Wallace watched his roommate as he laid back on his bed, while Veronica tended to the injuries Logan had inflicted on him. Piz winced slightly each time she patted his wounds with the cold washcloth, and Wallace gritted his teeth angrily.
"He didn't really give me a reason," Piz said. "He sort of just burst into the DJ booth and started whaling on me."
Wallace paced across their dorm room, clenching and unclenching his fists. "He's got bruised ribs, his eye's all jacked up…"
"Not...not really helping," Piz interjected, embarrassed.
"Look, you didn't lose a fight, Piz," Wallace spat. "It was a drive-by, man."
"I guess he was pissed about that thing that happened at the beach?" Piz asked Veronica. ."I think he still likes you,"
It had to be more than that, Wallace thought. Logan was never going to be happy about Veronica dating someone else, but there's no way Piz did or said anything to earn a beating like this. He grew more furious as he paced faster. He wanted to punch something. Or someone.
"He…saw a video," Veronica said, barely able to look at either of them, "…of us…fooling around."
"Yeah, I'm on morphine," Piz said, puzzled. "What?" Wallace froze, not believing what he was hearing.
"There's a video, taken right here in this very room, of us, Adam-and-Eve-style, getting familiar," Veronica explained. "So, um, here's my question. Is this a thing you do that maybe you forgot to mention?"
"Veronica!" Piz exclaimed.
"Just…now is the time to come clean."
Piz looked hurt at the suggestion. "You really think I would do that?" he asked in a small voice.
"No," she said. "I-I just don't understand how it happened."
Neither do I, Wallace fumed, but I'm gonna make someone pay.
"So there's an actual video," Piz seemed to be having a hard time processing this information through his painkiller-induced fog. "Well, where did Logan get it?"
"I was about to go have a talk with him anyway, so maybe I can get some answers," said Wallace, heading for the door.
"Wallace…" Veronica began.
"Oh, we're having a conversation," Wallace interrupted.
"I'll deal with him," Veronica said.
"Not this time, Veronica," Wallace said, his voice rising. "I've had it with that jackass. I'm done standing by while he hurts my friends. I let him off the hook too many times for your sake. You know what? I don't care anymore. It's my turn to 'deal with him' now that you two are over."
At that, Veronica looked at the floor, unable to look her best friend in the eye. Damn it, she still loves him, Wallace realized. Shit—I'm never getting rid of that guy. Well, if that's how it's going to be, there are going to be some changes around here.
"This is the last time Logan Echolls causes pain to anyone who matters to me." Wallace stormed out the door, slamming it behind him.
As he rode the elevator up to the Presidential Suite of the Neptune Grand, Wallace wasn't even sure what he was going to do when Logan answered the door. He'd only been in one other fist fight in his life, and that was in seventh grade—and he'd gotten his ass kicked. Logan's been in a lot of fights, he thought. And he's bigger than me. I could get my ass kicked again.
The elevator doors opened and he stepped out, but he stopped and stood in the hallway for a moment. Fuck it—I don't even care if I get my ass kicked. At least I'll get in a few good hits and give him back some of what he did to Piz.
Wallace strode purposefully toward the door of the suite and knocked hard. He then realized that he still didn't know what he'd do when the door opened. Do I say something? What if he's not home? What if Dick Casablancas answers the door?
He heard footsteps and the door began to open. He heard Logan's voice: "Dick, what the hell, dude? I—" BAM! Wallace threw a fist and pounded Logan squarely in the face. Logan staggered backward, momentarily stunned.
"Wallace? What the fu—" BAM! Wallace punched him again, this time in the jaw.
"What? I thought you liked the element of surprise," Wallace sneered, striding toward Logan, hands outstretched. "Or is it a different story when you're on the other side?"
His face bleeding and contorted with rage, Logan lunged at Wallace, tackling him into the wall. Wallace surprised himself by easily slipping out of his grasp. While Logan had size and fighting experience on his side, Wallace realized that the years of playing point guard on his high school and college basketball teams had made him strong and more agile.
Maybe I'm not the one that's going to get an ass-kicking today, he thought, a little smugly. He threw another punch, striking Logan's cheekbone.
Damn—it hurts to hit someone in the face, Wallace thought, shaking out his hands and bouncing lightly on his toes, like a boxer. Logan came at him wildly, throwing him up against the wall and punching him in the stomach. Wallace shoved him backward, then charged, aiming low in an effort to knock the taller guy down. Logan grabbed him by the shoulders and both fighters fell back over the couch. Wallace crashed against the coffee table and then rolled to the floor.
"What the fuck is your problem?" Logan demanded, clambering to his feet and looming over Wallace. "Don't you know what your roommate did?"
"What the fuck is my problem?!" Wallace asked, incredulous. "He's having trouble breathing because of his ribs. He got five stitches over his eye!"
"Only five?" Logan smirked.
"You're a lunatic," Wallace said as he stood up painfully. He wanted to punch that smirk off his face, but his whole body was starting to ache from that fall.
"She didn't know he was taping her!"
"Because he didn't!" Wallace shouted. "If I thought for a second that Piz did something like that, I would have done worse to him before you did."
Logan rolled his eyes and scoffed. "Please—who else would have done it?"
"I don't know, but it wasn't Piz. He wouldn't hurt Veronica like that."
"Are you saying I would?"
"Are you saying you wouldn't?"
"I love her!" Logan yelled, pounding the couch for emphasis. "I would do anything to keep her from getting hurt. But apparently, she doesn't want that, which is why we broke up, and why she's all over the Internet now. If we were together, I could have stopped…"
"Funny, I thought she broke up with you because you cheated on her with Madison Sinclair," Wallace said, crossing his arms angrily.
"What?" Logan glared at Wallace. "No!"
"So you didn't tap that?"
"Well, yeah, I did, but we were broken up at the time."
Wallace shook his head. "OK, now I'm confused. She said you guys broke up because you slept with Madison—which, by the way, dude? That's nasty. You took Dick Casablancas' and Sheriff Lamb's sloppy seconds?"
Logan sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I know. My only excuse is that I was drunk and feeling sorry for myself because I was alone at Christmas. You know how it is."
Nope, Wallace thought.
"But it was during the time that Veronica and I were broken up—I would have killed myself before I'd cheat on her."
Actually, that's probably true, Wallace thought. Logan had risked his own life—a few times—to help Veronica. Wallace always felt he sort of owed him for that. "So wait—if the Madison thing happened over Christmas break, then what was the breakup before Christmas about?"
"Gee, and here I thought she told you everything," Logan said. Wallace could tell he was trying to be sarcastic, but it came out sad.
"You know Veronica—she's not exactly forthcoming with the details about her inner turmoil," Wallace replied. "When she said you guys broke up over Madison, I just assumed it was an ongoing problem. I think I need a flow chart or something to keep track of this relationship."
Logan chuckled unhappily. "Are you done hitting me? Because if you are, I'm having a beer. Want one?"
"Yeah, I guess it's out of my system now," Wallace smiled. A part of him wanted to stay mad at Logan, but he was starting to feel a little sorry for him.
Logan pulled two beers out of the mini-fridge, then opened the freezer compartment and took out two ice packs. He gave one to Wallace with the beer. "Here, put this on your knuckles or they're gonna hurt like hell tomorrow."
"Thanks." Wallace did not get this guy at all. He was making it hard to keep hating him. "So are you gonna tell me what happened before Christmas?"
Logan took a long gulp from his beer bottle and slouched back onto a couch. "I just don't think she was ever able to really trust me," he said, holding the ice pack to his swelling cheekbone. "She was always just waiting for the moment that I'd hurt her."
"I don't think—" Wallace began.
"No, seriously. One night I went to the casino in Benes and didn't tell her, and she used the goddamn cell phone tracker on me," Logan said bitterly.
Wallace let out a guffaw. "Really?" The glare from Logan gave him his answer.
"Sorry, man, but it's a little funny," he said, stifling a laugh. "That's vintage Mars right there."
"I guess, but it was hard to live like that," Logan said softly. Wallace suddenly felt bad for laughing.
"And I tried to show her she could count on me," Logan continued, "but she'd never let me fucking help her. She's always putting herself in danger, but then she'd get pissed off if I tried to help or, God forbid, tell her I was worried about her."
Logan downed his last sip of beer and stood to get another. He glanced over at Wallace, who held up his bottle to show that it was still half full, so he just grabbed one for himself and sat back down.
"You know, I just couldn't stand by and watch the woman I love get herself hurt. Or worse. I mean, there's a goddamn rapist on the loose and she goes running after him by herself? What the fuck? If Parker hadn't heard that whistle…" Logan's voice broke a little. He cleared his throat to try and hide that fact, but Wallace noticed. He knew how Logan felt—he'd been horrified to find out what had almost had happened to his best friend while he and Logan were chasing after a false lead. And he'd been angry at her.
"What is wrong with that girl?" Wallace said aloud, more sharply than he'd intended. "Does she not know how to use a goddamn cell phone? We weren't that far away—hell, Piz was still at the party! God!"
"Did you say any of that to her?" Logan asked.
Wallace sighed. "No, when I saw her at the police station, with the big cut on her head and all doped up, I was just so glad she wasn't…" he trailed off.
"Yeah," Logan agreed.
They sat silently for a few minutes.
"So about this video…" Logan began.
"Piz didn't do it," Wallace said, with a warning tone in his voice.
"Are you sure? If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that you might not know people as well as you think you do."
"Maybe not, but I know Piz, and he just doesn't have that in him," Wallace said. "And you might know some people better if you asked questions before you threw punches."
"…Says the guy who split my lip before I had the door all the way open."
"Hey, I saw what you did to Piz—I wasn't going to give you the chance to mess up this pretty face," Wallace replied, smiling just a little.
Logan gave a little laugh, but then turned serious. "If you're sure about him, then I'll take your word for it.'
"You're gonna apologize to him," Wallace said matter-of-factly. "And you're gonna pay his medical bills."
"I know," Logan said. "I bet Veronica's pretty pissed at me, hmm?"
"Oh yeah," Wallace said. "I'd apologize to her too, if you don't want her to fuck up your credit rating or have your car repo'd."
"Don't even joke about that, man," Logan said. "But really, someone's gotta pay for making that video, and I'm gonna find out who did it. You in?"
"Yeah, I'm in," Wallace agreed. "Where do we start?"
"I think we need to ask ourselves: 'What Would Veronica Do?'" Logan said with a grand gesture. "And I think she'd track down the source of the e-mail that's being forwarded around. So our first step is to figure out who sent it to Dick. I'll go get his laptop."
Logan stood and headed for Dick's room.
"Hold on," Wallace said, sitting up straighter. Logan turned around. "I want to catch this guy as much as you do, so I'm willing to work together. But if you hurt her, Piz, or any other friend of mine again, next time you're going to be the one who goes to the emergency room. I don't care that Veronica still loves you—I will hurt you."
A smile slowly crept across Logan's face. "She still loves me?"
Wallace sighed. Shit. "Go get the damn laptop," he said, waving Logan out of the room.
I really am never getting rid of this guy, he thought as he finished off his beer. Time to start that flow chart.