Disclaimer: I don't own it.
A/N: LAST CHAPTER! Thanks for all the reviews and to everyone for reading this little ficlet.
"Ror?" Tristan asked as he came through the door and didn't see anyone around. "Where are you?" He started searching the house and found her in the hallway, emerging from her office, baby in her arms and pencil stabbed through her ponytail. Tristan laughed at the sight and grabbed his daughter from her. After a kiss hello to both of his girls, he smiled.
"Working hard?" He asked.
"Tell me why I agreed to do this." She asked as she sat down in her chair again.
"Because you're brilliant and it's something you've always wanted to do."
"I don't know what I was thinking. I can't write a book! Do you know how many of my weekly stories would fill a book?"
"A lot?" He offered. She gave him her patented 'You're not taking me seriously' look. He sighed and crouched down so that he was eye level with her in the chair.
"You can do this." He told her. "You've got more talent in you then you take credit for. There's a reason why people have been begging you to write a book for a year. It's because they love you. And I love you too." Sophie squealed. "Sorry, we love you." He corrected himself with a smile. Rory smiled back and kissed him.
"You're welcome, now we're going to leave you to your writing, and we," He said as he patted Sophie's stomach "are going to watch the Mets game on TV. Sophia, can you say Mets?" She heard him say as they walked down the hall to the living room. She shook her head and stared at her computer screen again, took a deep breath, and started typing.
I just picked up a copy of the New York Times. You wrote a book? Not only did you write a book, it debuted at number one on the best-seller list. Congratulations, I always knew you would do it.
Tristan put the card back in the flowers. He was so proud of her and her accomplishment.
"You've got a present." He said as he entered her office. Rory looked at him strangely. "There's a note." Rory took the card out of the bouquet. After reading it, she put it back. The tears in her eyes refused to spill as she touched one of the flowers. Tristan didn't say anything, he simply watched the emotion in her eyes.
"They're from Jess." Rory muttered. Tristan nodded. "God, he didn't even leave his phone number so I could call him."
"Come with me." Tristan said as he set the flowers down on her desk and took her hand.
"Come on." When Rory got into the hallway she heard her daughter talking to someone.
"Do you like the Mets?" She asked absent-mindedly while she brushed her Barbie's hair. The stranger laughed.
"Yeah, do you?"
"And how do you feel about the Yankees?" He asked, jokingly, but Sophia took him seriously.
"Daddy says that the manager is a…" Tristan's hand swooped over his daughter's mouth as Rory stared at the man in her living room.
"Lorelei Sophia DuGray." Rory said sternly. It was at this that he finally turned around to face her. "Hi Jess." She said as she walked over and embraced him in a huge hug.
"Hi." She hadn't seen him since that night in his bookstore, but he hadn't changed that much. She barely saw Tristan escape out the front door, carrying the giggling child in his arms out of the corner of her eye.
"You have a daughter." Was the first thing he chose to say as he pointed to the door. She nodded. "She asks a lot of questions." He said, clearly amused by the situation he was in.
"I have no idea where she gets that from." Rory said with a coy smile. "Thank you for the flowers." He nodded. They stared at each other for a minute, just taking in this moment and how weird it seemed. "Can I get you anything?" He shook his head.
"I'm fine." Another long pause occupied the room before he continued. "You look good, happy." Jess said.
"Me too." Rory glanced at his finger as he held up his hand.
"You're married?" She smiled.
"Yeah, we dated for two years so I figured why not."
"What's her name?"
"Any kids?" He laughed and shook his head.
"No way." She smiled. "Little carbon copies running around like me? I'm not that cruel to society." Rory shook her head.
"Are you still in Philadelphia?" He nodded.
"Luke stops by once and a while to visit." Rory got quiet.
"How is he?" Jess knew why she was asking. Ever since Lorelei broke off the engagement and married Christopher, their relationship to Luke had been broken at best. Rory had had some hopes that it would get better after they had gotten a divorce, but Luke was already hurt and Lorelei refused to admit that she was wrong in marrying someone else. Now they didn't even eat there anymore.
"He's good. I think he misses you though."
"I miss him too." They both got lost in their thoughts for a second. "I've missed you too." She said quietly. "There were so many times I wanted to pick up the phone and call you…I just…" He put up his hand.
"Don't. I stopped by because I wanted to say that I loved the book."
"You read it?" She smiled.
"Yeah." He nodded. "You didn't actually think that you could follow in my footsteps without me reading it did you?"
"No. I guess not. It's so weird though. I know that the point of a book is for everyone to read it, but when I was writing it, I never thought that far ahead. Now people know it and comment on it, it's just…" She paused. "What did you think?" She changed her direction.
"It was fantastic." He said. "My favorite part was the chapter about the old man." Rory smiled.
"I should have known." Jess look questioned her to go on. "That was inspired by Tristan, who had a high school career almost identical to your own. I wanted him to look back on his life and know that all the craziness had led him to that one moment."
"I liked the existential theme that ran through it. It was pretty brilliant."
"Thank you. For everything. I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for you." She said honestly.
"You too." He said, the Danes monosyllabic tendencies in him shining through. She gave him a hug.
"I'm so glad you came." Tristan came in quietly and shut the door. They both turned to face him. "Jess, as you probably figured out, this is my husband Tristan."
"It's great to finally meet you." He said as he shook Jess's hand. "Rory's told me so much about you."
"Unfortunately, it's all true." He said, clearly uncomfortable with the situation they were in. Tristan smiled. Rory watched as she realized how similar Jess and Tristan were to her, especially through out their history.
"This is so weird." She muttered.
"What?" Tristan asked.
"You guys don't know this, but you are pretty much identical in every way. I never thought that you would meet each other, but here you are, talking to each other. It's just so odd." Jess looked at Tristan.
"We're identical?" He asked for clarification.
"Yeah, you both left me hanging in high school because you were too stupid to get your acts together." Both boys looked at their shoes, clearly ashamed of their bad behavior. "You both randomly appear on my doorstep one day in college and expect to get back together. You both disappear again until you," she pointed to Jess, "show up and scream at me for what my life had become and you," she moved to Tristan, "pick up the pieces and put me back together again. Fate kept pushing both of you back into my life for whatever reason, but it always worked out, much to my surprise. And now, here we are again, the two strangest men in my life are chatting in my living room." They didn't say a word; they just looked at each other and fidgeted.
"Sorry?" Jess offered. She laughed and Tristan smiled, but he hadn't realized that Jess and Rory had the same history as they did. It was kind of disconcerting. Still, she had chosen him, God knows why. "I should be heading out, I've got to get back to Philly before Sara starts freaking out about how long I've been gone." This sentence made Rory extremely happy because she started bouncing up and down, clapping her hands.
"Say it again."
"Stop it." He said seriously. "You're going to hurt yourself."
"You're married!" She said as she walked him to the door.
"Yeah well, you have a kid." He childishly retorted.
"Touché." She said. "We've come a long way Mariano." She said with a wink.
"Will you come again? Next time with Sara please?" She more commanded than asked. He nodded. "You won't wait six years next time."
"Well, we're leaving on much better terms this time." He said. She nodded. "See ya." He waved as he walked out the door.
"Soon!" She added before shutting the door.
"What did he mean by better terms?" Tristan asked. Rory thought about where to start.
"Well…After he wrote his book, Jess showed up to give me a copy. He found out that I dropped out of Yale and stormed off after railing on me for what my life had become. Later, I kind of showed up alone to his bookstore opening and he asked if I had taken care of everything in my life and I said yes, thinking he meant school and what not. So then he says good and leans in and kisses me." Tristan's brain did the math. He remembered her going to that opening, were they together at the time? "So I push him away and tell him that I was still with Logan, and despite the fact that he was horrible to me and for me, I loved him. Jess didn't like that answer. It was okay for him to treat me like crap, but now that someone else was doing it, he hated me for putting up with it."
"I remember you going to that." He said.
"Of course you do, that was the night that I broke up with Logan." Tristan looked at her. He had never put two and two together. He remembered stopping by her apartment and seeing her in tears because she had broken up with Logan. She didn't want to talk about it, so he just sat there, not wanting to leave her alone like that.
"I picked up the pieces." He said, repeating her earlier words. She nodded. "I thought you were crying over Logan."
"Jess looking at me like that, when he was so disappointed in me." She shook off the feeling. "I couldn't take it. I was more ashamed than hurt over breaking up with Logan. I knew that I should have broken up with him a long time ago. And there you were, just sitting there, rubbing my shoulder and letting me cry. I think that was the moment I fell in love with you."
"I never knew that." He said.
"Well, right after that you and I got together. I figured telling you that I was stuck in a love triangle with two other guys would have been a little messy."
"But it worked out just as it was meant to." She said giving him a kiss. He smirked, letting his hands run over her hips.
"Soph is at the neighbors til six." He whispered, backing her into the nearest wall.
"Tristan." She warned briefly before he kissed her neck. He didn't stop. "But I've got to make dinner."
"We'll eat out."
"And finish my article for my editor." She giggled.
"You can write it in twenty minutes. I've seen you do it before." She sighed. He wasn't going to give in.
"Can we at least move to the bedroom?" She asked as he ran his hands under her shirt. He kissed her his answer. Her mind completely numb, he picked her legs up and wrapped them around his hips. Her hands played with the hair on the back of his head as he carried her to the bedroom and placed her on the bed. Undressing as quickly as they could, Tristan knew they both were a little desperate. With a kid in the house, the closest thing to sex they got anymore was a quickie here and there.
"Hey, we can slow down." He said to her. "No one's here." Rory smiled.
"Do you realize what you just said?" She laughed at the notion of Tristan, with all of his former reputation, suggesting that they slow down and really appreciate the moment. "Oh, how the mighty have fallen." She giggled as he silenced her with another kiss.