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GG Fic: Sometimes You Do 18/40

A/N:  Really, there is going to be some stuff happening in the next few chapters.  Big things.  I promise!  Thanks to those who have stuck with me!  Previous parts here.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Luke didn’t even have to look at her.  “No coffee.”

“Yes, coffee,” she said.

He shook his head.  “Nope.  No coffee.”

Her eyes narrowed.  “No coffee, as in there’s been a sudden disappearance in the world’s coffee supply because caffeine-addicted aliens came and took it all to feed their own nefarious habits or no coffee, as in there’s be a catastrophic coffee pot incident that destroyed your pot’s ability to function?”

“You really think aliens are addicted to caffeine?”

“I’m sure it’s a cosmic-wide epidemic.”

“You don’t need coffee,” Luke said.

Rory raised her eyebrows.  “That implies there is coffee but that you are choosing to deny me for some reason.”

“Maybe I’m stocking up for the aliens.”

“Clever, but I’m more dangerous than aliens.”

“Which is why you don’t need coffee.”

“Are you really still trying to change the Gilmores?”

Luke sighed, resting his hands on the counter.  “It’s a full moon out tonight,” he said.  “I always feel a renewed desire to make you two healthy at a full moon.”

“Interesting,” Rory said.  “Perhaps it’s a vestige of your caveman instincts to protect your brood.”

“You’re my brood now?”

“I don’t know,” Rory admitted.  “I thought you were serious about my mother.”

“What?”

“Why else would you be concerned about my coffee consumption?”

“I hate to see young people throw away their lives?”

“Still avoiding the question.”

“What question?”

“If you’re serous about my mother!”

“I thought we were talking about coffee.”

“Oh, no.  The coffee is just a guise for the greater issue of why you’re feeling territorial but refusing to acknowledge a real attachment.”

"Rory, what makes you think that I'm not serious about your mother?"

Rory raised her eyebrows.  "What evidence do I have to prove to me that you are serious about my mother?" she ventured back.  "I mean, I know you're serious in the sense that you're not laughing ha-ha and whatnot because really, that's just not who you are.  But I don't even know what you two do together."

He was watching her with that look, that crinkled brow that showed he was more confused by her than anything else, which really was his normal look in the end.  "I thought your mother said you didn't want to know."

"Well, some details, perhaps," she said.  "But in general, it would be nice to know the intentions of the man who my mother is supposedly involved with."

"Since my intentions would likely be impure?" Luke asked, he moved to pick up a cup, filling it while he talked.  "I think somehow you've gotten yourself confused with a father from the fifties and I'm really not entirely sure what to say to you."

Rory sighed, shoulders sagging dramatically as Luke put the cup in front of her.  "Is it so much to want to know if you're really with my mother?  As in, you two, together for the long haul, or is this going to be indefinite flirtation with no hope for future monogamy?"

"You're throwing around some pretty big words there," he said.  "Wouldn't it just be easier to ask if I love her or not?"

Yes, as a matter of fact it would.  Why did concise thoughts never come to her head?  "Well?"

He just laughed and shook his head.  "Rory, I've probably loved your mother for years now," he said.  "There is no life for me without Lorelai Gilmore.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I even wanted that, after all the crap she's put me through.  But I keep coming back to the fact that I'm stuck with her.  Which is okay since she's stuck with me, too, though it's hell on my profit margin.  Now that we're a thing, apparently she doesn't always need to pay for coffee."

"Scandalous," Rory said, though she wasn't really thinking about the coffee.  She was thinking about I've probably loved your mother for years now.  She smiled.  "So, if you and my mom are you and my mom, does that make me your almost-would-be daughter?"

"I have a daughter," he said.

"Does she get free coffee?"

"Is that all I mean to you?"

"I have a habit to feed," she pointed out.  "And not a very high paying job."

"No, my daughter does not get free coffee."

"Probably because you don't let her drink coffee."

"It'll rot your insides," Luke came back.

"How I've missed hearing you say that."

"Are we done here?"

"For now," she consented.  It still wasn’t concrete, but it was all she was going to get.

He rolled his eyes.  "Tell your mom I'll see her tonight."

"Will do," she said as she watched him go.

She finished the last of her coffee with a long sip and couldn't help but smile.  Small victories, indeed.  She may not have gotten free coffee out of the deal, but hearing Luke say those words--well, it certainly did make a difference. 

She was truly on a roll today.  Maybe it was time to push her luck.

-o-

It didn’t take luck to find Dean at the stereo shop, but she knew she’d need luck to get him out of it. 

Luck and a whole lot of persuasion.

Plastering a smile on her face, she strode in, moving straight to the back counter where Dean was sorting through a box.

He looked up as she approached and his face brightened.  Her luck did seem to be holding out.

“Hi,” she said.

Pulling out a package of batteries, Dean made a notation on a sheet of paper.  “Hi.”

"How's work?" she asked.

"Work's work," he replied.  "I’m just sorting through a shipment.”

“Batteries,” Rory observed.

Dean put down the pack and grinned at her.  “Someone’s got to do it.”

She looked around, noting the handful of customers.  Gilbert was explaining something with large gestures to a little old lady.  “Looks like the place is doing well.” 

Dean glanced around and shrugged.  “We usually pick up a decent amount of business traffic during the daytime from people on their breaks.  There's not a lot to do sometimes downtown, and I guess perusing the latest in stereo equipment is a nice work getaway."

"Well, why do you think I'm here?"

"Aw, and I thought it was for my winning personality," Dean said with mock hurt.

She couldn't help but smile.  "That's just the cherry on top."

"Well, being a cherry isn't that bad," Dean said reluctantly.

"It's the best part," Rory protested.  "My mom always hoards the cherry, saves it until the end so she can savor it.  She even steals mine sometimes, so much so that I thought I didn't like cherries because that's what she always told me, but then when I actually tried one I realized I did like them and that my mother had simply been abusing her power all those years."

"That's awful."

"Traumatic even," Rory said.  "Hey, let's make up for it by getting some."

"Cherries?"

"Ice cream!" she said.  "You know, what the cherry goes on top of."

He looked a little confused, probably because her mind was moving faster than even she was aware of, and how she'd managed to segue from work chitchat to her mother's cherry penchant to going out for ice cream was a stretch.  Even for her.  “Ice cream?”

“Yep, the ideal summertime treat.  A wide variety of flavors.  Even mint chocolate chip.  And you love mint chocolate chip.”

“It is minty,” he conceded.

“And chippy.”

“Chippy?”

“Technical term,” she said with a shrug.  “So, you game?”

He sighed a little, looking at the store.  "Rory, I can't," he said.  "I have to work."

She had expected such an answer, and was not about to give up that easily.  "But Gilbert's here!" she said.  "You said yourself that Gilbert was your dad's most trusted employee.  Fully capable and trusted with opening and closing the store, and more certainly watching it for an hour or two."

"But, I promised--"

"You promised me we could be hang out,” Rory said.

“When did I promise that?”

“You said we’d be friends.”

“Yeah, but--”

“But nothing.  Friends hang out.  Therefore, we need to hang out.  Besides, imagine how Gilbert would feel if you never left him alone.  Gilbert needs a chance to stand on his own two feet.  So, if you won’t do it for me, do it for Gilbert.”

His face was softening.  He was relenting.  He ran a hand through his hair and drew a deep breath.  “Okay,” he said.  “Just the ice cream.”

“Just the ice cream,” Rory agreed solemnly.  At least, far as Dean had to know.

-o-

It was summer and it was hot and, just like Rory had suspected, Dean hadn't really eaten lunch that day.  It was a strange pleasure, ordering him the mint chocolate chip in a dish, and forking over her cash.  True, her initial plan had been to go Dutch, which she was certain was still a smart idea, but she had coerced him into this.  It seemed wrong to ask him to pay.  Even as friends.  While having boys pay for her was flattering, paying for Dean--well, it just felt right.

He accepted graciously, spooning a few bites into his mouth while Rory paid and took her own dish of bunny tracks.  Well, he was gracious and compliant until they got back onto the street.

"Rory, you shouldn't be paying for me."

"Don't be silly," she said.  "I can't force you away from your job and then make you pay for yourself."

"You don't make that much money," he said.

She shrugged, nonchalant as she led him down the street.  "And I also don't pay rent and have filthy rich grandparents.  Trust me when I tell you that I am not in want."

He fell in step with her, the bowl in one hand, his spoon in another.  "But you're going to be looking for another job," he said.  "Moving expenses are hard to come by.  I know this stuff."

"Ah, and you forget that I was the girl who drove from Michigan in a U-Haul I couldn't drive."

He sighed, laughing a little.  "What happened to your car?"

"Oh, I still have it, stored nicely at my mother's house.  I just never took it.  When I was on the campaign trail, there wasn't any need.  Because, well, I was being bussed everywhere.  And once I settled in Michigan, I really didn't want it. There was no place I wanted to drive and besides, public transit is far more cost effective.  That and I didn't want to park my car on the street.  Too much can happen to it out there.  And since my days at Chilton, I was already proficient at taking the bus, so really it was sort of a comforting sort of thing to be able to use it to get home and back--a little something to remind me of where I came from."

He was watching her, unable to hide his amusement.  "And here I thought maybe you had environmental reasons for it," he said.  "Saving the planet while you write your way to fame."

"That's quite a catch-phrase," Rory said.  "I should have thought of that.  It might have gotten me a bigger position, or, oh, I know.  A column.  I could have been the Conservationist from Connecticut."

Dean nodded his approval, spooning another bite of ice cream.  "Catchy.  If journalism didn’t pan out, you might have a career in marketing.”

They were meandering in a very pleasant fashion.  She began to angle them toward the park, away from downtown.  Remote and sunny and full of people who knew how to enjoy a summer afternoon--a lesson Dean still needed help with, quite clearly.  She needed all the help she could get.  “I just don’t know if I’m mainstream enough for marketing.  What if I want to reference a Russian author for a children’s cereal?”

“That would be weird,” Dean agreed.  “Even for you.”

“Tolstoy’s Toasted Oats,” Rory suggested.

“To get rid of the war and peace at the breakfast table.”

“I like it,” Rory said.  “Maybe you’re the one who should have gone into marketing.”

Dean laughed into another bite of ice cream.  “Right, with all my free time.”

“Aw, you could swing it,” she said.  “I have great faith in you.”

He snorted a little.  “At least someone does,” he said.  “Sometimes I wonder.”

That was too depressing, so not the mood she was going for.  “Well, you shouldn’t,” she said.  “Just focus on the positive.  You’ve got ice cream.”

“I do have ice cream.”

“See?  There.  It’s good.”

And it was good.

The park was warm and green at this time of year and brimming with life.  Children and cyclists and young mothers and little old men on park benches--Stars Hollow's most pleasant cross-section, frolicking away the summer heat in the great outdoors.

It was idyllic, really, which was partly why Rory was drawn here.  Perhaps it was part of her fantasies--kind of a perfect date situation--and she figured that a little atmosphere couldn't hurt her chances of softening Dean up.

And he did look a bit softened.  The weariness seemed to fade a little from his face, which showed a hint more of color in the sunlight.  Really, this wasn't just good for her and her plan to woo--it was good for him.  He was going to work himself to death at this rate, and his mother's oh-so-positive disposition certainly wasn't doing anything for Dean's spirits.  This was as much an attempt to give Dean some much-needed relief as it was her attempt to seduce him with her wit and charm.

"You’re dripping," he said suddenly.

"What?"

"You're dripping," he repeated, nodding at her.  "Your ice cream."

"Oh!" she said, looking down and noticing the trail of melted chocolate oozing down her hand.  "I'm dripping!"

"Yeah," he said.  He fumbled, pulling a napkin from him pocket.  "Take this."

She took the proffered napkin, attempting to mop up her mess one-handed.  "I never have been good at multitasking," she said.  "Walking, eating ice cream, and talking all at once is a bit much for me."

"Well, we can always sit," Dean said.

"Are you saying you agree with my assessment?"

"I know better than to disagree with you," Dean said.  "Come on.  That's what benches are for."

She narrowed her eyes at him in humor.  "Again you try the logic," she said.  "I am not so easily distracted."

"Well, if you'd rather have your entire ice cream cone melt all over the sidewalk, then by all means, we can keep walking."

"Alright," she relented.  "We sit.  Only because that bench looks awfully lonely."

"And we can't have lonely benches," Dean agreed.

"As long as we're on the same page here," she said, seating herself.

Dean followed suit, spooning a bite into his mouth as he settled.  "I would hate to add more stress to your already overtaxed psyche."

"Quite thoughtful of you," Rory said, licking dutifully at her ice cream.

"You're the one who came and dragged me out of work," Dean reminded her.

"That's right," she said.  "So really, it's all quite thoughtful of me."

He scraped his spoon against the side of his bowl.  "You certainly have grown bold in your time on your own."

He looked at her, peaking his eyes through his bangs, and her senses tingled.  "What?" she asked.  "You're staring."

Swallowing, he blinked.  "You--you got some--"

"Some what?"

"Ice cream," he said, nodding at her face.  "Right there."

His hand lifted slightly, indicating her left side, but all Rory could see was his rich golden eyes, the long lines of his fingers, the heat of his body close to hers.

It was too much.  He wanted it.  She wanted it.  And it was going to happen--her lips to his, right there in the park, birds chirping, children playing, probably even a dozen violins if she listened hard enough.

She leaned in.  Lips ready.  One, two, three--let go...

And just like that, the moment was gone.

Not the fireworks and violins she'd expected--not quite.  Just Dean, his face tight and his brow furrowed.

"Whoa," he said, pulling away, hands up.  "I thought you understood."

"I understand," Rory said.  "I mean, I thought this was where it was going.  I mean, the way we were talking, the way we were--"

"Rory," he said.  "I told you I'd be your friend.  But you need to not push this.  Friends don't do this kind of thing.  Friends talk and hang out.  They don't go on dates and if this is what this is--"

"Dean, you act like we're still kids," she said.  "Like everything we do is so easily defined, like boyfriend and girlfriend are little titles we can give each other and then they suddenly hold meaning.  We are friends, but things are happening, things we can't control."

His jaw clenched a little and he stiffened.  "I need these boundaries," he said.  "And if you can't respect them--"

"Dean--"

"If you can't be satisfied with just being my friend with no hope for anything more..."

"Dean--" she tried again, hoping to get him to listen, to get him to understand, to get him to be reasonable.

"Then we can't do this," he concluded despite her.  "I'm not going to lead you on."

"But, Dean, you don't understand," she said.  "There's chemistry."

"There's always been chemistry," he said back, harsher this time.  "There was chemistry the moment we first met and each time we got back together.  There was chemistry when you chose Jess.  There was chemistry when I chose Lindsay.  And there was chemistry when you let me walk away, okay?  Chemistry doesn't meant everything.  Chemistry isn't what makes a relationship.  And I'm not going to plunge into something I promised myself I wouldn't do just for the sake of chemistry."

He'd been angry before.  He'd yelled before.  He'd even hurt her before.  And the worst part was when that Dean hurt her, he always hurt her with the truth.  Usually the truth about her.

And it was then that she could see just how badly she'd hurt him.  What she had classified as a teenaged romance had meant so much more to him.  Every time.

He was looking away now, eyes on the ground.

"Dean," she said gently.  "I--I'm sorry."

His eyes flashed up to hers.  "I don't want your pity," he said.  "I've always enjoyed spending time with you, but I'm not so sure we should keep doing this."

"No!" she said quickly, feeling panic move through her.  "I mean, that's not necessary.  I get it, okay?  Friends.  I mean, I need the friends."

He laughed a little in disbelief.  "Somehow, I doubt that."

"No, seriously," she said.  "I mean, I'm not in school anymore--there's no friends there, no Paris to room with.  Lane's too busy for friends and my mom--well, she's my mom and I have no idea what she's doing half the time and I go to Luke's but he's Luke and he's not exactly the kind of person I'm going to go hang out with on a nice summer day.  Not that I want to be your friend just because you're convenient, because it's not like that, but it's just talking to you, I realize how much I miss you."  How much she wished she'd never let him go.

His face remained impassive for a moment, a long moment, before he finally nodded.  "There's part of me that misses you, too," Dean said.  "I still think we need to step back a little bit."

"I can't just ignore you--"

"And you don't have to," Dean said.  "If we see each other on the street, great.  Maybe we can catch a cup of coffee every now and then.  But no more afternoons off.  No more nights out.  Not until things are simpler between us."

She wanted to say no.  To refuse.  To tell Dean she couldn't settle for that.

But she had to settle for that.  Because he was serious.  She couldn't bat her eyes and get him back.  She couldn't smile and woo him to her.  She couldn't call him and have him come running.

Clara had told her that she had to win Dean back.  Her mother said that Dean had changed.  Luke didn't want to see Dean get hurt.  And now Dean was standing there, telling her they needed to step back.  If she pushed to hard, she knew this time, he might walk away for good--and this time, it wouldn't be because of her, but because of himself.

"Okay," she said, swallowing hard.  "Okay.  I just need you as a friend."

He held her gaze, his eyes turbulent and uncertain before he nodded.  "Thanks for ice cream," he said.  "I'll see you around."

She couldn't even say goodbye as he turned and walked away.

Next

Comments

Posted by: ChristianGateFan (cgf_kat)
Posted at: September 4th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
pic#89712014

Uh-oh. Rory, what the heck have you gone and done now? *sigh* I swear, that girl is way too stubborn for her own good. But I suppose trying to do something about that is one of the main purposes of this story, isn't it?

Luke! Still love Luke. He still frustrates me, though. I want to know what's up as much as Rory does!

I really want to slap Rory though. Things could have gone on just fine if she hadn't tried to jump ahead. Ugh! She's always screwing something up. Don't worry though; my being seriously toicked off just means you're a good writer. :P Thanks for the chapter!

(I'll be posting chapter two of mine in an hour or so!)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 8th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
cute dean is annoyed

Rory can't help it, I think. I mean, it's DEAN. If he was right there, I think I'd probably want to make a pass at him, too :)

But yeah--she does kind of need to be slapped. She doesn't get the world doesn't revolve around HER.

Thanks!

(And YAY FIC!)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: September 5th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)

I absolutely loved this part! yes, I'm with Dean- he needs boundaries...especially since this is Rory who at a whim might just fall in love with another guy...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 8th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
cute!dean water bottle

I wanted to show some of Dean's maturity with his boundaries--and also how hurt he's been by Rory's gung ho attitude in the past. She has a lot to learn.

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: September 7th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)

I finally plunged into this. I figured if I waited until chapter 40, I would feel overwhelmed and since we're almost half way there, now was a good time to start. I love that you are writing about Dean. I always felt that the show really screwed his character. I never liked Jess and I could never understand Rory falling for him. I felt that Rory was awful to go after Dean once he was married. I never quite bought that he would cheat, but felt that the show had him do it just to make him look bad. You are doing a good job of making me understand why he did cheat all those years ago.

I love the fact that Dean is now the integrated member of Stars Hollow and Rory is the outsider. I really love the fact that Luke likes Dean. I am as curious about Dean's backstory as Rory is, but I trust that you will get to it eventually. I am also a little concerned about all the trips to the hospital and wonder if there is a reason why he is so accident prone.

In the end, I actually think Dean deserves better than Rory, especially since right now he doesn't want to get involved again. I am really afraid if Rory gets Dean, she will just dump him again.

I look forward to the rest of the story.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 8th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
the way we were

LOL, well, I do post consistently, so you can pace yourself as needed :)

Ugh, do not get me started on the Jess thing. Rory and Jess annoy me so greatly and I can't decide what I hate more: Jess himself or Rory's idiocy in regards to him. The way they treated Dean was inexcusable and never fully made right.

Have you read the earlier fics in this verse? They deal more with Dean's backstory post series.

I think Dean definitely deserves better than Rory, but the question is, deep down, does he still want her. And, moreover, can Rory EVER earn his trust back.

We'll find out :)

Thanks!

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: September 9th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)

I finally read the earlier stories in this verse, so I do understand Dean (and Lindsey) much better now. I hated Jess. I hated that a seemingly genuinely good person like Rory would fall for a guy like Jess. My biggest hatred was when he destroyed the Snowman during the competition, just so Rory and Loralie could win and Rory approved. She approved of having something beautiful that someone else had worked hard for be destroyed, just so she could play perfect little princess. Jess ruined Rory for me. And then, when they finally go back to him, he is suddenly this font of wisdom telling Rory how badly she is behaving and setting her in the right direction.

Sorry, memories of Jess make me crazy. I hated him, Rory, and even Luke for letting him in their lives. I hated the writers for creating him and I started distancing myself from the series right about then. I bailed after they ruined Dean and made it clear that Emily and Richard would never be portrayed as anything other than evil.

Sorry for the rant, but this is one of my shows that betrayed me, it pushes buttons that I forgot I had.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 10th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
you idiot

Rory was so not Rory with Jess. You're right--her nonchalance about him destroying the snowman is just wrong--and creepy wrong. She does it all the time with Jess--how she allows Jess to demean Dean, how she lets Jess insult him and then gets upset with Dean about it. I think (hope) in many ways that Lorelai was right--that Rory needed a bad boy and that Jess just happened to fit the bill. I think she relished the thought of someone only SHE knew. And then she picked him over everyone else in her life and even let him DRIVE DEAN'S CAR that he BUILT for her. And her biggest concern? Was Dean getting mad. She wasn't upset that the car was wrecked. She just didn't want conflict. That's just mind boggling. Once I lost an earring my husband had given me--my single thought was how devastated I was that I had lost something that someone I loved had given to me that had such worth.

UGH. Yeah, rant away. I do it myself quite often. It's hard because the tone of the show so amuses me but sometimes the Gilmores were just not good people. Any of them. Don't get me started on Lorelai's treatment of Max (and Jason and eventually Christopher and Luke).

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