Rating: PG-13... just cause

Summary: A meeting in a bookstore. Rory lovers beware.

Spoilers: Raincoats and Recipes

Disclaimer: NOT MINE! DON'T HURT ME!!!

Close Enough

The silence of the Stars Hollow Book store was broken by the voice of Rory Gilmore.

Shane rolled her eyes.

"Why can't you just leave me alone?!"

She didn't receive a reply.

Shane bit her lip and peeked around the corner. There stood a dark, hunched figure who looked to be doing his best to ignore Rory and read the book in his hands.

She stared at him. She hadn't seen him in over a year.

"Don't you get it?!" Rory snarled. "You were a phase!"

Shane cringed. She'd heard that before. It always stung.

Jess Mariano closed his book and gave Rory a stare. "Who knew that losing your virginity would turn you into such a hateful bitch?"

Shane couldn't help the snicker that left her lips.

It couldn't be heard over the sound Rory's hand made as it connected with Jess's cheek. The brunette stormed off before he could say or do anything more.

Shane sauntered out from her isle into his and shook her head. "Mustn't anger the princess."

Jess gave a wry smirk. "And another bitter ex comes out of the woodwork."

"Who's bitter?"

That shut him up. He sighed and turned his attention back to his book.

"She shouldn't have called you a phase," Shane told him.

"Why not?" Jess asked. "That what I was."

She rolled her eyes.

"What are you doing here anyways?" he asked. "You hate reading."

She flicked the cover of the book he'd gone back to reading. "You don't know that."

"You hated reading when we dated."

"We never dated," Shane smiled. "We messed around for a couple of months. That's not dating."

"You don't like to read," Jess stated.

"Not true," she replied proudly.

He raised an eyebrow.

"You left a book at my house the week before we stopped seeing each other."

Jess lowered his hardcover. "What book?"

"Lady Chatterley's Lover," Shane told him. "I was bored one day, so I read it, and I really liked it. I didn't know books could be cool like that."

Jess smirked. "Huh."

"So I started reading other stuff..."

"Romance novels?" Jess replied sarcastically.

"Yeah but other stuff, too!" Shane argued with a giggle.

He smiled a little. "Good."

"So what're you doing here?" she asked after an awkward pause.


She gave him a playful shove. "In town, Smart-ass."

"Visiting Luke," Jess replied. "But if you ask anyone else in this hellhole, I'm here to pine for Rory."

"Are you?"

He shook his head. "She likes the wedded ones now."

Shane frowned. "Poor Lindsay."

Jess shrugged. "She married the big oaf."

"You're really completely over Rory?" Shane asked skeptically.

He looked back down at his book. "The Rory I cared for no longer exists. I don't have to get over someone I don't know anymore."

She nodded slowly. "Hey, Jess?"

He gave her a glance.

She sighed and chickened out. "Never mind."

He shrugged and went back to his book.

"Do you think," she blurted out. "If there had been no Rory... we woulda worked out?"

He gave her another shrug. "Maybe. Never thought about it."

"So basically, no."

He closed his book with a heavy sigh. "Come on, Shane."

"You didn't really care, I know," she interrupted.

"And I was an idiot," Jess told her. "Rory and I treated each other like crap. At least you and I didn't emotionally destroy one another."

"That's because there were no emotions involved," Shane snapped with a bitter laugh.

He stared at her for a moment before opening his book again.

She knew what that meant. Her expression softened. "Oh."

He shut the book yet again and put it back on the shelf. "I gotta go."

Shane watched him hastily leave the store. With a deep breath, she walked after him, catching up halfway to Luke's.

"Really?" she asked.

He stopped walking and hesitated a moment before nodding.

She let a slow smile spread across her lips. "Good. Me, too."

Jess blinked. "So... basically, if one of us had spoken up two summers ago, I could have avoided the Rory mess altogether?"

Shane giggled. "At least it built up your character."

He glared. "Go to hell."

She gave him a teasing smile. "How about Luke's?"

He allowed himself a small smirk. "Close enough."

Shane smiled and walked alongside him toward the diner.