A/n: I'll try to make this authors note as quick as possible so all you guys can get to reading the fic. I know, I know, I haven't updated in ages, but I'm updating now. This chapter is just a bit of fun, its not meant to be offensive to any trory fans I was just trying to add some humour ^.^ and don't worry, Tristan is completely straight ;) you'll get what I mean when you read. R/r please! Thanks for all your reviews! Oh yeah and sorry about the formatting or lack of it, I can't be bothered . but this formatting is okay, I guess I like it ^.^

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Spend My Life With You

Chapter Eleven: Lost for words

"Hi Darrel," Rory beamed as she answered the door. "Thanks for giving me a lift to Kristie's last minute, I would've caught a lift with Sharon, but she and Melody rushed off after class to help Laura out with a fashion crisis."

Darrel leaned against the doorframe casually, and half smiled, half rolled his eyes. "She probably broke a nail, or something," he joked.

Rory's blue eyes twinkled in amusement as she turned around and grabbed the present she had bought for Kristie. "You seem to know Laura pretty well," she pointed out innocently, her back facing Darrel.

When he didn't reply she turned around to gaze at him. Darrel had gone tomato-red, and kept running his fingers through his brown hair, a habit, Rory noted, that Tristan usually adopted when he was embarrassed.

"Oh…" Rory trailed off. "You know her like … that."

" - It's not what you're thinking," Darrel protested.

"What am I thinking?" Rory asked mysteriously, her lip curving into a small smile.

"You're thinking that Laura…and me…" he made various hand movements.

"What, that you two were involved?" Rory chirped. Darrel choked on the word 'involved'.

"Yes! I mean no! No, we weren't involved. We're not!" he exclaimed, as Rory raised her eyebrow. "We did not! I mean, we didn't." he stammered on. "I didn't sleep with your friend!"

Rory nodded. "O-kay, whatever you say."

"You don't believe me!" he accused. Rory simply shrugged.

"You said it, not me," she replied, liking the rhythm of this conversation. It was almost like she was talking to a more muscular and pathetic form of Jess. The old Rory was back! No more hiding in corners, no more letting other people – more specifically Tristan – walk all over her. If he had issues, he'd just have to face them.

"Look," Darrel said, his voice quieter. "You've got it all wrong. It's just…well, it's like…it's just that I'm Haydn's twin brother…"

It was Rory's turn to stammer. "L-L-Laura's Haydn…? You…? Brothers…?" Rory shook her head. "But that would make Kristie your-"

"-Sister…" Darrel finished her sentence for her. "Yep, Kristie's my little sis. I'm the one who introduced her to Tristan, actually. Didn't know they'd become more than friend's though…otherwise I'd never have…" he realised he was saying to much and stopped mid-sentence.

"You don't want Tristan and Kristie to be together?" Rory thought it was strange that Darrel wanted his kid sister to be hurt. Rory's thoughts must have showed on her face.

"I'm trying to spare Kristie's feelings…" he said softly, almost a whisper, like he was afraid that someone else was listening in on their conversation. "I don't want Tristan to …well, pretend that he loves her, when he really wants someone else…"

Darrel's grey eyes met Rory's blue eyes, and she turned away. "Which pretty girl has Tristan got his eyes on this time?" she joked, and gave a fake chuckle. "At least I know it's not me-"

Before Darrel could respond, Rory stepped out of her dorm and closed the door, a little violently. Darrel jumped out of the way, narrowly avoiding being hit on the shoulder. Rory's hands shook slightly as she locked the door, out of anger more than sadness. Darrel suddenly took his firm, rough hands and enveloped Rory's slim, soft hands, gently stopping them from shaking. Then, just as suddenly, he pulled away as if embarrassed. Rory smiled at him, slightly, and let him lead her to his car.

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Tristan gazed out at the fast disappearing daylight, his arms resting heavily on Kristie's front porch. Her surprise birthday party would start in half an hour; when she came back from the library. Thomas had gone with her to make sure she didn't surprise everyone herself and show up early. Sighing, he ran his hands through his messy blonde hair- his signature trademark- as he saw Darrel's red Porsche pull up into the driveway, with Rory in the passenger seat. Feeling cold sweat break out over his face, he suddenly felt like a rat caught in a trap. He had to be nice to her, otherwise Darrel and Kristie would have him as toast, but he also had to keep his distance, to keep his feelings in check. Damn.

Darrel, unaware of Tristan's dilemma, came up and slapped him on the back. Tristan winced, and hissed, "I thought you were coming alone."

Following Tristan's line of vision, Darrel glanced over at his car, and saw Rory, oblivious, gathering her handbag and Kristie's present in a bundle on her lap. "She needed a lift, buddy. I helped her out."

Tristan's breath caught in his throat as he observed Rory opening the Porsche's side door. She was having some difficulty because of all the things she had to carry. Tristan's fingers itched to open the car door for her, to help her out, but just stared stubbornly and remained rooted firmly to the ground, as unmovable as a mountain. When she finally fumbled her way out of the car, Tristan turned away. She was beautiful.

"Where's the rest of her friends?" he asked Darrel casually, trying to ignore the way Rory's hair fell across her shoulders, trying not to notice how her purple-blue top hung off her loosely, shimmering in the porch light and bringing out the colour of her eyes. Or the difference it made when she wore her short denim shirt and sandals instead of her usual jeans and joggers combo.

"Laura had a 'fashion crisis', and them all went to help her." Darrel explained, making a face when he said the 'fashion crisis' part.

Tristan shrugged, and said, "I wonder which nail she broke this time." Rory joined them on the porch, and Tristan exhaled slowly. Might as well go for the gold, he thought to himself, and looked directly at Rory, cracking a plastic smile. "What d'ya reckon, Rory? Which nail do ya think she broke?" He sounded fake, even to himself.

Rory stared at him thoughtfully for a moment, paused, and then stuck up the third finger of her right hand, the silvery glitter nail polish lighting up, illuminating the insult. "This one, Tristan," she quipped, and headed on inside. Darrel shook his head chuckling, but was silenced by a killer death stare from Tristan.

"See! I try to be nice and look what happens…it's just not worth it," he spat bitterly, already tired of his lame happiness mask.

"Look what happens?!" Darrel almost yelled. Then he made his voice quieter. "You treated her like trash, put on a nice act and then suddenly expect her to be all sunshine and rainbows? Ha ha, what planet are you on, dude?"

"But I don't want her to be sunshine and rainbows!" Tristan protested. "I want her to be normal, dull, unattractive...whatever! Just stuff it…" he broke off, shaking his head. "I've had enough. I'm not doing this anymore."

"Well you gotta do something! You can't keep on acting like the ass that you are," Darrel shot back at him.

"…And why not?" Tristan asked dangerously.

"Because I wont let you." Darrel said, crossing his arms and glowering at Tristan. "I wont let you bash her up with your damn words. You treat her with respect. She's only human, you know."

"And why should you care?" Tristan snarled, anger in his eyes. "Why should you care about how I treat her?"

"She doesn't deserve it." Darrel said shortly. "So you better go right in and apologise to her. Or else."

"Or else what?" Tristan adopted his smart-ass cocky tone.

"I'll tell Kristie about you and Haydn." Tristan's face visibly paled, and he levelled with Darrel's gaze, his hands clenched into fists at his sides. The air hung between them, deathly silent. At last Tristan spoke.

"You wouldn't…"

"…Would I?"

When Tristan didn't reply Darrel smirked. "The famous Tristan Dugrey lost for words. I thought I'd never see the day."

Tristan struggled with a suitable response but too many thoughts were swarming into his mind, taking hold of his sanity. All he could manage was a feeble, "Shut up, Darrel," before he stormed inside Kristie's house.

Darrel, alone on the porch, smiled at his own ingeniousness, and waved as Laura's purple Mercedes slammed into the driveway, narrowly missing the bumper of his own Porsche. His smile wavered as Melody, Sharon and Laura got out of the car. He saw that this time, Laura's fashion crisis really was a fashion crisis. He felt his stomach churn, but put on a brave front. Laura's hair was dyed bright orange.

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Rory's cheeks were still splotched with red as she immerged from the bathroom, triumphant over her encounter with Tristan. Pulling away from her victorious thoughts for a moment, she heard someone shouting. It was Darrel. He was arguing with Tristan…again.

"So you better go right in and apologise to her. Or else." She heard Darrel threaten. Rory's curiosity grew. They were talking about her.

"Or else what?" Rory almost smiled as she heard Tristan's arrogant and cocky reply. Everything in his voice, in those three words, in the way he said them, seemed to sum up his entire personality. Sarcastic and self-centred, on the outside, but on the inside, just a little bit worried and confused.

"I'll tell Kristie about you and Haydn." There was a long silence. Rory froze, wondering if this meant what it sounded like. Tristan…and Haydn? She felt nauseated. She must have misheard Darrel, there had to be a reasonable explanation. She strained her ears to hear Tristan's reply. It was a very long time before he spoke.

"You wouldn't…"

"…Would I?"

Rory swallowed, trying to register the information. Tristan was…she couldn't even think it inside her head…he was gay. Rory shuddered. It was wrong, it was just wrong. There had to be another explanation. There had to be.

"The famous Tristan Dugrey lost for words. I thought I'd never see the day."

But as much as Rory didn't want to admit it, it did kind of make sense. Why else would Darrel not want Tristan and Kristie to be together? There wasn't any other reason she could think of, besides that lame excuse that Darrel blurted out, that one about Tristan wanting someone else…

"Shut up, Darrel,"

Rory cut her thoughts off, suddenly realising that Tristan meant to walk into the house! The last thing she wanted was for him to find her eavesdropping with his conversation with Darrel. She quickly dived out of the way of the opening door, into Kristie's lounge room. Pretending to be preoccupied with the present she bought Kristie, she felt relief wash over her as Tristan stormed past and slammed his way through the house to Kristie's bathroom.

Blinking, she shuddered. Tristan…gay? Should she tell Kristie? And why did she care so much? It's not like she wanted Tristan to be straight…it's not like she would have a chance with him anyway…

But still, some stubborn force in Rory's mind refused to believe that Tristan was gay. It just wasn't possible. She knew him, and that wasn't him. Well, she decided, there's only one way to settle this. I'll have to ask him myself.

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Tristan splashed his face with cold water. He couldn't believe it. Darrel just threatened him? Shaking his head, to clear his thoughts, he ran his hands through his hair. He had no idea what he was going to do, but he did know one thing. He could not let Kristie find out about him and Haydn, about how Haydn had paid him ten thousand dollars to ask Kristie out in the first place. If Kristie found out, it would destroy her. Maybe Tristan hadn't cared about Kristie at first, but he cared about her now, and would do anything to stop her from being hurt. Which meant that he had to apologise…to Rory. Well, he thought, no time like the present.

He unlocked the door to the bathroom, his hands still a little slippery, to find him face to face with Rory Gilmore, who was staring up at him with her large blue eyes like he was something the cat had dragged in.

"We have to talk." They said in unison.

"Rory, I'm sorry for being such a jerk-" Tristan began.

"Tristan, are you gay-" Rory asked at the same time.