Not the same

I frowned and wound my arms loosely around the taller, bigger body in front of my own. It just wasn't the same.

He stood, with his arms engulfing me in a confident manor whereas my arms lightly brushed over his sides hesitantly. It still wasn't the same.

I tried harder, giving it my all and laying my head against his collar bone. After all my efforts left me with the same empty, disappointed feeling I stepped back, resigning myself to the fact that it would never be the same.

"Hey kid." He said with a smile that I heavy-heartedly returned. I was trying and that was the best I could do. There was too much hurt, too much pain in the past that surrounded us. There were too many chances, missed opportunities and disappointments.

"Hey dad." I said, avoiding his eyes that were trying to meet mine, I wasn't going to do it; I wasn't going to let him in. I had come to do something and I would be persistent, unforgiving and relentless in my attack. All I had to do was avoid the gaze, not meet the puppy eyes that I had inherited.

"What brings you around? You wanna see GiGi? I mean she's asleep which, in itself is a blessing but at this hour, wow. I could always wake her up if you'd like." The uncomfortable ranting was inevitable, it happened every time; every time a silence presented itself or an uncomfortable situation arose, it's just how he works. A people pleaser I guess you'd call him, however he wasn't too good at the pleasing, just the trying to please.

I turned my head again, rubbing my neck and shaking my head that now rested at an odd angle. "No, let her sleep. I just... well I just needed to come here to tell you something, ask you something I guess."

He looked at me, taking in my awkward stance and telling face. I knew that he knew it wasn't going to be good, it never was. He'd come and I'd leap into his arms, being swung around like a little girl, even when I was only a head off of meeting his height, I would still leap at him and trust him to catch me. The upside, he always caught me, baring one time when I was six and leapt at him and he missed me, that one was my fault though, I should have noticed the unnatural glaze in his eyes that told of his drunken state. "Anything kid, what is it?" he was being patient, too patient and it was going to kill me to do this, to hurt him again.

I looked up at him and almost faltered but then I envisioned what was waiting for me when I got home and steeled myself for the onslaught. "I need you to stay away from mum." I said, closing my eyes and breathing in deeply though my nose, my senses going up in flames at the familiar smell of his aftershave. I remember one time when I was five; he had just left and forgotten his leather jacket at our house. I was so upset that I curled up in a ball, falling asleep to the smell of him and then waking up hours later to the jacket being ripped out of my grasp. It was him, he was in my bedroom, looking at me and I had hope, hope that he would stay if he saw my tears and red-rimmed eyes. He didn't and left without a word, even after I begged him to stay. That was the first time that he had asked mum to marry him on a visit and then promptly been declined.

Snapping back to the present I felt more resentment towards him. I opened my eyes and looked at his face as his mouth formed a little 'o' shape and he started to form my name. "No, no excuses. Mum is happy and I'm happy and I need you not to call her or see her or e-mail, smoke signal or text her. We're happy dad, we're happy and we don't need you to ruin that. Every time you come around you wreak havoc and mum picks up the pieces. It's not so bad when she's looking after me but when I go to bed she breaks down; she looses it and turns into someone other than mum. We deserve better than you, we have better than you. Mum has a new boyfriend, he's great, mum loves him and I love him. This is a dream come true and I need you to just do as I ask and stay away." I looked at the broken man before me and sighed, it hurt, it hurt both of us but it was for the best, everyone would benefit from my own personal decision.

"But Ror..." he tried to defend, "I've changed, I'm different now. I can be a father, heck I am being a father." It was desperate, the plea in his voice threatening to break down my barriers and make me give in. No, I internally argued, you are stronger than this Rory, do not let this get to you again.

I clamped my eyes closed and formed fists with my hands, trying to swallow some of my anger. Did he actually know what he was saying, I don't think it was intentional but it stung, did he see how I was fighting, arguing with the voice inside my head that told me to smash the lamp that was just behind him. It was something I had gotten, caught I guess. After a while things start to rub off on you and this one I was undecided on, I wasn't sure if it was one of the good qualities I had gotten off of... Well someone other than Chris. "Yeah, you are ready to be a father now, not when I was a child." I took another large breath and released my fists, using my flat palms to smooth out my green plaid skirt. I opened my eyes and smiled to myself but it was clearly visible to the man before me. "You weren't there but someone else was and now we're happy, Chris. We are happy and in no immediate danger of broken hearts so you need to just take my word and not come in contact with either of us from now on. It's what I want. I don't ask you for anything, ever but this is one thing I really need you to do for me, the last thing I need from you, the last thing I will ever say to you. I love you and now I need you to leave us alone."

With that I turned around and opened his door, steeling myself as I turned the knob and set foot out of his apartment, out of his life forever. When I finally got out of the apartment building the fresh air rushed over my face and I smiled. Pulling my coat tighter I trudged through the strong wind and over to my car. After buckling my belt and starting my Prius I took in the facts. I was free, free from his grasp, free from his emotional abuse and mental torment.

It took roughly thirty minutes to reach stars hollow and I headed straight home, looking upon the blue house I was grateful for all of the things in the world, the sun, the clouds, birds, bees, mum and Luke. Everything is just how it should be and I couldn't help smiling as I flung open my car door and then promptly slammed it as I ran up the porch steps and straight past the front door. I calmed myself as I walked through the foyer and into the lounge room. I spotted mum and smiled at her and continued on my search. I figured I should feel bad for mum as I ignored her quiet "hey Babe" as I continued.

Entering the kitchen I let a wide grin take over my face as my eyes rested on the figure in front of me and I jogged the last couple of steps left and leapt at him, flinging my arms around his neck and grinning as strong, comfortable arms engulfed me. As my feet landed gain, firmly on the ground I kept my grasp on him and continued to smile as my head rested on his strong, masculine shoulder. I rubbed my face against the soft flannel and delighted in the warmth that just one simple hug could bring.

"Hey Rory, is something wrong?" Luke enquired as he tried to pull out of the hug but I just held on tighter, making it impossible for him to get away from me, from this moment.

I silently and quickly fought an internal battle, trying to make a decision and a quick one at that. Finally coming to a decision I stood on my toes and lent up to Luke's ear as he slightly crouched so that I could reach it easier. I closed my eyes and took a breath in as I smiled slightly at the thought of what I was about to do. "I'm okay." I said and as I expected he followed my league and whispered back.

"Okay then, what is it?" I heard movement behind me and knew that what I was about to do would change everything forever, not only for me but for Luke and Mum also.

I dropped back onto my heels and continued to look up at Luke as the words formed in my mind and then came out of my mouth. "I just wanted to say that... I love you Daddy."

A smile bigger than anything I'd ever seen grace Luke's face lit up the room. I also noticed that all movement behind me ceased and a small gasp echoed through the quiet and cut into my ears.

"Rory..." Luke said, looking hesitant now, after looking over my shoulder for a second. Just from his tone and the fact that his smile had dimmed I knew that mum wasn't too happy.

"No, this is what I want." I said as I grinned again, hugged him close for another second and then turned to leave, brushing past mum and walking to the front door. As I entered the foyer I yelled back over my shoulder. "Bye Mum, bye Dad."