A/N: This chapter was quite emotional and difficult to write. I had to take quite a few breaks in between sections, but I finally got it finished. So without further adieu, I bring you the next chapter. Enjoy!
Chapter Fourteen – Future Kidney Donors
After ending the call with her mother, Rory decided that it was time to bite the bullet and head back inside to see Logan. She couldn't avoid Mitchum forever. In any case, Logan probably could use a buffer by now.
But as she approached Logan's room, the sound of raised voices made her hesitate. Rory froze at upon hearing her name, waiting just outside opened doorway, making sure to keep herself hidden from view. It sounded as though the two Huntzberger men were having an argument – and she was the subject.
"What is Rory even doing here?" Mitchum asked. "Son, she turned down your marriage proposal!"
"I'm aware of that, dad. I was there."
"She humiliated this family!" She heard anger edging its way into Mitchum's voice. Rory's blood turned cold at the malice.
"How did she humiliate the family? I wasn't asking her to marry you and mom; I was asking her to marry me."
"And she would have been our family too if she had said yes. You do not refuse a Huntzberger and just expect to waltz back in like nothing is wrong."
"Refuse a Huntzberger! My god, this isn't a business deal, Dad! This doesn't even have anything to do with you."
"What concerns you concerns me. And what concerns me concerns our family."
She heard Logan's groan of frustration. "What the hell do you know about family?"
"Now that's not fair, Logan," Mitchum responded, his voice softening a bit. "Everything I've done, I've done for the family. I've always had your best interests at heart."
Logan sighed. Rory pictured him running a hand across his head out of habit. "You know what dad? I'm tired hearing that as an excuse. You fucked up. Just admit that you fucked up and say you're sorry. I'm getting tired of always having this argument with you."
There was a pause, as though Logan was halfheartedly hoping that his father would respond. When he didn't Logan continued.
"My relationship with Rory does not concern you. You and Mom and Grandpa have done nothing but treat Rory horribly since the day I brought her home."
"That's not – "
"No, Dad!" Logan interrupted. "I don't want to hear whatever counterargument you're about to form. I want to make myself very clear here: the only people who get to decide the status of my relationship are the people in it. I don't care if you think she embarrassed the family. I don't care what you think about her at all, really. She's my girlfriend, and I am not obligated to explain it to you. I don't owe you any explanations. I don't owe you anything at all, really. I left the company. The only money of yours that I have is my trust fund, which I hardly even touch anymore to begin with. Give me one good reason why you think I should even let you have any involvement with Rory."
"That's enough Logan! I am your father!" Mitchum was angry again.
Logan laughed. "Oh, please! I'm twenty six years old; I'm financially independent of you. You don't get to play that card anymore. Try again."
"Logan," Mitchum sighed in frustration. "I am your father. You are my son. I'm just trying to help you."
"By doing what? Questioning why someone would come see me when I'm sick?" Logan sighed. He sounded utterly defeated, as though he knew what he was about to say to his father wouldn't make any difference at all. "You know what, in the two weeks since I was diagnosed with cancer, I've had a lot of support from people. Honor flew across the country the second I called her from the hospital. And I know what you think about Colin and Finn, but I didn't even tell them what was going on and they came. They even went behind my back and called Rory for me because they knew I'd be too stubborn to do it myself. As for Rory, she was on a plane and in New York not even twenty four hours after they called her. Where were you, Dad? You've been working, and Mom's in some spa."
"Give us a break, Logan. It's not easy hearing that your only son has cancer."
"I don't want to give you any breaks. I'm hearing all your excuses. You don't know how to deal with it? Fine. Stop criticizing the people who can handle this. Rory's here because I want her to be here. She's my girlfriend and I love her, and I suggest that you and Mom find some way to get used to that because Rory isn't going to be going away. You will be polite to her and her family, or you won't be involved with my life at all, end of discussion. Now, I suggest you leave before she comes back, because I really don't want her to walk in on us having this conversation."
At those words, Rory made a hasty retreat back down the corridor, taking refuge in the women's bathroom before Mitchum exited the room.
She leaned back against the wall of sinks, giving herself time to process Mitchum's words. Did Logan think that too? That she had embarrassed him by saying no? She didn't even care what Mitchum or Shira thought about her; Rory had long ago come to terms with the fact that she would never get along with Logan's parents. But she hopped that she hadn't embarrassed Logan.
It had nearly broken her heart to say no. In the year following their breakup, the dejected look on Logan's face as she handed him back the ring often haunted her. For the longest time, it was hard to even think about him without seeing that look. There was so much sadness and disappointment in his eyes. The memory of her graduation from Yale was forever tainted by images of Logan's hurt expression. It had been the right thing to do. Nonetheless, doing so had crushed her. She hadn't intended to hurt Logan. She was just trying to do what she thought was right for her.
Rory tuned around to look at herself in the mirror. Most of the color had drained from her face. She didn't want to give Logan any indication that she'd overheard the conversation. Rory turned on the faucet, splashing a little water over her eyes and on her cheeks. She blindly reached for a paper towel to wipe her face dry, pinching her cheeks lightly to bring back some color. Letting go of the breath she had been holding, Rory exited the bathroom and made her way back over to Logan's room.
"Hey," she said, hesitating slightly as she took her seat next to him again. Logan had gone back to watching The Office, although she could see the anger on his face from the argument he'd just had with his father. She had been gone for so long that the medicine had changed. It was no longer a red drug being pumped into his veins, but a clear one.
"Did your dad leave?" Rory tried to ask him casually. "I didn't see him on my way back."
Logan studied her face carefully, frowning. "How much did you overhear?"
"How did you – "
But Logan look told her all she needed to know. It was clear that he already guessed that her delay in return was a direct result in the conversation she'd overheard.
"I heard everything after, 'what is she doing here' and I took off after you told him to leave so I wouldn't have to run into him."
Logan closed his eyes, his head falling back against the headrest of his chair. Rory reached out a hand to stroke his cheek, and the tension in his shoulders lessened slightly.
"I really don't want to hate my parents," Logan told her, opening his eyes once again. Rory's hand dropped away, taking hold of his free hand instead. "Really, it takes up too much energy, and I don't see the point in wasting my energy hating them. But the things he was saying – I'm just so tired of it."
He paused for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts. "He has an excuse for why he did everything, like that's supposed to make it all okay. I'm supposed to just forgive him because, 'hey, he did what he thought was right!'"
"You know, you're sounding eerily like my mom talking about her parents right now," she said with a slight giggle.
"Hey, I have a lot of respect for your mom. She figured it out a hell of a lot sooner than I did."
A silence fell between them, in which Rory stroked his hand with her thumb soothingly.
"So what are you going to do about it then?" she questioned. "Are you just going to just cut them out completely?"
"I don't know. But I'm not going to keep putting up with his rationalizations and excuses. I don't have the energy to do that anymore – especially now."
Rory frowned. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, what if this is really the end? What if – "
"Don't say that!"
"Rory, I mean it. We need to have this conversation." He sighed. "Let's just say that I don't get better. Or if I do and it comes back and then I don't get better. Either way, I don't want to spend the rest of my life pretending like I'm okay with the way my family has handled things in the past. They have every excuse in the book for why they did something, but not once have my parents actually apologized for something they did. Maybe things would be different if they had." Logan shook his head, as though trying to clear it. "I'm getting off topic."
"You're getting as good at rambling as me. Almost, anyway. You still need some practice."
He smirked, although it didn't quite reach his eyes. "The point I'm trying to make is, I don't want to spend the rest of my life listening to all of their excuses. It's no excuse for being a poor father. And I will not sit here and let him treat you poorly. You are more family to me than they've ever been."
"Logan." A lump started to form in her throat. "I – I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to, Ace." He leaned over and kissed her softly on the cheek. "You know how I feel about you. You are the most important person in the world to me. As for my parents…I've never felt anything towards my parents but obligation, annoyance, and anger. You're my family. Honor's my family. Heck, even Colin and Finn are my family. My parents can be my family when they act like it."
His words were harsh. Rory knew that Mitchum and Shira deserved it, but at the same time she felt kind of bad for them. They were losing their son completely, only not to the cancer.
She wondered what would be easier; to try to appeal to Logan, or talk to the elder Huntzberger's. Logan was justified in his anger. She could even understand why he was doing things this way. But his parents were a lot like her grandparents. They were so stubborn and convinced that they were right that they wouldn't even attempt to repair their crumbling relationship with their son.
"Logan, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be angry," Rory said, hesitating a little. "You're right; they're absolutely horrible. I'm just saying that you shouldn't cut them out completely. If you burn that bridge and wait too long to repair the damage, there might be too much damage to even fix. My mom and my grandparents waited too long, and they still have the same arguments twenty three years later."
"It's not really my problem to fix. I'm not the one who ruined our relationship."
"I know that. I'm on your side here. Look, all I'm trying to say is to at least keep up enough communication that you could still, say, call them for a kidney if you needed one."
That made him chuckle. "I guess I can still call them on their birthday and send them Christmas presents. Just as long as we don't have to go over there."
"Oh, no way! We have to spend Christmas with my mom. She's still mad about me going to London with you two years ago. We had to do all our Christmas traditions late. She didn't even buy a tree or decorate the house until after I got back!"
Logan grinned, his smile finally reaching his eyes. But it drained away quickly.
"I don't agree with any of those things he said, you know. About you embarrassing the family."
"Oh," was all she could say.
"I know why you said no. And you didn't embarrass me. I was angry, and my ego was a little bruised – "
"Well, your ego could use to be taken down a notch or two sometimes – " she said, trying to lighten the mood a bit.
" – But you never embarrassed me. Even so, all that's in the past now. I don't care about any of it. You're here now, nothing else is important."
They sat in silence for a while, watching the episode of The Office that was finishing up on the screen. They watched another episode without really speaking much. The nurse flitted in and out of the room as she checked on Logan. He was given the third of his chemotherapy drugs.
"My father did make one good point though," Logan finally said. "Before we started arguing. He thinks I should write a will just in case, and I agree."
Rory frowned. The conversation topic made her a bit too uncomfortable. "It's still so early, Logan. Why do you even need one?"
"It's better I write one now and not need it, just in case. And I've got a lot of stocks, and there's my trust fund. If I don't write it, I can guarantee that my dad will make sure you don't see a penny, especially since we're not married."
Her stomach felt heavier. "I don't want any money if you…" She let the sentence trail off, unable to finish it.
"I know you don't." He squeezed her hand reassuringly. "And I know that this might be a little premature. But I want to be prepared anyway. Now, my dad probably expects me to use his lawyers so he can subtly control where all my money goes. But I'm not going to. I'll talk to Colin; his father will hook me up. And I don't want you arguing about this one, I'm going to write you in. I want to make sure you're taken care of, just in case."
Rory shuddered. "Okay. Can we please stop talking about this now? I can only talk about you – you dying for so long. I've reached my limit."
Logan tried to give her a smile. "It's not my favorite subject of conversation either."
"Okay, how about we talk about people who actually like you? My mom talked to my dad, explained to him everything. She thinks I should call him, invite him to come down tomorrow. Let him play the daddy card. We could put him to work painting. He likes you, it'll be fun."
Logan sighed, closing his eyes. She could tell that he'd had about enough of dealing with their families for a while.
"We don't have to," she said quickly. "I haven't talked to him yet. We can put it off for now, until you're up for it. It's not a big deal."
"No, it's fine," said Logan. He dropped her hand from his grasp and rubbed his temples. "Seeing your dad won't be as bad as my parents are. I know you haven't seen him in a while either, I don't want to keep you from your dad."
"Are you sure? Because we really don't have to if you're not up to it."
"Ace, it's really okay. Seeing your parents is part of the relationship, remember? I won't tell you not to invite him just because I may be tired from chemotherapy. In fact, have him bring your little sister along too. It'll be fine."
At Logan's words, a plan started to take shape in her mind.
"I'll have them come Sunday instead of tomorrow. That way you'll have a day of not dealing with parents in between."
This was possibly the last place in the world that Rory wanted to be. She wasn't sure what she was even doing here. Rory swore that the house looked bigger than the last time she was there, which also happened to be here first and only visit. It looked even more intimidating too.
Rory had lied to Logan about where she was going. She hated lying to him, but she saw no way around it. She didn't want him to know she was here. So Rory had woken up early that morning, gotten dressed, grabbed her laptop, and told Logan that she was heading out to a café to work on an article to send Hugo. Instead, she went to Grand Central Station and got on a train to Hartford.
The idea had formulated when Logan mentioned having to deal with her parents. He was right, although he hadn't meant her. Rory couldn't avoid Logan's family forever. And the longer that Logan went without speaking to his parents, the worse the situation would become. So the one thing that Rory knew she could do was try to help.
She knew from her grandparents that the Huntzberger's had a benefit to go to in the afternoon, and she knew from Honor that Shira had returned from her stay at the spa that morning, so Rory timed her visit perfectly. She made it to the Huntzberger's home (if it could be called a home; it looked more like a small castle) with just enough time to ensure that they would be there, but not enough time for a prolonged visit.
Rory stared at the door nervously for a long time before finally ringing the doorbell. Her hand had pushed the button on its own accord; she hadn't even realized that she had mentally prepared enough to even go inside.
"Hi," Rory said when the door was pulled opened by the nervous looking maid. "I'm here to see Mitchum and Shira. Are they in?"
"Are they expecting you?" the maid questioned.
"Well, no, but it's really important that I see them right now. I'm Rory Gilmore. It's about their son."
The maid hesitated for a moment before standing aside to allow her to enter.
Rory followed the maid to the sitting room, where she waited along for her to retrieve the Huntzbergers. No longer was Rory impressed by the architecture and artwork like she was the last time she was here. Instead, she saw images of that visit flashing through her mind one after the other. She and Logan had just started dating exclusively. She saw herself being attacked by Logan's mother and grandfather as they told her that she wasn't good enough to marry into their family. And she just sat there and took it. Not this time, though. This time, Rory would do all the talking. They could be the ones to sit quietly and take it while Rory said everything that she came here to say.
"Rory," she heard Shira say, her voice dripping with false politeness. Rory stood up as Shira and Mitchum entered the room to greet them properly.
"How lovely it is to see you," Shira continued. Rory didn't buy her false smile for a minute. "We weren't expecting you, were we?"
"No, this was kind of a spur of the moment decision. I'm sorry if I interrupted anything, but I thought it was important that I come down here to speak with you. I hope that's alright."
"Of course," Mitchum said. Logan's parents sat down on the couch opposite Rory, and so she resumed her seat as well. "What can we do for you?"
Rory took a deep breath. "It's about Logan."
She waited a moment, expecting them to stop and ask questions. When they didn't say anything, Rory went on.
"Look. I'm sure that you two had your reasons for doing things a certain way. And that's fine. I'm not here to argue with you about your parenting techniques, especially when there's nothing you can do to change it now. But the thing you have to understand is, your actions have only pushed Logan further away from you. That's a reality that you need to face."
Mitchum opened his mouth to interrupt, but Rory held up a hand to stop him. "Let me finish. Now, the way I see it, you have two options here. You can either keep doing things the way you've been doing them, or you can try to make things right now. I've seen firsthand how the former works out. My grandparents did not handle my mother's pregnancy well, and as a result I didn't even see them for years. I'm not saying that what my mother did was wrong. She had her reasons for wanting to keep me away from this world, just as they had their reasons for doing things the way they did. And just as I'm sure you both had your reasons for doing things the way you've been doing them. But I'm not interested in that. What I'm interested in is the repercussions of your actions."
Rory stopped for a moment to take a breath. "It took my mother sixteen years to begin to have a relationship with her parents again. And even then it was a bad one. They've been having the same arguments over and over again for years. I don't want that for you. I don't want Logan to go through what my mother went through just because you can't admit that you screwed up."
They couldn't keep quiet at that comment. "Now, hold on just a minute," Mitchum said, and she could see the fury on his face.
"No," said Rory firmly. She wasn't going to back down. She refused to even give them a second to respond to her words. "You did screw up. Among other things, you pushed him into a life that he didn't want. It's no wonder he responded by acting out. And every time he screwed up, you called him a failure. Logan's success doesn't come from my encouragement; it comes in spite of you." Rory paused here, shaking her head. "I didn't come here to accuse you of anything. I know you thought you were doing the right thing here. But your plan backfired. So now you have to be the one to fix it. If you don't, Logan won't be the one suffering. You will."
With that final statement, Rory stood up. "Now, I have to go. Logan doesn't know that I'm here. I've said everything I wanted to say. I hope you'll take what I've told you into consideration."
As Rory made her way out of the room, she paused, turning back to face them. "Don't make the same mistakes that my grandparents made. You still have time to make amends. Apologize now, or else you're going to lose him forever. Not just because he has cancer and could actually die, but because he won't want to have anything to do with you. And I won't blame him."
And before they had a chance to respond, Rory walked out, her head held high with self assured confidence.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed that! I'm going to try to make the next one a little less emotional and angsty, because writing those types of chapters tends to wear on me. They're as emotinally draining to write as it is to read them.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year! And also, if you haven't seen it already, I posted the first chapter of my Rogan AU, so check it out. I have big plans for that story. I will also get started on the pregnancy fic sometime after the new year. So I've got plenty of different stories coming your way.
Don't forget to let me know what you think! I love each and every one of you.