The regular Author's note will take place at the end. For some reason, I don't want to give anything away before you read it this time.
Summary: SPOILER ALERT! Spec-piece for the aftermath of 7.21. The life of Rory Gilmore ten years later.
Disclaimer: Right now, more than ever in my life I wish I owned Gilmore Girls. But, alas, I do not and as a consequence all my DVD's might end up being on ebay by the end of the season.
She could see him standing there across the room, talking with associates, laughing with friends. She couldn't tell which. All she could tell as she watched him interact with the people around him was that he looked genuinely happy. In the ten years she had gone without seeing him, he had really put his life together. She made her way to the bar, smiling a bittersweet smile along the way. At least one of them did.
It wasn't that she didn't do what she had set out to do. She finally found a job a few years ago at the Boston Globe, a paper not owned by her would-be father-in-law. Apparently saying you were uninterested in becoming an addition to the Huntzberger family also meant you were uninterested in becoming an addition to any Huntzberger owned newspaper. She had applied to several papers around the area, wanting to be close to her mother. However, all of them were owned by Mitchum and all of them turned down her application without even granting an interview.
She should have known Mitchum wouldn't take kindly to the news. The thought of anyone turning down a chance to marry into his precious family was a serious blow to his ego, regardless of whether he and Logan were on speaking terms at the time or not. It was a bittersweet irony every time she was turned down. She was devastated, yet, at the same time, she felt a twinge of gratefulness. All the words she used assuring Logan that his father really did care about his well being weren't uttered in vain. It was the only power Mitchum still had over her. It was the only thing he could do get back at the girl who turned his only son into a heartbroken mess. After every negative phone call she would find herself whispering a quiet 'I told you so.'
The only comfort she had was knowing that her endless string of rejection was brought on by Mitchum and Mitchum only. She knew Logan had nothing to do with it. He would never think of crushing her dreams in such a way, though she was sure those dreams were the one thing he hated most in the world. After all, they were the reason she said no – her selfish, arrogant, omni-present dreams. She could still hear the crack in his voice when he asked why he couldn't be a part of them. To this day she didn't know the answer. No – Logan had nothing to do with it, because, even though he may have hated those dreams for breaking them apart, he loved her and she loved them. Her happiness was all that ever mattered to him.
If only she had seen how perfect he was all those years ago…
Maybe she could have loved him as much as she loved those dreams. Maybe he wouldn't have come in second. Maybe the ring he had offered her would be permanently cemented to her finger, along with another. Maybe she wouldn't feel so empty. Maybe she would be filled with life – figuratively and literally. She smiled at the thought of carrying Logan's child. It was strange how dreams could change.
The week following Logan's proposal Rory couldn't bring herself to get out of bed. The devastation of knowing she would never fall asleep in his arms again, feel his lips on hers, hear his voice whisper in her ear, be calmed by the sound of his beating heart, or become happy at the sight of his contagious smile made her mad with grief for days. Had anyone seen her they would assume her to be mourning the death of a loved one, not wallowing in a break-up that she initiated. The only thought that kept her alive was the dream she had clung to since she was a child. She told herself it was for the best.
For a while she thought she was right. When she finally gave in to the fact that Mitchum would never hire her, she packed her bags and moved to Boston. She lived with her father until she was able to find her job and the first few months she worked there she could finally say she was happy again. She bought an apartment, completely on her own, went to work everyday where she was respected and admired. She came home every night feeling satisfied. Then, she heard the news of her Grandfather's death.
Everything changed. It was when she collapsed on the floor of her bedroom in sobs that she realized she was alone. No one was there to catch her fall and she found herself reaching out to someone who wasn't there. She had gone three years without thinking of him. Yet, then, as she lay on the ground shaking in sobs, and wishing someone would come pick her up and carry her to the bed, making sure not to let go once they got there, his name escaped her lips. It was small – hardly even a whisper, but it was real. It was as real and audible as he was – wherever he was.
He wasn't at the funeral. Why Rory had even held out the smallest amount of hope that he would be was beyond her. His mother and father came, both offering a polite handshake and a kiss on the cheek as the offered their condolences. Rory noticed how their demeanor changed profusely while speaking with her mother and grandmother. It wasn't until Honor enveloped her into a hug did she find out exactly why.
"Does it hurt?" she had asked in a whisper. "To lose someone you love more than life itself?"
The words and the tone in which they were spoken came to Rory like a slap across the face. She used to think of Honor as a sister and Honor had felt the same. Never, in all Rory's days of knowing how loyal Honor was to her brother, did she think that loyalty would be used against her. Yet, here she was, showing once again that no matter who you were if you hurt her baby brother she would hurt you. Again, Rory felt that bittersweet irony. She was slightly comforted that they couldn't draw up any sympathy for her. It was as if they had a prescribed amount set for everyone in their life and they had taken her share and given it to Logan, rightfully so. He was their son. They were required to hate her. Just as her mother was required to hate Logan. If only she could feel the same…
When she got back to Boston she settled herself in her empty apartment, watched TV, ate, and fell asleep with only a pillow to hold. She was faced with the same empty monotony every single day and when change finally came, she had no one to share it with – until Daniel McMahon.
He was a civil suit lawyer, Harvard educated, charming, handsome. Rory found herself instantly attracted to him. They were in a relationship for three months when he threw the first hit. She hit him back, square in the balls. Needless to say she never saw him again. When he tried to break into her apartment she called the cops and threatened to get a restraining order after publishing a shocking expose on one of Boston's top legal minds. Rory Gilmore wasn't one to be messed with.
Duncan Moore flew out of her life in a flurry when he found the cops were after him. Rory was brought in for questioning and completely honest when telling them of her ignorance regarding the massive amount of drug paraphernalia found in his apartment. It did provide an explanation for the scars on his arms…
However, no shock could equate to the amount she felt when Mike Sanders' wife walked in on them in bed. Her indifference to the matter only added to the gross factor. Rory was gone as fast as she had come – or rather as fast as he had.
It was at that point that Rory had given up on love. Her quest for the perfect man had ended years ago the second Logan Huntzberger walked into her life. She had just been too selfish and pig-headed to see it.
When she was lonely she spent her nights with Alex Lockwood, a widower who had a cubicle a few feet down from hers. Neither was looking for anything, just someone to hold. She would call him, say the word and he would come over, make meaningless love to her and fall asleep with her in his arms, silent as if he were alone. It was the way she liked it. She would close her eyes and imagine whatever she wanted. In the midst of their passion she could see Orlando Bloom, Ryan Gosling, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt… a different gorgeous man each night, mostly determined by what movie she watched earlier that day. She couldn't think of him when they were having sex. It was too informal, unloving, animal…but when she fell asleep in Alex's arms, all she could see was Logan.
Now, she could see him for real. In the ten years that they had been apart Rory's eyes were finally blessed with the sight of him. His hair was different – shorter, not as wild. He wore a tie instead of going with his usual open collar. He had an air of… maturity that he lacked all those years ago. She could see pieces of his father in him more than ever before – the way he moved his hands while he talked, the humorous yet wise glint in his eye, the way he would swirl his glass in his hand absentmindedly. He looked a little wider - not fat; Logan would never let himself go in such a way – just fuller.
She was so focused on the changes in his appearance that she didn't notice the little girl running toward her. The small brunette clashed into her leg and Rory let out a grunt before looking down and smiling at her innocent face.
"Emma Renee!" a voice called from behind her. Rory turned to find a stern faced mother marching up to the little girl and crouching down to her level. She placed two hands on the girl's shoulders and straightened out her dress straps. "What do you say?"
"I'm sorry." The girl of about three said as she looked up at Rory. Rory smiled and offered a chuckle.
"That's okay." She said as she reached down and straightened her unruly bangs with her fingertips.
"You have a drink at the table, young lady. You need to finish that before you get another one." The mother told her daughter.
"Oh yea!" the little girl exclaimed before running off. Her mother watched her leave until she saw the little girl settle herself at their table. She turned to Rory and smiled.
"I'm sorry about that. I'm Jenna." She said, shaking Rory's hand. Rory smiled and shook her head.
"Rory, and really, it's okay." Rory assured. "My little sister can be quite the handful. That was nothing."
"Kids, huh?" Jenna commented. "They can be little monsters most of the time but every second that they're little angels makes up for it."
"That's very true." Rory said, nodding her head in agreement.
"I have two." Jenna added. "Three if you count my husband." Rory laughed. "My youngest has thankfully fallen asleep in his stroller and has yet to be awoken by the crowd. When you hear a blood curdling scream that would be him."
"How old is he?" Rory asked, for some reason enjoying this conversation. She immediately liked Jenna. She was just one of those women who had a way of making you feel as if you'd been friends for years. She kind of reminded Rory of her mother.
"Nine months." Jenna said. "I really didn't want to bring him but it was either that or leave him with my fifteen year old niece who's definition of babysitting is throwing a kid in a room for a few hours so she can call her boyfriend and have sex on my bed. My husband and I went with no on that one. Besides I get to piss off my mother-in-law which is totally worth it." Rory laughed, thinking immediately of Shira.
"I understand." Rory said.
"Are you married?" Jenna asked. "I didn't see a ring."
"Uh…no…I'm not married. I just… my ex's mother was slightly overbearing."
"Ah… divorced?" Jenna asked, taking a sip of her newly acquired Cosmo and giving Rory what Richard Burke had long ago dubbed the 'sympathetic head bob.'
"Um, no…my ex-boyfriend. We were together for about three years so… it was almost like we were married."
"Oh… that sucks." Jenna said with a sympathetic look.
"Yea… it does." Rory agreed. "Anyway, I'd love to meet your husband."
"Oh sure…. he's around here somewhere hob-knobbing and kissing ass and all that." Jenna glanced around the room before spotting him and pulling Rory along with her. The girls chatted as they walked, leaving Rory completely unaware of where she was being led. The next thing she knew she was standing in a group of men, none of whom she recognized.
"Hello gentlemen." Jenna said with a smile. "Can I steal my husband for a moment?" The crowd acquiesced and Jenna pulled her husband around so he could see Rory. When Rory caught sight of him completely her breath caught in her throat.
"Logan, I'd like to introduce you to someone. This is Rory…I'm sorry I didn't get your last name." Jenna said. Rory was too shocked to form words and she found Logan doing it for her.
"Gilmore." He said. Jenna whipped her head around at him to raise a questioning eyebrow. "We've met." He said.
"Oh…" Jenna said uncomfortably, Logan squeezed her hand reassuringly, a loving gesture that didn't go unnoticed by Rory. She begged the tears she felt coming on not to form.
"We went to Yale together." He explained. Rory laughed.
"Is that what you've reduced me to, Logan?" she snapped. "Is that how you sleep at night?" Jenna looked to her husband with wide eyes and Logan kept pulling her closer to him, hoping to make her understand how much he loved her.
"I haven't reduced you to anything. We did go to Yale together." Logan said. Rory nodded.
"We also shared a bed while we did. Did that slip your mind?"
"Don't make me the bad guy, Rory. I wanted to give you everything and you said no. That's not my fault." "So what you just found someone else?" Rory said as the tears finally started to appear. "You thought 'oh hey Ace said no so how about I find some other busty brunette with no aspirations who'll do whatever I want?'" Logan let go of his wife, who had yet to say anything, probably numb from shock and confusion. He advanced closer to Rory with a menacing look and started speaking in a hushed and angry whisper. He was so engrossed with anger that he didn't notice Jenna slip away into the lobby or his circle of friend's distance themselves from argument that was about to ensue.
"You stopped being my Ace the second you gave the ring back so don't you dare bring her up. It took me three years to put my life back together! You have no idea what I went through after that. My life was hell. I had nothing. I had no one. You have no idea what it is like to move to a city where you know no one and nothing and start your life from scratch after finding out that the person you loved for two years and wanted to spend the rest of your life with thought you were just a passing flit."
"I never thought that about you Logan!" Rory countered, honestly. "You know I didn't. Don't try and make me feel guilty. Some things are just too important to give up!"
"Don't try and make you feel guilty!?!" Logan yelled, incredulously. "Why not. You are guilty. You can't pass the blame to me Rory. I got down on one knee. You were the one who deemed it okay to kick me in the face while you had the high ground. You could have said yes!"
"I had dreams, Logan. I couldn't just pack up and move!"
"You applied to the San Francisco Chronicle! Don't give me that bullshit! If you are going to show up in my life after ten years to "talk" or whatever the hell it is you came here for, at least tell it like it is. You didn't love me. You didn't want to follow me. You would have left your precious mother alone and you might actually have had to try a little harder to make it because no one out here knows who the Gilmore's are. You loved yourself too much to go through such an inconvenience." Logan let out a sardonic chuckle. "And you were the one who always claimed I had ego problems."
"I can't believe that after everything we went through you would think for a second that I didn't love you!" Rory exclaimed.
"You didn't love me!" Logan said as if it were the most obvious fact in the world. "You loved the idea of me. You loved that you had someone to lean on when things got rough for you but you never loved me. Loving someone means supporting them even if you don't agree, not running when things get tough. I lost millions of dollars and yes, I didn't handle it the right way but I was scared. I was terrified and I was lost. So I took a couple weeks to wallow in self-pity. Forgive me."
"When things like that happen you don't wallow, Logan! You go out and you do something! You were acting like a lazy jack-ass."
"Where the hell do you get off telling me that I shouldn't wallow, Miss I-dropped-out-of-Yale-and-did-nothing-for-mouths-because-big-bad-Mithum-hurt-my-feelings! At least my reason was legitimate! What happened to me wasn't just a failure! It was a fiasco of Drew Baylor proportions! If I had a penny for every time Mitchum hurt my feelings I would be able to pay him back for the millions I lost!"
"So all that time you said you'd always support me no matter what I did was a lie?" Rory asked.
"No!" Logan said. "That's the difference between you and I. I bit my tongue. I gave you what you needed which was a shoulder to cry on. My opinion didn't matter. All that mattered was that I would help you through it. The second I made the wrong choice you ran off to wherever the hell it was you went and when I came to talk to you and apologize and maybe get a little comfort after basically being disowned by my father you said…" Logan trailed off… looking upward with a pensive expression. "We'll make up on my terms and I couldn't just win you back with a grand gesture. I didn't realize that wanting to find solace in the arms of someone who I thought loved me was such a grand gesture. Oh wait…oh wait… I forgot about the part when you told me that what I did was so… last years Logan, like I was a washed out designer bag or something…that felt nice."
"I…" Rory started to say as her tears came dangerously close to falling. "I was mad…" she said weakly, not having anything else to defend herself with.
"Standing out in the street for hours was pretty fun too." Logan said, shaking his head with embarrassment at the memory. "Jesus Christ, I was such an pathetic ass. I should have dumped you that night and spared myself the heartache later."
"Well why didn't you?" Rory asked "I mean you could have called up Walker and Alexandra and had them meet up with you. Or better yet, Megan, after all she missed her chance before. She was in Biarritz."
"How many fucking times do I have to defend myself about that? We weren't even together when it happened! It has nothing to do with what we're even fighting about right now! The problem is that it's the only thing you have against me. It's like me being mad at my sister the other night for putting my three year old kid in a sugar coma and her saying I deserved it because I decapitated her Barbie when I was four!" Rory rolled her eyes and shook her head, looking away from him. "Why am I even defending myself about this? I don't care anymore. What the hell are you even doing here?"
"I just wanted to see you!" Rory said. "I missed you. Though I don't know why. Apparently you've moved on. You know I thought for a second that I liked her but I guess I was wrong about her. She was just the last in a long line of bimbos waiting for a chance to get with Logan Huntzberger. Tell me how long was it until you were fucking her?"
"Don't you dare…" Logan said, his face turning red with anger. "You know nothing about her! You've known her for what five seconds and you think you've deduced everything you can. You think she's some brainless, talentless, submissive little mouse whose life goal is to marry me and never lift a finger? She's a supervising pediatrician at UCSF Children's Hospital. She graduated from John's Hopkins. I stay home more than she does!"
"I was still a mess when I met Jenna. I don't know what the hell she saw in me. I don't know what she sees in me now but what I do know is that when I tell her I love her I don't bite my cheek wondering if she'll say it back. When I ask her to sacrifice something for me – for us - I don't worry about her blowing up at me because she's happy to do it. She's happy to do it because she knows I would walk through hell for her. I would have walked through hell for you but the second you had to stroll barefoot across hot pavement you were running. You were always running when all I ever did was love you!
"And after all that, after the weeks that I stayed in bed clinging to your pillow and wondering if I would ever be able to breath again without feeling the gut wrenching pain of rejection, I was able to ask her to marry me. You want to know why? Because when I sat next to her at her family Christmas party I looked down and saw her reaching over to grab my hand. When we got into a stupid fight and I walked back in her apartment ready to beg her forgiveness she didn't even let me utter a word before she told me how sorry she was. That's when I realized that for the first time in my life that I had someone who loved me in my arms every night – not my trust fund, not my title as a 'boyfriend' – me. And nothing, not even the psychological damage that I went through all those years ago was going to keep me from going after that."
Rory closed her eyes at Logan's harsh tone, forcing two tears straight down her cheeks. He had every right to be angry. She had judged him. She had judged his wife, when the truth stood that she no longer knew anything about him. She just couldn't face the pain of knowing he had found someone else who could make him as happy as she did once upon a time.
"Daddy!" a small voice exclaimed, interrupting Logan's emotional rant. He looked down to see his little girl clinging to his leg. For the first time since Rory walked back into his life that evening he smiled a genuine smile. He picked her up and settled her on his hip. Rory felt her heart breaking at the sight. She wanted that to be her daughter.
"Hi Angel. Are you being a good girl?" The three year old nodded her head emphatically and started to play with Logan's tie.
"Daddy, will you dance wif me?" Emma asked, Logan glanced to the dance floor and noticed people starting to flock toward it.
"I would love to dance with you, princess, but first I have to go talk to Mommy, okay?" Emma nodded again. "Why don't you ask Grandpa to dance with you. I bet that would make his night." He set his daughter on the floor and she ran off to his father-in-law who greeted her with a hug and a kiss. She had to close her eyes for a moment to keep herself falling over. He really had moved on. He was happy. The only man she ever loved was the one man who, after she walked away from him, didn't spend his days walllowing in self-dispair.
"She's adorable, Logan." Rory offered shyly, her voice cracking with more unshed tears. "I'm really sorry I hurt you."
"No…" Logan said, glancing in the direction of his little girl and smiling. "Don't be. I'm glad you did." He knew how harsh his words were. The look of utter pain in Rory's eyes made it obvious but he didn't care. Now it was her turn to suffer the pangs of despised love. As for him, he had buried his Ophelia years ago. "Goodbye, Rory." As fast as he had re-appeared in her life, Logan was out of it again. Rory's eyes never left him as he walked toward a woman in the crowd, who pointed into the lobby. Without a last glance Logan took off after his wife. He would take her crying body into his arms and whisper every reassurance that he loved her more than life itself. They would kiss, they would go home, and he would make love to her, his wife.
His wife – Jenna – Jenna Huntzberger.
The last thing Rory planned for tonight was to meet Jenna Huntzberger. She knew Logan would be here. It's why she came. She wanted to see him. She wanted him to hold her on the dance floor and whisper 'I never stopped loving you' in her ear. She wanted to kiss him at midnight and start the New Year with him. She wanted him to make love to her once the night was over. She wanted to start planning the life ahead of her with Logan back in it – her life as Mrs. Logan Huntzberger.
When she walked through the country club doors she had done so with that mission. She was coming back to him. She was going to finally tell him that she was ready, that he didn't have to wait anymore. She had done the career thing and now she wanted a family. She wanted him. What she hadn't counted on was that Logan wouldn't want her any longer.
All her life she had been running. She had run from everything that was the least bit inconvenient or challenging. Yet, she had done so knowing that when she ran back she would be welcomed with open arms. This was the first time she had to live with the consequences of her actions. Logan didn't wait for her. He didn't pine. He didn't wallow. He was stronger than that.
She missed her chance. Ten years ago the man of her dreams asked her to spend eternity with him. Ten years ago, the job of her dreams was more important. Now, as she stood there in the banquet hall, she had achieved that dream. Yet, now that she had it she didn't have anything else to dream about.
Jenna did. Jenna had made every wish she had come true. They were both successful and admired career women. The difference between them was every night Jenna had something else to look forward to. She dreamt about her son's first day of school. She dreamt about her daughter's first date, her wedding day, her first grandchild. She dreamt about a time when she would put down her stethoscope and retire with her husband, spending her days with him, traveling around the world. Rory looked before her and saw only the lonely monotony of independence.
If only she knew how perfect he was all those years ago…
She shook her head as the tears started falling even faster than they were before. In life there was only so much room for if only's. What happened happened. Logan moved on. She didn't. Logan was happy. She wasn't. Perhaps she finally got what she deserved –
A life of her own, completely built by herself, with no one there to hold her back….
….With no one there to hold her at all.
So there it was, my first ever Non-Rogan. Yep, ladies and gents, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm sorry if any of you are horrified that my usual "I love happy endings" self came out with this one-shot, but this is a happy ending for me. If these spoilers are true and Rory says no to Logan, I hope to see her wallow in selfpity while he perservieres.
Logan has done nothing but love her and her selfishness and total disregard for him as a human being as of late has completely thrown me into a state of rage. Frankly, I think he deserves more.
I still have hope that Rory will come to her senses in the finale and chase after him in San Francisco. It is the only way I will be able to respect her character at all. If she doesn't, I would just like to give a big thank you to David Rosenthal for sending girls across the world the message that love is something that should be thrown away when the first sign of trouble and sacrifice comes along. All it does is hold you down and keep you from making it in the world. So thanks, really. It gives me something to look forward to in my life.
I haven't been able to update my stories in a while guys, I know. PT will be up in a few days. But it's like this spoiler has angrily rejected my muse's romantic marriage proposal… oh wait… that was Rory.
Once again, I'm sorry if I've royally pissed anyone off. I just couldn't bottle it all in anymore. I had to get it out.