Author's Note: This story basically has a similar premise with a Hallmark movie called 'Art of Love/Heart of the Matter/Portrait of Love' starring Jason Dohring. If you haven't seen it, check it out on their Hallmark channel. I put my own spin on this story and add a little bit of murder. Please enjoy the story! Thank you, Cainc3 for helping me out with the story!
Veronica: New York City, 2016
The music was pounding in the huge photography studio Veronica owned as she was taking pictures of half-naked models. She was giving some instructions to the models to keep their poses. Camera flashes almost blinded the models but they were used to it. A model posed exaggeratedly and it made her want to yell.
"No, Naomi. Don't do that, don't stick your ass up in the air too much, it's weirdly sexual. Yes, that's more like it." The camera clicks furiously as she continued on. "Can you fix his hair a little bit, Jonah? Thanks." She instructed the hairstylist. "Give him more volume."
People were watching the photo shoot; the managers, the assistants, the make-up artists, the hairstylists, and the caterers.
They didn't pay any attention when a man walked into the room and watched the scene in front of him. He smiled seeing Veronica work. She looked professional and beautiful at the same time; sporting a black T-Shirt, jeans, and a ponytail. A very simple look, but she looked fantastic either way.
He hoped that tonight's dinner would be perfect and smooth, as he planned to propose to her.
He was sure she would say yes.
After all, they had a perfect relationship.
Veronica saw him standing just beside the door, and smiled. He waved a little, happy to see her.
"Okay, we're done! Thank you for coming today, everyone! Great job." Everyone clapped their hands and started to gather their things. Veronica gestured to her boyfriend to come over while she signed a form her assistant handed her. "Piz, come here!" A topless model passed by him and he widened his eyes. Veronica snorted to see Piz blushed and walked around the model quickly. "Afraid of boobs?"
"Only when they're not yours." Piz kissed her.
Veronica didn't know how to react to that statement, so she only chuckled.
"Are you ready?" He asked.
"Umm, shouldn't you go change or something?" He looked at her clothes.
Veronica, looked down doing the same, "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
"Where we're going, I don't think the Maître'D would appreciate jeans."
For a second, Veronica thought she had a déjà vu.
"Where are we going? I thought we were gonna have a quiet dinner at that Pizza place."
"I told you, we're gonna have a dinner at that new expensive Asian restaurant near SoHo."
"Remind me again?"
Piz sighed, "Come on, Veronica. We talked about this. We're going to meet some of my friends from work and we're dining together. I've never been there and it's harder than hell to get a reservation there. A friend of mine was somehow lucky enough to get one. I don't remember what kind of Asian restaurant; Chinese? Korean? Japanese? It's the same anyway, but it's very fancy and stuff."
"…I don't think it's the same, Piz." Veronica frowned after hearing Piz's ignorance about Asian cultures. "Don't let everyone hear you say that."
"Uh, sorry? Didn't mean it…" He cleared his throat. "Anyway, I think you should really go change."
Veronica pursed her lips but then she smiled and pecked him on the cheek. "Okay, I'll change." She asked her assistant to get her one of the cocktail dresses from the photoshoot and made her way to her office.
Piz exhaled loudly and put his hand into his coat pocket to feel the ring box. It was an expensive ring, and he had to borrow some money from his parents, but it would be worth it. When Veronica said yes, he would be the happiest man in the world.
Everything would be awesome.
Veronica chose a simple black dress from her photoshoot, but it still looked elegant. She didn't remember that Piz wanting to take her to a fancy restaurant. She was very busy for the past couple of weeks; she hardly had time to have proper dinner. She would have take-outs for dinner. Occasionally she would have some time to have dinner with Piz, but mostly at their 'go-to' restaurants.
She'd noticed that Piz had been extra clingy for the past few days – calling her almost 8 times a day because she didn't immediately pick up the phone. He texted her with some jokes about whether she was running away to Tahiti without him, and it was just really corny.
They were living together, but she hardly sees him because of her job. Piz was working at NPR radio station with Ira Glass. It was something they were both proud of. Piz was a pretty well-known radio personality, some sort of a celeb for the radio world. The living arrangement was necessary – New York was expensive as hell, and the only logical thing to do was move in together. They had only been dated for three months when Piz casually asked her to move in with him. After back and forth, she decided that it was the logical thing to do, and she moved in with him to a very small apartment. They'd now, officially been dating for a year. The longest relationship she'd had since Duncan Kane in high school.
She looked herself in the mirror and shrugged.
Not bad, she thought.
She was wearing a sleeveless black dress, her hair was in ponytail, and she was wearing long earrings from the photoshoot. She then wore her yellow high heels to add a splash of color. Her assistant Nancy whistled, "You look better than those models."
"I don't think I can be a model. I mean, I love food. I need to consume more than champagne and cigarettes." She replied as she was applying bright red lipstick to her lips.
Nancy laughed and then glanced outside the office. "Special night tonight?"
"Nah, Piz probably got bored that we're eating pizza almost every night so he wants to spice things a bit." Nancy bit her lip so she wouldn't blurt anything. Veronica saw her facial expression and then frowned. "What? I know that look. You got juicy gossip or something."
"Nothing!" She played with her necklace and tugged her earrings.
"Nance… you're a blabbermouth around here. So spill."
"I am not a blabbermouth!"
Veronica gave her disbelief look. "Okay…"
"Is just…" Nancy started to talk, "Okay, please don't freak out…"
"Too late." Veronica looked at her assistant who was wearing a tiara on her afro. She looked really cute, especially the tiara had colorful gems. She should've been the model instead being an assistant. "Spill."
Nancy sighed dramatically and grabbed Veronica's shoulders. "Whatever he's gonna say during dinner, please don't cry because I know you're wearing cheap ass mascara and I don't want to see them runny and ruin the dress."
"Your boyfriend called me a few weeks ago and asked about your ring size. Girl, I know that you have big ass manly hands, so I think he had trouble finding the correct size. So I told him about your size."
Silence followed next as Veronica tried to digest whatever her assistant was saying.
Wait… ring finger?
A few seconds later it dawned on her that Piz was going to…
Oh, god. No…
Logan: Neptune, Balboa County 2016
The car stopped in front of a huge house in the 09er area. It wasn't as big as the Kane or the Echolls mansions, but the Bishop family house was not small in any means of definition. Logan sighed and turned off the ignition. He climbed out the car, walked to the front door, and rings the bell. He could hear some yelling inside and then there was a commotion as someone ran towards the door.
A little girl opened the door and jumped him immediately, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
"Hey, baby girl. How are you? How was your weekend?" Logan picked his daughter up and gave her a sounding sloppy kiss on the cheek.
His daughter grabbed his face with both of her hands and whispered tersely, "Get me outta here!"
Logan grimaced. That bad, huh?
His daughter disliked spending times with her grandparents, as she mentioned how boring the activities usually were. Logan could understand that for a 7-year-old girl, spending times with old people was not really her thing.
"Okay, but I have to say goodbye to your grandma," Logan said as he looked up to see Blair Bishop, the matriarch of the Bishop family, approaching them. His daughter held his neck so tight and looked away. "Thank you for spending the weekend with Lorrie, Blair."
Blair Bishop was a middle age woman around 50 years old. If Celeste Kane was well known as the Queen in the 09er circle, then Blair was the epitome of the Witch. She was beautiful, looked younger than her age – few plastic surgeries – jet black hair, mostly dyed, and very well dressed. She was after all a former Miss California 1980. Her beauty didn't compare with her bitchy personality. There was once a rumor that Blair had a catfight with Celeste Kane, over a parking spot back in the day.
She was dragging Lorrie's pink suitcase behind her. "Lorrie dear, your suitcase – you need to be more responsible with your things."
Lorrie pouts as Logan put her down. "Yes, grandma." She took the suitcase and hugged her grandmother half-heartedly. "I already said goodbye to grandpa."
Blair nodded and then looked at Logan. "She is very exuberant. Just like Carrie when she was a little girl."
Logan smiled, but his smile didn't reach his eyes. Lorrie grabbed his hand and pulled him away from the foyer. "Yes, she is." He chuckled. "Thank you again, Blair. Say hi to Nate for me."
Logan couldn't stop Lorrie from running towards the car with the car key, but he slowly turned towards Blair, "Yes?"
"I hope you remember that next week is the anniversary of Carrie's death."
"How can I forget when the TV networks keep reminding us during their commercials?" Logan said sarcastically. Blair raised her perfectly arched eyebrow, she didn't appreciate his sarcasm. "Keeping Lorrie from seeing them is getting difficult."
"She's a big girl. She knows that her mother was a famous pop star."
"I'd rather not remind her about that. All she needs to know is that her mother loved her very much, and that's enough."
Blair exhaled, definitely disapproved. "Lorrie knows where she comes from. Her dad is a famous author, and her mother was a star. Not to mention that her grandparents from both sides are significant."
I wouldn't classify Aaron as significant, Logan thought bitterly.
"Sure." He answered curtly but still kept his smile plastered. "I got your emails about the anniversary."
"I can't believe it's been 6 years since her death… She was so young."
Logan couldn't wait to join his daughter in the car but he nodded politely. It was better to keep a polite company with the Bishop family. Logan knew what kind of people the Bishops were; they were like the Kanes, always taking control, and he didn't want Lorrie to get stuck in the middle of an argument or bad blood. At least the family cared about Lorrie ever since Carrie died a few years back.
"Okay, I better leave now," Logan said when Lorrie honked the car horn. Blair shook her head watching her granddaughter's behavior. "Thank you again… Blair."
"Don't forget, Logan. The anniversary event will be held at the Neptune Grand. Everyone is going to be there including Mayor Petra Landros. She was very hard to convince when it came to the statue, but she finally agreed. We don't want her to change her mind if the event doesn't run smoothly."
Logan nodded but didn't say anything. Blair wanted a statue of Carrie to be erected in the middle of downtown Neptune, a remembrance where she was raised and came from. Logan thought it was really unnecessary but he held his tongue. It was really better if he just nodded politely. He turned around and walked briskly to his car, where he could see Lorrie making a face, before getting in. He almost laughed seeing his daughter looking like that.
He climbed into his car. His daughter was pouting.
"Grandma forced me to drink grass juice." She announced.
Logan snorted. "Oh yeah? What else did you do?"
"She had a garden party and forced me to wear an itchy dress! I had to smile a lot and let old people pinched me on the cheek!" She rubbed her cheeks. "Daddy, please don't let me go to grandma and grandpa house again." She whined. "Why can't I stay with you during the weekend?"
Logan sighed as he turned on the ignition. He saw that Blair already walked back inside the house. "Well… they're old. And they need young girls to make them live longer."
Logan laughed as they drove away.
The truth was, Logan needed normalcy for his daughter; she needed some sort of family to turn to. Logan was a single father after Carrie died. She died in her bathtub from an overdose. Logan had found her slumped there and tried to revive her after calling 911. It had been too late, though. Lorrie had only been 12 months old.
Logan and Carrie were never married.
During junior year in college, Logan bumped into Carrie in one of the cafes on the boardwalk. She had been chased by several paparazzi, and without preamble, she grabbed his hand and asked him to hide her. Logan had decided to take her to his house that he shared with Dick Casablancas. After a dangerous car chase with the paparazzi, they arrived at the house and Carrie just hugged him and kissed him senselessly. Logan immediately carried her to his bedroom and they had sex.
Thus the tumultuous relationship started.
They were broken people with so much baggage. At first, they were having fun – it was less fun when they both were tabloids darling, and then add their drug habit, alcohol binges and nonstop partying to the mix.
Logan decided to drop out from college because of it all. Back then he really didn't care. He didn't have any purpose in life. He partied with Dick, Carrie, and some 09ers people.
Gia Goodman, Susan Knight, Stu Cobbler, and Luke Haldeman started to hang out with them, and he felt like it was high school all over again.
And then he fell in love with Carrie, just as her career started to take off. Carrie didn't want to fall in love with Logan, but there were some moments where both of them felt like they'd found someone when other people had left them.
Carrie got pregnant, and she freaked out. Logan was stunned when he heard the news and got scared as well. Never in a million years that did he imagine that he'd become a father. He was always careful, but maybe it was meant to happen.
Logan thought it was destiny that they were going to have a baby together.
He was the only one. Carrie thought it was a freak accident.
She wanted a singing career and felt Logan was starting to suffocate her. They argued a lot and Logan didn't know what to do when Carrie decided to break off their relationship.
It was hell, and it was before his daughter was born…
Logan was driving while Lorrie was singing and watching the view from the passenger seat. He looked at her and smiled because she was singing happily, maybe because they were on their way home. She was waving and moving around in her seat following the beat of the music. Lorrie had a really good singing voice, just like her late mother.
"Hey, dad!" She snapped her fingers in rhythm.
"Can I be a singer? You know, like mom?"
Logan paused a bit. He jutted his lips, pondering. "Baby girl, you can be whatever you want in life. As long as you're happy doing it."
"Was mommy happy when she was a singer?"
That was a really heavy question coming from his 7-year-old daughter. Was Carrie happy? She was using drugs to numb her pain and whatever demon she had.
"Yes, she was happy being a singer." He looked at his precious daughter. "She was a great singer, you know."
"Yeah, I saw her videos and listens to her albums. She was so pretty." Lorrie nodded and smiled. "Daddy is handsome."
"Are you fishing for a compliment? Do you want me to say that you're so pretty too?" Lorrie giggled and looked away.
Lorrie looked exactly like Carrie; black hair, big doe eyes, red pouty lips, and dark hazel eyes. But personality wise, she was more like Logan when he was younger.
"Can we go to Amy's and buy buckets of ice cream? Grandma wouldn't allow ice cream. She said I would get fat."
"Your grandma is jealous that she can't eat ice cream anymore. It would hurt her teeth." Logan said. He knew he shouldn't say that to the mother of his late girlfriend, but he couldn't help it. Blair was worse than Celeste.
Logan ruffled her hair and she tried to swat his hand. "Alright, let's go to Amy's."
Veronica: New York City, 2016
It was a disastrous evening.
Veronica was so numb after hearing from her assistant that Piz might propose to her during dinner. When she and Piz arrived at the restaurant, she couldn't help that her stomach felt like there were rocks inside.
They met his friends at the restaurant; their names were… Veronica didn't even remember. It was sort of a double date and Veronica couldn't concentrate because she wanted to hurl.
Piz's friends ordered the food, which she didn't appreciate because she wanted to order something else. Piz made a face when he ate some of the food; obvious he wasn't used to the dish. But it wasn't just those little things that made Veronica hyper aware – she could see that Piz was nervous, and he was fidgeting non-stop. She could see his friends were trying to suppress smiles, and the waitress seemed to wait for something.
If this was supposed to be a surprise proposal, Veronica didn't like it at all. She hated surprises. Piz should've known by now. He thought that this might be romantic or something, but the fact that they never talked about the whole marriage thing made this feel like it was coming out of left field.
When the time arrived, which was during dessert, Piz's friends went quiet and they were smiling. Piz suddenly got down on his knees right next to her chair and pulled out an engagement ring and started reciting this long speech about love, romance, and the future.
Veronica could see that every patron in the restaurant was staring at them, witnessing the proposal.
Veronica didn't even hear what he was saying except, "Will you marry me?"
She could've sworn that she could see Piz's face crumbled but he still maintained his smile when she answered, "Thank you… but can we talk about this at home?"
Many patrons actually murmured something like, "Ouch. Yikes. Ooof."
Piz's friends' faces were red, witnessing their friend sort of being rejected.
So now they were at home, after a really silent cab ride from the restaurant. Veronica sat on their bed and took off her shoes before looking at Piz who was avoiding eye contact.
"What are you thinking right now?" Veronica asked.
Piz sat on the couch, leaving a bit distance between them. His coat, with a ring in it, was thrown carelessly on the bed. It wasn't supposed to be like this. She was supposed to say yes and wear the ring. Then they would call parents and her dad, plan the wedding and live happily ever after.
"Well, I thought the fish was kinda raw. I mean 35 dollars for raw fish? What were they thinking? They don't cook their fish in Japan or Korea or whatever?"
Veronica narrowed her eyes watching his passive-aggressive outburst.
"If you don't like that type of food, why we were eating there?" Veronica asked.
"It was the hottest place in town, and people were lining up to eat there for some reason, and they didn't have the decency to cook their food first, I can't believe it. Ira told me that he ate there and it was the best experience for him, and I thought…" He exhaled and looked at his girlfriend slash not fiancée. "I thought it would be a great venue to propose to you."
"We never talked about this…"
"But that's the whole point of poppin' you the question! It was supposed to be a surprise, and you would get excited, and then the music swelling, everyone is clapping, and then…" He exhaled again, loudly this time. "And then we'd be happy."
"Piz." Veronica set her jaws. "This is not a movie. And I wish we had talked about this. You never asked whether I want to get married or not."
"I just asked!" Piz pointed out the window, "Back in the restaurant! I asked you whether you wanted to marry me or not."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it." Veronica tried to keep her composure. "I mean, we should've discussed this before you popping' out a question in the middle of a restaurant where there were strangers. You invited your friends so they could witness this public proposal thing while to me this is supposed to be a private and personal thing."
"Oh my god, Veronica! Don't be such a wet blanket. What is wrong with a public proposal?"
Veronica looked at him in disbelief. "There's nothing wrong with it. But that's not me." She sighed. "And if you think that I would be okay with the whole thing, then you don't know me at all."
Piz leaned his head against the headrest of the couch and closed his eyes. "So I guess it's a no, then? I am only asking because you haven't answered."
Veronica didn't answer.
When she answered, her voice was steady. "I need time to think about it."