Author's Note: Hello, new and old readers! This chapter took a ridiculously long time to write. But honestly, I couldn't give you guys anything less than perfection. I put a lot of work into these pages you're about to read, and I really hope you love them as much as I do.
When I first decided to rewrite this story, I said it would only go to the original six chapters. But, I have been playing with the idea of a fluffy epilogue. What do you all think? Would you like to see where our favorite couple is down the road? Say, twenty years? Please review and tell me what you think!
Now, without further ado, I proudly present for your enjoyment, the dramatic conclusion of Ace Of Hearts.
Chapter Song: Ashes and Wine by A Fine Frenzy.
It was raining.
The rain brought out the inner child in Rory. She loved to run out into the rain and splash in as many piles as her feet could find. The stories she told me from her childhood were colorful and imaginative enough to feel like you were right there, with her. She would walk home from school with Lane on those familiarly wet Stars Hollow days, and the pull coming from the mud piles was too tempting to ignore. She would hand Lane her books, unwilling to stain their pages, and jump in haphazardly without a care for her clothes. And on occasion, the adult Rory would find herself in mud puddles before coming home from work. She came straight home, and trail mud through our house. Lorelai was never bothered with the streaks of mud on her carpet, and neither was Rory. It was all a part of the tradition, after all.
Needless to say, there was no jumping in mud at the Huntzberger house. No mud fights, or weather related rituals, or any obvious forms of affection and laughter. If Honor and I had tracked in mud, the maid would wipe our trails as we walked. Nothing ever stuck to those floors.
In one way, I had everything I would ever anticipate wanting, growing up the way I did. But in a more important way, I lived in poverty. My parents did not teach me what it was like to love another person. They taught me to live within a contract. They didn't set examples of unconditional love, they told me to follow their rules, and live the life that was set out for me.
I never had to fight for anything in my entire life. The things I wanted were always there. They were handed to me alongside a world of expectations. The sole reason I was born was to take over for my Father. It was what he had done for his Father. What Huntzbergers had been expected to do for generations. I didn't have hope for anything different until Rory had waltzed into my life. She gave me everything, by believing in me. She gave me a different future that the life that was laid out for me. And I had been stupid enough to let it slip through my fingers, as if I never had it at all.
I hadn't seen it at first. The first time she said she loved me, I should've known that she was offering me something that others had to fight for. And yet she was gave it to me so willingly, so trusting that I would take care of the heart she was painstakingly handing to me. She was looking past the title, the bank account, or even the facade of myself the world saw. How much I regretted that moment. I should have instantly engulfed her into my arms. I should have realized that I was the luckiest bastard in the world.
Being responsible for the caring of such a seldom held heart drove me to a different life. A life that was far away from my Father and his ideas for the future of his company. For once, I could decide my future for myself. And as long as I had Rory by my side, anything was possible. I worked harder than I ever had, striving to be more deserving of the love she gave me. The definition of a better man. For her, and for us.
That was it. There would be no better without her.
I grabbed the keys off of the counter, and was in my car before I gave it another thought. I couldn't waste any more time. She couldn't drive us apart anymore. And I couldn't let her. I tried to lose myself in the drive, and not let the nervousness settle in. The drive to Stars Hollow was a familiar one. How many times had I driven this road, to beg for her forgiveness? As many times as I had to, I realized. No matter how many times I had fucked up royally, Rory would end up in my arms, and my life would have meaning again.
If I knew anything about Rory, I knew that she would not be affected by any grand gesture. She didn't want me to show up at her door, softly serenading her with love songs and expensive presents. She would want me to show her that I wasn't like my Father, putting everything before his wife and family. She would want me to show her that I wouldn't leave her like her Dad had done. I had to throw away all of my pride, and beg her if I had to.
The rain was pouring on the windshield. It seemed like the wipers could not move fast enough to catch the massive amounts of rain that fell from the sky. My hands shook, but not from the ever persistent cold. They shook from the nervousness that coursed through my veins. I would either leave Stars Hollow with my wife, or without my heart. I was leaving it with her, regardless if she sent me away or not.
My stomach was in knots as I pulled into the driveway. Rory's car stood in its usual spot, but Lorelai's jeep was gone. I sat in the car for a moment, trying to rediscover my confidence. I recognized the moment for what it was: a crossroad. One way or another, this was coming to an end on this stormy night.
I took note of the light shining from what I knew to be Rory's room. She was in there, surrounded by her books and pro/con lists, stuck in her own head. I got out of the car and stood in the downpour for a moment. My life was waiting for me inside that house.
I stood at the front door, and raised my knuckles to knock. The pounding rain against the roof made it impossible to hear movement from inside the house. With my heart in my throat, I knocked again. As much as she might not want to see me, I couldn't see her leaving me to stand in the rain. Especially since I had no intentions of leaving here until she talked to me.
I backed away from the porch, not wanting to accept the possibility that she heard me and decided to stay dry and warm inside. I stood at her window, extending my cold fingers to tap on the wet glass. The old Logan would have laughed at the thought of standing in the rain and mud for a girl. But this version of myself was more afraid of the loneliness of separation than the humiliation of being so vulnerable.
Any moment. She would come to the window at any moment. She would open it, and her crystal clear eyes would soften at the sight of me at her window. I could see it so vividly in my mind, I hardly registered the rain as it continued to pour down around me. All I needed was her to come to the window. And when she did, our lives could go back to the way they were always supposed to be. Together.
The seconds dragged on, yet Rory did not appear at her window. The seconds turned to minutes, but I did not lose my composure. The blur of thoughts as the minutes ticked by became progressively darker. I had come here to show Rory something. To show her I wasn't going anywhere. But maybe, this was her way of saying something, too. By not coming out, she was showing her own grand gesture. The kind of grand gesture that left me waiting in the rain.
The thought of it left me ill, and I stepped back from the window as if struck by physical force.
I hadn't a clue how long I had been standing there. I just stood, internally willing Rory to appear at the window. Hours could have passed, and I would have been just as wet and affected by her as I always had been. What choice did I have, when I was drawn to her so? We were like two magnets, sometimes opposites, but always near each other.
My mind was too soggy to register the world around me. I focused in on the window, and the window alone. What could she be doing? The image of her, sitting against her door, silently waiting for my departure burnt into my brain. I would always be left with the searing mark of Rory Gilmore. The years we had spent absorbing each other could not be ignored, and I would spend the rest of my life remembering what it was like to be whole. To be loved, and to love in return.
How long could I spend waiting for her? All night, if I had to. But at what point would I realize that enough was enough? Would it ever feel okay to leave her behind? Somehow, I didn't think so. To walk away was to admit defeat, yet I couldn't stand here forever. A dejected sense of reality washed over me. My skin was numb from the falling water, but I was numb for a completely different reason.
"Logan?" The voice broke through the clouds, just as it always had. I hesitated, as if to doubt it could actually be her. I turned towards the voice, and suddenly my internal struggle didn't matter as much as the person standing in front of me.
"Mom! Have you seen my sweatband? The pink, sparkly one?" I stood at the bottom of the stairs, and bellowed up to my Mother. If something of mine went missing, she was usually the prime suspect. She appeared at the top of the stairs, hands on her hips wearing a look of disbelief. "I need it to go on a run."
"Oh, child! Do you realize that it is raining outside? We, as Gilmore women, do not run, jog, power walk or any other word that can be associated with physical exertion. Especially not in rain."
I rolled my eyes at her. I had awoke this morning with an unrelenting desire to run. And strangely, the rain only fueled this craving. The combination of the falling rain and the slap of my feet on wet concrete would be loud enough to distract my mind from itself for a while. I wish it would be that easy, to just drown it all out. But unfortunately, I ran with my problems, not away from them.
"I just want to go for a run, okay? Have you seen it?"
Mom pursed her lips and considered me for a few moments. "I love you honey, but I might have to have you committed. When's the last place you saw it?"
I had to admit, I had only ever worn the thing once. Maybe twice, as a joke. "When Logan and I went to the gym. He bought it because it matched the blush in my cheeks from sweating."
"Woah, how romantic." She told me, not bothering to hide her disgust. "Just go without it. It's not like you'll be sweating, anyway."
"I can't go without it! I need my sweatband!" I exclaimed dramatically.
"Then borrow mine. You're not exactly making a fashion statement here, honey."
"No, Mom! I need mine. I can't go without my sweatband." I could hear the childlike whine in my voice, but made no move to stop it. I felt like a child. I instantly pictured the sweatband in question, sitting in the goodwill box waiting to be donated. In the back of her closet, naturally. I groaned outwardly. "It's at the house. I have to go get it."
I looked at my Mom, and put on my best 'This-isn't-bothering-me' face. I knew she could see right through me, yet she didn't question me on it. "Can I borrow your jeep? You're blocking me in."
She didn't hesitate to place the keys in my hand. "Sookie is coming to pick me up anyway. I'll meet you back here with Chinese, a movie, and a towel to dry off my soaking wet runner of a daughter."
I left the house without giving too much thought to what I was actually doing. I hadn't been back to the house since I pack up my things. Yet, I was going anyway. All for a sparkly, fluorescent pink sweatband. I didn't let myself of any alternative reasons for going there. I just needed that sweatband. Period.
I could feel a new emotion rise through my stomach. I hadn't felt this way since deciding to leave. It took me a few moments to decipher the emotion. It was anger. I was angry. Beyond angry. I was angry at myself for not packing the damn sweatband in the first place. I was angry at Logan for not trying to return it. It was undeniably an irrational anger, I knew. But I couldn't find myself caring. I was upset, and needed to do something. I needed to do something besides crying on the couch with my Mother. I didn't want to eat any more ice cream, or wallow anymore. I wanted to yell. I wanted to be upset with Logan for making it so difficult to walk away from him. Why did I have to love him so much, anyway?
The rain made the drive that much longer, and that only gave me more time to build up my anger in my head. When I finally got there, my blood was boiling. I threw the car into park, and jumped out into the wet street. I didn't let myself think about the look on Logan's face, or the memories I would face inside the door. I only thought of my silly, useless sweatband.
It felt completely ridiculous to knock on the door, but I forced myself to anyway. Why had I left the key when I moved out my stuff? I should have envisioned this moment. A few long moments later, I realized that no one was coming to the door. Where could Logan be, anyway? It was raining. Logan loved to go out in the rain. I could picture him now, playing mini golf in the rain with a nameless woman, who accepted Logan's love without question. The thought infuriated me that much more. No, Lorelai Huntzberger would not be ignored. I balled up my fist like Luke had taught me so many years ago, and put a hole in the window.
The glass shattered with a satisfying crunch. I carefully opened the door through the brand new hole. I had always known this house was way too easy to break into, and it was almost funny that I was the one to prove that. I was more than slightly wet, and trailed the mud on my shoes onto the carpet.
The look of the room stopped me dead in my tracks. The living room was in disarray, pillows and empty pizza boxes everywhere. I had a feeling that Colin and Finn definitely had something to do with this.
I instantly averted my eyes, not wanting to change seeing anything else just yet. I walked the familiar path to the bedroom without looking up once. I didn't particularly want to see our bed that we had shared for so long. I went straight to the box of unwanted clothes, looking for the sweatband. Where the hell was it?
My eyes scanned the room quickly, but my thoughts of the sweatband were dropped in the same instantly that my eyes locked with the picture that sat on the bed side table. I recognized it instantly. It was our wedding picture. I held the picture in my hands and drank it in with my eyes. I looked so happy in his arms. So ready to share our lives together.
What had happened to that? We had promised each other forever. And yet, I was calling it quits. It was my fault that it all fell apart, I knew that much to be true. I was the one who broke that promise, yet the hurt was astronomical. I had hurt Logan, and continued to hurt Logan with each and every move that I made.
We belonged together. I knew this to be true. It didn't have to make sense, or be plausible. It didn't have to be a good time to be with Logan, it just was. I had let this secret come in between us. I had done this, and I knew that I had to be the one to fix it. I felt stupid for not telling him in the first place. He deserved to know. I clutched the picture to my chest, and felt my heart beating roughly against it. I didn't know where Logan was, but I knew I needed to find him. I couldn't let another moment go passed without him.
I took off out the door, and didn't look back.
I can't even say I paid much attention to the road. My mind wasn't paying much attention to the cars in front of me, or the rain. In my head, I was with Logan. I was telling him my awful secret I kept from him for too long. I called his work trying to track him down, but he wasn't there. I called Finn, but he was too drunk to give me a straight answer. I settled for going home, at least to try to track him down.
I pulled the jeep into my Mom's usual spot. That was where I found him, standing in the rain at my window. Tears sprang to my eyes at the sight. I studied him, but I didn't have to wonder what he was doing here. He was here for me, and I was finally here for him.
"Logan?" I take a few quick steps closer, wanting to feel the warmth that comes from being in his presence. He turns around, and I know that I can no longer deny him.
My mind raced, and I can't seem to form coherent sentences. I know I need to say something, to tell this beautiful man standing soaking wet in front of me how sorry I am. How I will spend the rest of my life being sorry for breaking us. If only I can open my mouth to tell him this, maybe it can be the first step of fixing it. I inhale as I prepare to grovel.
"I can't stand it, Rory. I love you. I miss what I thought we both had. It was the type of love that people wait their whole lives for, Ace. You know it's true. I was there, I saw it every day. Your love for me. Our love for each other." He lets out a huff in frustration, wanting to reach out for her but instead settling for running his hands through his wet hair. "Is this really what you wanted to happen? Tell me it is, and I will leave you alone. I want you to have what will make you happy, but I can't function without knowing. Is there any chance left for us? Or should I walk away and forget the impact you've had on me?"
I was stunned back into silence. My impressive vocabulary was no help for me at that moment, because I didn't know of words to express what I felt for him. But I realized that the words weren't as important as the feeling behind them.
"I went to go find you. I didn't know it when I left, but I went looking for you. Not a sweatband."
His crisp brown eyes locked with my tear filled blue ones. I knew he didn't understand the reference of the sweatband, but he understood what I was saying. I went looking for him, just as he had come looking for me. The all-consuming look he wore burned with its intensity. It scared me. It had scared me from the start. But at that moment, nothing scared me more than the thought of being without Logan.
My feet moved on their own accord, and for that I was grateful. I launched myself into his arms unexpectedly. His feet slipped from under him and the next thing I knew, we were laying in the moistened ground. His accepting embrace did not loosen at the impact, nor the mud that was seeping into our pores. I felt completely safe in his arms. I had always been safe here. He was doing more than just embracing me. He was welcoming me back home.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." I rub my face against his neck, dying to be closer to him. I pressed myself against him, feeling his warmth through his cold soaking clothes and letting it comfort me.
"Ace, oh, my Ace. I missed you so much." He drinks in my skin, consuming every part of me he can reach. His hands roamed up my soaking wet back, into my hair and down my shoulders. As if he wants to memorize me once again. To make sure I didn't change too drastically in his absence.
His arms encircled my waist, and rolled us over until my back was pressed against the muddy grass. I was reminded of being a little girl, almost desperate for a rainy day. The rainy days brought the puddles that we practically asking to be jumped in. I most happily obliged. Those moments were just like this one in their pureness. Effortlessly happy in the mud, my heart fuller than it had ever been. I opened my eyes, unaware that they had been closed in the peaceful moment and focused on Logan's face. He was fixed on me, and gently swept his thumb across my cheek to wipe away the mud there. And then his lips were on mine.
Despite the cold air, his kiss was smoldering. It blew the lid off of all the control I had, and I could no longer think coherently. All I could focus on was his lips, and the way they parted mine to allow entrance with his tongue. Oh, the way his lips were pressed against mine. How could I try to deny our love, when the evidence of it was all in the way he kissed me? My hips involuntarily spasmed, thrusting against his. He groaned against my lips and I knew that I would take him on my front lawn, in the rain if I could manage it.
He pulled away from me ever so slightly, and I shrunk at the lack of contact. "Mm, Ace. As tempting as the thought of taking you right here is," He smiled at me, a sight I hadn't seen lately. It filled me with warmth and brought the blush to my cheeks.
"Let's go inside." I finished for him. As much as I wanted nothing more than to stay in this moment, I knew there was a lot he needed to hear. Logical thought started to seep into my brain once more and I had to tell him. If we had any chance of being putting back together. "We should talk."
He nodded, his expressive face showing his nervousness. I instantly felt sorry for making him think I could possibly live without him, when it was so obvious that I could do no such thing. He got up quickly, and offered me his hand. Once on my feet, I reached down to pick up the wedding picture that I had carelessly let fall in our embrace. He looked at me with questions in his eye, but didn't say anything. We took one step at a time getting into the house. Neither of us were in a rush, as if we both knew that this could possibly be the last few seconds of clarity before the storm of emotions that was surely to come.
He followed me into my childhood home, as the mud trailed its way behind us. I set down the photo on the first available surface. While his hand never leaving my body, he stared at it carefully. "Where did you get this?"
I avert my eyes away from him, feeling guilty in that moment. But the time for keeping things to myself was over. If I had any hopes for us, I had to tell him everything. A to Z. Soup to nuts. "I kind of broke into our house." I admitted, sucking my bottom lip into my mouth. Anything to stop the deep blush I was sure was apparent on my face.
"You broke into our house?" He asked, the look of confusion apparent on his handsome face. We had known each other a long time, and I knew he wasn't surprised by this confession. As a Gilmore, I left an endless string of questionable decisions. And as a Huntzberger, he expected no less from me.
"Yes. But little did I know what I was looking for was waiting for me here." I smiled a sweet smile at him, the one I gave him when I knew I had done something crazy.
He laughed lightheartedly, and my knees almost buckled at the sound. His hand reached up to cup my face, and I wanted nothing more than for my lips to be reacquainted with his. But I couldn't put this off anymore. He leaned down, just far enough for me to know that he wanted the same thing. Oh, if only a kiss would make everything better. I would spend the rest of my life kissing him. If only I was that lucky.
I pulled away ever so slightly, keeping my hands tight against his shoulders, but he doesn't let me. I sigh, hoping he will still want me after I spill my guts. He looks at me, his eyes so full of hope and disheartenment that it hurt to return his gaze. I pull us to my room, where we can sit and not ruin my Mother's furniture.
"I need to tell you why I left." The look of fear that he gave me was plain on his face, and it was enough to feel my heart break all over again. I cursed myself for keeping this from him for so long. At the time where we needed each other the most, I shut him out in favor of dealing with it myself. And now I could see how big of a mistake that really was. This man who was holding me loved me unlike anyone else. If anyone deserved to know, it was him.
"Do you remember when my Prius hit the big rig?"
He nodded slowly, studying me carefully for signs of distress. "You almost died."
I tried to swallow the thick, emotionally crushing knot in my throat. I instantly thought back to the moment where I woke up in the hospital. Logan was sitting next to me in the uncomfortable chair, eyes drooping. He looked like he hadn't slept in a lifetime, maybe more. He had squeezed my hand, so relieved to see that I was going to be okay. But I wasn't okay.
"I was pregnant." The words slipped from my lips before I had the courage to try to utter them. His hands never left me, but they were unmoving. He didn't even blink in those seconds, and I was suddenly afraid that he would pull away from me. He still hadn't said anything, but his grip on me loosened. I could see the wheels working in his mind. He was letting his thoughts get carried away with him.
"You weren't going to tell me." It wasn't a question. His eyes focused on me, and I could see the hurt that laid there. But I knew I had to tell him the truth, and beg for forgiveness.
"No, I wasn't going to." I hung my head in shame as his hands left my skin. He stepped away from me, letting his freed hands pull at his hair. "I wanted to. I just couldn't."
Not even a second went by, his voice becoming louder with each word. "You couldn't tell me that we had lost a child? Our child, Rory. Do you realize how unfair that is? I deserved to know."
I forced myself to push the tears away. I was in the wrong here, and no amount of tears would solve that. Part of me wanted to run, and hide away like I had been doing, but the look on Logan's face stopped me. He looked so utterly hurt, so filled with heartache and despair, I knew I'd spend the rest of my life making sure he never looked like that again.
"I'm sorry, Logan. I didn't want you to hurt like I was. You didn't know about it yet. There was no reason for you to know we lost what we barely had."
"No reason?" He asked me incredulously. "No reason? I'm your husband Rory. It was my baby too." He sat on my bed and put his face into his hands. I knew in that moment, I had broken his heart again.
I knew I had to make him understand. I had to make him understand that I did this for him. I kneeled in front of him, and rested my hands on his knees. "I should've told you." I admitted without a doubt. "But I didn't want you to have to look at me, and know that I had lost your baby." I took a deep breath that was meant to cleanse, but did nothing of the sort. "That I can't give you the babies that we wanted." He looked up at me, the shock clear as day on his face. But I couldn't stop the words from tumbling out of my mouth. "I didn't want you to have to realize that I failed at my most basic instinct- to protect our children."
I couldn't stop them after that. The tears came, falling one after the other in a cascading downpour that reminded me of my life. I let myself admit things that I hadn't had the emotional capacity to think about. "I can't have your children, Logan. And I didn't want you to hate me for it."
I buried my face into my hands, feeling the heavy sense of shame and guilt that had been eating away at me. The room was quiet besides the sounds of my sniffling sobs. After a few painfully tense moments, I felt Logan kneel next to me on the floor.
"You thought I would hate you?" He spoke slowly, as if each word hurt more than the last. When I couldn't make the confirming words come, I simply nodded my head as it lay hidden in my hands. Logan grabbed my wrists and pulled them away from my dirt and tear streaked face. I looked up at him cautiously, and softened at what I say there. He should have been angry with me. I had expected him to storm out, and to realize that maybe divorce was the best option. That he wouldn't want to be with someone who hadn't told him the truth, who had hurt him so much. Instead, I looked up and saw the tears falling from his handsome face. "Rory, nothing in this world could make me hate you."
I had only seen him cry twice in our more than a handful of years together. The first time was in joy, when Honored had given birth to our nephew. And even then, he fabricated that something was stuck in his eye. And the second was at his Grandfather's funeral, where he had held onto my hand so tight, as if I was the only thing keeping him standing there. And even those moments didn't compare to this. He wasn't hiding anything from me. He was allowing himself to be vulnerable as I was in that moment.
"I knew it a long time ago, Ace. That it would always be you I came back to. Nothing else matters. Not where we work, or where we live. It won't matter if we never have kids of our own, or if we decide to adopt a dozen. It wouldn't matter to me if we lived on a shrimp boat, out to sea where you'd have to stop shaving your leg hair. The point is that I love you, Rory. I have for a long time, and I'll never stop."
"Even if we'll never be a normal family? Don't you want that?" I saw the life we could have had, with a big house, and a yard. With blonde, blue eyed babies running around. They would trail in mud and read classic literature. And more importantly, they would have a complete family. A whole unit, like both Logan and I had missed out on.
Oh, and then he looked at me. That look he gave me, and I knew he wanted to devour me whole.
"Normal is boring. Normal is overrated. Normal is not why you love me." He said as he pulled me by my elbow closer to him, and laid those eloquently tender lips on mine. And I knew I was back home.
It was a remarkable feeling, to have your heart break and be put back together in the same stretched out handful of seconds. A moment, shared between two souls that had a sense of belonging to each other. Logan Huntzberger had saved me from myself more than once. He was my other half, and we completed each other in a way that no one else could. Here in his embrace I felt safe. I felt alive, and whole. And I knew as long as we held had this, I would never have to question it again.
Author's Note: So, what do we all think? Do you like where it was left off, or should there have been more? Leave a note and tell me what you think!
Also, I have another story in the works for anybody who is a fan of Glee. So, be on a look out for that. Thank you all!