Summary: Written for the First Annual R/L Fic Exchange. AU from 6.19: I Get a Sidekick Out of You. Logan's accident in Costa Rica didn't happen and R/L would find another way to get over the bridesmaid disaster.
Warnings: Angst, some coarse language and some mild smut.
Copyright: Sarah Diaz © 12.08.2009
Disclaimer: All characters of the TV-show Gilmore Girls do not belong to me. I merely borrow them.
Author's Note: This is my response to Queen Ferret's interesting prompt which I have posted at the end of the story. Thanks to Julia for organizing the First Annual R/L Fic Exchange. And thanks to my beta for the wonderful work she does for my stories!
Chapter 1: Icebreaker
The party was in full swing with all the indications that it would be a blast, just like it was supposed to be, but somehow, Logan couldn't get into the mood. And not for a lack of trying, for sure. He felt like he had drunk half of the entire stock of scotch by himself. He had made the jump, he mingled but nothing seemed to work that would enable him to join the fun.
This was his last Life and Death Brigade event before becoming an alumnus. This was his big graduation stunt and party before his father would kick him to London, into a suffocating life of work, far away from his friends and...
Turning his back away from the partying Brigadiers, Logan grabbed himself a bottle of whiskey and stomped away towards the beach. Finding a more or less secluded spot, he dropped down onto the cold sand and stared out to the sea, angrily taking a big swig.
Who was he kidding? He knew exactly why he was in such a bad mood that even drinking and partying like hell could not help him forget the problems of his crappy life. Even the stunt had done nothing but remind him of the cause of his current state of mind. He had probably done the most elaborate and most daring stunt in his life and he had not enjoyed doing it, not even a second. Hell, there had been a scary moment when the parachute hadn't opened immediately which had, on top of his brooding, killed the buzz of all the drinking he had indulged in ever since leaving Connecticut.
God, he was so glad that the parachute had opened without any more problems after all. He was happy that he had been able to jump safely not because he was alive without any broken bones or injuries and not because he liked sitting here miserably thinking about the added complications in his life; but because he did not want to give her the satisfaction that she was correct with her self-righteous doubts and pessimism. No, he did not want to give her anything right now, let alone satisfaction.
He raised the bottle to his lips again.
When Rosemary and Juliet had emerged from the trees with coconut cocktails for them in their hands, surprising them upon their arrival after the stunt, he hadn't been able to help himself but hope for another person to show up as well, despite the unlikely chance of that happening. Not after everything that had occurred lately. Not after the cold, indifferent way she had treated him these past few days. Not with her best friend's wedding taking place today with her as the maid-of-honor. And still he had been disappointed when no one else but Brigadiers showed up, feeling once more dejected and frustrated.
Raising his arm, he hurled the half-full bottle into the soft waves.
He didn't do dejection or frustration or misery just because of a girl! If anything, he was the one who bottled up, pushed away, gave the cold shoulder or even broke up with the girl.
Sure, she hadn't mentioned anything about breaking up, not yet at least. She had come back with him from Paris' place to their home after her disastrous encounter with his former fuck-bunnies at Honor's wedding, telling him that she had forgiven him, not that he thought there was really anything to be forgiven. But he was no fool, damn it. Any blind person could see that she had done everything but forgive him, holding one big grudge all bottled up and he could already see where this was heading to.
Maybe he should be happy to finally be rid of her and all the complications a relationship brought into his life. Maybe he should forget about her, move on and take pleasure from the company of the many beautiful and sexy ladies that were out there and just make his life one big party and enjoy it to the fullest.
Yeah, that he should do!
Running his hands through his hair, he closed his eyes. And like so many times before, a vision of his Ace appeared before his inner eye, looking at him with her stunning blue eyes and that warm, soft smile just reserved for him that made his heart clench suddenly with an overwhelming longing.
The problem was he had already tried just that: to move on, to forget her. That was what he did after their first big fight, believing that they had broken up and that was it. He had partied, gotten drunk, and fucked any two-legged girl with boobs crossing his way and that included, unfortunately, Honor's stupid friends who were her bridesmaids. He thought he would be able to move on after all; in reality, the contrary became apparent. The more desperately he tried to forget by substituting her with willing bodies and engaging in meaningless sex, the more it felt wrong and empty. The more he missed her. In the end, he had had no choice but to admit that she had touched his heart like no one else ever could. She was the only one who was able to fulfill the needs he didn't even know he had until he had had her in his arms. Only her.
He loved her. Simple as that, scary as that.
He had reached the point that it simply had to be her and no one else but her. And in the short period since the time he convinced her to give their relationship another chance up until the day she found out just how he had spent the time apart from her after Thanksgiving, he had never been happier before in his life even while his father had been forcing him into more and more business meetings and with London looming over his head. With her being there for him and, soon after, even waiting at their home for him, his dreaded future in the family business just didn't matter that much anymore.
She was seldom at home, not leaving any word on her whereabouts. He barely saw her and when she was there, she blocked any of his attempts to talk to her. It had been futile to start any conversation with her on any subject, be it on some general stuff like his day or her day or the newest crazy idea of Finn. He could not even start a dialogue with her to discuss the problem that had been tearing them apart bit by bit. He hated it and he missed his Ace so much, but he had no idea how to rectify their situation so they could go back to how they were before she found out about the bridesmaids.
If he could only make her see his point of view, make her understand that in spite of what he did, as despicable as she would think his actions were, his random and meaningless sex with those girls turned out to be a basically important phase for him. After all, without all those girls and the meaningless, hell, horrible sex with them, he would have never realized that he was head-over-heels in love with her and only her.
Then again, he doubted she would appreciate that bit of information since she had not shown any appreciation to a lot of things he did nowadays.
Was it over? Would breaking up be the best for them, especially now that he was moving out to London in a couple of months?
His hands dug deep into the sand as he opened his eyes to stare up to the stars. He wondered if Rory felt any of the things he was feeling right now. Probably not. She seemed uninterested in him and impassive about their relationship nowadays. It obviously hadn't bothered her that he would be out of reach for several days, whereas before, she had complained about not being able to talk to him for only a full day and had nagged him endlessly to find a way to call her anyway so she wouldn't have to worry. But no, not this time, nada! Hell, she hadn't even kissed him goodbye!
He was for sure not an expert on relationships, the past had more than proven that, but even he could tell that none of what was happening indicated that the future looked good for them. Would their relationship be dead as doornail soon? Or rather, would Rory's aloofness and detachment be the doornails that could really shut the coffin of their relationship?
So perhaps, would simply ending it now be better than trying to mend their relationship? To move out as soon as he was back in New Haven, to make a clean break since they were not on speaking terms anyway?
But then, why would he feel almost sick at the mere thought of leaving her? Why would everything in him be screaming to find a way, any way, to somehow prove to Rory that all he wanted was her and she was the only person who counted in his life now and he was pretty sure in the future as well? To make her see that they belonged together, that they couldn't be happy without each other?
At least he couldn't imagine a life without her anymore.
Wasn't that the answer in itself?
Letting out a groan from the depths of his heart, he laid down, wishing he hadn't hurled away the bottle of whiskey. He really needed a shot right now.
Even if he decided to stick it out with their relationship, what use was it when Rory had already decided to trash it like she had seemed to? He had managed to convince her to be with him, to give him and their relationship a chance before but this time, he had no clue how he would be able to persuade her again into giving him, them another chance. He loved his girlfriend, but God, she could be obstinate and downright hardheaded sometimes. She wasn't one to easily change her mind and especially with all the chances she had given him already... No, he wasn't sure at all if he could pull it off again. And he had no idea how to make them both happy again.
To be truthful, he couldn't see why he had to do all the groveling this time. Okay, so he had slept with other girls, but for Heaven's sake, he had been sure they had broken up especially when they had not talked for weeks after their fight. And besides, he was a guy after all, one who had only known a multitude of random sex before his Ace had crossed his way and taught him the appeal and meaning of committed sex. Of making love only to the one girl he saw himself spending the rest of his life with, as harebrained and impossible he had once thought that was.
Obviously, Rory couldn't see that though. She was not on the same page as he was. Otherwise, she would never act like this, slowly killing the great thing they had between them. Because their crumbling relationship was solely her fault this time. She was the one pulling away, the one avoiding her issues and running away. And whose love for him was apparently dying.
So it wasn't just up to him to save their relationship. Actually, it was probably mostly up to her to decide whether she wanted to stay with him or not. He dreaded that decision as he couldn't see much hope for them right now.
From within the woods, the sounds of the celebration drifted over to him. He could hear the laughter, singing and some distinctive sounds indicating that quite a few had formed groups to have private parties of their own.
He would have enjoyed the group parties himself, smirking as he reminisced the pleasure of being with his group. However, his reminiscing only made him miss his girlfriend more, wishing more than ever for her to be here with him, enjoying this beautiful, mild night in Costa Rica. He was sure that she would love it here: the people, the landscape, the beach, the food. And, of course, the coffee. God, she would probably be on a high caffeine level from drinking too much Costa Rican coffee, a caffeine level that even a Gilmore girl had never reached so far.
Despite everything, a smile tugged at his lips at that thought. His Ace and coffee... Hmm, maybe he should take home some of the best Costa Rican blends for her. He would bet she would love that.
The idea hit him like lightening and he sat up with a jerk, taking a deep breath, inhaling the fresh seawater air mixed with the faint but well-detectable smell of the many coffee trees around him. Coffee may not be a new idea for him and for sure couldn't make everything all right but with him bringing some special coffee blends home for her may just be icebreaker enough to get through to her, make her listen to him.
She had to.
She was always referring to the Gilmore Girls Handbook of Rules after all. In particular, he remembered rule number two very well:
Rule Number Two. A Gilmore girl should always worship the person who brings her the best coffee in the world. To show appreciation for the wonderful gift of the finest coffee, the recipient Gilmore girl must set aside at least an hour of her time to grant, in a genie-like manner, the wish of the giver.
Oh yeah, that may just be what they needed. And if it worked out, he was going to abandon tea for the rest of his life and only drink coffee from then on. Another reason for his Ace to forgive him as a Gilmore girl would never turn her back away from another coffee devotee. That was as long as there was enough coffee to satisfy her and a second coffee addict.
Her chin resting on her fist, Rory watched her best friend dancing with her newly-wedded husband and felt a strange mixture of happiness, nostalgia and yeah, part of her also felt some wistfulness and even sadness.
The friendship between her and Lane would never be the same again, of that she was absolutely sure. Certainly, they would remain best friends. They would always confide with each other, talk about Heaven and hell and everything in-between. But still, it wouldn't be the same.
To be brutally honest, their friendship had started to change ever since she had her first boyfriend Dean. And boy, sometimes they were worlds apart ever since she went to college while Lane stayed back home in Stars Hollow. Not to mention that ever since she was with Logan, she had seldom seen Lane and, most often than not, her conversations with her were guarded, she held back when talking about a few things. Logan and his friends' world was so fundamentally different from the world Lane lived in that it had been hard for Rory, who was caught in the middle of it, to talk about them. Strangely, the only one who had been able to understand that situation was Paris who had grown up in Logan's world and who was more hard-working in college than Rory. Because of the legal problems of her parents, Paris had understood and accepted the concept of living in a very tight budget. So in some ways, Paris was closer to her than Lane nowadays.
Now, Lane had both Zack and Brian who surely were closer to her in many aspects than Rory was. No one could take away their childhood memories and the deep friendship that had grown over the years and she knew that should she need Lane, she would always be there for her.
Well, with the exception of now maybe, not that Rory would ever dream of disturbing her friend's happiness and big day by bringing up her own messy relationship with Logan, no matter how very much she wanted to talk to someone about it.
Taking a last look at the happy couple, Rory turned away with a big sigh. She was happy for Lane, damn it! Really. And she wouldn't let Logan ruin this day for her or for Lane by sulking about the rock bottom they had hit lately. First the fight Jess triggered by showing up. Then her realization of how lost she was. Next came the news of Logan's impending move to London. After that, she had learned about all the bridesmaids he had fucked the moment they were not talking; that he had made the assumption that they had broken up. And now, she wouldn't let the fact that he wasn't here with her right now bring her down. If he would rather risk his neck in some banana republic, fine with her.
Some time apart was probably what they just needed at the moment. After all, right now she couldn't even look at him without imagining him with one of those bimbos. She had been so hurt by the fact that he could easily and quickly replace her, while at the same time, she couldn't help but wonder why he had even bothered to get back together with her. Obviously, he didn't need her to keep his bed warm and with him leaving in a couple of months anyway... Why go through all this trouble?
Because in spite of everything, they loved each other. Or at least she loved him. She loved him enough that she apparently couldn't even kiss another guy anymore without feeling terribly sick and culpable as her trip to Philadelphia had more than clearly shown. To think that kissing Jess could ever leave her so cold, yeah, even sick to the stomach, just because he wasn't Logan.
Not that she had planned on kissing him or anything else. Not consciously at least. But on the way back to New Haven, she had had time to think and had realized that yes, she primarily had gone to the opening because she was happy for Jess and she was incredibly proud of him. But some dark part of her that she hadn't even known existed had probably also entertained the possibility of paying back Logan by sleeping with Jess.
She hated herself for that, hated that her mess with Logan had brought forth even the slightest possibility of such a betrayal, not just of Logan, but also of Jess and more importantly, of herself and her own convictions and beliefs.
But why was she even surprised? Ever since she had met Logan he made her do or, at least, made her consider things she would never have dreamed of before, starting with her jumping off a seven-story high scaffold, engaging in stringless/casual sex, and now, entertaining the possibility of sleeping with someone else just to make Logan hurt as much as she was hurting.
In a way she was also grateful to Logan for exposing her to different groups of people and events that made her acquire more knowledge, more experience. He had opened a new world to her that had liberated her and had shown her a different side of life. And most importantly, through Logan she rediscovered herself; she found her inner self that was concealed. Although she realized also that she can do without the side of her that almost did the horrendous act.
She seriously asked herself if perhaps simply ending it with Logan would be the best. She would go back to New Haven, pack her stuff and move back with Paris or, if that wouldn't work, she guessed she could always move back to Stars Hollow for the last few weeks until school was out for the summer. After all, she felt that their relationship would probably be over in a couple of months anyway, with him moving away to London. So why not save the two of them from the heartbreak that awaited them and not waste any more effort and energy to save a relationship that was doomed to end soon enough?
Because even if Logan did want to try a long-distance relationship, which she was not positively certain, but if he did, she wasn't confident enough to have faith in him after everything that had happened with the bridesmaids. She knew full well just how his libido was and wondered if she could trust him enough for a long-distance relationship to work and not be eaten by doubts. One of them had to be realistic after all and that was obviously not going to be Logan.
Oh Logan. He would rather let her believe they could make a trip to Asia together over the summer, not once bothering to tell her that hey, he was moving across a freaking ocean away from her!
Biting her lips, she grabbed one of the tequila shots her mother thankfully hadn't drunk and downed it in one big gulp. A part of her longed to get drunk and forget everything for a while but one drunken Gilmore girl was more than enough for Lane's wedding. Judging from her mom's speech, being drunk hadn't worked either.
Then again, it worked perfectly well with Logan and his friends. By now they probably were three sheets to the wind. She just hoped that they had been sensible enough to wait with drinking themselves into oblivion before making that stupid, reckless stunt. Pushing away the worry that thought evoked, she angrily reached for a glass of water and downed that, too.
God, she needed to get out of here. Seeing Lane so happy with Zack only made her miss Logan more and damn it, this was her night, Lane's night, not Logan's! And seeing her mom break down over her stuck-in-limbo relationship with Luke wasn't helping her situation either, only reminding her of her own problems with her boyfriend. But she was the maid-of-honor and this was her best friend's wedding which made it imperative that she stay until the end of the festivities and basically, that was what she wanted in the first place.
If only she could just stop thinking of Logan…
Being in this wedding reminded her, almost every second of every minute, that only a few weeks ago she had admitted to herself and her mom that she thought Logan was the one. That for a while now, she could very well see herself walking down the aisle, in a couple of years or so, with Logan waiting at the altar for her, ready to set out for a new life together and start a family. When she looked at Martha or other babies, she could also picture herself having Logan's child, sometime along the way.
And the insane part…
Even with everything that had happened and all the doubts about the point of staying with Logan now, when she had seen Lane marry Zach twice today, she thought of her future with Logan and imagined herself and Logan in Lane and Zach's places, and strangely enough, it had felt just right and nothing else mattered.
But wasn't it crazy to think about such things with the way they were at the moment? Not to mention that Logan had not once given any indication about a possible future together, making all such thoughts fruitless.
Whenever she contemplated ending it with Logan for good, there was always this whisper in her heart, reminding her of what she thought about that and everything else.
Frustrated, she shook her head, eyeing the bar longingly before refilling her glass with water. Getting drunk would serve no one. Nor would it be fair to Lane. Actually, as it was, none of this musing got her anywhere. Yeah, she needed to sort out this mess her life was in right now, figure out where she stood exactly and act accordingly, be it by breaking up with Logan for good or by getting over this terrible feeling of betrayal and mend their relationship but now was not the time for that. No, it would have to wait until Logan returned from his trip. She would be able to make her decision, whatever it may be, only by facing him again.
Though the part of her that still believed in him being the one for her sure hoped for a happy ending for them. Okay, maybe all of her hoped for that. It wasn't just up to her though. Logan was a big part in achieving that goal, starting with his explaining a thing or two. And he had some growing up to do. She too probably, but by golly, he sure had to work on at a least one or two things if they wanted their relationship to ever work. The problem was… she wasn't sure if he could do that.
Then again, if Logan was anything, it would be his being a master of surprises. It was part of the reason why she loved him so much, as much as the reason why she actually entertained the idea of breaking it off with him.
She guessed only time would tell where his next surprise would lead them.
Heartbroken… or back on the road towards the ever after.
(Author's Note: Well, I hope you liked it so far - especially you, Queen Ferret. This is the first of 4 chapters. The next one I will post tomorrow. Happy New Year to everyone.)