The characters and some of the dialogue aren't mine… to be safe, let's say nothing belongs to me :).

She wandered towards her car, lonely, helpless, alone. Her world had come crashing down, and there was nothing she could do but let the pain seep through every molecule of her being. Thinking was too hard. When she started thinking about what Mitchum Huntzberger had told her, it felt like someone was squeezing her heart, it hurt so badly. Everything she had dreamed of, everything that she had worked for, it was all over. That man had shattered all of her dreams, and she felt useless. The death of her future had weakened her so much she could hardly even walk.

Every once in a while, someone would scurry past, chatting excitedly on a cell phone to a loved one. It separated her further from the world around her – how could anyone be happy? She couldn't remember what happy was. Kicking at pebbles with the toes of her pretty shoes, she realized she didn't care what happened to the now-scuffed shoes. She didn't care about much of anything.

She wasn't in any condition to drive, but at least it was something to do. Once she was in the car, she put the windows down. The sharp lashes of her hair whipping against her cheeks felt invigorating somehow. The physical pain matched the emotional blow she'd taken, making her feel more complete. But it wasn't enough.

Rory smelled salty air as she pulled up to the harbor. She could see the lights of the Huntzberger yacht. As she got closer, she could see Logan standing atop the boat… talking to some blonde girl, of course. She felt like fighting with him. Not because he deserved it, but because it would release some of the anguish she was carrying inside.

She had to get away. That was all she knew. She couldn't take standing there, on the earth. There had to be some solution. Then a thought came into her mind… what if instead of being on land, she was at sea? It was perfect. It was wild and unruly and distracting, and she knew Logan would go along with it – really, taking someone else's boat was tame compared to many of his previous escapades.

Being at sea was wonderful. As Logan steered the boat away from the dock, Rory could feel the wind beating against her face and she felt like all of her cares were floating away. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe. Here, the future didn't matter. All that did matter was the salty smell of the ocean and the gentle rocking of the boat and the smile of the hot blonde guy before her.

"What's wrong?" Logan asked softly, letting the engine idle and sitting next to her.

"I don't want to talk about it." Rory shook her head, pretty curls bouncing. Thinking about it made her feel sick to her stomach with worry and despair.

"Well, I'm here if you ever want to," he assured her with a warm smile.

"I know," Rory whispered. She leaned in and kissed him. His lips were soft, as always, and a little salty from the moist night air. His hands on her back felt warm, and she melted against him, wishing the moment could last forever.

Except it didn't. When they decided to finally bring the boat in after finishing a short cruise, the flashing sirens and busy dock jolted Rory harshly back into reality. As an officer slapped handcuffs on her wrist and read her rights, Rory had an out-of-body experience. It was like her soul floated up and, watching a girl get arrested on the dock, thought, that isn't me. I don't know that girl. That girl is a foolish criminal. I'm just a simple Ivy-League student.

Rory didn't yet realize that this was a turning point in her life. She could never go back. She was no longer a simple Ivy League girl.

As Rory sat alone in the dingy cell, one thought hovered at the front of her mind: how did I get here? When she was younger, her mother had joked that her wonderful daughter was never without two items: a book, and her halo. That halo was so tarnished now. Since she'd gotten to college, Rory had become someone else. Once an innocent girl who had ventured no further than kissing each of her very cute boyfriends, she had ended up losing her virginity to a married man, and then had slept with someone else months later, before they were even in a committed relationship. Hell, she'd nearly had sex at her grandparents' second wedding; the grand interruption by her mother, father, and Luke and the ensuing fight had been the only thing to stop them. She was sort of jealous of Lane and her no-sex-until-marriage hang-up; Lane didn't have to deal with the unique kinds of heartbreaks and emotional attachments that complicate physical relationships. Since when had Rory become the "no-strings-attached fun" kind of girl? She used to be a scholar. She used to be content living in a world of books. That world was so much better than the one she lived in now.

Now, she lived in the very world that her mother had run away from. How ironic. The coming out party had been kind of cute. The boyfriend with a rich, snooty family was quite a different situation. It seemed that there was always someone in that world to tell her that she wasn't good enough. If it wasn't one person telling her she wasn't good enough because she planned to be a journalist, it was another person telling her that she wasn't even a good journalist. Really, when she thought about it, it was so ironic that she was with Logan. She'd spent half of high school running away from Tristan, who was exactly the same kind of guy as Logan – rich, arrogant, self-assured. Instead of mocking that guy, she was with that guy. What had changed? What had happened to the dependable type (Dean), or the smart, cool, rebellious type (Jess)? She'd had a dependable guy, Marty, but he wasn't enough for her anymore. Jess always was enough, though, and he wasn't a type. He was entirely his own person. Logan was a type. And it's not to say she wasn't crazy about Logan… it was just a little shocking to her that she was.

She wondered if he was okay. She had gotten Logan into this whole mess, anyway. Rory sat in the cell and worried. She worried about her future and she worried what her mother would say; worse, what her grandmother would say. Her thoughts were interrupted when a police officer came in and told her that her mother had arrived to take her home.