Title: Reflections on the Waves
Written For: callmesandy in the Female Gen Ficathon
Author’s Notes: So much love to storydivagirl, rosetapestry, and velocityofsound for their beta suggestions, handholding and general cheerleading/support. I’m so sorry this is late, but I was struggling with major writer’s block and then I had some real life stuff interfere.
Paris tries to remember if being stuck on a yacht with a crowd of drunken men yelling at a football game on television is one of Dante’s circles of hell. It certainly is not her ideal way to spend Thanksgiving, but with her parents out of the country and Rory reuniting with her family and friends in Stars Hollow, she has foolishly accepted Doyle’s invitation.
Getting a headache from the noise, the crowd, and the three glasses of wine she has consumed thus far, she slips out of the main room and climbs a small, narrow staircase that leads up to the deck.
She steps into the fresh air and wraps her shawl around her a little tighter. She’s never been a fan of the water, or the outdoors in general, but there’s something calming about sitting on the deck, listening to the waves crashing gently around her and staring at the stars.
Her mind drifts away from Doyle and his slightly dysfunctional family and she thinks about her phone call with Rory. She’s genuinely glad that Rory and her mother have reconciled. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that she has always been jealous of the close relationship Lorelai and Rory share. She’d known when she tried spending time with Lorelai that she was being used as a conduit to Rory and she hadn’t cared much as it had allowed her to pretend for a little while that she had someone that cared about her as much as Lorelai cared about Rory.
She smiles as she recalls her response to Rory’s declaration that she was coming back to Yale. Contrary to the flip attitude she had given Rory on the phone, she had begun to worry whether Rory would come to her senses about school. Paris is happier than she’ll ever admit to anyone that her best friend is coming back. The last semester hasn’t been the same for Paris without Rory’s presence to spur her toward greater achievements.
Shivering slightly as the breeze kicks up, she remembers the days at Chilton when she hated Rory. Since she’s being honest with herself, she can admit that she has always been jealous of Rory. Paris had gone to the best schools, had private tutors, every advantage money could buy. Rory was a public school girl who was the first person Paris had met that actually challenged her academically.
It always surprises Paris when she remembers how hateful and mean she was to Rory and that she now Rory is her best friend. Terrance had asked her once, in one of their first sessions, if she could pinpoint the exact moment that she had stopped considering Rory a threat and started thinking of her as an ally. She surprised herself, and Terrance, by answering immediately that it was in Washington, D.C., when Rory helped her get ready for her very first date. She laughed when she told Terrance about making Rory hide in the closet when Jamie picked her up so he couldn’t compare the two girls.
When Paris thinks over the important milestones in her life, it seems that Rory is always present. Rory was the one who consoled her when she didn’t get accepted to Harvard, the one who helped her adjust to college life, and the first person Paris had thought to go to for help when she found out her parents had left her financially bereft.
She chuckles as she realizes that she is glad she didn’t get accepted to Harvard. She’s enjoyed Yale, made a name for herself there. She’s the editor of the paper, she’s got a great boyfriend and they have an off campus house.
If she had gone to Harvard, she wouldn’t have met Doyle or Asher, for that matter. And despite the heartbreak she suffered, she knows her relationship with Asher was a defining experience in her life.
For a moment, she lets herself wonder who she would have met, what friends she would have, what lovers she would have known, had she gone to Harvard instead of Yale. She wonders if she would have become the editor of the Harvard student newspaper as a junior. She wonders if she and Rory would have stayed such good friends and realizes that the friendship is definitely worth the heartache not getting accepted to Harvard cost her.
Paris had never been the type of girl who had a gaggle of friends. She didn’t do sleepovers in elementary school, staying up all night, giggling about boys, making prank phone calls, and painting fingernails. She was driven from the start, preferring to spend her time reading or doing homework. She had always thought her classmates were silly and looked down on them with disdain. At a very young age, she had resigned herself to the fact that she wouldn’t ever have a half of a broken heart necklace and be best friends forever with another girl.
“Hey,” a voice interrupts her musing. “Are you okay?” Doyle asks. “It’s freezing out here.”
She turns and smiles at him. “Yeah, I am,” she answers honestly. “I needed to clear my head and get some fresh air.”
He gives her an apologetic look. “Sorry, I forgot to tell you how passionate my family is about their football.”
“It’s okay. I don’t understand why people find watching a bunch of men in tight pants run around after a pigskin ball and tackle each other to be an amusing past time though,” she says. “And what kind of men enjoy running around in tight pants and jumping on top of each other anyway?”
“Ones who get paid millions of dollars to do it?” he suggests.
“Money isn’t everything,” she says. “But I guess they don’t care about that. They care about carrying out their foolish and barbaric acts.”
“Why don’t you come back inside? The game is almost over and I think we’re going to play trivial pursuit. You and I can be a team.”
Paris’s eyes light up. “We’ll crush the rest of them!” she says, following him back down the narrow staircase.
She smiles to herself as they enter the room and it erupts in cheers about something that just happened in the game. If anyone had told her five years ago that she, Paris Gellar, would be willingly spending a Thanksgiving day on a yacht with people watching football, she would have told that person that they were insane. But now, she can’t imagine being anywhere else.