When everything is wrong, we move along…
Summer vacation. When you're younger, it's almost too much to wait for. By the time May first rolls around you start planning. You start counting down days until you don't have anything to do at all. You long for the days of sleeping in, watching bad daytime television, and looking forward to doing it all over again for the next three months.
Unless you were Rory Gilmore. Then you didn't plan for lazy days. Instead, you made lists of summer reading to do. Three lists to be exact. The suggested summer reading provided by English teachers, the personal choices you had been wanting to read but didn't have the time before, and the list of books you'd already read but wanted to read again.
There were no reading lists for Rory this summer. Not a single one and it was already late-June. In fact, if you were to ask Rory what the last book she had read was she wouldn't be able to tell you.
Finals had been a blur. The last issue of the paper had taken up a lot of her time. And fussing over Logan while she wasn't at school or at the paper had kept her mind from thinking too much about his leaving and how that could change their relationship. Or how his sleeping with most of Honor's bridesmaids had.
She kept her mind occupied with busy work as much as she could, that way she didn't have the time to think of the state of shambles her personal life was in. Her summer job at the Star's Hollow Gazette as Guest Editor-in-chief was a mere formality that Taylor had let her take over during the summer months while he took his yearly trip to visit his sister and nephews. He had let her keep the temporary position after he came back with the understanding that she would be close to Lorelai, "should the need arise," he had said.
She didn't have time to think about her mother. Lorelai's own problems were worse than her own, but that was all she knew. Rory knew the engagement was off, but the details were elusive. Lorelai didn't say much at all, but she was a shell of the woman Rory was used to, and so she made the effort of thrice daily phone calls and every other day trips to Stars Hollow in hopes of lifting the older woman's spirits. She would do all she could to help her because in another sense, a completely selfish sense, she was helping herself.
The more she worried about others, the less time she had to worry about herself. The busier she kept herself, the harder it was for her to have the time to think about herself and her own problems.
She didn't have time to think about Logan Huntzberger.
Logan. Rory sighed and fingered the newspaper that lay in her lap this morning. Despite getting back together after the fallout at Honor's wedding, things were still incredibly strained between them. While she hadn't been able to get over the fact that he had been with all of those girls after their break-up, she had managed to set aside the hurt and anger long enough to take care of him after the accident.
With no one else stepping up, it had been left to Rory to take care of Logan and she had done so without hesitation. She had fussed over him in the hospital, she had brought him home and tended to him nonstop round the clock. Things had almost gone back to normal between them, and Rory was slowly but surely letting go of the bitterness she still had until one day when she had come back to the apartment after running some errands, only to find a sleeping Logan and a message from Walker in their answering machine, asking if there was anything she could possibly do to help him feel better. She deleted the message out of impulse and anger at the audacity that this tart would even dare call their home. In that instance, all of the fears and distrust and anger and hurt came flooding back to Rory and they were back to square one. As planned, after graduation, Logan had left for London and their farewell had been particularly icy.
In the month since he had left, Rory kept her contact with Logan to the barest minimum she could without them actually breaking up. She wasn't sure why they were still together at times. It felt like they weren't more often than it seemed like they were, but despite all the bad, neither seemed to be able to let go of the good. Still, she avoided emails, responding only to ones that required an answer. Phone calls were even worse. Logan would call her twice a day like clockwork but she answered maybe one phone call every other day, claiming to have missed the others due to being with Lorelai or being busy with work. It was passive aggressive and she was fully aware of that, but she wanted him to hurt like she did and she knew she wasn't crass enough to do anything but what she already was.
Sure, she missed him, and even though she was just as angry and confused as before, she knew she wanted to find her way back to him. She just didn't know how, and really, with the fact that he still had eleven months left in London, she wasn't even sure if it was worth it.
She was about to find out though. Rory glanced down at the newspaper in her lap again, and her gaze shifted to the several others spread out around her. The photo and the headline splashed across the front page was the same on every one.
Media Mogul Mitchum Huntzberger, age 58, Dies Suddenly From Massive Heart Attack.
Rory studied the phone in her hand for the hundredth time. She had dialed the number over and over but always hung up before he could actually answer. Taking a determined breath, she punched in the numbers again and held the phone to her ear, silently counting the rings before it picked up.
She got to four. "Hello?"
Despite the circumstances and everything else, she found herself smiling at his voice. "Hey," she said softly. "It's me."
Rory turned the ignition off and stared at the Huntzberger estate in front of her. She wasn't quite ready to go inside yet, but after fifteen minutes she had finally been able to turn the car off. There were at least twenty cars in the drive besides hers but only the black Porsche was recognizable to her. It had only been a few hours since her phone call with Logan but the conversation still rang clear in her ears.
"Rory." Her name fell from his lips in what she could only describe as relief. "You've heard."
"I did," she confirmed. "Logan, I'm so sorry." Rory wanted to kick herself for how trite and insincere she sounded. "How are you?" Another cookie-cutter response.
"Tired of handling phone calls, believe it or not," he said with a dry brittle laugh. "I didn't know that when my father died I'd be the one taking care of everything. I wasn't aware that was in the job description." Over the phone, Rory could faintly hear ice clinking against crystal and she cringed at the thought of just how much Scotch he could have already consumed and it wasn't even noon yet.
"What about your family?" she asked.
He laughed again and this time she heard him swallow before speaking. "You're kidding me, right? Mom has taken the Rhett Butler approach to this, and locked herself in her bedroom. Honor is under heavy sedation, and Grandfather is handling all of the business dealings. Guess who that leaves everything else to?"
"Where are you?" Rory stood up from the couch and began pacing.
"At the house," he supplied. "I took the red eye and got in about four hours ago."
"Oh." She was surprised at how much it stung that he hadn't called her as soon as he got back to the States and clearly, it showed in her one-word answer because he picked up on her silence quickly.
"I didn't want to wake you Rory," he said stiffly. "Your voicemail yesterday said you were going to bed early, remember?" He paused and took another long drink. "Besides, would you have really answered anyway?"
Oh yes, Logan had already made friends with a bottle of Scotch this morning, she now knew this as fact.
"I…" she sighed and bit her tongue, knowing he was right, she wouldn't have answered, and knowing also this was not the time to have that particular fight. "Is there anything I can do?" she asked, the words coming out of her mouth before she could stop them.
There was a pause on the other end of the line, but unlike the others, this one was completely silent. Rory could picture him standing there, with his head cocked to the left, his lower lip worrying between his teeth as he thought.
"Can you come?" he blurted out quickly. She wasn't sure who was more surprised at the request but she didn't dwell on it as he continued. "I know things aren't great with us, but there's no one else I can really tal— I haven't had a chance to sit down and realize that he's—" Logan's voice caught in his throat and he tried to cover it up with a cough. "I need you, Ace."
"Of course," she assured him quickly. "I'll be there as soon as I can. Can I bring you anything?" She grabbed a notebook off of the coffee table and jotted down the items he rattled off to her. "Got it. I'll be there in a bit."
"Okay. And Rory?" He took a deep breath and she could tell it was a little shaky. "Thank you."
Rory swallowed, feeling a lump in her own throat. "I'll see you soon," she promised before disconnecting the call.
She was startled out of her thoughts by the passenger door of her Prius opening and slamming back shut. Looking over, she saw Logan sitting next to her.
"Get me out of here," he pleaded as he pulled the seatbelt over his shoulder. Rory felt a smile tug at her lips as she remembered the constant fights they had had over seatbelts before Logan had been fined for not wearing his. She didn't smile for long, as she quickly remembered her reason for being here in the first place.
"I… where do you want to go?"
"Anywhere. Not here. Please."
"Right." Rory took one look at his bloodshot eyes and couldn't tell if he was drunk or if he was just exhausted, but she figured coffee would be a good place to start with them. She started the car again and made her way out of the circular drive. She kept stealing sideways glances at Logan but his eyes remained fixed in front of him.
Fifteen minutes later they were seated at a small diner that Rory had decided on mainly because it was empty at this time of the day.
Rory stared at Logan from across the table. "Talk to me," she stated simply, twisting a plastic coffee stirrer between her fingers.
"He's gone, Rory." For the first time, he looked her straight in the eye. "My father's dead."
"What happened?" she asked softly. "Was it sudden?"
"I don't even know yet," Logan admitted. "He was in a board meeting and in the middle of going over advertising expenses for the next year when he just collapsed." Logan paused. "They never revived him, he was just gone. I guess that's pretty sudden, isn't it?"
She reached over the table and placed her hand on top of his. "I don't know what to say to you," she said honestly.
"Just don't say he was a good man." Logan shook his head bitterly. "Every call of condolence has been the same thing: 'Your father was a good man, Logan, he was a great person.' He wasn't Rory. He was a terrible bastard of a man and an even worse father. Why everyone wants to forget what a tyrant he was just because he's dead is just—"
"Hey." Rory quickly moved to his side of the booth, sitting down next to him. "Logan, it's okay." She squeezed his hand comfortingly. "People don't know what to say, they don't know what you want them to say. And you're right, Mitchum wasn't a nice guy, but you know what? He did a lot of good things. That's what everyone wants to remember, Logan. That's what you should remember."
"Is that what you're going to remember Rory? The millions of dollars my father donated to charities? Or are you going to remember how he treated you? How he did everything he could to keep us apart and damn near succeeded?" His eyes snapped angrily and he smirked at her stunned silence. "That's what I thought. And if you can't forget about that, how do you expect me to forget every single terrible thing he's done to me, only to remember the handful of good times that we had?"
"He's your dad, Logan," she said carefully. "I know that you didn't always get along with him, and believe me, I won't be standing in line to nominate the man for sainthood, but you know what? You need to let go of the hurt and anger now because they aren't going to help you get through this."
"That's pretty fucking ironic, coming from you Rory,"
She sucked in her breath and reminded herself of his recent loss as well as the fact that he was indeed drunk. "Maybe we can both learn a little from what I just said," she admitted. Before anymore could be said, Logan's cell phone started ringing and he was about to throw it across the room when Rory snatched it from him and answered it herself.
"Logan Huntzberger's phone," she said smoothly, not taking her eyes off of Logan. He was looking down at the untouched cup of coffee in front of him. She was shocked at how broken he looked. She had never seen him look anything but strong, even when he had been lying in the hospital bed. "No, I'm sorry he can't come to the phone right now, but I'm taking care of all of his calls so is there something I can help you with? Of course. That's very generous of you Mrs. Walsh." She vaguely remembered her as one of Mitchum's secretaries at the Gazette. "I'm sure that will be a great relief to the family. Yes, as soon as we have the details, someone will get back with you. I will tell him, yes. Thank you." She closed the phone and slipped it into her own pocket. "Carolyn Walsh says that her daughter's catering business would be happy to provide for anything your family may need in the next few weeks," she said softly.
Logan nodded numbly. "There's a long list people calling me with things like that. I stopped writing it all down though because I'm sure my mother will treat this like a garden party and only want the best of everything."
"You let me handle all of the calls for awhile," Rory offered. She placed her hand back on his arm. "You should be getting back to the house though. I know you don't want to, but you really should be there."
"You're right," he agreed reluctantly. "Let's go." He slid out of the booth and Rory followed him out of the diner silently. The entire drive back to the house was quiet and Logan only spoke as they were walking up the walk.
"It means a lot that you're here," he said finally. "Not that I didn't think you would come, but…" his voice trailed off and she waved her hand in the air as she offered him a small smile.
"I'm happy to be here," she assured him and after a moment's hesitation she reached down and slid her hand into his. He squeezed it gratefully before pulling her into his arms and enveloping her in an all consuming embrace. After a second, her reserve melted away and she gave into the hug. Suddenly and for that moment, the tension and icy reserve that had been building between them since before he left had melted away and made room for their true feelings to shine through. Without her knowing when or how it happened, he was kissing her, at first sweetly, tenderly, and then with a growing need. He stopped after a few minutes, resting his forehead to hers, closing his eyes and laboring to catch his breath. He whispered into her lips, "God, I've missed you."
A car shone its light in their direction as it pulled into the driveway and broke the spell the moment had cast upon them. He looked to see who was in the car and noticed his aunt Debra scowling their way. He pulled Rory into the house, trying to escape his disapproving aunt's look.
The house was buzzing with activity but it all ceased to stop for one brief moment as all eyes landed on the two of them. After the initial shock of seeing Rory, the activity started up again, but with everyone immediately descending on Logan, each trying to pull him in separate directions.
Whether he didn't want to deal for it, or if it was just too much for him to handle, Rory wasn't sure, but she watched as he shook everyone off and without so much as a glance at her, he stormed up the staircase. There was a stunned silence as they all heard an upstairs door slam hard enough to rattle the glass in the windows as well as the chandelier in the hallway.
Rory stood there for a moment, unsure if she should follow him or if he would just slam the door in her face. She was about to head up the stairs when she heard her name being called from the dining room.
"Rory, I was wondering if we'd see you here, Love!"
She smiled tightly though she was still grateful to see Colin and Finn standing in front of her. "Will you guys go up there?" she asked, nodding towards the stairs. "Keep an eye on him while I take care of a few things down here?" She knew Logan needed her, but with Colin and Finn there for now, she could get a handle on the funeral preparations and at least save him from having to deal with that.
"Happy to be of help," Finn said with a salute. "Would it be in poor taste to take a bottle or two of Mitchum's finest alcohol with us?"
"I think he'd see it as an honor," Colin said decidedly. He offered a smile to Rory. "We'll make sure he's okay, take your time."
"Thank you," she said. She spied Josh in the other room and headed towards him as Colin and Finn went upstairs.
"Rory!" Josh looked genuinely happy to see her.
"Hey Josh." She cast a glance over his shoulder but didn't see anyone else.
"It's just me," he confirmed. "Shira is in her room and Elias is barking orders from the office."
Josh shrugged. "Taking it harder than everyone, but you know that Mitchum treated her like a princess, she's a wreck. She's finally sleeping though. Where's Logan?"
"He stormed upstairs. I sent Finn and Colin up with him. Is there anything I can do?" she asked. "I told Logan I'd help in any way I can."
Josh laughed a little. "Funny isn't it, that we're the ones taking care of everything for a man who didn't want us in his family to begin with?"
Rory smiled back. "At least you made it into the family," she pointed out. She linked his arm through hers. "Now come on, we need to start making a few lists."
Several hours later Rory was finally making her way up the stairs to see Logan. With Josh's help, she had managed to get the few things taken care of that didn't require the approval of immediate family. They had began a list of the people who had already sent flower arrangements so that the appropriate thank you cards could be sent out. They had organized the throngs of phone calls that will still pouring in into several categories: those offering condolences that needed to be acknowledged, those offering their services, and those calling for comments from the family. Shira still hadn't emerged from her room, and Josh needed to go be with Honor, so Rory decided to take the opportunity to check on Logan.
She wasn't sure what to expect when she opened the door to his room, but she definitely hadn't expected to find him, along with Colin and Finn, passed out amidst several empty bottles.
Stepping gingerly over some broken glass she shook Colin and Finn awake and ordered them out of the room. On their way out, Colin apologized for the state Logan was in, but offered up the idea that it was better for him to be asleep than to be ranting and raving. Rory was forced to admit he had a point. She thanked them for their help and shut the door behind them before turning back to Logan.
He was sprawled out on his back, his shoes still on his feet. She made her way back over to him and began to make him more comfortable. She slid the shoes off of his feet, setting them quietly on the floor next to the bed. She then moved up to loosen his tie and at least unbutton his shirt. She had the blankets pulled over him and was about to leave the room again when he surprised her by grabbing her hand.
"Don't go," he muttered, pulling her back to the bed. His eyes opened and he looked up at her. Without saying any more he pulled her onto the bed next to him and closed his eyes again.
Rory kicked off her own shoes and let him move around until his head was resting against her shoulder, his arm draped across her waist. Within seconds he was out cold again and she was left to stare at him and let her mind race.
She watched his as his chest rose and fell with each breath, and she could detect faint traces of alcohol still on his breath. As much as he needed the sleep right now, there was no way that it was in fact restful, and despite the state of unconsciousness he was in, he was still going to feel like hell in the morning. Rory knew this as fact but still, she was grateful for him to be asleep.
The only thing she didn't know was if she could be there in the morning to help him or not.
Author's Note: As I said, I'll be reposting this story from the beginning, and there were a few changes made. Not so much in this chapter, but in the next two for sure, and then after that I'll be posting new chapters! Hope you enjoy!