Title: Love Song for No One
Summary: "I'm so tired of being alone, so hurry up and get here..." Rory rejected Logan's proposal but can she really let go of him once and for all? When Logan walked away, did he really mean it to be for good? A chance meeting will bring these two back together, but will it be forever? Another take on what could have happened after the series ended. Starts during Unto the Breach and takes off from there.
Disclaimer: Story title, chapter titles and all lyrics belong to John Mayer. Quite possibly, the most amazing man ever.
Author's Note: Here's the deal. I've been patiently spending the last couple of months working on an actual novel, instead of fanfiction and well, it was going along pretty well. Then, Prince William married Kate Middleton, and all of a sudden my characters were speaking in British accents. I managed to get them to be American again, and then about 5,000 words later, I realized that I was unconsciously writing Rory and Logan instead. So. Here I am. With more Rory and Logan goodness, because let's face it, there really just isn't enough of it out there anymore, is there?
I started thinking… what could I write that hasn't been done a million times over? That leaves not much, so then I thought… what could I write that's been done, but make it a million times better?
Of course! Guilty pleasure writing. I don't know about where all of you live, but here in Michigan, well… it's the middle May and we still had snow up until two weeks ago. Last week there was frost and it has been raining for three days straight. We did have three days of sunshine before that and the temperature is slowly climbing into flip-flop territory, and well.. Spring Fever has hit! …Just in time for Summer.
So, guilty pleasure writing. I've taken a few of my favorite things… Writing, John Mayer songs, and Rory and Logan smut… and I've created a 12-part story that's bound to entertain us all.
I mean, really, what could be better, right?
Reviews are love! If I can dust off the writing fingers, you can click the review button! Also, just so you know, there's been whispers of a Martinis and Mistletoe sequel. Just saying.
Chapter One – Too Many False Alarms
We're going down and you can see it too
We're going down and you know that were doomed
My dear, we're slow dancing in a burning room ~ Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
The apartment was blessedly silent as Rory arrived back home from what could have been her grandparents' most interesting party yet. Locking the door behind her, she stepped gingerly into the apartment, looking around to make sure she was alone. The place was empty.
"Damn it!" The desperate words echoed in the living room, bouncing off the walls and by the time the sound greeted her ears again, she couldn't even recognize her own voice. She sat down limply and pulled the jewelry box out from her purse, staring at it as though it were a ticking time bomb.
Rory had never been engaged before, but she was pretty sure rule number one was that you never refer to the ring as a ticking time bomb. She snapped the lid open and stared at the diamond nestled against black velvet. It was a lovely ring; one she would be happy to wear for the rest of her life if she could just bring herself to say yes to Logan.
Logan. Her head dropped down as she remembered the look on his face when he had gotten down on one knee. A proposal had truly never crossed her mind until she heard the words coming out of his mouth and even then, she was sure she was imagining them. She had to have been. Logan Huntzberger didn't propose to girls.
Except he did. In front of her family and their friends and she didn't even have the grace to save him from looking like a fool. She imagined they were still the talk of Emily's social circle and she knew exactly what they were saying about her. How? How could she not say yes?
There had been one split second where she thought she was going to. She had felt the words creeping up inside of her and she had almost whispered yes when out of the corner of her eye she had seen her parents, star-crossed lovers if there ever was a pair, looking at her with just the slightest hint of desperation and panic; pleading with her not to make the same mistakes they had.
Looking down at the ring again, this time she pulled it from its bed and held it in the palm of her hand. She could have said yes. Hesitantly, she slid the cool band onto her finger. She could have and really, would it have been so bad?
Rory looked up from the baby she was trying unsuccessfully to feed. "Is it?" she asked tiredly. "I don't think I've been to bed yet."
"She kept you up all night again?" Logan paused at the rocking chair and kissed the top of the newborn's head. "I didn't hear a thing, you should have woken me up."
"I tried," she muttered. With a sigh, she set the bottle down and rose, following her husband into the kitchen. "You were dead to the world, what time did you get in last night?"
"Late. It was after three."
"What kind of meeting lasts until three in the morning?" she asked, an edge creeping into her voice.
"The productive kind." He frowned. "Isn't there any coffee made?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Well, you've been awake all night You said so yourself. I assumed there would be coffee made already."
"Well there isn't," she snapped. "I haven't been able to put her down for three seconds without her screaming so no, Logan, I haven't been able to make the damn coffee."
"It's fine, I can make it myself. Calm down." He turned around immediately. "I'm sorry, Ace, I didn't mean that. I know you're exhausted. Can I make you anything?"
She shook her head, looking down to see the baby had fallen asleep. "No, I'll get something when I can put her down." She watched as Logan moved about the kitchen. "Your mother called yesterday," she said suddenly. "We're expected for dinner Sunday night."
"I can't make it," he said. "Monday is our launch date, I'll be with the group all weekend trying to make sure everything goes smoothly. I'll probably be staying in the City to make things easier."
"The City? Again?" It was the third weekend this month he would be away.
"Rory, you know the deal. Once this business is off the ground, then I'll be home more, you know that."
"What about this deal?" she asked, gesturing between herself and their daughter. "Remember us? Your wife of one year and the baby who was born three months ago? The one who isn't going to recognize you if you keep taking off for the weekend? If you're not careful, she's going to call Finn Daddy!"
"Nice, Or. You need to cut me some slack here."
"Slack? You need slack? Do you know what I need, Logan? I need my husband. I need your help, because I don't know if you've noticed this but things are falling apart here. I can't keep on top of the housework because I can't put the baby down without her screaming at the top of her lungs and I can't cook dinner because I'm so damn tired that I use sugar instead of salt and can't tell the difference between a table and a tea spoon. I can't even make coffee in the morning because I don't even know when it's morning or night." She sighed. "What's going to happen when I go back to work, Logan?"
"We'll talk about it when the time comes," he said. "And until then, we'll get you some help. Emily and Shira would be thrilled to offer suggestions on help, they've been talking about it since the baby was born. I'll call mom from the car on my way to work."
"What about you, Logan? I need you too, unless you think Shira and Emily can find a replacement for you?"
"I'm all yours once this business takes off, you know that." He sighed. "Two more weeks, Rory, that's all I'm asking for. Two weeks to get this thing going and then no more weekends away from home, no more late meetings, and I promise you, we will spend so much time together, that you'll be sick of me. And my daughter will not think that Finn is her father." He looked at his watch. "I'm running late, I need to go. I'll call and check on you at lunch, okay? Okay. Bye, Ace." He was out the door before she could respond to any of it, and she sat there open-mouthed, her brain processing the same lines he had told her over and over for the last two months.
The baby woke from her short nap and started crying again, breaking Rory from her trance and as she stared down at the tiny child in her arms, she couldn't help but wonder why she had wanted this life in the first place.
Rory blinked her eyes. In a flash, she had the ring off of her hand and back in its box. With a shake of her head she was up on her feet and moving toward her bedroom. Changing from her dress and into well-worn jeans and a tank top, she emerged a few minutes later with a can of paint and a brush. She knew she wasn't going to get any sleep anytime soon so she figured she may as well make sure that Paris got her security deposit back. Plus, she rationalized, the smell of paint fumes would help in distracting her from her thoughts and any decisions she had to make.
She was exactly twenty minutes into her project when she decided she needed a snack break. Because most of the utensils and cookware and well, food, were already packed away, she was left with her choice of dry cereal. With a shrug, she sat down and dug in. Her eyes landed on the ring box again and she reached for it, opening it with trepidation. Hesitantly, she slid the ring back onto her finger a second time, holding her hand out before her to inspect it.
It really was a pretty ring. Logan always did have good taste when it came to jewelry, and she had always known that when the time had come, she would absolutely love the ring he would pick out for her. She just hadn't known she would love it so much.
There was a knock on the door, startling her out of her daze. She jumped up, setting her cereal down and moving toward the door, opening it to find Logan standing there with a sheepish look on his face. She realized she wasn't at all surprised to see him. "Hey," she said quietly.
"Hey," he returned, not quite meeting her eyes. "I didn't know if it was okay to come, I know I said I'd give you some space, but I—"
"Come in," she said quickly, stepping aside. Truthfully, she was happy to see him. He brushed past her and she was assaulted by the smell of his cologne. Her hand found his as he passed her; her small fingers curling tightly around his larger ones. He paused mid-step and she moved into his embrace; wrapping her other arm around his neck and burying her head into his chest. Without a word he kissed her, his hand tilting her head back to meet his before moving around to tangle in her hair. In an instant he had her back pressed against the door, pinning her there with one knee wedged between her two.
For as intense as the embrace was, their kiss was the exact opposite. It was sweet; soft, as though they were afraid to break each other. His lips moved against hers with the barest hint of pressure yet she trembled against him. It was Rory who finally pushed forward, tracing her tongue to his lips, seeking entrance. Too soon, Logan pulled away but held her against the doorway, his forehead pressed to hers.
She chuckled low in her throat and ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. "Afraid I'm going to run away if you let go?"
"Yes." His muffled response was serious whereas hers had been light in tone. He kissed her soundly once more before releasing his grip. Not wanting to be too far from him, Rory pulled him over to the couch and sat with him.
"You asked me to marry you," she said softly, smiling at him.
He nodded. She reached to brush an imaginary piece of lint from his pant leg and he caught her hand in his. Seeing the ring still on her finger, he quirked an eyebrow at her.
She smiled sheepishly and twisted her hand in his so they could both see it. "I wanted to see what it would look like," she admitted. "How it would feel."
"And?" This time his eyes met hers dead on. "How does it feel?"
She sighed and looked down at their joined hands. "Right," she said finally. "It mostly feels right."
"So what's wrong? Why didn't you—" Logan sighed and shook his head. "I don't want to pressure you. I said I wasn't going to and I wasn't but…" He shrugged. "You gotta give me something, Rory."
She nodded, not looking at him. "Of course I've thought about getting married," she said. "And if I think about it, it's usually you I think about marrying."
"Ryan Reynolds," she said unapologetically. He rolled his eyes and she continued on. "But… we're so young, Logan. You've been out of school a year and I'm just graduating tomorrow. Neither of us really knows where we'll be next month, let alone next year or the year after that."
"Palo Alto," he began but she cut him off.
"Isn't exactly a sure thing. And California? I don't know if I'd want to move there," she said honestly.
"So we figure it out together." Logan laced his fingers with hers. "That's what people do when they're in a relationship."
"And you know this from the exactly one relationship you've been in?" She winced as the words left her mouth and sure enough, Logan tensed beside her.
"I know enough from watching the train wreck of a relationship my parents had to know what not to do." Logan's voice was low as he spoke and she wanted to sink deeper into the cushions. "And I know that while you and your three whole relationships is far superior to my experienced, but don't sit there and try to tell me I'm not right. We could figure this out together. You know we could."
"We could," Rory agreed. "But I need to figure out me first, Logan. I don't know what I'm doing! My dream was to be a foreign correspondent, remember that? What if I still want that?"
"You can have that," Logan argued.
"Not if I have a husband and kids waiting on me at home! And what if I don't want it? What if I decide I want something completely different that I don't even know about yet? You want to tell me you're seriously going to wait around while I try and decide?"
"Are you looking for a reason not to marry me?"
"I don't want to fight," Rory said quietly. "You said we wouldn't. I told you I would have an answer for you tomorrow. I'm not saying no yet, Logan." But I'm not saying yes either.
"You okay there?" Logan placed a hand on her leg. "You looked a million miles away all of a sudden there."
"I'm sorry," she shook her head and smiled at him. "So since you're here..." her voice trailed off and she winked at him suggestively. "I have a spackle brush with your name on it. If you can handle it." She laughed at the look he gave her and stood up, pulling him up with her. "What? You had other ideas? Sleep is for the weak, Huntzberger."
"Sleep is not what I had in mind," he groaned. She went to hand him a paintbrush and he dodged her, leaning in to kiss her instead.
The spackle was forgotten momentarily as Rory found herself getting lost in their kiss. She loved that he knew her well enough to know when she needed him to kiss her; but she also had to wonder if he was doing it because he wanted to, or because he was trying to get her to say she would marry him. She couldn't exactly blame him if that were the case, and while she didn't want to stop him, she couldn't help but feel guilty.
Reluctantly, she pulled away. "I really don't want Paris to take me to small claims court," she said half-seriously with a smile in her eyes. It worked, and Logan just shook his head as he picked up the previously offered paintbrush. "Lead the way, my putty queen."
"Well there's a nickname I could do without." For the next thirty minutes they worked companionably, sharing random bits of stories, ranging from childhood antics like the time Lorelai let Rory paint her bedroom any color she wanted (it stayed lime green for three whole weeks before Lorelai changed it while she was at school, claiming the color would make them go blind) to more current ones, such as when Logan, Colin and Finn accidentally ended up having to pay for the repainting Finn's father's boat after a mishap off the coast of Santorini. For the most part, their conversation was easy and light, but there was still an underlying bit of tension between the two of them that Rory wasn't able to shake.
"Oh come on, you missed a spot!" Logan chided her easily as he gestured to the small hole in the wall. "How is Paris going to get her deposit back if you keep missing spots?"
"I"m still working on this one!" she protested, raising her brush to the wall again. She stuck her tongue out at him as he rolled his eyes at her. "What? I'm not working fast enough for you? Fine, fix it yourself then."
"I'm on it." He reached around her back and started working on the aforementioned hole. As he worked, he moved closer until he had her trapped between him and the wall, one hand braced casually against the wall as he continued to reach around her to paint.
"Really?" she asked, craning her head back to look at him. "How am I supposed to work like this?"
Logan shrugged. "You're almost a Yale graduate, I'm sure you can figure it out." He stepped closer and his breath tickled the back of her neck. He wouldn't look directly at her, focusing on the wall instead. His free hand dropped to the small of her back and slid around to her stomach.
She turned around slowly until she was facing him and raised an eyebrow at the smirk on his face. "I'm almost done with this hole, hang on one minute," he said as he stepped closer, still working on the wall. She crossed her arms against her chest between them and waited patiently as he continued working. "Almost done, just a couple of more edges to clean up." Logan pressed even closer, pushing her back to the wall as he did so. Her arms began to uncross and her hands found their way to the soft cotton of his t-shirt, trailing lightly across his chest. She raised one hand to his face and turned his chin until he was finally looking at her. "I'm busy here, Ace."
"I know," she said seriously, nodding at him. "And you're doing a very good job." She leaned forward and pecked at his lips lightly. He didn't say anything as he stepped even closer to her. Her fingers crawled up and down his chest. "Logan?"
It was an unseasonably warm night and with the windows open and the air conditioner turned off, the climate in the living room was balmy. Rory was suddenly too warm, Logan was too close, and she felt her head begin to swim. She leaned forward and kissed him again, her lips lingering this time against his, teasing at him until she felt him begin to respond. "Put the paintbrush down, Logan," she whispered, pulling him to her by the fabric of his shirt. Now she couldn't get him close enough. "Please."
The paintbrush dropped to the floor and Logan's full attention was on her again. She smiled into his mouth as he ran a hand slowly down her side, bringing her leg up around his as he pinned her to the wall. Her eyes closed as they kissed, but not before she caught sight of the diamond on her finger flashing through the darkened room. She pushed the image out of her mind as fast as she could and worked to rid Logan's body of his shirt. He responded in turn, her shirt soon meeting his in a pile on the floor.
"Paris," he mumbled, nipping at her collarbone.
"Rory," she corrected breathlessly. He pulled back and glared at her.
"I meant, is she home? We're in the living room and I don't really need her walking in on us again and-"
"She's out with Doyle," Rory said quickly, kissing him again. She knew if she had time to think, she'd pull away completely. "Won't be back til morning." Her hands fell to his belt and quickly set to work. "Living room is ours."
"Good." Their clothes fell off seamlessly; years of practice making it seem like an effortless dance as Logan finally pulled her from the wall with the intent of moving them to the more comfortable spot of the couch again. She tripped over his feet and they stumbled into a pile of boxes but they didn't stop or break away from each other. "Couch," Logan instructed her, hoping to keep them from knocking over the stack of precariously stacked books that he could see out of the corner of his eye. He groaned as Rory's hand dipped down to stroke him lightly.
"Too far," she whispered. "Here." She tried unsuccessfully to pull him down to the floor with her but he stayed standing. Finally, she opened her eyes and he could see the frustration evident in her gaze. "Logan."
"What are we doing?" he asked, momentarily coming to his senses. "We need to sto-"
"Logan." Her tone was sharp and he looked at her in surprise. "Please don't stop. I want this, you... I need..." She sighed helplessly and shook her head. "Don't stop, please," she whispered again, kissing him. He didn't hesitate in kissing her back, and finally, he lowered her to the floor. She stretched out beneath him, savoring his weight against her as their legs tangled together. Her eyes fluttered as his mouth moved lower, the slight stubble on his chin scraping against her skin as he did. Her fingers twisted in his hair as he traced shapes onto the smooth skin of her stomach. He began to kiss lower and she tugged at his hair, trying to bring him back up. She didn't want foreplay, she wanted him.
He resisted, reaching up and bringing her hand back down to the floor, holding it there. There were times when he was more than happy to let Rory take the lead but tonight was not one of them. He was aware that they were both acting out under the given circumstances, and while there were things beyond his control that night, this was not going to be one of them. Rory's reluctance faded quickly as his mouth closed around her and she sighed appreciatively. As much as she wanted him right now, she had to admit that she was grateful he was taking the initiative and for a few moments, she could just let herself be lost in the moment. Logan's hands and mouth worked wonders against her and she voiced her appreciation softly, but desperately she needed more.
Logan, however, wasn't in the mood to rush things and he continued to work her over at his own pace. He took the time to remember every last detail about her, from the scent of her flushed skin, her taste, to the sound of her pleas in his ear. It wasn't so much as he was saying goodbye to her, but they both knew in the back of their minds that there was a chance this could be their last time together.
And if that was the case, Logan would be damned if it ended all too soon. He felt Rory's fingers tighten in his hair, saw the rapid rise and fall of her chest as her breathing became shallow. A few more seconds and her entire body would start to tremble. He waited for it, waited for that last sign before letting go completely and pulling away from her.
The loss of contact shocked Rory back to her senses and she propped herself up on her elbows and pouted at him. "Mean!" she hissed, brushing a damp strand of hair out of her bright eyes. He took one long look at her laying there before him before crawling back up, settling himself comfortably above her. She sighed, a mixture of relief and contentment washing over her as she felt him pressing at her core and dropped back as he collapsed her elbows beneath them. "Not so mean," she amended as he brought his mouth down to hers, at the same time, finally pushing slowly into her.
He took her slowly, carefully, keeping painstakingly slow pace that nearly killed the both of them as she begged him to go harder, to go faster. Eventually her pleas quieted and they both savored the feel of each other, the slow movements that were so smooth, so fluid that Rory couldn't tell where he ended and she began. Still, too soon they both felt the familiar tensions building within and Rory was the first to break, with Logan only seconds behind her.
Staring up into the dark eyes that looked down at her, Rory couldn't imagine ever being without him.
Rory felt someone staring at her and rolled over, opening one eye to see her four year old staring at her seriously. "Good morning," she whispered.
"Good morning." The little girl didn't wait for permission before climbing into the big bed and under the covers with Rory. She snuggled in and Rory looked back over her shoulder and saw that Logan was already out of bed, unusual for a Sunday morning. "Where's your daddy?"
"I'm right here, with coffee," Logan announced from the doorway where he stood with a tray of coffee and the newspaper. "Guess who's article made the front page today? Above the fold, no less."
"Really?" She sat up and reached for the paper and her cup of coffee. "Huh, you were right, marrying a newspaper kingpin definitely has its perks," she teased as she saw for herself that her article was on the front page. She took a sip of the coffee as Logan crawled back into the bed with the two of them and she settled comfortably into his side, their daughter climbing between the two of them. "You make really good coffee, too" she noted.
"Only the best for my girl." Logan nodded at the paper and then smiled at her. "It's good. Not that I would expect anything less than great from you, but for your coming out of mommy retirement article, it's amazing, Ace, it really is." He leaned over to kiss her. His lips lingered over hers and she was reluctantly to pull away.
"Little eyes," she reminded him, looking down at their daughter who had already turned the television on and had found cartoons to watch.
"We really need to start making her stay in her room on Sunday mornings," he groaned, dropping his head to Rory's shoulder. Even as he spoke, his hand moved to tangle in the blonde curls on the little girls' head and Rory knew they would be holding on to their Sunday morning tradition for as long as they could.
"We still have Saturday nights," she said lightly, lacing her hand with his. "And every other night after she goes to bed." In their five years of marriage, the one thing Logan and Rory had never tired of was each other. It always made her smile, knowing that it was just as important to Logan as it was to her that they showed each other as much as possible just how much they still loved each other.
"It's not enough Ace," he said seriously, leaning in to kiss her again. "It's never enough."
She batted his hands away as they began to creep up her top. "I bet Shira would take her for the night after dinner if we asked," she mused out loud. She laughed as Logan groaned. "What?"
"Dinner there again? Weren't we there last weekend?"
"Guess we may as well call it tradition," Rory teased. It was a standard joke between them; they both knew full well they were expected at the Huntzbergers' every Sunday night for dinner, and had been for the last five years.
"Ugh, tradition." Logan sighed. "But if you think Mom will take her for the night...I may just whisk you away to New York for the night to celebrate your going back to work. What do you think about that?"
Rory raised an eyebrow at him. "On a Sunday night? What about work tomorrow?"
He shrugged. "I can skip a day. God knows I worked enough this week. What do you say, Ace? I don't know about you, but I'd say we're due some completely alone time, don't you?"
"If we leave her with Shira, you know she's going to come back to us a proper young lady again."
Logan shrugged. "In two days we'll have her eating pop-tarts and wearing tennis shoes again, I'm not worried. She's too young for debutante balls, there isn't much damage mom can do."
"Famous last words." She laughed and curled back into Logan's side. "Let's do it," she agreed. The three of them snuggled up close and watched the end of the cartoon, knowing they would have to get up soon. Looking back and forth between her husband and child, Rory couldn't imagine any other place she'd rather be.
"Where are you going?" she asked sleepily as Logan began to untangle his legs from hers.
"Bed," he said, trying to get her to sit up. "We're not sleeping on the floor, I don't care how comfortable you claim it is."
"Yeah, it's really not at all, is it?" She agreed as she resisted his tugging. "I don't want to move," she whined.
"Rory, you're not sleeping on the floor." Logan laughed as she rolled away from him and he pulled her back, hooking his arms under her legs. "I'll carry you," he threatened.
"You'll hurt yourself," she protested as he picked her up from the floor. "Logan, stop!" They were both laughing as he carried her into the bedroom. For a moment she thought he was going to drop her on the bed, and smiled when he set her down gently against the pillows. He moved to stand up but she kept her arms around his neck and pulled him down with her. "Where do you think you're going?"
"I was going to turn the lights off in the other room," he started to explain but Rory cut him off.
"Leave them. Stay." She pulled the covers over them and snuggled deeper into his chest. "Good thing I slack when it comes to packing and this is all still here." They settled in comfortably and quietly. "I love you," she said suddenly, looking up at him. "I know you know that, but I just wanted to say it again. I really love you."
"I love you too, Rory." His arms tightened around her and he cupped the back of her head against his chest. "Get some sleep, you've got a big day tomorrow, you know."
"Hey." Logan's voice broke through the silence once more, her eyes popping open again at the sound.
"I just wanted you to know that that ring looks perfect on you. Just like I knew it would."
Rory looked back down at her hand, the diamond still gleaming in the moonlight. "Yeah, it does," she agreed softly, chewing on her lower lip. He was right, the ring did fit perfectly on her hand.
She woke the next morning to an empty bed and the sound of coffee brewing coming from the kitchen. "Hey," she said, smiling at him from the doorway. "What's going on in here?"
"Hey, good morning Graduate!" Logan grinned as he handed her a cup of coffee. "How did you sleep? Ready for the big day?" He pressed a quick kiss to her lips.
"Thank you. I slept well enough." She hadn't fallen asleep until about two hours ago and they both knew it. Somewhere in the middle of the night she had woken him up with her tossing and turning and he had done his best to soothe her; taking careful measures to not mention what they both were struggling with. Finally, she had fallen into a fitful sleep and then it was Logan who was wide awake, left to stare at his sleeping girlfriend, desperately wondering what answer she was going to give him.
"Good." Logan stared at her for a moment. "I have some things to take care of before the ceremony so I'll be out of your way in a few minutes so you can get ready."
She nodded. All of a sudden the tension in the room was more than she wanted to deal with. "Okay, I'll look for you after commencement." She saw him staring at her hand and she looked down, twisting the ring that felt as though it was always there. "I..." She sighed. "I don' t have an answer yet," she admitted quietly. She couldn't ignore the defeated look in Logan's eyes. "That doesn't mean no," she reminded him quickly.
"I know." He stared at her for another moment before putting his own cup down. "Okay, I need to go and you need to jump in the shower." He gestured to her shoulder. "Looks like spackle. Wonder how that happened?"
"It's a mystery," she agreed with a small smile. "So... I'll see you in a couple of hours?"
"I'll be there," he promised. They both stepped forward at the same time and into each others' arms. "I love you," he said, leaning in to kiss her. "So much." He kissed her again, and she could feel tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.
"I love you too." Reluctantly she let go and gave a little wave as he left. Then she stood there, staring into her cup of coffee and wondering just what in the hell she was going to do now.
"Morning." Logan pressed an absentminded kiss to the side of her head as he passed by her. "Coffee?"
"There always is." She handed him a cup prepared just how he liked it and they sat down at opposite sides of the table, the morning paper already divided to their preferences. "Oh, just to remind you, the coming out ball is two weeks from Friday."
"Debutante ball." Logan snorted. "Why are we making her do this again?"
"Emily and Shira." Rory paused. "It's not so bad. I didn't mind mine, really."
"I've done my share of escorting. Drunk off of my ass nearly every single time."
"Never as a proud father," she pointed out. "But I'm not surprised. No drinking this time around, please."
"No promises." He smirked at the look she gave him. "Oh Rory, you know I promise to be on my very best Dad behavior."
"Mmhmm." She went back to reading the paper, not looking up again until Logan folded his section and stood up. "Leaving so early?"
"Eight AM meeting and going straight through until dinner." He looked up guiltily. "We didn't have plans tonight, did we?"
She shook her head. "No plans, but it's a shame you'll miss dinner. I was so planning on wearing that little red number you picked up for me on your last trip to New York," she said airily.
"Hmm, I'm sure our daughter is going to love that." He dropped down to his knees next to Rory's chair. "There will be no wearing that outfit until I am home to fully appreciate it on you. And off you." She nodded her agreement as he leaned forward and kissed her. "I promise we'll spend the weekend alone together, okay?"
"Can't," she said sadly. "DAR fundraiser on Saturday, I'm going to be needed for set-up all day. Which reminds me, you'll need your gray suit dry-cleaned for this one."
"Can't wait," he said sarcastically. "Kidding. Those women would be lost without you, my dear." He stood back up and left the room as she turned back to her paper. She was surprised when he came back in, coffee pot in hand.
"I thought you were leaving?" she asked as he refilled her coffee mug.
"I am," he said. "But you clearly needed a warm-up." He winked and set the pot down on the table next to her. "Have a great day, Ace." He kissed her cheek and was out the door.
Rory stared after him for a second before her eyes drifted to the clock and she saw that it was getting late. Taking a long drink from her mug she pushed her chair back from the table and called up the stairs for her daughter to wake up. Her brief encounter with Logan was soon forgotten as her mind ran through the list of things she needed to do today. Not only did she have a 5 o'clock deadline on an article, but there were countless phone calls to be made for the fundraiser, she had lunch plans with her mother and there was a final dress fitting for the debutante ball. She sighed as she remembered she needed to call Shira about postponing Sunday Night Dinner and looking at her watch, called up the stairs for her daughter again. She was about to call a third time when her cell phone rang and she looked at it with trepidation; knowing that once she answered it, it was going to be evening before she would be able to put the phone down. She was surprised to see that it wasn't a phone call, but rather a text from Logan.
"Forgot to tell you that you looked beautiful this morning and that I love you. Have a great day and don't forget your deadline."
Her mouth lifted in a small smile and she was about to text him back when her phone rang for real this time. Logan would have to wait for the time being, but she knew that he would understand. It wasn't the first time real life would get in the way of Rory and Logan and it sure wasn't going to be the last.
Rory gave herself a final once-over in the mirror, ensuring her dress wasn't wrinkled and her hair evenly curled. She couldn't waste any more time, she was due to meet her family on campus in minutes. The graduation festivities would be starting before she knew it, and then she knew she would have to give her answer to Logan.
Logan. She sighed and looked down again at the ring that she was still wearing. It was a perfect fit and she knew she could get used to seeing it on her finger if she let herself. She stared at it for a long second before taking a deep breath and sliding the ring off, putting it safely back into its box. Her hand immediately felt lighter and as soon as the box snapped shut she almost opened it back up to put the ring back on her finger.
Instead, she slid the jewelry box into her purse for safekeeping and with a shaky breath she was out the door. She hadn't known until this exact moment how she was going to answer Logan's proposal but now that she did, she knew there was no other answer she could give him.
She only prayed that she didn't regret it later.
"Logan, I'm sorry... I can't. I love you. You know how much I love you. I love the idea of being married to you...but...there are just a lot of things right now in my life that are undecided. And that used to scare me, but now I—I kind of like the idea that... it's just all kind off... wide open. And if I married you, it just wouldn't be."
"So what? I go to San Francisco, you stay on the east and we just see each other occasionally?"
"Well we can try long distance. We've done it before."
"You really think that's gonna work?"
"I think it would be hard, but..."
"I don't want to do that, Rory. I don't want to go backwards. If we can't take the next step..."
"Does it have to be all or nothing?"
"Yeah, it does."
"But we could at least try."
"What's the point?"
"So... goodbye, Rory."