Trial of Error
Chapter Seven: Live to Fight Another Day
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.
They were both exhausted. It was too late to consider going to bed, what with the fact the sun would be up to start another day soon anyhow. She couldn't take a day off to sleep because her newly upgraded relationship status warranted putting in a whole night spent toiling at reconciliation. The apartment was feeling smaller by the minute—the only time they'd not been in view of the other was the few bathroom breaks they'd taken. She'd made her last one as long as possible, washing her hands twice and checking her pores before returning to their stalemate.
He'd been so upset, rattled to the point of losing faith, and she couldn't fault him. She'd felt blindsided by his realization; she had been positive that he'd felt the same as her when all along he'd been considering their future together for far longer than she would have ever imagined. He hadn't doubted how suited they were for each other. He'd gotten bogged down in work and distracted, but his feelings for her never wavered.
She pushed her hand through her hair and looked over to him. He was seated on the bed—which was delivered during their fight, making for a very awkward silence and stilted chat with the two delivery guys. She had wordlessly made it up with sheets while he had taken to the bathroom shortly thereafter. He was staring without focus at the opposite end of the apartment. He hadn't said anything in a while, and she wasn't sure what to say.
"I thought," he said, breaking the stillness of the room, "you really wanted this too."
Tears pricked at her eyes. "I never said I didn't want this," she said, rushing the words out as quickly as possible.
He turned his gaze on her. "If I'd never proposed, would you have been content to just date forever?"
Her mouth opened to answer, but no words came out. Panic welled up in her chest, different than what she'd experienced the morning before. She stood to lose something now, whereas her earlier freak-out was her body's attempt to adjust too quickly. She hated knowing the truth would hurt him so much.
"Maybe we should just go to sleep," he suggested wearily, leaning forward to push back the covers on the bed.
"No!" she spat out. "We agreed to resolve this stuff, no matter how long it takes."
"I don't want you to do this to avoid hurting my feelings," he informed her. "If you don't really want to be married to me, then there's no use in staying up and losing all this sleep—losing all this time."
"You can't give up on me because you don't like my answer," she said. "What I thought about marriage before this has no bearing on my willingness to be married to you now."
He had his answer, even without her spelling it out. "So you didn't want to?"
"I didn't think it would be an issue. I didn't realize it was an important milestone to reach for you. When we met, you didn't even want to be someone's boyfriend, remember?"
"I wanted to be your boyfriend," he corrected. "Is it so hard to believe I'd want to be your husband?"
"Can you hear yourself? Do you think if you asked anyone in your life, even those who know you really well, would say your wedding day was something they ever anticipated?"
His eyes blazed at her. "I don't care what anyone else thinks. I care what you think."
"I think that I love you and you love me, and all I need is time for it to feel normal. I know that it will, in time. It will feel like second nature, for you to be my husband, just like at first it was weird to think of you as my boyfriend. Of course, back then you used to get all sweaty when you said that out loud. I was patient with you then; can't you be patient with me now?"
He seemed to deflate, as some overpowering emotion left him. "You're right."
"I am?" she asked, surprised at his sudden agreement, after all that time.
"This is new and sudden. We've only told your mom and Colin and Finn, and all of them reacted with shock. That's not all on you. Getting our own apartment isn't a sign that we've overcome the hardest part of this."
"It might be easier if we actually sleep at night," she said, glancing at the advancing clock and realizing all they'd really lost was a whole night of rest. She hoped they at least gained something more important out of the exercise.
"We can check our first fight off the list, at least," he said sheepishly.
She joined him on the bed, with a tentative smile. "It's a milestone, really, when you think about it."
One side of his mouth hitched up. "Should we celebrate?"
"Two hours isn't enough time to sleep, but it is enough time for something else," she said, already starting to rid herself of her shirt.
"I love make-up sex," he said, mimicking her actions.
"Shut up and take your pants off," she urged.
By Friday, Rory felt like they had developed a fairly good rhythm, temporary as it might be. Having Logan around, especially with a flexible schedule, offered her the luxury of having full meals and companionship even when her days were full of classes, studying, and long hours at the paper. Despite having gotten little sleep the night before—a by-product of him helping her study and her rewarding him for the help—and getting up early, she knew that even in her rush to get home in time to leave for her weekly Friday night dinner he'd make the effort seamless.
She opened the door to the apartment and found him dressed for dinner and the dress she'd texted him about laid out on their bed. She let her bag drop to the floor and started the process of changing. "You have no idea how much I wish I could change into comfy pants and order Indian food and watch a movie on the couch with you," she said in a massive exhale.
He leaned against the table and watched her. "We don't have a couch."
"Fine, then in bed. That's better, because it signifies being lazier."
"Some might think it signifies our need to shop for a couch," he volleyed.
"Do we need a couch? Where will we put it? And besides, we'll probably only be here another three months. Why buy a bunch of stuff that we'll have to move to God-knows-where?"
"I'm working on that," he noted.
She paused as she grabbed her dress. "You have news?"
"We'll talk about it after the dinner. So, you're nervous and wanting to skip it?"
"Nervous? Of telling Emily and Richard that I married you? Hah," she said, giggling in a fit. "Believe me, you will never see them so happy as you will tonight."
He wasn't so convinced. "Are you sure?"
"I'm not dreading tonight, I'm just so tired. Getting in a dress and celebrating takes energy I'm not sure I have much of."
"Have you ever considered that your schedule is too full?" he teased.
"I'll rest when I'm old," she assured him.
"You'll rest when we retire," he corrected.
"And I plan on retiring when I'm really old," she said matter-of-factly.
"That's not a necessity."
"I know. I love what I do. I can't imagine not wanting to do it. You know those stories of people who keel over at their workplace?"
He frowned. "Yes," he said, obviously worried about where she was going with this.
"Those people probably have dedication for their craft. And why wouldn't I want to go out doing something I love?" she asked.
"That's the exact reason that I plan on retiring early and enjoying my life. If you want to die with a smile on your face, I'm more than happy to help you with that."
She laughed and turned her back to him. "Can you zip me?"
He let out a guttural sound and immediately came to her aid. "Can we be a little late? They understand how busy you are," he said as he kissed her shoulder.
"Emily Gilmore might be happy about us getting married, but she does not stand for tardiness."
He eased the zipper up her back, and she turned in his arms. He kissed her in effort to change her mind and at first her reaction led him to believe that her zipper might come back down with help of his fingers. But after a hearty response, she put a hand on his chest and pushed herself from him. "It's just a couple of hours making my grandparents insanely happy. We'll be back here and in bed before you know it."
He let out a sigh. "Fine. I guess I should be happy for one of these evenings that involves people being happier than we are about all this."
She beamed at him. "That's the spirit."
He paused for a beat. "Can we be late when we tell my parents?"
She nodded dutifully. "If that makes you feel better."
"If only there was a way for you to become a Huntzberger without having to deal with all those who already hold that name," he mused.
"I'm sure if there was a way, you of all people would have figured it out."
"Maybe Mitchum will disown me when I quit. That would get us out of telling them."
"Good luck with that," she said, grabbing her purse after she slid shoes onto her feet. She was already at the door, after one of her fastest outfit changes in history. He followed behind her at a slower pace.
"We're going to have to use a driver to go to my parents' house, because the only way we'll make it through that night is by drinking early and often."
"It's nice to know we share some of the same instincts," she said, doing her best to find the positive in what would prove to be one of her least favorite nights of all time.
Emily Gilmore herself met the pair at the front door. Rory stood, startled, as her grandmother opened her arms to her.
"Rory, you're here. We're so glad you were both able to make it this evening."
Rory returned the hug, though hesitantly. "Are we late?"
"No, right on time, as always."
Rory glanced at Logan, worried. "Where's the maid?"
Emily never faltered. "I gave her the night off."
"Really?" Rory asked, trepidation written all over her face.
"Don't look worried, it's not as if I gave the cook the night off. We got a new cook, did I tell you?"
Rory stepped in, and Logan closed the door behind them. "No, I don't think so."
"That's right. You haven't had much time to talk lately. Even when you called to add Logan to tonight's dinner, you were in such a rush."
Something was up, but whatever it was, Emily wasn't going to give it up quickly. "I'm sorry, Grandma. It's the last semester before graduation. Things are pretty busy."
"Yes, well," Emily said, still smiling pleasantly. "We can all catch up over drinks."
"Sounds great," Rory said as Emily made a beeline to start prepping their pre-dinner drinks. Rory paused and grabbed Logan's elbow. "Something's up."
He gave her a placating smile. "You're probably just paranoid. She doesn't know what you think she knows."
"No, something's weird. Emily doesn't give her maid the night off ever, especially when we have guests."
"You're referring to me, aren't you?" he asked, amused.
She ignored his question. "She might not know what we did, but she has something she's happy about. She's far too happy."
"You're cute when you're contemplating conspiracy theories."
"Just be on guard, okay? Just because they love you doesn't mean that something else couldn't derail the evening."
"I'll keep my eyes peeled for any trapdoors," he said, teasing her despite the way she'd suddenly tensed up.
"I need a drink," she said, finishing the trek into the parlor. There she found her mother and her grandfather, sipping drinks and not talking. Lorelai immediately perked up and scooted over for the two to join her.
"You're here! Thank God."
"You all knew we were coming," Rory said. "It's not such a surprise that we actually showed up, is it?"
"You're late," Lorelai complained.
"Grandma said we were right on time," Rory protested.
"Yes, but right on time for you is late. You're always early. I had to try to make small talk with them, and Mom yelled at me and denied me a third martini," she said with a pouty frown.
"It's not appropriate to drink so much on an empty stomach, Lorelai," Emily reasoned.
"So serve appetizers, Mom," Lorelai shot back.
"You need appetizers?" Emily sighed heavily, handing Rory and Logan each a martini. "We're having dinner in a few minutes."
"They're not just for me. We have extra people, which means extra conversation and people showing up at different times, and who doesn't like a nice bacon-wrapped scallop?"
"I fail to see why I should serve seafood wrapped in crispy pig-flesh because you can't stop at two martinis," Emily argued.
"Don't you have something you'd like to share with Grandma and Grandpa? Surely there's something new in your life that can fill the void of my not drinking," Lorelai directed her comments loudly to her daughter.
Logan bit back a chuckle, attempting to cover it by bringing his drink up to his mouth and Rory narrowed her eyes at her mother. "Smooth."
"Yes, Rory, what's new with you? Any word on the job front?" Richard asked, having largely ignored the previous chatter.
"Nothing yet. I've applied for the internship with the Times, and a couple of papers around the east coast. But it's still early," she added, to make herself feel better about her prospects.
"You have plenty of time," Logan said, with a hand resting in a supportive fashion on her lower back.
"Yes, it's very early. Quite possibly they're still looking through your portfolio, it is quite extensive," Lorelai chimed in.
"I'm just glad the two of you could both be here. Your father has had you travelling quite a bit, hasn't he?" Emily asked Logan.
Logan cleared his throat, his eyes skimming Rory's before answering with as much truth as he felt proper to offer given the circumstances. "I have a lot of frequent flier miles saved up, that's true," he offered in his typical charming manner.
"It's so lovely that you're both able to travel so much at your ages. It's a shame that you aren't able to take more trips together."
"We have a few things we're discussing, for after her graduation," Logan shared.
"Anywhere exciting?" Emily asked.
Rory straightened up. He, of course, was alluding to their honeymoon, which they'd only discussed in an overview of possibilities in the last few days, not yet landing on a specific locale. She'd wanted to go somewhere neither of them had been, but that proved difficult thanks to his overtaxed passport. Many of the places that he'd never been to were quite remote and not typical honeymoon destinations. "We discussed Asia, since we had to cancel the other trip when he went to London."
"Hopefully your father will keep you stateside for a while, so you won't have to cancel again," Richard said.
"I don't think that will be a problem this time," Logan said.
"Has he mentioned a more permanent assignment?" Emily inquired eagerly.
Rory's warning sensor went off. "Why do you ask?"
Emily smiled that secretively pleased smile of hers that put everyone on the settee on high alert and offered her long-held news. "I ran into Shira at the DAR luncheon for pediatric lymphoma last week, and of course we made pleasant conversation about you kids. It seems she and Mitchum see as little of Logan as I do of you, Rory," Emily chided.
"Less, even, if at all possible," Logan offered meekly.
"Anyway, she was appropriately vague about what she knew, claiming that husbands never tell their wives the whole story, but that Mitchum was very focused on getting Logan settled in a more permanent position in the company. I wasn't sure how much he'd discussed with you as of yet."
"He very rarely includes me in the planning stages of his decisions with what I should do with my life," Logan said, and Rory was proud how little bitterness he allowed to seep through as he spoke. He grabbed her hand with his as he continued. "Which is too bad, given the fact that I now have commitments to honor ahead of his wishes."
Emily's eyes widened, her glee ready to multiply ten-fold. "What kind of commitments? Are you two…?"
Rory smiled at Logan and looked to her mother, who grinned supportively, before she locked eyes with Emily, who was set to turbo boost out of her seat at her announcement. "We got married."
Emily's expression soured instantly from her nearly ecstatic state. "You did what?"
Rory faltered as Emily stared widely with horror and Richard stood up from his seat, newspaper forgotten next to him. "We, um, got married. Last weekend. In Las Vegas."
"Is this a joke? I know you two girls think shocking me is funny, but this is not funny at all," Emily warned.
"Mom, chill out. It's not a joke," Lorelai said calmly, hoping it would rub off on the room.
"Well, if it's not a joke, what is it?" Emily demanded.
"I don't understand," Richard began. "I know the two of you have been serious for some time now, but it seems a few important steps have been skipped in this instance."
"A few?" Emily shrieked.
"Mom, Dad, what is wrong with you two? You both adore Logan. I'm pretty sure you have a shrine to him and Rory in your closet, with a Buddha, a two-dollar bill, and one of those freaky troll dolls surrounding a unity candle with their picture on it," she joked.
"It is not the match that we mind, Lorelai," Emily began, "but the manner in which it was executed that is inexcusable. Unless… there was a reason for your haste?" she asked, hope resurfacing in her eyes.
"Oh, no, no reason. We were hasty for the pure romance value, there was absolutely no societal norm we were trying to conform to, in any way, shape, or form," Rory jumped in to put out that fire.
"Are you absolutely certain?" Emily asked, disappointed.
"You're rooting for her to get married out of obligation?" Lorelai asked. "Really?"
"Well then explain to me why on earth you would go to the tackiest place on earth to get married without notifying anyone beforehand?" Emily demanded.
"Because sometimes you're driven to act impulsively and take a leap without worrying how things will work out, because in that moment of taking a big risk, you're filled with this overwhelming hope and certainty that it will all work out for the best," Rory blurted out loudly, surprising everyone in the room—herself included.
"We realize that this is a shock to our loved ones," Logan said evenly. "We went away for a fun weekend, I ended up proposing, and we didn't want to wait."
"I'd say you were raised better than this, but I suppose that isn't the case," Emily muttered, lashing out at both Rory and Lorelai at once.
"Hey, it's not my fault she got married. If anything, I feel I did my best to turn her off to the whole institution," Lorelai said, holding up her hands protectively.
"Getting married should not be something to do on a whim. There should be preparations and a celebration and a proper ceremony," Emily said longingly.
"We don't need a lot of pomp and circumstance," Rory said.
"Why now?" Richard asked, breaking into his wife's protests.
"What do you mean?" Rory inquired.
"I mean, I understand the desire to do this quickly and quietly, but you're three months away from graduation. You're very busy and still undecided as to the direction of your career—surely you might have waited three additional months to add this commitment to your plate."
"Our being married will in no way hinder her career," Logan said emphatically.
Emily harrumphed. "Until your father sends you back to Europe out of spite."
"I could work in Europe. I might need a visa or something, but they have papers," Rory said in defense, not giving away his secrets.
He shook his head, signaling it was okay. "I won't be working for my father for much longer."
Her grandparents were adequately surprised at the added reveal. "How is that possible?" Emily asked.
He wet his lips and said aloud the words he'd only spoken to Rory. "I'm going to resign. It's been a long time coming."
"What will you do? Mitchum won't just let you leave," Emily continued, gobsmacked.
"He will," Logan assured her. "He won't like it, but he won't have a choice."
"What do you intend to do, son?" Richard asked.
"I enjoyed the acquisitions aspect of business development, and I've got a few contacts that have lined up some leads. I'll get heavier into negotiations after I speak with my father."
"Which will be when?" Richard asked.
"Monday," Logan said.
"The day there's a hole ripped in the roof of their estate," Emily said.
"That's a tad dramatic," Lorelai said with a shake of her head. "Isn't it?"
Rory blanched. "Actually it's not that far off. He won't like it, even if he accepts it. And two hours later, we're going to make our announcement at dinner."
"Are you two insane?" Emily asked. "I guess you are, getting married in Las Vegas. You weren't married in one of those awful drive-thru windows, were you?"
"Oh, I forgot about those!" Lorelai exclaimed.
"It was in a chapel. I walked down a real aisle," Rory explained.
"Wearing jeans or cut-offs?" Emily asked, looking near death for even conjuring the mental image.
Rory frowned, circumventing her lack of memory to a time she did remember. "I was still in my dress, from Lane's party."
"She looked beautiful," Logan interjected.
Emily sighed. "Did you even get a photo?"
"In fact, yes," Logan said, pulling out his phone. "I had the officiant snap a picture of us. He says lots of people like to add them to social media and spread the news that way."
Rory grabbed at his phone, eager to see the photo herself. There they were, on his phone looking very much in love, with an obvious glow of two people that had acted more quickly than they could think. She was holding her bouquet at her waist as she turned in toward him, and he had both arms wrapped around her as if he might never let go. She looked up at him with misty eyes as her grandmother took his phone for her own inspection.
"For heaven's sake, is that crushed velour?" Emily exclaimed, referring to any number of items in the background.
Richard looked up from the photo. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
Rory smiled, but Emily put a halt to any celebration. "Not so fast. You can congratulate them at the reception."
Rory looked to her mother, who hung her head in defeat. "What reception?"
"Your wedding reception. You may have had the ceremony, but you can't tell me you had a proper reception with your family and friends. As the bride's family, it's our responsibility to host a reception."
"Uh, I'm the mother of this bride, so technically I don't think it's your responsibility to do anything, other than get them a gift," Lorelai cut in.
"And just what are your plans for the reception?" Emily asked.
"My plan is to let the bride decide if she wants a reception, and I think I already know the answer to that."
"We don't need a reception," Rory repeated.
"I know you don't need one, but that has nothing to do with you having one. You can't be happy having a quickie ceremony and darting in and out of people's homes, giving them a giant shock and then going on about your life as if nothing is different at all."
"We're not going about life as if nothing is different," Rory said. "We got an apartment."
"An apartment? Being married is more than sharing a living space, as I've been telling your mother for years."
"It's true. She has," Lorelai repeated for good measure.
"You just can't send out a change of address card with your new name on it and be done with it all. That's not the way things are done."
"I have a new address, not a new name," Rory said, realizing too late that it was a correction she should have held back.
"You're not taking his name?" Emily asked, clearly having found the last straw.
"I haven't decided," Rory faltered, looking to Logan for support. He remained surprisingly quiet and inspected the ground at his feet. "We just got married."
"I think they understand that part now," Lorelai stage whispered.
"I can't listen to this any longer. The two of you need to get your priorities in line. Come and see us after you finish your surprise attacks. What you need is perspective."
Emily left the room at that, with Richard offering his goodbyes before taking after her to offer her comfort. Lorelai stood to pour herself another martini.
"Wow, you know, I never thought I would live to see the day where my mother wished you'd gotten knocked up so you had a good reason to get married. I don't want to alarm anyone, but it might be a sign of the coming apocalypse."
Rory sank back down on the couch. "Can I have another one of those?"
Logan looked down at her. "This was not the cakewalk you promised."
Rory closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the furniture. "Why didn't you show me the picture before?"
He shrugged. "I kind of forgot about it."
She opened her eyes and offered a half smile. "At least I'm not the only one, at last."
Lorelai handed her the drink. "It's a nice picture. Grandma can blow it up for your reception."
"She's not going to make us do that, is she?" Rory asked.
Lorelai laughed. "You're kidding, right? You think my mother might back off on this subject? She had big hopes to throw a very fancy wedding the second she found out she was having a daughter. Maybe, just maybe after my decades of attempting to kill her dream, she's given up on me, but you have always been the renewal of hope in her—and the moment you brought Logan into this house for the first time, she started a catalog of ideas for the culmination of this particular union."
"You can't prove that," Rory said, knowing full well her mother was spot on.
"You want to divide and conquer? The only way I lose is if it's in her room, under her mattress—you know, the one she's lying on right now, with a cool cloth on her forehead as Dad fetches her aspirin? I swear, the woman suffers from more aptly timed headaches and vapors than anyone in recorded history," Lorelai said with her eyes rolling up as far as they could manage.
"I don't think that's necessary," Rory declined.
"In that case, I guess I'll take off, seeing as it doesn't appear that dinner will be served tonight."
"I'll call you tomorrow," Rory promised.
"Okay. Logan, good luck with your father. I know it's not easy to make that kind of separation," she said.
"Thank you," he said graciously.
Lorelai took her leave, and suddenly the house felt very empty with the two of them sitting in the parlor alone. Rory finished her second martini and put the empty glass down on the coffee table. "So that went differently than I expected."
He let out a half-strangled laugh. "Little bit. It wasn't all bad."
"What part did you enjoy the most?" she asked, assuming he was kidding.
"What you said, about how we felt, why we did it how we did it. I enjoyed that."
"Oh," she said softly. "That."
"Is it something you remembered, or just how you've rationalized it?" he asked.
"Neither. The words just came out of me. But when you showed us that picture, it fit."
He nodded. "It definitely fit. Should we go home, or do you want to try to talk to Emily?"
"I'll set up a lunch with her, later. She won't want to talk about it tonight. Let's go home and order in."
He stood up and offered his arm. "I'm ready when you are."
She hooked her arm through his as they made their way back to the front door. "Can I see your phone again?"
He just smiled as he pulled it out of his pocket and handed it over so she could access his photos again.