Rating: PG-13 (Just generally, not for all chapters.)
Spoilers: I'd better say "Season One" to be on the save side.
Pairing: R/D Beginning, R/T Later on
Starring: Rory, Tristan
Guest Starring: Lorelai, and Coffee
Special Appearances By: Luke, Dean, Lane, Paris, Emily
Summary: A sparring match ends with Rory and Tristan being paired together for a
project.
Warning: This fic will discuss the 1973 Supreme Court case to legalizeabortion.
I'm not
intending to change anyone's opinion on this issue. I just needed a court case,
and this was
the only one that I could remember that was essay to work with.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, I'm merely borrowing them for the
time
being, and they will be returned to their rightful owners without any damage
done to them.
They are being taken very good care of... along with the penguins I have.
Feedback: My ambrosia... next to a good French vanilla cappuccino.

Pros and Cons

by Meghan

Rory dug furiously through her locker in search of a blue pen. Her day had been absolutely perfect. Paris was being civil to her, well, as civil as Paris could be. She had received an A on an English paper that had given her trouble, and she had yet to run into Tristan. Rory found the elusive blue pen and slammed her locker shut.

“Morning Mary.” Tristan gave her his trademark smirk as he leaned against the lockers. Rory glared at him for a second before turning away and sauntering down the hall.

“No.” She called over her shoulder. Tristan, slightly dumb founded, ran to catch up to her, but remained slightly behind like a begging puppy.

“I didn´t ask anything.”

“You normally do. I was merely answering the question that you would soon ask, in an attempt to save time. So whatever it is... no.”

“I wasn´t going to ask a question. I was just only saying hello.”

“Nein.”

“In German now.”

“Nessuno, het, non, la.” Rory continued to walk away from Tristan, but he still followed close behind.

“Multi-lingual. I´m impressed, especially with that last one, Swahili, I believe.” Rory turned abruptly into history class, it took all of Tristan´s strength not to touch her on her back and guide her through the door.

“I might as well get some education out of this.” Rory said as she sat down. Tristan sat on the desk top in front of her, and slowly leaned towards her.

“Glad to see that I am useful.” He arched his eyebrows suggestively. Rory leaned into him even closer.

“That doesn´t happen often.”

“Touché Mary.” Tristan smirked leaning in even closer, slowly becoming intoxicated by the sweet aroma of Rory´s hair. He was so close to her that he could feel Rory´s warm breathe upon his face. Her deep blue eyes mesmerized him, placing him in a trance. That spell was broken by the teacher entering the room.

“Morning class. Mr. DuGray, please remove your behind from the desk, and place it where it belongs.” Tristan did so. “In a toilet.” Rory said in a hushed voice so that only Tristan could hear. The teacher began to drone on about a project, but none of the information reached Rory or Tristan.

“So you wanna see my bare ass now, do ya´?” Tristan threw back quietly over his shoulder.

“And that would be the question where my ‘no´ comes in.”

“You want me Mary, you can´t resist me.”

“You´re right, I do want you.” At this Tristan turned around and faced Rory, staring into her deep blue eyes.

“You do?!?”

“Yeah,” Rory stated seductively, “I want you... to turn around and leave me alone.” Rory crossed her arms triumphantly and leaned back in her seat. Tristan felt shattered. Didn´t she see that he was crazy for her. However, he couldn´t let himself fall apart. He quickly regained his confident demeanor.

“No, Mary, I think you want me alone.” He wasn´t about to be beaten.

“Mr. DuGray, Ms. Gilmore, since you two seem to have made a connection already, you can work together on this project.” Rory elicited a slight groan, while Tristan secretly smiled. “Since you two were so wrapped up in your little conversation, you know nothing of this project.”

“Sorry sir.” Rory and Tristan said in unison.

“So I´ll repeat myself. In this project two people will debate the sides of a Supreme Court Case. Research will be conducted together so that information is shared. I want very in-depth results. Your findings will be presented to the class in three weeks. Mr. DuGray, Ms. Gilmore, you have the 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade. Rory you will support the court´s decision on legalizing abortions. Tristan you are against it.” Mr. Bosco continued to deal out partners and cases, but Rory was in a haze.

*Three weeks! How can I be with Tristan for three weeks? I can barely stand him for three minutes let alone three weeks.*

The class continued and Rory took down minimal notes. As soon as the bell rang she bolted for her locker, but Tristan had beaten her there. He was casually leaning on the door, the top button of his shirt undone. He stared at her as she slowly walked down the hall towards him.

*Why can´t he look that innocent... and cute all the time.* Rory thought. *Woah, where did that come from. Dean, think Dean, Dean at bus stop, kissing Dean, kissing Dean at bus stop.*

A small smile spread across her lips as she thought of the way Dean would run his hand through his hair as he waited for her to get off the bus, and then sweep her into an embrace as soon as he could.

“A smile... for me? How sweet.” Rory was awakened from her daydream when Tristan´s voice cut through her vision.

“No.”

“Are we back on that already?”

“Nein.”

“Mary.”

“I was saying ‘no.´ That smile was not for you.” She nudged Tristan away from her locker door.

“Then who, pray tell, was it for?” Rory struggled with the jammed door.

“Someone who wasn´t you.” Rory finally freed the door and set in flying into Tristan´s nose. He let out of shriek of false pain and grabbed his nose like it was broken. “I almost feel sorry for you Tristan.”

“I think you broke my nose.” He rubbed the tip of it while staring at the back of Rory´s head as she stuck books in her locker.

“Oh... poor baby... you´ll live.” She slammed her locker shut and turned to face Tristan. “If it hurts so bad get one of your groupies to kiss it and make it all better.”

“No, that´s all right, I´m fine.”

“Darn, I was hoping to leave a scar.” Rory began to walk to lunch.

“Mary.” Tristan called after her, she didn´t stop. “Mary... Mary...” He ran and caught up with her. “Seriously Mary, we need to get together to plan this.”

Rory stopped and looked at him. “When, where, and how fast can we get this thing done? I want to spend as little time with you as possible.”

“Mary, I´m hurt that you don´t want to spend time with me.”

“Then I have achieve my goal.” Rory was in no mood to be speaking to the person she loathed at the moment.

“Come on can´t we at least be civil?”

“We can try, I won´t make any promises.”

“Fine, how about your house 7pm.” Tristan plotted a way to remove himself from the DuGray household during his parents ‘friendly fight happy hour´ as he liked to call it.

“Why my house?” Rory could see the wheels turning in his head.

“Because it Wednesday.”

“So.”

“Well, every Wednesday Bella, our cook, makes lasagna.”

“And the problem with that is....” Tristan searched for an explanation that might be somewhat believable.

“Well.... uh... she makes it using.... uh.... blue cheese... yeah.. blue cheese, and she´ll make you eat it, and it tastes really bad.” Rory didn´t quite believe him, but she took that bait anyways.

“Fine, my house 7pm.”

“See you there.” Tristan turned and began to walk away.

“Wait!” He stopped and turned back to her. “Don´t you need directions?”

“No, I know how to get there.”

*Damn, I let that one slip. She´s not suppose to know that I know where she lives. Maybe she won´t notice.*

“Umm... ok, see to you then.” Tristan turned back around and continued to walk away. Rory just stared at him in incomprehension.

*How does he know how to get to my house?*

END PT 1

Rory leaped off the bus as soon as the doors open. Her focus was on one thing and one thing alone.

“Dean!” She ran straight to him. “Hold Me!” Dean happily complied, but was somewhat stunned when Rory began burying her face in his chest. He let out a small laugh.

“What happened at school today that made you want to dig a burrow in my shoulder?” Rory let out a small groan of dispair as Dean stroked her hair to calm her down.

“Oh, it was horrible.” She buried her face even deeper into his shirt, slowly being lulled into peace by the aroma of his cologne. Dean guided Rory to their bench and they sat down. Dean threw his arm around her and held her close.

“Ok, what happened?”

“Tristan happened.” Dean was not pleased with this tidbit of information.

“What did the accountant do?”

“What didn´t he do.... it wasn´t bad enough that he had to ruin my day by actually showing up, but now I have to work with him on a history project.” Rory let out a whimper and dropped her head onto Dean´s shoulder.

“Maybe you two could split up the work, that way you wouldn´t have to be around him all that often.” Dean kissed Rory´s forehead hoping to soothe her nerves.

“I wish. One of the guidelines of the project is that we must do all research together. It´s suppose to make us see how a law team works.”

“What´s the point of that?” Dean asked while pulling Rory closer.

“I don´t know, Mr. Bosco has always been... weird.”

“There´s always one teacher like that.”

“But why do I have to get him?!?” Rory groaned again.

“Because you´re so beautiful.”

“What does that have to do with a weird teacher?”

“I don´t know, but it´s the truth.” Dean tilted Rory´s chin up to face him and gave her a delicate kiss. Rory smiled.

“You´re so sweet... but I´ve only got three hours before hell comes over to my house.” Rory looked at her watch.

“Comes over.... you mean he´s coming to your house?”

“Yes, unfortunately, I don´t want him to. Can you dress up as me and do the project for me?” Rory looked at looked expectantly.

“As much as I´d like to trade in my knight´s shinning armor for one of your shirts, I have to work tonight. But I don´t like the idea of him going to your house... he has a thing for you.” Dean pushed a stray piece of hair behind Rory´s ear.

“Oh no he doesn´t. He is merely trying to make my life a living nightmare.” Rory crossed her arms and sulked. Dean shook his head back and forth.

“Rory, Rory, Rory....”

“What´s that look for?” She glared at him from the corner of her eye.

“I love you, ya´ know.” Dean whispered. Rory was shocked, but didn´t show it.

*Did he just say that he loves me?*

She decided to act like she didn´t hear him.

“I´d better head to Luke´s and get some coffee. I´m going to need it to get through tonight.” Rory stood but brushed one last kiss on Dean´s lips before walking away.

“Call me if he makes a move on you!” Dean shouted after her.

“Ain´t gonna happen.” Rory shouted. Dean chuckled before heading to the store.

END PT 2

Rory entered Luke´s and headed straight for the counter. She dropped her book page and then proceeded to drop her head on the counter with a resounding thud.

“What did he do to you now?” Luke asked while filling a cup with coffee and setting it in front of Rory. Her head popped up slightly as she stared at the rim of the cup. Her hands closed around it and she brought the steaming liquid to her mouth and took a sip. She smiled dreamily.

“Who did what?” She asked while staring into the cup.

“What did Dean do to you?” Rory picked her head up and looked at Luke.

“Dean did nothing.... it was Tristan.” Rory finished her coffee and motioned for more.

“Oh no, one cup limit.... What did Tristan do?” Luke pulled the coffee out of Rory´s reach.

“Luke....” two voices whined. Lorelai had entered the shop.

“Coffee Luke, I need coffee.” Lorelai grabbed at his shirt.

“You always need coffee. You´ve had too much today.” Luke turned to Rory. “So what did Tristan do?”

“Tristan! Need me to track him down.... Luke coffee please.”

“No. As I was saying, what did Tristan do?”

“He was born.... Luke I need coffee to get me through this.”

“Fine.” Luke took her cup, “But only if you tell me the real reason as to why Tristan caused you to come in here and pound your head on my counter.” Lorelai who was only half listening because she was plotting how to steal coffee, perked up at the mention of pounding heads.

“What! Rory... honey.” Lorelai rubbed Rory´s back. “I can call my taxidermist friend. He could turn Tristan into a punching bag for you. You can pummel his head senseless.”

Rory sighed. “No, as much as I love picturing that, I need him for a school project. He was talking to me and the teacher paired us up. I think I´m never going to speak in school again so that I can avoid things like this.” Rory dropped her head on the counter again.

“Oh honey, stop, you´re making my head hurt. Luke coffee stat.”

“Here.” He placed the cup back in front of Rory who immediately took a drink.

“Aaahhhh... I think I´m better now.” At this Lorelai banged her head on the counter.

“What on earth are you doing Lorelai?” Luke stared at her like she had three heads.

When Luke didn´t place any coffee in front of her, Lorelai picked her head up and pouted.

“Lukey... if Rory gets coffee because she bangs her head, why don´t I?”

“Because.”

“That´s not an answer.”

“Yes it is.”

“Please, please, please....” Lorelai continued to whine until Luke finally gave in some twenty minutes and two burgers later.

“Aaahhhhh.... coffee.... where have you been all my life?”

Rory just stared at her mother. “Well I´d better be off. Luke can I get two cups to go?”

“Why do you need two? I know your day couldn´t have been that bad.” He began to fill up the cups.

“Oh it was, but the second one is for Tristan, he´s coming over in about an hour so that we can start.”

“What! I´m coming with you I don´t like the idea of him home alone with you.” Lorelai started packing her stuff.

“Why does everybody say that? He may be a slimy, egotistical, sleaze-ball, but I am perfectly capable of handling him.”

“I know that... that´s why I want to be home. If you decide to use his him as a crash test dummy I want to be there to see it.” They said their good-bye´s to Luke and headed home. The ran into Lane as soon as the left the store.

“Rory. Hey, I heard about Tristan.” Lane gave Rory a hug of sympathy.

“Hey watch the coffee.” Rory said.

“You are picking coffee over me...”

“Yes.” Lane faked a stab in the chest.

“I´m hurt.... anyways I´m sorry about Tristan. If you need some one to hold him down while you punch just tell me.” Lane looked expectantly at Rory.

“Thanks, but I´ll be fine. How do you know anyway?”

“I ran into Dean at the market. I grilled him as to way he was so PMSy. That boy was mistreating cans of green beans.”

“I see.”

“Well I better get home before my mom finds me out of my cell. Call me.”

“Sure.” Lane left for home, and Rory and Lorelai continued home. Rory dragged her feet along the street, not wanting to go home and have to face Tristan.

“Come on Rory, pick your feet up. It´s not like it´s your funeral. It may turn out to be Tristan´s but not yours.” Lorelai tried to grab one of the cups of coffee.

“Oh no you don´t. I may not like him, but this is for him. Paws off.”

“Fine.” Lorelai threw her arm around her daughter and the walked home the rest of the way in silence.

END PT 3

Tristan threw his bookbag into the car as he climbed into the drivers seat.

*Only thirty minutes till I get to see Rory.* He thought.

Backing out of the driveway, he began his drive to Stars Hollow. The trip seemed to take forever.

*Twenty-seven minutes.*

What had Rory done to him. The first time he laid eyes on her face he thought she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. Her big blue eyes stared up at him from her desk. Unlike the others before her, she hadn´t immediately dropped at his feet. She looked so innocent just sitting there.

*Twenty-one minutes to go.*

He had pegged her to be the next conquest in his dating game. Unlike the others though, she fought back. At first he thought she was playing hard to get, which made him try even harder. ‘Mary´ became his pet name for her. She dodged every advance he made.

*Sixteen minutes left.*

Tristan checked his watch for the fourth time. The minutes seemed like hours. Time always stood still when Rory was around him. Her simple beauty shone through all the made-up girls that surrounded him. Try as he might, he could never stop thinking about her. Every night he dreamed of her, and every second he was without her, he thought of her.

*Eleven minutes.*

He turned off the highway. His feelings for her had changed in a matter of weeks from conquest, to crush, then from crush to infatuation, and finally from infatuation to love. His entire day was spent trying to be near her. His day did not truly start until he saw her face. He tried to be nice to her, but he never could get past his elementary school antics. Annoy the one you love.

*Seven minutes till I´m with her again.*

He passed the sign announcing his arrival in Star Hollow. He had been here so many times. Every weekend he made a trip to this town. Slowly learning why she loved this place so much. Passing her house, in hopes of seeing her. Two days was too long to go without a sparring match.

*Three minutes, just three minutes.*

Rory was the first girl who fought back. She was smart and witty. He loved their verbal wars. Rory had gotten to him that way. Her personality brightened up even the worst day. No one could touch him like she could. She had changed him, even if it was only on the inside.

*One minute, fifty-nine seconds, fifty-eight seconds....*

The waiting was too much. He had determined a while ago that this project was going to be a turning point for their relationship, from bantering partners to friends, and if possible even more. Rory deserved to be treated like a princess. He was going to change.

*Ten seconds.*

Tristan climbed out of the car and headed for the front door. This was it, only one chance to change. He rang the doorbell, and leaned against the door frame.

*Four, Three, Two, One.*

“Hello Rory.”

END PT 4

“Hey... did you just call me Rory?” She let Tristan in. She was too surprised to glare at him.

“Well that´s your name is it not.” Tristan smirked for good measure. Rory rolled her eyes.

“Yes it is, but you have a tendency to forget it.” She led Tristan to the living room. He plopped down on the couch.

“Yeah, sorry about that.” Rory sat down on the other end. “You don´t deserve that.” He rubbed his forward and looked at his shoes. Rory was at a loss for words, an apology out of his mouth.

“Umm... Rory, are you ok.” Tristan waved his hand in front of her face.

Shaken from her thoughts Rory. “Yeah... I just thought I´d never hear an apology come out of you. So... we should get started, but first, I need coffee.” Rory went into the kitchen and caught Lorelai trying to steal the coffee she had picked up earlier.

“Mom! Get away.” Rory slapped her mom´s hand away from the cups. She slunk away like a puppy who had just been yelled at.

“I take it that was him.” Lorelai peered into the living room.

“No mom, it was Santa, he said since I was so good this year I get my presents early.”

“Oh... did he bring me anything.” Lorelai jumped up and down.

“Ok, you don´t need this coffee.” Rory left the kitchen. Lorelai followed.

“Devil child. How dare you say that. Go to your room.” Lorelai pointed to Rory´s bedroom. Tristan was perplexed. What had Rory done.

“Hi.” Lorelai extended her hand to him. “Call me Lorelai, if you even think of calling me Ms. Gilmore, Ma´am, or some other horrid name, you´ll be grounded to. This one is getting a month of solitary confinement because she won´t give me coffee.” Tristan laughed at this.

“What´s so funny young man?” Lorelai placed her hands on her hips.

“You two both have a coffee addiction. I find it amusing.” Tristan stifled another laugh. “So from now on I´ll bring coffee with me so that you both get some.” Lorelai´s eyes widened as did her smile.

“I like you... come over anytime you want.” Rory glared at her. “Well I´m going now. I´m going to make myself a whole pot of coffee and read about stuff that will bore you.” She stuck her nose up at Rory and sauntered to the kitchen. Rory sat down and handed Tristan his coffee.

“She is quite the character.” Tristan chuckled as he sipped his drink. “Ok let´s get to work.”

“All right. What do you know about Roe versus Wade?” He set the cup down and leaned back against the couch. Rory looked so childlike all curled up in the corner with her cup in both her hands.

“It´s the abortion bill, and I´m suppose to be against the ruling.”

“We´ve got a long way to go.”

“Why´s that?”

“I don´t know more than that either.” Tristan laughed at the disappointed look on her face.

“You are suppose to be the smart one.”

“I am.... I just haven´t boned up on my Supreme Court cases.” She sipped her coffee and smiled at him over the brim of the cup. That smile. The smile that weakened his knees and made him want to hold her and never let go. The smile that had stolen his heart.

“You should smile like that more often.” Rory stared at him in disbelief.

“Why´s that?”

“Because it makes your eyes sparkle.” Rory didn´t respond leaving a thick silence hanging in the air. “So.... what´s our plan.” Rory was shaken from her haze.

“Ummm, well, I think we should first find out what this case was about.”

“That would be a smart thing to do.” Rory threw a pillow at Tristan. He caught it.

“What was that for?” He tossed the pillow back at her.

“For being a smart ass.” She threw the pillow back.

“Oh, that´s what I get for being nice.” Throw.

“Yeah. Being a smart ass equals pillow in face.” Throw.

“I see.” By now the conversation had erupted into an all out pillow fight. Unbeknownst to them Lorelai was watching from the kitchen, coffee mug in hand.

*Is this the same guy who causes so much trouble for Rory? He seems so nice. He even said he´d bring coffee. Anyone who brings coffee is godlike.*

Lorelai walked back into the kitchen.

*I think he likes her.*

Back in the living room the fight had died down leaving to tired teenagers still clutching their respective pillows.

“Truce?” Tristan questioned Rory with an evil gleam in his eye. Rory eyed him back.

“Truce.” She set her pillow down. Tristan saw his chance and whacked her one more time.

“Hey!” Rory screamed while grabbing for her pillow. She was stopped by Tristan´s hand on her wrist. She looked up him. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Rory was pulled in by how blue they were. Dean popped into her head. She pulled her arm back and sat back down on the sofa.

“Tristan?” He was staring at the floor.

*I shouldn´t have done that. I moved to fast.*

“Hmmm?” He looked up at her.

“Why is it that we can be friends away from Chilton, but you treat me like dirt when were there?” She stared at him questioningly.

“I don´t know.” *Actually I do know, you turn me into a baby needing love and attention.* “I was wondering the same thing though.”

“Maybe we should... you know.... try to be nicer to each other.”

“I can go ahead with it.” He sat down next to her. “But I think we should start this project before this turns into the WWF.”

“Good idea.” Rory and Tristan both pulled out a textbook and notebook and began their research.

END PT 5

“Morning Rory.” Tristan was leaning up against her locker with a steaming cup of coffee in his hand.

“I could get use to this.” Rory smiled as she took the cup form his hands, their fingers brushing for a brief second sending a shock down both of their spines.

*Ok, what was that. I´m not suppose to go weak when I see him. But he does look so sexy today... stop that. He calls you Mary... oh, but he didn´t today. Stop. Mental slap. Think of Dean. Tristan. No Dean. But Tristan is right here. All right brain, this is war. Think Dean damn it. Tristan. Aaaahhhhh.*

*Wow she is even more beautiful than I remembered. And she even smiled. She hasn´t yelled at me yet. Why was I so stupid? God she´s beautiful.*

“So... Rory, do you want to get together again tonight? That spontaneous pillow fight killed a lot of time.”

“Sure. Besides, we need to figure out how we´re gonna set this up.” She smiled up at him.

*We should have become friends a long time ago. He´s not all that bad.*

“Good, same time, same place.” He pushed away from the lockers.

“You bring the coffee.”

“Yes ma´am.” Tristan saluted. “See ya´ in first period.” Rory continued to dig in her locker. That damn pen always went missing at the worst times. Finding it she slammed the locker door.

“What was that all about?” Paris glared at her.

*What is it with people and hiding behind my locker door?*

“What was what all about?” Rory began to walk down the hall but Paris got in front of her.

“You and Tristan. You two weren´t bickering.” Paris was getting really angry.

“Oh that, well since Tristan and I have to work together on a project, we decided to basically start over and be friends.” Rory explained. Paris let out a sight of relief, but still wanted to know one more thing.

“Why did he salute you?”

“Oh that... I ordered him to bring coffee, he did it for the comic relief of the moment.” Rory and Paris walked into English.

“Ok.” They sat down. Paris began to rifle through her notebook.

“Paris?” Rory turned to look at her.

“Yeah.” Paris said not looking up from her notes.

“Has Tristan ever called another girl Mary before?” Paris slowly raised her head to look at Rory.

“Yeah, but he never called anyone Mary as long as he did you.”

“Oh.” Rory turned back around in her seat. She looked up and saw Tristan looking at the two of them from the doorway.

“Hello again.” He said smoothly as he slid into the chair next to Rory. “Morning Paris.”

“Good morning Tristan.” Paris gave her full attention to him. “How are you doing?”

“I´m just great.” His eyes left Rory´s face for all of a millisecond. “How are you?”

“Fine.... just fine.” Paris had noticed Tristan was too preoccupied with Rory to even hear her.

*She doesn´t even notice.* Paris looked back down at her notes. *She doesn´t even notice.*

“Good morning class. It is time to continue on for the search of truth and beauty.” Mr. Medina chimed in. Tristan took notes, but most of the class was spent stealing glances at Rory. From her seat Paris saw the whole spectacle take place.

*She doesn´t even notice.*

END PT 6

“What do you mean you´re out of coffee?!?” Rory barely resisted the urge to throttle the lunch lady. “I need coffee!”

“I´m sorry. But we ran out. There will be some tomorrow. Would you like some tea?” Rory hung her head.

“No thank you.” She walked out of the lunch line and sat down at an empty table.

*I need my coffee. What is a meal without coffee? But I guess I´ll settle for a novel.*

She pulled out a new book. ‘Spoon River Anthology´ by Edgar Lee Masters. She was just beginning to become enthralled with the tale of Harry Wilmans when Tristan sat across from her.

“Rory. I´ve brought you something.” She looked up for her book. Tristan was holding a cup of coffee.

“Tristan you are god.” She reached for the coffee but he pulled it away from her grasp.

“Wow from friend to god. I´m liking this. What do I have to do to become something more?” He slowly moved the cup back and forth. Rory´s head followed every movement of the cup.

“What is higher than a god?” Her eyes never left the cup. Tristan smiled at her innocence.

*I´d give up being a god if it mean you could love me.*

“Tristan I´m gonna pounce on that cup if you don´t stop doing that hypnotizing thing.” She began to stand up.

“Ok, ok. Here ya´ go. Sheesh... you really love your coffee.”

“And don´t you forget it.” She took a long swig from the cup. “Aaahhh.. that hit the spot. How did you know that I needed coffee.” “I noticed that they ran out earlier. And knowing you as I do, I figured I´d be nice and get a cup from the Starbucks down the street. Apparently I was right in thinking that you´d crazy if you didn´t have any.” He place his head in his hands and stared at Rory.

“I´m glad that you are so confident in my ability to contain myself during caffeine withdrawal.” She sipped again.

“Welcome. What was that you were reading?” He picked a random page in the book and read a few sentences.

“´Spoon River Anthology´ its a bunch of poems that interconnect to create a story. It´s neat.” Rory put the cup down.

“I see like the poems show the different people, but that everyone some how relates to everyone else.”

“Yeah, something like that. I never pinned you to be the analytical type.” She picked up the book and turned to the page where she had left off.

“I´m normally not, it makes my brain hurt.” Tristan was glad to see that his comment had made Rory smile. He would have given anything to be able to kiss her at that moment.

“Well, we wouldn´t want smoke to come out your ears. It may cause you to loose fan club members.” Tristan laughed.

*Wow, what a great smile. Oh no! I did it again. Stop it brain. I´m dating Dean. Tristan´s sweet. Dean. Tristan. Dean Tristan. Dean. Tristan.*

“Rory? Rory?”

“Yeah...”

“Wow, for a second there your mind was off in space. You ok?” Tristan placed his hand gently on her forehead. Rory got butterflies in her stomach.

“Uh... yeah, I´m fine. Just thinking.” Tristan removed his hand, he could barely control the urge to stroke her hair.

“Maybe I´m not the only one who gets smoke pouring from their ears when they think to hard.” He smirked.

“Funny Tristan. Very funny.” She sipped the coffee.

“Well Mary, I´d best be off.” He stood up and gathered his books.

“I thought you were done with the whole ‘Mary´ thing.” Tristan looked at Rory. His eyes immediately drawn to hers.

“No.” Rory bowed her head. Seeing her disappointment Tristan revised his statement. “I just don´t mean it as an insult anymore. Think of it as a pet name.”

“Oh. We´ve moved to pet names already. Does that mean I can call you Triscut?” He laughed.

“Not a chance.”

“Fine. But I´m only letting that slide because you brought me coffee.”

“Ok. I´ll see you later... Mary.” She threw a balled up napkin at him.

“Get out of here you big lug.” Tristan walked away but turned around just once to see Rory mesmerized by the words in her book.

*I´m gonna have to try that one.*

END PT 7

The bell over the door to the store jingled when Rory opened it. She searched the aisles for Dean, finally finding him stocking canned peaches.

“I hope that you´re treating the peaches better than the green beans I heard about yesterday.” She walked up to him, he didn´t even look at her.

“Tell Lane I said hi. How was your day?” Dean was talking but Rory picked up on a tone of negativity.

“I will. It was fine. You?” She cocked her head to one side, trying to get a better look at his face.

“Fine.” On to the pineapple.

“Dean? What´s wrong?” Rory placed her hand on his shoulder. He shrugged away from her touch.

“Nothing.”

“If it was nothing than you would look at me, and give me more than a single word answer. Come on Dean.” Rory stared at him.

“I heard about your night with Tristan.” He finally looked at her.

“Nothing happened Dean.”

“If you say so. It´s just that your mother came in here with Luke talking about how great Tristan was.”

“Oh that. Tristan said he´d bring her coffee. She´s probably thinking he´s a god by now.”

“I figured that much. It´s just that she said you two were really getting along. I thought you hated the guy.”

“I did... but not any more. He´s not that bad once you get to know him.” She smiled remembering the look on his face when she called him a god.

“He´s only being nice because he realized that by being mean to you won´t get you to like him.” Fruit cocktail.

“Dean. He doesn´t like me like that. We mutually agreed that it would be in both of our GPA´s interests if we gave up on the mortal enemies bit.” Dean stopped stocking the cans.

“Rory you don´t get. How can you be so naive. He likes you. It´s elementary school psychology. Annoy the one you love, when that doesn´t work try friendship.” The fruit cocktail became the victim of some harsh stocking.

“Dean why are you so jealous? He doesn´t like me, and even if he did, I don´t like him like that.” Dean let out a sigh.

“Rory. I don´t want to share you. I know his type. They wait until you´ve become great friends, and then they go in for the kill.”

“Dean. You´re being unfair, you don´t even know him!” Rory crossed her arms in disgust.

“See, now your defending him. It won´t be long now until he has you eating out of his hand.”

*Well, maybe Dean´s right, he does have me ‘drinking´ out of his hand...*

“Dean stop. Tristan´s not like that.” They were shouting by now and the other customers in the store were staring at the couple.

“Tristan is just like that.” Dean lowered his tone, cupping her cheeks in his hands. “I don´t want to loose you Rory.” Rory just stared at him.

“Can´t you just understand that we are friends.” Silence.

“I´d better go then.” Rory slowly pulled away from his hands. The jingle of the bell marking her exit was the only sound in the store. Dean went back to his shelving.

*I don´t want to loose you Rory, but I´m afraid I already have.*

END PT 8

Rory was laying on the couch contemplating her fight with Dean.

*Things have never been this strained between us... and why am I constantly thinking about Tristan? I just want a sign as to what to do.*

Doorbell.

“Mom! Can you get it? I´m too comfy to move.” Rory closed her eyes and leaned into her pillow.

“Sure thing.” Lorelai opened the door.

“Good evening Ms... Lorelai. I brought coffee.” Lorelai squealed like a delighted child.

“You know last night when I said that you could come over any time... I meant it.” Lorelai grinned at Tristan as he stifled a laugh.

“I´ll keep that in mind.” Tristan handed her a cup of coffee.

“Oh thank you. You are a god.” She took a sip as she skipped into the kitchen. *Bringing coffee will get you anything in this family. I wonder if I could get a kiss. No Tristan. You are going to slow it down. Friendship first.*

Tristan entered in the room they had been in the night before. He was greeted by the sight of Rory stretched out on the couch, her head turned toward the ceiling. Her face showed signs of obvious signs of deep concentration. She wore only flannel pajama pants and a simple black T-shirt.

*Wow, she even makes the simplest outfits beautiful.*

Tristan stared down at her face. Her forehead was wrinkles with thought lines. He didn´t want to disturb whatever conversation she was having with herself, and was content to just gaze upon her lovely face.

Rory, however, knew that Tristan was there. Her eyes opened and caught his. Stare met stare and not a single word was passed between the two. Rory sat up and pulled out a notebook while Tristan quickly occupied the space on the couch that had been vacated by her feet. Tristan handed Rory her coffee and she smiled in gratitude.

Some two hours later they were both off the couch and sitting on the floor surrounded by books and papers. It looked like a cyclone had gone through the room.

“It says here: Roe v. Wade, was a case decided in 1973 by the US Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The decision, written by Justice Harry Blackmun and based on the residual right of privacy, struck down dozens of state antiabortion statutes. While establishing the right to an abortion, this decision gave states the right to intervene in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to protect the woman and the “potential” life of the unborn child. Denounced by the National Council of Bishops, the decision gave rise to a vocal antiabortion movement that put pressure on the courts and created an anti-Roe litmus test for the judicial appointments of the Reagan and Bush administrations.” Rory was reading from a large encyclopedia.

“Rory... please translate that into normal English.”

“Basically the Supreme Court said that abortion was legal in the first three months of a pregnancy, but after that the states could decide whether it was legal or not. The courts decision caused many pro-life people to become unhappy, and they pressured the presidents to have the ruling overturned.”

“Now why didn´t they just say that?” They both laughed. “I think that explains the case for us. Two hours, and that is basically all we have.... just worded differently. This project sucks.”

*Well not really, I get to see her outside of school. I´d go to hell and back just to see her.*

“How exactly are we going to present this?” Tristan´s pen was poised to take notes.

“Well, I figure that we first introduce the case and what it is about. Then we can tell what the two sides did to try and get it approved or rejected, and we end with the outcome of the case and how it is viewed today.”

“I like that idea. But I don´t exactly see where the pros and cons idea comes in.”

“Me neither.” The both giggled but went back to working in silence for a little while.

“Tristan?” Rory stopped her research.

“Yeah.” He continued to take notes from his book.

“Can I ask you something?”

“I think you just did.”

“You want another pillow in your face?”

“No... go ahead.”

“Why are you being so nice to me?” Tristan´s breath caught in his chest when he heard this. He looked up to find Rory biting her bottom lip.

*What exactly had she been thinking about on that couch?*

“You aren´t trying to get something out of me are you?” Tristan sighed.

“No, I´m not using you for anything. I just thought that I should stop acting like a jerk to someone who didn´t deserve it. Why do you ask?”

“No reason.” Silence one again.

“Ok.... you see, the thing is, Dean and I had a fight today.”

*She better stop doing that lip thing soon because I can barely keep myself from kissing her as it is.*

“Boyfriend Dean? The guy I almost punched at the dance Dean” Rory dipped her head, her hair falling about her face.

“The one and only. Well any ways, he said that the only reason you were being nice to me was because you wanted something from me. I told him that you weren´t like that. That you had changed, and were being nicer for the sake of our collective GPAs.” Rory babbled.

“You defended me?” Tristan leaned forward and brushed back a piece of hair that had fallen in front of Rory´s eyes, she felt a shock travel throughout her body.

“Yeah. Dean was even angrier when I did that, but he calmed down.”

Silence.

“So you aren´t trying to us me?”

“No Rory. I don´ want anything from you.”

*Liar! You want her to love you.*

Rory sighed. “Glad we got that cleared up.” They went back to work, but Rory´s toes still tingled from his gentle touch.

Not long later they finished up for the night. The books had bee stacked and the papers place in various folders. Tristan was collecting his things and heading for the door. Rory followed him out.

“Goodnight.” Rory said at the doorway.

“See you tomorrow.” Tristan began to walk down the stairs. At the bottom he turned around and faced her.

“Rory.”

“Yeah.”

“If Dean dumps you because of our new friendship, he´s dumber that I thought. He´d have to be to let you go.” With that he climbed into his car and drove away.

Rory just stood there, unable to speak.

END PT 9

Rory shut the door and leaned her head against the back of it.

*Why does my life have to be so complicated? I had everything under control, and then ‘nice Tristan´ had to make an appearance. Sometimes I think I never should have gone to Chilton. Rory! Bad girl! Chilton will help you get into Harvard, and Harvard is your dream. You should not loose your dream because you are feeling something for your ex-mortal enemy. FEELINGS. Where did that come from? Aahhhhhh.... my head hurts.*

Rory began to thump her head against the door.

*Yeah, that is really helping the pain.*

“This is becoming a reoccurring habit that I don´t like.” Lorelai pulled Rory away from the door and into the kitchen. “Want to tell me why you have been banging your head so often lately?” They sat down.

“Boys.” Rory thumped her head on the table.

“Oh honey... stop that.” Thump.

“How are boys the problem?” Thump.

“When aren´t they the problem?” Thump.

“Good question. But how are they the problem this time?” Thump. Lorelai ran and got a towel and placed it under Rory´s head. Rory tried to thump again, but met a soft surface instead of a hard one.

“Hey! You evil stop head thumping person. That was killing what bad thoughts I was having.” Lorelai just stared at her.

“What bad thoughts.... do they involve disposing of coffee in ways that have nothing to do with ingestion. Because if they do you must vacate the premises. I will not tolerate a coffee waster in my house.” Lorelai was pacing the kitchen by now.

“Mom.... mom.... mom! Sit down! I was not having bad thoughts about coffee. I think only good things about coffee.” Lorelai ran and hugged Rory.

“You are so my daughter. So what are the bad thoughts about. You said it was about a guy, so it has to be Dean.... ooohh, or that new guy at the putt putt place in Hartford. He´s cute.”

“No mom, not Dean, or the putt putt guy.” Rory just dropped her head on the softened counter once again.

“Well who than?” Rory mumbled a name through the towel. “Who honey?”

Rory picked her head up.

“Tristan.”

Back down her head went.

“Well.” Pause. “I see nothing wrong with that.” Rory´s head perked up again.

“Yes, there is something wrong with that. I´m dating Dean.” Thump.

“Yeah, but he never brought me coffee, and Tristan does. He´s a god.” Rory rubbed her now sore forehead.

“Please tell me you did not call him that to his face.”

“Actually I did. Why?” Rory groaned.

“Because I called him that at lunch.... when he gave me coffee. He´s found our weakness.” Thump.

“Oh well. His enlarged ego may be kind enough to remember the coffee. So, what do these bad thought consist of?” Rory stood up from the table and began pacing.

“Well... at first I just noticed how good looking he was, I´ve never seen that before.”

“And he his attractive... were I not twice his age....”

“Mother!”

“Ok. I´ll shut up.”

“Then when we called a truce I got to know him only minutely better, but he has changed so much. An every time he....” Rory phased out.

“Every time he what?”

“Every time he´s touched me... I´ve felt tingles... I use to only feel that with Dean.” Rory plopped down in the chair.

“I see. Mixed emotions, they can cause problems. You want to be mad at him for all the pain he has caused you, but you just can´t bring your self to hurt him back.”

“Exactly.” Rory´s eyes gleamed. “So what do you propose I do to remedy the situation? I mean that fight I had today didn´t help.”

“What fight..... wait let me guess... Dean thinks that Tristan is making a move on you?”

“Yeah. He was so jealous. He didn´t see that Tristan and I are just now becoming friends.”

“Well... I have no idea what to tell you.” Lorelai slapped the table and leaned back in her chair.

“Mom you can´t say that. I need the guidance of my parental unit.” Rory was practically begging Lorelai for help.

“All I can say is to follow your heart.” She kissed Rory´s forehead and headed for bed. Rory just sat in the kitchen staring out the window at the stars.

END PT 10

Friday. The last day of the week. One week into the project, two to go. It had been two days since Rory and Tristan had last gotten together. The night they came to a silent understanding. Things were changing between them, and whatever direction their relationship was headed in, they were powerless to stop.

They had seen each in the past days. Said their greetings and farewells, and had pleasant conversations, but they made no plans to work together again. Tristan was becoming agitated. Seeing her at school alone was not enough for him. He wanted to get together again.

He missed seeing the moonlight create a hallow as it radiated off her silky hair. He missed seeing her face in deep concentration as she searched for the missing link. But most of all he missed being with her. In the same room. Just the two of them. In silence. In peace.

Tristan knew that he could not go the entire weekend without seeing her. They had to get together sometime. The sooner the better. He found her digging through her locker, probably for that blue pen that she always lost. He snuck up behind the door and waited till she shut it. Slam.

“Morning Sunshine.” Rory jumped backward slightly.

“Ok, that´s it. I´m getting an alarm that announces when someone is behind my locker door. I´ve been startled way to much.” She tucked the pen behind her ear.

“You know Mary, you should just get an entire case of pens, instead of hanging on to that one which seems to always go missing.” He grabbed her books, but in a manner of friendship, and walked with her to first period. Rory was a little surprised at the gesture.

*Ok, now I know he hasn´t done that before... at least not in that way.*

“I don´t think so. This is my lucky pen.” She waved it around in front of him.

“How can it be lucky if you always loose it?” She glared at him when he smirked.

“It´s part of the charm. Besides this is the pen I used to write the draft of the essay that got me into Chilton.” Tristan stared at the magical writing utensil.

*I worship the ground you walk on Mr. Bic. Thank you for being the instrument which allowed Rory to create the masterpiece of literature which brought her into my life.*

They walked into class and sat down. Tristan returned her books.

“Ahhh... I don´t have to fight you for them. I´m afraid that you have become quite the pushover Mr. DuGray.” He grabbed the books back.

“No one calls Tristan DuGray a pushover.” He smirked.

*I miss that smirk when it´s gone. There I go again. Think Dean.... Dean, Dean, Dean.... Tristan. Ok brain this is so not cool. Dean. Tristan. Why do I even bother to argue with myself?*

“Rory, you may have your books back when you agree to go on a date with me tonight. What do you say?” He teased her.

“There´s the Tristan I know and love.”

*Love... did she just say love?*

*Love? Did I just say love?*

“So... ummm... seriously. Want to get together tonight?” Tristan looked like a toddler begging for a cookie. Books were given back to their rightful owner.

“You mean as a date, or for the project?”

“Well, I was thinking project. But if you want to go on a date, I´ll happily oblige.” He winked at her.

“I wish I could but....”

*Project or date, she didn´t specify...*

“.... I have to have dinner with my grandmother tonight.”

“Why? Can´t you do that some other night?”

“Nope. You see she pays for my tuition to Chilton....”

*Memo to Self: Send the gracious Emily Gilmore and thank you note for keeping Rory in Chilton.*

“...So, in return mom and I must have dinner with her and grandpa every Friday. Lorelai has tried every possible method in the book, and even some new ones, to get out of dinner. Rarely is she successful....” Rory continued on and Tristan just stared at her.

*She´s so different from anyone I´ve ever met. Unique. I like unique.*

“Tristan. This conversation just became really one sided. Anything you´d like to say?” Rory stared into his big blue eyes. Mesmerized by their twinkle. He smiled.

“An airplane is basically a hollow metal tube with wings.” Rory laughed. “No... just think about it....”

END PT 11

“Mom, five minutes, we´re going to be late.” Rory hollered up the stairs.

“We´re always late.” Lorelai hollered from her room.

“Only because you make us.” Slowly, very slowly, slug like slowly, Lorelai came down the stairs.

“Rory darling... you go ahead without me. I think I´ve come down with the African Tse-Tse fly sickness.” Lorelai swayed back and forth for dramatic the affect.

“Mom. Get in the car.” Rory held the front door open and motioned for an exit.

“I´m serious Rory. My vision is becoming hazy, I´m seeing bright lights and wild colors.” She gripped the porch railing for support.

“Sounds more like an overdose of LSD to me. What has Luke been putting in your coffee lately....” Rory shoved Lorelai to the car.

“Damn. From now on, I´m going to actually pay attention to ER. That way I know how to dramatize better.” They climbed in.

“It´s not your drama that needs the work... it´s your knowledge on the subject matter that needs some sprucing up.”

“Rory.” Pout face.

“Oh that was a whine.”

“How can you be so calm about seeing my mother. Am I the only one who sees her truly deceptive nature?”

“Mom, that made very little sense.” Leaving Stars Hollow sign on the right.

“Fine.” Pout. “How can you like her?”

“Well... one, she is my grandmother, and two, she is being extremely nice and paying for my education.”

“Woah, you just sounded like you had positive feelings towards the gargoyle establishment. When did this happen?” Lorelai nudged Rory´s shoulder.

“Probably somewhere between my fourth or fifth head thump from the kitchen conversation two days ago.” On ramp to the interstate leading to Hartford.

“Hardy har har. I think I know the real reason....”

“And what, pray tell, would that be?” Fifteen miles till exit.

“Not what, who....”

Pause.

“... a certain blonde haired, blue-eyed.... coffee god!” Lorelai winked at Rory.

“Mother, I don´t think that....”

“What about our head thumping conversation?”

“Mom. I was thumping my head, do you really think I was making any rational thoughts that night?” Ten miles till exit.

“Possibly.... how could anyone not be wide awake when...”

“Mom, stop before you really gross me out. Plus, you do remember that I´m... seeing... Dean don´t you...”

“True, but...”

“And Tristan was the main reason as to why I had hostile feelings toward Chilton in the first place.”

“Whatever you say honey.” Lorelai turned on the radio, she had all the information she needed. “I love this song!” Exit Ramp.

“Mom, you do know that this is some strange guy singing ‘Baby Beluga´ don´t you?” Rory just stared as Lorelai began to dance around in her seat.

“Oh come on baby, it´s Rafi, and he´s a classic. I remember when you were two, you´d run around the house in nothing but a diaper screaming ‘Me want Wafi!´ You had trouble with your ‘R´s at that stage in life.” Rory hid her face in embarrassment. They were at a red light and other motorists were openly staring at her mother´s antics.

“Mom, we are two streets away from seeing your mother.” Lorelai froze.

“I can feel her icy glare already. She´s going to give me that ‘Why are you my daughter?´ look. I just know it. Oh well, I´ll just think happy thoughts. ‘Baby beluga, oh oh, baby beluga....” Thump.

“Oh no, not again.” Rory began thumping her head on the window of the car. “I´m really thinking you need to see someone about that.”

END PT 12

“Rory, how was your week?” The dinner had begun some time ago, but the conversation had been rather stagnant. Emily tried to break through the stalemate by asking a question, but was met by a glare from Lorelai, and a reluctant Rory.

“Fine. Your typical week of high school. A little of this and a little of that. Nothing special.” Rory played with the food on her plate as she thought of have special the week really had been.

“Well, I was talking to Sandra Hastings earlier this week and she told me about a project in her son´s American history class, I believe it is taught by Mr. Bosco. Don´t you have him?” An olive went flying across the table and landed on Emily´s plate. She looked up to find Lorelai grinning nervously at her. She muttered a sorry under her breath.

“Yes, I have Mr. Bosco.”

“How delightful. Are you in Paul Hastings class?” Emily was plotting.

“No, can´t say that I am.” Rory continued to rearrange the lettuce on her plate.

“Oh, what a shame. He is such a delightful young man. I believe that you two would get along marvelously. I know for a fact that he loves to read, something you two have in common.” Rory chuckled at the idea of her grandmother trying to set her up.

“What´s so funny?” Emily set her fork down and glared at Rory.

“Nothing grandma.”

“Honey, are you ok? You´re not eating anything. Lorelai, has Rory been like this for a long time?”

“Mom, I´m afraid that she´s come down with thumperitosis.” Emily paled.

“Thumperitosis! I´ve never heard of that. Will she be all right?!?” She was out of her chair and over to Rory in an instant.

“I´m fine grandma. Mom was just kidding. I was having a weird day a while ago and ‘accidentally´ thumped my head on the table. I´m fine really.” She kissed Emily on her forehead.

“Lorelai Gilmore. That was not funny. You scared me half to death. What possibly could have possessed you to make you say such a thing? Are you trying to give me a heart attack” Emily was livid.

“Sometimes.” Lorelai muttered.

“What did you say?” Emily had regained her composure.

“I said ‘dessert time.´” Rory stifled a laugh.

“Well, I guess that´s that. So Rory what could possible have been so weird that it caused you to hit your head?”

“Strangely enough, history class. I´m sure Ms. Hastings told you all about the project...”

“That she did.” Emily began eating the chocolate mousse that had been placed in front of her.

“Well, I was paired up with Tristan DuGray.”

“Oh, Mr. DuGray. He is a very polite young man. Where is the weirdness in that?”

“Well, before we began working together on this project we weren´t exactly the best of friends, but now we´ve really hit it off...”

“He brought me coffee.” Lorelai interrupted then looked at Emily who showed a sign of disapproval.

“Continue please dear.”

“That´s about it. It was just weird how we´ve become friends so suddenly.”

*How exactly did that happen anyway? Something is amiss...*

“No wonder Ms. DuGray was so happy the last time I saw her. She was saying something about her son no longer moping around the house. That he had, for some odd reason, come home from a study session in an extremely agreeable mood.”

*Ok, that proves it. Something fishy is going on with Tristan. God, I wish I knew what it was.*

Lorelai saw the look on her daughter´s face and smiled. Maybe she was figuring it out.

*The look in that boy´s eyes did not lie. He likes her. Oh, but what about Dean? I wish I knew what to do...hmmm... maybe Rafi will cure this...*

The table had been silent for a few minutes but was interrupted by a soft humming. Rory was about to thump her head against the table when she recognized the tune of ‘Baby Beluga.´

*Damn dessert plate is in the way.*

END PT 13

The sun streamed through Rory´s bedroom window. Shadows and spots of light danced around on the floor and walls like snowflakes dancing in the wind. A slight breeze ruffled Rory´s curtains and carried the aroma of fresh flowers through the air.

Rory was laying in bed staring dreamily out her window into the dawning day. Outside, the day was peaceful and serene, which was the exact opposite of what Rory was feeling. She had not slept well the night before. Tossing and turning in bed. Her head was swarming with thoughts of the past week and sleep was the furthest thing from her mind.

*One week. In one week my entire life has changed. Tristan, the jerk, former arch enemy, now a new friend and something else perhaps. Dean, the formerly caring, loving boyfriend, changed into a jealous overbearing one. Worst of all I know that he loves me, he even said it. I know that he´s just trying to keep me from getting hurt, but, I want to be free. Free to be with who I want.*

Rory shifted her position in bed trying to ease the pain in her heart, by easing the pain in her back. It was not working. Rory saw the sunlight on the floor move up to her comforter. She basked in the warmth it provided.

*But who do I want to be with. A week ago if you had asked me that, only one name would come to mind, Dean, there was no other answer. But now.... god, my life has become so complicated.*

Rory wanted to get out of bed, but she could barely lift her head from the pillow. Leaving her cocoon of warmth would actually mean that her day had started. That was not a good thing.

*Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all. I have to see Dean today, and I really don´t want to. Why? Because all I good think about last night was Tristan. Tristan. With his deep blue eyes that hypnotize me, and that smile that makes me go weak in the knees. And it all happened so suddenly too. I should have given him a chance sooner. I now know why Paris thinks so highly of him. Once you get to know him, he is just so.... perfect. Sure he has his flaws. We all do. But the man brought me coffee. He can´t be all that bad.*

Rory smiled involuntarily at the memory of Tristan leaning against her locker with a cup of steaming coffee in his hand. He had been waiting for her. Even when they we´re not being civil to each other, he had always waited for her.

*Tristan isn´t showing me his true self. I know it. But I can´t figure out what he is trying to had. Dean said his outside motives always held a different ulterior. Dean. How come everytime I think of him I become sad. Sure I like him and all, but things just aren´t what they use to be. Maybe I should... no I can´t do that. Or can I?*

Rory sat up as she pondered the thought. Outside the day was blossoming. The birds were chirping and flying about. The paperboy missed the porch again. It was a typical day in Stars Hollow. A day she wanted no part of. She sighed loudly slammed back down onto the bed, and threw the comforter over her head.

*Why me? I´m no good at making decisions like this. Do I really have to choose? Choosing is not fun. Why do I have to choose? Can´t I have both? No, that would be unfair. Maybe I could.... no, bad idea. How about I..... no that´s bad too.*

Rory rolled out of bed....literally. The comforter came with her as she spread out across the floor. She was surprisingly comfortable and was about to fall back asleep when she heard noises in the kitchen. Her head peeked out of a whole between the folds of the blanket. Rory dragged herself across the floor, through her door, and into the kitchen, while still wrapped in the blanket. She stopped next to the table, and grabbed at Lorelai´s ankle.

“What´s this? I see a child begging at my feet. The poor darling.” Lorelai bent down and kissed Rory´s forehead.

“Mommy, I need coffee.”

“I´m guessing that you´ve been thinking.” She handed Rory a cup.

“How´d you know?”

“I was standing by your door while the coffee brewed. Your face gets all scrunched up when you think. It´s so adorable. So, what was the topic on your mind? I´m going to guess Dean vs. Tristan.”

“Right again. How does she do it?” Lorelai grabbed a mug and sat down on the floor with Rory´s head in her lap. She began to stroke Rory´s soft hair. “Want to talk about it?”

“Not really, but I´m going to anyways. Vocalizing may help my predicament.” “So what´s up with the two guys?”

“I think I may like Tristan....” Rory trailed off.

“Well I would hope so. He has coffee.”

“Not like that mom. I mean I think I may have feelings for him.” She groaned.

“Other than the boyfriend thing, how is have feelings towards Tristan bad?”

“How can I like my ex-arch-enemy?!? He made my life a living hell. He tormented me, and couldn´t even remember my name. And we fought. But it turned to banter, and he kept me on my toes. Keeping up with him challenged me. I actually looked forward to seeing him, even if all we did was argue.”

“And you forgot to mention his eyes.”

“He was my only ‘friend´ for such a long time. I always thought that he saw me as some no-name goody two shoes, but this past week things have changed so much between us. We still argue, sure, but not like we used to. Now there is this tension, dare I say romantic tension between us, and for some weird reason I miss that feeling when I´m not around him.”

“And his eyes.”

“He´s charming, witty, smart, and daring.”

“And his eyes.”

*Come on Rory work with me here. You can´t tell me that you haven´t seen that look in his eyes. Bad me, I should not try to break up Dean and Rory. But who said I ever listened to reason.*

“And the weirdest thing is... all the little comments he drops. It´s almost as if he was trying to tell me something.”

*Ok, we´re getting warmer. Come on Rory, think. I know you can.*

“Then when he looks at me, there´s this sparkle and fire in his eyes.”

*Bingo!*

“It´s like nothing I´ve ever seen before.”

“Well, he seems to be a great guy and all, but you have Dean, and Dean is a great guy too.”

Rory stalled for a bit before answering in a hushed tone.

“Yeah, I guess he is.”

*I know what to do now, talking did help. But it isn´t going to make my decision any easier.*

END PT 14

Rory was sitting in the gazebo located in the town square. A few hours earlier she had asked Dean to meet her there. Rory was antsy and would often stand up and pace around the small area, every now and then biting on her nails.

*How can I do this? Dean is a great guy, he doesn´t deserve this. Why am I doing this? Because of Tristan. You like him Rory, admit it to yourself. No. Shut up brain. You always get in the way. I like Tristan. I like Tristan. It´s unfair to Dean to hold onto him. It would hurt him more in the long run. This is for the best. Maybe we could still be friends...*

Dean was walking across the grass staring at Rory. He knew she was arguing with herself.

*I know what´s coming. I should have seen it. Damn her. No, Dean that was uncalled for. You love her. You love her enough to let her go. Damn him. Tristan. You always cause problems. You wormed your way into her heart and left seeds of doubt in our relationship. I won´t let her go! I love her! Dean.... calm down. Let her be happy, even if it´s not with you.*

Dean walked up the steps of the gazebo his gaze never wavering from Rory as she paced. Rory had yet to notice Dean´s arrival and continued to rationalize her decision.

*It´s the right thing to do. Dean deserves better. I can´t treat him like a shirt, wear when needed but toss it aside. I´m not like that. I will not use him. Feelings change. That´s understandable. I hope he will understand.*

Dean sat down, Rory was unaware of his presence up until the moment she bumped into him. Her eyes traveled from his shoes all the way to face. He smiled. Not a smile of a greeting, but a smile of a goodbye. His eyes were not filled with sadness, but with a sense of release and understanding. Dean patted the seat next to him. Rory sat down.

“You wanted to talk....”

“Yeah....umm.... this is going to be hard for me to say. I would appreciate it if you let me say it all at once before you say anything. Please note that this decision was made after long hours of thinking, and that I still think you´re a great guy, and I want to remain friends....”

“Rory.”

“I know that this will hurt you and I don´t mean it to. I just don´t want to hurt you any more than I have to...”

“Rory.”

“This is so difficult for me to say. Things have changed. Things have changed between us...”

“Rory.” Dean took her hands in his. This got her attention and she stopped talking. “Rory, I know.”

“Know what?”

“I know what you came here to tell me.” He smiled.

“How.... how do you know.”

“I saw it coming. Believe me when I say that I don´t agree with your decision, but I will accept it.”

“Really? I just.... it´s just that...”

“Rory it´s ok. We need to take a vacation from each other. I would rather not have to, but I´m willing to let you go.”

“Dean, I never meant for this to happen.” She lowered her eyes to their entwined hands. “It just did. I´m so sorry. I never meant for my feelings to change. They just did. I never thought that I´d break up with you.” She had said it. Dean and her were breaking up.

“It´s ok Rory. I love you enough to understand.”

*Love?*

Dean read her mind.

“Yes Rory love. I love you, and that is why I´m willing to let you go. Things will be different between us, but I still want to be friends. I just think we need to not be around each other for awhile. I know that someone new has come into your life.”

“So this is a mutual decision then. We are breaking up.... but want to remain friends.”

“Yes, this is a mutual decision.”

“Ok then, I guess this is it.”

“I guess so.” The air that hung around them was thick and caused more tension than necessary.

“I´d better be going.” Rory said and was about to leave before she turned back to Dean. They embraced in a hug. More was said in that one moment than ever before. This was the end of a wonderful relationship, but also was the start of a new one. Things would never be the same, but change was inevitable. Rory slowed pulled away from the hug feeling a freedom that she never had before. She walked down the stairs and across the lawn, heading for home.

*Goodbye Rory Gilmore. I loved you, and still love you. I just wish things could be different. Tristan you are more lucky than you may ever know. Don´t miss your chance. You´re only going to get one.*

Rory returned home and headed straight for her room. She flopped on the bed expecting the tears to fall at any moment. But they never came. She stared at the ceiling feeling some sort of unexplained loss.

*I did it. I ended our relationship. I´m happy. How is that? He was a great guy. But this just opens up so much. What exactly I don´t know. To who I don´t know. This is the start of something new and unexplored. But I hurt Dean. He didn´t say it, but I know I did. He loved me, scratch that, loves me. I let him love me, and then I left him. That was wrong of me.*

The tears finally came. Not for the loss of a relationship, but for the loss of a friend. Rory curled herself into a ball and cried. Outside her room the phone was ringing, Rory did not hear it, the answering machine picked up.

“You´ve reached CoffeeAholics NonAnonymous. Leave a message and the sound of the coffee beans grinding, and remember to bring us some next time you´re here. ‘GRRRRRR´ .... Hey Rory, this is Tristan........”

END PT 15

Rory sat at an empty table in the Chilton cafeteria just picking at her food. Her normally open book just laid, closed, next to her tray. She hadn´t eaten anything all day, and she had no desire to start now. Paris was sitting with Madeline and Louise when she say the depressed looking Rory out of the corner of her eye. She excused herself from her friends and walked over to where Rory sat.

“Hey, mind if I sit here?” Paris sat without waiting for a response.

“Paris, I´m really in no mood to get in to a bickering match. So if you could just leave me alone I´d be forever grateful.” Rory never lifted her head from her macaroni and cheese.

“My my, and you say I never give a chance. Look at the one who´s being rude. I guess I´ll leave, I was just trying to see what was wrong.” Paris was about to stand up when Rory stopped her.

“I´m sorry Paris.” Rory dropped her fork onto the plate. “I just had a bad weekend. I didn´t mean to take it out on you.”

“What happened?”

“I broke up with Dean. It just hit me how much I am going to miss him.”

“Then why did you break up with him in the first place. Dean was a great guy, at least I´m assuming he is.”

“He was, is. It´s just that my feelings changed and I didn´t want to be leading him on.”

“You like someone else don´t you.”

“Yes....no....maybe. I don´t know. That´s why I had to break up with him. I just have had these feelings toward someone else who I normally wouldn´t have feelings for.”

Paris began to put two and two together.

*Dumping Dean..... New feelings towards someone else. Working with....Tristan. TRISTAN! She has feelings for Tristan. She knows how much I like him, how could she do this to me. It´s bad enough she´s smart enough to stay in this school. But now she had to move in on Tristan!*

“You can´t!” Paris screamed at Rory while pounding the table. Her outburst got the attention of most of the cafeteria. All eyes turned two the two of them.

“Paris calm down. I can´t what?” Paris voice was grew even louder.

“You can´t have in. Understand. You can´t just come to my school and take everything I´ve ever wanted. He´s mine hands off. That goes for the Franklin too. You can forget about getting a job. You don´t belong here. Go back to that farm town you came from. You´ll never fit in!”

“I see.” Rory was on the verge of tears. She picked up her stuff and ran out of the cafeteria, hundreds of eyes followed her exit then returned back to a fuming Paris.

“What?!? Go back to whatever you were doing, there´s nothing to see.” Paris walked out of the cafeteria head held high.

Just outside the door Tristan was about to get lunch when Rory barreled through the doors and ran down the hall. Tristan turned and called after her.

“Rory! Rory! Where are you going?” He decided it was best to not run after her, even though he wanted to, when he heard her sobs as she ducked into the bathroom. Tristan turned back towards the cafeteria when Paris exited. She saw Tristan and marched right up to him.

“Stay away from her you hear. She is not worthy of being in this school, and she´s not worthy enough to be with you.” Paris turned on her heel and stalked down the hallway. Tristan was confused to say the least. He stepped into the eerily quite cafeteria. The door clunked close behind him. Chilton students peered up at him and the perplexed expression on his face. A small laugh came from one of the students and a wave of chuckles rolled through the cafeteria. Tristan just shrugged before exiting. He walked to the front stairs and sat down to think.

*What happened? First Rory wouldn´t return my phone calls. Now she´s in tears and Paris is being extremely confident. Something happened, something big. It would have to be for Rory to be in tears. I gotta talk to her.*

Tristan went back inside in search of Rory.

END PT 16

Rory just wanted the day to end. After breaking it off with Dean she was depressed, but being yelled at by an unreasonable Paris was the icing on the cake.

*Why does everyone hate me? I´ve done nothing to them. So I´m not rich. What´s the big deal? I don´t bother them, they shouldn´t bother me. And Paris. God. I never meant to steal anything from her. She can´t just stake a claim on him. Wait... I didn´t just say that. Ok I did. Maybe I do like Tristan.*

Rory was so deep into her thoughts that she failed to notice Tristan leaning up against her locker. It was not until she ran into him that she was aware of his presence. Her eyes traveled from his shoes, up his regulation uniform, past a hand holding a cup of coffee, and finally landed on his strikingly blue eyes, before returning to the cup of coffee. Tristan smirked.

“If I had known you´d be checking me out today I would have taken a bit more pride in my appearance.” Rory groaned.

“The ever modest Tristan DuGray everyone. Round of applause please.” Rory removed her stare from Tristan and focused it on her locker. She struggled for a while to open it before Tristan laid his hand on hers.

Sparks coursed through both their bodies. Tristan was right behind Rory if she leaned back even a fraction of an inch she would bump into his chest. Tristan could smell Rory´s hair and was tempted to lean forward, trapping Rory between the lockers and his body. Rory felt the tension as well. Tristan´s warm breath on her neck made her shiver. His warm hand covering hers sent jolt after jolt of energy through her.

“Here. Let me get that.” Tristan practically whispered in her ear. Shivers went down her spine once again. All she could do was nod an approval. Tristan leaned into her slightly, his broad chest grazing her back.

“There ya´ go. One stubborn locker open.” The two had yet to separate. Rory could almost feel the quick pace of Tristan´s heart beat. Being in this close of a proximity to her, without being able to actually touch her drove him crazy. He ever so slowly returned to his position of leaning against the lockers. Rory began to change her books.

“Oh, Rory.”

“Hmmm”

“This is for you.” Tristan handed her the cup of coffee. She beamed.

“This is exactly what I needed.” Gulp.

“I thought so. I saw you earlier today and you looked very unhappy.” Rory´s smile left her face.

“I had a bad weekend and then got yelled at by Paris....so being unhappy is a perfect emotion.”

“I understand. If you ever want to talk about it, I´ll listen.” Rory was stunned.

*Tristan....listen to me. Things really have changed.*

“Thank you. I may just take you up on that.”

*She looks so adorable. What I wouldn´t give to be Dean. He gets to hold her, and kiss her, and be with her. He is so lucky, I doubt he even knows it.*

“Good....so can I drive you home? We can talk in the car.” Tristan hoped against hope that Rory would say yes.

*If I say yes....then we can talk, and maybe I´ll know more about my ‘feelings´ for him. But we´re talking about Tristan here, a no would be the safe way to go. Yes, No, Yes, No. Screw it.*

“Sure...why not.” Tristan let out a breath that he did not know he was holding.

“Follow me m´lady.” Tristan bowed. “Your chariot awaits.” Rory giggled. They walked down the Chilton halls and out the front door.

The warm sunlight greeted them at their exit. The air was filled with a slight breeze that blew strands of Rory´s hair about her face. Tristan stared at Rory´s profile as the walked to his car, become more hypnotized with each step. He opened her door for her, before climbing in himself. The pair were silent as they drove out of Hartford and onto the highway. Tristan was happy, even though Rory was silent, he was still next to her. He took quick glances at her profile, memorizing, once again, the delicate features of her face. Rory could feel her skin tingle everytime Tristan glanced at her.

*Why does he do that? Do I have something stuck in my hair? Grandma did say that..... no, that girl is not me. I´m just getting my hopes up.*

“Rory. I don´t want to pressure you or anything, but you said we could talk, and I kinda would like to know why you didn´t return my phone call.”

“Yeah.” Rory thought for a moment as the trees whipped by outside her window. She took one final look at the scenery before turning to Tristan. “Basically my weekend sucked. I mean it wasn´t really all that bad just one part, but that was enough to make the entire weekend bad. It wasn´t even that much of my weekend...well technically it was because I was thinking about...”

“Rory.” She stopped. “Your rambling. you don´t have to talk about it if you don´t want to. It´s ok.”

“No, no. I need to tell someone, and you´re the only friend I´ve got in Chilton.” Tristan smiled when Rory called him a friend, even if he wanted more than that.

“Ok... here goes nothing.... Dean and I broke up, and I wasn´t really in the mood to talk to anyone.” Silence.

*What!?! There is no way I´m this lucky. Rory, unattached! I could make a move now. Wait, I can´t she´s on the rebound. Her feelings are mush.*

“Tristan?” He mumbled something under his breath. “What was that?”

“Dean´s a moron.” His eyes were attached to the road.

*Look straight ahead. You look at her now and its over. Done with. There will be nothing to stop you from kissing her.*

“Why´s that?”

“Hey dumped you. He´d have to be a moron to let you go.” Rory remembered his earlier words from the second night they worked on the project.

*Wow that sounds familiar.*

“Actually, it was a mutual decision, but I really broke up with him.” Silence once again.

*Oh god, she didn´t just say that. She broke up with him. Maybe she does...no, not after the way you treated her. You´re a jerk Tristan. A jerk, who doesn´t deserve her.*

“Tristan.... you passes my house.”

“What? Oh sorry.” He backed the car up and stopped at her curb. Rory didn´t get out.

“What were you thinking about?” He turned to face her.

“Just about how much of a jerk I´ve been to you. I´m sorry.”

“Apology accepted. And you haven´t been to bad lately, just don´t slip back into it. I´m a forgiving person, but not that forgiving.” Tristan bowed his head and laughed. As he picked it back up again he saw the sun bouncing of Rory´s hair creating a magical halo of light. Twinkles danced in her eyes as she smiled at him. The smile that completed his day and made him feel whole. His hand, as if acting on its own impulse, reached out and stroked her cheek. Rory leaned into the comforting touch closing her eyes for a brief second. She opened them and was greeted by the soft stare of Tristan´s baby blues.

*His eyes.... mom was right, there is something there.*

The only sound in the car was the rhythmic breathing of the two teens. Tristan´s hand moved from Rory´s cheek to her hair. He combed his fingers through its softness. Rory reached up and her hand on his arm. All movement ceased. Then Tristan began to slowly lean into Rory. His lips were about to brush against hers. Rory couldn´t move she wanted this to happen. She wanted to kiss Tristan. Her eyes closed in anticipation of the contact. But it never came. Tristan moved away from Rory and sighed.

*This isn´t right. Not right now.*

“We should get together soon to work on the project.” Rory hid her disappointment.

“Yeah. Tomorrow in the library?”

“Sure.” Tristan ran a hand through his hair. He longed to touch Rory again.

“Well, see you then.” She climbed out of the car.

“Right, tomorrow. Bye.”

“Bye.” She shut the door and walked up to the porch she waved to him as he drove off.

*What the hell just happened.*

END PT 17

Rory shut the door and headed straight for the telephone. She hastily dialed a number and waited impatiently for a ring. After what seemed like eons for Rory someone picked up.

“Hi Lane?”

“Rory! Hey how you doing?” Lane´s voice was filled with sympathy.

“Fine, surprising. I was wondering if you could come over we need to talk.”

“Sure. I´ll be there in a jiffy.”

Rory paced back and forth across the entrance way. She bit her bottom lip off and on as thoughts collided in her head.

*This is insane. I wanted him to kiss me. I only broke up with Dean yesterday. What happened? We use to me mortal enemies and now we´re almost all over each other.*

Thump. Thump. Thump. Lane walked in to find Rory rupturing her head on the wall.

“Oh Rory.” She dragged her away from the wall. “Lorelai warned me about that. What´s up?”

“Ok, brace yourself.” The both flopped down on the couch.

“Braced.” Lane grabbed tightly onto a pillow.

“You know how Tristan...”

“Evil Tristan? What did he do now?”

“He almost kissed me....” Lane threw the pillow across the room.

“I´m gonna smash his face in. He has no right to do that. You are dating Dean. What did he think...”

“Lane! I´m surprised at you.” She sat back down.

“Sorry about that. I don´t know what came over me.”

“It´s ok. Lane, I broke up with Dean yesterday.”

“That explains why he was so mopey today. I didn´t...”

“Lane!”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Stop rambling.”

“Sorry....so back to your evil Tristan problem.” She went and picked up the pillow and sat back down.

“Well he gave me a ride home today and before I got out he almost kissed me.”

“That evil, deceitful, chauvinistic....”

“Lane!”

“Sorry again.... Continue.”

“The thing is.... I wanted him to kiss me.”

“What!?!” Lane shot out of her seat and began pacing. “How on earth did that happen?”

“That´s why I called you over.” Rory huddled herself into the corner of the couch. “I don´t know what´s come over me. One minute I hate him.... the next I can´t help but think of what it would feel like to be in his arms. I´m so confused.” A single tear rolled down her cheek. Lane went to her and swept her into a hug.

“It´s ok Rory. We´re teens, confusion is a fact of life for us.” Rory softly cried on her shoulder. Lane just held her. “Sit down and tell me the story from the beginning.”

Two hours later Lane, Rory, and Lorelai, who had noticed the pair earlier, were all sitting about the living room. Used tissues were scattered on the floor and every eye held remnants of tears. Tears over a lost relationship, tears over changes and new frontiers.

“So now I think I may actually like him... but I don´t know if he likes me. The only thing I have to go on is that little tidbit grandma talked about, and I don´t even know if that was over me. I just want to know what to do.” Lorelai comforted Rory by rubbing her back in slow circles.

“Well.... I can tell you that only time will tell. Just wait it out. Things will become clearer. Your emotions are just dead because of all the new things that have happened. Just wait and see.”

“Or...” Lane piped up. “You could just plant one on him and see what happens.” Rory laughed through her tears.

“I don´t think so Lane. You may be living vicariously through me, but I´m not that bold.”

“Well, phooey then. Who else will boldly go where I haven´t?

“The starship enterprise.” Lorelai smirked.

*My baby is growing up. She´ll know soon. Those two can´t act like this forever.*

END PT 18

“So here´s the deal...” Tristan said as he sauntered up to Rory, with coffee cup in hand.

“Coffee!” Rory grabbed for the cup, but Tristan pulled it out of her reach.

“Hold your horses.” Rory pouted and stared longingly at the beverage in Tristan´s outstretched hand. “First of all... don´t I get a ‘Good Morning?´”

“Good morning.” Rory tried for the coffee once more. She lunged at Tristan, using his chest as support as she grabbed for the coffee. She soon realized what she was doing when Tristan´s eyes made contact with her. Sparks. She backed off and muttered a sorry.

“You really want this coffee don´t you.” Rory just nodded her head as she bit on her bottom lip.

“You really, really, really, want this.” Another nod.

“Just looking at it makes you weak.” Nod.

“I´ll give it to you.....” Rory smiled expectantly. “If....” Tristan trailed off.

“If what?”

“If the Sunday night after we present our project you agree to go with me to the Hartford Fair.”

*Ok DuGray this is it. I hope she says yes. Please let her say yes.*

Rory bit her bottom lip. “Ummmm...”

“Please Rory.” Tristan stuck out his bottom lip and attempted to look innocent.

“Ok.... now fork over that cup or feel the wrath of a caffeine addict.” Tristan handed it to her as he smiled triumphantly.

“I´d rather not be in pain. Walk you to class?” Tristan cocked his head in the direction of their first period class.

“Sure.”

That afternoon they met up in the Chilton library. The room was dark except for a few scattered desk lamps that lit up only a few spots. Rows of old books gave the room a musty yet pleasing smell. Small patches of dust floated through the air and were highlighted by the afternoon light that was streaming through the windows. Rory and Tristan both set their book down on a vacant table and went in search of research material. In a few short minutes the wooden table was covered.

“I think that´s enough.” Rory dusted her hands off and sat down. Tristan had already begun to pour over pages in an encyclopedia. Rory studied his downturned face instead of a book. His eyes raced intently across the pages as he digested every written word. Every once in awhile he licked his bottom lip.

*What would it be like to kiss those lips? Rory! Oh my God, you did not just think that.... ok you did. So what would it be like?*

Tristan ran a hand through his hair and proceeded to massage the back of his neck. Rory admired his broad, muscular shoulders.

*Ok, need a cold shower now! Where´s the water. It´s hot in here. Dear lord... he just unbuttoned another button. I need air.*

Tristan had indeed undone another button in an attempt to become more comfortable. However, this action had given Rory a more than opulent view of his chest. She let out a slight gasp which caused Tristan to look up at her.

“What?” He stared innocently at her.

“Nothing... just a little... stuffy in here...that´s all.” Rory sat down.

“Ok.” Tristan went back to him book. Full well knowing that Rory had been checking him out.

*Maybe I am getting somewhere.*

The pair worked for a good three and a half hours before someone spoke up again.

“Those opposed to Roe versus Wade say that abortion is murder, because a fetus is a living being.” Tristan leaned toward Rory as she copied material down.

“True, but those that support it say a fetus has never been declared living, and thus is not subject to the murder laws.”

“Abortion costs the country millions of dollars in medical aid.” Rory picked her head up and glared at him. She knew he was trying to pick a fight.

“If the decision is revoked then it will cost billions in government aid to care for those who receive botched abortions, money to keep those who ignore the law in jail, and more money to take care of the millions of babies that will be abandoned.” Rory crossed her arms and leaned confidently back against the chair.

“Well... Abortion.... ummm.... shit.”

“First round and all ready tapped.” Rory copied Tristan´s smirk.

“Looks like someone is feeling confident today.” Tristan closed the book he was reading.

“I am.”

“May I ask way?”

“You may ask, I may not respond.” Tristan chuckled.

“Why?”

“Because.”

“Is that all I´m going to get.”

“Yes.”

“Ok.” They went back to their work. But soon Rory became frustrated. She let out a groan and thumped her head on the table.

“What the...” Tristan looked up to find Rory´s head on the table. “I see.” Thump.

“Rory...what are you doing?”

“What does it look like I´m doing?”

“I see.... well why are you doing it?”

“It helps me think.”

“I though doing that killed brain cells.”

“If it does then oh well.” Thump. Tristan stood and walked to her side of the table. Thump.

“Stop that.” Thump.

“No.” Thump.

“Please.” Tristan was starting to think Rory was actually hurting herself..

“I´d rather not.” Thump.

“Rory.” Thump. Tristan couldn´t take it any more. He placed his hands on either side of Rory´s face and made her look at him. “You´re going to hurt....”

Tristan never finished his sentence. The situation had become too akward. They just stared at each other. The air stood still. Tristan licked his lips as Rory bit on her bottom one. Neither one made a move. The intimacy of Tristan´s contact made Rory´s breath catch in her throat. Both wanted the kiss to happen, but there was still no movement. It was still to soon, and neither one knew the other was ready. Tristan slowly removed his hands from Rory´s cheeks. She missed the warmth.

“I think we´re done.” Rory murmured.

“Yeah, I guess. See you tomorrow.”

“See ya.” Rory watched as Tristan walked out. Thump.

END PT 19

“Hey Luke. Coffee Please...ooh.. and one of those delicious looking muffins.” Rory said as she waltzed through the door.

“What´s made you so happy? Or do I not want to ask?” Luke set a mug a muffin down in front of her.

“Not what... who.” Lorelai walked in just as Rory was about to explain the situation.

“Who what?” Rory grinned as she sipped her coffee. Luke place a mug in front of Lorelai...without a fight. Both adults stared intently as Rory prepared herself.

“Well... you know how Tristan...”

“Tristan!” Luke interrupted. “Do I need to go sumo on him?”

“No Luke... let Rory finish the story.” Lorelai glared at her friend.

“Any ways, Tristan and I have been working on this project for history. During the past few weeks we´ve actually become friends, but...”

“But...” Lorelai tapped her hand on the counter impatiently.

“I thought I had... make that... I do have feelings that border beyond friendship for him, and today I think I´ve discovered that he may like me too... though I´m still not sure.” Lorelai smiled.

*And so it begins. Finally that girl noticed something.*

“Would I like this ‘new´ Tristan? Does he still treat you like a second class citizen... because if he even thinks of harming one innocent hair on your head, I will have his body stuffed for my mantle.”

“Don´t worry Luke. He´s different. Not only has he been treating me like an actual friend, but his entire demeanor has changed. Sure he can still be cocky, but in a way, that´s attractive.”At this comment Lorelai spit out her coffee, and frowned.

*Poor coffee. I´m sorry... wait... Rory said something that made you do that....*

“You find that aspect of his personality attractive? A few weeks ago you that was the worst part about him. I´ll say things have changed.” Rory giggled at her mother´s perplexed.

“It grows on you.” Lorelai raised one eyebrow.

“Back to a question I should have asked. What makes you think that he likes you?”

“Well.... we almost kissed...twice.” There went more of Lorelai´s coffee.

*Oh.. not again...*

“What!?! When, where, how!” Lorelai was staring intently at Rory´s amused face.

“Yesterday and Today, in a car and in the library, and just cause.”

“Well, why on earth did you not go for it? That boy is hot. Especially with those arm muscles that I know are hidden under that J. Crew exterior.” Rory blushed.

*He does have nice arms... among other things.*

“I wanted to, but... I really don´t know what was stopping him. He was the one who pulled back. Maybe.... maybe I´ve been reading the situation wrong and he really doesn´t feel anything for me.” Rory started to softly shake, she hadn´t really thought about the fact that Tristan may not like her. The possibility of that scared her. Lorelai saw her daughter´s reaction.

*Oh trust me, he likes you.*

“Trust me, he likes you.” Rory took a nervous sip of her coffee.

“How can you tell?”

“Just trust me on this honey. I know these things. He likes you. I can sense it in many ways. Besides, he´d have to be an idiot not to like you.”

“He did think that Dean was an idiot for letting me go.”

“See... there´s one thing.” They started to pack up.

“And there was the thing with his mom that grandma had been talking about.”

“Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that.” The pair walked out the door with a befuddled Luke looking at them.

*Tristan better treat her right or he´s as good as garbage.*

END PT 20

It was a warm and sunny Wednesday. It had rained earlier in the morning so a slight mist hung in the air giving everything a hazy glow. The trees swayed slightly when the light breeze blew. Rory was soaking it all in from underneath a large willow tree. She was leaning against it´s trunk and reading her ever present book. A dull calamity of chatter was in the background. It was lunch time and the students were taking advantage of the beautiful day. Rory was oblivious to it all. She was enthralled with the written words that were in front of her.

Tristan had been looking for Rory all through out the cafeteria without any luck. He moved outside thinking that she may be trying to avoid the noise of the crowds. His intuitions were right. He almost missed her legs sticking out from behind the tree. Slowly walking to her he stopped and took in the mirage that was Rory Gilmore. The mist in the air and the sun bouncing off it formed a halo of light all around her. Her hair danced delicately in the breeze. Raising and falling against her shoulders. A strand would occasionally blow into her face and Rory would quickly remove the distraction. She bit her bottom lip as she turned the page.

*She´s an angel. She has to be. No one can compare to her beauty and intelligence. I´m so lucky. I get to see her. I get to talk to her. I´m blessed by everything that is Rory Gilmore.*

Rory saw Tristan looking at her. She removed her gaze from the pages for one moment to smile at him.

*Damn he looks sexy today.... and everyday.*

Tristan smiled back and then sat down beside her. His arm barely grazing her´s.

“What is it this time Mary?” Tristan´s lips were near her ear and his tone was hushed. Rory to in a sharp breath as his breath tickled her face.

“Macbeth.” Rory´s heart beat quickened when Tristan brushed a piece of hair away from her ear. His hand trailed down her neck before it returned to its place on the grass.

“I would´ve thought that you had already read that.” Rory turned to the next page with a trembling hand.

*Good thing I´m sitting down. Who knows what would happen if I was standing up. He has such an affect on me..... I don´t want him to stop. I think I´ve fallen for him.*

“I have read it. I just saw the movie last night and decided a reread would be appropriate.” Rory was finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on Shakespeare with Tristan being as close as he was.

“Which version of the movie?” Tristan had settled against the tree and was intently staring at Rory´s profile.

“Mel Gibson.”

“That was a good one.... Braveheart was his best movie.” Tristan removed another strand of hair from her face, but this time his fingers did not return to there starting position.

“Sons of Scotland...” Rory imitated Mel Gibson´s character in her best Scottish accent. Tristan´s fingers began to weave into Rory´s hair. Every now and then one stray finger would brush of against the skin of her neck sending chills reverberating through her body. Tristan longed to just brush the hair away from her shoulders and plant soft kisses on her delicate neck. Rory was trying to keep herself from turning to face him, for fear that any eye contact may make her melt right into him.

“I never knew you had a knack for accents.” Tristan continued to stare at her.

“I don´t. I can just copy movie lines decently.” Rory´s breathing became quicker and shallower with every passing second.

“Do you have any specialties?” Tristan noticed her poise dissolving. He too was experiencing the same feelings. The sense of longing. The need for one to be near the other. The need to be touched not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

“I can do a pretty good Eddie Izzard.”

“Eddie what?”

“Eddie Izzard. He´s British. Technically he´s more of a stand up comedian than an actor. He´s hilarious but the best part of all is, he does his entire act in women´s clothing... he´s a transvestite.”

“Are they....”

“No.... he likes the opposite sex.”

“Is he funny?”

“Funny wouldn´t even begin to describe it. In his one show ‘Dressed to Kill´ he basically goes through the history of Europe. My favorite part though is the Spanish Inquisition.” Rory began to copy the comedian, while Tristan´s fingers were still entwined in the softness of her hair. “The Spanish Inquisition wouldn´t have worked with the Church of England ‘Talk! Will you talk!´ ‘But it hurts.´ ‘Well loosen it up a bit.´ Cause that´s what it would be, ‘Tea and Cake or Death! Tea and Cake or Death!´ Students would be ‘Tea and Cake or Death, Tea and Cake or Death. Little Red Cookbook. Little Red Cookbook.´ Cause cake or death that´s an easy question. Anyone can answer that...” Rory continued on. Tristan began to laugh.

“What are you giggling at?” His fingers began to dance circles over her shoulder.

“Nothing.. just that fact that you are enthralled with this little speech that you´ve got going on.” Rory crossed her arms and pouted.

“Well he is funny. You should watch the tape I have sometime. I´ll lend it to you.”

“Ok...” The bell rang and Tristan stood up. He offered Rory is hand and she took it. Rory began to walk away but Tristan stopped her.

“Rory!”

“Yeah.” She spun around, skirt and hair swirling.

“My cousin is having a party this Friday, I was wondering if you´d like to go. I know that would have to get yourself out of dinner, but I was just wondering...”

“Sure. I´ll try.” Rory surprised herself by agreeing so quickly. She spun away from him and entered the building. Tristan slowly regained the composure he had lost at her answer.

*She said yes.... and I didn´t even have to beg her. Maybe there´s hope.*

END PT 21

Rory plopped down on the sofa letting out a sigh of relief.

*Another day in hell over. Well, it wasn´t that bad. Lunch was ok. Tristan asked...*

“Ooops.. better call grandma.” Rory scurried around the house tossing pillows and magazines about the room. A blanket went flying into the entrance way as Lorelai walked through the door. Knowing that flying blankets are not a normal occurrence Lorelai headed in the direction from where it came. She walked into the living room to find it in more disarray than usual. Suddenly from behind the couch a wet towel cam flying at her. Smacking her in the face she went backwards bumping into the staircase.

“Rory! What on earth are you doing?” Her question was muffled by the object covering her mouth. After removing it she saw Rory peer over the sofa.

“Looking for the phone.”

“Oh. I hung it up.”

“Why did you do that? I never would have looked there.”

“The last time I used it the poor thing started beeping at me. It needed energy.”

“Well as long as it´s feeling better.” Rory picked up the phone and sat on the couch, just staring at the keypad.

“Rory honey. It´s not going to dial itself... unless of course you are trying out ESP.”

“I have to call grandma.”

“Why do you want to call Malificent?”

“I need to get out of dinner on Friday.... you can´t come with me.” Lorelai just made some weird noises of objection before sitting on the stairs.

“You didn´t even give me a chance to ask.” Lorelai stared at Rory and pouted.

“No.”

“Please, please, please.” Lorelai was on her knees, begging. Slowly tottering her way towards Rory.

“No.”

“Fine. Why?”

“Tristan invited me to a party... and I agreed to go.” Lorelai hollered with laughter, and proceeded to fall of the couch.

“Is it really that hard to believe that I would go to a party... with Tristan.”

“No. I´m just thinking about.... what here.” Lorelai ran into the kitchen. A few minutes later she emerged with a cup of coffee and a bag of chips. “You can call now.”

“What´s with the food?” Rory tipped her head in the direction of the snack.

“This is like the blockbuster movie of the summer. ‘Emily Says No in Nine Languages.´”

“Very funny.” Rory proceeded to dial, she was now afraid that she might not be able to go afterall.

*Would it really kill me if I didn´t get to go. No. I wouldn´t care about missing the party.... but I´d care about missing Tristan.*

“Gilmore residence, Emily speaking.”

“Grandma.” Rory asked in a tone that was more of a question than a statement.

“Rory, darling. How are you?”

“Fine grandma.”

“That´s good. Why do I have the pleasure of this call?” Emily was stirring tea.

“Well... I have a request to make.”

“Go ahead dear.”

“I was wondering if I good miss this week´s dinner.” Rory held her breath.

“I don´t see why not.” Rory smiled.

“Thank you grandma.” Lorelai stopped eating and just stared.

“Thank you.... she didn´t...” Rory cut her off when Emily began to speak again.

“What´s the reason?” Rory slumped down, Lorelai happily resumed eating.

“Well there´s this party...” Emily was stunned, she stopped all motion.

“A party! Rory you cannot miss dinner for just any party. What on earth would...”

“Tristan DuGray invited me.” Emily immediately perked up and began to stir her tea again.

“Did you say DuGray?”

“MmmHmm.”

“What a sweet kid. And such a great family. Janlen DuGray does business with your grandfather. Did you now that?” Rory was very pleased with this turn around and smirked. Lorelai once again stopped her munching.

“I knew that... so I can go?”

“Well of course. Tristan will be a great friend. I´m glad that you two are friends.”

*So am I grandma, so am I.*

“Thank you grandma.” Lorelai began to pout.

“Your welcome... but sometime soon you have to bring Tristan to dinner.” Rory´s shoulders slumped. Lorelai ate a chip.

“Ok grandma. Thank you again.”

“No problem. Have fun darling.”

“I will.” They said their final good-byes and hung up.

“So...” Lorelai licked her lips in anticipation. Rory´s head was downcast, she slowly picked it up and stared at her mother. Seconds passed, then all Rory did was stick out her tongue. “Oh you. Rory. You can´t leave me alone.” Rory got up and Lorelai quickly chased after her all around the house.

END PT 22

Tristan walked into history class feeling somewhat apprehensive. He had not seen Rory all day and was worried that she may have changed her mind about going to the party, or that her grandmother may have not allowed her to miss the weekly dinner. His fears flew out the door as soon as he saw Rory. She was sitting in a desk just looking straight at him. A twinkle danced in her eye. He walked up to her desk, but did not take a seat.

“How are we today Miss Gilmore?” Tristan faked a British accent.

“Quite well Mr. DuGray... and yourself?” She copied his lead.

“Perfectly peachy.” Tristan cut with the fun and games. “So?”

“So.... what?” He smirked at her.

“Can you go?”

“Well you see....”

“Please Rory, pretty please. With a cherry on top.”

“Well when you beg like that... I can go.” Tristan beamed.

*A party...with Rory. Someone likes me.... I just wish it were her.*

“Good. I´ll pick you up at 7.”

“I´ll be ready.”

They sat in an awkward silence. Neither one knew if this really was a date or not. Tristan glanced at his shoes nervously and Rory just doodled on her paper.

“You can sit down ya know.”

“Right.” Tristan took a seat next to Rory but his eyes did not make contact with hers.

“So... you feeling this awkwardness as well?” Rory turned to Tristan as she spoke.

“Yeah... no idea why.”

“Maybe its because we are being civil to each other and it´s culture shock because it is not our normal behavior.”

“Could be... but why would it hit right now?” Rory pondered his question for a moment.

“Long incubation period.” She said with a shrug. Tristan laughed.

*What a great smile... it makes his eyes sparkle. God... I love his eyes. Mom was right.*

“You should smile more like that more often.” Tristan stopped laughing and just stared at Rory.

“Why´s that?”

“Because it makes your eyes sparkle.” Tristan slowly grinned again.

“Those words sound awfully familiar.”

“They should.” Rory looked down at her paper and tapped her pencil nervously against the desktop.

“Why´s that.”

“I plagiarized them from you.”

“Oh yeah... before that pillow fight.”

“I want a rematch by the way... you only won because you cheated.” Rory stuck out her bottom lip. Tristan sucked in a shallow breath and gripped the desk.

*Oh dear god.... make her stop. I just want to kiss her.*

“Please stop that.” Tristan´s voice wavered.

“Why? Does my pouting bother you?” Rory noticed his reaction, but didn´t stop, she was enjoying the vulnerable state he appeared to be in.

“Not exactly.”

“Then why?”

“Because it´s making me want to do something that, even though I really want to do it, I really shouldn´t do.” Rory looked at him strangely but didn´t get a chance to answer because the bell rang. She passed him a note when the teacher´s back was turned. He slowly opened it, wary of what the contents might be.

‘I´ll be asking you about that comment later. I should tell you that since I´m going to the party with you tomorrow, it is required that you come to a Friday dinner with me in the near future.´

Tristan silently folded the note back up letting out a sigh of relief before smiling in acknowledgment.

*What did he want to do?*

END PT 23

Rory was sitting on her bed looking out the window. Her foot was bobbing up and down in an impatient manner. It was only 6:45 and she had been ready to leave for over an hour. Lorelai came in to check on her every once in a while only to leave in disgust. Who doesn´t make the man wait?

*Ok, just because I´m sitting here... waiting... for.. him... it doesn´t mean that I´m ready to just fall into his arms and say ‘Take me Away!´ Ok... so maybe I am. This is just to soon. I mean Dean and I only broke up recently. I´m not the type of girl to flutter from guy to guy at a moment´s notice...*

The doorbell.

Rory dashed for the door, but was forced back into her room by her mother.

“Oh no you don´t. You wait here.”

“But...”

“No buts about it missy. Sit, stay.” Rory crossed her arms in indignation. Lorelai closed the door. The doorbell rang again. Lorelai opened the door. “Tristan. Hi... oh... I see you brought coffee... for Rory?”

“No actually.. for you.” He handed Lorelai the cup.

“I really like you did I ever tell you that.”

“Yes you have.”

“Just so you know.” She paused as Tristan looked around the room for Rory. “She´ll be out in a minute, she´s making herself beautiful.”

“She already is.” Tristan mumbled.

“What was that?”

“She already is.” *Might as well make friends with the parent.*

“How sweet. I´ll go check on her.” Lorelai skipped to Rory´s room. She opened the door to find Rory pacing.

“What are you two doing out there?”

“Not much... come on.” Lorelai grabbed Rory by the wrist and pulled her out the door. She let go before Tristan noticed. He was staring at a photo on the wall but when the pair came in his attention was immediately drawn to Rory. She was wearing a simple black, knee length, dress that had a simple white flower pattern. Her hair was styled in dark waves that cascaded down her back. The only make-up she wore was a hint of lip gloss. Tristan was addicted to her. The more he saw her, the more he wanted her.

Rory was feeling the same thing. Tristan out of his Chilton uniform was still a sight that she was becoming accustomed to. He was wearing black slacks and a white dress shirt. Nothing fancy. The top button was undone as it was his usual style. His hair was in its normal mess. All of this did not go unnoticed by Rory, but the thing that attracted the bulk of her attention was his eyes. The normal sparkle that was there had changed. Now it looked like his eyes were fixated on one thing, and one thing alone... her. They screamed for love and affection.

Lorelai just looked at the scene before her. Neither of the two were going to make the first move so she did it for them. She grabbed both of them by the arm and pushed them out the door. “You two have fun now.” Then she slammed the door in their faces.

“I´m guessing that she wanted us to leave.” They stared dumbfoundedly at the door,

“Sorry about that... Lorelai probably had a big night ahead oh her.” Tristan motioned to the car and opened Rory´s door for her.

“Doing what?”

“Dinner with grandma... now that I´m not there she´ll probably torture the heck out of her.” Tristan laughed and thus began a night that would change so much.

It was now near midnight and Rory, who had been enjoying the party earlier, now wanted to go home. She and Tristan has arrived around eight and were really enjoying each other´s company. She knew Tristan was going to ask her to dance, but someone grabbed her up before he had the chance. She had seen the hurt look in his eyes when the pair walked away, but Rory thought it would be rude to turn the ‘gentleman´s´ offer down. It had been an hour since she had last seen him. Now she sat on a stool near the kitchen counter scanning the room for any sign of Tristan.

He was out on the balcony away from prying eyes. When Rory had left him to dance something snapped in his brain. He just now realized that if he didn´t act soon someone else, someone more worthy, would capture Rory´s heart. That would be too much for him to bear. It was now or never. He thought that Rory would not want to leave the party yet but he went inside to look for her anyways.

“So... you want to go out sometime.” Rory´s former dancing partner asked. He had been persistently hounding her for a good portion of the evening.

“Thank you for the offer, but no thank you.” She jiggled the ice cups in her empty cup.

“Why?” He smiled charmingly.

“Why what?” Frozen water is very fascinating.

“Why are you turning me down?”

*Because I´m falling for someone who is not you.*

“I´m not in the mood to go out with anyone at the moment. Besides you wouldn´t want to be with me.” Ice is fun to look at.

“Sure I would.” The guy was casually leaning against the counter attempting to touch her hair but she turned away. “Who wouldn´t?”

*Tristan.*

“I´m not exactly girlfriend material.” Tristan had come upon the scene a matter of minutes ago, but hadn´t made a move towards the couple.

*I´m too late...*

“Sure you are... you´re beautiful.” Rory snorted. “It´s true...” The guy attempted to touch her knee, but Tristan had anticipated the move and came up to them.

“Hey Rory.” He leaned against the counter on the other side of her.

“Tristan! Hi! Can we go?” Rory was already off the stool and at his side.

“Umm... sure.” Tristan placed his arm around her, to his surprise she didn´t move away. He shrugged nonchalantly at the man who had been talking to Rory, pleased with the fact that Rory had not seem interested.

Back in the car the pair had been silent for awhile. Tristan had a burning desire to know what the two were talking about.

“So... who was that guy?”

“What guy?” Rory was fixated on the road.

“The one you were talking to before you asked to leave.”

“Just some guy who was annoying the heck out of me.”

“How so?”

“He kept on asking me out.”

“And that´s a bad thing....”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

*He´s not the one I see in my dreams every night. He´s not the man I think of every waking second. He´s not charming and witty and smart and .... and he´s not you.*

“Because I´m not his type.”

“How do you know that?”

“His type dates girls who stun the academic world with their knowledge, who have money, who are beautiful... I´m not even close to that.. I´m far from beautiful.”

*Now or Never.*

“Yes you are.” There, he had said it.

“What?”

“I said yes you are.... beautiful.” They pulled into her driveway. Tristan parked the car. Rory just stared at him trying to process this new piece of information. “You´re beautiful and charming and witty, and all the things you say you aren´t. I don´t know why you have such a low confidence in yourself. You, Rory Gilmore are unlike any other girl I have ever met. You are captivating. You have a passion for life like none I´ve ever seen. You are an enigma that I want to crack. There´s just something about you that draws me in... and I´m guessing that guy saw it too. You have this magnetism that just attracts me to you. I don´t know how you feel, but these emotions have been with me for a long time. I want to know you better, and I want to start now. There´s so much that you could teach me Rory, so much that you already have. You are truly beautiful Rory. Not only on the outside but on the inside as well. So don´t say you aren´t, because you´d only be lying. I´ve never met anyone as beautiful as you, and I don´t think I ever will.”

Rory hadn´t moved since Tristan began to pour his heart out. She tried to speak but her mouth would not form words. Her eyes which had been on his the entire time he spoke finally shifted down to her hands.

“I´ll see you Sunday?” Tristan was a little displeased with the fact that she hadn´t said anything about his tell-all, but what could he do.”

“Sure... Sunday.” Rory exited the car and ran to the porch. She waved before closing the door and once out of Tristan sight she broke down and cried. Tristan backed out of her driveway and headed for home. Single tears rolling down his cheeks.

END PT 24

It was now Sunday and Rory and Tristan had not spoken since the incident in the car on Friday night. Rory still couldn´t comprehend the fact that Tristan had basically said he loved her.

*I refuse to believe that he likes me. I know he said all that stuff, but he has been nicer maybe, so maybe he was just trying to make me feel better. Yeah, that´s it. He has no feelings for me..... I wish he did.*

Rory had all the research they had spread out across the floor. Piles sorted by pros and cons and bits and pieces about the law and how it came to be. They had all they needed, they just had to put it all together.

*Just like the two of us should do.*

Rory had cried herself to sleep that night, never in her life had she been so affected by someone´s words. No book had ever made her cry, no movie, no song. Yet Tristan´s words had moved her to tears. Just thinking about what he said made her want to tear up again.

*He´s coming over soon... you can´t cry. You can´t let him know that you are addicted to him. He could have anyone.*

Rory sat down at the kitchen table and sipped from a cup of coffee. The warm liquid soothed her. Under normal circumstances she´s be confiding in Lorelai right now, but earlier that morning Sookie had called about an emergency at the inn. The only information she got involved spaghetti, Michel, and a stuffed penguin. Rory really had no desire to find out anything else.

The doorbell rang. Rory sat for a moment collecting her emotions before going to open the door. When she did she saw Tristan´s downturned head.

“Hey.” His head picked up.

“Hey. Coffee?” Rory smiled.

“You don´t have to ask.” She took the cup from him as they went inside.

“I see you´ve wasted no time in us getting started.” Tristan had noticed the papers spread out across the floor.

“We´re almost done I figured we may be able to finish this up today.” Tristan´s heart sank.

“Trying to get rid of me Rory?” Tristan´s comment came out in a sarcastic tone, but he had meant every word of it. Rory was startled by this. She knew his tone was sarcastic, but there was something else there.

“No... just trying to get rid of the project.”

“Can´t blame you there.” Tristan rubbed his hands together and picked up the con pile. “Let´s dig in.”

Out of nowhere Rory pulled out poster board and glue.

“What are those for?”

“I decided to glue you to a poster and hang you on my wall.” Tristan reacted to this by grabbing the posters from her hands, dropping them on the floor, and spread eagled on top of them.

“Glue ahead Mary, I always knew you wanted my in your room.” Rory threw the bottle at him smacking his head. “Ow.... I never knew you were into the unconscious thing... how kinky of you.” Tristan sat up and smirked. Rory retaliated by throwing a pillow at him, which he easily caught. An evil look grew in his eye.

“Uh-oh.” Rory began backing towards the front door.

“Uh-oh is right Rory.. I suggest you run.”

She took off for the front door, shrieking as she went, but Tristan was right on her heels. The darted around the kitchen table and back into the living room. Rory grabbed a pillow of her own and took a whack at Tristan, the blow merely glancing off his raised pillow. He hit her behind her knees and she went tumbling onto the sofa.

She swatted at him from her vulnerable position but he was already straddling her legs. He had dropped the pillow and begun to tickle her sides. She was laughing and kicking, attempting to free herself from this ‘torture.´ When she kicked his legs he lost his balance and landed right on top of her.

The faces were less than an inch apart. Each one could hear the other´s fast paced breaths. Their eyes were locked. Every fiber in their collective bodies tingled from the others touch. Tristan´s hand slowly moved up and down Rory´s side. Rory´s arms had ended up around his neck when he fell and her fingers were now circling the soft hairs at the nape of his neck.

Realizing the position they were in Tristan quickly got off of Rory and sat on the other end of the couch.

“Sorry.” He mumbled. Rory sat up and looked at him still weak from the feeling of his weight on her. She couldn´t deny it any longer. Tristan must have felt something for her, she had to know.

“Tristan?”

“Yeah.” He looked straight ahead.

“Why did you say all the stuff in the car on Friday?” Tristan´s eyes closed as he gathered strength.

*I didn´t think she´d ask this so soon. I should tell her, but after what just happened, I don´t think so.*

“Because it´s the truth.” His eyes were still closed he didn´t trust himself to look at her without giving everything away. “So... I think we should get started.” He slid off the couch and began collecting the papers that I been trampled on in their outburst.

“Tristan.” He didn´t answer. “What´s the real reason why you said that?”

“That is the real reason. It´s the truth.” Rory nodded her head in acknowledgment of his answer and then went to work, but she was far from satisfied.

*Why won´t you tell me the truth? Why are you avoiding my question? What are you hiding Tristan?*

END PT 25

“See you tomorrow Tristan.” Rory waved from the door as Tristan pulled out of the driveway. Rory was about to close the door when she saw Lorelai jogging down the street.

“Rory! I have got the best story for you.” She ran up the stairs and was about to start her story but stopped to catch her breath. “Coffee... coffee.” Lorelai staggered into the kitchen and began making a pot.

“Normal people would have asked for water.”

“When have I ever been normal?”

“Good question.” The two did not speak as the coffee brewed. Once the pot was finished Lorelai poured two cups and they sat down at the table. She was about to start in on her story again when she noticed Rory´s downcast eyes.

“Rory honey..are you ok?” Rory sighed and thumped her head on the table. “Oh, and we were doing so well with that.”

“Tristan.”

“I should have known.” Lorelai dragged her chair over to the other side of the table and rubbed Rory´s back soothingly in circles. “What did he do?”

“He said the sweetest thing.” Rory´s head was still on the table I didn´t tell you, but after the party I was in one of my maniacal depressive moods and was saying how unbeautiful I was and all that. And he said I was the most beautiful person he had ever seen, on the inside and on the outside.”

“And you are beautiful Rory. So beautiful.” Rory sniffled as she recalled every word Tristan had said. She had been replaying the conversation through her mind all weekend.

“It wasn´t just what he said... it was the way he said it.” Rory picked her head up and looked at her mother. Rory´s eyes were clouded over with tears that were on the brink of spilling down her cheeks. Lorelai´s hands went up to Rory´s face and cupped her cheeks. Her thumb rubbed away the single tear that rolled down her cheek. “His voice was so shaky... like he was nervous... Tristan has never been nervous around me. His voice was so soft that it sounded like he was talking to a sleeping baby. And then there was the look in his eyes. I´ve never had anyone look at me like that before.”

Rory was in a trance as she spoke. She was looking at Lorelai, but her gaze went through her mother, she was picturing the look on Tristan´s face form that night. “His eyes looked like they were burning. The blue sparkled so brightly that I felt like he was burning a part of his soul into me, and I guess in a way he was. They look was just so passionate like the words were coming straight from his heart and out of his mouth before his brain had the time to process exactly what he was saying.”

“That´s probably the way it happened.” Rory was shaken from her state of hypnoses when Lorelai spoke. “Believe me when I say that there is something there. No guy would say something like that unless he really meant it.”

“I hope he meant it. Lately things have been different between us. I mean obviously we get along now, but then there´s that something else. First with the almost kisses, and then with Friday. I like him mom.” Rory looked down when she said this. It was the first time she had admitted it to herself let alone someone else. Lorelai smiled. “I don´t know what to do.”

“Well... as Nike would say, ‘Just do it.´ You could always just slam him against the lockers one day and plant one on him to get things rolling...”

“Mom.”

“Ok, bad idea. I hate the saying time will tell, but in this case it´s the truth. Things will work out. And my psychic abilities, as limited as they are, tell me that you two will work out in the end, one way or another.” Lorelai stood up from the chair with her hand clutching Rory´s. “Come on, let´s go to Lukes.” Rory followed.

*I hope your right mom. I want this to work out. I need this to work out.*

END PT 26

It was already Wednesday. Rory and Tristan had finished the project Sunday night and hadn´t really spoken since. Sure they wanted to but things had become so awkward that it was hard for them to talk. Tristan finally decided that he had to talk to her. He could never stay away from Rory for too long.

Rory was at her locker looking once again for that damn blue pen.

“You know Rory a new pen wouldn´t kill you.” Rory was startled by Tristan´s voice. She let out a little yelp before turning to him.

“You scared me. Your stealth capabilities would impressed the armed forces. Ever consider joining.”

“No... I can´t take orders from anyone.”

“That ego of yours gets in the way.” Tristan beamed when the bantering began.

*God I missed this. I missed Tristan.*

“It´s not my ego that gets in the way... it´s my natural leadership skill.”

“Right like that one time you lead yourself right into detention. You remember that?”

*How could I not. I got detention because I was too busy staring at you to pay attention to chemistry.*

“I meant to do that.”

“Sure you did.”

“I did.... you see Summ...” Tristan stopped before he finished his sentence.

*Why on earth did you bring that up? DuGray you are stupid. You recently said everything but ‘I love you.´ and then you go and bring something so fake like that up. Dear God please tell me she didn´t hear that.*

Rory had heard it, but wasn´t sure if he was joking or not.

*Especially after what as happened recently. How could he bounce around like that? This is so confusing.*

Tristan coughed to clear his throat and move away from the dangerous territory they had just entered. “So...are we still on for Sunday?”

“Sure.. as long as you´re still on for Friday.”

“Most definitely. I can´t wait to meet your grandparents. Mainly because of the way Lorelai drones on about all the pain.”

“It can be painful... but things will be different this Friday.”

“Why?”

“You´ll be there... my mother will probably try to get you to side with her in her version of the verbal WWF.” Tristan laughed.

“I better go. See you later.”

“Bye.” Rory returned to her search for the elusive blue pen.

“So you and Tristan are doing something this weekend?” Rory inwardly groaned when she heard Paris´ voice.

“Yes.” Rory packed her bag and closed her locker.

“I thought I told you that he was too good for you. Don´t you get a hint.”

“Paris... calm down. It´s just a little celebration over the end of the project.”

“I don´t think so.”

“What on earth do you mean?” Rory began to walk down the hall, Paris trotted behind her.

“I mean that it is so obvious that you are putting the moves on him.”

“I´m not putting any moves on him.”

“Stop playing so innocent.” Paris stopped in front of Rory, blocking her escape. “You like him I know it. Don´t deny it.” Rory was silent. “That confirms it. You like him. If you didn´t like him you´d say something.”

All Rory could do was shrug and walk around Paris when she let her guard down. Unbeknownst to them Tristan was in the classroom in front of where they had their ‘conversation.´

*Does she really like me?*

END PT 27

Rory was sitting in history class wringing her hands together. She was nervous. Tristan and her would be the first to present their project. She knew that they had done a decent job on it, but she was still worried that they may have missed something.

Tristan had noticed Rory´s worried look and busy hands when he entered the class. He took a seat beside her. Rory didn´t notice his entrance until he grabbed one of her hands and whispered in her ear.

“We´ll be fine. Calm down Rory.” Rory tensed up even more. Not because she was thinking about the project, by now that was the furthest thing from her mind. Tristan´s voice had calmed her, but his breath tickled her ear and sent shivers down her spine. The contact his hand made caused her breath the catch in her throat. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, an attempt to focus on anything by Tristan. *This is not working. God what is he wearing... he smells so good. Dear Lord.. he´s rubbing my hand. I think I may just pass out now.*

Tristan´s thumb was making slow circles on the back of Rory´s hand in an attempt to dull her nerves. He knew it wasn´t working so he backed off. He leaned into her ear again.

“Rory, we worked hard on this. You don´t have to worry. We´ll be fine.”

*I´m not worried about the project at the moment... I´m worried that the dirty thoughts I´ve had about you lately will so be turned into reality. Is it hot in here?*

“Yeah... we´ll be fine.” Rory slowly allowed her breathing to return to normal. The bell rang and Tristan reluctantly released Rory´s hand and returned to the ‘correct´ position in his seat.

“Good afternoon... let´s get to the projects. Rory, Tristan, you´re up.”

Tristan and Rory walked tot he front of the classroom. Each with a poster in hand. Rory began the presentation with an introduction to the law.

“Roe vs. Wade was passed by the Supreme Court in 1973 by a vote of 7 to 2. The decision in this case made it legal for a woman to obtain an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, with the states being allowed to decide whether to legalize abortion in the second and third trimesters.” Tristan followed with comments of his own.

“The debate over this decision has been fought since the day the court settled this decision. Many pro-life lobbyists have attempted to get the decision overturned. Their efforts have failed, but they are gaining support.” Rory placed her poster on the chalkboard before beginning her part of the project.

“The abortion issue has been debated ever since women have found a way to have them performed. The decision made in Roe v. Wade was a correct one...” Rory continued on and Tristan was fascinated by her zest. He had heard Rory´s argument before when they were practicing but he had not seen this type of emotion out of her. Rory had changed from nervous to fiery and full of confidence all in the span of a minute. She intrigued him, he knew that this project had been a good thing for their relationship, but now a new level was added. After overhearing her and Paris´ argument he wasn´t quite sure how Rory truly felt about him and now he didn´t know how to act. “.... to conclude: Abortion should remain legal because it is a woman´s right to choose, no law can overturn the decision of a private life.” Rory turned to Tristan and he began his argument.

“To put it plain and simple, abortion is murder. The fetus is an innocent life that does not have a chance to fight. Many pro-choice advocates have said...” Rory was amazed. During their practice sessions Tristan had delivered his speech in a monotone that had Rory worried. But now his voice was filled with a passion that could almost be borderline anger. The fire was back in his eyes, and Rory liked that. Over the past few days things had been really awkward between them. Rory did not know why, but everytime they talked Tristan looked at her like she was a puzzle that was difficult to solve. She missed how close they had become and hoped that his change in demeanor would go back to the way it was after the project was over. “... an unborn baby is a person too. Look around the room. Would you kill one of the people sitting next to you? No, you wouldn´t... so why is that any different from aborting an unborn child?” Tristan smiled at Rory, they were almost done.

“The abortion issue will continue to be debated because no unanimous decision will ever be reached. Changes will be made and opinions will bounce back and forth. But as long as Roe v. Wade stands abortion will be legal.” Rory motion for Tristan to continue.

“However, the decision may be overturned soon. President is pro-life, and he has the opportunity during his administration to place as many as three justices on the supreme court who would agree with his views. These new justices along with pro-life advocates already on the board could find Roe v. Wade unconstitutional and reverse the ruling.”

“Whatever happens though, women will continue to have abortions whether by means that are legal and healthy, or illegal and in the backs of alleys. The true facts of the case are that the decision to a difficult one.”

“Every persons views are different, only those in power will determine if Roe v. Wade remains. But for now, abortion is legal, and shall remain that way until those in power change.” Tristan smiled at Rory.

The class clapped and they pair returned to their seats. Rory sighed as she sat down. Tristan grabbed her hand and gave it a congratulatory squeeze. The next pair moved to the front of the class, but Rory and Tristan were only half listening. They were two busy sneaking glances at the other. Tristan quickly scribbled a note to Rory and casually tossed it on her desk. She looked at him one more time before opening it.

‘Great job. Ever consider being a political lobbyist? Can´t wait for dinner tonight. -Tristan´

Rory smiled over at Tristan before writing back.

‘Great job to you too. No I´ve never considered it... I just picked up those skills from watching my mom and grandma go at it over a plate of pasta. Hope you love dinner theatre. - Rory´

Tristan read the note and smirked. The bell rang and Tristan grabbed Rory´s wrist before she had a chance to leave.

“I love dinner theatre.”

“Good because on of family members deserves an Oscar, you can help me pick which one. We´ll pick you up at 7.” Someone was about to bump into Rory so Tristan pulled her towards him. She was not ready for that and her hands ended up slamming into his chest. She looked up at his face, her eyes lingered on his lips for a second. Tristan was so tempted to just grab her, and show her his every feeling. The teacher staring at them was the only thing keeping him from doing so.

*Why does he have to smell so good? Breath Rory, breath.*

“I´ll be waiting.” Tristan finally spit out. Rory slowly backed away from him.

“I´ll see you then.” She smiled before walking out the door. Tristan calmly sat back down. His head was spinning with emotions. Dinner would surely be interesting.

*Being a teenager sucks.*

END PT 28

Lorelai and Rory were in their car on the way to pick up Tristan. Rory was laying out rules to her mother who was only half listening.

“And last but not least.... I want you on your best behavior.”

“Yes drill sergeant.”

“Mom.” Rory whined.

“Sorry honey but you´re spazzing. All will be well.”

“Thank you for the encouragement oh enlightened one.” They pulled into Tristan´s driveway and Rory was about to get out of the car to ring Tristan´s doorbell, but he was already heading out the front door.

“Ah... you were waiting for us.” Lorelai cooed. Tristan smiled as he climbed into the car.

“It´s not nice to keep to beautiful ladies waiting.” His voice was smooth but was not laced with his normal cocky tone.

“I definitely like this one.” Lorelai ‘whispered´ to Rory, but made sure that Tristan heard. He then heard a soft groan come from Rory´s direction and he would have bet that she was turning twenty shades of red. Rory suddenly noticed her mother´s happy mood die away. She looked out the window and saw her grandparents house.

“Rory do I have to go? Can we just do the drive through?”

“Yes mother. Either that or I tell grandma that you are waiting in the car to be served and then you two end up bickering out here. Either way your gonna see her.” Lorelai stuck out her bottom lip. “And the pout is not going to work on me.”

“Damn.” Rory and Tristan got out of the car, but Lorelai did not me.

“Come on mom.” She slowly undid her seat belt and slid out of the car.

“Fine. These dinners are only going to put me in an early grave.”

“You are too dramatic for your own good.” Lorelai got in front of the two teens and rang the doorbell. Rory leaned into to Tristan´s ear.

“Let the fun begin.” He let out a slight chuckle. Lorelai turned around and glared at him just as the door opened.

“You know Lorelai it wouldn´t kill you to get here on time.” Emily had her hands on her hips and was about to launch into her normal rant when she spotted Tristan half hidden behind Lorelai. Her tone automatically became sweet. “You must be Tristan. Come in come in. Let me take your coat. Richard. Janlen DuGray´s grandson is joining us tonight.”

Tristan immediately perked up at the mention of his grandfather. Richard came into the room. “You know my grandfather.”

“Yes I do.” Richard shook Tristan´s hand. “Nice to meet you Tristan.”

“You too sir.” Richard threw his arm around Tristan´s shoulder and guided him into the living room.

“I´ve done alot of business.....” The two disappeared from Rory´s sight. As soon as they were gone Emily began to scold Lorelai about her lack of punctuality. Rory was feeling left out.

*I get Tristan here.... and now I have no one to talk to... yeah... I think that´s fair.*

Rory went into the room the two men had entered. She immediately saw Tristan´s ‘Someone Save Me´ look.

“Grandpa I hope that you´re not boring Tristan.”

“Not at all... we we´re just talking business. You weren´t bored were you son.” Tristan put up a facade.

“Not at all sir. I enjoy talking about the stock market.”

“See Rory, he´s fine.” Tristan sunk deeply into the couch when he realized that the talk of NASDAQ and Alan Greenspan may continue. Rory saved him though.

“Grandpa... how was your vacation to Germany?”

“It was wonderful....” He launched into all the details.

*Hearing about the Alps is better than interest cuts.*

The pair sat in silence on the couch and listened until they became numb to his voice. They passed looks to each other silently telling of their boredom. Emily came into the room and announced dinner. Rory and Tristan stayed back from the adults.

“Act one.” Tristan hid his amusement. They sat down and were served their first course. Salad. Lorelai immediately dived for one of the cherry tomatoes, but her fork hit it wrong and it sailed across the table and bounced off the wall. Tristan and Rory both looked at Emily.

“Lorelai darling.” Her tone was overly sweet. “If tomatoes were meant to fly they´d have wings. If you could kindly play air traffic controller and tell your food to stay grounded for the rest of the meal I´d be greatly appreciated.”

“Sure thing mother. That morsel pulled rank on me though. That plane was carrying the president and well he just had a peace summit in Genoa that he could not miss.” Rory let out a small snort of amusement. Emily turned her attention to a smirking Tristan. His look disappeared when Emily looked at him.

“So Tristan you kidnapped my daughter last week to go to a party. How did that go?”

*I poured my heart out and she was silent.*

“It was great. We met some new people discussed the trade embargo with Cuba... stuff like that.”

Emily nodded her approval... missing the sarcasm in Tristan´s voice. Richard picked up on it, but remained silent. He liked this boy.

“That´s nice. Rory how did the project go?”

“It went wonderfully. I´m just glad it´s over.”

“Why is that dear?”

“It´s a project grandma... it adds stress to my life. I don´t like stress. Now I can focus on my other twenty gazillion things I have to do.” Tristan nodded his head in agreement but was hit with a cucumber. Emily glared at Lorelai.

“Sorry... the Russians had to launch another Sputnik. Sorry Tristan.”

“That´s ok.” The next course came around.

“Act Two.” Tristan glanced at Rory picking up on her subtle smile.

“So Tristan, are you and Rory planning something to celebrate your success.” Tristan finished chewing.

“Actually I do have something planned.”

“What exactly?”

“Can´t tell.... I want to surprise Rory.” Lorelai smiled into her plate knowing that this Sunday would be another turning point in her daughter´s relationship.

“I see. Lorelai... how are things at the inn?”

“Well Michel had a little trouble with a stuffed penguin...”

“Oh Lorelai.” Emily interrupted. “Can´t you be serious for one minute. But that reminds me. I´ve joined an Arctic Conservation group. You should sign up to.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“Because the want to drill for oil in a wildlife area and doing so would mean certain death for many animals.”

“My mother, the mother Theresa of wildlife.”

“It wouldn´t kill you to join a foundation.” The two Gilmores bantered on for a bit more. Tristan and Rory just sat silently listening to the verbal tennis match. Tristan was enjoying this intimate glimpse into Rory´s life. So much made sense to him now.

“I´m sensing a trend in personalities here Rory.” Tristan whispered to Rory.

“You´re just now seeing it?” Richard has seen Rory and Tristan´s exchange.

“What are you too in cahoots about?” Rory´s head immediately perked up.

“Nothing grandpa.” Tristan had an impish grin on his face when he turned to Rory. She blushed when his eyes met hers. This was not missed by the adults at the table.

“Tristan are you seeing anyone?” All eyes turned to Emily who was playing stupid.

“Excuse me?” Tristan was obviously flustered.

“I asked if you were seeing anyone.”

“No ma´am I´m not.” Emily filed this new information away for future use.

“That´s surprising. Someone as attractive and as intelligent as you should have been scooped up a long time ago.” Tristan blushed before speaking.

“You can say they same thing about Rory.” Rory´s head whipped around to face him, a look of bewilderment upon her face. “She definitely should have been off the marker a while ago.” It was now Emily´s turn to be confused.

“I though you were still seeing...”

“No.” Rory interrupted. “I broke up with Dean a few weeks ago.”

“Oh.” Pause. “Well then...” Lorelai could see the wheels in her mother´s mind churning out a plan.

“Ok kids. In the car, I forgot that I need to be home soon.”

“Lorelai you haven´t even had dessert.”

“No time mom. Come on kids lets go.” Rory and Tristan grabbed there coats and went to wait in the car. Lorelai stayed behind.

“Mom... something is going to happen between the two of them on Sunday. I can feel it, but I don´t want you butting in and screwing things up.”

“Lorelai I...”

“Bye mom.” Lorelai shut the door.

*Something is going to happen... I can feel it.*

END PT 29

Tristan´s hands were shaking slightly as he stood poised to ring Rory´s doorbell. He reached his hand out and pulled it back again.

*Get a hold of yourself Tristan. You can do this. It´s just like any other time you´ve come over here. This is Rory we´re talking about, you could be covered in mud form head to toe and she wouldn´t care. She´d laugh but you wouldn´t care... and you would get to see her smile....*

Tristan was so deep into his thoughts that he didn´t see that the door had opened a while ago.

“So Tristan are you just gonna stand there, or are you going to come in and say hi to me before you steal my only daughter away from me tonight?” Tristan jumped at the sound of Lorelai´s voice.

“Sorry just thinking.”

“I figured as much. Come on in. I saw your car drive up and I was thinking to myself ‘Let´s greet Tristan at the door.´” Lorelai saw how apprehensive Tristan was. His eyes darted around the living room, not staying on one object for more than a few seconds time. His hands popped in and out of his pockets, every once in a while rubbing the nape of his neck. “Calm down Tristan. This is Rory were talking about.”

*Exactly why I´m nervous. This is Rory. A goddess on earth.*

“Sorry.. it´s just that I want her to have fun tonight and I don´t want to screw anything up.” Lorelai smiled reassuringly at him as she grabbed his hand and looked him in the eye.

“You couldn´t disappoint her if you wore a dog suit to this little shindig you´ve got planned. Trust me when I say she´s been looking forward to this since the day you mentioned it.” Tristan´s eyes sparkled in surprise and he let out a sigh of relief. “She´ll be down in a minute, she´s upstairs stealing something of mine I´m sure. I´ve never seen her this worried before...” Lorelai went upstairs after dropping that hint to Tristan. Rory came down a few seconds barreling down the stairs towards the front door. She didn´t even notice Tristan in the living room as she ran right past him. A few seconds later she came back into the room.

“Mom you lied he´s not here..... oh hi Tristan. I must have missed you there.” Tristan smiled as he got up off the couch.

“It happens. Your chariot awaits.” Tristan couldn´t take his eyes off of her. She wore dark blue jeans and a red T-shirt with diamond studs around the collar. Her hair was left down and hand was begging his brain to let its fingers run the softness.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because you look marvelous.” A blush slowly creeped up Rory´s cheeks.

“Thank you.” Pause. “I´m undressed am I?”

“No you´re perfect.”

*In more ways than one.*

She smiled at him, a twinkle in her eyes. “Then let´s go.” She was already out the front door.

“I don´t have to be told twice.” Tristan ran after her as she bounded down the front steps. “Wait.” Rory stopped short of the car door that her hand was about to open. Tristan calmly walked around to her side of the car and opened the door.

“Thank you.” Tristan gently took her hand as she climbed in, then shut the door behind her. He got in himself and started the engine. As he drove a soft melody of violins played through the stereo.

“I never knew that you liked classical music.”

“One of my many hidden sides. If it got out that I had a secret passion for Vivaldi or Chopin I´d get my ass kicked at school.”

“I´m fond of Tchaikovsky myself.” Tristan glanced at her in surprise. Then he quickly fumbled with the stereo and the sounds of Romeo and Juliet filled the air.

“I was listening to this as I was coming to pick you up.” His eyes returned to the road and Rory was able to study his profile. His blonde hair was in its normal mess and Rory just wanted to reach out and touch it to see if it was as soft as she thought it was. His eyes were trained on the road, but she could still see the passion they held. In the past few weeks she had seen more emotions come out of his eyes than she had ever seen before. His mouth hummed the symphony softly and wished that she could just feel his lips brush against hers. Tristan´s eyes darted over her way and she turned her head to the road.

*I saw you looking at me Rory Gilmore. What I want to know is why?*

“So where are we going?”

“You´ll see soon.”

“Won´t you give me a hint at least.”

“Nope.”

“Please.”

“Sorry... you´ll just have to wait.” By now they had reached Hartford and Rory was clueless as to what they were doing. She looked around the car for any hint of what they may be doing. “And there is nothing in the car that will help you.”

“Damn.” Rory´s face crinkled up in disappointment. Tristan feigned shock.

“Rory! Naughty potty mouth!”

“Please.” Rory pleaded with him but he only smirked.

“No.”

“Pretty please with sugar on top.”

“Nope.”

“Please.”

“Sorry sista... ain´t telling.”

“I´ll have my mom hit you with a cucumber again.” Tristan gripped at his heart as if in pain.

“Oh heavens what will I do. Death by Vegetable. That´s how the obituary will read.”

“Smartass.”

“Thank you.” There was a brief silence.

“Please.”

“I said no.”

“Why won´t you tell me?”

“Because it´s fun to see you whine.... and we´ve been sitting in the parking lot for a bit and you hadn´t even noticed that I parked the car.” Rory looked out the windshield. The car was indeed not moving.

“Oh!”

“Yeah.” Tristan climbed out of the car and Rory just sat there in shock until Tristan opened her door.

“I feel stupid.” She took the hand that he offered.

“I bet that doesn´t happen often.”

“You´d be surprised... so this it. We´re celebrating in a parking lot.”

“No.” He guided her around to the front of a building. “We´ll be starting this little shindig, if I may borrow your mother´s word, at this restaurant.” Rory looked up at the sign that sat atop the roof of the building. ‘Johnny Rockets.´ Tristan guided her inside. The motif of the restaurant was basically a ‘50s style diner. A waiter led them to a booth and the sat down on opposite sides. On the table was a mini juke box. The waiter plopped down about twenty nickels in between the two of them.

“These are for the jukebox. Here are your menus and someone will around to you soon to take your drink orders.” Rory and Tristan thanked him. Tristan picked up his menu, but Rory immediately searched the jukebox for good songs.

“Ahhh... they have the ‘Mr. Sandman.´” She giggled to herself as she popped in a nickel and pressed the right numbers. Her smile quickly faded when no sound came out of the tiny contraption. “Tristan I think our jukebox is broken... it won´t play.” Tristan´s eyes peered at her from over the menu.

“It´s not broken.”

“Well it´s not playing.”

“That´s because all the mini jukeboxes play through the main speaker system in the restaurant.” Just then the chords of ‘Mr. Sandman´ echoed through the restaurant. “There. Problem solved. Have you ever been here before?”

“No.”

“That explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Why you are look so happy.”

*No... I´m happy because I get to spend time with you.... but a funky restaurant does help.*

Rory was about to verbally respond to his statement when a waiter walked up their table.

“Can I take your drink orders?” Tristan looked up at him.

“I´ll have a chocolate milk shake.”

“And for you miss.”

“Vanilla milkshake.”

“I´ll be back to take your meal orders in a minute.” As soon as the waiter was away Tristan redirected his attention to Rory. He just stared at her.

“What?” Rory found his gaze slightly unnerving.

“Vanilla.”

“Yes.”

“Out of all the flavors in the world. Vanilla.”

“Well you were very original with chocolate.”

“At least mine has flavor.”

“Vanilla is a flavor.”

“A boring one.”

“Don´t diss vanilla. It was the original... it started the trend.”

“But chocolate is a classic.”

“Vanilla is still better.” Tristan´s hand brushed hers as he reached for a nickel. The warmth surprised her and made her tingle all over. He flipped through the songs as Rory appeared to look at her menu. She really was staring at the masterpiece that was Tristan´s hands. They looked so strong and powerful yet everytime he had touched her they had been gentle and caring. The waiter returned with their drinks.

“What´ll you have?” Tristan motioned for Rory to go first.

“I´ll have a burger...very well done.... to the point of charred. With onion rings.”

“And you sir.”

“Cheeseburger... medium rare... with mushrooms. And french fries.” The waiter jotted down the information, took their menus and headed for the kitchen

“Charred?” “I read this book called ‘Toxin´ by Robin Cook. Let´s just say that it´s an updated version of Upton Sinclair´s ‘The Jungle.´ The talk, in deal what happen when some is poisoned with E. coli... and the sight ain´t purty. It almost made me want to be a vegetarian.”

“That´s a good reason.”

“It was a good book.”

“I´ll have to try it some time.” Tristan leaned back in the booth and just took in everything that was Rory Gilmore. Her face. Her mannerisms. Her voice. Her.

Rory was looking out the window, just watching the world as it went by. Enjoying the silence, because it was with Tristan. Their food arrived and they ate. Speaking between bites of their own food, while stealing some of the other´s. When the waiter came around with the dessert menu Tristan said no before Rory had a chance to protest. She pouted.

“Don´t pout Rory. There will be plenty of sweets where were going next.”

“And where is that?”

“Sorry, not going to tell.” The waiter returned with their check and Rory talked Tristan into letting her pay for her meal. The got back into the car and Tristan began to drive towards the outskirts of Hartford. They passed a sign advertising the Hartford fair. Rory put two and two together.

“We´re going to fair aren´t we.” She bounced in her seat.

“Maybe.”

“Ha! That wasn´t a no.” The drove through the gates of the fairgrounds. “I was so right. Go Rory, Go Rory.” She did a little happy dance in her seat. Tristan parked the car and ran to her side. She was still dancing as he opened her door.

“You can stop now.” She got out and danced around him.

“Rather not.” He grabbed her hand, half expecting her to pull it away, but she didn´t. He led her to the entrance and they stopped when they saw all the fair had to offer. Small game booths dotted the lawn, displaying a wide variety of surprising. They could hear the delighted squeals of children on the various rides. Towering above the scene was a massive Ferris wheel. Rory sniffed the air and darted for a booth, dragging Tristan behind her.

“What are you part bloodhound?” Tristan asked her when they had stopped.

“I smelled fried dough... I love fried dough.”

“Low and behold we are at a Fried Dough stand.”

“How very observant of you.” Rory bought two servings and handed one to Tristan. It looked at it oddly. “What? Never had this before?”

“No actually.” He poked the piece of food on the napkin he held.

“It´s the greatest thing on the planet.... next to coffee of course. Go on take a bite.” Tristan eyed the concoction one more time before taking a large bite out of it. He swallowed it and looked at Rory.

“This is delicious.” Rory watched in fascination as Tristan devoured the snack. “What?” Bits of food flew out of his mouth.

“Oh nothing.” Rory slowly nibbled on her piece. They walked around the fairgrounds pointing out things that they wanted to do. When Rory finished her dessert the got in line for the only roller coaster that was set up.

“Are you a screamer?” Tristan turned to Rory as he questioned her.

“Depends. If it´s in the dark yes, if not no.”

“Well I for one am not a screamer.... and I definitely put my hands in the air.”

“Good to know.” They climbed into the car. Rory held on for dear life as the car climbed the steep hill. Tristan noticed that her knuckles were turning white.

“Rory? Something wrong.”

“I may have neglected to mention that I dislike heights.”

“Rory! You should have said something. We could have done something else.”

“No. I love roller coasters... once the 100 foot freefall is over.”

“Well... it will be in 2 seconds.” At that point the train of cars went over the edge, Tristan´s arms were immediately in the air. Rory, true to her word, did loosen up once the drop was over. After they got off the ride Rory was having trouble walking straight. Tristan wrapped his arm around her waist.

“Need a little help...”

“Yeah... except at the moment I am seeing two of you... two Tristans... I don´t think the world could handle that.” He laughed.

“I like being the one and only. I think we should do something less intense.”

“I concur.” The walked over to a gentle water ride, neither one noticed the sign. Tristan helped Rory into the boat and then took a seat next to her. Tristan´s arm was thrown over Rory´s shoulder like it had a mind of its own. She didn´t shake it off, in fact she leaned her head on Tristan´s shoulder. He was surprised at the move, but settled in as the boat began to move. Tristan´s head shot back up when Rory elicited a groan.

“What?” Her hand pointed to a sign above the tunnel they were about to enter.

‘The Tunnel of Love´

“What´s the problem Rory... afraid of the dark.”

*No... just afraid I might do something... like, oh I don´t know, kiss you.*

“No.” They entered the tunnel and were immediately blasted with Olivia Newton John´s ‘I Honestly Love You.´ Another groan. Tristan giggled. Rory hid her head in his shoulder and let out another groan.

Tristan decided to use her agitation to his advantage. He leaned into her ear and began singing along. Tristan´s hand groped around in the darkness and found hers. She tightened her grip on him with every passing second. His breath tickled her ear and sent shockwaves coursing through her body. Little cupids and hearts danced around them, but they were in their own world. Rory´s lips were mere millimeters from Tristan´s neck. She desperately wanted to taste him, but was scared too.

Tristan was finding it difficult to hang on to reality. The aroma of Rory´s hair was intoxicating him beyond belief. His finger´s roamed through the softness as he sang to her. A giggle interrupted his thoughts. It turned into a full fledged laugh in a matter of seconds.

“What?”

“The fact that you know all the words to this song scares me.”

“Fine... be that way. Don´t agree with my taste in music.” The truth of the situation was Tristan´s soft singing had overwhelmed Rory. The words spilling from his mouth were too close to her true feelings. The ride ended and they headed towards the gaming booths.

“Look Mr. Macho. Care to when your damsel,” Rory twirled. “a grossly oversized stuffed animal?” Tristan eyed Rory.

“Hand me that mallet.” Tristan rolled up his sleeves revealing the tan, muscular arms underneath. The merchant handed him the mallet. Tristan rubbed his hands together raised the mallet high above his head and sent it crashing down....onto the grass.

“You missed the target completely.” Rory was about to fall over she was laughing so hard.

“That was a practice swing.”

“Sure it was Hulk.” Tristan picked up the mallet again and swung even harder. He hit the target, but the bell did not ring to signal his victory... the weight on the scale had stopped inches short. Tristan´s faced was covered with the signs of defeat. He grabbed Rory´s hand and led her to another booth.

“This is more my style.” He picked up the water gun on the counter. In mere seconds he had hit all the targets and received a giant flamingo as his reward which he handed to Rory.

“There is something utterly scary about the fact that you have such good aim... anything I should know about?”

“Clay pigeon shooting.”

“Ahhh... that explains it. My turn to pick.” Rory, Tristan, and the flamingo headed to the carousel, the spinning tea cups, and a few dozen other rides before Tristan noticed Rory yawn.

“Ok sleepy, one last ride. You pick.”

“Definitely the Ferris Wheel.” The flamingo was left behind when the climbed into the car. Rory leaned her head on Tristan´s shoulder.

“Tristan?”

“Yes.” He gently placed his arm around her when he noticed her shiver. She relaxed into his embrace.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For tonight, for the wonderful work on the project, for being my friend... for being you.” Tristan gently placed a kiss on her forehead. The contact warmed Rory to the core and she closed her eyes, branding that feeling into her memory. They had reached the top of the Ferris wheel when it stopped. It was silent until a large explosion jolted the pair from their thoughts. In front of them fireworks were going off. The light in the sky was reflected in their eyes. Tristan´s hand twirled in Rory´s hair as if it belonged there. Rory´s thumb carelessly traced circles on the back of Tristan´s hand. Tristan pulled his hand away from Rory´s and lifted her chin so that they made eye contact. Both saw the love in the other´s eye.

The moment was perfect. Tristan leaned in waiting for the contact to be made. Rory closed her eyes awaiting the feel of his lips on hers. Every day since the assigning of the project had built up to this moment. Rory felt Tristan´s warm breath upon her lips and she sucked in a quick breath at the same moment the ride started again.

So close and yet so far. Tristan backed away and Rory´s eyes dropped in disappointment. Tristan held a hand up to his mouth to cover his chuckles.

“What´s so funny?” The climbed out of the seat.

“Oh nothing. Grab your flamingo. I´ll take you home.”

The ride back to Stars Hollow was silent. Save a squeak the stuffed animal let out everytime the car hit a bump. When they arrived at Rory´s house Tristan walked her to the front door.

“Thanks again Tristan I had a blast.”

“It was my pleasure. We should do it again.”

“That we should.... well goodnight.” Rory opened the door and was about to go inside when Tristan´s hand on her wrist stopped her. She turned back to him.

“It won´t be a goodnight until we finish what we started on that Ferris wheel.” Tristan was leaning in again and Rory was going to meet him halfway. She was sure nothing would ruin the moment, but fate had decided to hate her.

“Hey Rory! I see you´re back home... and that I´ve interrupted something.” Tristan laughed again.

“Night Rory. See you tomorrow.” He got into his car and drove away. Rory stared at her mother like she was demon possessed.

“MOTHER!”

“Sorry... don´t hurt me.” Lorelai meekly pulled back into the house, an angry Rory stalked after her, slamming the front door behind her.

END PT 30 “Where is that damn pen?” Rory was furiously through her locker. She was on overdrive. After everything had happened last night she was a bundle of energy. After her mom interrupted what was sure to be heaven, Rory sat her one the couch and gave her a lecture about how not to ruin a moment like that. Lorelai was still apologizing that morning.

That night she had formulated a plan. That plan would be put into action as soon as she could find that damn pen, and then find Tristan. Many thoughts were tumbling through her head.

*Pros of dating Tristan: He makes me feel loved, I feel complete, He gives me coffee, He´s not the pompous ass that he was before, He sends shockwaves through my body every time her touches me, looks at me, or speaks to me. Cons: Not a damn one that I can think of.*

Rory´s head was deep into her locker when she felt a tap on her shoulder. Only one person´s touch could make her feel that hot all over. Tristan.

She turned around and his deep blue eyes met hers. Tristan´s arm was behind his back, like he was hiding something. His head was tilted to one side as he examined the hungry look in Rory´s eyes.

“So about last night...”

“What about it Tristan?” Rory slowly inched toward him. Tristan backed away slightly.

“It was the best time I´ve ever had.”

“I share those sentiments.” Rory continued to walk towards him and he continued to back away. Her intense stare made his knees weak, he wasn´t sure how much longer he could remain standing. His back finally met the lockers and he sucked in a breath when he saw Rory still slowly making her way towards him.

“That´s a good thing. I umm... bought you some blue pens.” Tristan´s hand moved out behind his back and he showed the bag of pens to Rory.

“That´s nice.” Her eyes were still making contact with his and she was slowly inching closer to him.

“Rory?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you looking at me like I´m a giant mug of coffee?”

“Am I?”

“Yes.” Tristan gulped for air. She looked radiant, and her new demeanor was turning whatever resolve he had to mush.

“Well you know how much I love coffee.”

“That I do.... you want these pens or not.” By now Rory was hovering within inches of Tristan. He felt her warmth even from this distance.

“Forget about the pens.” She grabbed the bag from his hand and tossed it over her shoulder.

“Umm...o....k.” Her face was right in front of him Tristan was finding it difficult to form words. Never in his life had someone looked at him like this. He was nervous around the girl for the first time. He wanted to reach out and wrap his around her, but her stare had him pinned to the lockers.

Rory saw his emotional state and smiled. She liked the effect that she was having on him. Tristan nervously smiled back his mouth attempting to form some word to communicate to her with, but it was cooperating. Her hand reached out and straightened his tie. Tristan gulped in air at her contact and tried to jump back but he had nowhere to go. Rory´s fingers slowly wrapped around his tie and she pulled herself up to his face.

“I was thinking of something better than pens?”

“R...r...really.... what?”

“About something that should have happened last night...” Rory´s warm breath was dancing across Tristan´s trembling lips. “....before my mother interrupted.”

She leaned in and brushed her lips against his in a brief but earth shaking kiss. Trembles of pleasure shot through both their bodies as they stared at each other. One second passed before Tristan crushed his lips to hers. His arms wrapped around Rory´s body as he pulled closer than she had ever been before.

She could feel every inch of his hard body against her and she would have melted into the floor had he not been there to hold her up. Her arms slowly creeped around his neck as their lips continued to move against each other. Her fingers ran through the soft hair on the nape of his neck. Tingles rushed through him. One of Tristan´s hands moved up to cradle Rory´s head. His fingers massaged her hair in slow circles as he tilted her face up to allow for more access than they thought possible.

This move made Rory groan in pleasure. Her tongue ran along his bottom lip begging for access to his mouth. Tristan obliged happily.

The pair was oblivious to the audience that was watching them. Students moved about, shrieked, talked, and pointed at the duo. But they were in their own world. This moment had been coming for a long time.

Tristan help Rory so close that she felt like she was becoming a part of him. She fit perfectly into his arms. They were made for each other. She knew right then and there that she would never tire of seeing him or touching him.

Tristan had been dreaming of this moment since he first laid eyes on Rory. But this kiss was beyond anything he had ever imagined. She felt like an angel in his arms. Her lips were soft and yet held such passion for him. He felt so warm, so wanted.... so loved. He had never felt like this before, and he knew that as long as they were together he could handle anything.

They finally lips finally separated, but Rory did not step away from Tristan´s embrace. She wanted to stay there for the rest of her life. Their foreheads made contact and they just stared into each other´s eyes. Each of them was sucking in shallow breaths trying to regain so sense of strength, but all composure had been lost. Neither one spoke, they just stared.

A small smile slowly slip across Tristan´s lips and Rory followed suit.

“You had French vanilla this morning didn´t you?” Tristan finally broke the silence. Rory let put a small giggle.

“I don´t remember. Want to try again to be sure?” Rory bit her bottom lip seductively.

“Well... we have to be sure.” Their lips met again in passion that was sure to be repeated many more times.

END

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