|Somebody Else's Page
Author: abc79-de PM
Rory/Logan. Slightly AU. What if Logan managed to take a little less time off during his college career and made it through without overlapping Rory's years at Yale? She's about to start her first internship at the Stamford Gazette, just as it's being taken over by the Huntzbergers. Story title from a Modest Mouse song, called Missed the Boat .Rated: Fiction T - English - Rory G. & Logan H. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 90,546 - Reviews: 296 - Favs: 105 - Follows: 285 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 08-15-12 - id: 8434343
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Story: Somebody Else's Page
Chapter: Was There All That Much to Gain?
Description: Rory/Logan. Slightly AU. What if Logan managed to take a little less time off during his college career and made it through without overlapping Rory's years at Yale? She's about to start her first internship at the Stamford Gazette, just as it's being taken over by the Huntzbergers.
Disclaimer: I write fan fiction. I own none of these characters. None of this happened on the show, which is the whole point of fan fiction. You get the idea.
Honor Huntzberger had gotten into her head. It was a mix of her contagious positivity and her inability to accept that things might not turn out just as she expected. Asking her opinion was akin to asking her to play God, or in her case, Goddess. Suddenly, as Rory sat in the coffee shop awaiting a meeting with Mitchum Huntzberger, she realized that Logan's superiority complex could have been much, much worse.
Rory didn't see him open the door, but she felt the shift in atmospheric pressure. She turned toward the source of the pressure difference and saw a man who exuded power, money, and control, even though his eyes were on the menu and all he was going to order was coffee. Even if she'd never laid eyes on him before, she would have known it was him without question. She sat at the table with her half-finished coffee, letting butterflies swarm in her stomach and stress build as he waited for his drink to be poured. Once he turned to scan the crowd, she half stood and put up one hand, feeling instantly pedantic for the gesture.
"Hello, Miss Gilmore. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. Deans don't like to let accomplished alumni leave their offices."
Rory gave him a knowing smile. "I can only imagine."
"So I'm guessing that you think it's pretty strange that the head of the company came all this way to have a chat with you, when I could have had one of a thousand underlings send you a letter about the matter."
She shouldn't have been surprised at his blunt words, but she was a little taken aback. Even Logan wasn't quite so forward with his intentions, and he's always been very straightforward with her. "Well, in fact, yes. I thought I might get an email."
"I hate email," he admitted, with a weary annoyance. "People use it as an excuse to put off conversations and push deadlines. Technology is the working man's scapegoat, now I have any number of people saying their voice mails were lost or their emails weren't getting sent or some such excuse, when all it takes is walking down a hallway and talking to people face-to-face. When I was in college, it's all we had, and we got far more done in a day."
"Here people use it as an excuse as to why their papers were late," she added.
He raised his coffee, indicating that she was just proving his point. "It filters down to the lower tiers. But enough about my pet peeves. I have heard great things about you."
She straightened her spine and banged her forearms lightly against the table, nearly resting her elbows on it in a way that would have made her grandmother go into hiding for the shame of her granddaughter's table manners. "You have?"
He smiled, flashing a shocking resemblance to his son. "I met with all the desk editors and upper level staff of the Stamford paper, while we were determining how to allocate all our resources, and your name came up quite a few times, associated with the words eager, indispensable, and smart. Those are three of my favorite words, and when I hear them applied to one person I take notice."
"I definitely feel noticed," she said agreeably. She took another sip, wishing she he thought out some better things to say to him beforehand. Honor had told her not to over-think it, to be herself. She'd felt so prepared after speaking to Honor. Now she felt like some kind of poseur.
"Now, I think we both know that there is one person from the Stamford office that would be wholly lost without you."
Her mouth fell open so hard that she was almost afraid it would rest on the table instead of her elbows. Blood drained from her cheeks as her heart lurched. "We do?"
He considered her in an amused fashion. "You don't need to pretend that you don't know to whom I'm referring."
She hadn't thought anything could be more mortifying than the time that Miss Patty, Stars Hollow's only dance teacher and noted cougar, had tried to give her a sex talk—but she was fairly sure having Mitchum Huntzberger not-so-subtly telling her that he knew how close she'd been with his son was right up there. "Listen, I'm not exactly sure what Logan said to you," she began gingerly.
Mitchum held up a hand, halting her words. "I wasn't talking about my son. Logan was exceedingly quiet when it came to you. I was talking about Harry. He's my metro guy at our paper in Waterbury as of next week, and I thought that it might be a good fit to finish out your intern position."
It all felt hammered into her all of a sudden. Logan hadn't spoken to his father about her. Logan was choosing between working in London and Boston. Logan would be nowhere near Waterbury or anywhere else she would be. Logan might get a choice from his father, but she would be a moron to turn down any offer from Mitchum Huntzberger. An even bigger moron than she'd been for sleeping with her boss or for listening to Honor in the first place.
She smiled tightly, hoping to appear thrilled. "Waterbury would be great."
Logan opened his front door, revealing the half-packed state of all his worldly belongings to his visitor. His unwelcome visitor. "Go away."
Honor didn't budge. "I'm here to let you take me out to lunch."
"I'm fasting," he lied to encourage her to leave.
"It isn't healthy to abstain from food in times of stress. But if you do need suggestions on what you should abstain from, I could make you a list."
"Don't you have a boyfriend to nag?" he shot back.
"Nice boxes. Where are they headed?" she asked in a superior fashion.
"Did Dad send you over here? What is it going to take to get you to stop talking to him about my future?"
"I swear to you that I have not spoken to Dad about you in at least a month. But I will admit I have been chatting with another mutual acquaintance of ours, and your name did crop up a few times."
He narrowed his gaze at his sister. She was being coy, and he hated when she was coy. Next she'd be aloof and before he knew it, the urge to inflict physical pain would surface. Being his only sibling, he always felt he should squash that urge, but it would help if she could curb her own behavior to that end. "Who?"
"Rory Gilmore. You know, Logan, I used to think you had horrid taste in women. It's hard for me to say that because some of the entries in your black book are some of my very dear friends, but just because I've done tequila shots with someone doesn't make them a good match for you. You doing tequila shots out of their navels doesn't make them good matches for you either," she said pointedly.
"I've never had tequila in the vicinity of Rory Gilmore," he answered calmly.
"Thank God for small wonders. I like her. I know you like her. Even Dad likes her. And if you had been calling Dad, to even just say hi, you might know that right now he's at Yale for some alumni thing and he made sure to make time to take a meeting with Rory Gilmore about her future."
He froze, hoping that if he was still enough the whole world might pause for a minute. "What?"
"He wanted to make sure she was put in the right place for her next internship, so he's meeting with her himself."
He turned on his sister. "You did this."
"I get that you're paranoid and you don't trust anyone in this family, but I did not do this. What I did do is coach Rory so she was prepared to speak to him."
"What else did you coach her on?" he asked, knowing there was way more than she was admitting to straight out. Honor had a policy of leaking full disclosure at her leisure.
"Some things are easier to discuss over food," she suggested, not willing to be rushed to speak.
"I can get you a PowerBar," he offered in full irritation.
She sighed and pushed past him to sit on his couch. "She isn't going to be moved by your indecision, Logan."
"What does that even mean?" he asked, bewildered at how easily his sister presumed to know Rory Gilmore and her mind.
"You can't ask a college student to make the decision as to whether or not you should move out of the country. At least, not unless…," she trailed off, searching his eyes meaningfully.
"Unless what?" he pressed.
Honor's whole demeanor softened. "Do you love her?"
She'd been sitting in her chair for far too long. The bones in her butt ached, and her neck was starting to cramp from staring at her computer and typing for longer than was wise. She would stop and take a break, but she was nearly done and there was no sense at taking a breather when the finish line was in sight. She sighed and glanced out the window, noting the signs of spring. Snow was melting and green was poking through. Soon, but not soon enough, trees and flowers would be waking up and blooming, bringing real color back to her life. Most students would be taking off for a hit of real warmth soon on spring break. At this point, she'd be happy to just get up out of her stupid, hard chair.
"You're either concentrating really hard or you're about to go all Office Space on your computer."
Rory's head snapped up, a move her overtaxed muscles did not care for, and stared at Logan as he cavalierly swept in and sat on the edge of her desk. "I'm working."
He nodded. "Are you almost done?"
She tried to put up any kind of defense that would make this meeting conclude without ending up having sex with him. It seemed to be some kind of undeniable force, even though they were two highly educated adults that were completely aware that having sex would not solve any of their issues. "What are you doing here, Logan? Shouldn't you be packing?"
"It's getting done," he said, keeping his response vague enough to keep her wondering. She didn't want to wonder about him. She wanted him to be a known quantity, so she could firmly ensconce him in a big red warning sign. It was clear that while Honor held out hope for him to step up and commit to something other than himself, he was in no hurry to act on any of those feelings.
"Great, I'm glad that's all working out so well for you," she said without emotion as she stared at her screen and continued typing. She hoped he didn't glance at her screen to see her adding typos due to her lack of concentration to the task at hand. But as long as she stared at her cursor and not the way his pulse was jumping at his collar, she wouldn't leave with him at the first provocation.
His posture relaxed and he hung his head lower. She could see him far too well from her periphery, and she hoped he would leave before her will dissolved completely. She reminded herself that when it counted, Harry had spoken more glowingly, in a more needful manner, about her than Logan had. She knew he and his father had issues, but if he couldn't be bothered to say anything at all about her in regard to where she should be placed after the dismantling of the Stamford paper, after all she'd done for him there, then she could remain stony—no matter what her hormones were telling her.
"Can we go somewhere and talk?" he asked, his voice low and wanting.
She shifted and attempted to ease the strain on her shoulders. "I've got to get this done."
"I heard you were going to be working on the Waterbury paper after break. I know you have a lot on your plate, starting there and your duties here and school work," he consented.
"Yes, your father thought it would be the best fit for me, after talking to everyone from the Gazette. Well, actually, everyone but you," she said, finally glaring at him.
To his credit, he pressed on. "What did he say?"
"He told me how much he'd heard about me, and how much Harry and Bob and Diane and a few others told him what a great job I'd been doing, and how much they trusted me with any task. He said he almost everyone in the office had something to say about me. In fact, the only person that didn't bring up my name was you."
"You don't understand," he began in way of defending himself.
She wasn't in the mood to let him explain or to be understanding. She turned her eyes back to the screen even though her eyestrain was unbearable. Even when she was mad at him, he was far easier on her eyes than her computer screen. "No need, Logan. I got the message loud and clear."
He tensed. "What message is that?"
"Let's not pretend here, okay? I told you I didn't need you to give me any special treatment when it came to work, and I meant it, but after all the time we spent together you couldn't at least even tell your dad that I wasn't totally incompetent—you couldn't even say anything about me at all, as if I didn't exist?" she whispered harshly.
"You've got this all wrong. I didn't need to give you a glowing review. I knew you had a whole stack of them, from desk editors that have been in the business longer than I've been alive, whose opinions my father respects far more than mine. If I'd said anything to him, it would have been detrimental to you."
"That makes no sense."
"He knew… about us. If I'd tried to sell him on you, he'd have assumed I was doing it because I was looking to keep things between us going, and he'd have sent you a standard form letter about budget cuts and a lack of available opportunities at this time."
"Logan, I've met with your dad. Don't get me wrong, he's terrifying in a way that I'm sure he cultivated over many decades, but he didn't strike me as vindictive."
"You have no idea how he really is. You've got to trust me on this."
She nearly choked on the spiteful chuckle that bubbled up in her throat. "Trust you? You don't even know what you want."
He closed his eyes, obviously holding back whatever response she'd initially triggered. When his eyes opened, she could see renewed resolve in them. And if she wasn't mistaken, a little bit of desperation. "I'm trying to figure that out. That's why I came here today, to talk to you. More specifically, to ask a favor of you."
Now she was downright incredulous. "You need a favor from me?" she asked, wholly in disbelief. She wasn't sure what his angle was, but she was certain he had one. He wouldn't have lasted that long during their conversation without some kind of agenda.
He leaned in closer, not wanting to broadcast what he was about to say to anyone but her. "I thought a lot about what you said. How I had to make a decision and I had to do it right. But the thing is, I don't want to make a decision and have it only end up hurting you. I want to be sure it's right for both of us, that I can," he stopped, shaking his head. "I want more time with you. I need to go to London to check it out, and you have spring break coming up, so I thought since you love London so much we could go together."
She stared at him. Words failed her, so she just continued to look at him.
The longer this went on, the more concerned he grew. "Rory? Did you hear me?"
"Yes, I just feel like I need to sit down," she said honestly.
"You are sitting," he reminded her.
She put her hands flat on the desk. "Right. Well, good then."
"Is that a no?" he asked at last.
"It's not a no," she said warily. She should have said no, it seemed the only sane answer. But she couldn't stop looking at him, and she couldn't say no.
His face brightened. "Is that a yes, then?"
"Not exactly. I can't just decide something like that on the spur of the moment, Logan. I mean, we're not even…," she said, trying to explain something he already knew. He had to know, seeing as he was the other person in the tangle of feelings they'd developed for one another.
"I know. But that doesn't mean we can't," he asserted.
"Can we?" she asked seriously. "Really?"
"We can go somewhere else to discuss this more. I can wait, if you have a lot left," he offered.
She glanced at the screen again, seeing a document that wasn't going to benefit from her poring over it yet again. She clicked save and sent it off. "I guess we can talk. But I might still need time to think about it."
"Spring break is next week."
"If you have other plans, I understand. I shouldn't have just assumed," he said, uncharacteristically meek.
She stood up, disengaging from her work space and offering true relief to her sore lower half. "Let's go talk."
He smiled and stood up as well. "Yeah?"
"Before I change my mind," she encouraged, putting a spring in his step as he hurried to keep up with her.
He'd expected her to say no. On the list of things he could count on in life, nearly every one of them had turned around and proved to him that he knew next to nothing. First his father gave him leeway, then a choice of locations. Next his sister had embedded herself in his life not solely for meddling purposes, but to give him a shot at the one girl he might want to stick it out with. Now the reasonable, sensible woman that had no reason for giving him a chance to prove himself was willing to consider accompanying him on a trip to London. He needed to tread lightly, but he had never had much luck with that.
"You want some coffee?" he asked as they walked along, toward an unidentified location.
"Sure, I guess."
He noticed how she was keeping herself separate, away from the likelihood of accidentally brushing his arm as they walked. "Or we could just go back to your room."
The suggestion startled her to the point that her steps faltered and she stopped. "No! I mean, Paris is probably there. And Doyle. Doyle's still afraid of you, so that would take a tense situation and make it more awkward."
"Talking to me is a tense situation?" he asked for clarity.
"No, talking to Paris is a tense situation," she corrected, making him smile and breaking the ice. "Look, Logan. You know you don't owe me anything."
"I know that," he said emphatically. "I'm not trying to make anything up to you, not like that."
"I told you how much I love London and you ask me to go with you? What else do you call that?"
"A favor, to me," he repeated.
"How does my going with you to London qualify as a favor to you? If you're talking about sex, then you did not understand what I said you the other night."
"It's not about sex!" he spit out, wholly frustrated. She had a unique ability to frustrate him, to challenge him, but he had no room for misunderstanding at this point. He needed her to understand, clear as day. "You love London, so if you're with me I'll see the good points. I'll be able to weigh it equally in my mind, to give it a shot. It won't be just this place that will let me escape parts of my life that are difficult."
"Do you mean that?"
He nodded. "I know it might sound crazy, and if you don't want to go, that's okay."
"It sounds more than crazy," she said, though not in a way that sounded negative.
"It's okay to do a few crazy things now and then," he added, playing on her softening.
"I wish it wasn't so easy where you're involved."
She was scared, he could see that. He needed to give her something to believe where he was concerned. "I'm not ready for this to be over yet. I know it doesn't seem logical or likely to work, and I can guess what your reservations are, but I want you to come with me and see what happens anyway."
She stared at him, but it felt like she was seeing into him. "Okay."
She said it so quickly that he thought he'd made it up or she'd coughed and his mind had transferred it to speech. "What?"
She smiled at him. "I said okay. I'll come to London with you."
"I've missed this. How long as it been since we've had a brunch pig-out at Luke's?" Lorelai asked over platters of pancakes, eggs, and assorted breakfast meats. She was taking a short break from eating to sip her oversized mug of coffee. "And we can do it all week if you like. And what with my being the proprietor's special friend, we can have breakfast for any meal."
"Special friend?" Rory asked as Luke came by with a pot of fresh coffee.
"Will you stop calling me that?" Luke asked Lorelai, slightly harassed and mostly embarrassed.
"Do you really let her order pancakes any time of day?" Rory asked Luke.
"I've told you hundreds of times, breakfast is over at ten for everyone. If I do it for you, I have to do it for everyone," he told Lorelai again.
"You better not do it for everyone," she teased, feigning outrage.
Luke shuddered in mortification. "Your daughter is trying to eat."
"Yeah, what he said," Rory agreed.
Luke refilled Rory's coffee and left without topping Lorelai's off. "Hey!" she called after him. "Mine isn't full!"
"Serves you right. I knew you were full of it, saying Luke would break his rules for you."
"It's not crazy. I just haven't worn him down completely yet. So, what is on your wish list for spring break?" Lorelai asked.
Rory put her fork down and thought. "Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and Piccadilly Circus."
Lorelai frowned. "Those things are in London."
Rory nodded. "I leave tomorrow."
"When did this happen? You aren't going alone, are you? Because it's not safe to travel alone, and you have the world's most willing travel companion at your service," she offered.
Rory pushed some syrup-laden pancake around her plate with her fork. "I'm not going alone."
"Is it a school trip?"
Rory shook her head. "No. A friend has business there and invited me along."
Lorelai stilled. "It isn't Jess, is it?"
Rory was surprised at her conclusion. "What? No, it's not Jess. It's Logan."
Lorelai's expression soured. "I think I would feel better if it were Jess. Wow, I never thought I'd say that sentence."
"What don't you like about Logan?"
"Honestly? I think he's toying with your emotions."
"He's not. He might be a little confused," Rory allowed.
"He's not confused. He wants his cake and to eat it too."
"You don't know him."
"I know enough. You said he has business there, does that mean he's moving to London?"
Rory shrugged and stabbed at a piece of sausage. "He might. He can choose either London or Boston."
"But he's not your boss anymore either way, right? Why are you going?"
"He asked me to. He's not wholly sold on London, and I told him how much I love London, so he thinks I can help him see the opportunity it holds."
"Does he always give you lines like that?" Lorelai asked.
"It wasn't a line," she argued.
"Rory, I get that you like this guy, but you have to be realistic. He's moving, whether it's to another country or just Boston, and his involvement in your life was fickle at best before."
"He wasn't fickle. Neither of us was looking for a major commitment."
"Then why are you traveling to another continent with him?"
"Things are a little undefined right now. He wants to see if there's something more between us. He wanted more time to figure it out."
Lorelai shook her head at her daughter. "I hear a lot of what he wants. What do you want?"
"I'm not sure either. Things aren't that simple. There's the long distance thing and his work and my school," she listed.
"All of that is important, but if he really wants to be with you, none of it should stand in his way. Or yours either. You'll just make it work."
"Maybe this is his way of trying. I know I don't have to give him a chance, I could leave it in the past and tell him to move away and move on, but," she took a breather, realizing that she was making a decision of her own in that moment, "I don't want to. I want to go to London with him. I want to give this a chance."
Lorelai smiled at her, a mix of sadness and acceptance. "If you're sure."
Rory nodded adamantly. "I am."
"London? A week in London?" Honor asked.
Logan tossed more clothes into his suitcase. "For the third time, yes."
"You're supposed to be making life-altering decisions, not flitting off for a romantic tryst."
He turned and looked at his sister. "I can't do one without the other in this case."
Honor's face melted into pride. "My little brother is growing up!"
He frowned. "Shut up."
"No, seriously. This relationship is significant to you. If it weren't, you'd just move wherever took you furthest from Dad without another thought. You're leaning toward Boston, aren't you?"
He hesitated. "A little." Honor squealed happily. He pointed at her as she clapped. "You can't say anything to Dad, other than I'm weighing my options. Got it?"
"I'm not sure why you think I can't keep a secret from Dad. I have a very long list of things Mom and Dad have no idea about."
"Yeah, your secrets. Mine you auction off to the highest bidder," he reminded her.
"This isn't just about you. And I really like Rory. I think she's perfect for you."
He sat down next to his suitcase. "You do?"
"And do you know why?"
He could think of a great many reasons that he was drawn to Rory, but the reasons why anyone else thought she might be a good match for him were more difficult to understand. "Why?"
"She challenges you, Logan. She isn't always agreeable to whatever you want, she has her own mind, and she inspires you."
"You got all that from talking to her a few times?" he asked.
She shook her head. "No. I got all that from how different you've been lately. Focused at work. Taking things seriously that you've never bothered with before. How upset you were when things went badly with her in New York. How happy you were when things were going well with her."
"That doesn't matter if she doesn't feel the same way."
"And you care how she feels about you," she added. "I wouldn't worry about that. She's up for the task. That I got from talking to her a few times. No girl would hang out with a guy's sister, even one as awesome as me, if she didn't care about him. And certainly talking to our dad, especially about work, is not for the faint of heart."
"She'd have the nerve to talk to Dad, whether she knew me or not. But that's another thing—I want her to have the option of having a working relationship with him if that's what she wants, and the minute he associates her as my girlfriend, that compromises her status in his mind."
"You can't know what will happen until you try."
"I just don't want to disappoint her."
"So don't," Honor said simply.
"Can you please get that?" Rory asked, sticking her head out of her bedroom door.
Paris sat on the couch, flipping purposely through a magazine. Rory wasn't sure she'd ever seen Paris do something as wasteful with her time as leaf through a magazine, even if it was Scientific American. "I'm kind of busy."
Rory groaned. "Please? I'm almost done packing, just let him in."
"I refuse to take part in this."
"I'm asking you to open your own door, not to carry my bags out to the car."
Paris put down the magazine. "Even just opening the door to that guy would be signaling my acceptance of this ill-fated trip."
"Ill-fated? Don't you think that's a little dramatic? It's not like I'm about to board the Titanic," Rory said, still fighting to zip her suitcase. She gave a final tug and gave up when he knocked again. She abandoned the effort, shot daggers at Paris as she passed the couch, and opened the door. "Hey. I'm almost ready."
"I'm a little early. I thought it might take some time to get your bags down to the car."
"She only has two, she's not your usual trophy girl type," Paris defended her friend.
"Hello, Paris, how are you today?" he said, offering none of the bite she'd displayed in return.
"Not great, Logan. Do you think it's fun to watch your friends make colossal mistakes?"
Rory waved her hand in Paris' general direction. "Ignore her. How are you with zippers?"
"I'll bet he's great at them, if it involves taking your clothes off," Paris muttered.
"That's it, I'm buying you a muzzle," Rory informed Paris as she grabbed Logan's hand and pulled him into her bedroom. She shut her door and turned in toward him, set to apologize, but his hands slid over her hips and their bodies pulled together effortlessly as if controlled by magnetic attraction. His lips were on hers before she had a chance to say anything at all, and even the momentary pressure of his mouth on hers threw her train of thought. "Sorry about Paris."
"No worries," he said softly as he let go of her. "This the bag?"
"That's the one," she said. "It's stuck."
He eased the zipper all the way open and guided it back until it was secured. "All done."
"It really was stuck. I wasn't just trying to lure you in here with a lame excuse," she offered, realizing how it must look.
"We don't have enough time for that anyway," he reasoned. "But we do have a whole week to ourselves, don't worry."
"About that," she began, suddenly nervous at broaching the topic. "Maybe we should slow things down."
"You don't want to come with me?" he asked.
"No, it's not that, it's just if you're really going to London to see if it will be a good fit for you, you should focus on your meetings and seeing the city. If we spend the whole week locked away in a hotel room, then you're not really going to get a feel for London."
"I plan on taking this seriously. But I also want us to have a chance to be together, and figure out what we want to do about us."
"I want that too. But maybe taking things slow will help that too."
"Taking it slow, that means no sex, right?"
She smiled sheepishly. "We know that part works. We jumped right into sex, when that's all we wanted. If we want more, we have to focus on the rest of it. Getting to know each other aside from that."
She wasn't sure if he was considering it or regretting the whole offer. His lips set in a line, and he nodded. "Okay."
"Okay?" she checked. She wasn't completely certain it was feasible, keeping things between them modest.
"I'd like to think I know you pretty well already, but you do have a point. Do we need separate rooms?"
She shook her head absently. "We can sleep next to each other and just sleep, can't we?"
"Now that's asking a lot," he uttered, his words strangled.
"Too much?" she inquired with concern.
"I'm capable of going without sex, but having you right next to me, rolling over and brushing against me in the night—it might prove to be a challenge to turn away and not touch you."
Her breath came a little faster at his description. "I hadn't thought about that."
"I don't want to break promises to you," he said, his warm brown eyes serious as he looked at her.
"Oh." It was all she could say. There was so much his words inspired, all of it good. But as loquacious as she was capable of being in most areas of her life, such confessions from him effectively silenced her. She always thought words were powerful, but she was finding that sometimes they weren't necessary to convey one's feelings.
"If we're going to share a room, I'll do my best to keep things innocent."
"Fair enough," she agreed, breaking his gaze to grab her carry-on. "All right, I think I have everything."
"Passport?" he checked.
"In my bag," she said, patting her shoulder bag. I would have brought a smaller suitcase, but I kept thinking of things that would have been nice to have last time. There isn't a lot of room in those giant backpacks, which came as kind of a surprise. Plus I wanted a little room for souvenirs," she added.
"I brought three bags," he said, easing her concerns. "I'd have less, but one's just suits for business meetings."
"Makes sense, since for you it's a business trip."
"Don't worry, you're just a little while away from making your own transatlantic flights for work."
"I can only hope," she breathed, hoping to soak in his optimism.
"You have aspirations to be a foreign correspondent, which means you'll be filling up your passports in the blink of an eye."
"Aspirations are different than reality. I've got to graduate before the job offers start rolling in," she said. "And even then it'll be for grunt work."
"You'll have offers before you graduate. You don't have to believe me now, but I've been through it."
She thought about his advice. "Were you offered jobs?"
He smiled tightly. "It's a funny situation to be in, being the son of the head of a media empire. There are two kinds of people who approached me. The first kind was the asshats, who knew fully well that my father would go apoplectic for their even attempting to talk to me about my future elsewhere."
"And the second?" she asked.
"The second were done under the table, respectfully. Some of those were tempting."
"Anything in particular?"
He smiled, his eyes back-lit by the memory. "One. I had a couple of meetings and it seemed like a good fit. A better fit than what my dad had lined out for my post-graduate plans."
The light that had been in his eyes dimmed. "It didn't work out."
"You turned them down?" she asked for clarification.
"I made the mistake," he began slowly, "of discussing it with someone, to really give it the consideration it deserved."
"Not your dad," she assumed.
"No, my sister."
Rory paled at the mention of her own confidant. "Did she tell your dad?"
"No. But she got to me, with all her importance of family talk. Honor is the one thing that keeps our family together. She's the peacemaker."
"I thought you said she was a pain in the ass?" Rory teased him.
"She's that too. So anyway. That's that."
There was more to say, but like he said, they had the week. She picked up her big suitcase and prepared to exit back past Paris.
"What are you doing?" he asked, easing the handle from her and taking the weight.
"Is this chivalry?" she asked, impressed.
"This is just the beginning," he promised.
"You think you're going to get me to change my mind about sex so easily?"
He grinned at her. "We'll see who cracks first."
"This wasn't meant to be a competition," she complained as they left her room shut up for the break.
"Life's a competition, Gilmore," Paris said from her perch of protest.
"Did you hear something?" she asked Logan.
"I'll miss you, Paris," he said with a syrupy-sweet smile.
"Bite me, frat boy. Here, Rory, at least take this," Paris said as she extended her hand with a small paper in it.
"Phone numbers for the American Consulate in London and Scotland Yard."
"I'll take good care of her," Logan assured her.
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of. Oh, and Doyle would like a map of the Underground, for his wall."
"Right. I'll see what I can do," Rory said thinly as they exited as swiftly as possible.
Logan paused to look at her. "You ready?"
"London's calling," she agreed heartily.