Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls…so sad!
Tristin sighed as he let his back fall against the wall behind him. He brought a hand up to his hair, letting his fingers run through the blonde mess, making it stick up in all directions. He couldn't believe he was at another one of these parties. He let his blue eyes, almost hidden behind the simple and elegant black mask on his face, scan over the crowds around him. It was always the same people. The same arrogant, blue blooded, fake people who pasted impossibly fake smiles on their faces while running calculating eyes over everyone else.
Tristin had only found a sliver of happiness when he'd figured out the ball was at the Gilmore's. Maybe she would be there? The thought had kept his parents from having to drag him, kicking and screaming, to the event. She was the only thing that could seem to bring him happiness lately.
He let his eyes rest longer on every girl with brown hair or blue eyes, hoping it was her. He couldn't help but feel even more disappointment when he realized it had been an hour already and she still hadn't shown up. His eyes did slide over to the rough figure of Pairs Gellar, sitting at one the tables with her mother. He quickly brought his hand up to his mouth, nervously grabbing his chin and turning towards the stairs, hoping she wouldn't come over to him. Paris was still slightly bitter about Rory setting them up together…
Tristin was just about to see if he could clip out of the ballroom without his parents noticing when he happened to let his gaze sweep up to the top of the stairs and his breath caught. He brought a hand up and let it grip the pillar at the end of the stairs as he watched her walk to the railing and peer down. He almost felt like he'd been punched in the stomach when she turned back and started walking down the stairs towards him.
She was a vision in red, her creamy skin wrapped gloriously in the darker material. He swallowed against the lump in his throat and let his eyes trail over her form, slowly committing her to memory, so he would always have this picture in his mind.
He wasn't sure if it was actually her at first but when she got close enough so that he could look into her eyes he wasn't mistaken. Her blue eyes were colour of a clear summer sky and were shining brilliantly. She looked over the room in awe and Tristin couldn't help but follow her gaze, wanting nothing more then to see everything from her point of view.
He watched her as her lips quirked into a small smile and then she walked over to where Richard and Emily were standing, greeting people as they came into the ballroom. He couldn't take his eyes off of her and decided that he would have to talk to her tonight.
He silently walked closer to where she was standing, getting introduced to couples by her grandparents who were literally beaming with pride. He could swear that she was the bell of the ball, already her presence standing out against the others.
Tristin watched with avid interest as her grandparents walked over to the bar in the corner and Rory was alone for the first time that night. He quickly stood straighter, running the palms of his hands down his black jacket and grabbed two champagne flutes from a passing waiter.
- - -
"Why, good evening Mary," a deep, husky voice whispered in Rory's ear and she couldn't stop trembles from running down her spine before she turned around.
Her blue eyes instantly focused on Tristin, standing behind her with a charming smile on his face and holding out a flute of champagne to her. Rory couldn't stop her gaze from falling from his face and taking in his perfectly fitting black suit, two buttons of the white shirt underneath opened and exposing the skin of his collarbone.
"Like what you see?" his voice once again cut into her thoughts and her cheeks instantly flamed up but she accepted the drink from him, although having no intention to actually drink it.
"What are you doing here Tristin?" Rory asked, choosing to ignore his comment. She brought her eyes back up to meet his, the black mask making them stand out even more, like two sapphires in the night sky.
"It's a party, Mary," he informed as if she didn't already know and Rory rolled her eyes.
"I guess I should have known you would be here," Rory said although she was talking more to herself then to him, remembering when her grandmother had said it was the event of her year and 'everybody who was anybody' would be there.
"You know, you don't seem too happy to see me," Tristin commented, a smirk sliding onto his features.
Rory grinned, "Wow, nothing gets past you, huh?" she asked rhetorically, not being able to hide the amused smile that was threatening her features.
"Ah, Mary you wound me!" he cried, dramatically clutching at his chest with his free hand. "I thought we were friends," he exclaimed, pouting slightly and Rory cursed her heart for speeding up automatically.
"You're crazy," she told him smiling and watching curiously as his striking blue eyes seemed to come to life, twinkling with laughter.
"You should know that by now," Tristin said and stuffed his hand inside his pocket, tilting his head to the side and watching her intently, making Rory feel more self conscious then ever before and she nervously picked at her dress.
"So?" she asked, cursing herself for having nothing more intelligent to say.
Tristin grinned, "Speechless already," he commented dryly, bringing his fingers up and blowing on them before wiping them on his jacket. "That might be a new record for me."
Rory rolled her eyes at his arrogance but couldn't stop the nagging thought in her mind that was telling her she was having a much better time since he came over to her. She didn't want to think about that though…it was just Tristin. They weren't really even friends, just friendly…acquaintances really.
"Rory?" Tristin's questioning voice broke through her thoughts again and she couldn't help but frown at the sound of her name passing through his lips. For some reason she couldn't understand, him calling her Rory seemed wrong. No matter how much she complained about Mary, the name really didn't bother her anymore…she kind of even like him having a nickname for her.
"Yeah?" she asked distractedly, her frown intensifying at the last thought she'd had. It was true; she'd just never admitted it to herself.
"I was just asking if you were going to drink that?" he asked again, only in a slower tone this time and gestured at the glass in her hand.
Rory looked into his eyes, seeing the briefest flash of concern in the blue depths before it was gone and she had to really ask herself if it had been there in the first place. She quickly averted her gaze and glanced down at the champagne. She couldn't help but consider drinking it, thinking it might help clear her mind and settle her thoughts for the time being.
"Why not?" she asked him, holding the glass up and secretly enjoying the slight shock on his face.
"Okay," Tristin started slowly and also brought his glass up, "Mary, how about a toast?" he asked gallantly.
Rory smiled sweetly. "To what?"
"To being friends?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
Rory's smile faltered a tiny bit, a sense of disappointment moving through her that she didn't understand. She eagerly raised her glass and gently knocked it with his, letting the bubbly liquid slip down her throat. She closed her eyes briefly, hoping whatever was wrong with her that night would go away soon, or she might be in some serious trouble later on.
Rory was just about to say something, hoping to occupy her mind on something entirely different from where her thoughts were leading her, but she suddenly felt a warm hand on her shoulder and turned around to see her grandmother behind her.
"Rory, darling, I see you've made a friend," Emily said and Rory had to fight to not roll her eyes as her grandmother was practically beaming.
"Grandma this is Tristin Dugrey, we go to Chilton together," Rory introduced, although she was positive that her grandmother knew who he was.
"Of course, of course," she exclaimed and moved closer to Tristin who had a polite smile on his face. "Good evening, Tristin."
"Good evening, Emily," he returned the greeting and accepted the hand that she held out to him. "May I just say that you look absolutely gorgeous this evening," he told her, kissing her hand briefly.
Rory raised an eyebrow at his words and almost laughed aloud as she saw her grandmother was actually blushing a little bit. Rory shared a secret smile with Tristin while Emily turned away from them for a moment.
"Well Emily, I would ask for a dance," Tristin continued, once again grabbing the attention of both Gilmore Girls, "but I'm afraid we might make Richard jealous."
Emily laughed, "My goodness boy, you do know how to flatter a lady, don't you!" she commented happily. Rory smiled even more but then froze when she saw the mischievous twinkle in her grandmother's eyes. "Well, if not me then how about Rory? Why don't you give her a twirl on the dance floor?"
"Grandma!" Rory hissed and couldn't stop the panicked looked coming into her eyes.
"Now Rory, you're no longer attached," Emily declared and Rory's mouth fell open slightly and she quickly averted her gaze from Tristin, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. "I think it's a fine idea."
"Well it's up to Rory," Tristin said and Rory instantly brought her gaze back to him. She could almost swear she saw hope swimming in his oh so blue eyes. She couldn't wrap her mind around what was happening. When did she become so good at reading Tristin? When did her feelings shift so much that she now actually wanted to feel what it would like to be wrapped in his arms?
Rory shook her head a little and looked between Tristin and her grandmother and sighed. "Sure, one dance sounds good," she answered and smiled at the look of pure happiness on her grandmothers face.
Rory felt her hand suddenly become enveloped in heat and she looked down to see Tristin's larger hand grabbing it. She blushed at her reaction and was glad when he started to lead her to the dance floor, walking slightly in front of her a little. Rory couldn't bring her gaze away from his hand, couldn't concentrate on anything other than the electricity shooting up her arm because of his skin on hers.
As they came to a stop in the middle of the dance floor Rory nervously let her eyes connect with his for a second before she lowered them back down. She felt his other hand cup her chin, gently lifting her head again and completely melted when he shot her a half smile. She couldn't help but need to return his smile and brought her hands up to his chest, feeling the strong muscles even through his suit and it made her head swim a little.
Rory blushed even more as he let his hands rest on her hips and pull her closer to him as they both started to move together. Rory bit at her bottom lip, sliding her hands up from his chest to his broad shoulders and gripping them tightly. She was almost able to get herself under control when she suddenly felt him lean in, her head instantly swimming with the scent of his aftershave and his hot breath on her skin making her heart stop.
"It seems we have an audience, Mary," he whispered into her ear and Rory bit her lip hard to stop herself from sighing in pleasure.
She hesitantly brought her head back so their eyes could meet. He jerked his head to the side and Rory followed the motion and saw her grandparents huddled at the side of the dance floor with another younger couple.
"That's my parents they're with," he told her and Rory couldn't stop the laugh from escaping past her lips.
"You wanna bet they're planning a wedding?" she asked teasingly, feeling largely more comfortable with the situation.
"A wedding, our kid's names and where we're going to live," Tristin added dryly, annoyance flickering into his eyes and before Rory knew what she was doing her hand was lying against his cheek and he was looking at her, startled.
"It's no big deal, you know," she advised, not thinking it capable to look away from his intense gaze. "So they talk."
Tristin was utterly silent for a moment and Rory started to feel very uncomfortable and lowered her hand, the palm of her hand still prickling with heat from the contact between them but she ignored it.
"You really are something, Mary," Tristin whispered and Rory almost had to strain to hear him. Although she could tell with one look in his eyes that he was being completely serious and genuine and her cheeks flushed red, almost matching her dress perfectly.
They continued to dance together for the remainder of the song, Tristin's arms tightening their grip on her waist and Rory laying her head in the crook of his neck, while letting her hands splay across the planes of his back. When the song did end Rory was saddened to leave his embrace but let him lead them in the safer direction that was the opposite side of the ballroom than their families.
The two of them quickly found an empty table in the ballroom and sat down beside each other. Rory smiled at him as she folded her hands in her lap, feeling the awkward tension between the two of them.
"So you're not attached anymore Mary?" Tristin suddenly asked and Rory's eyes flew to his as her cheeks heated up. "What happened to the bagboy?"
Rory sighed, "Dean and I broke up, about two months ago," she told him, not meeting his eyes as she felt slightly embarrassed.
"Rory?" Tristin asked his tone questioning and when Rory met his eyes with her own she was surprised to see a flash of concern in them.
"I'm fine about it really," she assured him and brought her hand up to the table and laid it half on top of his, feeling a slight tingling sensation from the contact. "I just wish my grandmother hadn't announced it so…openly."
Tristin grinned, "Maybe you are but I'm glad she did."
"You are?" Rory asked him with a raised eyebrow.
Tristin just stared into her eyes for a moment before he smirked and shook his head, running a hand through his hair. He pushed his chair back from the table and bent down slightly directly in front of Rory.
"Come with me?" he asked and held out his hand in a simple gesture.
Rory felt like all the air had been sucked out of her lungs and she melted. He was looking at her through down turned eyes, letting her see how long his eye lashes actually were. His eyes had turned midnight blue and all Rory could do was slip her hand into his.
Rory briefly caught sight of her grandmother and Tristin's mother standing a little ways away, giggling like schoolgirls almost. She sighed, wondering what kind of inquisition she would get from her after the ball was over. But she decided to push that thought to the back of her mind as she walked up the grand staircase and out into the hallway.
"Where are we going?" Rory asked curiously, excitement shining in her eyes.
"Trust me Mary," was all he said and then squeezed her hand that was still clasped in his.
Rory shook her head but let him lead her through the house and down to the foyer. She watched as he opened up the closet and grabbed his coat off a racket. Rory smiled nervously and grabbed her own coat, gently slipping off her mask and laying it next to his on the small table next to them.
The two of them slowly walked out the front door, the December night cold and bitter. Rory let her hands slip further into her coat, hiding them from the chill and then curled her arms around her waist. She couldn't help but notice how beautiful the house looked that night. Everything was especially lit up, not only with Christmas lights but with soft white lights that lined the walkway.
"You to cold?" Tristin asked and Rory felt his hand press against the small of her back, the tiny action warming her more then she thought possible.
Rory shook her head with a small smile highlighting her features. She knew without a doubt that if she had the choice between sitting inside the wonderfully heated room, and being out in the bitter cold with Tristin, she would pick the latter every time. She couldn't help the giddy feeling that arose inside as she watched him walk beside her, his hand still on her back and his cheeks turning red from the sharp cold.
"What?" he asked smirking as he knew she'd been staring at him.
"Nothing," Rory answered innocently smiling even more.
She'd hated talking to him when she first met him but something changed quickly. Rory blushed as she finally admitted to herself that ever since then she'd been afraid to like him. She wasn't supposed to like him, wasn't supposed to think about him, and wasn't supposed to wish he was around when he wasn't. But she could never help but think about him sometimes, wonder about where he was and what he was doing. Just like she couldn't help but let herself fall for him…at least now she wasn't afraid to admit it.
"So…" Rory started, her voice interrupting the comfortable silence that had drifted over them. "What did you do for Christmas?" she asked.
Tristin looked at her for a moment before he shook his head. "Nothing exciting, Mary just family obligations," he told her quickly, not wanting to ruin the so far perfect night with talk of his parents. "What about you?"
Rory smiled wide, "My mom and I had regular Christmas Eve party," she told him.
"Mary threw a party!" he repeated in a mock shocked tone and held a hand to his heart making Rory smack his arm.
"Yes," she said indignantly and stuck her tongue out at him before she could think about what she was doing. "And you haven't been to a real party before you've come to one of my mom's."
Tristin took a second to answer her and Rory watched as he raised his eyes back to hers, making her wonder what he'd been thinking about as his eyes had darkened a tad.
"Well maybe I'll have to come to your next party then," he announced.
"Maybe you will," Rory said and smirked at his shocked looked before she led him over to a small bench, as they'd by now walked all the way to the back of the house.
They both sat down quietly, their bodies so close their arms kept brushing against each others. Rory couldn't stop her cheeks from flaming up and quickly averted her eyes, not knowing what to do all of a sudden.
"Rory," Tristin called her and Rory looked back over at him, feeling like she was being drawn closer to him by the soft look in his beautiful blue eyes.
"Yeah," she said, cursing her voice for coming out breathy and hopeful.
Rory almost couldn't contain herself as she watched his gaze switch down to her mouth before coming back to her eyes, a silent question burning deep inside them. She swallowed, her throat suddenly going completely dry and her heart pounding so hard she was sure he could hear it.
Rory slowly let her eyes flutter closed and sighed in pleasure as she felt his lips capture hers, his hand tangling in her hair. Rory brought her hand up and gripped his shoulders, holding herself close to him as she felt something like fireworks exploding inside her.
They slowly pulled away but Tristin let his forehead rest against hers, both their eyes still closed and their breathing ragged.
After a moment Rory opened her eyes and stared directly into his. She smiled nervously, biting her bottom lip and feeling her cheeks heat up a little bit. She watched as a real smile flitted across his face, his eyes lighting up and she couldn't stop herself from kissing him again.
She was kissing Tristin Dugrey…
And it was just like she'd imagined…
- - -
Author's Note: Sorry…very sorry for not getting this out in time. I was ready to finish it and have it out on New Years Eve but I actually ended up spending the night and the day after in the hospital…(A quick reminder to everyone reading this to remember to drink responsibly!) Anyway I got this done and out as soon as I could.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed! I was completely shocked at the amount of people who liked the story! You guys are so amazing! Please review the last chapter and tell me if you liked it!