“Par? What’re you doing?”
Paris snaps out of her haze, lift ing her eyes off the floor after hearing the light shuffle of feet coming in . She could barely make out Rory in the low light as she entered the kitchen. Hair tied up in a bun, she’s wearing that oversized sweater and pajama pants that have a hole in the waist band. She keeps scrubbing the cuffs over her eyes, trying to wipe the sleep away.
“I just, I...– did I wake you..?”
“Not exactly.” Rory had simply reached out an arm in bed, grasping for her girlfriend to pull her closer, instead met with cold space instead. And that was never a good sign. It was just fortunate, for the both of them, that Rory slept like a rock so she didn’t hear Paris’s pacing and storming. She walks until she’s virtually standing over Paris, quirking her head.
“You’re on the floor.”
Paris had actually been down here for about an hour. She couldn’t get her brain to quiet; she’d been lying awake in bed around two hours before , thinking and thinking and thinking until that turned into worrying and more worrying that just became a blur. Rather, she was dwelling on the B she got, instead of an A, on her latest school project – a B verses the A she should’ve got because that’s what she does is get sole A’s. And now this was going to mess up her record, provide a blotch on the otherwise pristine high grades, and now other instructors and institutions could look at it which means her chances had just dipped down so now those very teachers were going to think she wasn’t capable and her path to the career she’d been planning for had completely diverted and how was she possibly going to succeed now that some idiot gave her a B –
Then, suddenly, she was overwhelming anxious (which was maybe not incredibly new for her) and had given herself a headache, storming from the confining bed to go and overthink in the kitchen. So far, it hadn’t made much of a difference.
“Floor always equals to bad.” Rory recognized, inching closer “What’s up?”
Paris cautiously cranes her head back, meeting her eyes.
“..I’m not going to have a career.”
Rory blinks back. Not exactly the emotional reaction she was looking for.
“..So you’re on the floor.”
“I’m trying to think things through, if you’d let me.”
Rory moves forward, towards the stove “And how’s that going..?”
“You know I don’t care for your tone.” Paris grumbles “And I told you it’s because O’Neil flunked my project.”
“He gave you a B.”
“A B is bullshit! He just hated it, and he hates to see women succeed. Make them sit on their floors because they can’t sleep and contemplate hard enough to get a headache..”
“Well it’s the only reason he’d still give a good mark to the project of that moron Davis.” Paris heard a couple clangs above her head, and the noise of the tap being turned on “..What’re you doing???”
“I’m making tea.”
“I don’t need the stupid tea.”
“It’s the lavender tea. It’s suppose to help you sleep, remember? And it’s good for headaches too.” Paris heard the distinct noise of a pot or kettle being set down on the hotplate and the clicking of a stove dial.
“Why the hell can’t I sleep? If anything, it should be you, with the late-night studying and midnight snacks of a sugary diet.”
“I just don’t think you have a brain that allows you to slow down.”
“And that’s what you’re going to say is the reason I’m on the floor, right?”
“Well, they’re just not magically unrelated.”
Rory turns, leaning briefly against the stove handle before reaching down, grasping Paris’s arms and pulling her up. Paris grunts in resistance, but otherwise lets herself be dragged up.
“Juice.” Paris leans to the floor and picks up the cup with the very bright and fruity orange liquid swimming inside it.
“Why do you have that?”
“What are you, an interrogator? I can’t have a drink in my own house?”
“Okay, this is like, full of sugar.” Rory takes the glass from her hands “So maybe not the best for two in the morning.”
“It’s 1:43. And you bought it.”
Paris huffs. She’s too tired to protest even as she hears Rory pour it down the sink.
Next, she inches over to reach for the cupboard with the mugs in it, Paris seeing her pull out two. One white one with the Central Perk logo which Paris still thinks Rory paid too much money for, and another that had a picture of Edgar Allen Poe with a speachbubble beside him saying “Poe me another one?” Paris isn’t sure which one is worse. Or why they can’t own normal mugs.
“Which one do you want?”
“Does it matter?”
Rory comes back over, and hands her the Central Perk one. Paris holds it up, staring down at it.
“..You had to get the nerdiest mugs we own?”
Rory blinks back at her for a solid second “..I just asked you which one you wanted.”
“Out of these two – you didn’t ask me which mug, and you still grabbed the really nerdy mugs.”
“These mugs are fine. And you say that like we don’t own at least two more in there that have literary puns.”
“Which proves my point exactly.”
Rory only sighs “Okay, I’ll admit to this one,” she holds up the Poe mug “but lots of people own stuff from t.v shows.”
“Yeah, and they’re called nerds.”
Rory shuffles, tilting her head to the side. She snatches the mug from Paris’s hands and walks back to the cupboard. The blonde huffs. Her girlfriend returns with another white one with black lettering.
“Here, this one is yours.”
Paris turns over, reading the male tears printed on the side. It had been a gift from Lorelai for her birthday.
“I know you like that one more anyway..”
“Mm.” Paris hums, holding it up closer “I do look forward to the day I can drink coffee from it in front of male colleagues..”
Rory chuckles, back to sorting the tea bags into the mugs. Paris sighs and pushes hers across the countertop, leaning against it.
“Anyway, it doesn’t even matter how – I’m awake now. Which I honestly think is less to due with my own brain’s restlessness and more O’Neil’s inability to see a good paper if it hit him in the face.”
“It’s one paper, out of all the A’s you got in your other classes. I don’t think it’s going to matter that much.”
“Oh, right, I’m sure he said it was worth 20% of the grade just for fun!”
“A B still stands in good measure. Why don’t you talk to him?”
“I did remember?! He said he couldn’t speak with me! Because he hates it!”
“That’s what he said?”
“I know that’s the reason.”
“You went to see him in his office hours?”
“Well I had to go after my last class Thursday because that was the only time I had.”
“So not then..?”
“What does it matter?! He was just sitting there anyway, marking stuff.”
“…So not the office hours?”
“Oh my god what’re you trying to say?!”
Rory only smiles, spreading out the creases in the dishtowel hung over the oven handle “That the office hours aren’t just for fun either.”
“Sure, I’ll just rewite my entire schedule for him then, shall I?!”
Rory just keeps smiling. Paris would hate that she always did that if she didn’t love Rory’s smile more.
“Paris, I don’t see what the big deal is for a class that isn’t even a prereq.”
“The point is that I know it was worth an A at least. And I don’t do anything less.”
She laughs some more. The kettle started whistling and screeching with puffs of white steam. Rory took it off the burner and started pouring into the nerdy and non-nerdy mugs. She hands Paris’s over to her.
Paris peers into the mug, the steam rising to tickle her nose “..Why do I worry you put some kind of tranquilizer in this..?”
“Paris, if I wanted to get you to be quiet,” Rory smiles behind her mug as the tea reached her lips “I would’ve done that a long time ago.”
Her deadpanned look only has Rory trying not to choke on her drink, looking far too pleased.
“You know this isn’t making me feel better at all.”
“Who said I was here to help?” Rory grins more.
“Paris,” She leans across and pecks the blonde on the lips very briefly “just drink the tea.”
So they do. They sip their drinks under the low stove light. Where Paris complains and Rory, a head on her shoulder, attempts to solve these (very blown-out) problems. They talk and talk, ending up a bit past half-way empty on their drinks. Rory noticed when Paris’s words eventually started to slow and she starts rubbing her eyes.
“Well anyway,” She carefully reaches across, gently plucking Paris’s mug from her hands “I don’t think one failed paper is an immediate segue into failing and dropping out of college so you never pursue your dreams. Especially since you’re brilliant anyway and nothing could really stand in your way when you want something.”
Paris turns to watch her gather everything up, gruffing out “You don’t know that it’s not for sure..”
“Right.” She goes to place everything in the sink, and steps back in to tackle the clutter “And neither do you.”
Paris opens her mouth, immediately closing it a second after with teeth angrily biting into her bottom lip. Right – this is what happens when you date someone with impeccable debating skills and who knows you better then you know yourself. Dammit.
“..I guess time will tell then.” is what she settles on.
“And I will wait for it to prove you wrong.”
Rory snorts “Perfect – I guess this will be the first time you’ve schemed against me this seriously since you were sixteen..”
Paris doesn’t want to but she laughs anyway, just lightly with a grin finally spreading over. Rory’s doing the same thing while she cleans up around the stove; tired movements but smile bright.
Paris just stops, quiet, to watch her; she realized, now, her previously anxious mind had stilled and her headache had dissipated. She watches every move and twitch over her face, the low lamp of the overhead bulb occasionally hitting the baby blues, lighting them up. A warmth fills her chest, and her throat suddenly tightens.
“..I don’t deserve you you know.”
“Stop saying that.” Rory replies, still busying herself.
“Why? Because it’s true?”
“Because I hate it.” Rory turns her head, locking their eyes. The usual cheer has left, oddly serious. It makes Paris duck her head, kicking up imaginary dust.
“Doesn’t mean it’s not true..” She mutters to the tile beneath her “I mean, I hate that there’s a huge number of men over women in our senate, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true..”
A couple seconds pass. Then, Paris feels hands clothed in the sweater cuffs cup around her face, and a kiss is placed on the top of her head. She lifts her eyes, finding Rory smiling at her again as she holds her head up.
“Remember when I was sick for like, a week, with that flu?”
“And it was absolutely awful? And you took care of me for that week? You didn’t go to any meetings or even classes sometimes.”
“Well you needed someone to take care –”
“And you cooked and brought me food? And all the ice cream I wanted, even when I wanted it at, like, nine at night? And cleaning up the sea of tissues?”
“Remember when I then accidentally threw up, all over the carpet? I was so out of it, you had to pretty much carry me back to bed, lie me down and after had to clean it up yourself.”
“Well I wasn’t really interested in paying a fee for staining the carpet!”
She started smiling again. Her hands slid up and began toying with Paris’s hair, tucking it behind her ears.
“But you see what I mean..?”
Paris softened. She tilted her gaze down, arms starting to slide around Rory to hold her closer.
Rory kissed her forehead “Exactly.”
And then, against herself, Paris started to smile. God. She really couldn’t believe it sometimes.
Paris wasn’t an idiot. She knew herself; she was difficult on her good days, and impossible on her worst.
And t here were times she wanted to say so much, tell Rory everything of how grateful she was. That she looks at all her mess and cracked edges and frustrations and barred teeth, and says nothing. That she instead picks up the broken pieces and smooths over those many times she digs herself dark holes. Helps her see clearly and holds her softly. And smiles.
It would be a miracle if Paris believed in those kinds of things. But those words were just too big and held so much meaning that she doesn’t even know where to start.
Instead, before she can start thinking about that whirlpool, Rory takes her hand, intertwining their fingers.
She tugs, leading her back to the bedroom. The sheets are still askew and the only light was the gentle glow filtering through the blinds – otherwise they were blanketed in a quiet dark. Rory shuffles in first, burrowing into her side nearest the wall. Paris follows, flopping down onto the soft mattress, Rory yanking up the comforter around them. Her eyelids are suddenly droopy and she realizes that y es , it’s two in the morning and she’s quite tired. Once the comforter is tucked around sufficiently, Rory throws her arm around Paris’s middle, cuddling up. She rests her head under her chin, fitted against her like a puzzle piece, Paris feeling her sigh contently.
“You can find out about it tomorrow..” Rory mutters against her collarbone.
“Yeah,” Paris stares across in thought, boring holes into the wall “I guess I could..”
Maybe, she thought, she really didn’t need to. For a prere q , it honestly wasn’t that big of a deal.
Rory sighs against her again, sleepily mumbling something that sounded like “tomorrow’sproblem..”
“Yeah, tomorrow’s problem...”
That seemed rather obvious now. But it hadn’t about an hour ago when Paris was tossing and turning, unable to sleep, over it. She thinks and thinks, rubbing circles against Rory’s back absentmindedly. She wonders why that is, deciding that Rory is just better at seeing things then she was. A clear constant, Paris realizes, holding her close. She shuffles to look down at her ‘cause she needed to tell her, remind her, of something.
“Hey Rory, I lov –”
She’s asleep. It’s only taken roughly forty seconds. Eyes closed and stomach rising up and down slowly, dead to the world.
Paris smiles again. Leans in and kisses the top of her head. Now , wrapped up contently, she closes her own eyes and lets the tiredness wash over.
She knew she was going to need to sleep after all, if she was going to pick up Rory’s favourite chocolate croissants in the morning before she woke up.