Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine. I'm not doing this for any profit. Those the actors who played these parts got married in RL this has nothing to do with them. I tend to like the characters no one else does and I like putting them together. Enjoy.
*This chapter gets sexy at the end and then things will pick up. If you want make suggestions. I may listen.
Pink Privilege in The Blue Hills
"Everyone is just going to hate read this in their world of first world problems," Rory watched her own dark eyebrows rise on her pale forehead on the FaceTime screen. "Why do I do this to myself?"
She looked back at Lane's never-changing perfect round face and glasses on the screen. Lane was in her Jamaica Plain, Boston home.
"Because you're a genius writer with a unquenchable desire for justice for the underdog?" Lane suggested, "I don't recommend it. It's not in."
"What's not in? Being a genius or an unquenchable desire for the underdog thing?"
"Both," Lane said, "Haven't you kept up on current events?"
"I'm a journalist. I just published an article suggesting that a troubled teen is innocent of multiple hate crimes despite piles of circumstantial evidence. So, I'm clearly not a genius at all. It's why I called you, remember? To see if I have trolls."
"Ugh, Hang on," Lane said as Rory heard Nico cry. Lane put down the phone down and went to her crying baby. Rory could see a framed Sleater Kinney poster and a bunch of dishes in the sink.
Rory was in her grandparent's living room. It still smelled like expensive Cherie and wood polish. It was so funny how all her old feelings rushed in, the anxiety that fluttered occasionally in her chest. The sense of pride that kept her spine straight. The excitement that made her lips pull-up. Rory was her runaway mother's daughter and couldn't wait to tell her grandparents about her accomplishments. Once again, she remembered her grandfather was dead as well as this new problem and felt so stupid.
Her phone's screen flashed a text above Lane's kitchen : Connor: I found a big secret up in here. ;)
Rory's stomach dropped and she rose from the couch. She looked around in the parlor as if whatever he had found would jump out at her. She did this realizing if he was texting it probably wasn't a physical threat. She still couldn't stop herself from the panic. Connor wasn't taking this seriously. Rory didn't have the privileged of being so relaxed.
She texted back: What? What is it? I thought we knew everything. Let me get off the phone with Lane.
Maybe she should just hang up on Lane and go and find him, but that was so rude. Lane was so busy and doing her a favor. She stood up from the stiff Victorian couch when Connor texted back:
Don't. This is one of YOUR secrets. I'm the one with the questions, but I can wait…
Rory bit her lip when laughter carried up from the basement. The new gardener was trying to seduce the new maid.
"Take a ride with me. No one will know. Girl's got her boyfriend upstairs and hours before the she-demon comes back."
It didn't matter how old Rory was. In her grandmother's house she'd always be a girl. If Rory was like all the girls she went to school with she'd take pleasure in going down there and firing both of them. Her she demon grandmother would do that anyway soon enough. Outside Rory could see off into the hills of Blue Hills, Hartford. The sun was setting against the bare winter trees. The maid's response was a sultry laugh.
Rory sat back on the couch stiffly and hit the keys on her screen and sent them: I'm working, Connor, and apparently I'm the only one here doing it!
"In this outfit? I'm not into cost-play," the maid said.
"Sure you are," Rory heard the gardener, "You're wearing it, aren't you?"
"It's my job, asshole." The maid had a sultry voice that made Rory want to blush for overhearing it.
"You're going to let an outfit keep you in your place?" The gardener was taunting.
Rory realized her grandmother required her maids to wear the French maid's outfit. She wondered if the maid was cold in basement. It was somewhat degrading, wasn't it? Rory never thought about how many women she'd seen wear that outfit here over the years. There were so many things she never noticed or thought about as a teen when her grandparents agreed to help her with prep school. Her earliest memories were of her own mother wearing the inn's cleaning uniform with a certain pride.
"…hands off my ass or I'll get you for harassment," that's what Rory could hear of the maid's whisper. Then she laughed as the gardener whispered something inaudible. Rory decided the maid was no damsel in distress. Maybe she wouldn't even quit in a week like most of her grandmother's maids.
Her mother's uniform had been a pantsuit with a flowery smock that made her look like a maroon shapeless statue of a woman. But, maybe that was just from a child's eyes. Had her mother ever played a part in a sleazy version of Downtown Abby? Did she have a choice? Her mother couldn't quit the inn, not unless she wanted to come back here. Rory's phone buzzed again. Rory crossed her legs.
Connor: I am working. Work looks a lot different in the digital age. Secrets and lies are my work. So you don't you want to know what I found?
She texted back: No and I know what working looks like in the digital age because I'm actually doing it right now.
Connor: You're stressing, talking to Lane.
Rory felt her forehead knot. She was yelling at him about their jobs through a text while he was upstairs. That was way too millennial married couple.
"Back," Lane was breathless as her face rushed into Rory's screen, "So, you have no trolls yet. Just complaints that the paper is too liberal, but nothing personal. Nothing hateful or demonic."
"Lane," Rory said, "Thanks for doing this. I know I could look at it myself but—"
She was embarrassed. Rory was stressing.
"But who needs that stress? And it gives me something exciting to do between breast-feeding. " Lane leaned into the screen dramatically, "Speaking of exciting, spill the tea, girl? Are you calling me during the integration? Who cracked first? Connor? Your mom? Your grandmother? My money is on-"
"The dinner hasn't started yet," Rory said, "My mom isn't going to be here and my grandmother is not going to be here until later."
They had two and a half hours. Her grandmother was getting her hair done. She had accommodated her hairdresser when something came up during their regular appointment, though it was an inconvenience. Rory was tracking her grandmother's phone just in case there were any surprises.
"What do you mean your mom isn't going to be there?" Lane said, "Isn't she like your shield whenever you—"
"Lane, I'm thirty," Rory said, "I can take care of myself and my boyfriend with my grandmother. My mom doesn't need to be in the middle of… whatever is coming."
"If you showed up early to do it in every room in the house I don't recommend it. You're grandmother is too much like my mother, she'd know somehow. She probably wouldn't push the bible on you, but she'd do whatever it is she does. Make that face. Torture your mother about how-"
"No one is going to hurt my mom!" Rory said too snippily and then calmed herself, "and I'm too annoyed at Connor for any sex as much as he's trying. I mean, really this is the worst time and place for…"
She trailed off and brushed her bangs back as she saw they were a bit off in the little FaceTime screen.
"Rory," Lane said after swallowing some tea from a Misfits mug. "He's a guy. Don't expect him to be too perfect just because his music, movie and book taste is."
"I'm not. I don't- I just—I just can't afford- He just has to be… " Rory stammered as she looked towards the grad staircase Connor had climbed.
"...perfect tonight for three hours when he meets your grandmother," Lane completed, "I know how it is. Maybe I even know a little more. The Korean version of the Gilmore interrogation dinner lasts until you get married."
Lane didn't know. She couldn't as much as Rory wanted to tell her everything.
"Not that I want to give you advice, but you know what happened with me," Lane said.
"You stood up to your parents and married him anyway and they stopped talking to you, until Nico was born."
"And?" Lane said
"And now your mother puts Emil's name on the Christmas card, which is her version of an apology. But, it's more complicated than that, Lane. Much more."
"I don't know what could be more complicated than being a bicultural Christian Korean woman who decides to marry a Jewish non-doctor musician," Lane says, "You know, I read an article that beautiful people who look like each other are more likely to make happy couples, so I don't want to hear about any trouble in paradise."
"What? We don't look alike," Rory said.
"All waif-like white people with dark hair look the same to me," Lane said.
Rory had to laugh. It loosened her stomach. "Don't worry, Lane. Paradise is fine. Paradise is great. Everyone loves paradise. It's things here in Hartford that are Paradise Lost and that always makes me tense. How's your paradise with Jewish non-doctor drummer?"
Rory and Lane talked until after Nico woke up. Lane brought the baby out and they judged whether Nico was recognizing Rory on FaceTime or if she just though Rory was Snow White. Rory tried to hate that joke, but couldn't.
Once she hung up she felt so heavy and antsy. She really wished she could tell Lane everything. This is where she used to have doubts about wanting this life, a life that made her into a liar, but now…. She couldn't think about how horrible things would have turned out if she had rejected this life. Even if she had figured all of this out she on her own Rory would have been powerless to…Rory jumped when her phone buzzed. She realized she was just staring out the front pallor window. She looked down and felt a contained burst excitement when she saw she had a whole paragraph to read. Connor was good a paragraphs. His paragraphs often gave her the same joy entire books did sometimes.
Connor: You're off the phone and your mad at me and you should be. I'm sorry. You were working, so am I. Working smart taking a break. Nothing more to do right now. I DO take this seriously. I know this is scary for you but we're going to work this out together like the amazing achievers we are. And if that doesn't work I'm going to call my daddy and every powerful person I know in the world and beg for help.
She snorted and fell back on the couch laughing. He could read her mind. She texted.
I don't know what's more creepy, that you know I'm off the phone, or how fast you can shift your values. Where are you?
Connor: It's a shifty world and I'm young creepy and valueless. You want to talk about moral relativism with me? Where would I be if to find a huge shameful secret of yours?
Talking about moral relativism for two hours sounded perfect to Rory and so did not talking about it. She was trying not to race up the stairs when her eye caught the oil painting of her grandfather. Her mother thought the oil paintings were awful. Sometimes something is just so dang classy it goes all the way to crass. She saw her mother's point, but she secretly loved that there had been a painting of him and her. They were a tradition to when a portrait was the only way great people could be remembered.
Rory forced herself up the rest of the stairs. One day everything here would really be gone. Lost. Maybe it was already. How would her mother really feel then? Would part of her be relieved she had the money? Would Rory?
She stopped on the landing. How could Rory think that? What was wrong with her? The oak banister creaked as she squeezed it. She never cared that her mother had walked out on the money. It wasn't about the money. It was about her grandparents. Her mother had walked out on them because of Rory, and she had come back for Rory.
When she reached the top of the stairs she knew, for once, she wanted to be the one to runaway from this house. She could. She could just leave being a Gilmore behind and let the latest drama just work itself out without her for once. It wasn't her fault, not this time. But, Rory knew she wasn't a runner. For her just knowing she could run, and that she wouldn't, because of who she was, made her feel free.
Rory's bedroom door was open. Her stylish black boots were noiseless on the thick carpet, but she knew he could hear her coming long before. He could smell her. Normally, that excited her. It shouldn't now, but it still did. Would he be able to tell? Another thing to feel bad about.
Connor was lounging on the pale pink bedspread reading a copy of Great Expectations. His legs were crossed at the ankles. His hair fell over his collar and hung over his forehead. He looked like any guy waiting to meet the stuffy parents, or in this case grandparents, no, grandparent. Why did Rory's brain insist on forgetting her biggest loss? Grandpa would hate his hair. Would he have treated Connor like a skinny Dean? Rory felt heartbroken that she would never know. She longed for that first world problem she could never have. Woe would have been Rory to have to explain that Connor was no Dean. Connor was no anyone, no any one man.
The instant he had he closed Great Expectations with a thud was the same instant was across the room pressing the heat of his body into her.
"You have secrets in here," he whispered, "More than one. What are you going to do about it?"
What are you going to do about it? He had asked, like he always did. Rory had always been given choices and she thought she always made the right ones.His arm was like a thin steel pipe wrapped around her waist. His long fingers cupped her face. They had one rule. No secrets. Rory never imagined it would be harder for her to follow that rule than Connor. She had always followed rules, even the unwritten ones she had decoded. They mostly let her to good places.
Connor's life had taken a different path, or many paths. When Connor had followed other people's rules all it had ever led to was horrible ends. He pulled her up to match his height. His full lips almost touched her open mouth as she inhaled. He smelled like salty pennies and melted snow.
No one is entitled to you, Rory Gilmore. Not me. Not him. Not your family. That would be true even if you weren't too good for all of us.
Connor told her that over the phone two years ago. He was in a loud restaurant or something, but then shut himself up in a bathroom. Later he told her was in the middle of a job, rescuing a werewolf. Rory wanted to feel like Connor was too overwhelming or too mellow dramatic for her. She never did achieve that goal.
Now she was achieving kissing him. It was her mouth that leaned into to those pillow lips and opened them with her own.
He smacked his lips away and looked at her. His eyes brightened his whole face as his mouth bent up to meet them. The same song lyric always goes through her head. God, it's so beautiful when the boy smiles. The same sensations spread down her body.
"Hmmm," he whispered, "What?"
His smile was gone, like a flash firework. His grip was fierce but the question was gentle. His opal eyes searched her face. Rory was the one who followed rules all her life and for the most part life had provided for her. One of the benefits Rory's rule following provided was not even realizing all the good it had given her. She had always been Rory Gilmore and she always would be. It wasn't like she even had a choice, but now she did.
"I—I suppose I should follow the rules," she said breathlessly.
"You suppose you should," he says, "but what will you do. What do you want to do?"
Rory should push him away. Tell him to wait until later. She should. There was too much else going on, and if he found a secret this would be messy. Far too messy to do in this place and time. She could easily say no. Connor wouldn't be mad about it. He wouldn't even say he wasn't mad and then sulk. He wasn't like that. Really. Rory didn't know people like that existed before him, never mind children of vampires and demons.
She kissed him again. She gripped the back of his neck through silky hair. The starchy collar felt odd on in her grip. Like she was in some dream where he went to her prep school and they were sixteen but not even Tristan could kiss like this at sixteen. Her tights were flooded. This room and these clothes were making her have some odd thoughts. He pulled his head away again.
"So," he said, "You want to seduce your way out of secret keeping?"
There was the scenic smile again.
"I've never seduced anyone in my life," she said.
"I'm sure you have without meaning to and that wasn't what I asked," he said, "I found a secret. What do you want to do?"
She couldn't imagine what secret Connor found up here in a room she hadn't spent a night in for maybe a decade. Connor made her realize that she was more than one person. He gave her what people were trying to give her all her life, but never did. True choice.
"You," she said.
Rory knew she should be trying harder. She could be doing more than jumping into his arms and squeezing him so hard that his buttons pressed into her. She didn't even care if she had seduced him without meaning to. That made Rory better than all the people who had done it on purpose. She was Rory Gilmore and couldn't be doing anything better.