Title: And Even Love is Not Enough
Summary: Takes place within my Love Song For No One universe, somewhere within Chapter 2. Rory and Logan celebrate Christmas.
Author's note: I'm back! Oh, I've missed writing Rory and Logan, but I've been away for a very good reason. I did NaNoWriMo throughout the month of November. If you don't know what that means, it means I wrote a 50,000 word original novel in 30 days. And I made it by the skin of my teeth on the last day of the month at 11:43 pm. Totally worth it though. Understandably, once I was done with that, the last thing I wanted to do for a few days was open up a blank document and type out words again! But I'm back, and since it is the holidays (my favorite time of the year) and I need to get back into the right frame of mind for this story, I thought what could be more fun than writing a little something for Christmas? I guess you could say this is a standalone story, but it makes much more sense if you're familiar with Love Song for No One. To be honest, I'm not even sure it really works within the timeline of Chapter 2 (Captain Backfire) but hey.. if you ever paid attention to the show, the writers didn't exactly follow a steady timeline either!
I'm also really excited to bring this song into the story because I love it so much. The song is called Bliss, and it's by Alice Peacock with John Mayer singing backup vocals. You may also recognize it from the commercials for Hershey's Bliss candy but the original version is so much better.
(This chapter does contain minor spoilers to certain Christmas movies - The Family Stone, A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life)
Merry Christmas everyone!
And Even Love is Not Enough
I've tried to define it
Searched for the perfect phrase
I've tried to describe it
In a million different ways ~ Bliss
Christmas in Connecticut. Words that sounded so appealing, even movies were titled as such. Though anyone who watched the remake was out of their mind, but that was a rant even Rory didn't feel like getting into. Truth be told, it was mostly true. Christmases in Stars Hollow were some of the most incredible times in her life. Sure, she had spent Christmas in London, and even New York City, and while they were lovely, at the same time she had found herself missing her family, the Stars Hollow celebration, and well, Emily's apple tarts.
This year, the holidays were different. Yes, she was in Connecticut, but this time, Lorelai was not. She and Luke were in Aspen, of all places. As hard as it was to imagine her mother on a ski slope, Rory found it impossible to picture Luke strapping on a set of skis. The image alone was enough to make her laugh, even if Luke had insisted skiing was one of his favorite pastimes and he was quite good at it. She just hoped Lorelai didn't break any bones.
Rory had thought about staying in New York, but then Emily and Richard had extended their standard invitation for her to stay with them. She had almost declined, but once Emily said that her sister Hopie was going to be there, that had made her decision for her. She'd only met her several times, but Hopie, being the polar opposite of Emily, was one of Rory's favorite relatives and she wasn't about to pass up a chance to see her.
What the Gilmores hadn't planned on was the upstairs remodeling project being put on hold after Emily had fired the contractor. The work wouldn't be completed until after the beginning of the new year and three out of the four guestrooms were uninhabitable, which is how Rory found herself spending the week back in the pool house.
The pool house hadn't been changed since she had been there last, and she was grateful for the comfort. And it was festive; Emily had made sure of that, with the tree decorated in front of the windows that overlooked the pool, the garlands, the lights, it was more decorated than Rory's own apartment was.
It was the night before the Gilmores annual Christmas party and Richard and Emily were out, a DAR charity dinner. They had asked Rory to come along but she had declined, choosing instead to stay in the pool house, armed with enough hot chocolate and cookies and other Christmas treats to last her through the winter. She had no plans other than to watch a marathon of Christmas movies, courtesy of Netflix.
During White Christmas she began to grow bored. She ate another cookie, but it didn't keep her from being restless. Her eyes landed on her cell phone, laying on the opposite side of the couch. Biting her lower lip, she began to silently argue with herself.
She knew she shouldn't call him. She wanted to, she really wanted to, but their last meeting hadn't ended on the best of terms. It hadn't been their worst goodbye, but they really hadn't communicated since then. Popping another piece of cookie into her mouth, she reached over and snagged her phone off of the pillow. Her fingers flew across the keyboard fluidly as Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sang about snow in the background.
Just thought I'd say hi. Ready for the holidays yet?
It was a lame text message, but she didn't really care. They were so far past pretenses at that point, it really didn't matter at all what she said. She turned her eyes back to the television and marveled at just how tiny Vera Ellen's waist really was. Her phone beeped from her lap and she checked her messages.
Ho ho ho, is Christmas done yet?
She smirked as she debated her reply. Well well, is somebody being a Grinch already? She carried the phone into the kitchen with her as she began making another kettle of hot chocolate. His response came within the minute.
Stuck in Huntzberger Hell and there's not enough liquor in the rum balls to make this better.
This time, she didn't even hesitate. Sneak away?
Her phone rang as she was carrying her cup back to the couch. "Hey there," she said casually. "Huntzberger hell, huh?"
"Every year," he sighed. "Didn't expect to hear from you."
"Because of last time?"
"Rory, you left while I was still in the shower."
Yes, that was true. It had not her best move, but she was growing tired of always watching him leave first. "We were only going to start fighting again," she pointed out with a sigh. "Aren't you tired of fighting?"
"I'm tired of a lot of things, Rory."
"I know," she said resolutely. And she did know, and she absolutely could not fault him for feeling the way he did. "I'm just... well, the holidays are a really crappy time to be alone, Logan."
"Didn't think it was possible to get lonely in the City," he commented. "Isn't that one of their slogans to pull tourists in?"
"I'm in Hartford."
"Oh really?" He drew the last word out over several syllables and she could imagine his eyebrow curving up.
"Really," she confirmed. "Mom and Luke are in Aspen, if you can believe that, so I'm staying at the big house for a few days. Well, I'm staying in the pool house," she corrected herself.
"Kicking it old school, nice. We had some good times there."
"So let's keep having them. Can you get away?" Rory hit the pause button on the movie and wandered into her bedroom.
"I don't know..." Logan hesitated. "Isn't that playing a little too close to fire Rory?" he asked. "I mean, we're on homeground, not somewhere in Middle America. What if Richard and Emily see-"
"Richard and Emily are gone for the night, won't be back until at least one," she countered. "Come on, it'll be like old times."
He sighed. "Rory."
"I know," she said quietly. "I know, it's not fair for me to do this. After last time, after everything, it's not fair for me to ask you to come over, but I don't care. I'm sorry, I know that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but I really don't care." This time she was the one who hesitated. "I want to see you."
"We really need to stop doing this."
"I know," she agreed again. She unzipped her suitcase and began pulling items out. This was how their conversations always went. It was almost as though they had to make themselves feel guilty about what they were doing before they went ahead and did it anyway. "I know, you're right, we shouldn't be doing this, but Logan, I don't care right now.," she repeated. "Will you please come over?"
"Richard and Emily are gone?" He asked after a long pause and Rory knew she had him.
"Yup," she said, popping the 'p' at the end of the word. "And if you really need me to twist your arm, I promise I will make it worth your while," she teased lightly.
He laughed finally. "I have no doubt about that."
"So, what time should I expect you?" She looked at the clock.
"I need about fifteen minutes to get out of here," he said and she could tell he was checking his own watch. "At least. I can be there within the hour."
"Perfect. I'll see you then." She dropped the phone onto the bed and finished taking a few more things out of her suitcase before closing it.
It's joy, it's ecstasy, it's truth, it's destiny...
Up until recently, Rory really had never given a second thought to her lingerie. Sure, she knew what she liked, and she had a decent enough collection but it had all been fairly simple pieces. Bra and panty sets in various colors, mostly lace and satin and never anything beyond that. Then, on a whim one night before meeting Logan she had decided to pick up something a little racier than she usually wore and well, his reaction was far greater than she had ever anticipated. Since then, they had never met without her going shopping beforehand.
This particular outfit she had brought along just in case. She hadn't planned on meeting Logan while they were both in town, but she was prepared nonetheless. It only took a few minutes to slide out of her comfy pajamas and into the second outfit. Rory hummed to herself as she rolled the sheer black stockings, Logan's personal favorite, over her legs one at a time. She considered a pair of heels, but decided against them before heading into the bathroom to touch up her make up.
She refused to think about what was going on as she ran a brush through her hair, shaking it out, and then pulling it back into a pony-tail, tied with a red ribbon. If she gave it too much thought, this whole situation they were in, then too many old feelings came rushing to the surface. Too many emotions she couldn't control would creep into her if she let them. She focused on her reflection as she reapplied her eyeliner. Her hands were shaking slightly and she took a deep breath, trying to calm down. Her hands steadied and she finished, topping off the look with a heavy layer of peppermint gloss over her lips. She spritzed a bit of gingerbread scented perfume into the air before stepping into the cloud, and then added another spritz for good measure.
Checking her watch, Rory realized she still had a few minutes so she made her way back into the living room and began picking up the room. She pressed play on the movie again so that the background noise could drown out her last nagging doubts and she found a book of matches, lighting candles around the room before turning down the lights and drawing the shades. The lights on the tree twinkled in the candlelight and she smiled as she caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror on the wall. Her lingerie was a deep red hue that complimented both her skin tone and her hair, and the blue of her eyes popped thanks to the make up she had so carefully applied. Her cheeks were flushed with anticipation she bit at her lips to make them a bit redder. She tasted peppermint as she did and for a moment appreciated how much fun that could be later on in the evening.
The soft knock on the door caused her to jump slightly even though she had been waiting for it. She took a deep breath, ran her fingers through her hair and made her way across the room. Rory opened the door slowly, hiding behind it until Logan had stepped fully into the room. She closed the door behind him and locked it, leaning against the frame. "Hey you," she said softly.
"Looks like someone wants to be naughty tonight," Logan remarked as his eyes moved from her toes up to her eyes. By the look he was giving her, she could see that he was pleased.
"Oh no," she said with a shake of her head. "On the contrary, I was planning on being very nice."
"Mmhmm." He moved into her personal space. "I'd kiss you, but I had my driver drop me off three houses down and I walked the rest of the way. My hands are freezing," he said apologetically. She reached forward and wound her fingers through his, holding his hands at her waist where there was the most fabric between her skin and his icy hands.
"We'll warm you up quick," she promised, standing on the tips of her toes to press her mouth to his. She kissed him slowly, but stayed a few inches away as there was a considerable chill still coming off of him.
Logan wasn't having it though. He released her hands long enough to drop the coat from his arms and onto the floor before stepping over it and pressing her back against the door. "You smell and taste like Christmas," he whispered, kissing her again, harder this time. His hands moved back to her waist, but slowly slid up her torso. "Good enough to eat," he added as his thumbs traced up the corset boning and his fingers skimmed the tops of her breasts. Goosebumps rose on her bare flesh at his touch, but she felt no cold. She kissed him as her own hands moved to his chest, rapidly undoing the buttons of his shirt with well-practiced ease. "You're sure not acting look a good girl," he teased as his shirt met his coat on the floor and her hands immediately fell to his belt buckle.
"Maybe I'm a little naughty," she conceded breathlessly. Her fingers stilled as he kissed her again, stealing her breath away this time. Her knees gave in just a little and he pulled her away from the door and into a crushing embrace. She could taste peppermint on his tongue and the faintest trace of whisky beyond that. She hated that particular drink herself, but she had to admit that tasting it this way was far more appealing.
"A little?" He pulled back and raised an eyebrow at her, shaking his head slowly. "I don't know about that Ace, I'm thinking you need to come sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you want for Christmas."
She raised her own eyebrow, challenging him. "I thought Santa only came to good girls," she pointed out, pushing him toward the couch, as it was closer than the bedroom and more comfortable than the floor.
"That's true," he admitted. He sat down and pulled her down roughly on top of him. Her knees fell on either side of his thighs and she tipped his chin up to kiss him but he turned away at the last moment, his teeth catching her ear. His hands gripped her feet before sliding up the black silk that covered her legs, stopping at the garters, unsnapping them one at a time. "But Santa always comes for the naughty girl," he whispered as his hands moved north again. She just pulled his mouth to hers again and settled herself more comfortably, enjoying the groan she elicited from his as she dipped down lower into his lap.
Logan braced his arms against her back as he leaned them both forward, supporting her until he had laid her out on the coffee table in front of them. She protested weakly as she felt the glass of the table beneath her but couldn't argue when he reminded her that he knew all to well that the table could support her weight. Any remaining protests she had immediately died on her lips as he bent forward again and trailed kisses up the inside of her thigh. His hand ran down the length of her leg before raising it to rest over his shoulder and there was nothing she could do but close her eyes and appreciate every single touch. He was relentless in his assault, ignoring her half-hearted pleas to go faster, then slower, softer, than harder. They both knew he knew what he was doing and she was content to let him take control, even if she couldn't stay quiet for long.
Without warning, his arms were around her again, pulling her up off of the table and back into his lap. They were both ready and she slid easily down onto him; both bodies stilling at the initial contact. Rory was the first to move. Bracing her hands on the back of the couch, she rose up and then slid back down. Neither was shy about voicing their satisfaction as she quickened the pace of her movement. His hands gripped her waist tight enough for her to know she would be slightly bruised in the morning.
All too quickly, they both found their release in a tangle of limbs and breathless kisses. Spent, Logan collapsed back against the couch with Rory still in his arms. Neither was inclined to move initially but eventually she slid from his lap and buried her face in his neck. They hadn't spoken for quite some time but Rory was okay with that because to be honest, she wasn't even sure what could be said at that point.
"Can you stay?" she asked finally, lifting her head to look at him. "Or do you have to leave?"
He stared at her for a moment and she could see he was thinking. "I can stay," he said finally, his fingers curling around her hip. "You sure?"
She nodded and turned her head back quickly so he couldn't see her eyes. "I'm going to go change into something a little less constricting," she decided.
"I'll make some coffee," he volunteered before hesitating. "Or do you want something stronger?"
"Stronger," she said immediately. He chuckled behind her and she knew that he knew she was struggling to keep it together.
"Okay," he said, pressing his mouth to her bare shoulder before pulling her up with him. "Go change. I'll be right here."
Rory barely made it into the bedroom before a few tears slid down her cheeks. She had done exactly what she wasn't supposed to do. She had shown vulnerability and hadn't kept her emotions in check. Two things that would ruin their current situation. Her hands were shaking as she changed back into her pajamas and she sat down on the bed, staring at the door. She could hear him moving around in the kitchen and the whole situation was too familiar for her liking. He had been right about them being on homeground, it was nowhere near as safe as being in a hotel room.
It's faith, it's honesty, it's life, it's everything...
"There you are." He looked up from his spot on the couch. "I was starting to wonder if I should come in there." Logan sighed and she knew he saw her too bright eyes and flushed cheeks. "Come here," he said softly, motioning her over to the couch. He waited until she sat next to him before sliding an arm around and tucking her into his side. "Ace," he sighed again, resting his chin on the crown of her head. "What am I going to do with you?"
"I'm awful," she said, her voice muffled against him. "Why do you put up with this?"
"I don't know," he said honestly. "I ask myself that all the time. But here I am," he pointed out. He reached over and wrapped his other arm around her. "Let's not do this okay?" he asked. "Let's just be the old us for tonight."
"That's a pretty tall order, don't you think?" she asked, lifting her head up to look at him.
Logan just shrugged. "Well then, let's just not fight tonight," he said. "We can just stay hidden away in the pool house and have a good time. The second it starts to be too much, I'll leave. How's that?"
"I agree to your terms, but with one proposed addendum." She waited until she had his attention. "We finally watch Holiday Inn," she suggested.
"No way, if anything, we're watching Christmas Vacation." Two sets of eyes landed on the television remote sitting on the coffee table in front of them. They both jumped for it at the same time, with Logan reaching it first.
"If we don't watch Holiday Inn, I'm telling everyone you took dance lessons until you were six," Rory threatened as she tried to wrestle the remote away from him.
"You're just jealous that I could dance and you had to drop out of Miss Patty's classes," he taunted as he held the remote above her head in one hand and used the other to hold her back.
"That's not the point!" She managed to break free from his grasp momentarily and lunged for the remote. He switched it to his other hand and she lost her balance, toppling over into his lap. Figuring she could use her current position to her advantage, she gave up the fight momentarily and placed a kiss on the corner of his mouth. As she expected, he turned into the kiss and she shifted into a slightly more comfortable position, one that allowed her to reach over and take the remote from his outstretched hand if she chose to. Her hand left hand slid slowly from his shoulder to halfway down his forearm.
Logan chuckled into her mouth and moved her off of his lap onto the couch next to him. "Cute. You really didn't think that was going to work?"
"It almost worked," she protested.
"Not even a little bit," He promised as he waved the remote in front of her, laughing at her failed attempts to grab it away. "What if we compromise?" he suggested finally.
Rory made a face. "What exactly is a compromise between Holiday Inn and Christmas Vacation?" she asked.
He began scanning the list of movies available. "The Family Stone?"
"Because nothing says Merry Christmas more than Mom dying of cancer."
"Right. It's a Wonderful Life?" He shook his head. "Suicidal tendencies, kind of a bummer of a movie as well, never mind. Love Actually? You liked that movie, didn't you?"
"Just watched it." It was a lie but she really didn't want to watch that particular movie tonight. "What about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians?"
"Hell no. I'd rather watch Holiday Inn." He shook his head as she opened her mouth. "I'm not watching Holiday Inn." He sighed and looked over at her again. "Really, there's only one choice here, Rory."
"We have exhausted all other options," she agreed solemnly. "A Christmas Story, it is."
"Maybe this time, he won't get the gun," Logan speculated. He started the movie and put the remote back on the table, picking up their drinks and handing one mug to her before settling back against the couch. "The bar wasn't fully stocked, but I managed us a few hot toddies," he said as he lifted his arm again so she could make herself comfortable as well. "You really do smell like Christmas cookies," he noted as her hair brushed over his shoulders.
"It's Gingerbread," she confirmed with a nod.
"I like it." His arms tightened around her and as always, she was struck by just how easily they fell back into their comfortable habits and routines every time they were together. For a moment she wondered if any other girls fit just as easily into his arms but she quickly pushed the thought of her head. She swallowed too quickly from her mug and coughed at both the heat and the alcohol.
"Easy there," Logan's hand fell to her back. "You okay?" She managed to nod as she tried to catch her breath. Finally she recovered and was able to stop coughing.
"Sorry," she choked out. He looked at her curiously for a second without saying anything but eventually they just turned back to watching the movie and as his arm slid back around her she selfishly allowed herself to think for a split second that no other body fit against his as well as hers.
To say I love you is not enough to tell you how you make me feel...
"Well, once again the gun is hidden behind the desk."
Rory reached behind her to pat Logan's knee. "Maybe this time he'll really shoot his eye out."
"I hope so. How many times do you think we've watched this?"
"Too many, but it's a classic." She stretched her legs out, her feet nudging against his at the far end of the couch. "What time is it?" she asked with a yawn.
"Almost midnight." Logan looked down at her as she rolled over onto her back to look at him. His hand dropped to her stomach and stroked the skin left uncovered by her shirt. "Are you okay? You were really quiet during the movie. You barely mocked the whole Scut Farkis Affair."
"Scut had it coming this time," she said as she laced her fingers through his. "Sorry, I was just kind of lost in my own little world."
"Should I leave?"
"No," she said quietly with a shake of her head. "Do you need to?" He shook his head.
"Nah, I'm good." He hesitated. "Is it safe to ask what you were thinking about?"
"Hmm." She debated her answer. "This," she said, gesturing between the two of them with both their hands. "Us. London."
"I see. What about London?"
"I was really happy there," she confessed. "Granted, I was only there for two weeks, but I really think that those two weeks were some of the happiest we had together."
"Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of really great times, but it was truly just us that trip. No outside distractions. No fighting."
"No fighting?" He raised his eyebrow. "Can I remind you of the black eye you gave me?"
"That was your own fault, I told you time and time again that my aim with throwing a snowball was true," she pointed out. "And you still threw the first round."
"My snowball didn't have a rock in it."
"True, " she said guiltily. "That was my bad." She reached up and ran her fingertips just under his eye. "At least there's no scar." Her hand slid to the back of his head and she tugged him down to kiss. "Were you happy?" she asked quietly. "With me?"
"Every day," he answered. She raised an eyebrow at him in disbelief. "Almost every day," he amended, kissing her again. "Were you?"
"Almost every day," she answered back with a slight twinkle in her eye. She held his gaze for a long moment before turning her head to the side and staring into the crackling fireplace. "What was Christmas like at your house growing up?" she asked. She felt Logan shrug behind her.
"Just like everyone else's I think," he said. "Grandpa was still running the company when Honor and I were kids, so Dad was always home. We were pretty spoiled, in terms of presents, Mom always made sure of that. There was always too much food and I don't know." He shrugged again. "I have a lot of great memories from then, before they started making me attend the annual party they throw for their friends. The one I was at tonight." He laughed suddenly. "Mom would kill me if she ever found out I told you this, but for as long as I can remember, we've always spent the entire day of Christmas in our pajamas, watching the same movies and telling the same stories, playing the same games."
"No way." She turned back to face him. "That sounds almost normal."
"Right? I think it was something her parents used to do with her, and she's always insisted we do it."
"It sounds nice." Suddenly the image of Shira in a red Jaclyn Smith Collection pajama set entered her thoughts and she giggled in spite of herself. "I'm sorry, I can't picture your mom doing this," she confessed. She twisted around so she was lying facing him and she laughed again. "Does your Dad walk around wearing Santa Claus boxers all day long?"
"Blue and green plaid flannel set. Every year." Logan was laughing too. "Honor buys him a new set each Christmas and you know he can't say no to her." He bent his head and kissed her nose. "See, if you had married me, you'd be able to see all of this first hand."
She chuckled again. "We could have been the obnoxious newlyweds with the matching pajama sets."
"Naturally. Honor tried for that with Josh the first year they were married, but he put his foot down. Last year he finally agreed to coordinating colors."
"I admire his determination. But don't think you'd have gotten off so easily, if I was subjected to Huntzberger PJ day, you'd have to witness Lorelai's ugly sweater cookie baking day." She laughed again. "I remember one year, when I was probably nine or so, Mom didn't have a lot of money that year, so instead of buying a new ugly sweater, she simply took a red turtleneck that she already had and used her hot glue gun to glue all of the leftover tinsel and ornaments we hadn't used on the tree to make her shirt."
"Sounds festive. Does she still have it?"
"Nah. She wore it to Friday Night Dinner one night and Grandma made her go upstairs and change and never gave her the shirt back."
"Seems like we would have had pretty great Christmases together," Logan noted. "We'd have to start our own traditions eventually though."
"Mocking a Christmas Story seventeen times between Thanksgiving and Christmas?"
"I was thinking more along the lines of you meeting me at the door dressed as naughty Mrs. Claus," he said as seriously as he could as his hand slid over her hip.
She raised an eyebrow at him. "Classy."
He shrugged. "I try." There was a long awkward moment between them and in that instant every single feeling Rory had been fighting back all evening long came rushing to the surface. Logan saw the distress in her eyes and opened up his mouth to say something but she just shook her head and clamped a hand over his mouth.
"Don't," she said hoarsely. "I'm fine, I am. I'm just..." She shook her head. "I think that if we had gotten married, I would have enjoyed our Christmases very much."
"I think you're right," he agreed with another kiss. "But you know what else? This one's pretty great too."
Rory curled her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his. "Why can't I marry you?" she whispered into his mouth. She cringed as he went rigid against her and she immediately regretted her question but it wasn't anything they hadn't discussed in length every single time they were together.
"You need to figure that out," he whispered back. He kissed her cheek. "It's getting late, I should get going," he said reluctantly.
"You should stay," she said, lowering her eyes to avoid his stare. "If you want," she added hastily. He didn't say anything so she slowly raised her eyes back to his. " Can you stay the night?"
"Yeah, I can stay the night," he said finally, threading his hand through her hair. "Did you want to watch another movie?"
Rory shook her head. "Let's just go to bed," she suggested. "Is that okay?"
"That's okay," he agreed. She sat up and stretched, watching as he walked over to the fireplace to take care of the fire. He must have felt her eyes on him because he turned and looked at her over his shoulder. "You okay?"
"I am," she confirmed, finally standing up. "Leave all that," she said as she waved her hand around the room. "I'll take care of it tomorrow." She waited for him to meet her in the middle of the room before sliding her arms around his waist and rising on her toes to kiss him. "Thank you," she said simply, because she had no idea what else to say. Nothing seemed right.
Logan understood completely. "Come on," he said nodding toward the bedroom. "Huh," he said once they had stepped inside. "Can't say I ever thought we'd be back in here ever again."
"It's weird, right?" she agreed.
"Very." Then he shrugged. "But then again, not at all. It seems fitting." He raised his hand to turn the lights off and she began fussing with the bed, pulling back the covers, getting rid of the seven extra pillows, straightening the sheets. Logan came up behind her and caught her hand, dropping the last pillow for her before guiding her into bed.
They lay there quietly for awhile, each lost in their own thoughts until Rory propped her chin up on his chest and looked at him through the darkness.
"Can I help you?" he asked, his hand twisting through her hair again. She could see him grinning in the dark and fought to keep one off of her own face. "Come here," he whispered, pulling her over so she was laying on top of him. She kissed him fully on the mouth, pressing herself into him as much as she could.
They made love for the second time that night, however where the first time had been frenetic and highly charged, this time was slowed down, but with just as much passion and want. They fell asleep with Rory still clinging to Logan, who was more than happy to keep her in his arms.
The sun was barely peeking through the curtains when Rory's eyes began to open the next morning. She knew before she even moved that she was alone in that bed. She rolled over, burying her face in the pillow next to her. She hadn't expected him to be there when she woke up, but that didn't make it sting any less than it did. She breathed him in for as long as she could before she rolled out of bed and made her way into the kitchen.
Rory smiled as she realized the coffee was already brewed and her favorite pool house mug was waiting for her in its place next to the decanter. Grateful as she was, she was more interested in what sat next to the coffee cup. She was fairly certain she hadn't seen Logan bring any packages in the house with him last night but there sat a box wrapped in blue and silver paper, complete with ribbons and a bow. She bypassed the coffee and went right for the gift, sliding her finger under the ribbon. The paper fell to the floor as she lifted the lid to the box. And then she smiled.
Nestled inside under a barrage of tissue paper was a set of the softest pajamas she had ever seen, in a shade of blue that she knew Logan was extremely fond of on her. Running her hands over the fabric, it was too easy to picture herself spending a day in the Huntzberger's family room, wearing them and curled up next to Logan on the couch. She lifted them out of the box to get a better look at them and a card fluttered to the floor. When she reached down to pick it up, a photo slid out from inside. Turning it over in her hands, she felt tears spring to her eyes and she couldn't help but laugh.
It's in your smile, it's in your kiss, it's the reason that I exist, there's only one word for this...
It was a photo of the two of them taken while she had been in London. They had gone to a party at Bobbi's on Christmas Eve and someone had snapped a picture of them under the mistletoe. She remembered the moment but had no idea that someone had taken a picture of it or that Logan even had it in his possession. Earlier in the day they had been discussing the finer points of Hollywood-styled movie kisses and the conversation had trickled over into their present company, with Logan arguing he had more style than Clark Gable. This, coupled with Rory mocking him sweetly and the encouragement of his friends, had led to him waiting until she had crossed under the mistletoe later in the evening to prove his point. The moment captured on film was of him bending her so far back that her hair touched the floor. They were both laughing and she remembered having to grab onto his collar to keep from toppling over completely.
She also remembered that not two seconds after that particular moment they actually had toppled over completely, but she had been inclined to agree with him that it was not because he wasn't as smooth as Rhett Butler, but rather, because of the amounts of hot buttered rum they had each consumed.
The longer Rory looked at the picture, the more she smiled. Had it really only been a year ago that they had been so happy? The love radiating from that photo would be evident to anyone who looked at it and never would she have imagined this Christmas being so completely different than the last one. Finally, she opened the card and read the note he'd left her.
Just in case you change your mind. Merry Christmas.
She blinked back tears but Rory was smiling as she ran her hand over the pajamas one more time before tucking the note inside and placing the lid back on the box. For several fleeting moments she allowed herself to imagine a Christmas several years down the line, with her and Logan and their own little family, all in matching pajamas. In her heart, there was nothing she wanted more.
She wouldn't change her mind this year, they both knew that better than anything else. Still, she couldn't deny that last night had done anything but force her to doubt even more just how much longer they'd be able to carry on the way they were.
Rory picked up the picture one more time and continued to look at it as she sipped her coffee. Immediately, she was overcome again with more emotion than she could stand to handle and in that moment she couldn't imagine feeling that kind of love for any other man.
No, she wouldn't change her mind this year, but there was always next Christmas.