Chapter Four: Just Friends
Chapter Nine: Thirty-Six.
"Girls just wanna… have fun?" She said hesitantly before smiling up at him, who was he to argue with that? He followed her dumbstruck as she egged him on, confusion finally taking over. He wanted to know what was happening.
"Where are we going?" He asked, sounding stupid as she grabbed a champagne bottle.
"What? You think I have a plan? Live in the moment Huntzberger!" She teased. He gave a cautionary glance around the room to make sure that no one was watching before following her into the dark cloak room.
As he drove away with his shirt buttons still undone he sighed to himself, as much as it freaked him out being interrupted by her mother, her father, and the mothers extremely large boyfriend, he doubted that he could stay away. She was amazing, he felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
Logan woke and rubbed his eyes. Wow. If he had trouble getting her out of his head before, he was a doomed man now. He looked over at the clock. He needed to get up if he was going to do what he needed to do before lunch.
Dr. Wilson walked out of his office; he had a slight lull in clients today and was looking forward to his lunch break, then he had to fill out a truck load of paper work and his wife had been dropping hints about their anniversary for months. He made a mental note to reserve a table at her favorite restaurant before making his way into the waiting room.
"Logan? What are you doing here?" Wilson asked in surprise as he looked up from his planner and spied the young blonde man sitting anxiously in one of the chairs.
"Well Doc," Logan answered with a smirk, "I want to remember."
Rory groaned and sunk her head into the pillows. Finn was more exasperating than she had thought. Contraire to popular belief, Finn had no problem getting up in the early hours of the morning, so long as his thick curtains blocked out any light threatening to get in. Now he was trying to cook her breakfast which consisted of sausages, potatoes, and a lot of salt.
She had tried calling Rosemary who had made some lame excuse. Juliet couldn't make it because she 'had company', Collins phone had simply rung out and Paris was too busy with 'morning after activities'. She wouldn't have called Logan, but when she went to shower and saw that the bathroom lock was stuck open thanks to large the quantities of chewing gum that had been strategically shoved there, and Finns various suggestions on how to 'save water', she gave in and decided to call him.
With one final groan she pulled her head out of the pillows and dialed the number.
"Hello?" Asked an awfully chipper voice.
"Alcohol impairs the thought process." She groaned.
"Rory?" Logan asked, confused.
"At Finns. Can't shower. Can't get out."
"Why on earth would you go to Finns?" Logan asked, not wanting her to know that he had overheard their conversation the night before.
"Alcohol impairs the thought process." She repeated, before meekly adding, "Come and get me?"
"Why'd you call me?" Logan asked lightly.
"Rosemary is a cow, Juliet has a 'friend' over, Colin is avoiding me and Paris has 'morning after' activities." Rory said with a wince.
"So I'm a last resort?" Logan asked with mock hurt.
"Your ego will get better." She rolled her eyes.
"I'm going to ignore that." Logan laughed, "Anyway, you're in luck, I'm about five minutes away, on my way back from an… appointment."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Rory squealed, ignoring his mention of an appointment in fear of him being on his way back from his date, Rebecca's, house, "You're armor is really shiny from where I'm standing! I think I'm going to build you a shrine! A monument! Name a country after you."
"Because that wouldn't be creepy at all, would it kid?" Logan deadpanned, unaware of what he was saying.
"Not at all… kiddo. Keep that up and it's going to be one small shrine."
"Right… so many other things I could call you…" Logan mumbled, the memory starting the piece itself together in his brain. "Wow… two in one day… Wilson must really be something."
Rory stared at her phone in shock. "Wilson… like psychiatrist Wilson? Like, get over the amnesia Wilson? Like you're trying to remember Wilson?" Rory asked with amazement and excitement.
"Um… I'll see you soon Ace. Bye." Logan hung up the phone. He didn't know what his next move was yet.
"Finn!" Logan heard Rory cry out as he silently entered Finns apartment.
"What Love?" Finn asked innocently.
"That's disgusting!" Rory responded, repulsion evident in her voice. Logan walked towards the bedroom where the sounds were coming from and observed the scene from the doorframe. Finn was laying on the bed, propped up on his hands and grinning and Rory cheekily, while Rory glared at him and pointed viciously at the headboard.
"What's disgusting?" Logan asked, causing Rory to jump.
"Hey Logan." Finn greeted cheerily.
"Jeez! You should come with a warning next time!" Rory's hand was against her chest and she glared at him with feigned annoyance.
"What's disgusting?" Logan repeated.
"He," She pointed an accusing finger at Finn, "actually has notches in his bedpost." The finger swiveled over to the bedpost, where eighteen little chips in the wood could be seen.
Finn shrugged his shoulders with nonchalance while Logan laughed, "That is slightly disturbing Finn."
"Like you can talk." Finn scoffed. Logan paled slightly as Rory turned towards him with narrowed eyes.
"I have no idea what you're talking about Finn." Logan spat out through clenched teeth.
"You may not have had literal notches, but you kept count."
Rory was stuck somewhere between complete revulsion, and curiosity. As always, the curiosity persevered. She just had to hope that satisfaction would be bringing this cat back. "And how many would that be?" She asked cautiously.
Logan shook his head furiously, an action that went by completely unnoticed by Finn.
"Thirty-six was the count before you came along love. By the time you got ballsy enough to ask him out he was pining like a girl, making excuses as to why he couldn't shack up…" Finns tone changed to one of mimicry, "I have a major paper due… my roommate's in the hospital…I'm out of condoms… I can't participate in any strenuous activities…"
Rory's mouth dropped open. Thirty-six. Thirty-six! "Thirty-six?" She asked rhetorically, "Thirty-six and a wedding party! No wonder you wouldn't tell me! Thirty-six!
"A wedding party?" Logan asked meekly, only to be ignored by Rory who still hadn't picked her mouth up off the floor.
"What about you Love?" Finn asked innocently.
Rory snapped her mouth shut at the question. "I am so not having this conversation!"
"So… you need a lift?" Logan asked sheepishly.
"And a shower, I feel dirty." Rory shuddered, starting to move towards the door to grab her bag.
"Oh! Love! I have something of yours!" Finn said, jumping off the bed and towards the cupboard where he began to rummage through the draws. "Ah ha!" He cried, pulling something pink out of the drawer and waving it wildly above his head. "I found it!"
"Oh my god." Rory murmured, going bright red as Finn waved her bra above his head. "Where did you get that!" She screeched as she ran over to him and tried to snatch it from his hands.
"Told you last night love, in the elevator! Honestly love, wouldn't have thought of you as the elevator type."
Logan laughed as Rory finally succeeded in retrieving the bra and shoved it into her handbag. Her face was redder than Santa's coat as she turned back to Logan. "So, uh, should we go?"
"Sure Ace," Logan smirked, "Just keep your hands to yourself in the elevator… I don't want you talking advantage of me."
Rory glared at the two boys before saying her goodbyes to Finn.
"Then, he insisted on calling the restaurant, at six in the morning, to make his 'special birthday reservations', only to go into a sulk when the very grumpy bread guy informed him that they don't do private parties of that size, or karaoke. Then, I made the mistake of telling him that a small bar in Stars Hollow called KC's, has a karaoke lounge. He then proceeded to call the bar –which was closed, then the manager, Taylor's, house, Kirks mother's house, and, the Dragonfly Inn! Which is in a complete mess by the way ever since… since… well... anyways, Three weeks from now he is having his party in Stars Hollow! All organized between the hours of six and eight in the morning!" Rory whined as the made their way across town in Logans silver Porsche.
"Isn't Stars Hollow like… a half hour drive away?" Logan asked, his eyes glancing briefly at her before returning to the road.
"Mmhm." She confirmed, "He's hiring 'Party Bus'' to get people there, and then organizing accommodation."
"Ah." Logan nodded, he was used to Finns abstract birthday ideas.
"Wasn't his birthday earlier last year?" Rory asked with furrowed eyebrows.
Logan shook his head and inhaled as he turned the corner, "I couldn't tell you, Ace."
"Right… I was pretty sure his birthday was near the semester break or something." She scrunched up her nose in confusion.
"We don't know when Finns birthday is." Logan said with a small smile.
"What?" Rory asked, obviously not satisfied with this revelation.
"Finn has never told us when his birthday is. When he wants a birthday party he just… has one." He shrugged his shoulders like it was the most natural thing in the world while Rory stared at him with wide eyes.
"He won't tell you?" She asked.
"Pretty much." Logan agreed.
"Wow." Rory turned her head back towards the road and recognized their location, "Why are we at your place?" She asked.
"Well, I don't know where Paris' place is, I'm pretty sure you don't want to be involved in whatever their 'morning after' activities involve, and, most importantly, my bathroom lock works." Logan answered, and seeing that Rory was content with his reasoning continued, "I still can't believe Paris shacked up with the editor. Hell, I can't believe Doyle shacked up."
"Yeah, well, he's not the editor anymore." Rory told him.
"Right! Senior year!" Logan acknowledged, "So who's the new editor?"
"I am." Rory answered with a small smile before climbing out of his car and making her way towards the buildings entrance.
Rory climbed the steps to Paris' apartment slowly. She had had fun with Logan, light conversation, teasing banter. Still, she could not get one thought from her head. Thirty-six. She frowned before her eyes fell upon a small blonde girl grinning stupidly by her door. Juliet waved excitedly at Rory, beckoning her over.
"What are you doing here Juliet?" Rory asked.
"Here." Juliet shoved two invitations into Rory's hands.
"To Finns party?" Rory asked in surprise, reading the contents. "How'd he get them so fast… and why two?"
"Yes, Finn works fast when it comes to parties." Rory had to admit that was true, he had done a lot of planning when she was at his house, as unorthodox as it had been, "And two is because you get to bring a 'friend'."
"Do you get to bring a 'friend' too?" Rory asked.
Juliet smiled dreamily, "I don't need a second one."
"Ok missy, what's got you so happy?" Rory asked.
"I did something slutty!" Juliet grinned, causing Rory to frown a little. "What's got your panties in a bunch?"
"Logan did a lot of something slutty." Rory answered darkly.
"He didn't go home with what's-her-face. You were too nice to her by the way. I would have sunk my teeth in." Juliet continued to smile contently.
"So, who's the guy then?" Rory asked, wanting to change the subject, but relieved that Logans appointment had not been with Bec.
"My lips are sealed. Anyway, so, I turned down Finns extra invite… only to realize that I kind of needed it." Juliet confessed.
"Then… ask for another."
"You know how fast Finn works, he'll be organizing something and then BAM! It's all over, he's sitting back on the couch again only moving to grab more fosters."
"Right. Well… maybe if you told me who the lucky guy is…" Rory hinted, wanting to know who had Juliet in such a good mood.
Rory pulled a face. "Ew Juliet! That's just… ew." She shuddered slightly.
"NO! I'm not taking my cousin, you are." Juliet confirmed and Rory felt herself relax slightly before the words sunk in.
"What? Me take him! Nuh-uh! I'm not doing blind dates." Rory refused shaking hr head frantically.
"Please! He's coming into the state for some work thing-o… he's here for a couple of months." Juliet explained.
"Fine. I'll do it –the more the merrier right?" Rory conceded.
"Great! Thank you so much! Oh, and I told him that he wont be getting any, so he'll try and keep the lewd remarks to a minimum. Now, I have a lunch date… I owe you. Ta!" Juliet bounced down the steps, looking completely out of place in her designer clothing. Rory rolled her eyes, she had no idea where Juliet got all her energy from, she ate less than a rabbit.
Rory checked that the coast was clear before letting herself into the apartment. No Paris or Doyle. All was good so far. She sat down on the couch let her cool façade fall. She let the sobs control her body and she wrung her hands pathetically in her lap, she should have been a drama major.
Logan groaned and walked over to the intercom, he pressed the little green button and spoke into the receiver.
"Um, I have a delivery for Mr. Huntzberger." A mans voice replied. Logan buzzed him up and waited for the fateful knock on the door. He opened the door to reveal a delivery man with a clipboard and long thin package.
"Who's it from?" Logan asked as he signed for the package.
"No idea man," the delivery guy said, "I just deliver the stuff."
Logan closed the door as the delivery guy walked away and looked curiously at the package. He was never a man of patience however and quickly ripped off the postal wrapping. Inside was a tall thin rocket with the words 'United States' written in red lettering down the side. He raised his eyebrows in confusion before he spotted the note.
This is the rocket from 'The Long Morrow'. I checked and double checked for you. Great doing business with you. Hope your girl likes it.
Sellars. That was Seth's last name. Maybe he would know something about what all this meant. He put the rocket on the kitchen bench, giving it one more puzzled glance before he went off in search of his cell phone, and with it Seth's number. Not spotting his cell phone anywhere immediately he began to get slightly frantic, he looked under the couch, behind the pillows, next to his laptop, under the bed… he did not find his phone under the bed. He did, however, spot something even more interesting. He reached his hand under the bed and pulled out a light pink lace panties that he had seen the matching bra of not one week ago. Rory. He groaned to himself at the thought. That was what he could have had. He shoved the panties in his bedside table and shut the door. He wasn't going to think about it.
Rory stood outside her childhood home for the second time since that life changing phone call. She ignored the numerous flowers that lay peacefully against the mail box and stared. She didn't want to go inside, she would play 'Little Match Girl' all night if she could, but she had promised that she would get the house set up for Finn, Colin, Logan, Juliet and Rosemary, the infamous five some. How she had been hoodwinked into all this was beyond her, but Finns party was that night, and she was playing gofer to their wild schemes, well, Finn and Juliet's wild schemes.
"You ready Ace?" A voice said from behind her, causing her to tense and swivel around to stare into the face that had become her Mecca over the past few months.
"What are you doing here?" She stuttered.
"Finn's due in an hour." Logan shrugged.
"I have to Finn-proof the town." Logan expanded. He showed no signs of starting this Finn-proofing however, rather her persisted to engage in the frustratingly calm gaze they held on each other.
"Do you… do you want to come in?" Rory suggested lamely after a sufficiently awkward silence.
"Sure, why not." Logan shrugged, following her slightly shaky path towards the front door. Her hands fumbled with the keys before she opened the door.
She was greeted with the familiar scent of perfume and flowers as she opened the door, she almost forgot that her mother was no longer here. She fought back the tears when she remembered. Babette must have refreshed the flowers, she used to do that occasionally before… well… she must have just continued changing the old flowers with new ones, waiting for Rory to come home.
"You ok Ace?" Logan asked from behind her, bringing her out of her daze.
Rory nodded, taking the precious seconds to regain her composure, and the use of her muscles. "Uhm… can you help me set up? Sheets are in the cupboard."
"Sure Ace." Logan agreed, setting to work on the tasks allocated to him. Though neither dared mention it, they both knew that the only reason Rory remained sane in her situation was because Logan was fluffing pillows right alongside her. She would never own up to this, she was independent. He would never bring it up, he aimed for independence. She couldn't have a hold on him.
"Rory?" Logan asks softly from behind the couch, hesitance in his voice, "How do you do all this? Deal with all this? I mean, I'm sent into a stupor after an hour with my dad but you're just…" he drifts off as he sees the distant look in her eye, scared that she is going to cry he turns back to the sheet he had been spreading across the couch.
He looks up in surprise as she answers him, "When people train for expeditions say, to Antarctica, they walk around for months before hand, carrying weights, dragging along tires. Eventually they become so used to dragging along this load that it gets easier for them… I mean, it's still there, following them, staring them in the face whenever they look back, but they deal with it. This is my load. Nothing left to do but deal." She smiled sadly at him as they finished setting up the last of the floor mattresses. "You want a drink?"
Logan nodded and followed Rory into the kitchen where she proceeded to open the fridge. Logan heard her groan in frustration and chose that moment to speak up, "What's the problem, Ace?"
"We have no supplies at all!" She whined, stepping aside to show Logan the completely spare fridge, sans two boxes of what looked like flea treatment. She picked up the post it note that lay atop one of these boxes.
Paul Anka likes his flea treatment cold. He feels too sweaty if it's warm. Thanks hun!
Rory felt tears prick in the ducts of her eyes upon reading this short, ordinary note, but she pushed them aside and turned back to Logan with a slightly forced smile, "So, Dosee's?"
"What's a Doe-see?" Logan asked with raised eyebrows, Rory merely laughed in response, not feeling quite as lighthearted as her laugh sounded.
"What pasta sauce should I get, Ace?" Logan called out from across the aisle barrier.
"Uh… avoid the words 'made with real vegetables'. Wait! Pasta sauce! I can't make pasta!" She rushed around to where Logan was and looked into his shopping basket. Carrots, ravioli, peppers and spinach lay in the basket, along with an assortment of items that she didn't recognize. All it all, it was far to green for her liking.
Looking up at him, she pulled a face. "Vegetables?"
"Well lets see what you have then." Logan said, leaning forward with a smirk, "Captain crunch… fruit loops… pop tarts… beefaroni… Ben & Jerry's… Red vines, cookie dough and twizzlers… and three packets of tater tots?!" Logan listed with amusement. He knew that Rory ate a lot, but this? It was a diabetics nightmare!
"Jaw off the floor, mister." Rory scowled playfully, deciding to let him buy his vegetables. As long as he cooked she was fine with it, those Swedish boarding schools were good for a reason.
"You're like a walking cavity." Logan mused with a smirk.
Rory brought a hand to her mouth, "You always said you liked my teeth."
Logan grinned, "I do, especially the bottom ones." They held each others gaze for a little longer before making their way towards the register.
"Oh great!" Rory groaned, "Brianna, Taylor's 'I-don't-give-a-rats-ass-about-my-job' niece is on checkout! We're going to be here all night."
Logan laughed, "Relax Ace, she's packing up, she's just changing shifts."
Rory relaxed and Logan grinned at the small sigh that escaped her. Suddenly, Rory tensed again, her eyes going wide. Logan looked towards the counter to see one very tall, very familiar bagboy. Dean. Logan's jaw tensed as they continued waiting for their turn, both in silent anticipation while Dean was none the wiser of their presence.
"Next-oh… um… ah…" Dean stuttered once he saw who was waiting next in line.
"Quite a vocabulary you have there buddy." Logan said with a smirk while Dean continued to stare between the couple wide eyed.
"Hey Dean." Rory said quietly.
"Hey." Dean swallowed heavily and continued to stare.
"Um Dean?" Rory prodded.
"Huh? What? Yeah?" Dean shifted uncomfortably.
"Can you… uh, checkout our stuff?" Rory rolled her eyes slightly as Dean jumped into action and started swiping through boxes. "Hey… ah… Logan, you go ahead, I need to have a word with Dean." Logan looked at Rory curiously, but obeyed and started to make his way out of the small store.
"So?" Dean urged, looking less than intimidating in his green Dooses apron.
"I'm sorry about you and Juliet. I didn't mean to screw that up for you." Rory started, deciding against her usual method of beating around the bush.
Dean sighed, placing the box of cereal down and giving Rory his full attention, "Don't you get it? It was never going to work between Juliet and me, even looking past her insanely protective friend. You're always around. Damn it Rory, I love you. Sure, I don't fit in your world, but there's a point where that doesn't matter. I screwed up, but I love you."
Rory stared at him wide-eyed for a moment before throwing a bunch of money on the counter, picking up her bags and rushing out of the store. It was too much. She couldn't get back together with Dean! Then again, she was after all a familiarity addict.
This chapter took me forever to write. So much procrastination to get through!! Anyway, I hope you like. I also hope you remember where the familiarity addict bit came from (ch4 last conversation with Lorelai). I really hope I'm not getting too far away from what people like or expected… basically, I hope you like it.
I had work experience this past week and so didn't have time to post any updates, sorry for the delay.
I'm also having a bit of writers block on the next chapter, so sorry for any more delays that might follow.
I know, bits of this story are everywhere, but I have a plot, I know how it all ties together, I just have to hope that you readers (and I) remember what's going on - I'm not sure just how confusing this all is.