It was four minutes before the alarm when Logan woke up. He lay in bed, unmoving, staring at the digital display. There had been plenty of mornings in his life that he dreaded getting out of bed—including a few where he couldn't actually bring himself to pull off the covers.

Mister Logan? You mamá, she still in bed, but she say to wake you up for school. Dude! You fucking puked in my car again. I don't care about your hangover—get out here and clean it up. Logan! Get up, you lazy shit. Go to my office. Now.

He still didn't want to get up most mornings, but now it was because of the petite blonde currently nestled against his back, with her arm thrown sloppily over his shoulder.

It had taken some time to get used to the fact that she was there every night when he went to sleep and every morning when he woke up. It would take him a moment to clear his sleep-induced fog and remind himself that the girl in his bed was really there.

But these days, the only thing that seemed strange was the rare occasion that she wasn't sleeping next to him, having fallen asleep at her computer or at her dad's place. Though he wasn't going to bother dozing off for the two remaining minutes, Logan laid as still as possible, not wanting to wake her before the alarm officially went off—Veronica didn't like being awakened until absolutely necessary.

The numbers clicked by slowly, 58… 59… 00…beep! Logan let the alarm sound for a few seconds before clicking it off. He heard Veronica wake with an ornery growl and he rolled over to face her.

"G'morning, sunshine" he said, kissing her nose.

"Ugh," she groused without opening her eyes. "Do we have to get up?"

"You're the one who said we'd be there at 9."

"I'm an idiot. Tell me that next time I make plans before noon, OK?"

"Yeah, that'll happen."

This is the moment, Logan, right now, where it's just done. You're out of my life forever. I just came by to give you your stuff that I had at my house. Here. Your t-shirt? I have no idea. I thought I told you not to call me.

Veronica stretched with a sigh, pressing her hands up against the headboard and pointing her toes to loosen every muscle. Logan ran his hand down her side, from her rib cage, over the curve of her hip, and back up again; he loved the feel of her body under the soft, light blue t-shirt that she'd borrowed from him years earlier and never returned, even when they had broken up.

Logan's fingers crept under the hem of the shirt, brushing gently against the smooth skin of her inner thigh.

"Mmm… we don't have time for that," she murmured, half-heartedly pushing his wandering hand away.

He put his lips close to her ear and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Is that a challenge?"

She smiled, her eyes still closed. "I didn't intend it that way, but—" Her words left her as he stroked her between her legs. "Oh God…" she sighed, her breathing already quickening.

A short time later, Logan was dragging a sated, limp Veronica out of their bed. "I don't think my legs work anymore…" she groaned.

"Hey, I did my part to keep us on time," Logan teased. "If you don't get up now, we're gonna have to come up with a good lie about why we're late."

They made their way to the shower, and Logan set the water temperature the way she liked it. He turned to get the shampoo and let the hot stream run down his back.

Go pick out a belt. Cigarette burns and broken noses. Oh, the stories you used to tell. Sweetheart, you need to try harder to stay out of his way! Don't make him mad…

For a long time, Logan had avoided letting Veronica see his bare back. She knew about the scars, and he wasn't ashamed of them anymore. He knew they made her sad, though, and he didn't want to reflect on that time of his life anymore. But the scars had faded over the years, and now were barely visible at all, even up close, so it was rare that he even thought about them.

Veronica soaped up his back, and he tilted his head into the falling water, wishing he had time to take her back into their bedroom to spend the morning there. Then her hands glided down his spine and around his waist. She grasped him gently but firmly, and he quickly grew hard under her slippery, soapy fingers. His knees almost buckled and he pressed his hands against the tile for support as she sped up her movements.

"OK, now we are officially running late," Veronica said later as she dried herself off.

"I don't think I can make myself care about that right now," Logan replied with a cocked eyebrow. He put an arm around her waist and pulled her naked body against his. "Let's blow it all off. Cancel all our plans and just stay in bed today."

See me after class, both of you. I'll tell you where to report for detention. Suspended again, little brother? Dad is gonna be pissed. I don't understand the problem here, Logan. I know you can write, but you barely try. These grades are not going to get you into college.

Veronica kissed him chastely. "My dad is probably already on his way to the restaurant, and you need to get at least some of that data crunched today if you're going to meet with your committee tomorrow."

Logan slumped dramatically, dragging his feet as they returned to the bedroom to get dressed. "Sometimes I miss the days when I didn't feel guilty about blowing off schoolwork."

"Yeah, that system really worked well for you."

"But I got into psych to figure out my own crap. Nobody warned me there'd be so much math."

"Wah, wah, wah. I'm going to be spending the day cropping and Photoshopping, so you're not getting any sympathy here."

They hurried out the door, and somehow managed to get to the café just a few minutes behind schedule. Keith Mars greeted them with a big grin and hugs.

"How's school coming, Logan?" he asked as they settled into their booth.

"Well, I'm on a first-name basis with the staff at the science library, and I've heard they're going to put a commemorative plaque on the ass-print I've left in one of the chairs there."

"Just a few more months," Keith replied with a chuckle.

There had been a time when Logan had a hard time being around Keith. Not when things were rocky with Veronica—Logan could deal with an angry father. It was when things were good. Whenever he watched Keith and Veronica joke around affectionately, all he could hear was his father's voice in his head, telling him he was worthless… stupid… unloved… His emotions ricocheted between jealousy and simply feeling left out.

Then one evening at the Mars' apartment, he was stirring the sauce for dinner, and as Keith scooted past him in the tiny kitchen, he clapped him on the back. It was an offhand gesture—Keith probably hadn't given it a thought—but that clap made Logan suddenly see how different his present and future were from his past.

Oh, stop with the 'Mr. Mars'—you're making me feel old. Call me Keith. Sure, I'll write you a letter of recommendation. I'm glad you decided to apply to our program. I love you, too, Logan. Good night.

Logan no longer flinched when someone touched him unexpectedly. He wasn't tense around Veronica anymore, always afraid of saying or doing something to piss her off and send her running. He hadn't been drunk in… he couldn't remember how long. He had some ideas for what he wanted to do with his life. Somehow, things had changed, drastically, but the changes were so gradual that he hadn't even seen them happening.

Sometimes, when his mind drifted, he'd think about how and when his life had turned around, but he knew there wasn't one specific answer.

A waitress dropped a fork and snapped him out of his reverie, which he appreciated, since he really wanted to listen to Veronica's next words.

"Dad, we have an announcement to make."