Thanks to the help of LoveObsessed, I managed to find a little moment to post chapter 12. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 12 : the Forbidden fruit

- With you, it's sooooooo cool, we can do lots of things, said Hunter candidly. Aurora never wants to play with me and won't let me into her room.

Hunter was enjoying his time watching cartoons on the couch between Veronica and Celine.

- I'm sure you're exaggerating, Veronica told him.

- No, she even put a "do not enter" sign on her door and if I touch her things, she yells at me.

- When you're older, you'll understand her need for privacy. Veronica explained.

Aurora was a teenager and at her age a curious little brother was surely a burden.

Veronica had invited Hunter to spend the late afternoon and evening at Keith's. Much to Hunter's delight, he got to choose the menu and even help prepare dinner.. After a happy family game, they had played basketball in the yard. Their time together was coming to a close.

- Hey champ, it's time to go back!

- Can I sleepover?

- Maybe another time, tonight your mother is waiting for you.

It was not easy to amuse an eight-year-old boy full of energy. Veronica had a lot of fun getting to know her brother but she had earned a break.

Veronica had tried to convince everyone that the perfect New Year's Eve plans would involve a quiet night at home. She was outvoted four to one and found herself in the dressing room of an exclusive boutique whose designers were passionate about Charleston-inspired dresses. The three girlfriends were searching for unique 1920's themed outfits to wear to the "Roaring 20's" party that Casey had invited them to attend.

Mac struck gold when she found a simple low-waisted black dress with a silver zipper down the front. She had already wandered off in search of the perfect accessories.

Celine quickly chose a pastel pink dress covered with fringed layers of black tulle.

Veronica feared she would never find something that was unique without being gaudy. A helpful sales girl brought in a dress she was sure would enhance Veronica's eyes. Veronica slipped into the dress and glanced in the mirror with a satisfied smile. The fitted bodice was embroidered in gold with complex geometric shapes against a dark blue background. Below her hips long thin golden fringe fell to the knee.

- Uuuuuuuh, said Celine seeing her roommate. Casey will have a hard time keeping his eyes off of you.

- This is the one, said Veronica.

The 09er was crowded, a long line had already formed in the street. Inside, large red and brown curtains created a cozy and warm atmosphere, the DJ had opted for jazzy music. Bouquets of feathers and pearls adorned the tables.

Dick proudly wore his striped suit with a red rose on the lapel.

- So Stu, did you bring the party favors? That is why you're here, right?

Dick wondered why this wretched loser was always with them, he was a real leech, the others didn't seem to complain about it, they accepted him at their table. He wasn't part of their circle and was really dull. Why endure such torture without being unpleasant ?

- Drop it, Gia insisted.

- You're wearing a polyester suit? Dick scoffed.

- So what? Why spend a fortune on something that is only going to be worn once? Stu defended himself.

- If it was up to me, you'd still be waiting in line outside with the rest of the cheap suits, we call this the 09er for a reason, he added, pointing to the name of the establishment.

Dick was bored and when he was bored, he became nasty, targeting the first idiot who presented himself.

- Dick! warned Logan.

Logan was not Stu's biggest fan, but Dick's arrogance and bad manners were bothering him.

- I'll take a look around, expand my horizons and find a hot piece of tail that will be much better company than all of you, Dick finished up.

Meanwhile outside the club, thanks to Casey's VIP passes, a group led by Wallace cut the line. The bouncer ushered them past the velvet ropes.

- Ruby, back off please! the bouncer threatened.

- Why do they get to skip the line? she asked bitterly as she recognized high school alumni who didn't belong to the privileged class.

- VIP Passes! he replied, enunciating each syllable.

VVO: The 09er, the name says it all. When you're too old to exclude the undesirables from your lunch table ... open a club, charge $ 22 for a vodka tonic and put up a velvet rope, make them think this must be heaven!

- She's with us, Veronica said, pointing at the stranger.

The bouncer looked at Veronica incredulously, but happy to get rid of the freak, he let her go in without arguing.

VVO: Thank goodness Wallace didn't witness the scene. "Mars you are a real marshmallow," he would have said, but I made this girl happy. Sometimes you have to know how to use your powers for good.

Ruby Jetson didn't need to be told twice, she would thank her lucky stars later.

- I'll meet you, said Veronica entering the club, I'll get the first round.

If she was going to hang out here, she was going to need a drink.

Dick elbowed Logan and nodded toward a young woman in a dark blue and golden dress who was heading straight to the bar. A dark blue band adorned with flowers swept her hair up off her neck and drew attention to the plunging back of her dress. With every sway of her hips the long golden fringes shifted to reveal even more of her shapely legs. An outfit that would have looked trashy on anyone else had an elegant feel that was enhanced by the long silk gloves.

- Classy and sexy! You will excuse me, duty calls, too bad it's not hunting season for old married men!

Dick moved closer to the bar, placed himself behind the young woman and whispered in her ear:

- Tell you what, this one's on the house.

Without turning around, she replied:

- Wow! You're gonna cover all five drinks?

- Whatever.

He took out his credit card and placed it on the counter. Veronica recognized the name on the black amex. She waited for the bartender to take the card and then turned around:

- Dick, what a gentleman! I knew you missed me but to buy a drink for all my friends ... Wow !

- Ronnie! choked Dick. Long time! Don't take it personally, I usually buy a drink for any woman with great boobs whose thighs are visible. You get some work done? Your boobs look bigger.

- So do yours ! Thanks again for the drinks, Dick!

She grabbed the tray and escaped as soon as possible from this fruitless meeting. Logan, who had not missed a thing, joined Dick.

- So good hunting? he asked ironically. Did you find better company?

- We'll have to find another place to drink. They let anyone in now. And you, stay away from her, she is just trouble...

All the couples were dancing; Celine was trying to teach them the basics of the Charleston.

One step forward, one step back, and hopping. Then they added some variations with cross steps and tripled steps. The girls enjoyed improvising exaggerated arm movements.

Out of breath, they returned to their table just as Casey was ordering champagne for the midnight toast. Veronica quickly excused herself to wait in the long line for the restroom.

In a private place on a mezzanine upstairs, Gia and Carrie were chatting. Carrie wore a sexy burlesque bustier with black stockings and a short red skirt. Gia didn't want to tempt Cobb and chose a long yellow silk dress, with a black belt and a bell shaped hat.

- Well, Dick, you're unusually quiet, said Carrie.

- He saw a ghost, Logan answered for him.

- Speaking of ghosts, where's Stu? Dick asked. Did his cheap suit get too itchy?

Logan, unwilling to listen Dick's repeated complaints about Stu, chose the moment to slip away. He went down the stairs and walked to the bar. At the same moment, Veronica came out of a corridor.

- Hey. Veronica began timidly.

This look suited him perfectly. Charcoal gray trousers and an impeccably fitted white shirt, a tie, and a black jacket all pulled together with the perfect hat.

- Hey! Logan answered.

She was beautiful, he had seen her from afar but up close ...

- I should have known that you would be here, first Dick, the name of this club, too many clues, I used to be a better detective. Were you hiding?

- No, I was up there, he said pointing to the mezzanine. As far as Dick goes, I'd think you'd be happy. He did get you free drinks after all.

- Little consolation for having to listen to him whisper sweet words in my ear, no one should have to suffer that. Did he complain about it?

- No, but I think you're responsible for his gloomy look ever since.

- Sorry!

- Don't be. It's about time his karma came back to bite him.

- It actually was pretty hilarious; we drank a toast to him after that!

- Who did you come with?

- Oh, the entire gang, Mac, Wallace ... Casey. You should stop by and say hello.

- My whole fan club! No, I don't think so.

Engrossed in their conversation, they lost track of time until they heard the countdown begin.. 10, 9, 8, ...

VVO: Oh, no, no, no, ...

LVO: Think Echolls, you have 8 seconds, after all she is here, 7 seconds, I have a good reason to kiss her, 6 seconds, it's tradition, 5 seconds, It's just a little kiss, 4 seconds, Casey will never forgive me, 3 seconds, he'll never know, 2 seconds, the way she looks tonight ..., 1 second, too late

He touches one of her earrings.

- They have always been beautiful on you.

His hand lightly caresses her cheek as he leans in slowly, both of their eyes slide closed as his lips brush hers, chastely, gently. He eases back and gazes into her eyes as they flutter open.

- Happy New Year, Veronica!

- Happy New Year, Logan!

Veronica was already fleeing to her table.

- Veronica! Logan called.

She turned around.

- You should only wear this ! he added with a smile.

This time, he was the first to leave.

VVO: And Eve tasted the apple, tonight I definitely lost my place in heaven.

- Where were you? You missed everything! said Wallace.

- Sorry, I was stuck in the bathroom, it's a good place to start the year.

- Happy New Year ! exclaimed Casey.

- Happy New Year !

He kissed her languidly but it was nothing compared to the white hot kiss she had just experienced two minutes ago.

- Happy New Year! She threw herself into a big group hug with her friends.

- Champagne! Mac exclaimed. Are you okay? she asked Veronica, who looked distracted.

- Yes, I just ... , it's nothing. Well, it's time for resolutions. Mine is simple, stay away from the sheriff's department, it seems that Lamb No. 2 is worse than his predecessor. What will yours be? she announced, changing the subject.

-Regular exercise, tried Mac, I'll get a gym membership, I promise!

- Don't spend more than 1 hour a day on the internet and spend time in the bleachers at the gym... to support Mac, of course, James added.

- Get justice for the environment and enjoy my last year in the United States, said Celine.

- Successfully manage my publishing house and still make time for regular trips to New York, says Casey.

- Find a way to make Coach McDonald disappear without jeopardizing V's resolution and take advantage of Casey's private jet to fly to and from New York, finished Wallace.

- Hey ! I don't own a jet, Casey said.

- And it's a damn shame! exclaimed Wallace.

So eager to read your feedbacks. XO Frenchbobcat...