Disclaimer: I don't own a thing. Not even the computer I'm writing this on. All you'd get out of me is a weird DVD collection.
AN: In my universe the L/L wedding took place as planned and Rory accepted Logan's proposal. Since I have no idea when graduation takes place in the US pretend it was in May and this story takes place in July.
Her first, her last
She looked at her reflection in the mirror and couldn't believe her eyes. The picture awaiting her there was beautiful. White strapless gown with layers of skirt that made her look like a doll. Dark blue ribbon of the shade of her eyes around her waist. Dark curls held by a similar ribbon. It really was a picture every girl dreamed of to see when preparing for her wedding. So why did it feel so wrong? With two months of preparation to go, she already had put two successfully behind her. She should be happy. Dreaming of the bright future lying ahead of her. And she was, kind of. She finished school and got a job offer. A really great job offer. There was nothing to worry about, at least not right now. Nothing but her husband-to-be and their wedding. There was nothing wrong with reminiscing of their past. Except she wasn't. She wasn't thinking of their past. She was thinking of hers. Of her firsts to be exact. Her first kiss and her first "I love you". The first time she liked a boy and the first time she made love. All these different situations and only one face to connect with them. His face. A face she hadn't seen in more then 2 years. A face she hadn't thought of for more than 2 years. And still it was the first thing on her mind when Logan asked the question. And when she said "yes" it somehow felt wrong. But she pushed the feeling in the back of her head and instead concentrated on enjoying the wedding preparations. But the memories wouldn't go away. She re-read Rosemary's baby two days after the proposal. And she has seen Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory at least a dozen times since. She was carrying Portable Dorothy Parker wherever she went. She was having rather disturbing dreams of hands caressing her skin. Through layers of clothing. Through the tiniest layer of a satin night-dress. Big strong hands that brought her peace and pleasure. The dreams were beautiful. What was disturbing about them was the fact that she didn't really wanted to wake up from them. Every time she looked into a cup of coffee, she saw his eyes. Which was really odd since his eyes weren't really brown. Maybe from afar it might seem so but she took a close enough look – a lot of them actually, to know better. Even after all this time she could picture their shade of green as if he was standing right in front of her. She really shouldn't be thinking about him, that chapter in her life was long since closed. But she did anyway.
She had now a perfect man. Her grandparents seem to think so anyway. He was from a "good" family – translate "with money", he was good looking and educated. He loved her. It was all she could wish for. But sometimes when she lay awake in the bed after yet another dream the fleeting thought crossed her mind that it wasn't enough.
Her mum wasn't as thrilled as her grandparents but she tried. Lorelei was happy as long as she was happy. Luke on the other hand wasn't happy at all but he tried to pretend otherwise and failed miserably. Not even Lane knew what was going on although lately she was eyeing her rather strangely. Or maybe she just imagined it.
She was headed to the other 5 star hotel that was still on the list of possible places for the ceremony and the reception. She should have meet Emily there but she canceled on last minute. They started with a dozen but were able to come down to only 2 in 2 months. She knew Lorelei would be glad to have it at Dragonfly and Sookie would provide the best dinner and the most beautiful cake ever but there was no way with Emily and the Huntzbergers. Emily was in seventh heaven and she made it her personal mission to throw the best wedding party ever. Sometimes it was rather irritating.
The meeting lasted for about an hour and she was exhausted. She was sure she doesn't want to see a bouquet or china of any color, origin or shape for the rest of her life. She was heading down the stairs and that's when she saw him. At first she thought she is hallucinating, imagining things. But the man was real and there was no doubt it was him. The bright shoulders, the messy brown hair. And then he turned and she saw his profile and her heart just stopped. She couldn't move she just stood there watching him.
"Rory?!" his surprised voice shook her out of her daze. She made several attempts at talking all in vain. She at least managed to move so they were now both standing at the bottom of the staircase.
"Hi." It was little strangled and shaky but it was a sound.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Meeting." So her voice wasn't lost. Just on strike. "You?"
"Work. " she raised her eyebrow in question so he elaborated. "I was repairing the banisters on the staircase and I came for the check. Hey, if you finished we could grab a coffee. There is this little café down the street that has really delicious chocolate cake. Sookie-delicious." He suggested.
She knew she shouldn't accept the invitation but she so wanted to. She didn't want for him to leave her just yet which was the precise reason she should decline the offer but her mind took leave the moment she saw him so she simply nodded in acceptance and he guided her out on the street and to the café with a hand on the small of her back. She didn't want to arrive there ever.
The place wasn't big but looked really cozy with an older lady at the counter and a young girl serving the coffee and cakes. They made their orders and he paid before she even thought of taking out her wallet. He then led her to a table for two in the corner and held the chair for her too. She had to pinch herself because it all felt like a dream. But it wasn't and that was the problem.
"So what have you been up to?"
"I graduated Yale 2 months ago and got a job offer in a paper. I should start there in October."
"Congratulations." He said with a proud smile.
"And what about you?" she was better off not knowing but she asked anyway.
"I'm my own boss now. I worked for Tom for about a year after we broke up," he said it so casually but her heart missed a beat as she remembered his hurt look from when they have last seen each other. "I took some curses in finances, management and art and little by little I started to take orders on my own and do jobs here and there. Now I work as a joiner full time. I make my own stuff and I also take orders and make repairs."
"Where do you live? I don't remember mum or anyone mention running into you." Foot in a mouth disease anyone? "Not that they would." And there she goes again. He, however, didn't seem to be affected at all by her comments.
"I actually bought a house few months ago on the outskirts of Hartford. It isn't big, only 2 bedrooms and it is in a pretty bad shape but it is fun working on it and I have my workshop in the back." She was impressed and said so. He might have actually blushed at her words but she wasn't sure.
"And how is Lorelei?"
"Great. Celebrated her first wedding anniversary with Luke a month ago. I have never seen her so content before. And Luke is actually being nice to people time after time. Even to Taylor."
"Now that is something I would pay to see." He chuckled and she found herself grinning back. "So they finally tied the knot?"
"Yeah, last June. It was really beautiful. All of the Stars Hallow was present and Sookie made them a cake that was bigger than me. Kirk was the DJ and Miss Patty prepared a program with her ballet class. And Michel didn't complain once. Even my grandparents attended but they weren't really thrilled with the affair."
"Color me surprised," he mutter under his breath and lowered his gaze from her smiling face. That's when he spotted it. The princess-cut diamond on a simple platinum band. His head shot up and the look on his face was one of shock, disbelief and an emotion she couldn't quite decipher. Or she just didn't want to. It lasted for about 10 seconds and then he tried to smile – rather in vain but he tried.
"You're engaged?" it was barely above a whisper but she couldn't muster even that so she simply nodded. He seemed to be at loss of words too after that but the question in his eyes was clear. She had to swallow twice before she could answer.
"Logan." He didn't seem surprised but the light went off in his eyes. The brightness that was there only minute ago was gone and she suddenly felt cold although it was a warm day of July outside. The young waitress chose that moment to bring their orders. For the lack of anything else to do she dug into the cake that was as delicious as he promised but it still tasted like saw-dust in her mouth.
The conversation was rather awkward after that but it lightened a bit when she asked about Clara. The dreamy feeling however didn't return. After they both finished he took a look on his watch.
"I'm really sorry but I have to go." She knew he was making it up but she couldn't really blame him given the atmosphere although she wasn't sure why her being engaged had affected him so. She knew why she should run away as fast and as soon as she could, his reasons were a mystery. One she intended not to solve.
"That's OK, I should get going too." They stepped out of the café and she found herself facing his tall figure yet again. She almost forgot how tall he was, how she always had to tilt her head to look him in the eyes although it was often him who bent to her. Just like when they were kissing. Wow, that was definitely not a path of thoughts she wanted to set her foot on.
"It was really nice seeing you." His voice interrupted her daydreaming. She smiled at him and before she could respond he enveloped her in a hug and she hugged him back without a hesitation. She buried her face in the crook of his neck and inhaled his smell. It was a mix of wood, cologne and him and it was intoxicating. She didn't care that the hug crossed the line between a friendly one and a more-then-friendly one long time ago. She didn't want to let go. But he did and yet again she felt cold despite the beautiful weather. He tucked a loose curl behind her ear and with a 'Bye' he was gone. Out of her life but not out of her head. How incredibly cliché.
It was 2 weeks. 2 weeks filled with thoughts of him. Of his smile and the look in his eyes when he realized she was engaged. Of how right it felt to be in his arms. Of how she wanted to kiss him again and to feel his strong yet gentle hands roam her body. She was sure she is loosing her mind when it suddenly all clicked into place. The dreams she had before she met him and the thoughts she had afterwards. She didn't want to marry Logan in the first place. But now she also wanted to be with someone else. She couldn't do anything about the second part but she had to do something about the first one.
To make the decision was hard. But to share it with the people it affected most, she wasn't sure how she was going to do that. She only knew she has to. And Logan was first on her list.
She asked him to meet in his apartment and she was quite happy they didn't live together anymore. She still had the key and after she opened the door she took it off her keychain and set it on the small table by the door.
"Do you want something to drink?" he yelled from the kitchen.
"No." she sat on the couch and waited for him to join her. She went over what she wanted to tell him about a 1000 times in her head but suddenly she didn't remember a single word. So she took the ring off and handed it to him.
"What…?" he started but she cut him off.
"I can't marry you, Logan. I'm sorry."
"What do you mean?"
"You are a great guy, more than any girl could dream of…"
"But not you."
"Not me." Rather uncomfortable silence fell on them. She was glad he wasn't making a scene or wasn't trying to change her mind. She was about to stand up and leave when he spoke again.
"Is there someone else?" she wasn't prepared for this.
"He wouldn't want me."
"Than he is an idiot and doesn't deserve you at all." Her smile was small and sad.
"Thank you." She whispered and left. It wasn't as bad as she feared but much harder.
Next on her list were Lorelei and her grandparents. She especially dreaded the latter so she decided to shoot 2 birds with 1 shot and tell them all during the Friday dinner.
It was a rather pleasant affair until the conversation turned to the wedding which took about 3 minutes. Emily was in the middle of describing the bridesmaid dresses when she found the courage and her voice.
"The wedding is off."
It took them all some time to process the information and then Emily and Richard were throwing questions on her with such a speed she didn't even have time to catch them let alone respond to them. She had no idea how long it took but they were both coming for breath when Lorelei announced.
"I'm pregnant." And then the hell broke loose.
There was another person on the list but she had no idea why to tell him, what to say or where to find him. She just needed to. And she wasn't going to be an investigative journalist for nothing. So she investigated.
He wasn't exaggerating. The house definitely has seen better days but it held a certain charm. And she was sure once he was done with the reparations it would be a wonderful place to live. She hesitated a bit, her mind telling her to run away but her body seemed to have a mind on its own and she was ringing the doorbell instead. She inhaled 3 times before she heard footsteps and then he was standing in the doorway sweaty in worn-out jeans, dirty tank top and with saw dust in his hair. And she was lost. She spoke before she realized what was going on.
"I'm sorry. I don't really know what I'm doing here. And I know I probably shouldn't be here at all, but I have to tell you. This time I have to. I love you. I don't know whether I always have but it seems like I always will. Because no matter whom I meet in the future or how great they are gonna be, you are perfect. Perfect for me. And I'm sorry it took me all these years to realize that, but now I know. And now you know too. So I can go." She turned to leave but he stopped her in mid-turn by grabbing her hand.
"Stay." He said and kissed her gently. And then again not so gently.
"As long as you have me." She replied between kisses.
"Forever then." He whispered while scooping her in his arms and carrying her inside.