Chapter 30: "I plan to visit so much it's going to be like I'm living with you."
"So, what's the job?" Christopher asked a few seconds after the words Rory said had sunk in, his daughter was moving across the country.
"After some of his initial meetings Logan was out with a friend when he came across Dave Price and Jim Pavelich," Rory said.
"Dave Price?" Riley questioned, "Didn't Hunter S. Thompson write about him in one of his books? He reprinted some of his articles from his 1990 arrest."
"Yes, that's him. He's been a publisher and founder of several papers, including the Aspen Times Daily where he wrote about Thompson's arrest," Rory said, "He and Jim Pavelich were publishers at the Palo Alto Daily News, but they sold the paper a couple years ago."
"And now they are looking into starting another one," Tristan said, "They started a new publication in San Francisco last year, but they want to get back into publishing a paper in Palo Alto."
"Logan heard them discussing it and introduced himself," Rory said, "They offered him a spot on their team and Logan then suggested Tristan when they began to discuss where they would house the paper."
"The Daily News moved buildings and they want to redesign the space and put in their new publication, The Palo Alto Daily Post," Tristan said, "When Logan came home he discussed with me, moving out their temporarily to redesign the space or permanently if I wanted to make a business of my own."
"And every paper needs writers," Rory said, "So, Logan showed them some of my articles and the editions Ry and I have edited. They want to meet with me in person to make it official, but once the paper is up and going I will have a job."
"This is really what you want?" Lorelai asked, "Going all the way to California?"
"I never saw myself taking a job completely across the country from everything I've known," Rory said, "But, I'm excited for this. To work on a brand new paper, help it build from the ground up. And in a space that Tristan designs."
"Logan said the building is even big enough to rework into two office spaces so if I like, he said Dave and Jim are open to me designing it so it houses both the paper and my work space for future jobs," Tristan said.
"What about a place to live?" Christopher asked, "Have you looked at anything yet?"
"We've looked at a few listings for houses, but until we look at them in person and make a decision we'll stay with Logan at the apartment he found," Rory said.
"So, when are you going?" Lorelai asked.
"I'm going to go out there next week to check out the building, get some ideas for what they want," Tristan said, "It's going to take a few months to get everything done and get the paper going, plus we have the lease on the apartment here until August so we won't officially make our move until then."
"So we're not losing you just yet then," Lorelai said, "There's time to plan a big bon voyage party."
"Mom, I don't need a goodbye party, I'm not leaving forever," Rory said, "We'll be back all the time. I do still have a wedding to plan and I was kind of planning on it being on this coast."
"That may be true, but doesn't mean I'm not going to miss you like crazy, kid," Lorelai said, giving her daughter a hug.
"I'll miss you, too, Mom. I'll miss all of you," Rory said, looking over Lorelai's shoulder at Riley.
"We should probably get back out there before Mom and Dad send a search party," Lorelai said.
"I'll give you a minute," Tristan said, kissing Rory's cheek as he saw Riley hanging back, "I'll let Richard and Emily know we need a minute with them."
"Thanks, Tris," Rory said.
"Is this really happening?" Riley asked after Tristan left, "Four years together after spending our entire lives apart. Now we'll have the whole country between us."
"Ry, this wasn't a decision I came to lightly. I thought about this alot, Tristan and I both did," she told him, "You should see all the pro/con lists all over the apartment. We weighed all the options we had. Believe me leaving you was the highest on the con side."
"Even above Mom?" he asked.
"Even above Mom. You're more than just my big brother, Ry. You're even more than my twin, though that is definitely a lot," Rory said, "You're my best friend. Being apart from you is going to really suck."
"The worst," Riley said, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her close to him as she laid her head on his chest, "But we'll be okay. It's going to be hard, really hard, but we'll talk all the time and visit as much as we can."
"Yeah, I think I'm going to suggest to the grandparents that it would be a good idea to buy a plane," Rory said.
"Most definitely," Riley said, kissing the top of her head, "I'm going to hate not seeing you every day and I'll miss you like crazy, but I'm happy for you Baby Girl."
"Absolutely. This is a great opportunity for you. To get the chance to work at a paper from the ground up, it's really cool."
"Yeah. Logan thinks I'll be able to help decide the format and even choose what I want to write."
"That's awesome. Maybe if things suck at The Times, I'll join you."
"I don't see that happening, but it's a nice thought."
"Me either. I can hope, right?"
"I don't think there's a chance working at The New York Times could suck, but sure Ry," Rory said.
"Okay, I'm going to go back out. Let the grandparents know you're ready to talk to them," Riley said.
"Thanks, Ry. I'll see you out there," Rory said, "And, Ry?"
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Good luck," she told him.
"Thanks, Baby Girl."
After giving the grandparents a brief overview of their plans, promising to go into more detail either once the party was over or at a dinner at a later time, they rejoined the party, the grandparents all preparing to give a speech.
"First of all ladies and gentlemen," Richard began, "We want to thank all of you for coming out and celebrating our grandchildren's graduation."
"We couldn't be more proud of what these two have accomplished so far in their young lives," Straub said, "They've found love and success and they found each other."
"Watching the two of you together these past four years, watching you grow and achieve your dreams together is more than we ever could have imagined," Francine said.
"We love you both and well, we've prepared a little something," Emily said, "We couldn't come up with exactly the right words to tell you how proud we are of you so."
"Maestro," Richard said.
"Please excuse us, we're not singers," Straub said as the piano started, holding a paper in front of him and Francine.
"You're the top," Richard and Straub sang together, "You have graduated."
"You're the top," Emily and Francine sang, "Your grandparents are elated."
"Newspaper editors," Richard sang.
"Phi Beta Kappa, wow!" Straub sang.
"You're a revelation," Emily sang.
"A huge sensation," Francine sang.
"You both should take a bow."
"You are done. No more school for you."
"There is nothing now that you can't do."
"You've made us proud, we'll sing it loud. It's true."
"Cause now, Rory, Riley, you are Bulldogs through and through!"
"Yeah," Tristan cheered as everyone applauded them.
"Thank you, thank you," Richard said.
"Wow, thank you all," Rory said as she and Riley joined them in front of everyone, hugging all four of them.
"We meant every word, dears," Straub said.
"Even the ones we sang off key," Francine said.
"Well, thank you, so much," Riley said, "None of what we've accomplished would have been possible without you."
"You should all know that there is no way we could be Bulldogs through and through without our grandparents," Rory said, "Thank you all."
"Congratulations, Rory and Riley," Richard said, raising his champagne glass to them.
"To Rory and Riley," Straub said, raising his glass to them.
"To Rory and Riley," the crowd cheered.
"Thank you, everyone again," Riley said as Rory stepped back a bit, knowing what he was about to do, "We definitely could not have got where we are without our families and each other, but there is one more person I need to thank. Steph, can you join me, please."
"Riley you don't have to…" Stephanie began.
"I want to. Stephanie Marsh, you've been by my side through everything these last four years. You've been my classmate, my study partner, my friend, and my girlfriend," Riley said, pulling a box from his pocket has he dropped to his knees.
"Oh God," Stephanie said.
"And now I'd like to add two more to that list, fiancee and soon down the road, wife," Riley said, "Stephanie, will you marry me?"
"Oh, I, wow, uh, wow," Stephanie said.
"Is there a yes in between those 'wows'?" Riley asked, standing back up, taking her hand in his.
"Yes. Yes, Riley Gilmore-Hayden. I would love to marry you," Stephanie said, wrapping her arms around his neck to kiss him, pulling back so he could place the ring on her finger.
"Congratulations, Big Brother," Rory said, grabbing Riley in a hug as the guests cheered for them and Stephanie hugged her parents, showing her mother the ring.
"Thank you, Baby Girl," Riley said, "And thank you for letting me use our night to do this."
"Absolutely. I'm so happy for you and Steph," Rory said, hugging him again before grabbing Stephanie to hug her too and get her own turn at looking at the ring, "Let me see this Steph."
"Oh, like you didn't help him pick it out," Stephanie said.
"I didn't," Rory told her, admiring the rose gold, halo diamond engagement ring, "He didn't tell me until today he was proposing. This is all Riley."
"Wow. He's bought me earrings and necklace before, but I gave him ideas for both," Stephanie said, "I never gave him any idea of the kind of engagement ring I would like. It's perfect."
"Yeah, I love it," Rory said, hugging her again, "Oh, I just can't believe it."
"What's that?" Stephanie asked.
"We're going to be sisters," Rory said.
"We're going to have to call and email and everything all the time so we can plan our weddings together," Stephanie told her.
"Definitely," Rory said, "It's going to be exciting planning our big days at the same time."
A few days after the graduation party, Rory and Tristan had shared everything with the elder Gilmore's and Hayden's and while they weren't thrilled with one of their grandchildren moving across the country they were happy for Rory and excited for the opportunity she had.
"What in the world is all this?" Tristan asked, coming into the apartment after having lunch with his grandfather, seeing Rory and Riley in the kitchen surrounded by lists and maps.
"Well, since you are going to be spending the majority of the summer in Palo Alto working on redesigning the office space for the paper," Rory said.
"And Stephanie is starting her job at the MET in a couple weeks," Riley said.
"We are planning a little trip," Rory said.
"This doesn't look so little," Tristan said, noticing the marks on the maps in various cities in several states across the country, "What's the plan for all this?"
"We're road tripping," Rory told him, "We'll start here and work our way across the country, ending in Palo Alto where we'll meet up with you."
"And Stephanie is going to fly in when we get there so the four of us can have a vacation," Riley said.
"We can stay in Palo Alto, explore San Francisco or go somewhere else for a few days," Rory said, "And before we leave you and I can look at houses."
"Sounds like a good plan. Looks like we'll have another few weeks after that to get everything squared away here and either shipped to Palo Alto or put in storage," Tristan said, "What exactly does this little road trip of yours entail?"
"Roller coasters," Rory told him.
"Roller coasters?" Tristan asked.
"Yes, roller coasters and coffee," Riley said, "We've been doing a lot of research and we've mapped out the countries best, biggest, fastest, scariest, and oldest roller coasters."
"And the best coffee," Rory added, "We're going to travel the country seeking out all of it."
"Sounds like a lot of fun," Tristan said.
"Yeah, well, it could be awhile before we're able to do anything like this together again," Rory said, "So, we're going to make this the most amazing summer ever."
A couple weeks after graduation, Tristan was in Palo Alto looking over the space for the paper, making plans for the redesign with Logan, Dave, and Jim. Stephanie had started her job at The MET and had moved into her and Riley's new apartment in the city, courtesy of the Hayden's and Marsh's. Rory and Riley were packing up Rory's new car and getting set for their road trip. Since her Prius was now a few years old, the Gilmore's thought it best she have something new for California. With their blessing, Rory gifted her Prius to April. She wouldn't really need it in the city, but would keep it in long-term parking to get her back and forth to Connecticut.
"You kids have everything you need?" Lorelai asked, standing outside the Twickham House as Rory and Riley prepared to leave. They packed everything up in New Haven, but came to Stars Hollow before beginning their trip to say goodbye to everyone and for Luke and Sookie to fill the car with snacks for them.
"Yes, we have food and Luke has supplied us with bags and bags of his coffee so we don't have to drink the crap they have in hotels," Riley said, "We're good, Mom."
"You're sure?" Lorelai asked, "You don't need to wait another day or two or thousand?"
"Mom, we're ready," Rory told her, giving her a hug, "We're not going for good, yet."
"Yeah, we'll be back in a few weeks, Mom so you have plenty of time to plan your big, grand going away party for us," Riley said.
"I'm not planning a going away party for you," Lorelai said.
"Please, the way the town reacted when they found out they couldn't come to graduation," Rory said, "There's going to be a party."
"Maybe a small one," Lorelai said, "Just a little something to celebrate your graduation and new jobs."
"We can't wait, Mom," Riley said, giving her a hug and kiss, "Ready, Baby Girl."
"Yep, first stop Boulder Dash," Rory said, opening the passenger door of the car to get in, Riley had offered to drive first.
"Okay, so I guess we'll see you in a few weeks," Lorelai said, giving Riley another hug before turning to Rory, "You have everything?"
"Yes, we're good," Rory told her, hugging her tight, "I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too, kid, both of you," Lorelai said, pulling Riley into the hug, too.
Over the next couple of weeks, Rory and Riley made their journey towards the west coast. After their first stop at the nearby Boulder Dash, they visited Coney Island and rode the Cyclone. From there they went to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and paid a visit to Dollywood before moving North to Ohio for a couple of days. Their first day in Ohio they went to Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world, then the next day they went to Kings Island. Leaving Cincinnati they went to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. As they made it farther out West they spent a day at Glenwood Caverns in Colorado, enjoying the Alpine Coaster, a first in the United States, then moved on to Phoenix to visit Castles N' Coasters.
In addition to the roller coasters they did make a point to try out as many local coffee shops as they could, finding small diners and cafes in or near every city they visited. They were thankful to have the bags of coffee from Luke as each place they tried was good, but still nowhere near as good as Luke's.
"I'm going to need Luke to send me coffee on a weekly basis," Rory said as they drove towards Los Angeles. They were nearing the end of their road trip and were meeting up with Tristan and Stephanie to spend a few days in LA. Tristan had picked Stephanie up at the airport and they were all meeting up at their hotel. The next day they were going to experience a few more roller coasters as the four of them went to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Coffee in New York is good and we've had some good cups on this trip, but brewing cups of Luke's in the hotel has been the best," Riley said.
"So, where to first?" Tristan asked as they walked through the front gate of the park the next day, his arm wrapped around Rory's waist.
"Tatsu?" Rory asked, looking at Riley.
"Absolutely," Riley said, "I've been looking forward that one the whole trip."
"How crazy is this one?" Stephanie asked.
"It's not crazy, it's fun," Riley told her, bringing her hand up to his lips to kiss just below her engagement ring, "You can jump off scaffolding several stories in the air, but a roller coaster worries you?"
"It doesn't worry me, I've just never been a big fan. We didn't do things like this when I was growing up so I never really took a liking to any amusement park rides," Stephanie said.
"It will be fun, trust me," Riley told her, "And I'll hold your hand the entire time."
"Good, but you still never answered the original question," Stephanie told him.
"Yeah, what's this one all about?" Tristan asked.
"Well, it opened last year," Rory said.
"In May," Riley added.
"And it's the tallest, fastest, and longest flying roller coaster in the world," Rory said.
"It has the world's largest pretzel loop," Riley said, "And is the only flying coaster with a zero-gravity roll."
"Okay, sounds insane, but that's usually the mark of a really awesome roller coaster," Tristan said, "Let's do it."
Hours later as the evening approached they had been on every coaster in the park, Tatsu three times as both Tristan and Stephanie took a liking to it after the first ride and wanted to go again. Leaving the park they had dinner near the park before going back to their hotel in Los Angeles. After a few days there visiting various spots in and around the city, taking tours of movie lots and Rory and Riley spending hours at The Last Bookstore, Riley and Stephanie flew back home while Rory and Tristan drove her car to Palo Alto. Rory was spending a couple weeks there while she and Tristan looked for and set up a place to live. She was also going to meet her new employers for the first time and get a look at the office space Tristan had been working on.
"You bought a house?" Riley asked as he helped Rory pack up her and Tristan's things. She had been back in Connecticut a few days, leaving Tristan in Palo Alto to continue working on the newspaper office and finalizing everything for their new house, "I thought you were going to look at apartments?"
"We did at first. We weren't finding anything we liked and on a drive around one night after dinner we took a wrong turn and found a house for sale, on Yale Street," Rory told him.
"Yale Street?" Riley asked.
"Yep, who knew, right? It will be a little piece of home and the place that brought Tristan and I back together," Rory said, "We were initially going to just look at it really. We had no intentions of buying it, but the moment we walked in it just felt, right."
"That's awesome, Baby Girl. I guess that means you'll be out there for a good long time, the," Riley said.
"Ry," Rory said.
"I'm happy for you, I am," Riley said, putting down the dish he was wrapping in paper to wrap his arms around her, "But, it still sucks that I'm losing you."
"I know. I'm going to miss you so much, Big Brother," Rory said.
"But, it's time to spread your wings," Riley said, "Show the west coast just how badass of a writer you are."
"The house does have three bedrooms," Rory said, "One will be ours, obviously."
"Obviously," Riley agreed with a laugh.
"The other two we were going to have one be an office for the two of us to share and the other will be a guest room," Rory said.
"Are you going to let me pick out things for it because I will be a frequent visitor," Riley said, "I plan to visit so much it's going to be like I'm living with you."
"I hope so," Rory said, "I plan to visit you a ton, too, but do you really want to decorate the guest room?"
"Not really. I'll leave that to you," Riley said as they continued on with their packing.
"So, this party Mom's throwing, it's going to be insane isn't it?" Rory asked.
"Definitely. Apparently her and Luke have actually been working with Taylor, coordinating permits and whatever else they need to take over the square to give town princess Rory Gilmore-Hayden the best damn bon voyage party anyone's ever seen," Riley said.
Driving into town with Tristan the day before their flight to Palo Alto, Rory squealed in her seat with excitement seeing the entire town filling the square. Everyone in town was stood under a tent, protecting them from the falling rain. All of her classmates she knew when she attended Stars Hollow High, a few from Chilton she hadn't seen in awhile, and of course her family with Riley front and center were gathered under the tent, signs in hand to wish her well and good luck on her new job.
"This town really loves you," Tristan said, taking hold of her hand as he parked, kissing her ring finger.
"I am the princess," Rory said with a laugh, looking up and seeing Riley and Steph running towards them with umbrellas to lead them to the tent where Rory heard cheers of excitement and love for her as they approached.
Moving from one town member to another, Rory greeted and hugged everyone before moving to her family. She gave big hugs to both sets of her grandparents, her Dad and Sherry, Gigi, April, Sophie, Luke, Jess, and lastly her Mom.
"I can't believe you did all this," Rory said, pulling back from her hug with Lorelai, wiping away a tear as she looked around at all the people in her life who loved her, "You voluntarily got Taylor's permission and went through legal Stars Hollow mandates to make this happen."
"I'd do anything for you kid, you know that," Lorelai said, "Even grovel at Taylor's feet to let us throw you the going away bash of the century."
"I love it, Mom," Rory said, hugging her again, "And I love you, so much. Thank you."
As the day went on and the rain let up they enjoyed food prepared on the grills by Luke along with Jess' help. They enjoyed pies, cakes, and cookies prepared by Sookie. They danced to music arranged by both Kirk and Hep Alien, Lane refusing to bid her best friend goodbye without the band that got its start in Rory's garage playing for her.
When evening arrived the out of town guest began to say their goodbyes and before long Rory and Tristan were with her family at the Twickham House. They had sent ahead all of their belongings, instructing Logan to let the movers in the house and place the boxes in the appropriate rooms and would be flying out from Hartford the next morning. They had officially moved out of their apartment the week before and been staying with Riley and Stephanie in New York. The work on the office was nearing its end and the paper was slated to be up and running the first of September, giving Rory and Tristan just under a month to get everything in the house organized before Rory would start work.
"This is it then, huh?" Riley asked as they all stood inside the airport. There was still a couple of hours until Rory and Tristan's plane was set to take off, but wanting to have ample time to say goodbye to everyone before going through security they arrived early.
"It's only a couple months until our birthday and you're coming out here for it right?" Rory asked.
"Yep. I've already put that in with the times. I'll come in Friday evening so we have the whole weekend, but then I've got to leave that Monday night though so I can be back to work on Tuesday," Riley said.
"And we'll Skype all the time?" Rory asked.
"Everyday, Baby Girl," Riley told her, "I'm also going to give Mom and Luke lessons on using it so you can talk with them, too. Dad's already good on that end."
"I love you, Big Brother," Rory told him, clinging to him as she cried.
"I love you, too, Baby Girl, so much," Riley said, kissing the top of her head before resting his head on top of hers, "I'm proud of you, you know. Going out there and making a place and name for yourself in an unfamiliar city. You're going to do so great. I can't wait for that first byline. It's going to be framed and hanging up in my cubicle at The Times."
"You're going to hang a framed article from another paper in office of The New York Time?" Rory questioned.
"Yep. I want to show off to everyone how amazing you are and how proud I am of you," Riley said, "And if someone important should happen to read it and demand to have you in New York, well then that would just make it so much better."
After several round of goodbyes with her parents, Rory held tight to Sophie begging the little girl not to grow up too fast and not to forget her. She gave April a hug, telling her to look after her Mom and Luke before saying goodbye to the man himself, asking the same of him about Lorelai. Not wanting to crowd her at the airport, her grandparents had said their goodbyes to her at the party, requesting lots of phone calls and letters. Following one more round of hugs and kisses, Tristan and most of the family stepped away, leaving Rory a moment with Lorelai and Riley.
"This is it," Lorelai said, trying not to cry, "Are you sure you have everything? You packed all your stuff, even the stuff you had at home? I'm sure there's something you forgot, something I need to give you or tell you. Oh that orange sweater you like, you can have it. I know you've been eyeing it for awhile so it's yours."
"Mom," Rory said, cutting her off, "You've given me everything I need."
"Okay, so, I guess you have to go now then don't you," she said.
"Yeah. I love you, Mom," Rory said, hugging her again, whispering in her ear, "Take care of Ry will you. It's his turn to have you all to himself."
"I will sweets," Lorelai told her, "I love you."
"Last one left," Riley said as Lorelai walked away towards Luke, taking Sophie from him, holding tight to her as she looked at Rory and Riley, watching their goodbye.
"And the hardest one to leave," Rory said, looking down so Riley wouldn't see the tears that continued to fall. She knew her leaving was as hard for him as it was for her and wanted to be strong.
"Hey, it's not forever," Riley said, tipping her chin up to look at him, "We'll talk and visit each other so often it will be like nothing's changed. And I'm sure we'll end up back on the same coast eventually. We won't be apart forever. We'll get our opportunity to live near each other or possibly work together again. Maybe in a few years we'll start our own paper and make it happen ourselves."
"Funny. We do have weddings to plan and attend for each other, too," Rory said.
"Yep, and there's no way you and Steph won't be spending a ton of time bouncing back and forth across the country to work on those together," Riley said.
"Very true," Rory said, smiling at the thought, a laugh forming.
"What?" Riley asked.
"I didn't want anything to do with that party. I begged Paris not to open the door," Rory said, "I hated that the first party was on our floor. I wanted a nice quiet start to my Yale career, but I'm so glad it wasn't. That party was the best damn thing to happen in my life."
"It was a pretty monumental moment in my life, too. What I can remember of it anyway, I was pretty drunk for most it," Riley said with a laugh, "The aftermath was pretty great, too."
"Who knew my insomnia that night would turn out to be the best thing ever," Rory said, "And these four years with you, Ry...I've loved every minute, even the ones when we fought."
"You're my best friend, Baby Girl," Riley said, pulling her into his arms, "I couldn't have imagined my life could have ever got any better than it was, but the day you came into my life it did. It's been an incredible four years."
"And now here we are," Rory said.
"Here we are," Riley said, "We made it. We're college graduates. We have our entire future ahead of us."
"And we got there together," Rory said.
"And we'll continue that way," Riley said, "We'll continue our lives, getting what we want and where we need to be, together."
AN: And so ends my saga of Rory and Riley. Those two and the characters in this story and the universe I created have been a part of my life for the past three years. I fought this chapter because like Rory going off to Palo Alto, I was not ready to let them go. But, it's time to move on. I've been so focused on getting Rory and Riley where I wanted them to be I've neglected my other two stories and now that this one is complete I am hoping to have new chapters for It Still Works and I Will Always Be Your Soldier soon. At the moment I have no plans to continue anything with Rory and Riley, but never say never. Once I get myself back into a good place with my other two stories and may revisit them somewhere in the future.
Also, just a little info about Rory's job in Palo Alto. Dave Price and Jim Pavelich are real people in Palo Alto who worked at The Palo Alto Daily News before selling it. They actually created their new paper The Daily Post in May of 2008 so I pushed the time frame up a bit to give Rory a place in Palo Alto to work right away.
Thank you so much to everyone that stuck with this story and the two prior. Rory and Riley was my first foray into fanfiction. I began writing it mostly for myself as the plot popped into my head and would not go away. Thank you everyone for following, favoriting, and reviewing. I love each and every one of you and hope you still around and continue to read my work. Happy reading!