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"Veronica Mars. A high school girl needs her trademark scent." Lily continued searching through the array of perfume bottles sniffing each one.
"Be serious, Lilly."
"I am serious." Lilly lifted a bottle to her nose, then reached out and sprayed Veronica. "This is it!"
Veronica jumped back. "Lilly!" She lifted her shirt to breathe in the scent. "Wait, that smells really good. What is that?'
Lilly beamed, handing Veronica the bottle. "It's called Promises."
Veronica sprayed her wrist and rubbed it on the other. "How is it?" she asked, holding her wrist out to Lilly.
Lilly took her hand and leaned in to sniff. "Dahling!" she exclaimed excitedly. "I think we've found it!"
Veronica placed the sample bottle back on the shelf and grabbed one in a box, placing it in her basket. "Okay, we've covered makeup and perfume. Can we go now?"
Lilly reached for Veronica's shopping basket. "Let's see." Lilly searched through it, piling the items up as she took inventory. "All right, that's everything. Time to checkout." They headed to the counter and began unloading the basket for the cashier. "Do you want to stop for shakes after this? It's still early."
Veronica frowned. "You know I would if I could, Lils, but remember? I'm meeting Logan for dinner. You know we planned this today so I'd have a ride to the mall."
"Yeah, I know. I just thought...nevermind, it's cool. I'll do some more shopping then head home."
"Lilly, I thought you and Weevil were going to a movie. What happened to that?"
"Uh, we broke up again. He's being an ass. Again."
Veronica sighed. Lilly had been doing this a lot lately. They'd broken up a few times over the past school year. Lilly blamed it on Weevil hanging with Felix and the PCHers but Veronica thought that was just an excuse. Every time another boy showed an interest in her, gave her a little attention, she'd pick a fight and break up with Weevil. The last time had lasted two weeks before she starting paying attention to him again. So far, Weevil had always taken her back.
"Lilly, are you being fair? You've been known to make certain choices that weren't exactly angelic."
"We'll see what happens after next Saturday. Either he goes to the beach party with them or he shows up at Casey Gant's to win me back. It will be up to him." Lilly wasn't backing down on this and Veronica didn't have the energy to argue the point. She paid the cashier, grabbed her bag, and they headed out of the store. They walked through the mall toward the restaurant where Veronica was meeting Logan, stopping at the ice cream shop for Lilly's milkshake and a small Icee for Veronica. They continued on their stroll, Lilly going on and Veronica only half-listening.
"I am so looking forward to the last day of school on Thursday. High school was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. Between maintaining my social status and keeping my GPA in line, I'm exhausted."
Veronica stopped suddenly, Lilly forgotten for a moment, as she looked at a sleeveless red satin dress hanging in one of the storefront windows. She saw the yellow markdown tag since prom season was over and looked at Lilly, who grabbed her arm and tugged her into the store.
"Come on, you are trying that on, Veronica Mars. You are definitely red satin!"
The trip into the dress store made Veronica late meeting Logan. Lilly had insisted that she buy the dress. As she walked into the restaurant, she saw Logan sitting in the corner booth looking at a book. She slid in beside him and kissed him on the cheek.
"Hi, sorry I'm late. Whatcha lookin' at?"
Logan turned and gave her a quick kiss on the lips before holding out the book. "My mom bought an alpaca farm."
"Seriously? That's so cool!" Veronica took the book from Logan and flipped through it. Each page displayed shots of a vast property with photos of the animals throughout. "I can't believe your mom did this."
"She couldn't just buy a stable of horses. No, she had to go exotic," Logan joked.
Veronica closed the book and handed it back to him. "She didn't actually buy alpacas, did she?"
Logan chuckled,nodding his head. "Oh yes she did. She was visiting a friend on some movie set and she fell in love with them. They introduced her to this little old man who owned the farm. I guess he was falling on hard times and my mom wanted to help. He sent her this book." He pushed the book to the side and angled himself towards her. "So what's in the bags?"
"Lilly's list of high school must haves."
Logan looked at her, puzzled. "Isn't she rushing things a bit? Not only do we have four days of school left, we have all summer before we start high school."
Veronica had to laugh; she'd had this exact conversation with Lilly. "Lilly says I'll need the summer to master my technique."
"What does that even mean?" Logan asked.
Veronica snorted. "Beats me."
The waitress walked up to the table then and placed the menus in front of them.
"Good evening, I'll be your waitress. Can I get you something to drink to start?"
Veronica picked up the menu looking at the list of drink choices. "I'll have a chocolate milkshake, please."
Logan tapped the menu with his fingertips. "I'll have the same, thanks."
Veronica continued looking through the menu trying to decide what she planned to eat. She noticed Logan tapping his fingers on the menu, eyes on her. She glanced over at him briefly, acknowledging him before returning to perusing the menu. "Have you already decided what you're having?" she asked, wondering what he was up to.
He stopped tapping his fingers and splayed his palm out over the menu before leaning toward her and whispering, "Nope, not a clue."
Veronica laid the menu down and turned to Logan. "Then what are you doing?"
He glanced down at her menu and then back up to meet her gaze, a smirk on his face. "I'm waiting for you to narrow your choices." He paused, giving his head a quick tilt, before straightening back up. "See, I've learned that when we go out to eat, it's best to get your second choice. Then we can share."
Veronica blushed with embarrassment. They didn't eat out often, normally choosing to do take out instead, but he was right. When they did eat out, she would often regret her final choice and wish that she'd picked the alternative. As usual, Logan was anticipating what would make her happiest before she even thought about what that would be.
Reaching over, she cupped her palm on his cheek. Giving him a sheepish grin, she stretched up to kiss him. "I guess I don't need to worry so much then. You're taking care of me. Like always." A bright smile broke across his face and he kissed her again before she pulled away and returned to the menu.
Weevil sat in the church pew beside Felix, waiting for Abuela to finish her prayer.
"Come on man, why you always gotta go there every Sunday?" Felix had been nagging him every weekend about spending time with the 09ers.
"Why do you gotta be this way? It's not like you guys do anything other than cause problems or hang at the shop." Weevil saw his abuela rise from the kneeler and head back toward them. He stood and helped her outside to her car.
"I'm dropping you off at Mr. Mars' house, Eli?" she asked as he opened the car door for her.
"Yes, Ma'am." He shut the door and walked around the back. "I'll see you tonight, man." He bumped fists with Felix and got in the car.
Over the school year, the group had developed a pretty regular routine every Sunday. Some would come over early and hang out while others went to church with their families, coming over after. The plan for this week was a trip to the San Diego Zoo. Veronica sat on the back porch swing waiting for the last of the group. Logan hadn't arrived yet, nor had Lilly or Weevil. Lizzie had just showed up and was sitting on the old swing set with Cassidy; they were bumping into each other to swing side to side, laughing as they threw each other off balance. Dick and Mac were playing hacky sac in the yard, talking friendly trash about each other's skill levels.
Her dad came outside and sat down beside her. "How ya doin', kiddo?"
"I'm good. Did you get the van for today?" she asked.
"Yup, all set to go. Is everyone here?" he asked as she saw his eyes scan the yard.
"No, we're still missing Logan, Lilly, and Weevil."
Her dad patted her leg. "We have some time yet. Let me know when they get here and we can go." He stood and kissed the top of her head before retreating back into the house. Looking past where her dad had been, Veronica saw Weevil coming around the side of the house. She smiled at him and he raised his hand in greeting.
"Hey, V, I'm not late, am I?"
"Nope, at least you're not the last. We're still waiting on Lilly and Logan." At the mention of Lilly, Veronica remembered her time with her yesterday. "I'm sorry about Lilly. I don't understand her sometimes."
Weevil looked away from her but she could see the sad look on his face. He'd been there for Lilly through her worst time and she wasn't treating him with much respect.
When he turned back towards her, his resolve was back in place. "Yeah, I know. I don't know what I'm doing anymore. She picks these fights and then, out of nowhere, she comes back apologizing."
"Have you spoken to her recently?"
"Not since our last argument a couple of days ago. She wants me to skip my cousin's birthday party for some end of the year party at Casey Gant's." He looked at the ground. "I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to just give in to her and go to the stupid party. The other part of me wants to break it off and be done with these games." He paused, then looked back up at her. "I can't seem to let go."
Veronica felt bad for him. She couldn't argue with anything he said; she agreed with him. She didn't understand Lilly's behavior any more than he did.
"I don't mean to put you in the middle of us. Forget I said anything." He looked defeated.
"Don't worry about it. You didn't." She thought about telling Weevil what she thought of Lilly's behavior but she was torn by loyalty to her best friend. She also didn't want to start any more drama than there already was. Before she could decide what to say, Lilly came around the side of the house, jumped up on the side of the porch, and wrapped her arms around Weevil, covering his eyes with her hands. She gave Veronica a mischievous smile. Weevil reached up and pulled her hands away. When he met Veronica's eyes, she saw the confusion on his face.
Lilly was bubbling with excitement. "Are we ready to play with the animals?" she asked as she sat on Weevil's lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I don't know, Lils. Are you?' Veronica played along with Lilly's game. She wanted to give Weevil some time to decide how to react to her.
"Most definitely! What about you, baby?" Lilly turned her attention to Weevil for the first time, but she didn't seem to notice the tension in him. Without answering her, he shifted her off his lap, stood up, and took off into the house. Lilly watched him go with a look of bewilderment on her face, then turned to Veronica. "What the hell?"
Veronica sighed. "Lilly, what are you doing? You broke up with him, giving him an ultimatum, then you walk in here and act like you're still together. How do you expect him to react?"
Lilly frowned. "I was just thinking that I didn't want us to spend the entire day moping around each other, and I figured that if we were going to have any fun today then I needed to be, well...friendly."
"Are you serious, Lils? There's friendly, and then there's friendly. Mixed messages like what you just did aren't going to help anything. He really cares about you, Lilly, and you're treating him like shit."
Weevil walked into the kitchen to find the Sheriff, Duncan, and Meg chatting.
"My sister has created quite the name for us at Neptune High. I'm hoping my reputation stands on its own." Duncan sat on one of the bar stools with Meg standing beside him at the counter.
Sheriff Mars was leaning against the sink facing him. "I'm sure you'll do just fine. Are you sure the two of you don't want to join us today?"
Weevil walked past the Sheriff and sat at the kitchen table. He wasn't a part of the conversation but they didn't seem to mind his intrusion. "We'd love to but my parents want us to have lunch with them at the country club," Meg said, regret in her voice. "We'll definitely come next Sunday. Thanks for inviting us."
Weevil watched as Meg took Duncan's hand, guiding him off the stool. "We'll see you, Mr. Mars," Duncan said, then he turned towards Weevil. "Later, man."
Weevil nodded. He and Duncan weren't buddies, but while he was spending so much time with Lilly, they'd become civil. "Later."
When the back door closed behind them, the Sheriff grabbed two bottles of soda out of the fridge and sat across from Weevil at the table. "From the looks of you, you aren't having a good day. Do ya wanna talk about it?"
Weevil opened the bottle and took a drink. He let out a sigh of defeat before debating how much to tell him. "Lilly is being Lilly again. She hasn't spoken to me in days and then today she climbs up on my lap outside and acts like nothing's wrong." Sheriff Mars didn't speak. He just nodded his head in understanding. Weevil took another drink before continuing.
"I'm supposed to go to a birthday party, a family thing. She wants me to take her to Casey Gant's party. I can't do both. So she broke up with me. She said something about if I really wanted to be with her, I would go where she wanted. She hasn't spoken to me since. Then she shows up here today, acting like we're a happy couple. I just don't know what to do anymore."
Sheriff Mars took a long drink of soda and leaned back in his chair. He looked at Weevil and smiled.
"Son, I wish I knew what to tell you, but even at my age, I'm not very good at understanding why they do some of the things they do. All I can say is, Lilly is only going to get away with what you allow her to. You can't control her; you can only control you." Sheriff Mars finished his soda and set the bottle down on the table. "That goes with every choice in life. You get me, Eli?"
Weevil nodded as he studied the bottle in his hands. He did get it. He needed to do what was right for him, not for anyone else. He was the one who had to live with his choices. He nodded again. "Thanks, sir, that's good advice." He stood up, draining the last of his soda before heading back outside to face everyone.
As they drove to San Diego, they discussed the hot spots for the day. Mac mapped their route through the zoo to make the best use of their time and ensure they would be able to get to everyone's must-see exhibits. Weevil wanted to see the Reptile House, Cassidy was looking forward to the Outback, and Dick really wanted to explore the Lost Forest. In order to get to everything, they planned to ride the bus between exhibits.
The first stop was the Outback; Cassidy and Lizzie wanted to see the koalas. Once they were done there, they headed over to walk through the Elephant Odyssey. Despite this being Keith's point of interest, there was enough to see that everyone's interest was piqued.
"Look at the capybaras! They're so cute," Lilly fussed over the giant rodents.
"It says here they're very chatty. You'd fit right in with them, Lils," Dick joked as he read the sign.
"It won't be long before you get in touch with your kind too, Dick; you'll be joining them right after lunch," she sassed back.
They finished looking at the elephants and the lions before heading to the Northern Frontier. They enjoyed watching the polar bear cubs play and swim but it was the mountain lion scouting the territory that caught Logan's interest.
"She reminds me of you, Ronnie," he said, nodding to the prowling cat.
How's that now?' she asked curiously but Logan just smiled.
They rode the bus through the Asian Passage looking at the pandas, then heading towards the Lost Forest. They made it part way through before stopping for lunch at the Treetop Cafe.
"Look at this view!" Veronica said, leaning against the railing as she looked out over the zoo.
Logan followed her to the railing and put his arms around her before resting his chin on her head. Keith joined them, his hands gripping the railing. Veronica smiled up at him. "Thanks for today, Pops; we're having so much fun!"
"Me too, kiddo! It's been a great day so far." Keith clapped his hand on Logan's shoulder. "Now, come on, let's go eat."
After lunch, they finished touring he Lost Forest. Lilly continued to tease Dick about being with his own kind amongst the primates until Mac jumped in to tell them all how smart monkeys actually are. They finished their bus tour and walked over to the Reptile House for Weevil. He'd been quiet all day but in his excitement, Logan noticed that he finally seemed to let his guard down and open up to Lilly a little. However, once the trip through the Reptile House was over and the group headed for the gift shop, it was clear that he was back on edge again, keeping as many people between he and Lilly as possible.
At the gift shop, Mac picked out a tee shirt that said 'Well Koalified' for herself and one with a sloth with Wolverine claws on it for Dick. Cassidy helped Lizzie choose a photo album for all the pictures she took of the day. Lilly chose an anaconda plush for Weevil and a pink koala baseball cap for herself. Logan didn't think Weevil would accept the gift but surprisingly, he smiled and wrapped the snake around his neck. Veronica helped Logan decide which of the wooden animal figures to get and she picked out a Tree of Life hat for her dad.
Getting ice cream was the last stop before piling in the van to head back to Neptune.
"I can't believe that next Sunday is our first summer barbeque," Veronica said, taking a bite of her chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.
"It's going to be the best summer ever!" Dick said, putting his arm around her shoulder and grabbing her wrist so he could steal a bite of her ice cream.
"Hey, get your own. This one is mine!" Veronica squealed.
"Please, you know Logan is inside buying you another one for the ride home. The tapeworm can spare one bite." When Veronica laughed, Dick ducked his head and took a quick bite. Logan stood outside of the shop, watching his friends and chuckling to himself at exactly what Dick had suggested would be in his hands: an ice cream cone for himself and another ice cream sandwich, just for Veronica.
The group made their way out the front gate and headed for the van. Veronica and Logan trailed behind as they finished their ice cream and she moved to a trash can to throw away the wrapper.
"Ready for the next one?" he asked, holding out the extra ice cream sandwich. She didn't answer at first and Logan noticed that she was watching their friends. Everyone was chattering excitedly as they got in the van except Lilly and Weevil. They were walking together again, but neither one was speaking. Weevil's face was resigned and Lilly looked confused.
Veronica looked up at him, frowning. "Logan, do you think they are going to be okay?" This wasn't the mood she was supposed to be in after the great day they'd just had. Logan put his arm around her and kissed her head. She looked up at him and smiled. "Everyone else is doing great. They're the only ones I worry about."
Logan kissed the top of her head again, then helped her into the noisy van. As they settled in their seats, he whispered in her ear.
"Ronnie, they're gonna have to figure this out on their own. All we can do is support them. It won't help anyone if you get down about this. Just be happy with everything that is good in our lives."
Veronica nodded. "You know what? You're right. We have so much to be grateful for." She smiled up at him, her eyes sparkling. "And, from what I can see, neither one of them have given up yet and I've got all summer to make sure that they don't."
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