I started this about a month ago and started and stopped a million times. The rest came to me in a sun-kissed vision and I scribbled it poolside on a gorgeous Floridian day. I just thought it would be longer.
Disclaimer: I don't own GG.
As Logan let the lukewarm water run over his body, he tried to make sense of what happened tonight. Six hours ago, Rory could barely stand to look at him, and now she was curled up in his bed, wearing one of his T-shirts.
It had taken every bit of strength to decline Rory's offer, but something stopped him and he usually wasn't the type to stop. Of course, those other girls were quick, meaningless, nameless, encounters. And with her nothing was ever meaningless. He smirked to himself a little - he'd fantasized about this moment before. He'd let himself buy into this whole tween-girl fantasy of the dizzy-silly-rainbows-and-butterflies idea of L-O-V-E. It would've been in Nice, they would've laughed and talked over lobster tails and a good glass of wine, not burgers and ice-teas.
Then, they would've strolled hand-in-hand. Rory would be wearing a gorgeous designer creation, and he'd tell her that she was beautiful. Always. But tonight especially. And then, a moment might present it self, and he'd lean forward to kiss her. Perfect. They might get a little lost in the moment, and he'd suggest (as much as he hated it) to slow down, do this right.
He laughed at himself, at this romantic comedy scene that scripted itself in his mind. If life had taught him anything, it was that life was not like the movies. There was no right way to love. And what happened tonight felt very right. Maybe they'd gone a little too far, maybe they should have talked more, but he was convinced there would be plenty of time to talk, to date, to build up all the things he wanted.
The fact that they kissed - He didn't even know why he did it. It just happened. Her standing there, with that coffee foam on her lip begging to be touched. A quick brush with his finger tips, and their mouths collided. A blissful blur.
At one point tonight he almost said those 3 little words, but he stopped himself in time (too much! too soon!) He hadn't even thought about it until the words practically flew out of his mouth. He wondered if that what love was - something so weird and foreign and comfortable at the same time that it just bubbled up inside and needed to be released. He just never realized he was capable of feeling that much for anyone. Now that this thing between them had been dragged out for so long, he didn't want that idea just to go away. After so long, he wanted to them to have their hot-pink Hollywood ending, dammit. That kind of helped drown out the other stuff (Mitchum! Emily! HPG!) that floated somewhere in the back of his mind.
He toweled off, slipped on a clean pair of boxers and tossed the dirtied ones in the hamper. Logan sauntered into the bedroom. "Hey Rory?" he said, and heard Tyra Banks explain who was still in the running to become America's Next Top Model, but Rory's mocking run-on commentary was noticeably absent. She was fast asleep, the covers pulled up high under her chin, her grip on the remote control slack.
A goofy smile played at his lips and he scooped up her clothes, threw 'm in the wash next to his. Then, he clicked off the TV and crawled up next to her. He was careful not to wake her, but she responded instantly to his presence. Her leg brushed up against his, her back flush against his stomach. He pressed a tender kiss in her raspberry-vanilla-scented hair, his arm dropping down to her waist, and his chin resting on her shoulder.
Some unconscious thought abruptly yanked her from her sleep. She was disoriented, feeling a slight buzz. A foreign male hand wrapped around her waist tightly (but strangely, not suffocating) registered first and then her mind did the oh-so-familiar check-list. She must have been drunk, this must be A Random Guy's house, she probably slept with him... and then full realization hit.
That hand belonged to Logan. And she wasn't drunk, at most she suffered a sugar high from one too many sweat-teas. And she didn't sleep with him (although her body still tingled). He kissed her though and her hand went to her lips, just to make sure. She basked in this peaceful glow, waiting for sleep to return to her once more, but it was long enough to make her thoughts run wild...
One date - not even official - and she was curled up in Logan's bed! Hadn't she changed? She stopped doing things like this, hadn't she? She didn't want to be "that" girl anymore. She'd been "that" girl, and "that" girl broke his heart (and hers, too). He didn't want "that" girl.
Oh good god.
What if, in the end, that's all that this came down to? To bed her, one more notch on his crowded bedpost. Of course, she'd get a special honor 'The Most Difficult Quest'.
Or maybe, this was a test...She should've said no, or gone home after the kiss or something. Oh sure, in the moment, with him handing her perfectly brewed coffee and his stupid eyes piercing her soul, yeah, she couldn't resist. But she should have, to show him that she had changed, that she took this and him seriously.
He declined her offer. She failed. Her mind leaped to tomorrow: he'd tell her that it had been nice and all, but that it was time for her to go home. He'd mention something vague about keeping it professional at work, he was going back to London soon anyway so the awkwardness wouldn't last long.
Oh, it was so like her to fuck this up before it even started. And this was something they couldn't go back from. She'd let herself come undone in front of him - he did that to her - she could never look him in the face again, if this turned out to be a joke. She'd be too embarrassed.
Oh! And Mitchum! What would he say? What would he do? And her mother! And Emily! How mad would Mitchum be? Just disappointed, but that was worse. Maybe he'd send her back to Emily and the DAR. He'd be mad at Logan, for sure. Maybe if she talked to him before he got a chance, perhaps if she could just explain it was her fault, Mitchum would just gloss over this whole episode.
Suddenly, his arm felt like a ton of bricks pinning her to the bed and she couldn't breathe and she needed to get out.
She carefully released herself from his grip and found her jeans in a ball on the floor. In the darkness, the rest of her clothes were lost. It didn't matter. Rory changed quickly and tip-toed out of the bedroom and almost yelled as she entered the living room.
Finn was wide awake, glued to his laptop at the kitchen counter. "Good god, love!" he whispered, "You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
"You?" she hissed back, "what about me?"
"What..." he started to speak, but paused to give her a quick once over. She looked almost apologetic - his brows furrowed as he saw she was gripping her purse in one hand and her scuffed black flats in the other. "I know how this looks, Finn, but it's not like that."
"It sure looks like a getaway," Finn spat, his otherwise friendly eyes turning dark.
"I just…" Rory looked around helplessly, "I messed up, Finn. I shouldn't have…and I, I wanted this to be different. I'm not that girl anymore."
Finn raised his eyes in disbelief. "Surely, love, you realize that this is nothing like those other times? Just the fact that you're standing here worrying about the fact that you've slept with Logan on the first date proves that you aren't that girl…"
"It wasn't a date, and we didn't sleep together."
Finn shot her a curious look. "We didn't sleep together," she said again, and the look she gave him made it clear that there would be no further sharing.
"Fine," Finn said with a lazy wave, "consider then, if you will, for a moment, the fact that you're referring to what didn't happen as "sleeping together", not as "fucking", which was, as I recall, your preferred term."
A tense kind of silence passed between them as Rory contemplated what Finn was saying.
Finally, figuring that Rory didn't have a counter argument, he broke the quiet. "So why don't you just go back to bed?"
Slowly, she shook her head. "I've got to see Mitchum. Before he finds out. Before…before he can get to Logan. I want him to hear it from me."
Finn may not have understood why it was so important to tell Mitchum, but he dutifully called her a car. He was glad his relationship wasn't as complicated. In fact, it was quite simple: he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Aubrey.
She'd been in this kitchen countless times. Most of them were insignificant, meaningless moments: sneaking off for a bottle of red or champagne or Stoli at a party. Sometimes, as a teen, she snuck in her at a boring dinner to practice her Spanish with the kitchen staff. And that kitchen door proved an excellent escape.
She stood here, not too long ago, with a case of Coca-Cola with a note taped to the top. Mitchum had been curious, but didn't pry. And now, here she was again. Sitting on a stool, scooted up to the marble counter, her hands wrapped around a hot mug of much-needed coffee. Rosa – the current maid – added a little vanilla sugar and cinnamon (she must've looked like she needed it).
It was creeping towards 5:30 and soon Mitchum would walk downstairs for his morning can of soda.
Ugh. Was she crazy for coming here? She'd much prefer to be curled up next to Logan, sipping his expertly made coffee, but she knew she wouldn't feel okay until she told Mitchum.
It wasn't about getting his approval, but understanding his MO. She knew he had cut some kind of deal with Logan and she didn't want this to jeopardize that.
She was so deep in thought that she didn't even hear Mitchum making his way into the kitchen.
"Jesus, Rory! You nearly gave me a heart attack! What are you doing here?"
"Having coffee," she replied lamely, with a gesture at her mug.
Unimpressed, he popped the top of his soda, and took a long, satisfying swig. All the while, he eyes remained on her, forcing the words out of her.
"You know Logan?" she asked, hoping it would sound somewhat casual, completely ignoring the fact that nothing about this (them) was casual.
"My son," Mitchum deadpanned.
"Yeah…Um. Well. We…we…um…we…"
"Slept together," Mitchum supplied, cutting right to the chase. His voice, Rory noted, didn't sound mad or accusatory, rather oddly hopeful.
"Well, no," Rory shook her head, sighing deeply, "but, I guess we went on a date."
"A date?" Mitchum smiled at the notion of his son – the Lothario of London – and Rory – the easiest girl on the East Coast – enjoying something so deliciously quaint as a date.
"I gather it went well," he said knowingly. "And you're here to see if I've got any evilness tucked up my sleeve."
Rory shrugged as Mitchum carried on. "You like him. Possibly more than anyone you've ever liked, and perhaps you're regretting past transgressions – worried that this will end like those."
"You know me well," Rory smiled.
"I know people. And however complicated my relationship with Logan might be, I know him too. And I know that he likes you back. For a long time."
Rory eyes popped open in surprise. Mitchum knew? He really knew. And he wasn't mad! "Then what about the rules?"
"Rory," Mitchum dropped his head slightly. "Richard always wanted you to go to FTF, I was against it – like I said, I know my son – but when he passed and you needed something to regain focus, this seemed like what you needed. The rules were initiated for your protection. Of course, at the time, I didn't know that coincidence landed you and Logan on that same transatlantic flight or that you shared another chance meeting at the wake. But I saw Logan change and your results soar and I wondered…" Mitchum paused for a moment, a thoughtful smile capturing his face, "Richard, of course, had always suspected something like this would happen, you know, finally bringing the Gilmores & the Huntzbergers together in a way no business deal could. I thought he was an old fool."
"Then why didn't you tell me?" Rory asked, "Or Logan – he was so concerned about those stupid rules!"
"Exactly," Mitchum nodded, "Him avoiding you and wanting to do right by me of all people confirmed what I expected…"
"That he likes me?" Rory asked with an eyebrow raised suspiciously.
"He hasn't been with anyone since FTF. I've drawn my conclusions," Mitchum said.
Rory barely managed a nod and said quietly. "Telling him would've saved us a lot of heartache."
It was the closest she'd ever come to accusing Mitchum of something. And a tiny bit of fire burned as Mitchum didn't offer any apologies. "What doesn't kill you…"
Too tired to argue about what Mitchum should have done, she just shrugged. "So, now what?"
"You go back to New York, see Logan. Or not," Mitchum suggested, "Stay for breakfast or hell, invite Logan down for dinner! We'll have a barbecue."
Rory rolled her eyes. "I meant...between you and Logan? The deal? Releasing him from his contract?"
"That." Rory said again, her tone a little more firm this time.
"Actually I'm thinking about getting into the music industry."
Rory's eyes grew wide and that tiny flamed burned strong. It was an offer Logan could refuse, legally, but he wouldn't. She knew he wouldn't and Mitchum knew that, too. Her stomach dropped a little – this was that manipulative, cunning side of Mitchum Logan loathed so much. They'd been played. The both of them! All of them. Her own grandfather, even, tried to make a Huntzberger-Gilmore connection and once Mitchum realized that once Logan had Rory, he'd never leave HPG, Mitchum did everything in his power to get them together.
Why hadn't she seen it before? And how could she have let herself be a pawn in his game?
"Why now? He's wanted that for years!" Rory spat, surprised at the anger that rose in her voice.
Mitchum shrugged innocently. "HPG doesn't have any market presence, so it'll be an exciting step for us. And the job was always meant to go to Logan, I was just waiting for him to be ready for it."
"What makes you think he's ready now?"
He kept his eyes on her and tilted his head a tiny bit forward.
"Every good man needs an even better woman, and I can't think of anyone better than you, Rory."
His words swirled in her mind – she was touched, but still angry and it seemed like too much, too soon. They barely managed one date! Mitchum was worse than Emily. Forget the freaking wedding, here's a business venture. Best of luck (!) What she needed now, more than anything, was a cup of coffee. And it had to be one brewed by Logan.
"I have to go," Rory announced, scooting off the bar stool.
"Tell Logan I want to see him Monday first thing. To discuss things."
The car made its way through early morning traffic to New York. Rory saw that she had 17 missed calls. Seven were from Finn, 9 were from Logan, and 1 was from Aubrey, who like Rory, had a life changing, world-rocking night.
She really needed to have a long chat with Logan, but the backseat of a car wasn't the place to have that conversation. Instead she shot off a quick text telling him that everything was alright, that last night was amazing and that she'd be home soon and to tell Finn not to worry. Then, she made herself comfortable on the soft leather seat of the town car and hit speed dial 7 on her phone. Aubrey picked up after 2 rings.
"Hey A," Rory smiled into the phone, "I'm returning your call."
"Finally! How was everything at Mitchum's?" she asked eagerly.
A laugh escaped her. "You've spoken to Finn? You called him right? You weren't at the house?"
"Oh sugar, please," she drawled in her sweet Southern tone. "I went home like the goody-goody girl that I am." She paused, and her tone dropped. "He kissed my hand, then my cheek, and then my lips. It was very…sweet."
"That sounds great."
"So…it went well?" she asked, "Considering that you've already talked to him and all?"
"Well…he told me to call if…" Aubrey trailed off and Rory heard the little twinge of embarrassment
Aubrey sighed heavily. "I just…I really like him. And I wanted to tell him, just in case he didn't like me back."
Rory had to admire Aubrey's bravery. "What'd he say?"
"He was totally unfazed. Maybe even a little relieved. I don't know…" Aubrey sighed again. "Anyway, he was glad I called. And then he asked if I'd ever had Cesar Salad at Café Bistro."
"A lunch date, huh?" Rory chuckled and Aubrey squealed back excitedly. The girls spent the rest of the ride re-hashing details of last night, which they quickly renamed "Best Non-Dates Ever."
So, as you can probably tell, I'm winding this down (it's about time, right?) What's left is a Logan/Rory talk about the above, probably a Logan/Mitchum confrontation and maybe some fluff. A Gilmore/Huntzberger/Rory/Logan meal or a double date. And don't worry about Aubrey and Finn. They are golden.
I know I've gotten so bad at this and I'm embarrassed but I try. Thanks for reading and reviewing, always.