disclaimer in part 1

Going Home

by snoflaik

The Science of a Surprise

"Are you ready?" asked Tristin as he came up beside her while she was
walking to the bus.

"For what?" replied Rory.

"For the big birthday celebration surprise I have planned."

"I'm scared. Does that count?"

"Funny, funny girl."

"So what this birthday celebration surprise entail?"

"The point of a surprise is to not know what's going to happen. How in the
world did you ever get into Chilton not knowing that?" joked Tristin.

"It must have been my killer essay."

"I'll pick you up. 5:00. Wear something dressy. Oh and tell your mom we'll
be home late."

"But where are we going?"

"I can't tell you," replied Tristin in a singsong voice as he walked away.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Where are we going?" asked Rory again for what seemed like the 50th time in
the last half hour.

"I told you it's a surprise," replied Tristin as he turned the car off of
the highway.

"Pleeeeeeese tell me," begged the blindfolded Rory next to him.

"My answer was no when you asked 5 minutes ago and it still is now,"
answered Tristin.

October 8, 2001. Rory's 17th birthday. Ever since the girl had surprised him
with a trip to Boston for his birthday, he had been dying to return the
favor. He knew how much she hated surprises. She shuddered away from any
situation in which she didn't have control. And today was driving her crazy.
She had absolutely no idea where they were going. All he told her was to
dress up. The blindfold was placed on as soon as she stepped into his car.

"Come on give me a hint,"

"Oh alright," gave in Tristin, "It's in New York. Now that's all the info
you're going to get from me."

"Tristin!" whined Rory, "You know how much this is killing me. Why do you
have to be so cruel?" she asked pouting.

Tristin laughed at her expression. "It's part of my job description."

"I hate you," replied Rory frowning.

Tristin felt a pang as he remember another time when those words had been
spoken to him. This time they were spoken in jest, but it brought back all
the painful memories of that one time when he didn't think they had been a

"We're almost there. Keep your skirt on."

About thirty minutes later, Rory felt the car slow to a stop and heard
Tristin put it in park. She was just about ready to out, rip off the
blindfold and then kill him.

"Wait, wait till I get over there."

"Damn child locks," muttered Rory as she pulled on the door handle and
nothing happened.

"Your really funny when you don't have control over the situation." said
Tristin as he opened the door and gave her his hand to help her out.

"Yeah, well when you tell a girl to get all dressed up, blindfold her, and
throw her in the car for god knows how long, and don't tell her where you
are going, expect that she's going to get a little testy.

"I'll keep that in mind for next time," replied Tristin as he led her.

"You do that. Can I take this stupid thing off yet?"

"Alright open your eyes now"

As she felt his hand reach the knot and felt the cloth fall away from her
eyes, Rory squinted expecting to be blinded by sunlight. But when she opened
her eyes she realized it was dark outside and she was standing in front of
the most beautiful building she had ever seen.

"The Metropolitan Opera House . . . " she whispered in awe, "You're taking
me to the opera?" she asked in amazement as she turned to look at the
grinning Tristin beside her.

"The one and only. Come on, we don't want to be late."

Rory just stood in awe. "Come one," laughed Tristin as he took her hand and
led her to the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"We are at the opera," repeated Rory as they sat in the box waiting for it
to begin

"Damn. I thought we were going to the Mets game. Not the Met!" He replied
with mock shock that melted into a grin as he turned to look at her.

"You're hilarious. I just thought you should know," replied Rory stiffly.

"Thank you."

"So what are we seeing?"

"Eugene Onegin"

"Tchiakovsky, How did you know he was my favorite composer?"

"I'm psychic."

"Really, is there anything you can't do?"

*Make you love me. * thought Tristin as he looked at her. "Plenty." He
replied looking away.

"How's your grandmother?" asked Rory trying to break the strained silence
that had somehow come about.

"She's great. I love when she comes to visit," answered Tristin, a sudden
smile lighting up his face, "Actually she'd the one who gave me the tickets
for tonight. She loved coming to the opera with Granddad," he added quietly.

"Tristin I.. . ." Rory began and was cut off by the dimming lights and the

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The sounds and sights, unfolding themselves before her, mesmerized Rory. She
was swept away by the strong voices and the beautiful music. She had no idea
how Tristin knew how much she loved Tchiakovski. It was just another aspect
of the enigma that was Tristin. An enigma that she was slowly learning to
understand. She still couldn't take it all in. She was at the opera, with
Tristin, on her birthday. How in the world did they ever end up in this
spot? She glanced over at him. That boy really knew how to wear a suit. She
had never really noticed [or maybe never really admitted] just how
attractive he really was. The lights flashed over his face and his blue
eyes shone with light. She quickly turned her attention and thoughts back to
the stage attempting to pay attention. She shouldn't be having these
thoughts about a friend. About Tristin no less. It must be Lorelei's
influence, she silently told herself. All that prodding and the veiled
comments about flirting and hidden feelings were just catching up with her.
Yeah that was it. Still, she some part of her couldn't believe that just a
friend would take her to the Opera. And just a friend would place such utter
and complete trust in her when she knew he didn't trust anyone else. Telling
her about his grandmother and grandfather was a gesture that she couldn't
help but catch the meaning of. She was quickly learning that he was so much
more than what he let on.

Tristin was mesmerized by Rory. He had been to the opera before with his
grandmother and had always loved it. Once again something that no one knew
about him. Tonight was different. Tonight he was with her and only her. He
knew he was going out on a limb by trusting her and loving her. He knew he
would eventually get hurt. It was inevitable between the two. She didn't
mean to hurt him of course, but ignorance can be deadly all the same. It was
worth it just to have one special night. He knew that Rory would love coming
here. He smiled as he watched her close her eyes and sway slightly with the
music a small content smile on her face. And couldn't help but love her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"So what did you think?" asked Tristin, breaking the silence of the car

"Hmmm?" asked Rory turning from the window. As the opera ended and they
returned to the car, all her thoughts finally caught up to her and she was
suddenly self-conscious about their relationship. She had been lost in her
own thoughts and almost didn't hear his question, "I loved it." She replied
with a tired smile. "But really Tristin that was too much."

"I just wanted to do something special for your birthday. I mean you made
mine so great I just wanted to return the favor."

"I took you to a baseball game. It's so not the same thing."

"It was my favorite team. That makes it the same in my book."

"When did you get so sweet on me," replied Rory only half teasing, "I need a
warning for this type of thing. You're gonna give me a heart attack."

Tristin laughed. "I'll warn you when I go back. Will that satisfy you?"

"Good cause I was starting to miss the old you."

"Were you, Mary?" asked Tristin with his usual smirk.

Rory just rolled her eyes and shook her head. "And he's back."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Well good night," said Tristin as he walked her to the door and they stood
on the porch.

"Thank you," replied Rory suddenly giving him a hug.

"You're very welcome," replied Tristin, "If I get a hug every time we go the
Opera, I'll have to buy season tickets." He said teasingly.

"You'll never change," sighed Rory amused and somehow she didn't mind.

"Goodnight." She said as she opened the door and stepped through.
Tristin walked back down the path with a smile.