A/N: I know everything's one big party in Rio, but I always imagined it would be slightly less exciting to win the first medal because everyone still had to at least somewhat be in competition mode. This idea popped into my head, and it's my birthday, so I decided to write something light and fun for wolfe80...because we could both use it!
There will only be a few chapters...just some light summer fun :)
LoVe Night 1:
And then there were two. Veronica cautiously looked to the left to size up her sole competition left standing. The girl looked confident, which made Veronica squirm. She adjusted the red and blue visor on her head one minutiae for probably the thousandth time in the past half hour. It was a nervous habit of hers, one that her father constantly teased her about.
"Unladylike," he liked to say with a chuckle. As if there was anything remotely ladylike about her at the moment. She was clad from finger to toe in leather—and it wasn't the sexy kind.
Resisting the urge to bring her fingers up to adjust the visor again, Veronica felt a drop of sweat trail down from her hairline and land somewhere behind her ear. She always sweat when she was nervous. It was her tell even more so than the fidgeting with her headwear, but less obvious. Thank goodness. She supposed it was better than a twitchy nose or something else that would mess with her game—with her aim.
Be cool, soda pop, she reminded herself. One more shot and the show is over.
Veronica pulled herself back into the moment, doing her best to appear cool as the proverbial cucumber. This was unexpected. She was the underdog here, not that you'd know it by the scoreboard.
Her right eye narrowed as she channeled all her focus—all her knowledge and training—and with one steady inhale, arched her back slightly, getting into the position that was almost second nature to her by now. She exhaled as her right index finger moved almost imperceptibly to lightly squeeze the trigger.
It felt good. Everything had come together, culminating in this one perfect moment. A grin broke out on Veronica's face before the pellet even hit its mark. She didn't need to look at the scoreboard or wait for her competitor's shot to know she'd done it.
Logan swam hard, reaching the ball first and swiftly passing it to his team's left wing without even a second's pause. Dick caught it easily, and with a grunt, tossed it with force back to Enbom at center. Logan took advantage of the reset to quickly put a few more inches between himself and the defenseman that had been all over him since this game had started. Asshole. He was damn sick and tired of being shoved around, pinched and clawed under the water, yet was determined to keep his game as clean as possible. He was playing well; they all were. Rough play wasn't anything new to him, but his reaction had to be.
He didn't want to fall into old habits and get another penalty. Play clean, that was his motto these games. His first games, and god willing, not his last. He'd worked too hard at training camps all summer to escape his long-time reputation of being impulsive. He was determined to leave high school's bad behavior behind and start Stanford in the fall with a clean slate. Now was the time to prove it.
It appeared that the Serbian on his flank had no such plans for himself. Enbom's pass was a little high, and Logan had to jump a bit out of the water to reach for the ball, but Logan, thankfully, managed to catch the sloppy pass and to throw the ball into the net in one fluid motion. The ball had just left his hands when the Serbian's iron heel made contact with Logan's rib cage.
Ouch, mother—he bit his tongue, literally, in an attempt to not punch the asshole in the face. That's going to leave a mark.
The timeout whistle sounded and Logan was grateful for the distraction. As they approached Coach on the side of the pool, his teammates mobbed him quickly, offering pats on the back and a few playful shoves of the head with their words of 'great play' and 'awesome goal'.
Coach Fennel gave them all a stern talking to, even though Logan knew he must have been bursting with pride. They were playing just as well as they'd been practicing. It felt good.
"That's it, fellas. We've got 'em. Now just run down the clock," he instructed, swiping a few beads of sweat off his brow as he turned to Logan. "Echolls how're your ribs?"
"Fine, Coach," he replied immediately, exerting effort not to touch where the kick had landed. "The refs are fucking blind."
Fennel rolled his eyes and nodded. "Serbia is out to make a comeback. Don't let them score."
And with that, the teams set up for the final moments of play. The US was three points up. It was all about defense now. Logan wished time travel were possible. Just a few moments jump and this would be over.
He had to hand it to the Serbians; they weren't giving up without a fight. Duncan Kane stealthily managed to block several shots that the US team let get too close, and finally the buzzer sounded ending the match. They'd done it.
The team cheered as they made their way to the side of the pool where Coach Fennel waited for them. He was grinning ear-to-ear, but when the team huddled around him, Coach's face pinched into its customary grimace.
"Good job, guys. Way to go. But don't get cocky; we have a lot of work to do. We got lucky. Some of those shots were too damn close for comfort." Coach Fennel turned and took a few steps back. Logan got out of the pool and untied the cap at his neck, knowing Coach wasn't done, but needing the relief he always felt from dragging his nails across his scalp. "I know this feels great, but you need to keep your eyes on the ball."
Logan groaned at Fennel's pun. "That means you, Echolls. Focus! Practice tomorrow and next match is Monday. Get a good night's sleep and I'll see you tomorrow." Coach turned as if he was going to leave again, but turned back and gave them each a pointed look. "I'm serious. No booze, no ladies…I'm talking to you, Casablancas."
Dick laughed and bowed as his teammates snickered, and Coach took off for real this time.
"Dude's gotta be well aware that the village is like one big hook-up fest," Dick protested.
"Not night one, jackass. Not for us. Keep 'Little Dick' in your pants. At least for another week," Enbom ordered, throwing his cap at Dick. "Capiche?"
"Comprendo, dude," Casablancas countered, catching the cap on his raised middle finger. He gave the cap a few spins before he let it tumble to the cement floor. "Come on, dude, just one cold one?" he whispered to Logan and Duncan as Enbom headed for the locker room. "Kane?"
"Can't. And neither should you," Duncan shook his head at his teammates.
"You're such a party pooper, Kane." Dick pushed Duncan playfully and then turned back to Logan. "You're in, right? I promise to make sure you're safely tucked into bed before eleven, princess."
Logan sincerely doubted that. But the team had just won, and they were young—and it was Rio. It was as if Dick were an animated devil sitting on his shoulder egging him on. The ache in my side totally deserves a little sympathy. "Just one." Logan agreed, gingerly rubbing his sore ribs. "If we go early!"
Casablancas' face lit up. "Abso-fucking-lutely. I know you're all about the game now."
Logan high fived his teammate and pulled on his flip-flops before following the others into the locker room, fully aware that he'd probably regret this decision.
Veronica smiled with satisfaction as she flopped down onto her small bed. She felt the heavy weight of her medal against her chest. It was tucked away in a zipped, inside pocket of her official Olympic Team jacket. She reached up and lightly touched the hard surface at her chest, outlining her medal's circumference with her fingers in awe. So surreal.
She still couldn't wrap her head around the fact that she was here. Not twenty-four hours ago she'd walked in the Opening Ceremonies, sure it would be the highlight of her trip to Rio. She'd never even come close to scoring as high as she did today; she was so new to the sport. This morning and the actual event were all part of a haze, like a dream she could remember glimpses of, but not much more. And now here she was—belly full of amazing Brazilian food—in the Village. She had met her dad and her best friend Lilly Carnathan for dinner, and they had told everyone they'd encountered that night of her victory, from their waiter to random people walking by on the street. What an amazing day.
Now she was riding a high that she wasn't ready to come down from. She heard some commotion in the hall and smiled. Who said the night has to be over at all? Veronica grabbed her ID and slung it around her neck as she headed for the door. It was time to have some fun.
She'd had to fight her dad to let her stay in the Village at all. She was old enough to make the decision for herself, but she hadn't wanted him to be unhappy with her decision. He'd relented, but begrudgingly. Lilly had been instrumental in his change of heart, backing her friend up ardently. "C'mon, Sheriff," she'd insisted, jumping in place in excitement. "This is Rio! This is what she's been working for. I think it's time to cut the cord. Besides, she'll be armed."
It wasn't a secret what went on in the Village, what with the nightclubs and the nearly half a million condoms handed out to the athletes alone. Upon arrival in her quarters the first things she had noticed were the pack of Trojans on the bedside table and the absence of a TV. She'd laughingly taken a selfie with the room and sent it to Lilly.
'Arrived at Camp Hedonism, no turning back now.'
Lilly's response had been: 'What happens in the village, stays in the village, Veronica Mars. Are you planning to use Tinder or Grindr to hook up?'
Veronica had laughed out loud at that. Her friend loved to tease her. While she'd insisted on the Olympic experience being quintessential—opening ceremonies and housing here had been a must—she wasn't planning to be part of the hook up fest, she just wanted to let loose a little. And if she happened to meet someone, then…maybe. For the moment she was just trying to enjoy her first truly solo experience. This Olympic Village stay was something that her friends' money couldn't buy—something that was all hers. She'd earned it.
She followed the sound of voices into the stairwell, keeping a safe distance from the loud Aussies as they trotted down the stairs to the main level. 'Word on the street is that Aussies always know where to party,' Lilly had informed her. Veronica had no idea if her friend was correct, but it was worth investigating further.
Veronica tracked the troop of Aussies as they took her past one of the main eating areas of the complex. The waft from McDonald's caught her attention. Her previously ready-to-burst tummy suddenly made room. Free fries? You bet I'm lovin' it!
Armed with complimentary potato goodness, Veronica continued to explore her surroundings. She wished she'd taken more time to get acquainted with her fellow athletes a little better. Her event had been so early in the schedule, and shooting wasn't exactly a team sport. But she was determined not to let the fact that she didn't really know anyone hold her back. She was a gold medalist...she could brave the Village alone; she had the perfect conversation starter.
The main cafeteria was alive and busy despite the late hour. Veronica slipped in through the main double doors and gasped at the scene before her. It was exactly like the cafeteria at Paly High. Well, except that everyone was beautiful. And extremely fit. It was like someone had cloned her high school's jock table a thousand times over.
Screw finding someone nice. In this crowd, any dream will do, she mused, gulping audibly past the lump in her throat as one hottie—complete with eight pack under that shirt, she was sure—walked by. Um, yes please!
Logan listened to his conscience enough to try to be inconspicuous, but ignored its gnawing orders to return to his room before he made any bad decisions. He nursed his beer from a table in the corner, watching Dick make a fool of himself. Dick was currently imbibing his fifth drink and hitting on every girl that passed by. This Village club wasn't dead by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't crazy. Yet. It was early in the evening and early in the competition. In a few days, there wouldn't be breathing room in here after 9:00 p.m., and he'd be in the thick of it, no doubt.
Logan groaned and shrunk down in his seat when he saw Mercer Hayes walk into the club and scan the room. Fucking great, I hate that guy! He'd conveniently forgotten Hayes had made the wrestling team, hoping their paths wouldn't cross here. Logan was relieved when Mercer didn't seen him. Not only was the guy a first-class womanizer, he'd always gone out of his way to bring out the worst in Logan throughout their years in high school. But high school was over, and Logan was determined not to take the bait. Time to collect Dick and bounce. Logan stood up from the table, his unfinished beer forgotten.
"Fucking Hayes is here," Dick announced. Still hopped up on adrenaline, he jogged in place a little bit as he spoke to Logan. Dick had never been the answer to Logan's prayers, but tonight he'd appeared at Logan's side at just the right moment.
"Yeah, let's skedaddle."
"In a minute. I've gotta finish my beer." Dick pushed Logan back into his chair and sat down in the one next to him. "Dude! Did you see that girl?" Dick asked. "Total hottie."
"I saw you hit on the redhead, which clearly didn't go well. You almost got yourself pummeled." Logan leaned back against the seat, chuckling to himself.
"Man that chick had some serious anger issues…and biceps that could clearly smash my skull. Damn athletes, Sayonara! In a few days the word will get around and she'll hear all about what she missed out on tonight. She'll regret turning me down." Dick polished a non-existent apple.
Logan shook his head. "I bet she already does."
Oblivious to his friend's sarcasm, Dick continued, "Shit, yeah! But no—the other girl."
"Oh, you mean the brunette whose boyfriend almost pummeled you?" Logan clarified, laughing at the memory of Dick backing into a corner, wide-eyed, hands up in compliance.
Dick snorted. "Yeah, that was a mistake. Who comes to the Village attached?" He finished his beer with a large gulp. "But no, the other girl."
Logan shrugged. "Dick, 'Guess Who' was never my forté as a kid. Why don't you just tell me?"
"The blonde," Dick said as if it were obvious. "The tiny little blonde over there" —Dick pointed to a table in a different corner— "She wanted to climb me like a tree. She even laughed at my shirt." Dick pointed to himself smugly.
"Well, then I already question her taste." Logan leaned forward and flicked the rooster on his friend's shirt that read: 'Quit staring at my COCK'.
Dick glared at him. "Seriously. She won gold today. The first of the games. I definitely picked up the vibe from her that she wanted to party."
First gold, huh? That fact did intrigue Logan. He leaned forward and spotted a petite blonde sitting at the table alone, looking forlorn. The glass in front of her was empty and her chin rested on her hand. She's cute. Totally my type except for the hitting on Dick part. "Fine, I believe you; but if she was all over you, why are you sitting here with me?"
Dick's jaw jutted out as if the answer were obvious. "She's not my type. She's so sweet she probably shits marshmallows. She has a dude's name, and she's armed."
"She won for shooting!" Dick paused and waved to the blonde who waved back, shaking her head, a quirky half-smile tugging at her lips. "Let's swing around to say hi to her before we bounce. She's totally your type." Dick ticked off the count using his fingers. "Let's see here: hot, blonde, a little spunk—if you know what I'm saying." Dick winked. "You should get her number—maybe hook up with her when Coach releases your balls from whatever pickle jar he's keeping them in."
Logan knew he must have lost his mind, but he was actually considering it. She was cute, and shooting…that was hot. He sat in silence for a moment, letting his conscience duke it out with Devil-Dick sitting on the other shoulder. Too long it seemed, because when he looked up he saw the girl striding purposefully toward them. He stood when she reached their table.
"Hey, guys," she said, directing a confident smile at Logan as she sat down.
"Hey, Ronnie," Dick said, turning to his friend. "Meet Logan."
Veronica rolled her eyes at Dick. "It's Veronica," she corrected. "Still Veronica," she told Dick, though she didn't look upset about it. She seemed amused. Logan was instantly captivated.
"Um…same diff." Dick threw up his hands, unaffected.
"Not even remotely, Dick," Logan replied, not missing a beat—and not taking his eyes off the girl in front of him while he returned to his seat. "Nice to meet you, Veronica. I hear you're a Cracker Jack shooter. Congratulations!"
"I was today, anyways!" she said, her eyes dancing. "It's actually pretty amazing. I mean, I wasn't expected to win—hell, I was a long shot for tenth—so I kind of relaxed and decided to enjoy it and it just sort of…I dunno, happened."
"Sounds nice." Logan found himself leaning in to her before he realized what he was doing. Not good, Echolls. Stay in the game. Focus. Pool tomorrow. Logan nodded, glad that his conscience gave him his reminders. "Listen, we've gotta turn in for the night. We have practice tomorrow and a match the day aft—"
"Oh yeah, water polo!" Veronica grinned at him. "I've never played it, but they had it at my high school. It looks rough."
Logan opened his mouth to reply when…
"You wouldn't believe it, Ronnie." Dick thumped his fists on the table dramatically; if they'd had drinks they would have been all over the table.
Logan turned to give him a long stare. I thought this was a me set up.
Dick ignored him. "Broken ribs…sore muscles. Logan here got a heel to the abs today and didn't even blink."
Veronica's blue eyes opened wide, her mouth forming a small 'o'. "I guess that's something I take for granted. Shooting is a bit of a solo endeavor. Are you okay?"
"I'm—" he started.
"Sore, Ronnie-kins. The boy is always sore and in need of tender loving—"
Dick winced plainly from the hard kick Logan gave him, which made him feel better. "Amscray, Dick."
And for the second time that evening, Dick came through, leaving the table without another word. Logan turned back to Veronica. "I'm fine. And we won today, so it's all worth it. But speaking of water polo, we have—"
"An early morning tomorrow? Believe me it's the story of my life tonight. I never understood the ramifications of early events. I thought I'd love it—time to enjoy myself, have some fun…" The wistful look on her face turned sour. "But it appears that everyone is still in competition-mode. What a disappointment!"
"Sorry!" Logan lamented…really lamented. This was tempting. She was tempting. "Coach sometimes does actual surprise check-ins this early in matches, and I'm trying this new thing where I don't give in to impulses and actually—"
"Focus?" she snarked. "I get it, really. You're a hot water polo player with a lot on the line. Would you at least take a selfie with me so I can send it to my friend, Lilly?" she begged. "I want her to think I'm…having fun." She looked at him hopefully and smiled at him again. A smile that made him feel...
No no no, Echolls. She's riding an Olympic high and you're chasing one of your own. He looked around for help and saw Dick at the bar. "Hey, Casablancas, get us three shots," he called out. His friend grinned widely at him, thinking he'd won a fun night.
"Three shots coming up!" he hollered back, winking.
A moment later, Dick set three shot glasses on the table and sat down again, whispering, 'when I'm right, I'm right' into Logan's ear. To Veronica, he said, "What are we toasting? Rio? Gold?"
"I'm so over both at this minute," she replied with a grumble, pulling out her phone and turning on its camera. "Now we're faking it for my friends."
Logan gawaffed. "I'll have you know—"
"That once you go polo, you never go solo?" she snarked. "Polo players go deeper? Yeah, I told you my school had a water polo team, right? I've heard them all."
Logan laughed heartily, impressed. Dick had been right, she had spunk all right. "I was going to say 'we only fake it for the refs'" —Logan grinned and leaned a little closer— "though of course there's also 'only swimmers' girlfriends have to fake it', but yours were better." He ignored the fluttery feeling in his stomach when she smiled triumphantly at him, clearly pleased with herself. He decided to call her bluff and pulled her off of her seat and onto his lap, relishing in how unsteady she looked now that he'd taken the lead. That's better. Two can play at this game. He flipped the camera to selfie-mode. "Now put on your medal and hold up your drink," he commanded with a smile. To his surprise, she didn't challenge him and dug into her jacket and pulled out her medal.
Dick moved to her other side and they all posed for the camera. Logan clicked a few times and then handed her phone back to her. She eagerly took it and swiped to view the photos. He was surprised at how unhappy he was at her look of disappointment.
"What?" he asked a little more defensively than he'd intended.
"This looks so…high school," she replied a moment later. "It looks almost exactly like the cast party picture from when I played Emily in 'Our Town'." Her frown looked wrong next to her gold medal.
"Um…except for the shots and the medal," Dick pointed out. "Rio, baby!"
First faking it and now disappointment. This sounds like a challenge. While she was still flipping through the pictures, Logan shot a Dick a warning glance that he hoped shouted 'Hands off!' and handed him her medal. "I think we can do better than high school plays," he said with conviction as he took the phone from her again.
Dick, unusually perceptive tonight, must have gotten the message because he took the traditional pose, pretending to bite into her gold medal. Veronica laughed at the sight of it and held her drink high. Dick, laughing too, tapped his drink with hers. Logan moved quickly before he could think better of his actions. He set his drink down on the table, positioned himself just right—for photographic purposes only, of course—and gently attached his lips to the side of her neck.
He'd meant for it to be quick. But then a little tremble ran through her body, which was still pressed against him, and the kiss deepened. He slowly worked his way up her jaw line until he found her pulse point that made her actually shiver. At her deep intake of breath, she slightly turned into him and his mouth was suddenly on hers. Then the kiss deepened even more and he was lost. Lost in the feel of her and the smell of her. She smelled so sweet, but not too sweet. And she tasted…he wanted to taste all of her. He wanted to—
"That's it, dude! Did you get it?"
What? Logan slowly caught up. It was as if his mind desperately wanted to tell him something but his body—
"That's the shot. Take it!"
His brain surfaced just enough to engage his finger, and with a click, he'd done it.
Veronica pulled away first and he opened his eyes to see if she looked as shaken as he felt. She did for a split second, but she recovered faster than he did.
She cleared her throat and tapped to look at the picture. Logan's gaze followed slowly, taking in the shot of him and Veronica kissing.
"Yes! We rock. How's that for faking it?" Dick boomed, downing his shot and fist pumping the air.
Or maybe he's not so perceptive after all. Logan gritted his teeth.
Veronica looked at Dick and then downed her shot too. "I take it back, Dick. You guys can make a girl fake like nobody's business." She slid off of Logan's lap and onto a nearby chair and Logan instantly missed the feel of her.
Dick reached past her and took Logan's shot off the table, tossing it back in one swift motion. "That's right, baby!" He turned and walked up to the bartender to settle their tab.
Veronica and Logan cracked up laughing at Dick's proud look and his obliviousness.
"But really," she said after a moment, turning to catch Logan's eye. "I know you've got to get going. Thanks, Logan. Really. I was looking for some fun tonight, and you delivered."
He smiled back at her. "I'm glad. Hey, we're staying across the way." He took a deep breath, suddenly nervous. "Can we walk you back?"
She giggled, looking self-conscious, and stood up from the table. "Oh, no thanks. The night is still young, and I'm finally the one without a curfew. I think I'll stick around here for a little while and see if anyone starts dancing."
Disappointment filled Logan, but he understood. And just because he was as jittery as a schoolgirl didn't mean that she was.
Dick reappeared beside Veronica. "It was nice meeting you, Ronnie." He grinned, giving her a wink. "I've got to make sure this royal pain-in-the-ass" —he thumped Logan fraternally on the back— "gets enough beauty sleep. Maybe we'll see you around."
"Yeah, likewise," she responded, her eyes never leaving Logan's. "See you around."
Logan held out his hand to her. You're shaking her hand, you idiot? Both his conscience and Devil-Dick mocked simultaneously. She took it in hers and he lingered there a moment before murmuring, "Goodnight, Veronica."
Dick grabbed Logan by the upper arm and swung him around. "It's eleven, dude, let's go."
Logan spun around and gave her one last wave before he crossed the threshold and she disappeared from sight.
He didn't like it. He didn't like leaving things like that. It wasn't like he claimed to be a saint; he had plenty of experience with girls, but Veronica seemed…different somehow. Cursing himself for not putting his number in her phone when he'd had the chance, he slowed his steps to buy himself time.
He was trying to come up with a reason to get Casablancas to turn around without sounding like a complete pussy when Dick stepped in front of him, halting his progress. "Okay, even I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I kinda liked Ronnie. Do you really think we should leave her there like that?"
Dick was being rather unDick-like, but Logan wasn't going to knock kismet. "Yeah, man, I was thinking—"
"I mean she's tipsy, right…and with Mercer? He totally gave Madison chlamydia last winter break."
Oh, hell no! Without a moment's pause, Logan spun 180 degrees and hastily retraced his steps back to the club with Dick on his heals. So much for being back in time for a bed check tonight, he thought wearily, tugging at his hair in frustration.
He'd just opened the large wooden door when he came face-to-face with a wide-eyed Veronica. He had to put out an arm to stop her from plowing into him, but was happy for the excuse to touch her.
"Hey!" Logan said, surprised. Realizing he was smiling like an idiot, he forced himself to tone it down. "We were just—"
"I changed my—" she said at the same time.
They both laughed nervously and Dick turned around to give them a moment of privacy.
"You first," he said, realizing that he didn't have a good excuse for returning to the bar.
"Well, I was just saying that I changed my mind; I'd love a walk back. That is, if the offer's still open." She bit her lower lip and looked up at him through thick eyelashes though her eyes looked anywhere but into his.
She's nervous too! Be cool, Echolls. "Of course it is." His thoughts flew to Mercer. "No one was giving you a hard time, were they?"
"No, nothing like that, I just thought I'd go back to my room and relax for a little while. Ya know, polish my medal," she bragged playfully, touching her pocket. "Plus, I've got lots of nights in the Village ahead of me. And…you two are the first nice guys I've met here." She waved her arm between Logan and Dick.
"Likewise," Logan carefully responded. "Though I'm pretty sure you're the first girl to ever refer to Dick as 'nice'." He turned back in the direction of the athlete housing. "Where to?"
"I'm just two buildings up," she said, beginning to walk in the direction she'd indicated. Logan fell into place next to her though, he noticed, Dick remained a few steps behind.
Logan silently nodded in thanks to his friend over his shoulder. He owed Dick…again. It was a strange feeling.
"This place is huge; this is as far as I've ventured," she admitted.
Logan was grateful for the conversation starter. "Yeah, I haven't gotten too far either. But, like you said, there's time."
They reached her building quickly and Dick begged off. "I'm gonna head back and run interference with Coach. Catch ya later!" he said as he disappeared into the night.
Logan followed Veronica, climbing the stairs up to her room.
"This is me," she said, stopping in front of room 212. "I would invite you in, but—"
"No, I really do need to go," he said, stepping closer to her instead of backing away like he knew that he should.
"That's too bad," she responded coyly, reaching up to run her hand along the Olympic rings that adorned his shirt and then pulling his mouth down to meet hers.
Logan responded instantly, his arms wrapping around her waist, his hands clasping together at the small of her back. When her arms snaked up his chest and around his neck, the kiss intensified until he almost asked if she would invite him in for real.
Veronica broke away first, and he kissed her nose gently as he pulled away also.
"I am so sorry, I keep making you later than you already are," she said, looking anything but apologetic.
"Well, I'm sorry I have to go." He retreated two steps back in an effort to think clearly. "Goodnight, Veronica. Congratulations on gold today."
Against his better judgment, Logan took a few more steps backwards and then stopped. "So tomorrow's pretty busy with practice and all, but our next match is Monday."
"I don't envy the string-along. My one-and-done event is more my speed." She smiled up at him from where she leaned against her door.
Logan wondered if she was talking about more than shooting. "Well, we have a break after the match for a few days, so I'm sure the guys will want to let off some steam. We'll be at the club most likely." He anxiously ran a hand through his hair, tugging just a little bit. Why is this so hard? "You could come…" Argh, it's just getting worse the more I open my mouth. "If you wanted to that is." Turn and go, Echolls. Turn and go.
And he did. With a final, geeky wave, he turned and made his way back to the stairwell.
"Goodnight, Logan!" he heard her call as he reached the top stair, her voice causing him to linger momentarily. Keep walking! He commanded himself. And, after a second's pause, he did just that.
Two points for sensible Logan, he congratulated himself as he jogged back to his room.
Veronica closed the door tightly and flipped the lock before leaning back against its hard surface for a long steadying breath. She'd been amazingly surprised by her competition this morning, and now then the evening had been unexpectedly eventful as well.
She took her time changing into her pajamas, carefully hanging up her jacket and medal on a hanger in the closet. She'd give them to her father for safekeeping tomorrow, but she'd wanted to keep them close tonight.
Veronica drowsily continued through her nightly routine, and had just climbed into bed when her phone buzzed. She momentarily chided herself for hoping it was Logan before she remembered she hadn't given him her number. She picked up her phone and smiled at the text from Lilly.
'I can't believe you left me alone tonight. I had nothing better to do than hook you up with a Tinder account and flag some hotties I found who I think have a lot of potential. Consider it.'
Veronica groaned at the thought of herself with a Tinder account and what Lilly would have put on it. She hopped out of bed and retrieved her laptop from the closet. But when she logged in, her first impulse wasn't to check her new hook-up account but rather to look up information on the US Water Polo team.
That she'd gotten more action than her gorgeous best friend for once empowered her. Forgetting the laptop, she instead tucked herself into bed to look over the pictures she'd taken that day. There were some of she with Lilly taken after the awards ceremony and several with her her dad. Veronica scrolled forward until she got to the pictures she'd taken with Logan and Dick at the bar. A smile ghosted her lips at them being silly. Veronica had to hand it to both guys; they'd both faked it well. No would ever guess that the shot was staged.
She sobered slightly at the sight of the last picture. The kissing picture. It was perfect, Veronica realized. She looked every bit the part of a young girl out partying in a club in Rio. Apart from the medal, it was a scene like ones Lilly had texted her during nights out partying. But it wasn't common for Veronica, and for once, it made her want to keep it to herself, to not share it with Lilly.
Veronica flipped a few pictures back to the silly shots and forwarded one to her friend with the message 'Olympic champion Marses don't need Tinder to have a good time. Say hello to the water polo team!'
Veronica knew that would go over well. Her phone rang immediately, but she sent it to voice mail, opting to send Lilly another text. 'Can't hear in this club. Will catch up with you later and fill you in.'
Lilly didn't need to know that she was tucked in for the night. Let her wonder, Veronica thought. She flipped to the kissing picture one more time, reliving the feelings of his mouth on her neck, on her mouth. At the time she'd thought it was all a ruse.
Don't get your hopes up, Veronica. No doubt he's kissed lots of girls, and you practically guilted him into it. She face-palmed and groaned at the memory of that, embarrassed after the fact.
But then he'd come back…
A/N: This is the first of three chapters! Let me know what you think.