Disclaimer: I do not own Gilmore Girls. It belongs to Amy-Sherman Palladino, etc, etc.
A/N: I thought this would be longer, but… alas, I was wrong. It's not the first time and probably won't be the last. Hope you enjoy it either way. I'll refrain from promising that the next one will be longer. Who knows? Certainly I don't.
Weekends in Stars Hollow
It felt like my world was a still painting, crumbling to dust around me. One minute before, I had been the happiest person alive. But with my mom and grandma staring at me with revulsion, I was as far from happy as could be. Tears came to my eyes, warping my vision.
I tried to speak, explain, somehow, but my voice was silenced. I choked on my words.
'Rory,' mom said, her tone quiet for once, serious. She looked at me, down at my still bared chest. I gasped, suddenly aware of my nudity, and quickly pulled my bra back into place, fumbling fingers doing up my blouse.
'Explain, young lady,' grandma demanded.
I glanced at Paris. She was silent and still, like a statue, but her eyes conveyed her sorrow and regret. I felt sick. I couldn't look at her, so I averted my eyes, down to my feet.
'I…I…' A sob broke through my throat. 'I'm sorry.'
And then I ran, as fast as I could, charging between mom and grandma. I heard them call out behind me, but I ignored them. My feet carried me all the way out into the night before I stopped. I didn't have the keys for the Jeep, and besides, how would mom and Paris get home if I took it. I considered just running – running and never stopping.
Paris' hand on my shoulder prevented me from truly considering it. I flinched away from her, turning and putting some distance between us.
I saw the hurt in her eyes at my reaction to her, but I didn't care. Suddenly, anger surged inside me. It was all her fault. If she hadn't pushed me, if she hadn't forced me to do things I would never do, if she hadn't made me have sex in my grandparent's bathroom, then none of this would have happened. It was her fault. All her fault!
I was in a blind rage. All of my fears and doubts and insecurities bubbled to the surface, targeting her. I wasn't thinking clearly. All I could think about was the look on my mom's face, on the face of grandma, as they took in my depravity. I needed someone to blame, so I blamed her.
'Rory,' she said, reaching for me.
I backed up. 'Stay away from me!' I screamed at her.
'W-what?' Her voice cracked in pain.
'It's all your fault,' I accused nastily. 'Why did I ever listen to you? Stay away! I can't even look at you.' I turned my back on her and stalked away, tears coursing down my cheeks. I heard her following me, so I turned to confront her again. She was closer than I thought. I shoved her away. 'I hate you! Go away!' Every doubt I had ever had poured venom into my words.
I saw her heart break - her chin trembled, her eyes began to water. She ducked her head, her shoulders sagging.
And then I wasn't angry anymore. As soon as I saw her defeated posture, all my anger evaporated, like it had never even been there. Maybe it hadn't. I sniffed, hating myself for saying all those things to her – things I didn't mean. I went to touch her, but she batted my hand away, and glared at me.
'Fine,' she said, face set in a hard mask I hadn't seen in months. 'Fine. Goodbye Gilmore. Have a nice life.'
Her words rooted me to the floor. Have a… nice life? It was too late before I realised she was leaving me. I went after her, but she turned and punched me. I fell to the floor in surprise, holding my throbbing cheek, watching numbly as she strode away, and disappeared around the corner.
I lost it then. I curled up on the floor and cried, huge, body wracking sobs. That's how mom found me.
Some part of me was able to recognise what I saw - Rory, my sweet innocent daughter, half naked in my parent's bathroom, locked in a passionate embrace with Paris. Kissing. The two of them. Kissing each other.
Another part – the most dominant part – couldn't understand it, and kept trying to explain it away somehow. Rory wasn't gay. She loved boys. Dean and Jess. She didn't like girls. I'd know if she did.
I waited for her to explain, but as I saw her face crumble in despair, I knew she couldn't. I saw the pain and shame overwhelm her, a second before she rushed past me, barrelling, running faster than I'd ever seen, away from everything.
Paris gave me an apologetic look as she followed.
I was left alone with my mother. My mother – who was glaring angrily at me, as if this was all my fault. Great.
'Did you know about this?' The accusation was clear.
'No,' I said weakly, raising a hand to warn her off, turning so I didn't have to look at her.
'It's disgusting,' Emily said bitterly, almost spitting the words. 'And in my bathroom. How could she? Lorelai?'
'What mom?' I turned and spread my arms. 'What do you want me to say? I'm a shocked as you are.'
'Well, of course,' she said, and for the first time I noticed how shook up she was. She sighed. 'We have to do something.'
'Stop this,' she said impatiently, as if I was slow or something.
'Stop this.' I realise I was just repeating everything she said, but my mind just wasn't working properly at the time.
'Yes, stop it. It's unnatural.'
Her words finally clicked in my head. It's disgusting. We have to do something. Stop this. It's unnatural. I felt a spike of anger as I realised her intent. Of course, it's all about Emily Gilmore.
'Don't say another word,' I said, thrusting my palm at her. I couldn't speak to her right now. I had more important things to deal with. 'I have to go.'
'Lorelai!' Her outraged shout followed me down the hall as I rushed away, hoping I'd be able to catch up with Rory, hoping she hadn't left.
Dad found me at the door. 'What on earth is going on?'
'I suggest you go talk to mom,' I said. 'She's in the bathroom.'
I waited for him to leave, and then opened the door and stepped outside. I noticed the Jeep was still there first, so I knew she hadn't left. Had she walked on foot? Where would she go? Then I heard the sobbing, and the most painful sounding keening I'd ever heard.
Rory was curled up in a ball on the ground.
'Rory.' My voice was a gentle caress, as soft and peaceful as I could make it. She didn't appear to hear me. I knelt next to her and laid my hand on her back. She stiffened. 'Rory. It's just me. Where's Paris?'
She said something, but it was so garbled I couldn't understand her. Tears came to my eyes. I'd never seen her so completely wrecked. My heart was seized in sympathetic pains.
'Come on,' I said gently, 'let's get you home. Up you get.'
I helped her up and steered her over to the Jeep. She was murmuring to herself, but again, I couldn't make out the words. I focused on getting her into the car and strapping her in. I'd get her home first. Then I'd figure out what had happened.
It felt like someone had stuck a needle into my heart and injected poison. It felt like there was some beast inside me, tearing out chunks of my heart, playing with my insides, trying me in knots. It felt like I didn't have a heart anymore. It was gone. Torn out and discarded like trash, replaced with a burning lump of coal.
I tried not to cry. I wanted to be strong.
So Rory had finally hurt me. I'd known it was coming. It's what she always did. She made me love her, and then she crushed me. Every time. Without fail. I was like her human puppet – a voodoo doll she enjoyed tormenting.
I wouldn't cry – not for her.
But I did. I didn't know where I was (somewhere in Hartford, who cares!) when I finally caved, slumping against a wall and sliding down until my butt hit the ground, knees drawn up. I cried, hiding my face between my knees.
I loved her so much, and I hated her for what she had done to me. It was so much worse this time. Before, I'd never truly believed she cared, but this time, she had fooled me. I thought she loved me, I thought we would be together forever, and now… what did I have left?
How could I have been so stupid?
Years and years ago, before I'd ever met Rory, I'd built a wall around my heart – a wall to keep me safe and protect me from all the pain in the world. Protect me from everyone, people who should have cared, said they cared, but didn't.
Slowly but surely, Rory had torn down that wall. She tore it down, and then stabbed me in the heart.
I was a fool. I should have known. I should never have let her into my life.
'Are you alright?' Someone asked me.
'I'm fine,' I lied, not looking up.
'Dear,' the same voice said, 'you don't look fine.'
I stood up, not looking at them, and walked quickly away. I had no direction in mind. I just wanted to be alone - alone so that I could figure out how to get on with my life. I wanted to forget all about Rory Gilmore. Forget her – so that my heart would stop burning. Forget her – so that the pain would go away.
Because if I didn't love her, it wouldn't hurt anymore.
But how could I stop loving her? It was too late. I couldn't. I was doomed to this pain. I'd brought it all on myself with my stupidity.
I started running. It was a hopeless attempt, vain and futile, and I don't even know what I was thinking, but it was all I could do. I ran and I cried and I ran and I cried. People stared. I ignored them. If I ran enough, I told myself. Just keep running. Don't think.
I can't remember how long I ran for. All I know is, eventually I stopped. There was a Bus Station nearby. I found an empty bench and sat, head in my hands. Now that I was no longer running, I couldn't help as my thoughts returned. Did I go home…?
It didn't feel like home anymore - the room I shared with Rory. What was I supposed to do?
I sat there for a while before I thought of her. It was my only real option at this point. I had no other friends nearby – not that I'd call her a friend. Nevertheless, where else could I go, if I couldn't go… home?
I didn't allow myself to think about it. I just got up and hopped on the bus back to New Haven.