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2.01 Normal is the Watchword

Written by: Rob Thomas
Directed by: John Kretchmer

Original Air Date: 28 September, 2005
Transcribed by InigoMontoya and Black Lebaron.
Last edited: 23 October, 2006

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Previously on Veronica Mars

Veronica and Duncan watch the tape of Lilly and Aaron in 122 "Leave It to Beaver."

VERONICA: Oh, my God.

DUNCAN: Mr. Echolls?

VERONICA: I know what happened.

Flashback to Aaron killing Lilly.

VERONICA: [offscreen] He's psychotic.

Weevil confronts Veronica after learning that she suspects Logan of killing Lilly.

WEEVIL: These rich boys think they can get away with anything, don't they?

The PCH bike gang comes across Logan, perched on the edge of the Coronado Bridge.

LOGAN: What do you think you can do to me, huh?

WEEVIL: I'll think of something.

At the Kane residence, Veronica pauses before leaving to take the tapes to her father.

VERONICA: My dad had a paternity test. I'm not your sister.

While driving, Veronica screams when Aaron pops up in the back seat.

AARON: Keep driving.

Aaron interrogates Veronica who is trapped in a discarded refrigerator.

AARON: Veronica, where are the tapes?

Keith arrives at the scene. Veronica screams as the fridge fills with smoke. Keith goes into the fire to rescue her. Veronica throws herself upon and cries over her injured father.

VERONICA: I knew you'd come; I knew you'd save me.

End previously.

INT – THE HUT – NIGHT.

Three customers enter the coffee shop and approach the hostess's desk. Veronica is the hostess.

[201/0041.jpg]VERONICA: Table for three?

CUSTOMER: Uh-huh.

CUSTOMER: Mm-hmm.

VERONICA: Right this way.

CUSTOMER: Uh-huh.

Veronica picks up menus from the desk and leads the customers to their table.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Normal. That's the watchword. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Music: "Breathin’" by Asylum Street Spankers

LYRICS: Is it hard to love you, baby? Well, I’d say the answer’s no
‘Cause I’ve been something of a fool at this so as far as these things go
It’s as easy as A, B, C, it’s like learning how to count
You know that loving you is just like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
It’s not something that I can just decide that I no longer do
You know I couldn’t help but love you even if I wanted to
It’s an involuntary reflex, of that I have no doubt
You know that loving you is just like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
Like the sun it rises every day and sets when you need coats
And just how springtime always rolls around when wintertime is done
Like the birds and bees instinctively know what it’s all about
You know that loving you is just like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
It’s just something about the way you touch me when we’re all alone
It’s a something in your smile that thrills me straight through to my bones
And it’s just something in the way you make me scream you make me shout
You know that loving you is just like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
Like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
Like breathin’ in and breathin’ out
Like breathin’ in and breathin’ out

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Senior year begins tomorrow and all appears hunky dory. Best friend? Check. Boyfriend? Check. Lilly's killer behind bars? Check.

Veronica seats the customers at their table and passes out the menus.

VERONICA: A waitress will be right with you.

She walks back to the hostess's desk.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Normal job, just like other people my age. I just wish fewer of my classmates showed up here.

One of those classmates, Kelvin Moore, enters the Hut. Veronica meets him at the hostess's desk.

VERONICA: Kelvin Moore. One?

KELVIN: [hesitant] Ah, I need your help, Veronica.

VERONICA: In finding a table? I'm your girl.

KELVIN: Hey, I just got kicked out of athletics for my entire senior year. I failed the mandatory drug test.

VERONICA: So what's new, Kelvin? You failed it last year too, if I remember correctly.

KELVIN: Yeah, but I'm clean now for going on ten months.

Veronica holds out her hands.

[201/0129.jpg]VERONICA: Give me your hands, look into my eyes, and swear to that fact.

Kelvin puts his hands in hers, and looks into her eyes.

KELVIN: Veronica, I swear that there is no possible way I could have failed that drug test.

Veronica gives the appearance of being deep in thought.

VERONICA: Hmm.

KELVIN: So, am I lying?

She shrugs.

VERONICA: I don't know.

KELVIN: [laughing] Then what was all that for?

VERONICA: I just wanted to see if you'd do it. You were very convincing, but I don't do that kind of work anymore.

Veronica starts tidying the hostess's desk.

KELVIN: So, who's supposed to help me out then?

She shrugs again.

VERONICA: Encyclopaedia Brown? I hear he's good.

KELVIN: I guess it's true what they say about you then, huh?

VERONICA: [peeved] Probably, but you're going to have to narrow it down for me.

KELVIN: [derisive] You're a 09er now. You went and landed yourself some rich boyfriend. A-a-and last year was just some-some big old act for you. You gotta pick sides in this town these days. You picked yours.

Veronica opens her mouth as if to answer, but says nothing.

KELVIN: Figures how none of the rich kids failed their drug test now, huh? Well, I gotta jet. See you around, Veronica. You sleep well.

Kelvin backs out of the entryway and leaves.

VERONICA: [sarcastically] What, no biscotti?

She stares after him.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Yeah, kind of bitchy, I know, but Kelvin's a bully. I'll sleep just fine.

Veronica’s thoughts don’t quite match her bothered expression.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: Veronica! Come here, check it out.

Veronica walks over to the manager, who points the remote up at a television above the bar area.

JULIE CHEN: Now, I can remember the intensive…

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: Your dad's on television.

Veronica and the manager watch. Keith, in San Diego, is on The Scene, being interviewed by Julie Chen, in New York. Both are shown in boxes under which tickertape runs: "…kes a no gun offensive policy. Weather: Phoenix AZ High 103 Low 84. Miami, FL High 93 Low 81. NewYork, NY High 84 Low 75. Seattle, WA High 63 Low 53. Los Angeles, CA High 86 Low 67. U.S News: United States Senate votes yes on more military aid in Iraq and yes on more…"

JULIE CHEN: ...coverage of the Lilly Kane murder, the press made you out to be some kind of Barney Fife character.

Keith grins.

JULIE CHEN: Are you feeling a sense of redemption?

As Keith responds, he is given the whole screen and the description: "Keith Mars. Co-Author, Big Murder, Small Town."

KEITH: A sense of relief would probably be more accurate. Um, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have days, weeks even, of doubting myself.

Julie Chen asks another question as Veronica goes into a reverie.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Ah yes, the book. Dad didn't want any part of it, but given the medical bills, Dad's convalescence, and Mom running off with fifty grand, he had to listen when the crime reporter from The San Diego Tribune secured a book advance for his story.

Back on the screen, Keith continues to tell his story. The tickertape has gone backwards, repeating the end of the weather and the start of the news on the Senate’s vote.

KEITH: What I did know was that Mr. Kane was lying about the circumstances of his daughter's...

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: Your dad's hot!

[201/0314.jpg]Veronica throws her a "WTF?" look. On the television, Julie Chen, with her own name bannered across the screen, is now in full face. The tickertape: "…lion dollars. World News: Uganda Senate decides on aid for malnutritioned tribes in territories. Japan military takes a no gun offensive policy. Weather: Ph…"

JULIE CHEN: Take us back to that night three months ago, the night Aaron Echolls was captured. You were nearly burned alive rescuing your daughter.

Keith struggles to hold back his emotions.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Come on, Dad, just lay it out there for her: father crawls through fire to save daughter, father rushed to hospital. Daughter's night? Just beginning.

Pause music: "Breathin’" by Asylum Street Spankers.

FLASHBACK: INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

Veronica is woken by a knock at the door. She checks the clock. It is 3:07. She gets out of bed and opens the door.

VERONICA: I was hoping it would be you.

There is no response. The person has his back to her. Her soft smile turns to one of concern.

VERONICA: Logan?

He slowly turns around. His face is a bloody mess.

LOGAN: Hey, Veronica.

She gasps at what she sees. He stumbles into her.

VERONICA: Logan, what happened?

[201/0411.jpg]She holds him. Cut to later. Veronica is on the couch. Logan lies in her lap, his legs extended along the couch. One arm and his feet dangle off the side. Veronica is gently wiping away blood. Logan struggles to talk.

LOGAN: They got me alone on the bridge.

VERONICA: Who's they?

LOGAN: Ahhh, it was Weevil and all the PCHers.

FLASHBACK WITHIN FLASHBACK: EXT – CORONADO BRIDGE – NIGHT.

Logan is balancing on the bridge’s edge. Weevil takes off his helmet and watches him from his bike.

LOGAN: Seriously, what do you--what do you think you can do to me, huh?

WEEVIL: I'll think of something.

VERONICA: [offscreen] What were you doing there?

On the bridge, Logan does his Matrix bring-it-on gesture.

LOGAN: [offscreen] Having a drink? Well, what do you think, Veronica? I mean, you'd broken up with me; you accused me of killing Lilly.

Weevil gets off his bike, as does Felix. Weevil marches towards Logan. He looks over as a car honks as it passes. Logan takes the opportunity to land the first blow and kicks Weevil hard in the head. Weevil goes down with a groan. Logan jumps up and down on his narrow perch.

LOGAN: Whoo-hoo. One down.

FELIX: Oh, son.

Logan looks over at Felix, the smirk momentarily fading.

FELIX: You don't know what you just did.

Logan laughs. Felix leads the bikers as they grab him and pull him off the ledge.

BIKER: Get him, man.

Logan is pulled back and thrown onto the ground. Felix and the other bikers, of which there are five, commence beating and kicking him. He doesn’t fight back and does little to protect himself. Eventually he stops moving. This doesn’t stop the beating.

END FLASHBACK WITHIN FLASHBACK.

FLASHBACK: INT – MARS RESIDENCE – CONTINUING.

VERONICA: You’re lucky you're alive.

Veronica strokes his hair. Logan doesn’t respond for a moment. He glances up at her then returns to staring up at the ceiling.

LOGAN: Yeah, well, that's one way of looking at it.

Logan gives a deep sigh.

VERONICA: What is that supposed to mean?

FLASHBACK WITHIN FLASHBACK: EXT – CORONADO BRIDGE – NIGHT.

Logan is still on the ground, just coming round.

DRIVER: [offscreen] Are you okay? Just lay there; I've called an ambulance.

Logan wipes blood from his eyes and looks up. His vision is still blurred. He sees a man standing over him as his vision clears.

[201/0537.jpg]DRIVER: Why don't you do me a favour and drop that knife.

LOGAN: Huh?

Logan looks down at his hand. He is holding a knife. There is a small pool of blood under it. He looks past his hand. Felix is laying a little way from him. Felix is dead, his pale shirt stained with blood from a stab to the chest.

VERONICA: [offscreen] Oh, my God, Logan.

END FLASHBACK WITHIN FLASHBACK.

FLASHBACK: INT – MARS RESIDENCE – CONTINUING.

Logan looks up at Veronica, wide-eyed.

LOGAN: No, but I didn't stab him, Veronica.

VERONICA: [quickly] I believe you.

LOGAN: I threw the knife in the water, and I-I got in my car and drove.

Veronica closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

VERONICA: [gently, but urgently] Logan, there's something that you need to know about your dad-

LOGAN: Aaron Echolls? Charged with murder? It's all over the radio.

Logan breaks with shuddering sobs. Veronica holds him a little closer. He groans as he cries. There is a knock at the door. They both glance up at the door. Cut to Veronica opening the door again. It’s Leo.

LEO: [gently] Hey Veronica.

She stares at him.

LEO: I'm looking for Logan Echolls. Saw his SUV parked out front. I know he's here, uh...this would be better for everyone.

Veronica sighs and pushes the door further open so Leo can see Logan, still lying on the coach. Leo drops his head then looks up at Veronica. He sees the bruise on her cheek. He reaches out and puts his hand on the side of her neck, leaning in to get a better look. He squeezes her neck gently, then enters the apartment and walks over to Logan. Veronica doesn’t turn around to watch, instead sagging against the door.

LEO: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – THE HUT – CONTINUING.

Resume music: "Breathin’" by Asylum Street Spankers. Veronica and the manager are still watching Keith on the TV.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Suffice to say, I've got plenty of material for any back-to-school what-I-did-last-summer essay I'm asked to write.

Veronica takes the remote from the manager’s hand. She points it at the screen and switches off the television. She hands the remote back and walks away. The manager is mildly irritated.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: I was watching that.

End music: "Breathin’" by Asylum Street Spankers.

EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL – DAY.

Veronica, with a new, chocolate-coloured bag, walks past one of the notice boards. Various posters fill the boards and school walls, including one that says “Seniors On Track!” Wallace is coming up fast behind her.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Here it is, senior year. A fresh start. Try not to screw it up, Veronica.

Wallace catches up and keeps pace beside her.

[201/0719.jpg]VERONICA: Seniors rule!

Veronica body-checks Wallace, but he is not in as good a mood as Veronica.

WALLACE: Hey. You didn't call me back last night.

Veronica throws her arm around him.

VERONICA: Don't go getting all girl on me.

WALLACE: Man, I got kicked off the basketball team.

Veronica freezes.

VERONICA: What?

Wallace turns back to face her.

WALLACE: I failed my drug test. I'm booted from athletics for the whole year.

VERONICA: You don't do drugs.

WALLACE: No duh, Sherlock. And it wasn't just me. Five of us total failed--and Jimmy Day, our starting quarterback, he passed it. And everybody saw him blazing one up down on the boardwalk.

VERONICA: I heard no 09ers failed it.

WALLACE: Think it's a conspiracy?

VERONICA: This is Neptune. Nothing happens accidentally.

WALLACE: [sighs] Well, you were wrong about the drug test. One 09er did fail.

VERONICA: Who?

WALLACE: You're not gonna believe it, either.

VERONICA: I'm not the one who's easily shocked.

WALLACE: Meg.

Veronica is shocked.

VERONICA: Meg?

[201/0809.jpg]Veronica begins to walk away, shaking her head and thinking.

WALLACE: So, you'll help?

Wallace follows her.

VERONICA: Do you even have to ask?

They walk on.

VERONICA: Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

Opening credits.

EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, LUNCH AREA – DAY.

Veronica and Wallace come out of the school, carrying their drinks. They pass another banner on the school wall, “Welcome Class of 2006.”

WALLACE: So, you're standing there in nothing but a jock. They hand you this little itty-bitty cup. You go into the stall; you do your business. Then as you watch, they seal it with this piece of tape. And then they make you sign the tape.

VERONICA: And then what?

WALLACE: Then they send it to a lab. And if the seal is broken, the lab is supposed to reject it.

They sit at an empty table.

VERONICA: So, there's no way anyone could have switched the samples.

WALLACE: Nope.

Veronica pulls her bag up onto the table and starts looking through it.

VERONICA: Hey, what period do you have office aide this year?

WALLACE: Believe it or not, I didn't sign up for a second year of office aide.

VERONICA: Yeah, that doesn't work for me.

WALLACE: Well you can take that up with Moms. She had these crazy ideas about me having a well-rounded education. But don't underestimate me.

[201/0919.jpg]He holds up a key.

WALLACE: The master key.

Veronica takes the key, pleased. Wallace scoots closer over to her, pulling out a slip of paper.

WALLACE: Yeah, and I got all the administrative passwords I could get my hands on.

Veronica grabs the paper.

VERONICA: Ooo, you're good.

WALLACE: You know, you know. I get all my criminal tendencies from you. So, how you gonna go at this?

VERONICA: Try to figure out what the connection is between all the people that failed the test. Got any enemies you know about?

WALLACE: Well, there's the Klan.

VERONICA: This is not really their M.O.

WALLACE: I guess that leaves everybody that hates you.

Veronica gives him a rueful glance. Wallace grins and Veronica pouts prettily. Wallace looks around.

WALLACE: So, where's your boyfriend? I expected to be ignored at lunch today.

VERONICA: He's skipping the first couple of days of school. He's visiting his dad.

WALLACE: Well, why would he want to do that?

Wallace gets up from the table, grabbing his bottle of drink.

VERONICA: That's what I said.

WALLACE: Later.

Wallace exits, leaving Veronica to ponder.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I'll say this: there was something much easier about having a secret relationship. But I guess, from now on, that's next to impossible.

FLASHBACK: INT – THE HUT – DAY.

Veronica checks some customers and then walks towards the manager.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: That guy over there asked to sit in your section. You know him?

Veronica looks over and sees Duncan sitting at one of the tables. She smiles.

VERONICA: Yeah, I know him.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: Okay.

She walks over to his table.

VERONICA: Hey.

DUNCAN: Hey.

VERONICA: I haven't seen you around this summer.

DUNCAN: Yeah, it's been kind of complicated. You know, parents on trial, Mom and Dad finally had enough. They've moved up to the Napa house for the duration, at least ‘til this blows over.

VERONICA: But you're staying here?

DUNCAN: I don't want to transfer to a new school for my senior year. I have the Presidential Suite at the Neptune Grand.

[201/1042.jpg]Duncan waggles his eyebrows and Veronica smiles.

VERONICA: Of course you do.

The manager appears at her elbow.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: Veronica, your boyfriend's here.

Veronica is a little uncomfortable as she turns and sees Logan waiting near the hostess desk. He sees Duncan and moves in a little further. She turns back to Duncan.

DUNCAN: Latte, when you get a minute?

VERONICA: Okay, yeah.

Duncan watches as she approaches Logan. Logan watches him watch.

[201/1059.jpg]VERONICA: Hi.

LOGAN: Hey.

VERONICA: Hey.

Logan is still pretty beat up, his face bearing bruises. He looks down at her as she rises up on her toes to give him a quick kiss. He is having none of it and deepens the kiss until she pulls away.

LOGAN: Hey, babe.

He strokes her cheek.

VERONICA: Hi.

END FLASHBACK.

EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, LUNCH AREA – CONTINUING.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Logan and Duncan don't speak anymore. I guess that's what happens when your best friend starts dating your ex. Now, where was I?

Veronica turns around and sees Kelvin at a table behind her, laughing with some other students.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Oh yeah. Who's out to get Neptune's top athletes?

Veronica grabs her bag and her bottle of water and joins Kelvin, sitting down at his table.

VERONICA: Kelvin, I've had a change of heart.

KELVIN: Oh yeah. I, uh, heard your beard Wallace got nailed too. So, uh, I guess that changes everything now, huh?

VERONICA: I guess so. So, and I mean other than me, can you think of anyone who would want to do this to you?

KELVIN: Nuh--people love me.

VERONICA: No, they don't. You pick on the weak and helpless.

KELVIN: I call a geek a geek, if that's what you mean. But now that I think about it, there was this one kid who swore he'd ruin my life, but he doesn't have the cajones, trust me.

VERONICA: Who?

Veronica reaches down into her bag. She pulls out her camera.

KELVIN: This kid, a sophomore. They call him "Butters." You know, he was climbing the pegboard in gym class before P.E. last year, trying to show off. He pissed me off.

VERONICA: So?

KELVIN: So I pantsed him. It was hysterical.

VERONICA: Wow, you're cool.

Veronica takes a picture of Kelvin and on the flash, the scene cuts to later. Veronica is now talking to Jilly Ho.

JILLY: My dad's getting sued by Boatloads of Fun Corp.

Veronica is still carrying the camera.

VERONICA: They don't sound fun at all.

JILLY: Yeah. My dad brokers vacation property down in Cabo. He leased a beach house to a group of families that call themselves "Boatloads of Fun." You know, Steve Wacker's friends and that crowd? Well, the roof leaked in one room. So now they're demanding all their money back.

Veronica takes another picture and does another time jump forward. She and Viet Nguyen are walking towards the lunch area from the car park. Veronica’s bag is on her shoulder.

VIET: You know Jennings Crawford?

VERONICA: Who doesn't?

Veronica reaches down in the bag for her camera.

VIET: I beat him out for number one singles last year. He threw a fit. His parents even tried to have Coach Hart fired. There was a school board meeting and they brought in Ille Nastase to testify that Jennings was a better tennis player. It was crazy.

VERONICA: Hmm.

Veronica takes his picture.

VERONICA: Thanks.

Viet walks away.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: There used to be one 09er girl I could call "friend."

Veronica looks up and sees Meg, disposing of her lunch debris at a large trash can in front of one of the Welcome signs.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: She was the one of her kind who actually treated me like a human when no one else in that crowd did. When Duncan broke up with her, she blamed it on me. Things have been chilly, at best, ever since.

[201/1302.jpg]Veronica, determined, approaches Meg. She adopts a cheerful demeanour.

VERONICA: Meg, hey. Senior year, huh? We're almost done.

Meg is very unwelcoming.

MEG: Did you want something?

VERONICA: Well, I heard that you were kicked off the cheerleading squad.

MEG: Yeah, but you know me, I'm a major stoner. It was really affecting me too. I was like, [in cheer rhythm] "Let's go, let's go, L-E-T-S...duh...."

VERONICA: Can you think of anyone who might have done this to you?

MEG: Well there is this one person. I used to think she was a friend but, ah, but yeah, yeah, now that I think about it, she'd have no reservations and she definitely has the talent to pull it off. Let me know if you have any luck tracking her down, okay?

Meg walks away from Veronica.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, HALLWAY – DAY.

The school has introduced security scanners at the entrance, staffed by two security guards. Students have to pass through the scanners to enter. Veronica sets of the scanner and her bag is searched by the guards.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: The metal detectors are new, but they come as no surprise.

Veronica sets off the scanner.

GUARD: Can I see your bag?

The guard does a quick search.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Tensions in Neptune are the highest they've ever been between the haves and the have-nots…

GUARD: Go ahead.

The guard returns her bag and Veronica continues on her way.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: …09ers and non-09ers. And guess who the lightning rod is?

FLASHBACK: EXT – SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT – DAY.

[201/1408.jpg]Logan, in a suit, is being led by lawyers through a hostile crowd on the steps of the building that houses both the Sheriff's Department and the court. Journalists shove microphones in front of his face and the crowd is braying. Signs are held up by some of those in the crowd: “Justice Now,” “And Justice 4 All,” “And Justice for All.” Logan is a little shell-shocked by it all.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: The passing motorist, who probably saved Logan's life, called 9-1-1, then he left the scene before the police arrived. The knife that killed Felix was never found. Logan's high-priced lawyers crushed the PCHers who testified against Logan at preliminary hearing. Weren't they there, after all, to kill Logan? Didn't Logan have the bruises and broken ribs to prove it? If Logan did stab Felix, wasn't it self-defence?"

Logan finally reaches the limo at the foot of the steps and is pushed inside. Veronica is there, watching him, a little wary. Logan is still staring at the angry crowd. He looks scared and bemused in equal measure.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: The DA decided he didn't have enough evidence to convict, so six weeks after he was arrested, Logan walked.

As the limo sets off, Veronica places her hand loosely on top of his, resting on his thigh. He doesn’t looks at her.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: And the town went crazy. Another rich kid getting off scot-free.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

In her bedroom, Veronica marks a whiteboard on which she has put the names and photos of the four students who failed their drug tests – Kelvin, Viet, Jilly, and Meg. Under each is the sporting discipline – football, tennis, volleyball, and cheerleading. She has just added Wallace’s picture and is writing his name under it. Wallace comes into view from behind the board as he paces.

WALLACE: You know what else I found out today? This failed drug test goes on my permanent file. Any college I apply to is gonna see it.

VERONICA: Well, if you would have taken another year of office aide, we could have done something about that file.

[201/1443.jpg]Veronica writes “Basketball” under Wallace’s name on the board.

WALLACE: Yeah, 'cause this is my fault. Did you learn anything today?

Veronica finishes her task with satisfaction and recaps and restores the pen to the bottom of the board.

VERONICA: Kelvin Moore, while giving up his pot-smoking ways, has not given up being an obnoxious jackwad. He pantsed that sophomore, Butters?

WALLACE: Yeah, I was there.

VERONICA: You were?

WALLACE: Yeah, it was in the gym after a spring sports pep-rally. A few of us were there, even some cheerleaders. I have never seen somebody blush like that. People were laughing. Butters was swearing at everybody. He said he was gonna get even.

VERONICA: Cheerleaders. Was Meg there?

WALLACE: I think she was.

Wallace walks around Veronica to look at the board.

WALLACE: Viet was there. Jilly Ho was there.

VERONICA: Try and remember. Were you one of the ones laughing?

WALLACE: What can I say? It was fuuh-nny!

He laughs. Veronica is disapproving.

WALLACE: It was fu-

He thinks better of it. Cut to them as they head into the lounge of the apartment.

VERONICA: I'll talk to Butters tomorrow, get this sussed out.

WALLACE: Hey, did you know that you're my hero?

They hear the front door open.

WALLACE: Mr Mars, I saw you on TV last night.

A slimmer Keith enters and gives a little head bow as he closes the door behind him.

KEITH: Wallace.

Keith puts down his bag.

VERONICA: I know a twenty-four-year-old floozy who thinks you're hot.

KEITH: This floozy, did you get her digits?

WALLACE: Hey, alright, now don't make me have to go home and tell my momma.

KEITH: Wallace, your mom and I have an understanding.

VERONICA: You do?

KEITH: Yes, and it's this: I behave myself and she doesn't leave me. So please, tell her nothing…

He puts his hands together in prayer.

KEITH: …other than I worship the ground on which she treads.

Wallace is sufficiently grossed out to hasten his exit as Veronica laughs.

WALLACE: I'm leaving now.

KEITH: Ground on which she treads! You might want to write that down.

Wallace turns back from the door to reassure Keith.

WALLACE: Got it.

KEITH: Nice.

Keith shuts the door behind Keith and walks towards Veronica, who has moved to the kitchen.

[201/1627.jpg]KEITH: So, senior year. How was your first day of school, honey?

VERONICA: Great. I beat up a freshman, stole his lunch money and then skipped out after lunch.

KEITH: What, no premarital sex?

VERONICA: Oh, yeah, yes. But don't worry, Dad, I swear you're gonna like these guys.

KEITH: That's my girl.

He reaches for her.

VERONICA: I missed you.

He pulls her into a close hug and kisses the top of her head.

KEITH: Aw, I missed you, too. Now where's my turkey pot pie, woman?

Veronica smiles.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, HALLWAY – DAY.

Veronica spots the person she is looking for. She walks towards a rough-looking boy at his open locker.

VERONICA: Butters?

VINCENT: [bitterly] Butters is the name of the weak loser suck-up on South Park. Butters implies soft, fat--

VERONICA: But oh, so delicious.

VINCENT: Vincent is my given name.

VERONICA: I hear you were pantsed in gym last spring, Vincent.

VINCENT: Are you requesting a private viewing?

VERONICA: And now, the guy who pantsed you, and all the people who might have chuckled, end up kicked off athletics for the year. Curious.

VINCENT: Justice. It can be a bitch.

VERONICA: So you got even? Is that it?

VINCENT: It looks that way.

VERONICA: You're playing a dangerous game. Kelvin will take your head off if I tell him you're the reason he's off football this year.

[201/1718.jpg]Vincent looks over her shoulder and smirks.

VINCENT: You know what? I don't think he will. Hey, Pop.

Striding past Veronica is Clemmons.

CLEMMONS: Son.

Clemmons doesn’t slow, but he glances down at Veronica. She exhales and looks up at Vincent, who is smug, arching his eyebrows. Veronica just barely shakes her head in disgust.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, ADMINISTRATION OFFICE – NIGHT.

The janitor disappears around the corner of the hallway as Veronica and Wallace approach the door and enter the office. They head for the door to Clemmons office. (Has he switched offices with the counsellor?). Veronica opens it with the key.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, CLEMMONS OFFICE – CONTINUING.

A picture of Vincent graces Clemmons’ desk. Veronica and Wallace check behind them as they sneak in and shut the door.

WALLACE: Permanent files are in that brownish-beige filing cabinet.

VERONICA: I can't believe after a year of working here, you don't know the make and model of the filing cabinet.

From out of her bag Veronica extracts a large bunch of keys.

WALLACE: Yeah, it is hard to believe. Usually, memorizing that information is the first thing I do when I enter a room containing a filing cabinet.

VERONICA: Well, get comfortable, then, Mr. Sarcastic, because this might take a while. Unless...

Veronica moves over to Clemmons’ desk to check the drawers.

WALLACE: Hey, I can't believe you didn't know Butters was Clemmons' kid.

VERONICA: He was a freshman. I make it a point not to know freshmen.

She opens a drawer and bingo. She grabs the key and holds it up to Wallace.

VERONICA: Scary, isn't it? The lax security?

Veronica heads back to the filing cabinet.

[201/1832.jpg]VERONICA: What if someone was trying to alter your permanent file?

WALLACE: We're trying to alter it, right now.

Veronica gets the cabinet open.

VERONICA: Alter it back, there's a difference.

Wallace joins her at the cabinet as Veronica pulls out a file.

WALLACE: Alter it back. Cool. I was wondering where we were drawing that ethical line this year.

Veronica looks through the file.

VERONICA: And there it is.

Veronica heads to Clemmons’ desk and sits down.

VERONICA: The way I imagine it, the results were all over-nighted to Mr. Clemmons, but before the elder Clemmons reviewed them, Junior got in and forged the negative results. I just need to get my hands on them to prove it. Can you pull a couple of other negative results for me to compare them to?

Wallace nods and digs into the files. Veronica turns on the desk lamp, pulls out a small magnifier and sets to work. Through the magnifier, she inspects the print on the Wallace’s test result which reads, in red, “Subject tests positive for marijuana use.” Another test reads, in black, “Subject tests negative for all illegal substances.” Some time has passed when Veronica raises her head from the papers she has been examining.

WALLACE: Anything?

VERONICA: Nothing. There's no way this could've been altered. Different colour inks, full sentences, I thought it might just be a checkmark but there's no eraser marks, no whiteout, and both hand-signed by…

She peers closely at the slip of paper she holds.

[201/1948.jpg]VERONICA: …Jim Chimory.

WALLACE: Jim Chimory?

VERONICA: That's the guy's name, the lab tech who signed off on the results.

WALLACE: So, there's no alterations, there's no forgery.

VERONICA: So it appears.

WALLACE: So, I'm screwed, basically.

VERONICA: Unless the results were accurate.

WALLACE: [in faux-Jamaican accent] Yah, mon, maybe I smoke so much ganga I don't even remember doing it.

VERONICA: What if you did ingest an illegal substance but it was such a mild dose that you weren't even aware of it? Eat any mystery brownies lately?

WALLACE: [loudly] Spirit bo—

He remembers where he is and lowers his voice.

WALLACE: Spirit boxes, the day of the back-to-school athletics banquet there were spirit boxes in our lockers. There weren't any brownies in there, but there were cookies.

VERONICA: Did you eat one?

WALLACE: I ate six.

Wallace grins.

VERONICA: That's my Wallace.

Veronica starts to pack up.

VERONICA: Well, can you meet me at my house in, say, twenty minutes? I'm gonna stop at the drug store first.

WALLACE: Nah, I'll just follow you. You don't want to go out alone.

Wallace takes the files back to the cabinet as Veronica stands and closes up her bag.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: No, I guess you don't. You never know what might happen. After the DA decided not to press charges against Logan, Neptune became a different place.

FLASHBACK: EXT – SUNSET CLIFFS APARTMENTS – NIGHT.

Logan’s Xterra is parked. Music: "The Change" by Jon Dee Graham

LYRICS: Do you see the change in me?
I’m not the same as I used to be
Look in a mirror, but I don’t see
Do you see the change in me?
I don’t sleep like I used to do
Lying there the whole night-

Inside the car, Veronica and Logan are making out. She has her hands on either side of his neck and his hand trails up to her cheek. Veronica pauses.

VERONICA: I should go, because my dad is probably watching us through a telescope.

She looks over her shoulder and Logan’s eyes follow her gaze.

LOGAN: [whispers] He's probably impressed with your virtue.

She giggles. He goes to kiss her again but she continues the theme, looking back again.

VERONICA: And that telescope is mounted on a rifle.

Logan stares out at where Keith is imagined to be and after a pause, holds up his hand, fingers spread wide.

LOGAN: [whispers to the imaginary Keith] Five more minutes.

Veronica giggles again.

LOGAN: He should feel lucky. I mean, you could be out here with some pretty-boy jerk just looking to get laid.

He swoops down again but she pulls back.

[201/2100.jpg]VERONICA: Wait. What are you saying? You're not pretty?

Logan stares down at her for a moment, suddenly serious.

LOGAN: Ah, what I'm trying to say is I'm in love with you.

Veronica looks up at him, her eyes sparkling. A little disbelieving, she laughs and brings her hand up to the back of his neck.

VERONICA: The things guys will say to get past second base.

She pulls him into a kiss, shaking her head a little. They sink down into the seat, Logan’s body over Veronica’s. They continue to make out. They are interrupted by the sound of a motorcycle coming to a stop outside and both look up, although they don’t rise. There is a bang and an explosion of glass, and they both cry out. Logan brings up his arm to protect himself and Veronica underneath him. They jerk up and stare at the departing bike.

END FLASHBACK.

End music: "The Change" by Jon Dee Graham.

INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

Veronica knocks gently on the door of her small en suite bathroom.

VERONICA: Are you done yet?

Wallace is inside.

WALLACE: [offscreen] It is never going to happen if you keep doing that.

Veronica grins.

VERONICA: I see. Stage fright? I'm making you nervous.

Veronica consults the box as she moves away from the door.

VERONICA: Well, according to the box, we only need a few drops and it'll test for cocaine, steroids, pot--

Keith enters the room.

KEITH: What's up, honey?

VERONICA: Wallace is having a little trouble giving me a urine sample.

Keith sighs as he stares down at his daughter.

KEITH: Can't you talk on the phone and paint your nails like other girls?

VERONICA: I mean, this is a health-class project. Come on, you're a man. Can you give him some pointers?

Keith is resigned and walks over to the door.

KEITH: Wallace?

WALLACE: [offscreen] Yep.

KEITH: Have you tried turning the water on?

WALLACE: [offscreen] Mm-hmm.

KEITH: Also, pinching your own nipples can sometimes work.

Keith rubs his nipples through his shirt.

[201/2216.jpg]WALLACE: [offscreen] Ahhh! Man!

Keith laughs as Veronica pulls him away from the door and pushes him out of the room.

VERONICA: Gross.

KEITH: Honey, it works.

VERONICA: I can barely even look at you now.

KEITH: I can't believe how squeamish you are.

VERONICA: Eyahh.

Veronica gives the vomit-inducing groan as she slams the door on her father. A little later, she sits at her desk looking at the result as Wallace watches.

VERONICA: You're clean.

WALLACE: [proudly indignant] Of course I am.

VERONICA: If you didn't test positive, that means Butters didn't lace the spirit cookies, and we're back to square one. How do you figure it?

Veronica moves from the desk to stand with Wallace, looking at the whiteboard.

WALLACE: You're the expert. I'm just standing here thinking it's gonna be a bad year for Neptune athletics. Every player on this list is a starter, a star player.

VERONICA: Do you know who the people are who are going to start with all of you out suspended?

WALLACE: Yeah. My backup is Bob Patton.

Veronica grabs the whiteboard’s pen and starts to write under each student as Wallace identifies the substitutes.

WALLACE: Jennings Crawford will go back to being first singles, taking Viet Nguyen's spot. Uh, Shanee Fauver will replace Jilly Ho. And Steve Wacker will take Kelvin's linebacker spot.

VERONICA: Wacker? Really? And Shelly Pomroy was bumped up from JV cheerleading to take Meg's position.

Veronica has a thought as she stands back.

VERONICA: Dad?

WALLACE: What are you thinking?

VERONICA: It's probably nothing.

Keith joins them in Veronica’s bedroom.

KEITH: You beckoned?

VERONICA: If I know the name of a corporation, how do I find out the names of its shareholders?

KEITH: You get the strangest homework in health class.

VERONICA: Can you keep your trap shut if we tell you why we need it?

Wallace starts looking nervous.

VERONICA: No running off and telling your girlfriend.

[201/2338.jpg]Keith struggles to keep a straight face.

KEITH: Agreed.

VERONICA: Wallace has been kicked out of athletics for his entire senior year for failing the mandatory drug test, but Wallace is clean.

Veronica holds up the tab.

VERONICA: See for yourself.

She waves it under his nose. It’s his turn to go squeamish.

KEITH: Hey, man, I don’t...I-I'll take your word for it.

VERONICA: But we don't think Mrs. Fennel ever need know if we just get it cleared up quickly.

As Veronica is talking, Wallace shakes his head in agreement and ends with a throat slice.

WALLACE: You know what my mom is like.

Keith laughs and heads for Veronica’s computer on her desk.

KEITH: What's the corporation name?

VERONICA: Boatloads of Fun Corp.

He starts to type.

KEITH: You want the names of the partners?

VERONICA: Yeah.

KEITH: Billy and Mary Jo Patton, Larry and Nancy Crawford, Milt and Milly F-over, Fo, uh, Mike and Lill Wacker, Esther Pomroy, and there's one more, Walt and Bunny Day.

As Keith reads out the names, Veronica underlines the matching names on her whiteboard.

WALLACE: Wait, what do they have--

VERONICA: Jimmy Day's parents. Our starting quarterback. Well, we know why he passed his drug test. We got them.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, JOURNALISM CLASS – DAY.

Veronica and Wallace sit at the central table. They talk softly as there is a teacher behind them and other students milling around.

VERONICA: The way I figure it, the only way they could pull it off is if they bought off someone at the testing facility, because the samples went in clean and the results weren't altered once they got here.

WALLACE: So what's the plan?

VERONICA: We're gonna scare ‘em.

WALLACE: And how's that gonna help me?

VERONICA: Well, it'll be fun.

Behind her, the teacher gets up from her desk.

VERONICA: I'm gonna send an email to each partner at the Boatloads of Fun Corp today, sort of an I-Know-What-You-Did-This-Summer kind of thing? Tell them that Jim Chimory wants to meet with them, talk about a new financial arrangement.

WALLACE: Jim Chimory, the lab tech. You think he's the guy?

VERONICA: I don't know. It doesn't matter. It's gonna scare them regardless.

[201/2504.jpg]Wallace nods behind Veronica as the teacher approaches.

MS. DUMASS: Veronica, did you bring your permission slip?

VERONICA: Yes I did.

Veronica hands over a slip of paper.

MS. DUMASS: Thanks.

The teacher wanders off.

WALLACE: New journalism teacher.

VERONICA: Yeah. She seems alright. She's taking anyone from newspaper, yearbook, and the broadcast news class who wants, to tour Shark Field tomorrow.

WALLACE: Wow. I can't believe you're going.

VERONICA: I like baseball.

WALLACE: Yeah, but you don't like people.

VERONICA: I love people. I'm a people person. I'm just a normal teenage girl going on a normal school field trip.

WALLACE: Right, I know. "Normal" is the watchword.

He grabs his bag and grins at her as he goes.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, HALLWAY – DAY.

Veronica marches purposefully down the hall. She slows when she notices something ahead.

[201/2552.jpg]BIKER: Check it out, check it out.

It is Weevil and three of the bikers, standing and talking in the hall. They spot her and stop talking. Weevil turns his head and his eyes follow her as she passes. It would appear that they aren’t friends anymore as Veronica passes by quickly and wordlessly.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I suppose it's true. In Neptune these days, you're forced to choose sides.

FLASHBACK: EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, CAR PARK – DAY.

Veronica and Logan are walking. Veronica’s hand is on Logan’s arm as he holds his backpack in one hand and rummages through it with the other.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Logan had to take summer school after he missed all his finals due to his own arrest, as well as his father's. I'd come down to school just to have lunch with him.

He slings the pack onto his shoulder as Veronica takes his free hand in both of her own.

LOGAN: My sister's negotiating with networks to sell her version of the Aaron Echolls story. I think the sticking point is she's insisting she play herself. Producers, on the other hand, are insisting on Tara Reid.

VERONICA: Trina wasn't even around.

LOGAN: Who do you suppose cares? I've always wanted a TV movie version of my life. Hey, think they can get Tom Welling to play me?

Logan makes a soaring gesture.

VERONICA: Dream on.

Veronica mocks with a smile. In front of them, Dick and Beaver get out of an SUV, which has pulled up at the back of the Xterra.

DICK: Logan! And Logan's special lady friend who I approve of whole-heartedly and without reservation.

Beaver is opening the back of the Casablancas vehicle.

VERONICA: Dick. Hey, Cassidy.

BEAVER: What's up, Veronica?

LOGAN: Boys.

Dick opens the back of the Xterra.

DICK: Got the supplies. Enbom and Rams are gonna meet us at the Sac-N-Pac.

Beaver and Dick start to load gasoline into the back of the Xterra.

LOGAN: Uh, can't we do this later?

VERONICA: What's all the gasoline for?

Logan clears his throat.

LOGAN: We're gonna... go kill the grass on the Pan High football field, spell out "Pan Sucks."

DICK: Which it does.

Veronica looks at Dick, then beyond him at Beaver. Beaver looks away uncomfortably.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, HALLWAY – CONTINUING.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: The next day, the community pool at the city park somehow caught on fire. The city had to close it down for the rest of the summer. Of course, all the 09ers have pools in their backyards.

Veronica leaves the school building, passing the metal detectors.

[201/2718.jpg]EXT – CASABLANCAS RESIDENCE – DAY.

A figure takes a long jump into a swimming pool, tucking the body for entry into the water. The splash disturbs the sun-bathing Logan and Dick.

DICK: Don't make me go in there and get all Ordinary People on you, Beav.

BEAVER: The older brother drowns, dumbass.

DICK: [to Logan] What's the dealio, bro? You ever showing up at school?

Logan grabs the cushion he is leaning against and pulls it out from behind his back.

LOGAN: Ah, what for? You know, no one seems to care. I'm practically an orphan. I can do whatever I want.

Logan twirls the cushion and then holds it on the top of his head. From the house, Kendall Casablancas, a stunning and statuesque brunette, emerges in a black bikini, a robe open and flowing behind her. She holds a margarita. Logan and Dick are transfixed as she sashays towards them.

KENDALL: Welcome home, children. How was school?

Logan drops the cushion strategically to his lap.

KENDALL: Who wants a Rice Krispie treat?

Beaver, fresh out of the pool, joins them as he towels himself off.

BEAVER: Ah, gee, Mom, you're the best, but I'll pass.

KENDALL: Mmmm.

BEAVER: You’ve met Momsie, right?

DICK: The club, the clambake, remember? God, you're retarded.

BEAVER: Yeah, you know it's a miracle that I managed to score 400 points higher than you on my SATs, huh?

KENDALL: Now, boys, you don't want me to tell your father you couldn't play nice.

Logan holds up his hand.

LOGAN: Uh, I want a Rice Krispie treat.

KENDALL: Go make it yourself, then, kid. Do I look like a cook?

Kendall puts down her drink next to Logan and removes her sunglasses. She walks away from them, dropping the robe so the boys get a good look at her ass. Logan watches. Kendall steps out of her wedged sandals at the side of the pool and steps in. Dick and Logan watch appreciatively, the latter’s cushion still balancing on his lap. Beaver looks down at them in disgust.

BEAVER: You guys are twisted.

LOGAN: [to Dick] So, where did your dad meet her?

DICK: She was a Laker Girl, and you know my dad, he has good seats.

BEAVER: A certain Laker All-Star's wife had her fired. Didn't like the look of her.

DICK: [to Logan] So what are you doing tonight, bro?

[201/2903.jpg]Logan’s managed to lose the cushion.

LOGAN: Well, as much as I enjoy the company of men, I've got other plans tonight.

Logan makes a hand gesture known as the Shocker (look it up). Dick mimics it.

DICK: That, I can respect.

They bump their configured hands and then return to watching the woman in the swimming pool.

INT – THE HUT – NIGHT.

Veronica is working again. A couple approaches the hostess table.

MAN #1: Um, we're, ah, meeting someone here. The name's Chimory?

Veronica grabs a couple of menus.

VERONICA: Oh yeah. Right this way.

She leads them to a table. Three other couples are already there, filling the table. They all look worried. The newly-arrived couple pause as the table's occupants turn doleful gazes on them.

MAN #1: [uncomfortably] Hello.

VERONICA: Are you guys expecting more people? Because we can move you to a bigger table.

Veronica hands them the menus and walks away with a smile. She is using an earpiece and can hear their conversation.

WOMAN #1: Walt, what have you gotten us into?

MAN #2: We need to stay calm.

WOMAN #2: How much is this Mr Chimory requesting?

MAN #3: Is that the Mars girl I've heard so much about?

Veronica reaches a table at the side. Clemmons is also listening to their conversation through an earpiece.

VERONICA: Heard enough?

CLEMMONS: I believe I have.

Veronica smiles down at him. The manager approaches from behind her.

CUTE AS A BUG MANAGER: [in girlie, dancing mode] Veronica, your boyfriend's here.

[201/2956.jpg]Veronica walks back towards the door, smiling fondly and all but jumps into the arms of…Duncan. They kiss

DUNCAN: Hi.

VERONICA: Hi.

They kiss more deeply.

EXT – NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL, CAR PARK – DAY.

Veronica is waiting in front of a school bus, looking out for Duncan. He sees her and grins.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: So yeah, my love life got a bit complicated this summer, but it sorted itself out nicely.

She grins back. Duncan heads for her.

LOGAN: [offscreen] Ah, young love.

Veronica turns and looks behind her. Logan is leaning against the bus, watching. Duncan reaches Veronica and they grasp hands and walk towards Logan.

DUNCAN: You're coming on the field trip? I figured you and the other Jets would be rumbling with the Sharks.

LOGAN: Cool it, Action. I think I'm gonna pass on the field trip, but ah, call me when you get home, and tell me all about it.

VERONICA: Let's just get on the bus.

LOGAN: [to Veronica, softly] Hey, wait. I'm gonna miss you.

Veronica and Duncan hurry past him as Logan drops his head, then looks up to follow their progress onto the bus. Veronica watches him as she makes her way through the bus, Duncan behind her. Logan walks along the bus but glances back, knowing she is watching. He gives her a wave. On the bus, a girl looks to get past and Duncan has already moved in to make way.

GIA: Excuse me.

VERONICA: Sorry.

Veronica and Duncan walk further up the aisle to find seats.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Did I mention that he didn't take the break-up that well?

[201/3054.jpg]FLASHBACK: INT – MARS RESIDENCE – NIGHT.

Veronica is facing Logan as they sit on the couch, holding both his hands.

VERONICA: I kept thinking that if I just stuck by you, that you'd get past this-this phase and you'd be you again.

Logan swallows hard.

LOGAN: Are you breaking up with me?

VERONICA: [emotional] I can't stay with you. Not with you and your toadies cruising around at night and hatching plans, refusing to let everything get back to normal. Someone's gonna get killed, Logan.

LOGAN: Someone already has, did you forget that already? And most of the people in this town think I did it.

Logan shifts up to sit on the arm of the couch, becoming increasingly emotional.

LOGAN: Those people you call "toadies" are my friends; they've got my back.

VERONICA: [urgently] It's not about protection, Logan. It's about pride.

Logan puts his hand to his forehead, hardly believing what he is hearing.

VERONICA: And, the thing that I can't stand is that…I'm pretty sure there's a part of you that's having fun with all of this.

LOGAN: Fun? Fun?

Now, he really can’t believe it. He shoots up and starts to walk away, but stops and angrily spins round, hitting out at a lamp next to the couch, smashing it. Veronica jumps back in her seat, startled and frightened.

LOGAN: [angry and shouting] My mom is dead! My girlfriend is dead! My dad is a murderer! And the only person I still care about is dumping me. You think I'm having fun?

Keith storms in. Logan doesn’t notice.

LOGAN: Answer me, okay? Just tell me the--

Keith grabs Logan from behind in an arm lock and pushes him against the wall. He holds him there. Veronica, breathing heavily, watches unhappily.

KEITH: You don't talk to my daughter that way. You're leaving now and you're never coming back.

Veronica turns her eyes away, takes a deep breath and drops her head.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – SCHOOL BUS – DAY.

Duncan takes hold of Veronica’s hand in her lap. He gives her a consoling and understanding look. Dick is sitting in the seat behind them and Beaver is in the seat behind Dick, his arms thrown over the seat towards the others. Sitting alone, behind Beaver, is Meg.

DICK: Miss Dumbass.

MS. DUMASS: It's "Dumazz," Dick.

DICK: Well, my name's pronounced "Re-shard" and it stinks back here. I think someone died.

MS. DUMASS: You're free to sit closer to the front.

Dick looks at the people in the front and thinks better of it.

DICK: That's okay. I don't think that's gonna help. Thanks anyway.

Dick looks over at the other side of the bus. The girl who passed Veronica and Duncan smiles at him.

DICK: [to Duncan] Hey, who's the lovely young flower blossoming into womanhood?

DUNCAN: Let me guess: you want to pluck her.

Beaver and Dick are grinning and Veronica shakes her head.

EXT – CASABLANCAS RESIDENCE – DAY.

Leaving the car parked outside the front of the house, Logan bounds to the door. He knocks. Kendall answers, dressed in a red silk robe.

LOGAN: Hey, ah, can Dick and Beaver come out and play?

[201/3259.jpg]She smiles broadly.

KENDALL: Let's see if we can find them.

She spins round, leaving Logan to follow.

INT – CASABLANCAS RESIDENCE – CONTINUING.

He steps in and watches as she walks away. She pauses and throws off the robe. She is naked underneath. She looks back at him.

KENDALL: Coming?

LOGAN: We've got to stop meeting like this.

Logan shuts the door, waggles his eyebrows and follows.

WOODY: [offscreen] Why do I love baseball? The homerun, the long ball.

INT – SHARKS FIELD – DAY.

Woody Goodman, dressed in a baseball uniform, is speaking to the field trip students in the owner’s box, overlooking the diamond.

WOODY: I'll admit it. I'm no purist. Give me an eleven to nine slugfest and I'm in heaven.

BEAVER: Ah, so that's why Sharks pitching sucks.

Most of the students laugh, although Meg, sitting in the front row, does not.

WOODY: That's exactly the reason.

BEAVER: Okay.

WOODY: See, I spent all my money on hitters. I want to see the ball going out of the yard. Now, I know some of you. I even coached a few of you back in Little League. I wanted to host this little afternoon outing for one specific reason.

Veronica, sitting in the second row with Duncan, casts a glance at him. He raises his eyebrows.

WOODY: As many of you know, I'm running for Mayor of Neptune. And I thought it was important as a mayoral candidate, my daughter, Gia, attend the public high school in Neptune.

The girl from the bus smiles and waves.

WOODY: Her favourite class at Country Day was newspaper. So, I thought I'd invite the journalism classes out and give Gia a chance to make some new friends.

Dick, sitting next to Gia, leers.

[201/3411.jpg]DICK: Hello, friend.

GIA: Hello.

Gia rises and goes to stand next to her father.

GIA: Okay, so far, working.

WOODY: Yes.

GIA: Okay, just so everyone knows, I don't always dress like this.

Veronica cocks her head forward, in a “Say what?” way.

GIA: I didn't know if you guys were doing, like, relaxed beachy, or the West Coast wannabe East Coast urban, so, F.Y.I., it’s not a statement. I'm just doing the new-school blend-in thing.

Veronica and Duncan share a glance as Gia returns to her seat.

WOODY: My daughter, she's a cool kid. Play nice.

Later, Duncan is helping himself to food from a buffet.

DUNCAN: It's like, you know, what Willie Wonka would be like if he owned a professional baseball team.

Veronica glances over at a display of Woody's Little League pictures and trophies. There is a signed bat at the centre of the display.

VERONICA: You never played Little League?

DUNCAN: Oh, well, Mom was afraid a ball would hit me in the face. Dad was afraid it would interfere with Mock U.N. and I was afraid I couldn't hit a curveball.

VERONICA: I'm afraid you're gonna get love handles if you eat all that.

DUNCAN: I have an excellent metabolism.

VERONICA: Well then, it's official. I hate you.

Duncan laughs. Veronica spots something.

VERONICA: Oh, check it out.

They look through the window to the balcony outside and see a man, apparently angry, approach Woody.

TERRENCE:...you did this to me.

WOODY: What?

Duncan recognizes the man.

DUNCAN: Wow. In the flesh.

Woody is placatory.

WOODY: It's alright. Come on, I'll introduce you.

He pulls the man into the room.

WOODY: Hey, gang, special guest. The greatest Shark that ever played the game, back when we had pitching to go with our hitting, future hall-of-famer, Terrence Cook.

[201/3502.jpg]Everyone claps.

WOODY: They love you, man.

Dick comes over to Duncan and Veronica.

DICK: Hey, we're not taking that stank-ass bus back to Neptune. My dad's sending a limo. Would you and your girlfriend, whose quick wit I find enchanting, like to take the trip back in style? Miss Dumbass said it was cool.

DUNCAN: Hell, yeah.

Veronica gives Duncan a baleful look. His eyes plead.

VERONICA: [reluctantly] Fine.

DICK: Cool.

VERONICA: I feel dirty.

DUNCAN: Dirty, one R or two Rs?

VERONICA: Mmm.

Duncan kisses Veronica on the forehead then starts on his large plate of food. Veronica watches Dick approach Meg on the balcony. It is obvious that he is asking Meg to come in the limo but that Meg, on being informed that Veronica will be in the limo, declines.

VERONICA: All right, Duncan, I can't take this anymore. I'm gonna go try and talk to Meg one more time. You ride in the limo because I think it's gonna be easier if we're not together.

DUNCAN: You don't owe her anything. You didn't do anything to her.

VERONICA: You are so not a girl.

Duncan laughs. Veronica notices Terrence approach the buffet table. She turns to him.

VERONICA: Excuse me, Mr. Cook?

TERRENCE: Yes ma'am.

VERONICA: I just wanted to say…you are my dad's favourite baseball player ever. He keeps your rookie card vacuum-sealed inside a safe.

TERRENCE: Well, that is an honour. You tell him "thanks" for me.

[201/3624.jpg]He shakes her hand.

VERONICA: When my dad finds out about this, he's not gonna let me wash this hand.

TERRENCE: So, who's your favourite player?

VERONICA: Ummm...

DUNCAN: Tell him. Be honest.

TERRENCE: It's Johnny Damon, isn't it?

VERONICA: He's so pretty.

Behind her, Duncan snorts out a laugh.

EXT – SCHOOL BUS – DAY.

The bus drives up the road.

INT – SCHOOL BUS – CONTINUING.

Veronica makes her way forward and spins into the seat in front of Meg, turned to face her. Meg looks at her warily.

VERONICA: Hey. So, I hear you're back on the cheerleading squad. That's great news.

MEG: [disingenuously] Oh, oh yeah, that's right, I-I forgot. I’m-I'm supposed to pay you or something, right?

Meg searches through her wallet.

VERONICA: Never mind.

Veronica turns in her seat. Meg collects her things and moves to the back of the bus.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: The way she's acting, you'd think I seduced Duncan on their wedding day. That's not how it happened.

Music: "Long Time Coming" by Delays.

LYRICS: Tore it up and walked away
Why'd you wanna go do that for?
[201/3735.jpg]Threw your Lego in the lake
Why'd you wanna go do that for?
And you're a long time coming
A long time coming home
Do you see me reeling off the lines?
I've seen your, I've seen your eyes
And you're a long time coming
A long time coming home
Do you see me reeling off the lines?
I've seen your, I've seen your eyes
How can you grow old
You were my triumph?
How can you grow old
You were my triumph?
And you're a long time coming
A long time coming home

FLASHBACK: INT – THE HUT – VARIOUS.

A montage of scenes starts. Veronica hands Duncan a take-out coffee; Veronica shows some people to a table and smiles over at Duncan who is reading while sitting on a small couch.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Duncan said he'd been visiting the Hut every day before I ever took a job there. True or not, he showed up almost every day I worked there this summer.

They exchange smiles when Duncan clears a table for her when she’s busy; they sit at a table together sharing cake.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – SCHOOL BUS – CONTINUING.

Veronica looks back at Meg, now several rows back on the bus.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I heard through the grapevine that Duncan broke up with Meg on the last day of school. Whether that had anything to do with learning we weren't half-siblings, I don't know. You'd have to ask him. I was with Logan and I was absolutely faithful. Duncan and I didn't get together until my eighteenth birthday, weeks after Dad threw Logan out of the apartment.

INT – THE HUT.

Duncan sits at a small table with a book. He leaves the table and Veronica clears it. She finds a small gift Duncan has left, a gold box tied with a red ribbon. Veronica opens it to find a fortune cookie. She breaks the cookie, reads the message and races after Duncan, catching him at the exit. She says a few words, he smiles and they kiss, long and hard.

END FLASHBACK.

INT – SCHOOL BUS – CONTINUING.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I'm sorry Meg is hurting, truly sorry, but I can't say I have any regrets.

End music: "Long Time Coming" by Delays.

EXT – GAS STATION – DAY.

The bus pulls into the station.

INT – SCHOOL BUS – CONTINUING.

Ms. Dumass stands at the front of the bus.

MS. DUMASS: Five minutes, people.

EXT – GAS STATION – DAY.

[201/3854.jpg]Veronica comes out of the gas station with a bottle of water. She heads for the bus.

LILLY: [offscreen] Veronica.

Veronica whips round and sees Lilly, in her pep squad uniform, running down past the corner of the station.

LILLY: Come on, dorkus.

VERONICA: Lilly?

Veronica runs around the corner. She sees Weevil, fixing his bike.

WEEVIL: What are you doing here, huh? Shouldn't you be running for Homecoming Queen or something?

VERONICA: I'm safe standing here, right? I mean, you're not gonna shoot me, are you?

INT – SCHOOL BUS – CONTINUING.

The journalism teacher boards the bus.

MS. DUMASS: All here?

MALE STUDENT: Yeah.

FEMALE STUDENT: Yeah.

Meg, sitting at the back of the bus, can see that Veronica is still outside, talking to Weevil. She takes a moment, then gives a tight smile.

MEG: All here.

EXT – GAS STATION – CONTINUING.

Veronica’s back is to the bus as she talks to Weevil.

WEEVIL: So, did you like your taste? Your little year of living dangerously? Did you get your fill? As soon as they'll have you back, you go running to the 09ers. And as a little bonus, you give it up to the richest boys in school. Wow. Well, I'm sure their sheets are clean.

VERONICA: You don't know anything about me. And you don't know anything about them.

WEEVIL: [angry] Yeah, I do. I know that Logan killed Felix. And he got away with it because he's rich and he's white.

VERONICA: Six guys jumped Logan. They broke his ribs. They gave him a concussion. Yet somehow he managed to wrestle away one of their knives and stab Felix? You didn't see it. You were out cold.

WEEVIL: So I guess, Felix stabbed himself.

VERONICA: Well, somebody stabbed him.

WEEVIL: My boys? Nothing goes down in the club without my say-so.

VERONICA: So I guess you know about the shotgun blast that almost killed Logan and me? Bikers ride up, blow a hole through Logan's car.

Weevil doesn’t have an answer. Behind Veronica, the bus sets off.

VERONICA: You sure you're still in charge?

Veronica hears the bus and turns to see it go. She runs forward but is too late. She looks back at Weevil who, smirking, gets on his bike and rides off. Left stranded, Veronica pulls out her cell phone.

VERONICA: Hey, Wallace, whatcha doing?

The bike can still be heard in the vicinity and stops ahead of her.

VERONICA: Never mind.

WEEVIL: [offscreen] Hop on.

Veronica catches the helmet that is thrown at her. Music: "Ashes" by Embrace.

[201/4107.jpg]LYRICS: I've waited, and given the chance again
I'd do it all the same, but either way
I'm always outplayed, up on your down days
I left it the right way, to start again
Now watch me rise up and leave all the ashes you made out of me
When you said that we were wrong, that life goes on, you blew me away
I sink like a stone, I lost my control

EXT – ROAD – DAY.

Veronica is on the back of Weevil’s bike. From the distance, they can see smoke on the road ahead. As they get nearer, they see road work signs and a limo, pulled up at the side of the road, with people streaming out of it. Weevil pulls up in front of the limo, whose driver is on a cell phone. Veronica scrambles off the back of the bike and runs along buffers at the side of the road, on the edge of a cliff. She passes behind Dick and Beaver, who are looking over the edge and reaches a breach in the buffers.

GIA: [crying] It just went straight off the cliff. It didn't even slow down. They're all dead.

[201/4201.jpg]Veronica looks at the scene in shock. Duncan runs to her.

DUNCAN: Veronica!

GIA: They're all dead.

Duncan checks that she’s real and holds her.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: This is Neptune. Nothing happens accidentally.

Below, debris swirls in the water. End. Executive producer: Rob Thomas. End music: "Ashes" by Embrace.

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