Author: MahliaLily PM
Love me for stupid reasons. I like those most. One-Part Future LitRated: Fiction K - English - Romance - Words: 1,857 - Reviews: 92 - Favs: 180 - Follows: 12 - Published: 03-26-04 - id: 1790824
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Love me for stupid reasons
I like those most"
Strangely fascinated, Rory watched as the strip of potato peel grew longer and wound into a tight curl, its stark white underside contrasting with the dirty, dark brown outer skin. Though it wasn't as aesthetically pleasing, it reminded her of the colorful curling ribbon one uses on presents. Her mom hated that ribbon. Inevitably, she would always run the scissor blade across the wrong side, causing the edges of the ribbon to fray and shred instead of curl. She'd stare at it in disbelief then make some comment about defective manufacturing practices and the need for federal curling ribbon codes. Rory would listen patiently, even while she took the scissors and ribbon from her mother's hands and expertly curled it into tiny, perfect springs. It drove her mother crazy.
Rory smiled and focused on the potato again. The first curl now lay in heap in the sink, but another one was already tangling above it. She watched it intently as it spiraled downward, even longer than the one before it. When it finally fell into the sink, she let her eyes trail up to the potato itself, studying the peeler's technique for secrets. But as far as she could tell, he seemed to be doing it exactly like she always did. She sighed and let her gaze move to his hand, memorizing the way his fingers curled around the metal and guided it forward and back. He always peeled towards his body, which disturbed her a little. She remembered reading an article once about the dangers of peeling that way. Or maybe it was cutting vegetables towards your body? That would make more sense. Not that it really mattered. He'd always made fun of her when she'd warned him, so she'd given up long ago.
Her eyes moved upward, resting on his arm. She watched as the muscles beneath his skin flexed and released with each repetitive movement. One of his shirt cuffs was coming unrolled, and she eyed it nervously as it slid in increments down the length of his arm. She wanted to push it back up, so it wouldn't get wet, but it was sure to just fall back down again. Murphy's Law or something.
She decided not to focus on it and instead turned back to his hand. He had nice, strong hands. They'd always been one of her favorite parts of him, mostly because they were masculine but also gentle, with long-tapered fingers. She'd always thought they seemed destined for creativity – the hands of a great musician or artist. She'd bet they'd look great holding a paintbrush, or caked in sludgy clay as he molded a masterpiece. Something classic and timeless. Like Michelangelo's David. 'Did sculptors ever do self-sculptures?' she wondered absently. There was an idea…
"What?" Jess asked, pulling her out of her thoughts.
She startled, and instinctively, her eyes went to his face. He had stopped peeling and was looking at her suspiciously.
"What?" she repeated, confused.
He smiled. "Good. You aren't comatose."
"You were just staring at my hands with that glazed-over look you get sometimes," he explained. "It was freaking me out."
Rory blushed. "Oh. Sorry."
He narrowed his eyes. He knew that blush. She would never admit it, but she blushed constantly. When she was nervous. When he teased her. When her mother teased her. When Luke teased her. When her mother teased Luke. But all of those blushes were the same; she only had one special, distinct blush. And he knew exactly what it meant.
His smile turned into a knowing smirk. "What were you thinking about?"
Her cheeks grew even redder, and she quickly lowered her eyes to the table. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" he teased, earning himself a two-for-one blush.
She looked up at him shyly. "Shouldn't you be peeling?"
"Are you sure that's wise?" he asked. "It seems to be having a strange effect on you."
"Peel!" she ordered.
He grinned and turned back to the sink. "As you wish."
She shifted uncomfortably on the wooden kitchen chair and tried not to look at his hands, or think about his hands or, well, about anything related to him at all.
He kept peeling but slyly glanced over his shoulder at her. Her eyes met his, and she blushed again. He chuckled.
"Stop it," she demanded, trying to sound annoyed.
"Stop what?" he asked innocently. "I'm just peeling potatoes."
"Well, it's annoying," she said childishly.
Curious by that statement, he stopped peeling and turned to face her, leaning his back against the counter. "Me peeling potatoes is annoying?" he asked, amused.
"Because, it is," Rory weakly replied.
"See, now I'm really curious."
Rory frowned. "Leave me alone."
Jess chuckled. "I know what you were thinking."
"Sure you do," Rory disputed, praying he didn't really know what she'd been thinking.
"I promise it's not as sexy as it looks," he teased.
He held up his index finger for her to see. "I'm going to have a huge blister."
"Poor baby," she mocked.
"I'm flattered you're so impressed though," he joked. "Really."
"The potatoes aren't going to peel themselves, you know."
"Fine, fine," he surrendered, turning back to the sink. "Just try not to get too excited."
Rory didn't reply, and soon the only sound in the kitchen was the scraping of the peeler against the potato. After a few seconds, she sighed and looked up at him. "I know it's stupid," she said, trying to explain away her thoughts.
He looked at her briefly then turned back to the potato. "It isn't stupid."
She didn't believe him. She felt stupid.
"You just do this spiral-y thing with the peel," she said abruptly, as if explaining would somehow make it seem less stupid.
Even though she couldn't see his face, she knew he was smirking. She could feel it.
"It's hard to do that," she continued, feeling dumber by the second but unable to stop. "I can't do it. It just comes off in these tiny, pathetic pieces. They don't even qualify as pieces, really. They're mini-pieces. It takes me ten years to peel half a potato."
He didn't say anything.
"But you… you make it look easy. It's very impressive. And it looks pretty. And maybe it is stupid," she babbled. "But I like it."
Jess smiled to himself and kept peeling. Seemingly satisfied with her defense, Rory fell quiet.
After a few seconds of silence, he finished the potato and set it on the cutting board before grabbing another one from the bag. He ran it under the water and then went back to peeling. "You make lists," he said simply, his back still turned away from her.
Rory looked at him.
"But not just any lists," he continued. "They're completely abnormal. You write down 'eat' and 'sleep' and 'work', just so you can have something to cross off."
Rory started to open her mouth to protest, but, not seeing her, Jess finished, "It's insane and stupid, but I like your lists."
Rory smiled. Then, after a beat, "When you worked at Luke's, you always poured my coffee so it was just below the rim. I always got just enough coffee without it being so full that it spilled. I always loved that."
Jess set the half-peeled potato on the edge of the sink and turned around, his eyes meeting hers. "You babble when you're nervous."
Rory smiled. "You barely ever say more than two words."
He shook his head. "That's not true."
"I always try to use at least three words when I'm with you."
Rory's smile grew wider. "I know."
He folded his arms over his chest. "You check the alarm clock twice every night. Sometimes three times."
"That's because you changed it once, so I'd miss work and stay home with you."
"Oh," he teased. "So you don't trust me?"
"I don't trust you and alarm clocks."
"It worked once," he reminded her.
She grinned. "I was going to stay anyway."
He laughed. "The truth comes out."
"Every night, when you're sleeping, you grip the blanket like it's your last possession on earth."
"That's because you always try to steal them."
"No, I don't."
"Sure, you don't."
Rory pouted. "I get cold."
"You always correct my spelling when I write in the margins."
She giggled. "It's a teaching tool."
"They're personal thoughts, not an essay test!" he protested.
"You fast forward through previews," she accused.
"I can't stand that announcer's voice. He reminds me of school movies."
Rory's eyes sparkled. "And how would you know anything about school movies?"
His expression grew more serious. "Your eyes are the craziest shade of blue."
"Cerulean," she stated.
"You have crazy hair," she teased.
"Your voice gets deeper when you're tired."
"Your voice gets deeper when we—," she blushed, and his eyes drifted to her lips.
"You're the worst runner I've ever seen," he stated, shaking his head in mocking dismay as he took an almost imperceptible step forward.
"You're the worst driver I've ever seen," she teased back, batting her eyelashes for extra emphasis.
"You're the worst cook I've ever seen."
"Hey!" Rory protested.
He shrugged. "I blame Lorelai."
"Funny, 'cuz she blames you."
His mouth fell open. "She raised you."
"But you stole me away."
He took another step closer. "That, I did."
Rory grinned. "You make me happy."
"You make me sane."
"Not an easy thing to do."
He nodded and took another step towards her. "Damn near impossible."
"You make me proud," she said softly.
He froze, her words cutting through his chest.
She searched his face, waiting. When he didn't say anything, she repeated again, even more softly, "You make me proud."
His face reflecting nothing, he took another step towards her… and held out his hand. She took it and stood up, the warmth of his body suddenly close and welcoming.
He hesitated, trying to come up with something to say. She waited. He looked down and moved to clasp her other hand in his. Then, he gently pulled her to him, closing the small distance that had still remained. Hands in hands, he leaned forward and kissed her, delicately at first. Then, after a moment, he guided her hands to rest safely on his hips, and, raising his hands to her face, he deepened the kiss. She tightened her arms around him.
Needing breath, he pulled away, pressing his forehead to hers. "You made me love," he whispered.
She brushed his nose with hers. "That's not stupid," she whispered back.
"No," she promised.
Potatoes forgotten, she kissed him again.