A/N: I know I'm horrible at updating and if you're reading this thank you so, so much with sticking with this story and continuing to read it. I was hoping to get this one out to you during the holidays but two kids out of school and the holidays equals no time. Oh well.
Just some reading notes for you to keep an eyes out for. The first part is the present (same time as the prologue so post fight) and the latter part is about six months prior. There is also an italicized portion during the past section that is a memory of an earlier conversation. Hope that isn't too confusing but I think you guys will get it.
Please, please review and please stick with me. I know I'm slow. I'll try to get better.
Slouched on the bar stool in front of my scotch, I contemplate again whether or not I should go home. The idea had crossed my mind several times. I know I should but I can't seem to pick myself up from this barstool and move. I'm afraid to go home. Afraid of what awaits me when I walk through that door. The scenarios running through my head are endless.
There is the possibility that I could go home and that Rory would greet me, apologize and say it was all just a misunderstanding and I would apologize for being so stupid and then we spend the rest of the night appropriately making up. This was option that I wished the most would happen but in my head I knew it wasn't logical because as I continue to sit here and think more about it, yeah we could both say we were sorry but that didn't mean our problems were automatically gone, and it felt like after tonight we had more problems than either of us were previously aware of.
Then there is the possibility that I could go home and find Rory's stuff completely cleared out with a note saying she went to Stars Hallow to think. This possibility is the one that has given me the most cause for pause from leaving this barstool and the one I believe was the most plausible...unfortunately. Rory by her own admission was a runner although this time it looked like maybe I had done the running.
"Thought I'd find you here mate."
"Finn." I say without turning to look at him, finally taking another sip of my drink. "Did she call you?"
"By she, I'm assuming you're referring to your lovely fiancé, then yes she called me to find you and bring you home." Finn said as the bartender set a drink in front of him. "So care to tell me what you're doing here."
"Since you spoke to Rory I'm assuming she already told you."
"She told me you got into a fight and that there was some sort of misunderstanding, but I'd rather here what happened from you." he said taking a sip from his drink, "so care to tell me what happened."
"Just leave it Finn." I say downing the rest of my drink before putting my hand out, calling the bartender for another one. He looks to Finn who nods his head before pouring me another scotch. "I need your permission to drink now?"
"No, but I'm guessing you've been here awhile and I doubt the bartender wants to lose his license if you end up killing yourself by way of alcohol poisoning or doing something stupid because you've been drowning your sorrows in a bottle of scotch." he comments and I just stare at the amber liquid in the glass the bartender has set in front of me.
"What did she say?" I ask after a few moments of silence.
He sighs then stares at me until I look in his direction. "She told me that she told you that she wanted to postpone the wedding and that you got in a fight and that she told you about her offer from CNN and that you left and she hadn't seen you since."
"That's it? She didn't say anything else?"
"Does it matter what she said mate, she was crying on the phone clearly upset."
I sigh feeling a twinge of guilt creep through me at the mention of Rory crying and put my head on the bar feeling defeated. "I don't know what to do Finn."
"What happened mate?" He prodded. "If I know the two of you, there is nothing that the two of you can't get over. I'm sure this all just a misunderstanding and the two of you can get through this."
"I don't know if that's possible this time Finn. I don't know if we can come back from this one." I say dejectedly.
"Sure you can. You guys spent five years apart, fought your demons and still came back together." he said sound upbeat.
"I don't think we ever actually ever overcame any of those demons. Just said we were good, pushed aside whatever doubts we had aside and now they've come back." I say.
"Ok you need to tell me what happened. What makes you think that this time is different, that you can't come back from this." he asks.
"I've taken over the empire…"
"And…" he asks looking at me oddly, clearly not understanding. "You both knew when you got back together you were going to take over one day."
"Yes but not until years later when we had already married, had a few kids, when Rory was completely settled in her career and definitely not under these circumstances. The fact that it's happening all now, before we're married has just given Rory time to think and the fact is the future I had to offer her six months ago isn't as fabulous as the one I have to offer right now."
"Rory loves you mate, she wants to be with you."
"She wants to postpone the wedding because she has doubts Finn and because CNN offered her the opportunity to do what she always wanted to do." I counter. "I'm the guy that she has loved who now has broken every promise that I have made to her."
"And again I say, Rory loves you, she wants to be with you, this is all just one big misunderstanding."
"Maybe and maybe love just isn't enough anymore."
A few months earlier
"Mom!" I yelled out when I spotted my mother as I entered the police station with Rory in tow. "Where's dad? What's going on?"
"Oh Logan, Rory I'm so glad you're here. It's just absolutely awful." Shira said as Logan pulled her into a hug. "
"Mom, calm down what's going on, what happened?" I ask walking with my mom and Rory to an empty corner.
"They arrested your father because they say he assaulted one of his business associates!" Shira exclaimed.
"Dad did what?" I exclaimed completely confused.
"I'm not entirely sure what happened because they won't let me see him, but Michael is in with him now and apparently they had dinner and then they had drinks and then something happened and your father got upset and started hitting him." My mother explained dabbing at her eyes.
My father got in a fight. Mitchum got in a fist fight with someone. Something definitely wasn't right here.
"Ok mom, you have to be honest with here. There's something going on with dad that neither of you want anyone knowing about isn't there?" I say and my mother looks away and starts biting her lip nervously but I grab her chin and force her to look at me. "Mom, tell me…now."
"Logan." Rory says touching my arm in an attempt to calm me down.
I sigh and run my hands through my hair before leading my mom to some empty seats. "Mom you need to tell me what's going on. I know dad has been acting strangely lately, he seems to be forgetting things more and more and when I've tried to talk to him about it he shuts me down. He basically has refused to talk to me. When Rory saw him earlier with who I'm assuming is the business associate he assaulted he got confused for a second and called her Anna. So come on mom, tell me what's going on."
My mom's lip begins to quiver and she dabs her eyes, "Your father didn't want to say anything until he absolutely had to, but I suppose it's all for naught now. I told him he should tell you but you know your father he's so stubborn and now…"
"Mom just tell me what's happening." I say getting frustrated and I feel Rory's hand on my shoulder again and it instantly has the calming effect I'm sure she intended it to have.
"Logan your father…your father he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's."
And there it was. It was what I had been expecting but it didn't still stop the wind from seemingly being knocked out of me at the same time. Alzheimer's. My father had Alzheimer's. In that moment I knew that life wasn't going to be the same again.
It was dawn by the time Rory and I made it back home. Neither of us spoke on the way home or as we exhaustedly crawled into bed, but neither of us went right to sleep either even though we were both physically and emotionally drained. My head was spinning with thoughts of everything that had transpired this evening or rather in the early morning hours.
Luckily for us dad's business associate had refused to press charges against dad and he was free to go home, and thankfully I was able to keep the news of my dad's fight at bay because media tycoon Mitchum Huntzberger getting into a fight would have definitely been front page news. One of the perks of owning a publishing empire, sometimes you could control the news before it got too far. Sometimes.
I was grateful that it was a weekend and that I could hold off on my new reality for a little while. I could feel the weight of it creeping up on me though and that scared me. I turned my head to look at Rory who was staring up at the ceiling and I could tell she was deep in thought. I wondered what she was thinking about. I know my father's news shocked her too despite the fact that she already suspected. I turned back to look at the ceiling as well thinking about the conversation with my dad and wondering what was going to happen next.
"Why didn't you tell me what was going on with you, dad?" I asked him feeling annoyed and off balance and I felt Rory put a comforting hand on my arm. I looked to her beside me and took a calming breath and put my hand on hers.
I looked around the room at the others. We were in my parents' penthouse in New York City, Honor and Josh had joined us and Honor was silently crying with my mother on one of the couches with Josh standing unsurely behind them, my father's attorney was on another looking troubled, I was sure why he was here but my father had insisted, and my father was standing out to the far side of the room looking out the window before he turned to look at me.
"I wanted to. I meant to I did, but I don't know call it denial or just putting off the inevitable. I meant to tell the two of you." he said looking at both Honor and me, "but I just kept finding reasons to put it off."
"Like what dad? What could be more important than us knowing that you have Alzheimer's?" I prod feeling myself become more agitated. "I'm sorry but as your children I think you should have told us the minute you found out."
"I didn't want to burden you with this."
"Daddy you aren't a burden on us." Honor said sniffling.
He smiled at her sadly, "Maybe you don't think so Honor but for me I would be. When have you ever seen me ask any of you for help personally? I'm Mitchum Huntzberger, I'm supposed to be indestructible. This disease it changes everything for me and for all of you. I needed time to deal with it on my own. I knew I had it and I was trying to take the appropriate steps to slow down the progress since no one knows exactly how quickly this disease progresses. I meant to tell you but days turned into months and I just kept finding excuses to not tell you, telling myself it wasn't the right time."
"Ok I get all that dad, but why didn't you tell us this earlier? We could have helped you." Honor said. "How far has it progressed?"
"When I was diagnosed it was Stage two, early enough I guess. The doctor's say I've probably now progressed to stage four. It's getting worse." he explains.
"Jeez dad, how long have you known about this?" I ask.
"For about a year." he says sighing after a moment. "Just my doctors and I knew about it until I was forced to tell your mother a couple of months ago after an episode and well Michael found out a couple of weeks ago."
"A year…" I repeat not sure of how to feel and then sudden realization hits me, "that's when you started encouraging me to work less and actually have a personal life outside of the office, that's when you started pushing me to do the revamp at the Chicago Post-Daily because you knew that Rory was there, it's when you started working less and started spending more time with all of us."
"Everyone in this room knows that I have never been the best husband and father and when something like this happens you realize how much you missed out on and what you could be missing out on and I just…"
"Oh daddy." Honor says flying up off the couch before wrapping her arms around our father. Beside me I feel Rory squeeze my arm and place her head on my shoulder.
After a minute my father releases Honor before looking to each of us again, "I wanted to tell you, but you were happy and I didn't want to put a damper on that all. Things have been good for us as a family, maybe for the first time ever." he says smiling and his face changes from sadness to seriousness before turning to look directly at me "It's become increasingly clear that the disease has progressed and I'm forgetting things more and more and I…I just can't be effective anymore." he says frowning. "I don't think…no, I know especially after tonight I am no longer able to effectively be in charge of Huntzberger Publishing Group."
I hear a gasp from Rory beside me but even though deep down inside I know what my father is talking about and I knew this was coming, in that very moment I am unable to comprehend just what exactly he is saying.
"You're up Logan." My father says when I don't say anything. "Effective immediately you are now the CEO of the entire of Huntzberger empire."
"I don't know what to do."
"About what exactly?" Rory asks turning her head to look at me.
"I don't know how I'm supposed to run the entire empire. I know it's what I've been groomed for my entire life but now I'm it, it's just me and I just…my father has always been right behind me, guiding me, making sure I didn't mess up too much and now…"
"Your father is still there Logan and I don't think Mitchum has had to fix any of your mistakes in quite a long time. Just because he's stepping down and he has Alzheimer's doesn't mean he's gone." Rory points out sitting up, "and you know what to do you're just unsure and surprised because you didn't see this coming so soon but you know what to do. You've been beyond successful with Huntzberger Media Ventures for awhile now. Hell, you've taken your family's outdated news media company out of its funk and revitalize to be the standard for news in the 21st century. Everyone, even you knew you were going to take over the empire eventually, so it's been moved up, big deal. You can do this Logan."
"Your faith in me is awe inspiring." I say smirking and she slugs my arm.
"I know this isn't ideal, especially with everything going on with your dad, but you taking over the family business is probably the easiest thing about this whole situation." she says.
"You really believe that?" I say doubtfully.
"You're good at what you do Logan. HPG is in good hands with you, you're going to keep pushing this company to the next level so that it's ready for our son or daughter to take over one day." she says smiling.
"Our son or daughter?" I say raising my eyebrows. "I thought you wanted our children to choose their own future."
"I do, but I'm pretty sure we're going to have at least one that decides they want to take over the family business. They will be Huntzbergers after all." she says smiling and I pull her to me in a sweet gentle kiss before pulling her into a hug and kissing her forehead, holding her close.
"I know you knew I was going to take over eventually but this wasn't supposed to happen until years down the road, definitely not when we were just starting out. I know you believe I can handle this and that much won't change but it's going to be me in charge of both companies now and I'm probably going to be really busy for awhile. Things are going to change Ace."
"Logan I get that, there's no need to warn me…"
"But there is Ace. This isn't exactly what you signed up for, a future father-in-law with Alzheimer's and a most likely absent fiancé. If you want to Ace, you can take an out right now." I say looking at her as she sits back up. "I wouldn't blame you for wanting to bail."
"Logan Huntzberger you have had said some really stupid and idiotic things to me in your life, but this is probably the most idiotic. I love you and when I said I'd marry you, that was me telling you that I wanted to be with you through everything, the good and the bad whether or not I actually said the vows or not. I'm in this with you Logan, I'm not going anywhere, you need to trust that I'm not going to say it again."
I looked at her trying to find any trace of doubt in her eyes but I find none. "Ok as long as you're sure."
"Didn't I just tell you I wouldn't say it again Huntzberger."
"Ok, ok." I say putting my hands up in the air in mock surrender before pulling her back to me.
"We're a team Logan. We'll get through this together, I'm not going anywhere."
"Good. Me either."
A/N: Please review.
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