Story: Somebody Else's Page
Chapter: Our Ideas Held No Water
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.
AN: Sorry for the delay. RL stuff got louder than the character voices. We're moving (we're in a very long process of moving) so I've basically been writing when I can, but it's not as often as I'd like. I haven't abandoned any fics, they're not just getting updated as fast as usual at the moment.
The drapes were pulled wide open, offering not much more than a dull grey glow to the room. She stood holding a cup of coffee in both hands, clutching it close to her chest for easy sipping access and added heat while staring out at the view. She was joined, the noises of his body shifting on the mattress and his feet hitting the floor the only sounds in the room. He stood next to her, shoulder to shoulder and squinted at the overcast sky.
She smiled, not looking at him but the city. "It's London."
"I can't see living in a city where it rains so much."
"You'd get used to it. You'd just get better rain gear."
"I hate hats."
She turned to look at him curiously. "You hate hats?"
"I just don't like wearing them," he said with a wide yawn. "Why are you even up, aren't you jet-lagged?"
She lifted the cup a little. "Hence the coffee. It's best to acclimate yourself right away, and we only have a week in London. I don't want to waste a whole day sleeping," she explained, the very idea unthinkable to her mind.
"What's to miss?" he asked skeptically.
Her mouth dropped open. "Get dressed. I'll show you what London has to offer."
He turned toward her, brushing his arm with hers. "Or you could get undressed and come back to bed. Maybe then I'd have a good time in London."
She could feel his eyes on her, roaming down her body, and felt her involuntary response from head to toe. They'd shared a bed for some of the night prior, but she knew that at one point he'd gotten up and occupied the couch in the suite. Exhaustion must have caught up with him, as he was passed out a good six inches from her when she woke up and noticed that the day had dawned, even without the sun visible in the morning sky.
"You know what I think?" she asked, her own eyes straying to his half-covered form. She'd noticed that he rarely wore a shirt at night, and last night had been no exception.
"I think that London is a far more romantic city than Paris."
He raised an eyebrow, and no doubt he was ready to let her persuade him. "Why is that?"
"Look at the literary history of the two," she offered, pulling the cup up to her lips in effort to avoid kissing him. He hadn't backed off, and even without using his hands he was overwhelming her senses. He was soaking up her personal space, and she found it hard to concentrate on the heat and aroma of her coffee when he offered an equally appealing heat and was practically dousing her in pheromones. She had no idea how she'd last the week and hold out when he chose not to exit the bed upon feeling tempted and was rested enough to act on said temptation. She reminded herself silently that this week was not about sex. She had agreed to help him, and giving into carnal desires wasn't the help he needed.
"You're not going to delve into the wonders of Victorian literature, are you?" he asked in a half cry.
"I could," she said, the offer just as much of a threat as a helpful gesture.
"Is that your offer to lull me back to sleep?" he asked, his boyishly charming smile not helping her quell any desire that had surfaced, even though he was insulting her.
"You brought me with you to help you explore the city. You don't have any meetings until tomorrow, so today is our best shot at getting your feet wet."
"Because we'll be walking in the rain?" he joked.
She looked into his eyes. "I thought you wanted me here to help you."
He sobered at her brevity. "I'm not going to fall in love with London. I've never been in a city that has enamored me in that way. It's just not something I do."
Now her scrutiny mixed with curiosity. "Because you don't fall in love, right?"
He flinched. "Rory, I haven't lied to you. In fact, I've been extraordinarily truthful with you. I'm talking the kind of honesty that I reserve for myself in moments of adversity. When I told you that I don't fall in love, I meant it. I believed it to be true."
"Believed it to be true?" she asked, focused on his choice of verb tense.
She faltered. "What do you believe now?"
He glanced away from her, turning back toward the spotless window. "I believe that I should be glad to be choosing between London and Boston."
"What does that have to do with love?" she asked boldly. She knew she was pushing him further than his comfort zone, but she got the feeling he hadn't been comfortable in some time. He seemed raw and unguarded.
"Why did you come with me?" he asked, not giving her the kind of answer she'd anticipated.
"You asked me to."
"Rory, come on," he said, closing his eyes.
"What? You did. You wanted me to come. We agreed that we'd use the time to see what was between us, which I took to mean that you don't know how you feel about me."
He opened his eyes. "It's not that I'm not sure if I feel something for you. It's coming to terms with what the feeling is."
"Is this some kind of game to you?" she asked harshly.
"It's exactly the opposite, actually," he argued.
"Because it sounds to me like you're afraid of whatever it is you think you feel for me, which makes me wonder why it's necessary for me to hang around while you decide whether or not it's worth your time to face your fears."
His jaw set in a firm line. "Is that what Honor told you?"
"No, it's what you make me feel like, and I don't like it," she said harshly, not bothering to hold back the sharp edges of her inner turmoil.
"Then why did you come?"
Her anger had surfaced and was ready to spill out of her. She put her coffee cup down on the nightstand and whipped around to face him again. "You. Asked. Me. To!"
"You can't pretend like your feelings have nothing to do with this!" he shouted.
"Do they? Does it even matter how I feel about you?" she yelled back.
"Of course it matters! I need to know if you're here on spring break in London or because you hate that our time together in Stamford is over and you want a future with me too."
Her fury was calmed, as she stood blinking at him. It was impossible to be angry when all the air had left not only her body but the room. "You want a future with me?"
He used to be able to count on common sense and a general sense of self-preservation to guide his speech, but all bets were off when he was in the heat of the moment with her. He never knew what he'd say next, but he knew it would be the truth. It was never an easy truth, either, it was the personal, painful kind that he didn't even like to admit to himself.
He could see the shock on her face, and he knew it would be easy, kind even, to backtrack. But he couldn't lie to her, to save either of them a little discomfort. "I don't want what we have to end. I told you that."
"That is a lot different than wanting a future together and you know it," she said, still appearing good and shell-shocked.
"I'm trying to do what you asked of me, what you want me to do. I had to go and take a cold shower and try to sleep on the sofa, just so I could think about anything other than you last night."
"Then we should get separate rooms, if it's such an inconvenience for you," she said, her words not unlike little razors.
"I don't want separate rooms. I asked you here to spend time with you, not to spend more time apart from you. Surely that much was plain when you agreed to come with me."
"If we have sex, then that's all that will happen this week," she blurted out.
He willed himself not to smile as her words filled him with satisfaction. "Oh really?"
She, however, was not amused. "If sex is all you want from me, then you don't need me. I'm sure there are plenty of women in London and Boston that can take my place."
"I don't want to have sex with anyone else," he replied, feeling selfish at the admission. "Is that why you suggested not having sex? You thought I'd grow bored and move on?"
She shrugged a shoulder. "It wasn't a conscious reason, but maybe, a little," she admitted.
"If we do this, I want you to know that I'll be fully committed."
"If we do this, it will be hard, Logan. Long distance, really, even with you in Boston. It wouldn't be like before, seeing each other twice a week, with easy drop-ins whenever the mood struck you. You would be giving up sex, just like this week, because I wouldn't always be around when the mood strikes."
"I can go without sex," he said adamantly.
"Logan, I need you to employ some of that brutal honesty now. It's okay to enjoy sex and to want it. I do. And if you're used to having it whenever you want it, then it can be hard to suddenly have to wait for it."
"What makes you think I've never had to go without it before?" he demanded.
She blushed and shifted her weight. "Honor mentioned something to that fact."
"My sister should not be your source of information about my sex life," he said at a near growl.
"Don't be mad at her. She was being nice to me."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," he said.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means if we're going to have a relationship, it has to be between us, separate from you working for my dad or hanging out with my sister."
"You want me to cut ties with your family to date you?" she asked, clearly not excited by the possibility.
"Not cut ties, just keep them removed from one another. It's in your best interest, believe me."
"I don't understand. Do you really not trust them at all?" she asked, bewildered.
"It's complicated. Over time, you'll understand, but I can't explain much more right now."
"Maybe it's too complicated," she offered, testing him.
"Maybe it is. But we're here, and I'll do whatever you want if you agree to give this a shot."
She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. Her brow furrowed and she looked out again at the skyline over the Thames. "We should get dressed. The city's waiting."
"You'll still be my tour guide?" he asked.
She let out a breath. "I can show you my favorite parts of London. I can't show you how to be in love."
"If it's as romantic as you say, one might take care of the other," he said, his words once again giving him away.
If she had a reaction to what he said, she kept her emotions in check. She heard him, he was sure, but she simply nodded. "I'll get dressed. We should probably get breakfast first, we'll be doing a lot of walking."
He was spent as he watched her gather her clothes and disappear into the bathroom. He sat down on the edge of the bed, wondering just what he was about to put himself through.
London had been her first experience of knowing a city before she'd ever seen it with her own eyes. Her first visit had been as if she'd been putting together pieces of a grand puzzle she'd known only as pages from books. She was glad to get another chance to wander around and rediscover places she'd first been in her imagination. She'd fallen in love with London years ago, but she was wary of falling in love with Logan. Even scarier was the notion of him falling in love with her.
"Where to next?" he asked, pulling his jacket closed and securing the buttons.
She kept her pace steady, not wanting to buckle to the urge to slow down or slip into any of the numerous alleys provided on the streets of London. His honesty had freaked her out, but she was also wont to let him act on these feelings he'd developed for her. They hadn't been intimate since his supposed realization, and she had a feeling that giving into their increasing desires would seal their fate. They'd enter into something more serious, whether it was to their benefit or their detriment. She wasn't sure she was ready for that, and so she was glad he had remained true to his word. He might try to wear her down, but he'd not make the first move. She would just have to be strong.
"It's the oldest bookstore in the city," she said, keeping her eyes ahead of her.
"That should have been my first guess," he said with easy familiarity. He thought he knew her, or at least enough about her. She would have to prove to him that he'd only gotten a glimpse of her life. Knowing her body was not the same as knowing her mind.
"The city is full of possibilities. If you'd rather go somewhere else," she offered.
He slipped his hand into hers, his grip easing her back in effort to slow her steps. She stared down at their joined hands as if it were a mild disruption. "I want to see your favorite places."
"It's boggling, the history of the building alone. If the opportunity presented itself, I'd probably upturn my whole life and work there as a shopkeeper."
She'd matched his steps, walking along with her hand still firmly entwined with his. At least she was wearing gloves, keeping their skin from igniting some kind of nuclear reaction. "Does anyone use the term shopkeeper anymore?" he pondered.
"I do," she said. "I don't think enough people appreciate the origins of language, the way it's evolved. They say what they say, and they don't worry about how it came to be."
"It's a good thing we have people like you around to keep us in line," he complimented her.
"I just hate that so many people talk in text speak. No one is going to broaden their minds by using the same, tired abbreviations over and over."
"I can attest to the loquacious nature of your texts," he said, drawing her memory away from London and to the act he was referring to.
"That's embarrassing," she said, her final word on the matter.
"Believe me, that was nothing to be embarrassed about. It was sexy."
She ducked her chin, turning her head just enough to look at him finally. "Yeah?"
"I was at the office that night, trying to work on budget reports."
She eyed him curiously. "We were texting back and forth until three."
"I didn't say I got any work done," he explained with a pleased smirk.
"I didn't mean to distract you," she said, feeling guilty at keeping him from a job that now didn't exist.
He laughed. "Were you able to get anything else accomplished that night?"
She blushed then, heat rushing to her cheeks as she remembered exactly what she'd felt and done while she read his responses—his suggestions. "I… no, I didn't."
"Rory?" he asked, ready to make a serious inquiry.
She stopped then with him, on the sidewalk. They were nearing an intersection and not far from their destination. The store was up ahead, in a mishmash of buildings that were crammed together in a row.
"Can I kiss you?"
Her heart leapt up, causing her to feel dangerously unstable. "Um, I guess so."
He leaned in, not to kiss her but to speak. "If you'd rather I didn't, I won't."
"A kiss is okay," she assured him quickly, not wanting to belabor the moment lest it disappear.
He didn't rush into it at her acceptance, but the tension did not dissipate. His hand slid against her cheek, his bare fingers grazing her jaw and hooking under her ear as he drew in closer to her. Once anchored, his eyes searched hers, leaving her without speech or breath, glad she wouldn't need either for the interim. Her eyes fluttered shut as his lips met hers. For all the privacy their suite afforded them, the most intimate moment they'd shared since landing in London was happening on the street, surrounded by strangers.
"Logan," she said when she caught her breath after the dizzying gesture.
"We should go look at books," he said, though he didn't sound much like he wanted to look at books.
"Yes. Books. It's why everyone comes to London," she joked weakly.
"It's why you'd come to London," he said.
"It has things you like, too," she argued cheerfully.
"Such as?" he led.
He looked at her quizzically. "Beer? That's what you came up with for why I might stay in London?"
"You like beer."
"I do like beer. But not enough to move to another country."
"What would make you want to move to another country?" she asked seriously as they continued down Piccadilly toward their destination.
"The opportunity to better my situation, I suppose," he said.
"There's your measuring stick, then," she said brightly.
"You like finding solutions, don't you?"
"I guess so. I'm very good at working things out logistically."
"Yes, you're great at logistics," he said, opening the door for her. "We're here."
"Have you been here before?" she asked, more than a little disappointed.
He smiled, the only answer she needed. "Sorry, Ace. I like books, too."
She sighed, feeling defeated. "Just go inside. And wipe the smile off your face. It's annoying."
The kiss was electrifying. It caught her attention as well, that much he knew. She looked at him differently after he kissed her, and he knew that while she still needed more that she could depend on from him, she was almost over that fence.
"Have you read this?" he asked from across the aisle, holding up a book.
She wrinkled her nose. "Yes. Have you?"
He made an 'O' with his lips. "That bad?"
"The writing was good, it's just… the main character's a jerk."
"But the author provoked you emotionally. That's the whole point."
"That may be true, but I didn't want to invest my time in a bad character. It's a waste."
"I can't believe you'd ever argue that reading anything is a waste," he said, putting the book back on the shelf.
"I told you, you didn't know everything about me," she said with a pleased smile.
"Do you want me to know everything about you?" he posed, sure he knew the answer to the question he'd asked.
She froze, her hand pausing mid-skim over the top of a row of books. "What?"
He scanned the spines of books, finally turning and resting against the shelves and crossing his arms over his chest as he faced her. "I was just thinking about what you said about that book. It was a good book, but you didn't like the main character and therefore it soured your whole experience. Are you afraid that we might get into this and find out that we don't like each other?"
"I know we both have faults. You've been really open about who you are, at least, I think you have been," she said.
"What about you?" he asked.
"I'm not hiding anything, but I've always tried to keep parts of my life separate. I have my home life and my school life. My friends and my family. The only person that transcends all that is my mom. It's never gone particularly well for me to blend the components together. It never seems to fit right."
"You don't want me to be a part of your life?"
She glared at him. "Do you want to be in all the different parts of my life? Can you be, with you so far away? Even if you chose Boston, I'd barely get to see you. It wouldn't be like before, and you were pretty compartmentalized in my life then."
"The same can be said for you in my life," he said calmly, despite the face she sounded fairly rattled by the turn the conversation had gone. "And I'm not complaining."
"Logan, I've met your dad and your sister, I've seen you at work and at functions. I've been in your house. What part of your life was I not in?"
"You haven't met my friends or my parents as my girlfriend."
"How could that be different than how I've already met your dad?"
"Right now my father respects your aspirations. He sees you as a capable young journalist, who is well on her way to being a contributing member of his profession."
"And what would change once he knew me as your girlfriend?" she asked, ready to dismiss his opinions.
"He'd view you as misguided in your choices. He'd challenge your desire to be with me, when you're so focused on your career—he'd grill you on how you'd make choices when it came to choosing your family or your career."
"Because it's 1950 and women can't focus on more than one thing, lest they get confused?" she asked, the whole idea turning her stomach. He didn't blame her, but she needed the dose of reality. Full disclosure was his only option. Putting her in such situations unknowingly later on would prove far more detrimental. Best to scare her off before they got serious. If she walked away now, he'd have a couple of rough weeks and move on—at least that was the outcome he aspired to.
"I never said he was right in any way, shape, or form," he defended himself.
"What about you? Do you want to be with someone who lives to take care of your schedule, or do you want a woman who is secure in her own life; who enjoys her work and makes a difference in society?"
"I could care less," he said, surprising her.
"You don't care at all?"
"As long as this someone that I love is happy? Then, no, it doesn't matter to me at all how she spends her days. I've spent my whole life in a family where love and respect was contingent on living up to pre-conceived roles. If I didn't work for my father, I'm not sure he'd view me as his son."
She took in his depiction. "That sounds harsh."
"It is harsh. My father is a tough man. He's not easy to get along with or be related to. If things are going his way, he's more amicable, but that isn't always the case. I would love for you to be able to keep your relationship with him as it is now—for him to see you as an asset, which will allow it to benefit you as it may. And if that's why you decide that you're done after this trip, I get that."
"Logan, no. I would never," she said, moving to him. "That would never be a reason for me not to be with you. I don't care what your father thinks."
"Even if it impacted your career?"
"I just can't believe that being with you would make me less of a journalist," she said.
"It won't actually weaken your skills," he said wearily. "My father will question your judgment."
"Because I can't have it all?" she asked.
"No, for choosing me in the first place," he said bluntly.
She believed women could have it all, as so many people liked to say. The truth was she'd never really wanted to have it all. She'd never dreamed of getting married or having kids. She'd dreamed of winning awards for her talents and traveling. That wasn't to say she would rule out having a family, but it simply never entered her picture of her future goals. Certainly she'd never envisioned herself arguing the point in the very bookstore frequented by the Royal Family.
They'd moved on, without making a purchase because that was the point of window shopping and browsing, and moved to her next selection on her favorites of London list.
"I know you're going to say it's stupid and touristy and you've probably already done it, but I don't care," she said as they got on line for tickets.
Logan looked up to the towering structure that loomed overhead. "It probably is stupid and touristy, but I've never been on it."
She smiled. "Really? That makes two of us," she said.
"I thought you were taking me to your favorite parts of London," he corrected.
"This will show us a ton of London, and we ran out of time when I was here after high school."
"It'll also close us in a small space for an extended period of time," he said, eyeing her appreciatively. "Unless you jump out."
"What might you do to make me consider jumping?" she asked, turning it back to him.
"With you, I never know," he said mysteriously.
"Two please," she said as they got to the counter.
"Let me," he said, pulling out his wallet.
"My tour, my money," she argued, in an attempt to shut him down.
"Yes, but you're my guest on this trip, so my money," he said, pushing his credit card to the ticket issuer before she could argue further.
"It's stuff like that," she muttered as he accepted their tickets.
"Excuse me?" he asked.
"That would make me consider jumping," she clarified.
He smiled. "I see."
"Do you really have to roll over me like that?" she asked, still irritated.
He leaned in at her side. "I think we both know I prefer you to be on top."
She shot him a look of pure disgust, with underlying desire, which only served to fuel her overriding emotion. "Stop it."
"I didn't touch you," he said, holding up his hands by way of offering his innocence.
"No, but you want to," she shot back.
She had him there. He wanted to. He'd already kissed her, though she supposed kissing was considered a slower pace than their standard. She wanted him to touch her, truth be told, but it wouldn't provide them any answers. It wouldn't make the reality of their situation any different. It would feel good in the moment and serve to make them regret even the best of intentions later on.
"At some point you are going to realize that this whole not having sex thing isn't going to work, right?" he inquired.
"We're learning more about each other," she offered, doing her best to combat his question.
He scoffed. "Have you gained one positive piece of information about me since we landed in London?"
"I know you value family, even though it hurts you," she said quietly.
He looked at her, taken aback. "Yes."
"I'm not saying I'm eager to show up for a dinner at your parents' house as your date, but I think it's noble that you sacrifice your own happiness out of that kind of duty. Not many people do that anymore."
"You make me sound like one of your outdated Victorian novels."
"Your father's ideas about a woman's place are far more outdated than those."
"It's not women—it's married women. He thinks women should support their husbands. And yes, it's pre-war, misogynic, and abhorrent, but it's just his opinion."
"Will you follow his ideals instead of your own your whole life?"
"No," he said resolutely, without taking time to think about it. He'd already thought about it.
She pressed on. "Will you work for him forever?"
He met her eyes, guilt weighing heavily on him. "Probably not."
She eyed the line as they moved forward in it. "Have you told him this?"
"Sure, during the occasional screaming match. He doesn't believe me, and I let him continue to think it's an empty threat."
"What are you waiting for?" she asked, finally feeling like she was seeing the real him.
He leaned back against the rail as the line ceased. "There will be a breaking point. I'm not sure what it will be, but there will be some concession he'll expect of me that I won't be able to bend on. As much as I disagree with him, fundamentally we're very much alike. Neither of us will give and something will break—and I'll be done. Sometimes I wonder if he'll even try to stop me."
"But the decision between Boston and London isn't it?" she garnered.
He stared out over the crowd. "Not yet, anyway."
Jet lag had long since caught up with him, and keeping his distance from her while they spent the whole day talking and getting to know one another had not helped his exhaustion. At times it had been nearly impossible not to grab her and kiss her—just as he knew there had been times she'd had trouble not taking off in frustration.
He sat down heavily on the bed, kicking his shoes off as if he were ridding himself of lead weights. She'd come in after him, putting her damp outerwear up on a hanger before approaching the bed.
"If it makes you any more comfortable, I'm too tired to sit up much longer, let alone sexually harass you."
"It's not harassment," she said, but she failed to move any closer to him or the bed.
He pulled his shirt up his back and tossed it on a chair. He wondered how badly she wanted him to fold it up and place it back in his suitcase. "Fine, then unwelcome advances," he argued semantics, but his heart wasn't in it.
She stepped forward and sat down on the bed, surprisingly on the same side of the bed that he was occupying. It woke him up considerably. He waited for her to speak.
"Getting to know you better made it more difficult," she said as her fingers traced the lines of the pattern on the bedspread.
"To be here with me?" he asked.
"To be here with you and attempt to hold back affection," she corrected. "Logan, maybe," she said, sucking in her breath as she cut off.
"I haven't worn you down," he said, hating that he had to circumvent her readiness.
She blinked at him in surprised. "What?"
"We've only been here a day. You don't give up after a day, no matter what. I'm not even putting much pressure on you."
Her mouth dropped open at his point of view. "Not much pressure? But that kiss," she said, outraged.
His mind filled with the memory of that kiss—the tang of her lips and the heat from her tongue and the way she'd given a tiny gasp at the end. He closed his eyes and smiled. "It was a good kiss."
"A really, really good kiss," she said. He opened his eyes to see that hers were trained on his lips.
"You want to try it again?" he asked at a whisper.
She nodded and scooted closer to him. He put his hand down on the mattress next to her hip, pushing down as he eased his weight on his hand. He leaned in and paused as she closed her eyes. "Just a kiss."
At her confirmation, she lifted her chin and he allowed himself the pleasure of reacting to her cues. The gesture was soft and slow. He rested his other hand on her hip, though she wasn't going anywhere. She put her hand over his and gripped his hand tightly enough that her nails dug into his palm.
He rested his forehead against hers when he finally needed to catch his breath. His heart hammered in his chest and his body begged for more, but he kept all that at bay. "Let's go to sleep."
"Okay," she whispered, as if it were a perfectly reasonable request. She let go of him and pulled back, leaving him to finish undressing for bed as she did the same on the opposite side of the room. They went about their business silently, each keeping their back to the other for a semblance of privacy without hiding from sight. When she slid in next to him, he extended an arm, allowing her to curl up against his chest as opposed to the way they lay apart the night before. He'd already closed his eyes as he turned his head toward hers, pressing his lips into her hair.
She angled her chin up to look at him. "Is this okay?"
He brushed her hair back off her shoulder. "This is perfect."
She offered a smile and the briefest nod. "Goodnight, Logan."