Disclaimer: I don't own the series Gilmore Girls, nor do I own any of the original characters. All I own is my imagination and the plot.
A/N: I don't even know where to begin or what to say to all of you who have been reading this story and have been waiting, and waiting, for an update. I guess I'm sorry for having kept you all waiting, but my inspiration for this show tends to flicker from on to off, although I will finish this story no matter what. Fortunately, the idea for this chapter came to me and I managed to have the time to work it out. So, for the few of you who still bother with this story, thank you, and I hope you'll like it. :)
Rory clutched her journal so tightly to her chest that her knuckles had turned white and her fingers hurt, keeping the book as close as she possibly could, even though it was really too late. She had been careless with it, and consequently with her emotions and her relationship. This was what she got for bringing her journal along wherever she went; it had only been a matter of time before someone got their hands on it. It was something that she had foreseen, but hadn't thought about, not really, because she too easily trusted people.
She slowed down her pace as she reached the gazebo, not ready to go home just yet, but needing a moment alone to let it all sink in. She caught her breath while sitting down on the gazebo's first couple of step, questionably calm on the outside while her mind raced. She knew that it was hypocritical of her, but she couldn't believe that Dean had invaded her privacy so. She had trusted him the most of all, just like he had trusted her.
She bowed her head in shame and tears fell on her closed journal and eventually even threw it to the ground. She didn't think that she would ever be playing the role of the cheating girlfriend. She was supposed to know better, especially when she was always preaching to Jess about how wrong it was that he couldn't have just one girl. With her elbows leaning on her thighs, she covered her face with her hands and began to cry.
She hadn't cried in front of Dean; she had been too mad at him, even though the anger had really been misplaced. She should have been angry with herself for having done what she did. She had risked it all and had suitably lost it all as well. It had been stupid of her, a thought that had been in the back of her mind all the while, but now belatedly surfaced. Logicality always did when it was too late.
She knew that she was only partially mourning her loss of Dean because, more so, she was crying over what she had lost it all for: a guy who had a lot working for him, but had so much working against him at the same time. She had only focused on the better things, seeing all of the things in Jess that Dean wasn't and not having paid attention to the things that Dean did have and Jess didn't. She couldn't believe how selfish she had been, but then again, clarity always came too late, didn't it?
Still, Rory wiped the tears away with the back of her hands, knowing that she didn't have any right to be bawling her eyes out over this. She got up. She needed to get home; she needed to talk to her mother, so that she could tell her how wrong her actions had been, but how she would support whatever she would do at the same time. It was something to look forward to, and the ice-cream that would eventually follow was at least some kind of reassurance.
She leaned over to retrieve her journal, just as the remainder of a cigarette was thrown onto the ground close by. Jess pressed it into the ground with the heel of his shoe and stepped out of the shadow as Rory came closer to the diner.
She didn't see him at first, having her eyes on her feet, but he crossed her path and got her attention when he said, ''Hey.''
She lifted her head in surprise, given him a look at her tear stricken face, even though she had tried her best to wipe away all of them. ''I got to get home,'' she quickly told him, bringing her head back down and passing him.
''Have you been crying?'' he asked, his hands finding his pockets, not holding her back, though she stopped anyway. He had never liked seeing her cry; it was in the way her eyes became an icy blue and how she still managed to look pretty through her tears. ''Did something happen?''
Rory shook her head, though he heard her sniff. ''I'm fine. I just got to get home.''
Jess nodded, but she didn't see it. She was already on her way.
The next day, Rory didn't arrive in Stars Hollow until late in the afternoon, when Dean's shift at Doose's had long started. She had kept herself busier than usual at school, thinking that it would be a good distraction for her. Her mom had suggested that she should stay home for one day, but Rory had disagreed; she had always been strongly opinionated and very stubborn as well, a combination Lorelai couldn't beat.
When she arrived at Luke's, she knew that the news of her breakup had spread through the town somehow. Things always did in this town. She knew it by the way people in the diner were trying to act normal, when normally they acted anything but that. She hurried over to the counter, where her mom was sitting, and took a seat, her back to the town.
''Hey sweets,'' Lorelai greeted her daughter. ''Want some coffee?'' she asked, though Luke had already started pouring her a cup.
Rory wrapped her hands around it as soon as it was placed on the counter. ''Everybody knows,'' she shared with her mom, before taking a gulp of coffee.
''Told you Taylor had spies.''
Rory rolled her eyes and her mom responded with the words, ''Don't worry too much about it, hon. They'll find something else to talk about. Just give them a few hours.''
Her mom threw her a comforting smile and Rory returned a small one of her own.
She took another sip of her coffee and eyed the curtain that separated Luke and Jesse's living space from the diner. ''Is Jess still at school?'' she informed, knowing that he would usually spend all of his free time in the diner, whether working, reading, or doing the little homework that he did bother to do.
Luke snorted at her question and she knew that he was right. ''Then, where is he?''
Luke and Lorelai shared a look, confirming her suspicions that something wasn't right. ''Mom?'' she tried.
''Well,'' Lorelai began while biting her lip, ''he isn't here.''
''I noticed, so where is he?''
Lorelai looked at Luke again, but he just shrugged. ''Uhm, he's at the library,'' she said when looking over at Rory again. ''He didn't want to tell you because he figured that you would make fun of him because it's just the local library and all.''
''Mom, I go there, too, remember? Plus, Jess has already read all of the books in that library.''
''Yeah… You know, we should really talk to Taylor about buying more books for it.''
''Where is he?'' Rory repeated her earlier question, seeing how another look was shared by Luke and her mom. ''What's wrong?'' It made her nervous. ''Is something wrong?''
Luke shrugged. ''You know Jess; there's always something wrong.''
''Luke?'' she attempted.
He sighed. ''He isn't here.'' He threw Lorelai an apologetic look. ''He went out, but I don't know where he went.''
''I do,'' Rory whispered, having already gotten up.
Lorelai looked at her. ''I'll be right here, kay, sweetheart?''
Rory nodded and left the diner, a bad feeling in her stomach as she headed for the bridge. It was the first and only place she knew where to look, and it was where he ended up being, just like she had expected him to be. He was standing on the very edge of the bridge with his back to her and his hands in his pockets. She thought that he would have been smoking. She didn't know why; it was just a feeling she had.
''Jess,'' she said his name, but got no reaction from him. Rory set her first step onto the bridge, taking light and cautious steps as she made her way over to him, almost as if she didn't want to scare him off, when really she was the one who felt anxious. Lately, things hadn't exactly been right between them, and she could tell from his unapproachable stance that something was wrong.
She reached out her hand to touch him, placing her hand softly on his shoulder, but he just shrugged it off. ''Don't,'' he told her in a forceful tone, his eyes chillingly piercing as they landed on her.
She gasped at the sight of his face: the bruises, the cut on his lip. ''Oh my God, what happened to you?''
Jess licked his bottom lip, slowly because of the cut, before answering: ''Let's just say that I now know what you were crying over last night.''
Her eyes searched his. ''Dean? He did this to you?''
Jess nodded. ''Yeah, he did this.''
''But why?'' she asked, although she knew that the question was a stupid one.
''You tell me. I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden he charges me in the locker-room, slams me up against a locker and, well, I think you get the picture,'' Jess finished, somewhat bitterly, while taking a step towards her and giving her a better look at his battered face.
''I'm so sorry,'' she voiced, feeling guilty. ''I didn't think he would- Did you see a doctor about this 'cause it looks-''
''I know what it looks like, Rory,'' he slightly raised his voice at her. ''The whole town knows what it looks like, and as usual they think that I brought it on myself, since this isn't the first fight I've gotten into. Now, normally, I don't mind taking the credit, but I did nothing this time. Absolutely nothing!'' He balled his fists, controlling himself a little more and continued. ''I didn't even get to punch the jerk back because he took me by surprise.''
''Just tell me why he did it, Ror?''
''He read my diary,'' she immediately told him, knowing that he wasn't in a mood to be played with. ''I was over at his house last night and I went to the bathroom, and when I came back-'' Rory took a deep breath to hold back the tears. ''It's my own fault; I shouldn't-''
''It is,'' Jess cut her off. ''And you shouldn't have cheated. It's that simple.''
''What? How can you say that when you-''
''I know what my part in it was. I lost Leah because of it,'' he painfully reminded her, though he didn't have to; she remembered just fine. Now she couldn't hold back the tears and the first one began to slowly make its way down her cheek. ''I know what I did, and it was a wrong thing to do, but I wasn't alone in this.''
''You started this,'' Jess pointed out. ''You kissed me.''
''I didn't mean to,'' she whispered, though she knew that she was caught in a lie from the way she had to blink to keep the tears from spilling over.
''Like hell you did, Rory! You knew perfectly well what you were doing. You might have regretted it afterwards-''
''I do.'' She ran the back of her hand across her eyes. ''I do regret it.
''Liar,'' he called her. ''You're just trying to make yourself feel better.''
''And what if I am?''
Jess carelessly shrugged. ''You can say whatever you want to yourself, but it won't fix anything.'' He leaned into her a little. ''You cheated on Dean with me.''
She took a step back as more tears filled her eyes. ''Why are you doing this to me?''
''I'm not fucking doing anything to you!'' He now lost his cool completely. ''I didn't do anything. I didn't force you to do anything; you could have stopped me at any time, and you did, and that was that. You were the one who had to write it all down,'' he said while gesturing at her.
''I had to figure out what I was feeling.''
''And what exactly are you feeling, Rory?'' he demanded.
''Stop.'' Rory shook her head and took another step back. ''Don't talk to me like I don't know what I want,'' she uttered through her tears.
''Fine, then what do you want?'' There was no answer and he nodded. ''Thought so.''
''I didn't want to hurt anyone.''
''But you did.''
''Why are you so mad at me?'' Rory choked back the tears and tried to find some composure. ''This is what you wanted, right? Dean out of the picture?''
''You don't know me at all if you think that that's what I wanted.''
''Then what do you want, Jess?''
His eyes narrowed. ''I want you, and you know that, so don't act like you don't. I want you to make up your mind for once and tell me what you're feeling.''
''You're one to talk,'' Rory commented.
''I've told you how I felt,'' he returned as calmly as he could.
''Yeah, but that doesn't mean anything with you, Jess!'' she lashed back. ''You have a new girlfriend every week!''
''Hey, those girls knew that I wasn't looking for a commitment.''
''Oh, okay, so you just sleep with them and trade them in for another when you're done with them. You're a classy guy, Jess.''
''I know it's hard to believe, but not all girls are such prudes as you!''
''Just because I haven't slept with Dean?''
Jess shook his head. ''No, you haven't slept with Dean because he isn't the one.''
''And you are?!''
''How come you're always able to make me sound like such a bad person, huh?''
''How come you're always measuring what Dean and I have, had, '' Rory corrected herself before going on, ''based on how physical we are with one and other? Is it because you now think that if you can get me and sleep with me, you'll have one over on Dean, is that it? Is that what I mean to you?''
''Don't put words in my mouth. I hate it when you judge me like that.''
''And I hate it when you judge me.''
''Well, what did you expect when your boyfriend just beat the crap out of me?''
''Ex-boyfriend,'' she set Jess and herself straight. She lowered her head, letting her hair cover up her face, a trick she always went back to when she didn't feel comfortable or at ease. ''I just needed a friend.''
''We're not friends.'' He regretted the words as soon as they came out, especially when he saw them reflected on her, but she quickly collected herself and nodded. ''Fine.'' She began to move away from him. ''I get it. It's my own fault that Dean broke up with me and I shouldn't have blamed any of it on you, nor should I have expected any sympathy from you in the first place. I get it,'' she mimicked her earlier words. ''I'm sorry about your face,'' she expressed, and turned around, her back to him as she began to walk.
Jess sighed and called for her: ''Rory!''
She stopped and glanced back at him. ''Don't. I don't want an apology; I wanted some understanding and I needed a friend, but I guess you're right.'' She shrugged. ''We are no longer friends, and how can we, right? You probably expected me to be all over you now that Dean is finally out of the picture…''
''You were all over me when he was still in the picture.''
Fresh tears sprung to her eyes and, again, he wished he hadn't had said it. Their eyes met briefly, before her back was to him once more. She hurried off the bridge, leaving him feeling just as bad as she did.
On her way home, she passed Doose's and snuck a look through the window. Dean's face looked just fine.
Please review? (: Again, sorry for taking so long to update this ''forgotten'' story, as I like to call it. Despite that, I did my best on this chapter and the characters, because I haven't written them in a while, so hopefully it was to your likings. And please, if you know people who were following this story, let them know that it has been updated. Unfortunately, I can't make any promises for the next chapter, but thanks for your patience and I hope people are still willing to read this. And let me know what you think because I'm very curious. :)