|These Games We Play
Author: The-Passionate-Sun PM
"You said no, April." "You walked away, Nate!" April Hayden and Nate DuPont have always had a complicated relationship. This time around, it's really no different. April/Nate. Rory/Logan. SEQUEL TO THE CONTRACT RULES.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Rory G. & Logan H. - Chapters: 12 - Words: 47,857 - Reviews: 260 - Favs: 71 - Follows: 172 - Updated: 01-09-13 - Published: 05-06-11 - id: 6970307
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Extremely long Author's Note at the bottom, look out!
"So," Will said at breakfast the next morning, as Nate shuffled into the kitchen. "I just got a text from Rory."
"What does it say?" Nate asked, pouring himself a glass of coffee. It was only 7 o'clock in the morning, so he had no clue why Will was already up and running. The 17-year-old had made himself pancakes by helping himself to all of the amenities in April's kitchen, and Nate couldn't help but scoop the remaining extras onto his plate. He had to get to the hospital at 9 for a twenty-four hour shift; breakfast was a necessity.
"She wants the four of us over for dinner tonight, says they have some news."
"I can't come, I've got to go to the hospital."
"She's specifically asked for you, though."
"By name? How does she know I'm here?"
"Well, she doesn't know about this recent development," Will said, gesturing towards Nate with his fork, "But considering you and April 'live' like, five miles apart, she probably assumes we could pick you up on the way to New York."
"Right," Nate sighed. "I can't go, though, I have work. Have fun on that four hour drive."
"It's not four hours, is it?" Will asked in surprise. "Besides, I wouldn't be the one driving. April would be."
Nate stared at the younger boy.
"What? Why are you looking at me like that!"
"Your sister was in a car accident, she had a concussion for six days, her car is totaled, and you want her to drive for four hours to go to New York? I don't think so."
"...Okay. I will drive."
"Yeah, you damn well better drive." Nate finished off the last of his first cup of coffee and got up to refill it. Will shoveled the last of his pancakes into his mouth, put his plate in the sink, and then left the kitchen as soon as he could, passing April on his way out.
"Good morning," she smiled.
"What? Oh, hey, good morning," Nate said, turning around.
She raised her eyebrows at him. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," he shook his head. "Yeah, no, I'm fine."
She didn't really believe him, but she'd known him for long enough to know that this wasn't the time to press the issue. He was smiling at her as he walked over, but his eyes were guarded and full of worry, putting her on edge.
He reached out and pulled her into his hold, wrapping his arms around his waist. She tilted her head up in expectation of the kiss, but just before his lips touched hers, he stopped.
"You did brush your teeth before coming down, right? Morning breath tends to be a problem with you."
"No need to get mad, Ape, I'm only joking."
She didn't say anything; just put her arm around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss.
It escalated quickly, and by the time Georgie walked into the kitchen five minutes later, April was sitting on the kitchen counter, and Nate was standing between her thighs with her legs wrapped around his waist. April's hands seemed to be trying to take his shirt off, but he was more interested in getting even closer to April, which Georgie didn't think was possible.
"I don't know whether to be happy that you guys are doing this instead of fighting, or cringing because my eyes burn."
Instead of springing apart like she thought they'd do, they broke apart slowly. Nate turned around without letting go of his girlfriend, and all her sister did was smile.
"Good morning to you, too, Kate."
"Oh God," she groaned loudly. "Stop it!"
"You should call him," April told her, unable to keep the smile of her face. She started squirming. "Nate, stop tickling me."
"You were never ticklish before," Nate laughed at her. "This is amazing. What the hell happened to you?"
"I've always been ticklish, I just never let you actually tickle me! Stop it, Nate!" She jumped off the kitchen counter and ran around to the other side of the island, one hand up in the air as a warning to him. "Don't come any closer."
"Guys stop it," Georgie said. "You act like you're fifteen years old."
"It's called the Honeymoon Phase, Georgie. In the early stages of the relationship, when you don't have to worry about real life setting in yet, you just enjoying each other's company. You, of course, wouldn't know that considering the only relationship you've had has consisted of casually dating a boy who thinks that you aren't the daughter of his father's opponent on Capitol Hill. I can understand if it's a little out of your-"
"You know what, it is too early in the morning for this sanctimonious bullshit, okay? Have fun sucking each other's faces off."
With that, she turned on her heel and stormed out of the room, leaving April and Nate to themselves again.
Nate watched her leave the kitchen and then turned around to look at April, who was glaring at him, her arms crossed over her chest. Her feet were hidden behind the kitchen island, but he would bet anything that she was tapping one of her feet in agitation. His heart sank down to his stomach.
"That was really harsh."
"Seriously?" he said, barely containing his incredulity. "Are you- April do you know what she did?"
"She's an adult," April shrugged. "It's her problem. You and I both know Wes," she added. "It's not like he's going to blackmail her or anything. She'll confess the truth to him, they'll break up or whatever, and she'll get over it. Or maybe she won't, but that is not our problem. Actually no, let me rephrase that. That will be my problem, but if you don't want it to be yours, it doesn't have to be."
Nate stood his ground. April's M.O in these situations was to pull rank by pointing out that it was her family involved. It wasn't going to work this time. "I care about your sister. I care about everyone in your family, not just because you love them, April, but because I have actually been able to have my own relationships with them. In case you've forgotten, Georgie and I talked all the time, while we were together and after we broke up. She didn't care that I wasn't your boyfriend anymore. She'd grown up knowing me and I was her friend, too. What I said to her just now...I wasn't doing that as your boyfriend. I was doing that as her friend. It had nothing to do with you. Not everything involving me and your family has to include you."
She stared at him in silence, her gaze boring into him, but he held it. He didn't blink for thirty seconds, and just as his eyes started to water, her gaze fell.
"You don't get to hurt my baby sister."
He started to speak up but April held a finger up and walked over to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and tiptoed to close the distance.
"I guess it's okay if you have a fight with a close family friend, though, right?"
He smiled. "Yeah. But you can't keep-"
"I know," she interrupted softly. "Sorry."
"It's okay," he sighed. "I guess we're just going to have to get used to this. Five years is a long time."
"Way too long," she said suggestively. "What are you doing today?"
Reluctantly, Nate pulled out of her embrace. "I have to be at work in forty-five minutes. I should probably go take a shower."
"Rory wants us all over for dinner. Can you make it?"
"I cannot, actually. My shift doesn't end until tomorrow morning."
April groaned, dreading the thought of having to spend the night alone. It was slightly odd, since she'd never been clingy, but she was scared. Since she was sixteen years old, Nate had been a dream. Sure, they'd been together, but most of that time had been spent physically apart. Then they had broken up, with absolutely no contact for half a decade. What little time they'd spent in Boston, trying to be friends, it wasn't enough. One date and one night in his arms wasn't enough. She liked this, waking up to his smile and his mussed up hair, seeing him in the kitchen when she came downstairs. It had literally been less than a day, and she was already addicted to the sight of him in her house.
She loved it.
What if it just disappeared?
"What are you thinking?"
"Nothing," April shook her head softly. "It's nothing. I don't have to go to the office today, so we could probably just leave in an hour or so."
"Good idea. Bring back some leftovers for me," Nate replied absentmindedly, pressing a kiss to her hair as he made his way out of the kitchen. "I'm going to go take a shower. You're feeling okay, right?"
"Yes, Nate," she said, smiling softly. "I'm fine."
She grabbed a mug from the cupboard and poured some coffee into it, desperate for the rich, bitter taste. April hadn't lived with her parents for a while now, but if Lorelai had managed to teach her children one thing, it was that coffee was not just a want, but a necessity. It was the Elixir of Life.
"Okay," he said, before disappearing to go upstairs.
April slid her mug onto the kitchen island and grabbed a stool to sit on. She slumped over the marble counter, her head resting on her hands.
If she had everything she'd ever wanted, why did she still feel so horrible?
"Hello!" Georgie said when Logan opened the door, a bright sunny smile on her face. Her blonde curls glinted in the sunlight, and Logan could see that she'd taken advantage of the unusually warm weather by wearing a dress. It was much nicer than what she usually wore, he noted. "We are here for dinner. And also the five hours before dinner, because we're way early."
Logan just laughed, opening the door wider so that she, Will, and April could make their way through. The latter exchanged a glance with him, and he could see that she was exhausted from the drive over.
"Did you drive?" he asked April.
"No. Will offered," she replied, the surprise evident in her tone. "It was thoughtful of him."
"Yeah, I bet. But why do you look so tired?"
"The driver gets to pick the music," she said tiredly. "I have a horrible headache, and I need a nap."
"Okay, just go upstairs. I'll tell Rory and the kids not to bother you when they get home."
"They aren't here?"
"No, they needed some time alone with their mom, so she took them out for some hot chocolate or something. Besides, I knew you guys were coming," Logan added. "Someone had to be here to welcome you."
The kids did need some time alone with their mother. When he and Rory had decided to invite her siblings and Nate over for dinner to break the news, they'd realized that they'd have to tell the kids first. And so, the two of them had gathered Lydia, Sophia, and Andrew in the living and had explained how, soon, there would be an addition to the family. Lydia hadn't reacted much, by now almost jaded at the announcements. Sophia, who had gotten an annoying younger brother after the last time she'd had that conversation, was none too excited either.
Andrew, on the other hand, was bouncing up and down. He was only four, so he didn't understand much, but he did know that he could be getting a brother for his birthday.
Logan didn't really want to think about planning joint birthday parties just yet, but the idea of having another son was, he had to admit, incredibly appealing. He'd always wanted a brother, but the closest thing he'd had was Nate.
"Where's Nate?" he asked, leaning out the front door to check the street. "Is he finding parking or something?"
"Oh, no, he had to go into work at nine, so he told me to tell you that he'll call later or maybe come next weekend. Why, was there something important you needed to talk to him about?"
Logan stepped back into the house, shutting the door behind him. The house was silent, what little noise there was came from the kitchen, where Georgie and Nate were going through the fridge. He went straight for the stairs, headed for his office, and April followed.
"Yeah, there was, actually. We're selling the house, and I was wondering if he'd know anyone who could want it. We can sell it for a higher price if we have a buyer before it's listed."
At April's weak response, Logan stopped and turned to look at her. She was in shock, clearly processing the big news.
"You know what? Not really, actually. It's a really big house, and there's five of you. If you had any more kids, you would have to move out. How would you be able to keep track of where they were? A game of hide-and-seek here would literally be any parent's nightmare."
"Thinking about being a parent, are we?" Logan chuckled as they continued up the stairs. April didn't answer until they reached one of the guest bedrooms, but once he heard her reply, he was glad she'd waited until they sat down. Her phone was out, and she was smiling widely, clearly happy with what she'd just read.
"What?" Logan asked, clueless.
"Nothing," April looked up, trying to bite down on her smile. It wasn't working, so she stopped trying. "Yes, I am thinking about being a parent. Maybe in two years or so."
She could see her brother-in-law doing the math in his head. "That would mean you'd have to start dating your husband, like, yesterday."
April burst into laughter. "A little longer than that, actually," she told him, her eyes filled with mirth. "I met him before yesterday, I can assure you."
"What, that's impossible!"
"It's really not. It's really not."
"The only way that you're telling the truth is if you met some guy off your favorite TV show in Starbucks or if you and Nate got- holy shit, you and Nate got back together?"
April bit her lip and looked up at him through her lashes, unable to hide her smile. "Yeah, we kind of did. We wanted to tell everyone together at Christmas, but then Georgie and Will ended up on my doorstep last night and we figured we might as well just let the cat out of the bag."
"April, that's great!"
"Thank you. I'm very happy."
"Yeah, this family's getting a lot of good news lately."
"Oh, really? And why is that?"
Logan paused, unsure. He and Rory had decided to tell everyone together, but the family was so big that such a small task became a very difficult goal to accomplish. April and Nate hadn't been able to give their big news the way they'd wanted to, and it was big news. He knew how those two had tried, and failed, to live without the other, and while he'd been against their relationship when they were teenagers and had first gotten together, the story was completely different now.
Just as his situation was, he realized. Times change, people change, and sometimes life throws you curveballs. You may not have been expecting another kid, he told himself, but that didn't mean that it wasn't a really good thing. Besides, Rory was happy. What more did he need out of life than his wife's happiness?
"Rory's pregnant," he said, his voice composed.
For a moment, April didn't respond. She blinked a few times as she stared at him, but before he knew it, she was wrapping herself around him, his eyesight clouded with curly black hair.
"Oh, my god," his sister-in-law screeched, launching herself from her spot on the bed into his arms. "I'm going to have another niece or nephew? Oh, my God, this is great!"
Yeah, it really was.
"Rory, I don't get off work until tomorrow morning. I'm sorry, I don't know what you want me to say," Nate said into his phone, ducking into the nearest on-call room. He had been at work for twelve hours before Rory called him, bursting into a full-on rant about the fact that he was shirking his social and familial obligations. He had five minutes, tops, before someone came and yelled at him for being on the phone and not tending to a patient, but he figured he could risk it, considering that Rory sounded like she was going to burst an artery.
"I want you to say that you will be here exactly four hours after you get off work, Nathaniel! It was important to me that you be here, and it's not like you weren't with my sister this morning, so you have no excuse!"
"...except for the fact that I'm working?"
"Ugh, work. That's all you ever do, do you know how worried we are that you're not going out and living your life properly? At your age, I was married. With children."
"That is brand new information, Ro," Nate deadpanned, collapsing onto the nearest bed. He was tired; running around the hospital, tending to patients and trying to make sure no one died on your watch was exhausting. No amount of years in school could prepare someone for the sheer amount of stamina needed to be able to survive surgical residency.
"You know what else is brand new information? You and my sister are back together, and neither of you bothered to tell me yourself. Logan told me. April was asleep, and you're not even here!"
There was a knock at the door.
"Alright, Rory, I have to go," Nate said hastily, pulling the phone away from his ear.
"Yes, Rory. We will talk later about this, I promise. Or, better yet, just ask April to give you all of the details. Guys don't talk about this shit with each oth-"
"I am pregnant," Rory said firmly. She continued, correctly anticipating Nate's silent response. "You will come to New York tomorrow, which you have to do anyway to pick up April, since Georgie and Will are going back to Hartford. We are going to celebrate this new addition to the family, as well as the fact that you and April have gotten your shit together, and you will do this for me, because I am not above pulling the 'I am an expecting mother' card, do you understand me?"
"I'll be there," Nate said immediately. He couldn't help the smile on his face, though, with the news that we would technically have another niece or nephew. It was exciting news, too, considering the fact that he'd already started thinking about what he was going to do now. If he married, April, he would actually be this child's uncle. "Congratulations, Rory. This is really, really great news."
But he was getting ahead of himself.
A/N: First off, let me say that I'm so incredibly sorry. If anyone is still reading this, feel free to send me reviews or PMs about how horrible I am for ignoring this story for so long. I do love my characters, and I wasn't planning on just leaving it here. It just happened. It's a horrible excuse, I know, but it's all I have to offer you.
A lot has happened since I last updated, as is always the case with me. Oh, Meha, why is your life so complicated? You must all be wanting to know. Well, I have had a very emotionally abusive relationship with my GPA, and after getting into colleges that I didn't really want to go to, I decided that I'd rather go to a community college than some four-year school that wasn't going to do anything for me. I spent this past semester studying my ass off, and it has paid off, giving me a pretty good chance of transfer.
If you're wondering why I didn't update this summer, well, I spent eight weeks out of the country, roaming the UK and India, and sorry, I didn't really feel like writing.
Winter break is now almost four weeks in, and yes, I have been writing. Those of you that have me on Author Alert probably know that I'm writing this new fic called Therapy, for the Vampire Diaries. It's an AU/AH featuring Klaus and Caroline, who are, in my opinion, the two best characters on the show. The Klaroline fandom has been incredibly welcoming to me, so it's hard to not want to contribute with my own writing, but I promise not to let TGWP suffer at the hands of Therapy from now on.
This update can be attributed to a particularly kind review left by lizard84. I actually slammed out this entire chapter today, and while it's not my best, I wanted to give you guys something.
Lastly, feel free to follow/send me anon hate/love/update soon messages on my Tumblr account, givemeklaus. Of course, you can always drop me a PM or a review here on FFnet itself.
Happy Reading! Apologies for the long Author's Note, and also, please do review!
Meha aka The-Passionate-Sun