Shock was all Tristan could register on Rory's face.
"Before you say anything, hear me out. I had it all planned. We were going to go to Genoa for the weekend and after a romantic dinner I was going to ask you on the balcony over looking the water." He placed his hand over hers. "Rory I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife?" he asked again.
Rory sat up. She didn't really believe what was coming out of Tristan's mouth. Sure she heard the words, but she wasn't sure if she heard them correctly.
"You want to marry me?"
"Is that so hard to believe?" he asked rhetorically. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out the velvet box that had been taunting him. His fingers played with the box for a moment. "Rory I've been carrying this around for weeks."
"Weeks?" she asked breathlessly.
He opened it, "Yes weeks. Rory I want to marry you."
She rubbed her forehead a little. "I'm starting to understand that now." She stood up. "I just don't what to say Tristan. We've only been dating for what three months? And we can't even go out in public and you're proposing to me in a hospital."
"I know. It's not the best situation, but it feels right Rory."
"Of course it feels right. It always feels right." She paused for a moment then she said softly, "Yes."
"Yes?" he asked, making sure he heard her right.
"Yes," she said a little bit louder. Impulsively she wrapped her arms around him and Tristan immediately responded, by clutching her closer.
"Oh, Rory. You make me so happy. And I will do anything to make you happy."
"I know. You already make me happy."
He pulled away from her for a moment. And in a quick gesture he took the ring out of the box and held Rory's hand. Before he slipped it on, he smiled at her then he slid the ring on her finger.
Awe filled Rory as she looked at the ring upon her finger. For a while after Logan, she thought she probably would never have the opportunity to get married. She knew that a miracle would have to happen for any man to be able to fall in love with her and her with him enough to marry him. Granted, she probably would have married Logan, if he had not realized that she still had feelings for her then former flame Tristan, even if she had not had contact with him.
And now everything was happening so fast. She had the opportunity to spend the rest of her life with the boy, wait a second, man that she could never imagine loving more. He had successfully swept her off her feet twice and now she could expect it to be that way forever.
Although there were two things holding Rory back about being able to fully appreciate being engaged to Tristan Dugrey. First, the fact that they still had not come forward with their relationship to the State Department. The only way they could actually be married is if State knew and that means if not one, then both of them would lose their jobs. And second and perhaps the scariest, was that Rory had still not told her mother. There was this unspoken rule that they would tell each other everything and over the past three months, Rory had broken that rule on numerous occasions. Now, especially since the accident Rory had even started to feel the guilt set in more. And she didn't want to think about what Lorelai would say when she saw Tristan here at the hospital.
Rory knew she had a lot talking and making up to do, once Lorelai had regained her faculties. It was hard to believe, but now she felt that she understood partly what Lorelai had gone through when Rory was in the hospital. It was like a part of her was gone, missing. Her mother was her best friend and not being able to talk to her was torture.
"Miss Gilmore?" The doctor approached her.
"We've just finished the surgery. And your mother and Mr. Danes are in stable condition. They both are expected to make a full recovery."
Rory could not have heard better news. "Tristan, did you hear that?"
"They're okay. They're both going to be fine. Thank you so much Dr. Hunt," Rory exclaimed.
The woman smiled. "No problem. If you have any questions, feel free to have the nurses' desk page you." The doctor started to walk away.
"Umm, before you go. When I can see Mom and Luke?"
"Oh yeah. Right now actually. We just moved them into Room 457."
Rory and Tristan immediately rose. They made their way through to the elevator. Once inside, implusively grabbed Tristan's hand. Tristan looked over at her and he could tell she was lost in her own thoughts.
He was happy for once that he was there for her, unconditionally. There were no questions and he could just hold her hand, while she was thinking. He liked being needed, especially by her.
Lorelai Gilmore Danes had never looked so different to her daughter, Rory, in all of Rory's thirty years. There were tubes going in her nose, one going down her throat and what seemed to Rory, to be IVs stuck in both of Lorelai's arms. Tristan had given Rory enough privacy by opting to stay outside, while Rory saw her mother for the first time.
Upon looking at her, Rory's hand came across her mouth, not in shock, but in despair. She had imagined what it would be like to witness her mother in such a state, but what she had imagined was nowhere near the way that the vision took her now. Immediately she came to Lorelai's side and took her hand in her own. It was the only part that seemed feasible to touch. Although upon further inspection, she noticed that there was a wire attached to her hand, but she quickly disregarded it. All she knew was that this was the closest, physical contact she had with her mother in six months, and despite the circumstances, she was going to cherish them.
"Oh Mom," a tear slid down on her face, "Look at you. Now I can only imagine what you were going through when I was in the hospital. I never want to put you in that again.
"Well I guess there are some things I should tell you. And you can't get mad that I didn't tell you." She paused for a moment. Most likely, her mother was not hearing this, but it still felt good to get it off of her chest. After all she would be the first one to know. "You know that Tristan and I are working together, but what you probably didn't know is that we have dating for the past four months. And before you say that he's just stringing me along and he's going to break my heart, you have to know that he's changed Mom. He's really changed. He's not the same person he was thirteen years ago. He's grown up.
"You probably don't believe that, but just so you know, he asked me to marry him today. And I said yes. Please don't be disappointed in me. You liked him when we were dating. I know that was probably because you had because I didn't give you any choice in the matter, but I love him Mom.
"It's not the puppy love we had at Chilton. It's so much more. I always thought it was him that needed to grow up, but I realized that it was the both of us. I had to grow up too Mom. And I have. Now I have the opportunity to be with the man that somewhere deep down I always knew I would end up with. I hope that you'll be happy for me and I know that you will, because I'm your daughter." Rory took a deep breath. She felt as if a weight had been taken off her shoulders. At least she had said what she wanted to say to her mother, despite her lack of consciousness.
A moment later, one of the nurses came in and informed Rory that she had to take out the feeding tube because they expected Lorelai to come out of her coma. Rory assumed this was good news so she quickly consented.
Her attention then turned to the man that she had come to know as her father. Yes, Chris was her dad and she knew that he loved her, but if it came down to Rory needing something she went to Luke Danes, the local diner owner of Stars Hollow, but most recently known as her step-father.
If it was possible, he looked worse than her mother. There was bruising all over his face, cuts on his arms, and from what Rory could tell he was breathing on a respirator.
"Luke," she said breathlessly. "What happened? It's so hard to see you like this. You're Luke, not this guy on a hospital bed," she stated quietly.
Rory ran a hand through her hair. She needed something to calm her down. The whole situation was entirely overwhelming. Two people she loved were lying in hospital beds and she could do absolutely nothing about it.
"Rory?" Tristan's soothing voice entered the atmosphere.
She turned around with tears in her eyes. "Yeah?" She attempted to wipe her tears away.
"The nurse said visiting hours are over. I tried to get them to let you stay, but they wouldn't budge."
"Oh, okay. I'll just say goodbye and then we can go."
"Take your time. I'll be waiting for you," he smiled encouragingly.
Rory turned around to face Luke and Lorelai again. "Okay guys, well I have to go now. Visiting hours are over. Sorry. I want to stay, but they just wouldn't let me. Hang in there, okay? I love you Mom, and you too Luke. Bye." She kissed them both on their foreheads and left the hospital room.
Tristan watched her say goodbye to Luke and Lorelai. He didn't want to intrude on her personal moment, but he needed to see her. Right now, she was his fiancée. He never thought those words would roll off his tongue, but they were and he couldn't have been any happier.
Rory came out of the hospital room and Tristan greeted her, "You ready?"
"Yeah. I just don't want to leave them."
"I know, but the nurses will take good care of them and we can come back tomorrow." He put his arm around her in comfort.
"Okay," she paused for a moment. "Shouldn't you go back to the embassy tomorrow? You don't need to stay here with me."
"I'll try and stay here for a few more days. There's a meeting I have to go on Friday, so we have two days. I want to be here for you, Rory, okay?"
"I know, but your job is important to you and I don't want you too miss out on anything because you are here with me."
He stopped walking toward the exit, which was less than a hundred feet in front of them. "Rory," he placed his hands on her face, "You have to understand something. You are the most important thing in the world to me. Nothing, not my job or anything else, will get in the way of you. Don't doubt that okay? I'm going to be here with even if you don't think I should be okay?" he exclaimed passionately.
Rory leaned into his touch. After a moment she nodded. "Okay."
"Good. Ready to go to my house?"