Story: Somebody Else's Page

Chapter: We Just Built That Good God Dam

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.

She woke up encased in his arms, enveloped in warmth that she didn't attribute to just from being under the bed sheets with her bare skin pressed against his. It evoked an emotion she wasn't acclimated to—a general contentment of being somewhere she belonged, or on the path to getting something she wanted. Nothing about waking up in a hotel bed in London to his alarm call should have filled her with so much ease, and panic set in as the sleep wore off and her mind attempted to come to grips with her feelings.

She sat up suddenly so that her back was painfully straight, alert in a sudden way, and she felt his hand spread out on her thigh in response. "It's just my alarm," he murmured into the pillow. "You don't have to get up."

"I'm awake," she said, the urge to get out of bed and be on her feet spreading through her like quick-burning fire.

He pushed himself up on one arm, curling his body around her semi-prone one. His face nuzzled the small of her back and she felt the gentle burn of his unshaven face as he dragged his cheek across her skin pressed his mouth over her spine. It was almost enough to make her forget that what she was experiencing had nothing to do with her regular life; that it wasn't meant to become the norm. If only she could trick her mind into thinking that this was what it could be like, being with Logan—being his girlfriend. It was then it hit her—she had no idea what it would be like. So far her expectations were rooted in being the woman he sought out for an evening of physical contact. So much of her confusion about him stemmed from the fact that what they'd labeled as casual sex offered much more than that. She'd found herself hanging out with him even without the guise of sex, enjoying his company, and noting things she knew he would enjoy.

She sank back down to the mattress slowly, turning back in to face him. His hair was matted down in some spots and sticking up in others, and his eyes weren't open more than half-mast, but his hands were touching her mindfully and there were other parts of him, pressed into her, that were very much operating at full attention. She moaned softly, inadvertently, and he paused.

"Sorry," he said in an exhale, nuzzling her chin. "I was having this dream and then the alarm went off and I didn't want you to leave the bed yet."

She reached out to try to guide his hair into one direction instead of four. "What was the dream about?"

His eyes opened fully, warm brown chocolate irises outlined by his full dark lashes. "You, in my bed, not unlike this. Apparently my unconscious mind is trying to make up for the fact we're not being intimate."

She swallowed, feeling even more heat generating between their bodies. "Your hand is about an inch away from being very intimate," she pointed out, a gentle reminder.

That hand squeezed her leg, but he didn't move it. "I should get ready for my meetings. They start early and will probably drag on all day."

"Then you should have some fun now," she said, still at a whisper, but a lot more play in her voice. She kept her eyes on his as she lowered her hand and put it over his, guiding it that last inch she'd spoken of earlier. His hands were warm and his fingers soft as she pressed into her.

"What changed your mind?" he asked, as they hung in that moment, his hand encased by hers. Seeing the effect such a simple act on her part made on him was electrifying.

"Waking up with you felt normal," she began, wondering if she would be able to explain what she'd felt as elegantly as she'd experienced it.

"It's not the first time," he reasoned.

"I know, it's just this was the first time I felt like this. I can tell myself that this will never work, and I can come up with a million different reasons why I'm probably crazy for feeling the way I do, but what I can't seem to do is stop myself from wanting to be with you."

His mouth was on hers the moment she stopped speaking, taking her breath away along with any further need for explanation. Her consent was given, and he was once again afforded free reign on how and when to express himself to her. The only thought she had was what his dream must have involved, as she arched into the sensation of his lips grazing down the curves of her torso toward her belly button. That was the last thought she was capable of forming with any coherency.

-X-

She kept saying his name, the cadence of the syllables rolling off her tongue like honey. The taste of her was sweet with a slight mix of saltiness, and he couldn't get enough. Honestly it didn't matter to him why she'd broken her resolve, if it started his day off like that. Her cries got sharper and more insistent, and before he knew it either she was confusing him with a deity or she was experiencing a little bit of heaven at his hand.

It took her a while to stabilize, small aftershocks triggering underneath him. He had no time to find any kind of similar satisfaction, other than knowing she would be ready and available for a second go-around once he returned from his mandatory work commitments. He was more than a bit tempted to blow it off to stay in bed with her; he knew it would be physically difficult to carry out his duty. He took his solace in knowing he did his duty to her first.

Her eyes were closed and her hand was placed over her heart, the only part of her chest that was obscured. He hated to shatter her afterglow moment. "I should go shower."

She nodded, but reached out for him. Her nails dug in a little too deeply into his shoulder, but he didn't mind. "Already?"

He smiled. "You want me to stay?"

He wanted to hear her say it, but he wasn't sure she would. "I know you have to go, I just thought you'd want to stay long enough to finish," she said, trailing off as the words they were both thinking hung between them.

"I do want to," he agreed. "But it'll give me something to think about all day, when I grow tired of the endless talk of projections and budgets."

She smiled, shyly, and it made his heart contract a little. "You do realize I won't just be laying here naked and waiting all day, right?"

He groaned and slid his hand down her side, the smooth curves acting as a magnet to his palm. "You're not allowed to dictate my fantasy."

Her smile was far more brilliant now. "You fantasize about me?"

He kissed her again, hungry yet quick. "You have no idea."

She licked her lip, a wholly distracting act on her part. "If we're going to do this, whatever it is," she added hastily, "it's more than just sex and fantasy, right? That was fine, before."

He took her hand and kissed the inside of her palm. "It's more than that. It wasn't enough before, that's why I want to try this. Enjoy your day, enjoy the city. I'm okay with you having a mini-love affair with in it my stead," he said.

"You aren't falling in love with London at all?" she asked, clearly a little disappointed.

"I'm enjoying it through your eyes," he said as he extracted himself from her and the bed. He was there and had to be on a schedule part of the time. "But you won't be here always, unless there's something you're not telling me."

Her mouth opened, but no sound came out at first. "Logan. I can't…I can't follow you. I can't follow anyone, not right now, not for anything. I can't ask you to make that same sacrifice either. I want to try to make this work, but you should know that."

"I wouldn't ask you to do that. You're in school and it wouldn't be fair."

She seemed unnerved to ask her next question. "You aren't thinking about basing any decisions on me, are you?"

"It's one thing to ask someone to change their plans. It's another to want to alter your life to make it better. Until I started at Stamford, I thought all the jobs I did for my father were basically the same, with a little repackaging. In one way, it was true. Nothing I did made a difference in my father's decisions. But I found myself looking forward to being there, being with you. I'd like to know that if I make that decision, to be closer to you, you'll be okay with that."

He was sure he had done nothing at all to alleviate her trepidation. "I am never going to fault you for making your own decisions. I'll work on reconciling it all."

He just nodded then. He couldn't ask for more at that point.

-X-

He said he understood her concerns and that it wasn't something he'd ask of her. It didn't stop the feeling of trying to stabilize while on shifting sand. She'd said she wouldn't follow him, not to convince him so much as to remind herself. The lure of London was big enough, should he make such an offer, she knew she would consider it, if only briefly. The fact that she would even take time to consider that scared her to death. Nothing had ever been more important than her education, and she knew she had made the right decision by selecting Yale in the first place. Her logical nature allowed her to realize there were universities in London, any of which could offer her a good education, but she would always wonder if she made the right choice by leaving Yale, especially for another person.

All that thinking and agonizing led to her staying in bed not only as he got ready, but after he left. She never did fall back asleep as she'd hoped. She wasn't doing herself any favors by worrying about the matter, and she was afforded the luxury of being in her favorite city without having to try to get him to love it too. She finally got ready and set out to wander the streets on her own time. If she couldn't quiet her mind with answers, she could distract herself instead.

She was roaming around a street market, browsing through books both old and very old, when her cell phone rang. She plucked it out of her shoulder bag and paused when she saw the registered caller ID. She knew it wasn't a call she could avoid forever. "Hello?"

"How's jolly old England?"

Rory wasn't about to offer up every answer in a forthcoming manner. "Isn't it the middle of the night there?"

"I'm in Barcelona for a few days. A sorority sister is marrying a Spaniard, which makes me a little jealous, but at least it gets me a few days of sangria and poolside leisure. It's a balance," Honor explained.

"You love Josh," Rory reminded her.

"Of course I love Josh. But I wouldn't complain if he doubled as my Spanish lover."

"I'm starting to understand why Logan wants to bang his head against the wall after a few minutes of talking to you," Rory commented as she flipped gingerly through an old volume of poetry.

"Don't be that way. If you take his side, no one wins," Honor mewed. "Besides, he gets bored without a challenge. You are the perfect challenge."

"I'm not a challenge. I'm as uncomplicated and simple as it gets. I like my coffee black and anything on my pizza," she said diplomatically.

"You're a woman that doesn't care about what my brother can give you. Start correcting me when I'm wrong."

"I care how he treats me," she said. "And how often I get to see him."

"And how is my brother treating you?"

"I can't complain," Rory said discreetly. She put down one book and picked up another, trying to not break from her activity for the intrusion.

"Rory, you're going to have to give me something to work with."

"Honor, I appreciate your friendship, but I don't need help with your brother. In fact, I think he pretty much hates the fact we talk at all, but especially about him."

"He exaggerates. So, things must be going very well if you think you've got him under control."

"I don't think I have him under control. I don't want to control him; I want to date him. Can you appreciate the difference?"

Honor squealed, startling Rory and nearly causing her to drop her phone onto a pile of boxed up books. "I knew it!"

"It's not that surprising that we've decided to date a little more officially."

"The two of you? I thought it would take drastic action to get either of you to admit what you were even considering doing more than hooking up," she said, still acclimating to the news.

"I get it, we're both stubborn. I never said we were without flaws."

"I need details. What, when, how, and why?"

"Some things are better left with a little mystery," Rory deflected.

"Meaning he would die if he knew you told me?" she surmised.

"Pretty much, yes."

"And you don't like to discuss your sex life."

"In fact, I don't. Especially with his sister," she said delicately. "It's not all about sex though. I can't help wondering what might come of it. It doesn't even make sense, really, the two of us."

"Please. Do you think any of my friends understood why I ever dated Josh?"

"Come to think of it, probably not," Rory said. Josh was one of the most normal guys she'd ever met, making him Honor's polar opposite.

"He grounds me. He's the yin to my yang. And I can be myself around him, in a way that you can't with some people. I get tired of being on all the time."

"I can imagine that would be tiring," Rory teased lightly, now smiling as the conversation drifted away from focusing on her.

"Hah. Anyway, if that's how you feel about my brother, then I will be your biggest cheerleader. I want him to be happy. He's happy when he's with you. And when he's unhappy, frankly he's insufferable."

"How could I not be happy? I'm in London, it's spring break, and I have dinner plans with my boyfriend," Rory rattled off, trying the word out in relation to Logan.

"Should things go south for any reason, don't hesitate to call. If it gets truly dire, I can have a private plane pick you up and bring you here. There are no shortage of hot Spanish men, all wearing tight pants and buying drinks for the single ladies. There is no better revenge, trust me."

"Pre-Josh experience?" Rory guessed.

"That and the story of how I ended up spending a semester abroad in Spain. A story for another time, perhaps."

"After I get back, we'll get together," Rory promised. "I have no wish to leave London early. Things are going well, really, better than I expected."

"I'm glad. Tell Logan hello for me. God knows he won't take my calls right now."

"I will," Rory promised as they disconnected. It never failed to amaze her at how much more lavish a life Honor seemed to be leading, no matter how good Rory's circumstances were in comparison. She wouldn't trade places with her for anything in the world, but it was like touching base with an alternate reality. Unfortunately for Logan, that alternate reality was a part of his everyday life. She wondered if what Honor had said was true for him, that she was a challenge in the fact that she was so different and her expectations were so radically different than his. Certainly what constituted normal for her was nothing like what Honor experienced. She hoped the novelty wouldn't soon wear off, once he spent enough time with her to see just how simple her life was, no matter how big her dreams were. She could achieve her utmost accomplishments for the future and still not come close to earning the kind of salary he found standard or even lacking. Trips like the one she was enjoying were still a big deal and not in her reach on her own, whereas it wasn't even a mild setback for him to take off to far more exotic locales on a whim if all his colorful anecdotes were to be believed.

One thing became crystal clear—when it came to Logan, distractions were of no use either. She was going to have to come to terms with what it meant to date him, and quick.

-X-

He stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows of the conference room he'd just spent four hours being bored nearly to death within. Not only was London not his cup of tea, but the job wasn't how he wanted to spend any part of his life. He knew it was more than the fact that he'd never been excited to follow orders handed down from up high. He had no misconceptions that it would be any different in Boston—just a different skyline with fewer grey clouds per year. Different men in similar suits, all making him feel wholly uninspired.

"Hell of a view, isn't it?"

Logan looked up to see another man a few years older than he come into the otherwise empty space. He joined him at the window, staring out appreciatively. Not quite the way Rory had gazed outside, but far more favorably than he. "It's encompassing."

"I jumped at the chance to transfer from the New York office."

He nodded amicably. He wasn't in the habit of encouraging conversations he had no intention of participating in. "It's got a lot to offer."

"Let me guess. You aren't convinced it's for you."

Logan flickered his gaze to the stranger, who might be his co-worker, should he be tempted to truly consider a trans-Atlantic move. "Not exactly."

"You need to be convinced," he suggested.

Logan smirked at him. "I have perhaps the one woman in the world who loves nothing quite as much as she does this city. If she can't convince me, I doubt anyone could."

"Give her a little time. Didn't you just get here?"

"I'm sorry, have we met?"

He extended a hand. "Tim Jacobs. I was asked to look after you, make sure you had everything you needed while you were here."

Logan frowned. "I'm sorry, who asked you to do that exactly?"

Tim appeared flummoxed. "What do you mean?"

"I mean," Logan said with very clear enunciation, "who exactly asked you to perform this task?"

He frowned. "My boss."

"And just who is your boss?"

"The senior vice president of operations."

"Which makes his boss," Logan led, more of a question than a statement.

"What does that matter?"

"Because," Logan explained, "you're high enough up on the food chain to at least know what my last name connotes, unless you're a complete idiot, and I don't believe that you are. I'm absolutely certain that your boss knows who I am and why I'm here, and that I need persuading to make a choice to be here, as his boss is my father. Which, in my experience means that it was, in fact, my father who asked your boss to ask you to befriend me, find me alone, and suggest that you show me the real London, outside the office."

"You seem offended; that wasn't my intent."

"I'm sure you're a great guy, good at your job, and that you really are glad you moved here. But I don't need to be taken to have a good time or see neighborhoods. I'm here with a girl, she's shown me all the neighborhoods while highlighting in long-winded detail about the history and the fashion and the culture that even put guidebooks to shame. The thing is, she's not going to be in London after this week, and if I were here all I'd be doing is counting down the days until my next assignment came due and I could go back to the States and be closer to her."

"Okay," Tim said, obviously taking in more information than he'd bargained for. "Your dad must know that, so why are you here?"

"Because he wants to give me the illusion of choice in my life. And he doesn't understand what I'm willing to do to be with this girl. Mostly because even I don't know what I'd be willing to do to be with this girl."

Tim checked his watch. "So, you don't want to go to a pub?"

Logan shook his head, making a decision in that moment. "I have somewhere to be."

"See you tomorrow, then," he said, as if out a corporate playbook.

"I sincerely doubt it. Nice to meet you, though."

Tim just stared at him as he made for the exit as fast as possible. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed. "Rory? Where are you, right now?"

-X-

She stared at him, the wind whipping her hair around, even though it was pulled back and secured at the nape of her neck. It was long and curling around her shoulders and sticking to her glossy lips. "It's early. The sun is still up."

He smiled and stepped up to her. "Have you ever been to Paris?"

She looked around, amused. "Yes, why?"

"It's a quick trip. Is there anywhere else you'd like to see, other than London?"

"Logan, what gives? You have meetings for two more days at least," she said. "We won't have time to leave the city, let alone the country."

"I'll make time. Forget the meetings. Where do you want to go?"

She took a breath, attempting to slow his seemingly manic suggestion. She put a hand on his chest. "We should go back to the hotel and talk, maybe."

He shook his head. "I don't want to be in London. I don't want to be in Boston. I don't want to make this choice, don't you see? That's why I couldn't make it."

"You haven't had time to make it," she said, trying to stay supportive and keep him from acting rashly. "Not really."

"I have. I've had my whole life, and I've been avoiding it, hoping that at some point it would either set in and feel familiar and right like a song you find yourself singing along to that you don't even like, but you know it too well not to chime in on, or that I'd just stop fighting it, and give in."

"That's depressing," she said, still standing on the street, outside the tiny restaurant where she'd had a late lunch, anticipating him not returning early enough for anything other than a late dinner and perhaps a late show of something quirky and avant-garde on the West End. He'd hate it and she'd mock it and they'd end up laughing and kissing rather than attempting to pretend to appreciate it at all.

"I want more. I want options. I want to take you places; I want to be able to have a life that I enjoy. So I'm going to start doing all that."

She was still wary. "Starting my taking me to Paris?"

He took her hand. "I'd love to take you to Paris."

Her mouth opened in surprise, deciding to test his sincerity and his state of mind. "How do you feel about Prague?"

His eyes lit up. "You want to go to Prague?"

"I loved Prague," she said. "We were only there for a day, like so many other places we went, we didn't have enough time for it all. We couldn't even get to Morocco. There are so many places I want to go, but haven't had the opportunity. South America, Japan, not to mention South Africa," she said, getting ahead of herself. "Not that it's practical for us to just jet off to South Africa."

"Screw practical. I want to be happy," he said, his eyes shining and ready to make promises.

"I want to be happy, too," she said, still concerned about him and his sanity. She wanted to ask him just what had happened at the office, but she held back. "But what about your job? What about your dad?"

"I don't know," he said, not coming wholly to his senses but calming from his peak. "I don't care. I just know that I'm tired of trying to fit the model of a man I don't want to be. Can you understand that?"

She nodded, not having words to comfort him. Instead of words, she stepped forward, pulling herself in to him as she anchored her hands on his forearms. "Let's go back to the hotel. We can talk or not… whatever you want."

He nodded, but seemed to remember something. "Go ahead back without me. I have to make a call, and I'll be there soon."

"Logan… you don't have to make any decisions right this second. You can take time, wait until we're home, and things might seem less… dire."

"It won't matter. I've hit my limit. My father wanted me to think I had a choice, but after the first meeting a guy came up to me and told me that he'd been assigned to get me to enjoy London so I'd find my place here. Guess who was behind that prompting?"

She looked down. She didn't have to guess. "He wants you here."

"He knew you were coming here with me—I'm certain Honor told him. I wondered why he didn't put a stop to it, and it didn't make sense. He's been doing all these things that made no sense to me, that he's never done before. Now it makes perfect sense."

She wasn't making the connections he was. "What does that mean?"

"It means I'm not the only one that's tired of these games. Not only does he realize I'm close to the edge, but he decided to change it up, and pretend that this time it's different so I might somehow experience it as being different—that for once I might do exactly what he wants while thinking it's my idea."

"That's manipulative and petulant," she said, not defending his father but unsure any father would pull such a stunt on their child.

"He's been manipulating me my whole life. He sees people as tools to serve his needs. You should be pissed too—he's using you as an incentive for me, to get me to have a good time this week. It ensured that we'd be apart after that and he wouldn't have to worry how much I liked you because it's next to impossible to keep a relationship going via long distance for any real amount of time."

"But… that's crazy. He'd have to either assume that you're just incredibly happy in my presence or that I love London—he knows nothing about me or us."

"Think about the conversations you've had with him. I know there's been more than one. Did you never once mention me at all?"

Rory paused to think. "Your name only came up when I thought you were the one saying good things about me at the Stamford office, and he said you'd never talked about me."

"We've talked about you since. He knows we were together, in some respect. I downplayed it, but I do that with him, when I talk about things that are important to me. He can read my cues."

Rory went shock still. "We talked about London. He said he'd just come back from London, at the party. You weren't there, because you were mad I brought Jess, and Honor took me over. I told him how much I loved London. We talked about A Tale of Two Cities and how after I'd first read it, I'd used it to draw up a map of the places I wanted to see when I went there. I was ten when I first read it, and my mom had to explain to me that it'd be very different than the London that Dickens lived in."

He lifted a palm. "There you have it. He never forgets a thing."

She pressed her lips together. "Are you going to ask him?"

"I'm going to confront him. I'm going to let him know that I'm done with his options. And then I'm going to spend some time figuring out what I want my life to look like."

"That's a tall order," she said, not envying him at all. She had no idea what she'd do if she had to turn her back on what she'd always imagined her life to be.

"You know what? My father can wait. We're in London, and you've been telling me how much culture and energy the city has. Let's do it up right. What would you do, if you didn't have any restrictions?"

"No restrictions?" she echoed, many fabulous visions flashing in her mind's eye. "I've never really lived that way. I can't."

"I want you to right now, with me. Anything you want to do while we're here, I don't want either of us to have any regrets. I'm done with them," he said, his excitement contagious.

She bit her lip, not able to hold down the smile that formed. "Anything?"

He nodded, his smile a byproduct of the fact that she was coming around to his way of thinking. She could see him relaxing and noted that he was happier than she'd seen him possibly ever.

"I have a few ideas."

His expression proved that he knew she had more than a few vague ideas. "Let's hear them."

She waved a hand. "It's not even possible on a few hours' notice, I'm sure. It's like a dream evening, a perfect night in London."

"Now you're talking," he encouraged.

"I've always wanted to see a show at the Globe Theater. After leaving the theater, I'd take a stroll through Hyde Park and end up having dinner at The Ledbetter in Notting Hill," she finished, looking at him anxiously, ready for any kind of negative reaction. "But that's just an idea. You might have a better one."

"I've never spent time planning my perfect London evening. I want to do this for you, for coming with me, for last night and this morning, for all of it. I want you to have a perfect evening. Let's go back to the hotel and I'll make plans while you get ready. You can head down to the salon if you need to. I want you to feel amazing during your perfect night."

"Logan, that's too much," she protested. She could tell her concerns were falling on deaf ears. It seemed that walking away from his career wouldn't make him cash-poor overnight.

"Is it your perfect night in London?"

She nodded, wondering just how he'd get them in on such short notice or just how ungodly expensive her proposed activities would be. She kept quiet, because even though they were her ideas, he was too happy to bring down.

"Then let's make it happen."

-X-

He slipped out on the balcony, when he was sure he wouldn't be missed. Rory had slipped into the bathroom to get ready for their evening and she'd taken so much in with her, he didn't expect her out anytime soon. He'd decided to put off talking to his father. Mitchum wasn't expecting to hear from his son, and Logan had yet to blow off any meetings. As livid as he was, he had no intention of calling his father and risking the foul mood it would put him in. There were other messages he needed to get across first, considering it a preemptive strike.

"Hello, little brother. How's London?"

"I hear you're in Spain," he said calmly.

"If you ever read my email, you'd have known that before Rory told you."

"I prefer talking to her," he said, both offering the truth and jabbing at his sister.

"Just because she gives you sex. Which she wouldn't discuss, by the way."

"She has boundaries, unlike other people I know."

"Bah. So, to what do I owe the call? Advice? Girls love diamonds, even the ones that prattle on about the cruelty of the mines. Just give vintage. Not only is it huge right now, but the quality speaks for itself."

"I have no plans to purchase jewelry."

"In just what form are you planning to display your affection?"

"For starters, my time and attention."

Honor laughed. "Your attention span isn't worth anything."

"Believe it or not, I didn't call you for a pep talk."

"Where's your sense of humor?" she asked.

"Did you know about Dad's plans for me in London?"

"You're choosing between there and Boston, right?"

"Wrong. He wants me here, and he was counting on Rory's influence to aid my decision."

"He thinks having Rory thousands of miles away will be something to make you go to London permanently? Did you two have a fight?"

"She is the only thing I'm sure of at the moment."

"Logan, that's… does she know that?"

"I'm doing my best to make sure she knows that. Telling her isn't enough. I want to prove it."

"I don't even know who you are anymore. I'm impressed."

"There's more," he said, gearing up to put his plans through the first layer of Huntzberger disapproval.

"It is way too soon to propose to that girl. I don't care how effing romantic you think it might sound," she said firmly.

"I want to spend more time with her, not scare her away," he observed. "I do know a thing or two about her."

"So what else is there, Logan? I have Spanish waiters in tight pants awaiting my arrival at the pool."

"I'm not going to work in London or Boston."

"I wasn't aware Dad gave you a third option."

"He didn't."

"Logan Elias Huntzberger. Do not proceed any further, I mean it, don't say another word."

He didn't even hesitate for her comfort. "Honor, it's time."

"No. You can't. Dad will go apoplectic. Mom will have to go to a spa for a month, maybe more. Nothing will ever be the same again. Ever."

"That's exactly the idea. I don't want more of the same. It's killing me, you know that. If I keep trying to live up to Dad's plan, choosing London and giving up on Rory, it's just the first of many concessions I can't live with."

"You haven't even known her that long."

"I know I can't give up on it now."

"Fine, if you're so intent on keeping her in your life, have you thought about what this career choice will do to her?"

"What do you mean?"

"She's interning at one of Dad's papers, right?"

"You know she is," he said with a sigh. He hated that she knew too much about Rory, and he wondered what she knew that he didn't. Girlfriends told each other things that they didn't share with the men in their lives, that much was common knowledge, but in this case it felt uncomfortable in the way that horror movies made the main character uneasy. Trouble was around every corner, biding its time, waiting to jump out and attack.

"He'll have power over her first professional assessment, her first reference. What do you think he'll do to the woman who you threw it all away for?"

"I'm not doing it for her. She thinks I'm crazy for doing it too. She's the one that got me to wait, not to call him tonight."

"When are you calling him?"

"Monday, after we get back."

"So, you're still in the office while you're there?"

"I'm done, Honor. Effective immediately. I don't care about pissing him off. I'm not here to work anyway, just to get an idea of the place. I got a full picture today. I don't need more information."

"I think you should listen to Rory, wait. Honor you commitments until then. It can't hurt."

"I've made up my mind. I'm going to take Rory out tonight, and give her everything she deserves. Maybe we'll head to Paris for a couple of days after that. I'll figure everything else when I get back. I figured I'd let you know, so you can lie low for a while, if you want to stay out of the line of fire."

"I could stay in Barcelona a while longer, perhaps. Josh and I are going to Cabo next month, maybe I should just overlap the vacations."

"You don't need to stay out of the country completely," he said with an eye roll that he knew she could hear in his tone.

"I think it's for the best. In fact, you should consider it as well. Turn off your cell, go off the grid. He can't kill you if he can't find you."

"He's not going to kill me. He's going to disown me. He'd never disown you."

"Then I leave you with one last question. Which one is worse?"

That was a question he was willing to take a gamble on, because he knew for sure he'd find out the exact cost of his future happiness.