Thanks for setting my alarm. I love you, Ace.
Colin looked quizzically at the text that he had just received from Logan. As far as Colin knew, any declarations of love for ‘Ace’ were long past. Even more confusing was that it was sent to his phone. Colin was about to call Logan to ask just that, but then recalled Finn’s affinity for playing with Logan’s phone.
"Colin, do you know what time it is?" Finn's voice was laced with sleep.
"It's late enough that you should be able to explain why I just received a text from Logan addressed to 'Ace,'" Colin replied.
"Huh?" Finn sounded like he was drifting back to sleep.
"Finn! Pay attention!"
"Sorry, I'm awake."
Colin knew he wasn't, but hoped he was conscious enough to respond. "Did you screw around with Logan's phone when we went out for drinks last night?"
"Don't I always?" Finn mumbled.
"Did you swap my name with Rory's in his phone book?"
Finn giggled. "Yes. I thought it would be hilarious for him to accidentally call her while trying to call you. Maybe it'll turn out like a romantic comedy and they'll both be thanking me a few months from now for reuniting them."
"I think it's too late for that."
This seemed to get Finn's attention. He said, in a much clearer voice, "What do you mean?"
"I just got a text from Logan thanking me for setting his alarm and telling me that he loves me. Of course, he called me Ace."
"Logan is back with Rory and he didn't tell me?"
"Finn, focus. We have a problem here," Colin said with exasperation.
"What problem? This explains why Logan has finally stopped moping around like he has for the past two years."
"Yeah, for now. But don't you remember what he was like? Cue whipped and pathetic Logan, take two. Or is it three now?" Colin sighed.
"But whipped and pathetic Logan is so cute! Come on, Colin. I'm sure they'll be fine this time. And maybe you misunderstood the text."
"How else could it be understood?"
"I don't know. Maybe Logan was actually talking to you. Just messing with you. You know, he probably figured out what I did and is just trying to piss you off." Finn didn't believe a word he had just said, but if it got Colin off the phone, he was willing to spread false hope.
"You could be right. Maybe I'll stop by his place for a surprise visit. See what I can find."
"Sounds like a plan." Finn rolled his eyes and hung up.
Logan arrived home from a Sunday spent at the office to find his door unlocked. He grinned, assuming Rory had returned from her day at the office. She had expected to be working late and told him not to expect her at all tonight. She was going to sleep at her apartment for the first time in weeks. She was working on a big story and was going to have to go in early again in the morning. It made more sense for her to be closer to the office. She was working for a start-up news website where she had much more control over her stories than she would at a traditional newspaper. Still, Logan couldn't resist tempting her with offers of a job at the Times, especially at times when she felt the need to visit her rarely used Brooklyn walk-up.
It appeared that Rory either missed Logan as much as he missed her, or she had finished her story way ahead of schedule. Logan wasn't sure which to hope for more. The former would be a sign of how he wasn't in this relationship alone, in any way -- a fear that haunted him every once in a while. The latter would mean Rory wouldn't be distracted that evening, and he could have her undivided attention. Either way, Logan wasn't going to complain. He opened the door and called out, "Hi, honey, I'm home!"
"Hi, sweetie, I missed you," a voice Logan was not expecting replied.
"Colin," Logan stated, staring at the unexpected visitor. "What are you doing here?"
"Why? You were expecting someone else? Perhaps someone a bit more feminine? Someone whose name stares with an R? Or should I say A?" Colin glared at Logan.
Logan ignored Colin as he made his way inside, dropping his keys and briefcase on the table by the door, and making his way to the kitchen area in the open-plan apartment. Colin followed and sat on one of the stools at the kitchen island.
"Aren't you going to say something?"
"Say what, Colin? Yes, I was expecting Rory. I didn't think one of my friends would use his in-case-of-emergency-key to snoop around my home while I was out. I'll know better next time." Logan opened the fridge and took out leftovers from the dinner Rory had made for him the night before. He had returned home from a night of drinking with the boys to find salmon and grilled veggies waiting for him on a plate next to the microwave, and a warm body sleeping in his bed.
"Do you care to explain why you would expect Rory?"
"Not particularly. I'm sure you've already figured it out, anyway."
"Well, then, do you care to explain why you haven't bothered to inform your best friends about such a huge development in your life?"
"Listen, Colin, I don't know how you found out about it, or what you think you know, but whatever it is, you're wrong. Rory and I... We're just sleeping together. That's it. It's no big deal and it's certainly not a huge development." Logan kept his eyes on the salmon he was cutting, not daring to meet Colin's, who he was sure would be able to read the lie.
"Just sleeping together? Is that right?" Colin stood up from the stool and walked over toward the bedroom area. "Let's examine the facts, shall we? What's this?" Colin opened a dresser drawer. "Why, it's an entire drawer devoted exclusively to female clothing. Either you've become a cross-dresser, and one several sizes smaller than I can imagine you would ever be able to fit, or you've got a girlfriend."
Colin held up his hand to stop Logan's protests. "Let's move on to exhibit two." Colin picked up the TV remote and pressed power. He pulled up the TiVo menu and pointed. "Your hard drive is being hogged by CSPAN and Real Housewives of wherever. Have you decided that you just can't miss a single minute of what happens with a bunch of bored, oversexed, over privileged, middle aged idiots? And the Real Housewives! Or do you have a girlfriend?"
"Wait, one more piece of evidence." Colin returned to the kitchen area as he pulled out his phone and held it up for Logan to see. "Want to read what that says?"
Logan reached for the phone and silently read the text. His brow furrowed. "I don't understand. How did this get sent to you?"
"You can blame Finn for that. Guard your phone better next time you're around him."
Logan rolled his eyes before digging his phone out of his pocket and setting about switching Colin's and Rory's names back to their proper places.
"Well?" Colin said, after waiting for Logan to respond. "Still nothing to say?"
Logan glared at Colin. "I don't owe you an explanation. Don't pretend that I do."
"Again, Logan, why would you keep something like this from your best friends?" Colin's righteous indignation suddenly turned to hurt.
"Come on, Colin, it's not like that."
"Then what is it like? Who are you ashamed of, us or her?"
"Neither. I swear. It's just, well, it did start as a no-strings sort of thing. I ran into Rory at a work function a few months ago and we just sort of fell into bed. Neither of us were looking for or expecting anything serious, but we just sorta fell into that as well. But there was a lot of hurt we both had to work through. It's still new and fragile, and we just wanted to keep it to ourselves for a while."
"So when were you going to get around to telling us?"
"I don't know. I've left that ball in Rory's court. She hasn't even told her mother." Logan's voice betrayed the bitterness he felt about that situation.
"She hasn't told her mom? Wow. What does that mean?"
"I don't know." Logan sank down on the stool next to Colin and leaned back against the counter. "I try not to analyze it.."
All of Colin's hurt and anger had disappeared and been replaced by concern for his friend. "Why are you risking it again? Why put yourself in such a vulnerable position again?"
A slight smile crept onto Logan's lips. "She's worth the risk. She's worth the pain. If there's just a chance that it will all work out and it won't end with both of us hurt, it's worth the risk."
Colin was silent. He suddenly wished he had someone like that in his life. "This conversation is way too serious to be had without alcohol." Colin got up and went around the counter to the fridge. "Beer?"
Logan nodded. Colin opened two beers and handed one to Logan. He returned to his seat and raised his bottle. "To women."
"To women," Logan replied. They clinked bottles and drank.
A key was heard in the door and they both turned as Rory walked in and said, "Hi, honey, I'm ho--Oh!" She gasped in shock. "Colin! Um, hi."
Colin lifted his bottle in salute and smiled. "Rory."
"Logan," Rory turned to her boyfriend, "you didn't tell me you were expecting company."
Logan shrugged. "I wasn't expecting company."
Rory walked backwards slowly. "Maybe I should go."
"Don't leave on my account," Colin said. He finished his beer and stood. "I was just leaving anyway."
"Oh, well, I should go anyway. I haven't finished the story I was working on and really shouldn't have come to begin with." Rory looked at Logan, waiting for some sort of reaction from him.
Logan stood and walked to where Rory was still standing by the door. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her, ignoring Colin's stares. "Stay," he said, as he pulled back just enough to lean his forehead against hers.
"Ok," Rory whispered, smiling.
"Goodbye, Colin," Logan said, not taking his eyes off Rory.
Colin chuckled and slipped out the door before he was treated to a real show.
Rory watched Logan as he slept. His arms were wrapped around her, and she knew that if she moved his grip would tighten. She carefully reached her free hand up to lightly brush some hair off of Logan's forehead, and she observed how content he looked in sleep. Logan never looked this relaxed when conscious. Even when they were having a quiet evening at home together, with any thoughts of work or the real world completely verboten, his eyes always held a touch of anxiety.
Despite how careful Rory had been not to disturb him, her touch woke Logan. "Mmm. Are you looking for a second round, Ace?" he said without opening his eyes.
"Logan, did something happen with Colin?"
Logan opened his eyes to look into Rory's. He sighed and rolled over onto his back. Rory didn't like being abandoned to her side of the bed and curled up against Logan's side.
Logan sighed again and said, "Finn switched your name with Colin's in my phone."
"Sounds like Finn," Rory laughed
"Yeah, well, I sent you a text this morning that went to Colin instead."
"What did it say?"
"I don't know. Something about how I love you." Logan covered his eyes with his hand that wasn't wrapped around Rory.
Rory smiled. "So Colin rushed over to declare his love to you, too?"
Logan let out a short laugh. "If only. No, he came over to yell at me for not telling him every little detail in my life."
Rory kissed Logan's shoulder and tightened her old across his chest. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"I'm sorry that Colin had to find out like that. I know you would have loved to tell them yourself, and I'm sorry that I wanted to keep this just between us for now."
"Don't be sorry for that. I understand." Logan sighed once more and softly said, "Mostly."
Rory looked up into Logan's eyes and saw that the anxiety was back in full force. "What is it?"
"Rory, why haven't you told your mother about us? Are you hiding me?"
Rory's eyes went wide and she sat up, holding the sheet to her chest. "What? No!"
"I don't know what to think. I want to believe that this means as much to you as it does to me."
"Logan, I love you. You know that."
"Then why am I your dirty little secret?" Logan asked, petulantly.
Rory stood, took a shirt of Logan's out of the dresser, and pulled it over her head.
"Where are you going?" Logan asked.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm getting dressed so I can call my mother and tell her how much I'm in love with you."
Logan grabbed Rory and pulled her back onto the bed. He grinned as he said, "You can't wait a few minutes?"
Rory tried to push him off her. "No. I need to tell her now. It's going to mean I have to put up with her bullshit for the next hour or so, but I'm willing to sacrifice that for you."
"Well, I'm not." Logan's lips found hers and Rory stopped struggling. "Why the animosity about your mom?" Logan asked between kisses.
Rory pulled back. "I didn't tell you what she said when I mentioned I had run into you at the Christmas benefit."
"Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Logan smirked.
Rory rolled her eyes. "She wasn't happy. She seems to think you are evil and bad for me. I couldn't reassure her enough that I had no plans to see you again."
"Too bad you didn't consider my plans."
Rory smiled and leaned forward to lightly kiss Logan. "Well, it's a good thing for you I was lying to my mother. If you hadn't shown up on my doorstep that night I was already planning to show up on yours."
"In nothing but a trench coat and heels?" Logan leered at Rory.
"Is that a fantasy of yours? I'll have to keep that in mind."
Logan laughed and pulled Rory back to him. Any phone calls to Lorelai or anyone else were completely forgotten for the rest of the night.
Colin's phone rang early the next morning. He groggily answered, "Hello?"
"Colin, it's Logan."
"Logan, not all of us have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work on time. Some of us don't need to spend two hours playing with our hair to be ready."
"Beauty takes time, what can I say. You wouldn’t understand that sort of thing."
"What do you want, asshole?"
"I'm calling to invite you out to dinner tonight."
"I'm taking you and Finn out to introduce you to my new girlfriend."
Colin could hear the grin in Logan's voice and smiled in return. "I can't wait."
[After a few years, Logan and Rory try the no-strings thing again. Seen from a third person's point of view, not Rory or Logan. The prompt below says Colin, but that can be replaced with any name - even a new character. It can end any way the author wants, preferably with Colin seeing the situation between Rory and Logan working out and Colin seeing the light.]
Colin frowned as he saw the drawer Logan had emptied out for her, the TiVo that he had programmed for her, and worst of all - the text message he had absent-mindedly typed and sent, though thankfully mistakenly to Colin's phone. Thanks for setting my alarm. I love you Ace.
Dammit. I told him that Rory Gilmore was bad for him. Colin thought bitterly. Cue whipped and pathetic Logan, take two.