Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. Wish I did. They belong to Amy Sherman Palladino.
Summary: Some things are just meant to be. Forever.
Rating: PG - 13
~*~ ~*~ Forever ~*~ ~*~
When I was sixteen, I fell in love.
It's funny how at sixteen, it's always love.
She was a breath of fresh air in my cold, superficial existence. Soft blue eyes, chestnut hair, quirky ways and a beautiful smile. After hordes of girls pressed up against a locker or underneath me in the backseat of my car, she was the first girl I even liked without having to feel her up.
She was witty, smart and didn't give a damn about popularity or money. She was determined and headstrong. She wanted to go places. She dreamt of Harvard and journalism when most girls her age dreamt of frivolous things.
She drank coffee and read books. She wasn't athletic. She was chaste. I remember telling her she was odd. She thanked me for it.
She was late for a big Shakespeare test. She threw a fit and screamed at Paris Gellar, her rival, in the middle of the classroom. She spelt out her name for me.
It's funny how I realized how much I liked her at that moment.
She belonged to someone else. I hated him.
Then he dumped her, the idiot.
I kissed her. She cried. And we became friends – sort of.
I ruined it by being a jerk. And she went back to her bagboy boyfriend.
It's funny how love that we cannot have feels the strongest. It's funny how I didn't realize it was love until it was too late.
I played Romeo to her Juliet and she was furious about it. She told me that our one and only kiss meant nothing to her. It was a lie. Back then I didn't know that.
Then I left for military school, leaving her there smiling at me.
It's funny how you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Or what you could have had if you weren't so stupid.
We met up again, in college. Somehow, I had managed to forget she was attending Harvard. Paris said I had selective memory.
We met in the library, of course. She was doing well. We made a friendly date for coffee and after that, we waved at each other in passing, bantered if we ever got together in line at the coffee shop or left each other a teasing email when we had the time to get away from achieving our goals and chasing our dreams.
We attended a few parties in Hartford over Christmases with a different date each time.
Years passed and she called me one afternoon to tell me she was leaving for Europe on an assignment – her very first assignment as a journalist. I wished her good luck and told her to keep in touch.
We hardly ever did.
We met up in Ireland when where we were both vacationing one summer. She was with her mother and I was with my then longtime girlfriend Kate. The four of us had dinner one night before the Gilmores had to leave.
Rory gave me hug and a kiss on the cheek and told me she'd call.
She did. Once.
It's funny how when you least expect it, life throws you a curve ball.
"Tristan DuGrey," a familiar voice called out and I turned to face the owner, a smile curling my lips as our eyes met and memories came rushing back.
"Rory Gilmore. We meet again," I replied as I tucked a pencil behind my ear and took a step closer to where she stood.
She held her paper pad to her chest and looked at me with a smile, her head cocking to one side to avoid the sunlight glaring at her. She still looked beautiful. "We seem to 'meet again' a lot over the years."
It's funny how I had been just thinking the same. "Yeah, I guess so. So you're covering this story? Must be quite a drag from the exciting stories that you're used to covering."
She pouted slightly. It's funny how I still have to check the urge to kiss her. "I'm stuck with this."
"And you're an architect, like you wanted to be."
"I own a company. I've always loved working with my hands," I replied with a suggestive wink.
She smiled and shook her head in disbelief. "How is that you manage to answer an innocent question with some kind of lewd innuendo?"
"Years of practice."
She looked around at the people swarming around us - reporters, protestors and construction workers. Her mouth opened slightly, as realization dawned in her eyes. "You're tearing down the rec center."
I laughed and pocketed my hands in my suit and made a clucking noise with my tongue. "You just figured out that I was behind DuGrey Constructions? Gilmore, I thought you were smarter than that."
"Stop avoiding the accusation and answer me," she retorted with a huff.
"Tearing down is such a harsh expression," I joked and made a grand gesture with my hand to the run down building in front of me. "We're making progress, Rory. It's the wave of the future." I glanced down at her writing on her pad and grinned. "Are you quoting me?"
"I'm making myself a note to send you a get well soon card," she snapped back. "I can't believe you'd do this to the kids."
"I'm not doing anything to the kids. I'm just doing my job, Mary."
It's funny how some habits die hard.
"If these protestors get their wish, you won't have a contract," she stated smugly and penciled something on her pad again.
"Aren't you supposed to be writing impartially or something?" I asked as we headed towards the old building.
"Or something," she grinned in response. "I just like this place. You don't see a lot of these around anymore – especially in a place like Hartford."
"I guess not," I replied evasively.
"And you have no qualms about tearing it down?"
She studied my face, almost as if she disappointed in me. "Everything is business with you, isn't it?"
I grinned and slung my arm over her shoulder. "No it isn't. In fact, while we're both here in Hartford where it all started, I was wondering if you'd like to go out for a cup of coffee."
She looked down regretfully and I got that funny feeling of in the pit of my stomach. Rejection is such an ugly term to get used to. "I can't make it right now. I have to meet my grandmother in an hour."
"Then we'll make it dinner at seven," I replied smoothly. "That way I can show you that I'm not all about business."
"Like a date?" It's funny how she still seemed surprised at the idea of going on a date with me.
I nodded slowly. "Unless of course there is someone else in the picture."
She met my eyes and gave me a soft smile. "No, there's no one else. Hasn't been for a while. Yes, Tristan, I'd love to go out with you."
It's funny how right in the middle of an ordinary life love gives you a somewhat of a fairytale.
We went out that night. And I fell in love with her again.
We went out every night that week. And the next month. And eight more months after that. I moved to New York to take over as CEO of DuGrey Enterprises in the city and be with Rory, after endless nights alone and fighting with her about how are relationship struggled because of the distance.
It's funny how life has a way of working out for the better.
"Tristan, is that you?" she asked me as I entered the front door from the kitchen of her apartment in lower Manhattan. I wandered there to find her in an apron, a ladle in her hand as she stirred something in a pot. I looked at her funny. "What?"
"Yes, in some countries, they do that."
"But you never cook," I said and kissed the tip of her nose and then her lips.
"Lack of time."
"Oh, I thought it was lack of talent."
She smacked me on the chest with the back of her hand and turned back to her food. "Just for that, you won't get anything."
"So you'll let me starve on our special night?"
She nodded and then frowned. "Why is this a special night again?"
"Because I have a lot to say," I replied and before she could come up with a witty retort, I stopped her with another kiss. "And you're going to listen to every word."
We had dinner that night – she cooked exactly what we had for our first date, although her spaghetti sauce was a too hot and the pasta was a little undercooked. It's funny how when you love someone their cooking isn't that bad.
When she brought out dessert, Twinkies and Pop Tarts she called it, I reached for her hand and kissed it. She smiled and asked me what I was thinking.
"About how much I love you," I answered honestly.
She grinned. "What else?"
I smiled, reached into my pocket and produced a diamond ring. When we locked gazes, she had tears in her eyes. I slipped the ring on her finger. "And how I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?"
Her smile was brilliant. "Yes, I will."
It's funny how life has a way of dictating forever.