AN:Sorry it took so long to get this story updated. I just had a few teething problems with it. Even though the show has been over for a while now, I'm still a big Sophie supporter and writing about Logan marrying someone else is kind of hard. So I totally understand if you hate this chapter. Just trust me when I tell you things will work out for our favourite twosome. I hope you read on and let me know what you think. Merry Christmas.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls. If I did, Rory and Logan would have ended up together.
The Life She Should've Had
Chapter Three: Letting Go
The ceremony passed without a hitch. There were no horrifying moments where either groom or bride said the wrong name. Colin handed over the rings at exactly the right time and no one tried to prevent the wedding from going forward when the minister asked if anyone objected. Rory felt a few eyes on her at that point, especially her Grandparents. Emily even went so far as to reach over and hold onto her arm, just in case she had any desire to jump up and yell out.
She watched on in silence fighting the lump in her throat as Logan said 'I do'. She tried to ignore how happy he looked as his beautiful new wife said it back to him. She shut her eyes and wiped away the stray tear that fell down her cheek. Her mind was assaulted with images of what their wedding day would have been like if she had said yes. It wasn't that she regretted saying no to Logan. At the time it had been the right thing for her. She wasn't ready to marry him, but she wasn't prepared to lose him either. Now her chance with Logan was eternally over and it broke her heart.
She opened her watery eyes to see Emily offering her a handkerchief. She smiled and accepted it, wiping her cheeks, hoping that she didn't have panda eyes.
When the minister finally said those words she had been dreading; 'I now pronounce you husband and wife,' she looked up just in time to see Logan kiss his new wife the way he used to kiss her. He held her face in his hands, looking deeply into her eyes before melding their mouths and hearts together. Applause rung out amongst the congregation and everyone stood while Logan and the new Mrs Huntzberger made their way back down the aisle. Rory wiped her face, took a deep breath and when she opened her eyes she met Colin's reluctant gaze. He didn't look as happy as a best man should look. He breathed out a sigh as he led the maid of honour down the isle. She offered him a small smile and he nodded and broke his gaze away.
"Shall we?" Richard offered Rory his arm and a warm smile. Rory took his arm and rest her head against his shoulder. Emily followed them out of the church.
They stood at the foyer watching as everyone congregated around the happy couple as they got into their car.
"Hey Rory!" Rory turned to see Stephanie approach with a concerned expression on her face. "What happened back there?"
"What do you mean?" Rory asked as she excused herself from her Grandparents.
"I was waiting for you to say something," Stephanie explained, "I thought for sure that you came to stop the wedding."
Rory found herself smiling at her old friend. "Sorry to disappoint you."
"I owe Finn fifty bucks now too," she mumbled to herself and Rory chuckled at the idea of Logan's friend betting on her to ruin his wedding. The thought had passed through her mind; however, she never had been too keen on the whole public humiliation thing.
"Are you coming to the reception?" Steph asked resting her hand on her large pregnant stomach. Rory shook her head. She wasn't that much of a masochist. She'd watched him get married; she didn't need to have it rubbed in any longer.
"I get it," Steph nodded in understanding, "I still think you're the bravest person in the world for showing up here today."
"Brave or stupid?" Rory asked her tone heavy with sarcasm. Stephanie's eyes lit up and she reached across to touch her shoulder reassuringly.
"Definitely brave," she informed her and then pulled her in for a hug. "I hope my kid is as kick ass as you are."
Rory smiled at that and pulled away. "It was good to see you again, Stephanie. I hope things work out for you and Colin and this little one," she said while gently patting Stephanie's baby bump.
Stephanie smiled sweetly at her just as Colin approached them both. "We should head to the reception. I have to go over my speech."
Stephanie nodded and rolled her eyes, and then with one last hug, she made her way down the steps of the church, leaving Colin alone with Rory.
"How you doin'?" he asked in a cautious tone. Rory met his gaze and remembered the look he'd given her in the church.
"Colin what was that all about before? Why did you look at me like that?" she asked genuinely curious to know what was going on in his mind.
Colin sighed in resignation. He looked away for a few seconds, his mind hesitating over whether to answer her question.
"I have to go make a speech saying how happy I am for my best friend, and how Kim is the perfect woman for him," he explained causing Rory to frown in confusion.
"I have to say all that…when I know it's not true," he met her gaze and she immediately understood what he was saying to her. "I'll see you around, Rory."
Rory watched him walk away with a heavy heart. She appreciated Colin's sentiments. It was nice to know that she had someone on her side after all. Although, it didn't really make much of a difference. Logan was still married and she was alone.
"May I have this dance?" Rory looked up from inspecting the diminishing contents of her wine glass to see her Grandfather beaming down at her. She smiled instantly in response and took his proffered hand, allowing him to lead her to the dance floor.
"Where's Grandma?" she asked softly as they began to move gingerly around the ballroom.
"Oh she's around here somewhere," he replied as he briefly searched the room for his wife with an amused smirk on his face. Rory immediately understood him.
"I am so glad I'm not one of those poor waiters," she said as she imagined the nasty tongue-lashing they were probably receiving right at that moment. Richard nodded and then returned his beaming smile to his granddaughter.
"I have to admit Rory, you look absolutely exquisite tonight," he informed her with nothing but love and pride in his eyes. Rory blushed and hugged her Grandfather closer.
"Thank you. You look very handsome tonight too," Richard nodded in acknowledgment of her kind words but soon his light-hearted expression faded, and he looked down at her with sadness and concern in his eyes.
"How are you doing?" he asked softly, his grip tightening around her as he tried to offer his support in any way he could.
Rory felt her stomach coil as she let her mind consider the events of the day. She had come face to face with Logan for the first time since their break-up; she'd had to deal with the news that it wasn't he who'd invited her to his wedding, but his mother in an act of malice. Then she'd had to watch on in silence while the man who would always have her heart, gave his to someone else for the rest of his life. Now, here she was dancing at his wedding reception, trying to put on a brave face and pretend that the moment he'd said 'I do' to someone else hadn't destroyed her.
With a heavy sigh, she offered a shrug and a watery smile, "I'm fine."
"Oh Rory we don't have to stay here any longer. We can go right now," Richard offered sympathetically.
"Really, Grandpa. I'm okay," she lied. She was barely holding herself together. She felt like at any moment she would fall apart, but she still couldn't bring herself to leave. For some reason she wanted to stay and revel in the misery. Maybe she really was a masochist. Maybe she was unconsciously punishing herself for turning him down in the first place.
Here's the life you could have had!
Maybe it had just been so long since she had last been in the same room as Logan, that she was willing to put herself through hell just to prolong the feeling of being close to him at some level.
"Well, if you want to leave, just say the word…" Richard informed her and nodded in reply. Her downcast eyes drifted hopelessly over to the other side of the room where the newly-weds were basking in the merriment of the day. She had never seen him look so happy and it killed her that she wasn't the one sitting by his side. She couldn't even hate his new bride. She just envied her.
However, she had made her choice. Rory had turned down Logan's proposal. She'd turned down a life with him. And whatever her reasons may have been, she had to make peace with them and let him go.
Taking a deep breath, she pulled her gaze away from the happy couple and back to her beloved Grandfather. He stared at her in silence, studying her blue eyes, waiting for whatever she would say next. Rory leaned forward into his embrace, kissed his cheek and smiled at him.
"Let's go find Grandma and go home,"
Richard nodded and quickly offered her his arm as he led her off the dance floor and away from the crowd. She stood at the side of the stage as Richard went off to find Emily and their coats. She watched with a fond smile on her face. People could say whatever they wanted about Richard and Emily Gilmore, as Grandparents they had their faults, but she had never had any doubts about how much they loved her.
"I hope you weren't planning on slinking away without saying goodbye, Rory."
A harsh voice snuck up on her from behind. Rory didn't really have to turn around to know who it was. She just did so out of her never-ending need to be polite, even to hell's minions.
"Shouldn't you be off enjoying the festivities?" she hit back, tired off being afraid of this woman, "In case, you didn't know, your only son just got married. Don't you think there are more important things to involve yourself with?"
Shira's smug grin never faded. She looked like the cat that got the cream. Rory felt her whole body shudder in her presence. The woman was truly evil incarnate.
"There's nothing more important than making sure you know your place, Rory Gilmore."
In that moment, Rory found herself feeling incredibly sorry for her. Here she was at her son's wedding and all she could worry about was putting Rory in her place. She truly was pathetic. She almost felt grateful that she wouldn't have to deal with her ever again. Almost.
"Goodbye, Shira." she started to walk away but as always Shira had to have the last word.
"It could have been you, Rory. All of this could have been yours," she said taking great joy in rubbing it in. Rory froze and turned back to face her. Her eyes drifted from Shira's haughty expression to one of elation on her son's face. Then, acting completely on impulse, she walked back towards the room and made her way up onto the stage where the DJ was busy preparing the next song. Taking a deep breath, she whispered into his ear and he handed her the microphone with a look of confusion on his face. Rory spun back to face Shira, her face had paled. She wasn't grinning anymore. Rory could feel her heart pounding in her chest and she was sure she was going to throw up, but she pushed it down and turned to face the crowd.
The music stopped and silence met her as she took in the scene around her. People were still talking, but quickly they were interrupted by others pointing up at her with wary expressions on their faces. Clearly they knew who she was and were expecting the inevitable scene from the jealous ex. She could feel every eye on her, especially a pair of chocolate brown ones from across the room.
With one last deep breath, she lifted her gaze to circle the crowd and in her mind she told herself to picture them all in their underwear. That was the only way she was going to get through this.
"Hi," she said weakly before tapping the microphone to make sure it was on. "Um…I…you're all probably wondering why I'm up here holding a microphone in my hands. And no…I'm not going to sing."
"Thank God for that!" she heard Finn yell and she suddenly felt a little calmer as a small ripple of laughter erupted from his side of the room. Logan smiled faintly as he sipped on his glass of champagne.
"Thanks, Finn!" she chastised him playfully, while being secretly grateful to him for easing some of the awkward atmosphere that was building. "Um…I just…," she sighed trying to find the right words to say, "…I'm usually pretty good at this whole public speaking thing but not…" deep breath, "…I just wanted to say how happy I am for Logan and Kimberly. You're both clearly…perfect…for each other…," she struggled on the last part. From the corner of her eye she could see Shira glowering at her from the edge of the stage, but she wouldn't let her detract from what she was trying to do. She was trying to let him go and do it with a little bit of dignity.
"Here, Here!" someone shouted causing Rory's gaze to wander over to the person it hurt the most to look at. He stood across the room, holding a glass of champagne in his hand. He wore a serious expression on his face, like he was unsure of where this was leading to, but he couldn't look away. His brown eyes bored through her and she felt her chest constrict and a lump form in her throat. She pulled her eyes from him and met his new wife's suspicious gaze.
"Kim Masterson," she paused, thinking again, "sorry Huntzberger…is the luckiest girl in the world. And not because of the wealth or the prestige being married to a Huntzberger can bring, but because in marrying Logan, she has married the best person I know. Someone who is kind and thoughtful and…" her eyes met his again and caught herself from continuing to list all of his best qualities before it got embarrassing. "I wish you both a very happy life together."
She closed her eyes and took one last deep breath, "To the bride and groom!"
"To the bride and groom!" her words were echoed around the room and with one last look, her eyes were drawn to Logan's. In that moment that their eyes connected, she saw a whole cacophony of emotions wash over his face. Sadness, regret, maybe even love. But as he nodded at her, she couldn't help but smile knowing that that was his way of saying thank you and goodbye.
She nodded back to him and then, pulling her eyes away from, she handed the microphone back to the DJ and made her way off stage. She didn't even glance at Shira as she brushed passed her. Instead she automatically made her way towards where her Grandparents were standing. They both gave her a warm smile and helped her with her coat. With one last look, Rory saw him watching her. He waved and then turned back towards his wife and his new life. Rory let out a sigh, lifted her head up and followed after her Grandparents.
Maybe it was the life she could've had. Maybe it was the life she should've had. But now, it was the life she would never have and she had to make peace with that and move on. Starting now.