LoVe Night 6:
She resisted the urge to cyber stalk him. Even though things were not continuing between them, Veronica wasn't interested in seeing pictures of Logan with other girls. Lilly had informed Veronica that there wasn't much point to stalking anyway. Logan worked hard to keep himself out of the limelight. She'd seen a few articles online about him and water polo, but hadn't read them.
The urge to text him was harder to stifle, however. His contact information, complete with picture, was just sitting on her phone, waiting to be used. She'd managed to stifle the impulse to text him when she and Lilly had done blowjob shots on their last night together in California. And then again when she'd met Christy, her oddball roommate who collected scrunchies, played the trombone at least four hours a day, and hadn't even known the Olympics had taken place that summer.
Now, finally settled into her new room—thankfully Christy, and trombone, free—she took a moment to lean into the feelings of missing him. Logic told her that missing him was crazy—she'd just met him for goodness sake. But, she couldn't help how she felt. She couldn't help but miss their banter and late nights…the cuddling…swapping secrets. Veronica pulled out her phone, opened a new text and typed in his name. But then she stopped herself. She should give this whole college/other people thing a fighting chance. Maybe if she still felt this way after Thanksgiving she could have Lilly do some recon. If the two of them took a little road trip down to LA over Christmas break and she happened to run into him…
This is crazy, Veronica, you're obsessed. And weren't you the one who laughed at those couples who claimed they were going to take their relationship to college? Claimed their love would span the long distance?
With a grumble, Veronica stood and grabbed her bag off the chair at her desk. She rifled through it, looking for her student ID that she seemed to always misplace. It needed to be on a lanyard around her neck like her credentials in Rio had been. She'd need to find it if she wanted to make it to the bookstore before class; she'd already wasted enough time daydreaming about things that were farfetched.
By Thanksgiving he'll have moved on, Veronica. She found her student card tucked into a corner of her bag, haphazardly stuck to a flier. Veronica pulled them both out together and read the paper. Pi Sigma Sigma party? She'd missed the first week dorm-bonding events and had never been one for female bonding, so rushing had been the last thing on Veronica's mind when she'd started college. A frat party might be a good way to meet some people.
Veronica reached for her phone and texted Cindy Mackenzie. They hadn't been super close in high school, but Veronica longed to see a familiar face. Not only had Mac always been nice, unlike all the rich kids Veronica had grown up with, Mac was down-to-earth. Mac had even tracked Veronica down when she'd arrived on campus to congratulate her about Rio. Maybe Mac would brave a college party with her.
With the message sent, she set off for the bookstore, feeling better already.
Logan smacked the alarm on his phone, hitting snooze just in case he fell asleep again. It couldn't possibly be five already. He really wanted stay in bed—to sleep for several days. Early morning practice made it easy to have a somewhat normal class schedule, which he appreciated, but he needed some time to catch up on sleep after Rio.
He didn't know what he'd been thinking, telling Dick he'd help him move in. Dick was a millionaire, and his idea of moving in was watching people unload boxes while he drank beer and ate pizza.
Logan, on the other hand, was ready to start fresh—get his hands dirty. After checking with Aaron's publicist to make sure he was out of town, Logan had ditched Dick. He'd gone back home just long enough to throw his already-packed boxes into his Range Rover, and then he'd taken off up the I-5 without a backward glance.
Now, almost a week later, he'd attended each one of his classes and had even done his assignments. He'd caught himself up and kept moving forward academically. But sleep remained elusive, and right now he just wanted five more minutes.
"Hey, roomie." Logan raised his head and was clocked in the face by a pillow. Instead of tossing it back, he just used it to cover his face, blocking out the world.
"Can't hear you…sleeping," he grumbled.
"Coach is announcing the start list," a muffled voice replied. "See you downstairs in five."
Logan pulled the pillow off his face and threw it across the room back onto his roommate's bed and reluctantly hoisted himself to sitting. "Yeah, I'll be there."
"So tell me again why we're here."
Veronica stopped in her tracks a few houses down from the party. She could hear the music and see the crowd ahead of them.
"To have fun, Mac!" Veronica pressed, not looking at her companion. She'd had to persuade Mac to come in the first place, and she was beginning to regret it. Veronica hadn't been a big partier in high school, but she'd definitely always tried to make an appearance at gatherings. Or, more accurately, Lilly had always dragged her, and now Veronica realized she was doing the same thing to Mac.
But Veronica couldn't think about that right now. She was on a mission. A mission to have fun and acclimate and meet people and…and…forget. She shook her head to clear it of dreary thoughts and turned to Mac. Mac had purple streaks in her hair, which looked awesome and somehow made her blue eyes pop even more than they normally did—she looked amazing. "We're here because we're young and cute and this is college—the time for broadening horizons…expanding our interests…being reckless…"
"Reckless?" Mac scoffed, but her dimpled smirk softened her words. "You gave me a rape whistle and three drug-testing coasters." Mac held one up.
"Yeah, well, reckless, yet safe?" Veronica offered hopefully. "Once a sheriff's daughter, always a sheriff's daughter, I guess," she admitted. Veronica sighed and reached to take the coaster from Mac's hand.
"No, I think they're cool," Mac protested, pulling her arm away and shoving the coaster into her back pocket. "I was just questioning your idea of fun."
Veronica shrugged and began to walk again, slowly, toward the party. "My dad slipped the safety gear into my bag. I figured I should at least use them."
"I suppose you're right," Mac replied. "And the hottest date I've had since arriving was the Cracking Cryptography Club meeting in the Rinconada common room. Little known fact: college geeks aren't any hotter than high school ones were."
"Noted," Veronica replied with a sharp nod. "How is Wilbur Hall?"
"Probably a lot like Stern. You're in Larkin, right? At least we got co-ed! I mean at the very least, I get to watch people doing the walk of shame in the morning."
Veronica rolled her eyes, channeling her inner-Lilly. She needed to woo Mac. "That's why we're here!" She grabbed Mac's arm and increased their pace. "So that maybe one day we can have our own walk of shame!" And to forget, she added silently.
"Call me crazy, but I don't know if I want to have a walk of shame."
"Oh, you do!" Veronica assured her, still doing her best not to dwell on Rio. "I mean, with the right guy it's totally worth it, trust me!" Mac raised her eyebrows and Veronica saw her friend's cheeks flush a bit in the dim lamplight on the street. But Mac thankfully didn't press Veronica for details. They were just approaching the door of the frat house, and Veronica could feel Mac hesitate, so she decided to shift the subject slightly. "So, that's what you're into, then? Geeks, but maybe hotter ones?" she asked, not sure this was the right kind of party.
Mac really blushed at that. "Me? Maybe…kinda."
"It's okay to know your type," Veronica assured her. "If you're into geeks, embrace it."
"Well, if you must know, I think I have a secret affinity for something more…rugged…manly…edgy," Mac's dimpled grin gave away how nervous she was.
"Oh, I was way off," Veronica teased, straining to hold back a smile. "Wow, Mac, you have a thing for bad boys!"
"No!" Mac's protest was too quick. "Not actual bad boys, just…I dunno…"
Veronica couldn't suppress her grin any longer. "No, you want someone who could be bad, but isn't!"
"You're grinning like the Cheshire cat, don't scare me," Mac warned.
"No, I don't want to scare you at all, I was just worried that we were going to have to go to more Sigma Pi Delta parties, but now I think we're in the right place after all." Veronica pulled out her student ID to show at the side gate, still holding onto Mac, who pulled hers out as well. "This is going to be so much fun." Not to mention that the project of finding her a not-bad bad boy will keep my mind busy!
Mac cursed herself for telling Veronica Mars her innermost bad boy secret. It wasn't out of the ordinary or anything, but Mac usually kept her feelings close. And Veronica Mars…sure, she knew her in passing, but she was Lilly's friend. Lilly wasn't what anyone would call tight-lipped. Mac supposed that Lilly's inability to keep a secret didn't have much to do with Veronica, but in high school the two of them had been considered a package deal, and Mac wasn't sure she wanted to find out the hard way. She liked Veronica; she always had. Mac had always felt like in some other life—in some other reality—they could have been close friends. Although Veronica was cool, Mac had no interest in being Veronica Mars' new pet project; she'd need to be more careful about opening up to her.
Take this party, for example. Even though this was college, this whole place shouted 'rich kids with too much time and too little parental supervision'—it was like highschool all over again. Except this time she was at the party with a 'cool' kid.
"Hey, Mac, I'm going to go get us some beers."
"I hate beer," Mac replied instantly, hating how much her discomfort was showing. "Don't leave me alone…someone could talk to me."
Veronica laughed, but not in a mean way. She seemed to understand. "That's the idea, silly. Besides, you don't have to drink it, just to hold it. I'll be right back."
She was gone in a flash before Mac could comment or try to follow. Fabulous, I'll just wait here…in the backyard…alone in a throng of people.
Mac turned to see a cute guy smiling at her. Then again, maybe not being permanently attached to the gorgeous blonde Olympian has its advantages.
"Hi," she replied, hoping her nerves didn't show.
"So, Mac, you have purple hair."
Not sure what to say to that, Mac just raised her eyebrows and nodded a little.
"So does the carpet match the drapes?" He laughed a little at his own joke.
So no, just like high school. Ya know what, I did it. I gave this a chance. My new Macbook Pro beckons. "Well, Todd, talking was great. I'm just going to—"
"No, don't go. I was just trying to break the ice. Ya know, be funny."
Mac tried to pull her arm away. "Let me go."
"I believe she said you should let her go," a firm, masculine voice said from behind her.
Todd put his hands up in surrender and backed away, muttering something about freshman girls.
Mac whirled around to thank her protector. She was surprised to see someone who looked as out of place as she did. He was Hispanic and tattooed…a little on the short side for her taste, but his leather jacket suggested rugged. Oh, Veronica is gonna have a field day with this.
"Thank you so much," she said sincerely.
"No problem," the newcomer replied. "Don't let anyone make you feel uncomfortable. Ever."
"I'm Mac," she said, offering her hand for him to shake.
"Eli," he replied, taking her hand with a brief tipping up of his head in acknowledgement. His hand was softer than she'd expected it to be. Maybe his rough exterior was a façade. A group of cute, fit guys stood just behind him, and Mac was grateful that he would step away from his friends to help her. "I take it you're new here, too."
"Yes," she groaned, knowing that everything about her shouted freshman. "I'm surprised they let you in. I was told freshman guys had a hard time; you must be rushing."
"No, no. You're right, but they make an exception for athletes. Lots of my teammates are brothers here." Eli turned around and pointed to the guys behind him.
A bad boy and an athlete. For the first time that night, Mac prayed that Veronica took her time. There'd be no living this down, and Eli intrigued her. "What sport do you play?"
"Water polo. This is actually my first week here. I was down in Rio," Eli offered nonchalantly, as if everyone went to the Olympics.
"To compete?" He nodded, and it dawned on her that her parents had watched the Rio water polo final on TV. "Didn't you guys win in Rio?"
"We did," Eli answered. He let a small grin escape, and Mac knew that he was trying to play it cool.
"That's amazing. Congratulations!"
"Thank you." He nodded his head again, with still only a hint of a smile.
"You know, my friend—the girl I came here with—was in Rio too." Mac scanned the crowd and saw Veronica several feet away talking to a guy. She had her hand on his jacket. So much for her hurrying back. "There, that's her."
Eli followed her gaze, and Mac noticed his eyes widen. A confused wrinkle creased his brow for a second before a sly cat-like smirk slowly spread across his lips.
Guess this bad boy is attracted to petite blondes, Mac lamented. Just my luck! She hadn't been really into Eli, but he was the first interesting person here who had approached her.
"You're here with Veronica Mars," his tone was surprised; yet it was more than that. Not surprise that someone as cute as Veronica Mars would be seen with Mac, but maybe surprise that Veronica Mars was here at all.
She wasn't quite sure what to make of his not quite question, so Mac kept her response simple. "Yeah, small world. I guess you know her?"
Eli nodded. "I guess you could say that I saw her around the Village some." Eli briefly looked at his teammates and then back at her. "Excuse me for one second." He stepped away a few feet and spoke softly to one of the guys, who nodded, and then Eli returned to her.
"Everything okay?" she inquired.
"Everything's great. I have a feeling this night is about to get a whole lot more interesting." Eli let out a huff and peered over her shoulder toward the side yard entrance.
Mac shifted her weight, the conversation was only getting more confusing. She had no idea what say next. Luckily Eli spoke up again, giving her his full attention. "So what's your major?"
Glad that he was taking the lead and seemed interested in getting to know her, Mac grinned. Maybe the night wouldn't be a waste after all.
Veronica scanned the crowd for Mac. It was dark, and the crowd around the keg had been thick. Though she'd been sure she'd left Mac by a tree, she hadn't realized that there were so many trees in this yard. She didn't know which one. Crap, she lamented. The one person on campus you know that actually has friend potential, and you lose her.
Without looking ahead, Veronica chose another tree as her target and began walking toward it. With a clump she collided with a tall figure, causing her to drop one drink, and spill the other all over him.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," she gasped. "I wasn't looking where I was going and I—"
"It's no problem, really," the guy interrupted.
Veronica tried in vain to brush some of the beer off of his jacket, but it was just too drenched.
"I could get you a towel from inside," she offered.
He quickly shrugged out of it. "It's a warm night," he assured her, "I'll be fine."
Veronica, left standing there holding an empty cup, laughed a little. "Guess I'll be getting back in line for the keg," she told him.
"Looks like," he said with a shrug before he turned and disappeared into the crowd. Sighing, Veronica turned to make her way back to the keg when her phone buzzed from inside her pocket.
Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the sender's name on the screen.
Logan leaned into the mirror to check his hair again after pulling on his henley. He wasn't in the mood for a party but he felt obligated to go. Coach had said that Logan would start in the first game of the season, and Logan had to do damage control—butter people up a bit. Freshman didn't usually start, and though he seemed to be fitting in well with the team, partying with them and being the butt of a few of their jokes would ease the path. He didn't want to cause friction.
The party wasn't far away, and he was glad for the fresh air during the walk. Alone time was few and far between these days. Though his roommate wasn't chatty, he was ever present.
The guy glanced at his ID and then up at Logan before turning to speak over his shoulder. "Hey, Felix, we letting in freshman tonight?"
Logan looked over the bouncer's shoulder to see whom he presumed to be Felix; he offered a brief finger wave and his smuggest smile.
"Him we are. He's water polo," Felix replied without emotion before addressing Logan, "Why didn't you rush?"
"I'm around guys in Speedos all day; felt like enough male-bonding to me," Logan answered with a shrug; he pocketed his ID and moved to enter the party. Being pushed around by upperclassmen for sport was even lower on his list than rushing was.
"Your boys are in the backyard," Felix called out after him.
Logan didn't bother to turn around, but he nodded in acknowledgement. So far at Stanford he was Logan Echolls, water polo player, not Aaron Echolls' son, and staying out of trouble was key to keeping it that way. But he didn't have the energy to make nice with everyone; he wanted to get this over with.
His phone buzzed, and Logan pulled it out. It was from his new teammate, Drew.
Drew to Logan: 'Get your ass here. You need to loosen up. There's a hot blonde out here that'd be perfect for you. Heard she's your type.'
Great, just great. He shot off a reply that he was on his way, but decided to take a moment for himself instead; he ducked into the frat house and found an unoccupied corner of the hall. While another girl might be just the thing to take his mind of Veronica, he didn't feel like hooking up with anyone. Things still felt strange the way he'd left it with her. Literally left. He didn't regret it because it was for the best, but he wished…he wished so many things. Before his conscience could stop his reckless side, Logan pulled out his phone.
Logan to Veronica: 'I know it's late and I have no right to say this because I'm the one who walked out, but I miss you'
There was a pause, but he could see that she was typing a reply. He waited.
Veronica to Logan: 'I miss you too'
Hmm. She wasn't giving him much to work with; that didn't really require a response, and yet he couldn't help himself.
Logan to Veronica: 'I'm at some stupid college party and the guys called me over to meet some blonde, and all I want to do is take a trip to New York.'
Way to put it all out there, Echolls. Again, against his better judgment, he hit send.
Veronica's eyes narrowed as she read the text.
New York? What does meeting some hot blonde have to do with New York? Him dating other girls hurt, but it was inevitable. And she cared for him. It killed her a little to let him go, but she cared about him; she wanted him to be happy. But New York?
Veronica to Logan: 'Okay. Look, like you said, you were the one who left. And I understand why you did. So, I think you should go for the girl your buddies found for you. It's college, enjoy it.'
Veronica hit send before she thought too much about it, but then reread the text and winced. It was a little harsh maybe, but the last thing she wanted or needed was a play-by-play of Logan's college dating experience. Her heart raced when she saw him typing a response.
Logan to Veronica: 'Is that what you really want?'
Is he crazy? Of course that's not what I want! What she wanted was to be back in Rio, but he was clearly back in the saddle and ready to jet off to New York.
Veronica to Logan: 'I think it's best.'
His response was immediate.
Logan to Veronica: 'You didn't answer the question'
Veronica grumbled. She was getting angry that after he walked out, he was going to be the one to make her say it—to make it official. She blinked back the tears that burned her eyes.
Veronica to Logan: 'It's what I want. Go get 'er, tiger. Have some fun.'
Again, she could see him typing a response. She suddenly felt unseasonably warm and fidgety. She wanted nothing more than to not be standing in a crowded yard full of drunken people texting the one person she cared about to go find someone else.
Logan to Veronica: 'Rodger that, loud and clear. Heading out to 'have some fun'.'
Veronica wiped away a tear that had escaped, immediately regretting everything she'd said. She regretted it all. She really wanted to call him and take it all back and tell him not to go—to tell him to wait for her. She would have if it would change anything—if it would make a difference.
Blowing out a long sigh, Veronica decided to forego the beer and head back to find Mac. The only fun she'd be having this evening was with Jane Austin and Ben & Jerry. When her eyes could refocus, she took another look around the yard, desperate to find Mac. She spotted her friend quickly and took off across the distance.
Mac must have noticed the misery on Veronica's face because she broke away from the guy she was talking to and met Veronica halfway. "What's wrong?" she asked when they were a few feet apart.
Veronica gulped back her sadness and forced a weak—and surely unconvincing— smile. "I've decided that I agree with you. College parties are a distant second to any version of Pride and Prejudice with Chunky Monkey."
The crease of Mac's brow told Veronica that she hadn't convinced her friend at all. "Yeah, if you're sure. I was finally starting to have some fun, but we can go if you want to."
Surprised, Veronica opened her mouth to protest, but Mac shook her head.
"I'm not a huge Austen fan, though. I should warn you that I'll probably fall asleep." Mac turned and nodded toward the guy she'd been talking to. His back was to them. "First let me say goodbye to—"
Mac's companion turned around.
Eli's smirky smile left Veronica thinking he wasn't at all surprised to see her there. "In the flesh," he confirmed, reaching forward to envelope her in a tight hug.
Veronica knew she should be happy to see another familiar face. She didn't know Weevil all that well, but his actions in Rio had proven him to be a stand-up guy. Unfortunately, now wasn't a welcome moment for Rio reminders.
"Wow, I had no idea you went here," she spoke, genuinely happy-ish to see him.
"Me neither. Nice surprise," he replied.
"Really? Because you don't seem at all…surprised."
"Mac pointed you out earlier," he explained, nodding to Mac whose cheeks pinked under his gaze.
Oh, Mac, if this is your idea of a bad boy, you'll be sad to learn it's all in the exterior, she thought. "Well, I was just heading out, but Mac, if you'd like to stay, I can vouch for Weevil—Eli?" He nodded, "—here."
Weevil stepped forward and clasped her forearm with his hand. "Whoa, whoa, there. You can't go now. The night's just getting started. I don't have practice tomorrow, for once, and—"
Frustrated, Veronica interrupted. "Yeah, it's early, but I'm beat. I'm just going to—"
"Just gimme a minute," Weevil insisted, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone.
Mac came to her defense, "If she says she wants to go, then we're going to go."
"I think there's something you should see—a surprise." Weevil huffed and looked over his shoulder to the gate.
Veronica cocked her head to the side, trying to size Weevil up. "If it's all the same to you, I think I've had enough—"
Weevil silenced her with his hand. He was holding up one finger toward her and flipping through screens on his phone with the other. "Trust me, V, I think you're going to like this, I just have to—" Weevil cut himself off, suddenly beaming while looking at something just over her shoulder.
"A blonde and a brunette! Thank you, guys. Decisions, decisions…"
Veronica, shocked into silence, just gasped. It couldn't be…
Weevil shut his eyes and shook his head while letting out a harsh sigh. "Jackass," she heard him murmur under his breath.
Just go have fun? Seriously? Logan reflexively turned in a circle, tugging on his hair to pull himself back to reality. Somewhere in the back of his mind, his conscience was screaming at him to not overreact—that there must be some reason for her to feel that way. But Devil Dick's voice was louder. He'd just poured his heart out for her and she'd essentially told him to piss off.
Fine, if she wants me to go have fun, then it's fun I'll have. Let's see this blonde that's so my type.
Logan strode purposefully through the crowd, looking for Weevil and his other teammates. He spotted them near a large oak tree in the back. The blonde, presumably the one that was his 'type', was facing away from him with a friend, and both were talking to Weevil. Logan took a moment to collect himself. He didn't want to lapse into old habits. He didn't want to lose his head, or drink. But it was in moments like these that the old habits seemed so easy, so comfortable.
He strode past the keg, proud of himself for keeping his shit together. But he was still angry and upset, and when he approached his friend, his mouth said the first thing that came into his head.
"A blonde and a brunette! Thank you, guys. Decisions, decisions…"
The words sounded harsh even to his own ears, and Weevil's sigh of annoyance was telling. I'm a colossal jackass, he thought as he saw Weevil mouth something similar.
The brunette whipped her head around. She looked cute and awkward…sweet. And he'd just insulted her, which made him furious at himself. After a brief pause the blonde turned around slowly, and he gasped as he looked into the face of the person he most and least wanted to see in that moment.
"Veronica Mars." His happiness to see her superseded his angst, his embarrassment at what he'd just said, everything. Veronica Mars was standing in front of him and nothing else mattered. Everything else could be fixed.
He resisted the urge to pull her into his arms, waiting to gauge her reaction to what he'd just said.
She looked annoyed for a moment but then her eyes softened. "Is that how you greet all potential dates? Because if it is, I can see why you're still single."
"You're supposed to be at Vassar!"
"No," she replied, biting her lip. "Vassar was Lilly. But what are you doing up here? I thought…USC."
"Dick," he replied with a grin. "Dick's at USC."
Her grin told him that all was forgiven. At least for now. The moment he felt he couldn't resist touching her any longer, she threw herself into his arms. Logan clung tightly to her, losing himself in her softness…her scent…how perfect she felt in his arms. A moment later she pulled away enough so that he could kiss her.
It was a passionate kiss. It was amazing; it felt like a dream. He was half sure he'd wake up any moment and be back in his dorm room alone. But she felt so real.
"So, wait…" Veronica interrupted, pulling back slightly.
Logan used his mouth to shush her. "Less talking, more kissing," he said against her lips.
She protested, pulling away again. "But, you're not just visiting…you—"
"I go to Stanford, yes," he confirmed, reaching for her lips again.
After some catcalls from his friends, Logan reluctantly pulled back and sheepishly looked at his teammates. He introduced Veronica around, making sure to tuck her possessively into his side. He didn't know these guys all that well yet, and staking his claim seemed important.
Veronica introduced him to her friend, whom he immediately apologized to, before pulling Veronica away from the crowd and over to a more secluded corner of the yard that looked a bit quieter than the rest.
"Why do I feel like we only spend time in crazy crowded places full of drunk rabble rousers?" she asked, as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.
"Um, because the only places we've spent time together are nightclubs, bars and sporting events," he reminded her.
She grinned up at him. "And rooftop terraces…and tiny Village dorm rooms."
Her tone was suggestive, and he was not going to miss the opportunity to get her to a more quiet—and private—spot as soon as possible. "Yes those were very nice too," he said, leaning forward to kiss her again. Soon the kiss turned into touching and touching lead to exploring. It took everything in Logan to slow down. "So…any chance you'd like a tour of my new room."
"I'd like that," she whispered, leaning up onto her toes to kiss him again briefly and then stepping back to take his hand in hers. "Lead the way."
Despite his best efforts to get Veronica back to his room quickly, their walk to his place was slowed down by simple things like hand holding that turned into spin-kissing against trees, a brief make-out session against a random car in a parking lot, and Logan having trouble getting his keys out of his pocket without breaking yet another kiss.
He assumed, after the scene they'd made at the party, that he didn't need to warn Weevil not to come home tonight. He flipped the lock and turned to look at her, suddenly feeling hesitant. This all felt so important, and he didn't want to screw anything up. He'd missed her so much this past week with an intensity he'd never felt toward another person. He'd just been sorting through how he would handle the loss when she'd appeared. He didn't want to overwhelm her with how very much he wanted to touch her, feel her, breathe her...be inside her. He steadied himself for a moment before looking up at her.
Veronica had walked across the small dorm room and was studying him from where she stood, leaning against his desk. He gave her a soft smile, waiting for her to take the lead.
"What are you doing all the way over there?" she asked, tilting her head to the side slightly. He took a few steps forward and she met him halfway, reaching up to gently place her hand on his forearm.
The gesture calmed him—it was familiar, comfortable. He leaned in until their foreheads touched and breathed a sigh of relief. Even though it felt like everything else had changed, she was still Veronica, and she was here…and the feelings had been real.
"Missed you," she whispered.
And mutual. The feelings had been mutual. Logan reached up to cup her chin with both his hands, and kissed her—softly…gently. This kiss lasted an indeterminable amount of time—it could have been seconds, or minutes, or hours. At some point their hands began exploring, shedding clothing as they went. Eventually, they made their way to the bed where, again, they took their time. Logan made it his mission to kiss every soft curve, memorizing the sounds that he evoked from her along the way.
He kissed his way up her body, lingering on the valley between her breasts before slowly completing his path to her neck. He stopped for a moment, waiting for her approval, before he settled himself more fully between her legs and pressed inside her. Veronica kept her eyes locked on his, and she gasped when he pressed fully into her. For a brief second he thought he would explode right then and there, but the intensity passed and he relished in the feeling of being inside her, tight and hot. For once, he felt able to enjoy being with her without a looming feeling of urgency—of eminent loss. He felt as though he had all the time in the world with her—that he could keep her forever.
"So how did we miss this?" Veronica asked him. She was half-draped across him and kissed his chest after she spoke.
"Hmm?" he asked. Still in a state of pure post-coital bliss, his mind wasn't quite working yet. "How could I not miss this?"
"Not sex! Us…here, both going to Stanford. How did we miss that?"
So serious, he thought. Where's the time for the afterglow? "Well, I think we need to work on communication," he murmured, nuzzling her neck.
She giggled in response. "No seriously," she pressed.
"I am being serious." Logan rolled onto his back and tucked her against him. "Neither of us ever asked the other where they were going to school."
"I thought you wanted it to be a Rio thing until you talked with me after you thought I was asleep—"
"You heard that?" he smirked. It was too late to be embarrassed. "Then you should have asked."
"I didn't think I needed to based on Dick's comment. He said you were moving into the dorm at USC."
"Communication," he reiterated with a kiss to her temple. He felt her smile against the skin on his chest. "So you decided to stay pretty close to home for school. Why, when Lilly was going to Vassar?"
She shrugged. "Mostly my dad. We're all each other have. I won't go home every weekend or anything, but I liked the option of being close." She paused for a moment before speaking again. "I guess I don't need to ask why you aren't down south."
"No, you don't. It's perfect…great school, not so far that it looks like I'm running away, and yet far enough away to be on my own. Weevil was coming up here, we decided to room together."
Veronica tensed up at the sound of Weevil's name and jumped up to sitting. "Oh my god, Mac!"
"Relax, I'm sure Weevil took her home." Logan lazily reached over to the bedside table, pushed the condom wrappers aside, and grabbed his phone. "Look, here it is, a text from Weevil. Yes, he does sounds annoyed. He confirms that he walked your friend home and found himself other sleeping arrangements for the night. He even suggests I use my black AmEx to get us a hotel room in the future."
"I need to text her," Veronica groaned, reaching for her phone as well.
"You text her, I'll use the bathroom," he pulled himself out of bed and kissed the top of head.
"Any hurry for breakfast? I could use some more cuddle time," she suggested.
He grinned on his way to the door, feeling lucky for the first time in so long. He turned back to her and said, "I like that idea."
"Me too," she replied.
When he snuck a peek at her as the door was closing behind him, he saw her settle against the headboard, sheets secured under her arms and a satisfied smile on her face as she texted. Yes, everything was going to be fine, he realized for the first time ever. I love college.
Johannesburg, South Africa, 2044
Veronica leaned forward a little bit as if she were approaching the jump herself. Divinidi jumped a split second too late and her hoof brushed the top rail. Veronica and Connor gasped in unison, and Logan, whose hold on her arm was already reaching vice-grip level, groaned. "What happened? What happened?" he asked anxiously.
"Oh for goodness sake, open your eyes and see for yourself," Veronica huffed, not taking her eyes off their daughter.
Logan shook his head. "Nuh-uh," he protested. "Can't."
"You're such a freak!" she lovingly admonished with a roll of her eyes. This was nothing new. "We paid a fortune for you to come all the way around the world and not watch your kids compete. And she's in the arena. These jumps just fall over if she hits them. It's cross country you should be worried ab—"
"Enough!" Logan released his hold on her arm and slapped it over one ear. "Update please!"
"Divinidi rubbed a rail, but it stayed up. Just two more to go and then it's just a race to beat the clock," Connor informed him.
Logan moaned again.
"Dad, she'll be fine," Connor said.
Veronica leaned her head against Logan's shoulder and felt the tension throughout his body ease for a moment. Until she involuntarily gasped again.
"What now?" he demanded from behind his hands.
"That one was clean. One more jump to go. She's got this," Veronica hissed through clenched teeth. Truth be told, she was as nervous as her husband, but someone had to watch.
"Oh, god! The clock. Go, Em, go!" Connor urged quietly, standing up as the horse sprinted the last twenty yards.
Veronica was too tense to speak until Emma and Divinidi passed the final marker. "Yes," she cheered, jumping to her feet with Connor had her side. They both jumped up and down for a moment before she remembered Logan. "She went clean!"
"It's over, Dad. You can look now," Connor teased.
"I need a minute," Logan sighed. He'd removed his hands from his face, but Veronica noticed that he was a bit green.
"Hold it in, Butters," she called out, "no trash cans around here."
That made him smile. "I think those few minutes took five years off me," he breathed, running his hands through his hair. "Whose idea was this anyway? What were we thinking? So many other choices: cycling or rowing...badminton or swimming!"
"Swimming?" Veronica asked skeptically, knowing all too well the rivalry between water polo players and swimmers.
"Okay, not swimming, but there are so many other options that don't involve a very large animal running at scary obstacles."
"You're the one that bought her that pony," Connor reminded him.
"That was your mother's idea. And that pony Em just rode cost me a fortune!"
Veronica grinned at that. "Indeed it was my idea. When she was six. Since then, it's been all you." She turned to give him a soft smile, hoping he'd relax now that things were over, and patted his arm comfortingly. "Come on, let's go find your baby."
When they were a few feet away, Connor whispered, "Is he this bad when I'm playing?"
"I heard that!" Logan grumbled from behind.
"Oh, no, he's worse, but he doesn't hide for you—he yells at the refs the whole time." They all laughed at that. "No, son, when you play, it's me that hides," she admitted.
"That's love for you." Connor waved his arm as he spotted something. "There's Em, I'm going to run ahead before you two get too mushy," he said, running ahead of them to get to his sister.
"I have no idea why he'd think we're too mushy," Veronica asked, her voice light as she reached up to kiss him.
When Logan pulled back he left a peck on her nose. "No idea at all," he confirmed. "Let's go hold our daughter's hand while the rest of the competition plays out and hope it's enough for a medal."
Veronica smiled up at him. "Sounds nice," she said, pulling him by the arm over to where Connor was already hugging his sister.
This was it. Veronica couldn't believe the whirlwind that the past weeks had been. It was their last night in Johannesburg. Logan was still very involved in USA water polo, and several of his teammates from both his Rio and Tokyo games were as well. It had been one big reunion, and Connor's silver medal had just been the icing on the cake. But now everyone seemed to have gone their separate ways, and all the family's interviews were complete; they had the evening to themselves. Veronica was looking forward to sleeping in for a change before their late afternoon flight.
Logan leaned back in his chair at the table and lifted up his glass. "I propose a toast: here's to an amazing Olympic experience. To my wonderful daughter whose bronze medal is even more remarkable because she scored a personal best—"
"Which you didn't even see from behind your hands," Emma pointed out, smiling.
"Shh. I watched all of the dressage and got a play-by-play for the rest." Logan turned his attention to his son. "And to Connor who played his heart out and won a silver medal – only to lose to the country that bested me in my Tokyo finals. If you have to lose, lose to the best." Logan nodded his head. "Nicely done."
"And to my exceptional wife." Both kids groaned. "No, tonight I get to be mushy if I want to…my wife, who keeps us all together and puts up with all the Echolls craziness."
"She married you!" Connor laughed.
"Again with the mushy part," Emma sighed with an eye roll, channeling her Aunt Lilly.
"Shh," Veronica admonished. "Don't ruin my part."
"It's fine," Logan laughed, "I'm done. We'll get plenty of time to get mushy later." This was met with collective groans.
"Cheers!" Veronica said, reaching forward to clink her glass with everyone else's.
Emma was the first to put her glass down. Veronica noticed that after a long look and a nod from her brother than she was gearing up to something. "So…are we all done for the evening?"
Veronica held back a smile. "Guess you made some wild plans with the equestrian team?"
"Hardly! All those guys are already in bed with each other, Mom," Emma scoffed. Then her voice turned into a whine. "It's just our last night here and the Village…"
"You're lucky we even let you stay there. We know exactly what goes on in the Village," Logan interjected.
Veronica laughed…the kids were all grown up, but Emma would always be Logan's baby.
This time Connor spoke up. "Yes, we all know that you two know what goes on in the Village," he said with a sigh. "God forbid we go out and follow in our parents hedonistic footsteps."
"We didn't do anything that bad—" Logan began, but was cut off by skeptical looks from his two children and a knowing one from his wife.
"Yes! You can go," Veronica said, but stopped the kids with one hand as they immediately stood up to leave. "But…" she began, causing matching groans from Connor and Emma as they sat back down.
"Get their number before you leave tonight," Logan teased. "Oh, and where they go to school," Logan added with a smirk. "No use pining after someone who's in the dorm two buildings away."
"Oh, they're going to make all their own mistakes," Veronica said pointedly, stealing a glance at her husband as the smirk fell from his face. Veronica waved the kids off with a smile and then turned back to her pale husband. "They'll be fine!" she reassured him. "And, even if they're not, I'll keep you too busy tonight to worry about them," she added silkily.
"Promise?" he asked, leaning over to kiss her gently on the lips.
"I've already scouted out a rooftop terrace."
A/N: Yay, it's complete. Please let me know what you think of this final installment.
Thanks, everyone, for being patient with me through my first WIP, post-as-I-write, experience. It was kind of exciting, but now that I've done it, I think I'll go back to my preferred method of writing it all before I post. I'm still working on writing the story I'd planned originally. I am determined to finish it!
Once again, this was a fun, AU piece meant to be light and fluffy. Some facts are made up. While Stanford does have fraternities, the fraternities mentioned don't exist on campus, you probably can't play an instrument four hours per day in a dorm room, and if the 2044 Olympics happen to actually held in Johannesburg, please remember that you heard it here first. :)
Thanks, kmd0107 for the beta!