Title: Playing House
Summary: Instead of moving in with her grandparents at the end of Season Five, Rory moves in with Logan. AU from 5.22: A house is not a home.
Warnings: Language, sexual situations
Disclaimer: All stories, original characters and plots archived herein are property of their respective owners and authors. Gilmore Girls and its characters are property of Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions and Hofflund/Polone in association with Warner Bros. Television. No copyright infringement intended.
Copyright: Sarah Diaz © 01.08.2010
Author's note: In the last episode of Season 5 when Lorelai confronts her parents about their decision to let Rory stay with them, Emily says this:
This makes sense. We don't want her to move in with Logan, do we? And since you don't want Rory to move back home to Stars Hollow it just makes sense that she move in here with us!
And boy, did my bunnies go wild all of a sudden after really hearing this! So this is a story about how it would have been had Emily and Richard stuck with the plan, leaving Rory with no place to go but Logan's. I hope you enjoy this!
The least that Logan expected when he opened his door was to find his girlfriend dissolved in tears. "Rory?"
In answer to his shocked question, she sobbed and then, in the next second, she had thrown herself into his arms and was uncontrollably crying onto his chest. Completely overtaxed, he did the only thing he could think of. He pulled her in, closed the door and then pressed her to him, running a soothing hand over her back. This was the first time she ever cried in his presence and he couldn't say that he cared much for this new experience. Hearing her crying and seeing her so obviously unhappy cut straight to his heart and spiked his worry to far unknown heights. And he quickly decided that her crying was without doubt the most awful sound he had ever heard in his life.
Looking up at Colin's hesitant question, he was instantly reminded that he had been in the middle of packing up his dorm room for the summer and that Colin and Finn stood not ten feet away from them, their eyes as wide and bewildered by this surprisingly distressed Rory. She was his girlfriend though not theirs and he doubted that she appreciated their witnessing such a breakdown of hers.
What the hell had happened? When he had seen her this morning, she had seemed fine. Perhaps a bit subdued, but that was no wonder after having been arrested the previous night, but overall, she had seemed okay.
He intended on finding out who or what had rendered his usually so cheerful girlfriend to tears and boy, if it was a who, then, that person was going to pay hell for making his Ace this unhappy. Even if it was his bastard of a father. First, though, he needed to get rid of his best friends. "Guys, can you leave us alone? I'll call you later. Okay?"
With a last look at the shaking girl in Logan's arms, they left without any other word, but worry was clearly visible on their faces. His friends were quite remarkable. Then again, his friends liked Rory very much, if not loved her like a little sister so nothing else would have surprised him. But they sure would want to know what had caused this heartbreaking sight and he had no doubt that if there was someone responsible for Rory's tears, he wouldn't have to confront that person on his own.
As soon as the door closed, he moved them over to the couch and sat down, pulling her onto his lap. Thank God Lanny had already packed everything up and left the previous day so he was sure that nobody would be disturbing them now. At last, he could ask the question that burned on his tongue since she got here. "Rory, what happened? What's wrong?"
"Th... they hate me," she got out through heart-wrenching sobs.
He frowned. "Who?"
"M... Mom. And Grandpa. And Grandma. They all hate me!"
He seriously doubted that. No one could hate his Ace, let alone those three. They loved her to pieces. He had seen that. And they adored her to no ends.
"They've thrown me out." Her sobs racked her entire body. "I've no place to go."
His frown deepening, Logan pressed her close, trying to make sense out of her babbled bits of information, though, without any luck. "What do you mean, they threw you out? Why?"
"'cause I dropped out of Yale. They... they won't accept that. Either... either I go back next semester or they won't let me live with them."
"You what?" Shocked, Logan asked, not believing his ears. She had what? No, that couldn't be. He probably misunderstood her. She practically lived for school. No way would she drop out!
But Rory nodded, more tears spilling out of her eyes. "I trashed today's final exams and went instead to the Registrar's Office to tell them I won't come back in the fall."
"Why?" was the only thing Logan said as a reply, not understanding the world anymore. This had to be a nightmare. There was no other explanation.
"Until I figured out what I want to do with my life, I won't go back to school and waste all this money." Suddenly she was out of his lap, pacing irately in front of him. "Damn it, Mom raised me to be responsible, to watch the money. Why can't she understand then that I simply can't go to Yale like this, not without any goal? I simply can't move along without any major."
No goal? But... "What about journalism? Your dream of being a foreign correspondent?" he wanted to know with a sinking heart.
Please, please, please....
"Clearly, I've been fooling myself this entire time, thinking I could ever do that. Your father..."
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck it all to hell!
"… is an asshole!" Logan shouted, beyond angry. What had his father done to this wonderful, confident girl? "Always had been, always will be. If there was a prize for the biggest asshole of the year, he'd be winning it every year. Year in, year out. Please, please tell me you didn't do all this because of the shit Dad told you?"
But to his horror, she simply sighed. "Logan, he is one of the most important and successful men in the business. If he thinks I don't have what it takes then..."
"Then nothing! Don't you understand, Rory? Not one single thing he told you had anything to do with your abilities as a writer but everything with the fact that you are dating his only son and heir. You've seen what my family is like. You've heard my mother's skewed view of what my future wife is supposed to be like." Oh, his father was clever. From time to time even Logan forgot just what a master strategist Mitchum Huntzberger was or how ruthless he was in pursuing his goals. And a fool he had been for thinking that maybe, just for once, he really had done something decent by giving Rory that internship. Damn it, why the hell hadn't he seen this coming? "They know this… what's between you and me isn't just a fling. They know I'm serious about you. And they know how stubborn I can be. So, since I have chosen you and they can't do anything about that, they want you to at least become a proper wife for me. Starting with destroying your career dreams. If along the way you start to hate me for what my family is doing to you and break up with me, all the better."
Oh, the plan was perfect. And obviously, it was just working like his father had planned. Shit, how could he have been so stupid? He should have talked sooner to Rory about all this. He should have made sure that she understood that whatever his bastard father had told her was meaningless, that his words had no value, especially his assessment about her abilities to thrive in the news business. Hell, most of all, he should have kept her far away from those cruel lunatics.
"Logan, do you even listen to yourself? We've just started dating. Why would your father go to such ridiculous lengths to get rid of me like this? It's not as if we're engaged or I'm some gold-digger trying to tie you to me at all costs. There's no need for some covert maneuver like you're making this. I understand, but it's okay." She looked down. "I can take the truth."
Quickly closing the distance between them, he grabbed her, forcing her to look into his eyes. "Ace, it's not the truth. Why do you give his word so much credit? You've got the entire teaching body of our department praising you regularly. You're one of the Yale Daily News' editor's favorite staff members. Your articles are well liked throughout the entire school and the alumni. All of them agree that you're one of the most promising journalists of our generation. Doesn't that count for anything?"
When she didn't answer immediately, he was already hoping that maybe, he had gotten through to her at last. She had to see that what his father had said had no bearing whatsoever. She just had to. What she said next though caused him to reel back in utter disbelief.
"It does matter. But this is college. Mitchum Huntzberger is the real world. Besides, you believe it as well and your instinct is as good as your dad's."
"What... I never said such a thing!" Logan protested, incredulous. Where in hell did she get this harebrained idea in her head?
But she actually nodded only and continued. "Yeah, you did. At the LDB event. You said I was too careful, too safe, not daring enough and you were right." She moved away from him to grab the remote and turned on the ten o'clock evening news. Not too surprisingly, the first thing they saw on the screen was a hotel going up in flames because of a suicide bomber in Iraq. "See. What on Earth made me ever think I was cut out for this? I can't even look at a friend in labor without passing out. I don't want to see blood. I'm too afraid to sneak into the cafeteria at night and eat ice-cream, worrying all the time about being caught. Hell, I stole a boat and already I'm in jail, facing charges. And I thought I could go out there, to places ridden by war and violence, where there are no rules but those of the jungle, where only surviving the day is making the day a good day? Hilarious! Who have I been kidding? I'll never be able to do what's necessary for the job I dreamed of and I'm a fool to have never sat down and really thought this through." Turning off the television, she plopped down onto the couch, burying her head in her hands. "Me, who never decides anything important without at least three pro and con lists, who almost never makes anything without thinking hard about it, who never goes anywhere without a plan. And yet here I am, having wasted two expensive years following a dream I had had when I was five and not once, not one single time, stopping to evaluate if that is still my dream, if I am even cut out to that job I so desperately wanted." The tears that had momentarily stopped were once again rolling down her cheeks as she miserably looked at him. "Logan, all my life I never wanted anything else other than this. Go to Harvard, major in journalism, work for the Times and be a foreign correspondent. And now..."
Kneeling down in front of her, he put his hands onto her knees and looked up at her. "And now you can still do it. Ace, what I've said back then, it's been ages ago. And I only said it so you'd make the jump with me. And you did, remember? You went up there and made this incredible jump and then you wrote a fantastic article that even my father praised, if his opinion is so damn important to you. You are a great writer. So great that I told Henry Liebermann, HPGs Head of Manpower, to keep an eye on you and be ready to offer you a position before the competition does, long before we two got involved. You can go ahead and call him right now if you want to verify."
She sniffed, shaking her head. "Logan, it's sweet that you try to cheer me up, but you don't have to. I'm a mess right now, I know and I'm sorry for that, but I guess, this is a good thing. Your dad's brutal honesty gave me the chance to reevaluate my life and my goals before it's too late. I wasted years and a ton of money on something I never can be."
"Were you not listening to me? You say I've got great instincts, so listen… You were born to be a writer. Okay, so maybe not as a war correspondent or even a foreign correspondent but that doesn't mean you aren't still great at this. You are," Logan desperately tried to convince her, his heart hurting with each word she said about how she wasn't good enough. How was his dad able to shatter her confidence this much? "You can do features and you've got a great political mind, making you perfect for politics. Or maybe even the White House. There are so many areas in the news that you can cover and you would thrive in each and every single one of them… I'm so sure. Please, Rory, please don't throw away your dream because of something my father said to you. Think about it."
She took her time answering; she averted her eyes from his. He had no idea if that was a good or bad sign but he hoped with all his heart that she was listening to him. But when she finally broke the silence, it wasn't with anything that he wanted to hear. "Maybe you are right. But even if your father lied… and that is a big if, whatever you may believe… it still doesn't change the fact that I never took the time to evaluate my life, my plans. And now that I'm aware of that, I can't ignore it. I can't go on as if nothing has happened and then with this doubt always hanging over me. I won't do it. Until I figured it all out, I'm not going back to Yale just so I'm still in school." Her eyes met his, so desperate and desolate that it choked him but sadly, also with absolute determination. "I'm not saying I'll never go back. That's not what I want. Once I know, really know what I want, whether journalism or science or business or whatever, I will be back, working hard to achieve my goal with all I have but until then…" She didn't finish that sentence, didn't need to.
"Okay," he said softly, surprising even himself. He didn't want to agree with her. This was simply wrong. He knew what she was born for, with absolute certainty. But he also understood why she needed to do this and set her goal by herself. It was what he wanted for himself, so badly, but never could have. Not he, the heir to one of the three biggest media conglomerates worldwide. So who was he to stop Rory from finding this for herself? She needed time? Okay, he would simply be with her and hope that she would come to her senses before she lost too much time.
He wasn't the only one surprised by his answer though. "Really?" she asked, momentarily dumbfounded.
With a shrug, he nodded. "Hey, I took a whole year off. Maybe not to figure out what I wanted, quite the contrary, but with such a background I can hardly blame you for wanting some time for yourself." He smiled, stroking her arms. "I'm here for you and I will see to it that you won't waste all this precious time doing pro and con lists."
To his horror, she burst into tears again. Getting up, he sat down beside her, pulling her back into his arms. "Rory?"
She sniffed. "Thank you. For understanding. That's just what I need."
"No big deal," he murmured, frowning. "So why the tears?" he asked bluntly, wiping away the newest of them with his thumb.
"Not because of you," she assured him, looking so unhappy that once again his heart clenched. "But because you're so understanding, more than Mom who's supposed to be my best friend... You know, I expected something like this from Grandma or Grandpa, but Mom? I really thought she would support me but instead, she threw me out. What am I supposed to do now, Logan?" She furiously wiped at her eyes, without much success. "I thought maybe I could figure something out with Grandma or Grandpa, but then, she got to them first. They... they..."
"They what?" he asked, lowly.
"They built a front. Told me I'm not welcome there anymore until I 'came to my senses'. That they won't give me any money while I bum around." A few strangled sobs shook her body. "I tried to explain… tried to make them see my point of view, but they wouldn't listen. Especially Mom. She kept insisting on Yale or nothing, at least not with their consent, let alone their help. So I told them if that was what they want, fine, I'm outta there and I left. Went home to get some of my stuff already moved back for the summer then came back to my dorm to pack up the rest but then it hit me. Really hit me. I've no place to go, no place to put my things away and worst of all, no money to pay rent. I'm homeless."
His face hardening, he cupped her face to force her to look at him. He didn't have to think for even a second about what he was going to tell her now. "Bullshit. You're never going to be homeless, not with me around. First of all, of course you can use my storage for your things. There's more than enough space for our stuff."
"Logan, that's sweet but..."
"No buts," he flat out refused. "Second, you're coming with me to Europe for the time being. It will give you a little air to breathe and distance to think everything through. When we come back, whether you still want a break or not from school, you're going to move in with me at my new apartment. It's not only close to school but will also be convenient for you, especially if you decide to look for a job or something."
He had just asked a girl to move in with him, hadn't he? This was crazy! They weren't together that long yet and here he was telling her to move in with him? It was a harebrained idea that should have propelled him into panic but strangely, though, it didn't. The only real perplexing thing in all this mess was that this felt right for him and had his heart beating faster. He was already looking forward, not only to the vacation they would be spending together but to actually living with her.
Rory pulled away from him, then again, he hadn't expected anything else from her, nor was he surprised by her immediate protest. "Logan, I l... I appreciate you offering this, but I couldn't possibly accept your offer. Just because my life turned into a complete mess within a day and I have no idea about where to sleep or how to support myself, it certainly doesn't mean that I'm going to live off your generosity. No way. And if I can't afford any rent, I certainly can't afford a trip to Europe and share your apartment for next year. No, I'll see if I can stay with Lane for a while, or maybe even Paris later on. And first thing tomorrow, I'll find myself a job. It can't be that hard finding some job that will pay enough for me to get by."
Of course, she wouldn't. And her strict and categorical refusal to take anything for him warmed his heart, reminding him once again that neither his money nor his name had anything to do with her reasons being with him. Not that he was going to accept any of her arguments. Taking her hands, he gently squeezed them so he had her full attention. "Ace, I admire you for your principles… but hear me out, okay? First of all, all travel arrangements were made already. We will only use family jets and we'll stay in our properties or with friends. The few hotel rooms we do need were already booked and believe me, the suites that were reserved are big enough for a whole gypsy clan, let alone two persons who happen to be together. I always wanted you to come with us, you know that, I've been begging you for months already. So please, now with all these things going on, don't say no."
"I'm not finished yet," he told her, gripping her hands tighter. "The same with the apartment. The whole year is already paid for and you've seen it, it's more than big enough for the two of us. If I want to live there with my girlfriend, no one can say anything against it. So the least I want is you sharing the rent. Having you there and safe is rent enough, believe me."
"Logan, no matter how you try to twist it, it won't change the basic fact… me living off your money. You can't honestly expect me to ever agree on that or you don't know me at all," Rory still argued though. At least the argument had stopped the tears for the moment, for that alone he was thankful. He wasn't sure how much longer he'd be able to stand listening to her crying.
"Sure I can. You're my girlfriend and I'm fairly certain that somewhere in the rule book of being a good boyfriend says that I have to take care of you, especially when life's treating you hard." She already opened her mouth again, no doubt to protest, but he was faster than her. "Rory, you said you'll see if you can stay with Lane or Paris for the time being. What is different in doing that from staying with me, your boyfriend… the most logical choice one would think? The only difference I see is that I'm considerably wealthier than those two together. So, if your only reason not to stay with me is because I'm rich, then that would make you a snob. You really want to be a snob?"
"Well, you're leaving for Europe in a few days and don't actually have a place to stay until you come back," she pointed out triumphantly after a speechless moment, surely, that was the winning argument.
Instead, she had just given him the opening he needed to win this and leave her no choice but to go along with his offer. "Okay," he said with a shrug, sitting back. "In that case, I'll cancel my trip and I'll book us a hotel room until you find a place suitable for your budget and then I'll move in with you there, paying my half of the rent, of course. Finn and Colin can have my apartment and believe me, they sure don't need me to have an extravagant summer trip. According to them, since I've been whipped by you, I'm no fun anymore. Anyway, they would actually prefer my staying home with my girlfriend instead of my whining and pining all summer for you. And that, Ace, is according to Finn who kindly suggested that we either kidnap you to drag you with me or I change my plans and stay."
They indeed had made such comments. It could have something to do with the fact that the nearer the date of their supposed trip approached, the more reluctant he had been to be separated from his Ace for the summer. Why shouldn't he? A week or two would have been fine, but they had planned for the whole summer, at least eight to ten weeks. What boyfriend having such a great girlfriend like he had one wouldn't be all that enthusiastic about having to be separate – and celibate for such a long time? The problem was those plans were made long before he had done the unthinkable and not only had he fallen for a girl but actually had committed himself even to that girl by becoming her boyfriend. Besides, after a long school year and be this close to his oh so nice family, he wanted to get away as much as he wanted her to come with them.
Rory's eyes had widened in shock. "What? No! You can't do that! I won't have you ruin your summer or live in a rat hole with me."
"This is a free country, Ace, I can do whatever pleases me." His eyes narrowed. "And I guarantee you, you're not going to live in any rat hole without me. So if you don't want me to give up my summer trip or live way below anything I'm used to, you should agree to my terms."
She glared at him. "You think?"
"Your choice, Ace," he nodded, trying not to look too smug.
"What about the charges? I can't just leave the country when I have legal problems. You neither, for that matter," she argued with a frown.
Yes! Keeping the sense of victory at bay for the moment, he merely allowed a sly grin to show on his face. "Nothing easier than that. My lawyers will take care of your legal problems along with mine. Trust me, they know how to handle such incidents. It will be over in no time and you don't have to worry about any bad repercussions. The worst that can happen is that we have to do a couple of community hours. I don't think it will go as far as a courtroom trial. Usually they'll do a plea bargain agreement with the DA's office beforehand."
"No records in the system?" she asked hopefully.
"You're a first-timer and not even twenty-one, so no, probably no records in the system. Or certainly nothing that you can't have expunged in a short time," he assured her, making a mental note to ask the lawyers to take care of that point. His father was responsible for her needing to suddenly steal a boat, the least he could do was see to it that there were no consequences for her. "And before you even think about protesting in using my lawyers or wanting to pay for them, this is one case, it's actually easier for them to treat it as one instead of two separate cases."
She frowned. "Since when have you known so much about the law?"
"Let's just say I have enough experience in that certain field." True enough. Having done so many stunts with Colin and Finn and others had sure taught him a thing or two about offenses committed together and how best to treat them. "So, any other objections that I will for sure squelch in no time?"
The silence in combination with the glare was answer enough. Kissing her temple, he hugged her. "Then it's settled. You're going to Europe with me. And then you'll move in with me."
She leaned into him. "Nothing is settled. First, we have to see what happens with the charges against us. And I won't go anywhere before I've talked with Finn and Colin to see if they're really okay with me tagging along with you guys. Not to mention that there can be a lot that could happen in the next few days," she grumbled.
"Fair enough," Logan conceded, knowing full well that there would be nothing standing in their way. The charges were already being taken cared of and he was quite sure that neither of his best friends minded Rory coming with them. But if she wanted to postpone a definite decision, fine with him. It gave him only more time to convince her of the rightness of his suggestions.
She turned, cuddling up to his body. "Maybe Mom calms down and changes her mind," she whispered, her voice breaking.
His triumph and joy at the prospect of having her with him after all over the summer vaporized. "Maybe," he whispered back, tightening his hold on her.
For a long while, neither said anything more, only Rory's silent tears damping Logan's shirt. "My family threw me out, Logan. Turned their backs on me," she croaked at one time, her fingers burying into his chest.
"I know," he sighed and wished he could do something to help her obvious heartbreak over this. That and he really wanted to give the Gilmores a piece or two of his mind, hurting his Ace like this. "I'm not going to leave you alone in this. I'm here. Always," was the only thing he could offer, hoping it was enough.
"Thank you." It was barely a whisper, but he felt the sincere emotion behind it anyway. Kissing the top of her head, he secured her in his arms.
Yeah, for now it was enough.
TBC – I think.
(Author's note: I know, I know. It's crazy to start yet another story. And then posting it as a WIP on top of it.I debated a long time if I should post or not – or even begin with this story in the first place. But the thing is this. Once I get an annoying bunny like this one in my head and can't get rid of it even after weeks, it's either write it down or go without sleep. With those options, my choice is clear. And the simple truth is that once I've written something new, I want to post it, see if my idea for a story works as I thought it would – and will be as liked by you folks as I it is by me. With this one, theoretically, I could end it here already. But let's be serious – where would be the fun in that, huh? There are so many possible ways to go from here, such potential… I'd like to explore it, but as with all the other stories, this could take some loooooooong time. So I hope you enjoyed this story/chapter. And will be along the ride if I decide to continue. Whenever that will be.)