Story: Somebody Else's Page

Chapter: Everyone's Unhappy

Description: Rory/Logan. Slightly AU. What if Logan managed to take a little less time off during his college career and made it through without overlapping Rory's years at Yale? She's about to start her first internship at the Stamford Gazette, just as it's being taken over by the Huntzbergers.

Disclaimer: I write fan fiction. I own none of these characters. None of this happened on the show, which is the whole point of fan fiction. You get the idea.

The back door opened at five in the morning. She'd been alone, a fact she was grateful for in most respects, even though she'd gone to her mother's house for some camaraderie and moral support. Rory had driven down to Stars Hollow the evening prior, but found an empty house and no one with whom she could count on to either distract her or pour her guts out to, so she'd gone the route of keeping herself busy. She'd done five loads of laundry, including two of her mother's, made mac and cheese at three in the morning, and by the time her mother opened the back door that opened into the kitchen, Rory was seated at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee and a book in front of her, the spine cracked and creased from one prior read-through.

"You startled me," Rory accused, with a hand to her chest as Lorelai shut the door behind her, offering her daughter a quizzical look.

"Sorry. Pie?" she offered with the offering extended out in her hands.

Rory inspected the still-warm apple pie that her mother slid into the center of the kitchen table. "This is from Luke's."

Lorelai moved to pour herself a mug of fresh coffee. "You sound surprised."

"I'm surprised that he baked you a pie at this hour," she stipulated.

Lorelai turned with a pleased smile. "Yes, well, he's found it easier to reward me for waking up with him when he has early morning deliveries."

"Right," Rory said as she did her best not to concern herself with the ways he rewarded Lorelai that didn't involve pie.

"Is that for school?" Lorelai asked, inquiring about the book as she cut into the pie and put a slice on a small plate before putting it in front of her daughter without further askance about her hunger.

"Nope," Rory said succinctly, as she shut the book and slid it closer to her mother for closer inspection.

"Does that say…?" Lorelai asked, gripping the book now instead of the knife she'd used to divide the pie into pieces larger than most people might consider proper portion sizes.

"Yep."

"He wrote a book?"

"And it's good, before you ask."

Lorelai offered her daughter a sheepish look and returned the book. "You must have freaked when you came across this at the bookstore," Lorelai said, comfortable in her assumption.

"I would have, but he actually gave it to me when we saw each other last week," Rory said, digging into her pie with a fork rather than watching her mother's reaction.

"And now the daughter home without warning makes sense. What did he do this time?" Lorelai asked.

Rory shook her head. "It wasn't like that. It was… nice."

"Nice? Jess was nice?" Lorelai asked dubiously.

"He was always nice to me," Rory reminded. "Well, more so than anyone else."

Lorelai gave a half-snort of a laugh as she took her own bite of pie. "But he's gone now, right? Back to wherever it is moody writers like to hole up?"

"Philadelphia," Rory supplied. "And yes, he's gone back now."

"Why did you say now like that? Was he around for a while?"

"I saw him a couple of times. He came with me to this work thing I had, since we were both in New York."

Lorelai put her fork down. "What work thing. When were you in New York?"

"I told you, the party for Huntzberger Media, in Manhattan."

"The one your boss invited you to?"

"Apparently he invited everyone, not specifically me," Rory said pointedly.

"He could have invited everyone and still invited you specifically," Lorelai offered.

"No, it was my mistake, to think," Rory paused. "I told you, he and I weren't seeing each other like that. We weren't dating, we were just spending so much time together at the paper, and it bled over into a few off work hours, that's all."

"Were?" Lorelai asked, snagged on her use of past tense.

Rory stared down at her pie. "Yeah, that's over now. The paper is shut down, and I'm going to be reassigned for the duration of the semester."

"So, the boy wonder finally took it under?" Lorelai asked, having had a very narrow exposure of Logan and his ways, from her visit to Yale during the early part of his tenure at the paper in Stamford.

Rory tensed defensively. "It wasn't his fault. He was actually doing a great job. It wasn't his doing or his decision."

Lorelai held up a hand. "I think I need a few more details. So far I've got that Logan invited you and a few hundred other people to a party, to which you brought Jess, and now you're here alone with Jess' book."

Rory took in a breath and let it out slowly. "That's about it. Well, Jess kissed me."

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Of course he did. Did he tell you he loved you and take off again?"

"No," Rory said sourly. "We said goodbye, like adults. It was a cathartic moment, actually. At least, it was until Logan told me that he'd seen me and Jess kissing and called everything off between us because I didn't kiss him like I kissed Jess or something to that effect."

"Well, speaking from someone who had the unfortunate experience of seeing you and Jess kiss, it was enough to give a person heart failure. Maybe it's just because I'm your mother and his hand was up your shirt," she added.

"There's nothing between me and Jess anymore! Jess should not be the reason Logan and I aren't seeing each other."

Lorelai cocked her head to one side. "Is there a reason you and Logan shouldn't be seeing each other?"

"I don't know exactly."

Lorelai watched her daughter as she sat miserably across the table, with a plate of crumbs and her ex-boyfriend's book in front of her. "Have you tried calling him?"

Rory shook her head. "We fought at the party, and then he came over to my dorm the next morning. He was pretty clear that things between us were over. He's going on to his next assignment and I'll go to mine, and whatever else was between us is ending with the Stamford Eagle Gazette."

There was silence in the kitchen, as Lorelai surveyed her daughter's sleepless efforts. "Did you do my laundry?"

-X-

Logan opened the door in his robe and pajama pants, not bothering to engage in greetings before he turned and padded back to the couch in bare feet on the eco-friendly cork floor of his apartment. It wouldn't be his apartment for much longer, a fact he lamented for more than one reason. He was certain that his visitor had come with his packing orders. He picked up his bowl of cereal and flipped channels on the remote, stopping at CNN as his father shut the door and stood in the living room in his trench coat and suit, setting a scene that highlighted the basic differences between them.

"Is now a bad time?" Mitchum asked finally.

Logan glanced at his father before turning his attention back to the television. There was more unrest in the Middle East, a new event lost in a millennia of turmoil. His thoughts jumped to Rory, and how she said she aspired to be a foreign correspondent. She'd make if it she wanted it badly enough, but he couldn't say he was a fan of her racing through war zones in the name of journalistic endeavors. Some stories never changed.

"Do I look particularly busy to you?"

"Papers go under, Logan, no one thinks it's your fault. You certainly don't have to sit around acting as if you lost something you cherished."

Logan turned off the television and swiveled toward his father. "It's Saturday morning. I spent all week firing and reassigning people, and I'm tired. Not getting dressed before noon is a luxury I've earned today."

"That's all you're upset about?" Mitchum asked knowingly. "Firing and reassigning people?"

"I told you, Dad, I'm tired. If you could get to the point, I'd appreciate it."

"You're too young to be so tired. I'm here because your sister came for dinner last night."

"Oh, Jesus," Logan groaned as he stood up, taking his half-empty bowl to the kitchen sink.

Mitchum turned and followed him to the counter. "She was under the impression you were going through a break up."

"She's severely misinformed," Logan said tersely. "Which doesn't mix well with her overactive imagination."

Mitchum's eyebrows rose in surprise. "So are you dating someone or not?"

"Does it matter?" he shot back.

"Excuse me?"

"If I were dating someone, would that factor into your plans for me to go to London or Nebraska or anywhere else I don't currently live and work until you get bored and decide to move me along again?"

"If you were dating someone, I'd want to meet her."

"Well, luckily for that poor soul, I'm not dating anyone."

Mitchum ignored the slight. "Why did Honor think you were?"

"Why does Honor think anything? Maybe they were out of the shoes she wanted to buy and she decided to amuse herself by creating family drama. God knows it's been too long since we were all in the others' business, right?"

"I'm here because I'm concerned about you," his father said in an almost convincing tone.

Logan shook his head. "Spare me. Just tell me where I'm going so I can start to pack."

His father folded his hands together in front of him. "Actually, I was going to let you choose this time."

Logan did a double take. "Excuse me?"

Mitchum shot him a warning look. "You did a great job, albeit not what I had anticipated. You showed real promise at the business end of things, and I have a couple of positions that I want you to look at and decide what you'd rather be doing."

"You're serious?"

"I want you to enjoy your work, the way I do. I know it's hard, uprooting yourself time and again, having to constantly prove yourself to a new team, but it's like I've always said," he lectured, but his son had heard part of that speech time and time again.

"A leader leads, no matter the circumstances," he said without emotion.

"Your time is coming. I brought the details of each position for you to look over. Let me know by the end of the week."

A stack of paperwork appeared from his father's briefcase and landed on the kitchen counter, two stuffed folders no doubt filled with projections and expectations and target market potentials. It was all more of the same, in two different locations, but this time it all felt different because he got to make a choice. As if it all might be that simple.

-X-

Lorelai had offered to entertain her wayward daughter, to take her mind off the fact that there was more than one aspect of her life that was left undecided and hanging in the balance. She had to press on, to focus on school and her writing. They were the most important things, of that she was certain, and deserved nothing short of her all. She'd get word by mail most likely, of what paper was expecting her to show up and make copies and keep the coffee fresh for the remainder of her semester. It would be a let-down, she knew, after having been broken in in such an unusual office. Her new boss would be twenty years her senior and she'd be lucky if he remembered her name, let alone ever asked her to help with layout. Everything about her experience in Stamford had been extraordinary, from the trust her co-workers put in her hands to the late nights she spent with her editor in his bed.

It had all surpassed her expectations and left her a little disillusioned for finding anything that would truly take its place. She could be reassigned, but nothing could fill the void of what she'd lost.

She'd thought about just calling him to see if he knew where she was going to end up; to see if he knew where he was going to end up just so she'd have a mental image to start to get adjusted to for the near future. Honor had left a couple of messages, ones she intended to return, but things were a little too fresh to have a heartfelt conversation with his sister about the state of her affairs.

She found herself back at her dorm, wholly unentertained with Paris out with Doyle and a stack of reading to do for class lying in wait for her to tackle without her usual gusto. It was going to be a long, quiet night, and she decided that she was going to need coffee to get through it.

The campus was quiet, save for small groups and a handful of couples making their way to parties or wherever their next stop might take them. It was Saturday night, it seemed she was the only one who had done a months' worth of laundry the night before and was left alone to her own devices. She hadn't spent a Saturday night alone in quite some time, it occurred to her as she wandered alone. She'd barely been on campus, save for classes and the occasional dinner. For a casual relationship based primarily on sex, her time with Logan had been quite considerable. She'd spent so much of her life longing to wander hallowed halls of an Ivy League school, and now that she was there she had no time to relish in exploring it.

With coffee in hand, she took a long loop back to her dorm, passing by fountains and libraries, lit with the old street lights that had been in place for more than a hundred years. She felt safe out by herself, even though she'd been handed any number of pamphlets filled with lectures on the dangers of being out alone near or after dark. Twilight was looming, the sky a mix of purples and dark blues that would soon fade to black, just dark enough to trigger the sensor for exterior lights to help light the way around the buildings.

She rounded past a fountain that had been a class gift decades ago and stopped short as she saw a familiar form seated on the edge around the water. She took a halting step his direction, still undecided as to whether it would be best to walk away without him being the wiser that she'd had this sighting. All the times she failed to call when she wanted to bubbled up and pushed her to put one foot in front of the other until she was next to him.

"Logan?"

He looked up, surprised. He had a quarter in his hand, and he appeared to be in a state of deep thought. "Rory. Hey."

"You about to make a wish?" she asked, gently teasing him.

"I didn't think of that," he admitted as he considered the coin.

"What are you doing here, Logan?"

Her question wasn't accusatory; it was an honest question of curiosity. It was as if he'd appeared due to her thoughts luring him into her path.

"This spot is about halfway between my favorite bar off campus and my old dorm room. I would invariably get here about two fifteen in the morning and need to rest."

She smiled at him. "You're early."

He returned the amused smile. "Over time, it began to be a place I came to think, mostly at night, trip to the bar or not."

She sat down next to him, keeping a couple of feet between them for good measure. "It's quiet here, good for thinking."

He eyed her knowingly. "You can't steal my spot."

Her mouth dropped in an indignant, if mocking, manner. "You don't go here anymore. I might need a back-up for my spot."

"If you already have a spot, why aren't you in it?" he asked.

She shrugged. "I felt like fresh air."

"And the books in the antiquities department are rather musty, aren't they?" he added, calling her out.

It was her turn to be surprised. "How did you know?"

"You might as well have a sign flashing in neon over your head that says you love old books. I've seen what you keep under your bed."

She smiled at the ease of their conversation and the way he'd been able to make an assumption about a personal aspect of her that she didn't share with anyone. She felt he had the right, seeing as she was intruding on a private moment of his. "What's with the coin?"

"It's… just a decision I have to make."

"And it comes down to a coin toss? Must be a doozy."

"I thought I might save myself the trouble," he began. "But I've yet to flip it."

"I can go if you need to commune with the water or whatever it is you do out here."

He smiled. "You talk to those books, don't you? You and Euripides are old chums, aren't you?"

"That is between me and the books," she admonished playfully.

He smiled, in a genuinely sad way. "I've missed this."

She nodded and looked to see how many people had tossed coins in with hope, just after making a wish from their hearts. If he was out to make his decision based on logic, she was pretty sure he had all the wrong tools. "Yeah. Me too."

"I have a few days to flip the coin," he said, keeping his inner issues to himself, as always. "If you were interested in some company."

The offer struck her in the chest, leaving her in an impossible position. There was no right answer, no guide that would offer her what was best for their situation. She shouldn't spend an evening with him, as everything that had been between them was supposed to have dissolved. But she wouldn't get anything else done if she left him there alone at the fountain, doomed for a night of fitful sleep while wishing she'd taken the opportunity that might be her last. Suddenly the concept of sex with one's ex made perfect sense to her.

"That'd be nice. My place is empty," she said, giving him all the information he needed for the time being. He pocketed the coin as he stood up and offered her his then unoccupied hand.

-X-

He didn't buy into signs or miracles or any other far-fetched notions that gave cause to believe in a greater power in the universe. He had enough intervention in his life from his family—he didn't need the whole cosmos conspiring against him as well. Luck was another matter, but even that he attributed to a kind of karma, a system of checks and balances brought on by his own actions. So it was luck, seemingly undeserved and good, and not fate that had brought her in his path that evening in his estimation.

There were few coincidences in life, and her wandering aimlessly straight at him as he sat and pondered the direction of his life seemed too substantial to brush off in that way. He's spent most of his life hoping to be offered such a choice as the one weighing on his mind—and if he'd ever thought it possible, he would have never believed that he'd be so ill-equipped to make the decision.

The truth was, he wouldn't have even thought of going to the fountain to get a clearer head and a nudge toward his preference, if not for her and all the time he'd spent on campus with her of late. He didn't often seek out solace, but it had been a spot he'd sought out without fail whenever he was in need during his college years. It was solace he was in search of that night, but he didn't feel the wash of relief until he was walking the familiar path back to her room at her offering.

It wouldn't make his decision about work any easier, being with her even just one more time. It would serve as a complication, but the momentary break from trying to get a full breath that he'd been struggling with since their last meeting—that was what he needed most of all. If all else failed, he knew plenty of ways to steal her breath away.

Her place was empty of people, as promised. To her it was filled with reminders of her life—past, present, and hope for the future—and that could get overwhelming. To him, it was filled with the same aspects of her life, but he found the same collective inviting. It never failed, that kind of perspective shift.

He didn't bother making small talk or pretending the interlude was anything other than what it was. His desire was great, but he kept his hand modestly in hers until they reached her front building, allowing his arm to slide around her shoulders as they crested her hallway, and once she shut her front door behind them, he stopped monitoring his actions.

Her head went back against the wall in the common area as his hand slipped up under her shirt. His hands were full of her, grasping at her through under layers of fabric that were thin, but not thin enough for his satisfaction.

"Not here." She said the words, but she didn't sound like she cared where they were, as long as he kept doing what he was doing.

"Where would you like me to be?" he asked, knowing the double meaning of his question would not be lost on her.

"The bed," she managed, but her hips thrust up against his, giving him due pause from moving them with any due haste. He trailed one hand down her side, meaning to grip her hip to stay her, but he was tired of thinking and uninterested in being rational with her by then. He continued down, under the waist of her jeans. The fit was just loose enough to allow his fingers to move across the far more delicate cloth underneath.

She said his name then, a breathy mix of want and prompting. His decisions had shifted from living in one of two major cities to the difference between taking her on the spot or carrying her to her bed. In this instance, he saw no reason have to choose.

He didn't slow, and he wasn't about to stop, but when her eyes opened wide and fixed on him, he felt a whole speech bubble up in his throat. There was so much he wanted to tell her, to ask her; things he didn't feel he deserved to make her deal with. It took all his concentration to keep his pace, knowing from having been watching her expressions shift from enjoyment to the brink of satisfaction that she'd have just cause to inflict physical pain if he quit what he was doing right then to pour out his heart.

Her body went lax a while later, leaning into him for support, and he bent to slide an arm under her bare knees. Her arms cradled his shoulders as he lifted her up off the ground and stepped away from their discarded clothing to the warmer confines of her bed.

She giggled and turned her head into his chest as he nudged her door shut with his foot. "Paris will come home and freak when she sees a puddle of our clothes in the middle of the common room."

"Paris needs real problems," he disregarded the thought, perfectly content to slide under the covers next to her.

She didn't disagree, but he hadn't expected her to. She was lying back on the pillow, her hair billowed out around her like a messy halo of brown silk.

"Do you ever think about living somewhere else?" he asked as she considered him with those engrossing eyes of hers.

She frowned just enough to draw her eyebrows down. "You mean getting my own place?"

He shrugged. "Or living with someone else, anyone who isn't Paris," he amended.

She blew out a breath. "I don't know. I'm kind of immune to her by now. She reassuring, in a psychotic kind of way. But she and Doyle are talking about getting a place next year, so I guess I'll have to start looking at my options in a couple of months."

He'd start next week, but he didn't offer that information. "You should consider living off campus, since you have a car."

She nodded absently. "Yeah, maybe. But you didn't come over to discuss my housing options, did you?"

He hadn't. He knew he was a hair's breadth from asking her to help him make a decision. It didn't make sense; she wasn't at a place in her life to tether herself to someone like him, someone in his position—and he didn't need to hear her tell him that she wasn't interested in doing so. He should just enjoy the night, make his decision and go without looking back. And yet, he couldn't stop the next question. "Have you heard where your internship will be?"

She tensed against him. "Oh. Um, no, not yet. You haven't heard anything about it?"

He shook his head. "No, it's not up to me. They'll keep it local enough, though, since you're tied to Yale."

She fidgeted some more, her hand gently coming to rest on his forearm. "What about you?"

"We don't have to do this. You don't have to pretend to care where I'll end up."

She held his gaze without so much as a blink. "You know."

He gave a slight shake of his head. "Not yet, but it'll either be Boston or London."

"Your dad has to figure it out?" she surmised.

He looked at her intently. "No, he's letting me pick."

She had apparently be paying attention when he spoke about his father, because the surprise was evident instantly. "Oh. That's… nice?"

"I thought so at first. It feels less nice the longer I take to decide."

"Oh?" she asked, possibly innocently, but there was something in her voice that wanted to know more.

"My life is here. Boston would allow me to keep things relatively the same, except I'd have to move my home base. But I'd be able to stay in touch with my friends, and the job would be similar to what I was doing in Stamford."

She nodded, waiting for him to go on, to show her the flip side of the coin. "And London would let me start over, in a new place, doing something different. I'd be working with acquisitions and be in a different time zone than everyone else that I know."

"We went backpacking after high school," she said, smiling at the memory. "London was my favorite. I knew it would be—I've been reading books set there as long as I can remember. It always feels so magical, a place where you can do anything and be anyone. It didn't disappoint."

He smiled at her characterization of the city. "It's one thing to enjoy it for a visit, but would you want to pack up and move there at the drop of a hat?"

"My dad lives in Boston," she said, in no way answering his question, but giving him an entirely different kind of answer.

"You've never talked about your dad before," he said in a reverent tone.

"I don't often. I talk to him every few weeks, mostly about school and my mom, and he tries to email me once a week. He tries to keep tabs on me and makes sure I know he cares what I'm up to. We've had a strained relationship, despite all that. He wasn't really around until I was in high school."

"So you're not a fan of Boston," he offered lightly.

She gave a wry smile. "It's not my decision. It doesn't really matter what I'd do."

"Guess I'm back to the coin," he said with a heavy sigh.

She put a hand on his chest. "I'll be jealous if you choose London. I've always wanted to go back again."

"And if I choose Boston?" he asked.

She looked at him with those wide, wondering eyes again. "What do you mean?"

He sank down into her again, letting skin meld with hers. She was still hot and flush from their earlier encounter. Light pink stains ran across her collarbone and up her neck into her hairline. "If I go to Boston, would you want to visit me there, too?"

Her mouth opened in a state of speechlessness. He took the opportunity to kiss her. She responded, but once their lips broke apart, so did she. "I thought you were done with all of that. The paper and me."

"I should be. No matter what I choose, I'm leaving. I knew that going into Stamford, that it wouldn't last long, and that anything I did to keep things going as long as they did was just prolonging the inevitable."

"You worked so hard," she echoed. "You seemed happy."

"I was," he said, his voice hollowed with regret. "But it wasn't just because of the paper."

She was stricken at his admission. "You said," she began uneasily.

"I know what I said. I said it over and over, but it didn't make what I felt go away. I said it to you, to myself, to my sister, even to my father earlier today. I can say it as much as I want, but it doesn't keep me from being here with you now, not wanting to move to London because you'll be half a day behind me."

"I thought this was just what happens after people stop seeing each other. One last night, to tie up loose ends," she said out loud, but she seemed to be talking more to herself than him.

"I've never gone back to anyone else, not like this. So if this is what people do, people are crazy. I hate feeling this way."

She snapped her attention back to him then. "Feeling what way, exactly?"

"I miss you. I think about you and wonder if you're with that other guy or if you hate the way we left things as much as I do."

Her confusion didn't lift. "I told you, I'm not with that other guy."

His eyes closed in pain. "I saw you with him. I saw the way he looked at you, the way he touched you. The way he kissed you," he said pointedly.

"You're jealous, that's what this is about?" she pressed. She sat up, using her elbow to support her and her other arm slung protectively across her chest.

"I'm not jealous, I just didn't like seeing you with that guy. He couldn't keep his hands off of you."

She stared at him, aghast at his. "What do you think jealous means, anyway? Admit that this has nothing to do with you missing me and everything to do with the fact that your nose is out of joint because you think I'd rather be in his bed than yours."

"Are you sleeping with him?" he asked, unable to stop himself from asking. He'd had too much bottled up in regard to her, and once the dam broke any chance to salvage his dignity.

"You want to go there? You want to tell me who all you're sleeping with?" she deflected.

"I just want to be with you," he said, not really answering her. Being with someone else hadn't been though to take his mind off of her. He was doing the only thing that helped, being with her.

"Really? Or do you just want someone else to blame when you start resenting your new job?"

Her accusation hit him hard. "I tell you that you're a consideration for me when deciding whether or not to move out of the country, and that's what you take from it?" he asked coldly.

She shook her head sadly. "I've talked to Honor. She told me about how you never really have to worry about whether you fail or succeed, because you never get a choice in what you're doing. Your father picked your college, your internships, your jobs, and you screwed around during all of it because you could always blame him for his choices. You enjoy proving him wrong."

"You have no idea what you're talking about," he warned.

"It all makes sense to me. And now that he's giving you a choice, even just a small one, you don't want to accept responsibility, so you're suddenly interested in a real relationship that will make the choice for you? It's a little too convenient," she finished.

"You could have just told me you weren't interested and skipped all the psychoanalysis," he bit back.

"I'm not interested in being a scapegoat. If you really want to be with me, to give a real relationship a chance, then you're going to have to do better than this."

It was his turn to come away confused. "What does that even mean?"

Her eyes welled up a little, to the point he was afraid she might cry. He had little patience for crying women, but he would feel eternally guilty for making her cry because of his actions. And it was his fault that she was near tears, while naked in her own bed. "I can live with what we had being over, because we both agreed that it was what it was. And I can understand us having this backslide, or whatever you want to call it. But after this, I'm done. You can choose to go to London or Boston or Siberia for that matter, as long as it's what you want to do."

All he'd heard was two words. "You're done."

She put her hand on his arm. "I have missed you. I will continue to miss you. I would like to see if this could be more than what we allowed while we were working together, but if that's what you really want, then the ball's in your court. You're going to have to convince me that you want to do it right."

He was aghast, but intrigued. "You say all of that like it's simple."

She disagreed with a shake of her head. "I never said it would be easy, for either of us. I never claimed to be without my own issues or sure that we're compatible."

He let her words sink in. It was more of a challenge than anything, at least given the alternative. He sat in silence for a little while, taking her hand to turn it over in his. "What else did my sister tell you?"

She smiled secretively. "I'm not at liberty to break that confidence."

"It's no good, trying to protect your source, even in my family," he informed her.

"I like your sister. She's not like anyone else I've ever met," she said, her mood far better than her close call with waterworks.

"That's not necessarily a compliment," he snickered. "She means well, most of the time. I think," he said with a sigh. "I'm not used to my family being acquainted with a girl I'm seeing. If we do end up dating, their involvement will only get worse and more frequent."

"No one's forcing you to do anything here. I certainly don't want to be with a guy that's with me because he's trying to prove a point to himself or me or anyone else."

She was pulling back from him again, so he did the only thing he wanted to do. He tracked her movements and pressed his lips to hers, using his hands to gently cradle the back of her head and her back. Her resolve was strong, but even then she relaxed into him completely, giving into him as her fingers pushed up into his hair at the nape of his neck. He wanted to remind her why they might work, and he wanted one more memory should it all fall apart before they could give it a try.

-X-

She felt like a world-class idiot. She'd made a fool of herself before, on many occasions. Usually it was for a good cause at least, in the name of hometown pride or charity. But she had never in her whole life done something as dumb as asking a man of the likes of Logan Huntzberger to woo her.

Until last night, that is. She awoke the next morning alone, relieved and mortified. They'd spoken no more about the ultimatum she'd handed out—actually they'd not spoken at all after he'd kissed her and they finally had sex in her bed. And not only had they done it once, but twice; in addition to the interlude they had up against her common room wall made for a total of three times that night. She wasn't sure what kind of woman had sex three times in one evening with a man she was no longer seeing, but she was pretty sure that behavior wasn't congruent with telling him that unless he was ready to commit to her, it was the last chance he'd have to sleep with her. The truly awful thought that perhaps the three-peat was a case of him getting while the getting was good occurred to her and made her feel like an even bigger idiot.

She had no doubt that by now he was making plane reservations to get to London as soon as humanly possible. In her mind few people would choose Boston over London, but surely she had tipped the scales for his need for space. She had nothing against Boston—having spent years aspiring to attend college there—but for someone who grew bored as easily as he did, a new city in a new country with a new job had to sound far more appealing than hanging back and taking up with one of his former conquests.

She needed to shake it off. Perhaps it was unfair to draw such a line in the sand, but he had been no better in trying to use her to avoid making a decision that he didn't want to take responsibility for. She was akin to flipping a coin to him, and neither were tolerable methods of making big life decisions. He might as well have had a Magic 8 ball to help him in his plight. It was unlike him, someone with his kind of charm, confidence, and at times outright bravado. She'd seen him in action, and she knew that a little risk didn't scare him enough to make him blink, let alone back down. She wondered if he was scared at the idea of dating her in particular or if it was just commitment in general as his sister had said.

It didn't matter now, seeing as he was gone and she'd left the decision of their future up to him. He'd chosen to slip out in the night, without so much as a parting word. That told her enough; that she needed to get up and go on with her day and her life without him. She was grateful when her cell phone rang, calling her out of her negative self-examination.

"Rory Gilmore?"

She straightened up at the sound of the authoritative and cordially clipped voice. "Yes, speaking."

"This is Lydia, from Mitchum Huntzberger's office. I'm calling to arrange a meeting, is three o'clock this afternoon suitable for you?"

Her pulse sped up. "A meeting?"

"Yes, Mr. Huntzberger will be available this afternoon before he meets with the dean in the Yale School of Journalism about endowments. He would like to meet with you in his downtime regarding your internship placement."

She'd faltered, but quickly found her footing despite her confusion. "Oh, yes, of course. I can make that work."

Lydia offered the name of a coffee shop near the newspaper office on campus, a place Rory was well acquainted with, and thanked her before hanging up to make plans that would no doubt fill the man's schedule from now to the end of time. Calling Logan to find out why his father, a very busy man who employed an army of people that could have sent her word via mail, email, or singing telegram as to where she'd be placed, was meeting with her in person was out of the question. But she couldn't wait around, chewing her fingernails down to nothing, until three in the afternoon wondering why he would even bother speaking to an intern about such a trivial matter. She knew that while her placement was a huge deal in her own life, from being chosen in the first place to the way working in Stamford with Logan had commandeered her life for a while, to now being moved elsewhere—it meant nothing to a man like Mitchum Huntzberger. He had an empire to run, and she'd been lucky to chat with him at a party for even five minutes. The only reason she might have stuck out in his mind was the fact that Honor had made the introductions.

It was time to return one Honor Huntzberger's phone call.