You passed the mark and I'm done writing. Again perfect timing.
Here's the final chapter.
The next time Rory actually looked at the calendar and fully registered the date, it was past the eighteen month mark in her relationship with Logan. No one had heard a word from the Gilmores, the Warners or Robert since that luncheon in November and both Rory and Logan were actually quite thankful.
The year mark in her relationship with Logan had been a little bit of a whirlwind. He whisked her off to Paris for a four day weekend and indulged in whatever she wanted to do. It had been such a relaxing weekend for her and she'd loved spending the time just the two of them. Christmas had been another full Hayden-Gilmore and now Huntzberger affair in Stars Hollow that included taking part in every single festival known to the small town. Rory had once again asked if he wanted her at his parents' for dinner and this time, Logan had allowed her the opportunity to attend the icy brunch. To Logan's utter surprise, the brunch wasn't as uncomfortable as it usually was and he'd even engaged in intelligent conversation with his father that didn't resolve around business.
Valentine's day had come and gone, as had a rowdy St Patrick's celebration – courtesy of Finn, of course – and Logan had been fully indoctrinated into the Gilmore way of life. It had been touch and go for a couple of weeks when Rory locked herself in the office night after night, stumbling into bed in the early hours of the morning. Logan, unhappy with how she was pushing herself so hard, had gone to Honour and between them, they'd managed to book time off for Rory and Logan had whisked her away to the sunny beaches of the Caribbean to give her a break from the mayhem.
All in all, the previous seven months had been pretty perfect. It wasn't to say that the petty arguments and fights didn't arise, but they usually managed to resolve everything before bed or, at the latest, the next day.
Rory looked up in surprise as her office door flew open and Steph and Honour burst through the door.
"Um… hi?" Rory said, slightly terrified of the gleeful looks on their faces.
"We're taking you shopping," Steph said.
Rory sighed. "Look, I'd love to go, but—"
"No buts. We are under strict orders to take you shopping. Don't worry about anything, okay? Oh, and here." Honour thrust an envelope at her with a familiar scrawl.
Rory groaned good-naturedly. "Doesn't he know I have my own?"
Steph just shrugged. "I believe Logan's exact words were 'pamper her today'. We're just trying to carry out orders."
"Why am I being pampered?" Rory asked with a raised eyebrow.
Both women shrugged. "He's going to come by the house and get you around seven," Honour revealed, "But that's the only official timing we have. And he said there was something else in there for you."
Rory looked suspiciously up at her friends. Something told her they knew more than she did and she wasn't exactly sure what to think of it all. Opening the envelope, she pulled out the infamous black card with a roll of her eyes before fishing out a note to go with it.
We're going to play a little game today. Don't worry, you'll love it. Think of it as a puzzle that needs to be solved, and I know how much you love puzzles. As I'm sure Steph and Honour haven't told you, they know exactly which stores to hit on your little jaunt this afternoon. But that's all they know. I love them, but I can't trust them to keep a secret as big as this one.
And don't even try to get out of using the card. I know where you sleep.
Rory sighed, folding up the note and replacing it in the envelope. "He says you know exactly where we're going today," she told them. "And that's all he told you so it's pointless to start asking questions."
Honour and Steph exchanged a glance. "He's good," Steph acknowledged.
"You guys are the ones that have known him for years," Rory pointed out, gathering her things. Logan had been right. The idea of a scavenger hunt through New York's stores was more than she could pass up. Her curious nature had already kicked in and she was already anxious to get to their first stop.
"Yeah," Honour replied. "But he knows you. How many girls would honestly like a scavenger hunt with her friends to prelude a date?"
Rory rolled her eyes. "He's up to something," she responded with a smile. "He just knows that there's no way you guys can keep a secret long enough for him to surprise me, like he so loves to do."
"You love it too," Steph said with a smile, stepping out behind Honour and leaving Rory to shut and lock her office door. "Hurry up! We don't actually have all day!"
Rory's next envelope was presented to her after a lovely massage, seconds before she was due to meet Honour and Steph for what Steph had dubbed 'nail hour'.
I'm sure by now some professional has worked out more of the kinks than I usually can and I'm sure you feel much, much more relaxed. I know you usually do your own nails but, to go along with the pampering, Honour and Steph kind of insisted this was the way to go. Pick something pretty and stay away from the reds. My mom loves red nails.
Master and Commander
Rory snorted at his last words and his signature. Master and commander my ass, she thought to herself. What is he planning?
Honour and Steph were already seated in chairs, their feet in swirling tubs and their hands outstretched for the manicurists. The both looked up as Rory walked in, eyeing the envelope in her hand.
"So?" Steph asked, the more impatient of the two.
"No red," Rory said with a shake of her head, taking a seat and smiling at the woman who approached. "Apparently it's Shira's favourite."
"She always reminded me of an evil villain with those blood red nails," Honour agreed. "But we wouldn't have let you go that route anyway. I happen to know for a fact Logan loves pale pink on you."
Rory raised an eyebrow but let it go. Sometimes the ways Logan knew all he did about women's fashion and accessories scared her just a bit. A bizarre mix of Finn and Steph she was sure, but she wasn't ready to press her luck. Or for that matter, her sanity.
"What else did he say?"
"Nothing about tonight. You know, sometimes I think he does things like this just to drive me nuts."
The girls shared a laugh.
"Please, the anticipation's killing you and you are so having just as much fun as he is," Steph said, browsing through the multiple colours of nail polish and selecting a gorgeous wine colour. "This doesn't count as Shira-red, does it?"
Honour glanced over and shook her head before focusing her attention on Rory once again. "He's gone all elaborate on you. Did he do something wrong?"
Rory thought about it, wracking her brain to come up with something Logan could have done that would require this level of apology. "He hasn't missed any important dates, hasn't forgotten Sophie once, hasn't insulted my mother or Grandmother… I don't think he's apologizing."
"So he's always this crazy on dates with you? I mean, most girls he only had to wine and dine."
Rory childishly stuck her tongue out at Steph. "And if I wasn't a year and a half into a relationship with the man and totally and completely in love with him, I'd be threatened by that."
"Yeah, I guess he doesn't have to work as hard to get laid these days, huh."
"Stephanie!" Rory exclaimed, her face flushing. "I can't believe you just said that!"
''Oh please, we see the two of you together. If it wasn't for the fact that Sophie lives with you, you guys would be jumping each other twenty-four-seven," Steph replied.
Rory blushed bright red and would have dropped her head into her hands if it wasn't for the fact they were currently being buffed and polished. "God, Steph! Is that all you have on your mind? Colin hasn't jumped your bones yet?"
"Oh, can we please talk about this?" Honour said shooting an evil grin Steph's way. Though they'd never really been friends through Logan's school days, the mutual friend they shared in Rory had brought Honour and Steph much closer together. In fact, they even went shopping and had lunch when Rory wasn't around.
"No," Steph said stubbornly.
Rory laughed outright. "So my love and sex life is fair game but the minute we creep into Colin territory there's a limit on conversation topics?"
"At least you and Logan are together," Steph retorted petulantly, "I can't get Colin to look twice."
Rory snorted. "Trust me, Steph, he looks twice."
"This coming from the woman who wouldn't admit she was in love with her best friend's playboy brother? No offence, Ror, but here, I'm not sure that I truly can trust you."
Rory looked over at Steph's teasing face indignantly. "I admitted it faster than you and Colin have done anything about your feelings," she shot back, sticking out her tongue again.
"Okay, children, let's stop this bickering and look at things objectively," Honour interrupted. "Steph, how long have you been in love with Colin?"
"I'm not in love with Colin!" Steph exclaimed.
"And I'm the Queen of England," Rory contradicted. "Logan says since about junior high."
"Logan's a pansy ass," Stephanie snapped.
Honour raised an eyebrow. "You're remarkably hostile about it."
Steph rolled her eyes. "Can we just enjoy, please?"
Rory and Honour exchanged a confused look.
"Okay…" Rory said, picking out her own pale pink polish. "So if you and Colin are off limits and Logan and I are off limits…"
"That leaves Honour's love life," Steph agreed. "So Honour? Anything you want to tell us?"
Rory stepped into Saks Fifth Avenue behind Honour and Steph pretty much clueless as to why both women had dragged her here. She had a million dresses in her huge closet at home, some of which Logan hadn't seen yet. Honour stepped up to the customer service counter and engaged in a whispered conversation with the man standing there. Seconds later, the blond was presenting Rory with another envelope.
I know you have a rather extensive wardrobe. After all, after laundry day I have to hunt through it all to find my own clothes, but for tonight, I want you to pick something out that will make my jaw drop. Steph and Honour can help, I'm sure. And they have orders to make sure you don't get a glimpse of any tags or prices.
I'll see you soon.
"I hate him," she said, folding up the note and stowing it with the others in her purse. "I mean, why do I have to buy something new?"
Honour and Steph both rolled their eyes.
"Does it really matter? It's only going to be one dress, one set of heels and maybe some underwear. He'd pick it out himself but he's got his own stuff to do today."
"Of which you guys know nothing. Apparently I need to make his jaw drop."
Honour and Steph laughed at Rory's wrinkled nose.
"Well," Steph started. "You'd think he'd make this into a challenge."
Rory sighed. "I don't even know where to start."
Honour giggled girlishly. She adored Rory, she was one of her best friends, but sometimes the brunette could be completely oblivious. "I think we're looking for something blue," she said. "Simple."
"Cocktail or evening dress?" Steph asked, putting a finger to her chin as she considered Rory.
"I'm thinking cocktail. Logan would have specified if he wanted an evening dress," Honour responded with a decisive nod.
Steph rubbed her hands together gleefully. "Let's go!"
Two hours later – and a million dresses that went through the critique of both Honour and Steph – they'd finally found a dress, shoes and undergarments that they all agreed on.
"Now we just need the final touch," Steph said, carrying her own multiple bags out of the store.
"Final touch?" Rory asked, slightly exhausted from trying on dresses for two hours. Logan's surprise had better be out of this world fantastic, she thought to herself. Then again, the usually were.
"Jewellery!" the peppy blonde exclaimed, already taking off purposely down the street.
Rory's hand went to the diamond that she adored so very much. "I think I'm okay, Steph. I mean, I've got my necklace. And there's no argument on this, I'm not changing it."
Steph rolled her eyes, looking to Honour for help.
"Hey, Logan gave her that necklace, I'm not going to try and get her to take it off," Honour defended. "But I will encourage the purchase of earrings or a bracelet, assuming Logan doesn't have those things for her already."
Rory cocked her head to the side. "Logan definitely knows how to pick out a girl's jewellery," she acknowledged.
Steph sighed, glancing at her watch. "It's… Oh my God! It's five already! We don't have time!"
All three of them were suddenly rushing to the curb and hailing a cab, heading for Rory's house.
Logan was absolutely terrified.
He was standing in the front foyer of his own home, the one he'd been sharing with Rory and Sophie, completely and utterly terrified, the same general feeling he'd had on their first date magnified ten-fold. He shoved his hands into his pockets, willing them to stop sweating and shaking. They'd talked about this, this wouldn't come as a complete and utter shock to her. And she'd made the pro-con list.
Logan looked up at her soft voice and felt his breath catch. She'd chosen blue, a colour he was sure Honour and Steph had a hand in. An ice blue that brought out the sparkle in her eyes and enriched the chestnut of her hair. It was similar to her Christmas cocktail dress in many aspects. The skirt flared around her hips, hugging the rest of her curves. The chest was reminiscent of a 1950's high society dress with a thick strap that wound back around her neck from just under her arm.
"Hey yourself," he finally managed. "Want to come help me pick my jaw off the floor?"
She laughed and he felt some of the tension release from his body. He watched as she approached smiling when she playfully put her hand under his chin as if holding it there while she kissed him lightly. He let his arms wrap around her waist and they stood there for a minute. The only interruption came when Rory's stomach grumbled loudly.
Logan chuckled. "Looks like we need to feed that bottomless pit of yours."
Rory slapped him with a huge grin but followed him to his car. "No limo tonight? And do you want to let me in on what we're doing?"
"No limo tonight," he affirmed, completely ignoring her second question.
Rory knew it meant he was keeping tight-lipped on the whole thing and groaned. "I hate you."
"You love me. And take it for granted that I'm not blindfolding you this time."
That was a blissful memory. At the end of April he'd taken her to see the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Met and blindfolded her to keep it a secret until they were right outside the building. She'd been baffled and awed that he'd pulled it off, but couldn't resist teasing him when she found out he'd fallen asleep on her head. Rory had loved the concert. The teasing fodder was just a bonus.
They drove through the winding streets of New York, Rory pointing out the odd people that strolled the warm June evening. Finally, Logan pulled to a stop, coming around the car to hold a hand out to Rory. He led them through what she now identified as Central Park to a lovely little clearing around Strawberry Fields. There, ready and waiting was a picnic complete with little electric candles.
"They wouldn't let me have the real things," he explained into her ear, wrapping his arms around her waist. He got such a kick out of seeing the surprise on her face when he did something like this and today was no exception. He gently pushed the stunned brunette forward until they stood at the edge of the requisite red and white table cloth.
Rory felt her face finally stretch into an elated smile. "This is fantastic," she breathed, unsure if she was ready to disturb the moment of peace in such a bustling metropolis.
"Let's sit and eat. Then I have a present for you."
"Another one?" Rory asked in surprise. "Logan, you're spoiling me."
He smiled softly, stroking the back of his hand down her cheek. "And I love doing it. Now come on."
Once they'd finished eating, Rory looked over at him expectantly.
"Something I can help you with there, Ace?"
Rory held out her hands. "Present please."
He chuckled. It wasn't that she was greedy, just impatient. He handed her a large box wrapped in colourful paper. "This, my dear, is for you."
Rory grinned as she ripped off the paper revealing nothing more than the box Antonio – their new coffee maker since the other one had collapsed two weeks prior and Logan had done enough running around in the early mornings – had come in. "Are you giving me a coffee maker?"
Logan just grinned, albeit nervously. "Just open the box."
She did and found coloured confetti and Styrofoam padding. "What on earth?"
"Pull the string," he instructed, gesturing to the string taped to the side. He watched in anxious anticipation as she pulled out the first small velvet bag.
Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be – Anton Chekhov
Rory looked at Logan quizzically. "What kind of a goose chase are you sending me on, Huntzberger?"
"One I'm sure you'll enjoy. Keep tugging," he promised, moving beside her.
She did as he asked, pulling on the string again until another bag popped out of the foam.
All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon sand. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
That sparked a memory. After all, she and Logan had been friends before their relationship had taken off. Good friends. Friends that brought stupid movies to his apartment to watch when parents got out of hand. Friends that sacrificed weekends to baby-sit to give a girl a break. Friends that shared.
She pulled again.
Love is everything Its cracked up to be…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. – Erica Jong
It had been worth everything, Rory reflected. The love she shared with Logan was intense, was mind-blowing, was everything Rory had always figured love to be. She never questioned herself when she was with Logan, never saw herself as anything less than special or anything less than the best when he focused his attention on her.
It was a thrill.
It was perfect.
It was true.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. – Mignon McLaughlin
Rory froze for a split second, reading the words over again, pausing on the third one. Marriage.
Then it all made sense. He'd sent Steph and Honour to keep her occupied for the day, to pamper her and make her feel her most beautiful. He'd given her an elaborate puzzle and she hadn't solved it until that exact moment.
The next small bag was heavier than the rest and Rory opened it much slower than she had the others. Into her hand fell a gorgeous diamond ring, a round cut stone flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds set in white gold. Her teary, sparkling eyes flew up to Logan's. She couldn't form words.
He swallowed convulsively, virtually feeling his Adam's apple bob in his throat. "Marry me," he whispered. "Love me forever."
She didn't have to think about it. The pro-con list had been made, they'd both been on the same page for months. Nothing mattered but the two of them.
I'm such a sucker for a simple ending. For that's what this is, the tragic end to Catherine's Foundation.
To the reviewers, I owe the world. You guys have been absolutely fantastic in this journey and I'm hoping you'll follow along with me on the next one.
Speaking of the next one, there will be a sequel. Its being planned as I type, but I refuse to post until at least the first three chapters are written. Then, as much as I love you guys, I won't be posting unless I'm three chapters ahead at all times. Well, within reason, because I'm going away for a week in August and then ten days near the end, plus I have to head back to school in September. However, I do want to go on record that I will be writing through all of that. And just so you know what's coming:
Honour and Rory decide they want to start a summer camp for the terminally ill
Honour and Josh meet
Rory has a breakdown between planning her wedding and planning a charity-funded summer camp
Rory gets fed up with the pressure she's feeling from Shira and Francine (Emily is debatable) to plan the perfect society wedding instead of her wedding
Robert corners Rory at her engagement party
Amber comes to visit New York and Shira meddles
Vague enough for you?