A/N: I wrote this on a whim after rewatching the Season 3 opener, and I'm pretty sure its kind of OOC and a little crappy BUT my beta says its cool, so I thought hey, let's post it, see what anybody else thinks! lol A little shot of Literati for the reader peops I am driving crazy with the slow burn on What Might've Been and the drama on The Runaways, plus anyone else who wants to read it. Opinions very much welcome :)
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to Amy Sherman-Palladino, and other folks that aren't me.
Hazy, Lazy, Absolutely Crazy!
Rory couldn't stand this. She couldn't take her mother yelling at her, telling her she had to make a choice, Dean or Jess. It only hurt because she knew it was true. Right now as things stood she wasn't being fair to either guy or to herself, not even to Lorelai who felt lost in the middle too.
Six weeks Rory had spent in Washington, and six times Dean had written to her. She hadn't written back. She tried to write to Jess, thought about calling him, dreamed about kissing him. Dean barely made her radar most of the time, and that had started before Washington. It had started that day when Jess stole Allen Ginsberg's Howl from her bookshelf.
This wasn't supposed to happen, none of it. Last summer, Rory hadn't even met Jess Mariano. She had just gotten back together with Dean and she was so happy. Now she wondered how she had ever managed such a feat, what had begun her relationship with a guy she seemed to have so little in common with these days, that she stuck with more out of habit and fear of the consequences than for love. Last time she talked to Dean he ended their conversation with 'I love you'. Rory couldn't bear to lie by saying it back and she knew it.
"Please, honey, just make a choice," Lorelai urged her, suddenly more calm as she realised yelling just wasn't helping. "If you truly love Dean and you're over Jess, let him know he's the only one, but if Jess is the one you want, you have to be honest with Dean," she explained, her hand on Rory's arm. "Sweets, you gotta start by being honest with yourself."
Rory knew her Mom was right. She knew it so well that it made her nauseous. Looking over to where Jess had a blonde bimbo plastered to her face, the urge to vomit doubled, maybe even tripled.
"I need to make a choice," she said, more to herself than anyone, though Lorelai immediately agreed anyway.
"Yes, you do, and I think... Rory?"
It was pointless to talk to her when she started walking away. There was no way for Lorelai to know why her daughter was going over to Jess and his new 'friend', though she suspected it wasn't to tell him she was over him. That would be an out and out lie, and Rory wasn't so good with those. She needed to be honest, and as distasteful as it may be to Lorelai to realise her baby was going to be dating that hoodlum Jess before long, instead of sweet and kind Dean, she would forebear, because she was the cool Mom and she had to.
Over by the tree, Jess was oblivious to being watched, or even approached. Understandably, his blonde associate wasn't exactly on the ball either, not until a pointer finger jabbed her in the shoulder and got her attention.
"Hi," Rory smiled politely the moment she had her attention.
"Huh? Do I know you?"
"No, but my name is Rory," she introduced herself, folding her arms over her chest when she felt Jess smirking at her. "And you are?"
"Shane," the blonde confessed.
"As in 'come back'?" asked Rory incredulously, even as Jess' hand went to his face and he tried not to laugh - Shane didn't get it. "Nevermind. What book are you currently reading, Shane?"
"Is she for real?" Shane asked Jess who only shrugged. "It's the Summer, why would I be reading a book?"
"Uh-huh," Rory nodded. "Your thoughts on The Clash?"
"Okay, and your favourite Backstreet Boy?"
"Never mind," said Rory with a sigh, before literally shoving Shane to one side and addressing the guy still leaning casually against a tree. "Seriously, Jess? If you were trying to make me jealous, she's a really poor choice."
"Oh, yeah? And what makes you so sure my seeing Shane has anything to do with you?" he asked, even as he gestured for said blonde to pretty much get lost somewhere.
"Because of what happened... at Sookie's wedding."
Rory was suddenly losing her nerve now they were alone and his eyes were boring into her own in that intense way they had. Damn Jess for being so intense and hot and everything she wanted!
"Huh. I seem to remember you kissed me," he pointed out then. "Not the other way around."
"You kissed back, you know you did!" she countered. "And you've been wanting that kiss for months now."
"Well, hello, Miss Confidence," he quipped, amazed at how full of herself Rory was suddenly being.
"Jess!" she exclaimed, completely exasperated by his attitude when she had finally got up the nerve to deal with this situation as it always should've been dealt with. "Do you want to be with me?"
When she asked her eyes were closed but as soon as she was done she was sure to open them so she could read his expression. If he lied, she would know, she was sure she would.
There was a long pause when Jess seemed to consider the best answer to her question, and yet he still didn't really give one even after that.
"Aren't you still with Dean?"
"Again with being officially evasive!" she practically growled with the frustration of it all. "Do you want to be with me? Yes or no?"
"Yes," Jess admitted, looking more at the ground than at her as he mumbled a reply.
"Yes?" she checked.
"Yes!" he repeated louder, meeting her gaze again.
Rory couldn't help the smile that came to her lips in that moment, especially when he returned it.
"Okay," she nodded slowly, that same smile fading a little now. "Then there's something I have to take care of."
When she walked away, Jess thought to go after her but changed his mind the second he realised where she was headed. Yes, Rory was still seeing Dean, at least officially, but all that was about to change. She had her serious walk going on, it was weird that Jess could identify it as such, but he could. Dean was grinning like an idiot as his 'girlfriend' approached but that expression didn't last when he saw how sombre Rory was. Jess winced a little, imagining the break up. Those two had been together a long time, at least by teen romance standards. In the end, the better man won, the better man for Rory, and Jess knew he was that. It had taken Rory a while to admit it to herself but finally it seemed she was ready.
"What was that all about?" asked Shane as she reappeared at his side.
"Change of plans," he replied never taking his eyes of Rory in the distance.
"We're done, right?" she checked, not requiring an answer thankfully before she upped and walked away. "Whatever!"
"Yeah, whatever," Jess muttered with a smirk he couldn't help as he watched Rory and Dean part ways.
The Summer hadn't started so well, but it was ending just fine.