Choosing My Own Way of Life

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter 4: Ice Packs and Prickle Bushes

Rory woke up to a large crash followed by a few choice curse words. She tried to lift up her head but immediately groaned and pulled the blanket over her head. She couldn't recall much of the previous nights events after her run in with Tristan. She remembered finding Finn near the bar nursing his swollen lip with a bag of ice. The two of them then proceeded to drink an entire bottle of tequila to themselves.

"Ace!" Logan called, as he entered the bedroom. "Time to get up. I have coffee and breakfast already made."

"Go away, it's too early." Rory groaned, hidden under a pile of blankets.

"It's noon. You have to get up, or you're going to waste the entire day laying in bed." Logan told her as he pulled the blankets off of her. "Colin and Finn are on their way over right now, we thought we'd take advantage of the nice weather and hit the park for the day."

"What the hell is there to do in a park, after you pass the age of 12?" Rory asked, trying in vain to wrestle the blankets back from Logan, "please tell me that this wasn't Finn's idea, because he wanted to play on the swings or something."

"No, lazy bones. This isn't a children's park. We've gathered everyone for a football game."

"And i'm going to do what? Gilmore's do not play team sports, or any sport for that matter. We don't have the coordination." Rory told him finally sitting up.

"That's why you, my dear girl, are going to lie on the sidelines and sun tan with Rosemary and Juliet while admiring my amazing physique." Logan told her.

"I have a better idea, how about we stay in bed for the rest of your day and I'll show you just how much i appreciate your hot bod." Rory told him slyly, as she grabbed his hand to pull her onto the bed with her. "I promise you you'll have much more fun in here with me than with me than being chased by a bunch of sweaty boys."

"As tempting as that sounds, we're still going to the park. I may take you up on your offer tonight though." Logan replied as he starting nuzzling her neck.

"Nope sorry, it's a one time offer." Rory said, as she pushed Logan off her, laughing as he fell onto the floor. "I'm going to go shower, when I get out I could really use a cup of coffee and a couple of Advil."

Rory went off into the bathroom, making a point to lock the door so Logan couldn't follow her in.

Logan shook his head and was muttering to himself as he walked back into the common room. "Damn woman, don't know why I put up with her."

"Rory finally up? Derek asked.

"Yep, she's in the shower now. She was not impressed when I told her that she'd be coming to a football game today." Logan told Derek laughing, "She did a damn good job trying to convince me to skip the football game and stay in bed all day."

"And you resisted?" Derek asked, "I never pictured you as one to turn down sex with a beautiful girl... or any girl for that matter."

"I do have some self control you know, i'm not Finn. " Logan told him grinning, " But seriously, she was just messing with me. We both decided that we're gonna just be friends now, I care about her too much to screw it up by having casual sex."

" So you wouldn't mind if I..."

"Don't even think about it." Logan told him sternly. " You so much as flirt with her and I'll kick your ass."

" Just kidding man. I would never. I can't say the same for every other guy though."

Just then Tristan and Josh walked into the dorm holding bags filled with bagels, doughnuts and muffins.

"Can't say the same for every other guy doing what?" Josh asked Derek.

"Hitting on Rory. Logan here is a bit over protective." Derek told them, grabbing one of the bags and taking out a powdered doughnut.

"Be glad that you're here at Yale, and not at Chilton. Guys have been going crazy for her since school started back up." Josh told them as he walked over to sit beside Tristan on the couch.

Logan didn't say anything just frowned and walked back into his room muttering under his breath.

Tristan also didn't have much to say. He sat quietly on the couch staring off at Logan's closed bedroom door thinking about how different Rory was. He couldn't figure out what was bothering him so much about it. A year ago he would have given his left arm to have her hit on him.

"I cannot believe that i'm actually sitting here watching a football game. I don't know anything about football, I'm not even sure who's scored the most goals." Rory complained to Rosemary and Juliet. The three girls were sprawled out bikinis on the lounge chairs that Rosemary had made Colin bring.

"Honey, it's not about keeping track of all the home runs, but watching a bunch of hot sweaty shirtless men running around in front of us." Juliet told her.

"I suppose you have a point. They are some fine looking men out there." Rory said, while glancing at Tristan. Halfway through the game he had taken off his sweat soaked tee shirt, giving Rory a chance to stare shamelessly. The boy had an amazing body, broad shoulders, chiseled pecks, and amazing abs. It took all her self control not to run over to him and run her hands over his stomach.

"Rory, spill. What's up with you and Tristan DuGrey?" Rosemary asked her curiously.

"Nothing, he used to hit on me before he left for military school, now he's back and completely uninterested in me." Rory told them with a sigh. There was no point in beating around the bush with those two. Rosemary was like a human lie detector, the girl could always tell when someone wasn't telling the truth or withholding information. The only downfall was she tended to use her talents to become an unashamed gossip.

"Uninterested? Please Rory, the boy wasn't able to take his eyes off of you last night. And today, he has made a point to run past you numerous times just to steal a quick glance." Juliet told her.

"I know, but every time I try to talk to him he just walks off. I dunno, maybe he just expected me to be the same girl that I was when he left. I just don't understand, I don't think I've changed that much. I'm not as shy and timid as I was, but I don't think that's a bad thing." Rory said, looking down at her hands.

"No that's not a bad thing." Rosemary said trying to reassure her friend. "It's just some people have a hard time with change. I think you need to show him that you are the same person deep down. Let me get to know you now."

"Yeah, you're right." Rory said smiling. "Tonight we're all going to Rich Man's Shoe, that will be perfect, nice and mellow and hopefully all the guys will be distracted throwing napkins at the folk singers again."

"Ohh right, I never even thought what Logan would think about all this." Rosemary stated. "I can't imagine he'll be pleased."

"No, definitely not. Apparently he was giving all the guys you were dancing with last night the evil eye, and then this morning he threatened Josh when he made a joke about him hitting on you." Juliet informed the two other girls.

"Logan and I have an understanding. We decided to leave our fling in the past, I think he's just more over protective than anything else. Besides, I know for fact that he has three dates lined up next week." Rory replied.

Just then the three girls heard someone yell "watch out!" Rory barely had time to react when a football came flying at her and hit her right in the cheek.

"Owe, fuck that hurts." Rory yelled, standing up. "Who the hell threw that?" She yelled at the boys, who were making their way over.

"Ace, you alright?" Logan asked her concerned.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'm sure I'll have a lovely bruise tomorrow, but I'll survive."

"Sorry Rory. I was trying to throw the ball to Derek and obviously missed." Tristan told her as he walked up beside her. "I hope it didn't hit you that hard."

"No, it's fine. You have quite the arm. Not so good with hitting the target though" Rory replied smiling.

"That's what she said." Finn said, earning a bout of laughter from the group.

"Alright boys, let's get back to the game." Logan told them, grabbing the ball and running back out to where the game was.

"You sure you're alright, I can't get you an ice pack or anything. It looks like it's starting to swell a bit." Tristan asked her again, not caring that the boys had started the game again.

"No that's alright" Rory replied.

"No Rory he's right. You should put some ice on that. Tristan you should go with her and make sure she's alright" Rosemary told them both with a slight smile.

"I'm perfectly capable of going by myself, thank you." Rory said indignantly. "Tristan you should go and finish you game" Rory said as she turned towards Tristan.

"Nah football isn't really my thing to begin with." Tristan told her glancing up at her bruising eye. "Just let me go tell the guys I'm leaving and we'll go find you some ice."

Tristan ran off leaving Rory to turn around and glare at Rosemary. Who just smiled and handed Rory her purse and Logan's key's.

Rory and Tristan walked back to the dorms not really saying much. Rory was too busy replaying her earlier conversation with Rosemary and Juliet. She didn't know why his indifference to her was bothering her so much. Rory unlocked the door and went to sit on the couch as Tristan went into the kitchen area in search of ice.

"Alright here's an icepack, I've put a towel around it so it won't sting as much" Tristan said to Rory as he sat beside her on the couch.

"Thanks" Rory replied, wincing as she put the ice against her swollen cheek.

"No worries, I'm the one who threw the ball" Tristan replied with a grin.

Rory just smiled and nodded. She was starting to get a little bit of a headache. She leaned her head back against the couch and groaned.

"Are you in pain?" Tristan asked worriedly.

"Not much, just a little headache. Although not sure if that's from the ball in the face or from the tequila last night." Rory told him.

"Yeah, you and Finn sure can hit the bottle. I have to say Rory I didn't think you had it in you." Tristan replied with a slight smile.

"You spend enough time with Finn and you would be surprised at how much liquor you'll be able to pack away."

"Hahaha, and I'm sure your relationship with Logan didn't have any part of that." Tristan replied.

"Logan and I aren't in a relationship, we're just friends" Rory told him, turning to look him in the eyes. "We had a little summer fling, and that was it."

"Yeah, that's what he said. I was just curious that's all" Tristan told her.

Rory didn't say anything, instead she laid her head back on the couch with the ice pack still over her cheek. The two sat in an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Neither knowing what to say to the other.

"So how did you find your first week back at Chilton?" Rory asked him, breaking the silence.

"It's all right i guess." Tristan told her shifting his body so he was facing her.

"You guess? Wasn't Chilton your domain before you left? Guys following you, girls throwing themselves at you. Every teenage boys fantasy." Rory replied, a bit confused by his reply.

"Military school changed me. Things that were important before just don't seem that important now. I guess I had to grow up sometime." Tristan told her looking her straight in the eyes.

"You really have changed, haven't you?" Rory whispered

The two stared into each others eyes for a moment slowly leaning towards each other. Tristan softly pressed his lips against Rory's bushing them lightly over her lips before finally fully kissing her. Rory didn't respond for a moment, shocked that she was sitting her kissing Tristan, she hand dropped the ice pack from where she was holding in on her cheek and put her hands on both sides of Tristan's face.

Tristan grabbed Rory's back pulling her closer to him and causing her to moan, he slipped his tongue into her mouth and massaged his tongue with hers. He couldn't believe how good she two sat on the couch kissing for a few minutes before Tristan finally broke apart from her to catch his breath.

"Was that your master plan? 'Accidentally' throw a ball that hits me in the face so you can lure me back here to make out?" Rory asked him with a smile on her face.

Tristan laughed, "I wish I was that clever. I would have done this a year ago."

Tristan placed his hand on her cheek, inspecting her bruise, "the swelling isn't too bad. I don't think you'll have much of a bruise tomorrow."

"I sure hope not. It should be interesting explaining to my mom why I'm coming home with a bruise on my cheek. I don't think she'll actually believe me when I tell her it was from being a spectator of a football game."

"Not much one for sports I take it?" Tristan asked her smiling.

"Ahh no. Gilmore's do not partake in or watch sports of any kind." Rory told him.

"Not even hockey? You know I am the all time leading scorer of the Chilton Renegades, and the season will be starting next week. You might have to come watch me in action."

"For you, I might just make an exception. And if you're really as good as you say you are... I might just show up in a cheerleading uniform." Rory replied with a twinkle in her eye.

"Now Mary, don't tease me." Tristan replied, turned on by the thought of her in a short skirt and pom poms.

"Ohh trust me there will be plenty of teasing... We'll just have to wait and see how many baskets you score." Rory told him leaning up against him.

Tristan didn't have a chance to reply because Logan, Colin, Derek and Josh all walked in holding Finn.

The two jumped off the couch as the guys brought Finn over and laid him on the couch they had just been sitting on.

"Oh my god what happened!" Rory asked Logan starring at Finn.

He looked like he ran head first into a prickle bush. Leaves and thorns covered him from head to toe.

"The idiot here was trying to show off in front of a group of girls that were sitting near by and ran right now a thorn bush." Logan told her shaking his head.

"Ohh love, I think I may be dying. Be a doll and grant a dying man his one last wish of a raunchy strip tease and a lap dance." Finn asked her in a lame attempt of a dying man's voice.

"I'm sure you'll live Finn." Rory told him shaking her head while walking over to the bathroom to grab the first aid kit. "We better pull those thorns out and put some polysporin on all those cuts."

"Logan, Colin you guys strip him and pull out the thorns with tweezers and I'll apply the polysporin."

Derek, Josh, and Tristan all stood back watching the others tend to Finn.

"While man, I guess we should be heading back home." Josh told Tristan.

"Yeah let's go." Tristan told him

The two grabbed their bags from Derek's room and slipped out of the dorm not wanting to disturb the others who were trying to calm down a hysterical Finn who had somehow gotten prickles in a rather delicate area. Tristan shuddered at the thought. He wasn't sure why he didn't wait to say goodbye to Rory. He needed some time to think, he'd been through a lot in the past year and a having the complication of a girl in his life right now was not something he had wanted. A small smile crossed his face as he thought about how good it felt to have Rory in his arms. She was special, that was for sure. He just had to figure out if he was ready to be completely honest with her... and himself about the events that had happened while he was in military school.