Please thank chanqsquawkzhang for taking the time to co-write this with me.
Alrighty, here we go...
DISCLAIMER: We do not own the real people that this is based off of. The only things we own are Rory and the events that take place within this fiction. . eventhough some of us may wish we did own them...
"This school hasn't changed at all." Rory Durmot said looking back at Monroe High, the building she had been stuck in for the last twelve hours. A call had come in at her office last week from the school, they had asked her if she would mind coming in and talking to the kids about different types of counseling and therapy, more specifically grief counseling. The school itself had lost four different seniors that year so far to car accidents, and alcohol abuse; and thought it'd make it somewhat easier if the children knew there was help.
Checking her watch she realized that it was 7:30, later then what she had hoped. The next morning she was supposed to hop on a plane to make it to a convention in Baltimore, Maryland, the convention was centered on people who had coped with their grief and to encourage others to do so as well.
Rory hopped into her car and pulled out of the parking lot. It was starting to get dark and she still had a long night of packing ahead of her. She slowly came to a stop at the red light at the end of the block, and pulled her phone out of her pocket to check the messages.
Suddenly, a bright red car zoomed by her. She looked up, startled, surprised that the cars behind her had not honked if the light was green. The light was still red. Odd. "Why did that car go by, then if the light was still red?" she thought to herself. Hoping it wasn't some crazy drunk teenager, she slowly drove home.
Sighing, Rory threw the rest of her clothes into the suitcase on the bed, already stuffed past full. Her cell phone chirped and she reached for it wearily. The caller ID read Mom. "Ugh, not again..."She muttered darkly.
The relationship between the two was not good. Her mother disapproved of her profession, refusing to pay her tuition when she was in college, and even more strongly against her single status. "I was married to your father when I was 18! You don't even have a boyfriend! Get one before you are old and ugly!" she would rant. Rory thought of the endless blind dates that had been set up by her mother, each ending disastrously.
"Hello?" she answered the phone sighing slightly. Moving the phone she cradled it between her shoulder and ear so she could attempt to zip close her suitcase.
"Hey hunny. How are you?" Her mom replied. Then not even waiting for her daughters reply, continued to talk. "I heard that you'll be flying over to the east coast in the morning. And you weren't even going to tell your poor mother. I just don't know what I'm going to do with you out of town, I just get so lonely."
"Mom." Rory sighed again slowly shaking her head as she listened to her mom talk on.
"Oh don't 'mom' me young missy. I think it's about time you tried settling down for once. Fine yourself a decent young man, and give me some grandchildren. When I was your age you were hitting your 5 th birthday, there is just no reason for you to still be single. Wait, you are interested in boys aren't you? Oh no! My baby's a lesbian! How will I live with myself, I know I wasn't always the perfect mother to you but please don't tell me." Rory quickly cut her mother off before she could continue,
"No mom, I'm not. There's no need to worry over me. I had every intention of telling you I was leaving," a little lie never hurt anyone she thought to herself, "and its just I haven't found anyone worth taking my time to be with, not that its any of your concern." Rory shook her head and did a last inventory check as she glanced around her room. With everything seeming to already be packed, she picked up her suitcase and set it down next to the door so all shed have to do is grab it on her way out.
"Mom, I'm sorry and all. But I have to go I still have a few things I got to do before I leave and honestly I cant do this right now, okay? I love you." Without even waiting for an answer she hung up and tossed the phone onto the loveseat.
Promptly at 6:30 the next morning, Rory crawled out of bed and mentally prepared herself for the days travel to the convention. She grabbed her bag, a large thermos of coffee and a bag of cereal before driving to the airport in Seattle, yawning. Going through security was a breeze, and before she knew it, she was on the plane to Maryland, wedged between two rather good-looking men. She had asked for an aisle seat, but she decided that this seating arrangement might not be so bad. The one on her left looked real intense. He had jet-black hair and dark eyes. The one on her right seemed softer, quieter, and almost timid. He didn't say a word, even when the flight attendant came by with snacks and drinks. He only stared out the window intently, as if there was anything to stare at. The heavy gray clouds formed a solid angry mass. The man on her right looked tough, but fell asleep before the plane even took off.
Rory pulled out her ipod, ready to play solitaire for the entirety of the seven-hour flight to Baltimore. However, before she could fully immerse herself in the mindless game, the intense guy sitting next to her decided to start drumming on the folding table.
When Rory looked at him, he apologized, "Sorry 'bout that. I guess I'm just antsy today; going to a grief convention tomorrow…" he trailed off.
"In Baltimore?" Rory inquired, surprised. "I'm headed there too! I'm one of the speakers. My names Rory Durmot" She held out her hand to shake and he grasped it firmly. "Josh Harris." He replied with an impish grin "Crabber on the Bering Sea aboard the Cornelia Marie"
"I'm sorry if this seems rude, but may I ask how you came about going to the convention?" She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, glancing inquiringly at Josh.
Before he could give a proper answer the man on her other side got up suddenly, "Excuse me."
"Um, sure." Rory shifted slightly to give him room to pass her. She watched him make his way back to the bathroom before switching her attention back to Josh. Noticing that he was still watching the bathroom the other man had entered with a slightly worried look. "Is everything okay?"
"I'm not sure anymore." He answered, rubbing his face tiredly. The flight attendant passed by again stopping shortly to see if they needed anything at the moment. "Can I get a screwdriver please?" With a sidelong glance at Josh, Rory asks for one as well.
The flight attendant served them within minutes, and left to assist someone towards the back who had called out, leaving Josh and Rory to their drinks. After taking a sip Josh turned back to Rory to answer her question from earlier. "My dad died back in February, and my brother isn't coping as well as I am and I'm worried about him." He gives another glance towards the bathroom. "He's got some issues that I think he needs to face and I'm hoping that at the convention some of them will be."
The bathroom door opened and the man worked his way back to his seat under the watchful eye of Josh. Rory realized that he must be Josh's brother. With a closer look she realized that his eyes seemed a little more bloodshot then she remembered when she first saw him. As he got to the aisle Rory shifted herself again so he could easily pass by to his seat. But as he went to step by he stumbled and fell towards Rory. Josh and Rory both reached out to steady him, but he had already caught himself on the back of her chair.
"Sorry." He mumbled before he settled himself down into his chair.
"Jake…?" questioned Josh "What have you been up to?"
"Mehh…nuttin…" Jake muttered in reply. Josh frowned. He raised his eyebrow at his brother, but silence was the only response as Jake returned to staring at the clouds.
Josh and Rory's conversation started up again, lasting for the rest of the flight. They talked about their families, and their interests and jobs. Josh turned out to be very different from Rory; while Rory tended to be quiet and logical, Josh was loud and forward in every aspect of his life. His job crabbing on the Bering Sea was an adrenaline-filled adventure that he clearly enjoyed. Rory listened intently to his stories about many a late night crabbing party gone wild. One such tale that she found particularly amusing was the one where a certain Norwegian skipper got into an argument with Josh's father, Phil over crabfarts. "Crabfarts?" inquired Rory "What does that have to do with crabbing?"
Laughing, Josh replied, "According to the old man, crabs have gas, and when you can smell the farts and see the bubbles on the water, you know you've landed on the crab"
Rory laughed too. "Your old man must've been something special" she remarked. Turning somber, she commented "it must be real hard now that he's gone…"
"Definitely…" Josh said solemnly, glancing sidelong at his brother who had stopped staring out the window and begun to sleep, earbuds blaring in his ears, loud enough that Rory could tell what he was listening to.
Josh grimaced in disgust, pulling the earbuds out gingerly, leaning awkwardly over Rory. "Sorry, I just can't stand how loud these are…and they must be killing his eardrums…" He winced as Jake twitched and woke, glaring at Josh. He only returned it with a stern look, while Rory tried to look the other way.
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