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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

GG Fic: Sometimes You Do 6/40

A/N:  Poor Rory.  We'll see how she handles her quasi-rejection here.  Thanks for continuing to review!  And also, next update may be a bit on the late side--I'll be out of town on Thursday but should be able to update this weekend.  Previous parts here.  Notes in chapter one.

A/N 2:  I promised sendintheklowns  I'd put out a feeler in regards to a cute!Dean fic exchange.  She's the mastermind behind the Summer of Sam Love (which you can check out from her bio) and she seems to be itching for more cute!Dean fic.  So basically we're curious if we'd have anyone out there who would be willing to sign up to write and receive fic about our favorite Gilmore boy.  Anyway, if you could drop me or her a line about that, we'd appreciate it :)  Thanks!

CHAPTER SIX

She went inside with a frump.

Granted, she wasn't sure what a frump was or whether she had actually just invented the word, but she went in with a frump nonetheless.  A surge of frustration, muddled by aborted desire, all coming to a head in her frumpiness--heavy footsteps, downturned face, and the general feeling that life just kind of sucked at the moment.

"Good date?"

Rory startled, turning toward Lorelai who was seated in the dimly-lit living room.  "I thought we were possibly beyond this point of you waiting up for me after my dates."

"It's only 9:30," Lorelai said.

She put her keys down on the table.  "And so you're sitting there in the dim light...?"

"Cross-stitching," her mother said, holding up a small ring and a needle.  "Or trying to.  I don't seem to have an affinity to it.  I thought I would, given my ease with sewing.  But this--ugh, requires too much concentration.  You know, putting each stitch in just the right spot, and all I'm thinking about is why it isn't called X stitch because really, they look so much more like an X than a cross."

"Wow," Rory said, moving in and sitting on the chair.  "I go away for a few years and you settle into the domesticity that you never had before."

"Well, I need something to do to fill my evenings," her mother said with a shrug.  "Besides, I sort of thought it might come in handy."

"For all those times when you think to yourself, 'Gee, I wish I could cross stitch.'"

"A very disconcerting experience," Lorelai agreed.  "So how was the date?"

"It wasn't a date."

"According to you or according to him?"

"Does it matter?"

"Well, I think that influences how you feel about it," Lorelai said. "Like, if it wasn't a date according to you then I think you probably wouldn't have worn those shoes?"

"I have date shoes?" Rory asked, looking down at her feet, taking in again the strappy little white sandals.  They'd always been tight and a little hard to walk on with the dinky little heel, but they were so cute and even an Ivy League grad could appreciate cute shoes.  And she didn't even need to be blonde to know that.

"Well, who would wear such uncomfortable shoes if it wasn't a date?  You make sacrifices for dates.  You wear the Birkenstocks for a casual catch up with a friend."

Rory contemplated that.  "Maybe I just wanted to look nice," she said.

"Because you felt it was a date," her mother concluded, plucking her needle through the fabric.

"You know, this housewife thing you're up to is kind of freaking me out."

"Ah, but you have to be married and stay at home all day to be a housewife."

"So, you're just some mutant working single woman version," Rory said.  "Does Grandma know about all this?"

"She'd be appalled that I was entertaining such trivialities," Lorelai said.  Then she smiled broadly up at Rory.  "Which is why I'm sure to talk about it every chance I get.  She offered to get me a maid to do these things for me, but I refused.  I mean, what is the point of a hobby that annoys your parents if you're just going to have someone else do it for you?  Besides, I'm working up the calluses on my fingers.  The needle barely feels like anything anymore, which is really kind of weird.  But you're still avoiding the question."

Rory sighed, flopping back further in the chair.  "Maybe because I'm not sure of the answer."

Her mother clearly looked interested, straightening in her seat, but she was showing some restraint.  Or trying to her.  Lorelai, despite her new habits, still had the maturity of a sixteen-year-old, so it wasn't really a surprise.  "And why's that?"

"Because it was like a date in every possible way.  He looked nice, I looked nice.  We ate dinner, we laughed, we talked.  We did all the normal date stuff.  I'm sure if you ask around town tomorrow, you'll hear that we were out and about, just like old times."

There was a pause before Lorelai prompted her.  "But?"

"But then he just didn't," Rory said, her exasperation finally coming clean.

“He didn’t?”

“He just didn’t.  No kiss, no fond farewell, nothing.  I’ve said goodbyes to people I dislike with more emotion than that.”

"You know you haven't dated him for a long time," Lorelai said gently.


"I know," Rory conceded.  "And it's not like I expected it to be just as it was.  But everything was.  It was so much like it used to be and it was just like I could feel it.  And I thought he felt it, too, but then..."

Her mother winced a little.  "Nothing."

"Nothing at all."

"Left you hanging?"

"Yes!" Rory cried.  "I mean, this is the guy who chased after me for months."

"It has been years, honey," Lorelai said.

"I know, but this is Dean."  Dean, who had always wanted her.  Dean, who had always loved her.  Dean, who she could always count on.  Dean.  Her Dean.

"Did you really think he'd just be sitting around hoping you'd come back?"

The questions wasn't mean, but it was a little pointed, and Rory felt the barb just the same.  "Not like that, exactly," she said.  I just--it felt so right."

"Have you forgotten what happened the last time it felt right with Dean?"

At that, Rory reddened.  It was a little hard to forget--for many reason.  Because it was her first time, because of the way Dean felt as he ran his hands over her skin.  Because of the way it felt to be lying in his arms, like all the world was theirs.  Because of the Candy Man.  Because of the realization he was going home to Lindsay.  "That was totally different," she said.  "I mean, we were so much younger then, and, really, we weren't so bright.  And besides, he was married then.  He's not married, Mom.  Not anymore."

"I'm just saying," Lorelai said.  "Maybe it's a wise lesson to learn for both of you that sometimes what feels right isn't always the best thing to do.  You know how you felt after that.  I promise you, it was ten times worse for Dean."

That made sense, it really did, but Rory hadn't totally thought of it like that--from Dean's point of view.  She could remember more now--the guilt on his face, the self-loathing in his voice.

That, and the look on his face in the restaurant.  The look that was too scared to talk about something.

"Dean's been okay, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, he's been happy and everything.  After..."

Putting down her cross stitch, Lorelai just looked at her.  Plain and simple, her face soft with sympathy.  "Rory."

"Yeah?" Rory asked, pretty sure she wasn't going to like the answer.

"There are some things that just aren't for other people to talk about," she said.  "You want to know what happened with Dean? You need to talk to Dean."

"But he won't tell me."

A bittersweet smile laced her mother's face.  "Then maybe you don't get to know."

-o-

She really should have seen it coming.

Despite all the good vibes from yesterday, despite all the positive things that had happened, Rory really should have seen it coming.  After all, having her date fizzle out at the very end should have been a dead giveaway that something was amiss in her little world of perfection.

But her little fantasy had been so perfect.  Yes, Dean had been a little cool to her and, yes, her mother was becoming perplexingly and concisely philosophical at times, but the image she had in her head of what life should be like was just so nice and simple and pretty.  And it was so close to being true.  The date with Dean hadn't even been in the picture, so really, that wouldn't have had much bearing.

Still, she should have seen it as a sign of things to come.  A hint that maybe things weren't going to swing her way, just because.  A tip-off that she might have to work harder than she wanted in order to to achieve the happiness she was after.

It all became clear when she bought a copy of the paper.

She picked it up at Doose's, along with a box of Pop Tarts and a bottle of iced cappuccino.  A little decadent perhaps, especially for breakfast, but considering she'd been living on greasy hash brown and eggs the last few days, she figured the sugar might be a nice change of pace.

But, as she was standing in line, flipping through her paper, she became aware that her article wasn't there.  She had known it wouldn't be on the front page.  And she wasn't surprised that it wasn't on the second page, but then came the third, and the fourth, and she realized it wasn’t anywhere.

Her article wasn't in print!

Her heart began racing and her face flushed.  She had gotten it in on time.  She'd done an exceptional job.  And now her big debut hadn't even occurred.

"That's four bucks and three cents," the kid behind the register said, sounding rather bored. 

Rory stared at him.

He stared back, a little taken aback.  "Look, lady, I don't make the prices."

"What?"

"You don't need to glare at me, okay?" the kid said. 

"I'm not glaring at you," Rory tried to explain.  Indeed, though, she was glaring, but not at this kid, because she didn't know this kid, she didn't care about this kid, she just wanted her Pop Tarts, her iced cappuccino, and her article.

"Do you have your money?"

"Oh," Rory said, red rising in her cheeks.  She dug a five out of her purse.  "Here you go."

The kid watched her skeptically as he took the bill and counted out her change.

"I really wasn’t glaring at you," she said, feeling more than a little ridiculous.

"Uh-huh," the kid said.  He didn't believe her.

With a sigh, she collected her change and her stuff and headed out the door.  Not only was Dean acting totally weird, but her article wasn't published, and now she was going to be known as the weird glaring lady down at Doose's.  All in all, not a good start to her day.

She could fix it, though.  Make sure she smiled a lot next time she was in Doose's.  Talk to Dean.  And first things first, go down to the Gazette and try to figure out why her new employer apparently did not have a brain.  Fate was absolutely idiotic anyway.  If it wouldn't work for her, she'd make it work for her.  She didn't get into Yale by fate.  She didn't get a job at the Detroit Free Press by fate.  And, damn it, coming home wasn't fate either.

Or if it was, then fate didn't know her well enough to know not to mess with Rory Gilmore.

-o-

She found Ned hard at work in the office.  Well, working hard on his doughnut, anyway, which looked to be cherry filled.  Rory couldn't blame him on that front, especially since it still looked rather fresh.

Nonetheless, she had an issue to attend to, cherry doughnut or not.  It could have been an apple fritter and Rory still had to pick at this bone because, well, it was her career.

The minute he saw her, he tensed up, putting down his doughnut and everything.  "Rory," he said, wiping his hands absently on his pants.  "How are you?"

"Oh, I'm okay," she said.  "The east coast air is a little fresher than Detroit at this time of year, so I really can't complain.  And being closer to the sea seems to help the amount of frizz in my hair and why didn't you run my article?"

He flinched.  "Your article?"

"Yes, the thing you assigned that I wrote," she said.  "The article."

He seemed to be hedging.  "It's just, well, I mean it's very good and all--"

Rory cocked her head.  "Yes, so, what's the problem?  Why didn't you run it?"

"Well," he hedged.  "It's a bit...edgy."

Rory just stared.  "Edgy?"

"You know, pushing the envelope."

"Well, yes," Rory said as a matter of fact.  "That's the point of journalism.  To show people the real story.  The truth."

"But...this is Stars Hollow," he said, his face contorted in a grimace.

"People in Stars Hollow need truth!"  Her incredulity was flaring.  Her years of training, her years of work, were all building up to a self-righteous anger.  Indignation.  She needed to stand up for her profession, for her training, for the truth.  That was her duty.

The man chewed his lip, eyeing her carefully.  "People in Stars Hollow just need the basics.  Nothing fancy."

"But my piece wasn't fancy," Rory protested.  "It was a simple presentation of the facts.  Who, what, when, where, and why.  I got all sides of the issue.  It was in a classic modified inverted pyramid, ideal for main page coverage."

"Rory, let me be honest with you," he said finally.  "You're a smart writer.  A good writer.  But you keep forgetting that this is Stars Hollow.  People don't want to know about the future of the school district.  They just want to know where her home town is and if she likes to knit."

Rory blinked.  Once.  Twice.

He had to be kidding.

He surely was kidding.

He wanted a social blurb?  Over an informative and provoking article?

"You're kidding," she said finally.  Being prolific in writing didn't translate to being articulate in speech.

He wasn't kidding.  "Rory, I want you to work on my paper.  I really do.  But you need to tone it down a notch.  You know, understand your audience.  It'll serve you in the long run."

Now she was getting journalism advice?  From a guy whose only journalistic experience came from running a small town newspaper?

The feeling building in her, the hurt, the embarrassment, the utter disbelief--this was what had gotten her fired in the first place.  It was why she'd walked out.  Principle.  That important thing she relied on.  Held to above all else.  It was the principle of the thing and if that was good enough for Abigail Adams, it was good enough for her.

Except...

She couldn't quit this job.  Not after one day.  She hadn't even had her debuting article.  She hadn't shown her skills to her hometown.  She couldn't lose two jobs in two weeks.

Which meant...

The unthinkable.

"Tone it down a notch?" she verified.

"Yeah," he said, more eager now, encouraged by her conciliatory tone.  "You know.  More of a profile.  A social introduction."

"A profile," she said, licking her lips, as if saying it could somehow make it less than the farce than it so clearly was.  "A social introduction."

He rubbed his hands together.  "You got it," he said.  "Five hundred words to me by the end of the day."

She forced a smile that she didn't feel at all.  Pressed down her feelings of pride and of pressure and just kept telling herself that a job was a job, and she was Rory Gilmore and she could do this.  Want was another issue entirely.  She just needed to cling to the mere fact that she could and therefore she would.

"No problem," she said.  And she almost even believed it herself.

Next

Comments

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: July 20th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)

something was amiss in her little world of perfection this is so true about Rory! *nods*

I loved the part!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 25th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
adorable dean

Thanks so much!

Posted by: ChristianGateFan (cgf_kat)
Posted at: July 21st, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)

LOL wow that 'was' a blow to her little world, wasn't it? I can't wait to see how she continues to deal with this--the Dean thing AND the paper thing.

And you know I'm in on the cute!Dean fic. *grin*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: July 25th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
after school limp

Rory has a lot to learn :)

And we'll let you know if we move ahead with any kind of cute!Dean fic exchange! Thanks!

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