Taking Shots for Mother Nature
Fandom: Gilmore Girls
Disclaimer: Not mine. It's the WB's and the CW's and Amy Sherman what-what, so let's drop the lawsuits. I'm not making a dime off of this.
Characters: Rory, Rory/Finn
Word Count: 3200
Summary: It's the alcohol and the decadence and the swimming pool; it's the Jay Gatsby and a date with destiny and it's the friends that aren't her own and Rory gets it now: she's become her mother without ever meaning to. AU Post-Season Five finale.
Author's Note: Not sure where any of this came from, and this is my first Gilmore Girls fic, and well, it's a different take on Rory. It picks up after Season Five with the whole yacht scandal and the poolhouse and the fallout between Rory and Lorelai. It's angsty and a little dark because apparently that's all I can write. Anyway, do, read, review and enjoy!
"I leave you alone for five minutes, and you're drinking."
"Drunk. I'm drunk."
- The Rules of Attractions
I'm trying hard not to be ashamed, not to know the name of who is waking up beside me, or the date , the season or the city, but at least the ceiling's very pretty, and if you are holding it against me ---
I'll be on my best behavior taking shots for mother nature, once my fist is in the cupboard ---
Love is never falling over.
- "My Alcoholic Friends" The Dresden Dolls
Rory never liked Sylvia Plath. She read The Bell Jar when she was thirteen and she imagines now that it was too soon and she was too young because it's thirteen, and not having a father is rough and being lost and alone and adrift in your own imagination is hard too – but you breathe and you deal and you don't stick your head in the oven. She thinks she's mixing fiction with reality, but she's pretty sure that Sylvia did the same and just ran by the unassuming name of Esther Greenwood.
She kind of gets it now that a reread might be in order because there's something about figuring out what you want out of life that kind of makes you want to end your own.
Emily doesn't try to act like her mother. She doesn't try to act like her mother and she doesn't try to act like any mother. She doesn't pretend to be her friend and try to stage binge-eating viewings of bad movies they mock more than they watch. She doesn't really try to be anything, other than there.
Rory would call her a chaperone, but that would imply she actually needs one.
She thinks about the Count of Monte Cristo.
She was locked in a New England jail cell with an overweight cop standing by that even she, benchwarmer extraordinaire, could out-run, high-heels and all. She was locked up in a New England jail and they brought her there in handcuffs and Logan had looked at her like this was funny and said something along the lines of well, Ace, looks like we're fucked.
She hadn't said anything because she took that whole bit about the right to remain silent and things being used against you in a court of law rather seriously and she knows why they call them the Miranda Rights because she took government at Chilton but for the life of her she can't recall it now.
She was locked in a jail cell and handcuffed in the back of a cop car and now lives in a poolhouse her grandpa called home when silent, awkward dinners became a trial separation from his wife and the farthest he could move away from her was the backyard they still shared.
She thinks about the Count of Monte Cristo.
She read the story when she was younger, maybe nine or ten, and the swordfights hadn't really appealed to her and neither had the treasure or the equally bland love story. When it all came down to it, she was trapped by the story of a friendship gone so terribly wrong, and she'll tell you. It's the saddest thing she has ever read.
(Her mother used to call it the Count of Monte Crisco and would laugh and laugh because they keep shoes in their oven and Rice-A-Roni is a feat of culinary genius for them and well, Crisco is kind of nasty and greasy on principle, so isn't this just hilarious?)
It's cold in the poolhouse. Blanket around her shoulders, window latched shut beneath her fingers, she's not sure what she expected. She thinks it might have been home.
She shops at Barney's and Neiman Marcus and her grandmother buys her things, buys her skirts and shoes and dresses that make the twenty-first century obsolete and the return to some ill-defined time period of proper manners and full skirts possible.
She shops and they lunch and they discuss things like opera and jazz and things Rory doesn't really care about. She shops and they lunch and she reports to community service dressed in an ugly t-shirt and old jeans.
This must be how Winona Ryder felt.
She likes to blame Mitchum for all of this because it's easy, because he looks like Donald Trump, because he shares a name with a cheap brand of deodorant. She likes to blame Mitchum and his tactlessness but, really – and it's why she couldn't tell Logan, why, because she was turning his father into a pathetic excuse for a scapegoat – when it all comes down to it, Rory knew she was lost when she was sixteen, in her bedroom, alone in the company of shiny college brochures and personal flights of fancy, safe in the shadow of the future.
Rory has always been a planner. She'll tell you so, in list-form, tight, cramped handwriting outlining her strengths and weaknesses and pros and cons and why she's just so damn perfect. Rory is a planner, but now, Vanity Fair magazine open before her to a Dominick Dunne essay she can't really follow, she doesn't really think she's an actor.
She blames Mitchum and watches Marilyn Monroe sing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" as she closes the magazine in a flurry of pages. Any other way would just be too tragic.
She draws designs in her gravy with the tip of the silver fork in hand. The candles are lit, and the roast was delicious, Emily, and Rory hasn't had a Pop-Tart or a decent cup of coffee in what feels like months. Muffy or Mitsy or Muckraker McGill told Emily at her last DAR meeting that everyone is all a-twitter about a possible Gilmore-Huntzberger union. Rory feels the impulse to be crass and say that's bullshit and mash the drawing in her leftovers into the white tablecloth. Instead she declines the basket of rolls passed her way and return to spelling 'stupid' in the sauce.
She's become the kind of girl Madeline and Louise always were and Paris never respected and Rory – stupid girl – believed in a quiet little elitist way was always better than.
She thought because she was raised in a shed behind an inn (and Jesus, she's not religious, but the Biblical comparisons are there nonetheless) that made her something special, salt-of-the-earth in a school full of the pretentious, the empty and the sad.
She gets it now because she drinks champagne that costs more than the rent her mother paid twenty years ago and because people look past her, like so much overrated art on the wall, and no longer like she's the savior of the Gilmore clan, more Jane Eyre than Madame Bovary, more Lizzie Bennett than Anna Karenina.
She wants to tell them that it's not fair to expect so much of her – that she's just a girl – but it wouldn't matter.
Picking the hem of the skirt her grandmother bought all she hears is the whistling of the train.
She watches MTV and paints her nails a garish pink that's more an orange her mother would mock and Lane would love.
Chris Martin cries along with Coldplay because nobody said it was easy. She laughs at him and changes the channel and wonders how the weather in New York might be.
Logan tells her that he's leaving, and it's only for a week, Rory; you'll be fine. She frowns a little and he thinks it's out of sadness or something sort of similar but, really, she never said she would be anything but fine. He says that he's leaving for Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod or whatever pretentious New England boating town it is this year and she thinks of yachts and sinking ships.
She kisses him on the cheek and says she'll see him soon.
He tells her she'll be fine once more. She says, "of course."
She should have said no when Colin and Finn knocked on her door.
The water in the pool is cold and even through the haze of two White Russians and a shot of Kamikaze it stings her skin and she shudders. There is splashing and shouting and the shattering sound of broken glass on damp cement and she laughs at nothing in particular.
She laughs because they're not supposed to be here and she already has one mark on her police record and she really doesn't have the latitude to add another. She laughs because she's no longer a student at Yale and she'll never really be a Christiane Amanapour and if she doesn't watch it and keeps stealing yachts and jumping in swimming pools with strangers she'll never really be a Donna Reed either. She feels like Gatsby, floating dead in the pool, and laughs a little harder, the water, cold, rushing into her ears, drowning the sound out.
She stands, the water only up to her bare waist, and no one pays attention to the little girl clad in the modest, mismatched pastel underwear. She shivers and tries to fight the rising goosebumps, rubbing her arms frantically, teeth almost chattering.
"A riot, isn't it? You should have seen the lot of us in Cabo." Finn's boxers cling in a funny way and she looks away and wants to tell him, drunken indignation flaring her temper, that, no, she shouldn't have seen them in Cabo because she's not the kind of girl that embarrasses herself in pools or on beaches in Cabo but remembers in a slow, creeping kind of way, the chill up and down her spine, where she is right now and all the clothes she isn't wearing and is kind of grateful she bit her tongue.
"Yeah, well, I didn't." She shouldn't sound so slow or surly or resentful, but she does, and she blames Finn and his skinny frame and she blames Logan for not being here and she blames the yacht and her mother and boys like Dean and boys not like Dean and all the alcohol coursing through her system.
She doesn't think that Donna Reed ever slept with a married man, her husband even falling into the broad category (broad-shoulders, like Dean, but not Jess, and definitely not like Finn because he's half-naked and pale and Logan was short but never broad or ever there). She thinks that for women like Donna the stork really does exist and there are never any hickeys to lie away or morning after embarrassments or missing panties or that wet spot on the sheet Cosmo has the audacity to present as a controversial topic, and like a sick, perverted parody of Miss Manners argues the etiquette required in said awkward situation.
Her hair drips and water droplets slip and slide their way down the nape of her neck. She shivers. She shivers and she, Rory, has a moment of clarity, on a night with no moon, with water lapping at her waist and Finn watching her, leisurely, taking a hearty swig from his bottle of Jack Daniel's, and she realizes that in this moment – as someone screams 'penis' and another shouts 'you motherfucker' – that she has become her mother.
She laughs again.
He asks her what the fuck is so funny and she tells him, like a debutante with bad red lipstick and too many drugs and not enough love, or maybe it's too much attention and not enough sincerity, that her name is Lorelai Gilmore.
He laughs this time, drinks again, and tells her, that, no, love, your name's Rory. Rory's your name, pet.
His game is more fun to play than her own, so she smiles a sloppy smile, one hip cocked to the side, pale hipbone stark against the blue water and the Cabo-tanned girls, and she imagines with her small breasts and her pretty underwear she looks a lazy Lolita and giggles a little more.
He's not that bad looking. He's not that bad looking and he doesn't even try to disguise what it is he wants from her.
She wants to call him Eurotrash, but he's from Australia and acts like a deranged kangaroo wrangler, if such a thing even exists, hit too many times in the head by a stray boomerang. He says all the wrong things and there's a slick, sleazy kind of comfort in that, like bad, salty French fries (not from a diner she almost calls home).
He is not bad looking, but then again they never are. (Jess once called her his little Edie and she thinks he meant Sedgwick, and he meant it sweetly and kind of failed, because if she's Edie, doesn't that make him Warhol and shouldn't she be dead by now?)
He asks her what she's doing and she says stalling and he doesn't demand any further elaboration.
She thinks she shouldn't be here, poolside, wet and drunk. She had wanted to go to Harvard anyway. She's not sure why or how she ended up here.
Finn smiles at her again and it's all lechery and few words. She's never been good at public speaking and she thinks, if it's possible, she's even worse in private because the words come too fast and too often and make too little sense and if it weren't for the inane, oblique pop culture references she wouldn't even be the least bit entertaining.
"You really are quite lovely," he says in a way that makes it sound like something dirty, something to be ashamed of. She doesn't smile because they all think she's lovely in one way or the next and hearing it doesn't really do anything for her anymore.
She tries to pull off coy and is pretty sure she just looks drunk.
He pulls her into the poolhouse, and it's not like hers, it's not like a pretend home, a dollhouse, a bell jar. There are shelves of towels and pH kits and nets with long handles and deflated pool toys. She's barefoot and the ground is slick, and when she slips he kisses her.
She bites her lip, a little too hard, as he thrusts into her, the back of her head hitting the wall with a dull thud. She whimpers and she wonders if she sounds pathetic but doesn't really care when he shifts her hips just the right way and her hand slips off his shoulder and skids down his arm.
Dean used to whisper how much he loved her and hold her hips like she was the fragile girl at the high school dance and she's wearing her mother's perfume and better be home by eleven. She thinks there might be something wrong and sad with the fact they ruined something that everyone would call innocence between them with a lapse in judgment that became damagingly habitual.
He mutters something that sounds like fuck and then becomes a grunted, garbled mess, words caught up in lust and his accent, and she thinks she catches her name in the mix.
She wonders what he thinks of her, if he thinks her name should be Pollyanna and not Lorelai and if he knows that the yacht is just another pearl on this sad string of her accomplishments and that, did you know, she ruined a marriage once and ran away to New York in pursuit of a boy when she already had one and has cheated and lied and whined and complained and bitched when things didn't go her way, and did you know, that despite the Yale education and the Chilton alumni status and all the Russian literature she read but didn't understand she really isn't any better than her goddamn mother?
She comes and he doesn't and he keeps going and she doesn't bother to help.
(She wishes she was fifteen again and the world made sense and her room was warm and the books were long and the days were there and her mom still cared and there still was something called the future to look forward to and love to believe in.)
She had wanted to love Dean, and maybe she believed it, that fucking him would make her love him because she was never afraid of the other way around. They always love her. It's just, well, she's never been good at the loving them back.
Handing sliding along her thigh, he whispers in her ear that they don't have to tell Logan and she thinks she can't breathe and she wonders if this is how it felt for Dean, if this is how it felt, afterglow poetics fading, and you realize you are the biggest asshole on the planet and you traded your soul or something equally heavy and hard to replace for sex and fleeting satisfaction.
Rising panic she can't swallow down, and, oh, you silly girl, what have you done with your life?
Miss Patty would tell her to run off to Berlin and look for Marlene Dietrich, because, sweetheart, with those doe eyes, it's the place for a doll like you to be.
Babette would say, sugar, keep them legs closed. Pretty girl like you, ain't nothing slutty about that.
Luke would ask if she wants more coffee and she'd say yes and please, and she'd get a Danish out of the deal as well.
She knows what her mother would do. And it's something called the same.
Finn just fucks her and she knows that he'll never ask questions later.
This poolhouse isn't like her own. It's ugly and it's sad and the floor is cold cement.
She wants to tell them that it doesn't matter. We all turn out a mess and we all can blame each other, and it doesn't really matter. Girls become their mothers, and boys, their fathers. Rory can recognize futility when she sees it, and naked in a poolhouse surrounded by stacks of white fluffy towels, she raises the bottle to her lips – and here's to genetics and God and liars and fakers – and swallows long and hard.