Logan Echolls and Lilly Kane, the reigning King and Queen of the 09er’s, and Neptune High was their court. Everyone knew them or at least knew of them, they were the elite, the best of the rich and famous.
Logan’s parents were both actors with mega bucks and adoring fans. While Lynn was still coasting on roles from a bygone era, they were good enough that she could still coast on them over a decade later. Not to mention she was still a hottie with a body that just wouldn’t quit. Aaron was becoming the reigning champ of the shlocky action movies reminiscent of the eighties muscle pumpers. He looked good for his age, but everyone was sure to keep that last part to themselves, he was the star that refused to age out of the spotlight. Yes, Aaron and Lynn Echolls were a Hollywood powerhouse and their son was as entitled and arrogant as you would expect after a lifetime of gaining everything for nothing.
Lilly’s parents were the royalty of Neptune, more in line with the big fish in a small pond mentality, while they probably could make their mark out in the wider world they were new money and they knew it so they stayed in the town that built them up and still worshipped them to this day for being the success story everyone could look to for that one in a million chance. They weren’t exactly rags to riches more like middle class to upper echelon making their multiple fortunes in video streaming technology, and while her brother Duncan was their clear favorite for some reason that just made Lilly more popular. Having something so common to rebel against made her at least partially relatable and the life of nearly every party she went to.
They had been an item for as long as anyone could remember, since before ninth grade even, which was like an eternity.
Their relationship was passionate and exciting, both of them so full of emotion and angst, and everyone in Neptune High always tuned in to watch whenever they fought or whenever they made up. That was the whole of their relationship together after all, fight then make up, rinse and repeat. Everyone always talked about how opposites attract and the splash that could be made when fire met ice but everyone in Neptune knew that when fire met fire it just made for a bigger hotter burn. They would be apart for weeks or sometimes even months at a time but everyone knew that eventually they would make their way back to each other, everyone.
Just as interesting as what Logan and Lilly did while they were Logan and Lilly was what they did while they were apart. Those two were never alone, never not in a relationship, even when they were parted however temporarily from each other. This too was repetition for them and everyone else. Lilly would scream at Logan in the quad that they were over and the next day she would be back with her mystery side guy, the one no one had been able to identify yet though everyone was dying to know all about, but who always put a smile on the Queen B’s face the day after a break up. After walking away from Lilly, Logan would be seen the next day with his side honey as well, seeming for all the world as though this was the relationship he wanted and he would never again go back to Queen Kane.
That was a lie of course, even if it was a lie left unspoken, it was a lie they all ignored until the very end when it ended again and the Neptune King and Queen reigned supreme once more side by side.
This was always inevitable and always stirred pity for the in-betweeners. Everyone felt bad for them, Lilly’s mystery man and Logan’s LoVe Veronica Mars.
Veronica stared at her reflection in the mirror or her bathroom, watching it slowly become covered by the steam swirling around her. Every morning she did this wondering the same thing over and over again. Who was that girl staring back at her. It couldn’t be her she knew that, because she knew who she was and who she was wasn’t this girl she saw every time she looked in the mirror. Veronica Mars would never be Logan’s eternal rebound girl. She wouldn’t go through the weeks of limbo just waiting for the inevitable shouting in the quad that meant he would be with her again. She wouldn’t spend her nights alone praying for them to fight and spend her nights with him desperately trying to show him how good they could be together if only he would stay.
She had lost herself along the way somehow and the worst part was she wasn’t sure how to get back to where she had been before Logan. She wasn’t always this way, she used to just be friends with both Lilly and Logan, until the summer after freshman year. Lilly and Logan had a terrible fight and being the good friend that she was after letting Lilly vent about men in general for about an hour she’d gone to Logan’s house to try and talk to him too. The plan had been to somehow help them get back together. Instead somehow she was the one who had ended up with Logan. She doesn’t even really know how they’d gone from talking about Lilly and the fight to kissing each other but they did.
After that they told everyone at school and she’d tried to apologize to Lilly, thinking she’d somehow stolen Logan from her. Lilly had been fine with it, obviously seeing what she hadn’t at the time and knowing that she would have Logan back soon enough, and she’d gone on blissfully happy. For about three months.
At the end of those three months the King and Queen had reunited all things forgiven and she was left out in the cold. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. What others didn’t know, because they didn’t see it, was that Logan never left her just like Lilly never left Weevil. They were always together, just sometimes they were more quiet about it than others. She still remembered the first time he came to her after their break-up sophomore year….
“What are you doing here Logan?” There he stood like it was just another Friday night, like the one before, two dvd’s in one hand and a smug smirk permanently etched on his face.
“Come on Ronnie don’t be like that, it’s our movie night. I’m here to watch a predictable teen slasher flick followed by a romantic comedy so you can sleep without nightmares.” He sounded as amused as he always did about how easily hollywood violence scared her. It just wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t the same!
“We aren’t together anymore Logan!” It was like he’d forgotten that they’d broken up. Which shouldn’t really be possible since it just happened that morning, pretty much in front of everyone. All it took was Lilly calling a ceasefire and that was it, they were done.
“What so you and Lilly already broke up again that quick? Wow that’s a record even for the two of you.” She knew it was a mean thing to say, but she figured she could be forgiven for being a little snippy while her heart was in about a million pieces scattered across the school quad where he’d left it that morning.
“No, Lilly and I are still planning world domination together at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that you and I can’t still have fun.” He said it so naturally, like he thought she really was that kind of girl. Well she wasn’t and he would just have to realize that, the sooner the better!
“Yes, it does! That’s exactly what it means. That’s pretty much the definition of ‘I have a girlfriend’. I think you should leave.”
When she turned to open the door again to insist he leave he grabbed her arm spinning her around to face him again. Within seconds they were kissing again like they used to and it felt so good she just melted. Her will to resist him completely gone.
She’d tried to resist every time after that feeling bad for going behind Lilly’s back. It wasn’t until Lilly cornered her in the girls bathroom and confronted her about Logan that she finally stopped resisting it.
“Lilly? What are you-” It used to be that seeing Lilly standing behind her in the bathroom mirror at school would have been a welcome sight, but their friendship had been a bit strained since the whole thing with Logan had kicked off. It was mostly from her side she knew, but she just felt so damn guilty about the whole thing.
“Shut up Veronica. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“What are you-“
“Logan.” That one word made her heart stutter to a stop. She knew.
“What about him?” She tried to play it off and that just made her want to hurl, she sounded like every mistress in every movie ever. Like a dumb blonde trying to act even dumber than normal.
“Why do you keep fighting being with him?” Huh?
“Uh, he’s with you not me.” She said the words slowly like maybe Lilly had forgotten that she and Logan were back together again. In her opinion it was bound to happen eventually, they went back and forth so often and so quickly that anyone would get confused after a while.
“Please, bitch, like that matters. Logan and I are a powerhouse, people expect us to be together so we are, but he has his … distractions and I have my own. It works for us and it could work for you to if you’d just stop acting like such a little kid about it. Welcome to real life Veronica Mars. Now stop being such a pain in the ass and make him happy already.”
So that’s what she did. She spent the rest of their Sophomore year and the summer that followed it always putting Logan’s wants and needs above her own. Now they were heading into their junior year of high school and she was starting to think that this wasn’t who she wanted to be at all. She didn’t want to be someone’s dirty little secret anymore.
Maybe she should talk to Weevil about it. His being in the same boat as her for so long, even though technically he’d been at it a lot longer than she had, had forged a friendship between them. That too was only known by a certain few people but she was fine with that. Making up her mind she got dressed and headed out to find Weevil. She really needed to talk to someone about all of this.
Weevil knew that if someone had told him five years ago that this is what his life would become he would have laughed in their faces, or punched them in it, and yet here he was. He never thought that he would become a guy at the beck and call of some rich white girl but Lilly Kane had some hold over him he just couldn’t shake no matter how hard he tried.
One of the good things to come out of it though was V. Veronica Mars had become one of his closest friends, in private anyway. She was much the same as he was in more ways that anyone else ever realized, even Logan and Lilly were in the dark about just how close the two of them were. They were both on the other side of the poverty line from their respective others and they were both in far too deep to ever get out now.
They talked about it sometimes, usually on those days that Logan and Lilly got back together after a long separation. The ones that lasted for months and somehow every time made them start thinking that maybe this time they would be free from this perpetual hell they were caught up in. They would talk about just walking away and never looking back, about putting themselves first for once instead of this sick fascination with the royal two-some. They would mean it to, right up until Lilly or Logan was standing there talking about their next hookup. Then it all went out the window followed quickly by their pride, assuming they had any left after watching it get tossed so spectacularly out the window time after time. He was pretty sure their collective dignity was bouncing down those lofty heights right after it by this point.
He was out front of his grandmothers house working on his motorcycle when he heard her coming up behind him. He didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was, that skinny white girl even sounded different than anyone else in his neighborhood.
“Hey, V, what’s up?” He heard her pause a few feet behind him.
“I would ask how you knew it was me, but I have a feeling that no matter what the answer is I’ll feel insulted so I’ll keep it to myself.” He couldn’t help but smirk at that, it was one of the things he liked about her, she could find the humor in anything.
“Good idea. Now what are you doing here?”
Like he didn’t already know. She came to him for the same reason he went to her. Logan and Lilly. While everyone knew about her and Logan some of the time no one knew that they were an all the time thing, just like she was the only one who knew about him and Lilly so they had bonded over their dirty little secrets. Though sometimes he wondered whose secret was dirtier. Sure he’d been at this game longer, but at least he was the only one who knew what a weak willed punk he was, V got the public pity every single time.
“I needed to talk, and you’re the only one I can talk to about this.”
Sighing he put down his tools, this was going to be one of those long drawn out conversations full of subtext and shit. He was gonna have to actually pay attention.
“Come on inside, I’ll get you a soda and you can tell your good buddy Weevil all about it.”
For some reason he didn’t think he wanted to have this conversation with V. He didn’t know why, they’d been discussing the royals with one another for over a year now and he’d never hesitated even once before to let her vent. It was the least he could do after everything she’d always done for him. She always helped him understand the inner most schemes of Lilly Kane. She was his guide to girl crazy and he was her long look from the male perspective. He honestly believed that if it weren’t for them becoming friends they’d have both snapped ages ago.
“No worries, now come on tell Weevil all about it.”
He watched the emotions play across her face as she tried to find the right way to begin this little talk. The ones he saw the most were guilt, anger, and uncertainty. This wasn’t going to be like any of their other talks he knew that now more than ever.
“I don’t understand what I’m doing.”
“What you mean V, we’re sitting here talking.” He tried to play it off, but he knew it wouldn’t work. This conversation was a long time coming for both of them.
“No, I mean with Logan. What am I doing with Logan?” She sounded so lost, so unlike the headstrong upbeat V he’d met a year ago.
“I don’t know V, what are you doing with Logan?” If he could get her talking she would usually answer her own questions, then again they were rarely really questions and more just jumping off points for the rant that just needed an out. He was really no more than a sounding board. A sympathetic ear. He was beyond fine with that, between the two of them V was the smart one and when he listened to her rant, more often than not he learned something.
“That’s just it, I thought I knew, but now I’m not so sure.”
“What do you mean V, come on break it down for me.” If they took it step by step then they’d see where it all went wrong for her. Maybe for him to. As much as he hated to admit it he had started having the same doubts as Veronica lately. The questions came more and more often and the answers came slower and slower, if they came at all.
“When this all started I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted out of it. Lilly had given her blessing and Logan was just so amazing he could just sweep all my doubts away. When I’m with him it feels like everything is perfect and nothing could possibly be any better than this, but when he walks away that’s when my head starts to clear of the fog that he wraps me in and I’m starting to see myself clearly again. I don’t like what I see Weevil.” He could hear the tears she was barely keeping the check, the little catch in her throat and it tore at his heart.
“What’re you talking about Veronica? What’s not to like about you? You’re the best, you know for a skinny white girl and all.” He’d never heard V doubt herself before, not even a little bit. To hear it now was beyond strange and if he was honest it was more than a little unsettling. If V’s confidence in herself could shake so hard that she was here talking to him about it, was he next? Was that what these relationships were doing to them?
“Thanks for the vote of confidence Weevil, but I’m not. I used to be so strong it was like I was ten feet tall. No one and nothing could ever bring me down and everything was within my reach. I just had to want it bad enough. I was my own person. That’s who I used to be.” Yeah, he remembered that V. Looking over at her now, he didn’t see that girl anymore, which was probably what she was talking about. Being with the royals tended to change you, and not for the better.
“Who are you now?”
“Now? Now, I’m … a dirty mistress.”
Just like that she hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what she was and it’s what he was too. They could fight it, deny it, reason their way along telling themselves how much they loved the royals and how much they were loved in return even if it wasn’t always out in the open. Hell for him it was never out in the open. At the end of the day though when it all fell away and there was no one else left to pretend for, when they were alone in the dark with nothing else but their thoughts to keep them company that’s when they would admit the truth.
“It’s alright if you’re a dirty mistress cause I am to.”
“What if we didn’t have to be anymore? What if we left them?”
They could say things like that right now when it was just the two of them but they both knew that when push came to shove and Logan and Lilly were standing in front of them they would cave. They had been in the shadows for too long now to ever see the light of day again. They were addicted, stuck in a never ending loop, unable to step away from the path of their own destruction and they knew it. Worse still Lilly and Logan knew it too.
“Yeah, what if?”
Veronica laid in bed that night thinking about her conversation with Weevil spinning it around in her mind turning it this way and that. Were they really so hopelessly trapped? Did their love really chain them to their misery so tightly that they would never escape. She didn’t want to be a dirty little secret, she knew she deserved so much more so much better than what she was getting right now. Laying here alone in the dark the decision to leave Logan was an easy one, it was when he was looking at her silently pleading with her telling her with his eyes how much he loved her that she went weak in the knees and stayed by his side.
How long could she keep this up? More importantly was it already too late to change?