AN: Beginning is a transcript from AYITL Fall (do not own the dialogue of that part, all owned by ASP etc.), I've only added some additions / thoughts to it. Rest of the story is mine but I still don't own the original characters nor the background story.
I aim for daily postings with this story, this may mean that some are shorter than others. Reviews are appreciated, they keep me going. I thank you in advance! Feel free to suggest continuations or what you would like to see happen. Not much strong language planned, some more intimate descriptions yes, hence the rating.
Logan woke with a fright that perhaps Rory was already gone, her side of the bed already cold. He gathered himself, sitting up on the bed. Only then his eyes finally registered her sitting at the window seat. She looked beautiful in the morning light.
"Hey, how long have you been sitting there?" Logan asked.
"Just watching the sun come up," Rory replied.
"Come back to bed," he said, not wanting to shake himself out of their amazing night just jet.
"How long before you have to get back?" Rory asked bitterly.
"Oh, I have time," Logan replied, trying to keep the mood light, though it was getting increasingly difficult.
"How long?" Rory asked seriously.
"Long enough," he replied, receiving a 'cut the bullshit' look from Rory. "I have a flight out at noon," he said reluctantly. "Don't do the math," he pleaded, a few seconds later. He didn't want to do the math.
"Someone needs to," she stated.
"Okay, so there's this great diner down the road. It's not your beloved Luke's, but it has an amazing breakfast," he bargained.
"It's really pretty here," she dwelled in the moment a while longer, looking out of the window.
"Well, I wanted it to be special," Logan said. That was an understatement. He wanted to do so much more, if she'd only let him.
"It was. It was a perfect night," Rory sighed. That of course was just barely the truth. It had been perfect except for the lingering thought that this was the last time.
"Hey, Ace? Something going on in that head of yours?" he asked, falling back to a nostalgic sentence he'd used many times before.
She rose from her seat. "Here," she said, handing back the key he'd given him the night before.
"No, no," he reacted, almost taking a step back, adding "I told you. It's yours. Use it to write." He'd given it as a gesture of good faith, he wanted to see her succeed, even if just from afar.
"I don't need it. I know where I'm going to write," she replied, sounding again determined and confident, just like the Rory he knew so well.
"Okay," he replied reluctantly. He had told her there wouldn't be any strings attached, yet they both knew, there'd always be strings, even if not the physical ones. Even if only as much as returning the key in some way, some time. Was she really letting him go just like that?
"Breakfast sounds good," Rory replied, regretting saying that a moment later. She couldn't prolong the pain any longer. Tears began to form in her throat.
"Hey…," Logan said, searching for the right words.
"Come on," Rory sniffled. "We have to get you home," she added, walking away to get dressed shaking her tears away by focusing on the practicalities of getting herself home soon.
Logan's heart sank and every bit of joy, that he had woken up with, was drawn from his face. The least he wanted to do was not see her again. What she had called his home, was the last place he wanted to return to. He couldn't do it. For the first time in decades, Logan Huntzberger's eyes filled up in tears and he sank defeatedly onto the bed bench. This felt worse than Rory turning down his proposal years ago.
Rory had just finished putting on her red dress, when she noticed Logan hunched on the bench.
"Logan," she said, approaching him. She'd seen him in a bad place before, but she hadn't seen him cry once, not like this. She didn't know what to say. They both knew the situation, they both knew "Vegas" had to end one way or another. Their time was up. He was getting married and she needed to move on.
"Rory, I can't do this," Logan said, trying his hardest to stay strong, wiping away his tears with the edge of his shirt.
"Logan, you are getting married. We can't..," she tried to reason with him, after sitting next to him.
"I don't love her. I love you," he said hopelessly.
"I love you too. But I love myself enough to stop doing this," Rory said. She was through being irresponsible and doing only things that she felt like at the moment - she didn't want to be someone's mistress, she didn't want to date casually or sleep around. She'd pushed the idea of Odette and also Paul to the very far corner of her brain, as if they didn't exist when she was with Logan. They were always in a bubble of nostalgia when they were together. But it was time to burst that bubble. After a perfect night, it was the perfect time to stop.
"I swear Rory, I've never stopped loving you. I never got over you," he pleaded, understanding then that she didn't need promises and affirmations, she needed to see action.
"Screw Mitchum, I am not marrying Odette," he announced a second later. "I'll call them right now," he suggested, standing up from his seat.
"Logan, stop," she said, "think this through, please," Rory pleaded. She hated the idea of never seeing him again but she also knew she couldn't live with the guilt of ruining his life.
"Rory, why did you want "Vegas"? Why did you do it? Was it really just convenient?" he asked, demandingly.
"We were on different continents, Logan. "Vegas" was wonderful as it enabled me to be with you when we could be together. I loved everything about our time together. But thinking back I've never felt worse about myself for doing something. It made me feel like I was never catching up with you, begging for your attention, being second best, failing. I don't want to be this person anymore," she sighed.
"Why didn't you want all of me?" he asked.
"I didn't know what was an option, honestly. I know what kind of life you live. You can have your pick of gorgeous women, I couldn't just ask you to jump into a long-distance relationship with me. I couldn't ask you to turn your life around for me neither," she explained.
"I didn't dare to suggest it either, after the way we left things after your graduation," Logan stated.
After a deep tactical breath she began, "you put me in an impossible decision when you proposed, Logan. I wanted to find myself first, before I became your wife. I did that, not ideally as you can see, but I at least tried," she said.
"I know I shouldn't have done that the way I did, I am sorry, I shouldn't have made it an ultimatum. I was young and stupid and frankly scared out of my mind to go to California all on my own," Logan explained, sitting down next to her again.
"Seeing you in Hamburg was like being given a second chance to be with you, but in the back of my head there's always been this echo, that I am not the type of woman you need by your side. I'll never be able to be just that - even if I fail professionally, I will want to be my own person, not some woman on your arm at the next Pulitzer's. I honestly didn't think all of you was an option, especially considering what your parents think of me," Rory continued.
"Rory, I don't care what the society expects of me, I don't care anymore what Mitchum, even less what Shira thinks of us," he said, adding, "I am 34 years old, I am not some kid anymore they can just bully around."
"What about Odette? She is perfect for you - pretty and smart, and she fits that role perfectly," she added. It was not that she wanted him to go to her, but she needed to make sure he didn't.
"I don't love her," he said plainly, sliding his fingers into her palm.
"Logan..," she began, feeling the tantalizing warmth of his fingers in her palm, before jolting herself to reality by pulling her hand away in fear. It was too easy to slip.
"I'm sorry I've been such a coward. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you last night when you asked whether I was really marrying her, I am sorry I didn't tell you every single time that we were together. I don't want to lose you, I can't lose you, Ace," he pleaded.
"So what you're just going to drop everything?" Rory asked, rising from her seat, agitatedly.
"If that's what I have to do. But I need to know whether I have a reason to do it. Do you want all of me?" he asked expectantly.