A Little Bit More
Written for bow for Yuletide 2005.
So here's a question for the ages: What do you get your boyfriend for Christmas when said boyfriend is a billionaire's son whose credit cards have a combined limit of somewhere in the six figures? Other than the chance to sneak past hospital security and visit his pregnant, recently-comatose ex-girlfriend, of course, because that ship has well and truly sailed.
I could try frankincense, but it's just so hard to find on short notice.
Eventually I figured, hey, you gotta go with the heartfelt handmade angle. Since I don't knit and Duncan's already got a fake ID, that pretty much leaves baked goods. It's a cliche, I admit, but what red-blooded American male doesn't appreciate sugar? Besides, my snickerdoodles are to die for, and because the Mars family has enough sense to keep a stock of important baking supplies at all time, I didn't have to try to get to a store during important jury-duty-related hours.
Duncan doesn't have a key to my place--Dad would kill me--but I've got one for his, so I can get my riff-raff self up to the penthouse floor without being tackled by a bellhop. It does make life a lot easier to be able to just let yourself into places you want to be, even if your boyfriend is inexplicably among the missing. I figured, hey, I'd hang around for a while, and if he didn't show, I'd leave the basket on his bed and skedaddle. Then I'd lie awake wondering where he went, but that's just part of the fun of relationships, right? Besides, I could always find out if I needed to.
I found the Grinch on TV--the real one, not the creepy Jim Carrey thing--so that was good, and I was sacked out on the couch, and I was hopeful for just a minute when I heard the door open. It could be Duncan, right? It didn't have to be–-
"Honey, I'm home!"
--but it was. Of course it was.
"Careful," I said, not bothering to look away from Cindy Lou Who. "I'm the jealous type."
I swear I could hear the way Logan sashayed toward me. Whether it was nature or nurture, he'd gotten a flair for the dramatic at home, that was for sure. Plus an unfortunate tendency toward crazy. "Veronica Mars. Don't tell me you're the one being stood up for once?"
"Well, I figured that if I just hung around the Neptune Grand for long enough, good things would come to me. Apparently I was wrong."
Logan flopped down on the other end of the couch. "Seriously, Veronica, what are you doing here?" He sounded tired, I thought, and his pissed was snowing through a much-thinner sheen of sarcasm than usual. I suppose murder investigations will do that to a guy.
"Actually, as it turns out, this is my boyfriend's suite. So if I were to want to give him a Christmas present before he leaves town, this would be the logical place for me to be." I consciously got a grip and ramped back my tone. Okay, goading him was fun, but I might regret it later. "Have you seen him tonight? His phone's off."
"Duncan? No. But if you're planning to finally let him "do it" with the lights on, let me know so I can make popcorn." The air quotes were halfhearted at best, and he tipped his head back to rest on the back of the couch, eyes closed.
"Don't get your hopes up. I've learned my lesson about checking for hidden cameras, so you aren't getting any holiday surprises from us." It was a low blow, I admit, but I was tired. Besides, he deserved it.
"Oh, don't you worry about me," Logan said, all false cheer, without opening his eyes. "I'm going to get my dad to sign up for the Toys Behind Bars program. I really feel like that'll help us maintain a relationship while he's incarcerated, you know? It's just so important for children to have a father in their lives."
Was that a swipe back at me? I couldn't tell. I had no idea if Duncan had told Logan about Meg's baby, though if he had I was going to kick his ass, considering he'd hidden it from me. Maybe it was just Logan being Logan, instead. This time last year, he was… well, watching his father get stabbed at the family Christmas party, actually. When you can convincingly describe that as a better Christmas than the one you've got, you know you're in trouble.
"Besides," he continued, "if I'm really good I get to spend the holiday with my starfucking twit of a sister and her mother the deaf-mute. It's going to be a party! I'll bet Helen Keller there is just great at charades."
God. Every time I start feeling some sympathy, he gives me a reason not to. Trina had actually had a much better reaction to meeting her birth mother than I would have expected; she'd even gone high-class and sold the story to People instead of a straight-up supermarket tabloid. She'd gotten one of the little corner photos for the story out of the deal, between the notoriety of the Echolls name and the extra frisson of teacher/student sex. I mean, yeah, okay, she was using Mary, but that's how Trina bonds with people. If they were really planning to spend Christmas together, maybe there was some decency buried in there.
I didn't reply, and Logan didn't move, and the Grinch climbed up Mount Crumpit. Well, this was special. Logan clearly wasn't planning to go anywhere, so I was going to be stuck with him for as long as I stayed where I was. But if I left, I'd only be doing it because he'd arrived, and he'd see that as a victory. I was damned if I was going to give him a win just because he lived here. Besides, I didn't want to miss watching the Grinch learn the meaning of Christmas. What can I say? I'm a sap, and Backup won't wear the little antlers for me. So, okay, I stick around another ten minutes or so, until the end, and then I can bail respectably.
Logan squirmed around on the couch, reached under the cushions behind him, and pulled out a half-empty bottle of vodka.
Cheap vodka, too; I could tell because it was Mom's preferred brand, and she'd always gone for quantity over quality. He unscrewed the top, took a whiff, then swallowed a mouthful straight out of the bottle without flinching before tilting the bottle in my direction inquiringly. Because yeah, getting a taste for vodka was on my list. No potential problems there.
"Gosh," I said, "I would, but I promised my doctor I'd cut back on the drain cleaner."
"Suit yourself," he said, closing the bottle and shoving it down between the cushions and the arm of the couch, cuddled against his hip like a baby. "You aren't really going to make me watch this whole thing, are you?"
"Feel free to leave at any time." I moved the remote out of his reach, mirroring his vodka on the other end of the couch. "But if you're going to rag on Doctor Seuss you'd better not do it around me."
"Oh, scary," Logan said. "Help, Veronica Mars is going to kick my ass! Not very Whoish of you, is it?"
"Who says I identify with the Whos?" Actually, I kind of do--so sue me, I like Christmas--but I didn't have to admit it, did I? "Besides, I'd think you'd be all over watching people get their presents stolen."
"Screw Christmas," he said. "New Year's, that's a holiday. Drunken, scantily dressed women as far as the eye can see."
For a minute I couldn't see, I was so furious. He knew, and still he--didn't think. He wasn't even looking at me for a reaction; that wasn't supposed to be a knife to my gut, it was just the truth, to him. Drunk chicks were good. Why should I expect him to say anything different?
Six months ago, I would never have said I thought Trina would be the Echolls who was showing evidence of personal growth.
The hell with the Grinch. Dad had bought it for me on tape anyway, a lot more recently than I would admit to anyone except maybe Wallace. I went to Duncan's bedroom, left the cookies on his bed, grabbed my jacket from the closet, and walked out the door without a word to Logan. He didn't turn around to look, either. As I left, the Whos were beginning to sing.
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