Dick didn't know what he would have done without Logan. He was the one constant in his life who didn't judge his every move. He was family. He never thought that he would be the one who had to pull Logan from the rubble of his life after Veronica Mars. It had taken Logan years to become the man he is now and yet there is still something lost in him. When Logan lives in the makeshift room at Dick's house, he sees it. The blank stares...the look when something reminds him of her. Dick could see it as clear as he did when they were younger. Rich dude kryptonite took her toll even from thousands of miles away. Logan wasn't aware that Dick always saw the photograph being placed in his bag every time he deployed. Logan never knew that Dick noticed when they watched "The Big Lebowski" that he closed his eyes and frowned while 'the Dude' says his speech or how he always sets aside the South Park movie. Dick never tells him that on those last nights before he leaves, Logan has nightmares, calling out for her. This is the love that lasts a lifetime. No matter how much time or distance you travel, that one person never leaves your soul. He had to do something.
Mr. Mars was the one parental figure in Neptune from whom they all feared the disapproving gaze. They respected him. At one time or another, he gave them guidance in their lives, either as the sheriff, scolding them before shipping them home to their parents about drinking, or as an encouraging ear when he would ask them how they were doing and then actually seem to care about the response they gave. Mr. Mars knew of Dick's business ventures and had congratulated him on his current successes. These previous interactions were what gave Dick the courage to approach Mr. Mars at Mars Investigations to ask for help getting in touch with Veronica. Waiting in the lobby for his appointment, Dick fidgeted with his phone.
"Richard, how are you? What brings you to my office?" Dick looked up to see Keith smiling at him with a curious look in his eye. Here goes nothing.
"Mr. Mars, I need to talk to you. I need to know where Veronica is." Dick put it out there before he could lose the nerve to ask. Keith nodded and asked him into his office.
As Keith walked back to his desk to sit down, Dick prepared for the fishing expedition that he knew was to come. "So, why do you need to know where Veronica is?"
"It's about Logan, sir." From the look on Keith's face, it was obvious that Dick's topic of conversation had the older man on edge. For the first time, Dick wondered just how Veronica viewed the conclusion of her relationship with Logan. Was she as affected by it as Logan was?
"Did something happen to him?"
Realizing the implication of his statement, Dick corrected himself. " Oh no, no, Mr. Mars. Logan's fine. He left yesterday to head back to San Diego. What I mean is, I have to find Veronica to talk to her about him."
For the next two hours, Dick talked to Keith about what it had really been like for him and Logan, his concerns, and his plan to fix things. Keith was respectful and listened, offering his perspective on occasion. By the end of the meeting, Dick left Keith's office with well wishes, a phone number, and an address in New York City.
Dick wasn't sure what his relationship with Veronica was. She was alway so hostile towards him. They spent most of the time avoiding each other if they could. He didn't know what it was that made her despise him so much. People always took him at face value and, because he chose to live his life not dwelling on the negatives, he was seen as a half-baked partier, and nothing more. He hoped that she would talk to him, or at least hear him out. In his hotel room, he took out the number Keith had given him to reach Veronica, not realizing til now, that the number Logan has is one and the same. He wondered if she would even answer the phone. After enjoying his dinner, he took a drink from the mini bar and headed out onto the balcony, phone in hand. He sat down and pressed her number.
"Veronica? Hey, it's Dick Casablancas."
"Dick? What? Why? Did something happen?"
"Veronica, wait. It's okay. Logan is okay. I just need… Can we talk?"
There was silence on the other end of the line. Dick quietly waited, listening to her breathing even out. He hadn't thought about her reacting to him in that manner, but considering her father had the same reaction, it should of been his first thought. Once he was sure she had calmed herself, he questioned her again. "Ronnie?"
"Yeah, Dick. I'm here. What is it we need to talk about?" Dick smiled into the phone. She was willing to listen.
Veronica had been waiting for this phone call. It had been two days since her dad called and told her to expect someone to reach out. He had also asked her to give the caller a chance. She didn't understand why he was being so adamant and secretive about it but she felt he wouldn't ask her unless it was important. Fear consumed her when she heard Dick's voice on the other end of her phone. It was suddenly clear why her father asked her to take the call but didn't want to share the news himself. Then Dick said Logan was fine and it took her some time to pull her thoughts and feelings back together. What was even more unnerving was how calm Dick seemed, almost business-like. Then his voice softened and he used that annoying nickname he loved to use when he was tormenting her. Once she pulled herself together, they made plans to meet the next day for lunch. She decided that years of out of sight and out of mind made talking to Dick bearable. She was actually curious to hear what he needed to talk about.
Dick arrived at the cafe and chose a booth in the corner close to the door. He wanted privacy but he didn't want Veronica feeling like she was trapped. He wanted her to feel like she could leave if she wanted and hopefully that would make her comfortable enough to stay. He had been surprised how easy it was to get her to meet up with him. He wasn't sure how long that would last once they started talking. As he sat watching for her out the window, she appeared at the corner walking towards the cafe. She was on the phone and she looked good. She glanced up and saw Dick, giving him a smile when he waved. She stood outside, finishing her call before coming inside.
"Hi Dick, long time, no see. What brings you to New York?" Her confidence made Dick even more nervous. She always seemed so sure of herself. He gestured for her to sit and asked if she wanted to order first. When she picked up the menu and immediately set it down again, he was sure she had been here before. The waitress confirmed it when she came over and asked Veronica if she was having the usual. She nodded and the waitress took Dick's order. They sat in silence until their drinks arrived. At that point, Dick wanted to get started but everything he had planned to say seemed lost to him. He needed her to understand and he was afraid he wasn't going to get to say it all before she changed her mind and bolted. He took the leap of faith that her curiosity would outwin her fight or flight instincts and jumped straight in.
"Veronica, a lot happened when you left. It was like you released a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos. I didn't know if we would live in the wreckage and pretend or crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild because after disaster struck, the important thing was to move on. I felt like we had. Things are good now but they aren't the way they're supposed to be." Dick wasn't sure he was making sense. "I need to know, Ronnie. You and I are all he has to love, but you're not there." He looked at her, staring back at him with a look of disbelief. He felt he might be triggering her defenses so decided to change tactics. "Can you maybe tell me why you hate me? I know Logan did things that you forgave, what did I do that you can't get past?"
"What is this about, Dick? Why now?" He could see that Veronica wanted to bolt. Her eyes kept darting toward the door but something was keeping her here. Did she want to hash this out? She probably just wanted to know where he was coming from and why.
"Veronica, I've been thinking a lot lately about everything that has happened. Neptune isn't the same without you in it. I always had a problem with the way you treated everyone who used to be your friends. Then, after you left, I noticed the impact you had on all of us. I know I did something to contribute to the way things were. I just want to know what it was." Dick looked at Veronica with hopeful eyes. If he couldn't fix whatever he'd done, there was no way she would ever come back to Neptune. She needed to see that he wasn't the same spoiled rich bastard he'd been in high school and college. They could get along and Logan could be happy.
"What is it you want me to say, Dick? It's been years. I forgave Logan because he was actually sorry and I knew where his transgressions came from. But you, you gave Madison GHB in a drink that she gave to me, then you proceeded to goad your brother into raping me at Shelley's end of the year party. Your version of bullying went far beyond what Logan ever did to me. Then you pranced around like none of it mattered. Pretty little rich boy could do and say whatever he wanted without living with the consequences."
Dick felt like he was going to throw up. He didn't want to believe that Beaver could do something like that, but after everything else he learned about him how could he not. He didn't remember some stupid party. There were hundreds, thousands of parties. It was how he coped back then. "I didn't know. I never thought. Veronica, I am sorry. I know for you that this is probably too little, too late, but I am sorry. I was a piece of shit back then. You didn't deserve to be treated the way we treated you. No one did. Please understand that if I could take it back, I would. Please Veronica, we were a bunch of rich kids with no real supervision, our parents didn't care what we were doing as long is it didn't impact them personally. I've spent the last couple of years trying to make up for all my past indiscretions. I am sure there is a lot of things I need to make up for but, I swear, Veronica, I will do anything to make this up to you. I really am not that person anymore." Considering the fact she hasn't bolted from the cafe yet, Dick felt he could continue but before he had a chance, the waitress brought their lunch. He, however, no longer had an appetite. Veronica didn't seem that hungry either so he knew she was listening. "Ronnie, after you left, I didn't know how to help him. Then things changed, we figured out how to move on. I'm not saying I've become a saint, but I have changed." Dick reached for his wallet. Along with cash to pay the bill, he pulled out a card and handed it to Veronica. "Call me if you want, if there is anything I can do, or any questions I can answer. Even if you decide you just want to yell at me or use me as a punching bag. Please call. I'm staying in New York for awhile. Thanks for listening,Veronica." Dick got up and left the cafe, hoping that Veronica would consider what he'd told her.
Veronica wasn't sure what just happened but she was sure that for the first time that she could remember, she wasn't hungry. Dick didn't even stick around to eat. He said his piece and just left. Did he really not know what happened the night of Shelley's party? Surely Logan would've said something, then again, how would you have that conversation? 'Sorry about your brother jumping off the roof because he couldn't face everyone knowing he raped Veronica and killed a bunch of our classmates.' It's not like Dick was going to tell Logan willingly that he told his little brother to have fun with his unconscious girlfriend. Maybe they'd never had these conversations. Veronica knew for a fact that she never told Logan everything. When had she ever been completely honest? Veronica looked at the business card in her hand. Richard Casablancas, founder of Cas-City Foundation…Cassidy Foundation?
Pulling out her phone, she googled it. Dick had created a foundation to support abused children in his brother's name. She decided to keep digging and she googled Dick himself. This wasn't his only noble cause. His name appeared on several projects all over So-Cal. She didn't know where to go from here. She decided to call her dad.
"Hi honey, how are you doing?"
"Hi Dad, strange thing happened to me today."
"You don't say? What might that be?"
"I had lunch with Dick Casablancas. He talked a lot. He says a lot has changed since I've left Neptune. Dad, can you clarify what exactly is going on? Why does Dick want or need my forgiveness and why were you so adamant I hear him out?"
Keith could understand why his daughter might have been confused. When he talked to Dick himself, the man seemed unsure of what his purpose in all this was. He had known about what the kids had gone through when Veronica left and how the impact of her absence not only affected Logan but those around him. Dick was the closest to the blast. Dick had to grow up fast to be there for Logan. There were a couple times that Dick had called on Keith for help after the time Keith had come upon the two in the ER when Dick carried an unconscious Logan into the building, crying for help. He had occasionally checked in on them when he saw one of them at the grocery store or picking up take-out food. He was impressed to learn that Dick finished college with a business degree and used his powers in Neptune to start a line of foundations to try and fix the problems that affected he and his friends growing up. He was making a difference and he was good at it. Dick used his skills to throw a party on a much bigger scale, raising money for those programs that needed it. For all intents and purposes, he was making Neptune a better place. Keith was in tune with the changes Logan was making as well. He found out about Logan enlisting in the Navy and Keith was the second call when Logan got his wings. He wasn't sure how Dick planned to pull it off but his latest request for Veronica's contact information came down to helping his friend. Dick seemed to believe that it was because of him that Veronica was choosing to stay away from Logan and, ultimately, Neptune. Keith didn't know how to assure him that it wasn't.
"Honey, Richard had made a lot of mistakes in his life that he has worked really hard to overcome. You all have. He is trying to make amends. I just wanted you to give him a chance. So you all can heal."
"Yeah, okay, I'll think about it. I'm just not sure how bringing up the past is going to help."
Veronica did think about it. A lot actually. She found that she couldn't stop thinking about it. Her freshman psych classes had made her think about these issues in the past but for some reason Dick Casablancas has gotten under her skin. It wasn't as hard as she thought it would be to make that first phone call a few days later and although she really did feel that at some point she might just want to use him as a punching bag as he suggested, right now, she really just wanted to talk. They agreed to another luncheon at the cafe. She had to admit, he first meeting had been awkward. She wasn't used to this version of Dick. This time, however, she was prepared.
"I looked into you, Dick. You are doing well for yourself." Dick looked embarrassed by that.
"Thanks, Veronica. As I told you, I've really been trying to make things right. I came here wanting to convince you that we can be civil. We were friends once; we could be friends again, at least for Logan. Then you blind sided me and I realized why you hate me so much. Sitting in my hotel room, I started to think about the times I do remember. I wasn't completely oblivious to what was going on around me, I just didn't think to care. I avoided what I could and numbed myself to what I couldn't." Dick paused for a moment, taking a deep breath and rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands before looking up at her. He really looked like what she had told him the other day had taken its toll. She was startled out of her observation of him when he spoke again. "I hope you understand just how truly sorry I am, Ronnie. I can't say that if I was sober I would have behaved differently. I honestly can't answer that. I can promise you I will do whatever it takes to prove it to you now."
She had been so angry for so long and she didn't know if she could just let him off the hook this easily. "Look, I am glad you are doing a lot of good to relieve yourself of your guilt. But I can't just forgive and forget."
"Veronica. I just wanted to fix things with you so you could feel comfortable being there for Logan. He and I are family but it's you he's missing." Dick looked defeated. He clearly hadn't expected this to be this hard. What had he expected from her? But the truth was, her leaving Neptune was about her actions as well, and her need to keep her distance to protect the ones she cared about.
"There's more involved here, Dick. Things happened that I am not proud of. I realized I was hurting people and I had to stop. Leaving Neptune was the only way. I needed to break the pattern of putting the people I love in danger. My actions could have gotten people killed!"
"So you thought leaving everyone that loves you and cares about you was for the best? That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why am I even bothering?" Dick got up and took a step away, then suddenly turned back to her. "You know, you have all these people in your life that are there for you. They care and you take them all for granted. You abandoned your friends to stand by your dad. You abandon Logan, Mac, Wally. So your mom left. You've lost one person. Logan lost everyone. I have no one. We only have each other. Poor little Veronica." He turned away again and this time he didn't come back.
Veronica was stunned. She couldn't believe he had the audacity to say such things. He came here to grovel. How did he end up having the last word? Veronica's mind was reeling. She needed to clear her head. This is the second time she'd come here in the past two weeks to have a meal and because of Dick Casablancas, she was leaving again with no desire to do so. She got up and walked out of the cafe headed towards Central Park. Coming upon the Bow Bridge, Veronica decided to have a seat and allow the serenity of the park to help clear her head.
"Hello dear, do you mind if we share this bench?" Veronica glanced up at the old woman, a half smile playing on her lips.
Veronica nodded. "Sure, sit down."