Spoilers: I'm Australian and because we're so far behind I don't think it applies… besides, it's mostly AU anyways.
Standard disclaimer applies
A/N: So this is the last chapter. So very many thanks to give out.
Surya and Sus, two great girls who beta'd for me, babysat me, pulled me up short when needed, wouldn't let me kill off Jordan, let me bitch and whine at them, taught me about the American school system, told me what I needed to hear and told me what I didn't want to know. Ladies, you rock my world.
Scar (also for her betaing assistance), Nate (for as yet unused research material) The kids from fanforum Trory thread (Ahh, a better place to get a fix I haven't found), The kids from Gumboot Mafia & NWP (they read me even when they don't normally read GG fic and answered a bazillion questions on the American way of life), Everyone who reviewed me (at ff.net, gbm, and via email from my webpage).
I have been thinking about a sequel, but I'm not sure if I want to commit to it yet, let me know what you think.
Ok, that's it from me. I hope you enjoy the final chapter of third wheel.
- The Life and Times of an Unwelcome Third Wheel -
I did it. I survived 7th grade.
I survived my first year in Chilton.
I passed all my end of year finals and got all my reports in on time and all that crap. I even managed to get a 3.4gpa. Trig dragged me down, but at least I didn't fail it.
It's the first week of summer break and already I can feel my brain petrifying. I've managed to do nothing other than watch 3 seasons worth of Dragonball Z on DVD. Dad is starting to get that look on his face that says I had better get off my ass and do something soon, or he'll find something for me to do. I mean, we actually talk and get along now, most of the time anyway, he talks to me rather than just giving orders, so that's cool. Still, its summer, I don't want to do anything.
I have this feeling that I'll be spending a lot of time out of the house, if it would stop fucking raining. I probably would have conned my way into going to Stars Hollow with Tristan, but he won't be going there now. I'm probably going to be spending a lot of time at the club or at the reserve swimming with the guys from school. Anything to avoid Tristan's fate, he somehow got roped into going to work with Dad twice a week. Although Tristan didn't seem to mind, he wasn't complaining at least.
It's just been a huge year. So many things have happened, so many things have changed. Like school wasn't enough, I get dragged into Tristan's dramas. Ok, so I wasn't so much dragged into it as much as I wormed my way into it. I liked Rory, she's the kind of person that makes it worth putting up with Tristan's moods to hang out with her. But then somewhere along the line Tristan stopped being such a bastard to me and started to talk to me. And that was great, right up until him and Rory broke up. Then he went back to being a bastard, though the past few days have been better, so there's hope for us getting along I guess.
This year has just been one big learning curve, so many firsts.
But when you get right down to it, it all comes back to Rory.
Rory looked up from the bookshelf in the store and saw Jordan waving to her from across the room. She smiled and made her way through the crowd to him. "Hey, Jordan. How's your summer going so far?"
They both looked out the bookstores large windows to where it was raining from dark grey clouds.
"Oh, it's just dandy." Jordan said sarcastically. "It's been raining all week, and I'm stuck at home with Tristan who's been sulking."
"Oh." Rory hugged the book to her chest and started towards the bookstores café.
"You seeing Jess still?" Jordan followed her.
"I wasn't seeing him to start with. Not really."
"Then why aren't you with Tristan?"
"He doesn't want to be with me anymore." Rory shrugged uncomfortable with the conversation.
"Right, because if he had someone better waiting he wouldn't be home sulking." Rory flinched at the sarcastic tone Jordan used. He sounded exactly like Tristan.
"He's sulking? Nevermind." Rory shook her head, "It's his decision."
Rory sat at a nearby table and ordered a coffee-to-go from a waiter, she waived for Jordan to sit with her. "Do you want anything?"
The waiter added Jordan's request for a milkshake and left.
"So, what are you going to do this summer, Rory?" Jordan fiddled with a sugar packet. "Wait, weren't you and Paris going to some conference thing in Washington?"
"Yeah, it was cancelled. So now I'm going to work at the Inn, read lots of books, hangout Lane, play golf with Grandpa, have lunch with Grandma, be lazy." She grinned, glad to be off the topic of Tristan.
"Sounds great. Better than being at home anyway."
Rory smiled, "You're welcome to join me anytime you want to. And I'll be coming to see you soon anyway."
"You will?" Jordan's voice lilted with hope.
"Your mother invited me to the Cereus party."
"Oh." He slumped back in his seat and Rory smiled uncertainly, she wanted to go, she wanted to see Tristan. But she knew Tristan didn't want to see her, and she didn't blame him. He had said to her that he didn't hate her for what she did and she believed him, but she hated herself enough for both of them.
"Sorry to disappoint you kid."
"I just wish you'd come back and make Tristan happy again."
"He's still too angry to be around me," Rory gave money to the waiter as he gave them their drinks. Sipping at her coffee in its cardboard cup before she continued, "And he has every right to be."
"Maybe one day we can be friends again. But nothing lasts forever, Jordan. No matter how much we wish it would." Rory stood up from the table making her way to the front of the store.
"If you could go back and change it, not kiss Jess, would you?" Jordan walked with Rory to the counter to pay for her book.
"I've never regretted anything I've done, I don't believe in having regrets." Rory looked him in the eyes. "But for the first time in my life, I've found something I would change if I could."
Rory handed over her money and they left the store together. "If you're not busy on Saturday, you can come and stay in Stars Hollow. Lane and I are going to have a video night."
Jordan smiled, "Sure, what time?"
"Okay, I'll be there." Jordan replied.
Rory leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "See you then, Jordan."
It was kind of weird because the other times Rory had kissed me, Tristan had been there. Like on my birthday or Christmas and stuff. This time it was just a kiss for no reason other than she liked me.
I came home and told Tristan all about it. The first thing he said to me was he wasn't going to drive me to her house on Saturday, but he will, and he'll pick me up too, because he can't help himself when it comes to her.
Not that I can blame him really, Rory is just this fantastic girl, I mean, the day after I first met her, she took the tie off Michael Duffy and replaced it with one of mine that he had cut in half on the first day of school. That was pretty cool you know, cause he's a massive guy and he's a real bastard. She was the girl who had Tristan driving his SUV rather than his Mustang because if I needed a lift, she would refuse to get into the car. And I always needed a lift.
I was going to need one this weekend to get to Rory's. I could catch the bus, but why do that when I can make Tristan drive me?
Maybe she'll invite him in. More likely he'll dump me on the sidewalk and take off. Moody prick that he is.
I have this feeling that Tristan is going to avoid Rory all holidays. And maybe he needs to, to get over her or something. But she'll be at the Cereus party, so he'll have to see her there. And he won't have a date because of him bringing home that Carli chick, we've both been banned dates to the party. Not that I mind. If you bring a date to one of those kinds of parties, you get stuck with them, because parents are all watching, but if you don't have a date, there are always the girls that get dragged along by their parents.
I've witnessed Tristan's efforts with these kind of girls for years now, I know what works with them and what doesn't. Shouldn't be too hard to find someone to have some fun with.
Then again, it could be more entertaining to watch Tristan and Rory.
Whatever, it's the first week of summer break, it will stop raining eventually and when it does, I can get out of this house. Away from Tristan who seems determined to sulk his way into the Guinness Book of Records. Away from Dad who wants me to be something I'm not. Away from Mother. I love my family, but they're driving me insane. Staying at home has never grated like this before, but like I said before, so many things have happened this year, even I think I've grown up a little.
Anyway, I survived 7th grade. My first year of Chilton is done.
I wonder is 8th grade is going to be as interesting.