Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Chapter 1 - Wanting to Get Away
Fourteen-year-old Lorelai Leigh Gilmore-Hayden, better known as Rory, sat in silence watching the rain fall. The window seat in her spacious bedroom was her favorite spot in the luxurious Hayden home. She'd spent countless hours sitting there over the years reading a book or staring out her window. She sat there now trying to hold back the tears that threatened to flow out of her beautiful blue eyes.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
Rory turned toward the voice and couldn't help but smile at the concern on her brother's face. Kevin's blue eyes were identical to her own, a physical trait the two inherited from their mother.
"Gonna miss me that much huh?" she joked in an attempt to mask her sadness.
"Me miss you? No way…I'm just making sure you're really gonna leave so I can take over your room," he teased. "Just so you know, I'm planning on turning this place into the ultimate bachelor pad complete with big screen TV, pool table, pinball machine, and a Jacuzzi in the corner," he kidded. Rory giggled knowing her brother was trying to keep her mind off the day ahead. "Of course I will have to get rid of all your books to make way for my stuff. Do you think the Salvation Army would take them all of my hands?"
"That's not funny!" she exclaimed. "You are not to touch my books. Don't even joke about that," she said sternly and then added in a loud whisper, "especially in front of them." Rory turned to face the hundreds of books that covered one entire wall of her room, not just wall to wall, but floor to ceiling as well. After watching Disney's Beauty and Beast, a seven-year-old Rory begged her parents for a library equal to Belle's. Naturally, she got her wish as her parents, especially her father, were never able to resist her famous Bambi eyes.
Kevin smiled at his baby sister's antics. In truth, he was only a year and four months older than Rory, but she always seemed much younger. She always looked so innocent, probably because she was. Rory was never in trouble a day in her life. She was as angelic as she looked, unlike Kevin who, along with his three best friends, had a knack for getting into trouble. He made room for himself on her window seat and asked, "Like I said, are you sure you want to do this?"
Rory sighed, looked her brother in the eye and said, "Kevin, we've been over this all summer. I'm going. I WANT to do this."
"Then why do you look so sad?"
"Because I am sad, Kevin. I'm leaving home in a few hours," she said with a sigh. "This time tomorrow I'm not gonna be living in the same house as you, mom and dad so please excuse me while I wallow."
"So again I ask, are you sure you want to do this? Come on, Rory, boarding school? In England? It's not too late to change your mind. And despite what Finn may have told you, Chilton is not that bad."
"I know Chilton is a great school, but I want to go to boarding school, Kevin. I think it would be good for me. …you know, to do something different…be more independent… take a risk for once," she said looking away from her brother to watch the rain outside her window.
Kevin studied her for a moment before asking, "Is this because of what Logan said to you at the bridge?" She tensed at the mention of his name, but Kevin didn't seem to notice. "Because you know he was just kidding around right? You're not a coward, Rory. You're just…well…you're you. So you didn't want to jump…so what! You don't need to move all the way across the ocean to prove a point. Logan was just teasing. Hell, he's been teasing you since…forever. Come on, Ror, I now you and Logan don't always get along, but he didn't mean anything by it."
The incident at the bridge occurred in May over Memorial Day weekend. Logan, Colin and Finn planned a little get together on the Huntzberger estate to celebrate Kevin's 16th birthday as well as their last day of being freshman at Chilton. There were about twenty people there, mostly girls, all eager to spend time with any of the four handsome, not to mention wealthy, boys. As part of the festivities, Logan and Finn planned a stunt that involved jumping off a footbridge and into the Huntzberger's lake. The drop was less than 20 feet, but she couldn't do it. She was the only person at the party that didn't jump and Logan wouldn't let her forget it.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with Logan," she adamantly declared. "And besides that was almost three months ago. I'd completely forgotten about it," she lied. "I want to go boarding school. Why can't you just get that?"
"Fine, you want to go. But why London? There are hundreds of good schools on this side of the Atlantic."
"Because if I must go to boarding school, the only acceptable ones are in London," Rory stated in her best great-grandma Trix voice.
"Woah…that was a little scary. Have you been practicing that?" he mocked lightening the mood much to Rory's relief.
"Maybe a little," she said with a smile, glad to move away from the subject of Logan Huntzberger. "She is the reigning Lorelai after all. And being in London means I'll get to see her more. Trix will never admit it, but I think she gets lonely. Add that to the other reasons I've already gone over with you a hundred times this summer. This is a good idea, Kevin."
"Maybe..." he said thinking of his spirited great-grandmother.
"Maybe….what?" she asked.
"Maybe it's not the worst idea you've ever had. It would be good for Trix to have some family around. And if this will make you happy, if it's really what you want, I guess I can get used to it."
"Thanks, Kev. That means a lot," she said honestly. "This will be good for me, you'll see."
"Okay," he agreed. It was really early and he was too tired to continue arguing. Besides, she really did seem to have her heart set on going so who was he to try and talk her out of it. "I'm gonna try to get some more sleep and I suggest you do the same. We have a long day ahead of us and it doesn't look like the weather's gonna cooperate," he said pointing at the rain outside her window. "Why are up at six in the morning anyway?"
"Just couldn't sleep. Besides it gave me a chance to go over my lists to make sure I didn't forget anything."
"Of course…heaven forbid you only check over your lists nine times. It's that tenth time that really makes the difference," he teased as he headed out of her room. "Night, Ror," he said while giving her ponytail a playful tug, something he's done since they were little.
"It's morning, Kevin. By the way, why are you up at six in the morning?"
Kevin yawned and mumbled something about Finn snoring as he closed the door behind him. She was going to miss him, but she was glad he finally seemed to accept her decision to move to London. He'd been trying to talk her out of it for weeks, and while she presented him with valid arguments as to why she should go (all compliments of her pro/con list), he wouldn't give in. At least not until now…and while he wasn't in complete agreement with her, he at least agreed with some of her points.
In truth, she panicked a little when he brought up Logan. Her decision to matriculate in London had more to do with her brother's blond best friend than she would admit to anyone, even her mother. Kevin, Logan and Colin have been best friends since they were in diapers so Rory's known them her whole life. They didn't meet Finn until fifth grade, but he fit in with the three troublemakers quite well. They've always treated her like a little sister and she always saw them as her big brothers. True, the four did play the occasional prank on her and they did all tease her, Logan more than the others, but that was all part of the brother/sister bond. That all changed two years ago at the Gilmore Christmas party.
Rory, 12 years-old at the time, had found a quiet corner to read while the festivities were going on. She was thoroughly enjoying her book when she suddenly got the feeling she was being watched. She looked up and found a very familiar pair of brown eyes starring back at her.
"How long have you been standing there?" she asked.
"About 20 minutes. You have amazing concentration skills, Ace," he replied with a smirk.
"It's a good book, Logan. What are doing up here anyway?" she asked eager to get back to her reading.
"Hiding from Dad."
"Why would you do that? Mitchum's so nice."
"Maybe to you, Miss Ace Reporter, but the last thing I want to talk about on Christmas is the impact of journalism in war torn countries," he said with a frustrated sigh.
"Is that really what they're talking about?" she asked sounding excited. She loved listening to a good discussion, and if Mitchum was involved, it was sure to be a spirited debate.
He chuckled at the fact that what had made him run away from the party was what would make her run to the party. Kevin's baby sister was always a little weird, but she was a sweet kid. The exact opposite of her outgoing brother, Rory always had her nose in a book. "Tell you what, Ace, if you put the book away and come downstairs, you can have the seat next to my dad. That way you can hear him and my grandfather debate all night."
"Really? Thanks, Logan. Let's go," she said getting up. "I was staring to get hungry."
"Well it's a good thing Emily always has plenty of food. I just hope there's enough left for the rest of us after you're done," he teased earning a slap on the arm from Rory.
"Be nice to me."
"Aren't I always, Ace?"
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, Logan stopped to point out where Mitchum and Elias sitting. It was then that a high pitched squeal interrupted every conversation at the party. Logan and Rory turned to see Lorelai pointing at the two of them with an evil look in her eyes.
"Mistletoe! Mistletoe!" she exclaimed. "Pucker up you two!"
Logan and Rory looked up only to find they were indeed under the mistletoe. They then looked around at the amused faces of their parents, grandparents and friends.
"MOM! I'm not kissing him!" Rory declared getting redder by the second.
"You have to, Rory. It's a Christmas law," said her mother who then took another sip of her martini before yelling, "Chris, get the camera ready!"
"Way ahead of you, Lor." Rory turned to see that both her father as well as Shira Huntzberger, Logan's mother, had cameras pointing at her and Logan. Rory wanted nothing more than for the ground to open up and swallow her whole.
Logan, on the other hand, found the shades of red she was turning to be quite amusing. 'It was only a kiss,' he thought. 'She's really got to lighten up.'
"Relax, Ace. I promise it won't be that bad," he whispered in her ear causing a sensation that Rory had never felt before. He then turned her so she was facing him and flashed her that trademark smirk before planting a sweet, and what he considered a brotherly kiss, on her forehead. A collective "OOOHHH" went through the room after which Logan turned to everyone and asked, "There. Happy now?"
Chris and Shira nodded, both pleased with their photos.
"Shira, Christopher, you must send me copies of those photos," said Emily.
"Oh me too," said Francine Hayden.
Rory could hear them, but stood frozen, too embarrassed to move or speak. She could still feel his lips on her skin. She continued to stand there waiting to die of embarrassment and then he smiled at her. Oddly enough it relieved some of her tension. Logan then chuckled and tugged a loose strand of her hair in the same playful manner Kevin did. "I think you'll live, Ace. Relax, it'll be okay. It's Christmas." He walked away, cool as a cucumber, never knowing his relationship with Rory Gilmore would never be the same again.
Rory never saw Logan as one of her big brothers after that night. As much as she tried to convince herself that nothing changed, she knew better. Whenever he was around, she was nervous and extremely self-conscious. She hated it—hated that fact that she was so uncomfortable around a guy that she's known all her life. Yet, at the same time, she found it exhilarating. She felt more alive when Logan was around.
Rory didn't tell anyone how she felt and thankfully, no one seemed to notice. Whenever Logan came by, she found a way to keep herself occupied, usually with a book. She was always so quiet to begin with that there was nothing atypical about her behavior when Logan was around.
Two years later, her crush was as strong as ever, but she was much better at controlling her reaction to him. In fact, not too long after the MI (Mistletoe Incident), she was even able to argue and debate with him like she used to. The friendly banter they shared was still there…that is until the incident at the bridge two months ago.
Rory was all set to jump off that bridge. She was nervous, but she had made up her mind that she was gonna do it. And when Rory made up her mind to do something, she did it. Kevin, Logan, Colin and Finn jumped off the bridge fully clothed and into the water without even looking down. The rest of the party goers, all Chilton students, soon followed and now everyone was in the water. They were all looking up at her waiting for her to jump, everyone except for Logan. He was currently engaged in a splash war with two curvaceous blonds. Rory was trying desperately not to pay attention to him and concentrate on the task at hand.
"Come on, Rory," Kevin yelled. "It's not that high and the water's great."
This not only succeeded in breaking her concentration, but also drew Logan's attention to the fact that she was the only one still on dry land. "Come on, Ace, stop being a baby. Just take a chance for once. JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!"
This only made her feel worse since Logan succeeded in getting the whole crowd to cheer her on. Her nervousness continued to grow and looking down at Logan, she became more and more self-conscious. She also came to the realization that if she did jump in that water, her clothes would get wet. And frankly, the thought of standing before Logan in wet clothes was very unappealing. Rory was 14 and the definition of a late bloomer and it was quite obvious that 15 year-old Logan preferred a different kind of girl. In the end, she let fear conquer her. She climbed off the edge of the bridge telling the crowd she'd just meet them back at the house.
After that day, everything changed. Rory thought about what Logan said and realized he was right. She was scared to try new things, always preferring to find sanctuary in one of her books. What kind of oversees correspondent would she make if she couldn't learn to take a chance? She wanted to change. She had to change…be more like Kevin, Logan, Colin and Finn. She tried, but couldn't work up the nerve. It was too hard, partly because she was too embarrassed to act in an un-Rory like fashion. Try as she might, she couldn't do what wasn't expected of her…at least not in Hartford around her family and friends.
Rory knew she had to do something. Step one, she could NOT go to Chilton. At Chilton, she would always be Kevin's quiet little sister, the girl that didn't jump. She also decided that if she was gonna make any kind of change, she couldn't be around Logan. He made her too nervous.
Step two, she had to get away…not just from Logan, but from everyone who knew shy, quiet Rory. She needed to get far away…to a place where no one knew her…where she could reinvent herself.
Hello London Boarding School…