(A/N: 'Shipwrecked is by Shane Alexander. In no way do I own Gilmore Girls.)

She's Back

Chapter 5

Merry Christmas to you too!

The sound of the wind and the sight of the snow coming heavily down, reminded Rory that she was now back in Hartford. The bitter cold reminded her of many Christmas past. Ignoring a stray tear, Rory whipped her scarf around her neck and headed out into the snow.

"Charles, go to Stars Hallow," Rory told the new driver. The man nodded and soon they were out on the road. While casting her mind to the winters past, Rory watched the scenery pass by. The half hour it took to get there felt like only a few minutes. Rory had the driver stop near the area that had been declared 'The Winter Carnival'. "I'll call when I want you to come back," she informed the driver before leaving the car. Rory smiled at the beautiful view of the winter carnival; she had been going every year since she was 5. For the first few years her Dad had taken her. Then her Grandpa (her mom's Dad) had taken over taking her until last year. Last year had been the first year she had gone by herself. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to live in Stars Hallow. Pulling her coat even closer to herself, Rory headed off to Luke's Diner. From the time she had been 10 her grandfather had brought her to Luke's Diner to start the night with a cup of coffee. Rory pulled open the door and headed straight to the counter. Rory removed her coat and scarf and then grabbed the menu.

"What do you want?" the owner named Luke, grumbled.

"Coffee to go," Rory told him as she put the menu back. The man's head shot up.

"I thought you were off at boarding school," he informed her as he poured her coffee. He put the lid on the cup and handed it to her. Rory took a sip of the coffee.

"I am but Dad asked me to come back because he and Mom got divorced," Rory told him. "I'll be just staying for the break though," she continued on. "Mom is getting married on Christmas day and she didn't even invite me." Luke winced. He knew her story and knew how bad things between Rory and her mom were.

"Who is she getting married to?" Luke asked.

"Some guy named Max Medina," she told him. "Apparently he is a teacher at Chilton," Rory recalled. "According to Dad they met at a parent teacher conference. He knew she was married and still got with her. I have yet to meet him though."

"You could right now," Luke told her. "He's over at Gypsy's getting his car fixed," Luke informed her. "Gypsy says he'll probably need to stay the night." Rory gave him a smile. She placed the money on the counter and took her coffee with her. She took her time walking over to Gypsys' as she drank the coffee. She dropped her coffee into a nearby trashcan and walked into Gypsys'. Gypsy was talking to an Italian looking man when she walked in.

"I'll be back here tomorrow morning," Max finally conceded. "When do you open?"

"8 a.m.," Gypsy and Rory told him at the same time. Gypsy's head snapped to the direction of Rory's voice. "Rory I thought you were in Australia!" Rory smiled at the woman. When her Grandpa had begun taking her they had made the whole week a vacation of sorts. The first time they had done this, Rory had run ahead of him. She had ended up in Gypsys'. In those twenty minutes, she had helped in the only was a child could – by handing her tools. When her grandfather found her she was sitting in a chair next to the tool box chattering about how excited she was for winter carnival. From then on she would always visit Gypsy, even if it was only for a few minutes.

"I came back for the break to be with my Dad," Rory told Gypsy. "Dad and Mom divorced; Mom is getting married to another guy on Christmas Day. I have yet to meet him." Gypsy's surprise showed greatly.

"What's the guy's name?" Gypsy wondered.

"Max Medina," Rory coldly informed her. Max flinched. Gypsy looked ready to hit him. "The only reason I found out that Mom is getting married is because Grandpa told me. I, of course, was shocked because I had not received a wedding invitation."

"She didn't have an address to send it to," Max half pleadingly told her. "I asked her mother for your address but she refused to give it to me. When your Mom called you, it said that you had changed numbers. She even asked your Gran to get your address but she refused to give it to her as well."

"Last I checked Lorelai hated my very existence," Rory told Max rather scathingly. "I don't think she changed enough in the last four months to care enough to go through all that to get me a invitation to her wedding."

"She's been going to a counselor," Max blandly informed her. "After you left, she realized what you said was very much true. She has been trying to better herself. She was wants to fix the mess between you two." Rory snorted.

"So by cheating on her husband and then divorcing said husband to marry the man she was cheating on him with, she is working to better herself?" Rory said with a scoff. Max winced at her rather valid point.

"I believe the reason she did what she did is because she realized she was no longer in love with your father," Max softly told her. "I know that she regrets that she caused your father pain by cheating on him and then divorcing him. However, she realized that it would be cruel to remain married to him when she no longer loved him." Rory stared at him, shocked.

"Does he know this?" She quietly asked.

"I don't know," Max said. "I really don't know."

The tape that somehow had managed to get stuck to her desk was hard to remove. Using her fingernails, she picked at it as she listened to her phone ring. With a growl, she yanked the tape off of the desk.

"Did you just growl at me?" Stephanie asked her friend, incredulous. Rory blushed and rolled her eyes.

"No I was just growling in frustration at the tape stuck to the desk," Rory explained. "A lot had happened since we last talked," Rory told her with a sigh. "What do you want first – meeting my mom's fiancé, Logan flirting with me, my Dad dating a woman named Sherry that I have yet to meet or that my mom is going to counseling and has supposedly changed?"

"Wow, that is a lot of crap for only being there a day," Stephanie exclaimed. "Let's go with Logan flirting with you. That is probably the lightest of all those subjects."

"Well Dad picked me up from the airport and when I walked into the house Logan and Colin were there," Rory explained. "I asked them why they were there. I mean the last I heard they were still best buds with Kevin." Rory twirled her hair around her finger. "They then told me that they were there because they realized how wrong Kevin was and how wrong they were for not doing anything or saying anything sooner," Rory continued on. "Colin then left the room to take a call from his father. Logan then spent several minutes asking about how I've been and if I'm seeing anyone. When I said I wasn't he started flirting with me! He complimented how nice I looked and how nice I smelled. He then told me that I was very intelligent and that I could go and do anything I wanted because of how smart I am." Rory took a breath. Finn stood behind Stephanie shell shocked as he realized how jealous of the fact that another guy had somehow dropped into Rory's radar. "I hated him so much for what he did back then. Can I forgive him? Do I want to forgive him?"

"Well Rory that would be a question of if you believe his apology and whether you can accept his apology," Stephanie reminded her.

"I accept his apology and believe him," Rory hesitantly admitted. Stephanie allowed a smile to spread across her face. With a sinking heart, Finn left the room. "But I'm not sure about his complete 180 change in attitude," Rory went on. "It's like he's flirting with me for reasons beyond the normal guy reasons. It's odd, way odd actually – and I'm not sure how to take it."

Stephanie was confused. She was sure that Finn had told her to meet him in his room at half past 7. It was now 8. Thinking something had happened to him, Stephanie called him. She listened to the phone ring for about 5 seconds before a familiar voice picked up.

"Hey Stephanie," Finn cheerfully greeted her. "What's up?"

"You were supposed to meet me in your dorm room half an hour ago, where are you?!" Stephanie demanded.

"In Hartford, Connecticut," Finn sheepishly admitted.

"What?!" Stephanie shrieked. "What are you thinking? What are you doing there?" Finn shifted uncomfortably. "You're there to be with Rory, aren't you?" Stephanie cooed. Finn decided to not respond but instead hung up.

"Finn!" Stephanie shrieked in annoyance when heard the dial tone.

"Hi my name is Finn Rothschild," Finn sheepishly introduced himself. The maid blinked. "Um, may I come in?" The maid backed up and allowed him in. Finn handed her his coat and headed to the sitting area. Finn froze when he walked into see Logan leaning toward Rory. Rory was blushing as Logan placed his hand on her knee.

"You look amazing Rory," Logan informed her. A hesitant smile spread across Logan's face. "Do you forgive me Rory? I mean I totally understand if you don't," Logan hesitantly continued on. "I know I'm not the best or easiest person to forgive especially considering our past and what not."

"You're insane!" Rory exclaimed.

"Am I?" Logan cockily asked. Then, to Finn's horror, Logan leaned forward and kissed her. With tears running down his face, Finn backed out of the room. Blindly Finn grabbed his coat and left the house. He never saw Rory shove Logan away and then slap him.

The world seemed to be against her. She had only come back to Hartford, Connecticut to be with her father in a hard time. But instead she was here all alone at home because her dad was off somewhere. She hadn't been alone a few minutes ago but she had all but forced Logan out when he had kissed her. What a jerk! How could he think she liked him?! He was an egotistical jerk and had been ever since she could remember. He had apologized, of course, but she wasn't in anyway close to accepting his apology. The main reason being that he was apologizing was because his dad wanted Rory to join his family.

"Miss. Hayden you have – well, had a guest," the maid – Edna – informed her. Rory turned to look at the woman in confusion.

"Had," she wondered. "What do you mean had?"

"A Mr. Finn Rothschild said he was here to see you," Edna told her. "However, not 5 minutes later he grabbed his coat and ran out." Rory felt the blood in her face drain.

"Finn!" Rory hollered. "Finn, I know you are here! Come out; come out from where ever you are!"

"Rory, what are you doing here?" Finn asked with a sneer. "Shouldn't you be with your boy toy?" Rory narrowed her eyes.

"Jealous?" Rory questioned. Finn scoffed. "Because it would be quite pointless, I assure you," Rory continued on. "As I slapped Logan after shoving him for kissing him when I did not want him to even be there. He is just trying to get into my pants because his daddy thinks that if we end up together that I'll end up marrying him."

"Yeah right," Finn said mockingly. "I bet you just love the attention that Huntzberger is giving you. All of the time you were complaining about him, you were really just making it seem like you despise him so that you could get some attention," Finn scoffed. "Oh poor me! Look at what he did to me," Finn mocked. "I am so helpless against the charms of this friend of my brother."

"You're an ass," Rory hissed. She stormed up to him and slapped him. "You seem to think I love Logan Huntzberger, well, you are wrong!" With a flash of her eyes she continued on. "I haven't even forgiven the ass for burning my books a few months ago," Rory exclaimed. "And that was the least of the things that the ass has done to me!" Rory began to pace back and forth. "In fact there is only the person that I even like that way and it sure as hell isn't him!"

"Who is it then?" Finn asked hoarsely as he slowly moved closer to her.

"Why does it matter?" Rory snarled as she glared at him. "You won't believe me anyway; after all for some reason you seem to think that Logan is my boy toy!" Finn grabbed Rory's flailing hands and drew them closer to him.

"I'll believe you," Finn promised. "Come on, you can tell me," Finn coaxed. "I am one of your best friends." Rory snorted.

"I don't want to," Rory mumbled petulantly. Finn drew Rory closer to him.

"Ah come on," Finn continued to coax her. "Tell Finnie bear. You know you want to."

"It's you Finn," Rory finally confessed. Finn froze. "It's you that I like."

"Really?" Finn asked, hopefully. Rory mumbled something that Finn couldn't understand. "Oh come on, Rory. What did you say?"

"Yes really," Rory confirmed.

When my ship gonna come and will I hold till it does?

What should I believe as darkness falls on me?

Can you hear me? Is someone there -?

Am I losing my mind, am I losing my mind?

Am I all alone, won't you rescue me?

Talking to myself, staring at the sea

What will morning bring?

Will I hear that old bird sing?

Will her colors fill my eyes?

As she sails through clear blue sky

Can you hear me? Is someone there –?

Am I losing my mind, am I losing my mind?

Am I all alone, won't you rescue me?

Shapes in the darkness, starring at the sea

The world seemed to be easier when asleep. How was it possibly that her dream world seemed so real yet so far away? The dream that she so wanted to be true seemed so far away; she was shipwrecked, broken. The very dream that she and Finn got together was just that, a dream. With a snort she shoved her blankets back. A slight sigh escaped as the bitter cold hit her. To begin another day of loneliness in an effort to show support to the father, to the Dad not even there forced Rory to remember of the ever aching absence of the mother that never showed, not so long ago. Pinching her face together, Rory winced when she felt the crick in her neck. Knowing not what the day would bring her, Rory dressed to impress. However, she also dressed for warmth.

"Good morning Edna," Rory sleepily greeted the maid. Edna gave her an amused smile as she handed Rory a large cup of coffee. "What's for breakfast today?" Rory questioned once she had a few gulps of coffee.

"How about a reality check?" a familiar voice dryly commented. Rory turned to look and squealed.

"Lane, what are you doing here?" Rory questioned as she rushed over to her friend. Lane grinned at her friend. "I thought you were on tour with your band."

"Well, we have a few nights off," Lane explained. "I thought during that time that I would come visit my best friend while I had a chance to, especially since said best friend decided to go off to an elite boarding school in Australia."

"I can't believe that the drummer of Hep Alien has decided to descend upon my lowly house in Hartford," Rory told her mockingly. Lane rolled her eyes and plopped down into the seat that Rory had just vacated. Rory took a seat and pulled the food onto her plate. "How is your mom doing?" Rory wondered as she placed on her plate. "Last I heard she was still your bands manager."

"She is still the bands manager," Lane absentmindly confirmed. "She also told me that your parents are now divorced. Is that true?" Lane raised an eyebrow in her friends' direction when she chocked a little on the coffee she had just swallowed.

"Yeah it's true," she confirmed with a sigh. Lane scrunched up her face in response. She snatched a piece of bacon and munched on it.

"That sucks," Lane said. "How is your dad holding up?" Rory sighed.

"Not well," Rory said as she stabbed at her eggs. "He is always at work and he is never home. I think I've seen him for maybe an hour total." Lane winced.

"Have you been out of the house at all since you got here?" Lane wondered. Rory rolled her eyes at her.

"I went to the winter's Carnival," Rory offered. "I also went shopping a couple of times since I've arrived."

"Well girly let's go and have some fun," Lane mischievously informed her.