disclaimer in part 1
Another Manic Monday
by Ms Storyteller
_ _ _
IV. The Pictures
The Gilmore home
When Tristan arrived the next day, on time, he and Rory again went directly into the living room and tried to work.
“I really can’t paint.”
“What?” Tristan looked up from the paper had been reading.
“I can’t paint. Not at all, really. I’m not artistic, I just…thought you should know that now.” Rory said.
“You’re getting an A, right? How bad could you be if you’re getting an A?” Tristan asked.
“Almost a B,” Rory corrected, “And I’m not really bad, I’m just not good.”
Tristan put down the paper all together and turned to her. “Do you have anything I could see?”
“Any sketches or paintings from class or anything? I mean, the best way to figure out who’s going to do what is to see who would be better at what part. Do you have any extra pieces lying around anywhere?” It was a sound reasoning, but Rory was still reluctant to show Tristan her work.
“I…uhh…I have my portfolio with me,” she said, reaching for her backpack, “Do you have yours?”
“Yeah, I brought it so we could look over some of the other assignments. For techniques and stuff like that. I still have the papers he gave us explaining each assignment paper clipped to the corresponding piece. You know, for future reference.”
He handed her his portfolio as she handed him hers.
Rory slowly opened it up and looked at the first pair of papers. The assignment was to sketch something that made you comfortable. The picture was of a giant Lazy-Boy chair. Rory almost laughed at how literally he had taken the assignment. But when she studied the picture, it made more sense to her.
The chair was big and fluffy, a soft material. He had taken the time to outline the whole figure in a light, plush blue. She saw that the chair had a hole on one armrest and the seat and back were indented from being so frequently used. It really did look comfortable, but not in the purely superficial sense.
She continued to leaf through the portfolio and discovered Tristan really could paint. He could actually draw and sketch and paint very well. Rory knew that in order to get a good grade on their assignment, she’d have to be the subject. She kept scanning the pictures, but finally stopped short at an assignment she remembered from a few weeks before.
It was to draw something that made someone feel pain.
Tristan’s picture was of a little girl, her hair long and blonde, bangs falling into her eyes. She was wearing a nightgown that kissed the ground, completely curtaining her feet, and there was a little teddy bear clutched in her right arm. She looked forlorn, her head drooped and her shoulders sagging. She wasn’t crying, but it seemed like she was about to. She stood in a doorway, the light behind her from the hall burning her skin in its yellow glow, while the darkness of the room she faced seemed to call to her, offering her protection from the harsh light.
“Who…who is this?” She asked, turning the picture to Tristan. He looked at it briefly before turning back to her portfolio.
He cleared his throat before saying, “Oh, umm, that’s my little sister.”
Rory knew it probably wasn’t her business to ask, but she did anyway. “What’s wrong with her in this picture?”
Tristan looked uncomfortable. “Sometimes at night she comes into my room. When our parents are fighting. It’s no big deal, really.”
“Oh,” it was barely perceptible.
“Yeah, but hey, check this out,” he said, grabbing the portfolio from her grasp and flipped through it until he arrived at the right one. “She’s hot.”
It was a picture of a bikini clad model lying on the beach holding a beach ball.
“I copied this out of a magazine. The woman’s name is Persephone. Isn’t that great?” Tristan practically purred.
Rory turned her head and rolled her eyes. “Oh please. You’re such a guy.”
Tristan shrugged. “Yeah, so? That’s what I am. I accept that.”
She quickly changed the subject. “Okay, so I guess you’ll be painting me.”
“I like this,” he said suddenly, and Rory looked to see what he was talking about. He was holding up one of her pictures. It was the charcoal sketch of her house.
“That’s your mom fixing the door, right?” He waited until she nodded to continue. “I like that. It’s really domestic and calm, but at the same time, it’s different, because it’s a woman that’s fixing the house, you know?”
Rory was almost proud that he saw that much in her little sketch. But she quickly shook the feeling away. “What you don’t know is that she actually ended up breaking the door completely off the hinges, and we had to call Luke to fix it again.”
He laughed lightly. “Well, the intentions were good, anyway. You guys really are a small town, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, we’re quirky.”
“I mean, the guy that owns the diner fixes your door, your mom knew the pizza guy by name today when she ordered, it’s interesting. There’s nothing like that in Hartford,” Tristan said.
“I don’t think there’s anything like this place anywhere,” Rory intoned.
V. The Doting
Rory was tired. Simply put, she was worn out. She and her mother celebrated “Hump Day” that morning over a breakfast of Poptarts and coffee before they both left.
But Rory felt the weight of the end of the quarter weighing down on her. The fatigue was killing her. Teachers always chose those last few weeks to pile on any tests or quizzes or projects to be counted for that grading period. She had a Spanish exam she was sure she was going to get a B on if she didn’t find time to go over her infinitives, and then she had to write an essay on Mussolini for European History.
Plus, there was that Art Studio project. She and Tristan had gotten nearly nothing accomplished in the past two days, aside from deciding he was going to paint the picture of her. The clock was winding down, and she was getting scared.
And Dean, of course Dean. She hadn’t seen him since they broke up, finding it easy to avoid him when she needed to. She didn’t go with her mother when she went grocery shopping and she was never around the school when they let out. It was easy. But it didn’t help. She always thought about him, and she still wore the bracelet he made for her on her birthday. There were even times she was tempted just to pick the phone up and call him. Until she remembered.
He didn’t want to hear from her anymore.
He wasn’t in class yet, and Rory was worried that he was sick. She couldn’t afford to you lose a day.
But just as the final bell was about to ring, he strutted into the room; he books under one arm and the other hand stuffed leisurely into the pocket of his pants.
Rory’s eyes followed him as she took in his confident stride and the ever-present Cheshire cat smile spread across his face. She wanted to look away, look down at her paper, but for some reason she couldn’t. Instead, she watched with rapt attention, taking in his unbelievably blue eyes and long eyes lashes.
When he turned and saw her, she quickly averted her eyes, focusing on the chalkboard just behind him. But curiosity got the better of her, and she snuck another look in his direction.
He had actually stopped in the middle of the room, the eyes she’d been thinking about just a few moments before staring right into her. When she finally met his gaze, he simply winked at her once to let her know had, indeed, noticed her watching him, and then walked to his seat.
Rory felt her cheeks warm to an uncomfortable shade of red, which she tried to hide under her hair and behind her book. It was ridiculous. She could look at someone, it’s not like she was licking her lips and swinging her hips. She didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t have anything to be embarrassed about. She did not think of Tristan Dugray as a friend, and definitely not anything more than that. They were NOT friends.
Besides, if she needed to…she could grow to like O-Town.
VI. The Display
The Gilmore home
A painting easel was set up in the middle of Rory’s living room. Rory sat on the couch, trying to get comfortable as Tristan scrutinized her face.
“How can we do this…” it was more of a verbalized thought to himself, and she knew not to answer, “Maybe we could…make some sketches of some ideas first, and then see which one we like the best?”
Rory tugged her skirt down as close to her knees as she could. “So…so you’re just going to draw a bunch of pictures of me?”
“Well, I was thinking of using charcoal…it gives a better texture,” he corrected.
“Umm, I…guess that would be okay.”
“Oh stop being so self-conscious. If it makes you feel better, I stopped undressing you with my eyes at least twenty minutes ago,” he slouched down in the chair he was sitting on and continued looking her over.
“That’s not funny,” Rory said, wringing her hands together.
“Wow, this is the wackiest staring contest I’ve ever seen,” Lorelai commented as she walked into the room.
“He’s trying to figure out how to sketch me,” Rory explained.
“Well if he stares at you any harder, lasers are going to shoot out of his eyes, and there will be one less Lorelai in the Gilmore family,” she went over to stand behind Tristan.
“Hmm…Rory, maybe you should sit on that side of the couch,” he pointed to the side closest to the window.
“That’s a good idea,” Lorelai said, “Then she’ll have more light on her.”
“Un-clench your hands Rory,” she let her hands go, “And then just lay them in your lap…no, not like that…here…can I show you?”
Rory acquiesced and Tristan got off his chair and approached her. Kneeling down in front of her, he took her hands and placed them strategically in her lap. Then, he took her face in his hands and tilted in slightly to the left. “There you go, just stay like that.” A wisp of hair had tumbled out of the beret she was wearing, and Tristan tucked it behind her ear.
“There,” he whispered and moved away.
Rory was left with her mouth slightly agape and her hands shaking in her lap.
When Tristan was back in his seat, Lorelai began wiggling her eyebrows to Rory where Tristan couldn’t see. Rory attempted not to look at her and instead to focus on Tristan and their grade.
“Oh, by the way honey, Sookie’s gonna be coming over here in a little while,” Lorelai announced.
Rory eyed her mother suspiciously. “Why?”
“Because…for inn reasons. Inn issues,” she stumbled on the words.
Translation—to talk about and analyze Tristan. Really, sometimes, her mother was such a simple creature. And so very transparent.
* * * * * *
“Hi Lorelai,” Rory heard from in the foyer. The greeting was followed by the sound of the coat rack falling over. Sookie had indeed arrived.
10 seconds later, Rory saw from the corner of her eye, her mother and Sookie peeking their heads in the doorway.
“You can come in, you know,” Rory said, causing them both to jump into the room.
“Yes,” Lorelai said while fixing her hair, “It is my house, I know I can come in, thank you very much.”
Sookie was wearing a tasteful, ankle length red skirt and matching sweater. She smiled, her dimples shining through, making her seem much younger than she actually was. “Hi Rory,” she greeted.
She turned to Tristan who had stopped sketching to look at her. “Hi, I’m Sookie,” she introduced, and accentuated the remark with a little giggle as she smoothed her skirt with her hands. Rory used to think that was a nervous gesture, but eventually figured out that it was simply unconscious on Sookie’s part.
“Tristan DuGrey, it’s nice to meet you,” he said, returning the introduction.
“It’s nice to meet you too. Well aren’t you a little gentleman?” She looked pointedly at Lorelai, who then led her into the kitchen.
When they were gone, Rory explained, “Sookie is the cook at the inn, and she’s my mom’s best friend.”
“She seems…eccentric,” Tristan said slowly.
“Oh, she is,” Rory agreed, “But she’s great.”
They were just getting back to work when the front door opened and closed loudly again. Lane’s voice carried throughout the house.
“Rory, Lorelai, you will not believe this. Not only do I have to go to church every week, but now, my mother’s saying I’m not “involved” enough, so she signed me up to be in the Easter pageant! Can you imagine? Me as Mary Magdal…” Lane stopped in mid-sentence, her hands stilling in the hair she was trying to take down from the ‘do she had in for her mother’s benefit.
She pulled the last of the berets out of her short black bob and shoved them into her pockets.
Rory cleared her throat. “Umm, Lane, this is Tristan. Tristan, this is my best friend, Lane Kim.”
Tristan looked over the perky Korean girl who was so close to Rory. They both nodded a hello.
Lane looked at Rory and said cheerily, “Rory? Do you think I could see you in the kitchen a second?”
“Uhh, sure. Can you hold on a second, Tristan?”
She got off the couch and followed Lane into the kitchen, where her mother and Sookie were also sitting, sharing a bag of Doritos. “What’s up?”
“That’s Tristan?” Lane asked in disbelief.
“No, it’s his stunt double.”
“You never told me he was so hot!” She exclaimed.
“Who cares if he’s hot? He was a complete jerk to me!” Rory shot back.
“Notice Rory didn’t disagree with Lane,” Sookie pointed out.
Lorelai nodded sagely, “As well as the use of the past tense in that last sentence.” They continued to watch the girls talk animatedly.
“You should have mentioned that he has great hair and those amazing blue eyes,” Lane said. She almost sounded offended that Rory hadn’t supplied that information.
“He does have nice eyes,” Sookie agreed.
“I’ve noticed that too. Although, she forgot to mention the definition of his jaw,” Lorelai added.
“It shouldn’t matter what he looks like. If I hate him, you’re supposed to too.”
“I do hate him. It’s just, now that I know what he looks like, it adds a whole new dynamic to your relationship with him,” Lane told her.
“And what’s that?” Rory asked.
“Sexual tension,” Lane educated her intelligent friend.
“WHAT?” Rory cried.
“Lane makes a good point,” Sookie said.
Lorelai shook her head. “There’d better not be anything sexual going on there.”
Rory put her hands on her head in exasperation. “Okay, where was I when Doose’s Market had a sale on the crazy pills this morning!”
“Probably in the line for complete denial,” Lane shot back.
“Okay, I’m going back in there now. We have work to do.”
Rory walked back into the living room and sat down, getting back into position.
“What were you guys arguing about?” Tristan asked.
Rory looked down. “Nothing important.”
That seemed to appease him. He picked up the charcoal and continued what he was doing. “Did your friend leave?”
She shook her head. “No, she’s in the kitchen talking to my mom and Sookie.”
“Your friends talk to your mom?” He asked incredulously.
“Well, my mother always has appealed to the more immature set. She dated the paper boy once.”
Tristan stopped drawing and looked up at Rory in shock. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Well, his father anyway. It lasted a few months, but ended badly. For the next three weeks, all of our newspapers came without the comics section,” Rory informed him.
Tristan laughed loudly. “Yeah?”
She nodded, “Yes, and I learned something very important from that little debacle.”
“Oh? And what’s that?”
“Never break up with the guy supplying you Calvin and Hobbes.”
VII. The Confrontation
The Gilmore home
Rory gritted her teeth and closed her eyes. She was getting tired of posing on the couch. It was the last sketch Tristan was doing and he had been going at it for the past hour. The position she was in was very uncomfortable, but Tristan wouldn’t let her move.
“Are you almost done?” Rory ground out.
“You know, Mary, if you’d stop whining this would go a lot faster,” he shot back.
Rory was shocked that he had actually called her ‘Mary.’ It was the first time he had that whole week. But it shut her up, which, in retrospect, was probably what he was trying to do anyway.
After ten more minutes, he finally put the charcoal down. “There. Last one done.”
Rory immediately let her body relaxed and groaned. “Thank God. I thought my legs were going to be permanently contorted into that position.”
“You’re such a baby,” he said, and then looked down at his watch. It was almost ten ‘o clock. “We can pick out which ones we like the best tomorrow and start the actual painting then, okay? I think I’d better…”
“Do want Pez?” Rory interrupted suddenly.
Tristan stared at her for several moments, then said a single word. “What?”
“Pez, I just have this taste for Pez.”
Tristan spoke slowly, “You mean like the candy you eat out of those dispensers with the heads of Elvis and Disney characters on them?”
“Yeah, there’s this store like two blocks from here that has every variation of Pez ever made. They even have the Marilyn Monroe dispenser. It’s a classic. I keep trying to get Casey, the owner, to sell it to me, but he won’t give it up,” she said.
“You know…I don’t think I’ve ever had Pez,” Tristan said thoughtfully.
“Wow, you rich people really are different. I can’t imagine a childhood without Pez. It would be like life without sunshine,” Rory said in awe.
“You make it sound like your family isn’t just a rich as mine. Your grandparents are loaded. I remember what their house looked like. Don’t pretend like money is foreign to you,” Tristan chastised.
Rory raised her eyebrows. “Yeah, but my grandparents? Not really Pez people.”
“I can imagine. Although, can you picture your grandfather with a Donald Duck Pez dispenser?”
“I would love to be the heir to the Pez fortune,” Rory grinned.
“You’re so strange, you know that, Rory?” Tristan asked.
She nodded, still smiling. “I’m aware.”
“Is there an entire Pez aisle in this place, or what?” Tristan asked, walking beside Rory.
“In my dreams,” she responded, leading him to a small section of the store. She opened her arms and showed off the multitudes of Pez.
“So…where do we start?” Tristan asked.
“I need to bring some for my mom too, remind me. She’ll be excited when she gets home from Sookie’s. Let’s see, do you have a preference? You’ve got…your cherry Dumbo, your grape Goofy, your orange…generic witch-like thing, your bubblegum Minnie…”
“That was fast.”
Rory swung around when she heard his voice. Her heart leapt in her throat when she saw him standing there, his arms crossed over his chest and his head cocked to the side.
“It hasn’t even been a week,” he said angrily.
“What are you talking about?” She demanded.
“What are you doing with him, Rory?” He pointed to Tristan, who looked terribly out of place.
“Nothing! We’re just…doing a project together, that’s it!” She swore.
Now Tristan just looked confused. “Why haven’t you told him about that yet?”
Dean looked back and forth between them. “I could ask you the same thing, Rory. Why haven’t you told your new friend about us?”
“I…it didn’t come up.”
“Because you don’t care. You don’t care about me,” he finished her sentence.
“No! That’s not it at all! It’s just…this was schoolwork, Dean. I wanted to concentrate on getting an A in that class.”
Dean looked around at their surroundings; “It doesn’t seem like you’re concentrating on school now.”
“We were just taking a break from our work. It’s not…at all what you think,” Rory said softly when she saw other people in the store looking at them in interest.
“Do you have any consideration? Any at all? Why would you come out? With him?”
Rory began to get angry. “You know, you were the one that broke up with me, Dean. Nothing is going on with Tristan and I, but if there was, you wouldn’t have a right to be mad about it.”
A horrible sort of indignation set on his face. “Right now,” he whispered, “Right now you have just really, really hurt me.”
He turned around and walked out of the store without looking back.
“Dean, no…” she whispered sadly, watching him walk farther and farther out of sight.
Tristan watched helplessly as Rory’s eyes filled to the brim with weary tears. He felt totally out of place, and he didn’t know what to say. Timidly, he touched a hand to her arm. “Rory, I’m…”
“Don’t touch me,” she demanded, pulling herself away from him and running out the door.
“Rory, Rory hold on…” Tristan said, following behind her, not letting her get out of his range. He caught up with her easily running along side her as she raced home.
“Rory, come on, just stop a second. Rory…” She didn’t even hear him as she ran passed the nameless faces, ignoring Tristan as well as the other people on the street voicing their concerns.
She didn’t stop running, she didn’t slow down, as she ran up her porch stairs, burst into her house and flew into her bedroom. Tristan boldly trailed after her and was there to catch her as she sank bonelessly to the ground. He gathered her up in his arms on the floor and hugged her tightly to him.
Rory grabbed onto the material of his dark blue shirt and buried her face in his chest.
He began making whatever soothing sounds came to his mind as she shook, her sobs soundless.
After a few minutes, he heard her whisper something, but didn’t catch what it was. He moved her hair away from her face and looked down at her. “What did you say?”
She took a deep breath and answered, “I’m such a girl.”
He stroked her hair and laughed lightly. “Good observation.”
“He was my first…” she whispered and trailed off.
“Yeah, I know,” was all Tristan said.
“What time is it?” Rory asked wearily, rubbing her eyes.
“About 10:30,” he answered.
She looked up at him, her eyes glassy and dull. “I think that I’m going to go to sleep. You can come over tomorrow, okay?” She was already out of his arms and heading toward the bed.
Tristan stood up and dusted his pants off. “Tomorrow sounds good. Sleep now.”
“Thank you,” she said as coherently as anyone who was between consciousness and slumber could have.
He stood above her, watching how her hair fanned over her pillow and the child-like way she tucked her knees close to her chest and snuggled her hand against her cheek on the pillow. After a moment, he grabbed the blanket on the other side of the bed and draped it softly over her small body, tucking her in.
“Good night, Rory,” he said, taking one last lingering look in her direction and finally walking out of the Gilmore home.
VIII. The Inspiration
The Gilmore home
Rory sat on the Lazy-Boy chair perpendicularly, her legs dangling over one of its arms, and stared unseeing out the window. Laying across her stomach was the book she was attempting to read; Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. And her mind was on the events of the night before. The way Dean looked at her before he walked out of the store. His gaze was so full of scorn and embarrassment. She had felt awful even though she knew that it wasn’t really her fault.
But she could see his point of view too. Here she had not been able to tell him she loved him, and then a week later, she had showed up in town with someone she knew he hated. It did seem pretty heartless. But then again, he didn’t know the situation. He didn’t know that she and Tristan weren’t even…friends.
She had a hard time even thinking the words that time, remembering the way he had caught her in his arms the night before. Remembering the soothing way he had stroked her hair and how he had ran with her all the way back to her house.
And she had to admit…no matter how…much…she wanted desperately to deny it, she had enjoyed being comforted by him last night. She had enjoyed being in his arms.
Come on, Rory thought, how hard is it for O-Town to release one good song?
Rory crossed her ankles and sighed, pulling the quilt higher onto her chest and readjusting the book on her stomach. Outside the window, she saw Babette running around, her little legs going as fast as they could, chasing her new kitten. It was a little darker than Cinnamon was, that’s why Rory had suggested they name it Spice. When the kitten made a hairpin turn, Babette tripped over her own feet and fell right into the grass.
Rory smiled in amusement, her smile turning to a light laugh when the kitten went up and licked Babette’s cheek.
She stretched then, putting her arms above her head and stretching her head back over the arm of the chair. When she did, she saw an upside down Tristan watching her, his hands in his pockets and his head cocked in curiosity.
She nearly jumped out of her skin. “Tristan! How long have you been standing there?”
He walked forward into the room. “Uhh…about 10 minutes. I didn’t want to disturb you, you looked peaceful.”
Rory blushed at the idea of him staring at her that long, and of the things she was thinking about him while he was right behind her.
“Well,” she said, clearing her throat, “Let’s start working then.”
“Okay,” Tristan agreed, sitting down on the couch, while Rory moved off her chair and sat down next to him. He spread all the pictures he had drawn of Rory on the coffee table and gestured to them. “Which one?”
Rory looked at all the pictures one at a time, each one making her more awestruck than the last. Finally, after studying all of them, she turned her surprised face to him. “What did you do to me?”
“What do you mean?” He answered back.
“In all these pictures I look so…so…”
“Beautiful?” He supplied.
“Exactly,” she breathed, “That can’t be right.”
He shook his head. “I just drew what I saw, Rory.”
“Wow…” she said, “These…you did a really great job, Tristan.”
He shrugged modestly, “I…uhh…I think that the couch doesn’t look right in this one. And over here, this one? Your head is a little too big. Sorry about that.”
Rory wasn’t listening to him. She was too busy looking at his hands. She had never noticed them before, but he really had artist’s hands. They were strong with lean fingers and tattered cuticles. They were even smudged with the black charcoal he used to draw with.
When Tristan saw were her eyes were fixed, he stopped pointing at the pictures and brought his hands to his lap. “What?”
“Your hands…” she started to say.
“Yeah, they’re dirty. I made some finishing touches on some of the pictures before I got here and didn’t get a chance to wash my hands.”
Rory hurried to correct herself. “No…I like it,” when she saw his eyebrows raise, she went on, “I mean, you have artist’s hands.”
He brought his hands out in front of his face to look at them. Rory took that opportunity to take his wrist in her hand and pull his arm to her.
“See? The smudges? It makes it look like you’ve stayed up all night…a slave to your work,” she let go of his wrist, “I don’t know, that’s what I think anyway.”
He took his hand back and grinned at her. Rory narrowed her eyes when she saw his smile turn mischievous.
“So you…you like the smudges, right?”
He gave her an innocent look. “Well, my mother always did say sharing is caring.”
With that, he trailed a finger down her cheek, making long black mark. She gave a surprised yelp and put her hand over the mark.
“I think you’re confusing your mother with Mr. Rogers, Tristan,” she remarked.
He stopped to think about that. “You know, they do kind of look the same, and my mother has always been incredibly friendly to the mailman. I don’t even want to know what that’s about.”
“Well if you ever find out, I won’t mind it if you never told me.”
Tristan laughed. “Noted.”
“You know, you might not be…quite as horrible as I thought you were. I just had to tell you that,” Rory said quickly.
“Well, thank you then. And if care, you’re just as great as I thought you’d be,” he told her.
Tristan watched her cheeks change three shades of red. “Thanks,” she said quietly
“I’d have to say I like this pose the best,” Rory said, changing the subject.
“But you look so fat in that one! No offense.”