Spoilers: "The Third Lorelai" (10/22/01).
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: T/P
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters...blah bliddy blah.
Summary: After she finds out that Rory encouraged Tristan to date her, Paris accepts certain bitter truths about herself and what she will never have.


Is Paris Burning?

by Mala

I can give a speech about Martin Luther and his 99 theses without even blinking. I can look at one of those dumb math questions about two trains speeding towards each other--and when will they meet?--and solve it in ninety-eight seconds. I can tell you the exact temperature of the oven Sylvia Plath stuck her head in. I can guarantee you that I'm going to Harvard in three years.

But, I can't make Tristan DuGrey like me.

I guess I can't be the best at everything.

And that's all I've ever wanted.

To be the best at everything, I mean.

Not to get Tristan to like me. God, forbid. As if I had nothing better to do than wish I had permed hair and nothing between my ears and everything in my push-up bra.

But I do.

I do wish it.

I know I do.

When I looked in the mirror in Rory Gilmore's bathroom and saw this bland, scared, little mouse staring back at me...I wished it. I wished I was tall and WASP-y like Summer. That I didn't look totally ridiculous with that flashy shirt and mini skirt on.

I wished I had the same confidence in my dating ability that I do in academics.

But I can't be the best at everything, right?

It's the law of averages. Or maybe just the catalyst for my personal Jewish suffering. Who am I? Job?

I'm definitely not Rory, that's for sure. Rory...who's so smart and so sweet...who makes insecurity and babble look CUTE instead of neurotic...who is so nice I can't even really hate her, even though I think I do. Because Tristan likes her, not me.

Not *me*.

God, get out the push-up bra and perm kit. I'm pathetic.

But I didn't feel pathetic last night. I didn't. I felt...right. Not like little, dorky, Paris Gellar in her bat mitzvah dress with the menorrahs on it. I felt grown-up and confident and...*fun*.

Tristan laughed at things I said over dinner. And he didn't mind when I criticized the thematics of the movie while we watched. In fact, he joined in! He bought me Junior Mints. He has such a great face. Interesting. Sharp. Full of character and arrogance and mystery. And he wore a sweater that brought out his eyes.

I couldn't breathe when he picked me up. Or when he dropped me off and he leaned down...when he *kissed* me. He kissed me "goodnight."

My palms were sweaty...I felt dizzy. I had to lean against the front door for support. And his lips were soft...gentle. Tristan DuGrey of the Gentle Lips. Hard to believe, isn't it? But he was...*courtly*. The perfect gentleman.

That should've been the tip-off. The big clue. But, of course, when it comes to dating...I'm Paris Gellar of the Clueless.

Tristan DuGrey is no gentleman.

He's a sexual predator. Dominant. Conquering.

He takes and takes and takes.

But not from me.

Not from *me.*

I get that now.

Last night was a fluke...a brief fantasy...but I'm awake now. I do get it.

I can't make him like me.

And I can't make him stop liking Rory.

I don't blame him. If I was a man, I'd probably pick her over me, too.

I can give a speech about Martin Luther and his 99 theses without even blinking. I can look at one of those dumb math questions about two trains speeding towards each other--and when will they meet?--and solve it in ninety-eight seconds. I can tell you the exact temperature of the oven Sylvia Plath stuck her head in. I can guarantee you that I'm going to Harvard in three years.

But I can't make myself into something I'm not.

I can't be interesting.

I can't be sexy.

I can't be Tristan's kind of girl.

I can't be the best at everything.

I can't be Rory Gilmore.

end

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