"Some party last night, huh?"
"Some party," Rory agreed, flopping down on the couch next to her mother.
"Did you see the look on Luke's face when Patty pinched his butt?"
"You'd think he'd get used to it by now," Rory shook her head, looking sad.
"I think being with me has lulled him into some false sense of security, like all the grabby old women in town think he's off limits somehow."
"So, just two days left with my favorite girl!" Lorelai hugged Rory to her.
"Hey, bones being crushed, here."
"Sorry. I miss you when you go back to school!"
"It's just New Haven, you can come visit me too, you know."
"It's just been nice having you around here for the last week. No more disappearances," Lorelai hinted.
"Yeah," Rory agreed guiltily.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Rory looked at her mom, and shrugged. She sat back against the couch and pulled a pillow into her lap, truly settling herself. It was past noon on New Years' Day. She had in fact spent all of her time with her mother or Lane since her return from New York. She'd not been in contact with either man since that last day in New York, taking the time to herself. Jess had made it clear that it was time to move on, for both of them. And Logan made it clear that he did not want to pressure her into a relationship. She was digesting it all, comforting herself by hanging out in her old haunts, catching up with Lane and helping out Lorelai at the Dragonfly. Taking long lunches at Luke's, and watching movies until three in the morning. Her moment of insight came last night, as she sat on the porch watching the snow fall. There was something about the way the fresh snowfall covered all the messy tracks of people that had come in and out of her house all night long, making the ground pristine and beautifully new again that made her stop and take notice. She inhaled deeply, and felt the corners of her mouth turn up. It was the first genuine smile that she'd had in private since before Christmas.
"I guess," she shrugged, not elaborating right away.
"Okay. Is there going to be some sort of puppet show? I could try to scrounge up some sock puppets, but I need to know how many players are involved."
Rory smiled at her mother's gentle, but not so subtle prying. She smiled at her and sighed.
"Love triangle again?"
"It's sort of a complicated story."
"Dynasty kind of complicated?"
"I don't really want to get into the sordid details, but sufficed to say, Jess told me that he thought that I needed to move on with Logan, and Logan told me that he felt I needed closure with Jess."
"And what do you think?"
"Good question. I've been thinking about nothing else all week."
"Can I interject some wise motherly advice?"
"I don't know, can you?" she teased.
"Rory, when it comes to guys the most important thing to finding happiness is just to follow what your heart is telling you. No matter what you think anyone else will think, or say about it. I know that's always been a concern to you," she frowned, and surveyed Rory's reaction.
"I know. And as confusing as the last couple of months have been for me, I think they're both right. Jess and I did need closure—there'd been so much emotion, you know, and it ended so suddenly. I didn't want to admit that it hurt me as much as it did. As it turns out, I didn't handle it so well."
"Hey, it's okay to be upset over losing someone you love."
"I know. I just hated to lose him. I hadn't even told him I loved him, Mom. And it's not like we can be friends, too much has happened. We can't go back from where we were. If we're around each other, we're going to be together. Obviously if that is supposed to happen, neither of us are ready for that yet. And I've known that. I think that was the hardest part. But we talked, and I finally feel like I can put it behind me in a way."
"Aw, honey, that's good. Right?"
"It is. I need to move on, I can't be stuck in the past. I'm not angry with him anymore, and it's kind of nice to know that we both really value that time we had."
"Wow, you guys are way too mature about this. I figured you'd be too scarred after being raised around seeing how Chris and I handled not being able to be together."
Rory smiled sadly. "It probably didn't help."
"Well, I have Jess to thank. He says he just wants me to be able to move on and be happy. I think I've been feeling guilty with Logan, like I was moving on, and I shouldn't yet."
"Hence, his call for closure. Where do you meet these smart guys?"
"I have no idea."
"So, you want to be with Logan?"
"I don't know what will happen with us, but maybe. I know I feel invigorated and challenged with him."
"Yes, but is he a good kisser?"
"He's a good everything," Rory smiled, nodding.
"Wait, wait, wait—haven't you only had one date?"
"Officially, yes, but there have been multiple outings."
"And one of these outings included you sampling his 'everything'?"
Rory bit her lip and nodded.
"I think the student surpasses the master."
Rory rolled her eyes.
"So, what are you going to do now?"
"Well, right now I'm disturbing my mother to the point of her needing therapy," she giggled.
"Nah. I'll just mention your having used Logan as a sex toy to Luke, that will take the ick factor off of me, and cement it onto him."
"Why does he like you?"
"'Cause I'm good at everything, too," Lorelai wiggled her eyebrows at her daughter.
"Okay, the mental scarring is complete. I must leave you now."
"You've gone soft on me," Lorelai complained.
"I've never been partial to the sex talk. You're my mother."
"And you're my pretty daughter, bringing all those beautiful boys home, who only want to get into your pants, and I haven't decapitated a single one yet."
"Noted. So, change of subject?"
Rory found herself in her dorm room again too quickly, the anticipation for starting a new semester coursing through her. She'd stopped off at the student store, and arranged all her new folders and books. She loved her new-class rituals, and the smell of new school supplies. Lorelai always told her it was a sickness, but she didn't care. Once her tasks were complete, she looked around the empty suite. Paris wasn't due back tonight; she'd left a note saying she was out for the night. Rory didn't have to ask where. She flipped on the television, scanning through the channels, stopping intermittently and staring for a moment before moving on. She got as far as the History Channel when someone knocked at her door. She put the remote down on the couch and moved to open the door.
Standing in her doorway was Logan, with a paper bag in his hands. She held in her smile and curiosity as she greeted him.
"Good," he said, moving in to the common room. "Your roommate here?"
"Nope. Paris is out."
"If you call Doyle hot, then yes," Rory tilted her head to one side, smiling at him.
"Yikes. That is truly frightening," he informed her.
"They're a very interesting couple," Rory said diplomatically.
Logan laughed. "But the nice thing about them is you having the place to yourself."
He looked to the television and smiled. "Are you sure I'm not interrupting something?"
"Just what is wrong with the History Channel? Afraid you'll learn something?"
"What's in the bag?"
"I think it's time to go over the rules again, Ace."
"I've been demoted!" she cried dramatically.
"I believe I'd managed to get you to say my real name in our last few encounters."
"Speaking of which, how are things?" he asked, somewhat vaguely.
"Things are good." She kept her retort just as vague.
"I wanted to tell you," she said, her tone turning serious for a moment, "I'm sorry for how I behaved at the party. I shouldn't have asked you for the X, I wasn't," she tried to find the right words.
"I know why."
"I know you do, and you have been amazing to me, Logan. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am now."
"And that is?"
"Moved on. Not needing to forget unresolved problems. Optimistic about future endeavors."
"Future endeavors, huh?"
She nodded. "Whatever those might be."
"I see. Though I must say, I didn't do much. You just seemed like you needed a little nudge."
"Well, you nudge effectively."
"Is that what I do?"
She blushed, and nodded. "You do. So, what's in the bag?"
He handed the brown paper bag and she opened it, pulling out a collection of Aleksandr Pushkin's poems. She fingered the leather binding, and opened it gently.
"Gee, I'm disappointed. I thought I'd at least get a good sniff out of you."
She smiled and looked up at him. "I love it. And I'll smell it later, when I'm alone."
"Like an alcoholic and a bottle of whiskey?"
"I admit it. I have a problem," she laughed. "You didn't have to do this," she said, looking up at him.
"Consider it a really good excuse to need to see you. I have to admit, I couldn't stop thinking about you after that night."
"Good. Now, just promise me one thing?"
"Do I have to agree before you tell me what it is?" she smiled at him.
"Next time I make your mind go blank with pleasure," he said, leaning in towards her and tracing her lip with a single finger, "I want you stone cold sober."
She nodded, with the slightest motion, as if hypnotized by his words. A shiver went down her spine, and his lips met hers for the first time this new year. She dropped the book on the couch, and wrapped herself around him, ready to make good on her promise.
True to his words, her mind did go blank, not worrying about where this would take her, what new adventures he'd take her on with the Life and Death Brigade, her new classes and the workload that would come along with it. Gone was the looming cloud overhead of if she'd get a summer internship at a paper and all past relationships. All the worries and random thoughts that normally cycle through her mind dissipated as he led her into her bedroom and they began anew.
AN: Thanks to all who've reviewed this story. To me, this was more about a journey for Rory, finding new experiences and trying to move into a new place. I think she needs to let herself experience college, and Logan is a way for her to do that. She seemed to be holding herself back so much the first year. And as much as my Lit heart hopes she and Jess find their way back together later, now isn't the time. That would be another story. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed, no matter whom you thought she needed to be with.