The Mystery Caller
"So, movie night and dinner?" she prods, again. She's been trying to talk you into this for a week or so, and started in today soon after you'd met up at the coffee kiosk. "We could do Hitchcock - I have a bunch of them at my place."
"Okay," you finally agree. It's always been difficult to say no to her, especially when she bats her big blue eyes at you. "Movie night and dinner."
"Good. I might even cook, instead of just ordering pizza," she offers slyly.
"You cook?" you cringe, thinking back to the collection of leftover takeout, junk food, and candy that had always resided the refrigerator and food cupboard in her dorm room. Cooking had never entered the equation; she never even been able to make every dorm resident's staple, Ramen Noodles, and took her Pop-Tarts cold, right out of the box, not seeming to know how to even use a toaster. You might have agreed to movies at her place, you're not sure you're ready to trust her culinary skills.
"One of my many more recently acquired talents," she nods. "Nothing too elaborate, though - probably pasta. I'm still not that good, but I promise I won't give you food poisoning. I live in twelve b, in the Taft Building across the street from the Old Campus," she continues. You're familiar with the building - you've worked parties there before, and it's extremely sumptuous - some of the wealthier trust fund brats reside there - not where you would expect her to live. "How about six on Friday?" she asks.
"That's fine," you confirm.
"Okay, well I need to go, I'm expecting a phone call," she says, getting up to leave. She almost always ends your coffee meets with this line, running off to talk to someone. You've wondered if it's the same person, but don't ask, assuming she would tell you if she wanted you to know. You've been getting to know one another again, which has been nice, and you don't want to push things if it might upset the equilibrium you seem to have found. "Friday?"
"Friday," you nod.
"Welcome, come on in," Rory greets you at the door of her apartment, letting you inside a large and luxurious loft-style apartment.
"Nice place," you reply, handing her your coat, not really knowing what else to say.
"Yeah, we like it," she smiles. "I got out everything Hitchcock we've got – which is quite a bit. Our collection is pretty extensive," she says, moving over to the living area where a huge plasma screen television is the centerpiece of a techno geek's wet dream. " The Birds, Psycho, The Man Who Knew Too Much - don't you love Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock? North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief - the Cary Grant classics - Rebecca, Notorious - I do love Kim Novak in Hitchcock - Vertigo, Dial M for Murder. Rear Window - isn't Grace Kelly's wardrobe just to die for? Saboteur and Suspicion. Um, I think that's it."
"You really like Hitchcock, I guess," you reply with a chuckle, not missing her uses of 'we' or 'our' when referring to the apartment. You don't think she has a roommate - there doesn't seem to be anything but the main room - but maybe you've missed something. Perhaps she has Paris stashed away somewhere.
"Yeah, I suppose we do," she nods. "So what do you want to watch?"
"Well, North by Northwest is always a favorite – don't you agree?" you suggest. When she nods her agreement, you continue. "Why don't we each choose one more?"
"Okay, I choose Rear Window," she says, picking the box out of the stack. "What do you want?"
"I'll take To Catch a Thief, there's an element of comedy to it that the others don't have," you explain. "I know that's two Cary Grant's, and two Grace Kelly's, but my other choice was Vertigo and that's two Jimmy Stewart's, so either way we're getting doubles."
"That's fine, I love all of those," she agrees. "Do you want to go ahead and eat or wait till after we've finished the first one? I have some pita chips and several kinds of dip - a spinach one, a chipotle one, and a garlic-parmesan one, and a white bean and roasted garlic one, and a spicy ranch. We can have those first and then make the pasta during our first break. It won't take long, and I've already made a salad and chopped everything. I just need to boil the water, cook the pasta and mix together the ingredients. It'll only take about twenty minutes."
"That sounds great," you agree, following her into the kitchen. "This kitchen is amazing," you comment, trying to get her to open up.
"Yeah, the kitchen; is actually what inspired me to try to learn to cook to begin with," she laughs, pulling dishes out of the refrigerator, putting them on a tray. "I couldn't live here and not want to. I'm not very good, I can't make a gourmet meal, but I don't have to order takeout all the time anymore," she smiles.
"Okay, that's everything, what would you like to drink? Beer, soda, coffee, water, juice, Red Bull," she asks, sticking her head in the fridge. "And of course wine," she points to the wine unit.
"Beer would be great," you say. She pulls out bottles of Rolling Rock and Sam Adams for you to choose from, you choose the Rolling Rock, and head back over to the couch to start your first movie night in a year and a half.
You'd watched North by Northwest, then had what turned out to be an excellent dinner of salad and pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. She actually can cook. You were amazed, and she had blushed at your praise. Then you watched Rear Window and are now in the middle of To Catch a Thief. Cary Grant is stealthily making his way across the roofs of Monte Carlo when you hear the snick of a key in the door. You glance over at Rory and realize she's fallen asleep before turning to see Logan Huntzberger walking though the entry with a leather duffle in his hand and a messenger bag slung across his chest. He stops to drop the messenger bag by the computer, then takes off his coat and throws it over a chair before acknowledging your presence with a whispered, "Hey, Marty," seemingly as unsurprised to see you here as you are surprised to see him.
"She fell asleep?" he continues softly. You just nod, having lost your ability to speak. "I'll get her a pillow and a blanket – her neck cramps up, and she gets cold easily," he finishes, picking up his duffle and heading toward the closet. He's gone from sight for a couple of minutes, though you can hear him opening and closing a cabinet door quietly. When he reappears he has a blanket in his hand, then heads over to the bed where he puts a knee down to reach across to the far side and get the pillow, ignoring the one closest to him, his familiarity with the apartment strikingly obvious.
"I was going to clean up before I left, we just haven't gotten to it yet," you say, getting up off the couch and picking up the trays with your dirty dishes on them as he comes back into the living area.
"Oh, it's fine, just leave them, I'll get to them here in a bit," he demurs, motioning for you to put them back on the coffee table before laying the blanket over Rory. "I'm going to let her sleep," he says, kneeling on the floor to anchor himself so he can lift her head and shoulders, adjust her to where she's lying on her back, and slip the pillow under her head.
"Mmm, Logan?" she questions softly.
"Hey, Ace, yeah it's me," he whispers back. "Go back to sleep."
"You're home," she smiles gently, without opening her eyes.
"Yeah, I'm home," he returns tenderly, leaning over to lightly kiss her lips, ending it with a small circling of her nose with his. You feel like a voyeur, but you can't take your eyes off of them. They seem so at ease with one another; her not even really stirring, but still sensing who was there, letting him know she's pleased he's here. It's hard not to watch.
You'd had no idea she was still seeing him;she's never mentioned anything. And they don't appear to just be seeing one another, both referring to 'home,' and his key, clues, and his familiarity with the apartment very obvious. They seem to be a couple; perhaps, even, in a serious relationship, though she's never brought it up. "Go back to sleep, Ace."
"I'm glad you're here, I've really missed you," she mumbles, seeming to fall back asleep.
"It's good to be home, I've missed you too," you hear him return as you're gathering your coat and heading out the door. You have a feeling you've just found out the identity of her mystery caller, and the reason for the 'we's' and 'our's' she referred to earlier. You don't really like it any more than you liked that she was interested in him a couple of years ago and not in you. It somehow didn't seem fair, but when had life ever been fair? You'll get answers to your questions later.
"So you had a good weekend?" you finally ask, looking over at her out of the corner of your eye as you bring up the elephant thrashing around in the room.
"Yeah, I did," she smiles, her chin dropping into her chest as a blush creeps into her cheeks. It's clear why she had a good weekend, even if she chooses not to elaborate. "I got absolutely nothing done though, so I have a lot of catching up to do for my classes tomorrow - normally I would be done already," she says, brushing her fingers across her bottom lip.
"So…you and Logan?" you probe.
"Yeah, me and Logan," she nods.
"You've never…" you continue.
"I know, I'm sorry," she replies sheepishly, "it's not that I was purposefully keeping it from you, it's just, he's not here…"
"But you said 'welcome home' to him, so doesn't he live there?" Maybe this wasn't exactly what it seemed like. "I wasn't trying to spy on the two of you…" you hurry to assure her.
"He's been working for HPG in London," she elaborates, shaking her head, as if you know what HPG is - maybe you should try to find out, "since he graduated last May, so he's not here much. But our place is still home for both of us. I guess we have two homes right now. I spent part of the summer in London with him and definitely put my stamp on the place," she chuckles. "He left early this morning to head back. He has to work, but they start late, and he took the morning off. This wasn't a scheduled visit; he just surprised me for the weekend and didn't tell anyone, because he misses me," she trails off with a wistful smile.
"So the two of you have been living together…" you ask what you've suspected since he showed up Friday night.
"Since early February," she nods. "It was his place, and I moved in with him," she finishes. It explains the masculine feel of the place, the suit of armor, the pool table, all of the electronics, and the dark color scheme. It hadn't felt at all like either of her dorm rooms, both of which had a distinctly girly feel to them.
"And you've been together this whole time?" It had been obvious the other night they were pretty serious, but it didn't really compute with the Logan you remember from the parties you'd bartended. He'd always had a new girl attached to him at every one; they seemed as interchangeable as his shirt. Though a girl as exceptional as Rory being the one he decided to finally commit to wasn't very surprising. She's the kind of girl that causes guys to stop and take a second or third look. She's special.
You don't want to be jealous, but it doesn't seem fair - the Logan Huntzbergers of the world are born with platinum spoons in their mouths, never having a whim or wish that someone wasn't ready to fulfill instantly, including women galore at the drop of a hat. He shouldn't be the one that got to claim her, but it seemed he was.
"Not the entire time, no, but most of it. We've been together almost a year and a half - we broke up for a couple of months in there, but yeah, we've been together a while," she says with a grin, happiness radiating from her face. It's a look you've never really seen on her, except maybe the night you had gone to dinner with Logan and his friends, she had been happy there. But this is different, deeper, the happiness found in the peace and contentment of loving someone and knowing you're loved in return. It suits her extremely well. "I know you didn't like him very much, but he's wonderful," she continues, smiling to herself, probably with a running film of their weekend going through her mind.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you, it's just that I really miss him, and talking about it doesn't help at all. It just makes me miss him more. Plus, you never really liked him, so it didn't seem like something to just bring up," she finishes in a rush.
"Rory, it's alright. Though I do wish I'd known -I feel like a bit of an idiot," you return, thinking you've probably exhausted the subject. If you want to remain friends with her, you're just going to have to accept that she's taken and obviously in love with someone else. Someone you've never been terribly fond of. "I'm just wondering, the phone calls you get?"
"Yeah, they're from him," she nods. "We talk almost every day."
"Your phone bills must be huge," you laugh.
"Mmm, they are," she chuckles. "But they're the only thing that keeps me sane. We do use IMing and Google talk, and web cams too, but we also talk on the phone a lot. We barely see each other; he doesn't get a lot of time off. I hadn't seen him in more than a month before this weekend."
"Wow, that must be hard," you reply. Maybe you don't envy her quite as much as you had a few minutes ago. Loving someone and being unable to be with them, wouldn't ever be considered ideal.
"It is, but it's worth it - we're worth it - and it's only for a year," she returns, as her phone rings. "Oh, I need to take this," she says, looking at the caller ID. "Hi," she answers softly, tucking her hair behind her ear. "You made it back safely?" she smiles at the answer. "Good, I worry about you when you're traveling. I miss you already…mmm…I'm so happy you came, I really needed to see you…" she continues, and you tap her on the elbow.
"I'm going to go, I have a class soon," you mouth.
"I'll talk to you soon," she whispers, holding her finger over the mouthpiece of her phone, and waving, you nod back. She smiles and animatedly chats into her phone, the identity of her mystery caller identified.
You head to the student center to get out of the cold, and maybe catch up on some reading before your final class today which is in a couple of hours. This hadn't been what you'd expected, having assumed their relationship was much like every other one of his. That she had gotten hurt, and managed to get over it. Instead, she's the girl that tamed one of the more notorious rakes at Yale, found happiness and fell in love. She's more beautiful than before, and just as appealing. But some things never change; she remains just as far out of reach as ever.