"And in breaking news, we've gotten word that heiress to the Kane fortune, Lillian Kane, was found atop the Coronado Bridge only minutes ago. She was talked down from her precarious perch by Neptune Sheriff, Keith Mars and is now being taken to Neptune General Hospital. Authorities refuse to state whether or not drug use might have been a cause of this, and Mars is declining any comment. More on this situation as it develops."
I pull my car into the driveway and turn off the ignition with shaky hands; Lilly tried to -- Lilly was on the Coronado Bridge and my dad saved her. Well. Lilly's always had a penchant for the overdramatic, but somehow I don't think that even she'd do this sort of thing unless she was really a lot more upset than I'd given her credit for. Maybe her tears weren't fake. Maybe she was telling the truth. Maybe she hadn't been sleeping with Weevil and had really just been waiting to see what I would do.
Right. And maybe this is just another bad dream.
I collect my bag and phone from the passenger seat and duck out of the car. As I approach the front door of my house, I can hear shouting; my dad's voice, and then my mother's. I wince inwardly and toy with the idea of not going inside at all; the story of the hero who saved my best friend who told him absolutely everything, I'm sure -- NPR hadn't given me any information except for the basics, bridge, Lilly, Dad, Hospital -- but I knew she'd never come down off that bridge without making sure that my father knew exactly why she was there.
Which explains the shouting.
As I open the door, I catch my mother's eye. Dad isn't facing me, but she is and she looks terrified; she looks, I think, the way that I must have looked when Lilly made her presence known this afternoon. And I know it, I know that Lilly hasn't been lying to me. We really are sisters, and it's the biggest mistake that my mother ever made in her life. "How could you be so selfish, Lianne?"
I've never heard him like this, furious and hurt and about to fall into pieces all at the same time. My dad's always been stoic. Sheriff. He's always been my dad. I close the door behind me quietly and I step into the room. "Yeah, mom," I echo, leaning against the wall for support. My knees feel weak. "How could you?"
There are tears streaming down her cheeks all of a sudden, and she tries to put on a brave face. "I didn't," she sobs, and she seems so much like Lilly that I find it hard to wonder if she's maybe not Lilly's mother, too. Maybe we're full sisters, real life sisters. "Veronica is your daughter."
To my surprise, and my mother's, my father nods firmly. Once. "Yeah, I know." He turns away from her and walks over to me, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me into a hug. "Are you okay, honey? Did you hear about --"
"I heard it on the radio. Is she okay?" Dad nods again and takes a step back from me. He has a grim smile on my face and this is it, I think, this is when he's going to tell me everything that Lilly said about me. And he's going to ask me if it's true. And it will be true, but she'll have said it in such away that it all seems like my fault.
But he doesn't ask me anything. "She's a little bit shaken up. They took her to the hospital for evaluation, they'll probably keep her for a day or two."
He turns back to my mother, who by this point has stopped crying and is really almost smiling. Like a plan that's unfolded perfectly, like a lie that's gone off without a hitch; nobody told my mother that today is not the day for smooth sailing. My dad keeps his arm around me as he continues talking, but all the tenderness has gone out of his voice. "You need to leave, Lianne. Right now. Because if I have to leave and take Veronica with me, things will be a lot worse."
I glance at my dad with thinly veiled surprise, which is nothing compared to the look that has crossed my mother's features. Shock. Fear. "And just where do you expect me to go," she is asking, but he shrugs. "You can't just keep me from my daughter, Keith."
I look at her incredulously. This is all her fault, and now she's trying to use me as her ace? I don't think that my eyes could be open any wider. "He doesn't have to," I answer, shrugging out of dad's grip and stalking off toward my bedroom. The arguing begins again, in quieter tones this time, and I don't doubt that it's about me. My behavior. My parentage. My friends.
I pull off my shirt as I walk into my bedroom. I need to go to the hospital, but I need to change first. I'm ready to face the consequences of my actions, but I need to start fresh and I need to do it right this second. Even my jeans -- I change from one nondescript pair into another, and I glance into the mirror before I turn back toward the door. I'm fine. I'm ready for this.
I'm ready to deal with Duncan and Jake and Logan and Lilly all at the same time. I ignore my parents as I walk back through the living room and slam the door behind me and I hurry to my car. I turn off the radio before I can hear anything else, and instead I replay the events of the day in my head. I think the radio might have been safer.
Dreams. Lilly. Weevil and Lilly, Logan and me, Duncan -- oh God, Duncan. Who will not be okay with any of this, and I can hardly blame him. He's the only innocent person in this situation, and even he's not all that innocent. My father, my mother, my real father -- though which one is real and which one is fake is entirely up for debate. Keith raised me. Keith loves me. Genetics mean nothing.
No matter what Lilly tries to claim. I make my way into the hospital and up to her floor; I know where she'll be. It's the only private floor of the hospital, the one sanctioned by 09'ers for plastic surgery recovery and suicide attempts. The bonuses of living in a small town where your dad is the sheriff are numberless, really. As I step off the elevator, I see Jake Kane and I cross my arms defiantly. I don't see Logan, yet. I wonder if he should be called.
I walk over to Jake. "Where's Lilly?" I ask, and my voice is trembling. He sighs.
"Veronica, maybe this isn't the best time."
"Where is she?" I demand again. He looks at me stonily.
"You can stay in the waiting room," he replies and there's no way that we're related. He's too cold. Just like his daughter. Just like his son. I wonder where Celeste is, and dial Logan's number.