Wet sand oozed between Logan's toes as he dug his feet further into the ground. His Dockers were rolled up to his knees and a lukewarm breeze drifted off the Bay, cooling against the beads of sweat that glistened on his skin. Towers of orange iron stretched out before him, framing the picturesque landscape beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Baker's Beach had become one of his favorite spots since he'd moved to San Francisco. It was a slice from every aspect of life. There were little old ladies, and nude sun bathers in the same spot. There were couples and singles, dogs frolicking in the water. And there were kids—lots and lots of kids building sand castles, flying kites and having splash fights with one another.
There was one kid in particular that Logan couldn't seem to keep his eyes off of. He appeared to be about two, but Logan had never been very good at guessing children's ages. He had shaggy blonde hair and a Band-Aid on his knee. He was with a pretty, brunette woman in her late twenties who was currently helping him fill pails with sand. It was like looking at a picture of his future and as much as he wanted to, he couldn't turn away. They looked happy—wonderfully, breathtakingly happy. Of course Logan noticed that there was no potential father around. Were they happy despite the fact that he wasn't in the picture? Or was he just at work, getting through the day so that he could join his family at home and read his son a captivating rendition of The Cat in the Hat.
He hoped it was the latter even though he knew that scenario wasn't in the cards for him. He would never be a part of that happy, little family unit. At best, his kid would spend a day at the beach with his Mom and then get sent on an airplane across the country to hear his Dad read him that story. Would he just be better off with no father at all? Logan had spent the entire drive from Sacramento to San Francisco trying to convince himself of just that, but a part of him knew he was just rationalizing. The truth was, the one thing that had gotten him through the past two months since the break-up was avoiding any and all reminders of Rory—and by convincing himself he hated her when the avoidance method failed. This baby changed all of that. Letting this baby into his life would mean letting Rory back in, at least a little, and he couldn't imagine going back to a life with Rory in it. It was just too painful.
So what did he do? The right thing, or the easy thing? It was moments like these when he wished he could be the old Logan. The self-absorbed, irresponsible playboy he was BR—before Rory. So, in a desperate attempt to hear what he wanted to hear, he pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial.
"The voicemail box you are trying to reach is full. Please hang up and try your call again," The automated voice rang in his ears. Logan shook his head exasperatedly. Some things never changed. He disconnected the call and tried again, hitting a different number.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the prodigal son. And here I was thinking you'd been eaten by a shark or something," the voice on the other end of the line chuckled.
"Your concern overwhelms me," Logan replied drolly.
"Hey, you're the one who moved across the country and stopped calling everyone, don't get snippy with me."
"Yeah, sorry, Colin, I guess my phone must have accidentally deleted all those missed calls from you." Logan leaned back, propping his elbows in the sand
"Did you call just to pick a fight or was there an actual reason—because Gretchen is only here in the Hamptons for a few days and…"
"You're in the Hamptons?" Logan rolled his eyes. Colin was supposed to be working as a paralegal in his father's law firm for the summer.
"Finn's up from Australia and I start school in a few weeks," Colin defended.
"By the way, tell that idiot to empty his voicebox."
"You called Finn before me? I'm wounded, Logan."
"Yeah, well, I was actually looking for someone to give me bad advice. Finn was the first to pop into my head but when I couldn't get a hold of him, I immediately thought of you."
"Umm, thanks?" Colin questioned.
"Hey, Mate, Gretchen's looking for you, but if you're done with her, I'd be happy to entertain…" Finn's voice echoed in the background of the call.
"I'm on the phone with Logan. Keep your hands off Gretchen, you fucking horn-dog. I'll be back in a few."
"Logan, hmm, do I know a Logan?" Finn questioned. "Excuse me, do I know you?" His voice was closer this time and Logan knew he'd taken Colin's cell. "Because I used to have a mate named Logan but he got too big for his britches and forgot all about the little people."
"And you're the little people." Logan chuckled.
"Hell no, there's nothing little about Finn."
"Give it back, dumb ass." Logan imagined Colin grabbing the phone back from Finn, and probably hitting him upside the head while he was at it.
"Now what did you need bad advice about?"
"Hey! I'm a wonderful advice giver." Finn sounded wounded. Apparently Logan was on speaker phone with both of them now.
Logan let out a sigh, figuring it was best to just get it over with. "I saw Rory."
"Reporter Girl?" Finn asked with glee. "How is the lovely Shiela?"
"Pregnant." There was silence on the line for a moment.
"Is it yours?' Colin finally asked.
"What kind of dumb ass question is that?' Logan replied defensively.
"Hey, it's valid. You guys have been broken up for a while."
"Sure. Like you haven't been with anyone since then?" Finn piped in with a 'you sly dog' tone to his voice.
"Oh?" Finn replied mystified. "Really?"
"Really." Logan rolled his eyes.
"Hmm…I didn't know it was possible to go that long without." Logan groaned in exasperation. What had he been thinking calling Colin and Finn for advice? Even bad advice?
"So what did you do when she told you?" Colin asked, getting the conversation back on track.
Logan let out a deep sigh. "I freaked out," he admitted. "I freaked and I told her I couldn't do it and I walked away."
"Thank God!" Finn exclaimed.
"You really dodged a bullet there, Mate."
"Finn!" Colin scolded
"Please, Logan Huntzberger with a baby? Can you just see him changing diapers and wheeling a stroller around? It'd totally cramp his style."
"I don't really think that's the point."
"Of course it's the point. How is he supposed to get himself any action if he's strapped down with a kid? He's totally off his game as it is already. You heard him. He hasn't slept with anyone in two months, and he hasn't slept with anyone but Rory in years."
Logan collapsed back into the sand. It was just like Finn to be worried about how Logan was going to get laid. But isn't that why he called Finn in the first place? To hear someone tell him he'd done the right thing by walking away—even if he knew it was a lie?
"No, I think the point is that Logan would be a horrible father," Colin interjected.
"Hey!" Logan sat straight back up again. Had Colin really just said that?
"I mean, just look at the example he's had. Besides, what is he supposed to do? Give up his new career and come flying back here just to play Daddy? He's just getting his life settled; he doesn't have time for a baby. Being a high powered career man is in his blood. Family's gotta come second."
Logan rubbed his eyes wearily. "Alright already, I get the point. Enough with the reverse psychology."
"Who said anything about reverse, Mate," Finn chuckled.
"I appreciate all of your eloquent advice, but I'm hanging up now."
"Hey, Logan?" Colin interrupted.
"Yeah?" He asked with a sigh.
"Don't be a stranger. I know it hasn't seemed it lately, but we're here to help."
"Thanks Colin," Logan replied with the first genuine smile he'd had all day.
The coarse material of the wool bed spread chaffed uncomfortably and Rory shifted on the bed, trying to get comfortable. Her roommate had left for her run and Rory was finally free to get as emotional as she wanted. She deserved a good cry after the way her day had gone. Logan had barely even let her say the words before he was gone in a puff of smoke. The roadrunner couldn't have made a quicker dash for it—and Rory was left feeling like an Acme anvil had been dropped on her head.
She let out a deep breath, willing the tears to come, but they didn't. Perhaps she needed some weepy music to help her release her emotions. She reached for her laptop on the desk and clicked on her I-Tunes icon, pulling up the special "wallow" play list she had concocted after the break-up a few months before. Still, despite the Sara McLachlan, the tears didn't come. With a sigh of frustration she collapsed back on the stack of pillows behind her and placed her hands gently on her stomach.
"Well kid—super day, huh? Your Dad was kind of an ass. Not that I'm going to be one of those jilted parents that talks bad to their kid about the other parent. Your Dad's not a bad guy—really. Except that right now I kind of need to hate him and there's no one else I can talk to about it, so try not to hold this against me when you get older and wind up in therapy because you had an identity crisis, stole a yacht with your boyfriend and dropped out of school…"
Rory's ramblings were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Damn it, Cindy, what'd you forget this time?" she mumbled, pulling herself up off the bed and clomping over to the door to let, who she presumed to be her roommate, in. She pulled it open a crack and instantly she was attempting to close it again. He was faster than her though, and he got a foot in the threshold to prevent the door from slamming in his face.
"We need to talk," Logan insisted.
"I heard you loud and clear this morning, Logan"
"I was an ass this morning. I think we can both agree on that. But given the circumstances perhaps you could cut me a little slack."
"Or perhaps I couldn't." Rory crossed her arms over her chest defiantly, but kept her foot jammed behind the door so he couldn't get in.
"Ace," he whined. She presumed he thought the use of her nickname would soften her, but instead it just pissed her off. Did he think she was stupid? Did he think she wouldn't know he was trying to manipulate her?
"Don't you dare call me that," she hissed. "I'm not your 'Ace' anymore. You've made that perfectly clear."
"Rory," he tried again. "I'm sorry, okay, will you just let me in."
"Fine." He leaned against the door jamb and crossed his arms over his chest. "You can slam this door on me, but I'm not going anywhere. I'll just stand here and wait for you to come out. And if I get bored waiting, maybe I'll just start a conversation with some nice person as they walk by on the way to their room. Hey don't you work with most of the people staying here?"
"You wouldn't." He knew the last thing she would want was for her coworkers to know she was pregnant with the grandson of one of the biggest newspaper magnates in the world. It would be a scandal of massive proportions.
"I might." He shrugged. "That curly haired, brunette with the glasses seems nice," he continued, pointing down the walkway in front of the motel. "I wonder if she works for Dad. Maybe I should ask her."
Rory glanced in the direction Logan was pointing and groaned, opening the door wide, yanking Logan in by his wrist and slamming the door shut behind him. "Fine, you win, are you happy."
"No," he admitted with a shake of his head.
Rory's anger was suddenly zapped by his sincerity and she cast her gaze to the floor, biting her lip shyly. "Me either," she admitted.
"I'm so sorry, Rory. I totally freaked out this morning. I acted like an ass."
"Yeah" she admitted looking up. "You did." She tried to keep a stern face but she could feel the hint of a smile pulling at her lips. He had come back. Logan was here and he was threatening to camp out outside her motel room and he was apologizing. Maybe everything could turn out okay after all.
"I want to be a part of this baby's life. I need to be."
"Are you sure?" she asked. She couldn't let him do this if he wasn't sure. It wouldn't be fair to the baby if he flitted in and out of their lives like her father had done, and to be honest, she wasn't sure she could handle it. Her heart was still pretty broken as it was.
"Hey, if I say I can do this, I can do this," he smirked at her.
"I've heard that line before, Huntzberger." She finally let the smile break through.
"And I was an excellent boyfriend, if I do say so myself."
"Ehhh," she agreed half-heartedly. "Some days."
"Hey!" Logan pouted.
She cocked her head appraisingly before conceding. "Most days," she amended with a smile.
"I loved you, Rory Gilmore. I still do, I probably always will," he said softly, inching closer and closer to his ex-girlfriend. "I'm going to love this baby just as much," he insisted, placing his hand over her stomach. If he didn't know her so intimately the slight convex to her stomach would have been unnoticeable, but he could feel the changes. "I won't be my father...or yours. I'm going to be here."
"I know," she whispered casting her eyes down to where he was touching her for the first time in months. She never wanted him to take his hand away again. She looked back up again, her eyes meeting his, holding his gaze for a moment. Then suddenly she was kissing him. Needy. Desperate. Teeth clashing, tongues battling. Her arms were around his neck and his were around her waste, pulling her closer to him.
She wasn't sure who led them back to the bed but suddenly her knees were buckling and he was cushioning her descent onto the mattress; his body hovering over hers, the warm aura of his sandalwood and cinnamon cologne assaulting her senses. She was thousands of miles from Connecticut but for the first time in months, there in that cheap motel, she felt home.
His hands push the thin cotton fabric of her tank top up, kneading helplessly at her flesh, familiarizing himself with a body he knew like the back of his hand and yet was completely different. She moaned gratefully as his hands cupped the breasts that had once fit perfectly in his grasp, but which now overflowed from his fingers. She arched her back and began clawing at his own shirt, desperate to rid him of it.
"I love you," she hissed and immediately Logan stilled, his entire torso tensing uncomfortably. He rolled off of her landing on his back on the bed.
"Fuck!" he grunted. He brought his hands to rub wearily at his eyes. "Fuck!" he replied again, pounding the mattress with his first. He looked over at Rory, who was furiously trying to straighten her tank top, her eyes filled with tears. "Rory…"
"Don't!" she replied in an unsteady voice, holding her hand up to stop him from whatever he was about to say. She squeezed her eyes shut to still the tears that were threatening to fall. "Did you even mean anything you said?"
"I meant all of it," he insisted, sitting up to meet her eye.
"You said you loved me!" she cried.
"I thought…I thought…" She sniffled.
"That everything was fixed?" he asked. She nodded her head weakly.
"It's not that easy, Rory," he replied, pulling his shirt back on.
"But why not? We still love each other and obviously I have to settle down now. I can move out here and we can get married and have the baby and everything can be the way it's supposed to be."
Logan scoffed at her naivety. "I'm not going to be your back-up plan, Rory."
"Yes, I am. You only want a life with me now because of this baby."
"I always wanted a life with you. You're the one who walked away."
"You wanted a life that I was a part of, yeah, but you didn't want a life with me. It's not the same thing. And if circumstances were different, you'd be sad that we were broken up and you'd grieve the loss of our relationship, but you wouldn't be hating yourself for making the wrong decision and going out of your way to fix things. You'd move on."
"You don't know that."
"I know you."
"Obviously not, or you wouldn't have proposed to me in a room full of my grandparent's friends," she snapped angrily, getting up from the bed and turning her back to him so he couldn't see the tears that had finally left her eyes and started slipping down her cheeks.
"You're right," he conceded. "It was a stupid way to ask you." She felt his hand on her shoulder. "But what's done is done, and we can't take it back. What ever you decide for this baby, I will do everything in my power to be there every step of the way. But you and me," he sighed wearily, "we're not okay."