UNDER THE SAME ROOF

Summary: They are not together, but they live together. There is a thin wall between and 1000 miles separating them. But still, when it's cold outside and they want to keep themselves warm they go to the same place. It's just a few feet away, but there they are together...even if it's only for one more night. LIT


Chapter 01

She looks up at the blue sky and wonders if anyone up there hates her. She can't remember how she got herself into such a mess. It all started so long ago, and the first time she thought would also be the last. But then it happened again and it scared her to death. Now she is almost use to it, welcoming their late night rendezvous.

She takes another sip of her coffee and looks at the tables around her, outside the little café. This has become her second favorite place in New Haven, the first being her own apartment. But she finds herself running from it more and more often lately. It's not that he has been rude to her or anything. He treats her like he always had; affectionately in his on way. It's just that she doesn't know how to act anymore. Especially when he brings his dates home.

She thinks he does that only to provoke her, even though he doesn't treat her any differently when these girls are there. Sometime she wonders if he sees her just like he sees them; a simple one night stand. Even thought she can't even count how many times they've 'met.

She reminds herself that she can't complain. After all, she is the one who so carefully set up the rules. Of course, there is no verbal or written agreement; it is just her silent rules that he respects even though he disagrees. They always meet in the living room, their neutral space. They never talk about 'it', not with each other, not with anyone. It doesn't change their relationship – or at least they pretend so – and it doesn't change their dating status at all. It's just sex.

He never got into a real relationship after they started these new "relationship", if you can call it that. How can he, knowing that every time she feels lonely and depressed – which is more often than it should - she comes to him? She hasn't started any serious relationships either. Truth be told, she hasn't had any serious relationships besides him since she met him.

This complex arrangement doesn't look like a choice to either of them. He doesn't like the sound of it one bit, but goes along anyway. Not because he wants to, but because he needs her. And even if she would never admit it, she needs him to.

Her friend arrives and sits across from her but she doesn't notice. She only snaps out of her train of thought when she hears the familiar high pitched voice greeting her, "Hey, darling!"

She looks up startled before greeting back, "Hey, Kelly."

"Are you okay? You look a little pale..."

"I'm fine. Just thinking."

Kelly gets comfortable in her sit and rests her purse in her lap. "You know, I was thinking, I haven't been on a date in a while now..."

'Uh-oh', Rory thinks. She knows Kelly pretty well and, though the girl really hasn't been on a date lately, she is what you would call slut-y. And if she brought up the subject, then she had something in mind.

"And now I think I'm ready for something serious," Kelly goes on, "so I was wondering if you could properly introduce me to that handsome roommate of yours. I mean, he's so hot and funny, and if he can hold a conversation with you he must be intelligent. And every time I go to your apartment he's reading... it's such a turn on" she pauses for a moment. "I promise I won't blow this up, Rory. I really want to go on a date with him," she pleads.

Rory looks at her friend not believing what she is hearing. She tries to think about anything to keep Kelly from going on a date with Jess. After finding nothing, she decides to just give some lame excuse, "I'm sorry, Kelly, I don't think he's ready to date. He just broke up with his girlfriend and it was pretty serious...I think he needs some time."

Kelly looks at her a little disappointed. "Oh, okay then. Let me know when you think he's ready."

"Sure," she rubs her hand trying to cheer her up. "But hey, I have this friend… I think you would like him. He's doing law and he's really good looking..."

One hour and five coffees later, Rory convinces her Kelly to go on a blind date with some other guy, the roommate totally forgotten. She leaves the little café and drives home. Thought she would prefer to avoid him, she is really tired and going home sounds like the perfect option. When she turns the key in the lock and opens the door, she finds him opening the bathroom door, stepping out. There's only a towel around his waist, his hair still wet. She closes the door behind her and throws her purse on the couch. "Is there anything to eat?"

"Pizza in the microwave and coffee in the coffee maker."

She nods and goes to their small kitchen. "Any plans for tonight?" she asks, trying to sound casual.

"Nope. Just going to do some reading."

She eats a slice of pizza and nods. He goes into his room and emerges again a few minutes later. With a pair of boxers and an old band tee on, he lies on the couch, she sets her purse on the floor, and he starts reading. She finishes her pizza and coffee, leaving the mug in the sink.

She stares at the back of his head from her position in the kitchen then goes to the back of the couch and kisses his still wet hair. "Good night, Jess."

She goes to her room and closes the door quietly, sad that he is ignoring her. A few moments later, when he knows she's out of earshot and probably lying in bed, worrying about things she can't fix, he whispers back, "Good night, Rory."

She pulls the last of her clothes out of the closet and onto the bed. "It has to be here somewhere," she tells herself. She has searched in her closet, in her 'dirty clothes pile,' under the bed, all around her bedroom, and still she couldn't find her black satin bra that goes just perfect with the slightly transparent black shirt that she wants to put on.

She can't think of anywhere else it might be but thinking back to when she had last wore it, she gasps. She runs to the tiny living room and pulls the cushions from the couch looking for her bra. After a few minutes of searching, she finally sees the thin black strap and starts pulling it when the door opens.

He looks at the scene in front of him, amused. She's kneeling over the couch, her hair messy, the cushions scattered all around. He's not sure what she's doing, but it seems like she is looking for something, and the blue of her eyes, though cloudy, wins him over. "Do you want any help?" he asks casually, closing the door with his foot.

"Oh, no...don't worry...I was just looking for...and now I found it...what I was looking for, I mean..." she explains, but doesn't show him the object that had her panting.

She's rambling, he notices; that was never a good sign. He is about to ask what she was looking for when he catches a glimpse of the black satin and realizes what she has just found. A smart-ass comment comes to mind, but looking into her eyes he remembers their silent pact, so he decides to play dumb and pretend not to have noticed.

She back to her room to finish getting dressed and comes out looking like a model. He looks at her amazed; she's truly beautiful. But he keeps his thoughts to himself and instead asks, "Are you going out?"

She nods lightly while brushing her hair. "Yeah, Todd will be here any minute now."

"Okay." He nods, his eyes down. Right now he wishes so badly to be in Todd's place even though he despises Todd. He knows that somehow he is, but it's different… Every time he's with her he's trying to make up for a time when he was stupid and immature, not knowing how much his stubbornness and bad boy attitude was really costing him. But it's pointless, she's resigned not to forgive him much less give him a second chance. He shakes his head sadly and walks to his room. As soon as his door is closed, the lyrics of "Guns of Brixton" blast through the apartment. She thinks he does that to make her feel guilty. Actually, he is just trying to make her remember how good it felt back then, trying to show her it can be good now too. Sometimes he doesn't know if that's true anymore, if they can have such a thing as a "happily ever after" after all they've been though.

The bell rings snapping her out of her trance and she answers the door with the best smile she can manage. "Hi, Todd."

"Hey, you're beautiful," he greets lamely. Then he makes a disgusting face, "Were you listening to that?"

"Oh, no...It's my roommate."

"Ah," he says nodding in understanding, "I hate this kind of trash. You weren't very lucky with you're roommate, huh? Is she a punk or something?"

Rory opens her mouth to tell him she loves that song, that Jess is a great guy – much better than him, and that he is not a 'she' at all and how well she knows that. But instead she closes her mouth again, thinking about how absurd it would all sound.

So she simply takes her purse and say, "Let's go, or we'll be late to the movies," ignoring everything he has said so far and walking out of the door. It doesn't matter anyway. She knew from the instant he opened his mouth that this would be their first and last date. He disliked the Clash and offended Jess; he had written his own death sentence.

Later that night, when she gets home from their date, Clash is still blasting through the small apartment. He's still mad at her and she wouldn't be surprised if he had heard her earlier conversation with Todd. That must have gotten him even madder. She knows tonight they won't meet, thought she feels cold and aches for his touch. Tonight he doesn't want to touch her.

She lets the lyrics get into her mind while she quietly cries on her pillow. There are many things that she regrets; some in the past, but most of all she regrets the things she's doing now. But she can't help it so she sobs on her pillow because she's miserable and she can only blame herself. She knows he has made a lot of mistakes, but he's tried to repair them; he came back. Now she is making all the mistakes and she doesn't know how to make things better; she doesn't know how to forgive, nor how to apologize. The question is for how long he'll take all this crap from her. He is right in the next room. There is supposed to be just a thin wall between them, but there is also a thousand miles separating them.