AN: Something I couldn't get out of my head after re-watching the last season. This is how I wish it would have turned out. Open Your Eyes update to come, no worries! Review, please. :)
Rory stepped out of the blinding rain and moved underneath the make shift tarp her town had somehow thrown together. She smiled through a mixture of tears and rain, gazing at the group of people who collectively raised her into the person she was. She couldn't believe she was leaving already. It was too much. It was too soon. She needed more time.
On the other hand, she was grateful for the distraction her job so graciously offered. With the job sending her into gear, she found it easier to forget about Logan. But when she let her guard down for an instant, she missed him so much it physically hurt. When she stopped to think about it, she was sure she made the worst mistake of her life. She loved him. She loved him like she had never loved anyone. He was her air. He made her smile. He made her feel alive.
But she wasn't ready to marry him and he wasn't ready to compromise. There was nowhere to go from here. That didn't change the fact that there was nothing she wanted more than to share this news with him.
She could almost hear his voice in his head, telling her congratulations, telling her how proud he was. She could nearly see his bright smile and feel his arms wrapping her up in a warm and protective hug. The tears came suddenly, without warning, and she felt Lorelai's arm wrap around her shoulder.
"Oh, hun," she murmured, "It's okay. This isn't goodbye, I promise. Kirk even offered to go with you. He doesn't feel you should travel alone."
Rory laughed softly, wiping a tear from her cheek, "I know. It's just…"
She let her voice trail off, unsure of how to explain her feelings to her mother. How did she explain how her heart was constricting, because of the loss of a man she forced out of her life? How did she explain that none of this felt real without his striking smile and heartfelt congratulations?
She inhaled sharply and shakily tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, lowering her gaze to the ground. She needed to stop hearing his voice in her head. He was a gone. It was time to move on.
A hand brushed against her arm. She knew that touch. God, was she even imagining his fingers on her skin now?
"Rory, look at me."
She wasn't imagining this. God, this was real. He was – she glanced up sharply, her gaze finding Logan's intense brown eyes. He was here.
"Logan, what are you doing here?"
"Seeing you. Come here." he laced his fingers around her elbow, pulling her away from the staring crowd and into the only secluded corner under the tarp.
She crossed her arms over her chest, really looking at him for the first time. He was soaking wet. His unruly, blonde locks were sticking to his forehead, his jacket was stained from the from the water.
"You're soaking wet," she started to reach out to touch him, then withdrew her hand quickly.
He stared at her hand, clenching his jaw slightly before raising his gaze to meet hers, "I forgot an umbrella," he shrugged, stepping towards her slowly, "I had to see you, Ace."
"Why?" she shook her head slightly and turned away, "You made it perfectly clear that it was all or nothing for us."
"Rory, look at me."
She shakily turned around, afraid to look into his eyes because she was sure she would break down.
"First of all," he began, reaching out and placing a hand on each of her shoulders, "Congratulations, Ace. This is amazing. I'm so proud of you. You're going to be great."
She closed her eyes, forcing back a sob. He couldn't do this. He couldn't come here and say all the things she wanted to hear, only to walk out of her life again. It wasn't fair. It was cruel. She couldn't handle watching him walk away again.
"Thank you, Logan," she replied quickly, attempting to keep the emotion out of her voice as she shook free of his grip, "Are we done?"
She turned on her heal and started walking away, feeling a sob rising in her chest. She couldn't handle this. She couldn't handle him.
"Rory!" he latched his fingers around her shoulder, stopping her from leaving, "Wait, please."
"Logan, what do you want? Thank you for coming here. Thank you for telling me congratulations. I don't know what else you want from me!" she could hear her voice rising, but she didn't care, "I'm not ready to marry you, Logan. But I love you! I love you, Logan! I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I'm not ready for marriage. But there is nothing I want more than just to be with you. I…I just don't know what else to say."
The tears were falling freely from her eyes now and she didn't bother to stop them. She was sad. She was sad and she missed him and she wanted him to know that. She wanted him to know that she was sorry, that if there was one man she would marry at this point in her life it was him. She knew she hurt him, she knew that. She hated that his heart was aching the same way hers was. She hated everything.
Logan was standing with his hands in his pockets, staring at her. He was as serious as she had ever seen him and slowly, he stepped forward. He reached out and took her hand, raising it to his lips and kissing it gently.
God, she couldn't handle the feeling of his lips on her skin.
"Rory," he murmured, his brown eyes finding her and only her, "I came her to tell you that I was wrong and that I'm sorry. I was so hurt I wasn't thinking straight. But I love you, Ace. And I'll wait for you for as long as it takes."
She was stunned. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't move. She just stared him, shell-shocked and not breathing, until his words fully sunk in.
"Logan, I…I'm going to Iowa. I'm going to be all over the country. I…"
"You're going to be great," he finished for her, "We'll meet up whenever possible. We've done long distance before, you said that, right? At least this time we'll be on the same continent."
She ran her hands over her face, "Logan, are you sure? If you're not happy, this won't work. It will be a disaster."
He smiled slowly, reaching out and wiping a stray tear from her cheek, "We could never be a disaster, Ace. I want to make you my wife someday, but I'm willing to wait. It's enough to know that it will happen someday. I understand your reasons and I don't know why I walked away like I did, but I want to fix it. I want to fix us."
"I want to marry you someday," she murmured, "You know that, right?"
He smirked, "Would I be here if I didn't?"
She couldn't help but smile as she moved forward and he framed her face with his hands. Slowly, he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. When they connected, Rory was sure she never felt anything more perfect in her life. Everything was suddenly right. She smiled against his lips and he pulled away, his smirking face looking down at her.
"I love you, Ace."
She pressed her head against his chest, feeling his lips brush against her hair, "I love you, too. So much. None of this felt good without you."
It was only when the crowd burst into applause that Rory realized the town was still there. She forgot about the party for all that time, focusing on nothing but the love of her life standing before her. Slowly, she turned around and Logan draped his arm around her shoulder. She took a deep breath and leaned against him, smiling faintly.
She was happy. She was ready.