Title: Over Time
Rating: PG: 13
Disclaimer: Don't own Gilmore Girls. Don't sue. I'm poor. (I also don't own Evanescence or any of their songs, what a shocker.)
Summary: Jess and Rory were together until a car accident took Jess away from her. He's in a coma and she's trying to move on with her life. Five years later, Rory's finally moving on with someone else when she gets word that Jess is awake.
A/N: Hey, it's me. What do you know? Another story. Heh. About Last Night is going on temporary hold due to some writer's block. Here's a different one for your reading pleasure. Well, review and let me know what you think.
Chapter One: The Final Stage
*These wounds won't
seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase*
"I hate this place," Rory said.
"Then why don't you leave?" Jess asked.
"I don't want to. Not yet."
"Then stop complaining."
Rory opened her mouth to say something else but then closed it. No need to start a fight. She really did hate this place though. Everything was white. The color and brightness was supposed to distract people from the pain and death. It wasn't working. There was a strong smell of antiseptic too and it was giving her a headache.
"I graduated yesterday," she blurted out.
"Yup. I'm a Harvard graduate."
"I'm so proud."
"And I'm moving to New York City. I have an apartment all picked out."
"Already?" He asked.
"I have been looking for awhile."
"So the small town girl is going off to the big city?"
"Don't make fun of me."
"Yes you are and you shouldn't because…I'm kind of scared," Rory admitted.
"Oh, come on. You've been living in Boston for the past four years."
"But I was at a dorm with other people. I had a roommate."
"Ah, Jane. The one who talked to herself when she thought no one was around."
Rory shifted uncomfortably. "Don't talk about people who talk to themselves."
"Sorry." He paused. "You'll be fine in New York. I lived there after all and look how I turned out."
"You claim to be kidding. But really New York is going to turn me into some lawn gnome stealing, Hemingway loving criminal."
"Now who's making fun of who?" He asked.
She grinned. "I'm not making fun."
He was silent for a second. "Don't worry, Ror. You're going to be just fine in New York. You'll love it." He paused. "You're gonna make it after all."
"Oh, God. Now I'm Mary Tyler Moore."
"I wouldn't recommend spinning around on a sidewalk and throwing your hat up in the air."
Rory laughed. "I'll keep that in mind."
"You shouldn't be nervous anyway. You have Sam, right?"
Rory froze at the name. Her voice was soft, "Yeah. He'll be there too."
"It's okay, you know. I'm not angry."
"But you should be. I'm sorry."
"Ror, don't apologize. I'm glad you're with Sam. You'll be happier with him."
"He told me he loved me," she whispered.
"Do you love him too?"
"It's funny. His eyes are brown like yours. I'm beginning to forget what your eyes look like."
She sighed. "I told him I loved him too."
"That doesn't answer the question."
"I do. I think I do."
"You have to stop feeling so guilty. It's okay to love someone else."
Rory didn't want to have this conversation anymore so she changed the subject. "You know, you're not so monosyllabic anymore."
"Well, we only have you to blame for that."
"True. But I like it when you talk more. I like the sound of your voice." Her voice cracked. "I miss the sound of your voice. I miss kissing you."
"Kiss me if you want. No one's stopping you."
"It's not the same."
The chair she was sitting in began to feel uncomfortable. They really should put cushions in these chairs. People sometimes sat here for hours and with the emotional roller coaster they were sure to be going through, they should at least have comfortable seats. She stood up and moved closer to the bed. "I think I should go."
"Why did you come today?" He asked.
She stared down at his closed eyes. It looked like he was sleeping. "I always come to visit you."
"Not in the past year you haven't." He wasn't being judgmental or mean. He was only stating a fact.
"I'm sorry about that. I was busy with school. It was my last year."
"You're not going to be coming around anymore, huh?"
"Yes, I will. Well, I'll try. I'll be starting a job soon." She paused to swallow her tears. "I'm sorry. But you couldn't understand how hard it is to see you like this."
"Of course I understand, Ror. I am a part of you after all."
"I forget that sometimes. That must be a sign of me losing my mind."
"You know I'm not real. You're not completely crazy."
"I'm semi-crazy? So when they put me in the mental ward, only half of the room will be padded?"
"Something like that," he said.
She reached down and pushed some of his hair off his forehead. Then she leaned down and gave him a soft kiss on his lips. "I'm going to miss you."
"You've missed me for the past four years, Ror. It's been long enough."
"Goodbye, Jess. I'll try to come back soon."
"No you won't. But it's okay. I love you anyway."
Sighing, she walked over to the door. She hesitated with her hand on the doorknob. Don't turn around, she told herself. It will only make it harder. She finally opened it and stepped out. Closing it behind her, she stopped right in front of it.
The hallway was very busy. Nurses and patients were milling about. Down to the right, Rory spotted a woman and her young daughter sitting down. A doctor was talking to them with a grim expression on his face. Rory's heart dropped. She couldn't hear what he was saying but she could only imagine. The two women would be devastated but the doctor would go on with his day like normal. This was routine to him.
It had been routine to the doctor who had told Rory that Jess would probably never wake up. He had said that he was sorry and that if there was anything he could do then let him know. Later on, he had passed Rory crying by the snack machine without saying a word. She knew he had seen her. He didn't even slow down, just took a sip of his coffee and continued on his way.
"Hello, Rory. I haven't seen you in a while."
Rory turned at the sound of her name. "Hi, Dolly."
"Come have a cup of coffee with me. I have a few minutes," she said beckoning with her hand.
"Sure. That sounds good." Rory walked down the hall with her. Dolly was a nurse at the hospital and had been working there for years. She was the one who four years ago hadn't ignored Rory's tears beside the snack machine. She had come right over and put her hand on her arm telling her that she would get through this.
They sat down each with a coffee in hand. Rory stared down at hers and her stomach turned. The coffee here was horrible.
Dolly didn't say anything at first. Then, "I talk to Carl sometimes. It's completely normal to do so."
It was obvious Dolly had heard her speaking to Jess. "Does he ever talk back?"
Dolly laughed. "Sometimes." Carl had been Dolly's son.
Wait, had been? Past tense? Was that the tense you were supposed to use when talking about the dead? That had always confused Rory. Being dead didn't change the fact that Carl's her son.
Carl is Dolly's son.
Jess was Rory's boyfriend. That remained past tense.
"Well, I'm glad I'm not the only crazy one."
"Honey, everybody's crazy. Some are better at hiding it than others."
Rory smiled. "Good point." She paused. "How's John?" John was Dolly's husband. He had a heart condition but Rory couldn't remember the big medical name for it.
"Not so well. He's in a room on the second floor," Dolly answered.
Rory's stomach began to knot up. That was not what she wanted her to say. She wanted to hear that John was super and that he still painted. He was supposed to be a wonderful artist.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. Suddenly, she didn't feel so much like talking. "I think I should go."
"So soon?" Dolly asked surprised.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. I don't like being in hospitals."
"Alright, then. I'll see you later"
Rory smiled and said her goodbye. She probably wouldn't see Dolly again. At least not for a very long time. She began walking down the hall, dodging people in wheelchairs and nurses too busy looking at clipboards to watch where they were going. Rory passed by Jess's door and almost stopped.
But she didn't.
Suddenly, it felt like walls were closing in. The smell of antiseptic was strong and her headache felt worse.
Once she hit the outside, she no longer felt like she was suffocating. She headed out of the parking lot as she heard ambulance sirens in the distance. Another life lost, someone else's life ruined. She walked quickly down the sidewalk. The bus stop was less than a mile away but she found herself wishing for the comfort of her car. Her beloved car, "Bob", was no longer hers. It would be useless in New York so she had sold it to a caring family a couple of days ago.
Now she walking and had nothing to distract herself. And even though she didn't want to think about Jess, it was where her mind wandered. She felt like she was betraying him. Being with another guy, possibly loving him. Wait. Wasn't he the one who had betrayed her? Leaving her all alone and…oh, who was she kidding? It's not like he had thrown himself in front of the car. He hadn't done this to her, she was just angry. Anger. Which stage of dealing with death was that?
Death? For god sakes, he wasn't dead. But then again, after four years, there wasn't much of a difference between a coma and death.
What was it like to be in a coma anyway? Rory often wondered about it. After Jess's accident, she had spent many hours researching his condition. The problem was that she had found that anyone who awoken from a coma didn't remember what it was like.
She vaguely remembered a dream she had where she was unable to move any part of her body. Her eyes wouldn't even open. She had awoken with a start, shaking. The paralysis had terrified her. What if that was what it was like to be comatose? Hearing everything that is going on around you but not being able to move. Stuck in some weird in-between because the people you loved couldn't let you go and pull the damn plug. Rory sighed. She hoped it wasn't like that for him.
Sitting down at the bus stop, she checked her watch. Only five minutes to wait. She had a feeling that this was the last time she was going to do this. Visiting him was so hard. She didn't like seeing him surrounded by machines. He couldn't breathe on his own while she could. It was so…wrong.
Talking to him had made her feel better. She was always talking to Jess; the doctor said it was good for him. As if the doctor had any idea. This had been the second time he had talked back. She knew it wasn't really him but she needed to imagine that he was okay. And that he wasn't angry that she had finally (well, kind of sort of) moved on. She wasn't crazy. Just guilty.
The bus pulled up in front of her. She was the only one waiting. Up the steps, pay the fare, go down the aisle. She repeated these instructions to herself. Once she was sitting down she had nothing to do but look out the window. She remembered the good old days where all she needed was a book to occupy her time.
The last time she had read a novel…that had to be four years ago. Sitting at the bus stop in Stars Hollow with the copy of On the Road that Jess had given to her in her lap. That was the day she had gotten the phone call from Lorelai. The day she had gone to the hospital.
That was the day her life ended.
She missed reading almost as much as she missed Jess. But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't read. And she had tried. Many times. But reading had been something her and Jess had together. It reminded her so much of him. Now every time she opened a book, she couldn't concentrate on the words.
Closing her eyes, she leaned back against her seat. Jess was gone. Forever. And she needed to accept that.
Wasn't that the final stage?
A/N: Hope you liked the chapter. (Btw…those lyrics are from the song "My Immortal" by Evanescence.) Review and let me know what you think. More to come…