Title: Cupid's Psyche
Summery: Tristan is the owner of one of the most popular clubs in the San Diego County, and falls for SDSU student Rory Hayden. What happens when her personal family problems come in the way of their relationship. Trory
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: This is a response to a challenge posted by Sooper Trooper on one of the forums. Hope I'll do it justice!
And I believe this may call for a proper introduction, and well
Don't you see, I'm the narrator, and this is just the prologue?
-Panic at the Disco
Part 1: Dramatis Personae
Adjusting her glasses, she frowned over the text in the book and looked at the other on her left. Sighing, she took the glasses off, rubbing her eyes and resisted rubbing her temples to ease the headache that was brewing. God, she hated conjugating Latin verbs. She hated Latin altogether. Useless language, no one was ever going to use it. Why was she taking it again? Oh right, great culture.
Rolling her eyes at herself for how big a nerd she was, she closed her books, deciding to call it a night. After stacking all of her books on top of each other, she managed to fit two of the big texts in her bag, meaning she had to carry the rest. In that pile there were The Ancient Greeks: An Introduction to Their Life and Thought, The World of Rome, Medea, Forensic Oratory: Lysias, and or course no Classics major would be complete without On the Murder of Eratosthenes and Lysias: Five Speeches, the abridged version of course.
Her friends would say she was torturing herself, being 2, 928 miles from home, she was getting rid of the homesick feeling by throwing herself into her work. It wasn't all true. If she really wanted to admit to herself, half the reason she had the headache was because of the conversation she'd had with her mother before sitting down to study. Her mother had gotten the pictures she'd sent, and had ranted on and on about Rory's many imperfections. From her clothing to her weight, her mother had chipped away any semblance of a good mood she had been feeling before walking into the library.
So no, she wasn't homesick. It was why she'd had chosen the great campus of San Diego State University. Not only did it have her majors and great programs for her, but it was across the country and she was able to get away with talking to her parents once a month, a blessing for anyone who knew Rory.
Leaving the library, she smiled thankfully at the librarian who'd let her stay so late. It was still a walk to her dorm across the campus. She stopped short outside the quad and hesitated. She should call the campus rent-a-cop to escort her to her dorm. Biting her lip, she started reaching for her phone when she heard her name being called out behind her. Well, her last name anyway.
"Hayden! Hey Hayden! Wait up."
Rory sighed, turning and knowing exactly who was going to be behind her. She watched as a man in his twenties ran up to her, his hair short and brown, torso protected by a button down blue shirt and leather jacket, and blue jeans with classic Chucks on his feet. He was holding hands with a laughing blonde as they ran towards her. The blonde was in low rise jeans and green halter top, making her green eyes look brighter as her long blonde hair flew behind her.
"Jess, Steph," she said as they came to stand in front of her.
"Another night in, Venus?" Stephanie laughed.
Rory looked down at her appearance, Ugg boots, and in her red sweats, with the black block letters that read 'GO AZTECS' with the logo on it, and a large blue hoodie that was twice her size. Her glasses were once again covering her eyes and she knew her hair was in disarray from her cramming highlighters and pencils into the bun. Reaching up, she felt around, coming out with a blue highlighter she thought she had lost.
Placing it in her bag she looked at her friends. "Where are you two off to?"
"Cupid's Psyche," Jess responded. "A club downtown."
Rory roiled her eyes. Stephanie Merdock and Jess Mariano, on and off couple for five years, lived for clubbing. She'd known both of them while growing up. Jess was her cousin, and Stephanie had gone to school with them in the hollowed halls of Hartford High. Jess and Stephanie had fallen for each other, but they were a couple that liked to argue, break up, couldn't last a week, then get back together. They had ten anniversaries of when they got together, and damn if they didn't celebrate each and every one.
When they had made a list of all the colleges they had wanted to go to, their lists were identical, of course. Rory wasn't aiming for Princeton or Yale like her parents wanted her to (their Alma Maters), she'd gone for all the state schools and Ivy League schools across the country. When they'd all been accepted to SDSU, they all jumped at the chance of leaving their small town of Hartford, and a reason to get away from home.
Even if it meant Rory had to hear about it every time she went home.
"So you coming, Venus, or not?" Stephanie asked.
Venus was the nickname Jess and Stephanie had given her for her love of Greek and Roman Mythology. They said that while she dressed horribly most of the time, the minute she fixed herself up, she could double for the Roman goddess.
"I'm good, I've got a paper to write."
"Boo on you!" Stephanie said sticking out her tongue.
Rory rolled her eyes as they made their way across the quad. "I really don't want to go out tonight. I'll take a rain check though."
Jess smiled pulling Stephanie closer. "We're holding you to that."
Rory laughed. "I don't doubt it; I just have a huge work load this week. I'll go out with you guys next week, I swear."
"Why next week?" Stephanie asked as they walked Rory to her dorm.
Rory hesitated, bit her lip and looked away from her friends. Jess groaned. "It's a news thing, isn't it?"
Rory winced. "All right, all right! I'll admit! I have to go and review this club."
"Oh jeez, Rory, don't you ever do anything for fun?" Stephanie asked.
"Of course I do!"
"Reading the entire series of 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' is not what we consider fun," Jess pointed out.
Rory rolled her eyes. "I let loose you guys. I'm not always studying."
"Yeah, you are," Stephanie said. "If you're not in your dorm studying, you're in the library studying, or you're in the café studying or..."
"Okay, I get your point," Rory said, getting her keys out of her bag.
"Rory," Stephanie said, putting her hands on Rory's shoulders and shaking her a bit. "We're in college now, we're supposed to have fun and not study hard."
Rory raised an eyebrow. "Maybe in Merdock-Mariano land. But in Gilmore-Hayden land , I actually want to get my degrees and graduate."
"And you will, sweetie, but maybe it's time you ditched the books and the 'frump' look you've been sporting for the last year, and just... act like a normal college girl!"
Jess sighed. "Whatever Aunt Lorelai and Uncle Chris said to you, they were dead wrong, Rory, and it's time you realized it."
Stephanie shook her head giving her pity-filled look that had Rory shifting her weight.. "Oh Rory, you're still not holding on to that, are you?"
Rory sighed and unlocked her door. "When are you two going to get it through your heads, I like studying, it has nothing to do with my mom and dad, thank you. And while I like partying like every other frat boy and sorority girl on this damn campus, I'd rather just stay here and..."
"Let Nate molest you?" Jess asked with a smirk.
Rory sighed. "Okay, you know what, this conversation is over. You guys go party or club or whatever it is you do and leave me to my books and nerdiness." She opened the door, only to run into a solid chest. Wincing and rubbing her forehead she looked up at the six three form of her best friend Nate. He held her lightly, making sure she didn't fall from the collision, and smiled.
"Rory, my very own Venus de Milo, you're home," he greeted letting go and digging out a rag from his back pocket, wiping his hands free of paint.
"Nate," she said glaring at Jess and Stephanie before going inside to drop her things in her room. Nate sighed and looked at Jess and Stephanie.
"What'd you two idiots do?"
"Telling Rory she needs to act normal for once," Stephanie said loud enough for Rory to hear.
Nate shook his head and closed the door. "You know pushing her like that isn't going to do anything."
Nate stood at six three, with light brown hair and dark brown eyes. He was in paint-stained jeans and a tight blue muscle tee. He was Rory's roommate and none of the SDSU administrators knew about it. Rory had gotten a screwed up room assignment but when she'd met Nate, he'd taken her under his wing and kept her with him. And the fact was that she was loved by all the guys in the housing complex. Half of them thought of her as a little sister, while the other half wanted in her pants, having seen her outside the frumpy clothing. Nate was part of the half that considered her a sister.
"We just want her to have a little fun," Jess said. "And if it means shaking her a bit..."
Nate sighed "I get that, but come on; throwing her parents in her face isn't going to solve that. You know better than I do what that does to her. Just let it go. If she wants to go, she'll go out."
Stephanie sighed and looked at Jess who shrugged. "Fine, but tell her next week she's going. She owes us."
Nate nodded as he watched his two friends leave. Going back inside, he saw Rory sitting on the couch, her feet huddled to her chest. After closing and locking the door, he sat next to her, still wiping his hands before throwing the dirty rag on the table.
Rory shrugged. "Tired, I think I'm going to bed."
"Ror-" Nate started, but Rory shook her head and held up a hand.
"It's not them, Nate, I swear. I'm over it. I just really did not want to go out tonight. I'll see you in the morning."
Rory sighed and looked at him. "What?"
"Nate," she sighed tiredly, not up for Nate's therapeutic mantra. He was a double major in Art and Psychology and annoyed her to no end with his psychobabble sometimes. Though in other times it came in handy.
"I'm serious, say it."
Rory sighed. "I'm beautiful and no one can tell me otherwise."
"Damn right," Nate nodded as he watched her grab her bag and go off to her room. Nate sat on the couch, looking at the painting he'd stopped working on when he'd heard the arguing outside. Rory parents sure had done a number on her growing up. Her self-esteem was non-existent, to where not even she really thought she was beautiful
Everyone but her saw it, it was a pity really. She hid behind her books and studies to avoid the gazes of young men who lusted after her. Half the guys she was friends with all said that if she stopped using the baggy clothing, she's be a knock-out, though the baggy pants and big sweatshirts gave her an even more innocent look that turned them on to no end.
Sighing, he picked up his paintbrush and walked back over to the easels, picking up his pallet of paint. Rory really needed to stop living in her parents' shadow and start making herself her own person. She was beautiful and it was high time she really admitted it.
"Working late again?"
The pounding music entered his once silent domain as Finn opened the door, only for it to be quieted once again, when the door slapped shut.
"Yeah, I'm working on these figures."
"Again?" Finn sighed, straddling the chair and looking at his best friend.
Tristan DuGrey was one of San Diego's most wanted bachelors, owning one of the hottest clubs in the county. His blonde locks and boyish good looks grabbed the attention of all the ladies, but it was his piercing blue eyes that captivated a person. The only flaw was that Tristan was a workaholic. Though he loved his club, his own little baby, he spent his time perfecting it, crunching the numbers, checking inventory. Finn and their other friend Colin were lucky they even got a say on the finished product.
But then Finn was only a part time bartender and silent partner.
Tristan looked up at Finn. "I'm just crunching some numbers, Finn."
Finn Morgan had been his best friend since middle school, after misunderstanding that had caused both of them to get detention, and Tristan to leave with a new best friend. He had dark brown hair that went every which way and dark brown eyes. His naturally tanned skin and exotic accent had girls swooning, and he picked them up and charmed the pants off every single one of them.
He had put up his entire savings to become a silent partner in Cupid's Psyche with Tristan, and so far he hadn't been let down. Half the reason was because Tristan was too invested in Cupid's Psyche to let any of his friends down.
"You do realize that the place is full, and that there's a line two blocks long just to get in. We've reached our capacity."
"I know, Finn, you come in here every ten minutes to remind me," Tristan laughed; closing the laptop he'd been staring at and getting up. He grabbed his empty glass and followed Finn out the door. He'd been right, the place was packed. The club band was on the stage already into its second set. Hep Alien caused a riot when they played, which was why Tristan had hired them as the in-club band.
"So did you get the band for next Wednesday?" Finn asked moving behind the bar as Tristan leaned against the far corner on the counter, handing Finn his glass.
Tristan nodded. "Yeah. We held that poll last moth to see who Latin Americans would like to see more and that band 'Zoe' won. I called up their managers and they usually play clubs. I've got the ads running today and some commercial spots on local channels. Tickets are selling fast, my friend."
Finn nodded handing him the drink. "What about 'The Fray'?"
"Still trying to convince them, and I'm working on 'Cold War Kids' which seem more likely at this point." Tristan took a drink of the alcohol in the glass wincing as it slid down his throat.
"What about for our Alternative group that come in once a week?"
Tristan shrugged. "Right now I have no idea who we could get. My Chemical Romance is out of the question, same with Taking Back Sunday and The Used. We could try on Underoath, they seem more likely to come." Tristan frowned as he looked out at the dancing people and scanned the crown. "Have you seen Colin lately?"
Finn shook his head. "Nah, I think he's out of town for the week. I got a message from him a few days ago saying he wouldn't be around for a while."
Tristan shrugged. It wasn't unusual for their friend to go missing a couple of days during the month. In high school it had been Finn who would disappear and Colin had been the reliable one to be found wherever. After college though it seemed as if Finn and Colin had switched roles, and Finn had been the go-to guy and Colin had been the one disappearing for days on end.
"Hey Morgan! Serve me up some rum!"
"Hey Merdock! Leave me the hell alone!" Tristan turned and saw a blonde smiling at Finn while Finn smiled back. "Where's that boyfriend of yours, love?"
The girl shrugged. "Around here somewhere."
"And that friend of yours? You promised to bring her by this week."
The girl stuck her tongue out. "She's a real downer tonight, stayed home to study. I swear that girl gets more boring by the second, now get me my beer!"
"You're underage, love! I'm not allowed to serve you!" Finn laughed.
"Oh screw you! I'm twenty-one and you know it! Now get me my beer, Morgan!"
Finn laughed reaching down into the coolers and getting out two bottles, uncapping them like a pro and handing them to the girl. "I expect a big tip."
"The biggest!" The girl laughed, taking the beers and flouncing off.
"Who's the girl?" Tristan asked.
Finn shrugged. "Her name's Stephanie. She and her boyfriend come in once a month and bug the hell out of me. But you know what they say, bartenders make the best therapists. They break up every once in a while and come and wallow here, as if I didn't have anything better to do with my time than listening to them bitch about their love lives."
Tristan smirked. "But you listen anyway, you big softie."
"Oh sod off." Finn laughed. "Barely know the girl."
"Right," Tristan nodded, taking another drink. He looked around the club again, the pounding music echoing in his ears, not allowing him to think. The bodies pressed against him as they made their way to the dance floor or towards the bathroom to his right. Grunting, he looked over at Finn who smirked knowingly at him.
"Go up, you homebody."
"Thank you," Tristan muttered, putting his drink down and going back to his office. He closed the door, drowning out the music, then went towards the door behind his desk. He opened the door and faced the stairs that led upstairs to his apartment. Closing the door behind him and climbing the stairs he left the club and went to his domain.
Though he liked to party, there were some nights where he didn't want to deal with the bodies and the drunken noises or the music pulsing in his head. He took off his coat and threw it haphazardly on the chair before toeing off his shoes and making himself comfortable on the black leather couch that had cost him a small fortune at Ikea.
Grabbing the remote from the coffee table in front of him, he turned on the TV and flipped through the channels, happy to be away from all the noise downstairs. He was in the mood to be left alone.
Ten minutes before Finn had walked through the door, his mother had once again called to ask when he'd settle down and give her grandbabies. He was twenty-six after all, it was time he'd settle down finally.
"Mom,' he'd said, "I'll settle down when I settle."
"I'm getting old, Tristan, and soon I won't be here anymore and what then, huh? Are you waiting until I'm in the ground to marry?"
"Jeez, mom, of course not. And you're fifty, that's just the half way point. It's not like I'm burying you anytime soon."
That had been the wrong thing to say apparently, seeing as she'd gone on and on about how he and his brother and sister never respected her and never gave a damn about her, especially after going through twenty odd hours of labor to bear them. He'd calmed her down by saying he'd work on it and he loved her, then hung up.
He didn't understand why his mom continued to bug him about grandchildren. His brother John had a wife already and was expecting their third child. Of course John was twenty-nine and had been married since he was eighteen and dated the same girl since he was fifteen. John Matthew DuGrey was the golden child of the DuGreys, yet he and Tristan were close and while he wouldn't admit it to anyone else, he loved his nephew and niece to death.
His sister Marlee Janine DuGrey or Mars as she was affectionately known was the youngest at twenty. And of course she had a boyfriend that she'd been dating since she was eighteen and they were getting married when she graduated. So really, she had a fiancé.
So that left Tristan, the middle child, and the only one who hadn't been able to keep a girlfriend around for more than a month. He liked girls, so he knew he wasn't gay, not that his family would have a problem with it if he was. If anything, they'd fight tooth and nail for him and his partner to get adoption.
Tristan winced, now he was fictionally gay with a partner working on a child. This was what happened when he talked to his mother. He confused himself and made his own head hurt from thinking too much and about such inane things.
"Shit, I need a vacation," he muttered rubbing his eyes.
He was twenty-six, a workaholic and named San Diego number one bachelor, meaning he had girls vying for his attention all the time. It was just the fact that none of them caught his attention for long. He'd slept with girls, lord, he had slept with girls. But none of them could hold a conversation for long, no wait, they could hold a conversation, just not an intelligent one.
None of them were the marrying material, not that he even wanted to get married. At this point his wife was Cupid's Psyche, and that's the way he planned on keeping it. He wasn't looking and no matter how many girls Finn, his parents, or any one else pushed on him, he wasn't going to bite.
Rubbing his eyes again he sighed. "I really, really need a vacation."
AN: Hope you all enjoyed. This is going to be extremely AU, if anything. I'm not keeping to the show, I'm just using the names and a bit of their personalities. Next chapter up soon I hope!