You try to forget. You try to forget the way he smells, the food he likes, the way he feels against you. You labor (and it is labor; it's an effort to erase the last few years of your life. He wasn't even there for all of it, but it's still like he is tied up in every thought, every memory, every moment of college) to forget the details of him: the way he always swished his coffee three times in a leftward swirl when he was antsy; how he preferred the crawl stroke the few times you saw him swim; that he had only three fewer pairs of shoes than you did.
What you choose to remember are things like him coming home drunk, laughing when Finn mooned someone, sleeping with the bridesmaids, staying out until three AM during finals, running off to another country when things got rough. Every obnoxious, terrible thing he ever did, culminating in his disastrous proposal and that stupid ultimatum.
So you're left with all the bad parts of him. Logan the playboy, Logan the immature, Logan the inconsiderate, Logan the villain.
"I don't know what I was thinking," you tell your mother over and over during your months on the road.
"I guess it was my stupid college mistake," you sigh, sounding older than you'd like, although after what Annette from the Tallahassee Bulletin tried to show you last night, you might have aged a few years.
"You warned me. You warned me not to get involved with him, you warned me not to go back to him and I didn't listen," you say, staring out at the sunset as you pass the exit for the Grand Canyon in favor of a town hall meeting in Denver. And Lorelai listens and offers reassurances on cue and doesn't even complain all that much when you- separated by several time zones as you are- call in the middle of the night.
It's during one of those 2 AM calls that Lorelai, still groggy and talking from the bathroom so as not to wake Luke, says that maybe Logan wasn't as terrible as you paint him, that maybe there is more to it, more to him than you want to remember.
"No," you say, and hang up and shut off your phone. You'll apologize tomorrow, but you tell yourself that Lorelai can't be right. Logan must have been as bad as you have chosen to remember. Because if he wasn't, maybe you should have tried harder to work it out. Because if he wasn't, maybe you should have talked more in those last few days.
Because if the real Logan was better than the one you've formed in your mind, maybe you should have said yes.
And despite the regrets you firmly put out of your mind, things might have stayed that way, with him on the West Coast and you on the East. You emailed Hugo your resignation after Obama won the primary, thanking him for hiring you but saying that you wanted to explore your options. It was the truth, but it's also true that people together on buses for hours don't become like family, or they become like the Bordens rather than the Bradys; that eating a million packages of vending machine Oreos is much less fun without your mother trying to confuse you into pressing the wrong buttons; that Hugo seems to think you're some kind of stalker and, worse, that he tries to assist you in your alleged stalking by emailing you links to any articles Logan has written or in which he is mentioned and that just makes it harder to forget.
You settle in Boston, where you write features and the occasional art or theater column for the Boston Journal (a second-rate paper that you didn't even apply to the first time around, but you're just tired of striving) and are Gigi's favorite babysitter. You never go out past eleven and you tell your mother that it's because you're trying to rebrand daytime as the time to party, after which you will begin the new classic that brunettes are the ones who have more fun. You go out on twenty-three dates in eighteen months, a statistic which pains your grandmother. You dump a creep, a workaholic, and a guy who hates Casablanca and refuses to watch Dirty Dancing, and you are dumped by a nice guy who can tell that your heart isn't in it.
It's not that you are unhappy. The campaign trail was an excellent learning experience. Boston is close enough that you can see your family. The paper might not be top quality or have a particularly wide distribution, but it's writing and your coworkers are nice. You love Boston and getting coffee every morning at a Starbucks that has a steaming eighteenth century metal pot as a marker. You laugh. You are maid of honor when Lorelai finally marries Luke. You eat out with friends. You forward stupid spam emails to your mother. Your life isn't bad, it is just...incomplete.
But then your grandmother dies, so suddenly that there isn't even time for you to drive the two hours up to Hartford.
An aneurysm, the doctor says, but you are the only one listening.
You take two weeks off to deal with everything. Grandpa has quickly moved from shocked to catatonic and your mother's grief is unexpected, and pronounced by its silence, so you handle all the arrangements with the efficiency your grandmother was famous for. The service is lovely. People cry and say how shocking it all is, how unfair for Emily to go so young while she still had so much left to do, but there are no big scenes. It's all very tasteful and you think that Grandma would have approved.
You leave your grandfather passed out in his bed (he hasn't been drowning his sorrows, he just absently drank anything put in his hand until you noticed) and your mother asleep in her old room. Luke assures you that he'll keep an eye on them while you go get some actual sleep at your mother's house. It is kissing his bristly cheek that almost makes you give in to tears for the first time, but you gather yourself and drive back to Stars Hollow dry-eyed.
You fall asleep slumped over the arm of the couch with your stockings trailing from your hand, and are awoken an hour later by a knock. The whole town knows what happened- even if you hadn't mentioned it, Luke's has been closed for a week- but you can't imagine anyone coming over now, so you think that maybe it's Kirk sleepwalking (or in this case, sleepknocking).
You open the door dazedly and Logan is standing there. He looks a little thinner, and rumpled like he is coming home from work rather than coming off a cross-country flight. Neither of you says anything for a minute. You don't notice that you are crying until he steps through the doorway and puts his arms around you. It's the first time anyone has hugged you through all this. Until now it has been you sharing a quick, dry embrace with a tearful DAR member, or trying to wrap your grandpa tight enough to keep his heart inside.
But you don't think about that really because you're tumbled by a wash of memories, memories so strong that you don't know how you could have suppressed them for nearly two years: How he has, for every single day since you've known him, no matter what the time or where he'd been, had a baseline smell of coconut and leather. How he could live on baby carrots and pretzels if he had to. How your favorite sweater of his, an ancient light blue cotton one that didn't fit his brand new, brand name wardrobe, felt so good against your face.
You think that maybe you've been going through some broken stages of grief, consisting only of denial and anger, and you don't know if you would have ever reached acceptance.
"How did you know?" you murmur after a time, caring just barely if Morey and Babette are watching through your open doorway. You wonder if Shira or Mitchum mentioned it, if he even talks to them anymore and it makes you nearly unbearably sad that you don't know.
"The society column is right next to your theater column in the Journal," he answers, just as quietly. "I'm sorry I wasn't in time for the service."
"You read my articles?"
"I read everything you write. You're the best thing about that paper." There's a quiet pride in his voice, and it reminds you of the thousand different tones when he used to say 'I love you,' of how you used to be able to tell what he was feeling just by the way his mouth moved against yours. Remembering Logan as he really was- not perfect, but not the horrible caricature that you've cobbled together out of your worst memories- makes you weak. You lean against him.
"Hey, let's go to sleep, alright?" he says, and supports you to your bedroom. You sit on the bed and watch as he gets pajamas from your drawer and slips them on to you. They're your favorite ones that you keep at your mom's and you wonder is it's a coincidence or if he knows about your intricate pajama hierarchy.
"Logan," you ask, blinking sleepily (your eyes feel too big for your head, you're so tired) as he strips down to boxers and an undershirt. "Did you forget about me?" The question sounds foolish, childish and you almost regret asking it, but he is pulling back the covers and settling them around the two of you and he seems to be considering.
"No," he finally tells you. "I don't remember whether Rocky Road means you're upset or annoyed, and I forget whether you prefer black or blue pens when you're writing. But I knew that I couldn't forget you, so I didn't try."
"Smarter than me," you whisper. He tucks his knees behind yours, wraps his arms around you as best he can.
"Never," he whispers back, lips brushing the sensitive place on the back of your neck, and you know he hasn't forgotten at all.
You remember the first time you lay like this, back when you were just two kids bumbling around in the darkness of a relationship. It's very important, suddenly, that he remember it too. "Logan-"
"Shhh," he soothes. "Go to sleep, babe. There'll be time to talk in the morning. I promise, Ace."
And that, more than your exhaustion and your unrelieved grief, means that you can rest. Things are very much not alright with the two of you, but you know you'll get to talk in the morning. Maybe in her death, your grandmother got what she always wanted: you and Logan together.
When you wake up, Logan has made coffee and somewhere along the line, he learned to bake, because there are fresh blueberry muffins as well. (And either he has learned how to conjure ingredients, or you're going to have some explaining to do the next time you go into town.) His "Morning, Ace," is a little more hesitant than you ever remember it being, even after the bridesmaid debacle, but you get into an argument over the stability of Prince William and Kate's relationship and he gets your references to both Jane Austen and Elton John. Sitting across from him at your girlhood kitchen table, tossing a de-muffined blueberry at him in faux outrage that comes back so naturally, you start to think that maybe you two can work it out. And you remember when Logan, just as he really is, was what you wanted, and you think that maybe you want that again.
And you're not sure, but you think that if Logan is still the same guy you now remember him to be- smart and lazy and protective and arrogant and outspoken and sweet and spoiled and loving- if he eventually asks to marry you, you might say yes.