`*~ These Are Days ~*`
Disclaimer: I claim to own nothing.
Summary: Tweaked 'Teach Me Tonight' to my own likings. *Warning. Insane amounts of fluff o'nutters in this story… please read with caution* Oh… and it's definitely a Literati, anything else would be uncivilized!
A/N: I've revised some chapters… just makes me feel better. They're subtle changes, mostly in the writing, not necessarily the storyline.
'**~// Gilmore Home: A Month After The Car Accident – March 2, Saturday Night \\~**'
Both mother and daughter were comfortably seated on their sofa ready for a couch potato night eating red vines and cookie dough along with any and all other combination of sweets and salts appropriate for the Gilmore girls' movie night.
They both looked at each other waiting for the other to cave in and answer the door. An actual minute passed.
Ding Dong. Knock. Knock. Knock.
"You're closer," they said in unison, narrowing their blue eyes to the other.
"Come on Rory, you know it's your turn. I opened it when the pizza guy came."
"Well… there was no way I could carry the pizza and cheesy bread, and not to mention the two liter coke with this stupid thing on now could I?" Rory flailed her cast-encased wrist in Lorelai's face.
"Yes… exactly. You've proved my point… it is your turn. Now go get the door," she said, all the while, giving her an encouraging push.
"Fine." Rory conceded and stomped her way towards the door.
Upon opening the door, she was greeted by the one boy who had frequented her home about as much as a guy would visit her girlfriend. But he wasn't her boyfriend and she wasn't his girlfriend. Jess held a book up to her face, leaving a mere inch to read the title and since she was not skilled with reading crossed-eyed she backed away to get a proper reading. She realized it was the same book that she had searched many book stores for but always come up empty.
"Oh my god… Jess…" She was truly awe-struck. Her blue orbs wide with fascination. "How did you find this?"
He handed it to her and she graciously accepted it.
"You like?" He eagerly awaited her answer pushing up the sleeves of his shirt as he looked at the book and then at her trying to memorize the look on her face. Her face seemed to light up. He shoved his hands into his pockets, kicking himself inside for feeling this way about her. He had fallen for her and he wasn't sure if he should.
"Yes, I like very much." Rory said sweetly, feeling the urge to give him a kiss on the cheek. She quickly deflated the idea about as quickly as she thought it. It wasn't the proper thing to do at their level of friendship. She settled for a more appropriate token of appreciation. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He stood staring at her, then behind her, and then again at her.
She was too content with looking into Jess' eyes that she momentarily failed to notice his not so subtle hint for an invitation inside.
"Oh sorry. Come in." She stepped aside allowing him in and closed the door behind her. He waited for her to lead the way. "Mom. Jess is here." She announced. She had already memorized the forced pleasant face her mom reserved for him. She didn't care to see it today. At least she's trying.
Lorelai looked to the two standing in the hallway ready to recite her obligatory greeting to a boy who had weaseled his way into her daughter's life. A boy that she would never allow her daughter to be friends with, but had to if she wanted to keep their one-of-a-kind mother/daughter relationship. Hopefully Jess wouldn't be sticking around for too long.
"Hey Jess." She said. Her over-exaggerated perkiness always showed how she really felt. The three of them knew how she really wanted to greet him.
"Ma'm." He echoed her tone.
She finally gave in and looked at her mom, only to scold her with her withering stare. "We're gonna go hang out in my room for a little while." She walked towards her room with Jess in tow.
"Punk." Lorelai mumbled to herself glaring at Jess' backside.
He felt her glare and turned his head to catch her. Jess-smirk vs. Lorelai-smirk. And the winner is…
Lorelai and Jess were never on good terms to begin with. His first impression was to blame. She could tell he was a bad kid from the moment she walked out on the porch and saw him about to drink her beer. A beer she never offered him and would never offer him because that would be illegal, but that was beside the point. He layed into her after only just meeting her. The nerve of that kid. And then there was that awful car crash that only fed the fuel to her fire. And on top of that she was ordered by her daughter to give the kid a chance. A second chance. A chance she believed he didn't deserve because he broke her daughter! But living up to the cool mother that she had always been, she sucked it up and agreed to give the boy a second chance. She didn't know that Jess and Rory made a similar agreement before the accident. Jess was ordered to take his sarcastic comments towards her mom down a notch. And he did. Lorelai and Jess had something in common. They both wanted Rory to be happy.
Rory mechanically flipped the light switch in her room and took a seat on the edge of her bed already hungrily skimming through her new book. Jess situated himself against her dresser, his arms folded and enjoying watching her without shame.
The book was just one of the many little gifts he had given her in an attempt to reconcile what had happened a month ago. The life-altering car crash. A small part of him was thankful that it did happen. They've become closer friends and… Rory was no longer shackled to Dean.
Rory was upset and frustrated by the town's reaction toward Jess in the aftermath of the crash. Everyone blamed him. Everywhere he went he was met with scornful warning looks. He knew they all wanted him to leave their perfect town. He deserved it so he thought. After all, he did hurt the beloved Rory Gilmore. The guilt was too overwhelming. Even for him. His couldn't face the town… or Luke… or Rory so he left for New York, regrettably without saying goodbye to her.
After hearing the news of his leaving Rory was left with a myriad of emotions. Angry - because her town was acting idiotic. Annoyed - because Jess didn't have the decency to say goodbye her… and because he didn't give her a chance to plead with him to stay. Empty - because he was gone.
She never knew missing him would be so hard. After all, they weren't even that close, but there was a connection made and couldn't be forgotten in the blink of an eye. A couple days passed when one day she just had enough… of everything. She was fed up with everything. The town. Her mom. Her grandparents. Her friends. They all blamed the innocent. And she was tired of hearing them talk. They all said the same things over and over. She knew they were the reason he had left town and she wanted him to know from her that it was not his fault. Plus... she missed him. She hated that feeling. It was stupid. It wasn't even his fault! She wanted to hate him for making her feel that way. He didn't have to leave! ...But she could never hate him.
So with her mind set, she ditched school to go to New York. To bring back Jess. She later found it to be quite an easy task. All she did was apologize for her town's accusations, albeit, she showed a great deal of emotion in doing so. Not so in crying though. And when she asked the simple question 'will you come back', he answered with a simple, quiet 'okay'.
How could he turn away from this girl? She came to New York to fetch him. She traveled, by bus, to New York to bring him back. No one would do this for him. And that feeling was the greatest high he could have ever felt. Jess found himself back in Stars Hollow later that night. He knew he couldn't stay away from her. How he ever thought he could, baffles him. He cared about her and Rory showed that she cared for him. It was simple and it was honest and it was true. Something he needed and craved.
Rory felt Jess' eyes on her and her suspicions were confirmed when she looked at him. She patted on the area besides her inviting him to share a seat. He obliged.
"You need to stop giving me these amazing gifts," she said happily as she looked into his eyes. "I told you that you have nothing to be sorry about. None of this was your fault," she said truthfully.
And with only that said she understood why. He felt guilty about her predicament, with a broken wrist and all. And since he was the one at the wheel, he blamed himself for breaking her. Also, Lorelai made sure of this.
She touched the side of his lip where a scar was now forever marked. "Does it still hurt?" She questioned. Her sympathizing expression made him, if possible, feel a little better.
"Nope." He answered with a crooked smile, silently liking the feel of Rory's touch.
'**~// Flashback – February 5, Tuesday Night \\~**'
It was the night that Dean came back from visiting his grandmother in Chicago. Rory waited nervously for him in front of his house. Rereading a letter she had written to him, explaining the car accident, wishing herself a pencil so she could reword, add, and erase some things.
He practically jumped out of the car throwing his duffle bag on the sidewalk and ran to her when he saw her standing on his front porch. It wasn't like Rory to wait for him like this. She hadn't shown this type of affection as of late… ever since she befriended Jess. He took quick notice of the cast that unfashionably dressed her wrist. Worry grew rapidly within and he needed answers. And when he asked her what happened she handed him a letter. Was this some kind of joke? He didn't want answers in the form of a note. How could that possibly answer why she was wearing a freakin' cast?
She was insistent on him reading the letter. She wouldn't tell him and he was desperate for answers. He did as she wished. After verbally expressing his anger with endless 'whats' with his initial reading, his anger intensified as he reached the meat of the letter. The four letters J-E-S-S somehow though somewhat expected, had some importance to be mentioned in the fucking note. In so many useless words written on a piece of paper, he came to his own conclusion that Jess crashed the car. The fucking car he built for Rory! That fucking bastard. He starting to see red. Physical anger itched to be expressed in some form or he would literally explode.
He kicked his bag on the sidewalk forcefully into a nearby bush, cracking twigs, creating an ugly dent in the poor unsuspecting bush. As he read on, the redness cleared somewhat and he simply said 'You sure you're alright', which in turn she answered with a 'yes'. And with that Dean invited her in to have dinner with his family. She obediently accepted.
The next day Dean hunted around Stars Hollow for the prick that crashed Rory's car and broke her wrist. He went to the diner, but no Jess. He wandered around aimlessly, wondering if he were Jess where would he go. He recalled spying on him taking Rory to the bridge after the Bid-A-Basket auction. He headed towards the bridge and to his reward he found him sitting on the wooden planks of the bridge, feet dangling, and smoke oozing from his mouth. His blood boiled at the sight. Dean lost all his senses. He stalked over to Jess, yanked him up vigorously by his jacket and punched him in the mouth without any kind of warning.
Within ten minutes after the two boys' altercation, Rory learned of the fresh events through the Stars Hollow grapevine and sought out Jess. An hour had past when she finally found him behind the Independence Inn sitting under a tree nearby the lake, leaning against its trunk. She cautiously walked up to him and quietly sat down beside him. It hurt to look at him. How could Dean do something so stupid? Didn't he read the letter! It wasn't Jess' fault!
"I'm so so sorry Jess," she said sincerely, holding back any comings of tears.
"For what," he said flatly and took one last hit of his cigarette before tossing it. He knew Rory didn't like him smoking. She once told him that he stunk. She was brutally honest and it kinda stung. He didn't want her to think of him as a stinky boy. He even attempted to quit so she wouldn't think that and she'd have a more pleasurable experience with him without having to smell his stinky-ness. He was doing exceptionally well with it, but now under the circumstances he took it up again. He didn't give a fuck if he stunk.
"For everything, the accident…," she said quickly and then, "Dean hitting you…," barely being heard as they both stared out at the murky water before them.
Jess averted his focus. He seemed to be really interested on a bug crawling up his pant leg, "Rory…," he didn't know what to say her. He didn't bother to continue. Rory didn't need him to say anymore. They sat in silence, comforted by each others presence.
As they sat there, Rory contemplated on what to say to Dean. She was thankful for the time she had to calm herself down because from the moment she heard of their fighting, she wanted to physically punch Dean. It wasn't Jess' fault. None of this was his fault. If anyone was to blame, it was her. She was the sole source. She was the one that handed Jess the keys. It was her car and yet she told him to drive. And she was the one that told him to keep on driving instead of heading back to the diner. She was the reason that made Dean get into it with Jess.
She felt crumby.
She looked over at Jess who was staring blankly at the water, fiddling with a piece of grass he had just uprooted. The side of his lip was cut and swelling up more and more by the minute.
"Jess," she said breaking the silence. "I think you need to get some ice on that or have a doctor look at it," looking straight at his mouth. He looked over at her and saw the pain in her eyes. He ignored the pulsating pain of the slit in the corner of his mouth—at least it stopped bleeding.
"I'm fine." He didn't want her to see him like this. "You should go… it's getting late."
She nodded, knowing he needed to be alone. She stood up and turned to have one last look at him. "I'm so sorry Jess." She felt the need to say it again. He nodded to her and stared back at the water, wishing he could just hug her.
Dean knew that Rory would be upset with him for fighting with Jess and he was prepared to deal with the consequences. He figured he would just explain his reasons and she'd forgive him. After all, from his point of view, he was looking out for her. He waited for her at her house sitting on the swing on her front porch.
Caught up in her own thoughts, Rory hadn't noticed him sitting there until he spoke.
"Rory… please just let me explain…," he said as he stood up and walked towards her as she was about to open her front door. She looked at him. Apparently Jess wasn't the only one who's going to be left with some kind of scar reminiscent of their fight. Rory tried not to feel sorry for him. He deserved it.
"I don't want to hear it Dean." She was so disappointed by the way he acted. She didn't want to hear anything he had to say. She felt repulsed by him. She didn't want to hear his excuses or more importantly, his rants on Jess. She was tired of hearing it and tired his overly protective ways. "Just leave me alone. I don't ever want to see you again", she said evenly, no signs of faltering. She was sure of how she felt. She didn't even have to suppress any comings of tears because there were none to begin with.
"Rory, you can't mean that." He was both stunned and scared at seeing how certain she was. This is not how it was supposed to happen, he cried to himself. "Wait. Please. Let me explain," he said desperately. He knew he was begging. He knew he sounded completely stupid, but he loved Rory and she supposedly loved him back. What the hell was happening? Seeing that she was about to go inside, he gently but firmly grabbed her by the arm. "Please. Rory. I'm sorry…," his voice began to quiver as the reality of the situation hit him. He lost her. To him.
She released herself from his hold.
"I can't do this anymore Dean. Please, just leave."
He felt betrayed. She was so cold to him. He saw no tears. She was done with him.
'**~// End Flashback \\~**'
"So," Rory said, wanting so much to read her new book.
"So," Jess said.
"Would you read this to me?"
"Sure, why not."
Rory scooted towards the head of her bed. Jess followed.