Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
"Janlan! Claire!?" Rory said as the couple walked over to her at her. "What are you two doing here?" She asked as she enveloped each of them in a huge hug. "You're supposed to be in bed. How are you feeling?" She asked again with much more concern than before.
"Darling, if you're going to hassle us like a reporter then you have to let us answer the first question before you ask the second." Janlan teased.
"Sorry. Please, go ahead." She said, gravitas emanating from her instantly.
"We came to celebrate your grandmother's birthday, of course." Claire said with a warm smile. "Although she doesn't look a day over fifty five!"
"And I'm feeling just fine for an old man." Janlan said.
"You always had more heart than anyone I've ever met." Rory complimented him. From behind her, Tristan smiled the same warm smile that Claire had passed down to him. The scene at first had boggled his mind. They were his grandparents after all, and the last time she had seen him had been seven years ago. When Janlan had told him about knowing Rory, to say he was shocked was an understatement.
Rory and Janlan had met in a library of course, Rory was trying to get away to deal with some business on her phone and Janlan was reading. After she introduced herself, Janlan was more than interested in getting to know this girl that had effected his grandson so much in high school.
"I knew your grandson at Chilton." Rory had said briefly, trying to strike up small talk.
"Oh I know." Janlan said with a wink that had caused Rory to blush profusely. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you." He said as he offered his hand out to her. She took it. "I've heard a lot about you."
"Well that's frightening." She said.
"It was always good, my dear." He comforted her.
"How is Tristan? Last time I heard, he had gone to North Carolina for military school."
"He's working for an architecture firm in New York. He just finished his time with the National Guard."
"Wow." She murmured. "It sounds like he really has his act together." Janlan smiled at Rory's last comment. It wasn't like someone who Tristan teased as much as Rory to be concerned about his life five years later. "Did he serve overseas?" Janlan nodded his head
"He was sent to Afghanistan during the surge." This bit of information knocked Rory into the sofa next to Janlan.
"I was just there last year. I know how much strength that takes." She said, impressed by him. "You must be very proud."
"We are. He seemed so young at the time, but that's a trick that age plays on you. My brother was killed in the war when he was just 18 at Normandy."
"Really? Did you serve?"
"I was too young." Rory shook her head at the sad news. Tristan could never have survived a war at 18. Nor could Jess, or even Dean. She had had this realization before, when she talked to the soldiers who were so much younger than even she was, but for some reason, standing here with Janlan, it passed through her head again.
"Well, I will leave you to your reading. I know how important finding a quiet place to read at a party is." She smiled. "If you talk to Tristan, tell him hello for me?" She requested.
"It would make his day." Janlan smiled. "I would be happy to."
After this meeting, Janlan and Rory had struck up conversations at similar parties and Rory had finally met Claire. A couple of parties later, however, Janlan was suffered a heart attack. At the first sound of this news, Rory wanted to call, but knew that she barely knew the couple and she was certain that Tristan was probably there. She sent flowers and a new book instead. Claire had called and said that it was Janlan's favorite gift. This was when Tristan first heard Rory's name again. He was carrying in the package when Janlan opened it.
"Do you want me to read the card Gramps?" Tristan had asked. Janlan's old wrinkled fingers brushed across the cover of the book and he smiled.
"I know who it's from." Janlan said as he smelled the cheery but out of place daisy bouquet. Tristan grabbed the card anyway. He was intrigued. Others had sent expensive bouquets from designer florists, but this one looked as if it were plucked by hand. Tristan pulled the card out of the envelope and flipped it over to read it.
"Janlan, I know you will get well soon, but milk the vacation a little longer first. Tell Claire thanks for her help, these are the products of her helpful hints." Tristan laughed. He felt relieved that someone who actually knew his grandparents outside of society had finally sent something. "There's no name. Sounds like you know this person pretty well though, huh?"
"They're from Rory Gilmore." Janlan said as simply as if he were ordering more tea. He waited for Tristan's reaction. He just shook his head, convinced he had heard him wrong.
"Explain please?" He requested, treating his seventy-nine year old grandfather as if he were a five year old caught doing something naughty.
"She's having a party next week. Will you come with us? I promised I would pass along her Hello, but if you're still going to be in town, you should let her tell you herself." No explanation. Fine, then Tristan would ask Claire, she would tell him, as well as all the other details he was dying to know right about now. Like how she looked. He couldn't imagine Rory Gilmore all grown up. She had always been so innocent and naïve, it was hard to picture her now, maybe she was still that way.
"Grandma!" Tristan yelled, getting up from the bed. Janlan just smiled, pleased with his antics. It helped him feel human again.
"Tristan, she is beautiful. One of the most kind and honest women I have ever met. Nothing would make us happier if you decided to marry her today." He choked on his lemonade and grabbed a napkin before he sputtered the liquid all over the tablecloth.
"She's perfect. This is what I'm telling you." She said more seriously. "You wanted to know, so there you have it. She's perfect and more importantly, perfect for you."
"Oh I remember the perfection part." He muttered to himself. It's always good to know that the former girl of your dreams is still way out of your league.
"She's throwing her grandmother a birthday party. Emily is turning 65 and Rory has invited everyone who's ever known Emily to attend. You should definitely come meet her. She would be excited to see you again."
"Oh yeah? How do you know?"
"Because she's asked about you. Janlan filled her in on where you worked and what you had been doing the last couple of years."
"She always was inquisitive." Claire laughed.
"That's Rory." Tristan's stomach still churned at the sound of her name, despite the seven year absence from hearing it. It was as if that piece of his life had been dormant for seven years and now, was awake and stronger than ever. "She's single." His grandmother added with a smile.
"I think I can make it back for a party." Tristan said, not wanting to sound too eager to see this girl again. She smiled.
"I'll give you the invitation. It has her phone number on it."
So here he was, standing ten feet behind the woman he had crashed this party to see again. Claire noticed him and waved him over next to her.
"Here you are." He said as he handed them both some punch.
"Rory, you remember our grandson Tristan." Claire said as she patted him on the arm. Rory just stared at the man in front of her.
"Yeah, nice to see you again." She said, coming out of her daze. "How are you?" He swallowed nervously, preparing to speak.
"I'm well and yourself?"
"I'm well." They both stood there, taking each other in for a few more seconds before Janlan nodded to Claire and they walked away from the two. At the movement, Rory glanced over to see them leaving.
"You know my grandparents pretty well it seems." Tristan pointed out. Rory smiled.
"I know." He smiled. "They tell me you're working in New York as well?" Rory nodded noncommittally.
"Well, I live in New York. I'm a Freelance writer, so I work wherever they pay me to go." She said.
"Not a bad life." Tristan said with a smile.
"Tell that to my mother." Rory said. Tristan looked at her for more information. "She always pictures me lying in a bunker somewhere. A couple trips to a war zone and you'd think the world was ending." The ease at her mentioning this surprised Tristan.
"So you're an international freelance writer." Rory nodded.
"I wanted to grow up to be Christian Amanpour."
"And now you have?"
"Well, close enough for me." Tristan smiled.
"Good for you."
"Rory!" A worried assistant came rushing up to her. "We need you, slight emergency." Rory nodded.
"I better go. It was nice seeing you again."
"You too." He said.
"If you ever want to talk, your grandfather has my card. You should call me when we are both in New York."
"Okay." He nodded, not mentioning the fact that he already had her number in his cell phone.
"Rory!" She rolled her eyes and walked away to go comfort the panicked girl. He chuckled as he walked over to stand by his grandparents again.
"Well, how did it go?" Janlan asked.
"She's just like I remembered her." Tristan said, refusing to spill more information
"And are you going to take her out sometime?" Claire asked.
"I just talked to the woman for two minutes." He pointed out. "Relax." He said. Janlan hit his grandson on the back of the head.
"Girls like that are rare, Tristan. You missed out on the opportunity once, you would be stupid to let her get away again."
"Fine, we're going to meet up in the city sometime. Geez." He said, rubbing the back of his head.
"Good." Claire said. "But will you speed the process up, we're getting old and we would like to see some grandkids before we die." Tristan just stared at his grandmother, who was clearly teasing him, but not quite. He rolled his eyes and walked away, refusing to answer.
"They're perfect for each other." Janlan whispered.
"Yes they are." Claire smiled as she kissed her husband on the cheek.