Chapter One: Back to the Start.
"We should be there soon Love." A thick Australian accent informed her across the phone line, "Oh, and we'll bring supplies. Real coffee, real food. That hospital food sucks. I remember one time when –ow! Alright, alright! I'm hanging up! Relax Colin! See you soon doll!"
The dial tone rang in Rory's ear as she flipped her phone closed and shut her eyes. This was hell. She had been sitting in a hospital over night, still in her clothes, hair and makeup for her best friends wedding. She smelled of her mothers tequila shots and she hadn't had a decent cup of coffee in… oh, a good twenty hours.
"Excuse me miss?" A timid and slightly portly nurse approached her, tapping her on the shoulder to take her out of her semi-slumber. "Are you here for Logan Huntzberger?" She asked timidly.
"Yes, I'm his girlfriend." She answered, alertness seeped back into her.
"He's gaining consciousness. You can visit him if you want to." Rory gave the woman a sincere smile before thanking her and rushing in the direction of Logans room. She had so many things to say, so many things to apologize for.
"Hey," she said softly as she walked into the room, "how're you doing?" Stupid question Rory. He fell off a cliff for goodness sake!
"Umm, hi." Logan replied, flashing a smile that was still as charming as ever… even in his smashed up state. "I'm feeling like a guy in a hospital bed." There was something off about the way he looked at her, he was distant. He was like she had been when she just let him walk out that door. She had been so cold, so distant! She knew what a stupid idea that trip was and she didn't even try and stop him! She should have stopped him!
"I'm so sorry Logan." She said softly, her eyes sweeping over his confused face.
"For…?" He looked at her as though she was some foreign creature, she took a step backwards and with it a moment to compose herself. She needed to apologize. Even if he didn't want to talk about it. She knew he felt the coldness too.
"For being so cold, so… distant. For letting you walk out that door. I was punishing you. I didn't mean to, but you were right. I hadn't forgiven you for the bridesmaids. I-I could have lost you Logan." She took a few steps closer to his bed, waiting for a response. Anything.
The next words that came out of his mouth surprised her, "Do you have the right room?" She stepped back again in surprise. She was finding it hard to tell if he was joking or not. Why was he being so hard to read?
Just then a young, bubbly and very blonde nurse floated into the room with some vitamins and painkillers for Logan to take. "Anything I can do for you?" She asked in an annoyingly high pitched voice as she placed the tray before him.
"Some water and your number would be appreciated." Logan supplied in a very Finn-esque manner.
The nurse blushed, his charm as strong as ever, even through his slightly disfigured body. "I'll be right back." She bit her bottom lip in a flirtatious manner before leaving a grinning Logan and shocked Rory alone in the room.
Even in a hospital he was a charmer. Even with a girlfriend he was a charmer. Rory felt tears prickling in her eyes as she tried furiously to keep them at bay. She stayed here all night for him! She set Paris on the nursing staff for him! Would his painkillers be enough to placate her broken heart?
"You know what Logan," she choked out, "I thought using your sister was low, but this tops it all. You're an ass Logan. Finn and Colin should be here any minute now, you should hope they're more sympathetic." She turned on her heel and stormed out of the hospital room. This was low. Even for Logan, king of bad break-ups, this was low. Rory waited until she was seated firmly in the waiting room before she broke down into her own world of tears.
Logan looked after the strange girl confused, she was obviously upset about something, though he couldn't for the life of him remember what. He had been pretty wasted the last few days, maybe he did something drunk and stupid on the boat near Fiji.
True to her word Colin and Finn gushed into the room minutes later.
"He's alive!" They both cheered in surprise and merriment, Logans face brightened upon seeing his best friends faces. He was glad they didn't get too banged up when the boat sunk.
"Hey guys!" Logan said happily as the blonde nurse came back in with a bottle of water and a piece of paper containing her number on it. Logan grinned at her as she gave him a flirtatious smile and walked out, an obvious sway in her step. He turned back to his friends who were looking at him in horror. "What?"
"What's that?" Colin asked hesitantly, motioning towards the piece of paper.
"Her number." Logan said with another smirk.
"Why do you need her number?" Colin asked, again his voice was full of hesitance and worry.
"Because she's hot…" Logan said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. His friends just stood there, staring at him, their faces as pale as ghosts. "God, it's just her number! What's with people? The girl in here before acted even worse! Just because it's a hospital doesn't mean I can't pick up!"
"G-Girl in here earlier?" Finn asked, a look of worry and anger flushing through his features. "Shit. Rory." With those few words he sprinted out of the room and could be seen frantically searching around the hospital waiting room through the window, he scooped the brunette girl from earlier out of a chair and embraced her tightly as her body shook with sobs.
"Logan…" Colin began, his hesitancy replaced with repressed anger now, "What's wrong with you?"
"What's wrong wit me? What's wrong with you… I mean, you were sane –no, saner in Fiji. Now, you've both cracked it! Is this some morphine induced hallucination?"
"Fiji!?" Panic and urgency joined the anger in Colin's voice, "What do you mean Fiji? What's the last thing you remember Logan?"
"The boat sinking in Fiji…" Logan turned his head towards Colin and cocked his head to the side in a bemused fashion.
"You're not messing are you?" Colin asked, though it was clearly rhetorical. His face had taken an even paler shade as he slumped down into one of the chairs in Logans room, occasionally looking out the window at the couple who stood there, still embracing and both crying now.
"Colin. What's going on?" Logan asked, starting to panic himself now.
"That's Rory," Colin said meekly, his head in his hands, rubbing his forehead furiously, "You started dating six months after Fiji. God Logan, please telling me you're kidding. This is so not funny."
"Six months?" Logan spat, shocked and confused, "How is that possible? It's… it's. No, I don't have a girlfriend. I don't do girlfriends. What's going on?"
"Logan… it's spring 2006."
"What? No! That's… that's not possib- what? She's my girlfriend? How'd Shira get me into that?" Tears brimmed in both boys eyes as they sat there, staring into the confusing void of thoughts.
Colin looked at him, stunned by Logans accusation, "Rory isn't like that. Don't… don't hurt her anymore Logan."
"What? So now… I end up in a hospital, god knows how, and I'm stuck with some chick who for all I know is a gold digging bimbo?" Logan's voice was rising with anger, this situation was too much for him, and how could they expect him to be sympathetic towards her?
"She's not a bimbo… or a gold digger, she wants to be a reporter, she-"
"Oh, so it's the connections then? Great. This sucks Colin!"
"I know, but it's not like that, she's-"
"I don't want to hear about her." Logan said bitterly, trying to sit up further, but the pain in his ribs halting him.
"You're an idiot Logan." Colin said in a scarily calm voice as he followed Finns example and left the room to join the crying twosome, but no before pulling a newspaper out of the plastic bag he was carrying in and tossing it at Logan.
Logan looked at the date on the paper before turning his eyes back to the three figures in the waiting room.
Rory's breathing became haggard as she struggled to inhale the life give gas. Each breath she took pained her more than the last. Each movement a stab to the heart.
"Fiji? But… he's –he doesn't… I don't exist." Her eyes were wide with shock as she slumped back into the waiting chair, followed closely by an equally shocked Finn. The three pairs of eyes were all tear stained and puffy. All three brains were working on overdrive, yet could find nothing in the thick fog of thoughts that surrounded them.
Rory stood up and began pacing the room, fully aware of the pairs of eyes following her and giving them no recognition at the same time. "Go back in. Sit with him." She demanded, turning to the shell shocked boys.
"But Love-" Finn started, worried about the girl he had grown to love as family.
"I'll be fine Finn. I have things to do. It's just another break-up right?" The pleading in her voice was tear inducing.
Colin nodded solemnly, "Yeah… just another break-up."
Rory gave him a sad but grateful smile as she ushered them into the hospital room, not daring to look at Logan for fear of breaking down. She couldn't break down now. Not yet. She couldn't make it real.
She pulled out her phone and flicked through her phone book, looking for a rarely used number. She could kill two birds with on stone as the saying went.
"Mitchum?" Oh, she could get rid of the anger alright.
"So…" Logan began, his insides hurting not from the broken bones, torn cartilage and uncomfortable braces, but from the sense of loss. One and a half years, in a blink of an eye. "Did I miss much?" he asked lightly, not wanting to make the situation any more depressing.
"Nope, same old same old." Finns laugh came out gurgled as it mixed with the repressed sobs.
"But hey, you finally beat Robert in poker." Colin added wanting dearly to grin like Logan did when he heard this.
"How was Fiji?" Logan asked, he didn't want to talk about anything bigger at the moment, not Yale, not his father… not Rory. "I mean, after the boat sunk."
"Umm, honestly mate? I don't remember." Finn confessed, "I think we were all too wasted."
Logan laughed a little, "At least I didn't miss anything there."
A sober silence engulfed the room and the boys let tears prick in the corner of their eyes as they all huddled together, comforted by their close proximity and lack of words. Words did no good. While they were all together they could feel normal. Nothing felt any different when they were in silence.
"Finn, Colin?" Rory asked as she stuck her head around the corner, averting her eyes from Logan. The teary eyed boys turned to her, she had to talk to them before she lost her nerve. "I'll just take a second." The boys nodded and walked over to the door where Rory was standing.
"Hey." Colin said meekly, brushing the tears from the corner of his eyes with the back of his wrist.
"I'm going to go home now… I don't think… I don't think he wants me here. You guys catch up. Honor's on the next plane back… I also called Mitchum again, that was a bit of fun," She let out a bitter laugh that was more depressing than cheerful, "I'll box up some stuff for him to have here… and I'll… I'll move out of the apartment before next week. Oh, and I talk to the doctor, they can't do a CAT scan or anything until the braces on his back are removed, then he'll go into some serious tests to find out if he'll ever…" She couldn't bring herself to say that word. Remember. Memories. They were what made break-ups different, the fact that she knew Dean could still think of her, she knew Jess remembered the good times. At the end of this relationship she was alone. She was the only one who knew about it. It was like an imaginary boyfriend. "Can I... can I talk to him? I want to –I need to say… I need to say goodbye." She let out a small sob and the boys stood aside to let her have her final moments with the boy who had meant the world to her for the past year.
"Hey again." She said softly, approaching his side.
"No. I don't want to hear it Logan." She said sadly, "I'm just here to say goodbye. I've taken care of some things. I hope you'll be alright. I really do. You're an amazing person Logan, don't tell yourself that you can't do something. You can do anything, you just have to believe in yourself. Did we learn nothing from 'Mad Hot Ballroom?'" She let out a strangled laugh at the memory. "So, I guess this is goodbye. I'll miss you." She bent down and kissed his cheek, inhaling his sent for the last time before turning and heading towards the door. "I love you." She whispered so softly that he barely heard her.
Go outside. Hail a cab. Go home.
It was just like 'socks then shoes' right?
She'd never done anything harder in her life.
How she made it to that bed is a blur of images and emotions. That part of her life was over. The days spent with Logan, the hours, the minutes, gone. Only to be known to her, and her alone. Martha's Vineyard, the jump, the coffee cart and everything else her life has become. Alone. Loneliness was the worst predicament. She missed him already.
She inhaled the familiar scent of Logans pillow and cried herself to a restless half sleep.
Logan sat in the hospital bed staring blankly at the door as it swung shut behind the distraught brunette and his two friends entered shortly after her. For the first time since he woke up he felt complete loss, though he had no idea what he was missing. His sister used to get that feeling all the time, she would check and double check her purse to find what she was missing, only to find she had everything. This was worse. Much, much worse. There was so much emotion in the goodbye, yet it was wrong. Like a stranger on the street running up to you and sharing those innermost turmoil's.
"Honor's getting the first plane back; she'll be here as soon as possible." Colin said in a lost attempt at comfort.
"Where's she now?" Logan asked, still recovering from the strange goodbye.
Colin paled and gave Logan a sympathetic look, "She's, uh, on her honeymoon."
"Honor got married?" Logan asked, his eyes tearing up as his friends nodded solemnly. "Josh?" He choked the singular word through his tears as his friends again confirmed his assumption.
There was a period of silence, much like there is when we remember soldiers, or those who have died. Though this was no silence of remembrance, there was nothing to remember. That's what made this silence so heartbreaking.
"You lied to me." Logan said with an attempt at a lighthearted smile.
His friends looked up at him confused before he continued, "You said I didn't miss out on much."
Fin shook his head with almost sincere laughter, "Ignorance is bliss mate."
"Damn straight." Logan confirmed and the conversation turned slightly more tolerable.
Night fell and his friends left for the night with promises of their return. The silence of the hospital would have deafened him were it not for the screaming flurry of thoughts occupying his head. Would he remember? Did he want to remember?
Part of him said no.
"You think she's here?" Finn stage whispered to Colin the next morning as they approached the door to Logans apartment.
"No, I doubt she would have wanted to spend the night here. She's probably at her mums house… or god forbid, Paris' place. That woman scares me. But I'm putting my money on the mothers place… I think they're pretty close. No way would she want to be alone in this place, too many memories." Colin's normal volume of voice was in strong contrast to Finns whisper.
"Poor girl…" Finn stated, still using his loud whisper.
"You don't need to whisper," Colin sounded slightly agitated as he unlocked the door to Logans apartment with the spare key.
"SHHH! The lights are off… but you never know." Finn was ignorant of the colour rising in Colin's cheek. It was too early to deal with his friends strange ways.
"Idiot! It's eight in the morning! It's already light outside… that might explain why the lights are off Sherlock!" Colin exclaimed, slightly exasperated, glaring at Finn as he walked into the apartment.
"By God! You're right!" Finn's voice was suddenly loud and even more attention grabbing, "Why am I up at such an ungodly hour?"
"You never went to sleep Finn!" Colin growled, his patience wearing dangerously thin.
"Someone's crabby when they don't get their beddy-bye!" Finn exclaimed in a sing-song voice as he waved his arms around ludicrously.
"And whose fault is that Finn?"
"Colly-Wolly needs some Sleepy-Weepy!"
"Finn." Colin warned.
"Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top-"
"That's it!" Colin lunged across at Finn, pulling them both onto the couch where Colin proceeded to try and hit Finn repeatedly over the head.
Finn, recovering from the immediate shock of the surprise attack pushed Colin off him, causing Colin to slam into the side of the coffee table, sending magazines flying. Finn lunged off the couch and onto Collins back. Colin let out a screech of shock and pain as Finn pulled his arm behind him and sunk his teeth into the sweater covered flesh.
"Guys?" A soft voice coming from the bed across the room caused the boys to stop mid brawl, both wondering how they hadn't spotted her earlier.
Colin yanked his arm from Finns grip and stood up, causing the Australian to stumble backwards behind the couch. Colin straightened out his clothing and took a good look at the teary eyed female.
"Rory?" Finn asked, his head popping up from behind the sofa. "Why are you here? Colin said you'd be at your mums."
"I live here Finn, why are you- oh! The boxes! One second!" Rory started to zoom about the room grabbing various things she knew that Logan would need with him at the hospital, Hemmingway, Nick Hornby, Thompson… then an idea struck her as her hand came across a familiar book. Asher Fleming. She had found a way to ingrain parts of her life, parts of her, into his life. Even if he would never know her.
After picking up all the possessions she knew that Logan would want at the hospital she sealed the two medium sized boxes and handed one to each of the boys who stood gaping at her from near the couch. Their eyes spoke volumes, regret, surprise, sorrow and sympathy.
"Rory… you don't have to do all this." Colin said softly.
"I know, but I'm going to anyway. I want him to be happy. It's hard for me, but it's harder for him right?" She looked so desperate, she was snatching at anything to keep her sane. To keep her together.
"Oh, doll!" Finn said, placing his box down to embrace her in a hug.
Rory stepped back. "Don't patronize me Finn." Finn stopped, slightly shocked at what she had said. She covered her mouth with her hands as tears brimmed in her eyes. "I'm so sorry!" She cried out as she rushed forward to hug him tightly. She pulled back and stared at the two people she had grown so used to having in her life.
"We're still friends right?" She asked, the question seeming urgently alarming at that moment in time.
"Always." Colin gave her a wan smile and embraced her in a hug as well.
The boys picked up their boxes and made their way to the elevator. Not wanting to say their goodbyes. It wasn't goodbye for them. This wouldn't change anything.
Rory felt as though she had left a small piece of herself in those boxes. It was strangely satisfying, oddly soothing. She was still a part of his life, however unrecognizable and small it was. She wasn't completely gone. Not yet.
Updated 8th March 2008.
So, I'm plotting this story completely before writing it. I have all these little tidbits planned out and it's fairly exciting. What's more important, the history we share with someone, or the chemistry and the memories that aren't made yet?
Tell me what you think in your reviews, history or possibility?
…and please tell me what you think, I really love this idea. Do I need to grovel more? The GO! Button is waiting.