AN: Guys, you gotta wait to find out why Rory is living with her grandparents you aren't finding out before Tristan.

Of course this is assuming I still have any readers. If I do, "Hi guys and sorry."

Okay so I've been informed there should be a summary before this chapter since it's been so long (honestly I can't remember what happened in a story I read the previous day, I'm normally at the end of the chapter before I remember, so a summary more than makes sense).

The Summary: Tristan has returned from boarding school at the end of junior year. His parents have suddenly become a whole lot more parental. Rory has become a whole lot less Mary, she's dating Mike, a friend of Tristan's (not a close one). Rory is no longer running away so much from Tristan, they kissed his first night back after fighting a little about Mike. They spent the day together (in a group) at the club, followed by a day alone at the beach, followed by a Yankee game to prove that she just hadn't been exposed to the right type of sporting events, which led to a train ride in which she slept on him, showers at his house (separate), fighting over his teddy bear, JD, being caught by his mother once more being motherly. They are now arriving at Bowman's house party…Oh and as was said a few lines above, Rory is living with her grandparents, Lorelei is not dead, but that's all anyone knows.

Chapter 13

I pull her out of the backseat we had fallen into still laughing ten minutes earlier. We haven't stopped laughing, I think it's a side effect of us sobering up because we had been sleepy drunks earlier.

We follow Kevin and Lisa into the basement entrance of Bowman's house and I can't help but think of the old Tristan. This would have been the moment he reveled in, arriving at a party with hottest girl on his arm. The thing is I don't care what they think now, I care that she's with me, she's the one what matters and not what they think of her.

She changed into a simple outfit, more conservative her others of late, but a classic that draws attention. Light khaki capris and a black three fitted three quarter length shirt; black strappy sandals completed her look. My outfit's sloppier, light khaki cargos and a white tee shirt, flip flops on my feet, I've become a bum since leaving Chilton, I no longer have that compulsive desire to dress for each and every occasion. Not to mention I grabbed my clothes in a matter of seconds so as to not appear as if I over think every outfit.

"Beer?" I ask over the noise

She nods and I'm pretty proud of my Mary for still going strong after starting hours ago. I hold onto her hand as I follow Kevin to the keg.

She holds the cups as I pump and pour. "Hey pay attention," I call out as her eyes start to wander over who's in the room, she looks back at me confused.

She looks down at the cup, which started to fill with head because she stopped tilting the cup. "Sorry," she smiles and tilts it once more, "Paris is here," she says nodding over to where she had been looking.

I look over to where she nodded and see Paris standing there looking miserable and alone, she must have come with Madeline and Louise, who probably stopped at the first halfway decent guy they saw. That little clique never made any sense to me. She's scanning the room, trying not to look too obvious as she tried to find something of interest. She sees Rory and I looking over at her and she heads our way, the slight surprise at seeing me evident.

"Uh oh," Rory whispers hiding her face from Paris' prying eyes.

I turn to her puzzled, but my attention is quickly pulled back to Paris.

"They really let you come back," she says bluntly, as only Paris would.

"That they did."

"Rumor had it you were in North Carolina until you graduated."

"Hello to you too Paris," Rory interjects

"Yea yea, hi Rory. So what about school?"

"They let me come home, that's all I know. Beer?" I ask grabbing another cup.

She holds up her car keys.

"Guessing that's a no," I say before I take a long sip of beer, ignoring the foam I know I'll have to wipe off my face.

"You knew Tristan was home?" Her accusations turn to Rory.

"Since Lisa's birthday," my Mary says simply. I know what she's doing, reminding Paris that she would have known too if she attended any of the social events she was invited too. She always is invited, despite the fact that whenever she attends anything she looks miserable the entire time.

"I had my SAT tutor," Paris defends.

"How many times are you going to take them?" Rory asks, but we all know we're all taking them at least once more; no one gives up until the final deadline.

"Until I get a 1600 or get into Harvard."

Rory does her little girl nod with widening eyes and goes to take a sip of her beer to get out of this conversation.

Unfortunately before I can pull us away Paris moves in for the kill, "So did you too come here together?"

Rory nods, there's no hesitancy, no attempt at soothing the blow, very un-Mary, "We just got in from the city."

"You two were in the city together?"

My ego, self-esteem, hope for a future between Rory and I, whatever it wants to be labeled has soared to new heights within a matter of a nod, "We saw the Yankee/Philly game," I supply the details.

Her attention only flashed over to me for a second before turning back to Rory, "Did Mike go?"

She shakes her head, "Just me and Tristan."

I watch Paris' eyes struggling not to ask too many questions, trying to figure out which ones will get her the answer she desires, the one of whether Rory and I are together. I take her moment of silence as a chance to escape, "We're gonna go mingle Paris," I struggle to figure out if I should wrap my arm around her waist as I've been doing all day, but since she has a boyfriend and the party is packed full of his friends, hell I am one of his friends, I refrain. I place a hand on her upper back and maneuver her away from our neighborhood barracuda, not that I don't like Paris, there's actually something refreshing about her, but not when there's anger directed towards my Mary.

"That was rude," Rory whispers stepping in closer to me, effectively moving into my arm so that it's now draped over her. I wonder what's going through Paris' mind as she sees this display, hell my mind doesn't even know how exactly to comprehend it.

"Did you have a better idea?" I ask tilting my head down to respond and suddenly we're at the perfect kissing distance, it would be so easy to just continue to move my lips towards her own. I haven't kissed her since my first night back, I don't really know why. I guess part of me doesn't want to push her, suddenly in this moment, I realize I don't think she'll run away like she kept doing at the beach. Room full of people, my inner voice reminds and I just smile.


"Baby," Mike says walking up to Rory almost two hours later; he's already slightly inebriated; they must have been pre-gaming at someone else's house. "Didn't you say you had plans today? Who'd you come with?"

"My plans were over so I came with Tristan," she says before he can even bend down and kiss her, Mike suddenly realizes that I'm in the circle of people Rory was talking to.

"Hey Mike," I nod and take a sip of my beer to hide my smile.

"Hey Tris," his voice sobers up, "you should have called me, I would have come got you."

Yea like Mary would have let you drive her anywhere you drunken bastard, I think ignoring the fact that I'm probably a hell of a lot more wasted than him, the point is I'd never put her in jeopardy like that.

"That's okay Kevin came and got us."

Another sip of my beer to avoid my mouth from dropping open, she did it again, just like with Paris, no attempt to hide the fact that we were together. I do not have the reputation of just being friends with girls and my obsession with her was a well known fact at Chilton.


"I was over at Tristan's."

Holy shit, she actually said it, she's doing what I think she's doing. Wonder if that's Rory speaking or the six beers since we've been here. Now the question is do I get involved? Normally I'd have some really cocky response to this…Okay biting my tongue to keep from speaking, I'm not him anymore.

"You were at Tristan's?" His head nods slowly trying to absorb this information.

Isn't that what she just said? Okay biting tongue harder, everyone has grown completely silent watching this play out.

"Why was my girlfriend at your place?" He asks harshly, every ounce of his control going into asking.

"We're friends." I answer.

"Since when"

Rory's starting to get angry, "Since when does it matter? This is my life, if I want to hang out with Tristan I will."

"Rory, just stay out of this. This is between me and Tristan. Now once more why the hell was MY GIRLFRIEND at your place?"

"Excuse me?" she asks.

"Rory, look I said just stay out of this," his anger which is meant for me is drawn to her in those words he snaps out.

I pull him back by the shoulder, "Don't talk to her that way."

It gets a little blurry after that, a fist flies at me, I hear Rory scream, I rush him with my shoulder into his chest. A few more blows are exchanged in no particular order, with no thought involved just hoping the other man was being hit until finally I feel Kevin's arms pulling me back, Deacon, a linebacker is pulling off Mike, who's now sporting a bloody nose to match my bloody lip.

Rory's just looking pissed, pissed at both of us.

She's still just glaring even as Mike finally gets talked down and leaves willingly; of course all of that glare is now directed solely at me. She shakes her head, "I'm gonna go see if Paris is still around and if she'll take us home." She shakes her head again before leaving in search of the other girl.

"She said us didn't she?" I whisper to Kevin who's still braced behind me, not her, not me, she said us. My friend looks at me wondering if I took a blow too hard to the head as one word repeats in my mind, us, she said, 'Us.'