I know. I know. Shame on me. Believe it or not I wrote the beginning of this about a day after I posted the last chapter. I never intended to leave this story without an update for quite so long. Well here it is. I could have split this into two or three chapters, but I figured I owed all of you. Rest assured I would never abandon my beloved story. This is by far the longest chapter I've ever written—54 pages and over 22,000 words. Special thanks to my beta who turned around all 54 pages in a matter of hours. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Chapter 29 – Love

…love?

That question lingered on his mind during the drive to New York City—a long drive during which his father repeatedly attempted to engage him in shop talk. Mitchum was less than pleased with the monosyllabic responses he was receiving. After nearly an hour of failed attempts, the elder Huntzberger lost his patience.

"Excuse me, son, but am I boring you?"

Logan looked away from the car window he was staring out of and came face-to-face with a scowling Mitchum Huntzberger. "Hmm?"

"Am I boring you?" repeated Mitchum nearly shouting now.

"Actually you were," was Logan's flippant reply. "It's too damn early," he mumbled before turning back to the window.

Mitchum's face flushed in anger. "To damn early for what?" he demanded.

At that point, the driver discreetly raised the window separating the front seat from the back. This was hardly the first time he'd chauffeured father and son and experience told him what was about to take place would not be pretty.

Logan made a point of keeping his gaze off his father. He knew if their eyes met again, his control would leave him and his mind was too full of thoughts of Rory to get into a screaming match with Mitchum. In a calm yet firm voice he replied, "It's too damn early to be talking about circulation reports and stock prices. The sun's barely out, Dad."

The vacant look in his son's eyes as well as the tone in which he spoke told Mitchum that Logan was completely disconnected from what lay ahead of him—namely two weeks of intense work during which Mitchum hoped to showcase his son's talents and raw potential. Rory Hayden aside, Mitchum also saw the Junior Leadership Program as an opportunity to engage his son in the company that he would one day be running. Logan's seeming disinterest, although not entirely surprising, was disappointing to say the least. "Well maybe if you didn't make a habit of being out till all hours of the night, you may be more inclined to hold a conversation about something more substantive than doing keg stands."

Logan rolled his eyes and wisely continued to keep those eyes off his father. "First of all, I didn't even go out last night, as you very well know," began Logan making no attempt to hide his contempt for his father's recent interest in his whereabouts. "Second of all, even if I never went out at all, or ever went out again, I still wouldn't be inclined to discuss circulation reports with you at six in the morning, or any time of day for that matter," he continued. Logan knew he'd pay for that remark, but at that point he didn't care. Musing over his feelings for Rory left him too distracted to properly consider the consequences of his words and during times like this, when dear old dad was in one of his moods, nothing came more naturally to Logan than pissing him off. Pushing the envelope, he added, "And besides, Dad, I perfected the art of the keg stand when I was 16 so it's no longer a subject I feel the need to discuss."

Mitchum was forced to stare at the back of Logan's head as he delivered that little tirade since the insolent teenager spoke without so much as glancing at his father, something that only succeeded in intensifying Mitchum's anger. "I honestly cannot understand what is wrong with you," he began in a tone that did not hide his disgust. "Do you have any idea how much of a disappointment you are, Logan?"

Logan's jaw clenched as he readied himself for the barrage of insults Mitchum would undoubtedly throw his way.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you," yelled Mitchum.

Logan sat back and closed his eyes hoping, praying that somehow, someway his father would just magically disappear.

"I said look at me," repeated Mitchum in a booming voice that left Logan little option than to finally look into a very angry pair of eyes—brown eyes that were nearly identical to his own. "The next two weeks of your life are of the utmost importance," he began sternly. "LOOK AT ME," he shouted when Logan attempted to turn away. "You will work hard and do everything in your power to impress everyone at headquarters. Is that clear?"

"Whatever," he mumbled.

"What was that?" demanded Mitchum.

"I said yes, sir," replied Logan through clenched teeth.

"You will not embarrass me in front of my colleagues, Logan. You will arrive on time for every session, pay attention during lectures, participate in discussions, and complete all assignments on time. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir," he answered weakly.

"You will work hard—harder than you ever have in your entire life. Any free time you have will be spent preparing for the next day's sessions not gallivanting around the city. This is not a vacation, Logan," Mitchum reminded him. "For the next two weeks, you are a participant of the Huntzberger Junior Leadership Program and nothing else. There will be no drinking, no partying, no girls, and most importantly, no Kevin, no Colin, and God help you, no Finn. For the next two weeks, you are to have no contact with any of your crazy friends. There will be no distractions—nothing to keep you from taking full advantage of everything the Program has to offer. I want two weeks of focus and hard work. If I hear that you so much as step a toenail out of line, there will hell to pay. Is that clear, Logan?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'm not kidding around, Logan," stressed Mitchum.

"I know, Dad," replied Logan. "I'll behave," he said meekly.

"You better do more than just behave. I expect much more from you than that and you'd better deliver."

"Yes, Dad." Logan wasn't sure how much more of this he could take. Being in a confined space with his father for an extended period of time was never a good idea. Being in a moving vehicle was the worst possible scenario as it gave Logan no exit strategy. While Mitchum was delivering his marching orders, Logan struggled to hold his tongue while simultaneously weighing the risks of jumping out of a moving vehicle. The knowledge that he would be spending the next two weeks in New York City with Rory was the only thing that kept him from opening the limo door and doing a tuck and roll.

"Everyone there will be watching you, Logan. And not just the other program participants, but the entire staff. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"

There was a change in his father's voice and softer look in his eyes. It was by no means warm—Mitchum was never warm—but Logan could tell that at that moment, his father was speaking to him rather than at him. He looked thoughtfully at his father before answering. "Yes, Dad," he said calmly, feeling less inclined to goad Mitchum.

"Everyone you meet will one day be working for you and it's important they respect you from the get go."

"I understand."

"They'll be looking for any sign of weakness, anything they think they can use to get ahead."

"I know." Logan knew that all too well. It was a lesson Mitchum made sure he'd learned very early in his life. Logan was well aware that his main qualification for being the next CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation was the simple fact that he was born. And for that reason, people would always question his capabilities.

"Prove to everyone you deserve to be there." Mitchum knew of what he spoke. After all it wasn't that long ago that he was having a similar conversation with his own father. It's easy to forget that once upon a time, the great Mitchum Huntzberger was nothing more than the heir, the son of the legendary Elias Huntzberger. Mitchum understood, better than anyone, the pressure Logan was under—trying to live up to everyone's expectations, having to prove himself over and over, and constantly fighting his way out from under his father's very large shadow. And while part of him sympathized with Logan and knew he should be more understanding, he was incapable of being so, of being more like the father he himself wanted when he was growing up. Like his father before him, Mitchum saw his son's tremendous potential. And like his father before him, rather than nurturing that potential in a healthy manner, he tried to force it out—often by shouting threats and ultimatums. In his case, threats and ultimatums worked. He eventually became the great Mitchum Huntzberger, a CEO whose talent, instinct and overall superiority were unmatched and more importantly, unquestioned. Mitchum truly believed that it was only a matter of time before Logan accepted his destiny and, like every heir before him, "became a Huntzberger." He hoped that the next two weeks would lead Logan down that path. "Don't give them any reason to doubt you, son."

"I won't."

"Remember you're a Huntzberger."

"As if you'd ever let me forget," thought Logan.

"The company, this business, it's your birthright, Logan."

He nodded in response.

"I want you to do well," continued Mitchum in an almost gentle and reassuring tone. "I know you can do well." That last line was delivered with a level of sincerity that Logan was not accustomed to hearing from his father. It was strange, but oddly comforting.

It took Logan a moment to decide that his father was being sincere. In a calm voice, one without a hint of anger or sarcasm, Logan said, "I'll do my best. I promise." With that he turned away from his father, and resumed his thoughts on how he felt about Rory.

Logan's promise was all Mitchum could hope for. Satisfied for the time being, he began reading though some files and left Logan alone to brood. As the New York skyline came into view, Mitchum glanced at him and considered whether or not to broach the subject of Rory Hayden. It was the look in Logan's eyes that made him decide against that idea. Trusting his employees would soon confirm his suspicions one way or the other, Mitchum opted to leave Logan alone for the remainder of the drive.


Although Rory's drive to New York was far less hostile than Logan's, it was equally uncomfortable. Much to her, and Christopher's discomfort, Lorelai once again took the opportunity to go over the finer points of safe sex.

"Rory, I know we've already talked about this," said Lorelai, "but I want you to understand how important it is to always be safe."

"Mom."

"Always, always, ALWAYS be safe."

"Mom, please," begged Rory—she didn't know how much more of this she could take.

"I know how easy it can be to just get caught up in the passion and heat of the moment, but you can't let that happen," continued Lorelai. "Always be safe."

"Mom." Rory, too mortified to even look at her mother, let alone her father, buried her face in her hands.

Christopher, on the other hand, found himself gripping the steering wheel of his Mercedes tighter and tighter as he used all the powers of his mind to drown out what his wife was telling their daughter.

"It only takes one time, Rory. One slip up and BAM you're pregnant!"

"MOM!"

Christopher clenched his jaw and barely avoided swerving out of the lane.

"Rory, I'm just trying to…"

"Mom, please," interrupted Rory.

"Condoms protect against…"

"Oh my God."

"…pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Make sure Logan wears a condom every time."

"OH MY GOD!"

This time the car did swerve out of the lane nearly colliding with an SUV as Christopher was unable to maintain his focus. He mentally kicked himself for insisting on driving them to New York rather than calling a car service.

"I just want you to be prepared, Rory," Lorelai told her daughter. Both were too caught up in the conversation to realize they were nearly in an accident.

"I know, Mom, but can you please…"

"That's why I bought you these," continued Lorelai pulling something out of her purse.

Rory's eyes went wide when she realized what her mother had in her hands. "You bought me condoms?!?!"

Christopher swerved all the way to the left, dangerously cutting off two cars in the process. He pulled the emergency brake and parked on the side of the highway.

"Christopher!" shouted Lorelai amid the protesting horns of multiple angry motorists that witnessed her husband's erratic driving.

"YOU BOUGHT HER CONDOMS!" he shouted.

"What the hell are you doing? You could have killed us!" shouted Lorelai her adrenaline still pumping from nearly being in a six car pile up.

"You bought her condoms!" he repeated.

"Yes, I bought her condoms."

"Why would you do that!" he shouted

"Because condoms protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted…"

"I know what the hell condoms protect against," he continued to shout.

"Than why the hell are you asking me?" Lorelai shouted back.

"I wasn't asking you what…" Christopher paused and took a deep breath to calm himself. "I was asking you why you bought her," he pointed at Rory, "our daughter, condoms. Why did you buy her condoms?"

"So she'll be prepared if she should decide to have sex," stated Lorelai.

"And you don't think giving her the condoms is just going to encourage her to have sex?" argued Christopher.

"I think that she's eighteen years old, has a boyfriend that she adores, and will be living away from us and in a hotel room for the next two weeks. I'm not a mathematician or anything, Chris, but I do know that teenage girl, plus teenage boy, plus hotel room, minus parental supervision will probably equal sex. I just thought it might be wise to add condoms to that equation."

"Don't you think you should have discussed this with me before you went out and bought our daughter condoms?"

"What? I should have asked your permission first?"

"No, I didn't mean that," said Christopher carefully sidestepping that landmine. "I just think we should have talked about it—as a couple."

"We have talked about it, Chris," Lorelai reminded him. "We decided, as a couple, to let her go to New York. We decided, as a couple, that she should know all about safe sex. And we decided, as a couple, that it should be me who talks to her about it."

"But we did not decide, as a couple, to buy our daughter a box of Lifestyles."

"They're Trojans," she flippantly pointed out.

"Lorelai," he said in a warning tone. Christopher ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He was not at all ready or willing to have this particular conversation—especially considering Rory was in the backseat of the car.

"Like you've never bought condoms for Kevin?" accused Lorelai.

"I only did that once and it was just to make sure he had them in case he needed them," said Christopher.

"That's what I'm doing right now," argued Lorelai.

"It's not the same thing," was Christopher's frustrated retort.

"Oh God! Please don't tell me we're back to this double standard crap. It's exactly the same thing, Christopher." Lorelai shifted in her seat in order to give her husband a proper glare. "You gave our son condoms to make sure he had them in case he needed them. I'm giving our daughter condoms to make sure she has them in case she needs them."

"It's not the same thing!" he repeated, knowing full well there were holes in his argument.

"How is it different?"

Christopher felt the beginnings of a very bad headache. "It's different," was all he could say.

"How?"

"It just is!" The rational part of him knew it was the same thing, knew that Lorelai was perfectly justified in her actions. However, at that very moment, Christopher was not in the least bit rational. The way he saw it, he was essentially driving Rory—his sweet baby girl, his only daughter—to New York City, to deliver her to Logan. And while he was fully aware of what was likely to occur between the two teenagers, and while he thought he could handle it, now that the day had actually come, Christopher found himself wanting nothing more than to turn the car around and drive his girls back to Hartford.

Rory had no idea whether she should try to interject—after all they were fighting about her. However, as much as she hated to see her parents fight, and as much as she wanted to somehow smooth it out, Rory had no idea what to say to make the situation any less awkward. The heated discussion went on for another half an hour before Christopher unhappily relented. He watched helplessly as his wife handed their daughter a box of condoms. Christopher then pulled back onto the highway and the three continued towards their destination. The remainder of the drive took place in silence. Rory tucked the condoms into her purse and wondered how Logan's drive with Mitchum was going. Lorelai wisely decided not to continue her safe sex lecture. Christopher kept his eyes on the road and a steady foot on the gas as he willed the powerful German engine under the hood of his car to go faster so as to bring an end to what was likely the worst car ride of his adult life.

When the New York City skyline finally came into view, all three Haydens breathed a sigh of relief.


Mitchum dropped Logan off at the hotel that would be housing all the Program participants while they were in New York. The limo stopped only long enough for Logan to retrieve his suitcase before taking the CEO straight to The New York Times building, which also served as the Huntzberger New York headquarters. Mitchum gruffly reminded his son that the Program's Welcome Lunch began promptly at noon.

"Don't be late," warned Mitchum. "Remember what we talked about."

"I know, Dad," answered Logan. "I'll be there."

"Jacket and tie, Logan."

"Yes, sir," he said through gritted teeth.

Logan carried his bag to the front desk and was greeted by a smiling young redhead who gave him a noticeable once over. "Can I help you, sir?" she asked.

"I'm checking in," he replied. "I'm with the Huntzberger Junior Leadership Program."

"Congratulations!" she said with a flirty smile.

"Thanks," Logan answered dryly.

"Your room and tax will be paid for by the Huntzberger Group, but I will need a credit card for any incidentals."

"What kind of room is it?"

"Excuse me?"

"The room that the Program is paying for," he clarified. "What kind of room is it?"

"They pay for a standard guest room, sir. You have a choice of two queen beds or one king."

"Are there any suites available?" he asked thinking of Rory and wanting to make sure their time together was as special as possible.

"There are three suites available for the two weeks you'll be with us, sir. However the Program won't pay for any of those."

"It's fine. Please cancel the room the Program is paying for and upgrade me to one of those suites," he insisted handing over his Black Card. "Reservation should be under Logan Huntzberger."

Her eyes lit up in recognition of his famously wealthy last name. "Of course, Mr. Huntzberger," she replied with a bright smile. "The largest suite we have available has five rooms plus two bedrooms. It includes a full kitchen, dining room, enclosed office and balcony. It's very popular with traveling executives."

Logan didn't like the sound of that. He wanted a comfortable, more luxurious room, but not one that he and Rory would get lost in. "No, I don't need anything that large. Do you have something more…intimate?"

She gave him a knowing look and another flirtatious smile. "I do have a junior suite on the penthouse level. It has a king size bed, a gas fireplace, a Jacuzzi and a balcony with a lovely view of the Park."

"Perfect," said Logan with a smile and a distant look in his eyes. "I'll take it."

She quickly made the change in the computer. "Here you are, Mr. Huntzberger." She unnecessarily leaned over the counter to hand him his key cards in order to give Logan a view of her cleavage. "My name is Jessica by the way and if there's anything else I can do to make your stay more pleasurable, please don't hesitate to call. I'll be here till six."

Logan gave her a polite smile, but ignored the look she was giving him. Pre-Rory Logan would have invited her to tour his suite after her shift was over, but now, there was only one girl on his mind—and only one girl he wanted in his bed. He'd spent nearly all last night and most of the drive to New York in deep thought about Rory and their relationship. He wanted to make the next couple of weeks perfect for her. He especially wanted to make that night as perfect as possible. Logan knew that everything would change after tonight. "Sex changes everything," he thought. But he didn't want to change anything about them. Yes, he wanted to have sex with Rory—more than anything he wanted to have sex with her. However, he was also happier than he'd ever been despite the fact that they had yet to have sex. He knew it was crazy but part of him was terrified that sex may somehow ruin that happiness. He shook that thought out his head as he headed up to his suite. "Our suite," he thought happily.

The room was beautiful and he knew Rory would love the view. His phone beeped just as he was about to unpack his suitcase. It was a text message from Rory.

"If you're reading this, it means you survived the ride down with Mitchum—told you so, Drama Queen. Just arrived in the City and should be at the hotel in about 30 minutes. Mom and Dad went a little nuts on the ride down here. I'll tell you all about it. I can't wait to see you. ~R"

Logan threw himself down on the bed with a big smile on his face. He re-read her message twice before sending a quick reply. "I can't wait to see you either." Hearing from his Ace made all the difference in the world—all his worries faded. At that moment, he knew there was nothing to worry about. He and Rory would be fine. Everything would be all right.


"Are you sure you don't want me to help you unpack?" asked Lorelai.

"I'm sure, Mom."

"Do you need anything else?" she asked. Rory had just checked into the hotel and after that long car ride, she wanted nothing more than to put some distance between herself and her parents.

"You gave me condoms, Mom. I think I'm good," she replied.

"Oh geez," said Christopher shaking his head. "Could you two please stop talking about that? I think I'm getting a migraine."

"Do you need anything else?" repeated Lorelai.

"I'm good, Mom."

"Okay," she replied as she hugged her daughter good-bye. "Call us everyday."

"I will," promised Rory. "Love you."

"Love you too, kid," said Lorelai still hugging her daughter tightly. She finally pulled back and added, "Be safe."

Rory rolled her eyes, but smiled. "Mom," she whined.

"All right, all right, I'll stop. Just thought I'd get it in one last time."

"Thanks, Mom," she muttered before stepping towards her father. Christopher was still noticeably bothered. Rory threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. She looked up at him with big innocent eyes and said, "I love you, Daddy."

At that moment, any residual anger Christopher was feeling disappeared. He put is arms around his daughter and kissed the top her head. "I love you too, baby." He hugged her for a long time. "You call us if you need anything, even if you just need to talk."

"Okay."

"Day or night, sweetie. You can always talk to me or Mom about anything."

"Anything?" she teased.

Christopher gave her a playful glare. "Yes, anything. No matter how uncomfortable I may be with the subject, I'll always be there for you if you need me to be."

Rory knew he meant that. "Thanks, Daddy," she said giving him one more hug. "Can I offer you some advice?"

"Sure, kid."

"Take Mom out for a nice meal and maybe some shopping. You yelled at her pretty bad while we were driving down here."

"See, this is why you're my favorite daughter," said Lorelai. "You always have Mommy's best interests at heart."

"All right, I get it. I was being an irrational, pigheaded jerk. And I yelled at my beautiful, understanding, forgiving wife," said Christopher. In his most charming voice he asked, "Lorelai, would you do me the honor of joining me for brunch?"

"Followed by a trip to Bergdorf Goodman" added Rory

Christopher couldn't help but smile at his wife and daughter. "Yes, followed by a quick trip to Bergdorf's," offered Christopher. "And I'd like to emphasize the word quick."

"Oh well if you insist," replied Lorelai. She winked at her daughter as she slid an arm through her husband's.

"Quick trip, Lor," he repeated.

"Yeah, yeah quick," she replied.

"I mean it, Lor. Much as I would like to, we can't spend all day. We both have to go to work tomorrow which means we should get back to Hartford at a decent time."

"I heard you, Chris. Quick trip—five, six hours tops," she teased.

"Lorelai."

"All right five hours, but only because I love you."

Christopher rolled his eyes. "Thanks a lot, kid," he sarcastically remarked to Rory.

"Anytime, Daddy."

The valet brought Christopher's car around and Mr. and Mrs. Hayden drove away from the hotel leaving their daughter on her own.

As soon as the black Mercedes disappeared into the New York City traffic, a familiar figure came up behind Rory and asked, "Can I help you with your bags, miss?"

Rory turned towards the voice and was greeted by the warm brown eyes of her boyfriend. "Where did you come from?"

Logan flashed her a smug smirk and pointed skyward. "Gift from above," he replied.

Rory laughed. "Are there no limits to the size of your ego?"

"None that I know of."

"Seriously, where did you come from?" she asked

"I've been here for a while," he informed her.

"And you're just now making your presence known? Coincidently ten seconds after my parents leave?"

"Did I miss Chris and Lorelai?" he asked playfully. "Damn, I so wanted to say hello."

"I'm sure you did," she said disbelievingly. "I'm sure you're just crushed that you didn't get a chance to say hi to Daddy."

"Heartbroken," he corrected. "I'll be sure to send him a note."

"You are such a wuss," she teased. "I can't believe you're afraid of Daddy."

"I'm not afraid of your father," he defended.

Rory raised an eyebrow in response.

"Okay, I'm a little afraid of your father," he admitted. "But can you really blame me? The man wants to kill me."

"He doesn't want to kill you," said Rory. "Castrate you? Yes. Not kill."

"Thank you, Ace, that makes me feel so much better."

"I'm just saying you could have at least said hello, instead of skulking in the shadows until they left."

"I was not skulking."

"Oh yeah? Then what were you doing down here?"

"It was just a little lonely up in my room so I figured I'd come down to lobby and offer my services to any beautiful, blue eyed brunettes that needed help with their suitcases."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, ma'am. Service with a smile, that's my motto," he said moving inches away from her. Rory licked her lips in anticipation, but was slightly disappointed when Logan merely brushed a light kiss against her cheek. "And I'd be happy to service you anytime you'd like," he whispered.

Rory playfully pushed him away. "How did you ever get dates using cheesy lines like that?"

"I'm rich and incredibly good looking," answered Logan with a playful grin.

"There's that ego again."

"You love it," he teased. It was a thoughtless remark, uttered before he realized what he was saying, but the blush that rose to Rory's cheeks in response made him stop and think. He'd used the word love—the very word that had been plaguing him all day.

"Well are you going to help me with these bags or not?" asked Rory interrupting his thoughts.

Logan grabbed the handles on her two large suitcases and began wheeling them toward the elevators. "My God, woman, how much stuff did you pack?" he asked noting the size and considerable weight of her bags.

"We're going to be here for two weeks and I like to have wardrobe options," she defended hitting the elevator button to her floor. Much to Logan's dismay there was a family with two young children in the elevator forcing him to behave as they climbed to the 34th floor. Only when they were safely in Rory's room did he drop the gentlemanly act, pull her soft body against his and kiss the air out of her lungs.

"Hi, Ace," he whispered between kisses. "Alone at last."

Rory brought her lips to a spot on his neck that she knew drove him crazy. "And not a moment too soon. I've been waiting almost ten minutes for my hello kiss."

Logan groaned as she nipped and sucked his neck. "I kissed you hello downstairs." His breathing hitched and he began moving them toward the bed.

"On the cheek," she pointed out.

"I'll make it up to you." Logan maneuvered them passed her suitcases and through the room, his hands staying busy all the while unbuttoning and unfastening anything that prevented him from touching her bare skin. Rory let him lead, keeping her focus on his neck and happily shedding her clothing as they moved closer and closer to the bed.

"It's okay, baby. I've just never known you to have that must restraint—at least when it came to me." Rory punctuated that statement by grabbing the front of his jeans. "Although it doesn't feel like you have that much restraint now."

Logan loved having her hands on him and in his eagerness he lifted Rory, now clad only in her bra and panties, off the floor and carried her the remaining ten feet to the bed. He carefully deposited her on bed and took a moment to gaze down at her. Her hair was fanned around her flushed face. Her eyes were dilated, her lips parted and her nearly naked body was begging for his attention. Logan smiled at the site before him. "God you are so beautiful," he whispered reverently. He quickly pulled his own shirt off and kneeled at the side of the bed. Rory propped herself on her elbows wondering why he had yet to join her when he suddenly grabbed her ankles and pulled her toward him.

"Logan?"

"Thought I'd make it up to you with a different kind of kiss, Ace." Before Rory's lust fogged mind could interpret the meaning of that statement, Logan had her panties off, her legs thrown over his shoulders, and his mouth on her core.

"Oh God."

Logan ran the flat of his tongue slowly up and down her slit. He could feel her tense slightly and responded by spreading her thighs further apart and slowly easing a finger into her wet folds. "Relax, baby," he whispered. After a few seconds, he could feel her muscles surrendering to pleasure and as she let out a breathy moan, Logan put his mouth back to work. He swirled his tongue over her, enjoying the sounds of appreciation Rory made. He loved having her like this—in a state of bliss and completely at his will.

"You feel so good," she panted.

The way she responded to him turned him on more than anything he could remember. Sometimes the sound of her moaning was enough to send him over edge. After a few minutes, Logan could tell Rory was near her breaking point. He plunged his tongue deep within her and moved his thumb over her clit causing her to cry out in ecstasy. As she rode out her orgasm, Logan struggled to maintain focus as his body bucked against the side of the bed. He let out a stifled groan and bit down on her inner thigh before collapsing on the bed beside her.

It took Rory a few minutes to get her breathing back to normal. "Wow. You are so good at that." She slowly made a move toward him intent on returning the favor, but he stopped her just as she was reaching for his belt.

"I'm good, baby," he whispered still panting.

Rory frowned slightly not quite grasping his meaning. She then noticed the serene look on his face—a look that she knew very well and was rather fond of—and noticed a spot on the front of his jeans. "Did you…?" she began, but stopped as her already flushed, post-orgasm face took on an even brighter share of red. No matter how comfortable Rory was with their physical relationship, she still found herself unable to verbalize certain things about that physical relationship. "I mean…did you…did you just…?"

He chuckled at the expression on her face and pulled her into his arms. "You're so adorable."

"Did you?" she asked again.

Logan kissed the top of head and ran his hands up and down her back. "Yeah," he confirmed.

"But…how?"

He laughed again. "The usual way, Ace."

"Logan?" she questioned.

"Rory," he countered completely amused by the expression on her face.

"I didn't even touch you."

He looked into her eyes with a playful smile on his lips. "Making you come turns me on and watching you is the sexiest thing in the world," he said simply.

"So you can just…?"

"Just by watching you? Yeah, Ace. I can."

"Really?"

"Yeah"

"Wow."

"Wow indeed."

Rory nodded and laid her head on his naked chest. "By the way, I totally forgive you for not kissing me hello earlier," she said.

He laughed. "I appreciate that. And the only reason I didn't kiss you immediately was because…"

"You're afraid of Daddy," she interjected.

"No…well yes," he admitted, "but that's not why. I know we're in New York and this is supposed to be our time, but we have to be a little careful," Logan informed her.

"What do you mean?"

"I've been getting a weird vibe from Dad."

"What does that mean?"

"I'm not sure yet."

Rory sat up and modestly pulled some covers around her. "What aren't you telling me?"

"I think he's up to something. He hasn't mentioned you in days."

"That's good isn't it?"

"Maybe," said Logan. "Or maybe not. Considering how we got you into this program and how adamant he was that I stay away from you, I thought he would be all over me about keeping my distance while we were here."

"And he hasn't said anything about that?"

"Not a peep—which for my father is not normal."

"I don't understand."

"Mitchum Huntzberger has never been the type of guy to just passively let things play out," explained Logan. "The man is a control freak. He's constantly in the game—always thinking and planning ahead."

"Do you think he suspects anything?" she asked trying not to worry.

"Dad always suspects something," he said knowingly. "Even when there's nothing to suspect. And especially whenever I'm involved. That's why I want us to be a little careful whenever we're on his turf."

"His turf meaning all Program related locations and events, including the lobby of the hotel that's housing the rest of the Huntzberger Junior Leaders?" she questioned following his line of thought.

"Exactly," said Logan. "When we're alone, it's us, but while we're in view of any of Dad's present and future sycophants, we tone it down—act friend like."

"Friend like?"

"Yeah, no kissing or groping or long, lingering, lustful looks."

"Nice alliteration," complimented Rory.

"Thank you."

"But I'm not the one who can't keep from gazing adoringly at his girlfriend," she teased.

"Excuse me?"

"Fourth of July, buddy. Lane told me about your little chat."

Logan shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about," he lied.

"Liar."

"No," he denied, "I seriously have no idea what you're talking about."

"Yeah right," she persisted. "Admit it. You love looking at me."

There was that word again. He ran a hand down her cheek and brought their faces to within inches of each other. "You are right about that. I do love to look at you." Their eyes locked and Logan's heart skipped a tiny beat at the sight of the blush that crept into Rory's face.

"We should probably get ready for the Welcome Lunch," Rory said to break the tension.

"It doesn't start till noon," he complained. "We've got like two and a half hours."

"We should get there early."

"Ace," he whined.

"Plus I still need to unpack, shower and get ready."

"Well I'm happy to help you unpack," he offered. "And I'd be very, very happy to help you shower."

"I'm sure you would."

"Service with a smile, ma'am."

Rory laughed. "Why don't you go to your room, grab your stuff and get ready here? That way we can get a couple more hours of us time before we have to act friend like for the masses."

"Okay," he agreed. "Sounds good to me."

"Are you on this floor?" she asked.

"Penthouse level," he said casually.

"You're on the penthouse?"

"A penthouse suite actually. I upgraded."

"Really...why'd you do that?" she asked although she already knew the answer.

"Because the suite has a Jacuzzi and balcony with a view that I knew you'd love."

"Logan, you didn't have to. I told you I didn't need any of that," Rory insisted. She was touched by the gesture, but she honestly didn't need anything but Logan to make her first time special.

"I want you to have it. I want to give you everything," he said. "I promised that I'd make everything perfect for you, and I'm keeping that promise, Rory" he told her sincerely. Their eyes locked again and again Logan felt his heart race. "Tonight's going to be perfect. I promise."

"Tonight? Really?" she asked.

He smiled at the surprised look on her face. Did she really think he was going to make them wait any longer? It was taking all his self control not to take her right then and there. They were in New York after all—alone in a hotel room, practically naked, and with hours to kill. But still, he wanted to wait until that night. He wanted to take her out for a romantic evening—dinner, dancing, a carriage ride in the park—before they ended up in their beautiful hotel suite where they could spend the entire night together without any fear of interruptions. He wanted to fall asleep with her in his arms and wake up with her the next morning. He wanted it to be perfect—for both of them. "Yes, tonight. Why do you already have plans?" he teased.

Rory's heart was racing. The thought of finally being with Logan was exhilarating as much as it was terrifying. She knew they'd be having sex once they got to New York—that was the plan. They'd come so close so many times, only to have Logan stop them for the sake of waiting for New York—for the perfect night. At times it seemed to Rory that the day would never come, but now it was here. They were here. And tonight would be theirs—their perfect night. "I don't know," she answered. "What if we have Program stuff?" The final agenda had yet to be released—it was being distributed at the Welcome Lunch.

"Not tonight," Logan informed her. "In fact, tonight is the only night that they don't have something planned for us. Sessions end at six, then dinner, followed by various cultural activities—galleries, museums, city tours, stuff like that."

Rory found that surprising. "That doesn't leave us very much time for reading and assignments," she complained.

Logan laughed. Only Rory would complain about being "forced" to experience New York City when there was homework to be done. "According to the schedule, we'll be dropped off at the hotel every evening by 9:30."

"9:30? Is your father trying to kill us?"

"I think it's an endurance test," answered Logan. "Any one working for Mitchum Huntzberger needs to be prepared to work all day, schmooze all night, and still have all their assignments turned in on time."

"Well, I hope for his sake that he's including B-12 shots with breakfast."

"Relax, Ace. A few of the evening activities are optional. As long you go to a most of them and meet the right people, which I promise, I'll make sure you will, you'll be fine. Don't worry, everything's going to be great."

"How do you know all this?"

"I got a sneak peak at the agenda. There are perks to being the boss's son."

"You and your perks," she said. "So tonight?" she asked, her stomach fluttered in anticipation.

"Yeah, tonight," Logan assured her. "Tonight is all about you and me. No interruptions. Just us. The whole night. I want to show you how much I...how much you mean to me." Logan refused to let his mind process what he'd almost said.

Rory didn't seem to notice though. His words made her heart swelled. Rory threw her still nearly naked body into his arms and kissed him passionately. Although they had two and a half hours to unpack and get ready, the two barely made it out of the hotel in time to attend the Welcome Lunch.


Mitchum Huntzberger prided himself on his keen observation skills. From an early age, he learned how to size up a person. It didn't matter who the person was or what they did—man or woman, rich or poor, employee or superior, plumber or politician. It didn't matter. No one was exempt or immune from the watchful, not to mention judgmental, eye of Mitchum Huntzberger.

Seated at the head of the head table, Mitchum cut an impressive and intimidating figure in his handmade Italian suit. Although seemingly reading through a stack of folders in front of him, Mitchum was actually observing each person that entered the tastefully decorated room where the Welcome Lunch was being hosted. He curtly acknowledged every employee and the few Program participants brave enough to approach him—being sure to mentally note the names of the Program participants that did. This was their first test after all. Any high school or college aged student brave enough to approach "the Mitchum Huntzberger," especially a seemingly busy-looking Mitchum Huntzberger, would be brave enough to approach anyone no matter what the situation. That illustrated the type of aggressive personality he liked to see in a reporter.

A few minutes prior to the official start of the Lunch, Logan walked in with Rory on his arm. Mitchum was pleased to see that per his instructions, Logan was appropriately dressed in a jacket and tie. At his side, Rory was pristinely attired in a fashionable, DAR appropriate, skirt and blouse. Her hair was pulled back and she had on just enough make-up to make her eyes pop. Mitchum had to admit the two made a very attractive couple. He was so struck by how good they looked together that he nearly smiled—nearly. He noted how friendly the two looked, but tried not to read too much in to it. They were friends after all, and by no stretch of the imagination could their interaction be interpreted as inappropriate. Rory had her hand on Logan's arm and there was a respectable amount of space between the two. Both were born into society and as such, Logan was taught to offer his arm to a lady, and similarly, Rory was taught to accept the arm of a gentleman. It was all very civilized.

As the two were one of the last to arrive, there were no two seats next to each other. Mitchum watched as Logan led Rory to an empty seat and pulled the chair out for her. He continued to watch with interest as Rory went about introducing herself to her table while Logan found an empty seat at a different table. Mitchum knew very well that Logan could have easily manipulated the situation so he and Rory would be seated together. Who, after all, wouldn't move to a different table at the request of the Huntzberger heir? The fact that Logan so casually, and without any sign of reluctance, left Rory's side, did not go unnoticed by Mitchum. He watched as Logan introduced himself to the two students on either side of him. He noted how Logan quickly scanned everyone at his table with his own watchful eye. Mitchum couldn't help but smile at that. Whether Logan acknowledged it or not, he was very much his father's son.

"Welcome, everyone," began Mitchum in a booming voice that caught everyone off guard. All conversations ended immediately and everyone focused their attention on Mitchum. He stood and waited until every eye in the room was on him before continuing. "For those of you who don't know, I'm Mitchum Huntzberger."

From across the room, Logan resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Everyone in that room knew exactly who Mitchum was, a fact that Mitchum himself was very much aware of.

"I'd like to welcome all of you to the Huntzberger Junior Leadership Program and congratulate all you on being selected to participate in our Program. I know you've all worked hard to get here—you wouldn't be here if you didn't—and you should be very proud." He paused for a light, pre-functionary round of applause. "Acceptance into the Program is limited to a very select few and is based not only on academics, internships and extracurriculars, but also on drive and potential." Mitchum caught Logan's eye and gave him a discreet nod. "Each of you has displayed in the various writing samples that you submitted that you, better than the hundreds of applicants who are not here, can write and write well. Being able to put pen to paper is a gift. Being able to put pen to paper to tell someone's story, inspire action, or expose a truth that would have otherwise gone unknown is an extraordinary gift. It's also a tremendous responsibility. The news media is tasked with that responsibility and we here, at the Huntzberger Group, take that responsibility very seriously.

"The building we are in right now is the home of The New York Times, a paper considered to be one of the most prominent, prestigious and respected in the world. Right now, thousands of people are working very hard to produce tomorrow's issue. I know most of you hope to one day be on staff here. But whether you end up working in this building or at a news desk in Omaha, Nebraska, your task is the same. Your responsibility is the same—to get at the truth. Truth is the core of the news business." He paused and looked out around the room. "Galileo once said, 'All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.' As reporters, our task is to discover, to find the truth." Mitchum made sure to lock eyes with Logan before adding, "And one way or another, a good reporter always gets to the truth."

Logan held his father's gaze, unwilling to move or even blink.

"Over the next two weeks, you will be challenged with all types of situations reporters face on a daily basis—confirming facts, securing interviews, writing clearly and concisely under tremendous pressure and on tight deadlines. The staff is here to help you, to teach you, and to evaluate you. We're looking for intelligence, poise, innovation, commitment—all the things you'll need if you hope to one day work in this building. At the end of these two weeks, we'll know and you'll know if you have it in you to be in this business—whether you have it in you to one day be a member of the Huntzberger Group."

Knowing the importance of leaving on a high note, Mitchum took the opportunity to smile before continuing, "A word of advice: Be on time. Be confident. Be determined. Be willing to learn. Be willing to take a risk. Be passionate. Be serious. Be brilliant. And above all, be honest. Good luck to you all."

There was another round of applause and as Mitchum predicted, everyone in the room was looking at him with awe and admiration—well, everyone except for one. Hi son was half-heartedly, though politely, applauding. Yet, the look in his eyes could best, and most accurately, be described as calculating—as if he was listening for a hidden meaning within the speech and devising an appropriate strategy, which of course he was. Logan has heard his father give hundreds of speeches and was quite familiar with Mitchum's rhetoric. However, he was very much aware that the great emphasis on truth was directed at him. Throughout the speech, he resisted the urge to look to his left, into a pair of very beautiful blue eyes—eyes he knew he'd find comfort in. Instead, he kept his eyes locked onto his father's, refusing to reveal his feelings. It was something Logan, as a member of society, was very familiar with.

Mitchum made his way through the crowd, stopping to shake hands and posing for a few photos. As he neared Logan's table, the younger Huntzberger stood and extended his hand. "Nice speech," he offered.

Mitchum nodded and shook Logan's hand. The two photographers in the room took the opportunity to snap as many pictures of father and son as their cameras allowed. Both Mitchum and Logan smiled for the cameras, neither letting the outside world know that there was any animosity between them. With a flick of his wrist, Mitchum waved the two shutterbugs away. He pulled Logan off to the side and said, "I noticed you escorted Rory in."

Logan shrugged, his face remaining neutral and he answered, "I'm not going to avoid her, Dad. She's my friend."

"So you've said," challenged Mitchum.

Logan sighed and looked thoughtfully at his father. "Look, Dad. She's going to be the only person here who's not going to care what my last name is."

Mitchum was slightly taken aback, not by the statement, but rather how much vulnerability Logan displayed when making it.

Logan noted his father's reaction—it was exactly how he knew his father would react. "I promised you that I'd do my best here. And I will. But, Dad, I'm going to need some back-up. You know I am."

Mitchum nodded in agreement. He knew that the next two weeks would be more difficult for Logan than for any of the other participant.

"Between your army of current and future sycophants, I'm going to need as many 'real' people around me as possible. I know Rory. I trust Rory. I'm not staying away from her because you're worried something's going on between us. Frankly, that's your problem, not mine."

Mitchum nodded and replayed the conversation the two had during the drive from Connecticut. He understood exactly how Logan felt. "Ok, son," was all he said. He checked his watch and said, "I've got a meeting. Enjoy the lunch. Be sure you mingle with all the right people."

"Yes, sir."

"I expect to hear good things about you, Logan."

"Would anyone really say anything bad about me?" he asked knowing full well every person in the room would be too afraid to say or do anything that may alienate the future CEO.

"No," admitted Mitchum. "But I'll know if they mean it," he added knowingly. "Contrary to what you might think, I'm not a complete self centered idiot. I am very much aware when my employees are bull shitting me."

Logan smiled despite himself.

"However, my children's ability to bull shit me seems to know no bounds," he added almost playfully.

"Ahh that Honor," quipped Logan. "She's such a tricky little thing," he added knowing full well his father was referring to him and not his sister.

Mitchum actually laughed. "Yes, your sister can be handful," he said with a roll of his eyes. He re-checked his watch and frowned. "I really need to go now," he announced. "I'll check-in with you at the end of the day." And with that he was out the door.

Logan let out a sigh before sauntering back to his seat where his table-mates immediately pounced on him.

"How do you know Mitchum Huntzberger?"

"Why did he pull you aside like that?"

"What did he say to you?"

Logan had been careful to leave off his last name when introducing himself earlier. Now, it seems, he had no choice.

"He didn't say anything in particular," answered Logan.

"But how do you know him?" asked David, the young man seated to his left. From their previous introductions, Logan knew him to an incoming freshman at Syracuse.

"He's my father," Logan answered as nonchalantly as possible.

Silence descended at his table as everyone stared wide-eyed at him.

"That would make you Logan Huntzberger?" questioned the girl on his right. Logan couldn't remember her name, though they'd exchanged introductions less than 20 minutes ago.

"So it would seem," answered Logan flatly.

"Wow," said David. "What's it like?" he asked with awe. "Being his son, I mean."

Logan should have been more used to that question considering how often it was asked, but he wasn't. Though inwardly groaning, he smiled his polite society smile and gave his standard boilerplate response, "Considering how much my father has accomplished—being his son can be intimidating. But he's my dad." Before he could say anything else, he was approached by Tim Lang, director of the Huntzberger Junior Leadership Program, not to mention spy-recruiter for Mitchum.

"Logan," he began with his handed extended. "It's good to see you again."

"You too, Tim," answered Logan with a tight smile—Logan learned to be very wary of men who worked for his father. "It's been a while."

"Not since the Christmas party, right?"

Logan nodded, not at all sure if that was accurate, but not really caring either way. "Sounds about right," he answered. "How have you been?"

"Good. Good. Busy time of year for me, but I can't complain."

Logan nodded doing his best to feign interest in this conversation. He knew Tim was one of the people meant when Mitchum had instructed him to "mingle with the right people."

"So we're thrilled you're joining us this year." Tim carefully maneuvered them out away from the table and out of earshot.

"I'm excited to be here," answered Logan. From where he was now standing, he could see Rory out of the corner of his eye which brought a genuine smile on his face. "I've looking forward to this for a while now." He wasn't talking about the Program.

Tim was slightly taken aback by how genuine Logan appeared when making that comment. Recovering quickly, he added, "I'm looking forward to reading more of your stuff. I caught a few of your articles in the Yale Daily News this year."

Logan resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The "few" articles Tim was referring to were the two—which should hardly be referred to as a "few"—articles he penned just to get Mitchum off his back. Despite that, the two articles were very well written. Nepotism or not, Logan could write—and write very well. He actually worked hard on and enjoyed writing his two published pieces, not that he'd ever admit it. Logan was sure Mitchum passed the articles around to his entire staff.

"How are you enjoying Yale?" asked Tim. "Does the door in the newsroom still make that awful creaking sound?"

Logan laughed. "Yeah, it does actually." He hated that door. The creaking made it impossible to enter or exit the newsroom without being noticed. Logan wasn't sure if that was by design, but it was irritating either way. "I forgot you went to Yale."

"Class of 1989. Best years of my life."

"Better than working here?" asked Logan with a playful smirk.

Tim panicked for a moment before realizing Logan was kidding. He laughed. "When I was your age, I couldn't wait to make my way in the world," he admitted.

"And now that you're here, Mr. Senior Vice President?" asked Logan.

"I wouldn't mind being 21 again," he admitted.

"So you're telling me I should blow off the next two weeks, be a regular college student, and enjoy my summer vacation?"

"You're not a regular college student, Logan," Time remarked honestly.

Logan's smile faded instantly. "I know."

"The next two weeks…"

"Are going to be a test of sorts," interrupted Logan.

"Exactly. This Program isn't a joke. You have to take it seriously. And I think I should warn you that…"

"Stop right there," he ordered. Irritated at being spoken to like a child, Logan took a breath and counted to ten in his head. A lecture from Mitchum was one thing—the man was his father. A lecture from Tim, one of his father's lackeys, was not something he would stand for. It was completely inappropriate. "I don't know who you think you are, but you are way out of line."

"Logan, I'm only trying to…"

"Look, Tim," he interrupted, "I know I didn't exactly apply to the Program like everyone else here. And I know that everyone here knows that. I know what you and the rest of the staff must think of me being here. And I can only imagine what the other participants are going to think once they realize who I am. But none of that matters. I'm here. Whether you like it or not, I'm here. Whether you like it or not, I will be taking over this company. And whether you like it or not, I'm going to be your boss one day."

Tim shifted uncomfortably.

"You think I don't know what people say about me? You think I don't know that everyone will be watching me? You think I don't know that everyone is dying to see me fall flat on my face? Believe me, Tim, no one more than I do knows how much is at stake over the next couple of weeks—and not just for me, but for my father, my grandfather, and the legacy of my family. Don't even presume to know or understand how I feel. Because you could never understand. When you were my age, you were working toward something. And now, you're a Senior Vice President reporting directly to the CEO of The Huntzberger Group. I know that wasn't easy and I respect how far you've come. Mitchum Huntzberger isn't an easy man to work for nor is he an easy man to impress."

Tim nodded in acknowledgement. He'd worked hard all his life to get to where he was.

"And if you think being his employee is hard, try being his son."

Tim lowered his eyes, conceding to the merit of Logan's argument.

"If you honestly believe I don't know how much is riding on how well I do over the next two weeks, than my father has grossly overestimated your intelligence. You and everyone else here may think I'm a pompous, spoiled brat who isn't smart enough or worked hard enough to be here. Well, I may be pompous, I may be spoiled, and my work ethic is probably not what it should be. But I would advise you never to question my intelligence. I see, I know, and I understand a lot more than you think I do."

"I only meant to…"

"I know what you meant to do," Logan cut him off again. "And I'm telling you, it wasn't your place. I know you run the Program and I have no problem taking orders or advice when it has to do with the Program. In fact, I welcome it. I am here to learn. But don't ever offer me advice on my duty to the company and my family—ever again. There's only one man in this building who has any right to do that. And it's not you." Logan looked around the room to see if anyone was paying attention to them—no one was. He knew enough not to raise his voice, but he was in a room full of reporters and would be reporters. "Now, I'm supposed to be mingling. And you should probably introduce yourself to the rest of this crowd. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was monopolizing your time."

Tim straightened his shoulders and nodded. "Enjoy the rest of the lunch," was all he said before he exited the room with his tail between his legs.

Tim was more than a bit shaken by his encounter with Logan. He mentally composed himself as he took the elevator to the top floor where he was immediately admitted into Mitchum's office. The CEO was in the middle of a conference call.

"Gentlemen, I need a moment," Mitchum said into the speaker phone. Conversation halted immediately. Mitchum hit the mute button and momentarily turned his attention to Tim. "Well?" he asked.

"He ripped my head off," reported Tim, "albeit very calmly, but he ripped my head off."

Mitchum sat back and smirked. "Excellent. Go back to the lunch," he ordered. Mitchum un-muted the line and continued his call as Tim quietly stepped out of his office.


Back at the lunch, Rory was thoroughly enjoying herself. She chatted excitedly with her table-mates and was anxiously leafing through the binder the participants received detailing the Program agenda. Logan, per Mitchum's orders, proactively introduced himself to all the Huntzberger employees in the room as well as all the Program participants. The one person in the room who he'd rather talk to more than anything, however, he carefully avoided. Not that it stopped him from glancing over at her every chance he got. Rory was in her element amongst this crowd and he loved how happy she looked.

"Pretty girl," said a voice behind him.

Logan turned and smiled as he came face-to-face with Gayle, his father's executive secretary. "Hey, Gayle," Logan greeted her with a hug. He loved this woman and always wondered how someone so nice could stomach working for Mitchum for so many years. "I didn't know you were going to be here."

"Of the hundreds of events your father's involved in every year, this one is my favorite."

"Really?" he asked somewhat disbelievingly.

"I enjoy youthful enthusiasm," she stated plainly.

"You mean before the real world kicks you in the teeth and sucks the life out of you?" questioned Logan.

"No need to be so literal, Logan. But yes, that's the gist of it. I only interact with employees high up enough to interact with Mitchum and by the time most get there…"

"They're already pretty jaded?" offered Logan. "Soulless yes men with no minds of their own?"

"Again no need to be so literal," scolded Gayle. "But yes," she conceded. "I also wanted to see you and see how the lovely Miss Hayden is doing."

"The lovely Miss Hayden is still very, very lovely and doing very well," said Logan with a proud smile as he stole another glance at Rory.

Gayle laughed. "I've never seen you quite this happy, Logan. It's a good look on you."

Logan only smiled brighter.

"I'm going to go say hello to Rory. You go on mingling. I'm certain everyone here is under orders to shake your hand."

"And kiss my ass while they're at it," added Logan with a roll of his eyes.

Gayle laughed, but nodded in agreement. "Chin up, Logan," she advised. "It won't be all bad," she said as she discreetly nodded towards Rory.

Logan smiled and gave Gayle another hug before he returned to the current task at hand, glad handling everyone in the room.

An hour later, the Welcome Lunch officially ended and the Program participants were given a tour of the building. They visited all the departments from food to sports to op-ed, peppering their guide with questions along the way. Rory and Logan remained within arm's length of each other during most of the tour, making eye contact often, though discreetly, but were careful not to touch. On more than one occasion, Logan had to resist the natural urge to grab her hand or slip his arm around her waist. He knew he was being paranoid, but he couldn't shake the suspicion that Mitchum was having them watched.

Not being able to touch Rory became increasingly more difficult once he noticed that Rory had caught the eye of more than a few of his colleagues. This did not surprise Logan in the least. After all, his Ace was a very, very beautiful girl. And it wasn't like this was the first time he noticed how much attention Rory received from the members of his gender. However, in this particular instance, he couldn't hold her or kiss her or do anything to make clear to every member of the male population that she was very much taken.

As the afternoon wore on, Logan had to work harder to ensure that none of guys in the group got close enough to admire his Ace for too long. Having been forced to tour the building on more than one occasion, Logan did not feel the need to pay close attention to their guide. Instead he made sure to get in the way of any eager looking males maneuvering through the crowd to position themselves beside his blue eyed brunette. Rory, of course, was completely oblivious to what Logan was doing. She was thoroughly enthralled with every aspect of the Times and was committing every tiny factoid to memory.

Logan was never the jealous type. True, he'd never had a girlfriend before, meaning there was never a reason for him to be jealous. That particular emotion was almost alien to him—almost. He'd been jealous of Tristan. That he could admit—not out loud, but he could admit it to himself. And though he knew he had no reason to be jealous of anyone in this crowd, he would have felt better if he could kiss her, just once—just so all the guys there would stop eyeing her like dessert. He let out a frustrated sigh which caught Rory's attention.

"Bored?" she asked in a low whisper.

He shook his head. "Just can't wait to get out of here."

"Oh yeah?" she asked with a knowing smile. "Why is that? Big plans for the night?"

Logan caught the playful tone in her voice and had to smile. "You could say that." He took a step closer, but didn't touch her. "I've got a hot date," he whispered.

"Really?" she asked playing along. "Anyone I know?"

"Maybe."

"And what exactly do you have planned for this hot date of yours?"

"That's for me to know and for her to find out."

"You're not going to tell her?"

"Nope."

"Even if she promises to make it worth your while?" she asked with a coquettish grin.

Logan buried his hands in his pockets to keep from reaching out, grabbing her, and pushing her up against the nearest flat surface. "Considering what I have planned, I'm pretty sure the night will end up being worth my while."

"Cocky much?" she challenged.

"That's the plan," he said bluntly making her blush.

Rory giggled and gave him a playful shove. It was the first time they'd made physical contact in hours and though the move was intended to put him in line, it felt good to have her hands on him, albeit momentarily. "Behave," she warned.

"Yes, ma'am."


Logan had planned the perfect night—and it did start off that way. After finally leaving the Times, and giving Rory ample time to get ready, he was waiting outside her door. Before he could even knock, the door swung open to reveal Rory—his Rory—in a form fitting, strapless dress. The dark blue dress highlighted the color of her eyes and a pair of silver stilettos made her legs look impossibly long. Her hair was down in waves and although she was wearing more make-up than she normally did, she still looked very natural and more beautiful than Logan had ever seen her. Logan's mouth literally went dry.

"Hey there," she greeted.

It took him a moment to gather his wits enough to respond. "Hi," was all he could say. He stared at her unabashedly, refusing to even blink so not to miss admiring her beauty for even a moment.

"You ok?" she asked feeling slightly unnerved by the intensity of his stare.

"I'm finding it a little hard to breath at the moment," said Logan. "You are so beautiful, Rory."

The way he said it sent a chill down her spine. "Thank you," she responded in a nervous whisper.

"No, I mean it, Ace," he stressed. "You are so beautiful. And you're always beautiful, but tonight…tonight…I can't even tell you how…I have no words. You are so beautiful."

"And I'm punctual," Rory added, hoping to lighten the mood a bit by infusing some playful banter in the conversation.

It worked. Logan laughed and seemingly recovered from his state of shock. "So you are," he said after glancing at his watch. "You're actually ready on time. Well that is amazing," he teased.

"It's a special occasion," she added flippantly. "So don't get used to it."

Logan pulled her into his arms for a brief, but incredibly intense kiss. "Hi," he said again.

Rory leaned into him and used his strong, hard body to hold herself up. "Hi. What's in the bag?" she questioned.

Logan smirked and handed her the gift he was carrying. "Just a little something for you."

Rory pulled out the bag's contents and smiled brightly. "Chocolate covered espresso beans!"

Logan smiled seeing how much she liked his gift.

"Most guys just bring flowers," Rory informed his as she opened the package.

"So cliché," said Logan smugly.

Rory popped a few espresso beans into her mouth and savored their rich flavor. "Mmmm. These are really good."

"I'm glad you approve."

Rory brought her hand up to his clean shaven face. He automatically tuned his face toward her hand and laid a kiss on her palm. "Perfect night right?" she asked.

Logan smirked. "Yup."

Rory smiled and brushed her lips lightly over his cheek. "Good start."

With that, Logan grabbed her hand and took her down the back elevator to the waiting town car.


Unfortunately, perfection ended there. The two discreetly made it out of the hotel and enjoyed a pleasant car ride to the upscale restaurant where they would be dining. The hostess greeted them warmly and informed Logan that their table would be ready in just a moment. Logan and Rory were happy enough to wait and took the time to admire the trendy ambiance the restaurant offered.

"Logan?"

The couple turned and came face to face with a very beautiful young blond.

"I thought that was you," she said completely ignoring Rory's presence. She leaned in and kissed Logan's cheek.

"Celia," said Logan somewhat uncomfortably.

"You look incredible," said Celia not taking her eyes off Logan. "I haven't heard from you all summer. And here you are in New York and didn't even bother to call me," she scolded flirtatiously.

Logan could feel Rory tense up beside him. "I've been busy," he said as bluntly as possible.

"Too busy for me?" she stepped closer to him. "You've never been too busy for me," Celia added suggestively.

Logan squeezed Rory's hand sending her a silent apology. "Well I'm going to be too busy from now on," he told her somewhat rudely. Logan wanted her gone at all costs. "This is my girlfriend Rory."

Celia glanced briefly at Rory before turning her attention back to Logan. "So I'd love to get together while you're in town," said Celia completely ignoring Logan's previous statement. Rory was too stunned to say anything. The nerve of this girl!

"I don't think so," said Logan.

Celia's smile faltered a bit, but she pressed on. Giving Rory a critical once over, she rolled her eyes and addressed Logan again, "When you change your mind, you know where to reach me." She then gave Rory a smug smirk and winked at Logan before walking away.

"I am so sorry," uttered Logan immediately. "She is…"

"It's all right," said Rory. She was slightly unnerved by the situation, but she had no intention of letting that Celia ruin their night, which Rory knew was what the blond intended.

"No. It's not all right. That was incredibly rude of her. I can't believe…"

"Don't worry about it," Rory tried to reassure him. "You didn't do anything wrong, Logan. You tried to put her off. It's not your fault she's obviously an idiot."

Logan laughed and felt himself relax a bit. The situation had unnerved him as well. "You're sure you're ok?"

"I'm fine," she insisted kissing him sweetly for emphasis.

Logan let out a breath. "You're sure?"

"Yeah."

"You're amazing," he said in complete awe of her. His girlfriend was so awesome. He pulled her into a hug and didn't let go until the hostess informed them their table was ready.

They were seated at a cozy table for two by a window overlooking the busy streets. The food was excellent and the lights of the City added a romantic glow to the setting. Rory and Logan made every attempt to enjoy their meal, but as luck would have it, Celia's party was seated in the same section of the restaurant. As if it wasn't bad enough to have her in Rory's line of vision, the aggressive little strumpet took every opportunity to get up and walk past their table. She didn't approach Logan again, but she made sure she was visible. Logan offered to ask the hostess to move them, but Rory refused. She was not about to give Celia the satisfaction. In the end, that decision only ended up making things worse. Rory pretended not to be bothered. Logan pretended not to notice that Rory was pretending not to be bothered. The effort associated with their actions only added to the tension and as such, dinner was less than perfect.

Determined to salvage the remainder of the evening, Logan whisked them off to their next destination. En route, he jumped out of the car and bought some flowers from a street vendor. "For you," he said handing Rory the bouquet of bright yellow daisies—they weren't sunflowers but hey, he was improvising.

"You're doing the cliché flower thing now?" teased Rory.

"Well I asked the guy if he had gourmet, chocolate covered espresso beans, but this was all he had," said Logan. He was happy the tension seemed to be evaporating now that they were away from the restaurant. He would never be calling Celia ever again.

"Street vendors today," said Rory with a shake of her head, "no initiative. No imagination. It's a wonder that man is still in business."

Logan put an arm around her shoulder and kissed her temple. He was beyond relieved at how easily they slipped back into their playful banter.

"So where to next, Huntzberger?" Rory was eager as Logan to forget what happened at the restaurant and move on with the rest of their night.

"Faux."

Rory pulled away and looked at him somewhat surprised. "You're taking me to club?" "A very loud club?" she silently added. It's not that she was completely opposed to the idea. She enjoyed going to clubs every now and then. It just wasn't what she envisioned for their romantic night out. Not to mention the fact that this particular club was known for catering to young celebs who had a tendency to drink too much and end up in the tabloids.

"We'll only be there for an hour tops, probably less—there's just something I thought you'd want to see. And relax, we're going in through a private entrance so no one will see us. We have a private room where we can look out, but no one can look in." Logan observed her still confused expression and added, "According to my sources, the cast of The Hills is in town and MTV is taping an episode there tonight. Coincidently right in front of our enclosed, private room so we'll have a front row seat to the "drama" as it unfolds."

Rory's eyes lit up. "Stop it!" Rory's guilty pleasure was cheesy MTV reality shows. It wasn't so much that she enjoyed them as much as she enjoyed mocking them. Logan had already been forced to endure several hours of such reality shows and when he'd planned this particular part of the evening, it was intended to be a short stint of comic relief sandwiched between a romantic dinner and a very romantic carriage ride through Central Park. He'd timed it so that they'd arrive at Faux just in time to see an orchestrated cat fight before heading to the park. After the way dinner turned out, they could both use a good laugh. This was perfect—it had to be.

"I am totally serious," Logan said. "Curtain's up in exactly 20 minutes. We can have a glass of champagne, make fun of some D-list celebrities, and then leave."

Rory was thrilled. This was exactly what she needed after the incredibly uncomfortable dinner. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. "I can't believe you did this."

"I thought you'd like it," he said wrapping her up in his arms.

"You know me so well," said Rory as she snuggled into his embrace.

Logan grinned knowing how true that was.

They arrived at the club a few minutes later and made it into their private room without any hassle and without being seen. Logan ordered a bottle of champagne and some chocolate covered strawberries. Things were going well. They chatted about nothing in particular and just enjoyed being together. Rory was enjoying watching the club goers and celebrity seekers through the one way glass. Logan was enjoying watching her do this. They both had a good laugh every time someone pressed their face up against the glass in an attempt to see who was in the VIP room. After a half an hour, there was still no sign of anyone from The Hills. However, there were MTV cameras positioned right outside their room so they knew the show should start eventually.

"Damn that Heidi and Spencer for being late," said Rory with a pout. She poured herself another glass of champagne and sat back trying to be patient.

Logan checked his watch and frowned. The cast members should have been here by now. He got on the phone to call his source. A friend of his from boarding school worked for one of the show's producers. "Rob, what's going on?"

"Hey, Logan."

"We're at Faux. What time are those guys supposed to be here?"

"Sorry, man, I meant to call you. There was a last minute change of plans and the scene got shot an hour earlier than we expected."

Logan attempted to mask his disappointment. "Are you sure? There are still camera guys here."

"They're just shooting some background stuff. The cast left a little over an hour ago."

Logan let out a sigh.

"Sorry, man. Hope your girl isn't too disappointed."

"Don't worry about it. I gotta go. Thanks anyway, Rob." Logan hung up the phone and looked over at Rory. From the look in her eyes, he could tell that she knew there would be no LC sighting tonight.

"Do you want to stay?" she asked trying not to sound too bummed.

"No, we should go," answered Logan.

"Are you sure? We don't have to. D-list celebrities or not, we can still have some fun. Do you want to go out there and dance a little?" Rory wanted to cheer him up a bit—he looked so sad, like a little boy who got socks instead of toys for his birthday.

Logan smiled at her obvious attempt to cheer him up. "Yeah, Ace. Let's dance."

Logan led her out of the room and headed for the dance floor, but before they made it five feet out, Logan was accosted. A tall, and very, very thin, blond flung herself into Logan's arms, nearly knocking over Rory in the process.

"LOGAN!!!"

Logan reacted quickly and pushed her off him. "Lesley," he said through gritted teeth. He couldn't believe this was happening—again.

"Where have you been hiding yourself?" she demanded.

Logan made a move toward Rory, but Lesley skillfully blocked his path. Rory had recovered from the shock of being nearly knocked to the ground, but she was seething with anger at the sight of the second girl that night who was clearly making advances at her boyfriend. "I've been busy. You okay, Rory?" he asked pushing past Lesley.

Rory forced a smile on her face. "I'm fine."

Logan could tell she was anything but.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw you come out of that private VIP room. My friends and I have been wondering who was in there. Imagine my shock when I saw you come out."

Logan tried to ignore her rattling and stared intently at Rory.

"Of course I don't know why I'm so surprise," continued Lesley. "I know how much you love a good VIP room. Do you remember how much fun we had at the VIP room of that club in Miami?" she asked making it very clear that she knew Logan very intimately.

Rory's eyes went wide. Logan felt his stomach drop.

"So do you want to dance?" asked Lesley. Rory glared at her. Lesley gave her a wicked smile—she knew exactly what she was doing.

"No, I don't want to dance," said Logan not taking his eyes of Rory. She and Lesley were currently engaged in a staring contest. "I was just about to dance with my girlfriend," he said pulling Rory close to him. He noted how tense she was.

"Girlfriend?" asked Lesley. "Are you serious?"

"Very serious," answered Rory. She couldn't believe this was happening.

Lesley looked her up and down in much the same way Celia had earlier that evening. "Sweetie, save yourself the heartache. Logan doesn't get serious about any girl. He likes to have…fun," she said suggestively. "Trust me, I know. He and I have had a lot of fun together."

"Well he's not interested in having any more fun with you," snapped Rory. "EVER AGAIN."

Lesley glared at Rory. "Logan's always up for some fun, with me or with someone else. And from the look of you, it doesn't seem like you could show him a very good time."

"Shut-up, Lesley," ordered Logan. "Get away from me and get the hell away from my girlfriend!"

"Logan…"

"NOW!"

Lesley was sober enough to see the anger in his eyes. She gave Rory one more goading smile before wisely stepping away. "You have my number, Logan. Call me any time."

Logan did not know what to do. He looked at Rory who was breathing heavily attempting to quell her anger. "Ace, I swear this type of situation has never happened before in my life."

Rory was trying not to be furious, but she couldn't help it. The night was complete and total disaster.

"Look, let's just go," suggested Logan.

Rory only nodded.

He left her side only long enough to retrieve her clutch from their private room. Logan quickly ushered them outside calling the driver on the way to help expedite their exit from the club. He needed to get her away from there. He needed to get away from there. The comic relief portion of the evening turned out not to be very funny at all.

Silence engulfed the car as it drove away from Faux. Rory couldn't get the image of Logan with Celia and Lesley out of her mind. She knew there had been other girls and accepted it. However, she was not prepared to be confronted by two of those girls on the same night—the very night that was supposed to be all about her and Logan. She let out a frustrated sigh.

"Ace," he began tentatively. "I'm…I don't…I'm…I don't know what to say."

"That makes two of us."

"I'm sorry."

"Me too," she said absentmindedly. She wasn't paying any attention to him. She was too distracted to full comprehend what he was saying.

Logan reached for her hand, "I set up a carriage ride for us through Central Park. It'll be just the two of us. We can just sit quietly, look up at the stars, and try to forget everything else that happened tonight."

"Yeah, unless the carriage driver turns out to be some girl you've had sex with," she said bitterly.

Logan dropped her hand.

Rory couldn't believe that she'd just said that. She wanted to take it back immediately, but it was too late. "I didn't mean that," she offered, but the damage was done. When they'd first gotten together, she'd gone through great lengths to assure him that she didn't hold his sexual past against him. That one bitter, thoughtless comment, said completely out of frustration, negated all of her previous assurances. "I'm sorry that was…"

"It's fine," interrupted Logan. It wasn't.

"I didn't mean to…"

"It's fine."

"Logan, I swear, I didn't…"

"It's fine. I understand. It's not like you didn't have reason to say it."

"I didn't have reason to say it," insisted Rory. "It was totally wrong of me to say and I apologize."

Logan sat there in silence. He never thought Rory would ever throw his past in face like that. He knew it only happened because the stress of the evening had gotten to her and he knew she was genuinely sorry. Still, it hurt.

Rory looked over at him. The expression on her face matched the confusion and frustration she felt. This isn't how tonight was supposed to go. "It's…it's getting late. And we have a big day tomorrow. Maybe we should just call it a night."

Logan didn't respond to her directly, rather he instructed the driver to take them back to the hotel. The car ride was silent. The elevator ride was silent. When they got to Rory's floor, she muttered a good night and obligingly kissed Logan's cheek. The ride up to the penthouse made Logan feel lonelier than he'd ever thought possible. To make matters worse, he walked into his suite—what should've been their suite—to find it filled with flowers and soft lighting. There were rose petals on the bed, unlit candles surrounding the Jacuzzi tub and out on the balcony, and a table full of sweets—chocolates, truffles, and five different types of chocolate covered coffee beans. She would've loved it all. Tonight was not supposed to end with him alone in this suite. How in the world was he going to fix this?


Down on the 34th floor, Rory wasn't fairing any better. She tried to put on a pot of coffee only to find the machine the hotel provided didn't work. "Great. Just great," she muttered.

She changed out of her dress and into her pajamas—sweats and a t-shirt. She wanted to cry. She considered calling her mother, but thought better of it. She considered calling Joanna, but then realized what time it was. Then she thought about Logan. He'd really gone out of his way to make this night as perfect as possible for her. It really wasn't his fault it turned out the way it did. Yes, she was angry about the girls—she was only human after all. What girl likes to be confronted by an ex-lover of her boyfriend, much less two ex-lovers—on what should have been their perfect night?

"Perfect," she muttered to herself. It was almost funny how completely un-perfect the night turned out to be. And then it hit her. How many times had she told Logan that all she needed to make her first time perfect was that it be with him? And truly, what he had planned for them that night would have been lovely. The restaurant was romantic and beautiful; the food was incredible; watching an episode of The Hills being taped would have been hilarious—not to mention it showed how well he knew her; and she'd always wanted to take a carriage ride through Central Park. It would've been perfect. So why was she sulking? Running into Celia and then Lesley was unfortunate, but what had really ruined the evening was the fact that she'd let them get to her. Both girls intended to ruin her night and she allowed them to do just that. Her snapping at Logan was what ultimately put a nail in the coffin of their evening. She'd never forget the look on his face or how coldly he dropped her hand when she thoughtlessly said what she said.

Rather than getting into bed, she toed on her sneakers and went to find Logan. Rory didn't have to look too far. She found him standing outside her door just about to knock.

"Hi," she greeted quietly.

"I brought you some coffee," he said holding out a venti Starbucks cup.

"I was just about to go look for you," she admitted while eagerly accepting the beloved brew. She stepped aside and let him into her room.

"Ace, I'm really, really sorry about how tonight turned out. Those girls…"

"Forget about them," interrupted Rory. She put her cup down and moved toward Logan.

"I have forgotten about them. I swear, Ace, I haven't thought about any other girl since you've been back."

"I know, Logan."

"I want you. I only want to be with you."

"I know, Logan."

"I wanted everything tonight to be…"

"Perfect. I know."

"Instead it was…"

"The worse date you've ever been on," she offered.

"I think it may qualify as the worse date in the history of dating."

She cracked a small smile. "Yeah, it was pretty bad."

Logan took comfort in the fact that there was a twinge of humor in her voice.

"But I only made it worse when I said…"

"Don't worry about that, Ace."

"No, Logan. Let me apologize for that. I was angry and frustrated and it came out before I could even think about it. I'm sorry. You know I don't hold your past against you—I just didn't expect to be confronted by it."

"Twice," he added understanding her frustration.

"Yes, twice. In the same night. The same night that we were supposed to…"

"I know."

"I'm sorry, Logan."

"I'm sorry too, Ace."

"You don't have anything to be sorry about. You planned a fun, romantic night out that—had it gone according to plan—I would have loved. You offered to move tables at the restaurant and we didn't because I was being stubborn and stupid. You brushed off both girls and made it clear to them that I was your girlfriend. I was the one that let them get to me. You did everything right."

Logan pulled her into his arms.

"It not your fault it turned out so bad," she mumbled into his neck.

Logan chuckled at that.

Rory indulged in the hug for a few seconds longer. "Thank you for the coffee."

"You're welcome." He cupped her face in his hands and brought his lips down to hers. The kiss was slow and tender, both taking their time.

Rory surrendered herself to that kiss, releasing all the frustration that came out of that night. They stood in the middle of her hotel room holding onto each other as if their lives depended on it. The kiss became more and more heated and they stopped to breathe only when the burning of the lungs became unbearable. Logan's eyes unconsciously went to the bed. As if reading his thoughts, Rory founds his lips again and started moving them back toward that waiting bed. Logan was trying to think, but that became increasing more difficult with each passing second. He thought about what had happened that night, what she'd said, and his ruined plans. He thought about the perfectly decorated suite just a few floors above that he'd prepared just for her. He thought about all that might have been that night, but somehow none of it mattered. The date had been awful and they weren't in his fancy suite, but they were together and that's all that mattered.

Rory's heart was racing. She could tell something had shifted within him—the look in his eyes, the way he touched her, it was different. It was more intense, more connected, more passionate, just more. She knew at that moment he wasn't going to stop them. And she knew that she wasn't going to stop them.

Logan broke their kiss when they finally made it to the side of the bed. He looked into her eyes and searched for any sign of hesitation. He saw nothing but passion and pure longing. His hands played with the soft material of the shirt she was wearing. Without asking for permission, he very slowly pulled the shirt off. The sight of her naked from the waist up sent such an intense surge of lust through his body that he wondered how it was possible that they'd waited this long. He kissed her lips briefly before moving his mouth to her neck through the valley between her breasts and further down until he was kneeling in from of her. Their eyes met briefly before Logan looped his fingers into the waistband of her sweats and pulled them down. He ran his tongue over the edge of her panties, teasing her, and causing Rory to through her head back and moan.

Rory sat on the edge of the bed and let Logan pull her sweats off completely. As he was doing this, she took the opportunity to hook her legs behind his back and pull him towards her. Logan, still on his knees, obliged her silent request and positioned himself between her legs. They kissed, this time it was neither tender nor slow. Rory's hands worked on the buttons of Logan's shirt, desperate to feel his naked skin against hers. Logan made himself useful by undoing the buttons on his pants. He was just as desperate as she to feel her naked skin against his. Rory lay back onto the bed pulling Logan on top of her. He kicked off his shoes and socks, but before discarding his pants, he fished his wallet out of them and tossed it on the nightstand.

Logan took the time to worship ever inch of her body. He loved the way she moaned when he kissed the spot on her neck just over her pulse. He loved the way she whimpered when he ran his mouth and his hands over her breasts. He loved the how she impatiently writhed underneath him, grinding against his already rock hard erection, in search of a release. He hovered over her and looked deeply into her intensely blue eyes. "You're beautiful," was all he could say.

"I want you," was all she could say.

He smirked and found her lips again. They engaged in a heated kiss that only left Rory wanting more. Without breaking the kiss, she took Logan's hands, steered them off her breasts and positioned them on her panties. Taking the hint, Logan pushed the flimsy material down. Rory made a move to remove his boxers, the last piece of clothing separating them, but Logan stopped her. "Not yet," he whispered.

Before Rory had a chance to question his motives, Logan launched a full assault on her senses. He was kissing her with renewed intensity and his hands were suddenly everywhere at once. He knew that since this would be her first time, it was unlikely—if not physically impossible—for her to actually have an orgasm during sex. As such, he was determined to get her off at least a couple of times before they got to the main act. That he knew from experience. This was hardly the first time Logan had deflowered a girl. Though the pre-Rory Logan preferred an experienced bedmate, not all his past conquests had experience. In high school, more than one girl had gladly, and all too willingly, sacrificed her virginity to the great Logan Huntzberger. Most of these girls naively believed giving it up would get Logan to settle down. Instead it had the opposite effect. It was a little known fact that Logan moved on fairly quickly after he'd gotten what he wanted. This resulted in many, many confrontations involving tears and insults. It was one of the reasons Logan eventually made a point of only hooking up with girls who were, as Finn put it, "broken in." With Rory, however, everything was different. He was different.

Logan rolled them over positioning Rory's lithe, naked body on top of his. He let his hands slide over her slim form reveling in the smoothness of her pale skin. Keeping one hand on the swell of her ass, he brought his other hand to the base of her neck and pulled her down for a feverish kiss. He ran his fingers through her air massaging her scalp and willing her entire body to relax—to surrender to everything but him and the pleasure he was going to give her. Without reducing any of the passion or intensity, he purposefully slowed the tempo of kiss. Logan knew that nothing turned Rory on more than kissing and he hoped to use that knowledge to his advantage. While a very naked Rory was kissing him senseless, he moved his hands to the back of her thighs gently pulling them apart so that she had one knee on either side of him. He then put his hands on her hips and began guiding her up and down over his shaft.

Rory was so lost in Logan's kisses that she didn't realize the position Logan had them. Suddenly, it wasn't just the sensation of his warm mouth that was driving her mad. Even with his boxers still on, she could feel every bit of his hardened member. Her instincts immediately took over and it was no longer necessary for Logan to guide her hips up and down. Rory remained locked in that kiss, her arms positioned over his shoulders as he she leveraged her body up and down over his. Logan was more than willowing to let her use his body to pleasure herself. He himself was lost in the kiss while his hands had free range over her smooth, perfect skin. When her body began to speed up over him, he knew she was close and he put those skilled hands to work. He, not so gently, grabbed her ass and bean thrusting his hips in concert with hers. Rory sat up, exposing her upper torso to Logan's hungry eyes. She hated to break their kiss, but her body was desperate for a release and she needed to focus all her energy and attention to what her lower half was doing. Rory closed her eyes and threw her head back while continuing to rub against Logan. Logan took that opportunity to latched his mouth onto her left breast while fondling her right breast with his left hand all the while continuing to move against her. It was all the added stimulation Rory needed and within seconds, her body was convulsing with euphoric energy. It took all of Logan's self control not to come with her especially since she called out his name over and over as she rode out her orgasm in his arms.

Exhausted, Rory collapsed against him with a blissful smile on her face. Logan kissed her head and laid her gently on the mattress. He could still feel her body pulsating and before Rory had the chance to catch her breath, Logan began stimulating her again. He moved of the bed and, being sure not to break eye contact, he pushed his boxers down exposing his still very erect penis. Rory grinned at the sight of his beautiful, strong, hard body while still trying to gain control of her breathing. Seeing Logan naked and obviously turned on was not helping matters. Nor did it help when he moved his body over hers. With his arms extended on either side of her, Logan hovered over her, their bodies would not have been touching at all save for the fact that the tip of his very hard and very eager cock was pushing against her lower stomach. Rory licked her lips drawing Logan's attention to her mouth before reaching down to stroke him. Logan let out a grateful moan before letting his body fall gently on hers naked flesh against naked flesh. The kiss was heated from the beginning as both reveled in the feeling the other completely naked.

Although loving the feeling of her hand on his most sacred of appendages, Logan reluctantly pried Rory's fingers of him. He needed to slow things down a bit or he would never last until he was inside her. In her eagerness to give her boyfriend some pleasure of her own, Rory attempted to grasp Logan again, but he slyly moved off her. Kneeling between her legs, Logan took a moment to appreciate the view of his naked girlfriend. He flashed her that sexy smirk before pushing a finger into her wet folds. Rory's eyes rolled back and she let out a breathy moan. She instinctively began to move against his hand and Logan watched in awe as her body writhed in pleasure. He expertly moved his fingers within her, stimulating her clit with his thumb. Not being able to resist, he then dipped his head down tasting the sweetness of her sex as Rory lay gripping the sheets and calling out his name between groans of pleasure. It wasn't long before she was nearing her peak once again at which point Logan redoubled his efforts employing the use of his agile fingers and his very, very talented tongue. Rory's body shook with the effects of her second powerful orgasm of the night. Logan, once again, stopped to enjoy the view. Mere seconds after her body stopped shaking, Logan moved over her reaching over to his wallet on the nightstand. With shaking hands, he pulled out a condom.

Rory watched in wonder as he opened the package and placed the condom over the tip of his throbbing cock. Logan paused and their eyes met for a moment. He then took her hand in his kissed it lovingly before bringing it down to his other hand, the one holding the condom over his penis. He wanted to let her know that it was still her decision—that they could stop now if she wanted to. She didn't. Rory eased her hand down and covered him with the latex. Much to Logan's pleasure, she slid her hand over him a few more times than necessary to ensure the condom was in place.

Logan gently moved her hands off him and hovered over her once more. He kissed her softly before positioning the head of his penis at her entrance. He teased the wetness of her folds causing Rory to instinctively spread her legs further apart and pulling him closer. Rory tried to look down between them, but with a knowing hand, Logan tilted her face head back so she was facing him.

"Look at me, Ace. Keep your eyes on me," was his gentle command.

Rory nodded. "Ok," she answered obediently.

Logan distracted her with a slow, languid kiss before he gently pushed the head of his cock into her. Rory moaned in pleasure and expressed her gratitude by responding more vigorously to Logan's kisses. After a few seconds, Logan pulled out and thrust in more deeply. The response from Rory was less appreciative. She gave a surprised whimper and Logan could felt her body immediately tense.

"Sshhh, it's ok," he comforted. "I'm right here, Ace. Relax."

Rory tried to do just that. He unclenched her muscles and moved her legs further apart. "I'm ok," she assured him.

Logan kissed her lips and stroked her face. He knew the next few minutes would not be pleasant for her and it killed him to cause her any kind of pain. Wanting to avoid that pain, he pulled back and spent a few seconds rubbing himself over her folds. Rory momentarily forgot about any discomfort and reveled in the pleasant sensations he was eliciting. She knew he was holding back for her and while she appreciated it, she wanted to know the feeling of having him completely inside her.

"It's ok, Logan. I'm ready," she whispered.

Logan once again pushed into her. He moved slowly careful not to cause her any more discomfort than necessary. He based his actions on her reaction to him. Whenever he felt her muscles begin to relax, he push in a little deeper. He knew he was near the barrier and despite his inability to cause her pain, his body was fighting a losing battle. He needed to be inside her. With one more loving kiss and one last reassuring look, he thrust completely into her. Logan's cry of euphoria at the wonderful sensation of finally being inside her was nearly masked by Rory's cry of pain. Logan looked into her eyes and tried to comfort her by whispering sweet nothings. He moved slowly within her which seemed to dull the searing pain Rory felt. Logan's heart ached as he kissed the tears off her cheeks.

"It's ok, baby. Look at me. I'm right here." He grunted as he continued to move inside her. Logan didn't want to be insensitive to the pain she was feeling, but he felt like he was in heaven. She was so tight and finally being inside her felt so, so good. "You're so beautiful, Rory. You're so amazing," he whispered between thrusts. "

Rory could tell he was holding himself back. She wanted to give him the pleasure that her body was currently denying her. Logan's sweet whispers made her heart swell with emotion and succeeded distracting her from her discomfort. After a few minutes, the pain subsided to nothing more than a dull ache and she began to move with him. Feeling her respond to him was all Logan needed. His thrusts became less slow and less gentle and Rory's dull ache turned into an almost pleasurable one. She hooked her right leg over his back allowing Logan to plow deeper into her which succeeded in exciting Logan past his breaking point. She wrapped her arms around his neck and in breathy whispers, encouraged him to let his body have what it so desperately wanted.

"I've wanted this for so long, Logan," she confided. "Just let go, baby."

With that, Logan's body completely took over. He pumped wildly into her willing body. He shouted her name and released a guttural groan as he thrust one last time before collapsing on top of her. Rory could feel the violent beating of his heart as he lay motionless on top of her. After a few seconds, Logan rolled them on their sides so he wasn't crushing her with his weight. He looked into her eyes and could manage nothing but a euphoric smile. There were no words to express what he felt at that moment, what he felt for her was powerful. They happily laid there staring at each other until their breathing returned to a normal pace. Logan then kissed her softly. He wanted to say something beautiful and meaningful, something they'd always remember.

"Hi, Ace," was all he could come up with.

"Hi, Logan," she responded with an equally euphoric smile on her face.

He brushed her hair off her face and placed a kiss on the tip of her nose before reluctantly getting out of bed to dispose of the condom. Rory watched him enter the bathroom and heard him turn the shower on. When he returned, he lifted her out of the bed, and carried her into the bathroom. Without saying a word, he pulled them into the shower. Rory closed her eyes and leaned her body into his as he used the showerhead to rinse both of them off. He then dried them off and wrapped Rory in a towel. In the main room, Rory watched as Logan stripped the top sheet off the bed before lifting her in his arms and placing her in the middle of the king size mattress. Logan wandered over to the mini bar and retuned with bottled waters, a Snickers bar, and a bag of peanut M&Ms. He them retrieved her now cold coffee and the bag of chocolate covered espresso beans he'd brought her earlier that night and deposited everything on the nightstand. He then whipped Rory's towel off her body.

"Logan," she whined giggling all the while.

"You won't be needing that," he informed her. Stripping himself of the towel wrapped around his waist, Logan climbed into bed and immediately pulled Rory into his arms.

"That's quite a spread you've got over there," said Rory eying the nightstand.

"Well, I did promise you chocolate," answered Logan with a smirk.

"That you did."

"Ok, Ace. M&Ms or espresso beans?"

"Or?" said Rory playfully.

Logan laughed. "Of course." The two sat up in bed laughing and talking about nothing in particular as Logan fed her the M&Ms and espresso beans. It was well after midnight before they finally settled in to get some sleep.

"You ok?" asked Logan as Rory laid her head on his bare chest.

"I'm perfect," she answered yawning. It had been a very long day.

Logan kissed her head and engulfed her in his arms. The night hadn't turned out at all how he planned—the date was a disaster, they weren't in the penthouse suite, but he was falling asleep with Rory in his arms. It was the most perfect moment of his life.


The next morning, Logan woke to a naked Rory straddling him while kissing his neck. "G'morning, baby," she whispered seductively into his ear.

"Mmmm." Logan moaned and let his body, already aroused, enjoy her ministrations. Since losing his virginity, Logan hardly ever went more than a week without having sex and not that he had any reason to complain, but before last night, it had been a while since he'd had sex. After having experienced the full pleasure of Rory's body, and having waited for her longer than he had with any other girl, Logan was eager to experience that perfect euphoria again. He flipped them over and buried his face between her breasts. At that moment, there was no thought of foreplay on either of their minds. Logan reached between her legs and groaned in anticipation at the slick wetness he felt. Then it hit him. "Shit!" he cursed and immediately moved his hands off her.

Rory missed his fingers immediately. "What's wrong?" she asked worriedly.

"I only had that one condom in my wallet," he said seemingly in pain. Logan sat up and looked around for his clothes. "I've got more in my room. Give me one minute to run upstairs and I'll be right…"

Rory interrupted by kissing him soundly on the mouth. She threw her naked body against him and Logan couldn't help bust respond immediately. When he felt her reach for his still aroused penis, Logan fought to stop her.

"Ace, stop," he commanded. How was he supposed to be safe and responsible when she insisted on tempting him with her beautiful, naked, willing body?

Rory only laughed. She climbed over him, out of bed, grabbed her purse and tossed him the box of Trojans Lorelai had given her yesterday morning.

Logan grinned like a fool, eyeing the box in his hands like a drowning man holding a life preserver. "Well aren't we the little girl scout, Ace," he teased pulling her back into bed to resume their interrupted activities.

Rory giggled as he moved back over her. "Compliments of my mother," she informed him.

Logan momentarily froze. "Ok, Ace, as much as I appreciate the fact that we have condoms, mentioning your mother at a time like this is very ill advised."

Rory giggled and reached down to grab hold of him. "Doesn't seem to have affected you all that much," she teased stroking his still very erect cock.

"Well, you can't really go by him, Ace," said Logan kissing her neck. "He's always at attention whenever you're around," he informed her, "and naked." He brought his hands up to fondle her breasts.

Rory continued to giggle as she continued to stroke him and banter with him. "Either way, I think you should be grateful my mother thought ahead. If she hadn't, we wouldn't be having quite such a good morning would we?"

Logan couldn't argue with that. He tore open the box and quickly put a condom on. Settling himself over her, he pushed into her completely with one trust. They both moaned in relief. "God I love Lorelai," he muttered responding to her previous comments.

"Ok, baby. Being grateful is one thing, but saying you love my mother at this particular moment is very, very, very, ill advised," she scolded though the expression in her eyes were a mixture of lust and playfulness.

Logan chuckled. Even during sex, they could make each other laugh. Would this girl ever cease to amaze him? "How do you know which Lorelai I meant?" The mood suddenly became very serious.

Rory stared up at him. Her heart was racing. "Logan."

His lips found hers and all words were forgotten. What would have been a fast and frenzied coupling turned into something more intimately tender.


The two were very late for breakfast, but despite Logan's insistent and very persuasive arguments to blow off the day and spend it in bed, Rory made sure they arrived well before the first session. The day began with a lecture on the history of journalism followed by a group discussion on the various milestones throughout the last century. As usual, Rory excelled. She asked poignant questions and impressed everyone in the room with her effective manner of arguing a point without alienating anyone opposed to that point. The discussion leaders were very impressed. They were also pleasantly surprised at Loan's very active participation. More often than not, it was he who Rory found herself arguing with. In most instances, it wasn't so much that he disagreed with her point as much as he enjoyed getting a rise out of her. Plus, in front of the crowd, it was all the interaction he was going to get. Still, he was effectively and impressively engaged in every discussion which is what was reported to Mitchum.

That first day passed quickly for them both. Logan was actually surprised when Tim Lang informed them they were done with sessions for the day. However, Logan was none too pleased when he told the participants to enjoy the show they were attending after dinner. Logan had just spent the whole day keeping a respectable distance from his girlfriend. He wanted nothing more than to be alone with her in either of their hotel rooms so he could take advantage of their new found physical relationship.

"This is ridiculous," complained Logan. "I don't want to see some stupid play."

"Come on, Logan," said Rory pushing him onto the waiting mini-bus. "It'll be fun."

"This is not my idea of fun, Ace."

"Relax," she soothed. She wanted to run her hand over his face, but stopped herself just in time. "It'll be over before you know it. And if you behave during the show, you may get a reward."

Logan's eyes lit up in anticipation. "A reward you say?"

"Yup."

"What kind of reward?" he asked.

They sat down next to each other on the bus catching the attention of more than one curious onlooker. She leaned in close enough for Logan to get a whiff of her perfume. "The best kind," she answered in a whisper. "The naked kind."

Logan sat back and grinned.

"So no more complaining?" asked Rory.

"I love the theatre," was his cheeky response.


True to the schedule, the minibus dropped off the Program participants in front of the hotel at exactly 9:30pm. Logan had endured the rather painful off Broadway play without so much as a sigh. He was determined to claim his reward. In fact he began to stake his claim as soon as they were alone in the elevator. By the time they made it to the door of his penthouse suite, he'd already undone half of the buttons on Rory's blouse.

"Where's your key card?" she asked wanting to get out of the hallway as quickly as possible. Logan, however, seemed to not care at all where they were as his hands busily went about getting his girlfriend's clothes off.

"In my pocket," he answered slyly.

"Is that your way of asking me to fish around in your pants?" she asked with a giggle.

"Hey if you want in that suite, one of us is going to have to get that key card. I for one am happy to do this right in this hallway," he informed her.

Rory knew he was kidding, but played along anyway. "Do you really want to strip me naked in this hallway, Logan? Where anyone can wander by and ogle my goodies?" she teased.

"Good point," he agreed. He didn't want anyone ogling her but him. He quickly fumbled in his pant pockets for his key card and finally granted them access to his room. As soon as they entered the suite, Logan pressed Rory's body against the door and kissed her soundly. He was just about to slide his hands into her half open blouse when a voice interrupted them.

"Excuse me," stated a deep authoritative voice.

Logan and Rory immediately stopped what they were doing and came face to face with none other than Mitchum Huntzberger. Rory yelped and ducked behind Logan trying desperately to re-button her blouse.

"Dad? What the hell are you doing here?" shouted Logan. He created a wall between Rory and his father doing his best to shield her from what he knew would be a very angry Mitchum Huntzberger.

"I heard such nice things about you today so I thought I'd come here and congratulate you on a successful first day," answered Mitchum. It was the truth. He did hear good things about Logan from his colleagues which both pleased and surprised him. It was Tim who pointed out that the younger Huntzberger seemed at his best when sparring with the lovely and equally impressive Miss Hayden. That got Mitchum's attention. Rather than returning to the Huntzberger's New York apartment after his last meeting of the day, he thought he'd drop by and surprise his son. His intent was not to catch him in such a compromising position, but rather to offer his congratulations after which he planned to question Logan more vigorously about Rory. However, Mitchum didn't want to be in the lobby when the mini-bus dropped off the rest of the participants. Ironically enough, he thought Logan would appreciate the fact that he was making an effort not to draw any unnecessary attention to his son—so he convinced/ordered the hotel manager to let him into Logan's room. Mitchum momentarily questioned Logan's choice of hotel room, and briefly wondered how much the suite was costing him, but then wrote it off as another of Logan's unnecessary, though not unexpected, extravagances. It wasn't until Logan entered the room locked in a passionate kiss with Rory Hayden that it occurred to Mitchum that the lavish suite was meant to serve an entirely different purpose.

"You should have called first," Logan angrily pointed out.

Mitchum paused for a moment to assess the situation. "Hello, Rory," he addressed her calmly.

"Hi, Mitchum," she answered as dignified as she could despite the situation.

"Perhaps you should go down to your own room. I'd like to have a word with my son."

Rory would have loved nothing more than to run out of there down to the safety of her room. She'd never been more embarrassed in her life—being caught by Mitchum Huntzberger. How was she ever going to live this down? However, she was not about to leave Logan to face this alone. "I think I'll stay," she said bravely. She grabbed hold of Logan's hand—there was not much to hide now.

Logan appreciated the gesture, but he could tell by the look in his father's eyes that it would be best for Rory to leave. "It's all right, Ace. Go down to your room. I'll be ok," he assured her.

"Logan, no," she argued. Rory glanced over at Mitchum who was staring hard at them. "I'm not leaving you," she whispered.

Logan looked over at his father and noted Mitchum's growing impatience. "It'll be all right, Ace. Just let me talk to him. I'll be down in a couple of minutes." Logan pulled her close to him and kissed her head. "Please, Ace. I promise I'll be all right."

"Logan." She didn't want to leave him.

"Please, Rory," he said seriously.

Rory looked into his eyes and despite her reluctance, she agreed. She gave his hand another reassuring squeeze and ran a hand over his cheek. "I'll wait downstairs for you," she promised him.

Mitchum watched this exchange with intense curiosity.

"Good night, Mitchum," said Rory strongly before she exited.

Mitchum nodded. "Good night, Rory."

Silence engulfed to room as soon as the door shut behind her as father and son proceeded to just stare at each other. Logan caved and spoke first. "Look, Dad…"

"I don't want to hear it, Logan. What the hell are you thinking?"

"Dad, I wasn't…"

"That's right. You weren't thinking. You never think." Mitchum paused to calm his nerves. "You never stop to consider the consequences of your actions. Rory is from two very important families."

"I don't care who her family is," Logan shouted back.

"You better start caring," roared Mitchum. "Do you have any idea the type of damage you could do to our family if you…"

"I don't care about our family," Logan erupted. "I am so sick of hearing about my responsibility to our family. This has nothing to do with the family!"

"This has everything to do with the family," countered Mitchum.

"No it doesn't. What's going on between me and Rory is no one's business—not yours, or Grandfather's, or Mom's, or Richard's, or Emily's, or Straub's, or Francine's, or Lorelai's, or Christopher's, or even Kevin's. What's going on between me and Rory is between me and Rory."

"And what exactly is going on between you and Rory?" asked Mirchum. "Because what I saw a few minutes ago was a lot more than just friendship."

"This is none of your business."

"Everything having to do with our family is my business. You are not going to alienate our family from the Haydens and the Gilmores. You are not going to hurt Rory."

Logan's eyes flashed with anger. "I would never hurt Rory."

"Oh really? How long before that sweet girl is crying to her mother because you broke her heart?" asked Mitchum.

"Screw you!"

"Logan…"

"Shut-up, Dad. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

"Don't use that language with me, boy."

"I'll talk to you however the fuck I want. You are completely out of line. You want to know why I kept this relationship from you?" asked Logan. "This is why. Because you are a cold, manipulating, unfeeling prick who has his head so far up his ass, he doesn't know anything about his own son."

Mitchum's eyes flashed with white hot anger. "You watch your mouth. This thing with you and Rory ends tonight. You end it now—before things get too out of hand," he ordered.

"No."

"Logan, I'm not kidding," he shouted.

"Neither am I, Dad," Logan shouted back. "I don't care what you want or what you think. I'm not going to stop seeing Rory.

"Logan…"

"No. Rory and I are good together. I love her. She makes me happy. I'm not going to stop seeing her. I don't care what you do."

Mitchum was caught completely off guard. Did Logan just say he loved her? "What did you just say?"

"I said I'm not going to stop seeing her," he repeated.

"No," said Mitchum. "Before that. You said you loved her."

Logan frowned. "What?" He wondered what game his father was playing now—some Jedi mind trick to throw Logan off his game?

"You said you loved her," repeated Mitchum.

Logan eyed his father curiously. He looked like he was serious. "What?"

"You said you loved her," Mitchum said again. "You just said that you loved Rory."

Logan shook his head. "No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I didn't."

Mitchum laughed. "Yeah, you really did."

Logan sat down in the nearest chair with a frown on his handsome face. Had he actually said that he loved her? He replayed the argument with his father over in his head and there it was. He said it. He said he loved her—and worse, he said it to Mitchum. "Woah!" he uttered grabbing his head.

Mitchum laughed again. He hadn't expected this. He hadn't expected Logan to care that deeply for the girl, let alone be in love with her. This was a very surprising turn of events. He'd now have to re-think his strategy on the situation. "I'm going to leave you alone for now. Don't think for a second that you and I are done talking about this. But I have a feeling you have more to deal with at the moment."

Logan nodded in acknowledgement and watched as his father exited the room with a smirk on his face.

"Good night, son."

"Yeah," muttered Logan. He couldn't believe that had just happened. He said it, but did he mean it. Was he in love with her? "Yes," he said out loud. When did that happen? How did that happen? "I love her," he said aloud. Logan felt an overwhelming sense of relief wash over him. He had no idea he'd been carrying around such an emotional burden that came with that lingering question. But now it was over. "I love her," he repeated. Logan stood up and smiled. He was in love with her. Now all he had to do was tell her.