Title: Fixed Determinence
Chapter 1: One in a Million
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: I started writing mid season six, right as Rory was going back to Yale. So some of the things in season seven exist in this world, but I definitely left some of that stuff out (i.e. Lorelai + Christopher getting married; Lane + Zach marriage/kids; and Rory/Logan played out differently here).
One in a Million
Rory Gilmore sat idly in front of her computer screen one Wednesday afternoon. She needed to write an article for a fast approaching deadline, but no words found their way to the page. Instead she sat looking at the blank document, willing the article to write itself. She knew she had a large stack of work to tackle, but the thought of it all made her want to quit her job and drive away. It was a beautiful, cool spring day out and she was caged inside her office. She shivered a bit at the cold. The building was cold, not just in temperature; it had a steely manner about it. She made a mental note to wear a sweater tomorrow; or maybe she could ask her boss to turn the heat up. As if he would really care about her comfort. At one point in time he may have cared about her, but not any more. It was just as well, Rory thought; she didn't really want to go out of her way to talk to that man anyway.
March 24, 2010. The day's date was as far as she had gotten on her article before she decided to hit save and shut down her computer. It was clear that she would not be completing that task in her current state of mind. She cleared off her desk and walked out the door, locking it on her way out. She opted for the stairs instead of the elevator, thinking to herself that if she was going to be lazy in her office she shouldn't be lazy when she was cutting out early.
"Leaving already Miss Gilmore?" asked the parking attendant.
"Yeah, I was having writer's block and didn't want to waste this pretty day cooped up in my office. I don't even have a window in there! It's really quite oppressive. But you park cars all day in a dimly lit garage, so I'll stop complaining now."
"It's alright; I get to drive all your colleagues' cars. And you and I know how some of them like to live in luxury."
"Yeah, they can be a bit extravagant. I'm still driving the car my grandparents gave me when I started college. I'm thinking about buying a new one, though. I think it's time for something to change in my life. Why not start with a new set of wheels?"
"What kind are you thinking of getting?"
"I don't know, maybe I should let you pick it out, you do see it more than I do."
"Well I'll have to think about that," he laughed. "Here comes Pete with your car now."
"See you tomorrow." Rory waved and gave a smile.
"Bye Miss Gilmore."
Rory climbed into her car and let Pete shut the door for her. Before she drove out she sifted through her CD collection and picked out Queen's Greatest Hits. Killer Queen had been stuck in her head all day, and the only remedy was to listen to it and sing along. She pulled out of the parking garage and her car was instantly showered with the sun's light. She put on her sunglasses and rolled down the windows. Rory loved days like these, days when she could take the scenic route home and sing along with the radio. Spring had always been her favorite season. She kept this fact from Lorelai, as her mother's favorite season was winter. Rory liked snow just as much as the next person, but spring was when the world came alive. Flowers bloomed, birds chirped, bees buzzed, the air was warm, and life was all around.
Rory was so caught up in her musings while singing along with Somebody to Love that she failed to notice that the driver of the car in front of her had decided to stop at the yellow light. Rory thought that they were both going to make the light and hadn't bothered to slow down; she slammed on her breaks in an attempt to stop. Her tires squealed spectacularly and she smashed into the car in front of her. She hit it with enough force that her air bags inflated in her face and her seat belt pulled her back to her seat.
"So much for my perfect spring afternoon," she muttered to herself as she crawled out of the car to assess the damage. She was definitely going to need a new car now. She was about to pull out her cell phone and call for a tow truck when she heard a voice and looked up.
"I already called for help," the person said as he approached her. Rory was now staring at the strangely familiar blonde man, trying to place him. He walked up to her and her jaw dropped.
"Tristan?" she said incredulously.
"You look a little familiar," he said, looking perplexed. "Please don't tell me I broke your heart back in high school or something."
"Don't flatter yourself; I never let you get close enough to my heart to break it."
At those words recognition dawned on him.
"Mary? From Chilton?" he asked with a growing smile.
"The name's Rory," she corrected, pretending to be angry. "But I guess you can call me Mary if it helps you get through the night."
"You can help me get through the night any time you like," he leered. "Whoa, I think I just opened the door to nine years ago. But I'm back now."
"That's a relief. I would hate for all of these people driving by to see us yelling at each other like a couple of sixteen year olds."
"And besides, what would we talk about at dinner if we hash it all out now?" he asked her innocently, the wheels in his head turning.
"Exactly. Wait, what dinner? I remember hitting a car and getting a blast from the past, but I don't remember any dinner plans."
"Mary, you maimed my car when you failed to yield at the yellow light, and now you owe me. Technically you owe me for the damages done to my car, but I think you'll have your hands full with your own. So, being the clever fellow that I am, I thought of the perfect compromise: dinner. With me. I knew I'd get you in the end."
"You're blackmailing me, Tristan?" she asked in confusion.
"It wasn't on my list of things to do today, but it looks like it," he answered and gave her a cunning grin.
"I think you've hit an all time low, Tristan. But if I have no choice in the matter then I guess I won't argue."
"What?" he asked, surprised by his easy victory.
"Sure, why not? We're adults; I think I could handle one night with you."
"Oh, you just wait Rory, you'll succumb to my charm and you'll be begging for another rendezvous before the night is over."
"What do you think the chances are of that seriously happening?"
"About one in a million," he answered in a serious tone. "But I'm ok with those odds."
They exchanged phone numbers and Rory gave Tristan the address to her apartment so he could pick her up on Saturday night. Both were wondering how they had ended up in this situation in the first place. As Tristan was telling Rory to be ready by seven o'clock sharp, the tow truck had arrived, as well as the police. As the police officer was walking up to Rory to ask her some questions, Tristan started to walk away backwards towards his car with his hands in his pockets, still looking Rory in the eyes.
"You will be mine, Gilmore. Oh yes, you will be mine," he promised with a sly grin and then turned around to tend to his car.
"Dragonfly Inn, how can I help you?"
"Uh, Mom? I called the house, not the Dragonfly."
"Sorry, Michel was out sick today so I had to take phone calls all day. I now understand why Michel is the way he is. People really are ignorant sometimes. Maybe I ought to be more sympathetic with him," Lorelai pondered.
"I'm sure you'll give him a big smile the next time he gets on your last nerve," Rory said.
"Or, I won't tell him that I have walked in his shoes and he'll be none the wiser."
"Thanks. So did you make this call for business or for pleasure?" Lorelai asked her daughter.
"I'm not sure which category blackmail falls into."
"Are you the blackmailer or the blackmailee?" Lorelai asked.
"Blackmailee. I got into a bit of an accident and—," Rory started before she got cut off.
"Accident? Are you all right? Do you need me to come take care of you? Do you need anything at all?"
"Mom, calm down, I'm fine. I left unscathed. My car however, did not. I will need a new one if I plan to get to work on time in the future."
"So where does blackmail fall into all of this?"
"I rear ended someone I used to know. And instead of paying for the damages he's letting me off the hook in trade for a date," Rory explained.
"Who did you used to know? Come on Rory, quit being cryptic and give me the skinny."
"Tristan DuGrey, Tristan DuGrey. I almost remember the name. Refresh my memory as to who he is."
"He's the Tristan that called me Mary at Chilton. The Tristan that Paris had a crush on for years. The Tristan I kissed when I was broken up with Dean. The Romeo that left my Juliet."
"Oh, that Tristan DuGrey. I remember now, thanks for the recap. This means that the real question here is: Is he man pretty?" Lorelai asked in a serious voice.
"Man pretty? What exactly is man pretty?"
"Oh come on Rory, is the boy good looking or not?"
"He isn't horrible to look at," Rory admitted.
"All right, so what's the problem then?"
"What do you wear to a blackmail date? Who pays? I mean, he's arranging everything, but I did hit his car. Do we kiss at the end of the evening? Is this going to be a one time thing, or will there be more dates? Wait, he never even said the word date. Is it a date if he never really called it one? I mean, he did give me a determined look and said that I would be his," Rory rambled.
"Whoa. Slow the boat down a notch. Rory, listen to me, inhale. Now exhale. Maybe even count to ten, if that helps. You are making way too big of a deal out of this. Maybe he just wants to catch up with an old acquaintance. Wear something nice, but not too slutty. If he's doing the planning, then I think he should pay for it. Kiss him if you want, that's not my business, although Emily Post or Miss Manners or someone just as irritating would say to wait for the third date. And what was your last question again? Oh yeah, more dates usually depends on the quality of the first. Did that help you out at all?"
"Yeah, thanks Mom. I'm just a little nervous. I haven't gone on a first date in a long time. Not that this is one, or that I want it to be. I just forgot what it felt like."
"Well, what are mothers for?" asked Lorelai.
"I'll talk to you later mom. Love you."
"Love you too, bye."