A/N: Hey guys! I know it's been a while since I've updated. I had to put this story on hold for a while because the last 3 weeks of the semester were killing me. But the semester is over now, so I'm back to writing! I decided to make this chapter a little bit shorter than I originally anticipated, because I wanted to get you an update as soon as possible. I've been struggling with it a bit. It was a lot harder to get back into this story than I thought after not working on it for weeks. But I have brought you a new chapter, so I hope you enjoy it! In the author's note at the end of this chapter I have some info about other projects I may have in the works, so be sure to read that too.
Enjoy the chapter, and happy holidays!
Chapter Thirteen – Get Out Of Jail Free
The previous night's activity seemed to calm Logan's nerves a bit. Whereas before he was frantic and panicking, being close to Rory was the only way he knew how to relax himself. He needed her physically to anchor himself down, and Rory needed him in return to prove to herself that he was still there and okay. Logan may have initiated the action, but she was just as desperate for him as he was for her.
He was a bit jittery in the morning, but his immediate panic had subsided. Logan tried to brush her off, as though slightly embarrassed by his actions the previous night. It had been a desperate cry for help, that much was obvious. But he hated needing it in the first place.
"You really don't have to come with me, Ace."
"Hush, you!" she said, teasing him. Rory was packing away her laptop. She already had a bag filled with a few necessities to keep them occupied through Logan's session. No one could say that she was unprepared. "Of course I'm coming with you! I'm not letting you go through your first chemotherapy session alone!"
"What about your job search?" he asked her. It was an obvious attempt at distraction. "You've barely spent any time on it recently, and I'd like to furnish the rest of our apartment sometime in the foreseeable future. Unless, of course, you'd like to reconsider my offer to pay for it all myself."
"Yeah, nice try," she responded with a grin. "Don't you worry. I've already sent off my resume to just about every newspaper in New York. I can send out follow up emails from the treatment center."
"My father might be stopping by." He tried to say it nonchalantly, but Rory could detect a deeper meaning in his comment. Logan was genuinely curious as to whether or not his father would actually put in an appearance.
Rory raised her eyebrows. "You mean the great Mitchum Huntzberger can take time out of his busy schedule to visit his son who has cancer?"
Logan shrugged his shoulders, trying not to look as though it would upset him if his dad failed to show, and what it would mean if he does show up. "I haven't spoken to him since I told him. Who knows, maybe he considers the whole thing a business meeting. You know, trying to make sure I stay alive to produce an heir for him."
She frowned. "What makes him think your children would become his heir in the first place? Did he forget that you left HPG?"
"He's been perusing me in the last couple of months. Trying to convince me to come back."
This was not the answer Rory expected. "Seriously? I mean…are you considering it?"
"Not really. I don't know if I could trust him enough to come back." Logan sighed, running a hand across the stubble on his head. "I was at his constant beck and call when I worked for him. He'd say, 'go here,' and I'd have to comply. I wasn't allowed to argue. Mitchum says jump, I have to ask how high. And he'd always be checking up on me, making sure I wasn't 'ruining the company.' Why would I want to go back to that?"
Rory took in his words for a minute. He made a lot of valid points. It comforted her to know that Logan had no intensions of running back to his father. This new Logan, out from under his father's constant control, was a much stronger person than the one who always had to do whatever his father said. She liked this newfound confidence in him. It matched the front he always put up when dealing with society.
"Do you think you'll ever want to go back?" Rory felt like the answer could hold a lot of value towards her, and her future with him. Logan's decision to return to take up his legacy could have a large impact on her.
Logan took a few seconds before answering her. "At the moment, no. But I can't say my opinion won't change in the future. If I do go back though, it's going to be on my terms." Logan reached out for Rory, grasping her waist and pulling it against him. "Don't worry about it, Ace. The only way I'd ever go back is if I could guarantee that I never have to answer to Mitchum. I'm not going to let him have any control over my life ever again."
That was a comforting thought. Mitchum's control over Logan, in the past, had meant that he had control over Rory by extension. Logan's move to London after graduation had definitely affected their relationship. On the one hand, she knew that it had been good for Logan. But the thing that Mitchum refused to admit was that his decision to send Logan there affected her as well. It was one thing for him to do that to the Logan who still lacked confidence in his abilities. But now, at age 26, Logan had taken control for himself. Part of that involved considering their relationship before making a decision. If they were going to make things work for real, Logan would need to consider how it would affect her if he decided to return to Huntzberger Publishing Group. She needed to be consulted, and the two of them would have to make a decision together.
It was part of why she hadn't been able to agree to marry him a year ago. He tried to do the right thing by thinking of how she'd fit into the new life he was trying to build for himself, but Logan hadn't stopped to ask him about it first. He forgot to factor in the fact that she hadn't been ready to settle herself in one place just yet. Maybe if he'd stopped for a minute to talk about it first, they could have avoided the whole breakup to begin with.
"I'm not worried," she said as Logan hugged her against his chest. Another question occurred to her, and Rory pulled back to look at him directly. "Um…do your parents know about us?"
"Not unless Honor told them, but I don't think she'd do that. I guess the metaphorical cat will be out of the bag if he does decide to put in an appearance."
"Oh goody. I'm sure that will be a pleasant conversation."
Logan smirked. "I don't care what they think, Ace. You're my girlfriend. Maybe one day, way down the road, you'll be more than that. They don't have to like it; they just have to accept it."
Rory felt her whole body warm at Logan's statement. She found that, the more they discussed their possible future together, the more comfortable she became with the idea of being his wife. Saying no to Logan's proposal had absolutely been the right decision at the time. Not because she didn't want to marry him, but because she never had the chance to think about it as more than just a daydream. When Logan had presented her with the ring a year ago, the idea of being a wife – anyone's wife – had terrified her, if only because she had never applied the idea to a real life situation before. But the more she planned and talked about it with Logan, the less scared she became.
It amazed her how he always managed to say exactly the right thing to assuage her fears.
"You okay?" Rory felt the need to check, because she didn't know what else she was supposed to say. The nurse had just finished taking a blood sample and checking his vitals, and they were now waiting around for Logan's anti nausea premeds to arrive.
They were in an expensive looking private room. Rory suspected that it was not being paid for by Logan, but rather that the elder Huntzbergers were picking up the tab on this one. Surely not all of the rooms had enormous, flat screen TV's on the walls, along with expensive looking DVD players.
Logan leaned over from his large chair and kissed her on the cheek. "Relax, Ace. I'm fine. You don't have to ask me every five minutes."
"Hey, you could have changed your mind in five minutes."
"Nothing's happened yet. I will let you know when I'm not fine."
"No you won't, you liar!"
He smirked. "No. I probably won't. But you still don't need to worry so much. The waiting is making me nervous enough as it is."
Rory had never felt so helpless before. She didn't know what she could say to Logan to make everything better. She couldn't do anything to take his pain away. Rory suddenly understood with perfect clarity her grandmother's actions in the hospital after her grandpa's second heart attack. Emily had gone a little crazy at the time, going through the motions of buying fish, cancelling standing appointments, and generally acting like everything was alright. Now, Rory understood that Emily was doing the only thing she could do to help. What was the alternative? To sit around and think about what would happen if he didn't make it. So Emily had done anything she could think of to help, and that is what Rory would do.
Unfortunately, Rory's version of keeping busy involved fussing over Logan. That is, when she wasn't making lists. She had a list going of things they still needed to do and buy for the apartment before moving in next week. She had a list of phone calls she needed to return. While Logan was in the shower that morning, she'd made a list of books about cancer that she wanted to buy. She made a list of ideas for articles she could write to submit to Hugo. She even had a mental list going for when she should have her next 3 cups of coffee.
Things only became worse when the actual chemotherapy started almost an hour after their arrival. The first drug was a scary looking red liquid pushed into Logan's IV line. It left a weird taste in his mouth, causing Logan to pull a face. Rory's research had prepared her for this, so she was ready with a bag of lifesavers to counteract the taste. It was a small gesture, but it was at least something that she could do.
"Talk about something to distract me," Logan said. He hadn't been paying any attention to the episode of The Office she had put on while Rory sent out some follow up emails regarding the resume's she'd submitted to every New York newspaper.
"Um." She went with the first thing that popped into her head. And once she started, it was hard for her to stop talking. "I was thinking we could paint the apartment before we move in. There's still so much we need to do! We don't have any towels for the bathroom, or plates and silverware! Oh, maybe I can see if my mom has any old furniture sitting around that we could use. I mean, we only have a bed and a desk. Which reminds me, what do you think about moving next Thursday? Mom said both her and Luke can take off that day to help us. Oh and what about – "
"Whoa, take a breath Ace. I can't answer you if you keep talking." He smiled slightly.
"Sorry." She looked down at her hands, slightly embarrassed. "I just…I'm just trying to help. I don't know what I'm doing."
"Hey, look at me." Logan took hold of her chin with his free hand and tilted her head up to face him. "I know you're just trying to help. You're here. I didn't ask you to come. We weren't even speaking, but you came to see me anyway. That's more than enough help."
But Rory still felt like she needed to do something more for him. She was trying her hardest to plan out everything so Logan wouldn't have to worry about anything. He had enough on his mind without having to worry about trivial things like furnishing their apartment, or her lack of employment. It was the least she could do.
"I know it doesn't matter to you, but I still wish there was more I could do. If I could physically reach in and remove the cancer from your body, I would."
He chucked slightly, kissing her lightly on the forehead. "You're doing plenty, Ace. And hey, painting the apartment sounds great. We'll do that tomorrow. I'll even make Colin and Finn help since they're still lazing around town."
"Not your sister?"
Logan snorted slightly. "Really Ace, can you picture her lifting anything besides a shopping bag? Besides, I want to give her and Josh some peace and quiet. I'm surprised she's put up with having Colin and Finn around for so long."
They continued to discuss the state of their apartment with ease. It was nice that they had something exciting and new to focus on. The whole situation felt a little contradictory to Rory. She felt like she had no right to be happy about the home she was planning to make with Logan, considering the circumstances. Maybe happy wasn't the right word to describe how she was feeling. She was incredibly comfortable and at ease. Everything they were doing, all the strides she was making in securing her relationship with Logan felt right. After her breakdown last night, she was trying not to dwell too much on the possibility of losing Logan. She knew they'd have to return to that subject eventually. She just didn't know how to think about it without becoming overly emotional.
As the nurse was checking on Logan to make sure everything was okay, neither Rory nor Logan noticed the tall, broad man standing in the doorway of the room. They were too busy telling the nurse the story of how they met to pay any attention to anything else going on around them.
"I swear, he was making me so mad!" Rory said, though she was smiling. "There I was, practically yelling at him because he had spoken to my friend like he was beneath him, and he just argued with me! He actually had the gall to try and defend his actions."
"Well, I couldn't help myself! She looks really cute when she's angry."
"Yes, I believe you said something to that extent the day we met. You said that anger works on me."
"You know what? It's been about four years; I think I can finally admit that I was just arguing with you on purpose. I liked seeing you all worked up." He smirked at her playfully.
"I knew it!" Rory poked a finger into his chest, practically jumping out of her seat next to him. "I knew you were just picking a fight on purpose! Oh, you are such a jerk!"
"I should probably also admit that it wasn't the only fight I've ever picked with you just to see you get angry. I mean, you never did call me Master and Commander like I asked. I needed to exact my revenge in some way."
Rory was flabbergasted, but it had the nurse cracking up. "You guys are hilarious. And you tell stories so well. Did your friend Finn ever find his redhead?"
But the sound of the man in the doorway clearing his throat loudly interrupted them. Rory whipped her head around to see who the interruption came from and froze. There stood Mitchum Huntzberger, a solemn look on his face.
Logan tensed slightly. "Dad." There was no real emotion in his voice.
The awkward silence cut through the air, and the nurse shuffled out. Rory decided to take a note from her and give the two Huntzberger's some privacy. She did not particularly want to be around for that discussion.
"I'm uh…I'm just gonna step out and call my mom. I'll be back." She gave Logan's hand one last squeeze before leaving him to talk with his father. The two were still staring at each other in silence.
It wasn't that Rory was afraid of Mitchum exactly. Not anymore, anyway. The problem with Logan's parents is that they tend to screw things up with her life, whether intentionally or not. There is not a single interaction that she has had with either Huntzberger where Rory came out feeling anything less than inadequate. Even the last time she had seen Mitchum on Logan's 25th birthday, where he had complimented her on helping Logan to mature. She'd left that conversation feeling like she was conspiring against Logan behind his back.
No, it was easier to just avoid Mitchum all together than to deal with him directly if she didn't have to.
"Why hello there, my only daughter!" Lorelai answered rather cheerfully.
Rory decided to just cut right to the chase. "You'll never guess who showed up just now to visit Logan during chemo."
"The Easter bunny?"
"The Tooth Fairy."
"No, and to answer your next guess, it's not Big Foot either. Think more along the lines of actual human being, but just as likely to show up as a mythological creature."
"I don't know. Logan's long lost son?"
"Logan doesn't have a long lost son."
"That you know of."
"Alright, alright! Why don't you just tell me, kid, because I've got a million more guesses coming your way, and I don't think you're gonna like them very much either."
"Mitchum Huntzberger's here."
Rory waited as Lorelai took a moment to process her words. "Logan's father actually showed up?"
"Just a minute ago. So I decided to give Logan some alone time with his father."
"And by that you mean you don't really want to be in the same room as Mitchum."
"Well, that too."
She figured their peaceful reunion was at an end now. If Mitchum didn't already know that the two of them were seeing each other again due to her presence, Logan would have to tell him. The Huntzberger's would officially do everything in their power to be involved in some way.
"I guess that's it, then," Rory finally said, slightly dejected. "Getting back together was too easy. Now comes the part of our relationship where everyone else gets involved. Shira will be trying to break us up soon. Mitchum will want to force one of his newspapers into hiring me on the spot. Emily will send out the wedding invitations, even after we told her we're waiting."
"Speaking of Emily," said Lorelai very slowly. "I knew that dinner we had with them two weeks ago was too calm. Not nearly enough subtle judging and undermining. Apparently she was just waiting for the right moment to strike."
Rory frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, she's added one more thing to the list of ways I've raised you wrong. I may have accidentally let slip that you and Logan are going to be living together. Needless to say, my mother wasn't exactly thrilled."
"I don't understand. What's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that's not the way things are done in society. You're not supposed to live with a man unmarried. But instead of calling you to tell you this, she blamed me."
She wanted to laugh, despite how incredibly unfunny the situation was. Rory would never understand her grandmother's logic. "How is it your fault?"
"According to my mother, I didn't teach you a proper set of morals. She was all, 'this is unforgivable, Lorelai! You get engaged, you get married, and then you move in together! That is the way things are done. This is all your fault! You can't even be married to a man more than five seconds, it's no wonder your daughter doesn't know the proper procedures.'"
Rory was flabbergasted. "She actually said that?"
"Among other things."
"Man. And here I thought Grandma and Grandpa were being supportive."
She heard Lorelai laugh. "Don't worry, kid. They're not mad at you, not really. They're pretty much blaming everyone else but you. It's my fault because I didn't raise you properly, and it's Logan's fault because he didn't propose the second you got back together."
She sighed. Her grandmother's involvement was getting a little ridiculous. "I'm not even going to touch that one. Did she forget the fact that Logan has cancer? Or the fact that I turned down his marriage proposal a year ago? Those are two huge factors that the two of us need to work on. Not Grandma. Logan and I."
"Yeah, I don't think she really cares about that, kid."
She sighed in frustration.
"Look," Lorelai continued. "Don't worry about Emily's unrealistic expectations. I'll keep her off your back. You have enough on your plate right now without dealing with Adolf. How are things going with you two, by the way?"
Rory wasn't sure how to respond to that. "Things with us relationship wise are good. The cancer stuff: not so good. Logan barely talks about it, and I'm too afraid to really get into it either, so I let him not talk about it. It's how he deals. But then we both kind of had a separate mental breakdown last night, and we're better now."
"You okay, kid?"
She shrugged, even though Lorelai couldn't see her. "I'm fine now. I kind of freaked out when Logan decided to shave his head – "
"Wait, Logan shaved his head? As in bald?"
"Not completely, no. He said he didn't want to watch his hair fall out slowly, so he wanted to shave it off now. It's really short. So then all the rest of the guys shaved their heads first to support him."
"I find it hard to believe that Colin and Finn shaved their heads."
"Hey, they're better friends than you think. They've been really supportive lately. It's pretty refreshing to know that they do actually know how to behave responsibly."
"Get back to the story!"
"Right. So Logan goes last, I shave his hair off for him, and I'm barely even looking at what I'm doing. And, I don't know, I just lost it. I felt so bad; I'm the one who's supposed to be supporting Logan, not the other way around! Anyway, I calmed down, we all watched a movie, but Logan got really quiet. Then he lost it when we were going to sleep – "
"Mom!" It was a reflex statement of protest. Rory then remembered that the events of the previous night were, in fact, rather dirty. "Whatever."
"Hah! I knew something dirty happened."
"Fine, we had sex! I'm 23 years old; I'm allowed to have sex with my boyfriend. Not the point. What I'm trying to say is Logan's not exactly good at saying, 'I'm scared, please help me.' That was the best way he could articulate it. But he seemed fine this morning. And now his dad is here, so you're all up to speed."
"Speaking of dad's – "
"You're just the queen of segue's today, aren't you?"
"I talked to your father. I figured you haven't had much of a chance to call him. Anyway, he's all up to speed on what's going on. You should give him a call, let him come down to visit you and be all daddy-ish."
Rory felt kind of bad that she hadn't called her father. It wasn't that she didn't want to talk to him. Her relationship with her father was much better than it had been in the past. Things had just been so chaotic over the last two weeks, so chaotic that calling Christopher had simply slipped her mind.
"He's not mad that I didn't call him, is he?"
"Oh kid, of course not! You've got a get out of jail free card because your boyfriend has a cancer. But give him a call, let him come by tomorrow."
"I need to check with Logan first. We're thinking of painting the apartment."
"That's perfect! Manual labor would make Chris feel very daddy-ish!"
Rory let out a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Mom. I'll see you Thursday."
A/N: First things first. I have a one shot up that I posted a few weeks ago of Logan's POV from the time he met Rory to the them getting together. If you haven't already read it, check it out. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm also thinking that I might do a continuation of that soon.
Second. I'm getting started on the AU I mentioned, so hopefully I'm bring that to you soon. A little more info, it's basically a, "how they could have met" story if Logan didn't go on his boat trip during Rory's freshman year. I've already got the first chapter planned out, as well as several of the later chapters, and I promise you all that you're gonna love it. It's might lighter and comedic than this one, which is why I'm looking forward to working on it.
Third, and this is the story that I don't know if I'm gonna bother writing or not. I came up with an idea for a post S7 pregnancy fic. I know everyone and their mom has done it before, which is pretty much why I do and do not want to write it. But I have some really good ideas on how to make it original/do it in a way that no one else has done before. One of my friends thinks I should write it simply because it's been so overdone, but I'm probably going to hold off on it for a little while. But if any of you, dear readers, as a strong opinion one way or the other as to whether or not you'd even be interested in me working on developing this story, let me know.
I'll try and get the next update for this story as soon as possible!