Title: Letters From Home

Chapter 1: Breaking the Ice

Disclaimer: This story is for entertainment purposes only. The characters herein are the property of... well, people who aren't me :]


Five months. Five so long months. There were so many things I wish I had said now, and I'm not sure why I didn't. I touch the locket hanging around my neck for good measure, I like to make sure that it's still there from time to time. There are so many things that I wish I had done now. The stack of letters lay beside me, as the tears run down my face. And now, it may be too late for any of that.

But I'm getting ahead of myself in my story, aren't I? The name Tristan DuGrey sent chills down the spine of many a girl at Chilton Prep. Except mine. At least, that's what everyone thought. The Mary couldn't have those feelings for anyone. And then the unthinkable happened. I was at school that day, Tristan behind me as usual. And as usual, he was being his annoying self. That's when we got the assignment.

"Alright, there's going to be a new project since you all did so well with the last one." There was a collective groan throughout the class as he went on to explain the assignment. He told us we weren't to switch partners, that he had assigned us like this for a reason. I knew something bad was coming before he ever got to our names. "Gilmore, DuGrey." I wanted to scream. Wonderful, just wonderful. More crap to add to this crappy day.

"Mary!" I groaned. Why did he insist on doing that? I stopped, but I didn't turn. I really didn't feel like this today. "The sooner we get started, the sooner we can be done and you can go back to loathing me. I need this grade, alright?" I must have looked startled because he just kind of laughed. "Sorry, a Paris moment there." I laughed at that too.

"Yeah, but it's alright." He smiled at me, and I wasn't sure that I'd ever seen him smile before. I could get used to watching his eyes light up like that. I blinked, trying to figure out where that came from, other than way out in left field.

"Well, why don't we go to my place?" I must have made a face then too, because he chuckled. "Or I can give you a ride back to yours. It doesn't matter to me." I nodded.

"We can go to mine." He nods and motions for us to leave. And suddenly, I begin to wonder if this was such a good idea after all.

"Alright, let's do this." We were sitting on his couch and we had already stopped for coffee. It had surprised me that he suggested it. "We don't have anything but instant at the house." He said as a way of explanation. I smiled, letting him know I appreciated it. "Alright."

Three hours later, we were taking a break and we were sitting there, talking. It was so weird at first. And then I started to wonder why I considered him the bane of my existence. Everything was light and fun here. Well, until the door opened in the foyer.

We kept talking, and everything was still good. Until a figure appeared in the doorway. It startled me and I nearly fell off the couch, Tristan leaned to catch me and helped me up off the couch.

"I'll drive you home if you'll collect your part of the project please." I felt like I had been burned. His voice was so cold and empty. I recognized the man as his father, and I understood.

"Alright." My voice matched his and I started to collect his things. He walks into the foyer, his face not giving anything away and I realize that I've seen that face before. Every day when he walks the hallowed halls of Chilton. And I wonder how much of his real self I've seen. And how much he's shown to anyone else.

We were sitting in my driveway after a silent ride home. It wasn't at all like the ride to his mansion in Hartford. There was no radio, not one word was spoken. I knew he was lost in thought, but for some reason I needed to make sure he was alright. I knew he wasn't going to come right out and say if he was or not so I decided to go a different way.

"Do you want to come in?" He looked at me, startled. It was almost like he had forgotten I was there. He looked up at the house and he took a deep breath. He looked at me and I couldn't help but wonder how his eyes could look so empty and then look so alive like that. He half smiled and nodded.

"Sure." I grinned at him and we got out of the car.

"That's funny, the door is never locked." He looked over at me and watched me, I simply shrugged. "It's okay, the spare's around here somewhere." He almost looked amused now. "I think." I muttered the last part to myself.

Suddenly, the door swung opened, revealing my dad. "Dad?" I was in his arms in five seconds flat, which is saying a lot for a Gilmore Girl.

"You didn't call." I pulled back, confused.

"What?" He let go of me now and I was so confused. What was he talking about?

"You didn't call to tell us you'd be late today. And you were out with some boy." Now I was getting angry.

"What's it to you?" My voice came out more bitter and colder than I had ever intended. He looked like I'd just slapped him in the face and Tristan looked surprised as well.

"We were working on a project, sir. I should have told her to call, but I didn't even think about it. I'm Tristan DuGrey." He extended his hand. Christopher just stood there, looking at it.

"Rory doesn't need a knight in shining armor. This is between her and I." Tristan smiled.

"I know that feeling better than anyone. Rory is a smart girl. Just like her mother." I watched with avid interest, knowing full well he'd never met my mother. Christopher snorted and was about to say something, but I'd had more than enough.

"Come on." I grabbed Tristan's hand and pulled him inside the house, leaving Christopher out on the porch.

"That was fun." He was only half talking to me now. He was looking at some pictures lining the mantle.

"Yeah. Sorry about that." He shook his head. "You don't have to apologize to me." He turned around to face me and smiled. "Trust me." I smiled at him and I saw something in his eyes and I couldn't help but wonder. "Don't worry about me." He turned again and started to reinspect the pictures. "You look so happy here." I nodded and grinned.

"It was at the Winter Festival in the town square last year." He looked me dead in the eye and my heart started to race. I had never seen him look at me that way before and something about it made me feel...

"Mini Me! Did you see your dad?" I turned around and almost laughed at the look on my mom's face when she saw Tristan.

"Yeah. For about two minutes. He yelled at me and was extremely rude to Tristan." She cocked an eyebrow.

"Tristan?" It was like the information about my dad was filtered out.

"Yes. Tristan. I go to school with him." She looked at me and smiled that smile she gets when she thinks she knows something you don't.

"DuGrey?" I nod. "Emily is going to have a field day with this!" She seemed too happy about that.

"We're working on a project together, mom." She cocked an eyebrow again.

"Anatomy?" Tristan chuckled behind me and I could have died.

"Mom." I gave her a warning look making her laugh.

"I'll behave. Promise." I nodded and she went to make some coffee.

"Sorry about that too." He just smiled and sat down on the couch. He looked so stiff, and I wanted to lighten the mood, but I wasn't really sure how. I knew he was thinking about whatever his dad had said to him before we left. I was determined not to let him.

"The festival..." His voice broke me out of my thoughts and I was embarrassed for not paying better attention to him.

"I'm sorry. What?" He smirked at me.

"Still thinking about the anatomy jab your mom made?" And that was it. The ice was broken between us again.

"Of course. I can't get your body off of my mind." I added a wink for good measure and I swear I thought he was going to fall out of his seat.

"Did my innocent Mary just allude to something dirty?" My face turned blood red as I realized that I had, to which he just laughed. "Well, I'm going to head out. I'll see you tomorrow right?" I nodded.

"Of course."

When he left, Christopher was no where to be found. I was relieved by that, to say the least. He was acting so strangely and I didn't really understand it.

"So, mom." She looked up from the paper. "What's going on?" She had the gall to look confused momentarily. "You never read the paper unless it's the comics. So what's going on? Why was dad here?" Mom sighed heavily.

"I'm not sure. He came in a few hours ago, mad that the front door wasn't locked. I told him that you'd be home soon and that we never locked the door. He flipped." She offered a shrug. "I wasn't really sure what was wrong with him. Your dad's MO is to show up unannounced, you know that. But it's not his style to do this." All I could do was nod. Of course it wasn't. He was the "cool dad" who rode motorcycles instead of driving a normal car, the one who lied about his job and career. This wasn't like my dad at all.

"I know, mom. I just don't know what could possibly be wrong with him. He was acting like that when I got home, too. I thought you might know what was wrong with him." She shook her head. "I wish I did honey. But I just..." She shook her head. "After everything that's happened..." She trailed off again and I could tell she was lost in thought.

"So Tristan, huh?" I smiled at her. She was changing the subject to something different, and I was almost glad.

"Confuses the crap out of me." She laughed then. Not a full laugh like usual, but close enough to satisfy me.

"Seriously. We're working on a project together. We went back to his place to study and his dad came in. All of a sudden, he got... Cold and closed off. And then he drove me back here and dad was here and acting like that. And then we just got to talking again." She nodded.

"Alright, so your feelings for him have changed then I take it?" I shrugged.

"Honestly, I have no clue." Loreali nodded and left it at that for the time being.