"Let's go see who's at the door," she said to Back Up as she threw back the covers and padded through the apartment to the front door.
She peaked through the peep hole, stepped back and glanced at Back Up. "It can't be," she whispered. "No way would he come here at one o'clock in the morning." Back Up nuzzled against her hand, no help at all in the situation.
"Veronica, I know you're in there." This was followed by more knocking.
"He's not going to go away unless I answer," she said in an attempt to justify opening the door and allowing Logan Echolls into her house. She was not sure how he even knew where she lived. He certainly had never been here before now.
"Hi," she said as she opened the door, trying to look like he had not drawn her out of a deep sleep. At least it was not a school night. Her smart remark was stopped short by his tear-stained cheeks and reddened eyes.
"I had no where else to go," he mumbled. She could tell he was doing his best to fight back sobs. Veronica had only seen Logan break down once before and it was not pretty. This time did not seem to be any better.
"Here, come in. What happened?" His sister had just gotten back into town. Their relationship could be described as stormy. That would be putting it nicely. Their arguments were generally of the verbal sparring variety but maybe things had gotten out of hand.
"My dad," he mumbled as he took a seat on the couch. Veronica sat next to him not sure what to do while Back Up curled up nearby, his eyes open, watching the events unfold before him. What a good watch dog he was!
"Your dad what?"
"He found out what we've been doing."
Uh oh, Veronica thought. That can't be good. She realized only recently that she did not know Mister Echolls at all. She had no desire to get to know the man either. "What did he do to you?" she asked coaxingly. It had taken a lot for him to come here like this, late at night, vulnerable.
He did not answer her so she placed a hand on his shoulder, which made him flinch. "Logan."
"Logan, you came to me, remember?"
"I just had no where else to go, Veronica, don't you get that?"
"I get it, but if he did something to you." She stopped, realizing she was probably going about this the wrong way. She was not used to this side of Logan. Had Lilly seen this side of him? Had he confessed his secrets to her? "Was it bad?" she asked finally.
"Yeah," he whispered, fresh tears forming in his eyes. His shoulders started shaking and he leaned toward her. She had little choice but to hold him. She missed the sarcastic, go lucky Logan right about now. She had no idea how to handle this side of him.
"Hey, it's okay," she said. "What did he do?" The things Trina had said whirled around in Veornica's mind, cigarettes and other things that made her shudder at the thought of.
Logan drew away. He looked pathetic, like a beaten puppy that needed love and a good home. Get that out of your mind, Veronica Mars, you are not in the market for a fixer upper of any kind. Her eyes grew wide when he stood from the couch and started unbuttoning his shirt. "Uh, Logan," she stammered as she stood from the couch, preparing to put distance between them.
"It's all right, Veronica," he choked out. He turned his back to her as he let the shirt fall to the floor at his feet. He crossed his arms then and slid his undershirt up along his torso, over his head and off tossing it to his feet. She could not help but admire the view as the shirt moved inch by inch up along the spans of his tanned and muscular back. She did not understand what she was seeing at first because the idea that someone could do this to their own flesh and blood was completely foreign to her.
"Oh my God," she whispered, her hand flying to her mouth in an attempt to muffle her voice. It was too late.
"Veronica?" The unasked question was clear in the way he spoke her name. He wanted to know if it was that bad. She had no idea what to say. His back was covered in scars. Some were the size of cigarettes, the shape of belt buckles and some looked to be the size of a cigar. She closed her eyes, fighting back the bile that was collecting in her throat.
She saw his shoulders begin to rock again, heard his uncontrollable sobs and knew she had to do something or she was going to add yet another scar to the collection. She closed the distance between them and placed a hand at either shoulder. She had never really noticed how broad his shoulders were until tonight.
"How bad is it?"
"Shh," she whispered as she stepped closer, mindful not to get too close for fear she would agitate the new burns.
"God, Veronica, why would he get so mad I was looking for my mother?"
"I don't know," she whispered. She did not understand it at all herself. Maybe he was behind her death somehow, but that was an idea to be pursued at another time and in another place. She closed her eyes and brain, letting her heart be in control over her actions for the moment. It was something she had sworn never to do again after Duncan broke up with her, leaving her heart shattered into so many pieces she thought it would never heal properly.
"I'm so sorry, Logan," she whispered unsure what exactly she was apologizing for. She leaned in and kissed his shoulder blade. His breath caught, followed by a confused sob as she kissed him again this time a little closer to his neck. She continued placing feather light kisses across his back from shoulder to shoulder. Her hands slid from his shoulders to his collarbone and his chest.
"Veronica," he murmured no longer a question at all in his tone.
"Shh," she whispered again as she drew away from him, sliding a hand into his as she made her way to the bedroom. He did not argue or put up any sort of fight, merely followed her without question. It scared her that he trusted her so much. She closed the door, leaving a whimpering Back Up in the hallway and led him to the bed.
"I can't, I mean, my back is too," she cut him off by placing a finger over his lips.
"Shh. Just lay down on your stomach."
He did as she said. She slid onto the bed beside him and began kissing his back again, mindful where the fresh marks were. He had stopped crying by now. His tears and sobs had been replaced by sounds of pleasure and arousal. Veronica realized she might be getting in way over her head, but now that she had opened her heart she could not just close it. Nothing was ever as easy as she would like.
After a few minutes of her kissing him she got up again and went to the bathroom, coming back with some salve her dad had.
"What's that for?"
"I'm going to put it on the new ones so they don't get infected. Maybe they won't scar so badly."
Their eyes met and she was not sure he was going to let her do it. Apparently, letting her kiss him and letting her play nurse to him were two different things. "Okay." There was that wounded puppy look again and she swore her heart was breaking again.
Damn Logan for coming here tonight. If he had come at any time but the middle of the night she would not have been vulnerable. She sucked it up and sat next to him, applying the salve generously where necessary. Once done, she was not sure what to do with him. She was about to ask him if he wanted to go home but she realized that he had fallen asleep.
"Great," she whispered. She returned the salve to the bathroom and then went to the kitchen and left her dad a note so he would not walk into her bedroom with a shotgun aimed at her bed. She left the door open this time, allowing Back Up free reign, though her bed was not big enough for all three of them. He would have to settle for a place next to the bed. The good watch dog that he was, he chose the side of the bed that Logan was on, the side closest to the door. She glanced across the hall at her father's room to his unoccupied bed, but realized she could not let Logan wake up alone.
She got a spare blanket from her closet and placed it over him after removing his shoes and then slid back under the covers. She glanced at her alarm clock. Ninety minutes had passed since he had woken her up. In a matter of ninety minutes he had managed to get through the carefully placed barriers she had erected to keep people out. He had wiggled his way into her heart.
"Please be gentle with it," she whispered before settling down to sleep.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com