Story Title: Razor
Chapter Title: Sweet and Divine, Razorblade Shine
Rating: T (for now); some language
Summary: Future Lit; Rory's trying to get a foot in the door in the journalism world and she's dragging Jess along with her against his will. If past performance is the indicator, he wants to avoid any contact with her; professional or otherwise. Story and Chapter titles taken from the Foo Fighter's song, Razor off In Your Honor.
Rory Gilmore had never entertained the circumstances she currently found herself in. She had been very focused, for as long as she could remember, working toward a goal that was aimed solely at her success. She'd never truly stopped to think that she wasn't being careful or forthright in her path toward her aspirations. She got sidetracked a little on the way, but nothing had ever derailed her to the point that made her stop and consider that there were other options out there for her, or at the very least, other avenues that could offer her both her aspirations and other joys at the same time.
Fear had stricken her, when she took that pregnancy test, knowing before the timer was up that it was going to confirm what she'd already known to be true. She was smart—able to do the math effortlessly, knowing at once she was under water. It was not the kind of issue that she could guess at and hope for the best. Paternity was not a topic that lent itself well to guessing games. She wasn't the sort of woman who needed the help of Maury Povich to solve her baby-daddy questions. She was, instead, the sort of woman who had spent a portion of her life ruminating on the loss of a love to the point that she had felt helpless when faced with the temptation of finally getting to express all the unsaid words, the unexpressed emotion, and the carnal exploration; despite her ties to another man. A man that did not deserve her infidelities, her omissions—he was a good man. He just wasn't the man that had first won her heart.
Life with Logan would have been privileged—happy in the sort of way that she would have everything she could want, in a matter of speaking. She would have opportunities, she would have material things. But she would never have his full attention, though she would have been busy with her career to the point that she might not have noticed that for years to come. It would have blindsided her even though it was right there in front of her all along, how they were living parallel lives, together for reasons neither could remember. They would have had a time limit, under the best of circumstances.
Keeping this baby, the option that eased her mind the most, despite all the considerations and complications that it brought on her, was only fathomable to her if it was something the father wanted as well; a dad was the one thing she had not been gifted in the truest sense. Her father at this point in her life was someone she talked to, but they knew each other as adults better than they'd ever known each other when she was a child; when she could have used him the most. She wouldn't trade her life for anything—she'd had a happy childhood thanks to an overambitious and determined young mother. But she couldn't help but want more for any child of her own. She never wanted this baby to question its place in this world or the love that its parents had for it or for each other. That was weighed the heaviest of all on her shoulders as she considered how best to proceed.
Logan would have insisted she keep the baby. He would have done the honorable thing, standing by her, getting her the best care, putting a ring on her finger, whether he'd been planning on being with her for the rest of his life or not. She knew he loved her, as much as he wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea of monogamy at first. He was expected to get his act together and produce an heir, and she was probably viewed as his best bet. She stabilized him, as much as anyone ever had, and she could be trusted even more than a blood relative to push the family business in the best direction. Underneath it all, she knew that eventually this would be a source of contention for them. He would resent her reining him in, just as he resented his father. He might not walk away from her, but he would show his displeasure in other ways. She wondered if she would put up with an unhappy marriage, with her sins niggling at her, making her wonder if it was simply karma at play.
But with Jess—things seemed limitless. They always had; a fact that terrified her when she was seventeen, but it gave her hope now. It was not a guarantee in her mind what he would have her do, in a perfect world. He knew that a perfect world was an oxymoronical ideal that only dreamers that moved to communes believed in. Dirty hippies, as her grandmother always called them. She couldn't imagine him dreaming of someday having a family, hers or someone else's; his dreams had evolved out of survival and diligence. It wasn't that he didn't want to be happy; he just didn't see it as his primary motivation. Like her, sometimes his happiness came from a place that made him feel like he was stealing it. And that's what they had always done—stolen each other for a short while, from other people, from their chosen paths, but as much as she tried to feel guilty, all he'd ever made her feel was a need for more.
Rory had no misguided notions of him proposing just because she was carrying his child. He didn't see pregnancy as a reason for matrimony any more than she did. That wasn't to say he didn't want to be with her, or he couldn't be a good father. He was just much more likely to tell her the truth, whether or not it was what he thought was 'right' or just what he thought she wanted to hear.
In the end, it had worked out better than she could have anticipated. She stood in an elevator, riding down thirty floors to the lobby, set to hail a cab to take her to a hotel where Jess should be already waiting for her. She hadn't seen him in a weeks' time. They'd talked, touched base, when they got quiet moments, but for the most part she needed to fill him in on nearly every aspect of what changes this week had brought. Some he expected, but she was nearly vibrating with the newest development, something she had to share with someone soon or else she might well burst. No one would appreciate it as much as he would; in fact most other people probably would think she was crazy for being so excited. They had done their best to hastily make plans for the coming months in the short time they'd had before his return to Philadelphia last week, at least for as far as they honestly thought they could handle. But now—she just couldn't wait to tell him how much better the direction they were veering toward had gotten.
The journey in the cab seemed to last an eternity, but she was at last in the hotel lobby, asking for his room number, when he came walking over from the elevators. She took in the shape of his body from her periphery, able to pick him out of a crowd of thousands if she had to, turning her head to watch the way his plain black tee shirt clung to his toned biceps underneath the fabric, the gait of his walk, the perfect fit of his jeans. It took her a moment to realize that the look on his face was that of concern. She thanked the concierge and smiled at Jess.
"Are you okay? What took so long?" he asked in a tone so low it sounded conspiratorial, taking her elbow and leading her just out of earshot of the front desk staff.
"I'm fine. I had a meeting and it ran a little later than I expected, and then I had to make a phone call," she rambled, not fully explaining any of the details she was so excited about.
"Are you feeling okay?" he repeated.
"Oh, yeah, I'm okay. I threw up in a dumpster behind that deli on 86th and Amsterdam."
He smiled. "Good. You can get food poisoning just walking in their front door."
"I don't want to talk about my vomit," she said as she raised an eyebrow.
"It's not really your most attractive attribute. Neither was the way you deboned that chicken," he said, referring to their last meal together, just after they left the bookstore. Shopping had always made her hungry, but even he had never seen her eat that much or in such a voracious manner. It wasn't as if she could help the fact that she was eating for two, which, with her familial metabolism, meant eating for eight. "I've never seen a waiter cry like that."
"Can we go upstairs, please?"
He smiled. "Someone's eager."
"I have some news," she corrected him, though the thought of what he alluded to was planted in her mind, unlikely to budge and able to be set off by a hair trigger. They hadn't had a chance, not since he'd been staying with her, to truly be together. She had originally thought she just wanted him around so she wouldn't be clanking around in that huge apartment, the one Logan picked, by herself, pregnant and alone. She hadn't set out to be so physical with Jess, not there. It was bad enough that she had another man in Logan's apartment, but in the end she had invited him into the bed so effortlessly after he held her hair back the first night, rubbing slow circles on her back as she crouched over the toilet, his palm slid under her night shirt, soothing her without being asked. It was then she knew—she would be devastated if she had to break his heart—hers would be irreparable as a consequence. She'd taken his hand once her stomach stilled, not letting go until he was in bed next to her, and from then on it was as if she wasn't the only one that lived at an address too swanky for her means and upbringing. They were two peas in someone else's pod.
"Let's go upstairs," he nodded, taking her stuffed shoulder bag from her with one hand and slipping the other into her palm.
She sat on the edge of the bed and gulped some water. Her body was constantly in need of things in a way that it never had before. Her current need for water was such that she almost—almost—didn't miss coffee anymore—she just couldn't stand the idea of ingesting any more liquid than she already was. Some things tasted better to her than ever before, but the next day she wouldn't be able to stand to even think about eating the same thing that had been nearly a delicacy the day before. Luckily, now she wouldn't have to hide her habits, which were already strange enough, but now were downright comical, she assumed. That poor chicken had never seen her coming.
"You sure you don't want to rest?" he pressed.
"I'm fine. Why are you so worried about how I'm feeling?"
She put a hand to her forehead. "Oh. I'm always hot lately. And I was in a hurry," she said, peeling her button up shirt off, leaving a camisole to cover the top of her body. It did feel better, the cool air hitting her arms.
"We have the suite until the day after tomorrow. I have to go on a show tomorrow, and do a radio thing the next afternoon, so," he explained.
"It's nothing," he assured her.
"Jess, come on," she pressed, giving him a slight pout.
"Fine. The Today Show," he relented. "And no, you cannot come," he pointed a finger at her.
"I was joking! I would never, ever actually proposition Matt Lauer!" she feigned hurt. "Honestly, I mean, just because he's on my top five list," she shook her head. "But seriously, that's amazing. Your agent must be beside himself," she laughed.
"Yeah. I think he pulled something when he twisted my arm. But I guess if I want people to read my next book," he sighed.
"How's the writing?" she looked sidelong at him, knowing all the complications she'd inflicted on his life had taken a toll on his preferred professional methods.
"I'm about halfway done. I think," he frowned.
"That's amazing. My being gone helped, I guess," she offered, guiltily.
He shook his head. "Actually I did most of it while I was in New York last time," he said, his dark eyes locking onto hers. Now she felt heat building. As a writer, it was a unique feeling to be someone else's muse.
"I'm pretty sure Logan won't let you sublet again," she said as she kicked off her shoes and pulled her feet up to stretch out on the bed.
"How did that go?" he asked, though she couldn't imagine he really wanted the finer details.
"It was," she paused for a moment, choosing her words carefully, knowing he could easily read too much into them, "long. He wanted a lot of answers. Apparently it's not like me to make rash decisions."
"So, you told him?" he assumed.
"Just what I thought he needed to know. I didn't tell him about you specifically or our plans. He's not a part of that. I told him that I didn't want to be with him anymore, and he asked if it was because I wanted more, to get married, and I told him no, and he didn't believe me, so finally I told him that I had fallen in love with someone else."
Jess nodded. "I bet he had a few more questions then."
Rory shrugged. "Actually he told me to get out. We sort of," she shook her head and sighed. "Back in college, we broke up, and he basically slept his way through his little black book while we were apart, and I took it badly. So, he sort of had a right to be pissed. I knew… I expected it. I left, and he had someone collect my things and bring them to the lobby for me. It's all in storage," she nodded with finality. "It's over, I didn't even sleep there that night; I came home from the dinner with you, and told him, and I've been sleeping at the office all week," she admitted.
"You didn't have to," he began, though she didn't buy it his passing her actions off as unnecessary.
"Jess, would you really have wanted me to share his bed, to go on pretending for even one more day," she began.
He closed his eyes. "Can we not get into that? It was bad enough, thinking about it before. I don't want to," he opened his eyes and looked at her, piercing her. "Okay?"
"You don't have to be sorry. I know you had reasons, you had doubts," he said.
"But not about you," she said emphatically.
He stood up and walked to the sink, putting his glass in before turning and leaning back against his palms on the counter. "You know your time is almost up, right?"
She frowned. "What?"
"To change your mind—you're going to be in your second trimester next week, and that's it, the point of no return. Are you sure," he pressed.
"Jess, we talked about this," she blinked. "Did you," she swallowed hard, "are you changing your mind?"
He shook his head. "No. I still think," he paused. "You know this is something I never would have decided to do, but now that it's happening, with you, I'm not going anywhere. But you never seem to have doubts about it, which is a little concerning to me."
"Never have doubts? Jess, I didn't sleep for weeks, well, at night, anyhow. I kept going round and round about what the right thing to do was, for everyone involved, wondering just what it would mean, with both of you, how I was altering people's lives," she shook her head. "I had doubts, Jess. For a while I thought about not telling anyone, just making an appointment to take care of things and not telling anyone anything, ever."
He moved to sit next to her on the bed. "What changed your mind then? What made you tell me?"
She gave a small laugh. "You're going to think I'm crazy."
"Too late," he ribbed her good-naturedly. "Come on, if I'm going to get up for midnight feedings, I think you can give me a little inside information."
She rolled her eyes. It was just another thing she never would imagine herself witnessing, and yet, in a few short months, there would be a baby, in his arms, being rocked by its father. She smiled. "Fine. It was your book."
He frowned. "My book?"
She nodded. "The part in the second to last chapter, where he meets his father's new kid, and he holds it, and he thinks that if she could see him, she might be able to see past all the stuff he'd put her through—to see past the boy he was when he was with her, to see the man that had left in order to do what he thought was best for her."
"I remember," he acknowledged. "You know that didn't happen, right? Creative license and all," he smirked.
"Yeah, but somewhere, inside you, you thought about holding a baby, and when you thought about it, because I know how you are when you write—you see it, you feel it, you could probably even smell baby powder," she pushed, "you were also thinking about me. And I thought, if there is the slightest chance that this was your kid, how could I never tell you?" She was crying now, "Because I see you Jess, I always saw you, the man you've become. I knew it was there, underneath, even back then. I saw you."
His response was immediate; his lips were against hers, tasting salt that had rolled down her cheeks from her eyes, his fingers wiping the remaining tears away instinctively as they ebbed. She grabbed hold of him, her hands balling sections of soft cotton in her fists as she pulled him to her. She leaned back, him easing down over her, in one fluid motion as if they were merely an extension of one another. His hands glided down her arms, making her shiver despite her own already increased temperature. His lips were at her neck, and her head turned to the side, her chin digging into her shoulder, giving him as much room to explore as he wished, but too soon he was sitting up, removing a layer of clothing from his chest and then hers. He wasn't in the mood to take his time; their time apart had been too long given their circumstances. She had no complaints, she wanted him just as badly, and soon her breath was coming in rasps as she held on to his shoulders, rocking against him, watching his eyes close as his jaw tightened.
Moments later, as they lay next to one another, his hand rubbed over her bare stomach as she turned up on her hip to face him. She looked down. "I'm starting to show."
"It feels different," he nodded. "I still can't believe this is happening. I want to promise you I will be good at this, but," he shook his head.
"We'll figure it out," she assured him with a kiss, acknowledging that she had no idea what she was doing either. But as long as he wanted to be there, she knew he'd do just fine. She was almost sure that if she read enough on the topic, she could manage as well.
He nodded. "What was your news?"
She smiled. "I got another job offer."
He frowned. "What?"
She took a deep breath. "Well, I'd gotten a few calls, after the nomination, but the only one that really caught my eye right away, of course, was the foreign policy job. But I called the Philadelphia Inquirer back on Monday, just to see what they had in mind, and it turns out they want me to cover their political desk, which would mean less if any foreign travel, and getting a head start on the 2012 election coverage. But most of it would be local travel, overnight things, and I could be based in Philly."
He frowned still. "Tell me you didn't turn down the Post."
She frowned now too. "Why not?"
His eyes widened. "Because it's your fucking dream job, Rory. Surely you're aware."
"Just because it's something I talked about when I was younger," she began.
"No. It's not just something you talked about. It's all you talked about. You lived it, you breathed it, you said you didn't know what you would do if you couldn't do it."
"I can still do it. Later. But this is just as good, Jess, and it makes it easier for me to see you more. This is a good thing."
"I know you think you have to give up something," he steeled himself, "but we discussed this. Going back and forth. We can still do that."
"But how exhausting would that be? And after a while, it wouldn't seem that bad to skip a weekend, to just stay where you are and keep the baby with you or for me to get a little more work done, and then before we know it," she shook her head. "No. This job is more suited for where I am right now. It won't keep me from getting what I want—this is a part of what I want. And it will prevent me from going into labor in a third-world country that's being strafed by gunfire and extreme militants, just so people can have something to read while they drink coffee and eat their cereal."
He let out a breath, searching her eyes. He didn't look quite ready to give up this fight, but she also knew it came from a place in him that wanted her to have everything he couldn't give her. "You're sure?"
"I want to be with you. I'm tired of being away from you. And I can't be constantly dumping our kid on you for weeks at a time. I have a feeling I might miss you both."
"Doing your job is not going to make you a bad mother," he assured her.
"No, but if I took that job, it would make me an absent one. This job is a better fit. And I already accepted their offer. I start in two weeks. So, that should give us time to find an apartment, unless you really want to stay in your current set up," she offered.
He smirked and shook his head. "Are you looking for some sort of formal askance? I thought it was sort of implied that you didn't want to live with me and five other guys in a loft."
"Well, I mean, we could—but the chances that they'd see me naked are pretty high, given our propensity for, well," she blushed and poked him in the abs. He grabbed the sheet and covered them both as he wrapped his arms around her torso, pulling her in close to him.
"Let's get a place of our own."
She smiled. "I'd like that. Under one condition."
He raised an eyebrow. "No loud music past ten?"
"No sleeping at your desk. You sleep in bed with me."
"You're so strict," he mocked her.
"It's a deal breaker," she smiled back.
"Are there any other conditions or can I kiss you now?"
She beat him to the punch, kissing him to seal their deal. She had no reservations about tying her life to this man, in whatever form they agreed upon. She knew he could hurt her, probably worse than anyone else ever could, but therein lied her problem. The reason he had such a capacity for causing her pain—or to unleash it—was that he was also the only person that could throw her in the other direction, to pure and unadulterated joy, washing her in hope when she might not find any on her own, and making her believe in things that she could not see or touch. She could not tread lightly, as she had in the past, hoping to reap only the benefits without feeling the pain, as the one thing she had learned through this whole ordeal was that if they were not committed fully to one another, it could all fall apart, leaving them both broken in ways that could never be completely restored.
They could make this work, with all the mistakes they would make and the triumphs they would celebrate, but no matter what, it would be because they were both there, present, and working together. Their lives as separate people were functional, but in the end they had lead them to a specific point, weaving them closer and closer and finally back to each other. Both were hesitant to call it fate, yet what were they to call it, the way life had taken the reins and sealed them together? Yes, it had been her own free will, and his as well, to seek out a few more moments together, in whatever form possible—yet somehow those fleeting affairs had taken hold and merged into reality. Neither claimed to be blameless, nor did they have the strength to fight the universe. After all that had happened, it was crystal clear that when it came to each other the pleasure was worth the pain.