AN: Umm, see, I told you I neverr give up on any of my stories. Even if it takes 3 years to write a single chapter.
Rory sat down on the new sofa, course catalog in hand. It was well into shopping week and she still hadn't come close to deciding what classes she wanted to take this semester. It was overwhelming—and then there was her grandmother's grand redecorating scheme. She was distracted, but she needed to concentrate. If she made the wrong class choices it could affect her entire Yale career. If she took the wrong courses this semester, she might not have the pre-requisites required to take classes she wanted to down the line.
The sound of the door slamming interrupted her thoughts before she'd even had the chance to open the catalog. "Did you hear?" Paris asked, rushing into the common room.
"The first party of the year is going to be on our floor."
"Oh yeah?" Rory answered distractedly, smushing the throw pillows together and trying to get comfortable.
"Technically, it's to celebrate the first week of classes," Paris gushed, "but I'm anticipating the theme's quickly degenerating to, 'hey, walking works - let's drink.' The important thing is that this party, the first party, is going to be on our floor. Our floor."
"Yes, our floor," Rory agreed. Arguing with Paris was rarely worth the effort. She had learned that after three years of attending Chilton, and it was a very valuable lesson now that Paris had shocked her by showing up at her dorm room on the first day of classes and declaring herself to be Rory's roommate. It was best to just smile and nod, and let Paris keep talking. Rory stood up and walked into her bedroom to get a blanket.
"Anyhow, the way it works," Paris yelled after her, "is that anyone who wants to be a part of the party will just leave their door open so people can just wander in and out. So what do you think?"
"About what?" Rory returned and spread the blanket out over the couch. There was no way she could get comfortable on that couch if she was constantly afraid of spilling something on it. Emily Gilmore would crucify her.
"Leaving our door open," Paris clarified. "It's the perfect opportunity to solidify our social standing at Yale. It'll virtually guarantee invitations to every other party thrown this year, and we'll get our faces in people's heads."
"I don't know." Rory settled back down onto the couch.
"What? What don't you know? I've explained the entire thing to you," Paris replied, as though speaking to a small child. Condescension was only one of Paris's many wonderful personality traits. Rory had learned to ignore it years ago.
"Well, I'm not sure I want to leave our door open to a bunch of strangers."
"Well, they won't be strangers once they come in and say howdy," countered Paris, pulling up an ottoman and sitting down opposite Rory.
"Yeah, but I'm not sure how I'm gonna feel that night. I might be tired."
"For God's sakes, Grandpa, you're eighteen. Sleep when you're dead."
"Look, we can still go to the party. We can meet people, you can solidify your social status, get your face in people's heads, and I can bail when I feel like it."
"Going isn't the same," Paris argued. "Going is passive. Opening your door, you are giving the party. You are responsible for the fun. People owe you. Don't you want people to owe you?"
Rory rolled her eyes at Paris's tirade. As much 'Paris tolerance' as she had developed during high school, an entire year of living with the girl was going to drive her insane. "I'm good, actually."
"Oh, sure, you're good," Paris stood up and put her hands on her hips defensively. "You're fine. After all, you have all this fancy furniture and a big TV to lord over people. It's the rest of us who are screwed—the ones whose grandparents hadn't thought to provide suck-up furniture."
"This is not 'suck-up furniture.'"
"You're being selfish. You don't care about anybody but yourself."
"Paris," Rory warned
"No," Paris spat angrily, storming off towards the bedroom. "I hate college!" The door slammed and Rory let out a sigh. Yale was just so much fun already.
"Mate, over here," Finn shouted to Logan who had just emerged from suite 3 with a red, Solo cup full of Natty Ice. He grimaced as the beer made its way down his throat. He should have brought Mr. Flasky with him. He knew better than to rely on the crappy keg beer served at dorm parties and frats. He nodded at Finn and made his way across the hall to meet his friend.
"Hey, Mate," Finn greeted. "Come meet Madeline and Louise. They're from Tulane," he stressed the name of the school. Of course, living in another state was a positive quality in a woman as far as Finn was concerned.
"Hi," he greeted the blonde and the brunette with a tip of his cup and a charming smile. As cute as they were, he didn't really feel much like flirting with them; he had promised himself, though, that he was going to get over Rory Gilmore once and for all and that was what he would do. He may not have gotten back to his old self just yet, but he was acting like the old Logan again, and soon he would feel like the old Logan again—he was sure of it. The brunette seemed to have already staked a claim on Finn, her arm woven through his, so that left the blonde for him. It was better that way—the less a girl looked like Rory, the easier it was to try and forget about her. "What are two gorgeous ladies like yourselves doing in boring old Connecticut when you could be partying it up in N'awlins?"
The two girls gave each other a look that was clearly meant to communicate something, although Logan couldn't quite discern what it was.
Madeline turned back to him with a flirty smile, but snuggled up closer to Finn. "We went online to find out where all the first week of class parties were, and we're making the rounds."
Louise gave her friend another look. "Plus we have…friends here."
"Friends?" Was that what the secretive look was about? "Anyone I might know?" He grinned charmingly, briefly touching Louise's arm.
"Possibly," Louise evaded.
"Well anything they've told you about me is a lie—unless it's good," he chuckled.
This seemed to amuse the girls who broke out into giggles at whatever inside joke they had going on. "I don't know, we have some pretty trustworthy friends," Louise added once she had regained her composure.
"I'm sure," Logan placated. If their friends were anything like these girls, the only thing they could trust about them is that they'd flunk out of college before the first mid-terms. Still, they were cute and Logan wasn't in the market for substance. That wasn't what old Logan was about.
"Ooh," Madeline, squealed, craning her neck over Logan's shoulder. "Speaking of…Paris!" she shouted out, waving at someone down the hall.
"Hey, I know you," Finn said to whomever was approaching the group from behind. "You're the crazy CSPAN chick."
Logan's eyes went wide, putting Finn's information together with the name Madeline had called out a moment before—Paris. He turned around slowly coming face to face with Paris Gellar. He'd never met her up close and in person before, but he knew her without a doubt—Rory's best Frenemy.
"You!" an unhappy Paris accused, crossing her arms over her chest defensively.
"The infamous Paris Gellar," Logan greeted—obviously fake smile in place—trying not to let thoughts of Rory get to him. It wasn't like it was actually his ex-girlfriend he was running into, just friends of hers—sort of. "We meet at last."
"What are you doing here?" Paris asked Madeline and Louise, giving Logan an evil glare, and then proceeding to ignore him. "Aren't you supposed to be at Mills?"
"Where?" Madeline asked coyly.
"Madeline!" Paris scolded.
"Mills sucked. Mills went bye-bye before I unpacked my shoes."
"She's been hanging out with me at Tulane," Louise clarified.
"I love New Orleans. I am so southern."
"And when the partying is over, then what? Are you going to sell Gumbo on a street corner for a living? I didn't carry your ass through four years of Chilton so you could become a college dropout." Paris was just about as terrifying as Rory had described her, Logan realized.
"Don't be such a buzz kill, Paris," Louise rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, Paris," Finn echoed. "Don't be such a buzz kill."
"I'm sorry, did you think I was talking to you, douchebag?"
"Rwar!" Finn growled, making his hand into a claw. "She's feisty," he said to Madeline who was still cozied up to his side.
"Just ignore her," Madeline advised.
"Yes," Paris agreed. "Ignore me and I'll go away—but I'm taking these two with me."
"I'm not going anywhere, I'm having fun with Finn," Madeline pouted.
"Yeah," Louise agreed, "and I was just getting to know Logan better," she added with a smile, stepping closer to him and looping her arm through his. "For example," she turned to Logan giving him a sickeningly sweet smile, "have you ever been in love?"
Logan's face fell and he took a step away from the girls. That was what the knowing looks had been about. They also knew Rory. They knew about him and Rory.
"What's going on here?" The voice was low but Logan heard it. What he heard most of all was the hurt. His eyes flickered up to meet cerulean blue. What was she doing here? Why wasn't she at Harvard? That had been the plan. After they broke up she was supposed to choose Harvard.
She diverted her eyes away from him quickly, focusing them on the two girls by their sides.
"Love!" Finn squealed gleefully, stepping away from Madeline and moving to embrace Rory. Rory stepped back, holding her hand up to keep him at a distance.
"Don't," she warned him. "What are you doing here?" The question was for Madeline and Louise.
"First week of school parties," Madeline supplied. "We're making the rounds."
"With…them?" she asked tentatively, pointing at the boys.
"Oh no, we just met them," Madeline bobbed her head obliviously. "But they're friends of yours, right? So how bad could they be?"
"I tried to stop them," Paris insisted, holding her hands up innocently. "Don't look at me."
"Rory," Logan interrupted, taking a tentative step towards her. She stepped away again.
"Don't talk to me," she warned without even looking at him.
"Ace," he tried again, his voice pleading. One look at her was all it took to make any thoughts of getting over her moot. One look at her and he needed her back.
Rory, however, could feel the tears welling in her eyes. She didn't want him back. She wanted him on the other side of the world. She wanted him to park his stupid yacht somewhere in Polynesia or something and never come back. What was he doing back? He was supposed to be sailing the world. It was so important to him that he had thrown away everything they could have had for it. It was more important than her and yet here he was, apparently discarding it as easily as he had her.
"Ace," he repeated, grabbing her softly by the wrist to stop her get away. "Can we just go somewhere and talk," he suggested.
Rory shook herself free, glaring at him hatefully. "I have nothing to say to you." She took a few faltering steps backward before turning and fleeing, past the partiers in her common room and into the safety of her bedroom.
Logan made a dash for the room behind her, but Paris was quicker, and she body blocked the entrance to the common room. "Don't even think about it, buster. She obviously doesn't want to see you and I applaud her on her excellent use of judgment."
Logan rolled his eyes at Paris's diatribe and tried to push past her, but the girl was freakishly strong for someone so tiny. She glared at him for a moment and then turned into the room without moving her body from the door. "Okay, everybody out. Now!" Paris screamed to the people in her room. She had been over this whole 'open door' thing an hour ago and the reemergence of Gilligan and his crew only sealed the deal. So far Rory was her only friend at this school and she wasn't going to let Rico Suave come breezing back into her life just to hurt her again. A depressed Rory was not a very good social contact. "Take your gross beer and your inane conversations somewhere else. Move!"
There was a pause by most of the party goers, and then a few shrugs and everyone began to file out. They could just as easily hang out in room two with the wait listed chick.
Paris had moved from the doorway to let everyone out and Logan tried to use this as his chance to slip into the room, but the mass of people coming through the door in the opposite direction was too much for him to get by. "What's going on here?" A bubbly voice asked. Logan turned to face Stephanie with an anxious look on his face. "Oh no," she repeated more soberly. "What's going on here?"
Logan let out a sigh. "Rory's in there," he admitted.
"What? I thought Rory was at Harvard."
Logan looked away guiltily. "What?" She asked him, hands on hips, waiting for an explanation.
"Right before I told her about the boat trip, she told me she'd decided on Yale."
"So you crashed the yacht on purpose so we'd come back early?" She screeched angrily.
"What? No! I didn't know she'd be here. She wanted to go to Harvard, she'd always wanted to go to Harvard. I thought she was choosing Yale for the wrong reasons, so I had to tell her we were leaving. I thought once she knew…"
"Wow, your ego is seriously even bigger than rumored. You really thought a girl like Rory would choose a school just because of you?"
"No, yes…I don't know, maybe."
"Ugh," Stephanie scoffed at her friend's stupidity. She couldn't stand to be around him. The mass exodus had slowed, and Stephanie's petite frame managed to squeeze through them into the common room beyond.
"Hey, Bimbo Barbie," an angry blonde girl shouted. "Party's over. Didn't you get the memo? Out!" Stephanie ignored her and went over to the closed bedroom door.
"Rory," she shouted, banging on the door. "It's me. Open up."
There was no response for a moment and then the door swung open, just a crack and Stephanie could see her friend's tear streaked face. "I don't want to talk to you, go away." Rory tried to close the door again, but Stephanie wedged her foot in the doorway. She winced as the door came in contact with her foot. Not that it hurt—at least not physically, but those were her favorite Louboutins. The things she did for friendship.
"It's just me, I promise. Logan's still out in the hall."
"I don't care," Rory cried. "You were the one who pushed us together. You made me fall for his stupid charm and you knew! You knew he was going to leave me. Did you want him to break my heart? Because if so, super job."
Steph took a small step back in shock, realizing for the first time just how responsible she was for both Rory and Logan's pain. She felt awful. "I'm sorry," she said meekly.
"I don't care." And with that, Rory finally managed to slam the door.
Rory groped for the purple, terry cloth bath robe that hung from her chair, and threw it on as she waded through the darkness of her and Paris's bedroom, headed for the bathroom. She stopped midway through the common room as the sound of snoring registered with her. It wasn't coming from one of the bedrooms, it sounded like it was out in the hall. Curiosity getting the better of her, she followed the sound, heading towards the door of the suite. She turned the knob and jumped back in shock as a body fell backwards into her room, landing on her feet.
Logan stirred as gravity jolted him back into awareness. He rubbed his eyes and looked up into the shocked and still angry face of his ex. "Hi." He gave her his best smile as he picked himself up off the ground, standing to meet her.
She didn't respond.
"I knew you'd have to come out of your room eventually." He smirked.
She was about to slam the door in his face, but was interrupted by a loud snort, followed by a slightly more gentle snoring. Rory blinked in confusion. If the snoring she heard hadn't been Logan, where was it coming from? The two of them looked around, quickly spotting the source of the noise. A brunette boy lay prostrate on the ground across the hall; his shiny, white, unclothed bum standing out in the dim, fluorescent lighting of the hallway.
"Damn, I was hoping I'd be the first guy you saw naked," Logan joked. Rory glared at him, not finding it at all funny.
"Go wake him up," she whispered harshly.
"But he looks so comfortable."
"I can't believe you let him lay there like that all night," she hissed.
"I didn't know," Logan defended. "I was asleep too."
"You're such a jerk, Logan." She strode past him into the hall and over to the naked guy, but paused, unsure how to go about waking him—shaking him awake was definitely out of the question. She grabbed the dangling belt of her robe and tentatively swatted him with it before jumping nervously backwards. Logan chuckled at her adorableness and she turned to glare at him before turning back to naked guy to see that he was stirring.
"Hi," a hoarse voice greeted shamefully upon seeing her standing before him.
"Hi," she returned meekly.
"I'm…on the floor," he said, not moving to get up.
"You were sleeping," Rory explained.
He glanced down at himself briefly before looking back at Rory. "I have no clothes on."
"Nope," Logan chimed in, stepping up next to Rory, "Sorry, buddy."
Naked guy noticed Logan's presence for the first time and his humiliation grew, if that was even possible. The girl was bad enough, but she at least seemed sympathetic. The guy seemed like an ass. The girl ignored her companion.
"I'm on the floor, I have no clothes on…and what floor am I on?" he asked.
"The wrong one," Rory informed him with a look of regret. "Where's your room?"
"I think up. This is the first floor, right?" Rory nodded in agreement. "Then up. Any idea how long I've been here?"
Rory looked at Logan and he just shrugged. "Sorry."
"So you have no idea how many people have walked by while I've. . ."
"Great. Now for the rest of my time at Yale, I'm gonna be 'the naked guy.'"
" I'm sorry," Rory told him truthfully.
"And you know what's really great? Tomorrow, when the 'naked guy' nickname starts spreading around campus like wildfire, I'm gonna be in my third hour of throwing up."
" Well, it's been really quiet out here for a while now, so there's a chance that no one but us has actually seen you yet."
"Oh yeah?" The girl looked to her companion for conformation and then nodded at him.
"And I promise we won't say anything," she glared at the boy standing next to her which was a less than comforting gesture, but naked guy appreciated it all the same. "And if there's a chance that you could refrain from, you know, being naked again in the wrong hallway at the next party, then there's a chance you might get a completely different nickname, like 'the never-naked guy.'"
He chuckled nervously. "You're very kind," he replied, starting to stand up.
"Wait," Rory instructed. "Hold on. You can, uh," she shrugged her bathrobe off her shoulders.
"You can borrow this." She handed it to naked guy, and turned around to allow him to don it. Logan didn't turn around right away and Rory not so subtly nudged him.
"Oh please," Logan rolled his eyes at the semblance of modesty but turned around anyway. "Have you met my friends? This is not the first drunk naked guy I've come across, Ace." Rory crossed her arms over her chest and didn't respond.
Naked guy didn't know if this made him feel better or worse, so he just ignored the comment as he tied the robe into place. "Hi, I'm Marty," he introduced once he was decent.
Rory and Logan turned around again. "Rory," she introduced herself.
Logan looked at the man standing before them appraisingly. "Hey, don't I know you? Wait, don't tell me, I'm seeing a uniform of some sort…"
Marty groaned, realizing that he had in fact met this guy before. At least he was being remembered with clothes on though. "I uh…I bartended for one of your parties last week…I think."
"That's right, you did. You're a talented man." He turned to Rory. "Makes a kick-ass margarita."
"Thanks," Marty chuckled uncomfortably.
"Don't be an ass, Logan," Rory scolded him.
"Well," Marty interrupted, anxious to get out of there and end this nightmare. "I should probably try and find my room…and my pants, because that's where I kept my keys."
"So, pants first," Rory suggested.
"Right, pants first," Marty agreed, beginning to wander away.
"Night," Rory said to his retreating back.
"Yep," Marty mumbled as he headed up the stairs to his floor. "I'm officially stupider than my brother. I never thought that would happen."
When he was finally out of sight, Logan broke down in hysterics. Rory elbowed him painfully in the ribs. "Ow," he said.
"You are not to breath a word of this to anyone," she hissed.
"Oh, come on. It's not that big of a deal."
"It's a big deal to Marty."
"You don't even know Marty."
"I know he makes a 'kick-ass margarita,'" she mimicked Logan's earlier words. "It wouldn't kill you to be nice to people once in a while."
"And what do I get if I'm nice to your new bff, Naked Guy, and keep this to myself?" Rory's eyes shot daggers at him. "What? You want me to do something for you…" he suggested. "I should at least get dinner in return." Her withering stare didn't let up. "Lunch?" He countered. No response other then icy blue orbs. "Coffee," he suggested more meekly. She still said nothing. "Fine," he relented. "I won't say a word about Naked Guy."
Rory shook her head in disgust and walked back to her room, leaving Logan in the hallway. "You're going to forgive me eventually," he promised through the shut door. There was silence, and then the sound of the lock engaging. It wasn't a very friendly sound but Logan smiled anyway. Rory was back in his life whether she liked it or not, and for the first time in months he felt happy again.