A/N: Y'all liked the kising, huh? I guess that was predictable - I did love writing it! But after a big event like that, comes the fall out, the aftermath, the Gilmore babbling! lol
(For disclaimer, etc. - see prologue)
Chapter 11 - Some Kind of Wonderful
Rory wasn't sure how she got through the day at school. More than once she zoned out during her first couple of classes. She was only glad that Mr Medina didn't ask her what was wrong and make a big deal. Rory felt bad when she realised maybe he thought she was just being off with him because he was dating her Mom, but she couldn't worry too much about that right now. Her head was already way too full, and it wasn't going to get better until she talked it out with someone. There was no-one at Chilton she wanted to share with, and when she got home and headed to the Kim's store, she found Lane was practically under house arrest, helping her mother clean more furniture than Rory had ever seen in her life. That left two options for a good long conversation about something that was troubling her, and Rory had it down to one in an instant. There was no way to talk to Jess after what happened this morning. He was almost the entirety of what she needed to talk about. Her Mom was the only choice Rory could make, and that was fine with her. The trouble was that Lorelai wouldn't be home for hours yet and this was not a conversation that anyone would want to be having in public. It was quite the miracle then, when Rory got to the door of her home and it opened as if by magic. There was her mother, shoving her arms back into her coat, smiling when she realised her little girl was right there on the porch. She opened her mouth to greet her, but she never got the chance to speak.
"I got kissed!"
"I'm sorry, what?" Lorelai reacted with surprise, even shaking her head a little as if to clear some fuzziness that was decreasing her ability to hear correctly. "Kissed? You got kissed? Your first kiss?"
"Uh-huh," Rory nodded, looking so young suddenly, far too young for a kiss to have happened, but hey, apparently it had.
Lorelai looked around outside and then started ushering Rory into the house. There was no way they were having this conversation out here where just anybody could hear or even interrupt. Sure, she was supposed to be getting back to the inn as fast as possible, but this was huge. Her daughter needed her, so Lorelai was going nowhere.
"So, now, how do we feel about this kiss?" she asked, taking her coat off again as they headed for the living room.
"I don't know," Rory admitted, trudging over to the couch and throwing herself down. "I... I mean, I wanted it to happen, I asked for it, but then when it did happen it was... just... I don't even know what it was," she explained badly, all decent vocabulary leaving her as she shoved her back pack and jacket off as one.
"I'm sorry, you asked?" Lorelai checked she heard right as she dropped down onto the couch beside her daughter. "Like, 'excuse me, Dean, would you please lay your lips on me?'" she asked, affecting a slightly more girlish tone.
"Kind of," she admitted, awkwardly. "Except, well, it wasn't Dean."
Lorelai frowned hard.
"Well, Rory who else would you...?" she began, before a light dawned, triggered by the way Rory was squirming and wouldn't meet her eyes. "Jess? You had your first kiss with Jess?"
"I think so," her daughter said softly. "There's a chance I blacked out and dreamt the whole thing. I... I feel weird."
She looked weird, or rather, like she felt weird, or sick maybe. Lorelai wasn't feeling so great herself, truth be known. It wasn't that she hadn't started to wonder about Jess and Rory becoming more than friends. He sure seemed to be thinking along those lines, as much as he tried to deny it. On Rory's side, Lorelai saw no clues that she was feeling any different about Jess at all. Her entire girly focus seemed to be on Dean as far as potential boyfriend material went. The guy made her a bracelet for her sixteenth birthday and the kid had talked about almost nothing else since then... except for the special pen her BFF bought for her. Oh, geez!
"Okay," Lorelai said eventually. "Okay, Mommy's feeling a little turned around here," she told Rory, reaching to take her daughters hands into her own. "Maybe you could start from the top of the scene? Y'know, the string of events that led to you and your all time best friend being joined at the lips?"
Rory winced at the way she put it, but at the same time, she did want to explain this whole situation to her Mom. If nothing else, Lorelai should be able to help her unscramble her own mixed up thoughts that she had been holding in too long today already. Taking a deep breath, Rory let it out slow and then started from the beginning.
"We were in Doose's..."
"You and Jess?" Lorelai checked.
"No, me and Dean," her daughter corrected. "He was messing around, he offered me free soda, and he said I had to guess which hand it was in, but when I leaned in to point, I realised he was going to kiss me so... I ran. I shop lifted!" she exclaimed then, taking her hands from Lorelai's own to dig in her backpack and produce the very box of corn starch she had taken without payment this morning.
Lorelai's eyes widened.
"Okay, so almost kissed Dean but ran... with baking goods," she noted. "Then, what?"
"I ran into Jess," Rory picked up her narrative, eyes down as she continued on. "We ended up on the bridge and I told him what happened. I... I've never been kissed, he knows that as well as you do, and I was so freaked out that if I kissed Dean I would be awful at it and he'd laugh, so... Well, I thought of 'Some Kind of Wonderful'."
"Excellent John Hughes movie," said Lorelai on automatic, until suddenly her brain caught up with the situation. "Ah, when Mary Stuart Masterson offers to teach Eric Stoltz how to kiss before his big date!" she gasped. "So you asked Jess to be your Watts?"
"No... Well, yeah, I guess I did," Rory considered, squirming significantly. "He didn't want to, and I got all mad at him for being dumb."
Lorelai bit back a smile.
"Honey, I don't actually think refusing to kiss your best friend on demand is dumb exactly but... Well, hey, what do I know?" she changed tack suddenly when she noticed the look on her daughter's face. "What happened next, hon?"
"I don't know," she sighed heavily, though they both knew she did know and was about to explain anyway. "One second I'm walking away and the next..."
Her fingers went to her lips without her really noticing as she replayed the magical moment in her mind.
"He kissed you," Lorelai filled in, a smile creeping onto her lips unbidden at the starry eyed look her baby girl was wearing now. "And it was good?"
"Amazing," the word slipped out of Rory's mouth before she had a chance to stop it and she blushed deep crimson as she realised her Mom was smiling so wide. "I mean, I don't know, I.. It was Jess, and me, and lips, and... It isn't supposed to feel like that!"
"Oh, it never is," said Lorelai, reaching to pull Rory into a hug. "Babe, this is a real pickle you got yourself into, huh?"
She put her chin on Rory's head as they hugged each other. Lorelai had seen this coming. Well, not exactly this, but certainly a similar situation. It had been coming on gradually, but Jess had definitely been getting the lusty wrong feelings for Rory of late. He was seeing her as the young woman she was becoming, not just a good friend. Rory seemed oblivious to any charms her BFF was developing as he got older, at least until today when he took the opportunity to lay his lips on her. First love was beautiful but often tumultuous; unrequited love was a bitch. Right now, Lorelai wasn't sure which was going to cause more trouble in this situation.
"I just... I like Dean, a very lot, in all the ways that girls are supposed to like boys," said Rory eventually. "And I love Jess because he's my best friend, but... but it's different. It is different, isn't it?" she checked, as if suddenly she wasn't even sure of her own feelings or thought-processes anymore.
"Well, yeah, it would be different," Lorelai considered, not really sure what she was supposed to say for the best. "Dean is a crush and Jess is... well, he's Jess," she explained lamely.
The truth was, Jess didn't really have a title. Sure, he was the best friend, but even that was kind of vague and strange. Rory and Lane were besties in the traditional sense, same gender friends who had grown up together from the age of eleven talking about nail polish, boy bands, and other girly things. Jess was always there too, maybe more so than Lane, but he and Rory just had different things in common. Lorelai would say he was almost like a brother to her daughter, or a very close cousin maybe. Of course, those kind of relationships got all kinds of inappropriate, particularly the sibling kind, when Jess started to feel differently. Now it seemed Rory might have those feelings too. She certainly seemed to enjoy the one and only kiss she and Jess had shared, even if she was in some denial about it. It would simple things up if neither one of the teens were having new feelings for each other, but somehow Lorelai just knew it was not going to be that easy.
"So, hon, do you still wanna kiss Dean?" she asked, bracing herself for whatever answer she received.
"Yes," Rory nodded, pulling herself out of Lorelai's embrace so she could face her and make her point clear. "Yes, I do. Thinking about Dean... it makes me all giddy in the good way. All butterflies and stars, y'know?"
"Yes, I do know," her mother smiled, remembering the old days when Christopher had that effect on her. "Rory, sweetheart, I'm sure it'll all be fine," she said gently, pushing her hair back behind her ear, the why she always had since she was just a little girl. "You asked Jess to practise kiss you and he did. The freaking out after, that you might want to apologise for, but I'm sure it'll be fine. Like you said, he's your best friend, he understands you. I'm sure he's going to be okay about this if you just explain."
It was a lie, a bald-faced lie, and Lorelai felt guilty about it before the words were even fully spoken. What else could she do? She knew that telling Rory she suspected Jess had romantic or sexual feelings for her would freak her daughter out even more. She also knew the guy himself would lose it if he found out she meddled. Lorelai had been as much surrogate mother to Jess as anybody. She cared about his feelings, and whilst telling Rory to let him know she really felt about what happened would probably hurt him, it could be a whole lot worse. At least if Rory made it clear that she liked Dean and only Dean, Jess would have a chance to try and get over his crush. Lorelai wanted to believe it was just a crush given the circumstances. Wanted to, but couldn't quite.
"Mom?" said Rory as Lorelai got up from the couch and pulled her coat back on.
"What?" she asked, looking back at her.
Rory faltered on what she meant to say next. She still didn't understand quite what had happened in that moment when Jess kissed her. It had felt good, so very good, like nothing else she ever felt. Rory couldn't be sure if that was just what kissing did to a person, or if it was specific to the fact it was her and Jess. She had no frame of reference, and she only wished her Mom could give her the answer she needed. That would require her to describe the kiss she and her best friend shared in intimate detail that Rory knew she would never get through without blushing to the point of exploding from the pressure of the embarrassment. Even then, she doubted her Mom would be able to explain her own feelings to her.
"It's nothing," she said eventually, finding a smile. "I love you."
"Love you too, kid," Lorelai smiled back, leaning in to kiss the top of her daughter's head. "You okay now? 'Cause I should really get back to the inn before Michel loses his mind and goes uber-French on somebody's ass."
"Go, I'm fine," Rory assured her with a forced smile that quickly fell away the moment her mother was gone from sight.
Today had not gone at all how she planned, and in spite of the fact she should feel better for talking things through with Lorelai, all Rory really wanted to do was cry.
Jess wasn't sure how he had got through the day at school. He'd pretty much zoned out during all his classes, which wasn't exactly a new thing, especially when the topic was boring or something he knew he could breeze through. Still, he usually made some kind of effort, just enough to get by. He knew Luke would lose it if he started failing, he knew how disappointed in him Lorelai would be... not to mention Rory.
Rory Gilmore. His head was already way too full of her, and it wasn't going to get better until he talked to her about what the heck had happened this morning. There was no-one else he would rather have a conversation with, and yet this particular topic made him want to run at top speed in any direction that wasn't toward Rory. Not that he expected her to exactly be coming to see him either, not after she had in fact literally run from him earlier today, after their kiss.
'I kissed Rory.'
The thought ran around and around in Jess' head, whether he wanted it to or not. He tried to think of anything else but it wouldn't happen. Math, English, and Chemistry were all a blur, and even the book he tried to read in between classes (and during classes, in a less obvious way) the words were not reaching his brain. It didn't matter that he had read Slaughterhouse Five at least eight times, he still had no idea what was going on during this latest re-read.
"You're weird today," Lane had told him at lunch. "Are you feeling okay?"
He got in what she called 'deep funks' before, but never like this. Jess didn't know what to tell her. Admitting what had happened felt like telling tales out of school, even though they were in school at the time, so much for that expression! Jess trusted Lane with secrets, that wasn't the problem. It was trusting himself and what else he might let spill out after he begun that was the real problem. He told her he was fine, just tired. He told her some vagaries about a fight with Luke and then asked her to drop it. Like a good girl, she did. Jess almost felt like he lied to her and that didn't sit right either. Maybe if he wasn't so busy thinking of Rory and their kiss, he would've felt worse about Lane.
Walking back to the diner from Stars Hollow High, Jess couldn't help but allow his shoulder to strike Dean Forester on the way. The jock yelled 'Hey!' but Jess never flinched, just kept on walking, allowing a smirk to come to his lips unbidden. No matter what kind of mess may have been made, whatever weirdness there was between him and Rory after this, at least Jess knew he kissed her first. Lurch could claim a lot of things later, but never that.
"Jess, could you...?" Luke began to ask the moment his nephew came through the door.
"I've got homework," he replied, cutting his uncle off and never missing a step as he headed for the curtain and up the stairs.
He was barely half way when Luke gave chase and called after him.
"You don't want me to do my homework?" he asked his uncle seriously. "'Cause that doesn't sound like my responsible guardian, if that's what you're saying..."
"That's not what I'm saying," Luke rolled his eyes dramatically. "I was just gonna ask if you were okay. This morning got kinda... it got out of hand, and I don't..."
"It's fine," said Jess flatly. "You and me, we're fine, okay?"
They weren't going to talk about Rory, not now, not like this. Jess couldn't really see himself having a heart-to-heart with his uncle at any time about his feelings for his best friend, but if they ever did it wasn't going to be here and now, half way up the stairs to their apartment with the entire diner trying to eavesdrop through the curtain. It mattered that they weren't fighting, that's all.
"That's good," Luke smiled slightly. "That we're okay."
Jess nodded once, a confirmation of the truce as it were, then he went into the apartment, letting the door slam shut behind him. Yeah, like he was ever going to be able to concentrate on homework.
'I kissed Rory.'
Not a chance.
To Be Continued...