As Logan walked across the campus he was both excited and nervous to put this plan into action. His relationship with Veronica has been tumultuous at best. She compartmentalized her life and excluded him from all her relationships and he can't go at it like that this time. He wanted them to last and in order for that to happen he needed to find a way to intermingle with those closest to her; Mac, Wallace, and her Dad. Mr. Mars would be the hardest to create a connection with. He has seen Logan at his lowest. Mac has always been kind to him so if his plan was going to work, maybe she would be the best place to start. In order to befriend Mac, he figured he would just ask, lay it out explaining to her how Veronica had made him feel her friends were out of bounds to him and he didn't want it to be that way. He wanted them all to hang out and spend time together. He didn't want her to feel like he was trying to manipulate her, she was smart and she would appreciate his honesty. Then there was Wallace. His plan to win him over was to build on the semi friendship they almost had in high school. They had made a bit of a truce when they tried to take down Angie Dahl in Mr. Wu's class to help Veronica. If he was able to befriend her friends then she wouldn't have to keep them all apart. As Logan made his way towards the dorms he still hadn't decided who he would talk to first.
It seemed fate had made the choice for Logan. Sitting at the round metal table in the courtyard was Wallace Fennell. He approached him casually displaying way more confidence than he actually had. Logan lifted his leg over the metal bench taking a seat across from him.
"How's it going?" Logan greeted him. Wallace glanced up at him briefly without even making eye contact then returned his attention to the textbook he had been reading.
This might not be so easy.
Logan refused to give up. He was here to find common ground and create a comradery amongst Veronica's friends so he waited him out. It hadn't been long before he acknowledged him.
"It's going, What's going on Logan?" Wallace asked, still not looking his way.
"Oh well Veronica was spending the day with her dad and I didn't have anything else going on. I thought I'd see what her best friend was up to." He says going with being honest and genuine considering her friends were smart and they would see through his bullshit.
"Well, I'm studying...or trying to anyway. I can't focus with Piz in the room. It 'was' quiet out here." Logan could take the hint he just didn't want to. He needed to find a connection with Wallace. This gave Logan an idea.
"Well I have an extra room at The Grand if you ever need some privacy. You're more than welcome to use it any time." He offered.
For the first time during their exchange Wallace looked up at him. "For real?" He asked, shocked.
Logan relaxed and gave him a reassuring smile. "Sure, I want us to be friends Wallace. I thought we were working towards that but then this summer…"
Logan isn't sure what happened. The summer went by so fast, before he knew it they were starting at Hearst. He wanted to blame Veronica entirely but to be honest he just didn't make much of an effort.
"Yeah, she does a pretty good job isolating all of us from each other doesn't she?" He should have known Wallace would see it too.
"I know it's up to me to make the effort. I do love her and I want us to work. Maybe if I made an effort to be friends with you and Mac she wouldn't be so hell bent on keeping us apart." Honesty is still the best policy. "So what do you say? We could head over there now and I'll leave you alone to study. When you need a break we could hang out."
Wallace sat looking at him for a minute as if he was trying to figure out if Logan was serious. He shrugged his shoulders, closed up his book and started gathering his stuff. "I'm in." He agreed standing up to follow Logan to the Range Rover.
Logan didn't know much about Wallace other than he was important to Veronica and he played basketball. He was equally sure the only thing Wallace knew about him was all the negative shit that went down in high school. Feeling this nervousness Logan ended up playing twenty questions to fill the awkward silence as they drove to his suite. He asked Wallace what types of music he listened to, his interests. He asked him what his major was and the classes he was taking. Anything to learn what they may have in common. Wallace didn't reciprocate much and Logan had driven a little faster than he should just to get the ride over with. He never had to work so hard to befriend someone.
When they made it to the suite Logan offered to order room service to refuel while he studied but Wallace declined for now. He did agree to a bag of chips and a bottle of water before he disappeared into the extra room of the suite. Logan had been a little disappointed they didn't hang out a little first but it was why he had agreed to come over. Logan stretched out on the couch and gave himself a little pep talk to be patient.
A couple hours later someone knocked on the door. Logan paused the game he had been playing to pass the time and got up to answer it. As he looked through the peephole he was shocked. Mac was standing in the hallway with a bag slung over her shoulder and a red vine in her hand.
"Hi Mac, What do I owe the pleasure?" He asked after opening the door.
Mac stepped through the doorway and made her way over to the couch. "Wallace called and said we were bypassing Veronica's boxes and becoming friends." She sat down opening her bag and pulling out a soda. "I liked the idea, we should be friends. So here I am." Mac looked around the room. "Where's Wallace?"
"Oh he's in the spare room studying." He said pointing to the door. "I think it's time for a break tho." He said walking over, he knocked on the door. "Mac's here." He then joined Mac on the couch.
"What have you been up to, Mac?" He asked while they waited for Wallace to emerge.
"Just hanging out doing some computer work. I had planned to head over to the library, but only because my roommate tends to talk a lot and I just wasn't up to listening tonight." She explained taking a bite of her redvine.
Wallace emerged, walked over and joined them on the couch. "Mac, glad you decided to join us. Logan promised room service."
"I could do that or we could have a pizza delivered." Logan stood up and walked over to the kitchenette pulling the menus from the drawer. He carried them over and set them in front of them.
Wallace picked up the room service menu glancing it over. "Let's see what we have here."
While they looked over the menus Logan sat, amazed he had been able to get his girlfriend's friends to hang out with him.
It didn't take long for the uneasiness of being around Mac and Wallace to subside. Wallace frequently used the spare room to get some time away from his roommate and they played video games when he needed a break. He and Mac have been hanging out as well but mostly texting. The quips they share are fun and Mac is a pretty good gamer. Logan hasn't shared his growing friendships with his girlfriend. He wanted to ease into it slowly. An occasional lunch meet up or showing up somewhere he knows they are hanging out, has worked out so Veronica has seen they can be civil with each other.
Logan longs for the time they can all just finally hang out but he knows he needs to take this slow. He knows Veronica needs to see them progressively become comfortable with each other, seeing a sudden comradery between them would have her spidey senses tingle. That is exactly what happened when his phone dinged with a text from Mac and she saw the display.
"What was that?" She asked, reaching for his phone.
"It's nothing." Logan responded, grabbing his phone off the table and trying to slip it into his jacket pocket.
Veronica reached for it and he stopped her, standing to secure it into his jeans instead.
"Logan, why is Mac texting you and why are you trying to hide it from me." She asked, standing to reach into his jean pocket.
Logan diverted her hands as she groped him. "Veronica, we are in the food court." He warned, not really concerned with the public display.
"Let me see your phone Logan." She demanded curling her fists on her hips.
"It's not a big deal Veronica." Logan tried to think of a reasonable explanation as he reached for her waist to pull her towards him.
He thought she was going to hear him out when Veronica pressed herself up against him, but in one quick motion she pulled his phone from his jeans. By the time Logan recognized her diversion tactic she had flipped his phone open and was scrolling the text feed.
"Since when have you and Mac been texting buddies?" She asked, sounding disappointed.
"A few weeks." He responded defeated, pulling away from her. "Wallace and I have been hanging out too," he admitted knowing it was better to be totally honest.
Logan hated that he put that hurt look on her face. He wanted to say something when she grabbed his hand and placed his phone in it before walking away from him. He felt crushed. There was no shoving him, no yelling at him, she just turned and walked away. He wanted to go after her but he couldn't seem to make his feet move. This isn't how it was supposed to go.
When his phone chimed again with another text he didn't bother reading it, instead he connected a call.
"Mac, she knows. Can you get Wallace and meet me at my place?"
"Sure Logan." He heard the pity in her voice. "You okay?"
"As soon as we figure out how to fix this, I will be." Logan flipped his phone shut and headed towards his SUV.
It's Friday night and normally he would be curled up on the couch with his girl for a movie marathon and some making out before retreating to his bedroom. Instead he's hulled up with Mac and Wallace trying to figure out how to fix this mess with Veronica. They had all tried to get a hold of her but she has been ignoring them all day. At first Mac felt guilty since it was her text Veronica saw. The boys quickly convinced her she had no right to feel guilty. Veronica was stubborn. They just needed to figure out how to stop Veronica from shutting them all out.
After a night of sulking on Logan's couch indulging in pizza, chips, and sodas, Mac, Wallace and Logan decided it would be best if Mac and Wallace spoke to Veronica. The next morning Logan drove them over to Veronica's with coffee and pastries. Wallace balanced the coffee in one hand and rapped on the door with the other. They were counting on the fact it was early enough chances were Veronica would still be in bed. The duo waited a couple minutes before Wallace knocked again. It was a little bit longer when they heard the lock click open and Veronica opened the door.
"What are you doing here?" She grumbled "Especially at this hour." she added as she walked away from the door leaving it open for them to enter.
As they followed her inside, Wallace informed her, "We brought breakfast."
Veronica wandered over to the couch and flopped herself down resting her feet on the coffee table. She grabbed the throw pillow and tucked it under her head. Wallace handed Veronica a cup of coffee and Mac set the pastry bag on the table next to Veronica's feet before sitting down on the couch. Wallace removed Mac's coffee from the holder and handed it to her before retrieving his own, then joined them on the couch.
They sat quietly drinking their coffee giving her a moment for the caffeine to take effect. When Veronica sat up placing her coffee cup down to open the bag, Mac waited til she made her decision before speaking.
"Late night Bond?" she quipped.
"It's not easy making people pay for their sins without my Q." She replied, taking a bite of her bearclaw.
"We didn't sin, V." Wallace added.
"My friends and my boyfriend were conversing behind my back in secret. It's not my birthday so you can't be planning any surprises." she curled herself up into the corner of the couch.
"There is no big conspiracy Veronica." Mac set her coffee on the table. "Wallace and I were just trying to get to know him."
"Yeah, you've kept him out of all the social affairs so when your boy made the effort, we thought we'd take him up on it to learn what you see in him." Wallace put his hand on her knee rocking her leg back and forth. When she looked up at him, he smiled at her. "I've grown to like him."
"I concur." Mac added. "The two of you have been through a lot, you're in a good place right now. Isn't having your friends and your boyfriend getting along a good thing?"
Veronica leaned over, grabbed her coffee and returned to her guarded position on the couch. They waited her out, while she finished her coffee.
"How long did Logan give the two of you to double team me before he gave it a try?" She finally asked them.
Wallace and Mac exchanged a look conveying Logan had been right, he really did know her well. It was Wallace who told her they had til lunch then Logan would be over with food.
"Oh I am not waiting that long." Veronica announced getting up from the couch in search of her phone.
As Logan finished changing out of his wetsuit he received a text, Make it brunch. Ah, his pixy sized girlfriend has made a request. He was grateful to know he wouldn't have to entertain himself longer than he had planned. When he stopped at The Hut and bought the trio breakfast, he told Mac and Wallace he would go surfing with Dick then pick up lunch before joining them. It was a good sign Veronica wasn't satisfied with just pastries. If she needed something hearty, he wasn't going to disappoint her. Logan scrolled through his cell phone and made a take out order for the Neptune Grand. He had just enough time to change his clothes before the food order would be ready and he could head over to Veronica's. The request for brunch worked out better in Logan's opinion because now they could head over to the Pumpkin Festival for the afternoon. Finally, getting to hang out with Veronica and their friends has been the ultimate goal.
Logan gathered up the bags of food from the SUV and headed to her door, giving it a kick with his foot.
"I'm sorry but you two will have to leave." Veronica announced when she opened the door. "I've just been gifted a hot guy bearing food."
Logan was grateful for her light hearted mood. It meant the dynamic duo had gotten through to her. "Hey Sugerpuss." He greeted her with a kiss as he passed over the threshold and headed for the kitchen.
"Hey Mac, Wallace." The two appeared at the island while Veronica gathered plates and silverware.
"Smells like The Grand, Echolls." Veronica teased as she inspected the containers to see what there was to offer.
"Love the shirt by the way." Logan complimented Mac's Tricks or Treats t-shirt.
"Thanks Logan." Mac said digging into the containers marked with vegan choices.
"Help yourself Wallace." Logan added, "It's survival of the fittest around here."
When they arrived at the farm they wandered over to the barnyard first. There was so much to do and Logan wanted to pack in as many of the activities as they could. Inside the barn there were pens of pigs and chickens. Mac and Veronica were petting the pigs while Wallace laughed at the sight of Logan chasing a chicken. Moving through the barn, next they fed the goats and gave the cows some hay. There was an attendant there showing you how to milk the cows and offered them to try. No one was willing to give it a shot. Making their way along the path they found the ponies. Veronica took off running as her friends laughed at her antics. Logan walked over to the new attendant and paid for them all to ride. Veronica was in her glory. Moving from the farm animals the gang made their way to the games. First they played a ring toss with oversized pumpkins, lassoing the stems. Next they found a tic tac toe game with pumpkins and apples. That particular tournament found Mac the champion. The last game they played before heading to the pumpkin patch was hide-n-seek indian corn. Logan and Veronica went first hiding the objects inside the giant vat of indian corn kernels. Then once Wallace and Mac found all the items it was their turn to hide them.
Climbing onto the trailer for the hayride to the pumpkin patch, Veronica snuggled up next to Logan. Relieved she had encased him so willingly, he wrapped his arm around her, planting a kiss on her temple.
"Logan my man, this was a great idea!" Wallace beamed as he took his seat next to Veronica on the hay bale.
"I know I am having a great time." Mac stated as she sat beside Wallace. "I know just the shape of the pumpkin I'm looking for when we get over there."
"What about you sugarpuss?' Logan asked looking down at Veronica, "Do you know what you're looking for?"
"I'll know when I see it." She replied looking out over the hillside covered in pumpkins.
A day full of pumpkin carnival games, entertainment, and foods had Logan feeling like he was walking on clouds. He never had such a day like he had today. Wandering through the corn maze and laughing at the absurdity of the pumpkin boat regatta were his favorites but what he really enjoyed was seeing Veronica relax throughout the day with them all being together. On the way there she admitted, it hurt to find out they were spending time together behind her back but she couldn't ignore her part in it. She had apologized and promised to make more of an effort. Logan wanted to believe her and he planned on giving her the benefit of the doubt, but as they drove through Neptune dropping off Mac and Wallace, Logan knew old habits were hard to break.
They turned down the street bringing them to Mac's house first, she climbed out, making her way to the back of the truck and Logan hopped out to open the hatch.
"It was a good day, Logan." She said as he handed her the pumpkin she picked out.
"It really was, wasn't it." He admitted still feeling the euphoria of the day's events, but having a hint of doubt at what happens next.
"Hey, don't do that. It really was a great day." She nudged him.
"Yeah, I think she gets that we can hang out, but actually doing it is something else." expressing his concern, then adds hesitantly, "What about her dad? Can she stop getting in the middle of us coming to an understanding?"
The look on Mac's face told him she got it. Her smile was one of understanding. "Good Luck Logan. I'm rootin' for ya."
Logan gave Mac a hug before he walked back to the driver's door. He watched as Mac walked up the sidewalk to her front door.
"See ya around Mac!" He yelled after her. She swiveled slightly to acknowledge him, giving the other two a noticeable wave, and headed inside.
Logan climbed in the car to find Veronica flipping through the radio stations.
"Hey now? What are you doing?" He asked, putting on his seatbelt.
"I'm looking for holiday mood music. They have Christmas channels, you'd think they would have Halloween ones." She stated as she continued to turn the stations.
"Let me." Logan says reaching over to turn on the satellite radio. "Try now." He says with a smile. It only took two tries before the end of Monster Mash was playing, followed by I want Candy. She smiled at him and sat back to sing along and Logan pulled away from the curb.
As they pulled up to Wallace's he let Logan know he could reach his pumpkin from the back seat.
"It's been fun, man. I'll catch ya later." They shared a handshake over the center console and Wallace hopped out. "Later Supafly." He shouted as he closed the door making his way briskly to his front door.
Logan watched as Veronica watched him go. "You up to carving our pumpkins tonight?" He asked her. She turned to face him.
"Yeah." Logan was a bit surprised she answered so quickly with such assurance. Then he saw the sadness wash over her face. "I don't know if my dad will be there or not though. Is that okay?" She asked.
"What?" They really do need to work on their communication. "Of course, Veronica. I want to spend time with your dad. I want him to not hate me."
"He doesn't hate you." She said matter of factly. Logan wasn't sure he agreed.
After parking the Range Rover in the usual spot, they climbed out and Logan carried the pumpkins inside. Veronica went off in search of old newspapers. Mr. Mars was sitting on the couch with his feet propped up on the coffee table, a football game playing on the television. Determined to win over Mr. Mars, Logan sat down on the chair diagonal from him.
"Hi, Mr. Mars. Who's winning/" Logan asked not really wanting to know but trying to make conversation. Before he could answer a voice was summoning him into the kitchen.
"Logan! I need your help!" Logan smiled at Mr. Mars, he nodded and Logan got up to see what she needed.
As he walked into the kitchen she was climbing on top of the counter. "What are you doing Mars?"
"I want to roast the seeds so I need that bowl." She said trying to balance around all the supplies she had left on the counter.
"I was coming, you couldn't wait two seconds?" He asked her, pulling her down.
"I called you three times." She retorted. "What were you doing anyway?" she asked as he pulled her towards him.
He brushed the hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. "I was trying to say hi to your dad."
"Oh." she replied as she fiddled with the lapel of his jacket. "Do you want me to ask him to help us?"
"You're okay with that?" Logan asked hopefully. She nodded without making eye contact. "You okay if I ask him?" With that Veronica looked up at him. "Yeah." she said with a smile.
Logan kissed her nose and left her standing there to head back into the living room.
"Uh, Mr. Mars?" He interrupted, talking over the sportscaster. Mr. Mars' only response was to turn his head in his direction.
'Veronica and I are going to carve pumpkins and roast the seeds. You care to join us?"
He returned his attention back to the television, feeling he was being dismissed, Logan thought he might have overstepped. Then as the sportscaster finished talking, Mr. Mars picked up the remote and turned off the television.
As he stood up, heading towards the kitchen, he replied. "Sounds fun, I'm in."
Logan stood frozen in his place. As Mr. Mars walked by, he clamped his hand on Logan's shoulder giving him a pat.
Happy Halloween Readers!