Chapter 10: Letting the Folks Know
Logan stared at the closed door and made a face. "No."
Laughing, Rory grabbed his hand and pushed the door open. "With the best wishes from the Queen, the humble daughter returns home from the land of her ancestors," she called out.
There was a squeal from the right and a second later, his Ace was swept away into a laughing embrace by her mother, her father coming out more slowly after his wife, grinning. Feeling slightly nauseous, Logan took a deep breath and took one step over the threshold before stopping once again.
God, he was nervous. He had almost been less nervous when he had asked Rory to become his wife. Almost. Then again, with Rory he at least had a pretty good idea what her answer was going to be. He had no idea what Christopher and Lorelai's reaction to the news of him marrying their little girl would be.
Christopher spotted him and came over to him to shake his hand. "Logan. This is a surprise. Rory didn't mention that you were coming as well."
Did this mean he wasn't welcome? Mentally shaking his head at his paranoia, Logan offered a shrug. "We weren't ready to part yet and I have some things to do here in the States anyway, so… here I am."
Christopher smiled and gave him a slap on the back. "Well, good for us! Come on in, son." He glanced at his wife and daughter. "Want something to drink? Trust me, this will go on for a while."
Glancing at his Ace and Lorelai as well, who were talking animatedly and too fast to have any real chance to understand them, Logan nodded. "Sure."
"Come on, then," Christopher told him and led him through a small hallway into the kitchen. "What will it be? We have beer, lemonade, coke, water and I could make us some drinks of course."
A drink sure would be nice right now but somehow he doubted that that would improve Lorelai's opinion of him. He suspected she thought him a covert alcoholic anyway already. "Coke would be fine, thanks."
Christopher went about to get them their drinks and Logan used the opportunity to take a good look around. The kitchen was small, but inviting and comfortable. And as neither of the Gilmore girls was famous for their cooking, he guessed the size didn't really matter to them. There was a door that led to another room and curious, Logan wandered over to peek in.
"Was the flight all right?"
The small room was filled with books and there were several Yale memorabilia hanging on the wall. Realizing that this must be Rory's room, Logan felt a rush. So this was the room where his Ace had grown up in.
Remembering where he was, Logan tore his eyes away as if caught red-handed in the cookie jar. "Sorry, what did you say?"
Christopher seemed to be amused, thank God. "The flight… how was it?"
"Oh yeah, it was a quiet flight," Logan nodded, his eyes drawn back to Rory's room. "It was a bit late, but not by much. We went home first, but only to drop off our luggage and refresh ourselves." And for a rather slow quickie in the shower, but that was definitely not something that Rory's father wanted to hear about. "Rory wanted to come here as soon as possible."
As if on cue, Lorelai's voice drifted in, sounding pretty flabbergasted and shocked, and Logan's stomach made a jump downhill. "Oh, my God, Rory! You're what?"
Suddenly feeling Christopher's gaze heavy on him, Logan swallowed and turned to face him. "I – uh – I proposed to Rory four days ago," he said quietly and hesitantly. He wasn't sure if Rory was okay with telling her dad, then again, there wasn't really a point in keeping it silent anymore, with Lorelai's exclamation of just now. And it was perhaps better he made clear straight out that Rory was engaged and not something else.
Like pregnant for example, giving Christopher a good reason to grab one of those big knives and… Yeah.
The face of Rory's father didn't change, his eyes holding Logan's captive.
"You're engaged?" Lorelai's gasped exclamation once again rang in the silence of the kitchen.
"Yes!" Rory's excited and happy answer followed.
"I hope you and Lorelai are okay with that," Logan added, suddenly remembering that he should probably ask for their blessing now, as it was clearly too late to ask for their permission. He took a deep breath. "I assure you, I love your daughter very much and I would do anything for her. And I have every intention of making her happy for the rest of her life," he stated honestly.
For a moment longer that felt like an eternity to Logan, Christopher held his eyes, his face still not giving anything away. At last, Christopher walked over to him. "I have no doubt about that, Logan. I can see that you love Rory very much." Next thing Logan knew, he found himself in a tight hug. "Welcome to the family, son."
Feeling a rush of relief, Logan nodded, his throat suddenly a bit tight. "Thank you."
With a jovial slap on Logan's back, Christopher let him go. "Of course, if you hurt my little girl, I'll have to kill you," he added nonchalantly, his eyes suddenly hard though.
His eyes widening, Logan's nervousness was back full force and he had a sudden vision of that big knife again. "I won't," he simply vowed, his voice perhaps a tad bit rough.
Christopher nodded and turned just in time to see Lorelai and Rory coming into the kitchen as well, Rory beaming and Lorelai still looking quite shocked. "Did you hear?" she asked, looking at her husband. "Our daughter's engaged."
Smiling, he nodded. "So I've heard. Come here, Honey," he said, opening his arms and Rory flew into them to receive another good, tight hug. "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you, Baby. Logan's a good catch."
Over their heads, Logan finally met Lorelai's eyes. She didn't look as if she was of the same opinion as her husband, nor did she look particularly happy. But she said nothing and so, Logan too stayed silent.
"That he is," Rory nodded, her father letting go of her. Still shining with a blinding smile and sparkling eyes, she came over to Logan, her hand slipping into his. "I'm happy," she simply said, looking up into his eyes.
Calming down and nearly forgetting where he was, he wrapped an arm around her to draw her against him and nodded as well. "So am I," he told her quietly.
"Now, this calls for some champagne!" Christopher brought them back to the here (Rory's childhood kitchen!) and now (standing in front of Rory's parents!!) and Logan quickly loosened his hold on his Ace a bit – not letting go though. Sue him, but he needed the reassurance her touch always gave him, especially now with Lorelai still looking at him like – that. "We still have some bottles we brought from France."
"The very best then," Logan said, smiling thankfully at Christopher. He was so glad that at least one of Rory's parents approved of him.
Too bad though that it wasn't the one who meant most to his fiancée.
"And, any plans for the wedding yet?" Lorelai asked, not exactly the first words she would utter since the announcement, but damn close.
They had settled down in the living room and toasted to their engagement. Rory had recounted a modified version of Logan's proposal and had showed around her engagement ring while Logan had mostly just sat by her, their hands entwined while she talked.
"Yeah, we pretty much nailed all the details down," Rory answered eagerly. "It helped that we really agreed on everything more or less. Most importantly, we're going to marry on the 29th of June."
"This June?" Even Christopher sounded surprised.
"This June," Rory confirmed. "We don't want to have a long engagement and really, most of all we just want to be finally married, starting our life together. As soon as we know where we'll work this coming fall we're going to look around for an apartment where we can move into once we come back from our honeymoon in Asia."
"Don't you think that's kind of soon?" Lorelai asked, frowning.
"Maybe, but that's how we want it," Rory answered and Logan had no trouble hearing the warning in her voice. He guessed her mother would also, but either he was wrong or she simply ignored it.
"Rory, I'm pretty sure I didn't raise you to be the kind of woman who marries right out of college, throwing her own life away just like that."
Rory stiffened, but it was Logan who answered, suddenly not caring so much about Lorelai's opinion of him anymore. He could understand that she may find their wedding in June a bit early, hell, he himself had hardly believed it when Rory had agreed to just that, but he still didn't like the implications in Lorelai's words. "And you haven't. Rory will never in her life end up as a simple trophy wife, even if she'd want that. She's way too smart for that." He met Lorelai's eyes and didn't back down when her glare hit him. Didn't look as if she appreciated his interruption much. But damn it, this was his business now too. Rory no longer belonged only to her, she was as much his now as hers. "And I wouldn't want it any other way, because the last thing I want or need is a clone of my mother. Married to me or not, Rory will have her own career in journalism. So, marrying me does not equal her throwing her life away."
He couldn't help it, those words just hurt and enraged him – for both their sakes. Rory squeezed his hand, faced her mother, too, though. "I couldn't have said it any better. Look, Mom, I know this may not be how you envisioned it, hell, neither did I, but that doesn't change how right it still is. We love each other, we're sure we want to spend the rest of our life together and have our own family in a few years and we just want to have this happen as soon as possible. That is the only reason why we are marrying in six months, which isn't that short an engagement by the way," she emphasized. "And like Logan said, this in no way means that I'm not going to follow my dreams. They just include him at my side now." She glanced briefly at him with another warm smile he couldn't help but return. Damn, this woman had him wrapped tightly around her pinkie finger. Turning back to her mother, she was serious once again. "So please, Mom, can't you just be happy for us?"
Lorelai stared at her daughter for a long time before she finally sighed. "Rory, I just had to tell you what I think. But if this is what you really want, then by all means, let us marry you off."
Logan didn't think that this was much of a blessing, but Rory's face filled with relief and she rushed over to hug her mother. "Thank you, Mom! I really need your help to get everything ready for June. We're marrying here in Stars Hollow of course. And Paris and Lane will be my maids of honor, so that's settled, but I still need a wedding gown and most of all I need you to keep Grandma from going nuts over this. We don't mind a big wedding, but it's still our wedding and you have to make Grandma consider that before she starts going over our heads and you're the only one who can do that."
Despite herself, Lorelai grinned. "Now, that will be fun! A full time job, but she'll have kittens!"
Rory nodded, then turned to face Logan with a mischievous smile. "This reminds me, you will never guess what Logan said in the plane. He actually believes that because of Finn he's well capable of handling Kirk," she giggled.
Lorelai burst out laughing and even Christopher laughed.
Annoyed, Logan gave them all a look. "What?"
"Logan, what a nice surprise! Richard, look, Logan is here!" Emily exclaimed when she came to greet them all at the door. "We sure haven't expected you, thinking you're in London."
"I hope you don't mind if I impose on you like this, without any forewarning. But I decided to bring Rory back myself, get a few things done here, and well, here I am now," Logan apologized, holding out a box of Swiss chocolate he had brought for her, along with a bottle of wine from Spain for Richard. "Rory and her parents assured me it would be no problem to come along for their evening with you."
"Of course not!" Emily beamed and turned to look at her newest maid, who was already quivering with fear. "Elsie, please put another setting for dinner."
"Yes, Ma'am," Elsie breathed and hurried off with their coats.
"Did you have a good time in London?" Richard asked as he was leading them towards the living room, straight over to the bar. "What can I get you for drinks?"
"Yes, Grandpa, we had an excellent time and I think champagne for all of us would be perfect, since Logan and I are engaged for four days now," Rory answered, radiating with happiness and pride, surprising even Logan with her straightforward approach to spread the big news to her grandparents.
For a moment, there was only stunned silence as Emily and Richard gaped at Rory. Grinning, Rory brought up her left hand and wriggled her ring finger, causing the diamond and sapphires on her engagement ring to sparkle brilliantly. It seemed to work though, because it sure brought Emily rushing over with a squeal, hugging Rory tightly. "Oh, Rory! That's so wonderful! I'm so happy this is finally happening!" She let go of her granddaughter and turned to Logan who found himself in an enthusiastic hug as well. "Ah, Logan, it's about time you got to your senses to make an honest woman out of our little girl!"
"Mom! 21st century, remember? There's no such thing as making an honest woman out of anyone anymore," Lorelai told her dryly as Emily let go, but Richard was already in line to hug Rory tightly as well and then slap Logan's back, shaking his hand firmly. "Oh, shush, Lorelai! Logan, I can't say how happy we are to hear this excellent news."
"Thank you, Sir," Logan answered with a smile, meaning every word. It really was good to have at least some of their folks being just happy for him and Rory.
"Please, Logan, no more of this 'Sir'. You're family now," Richard chided him with another slap onto his back.
Logan nodded. "Okay, Richard, I'll remember that," he said, leaving out that he still had to address his own grandfather 'Sir' regularly.
Emily was admiring Rory's engagement ring while Rory was retelling to her Logan's story about the ring. "It's a wonderful ring, Rory, but then, I'm not surprised," she said, looking at Logan. "Logan always had an excellent taste, as he has proved once again by choosing you and making sure you wouldn't get away, right, Logan?" She turned back to Rory. "Come on, you have to tell us all about his proposal!"
"Right, but you wait until I'm back with the champagne, I don't want to miss a word of this!" Richard agreed, starting for his cellar.
Christopher intercepted him. "Why don't I go get the champagne while you stay here? The two already told us the whole story."
"Excellent idea, Christopher, thank you," Richard nodded. "Look at me, having such a great son-in-law and now getting a great grandson-in-law as well."
"Didn't I always tell you what a nice couple they'll make one day, right the first time we saw them together?" Emily said proudly. "I just knew you two were made for each other."
Neither Logan nor Rory had anything to say to that, but Lorelai had no such qualms. "Oh yeah? I remember Rory telling me that there was a time last year when you weren't happy at all with how close Logan and Rory already were."
"I don't know what you mean," Emily replied stiffly as Rory blushed and was shooting her mother a glare.
"No? When you found out that Logan and Rory were already doing the dirty mambo horizontally?" Lorelai reminded her, grinning slyly.
"Lorelai! That hardly is the right topic for such a wonderful moment!" Richard protested.
"Why not?" Lorelai simply countered though, unfazed. "You think those two would want to marry if the sex was bad between them?"
"Lorelai!" Emily exclaimed, aghast.
And while Logan secretly agreed with Lorelai wholeheartedly, he too would be happy for a change of topic. These were Richard and Emily after all and talking about the sex between him and Rory in front of them, her mother and her father who was just coming back with the champagne was a bit much even for him. He shot his fiancée a look, but she just shrugged, offering him an apologetic smile at least though.
Still shooting daggers at her daughter, Emily turned to him. "Logan, we absolutely have to get together with your parents as soon as possible. Shira and I will have so much to do now, with having to organize your wedding. The guest list alone will be a pest to hammer out."
"And Mitchum and I will have to work out the prenuptial agreement." Richard added. "I'm sure though we'll come to an acceptable contract soon enough that will satisfy all parties. It's not as if one of you is already lacking for money, right?"
Logan exchanged a look with his Ace. There it was. The mayhem had begun!
"Grandma, really, I'll appreciate all the help you can give us, but please remember that this will be our wedding. We want to have the final decision on everything," Rory told Emily carefully.
"Of course, of course," Emily assured, but Logan doubted that anyone in the room would be fooled. He guessed it was his turn to warn them off now.
"And you should know that my family still doesn't know about our engagement, not yet. There simply wasn't enough time to tell them, with us only arriving in the early afternoon today," he told them. "We first went to Rory's parents, then here to go tell the news. I'll talk with them tomorrow of course, but I'd appreciate it if you could wait calling my parents until I had a chance to tell them myself," he asked. 'And until they calmed down,' he added silently. Actually… "Perhaps my mother could call you when she's ready to tackle the preparations, Emily? And my dad you, Richard?"
"In that case, we'll gladly wait of course," Richard agreed. "I'm honored you told us even before your parents, Logan, though I hope they won't mind that too much."
"I doubt that," Logan assured him and he really thought that it would hardly matter other than, his folks would have a much harder time rejecting his engagement with Rory without making quite a social scandal out of it.
Which was exactly why he had wanted Richard and Emily to know before he told his family about his recent engagement.
"What do you think about a wedding in the fall?" Emily asked, jumping ahead. "Or is that too soon for you? A spring wedding would be wonderful as well and we sure will be able to organize everything accordingly then."
"Actually, Logan and I have already settled on a date," Rory told her, glancing at him and her parents for support. "We're going to marry on June 29th, in Stars Hollow, so you don't need to worry about churches or reception halls to book."
"June! But Rory, that's too soon! You can't marry this soon, what will the people think? And what's this nonsense about a wedding in that small town of yours?" Emily gasped, shocked. "I won't deny that it has its own kind of charm but it sure is not a suitable place for the wedding between two of the most important heirs of your generation in our circle."
Rory got her stubborn look Logan knew only too well. "Well, first of all, we don't really care what people think. Those who know us won't think anything of it anyway. And I'm sorry, Grandma, but Stars Hollow is not negotiable. This is my hometown, the town I grew up in and that was always my home and I want to be married there and Logan is more than okay with that. So frankly speaking, you better get used to the idea, because the wedding will take place in six months and it will be in Stars Hollow and nowhere else."
"Rory!" Emily breathed, taken aback.
"Mom, what do you expect?" Lorelai jumped in. "They're grown up and while I'm not too happy about the wedding so soon either, they have thought everything through and know what they want. We'll just have to accept that. Besides, look at the bright side of it. You can organize the social event of the year in only six months. Don't tell me you're not up to meet that challenge."
Emily's face took on an almost affronted look. "Don't be ridiculous. Of course, I can."
"Well, then it's settled," Lorelai stated, content, and sat back.
Logan had to hand it to her, she sure knew how to play Emily. And he was grateful for her help, really, he was. He just wished, for Rory's sake, that she herself would agree wholeheartedly with them and their plans for the future.
Turning back to his fiancée, Logan smiled. "It's you," he simply summarized his thoughts of his impression about Rory's room. "I like it. I can see you growing up in here. I can see you being happy here." He hesitated, taking another look around. "And I start to understand your dislike of extravagance better."
Taking a look around, Rory came over to him. "I don't know why, but it means a lot to me that you like it." She shook her head. "Do you know that you're actually the first guy I love who I get to present my room to? Jess had simply wandered in on his first visit to our house when we barely knew each other. And Dean… well, I guess one could count him, technically, but that had been so different and we hadn't been really together at that time either, let alone in love already."
Logan couldn't say that he liked it much when Rory mentioned her exes, never, but he had to admit there was a certain satisfaction at hearing that simple fact. And, glancing at her bed, sure also a good portion of curiosity. He wasn't sure if he really wanted to know, but he asked anyway, wrapping his arms around her. "What about other things? Like certain things a girl and a boy might do when the cat's out of the house and a free bed is nearby?"
Her eyes glanced to her bed and she blushed as a memory apparently flashed up. He felt a spark of jealousy, but squelched it down. He had to ask, hadn't he? Besides, it didn't really matter. He got the girl in the end, didn't he?
"Well, if you absolutely want to know, yeah, this bed is not exactly a virgin anymore," she finally answered, her eyes going back to him, looking almost irresistibly cute in her embarrassment. "Actually, I lost my virginity here."
Okay, this he didn't really need to know, he thought sourly as he felt another surge of jealousy rush through his veins, but damn it, he couldn't help it this time. The first time was special and though he probably would have run as hell had he indeed been her first, he hated the thought of someone else having her, here and for her first time nonetheless. "I hope it at least had been good," he grumbled, glaring at the suddenly not so alluring bed anymore.
"It was a good first time," Rory nodded, eyeing him. "But it quickly faded when we first had sex and when we truly made love for the first time… It's nothing compared to that." Her arms slipped around his neck and she gave him a slow, inviting kiss. "And I'm looking forward to top those earlier experiences with my fiancé now."
For a long moment, Logan let himself get lost in her enticing kiss, nearly forgetting where they were. But in the end he did remember and with a regretful sigh, he let go of his Ace, putting some safe distance between them. "Ace, you don't honestly believe that we're going to have sex in this bed or anywhere else in the vicinity of this house with your parents just in the next room!"
One of her eyebrows slowly rose into a questioning bow. "We're not?" Her head dropped to the side. "You do remember that we're engaged, right? And my parents aren't next door, they are upstairs."
His eyes rolled upwards. "Doesn't make a difference. Rory, that's your dad up there. The last time he caught us making out he was ready to kill me. And let's not even mention your mother being up there as well!"
The bow rose to a highly amused level. "Hmm, I remember. That was years ago and I hardly think this is the same. Once again, we're engaged and together for two years now. And what do you think are Mom and Dad doing up there at this moment?"
"Rory!" But Logan couldn't help but listen for any sounds coming from upstairs now. Was that a hump?
"Besides, you did notice that there is only one bed in here, right? What do you plan? To sleep on the floor?" Rory continued and her voice was just mocking him now.
Crossing his arms defiantly, he looked at her stubbornly. "Well no, of course not. I figure you have a mat and some comforters here somewhere."
Shaking her head, Rory came over to him to grab his hand and pull him over to her bed. "Logan, don't be ridiculous. You're sleeping in the bed. With me," she said and emphasized her words by giving him a push that forced him to sit down on her bed.
"And not that you're not awfully cute right now, but please, just shut up now," she added, giving him a kiss that made him forget everything else, even her parents upstairs, and he shut up for a long while after that.
Carefully slipping his arm out from under Rory's head, he waited a moment for her to snuggle into the pillow before he quietly slipped out of the bed. Not that he actually wanted to leave the warmth of her and the bed or even the sanctuary of her room but he really needed to use the bathroom, now. Finding his clothes in the dark after perhaps five minutes of searching, he quickly pulled on the trainer pants and the blue t-shirt Christopher had lent him before he slipped out of the room.
No way was he going to risk getting caught by one of Rory's parents with nothing else on other than his boxers. It was bad enough as it was. Not for the first time he asked himself why the hell they had agreed to stay the night here instead of their own apartment back in New Haven.
But it had been really late by the time they finally managed to leave the still enthusiastic and happy Emily and Richard and seeing as he had to return to Hartford the next day to go face his family about his impending wedding with Rory they had finally gave in to Lorelai and Christopher insisting they spend the night with them.
Still, he would feel a lot more comfortable in their own home than here under the same roof with Rory's mom and dad. Worse, after just having had sex with their little girl in the very room where she grew from a child into the wonderful woman she was. He still didn't know just how Rory had managed to change his firm resolve about them not having sex in this room. But hell, it had been worth it, even if Lorelai skinned him and Christopher killed him for it.
And that bed of hers now sure held some way better memories than just her losing her virginity in it, he thought with satisfaction and flushed, cringing at the loud sound in the otherwise so quiet house. Damn it. He just wanted to get back to his Ace.
Quickly washing his hands, he turned off the light and opened the door, padding quietly back towards Rory's room, not daring to turn on the light and perhaps wake up one of Rory's parents.
His body collided with another body, nearly bringing them both down. He felt his hand brush against some unmistakable curves and stifled a curse.
Great. Just fucking great.
Pedaling back, Logan hit the wall and felt the light switch at his back. Thank Heaven for small favors! He switched it on and blinked against the sudden brightness. And sure enough, despite his hope that his body had failed him on recognizing his Ace after all, Lorelai stood in front of him in her pajamas, blinking furiously as well.
Of all the damn luck… "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to scare or surprise you," he apologized hastily. Not to mention for groping her, however unintentionally that had been. "It's just, I had to use the bathroom and I didn't want to wake anyone up so I didn't turn on the light and so I didn't see you when I came out of the bathroom and so…"
Stroking her hair back, Lorelai seemed to come to her senses as well as she interrupted him at that point, thank God. "Logan, relax. You don't have to apologize for a trip to the bathroom. It's not as if I didn't invite you to spend the night here myself."
Logan bobbed his head, though to be precise, it had been Christopher who invited them for the night first, Lorelai only going with that after a moment. "I'm sorry."
"Well, no need to. And please, just turn on the light next time. I assure you, it wouldn't disturb us anyway. We have a door to our room as well, you know," she waved his protest away.
Feeling stupid, Logan merely nodded again. "So I didn't wake you up," he wanted to make sure though anyway.
Rolling her eyes in an all too familiar way, she shook her head. "No. I was just hungry and wanted to grab some snack in the kitchen," She shrugged. "And I'm used to moving around here without any light."
Rory did that too sometimes, getting up for a snack - mostly when she was worrying about something. He wondered if the mother shared with her daughter that very reason for her midnight snack. "Oh."
Lorelai moved past him to the kitchen, and he noticed her glancing at the closed door to Rory's room. He was pretty sure he would rather not want to know what she thought at that moment. "Want something too? Sookie made some pies for the inn and I was able to steal one to take home. Trust me, it will be the best pie you ever ate in your life."
Glancing longingly towards Rory's door as well, Logan sighed inwardly. Lorelai's invitation surprised him, and then again, it also did not. He had the feeling she had been waiting for an opportunity to have a talk with him alone, without Christopher or his Ace around to hold her back. And truth be told, he had some things to say to her as well. So he turned to face her and slowly came close. "Sure. Rory brings home some food from Sookie sometimes and so I can easily believe that this pie will be good."
"Something to drink along with it? Milk, water, coffee?" Lorelai asked, taking out some plates and the pie.
"Water would be fine, thanks," he said and watched as she cut them two pieces of the pie and filled glasses with water. For a good three minutes, they sat quietly at the table and ate their pie.
Lorelai hadn't exaggerated. The pie was delicious. Too bad he couldn't really enjoy it. Sighing, he looked at Lorelai. "Why don't you just go ahead and say what you want to say?"
Rory's mother met his eyes, her eyes so much like her daughters and then again, also so very much different. He briefly wondered if a daughter of theirs was going to have the same eyes as those two and felt a warm rush at that thought. He hoped so. Then though he pushed that thought away and concentrated on holding Lorelai's eyes. He couldn't back down, not now, or he and Lorelai would never find a way to be at least tolerant of each other.
Finally, Lorelai sat back with a nod. "Okay. It's not that I don't like you, Logan…"
"You don't," Logan stated quietly. But, what? It was the truth and he honestly didn't blame her.
"Frankly speaking, I don't know you enough to be able to say if I really like you or not, but that is part of the problem. You claim to love my daughter, and yet you never seemed to bother to really get to know her family and friends here. Her home," Lorelai told him. "But then, I can also see why. I know how you kids grow up and why should the Huntzberger heir care for a bunch of unimportant people in a small town no one had ever heard of? Which is another part of the problem. I didn't raise my daughter like that. She is not like that."
"I know that," Logan emphasized, keeping his voice down though. He didn't want to wake Rory up.
"Do you? Do you really?" Lorelai countered though, giving him a hard look. "Yet, since she met you, she just got drawn more and more into that world, hasn't she? Hanging around with other rich kids just like you, jetting around the world, joining the DAR, attending some of your business soirees… And you still want to tell me that you don't think of her as becoming one from your circle?"
Taking a deep breath, Logan let it out again. "No, I don't, because even if she tried to, Rory could never just be like one of us. And you're right, she did more and more of those things you seem to despise so much. But I didn't force her into any of those things, each and every one of them has been her own decision and hers alone. Actually, a few things you have recited there… I wasn't so hot about either, like her joining the DAR. Or then staying in it. But it's her choice, not mine and sorry, not yours anymore either."
"Do you really think that she didn't do all those things for you? To fit better into your world?" Lorelai snorted.
Frowning, Logan blinked. "Uh, no… Not really." He was silent for a moment, his frown deepening. "Didn't it ever occur to you that perhaps Rory just wanted to do those things for herself? Find out more about the world she was born into, even though you kept her from it? The world of her grandparents?" His eyes narrowed. "The world she will be a part of, at least as soon as her inheritance as the heiress to the Gilmore fortune will come through?"
Lorelai was only glaring at him, saying nothing.
"Do you really think she hasn't figured that out by herself by now? She's the smartest person I've ever met and I've met a few. Of course she figured it out! What did you expect? That Rory will just turn her back on her grandparents and leave everything behind like you did? You of all people should know her better than that. She would never just ignore her responsibilities," Logan said, a lot more hotly than he had intended to. But damn it, it needed to be said once and for all. "Don't get me wrong. I admire your strength to be able to leave it all behind and make it on your own and if you ask me, keeping her away from high society for a while was an excellent idea. But you couldn't expect to keep her out of all this all of her life. And I'm sorry that I was the one who tied her straight back into our world even more than she already was at the time I met her, but it's not my fault that she finally recognized her status and now tries to prepare herself for her impending place in high society." He took a deep breath. Shit, this wasn't going too well, was it? "Being rich is not a fault. Nor that it automatically means that we are all scum or turn to scum as soon as we turn rich. Some of us are, I admit, hell, I know a lot of them. But like you said, Rory isn't like that, and she'll never be, no matter how rich she'll be or just how high her position will be. Which is part of the reason why I love her. She keeps me grounded, teaches me to be a better person than I was when I met her, simply by being herself."
It was Lorelai's turn to frown. "What about her? Who will ground her, who will teach her to not get corrupted by the bunch of you? Even if she maintains the values I gave her, she'll never really fit into your world, Logan. She'll always be an outsider, the people always remembering just who she is and where she comes from. Don't tell me they won't, because I sure know how it works in this circle. Or how your family thinks of her, despite your mother being nothing but a lucky common girl who got pregnant by the right guy."
Well, Logan could hardly deny the truth of her words when he himself refused to take Rory along when he tells his family about their engagement in fear of their reaction. Still… "She's too strong to mind idiots like that. And she knows that the people who love and know her would never think anything like those people. Like her grandparents, like me, like my friends or even my sister. And with all due respect, Lorelai, but times have changed, even among us. My generation can still be snobbish as hell, but hardly anyone will actually think lowly of Rory because of her upbringing," he said grimly. "But in the end, it still wouldn't matter. Rory knows who she is and what is important to her and she'll live to those high standards, ignoring anyone else's opinion. And believe me, should anyone really be stupid enough to still have a go at her, I'll deal with it, despite Rory being well capable of protecting herself. I won't just stand by and let anyone insult my wife!" he assured, quite affronted by the mere implication of such a thing. "Just being married to me will help protect her from such things and if that's not enough, I'll find another way to protect her."
Lorelai's eyes cut into his. "And who will protect her from you?"
Paling, Logan gaped at her, outraged. "From me? I would never hurt Rory! Damn it, I would do just about everything to keep her safe!"
"Not intentionally, no, I can see that," Lorelai admitted, her eyes almost sad all of a sudden. "And believe me, I can even see that you love my daughter very much, which is why we're sitting here now instead of me thinking about ways to make Rory see reason. But you're a gambler, a risk-taker, Logan, taking everything for granted. You never in your life had to fight for anything, not even to win Rory's heart, everything always having been easy for you. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but, in the position you are, neither a good thing. What will happen when things won't go your way, Logan? What will happen if one day, you're the one who loses, the one who fails, and hard as that? Because sooner or later, that will probably happen and I'm afraid of what will happen then. From what I learned from Rory, you have a tendency of avoiding any issue or simply ignoring them. And you also tend to drink too much, especially when something is bothering you."
Logan gritted his teeth, gripping his glass hard. He knew he had to make an effort with Lorelai, but must he really sit here and listen to her throw accusations at him like that, not able to say anything in response?
"It's your life of course and I have no right to judge it, but when you marry my daughter, you drag her right into the middle of all that. You're right, Rory is strong, and yet I've never seen her so lost or confused and so damn self-doubting as when she had been on the outs with you each single time and the first time it happened you weren't even dating exclusively yet. I fear what it will be like for her when you two are married, maybe even when you have children of your own. She shouldn't have to deal with your shit for you, nor have to go through something like that," Lorelai said with bitterness obvious in her voice. "She deserves more than that."
His jaw still clenched, Logan crossed his arms. He didn't like to hear about Rory hurting so much when they had had their problems, and hell, he knew better than anyone that Rory deserved much more than him, but fate had dealt him with the incredible luck that she loved him and by God, he was not going to throw that away. No matter what. "Are you finished now?" he asked tensely.
Saying no more, Lorelai nodded.
Taking a deep breath, Logan reminded himself that he couldn't lose it and then launched himself into his defense. "First of all, yeah, I've been born rich and I am rich and nothing will change that. And yes, my path had always been set for me, with me having to take over the business after my father retires. But you of all people should know that while I won't deny that being born rich and privileged for sure has its advantages, it also has its major drawbacks, like having no choice but to just go along that path that has been set for you. I hated it and yes, for a long time I did everything I could to rebel against it, everything but leaving it all behind like you've done, and yes, that includes a certain irresponsibility, games, screwing around and too much alcohol, pretty much everything I could think of to piss off my dad and the rest of the bunch… always pushing and scolding me about my friends, my choices and every other part of my life. I wasn't allowed to dream, I wasn't allowed to have choices, and I had nothing but money and the few years that were left for me before I was pushed into the very same life my father was leading. And I thought you would understand that, just because you were once in the exact same position as I've been. Maybe I thought wrong or maybe I just screwed it up before you even got a chance to understand it because, and I know that only too well, you really only saw me on my worst when we met and the most you heard from Rory about me was probably when she was pissed off with me. And I am regretting that, really." He stopped, looking at her.
She said nothing, her mouth was pressed tightly together though.
Okay, so be it, he wasn't finished yet anyway. Leaning forward, he made sure he had all her attention. "But everything changed the moment I met Rory. Or at least when I realized that I was head over heels in love with her. Nearly losing her kind of woke me up and when I had that accident last year…" His voice trailed off and he looked away for a moment. He never had talked with anyone but Rory about his near death experience and somehow it just felt wrong to talk to someone else about it, but he needed her mother to understand, so he continued. "It made me think hard about my life and what I wanted and I finally understood a few things. Like why I haven't left it all behind like you've done for example. It wasn't because I didn't have the courage to leave or because I didn't want to lose the money and privileges I've grown accustomed to. No, it was because I want the business after all. Since I've met Rory, seeing her enthusiasm about journalism, I started to remember that I love it too. I love writing, I love the hustle and bustle in reporting the news and I even love the whole management side of running a newspaper business and after the accident I finally admitted to myself that the only reason why I had hated my path so much was because I was pushed into it… it not being my free choice. But with realizing that, I made it my choice and so I went along with my father's orders and left for London after my graduation, despite it being the hardest thing to do, for I had to leave Rory behind like for that. I was scared shitless that the distance would make me lose her in the end, but I had to do it. For both of us. Because I knew that in order to make her happy I first had to find a way to make myself happy and be proud of what I'm doing in my life. Because Rory would never love anyone less than that or would want to spend her life with such a person. And spending my life with Rory was, is and always will be on the top of the list of the things I want in my life."
He swallowed, eyeing his Ace's mother. Her expression didn't tell much but he thought he saw at least some understanding in her eyes at last.
"I'm sorry I hurt her in the past," he finally continued, his voice thick. "I hate that, because hurting her is not what I want to do. But believe me, I was hurt too and it had been hard, those times when we were apart. Nor is it especially easy to be so far away from her now, not able to be here for her, no matter if it's for good or bad times." His eyes hardened. "But with all due respect, I haven't been the only one who had hurt her. You've done your part in that as well in the past, when you refused to see her when she had dropped out of Yale and believe me, I was there, she had been hurt much more than I ever could have hurt her, at least up to that point." He let that sink in for a moment, before he continued, more softly. "And if you are not able to accept our love and our marriage, you will hurt her again, Lorelai. Because we are getting married, with or without your or anyone else's blessing, because that is what we both want and need. But I also know that she'll never be completely happy if you can't accept me or her decision. And for that I hope we can find a way to get past our animosity and for now find at least a way to be civil with each other." He looked at her, gauging her reaction. None so far. He sighed. "And I also hope that with time, when you see just how very much I love your daughter and would do my best to make her happy as much as possible, but also that I've matured and am making a life on my own, going my own way, though with Rory at my side of course, you maybe will even start to like me."
He still held her eyes and no, it wasn't at all a comfortable place, being the object of scrutinizing eyes, but he refused to look away, let her see all of him.
It had seemed like an eternity and the longer it took, the more his heart beat heavily and the less hope he felt.
Well, at least he had given his best to try to mend things with Lorelai at least a bit.
But eventually, to his surprise, Lorelai gave a small nod. "Okay, tell you what… I'll keep my doubts to myself and you get another chance. You hold what you just promised, we won't have a problem with each other anymore." She hesitated for a moment, making a face. "Maybe I am a bit shortsighted where you're concerned, you remind me too much of stuff that isn't so dear to me and I may also have failed to see those changes in you that you've mentioned. So I'll try to get to know you better, see you as you are now, while you give me a chance to just do that in the first place. Deal?"
Feeling as if a heavy weight had just been lifted from him, Logan smiled. "Yeah, that sounds like a fair deal to me," he answered seriously.
Holding out her hand, Logan's smile deepened as he took the hand to seal their deal.
"Enough of this stuff now. Eat your pie. I warn you, leaving something so delicious is considered a crime in this house," Lorelai changed the topic, picking up her fork to help herself to another big bite of the pie.
"Don't worry, Rory taught me well about this concern," Logan assured her and helped himself to a big bite himself.
They didn't talk much more while they ate their pie, but then again, there wasn't anything more to be said at the moment.
It was a start.
"Master Logan, we didn't expect you," William, his family's butler for almost thirty years now, greeted him, looking not at all surprised though.
"It was a spur of the moment," Logan told him and stepped into the house he had grew up in, struck at how cold it felt compared to the small but oh so warm home of Rory. He could only hope that their home would be filled with that incredible warmth instead of the coldness that always had filled this mansion. "Are my parents in?"
"Yes. Your mother is still resting though. Your father is in his office. Your grandfather hasn't risen either yet," William answered, taking his coat. "So you wish us to prepare your room, Master Logan?"
"No, that won't be necessary, I won't be staying that long," Logan answered and looked into the direction of his father's office. He had come so early in the hope to catch his father alone first, because really, it was his opinion which would dictate the reaction of the entire family. "Maybe I'll be here for lunch though, I'm not sure yet. You better ask an hour beforehand."
"Of course, Master Logan. Do you wish me to bring something else in the meantime?" William asked in his calm way.
Logan still did a double take, glancing at him. He had always liked William, even though he always had a big respect for the man as a child and so far, William seldom had been so formal with him, only if the situation called for it. He wondered what had brought on the change in his behavior but let it go then. There were other things to tackle, he thought darkly. "No. Just make sure my father and I won't be disturbed."
William nodded. "Yes, Sir," he said calmly, then hesitated though. "May I inquire about the well being of Ms. Gilmore?"
Despite everything, Logan couldn't help the big smile that automatically formed on his face. "Oh, she's very well, William, trust me. Thanks," he added, meaning it, before he turned to head to his father's office with a sigh.
Like expected, his father was at his desk, bowed over some documents. Probably the summary of the articles chosen for the various papers they owned. His father always wanted to be in the loop. Entering, Logan quietly closed the door behind himself, knowing that that would ensure that they wouldn't be disturbed even more than the warning to William. Everyone in this household knew better than to disturb the master of the house when his office door was closed. "Dad."
Startled, his father looked up, a big frown forming on his forehead. "Logan. What are you doing here?" he wanted to know and Logan could feel him already being prepared to listen to his son confessing to another stupidity that had gotten him into trouble.
Well, not this time, at least he still hoped that his father would see the difference in it. Coming forward, he came to a stop in front of his father's desk, forcing him to look up at him. "I've brought Rory home. I'll fly back tomorrow, don't worry. But I need to talk to you."
He had expected his father to sigh or frown, asking what Logan had done this time with that resignation that always made Logan feel so inadequate, but his father surprised him by only giving him a brief, hard look before leaning back. "Well… and what do you want to say?"
A bit caught off guard, Logan frowned but recovered soon enough, straightening his back and standing a bit taller. "I've asked Rory to marry me a few days ago," he answered, coming straight to the point. His father didn't like talking around the issue and it was one of the few things Logan appreciated about his father. "She accepted my marriage proposal and we are now engaged to be married in June. We've already told her parents and grandparents yesterday and Richard and Emily are expecting you and mom to call them soon to sort out the details."
For a long while, his father said nothing, just studied him with that scrutinizing look of his. But Logan didn't allow himself to squirm under his gaze. Not this time. This time, he needed to be strong, so his father would understand that he was dead serious about this. The pencil in his father's hand was twisted around once before his father sat forward again. "June. That's pretty soon. Did you get her pregnant?"
Stiffening, Logan felt himself scowling. "No. That's your reason to get married, not mine. I proposed because I love her and she said yes because she feels the same way. The only reason why we'll marry so soon is that we want to finally be together for good and start our life together."
There was a flame of anger in his father's hard eyes at the mention of how he and his wife had come to be married, but it was gone as soon as it had flared there. "You realize that with Richard and Emily already aware of the engagement there's not really a good way for you to get out of it anymore," he said, awfully conversationally.
"First of all, the last thing I want to do is to get out of my engagement to Rory. Second, yes, I know and I'm counting on it," he agreed, eyeing his father before he gave a humorless smile. "I'm well aware of the things you said about Rory in the past and as I really want to marry the girl I love I thought it couldn't hurt if I make it a bit harder for you to do anything about our engagement." He shook his head. "Though I still fail to see what your problem is. You've got to admit that I could have chosen much worse than the heiress to the Gilmores in the end. Not to mention that she also is the eldest daughter of the Hayden heir. Even if her little sister gets the bulk of that fortune, she too will receive her nice share. So Rory is of my wealth, my status and on top of that beautiful, intelligent and sophisticated. Plus, only a blind person would fail to see her talent in journalism. She is perfect to be my wife, even if I wouldn't love her so much." His eyes narrowed. "Or is the only reason why you are so against her the fact that I actually dared to chose her on my own and therefore will not just marry who you tell me to?"
With a sigh, his father shook his head. "Don't be ridiculous, Logan." He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then shrugged. "Truthfully? You are right, you could have chosen much worse. In fact, I'm actually approving. You're right. The young Ms. Gilmore is a promising talent and one of the most eligible heiresses your age."
Logan frowned, caught off guard. "Wait… are you saying that you give us your blessing?" He might have expected his father to see the sense behind his proposal much, much later, but this? No, he hadn't expected to actually not have to defend his choice after all.
His father's smile was mostly ironic. "I doubt that you really care for that, but yeah, I guess you have my blessing." His eyes studied him for a moment. "She is good for you, Logan. I was at first worried about your relationship because I feared she would screw up your focus even more than it already had been, but I had been wrong. She calmed you down, she helped you mature finally and I guess she also has a part in how you have proved yourself so much in your position in London."
Oh yeah, that she had, but still… "So you're saying that you have nothing against us marrying? You will not try to drive us apart again… or stop this from happening?"
Annoyed, his father gave him an exasperated look. "For the last time, Logan, yes, I agree, you couldn't have chosen better for yourself and I am sure your marriage to Ms. Gilmore will be a great asset for this family and our business."
Logan honestly didn't know what to say. He had come prepared to fight and, if the shit hit the fan, even to renounce his inheritance and walk out of his birthright and this family. This now was highly unexpected. Mistrustfully, he eyed his father. "And Mom and Grandpa won't throw stones at her again either?"
"I can hardly control their reaction," his father answered impassively, both of them knowing only too well that his opinion was law in this household and was imposed with consequences to those who dared to go against it. "But I believe they too have seen the positive changes in you since you've met this girl and have changed their views regarding the relationship between you and Ms. Gilmore."
"I'll call Richard in the next few days, as soon as I had a chance to talk to our lawyers to draw up the prenup agreement. You or Rory can inform him of that," his father continued, looking down at his reports. "Now if that's all…"
Logan still had trouble believing that his engagement to Rory was accepted just like that but that question at last brought him back to his senses - more or less. "Actually no, that isn't all. I need to talk to you about your plans for me after this summer."
"What about them?" his father asked absentmindedly, still reading over his reports.
"First of all, I'd like to have a say in what I'll be doing where. I think my work in London proves that I can be let off the line, at least to some part. And obviously, if you insist on placing me somewhere after all, I'd like you to consider that it's not just me anymore. I'll have a wife then and logically, we want to actually be able to also live together. We don't have any idea where Rory will be employed coming fall, but as we have branches of the Huntzberger group pretty much everywhere in the country and some abroad I'm sure it won't be too much trouble for me to be able to work in the area where my wife will be."
At last, his father looked up again, a deep frown between his eyes. "I'm sure it can be arranged that you two work closely together. Of course, Ms. Gilmore will work for us after her graduation, as your wife."
Logan tensed, suddenly seeing a problem he hadn't even thought about. Quite stupid of him, but he had worried so much about a negative reaction of his family to his engagement with Rory that he hadn't even considered that his father of course would expect Rory to work for them. "No, Dad," he protested flat out. "I don't expect Rory to work for us just because she's marrying me. She has her own dreams and we both want her to pursue them. Maybe she is considering joining the Huntzberger Group, but it's not her only option. She'd really like to have the New York Times internship and will be applying for it, as well as send her resumes to other papers."
His father's frown deepened. "This is nonsense. The wife of the future head of the Huntzberger Media Corporation group will either only do volunteer work for non-profit organizations like your grandmother and mother have done or she will work for us. She for sure will not work for the competition or any other media companies."
Telling himself to stay calm, Logan set his jaw and met his father's stare with one of his own. "My wife will do whatever she likes and work for whomever she wants to. Neither I nor you, Dad, will force her to work for us if she doesn't want to. I mean it, Dad. Leave Rory alone," Logan warned, surprised himself about just how cold and lowly warning his voice sounded. But by God, his father had screwed his Ace once over, he wouldn't let it happen for a second time. His eyes narrowed. "Don't try to sabotage her interviews, don't use your influence in the business, and just stay out of my fiancée's life."
A muscle in his father's jaw jumped and his lips pressed together. Always a good indicator that he was losing his temper, as Logan knew only too well. Usually, at this point he mostly would have started to give in or retreat, not this time though. Not when it was about his Ace's future.
"It's unlikely she'll get a job anywhere else anyway, without me giving a hand. Only a fool would hire the wife of the Huntzberger heir," his father said, tightly. "Her loyalty to another paper would always be questioned."
"We're not stupid, we are aware of that," Logan replied, holding his father's eyes. "And like said, Rory's not completely opposed to working for us. But she can still hope to get the internship at the Times or that other papers should see her integrity and will hire her despite her connection to me and our Group and if that happens, Dad, you will just have to accept that. I won't let you dictate Rory's life like you have dictated mine all of my life."
Another muscle twitched in his father's face and his pale eyes narrowed. "And how will you manage to stop me from doing that?"
Logan braced himself. "By walking out the moment I turn twenty-five," he told his father calmly.
There was a cruel twist in his father's smile. "And you want me to believe that you'd just leave everything behind? Your inheritance… your position… your legacy?"
"If it's either that or my wife's happiness, yes, Dad, without a second thought," Logan just answered quietly, but firmly. "Besides, you seem to forget that at least my trust fund and the inheritance from Grandma will come through when I'm twenty-five. It will be enough money to help me start my own paper. And between Rory and me, we'll still have enough to live by for a few years. So really, Dad… if you want me as your heir to take over the Group, you better leave me and Rory alone, especially Rory."
His father said nothing but his jaw was so clenched that it spoke volumes.
Logan smiled humorlessly. "You wanted me to grow up, Dad. Take on responsibilities. Well, I have. I'm no longer the boy you could command around with a snap of your fingers. I'm my own man now, with my own responsibilities. But I'm not you, Dad. My first responsibility is and will always be my wife and I'll do what I'll have to do in order to keep her safe from you." He shrugged. "I love her. And she loves me. And that, Dad, makes all the difference in the world, because with her at my side, I'm strong enough to face everything. Even losing my position as your heir. I am not afraid of being disowned. So don't threaten me, Dad, and especially don't threaten Rory. I won't take that kindly," he finished, icily.
He waited for a moment, but for once his father actually seemed speechless. Well enough. Nodding, Logan turned around. "I guess I'll be hearing from you. Tell Mom and Grandpa I said hi. Bye, Dad."
He walked out without looking back once. And his steps were still amazingly light.
"Well?" Rory asked warily when he walked into their apartment back in New Haven.
Logan just walked over to her and enveloped her into his arms, kissing her deeply.
"That bad, huh?" she sighed once he let go of her.
Not liking at all how dejected she looked at him, he was quick to smile at her reassuringly, stroking a stray strand of her hair back. "Not so much. As it is, Dad actually very much approves of my choice and gives us his blessing."
"Really?" Rory asked skeptically, eyeing him with a slight frown.
He nodded. "Really really. Those were his own words." Thinking over his words, he made a face. "Well, maybe he changed his opinion after I told him that I won't allow him to force you into working for us. I had said all I had to say and had walked out, so I'm still waiting for the final verdict, I guess. But before that he seemed almost happy about the news of us getting married."
Her frown had deepened with every word he had said and staring at him, she made an incredulous face. "Why don't you start from the beginning?" she finally asked, moving over to the couch to sit down.
Joining her, Logan gave her a full recount of his talk with his father, leaving nothing out. When he finished, she sat there quietly for a long time, digesting all of it. Sighing, she shook her head. "Well, I guess this shouldn't be much of a surprise. It makes sense that your father wants to insist on me working for you."
Logan shrugged. "Yeah well, his problem. You just do whatever you want to do the most and when you graduate, you'll decide which appeals most to you, regardless of whatever Dad thinks you should do. You have to promise me that," he insisted, wanting her to have absolutely no doubts about this.
"He has the means to make other papers not hire me though, doesn't he? I mean, it will be hard enough to find a position in another paper as it is, with me married to you and if he then lets the word out that he wouldn't be happy about anyone hiring me on top of that..." Rory's voice trailed off.
Taking her hands into his, Logan urged her to look at him. "Listen, Rory. Yes, it won't be easy and yes, Dad really has a lot of influence. But it's not like he's the godfather of the news business. Some papers may have too much fear of him, but there are others. The Times is one of those for sure. I'm sure some of them are willing to hire you, give you a chance. So don't lose hope," he tried to assure her. "Besides... I really don't think he'll risk me walking out on the Group and I made sure that he knows that that will be exactly what I'll be doing the second he starts to meddle with your life. And if not..." he shrugged again, "As the French say: Tant pis. It wouldn't be that much of a loss."
Her worried blue eyes studied him intensely. "Logan, this is your family. Your father."
With a smile, Logan cupped her cheek. "And I've already told you that this doesn't really mean that much to me. We were never very close, nor was there ever much love lost between us. We just… lived, coexisted. I don't really need them. You are my life though and I need you as I need the air to breath. Believe me, if it really comes down to a choice between you or my family and the family business, there is no choice to make. Because you are my family now, having said our vows or not. Marrying is only making it official."
"Logan," she sighed, obviously torn between sadness and joy.
He gave her a gentle, soft kiss. "As long as we have each other, everything will be all right," he whispered against her lips.
Laying her head onto his shoulder, they just enjoyed being together for a moment. Eventually, Rory sighed. "And I guess it's only fair if your father has reservations against me after all. This way we're at least even, with my mom giving you the hard talk as well." She leaned back to gaze into his eyes. "For which I am sorry by the way." She smiled. "Not that you haven't held up just fine against Mom's wrath, from what I've heard."
He groaned. "You heard?" His talk with Lorelai the previous night was definitely not something he had wanted Rory to know about, let alone hear it. And he was pretty sure her mother shared at least that desire with him.
It was her turn to shrug. "I woke up when you got up and went out of the room, so yeah, I heard most of your discussion." Her eyes turned serious. "And she is wrong. You're not irresponsible, you never really were. Well, sometimes perhaps but that was more stupidity and the thirst for rebellion on your part than actual irresponsibility or immaturity. But like you've said, you've calmed down a lot since your accident and I have absolutely no doubt that I'll always be safe with you, in every way possible, be it my body, my heart or even my dreams. No matter what comes, you'll be there for me, I know that and it's part of why I love you so much. And why I am so very sure about marrying you."
"Rory," he murmured, drawing her into his arms again and they shared yet another kiss, this time full of love and promise… a confirmation of their decision to be united as one.
"At least Dad and my grandparents seem to be just happy for us," Rory said with a sigh, laying her head back against his shoulder.
Caressing her back, he smiled. "And don't forget Finn and Colin. They couldn't be happier. Same with Honor. I drove by on the way home to tell her the news and she's over the moon about gaining you as a sister for sure now." She looked up and he was happy to see that the news had cheered her up. "Actually, she insisted on taking us out for dinner tonight to celebrate. I said I'd first have to ask you but if you don't mind, I really would love to spend some time with her and Josh tonight."
"Of course, you know I like them very much. It will be nice to celebrate with them as well," Rory immediately agreed. "And Lane's happy for us as well. I went to see her before I came home and she's really thrilled."
"How is she?" Logan asked, curiously.
"Huge and complaining every second about it but still never have been more happy, I think. She misses the music though. Looks like they hadn't practiced much lately," Rory answered with a smile.
Logan nodded, not knowing what to say more to that. It wasn't exactly easy to talk about someone you barely knew, though he thought he knew Rory's best friend at least to some degree through everything she had told him about her. Still, he really needed to finally get to know Lane better. Unfortunately that still had to wait a bit though. He simply didn't have the time for that as he had to leave the next day for London again.
"And I've also called Paris while I waited for you," Rory continued.
Logan made a face, knowing only too well what Paris thought of him. Well, she at least he knew well enough by now. Unfortunately. "And?"
"She guardedly approves," Rory told him, amusement twinkling in her eyes. "You are back to be the fourth Bee Gee though. Doyle though is elated about us marrying."
He made a face at the mention of the little guy. "Ace."
Grinning, she put on an innocent face. "What? Ever since you've bonded over the penguins' film after your accident he's become a really big fan of yours. He thinks of you as a good friend."
Sighing, Logan shook his head. "And that's nice, but, Ace… it's Doyle."
"Well, sometimes you can't choose even your friends," Rory chuckled, kissing his cheek.
Any response he might have given was interrupted by the phone ringing. Eyeing it, he contemplated not taking it but something about the ring told him he'd better take it. Kissing Rory on her temple he went over and took the phone. "Logan Huntzberger."
His eyes cut to Rory. "Dad." Looking up, Rory came over as well, taking his free hand into both of hers. Smiling reassuringly at her, he spoke again. "What can I do for you?"
"You left pretty quickly," his father accused, his voice not pleased.
"I had nothing else to say and you seemed to need time to think over what you wanted to do now, considering my news," Logan answered evenly, making sure though that he still meant what he had said and wouldn't change his mind. Rory squeezed his hand warningly. Locking his eyes with hers, he just smiled. "Have you come to any conclusion or any decision?"
It was silent on the other end of the line for a long moment. "Your mother and I would be happy to welcome you and Rory to dinner at home with us, tonight," his father finally said.
Logan's eyebrows rose slightly at the seemingly change of topic and he thought about its meaning for a moment. Hesitating, he finally put the phone on speakerphone, wanting Rory to hear both sides but hoping he wouldn't regret it. "Rory and I kind of have plans already, Dad. Honor has invited us to go out for dinner tonight."
Rory's eyebrows rose up as well as she heard about the invitation, giving Logan a questioning look. He shrugged in response, telling her that he too wasn't sure yet what this was about.
"Your mother is already on the phone with her, inviting her for tonight as well," his father answered and paused for a moment, as if he wasn't too happy about saying his next words. "You're engaged to a charming and promising young woman and we'd like to have an opportunity to welcome your fiancée into our family and express our happiness at this formidable union with the granddaughter of one of our oldest friends."
Boy oh boy...
Logan's eyebrows shot through the roof, mirroring Rory's. They looked at each other for a long moment before Rory finally shrugged, giving a puzzled nod. Okay... "In that case, Dad, we of course will be happy to join you all tonight," Logan finally accepted the invitation. "Of course it will also be nice for Rory to meet my family on their best behavior for a change," he added, his voice low with warning.
"Of course," his father answered, tightly.
Logan nodded slowly. His father better keep his word. "We'll come at seven o'clock then, if that's okay."
"Perfect. We're looking forward to seeing Rory again," his father said and ended the call.
Slowly, Logan put the phone down as well and met Rory's eyes again. "And what does this mean now?" she wanted to know, mistrustfully.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Logan replied and stepped closer, taking her into his arms to rest his chin on top of her head. "But Dad wouldn't have gone through this and be so carefully polite if he plans to throw me out of the family after all. I think everything may actually just turn out to be fine."
His Ace looked up at him with a smile. "That it will anyway. We're going to be married soon, won't we?"
He smiled back at her. "Aye, that we will," he agreed wholeheartedly without saying another word, and then swept her up into his arms to carry her over to their bed.
It was high time that they finally christened their very own bed by making love as fiancé and fiancée in it.
It was Rory's turn to look at the door in front of them and make a face. "No."
Laughing quietly, Logan took her hand and squeezed it reassuringly as he rang the bell with his free hand.
William opened the door in record time. "Master Logan, Ms. Gilmore, please come in. Your family is already waiting in the living room," he informed them, taking their coats.
"Thank you," Logan nodded and pulled Rory after him. "Relax," he whispered into her ear just before they stepped from the hall into the living room.
"Easy for you to say," she grumbled under her breath, just for him to hear.
He flashed his two-hundred-watt-smile and stepped forward to come face to face with his entire immediate family. Keeping Rory's hand firmly in his, he smiled at them, meeting his father's eyes challenging for a brief second though. "Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Honor, Josh - I'm sure you all remember Rory?" he asked, pulling her at his side and laying an arm loosely around her waist. "My fiancée," he added, proudly and not bothering to hold back any of the pride and happiness that word evoked.
His mother came forward with outstretched arms and her most patented smile. "Of course, I was so elated when your father told me the wonderful news," she said, kissing Logan on his cheeks. "You really should have told me yourself though," she chided slightly before turning to Rory, actually giving her a hug. "Rory! I can't say how happy I am to finally be able to call you my daughter now. Logan couldn't have found a nicer girl than you," she beamed, all the happy future mother-in-law.
"Thank you," Rory replied weakly, flabbergasted, shooting Logan a look.
He could only simply shrug before his mother had to make space for his big sister barreling forward and enveloping Rory into a bone crashing hug. "She sure is right, that moron hardly deserves you," she beamed, her eyes holding nothing but joy and happiness for them.
"Hey!" Logan protested, glaring at his sister.
"Well, it's true, baby brother," Honor just said with a glance at him. "The more I'm happy that you still agreed to make him probably the luckiest guy in this world," she told Rory, turning back towards her, still beaming. "I always wanted a sister and Logan couldn't have found a better one for me," she added, more seriously.
Rory hugged her back. "Thank you," Logan heard her whisper into Honor's ear and he could hear the emotion in her low voice. For that alone he could love Honor more if he didn't already love his big sister so much.
Honor whispered something back to her that he didn't catch but Rory smiled, a faint blush creeping up her cheeks. But she nodded and Honor grinned, giving space for her husband to greet them as well, followed by his father congratulating them too. And finally, making a sour face, even his grandfather stepped forward to shake his hand and give Rory a brief hug, mumbling something that sounded like a "Welcome to the family".
They continued to take their drinks, and then moved on to have dinner and by the time dessert was finished Logan still waited for the other shoe to drop. But nothing happened. They had treated his Ace with respect, his mother and Honor had eagerly talked about the wedding with Rory while he had talked about business, politics and sports with the other men and none of them had said any word that at least vaguely sounded critical.
He was starting to ask himself if perhaps his family had been replaced by some kind of extraterrestrial beings. Maybe he should check the cellar for human sized bean shells.
The evening was nearing its end when Logan finally dared to leave Rory alone with the sharks to make a quick break to the bathroom and then up to his room to go get one of his old books that he wanted to take back with him to London, hurrying as fast as he could, just not comfortable with the thought of Rory alone down there with his family. But when he stepped out of his room he came face to face with his father and took a step back at the narrowed eyes that studied him intensely.
Looked like the other shoe would drop at last.
"You really would leave everything behind for this girl, wouldn't you?" he finally asked, sounding almost surprised.
Meeting his father's eyes openly, he nodded. "Yes," he just said, calmly.
After perhaps another half minute of just staring at Logan, his father straightened. "Very well then. You're right. It seems you've finally grown up, Logan, and became your own man."
To that Logan had nothing to say so he just waited.
"I must admit, I haven't expected you to mature this much," his father continued, still not letting him out of his eyesight. "Or that you would risk your legacy in the end like this."
Logan still had nothing to say. He could explain again that the love he had for Rory changed him a lot, but then he doubted if his father could ever understand that. He never had loved in his life.
"I want you to take over our family business, Logan. I've worked so hard all my life and I cannot bear to see it reduced into shambles in the hands of someone I barely know. So I guess I'll just have to find a way to deal with this new you," his father finally said, calmly. "Starting with giving you my promise that I will not meddle with any chances your fiancée may have to work outside of the Group. Though I do think they're small. Should she find another job anyway or be chosen for the internship I agree to you relocating to the closest office we have to her place of work."
Slowly, Logan nodded. "Thank you. I'd like to have that in writing though, if you don't mind." He knew his father too well to just trust his word.
To his surprise, his father laughed humorlessly. "Of course."
"Also, I'd like it to be included in the prenup that Rory is free of any obligations to the Huntzberger Media Corporation group and in no way will be forced to work for it. Unless she wishes so, of course," he added, wanting to be absolutely clear on this point.
His father gritted his teeth. But in the end he nodded shortly. "Agreed."
"Good," Logan said and held out his hand. Hesitating only shortly, his father shook it.
Wanting to draw his hand back, Logan found himself stopped by his father's tight grip. "You got what you wanted this time, Logan. But don't expect that you threatening me with leaving will get you whatever you want from now on."
"Oh, I won't, Dad, don't worry. And for what it's worth, I am relieved that you agreed to my terms. Because I do want to head the group one day," Logan told him, honestly. "Just not as much as I want Rory. Leave her, our life together and our future children alone and we won't have this discussion again. But the moment you hurt her, Dad, I'll be gone and I guarantee you, I won't come back, not for anything in the world."
His father's eyes darkened, indicating just how displeased he was, but he gave a slow nod eventually. "Understood."
Well, it wasn't a promise but it was enough for Logan for the moment. Again he tried to draw his hand back and his father let go of it this time. "Don't forget it," he told him quietly and walked away, back to his Ace.
This time Logan hadn't been able to talk Rory out of bringing him to the airport, no matter how hard he had tried.
But he had been proven right, it just made both of them more miserable, dreading the moment he would have to leave for the secured passengers-only area, both of them barely speaking, just clasping their hands tightly. Glancing at the departure information board, he finally turned to Rory, his heart heavy. "I really need to go in now."
She nodded, saying nothing. Together they walked slowly towards the security gates. Stopping a few feet away from it he put down his bag and silently enveloped her into a tight embrace. They said nothing, just savored the feel of their arms around each other.
"God, this is hard," Rory said eventually though, desperate.
He tightened his arms around her. "I'll call you with the web cam tonight, as soon as I get back to my apartment."
He felt her nod against his chin.
"Six weeks," he whispered, the desperation catching up with him as well. "It'll only be six weeks and we'll be together again."
"I know," she replied tonelessly.
Closing his eyes, he held her as tightly as he could without breaking any bones. "You should have stayed home. I don't know how I can walk away from you this time, leaving you alone like this."
She took a deep breath and looked up at him. "Like you would have had to walk away from me at home. But I'm tired of saying goodbye to you at home. You're right, this is harder, but I still prefer to do it here at the airport instead of sullying our home with yet another goodbye."
He sighed. How could you reason with such logic? You couldn't. Leaning down, he gave her a last, searing kiss that nearly brought him down to his knees. God, he hated this! "I love you," he told her hoarsely.
"I love you, too," she whispered back, her eyes starting to well up with tears.
His heart twisted painfully. "If you're going to cry now I'm not going to get on that plane."
She smiled bravely at that. "Then I'm holding my tears back until you're out of my sight."
"That's not really any better," Logan said grimly.
Shit, he just couldn't do this again.
But Rory's smile just grew a bit bigger and she gave him the softest of kisses before she gave him a little push. "Go now. Just remember that the longer you stall now, the longer it will be until we see each other again."
Picking up his bag, he shook his head. "That's not logic at all."
"Because it's Gilmore logic. One you obviously need to practice at. I expect a major improvement from you when we meet in six weeks again," Rory told him, giving him a stern look, crossing her arms in front of her.
He just found her irresistibly cute. "I'll do my best." Looking at the gates, he sighed and kissed her cheek. "Until soon, my lovely fiancée."
"Until later, my handsome fiancé," she gave back, quietly, but with a smile. "Be careful."
"You too," he nodded and then abruptly turned around and walked briskly to the first class passenger area, knowing that he would never leave if he didn't go now. At least he wouldn't have to stay in line and have to watch Rory watching him leaving this way. Looking back would diminish his chances of getting into that damn plane as well. But still, when he retrieved his bag back past the security check point, he couldn't help but look back before he headed up to his gate.
Seeing her still standing where he had left her, her arms tightly hugging herself, nearly made him go back to her, damning everything to hell. But then she must have noticed his look because her blue eyes locked with his for a long moment and then she smiled, waving. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears, but she was still waving and smiling.
His heart heavy, he forced himself to smile and wave back, then he walked away, hating every step he took away from her.
His cell phone rang and growling, he answered it. He was not in the mood to talk with anyone now, least alone with Finn, but it would be easier to talk to him now than have him call every two minutes until Logan finally picked up. "Not now, Finn."
But for once there wasn't a flippant reply coming from his crazy best friend. "We've got her, mate. We'll make sure she gets home okay and that she isn't alone today," Finn just told him quietly.
Breathing more easily, Logan closed his eyes as he felt a wave of gratitude washing over him. He took a deep breath and let it out again. "Thanks."
"She's yours, Logan, so she's ours as well and you know that we always take care of our own," Finn said seriously. "Now I better see to it that Colin doesn't hog all of her attention just for himself. And remember, there's no better best man out there than me," he added, back to his carefree and crazy self.
Despite himself, Logan laughed. "We'll see. You, Colin and Josh are pretty much even at the moment. Doyle's catching up though."
"Mate," Finn whined, disgusted and then disconnected the call.
Chuckling, Logan turned off his phone, looking out the windows of the lounge. They'd take good care of her, he knew that, and he was extremely grateful for that. He leaned his head against the cold glass and closed his eyes. Still... leaving her this time nearly tore him apart and he honestly didn't know how he could ever do this again, let alone in seven weeks again.
He simply couldn't stand being without her anymore.
(Author's Note: Uff... Sorry this took so long, but it was more complicated and hard to write than I had thought in the beginning. Hope you liked what came out of it though. Again, thank you so much for your many reviews, and staying loyal to this little story here. As for the family names... It's pretty often practiced here in Switzerland for the man to take on the name of his wife as well, at least on paper, and I like that custom... I hope I'll have the next chapter sometime soon but nevertheless stay tuned for a bit good old-fashioned Valentine's craziness.)