Title: Nine Months.
Author: Professional Scatterbrain
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Summary: Tristan returns to Chilton, and to the game, but Rory's not playing.
Note: Tristan left later on in Rory's first year at Chilton, so therefore the whole nine-month thing works (a little hint, it's a metaphor for the fic). After Tristan left Rory formed a fledgling friendship with Paris, Louise and Madeline, and by the time senior years rolls up there good friends, well, most of the time at least. Everything that happened with Dean and Jess happened except it happened all before senior year. At the end of the year before Rory told Jess she loved him, and he left suddenly straight afterwards.
I made Chilton darker, because I found the whole picture perfect school depicted on the show nice, yet unrealistic. I tried to model it around my High School, showing the competitiveness, the cruelty, and self delusion within my environment. I go to a girls' school though, so the guy thing still might take me a while to work out. Suggestions would be nice as this is my first GG fic.
Chp 21: Dirt.
God, the dirt just wouldn't come off.
Her skin was red, and painfully raw, with her throat yet again burning, and tasting like acid from vomit. His words played over and over in her head, taunting her. She couldn't get his scent off her skin. Or his touch out of her mind.
"I love you . . ."
"I only want you . . ."
"You have no idea how long I waited for this . . ."
She felt bile rising again, and grabbed the side of the toilet, trying to steady her shaking body. Colours danced before her eyes, and as her stomach settled, she let go of the cool porcelain, and slumped against the wall.
"Rory! Let me in!" Lorelei yelled, her voice laced with anger and worry.
The sound of her mothers' fist against the door created yet another rhythm she matched as she stumbled toward the mirror. Knotted, sweat matted hair surrounded her pale, pasty face. Her face, in the reflected image, was what cut her off from the sounds of her mothers' cries, and the frantic pattern of her firsts hitting the locked wooden door.
There was nothing left defining her.
No lines to separate her from the surrounding air that cushioned her.
She was nothing . . . unobtrusive, unnoticeable . . . forgotten.
Who was this girl? Cobalt eyes stared back at her, offering no answer. She was lost, and she was dissipating. Hands groped her body only hours ago made soundless tears track down her cheeks. She was weak. She felt so spoiled and dirty, and it wouldn't come off, it couldn't be reversed like any other stain.
Stupid, stupid girl.
Did she think it would be that easy?
Did she think one brown eye boy could make up for the blue eyed one she wanted?
Did she think his touch could make her forget?
Her nails left train tracks along her arms, marking her in the way the brown eyed boy hadn't dared physically, but unknowingly inflicted mentally. Stupid girl. At seventeen like the song she had learnt the truth, but it seemed it only took one year for her to forget.
"Rory, let me in now!" Lorelei called, pleading now as she asked, "Did you think he would love you?"
She didn't once think that.
But he had thought she could love him.
That was what made his touch impossible to scrub off.
"Did you think he could change it all for you? Make it all perfect?" Lorelei screamed now, the anger in her voice palpable.
Holding back another sob, Rory climbed out of the tiny bathroom window, skinning her hands, and grazing her knees as she landed without any grace or much needed balance. Her mother's voice drifted out of the house, curling around her daughter, like the vines of a creeper unwilling to let her go. Pulling car keys out of her pocket, Rory hurried to leave without being notice.
But it was Stars Hollow, and Rory was always noticed.
A princess, abet a fallen one, could never disappear, even if the girl behind the image did.
Reaching the house of another bright young thing, Rory managed to reconstruct the image people expected to see before she entered. With untangled hair, and a powdered face she almost looked normal. But she needn't have bothered. By this time, the alcohol supplies were lowering, and the smoke above her head was thickening rapidly. Blank eyed teenagers danced, and groped each other, spinning until they fell into a heap. Jezebel girls giggled, and violent eyed boys advanced on them.
But she was too tired to play . . .
Was that another lie to add to the ever increasing pile?
Seeing the flash of gold, although not leading Rory to the wanted girl, took her to Louise, in all her glory. Arms around two guys, their lips marring her lightly gilded skin maked her moan softy and sweetly, almost in a practiced manor that completed her sex kitten image. She looked bored and disinterested, like so many of her counterparts, but she managed to give Rory a questioning look as the brunette entered her vision.
"You look like shit Ror," she muttered bluntly, her voice slightly breathless as she pulled away from the guys she had been entwined in.
"I need to speak to Paris," Rory ordered, her voice dangerous, leaving her on edge, and Louise untouched in her haze.
"10:35," Louise stated, "Your girl's gone,"
"Rory, what's wrong?" came the soft, unnaturally worried tone of Madeline, as she left the side of some white toothed guy with the perfect bank balance to join the two girls, sensing a disturbance in the normally meticulously composed Rory and the controlled actress Louise.
Raven hair and soft eyes examined Rory, picking up the flaws in her mask, silently signalling to Louise the imitate breakdown. The two friends from kindergarten were good at seeing breakdowns. They blurred those lines long ago themselves, but it didn't mean they didn't watch others fall.
Rory was falling.
"I need to see Paris," Rory once again ordered, her voice catching the attention of the glazed eyed bright young things that called her names behind her back.
It wasn't Louise's or Madeline's house, but it was easy to take her to an unused room. Both the girls knew the majority of the layouts in each house a party like this was held, but tonight, they fumbled, unsure and unknowing how to handle this Rory. This Rory was unstable, and neither of the friends supporting her tense body knew what they should do.
The chilly tiles left Rory's skin coolish, but she was still feverish. Closing her eyes, she blocked out the tense faces, and tried not to flinch as smooth soft fingers measured her temperature. The sound of Madeline calling Paris was been blocked out, leaving Rory floating in the intense scent of Louise's perfume that attempted to cover the scent of the brown eyed boy left branded on Rory's limbs.
"What happened?" Louise asked softly, sweetly, her words brushing against Rory's ear like rose petals.
Louise wasn't sweet or soft, but her presence comforted Rory more than she initially would have allowed. Soon Madeline joined Rory's other side, her suddenly clammy hand taking Rory's, with Madeline's anxiety tangible as she tried to offer comfort to her friend. The two girls' by Rory's side weren't perfect, and they probably wouldn't be her friends in the years that would eventually come, but they were there here and now, holding her hand not fucking some guy downstairs.
"Did . . . something bad happen?" Madeline asked, her tone so utterly fragile and trusting, Rory felt even Louise pause.
"You've been a friend to both of us Ror," Louise added squeezing Rory's hand gently, "Let us be a friend to you,"
They weren't just what they seemed. They too had faces with no definition between them and the air around them. Each day they leaned closer and closer to the mirror, trying to find the details that had been lost over time. They were all versions of the same proto type. The slut, the poor girl, the ditz, and the soon to arrive frigid obsessive compulsive.
"I did something stupid," Rory muttered.
'I've never loved anyone like I've loved you,'
Brushing Rory's tangled hair, Louise waited for her friend to continue. Madeline gave Louise a knowing look, almost sensing what had happened. They were all alike. All holding the same potential, all holding the same power.
Girls like them could be dangerous.
Never take your eyes off girls like them.
"I fucked him." Rory muttered, tears streaking down her face.
"Who?" Madeline asked, hoping for an answer she knew she wouldn't receive.
Not the slate eyed boy Rory wanted and needed obviously.
Probably one of the boys waiting in the wings.
"Why do I feel so dirty?" Rory asked blindly, "How do I make it stop?"
Louise looked away, the other girl's words hitting too close to home, "You don't,"
No, some things stuck to you, like markings of various battles and wars. Choices were made, and events that resulted could never be undone. It was easier when you didn't care, when it was just meaningless. But, every once in a while, you couldn't be blank and dissipate from what had been decided. As Rory pleaded to her, with her wide cobalt eyes, Louise couldn't even meet her gaze. Rory was . . . she wasn't better, but she was . . . she didn't . . . but apparently she did. But, that wasn't what was meant to happen with Rory. It was like Rory was finally showing symptoms after being exposed to Louise's way of life, as if Rory was now contaminated.
You couldn't make it 'stop', Louise knew first hand, so did Madeline. But Madeline accepted it; to her it was nothing, just a shell of who she was. Branches on the windowpane; annoying, but you could block it out. It was easy to block things out like that. In the darkness of the night, faces, bodies changed, and it was simple to let them close, to allow those perfect boys with there perfect smiles to do what they want. But, in the end, it could never 'stop' and even those perfect boys were hurt . . . but you didn't think about that. You didn't think about consciences . . . it was easy to disintegrate, to become someone else.
It was easier being someone else.
Easier being someone that played the game than someone that lived with the sins they had committed.
Madeline stiffened, turning to Louise's cracking mask she stated, " Paris should be here, why don't you go wait for her?"
Louise nodded, leaving the circle of warmth the three girls created. It was so utterly quiet in the spacious bathroom, with the hobbled sound from downstairs slowly making its way to where the two girls sat, it felt almost safe. Madeline, unlike the other two girls that were yet to come to Rory's side, was quiet, and didn't try to say anything. She was practised from nights looking after Louise, but she was still a teenager once again looking after a girl that thought asking for help was only for the weak.
"He said he loved me, he said all these things, and . . . I don't feel anything . . . he was making love to me while I was fucking him," Rory finally managed to vomit out, her words leaving her vulnerable and too young for her age.
"It's not your fault," Madeline whispered, "It was a mistake, just a mistake,"
Bloodshot eyes glanced at the other girl telling Madeline otherwise, "I wanted to hurt him, I wanted to hurt him like he'd hurt me. I didn't even know I felt like this . . . I just wanted to forget . . . I thought I was doing well, I thought I was getting better,"
'Getting better' . . . Rory's words struck a cord in Madeline.
Tristan was more than a crush or boyfriend. He, was . . . he had made part of her identity, he had helped her to become more than a 'Mary,' yet at the same time, in their relationship and even before, she had helped him become more than a detached poor little rich boy. But, they had both only ended up pushing each other away, as if there relationship had only prepared them for life after it where they needed to be more than they once were. But she still wanted him, and Madeline somehow knew Tristan was more than she could admit him being.
Love . . .
Maybe . . . Although Rory had never said anything of the sort to him, or about him it was clear it was more than a three month love deal that she had with Dean, or the on off love she created for Jess. Vaguely Madeline wondered which brown eyed boy Rory leered into her bed. Was it the boy that got married yet still looked at her in a way that a man should only look at his wife? Or was it the boy that needed Rory to make everything in his messed up world form some sort of sense? Either, either . . . did it really matter?
It didn't matter which brown eyed boy that was left crying her name as he finished, she still would have only seen those slate grey eyes when she closed her eyes. She still would have cried another boys name soundlessly. It didn't matter what words he whispered into Rory's ear as he undressed her, it still would have been another boy she was imagining.
"Girls like us don't get over boys like Tristan easily," Madeline responded. "We'll work this out,"
'We can work out this time,'
"No, I don't think it can be . . ." Rory whispered quietly, in that breakable voice of hers that Madeline rarely heard. "Do you remember at the start of the year, when Giles and James . . ."
She still couldn't say the words.
"Yeah, I remember," Madeline answered, filling in the space Rory had left for words that were still too hard to fill, "I remember how brave you were,"
That was a strange way to describe her reaction.
Brave held all the wrong connotations and meanings.
She wasn't brave, she was just a girl.
A girl playing a game she should have outgrown.
In her room lay the unopened acceptance letters from seven universities. One from Harvard, one from Yale . . . names of other polished places followed like sand out of an hour glass. Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, even a couple overseas, even the one Tristan was set to enter in a few months time. She still hadn't cracked the sealed paper to see her fate, once again putting off the decision she would need to make. It would be conscious now. It wouldn't be another Chilton verses Stars Hollow High debate, this would be a defining choice she could vaguely understanding in her mind, not yet able to acknowledge all the other defining choices she had played the part of the push button pony.
"It seems so long ago." Rory muttered, her eyes swollen and puffy, "I was so mad, and out of control. I don't even remember what was going through me head when I hit him."
"You broke his nose," Madeline replied with a tiny quivering smile. "He told everyone he broke it in a game of football,"
"It seems I'm good at hurting people,"
It was easy to hurt people, it was so simple. It was easiest to hurt people that you knew, that loved you. It was simple; it was so basic and amateur. Rory was good at it. Years of practice, and it seemed this year she got it down pat. All it took to really hurt people was to get close, to get close, to get close . . .
"Ror . . ." Madeline gently reprimanded, "It took two, he obviously wanted it, and he obviously didn't see that you didn't. He saw what he wanted, because he wanted you. It's not all your fault."
"Lorelei knows." Rory gulped out, shaking at the memories that come flashing back to mind of her mother pounding at the door yelling to be let in, screaming at her daughter for what she did. "She guessed. A pretty easy guess with a guy leaving the house matched with a messed up bed and . . ."
"A messed up daughter,"
"I went into the bathroom. I locked myself in. I said I was having a shower, and he left, and then Lorelei . . . she was screaming and yelling and asking me what the hell I was thinking,"
"Did she know about Tristan and you, you know . . ."Madeline couldn't say the words.
Rory and Tristan didn't fuck, they didn't do things mindlessly. They brought out the best and worst in each other, but they never did anything mindlessly like Rory had done with the brown eyed boy and like what Tristan had done with Summer. Mindlessly was something that never applied to them. They pushed each others buttons and looked after each other the best they could, but they never treated each other with that disregard.
'We can be together again,'
Disregard . . . it seemed that although she never treated the slate eyed boy that way, that concern didn't carry over to his brown eyed counter part.
"No, so she thinks it was my first . . . stupid huh, she lived in denial until I was stupid enough not to stop her from seeing,"
"She guessed though, so once she calms down it won't be such a huge deal?" Madeline stated hesitantly, not used to Lorelei's tendencies to the extent Paris was, and blanched at the sound of Rory's hauntingly hollow short laugh.
Tightening her grip on the shaking girl's hand, Madeline chanced a glance out the cracked door, praying to see the two other girls bounding up the stairs. Paris would arrive in moments, but Madeline somehow knew that wasn't going to be as much comfort as Rory had expected. Paris had sharp wit with no tact, and was never confident with people breaking, but Madeline was, she had lived through five of her mother's divorces, and myriads of Louise's broken trysts. Madeline was good at being there, good at waiting until she was needed, and as she brushed some of Rory's hair away from her crown, she tried to order her thoughts. Paris had grown up in a household were the number of times she cried a year could be counted on one hand. Paris was good at reading people, but she lacked the talent to reach them. Madeline wasn't unseeing, but she missed things . . . here with Rory, the raven haired girl knew she should have seen the breakdown coming, knew that something could have been done to prevent the fallout . . . but it was too late now.
Louise knocked slightly, pushing the door open, with the impatient Paris snapping at her heels to be let in. A mess of half removed make up and mismatched clothes, Paris looked anything but well presented. Eventually, tired of waiting at the door frame, she pushed past Louise, who stood, almost frozen under the arch of the door, as if distancing herself from the girl that had unknowingly opened too many locks that held hidden memories she wanted to forget.
Taking charge in the only way she knew how, Paris, with the help of Madeline, pulled the depleted Rory to her feet, supporting the waif like figure as Rory retreated back to autopilot. Paris, in a rare moment of weakness, glanced at Louise, who until that moment was frozen in time, still looking at the space Rory had vacated.
"Lets go," fleeting looks raced from the unseeing Rory to Louise, as Paris tried to keep hold of the situation that was beyond her, "Your parents aren't home tonight Louise?"
Louise couldn't speak; her golden hair covered her face as she stared at Rory. Her body allowed itself to go into shock as the other girls carried the limp form between them. Vaguely, Louise wonder if this was anything like the uncountable times she had been transported home in the arms of her friends. She wondered, staring transfixed at Rory's face, if this was what she looked like, if this was how strangling it felt to watch one of her best friends self destruct and be unable to stop the self inflected damage.
Madeline reached out a hand, brushing against Louise bare arm, "We can go to my house. My mother and husband number six won't be around."
Paris nodded, winching as Rory's head lulled onto her shoulder, the exhaustion catching up to the shattered image of a girl. Her hand crossed over Madeline's as they held Rory up, almost like puppeteers holding the stings of a glittery puppet. Someone had to call Lorelei, but Paris didn't dare voice the reminder. Louise, in broken, unfinished sentences informed Paris of this fact, but it wasn't truly understood until she saw her best friend slumped next to Madeline, like a china doll that a child had forgotten. Rory wasn't perfect, nor was she anything else but simply a girl . . . but Paris, and so many other people forgot that, just like they forgot Paris, Madeline, and even Louise, were just girls, little more than the children they had been only years before.
They still were playing a game of make believe, playing parts altered from the original role as princess.
Some roles altered more than others, but roles that were altered none the less.
The party blazed on downstairs, and few people noticed the four girls exiting. Louise pause, allowing the three to overtake her as she spotted Giles. His dark eyes took her in, as if folding and unfolding her, seeing more than she liked, and less then he wanted. Gliding towards her, she felt trapped between two magnets, unable to breath, to speak, or to move.
A snap of her name shattered her displacement.
Paris turned, glancing at the other blonde over her shoulder.
Giles quirked a smirk that left her lost in his trance once again. He charmed and flirted his way closer, and she was hypnotised by him, a little more that lost in the power he had over her. He wasn't like the others, and he didn't see her like the others either.
It was Madeline this time.
Her voice almost lost in the roaring music.
But it held just as much power as the other blonde that had spoken before.
Glancing at the approaching boy, Louise allowed his eyes to burn into her mind. He was gorgeous and dangerous. But he couldn't love her. One day maybe, but not tonight. Tonight he was just another beautiful boy with gleaming eyes of another predator. Another pretty young thing that would dissipate another fraction of the girl that made daisy chains in the summertime.
He protected her, that was a given, but he only did so when it didn't put his marker in their demented game into any risk. They were old enough to know better, and watching Giles near, she realised she was no longer too young to not care. It was harder than she thought; to turn her back, knowing that to him it was nothing more than a casual brush off. To her, it was an ending to what could have been.
But she couldn't have been with him, not now, not like this.
He wasn't ready for anything else than playing sadistic games.
She wasn't ready to wait for him to finish the round.
There was a game they used to play when they were younger. Chance. Rolling a dice, gathering numbers until the unwanted one was called and you lost it all. Some people used to stop playing at a point, knowing they'd risked as much at they felt comfortable. She never used to stop. She either won grandly, or lost spectacularly. She never saw the point in ceasing playing while she was ahead. She just kept going, but here, on that night, she couldn't keep playing, keep hoping for him to once again protect her.
She wanted him to save her.
To make her a girl that was worth more than a quick one in the rose garden.
Although a slate eyed boy had been made more than a boy that fucked girls in rose gardens by one blue eyed girl, Louise knew Giles couldn't help her like she wanted him too. He couldn't protect her, he couldn't save her, because, at that moment he couldn't even save himself. He couldn't be anything other than an occasional fair weather protector. She could take a chance on him like she took in the games of her youth, but as he moved closer, like a lion closing in on a gazelle, she knew he wasn't worth the chance.
Not yet, maybe not ever.
He couldn't save her.
She was the only person that could do that.
Next Chp: Stupid.
It was getting harder and harder to be what was expected of her.
Harder to smile and sing and dance at command.
Stupid, stupid girl.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I just wanted to apologise for taking so long to get back to this fic. After a brief flirtation with the WWE (my favourite violent soap opera), someone, who will remain nameless (since I don't wish to give her anymore publicity) decided to plagiarise my writing. Thus I have decided to take a break from writing WWE fics and come back to the Trory fold where to the best of my knowledge my work was never plagiarised nor did I encounter any writers (I use the term loosely) who took such pleasure in disrespecting me.