A/N: I am SO SORRY about the delay in this chapter! I've actually had it mostly finished for a while now, but then real life caught up with me, hence why it's taken me so long to finally post this.
In this chapter, you'll get the explanation for why Logan didn't take his boat trip. I also pull a lot of direct quotes from the Die Jerk episode, which this is based around. In addition, I pull a bit from Season 5, and Rory's realization that Logan is a Hutzberger. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter Five – A Change of Perspective
As the semester wore on, Rory tried her best to avoid Logan whenever possible. It was easier than actually speaking with him. On the occasional night when Steph or Rosemary or their friend Juliet managed to convince her to come out to the Pub with them, Rory would skillfully go somewhere else whenever Logan tried to approach her.
Everything that Logan did or said seemed to annoy her. She'd see him everywhere: in the cafeteria, in line for the coffee cart, on her way to class. It was slowly starting to seem like there were very few places around New Haven she could go without running into him. If she didn't know any better, Rory would think he was stalking her, except for the fact that on multiple occasions he was already somewhere she happened to be going to.
It wasn't even necessarily that she didn't like him, although that was definitely true. It was the way he purposely seemed to push her buttons, as though he wanted to piss her off. But he did it in a way that Rory couldn't tell if he was trying to invoke an argument or flirt with her. No one seemed to toe that line better than Logan did, and he knew it. He'd make an offhanded comment that he somehow knew would set Rory off, and when she finally lashed out, he'd only smirk. To make matters worse, his smirk was attractive. She could tell from the twinkle in his eyes that he was used to girls going weak at the knees with that smirk. Rory ordered her knees to stay fully intact whenever he sent that look in her direction.
Then there was the way in which he never seemed to take anything seriously. He always seemed to be hanging out with a group of friends; never studying quietly the way Rory always was. Rory would be sitting alone eating lunch, a book opened on the table next to her as she attempted to finish her reading for class later that afternoon, when Logan would enter the cafeteria with a group of friends, conversing so loudly her concentration would be broken. She'd accused him of not taking college seriously before. Rather than refute her accusation, he'd thrown it back in her face. But from outside appearances, it seemed like Logan didn't care one bit about classes, or his grades. She tried not to let it annoy her, but it was as though he was purposely pushing his lifestyle into her face by suddenly appearing wherever she was without a care in the world while she stressed out about classes.
As if that wasn't enough, Logan had a different girl on his arm every time she saw him, and they had no problem with rather overt public displays of affection. It was by no means cute; it was sickening. Did Logan really have no respect for women whatsoever? She couldn't imagine any other reason why he'd feel the need to parade his escapades around for the entire world to see. By that point, Rory had heard more than enough about Logan's reputation. Any attraction she may have imagined was gone. Logan was nothing more than a shallow playboy who thought he could get away with anything because his family has money. He'd accused her of being quick to judge him, but the more she heard about him, the less she liked him.
More than anything, Logan wished he'd been able to take the year off Yale with Colin and Finn like they'd originally planned. Instead of sailing around the world like he'd wanted, Logan had to deal with his father's constant harassment about not fulfilling his potential.
Mitchum had turned down the trip almost the minute Logan mentioned it to his father. He'd spent weeks arguing, even getting his sister Honor on his side to help in the debate, but in the end Mitchum vetoed the trip.
"You don't know nearly enough about the business you're supposed to take over to take a year off school," Mitchum had insisted. "You're not even responsible enough to hand in an article for the school paper!"
That was only partly true. He hardly ever handed in an article because he hardly ever showed his face at the Yale Daily News. He hated that place; it reminded him too much of the future he never wanted, but had no choice but to take. He didn't actually mind writing articles for the paper itself. In fact, Logan rather enjoyed actually writing an article every once in a while. It was the fact that he was forced into it in the first place that made Logan shy away from it. Maybe if Logan hadn't grown up being told that this was the life he was destined to have Logan would have made his way to writing on his own accord. But because his father forced it on him, shoving it down his throat every chance he got, every article he wrote for the Yale Daily News was tarred with bitterness.
So of course, the year he wasn't even supposed to be at Yale in the first place was the year that Mitchum decided to constantly be on his case about writing articles for the paper. Logan put him off for as long as possible. Finally, by the end of October, Logan had to admit defeat. Unless he got a move on soon, Mitchum would come banging on his door, wondering why he hadn't had a byline all year. In order to avoid that, he'd need to go into the YDN office.
"It just seems like a quaint archaism," Paris said to Rory as she flipped through the latest edition of the Yale Daily News in the newspaper's office. "I mean, if you're a good journalist, why make you jump through hoops and write all these tryout articles?"
They'd been on the paper for a while now, although technically as freshman, they still weren't on staff. In order for that to happen, Rory had been writing articles for just about every single section of the paper as a sort of trial period.
"It's a time honored tradition," Rory replied. "All our forebearers had to do it." Rory frowned. She couldn't find her latest article.
"If our forebearers had fought it, we wouldn't be dealing with it now."
Rory folded the paper with a sigh. "My article's not in there."
"What do you mean?" Paris asked. "It has to be; they print everything!"
"Well, I've checked it pretty thoroughly, and it's definitely not in there." She was really confused. She'd worked hard on that article.
Rory walked over to Doyle's desk, waiting in front of it for him to acknowledge her.
"Morning, Gilmore," he greeted cheerily, holding out a box of mints. "Coffee mint?"
"No thanks. I was just wondering if there was a problem with my review of the chamber music recital. Did I get it in late?"
Doyle didn't stop working. "Nope, you got it in on time. You're very good with that."
"Well then, I'm just a little confused as to why my article wasn't printed. Was it a space issue?"
"No, we had the space. Frankly, it was a bit of a yawn."
Rory frowned. "The music?"
"No, I mean your writing. Bit of a yawn. But don't worry; you'll do better next time."
"Right." Rory started to move away, stunned. Then she heard Doyle groan.
"Oh no!" he mumbled. "He's back."
"Who's back?" Rory asked, slightly confused.
She didn't have to wait long for an answer, because the subject was standing right next to her with blond hair and a satisfied smirk on his face.
"Logan!" Doyle said with obvious false enthusiasm, hopping out of his seat so fast the chair slammed back into the wall. "So good to see you! How's the family?"
"Doyle, good to see you," Logan replied politely, extending his hand to shake it. "The family's good. You know how they are; waiting for my next byline."
"Of course!" Doyle exclaimed a little bit too loudly. "The thing is, we didn't exactly expect you back any time soon, so I kind of already handed out all the assignments."
"Perfect, just the assignment I was looking for. Maybe next time."
"Of course!" Doyle said, his smile never leaving his face. "You know where to find us."
"Sure." Logan then turned to Rory, a wide grin on his face. His eyes trailed over her form slowly, making her squirm. "Rory, nice to see you."
She glared at him as he sauntered out of the news room, hands shoved deep in his pockets.
"Okay, what was that about?" Rory asked Doyle.
But the small interaction hadn't escaped Doyle's notice. "You know Logan. How do you know Logan?"
"I don't know him, really. I know a couple of his female friends."
"You know his conquests?"
"No, his actual friends. Doyle, what's going on?"
"I really hate that guy!" Doyle went on, completely ignoring her. "Those rich…white…males."
Rory rolled her eyes. "Doyle, you're a rich, white male."
"Not like him. Every so often, usually when he's sick and can't party, he'll wander into the news room in search of a byline. And of course, we'll throw him an article because if we don't, his father shows up in an uproar, threatening to pull our funding."
"So his father's rich?" She'd figured that one out a long time ago.
"His father is Mitchum Huntzberger."
Rory's jaw dropped. "Mitchum Huntzberger? The newspaper guy?" She wondered how it could have taken her so long to find this out. Then she realized that not once had anyone mentioned Logan's last name around her.
"And our biggest financier. All Logan has to do is waltz in here like he owns the place, and I have to bow down and kiss the ground he walks on. I can hardly get him to write an article. The worst part is he's actually a really good writer. His pieces are always great, but he's such a pain in the ass whenever he deigns to grant us with his presence that it's almost not even worth the trouble. Boy, I really hate that guy."
It was just her luck. Rory couldn't believe that she'd made an enemy of the son of the biggest guy in the newspaper industry. "You and me both."
"Gilmore, perfect! Just the person I was hoping so see."
Rory was back in the Yale Daily News office. She had spent hours researching, writing, and rewriting her latest review in the hopes that, this time, her article would be better.
"I was just going to hand in my next article," Rory told Doyle, slightly put off. "We can talk about that later if you want."
"No, I can look at it right now." Rory handed him the article and pulled up a chair at Doyle's desk.
"Listen, I need a favor." Doyle was slashing at her article with a red pen, crossing out line after line of writing.
"Um, Doyle? You're crossing everything out."
"Not everything." He skipped a line and crossed out the next one. "I need you to get Logan Huntzberger to write an article."
That was the last thing Rory expected to hear. "What?"
"Logan Huntzberger. I called him in to assign him an article and he just laughed at me. Then the next day, Mitchum showed up in a rage. 'I'd like to hand my business over to my son, Doyle,'" Doyle said in a tone that was meant to imitate Mitchum's voice. He crossed out another line in her article.
"But what does any of this have to do with me?"
Doyle put his pen down, having finished her article. "You know him. Word on the street is he doesn't seem to detest being in your company."
Rory folded her arms across her chest. "Well, that's too bad, because I detest being in his company."
"Listen, Gilmore. This article is not good. Now, what I need is for someone to get Huntzberger to complete an assignment so that Daddy Dearest doesn't show up and give me another coronary. So along with your next article, I need you to convince Logan to actually write the article I assigned him in the first place!"
Rory felt slightly defeated. "It's really not good?"
"It's getting better, but no."
"But I worked so hard! I did all this research – "
"Oh, don't worry. The facts are all there. But the article itself isn't great."
Rory didn't understand where she went wrong. She'd spent hours working on this one article, trying to get it to be what she thought Doyle wanted. Here she was, completely unable to please her picky editor, whereas Logan could just walk into the newsroom and have everyone kissing the ground he walked on. He didn't even have to try to please the editor; bylines were handed to him like candy.
She jumped out of her chair as her anger reached its boiling point. "I have to go," she said by only way of explanation. She slung her bag over her shoulder and marched out of the newsroom.
Rory's anger and frustration was building as she made her way across campus to Logan's dorm. How was it fair that, just because his father was the biggest name in journalism, Logan could waltz into the Yale Daily News like he owned the place? How was it fair that he was somehow able to write articles that satisfied Doyle without even trying while Rory was struggling for the same recognition? Rory wanted to be a journalist more than anything. Logan had exactly what she was working so hard to achieve without putting in even a tenth of her effort. To say it made her mad was an understatement.
Finally, Rory arrived at his room and pounded on the door with her fist.
Logan smirked at her when he opened the door. "Hey, Rory. What brings you – "
She cut him off, pushing passed him into the common room. "You know what I really hate about you?"
His smile faded slightly as Logan shut the door behind her. He turned to face her. "Hello to you too."
"What I really hate about you is how everything just seems to be handed to you. No effort necessary whatsoever. You don't work hard at Yale. You have girls falling at your feet just for the chance to be looked at by you. And, you know, none of those things really affected me, so it was just a minor annoyance that I couldn't seem to get rid of. Then you show up at the Yale Daily News!"
Logan folded his arms across his chest. "Now, how does that affect you, exactly?"
"Because after weeks and weeks of working so hard to write an article that Doyle actually likes, you just waltz in like you own the place because, oh wait! Your father owns the entire freaking journalism world! How is it fair that you, who never tries at anything, has the one thing that I've been working my entire life for? Today I went to hand in my article, and not only did Doyle tell me that it sucks, but he ordered me to come over here and get you to write something because, apparently, that's something else you're good at without even trying. What's next, huh? Anything else you'd like to do better than me without trying? Are you gonna move to my town and steal all my friends because they like you better than me? And you don't even care about any of this!"
Any amusement Logan may have been feeling about Rory's appearance disappeared. "Listen – "
"I don't want to listen to you! I've put up with all your crap for weeks because I actually like Steph, but I'm tired of it, Logan! You don't seem to care about anything. Not Yale, not girls, not the paper. And I know Steph asked you to back off, and yet you keep provoking me intentionally, so it seems to me like you don't even care about your friends either! And it's all just so funny to you! Everything's one big joke. What about your family, huh? Do you care about them?"
His anger surged at the mention of his family. "You have no idea what you're talking about, Rory. You don't know anything about my life."
"You're right, I don't. And you know what? I. Don't. Care. I don't care what game you're trying to play with me, but I'll tell you right now that I'm not going to be part of it. You can treat everyone else however you want, but when it's affecting my life at the paper, I draw the line. So here's the deal: you're going to write the article that Doyle assigned you. Or don't, I don't care either way. But it's not fair to the rest of us to have you just hanging around while I'm working my butt off and I can't seem to get Doyle to like anything I give him!"
There was a knock on the door, interrupting Rory's rant. Logan ignored Rory's look of annoyance and yanked his door opened.
His grew wide in shock. "Dad."
"I gave you a week, Logan," said the large man as he stepped through the doorway into Logan's room. "I gave you plenty of time get an article written. Yet you still can't seem to do what I asked you to do."
Logan sighed. He wasn't in the mood for this, and he really didn't want to get into an argument with his dad in front of Rory. "This isn't the best time, Dad. I have company."
Mitchum glanced once at Rory. "I don't give a damn about some dumb floozy you've got hanging around this week! You won't even remember her name in a few days!" Rory winced. Even though she was by no means one of Logan's dumb floozies, Mitchum's harsh tone stung a little.
Logan must have noticed her involuntary reaction. "Hey!" he yelled back, equally as mad as his father now. "You don't know anything about her! What give you the right to come down here and insult my guests? Go ahead and yell at me about what a failure I am, but don't you dare come down here and pass judgment about a girl you don't even know."
"Don't change the subject, Logan! You have certain responsibilities! One of those is writing a simple article for the paper so that you can actually learn a thing or two about the business. You don't even bother to show up at the internship I handed to you! How else am I supposed to teach you about the business you're going to take over?"
"Oh yeah?" Logan shot back. "Did you ever for one second think that maybe I don't want to write an article for the paper because I don't give a damn about the paper, or the family business, or any of this crap you've been forcing on me since I could crawl? I hate this shit, Dad, and you know it. But no, you won't let me do anything I want to do, will you? So I'll smile, and I'll show my face at the paper because I don't have a choice, but there's nothing you can say that will make me want to write an article for the paper. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm a little busy at the moment, so I don't have time for yet another lecture on what a disappointing son I am to you." Logan didn't wait for his father to respond. Instead, he shoved him across the threshold and out the door, slamming it in Mitchum's face.
Rory watched in shock as Logan picked up a book that was sitting on the table near the front door and threw it across the room. He plopped down his the couch, letting out a huge sigh as he scrubbed at his face with his hands and ran them through his hair.
She'd never seen anyone argue with one of their parents like that before. Logan's father had come over with one intention: to let his son know how much he wasn't living up to his supposed expectations. It suddenly made sense to Rory why Logan would act like he didn't care about anything. The opposite was true. He just didn't want to let anyone know what he really cared about in case someone, like his father, came along and yanked the rug out from under him.
Logan looked up, as though suddenly remembering that Rory was still there. "Look, can we do this some other time?" he asked.
Rory ignored him, sitting down on the couch next to him. "I'm sorry." She hesitated, then placed her hand on his knee as a sign of comfort.
"For attacking you like that. Because you're right; I don't know what your life is like. I shouldn't have just assumed that everything was perfect." Rory signed and removed her hand. "I think I get it now."
Logan frowned. "Get what?"
"It's all an act, isn't it? You walk around like you don't have a care in the world, but it's just an elaborate façade, isn't it?"
Logan sighed. She was too close to the truth. "It's all just a big distraction from my predestined life that I don't even want."
"Is it really worth it? Goofing off just to avoid all that?"
He shrugged. "I used to try. When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to impress my father. But then he'd never show up at any of my games, and when he did he's criticize every mistake I made. Then one day I realized, I'm doing all this stuff to impress him when he doesn't actually care about anything except his precious company. So I started messing around, doing what I actually wanted to do. He's mad, but at least I'm having fun." He didn't know why he was telling her this.
Rory didn't want to push him, but she understood. No matter what he did, his father was always disappointed in him.
"My grandparents hate me," Rory blurted out.
Logan turned to her, frowning. He knew that wasn't true. The Gilmore's loved her. "I'm sure they don't hate you."
"Well not me, exactly. They hate my existence." Rory sighed. "My mom had me when she was 16. It was this whole big scandal. She didn't want to marry my dad, so he was never really around. And she didn't agree with my grandparent's values, so she took off with me one night to have our own life. Then one day when I was like 16, my dad showed up out of the blue for a visit. And…see my mom and I had to go to dinner at my grandparent's every Friday night for dinner. So when my dad showed up we brought him to dinner, and my grandparents decided to invite my dad's parents. The whole thing was just awful. I'd never met them before, and they barely even acknowledged my presence. They couldn't even say my name. They didn't care that I was top in my class at Stars Hollow High or that I was going to Chilton. All they cared about was that my mom ruined my dad's life by having me. They didn't want to have anything to do with me."
Logan looked at her with so much sympathy in his eyes. He couldn't imagine anyone actually denying Rory's existence, no matter what happened with her parents when they were younger. "I'm sorry that happened to you."
Rory shrugged. "It was a long time ago. I'm just trying to say that I get how you feel. I mean, I know we can't exactly compare battle wounds because the situations are different, but still. I know what it's like to feel like there's nothing you can do to make someone care."
They stayed in a tense silence for a long time.
"I'm sorry I've been such an ass," Logan finally said.
"No it's not. You're a really nice, intelligent girl, and I treated you like crap."
"You don't have to get along with everyone you talk to, Logan. It's fine if we're not friends."
"But I did provoke you on purpose. Mostly because you already seemed to hate me so much, but you're also one of the few people who will actually talk back to me when I'm giving them crap. It's impressive."
She felt herself relax a little.
"So what was all that stuff you were going on about before? You said something about Doyle not liking your articles."
"Huh?" Rory asked in confusion. "Oh, it's nothing. I just…worked really hard on these articles and apparently they suck. It's no big deal."
"Let me take a look."
"What? Logan, no you don't have to do that."
"Come on, Ace." Logan insisted, knocking his knee playfully against hers. "Let me make it up to you. I know all this journalism crap backwards and forwards. Let me help you out."
"Ace?" Rory asked with a frown as she reached into her bag to pull out an extra copy of her article.
"Sure, like Ace Reporter." He took the copy from her hands and started reading it.
"I don't know," she started to babble while Logan read. "I drank a lot of coffee when I was writing it, so maybe some of the caffeine buzz played a role of something. But I rewrote it like, four times, so I don't know what else I could have done to make it better."
Logan lowered the paper.
"Well?" she asked, slightly nervous to hear his review.
"It's really not that bad," Logan reassured her. "Doyle's just being an ass. But he's right; it's not particularly good either. I can't tell what you thought. You're writing a concert review, and I can't tell what your opinion is at all. What's your next assignment?"
"Some ballet review."
"Great. This time, try not to focus so much on what happens, but what you think about the performance. This piece has no personality because you kept your opinion out. That's why Doyle didn't like it."
Rory sighed. "I still don't think it's fair that you're actually good at all this stuff while the rest of us have to work for recognition."
Logan smirked. This time, she saw something genuine in his smile that she hadn't noticed before. "Hey, if you had it drilled into your head from the day you were born, you'd be a natural too."
Something had shifted, that much Rory was sure of. The two of them had come to some sort of an understanding. As Rory walked back to her dorm, she started looking at Logan from a different perspective. He wasn't someone to be taken at face value, as she'd originally thought. There was much more to him than just what he showed on the surface. There was something else there. Rory wasn't sure if she wanted to find out what that was, but she had a feeling that Logan wasn't going to do away any time soon.