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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

GG Fic: Sometimes You Do 8/40

A/N:  I'm late with this and still need to do my replies, but I'm getting there.  Thanks!  Previous parts here.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Luke was not thrilled.

Of course, that didn't carry much weight.  Luke was hardly ever thrilled.

"Are you serious?" he asked when he saw the truck.  "How is it that you have that much stuff?"

"That's what I asked her," Lorelai chimed in.

Exasperated, Rory rolled her eyes.  "As much fun as it is to live in a barren apartment, having stuff simply seemed more entertaining."

"But hardly more practical," her mother said.

"As if you should talk."

"She has a point there," Luke said.  "You two are perfect for each other.  I just don't know what we're going to do with all of it.  I mean, how many chairs do you two need in a house that size?"

"Need?  Need is such a relative term," Rory said.

"And besides," Lorelai said.  "Now we'll have enough furniture to host all those parties we keep talking about."

"Ooh, parties," Rory said.  "That would be fun."

"We never talk about parties," Luke said.

"Well, now's a perfect time to start."

Luke leveled them both with slitted eyes.  "We’d better get going," he muttered, climbing into the truck.  "This will take all afternoon."

"See?" Lorelai asked, grinning at her.  "Thrilled."

-o-

Hours later, complete with a sore back, and a ludicrous bill from the U-Haul place, Rory was finally back home and settled into her overstuffed room.

Luke had stuck around long enough to roughly arrange the furniture--the things that fit, anyway.  She squeezed in a chair with an end table along with a desk, in addition to her bed.  She even found space for the small TV she owned.  The rest of it--the dining set, the cheap bookcases, and the rest, was still stashed in the back of the living room.  That was a mess she'd sort out with her mother later.

The boxes, however, lined one wall of her room from floor to ceiling.  It was rather daunting.  In fact, looking at it, all she wanted to do was to go to sleep and never wake up.

However, that didn't seem like a wise idea.  She was a little afraid that if she did fall asleep, the stack would tip in the night and crush her to death.  Which really would be a crappy way to die.  Crushed by all her stuff after she'd already done the hard part.

Therefore, she needed to make a dent in it.  Most of them were books, anyway, so all she had to do was stick them on the built-ins, and she did recall that she'd packed them according to genre, which would make setting them up so much easier.

She was on the second stack of boxes, sore and achy from the amount of lifting, and wished she’d bribed Luke to help her with this part, too.  In fact, she was considering calling him back over, or at least fetching her mother, who could at least make this more fun, if not provide some assistance.

That was when she saw the box. 

It was small and nondescript.  A plain, brown box with Dean scribbled in black Sharpie on the side.

Her Dean box.

Her mother had kept it for her at first, saying she'd want it someday.  True, that had been the first breakup, which would always be the worst--for her, anyway.  The later ones had been sad, but not nearly as painful, probably because she’d sort of seen them coming, even if she’d pretended she hadn’t.  Those two times, she’d managed to put the Dean box away on her own.

It had made the trip to Michigan, though Rory couldn’t admit to looking at it all that often.  There was always a book to read or an article to write.  Thinking on past boyfriends hardly seemed like a way to spend her time--at least not a way that would do her any good.  In a few fits of organizational rage, Rory had considered going through it, weeding it out, maybe even returning some of the items, but she'd never had the heart.  Her mom was right.  Her Dean box meant something.  It was her first box and it was, by far, the most important.  The Jess box was sparse.  The Logan box was hard to look at.

But the Dean box...

Pulling it from the stacks, she took it to the bed and sat down next to it.  Carefully, she pulled open the top, her breath catching in her throat as she looked inside.

And there it was.  The remnants of her history with Dean.  The things he'd given her, mementos of things they'd done together.  The keys to the car he'd made her.  The cornstarch she'd stolen after their first kiss.  The gloves from the ball.  The book he'd been reading to her the night they fell asleep together.  A CD with The Candy Man on it.  The bracelet he'd made for her, the one she'd always worn until Jess.

She remembered.  She remembered driving the car, knowing how much he'd put into it and knowing how much he loved her.  She remembered Jess crashing it and Dean just wanting to know if Jess was gone.

She remembered the smile on his face as he offered her a pop--he'd called it a pop, not a soda, and as she was guessing, he was leaning down and kissing her.  Her first kiss.  Her best kiss.

The look on his face when she'd described the ball, the way he did not want to go.  But then, seeing him in his tails and gloves at the bottom of the stairs, smiling, looking only at her.

The feeling of his arm around her, the way he'd defended her, the way he read to her like he wouldn't be doing anything else.

The gentle touch of his lips, his body warm against hers, holding her, loving her, laughing with her.  Her first time, for that instant, perfect.  Perfect, because, in that moment, there was no Lindsay, there was no Jess, there was just Dean and how much he loved her.

The bracelet.  The one he'd made.  From that moment on, she'd known he'd cared for her.  Cared for her enough to create, to think, to give.  Jess wouldn't give her gifts; he was beyond that.  Logan showered her with rich and expensive things--beautiful things, extravagant things.

Dean gave her a car he'd made, a bracelet he'd created.  He’d given her her first kiss, her first time, her first sense of being really and truly beautiful, of being good and properly loved.

And then, the cards.  Hand written cards for every anniversary they'd celebrated.  First dates, first kisses, first everythings.  Notes scrawled with his practiced hand, notes that said I love you and Every day I wake up and can't believe you're with me.  Things that could be so cliche, things she'd seen in movies, things she had never doubted Dean meant.

Lastly, the pictures.  Them together.  Smiling.  And she began to realize that, in almost all of them, he was looking at her.  She was looking at the camera, posing, sometimes stupidly, sometimes all smiles, but his arm was always around her and his eyes never seemed to leave her face.

Looking through it wasn't just a trip down memory lane.  Wasn't just a fond remembrance of what had been.  It was a love story.  Dean had loved her from the very start.  Not like she had loved him, but in the way that a soulmate loved its other half.  The perfect love story, one that should never have ended.  The stuff of novels, of fairy tales, of little old women who could look back and say just how wonderful it all was.

And she'd missed it.  She'd never seen it.  She'd let it end time and time again and suddenly she had no idea why.  It could have been her epic romance, her happily ever after, her porch-time reflections to grandchildren on warm summer afternoons.  It had been hers--and she'd never seen it until now.

Which made sense, suddenly.  Why Dean had fought so hard.  Why Dean had hurt so much.  Why Dean had turned to Lindsay so quickly, so desperately, and why he'd come back to Rory so blindly.

Her fingers lingered on the items, touching each one, trying to remember the feelings, trying to remember the excitement.  Trying to remember why Jess had been better, why Logan had been more provocative.  Dean was warm and familiar and safe--

And she wanted him back.  She wanted to finish their story, give them another chance, to tell her grandchildren over a glass of lemonade just how they'd been meant to be.

But she'd taken off the bracelet.  She'd packed the photos.  She'd wrecked the car.  She'd broken Dean's heart.

Packing the items back in the box, she wondered if it was finally too late.

-o-

Sometimes, Rory forgot how slow life could be in Stars Hollow.

Not for a lack of trying, of course, because the townspeople always seemed very active.  All that talking and gossiping and spying on each other was quite time-consuming and it certainly did keep life from being dull.

But talking and gossiping and spying didn't make for good news.

"We're cutting back to eight pages for tomorrow," Ned said.  "I just don't have anything I need you to write."

Eight pages and nothing for Rory to write?  "What about news briefs?" she asked.  "I can write news briefs!  They're short, they don't even take up much room."

He didn't look convinced.  "I wouldn't want to waste your talent--"

"Waste it!" she cried.  "Please!"

"Well, we do need something for the Recipe Corner," he said thoughtfully. "Usually, Aileen Westcott handles that but she decided she needed to boycott sugar and people just don't have a taste for things without sugar."

"The Recipe Corner?" Rory asked, uncertain she'd heard him right.  Rather, hoping she hadn't.

"Yeah," he said brightly.  "A nice little recipe, easy to make but unique in taste.  It's a real hit with the ladies around town."

"Recipes?"

His face fell a little.  "I don't suppose you know much about cooking, do you?"

"No!" she said, suddenly realizing just how precarious her grip on the assignment was.  Recipe or not, it was an assignment.  And she needed it.  More than that, she wanted it.  "I know plenty about cooking.  You know, ovens and stoves and stuff.  I even know to use a hot pad because hot pads keep you from burning your hand.  And trivets--for the table.  Don't want to burn the table.  In fact, some hot pads can also be trivets, though I think the actual definition of a trivet may encompass something slightly greater, but--"

His face carried a look akin to pain and torture, though it was glossed over poorly with a smile.  "Great," he said in a distinctively lackluster way.  "Have it to me by tomorrow," he said.  "When you drop it off, we'll talk about your next piece."

The promise of another piece, of another chance at success--well, that was enough to put up with a recipe for.  After all, she reminded herself, she had to work her way up from the bottom, right?

The fact that this bottom was a whole lot lower than before--well, that was just all the more reason to knock this one out of the park and scale that journalistic ladder before Ned knew what hit him.

-o-

She plopped down at the counter at Luke's.  Literally--plopped.  The sound wasn't quite right, not totally a foot being pulled out of mud, but pretty close to it.  And there was simply no other word for it.

The diner was slow in the mid-afternoon and Luke was obsessively cleaning the counter with a rag that looked like it'd seen better days.  That made her wonder what the point was--cleaning a counter with a dirty-looking rag seemed rather counterproductive, but this was Luke after all.  The cleaning was nothing more than habitual, and the rag was probably simply an old friend of his he couldn't give up.

"What are you thinking about?"

His voice startled her a little and she realized he was looking at her, looking at him.  "Oh, about the cleaning capabilities of used rags."

"Funny," Luke said.  "Just don't look to see where I grab your coffee mug from."

"Who says I'm going to order coffee?"

"The fact that you down at least three pots of it a day is kind of a dead giveaway," he muttered, scrubbing at a particularly dried-on piece of food.

"Ah, you would think," Rory said.  "But my visit today isn't for food."

Looking up at her, Luke cast her a bored gaze.  "And so you're taking up space at my counter why?"

"Your stellar company?"

"You didn't even lie about that well."

"I need a recipe."

"You know, I heard they invented these things called recipe books--"

"No, I mean for my next assignment," Rory said.  "I have to write the Recipe Corner."

"Again, I might refer you to a recipe book--"

Rory rolled her eyes.  "Have you always been this difficult?  Or is this just a new phase you're trying out to see how many people you can annoy into leaving your presence?"

Luke cocked his head, pausing.  "That's not a bad idea."

"So, do you have a recipe?" Rory asked.  "One not from a cookbook?"

"Well, let's see, you could try asking, huh, maybe a chef," Luke suggested sarcastically.

"Ah, yes, which is why possibly I thought you could be of some assistance," Rory said.  "With you owning a diner and all."

"You think people in Stars Hollow want to know how I make my burgers?  Quarter pound ground beef, six minutes on the fire, bun, cheese, lettuce and tomato.  Real rocket science."

"You know, it's rather remarkable people come back here.  It must be your winning personality that they just can't resist."

He stopped his cleaning to stare at her.  "So, you came here to insult me?"

"Too easy," Rory said.  "Now, how about that coffee?"

"I thought this wasn't a business visit."

"I'm mixing business and pleasure.  And your coffee is insatiably addictive.  Must be the fact that you hardly clean the pot out at the end of the day."

"To go?" Luke asked hopefully.

"Unless you've got some amazing secret for mashed potatoes."

Luke was already reaching for the travel cup.

-o-

A chef was a fantastic idea.  Luke would have been easier, there was no doubt, but Sookie would provide the far more tasty option.  That was, if Sookie was ever able to focus long enough to pick one.

"You mean I get to decide which recipe goes in the Recipe Corner?" she asked, more than a little enthusiastic when Rory sought her out.

"Well, I was hoping you could help me out a little," Rory said.  "We don't exactly have longstanding family recipes at our place."

"Hey," Lorelai said.  "What about my remarkable frozen pizzas?"

"I'm not sure opening a box qualifies."

"But it's how I open the box that makes it special," her mother offered.

"I was hoping for something a bit more...involved."

Sookie was already thinking.  "Like an entree?  Or maybe a nice dessert.  People like their desserts.  Or maybe an appetizers--something fresh and summery."

"You don't even like the Recipe Corner," Lorelai said.

Sookie glared at her.  "That was before I got to pick the dish," she said.  "I'm a little tired of reading about how to add oleo.  Oleo doesn't even really exist anymore.  We need some recipes more recent than the Great Depression."

"I think maybe dessert," Rory said.  "Because, if I cook it, then at least there's something very much worth eating."

"Chocolate or fruit?"

"Fruit," Rory said.  In response to her mother's look, she shrugged.  "They say your metabolism slows down at age twenty-five."

"Fruit...strawberries, I think," Sookie said, oblivious to Rory's interaction with her mother.  "Strawberries area great summer treat, though maybe a little overused.  Strawberry shortcakes everywhere you look.  But they are much easier to get.  You don't want an impractical recipe."

Rory didn't have the heart to tell her that a recipe that involved buying any fresh ingredients was probably a little impractical for her.

"I'd be more worried about it requiring the use of a stove top," Lorelai added in.  "Rory and stove tops have not always been on the best of terms."

"I was seven," Rory said.

"And you nearly burned the house down."

"How was I supposed to know it was still on?"

"Usually the little red light is a dead give away."

“But you never cooked,” Rory insisted.  “So I had no reference for the concept of hot burners.”

“There are just some things a mother assumes her daughter can figure out.”

Rory rolled her eyes. "Are you ever going to let this go?"

"Probably not," her mother said with a shrug.

"I've got it!" Sookie exclaimed. "Profiteroles!  They're not fruit based, but definitely very scrumptious.  One of Jackson’s favorites, though I can’t get the kids to touch them."

"Maybe something I can actually pronounce," Rory said.

"Otherwise, it'll be too hard to pull it off as her own," Lorelai said.

Sookie nodded good-naturedly.  "Something simpler then," she mused. "Rum cake?"

"Perfect," her mother said.  "Alcohol and cake.  What more do people want?"

"The baking process takes all the alcohol out," Sookie said dismissively.

"Not that way Miss Patty makes it," Lorelai said.

But Sookie was hardly listening, going off on the nuanced variations of such cakes and how alcohol was great for cooking, except for the way it acted as a flame accelerant.

When her mother quipped that you were suppose to cook with it, not light yourself on fire with it, Rory could only smile. Cooking and fires and everything else aside, her second assignment was, most decidedly, in the bag.

Next

Comments

Posted by: ChristianGateFan (cgf_kat)
Posted at: July 30th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
pic#89712014

My favorite part was, of course, the Dean Box scene. The memories and the wondering and the sadness and the hope and the doubt...all beautifully written. Luke was, again, was wonderfully amusing. :) Hehe lol. A good dash of the guy--or Sookie!--always makes any day brighter. :P

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 31st, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
adorable dean

They have so many good memories...but, then again, a lot of bad ones, too.

And I do love writing the full ensemble cast--they're all priceless :)

Thanks!

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: July 30th, 2009 07:36 am (UTC)

I liked how you did the whole Dean box thing and yeah, their romance did seem like a fairy tale.

I can't wait to see how both Rory and Dean get together on a more mature and real level in their relationship

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 31st, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
waves

That's because Dean was PERFECT.

STUPID RORY!!!!!

Not that I'm bitter.

And a mature turn for them can only help.

Thanks!

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: August 1st, 2009 10:11 am (UTC)

agreed! :D

I'm going to hunt down the next part because LJ didn't notify me :((

Anyway- I watched RP this week and last week- LOVED last week's ep with Tucker and Libby! and I was giggling at the dogmitzvah :P

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 4th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
tucker and hank friends

Tucker and Libby are AWESOME. I want them ALL THE TIME. Though I am fond of Evan and Divya, too.

And I saw you like Chuck! Chuck is another show I adore! I'm so glad it got renewed for another season.

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: August 5th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)

agreed! :D

awesome! I'm pacing myself through the two seasons so I won't run out of them 'til the premiere of S3 ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 7th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
happy together

Very wise plan. I just find the characters so adorable on that show--and it's quirky and still real and I like it very much :)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: August 8th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC)

Exactly, that's why I love it so much!

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