Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
A/N: Sorry about the wait. We are finally in present tense in this story, which also means it is the last chapter. Thanks for all of your great reviews. I have loved your input for this story and I hope that this doesn't disappoint!
Tristan smiled as he woke up on the couch at three AM and turned to see that Rory was sleeping on the other side. They had collapsed after the engagement party and apparently, hadn't gotten too far before falling asleep. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he got up and slowly tried to lift her without waking her up. She let out a little whimper but wrapped her arms around his neck anyway.
"Shh, I'm just moving you to the bed." He said. She nodded, never opening her eyes. He carried her into the bedroom and laid her gently on her side of the bed. He rolled her on to her side, unzipped the back of her dress, and carefully slid it off her body. He covered her up with the comforter before undressing himself and sliding into bed. Staring at her a moment, he kissed her forehead and turned over, staring at the ceiling. She looked so good here, in his bed. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the thoughts that had been plaguing him since the conversation with his mother today. He got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach every time he considered having the discussion with Rory. He didn't want to have a fight about it, and topics like that always led to fights, didn't they?
"Hey Ror," Tristan said, finally getting up the courage to talk about his thoughts. "Can we talk for a sec?" Rory paused and looked up at him. He never used terms like that.
"What is it?" She asked.
"I just wanted to know if you were happy here."
"What are you talking about?" She asked.
"It's just that, with your entire family coming down here for the party yesterday, I can't help but wonder if you actually like living down here, or if you would rather be in Connecticut with them." Rory didn't say anything, simply stared at him. He was being serious. She set down the glass in her hand and slowly melted into the nearest chair. The wind had been taken right out of her. What was he suggesting?
"You would do that for me? You would pick up your entire life, leave your family and your job and your house, just to make sure that I was within driving distance of my mother, who drives you crazy."
"She doesn't drive me crazy. Most of the time." Rory scolded him with a single look. He sighed and walked over to her, putting his arms around her. "I just want you to be happy." He told her. "And I'm not sure if you can be happy here."
"You don't think that you are enough to keep me happy?" She asked him. "You don't think that you as a single human being have a stronger hold over me than my entire family?" She said as if the thought were ridiculous. "Tristan, I love you. I'm going to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. You should know that I would rather be with you than with anyone else. And I do love it here. I am extremely happy here, and not just because of you."
"Are you sure?"
"Where is your confidence?" She asked. "Twenty four hours with your parents and you turn into this Tristan?" She said, trying to understand. Her words took him by surprise. "You never question anything."
"Yeah well…." He trailed off, not willing to respond on how true that statement was.
"Come here." She said, pulling him in towards her. "Kiss me." She demanded. He looked at her briefly before kissing her chastely. She took his hands and moved them to her hips. "Like this." She whispered before wrapping her arms around his neck. He kissed her again, this time letting her sighs fill his mouth. It was intoxicating. He wanted to drown himself in her, numb his brain, and simply fall into her.
"God, I need you." He murmured against her lips as he rubbed his nose against hers. She pulled away, wanting to look him in the eye. Tristan was never one for vocalizing his wants, his needs, his love. He believed that, unlike Rory, his words were cheap, and that his actions spoke for him. Rory wasn't sure if he was speaking figuratively or literally, but the fact that he had said it at all was enough. She turned around without saying a word and started walking towards the bedroom. Her message was clear. Tristan followed, shutting the door behind them.
The next month flew by and the next thing Rory and Tristan knew they were in Connecticut, preparing for their upcoming nuptials. While deciding to live in North Carolina, there was no getting out of a big Hartford wedding, no matter how hard they had tried. And while Rory usually had Lorelei to back her up on matters, she had also wanted Rory to have the biggest and best wedding and to take advantage of the cash being thrown at her in every direction. They were going to have one of the most beautiful weddings of the century, but they were also doing it their way, which surprised a lot of people. Rory had picked out everything, refusing Emily's help. If she tried to suggest anything that Rory didn't like, they simply threatened her with elopement and that took care of that.
"Have I told you how amazing you were tonight?" Tristan said as he thanked her once again for putting up with the drama that was the DuGray family. Tristan had been extremely impressed by Rory's ability to fall so quickly in line with his insane family. While she had had a lot of practice with Emily and Richard, he mostly had Logan Huntzberger to thank for this character trait. Everyone seemed a little less crazy when judged against that family, including the DuGrays.
"You don't have to thank me!" She told him for the last time. "Besides, Claire was pretty much keeping me company all night." That had been the most important meeting of all: Claire and Rory. Tristan had been sick over it for a full week beforehand because he knew that these were his two favorite people still on the planet.
"Gramma was still upset that she didn't get to come to the first engagement party." His grandmother had been in and out of the hospital for almost a year and refused to come down to visit with the rest of the family for the engagement party. If she wasn't one hundred percent, she didn't want 'others pity'.
"Tristan, she adores you." Rory said as she squeezed his hand.
"I wish you could have met my grandfather." He said quietly. The topic of Janlan always upset him a little, even now. "He would have loved you." Tristan smiled as if recalling a memory. "He always told me that I needed a strong woman to keep me in line, just like Gramma did for him. 'Son, if you find a woman who will stand up to you, hold on to her.'" He did his best impersonation. Rory smiled.
"Did he tell you that in high school?" Rory asked, wondering if Tristan had talked to him about their fights. Tristan nodded. "Looks like you followed his instructions." Tristan chuckled.
"I think that he sent you to me." He said in complete seriousness. It was a thought that he had kept to himself, never one to share his private thoughts with others, especially when it came to his grandfather. The truth was, despite Tristan's usual cynicism about faith and religion, he couldn't help but hope that his grandfather was still just as meddlesome in the afterlife as he was in his life on earth.
"Someone did." Rory said. "The chances of all of those events happening spontaneously are just too ridiculous to be real." Tristan sighed, thankful that she didn't throw his idea carelessly aside or make a teasing remark.
"We should go to bed." Tristan said, glancing at the clock on the bedside table. "We've got a rehearsal dinner tomorrow." Rory smiled.
"We're finally getting married." She said as she set her tired head down on his shoulder. "I thought it would never get here."
"Are you nervous?"
"No." He said. "I'm really not."
"Good." She said. "I've got so much to do tomorrow." She realized as her face showed her mental retreat into her head. "Oh, don't forget to pick up Nate and Cora at the airport tomorrow. I've got my final fitting for my dress, so you're going to have to do it." He saw her mentally preparing a list of all the things that still had to be done.
"I will." He comforted her. "Don't worry, everything is going to go smoothly."
Rory stood in front of the mirror, smoothing out her skirt one last time. She couldn't believe it. In two minutes she was going to be Lorelei Leigh Gilmore-DuGray. She sighed as she fiddled with the bouquet in her hand. She wasn't nervous, just anxious. She hadn't seen Tristan since the rehearsal dinner and she was going a little stir crazy.
"You ready kid?" Lorelei asked as she entered the room. Rory turned around and nodded.
"Have you talked to Tristan?" She asked as she stepped down from the mirror.
"Yes, he's dying to see you."
"Was he nervous?"
"Maybe a little, but I think it's from everyone staring at him. He looks really good Ror." She smiled at her mother's statement.
"Okay, any final words before I get hitched?" She said, trying to keep the mood light so she didn't burst into tears and ruin her makeup as she walked down the hallway.
"Don't trip." She said. "And keep your eyes on Tristan the whole time you walk down the aisle. You only get a few steps to take him in, and you don't want to miss them by looking into the crowd." Rory nodded. "Okay?"
"Ready." She said with a deep breath. The wedding planner cued the music and the doors opened and Tristan looked up from the floor to finally see his bride. He had never seen a more beautiful person in the entire world. Instantly, both of their eyes flooded with tears. Tristan fought them back, refusing his line of sight to be blurred with tears. Suddenly hit with the enormity of the realization that he was the lucky S.O.B that would be spending the rest of his life with her, he got weak in the knees. He took a deep breath as Lorelei handed Rory's hand to his and he helped her up the step to the altar.
"Hi." He whispered, unable to say anything else. She smiled and turned to the minister.
"Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today in the presence of God, family, and friends, to unite Tristan Janlan DuGray and Lorelei Leigh Gilmore in marriage." Rory smiled at Tristan and squeezed his hand. "If anyone has any objections as to why these two should not be united, speak now or forever hold your piece." The crickets in the room led the minister to continue. "Tristan, do you have something you would like to say to Rory?" He cleared his throat.
"First of all, you look stunning." He said as the crowd laughed. "I didn't write anything because that's your job and anything that I write would come across as horrible next to whatever it is that you've got penned. However, I just wanted to tell you that I love you so much it hurts and I have since the very first day I saw you. You're my everything and I can't even fathom spending a single day apart from you. Even if I wanted to, I can't break the bond that you and I have created. So I will be there in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, til death do us part, not because of these vows, but because I can't imagine anything else that I would want more. I love you Mary." Rory was finally losing the battle with crying as he put the ring on her finger. He wiped her tears away from her face and smiled at the mascara left on his thumb.
"Rory, do you have something you would like to say to Tristan?" The minister said with a smile, knowing that she did.
"You look stunning." She said honestly. Tristan chuckled and shook his head. She took a deep breath. "You have always said that you fell for me the first day you saw me." She took out a sheet of paper. "September 4th 2000. I know, I keep a journal." She said. "I won't read you what I wrote about you, it's not good." Tristan laughed. "I went back and figured out that we have known each other for nine years. And for most of that time, you have been waiting…for me." Rory said. "You have been waiting through other boyfriends, and military school, and college, and working across the country. If you count the time that we have actually been together, and I did include that one kiss back in high school," everyone laughed "we have missed out on seven years, eight months and twenty six days together." Tristan's face was blank as he processed that amount of time. "To think that we could have had an extra seven and a half years together kills me. And while I understand that we needed that time, I don't want to wait another second to be your wife." Tristan smiled at the statement. "My promise to you is that from now on, we will live every second to the fullest, because while I can't get back that time, I can promise to never keep you waiting again." Tristan smiled as she reached behind her and pulled out a ring and placed it on his finger. "I love you and I can't wait to start our life together."
"I love you too." He said as he fought the urge to kiss her. The minister took notice and was merciful.
"By the powers invested in me by God and the State of Connecticut, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
"Thank you." Tristan said, the relief rushed out of him as he threw his arms around her and kissed her. Everyone clapped as they walked down the aisle hand in hand.
The reception had finally come to a close around midnight and Tristan and Rory were happily back in the limo that would take them to the hotel for the night before jetsetting off to France for their honeymoon.
"I can't feel my toes." Rory said as she wiggled her bare feet from underneath the hem of her dress. "I haven't danced that much…ever." She said with a tired smile.
"Yeah but it was fun." Tristan said.
"You know what else is fun?"
"Our wedding night." He said. "I haven't gotten any for over two weeks." Rory grinned. When she had first suggested the idea of no sex until the wedding, she thought Tristan would throw a fit, but she promised to make it worth his while.
"You're not the only one." Rory admitted. "But we're almost there." She said as the limo stopped in front of the hotel. "I might need your help getting out of the car." She said as she searched for her shoes. Tristan handed them to her. "Aw, my hero." She said as she took the shoes from him and slipped them on. They walked into the hotel. As Rory followed Tristan, she suddenly got a case of déjà vu.
"Wait a second." She said as she looked around. "Is this…"
"Uh-huh." Tristan said without slowing down.
"And are we headed…"
"Towards the same room." He finished her sentence. Rory grinned as he hit the elevator button for the fifth floor.
"I can't believe you booked the same hotel…how do you even remember what room we were in?" She asked.
"Because I stole the key." Tristan smiled and held out the key from their previous visit. She smiled and shook her head.
"Why?!" She asked.
"I told you! It was the best night of my life, up until now that is. I needed a souvenir from the night that I finally, after seven long years, slept with my Mary. It was a historic day." He teased her. The doors opened. "After you." Tristan escorted his wife out of the elevator. He unlocked the door and led her into the room.
"This is one of the best surprises I've ever had." She told him as he turned around to kiss her. "Thank you."
"Your welcome." He said. "Hey Ror."
"I told you Marys didn't have one night stands." He said, his voice dripping with victory as he wrapped his arms around her.
"How long have you been waiting to say that line?" She asked, knowing that it was all part of his grand scheme.
"A long time." He admitted with that adorable 'caught red-handed' smirk that she loved so much. She kissed him, wanting to capture some of the joy he was feeling and experience it with him. "No more waiting." Tristan said impatiently, reminding her of her promise.
"No more waiting." Rory confirmed as she kissed him again.