disclaimer in part 1

Going Home

by snoflaik

The Fog Lifts


Something was wrong. Rory practically stopped in the middle of the hallway
when she saw Tristin next to her locker. His whole bearing was completely
out of character for him. He was leaning into the row of lockers, head
bowed, eyes closed and obviously deep in thought. She studied him silently
wondering what happened as she walked over to him.

“I’m going home,” said Tristin with a bittersweet smile as he looked up at
Rory as she reached her locker.

Rory thought about what he said and remembered that day which seemed so long
agp when Tristan poured his soul out to her and they became friends. . .

* * * * * * * * (flashback)

“So now that we are friends, I have just realized that I know nothing about
you as a person or of your family,” said Rory.

Tristan sighed. He really didn’t like talking about those people whom he was
forced to call family members. It only brought him pain to think about his
empty childhood and non-existent love. But he thought that he could trust
Rory.

“Ok”, he replied somewhat reluctantly, “What do you want to know? Actually,
I don’t know that much about you so you have to answer too.”

“Fine. Let’s start with birthdays. Mine’s October 8,” answered Rory and
waited for his answer.

Tristan sighed deeply. “June 10.” He answered quietly.

“Hey that’s Saturday! I should take you somewhere to celebrate! Seventeen is
a big one.”

“Ok I guess.” Replied Tristan dispassionately refusing to meet her eyes.

Rory was hurt by his response but she missed judged why he was
unenthusiastic. “Well alright, I guess you don’t have to do anything with
me if you don’t want to.”

Tristan heard her hurt tone and immediately felt the need to explain himself
to her. “No Rory its not you. I would love to do anything with you
anytime.” He added with a small smile. “It’s just that ... “ he stopped and
sighed again.

Rory saw the hurt and pain in his eyes. “It’s ok Tristan you can tell me.”

“Well my birthday doesn’t exactly bring back the best memories for me.” He
stopped and looked out the window. * How can I say this to her? Her life has
been filled with love while mine has been stark and empty except for one
person. Grand. The only one who ever understood me, who ever wanted to know
who I was. Everything was fine whenever he was there. Then he was gone and
my life fell apart. How can I make her understand? *

Rory felt his sadness. She wanted desperately to pull him into her arms and
make his pain go away. She couldn’t explain why he had touched her so
deeply. But she saw the inner struggle with in him as he looked straight at
her for a moment. Can I trust her? Should I trust her? Should I open myself
up? She prayed that the answers would be yes. She wanted to know. She
needed to know.

Almost imperceptibly, he nodded his head and then began, “He was my best
friend, my grandfather. I would visit him almost everyday. It was a chance
for me to get away. Away from my huge empty house, away from my arguing
parents, away from the screaming and the crying. He understood me like no
one else. He was always there always waiting for me. We would talk about
everything and anything or sometimes nothing at all just sitting there
enjoying each other’s company in the comfortable silence of the beautiful
garden which he tended by hand with my help or in the quiet study where we
would be shut off from the world, just us. Every year on my birthday, he
would take me on a trip. Just the two of us, for two weeks. We would go
around the country and the world. To New York, to Philadelphia, San
Francisco, Boston, London, Paris, Rome, Cairo. It didn’t matter much where
we went since we were together. Oh the adventures we had. Skiing on the
Alps, riding camels across the desert, sitting in the Louver for hours
staring at one painting, burning it into memory. His favorite city was
Paris. He used to say, ‘Hartford is where I live, but Paris is my home,’ ”
Tristan chuckled, lost within himself.

Rory smiled at him. His eyes blazed with memories and with love he had for
his grandfather. Rory had never seen him look so relaxed and so happy. As he
continued, the light was replaced with pain and sadness.

“Then five years ago everything changed. He was diagnosed with cancer. The
doctors gave him only a few months to live but I knew that he was strong and
that he would fight. He was still relatively healthy for about six months
and then went down hill from there. He grew weaker everyday. I visited him
everyday still and we would talk and go on as if nothing had changed. You
have no idea how hard it was for me to see him change. He was always the
strong one. I would take his strength with me when I left so that I could
make it through the day, But then the roles shifted and he was the one
drawing his strength from me. About a week before my birthday, he told me
that we were going to Paris again. His home. I was excited to be going but
knew that this was probably the last time he would ever see his favorite
city. He seemed to grow stronger that week. I thought that just the thought
of going home made him fight even harder.”

Tristan stopped and took a deep breath; the next part was even harder for
him to tell.

“ Then the day before my birthday, he had to go into the hospital. I sat by
his side the whole day just talking about all the things we loved most about
Paris. When it was time for me to leave, I gave him a hug and said ‘I love
you’ and he smiled and said, ‘I’ll be home soon.’ He died the next afternoon
with me by his bedside. After he was gone, I was lost. Not only had I lost
my grandfather, I had lost my best friend, the one who knew everything about
my life and about me. He knew my secrets and my dreams.” Tristan spun the
silver band on his middle finger. “He gave this to me for my birthday that
year. It had been his father’s and then his. I never take it off. It’s a
reminder of him and a reminder that someday I’ll make it back to Paris and
I’ll be home too. . . . . “

* * * * * * * * * * (Present Time)

As the true meaning of his words reached Rory, her eyes went wide and a
smile lit up her face as she hugged him. “ You’re going back to France! I’m
so happy for you! When do you leave?” she asked pulling back a little.

“Tomorrow.” he replied. As she gazed at him she realized that something was
wrong. He did not look happy. His eyes were clouded with sadness.

“What’s wrong? What aren’t you telling me?”

“I may not be coming back.”

“Please tell me your joking,” asked Rory shocked.

“My parents finally decided to stop fighting long enough to actually go out
and file for divorce. We’re selling the house because my mom has decided to
travel the world and my Dad practically lives in New York with his
girlfriend anyway. So when my grandmother goes back to France, I’m going
with her.” The words were spoken with almost no emotion, but his eyes told
otherwise.

Rory’s eyes burned with tears as all that he was telling her finally sunk
in.

“I’m going to miss you,” she whispered as she pulled him into another hug.
She was suddenly overcome with new emotions and feelings. Tristin dropped
his head onto her shoulder as he held onto her tightly. It felt so good to
hold her.

“I’ll miss you too,” he replied pulling back a little to look at her in the
eyes. In the clear blue depths he saw joy and sadness warring. He also saw
something else that he would never have noticed before. Something so
familiar to him. Something that he had only seen in his own reflection.
“Rory I . . . “ started Tristin only to be cut off by the bell. “Goodbye.”
He whispered as he untangled himself and ran a hand down her cheek wiping
away the tears. And with one more look he was gone.

“Goodbye, Tristin” whispered Rory as she turned and walked the other
direction.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Rory went trough the day in a daze. What was wrong with her? She should be
happy for her friend. He had finally gotten to go back to the only place
where he felt right. Why did she suddenly want him to be beside her again?
Why did she miss his arms around her? Why did she care so much? She had seen
his soul when she looked into his eyes. She saw longing and sadness along
with something else that she couldn’t place. It was warm and reached out to
her. Something that she couldn’t help but feel pulled to. What was wrong
with her? She didn’t care about him. Not in that way. Did she? Then why was
this so hard? Why did it hurt so much?

* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Hey Justin!” yelled Rory as she walked into the courtyard. “Could you give
me a ride to the Independence Inn?’

“Sure hop in. It’s on my way.”

* * * * * * * * * *
“Don’t you usually get a ride with Du Grey?” asked Justin as they pulled out
onto the highway. “I can’t believe he’s leaving. Talk about coming out of the
blue.”

“Yeah,” replied Rory automatically, not really hearing what had been said.

He glanced over at her and taking in her reddened eyes decided to end that
subject, “Why the Indy Inn?”

“My mom works there,” replied Roy quietly still staring out the window.

Justin took the hint and didn’t ask any more questions.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Mom,” said Rory quietly as she walked into the Inn. The car ride had been
spent trying to decide where to go. Her heart told her that she wanted more
than friendship and that she should tell him. Her head wouldn’t agree. She
was terrified. Terrified of being alone. Terrified of being hurt. Terrified
of being loved. “Tristin’s leaving.”

“Leaving where?”

“He’s moving to Paris. Tomorrow.”

“Wow. Fast packer.”

“He’s not coming back.”

“Now I see the problem.”

“What should I do?”

“Say goodbye?”

“That’s not funny,” replied Rory almost at the brink of tears

“Oh I’m sorry honey, you’re really broken up about this.”

“What should I do? I can’t let him just leave without. . . without telling
him.” Rory managed to get out.

“Telling him what?”

“You know what,” replied Rory, frustrated.

“You have to say it,”

“That I don’t want him to leave. That . . .that I don’t want to be without
him. That I might love him.”

“Go. Now. Take the car.”

“What should I say? What if he doesn’t fell the same? What if he slams the
door in my face? What if he goes anyway?”

“Say what’s in your heart. If you don’t go you’ll regret it. And a life of
regret is no life at all. Now go..”

“I love you,” said Rory as she pulled her mother into a quick hug before
running out the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Tristin, I know were just friends now and I know you said that you don’t
like me anymore but I have to tell you that I like you, no love you, and I
want to be with you. Ok now all I have to do is ring the door bell,” added
Rory as she talked to herself pacing in front of the door. She had been
going over what exactly she would say since she left the Inn.

“Ok Rory deep breaths.” And with that she rang the bell.

continues


Note: the whole italicized flashback portion was taken from my other story
‘The Voices in Your Head’ which is the prequel to this story. . . hence the
reference.