Summary: Back before the Littles could even imagine real love, Logan Vanderbilt and Claire Fitzgerald broke each other's hearts. This is their story.
A/N: So, I know that there are a bunch other stories I should be writing, but this is going to be a quick one. I was rereading Little Changes the other day and I decided I wanted to write more about Logan and Claire. I might do a similar one for Jaime and Cal, I haven't decided yet. So here it is.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
The Ballad of Logan and Claire: A Littles Story
Part I: Yale
New Haven, Connecticut: March, 1994
Twenty year old Claire Fitzgerald walked confidently into the bar and tossed her long, fairly wild looking red hair, looking in a mirror. She knew she looked good tonight. There was just no getting around that.
"Claire!" Her friend Lindsey called from a table and Claire smiled and went and sat with her. They grabbed beers and were chatting and laughing. She glanced over her shoulder hearing a loud group of men walk in. They were the same as most Yale guys, all dressed in clean pressed khakis, and Polos, some in flannel or button downs. They were all tan, and their hair sun streaked. It was the first night back after spring break, and these guys had probably just come in from some vacation that cost more than Claire's car. She did notice that one of them was looking at her. He had dark hair, cut short, and was really tan. He was muscley enough that his polo was tight in the arms, but he wasn't bulging, and he had a neck. It was a pretty pleasing effect.
"Linds," Claire said. "Do you know that guy?"
"No," Lindsey said. "You know I don't talk to the sailing team, Claire! What's wrong with you?" Claire nodded. Sailing, right, that explained the tan.
"Right," Claire said, "I need another, do you want me to grab you one?"
"Sure," Lindsey nodded. Claire stood up and walked over to the bar. As sshe stood trying to get the bartender's attention, sailing boy came over. She looked at him and smiled in a very "OK, you can consider yourself rejected now," kind of way.
"You know," he said, "you'll have more luck around the side, I know that this bartender happens to be into blonds."
"Thanks for the tip," she nodded and went about the business of ignoring him.
"I'm Logan," he said. Why wasn't this guy taking the hint?
"Good for you," she nodded. He smiled and the bartender walked over. "Hi, two Sam Adams." He nodded and took her money. "Oh, you're still here?" She looked at Logan. "Claire," she said and extended her hand, he shook it.
"Why don't you and your friend come sit with us?" He asked. She looked at him.
"I would, but Lindsey has a no prep school grad policy," she grimaced. "Sorry."
"How do you know I went to prep school?" He asked. She blushed a little. "I mean, I did, but that's awfully close minded of you to just assume that." Claire laughed in spit of herself. "Look, you are clearly the most beautiful girl here, so can we cut to the chase and you give me you number?"
"I don't think so," she shook her head, "it was nice meeting you Logan." She walked over to the and gave Lindsey her beer.
"You are a much stronger woman than I give you credit for," Lindsey shook her head. "He's cute."
"I don't need a one night stand with an arrogant rich boy right now," Clair shook her head.
Later after Lindsey had already left with a guy from her developing economic systems class, Claire paid the final bit of her tab and headed out the door. Of course as she did this, she slipped on some of the remaining New Haven ice and turned her ankle.
"You OK?" The door open and she looked up and saw Logan.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she tried to stand up and fell again.
"No you're not," he shook his head, "here, let me help." He reached his hand down and when she didn't take it he sighed and crouched down.
"I'm fine," Claire repeated. Logan looked at her.
"No, you're not," he repeated, more firmly and grabbed a little bit of snow and wrapped her ankle and the snow in his scarf. She twitched. "Sorry, it'll help though."
"Are you pre med or something?" She asked. He laughed.
"Not even," he shook his head. "I just have played hockey for almost twelve years and I have negligent parents, three little brothers and an issue keeping nannies since the youngest can best be described as rambunctious." Claire looked at him, there was a twinkle in his eyes as he talked about his brothers. She sort of liked that. Lindsey was right. He was cute. "Where'd your friend go?"
"She met up with a guy," she shrugged. He nodded. He stood up, helping her to her feet. "Really, I'll be fine," she said.
"Really, you won't," he said. "You sprained it, you should see a doctor, but I doubt I'll be able to talk you into that." She looked at him. "Lean on me." She blinked. "You can trust me," he said simply.
"I somehow don't think so," she shook her head.
"OK, why don't you like me exactly?" He said. "Since you've never seen me before tonight."
"I know your type," she said simply.
"Do you?" He nodded. "Please enlighten me."
"You're rich, like really rich," she said. He said. "Spoiled, and you've probably already burned through your trust fund, but it doesn't matter because there's some bullshit job at your daddy's conglomerate waiting for you on the other side of graduation."
"Two out of three ain't bad," he muttered. She looked at him. "I am rich, well, my father is, I'm not anything yet, and there is a job waiting for me when I graduate. I haven't touched my trust fund because I don't get it until I graduate."
"So what do you do in the meantime?" She asked.
"I have an allowance," he shrugged. "It's not a lot, I mean, compared to my friends, but it's enough."
"Oh," she said quietly. "How rich is your father?" He laughed.
"My last name is Vanderbilt," he said. She stared at him. "I know."
"My grandpa built the second biggest grain silo in the county," she said then realizing that this sounded completely stupid.
"Cool," he nodded. "And where was this exactly?"
"Iowa," she said. He nodded.
"Like in Field of Dreams?" He asked. She laughed.
"Yes," she nodded, "but without all of the ghosts so it was mostly just really boring." He smiled. "It's this one." They stopped in front of a building.
"OK," he said. "It was nice talking to you." She smiled as he turned around to walk away.
"Um, Logan," she said. He looked at her. "Can you help me get upstairs?"
"Sure," he laughed. He did help her get upstairs. They sat talking and laughing for a while.
"So you said you have 3 brothers?" She said. He nodded. "How old are they?"
"Dave is eighteen, and Scottie is fourteen and Brad is ten." He said. She nodded. "They're great, just well," he sighed, "Dave's like really headed for trouble, and Scottie's made this group of friends at school, they're not terrible. Brad's," he shook his head. "He's going to be great, I know, if anyone ever bothers to make him focus."
"You talk about them like they're your kids," she smiled. He laughed.
"They sort of are," he said. "My parents are good people, but they're from an old school high class style of parenting." She looked at him. "It doesn't really work for Brad. He needs more attention. I try but I've been at boarding school in Minnesota, and," he sighed. "Anyway, what about you?"
"I have an older sister, Beth," Claire said. "Much older, and she has a little girl, Diane, who's nine." He nodded. "You said before that you play hockey."
"Yup," he nodded.
"So you're not on the sailing team?" She asked. He laughed.
"No," he shook his head. "I mean I do sail, but I don't race, I don't have the instinct for it."
"But you're so tan," she said. He laughed.
"I spent break with my brothers on our boat in Florida," he said. She nodded. "So Iowa?" She nodded. "Did you grow up on a farm?" She laughed.
"Yes," she said. "We grow corn." He nodded.
"Do they have lots of red heads there?" He asked sliding his hand through her hair. She swallowed.
"Not so many," she whispered and they kissed. After they made out for a while, he stopped and pulled back. "What's wrong?"
"I should probably go," he said. She stared at him in disbelief. "Oh, God," he sighed, "look, you're amazing, um, you're gorgeous and I really like you, but I don't even know your last name."
"It's Fitzgerald," she said and they kissed again. "Now stay." He laughed, "because I really like you too." They kissed again for a while. It didn't take much for them to make love that night.
Two months later
Claire lay in bed, running her hand over Logan's chest as he played with her hair. He kissed her neck and she cooed.
"I love you," he said softly. She sighed. He'd said it for the first time a few weeks ago. She still lost her mind every time he did. She'd never expected to fall for Logan when they'd slept together that first night. She'd figured they'd have reasonably hot sex (which they did) and maybe get a cup of coffee. Instead she'd ended up crazy in love with him. "Fitz," she grinned, he was the only person who'd ever called her that. She loved him so much she didn't even mind the way that his friends referred to her as "Logan's girl," or other possessive terms. "What are you doing this summer?"
"I don't know," she sighed. "I have a job lined up at this café in town, waitressing."
"You're not going to write?" He frowned.
"Unfortunately no," she shook her head, "the newspaper only has 2 spots, I was slow to apply."
"You're not into journalism anyway," he said, "why not apply to one of the publishing houses, in New York, you could stay with me, take the train down," she nodded and kissed his neck, straddling him. "Or my father could,"
"I don't want your father to get me a job Logan," she said sternly. "He's never even met me."
"Right," he said, "sorry, I didn't mean," she sighed. "I just want to be with you, and if you go home," he looked at her. "What if we went away?" She looked at him.
"What?" She said.
"Yeah, let's just go away, someplace amazing," he said and kissed her. "Where have you always wanted to go?"
"Mm," she groaned as he kissed her neck and they started to grind each other. "Paris," she said, "I've always wanted to go to Paris."
"Paris it is," he whispered, "we'll stay at the Ritz, and make love all night, walk around all day." She whimpered.
"Make love to me now," she whispered. He rolled her over and she groaned.
Six Months Later
Claire laughed as she and Logan walked into a bar, his arm casually around her waist. He glanced around to find them seats and his eyes popped out.
"Uh, Fitz," he said, she looked at him. "Let's go someplace else."
"What?" She laughed. "But we're here. Let's just find someplace to sit." He nodded.
"Yeah, sure," he mumbled, "OK." They walked and found a table.
"Hey!" They heard shouting.
"Oh God," Logan groaned.
"It's my big brother," Dave Vanderbilt staggered over. "And, hello," he sat down. Claire looked at him.
"This is my brother Dave," Logan said quietly. "Dave this is Claire Fitzgerald."
"You are way too hot for my brother," Dave slurred. Logan looked at him.
"How did you get in here?" He asked. "They don't normally let freshmen in this bar."
"Dude! Fairbanks got us these awesome fakes!" Dave laughed. "Oh, right, I wanted to call you, can you lend me some money, I sort of burned through my allowance this month."
"I'm not lending you money Dave," Logan said. "Now please go away?" Claire giggled. Logan had mentioned his relationship with Dave went this way often.
"Fine," Dave said, "he's trying to impress you. He does this when he's with a new girl." Claire looked at Logan oddly. "I'll call Scottie, maybe he can wire me some."
"Stealing from our fifteen year old brother," Logan nodded. "Leave him alone man, apparently things with his friend Rick's mom are really bad."
"Whatever," he shrugged, "Nice meeting you Claire." Dave walked away. Claire sat looking at Logan. He swallowed.
"Why did he say, 'a new girl?'" Claire asked.
"Huh?" Logan said. "I don't know, he was wasted, probably stoned too. He's really into pot right now." She nodded.
"But you wanted to leave," she said. He nodded. "Because Dave was here?" He nodded. Then it hit her. "Oh my God," she stood up and walked outside. He followed her.
"Fitz," he said. "It's not what you think."
"They don't know I exist do they?" She said. Logan sighed. "Your family."
"Look, it's just complicated with my family," he sighed. "I mean, there are all these expectations, and I just," she looked at him.
"I don't meet those expectations?" She hissed. "What exactly is wrong with me?" He looked at her.
"Nothing," he whispered and pushed her hair off of her face. "I love you, there's something wrong with them, and I just don't feel like justifying our relationship." She looked at him.
"I need to process this," she whispered. He nodded. "I, I thought that you wanted," she sighed, "I thought you wanted to marry me!" Even as she said it, she was surprised. Did she really want to marry Logan? She looked at his big brown eyes. She knew then. She did want to marry him, she needed to spend the rest of her life with this man.
"I do!" He said. "Of course I do, Fitz," he kissed her. "Just, give me time OK?" She nodded.
"OK," she whispered. "OK, of course," they kissed again.
A Few Months Later
Claire sat in her bedroom brushing her hair. Her cap and gown were hanging on the door. Graduation had ended and she'd hung it up, waiting for her parents and Beth and Ray to meet her. Logan was with his family, presumably telling them that they were going away together before they both started their jobs in a few months. There was a knock on the door and she answered it.
"Logan," she said. He looked at her, "did you talk to them? What did they say?"
"Fitz," he said guiding her over to the bed. She noticed he looked kind of crazy. "I love you," he swallowed. She nodded. "These past two years, I mean," he kissed her. "I never want to be without you." He reached into his pocket.
"Logan," she said as he took the box out, "wait."
"Let's get married Fitz," he nodded.
"Yes," she nodded and kissed him. "Of course! You knew I would say yes." He smiled. "So then, they must want to meet me right? My parents are dying to meet you, and Beth, oh my God! Diane is so excited, especially since you come with a built in new friend who isn't from Iowa,"
"Fitz," he whispered, "Can't we just get married?" She said. "Let's just go to Vegas and then we don't have to deal with all of the crap?" She pulled back.
"You still haven't told your parents about me," she said. He sighed. "What do you think it's going to be easier to say, 'This is Claire, my wife,' rather than 'my girlfriend?' Jesus Christ, Logan!"
"Look, I love you," he said, "I want to be with you for the rest of my life, isn't that the part that matters?"
"You know it isn't!" She said. "We can't hide in New Haven anymore Logan, if we're going to stay together it has to be real."
"Claire, I can't," he whispered, "I love you, please just, marry me." She shook her head.
"I can't," she whispered, starting to cry. "Logan, I want to but I," he nodded and stood up. "Please, just, not yet. Someday," she whispered, "But just, can't we be a real couple for a while?" She swallowed.
"Fitz," he whispered, "don't cry baby," he mumbled holding her close.
"You're ashamed of me," she whispered. "I know you never meant to fall in love with me," she whispered. "It was just supposed to be a fling, I understand that."
"No," he said, "don't do this, I'm sorry, OK. Come down, meet them," she shook her head.
"Just go," she said. "I never want to see you again."