Oneshot Title: Out Ta Get Me
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Story: Fixed Determinence
A/N: 1- I'm working on my next big thing, so I hope this holds you over until it's ready.
2- This oneshot is another bonus chapter from my story, Fixed Determinence. It's a companion to Chapter 24: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, as it takes place at the same time, but from Tristan's point of view up until the last scene (that's where this ends). If you've read the main story, you're good to go. If you haven't, read the warning, please.
Warning: If you have not read Fixed Determinence, then I recommend that you go read it first; because if you read this and then read the main story, some things will be spoiled for you. And I'd hate for that to happen. I really can't stop you from reading this if you want to, but there's an excellent chance that it won't make any sense at all without the background information from the original story.
Out Ta Get Me
Tristan was in the living room of his new house on Saturday night, frowning at the instruction manual to his television set. He was wondering how he'd hooked it up when he first got it. He glanced over the open pages before tossing the book aside; surely he could figure it out on his own. He was about to stick the end of a wire into the back of the television when his telephone started to ring from the kitchen. He put the wire down and moved to answer the phone.
"Hey Sookie, guess what?" Lorelai asked on the other end.
"You went one person too far on your contact list, this is Tristan. And I'm busy here."
"No, no, I know you're busy with the kids, but give me a minute here. You'll never guess what just happened."
"You're right, and I don't feel like playing any guessing games right now."
"Rory came home!" Tristan rolled his eyes.
"Funny, can I go now?'
"I'm not joking; I'm looking at her right now."
"Are you serious?" Tristan groaned. "I thought she wasn't going back until her birthday."
"I know, I was really surprised, too; but she wants to move back."
"She what? What are you talking about? She can't move back. I already moved!" Tristan exclaimed, starting to worry.
"I know. But we might not see her much this weekend, because she really wants to go see Tristan," Lorelai explained. He smiled a little in surprise at this.
"I know, do you want me to tell her hi for you?"
"Absolutely not. Don't say anything about me or where I am."
"Oh, she has a key to my apartment—my old apartment, I mean. Don't let her use it. If the lock hasn't been changed yet she'll walk into an empty apartment."
"Just get her back to Detroit."
"How should I do that?" she asked.
"I don't know, you're clever, just get her back here."
"I'll see what I can do."
"Keep me posted."
"Okay, see you later. Bye." Tristan hung up the phone and put his hands on his hips. He ran a hand though his hair and thought for a moment. He picked the phone back up and dialed a number.
"Paris, do you have time for a sidebar?"
"I guess. What is it?"
"I need a favor."
"I knew the day would come eventually. What jail are you being held in?"
"I don't have time for your jokes right now—not that they're funny anyway."
"I disagree, but fine. What do you need?"
"I need you to go to my apartment and wait for me." There was a pause.
"You want me go to an apartment, where you no longer live, and wait for you."
"Will you be showing up?"
"I'm going to need more information."
"Someone is looking for me and she's the only person who isn't aware that I no longer live there."
"Yes. Apparently she has designs to move back to Connecticut."
"And would this have anything to do with you?"
"It's possible, but I don't want to get presumptuous. So can you go?"
"I suppose. I'm assuming you don't want her to know where you are."
"What should I tell her then?"
"I don't know, it doesn't matter. Just play along with the waiting-for-me thing."
"Okay, should I go now?"
"Yes—wait, no. She just got into town. It might look suspicious if you know about it so soon."
"And you think she's going to jump to the conclusion that you've moved if I get there too soon," Paris stated sardonically.
"What? No; just give it some time before you go over there. It would seem weird for you to already know that she's in town."
"Fine. Hold on, I'm getting another call," Paris said. There was a pause as she checked the caller ID. "It's Lorelai."
"Oh good, now you can just say that you heard from her," Tristan reasoned. "So it works out."
"So you're going to go over there?"
Tristan hung up the phone and thought some more. That should keep Rory busy for tonight. But what about tomorrow when she tried again? Was she just going to sit there all day? It was a good thing it was the weekend. If she went to Hartford to look for him at the university, someone would surely let it slip that he no longer worked there. Hartford; where could she go in Hartford? His family. He picked the phone up again to make another call.
"Hello?" his sister-in-law answered on the other side.
"Felicity, I need you and Matt to promise me something."
"Promise you what?"
"Promise me that you and all of the other DuGreys will not tell anyone where I am this weekend. No one can know."
"What is this about? We all know you moved."
"Yeah, well, someone may or may not come to ask you where I am in the near future."
"Oh, God," Felicity said in a dreadful tone.
"What?" he asked, a little concerned.
"Don't tell me," she said deploringly.
"Don't tell you what?" Tristan asked impatiently.
"Please don't tell me that you had a one night stand before you left and now some girl is hopelessly in love with you. I really thought you were happier after you decided to move last month; why would you do this?"
"Is this how you think of me? I didn't have a one night stand. I haven't had a one night anything in—a long time."
"Then who is looking for you?"
"Don't worry about it. It might not even come to anything. But just in case, you don't know where I am. Just be vague if asked. I'm out of town or something. It doesn't matter where, as long as it's far away. And, okay, don't say Detroit. But anywhere else is fine. So, do you promise?"
"This is weird, but I guess I promise," she agreed, though apprehensively.
"Thank you. And seriously, make sure the rest of the family knows not to say anything."
"I'm on it."
"Thanks, I'll talk to you later."
Tristan went back to his task of hooking up the television when the phone rang again. He growled in frustration and got up to answer.
"Tristan, it's Lorelai, again. Rory went to your apartment. Paris said she'd go wait with her. But what about tomorrow?"
"I don't know. I told my sister-in-law not to tell anyone where I am, in case Rory goes looking in Hartford." On the other end of the line, Lorelai considered this.
"Don't you baby-sit for her and your brother sometimes?" she asked.
"What if I put the idea in her head that you're watching their kids at their house?"
"I've never gone over there to watch them. They always came to my place. She knows that."
"Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to suggest it," Tristan reconsidered. "You didn't know about it. Yeah, it could work. Then when she finds them they'll tell her I'm out of town. Hopefully she'll give up if I'm definitely not going to be around for a while."
"Really? You want her to give up on you that easily?"
"Considering the circumstances, yes. I would like that very much."
"Alright. I guess I can try it."
"Okay, thanks. Good night."
"Night." They both hung up and Tristan went back over to the television, again. He looked at the wires and shook his head. He was suddenly very tired. He gave up on it for the evening and instead went upstairs to get ready for bed.
But after he'd climbed into bed, Tristan's brain wouldn't shut off. He tossed and turned a bit, but to no avail. He couldn't fall asleep knowing Rory was waiting for him in vain. He fought the urge to pick up the phone and call her— to tell her to come back to Michigan as fast as she could.
He decided he needed to keep busy, so he got back up and turned the lamp on. He squinted as he looked around the room. He put his glasses on and walked over to the boxes that were sitting on the floor. He started to fill his dresser with clothes. As he tossed his socks into the top drawer, he came across the small velvet box; it was still mixed in with his socks. He wondered if he maybe should have packed it somewhere else, but was unsure where that would have been. He opened the box and looked at the sparkling ring. He gave a half smile and closed the box before putting it back in the drawer where it had always been.
After the dresser was full, Tristan moved to the closet and hung up his shirts and pants. When all of his clothes were where they needed to be, he walked back downstairs to survey the living room. He looked to the television and sighed. It took him twenty minutes and a couple of failed attempts before he was successfully able to watch TV. At least now he had some background noise. He was sitting on his new couch, flipping through the channels at 1:15am when he heard his cell phone chime once. He got up to retrieve the phone and saw that it was a text message. It was from Paris; they'd just left his old apartment. How many hours had they waited? He wondered. He felt bad that she'd waited for him for so long, but at least now he'd be able to sleep. He turned off all the lights and went back up the stairs to his bedroom.
The next morning Tristan was sitting at his piano. He played a quick chord progression and made a sour face at the sound before getting back up. There was really no point in practicing before the piano tuner came by tomorrow. He heard his cell phone ringing from the coffee table in the living room; he quickly went over to answer it.
"Oh my God. Tristan," Felicity said from the other side. "We're on our way home from church."
"That's good, you probably needed to go. But did you have to call to tell me about it?"
"That's not why I'm calling. You will never guess who was waiting by our car when we got outside," she said excitedly.
"I might be able to, actually."
"It was Rory!" she continued, as though she hadn't heard Tristan. "And she was looking for you!"
"I don't want to hurt your feelings, or anything, but you aren't the first person to tell me that this weekend."
"No. I called you about this, remember? Oh geez, please tell me you remembered to tell her I'm out of town," he groaned.
"Calm down. We told her you were in California. I did an excellent job of not being entirely sure about where you were or when you'd be back."
"Great, I'll be sure to nominate you for a Best Supporting Actress Award at the next Academy Awards."
"Excellent, I'll get shopping for a gown as soon as I can. I can't believe Rory was looking for you! After you went to all that trouble of moving to be with her."
"Yeah, the irony is killing me," he deadpanned.
"Well, anyway, I think we disappointed her pretty well. She shouldn't have any reason to stick around now."
"That's the hope."
"I'm really glad that the "someone" you were talking about was Rory and not some random girl."
"And I'm still offended that you'd think that in the first place."
"Oh, well, I'm sorry."
"I'm sure I'll get over it, somehow. Did you need anything else? I'm kind of trying to get my stuff where I want it."
"No, that's all I wanted to tell you. Let us know how it all works out."
"I'm sure calling you all will be my first order of business when she gets back."
"As it should be. Talk to you later."
"Bye." Tristan hung up and the phone started to beep, alerting him of its low battery. He took advantage of this and turned the phone off before he plugged it into the charger. About ten minutes later, his landline rang.
"There is no escape," he muttered. He decided to let the machine pick it up, but then remembered that he hadn't set it up yet. He let it ring several times, hoping whoever it was would give up, but they didn't. So he answered.
"Tristan, this is your grandmother."
"We just got home from church," she explained. Tristan rolled his eyes, knowing what the rest of the story would be.
"Yeah? How was Mass?"
"Oh, good. But it wasn't as exciting as what happened when we were leaving."
"What happened when you were leaving?" he asked, playing along.
"A young lady was waiting for us when we got to the parking lot."
"Yes, and she was looking for you."
"You don't say."
"You don't want to know who it was? Your grandfather and I were quite surprised by her appearance."
"Grandma?" he said patiently.
"I know Rory is in Connecticut, looking for me."
"Oh. Well I guess I'll let you go, then, since you know everything," she said in a miffed tone of voice. Tristan sighed at the sound of it.
"Grandma, thank you for telling me about this; it's just that I'm trying to get settled here and everyone keeps calling me."
"Alright, I'll leave you alone, then. We just wanted to let you know, in case you hadn't heard."
"Thank you. Now I have things to do. I'll talk to you and Grandpa later."
"Okay. Good bye, Tristan."
"Bye." He hung up and glared at the phone for a while. Then he decided that he'd be the one to place the next call. He dialed the person he wanted to speak to and waited patiently.
"Hey, Lorelai, it's me."
"Oh, hi Tristan."
"You're using my name, the coast is clear, I take it."
"Well it probably won't be for very long. Rory was just intercepted by the DuGreys. She should be giving up around now."
"Oh, good. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this. I mean, I've already had this big secret for a month. I just want to shake Rory and tell her to go back to Michigan so she can finally find you."
"I'll try, but I can't promise you anything."
"Promise me," he said sternly.
"Fine, I promise. Mean," she grumbled.
"I think I'm going to go to her apartment to see if she has a spare key somewhere near the door."
"That's a good idea. When you see the apartment, you'll have to let me know if it's in a safe neighborhood. I've never seen it, you know. And I heard somewhere about a lady in Detroit, she was just driving and she got shot. Just like that," Lorelai rambled. Tristan paused in thought.
"You heard this, or you saw it on TV?" he asked.
"Whatever it was, it appeared very real. And so much TV today is ripped right from the headlines," she reasoned.
"Right, well, anyway. Hopefully she'll be headed back soon. Will you call my landline to let me know when her plane leaves?"
"And when she lands, too. I'll be waiting for her when she gets home."
"Got it. Anything else?"
"I don't think so. Just make sure she leaves today."
"All right, I'll let you go. Bye, Lorelai."
A couple of hours later, Tristan was getting out of his car. He put his hands in his pockets as he strode up to the third floor of Rory's apartment building. He checked the slip of paper that had Lorelai's handwriting on it and stopped in front of the appropriate door. He knew no one would answer, but he gave the door a quick knock anyway. He didn't wait before he lifted up the welcome mat, there was nothing under it, and so he put it back. He put his hand up to the door frame and swept across it, finding a spare key at one end. He let himself in and looked around. He got acquainted with the layout of the apartment first. It was a small apartment, nothing fancy. The living room was in front with a dinning area to the far right corner. Adjacent to the living room was the kitchen and between the dinning area and the living room was a short hallway. To the left was the bathroom and to the right was the bedroom. Tristan glanced at the familiar bed before returning to the kitchen.
He checked the cabinets until he found something edible. He wasn't entirely surprised to see a couple of boxes of Pop Tarts and little else. He checked the fridge and grimly assessed its contents. A pizza box, various sized Chinese food boxes, and a gallon of milk that was nearing its expiration date. He shook his head and rolled his eyes before closing the appliance.
It looked like he was going to have to go to the store. He checked his watch. Lorelai had called him before he'd made the trip over. He had a couple of hours before Rory would arrive, so he walked out of the apartment and locked the door behind him. He decided to go to the grocery store and swing back by his house to pick up a few things, along with Isolde, before he'd return to Rory's apartment.
Tristan was in the middle of making dinner when his cell phone rang. "Hello?"
"Alright, Maverick, the goose has landed," Lorelai told him.
"Okay, I'm already at her place."
"Thanks. Bye, Lorelai."
He continued with what he was doing, though he had a heightened sense of awareness. About thirty minutes had gone by when he heard the door being opened in the next room. Isolde, who had been prowling around the kitchen, ran into the living room to see who was there. Tristan's heart started to beat a bit faster as he followed the cat into the next room.
A/N: 3- I hope you found this enjoyable. Now, if you'd be so kind as to put this story (read: this version of Tristan and Rory) out of your mind (after you review, of course), because I have. You'll need to switch gears for my next story.