple of hip-swaying steps before moving quickly toward his hideous Xterra.

She could only see his shadow and then nothing as he faded into the darkness of the parking lot. A minute later she heard the slam of the hatchback and then finally she could see Logan's shadow appear back on the beach.

"All right Mars, your towel awaits you and I am heading back to the truck, as requested, and I will only sneak one peek." He was still laughing softly to himself as he deposited the towel at the water's edge and turned to head back up the sand.

Veronica immediately started making her way to the towel. True to his word, Logan was still heading up to the parking lot and so far he hadn't 'sneaked-a-peek,' much to her relief. Once she reached the towel she quickly wrapped herself in it and began drying off as best she could while walking toward the parking lot. She passed a large blanket and a cooler as she made her way to the Xterra.

As she approached the back of the truck she could see Logan, wearing only his cargo pants, with his back bare to her. She noticed a few dark marks that she hadn't been able to see earlier when he got out of the water, they could have been shadows but she didn't think so. Before she had time to think more about the marks he pulled on a tight t-shirt. Logan turned around and smiled at her then reached into the back of the truck. His hands reappeared wiggling what looked like a pair of boxers and one of this button down shirts.

"Sorry I don't have more to offer you, but I wasn't expecting to have to share my clothes with a tiny blonde this evening." He gave her another smirk that faded a bit as he spoke, "I'm also sorry that you needed me to offer these, I'm pretty sure if I hadn't been in the water with you boy-toy Troy wouldn't have taken off with your clothes." He stared at he feet as he toed the tire of the Xterra. He looked back up and a little smile appeared, "What were you wearing tonight? All I could tell was that it was red. Old Veronica never wore red…" He met her eyes.

"It was red satin and definitely Lilly approved." She took her turn to waggle her eyebrows. "And don't be sorry, this wasn't your fault. I'm kind of relieved, honestly. I knew it was just a matter of time before Troy showed his true colors, though I'd hoped for a somewhat less dramatic reveal." She sighed reaching out for the boxers and shirt. She looked around a bit, "Um… I'm just going to a…" She looked around more the heat of a blush creeping up her neck to her cheeks.

Logan could see her discomfort. She wanted to put on the clothes he had offered her but there wasn't much privacy. He rubbed the back of his neck trying to think of a solution and looked back at her. Her gaze had turned from nervous to dark as she stared at his chest. He looked down and realized she was watching his muscles move under the tight shirt. Fuck, she really is checking me out. God, she's wearing nothing under that towel. At the sight of her licking her lips he felt his dick twitch and start to swell completely out of his control. Shit, she's going to kill me, baseball, grandmas, must get her in some clothes… Yeah, clothes. He shook his head and started to act as fast as he could. He reached out and opened the driver's side front and rear doors.

"There! Makeshift dressing-room. I'll be down at the blanket, you saw it on your way up, right?" She gave him a small smile and nodded, stepping between the two open doors.

Logan quickly moved down the beach hoping she hadn't noticed that he was as hard as a rock. He took a few deep breaths and willed his damned erection away. This was not the time. Since the dedication of Lilly's memorial fountain—that she would have hated—he'd thought of Veronica a lot. A year of hate and torment from him and she still had been willing to share that tape. One of the last happy times they had all spent together as the fab four. And now tonight, they had laughed and teased, maybe she had even flirted with him a little and he had liked it, wanted more even. And now this…he sighed down at his lap. He had always found her attractive but this was ridiculous. Being sixteen was impossible.

His revery was broken by the sound of the doors to his truck shutting. Thank god…she'll be covered up now and maybe we can continue this truce a little longer.

She threw herself down on the blanket next to him and laid herself out, staring up at the sky. "It's really beautiful out here," she said and turned to look at him.

Logan was sitting up about halfway down the length of the blanket. He turned his head to meet Veronica's eyes. "Yeah, beautiful." I did not mean to say that. "I mean…" he cleared his throat, "it's beautiful here, the sky and the water. Yeah…" He finished awkwardly. This is going well.

She chuckled softly. "What else you got in that cooler?"

"'We are staunch and true and in rather a champagne mood'." He quoted at her as he reached into the cooler extracting another bottle of champagne and popping the cork. He took a long swig before offering it to her.

"Quoting Nazi era German artists, you're a strange one. Got any food in there? All this excitement kind of drained me."

"I'm the strange one? You recognized it. And no, no food. Besides not planning on sharing clothes with a tiny blonde I also didn't make arrangements for your metabolism." He patted his cargo pockets finally extracting his cell phone. "Shall I call for reinforcements? I don't think I can legally drive and I'm pretty sure you can't either."

"What did you have in mind? I think I could eat a horse," she told him.

"How about Cho's, something easy to eat at our current location?" He had already started searching for the number. "Hey, can I get a pepperoni on sweet n' spicy pizza and like," he looked at Veronica, "four, no better make that five cheesecake egg rolls…Yeah, we're at the beach by the park, the yellow Xterra…I don't know the address…Look just tell the delivery guy to call when he hits the parking lot…Okay, great, thanks." He ended the call.

"God, you are such an 09er." She glared at him but he could tell she didn't mean it.

"Whatever, you'll only be mad until I feed you, I can deal." He couldn't help laughing at her.

Twenty minutes later Logan's phone buzzed and the delivery guy met them with their bounty.

"Mmmm… this is so good. I love their cheesecake egg rolls, they're like crispy little bites of heaven," Veronica moaned, as she finished devouring her third roll.

"Well, at least you let me have two of them. Last time we had these together, I believe, I only got to have a bite of one before you stole it," Logan teased her.

"That was your own fault, clearly, you didn't order enough of them. You did better this time," she volleyed back, while stretching out on the blanket. She rolled onto her side and looked up at him. "Thank you, that was really good and I think I'm actually having a good time." I must still be a little tipsy.

"Of course you're having a good time, you're with me, I am nothing if not a good time."

"Well, Mr. 'Good-time', I'm not so sure you were a good time when you were smashing my head lights…" her voice trailed off, realizing she had stumbled into dangerous territory.

"Hey, Veronica, don't do that, we are having fun here. Let's just take this for what it is—a moment out of time—and not talk about any of that shit. More champagne?" He asked over his shoulder, reaching back into the cooler.

Veronica took a deep breath and decided he was right, why dredge all that up now. There would be plenty of time to battle with him after tonight.

"I'd better not, at some point I do have to go home and my Dad will kill me if I show up drunk as well as not in the clothes I left in. What time is it anyway?" She asked. What am I going to do about the clothes issue? Dad will pop a gasket if I show up dressed like this…

Pulling out his phone, "A little after 11:00 pm. What time do you have to be home? We could stop by my place and you could borrow some of Trina's stuff. I dunno maybe he wouldn't be as upset if you're in girls clothes. I really don't want to be shot by the sheriff." He grimaced.

"Would you prefer a deputy?" She giggled at her little quip. Definitely no more champagne for you, she thought to herself. "I told him not to wait up, but he's probably expecting me by 12:30 pm. I could text him and say I'll be a little later but…my phone is in my purse…which is in the limo." She jumped up and started pacing in front of the blanket agitatedly.

"Chill Mars, why don't I call it and see if anyone answers." He unlocked his phone and hit a speed dial.

Did he just use a speed dial to call my phone? He still has my number? She stared at him incredulously as he lifted the phone to his ear and made eye contact with her. Her expression elicited a sheepish grin and a shrug from Logan.

"Hello…Veronica?!" Wallace yelled so loud that Veronica could hear him when the call was picked up.


"Logan, give me the phone!" Veronica sprang to grab the phone out of Logan's hand before he could say more. "Yes, Wallace it's me."

"Where the hell are you guys? Did you just say Logan? That didn't sound like Troy and you never showed up at the dance…" Wallace said, clearly upset.

"I know, I'm not with Troy—"

"Then who the hell was that?" He interrupted.

"Don't worry about that right now. I'm fine and safe." She smirked at Logan who gave her a little bow. "But I need to know, has my Dad called?"

"Yeah, he called and left you a message…I didn't answer. I was afraid to tell him you were off somewhere with Troy."

"Okay, Wallace, it's fine. Look I'm going to call my phone back and check the voicemail so don't answer and then I'll call you back, got it?" He gave her an affirmative response before hanging up. She quickly dialed back and put in the password for her voice mail.

"Hey honey, I hope you're having fun. I just got a call about a bail jumper in New Mexico. I'm headed to the airport right now. I should be back Sunday and I'll check in with you tomorrow. Be good." The message ended as the call waiting beeped on Logan's phone. She took a quick glance 'Asshole' was displayed.

"Asshole is calling," Veronica laughed handing the phone to Logan whose smile faded.

"It's my dad, um…hold on." He brought the phone to his ear with one hand and the other rubbed the back of his neck. "Dad?"

The voice on the other end of the line was so loud Veronica had no trouble hearing everything he said.

"Where the fuck are you?! I get home and all the champagne I put in the pool house is GONE! Do we need to have another conversation about your behavior, Logan? DO WE?!"

Logan licked his lips and his eyes flicked briefly to Veronica's. "I'm…um…well, there are still two bottles left. I'll be home soon…" he said, his good mood of moments earlier subdued.

"You'd better be!" He had hung up before Logan could say anymore.

"I'd better get you home…my dad is pretty pissed," he said sadly, looking defeated and worried.

What the hell is going on? I remember Logan's dad being pretty intense…something is definitely off with Logan's reaction.

"Maybe I should go with you, to your house. Wallace can just pick me up after the dance. Your house is closer and I don't think you should drive..." she trailed off.

"Oh, sure, I guess that makes sense. How drunk are you? I mean, I feel okay, but I drank most of that last bottle…I don't want to make it worse, you know…" He gave her a small smile that didn't reach his eyes as he set the unopened bottle of champagne back in the cooler.

"I'm fine, I can drive. Just give me your keys and we'll get going. Give me your phone, too, I still need to call Wallace back." He reached in his pocket and handed her the keys as well as his phone.

She quickly redialed her number. "Wallace…yeah, everything's fine…Can you pick me up at the address I'm going to text you? No, it's not a rush, just whenever you're heading home." She looked hesitantly at Logan, who seemed surprised at her words. "Dad's off chasing a bail jumper so my curfew is gone…Probably not until 1:00 am? That's fine…Really, have fun with Georgia and just text this number when you're on the way…Thanks, buddy!" She ended the call.

"Veronica, I'm not sure about this. You want to be subjected to me for at least two more hours? Maybe I should just take you home?"

"Don't be silly! Truce, remember? Onward to the Yellow Beast, let's go Echolls! I don't have all night." She rallied, racing for the car, more to hide her concern than to display excitement. She could hear Logan gathering the blanket and cooler behind her. I don't know what's going on with Logan and his dad but I'm sure as hell going to find out.