Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls. Lo siento.
A/N: Alright, so I said that I finished Hotel Paper. And I did. It is complete. This is a companion. Not a sequel, because that says that whatever happens in this story is definitely what happens after Hotel Paper. In my opinion a companion is more optional. Hotel Paper can stand alone, or, if you were unhappy with the ending (like many of you were) than this is a continuation.
Why write more when I loved my ending? You guys guilted me into it. I got so many reviews from angry readers who felt that my story wasted their time, and that made me sad. I don't like to waste people's time, I like my stories to matter. So, although I am fond of the way Hotel Paper, I also like this idea as a close second.
So here you go. And although I was unaware of the unwritten law that apparently states that saying TRORY means it will end a Trory, I used the term. I apologize. I always thought that the term just summed up the central relationship. Oops.
This will end a TRORY. I promise to you all.
I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter One: Like a Penguin out of Ice
Tristan looked at his watch. It was already seven twenty-eight, and no one had come looking for him. He looked up into the evening sky, but it was still bright; the summer sun would not set for another hour or so. The June bugs had already started chirping, reminding Tristan how still and humid the evening was. He loosened his bow tie.
At seven thirty-two he jumped off of the stone wall he had been sitting on and walked down a small dirt path that he knew led to the parking lot. There was no need to worry about the clothes and things that he had left inside; he didn't really want them anyway.
He reached his '67 mustang with its newly-painted black exterior and pulled his keys out of his pockets, glad that he had thought to carry them. Maybe he always knew that this would happen. Maybe this was always the plan.
Inside he started the car and saw that it was seven fifty-one. Maybe everyone else expected him to do this too.
He thought of Shelly in her twelve thousand dollar designer gown and sighed. Things should never have gotten this far. She had been right that summer when she told him that he needed to get his independence before things were too late. But he had been scared, the world was too large, too frightening. Hartford was comfort, Shelly was stability. Independence was Europe, and Europe was…well, Europe was Rory. As he sped away he couldn't get her blue eyes out of his head, he couldn't forget the look of pain and disappointment that had clouded her eyes when he told her that he wouldn't leave Shelly.
Was she still with Logan Huntzberger? He had sent invitations to both of them, but both declined. Huntzberger, of all people. How could she choose Logan over him. But she never had a choice, did she? God, he was such an ass for letting her go.
"No, he was busy this afternoon, we didn't get a chance to talk for more than, like, a second."
"I didn't say anything."
"We go through this every time we talk, Mom. Logan is running that business almost single-handedly. He has a lot on his mind and on his desk. There is just never time-"
"I know, Ror."
"He's just busy," she repeated, sighing into her phone. Rory looked up as the bartender walked down her end of the bar and she pointed at her glass. He nodded and walked away to fix her another drink.
It was Lorelai's turn to sigh, and Rory's already burdened heart sank just a little bit lower.
"So Logan never told you when he is coming home?"
"He was thinking he could come back sometime in October, because he can't get home for Thanksgiving. But he thinks now that he might have to go to Japan on business. I know he's flying to California in December, and he was thinking I can meet him. But I have finals…"
"It will work itself out, honey. You guys have made it through the past year living an ocean apart. Don't write it all off now."
Rory nodded slightly even though she knew her mother couldn't see. She just couldn't bare to try to sound optimistic when she was feeling like their whole relationship was so hopeless.
"I need to get back to work," Lorelai said sadly. "Michelle is staring at me like a lost puppy. I'll see you Monday for lunch?"
"I'm looking forward to it," Rory responded earnestly. She said goodbye and closed her phone as she reached for the Cosmopolitan that the bartender slid across the table.
"You know, they always say you shouldn't drink alone."
Rory spun around to face the voice and her eyes widened at what she saw. She recovered quickly, however.
"I'm not alone. My posse is in the bathroom."
"Did Rory Gilmore just say 'posse?'"
"Did Tristan Dugrey just be so hypocritical as to lecture about drinking habits?"
He chuckled and leaned over to kiss her cheek before he slid onto the barstool next to her. He noticed that her face was pleasant but her eyes were clouded, troubled.
"So why fly solo tonight, Mary? You look a little lonely…"
"Why fly so far from the north pole? You seem to resemble a penguin…"
"Ouch!" Tristan said, mocking hurt. "You dare to criticize my style?"
"Well, Frank's Fiesta Bar and Grill is hardly the type of establishment that receives guests in tuxedos on a daily basis. Or ever, for that matter. Where were you, a wedding or something?"
Tristan nodded. Rory glanced up at the neon clock on the wall. It was only eight fourteen.
"Did you skip out early or something?"
He smirked and Rory felt the familiar twinge that always accompanied his simple gesture. "I never even made it inside," he shrugged.
Rory shook her head, a smile playing at her lips. "And you won't be missed?"
"No…I will be."
"I'm sure there are hundreds of people there. One less won't make a difference." She took a sip of her drink. "Whose wedding was it, anyway?"
She watched as he smirked again, but his eyes were serious. "Mine," he shrugged.
Rory put down her glass and it clattered loudly with the counter. "Yours? Shelly's?"
He nodded again as her heart skipped a beat.
"You just left without telling anyone?"
Tristan reached out towards her drink. "May I?"
Rory nodded. "I think you need it more than I do."
"What is this?"
Tristan frowned, but took a sip. He looked down the bar and saw the bartender down at the far end.
"Congratulations," Rory managed to say through the disbelief that crowded her mind.
Tristan smirked. "A little late, but better late then never, right?"
The bartender walked past, and Tristan asked him for a beer which he grabbed from under the counter, opened, and slid across the counter in one fluid movement.
"Why did you do it?" she asked, cutting past polite and straight to what was burning her soul. Why now and not two summers ago when they were together? But she didn't say that part. She figured that he knew what she meant. He had always been good at that.
He took a long pull of beer and sighed. If he couldn't tell Rory, Rory who had been part of his soul for so many years, who could he tell? So what if they had only been sitting together for five minutes.
"I was in so deep, it felt like getting out was chicken. I felt like I couldn't back out when the plans were being made or when I remembered how many years had gone by. But I decided that what was even more chicken that chickening out was going through with it. Shelly deserves someone better than me. I deserve someone better than me."
Rory had to look away from the pain in his eyes. She finished her drink, but refused a third from the bartender. The clock only read eight thirty.
"So why are you way out in New Haven?" she asked.
"The wedding was right down the street," he replied. He finished his beer and shook his head. "I can't go home tonight."
"Shelly will be there?"
Tristan shrugged. "I haven't even slept in our apartment yet," he answered. "I just got back from school a few weeks ago and I've been staying at my parents' house." He smoothed a hand over his wrinkled forehead. "I can't go home tonight."
Rory's mind was racing. Was he asking her, in his not so subtle-Tristan way, to go home with her? And if he was, what did that mean? Home like to sleep or home like to-
"Are there any hotels around here?" he asked, interrupting her thoughts. Rory let out an inward sigh of relief. She couldn't bring him to her apartment. To Logan's apartment. There was still too much that was left unsaid, too much tension between them to welcome him as a roommate. Not when she was trying so desperately to keep things glued together with Logan.
"Um, yah. There's a Hilton down the road a bit, close to campus," she answered, collecting her thoughts.
Tristan nodded and stood. He threw a wad of bills on the counter. "Are you coming?" he asked when he noticed that Rory was still seated.
She looked at him skeptically.
"It could be like old times. You, me, the mini bar…"
Rory bit her lip apprehensively.
"What, is Logan waiting at home for you or something?" he asked, his face still but his eyes searching.
She shook her head, surprised at the pang that she felt at the reality that there would be no one waiting for her. Just a cold, empty apartment that was ridden with memories.
Tristan saw the struggle in her face and held out his hand to guide her off her chair. She accepted it and as soon as she was on her feet he slipped his hand to the small of her back, back to the position that had grown so comfortable several summers ago.
He could feel the moment that things changed for him. He knew that she was always in the back of his mind, but here, tonight, was the moment that he had let slip away. He wanted her to be his, wholly and completely. He wanted to wipe away whatever damage Logan was doing to her. It pained him to see her like this.
He only hoped that she could feel his change too. But she was skeptical, lonely, and afraid of the way her heart kept beating irregularly.
Thanks you guys