Ok, I know the road trip story is a cliché. But I honestly haven't found one I really enjoyed yet in the rory/jess domain, so I felt inspired to write one. I've only got four chapters and I don't know if I'll do more, but here they are since I need to get all these written things off my hard drive.

It's sort of a dreamscape story, written a little more artistically.

Rory and Jess ……well, some things are a little AU. After Rory came back from Washington, Jess was still angry with her. She dumped Dean and went out with Jess later anyway, and because of all the anger it didn't work out. Jess did manage to graduate; however, and right at the beginning of summer, luke and lorelai finally get their act together and luke proposes. As they leave for the honeymoon, this leaves jess and rory home alone for two weeks. They decide to take a road trip in hopes of learning to get along, since they might have to live in the same house. They are also looking at colleges, since rory wants to see what she missed.

Anyway, the story picks up at the beginning of the trip, but the real issues between jess and rory are explored gradually, with the real anger coming out in ch. 3 or so.

So, enjoy, and lemme know what you think.

Luce

It's evening when Jess and Rory load the car.

She doesn't ask why. Most people leave in the morning, because it makes sense, because they are awake then and the world is new and waiting in the horizon. He says he's slept all day but she rather thinks it's because he likes driving at sunset, in the evening cool. It is June, june on the East Coast........small insects slapping the windshield in the indigo twilight, the thin, chilly air flowing over her arm as it hangs out the open window, dancing, curving over the airwaves.

She throws her two duffel bags in the trunk, standing there in the pale gloom, framed by the brilliant dark blue sky, arms and legs at all angles tracing her sihlouette in black. Her hair has grown dark and long, messy, and the summer sun has brought the first freckles onto her face. He hauls one last duffel into the backseat which she recognizes as the books, stands back, rubs his hands and looks at her.

"Ready?"

"One minute."

She runs towards the porch where the still form of Lorelai is standing, holding a coffee cup, with big, watery eyes and thin lips. Her face is uncertain and yet resigned, worried. The girl hugs the older woman, whispering to her earnestly, reassuring, comforting. They hang on tight to each other, as though they know after this things will be different.

"So, write me a postcard from each college, ok? And none of that Tom Green road trip stuff," says the older woman. Rory nods.

She runs towards the car without looking back, slamming the heavy, rusty door. She looks at her mother through the window, very serious, very pale, hopeful, scared.

They wave as the gravel spits behind the car, raising up a cloud of dust which lingers after they're gone, and to the woman on the porch, it looks like a ghost.

They are floating down the highway in the darkening evening light, mauves and aquas and navy blue surrounding them like a painting full of living shadows. The forests line the highway, the old trees of this new, mysterious land that the world discovered and which became a flawed utopia. The car is racing down the winding gray line which takes them further and further, into the night.

Rory props her feet up on the dashboard, moving her toes to the beat which the air snatches and carries out the windows. Her hair stick to her lips and snakes around her throat, floating around her head as though she were underwater. Her strange blue eyes glisten darkly like the evening abover her pale freckles. The air around them is warm, but begins to chill after a while, and she wraps a ratty sweater around her shoulders and studies her long, knobby legs as they stretch out before her, toes pressed against the windshield. She pretends Jess is a random boy, looking at him sideways, letting her imagination wander.

The boy is her age, olive and Italian looking, with thick, dark hair and a mouth permanently twisted by too many scowls. He has cheekbones and a good body, and he knows this is his advantage; he is aware that he is capable of many things, and he's good with his hands. For these reasons he believes his future to be as secure as it will be uncertain and ever changing. Sometimes he looks at the girl beside him as though he cannot believe she is really there, cautiously, like a person who is used to having all that is good taken away. Out of fear and respect, he does not take his shirt off as he drives, for though he may believe himself to be immortal, he is not sure if she does.

They are grungy, careless, clean, for now anyway. She picks at the fringe of her cutoff shorts and nestles into the ratty sweater, flipping radio stations as it becomes deep night outside. At twelve a clock at night she is hungry.

"When did you eat last?"

"If you knew me well you would know this does not matter," she replies, offended at his parental inquiry.

"I don't think I do."

They both know this is true. It rests between them like a silent creature sitting in the backseat, waiting to bare its teeth.

"Satisfy my curiosity," he sighs.

"Four. Are we stopping?"

He pulls into a roadside exit. They drive slowly down a small street, and stop at a flickering neon sign that says Blue Pl te Spec al.

"Very local color."

"Synonymous with FDA sanctioned."

"Mmm."

He opens the door for her, and she is inwardly surprised but is too well-bred to show it.

It is an average greasy spoon, small, bad music, cracked red vinyl booths which scratch her bare legs. There is the shine of dull metal, worn countertops, and the smell of frying in the air along with cigarette smoke. She scrunches up her nose as he inhales deeply and this means something to her.

A thick woman with panty hose, socks and sneakers sporting a checkered apron comes over to their table. Her blonde hair has almost black roots, and her mouth is lined sharply in mauve, then frosted over. She looks as tired as the makeup creeping into her wrinkles. She snaps her gum loudly.

"What'll it be to drink?"

They look at each other.

"Coffee."

Snap, snap. Scribble.

"And eats?"

They quickly look at the menu, and stall a little.

"Burger and fries," she says calmly.

"Grilled cheese. And uh, Onion rings. You know what? Never mind, I'll take the tuna melt."

The girl cocks and eyebrow.

"Uh, hello, Three to Tango."

"Make that grilled cheese again," he quickly backtracks.

The waitress gives him a dirty look, scratching out and scribbling again. Snap, snap.

"That all?"

"Cherry pie," she adds, unfolding her utensils and scrupulously examining them for stains under the low hanging lamp.

A very irritated snap, snap, and another look.

They watch her heavy rear depart.

Rory blows on the knife, and then quickly rubbs it with a napkin, holding it up to the light again.

"I'll be surprised if we don't find human matter in our food. Maybe a big old hair. Maybe they save tapeworms for people like us," he comments, a small smile on his lips as she sighs and puts her silverware down.

"It's part of the adventure."

"Food poisoning?"

"The risk, oh doubter you. Where's your joie de vive? You're supposed to be the Clyde to my Bonnie, the Thelma to my Louise. This is like The Sure Thing, without us exactly hating each other."

"I can do without having a guy sexually assault me. But I bet I'd be good at that convenience store robbing thing."

"Yeah I bet," she snorts. "You can be the Anson to my Britney. But then I'd have to kill myself."

"So would I. But if we were to follow the movie, we should have sex first."

He notices her silence and pale blush, and decides to be more careful in the future.

"Sorry."

"What for?" Rory quickly retorts. Silence. She takes a quick breath and starts talking quickly to fill up the space.

"Are you vegetarian? You ordered grilled cheese, and I didn't know, so I didn't want to offend you, you know, be the bloody cow killer eating it right in front of you like a carnivorous, voracious beast...thing.."

He let her quick, embarrased change in subject slide, amused by her rambling.

"No. But Helga there wasn't looking too friendly, and cheese is safer. This kind of place I never order meat if the waitress is pissed at me."

"What worldly wisdom."

"That's me, the debonaire blue collar Joe GQ. Should I ask how their wine selection is here?"

"I think the choices are Bud, Beast, Miller, and some of that stuff Billy Bubba brewed in his backyard last week."

The food arrived, thin, grease-spotted paper lining the baskets, a chip in her plate. She looks at her burger dubiously.

"Where's your joie de vive?" he sneers.

Bravely, she picks it up with both hands and takes a big bite, smiling a wobbly smile as she chews fast. She swallows and smiles proudly.

"I think there's a fingernail in it," he says gravely, and points.

She turns deathly pale and stares at her burger in horrified fascination, but the blood rushes back to her cheeks as she hears him chuckle.

"Very funny, asshole."

Pushing her burger aside, she stuffs fries into her mouth.

"Whoa Emily Post. Remember to breathe," he grins, biting an onion ring.

She makes a face and him and keeps chewing. Her sweater has slipped off one shoulder, the lamplight casting small shadows into the hollows of her neck. His eyes are fixed on her, thoughtful. She bugs out her eyeballs at him sarcastically, and he realizes he's staring and quickly looks away.

"Have you never seen someone eat before?" she says, downright hostile.

"You eat like POW set loose in a buffet. Or like Anna Nicole Smith after a day of dieting."

"And you eat like Kirk."

"Now that was not nice," he frowns, inspecting his sandwich. "I have not opened the sandwich and written my name on the cheese with little pepper dots."

She pours on ketchup obstinately.

They finish, picking at crumbs on the cherry pie, and Jess wonders how long they can go before their history will all come out into the open, filling the air with poison and setting them both aflame. He absently thinks about how he will explain himself, and if she will understand.

"You can have the last piece," she smiles, mellow, pushing the plate towards him.

Jess toys with it.

"I wonder if you'll still say that when the shit hits the fan."

She stiffens, but does not respond, and suddenly he knows she was thinking the same thing as him.

They stare at each other nervously.

"Check," interrupts a loud voice, and breaks the the spell. Grateful, they mutter, and take the paper from the waitress, who rolls her eyes and departs.

They are on the road again, driving, changing places, stopping at four in the morning.

"Take this exit," she commands sleepily.

They find themselves in a small residential town full of matching suburbs and fast food restaurants; taking care to write down the roads, they wander into a quiet little neighborhood and park under a big oak, turning off the lights.

"What are we doing?" she mumbles, opening her eyes.

"Saving money."

"Okay, not a good idea. I don't know if you ever heard that story about the guy with the hook and the girl and guy in the car and how he comes up and opens your door......this isn't Elm Street is it? Cause if you don't like nightmares-"
"Get in the back."

She is too tired to complain further.

"I hope the hook guy kills you first so I can at least watch before I die and be satisfied," she says, and promptly falls asleep, breathing heavily.

He stretches out on the bench seat in the front, locking the doors, and that is how they are found in the morning when the little girl in the pink dress taps on the windshield.