vanessagalore: (V Take My Picture)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
TITLE: A Night at the Neptune Grand (1/1)
AUTHOR: [personal profile] vanessagalore
CHARACTERS: Vinnie Van Lowe and a few other Neptune denizens
WORD COUNT: 2,033
RATING: PG13
SUMMARY: A night in the life of Vinnie Van Lowe, P.I.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for season 1 and 2.
WARNINGS: None.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any rights to Veronica Mars. This story is written as a tribute only. This story was submitted as a response to the "Minor Character" prompt at [community profile] vmfictitious. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] sarah_p for her suggestions.

NOTE: I haven't given up on my Precipitation story. I've been working on it lately and hope to post a new chapter soon. This story is different from my usual thing; let me know what you think.



A NIGHT AT THE NEPTUNE GRAND

Vinnie tapped the pack of cigarettes on the bar, as if absent-mindedly. The Neptune Grand bartender, polite as ever, murmured, "There's no smoking in here, sir."

"Oh, yeah, gotcha. Nervous habit. Ha-ha. What do you got on tap here?"

"Heineken, Guinness, Amstel, and Sam Adams."

"What the hell's happening to this country? American beer all the way. Sam Adams."

"Yes, sir." After the bartender pulled him his beer, Vinnie played a little more with the cigarette pack until the bartender turned around, and then Vinnie brought the disguised camera up a little, framing his shot via the mirror behind the elegant liquor bottles. You're looking especially lovely tonight, Mrs. Leland McKenzie. Like a million bucks—that is, a million bucks off your impending divorce settlement, give or take, he thought.

Leland McKenzie, a prominent attorney from Los Angeles, had become suspicious of his second wife's frequent trips to Neptune, where she was supposedly working with a local charity for juvenile burn victims. Vinnie had gotten the referral from McKenzie's L.A. PI. An easy night's work, he'd assumed, to catch a careless trophy wife on the prowl. Tsk, tsk. Singin' the pre-nup blues. Gotta love it. McKenzie had promised five grand for a shot of his wife in a compromising situation, with a three thousand dollar bonus if Vinnie could get the money shot.

Vinnie had started tailing Mrs. McKenzie, known to her close friends as Livvy, short for Olivia, earlier that day. Livvy, a toned and attractive brunette in her early thirties, had indeed attended a short meeting at Neptune Memorial Hospital, after which she had headed for The Trident Tennis Club. Drinks by the pool, showcasing what Vinnie estimated to be a twenty thousand dollar rack in a skimpy bikini, and then two sets of tennis, with Livvy being just a little too attentive to Chad, the twenty-something tennis pro.

Ah, Chad, you dirty dog, Vinnie had thought as he snapped a series of telephoto shots of Livvy stroking Chad's arm, a wide smile on her tanned and perfectly taut face. Chad was resplendent in tennis whites, his well-developed biceps threatening to burst the seams of his shirt. After a long volley when Chad ran hard to return Livvy's errant lobs, Chad wiped the sweat from his brow with his shirt, 'accidentally' showing off what looked like perfect six-pack abs, much to the delight of the gathered women.

When the match was concluded, Livvy appeared to be teasing Chad, and he responded by dropping to the tarmac and performing twenty push-ups. Vinnie had to admit the man had pretty good form, maybe not Marine Corps but decent, and afterward, Chad jumped to his feet without effort. The ladies clapped appreciatively, and Chad gave a little bow to his audience. Vinnie rolled his eyes. Sheesh, what a performance.

A quick check on Planet Zowie on his car's laptop showed that Chad had been the co-respondent in two other divorce cases, and Chad had an oceanfront condo that seemed pretty pricey for a tennis pro's salary, even working at the ritzy Trident Club. Vinnie wondered just how many of these broads Chad was banging. "Pretty sweet deal, all these grateful ladies 'loaning' you a few bucks here and there. And no alimony," he'd mused, thinking of Masako, and Brenda, and Debra.

"You know, I could do that. Huh! They don't call me a stud muffin for nothing. My abs are as tight as they were in college...and I have to work for a living." Vinnie tightened his gut, patting it approvingly. While waiting for Livvy to emerge from the ladies locker room, he stepped out of the car and did four quick push-ups, and then two not-so-quick push-ups, and one excruciatingly slow one, almost falling on his face. "The Vin-man's gotta hit the gym. That's all," he muttered, brushing off his hands and looking around to see if anyone had noticed.

Vinnie had then followed Livvy to the Neptune Grand. She had three vodka tonics at a table in the rear of the bar, until Chad joined her. They seemed practically sewn together, cuddled in their booth in the darkest corner of La Petite Grande Bar and Grill. Chad and Livvy ordered dinner, prime ribs in Vinnie's estimation, along with two bottles of wine. A jazz trio started playing and the couple took a turn on the dance floor. The trio launched into a ballad and Livvy leaned into Chad, and the two kissed. Vinnie took a chance and swiveled around in his seat to get the shot. It was perfectly framed, the trophy wife's luscious lips locked onto the young stud's mouth.

Ka-ching! Like taking candy from a baby. Candy from a babe, hah. Vinnie snorted out loud, and the bartender cleared his throat and asked, "Did you want another Sam Adams, sir?"

Vinnie whirled back around, affecting an uninterested gaze. "No thanks, gotta keep my edge. Know what I mean?"

"Yes, sir, absolutely. It's just that...well, you've been here for two hours, sir." The bartender looked at Vinnie's glass pointedly. "And your, ahem," the bartender made air quotes, "cigarettes...I wouldn't want to say anything to security, but you know of course that—"

"Twenty do you?" Vinnie pulled out his wallet with a scowl. The bartender was conspicuously silent, and Vinnie put another twenty on top of the first, rolling his eyes. "Goddamn inflation."

"It's terrible what's happening with the economy, sir. Thank you very much." The bartender made the two Jacksons disappear.

Vinnie noticed in the mirror that Livvy and Chad were on the move, the straying wife's hand firmly clasped on the athlete's upper arm as they exited the bar. He hurried after the couple, making it to the elevator just before the doors closed. "Excuse me. Nice weather we're having."

"Yeah, absolutely," Livvy said absently. Her fingers were twined with the tennis pro's, and Vinnie noted with a professional detachment that her perfect breasts quite possibly could have cost twenty-five thousand dollars.

When the couple got off the elevator on the twelfth floor, Vinnie did as well, muttering, "Small world, huh?" He followed them down the hall and noted their room number as he continued on past their door. Once the door had clicked shut, he returned to the elevator and down to the front desk, where he secured a room for the night directly across from the lovers.

This was the tedious part. The way the Grand was situated, it was hard to get a telephoto shot, especially on the upper floors. In the past, he'd been able to use an office building after hours, but that took planning. Mr. McKenzie had told Vinnie that Livvy was due back in Los Angeles the following evening and he was quite eager to proceed to a divorce consultation, so if Vinnie was going to earn that bonus for the money shot it would have to be tonight. All he could do was wait with the door slightly ajar, hoping that the lovebirds would order room service.

Or, if necessary...plan B. Under Vinnie's Members Only jacket, he wore a white shirt, with a gold vest and black trousers similar to the uniform worn by Grand staff. He had a clip-on bowtie in his pocket that would complete the ensemble.

At 10:19, he heard voices in the hallway. A man and a woman, the woman giggling, and the man quite inebriated, but his voice...Vinnie knew that voice.

The woman said, "You know what I'm going to do to you, counselor?"

"I'm hoping it involves a violation of California Penal Code, Section 266c. With an enhancement for depraved indifference."

"Ooh...sounds kinky. Would you be opposed to a little role-playing?"

"Miaow! I'll play doctor with you anytime, Daphne."

Vinnie risked a peek down the hall and saw Cliff McCormack with...holy shit. Daphne, my ass. Cliff was with Sugar Jones, one of the finest out-call girls in Neptune, although Vinnie'd never seen her dressed like this, in a corporate suit. To be sure, her tits were hanging out of her half-buttoned blouse, but still, it was a conservative outfit for hooker. This was a priceless opportunity—you never knew when you might need an attorney. So Vinnie took a quick photo.

Back in the room, Vinnie examined the picture on the digital camera. Cliff's hand was on Sugar's generous bosom (estimated retail value: $8500) and his ecstatic face was oblivious.

For a moment, Vinnie considered warning Cliff that Sugar was a lady of the evening.

Nah.

At 11:25, the elevator dinged and the unmistakeable sound of a room service cart could be heard. Vinnie waited, hoping that the cart would stop across the hall, but the sound of a squeaky wheel progressed all the way down to the end, to Cliff's den of iniquity. When the room service employee walked back past Vinnie's room, Vinnie stopped the young man, holding up three folded twenties. Damn, these expenses were getting out of hand! "Young man, can you bring me a bottle of champagne with two glasses?" The employee eyed the cash before snatching it out of Vinnie's hands. "Not the cheap stuff, okay? And maybe a couple rosebuds in a vase?"

By 12:23, everything was ready. Chilled champagne, a vase with several roses, two flutes, and several Godiva chocolates. A nice touch, Vinnie thought. He looked at his reflection one more time. The vest and bow-tie really sold it, although any fool could tell that he was far too classy to work a job like this.

Vinnie knocked on Livvy and Chad's door.

"Who is it?"

"Room service, ma'am. Champagne. Compliments of the hotel."

"Ooh, champagne. Get the door, Chad."

The suave tennis pro opened the door clad in a towel. Vinnie pushed the cart into the room, pretending not to look at the guests, as any well-trained employee would know not to do. Livvy was naked on the bed, with a sheet pulled up to cover her. Chad rifled in his wallet and pushed a five into Vinnie's hand, and Vinnie murmured, "Thank you, sir." As Vinnie popped the cork and poured two glasses with a professional-looking twist of the bottle at the end, Chad went back to the bed and began nuzzling Livvy's neck. "Good night, sir, ma'am," Vinnie announced as he discreetly used the mirror to take several quick photos of the couple. He exited the room, humming a little ditty.

Back in his room, Vinnie donned his Members Only jacket and reviewed the shots on his digital camera. They wouldn't win any photography contests, but the money shot was clear and distinctive, and those from earlier in the day at the club and the bar would set up the relationship without any doubt. And Cliff McCormack with a known hooker was a bonus.

Vinnie checked out of the hotel and went out to the Neptune Grand parking lot. 1:17, the clock read on the dash as a red Camaro parked several spots away.

What do we have here? Vinnie thought. Instead of turning on his engine, he slunk down in his seat and watched as a familiar figure stepped out of the Camaro. No way! Don Lamb, the other white meat.

The sheriff, chewing a wad of gum, walked around and helped a rather nubile young woman out of the passenger side before trapping her against the car and kissing her. Vinnie peered intently at the couple. Strangely enough, the girl actually appeared to be enjoying herself.

Whew! Apparently our esteemed sheriff is performing throat inspections on teenage girls as a public service. You gotta love it. Vinnie took a series of photos as Lamb mauled the blonde girl. B, maybe a C cup, but I'm guessing that we've got original manufacturer's equipment here.

"C'mon, Maddy, let's get a room."

"Okay, baby."

Maddy? Vinnie wrote the name down on a notepad he kept in his car as he watched the sheriff escort the young lady into the hotel.

Eight thousand for the money shot, and compromising pictures of two men in positions to help him.

Not a bad night at the Neptune Grand for Vincent Van Lowe, Private Dick.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-05 02:44 pm (UTC)
medjunkie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] medjunkie
A busy night indeed, Vinnie has a lot of dirt on the good people of Neptune, poor Cliff. Vinnie is a bit of an ambiguous character, but like the way you flesh him out a bit. Clearly vanity and money are his gods.
Glad to hear that you are continuing with Precipitation, I really like that story.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-05 03:33 pm (UTC)
schuylerjo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] schuylerjo
Gotta a love a guy who can price boob jobs at a glance. :) I love the idea of stories from the perspectives of minor characters that explain something about canon.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 10:06 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hehe, very nice look at Vinnie. I can't see him as the sheriff at all. Well, I can, but it doesn't look good...

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