Author GwenStacy (in another life—rainingyesterday)
Disclaimer Nothing on Gilmore Girls and nothing on The Lovely Bones.
Rating PG-13 (language, sexual situations)
Summary We all have regrets…I want to erase mine…We all want to do that too. Rory. Lorelai. Luke. Everyone. Loosely based on 'The Lovely Bones'.
Playlist Naked as We Came – Iron and Wine (see my profile for links so you can listen while you read)
Notes More reactions. Including someone we've only met slightly. Sorry for the wait.
Luke's head lolled forward on his chest, the blue glow of the TV washing him out. He snored loudly, and in consequence, did not hear my mother leave the house. She creaked open the back door and slid into the porch. There she pulled out her new pack. She stared at it for a while. Still, she hated the smell of cigarettes, but something about the mesmerizing pattern of smoking, inhale-exhale-inhaleexhaleinhale, a detrimental yoga of the lungs, made her rebel against the inner instincts. My mother lit up.
I lazily watched her, my eyes drooping. I had been reading so long in the library, and all I wanted was to sleep, but I couldn't because there is no sleep in Heaven. Sleep is an Earth thing.
Instead of a slumber, I go into a comatose like state of mind where I drift. I feel like I'm in San Francisco in the 60s. Everything is sweet. Exactly. It is when the bitter deliciousness of the coffee grind smell fades away, and an over flowing sweetness fills the air. When I wake up I am sometimes in a field of flowers. Different types; sunflowers, daisies, lilies, tulips, marigolds, daffodils, buttercups, and gradually I am Alice forgetting about Mr. Rabbit.
I fall into this sea of tranquility usually when I read. The words are a simple, un-yielded murmur of ink and familiarity that calm me.
I leaned forward, curious, as I watched her reach into the same purse that released the cigarettes; the bag choked out a phone. My mother dialed a familiar number, and he answered it only after it rang three times.
My father blearily glanced at the clock, and tried to wish himself back to sleep. "What did I do to deserve this call?"
"She's gone Chris."
"Yes, she is. She's independent in New York. I know. I want to sleep now."
"Yea," my mother inhaled sharply fighting back tears, "she's in New York. She's going to be shipped to Hartford in a week. It will be soon. Can we expect you there?"
What makes a father?
I used to ask myself that when he missed a birthday. Every candle was a symbol of each empty promise he would tell me. I'll be there for you next year.
My father woke up the next day after getting stilted details from my mom. He shook his head—as if to rid of bad, erroneous dream that seemed all too real—and took out his laptop from the bedside table drawer. He refused wholeheartedly to believe in my death. Instead, he thought, he'd finish the PowerPoint for work. They were always so hard on him at the office. He should get a vacation. It's not like he needs a job. He's loaded. Probably he should visit Lorelai and Rory in Stars Hollow. He'd have to see Luke, but he also had to stay in touch with his 'family'. You never knew when you may loose them in a freak accident, or to a sneaky disease, or…a random mugging in which an unnamed relative was senselessly shot down and bled to death on the cold hard ground.
Of course he didn't know anyone who died like that.
He opened his internet browser planning to check his mail. The loading bar slowly slipped into its slot, and the New York Times web page popped up. He scanned through it quickly, hesitating over a small blurb. Convinced his eyes deceived him, my father clicked for the whole story:
Former Girlfriend of Huntzburger Heir Dies in Mugging
(New York, NY)- Lorelai Gilmore, former girlfriend of Logan Huntzburger, son of newspaper mogul Mitchum Huntzburger, was pronounced dead at the scene by cause of two fatal gun shot wounds three days ago on the New York City streets.
Gilmore was walking to her home late in the evening of September 23, when an unknown person or persons confronted her. The events that occurred are indefinite, but police do know that the woman's purse and money was stripped of the body save the office ID tag that identified the victim.
"All that we know about the crime has come from the limited evidence in front of us," says Officer Guerrero, "and what the neighbor's heard. It's not a lot to go on to find our suspect."
The position of the body leads forensics to believe that Gilmore was running away from the thief when she was shot. The first bullet pierced her left lung, and the second bullet lodged itself in the lower neck. The wounds were fatal. The shooter was gone by the time local grocery and meat market owner, Valencio Portocelle, called paramedics.
"I heard gunshots, and I ran out of my store. I saw the girl on the ground and I immediately ran back inside to call the police," says Portocelle.
Blood had run down…
He couldn't read anymore. The article went on to describe the ending of the scene, my family, and lastly my relationship with the Huntzburgers. It was nothing special. I probably wouldn't have made even a blurb in the front page if I hadn't had some connection to a wealthy, well-known family. If I hadn't made that blurb, my father would have probably forgotten the whole nighttime delivery of mal news.
He's good at that. Forgetting. I would blow out each candle, sometimes like on my seventh birthday one by one, and wish that I would get into Harvard and my dad would come live with us. Child wishes.
My father got off the internet and finished his PowerPoint. It was a good presentation.
California is in the west. The sun sets there in a dazzling array of gaudy golden strands that flicker off the coastal waters. The cities, the ones you know without a map, soak up the last rays before the sea swallows them whole. He loved to watch the sunset. From his sky rise condo close to the Pacific Ocean, Logan would sit in a chair with his cell phone on silent, suit buttons open, patent leather shoes slipped off; just to watch the sunset.
I knew this because on some occasions, he would call me and tell me exactly what was happening out in the water. I would listen to him happily, and relieved that he didn't think me abhorrent after saying to no to his proposal. In fact, he still whispered 'I love you' every time the burning sphere was no more on his side of the U.S.A. With nothing to say back except a known truth that would most likely hurt us both (I love you too), I would always hang up first, not knowing he listened to the dial tone minutes after the fact, and I'd fall asleep troubled thinking of the things California represented to me.
To Logan, California was all new, and glossy, and Hollywood--like all the other pretty, ambitious hicks being dropped of by the busload expected it to be, only they found out the true dirty reflection of L.A. after their casting photos were lost in a briefcase of a money whore agent. Even if he was in Northern California, the mind set of freedom and gain infected his brain like spore.
"You're doing good, Logan," congratulated Mr. Hunt, his stout boss. "You're doing much better that I thought you'd be doing."
"Thank you. My father will be happy to hear that."
Mr. Hunt winked, "I'm on it kid. One good message from me, and you'll be on the old man's good side. Oh, speaking of messages, I think Mary was saying you have urgent one. You might want to check up on that."
"I suppose I shall," Logan eased, "It's always good to talk to you Hunt."
"Mr. Hunt, Logan. I earned it kid. It's Mr. Hunt."
With those parting lines, Mr. Hunt left him to his business. Logan swiveled around and did a sauntering, intimidating walk that he saved for the office. The place was a stage for him to flourish on, and he did well with every winking smile, and congratulations, and angry outburst. He made everyone believe he belonged there.
"Hello Mary," Logan said seductively as he slid into cubicle.
The little brunette answered, "Mr. Huntzburger."
"The Boss Man tells me I have an urgent message."
"That you do. I'll run it to your office, because unlike you, I actually have work to do."
Logan sat up, pretending to be offended, "Well thanks Mary. Why don't you take the day off tomorrow since you work so unbelievably hard?"
She smiled, as he headed to his office and I heard her thoughts on how annoyingly great he was. If I wasn't in Heaven I suspect jealousy would have come over me like a green dress.
But I forgot all about Mary when I saw Logan slumped on his chair, pale, and looking out his office window, a decent view. I knew he had heard by the way tears formed at the edges of his eyes, and I watched his chest rise and fall in a heaving way through the fiberglass window. His body fell forward, and his blonde head fell between his knees and Logan's body heaved once more. He was crying fully, and I was outside his door, wanting to, for the life of me, (oh, the ironies) to go in. I started to beat at the glass.
Don't cry, I love you, don't cry.
Stop it, stop it.
Look at me!
He couldn't see me though, and he fell apart in that office. Days later, when the windows were cleaned, they would be puzzled by the erratic handprints. All over the glass, my palms made their mark, and they couldn't be erased.
Kwan and Steve cried. That's all they've been doing since Hep Alien had started this new tour route that went into an impressive six states and thirty-five venues. The kids were giving Lane a migraine that made her sick. She had taken eight pills in the last two hours and so far the effects promised on the label had not yet shown their worth.
"Think tortured artist," she told herself as she paced in front of her drum kit before a show. Lane then braced herself for the bawling children that were the fruit of her loins, "Stevie! Kwansiepumpkin? What's wrong boys?"
They sat on a spare amp, old enough to explore, but young enough they always had to know their mother was near by. "Kwan and…me Kwan found bug, mama!"
"Ew," she muttered looked at what Kwan held in his hand. "Put that down. Then find Daddy or Mama Kim, so they can wash your hands ok. They're behind that curtain. Mommy has to practice her drums okay?"
The boys nodded at ran off. There hadn't even been any tears on their faces. Lane pulled at her hair, frustrated.
"Tortured artist. Van Gogh. Kurt Cobain. James Dean. Whitney Houston married." She sat down and picked up the sticks. "Tortured artists had headaches all the time."
Lifting a stick an inch above the surface of the crash cymbal she lowered it down lightly. It gave a dull metal sound, and she winced as it caused her temples to throb. I laughed for the first time that day. Lane took out some earplugs from her pocket, stuck them in, took out another pill, swallowed that dry, and then placed a beat with the bass drum.
Just as she was about to ease in the snare and the high-hat, Mama Kim came in with a cell phone. She shouted thunderously, "Here Lane. For you. It is Luke. He say it is important. Also, why does Steve eat bugs?"
Ignoring the question, Lane thanked her for the phone, "Hello?"
"Oh, hold on. My earplugs."
"I said that I have bad news."
Oh no. Luke was going to tell Lane. I was having such an easy time just watching her. "Can we talk about it later? I have a show in a few hours, and I can't even make noise!"
"Okay. I'll call you--"
"Actually," curiosity got a hold of her, "just tell me it now while I'm already feeling down. Go ahead; kick me."
"Lane, I'll tell…okay…three days ago, Lane, Rory was walking down…"
Her eyes misted as Luke's voice traveled miles by some kind of waves--she didn't remember. She didn't remember much actually. Her name was?
Lane, I told her, your name is Lane.
But like every other time I tried to send truth from Heaven it was lost in static.
She hung up the phone without a goodbye, and walked over to her drums. Not replacing the plugs, Lane pounded on the set with all her might, the cymbals quaking and the drum heads shivering, letting out the loud Bomp-bomp-crash-bomp—crash—crash—crash—bomp. The little Korean women's head screamed in agony at loud noise.
But at least it drowned me out.
Everyone remembers his or her first kiss. Their first boyfriend or girlfriend. Their first love…
His hair was brown and floppy and soft. His eyes were gentle, and lips always grinning. It was cute the way his ears stuck out a bit, and how he had to stoop just to look at me. He was my first kiss; shoplifting came easily after that. Whenever I saw him, butterflies clichéd their way into my stomach and my cheeks felt on fire. Everyone loved him. I ended up loving him. It was happiness just to be with him.
He leaned over, sweating, even in the windy Chicago autumn day. His arms flexed involuntarily as he lifted a long piece of lumber, the contours of his muscle shimmering in the hazy sunlight. I watched him while he worked.
I hoped no one would reach him. They say ignorance is bliss, and in these cases of the people I care about being hurt by the knowledge of what happened to me, I believe that saying more than ever.
Dean walked over to his truck. It was his lunch break, and he sat down on his truck bed. He took out his lunch; a sandwich and a mildly warm beer that had sat in a cooler whose ice had now turned into water. Eating quietly and taking large sips, he never even acknowledged any of the other workers. Just eat and drink, eat and drink. I had no idea whether to leave him or not. He looked…not miserable. Just kind of…solemn.
He stared out to city skyline, not paying any attention. His mind traveled a different route and I was afraid what where it would lead. Past? Future? I knew by his uncut beard and chapped lips—never present.
The shrill ringing of his cell phone, clipped to side of his Wranglers, shook him back to his hard labor of living and building. Dean flipped it open roughly and held to his ear, simultaneously grunted, "Hi."
"Dean, sweetheart, it's your mother."
His mother blushed at the other end at his hard tone, "Caller ID. Sorry. Forgot."
Neither spoke for a moment.
"Clara says hello!"
"Tell her," Dean paused for the right words, "I miss her."
"She'll be glad to hear that."
"Dean," Mrs. Forrester stuttered, "this is about Rory Gilmore."
"I'm hanging up," he growled.
"No! Wait! You need to hear this!"
"She passed away Dean. I thought you should know. Rory Gilmore is…gone"
He hung up.
He took another swig of beer as his body seethed with anger that was still left over from adolescence, a sign he never truly grew up, and Dean went back to work.
Paris called the New York police station from Boston. Her clothes had not been changed, it was eleven forty-two at night, and Doyle had left the apartment in a plan to escape the oven temperatures that the thermometer could not read, because it was just Paris seething.
"You're telling me that none of your CSI wannabes can figure out who the hell killed my friend! I bet that freaking Austin Powers could do a better job on this case!"
"Don't ma'm me! My name is Paris Gellar! Do you understand or do I have to translate that into moron?"
"I understand m—Miss Gellar, but we have little evidence to lead us to perpetrator. The bullets and shells are already in the lab as we speak, but it might take some time to identify the type of the gun used in the homicide and then identify the owner of the gun.
Eyewitness reports are sketchy. We live in New York, Miss, every low-life on the street commits crimes and people want to be part of the story. I have some lady coming up to me tellin' me her cat saw the guy. Supposedly the cat says he was a transvestite."
"We follow the cat's lead! I had a cat once! He seemed a hell of lot smarter than some people! Look, Officer Whatever, I just want him found. Okay? I'll go after the bastard myself if I have to. He'll wish Charlie Manson was the one that found him instead of me."
"I believe you Miss Gellar. I do, but please don't be puttin' yourself in danger or gettin' into police business. We'll find the man who killed your friend. Promise you."
"Yea right," Paris muttered and planned her trip to New York.
I opened my eyes to a field flowers.
Sunflowers extended their heads to a pinkish purple sunset that drooped its head behind a hill. I had been in this valley before. My body felt weightless and yet grounded at the same time, and I felt my lips involuntarily curve into tiny smile. The kind when you first wake up after a wonderful dream, and the remnants of it are still clinging to your brain, giving off a wonderful taste to your nervous system. Except, instead of waking up from my dream, it was like I had woken in it.
A shadow, the shape of man sitting next to motorcycle caught my eye atop the hill and he seemed so high up. Like he was touching the lavender heavens.
Oh wait—I am in the Heavens.
I willed myself up, clawing at the dirt and modestly trying to keep my sundress down, until finally I was making my way up the hillside. The flowers teased and tickled my knees, but I kept quite so I would not disturb the mysterious dead man.
He was smoking a cigarette, and I crinkled my noise even if there was no odor. His profile seemed familiar, but in the waning, colored light I could not be sure. His jacket was black leather, myself barely noticing the chilly breeze and unwillingly shivered. Underneath the jacket, I had to suppress a giggle, because for such a 'tuff' looking guy with a motorcycle, he wore a bright pink button down shirt.
He must have heard my muffled laugh, because he coolly looked up at me, and I almost choked.
"James Dean…" I stammered.
He grinned, took out a pair of thick-rimmed glasses, and put them on. He looked back to me, and asked, "Now, how do you do?"
"I…" I paused to plop myself a foot away from him on the grass, "I'm Rory, well, Lorelai Gilmore, and I'm doing really good. I mean, I may have had a heart attack actually seeing you, and all, but that's kind of stupid because we're dead, so I really couldn't have had a heart attack. You can call me Rory," I finished blushing.
"Rory," James Dean tried out.
My face turned redder than the sunset, "Yea. My mom and I used have movie nights where we'd watch all three of your movie, but we'd never make it through 'Giant'."
"I never made it through 'Giant' either."
We both stared at the sky. I guess he wasn't the most talkative guy.
"Ars longa, vita brevis," he murmured.
I looked over to him, and had the urge to fix his hair blowing in the wind, but I resisted. "Latin?"
"Yes. It means, 'Art is long, Life is short'. I'm glad you saw my films."
"Not only that, but right after I found out 'East of Eden' and 'Giant' were books, I begged my mother for copies. I was like ten, and both those books combined was over a thousand pages," I stated proudly.
James Dean winked at me, "So your one of those bas bleu kind of girls?"
"Oh, so now you know French," I laughed.
His face sobered and I wondered what I had said wrong. He took off his glasses and wiped them on his silly pink shirt. Hesitating, he said, "I loved a French girl."
"She was," his face grew dreamy and I couldn't help but fall under his spell, "beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Like a French rose."
"What was her name?" I inquired.
He ignored me, "We were in love, but her mother didn't like me all to much. We ended our relationship, but I still loved her. I went her wedding," he said. The sunset had ended its show and now it was the stars turn to glitter like diamonds. He laid down and I followed suit. His voice was low and I strained to hear it, "I didn't go inside, but I stood outside with my bike and I waited for her. I waited for her to come on out, and see me, and love me, and realize she made a mistake.
She was beautiful when she walked out of there; her hair and that dress! Gee, I'd never seen anything so perfect. Then I saw him. I hated him. I wanted to shove his head into wall. I decided to leave before I did something really bad, but I saw her look at me. I saw her smile go away, and I knew she still loved me too."
I gave him a flower, "That's romantic."
"What happened to her?"
He plucked a few of the flower petals off, and looked me in the eyes, "She committed suicide some time later. I'm looking for her. I don't know where in Heaven she is, but I'm going to find her."
Taking his hand, I turned up to sky, "Good luck."
So there James Dean and I lay on top of the hill of the valley of flowers, holding hands and saying nothing else. Friends so quick that only Heaven could shape. Just dreaming 'a la belle etoile'.
He looked up to sky, and saw smog. He remembered how when he was young his mother used to tell him the airplanes passing over the city were shooting stars. He told Luke that one time, and he said he guessed that's why none of his wishes ever came true.
Jess sighed, and kept on walking to his apartment. It was the same way he traveled everyday, the same route he walked when we had our impromptu meeting between life and death.
He still thought about it. Wondering. Worried. Wistful.
He got out of the frosty night air. Climbing the steps, instead of taking the elevator, left him with little breath, and he cursed his addiction to cigarettes. He hated being out of shape. You have to be healthy to survive is the way he saw it. You can't duck and throw punch quickly when your lungs are black and cancerous.
Once in the room, Jess slipped off his coat and scarf, throwing it on the beat up sofa that he couldn't bring himself to toss when he moved from above the store. Scuffling to his kitchen, Jess planned to make himself a late night PB&J, crunchy of course, however he was stopped by the pulsating object in his pocket.
Jess opened his cabinets trying to remember where he last placed the ever-elusive peanut butter jar. I was happy to notice that there was something that brightened up in him when he heard it was Luke. "Hey, hey. How's it going Uncle Luke? Did you call me at…two thirty in the morning to tell me Lorelai's finally been committed?"
There was no chuckle in reply as the usual conversations went. Luke spoke softly. "Jess, I'm going to tell you something you are not going to want to hear, and I need you to stay on the phone with me. Ok? Just, don't hang up after I say what I'm going to say."
"Sure," Jess said dragging out the word, and pausing what he was doing.
"Rory," I cringed. How many times will I torture myself with watching them? "was living in New York as you know. And she was walking home from work when someone jumped out and mugged her."
Jess's pulse quickened, "Is she alright? God! What the hell is she thinking? New York is way to Goodfellas for her!"
"Listen to me, Jess, don't get too upset."
"Too upset! The girl has lived in Stars Hollow her whole life for god sakes! With actual traffic laws, and neighborhood watches! I think--"
"The mugger shot her, Jess!" Luke shouted in the phone.
The pulse that had quickened before had now practically died. "Huh?"
"She was murdered." He spoke it with such a heavy coldness, as if lead licked ever letter. My skin crawled. It was the first time I had heard it like that.
Inside a lavishly decorated room lay my grandmother. Her eyes were closed, and breathing even. If her nose wasn't runny, and mascara tracks tracing her cheeks, and if her clothing was not rumpled, you may have thought she was just taking a nap.
But as her husband sat in study with a friend named vodka, gazing at my portrait with loving memories, Grandma was not asleep, but instead mourning.
I couldn't take any more of this.
Notes Two Next chapter will be uber short. Just to let ya'll know.