He can't not trust her. He knows this, because he's tried. Even after the incident with the Manning child, he couldn't help it. She might not always do the wise thing; she's still a little reckless. And she can still be a little vengeful, he knows. But really, who is he to judge?
She's an adult now, eighteen years, but really she's been one for years. Lilly's death made her grow up fast. So did Lianne leaving. He wants to be the father for her, protect her from the bid bad wolves, but it's been made more than clear over the last two years that he can't. She accomplishes what she sets out to do, and Keith has learned to pity those who stand in her way.
All of this is rationalizations, of course—Keith has gotten good at rationalizations. It's not that she's earned his trust. It's that he can't help but give it to her.
So he has to trust her about this, that when she says this is what she wants she is telling the truth.
Veronica steps out of her room, naked but holding a towel. "I'm going to take a shower, Dad," she tells Keith. "Feel free to join me if you want."
Keith nods and makes his way to the bathroom, loosening his clothing as he does.
He trusts her.
Zero Hour Minus Two Weeks
He wakes up breathing in Veronica's scent.
He and Mac are spooning, sort of, his face buried in the nape of her neck, but she's wearing one of Veronica's shirts and the smell is pure Veronica.
And there's Lilly Kane, dressed in that same silly green-and-white outfit she was found murdered in. And since, yeah, she's about as dead as they come, he's pretty sure he is—
"Dreaming me?" asks Lily. "Probably. But the eighteen-year-old girl in your bed? She's as real as they come."
Keith is certainly not going to explain himself to a sixteen-year-old girl who has been dead for two years. It's not like he's done anything wrong.
"Come on, Mr. Mars," she says, her face that of angelic innocence. "You just slept with your daughter's girlfriend. You can't tell me that isn't majorly fucked up." And she smiles with glee.
Zero Hour Minus One Month
Somedays, she reminds Keith of Lianne so much that it hurts.
Not Lianne as she is now, broken, alcoholic, at war with the world, unable to face the ghosts which haunt her, but Lianne as she was, in her prime, the woman who had Jake Kane panting after her, who was friends with everyone and had only a world of possibility in front of her.
The woman Keith fell in love with, all those years ago.
Keith looks at Veronica and sees Lianne's face, and it hurts so bad.
She exits her room in a backless top, a black skirt, pumps, and a purse. "Ooh, baby," he says in a playful voice, and whistles. "You and Logan going out?"
Veronica's hesitation speaks volumes.
"Is there trouble in paradise?"
Veronica sighs. "It seem like my relationships with Logan are always fated to never outlive the summer."
Keith nods. "He's a summer romance sort of guy." He's not a bad kid, not deep down, but Aaron's screwed him up bad and he's not the sort of boy Keith really wants dating his little girl.
There is no sort of boy Keith wants dating his little girl. Still, Keith is surprised at the strength of his pleasure at finding out Logan and his daughter are no longer dating. "So, you and Wallace, then?"
"Mac," Veronica corrects him. "She's thinking about trying the whole 'being seen in public' thing again?"
"How is she?" Keith asks, concerned. The Mackenzie girl was only one of many victims in last spring's events, and not one he'd followed up on.
"She's…better," Veronica says cautiously. "I think she's avoiding boys for the time being."
"Very wise," Keith notes. "You could learn from her example."
Zero Hour Minus One Week
"Now this is kinky," Lilly Kane's ghost says. She's sitting at the kitchen table, eating some sort of spectral popcorn as she watches him, but Keith is more than a little distracted at the moment because he sort of has his dick up Mac's ass.
Also because Veronica is on her knees performing cunnilingus on, again, Mac. "Even I never got to do it with the dad and the kid at the same time," Lilly notes. "Aaron probably would have gone for it, but I think Logan would have been a hard sell."
Keith can feel the effects of Veronica through Mac, both directly as flesh is pushed against him and through the gasps and shudders Mac emits.
"It's so wrong," Lilly Kane says as she simulates an orgasm, clutching her arms to the kitchen counter, "but it feels so right."
Mac's breath gets quicker; unlike Lilly, she's clearly not pretending. Keith comes while Veronica's still working; he slips away to trash the used condom, then comes back, kisses Mac's neck as, with a final shudder, she climaxes. "Come on, Keith," Lilly says as Veronica rises to her feet, "kiss your daughter. With tongue. I know you want to."
She isn't wrong, but he doesn't do it.
Zero Hour Minus Three Weeks
"Here you go, Mr. Mars," the Mackenzie girl says, handing him back his laptop. "It's amazing you were able to use the thing for anything at all, with all the spyware and adware and trojans you had on there."
"Trojans," he repeats, and he's half-joking and half-confused. Darn those kids with their netspeak and actually knowing how to operate computers and all. "Ribbed or lubricated?"
Mac smiles, and Keith thinks that once she's ready for boys again she really shouldn't have any trouble finding one. Hopefully a gentleman who can undo some of the damage Cassidy Casablancas might have caused. "Just make sure you keep running the detection software," she said, "so it doesn't happen again."
He nods. He knows how to use one perfectly well; it's the inner workings that require expert advice. "Thanks for your help."
"Sure thing, Mr. Mars."
"Call me Keith," he says, and she graces him with another smile.
Veronica comes in. "Hi, Dad," she says, and then kisses Mac, an open mouth kiss with tongue, the sort of kiss she never would have dared to do in front of Keith with Logan. "You ready to go?" she asks, and Mac nods. The two leave holding hands.
The Mackenzie girl is eighteen and attractive, and Keith rationalizes that his physical response to what just happened is a perfectly natural one.