A Lack of Color
Chapter 1. The New Year
"I'm writing! Didn't I ever tell you to not bug me while I'm in the middle of a great paragraph? Now I'm going to have to start all over. God, Rory. Thanks." He wasn't joking.
"Oh. I'm sorry. I was just wondering where the apartment keys are," I said as quietly as possible.
"They're in the effing jar. Where they always are." He didn't look up from his laptop.
"I already looked there."
"Well, then, I don't know where they are. I put them there, and now they're gone. Maybe Casper took them."
I turned to leave.
"Don't come back for," he paused, and I could hear the jingle of his watch, "six hours. No sooner."
"Okay. I have work until five anyway."
"Give me your life story," he said, sarcastically.
And I left my room. Just like that.
I work at a local magazine. Not anything big, but it's still something. I'm still making something of myself. That's what Oliver says. He's doing the same thing with his writing. Only he writes books.
I work from nine to five. Every weekday. Pays the bills.
When I was walking through the lobby, the manager came up to me.
"We found a person to rent the room. Moving in this week," she said, ecstatic. They've been trying to get someone to live there for about a year now, when the past people left for a good deal on a house.
"That's wonderful!" I laughed. "Let's hope they stay."
"Yeah. Well, there's a complaint on 3B." She rolled her eyes. "So, I've got to run. I'll catch up with you later, though."
My apartment building isn't that bad. It's got a bar around the corner, and a grocery store a block down. It's in a nice enough neighborhood, even though Oliver doesn't think so. It's a little on the price-y side, so I've not had enough of supplies and furniture to fill it yet.
Every time I have enough money, I pick out one thing to put in it, though. So, it'll get there.
I hail a taxi to go five blocks to 57th street. Usually, it's the same guy, since I get out of my house around the same time everyday. His name is Javier.
"What's up?" he asked me today.
"Oliver's writing again," I said, rolling my eyes.
"I know what you mean," he comforted.
It's not as though Oliver is mean or anything. He just gets in this mood when he's writing. I don't mind it much now. I've learned to deal with it. After all, I like silence when I work too.
"How's work going? I just read your column last night. Great stuff." He was talking about my recent article that came out two days ago.
"Thanks. I worked hard to find a sufficient edge on that one."
"I'd say you found the right one."
I smiled. "Thanks a lot. Here's $14.50. And a $10. Have lunch on me. See you tomorrow, hopefully," I said as I got out of the cab, hearing his shout his thanks my way.
Work is pretty boring to talk about. I find something to write about and start on it. I research, get facts, and find an 'edge'. Then I write. Nothing more to it.
After work, I usually go to the bar I was talking about. Joe knows me there. He frequently gives me a beer on the house. We play cards. It was poker tonight.
"I'll bet you five toothpicks and a peanut."
I sighed, and threw my cards down. "I fold."
"Two pair," he showed me his hand.
"Damn you," I said as I swallowed the last of my complimentary Corona Light. "Thanks for the fun, but I've got to go."
"One more round," he pleaded.
"Sorry, Joey. Tomorrow, I promise." I gave him my flashy smile.
He laughed. "Alright. Tomorrow. Be careful out there," he said, nodding to the street.
"I will." I grabbed my purse. "Bye."
I walk home. I'm apartment 2A. There're two more rooms. One is occupied by my best friend in the world, Jen.
I knocked on her door and then went into my room. I threw the keys into the jar by in the kitchen and start to fill up my coffee pot with water.
"How was work?" Jen called, coming into the kitchen.
"Great. I think I'm getting promoted!"
"Yeah. What movie tonight?" she asked, holding up "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "Moulin Rouge".
"Rouge, definitely. We just watched Harry Potter."
"I just can't get over how awfully handsome Ron and his brothers are. How's Oliver?"
"He's fine. I called him at lunch and he yelled at me for once again ruining his momentum." I rolled my eyes.
Jen gave me a look. "Why are you even with him?"
The question of the year. I always answer the same. "Great sex."
"You're horrible," she told me.
"I know. He also has his moments. When he's not writing."
"When is that?!" We laughed again.
"From seven to eight a.m. and when we're on a date."
"You told me that he keeps a notebook with him to write thoughts in, though."
"So?" I asked.
"That's not taking a break, Ror. You know there are other guys that are amazing in bed, too. You should get out more."
"Ugh. First dates. Always awkward."
"Better than getting yelled at for killing a mojo."
"I've gotten used to it. He's not that bad, actually."
"Whatever. I'm sick of talking about Oliver. Ask me what I did last night."
"What did you do last night?" Rory asked while pouring herself a cup of now-made coffee.
"Met a guy. Ask me where."
"Where did you meet him?"
"At the Met's game," Jen said with her eyebrows raised, obviously awaiting a chuckle from Rory.
She succeeded. "That was really lame, Jen. I'm not going to lie."
"Eh, I try."
"So what are your plans for this weekend?"
"I was thinking we could go clubbing."
Rory rolled her eyes. "I don't think so."
"Come on! You have only gone with me once, and that was millions of months ago!"
"That was two months ago, and I even told you then that I would never go again."
"This time will be different. No country music at Club 365. I promise."
"And no old cowboys trying to slip something in my drink?"
She held three fingers up. "Scout's honor."
"You didn't take Girl Scouts."
"I was a Brownie…?"
"Yeah, and made out with the supervisor's son during a campout!"
"He was in junior high! What was I supposed to do? You know I have a thing for older men."
"Everyone knows you have a thing for older men."
"Come on, let's go into the living room. Get yourself a cup of coffee while I go put the movie in."
"Only if you come with me on tomorrow night."
"It's New Year's tomorrow," Rory remembered.
"It's going to be packed! Oliver won't want to go anyway, and then who would I kiss?"
"Oh, shut up. You're going. Whether Oliver wants to or not."
Rory sighed, giving in. "Fine, but I want to have a good time. If I'm not, I'm out of there."
"Yes!" Jen said, while putting her arms in the air. "I win!"
"Oh, shut up and get in here."
Rory popped in the DVD and waited for it to load.
"Are we going with the Met guy?"
"Well, we will if our first date goes well. He's taking me out Wednesday. His name is Cliff, by the way."
"As in 'Walk of a…'"
"Yes. Don't mock. He's gorgeous."
"Like you would settle for anything less."
"You know it, babe. Talking about the New Year, what's your resolution?"
"Oh, you honestly don't do those, do you?"
"You should start meeting new people. Especially new guys. Then you'd see who's out there, besides stupid Oliver."
"Oh, shut up. He's alright. And I'm not going to make that pact."
"Why not?! It's perfect. It gives you a reason to branch out. My resolution is stop biting my nails."
"See? Why can't you pick a resolution like that for me? It's easy and in my comfort zone."
They sat on the couch.
"I don't think I believe in New Year's Resolutions. It seems kind of… I don't know. Everybody that sets one usually picks something that's easy to fix. Why can't you start any other day of the year?"
Jen sighed. "Let's not get into this again! Remember with the whole 'Why can't you be great to your girlfriend any other day than Valentine's Day' and 'Why can't you give thanks outside of Thanksgiving'? You're on a streak here, Gilmore."
The next day…
I walked down the hall to the elevator. I pressed the L button for the lobby.
When the doors opened again, all I saw was luggage. I heard a man grunt, trying to pick it all up.
"Oh! Let me help you!" I offered, picking a duffel bag up.
"Thanks," I heard. He had blonde hair.
We went into the elevator together, all his luggage in toe.
"Rory?" He asked.
I looked up, my eyes narrowing, trying to make out this person in front of me.
"You seriously don't remember me?" he scoffed.
"It's on the tip of my tongue…" I tried to figure it out.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, hot body. Where had I seen him before?
Of course! It's –
"Tristan Dugrey," he finished my thought. "Chilton High School."
"Of course!" I repeated aloud. "Where to?" I asked, my finger hovering over the buttons.
"That's my floor."
"Yes. Are you stalking me, Tristan Dugrey?"
He laughed. Wow. That was a nice laugh. "Yes. Indeed, I am. You don't have a boyfriend, do you?"
I smiled. "I do, in fact."
"Damn. I just need to work harder, then, to win you over."
We chuckled and the elevator dropped us on the second level.
"You're going to like it here. I promise. It's a nice place. You have me and my best friend, Jen, on this level, and the manager lives three floors up, so she doesn't really get mad at you for jumping around in the middle of the night or anything." God, help me, I'm babbling.
He laughed anyway. God. That laugh.
"Anyway, it was nice to see you again, Tristan. I need to get to work."
"Hey, I'm having some people over tonight, for the holiday. A little house warming thing. You should come over."
I smiled. "I just might stop by. I made some plans with Jen, but maybe after."
"Okay. Thanks for the help. I'll catch you later." He said, putting his key into the door.
"You sure will."
The rest of the day was a bore. I couldn't wait to get out of that office. My boss let us off early, which I was completely grateful for.
I pulled out my cell phone while I tried to hail a cab.
"Hey. Jen wants me to go out to a party with her tonight. Would you like to come?"
"I know, I know. You don't have to. I just thought it'd be nice."
"I don't think so. You know how I hate New Year's parties. People think this is some insane, important day. Maybe next year."
"Yeah. What are you going to do tonight?"
"I think I might watch some movies. Ted wants to hang out. I could have him over."
"That sounds nice."
"It will be. Look, I'm mid-sentence, and I've to finish my five-day quota. How about you call me tomorrow?"
"That sounds good. You don't mind me going, do you, Oli?"
"No. Gives me a boy's night in."
"Good. Okay. I've to run, but I'll talk to you tomorrow."
I hung up. Great. I'm going to be alone on New Year's night. Maybe Jen was right. Maybe I should broaden my horizons tonight. A great first kiss on New Year's night doesn't sound half bad.
What am I saying? Oliver's great. He knows how easy it is to get caught up in work and understands all my silly quirks. He likes my mother. He's almost perfect.
And that's all I need right now. Almost perfect.
Jen came to my apartment around eight.
"Ready to have the most insane night of your life?" she asked me.
"As I'll ever be."
I was wearing a dark pair of jeans with a grey silk halter top. My hair was down and I wasn't wearing much makeup.
Jen, on the other hand, was fully made over in extravagant make up and mini-everything. Her skirt and top barely covered her.
"Do you think you'll catch an STD by simply wearing that?" I joked.
"Oh, shut up. I'm getting laid tonight."
I nodded, putting simple diamond earrings on.
"Speaking of getting laid, is Oliver coming tonight?"
"No, he and Ted are going to watch the game."
"Code for having hookers over."
"Not even! He's not like that."
"Oh my god. Again, talking about getting laid, did you see the new guy?! He's to die for!"
"I went to high school with him," I said, rolling my eyes.
"He's that Tristan? You've never mentioned how hot he is!"
"He's definitely grown up." I grabbed my purse and headed to the door. "He invited us over for a party tonight, by the way."
"What?!" she practically screamed. "Are you serious?! And why aren't we going?"
"Because I already told him we had other plans."
"If McHottie asks us over for a rendezvous, we just don't say no. It's in the handbook."
"Really? I guess I should read it over again, because I thought it said to not bail on your friend's night."
We walked to the elevator and soon got to the club she was talking about.
I could hardly hear anything; the bass was up so loud.
It looked like she mouthed 'Going to the front.'
I yelled back, "Okay," and motioned to the ladies room. She nodded.
When I got out, she was no where to be found. I went to the bar and ordered a cocktail.
I waited for Jen to find me.
A while later, a man sat next to me.
"Having fun?" he screamed at me.
"To be honest, absolutely not."
"I could help with that," he said, getting closer.
I scooted the other way. "No thank you. I'm meeting someone."
He got closer. "Girl friend?"
I looked at him and blinked.
"I knew it." He was practically falling off his chair and onto mine.
"Look, she said no, man."
I looked behind me.
The freaky guy got lost and Tristan took his chair.
"Not stalking me, eh?"
"I never denied it," he joked.
"What are you doing here? I thought you were having a party tonight."
"The night is still young. It's only nine. I'm also picking up someone."
"What are you doing here? You look great."
"Thanks, it's not really my style though. It's Jen's fault. Trying to convert me to her party-girl ways."
"Still a Mary, yeah?"
"In some senses."
A young, pretty girl stepped next to him. "I've been looking for you everywhere!"
She kissed him long and hard.
I blinked multiple times.
After many seconds, they broke apart. "I'm sorry, Rory. This is my girlfriend, Michelle."
"Fiancée," she corrected, somewhat hostilely.
"Rory Gilmore." I extended my hand and she prissily took it.
"She's a friend from high school," he told her.
"Oh," she replied and ordered two shots. One for him and one for her.
I know my cue.
"It was nice seeing you again, Tristan. I've to find Jen. I'll catch you later."
He gave a face of… God, what was that? I guess, of apology.
I found Jen some time later, in the middle of the crowd dancing.
She wanted me to join, so I did for a couple of songs. I looked at my watch. 10:30.
"Look," I yelled over the music, "I'm going to go. This isn't for me. You have fun!"
She gave me a disappointed look.
"I'll make it up to you, I promise."
She nodded and hugged me.
Thank god, I was out of there. I was about to get a headache.
When I finally hailed a cab, I got to my apartment building around eleven.
I walked through the lobby and went up the elevator.
Tristan's room was loud. His door was open, and I hoped he wouldn't see me.
I turned around. "Hey."
He came out of his room. I could see a lot of people were there.
"A small group of people?"
He laughed. "It's Michelle's doing. She's a model, so she invited all of her friends from the industry."
"You didn't mention you were engaged."
He blinked. "I didn't? I didn't mean to exclude it…"
"Yeah… So, a model, huh?" An effing model.
"Yeah. You should come in."
I shook my head. "I've had my share of clubbing for the night, thank you."
"Come on! It'll be fun. I promise." He put on his best puppy-dog face.
How could I say no to that?
"Only for a little bit."
That little bit ended up being longer than I wanted.
Tristan and I ended up talking for most of the time in his kitchen.
Apparently, he is working on a very up-and-coming website and has been with Michelle for two years.
"She's always gone, though," he had said. "On business."
"Right. That's what she wants you to think," I joked.
He laughed. I smiled then.
I told him that I have been dating Oliver for about a half a year now, and am working for a news magazine. He made a joke about how I never gave up on my dream.
We heard then counting down.
"10… 9… 8…"
"Oh, crap, I have to go," he told me and ran out of the room.
"7… 6… 5…"
I stood there dumbfounded at the sudden end of the conversation.
I tried to get out of there fast, before anyone could start making fun of me for being alone.
"3… 2… 1!"
Not fast enough I guess.
Because there he was. Tristan with his Michelle.
Making out. Having the best time of their lives.
And I was alone. With no resolution.
I entered my apartment and threw my keys into the jar.
I stripped and got into bed.
Happy New Year.
A/N: Yay! This was such a long chapter. I don't know if I'm glad about the outcome, but it kind of was the introductory chapter – to find out what her life was like. That's what the first part of the chapter was about. The second was the juicy part. Also, this isn't going to be the kind of fic where Tristan is just going to fall at her feet. I hope you liked the chapter! Please review.