Title: Maybe Don't Do What The Romans Do
Summary: After working long and hard to get to where she is, Rory Gilmore is given the opportunity of a lifetime. She is the new executive assistant to the U.S. ambassador to Italy. Little does she know that someone from her past has recently taken over the job. AU.
Author's Note: Recently off the heels of Mary Dugrey, I have decided to write another story. However this time I am going to try my hand at an actual Rory and Tristan story. As you can tell this is AU. The reason why will be revealed in due course. Just a little FYI all of the chapters are going to be song titles. There are not going to be any lyrics just the song title. I know I said I was going to write a prequel, but I need something in the middle that's not along that story line. I hope you all enjoy and I hope for some feedback. Criticisms are welcome and I will take any suggestions you have. Thank you!
Chapter 1 - Pardon Me
"Italy! Rory that's amazing. You are going to be in Rome. Rome, think about that for a second. Oh my gosh, Italian men are to die for. You are going to love it," Lane Kim exclaimed. Over the past six years she had watched Rory Gilmore, her best friend since she could remember, go off to third and second world countries like Rwanda, Columbia, and her most recent assignment Thailand, which had left her friend phobic of waves, beaches and anything that had to do with water.
"I know. And the ambassador has such a reputation in the State Department. I can not wait to work with him," Rory said.
Lane looked at her friend and noticed that something was different. Rory had lost that same gleam in her eye she had since she first started this job. Originally Rory had wanted to be an international correspondent. Although at Yale, she switched her journalism major to international relations and the rest you could say is history. She went to graduate school at Georgetown, then passed her foreign service officer test and off to Africa Rory went.
Rory had loved her job. It allowed her to really grow up and become who she was and Lane loved that Rory. But then after Thailand, Rory just wasn't the same. The State Department had allowed her three months off and Rory had retreated back to Stars' Hollow. Granted Lane took full advantage of this and so had Lorelai, Rory's mom. It was different though than all the last times Rory had come home after a two year absence. Instead of being the happy, optimistic, innocent girl she was, Rory became withdrawn, pessimistic, and hard. No one could really reach her anymore. It was almost like the time Rory's second boyfriend and first love had broken up with her.
"Do you want to go back Rory?" Lane asked.
Rory got up off the bed she had been sitting on across from Lane. "Yeah of course I do. It's what I signed up for and I'm going to go through with it. And this time is going to be different. Italy's not the same as Thailand."
"Okay. I'm just worried about you Rory. You haven't said anything about what happened and you haven't been the same."
The blue eyes turned around from the shelves of books that lined Rory's bedroom walls and looked towards Lane. "I don't want to talk about it, Lane. I know should, but I'm not ready."
Lane's hand reached across and touched Rory's shoulder. "I want you to know that I'm here for you, okay? I love you and I don't like seeing you like this."
"I know and I'll tell you when I'm ready to talk. Right now just isn't the best time."
"Good," she paused. "I'm going to tell Mom about the new job at the inn. You can come if you want," the brown haired girl offered.
Getting off the bed, Lane responded. "No it's okay. I'll let you and Lorelai celebrate. I should get back to Zach and the kids anyway."
"Okay. I'm just going to put my coat on, then I'll walk you out."
Grabbing a black overcoat for the Connecticut April weather, Rory walked Lane to the front door and they said goodbye and gave each other hugs. The normal protocol for best friends of twenty years.
After saying goodbye Rory was left alone with her thoughts as she made her way over to the inn her mother had owned for the past decade. There were many good memories for Rory in the small town she had grown up in. It had her first words, her first steps, her first kiss, and her first declaration of love. The last was the most painful. At least she thought it was.
If you would have asked her six months ago, her most painful experience she would have said him. She couldn't even say his name anymore. It had been too long and frankly she didn't want to relive it. But four months ago, another event had given him competition as the worst and most difficult thing for her to get through. And like him, she couldn't talk about it.
Her thoughts were interrupted as she arrived at the bustling inn. She saw the French man Michel, that she could always count on to make her laugh. She smelled the delectable food that no doubt Sookie was making. And then she heard her mother's charming, but loud voice. Her mother was the most important person in her life and that was something Rory knew would never change.
Lorelai quickly noticed her as her eyes scanned over her business. "Rory!" She briskly walked over to wear her daughter was standing and gave her a hug that almost cut off Rory's wind pipe. "What are you doing here? I thought you were hanging out with Lane."
"I was. The State Department called and gave me another assignment."
After seeing her daughter's face and sighing Lorelai asked, "Where are you going now?"
"Yeah exactly what I said."
"Isn't Rome one of those elusive embassies that everyone hopes to be assigned to, but no one ever does?"
"Yep. And they picked me. I'm going to be the executive assistant to the ambassador, which is essentially the same thing as a secretary, but it's a little more dignified."
"That's amazing Rory."
Rory takes her eyes away from her mother and stares down at her hands. "It is amazing. More than anything I could of dreamed of. This is what I've wanted. If I do good, then who knows? I might get promoted or something."
"I have no doubt in my mind that you will be."
"Do you want to go?" Lorelai asked.
Letting out a grunt, Rory replied, "Why does everyone keep asking me that? I do want to go. Why would I not want to go? It's Italy. Italy. Not some third or second world country, but Italy! You've been there, it's beautiful."
"I know I just thought that maybe, maybe after what happened in Thailand, your career might have changed," Lorelai suggested as an answer to Rory's question.
"Well it didn't and I really want to go."
Taking her daughter in her arms, Lorelai responds to Rory's adamant response. "It's okay. I know you want to go."
"Mom can we go to Luke's?"
"Of course. Any excuse to see my wonderful husband and I'm taking it," Lorelai says playfully. "Michel, Rory and I are going to Luke's see you later!" Lorelai yells over her shoulder.
They barely hear Michel's protests as the two women laugh.
Walking into their familiar hangout, they see Luke with the same blue baseball cap he's never without, arguing with the ever persistent customer Kirk about god knows what.
"Kirk, if you don't shut up right now I am kicking you out of here!"
"That is no way to speak to a loyal customer!" Kirk shouted back.
"I don't care if you are a loyal customer or not, get out of here right now!"
Rising out of his chair, Kirk replied,"I'm speaking to Taylor about this and he'll–"
"He'll what Kirk? Give me one of those 'Be nice to everyone in the town Luke' speeches. I have no problem telling him to get out too! This is a business and in the United States of America that means I can refuse service to anyone I want. So as I said earlier, GET OUT!"
Kirk scurried out of the restaurant.
"Sometimes I just want to kill that guy," Luke muttered under his breath.
"No you don't!" Lorelai said cheerily from behind him. "You love Kirk and as much as he annoys you, you know that it provides an incredible source of entertainment for you."
"Don't you mean you, Lorelai?"
Sarcastically she replied, "I didn't think of that."
Leaning into Luke, Lorelai gave him a kiss that was more than just "hello" kiss. Rory being used to it by now, goes and sits on the counter, fondling a menu.
After a minute, Lorelai sits in the stool next to her. Luke goes behind the counter.
"So, Rory what can I get you?"
"No food?" he looks at Lorelai concerned.
Rory simply shook her head, seeming engrossed in the counter.
"What about you Lorelai?"
"Coffee and a cheeseburger with fries."
Getting the two coffees he mouthed to Lorelai, "What's wrong?"
She shrugged her shoulders.
"Lore, can you help me upstairs for a second?"
"Is it okay if I help Luke, sweetie?"
Absentmindedly Rory replied, "Sure."
The couple made their up the stairs to Luke's former apartment and recently converted office slash storage space.
"What's wrong with Rory?"
"I don't know. Luke you see her at dinner, she barely eats. She hardly sleeps and if she does, it's because she's cried herself into some dream. I don't see my daughter for two years and she comes back completely broken. I talked to her after it happened and she seemed different. I knew it would changed her, but not this dramatically. She barely talks to me."
"Do you think it's all about Thailand and the tsunami?" Luke wondered aloud.
"I don't think it was just that. Something happened. I don't know what, but something did. I don't want to pry it out of her. She'll just have to come to me."
"Can you wait that long?"
"I'm going to have to. The State Department called today."
"They called and said they want to send Rory to Italy. She's going to be the executive assistant to the Italian ambassador."
"Wow." Luke sits down in a chair in the former dining room.
Lorelai sits across from him. "I know. Luke, she's going to be a million miles away again and I don't know if I can handle it. Two years, two whole years without seeing my daughter. I can't do that again."
Placing his hand on her cheek he brings her closer and says in her ear, "It's going to be okay. Maybe going to Italy will make Rory better. It's a different environment from Thailand. This might be good for her."
"That's what I try to keep telling myself."
"Keep telling yourself that. Lorelai I love you and I love Rory. We have to let her do what she thinks is best," Luke encouraged.
"Yeah. I just don't want to see her like this."
"I don't either. None of us do." He held his wife in comfort.
Two weeks later Rory had packed up all of her things and was at the Hartford International Airport awaiting her flight to Frankfurt, then for the connection to Rome. This time was different than all the other times her job had taken her across the world. First she wasn't giddy. Normally she was giddy. Second she had not read everything there was to know about Italian history. Granted she knew a lot of it, but she hadn't spent the last two weeks reading every single tidbit she could get her hands on.
She felt unprepared, which was never a good thing. There was this incredible urge for her to just run to library and fill her cranium with so many facts that she would burst. Although she didn't. She had an hour before her flight left and with a Tolstoy novel in her hand that she wasn't reading, she was thinking about Rome. The embassy had rented her an apartment three blocks from the embassy so she could walk and practically all of her living expenses were being paid for. They definitely knew how to make someone feel comfortable coming back to work. They had promoted her from the clerk position she held in Thailand and now she was going to be the executive assistant to the ambassador. She was going to have a lot more responsibilities now and she hoped she was ready for them.
"Flight 47 from Hartford to Frankfurt is now boarding," the loudspeaker announced.
After taking a deep breath, Rory walked over to the flight attendant, handed her boarding pass, and walked on the plane.
The flight was good. A little turbulence, but nothing that wasn't unexpected. She had finished her book and slept on the connection.
As she walked off the plane and into the Italian air something felt off to her. She didn't know if it was all in her head, but she felt like something wasn't right. Maybe it was the fact that the a limo came and picked her up. Or maybe it was the fact that her apartment was more of house than an apartment. In fact it was even bigger than the house in Stars' Hollow.
After she set aside the idea of everything being off she dozed off into a dreamless sleep, unaware of what her new job would bring her in the morning.
Waking up fully rested and prepared for the day to come, Rory had her six cups of coffee and walked out the door. She followed the instructions given to her by one of the embassy employees and ended up at the front door of the diplomatic institution.
There was no doubt about it being big. It easily dwarfed the other embassies around it. It definitely screamed United States of America and Rory could not help but think that it was all too predictable. After all, Italy has been one of the U.S.'s more prominent allies. The stone building had United States of America in gold letters across the top and an American flag underneath it. It was pretty, but not something Rory would find welcoming to other nations.
At the front desk she introduced herself and was led to the ambassador's office where several were waiting for her arrival.
An elder man with gray hair around his temples introduced himself to her first. "Buongiorno! You must be Rory Gilmore. I'm Robert Young, the Director of Communications."
"Nice to meet you Mr. Young," Rory replied politely. She wasn't all too aware of Italian. The other words she knew were either ciao or food related words and she didn't exactly consider that being familiar with the language.
"Oh please call me Robert."
"Okay Robert," she said with a smile on her face. She considered Mr. Young for a moment and took him for a nice and sincere man. He definitely would be someone she would feel comfortable speaking to.
Directing his hand at another man, Robert introduced him, "Rory this is Signor Franco. He's our chief translator. He was born in the United States, but has lived in Italy for the past twenty-five years. He will probably be your biggest resource in handling phone calls, paperwork, and anything thing else you might need."
The distinct Italian man with dark hair and even darker eyes, took her hand and kissed it. "Benvento all'Italia, Signorina. Spero che piace Italia."
Rory didn't really understand what he was saying but just nodded.
Robert noticed Rory's lack of understanding and told her what it meant. "He said welcome to Italia and that he hopes you like it."
"Oh," was all Rory could muster.
Further into the room there was a large desk and a black leather chair that was turned around facing the wall. The man sitting in the chair was speaking fast and furious in Italian. Rory could only assume that this was the ambassador.
After waiting about thirty seconds, the ambassador turned around in his chair and stood up before Rory.
Robert introduced him. "Rory Gilmore, this is the ambassador Tristan Dugrey. Mr. Dugrey this is Miss Gilmore your new executive assistant."
A/N: The chapter title is "Pardon Me" by Incubus.