The Reigning Huntzberger

Chapter Nine: Rory Can See His Face.

Rory found herself stirring as the sweet scent of coffee began to reach her nostrils. She slowly opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was the clock. It was just after seven and as it was a Saturday she was free until eleven when she had to go to the Fairfield Eagle, so she closed her eyes again.

It was a few seconds later when it occurred to her she was on a bed, which as far as she remembered was not where she had fallen asleep and where was that coffee smell coming from? Maybe this was just a particularly vivid dream? Yes, that must be it, she thought, trying make herself comfortable for another few hours of sleep. Rolling over to lie of her other side she heard a small chuckle which made her frown, her eyes still closed. Finally realising that she was not still dreaming, she opened her eyes to see Logan lying on his side beside her in the bed, watching her with amusement.

"Good morning Ace."

She flung herself at him, closing the few centimetres between them, wrapping her arms tightly around him and burying her face in his neck. "I'm so happy to see you," she said, her words coming out muffled as she snuggled into him.

"Same here," smiled Logan.

"When did you get back?" asked Rory.

"A few hours ago. Colin rang me when you left their place last night to get ready before going out with them, he said you'd had a fight with your mom so I booked the next flight home. I came back here to drop off my things and found you asleep on my couch."

"You should have woke me," said Rory.

"I couldn't bring myself to, you look so adorable when you sleep," said Logan. "So I relocated you to the much more comfortable bed. You were out cold, didn't even stir. I didn't know what time you had to be in Fairfield for so I figured I'd put on some coffee and gently bring you out of your coma like state just in case."

"I'm not due at the paper until eleven."

"Sorry."

"Don't be, I'm just so happy to see you," said Rory. "So you flew all the way back here just because I had a fight with my mom?"

"Is that so crazy?" asked Logan, slightly afraid of her answer.

"Maybe, but it's good crazy and I've done much more crazy things, a lot more recently than you might think. I'm just grateful," she said.

"Well I was just waiting on an excuse to get back and I know you and your mom don't fight that often and when you do it's a pretty big deal so here I am," said Logan.

"Thank you," said Rory, kissing him, marvelling at the security and comfort of his embrace.

"So how about I go to the kitchen and pour you some coffee and you can talk about it if you want?" suggested Logan, who began to sit up to get out of the bed when Rory pulled him back down to her level.

"No, not yet, let's just stay here like this for a while longer," said Rory happily.

Smiling, Logan kissed her forehead, "Wow, being chosen over coffee, high compliment."

"The highest," said Rory, content lying beside him after all their days apart.

An hour later, Rory had finally allowed Logan to go to the kitchen to make a new batch of coffee as the first one had long gone cold and Rory had told him all about the fight with Lorelai. "I just got so frustrated with her," said Rory, "She was talking to me like I was like a teenager gone wild or something."

"Well I'm not exactly great with advice so the best I can do is just to tell you to get it over with and go talk to her rather than moping about here avoiding her for the next few days. Knowing you, you'll both apologise and five minutes later be talking about the latest E! True Hollywood Story," said Logan.

"I don't like it when you're not here," said Rory, feeling much better from just getting everything off her chest. Logan let her rant and ramble all she wanted and she needed that.

"Me neither."

"Good. So we are agreed you're never going to not be here again?"

"Well I can't exactly make that promise," chuckled Logan when Rory stuck out her bottom lip in a very successful pout. "So how about we get ready and go out for breakfast before class?"

"Sounds good," said Rory, getting up and taking a fresh change of clothes out of the drawer where she kept a few things at his place and laid them out on the bed.

"So by the way, why exactly were you wearing my favourite shirt?" he asked.

"Because you weren't here."

"Fair enough," said Logan with a smile as Rory headed for the shower.

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Taking a deep breath, Rory opened the door to the Gilmore household, worrying about what she was going to say to her mother. In retrospect the fight really had just spiralled out of control, Rory knew she had been overly sensitive and that she had changed a lot. Her interests were becoming more diverse, her lifestyle was more balanced, she was making new friends with the sort of people she looked down on somewhat in high school so naturally her mother had cause for concern.

She found Lorelai in the living room, the phone sitting in front of her and Rory could not help but grin, picturing the sight that had been playing out for at least ten minutes, were Lorelai would pick up the phone then put it down again. Then she'd take a deep breath, dial Rory's number but hang up before it started actually ringing and so on and so on. "Hi," said Rory meekly, causing Lorelai to turn around, a look of surprise on her face.

"Hey," she said, "I was just about to call you."

"I figured," smiled Rory, gesturing in the general direction of her phone, before allowing her arms to drop again and hang awkwardly by her side, unsure what to do with them.

"I've been feeling really bad about yesterday," started Lorelai, "I was just a bit concerned but I know I came on too strong cause you're right, you are a responsible kid, if I know anything about you it's that you wouldn't let your school stuff slide but I guess it's just difficult for me to accept sometimes that you are growing up and that you're not that shy sixteen year old you once were."

"No mom, I'm sorry, I over reacted, and you were right to be concerned, I mean I am branching out a bit more and you just wanted to make sure that things were OK with me and I swear they are," said Rory, taking a few steps closer to her mother and further into the room,

"Good, I'm glad to hear it," said Lorelai, genuinely relieved.

"It's just that I never got the attraction to that sort of lifestyle before," said Rory. "I thought it was just for the wasters, but now I realise it's actually a lot of fun, being able to let loose every once in a while. I mean all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and all that and well you've seen The Shining, you know that's not good."

"Yeah, I get what you mean and I definitely don't want you taking me away to some isolated hotel and coming at me with an axe, as much as I love snow I like occasional nice weather at least so that really isn't going to work out for me, I just want to make sure you get the balance right, you know?"

"I know, and I appreciate that. I'm just learning that sometimes going out and getting a little crazy with my friends can be just as enjoyable as curling up with a good book," said Rory.

"Well smack my ass and call me Sally, those are words I never thought I'd hear you say!" exclaimed Lorelai, an amused look mingled with genuine horror on her face as she teased her daughter. "Don't get me wrong and all, you know I was worried about you during your hermit, locked in your room constantly, days as well, I just don't want to see you on Girls Gone Wild anytime soon."

"I doubt there's any danger of that," laughed Rory, now standing in front of the sofa before sitting down beside Lorelai. "But speaking of, oh my God, did you see that new Tara Reid show on E!"

"Yes! Can you believe that now she's actually getting paid to get trashed and go to London or wherever?"

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Four weeks into the semester and Rory and Logan's lives were very much like the first week of the semester. Both were busy with school and work and finding it increasingly difficult to spend quality time together. Rory had kept on her job at the Fairfield Eagle, her professors were making sure that homework and research were taking up the vast majority of her free time and her supposed leisure time now consisted of writing articles for the Yale Daily News or doing much needed laundry.

Despite having to graduate this year for him to be able to work full time next year, Logan's duties for the Huntzberger Publishing Group had not lessened, in fact he was fairly sure he was going to more meetings than he had over the summer and at longer distances; why his father had ever felt the need to own a paper in South Africa, he would never know. As a result most of his courses he was learning through textbooks and he was doing his assignments on planes and trains and emailing them to his professors. None of them minded of course, they were so used to not seeing him in class anyway and actually receiving work from him was a pleasant new experience.

Walking though Yale one afternoon, Rory dialled Logan's number on her cell phone. "Hey Ace," he answered.

"Hey, was just wondering if you wanted to meet up for lunch today?"

"Sorry no can do, I have to video conference some guy in Japan during my lunch break, what about dinner?" he suggested.

"Can't I'm going to Stars Hollow to hang out with Lane tonight," said Rory. "The band have some new songs and they want to try out their new set on me. But I can call you later and we can try to make plans for tomorrow."

"Yeah that would be good," said Logan. "Hey where are your right now?"

"Heading for the paper, just passing the economics rooms," said Rory.

"Quick take a left now!" Logan said.

"But the paper is to the right," said Rory, confused.

"Ace!"

"OK, OK," said Rory, turning the next corridor to her left. "I know you don't like to spend time at the paper but I actually do."

"When you get to the end turn right."

"Where are you sending me?" asked Rory, doing as she was told.

"In my direction," said Logan. Rory grinned when Logan appeared around the corner and headed towards her. "Couldn't go the entire day without seeing you."

"Good to know," said Rory, before their lips met. Usually she would be firmly against such public displays of affection but recently she had failed to care. It was just so good to be spending any time together it did not particularly matter where they were. They finally broke apart a few minutes later and Logan glanced down at his watch. "Damn, I'm late for class, I'll call you later," he said quickly giving her another quick kiss before jogging off in the direction he came from.

Flushed, Rory quickly tried to fix her hair and readjust her clothes, deliberately ignoring the raised eyebrows and stares of the people around her as she headed back towards the paper with a large smile on her face.

This sort of event was becoming an increasingly common occurrence as they had less and less time for each other with their respective commitments growing and clashing school timetables and when they did see each other in passing moments they would both be overcome with everything they were feeling for each other which would result in very few actual conversations. If they ran into each other about Yale it was almost certain they would end up having a fumble in a closet or grope in a parking lot, only exchanging quick snippets of information while coming up for air. Any real communication was done mainly though cell phone conversations, emails or through Colin and Finn and so the couple were growing increasingly frustrated, in more than one way.

Later that day, Rory went into Luke's to wait for Lane to finish her shift and unsurprisingly Lorelai was there. "Rory!" she exclaimed. "I was just about to call you."

"Why?"

Lorelai looked at her in mild disbelief. "Why? Why? Rory, what day is it?"

"Wednesday."

"Wrong!"

"It's not Wednesday?" asked Rory. "I'm pretty sure it is, in fact I'm rather confident about it."

"No that's not what I meant," said Lorelai, slightly flustered.

"Then what did you mean? I don't really know how else, 'What day is it?' could have been interpreted other than you wanting to know what day it is."

"Hey, Rory, what day is it?" asked Lorelai loudly, wanting to get the conversation back to where she had intended it to be.

"Why I don't know, what day is it?" Rory played along.

"Well Rory I'm glad you asked, because today just so happens to be twenty one days until your twenty first birthday!" Lorelai exclaimed excitedly. Rory considered rolling her eyes but knew this would be a bad idea seeing how hyper her mother was so instead broke into a smile and gave a small, excited clap. "Wow, I suppose it is, that never even occurred to me."

"It never occurred to you that there's twenty one days until Atlantic City? Twenty one days to martinis? To playing twenty one while you turn twenty one, getting twenty one things and twenty one guys and, oh wait slight problem in the plans there," said Lorelai.

"What you mean the way Logan and Luke will probably be firmly against us hooking up with twenty one guys?" asked Rory.

"Yes, but meh, what they don't know won't hurt them," said Lorelai dismissively.

"Mom!"

"Rory I'm sorry but when I drew up this plan I was envisaging us as young, crazy, single women and while I was three quarters right there is no way I could have predicted us both in happy, committed relationships!" ranted Lorelai. "It just seems improbable."

"Improbable or not it's reality so we'll just have to alter our plans slightly," said Rory.

"Oooh! We could both start huge fights and break up with them just before the trip, go, get our Atlantic City groove on, come back remorseful and get back together!" suggested Lorelai, pleased with her solution.

"How about we just get twenty one guy's phone numbers instead?"

Lorelai made a small noise of contemplation while she considered this. "Less in the moment fun but more chance of long time happiness . . . interesting. You might be on to something. Sure it's no game of 'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one: he's yours!' but it will do."

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The next evening, Rory and Logan were both at his apartment, sitting across the table from each other, typing away on their laptops working on their articles for the Yale Daily News. They had set aside those two hours as their alone time but with their equally large work loads, both owed Paris their contributions for the paper and so their work had spilled over into their time together.

"There!" exclaimed Logan triumphantly, pressing the send button to forward his newly finished article to the newsroom server. "Now it is you who is preventing us from having some quality time."

"I'm doing the best I can!" protested Rory, biting her lower lip in concentration. "It's not fair that you are a freakishly fast typer. We're going to have to steal that Press hat from the newsroom for you if you keep this up. You could be the Smitty to my Ace."

Logan gave a chuckle, "It would be my pleasure, although I'm a few steps ahead of you, I swiped the hat last year, I think it ended up in Finn's room."

"Ah, never to be seen again!" commented Rory. "Then we'll just have to track down another one for you cause you have been on journalistic fire recently! Paris is overjoyed, or well as overjoyed as Paris can be."

"What? Did the corners of her mouth twitch and threaten to give a smile?"

"Not quite that drastic. But you have went from being at the top of her hit list to her good graces."

"I'll be honest, I never thought I'd see the day when Paris would find anything nice to say to me other than, 'God forbid anyone with hair that blond actually hand in their article on time,'" said Logan.

Rory raised a questioning eyebrow, "And you took that as nice?"

"Well it was better than 'Don't worry, at your funeral no one will be able to see the imprint of my license plate on your body.' Besides she complimented on the blondness of my hair, ignoring that she herself has blond hair."

"She's selective like that, " Rory admitted. "Well don't get me wrong she still dislikes you, just not quite as violently as she used to, which with Paris means she practically considers you a friend."

"Sweet Knights of Columbus!" exclaimed Logan. "Well then I'd better keep up this whole being a dependable journalist thing so as to stop the whole hit and run scenario."

"Yes please!" said Rory. "I like you in one piece. So your article is done and you have already finished all of your homework," she commented.

"So?"

"And the other day, Finn swore he caught you studying."

"Since when has Finn been a reliable source?" asked Logan, somewhat uncomfortably.

"You're maturing!" teased Rory, an amused smile on her face, the mischievous twinkle in her eye brightening.

"No I'm not!" protested Logan.

"You're responsible!"

"Stop that!"

"A good student, savvy businessman, practically an adult!" Rory continued mercilessly, enjoying watching him squirm.

"Take that back!"

"Nope!" Rory shook her head defiantly.

"Fine then, I won't tell you what I was thinking of doing for your birthday," bargained Logan.

"I take it back! Consider it withdrawn, you are the most immature, responsible, juvenile twenty three year old on the planet," said Rory.

"That's what I like to here," grinned Logan. "So I know your actual birthday is going to be spent in Atlantic City with Lorelai..."

"Yeah but I'll be back for the weekend then I'm all yours," Rory reminded him.

"About that..." said Logan. "I found out today that I have to go to San Francisco that weekend."

"But aren't you going there at the end of next week for like five days?"

"Yes but there's a lot of things that need sorting out, that's not important though, but anyway I was thinking that the weekend after that we could go to New York, stay in the Plaza for two, three nights, catch a show, maybe Wicked, I know how much you've wanted to see it, you downloaded all the music, do whatever you want."

"Whatever I want?" asked Rory, raising an eyebrow inquiringly.

"Of course."

"Well I know you're busy so yeah, that sounds great," said Rory, kissing him on the cheek.

"Good, I want you to have the best birthday week ever," said Logan.

"I'm sure I will," said Rory. He was trying so hard, she could not let him know how disappointed she was that they would not be doing anything that close to her birthday. What he had planned sounded fantastic, but knowing that they again would be apart even at her birthday, tainted it.

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It was now only a week until her twenty first birthday and Rory was making her way home for the weekend, away from the craziness of living with Paris and Doyle. Even her haven of Logan's apartment was no longer as comforting as it only reminded her that he wasn't there. "Mom, I'm home!" she called as he made her way into the living room with an armful of books and files.

"Hey hon, pizza is on its way," said Lorelai. "You look flustered."

"After the week I've had I wouldn't be surprised," said Rory, piling her books on to the coffee table before letting herself drop to the sofa.

"Let me guess," said Lorelai. "Heavy work load and you haven't seen Logan in a while."

"Am I that obvious?" asked Rory, frowning.

"No you have just encountered 'The Amazing Lorelai!' Once I buy myself a turban and a crystal ball I am all set," said Lorelai. "What can I say ever since you went back to school that has been your favourite tune."

Rory sighed, "Sorry I haven't been much fun recently. Anytime you've seen me I've either been doing laundry, studying or complaining about how long it has been since I've seen Logan, nine days by the way, or at Friday night dinner which I know you don't count as actual time spent together."

"Wow nine days, that's bad," said Lorelai sympathetically.

"Yep," said Rory nodding sadly. "But I'm not going to rant about it or get upset, I'm just going to accept that this is how things are. Logan is the head of a company and he has lots of responsibilities and meetings to attend and he can't always be here."

"So, you're not going to rant about it even a little bit?"

"Nope," said Rory determinedly, shaking her head in firm resolve. Lorelai gave her daughter a knowing look and counted to three in her head before Rory's rant started. 1 . . .2 . . 3 . . . "It's just that I hate that the mental and physical aspects of our relationship have become mutually exclusive!" Rory complained. "I can either talk with him or be with him, we never have the time for both, so when we are together we just want to be as close as we possibly can, which by the way is getting rather embarrassing, I'm banned from the library for pete's sake! Me! The library! My favourite place on campus!"

"Wait, how did you get banned from the library?" asked Lorelai, confused.

Rory gave her a pointed look, "Well the last time I ran into Logan while I was there, it had been a couple of days since we had seen each other and next thing I know we are in a deserted part of the library getting hot and heavy in the stacks. Anyway…we kind of… knocked over this rather large pile of books and the librarian came to see what had happened, found us in a rather dishevelled state and suspended us from the library for a month."

"Well at least you have a fun anecdote for Friday night dinner. Sorry, not funny, continue," she said having received a sharp glare from Rory.

"Logan of course was rather amused by the entire incident because that is what he does, he manages to see the brighter side of things, but I was just embarrassed not to mention that now I have to pay Paris five dollars to go to the library for me every time I need to get a book out. For the first time this relationship is actually costing me money rather than saving me some. You know until Logan became invisible guy I never realised just how much of my food he pays for. I feel like some sort of gold digger."

"Slow down there Kanye, breathe for a second, you might like it," suggested Lorelai.

"You know what else I might like? Being with my boyfriend! It feels like I'm in a long distance relationship, which I know I'm not really, but still, short distance relationships seem pretty good about now, minute distance relationships, relationships that have no concept of personal space, that's what I might like!" rambled Rory.

"Rory, hon, seriously, inhale...exhale...highly underrated..."

"And I hate what state it gets me in, I mean I know I ramble, I'm a rambler, but this is out of control!" said Rory, "And I'm frustrated and emotional and I think I'm about to cry over a boy!"

"Well honey, it wouldn't be the first time, sorry, not helping, I know," said Lorelai.

Giving in, Rory took some deep breaths in an attempt to compose herself, "I miss him."

"I know, but it will get better, I'm sure of it," said Lorelai comfortingly.

"I hope so, cause I don't know if I can take this much longer."

"Look I know that things aren't ideal at the moment but I don't like seeing you worked up like this."

"It's not exactly thrilling for me either," Rory quipped. "God just listen to me, I sound like some deranged lunatic."

"Actually, sweetie, I hate to break it to you but you sound like you're in love."

"Mom. . ."

"I know, I know, we've been here before, but this time I'm not saying it to tease you or for my own personal amusement, although let's be honest they are one in the same," admitted Lorelai, "But you are extremely emotionally involved, and I can't see you, or anyone for that matter, be this upset over someone that they weren't in love with."

"I-I-"

"Kid, I'm not looking for a declaration, I'm just saying think about it, figure out what's going on with you," said Lorelai.

"OK," said Rory quietly, nodding her head. "So what episode is this?"

"Ooh, it's the one where Donna, goes to bake an apple crumble, but then realises that they're out of apples! Much hilarity ensues!"

The Gilmore girls watched the rest of the episode in silence, Rory not really taking it in, although as usual there was not much to actually take in, instead getting lost in her own thoughts and feelings. As the credits rolled and Lorelai started flicking through the channels, Rory knew.

"Mom?"

"Yeah?"

"I love him."

Lorelai smiled. "I know hon."