Trial of Error

Chapter Four: Gotta Start Somewhere

Description: Set just after Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore? Logan heads off to Vegas with Colin and Finn, but Rory doesn't let it just pass without having her say. Unfortunately for Rory, what happens in Vegas isn't going to stay in Vegas.

Ship: Rogan

Rating: T

Colin simply stared at the two of them, gaging whether or not he was experiencing hallucinations due to a tragically bad hangover. Though from Logan's comments and the fact that he was already drinking again before his breakfast arrived Rory had to wonder if he was coping with aftereffects or just powering through until his liver put up a white flag.

Finn, however, was more alert than some. "She's pregnant."

Rory's eyes widened as her head shook back and forth. Logan's mouth firmed into a straight line. "No!" she exclaimed. "Why would you assume that?"

"Forgive me, sweetheart, is isn't that you look any less ravishing than usual, but in my experience when two people go from not engaged to married in the course of less than twelve hours it's either due to extreme inebriation or a positive pregnancy test."

"I don't know how you do it, Finn, but I am at once touched and insulted, yet again."

"Married?" Colin broke in, as if fighting through a haze.

"So, if she's not pregnant, you were both completely snockered, am I right about that at least?" Finn asked earnestly.

"You should start a list," Logan said, tucking his chin in toward her ear.

She turned to him, not understanding. "A list?"

"Of all the excuses people throw at us, for why we might have done this," he explained.

"Why would I want to compile these ideas in one place?"

"Because one day, when we're celebrating our silver or gold anniversary it will be funny to see how wrong all our loved ones were," he explained with a smile on his face.

"Married?" Colin asked again, this time more exasperated. "Guys, what the hell did happen last night? You were going back to the hotel to sleep or pout or something. You were unusually quiet and weird, but you didn't seem like you were thinking about marriage."

"How does one seem like they're thinking about marriage?" Logan asked, still somewhat amused by his friends rationale.

"Well, they might appear pale or stricken. Or perhaps that's just how I might appear in that situation," Finn supplied.

"Look, guys, the truth is that I've been thinking about this for a while, no matter what it seemed like. You know that I felt bad about bailing on Rory when we came out here."

"Yeah, but Rory's cool," Colin said. "She gets that you needed to get away. And it's not like you wouldn't have made it up to her. Is that what this is?"

"I don't think an engagement ring is the standard gift for making up for missing a baby shower," Finn disagreed. "I think that's a sapphire necklace."

"We did not get married because of pregnancy, alcohol ingestion, or to make up after his having bailed on me," Rory exclaimed, making her head throb in a not so gentle reminder that alcohol had played a role in her evening. She looked to Logan pleadingly.

"We got married because it's what we wanted," he said evenly, eyeing both of his friends to let them know he was up for whatever further challenge they might offer him on the topic.

Colin and Finn glanced at one another, and Colin burst out laughing. "Mitchum's head is going to explode."

"As if you weren't in for a world of hurt about the botched business deal," Finn added. "Unless you're planning on skipping the country and starting a new life together. Is that why you got hitched?"

Rory grabbed her mimosa and started to drain it. She felt Logan's hand on her back, rubbing in slow back and forth passes. "Finn, I don't expect you guys to understand the desire to get married, but I do expect you to respect the fact that we do and that this has happened," Logan said firmly.

Colin was visibly sobered by the words. "Hey, guys, it's not that we're against the idea. We've always said that dating you is the smartest thing he's ever done."

"You said that?" Rory asked, still a little dubious of their sincerity.

"It comes from a place of pure jealousy," Finn said solemnly. "And it does sting a bit, to know that you didn't so much as invite us along when we were in the same hotel as you."

"We didn't tell anyone," Rory explained. "It was very spur of the moment."

"And not only were you guys completely wasted, but I didn't think you'd mind not being dragged out of bed to be our witnesses," Logan added.

"You didn't tell anyone?" Colin asked.

Logan shook his head. "It went from me proposing to us in a chapel very quickly. There wasn't time to tell anyone. I asked Ace if she needed time to call her mom or anyone else, and she pulled me into the chapel and ordered a wedding at the receptionist's desk."

She turned to him, surprised, holding the drink from her lips. "Really?"

"You don't remember?" Colin asked.

"What?" Rory asked, turning to him as if she wasn't clear what he was referring to.

"She was drunk," Finn cried happily. "I knew at least one of you had to be out of their right minds. I mean, Logan—you didn't even get a proper send off into the land of legalized monogamy!"

"Is he talking about a bachelor party?" Rory inquired.

Logan sighed. "I don't need a bachelor party. We don't need a big wedding or any of that showy stuff to get us ready for this. It's already done, and we would appreciate your support. Telling you guys is the easy part. Once we're home," he led.

"Mitchum and the Gilmores," Colin said with a low whistle. "You might want to reconsider fleeing the country and starting a new life. With assumed names."

Rory put her hand on Logan's leg and searched his eyes worriedly. "It's a way to go."

"If you do insist on telling your parents, you might want to leave out that Gilmore was drunk," Colin reasoned.

"How drunk were you, Love?" Finn asked. "Just happy enough to be agreeable or you had a rather rude awakening this morning?"

"Well," she said unevenly, glancing at Logan for signals, "There were a few gaps."

"The end of the night a bit of a blur?" Colin checked.

"A bit. And little before that, too," she admitted.

"How much before?" Finn prodded.

"Well, I remember being in the hotel, waiting for Logan," she began.

"And him showing up and popping the million-dollar question?" Finn asked.

"Um," Rory shifted uncomfortably as she stalled. "Not exactly."

"She doesn't remember a thing?" Colin asked.

"It will come back to her. And you two can't say a word, I don't care what kind of pressure my dad lowers on you," Logan said, his finger pointing at them in earnest.

"It will come back to me. Everything he told me, it sounded right," she said with a slight nod of her head, at attempt to coax her brain to remember. "He said you've forgotten things while you were drinking and remembered later," she said to Finn.

"Yes, but I've never woken up married. I did once wake up in an empty bathtub with a very wet duck and all my toenails painted in zebra stripes. I wish I hadn't remembered the details that led up to that," he said with a shudder.

"But you did?" she checked, hoping he wouldn't elaborate.

"I did, though not all at once. Bits and pieces, they resurface like a dream. A little foggy and incomplete. It may take a little time, though, I can't promise you'll be prepared for a standoff with the Huntzberger legal team. They'll hook you up to a lie detector test and put you under the interrogation lights. At least that's what they did the time your grandfather's watch went missing after that epic party you threw freshman year," Finn said, as if recalling good times.

"There will be no interrogation. She's my wife, end of story. Whether or not she remembers every last detail, she's fully cognizant and capable of making her own decisions now."

"I just can't believe it. It seems like the end of an era," Colin waxed nostalgic.

Logan smiled at Rory. "And the beginning of a new one."

Finn raised a glass. "To the happy couple. May you survive your relatives and live happily together until you are old and senile."

"Even I'm sure that's not what the vows said, Finn," Rory said with a glare.

"This is why I would have made a superior best man," Colin said, raising his glass.

"More proof that eloping was the only way to go, and that my wife was brilliant for pointing that out," Logan announced.

They all clinked glasses and finished their first round as their food arrived. They might have the stamp of approval from his dearest friends, but the exercise had not instilled her with the greatest confidence in regard to sitting down with their families.

-X-

Rory sat on the hotel bed, watching Logan as he came into the room and kicked off his shoes. He sat down next to her and kissed her temple. She leaned her weight into him and relished in the simple comfort of his touch. "That was weird."

He chuckled. "It's Colin and Finn. It's always a little weird."

"Do you think we should wait to tell everyone else? What's the real rush?"

"It's never going to be easy to tell them, and waiting won't help. It's going to be a shock, but if we wait it will be a shock and the added hurt of us keeping it from them."

"Yeah," she agreed glumly. She rested her head on his shoulder for a while in silence, thinking over their late breakfast with Colin and Finn. "Did you want a bachelor party?"

"What?"

She pulled away to look at him. "You know, all the stuff that people do before they get married, like engagement parties and showers and bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners. Are you okay with missing out on all that?"

"That sounds like an awful lot of time with our families. Would you want to endure those evenings?"

"Not really," she admitted. "And I know it was my suggestion to skip it all. But I don't want you to think that I wouldn't have done it all. As tempting as it is to avoid it, it's not because I'm ashamed of what we did, or of you."

He smiled. "That's always good to hear. You're dying to deal with your messages, aren't you?"

She cringed guiltily. "A little. I should get back to Bill, at least that won't delve into my personal life. I'm good at shutting him down. And I think I'll call Mom, just to let her know I'm alive, or else she'll kill me when I get back."

"That's a good idea. I'm too young to be a widower," he teased.

"Very funny," she drawled.

"Make your calls. I'll arrange our plane tickets. I was thinking we'd have a proper celebration here tonight, and then leave first thing in the morning."

She cocked her head at him. "I thought we celebrated last night."

He kissed her. "We did. But I want one that you'll remember without waiting or undergoing hypnosis. And we might have missed all the stuff that leads up to a wedding, but we are going to celebrate all we want."

She smiled again, this time far more hopeful. "Okay."

"Okay. Call Bill before he's hospitalized for panic attacks."

She pulled out her phone and turned it on. "A little panic is good for him. His real danger is in what will happen to him if he's messing up the paper," she added.

He laughed as he held up his phone and made for the exit. "I'm going to head down to the bar and make my calls. Try to go easy on him, no one can do it as well as you can."

She rolled her eyes at his compliment and waved him off. She scrolled down to his number, but hovered her thumb over the screen. She exited out and dialed another number instead. Bill could wait. "Hey, Mom. You'll be pleased to hear that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," she quoted, glad to hear her mother's voice answer.

"Rory? Where have you been? I called your place, but Paris said you haven't been home or checked in, and no one's answering at Logan's place. It's just his smug voice saying to leave a message and he'll get back to me, but apparently he's not afraid enough of me to call me back in a timely manner."

"Logan respects you, Mom," Rory said encouragingly, hoping to keep her mother open to the idea of his continued presence in their lives.

"Yes, but fear is so much better than respect when it comes to my daughter's boyfriends. Fear is power, my friend."

"Logan knows that keeping you happy is key to his continued existence, trust me."

"Is he right there next to you or something?"

"Not at the exact moment," she answered truthfully, glad to have at least that.

"But he's in the vicinity?"

"He's nearby."

"How nearby? And what else is nearby at the moment?" Lorelai we never into subtleties when it came to her daughter.

"It might be more effective to give you my GPS coordinates."

"Just let me get a pen," Lorelai said.

"I was kidding. I'm fine, and Logan and I are just working some stuff out."

"You had to go completely off the radar to do that?"

Rory thought about the question. Was what they had done necessary? Was coming out to Vegas to confront him something she could have avoided? If she'd waited for him to come home, would he have thought twice about proposing? There was no way for her to know if she'd have accepted given different circumstances. It was too late for her to wonder what might have happened. She had enough to deal with given what had happened. "I think so. Look, things are good."

"You at least let him know how much it bothered you that he bailed on the baby shower, right?"

"I definitely expressed my extreme displeasure," she assured her mother.

"Good. And it might not be my place to say so, other than the fact that I am your mother and I love you therefore having your best interests at heart, but don't just let him make a big show of repentance and get away with his bad behavior. He needs to put the work in. You deserve that."

Rory swallowed. "You mean like promising to spend his whole life making it up to me?"

"That might be a little drastic," Lorelai joked, assuming Rory was as well. "You get my point."

"Loud and clear."

"Good. So, you and your phone have been reunited for good?"

"I'm working my way back on the grid. It's kind of sad that I can't turn my phone off for a few hours without people freaking out."

"Yes, well, some of us love you and are very co-dependent," Lorelai added. "Speaking of which, when are you coming home to see me?"

"Soon."

"Soon as in after five hundred important deadlines you're currently under?" Lorelai probed knowingly.

"No, soon, as in tomorrow."

"You're placating me," she said, questioning the validity of Rory's promise.

"Nope. Tomorrow. I'm coming and we're hitting Luke's."

"Sounds like old times," Lorelai said wistfully.

"We can go somewhere else, if you're not up to it yet."

"No. No, I mean, I'm not quite back to my regular status, but I've been back. It's the first step that counts. Pretty soon he might even look at me when he takes my order."

"Give it time. You two have been through a lot."

"Yeah. So I'll see you tomorrow then."

"Yes, you will."

She put the phone down on the bed next to her and stared at it as she went over the conversation in her head. She'd made it through the call without setting off too many warning bells. Once she told her mother about the impromptu wedding it would feel real—being married, being Logan's wife. Nothing much felt true until she shared it with her mother, her whole life it had been like that. Her mom had always been her partner and her best friend. Breaking the news that she had sworn to be Logan's partner and best friend for the rest of her days would be a shock for the both of them.

-X-

They'd walked through the main part of the restaurant, filled with insanely beautiful people in even more beautiful clothing, drinking expensive cocktails like it was dollar beer night. He kept her hand, only looking back at her as she took in the ambiance as they were led into the back and up the stairs to a private balcony. The hostess pulled out her seat and left them alone.

"Nice place," she said with raised eyebrows.

"You're teasing me," he accused. "You don't like it?"

"No, it's amazing. I feel under-dressed," she admitted.

"You look perfect," he assured her. "Besides, we're not down there where you might be compared to anyone else—we're up here, above them all. We can do all the judging we want."

She perked up. "Can we play the game?"

He smirked. "You know it. Who should we start with?" he asked as they scanned the crowd.

"Oh, him, the guy with the soul patch and the gold chains nestled in his chest hair hitting on the blonde."

"I'm really glad there isn't more than one guy that matches that description. Who wears a soul patch anymore?"

She smacked his hand as they leaned toward the clear partition. "Play!"

"Okay, okay. Let's see, clearly he's lost. He thinks he's in Atlantic City and he's telling her that she would be the most beautiful woman he's ever seen if she just had a better tan," he said, his voice cracking in laughter at the end.

"Nice. Next, three seats down, the cougar who is pouring drinks down that guy's throat," she said, giggles punctuating her speech.

"That woman should be ashamed of herself, that's all I have to say about that," Logan said immediately.

"You've never been with an older woman?" she asked.

"Not one that old," he informed her. "But you know who has?"

"Finn," they said at the same time, dissolving into more laughter.

"I tell you what, that man has earned every last punch line he's ever inspired," he said, extending his hand out for her to take. She did one more cursory glance through the crowd that they were selecting strangers from to amuse themselves.

"What do you think someone would say if they picked us out of a crowd?" she asked pensively, her humor fading.

"You and I aren't in the crowd."

"But what if we were, what do you think some random stranger would assume about us?"

"A random stranger would see two people—a devastatingly beautiful woman and a man that was lucky enough to marry her."

She blushed and ducked her chin, the motion making her hair fall partially over her face. "Logan, come on, seriously."

He grew more serious, at her request. "Do you know why my parents freaked out when I brought you home the first time?"

"You said it was because they were crazy," she remembered with a high level of clarity. If there were an evening she wished she could lose to alcohol, that would be up there.

"Well, yes, they are crazy, but their insanity was spurred by the fact that they knew I was serious about you, that things between us were likely to progress to marriage without intervention."

"Yeah, you sort of alluded to that as we ran out the door."

He eyed her sheepishly. "I knew neither of us was ready for all that. I'm not completely sure we're both there now, but at no point since I met you did I want to risk losing you."

"Random strangers would be happy for us. Happier than our families are going to be," she said sadly.

He shook his head. "Don't think about that tonight. Tonight we're surrounded by strangers and we're together celebrating. We'll deal with all of them soon enough and for a long time to come."

"Oh my God. I'm now related to your parents," she said, panic washing over her.

"Hey, Ace, slow down. Have a drink. Trust me, it gets so much worse than this," he said soothingly. "You gotta pace yourself. I realize you deserve to be welcomed into a better family dynamic."

His words surprised her. "I'm not upset about being bound to you. You have proved to me time and time again that you're nothing like your parents. I just never pictured them as part of our future together."

"And they won't be, not really. Not after Monday morning."

"That's when we're telling them?" she assumed.

He shook his head. "I have a meeting scheduled with my dad to discuss the ramifications of my last project. It's one of the calls I made earlier."

She nodded slowly. "You're really going to do it?"

"I am. For me, but more importantly for us. You deserve more than who I would become if I stayed under my father's thumb."

"You deserve that too," she replied, squeezing his hand. "Now let's drink. Just, you know, not too much."

"I can't wait until I can start teasing you about this," he said with longing in his eyes.

She hoped that one day it would be a funny anecdote, of how they accidentally did the right thing. She didn't want to think about what would happen if this went down in flames.

-X-

The room was dimly lit and filled with rows of empty chairs. She sat in the back row, staring at her shoes. Her stomach was in knots, feeling wavy and tight all at once, as if she were aboard a sea vessel in rough waters though her feet were firmly on solid ground. She was glad of not having to stand while she had no one to lean on. Time passed and stood still all at once for her as she sat on that chair.

"Look what I found."

She looked up, and saw Logan standing in the aisle holding a small bouquet of flowers. She felt a rush of emotion, powerful and all-consuming. Her ailments were forgotten as she rushed to stand and throw her arms around his shoulders. He easily caught and supported her.

"Careful, you'll crush them," he warned with a happy laugh.

"They're perfect."

The sweet smell of the flowers that she'd caught in their embrace was still fresh in her mind as she woke up in the middle of the night. Logan was lying on his stomach with his back exposed to her. The covers were pushed down around his waist and he made no sign of stirring at her sudden awakening.

She pushed at his shoulder with an open palm, lightly at first, but shaking him in quite an insistent manner when he first showed no sign of stirring. "Logan? Logan, wake up. Logan," she said with persistence.

A muffled grunt resonated from his pillow. She shook harder, so that his arm was jostled nearly out of its socket. "Logan."

He flopped over just far enough on his side so that his head was pointed in her general direction. His eyes remained closed. "Mmmm?"

"Are you awake?"

"No," he answered with his arm tucked around his pillow like a child might clutch a teddy bear.

"I just had this dream," she continued at his ability to answer at all, regardless of his low enthusiasm to chat at that hour.

"Was it dirty?" he asked without missing a beat, managing to pry one eye open just in case.

"No! It felt real, but I'm not sure. It's not something I remember, so I wanted to ask you."

Now he had both eyes opened and they were intent on her. "What was the dream?"

She retracted at his piqued interest. "I shouldn't have woken you up. It wasn't much, it's not like I'm even sure," she said, her hand soothing his bicep.

He pulled himself up on the pillows. "Tell me about the dream."

She smiled, encouraged at his support. "Flowers. I was in this dark, gaudy room, sitting in the back on this white folding chair, and you came up behind me holding flowers."

His expression was unreadable. "Is that all?"

She shook her head. "I got really excited about the flowers. Which isn't really like me, because most flowers are impossible to keep alive, and the ones that are cut are already dead."

"Yes, I've heard your speech about flowers before," he said with a droll tone. "The point is their beauty, not their shelf life."

"My point is, regardless of my feelings about flowers, these flowers were different. I was so incredibly happy about those flowers."

"Describe them."

He still didn't seem as happy as she was, but he'd developed a rather oddly serious demeanor. She wasn't deterred. "The flowers?"

"Yes, describe the flowers."

"They were yellow and white. I'm not sure what they're called, but you told me that I was going to crush them if I wasn't careful."

"Yes, I did," he agreed.

She was still as his words registered. "You did?"

"That happened. They called our names, and you said you didn't really look like a bride without a dress or a veil or flowers. So I told you to sit tight and I ran down to a flower shop that we'd passed on the way."

"That wasn't just a dream?" she asked, wanting to make sure.

"It happened just like that," he assured her. Relief shot through her, and it filled her with hope. She knew if she'd never remembered a thing about that night he wouldn't hold it against her, no matter how disappointed he was. She slid her body up against him, and he pulled her in even closer. Their celebration had continued in bed once they got back from their night out, but now they had something else to celebrate.