WHAT IT IS: Trory. Set junior year of Yale. (would be season 6) Rory heads out on a semester abroad to London. Bit o'Java Junkie, 'cause I can't seem to help it. On the fluffier side than my last Trory venture. :)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters or the show, or anything. I'm just a crazy fan. I hear voices and everything!
Suitcases lined the inner hallway to the house, like a mini-barricade to their front door. She looked around, saddened, but excited for her daughter at the same time. Letting out a small sigh, she decided it was time to show off her displeasure at not seeing her only child at all for the next four months.
"What?" Rory stuck her head out of her bedroom, looking at her mother quizzically.
"Why London? I mean, if you're going to study abroad, don't you want to go somewhere romantic, like Paris or Barcelona, or somewhere really scenic, like Germany?"
"Well, you have to pass a fluency test to get into all the other programs, and all I speak fluently is English," she said before her head disappeared back into her bedroom as she finished packing her last suitcase.
"That's not true! You know how to proposition Antonio Banderas in at least six languages! And you took other languages in high school," Lorelai said, moving down the hall to peer into the should-be empty bedroom. She had no idea where Rory had amassed a need to have all of her worldly possessions near her, or the possessions themselves.
"Yeah, but to be fluent, you have to be exposed to those languages by like age six or something."
"So, you're saying it's just my own damn fault," Lorelai smiled.
"Sorry. I should have been screaming at you in German when you were a baby. I know that for next time."
"Speaking of next time, is Luke going to be living here by the time I get back?" she raised a curious eyebrow at her mother.
"What? Doubtful," she scoffed. Rory shook her head at her, and sat on her suitcase.
Lorelai moved to secure the tote. "You know, you should probably put some of this stuff in another bag."
"I'm out of bags."
"You're out of bags? Are you even coming back? This is a lot of stuff," Lorelai asked sadly.
"Yes, I'm coming back. It's just a semester abroad. I've always wanted to do this."
"And you just happen to have the perfect excuse," Lorelai added, pointedly.
"I'm not running away. I'm having an adventure," she said in an upbeat fashion.
"You really are my kid."
"Mom, back to Luke, please."
"What about him? The deed on the house says Gilmore. Unless my name changes, the tenants of this house won't either."
"You two are doing well now," Rory pointed out.
"We are. We are doing well in our separate houses."
"It wouldn't be so bad," Rory shrugged.
"I'm not saying it would be bad at all. Just quick. We don't move quickly around here. It upsets the natives," she winked.
"So, the wedding's in what, ten years?"
"Shouldn't you be getting to the airport?"
"Now you want me gone," she rolled her eyes, picking up her last suitcase to place it with the others. She had to heft it up, as it was bursting at the seams.
"That doesn't have your underwear in it, does it?"
"Just trying to protect my offspring from potential embarrassment. Let's get this stuff into the car."
The two heaved and pulled the bags into the Jeep, Lorelai now sorry that not only had she turned down Luke's offer to come over and help, but his offer to borrow his truck as well. Rory had packed her whole life away, taking it all to London. She claimed she just didn't want to be too homesick, and her belongings would help ease the transition. Lorelai wasn't going to argue with her about it, she knew she'd had a hard couple of months and was nervous enough about going.
"Well, this is it. You ready?" she smiled, turning to face Rory, who'd just climbed into the passenger seat.
"Ready as I'll ever be."
She made a motion to the radio, and Rory smiled. "I get to pick whatever I want?"
"No Spice Girls, but yes, anything else."
"Party pooper," she said, moving her hand under the seat to see what gems she could unearth. Her mother had the strangest hiding places for her guilty pleasure personal items, and Rory knew almost every single one of them. CD's under the car seat, movies under the couch, chocolate covered coffee beans in a lampshade that she never used much on her dresser, as opposed to the one by her bed that might get too hot and melt the chocolately goodness.
She was going to miss her mother and all her quirky ways, but she knew that this time alone would be good for Lorelai and Luke. Her mother had put her life on hold for so many years, to take care of her and this time was truly hers. Her business was practically running itself, and now she and Luke could just be together. Rory had never seen her mother so happy.
"Simon and Garfunkel? Really?"
"Hey, they had some good tunes."
Rory raised an eyebrow and read over the song titles. She recognized a few titles. It seemed to be a greatest hits collection of some sort. She saw a song called 'Bookends,' and popped it in, intrigued.
The song came on, and they listened for a few moments. The lyrics ran on about old friends and times shared. Looking back on life together and it seemed so bittersweet, like they were coming to an end of their time together. Lorelai hit the radio button, turning off the CD immediately. 'Tubthumping' came blaring over the speakers, the volume having been turned up for the prior softer track. Lorelai fumbled to turn it down immediately.
"I'm good. Really, see, smiling."
"You don't have to go, if you don't feel like it."
"Mom, I had to beg to get in at the last minute."
"I know, but if it's going to be too much for you," Lorelai insisted.
"I've broken up with boyfriends before. He's no different, I just have to move on."
"He was a little different."
"I can't dwell on this."
"Okay, whatever you want. Just, call me, if you need anything," she offered, knowing she'd be helpless to offer anything else.
"I always do," Rory forced a smile at her mother. Her breakup with Logan Huntzberger just two weeks ago was more than fresh in her mind, but if she were honest, it was a long time coming. She would have had to give up more than she was willing to lose if she'd stayed with him, molding herself into a life that she didn't want. His family expected certain things of any woman by his side, and she wanted more for herself. She tried to ignore it as long as she could, but as the opportunity for her to travel overseas to study began to slip away from her, she could take it no longer. It nagged at her, until finally she told him she needed a break. He insisted they just promise not to write the other off, but that she take the time she needed. He didn't want to give up on this.
After a tearful goodbye and lots of last minute hugs at the security gate, Lorelai stood waving to Rory as she moved to walk down the concourse. She boarded her plane when they called for her row, and now looked out the window of the plane, ignoring the book that she'd pulled out to keep her occupied on the long flight. Tears welled up in her eyes momentarily, thinking of the enormity of leaving the country and being completely on her own for the first time in her whole life. She wondered if it was too much to handle right now. She knew it would be a great experience, one that she would never forget. She just hoped it was worth everything she was leaving behind.
It was scary, now that she was finally at the age where all her dreams were coming true. She'd never dreamed of the things she'd have to give up or put off to obtain these things, she's just pictured herself happily running towards her goals. All she needed right now was a bit of courage and a couple of deep breaths. Tonight she'd be going to bed in London, safe in her dorm room. She would wake up tomorrow living her dreams. The thought calmed her enough to open her book and began to read as the plane took off towards England.
Heathrow Airport was loud, bustling with end of summer travelers. She'd been there once before, luckily, and was glad to know her way around. She had the address to her dormitory in her hand, at the ready as soon as she could find a cab. She was most definitely in need of a nap and a proper surface on which to rest. Her legs ached from the cramped space of coach, and had considered it a miracle to find an empty luggage cart to assist her at baggage claim. She hadn't thought out this bringing her whole life with her thing carefully. But then again, she'd never traveled alone. She was learning, she decided, as a cab pulled up for her, and the driver got out to load bags into the back.
"Lots of luggage, Miss," he said, a soft English accent in his voice.
"Sorry," she said, moving to help him.
She nodded. "For school."
"Excellent. Where can I drop you?"
She smiled and read off the address after they climbed back into the car. He asked if she'd like the scenic route, but she replied that it was okay, she'd been here before and was just ready to take a nap. He nodded, abiding her word. They pulled up next to a double-decker bus, and she immediately thought of her first trip to London, with her mother and their 'adventure' atop one of the buses. She pulled out her cell phone, switching it on. She saw she had a message, but ignored it, figuring it had just been Lorelai anyhow. She dialed and waited.
"Hello?" came the sleepy voice.
"Oh, crap! Sorry!"
"Rory?" she yawned.
"I forgot, six hour time difference?"
"Something like that. How was your flight?" she yawned again.
"It was fine. Long, but fine."
"'s that Rory?" came a groggy voice in the background.
"Shh, yeah, go back to sleep," she soothed Luke.
"Tell Luke I'm sorry. I'll call back at a decent hour. I'm almost to my dorm anyway."
"Okay, Hon. I wanna hear all about it. Tomorrow," she added with another yawn.
Rory bid her a goodbye and shook her head. Obviously her mother had been asleep. She decided she better check her phone, it might be something about her course schedule. She had gotten into some journalism, literature, and astronomy classes for this semester, and she was wait listing a student internship at the BBC. She hoped it was good news about that.
"Rory, it's me. I know you said you need some time, but I miss you. I can come out there, and visit, just give me the word. I love you."
She bit her bottom lip, trying to forget his words. She couldn't just cave in on this, she needed to give London a chance to unfurl her thoughts. She needed to see where life was going to take her. If it took her back to Logan, that was one thing, but she wasn't going to be the one to run back. Not now.
"'Ere we are, Miss. Need some help with your bags?"
"That would be wonderful, thank you," she said, attempting not to let her voice wavier. Twenty minutes and a hefty tip later, she sat down on her sheet-less bed. All the rooms were singles in this building, and she was a bit disappointed, yet glad at the same time. It might be nice to have someone to share the experience with more intimately, but she honestly had never liked living with other girls in close quarters. A knock came at her door, and she moved to open it.
"Hey, you must be R. Gilmore?"
"Rory, yes," she nodded at the guy with the check list in his hands.
"Great. I'm Dan, your Floor Monitor. I'm just down the hall in 302. Call me anytime if you have any problems with anything, preferably during the day, though," he joked. She smiled and nodded. He handed her a piece of paper.
"That has emergency numbers on it, and a list of activities for this first 'getting to know you' week. Just like real college," he wiggled his eyebrows. "They figure it's a little freaky for everyone to be away in a new country, just like starting over at college was. What's your major?"
"Ah, we have a few of you on this floor. It's a co-ed floor, actually, all of the floors are co-ed. Something about Europe, they aren't as modest," he mumbled. "That means bathrooms are co-ed as well. We ask that everyone is respectful. We'll go over all this stuff at the meeting tonight. It's in the lounge down the hall."
She nodded, looking up from the paper. "Does this say it's a pajama party?"
"I thought it would be more fun. Bring pillows, popcorn, wear your best jammies. That kind of thing," he smiled.
She looked at him for a moment, trying to size him up.
"I'm not crazy or anything, I promise. Only one round of Bloody Mary."
She giggled. "Scaredy-cat," she admonished him.
"Oops, duty calls. See you at eight!"
She nodded, and looked on as Dan moved off down the hall and into another room, where the source of the voice had come from. She closed her door, and looked around, deciding she was getting a second wind, and went about unpacking some suitcases.
AN: No Tristan yet, but he's coming—next chapter I promise.