Title: Midnight Meeting (Chapter 3)

Author: Sirius

Rating: PG

Spoilers: None

Pairing: R/J

Summary: Jess comes to find Rory in the middle of the night.

        Recap: Rory fingered the blank puzzle piece and turned it over. Written very small on the back of the piece was her next clue. This was going to be an interesting weekend.

        Her clue was written on the back of the puzzle piece in Jess' very familiar handwriting.

        Clue #2: On the night we met, before I stole a beer from your fridge, I suggested we "bail." How did I plan on doing this?

        Rory thought back for a second on their conversation. She stood up and walked to where they were standing in her room. He had asked her if the windows opened and she told him they did and explained how. Then he opened them and said they should bail. She'd laughed and said there was nowhere to bail to, since everything in Stars Hollow is closed.

        The windows! Rory rushed to the window and opened the same one he had. There, sitting on the windowsill was another puzzle piece. She eagerly flipped it over and saw another clue.

        Clue #3: The first time you let it slip that you cared about me, I didn't show say it back. If anything, I laughed at you. What was I doing when you said, "I don't mean care care, like care, I just meant if you like me at all, not like like…"

        Rory remembered that day vividly. She had been going around trying to find her bracelet. When she came home, Jess was there and he was cleaning the rain gutters. The gutters? Would he really make her climb up there to get a clue? She sincerely hoped not. What else did he do that day? He took the Coke with Lemon, she remembered that. Might as well check that.

        Rory went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. Of course they still had some of that Coke. It was disgusting and neither her mom her or would drink it. She checked the top of each can. Nothing. She picked up each can and looked underneath. Nothing. Hmm, where else could the clue be? What else happened that day? She went back to her room, defeated.

        She flopped down on her bed and sighed. This was exciting, but it looked like she was at the end of her luck. There wasn't anything else she could think of. She knew he wouldn't make her go up and look in the gutters, heck, he wouldn't have even gone back up there to put the clue there. Well wait, when she had said that she cared about him, he wasn't up in the gutters yet, and he was still down on the porch. The porch! That must be where it is!

        Rory hopped up and quickly made her way outside. She replayed their conversation in her mind. He had said that he was trying to get along with her mom, hence the Coke. Then she had gone into the spiel about how if he thought she was someone he could see himself ever talking to, that he should be nice to her. They had been right there by the steps when he been talking. She looked on each step, she went up and looked around the door they had come out of, she looked below the steps, and she looked down the walkway. Nothing! This was getting frustrating. Ah! Why couldn't she find it?

        "I give up!" Rory yelled angrily. "It's not worth it!"

        In the back of her head, she thought it might be worth it. If she found all the pieces, she could show them to Jess and he'd say she'd won. But really, it wasn't important if she won or not. She stomped off to Luke's in search of coffee.

        "Luke!"

        He whirled around from behind the counter and looked at her.

        "Can I please have some coffee?"

        "It's bad for you."

        "I know, but I'm not having a good day. Your nephew left me this stupid game and I can't win."

        "How do you know that?"

        "It's impossible. He's got me going around everywhere trying to find these little puzzle pieces. If I find all of them, I can put the puzzle together and I win. But I'm stuck. I have to find a piece to get the clue to the next one, but I can't find it!"

        "Well, can you get in touch with him? Maybe he'll be nice and give you another clue."

        Rory smiled at him and put some money on the counter, "Thanks Luke."

        She went back home and signed online. Jess was indeed online.

TheClick10: I'm very frustrated right now and it's all your fault.

FrequencyNY: Sorry, I thought you'd have fun.

TheClick10: It is fun! It's just that I'm stuck and I can't the piece.

FrequencyNY: Which one are you on?

TheClick10: I found two already, the one in Howl and the one on my windowsill.

FrequencyNY: Wow, good job. And it's only noon. That's skill.

TheClick10: Yeah, but now I'm stuck.

FrequencyNY: Hmm, wanna clue?

TheClick10: Please?

FrequencyNY: Lets see. Where have you looked already?

TheClick10: I was gonna look in the gutters but I figured you would be nice enough not to make me go there. Right?

FrequencyNY: Yeah, it's not up there. Where else did you look?

TheClick10: Um, the porch, and in the fridge with the Lemon Cokes.

FrequencyNY: You still have those?

TheClick10: Yeah…we hate them but we won't drink them.

FrequencyNY: Oh, okay. Well think back to earlier that day. When I first saw you. I gotta go. Bye.

TheClick10: Bye.

        Hmm, when he first saw me? Probably when I let him in. Mom was showing me the alarm clock. He commented on my hair. He gave me the CD. The CD! Rory quickly logged off and went over to her dresser where all her CD's were stacked up haphazardly. The Shaggs…The Shaggs…The Shaggs…Come on! Where are you! Shaggs… YES! She quickly flipped the cover open and saw that the CD was in place. No piece. Dang it! Where could it be? She took the flipbook out of the slot and opened it. One fold, two folds, ah ha! The piece! She urgently flipped it over and saw Jess' small handwriting.

Clue #4: During the first day of what Luke called "Rory and Jess: The Early Years," we went upstairs and I kept asking if I could get you a drink. What did I say to get you to come upstairs?

        Rory thought back on that day. She had thought it was cute that he'd squirmed, but at the time, she was as nervous as he was. It had been so embarrassing that Luke had almost walked in on them kissing. The only reason Luke had come up was because they were very un-smooth in their conversation. He'd said, "You know, I've got that book we were talking about, maybe you wanna come up and look at it?" Or something along those lines.

        Hmm, a book? Was the puzzle piece in a book? He'd already done that. He wouldn't do it again would he? It might be in their fridge, along with the drink he kept offering her. It was worth a shot.

        So for the second time that day, Rory went to Luke's.

        The bell tinkled as she opened the door and made her way to the counter. "Hey."

        "Hey, Ror. Did you find the piece?"

        "Yeah, he was online and he gave me another piece. I think the next one is upstairs, can I go up?"

        "Sure."

        "Thanks Luke." She pushed the curtain aside and made her way up the steps. When she went into the apartment, she looked around; almost sure she would find Jess there. However, he was gone and the apartment was quiet. She felt kind of weird being there alone even though she had permission.

        "Okay, let's see here, fridge." She opened the door and looked around. She could tell men lived there. She pushed aside Red Bull and Tabasco sauce, but still found nothing. "Hmm. Maybe it really is in a book."

        Rory made her way to Jess' half of the room stood in the doorway, looking around. Now, no matter which way you look at it, this was wrong. She was alone in her boyfriend's room, when he didn't know it. Cautiously she entered and when no alarms went off, she breathed a little easier. She hurried over to his bookcase and sighed. "He's got as many books as I do! I'll never find it. Darn it Dodger! Wait, Dodger! Oliver Twist!"

        She poked around the books until she found Oliver Twist. As she flipped through it, a piece fell out. "Yay!" She turned it over and began to read the next clue. Before she was done though, the phone rang and she nearly jumped out of her skin. Should she answer it? Luke was downstairs, but he was busy in the diner. They don't have an answering machine. What if it's important? Tentatively, she neared the phone. Finally, she picked it up and answered politely.

        "Hello, this is the Danes residence, Rory speaking."

        "Well, well, well, Rory. What are you doing in the apartment?"

        "Jess?"

        "Hey."

        "Hey."

        "Why did you answer the phone?"

        "'Cause it was ringing."

        "Good answer."

        "I thought so. I was up here looking for a clue and I found it, but the phone rang and Luke was downstairs and I thought it might be important and I know I shouldn't have answered you guys' phone but it kept ringing-"

        "Rory, I'm kidding. That's fine. Did you find the clue?"

        "Yeah, the one in Oliver Twist."

        "You didn't think I'd put another one in a book did you?"

        "No, and I found it to be incredibly redundant."

        "Haha. Okay, well, I gotta go, just tell Luke I'm okay, that's why I called. To check in and stuff. I'll see you tomorrow night. Keep working on the clues. Bye."

        "Bye Jess."

(A/N: Hey guys! Wow, I'm on a roll now. I have rediscovered writing! I hope you all liked this chapter. She's only got a day and a half to find five more pieces. Can she do it? I'll try and update soon so you all can find out! Please review if you feel the need. ~Amanda)