Something To Remember
(Later that night. Gilmore house. Stars Hollow)
She had been weighing the pros and cons all throughout dinner and had to be roused from her thoughts five times by her grandmother, who instantly wanted to know what was wrong. After some wonderful manipulation from Lorelai, Emily got off Rory's case and hitched onto a more worthy topic; Lorelai's lack of men in her life. Rory had given her mother a grateful smile for taking a fall for her.
So, it came as no surprise that all the way home, Lorelai thought of ways Rory could repay her. And finally, after five cups Luke's fine coffee, Lorelai considered the debt repaid... with one last condition, that she "do something about the Tristan thing."
That was why she was now on the phone, anxiously tapping her fingers on the kitchen table as she waited for someone to pick up the phone. And when the call was finally picked up, she didn't wait for any pleasantries, "I was wrong. You were right. I need your help."
Paris grinned victoriously. "Why, if it isn't Rory Gilmore."
"You can lord your victory over me later, Paris. I never thought I'd say this but I need your help with Tristan."
"We have a plan," she replied briskly, assuming a businesslike tone.
"We? Who's we?" Rory asked, confused.
Paris sighed. "Do you want to hear the plan or not?"
"Basically, yeah." She heard Rory snort on the other end. "Hey, it's the most straightforward. You can't screw it up." She added, after a pause, "Plus, he'll enjoy it."
Rory wanted to laugh. "Gosh, this sounds like something my mother would suggest," she remarked, amused.
"Really?" Paris injected a questioning tone in her voice, remembering that this was indeed Lorelai's plan. Once Lane had let her in on their plans, Lorelai had adamantly insisted that she be part of it. Then she proceeded to denounce all their other schemes and proclaimed hers superior. The two girls had no choice but agree; besides, their original plans were too grandiose and "had a large margin for error", as Paris had put it.
"I have a better plan," Rory announced.
Tristan let out a loud sigh when he leaned over the check his caller-ID. Picking up the phone, he said, "Hello Paris."
"Wow, you've found your manners again, I see," she commented.
"You love annoying me, don't you?"
"I thought that was your mission in life; annoying me," Paris remarked.
"What can I do for you, Paris?" he asked, deciding that humouring her was the fasted way to get rid of her.
"Are you free today?"
"Woah... did I hear right? Paris Gellar is asking me out?" he asked, incredulous.
"No, Paris Gellar is trying to get you to stop moping," she corrected.
"I am not moping," he said, his voice low and insistent.
"Yeah, yeah... the wagon has moved on. Blah blah blah. But isn't that Brian McKnight I hear in the background?"
Biting back a curse, Tristan hit the off button on the remote control, drowning the room in silence. "What do you know about Brian McKnight? You don't listen to him," he countered, refusing to admit that he was indeed moping.
"True, I don't listen to him," she conceded. "But I listen to you listen to him... and I think I can sing "Anytime" in my sleep now."
"You are ruthless."
"Thank you," she said, he voice sickly sweet. "So, are you free today?"
"I've been listening to Brian McKnight, Paris. What do you think?" he asked dryly.
"You finally admit it. Great. You can come pick me up in 10. We'll go to the bookstore."
"Paris-" he protested. But she had already hung up.
"This isn't stupid, is it?" Rory asked, pacing across her living room.
"It's not stupid," Lane said reassuringly. "I think it's about time."
"What if I say something wrong?"
Lane grabbed Rory's arms and stopped her pacing. "Rory," she began, her voice firm. "You're not gonna screw this up. Just say what you feel and it'll be fine."
Rory nodded, her eyes filled with worry. "Okay." She sat down on the couch, playing with the hem of her blue top. "You were planning something with Paris, weren't you?" she asked, out of the blue.
"Paris? Planning? No."
Rory laughed at Lane's bad poker face. "You can't lie to me, Lane."
"Well, it wasn't just the two of us," she protested. "Your mom was involved too."
Rory shook her head, amused at this new information. "So the ravish-him-against-the-lockers plan was hers, wasn't it?"
Lane's grin matched her friend's. "Yup."
"Paris, we've been to three bookstores. What exactly are you looking for?" Tristan asked, weary.
Paris seemed as upbeat and determined as ever. "Just this book I've been looking for," she answered vaguely. She glanced at her watch, realizing that she had to check in with Lane. "I need to go the restroom," she said abruptly. "Wait here for me."
As she entered the women's restroom, she quickly dialled Rory's home number, knowing that they were probably there.
"Lane, it's Paris. Where's Rory?"
"She just left."
"All right. Great. I'll call you again later."
The plan was definitely in motion.
As she sat there in the dimly-lit room, she questioned her decision for what seemed like the hundredth time. She couldn't believe that she was actually doing this, that she was actually taking this chance, that she was making the first move.
But as her eyes roamed the room, the light barely enough for her to see, a smile found its way to her lips as she recalled that afternoon they had spent at his house. When she closed her eyes and let her memories wash over her, she swore that she could almost feel his arms around her again.
The reasons as to why she was doing this became clearer and clearer with every remembrance that assailed her.
She had been drawn to him ever since that weekend. Once she had seen those different facets of his personality, he had hooked her in. She had obviously tried to fight it, and her fight had been a valiant one, but in the end, it didn't matter at all.
In the end, she still wanted him.
Paris let out an absent-minded "Yeah", her mind more on the plan than anything. Oh God, she hoped it worked. She hoped Rory wouldn't screw up.
"Paris?" Tristan asked, peering at her and the distant look in her eyes.
"Um... oh." She raised her voice, hoping that Rory could hear her. "Thanks for coming with me, Tristan. I'll see you tomorrow." Casting a meaningful look in the direction of his living room, she then flashed Tristan a bright smile before quickly leaving.
Tristan was left standing in his foyer, puzzled at his friend's weird behaviour. "Whatever," he muttered, running his fingers through his already tousled hair. Although Paris book search wasn't fruitful, he was glad that she had asked him to go with her; otherwise, he would have been satisfied to stay in his room and just stare at his ceiling.
"I need something to eat," he said to no one in particular. As he walked past his darkened living room, the sound of a familiar song hit him, causing him to stand frozen in surprise. Abruptly, it ended and Tristan thought he was going crazy. "You're just hearing things," he said under his breath. But before he could move again, the song started playing again, this time louder.
His brows furrowed in confusion, he turned to go into the living room, flicking on a light switch as he did so. A lamp in the corner of the room illuminated the room... and the girl who was sitting at the piano nearby.
The curtain of dark hair swished as the girl turned to face him, her smile shy. "Hi, Tristan."
Rory? He blinked once, twice... as though not believing what he was seeing. "Rory?" he asked, dumbfounded.
"Yeah." She turned back to the piano, her fingers falling over the keys lightly. With a confidence that she didn't think she had, she played; the sounds of "Anytime" filling the room and bringing back a lot of memories for the two of them.
Still somewhat in a daze, he stepped closer to her. "What are you doing here, Rory?"
His question made her stop and she took a deep, calming breath before standing up and moving closer to him. "I wanted-" She broke off, licking her lips. "I had something to tell you."
He ignored the hope that flared in his heart. "What did you want to say?"
Rory bit her lip, not quite sure how to phrase what she wanted to say. She lifted her head slightly so that their eyes met and the hope that she glimpsed in his eyes bolstered her courage. "Tristan, I..." For a few seconds, there were no words as they both just stood there, inches from each other, their eyes locked. And then, Rory decided on a course of action.
Closing whatever distance that remained between them, Rory reached up and curled her arms around Tristan's neck before leaning up and playing a light kiss on his lips. She inched away slowly, waiting for any reaction from him. Yet he stood there, unmoving except for his eyes that flitted from her eyes to her lips and back again.
She kissed him. She kissed him. She kissed him. The knowledge was difficult for him to grasp because it seemed too much like a dream, too much like something he had conjured up in his mind. His tongue darted out, wetting his lips and remembering the feel of her lips on his.
Whatever it was that she was about to say was lost forever when he breached the distance between them and caught her lips in his. And when that contact was re-ignited, the dam of emotions in her broke, filling her with all those amazing, wonderful, glorious feelings that he had made her feel so long ago; feelings that she had missed having. Dimly, at the back of her mind, she concurred with her earlier admission that no one else could ever make her feel this way. Purring lightly in pleasure, she wrapped her arms around him tighter, pulling their bodies into close proximity.
His lips hungrily took from her and gave as freely in return; his hand in her mass of luxuriant hair and the other stroking down her back. His want for her, which he had buried in the face of defeat, rekindled and threatened to consume him. Somewhere in the haze of desire that he was experiencing, he knew that he had to stop this before a line was crossed. Reluctantly, he drew away from her with one last soft kiss, his hands coming up to frame her face.
She smiled at him and his resolve faded away; he pulled her closer as they lost themselves in feelings that they had restrained for so long.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked, her tone playfully impatient.
He took his eyes off the road for a second to look at her, unable to resist the completely content grin that overtook his face. "Are you peeking?"
His question made her pout and she crossed her arms. "No, I am not peeking. I can't believe you made me wear this blindfold," she complained, tugging at the cloth that was obscuring her vision.
Chuckling, he reached over and lightly squeezed her hand. "It'll be worth your while."
She grinned widely. "You promise?" The invitation in her voice was clear.
"I promise," he said in a mock-serious voice.
About two minutes later, Rory piped up again. "Are we there yet?"
"Actually, we are."
"Great. This better be good," she said moments later as Tristan helped her out of the car.
"You'll like it, I promise," he answered as he took her hands and led her.
After some walking, they finally stopped and Tristan stood behind her, untying the blindfold. Rory blinked a few times, trying to get her vision clear again and when she finally took in her surroundings, she gave a gasp of pleasant surprise.
She turned to him, her smile bright. He couldn't help but plant a light kiss on her lips. "You remembered," she said, her eyes alight with joy.
"Of course." He wrapped her up in a hug and whispered, "I remember everything."
A few kisses later, the empty playground in the park was filled with the sound of squealing and laughing as the two teenagers raced to the swings.
Rory leaned her head on his shoulder and turned slightly to that she could see his face. In the moonlight, the planes of his face looked even more defined, reminding her of how good-looking he was. Lifting her hand, she lightly stroked his cheek, the action causing him to smile and place a kiss on her palm. "Well, believe it," she responded. "I'm not going anywhere."
They took in the night sounds; the light chirping and the sound of the breeze swishing past them as they sat underneath the stars. They were content to sit there, together; without any lies, anyone between them. Everything between them was finally right.
This, he thought, was a dream come true. Just the simple act of sitting with her in his arms and being able to touch her and kiss her and know that she felt the same way he did for her... it was just amazing and it made his heart sing. He thought back to that surreal moment when he found her in his livign room and the way she had smiled at him and how she- Suddenly, a thought crossed his mind. "How did you-"
She knew what he was asking. "Paris."
"And the song?"
"A crash course by the ever-talented Paris Gellar," Rory said in an announcer's voice.
"Remind me to thank her," he remarked, as he kissed her forehead.
She sighed happily. "I know."
"He actually said 'I remember everything.'?" Lane asked interestedly.
"For the second time, Lane," Rory rolled her eyes good-naturedly, "yes, he did."
Lane burst out in raucous laughter. "Oh my God, this is classic!"
"Remember when I told you that you guys are like Pacey and Joey?"
"Yeah," Rory replied slowly, not seeing where this was headed. "I remember that."
"Well," Lane grinned. "Pacey actually said to Joey 'I remember everything'."
"You know, that episode when they were-"
Rory cut in. "Forget I asked."
"You're no fun," Lane pouted and threw a cushion aimed at Rory's head.
Rory easily caught it. "You're on crack," she commented. "Really bad crack."
"Who's on crack?" Lorelai asked as she emerged from the hallway.
Lane shrugged. "Ignore the girl. She's high on love." Just as she finished the sentence, the cushion that had been in Rory's hands hit her. "Hey!"
" 'High on love'?" Rory repeated, her tone incredulous. "Burn that phrase!"
Lorelai sat down next to the two girls, eager to know what had happened. "So, I take it the plan went well?"
Rory's grinned giddily. "Yeah, it went well. It was a merging of my plan and your plan."
Lorelai stood up and bowed. "Thank you, thank you. I am the master." She sat back down and slung an arm around each of the girls. "Great, so am I right in assuming there's a 'Tristan and Rory'?"
Rory snuggled closer to her mother and smiled as the thought of him lingered in her mind. "Yeah."
"So, the risk was worth it?" Lorelai asked, smiling down at Rory.
"Definitely," she answered. Her smile broadened. "I dunno what's gonna happen with us... but no matter what, it'll definitely be something to remember."
Phew. Finally, this is over... I thought it'd never happen. :D
Thank you for reading and reviewing; when I first started writing this, I didn't think it'd get the response it has gotten... so thank you so much. I love all the feedback I get, it's all good.
Also, a thank you to the FF Trories for all their support and to Shandra for her valued input into the story at times when I wasn't sure what to do; I really appreciate it. :D
I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I loved writing it. Any final comments are welcome.
Thanks! It's been great.