Author's Note: Here is my contribution for the First RL Fic Exchange. Holy wow, let me just tell you, there are some incredible RL stories being posted for this. If you haven't, you should be reading them, and leaving reviews. And big thank-yous to Julia for organizing it!

Thank you, Katie for all of your patience and help with this story! Even without Internet, you've been amazing!

This is for Pericles. I hope I did your prompt well. Enjoy!

Not Like Ross and Rachel

Rory propped herself up on one elbow and stared at the sleeping figure next to her. His eyes moved rapidly behind their lids but he was otherwise still. She traced a fingertip over his face, down his neck, and across his chest. Feather-like strokes that wouldn't wake him, she just needed to touch him.

Neither of them were happy but they both were too scared to admit it to the other. It had been one hell of a year, and to say that their relationship had been shaken to its very core was putting it mildly. Then, that one year anniversary had passed and just when she thought he was going to tell her he was coming home to stay, she had learned that his time in London had been extended indefinitely. He had always said he needed her to make it through that year; they had yet to discuss the next one, or two, or five. Was it really fair for her to assume that he still needed her? For the past several weeks, and particularly through this visit, she had began to wonder if she was doing more harm than good. Was she holding him back? Was he spending too much time worrying about her and her needs to pay attention to his own? The twice daily phone calls, the countless text messages, the weekend trips every other month; what was she potentially keeping him from achieving?

Lately she had been re-examining her own needs as well. Here she was, barely graduated from Yale and about to start a new job and a new life in Providence, Rhode Island, of all places. She was, essentially, starting over. Did that mean she wanted a new life without Logan in it? Of course not, she argued internally. What she wanted to be doing was starting a new life together with Logan. It was painfully obvious though, that this would not be happening anytime soon.

Her fingers brushed over his cheek again but he didn't stir. She knew what the immediate future had in store for them. More wistful phone calls. More attending events solo and dealing with resulting gossip after. More longing to just be on the same continent, let alone in the same room, or God forbid, the same bed at night.

More fighting. She sighed as she felt the tears sting behind her eyelids. Their fights were getting worse lately; the meanings of their words never quite making it across the Atlantic the way they were meant to. She choked back a quiet sob as she remembered the last argument between them, less than a week ago.

"It was awful! I wish you had been there, Ace. I swear, if I hear the word synergy one more time, I'm going to scream."

"That would explain the fuck synergy text I got in the middle of class," Rory mused. She cradled the phone to her ear as she poured her last cup of coffee. "As well as the request for the inappropriate picture to be sent immediately."

"Yeah, sorry about that. I didn't think you'd actually comply. Imagine my surprise."

"Right. That better not end up biting me in the ass, Huntzberger. For your eyes only."

"Oh trust me, it's tucked away into my very private files. And it's exactly what I needed to get through the rest of the day." Logan paused. "Though now that you're home and in bed, you could always send a follow-up."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" She sipped at her coffee. "But I'm not in bed."

"You're not?" She could practically hear the frown in his voice and knew that he was checking his watch. "It's almost two in the morning, don't you have class in the morning?"

"Can't sleep."

"Maybe you should put the coffee down."

She glared at the phone. "I don't want to," she said stubbornly.

Logan sighed. "Fine. Drink the coffee, I don't care."

"Are we really fighting about coffee?"


"It sounds like it."

"We're not fighting!" Logan waited a beat before trying again. "So why can't you sleep?"

She cast a longing look toward their bed. The one she hadn't been able to sleep in since his last trip home two weeks ago. "Just a lot going on in my head," she lied.

"Oh yeah?" His voice dropped an octave. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Seriously?" She snapped before realizing it. "I'm sorry," she said, softening her tone. "I'm not in the mood for that." Logan sighed again and this time she could tell he was irritated with her. "What?" she asked, the edge creeping back into her voice.

"I hate this!" he said roughly. "Damn it, Rory, I don't know what you want."

"What are you talking about?"

"This! You can't sleep, and it's killing me that I can't help you. If I was there, I'd know exactly what to do."

"Well you're not," she snapped again. She closed her eyes. "Logan, it's fine."

"It's not fine," he said petulantly.

"It is," she insisted. "We're thousands of miles apart, Logan. You can't fix everything from there. Like it or not, I will have to manage to get to sleep by myself."

"Does this not bother you at all? Do you even care?"

"Oh of course I care! God, Logan! How can you dare ask otherwise?"

"You're not exactly acting like you're bothered by it."

"Logan." She paused. "I miss you. So much more than I could ever show you. But harping on the things I miss most about you or how much I miss you? It only makes it worse. It makes it so much worse." She could almost hear him nodding over the phone.

He chuckled quietly. "Are we really arguing over who misses who more?"

"We might be," she agreed with a laugh.

"I miss you," he said again, his voice full of emotion.

"I miss you too," she whispered.

"We're good?"

She wanted to agree with him but found herself shaking her head vehemently. "We're good," she repeated softly.

"You staring at me while I'm asleep creeps me out. You know that." Logan's raspy voice broke her out of her trance and she attempted to smile at him. She failed miserably. She saw the concern etched all over his sleepy features. "Hey, what's wrong?" he asked immediately. "Rory, what is it?"

She swallowed hard. "This isn't working anymore," she whispered. "We're not working anymore."

Logan sighed and pulled her down across his chest. "I knew this was coming." He spoke quietly, running his hand through her hair. "I don't want this," he admitted hoarsely.

"I don't either." She didn't bother to curb her tears. "I love you. So much. But this..." Her voice trailed off helplessly. "There's just no end in sight, Logan."

"But there will be," he insisted, pulling her closer. "London isn't forever, Rory."

"You don't know that," she returned gently. "Logan, honey, I'm not blaming you. I need you to know that. This isn't your fault in the least. Neither of us is to blame. It just is what it is, and ugh," she sighed again. "What it is, is-"

"Hard," he finished with a slight nod.

"So hard," she agreed. "Too hard. I don't want either of us to end up resenting the other." She pressed her lips to his chest. "It would kill me, if I thought for one second that you were unhappy and I was to blame for it."

"I'm not unhappy," he said quietly. "Are you?"

"I'm not happy," she admitted. She couldn't make herself look up at him. "I'm sorry." She couldn't believe she had actually said the words. Instantly, she wanted to take them back, but they were out there, and she couldn't deny them any longer. "Oh God, I'm so sorry," she whispered. She began to cry in earnest; gut-wrenching sobs that caused her entire body to shake within his arms. Logan didn't say anything, he just held her tight and waited it out. Eventually, her tears began to slow and finally, he forced her chin up so that their eyes could meet.

"I love you," he said finally. "I don't want to lose you." He took a deep breath. "So if we need to take a break, then that's what we need to do."

"A break?" she said through her sniffles. "How very Ross and Rachel."

He didn't laugh. "I can't break up with you, Rory. I can't do it. If you want to break up with me then go ah-"

"No," she said quickly.

"Then a break," he said softly. "I won't be in London forever. I will be back, Rory. Soon."

"Soon," she repeated with a nod. She took a deep shaky breath. "Would it be entirely inappropriate to kiss you right now?"

He nodded gravely but he saw the look in her eyes and knew that it mirrored his own. Tears still streaked down her cheeks and he thumbed them away as he bent to kiss her. She tensed in his embrace and he knew she wanted to resist but he didn't stop. "We'll figure it out," he whispered against her. "I'll be back," he promised.

She swallowed the sob that was rising in her throat and nodded quickly against him. She didn't say anything, but she also didn't stop him as he swiftly rolled her under him and kissed her again. She kissed him back just as hard, if not harder. She refused to believe that this was the last time that they would make love but she'd be damned if it was and his last memory of her was mediocre.

"This is going to work." Logan tried to sound optimistic, but wasn't sure that he did. It was several hours later, and they were saying their good-byes.

Rory nodded. She looked miserable but tried to smile reassuringly at him. "Of course it will work," she said, forcing the words to come. "It's not like we're breaking up," she said hastily. "It's just a break."

"A break," he echoed. "Just like Ross and Rachel." He repeated her earlier sentiment. And didn't they end up happily ever after at the end?"

"They did," she consented, her eyes shining with tears. She threw herself into his arms one more time and kissed him urgently. "I love you."

"I love you too," he said, holding onto her as long as he could. He kissed the top of her head and released her. "It's going to work," he said again. "It will."

"I know," she said with a slight nod.

"Okay good." Logan picked up his bag and looked at her once more. "This isn't good-bye," he said firmly. "So, I'll call you, okay?"

She nodded again. "Okay." She lifted her hands in a slight wave and barely managed to wait for the door to close behind him before falling to the floor in tears.

This so was not like Ross and Rachel.

For awhile, the phone calls did come. Rory called after arriving in Rhode Island to let him know she was safely settled. A few days later, Logan called to tell that the acquisition he had been working on for six months had finally been completed.

She wasn't sure what his thoughts on it were, but for Rory, it was infinitely harder than she ever imagined it could be to not call him over the ordinary and mundane parts of her life. As the months went on, the things she used to love and look forward to calling him about didn't seem so important anymore and it nearly broke her heart. Like the time she almost called to tell him about the awful Italian restaurant she and Lorelai had discovered that she knew he'd love. She had found herself reaching for the phone before she realized that they didn't call each other like that anymore. Then, there was the time she almost did call him. She had the phone in her hand and had half-dialed his number before she realized that it was nearly four in the morning in London, and that Logan probably didn't care so much that she was outraged at the new champion of Dancing with the Stars. There had been tears in her eyes as she slowly set the phone back down next to her, but she refused to let herself cry. After all, this was what she had wanted.

But, she reminded herself sternly. It's not like he's calling me with baseball stats and awful movie recommendations either. It still stung, the fact that the last handful of times he had called her had been strictly neutral in nature; whether he had called to congratulate her on a particularly well-written article she had sent him or telling her to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, she found something lacking in his phone calls. She was hesitant to believe he was merely following her lead, as Lorelai suggested, choosing instead to believe that there was something else was going on.

This is what you wanted, she told herself for the umpteenth time as she stared at her phone longingly. And at the time, it had been. She hated to admit it, but when she had suggested to Logan that they take a break there had been a tiny sliver of a part of her that had been excited. Not excited to be away from him, of course not, but excited to be able to begin her post-college life with no restrictions; with no one to answer to.

It had never occurred to her that maybe, just maybe, Logan had been thinking the exact same thing. But now, on day twenty-six with no phone call, it was that very thought that was breaking her heart.

Who the hell came up with the idea of a break in the first place? She was willing to bet it hadn't worked so well in their favor either. But no one was going to tell you that. No, they wanted you to believe that taking breaks saved relationships.

Ross and Rachel turned out okay, didn't they?

"Rory?" Lorelai stuck her head around the corner of the doorway. "You're not ready yet?" She planted her hands on her hips and scrunched up her face. "I know you did not beg me to cross state lines to take you out for a birthday dinner only for me to show up and you not be ready." Her eyes landed on Rory's hands and she sighed. "So. No phone call?"

"No," she said shortly. She snapped the phone shut and placed it in her purse. "But there will be." Her voice betrayed her confidence and they both knew it. "He'll call."

Lorelai nodded unsympathetically. "Hon, weren't you the one who initiated this break?" she asked carefully. "It's been months since he was last here, did you ever think that maybe..." she shrugged. "You told him you weren't happy," she reminded her quietly.

"So?" Rory challenged. "He knew I didn't want to end things completely," she insisted. "He didn't either. What we wanted was some time to--"

"Well you're having your time, kid." Lorelai gave her a hard look. "How does it feel?"

The last thing she wanted to do was admit to Lorelai how her plan had backfired. How she had realized within three weeks that being without Logan was far worse than being with him, no matter how many miles were between them. "He'll call," she said stubbornly.

He didn't call.

Not for lack of trying, but still, Logan didn't call. Not on her birthday at least. He had meant to, and he had tried, oh how he had tried, but the entire week surrounding her birthday, he had found himself in three different time zones, and on the actual day, or what he had at least calculated to be her birthday, he had been in Dubai, locked in a conference room with his father and fifteen other suits who couldn't care less that he had more important things to be doing, like calling the love of his life on her twenty-third birthday.

The last several months had been rough on him, he was man enough to admit that. Though he had known it had been bubbling on the surface for several weeks, the morning that Rory had actually told him she wasn't happy had rocked him. The words had sliced at him like a razor and in that split second it had been on the tip of his tongue to tell his dad to fuck off and sweep Rory off to some tropical island and marry her right then and there.

And then he had looked down at her, and had seen the silent and desperate plea in her eyes. She wasn't happy. He knew he was more than a little to blame for that. At the moment though, it just couldn't be helped. He needed to be in London, and as much as he had resented going in the beginning, he couldn't deny that now, he actually liked being there. He loved his job. He didn't want to feel guilty for that.

Not that Rory would ever make him feel guilty. Not intentionally, at least. But there had been a definite strain on their relationship in the weeks and even the months before her graduation. He hadn't been surprised by her admission, but he had been surprised at how much it had stung to hear the words. Now, not having to exactly answer to her about his whereabouts and being able to focus on his career, well, he didn't exactly hate it. Still, he had meant it when he said that he couldn't break up with her. The best he could do was propose that stupid break and what a fucked up idea that had turned out to be.

As it turns out, Ross and Rachel were not a couple to take relationship advice from. While a break seems like a good idea at the moment it's suggested, when it comes to actually implementing said break? Well, there was no rulebook to study from, and when Logan didn't realize this until he was already back across the Atlantic, figuring out the rules became nearly impossible.

Were they still together? Yes, but what did that mean? Within days of his departure, Rory's attitude began to cool toward him. Gone were the flirty texts, the surprise care packages, and the good-night calls. That had hurt the most, not hearing her voice as he started his day. And when her phone calls did come, she wasn't his Ace anymore. She was cool, almost business-like and if he could have, he would have reached through the phone and shook her until she spouted off some insane bit of conversation about her compulsive addiction to phoning in votes on C-List celebrity reality shows.

Okay, so maybe they weren't together. Logan didn't really know at this point, but he never took the necessary step of actually ending things with her. Even with the most recent strain on their relationship, he couldn't do it. He thought about it, but always, in the back of his mind was the thought that one day, he would be leaving London and he would be back the States, and back in her life.

He only hoped that by that point, she would still have him.

So, he tried to call her on her birthday. He really did. But the meeting ran late, and then his dad wanted to rehash every single detail they had just gone through, and then he was forced to have celebratory drinks with the crew and it was hours before he finally got back to the safety of his apartment and had the phone in hand to call her.

Given the fact that by his calculations it was now seven hours past her birthday, he couldn't say he was surprised when she didn't pick up the phone. He had started and failed to leave three voicemails. The first had been breezy, and as he listened back, he couldn't help but cringe at the almost smarmy tone of his voice. The second had been apologetic, but as he listened to that one, he couldn't stand how pathetic he sounded. The last one he deleted simply because it became a babbling mess of nonsense that he was sure she wouldn't understand.

He settled for leaving a very generic and boring "Happy birthday, Rory," before throwing his phone across the room and pouring a very strong drink.

Fuck Ross and fuck Rachel. He never did like her hair anyway.

"Happy birthday, Rory?" she had shrieked in annoyance when she had finally listened to his voicemail. "That's the best he could do? Seriously? Happy birthday Rory." She threw her phone across the room and Lorelai caught it before it hit the wall.

"At least he remembered," she tried to say helpfully, but Rory just glared at her. Lorelai set the phone down and walked over to her daughter. Enough was enough. "Rory, just end it already."

"What?" Rory whirled around and gaped at her mother. "Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you? You wanted us broken up from the moment we got together."

"Are you really together?" Lorelai asked, throwing her hands up in the air. "Look at you, Rory, you're pissed because your boyfriend," Lorelai broke out the air quotes at the word. "left you a pretty crappy birthday voicemail. A boyfriend," Again with the air quotes. "that you haven't really spoken to in what? A month?"

"He's busy with work." She cringed as the words flew past her lips. It was the same excuse women used to pardon their cheating husbands, and just as she didn't buy it when she heard it from then, she didn't buy it when it came from herself.

Lorelai wasn't buying it either. "Oh honey." She shook her head. "It's over."

"Get out," Rory spat at her mother. Her anger over the entire situation bubbled up and she was taking it out on the wrong person but she didn't care. "If you're going to just sit here and tell me that I should leave Logan just because we're in a bit of a rough spot, then you can leave. I don't need relationship advice from you."

"No?" Lorelai raised an eyebrow skeptically. "Let me say this, and then I'll never bring it up again. What I'm telling you? It's the truth and you know it. So you don't want to accept it, that's fine. It's not my life that's being wasted." She gave her daughter a pitying look. "I know you think it's fine because Ross and Rachel reunited at the end, but honey? It took eight years." She picked up her purse as she headed for the door. "And also? They weren't real people." The door slammed behind her.

Rory dropped into the nearest chair and stared miserably at her phone, which lay on the table next to her. Before she could stop herself, she grabbed it and dialed the number she still knew by heart.

He didn't answer. It went straight to voicemail and she pressed the disconnect button dejectedly. She couldn't leave him a message, she didn't know what she had planned to say to him if he had picked up.

Ross had been kind of a butthead in the beginning as well. If Rachel could wait for him, she could wait for her own butthead-miscreant.

"How long do we need to stay?" Rory asked as her co-worker Scott gallantly opened the door for her. "And more importantly, why do the two of us need to be here again?"

"Oh Rory, it's that sunshine-y attitude of yours that makes me so look forward to tonight," Scott replied as he handed their coats off. "You know the bossman thrives on having the whole he-said, she-said view of these fancy-schmancy fundraiser type events."

"Blah, blah, blah they're all the same, trust me." Rory raised an eyebrow at him. "Fancy-schmancy? So I guess I'm the he-said version of tonight?"

"Oh Gilmore, you slay me. You really do." Scott grabbed two glasses of champagne off of a passing tray as they made their way to their table. "Just say the word and I can prove my manhood to you."

She snorted. "Thanks, I'm good." With a sigh, she took her seat and snuck a glance around the room. "Yep, just your standard run of the mill children's hospital fundraiser," she said. She glanced at a passing server. "Salmon puffs, of course. Too much garnish on the trays," she sniffed. She caught Scott staring at her. "What? I know things," she said innocently.

"Right. Well take it down a notch Giada, we're not here to write a piece for the dining section of the paper."

"Well well, the gang's all here!"

Rory froze with her champagne glass halfway to her lips. She forced herself to finish the intended sip and lowered the glass slowly before setting it carefully on the table. She felt as though she was moving underwater. Finally, she raised her eyes to the owner of the voice. For the first time in one year, seven months, sixteen days and a handful of hours, she found herself face to face with Logan.

He held her gaze for a moment longer before breaking away to nod at the rest of the group at the table. Rory's heart pounded as introductions began to make their away around and she braced herself as Scott began to give her name to Logan.

He held up his hand. "Rory and I go way back, don't we Ace?" Logan asked as he looked directly at her. She winced at his term of endearment.

"Really?" Scott turned to Rory with a look of surprise. "You know Logan?"

She nodded. "He's..." she faltered, unsure of what to say.

Logan wasn't about to make this easy on her either. "I"m her boyfriend," he supplied effortlessly. "Isn't that the technical term?"

"No," she shot back furiously, finally finding her voice.

"No?" he questioned. "Was there a break-up that I missed somewhere? I generally like to be a part of those things, you know." He turned to Scott again. "We took a bit of a break you see, but as far as I'm aware, I am still her boyfriend."

"Boyfriends don't disappear into thing air," she snapped. She had no idea what kind of game Logan was playing with her or why he was even doing it to begin with. What she really wanted to know was why he was there, and not in London, like she assumed him to be.

"That's true," Logan mused. "I didn't go anywhere though. You knew where to find me." He gestured between her and Scott. "Am I making this awkward here, your little date?"

Rory slapped her hand down against the table, shaking the crystal and china as she did. "Not that I owe you an explanation of any kind, Scott is not my date. We work together."

"Oh of course," Logan said. "Good to know you're still being faithful."

"Why are you here?" she hissed.

"For the salmon puffs, of course." He leaned back in his chair. "Look around, Rory, there's a million and four media people here. Did you really think we wouldn't be represented as well?"

"Logan," Scott broke in, desperate to ease the tension at the table. "If I remember, you've been in London for some time, correct?"

"I was, Scott, that's right." He snagged a salmon puff off of a passing tray. "However, I'm back in the States now."

"You're back," Rory echoed flatly. The tips of her fingers were nearly as white as the edge of the linen she was gripping at the edge of the table.

"I'm back," he repeated, locking eyes with her. He turned back to Scott. "London was quite the experience though. Ever been, Scotty?"

"Very briefly in college. So, how long have you been back? There hasn't been a media blitz about it that I've seen."

"Yes Logan," Rory's voice was sickly sweet. "How long have you been back?"

His cocky demeanor faltered for a second before he composed himself again, but Rory caught it. She still knew all of his subtle nuances. She watched him expectantly as she waited for his answer. "Five months," he admitted finally, though his smirk failed to reach his eyes. He knew the answer was going to gut her.

She blinked, sure that she had heard him wrong though she knew she hadn't. "Five mon--" Much to her embarrassment, she knew she was about to cry and she hastily pushed her chair back from the table. "Excuse me," she choked out before rushing out of the room.

"Fuck." Logan pushed his own chair back and glanced at Scott. "I was kind of an asshole, wasn't I?"

"From the minute you sat down," Scott agreed.

"Yeah. Think you can hold down the table for a bit?" Scott nodded and Logan stood up and followed Rory out of the room.

Once she had bolted from the room, Rory had realized she had nowhere to go, but she still knew she had to be away from that table, away from him. She spun around in a circle, desperately looking for an escape route. She saw a side exit that led to the gardens and headed for the door.

He was back. She gasped, filling her lungs with the night air as that thought resonated through her. He had been back. For five months. Five months! He hadn't attempted to contact her in any shape or form. There had been no phone calls, no texts, hell, not even a carrier pigeon.


She spun around and came face to face with him once more. "Don't you dare," she snapped, holding her hand up to stop him. "Do not come any closer."

He acquiesced, pausing where he was at. "I came to see if you were okay."

"Okay?" She stared at him in amazement. "Okay? You came to see if I was okay? Look at me, Logan! I am most certainly not okay." He moved to step toward her and she held up her hand again.

He sighed. "Yeah, I get that. You're not okay. I'm not okay either."

"I waited for you!" she cried out. "For almost two years, I've waited for you! Even when the phone calls stopped, and the emails were never returned and without the holiday visits, I waited for you. Damn it, Logan!" Finally, the tears that had been threatening her for the last couple of minutes spilled over. "How stupid am I? I've been foolishly waiting for you and all this time, you've been back. You've been back for five months and I didn't even know. How did I not know? Why didn't I know?" Tears coursed down her cheeks and she turned away from him.

"I didn't want you to know," Logan said quietly. For a moment he stood where he was, watching her shoulders heave as she struggled to compose herself again. He shook his head and walked toward her, despite her earlier protests. "Damn it, that's not true. I did want you to know." He placed a hand on her shoulder, quickly removing it when she flinched. After a second's hesitation he replaced the hand and forced her to turn back to face him. "I came to see you the second I got off the plane."

"No you didn't."

"I did," he insisted. He remembered the night vividly still. "You were out with friends," he began. "Friends I didn't know at all. I found you by mistake, you weren't at your apartment, so I thought I'd take in some sights while I waited, and ended up at a restaurant not far from your place. Imagine my surprise when you were there. It looked like a birthday party," he said, trying to jog her memory.

She shook her head. "If you were there, why didn't you--"

"Come in?" he finished. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "You looked happy," he said. "Happier than I remembered seeing you in a long time. And here I was, okay yeah, I was back from London, but so what? So much time had passed, I knew you wouldn't exactly be thrilled to see me. I didn't want to be the one thing making you unhappy that night."

"So you just left?" She wrapped her arms around her middle protectively and stared hard at him.

"I fucked up," he admitted. "Way before that night. Rory, I knew when I missed your birthday that you'd be pissed, but I tried. I called you when I could." They both winced at the memory of that particular voicemail. "But you fucked up too, Rory. You never called me back."

"I tried," she confessed, looking down at the ground. "I tried, so many times." She shook her head. "It was always your voicemail. I never knew what to say." She closed her eyes as she remembered the many failed attempts at reaching him. "Finally, it just got to the point where--"

"Where there was no point," Logan finished for her. He knew exactly what she was talking about, for every time she had tried to call him, he was willing to bet he had done the same. "It was just easier to pretend we didn't exist."

She recoiled. "Is that what you did? You pretended I didn't exist? God Logan, twist that knife a little deeper, I don't think I'm hurt enough yet."

He sighed. "That was a poor choice of words. I didn't know what to do, Rory. We weren't talking. If we weren't talking, I knew it would be a disaster when we saw each other again. "I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready for all of the anger and tension and hurt to be real. I didn't want to see that look on your face." He swept his hand between them. "Case and point." He hoped for a smile, but didn't get one. "I'm sorry, Rory. I know I should have told you when I was back. I wanted to, you have no idea how much I wanted to. I've wanted to every day since then, but the more time that went on, the less right I thought I had to."

"I would have liked to know that you were back," she said sullenly. Her eyes flickered up to his. There was still anger there, he had expected that, but there was something else in her gaze... hope, maybe?

He was going to take the chance that it was. "I would have liked you to know that too." His hand reached out and brushed tentatively against her hipbone. She didn't push him away so he rested his hand there firmly. God, it felt amazing to touch her again. "So," he began uncertainly. "Did you really wait for me?"

Rory all but melted as his hand seemed to burn a hole through her dress. Damn it. She tried to stay angry, but she felt herself nodding. "I really did," she said softly. She tried to resist him, but felt herself being drawn closer into his embrace.

"Good," he breathed, his mouth dangerously close to hers. "I missed you, Rory." Instantly, her body relaxed with relief and she had to support herself by placing a hand on his arm. She tried to brush off her swooning by using that hand to keep him an arm's length away. He chuckled at the tactic, and bent his head closer to hers. "I've been waiting for you too."

That was it. Her arm collapsed between them, and whether she invaded his space or he took over hers, she was never quite sure. As it turned out, she didn't really care who was to blame; in an instant he had her in his arms and his lips were on hers and it was perfectly okay with her if his hands never let go of her again.

Slowly, almost hesitantly, Rory began not to pull away. Not that she wanted to, but her lungs were burning with the need for Oxygen. Logan wasn't ready to let go of her though, bringing both of his hands to capture the back of her head before she could move. He kissed her thoroughly, his tongue dancing with hers once more before finally releasing her.

"Sorry," he apologized as she tried to catch her breath. "I wasn't sure if you were going to let me do that again," he quipped.

This time she did smile. "I'm not sure that I should," she admitted. She stepped out of his embrace and looked at him helplessly. "What the hell do we do now?"

He understood her hesitation. They had a lot of issues to work through still, and neither of them were naive enough to believe their problems could be solved with a couple of mere kisses. He shrugged. "I don't know," he said honestly. He smirked. "What would Ross and Rachel do?"

"Fuck Ross and Rachel. Oh!" She was surprised by the venom in her voice and her hand flew to her lips as she blinked in shock at her words.

Logan laughed, really laughed, as he pulled her back into his arms and kissed her deeply again. "My thoughts exactly, Ace. My thoughts exactly."

"So." Finally, the evening was over. After a couple of stolen kisses out in the garden, Rory and Logan had re-entered the party, each well aware that they still had jobs to do but knowing damn well that those jobs would not be done up to par that particular night. They had agreed to take things slow, for now. Neither wanted to full start over from the beginning, but they both knew that they couldn't just jump right back into being together.

"So," Logan mimicked as he helped her with her coat.

"So this was good," she said. She rolled her eyes at the look he gave her. "Okay, so it wasn't good, but it was a start. I mean, at least I know you're back in the same time zone." He had the grace enough to look ashamed. "And, we're getting together again soon, right?"

"Right." Logan smirked. "I'll call you."

"Hmm." She gave him another look. "You better."

"I will," he promised. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek. "Good-night, Rory."

"Night, Logan." They smiled at each other once more before going their separate ways. She was halfway to her car when her cell phone began ringing. Unable to contain her grin, she didn't bother to look down at the caller ID before raising the phone to her ear. "Hello?"

"So I was thinking," Logan said by way of greeting.

"Never a good thing where you're concerned."

"You wound me. No, so I was thinking, it's still early and let's be honest, the food tonight sucked. What do you say we go grab some late-night breakfast somewhere?" He paused. "Catch up on things."

"Things, huh?"

"Things," he affirmed. "We have many things to catch up on." He rattled off an address that sounded suspiciously like an apartment and not a diner and only laughed when she called him out over it. He could easily make them breakfast as long as he had a kitchen, he reminded her. And he did, in fact, have a kitchen. She laughed and found herself agreeing to meet him.

What the hell, she thought, as she got into her car and realized she was still smiling.

At least he hadn't suggested meeting at a coffeehouse.

...Six Months Later

"Hang on," Logan muttered as he tried not to drop everything in his hands. The phone stopped ringing before he could get to it, and he continued to try to get everything into his car without dropping any of it. He was pretty sure he had everything he needed.

The phone rang again. He laughed. He was able to get to it this time before it stopped ringing. "Yes, Ace?" he asked lightly into the phone.

"So you are alive and you do in fact have your phone on you," she challenged him. "Good to know."

"Why hello Rory, I'm so happy to hear your beautiful voice. My day? Oh it was great, thanks for asking."

"Don't why hello Rory me." She was trying to sound angry, but he could tell that she was smiling. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

He glanced at the clock. Seven o'clock Eastern Standard Time. He had been on a business trip for the last two weeks, and seven had been the time designated for their nightly phone call. He sighed. In the last six months, there hadn't been a single missed phone call between them, of course she would freak out the first time there was one. Even if he had good reason." He cast another look down at all of the things he had just dumped into his car.

"It's seven," he said resolutely. "I"m sorry Babe, I got caught up with--"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, work, work, work." He smiled at her bored tone. "I figured, but I still wanted to call, see how things were going in Texas." She paused. "How are things going in Texas?"

"Texas is good," he lied. He hated lying to her, but sometimes, a lie was necessary in order to pull off a major surprise. Which is what he was trying to do. He had arrived back on the east coast earlier that afternoon and had been in Providence for the last hour and a half finishing up the final details. "How about you? What are you up to tonight?"

"Umm..." her voice trailed off hesitantly. "Oh you know, just hanging out. Watching some television."

"Uh-huh." He wasn't buying it. "What are you watching?" He already knew.

"Okay, I'm watching Friends," she said defensively. "I know I promised never to watch the show but come on! It's on like, ninety times a day, if I don't watch this, I'm going to be forced to watch Everybody Loves Raymond, and really? Do you really want me to start comparing our relationship to that show?

"Yeah, Friends is good," he replied quickly. He glanced down again at everything in the passenger seat, mentally going over his list again. He had the champagne. And the flowers. And the chocolate, there was lots of chocolate. "So what's the gang up to tonight?"

Rory sighed dreamily into the phone. "He's her lobster!" she declared happily, and he couldn't help but laugh at her. "I know we promised never to refer our relationship back to Ross and Rachel, but come on Logan, you're totally my lobster, aren't you?"

"Honey," Logan said patiently. "We've talked about this. Ross and Rachel aren't real."

"I know that." She sighed again. "But we are, right?"

He pulled the car onto their street and looked over at the seat again. Something was missing, where was it? He tried not to panic. "Of course we're real, Ace."

"But you're still my lobster."

"Yes Rory, I'm your lobster." There it was. He cut the engine and picked up the very tiny velvet box with the very big sparkling diamond. Oh yes, they were very real.

Take that, Ross and Rachel.

Prompt: This can be set any time except season 7. I don't want AU for seasons 5 or 6, but go to town on season 7. Hate that season. So if you do future fic (and I like future fic), go from what you think happened after Partings, not what the show says happened.

I want angst but with a happy ending. Maybe it starts with Rory and Logan in a fight. Or they've been broken up for years (though NOT because of any stupid proposal! Never happened in my mind, remember!) but one of them decides to contact the other. If you could find a way to work some banter and humor in there, that would be great, but I know it might be tough. :) I'm totally okay with smut if you want to add some.

This should mainly be about the two of them, but if there are other characters (like Logan getting drunk with his buddies before deciding to convince Rory to take him back) do not include the following: Stephanie (I think she's great and all, but she was in the show for one friggin' episode, pretty much, and while I enjoy stories that include her, it still bugs me that people can't seem to accept that...), anyone from Stars Hollow other than Lorelai, which means no Lane, Rory with any other guy, Logan with any other girl. If you do include Lorelai, don't make her too sympathetic. I like hating her. :)