So it's been a while, a really long while. And yep, for that I suck. But here is the next chapter of The Best is Yet to Come.

This was actually a really hard chapter to write because I know only a very limited amount about the American justice system (i.e. court protocols, procedure and such) so for the most part I wrote it as it would have been seen on TV, which works I guess since GG is a TV show. So you get a disclaimer for that: this is a fictional story and the judiciary process as described in this story is a fictional set-up as well. It does not reflect the actual process, expect perhaps in the basic principles implied.

I will be focusing most of my writing attention here now, as all my other stories and/or work is more or less wrapped up at this time. Hopefully that'll mean that

So now a general disclaimer for this story...

I do not own Gilmore Girls, the characters, the locations or the concept. I do have rights to my own story plots and invented characters, and I am gratefull that I can use Gilmore Girls as the vehicle to put those ideas out. Still... I wish I did own GG cause then I'd be a very happy lady!

Happy reading and enjoy... And let me know what you think!

Chapter 23 - In a Daze, With a Buzz

His name is Tyler Greight. He's a third year business major.

There was buzzing in her ears. The harder she tried to concentrate, to understand what Logan was saying the louder the buzzing would become. She allowed her eye lids to slide closed and took three long, deep breaths.

Rory, he lives in Brantford. On the third floor.

Her stomach rolled and even behind closed eyes she knew that the room was spinning. Her hands twisted the material of the blanket that she'd wrapped around her shoulders when she'd sat down to watch a movie with Logan. Half-way through the movie she'd noticed that he wasn't watching, that he seemed preoccupied and she'd asked him what was wrong. If only she'd just kept quiet.

In Brantford. In all the days that had passed since she'd been attacked she'd never really thought much about who'd done it. Though if she were perfectly honest with herself she would have to admit that deep down she'd hoped that it was someone who'd just happened to be on campus that night. Some stranger. But it wasn't. It was someone who lived in the same building that she did. Someone who ate in the same dining hall, used the same libraries that she did. For all she knew it was someone she'd had a conversation with at some point during her time at Yale or someone she'd sat beside in one of her classes.

"You're sure?" she heard herself ask in a whisper, her eyes still closed.

"I'm sorry, Ace." Logan told her and in his tone she heard regret. She heard relief.

Slowly she allowed her eyes to open and she glanced over at him. Even with four feet separating them as they each sat on one end of the couch in her dorm room, she could feel the warmth of his presence. Knew that if she slid down the length of that couch he would open his arm to her and do everything he could to try and take the pain away.

"You should have told me sooner." She murmured as her eyes met his and held. "You shouldn't have kept this from me, Logan."

He sighed and glanced away. "I know. I know, I just..." He sighed again and looked back at her. "I didn't know how to tell you. And I didn't want you to worry about him."

"Is he still here?" She asked him as the thought that he might be back on campus, in the same building as her, occurred.

"Absolutely not." He answered quickly and shook his head. "After he was released on bail, and after the arraignment, his family took him to their home in Cromwell. It's about half an hour from here. He won't ever be back at Yale, Ace, you can count on that."

She didn't doubt it. There was no way that her grandparents would stand for her attacker, she refused to use the word rapist even in her mind, to continue to stay at the same school, in the same building as her. And if they didn't have the pull necessary to have him removed from campus, then Logan's parents would do it or the power of the LDB would do it. She turned back to the TV, with its blank screen, and wondered why they hadn't told her, why they all felt that she couldn't handle it when at the same time they repeatedly told her that there was nothing to worry about, nothing that she couldn't get through. Even Logan had said those words. He'd told her so many times since the night of the... incident that everything would be okay, that they'd get through it. That she'd get through it. Maybe it was all lip service; maybe they didn't think she could do it after all.

Logan watched her profile, watched the different emotions and expressions that moved over her face. Doubt, fear, anger. He didn't know what to do or say that would help her. He hated that he had to be the one to tell her who was being charged with the crime, but like he'd told Lorelai and his parents two nights ago 'how could he not.'

"Ace..." But that's all he got out. Until she reacted somehow there was nothing more that he could say, nothing more that could possibly change things. So he'd wait for her to respond; just as he'd wait for her to be ready for more. The silence stretched and stretched and just when he started to feel tired, her voice broke through the quiet.

"Do you want to go for a walk?" He turned around on the couch to see her standing half way between the couch and the door, her keys in her hand and her jacket already on.

"A walk?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. She nodded in response but didn't say anything. "Outside?" He said, somewhat stupidly, and they both glanced out the window, both knowing that there wouldn't really be anything to see since it was almost midnight and therefore completely dark outside.

Rory blushed and bit her lip. "Not a long walk or anything. I just can't sit in this room anymore Logan, I need air and space and..."

But Logan was already standing and coming around the couch towards her. "I'd love to go for a walk with you. Whatever the reason." He told her as he reached her and together they headed out the door, grabbing his jacket off the rack and pulling the door closed behind them.

They walked for over an hour just taking random paths and turns around campus. They didn't talk as they walked. They didn't even really look at each other. Logan's arm was draped over her shoulders holding her to his side and her arm had ended up around his waist, and that was all she needed to know that she was safe. In her mind, and his, thoughts and memories whirled but to the casual observer they would look like a normal young couple just enjoying a late night walk together.

When they finally ended up back at her dorm she was almost hesitant to go into the building, even though she knew that he wasn't in there anymore it terrified her that at one point he had been. She'd probably seen him in the hallways or in the quad. Could she have inadvertantly lead him to believe that she might actually be interested in him? Had she led him on? Flirted with him, without realizing? People were always saying that she didn't even realize the effect she had on men, could he have been one of them? Was all of this her fault?

"No!" Logan said firmly. He didn't raise his voice at all but Rory still jolted with the realization that she must have voiced some of her concerns aloud.

"But..." She started to say weakly but he wouldn't let her finish.

"No. Just no." He said and he shook his head to emphasize his point. "You're charming and genuine and you care about people, and that makes them want to know you. Nothing you could have said, nothing you could have done gave him the right to do what he did to you. Nothing. What happened was not in any way your fault."

He didn't wait for her response but ushered her into the building and into her room. They locked the door behind them and then moved through the common room and into the bedroom. Once there they silently got ready for bed. In the days since the attack they'd become extremely comfortable with each other and even Rory rarely thought anything of changing in front of him.

Once they were changed, they got into bed and settled in to a comfortable position. While they were settling in and going to sleep it seemed that they always ended up with Logan on his back and Rory curled up beside him with her head on his chest. They didn't say anything for a long time; Logan listened to her breathing as she relaxed and it slowed, while playing with her hair, and Rory listened to the steady beat of his heart under her ear. In the silence they both had time to think and for both of them their thoughts were of violence.

Finally Rory spoke softly. "I know that I didn't deserve what he did to me. I know that I deserve love and gentleness and care and respect. But the one thing that I've wondered since that night Logan, is why me? Of all the girls that were on campus that night, alone or distracted, why me?"

"I don't know if we'll ever really have that answer Ace. He's still claiming that he didn't do it. Even with all the evidence against him, he still says that it wasn't him." Logan gently reminded her. "If I had to take a guess? He probably just picked you because you were there."

"I don't know if that makes it better or worse." She replied. "God help me, but I don't know if I'd rather he had a reason for picking me or if it was just random bad luck."

"Either way, it doesn't change the outcome, does it?" He asked.

"No, not really." Rory admitted.

They were quiet again for a long time, and Logan thought that she might have fallen asleep when she spoke again.

"He's not going to get away with it, right? I know what he's claiming but with all the evidence against him, they won't let him off, will they?" She asked in barely a whisper.

"He won't get off." He promised her. "One way or another, he will pay Ace." And he would, they both knew. Whether the courts ruled in Rory's favor or not, the LDB would ensure that Tyler Greight never had an easy moment for the rest of his life.

The next day Rory and Logan and the others made their way to the courthouse early. After a brief discussion with ADA Bloom, Rory joined her family and friends in the front rows of the court room to await the beginning of the trial. She looked around the room with more interest than she had at the arraignment. Not only because she'd actually have to testify, but because she wasn't as dazed, and locked inside herself as she had been 11 days before. She studied the layout of the room, the colors, the play of light and shadow through the windows on one side, even the molding around the top of the room.

Most of all, she studied the faces of the people surrounding her: the seriousness that showed in their expressions, and the way that their eyes would reflect compassion and understanding to her when she met their eyes. She couldn't believe that they could care about her so much, without really knowing her. In some ways, that made what had happened seem that much worse.

As far as she knew, and as far as her 3am research had shown her, she had never met Tyler. She may have seen him in the halls or around the quad but she'd never been introduced to him, never had a conversation with him. She knew him, and he knew her, less even than the people surrounding her did and yet his actions would forever change her life. And they would forever mark his.

Within a few minutes lawyers and other court officials filed into their places. Soon court was being called to order and Tyler was brought into the room and again entered a plea of 'not guilty'. And then Rory studied him. She paid little attention to anything else in the courtroom, ignoring for the most part when the opposing attorneys each took their turns to make their opening statements. When court was called to recess, and Tyler was led out of the room, the group started to mill around and moved toward the outer hallway. Rory, Logan and Lorelai stayed seated until most of the rest of the people had left the room. Rory was silent but she was staring at the door that Tyler had walked out of and had a death grip on both Logan's and Lorelai's hands. Bloom was still at his table talking with his assistant.

"His sister was in Paris's SAT-prep program during freshman year." She said it quietly but the pair of lawyers were instantly interested in what she was saying and moved closer to the bar that separated them from the 'audience.'

"I don't think that he ever came into the room, I don't remember him coming in at all. But I remember one day as Paris and I were leaving, he was with her and a few other kids outside the newspaper offices." She finally looked at Bloom and the expression in her eyes nearly brought him to tears. "He looked at us and smiled. I think I might have nodded in response, because Paris was ranting about the kids in the program."

She squeezed her eyes closed and a single tear slipped down her cheek. "I never said a word to him and that's only time I can recall ever seeing him. Even this year when we've been living in the same dorm."

"That's good Rory. That's very good." Bloom gestured to the assistant. "Let's verify this. The dates and that his sister was in the program, where he was supposedly during those times. He's been claiming right from the start that he's never seen you before. That's he's never even heard your name. This can prove that he's lying."

"And if he's lying about having never seen her before, than it's not a stretch to believe that he's lying about the attack too." Lorelai said.

"Exactly. Let's get the information. And then we'll use it to hang him." Bloom replied with a shark like showing of teeth.

For two days they listened to testimony- first Rory's side of things and then Tyler's. It was during Bloom's cross examination of Tyler's testimony that he brought up their previous encounter, brief though it was. At first Tyler denied having ever been near the tutoring session but after a few pointed questions and a brief stumble on his part he finally admitted that he had in fact picked his sister up several times during the SAT prep period the year before and had indeed seen Rory. From there it didn't take long before Bloom had managed to pull a full confession from him on the stand, despite numerous objections from the defense.

When the judge came back with a guilty verdict it was no real surprise, even if the sentence of 12-months house arrest followed by 4 years probation seemed paltry in light of the crime. For Rory it didn't seem like that steep of a punishment but then she remember what Logan had said before the trial began, and she knew that regardless of the sentence Tyler was never going to have things easy again.

After all was said and done they all went out for dinner to celebrate. Rory was quiet and held back from the conversations flinging through the private dining room they were enjoying their meal at. She listened and she watched the interaction of the people around her: her mom and Logan's and Steph's parents, her grandparents and Elias, her friends and the older generations, even her Yale friends and Lane. She'd never really considered how the two worlds that she loved so much would come together but they had, seamlessly it seemed. And it was all because they cared enough to be there for her. Because they cared enough to make sure that she was okay, that she could be happy.

"The friends I made at Yale are still some of the best friends I have." Emily said softly in her ear and Rory turned to her with a smile.

"They are?" She asked.

"They are." She confirmed. "I'm positive that your Grandfather would say the same."

Side by side they sat together and watched the assembled group. "Not all the contacts that you make at school need be about your career, just as your friends may be drastically different than what you'd expect to need, or want."

"That's true." Rory agreed, thinking about Logan and the LDB crowd. They barely knew her and her personality seemed vastly different from theirs, but they'd gone out of their way to make things easier for her over the last few weeks. They'd done it merely because Logan and his parents, her mom, and her grandparents had asked it of them.

"I know that you're mother's often voiced opinion concerning a great deal of our society has influenced your interactions with them to date. But I hope that you'll give them a chance. They may just surprise you." Emily said softly.

Rory merely smiled softly and watched the crowd around her. Again she looked at Finn, Colin and Steph, Mitchum and Shira, the Vanderbilts' and of course Logan. Finally she glanced briefly at her Grandmother's happily content face.

"They already have, grandma. They already have."

Thanks for reading!

I hope you've enjoyed this chapter and that you'll comment to tell me what you think. I'm going to get busy on the next chapter right away... like now. Not sure how long it'll be before I have another chapter ready but keep an eye out for it, we're going to have a bit of a time jump in the next chapter.

See you soon!