DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to the WB, ASP, and a host of other initials that aren't mine. Some of the dialogue belongs to the parties listed above, but the subtextual implications are my own.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If this gets a good response, I'm considering three other later episode rewrites as a follow up.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For "The Break Up, Part II".
The Hook Up, Part I
It was only nine-thirty, and Paris hated the party already. She had nothing but disdain for the random boys that Madeline and Louise found so fascinating, and had long ago learned that she didn't have much to say to the rest of her Chilton classmates outside of class. The entire first floor of Madeline's house was packed with dancing and laughing people who really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Paris felt claustrophobic, and wished she had more personal space. A hapless lacrosse player careened into her on his way to the drinks table.
"Ugh," she muttered loudly. "You have three seconds to remove your extreme oafishness from my presence. One...two..." The young man scrambled off with a frightened look on his face before she could get to three.
"Paris," Louise's exasperated voice reached her as she and Madeline appeared from the throes of the party, "he was really cute."
"Yeah," Madeline agreed. "He had very nice arms."
"He was an oaf. He had oafish arms." Paris replied.
"Well I guess our subtly pushing him into you was just a waste. Do you think we still get good karma for trying?" Louise pondered.
"I can't believe it!" Paris said suddenly.
"Look, the whole pushing thing was her idea," Madeline began.
"What is she doing here?" Paris continued, not paying the slightest attention to her two best friends.
Madeline followed the line of Paris' gaze. Across the crowded sea of dancing Chiltonites, she could vaguely make out Rory Gilmore heading towards them, sans hunky boyfriend. Now that was interesting. She seemed to be accompanied by a cute Asian girl that Madeline didn't know.
"Where's her boyfriend?" Louise murmured under her breath. "Who's the girl?"
Paris' mind was rapidly attempting to figure out why Rory, the only other intelligent girl in the whole school, would waste her time coming to a party like this if she didn't have to. And where was her boyfriend? And who was that girl? One benefit of hanging out with the dynamic social duo of Madeline and Louise was that Paris felt sure she wouldn't have to appear overly interested by asking any of these questions herself.
Sure enough, Madeline and Louise started in moments later when Rory arrived in front of them.
"You came!" Madeline bounced a little on the balls of her feet to show her excitement. Now Paris would have someone she actually liked to hang out with.
"Yeah," Rory replied, stating the obvious.
"Who's watching the farm?" Louise asked in a catty voice. Paris gave her a sharp look with glowering eyebrows.
"Madeline, your house is beautiful." Rory said, ignoring Louise's slight completely.
"Thanks," Madeline answered. "It's my stepfather's."
"So where is he?" Louise asked, point-blank. Paris held off on another glowering look, as she was strangely curious to hear the answer to this question.
"My stepfather?" asked Madeline. "He's in Japan."
"No, not your stepfather," Louise said impatiently. "Prince Charming."
There was a small space, maybe one-tenth of one second, when Rory looked just a little vulnerable at that question. Madeline and Louise weren't really paying enough attention to notice, but Paris caught it right away. Rory just looked so...so...kind of brave and classically beautiful with those big eyes giving away just a trace of despair. But she recovered quickly.
"He didn't come." Rory said simply.
"Why?" Louise pressed.
"His white horse was in the shop." Rory retorted.
Paris suppressed a snicker.
"You guys didn't break up, did you?" Louise asked, avidly hoping that Mr. Tall Dark and Hunky might be on the open market now.
"Hi, I'm Lane." the girl behind Rory interjected. It was interesting how she cut in to the conversation like that, Paris thought. She seemed kind of protective of Rory.
Louise continued with the catty attitude by responding, "As in walk down a..."
"Yes," Lane answered, "exactly."
Paris was hoping Madeline and Louise might get a little more information out of Gilmore, but lost all hope of that happening as two beefy J Crew wannabes appeared behind them and started draping themselves all over the two boy crazy girls.
Paris continued to watch Rory, not really listening to the guys bantering about taking a tour of the pool house. Eventually Madeline caught on to what they wanted, and abruptly excused herself and Louise to head off with them.
"No glove, no love." Paris called after them, partly out of concern for her friends, partly out of a desire to embarrass them. Their departure left her comparatively alone with Rory and her friend. As alone as you could get at a crowded party, anyway.
"So, I didn't think you were much of a party girl." she said. She felt she would be somehow disappointed if Rory turned out to be just another good time girl.
"I'm not usually," Rory replied. "But I thought I might come by and check it out."
"Same exact people we see at school except now we get to see them dance." Paris grumbled. "So where is your boyfriend?" She didn't have much hope that Rory would be more honest with her than with the other two, but she thought she might as well give it a try.
Rory was surprised that Paris was perceptive enough to know that more was going on than her lame explanations had accounted for. She was so startled that she actually told Paris the truth. "We, um, we broke up."
Now it was Paris' turn to be surprised. Rory Gilmore, confiding in her? At the same time, she was also taken aback by the feelings she was having about this news. She couldn't help thinking how Rory had that brave but vulnerable look going on again, she found herself almost wanting to hug her or brush the hair off of her forehead or something. This was very unusual. Paris almost never wanted to touch people.
There was an awkward moment when no one said anything. Then Paris finally broke the silence with, "Well, at least you had a boyfriend for a while." Not that Paris even really wanted a boyfriend. All the boys at school were ignorant and immature. And boys were hairy and unpleasant, and the only one she'd ever even had a crush on was Tristan, and look at how that had turned out.
Not knowing what to make of Paris' answer, Rory opted for a change of subject. "So do you know which way would lead us to the soda?"
Paris gave her points for asking for the soda, having spent half the night already listening to idiots ask Madeline which way it was to the liquor cabinet or the wine cellar.
Paris headed for the soda area, calling over her shoulder, "Keep up because I am not turning around." Rory and Lane followed her at a distance.
When they arrived at the table, Lane was impressed. "All this soda is French," she observed.
"Madeline's mother has a French fetish." Paris explained. "She's obsessed with all things French. French wine, French food, French water, French cellulite products."
Their conversation about French imports came to an abrupt halt as an arguing Tristan and Summer came into view. Paris and Rory watched the back-and-forth sparring for a little while until Summer blew Tristan off and headed for the dance floor.
"I just love that Summer, don't you?" Then, glancing at her watch, exclaimed, "9:45."
"Why do you keep checking your watch?" Rory asked.
"My mom says I have to stay until 10:30," Paris admitted.
"Why would she care?" Rory wondered, confused.
"She thinks I'm not enough of a people person. Shocking, huh?"
"I'm floored," Rory said in a sardonic tone of voice. Paris glanced over at her. She didn't seem to really be having any more fun at the party than Paris was.
"Yeah, well" Paris muttered. "I doubt highly that Madame Curie was voted most likely to dress like Jennifer Lopez."
"You want to be a scientist?" Rory asked, completely ignoring Paris' complaints about the party.
"Cancer research." Paris elaborated.
"Cool." Rory responded.
Paris was impressed that Rory seemed to actually mean that she thought her career ambitions were cool. "Yeah," she agreed with more feeling behind it.
This line of discussion was interrupted when a Korean guy came over to ask Rory's friend to dance. She seemed hesitant, and was whispering something to Rory about pretending to be sick if necessary. Paris rebelled against feeling like a wall flower. She certainly didn't want to dance with Henry. But she also didn't want Rory to think that she was a loser who no one asked to dance, especially since Lane had been asked almost right away. As Lane headed off for the dance floor, Paris stalked off in the other direction.
"Unbelievable," she muttered. "She's here five minutes and she has a date. I've been going to this school nine years and I'm the French soda monitor."
As Paris stormed away, Rory felt like the whole world was spinning. Not from drinking any of the French beer (that couldn't possibly taste good, could it?) at Madeline's stepfather's house, but from a general reversal of all relationships and events in her world in the past 24 hours. Mentally, she began composing a list of the strange occurrences that seemed to be converging on her in this moment.
First: She was at a Chilton party
Second: Lane was getting her groove on with some Korean boy
Third: Dean had broken up with her yesterday
Fourth: She was glad, actually glad, to see Paris
Having spent so much time hoping that her rival would be mysteriously devoured by a bear during a pivotal class presentation/home coming dance/newspaper session, this was a very new sort of feeling. Then again, Lorelai had woken up at 6am for some manic errand running, which might have set off the whole world out of balance thing.
Wondering where her only semi-real Chilton friend had run off to, Rory set off through the haze of drunken revelers to try and find her. A quick once over of the first floor didn't turn up Paris anywhere, and Rory was willing to rule out the pool house as a possibility. She found herself at the foot of a ridiculous stone spiral staircase, that looked as though it probably ran to one of the mansion's medieval-deco turrets. Wandering upwards on the winding stairs, Rory almost tripped over Paris who was seated almost half-way up.
"Hey," she said in greeting.
"What time is it?" Paris asked immediately.
"Five minutes after the last time you asked. Hey, is that the New Yorker?"
"Yeah," Paris responded half-heartedly. "The fiction issue."
"Anything good?" Rory asked.
"Nah, mostly elitist junk." Paris shrugged, putting the magazine down. "So are you gonna hover there all day, or pull up a step?"
"Well, with such a warm invitation, how could I refuse?" Rory replied in her upbeat but still sarcastic voice. Nonetheless, she did lower herself carefully down onto the step below where Paris was seated. She reached into her bag and pulled out a thick book with a worn spine.
"What are you reading?" Paris asked, her voice having the trademark lack of hostility that occurred when she was genuinely interested in something.
"Weisen-Cook's Biography of Eleanor Roosevelt." Rory answered.
"Volume One or Two?" Paris asked.
Rory smiled. This was one of those rare and shining parts of Paris that she always felt showed a glimpse of a really special person underneath the psychological body armor. How many other people their age were reading lengthy biographies of former first ladies during their leisure time? And how many could recall on a milliseconds notice that there were two volumes to this particular one. Paris was something, alright. "Volume Two," she answered. "But I'm not very far along. The fight for Arthurdale is just beginning."
Paris smiled back at Rory. She should smile more often, Rory thought. It made her look so much friendlier. Pretty. Pretty? But she couldn't refute the thought once it entered her head. Very pretty.
"I hate biographies sometimes," Paris confided. "Especially that one. You can only root so hard for her to run off with the bodyguard, or her reporter friend, when you know the next chapter is titled, 'The Road to the White House."
"True," Rory countered. "But if you stop reading, you miss her becoming a widely syndicated political columnist, and our first United Nations representative. Plus I like all the unexpected details it has. Like how she says the happiest day of her life was making first string on the Girls Field Hockey Team when she was at boarding school."
Paris chuckled appreciatively. "My favorite part was when the Klan put a price on her head, and the Secret Service swore they couldn't protect her in Tennessee, so she drove all night with a revolver on the passenger seat to get to the Civil Disobedience seminar the next day."
Rory grinned at Paris. "You remind me of Eleanor Roosevelt. All that brilliant determination."
"Hopefully without the overbearing mother in law and the faithless Presidential husband." Paris countered.
"I thought that went without saying, but yes, dysfunctional relations aside." Rory scooted a little closer to her friend. Suddenly a thought occurred to her. "This is really nice, by the way."
"What?" Paris sounded confused.
"This. Us. Talking about books." Rory explained. "This is the first five minutes I've had all day without someone wanting me to talk about the break up."
"Oh." Paris said quietly. "You know, if you want to talk about the break up..." She wasn't exactly sure of what to say, so she trailed off. She never paid much attention when Madeline and Louise broke up with their casual and interchangeable boy toys, so she felt unprepared at the thought of talking to Rory about something like this. "We could change the subject to "The Bell Jar" or something" she offered.
Rory laughed. Really laughed. Not a lot of people seemed to appreciate Paris' sardonic and often literary sense of humor. Like the other day when she compared Summer to Belle Watling. It was a crime that more people didn't get her. "No thanks," she replied. "I am determined not to wallow."
"That seems like a good plan," Paris agreed. "How's it going so far?"
"Not bad." Rory admitted. "I mean, he was just a boy."
"Still, your first boyfriend..."
"Do you miss him?"
"Well, it's only been a day. But it's not like he was so perfect."
"Oh?" Paris inquired, fighting back the resurgence of her earlier desire to rub Rory's back or stroke her hair in comfort.
"Yeah. He was a good guy and everything, but why waste your tears on someone who hates Anna Karenina?" Rory didn't care if she sounded disloyal to Dean. She couldn't bear to focus right now on all the things she would miss. And Paris seemed so understanding. In addition to being so smart and funny and beautiful. 'Woah.' Rory thought. There goes that whole world spinning thing again.
"He seemed like a good dancer," Paris commented.
"Well, anyone can be a good dancer."
"That's not true. I'm not very good at dancing."
"Paris, I've seen you dance. You're a fine dancer."
"May I ask when you've seen me dance?"
"At the Bangles concert." Rory explained.
"That wasn't dancing," Paris argued. "That was more like swaying."
"Well you swayed very nicely." Rory giggled. "Hey, do you want to dance now?"
"Now?" Paris sounded suspicious. "Did you drink any of that French beer earlier?"
"No," Rory said as she got to her feet. "And yes, now." She held her hand out to Paris expectantly. Paris didn't move. "Come on, we even have music," Rory argued, referring to the softer sounding music that was now floating up from the DJ on the first floor.
"I told you, I'm not good at dancing."
"Paris, I don't accept that. You're good at everything."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, Gilmore." Slowly Paris stood up. She felt very awkward. Aside from her issues with dancing, she hadn't ever danced with a girl before. Or on a staircase for that matter.
"Listen," she interjected, stalling for time. "I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time for awhile."
"Oh, it's okay," Rory brushed her apology aside and still appeared very intent on the dancing.
"It is?" Paris asked incredulously.
"Well, no," Rory admitted. "But you're being nice now, and I'll forgive you if you let me have this dance."
"You're very odd," Paris remarked.
"Thank you." And Rory still held out her hand. Giving in, Paris grabbed hold.
Rory was still on the step below her, which made the two girls almost exactly even in height. Paris was still feeling uncertain about what to do, but Rory reached up and put her arms around Paris' neck. Paris, in turn, gently put her arms around Rory's waist. Both girls felt their heart rate increase. Rory started swaying to the music. A little stiffly, Paris followed her lead. The strains of the music coming from downstairs sounded just a little like "Eternal Flame."
They moved together in silence, Rory's head leaning softly on Paris' shoulder. Paris was having all kinds of strange feelings. She let go of her iron will, and gave into her ongoing urge to stroke Rory's hair. Rory let out a small noise that could have been either a moan or a sigh. Paris couldn't quite place it, but knowing that she was the cause of it gave her an unexpected rush.
Rory was also taken aback by the closeness that she felt while dancing with Paris. Not just the physical closeness, although she couldn't actually remember any other instances of Paris consenting to deliberate physical contact with anyone. It was hard to describe, but the whole moment had a feeling of rightness about it.
Unconsciously, Rory looked into Paris' eyes. Their gazes locked, Rory felt a bolt of heat run through her body. Responding on instinct, she leaned slowly towards Paris and brushed their lips together.
The kiss was hesitant, exploratory, and wonderful. Rory's lips were so soft, and when Paris thought about this moment later, she felt sure it was her first real kiss. One that wasn't the result of some stupid dare.
Paris moved her lips against Rory's, and experimentally ran her tongue over Rory's bottom lip. Everything felt so safe and warm and natural, Rory wondered why she'd never thought to do this before. Paris kissed well. Just like she did everything else in her life - with an astonishing determination and slow fire.
In actual time, Paris later calculated that the kiss lasted between two and three minutes. She couldn't be certain because for the first time that night, she had no interest in checking her watch. She was much more interested in checking out Rory and her amazing kissing abilities. She wondered why they'd never done this before. She'd certainly had moments of wanting to, flashes of understanding her feelings. If anything, that was why she'd worked so hard to keep Rory at a distance. At least at first.
The kiss intensified, and the two girls began to kiss more hungrily. 'Oh god,' Rory thought. 'It never felt this good with Dean.' At the thought of his name, Rory felt as though she'd been drenched with ice water. All the emotions that she hadn't let herself feel throughout the day came flooding back. Nearly in a panic, she broke off the kiss abruptly, tears shining in her eyes.
Paris felt like she was surfacing from a hazy morning dream as their lips broke apart. She almost lost her balance on the stairs due to a general feeling of weakness in the knees. She started to smile at Rory, then realized that something was wrong.
Rory looked like she was about to cry. 'Oh god,' thought Paris. 'She looks like she's going to cry. It must have been bad. Was it bad? How could it have been bad?'
"Rory," she whispered. "Rory, what's wrong?"
"It's nothing," Rory insisted, as the first tears started splashing her cheeks. "It's not you, I swear. It's me."
"Did I do something wrong?" Paris asked desperately. "Did I...bite your lip or something?"
"No," Rory said a little louder. "You were...it was..." Paris felt like she was holding her breath for Rory to finish, feeling like so much was hanging in the balance of what she was going to say next. But Rory gave up on trying to express it.
"I have to go," she said abruptly, and began hurrying down the stairs.
Thunderstruck, Paris watched her go. She felt like she was in a mild state of shock. Everything around her seemed strangely unreal. She lifted her wrist, which had so recently been resting on Rory's hip, and saw that the time read 10:35. At least she could hopefully escape without further questions.
As she bolted from the party and drove home through the streets of Connecticut at highly illegal speeds, her thoughts kept running to two inescapable conclusions. First, she had kissed Rory Gilmore. Second, she really wanted to kiss her again.
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