RATING: PG for a couple curse words
SUMMARY: Tristan POV about the party in "The Breakup, Part 2"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Here's the thing. I don't believe Tristan ever cared for Summer, and that was the one thing in "Breakup, Part 2" that really seemed false to me. I just don't buy it. If you did think Tristan really liked Summer, then you probably won't agree with this perception of him... but it's been bugging me so this is just my attempt to make the episode gel with what I know of his character and what we saw of him and Summer in "Star-Crossed" and "Third Lorelai."

White Lies

by Rebecca Carefoot

I could say that when Rory and I talked at the party she got to see the real me for the first time. I could say that when she exposed the rawness of a new wound to me and found an answering hurt it was for real. The deepest part of her seeing for the first time the deepest part of me, connecting. It sounds nice doesn't it?

Too bad it's not true.

Yeah, I was feeling kind of sad and alone at that party. But I always feel that way at parties. A bunch of people standing around pretending to be happy, is there anything sadder? The fact that Summer was acting like the whore she is wouldn't even have registered if it weren't for the fact that she was making me look bad. Mainly what I felt was pissed off. Not that she broke up with me, but that she did it in front of a crowd, on purpose. So now you know a secret, public humiliation pisses me the hell off.

I'm not sure which one of us chose the room Rory was sitting in, reading again, her serious little head tipped forward in concentration. God, how I want her to look at me like that, intent, like if something big and heavy and crystal broke right behind her she wouldn't even notice. It could have been Summer that chose the room; I know she wanted me as humiliated as possible, and it's not exactly a secret that I have a thing for Rory. Rory's really the only person who hasn't picked up on it yet. I'm kind of obvious. And she's kind of oblivious. I think because of that concentration thing, she doesn't notice anything outside her focus and that's me, not even a blip on the radar. I'm so unimportant to her; it's really pathetic. And that's why it could have been me that chose the room once Summer and I started arguing. Because it'd turn Rory's eyes on me, bring me into focus.

Either way, we were fighting in public. Which I hate. I don't like scenes unless I'm in control of them. And Summer was smirking at me, and I had to clench my fists to keep from calling her a bitch to her face, which is exactly what she wanted. Rory looked up at us, and all of a sudden I dropped my voice lower, almost pleading with Summer. As if I cared. As if she was hurting me. Because somehow I knew that was something Rory could understand, maybe sympathize with. Rory's eyes stayed on me, and I could feel this thrill shooting up my spine. I almost wanted to thank Summer for deciding to try to humiliate me because Rory was interested. If not in me, at least in the situation.

I would have been satisfied with that, but Rory found me at the piano. She tried to cheer me up, to comfort me, the person who did his best to make her life miserable. Even when I was pushing her away, she didn't leave me there because she thought I was hurting. She's that kind of person. The best kind. The open, giving kind that I never really saw anywhere but books before her. She's the kind of person they made up that saying about having a beautiful soul for. If you could see her soul, it'd be like the iridescent colors on a soap bubble, and it'd feel like warmth. Like the feeling of hot coffee on a cold day, traveling down your throat to warm you from the stomach out.

I wonder what it's like to have a soul like that.

She came closer, sat down next to me, and I could feel her nearness in the pressure inside my chest, and my heart sped up so fast I thought for sure she'd be able to hear it. She was so beautiful, and so close, and so kind.

So I lied.

"I really liked her too," I said, just in case it wasn't bad enough I'd been playing the part of the victim in front of her before. I went ahead and lied because she'd never looked at me the way she was then, and I could feel a little bit of that warmth inside her spreading to me. If it were anyone but her directing their pity at me I would have choked on it, but there was real sympathy there, something deeper than pity and I wanted more. I wanted her to think I was hurt so she would try to heal me.

It was incredible being so close I could smell her perfume. It was amazing to have those eyes turned on me, that voice directed at me in kindness. It was intoxicating just to sit next to her. And when I leaned to kiss her, closing the distance until I could almost feel her breath against my face, she didn't pull away. I checked because as much as I wanted it, I would have stopped if she'd turned away. But she didn't. She only waited, and she kissed me back. Just for a moment. A second, then the pain and her loss broke over her and overwhelmed her. Like cold water, it dashed away my intoxication with her so that I could see what was really happening.

It was all a lie.

I could say it was just a white lie. I could say that I didn't mean to hurt her, I only wanted her to see me as a person. I only wanted to be near her. That doesn't sound so bad does it?

And it wasn't *all* a lie.

Dean is an idiot. He truly is. I don't understand for a second how he could have her and let her go. How could he ever let her go?

And I *am* sorry. I've wanted to say that to her for a long time, but I could never figure out how. It was always easier to go on as we had, to tease and annoy her, to treat her as an adversary. I hope she believed me about that, at the least.

But what's the difference between a little white lie and a normal lie? I mean really. It's all the same at the core, not truth. People call them white lies to make themselves feel better. They tell themselves the lie wasn't meant to hurt or even that it was a good thing, less painful for the person they're lying to, as if they're doing the person a favor. People lie to themselves all the time. A lie is a lie and I've told plenty, but I don't lie to myself.

I told her a lie. Period.

She thought she saw her hurt reflected in me. And she was hurting so badly, her pain so real and so deep. I was pretending to share those feelings, that intense, terrible vulnerability and it made everything worse somehow. Like I was mocking her, even though I didn't mean to, I just hadn't thought... It doesn't matter that I just wanted to be near her. It doesn't matter that I didn't mean to hurt her.

It wasn't a white lie because someone was hurting and that someone wasn't me. It wasn't a white lie because I didn't do it for her. It wasn't a white lie because I'd do it again. It wasn't a white lie because there is no such thing.

I say, I'm sorry and talk about how I shouldn't have done it, how the whole experience was tainted by that lie, but the truth is I'd do it again.

If it meant I got to meet her eyes and see warmth, if it meant I got to press my lips to hers and touch her cheek with my finger, if it meant I got to sit beside her and feel that comfortable tightness of my chest, I'd lie until I was blue in the face. Even if I was lying to her.

Most of us don't have souls like hers.

I know I don't. I probably never will. That's just who I am. A liar. I'm the kind of person that would lie to a girl who only wants to help. I'm the kind of person that would take advantage of another person's kindness. And that's why I can't stop thinking about her, that's why I'm fascinated by her. Because I don't have any warmth and beauty of my own. Maybe that's what causes moths to fly into candle flames; they can't stay away even when it burns them because they want so badly to warm themselves.

I hope I'm the only one that gets burned.

And I mean that.