A/N I was trying to write KTD the other day and I accidentally wrote this instead. I don't know where it came from, and I wasn't even going to post it. If you like it, thank KatiePotatie for encouraging me to put it up. If you don't like it… well, then it's all her fault ;)

Collecting Kisses

This is a bad idea. Veronica knows it, and she knows most of the other partygoers know it too. But when Lilly Kane comes up with a plan, everyone falls in line. Little ducklings, all in a row. That's the way it's always been, and there's no reason why things will suddenly change tonight.

So a group of them, about a dozen, sit dutifully in a circle. Even Logan. Lilly drops an empty Heineken bottle in the center, and flashes a devious grin at no one in particular as she gives it a twirl. The bottle lands on Luke, and he glances a bit nervously at Logan. They're all glancing at Logan. Well, everyone except Lilly. She crawls over to Luke on her hands and knees, putting both hands on his face as she pulls him into a deep kiss.

Veronica looks at Logan. His expression is blank as he trails his finger along the grain of the hardwood floor. He seems almost bored.

Lilly breaks away from Luke, and it's Luke's turn. Luke kisses Shelly, Shelly kisses Casey, Casey kisses Madison. And then Madison spins the bottle, and it points to Duncan. Veronica's stomach drops. She doesn't want to watch Duncan kissing another girl. He's supposed to be kissing her, not Madison. True, they're not a couple. Not yet, anyway. But there've been hints for months now that they'll soon be more than friends. They've been dancing tenderly around the subject, both too shy to speak up.

Duncan doesn't look shy now, though, as he grins expectantly at Madison. He doesn't even spare a glance for Veronica as Madison approaches him. She looks away from them in disgust, and her eyes land on Logan; he's watching her carefully. As she looks back at him, she tries to mirror his expression from earlier- disinterested boredom. She doesn't want this group to know how uncomfortable she is. Veronica's not sure if she's pulling it off or not, but she holds onto it desperately while Duncan kisses Madison. And she continues to hold it as Duncan's spin of the bottle finds Shelly. Veronica pretends to check the time on her watch, so that she doesn't have to look.

When Shelly takes her turn, the bottle points to Logan. There's an awkward silence as people glance from Logan to Lilly, wondering how she'll react. The two of them are in an off-again phase, but Lilly's jealous streak has been well documented. Shelly kisses Logan quickly, and heads back to her spot in the circle with a pink face. Logan still looks rather bored. But he kicks the bottle with the tip of his foot lazily, and it spins several times before finally landing on Veronica.

Instead of silence, there is laughter and cheering from the crowd. Everyone knows how timid and chaste Veronica is, and everyone knows that Logan is anything but. But what they don't know (and what would surely make them whoop even louder) is that Veronica has never been kissed before. It's why she didn't want to play this stupid game in the first place. She didn't want her first kiss to be in front of a crowd of people. As cliché as it is, she wants it to be special. To actually mean something.

She wishes, now, that she hadn't splashed the rum and coke that Lilly gave her down the drain after taking just two or three sips. She wishes she hadn't replaced it with straight coke. Maybe this would be easier if she were drunk. Maybe, then, she wouldn't care. But she doesn't like the way people act when they drink. Like Duncan, his face ruddy as he cheers her on with the rest of them. Like her mother, who'd forgotten to pick her up from Dance Team practice again last night.

When she finally looks up at Logan, he's wearing an expression that she's never seen before. His eyes are wide as he stares at her, his mouth opened slightly and curled into a half smile. Veronica thinks he looks sort of cute tonight, in his grey t-shirt and frayed cargo shorts, with that funny smile on his face. She thinks, suddenly, that maybe it wouldn't be too terrible if Logan was her first kiss, after all. But she quickly swats the thought away. Logan is Lilly's, and Lilly is Logan's. That's the way it's always been.

The other people in the circle are clapping their hands together now and chanting: "Logan! Logan! Logan!" Veronica sees the surreptitious glances being thrown in Lilly's direction again. She risks a glance herself, and she's a little terrified of the expression on her best friend's face. Lilly's temper is legendary, but she's never seen it turned in her direction before. Within seconds, she knows what she has to do.

Just as Logan starts moving towards her, she clutches her stomach and claps a hand over her mouth. Veronica stands up quickly and runs away. She heads out the back door and closes it firmly behind her. The disappointed groans of the crowd fade away.

She stands on Casey's back deck for a moment, thinking about how much she'd rather be curled on her bed with a good book, Backup sprawled out next to her. Veronica always lets herself get dragged to these parties, but she rarely enjoys herself. The novelty of watching other people get drunk and make fools of themselves has long since worn off. Besides, she's not so sure anyone would even miss her, if she stopped showing up.

Veronica heads down the wooden stairs of the deck, following a slightly overgrown cobblestone path down an incline. The back of the Gant property dips into a steep cliff. The severity of the drop has been tempered by several stone retaining walls, a landscaper's valiant attempt to salvage the backyard. After heading down the path about halfway, Veronica decides that she's gone far enough. She hoists herself up onto one of the stone walls and spins her body around so she's facing the ocean below.

She's far from the other partygoers now, and she feels the stress of the game starting to melt away. Her only regret is that she forgot to grab her jacket in her haste to get away. Despite her attempts not to think about the temperature, she starts to shiver slightly in her thin cotton tank top and shorts. A light step on the path to her left distracts her, and she looks up to see Logan. For some reason, she's not at all surprised to see him.

"How'd you find me?" she asks.

"I saw you headed this way. Do you want to be alone?"

She considers for a minute, looking at him. He doesn't look quite like himself, tonight. Not a hint of his trademark grin plays anywhere on his lips. She notes that he's not drinking either, and she's surprised. Lately, he's been getting so drunk that she's started to get concerned. She'd even mentioned it to Lilly, but her friend had just rolled her eyes and said that's what normal teenage boys did.

Veronica shakes her head, and he pulls himself up onto the wall next to her. He's sitting much closer to her than he normally does; the outsides of their legs are touching. The loose threads from his shorts tickle her bare thigh, but she doesn't move away. The only sound for several moments is the light breeze rustling through the trees, and the dull thud of their flip flops as they swing their feet back and forth against the stone wall below them.

"So what happened this time?" she finally asks.

"She got pissed off at me because I wouldn't sneak out of the house last weekend," he replies. "She wanted to go to some party down at Dog Beach."

"And you… don't like parties anymore?" she jokes.

Logan shrugs and looks down the hill. "No, it's…My dad's been home the past few weeks, and he's- He's a light sleeper, you know? I just didn't feel like getting grounded."

Veronica can relate. She doesn't like getting grounded either, but it's more because she can't stand the look of disappointment on her dad's face when she does something wrong.

"And she broke up with you for that?" she asks. The breakups have been a regular feature of Lilly and Logan's relationship for over a year now. But Veronica's a bit surprised that Lilly has ended her relationship with Logan because of such a minor thing, this time around. Her excuses for splitting up seem to be getting more and more frivolous. Veronica would never say this to Lilly, but she secretly thinks that her friend takes Logan for granted. Lilly always expects Logan to take her back, when she decides she's ready. But Veronica knows that one day, he's not going to come when she calls.

"She just doesn't like hearing the word 'no'," Logan responds.

"Are you guys trying to work it out?"

"Not at the moment," he laughs. Catching her look of surprise, he gestures to the pool house. "She's in there now, making out with Lewis Connelly."

"I'm sorry, Logan. You know she's only doing it to make you jealous." Veronica bites down on her lip, disappointed with herself. Because even though it's true, saying it aloud feels like a betrayal.

"I know," Logan says. And he sounds surprisingly unconcerned. He hops down off the wall, onto the stone path below them. Veronica notices him wince when he lands, and sees how stiffly he moves as he stands up straight. She's about to ask him if he's okay, when she remembers how roughly he and Duncan had been playing football, earlier that day. He must've gotten hurt then.

Logan moves to stand in front of her. He's grown so tall that he's almost at her eye level, even though she's still sitting atop the wall. "I don't want to talk about Lilly anymore," he informs her.

"So what do you want to talk about, then?"

"You," he replies. And there's that grin of his, finally. Veronica smiles back; she can't help it.

"Me?" she asks. "What about me?"

Logan takes a half step closer to her. "You owe me a kiss."

His tone is playful, but his eyes are serious, and she doesn't know how to react. She opts for witty banter, because that always seems to come easily when she talks to Logan. "Hmm. I don't remember losing any bets lately."

"Do I really have to explain the rules of Spin the Bottle?"

"We're not playing Spin the Bottle anymore," she points out.

"No, but we were. And when you take a seat inside that circle, you're entering into a very specific, non-verbal contract with the other players." Logan takes another step closer, moving to stand between her knees. "The bottle landed on you, Mars. Legally, I'm entitled to that kiss. And I intend to collect."

"Do I need to get my lawyer involved?" she returns. But instead of coming out as a joke, her voice sounds high-pitched and shaky. He's making her very nervous.

"Only if you refuse to play by the rules." Logan is very close now, close enough so that she can feel the heat coming from his skin. His eyes haven't left hers yet. He leans in closer still.

This is actually happening, and she's terrified. Of Lilly, and what her reaction will be if she finds out. Of Logan, who's making her feel off-balance and anxious, but also excited. And of herself, most of all. Because suddenly…she really, really wants this to happen.

"Logan," she says.

He pauses, his lips mere inches away from hers.

"I've… I've never done this before," she confesses.

Logan moves forward another inch, and she can feel his warm breath on her cheek. Veronica realizes that she's still shivering, but it's no longer from the cold. He's so close now that she can't see his lips, but she can tell by the crinkle in his eyes that he's smiling. "Good," he whispers.

Veronica closes her eyes, and Logan's lips touch hers. He kisses her once, twice, then pauses and looks into her eyes. His hands find the back of her neck, and he pulls her towards him for a third kiss, and a fourth. His lips are soft and gentle, but insistent. Logan's hands drop to her waist, and his fingers curl around her hips tightly.

She shouldn't know what to do; she's never done this before. But her body is responding to his in the most natural way possible. Every instinct is telling her to get closer to him, as close as she possibly can. Veronica finds herself wrapping her legs around his waist and her arms around his shoulders, and their kisses start to come faster. She opens her mouth, and the tip of Logan's tongue finds hers…and now there are a whole new set of sensations that run down her spine.

They continue to kiss, and Logan's hand cups her face tenderly. His thumb remains fixed on her jaw, but his fingers brush lightly across her cheek and the side of her neck. It tickles and Veronica starts to laugh, finally breaking away from him. He smiles and looks up at her, his eyes more open and unguarded than she's seen in a very long time. Logan doesn't move to kiss her again, but he doesn't pull away either. Instead, he wraps his arms around her waist and lays his head in her lap.

She puts one arm across his shoulders, and strokes the top of his head with her other hand. His hair is spiky, but somehow soft underneath. Veronica feels warm all over, in the pleasant hush of the evening. She knows that in a few moments, reality will step in and the glow will start to fade. But for now, she embraces a secret knowledge within herself- that this is exactly what her first kiss was supposed to be like. And Logan is exactly who it was supposed to be with.

The End…or is it the beginning? ;)

Thanks for reading! Please review.

ETA- I've continued this story under the title "Bound by a Kiss". Hope you enjoy :)