Title: Longing With a Cherry Tomato on Top | Chapter Eight | And Then Rory Kissed Me...

Author: Nate

Pairing: Paris/Rory, Paris POV

Inspired by: All my own ideas here. This is the morning, afternoon and evening after They Shoot Gilmores Don't They?, without the Jess/Rory plot rolling into motion.

Rating: R (swearing, sexual thoughts and actions, along with some innuendo)

Disclaimer: Yeah, that rumor that I own Rory and Paris instead of Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Hofflund-Polone, and Warner Bros. Television? Not true, though I wish it was so I could mangle the Rory/Dean situation into a horrible, horrible dream sequence that we've been roped into believing happened all summer, but instead in the first minutes of the premiere, we cut a scene where Rory wakes up with Paris in her arms, both of them in the master bedroom of an airy and romantic Italian highland villa, content, relaxed, happy and with no stress at all. References to products in this chapter belong to their respective copyright owners, and Hyacinth Bucket is a character from Keeping Up Appearances, a BBC production (you'll get why I disclaimed that later).

Summary: The day after the dance marathon, and things are revealed to Paris throughout the day, leading to the one thing she's anticipated most but never believed would happen, and more.

Archiving: GilmoreGirlsSlash, Realm of the Shadow, aff.net and ff.net. Anywhere else ask first.

Author's Notes: I'm still inspired to write this, and still have fun putting out a new chapter after all of these months of writing. I'm thankful to all those who write in with feedback and encourage me to keep going, and after the cliffhanger of a finale wasn’t sadly resolved with the hoped-for dream sequence I mentioned above, I can be content to be in my own little happy subtext world without Dean roping Rory into something almost no one wanted to happen.

Thanks to Raven and Cinn for again looking this over and keeping me sane, and Vix for some feedback on a couple scenes I was iffy about. For everyone reading and reviewing, I appreciate your words and encouragement.

As for you ff.net'ers, if you couldn't tell from the way this story has been heading, this is warning #9 that you might want to look at something else besides this if you want your Rory feeling her heart pitter-patter and heart swoon looking at a boy instead of Paris, or Paris giving a couple of eye bats with those warm browns towards a nice-looking and rebellious boy instead. Might I suggest either Whatever Tomorrow Brings and Then Came You by Jamie (username Mrs. Witter), or Thoughts by my awesome beta Cinn (username cinnamon-5575, with input from Jewls)? Trust me, these girls know how to write, and I'm honored to have been inspired further by them and the situations they put our brunette and blonde heroines in.

Finally, this is a plea any feedback, positive or negative. I want to know what you think of this and if I'm doing everything right. I love reading what you think, and although I really haven't had a need for review upon review, I just want to know how I'm doing, like those 1-800 numbers on the back of trucks asking if you're driving well or not. I'll appreciate any advice and words you can give me.

Feeback: Please use Feedback Form

I was tired out as Rory and I got out of the backseat of my car around 6:15, falling asleep for a bit during the ride Ms. LaCosta provided for us between the high school and the Gilmore residence. As Rory had said, Ms. LaCosta had no problem with taking us back home, and though I was still a little iffy, I handed her over the keys and we were there in no time. I found myself when Ms. LaCosta said we were there with my head against the window along with a little unexpected drool on my lower lip. I got my wits about me, and found Rory in a conversation with the woman about the marathon and how excited Lorelai was going to be coming home to the trophy she coveted for years and years sitting in her house and proudly won by her daughter and a 'good friend'.

I smiled a little at that mention of myself; it was very rare to use my name and those two words in the same sentence.

Ms. LaCosta pulled into the driveway and I had to apprise her of where the trunk pull was so Rory and I could take the trophy out of it. I had to shift around my emergency kits, school supplies and spare tire around to barely fit it in, but I ended up with just enough space.

"You two have a nice nap," the older woman told us as she handed back my keys. "You definitely deserve it after that effort."

"Thank you Miss Patty," Rory told her, and I said the same thing after telling her I was grateful for the ride. She left and walked towards her home a few blocks away.

I was barefoot again and threw my dancing shoes in the trunk, because I thankfully had the foresight to keep clean socks and a pair of old Sauconys in my trunk in that rare instance I ended up taking a hike for gas in an elegant evening gown.

I slipped those on before, and perched my emergency grooming kit beneath one of my arms before Rory and I grabbed the trophy, shut the trunk, and hauled it into the house, which even with no one home, had doors that remained unlocked.

We were both tired, schlepping up the front steps, swinging open the front door and hauling our poor bruised bodies into the Gilmore residence. There weren't many lights on and the first thing I felt when I stepped foot in the living room was wanting to find out how comfy that couch was. This even though that brown unmatchable piece of furniture gave me the worst sleep of my life the night I slept over on a whim ten months ago.

Sensing that I needed to take the weight off my feet, Rory told me to let go of the trophy and that she would find a place to put it so she could surprise Lorelai with it once she came back home from Nashville around 7:30 this evening. I smiled and was thankful as she tried to make me feel at home.

"You can uh, sit on the couch over there for now, I'm going to put this upstairs in Mom's bedroom, then get you something to sleep in. Is there anything you'd prefer to wear Par?"

I guess nothing but a scrap of red satin would be an unacceptable answer, I thought to myself. I do dress for bed if there's company, or if there's a shared arrangement, such as Rory and I in Washington. Usually however, I don't wear clothes to bed. I wear nightgowns before then, but only because my mother would think it unladylike to come out of the bedroom to lounge downstairs in a t-shirt and sweats. Once I say 'good evening' to her, walk into my room and lock the door for the night however, I shed the gown and sleep almost in the nude but for my panties because I like to sleep in a cold room, and my sheets and blankets are luxurious enough against my skin without another layer between them on my body.

Not to mention it makes things so much easier if I have an impure and erotic dream of Rory and end up waking in a pool of my own perspiration, not to mention dampened underwear. I'd just slip them off, retrieve another pair from my dresser (or not) and fall back asleep, content and smirking like I just had a long taste of the finest chocolate Switzerland ever produced.

I couldn't do that with Rory in the same room, however. Modesty prevailed, so I asked her for an t-shirt and some shorts to sleep in.

"I think my mom has something like that. I do need you to make a promise to me that you won't be pulling another Skippy with these clothes."

What's a Skippy, and what on earth is she talking about?

A quick mental recall from Rory remedied the confusion, though it was kind of a reality check of what we used to be. "Date with Tristan, skirt you borrowed from my mother, you later told me that it was your dog's bed after we got into another rough spot?"

Ahhh, of course. I nodded my head for a bit and cleared things up. "That was just a joke, honest, there was no Skippy. I couldn't have a dog if I wanted to, I have vicious allergies around them. I still actually have the skirt in my closet, but I never got around to returning it and after awhile it became a part of some of my social ensembles." I scratched at the armrest of the couch nervously, my nail digging around the embroidered pattern. "I can give it back if you like, sorry if Lorelai was mad about that."

"It's OK," she told me, seeming relieved. "She found another cute little black skirt a few days after on a trip to Short Hills, and truth be told it wasn't her most important article of clothing. Just as long as you took care of it well, I'm happy and my mom will too."

"Does that mean no promises need to be made?"

She smiled at me again as I did an unlady like thing and propped my socked feet on the surface of the coffee table. "I trust you with them just fine, as long as they're returned later." She headed upstairs, and left me alone for the first time in at least a few hours. I yawned to myself, took the remote from the coffee table and did a quick circuit of the cable system. 6:15 on a Sunday morning is hardly optimum viewing time, so I found myself looking at informercial upon informercial, along with Z-grade movies and on the broadcast channels, 'public service' shows produced in the TV station's broom closet with the budget equivalent of a pack of gum, and the talent to go with it. You'd think Hartford would be a bastion of intellectualism, but you couldn't tell that from the Newsmakers program, where they interviewed some environmental nutjob about an emissions plan that was sure to fail in committee in the first place, but no matter since it was a public policy show that would seal up their FCC license for another week.

I turned off the TV after that and decided to apprise and enlighten myself with what they had on their coffee table in regards to their magazine collection. Surprisingly it was pretty diverse. A couple Newsweeks and Nations here and there (Rory's), along with Hospitality Monthly, Foodservice Today, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and several People-style magazines (Lorelai's). My fear that Lorelai's teenager in a 34 year-old's body meant I'd see a couple gossip rags and maybe a Tiger Beat in there was never realized thankfully. I flipped through the hotel magazine and just let myself get bored with the latest dish in reservation-taking systems and room service supplies, along with a very droll article about customer service during a large convention or gathering.

However, despite that I couldn't take my mind off Rory, and how she'd behave me through the day. Did she have something planned for me, or was this just a friendly gesture, her offering me a place to sleep without having to worry about becoming narcoleptic on the roads? I looked around the room, finding myself taking in the room I had only been in twice so far since I got to know her. Once in a panic over my low grade of an A-, and the other time cluttered up with clothes and trash bags at least halfway up the walls because of the town's rummage sale. It was so nice being in that room...not too big, nor was it too small. Just right.

Which then led me to thoughts of Rory's bed. I didn't know yet if she'd have me sleep on the couch again or go upstairs and sleep on her mom's bed, but I couldn't get that night a few weeks ago out of my head. How she stopped me from getting up and sneaking out the window and told me to slip out of my shoes and get comfy. Once she said that and calmed my fears about my mother finding out, I was under her spell, and I had to go through with sleeping with her.

I think about things from her point of view that night. Did she pretend to fall asleep, then when I did, look at me when I went into dreamland? Were there thoughts in her mind of getting closer to me? If I had turned down her invitation, what would have happened? My mind keeps puzzling all that, though it's barely troubled by her past at all. No guy has ever shared her bed, much less her heart fully and truly. The question of Rory being a single woman was opened, and I was trying to figure out how I'd be a part of that equation.

Before I could get too into it though, Rory came down the stairs and after getting my attention, tossed a light blue flannel shirt, along with some black shorts in my direction. "Catch!" she said towards me...

Just a little too late as the articles of clothing smacked me in the face. I had to laugh, and I put them in my hand as I got up from the couch and asked her where I could change.

"The bathroom is over there," she said, and pointed in the direction where it was, just off the other side of the kitchen. I thanked her and prepared to change, when karma again bit me in the ass with yet another opportunity.

"Wait," she said, softly. "Before you go, do you think you could unzip me?" As the sentence went on, her voice seemed to go from normal to sort of a soft flirt once again, the kind I heard whenever Rory met Dean in the front drive at Chilton. "I'm not double jointed and had to take about ten minutes to zip this up yesterday."

My inner vixen was almost giddy with excitement, and told me so by deciding to cloud all rational thought to my brain. My rational side tried to shout over it that this was something girls did for other girls all the time, however the thought of getting a nice long gander at Rory's naked back and the freckling spread throughout was causing me to feel a little lightheaded.

Thankfully I found a little advantage myself that would hopefully bring the brunette into the same unhinged state I was in at that time.

So with a smile, I said I'd do the same thing as long as she helped me untie my halter knot in back.

"Of course!" Rory seemed a little too eager to do that, but it was a yes, no matter what the tone of the answer. She turned around and brought her hair to her front so I had full access to the pull that kept her in that dress. My heart started quickening its beats as I brought my right hand towards the zipper. I could hear her breathing become sort of shallow as I brought myself closer towards her and rested my free hand on her shoulder. I started to part the teeth, my mind bringing the moment into sort of slow motion as the wide expanse of red fabric speckled with white parted in the path filled by that zipper, replaced with creamy pink skin, speckled with dark spots I had familiarized myself with days before in my bedroom.

I bit my lip, nerves building as I unzipped Rory slowly, finding oxygen to be a lacking resource at the time. With every centimeter of exposed skin, I became more entranced than I did the centimeter before that with Rory. The shoulders of the garment started to fall a little as slack built up below, giving me an unobstructed view of her soft and feminine shoulders. There was no bra strap hiding them at all, and my dream memory built up an even more elaborate view of her nude state that hadn't been built up by my fleeting and passing glances at her nude form in the Chilton showers.

My nails scraped against her spinal column as I retreated down her body, I could feel her react to that with what seemed to be a tight, yet stifled moan. And when I reached her bra line, discovering the fabric that almost matched her skin tone exactly, I just about lost it. I was starting to feel aroused doing this, like I wanted to stop there and despite not having her permission, stretching the two solitary hooks holding her breasts in towards each other and unsnap it. Though it was plain, the bra befits her simple personality rather well.

I looked down at the point I was at zipping her out to where it ended. Usually a guy would stop at the bra and not go further. But I saw that the teeth trailed all the way down to about three inches below her panty line. She wasn't pulling away, nor was she doing anything to suggest that I was being too forward. I unzipped, lingering my eyes over each inch of newly exposed virgin skin. I felt clenching down below and my face warm as I got ever closer to Rory's personal Maginot line.

When I felt the bump of her waistband, I prepared to stop, ready to hear Rory thank me and tell me that was enough. So I stopped for about two seconds expecting that. Instead, I received an eerie silence and a sort of huff from her to tell me that I was not done.

I felt a sense of relief come over me then, and a trust build between Rory and I. My mouth was drying, my heart pumping double the blood, and there was nothing stopping me. I closed the distance between the zipper and the end, my fingers resting against her ass with more cream cotton exposed. I lingered the touch a little, trying to make it feel like an accidental brush with the heel of my palm.

As I finished, I brushed my finger up her column one more time seductively as I brought myself up from a sort of crouching position, that expanse of naked skin getting to me in the worst way possible. That simple act made me want Rory even more. Memorizing her back was no longer enough; I just wanted to take the shoulders and sleeves of that dress and bring them down her arms until the entire item was sliding off down her thighs in a quick blink of the eye, until it landed in an elegant red pool around her ankles.

I felt myself flush as my fingers departed from her skin, unbelieving that I was looking at her in this way, as more than a classmate. She turned around and smiled, leaving me thankful she was keeping the dress on but probably disappointing my hormones.

"Now let me undo you," Rory told me rather softly. "Turn around." I was thankful she didn't ask to do me first, with that damned halter and nothing beneath it I would've had to hold the bodice against my chest before I went into the bathroom to change. Unzipping Rory would have been a little harder had I done that.

I sat down on a hassock so she could work the tight knot it was in. Immediately, I felt my breathing shorten upon her fingertips running through my hair so she could get at the knot hidden beneath it all. I shut my eyes, and let myself get lost in the exhilaration as she found it and started working out those knots. Her fingers up against the top of my neck felt absolutely heavenly, and I was lost in that feeling, the sensual dance being renewed once again. I felt her breath against the back of my shoulder as she grunted with effort to undo the knot.

"I think you tied this a little too tight Par," she said through her teeth. Apparently the insurance knot Ms. LaCosta made was quite tight, a little more than Dean's so called 'permanent knot' from the bracelet I easily defeated thanks to a lipstick knife. I couldn't let Rory know this however, so I lied and claimed I made a second tighter knot myself during the midnight break.

She kept trying to work that first know open, but the back of the dress wasn't being cooperative to her. Tugging, pulling, trying to work it with her fingers, all ended up with her damning the knot and wanting to go for the scissors. I knew she wouldn't though; the vintage nature of the dress prevents it from being altered, even if it's only a ¼" wide and 16" long piece of lace. Fran would be sure to let me know that for the rest of my life by not letting borrow anything from her ever again if I had the lace cut.

Rory was stubborn, still trying to work the knot out without much luck. I was getting somewhat impatient; in the time I sat on that footstool I wanted to change into those comfy clothes and go through my grooming routine. I was just about ready to take a large risk and work my dress the wrong way up my body to slide out of it.

I said I was about to, but that never happened. Rory had enough of letting her fingers try to work out the knot, and as I thought she was about ready to give up and I felt my hair slide back onto the middle of my neck, I found something else tugging snarl at the bind. At first I thought nothing of it, Rory could be trying to work it out with the sharpened end of a pencil...

Only I could feel a small and abrupt rush of air spread out from the back of my neck and around the bottom of my scalp. Her fingers came back a bit after that, but there was still a heavy sense of vanilla perfume rushing up my nose. I shut my eyes, not trying to confirm that what was happening, actually was.

Oh God, I thought to myself, Rory's breath as close to the nape of my neck as possible without a kiss being initiated. I could feel her trying to tug at the not with her teeth, and slowly working it out with the combination of her teeth and fingers. The knot started to ease out a little, but the way her mouth on my neck like that felt...was almost like a slow and teasing kiss. I felt everything on my back goosebump, and thought being lost each time her lips touched my skin.

I shut my eyes, and yelped a little when she accidentally nipped the skin going in for another attempt to loosen the knot. However, she didn't say anything and stayed strangely quiet for the next couple minutes as she slowly, and agonizingly yanked the bunny out of its hole or however you might describe a tight loop of a knot being loosened. Her lips seemed to linger for a bit against the heated skin after finishing, and there wasn't anything in the world I wanted to ruin the moment.

"Sorry about that," she said, sort of shaky to me as she scooched up and got back into a comfy position since the first knot I made that day would be a lot easier. "I just needed to, uh, get that knot out, it was pretty stubborn. You might want to remember that next time you put on a dress like this."

My response? Sort of not very intelligent. "Uh, I will. You really know how to let a knot out Ror."

Alright, so it was beyond stupid, but Rory's lips seemed to have that effect of sucking my bearings dry. Just as long as she doesn't try it again in a life and death situation, I should be alright for the next time I end up making a strange error in dressing like that. 

With the tightened knot gone, that left the knot I made, which naturally was slipping out. That one was much easier to undo without much lingering touches on Rory's part, and after another few moments, I felt the weight of my chest suddenly shift down as the strings fluttered down from my shoulders back down to my chest.

A hanging silence hovered over the air for a bit after that. She brought her other hand up and massaged my back as she had a second sense that the stress of the halter against the back of my neck made it and my shoulders sore, considering how much weight they had to hold. I basked in the tremors her hands sent through my neck and down my body, thinking about how close I was eleven hours before to kissing her, and in turn, her movement towards me. God, how much I wanted Rory made me ache so much with desire for her. I didn't want to move, didn't care for anything else. These small pockets of silence help me out when it comes to gauging what she feels for me.

Finally, I had to go, my arm was getting sore from holding the bodice of the dress against myself. I grabbed the clothes and went into the bathroom, locking the door, and then quickly changed into the shirt and shorts, not letting my eyes linger at my heated form more than they needed to. I carefully folded up the dress and put it into the empty side pocket of my emergency bag, and then proceeded to brush my teeth and my hair, and then wash my face. I was so sleepy and slogged through the tasks, but still managed to take a long look at myself in the mirror.

I was far from the girl who left Rory in devastation the last time I stared at myself in the mirror those few hours before. I felt happier, much more at ease and comfortable in my own skin, and most of all, confident. I felt so relaxed, the barriers of our friendship unstrained anymore by past history or socioeconomic concerns. I was still just a bit scared about my feelings for her, wondering if today I would capitulate to my feelings for Rory.

If so, she picked a fine outfit for me to do it in. I buttoned the flannel up to the second to last button, maybe give her a few ideas, but mainly because I wanted to still feel a cool breeze on my skin. She'd have to strain in to see my cleavage, but to give her at least a little hint, a provocation...that's what I was intending to do.

The shorts were buried beneath the shirt, making it look like I was just sleeping in the shirt. They were comfy enough and were sort of loose on my body, pretty much the effect expected. After all I don't have as much in back as Ms. Gilmore does, she bought them to flatter her own charms.

No, I'm not also in love with Lorelai if that's what you're trying to take out of this. For a woman her age though, she does look quite nice, even Louise, Miss Fickle herself has this sort of little thing for her that kind of weirds me out. Then again, my friends have been acting out of character lately. Madeline for example, seems fixated on Brad Langford lately, so much she's been turning down dates with Blue Demon football players left and right. They're in the playoffs, big men on campus, and my raven-haired ditz of a friend is telling them no so she can fawn over a guy who has more than a normal interest in computers, robots and taxidermy! My friends are changing, along with my allegiances. Rory has become the very definition of a best friend, but I just want to keep that shred of hope that maybe, just maybe, she might have feelings for me, that she might be gay.

I was hoping for the best, to at least come out of that house unscathed when I left later in the day. But by the time I finished my bathroom chores, sleep was finally getting to me in the worst way, and my fucked up biological clocked needed some winding. Time to get to bed Par, I thought to myself as I put my grooming stuff back in the bag and left the bathroom, preparing to sleep on that cursed couch.

Why? I was under the impression that after 25 hours together, Rory would want a break from me, which is all good and well because of my naturally uncompromising nature. Those weeks before when I was in her bed it was just to talk, there weren't romantic possibilities floating in the air, what with my choice of wearing a pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt that did nothing to flatter me. There was more tension in the air then, an angry tension from our argument the night before that.

So I was prepared to wrap myself in the afghan hanging of the back of the sofa, two rooms keeping us both separated and letting us get the rest we so deserved after all that dancing. The throw pillow would be fine for my head and I could get used to that couch eventually.

I was sitting down on the couch and about to get into a vertical sleeping position, when I heard a door shut in the kitchen, and Rory ran into the living room.

Now before I get into the details of what she said and what happened next, the only thing on my mind was sleep, honest. But if the girl you love comes out the way she did, you might want to change that definition of sleep to the other kind.

I was caught, literally as she came into the room, changed out of her dress and into her pajamas. Usually this would mean something that resembled the Nick and Nora brand, with monkeys and bananas patterned all over the blue or pink fabric. That's about the only thing I remember positively about the Puffs initiation; her looking cute in her birthday cake pajamas.

I think she's been choosing her nightwear a lot more differently than before though. She was still in a shirt and pants mind you, not wearing a merry widow or some kind of thin barely-there lingerie. But the way she looked this morning, it's going to stay with me for a long time.

Her hair was straightened out, and she was wearing blue scrub-style sleep pants, the kind with the drawstring. They looked light and airy on her legs, and made them look longer than if she was in her regular pajama pants. It was on top I really noticed a change though.

She was in a tank top, but not like the kind she wore when I brushed her hair. It had spaghetti-style straps, and the neck plunged just a little lower than the Tuesday shirt. It was a ribbed cotton shirt, and flattered what she has in front so damned well, like her chest. I found myself looking at her and trying to hold back my impulse to drool at her look. The hem of the top wouldn't easily be able to tucked into her underwear either, since it stopped just short of her belly button. It seemed like the top was two sizes smaller than her number, but the effect it had on me...if she was trying to get my attention, Rory can read my mind well! After having to use my imagination all day to think about what she was wearing under that nice little dress, it could finally get a rest.

Rory knew my weakness; a her in tight and flattering clothing. Clothing that showed off her small breasts very well. I swear the neck of that shirt was so low that if she bent down, I'd be looking at more than just her freckling, there would be her pink and rosy buds, lurking beneath the white cotton. I could see her nipples puckered beneath the shirt, and they were well aroused.

God, if I ever find out Rory was letting her fingers do the walking up down her thighs while I was changing, the damned things that could do to me!

I still found myself trying to lie down, but Rory took the blanket from me before I could start to try to cuddle up.

"Nope, no couch for you Par," she said, smirking and seeming a little more awake than she should be. "I know how you hate sleeping on it, and Mom would freak if you slept in her bed. Why don't you sleep with me?"

Because, I don't want to just sleep with you Ror, I want to-- Before my inner pervert could misconstrue that statement into something embarrassing, I wrapped myself around this new development, that she wanted me in her bed again. The space between us would be very little, and the temptation would be very high to bring her closer to me.

You’ve already slept with her in that bed, I was reminded by my memory, not to mention you shared a room with her for at least ten weeks. That much was true. But I then reminded myself that there was a chaperone monitoring everyone in the dorm building at any one time, one posted in each wing. Even if my feelings were running hot for Rory back then, there was no way I was going to take the risk of trying to lure her in. That first moan between us, Mr. Van Andel would burst in, and we’d be questioned so fast about our intentions that it wouldn’t be funny.

I was still unsure about things, and if she was falling for me like I was falling for her. But my mind was worn along with my body. There wasn’t much choice in the matter; Rory’s bed was decently comfortable, and as for the couch, there are some nice plastic chairs at the airport I’d rather sleep on than that.

I sighed, looking up at Rory, expectant of my answer. Then, just as fast as I had doubts, I cast them aside. “I would love to share a bed with you again Gilmore.”

“Great.” Her acknowledgement, which should have been an exclamation, instead came in a loud yawn. She stretched her arms out, causing her top to rise up her stomach and expose a little more skin. I was finding my mind track again interrupted by a fantasy of getting that shirt off her the rest of the way thanks to my hands, raking my palms over her breasts slowly on purpose, then bringing them back down to her side, getting her closer towards me as we backed into the door of her bedroom, and then...

I already said something of that sort moments before, didn't I? Me and my one-track mind, there's a horny teenage boy here screaming to get out somewhere. Not to beat a dead horse, but once again my eyes glazed over with lustful thoughts of my classmate and soon to be bed partner as I got up numbly and after she shut off the lights and locked the doors and windows in the house (no use keeping them open if you're wiling away a Sunday sleeping), headed into her bedroom with her.

"Oh, by the way Par."


She passed in front of me and entered her room. "Flannel does suit you well; you look very nice." She smiled, and I found myself brushing off her compliment with a quick one of my own. However, instead of a 'you look nice' plain kind of accolade, I went off on a tangent about her tank top and how hot she looked wearing it. I mumbled through most of the words, looking at my feet as I started fearing my chances with her were about to end because I was gushing about a shirt she probably wore many times before. My inner vixen was starting to leech into real life, and after I told her she had a very trim stomach, I was afraid that was it; my feelings for her would be somewhat vocalized and she'd freak out about what I was telling her.

Imagine my surprise when, as she bit her lip and her body language communicated that she was somewhat nervous, when she again complimented me.

"Well, I could say a few things about you too. I uh, kind of have a thing for your legs."

"Huh?" I was puzzled, since I always thought they were my worst feature. My short stature guaranteed I wouldn't have the curves of a Beyonce Knowles, with her thick thighs, nor did I have that tall type of supermodel stature because I was tiny. I swear that when puberty hit those inches I should've gained in height went straight to my breasts instead to build up the cup size. I brushed off the compliment, trying to distract her. "They're just legs, I use them to walk and they serve their purpose. Nothing really special about them."

"That may be true," she started to say as we sat down on the side of her bed, "but they make up at least a third of your height, you can't help but notice them. Especially when you're wearing those corduroy pants that fit snug and tight. As for when you wear a dress or a skirt..."

Rory trailed off and brought her eyes lower from my face down to my legs. I saw her hand move towards me, and before I knew it, her hand was just above my knee, resting on my bared right thigh. Honestly, she had done this before, many times. Like when I needed to be calmed down or something, or she placed something like a newspaper or a book on my lap.

In those instances however, I wasn't wearing shorts that were cut to within a few inches of my apex. Also, I was in a scholastic state of mind. Not to mention, Rory wasn't just setting her hand down and leaving it there; she was rubbing her hand up and down slowly between the cap of my knee and just below the hem of the short leg.

She bit at her lip as her fingers scraped my leg, and I had to keep in a moan as she explained why. "You...just have nice legs. I mean it's apparent you take good care of yourself even if you try to come of as plain and unconcerned with your beauty." Her nerves were a little high as she took off her slippers, keeping the heel of her hand on my leg. "I swear, I haven't ever seen you wear hose because you're just so naturally smooth."

Is Rory trying to kill me with kindness? Her hand, sure enough was still on my smooth legs, seemingly doing a spur of the moment biology experiment to try to find that stray exposed root or missed hair that stood out like a sore thumb. Little did she know that every inch had been well-covered, and I was smooth as my birthday, albeit with a little help from Mother Nature and a smart combination of scientists and botanists.

"Geeze!" Her reaction to how I felt was as if she just discovered the microwave oven and it's panorama of uses. "No hair at all, nothing. Were you born this way, not to grow very much hair?"

It was time to give her a little peek into my 'beauty' regimen, what little of it there was to be found. "Well, I do have a dirty little secret; when I tan, I also ask for a leg waxing. Hurts like hell, but it leaves me free from the drudgery of using a razor. That was more at Fran's suggestion though, she took me one day to this spa down in Old Saybrook, when I had an in-service day back in ninth grade as kind of a recharge. I decided to get the works, and though I didn't take well to the pedicure, manicure, or facial mask, the wax was well worth the pain. I've been doing it monthly ever since and the hair is coming less and less with each treatment."

Rory's interest in finding out if what I told her was true ended up being high, so she took an even more obvious opportunity to rub my thigh. "God, that does feel nice."

"Like them?" I kept my voice at an even keel, despite my distracted state.

"Yeah, it's too expensive for me, but so worth it with you." Her eyes were directed at my lap, and I could hear her breath shorten. "I mean it Par, you do have nice legs."

I thanked her as she moved the hand higher and higher, by then it was almost at the hem of the shorts. She seemed a little nervous about going above that line, but I just let her go ahead and linger, delighting in her soft touch. I thought in my mind about her continuing her ministrations, moving them beneath my shorts as our collective oxygen supply deepened as we drew closer, Rory's smooth fingertips along the side of my panties. I could see her get a sort of wide-eyed look as she pushes a finger beneath, and finds out first hand just how high that I have myself waxed and stripped of hair, something I started doing the month before when I started thinking she was getting my signals.

However, my body was thinking sleep, thus the only thing her hand rubbing my leg did was relax me further. I yawned a bit again, and started to feel the weight of my eyelids become greater...

"You know, I think we should get to bed." She let go of her grip on my leg, the heat from her hand going right back with her, and got up so she could crawl onto her side of the mattress. "What time do you have to be back at the Manor anyways?"

There was about thirty seconds of an awkward pause hanging as I felt a hot spark in my leg where she had just touched me moments before. Getting my bearings back, I told her I'd probably be expected home about 8pm.

"Is your mother getting home at that time from San Diego?"

I sighed. "Knowing Mother she'll probably stumble in drunk with that louse she calls a boyfriend she met at Mohegan Sun around one in the morning, then they'll pass out on the sofa in the guest house since the staff can barely tolerate her sober in the Manor. They always send her to the guest house so that I'm not disturbed in rest, Daddy made that clear in their service contract, that she cannot impede my education progress through her transgressions."

"So when you get home..." I could tell she could read my mind, figuring out the answer without much else said, so I finished her line.

"Finishing touches on homework."

Rory smirked, I was in the affirmative. "I thought so, I have to prepare for the 'surprise' pop quiz Mercurio's sure to throw us in Russian Novels tomorrow."

I rolled my eyes at the mention of Chilton's worst-prepared instructor, whose entire curriculum and syllabus is posted on a Chilton student's website that is pretty much the same since a paper copy was made of it back in 1988. "That guy is so predictable; he's never changed his curriculum since the coup in 1990, and then all he did there was change all the 'Soviet' and 'Soviet Union' references within his notes to 'Russian' and 'Russia'. But the class helps our grade, so I suppose..."

We got into bed together and talked about school for a while, trying to lull ourselves to sleep with conversation sure to put us in slumber. It was a little chilly in the room so I took a few more inches of blankets, but Rory didn't seem to mind. I took a pillow, she took another, and after a little more talk about the pop quiz, I asked her if I could turn off the lamp on her nightstand.

"Sure, you must be tuckered out," she said to me as I stretched my arm over to the lamp and turned the switch off. "Need anything else?"

"I'm fine." I looked at Gilmore in the slight darkness of the room, light stopped by her window's drawn shades. She just looked so at ease, so happy and comfortable with me being there with her to win the dance title, just after convincing me a trip on the road back to Hartford would be hazardous to my health. It was then saw how lucky I was that she was there for me, no matter what I put her through. Rory would always have my back, defending me even when others try to create slander and libel against my character. She's never given up on me either. For all that we've been through, this weekend has been one of the best ways ever to finally take us out of the antagonism that used to define us.

"Sleep well, Paris." I said the same thing to her, and it took her only a little time to fall asleep, so that by 6:45am she was out and her brain was winding down activity after such a grueling day. I followed her into dreamland shortly thereafter, but only after giving myself an alternate answer to Rory's question where she asked if I needed anything more.

I have everything I ever wanted right here, I thought to myself, my left hand trembling at the closeness to her own right hand as I took a long glance at the girl I've fallen for so far, eyes closed, hair messy in front of her face, and her chest rising up and down as soft puffs of breath emanated from between her beautiful and puckered lips. A nice comfy bed, good company, a warm and caring body near me to keep me from being chilled, a kind girl I willingly shared the stage for. Rory, I have it all right here, in you. I wish you'd know that, but I'd rather be your friend than be your enemy, or nothing at all. If you're ready though, I want to see a sign of some kind, be it today, be it sometime this year. I'll wait entire scores of years just to hear whether you love me or not, but I'd rather know, sooner than later.

I was almost fading into unconsciousness, but before I did, I placed the tips of my forefingers against my lips, making a soft smacking sound with my mouth. I then brought the kissed fingers up against Rory's left cheek, sharing the soft gesture with her. I tucked the loose strands of hair on her face back into her ear, and she looked so serene, quiet, as if nothing has changed her at all from the day she stepped into our school, where others might have crumbled under the pressure and become competitive and bitchy. I then smiled and brought the fingers back. Wishing her one more whispered good night, I then within moments fell into the sleep I so rightfully deserved for myself.

Sleep in itself, that should have in theory been giving me dreams pumped sexually to an extreme level, were by definition tame compared to my current sexually charged tracks, and seemed to be more about an instant replay of the dance marathon more building a new scenario. Kirk's hijinks, my issues that remained with Tristan, and those last few close hours with Rory were recalled, but didn't change all that much from that of reality.

The last dance in the dream was odd though, with Rory and I doing a tango. A very steamy tango, I'd have to say, what with my reckless disregard in the dream for the reverence and history of the marathon as I slid my hands up her thighs, brought her towards a side wall of the gym, then hiked up the skirt of her dress as she moaned for me to give her what she wanted; gratification. The dream shifted focus between my view and hers as we ditched the competition and kissed our way into the bathroom, where I ended up doing uncouth things to my current bedmate against the same sink I had cried my tears of confession to Ms. LaCosta the night before. It was raw, untamed and very passionate, so much that when it abruptly ended with her about to reciprocate on me...

I found myself awake in the bed. No soreness, but a sudden awakening from the rigors of REM sleep. First thing I checked was the alarm clock on the night table, which read just after 11:40am. Then I turned around.

Where I found the back of Rory's head facing me, her hair tickling my nose. I also found my body pressed up against hers, more in some places than others. My midsection was pressed hard against her ass, my chest right up against her back, an arm loosely wrapped around her stomach. I could literally feel the rise and fall of her back against my front. Though I couldn't feel my left leg at all. I wondered why, so I tried to shake it, but then I found it was trapped beneath Rory. My right leg was fine in the physical and mental sense.

The sexual sense however, was off the charts and going haywire, for I found it wrapped around her two slim gams. My body was very close, and I was feeling overheated, because apparently in rest, I was luring Rory into a spoon position. I stared sweating in fear; afraid that the sleeping girl next to me was going to awake discovering this predicament and lay into me despite the accidental nature of the spooning.

I was lying in that position completely still, afraid any movement would disturb Rory from her own sleep. I did have good reason, for the combination of a heavy flannel shirt, nothing beneath, and the ribbed cotton of the back of Rory's shirt put my breasts in an extremely scratchy position. The fabric of the flannel was right up against them, so that each time I shifted in any direction, my nipples stiffened even more. With no layer between the shirt like a bra, I felt it, and damn, it felt really nice. But the fact I was in this compromising pose, and Rory was far from ready to become more intimate than two friends can be, that seemed to desensitize me just a little.

Rory should have been up by then, preparing to lecture me about unlady-like behavior, maybe even accuse me of impropriety. So I tried to move the hands and push my leg out from beneath her. However, this only caused her to shift even closer.

I tugged at the leg pinned beneath her, having to slowly ease her weight off of it so that she wouldn't be aware that anything went on, even though I slept and fell into this compromising position. I let her go from my grasp, taking back my legs and arms, and lay straight in the bed, wiggling my way from beneath her thigh. It took a little bit of time, along with some luck, but after a few minutes of coaxing, I was free once again, leaving her undisturbed.

I turned around in the bed so that next time an unconscious spoon attempt would throw me to the floor, and looked at an old tourism poster of Prague on the wall, analyzing the colors, the blending and what building was being advertised as representing the Czech capital in the poster. Keeping my thoughts away from Rory as much as I possibly could, I fell asleep again, only this time the rest was so deep, I didn't dream at all, which was good. I would've probably headed into another sleep talking mirage if I kept lingering on that spooning of Rory without her knowledge.


When I woke up again hours later, I found that warmness against my side that had lulled me to sleep hours before had disappeared. I arose from my laying position and sat against the headboard, looking to the left and finding the side of the bed Rory slept on to be empty. The room was still darkened by the shades, so I had no way to be able to tell what time it was unless I checked the clock.

Truth was, I was well rested. Much more rested than I usually was in my own bed, in my own house. Usually I have to deal with the stress of my mother possibly having some kind of bipolar incident and trying to barge in my locked door, or some nosy staff member with ill will on their mind trying to find out my secrets. I could relax around Rory, be a little more at ease; I was showing as such with the way I slept, despite my panic about the close sleeping arrangement.

I looked towards the clock, and found it to be reading quarter after three. Just over eight hours, not bad, I thought. My brain didn't feel clouded and I felt my biological clock return back to normal, forgetting I had been up at least six hours past the regular Sunday morning bedtime I maintained.

I got up and sat down on the bed, finding myself familiarizing myself again with the small bedroom she maintained off the kitchen the Gilmores rarely, if ever used. Good thing too, since the oven seemed like an ancient antique, I swear that a designer would have a challenge trying to create the perfect kitchen for those two. They ate at Luke's just about every day, partook of delivered foods when they didn't, and fueled themselves on caffeine all the time. I swear Rory's only brush with vegetables comes on the school's lunch salad.

I yawned and wiped the sleep out of my eyes, then got up from the bed and felt the plush berber of Rory's carpet beneath my feet. I hadn't slept until three in the afternoon in so long that I forgot the last time I did; I'm such a creature of routine. Mother would have my head if she ever found out I slept this long, and probably do even worse things when she learned that I wasn't sleeping alone and thinking sexual thoughts about another girl, whose bed I happened to be sharing.

There wasn't much to do at home, so I could spend most of the rest of the day relaxing with Rory if I wanted to. Awake, I got up from the bed, and opened up Rory's bedroom door so we could talk about the dance and whatever assignments we hadn't finished yet since they were still more than a month due and our final graded projects for the semester before the exams.

Leave it to Gilmore to again, surprise the ever-lasting heck out of me.

There, sitting out on the kitchen table, was a lunch of a hot turkey hoagie, a bag of onion-flavored Sun Chips, and what looked to be a foam cup of wintergreen tea. Right next to that plate, the Sunday editions of The Hartford Courant and New York Times, ready to be read, just waiting for me to be read and have the news, features and opinions scrutinized and filtered through my brain.

That Rory was so observant of my routine and meals in the first place, that told me something. I loved eating turkey, and whenever the ala carte line was out of salad that's what I would choose, along with the Sun Chips. She also knew that I'm an avid reader of the Sunday papers and in my normal Sunday morning routine, find it the perfect accompaniment to my watching Meet the Press and Face the Nation, followed by reading all the meaty sections to one of the Sunday morning jazz and classical shows on the radio. It was too late for that part of the routine now, but at least she gave me what I wanted that she could control.

I smiled as I looked over the spread at my place at the table, swimming in the fact that I could sit at the Gilmore table in my pajamas and eat in relative peace without Mother bugging me about proper dress, table manners, and basic decorum. That was another thing that was drawing me towards Rory's arms, that eating to her was for its intended purpose; to have fun with food and have some nice casual socialization during the meal. I didn't have to worry about insulting a well-paid chef by not eating an appetizer or side dish, nor did I have to think of something witty to say in order to keep a conversation that was dulling the senses of all the guests going. It was just lunch, plain and simple.

After a trip to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my hands, I felt hungry after at least fifteen hours without a good filling meal, and at least a day since I had something resembling what normal people would call dinner. I tackled the turkey hoagie eagerly, feeling like I was in heaven as I took in the tastes of the meats, cheeses, vegetables and the oil slathered onto the bun. With the wintergreen tea, it tasted wonderful, along with the bag of chips.

I called her name out towards the living room that I was up after she didn't come out to greet me, but she seemed to be elsewhere so I didn't hear anything back in the affirmative. Not that I was disappointed about that, it gave me a little time with myself to recharge my batteries.

After getting about a ¼ through both the sandwich and bag of chips, I started reading the front page of the Courant, where there wasn't much to read about besides another fight between Rowland and the House over the state's budget, plus a feature on how professional sports teams keep spurning Hartford despite all we've tried to offer. I could care less about the debate over building a stadium downtown and just wanted some raw numbers on business and economic development in Central Connecticut. All so boring, all driving me towards thinking of Rory a lot more than I usually did. Where she was, what she was doing, and wondering if she had forgotten about me. I felt so bored, I just wanted to talk with her, not wait until she came back and pass the time between now and then by reading a newspaper I wasn't feeling particularly attentive towards.

I turned the pages of the paper, but wasn't paying attention throughout the mean because my mind was so distracted with all these thoughts of Rory so close, my encouragement and my returning an interest by almost kissing her last night and sliding the zipper open as slow as I could without any notice. Even my daily dose of the serialized comic strip For Better or for Worse (the first thing I read everyday even if the words 'WAR DECLARED' are in 96-point type on the front page) wasn't enough to take me off from what I was thinking. I needed some kind of sign to know what she was feeling for me, if she did. The first thing I took out of her invitation to the dance was that she had a slight interest, but not enough to say for sure she wanted to be more than my friend, for all I knew she asked me only because of my strategic skills in regards to gauging the others in the room, and combining those with my dancing talent. I read through the Courant (advertising inserts, TV section and any accent sections set off to the side right after I opened up the paper), but didn't have the willpower to go through the Times today. I was no mood for reading, which was much too odd for my mind to wrap itself around.

That's because it's Rory you want to read, it told me instead. I had moved over to the living room ten minutes later and sat down on the couch, discovering Rory's texts, notebooks and tangerine iBook sitting on the coffee table sort of spread out all over. The computer was closed with the schoolbooks stacked on it, while the notebooks were spread throughout the table. I couldn't help but laugh to myself about this; even towards the end of a three-day weekend where all her work was done by Thursday evening so she could focus on the marathon, Rory still had to review, just like I did. I still didn't know where she was, but at least I'd be able to read what she noted for my sixth period Advanced Economics class. She took it in first period, so her notes had a much more fresh feel to them than what I did, using a mix of muddled longhand and lecture audio recorded via an MP3 device I picked up when Daddy brought it home to me as a present from his trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in January. I'll write clear when I have to, but usually I write fast and barely dot my I's or cross my T's. The last thing I want to see is some unscrupulous student steal my very specific observations, decode them and post them to a website for all to read. I sipped the cup of tea as I read through what she had noted in first period, memorizing it and sending it to the memory banks in my head.

I did this with all of the classes Rory and I shared, thankful for her permission to look at her notes. I fell in love all over again at the way she could be so specific about things, yet simplify them for the layman at the same time. A complicated formula about why the Mexican peso and Italian lire were so high numerically against the American dollar was reduced to a simple mathematical formula using a pack of gum, a bottle of Coke, and the price of the Apple iPod as good examples to show how the prices worked. It made me realize that she was always one to pay close attention to her work, and that she'll blow away all comers when she goes to Harvard's journalism school. She might want to be an international television correspondent, but I could actually see Rory writing investigative pieces for national magazines and newspapers just as well, maybe even a cushy staff position at the International Herald-Tribune out of Paris. Really, she's that good, I admit it.

It took me about a half hour to read through most of those notes, noshing on my sandwich and tea throughout as I took a blank piece of paper so I could get a basic table of contents so I could combine what I learned from Rory's notes with mine, a compare and contrast if you will.

It was then that I got into the notes for Russian Novels, the class Rory and I loathed with a passion more than Communism. Say what you will about Lenin, but at least he seemed to suck the boring inspiration out of many Russian authors while he ruled and in turn, saved a lot of children throughout the world the need to have to analyze a 1,700 page novel on the Bolshevik Revolution and how it applied to a nuclear family in the Russian state of Evenki (read; not very much at all, they just had to get used to saying president instead of czar, yet it took 300 pages of needless exposition to get this through to the characters). I opened up the notebook and set about seeing if I missed something. Not very much here at all, she seems to have it covered as little as possible, I thought to myself as I paged through the pages upon pages of blank lined paper, unable to find her familiar script on it.

"Oh well, I guess we'll have to study together," I told myself as I gave up towards the back of the book, and prepared to head out of the house to retrieve a pair of sweatpants I kept in the car in case I happened to get a flat tire on the way to a formal party in January. I tossed the light blue notebook back on top of the coffee table and was about to turn away...

When I found out my life was about to change in such a short time.

The notebook hit the table on the side of its spine, and as it fell onto the surface, opened up towards the last page. I was surprised to say the least, and thought I had discovered a new goldmine of more notes that Rory had taken in her spare time. I thought nothing of what the writing on the paper was, so curious, I picked up the notebook again and turned the back cardboard page onto the cover so I could again start to take notes.

What was on that page made the contents look a little cut and dry. The page was divided into two by a darkly scribbled line of lead down the middle, and atop in the title area, pro and con were written in capital print. However, the con side was completely empty, with the pro column filled completely down to the end line. I started reading through these to myself, finding nothing that seemed odd about what was listed. It seemed like it could've come out of Anna Karenina, with there nothing being mentioned except 'She...' starting each line. I went through the listing, trying to recall moments in the book that resembled 'she has so much courage', 'she knows how to have fun when prodded on, 'she looks lovely in a cute dress', 'she has an attitude about not giving up that inspires me so much, and pushes me to improve myself to shine in her eyes', and a lot more than that. I kept reading through this little list, nothing raising a red flag to me.

I paged back one and still didn't find any cons listed, despite the format from the first page being kept for the next two pages. I thought they were academic notes, and though they didn't seem to match up with the attitude Anna kept in the book, it seemed like Rory could connect them to her from what she wrote. Once I reached the middle of page two however, things were starting to match up out of order. I didn't understand why she would write that the character 'was there for me when she didn't have to be, helping me in a low moment,' nor was there an understanding about why Anna Karenina 'gave me a drive home to remember'. Hold on a moment here, I reminded myself, knowing I was correct, the book was first published as a couple chapters in a national Russian newspaper in 1875. The first practical automobile didn't hit the road until at least twenty years later. Really, this doesn't match up...About that time the lure of finding a red correction pencil to correct Rory's notes was starting to bite me pretty hard.

I kept going up and up the list, trying find anything to connect her Anna notes to what she wrote. But how could I when she was writing nonsense like 'her shirt is so warm and soothing', 'she's starting to warm to the idea of becoming closer,' not to mention 'the way my mother is my best friend, she seems to be the same with her nanny. What a great woman she is'.

"Did I miss the non-existent nanny bonding chapter in that book or was I asleep through it?" I grumbled to myself, moving on to page three, where more notes were listed that started with 'she'. She this, she that, shouldn't Rory have said something about Leo Tolstoy himself by now? Her reasons continued on, 'I love the way she rolls her eyes when she's annoyed, and 'that secret smile she has for me drives me crazy'. There seemed to be a pattern developing as I scanned up the page. It still wasn't making much sense to me at all, this talking about a her and a she in such reverence. There was nothing in these notes I could take back home with me, and seemed to be the worst formed comments about a book that I had ever found. I went through the two pages before the third, trying to connect them to literature somehow, anyhow. Maybe she wasn't talking about Anna Karenina, maybe these are for a chick-lit novel, something Helen Fielding would write. I sighed, about ready to give up on all these notes and their tangibility.

About then, I turned the page over, and found the page below #3 empty of any notes. There was nothing there at all, and going through the book as I got up and threw the waste materials and bags from lunch into the trash can in the kitchen, I walked back into Rory's room and sat on the bed. I brought my eyes over to the right page and was about to start scanning down the page...

I found my eyes drawing towards the deep black title, scribbled in pencil. The title was like something you'd find in a thesis, or a clinical study of some sort. There was something different about this than the usual or status quo that got my attention.

Namely, that I was the subject of the title.

"The Pros and Cons of Romancing Paris Gellar," I read aloud to myself, crossing my legs and not yet realizing the impact of what Rory had titled these notes. I repeated the name, trying to figure out if I was seeing things. Once, twice, three times. The letters didn't change at all, still saying that this was a pro and con list about seducing me.

Romancing Paris Gellar, who would be...This couldn't be true, that was not what this was titled. This was a pro and con list, plain and simple, something you did along the lines of Harvard vs. Yale, Men vs. Women, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Upper vs. Middle Class. Surely she had not used this common form of comparison to try to construct an argument about how I should be complimented or damned for my behavior. The tilt was supposed to be far from this result, with the cons filling at least seven pages plus, accompanied by scathing criticisms about my attitude. There were not supposed to be only eight reasons for me that didn't endear me to her, one of them being that I need to examine a question being asked longer when it comes to my personal life so that I didn't overreact to said query.

This wasn't me Rory was talking about and listing in such a straightforward form, it couldn't have been...however most of the first page was filled with 'Paris does' this, or 'Paris would' that. As I read through the text below the subject's line, something was starting to spark inside of me, that she was rattling off things.

There were things along the con side, a pen mark crossing out a con that I hated Luke because of my first impression of him. Another scribbled out line told of how I wasn't in love with the town of Stars Hollow, then one more about how she thought I wouldn't accept her invitation to the marathon because she thought it might be beneath me. All those were scribbled out.

It became clear that there were a couple on that con side that were unlikely to change. One involving the roller coaster track our friendship is on. But the other stuck out like a sore thumb.

She thought that if she admitted she liked me, I would reject her and break her heart. That she liked me, and I would say no.

Let that settle in your thoughts for a moment. The fact I've been thinking about no one else but her for the last four months, and in a smaller way since last year, that I wanted to be more than Rory Gilmore's best friend, but to be her lover. That she was saying she liked me. What reason would I ever find to reject her advances?

Of course she had told me that many times before in a non-interested sense, also that she respected me. But combined with the context of the title, and that sentence...

It was then my eyes drew towards the first column of the pro side of the list. A line that had been changed many times, and was now lurking just below the list title. I could see that the eraser had been used many times there, and the words replacing it were above the line.

At first the sentence had been I respect her. That was scribbled out and replaced with what seemed to used to read like, and that word was erased again, to be replaced with a multi-word entry fit in barely within that word space, wish I could have.

Now in my eyes, the sentence took form, what she wanted. The lead was fresh and sharp on the page, denoting that indeed, she had rewritten this line only hours before.

Instead of reading I respect her, the line reads I want her*. Naturally the asterisk seemed to tell me a footnote was down below, so I hurriedly scrolled through the text on the lined page.

There, on the bottom in very small print below an entry where she commended my maturity over the hemline issue, I found where the asterisk reference lead down to. My eyes scrolled the entry...

*I want her so badly, much more than I ever wanted Dean. I wanted to kiss her last night on the dance floor, and I want to kiss her even more than anyone else I've known in my entire life. I want her to be mine.

Before that moment, I felt as if everything I had done over the last three months was a futile chase for the love of this girl, this young woman who I thought wouldn't reciprocate these same feelings I held in the time we were friends, ever. This could not possibly be the same Rory who had only in August a love triangle that resembled a soap opera, Jess the rebel and Dean the dependable both yearning for her love as I held a lesbian crush on her that made Bianca Montgomery from All My Children seem like she had absolutely no drama in her life. An infatuation that since the embryonic stages, thought would remain solitary, a fleeting fantasy that would eventually fade away eventually when I found that special guy in my live to make lusting for Rory like my Care Bears fascination back in 1988; a fad, or fleeting lust. It would never be known, I could keep it secret, never reveal that I preferred the fairer sex when it came to falling in love, not to mention that fairer sex had to be 5'7" and brown-haired, with eyes that disorient me because of the way they enchant, a face a mother and anyone else who comes her way can love, and a coffee addiction that made several drug dependencies seem tame and easy to shrug off cold turkey.

She wants to be mine. Rory wants me. The thought was shaking in my mind that she wanted me, and not only that, to press her lips against mine, the basketcase who almost brought her down to her knees sophomore year. The girl who had given me the finest neck massages I could ever know, and the best damned times socially I could ever have. A girl I had shared a shower with, and instead of avoiding the question, admitted that she liked my chest. Rory, who shared a loathing of my own mother and the society she drags along with her. She has fought so much to prove that she can follow my lead step by step, no matter how I might try to throw her off.

I read through the list again, and it read like an exact chronology of each and every careful inch towards moving from respecting me, to just plain want. From that date with Jamie from Princeton in August where she wanted to celebrate with me instead of playing yenta for us, to the entire hemline issue, where I found out she was so serious about saying she liked my legs with her own shallow support of the issue. I moved on into October, where she thought I looked quite hot being muddy and sweat-ridden on the field hockey pitch. Then how she wanted good conversation when we chatted in that shower and I misinterpreted her intentions. How she felt I was mature three days and an overnight later for sucking up my pride and apologizing for what I said, and then again, shared her bed.

Things were coming together as if they were lining up in a shooting gallery. Events over these last few months were turned into a long, slow, tortuous seduction that she knew she was pulling off and not cluing me into. The entries on the pro list kept on turning up the heat, and I was surprised to read of her admitting to her list that my presence in her dream state causes her to have a kind of dream I never associated her with. Not much on specifics, but you could probably take 'When I dream of her, I wake wanting to taste her in my mouth' as far from innocent.

I could tell I was getting into this week once I reached the second-to-last page in the list again. Entries which formerly were muted, instead turned into ways to say that she loved my touch against her leg, how she felt throwing Dean's bracelet into the broad waters of the Connecticut with me as a witness, that 'she was adorable telling me she'd dance with me'. The list went on and on, cons long forgotten and pros leaching across the scribbled middle line because she was running out of room.

My mouth was wide open, my eyes were opened, and my hormones were flaring out of control as I got to the end, freshly written entries about the dance marathon filling the last lines of the notebook, until 'she thinks dancing to Eternal Flame was an excellent way to end the night' ended it all.

Oh my God. That was the only thought it my mind as I shut the book and set it to my side, in utter shock that the signals I had been reading over the last few weeks, brushing aside as just seeing things, were in fact Rory trying to signal her interest in me.

In me, the girl who's so rough and abrasive I could have a sandpaper grit number tattooed on my ass. Why in the world would this blue-eyed beauty, who had all she wanted, the grades, the devotion of the town, not to mention the caveman of a boyfriend, want me as her girlfriend. Why in the first place would she pretty much admit to her pro and con list that she never felt true sparks for men at all?

She's the golden girl of this town; supposed to have the glowing career as CNN correspondent, make the Gilmore bloodline happy, have the 2 beautiful kids named in some variation of Lorelai or a male equivalent, with the perfect husband to go with her long drawn up plans. Meanwhile I'm just here having all sorts of satisfaction and pleasing issues. I want to make everyone happy, not go off track from my own long drawn up plan.

Things were starting to clear up, yet at the same time complicate themselves. How could I face her knowing she wanted me? Why would she want me in the first place, was I a pity case to her?

Judging from the list, pity wasn't even in the cards. Obsession was more the apt term to use for what she wrote in that book. I just sat there numb, my fingers winding against the spine of the notebook, trying to picture what I had been quite vividly in my dreams for the last year.

Rory Gilmore wanted me. Wanted me as more of a friend, but in the way I had been dreaming of every night, leaving damp pillowcases, bed sheets and late night calls from Fran upstairs of 'Are you OK minha menina?' in the wake.

Hours before I had spooned into her in my unconscious and reeled back upon finding out that I did, thinking it was something wrong to do. Now I was thinking in my mind, which seemed to be in a mindset usually associated with hurricane planning efforts, that she liked it.

She tried to move in against me on purpose. She would've allowed me to spoon into her. I was huffing in and out, oxygen becoming a precious commodity. I had trouble wrapping my mind around this. This, thing that Rory had for me, that I could never seem to read. None of her gifts from Dean were anywhere to be found at all, the bracelet long gone...

"Tuesday set things in motion," I said to myself, looking at the blue notebook. "Without the sprinklers or Dean's pigheadishness, I wouldn't have been here right now, she wanted me to warm her up. Rory wanted me to take off her bracelet, sort of saying 'I trust you Paris' towards me. She took the initiative towards me when she needed a dance partner and didn't give a second thought towards Jess or the many other guys in town who fawned over her..."

"Par? Have you seen my RN notes, are you up?"

As I tried to analyze my chances with Rory to death, I suddenly heard that sweet voice that made me go weak coming into the kitchen. Apparently she was back from wherever she went and had noticed one of her notebooks had gone missing.

The notebook was in my hand, clutched in a death-grip, the smudges of my fingerprints from running it through the print all over the pages. I gasped in horror, like I was afraid she was going to find out about her dark secret. She probably doesn't share any actual feelings for you, I thought to myself, trying to cover up the lust I had with denial once again.

"Paris?" She called my name again, her voice seeming to sort of strain. I figured I couldn't just escape out the window and flee with her notes, so I got up from the bed and walked out of the room, showing my face to her.

I had the notebook by the end of the spiral, trying to decide whether to let her know I knew about the list. I put on a face of indifference, trying to clue her in that I did not know a thing. I figured she might want to tell me first.

If ever, my cynical conscience nagged. I came out of the room, to the sight of Rory in that same tank top she wore to bed, only on the bottom, blue jeans trimmed to her slim figure instead of the pajama pants.

Without much aplomb I handed over the notebook and asked where she had been. She told me she had been up after one in order to get a bite to eat and called into Joe's for some subs and food, explaining how the food had appeared on the kitchen table when I got up, also asking the guy from Joe's to pick up those Sunday newspapers.

"When I finished my lunch though, I was still kind of tired, so I wanted to get a couple more hours of rest. But you looked to be so comfortable in my bed alone, I didn't want to disturb you. Instead of crawling back into my bed and waking you up, I slept upstairs in my mom's room for the last two hours."

"Oh, OK." I was happy to hear she hadn't left the house, but kind of distracted. Oh dear, that exposed belly, why God, why did you have to make her look even more sexy than she usually does? Why was I thinking those thoughts about her, I was more intelligent than this. For the love of Pete...

"You OK?" She seemed concerned about my lack of wordplay. I was keeping myself on short sentences; scared I'd say the wrong thing. "I know it was shocking winning the dance marathon, but..."

Somehow after this we sat at the kitchen table, and had a conversation about the dance, and how my feet still seemed sore from the endeavor. I tried not to look at her, but couldn't help it because the soft vanilla perfume she wore the day before was still barely detectable around her neck. Her luscious and slender neck, which was fully exposed for me to take in. We were separated by four feet, so there were no temptations to befall me.

But oh God, still no bra to be found, and the height of the Gilmore kitchen table was lower than most I was familiar with. She made an animated point about what Kirk and Carrie did wrong in their performance, and to tell you the truth, I wasn't listening. My eyes were drawn towards her chest, and as her hands waved around, her breasts seemed to sort of bounce. Not bouncing like an exotic dancer mind you, but with the thinness of those straps holding the barely-there shirt on her, I was imagining that after a couple more sharp movements of her arms up and down, the strap on one of the sides would break from the stitch holding it together, fluttering down and giving me more of a view of Rory than I expected. My thoughts continued to drive towards impureness at a good clip, my eyes wishing the Gilmores spent extra for a glassed-top table so I could get a good look at her legs. Ever since she shunned the hose I can't help but gape at them out of the corner of my eye when I'm driving her home. Not as smooth as mine are, but they still felt good in my hands.

The conversation almost seemed to be an afterthought as I realized as I was doing to Rory with my glances in her direction, she was doing the same to me. I was wearing a big flannel shirt, but it still exposed alot of skin in the front from being unbuttoned. As I said something about Mrs. Kim's unegged sandwiches, her baby blues seemed to cut a laser line down from the bottom of my chin, her mouth opening in amazement as I bent down a bit. She was staring at me so blatantly, but once I noticed the movement of her pupils...She switched right back to booksmart innocent Lorelai Leigh, with not a smutty or lesbianic thought in her body.

It seemed like we were doing a dance once again; only this time we were sitting down and had three feet of an oak-walnut mix separating us. She'd look, I'd look. Occasionally my bared toes would find her ankle and brush up against it, and then within the space of a couple minutes I found one of her feet, nails painted bright red and signifying the legend that underneath that ingénue façade she kept at school there was a bad girl lurking within her, against the bottom portion of my shin. It took all I had not to pray that damned foot would happen to find its way between my legs and end up against the red wine-colored silk of my already dampened panties.

My breath shortened and I felt like my heart would take leave of my chest. I just looked at her with so much want I wanted to throw that table into a corner and show her that I knew what she had in the back of that notebook currently in the center of the table. She had set it right back down and we went right back to talking, so I was wondering why if she needed her notes so bad, she wasn't getting to work.

I was scared to come right out with what I had read in the book, and to let her know that. There was just this nagging feeling in the back of my head that she would take that as an invasion of her privacy and never speak to me again, and I wouldn't want to lose her friendship in that sort of abrupt way. We kept up the nervous chat throughout the remainder of the afternoon as the sunlight in the living room started to fade out and become overtaken with twilight.

We had moved to the living room after I finished my bag of chips, and I had made sure to bring the notebook with me, her attention to it lost. I felt myself shake with each look she directed towards me, and I felt guilty, like I was reading about the dark lesbian-crush holding side that Rory had never shown.

She stretched out across the couch in a laying position as I sat in the chair with my hands having a death grip on the blue notebook. I had never been so scared to bring up something in my life, and I debated with my conscience whether to let her know what I felt. My stomach was somersaulting from the girl two feet away from me, curled up in an afghan and making my mouth dry at how much I could imagine a scene of both of us under that blanket in the future...

I was ready to burst out my feelings for her right then and there. But I didn't need a scared Rory on my hands, God forbid I have a repeat of Dean's first 'I love you' scene where she scurries away from me in shock. Just ease your way into it Gellar, I told myself. Just think of it as flirting that doesn't end because you don't want to reveal anything.

"Ror?" I started out. I smiled at her and tried to ease her into a conversation by asking if she was interested in any men lately. This would give me a good clue into her intentions, as I was sure her breakup with Dean wasn't something abrupt.

"Not really, with all these tests and quizzes there's really not much time to find time to date." Considering Rory had strung along Caveman for two years and kept her GPA above four despite, her quote seemed like a bullshit excuse.

"I mean is there any guy out there you've had an inkling about?"

"Nope, not really. Every other girl's fawning over the guys on the football team, but I can't stand them. As for the other boys in Chilton..." she faked a yawn. "Boring seems a proper term to describe them."

"Really, not one guy?" Now I felt I was on the right track. "What about Brad?" Yeah, like she'd want him, but it would cut any tension that was in the questioning.

"With the way Madeline moons over him, she has dibs on him. Besides, he's not really my type by any means."

"So you've noticed the looks she's been giving him?"

"Looks? Par, when we came out of fifth period on Thursday she stumbled over a trash can looking at Brad with googly eyes! Plus have you noticed how many times he passes our lunch table on Maddy's side every day, I'm thinking some brushing of the shoulder with his hand is involved there."

"Uh, not really, to be honest," I answered. Really, Madeline and Brad's dance had gone unnoticed to my eyes, considering Rory's close proximity to myself everyday from 12:10 to 12:45pm at the lunch table. Nothing could take me out of the catatonic state of eating and occasional staring I was in at that time of day, not even if those two unknowing lovebirds took everything off and mated right on the table, I'd probably still be mooning over Rory.

"There was that one boy in Lane's band you told me about yesterday, Dave Rygalski? From the way you describe him he sounds perfect."

"Yeah, for Lane. He's also not my type, I don't usually have a thing for musicians." Again with the mystery surrounding her. "He seems dead set on her anyways, I can tell by the way he's trying to impress Mrs. Kim by playing the Jesus card."

"Impression through religion; sounds like Kim has herself a keeper." We both laughed for a bit, and I asked her again if she was interested in anyone, just to make sure. She nodded vigorously a no to this, but I did notice she seemed a little distracted by something, namely the wide expanse of skin along my neck.

I was starting to get even more butterflies fluttering through my belly than I did when I discovered the list. There was a building sense that I had to tell her, and though I wanted to tell her after about a week of rehearsal of going through the motions, maybe invite her out to dinner, there was no better opportunity then that moment to my mind. It was blunt, usually unforgiving, and took no prisoners as I would suddenly say something to throw a competitor off track.

Leave it to my unbalanced self, with Sharon's chromosomes floating around inside, to just lay everything out on the table.

I called for her attention, and she probably expected me to bring something up like a school subject.


"Hmm?" She was still cheerful and at ease.

"You know how I said that I wasn't interested in Tristan romantically anymore last night, even if he were to come back?"

A nod. "Yeah, I remember."

"Then did you notice why I didn't really take to Jamie like you thought I would back in Washington?"

Another nod. "Yes, I'm sorry you didn't match up well--"

I interrupted her, and made my way over to the couch, asking her to move over and continuing to hold the notebook. She seemed a little nervous about why I was dragging it along like a teddy bear, and I prepared for the worst.

"Well, there's sort of a reason those things didn't end up working out in the end, especially with Jamie." My mouth was drying as I watched Rory and her body language start to tighten, which took me out of the element of the conversation.

I remember thinking there that I couldn't do it, admit that I was the way I was. I looked into Rory's eyes, nervous about what to say. So many parts of me were telling me to back out of this and just lie through my teeth. The portion of myself against this was already formulating something involving a kissing booth at the Winter Formal with both of us as the paid prostitutes...ahem, receivers of $1 kisses for the entire night, hopeful I'd find a spark with one of the guys in Chilton.

No matter what I tried to think though, I couldn't lie to Rory. There was no way in hell I was going to keep the fact that I feel electricity, not just mere sparks, when she's near. Another reasoning is that even if it's just a hand to her hand, my day isn't complete with at least one instance where we touch each other. In years and years with Tristan I never felt anything close to wanting to touch him to fill a void.

Once I'd admit to her, she wouldn't be just an innocent girl I lusted after. She would know that I was interested in her, and she could construe the reading of my notes as an invasion of her privacy. It might be just a phase to her even if I did admit and within days she'd be pining for a new boy coming into Chilton, just like those twists that happen in teen dramas all the time...

Lo and behold, the boy would take her away from me and I'd be forced to relive the images of Rory kissing someone other than me. If Unknown New Guy got her, I wouldn't have her, and that next relationship she might have just might be the one where she decides it's time to truly rid herself of the Mary label she's held since her first day.

You could be that one Paris. There was that same voice who challenged me in screaming my like for her aloud in the bathroom the day before, just as Ms. LaCosta came into the room. She thinks of you as a challenge, and if you were to share this want for her, that might set up more possibilities. You know you use the small bits of anger she displays as a guide to her emotions, and that part of her along with the innocent tease...you wouldn't keep your hands off her.

My face started flushing red, it was always tough imagining a wanting Rory when she was right in front of me, looking at me wide-eyed and asking me what was wrong for not saying more.

She took my hand, threading her fingers between mine and telling me that whatever was on my mind, I could tell her.

I sucked all the willpower I could, took a deep breath and spread it through my lungs, and just went full tilt after putting on a strong face betraying my emotions.

"I need you to keep this in complete confidence Gilmore," I told her, sternly. "I've only trusted this to Fran so far, and she's kept what I have to tell you to herself for so long I'm surprised she's been this resilient. If you do find yourself uncomfortable with this, please just go to your room without any vocalized judgment, I'll leave quietly."

A pause, then a soft OK from her. I had already thought about this long enough, and with her hand in mine, I didn't want to essay my coming out, summarizing it like a review from People seemed to be the best course of action. Another deep breath, and here it went...

"I, I...uhh, well you see..." So much for copying Ellen's simple declaration that 'Yep, I'm gay', because those words weren't coming. I found myself iced and not able to spit it out, afraid of the impact of the words on the girl in front of me. It seemed like I'd never be able to say it, and I'd fall back on the 'set me up with a guy excuse'.

In the paralyzed state I fell into however, what I couldn't say with my words, could easily be vocalized with my body. I found my other hand taking Rory's free one, and her concentration seemed shaken. She was putting on the same strong front as I was, and inching a little closer to me on the sofa.

"Whatever it is, it's OK," she said with a soothing voice, her jeaned leg almost seeming to press up against my bare one. She released her grip on one of my hands, and started moving it up my arm, leaving goosebumps in the wake. I saw something in her eyes I had only seen precious few times within.


Her hand moved up and up the flannel of the shirt, but to me it seemed like a layer of heavy cotton wasn't between her fingers and my skin. She seemed to suck her lips back into her mouth, and though my eyes were concentrating on those deep blues of hers, I could feel all my senses going off.

Her soft, angelic face wasn't like it ever had been before, so close to mine as that hand brushed against my shoulder. Her eyes were moving closer and closer towards mine, and I couldn't help but feel a shudder.

I weakly tried to ask what her motives were with a strained out "Rory?", and felt like my brain state was reverting back to infancy as I lost all thought. Her index finger in my hand ran against the curve of my lifeline. I looked down, the intimacy of the gesture becoming clear as I clung to the blue book as if she would find out about what I was going to tell her involving my sexuality.

My fear was unfounded as the distance between us, which seemed to have been inches, turned into centimeters. Rory was so close to me that I could smell a sweet mix of that same Aqua Fresh she always brushed with, combined with the taste of a toffee vanilla cup of coffee.

One last chance to vocalize, let this blue-eyed, small town girl know that I'm interested...

"Um, never mind actually." I thought I was confessing, but I was freezing up on her instead as I didn't tell her a thing. I was looking at her with all the reverence I could muster, and instead of stating that simple two or three word declaration, I was shying away, turning myself stone cold once again.

I expected Rory to back off, move onto awkward banter revolving around the topic 'So how 'bout those Blue Demons?'. Not like I know how they were doing, I was too focused Friday night on preparing to wow Rory to the dance marathon title rather than chilling my fingers off in the bleachers of Archauer Stadium hoping the football team would get into the CIAC playoffs and keep circ numbers up for the next two weeks.

I didn't look at her, staring down at my hands like a little girl lost. I knew how Rory felt, and how I felt for her, but she probably would consider the relationship an experiment instead of taking it seriously. She was her mother's daughter after all, and said mother bounces between so many guys in a year you can tell she still hasn't found that a única in the 18 years since she was sixteen.

She kept her hand in mine however, and said my name to bring my attention back towards her. Rory was in no mood to have me back off, and made that clear with her firm tone of voice.

"Paris, no." I brought my gaze up towards her, and found her eyes take on that stern unflinching look that was but second nature to me. "If it's serious enough that you'd want to keep it secret from everyone else, I want to know. I promise I won't tell anybody, because that's what friends do."

But this friend is about to shatter your entire view of her, I mused to myself with my heart picking up its rhythm. I remained stubborn and told her it was something small that didn't need to be microanalyzed.

"I don't care if you're about to tell me you slept with Jamie and you're pregnant with his child, I want to know what's bothering you!" She was still firm, and what she said just about shocked me.

I flared red and immediately denied that I wouldn't have bedded that boring dullard if I was Indecent Proposal'ed by him with a large cash payment involving a suitcase to do so.

"Well thank God for that." She kind of smirked at me, running that finger through my lifeline. I felt my forehead coat with a layer of perspiration and my face flush. Everything wanted me to yell that I was a lesbian, but I didn't want to. My heart needed to remain shielded from the eventual torrent of vitriol that was sure to come from her if I admitted my feelings. "You know me though, whatever it is I'm a lousy gossip, so I won't spread this through the school, promise."

It was then explained to her that she would never understand my confession, and that it was too wrenching to let out. I couldn't let her know that I wanted her hopes and wishes in that notebook to come true because that would be weak.

"You don't think I'd understand?" Rory's voice picked up a little. "You don't think that I would ever understand your little problem. For crissakes Paris, I've lived a life that I would love to give you myself, yet I'd love to be able to edit out certain parts, like the first three years where my mother, fresh out of her sophomore year at Hillside was shamed out of Hartford and the lives of my grandparents because she didn't take the trip to Planned Parenthood like all good little pregnant Hartford upper-crust teenage girls do!"

She stood up, and in a way that made me want to keep notes on how she'd ad-lib in a debate, continued. "You know what my first address after I turned one was? There wasn't one because my mom raised me until after my terrible twos in a garden shed at the Inn, next to the pond! It was heated, it had a TV, a bed, a couch, and a bassinet, but not much else. Then we went from apartment to apartment over the next seven years in and around Stars Hollow, as Lorelai worked 14 hour days at the Independence trying to earn just enough so we could buy this nice house in a nice neighborhood and I wouldn't have to ever worry again about having to explain to my few friends why I lived upstairs from a bookstore! Those friends abandoned me once junior high started once they learned in sex ed that teenage pregnancy was something to be ashamed of, and that despite my mother getting her own house at the age of 27, she wasn't to be looked at as a good role model. That when I learned that Lane was a true friend and would never, ever judge me for what I am and what I've come from. I had no friends except her though seventh until tenth grades, you know how that felt?"

Oh God, I was making her break down; this wasn't a Rory I was familiar with, being human and infallible. "One of the reasons I kept putting in an application for Chilton year after year was that everyone at Hollow Jr. High and the high school always made me feel that no matter what I did, no matter how much I kept my grades up, I wasn't to be spoken to, I was the child of shame. Yeah, the older people in this town I grew up around think I'm the best thing to ever happen to this hamlet, but the schools here are as cutthroat, if not more, than Chilton ever could be, kids are so ass-backwards in this town when it comes to tolerance. So I did the schoolwork as hard as I could, poured my energy into everything, kept myself up through their taunts, just so I could have a shot at going to your school. And when I was able to attain it, I was relieved, so damned happy I could escape that school and stop being so shy and withdrawn. But when my mom learned she'd never had enough for tuition, she went kicking and screaming back to her parents, desperate for any help. I wouldn't want to have to ever be in her shoes, hoping for the best and the least contact possible with those two whose wishes she defied for so long."

She slid back onto the couch and held my hand tight, continuing to vent, and I was powerless to stop her. She poured out two years of frustration of who I was and how she's been trying to figure out how I can have such a kind heart at some times, but most of the times act like such an iron bitch to her and everyone else. She told me it was fine to do it to fellow Chiltonians; they were just as bad, if not worse than those in Stars Hollow towards her. She kept asking about why I'm so vexing when it comes to our friendship. God, just seeing Rory in this condition was wearing on me. I understood Rory the Scholar, Rory the Golden Child just fine. But as I know too well, it's hard keeping up a façade for such a long period of time, and there was still facets of her that not even her mother, and in turn best friend, has no idea about.

"You don't know how much I hold in at times Paris," Rory said to me as our eyes met again. "When I broke up with Dean on Tuesday night, there was so much I wanted to say and call him on, he was never the right one for me. I mean I kept this thing up for two years that we had, and I did love him for a time. But really, since the play a year ago, I stayed with him more out of the necessity of saying 'I have a boyfriend' rather than being unhitched." She crimped her forehead and seemed frustrated as she inhaled and exhaled deeply for a bit. "I never, ever took a risk with him, and my mind kept trying to think of ways to say I want more from Dean. I just could never feel comfortable around him and his life, and to be honest, I never could picture lasting through college with that guy when I couldn't even think about him watching me from the spectator's section at graduation."

Her hand wrapped around mine tighter as I tried to reassure her that things would work out, and holding my tongue, told her that she'd find Mr. Right eventually.

I thought the talk would move on to droller subjects after I said that, and that we'd move on from the topic not brought up yet about my sexual orientation.

Well color me pink and call me Piggly Wiggly, because that wasn't how things ended up at all. She looked up at me, eyes wide, as her other hand moved towards the one I was using to hold the notebook. There was that determined look on her face, along with a bit of caution in her features and tightened body language.

Rory spoke softly, trying to slowly bring back up the discussion.

"I understand there's probably a Mr. Right for me out there somewhere, and at Chilton, a Mr. Right Now." A smile and a laugh for both of us for the nervous joke. "The problem is..." She took the notebook from my somewhat loosened grip, set it in her lap, then took my left arm by the wrist. "What if wanted a Miss Right?"

She didn't say that to me, did she? That was my reaction as I found myself strangely surrounded by her words.

"A Miss Right?" I repeated for her, numbed.

"Yes, a Miss Right," Rory parroted back. "Over the last few months, I have fallen out of love with Dean, but at the same time, found myself in a strange predicament where my dreams revolved around another woman rather than him. After a few more of those, and trying to compare and contrast this seemingly unnatural feeling, I connected the dots, crossed the T's, and weighed all the evidence of my relationship with Dean with that of my past encounters with guys. Looking at all that, I realized there was no spark to Dean and I, and in turn I never found myself drawn to boys in general."

Trying to stay in denial mode that I was that 'another woman', I tried to keep the debate strong. "But Jess, you were interested in him for awhile, I mean you skipped school that one day to be in Manhattan just to see him after the accident."

"There was lust there Par, but never love. When I kissed him at the wedding, there was nothing there, no urge to go further than that. He's more than a friend to me, but just in the male best friend sense. There's too much there with him to deal with and I'm not going to pursue a relationship with him just because I had a couple of sex dreams with him."

I was nervous as I asked her to confirm her sexuality, with her hand still in mine, and making me anxious and jumpy as all get out.

"Well, that's the problem. I think I am...that, but maybe I can still find a spark with a guy." She flailed her other hand out and widened her eyes. "What if it's just a phase, and I'm just thinking this way because I figure I can't keep a boy in my life, so why don't I rope in a girl and see how that goes. I mean I haven't shared this with anybody, and I'm scared as hell because I'm expected to be the pride of Stars Hollow and make 'em proud. The older people in this town revere me, and what happens if I let them know that they'll have to lock up their daughters instead of their sons, and I'm not this supposedly innocent girl, because I have so many corrupted thoughts floating around in my head, and oh God..."

She was starting to go on a babbling track that was starting to make her seem unhinged, and I was saddened to see that my refusal to let her know my secret was doing this to her. In this blur was the fact that she was saying she was gay herself. My mouth was drying and words weren't coming out because I didn't have any idea how to tell her that I was in the same predicament, at least the way she was. Her hand seemed to be permanently bonded to mine, and I saw her start to cry.

I don't want to see her sad, I thought to myself. My heart was breaking for her; only hours before we were celebrating a well-earned victory. Now we were both on that couch, in the same boat, with about 95% confirmation on my end that it was me she had been thinking about me in those dreams she was having. It was that other 5%, the worry that she was thinking of another girl altogether that was getting to me.

It was time to get blunt and stop letting emotions cloud things up. I felt the beating of her heart in her wrist, like Rory was running on adrenaline. My throat tightened as I said her name and she brought her attention back up, wiping the tears from her eyes with her fingers.


"These dreams you mentioned..." My voice wavered, but somehow stayed on track. "Was I that other woman? Have you been uh, thinking of me in more the terms of a lover than just a good friend?"

There, it was all out on the table for her to analyze. I was putting my heart in the pot and hoping that the gamble would be worth it. She looked into my eyes for a moment, trying to gather a smile, but failing to as she expected the worst from me. She sort of blushed and then bit her lip as her voice took on a soft timbre.

"Paris," she told me. "You've been carrying around the RN notebook for the last forty-five minutes. I know your mind and how it ticks, your curiosity is something I like about you." She then let me know she put it on the bottom on purpose and hoped that I'd look at it. "I started that list all the way back in the beginning of October, and it's far outpaced what I've ever liked about Dean. I kept denying and denying my feelings, and I started feeling this way heavily when we shared the Howard dorm through the summer. But it first took root so long ago last year in a very small way..." Rory wandered off, and I was left in a stunned state.

She had just told me that she was thinking about me in a way unlike what I thought she did for at least a year. That I had been reading her feelings perfectly for the last three months, was starting to bring me into a euphoria I could've never believed I was feeling.

I kept putting the words 'Rory' and 'gay' together in so many ways in my mind as I felt my heart pound. I had many pictures of how I'd come out in my mind, and some of her doing the same thing, but this situation, this reality was so much different. This was us, the comfortable blank silences, our minds filling those blanks with opinions and hope. This wasn't something that could be rehearsed, because it was so raw and from the heart.

My eyes locked with hers one more time, and I felt so many conflicting feelings float through. Do I tell her and go through with it, letting her know that I feel the same? Or do I brush off her interest with a 'no thank you', remaining in my own personal hell having to watch love pass me by once again and hope there's another Rory Gilmore out there for me?

But there wasn't a chance I'd ever find her mind twin anywhere in this world. The nervous mannerisms, unique coffee addiction, tendency to ramble, along with her unique model-like looks in that body, I knew I'd never find such a combination of wit and beauty anywhere else, excepting 132 Cherry Lane in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.

My mind set things right before I could relent. You're not going to turn this down, right? I know you're a little afraid of things right now, like reactions and getting used to calling Rory 'honey' instead of 'bane of my existence', but this is so right, you know it. Just look at her right now, those eyes raking you up and down like she wants nothing but your lips on hers. Then take a look at what you're doing, between all these moves to keep it all in, almost drooling mentally at her attire and body.

Which was true, I still was looking at her with lust through her confession. That Rory was willing to take my heart and explained things so rationally, gave me much more reason to fall for her. She wasn't just in it for the curiosity; she actually thought of me as in tune with her, understanding how she ticked.

"So," she mumbled out, again looking down at her hands. "Never tell me I'd never know how it feels to be you. I want to know what you wanted to tell me, and even if it's something negative, I'll see it through your viewpoint. This is a give and take friendship we have Par, and I just gave the confession that I think of you as more than a friend. I just hope you don't shut me out now that I said that."

More tears and sobbing from her after that, I couldn't handle seeing Rory like this. I had to admit what I felt for her to keep any more pain from befalling her.

"Ror," I said calmly. She looked up as I brought my hand out of hers and moved it across the bare freckled skin of her arm. She looked at me with what seemed to be a mix of loss, hope, innocence and lust, her blue eyes widened at my touch, mouth parted open.

We were at the line, ready to breach it with my next words.

"You just knocked me over with a anvil, because since last year," I paused to wet my throat with a sip of tea. "I've felt the same way for you. Rory, I like you, in that romantic sense."

I felt Rory stiffen immediately, sort of in shock and going into Willow Rosenberg mode, where speech was slow to come and much stuttering ensued. "R-r-really? You, uh, do like me err, like that?"

That caused me to laugh, and I let her know that I had read every page of that pro and con list, surprised as hell, yet elated, like I'd received a G4 Mac with a 30" monitor and 60GB iPod for a Hanukkah gift from my father, that this was the best news I had ever read.

It was time to confess; yet I wanted to keep some things secret so we could have talking points later, so I didn't let her know the first hints of the crush came at the Bangles concert or a few other things. I told her how much being the emergency Romeo had affected me, and that there were so many times I wanted to admit but events in both of our lives interfered. I told her how I never even considered anyone else to be my VP and that the summer in Washington to me was meant to find out if I could handle living with her day in and day out, and in turn that she might. I found it to be a success, and she told me the affirmative, though letting me know that sometimes the sleep talking was a little odd but in an endearing way.

When I got to the night where I went out with Jamie from Princeton, I let her know that I had no desire of continuing the relationship from the moment we greeted each other, that I was thinking of her the whole night and had the sense I was cheating on her despite no vocalization of our feelings. Rory tried to assure me that she thought she was doing the right thing, but I couldn't be mad at her for the setup. I took it as a last gasp at falling for a boy, and the results of the experiment; a dismal failure. She then told me she felt so alone that night, unable to think of anything else while she kept her like for me hidden and tried to use the setup and ensuing date to gag her feelings for another girl.

I admitted to being pleased with her wardrobe modification after the hemline issue passed and that I enjoy every brush, touch and sly move to get my attention, and I want more, much more than that.

"When I'm around you, I can't handle myself, academics are second to you," I implored her. "The moment I hung up the phone Tuesday morning, I went from 'I can't wait to tackle that AE test', to 'I can't wait to see Rory'. That's what you do to me Gilmore, and though I try to push away, you've done all you could to show that you'll pull me back in. I like your tenacity and your courage to pursue this further, and this morning when we won..." I wandered off again as she moved closer to me, her hand resting on my thigh. My breath seemed to quickened, but I continued on anyways "When we won, there was a sense of accomplishment that even with all our issues, we can come together and go through something that in the minds of others, might seem amateur. I felt good last night winning, and I loved it even more that I won with you at my side."

Everything seemed to come together after that. Rory and I became comfortable with the idea that we were attracted to each other as we talked on and on about things such as the field hockey match and the boat trip in Baltimore where she said she may have admitted had Jamie not arrived on the scene.

When she said that, I thought about how I may have reacted then. Probably because of how public it was, it would've been ugly because we really didn't know each other in the way we've been for the last three months. Sure, I would've been happy, but back in July we would have acted on lust instead of an actual foundation for a relationship. There was no bedrock there; the bond we shared was still tenuous, like the cinder block anchors of a mobile home in the eye of a hurricane. We had to know each other more, become comfortable with inching out of our comfort zones before Rory and I could even start thinking of a relationship.

I know it in my heart; a relationship in Washington would've been a catastrophe, an experiment gone wrong. No matter what storybook allusions I held in those eight weeks, admission of my feelings at the foot of the Jefferson Memorial or hers on the Inner Harbor ferry would have ended up in disaster. She was still with Dean; I was still undecided on my feelings.

And that left another question on the tip of my tongue. Did she break up with him, for me?

Simple question asked, simple answer said. With a small smile, she confirmed a suspicion that I had been thinking of since she asked me to the marathon.

"The opportunity presented itself at the diner, and before I could talk myself out of it with my usually large guilt complex, I broke up with him. I didn't even plan to ask you to the dance marathon before then, but once I got home, things started to fall into place."

I smiled back at her. "Just to make sure of one more thing. The sprinklers, that was totally unplanned, I mean that wasn't part of you trying to tease me more, right?"

She shook her head no and grinned. "That, my friend, was a happy accident." We were unconsciously moving closer to each other, and both feeling like the tension that had wound around the conversation was gone. I was feeling sort of flirtatious, so I decided to correct her.

"Don't you mean girlfriend?" I said, curling my finger across the pulse point of her neck. We were both smiling like those sappy couples you see in TV commercials, and I felt that way. She took it a little seriously, as she should, but still was playful.

"Is that what you want Par?" She was smiling at me, and though usually I'd analyze a life decision like that until I was blue in the face, remembering that first entry in the pro/con list, there wasn't any need for second-guessing.

I want her, the list said in her cursive.

I want her, my mind was telling me, Mother, my fellow students, friends and family be damned.

I told her that yes, I wanted things to be that way.

"You're sure?" she cautioned. "Because once you and I pursue this, nothing is going to be the same again. I just want to make sure you know what you're getting into by getting into a relationship like this."

Rory had a valid point; I had to make sure that this is what I wanted. I wasn't just, as with a guy dipping a toe in the water and running far if things didn't work out. This was my friend--no, my best friend that I was pursuing. As she said in her notes there's a chance I could break her heart or fall for someone else, male or female if things didn't work out between us. Combine that with the volatile past we had, then what happens if one of us finds some jealousy issues and tries to make too much out of it. We'll fight, and the next time it might not be with anything but wordplay.

I looked at her for what would later be the last time as just my 'friend'. Her hand was intertwined between my fingers, and her face was about 8" away from mine, her lips glistening in the sunlight filtering in from the windows. Her eyes were opened wide, and when I brought my gaze down, her chest was looking very delectable to me. She was curled up in the corner of the couch as if she was ready to read a good book. That is, if she held one; the only thing she was reading with her eyes was the realization that things were changing between us, and that I wanted to be a willing participant.

Go for it, my conscience implored. You want to show Sharon that you can face up to a challenge; this is a high five on the difficulty scale! Sure, you like her, but to keep a relationship with a former enemy so long, you're going to need more than luck to get this right.

I brought my free hand up to her face, finding a couple of stray hairs hovering above her eyes that bugged a little. I used my fingertips to brush sensually against her cheek, and then started to descend towards her in expectation.

"100% sure of this Ror. If you knew how I thought about you over the last few months, you might faint from an overload." I smiled at her and her face lit up like a fully lit set of menorah candles, eyes widened and following that hand on her face from below her cheek and towards her right.

"Well, uh..." distraction again was working in my favor, fragmenting her words. "I bet my dreams match up pretty well, considering all of what I told you and how it affected me." That elicited a laugh from me, and I was curious a little bit, I felt my face flare up in embarrassment.

"What am I like in these dreams?" Unconsciously, I didn't even know that Rory was moving closer to me and coming out of her little hovel on the couch as I slid further down the sofa from her.

"The usual," she told me, the sensuality no longer covered up as it had before by nervous hiding. "You're dominant, assertive, very territorial..." I was jarred by the left arm of the sofa hitting my upper back. Strange how Rory is somewhat the same in my dreams, but in a more soft approach than I thought I was in hers. "However, you're still very sweet, concerned and dare I might add..." she brought down her voice to a soft whisper and her arms started to wrap around my back. "...cute."

Stop making me blush, stop making me blush...Pleas to myself to keep things calm weren't working well and I started to feel like such a sap. I told Rory that I don't do cute, never have, and never will.

"You are right now though, and I'm not afraid to see it. Yesterday you looked cute; two days before you also looked cute, and right now you're too cute for any words." The way Rory was looking at me; like a very tender steak. I started feeling warm and on edge, as if any sudden movements would bring us into a passionate embrace of my doing.

"Thanks, I guess." Her mouth was now mere inches from mine, and my breathing reflex seemed to lose its ability to combine the task of speaking with bringing oxygen to my lungs. "You're the same, always. I might even, uh, fathom to say..." Another stilted deep breath. "...you look hot right now Rory." God, look at me there, talking like I was describing the cute lead singer of the next great band. That is if that singer happened to resemble Sheryl Crow. See, even shallow with my secret crushes on women here!

"Hot?" She questioned with a uncharacteristic smirk. "I'll take that as a compliment then, along with perhaps--"

She started closing that distance between us, the countdown in my head down to single-digit inches. Six inches, five inches, four... My mind seemed to turn off and the only thing keeping me from flatlining into a coma was my hormones.

"Yeah," I barely gasped out as my hands nested within her hair. "That would be nice."

...Three to get ready, two for the show, one last chance to close your heart. Rory's hand touched my cheek; I did the same for her. Her blue eyes sparkled in my gaze, and she must have thought my pupils were crackling with a fire not even Tristan could start.

"It would be nice," was the last thing she said before the inch became fractions, those fractions became smaller fractions, then decimal points going from tenths to hundredths to thousandths, all the way down to millionths as my year-long pursuit to make her know that I wanted her ended.

0.00" is equal to Rory kissing me, and though I could describe it in droll and completely silent terms, I'm going to be girly here and say that, wow, it took my breath away. It was a soft kiss, something that started fairly benign. Being the unprepared portion of the couple I just went with what she wanted, her soft lips against mine and trying to imitate what she was initiating with me.

Within moments however, that shy and reserved girl that usually defines Rory seemed to drift from her body, and she started gripping at the side of my neck, wanting to heat up the kiss. I also did the same on my end and tried to keep up with her, afraid somehow that I was going to fuck it up. There was nothing to fear though; as her actions with her mouth indicated that she wanted more than just 'smack-smack' pecks. I easily agreed to her wishes and it didn't take long for those soft pecks ended up long, insistent open-mouthed kisses.

Mind you I wasn't ready to bring it up to frenching, and Rory's body language indicated she wasn't either. This was us proving how we wanted this relationship to start. We couldn't go into this with 100% lust, we still had to have our wits about and make sure that one or the other wanted this or that. Though it took me a bit, I finally recalled the advice I had read on a website that I wrote in shorthand onto an index card for that date with Tristan about how to kiss goodnight. I used that, and though for a different purpose, as in saying hello to my girlfriend named Rory, it seemed to work. I found my head against the armrest of the sofa, Rory above me and her legs across mine, doing well to stay out of a sexual position.

We said barely anything through this first kiss; just enough to say whether we liked what we were doing to each other or not. I was more focused on things going haywire with my senses. I could smell nothing but Rory and her light flowery body wash scent mixed with faded vanilla, and heard nothing but the insistent pounding of my pulse in my ears, along with the sounds of kissing and our shifts on the couch. She was still kissing me with vigor, and I was starting to reciprocate with all the passion I've had in reserve for so long.

My hands in her hair, keeping her soothed, I just kept myself on her lips, trying to keep this thing between us heated up. Our noses touched a couple times, and everything about this situation, it seemed right.

After months of want, weeks of sly flirting, days of want, hours of close contact, and minutes of desire, things had finally come to a head, with the result being both of us having this kiss on her couch. Never in my dreams could I have thought this moment would end up this way.

I was surprised with how aggressive Rory was since I expected her to be sort of vanilla and plain when it came to passion. She was far from that, giving me some teasing hints of what to expect from a relationship with the occasional lip-nip and her body weight atop of mine. It was wonderful, some of it was so dizzying I forget details, and I felt like I would lose all my breath; whatever kisses she ever gave Dean, they had very little passion compared to this one.

I felt myself beyond aroused, trying to be careful that she didn't sense my nerves and the fact my legs were tightly crossed. I panted for breath with each chance I got, Rory's arms wrapped around my back, seemingly not ready to let me go. I felt so underdressed, for only the shirt was in the way. My face was flushed to a dark crimson and my lips were numb from the kiss, I couldn't dare imagine what would happen if the kiss continued on from what it was. Rory's legs were a little too close for comfort, and feeling her chest against mine, though I would have loved to heat up the kiss, she needed a slow build-up. I wasn't just going to leap into bed with her, and she was probably thinking the same thing towards me.

So with more hesitation than I had turning in my Harvard application, I pushed her back gently. I made sure to smile, reassuring Rory that her courageous move to be the one to initiate was for the best. She pushed over to the other side of the sofa, our gazes never retreating as I looked over the results of my side of the kiss.

Her hair was sort of disheveled from my fingers' tendency to have something to do since I'm a rabid multi-tasker even in the throes of passion, and her face was a dark pink, dampened from perspiration dripping down her forehead caused by our closeness. She was just sitting there, smiling and breathing heavily, and all I could think to myself was, I did this, I caused her to lose her bearings. I smiled, still nervous and sort of on edge. My longtime dream had just come true, and I didn't want to ruin it.

Despite the fact I seemed to get everything out, there were still a rabble of butterflies floating around my belly. Did I do it right? was the question to myself as I tried to gauge Rory's reaction to that first kiss. I analyzed it in my head, the timing, technique, whether I should've done a flick of my tongue against my teeth in or to tease her a little, also whether I tasted fine, because the mint of the tea may have been a little overpowering.

"That, that was really nice." All the thinking in the world couldn't stop that first reaction from coming out of my mouth, in a nervous stammer. "Geeze Gilmore, that was, wow--" From there I started a ramble that would make me feel right at home over at the Institute of Living. Looking back at my reaction, I really need to improve not only my kissing description skills, but also my conversational skills in general. I was flighty and prone to getting off-point, asking her things such as if I kissed too wet or had too much pressure against her lips, even if my nose was too big to nuzzle.

"Paris, calm down." She set her hand in mine. "I liked the kiss, and the way you kiss, it was just right, and because it was you, it felt nice." She looked at me in a way that was reassuring, and sided closer to me. "As long as you won't start talking to me using index cards from now on, things are starting off pretty well."

I had to laugh at that; only I would go into a date armed with more questions than Art Fleming and Allen Ludden combined together. "So I was...fine? I didn't seem like an amateur when I kissed, because you know, Dean and you together, you got pretty heated at times--"

Before I could get out another word, she interrupted me. "Never as heated as that. Trust me, you're a good kisser, I should be recovering from that for days." She gave me that smile that weakens my defenses and I couldn't help but agree internally.

However I was feeling my inner vixen come out to play, and I was a willing participant. So I slid one of my hands across her face, and put on the most seductive smile I could imagine.

"Actually," I let her know, using a soft and seductive, yet firm treble to lure her in. "I could hypothesize that the kiss was good. However Gilmore, I'd just like to make sure this isn't a fluke and that it was a pretty nice kiss."

I shifted closer to her on the couch as my index finger traced the extent of the hairline on the back of her neck. A sensitive spot I was thinking since the scalp seems to have plenty of nerve endings to give her more funny feelings in the pit of her stomach, not to mention make Rory feel like her gray matter dripped out of her ear from the elicited feelings.

I heard her moan just a bit, then bring up her composure again as she noticed I was watching her. I came closer and closer as she slitted her eyes and puckered her lips together.

"Mm-hmm, the results of the first kiss were inconclusive." Rory's blues met my browns, and she was giving me that secret 'I like you smile' one more time. "We need to conduct some further testing in a closed lab environment, like this living room, for instance." Her words elicited a very uncharacteristic laugh from me before I moved in for the kill, telling her we'd be one of the oddest gay couples in history with the way we flirted.

"I guess that means I'm Oscar then? You're the one who's always organized while my locker's a mess--" I cut her off with a quick peck on her lower lip, and decided to give her a taste of her own medicine.

"I hate to say this Gilmore, but you better let your mouth get occupied with something else." We kissed again, and she moaned into my mouth as I did a little nipping motion with my teeth on her lower lip. "And don't call me Felix, 'cause the older men? They just plain creep me out, if I ever get it in my head to date one, you may shoot me at four paces." I then kissed Rory Gilmore breathless with all I had, leaving her speechless but for a forced out 'duly noted' in-between breaths. I could tell when her eyes closed shut and she tried to shuffle back away from my body things were really starting to come together for the both of us.


The rest of the day was happily uneventful, and though we finally had to separate off the couch after about an hour of slow meandering conversation about what this was going to do for everyone that we knew (and OK, maybe a little more kissing), Rory and I were far from in a panic. There was a certain calmness about her as she let me know that she thought long and hard about the reaction people would have to all of this. Everything on both our ends had seemed to come together to form this thing we have. My sly physical flirting and her using the English language and events to shift the momentum this way like the field hockey unit and the dance marathon, along with our conversations that seemed to take a more soft tone over the last few weeks, everything had come together almost perfectly. Some things were unplanned (Dean being let go and the fight in the conference room), but all these events, they had solidified our bond and were helping to spark this relationship that I never thought would be possible at this rate.

Time ended up passing way too fast, and before I could fathom it, 2½ hours had passed, and I had received a phone call from Francisca wondering where I was since she was a little worried. I took it in the kitchen and with Rory watching explained that I had caught a nap at Rory's and there was more to the story, but I'd have to tell her later. I smiled, finally able to not look one way or another to make sure Rory didn't hear anything that would prejudice her. I swear since those kisses happened we never took our eyes each other through the afternoon, but for trips to the bathroom and my changing into a pair of sweatpants I had in my car since the temperature was in the low 40s and there was a small threat of flurries in the evening.

After assuring Fran I'd be home soon, I ended the call and looked at Rory with an apologetic look.

"It's uh, 6:50," I told her, trying to justify the time. "I'd better get home, because I have some spare editing work for the Franklin I put off for the weekend." I played with the cuff on my buttoned flannel, looking nervous to Rory, and both of us were in a mood where separation was the last thing we wanted to happen. We were in the slow burn, honeymoon phase and I wanted to find out more about how Rory came to the conclusion she wanted me. However, there's plenty of time for that in the days and weeks to come; it's not as if we were at the end of Casablanca and I had to take off for points unknown.

"Yeah, I have about an hour before my mom comes home, the house could stand for a clean-up." Rory smiled as we both looked around the living room at what five days alone had done to this household. Pizza boxes and takeout bags piled in a corner, some of the pillows were either on the ground and astray, and there was still a blanket spread out on the ground from Rory practicing the nights and day before the marathon.

"Well at least you can proudly say you didn't have to resort to cooking at any time," I told her as we walked out into the front foyer. "I just hope Lorelai loves the surprise you're springing on her." I gave her a look upon realizing something. "You are going to tell her that I was your partner, right?"

She nodded and said that I would get a nice long boast about how much ass we kicked on that gym floor together, which left me relieved. Why would I have anything to fear in the first place, it was common knowledge we won already.

I was still worried about something else as I leaned back against the front French doors and I prepared to let her go after 37 hours with her in my arms' length.

"Ror," I said nervously. "I'm a hundred percent sure I want to try a relationship with you, I just want to make sure that from earlier, when you said this might be a phase, were you being truthful?" I looked into her eyes, expecting to see her scared and trying to explain things. But she's thought about this a lot, which much I'm sure of, because she was sliding her hand into mine and trying to keep me reassured.

"If it's a phase, it's a phase," she answered truthfully. "But we have to take a risk here, there's an attraction between us, and from what we talked about this afternoon, we can't sweep this under the rug. We can't give up on this because it looks bad to Hartford society, and if it does, we'll support each other." She looked up at me, giving me an easy smile. "I really do like you Par, and everything I wrote down in that notebook is the complete truth, I've felt more of a pull towards you than I ever did with either Dean or Jess, and I must be into sadism to have lasted this long trying to get in your good graces."

Man, she had a pretty nice point there; how many times did I belittle her, only to have her bounce back up towards me like a jack-in-the-box. So many times I could've lost her, but each time she stayed attached in the name of friendship and competition. I have to admit, she's managed to stretch the very definition of loyalty to its absolute limit.

I made eye contact with her, and after thinking over her words, let Rory know that I felt the absolute same way about her, and that I'll do anything to keep her, even though I'll have to keep this entire secret for now. I don't feel comfortable having to deny all that's happened today and in the last five days besides the dance marathon, but I want to get to know Rory through the old-fashioned courting dance, and the only way that can happen is if we keep this hush-hush.

She was being shy, I was being shy, yet I didn't want to leave.

"Thanks Paris, for everything this weekend," she said to me. "You went above and beyond what I was hoping would happen these last two days, and I'm relieved I don't have to hold back things anymore."

"You're welcome," I said as I found myself drawing closer involuntarily. I didn't know why, but my hormones must feel like they've been released from a stronghold I kept them in for so long. I don't feel shy and self-conscious around her anymore, so I felt comfortable taking her by the hand. "I never want to do the whole-day dancing gig again, but this being your girlfriend? I'm dedicated to you now, so if you need to call me, you know the number and the email." I smiled towards her, and Rory seemed to sigh as we both leaned in at the same time another soft, warm and longing kiss. I was glad not to be wearing any lip makeup, for the feeling of Rory's lips on mine is something I want to get very used to. By the time the kiss ended, we were both flush, and smiling like idiots. Idiots in the first stages of love, but one time I don't take that word as an insult.

"I'll see you tomorrow when you get to school," she told me in a voice that seemed a little too cheery for a goodbye, "otherwise I'll contact you somehow tonight after Lorelai and I are all talked out."

"I'm not going to be up at 12:30 in the morning," I joked, and Rory rolled her eyes and said my name in that 'I can't take you sometimes, but I'll take you anyways despite' tone.

Just then, I got this flash in my mind of Rory waiting at the town bus stop across from the town square, Dean no longer there to see her off for the day and seemingly alone in her Walkman-soundtracked world, watching the world pass by her as she sipped from the foam cup of Luke's finest. I could tell from her attitude on Tuesday that she was starting to loathe the bus, and in conversation during the dance, let me know that the driver was a real jackass to her when she rang the chime at my corner. There was also the guy who sat in front of Rory who leered at her like she was jailbait. Not to mention she's still pissed two months later because cuts in the CT Transit budget means she has to do a loop through North Hartford that's miles from her final destination of Chilton because they're too stingy for a dedicated route between the southern part of the county and south Hartford.

I also thought back to Tuesday where I was able to have her in the front seat on the way into class. It was a lot less lonely driving south towards the school, and though we were both in a rush that morning, imagining the half-hour of bonding and deepening our relationship I could have with her, Rory's mood in the morning could improve if I extended my ride offer to the morning. I thought about the extra cost and maintenance of another 35 miles a day on the Jag to myself, and found it to be a small price to pay despite the extra fuel. Driving her myself would also take the worries of depending on the whims of the bus driver to find out when my now-girlfriend would get in. Before, I barely trusted them with her safety. Now though, I couldn't fathom her taking that bumpy and wearing trip to Chilton on a bus each day.

Not to mention the brownie points I'd score with the elder Gilmores. Lorelai wouldn't cringe at seeing the $40 she had to give Rory for a monthly bus pass put to much better use (or to pay for some of my gas), while Emily, her grandmother would be overjoyed to see her granddaughter finally getting along well with a classmate well enough to get a lift to school from her each morning. Never mind that said classmate has completely shallow intentions for giving her grandchild a lift to school.

I let her know this new plan I had, and of course, she started trying to shy away from my plans immediately.

"I couldn't do that to you, your entire morning routine would have to be changed, you'd have to get up earlier than you do now," she argued. "What about your servants and Fran, they're not going to be happy about having to get up early, and your car in the winter! The road into town here isn't exactly friendly in driving snow..." Aww, I just like it when she gets all rambly and tries to stop me from spoiling her.

So I shut her up again with another slow lingering kiss, which I'll have to take in mind from now on as a good strategy to use to beat her when we mock debate. I broke it up and explained that I could go to bed at 10:20, an hour earlier from now on, and that the servants are already up and awake by 4:30am, long before my then-current wakeup time of 6:15am. Fran would be cool with everything, and if the roads didn't seem to cooperate, Rory forgot that I have a Range Rover in the garage I drive in the snow that has a high center of gravity and snow tires that wouldn't get stuck, even on the two-laner that goes into the Hollow.

"Oh yeah, you're rich, of course you'd have an SUV just in case." She laughed nervously towards me. "Are you sure it's not a hassle? You're very kind for offering, but--"

Time to get into strict authoritarian mode about then. "I'll be here Ror, and I will drag you off the bus if you try to get on it! I want that extra half-hour alone with you so much, so just take the rides, I'm not going to take a no for an answer."

"Fine." She sighed. "Just don't be late and watch out for the bumper-attacking deer on the way down." I grasped the doorknob, we both headed out of the house, and we walked down from the porch, to the gravel driveway my car was sitting on. It was a dawdling kind of seeing-off, both of us just taking in the silence of the early evening as I took my keyring out of my pocketbook and deactivated the alarm system. We both looked left and right, hoping we were truly alone. The seemingly limitless time we had before was gone; it was time to leave her for the rest of the night.

Rory held her arms close to her chest because of the cold weather. The tank top seemed to be a bad idea out there, but my mind still found something positive about it, namely her chilled breasts aroused by the cold. I kept my eyes on the car so I wouldn't be caught looking at her so blatantly...

OK, I did look, twice. Hey, you'd do it too if your girl didn't dress well for the weather. She didn't seem to notice, though she gave me a knowing look as I went into the car and started up the engine. Before that point, saying goodbye to Rory was something that was inevitable. After this Sunday though, I can never say goodbye to her again without feeling sort of melancholy.

I brought the window down, and she bent down to my eye level.

"Thanks again for the wonderful weekend, I'll try to get a smaller replica trophy from the town shop as soon as I can for you." She smiled, and I couldn't help but do it too. Knowing that this was Stars Hollow and the neighbors next door could be watching from beneath their blinds, I gave Rory one last kiss, in a friendly way on her cheek that wouldn't arouse suspicion.

"I won you hon." I let her know, turning into a full-scale sap. "No trophy or ribbon has the same significance as being able to say that you Rory, are mine." It was unexpected and something I never expected to tell anyone in my lifetime, but with Rory, I can let my guard down with her.

"And I'm yours Par," she let me know once more. "Until tomorrow," she started to back away from the car. "Goodnight, and I hope things go well for us tomorrow."

"Me too Rory, goodnight." With one more longing look, I watched Rory walk towards her porch in the rear-view mirror, as I reveled in the fact that girl, she was mine.

I feel...content, I thought to myself as I turned on the radio to one of the all-news radio stations out of New York to catch up with current events. It was mere background noise however, for I was still wrapping myself around Rory sharing the same feelings that I had for her. Suffice to say, the shock won't go away for days, and I'm sure when I awake at 5:30 tomorrow morning, there's going to be a pinch on my arm to confirm this fact, that we're both smitten with each other in such a deep way.

I pulled out of the driveway and onto Cherry Lane, leaving this weekend of November 9th and 10th, 2002 for history to decode. Rory's figure seemed to shrink in the rear view mirror with each new foot of road, the strain on my heart from missing her already starting to take root. When I reached the intersection of Cherry and Peach, which went towards the square, the small glow of her porch's light was all that was left of the view. I flicked on my right turn signal, stopped for as long as the law required me to, and turned right, back towards Hartford and an existence I'm not sure I want anymore.

Things are going to change from hereon out for both of us, I know this and Rory probably has this front and center in her mind. Over the next few months we're going to learn who are our true friends, that accept us for all we are. There's going to be people we'll find out can't stand the sight of two girls holding hands intimately, or worse, want us to 'renounce' our gaiety and try to cure Rory and I of this 'sickness'. I haven't read my friends or most of my family yet; right now it's about 50-50 that Madeline and Louise would accept us for who we are; Louise has some morals in her somewhere I'm sure.

My paternal (read; Jewish) side is going to be that way too, so really, I'm more afraid of my mother and anyone else on her side I share genes with, because they won't take well to this. If Sharon keeps ignoring me now in my asexual and fiery bookworm guise, what's to say she'll put a curtain of silence over me if she finds out I like a girl, and even worse, a frugal and non-rich girl from Podunk who comes from a woman she loathes? It's something I'm dreading, but thankfully thanks to Mohegan Man, will remain an open question for a long time to come; two weeks at the least. I'll only see her for five minutes after school each day, and then it's off with her on another whirlwind adventure to yet another boat dealer's lot in southeast Connecticut. She has this newfound obsession with yachting since Mohegan introduced her to it a few days. God, I hope Mohegan Man has all the piloting and captaining skills of the star character in some bad 90's flick I saw once on overnight TBS, Captain Ron. A flying leap off the starboard side might do Mother's mental fitness some good for once.

The ride home was silent the rest of the way, save for the catching up on the news and those thoughts, and I pulled into the garage next to the Manor about 8:15pm. I took the dress out of my emergency grooming bag and was thankful to find it unwrinkled and still in mint and vintage condition. Fran trusted me with this heirloom of her mother's, so I took all the precautions I could to make sure she received it back the way I found it. God, I love her. Without Francisca, I'd be such a sour girl and yearning in desperation for any kind of attention. She's kept me sane throughout the process of wooing Rory, and without her advice, I would've ruined things between Rory and I months ago.

When I came into the kitchen and went through the first floor towards the grand stairway up to the second floor, I found the house empty, but for a butler dusting a dining room china cabinet and the maid bringing up some wash and spreading a lily-white tablecloth across the dining room table. I was able to go upstairs without so much as a 'hello', since Mother has seemed to taken employment advice from Rory's grandmother and fires staff she controls whenever they don't meet her standards, which means often. I swear, that neat freak and etiquette Nazi, Hyacinth Bucket from that Britcom would tell Sharon her turnover is beyond crazy. But as I've said in the past, as long as she never touches any of the staff members hired by Daddy, especially Francisca, I could care less if a convicted felon was making my breakfast or cleaning my shower.

It felt so weird coming into that house wearing Lorelai's shorts beneath my pants, and her flannel instead of my usual high-quality wardrobe, and as I stepped on the second floor landing from the stairs, suddenly everything around me seemed too large for me. The large windows along the sides of the hallway, 8 foot tall paintings of my ancestors and the high double doors all down the hallway, this mansion, Gellar Manor, has been where I grew up for seventeen years.

After experiencing the cramped, yet cozy environs of the Gilmore house for twelve hours, things seemed too large to me. Although I keep a small bedroom of 15' x 18' (by upper-class Hartford standards), I could probably live comfortably in a middle class-house's bedroom just fine. My bed is the largest thing that I own, and I've taken advantage of the DVD and digital media era by turning my desktop computer into a do-all, radio, TV, stereo system and all around media system in addition to my schoolwork and web work. Everything I have in ones and zeroes is backed up four times over, with two of the backups offsite at Chilton and in a hard drive I safe deposit in my bank. My wardrobe is small, making my walk-in closet almost a sleeping-in closet. The only thing I could say clutters up are books, magazines and paperwork, and that I have meticulously filed downstairs in the library.

It's odd, I'm so lucky to have been born into a wealthy family. I have a room any girl would dream of, with lots of blank wall to hang limitless pictures of Justin Timberlake, Usher, and the other male effigies of this lifeless media generation. I could have a large vanity on one side of the room that could easily fit the entire makeup department of Bloomie's in with space to spare, and enough room in the closet for more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, giving Imelda Marcos a run for her money.

Thing is though, I'm simple. I live simple. The walls are bare, save for hanging art and the corkboard above my desk, along with embellishments my mother insisted on making and I didn't turn down, sadly keeping her from a nervous breakdown and a trip to the sanatorium. I don't care to get into those, but mostly they involve a mural on one wall that's supposed to look like a blue sky with clouds, but ended up having the appearance of an incomplete drywall project with the 'clouds' horribly done and the sky blue far from the correct portion of the spectrum; it's more dark blue.

About the only abnormal thing in the room is a mini-fridge in a corner off to the side with diet soda and cold ice tea on hand, and I only purchased that so I could stay out of Sharon's hair for as many hours in the day as I can. With the private bathroom and some smart shortcuts, I could survive at least a year without seeing my mother if I ever felt compelled to shut her out completely.

Ahh, the private bathroom. With a $10,000 Kohler shower unit in one corner with about 15 separate showering and massage settings including a waterfall, and a massaging bathtub in the other, along with a large sink, I'm lucky in that regard. I can bathe in absolute privacy without fearing anyone barging in or worrying about running out of hot water since each bathroom has it's own hot water heater. That was my first stop after getting into my bedroom, as I quickly disrobed and kicked off the underwear I had been in for almost two days. It was a very enjoyable showering session, and though I didn't partake any kind of fantasy situation with Rory while I cleaned off the sweat, tears and dirt that built up from the dance marathon and the stay with Rory, it warmed me to know that I didn't have to be afraid to from this point on. Rory made it clear I was in her fantasies, so her having marquee billing in mine would not cause me to feel guilt anymore.

The time seemed to pass quickly after I got out of the shower. I changed into light silk pajamas, colored a baby pink, and sat down at my G4 Mac to catch up on the news about Chilton I missed over the weekend. That's where I learned to my chagrin thanks to a good recap article by Davidson Banfield, my #1 sportswriter that Chilton's football team was dealt a heartbreaking loss to Seth Thomas Intermediate in their regional final playoff game Friday night, 40-38. No one in that entire stadium though that STI's placekicker would hit a last-second 55-yard field goal with the wind blowing into him since his personal best before that was 36, but his foot was strong enough to force the ball between the goalposts, leaving the Blue Demons, the Demonette cheer squad and all the students and alumni wearing Chilton blue stunned and leaving Archauer Stadium wrenching that their season ended so anti-climactically. It was sad to read, and I couldn't bear to edit the article, since Dave articulated what the average Chiltonian had felt the moment the ref's arms raised in the air signifying the successful try. It's going to be a down-in-the-dumps day in the halls tomorrow, I know that already.

The other teams from the school had won their matches/games though, numbing the pain of the football loss somewhat, and some scholarships were given out, so though there would be no boost from a state semifinal edition of the Franklin, I'd still be able to get together a nice edition to put out.

Of course, with Rory's help. I smiled to myself, thinking of how interesting brainstorm sessions would be after tonight. Why do I have a feeling that this is going to be like an office romance? Things will be done eventually, but only after plenty of groping, sweet nothings and snuck kisses in the broom closet. I share two big student group responsibilities with her, so to have my partner also happen to be my debate compatriot, student VP and assistant editor for the paper; I'll have to be careful to make sure that we both are on the same page. It used to be a hot-button issue would just cause some disagreement between us; being in a relationship with her now could be a traumatic blow to how things are going. I have to stay opinionated, but also won't be able to alienate or bully Rory into agreeing with me anymore.

Though I could always start a hot make-out session with her if all else fails and blow her mind into going with my agenda. Noted for the future...

I eventually caught up on Chilton news and with Madeline and Louise over the phone and instant messaging respectively, telling them I'd tell them about my weekend tomorrow. I want to get a good story formed so that I can keep in the excitement of the dance while blurring out the intimacies of Rory and I and how we're not just friends anymore. I hate to keep them in the dark for now, but I have to come out of the closet cautiously, lest it ruin my rep at school and in the social circles, not to mention Rory would be thrown to the lions with the kids finding out 'Mary' isn't all she seems.

There was one person I could trust with the news however; I went upstairs to Fran's quarters and knocked on her door, holding the vintage dress on a hanger and sort of nervous; this was the only woman who knew my interest in a certain girl, and I was hoping I had done her proud.

"Fran, hello?" I said nervously after she told me to come in, as she tended to a sewing project for a grandchild with a birthday coming up. She turned around and gave me a once-over as I handed her the dress.

"Minha menina, how was it," she asked with a smile which warmed my heart. We shared a hug, and sat down at her materials table. I had a smile a mile wide as Francisca hung the dress in the closet and I told her what had happened in a simple way.

"We won the competition," I started. "It was tenuous at times and there was a point where Tristan came up and I took it the wrong way, but after that, things seemed to get more comfortable and..." after that I summarized the dance the best I could from memory, which was filled with so many of them I felt like there was an overload. I let her know about all that touching and conversation, along with competing and Kirk and Carrie. Strangely, I can still recall the taste (or lack thereof) of Mrs. Kim's eggless egg salad. There was never a time before that I was more excited to gush about a victory like this, usually I keep reserved and bottle up my enthusiasm. When I got to the part were Rory had to take me out of a hyperfocused state to let me know Kirk and Carrie had fallen, I had Fran laughing and happy for me, and then trying to hold back tears as I described like a storyteller the Eternal Flame dance, and how content I felt in Rory's arms.

"So what happened after? You didn't come back here, so I'd right that you were over at Mistress Gilmore's home?"

I nodded. "She said it would keep from falling asleep on the way back home."

"I see." She shook her head knowingly, and gave me an unnerving look.

"What? That's what she told me and Rory was right, I would've fallen asleep on the way up."

"Henrico was on call, you forget dear. Even if Rory had to bring your sleeping body out to the town car, he still would have picked you up and brought Bryant down with him, who would have driven your Jaguar home..."

...Which I had remembered from Fran's last-second rundown Saturday morning of how I could get home had I ended up the way I did, my drivers Henrico and Bryant being on my beck and call to take me anywhere if I needed to, ready to be dispatched. All my bases had been covered, and as I had been trying to explain this backup plan to Rory, she had taken the initiative to bring me into distracting conversation and pushing one of her hands beneath the plunge of my dress, thus fogging my mind with sorority nonsense and hoping her hand wouldn't distract me further. By the time I had said yes to sleeping with her, Henrico and Bryant were forgotten and the only thing on my mind was winning the contest and her admiration.

I blushed red, telling a little white lie that I forgot and was sleepy instead of that Rory was screwing with my mind so she could put this entire chain of events in motion, and hoped Fran would understand that I didn't mean to worry the guys by not letting them know I made other plans.

"No, they were fine and happy to get some sleep, the GPS showed you were at the Gilmore home so they assumed you were sleeping over there. Nothing to fear, you're not in trouble." Fran smiled at me and I sighed in relief, thankful that the dealer installed a constant GPS beacon in my car that they could monitor on the computer in the garage just in case a nutjob tried to carjack me and think he could lose the cops. "How did that go, were you a good guest?"

I told her about the day, which was uneventful before I woke up, save for the spoon, which I kept out along with the unzipping. Once I got into the afternoon though, I seemed sort of uneasy, fearing I'd say the wrong thing and trigger something in Francisca. She accepts me, but there are times I think she's scared about my well-being. I explained about the lunch and studying Rory's notes, but started to fade my voice out once I arrived at the point of the Russian Novels notebook.

"Paris, what's wrong?" Fran's voice conveyed concern towards me, but before then, it had been to her, an unattainable crush to me, something I would never have. It wasn't an illusion anymore, and if I told her, she might try to talk me out of it.

Still, she knew me better than my mother ever could. She was the one to watch my first steps, listen to my first words (Fra-noo, proving here I wasn't exactly reciting Keats at 10 months), and who has seen me grow up from a child into the woman I am now. She was basically my mother in all but name and blood, and what Fran thinks, that influences me.

Her warm, timeworn eyes looked into mine, and I knew that whatever her reaction was, she still loved me, no matter what. Our bond is something you can find only rarely, and even Rory understands that. She even told me while we talked she wasn't afraid of my nanny; she was someone who sort of reminded her of Miss Patty, her defacto grandmother figure until her and Emily reconciled in the funding of her Chilton education.

I smiled towards Fran, and told her the truth as simply as I could. "I found Rory had been keeping a list of things she liked about me, a romantic list of things. Some of what has happened over the last couple months, she did that on purpose, to tell me she was interested. When I found that evidence, and told her not with my words, but with my eyes and my body language that I knew, she latched on and told me that she liked me-liked me in that way. We talked a little, and after trying to make heads and tails of this, we figured out that somehow in this weird way, Rory and I had good compatibility." I laughed nervously, and tried to gauge Fran's reaction to this news.

She was stunned a little, but soon recovered and asked me something important.

"Did you and Rory kiss?"

There was no hiding the rush of feelings flowing through my bloodstream; for even now as I think about this, I still feel dizzy from each time my lips touched hers. I could feel myself blushing as I admitted I indeed locked lips with her at quite a few times after 4:30pm.

"This weekend for me was just exactly what Rory and I needed," I confessed. "When I danced with her, and we were up on that stage holding that trophy together, that told me that we need each other, no matter what. We might both disagree at times and get a little bitchy when we're pissed at each other for what might be a little thing, but we both have soft sides for each other, and I'm her impetus to strive to be better, whether it be at school or in her eyes. In turn, she thinks the same thing; that's our competitive fuel, and somewhere in the middle, it ended up becoming passion. You saw me that weekend after we fought at school Fran; I was a wreck without her." About this point, I started trying to hold back tears as Fran told me I wasn't my same ferocious self. "God, I'm so glad you talked me into this dance, because I haven't felt so happy since before I went out with Tristan, only this time though, I know the feelings aren't one sided."

I then got up, met Fran in the middle of the room, and had a mother-daughter-like hug together as she assured me in Portuguese that she blessed Rory and I, that she had hoped that the weekend ended up this way, with Rory as my girlfriend. I felt wonderful confessing that Rory was my world and I was going to do my damndest to make this all work. Fran promised me she would run interference with Sharon, but then she cautioned me.

"You're going to have to tell her one day dear, and it will end up more soon than later. I know it's going to hurt her, but she's your mother despite." I bowed my head, thinking of Mother and how she'd react. In my mind, it's going to be horrible, and I can already sense that almost seven years of frustration and anger against her will be released as I tell her I'm gay.

You're going to disappoint her, my rational side reasoned, and sadly, it's most likely correct. I'm already leery and scared of her iron rule over my life, and can only imagine what kinds of things she has in mind. She's never wanted me to associate with Rory, and that was the only reason I used anger to defend against her push for friendship. I love Rory, though I'm not ready to tell her that because it takes time to say those three words to each other.

"I will tell her, but not for the next month probably," I said to my nanny. "We're in the experimental phase, and I want everything to go right." Fran looked at me, and nodded her head in understanding.

"It will, I promise you." She rubbed circles counter-clockwise around the top of my hand in a soothing motion. "Now after a night like that, it is time to sleep, you need to refresh and recharge, you look like you've had a long day."

"A long day, but also a good day." Both of us smiled, and I hugged her one last time tightly before I left her quarters. "Obrigado (thank you) Francisca."

"Quando caro, eu te amo, boa noite. (Anytime dear, I love you, good night)" I returned the love, and left her quarters, walking back to my bedroom feeling much more lighter than I did when I left this home at five in the morning on Saturday.

That brings me to where I am at this moment, laying in bed beneath layers of heavy blankets, an old dog-eared romance novel in my grasp, the literary equivalent of junk food. The story doesn't have my attention however, because as I lay here, I keep flashing back in my mind those intimate moments of interest Rory shared with me through the last two days. Those close touches, her hands against my back, as we guided each other to the slow beat of the music. I close my eyes and set the book down, my mind thinking of her undressing me and undoing Ms. LaCosta's tight knot. Teeth nip against those sensitive hairs beneath the rope of my Jewish star necklace, her lips soft against my nape as her hands run all over my back.

I feel a knot tighten up beneath as I imagine Rory at first undoing the knots, then her nervous voice in my ears, confessing her love for me. The name Lorelei (spelled with an 'e' in actuality instead of an 'a') comes from a Germanic legend about a sea siren on the banks of the Rhine, and though I only know her by her nickname of Rory, the name that's listed on her birth certificate, the meaning of it is fitting her behavior around me perfectly. I think of her undoing the knot, then having me turn around, where she whispers my name softly, then brushes her lips against mine softly. I let the front of the halter dress go, take her into my arms, and tell her how much she means to me as I cradle her ass into my hands, and while both of us softly kiss and tease, back her through the kitchen and into the bedroom, where we fall onto the bed in a heap, both of us starting to find our faces messed up with desire and want. I can still taste against her lips the familiar bitter tang of her own personal addiction, a hint of vanilla and brown sugar seeping in from the gloss against her lips.

My eyes tighten closed, and I find myself glad to have rid myself of the matching pajama pants I wore upstairs as I slide a hand up my thigh, the skin beneath the heel seeming to overheat with each thought of my favorite brunette as I think of myself trying to shrug the red dress she cut a rug in off her slim body. I moan Rory's name softly into the chilly air of my bedroom and my hand meets the bare skin of my side above the waistband of my panties. I feel ready to slide in a finger beneath the leg and spark a fantasy sure to cool my hormones and at the same time expend that last energy I have that's keeping me awake and fall asleep in a soothing ecstasy--

And now what is that tone that just jarred me out? Oh, it's just my iBook, which in a stroke of relaxing genius is within arms' length of my bed on the left side. I have it set to tone whenever I have an email from a good friend or Harvard (Hey, they could admit me at 12:01am tomorrow morning, you never know. Now that would be the ultimate great day!). I feel so comfortable in the position I'm in, but I never receive an email on a Sunday night.

That is unless there's some Franklin trouble. Oh dear, I better look at it. Thankful that the only wire that's connecting it is the AC adaptor plug, I grab it from its resting place and open the lid, expecting the worst as I Open-Apple+E into my email client and watch the messages filter into my main mail account, set up through the cable company. A few pieces of junk filter in, along with one of Louise's famous forwards I'll never read. I'm about ready to attribute this tone to a false-negative that snuck past my spam filter.

Wait...I gasp out as I see that name that now will turn me into a sap each time I see it or hear it. I smile a little as I double click on the message, and let the words spill onto my screen;

From: LLGilmoreIII@snet.net (Rory Gilmore)
To: paris.gellar@comcast.net (Paris Gellar)
Subject: Good Night


I'm here in my room, trying to think of what to say while my mom runs to the video store for candy and movies (a school night yes, but it's been five days and we've missed each other so much, time to bond) and before I get to tell her that you and I are the dance marathon champions, when my mind and my heart are still numbed because of what happened this afternoon. I'm still stunned, but don't worry, in a good way. I mean there have been first kisses I've shared, but Dean and Jess were never on the same page with me. That you've been thinking of me this way for at least the last five or six months, it made the kisses even better in hindsight. I promise you I have no regrets about this, and even though we'll have to go incognito on being together for now until we come up with a telling plan, I want to be closer to you, no matter the cost.

Also, I'm sort of looking back on our first two years when we were at odds, and though it may not seem like it, all that fighting brought us closer. I could be thinking a little too forward about this, but after all that fighting, I feel like we can survive anything. We're both fighters Par, and we've both shown that so much. Though we've never resorted to fists, our words are strong and they fly fast, and with both of us in a romantic relationship like this, we can overcome anything, I think. You kiss like you fight; strong and never wavering...lol.

I also think that if we fight, making up will be sort of...passionate. Though I'm not thinking we'll be like that just yet, I have to admit that after I fought with you in the conference room, my mom made this observation to me as I ranted on the way to Grandma's that I was talking about you like we were already sparring partners, and not in the boxing sense. I'm not saying that I want to fight again just for that positive side effect, far from it (God, I hope not). It's just that even when you're pissed off at me, and I'm wanting to tear out all your hair in one swift motion from your scalp because you're pushing my buttons, well let's just say that the 'I want her so bad even though she's poking me and drawing blood with a pointy stick' button is big, red and blinking compared to the smaller keys I could push.

I kept everything back from you for so long, afraid of what you would think of me wanting you, I don't exactly scream out lesbian from the way I act. But there was always something about you Par. From that first day you told me not to forget that you owned Chilton, I wanted to figure you out, find out what made you tick, be the way you are. That's why I kept trying to stay in your good graces; you were interested in me even if you did loathe me, you paid attention to me when others in Chilton weren't. Over time that because a curiosity, and then a mission, until I finally realized, I think I want you. I don't know if it's going to be the relationship of a lifetime, but I'm bored with guys. I'm done being auctioned off and fought over like a talented ball player or something of that sort. I want to have a relationship on my own terms, without having to worry about going too far or fucking up because I let passion get in the way. I'm not interested in guys anymore; I don't think I ever was, and had Dean never introduced himself to me at SHH, I don't know if we'd be at this point Par, becoming partners, or even in the deepest part of a relationship. Things may have been different, but I do know if things have happened like they did and I had a second chance at making changes, I wouldn't change this one bit.

We're perfect together, in sync, simpatico. Maybe we're even soulmates. I'm going to convince you, that falling for me is the best risk you ever decided to take. I like you as not only one of my best friends, but you know how it feels to be under all this pressure. I'm not scared of anything, and I hope you're not either, because from this night forward, you're my girlfriend, and I'm committed to you. Never, ever doubt that, for those sparks we share are real as can be.

I'd like to write more Par, but I just heard Lorelai barging into the house with bags in her hand and she's making a rather loud cowboy yelp that's really distracting...oh God, not another cowboy phase, I swear sometimes I should be running the Inn and my mom should be at Chilton :-p. Gonna end this message, and I'll see you outside Luke's tomorrow at 7am sharp, I thought it over and you'll be my ride to and from school from now on, I'm sending my Ralph Kramden-like driver to the moon permanently (or at least passengerless at the Stars Hollow stop). Let me know if you want anything for the trouble and I'll have it ready. Sweet dreams honey.


P.S. - Uh, just in case you thought about this, the kiss? To me, a good sign I didn't cry or run, because I was thinking about that all day, thank God I didn't. Take that as a sign that I'm ready for this, because I sure wasn't ready for Dean or Jess!

I look over her message, feeling even sicker for her with each and every word. She's putting a smile on my face and I'm sure she's sitting with Lorelai in the living room right now, listening to her mother describe an Elvis Presley haunt, while at the same time, thinking of me in bed, reading this and getting emotional over it. Yep, I'm a wreck as I read her kind words and what basically reads like a mission statement, that I'm coming into a not just a relationship, but a 24/7 commitment with her. It's something I've been ready for since last year, and it's finally true.

Her line about getting aroused after the fight? I smirk a little. Though I was a wreck myself afterwards, she had seemed to already forgive me for my overreaction, and was wound up from it? I didn't know that I was that good! My breathing shortens, and I have to get a thought of pushing her against the rail of a blackboard in the heat of an argument out of my mind.

It's clear from her thought out words though, that she's ready for this; the pressure and problems that come with having a relationship with another girl. She's not going to care what others think, as long as I make her happy, all is well with us, and I'm going to stone myself into trying to keep her as happy as she possibly can be. I write a reply just as long to her quickly, depending on the auto-correction for once in my client to get through the message. I respond to her point about anger becoming lust, and maybe love succulently, and let her know I feel that I have the same feeling about us; we're right for each other, no matter how much we might seem like an odd couple. I confess a few more things, and feel pleased as punch that she'll let me drive her to school.

Finally, hearing that she didn't cry because the kiss seemed so right, that was such a cute thing to include in the message. My worries about her crying and running were high, but once she got deep into it, I knew she was planted on the couch and upon my lips until she was out of oxygen. I'm on top of the world as I click the send icon, and close the laptop shortly thereafter feeling as if nothing can go wrong with this relationship. Now we just have to build a strong relationship on top of good kissing. It's a challenge, but I feel like we both can overcome it and any others that get in our way.

I'm about ready for bed now, my eyes seem heavy with sleep, so I undo the silk pajama top and throw it off to the side as I settle myself in beneath the covers. Before I do however, I reach out and open the drawer in my nightstand, pulling out something that I've been hiding whenever Mother or Rory have been in the room before. In a smooth dark maple frame, a 4x6 of Rory and I smiling towards the camera, both of us standing in front of the Supreme Court. A 16 year-old aspiring politico from northern Kentucky was also at the same time honing his photography hobby during the Washington trip, and told us to stand and pose together in front of the tall and broad steps of the heart of the nation's judicial branch so he could test out his abilities. Because his camera was digital, at that luncheon Jamie asked me out, he handed out printouts of the pictures he took to everyone who wanted them. He only had one of our pose, but Rory didn't mind if I wanted it.

The day after Rory and I arrived back home, I put it in a frame, and would take it out of the drawer whenever I felt I missed Rory. The picture was wonderful, a shot where we were both smiling widely and looking towards the camera, both of us happy in that moment in time. I can still remember the boy asking us to smile, and her arm at my side, cradling me and bringing my body towards her. Her blue eyes seem to sparkle in the picture, and those dimples she displays during a wide grin make me weak. It was just one picture, one small picture.

But what was in it encapsulates all the hopes and dreams I have of her. I look at this photograph of us, this window to the start of what changed this relationship we have from a rivalry to infatuation. I don't have any idea yet if I'll be looking back with her ten years from now at this same picture in a photo album and saying 'remember that summer of 2002 in Washington, and then the autumn we fell in love? It's just wow, I can't believe it's been that long, almost like that was a few days ago.' All I know is that with the distance between our homes, I do miss her next to me, her warm body against mine as we sleep together in bed. It's already a feeling I want to have back, but I know that for now, it's going to be a rare event.

What I can do is look wide-eyed at her picture, and smile at the fact that all that was hidden in our minds when it was taken, the crushes, hopes and longing looks we were giving each other and now know for sure we were each doing, it's now out in the open. I kiss the glass above Rory's face softly and wish her goodnight, as I set it back onto the nightstand, where it will now have a prominent and permanent place and not be hidden again, and in all likelihood since I end up on my right side when I wake up, she'll be the first thing I see every morning.

For now though, I have an appointment with her in my dreams. What she told me today, and what she did is so fresh in my mind that I shouldn't see a problem falling asleep. One last look at her picture, and I can imagine her lips drifting higher from my neck, Rory wrapping her arms around my midsection possessively, then her teeth nipping at the outer shell of my right ear, whispering heated innuendos and obvious flirting to have me slip out of my dress and slide one of my hands against her thigh, drifting up her pale skin slowly and with agony...

And Then Paris Kissed Me... Nate Gilmore Girls Main Index