Sundrenched World

Author: Genevah

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I claim to own nothing. Title/lyrics belong to Joshua Radin. A terribly melancholy tune… I adore it.

Summary: It's time for the holidays. A time for laughter. A time for cheer. A time to be with the ones you love… even though a certain someone is no longer yours to love.

I can't get to bed
But I'm really tired
The things in my head
You used to admire
In your sundrenched world

Tristan DuGrey had never really been the jealous type. He could care less if men stared at his date or offered to buy her a drink when he had left her side for just a few minutes. He found it rather entertaining- having others envious of him, coveting what he had. Yet when it came to a certain aspiring journalist, it became an entirely different story.

All bets were off when it came to the lovely Rory Gilmore…

They had dated once upon a time… though the word dated didn't quite define the scope of what they shared. They had a full-fledged relationship and it was exclusive in every sense of the word. They were an item… a couple… two people agreeing wholeheartedly to be monogamous. She loved him unconditionally and he loved her passionately- *correction: (present tense) still loves her.

Now, however, they as a couple are of the past tense. No longer together. No longer the happy couple with hearts in their eyes and matching goofy smiles.

No, there was no more them. Just him- sad and pining… and her- rekindling a romance with someone whom she dated before him, the worst kind of romance so he thought. Someone up there really had it out for him. Competing with someone from her past could play against him.

In the darkness of his loft, Tristan was still laying in the same position he was two hours ago when he came home from the Thanksgiving dinner at Paris'. Upon arriving and slamming his front door after stepping inside, he threw himself on the couch, on his stomach, his cheek flat against the seat cushion with one arm dangling off the side. He looked positively dismal. His eyes were glazing (partly due to the alcohol he consumed), staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows and into the downtown horizon. He finally accepted the fact that sleep would not come willingly tonight. His heart was too heavy and constricted with misery, as his mind willingly relived the painful images he had witnessed and conversations he had heard and took part in earlier that night.

Flashback

"Jess, come on... not here okay? Please? I'll make it up to you tonight," her blue eyes so seductive, were staring into Jess' at her quiet attempt at placating him.

Tristan had always thought that look was meant for only him.

He definitely was getting an earful and an eyeful from his place on the sofa. He threw back the last bit of amber liquid in his glass. The alcohol no longer burned in the back of his throat and his sanity had him already begging for another shot. Anything to lessen the ache in his chest that seemed to tighten being subjected to the sight and sound of the couple seated on the loveseat across from him. If he was being honest with himself it was too much way too soon.

It couldn't be worse
Don't bother asking
And here comes the nerves
While I'm trying to bask
In your sundrenched world

He couldn't help himself- (*and he didn't give a flying fuck)- openly staring at the two… at Jess' hand which had lost itself between her bare knees… his fingers seemingly gone unnoticed, tickled at the pale skin there. Tristan could remember vividly how soft the skin behind her knees felt against his lips and tongue.

Rory's own hand joined Jess' soon after, intertwining their fingers into one seamless limb. He couldn't tell if it was the alcohol coursing through his veins, but every action that he was observing between those two seemed to be magnified… as if he was watching only inches away from them. His pulse was pounding in his ears and he had just come to the realization that his hands were shaking and his heart was probably breaking because to him it definitely felt like it was …

Tristan placed his glass down on the small table beside him, pushing forward in his seat and cracking a few knuckles in agitation, contemplating a move of some sort- some kind of distraction to stop the nightmare from continuing. He fought off the intense urge to grab her by her delicate wrist and pull her away from Jess.

Before he could decide on anything, Rory stood up from her seat and started walking towards the rooms in the back of the apartment.

His eyes quick to indulge- in her slim waist, the curve of her hips that lead to her sweet firm ass, those long sensuous legs… Christ, he missed her… everything about her… so fucking much…

"Hey Tristan...," Paris bellowed from the kitchen entrance, breaking him from his trance. "-make yourself useful and help Doyle set the table." He had never thought he'd be so thankful to hear the sound of Paris' voice at that moment. It was his cold shower, a stinging slap in the face.

"At your service Paris." He told her, joining Doyle in the dining room, setting plates and silverware before every chair. He took note of the place cards and shook his head. Paris was always prepared, he'd give her that.

Just then Paris came out of the kitchen with what looked to be green bean casserole, placing it near the center of the table, next to the 20 pound deep fried whole turkey that was completely garnished with red roasted potatoes and sprigs of greenery.

"Assigned seating Paris?" He asked her skeptically, picking up the place card with Rory's name written across in an italicized font. "You don't think that's a little much?"

"Hey. I worked hard on getting everyone here tonight and I'm not taking any chances of you or him ruining Thanksgiving dinner."

"Yeah, about that…"

"Look Tristan, I'm sorry she brought him. She only let me know a half hour ago."

"You should have told me," he told her, feeling utterly deceived.

"Why, so you can leave? No way. You're family. You belong here just as much if not more than he does."

He shook his head, "You still could have told me." He reiterated. "A little warning would've been nice."

"She broke up with you Tristan. She's moved on and proof of that is sitting in the living room. You need to come to terms with it and get over her already." She said, rearranging the table décor in its rich warm autumn colors.

Her insensitivity was surprising considering the fact that she had been uncharacteristically comforting post his and Rory's breakup. "God Paris… heartless much?" His voice was hoarse and tired sounding as he left her and Doyle to set the table without him. He needed some fresh air.

"Way to shove the knife in deeper." Doyle chided. "Can't you see the man is still hurting?"

"Keep your comments to yourself and keep setting."

Paris immediately wished she could take her words back. Her mouth had a mind of its own in moments of stress and throwing a last minute Thanksgiving dinner sent her stress levels through the roof. She decided to let him go for now… to cool off. She'd apologize to him later.

Why had he agreed to come? Who was he kidding? He came to see her. To ask her if it was true. To find out if she had really given up on them. He felt Rory's presence seconds before she came walking through the front door earlier that evening. Their eyes found each other's instantaneously and he suddenly felt giddy seeing the object of his affection. How long had it been since he'd seen her? Only a few weeks? But then it hit him with as much force as being slammed by a Mack truck- it appeared that she hadn't come alone. There… behind her, Jess was undressing her – helping her out of her red coat. Their connection abruptly lost.

There were only so many rooms at Doyle and Paris' apartment. The tight living quarters left few places for him to be alone. The small living area was occupied with family and friends – Lorelai, Luke, April, Jess, Zack, Jackson and his two kids- Davy and Martha. Sookie was in the kitchen finishing the last touches on the desserts. That left the two bedrooms - Doyle and Paris' bedroom and the other – formerly Rory's when she lived there three months ago. It was currently unavailable since Lane was at the moment breastfeeding her twin boys Steve and Kwan.

Thankfully, he was warned of such by her husband Zack before he had even attempted to go in there, saving the both of them from an awkward situation.

He instead went into Doyle and Paris' bedroom, hoping to find the fire escape vacant.

And that was when he saw her, walking out of the master bathroom. Beautiful as always...

"Hey." She said, looking thoroughly uncomfortable, scratching at her elbow- a natural Rory reaction to show that she wasn't ready to interact with him (to be alone with him).

Tristan said nothing and continued past her towards the window.

She reached out for him quickly, gripping his arm firmly to stop him.

"Don't walk away from me… please." she begged, "… I'm so so sorry..."

He hadn't turned to face her.

"He- was in town… I didn't know – he surprised me… I couldn't leave him alone on Thanksgiving…" She was stumbling with her words, trying/hoping that she was choosing her words carefully… for his sake. Hurting him was the last thing she ever wanted to do.

Shrugging out from her grasp, he finally looked at her, into those eyes that had haunted him in his sleep.

"Whatever. It doesn't matter." He said, walking away, managing to pull off a look devoid of emotion and a voice of indifference... completely opposite of what he was feeling inside.

He could feel her eyes bore its way deep into him. He had a way, a special bond with her and her with him, where they knew what the other was thinking and feeling in ways only a few were lucky to experience. Turning away, he once again headed towards the fire escape not looking back- already knowing that she had tears in her eyes.

The cold bit away at every inch of his uncovered skin, but within minutes he succumbed to the numbness of everything around him.

Oh how he loathed life right now…

A/N: I'd love to hear what you think...