Hello to the Gilmore Girls world!
Though I've been reading a lot of these lately, this is my first stab at writing one. Meet the first chapter. Please let me know if there's any questions about relationships you wish were clarified or things in this that don't seem to make sense.
At the same time, please remember that this is AU. We all know Rory and Honour didn't meet at Yale (and yes, because I'm Canadian I will be spelling her name with the 'u' that Canadians spell Honour with) and we know that Rory was in journalism. Not for this.
I hope you enjoy this anyway.
Oh, and I don't own this. I own nothing to do with Gilmore Girls that you recognize. If I did... well, let's just say the ending wouldn't have happened as it did. Cool? Cool.
"Mom, I already talked to Grandma, she knows I can't make it to Friday night's dinner."
"That means you're stranding your father and I with your grandparents! You know how they get when you're not around to act as a buffer. They start picking on my love life. You'd think that after marrying your father they'd back off a bit, but no! There's always something new to criticize me on."
Blue eyes rolled in a perfect circle. Rory Hayden – known to the more general world as Lorelai Hayden, co-president of Catherine's Foundation for Children – could be worn down by only two people in the whole entire world and her mother was one of them. "I tried to get out of it, I did, but Honour was adamant about getting all the gala planning done this weekend. I have to head into Manhattan tonight."
Lorelai Gilmore-Hayden let out a heavy sigh. "You're going to owe us one for this, kiddo. What about Sophie?"
Rory looked both ways as she crossed the street to her townhouse in Queens and switched the phone to her other ear. "Sophie's coming with me. You know how they love to see the kids at these events."
Sophie Wilson had been orphaned by her parents three years ago. As a child that Rory's foundation had been committed to helping, Sophie and Rory had formed an unbreakable bond. Instead of allowing Sophie to get lost in the foster system, she had been able to convince the court to allow Sophie to live with her. Though Rory had never officially put in for the adoption, the papers were filed in her home office.
Rory had just made it up the front walk, still chatting animatedly with her mother, when she heard the tell-tale signs of Sophie's school bus. "Mom, I've got to go, Sophie's just getting home. I'll call you when we get into Manhattan." Without waiting for another word from her mother, Rory hung up.
She waited patiently for the bus to stop at the corner and for the kids to file off. She found Sophie's brown head of curls and couldn't stop the grin that grew over her face. Sophie may not be biologically hers, but Rory treated the girl as if she really was. Sometimes desperate times called for Rory to call upon their part-time nanny, but she tried her best to be there for Sophie.
"Why hello there Ms Wilson, how was your day at school?" Rory asked as Sophie came within earshot, holding out her hand for the little girl to take.
"I got to tell everyone I was going to stay in a fancy hotel this weekend," Sophie said excitedly. "Is Honour going to be there?"
"Yes she is. But remember, this is just a planning meeting. The gala itself isn't for another week. Oh my, the gala's in a week."
Sophie grinned and nodded eagerly. "I don't care. I have books."
Rory laughed. It had been one of the things that had drawn her immediately to the little girl by her side. At eight years old to Rory's twenty-six, Sophie was Rory. She loved reading and school and had the impeccable study habits Rory had forged through her own school days. "Alright, we have to be out of here by six to make it into the city in good time. Honour's going to send us a car, but—"
"Be careful, I know. Sometimes I think Honour cares too much for things and not people."
Rory tried to choke down the chuckle at Sophie's blunt analysis of her business partner. It had been Honour Huntzberger's idea to start the charity in the first place. She had come to Rory from brilliant reviews from friends and from encouragement by her parents. It was really just a bonus that they happened to make it as friends too. "And you're going to have to look business pretty."
Sophie scrunched up her nose. "Dresses?"
"I think you can get away with pants this time, but they have to be the good black ones. And what about the grey skirt you love?" Rory asked, pulling out her keys to open the front door.
Sophie put on a show of reluctantly sighing. "Okay."
Rory grinned. "Go pack. We'll see if we can squeeze in some homework before we have to go."
Honour Huntzberger was anything but calm. "I don't understand how this can happen! That means we don't have a sponsor! I'm going to throttle Colin when I get my hands on him," she screamed into the phone as she paced back and forth. The plush carpet of the Plaza's hotel room was going to look a little worse for wear, but Honour was completely focused on the voice of her assistant.
"I'm sorry, Honour, I just got the call," Alyson Myers apologized for the millionth time. "We're going to have to find a new sponsor or we're going to have to cancel the whole thing."
"We're not cancelling anything. I'm going to find another sponsor." She snapped the phone shut angrily, her blonde hair spinning with her as she continued to pace. Where was Rory? Rory always kept a level head in these types of situations. Like magic, Honour's cell rang, displaying what she hoped was Rory's number. Instead, Honour was surprised to recognize the number of her brother's Manhattan office.
"Honour, my favourite older sister," Logan greeted happily.
"This had better be good. I'm waiting for a call."
"Whoa, calm down," Logan suggested. "You know its not good for your blood pressure."
"Since when do you lecture me on my blood pressure," Honour snapped back. Then, realizing she wasn't talking to anyone that had made her this angry, she sighed. "I'm waiting for Rory to call."
"Your friend Rory?"
"Our sponsor backed out at the last minute and I need someone with a cool head. I need Rory," Honour whined.
"Does she have a cell phone?" Logan asked.
"Already tried it and left a voice mail message."
"Then I'm sure she'll get back to you. What I wanted to talk to you about was trying this news arc again."
"Logan, I can't just allow you to talk to the kids in the foundation. Most of them aren't even aware Catherine's Foundation is so integral in their lives, and that doesn't even begin to address the disclosure issues and the parents," Honour spouted off, using the same excuse she'd been telling her younger brother for months now.
What Logan wanted was an exclusive on a charity that did actually do the things it claimed to. With all of the stories around about donating to the 'right' charity, Logan had felt it was necessary to show that there were charities that followed their own charter. He wanted to focus on a few families that relied on Catherine's Foundation for the lives of their child, families that understood what the foundation was doing. He also wanted to get the opinions of families that had lost their loved ones and attended the seminars and group sessions the foundation hosted.
"Think of it as free publicity," Logan coaxed, by now very much aware of how Honour worked. "These kids get a chance to tell their story and the parents can explain how Catherine's is helping them deal with their child's illness. Its really a win-win situation for all."
She mentally cursed him for knowing her weak points. She'd been thinking about allowing him the chance to handle the article for a while now. Then something hit her. "On one condition."
Honour could almost see him sitting up straighter in his seat at the prospect of actually having a shot. "You sponsor the next fundraiser."
If she was honest with herself, Honour was very much aware of what exactly she was asking of her brother. The Huntzberger Media Group already gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the charity on an annual basis for the sole reason that Honour had created the foundation in the first place. To ask him to help out with the next fundraiser…
"You wouldn't have to do anything," she explained. "You'd really just have to show up and you know that it's a write-off tax-wise and you'd really be saving me on this whole thing…"
"I'll do it."
Honour was silent for a minute. "You know that means that you'll actually have to show up to this fundraiser, right?"
Logan paused for a moment. "Maybe I'll get to finally meet the gorgeous Lorelai Hayden," he countered. He'd only been to handful of Honour's charity galas, preferring the more low-key things she and her business partner put on, but he had yet to encounter said business partner. That didn't mean he hadn't seen some of Honour's pictures.
"You be careful with her, Logan. I need that woman," Honour scolded good-naturedly. Logan had avoided tying himself down since he was sixteen and though Honour wasn't going to critique his lifestyle of a new woman whenever the job and the man allowed it, she really wanted to see him settle down with a wife.
"I have no idea what you're even implying, Honour," Logan said, his high-and-mighty tone conveying he did indeed know what she was talking about. "I'm just hoping for some intelligent and non-shallow conversation."
"Well she'll give that to you alright. She didn't graduate top of her Yale business class by being stupid."
Logan let out a low whistle that had Honour grinning in pride on behalf of her friend. "Damn."
Honour almost sagged in relief as her other line beeped. "Logan? I have to go, that's my other line and its probably Rory. I'll give you more information as soon as I have it okay?"
"Okay," Logan agreed. "I'll e-mail you the exact premise of the article and you can get back to me."
Honour nodded, then spoke, "Deal. Love you."
"Love you," Logan replied.
Honour immediately switched to the other line. "Rory Hayden, you of all people should not be impossible to get a hold of during a crisis!"
Rory chuckled slightly in the limo that Honour had sent to pick her and Sophie up. She'd been loading the car and the little girl when her phone rang and she'd figured that if it was important that person would leave a message. Honour's frantic voice had her sighing. "I'll keep that in mind, now where's the fire?"
"We don't, well didn't, have a sponsor."
Rory narrowed her eyes. "What?"
"Well, remember how McRae and Associates promised to sponsor our next event?" Honour asked, then continued without waiting for Rory's acknowledgement. "Colin called and apologized profusely but said his father pulled all the funding so we didn't have a sponsor for about an hour."
"Logan stepped up."
"Your brother? The same guy that's been trying to use our kids for publicity."
"Now that you say that, and I hear that from someone else's mouth, it sounds a bit harsh."
Rory rolled her eyes. It was so like Honour to change her mind at the drop of a hat. "What happened?"
"I was on the phone with him – he called to beg again that he be able to use the kids – and I… well…"
Rory resisted the urge to groan, but knew by the look on Sophie's face what she must have looked like. "What deal did you make?"
"He promised to sponsor the fundraiser if we allowed him access to do his article. Well, news arc, he called it."
"Honour!" Rory exclaimed.
"Rory?" Sophie asked in concern.
Rory tried to muster a comforting smile.
"I was desperate!"
"You made a promise that you wouldn't sell these kids out! They're dealing with life threatening illnesses. They're not supposed to be put on display for the public," Rory scolded.
"Believe me, Ror, I know. I had the idea for this, remember? There's a reason this is Catherine's Foundation."
Rory sighed. Honour did have a point. "Does that mean he's going to be around this weekend?" Rory wasn't sure she was in the mood to deal with cocky rich men. Well, more so than usual.
"He wants to meet you. Well, he wants to meet Lorelai Hayden."
Rory rolled her eyes. Of course he wanted to meet the society woman and not the actual person she was. "No."
"Rory! This is for the kids!"
"You sold out these kids to the press. You made a deal with your brother to get a sponsor when we both know between us we could foot the bill easy. You made this mess; you're not involving me in it. Put us on different committees; make sure we don't meet each other."
"He wants to meet you," Honour tried.
"I don't care if he wants to meet the bloody Queen of England, Honour. I have Sophie to watch out for, I can't play perfect hostess all weekend to your brother because you didn't have the guts to tell Colin and his father off for backing out at the last minute."
"You're the one who's always telling me to jump at every opportunity that presents itself."
Rory pulled the phone away from her ear for a moment, looking at it like it was an alien invader. "I beg your pardon?"
"The opportunity came for a new sponsor and I took it."
"With strings," Rory pointed out, jerking forward with the brakes of the car. "Look, we're at the hotel. Where are you?"
"Conference room. Second floor."
Rory sighed, smiling at the driver as she got out of the car and held her hand out for Sophie. Hanging up on Honour with a snap, she looked down at the girl holding her hand. "Sorry, Soph. Sometimes I wish Honour was a little less impulsive and a little more thorough."
Sophie grinned. "She thinks you need to be more impulsive and less uptight."
Rory held her indignant face for all of thirty seconds before bursting into laughter. Coming from Sophie, there really was nothing else she could do. "Honour said that?"
Sophie nodded solemnly.
Rory shook her head. That certainly sounded like Honour. "Alright, well, we'd better get upstairs before our new sponsor gets here. I really don't want to have to play nice."