Author's Note: Here I am presenting my newest Rogan story, as I haven't written one in almost a year! If you haven't read my Rogan stories Happy, Grandpa's Girl and Happy Birthday, read those because this one is a follow-up to it! But it can be seen as a standalone story! Regardless, please submit reviews and feedback please!
Summary: If he had learned anything this holiday, it was that Christmas was meant to be with them and not in an office. Part of my Rogan one-shot series.
Snow banked up on the windowsills. Festive lights were flashing in shades of envy and crimson. The aroma of cookies and an assortment of other sweets swirled throughout the house. The excitement about wrapped boxes, expected toys and Santa coming down the chimney was blowing throughout the house, overpowering the classical Christmas tunes. And there was laughter. It was infectious.
Rory sat on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa, watching her two daughters playing around the Christmas tree, shaking a few gifts to make assumptions of what they got. Papa Luke was on the floor with them, garnering more laughs from the girls. Lorelai sat on the couch beside Rory, observing her granddaughters playing with her husband. Lorelai sipped her hot cocoa as she turned to look at her daughter.
"Mia and Ella are really going to like the gifts that Luke and I got for them." Lorelai teased, licking the whipped cream off her lip. Rory smiled and rolled her eyes jokingly.
"I can imagine it being very pink." Rory joked, finishing her hot cocoa, ignoring the overwhelming sweetness that came with it.
"Girls love pink, and your girls are no different. Is Logan's work call almost done yet? He's been in that kitchen for a really long time." Lorelai remarked, eyeing the kitchen, observing Logan pacing back and forth. Rory only sighed.
There had been a lot of late night calls lately. And lately, those work calls had resulted is Logan going to the office and coming back relatively late. Sure, Logan did try to make it up to Rory and the girls, but it didn't make up for the fact that he missed precious moments with his adoring daughters and loving moments with his wife. But Rory had hope that because it was Christmas Eve, Logan would be more considerate. A tightened smile grimaced across Rory's face.
"He's just stressed with this deal the company has been closing in on and there are just a few loose ends that he has to tie. But he promised that the holidays would be about the girls and me."
"Are you sure you believe him?"
"I believe him! He promised and Logan always keeps his word."
"It hasn't been that way lately. I don't want to start something tonight, but he's been working a lot lately. Every time I come by, he's at the office. Every time he drops the girls off at the diner, he's got his pager in hand. And every time I talk to you, he's getting ready for work. I know that he is an amazing husband and father, but you need to lay down the law, kid." Lorelai warned her daughter, who was obviously growing annoyed about the recurring issue.
Rory bit her cheek as Logan walked back into the room. His eyes were heavy and his jaw was clenched.
Rory knew the look on his face all too well. And so did Lorelai.
"Luke and I should get going. We'll come over tomorrow at five. Merry Christmas Eve!" Lorelai said, hugging Rory goodbye before she did the same with Mia and Ella. Luke kissed the two little girls and shook Logan's hand.
"Good night guys. And girls remember, Santa will know when you're awake." Luke joked with the two girls as he and Lorelai escorted themselves out of the house.
Mia, who was now five years old and guaranteed to be a heartbreaker with her blonde hair and blue eyes, ran right to daddy. Logan was quick to pick her up and hold her close. She always had been daddy's little girl. Four-year-old Ella had crawled up onto her mother's lap and was instantly cuddled. She was a shy mama's girl, who had her mother's blue eyes and her father's honey blonde hair. Both little girls were oblivious to the looks their parents were exchanging.
"Daddy, Santa's coming tonight! And he's going to bring me a new bike!" Mia confidently boasted. Logan forced a laugh. Participating in a conversation with his daughters was so natural, but not now. Not with Rory looking at him the way that she was.
"Oh is he now? What about you Ella? What's Santa going to bring you tonight?" His voice was tight and Rory knew exactly why. But Ella just smiled bashfully.
"I want Santa to bring me a new dress." Ella said, always having an interest in fashion. She was just like her Aunt Honor, but without the sass. Logan's tightened smile look uncomfortable and he nodded his head.
"Wow, a dress! Santa's going to treat you two girls! Hey Mia, why don't you and Ella go to the playroom and draw Santa a picture? You can leave it with Santa's cookies tonight." Logan suggested as he put Mia back down on the floor and ran a hand through her blonde hair. Rory did the same with Ella's hair. She knew what was coming. And she desperately wished that she could stop it.
"Okay daddy! Come on Ella, let's go get your crayons." Mia encouraged, grabbing her little sister's hand. The two little girls' laughter could be heard rattling the house as they ran to their playroom. And then a silence came through, like it had been doing lately.
Logan stood, staring at his wife with apologetic eyes. Rory sat on the couch, shooting Logan with hard eyes. She shook her head back and forth, her disappointment and rage slowly transgressing itself. Logan shut his eyes as he exhaled. He knew that look all too well. Everything in him told him to go over to her and hold her and promise her that he would never leave her alone. But something paralyzed him. And he couldn't get a word out as Rory unleashed her monsters.
"I can't believe you, Logan. I can't believe that you would do this on Christmas." Rory accused, trying to keep her voice down so she didn't attract the girls' attention. Logan ran a hand through his blonde hair, exhaling loudly. They had gone through this conversation so many times, he wasn't sure how to respond anymore.
"I'll be gone for an hour. I swear. I just have to go in and…" Logan tried to diffuse the situation but Rory stood up and she stood on the opposite end of the room.
"And get this work done. Yeah, I get it. And I'm sure Mia will get it. And Ella will definitely understand. I'm sure both our daughters will be so thrilled to hear that their father is working at the office on Christmas Eve!" Rory's anger was growing and she wasn't sure how long she would be able to control it. And neither was Logan.
"Ace, please I am trying here. I know how important this is to you and the girls but this is a big deal not only for the company and me but for you and the girls too! Rory please I…" Rory stomping over to him cut off Logan. She was right in his face. And he had a full-frontal view of the tears building up in her eyes. Wipe them away, Huntzberger.
"I don't care about this deal Logan! All I care about is that you prioritize your family into your life! Do you care about us at all?"
"Rory, don't pull that kind of crap, you know I care about you!" Logan hollered, guilt and frustration wavering. Rory shook her head, wiping away the tears that were smearing her face. She had that familiar look of defeat.
"Just leave Logan. Please, just go." Rory was practically begging, upset that she had shown this vulnerable side during their argument.
"Logan. Go. Work needs you. Just have the courtesy to at least be here in the morning." Rory tearfully remarked, walking away from Logan, ignoring him trying to reach for her arm and walking up the stairs to their bedroom. But he knew that lately it had been her room.
Just as Logan was putting on his coat, he heard a familiar flutter coming towards him. He couldn't escape fast enough; little Ella was holding onto his leg and looking up at him. Her eyes were pleading and sweet.
"Daddy, don't go. Santa's going to be here soon! Please daddy." Ella practically pleaded, her soft voice being the death of him. Every piece of Logan's heart broke just looking at her. He ran a hand down her face.
"I'm sorry Ella." That was all he could say as he turned and walked out the door, with a cold and heavy heart. He also tried to pretend that he didn't see the sadness welling in his youngest daughter's eyes.
The sound of his own typing was slowly driving him crazy. Except for the light in his office, Logan was surrounded completely by darkness. He had tried to get the meeting done in an hour like he had promised Rory, but there was an error in the system and everything was going to get screwed up and it was taking almost two hours to do. Logan groaned when he saw that the time was quarter to eleven. Rory was going to kill him. Why couldn't she see that he was trying?
"Logan." A grotesquely familiar voice shook him out of his thoughts. Logan looked up and blinked in surprise. Through the darkness of the building contrasting with the light of his office, Logan saw his father standing there. Logan sighed.
"Rory called you." Logan didn't have to ask; he knew the answer. Mitchum shook his head as he walked into the office.
"Well, your absence was notable when your mother and I came by tonight to see the girls before Christmas dinner tomorrow. Rory tried to act like you were just running out to grab a last minute gift for Mia, but I know all the tricks. So I came." Mitchum explained, his eyes never leaving his son's. He was almost ashamed to that Logan was displaying so much of his behavior.
Logan was biting the inside of his cheek. He didn't know exactly what his father wanted him to say. Sorry? Mitchum knew that he was. Everything that Logan could've said wouldn't have had any kind of effect. So Logan just shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know what to say." Logan admitted. If truth were to be told, Logan expected Mitchum to be a raging psychopath, but he was cool and collected. Mitchum had a weak smile and nostalgic eyes. Logan could see that Mitchum was swimming with emotion.
"Do you remember Christmas when you were four?" Mitchum asked. Logan was taken aback. Sure, Logan was only thirty-three years old, but he couldn't remember that far back into his past. Logan shook his head. What did this have to do with anything?
"Barely, but what does that have to do with anything?" Logan asked, watching Mitchum pacing back and forth in the office. Logan knew that it was story time.
"Your mother was always a fanatic about Christmas, as previous Christmases had indicated. And I was always a fanatic about work. But, I knew how special Christmas was for your mother so I was always sure to avoid work. But that particular year…I worked too much. And Shira really didn't like it; it caused a lot of fights. I got called in many nights and tried to be there for your mother. I really did." Mitchum stopped pacing. He was biting the inside of his cheek. His eyes averted down to the ground.
"What happened dad?" Logan asked, curious. He heard his father sigh. Logan already knew.
"I got called to a conference that was to last throughout the holidays, including Christmas day. I didn't regret the trip at the time; this conference made the company what it is today. But your mother and I had the worst fight of our marriage. I wouldn't have been surprised if I was served with divorce papers. But she stayed. I thought things were repaired. But that one decision…it defined our marriage. We were never the same afterwards and even now, it's not ideal. And it was all because I picked business over family." Mitchum sadly remarked, regret leaking into his voice.
Logan didn't have the clichéd 'the-story-has-been-told-I-remember-everything' experience that happened in the movies, but he couldn't remember a Christmas where his father was there and his mother didn't soak herself in a gin martini. And Logan didn't want this to be the beginning stages of his marriage with Rory. He ran a hand through his hair. He wished he could give himself the 'Worst husband at Christmas' award.
"If this is a guilt trip to go home, it's working."
"A guilt trip shouldn't be the reason why you'd go home in the first place. You should go home because you love Rory more than your work. You love seeing the life in Mia's eyes every time she's around you. And you know that Ella's shy, but everything she says makes you happy. You go home because you love your family more than your work."
"But dad, this deal…"
"Can wait until after the holidays. Happiness doesn't."
"Dad, this deal will better their lives. Rory will be able to travel and your grandchildren will have everything that they have ever dreamed of."
"You're starting to sound like me when I tried justifying why I worked all the time. That's not good, Logan. That means you're losing sight of what's important." Logan bit his lip. That was the last thing that he wanted to hear.
Mitchum sighed. He went into his pocket, pulling out a picture. He gave it to Logan. It was a picture of Logan and Honor's family. Logan looked at Mitchum with confusion.
"Why are you showing me this?"
"That is my gentle reminder."
"A reminder of what?"
"Whenever I'm home and I feel like I should be working 24/7, I look at that photo to remind me of why I want to be home instead of work. I think you should have a few more gentle reminders in your life Logan."
For the first time in his life, Logan found himself looking at his father. Was this really the man who didn't have an interest in being a grandfather almost six years ago?
Logan had been praying that he wouldn't find the house empty with a goodbye letter. That would mean that he screwed up. But the winter boots were still at the front door, as were all of the winter coats. If he knew his girls, they wouldn't have gone far without those. They did, after all, have that Gilmore gene. And he could hear someone in the kitchen. Again, that Gilmore gene.
Rory was standing at the counter, drinking a glass of scotch. They made eye contact, and Rory was shocked to see Logan looking back at her. She didn't even drink that much scotch; she couldn't have been seeing things. It was only twelve thirty. By Logan's recent work standards, this was early for him. Logan smiled weakly.
"We've been married for seven years and I've never seen you willingly drink scotch. Ace, you hate that stuff." Logan remarked, trying to hold back a laugh as he watched Rory down the rest with a look of disgust. She swallowed because she had to.
"I hate you working all the time, but I have to put up with it somehow." Rory retorted. The scotch wasn't strong enough that she would forget. Logan slowly walked over.
"Rory, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left and I should've prioritized better than this. It's not fair to you and the girls. I know I should've realized this earlier but I…" Logan tried explaining but Rory wasn't listening. Logan saw that she was crying. He wouldn't have known if he didn't look; like the snow outside, she made no sound. It didn't take a genius to see that she was hurting.
"Rory, please don't cry. I'm sorry, but this is the last time I will ever put you and the girls through this. I swear to you, I will do everything I can to make this up to you." Logan promised as he walked over to his crying wife, who just stared at him. Wordlessly, she wiped away her tears.
"I'm not even mad or hurt, Logan. I'm over feeling like that. Now I'm just frustrated."
"Yes, frustrated! I'm frustrated because you say this same speech every time, and I believe you because I want it to be true and then the exact same thing happens and I don't want to keep getting into this cycle! Why should I believe you this time Logan?" Rory tearfully asked, her aggravation escalating with every word she spoke.
Logan barely took a step towards her; he was already inches away from her face. His eyes never left hers as he went into his pant pocket. Rory watched as he unfolded a picture. He handed it over to her so she could see. It was their updated family photo. Rory looked at the photo, where she happily held Mia and Logan did the same with Ella. They seemingly appeared to be the perfect family. Rory looked back up at Logan, to better understand why he was showing her this. Logan gently cupped Rory's cheek. He stroked it with his thumb.
"My dad came by the office tonight."
"Logan, I didn't ask him to…"
"And he told me a story about him and my mom on Christmas that made me sad and angry at myself."
"And he made me realize that I couldn't become like him. This photograph…this is my gentle reminder. It should've been a long time ago, but this picture and everyone who I love in this photo is supposed to remind me why I shouldn't work so much. Work can wait; but I'm not making you and the girls wait for me anymore." Logan told Rory lovingly, caressing her cheek in the softest of actions. Rory found herself surrendering to his touch. She allowed a smile to form on her face as she looked into her husband's eyes.
"Apologetic and corny works for you, Huntzberger." Rory joked, trying to hide the fact that tears were building up, but for a completely different reason. Logan smiled, wiping away her tears and placing a chaste kiss on her lips.
"I meant every word I said. I love you Rory. You can always believe in that." Logan whispered, as he leaned in again and captured Rory's lips with his own. Rory couldn't help but melt against his lips and she wrapped her arms around him. This kiss wasn't like any other kiss they had shared when they made up; Rory knew that this truth was sincere. She knew that Logan was telling the truth through this one kiss. Slowly, they each pulled back. Rory was grinning from ear to ear.
"I love you Logan." Rory whispered with the purest kind of sincerity. Logan kissed her forehead and he pulled her into a loving embrace. A hug from his Ace, alone, was a gentle reminder in itself.
Two high-pitched shrieks awoke Logan from his slumber. He and Rory had fallen asleep together on the couch, tangled up in each other's arms. Thankfully, clothes were on. This time. Logan and Rory groggily raised their heads from the pillow of the couch and they saw Mia and Ella, wearing matching Christmas pajamas, running to the couch. The little girls immediately jumped on their parents and they threw their little arms around their father.
"Oh daddy, we thought you weren't going to be here!" Mia dramatically exclaimed, placing a kiss on her father's cheek. Ella held him close and she kissed his other cheek.
"Santa heard my prayers last night." Ella, in a voice so sweet Logan almost cried, confessed to her father. Yup, Logan was on the verge of tears now. He kissed both his little girls on the tops of their heads.
"Merry Christmas girls. I love you both." Logan professed, afraid that maybe this Christmas was a dream and he would wake up to find that he didn't see the light in the end and everything would be gone. Rory cleared her throat.
"And what am I? Chop liver?" Rory jokingly asked. Mia and Ella were quick to lunge at their mother with their powerful hugs. Kisses were exchanged.
"Merry Christmas mommy!" Mia and Ella exclaimed in unison. Logan held his three girls close to his chest and to his heart. Two kisses on the blonde heads and a kiss on the lips for the brunette.
"I love you all, so much. Before you open your gifts, I have an announcement for you all." Logan teased, soaking in the anticipation he saw in the eyes of his wife and kids.
"What is it daddy?"
"Did Santa not come last night?"
"Logan, just tell us before I force feed you a pop tart dipped in pickle juice."
Logan could only smile and hold them all even closer to his body. If he had learned anything this holiday, it was that Christmas was meant to be with them and not in an office.
"As part of my gift to you lovely ladies, I am taking us on a month-long cruise." Logan shared, seeing the excitement rise in Rory's eyes, as well as Mia and Ella's.
"Thank you daddy!" The little girls screamed over and over again, tightening their grasp around his neck. Rory pressed a kiss on Logan's lips to show her thanks.
"Thank you Logan, this is really sweet. Now, how about you girls begin to open your presents now." Rory suggested, laughing when she watched the two girls jump off the couch and claim a spot on the floor in front of the tree, ripping at the pristinely wrapped gifts beneath it.
As they watched Mia and Ella get excited about all of their new gifts, Rory took Logan's hand into hers and she rested her head on his shoulder. She looked into his eyes, hazel on blue. She smiled at him and he did the same.
"Thank you for loving us, regardless of everything." Rory thanked, her eyes heavy with emotion. Logan smiled and pressed his head against her forehead.
"Thank you for loving me, regardless of everything I've done." Logan thanked in return. Rory beamed and wordlessly, she moved in and she kissed her husband, who was only too happy to partake in their smooch fest.
This moment of pure marital and paternal bliss, this feeling rushing through his body, was the only gentle reminder Logan would ever need.
REVIEW! REVIEW! REVIEW! Review?