3 Chapter 11
Rory sank down into the carpet of grass, leaning back against the tree and closing her eyes. She tried to shut out the raised voices of her parents, her grandparents and the Dugrey's and instead focus on the warmth of the summer sun. She smiled when Tristin sat down beside her, not even bothering to open her eyes before speaking. "We should've eloped."
Tristin chuckled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and settling in next to her. "Tell me about it."
"But can you imagine the scene that would have created? I don't think my grandparents or your parents would've ever forgiven us. And Mum wanted me to get married here." Rory opened her eyes and let them wander over the familiar grounds of the inn, amazed at how the excitement of a wedding could change them, make them look different somehow. "This reminds me of Mum and Dad's wedding, the anticipation, the energy."
"Really? It reminds me of something else." Tristin trailed off, leaving Rory staring at him curiously. "Don't bother, I'm not telling. You'll think I'm crazy."
Rory laughed. "Right, because you haven't done anything that could be considered even remotely crazy in the past six years."
"Nothing that I can think of."
Rory knew what he was doing. It was a game they played, a way of reminding each other of all the things they had shared. It had started out as a bit of a contest, a test to see who remembered more, but it had become so much more important. It had reminded them what being in love was all about when the stresses of real life had invaded. And while today wouldn't make her top-ten list of stressful moments, she knew she needed to relax. She cringed when she heard her grandmother call out, rather rudely, to the wedding co-coordinator, and forced herself to shut it out, focusing on Tristin instead. "Nothing?"
"Not a single thing." He smiled, waiting for her to reply.
"How about even considering that I would go out with you in Junior year?"
"That wasn't crazy, it was a tactical error. And it doesn't count, because I won." Tristin smirked at her, and she glared back. He could almost see the wheels turning, trying to think of something else.
"PJ Harvey!" Rory looked at him triumphantly. Even he had to admit that was crazy.
"That wasn't crazy. That was pure genius. Granted, I didn't go about the whole asking thing in the right way, but we went to the concert, and now we are here. How can that be crazy?" Tristin fought back a laugh at the defeated look on her face.
Think. "OK, New York." Rory grinned at Tristin's groan, knowing she had him beat.
It had been halfway through Senior year and the week before Lorelai and Christopher's wedding. Rory and Tristin had devoted almost all of their time helping with wedding preparations, and it turned out to be too much on top of their course loads at Chilton and college application stress. By the end of the weekend they hadn't even been speaking, so Rory was shocked when Tristin showed up at their door before the sun had risen on Monday morning. He'd told Rory to pack and left a note for Lorelai before dragging her off to New York for a few days. She'd argued, telling him that she couldn't miss school and that her mom needed her, but he'd insisted. He was right. They spent three fabulous days in the city, visiting museums, seeing a show on Broadway, shopping in Manhattan and wandering around Central Park. Lorelai had understood, and Chilton was still waiting for them when they returned. Looking back, Rory could understand what made Tristin want to get away, but even he couldn't deny that it had been crazy.
"OK, so I've done one crazy thing in the last six years. That's not bad, really." Tristin stood, turning to Rory to offer her a hand up. She gave a tug and he fell back down beside her. He turned to look at her, and the expression on her face made him nervous.
"Not one. What about buying me a car for grad? Abandoning Yale and showing up in my dorm at 3:00 am? Proposing in the middle of a town meeting.?"
Tristin could see she was warming up to this new 'Tristin is crazy' version on their game, so he decided to give in. "Alright, so I've done a few things that were a bit. unorthodox. The important thing is I did them all for you." He shot her his best puppy-dog eyes, which hadn't worked since high school, and when she showed no sign of relenting he dropped a kiss on her forehead. "Common, we need to get back. This is our wedding, after all."
Rory shook her head. "I want to know what this reminds you of first."
Tristin smiled, giving in like they both knew he would. "Remember in Sophomore year, at the D.A.R. ball?" Rory nodded. "When I was waiting for you, I had this. I don't know, I just got this image in my head, of what it would be like for us to get married. That's what it makes me think of."
Rory smiled softly at him, the now familiar vision of him and their child settling into her mind. "That's not crazy."
"Really Rory, you'd only been speaking to me for a few months. You have to admit it was a little early to be planning our wedding."
"Then you'll just have to wait to hear about the picture that showed up in my head that night," she said with a smile, standing up with him and turning back towards the archway of flowers that would serve as their altar. He smiled down at her, content to wait.