CHAPTER 11

Rory and Graham ended up sipping coffee in the living room looking out of the huge bay windows that gave them a perfect view of the quarter moon. She laid her head on his lap. He played with the strands of hair that stuck to his shirt. The only light that illuminated the room was the TV show that emanated from the box.

"So, let me get this straight," Graham said, "you called Tristin by your ex-boyfriend's name and now he won't talk to you?"

Rory looked at him. "Well, in so many words, yeah. How can you say it calmly?"

"Rory, I'm a guy. We don't have to be melodramatic about everything that happens to us," he answered nonchalantly.

"Wish I were a guy," she muttered.

"Well if you became I guy, I won't allow you to lay on my lap," he threatened.

She smacked him on his belly and raised her head high enough to take a sip out of her mug. "I mean, I don't have to deal with this kind of crap."

"Who says that we don't deal with it? Last time I checked we are the 'other half' involved in dilemmas like yours," Graham guffawed.

"Yeah, but you guys make it seem easy. You talk about it only if you want to and then you move on. I think the female psyche tends to dwell on the stupid stuff," Rory said.

"What you did is... something a guy hopes to never go through," Graham phrased carefully.

"Gee, thanks for making me feel good," Rory said rolling her eyes.

"No, I didn't mean it that way," Graham said. "It sucks, yeah. But we get over it... Eventually. Knowing Tris, he would be pissed but he'd get over it."

"Get over it? Were you listening to what I just said?" Rory queried. "I know he'll eventually get there. I just don't know if he'd ever talk to me again."

"Why don't you just tell him straight up that you like him?" Graham asked.

"Because I don't," she responded too quickly.

"Is that so? If you didn't care that much you wouldn't be stressing over calling him Tom, Dick or Harry when you meant Tristin," Graham pointed out.

"Well, he used to call me Mary and he teased me mercilessly for the longest time. What makes that different?" Rory questioned.

"When did he stop calling you Mary?" he asked.

Rory had to pause and think. When did he last call her Mary?

"This morning. Before we fought," Rory remembered.

"Well, that's not ever twenty-four hours. He will eventually call you Mary and the world will be right between you two," Graham figured.

"You are an eternal optimist, aren't you?" Rory asked.

He laughed. "No, I'm just a closet 'Joan of Arcadia' fan."

"What does a dramedy have to do with this?" Rory asked taking another drink out of her mug.

"Check this out. This character, Joan, has this guy jonesing her. His name's Adam. Well, Adam calls Joan 'Jane'. When they got into an argument, he started calling her Joan. And she got upset. Needless to say, when they patched things up, she requested him to call her 'Jane' again," he narrated.

"Oh, that's a bunch of baloney," Rory responded. "What nitwit would like her name changed by a guy?"

"Apparently you 'cuz you're so hung up about it," he teased.

She slapped him again on the stomach.

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Amazing. Tristin cannot seem to get away from her. And he thought things couldn't get worse. It has. He left Stars Hollow dejected. He figured that if he got the hell out of Dodge, he'd get away from the trouble that followed him. He did. He just didn't realize that his troubles would already be ahead of him.

He was through getting angry. He was spent. He went back to the Catskills to pack up the things he left the night before and talk to Graham. If there was one thing he can depend on, it's his cousin. He always was good in analyzing things that went wrong and how to remedy them.

However, Rory has also found that about his cousin. Tristin was jealous. No, he was livid. He saw red painted throughout the room as he looked in. How could he compete with that? He saw her put down her coffee cup on the table and look at him lovingly. It's supposed to be his lap she should be laying her head on!

She laughed at something he said and slapped him on his torso. He ended up tickling her back. She didn't seem to mind him touching her innocently, yet intimately.

He sighed. He should give this up. He should just be happy that his cousin finally got the girl he wanted: someone amazing.

He admitted being angry about her calling him Dean but he got over it. She came over to apologize, right? It was him who pushed her away. He had control over that but he was too cocky to see straight. Frustrated and tired, he got out of the car and let himself in through the side door.

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"Seriously, I know Tristin would never take me back," Rory said, dejected.

"Are we going to go through this again?" Graham asked throwing his hands in the air. "That's the problem with women. They don't know when to let sleeping dogs lie."

"I'm serious, Graham. I have done something so despicable that I, myself, would not forgive myself for doing it," Rory responding dropping her voice a notch.

"I doubt it. We've all done something reprehensible once in a blue moon," Graham mentioned.

"I sort of forgot to tell you that I slept with Dean after Tristin gave me the boot," Rory told him, her face stoic.

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Silence lapsed between Rory and Graham. He stared at the TV, mulling over the information Rory told him. To him, the whole fiasco sounded like a soap opera. In a few moments, her tense body finally relaxed. She was asleep. How did he get involved with this? He loved his cousin. But he has also fallen in love with the girl his cousin is in love with. No matter how he looked at things, he was screwed. He ran his hands through her hair. She mumbled something incoherent. She stretched like a cat in her deep state of rest. She snuggled closer to him. He took the soft chenille blanket that lay next to him and draped it over her sleeping figure.

"Sweet dreams, Rory," he whispered as he laid a kiss on her forehead.

He witnessed the kiss. It took him about fifteen minutes to pack up his things and get out. He should've just continued walking out the door and not look back. But he did. It may have been remorse. He wanted to say sorry. But when he saw his cousin lay a kiss on her forehead, he had a Keiser Soze moment: the missing car, the absent Rory, the quick apology. How could he be so dense?

Maybe he was really blinded by lust that he forgot he was dealing with a girl who really had no regard for him. 'Give it up, DuGrey. She won,' the voice within told him. He smirked and turned away.

"Tristin!" a stage whisper called out. Graham spotted him.

"Damn," Tristin swore under his breath.

He saw her lift Rory's head carefully from his lap. She moaned and opened her eyes slowly.

"Don't move. I'm just putting a pillow here," he heard Graham explain.

She mumbled something. Graham pulled the covers over her shoulders. When he had her settled, Graham walked towards him.

"Hey, you didn't say you were coming over," Graham said, slapping his cousin on his shoulder.

"Maybe I should've. Messed a moment with you and your girl," Tristin snarled.

"Tris, it's Rory. You know she's not my girl," he said nervously.

"Again, I should have not messed time with you and your girl," Tristin reiterated.

Graham shot him an incredulous glare. "Are you trying to imply something?"

"There is nothing to imply if things are crystal clear," Tristin answered heatedly.

"That's a load of crap and you know it," Graham growled. "Why are you being an ass, huh?"

Tristin rubbed his stubbled jaw. "Why are you so quick to defend her, huh?"

"Because she's not guilty about anything, Tris. You know it," Graham defended her.

"Is that what you think? What did she tell you?" Tristin inquired.

"Enough to know that you and her have blown things out of proportion, Tristin. The kiss, the name change. You being a dick to her this afternoon. Everything," he deadpanned his cousin.

Tristin huffed. "Well I am glad that she can tell you all of this crap and leave me in the dark as to where we stand."

"You did this to yourself, Tris. You know that. She came over to your place. What else could you ask for?" Graham questioned.

"Maybe the fact that the moment trouble looms, she doesn't jump into the sack with my cousin," he said heatedly. "I thought you were my best friend!"

"I still am!" Graham raised his voice. "What gave you the idea that she slept with me?"

Tristin didn't want to come out and say it. He was shaking with rage inside.

The two men didn't realize that Rory was waking up from her nap. The heated argument made her surface to reality faster than she could imagine.

"Well, spare me the act, bud. I don't need it," Tristin growled. "When she calls someone else's name when you guys are getting it on? Don't call me."

"Come on. Let's talk about this," Graham tried to coax his cousin.

"There are only a few things that I can trust myself to do. One used to be the ability to trust you. The other was knowing you would be there for me when I needed you. I wouldn't think that a girl would ever come between us. Promise me that you won't talk about her the next time I talk to you again," he swore to Graham.

He walked away.

"You've got it all wrong, Tris. You're going to regret it," Graham called out after his cousin who was taking long strides to his vehicle.

The Land Rover came to life. The sound of gravel spitting out from under the tires shot everywhere. That was the last Rory saw of Tristin. "Good bye," she whispered.

Graham shook his head. He looked into the living room and saw Rory standing against the bay window. One hand was on the window, the other on her lips. The tear that rolled down her cheek shined under the TV's glare.

He can't do anything but feel regret for everyone around.

END

To be continued... Wearing the Funny Red Sheet

A/N: To everyone who posted... THANK YOU! You guys rock. Yes, throw rocks at me now for not having our heroes get together in the biblical sense. Hey, even a SIMS game can't get these guys together quickly. Patience, my peeps! If you get the implication of the next story through the title, you know this will EVENTUALLY get better.

Toodles!