Title: The Bathroom Floor
Disclaimer: It's not mine. I'm simply borrowing. Sharing is caring.
Summary: Literati. Mid Season Three. One parter. Rory's sick. Jess is over. And a bathroom floor cures all.
A/N: Look at me, Miss Productive. This takes place some point during the Rory and Jess relationship in Season Three. It's after the awkwardness fades away but before their relationship turned to crap. Small time frame, huh? By the way, I wrote this a while ago, while I was sick. (Can you guess where the inspiration came from? Heh.) I needed happy Litness. Hope you enjoy. Feedback is appreciated.
arrived at the Gilmore home exactly fifteen minutes late. He not only had
issues with calling on time but also with being where he was supposed to be
when he said he would. It was an irritating flaw of his that often made Rory noiselessly
glare at him, although she never exactly complained. Instead, she'd just raise
her eyebrow, her mouth set in a tight line, and wait
patiently for him to give her some hackneyed excuse. One that he'd spent a good
part of the walk thinking up, and one that she'd never believe.
The third time this happened, he had made his story rather creative and unusual. To make a long story short, it involved a burger attacking him. This insane remark elicited a laugh from her, and the silent anger she had been sending his way seemed to fade into the air. It was at this time that he decided that he preferred laughing Rory over inner raging Rory, and would therefore make a better effort to arrive on time. (Or at the very least, think up another colorful story.)
Today he was fully prepared with a tale involving evil flannel and mad baseball caps, although he would soon discover that his absurd excuse was unneeded. He knocked on the door and shifted uncomfortably, a bit disappointed that his attempt at being on time had failed so miserably. (He was trying to make an effort. Really. It was the gel. It took time.) No one answered. He knocked once again wondering where she was. It occurred to him that maybe he should just head back to the diner, and she'd call later with an explanation (for once he could glare at her). But then he was knocking again, an insistence that she was there. Unfortunately, patience wasn't his virtue, and his hand moved to the doorknob.
Rory had an overwhelming urge to throw something at him. That is if she had the energy to get out of bed. Although if she had the energy, then he wouldn't be knocking, knocking, and knocking in the first place. The sounds were echoing through the house, pounding at her head. Her headache had been small, but now thanks to the guy who didn't check his phone messages (ever!), it was turning into a monster. Perfect.
She had called him to tell him not to come over today due to her stomach rebelling against her. It was still unclear if she had eaten too much, or just one thing that didn't sit right with her. All she knew was that her stomach hurt, and so did her head, and he was only making it worse. When noon had come and past, she had figured he had received her message, and she would speak to him later. Silly her for not remembering his inability to be punctual. Now she hoping for either two things to happen: A) He would get the message and leave, muttering about how infuriating women were. Or B) He'd try the door, find it unlocked, and enter the house, calling her name.
Silence. She sighed with satisfaction and turned over to go to sleep.
Then a knock. Another sigh, laced with anger.
She threw her comforter off her and jumped out of bed. Unfortunately, standing up too fast is never a good idea (especially when one has a headache) and colorful dots burst in front of her eyes, and she fell backwards into a sitting position. Now she also felt lightheaded, as if the room would tilt at any second. Lovely.
Once again, she made an attempt to stand up. Much slower this time, of course. At this point, the knocking had stopped. If she had gotten out of bed for nothing, there would be hell to pay. Wandering into the living room doorway, she caught sight of his form. Apparently his brain had finally kicked in, and he had come inside.
"Are you deaf?" He asked, as his gaze landed on her face.
"Yes," she said simply, knowing that an agreement would piss him off more than any sarcastic retort could.
"Of course," he shrugged, fixing her with an odd look.
"I'm also sick," she stated. "So I officially cancel any and all plans we had for today."
"My head and stomach have conspired an evil plot against me."
"What'd you do to them?"
On any other day, Rory would have launched into a colorful story about how she was completely innocent and that her head had had it out for her for years due to all the studying and reading she did. And now her stomach was following suit, apparently tired of all the junk food she consumed. Instead, she just kind of waved off his question, and collapsed onto the couch.
"Long story and I'm not in the mood to explain. Or stand. I'm not too fond of that either at the moment."
She slipped farther down the couch until she was stretched out over it. He walked over to her and leaned against the end. "You poor thing."
"I think that was sarcasm but the blinding pain has made it hard to tell."
"I wasn't being sarcastic." He paused. "Alright, I might have been but really, I feel for you."
"Awe, you're concerned?" She asked, tilting her head up to meet his eye. This gave her a rather funny perspective of an upside down Jess, and she had to stifle a giggle.
"Very concerned. Should I rush you to the hospital?"
"Now is not the time for poking fun. I'm sick, and I'm tired, and your constant sarcasm is no help."
He was silent for a moment. And then, "Let me help you back to bed."
She sat up and fixed with him a quizzical look. Huh. Had she made him feel bad? Then a wave of nausea rolled over her, and she concluded that no matter how bad he was feeling, there was no doubt that she was feeling worse. Much worse.
"No, no bed." And with that final remark, she was standing, and then climbing the stairs.
He followed her up to the second floor, and stopped at the top. "Where are you going?" He asked as he watched her stop in the bathroom doorway. He was nervous that she'd be sick. That wouldn't exactly be the most pleasant sight.
"Bathroom," she said as she entered inside. She didn't close the door, so he followed and walked in himself.
"Are you going to be sick?" He inquired as he watched her remove the towel hanging on the rack.
"I don't think so." She then kneeled on the floor and placed the towel in front of her. After bunching it up to make it resemble a sort of makeshift pillow, she turned around and laid down. On the floor.
On the bathroom floor.
"Uh huh?" came her response.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm lying down."
Alright. Now that, of course, explained everything. He moved a bit farther into the room and took a seat near her and rested his back against the sink counter. "Is there a reason you decided to lay on the floor instead of a bed? Like any other sane person would?"
"Haven't you ever lain on the bathroom floor before?" She asked, her eyes closed, and a hand beneath her head.
"I've hugged a toilet bowl before," he began ("Nice," Rory giggled), "And I've fallen asleep on said toilet but I don't think I ever reached the floor."
"You're missing out."
"On what?" He asked, a bit frustrated at her vagueness and his own confusion.
"It makes you feel better."
"The bathroom floor?"
"Just like that?"
"Yes, Jess, it's pure magic. Give me a second to activate its healing powers. Then the floor will glow a pretty purple, and I'll be as good as knew."
"Huh." He wasn't going to dignify her statement with an answer.
"Really, it helps," she insisted. "It helps nausea."
"Is this a proven medical fact?"
"No. But it's been proven that cigarettes cause lung cancer. Yet you still smoke."
"Whoa. Somehow we jumped from your insane floor cure all to my smoking habit. Let's take a step back."
"Okay, fine. I'm lying down because it'll help me. Many times I have gotten sick to my stomach and lain in here."
"Have you seen the way my mother and I eat? Yes, plenty of times."
"Interesting," he replied in a rather bored tone of voice.
"Whatever. Now if you could please stop bugging me about my choice in medical remedies, my head really hurts."
He grew quiet after that. He leaned farther back into the counter, and surveyed his surroundings. This was the first time he had ever been inside the Gilmore bathroom. It was an interesting contrast to the one he shared with Luke. Of course, the immediate difference noticed was that one belonged to two women and the other two men. Not that Rory's was pink and fluffy. It wasn't sugar, spice, and everything nice. In fact, it was blue. Mind you, it was a pale blue, one similar to the sky on a bright day. He half expected to find white, puffy clouds adorning the ceiling. The tiles were blue and white, and there was an area rug in the middle that matched the walls. It happened to be the one Rory was lying on, her eyes still closed. The toilet was blue, and the sink was white. Ah yes. Now he saw it. It had a color scheme. There was actual care and consideration put into this room. Plans had been made, decorations thought up. Luke's wasn't decked out in certain colors. Really, when he thought about it, Jess couldn't think of what color it was. He never really paid much attention to bathrooms before. They weren't exactly a very important part of life. They were just there. Not exactly something people spent hours analyzing. (Nor minutes either.)
His eyes moved around the rest of the small room, taking it in. The towel underneath Rory's head was a bright shade of orange. It stuck out like a sore thumb in the mellowness of the rest of the colors. It didn't match anything at all, and he liked that. It fit the entire Gilmore persona; he'd expect nothing less. He almost smiled. Almost. Which he found incredibly odd because he didn't like to smile. In fact, he rarely ever did so. But here he was, ready to grin like an idiot over a towel.
An orange towel.
Bathrooms were bad for him.
He looked away at that moment, annoyed with himself. Of course, his gaze then landed on the shower. And no good could come out of staring at that for too long. He felt funny having those sorts of thoughts while Rory was right there, stretched out in front of him, her breathing steady, her eyes closed. At the moment, she appeared too innocent, and so he allowed himself only one quick flash of the two of them together in the shower before averting his eyes back to her sleeping form.
Wait. Sleeping? Had she fallen off into dreamland? That could be bad. He had zero intention of waking her up. (Ha! Waking up a Gilmore? He wasn't that mental.) Although, he didn't think he could just walk away and leave her sleeping here. What then? Carry her to her bed? That silly thought was accompanied by the mental image of him carrying her down to her bedroom. Ah yes, he would be the prince, and she the princess. She would be his sleeping beauty although he wouldn't wake her with a kiss. (She needed the sleep after all.)
But then came another thought. Yes he was strong, and yes she was petite, but somehow he doubted he'd make it to the first floor with her. And what kind of knight in shining armor would he be if he dropped his poor damsel down the stairs?
Of course, he wasn't a knight. But she was a princess, and maybe he should stop these thoughts now…
Thank god for small favors. Not only was she awake, but she had interrupted his thoughts. His odd, fairy tale orientated thoughts.
"You don't have to stay, you know." Her voice was quiet, and he wondered if maybe she had drifted off for a moment. She felt a bit sorry that she hadn't asked him to leave earlier. She should never have allowed him to follow her into the bathroom. Now it was as if he was trapped. Leave and look like an asshole boyfriend, or stay even though he didn't want to, making her feel more uncomfortable. Then there was the sudden thought that Dean wouldn't leave. He wouldn't mind one bit spending the afternoon in the bathroom, holding her hand, and talking to her about absolutely nothing. It was a fleeting thought that she pushed out of her mind as soon as it came, but she felt guilty for even thinking that. Jess wasn't Dean. Jess was not the doting boyfriend. The one who called when he said he would, and showed up exactly on time because he didn't want to keep her waiting. He just wasn't that guy. And she needed to get that through her head.
"It's okay," he said. She wasn't sure if she should believe him or not, but she didn't press the subject. "How's your head?"
"I think it's going to explode."
"Is it that serious?"
"I wonder if this is how people feel before they spontaneously combust," she said.
"I guess it is that serious." He moved forward a little bit. Then he reached out and put his hand on her forehead. It felt hot to touch.
Her eyes remained closed, but a small smile appeared on her face. His fingers were cool and a welcome relief. She could stay in this position all day, and she'd be perfectly happy.
"Are you sure you don't have a fever?" He asked, removing his hand.
"I don't think I do. I don't feel all fever-y."
"Right." He shrugged at her explanation.
She scrunched her forehead and brought her own hand to it. She left it there for a moment, and then let her arm drop back down to her side. Jess suddenly remembered his own mother, doing the exact same thing after pulling a double shift. She would plead headache and sprawl out on the couch with a cold cloth to put on her head. This gave him an idea.
Rory felt more than heard Jess change positions. He stood up, and she heard a door open and then close. There was a second when she thought he had left, but then there were his footsteps again. The water was turned on, and then a few seconds later, off, but she continued to lay still, her eyes closed. Her headache had been picking up strength, and she wondered if maybe she should ask him to get her some aspirin.
And that was when she felt something cold and soft being placed on her forehead. She opened her eyes slightly and saw Jess leaning over her.
"Cold cloth," he explained but offered nothing more.
As he drew his hand back, she grabbed it. And then they were holding hands. Not because they were walking down the street, or because she was trying to drag him somewhere. No, they were holding hands because she was there and so was he. Just because.
He still wasn't used to these kinds of gestures.
A few moments passed where the only sound was Rory's steady breathing. There was no movement. Jess was still in the same position, crouching over her. Her hand was still in his. And then a smirk appeared on his face, and he laid down on the floor right next to her.
She turned her head. "What are you doing?"
"You do not."
"I think you gave me yours."
"Headaches aren't contagious," she insisted.
"Is that a proven medical fact?"
"Jess…" she said warningly.
He took the cloth from her head and placed it on his own. "Huh. This feels pretty good."
"Give that back."
"You're so spoiled." But then he placed it back on her forehead and offered a small smile. A few more moments of silence passed, and he remained in his spot, staring up at the (cloudless) ceiling and just enjoying the closeness of her.
"Your ceiling needs a paint job."
"I'll put that on my very important To Do List, okay? Or better yet, you can do it this weekend."
"Right," he said, hoping that she was kidding. It was rather hard to tell with her sometimes. He pictured himself standing in this bathroom, decked out in overalls, a paintbrush in hand…
Oh, what a sight he'd make.
He propped himself up on one arm and turned his body to face her. She opened her eyes and stared silently. "What are you doing?"
"Believe it or not, the floor is not the most comfortable place to lie down."
"I'm just fine."
"You have a rug and a towel. Of course, you're fine."
She frowned up at him. "I didn't tell you to lie down," she explained, fiddling with the cloth on her forehead.
"Not cold anymore?" He asked, gesturing to the washcloth.
He took it, flipped it, and put it back in its place.
"Genius! Why didn't you ever tell me you were so brilliant?" She asked.
"You never asked." He gave her a smirk.
She groaned. "It still feels like my head is ready to implode."
"Aww, poor Rory." He mock patted her on the head.
"Pardon me while I burst into flames."
"Oh geez, as long as you don't burst into song."
"I've had enough of this world and it's people's mindless games--"
"Normally, at this point," Jess cut in, "I'd kiss you to make you stop, but I'm afraid I just can't do that. Who knows what you have. You could be contagious."
"You're right! Who knows what I've been contaminated with? I could have a cold. Or a fever. I could have mono!"
"The Kissing Disease? Rory, what have you been doing? Or should I ask--"
"Don't finish that," she warned. "I've kissed only you. And I swear, if you made me sick…"
"Hey, I didn't do this to you. Besides, I'm taking care of you now, right?"
She titled her head up to get a better view of his face. "Yeah," she smiled. "You are." It was a funny notion, she thought, him taking care of her. But in a way, he kind of was. He had followed her in here on his own accord, and then hadn't taken the out she had offered him. He had even wet a cloth for her without her requesting one, and she was sure that he would get her aspirin if she asked. Right now, she couldn't remember what they had been planning on doing that day. But she knew that whatever it was wouldn't have been nearly as good as this.
He didn't object when she pulled on his arm, causing him to lay his head back down on the floor. Silence continued to reign supreme as she curled her body into his, laying her head on his chest. His arm went around her waist, and he rested it on her side, keeping his hand from her stomach. Somehow, he didn't think she'd appreciate pressure on that part of her body right now.
"I think this is one of the most uncomfortable positions I have ever been in," Jess commented after a moment.
"Sorry," she muttered, lazily. Her eyelids were heavy again, and she was sure that she'd be asleep soon.
He moved his free arm to beneath his head, prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon lying on the floor.
The bathroom floor.
He was beginning to understand this. An afternoon spent with his girlfriend, even though he couldn't exactly kiss her. Just there to make her feel better, and hold her hair if, god forbid, she did get sick. If she reached for his hand, he wouldn't pull away, and if she fell asleep, he wouldn't object. This was how it worked. This is how the two of them were going to work. Maybe he could get used to this. He didn't have to call her everyday, or even show up exactly on time. Right now, he just needed to be there.
"How come you were late today?"
He barely managed to suppress his grin. "Well, I was minding my own business, getting ready to leave when suddenly I see one of Luke's flannel shirts lying over on his bed…"
- End -