A/N- This is the lead up to the First chapter. Mainly about how Rory got interested in Finn and how she went about her debunking of the myth of Finn. There isn't as much dialogue as I usually like to throw in, but it is mainly about Rory observing Finn, so bear with me :) ! (P.S some of this is taken from the episode where Rory and Dean break up for good)
Very few things got to Rory Gilmore like a deadline and a semi-solved mystery. Her current state of amused agitation could easily be explained by the events that had taken place not an hour ago, in conjunction of course with said dead line and semi-solved mystery.
Soaring towards the earth, with an umbrella as her only assurance that she wouldn't make a pretty 'Splat' on the grass below, had been as terrifying as it had been exhilarating. It seemed that the 'near death' experience had worked loose as part of her that was usually kept buried and chained.
Her sense of adventure had always come in second to her sense of responsibility. Perhaps years of trying to reign in her mother had suppressed her own need for escapades. After all, Lorelei Gilmore had enough sense of adventure for the whole world. But jumping off that raised platform, hoping the umbrella would hold, praying that bones would not be broken, all the while feeling a childish glee at the fact that she was flying- flying!- had her not only questioning her sanity but the sanity of the rich kids that had masterminded the event.
She had been blindfolded on the way to this excursion, but had seen the faces of the members at the surreal event. While the sometimes insufferable, sometimes charming Logan had introduced her around, holding onto her elbow in a gentlemanly gesture that equally irked and flattered her, it was hard to pay attention to his practiced nonchalant/superior voice with so many sights to take in.
Young men with tuxedos, bowing at the ladies in their striking evening dresses, dripping with diamonds and sipping delicately on champagne. Laughter and camaraderie abounded. Drunken revelry was as classy as any drunken revelry could be. While Rory tried to shake Logan loose several times in hopes of chatting with the hopefully loose-tongued members of the secret society she was unsuccessful. Whether it was because Logan was trying to stake some kind of claim or because he knew that his fellow members might reveal too much, Rory wasn't quite sure. She was hoping for the latter.
So here she sat in the front seat of the black SUV, blindfolded once again, on her way back from her first LDB event. She was silent, wishing she could peek out from the ridiculous blindfold, after all they were moving away from the secret location! She could hear the light and even breathing of the only other female in the car, Stephanie, and the heavier snoring of Colin. She couldn't tell if Logan was asleep or just quiet, but she assumed he was asleep. After all, he usually didn't go this long without saying something just to hear the sound of his own voice. She snorted.
"Something funny, kitten?" The soft voice of the mysterious Australian caused Rory to jump with its unexpectedness.
"Sorry for scaring you, love." Finn whispered. Rory blushed and worked to calm her racing heart.
"No problem, I just didn't expect it. Why are you whispering?" Rory found herself whispering in return.
"Everyone is asleep, and to be honest I'd prefer to keep it that way. I thought you were sleeping too, until I heard a certain delicate noise of humor." Finn teased. Rory ignored the jibe about her unladylike snort.
"I can pretend to sleep, if you would like." Rory offered, wondering why he wanted everyone to be asleep.
"S'okay, love. I don't mind some company." Finn didn't elaborate on why her company was okay while the others were not at the moment. Fine. As disconcerting it was to be blindfolded in a moving vehicle, she noticed some benefits. She could hear more than just the words that came out a person's mouth. She could hear Finn's subdued tone, laced with a hint of wary happiness. Hmmm…
"I had a great time. A little unexpected umbrella jumping must be good for the soul." Rory mused aloud. She heard Finn chuckle lightly.
"I'm a firm believer in that theory, doll. I'm pleased that you enjoyed your foray into dangerous and loony behavior. If you ever feel the need to attempt such activities once again, I'd be happy to be your guide." Finn's tone was amused.
Rory could hear his grin and picture the mischievous glint in his green eyes. Green eyes. Rory couldn't tell you what color Colin or Robert's eyes were, and for a moment she was thrown off-kilter before mentally shrugging. No big deal. Green was memorable right?
"I'll keep that in mind, Finn dear." In Rory's estimation, the ride was almost over and a part of her was sad. It had been nice to get away. Thoughts of all that awaited her when she returned had her spirits flagging. She felt her shoulders droop slightly, and a sigh escaped her lips.
"Something the matter, love?" Finn was concerned, and unusually perceptive.
"Nope, all is well." Even Rory could hear the fib in her voice. Drats!
"'Course it is, darling! You are chatting with an exotic and charming bloke, so the world is right and true." Finn's cheery voice soothed Rory's worries and a small grin worked its way across her face.
"Of course. Real life and responsibilities be damned! I'm talking to the dreamiest man with the sexiest accent in the entire New Haven area. Take that, world!" Rory played along. The warmth from Finn's hearty laugh made Rory feel like her words were truer than she had intended for them to be.
"Don't you mean the dreamiest man with the sexiest accent in the entire world, kitten?" Finn teased.
"Think highly of yourself, Finn?" Rory retorted playfully.
"Obviously. Someone has to." His response was light and as cheerful as the rest of their playful banter, yet the words worked themselves into her head and tumbled around restlessly.
Finn was a mystery, no doubt about that. A mystery that Rory intended on solving, heaven help her!
"You were kidnapped. For the weekend. By a group of kids in a secret society on your campus." Dean's voice sounded skeptical and wary through the phone and Rory was glad that the conversation wasn't in person. If she saw his face laced with disbelief and incredulity she would snap. He just didn't get it.
"Yes. We've been over this. It was a weekend with the group I've been trying to nail down and expose. I got an opportunity most people don't get, I got an inside peek into their secret world and I get to write about it! It's a big break!" Rory tried to convey her enthusiasm and the importance of the opportunity as best she could. She was tired of writing about janitor strikes or illegal music downloading.
"Right. So you ditched me to hang out with a bunch of spoiled rich kids. I mean, for your school paper, again." Passive aggressive, 'Dean' be thy name.
"I'm not going to apologize, Dean. I left you a message, so it's not like I completely forgot about you. Writing for the Yale Daily news is important to me. I want to be a journalist, for goodness' sake!" Rory tried to keep her voice level, but was failing. She heard his angry sigh and repressed her own.
"Well are we still on for this weekend? Or are you going to be taken hostage by a new story?" Dean asked bitterly.
"Yes, we're still on. Pick me up at 8 at my grandparent's house." Deep breaths, calm, waves crashing on rocks, birds chirping, calm, calm, calm.
"See you then." Click. That went well.
Dean and his anger at being shoved aside for Yale and all that came with it was a big reason for that small sigh that Rory let loose on the way home from the 20's Safari weekend. He was in Stars Hallow, dealing with his real life and his ex-wife and work and his family and their disappointments. Rory couldn't blame him for being frustrated, but she wouldn't change her dreams and goals because they had made a mistake and were living with the consequences.
She often wondered how much she actually cared about Dean and their relationship. The nostalgic glow that warmed her when they first reunited (albeit under less than ideal circumstances-coughmarriedcough) wasn't warming her any longer. Did she stay because she had helped tear his marriage down?
Shoving the thoughts and her lingering guilt aside she focused on the task at hand. Writing her article about the Life and Death Brigade. She listed all the facts she had learned about the group, and it was a scant list. She knew her article would seem more speculative than factual and that worried her. She needed some meat to add to the bare bones she had now.
Frustrated, she chugged some coffee. It was as if the coffee was laced with some brain starting pixie dust, for as soon as her scalded tongue cooled an idea formed.
Thank you Kevin, you scary computer hacker you, for showing me the ropes! After logging onto a server far away from her actual location, she began to browse several different databases, hoping to amass some information on some of the group's members. Maybe if she could figure them out she could make more accurate assumptions that were backed up by the scarce facts she did have about the group!
"List of members that I recognized. Stephanie Vanderbilt, Logan Huntzbeger, Colin McCrae, Finn…, Finn something? Or something Finn? Better check on that. Robert Duvall. How do I not know Finn's last name or even if Finn is his first name?" Rory muttered to herself as she compiled lists and searched databases. Right click, repeat. Send, Print.
Three hours later found Rory sitting on her cold wooden floor, surrounded by papers with various names and lists of records on them. Surprises abounded.
"Huh. I didn't see that one coming." Rory spoke into the empty air, a bemused smile on her lips.
Okay, this is not stalking. This is investigative journalism. Right. Keep telling yourself that, Gilmore. Rory thought with exasperation.
It had been three days since she figured out that Finn was not only the smartest in the aptly named, Merry Band of Idiots, but smarter than most people on campus in general. She had discovered through careful reconnaissance in the Yale database that Finnegan Damien Rothschild was double majoring in History (a favorite subject of hers) and Business.
So here she was, waiting quietly with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other, at the business administration building near her own English Department building, waiting patiently to see if Finn's attendance records were accurate. Apparently, he rarely missed his classes. Odd.
She was shoved in a corner that wasn't as dark and desolate as she would have liked, but she hoped that wishing hard enough would give her some weird invisibility cloak like in the Harry Potter movies that Lorelei had forced her to watch and mock while secretly loving it. She did not want to be found out; after all stalking was illegal in most, if not all states.
30 more seconds, and I'll leave. If I run I can make it to my own class and only be a few minutes late. She promised herself.
Just as she resolved to make a mad dash to her English Composition class, she saw Finn looking slightly windblown stride purposefully into his class. His hair had looked tousled and his eyes were tired but alert. His t-shirt had clung nicely to his tall frame and his jeans were broken in. That kind of observation was above and beyond the call of duty, frankly, but Rory wanted to be thorough. At least that's what she told herself as she ran across the courtyard to the English building.
Friday night came, as it was inevitably going to do, and to her embarrassment she found that her grandparents were participating in their own passive aggressive action against her relationship with Dean. Light on the 'passive' and uber heavy on the 'aggressive' in Rory's obviously unsolicited opinion.
As far as her crystalline blue eyes could see, young men were standing dutifully next to their parents, all smiling charmingly as Emily dragged her around for introductions. Could her grandparents be anymore obvious?
"It was really nice meeting you, please excuse me, I have to go to the ladies room." Rory said with more grace than she felt as she made a hasty departure from the non-descript boy. She avoided the sharp gaze of her grandmother and walked as quickly as she could down the hall towards the kitchen.
A hand suddenly yanked her through the swinging door of the kitchen and she suppressed the urge to scream in fright and suppressed anger. She yanked her arm back from a smiling Logan and attempted a smile of her own. It was more of a grimace, really.
"So, ready for the sub-party?" That arrogant drawl could be heard beneath his mirth.
"The sub-party. We usually form one when our parents drag us to soirees much like this one. We established a meet spot and time. Every man's goal is to grab a bottle of tastefully expensive liquor while the host isn't paying attention and sharing with the group." He held up a bottle of Scotch.
"Right. And who would 'we' be?" Rory asked, irritated that she sounded so silly when she was ready to pull out her own hair in her anger at her grandparents decidedly unsubtle move.
"You know the gang. Let's go. Rendezvous time was five minutes ago. I volunteered to get you." He grinned in her general direction, his attempt at flirting did nothing for her. Her blush wasn't one of flattery, but anger at her situation and growing irritation at Logan's weak attempt at charming her. She just wanted to be left alone. Dean was coming soon and the last thing their relationship could stand was a flirty Logan Huntzberger.
She followed him out the back door and across the yard to the pool house. Some of the non-descript guys from inside were lingering over glasses of liquor and chatting with some very familiar faces.
Colin, Robert, and Finn were mingling with the no-name guys, laughing and schmoozing with glasses of their own. All were dressed sharply, all glanced at her when she walked in. Now the stain on her cheeks were of embarrassment. She found a spot on the couch and a glass of champagne magically appeared in her hand. She saw Logan working his way around the perimeter so with a relieved sigh she glanced up at her savior.
Familiar green eyes twinkled merrily at her. She swallowed a large gulp of her champagne as he plopped gracefully next to her. His grin was contagious and for the first time that night a genuine and happy smile graced her face. Finn's eyes continued to stare, though they glazed over for a moment as she returned his grin.
"At this moment, I can honestly say that I have never been so grateful for a beverage that wasn't coffee. I am in your debt, you sweet, sweet man!" Rory joked as she drained her glass.
"I always try to be of service, milady. How are you this evening?" Finn's voice was genuinely concerned and she figured he had observed her angry flush or her chugging of an alcoholic beverage. All signs that things were not alright in Rory-land.
"What a loaded question. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." Rory giggled. The champagne was working wonders. Finn nodded slightly, aware that Rory was easing away from the reasons and emotions that were best left for private conversation. Instead of pursuing the topic he leaned closer and whispered in her ear.
"I'm at your mercy, kitten." His warm breath against her ear caused a delightful shiver to run down her spine. Just as she was about to reply, though God only knows if she could form a response, Logan approached with a champagne bottle. Rory felt Finn lean back and missed the contact.
"Refill?" Logan asked as he began pouring more champagne into her glass before Rory could respond.
"Sure, why not?" Rory was half sarcastic and half resigned.
"Because drinking is bad, and we are all very bad for doing it!" Finn retorted, as if Rory's question was literal. She smiled at him and their eyes locked.
"Spank me." Finn's joke was laced with sex to Rory's ear. She glanced away and tried to breathe normally before replying.
"I think the hangover tomorrow will be punishment enough." She replied. Finn let his gaze penetrate hers for a moment before his own shut down and he looked at Logan.
"She hasn't had enough champagne, Logan." Quick as jackrabbit he sprang up, his green tie swinging around. Rory watched him walk to a bottle of bourbon and pour a generous amount.
She could hear Logan talking about the article she had submitted about the LDB, and she responded appropriately, all the while stealing glances at Finn. He was smiling at Colin in an amused way while Colin was gesturing wildly. His smile was sweet.
The article that Logan was complimenting just right- not too much and not too critical- had been featured in that days paper. The article was submitted, yet here she was, still observing Finn. Somewhere along the way her observations shifted from professional curiosity to personal.
When had that happened? Was it when she saw him help a harried freshman pick up her books when she had dropped them? Or maybe when he tipped her favorite coffee cart guy twenty bucks with a smile and a 'thank you'? Or maybe it was the whisper near her ear…
"So, who's it going to be? This is an obvious meat market, and I get the impression that your grandparents want you to pick someone tonight!" Logan abruptly forced her away from her musings on the Australian that was approaching with a vase of flowers and a bottle of alcohol.
"Pick me!" Finn cried, his face pleading. Oh that Finn, always so theatrical. A blush began to heat her cheeks and she would have liked nothing more than to grab the bottle from Finn and knock Logan over the head with it for pointing out the obvious.
Several cries of 'Pick me!' were heard while Rory had her violent fantasy.
"But I'm exotic." Finn pouted up at Rory. His lower lip looked delicious. Oh my word, where did that come from? Rory wondered and looked at the floor.
"So is the bird flu." One 'admirer' jibed. That gave Rory the opportunity to gather her thoughts.
"Well, I don't know. Maybe I should get my boyfriend to help me choose." She emphasized the word boyfriend for the room and as a reminder to herself to ignore delicious pouting Australian boys.
"You have a boyfriend?" Logan's tone was incredulous.
"I'm crushed." Finn said simply, rising to his feet from his dramatic bended knee gesture. For a moment Rory wondered if he was really joking. His eyes had dulled and the smirk was less playful. She shoved the thoughts aside as she realized that she was officially late. She leapt from the couch on unsteady feet and began to gather her purse to meet Dean out front. She heard Logan talking about meeting her boyfriend and 'approving'. She was caught in a wave towards the door and was jostled to the front of the group of guys that were ushering her to Dean and shielding her from the view of her grandparents.
Out front Dean was propped up against his blue truck, an unhappy and resigned look on his face. Rory felt her heart drop. She knew what was coming. The conversation blurred together in her mind as she fought to control the pain of losing her first love for the final time, the guilt for her part in the pointless affair, her embarrassment over the entire evening (not to mention getting dumped in front of so many people), and the traitor relief that she felt even more guilty for.
When Dean's truck disappeared around the bend of the driveway a tear worked itself loose from her eye and she felt a warm body near her side. A flash of disappointment ripped through her when she realized it was Logan.
"It'll be okay." His voice was genuine, the first time she had ever heard it this way.
"No, it won't." She didn't mean the break-up. She meant simply that everything had changed. The last chapter of her romance with her 'first everything' boy from Stars Hallow had closed and now it was time to grow up.
Logan considered her words for a moment and turned to the still assembled guys.
"That's it, back to the pool house, men. We have some serious bucking up to do." Rory wondered if there was hope that Logan could be a genuine friend. That lightened her emotional load for a moment.
"I swiped a bottle of scotch," Colin offered.
"I'll re-enact 'The Passion of the Christ'" Finn winked at Rory. Rory gave him a watery half-smile before turning around to gather her dignity.
"Come on, Ace. Nothing seems as bad after Finn's Passion of the Christ." And with that she allowed herself to be led back to the pool house.
After several glasses of champagne, Rory was glad for the flush it brought to her cheeks. Maybe no one would notice that the alcohol blush wasn't solely based on the champagne. Maybe no one would correlate Finn's writhing and moaning on an 'air cross' with the mounting color staining Rory's face.
Its not like she wanted to imagine where else Finn would writhe and moan like that! She was a writer! Her imagination was vivid and the noises, oh the noises, were doing something to her that she would rather not explain. She blamed the alcohol. She shifted in her seat as subtly as she could. She was in quite possibly in over her head with her new fascination with Yale's resident sexy Aussie.
A/N- More to come, I just had to figure out how to break the super long chapter up. Review if you like it and want more! Give me opinions and suggestions, pleasekthanks!