Disclaimer: NOT MINE!!

Summary: Jess gets a little revenge on Lindsay's behalf. Branch Breakers fic.

Rating: PG-13

For Ali and Lydia

On the House

Jess Mariano's first visit back to Stars Hollow since the summer was going as he'd expected it to.

He spent the majority of his time working at his uncle's diner, and the rest of his time he spent in the apartment up the stairs, reading, sleeping, listening to music, or watching sporting events with his uncle... not that Jess particularly liked sports, but he was familiar with them, and they were a way to connect with Luke.

Connections were good.

So said the self-help gods, not that they really did Jess all that much god-damned good.

It was on his second day in the tiny, claustrophobic town that he tried to make another connection.

With a girl.

Now, as most people who knew him would tell you: Jess Girls Emotional Suicide.

But he felt so bad!

There she was, sitting by herself, staring out the window.

At them.

He rolled his eyes.

He'd come to terms with the fact that, sometime between the end of his last relationship, and his return to the east coast, his ex-girlfriend's brains had turned into the contents of a can of chicken noodle soup, and she'd gone and slept with her married ex-boyfriend, who had brains that were most likely made of seeded, black, raspberry jam.

The girl looking out the diner window was said married ex-boyfriend's soon to be ex-wife, Lindsay.

Jess frowned as he watched her from the counter. He, himself, was long over his soup-for-brains ex-girlfriend, realizing that someone with soup-for-brains couldn't possibly be right for him.

But he just felt so damned bad!

Lindsay was very pretty. Short, blond hair, and big eyes; tall and thin.

She'd ordered a stack of pancakes and a cup of hot chocolate.

He frowned again and put whipped cream on both, and sauntered over to her table. "Gross, huh?"

She sighed glumly and looked away from the window. "Yeah..." She glanced at her food and blinked. "I didn't order the whipped cream for these..."

Jess shrugged. "It's on the house. You look like you could use it."

She smiled. "Thanks."

She looked up, and he was already gone.

He trailed Luke, and Luke's girlfriend (Soup-for-brains' mother), Lorelai, into that week's town meeting.

Most people did not take too kindly to this.

Luke, he noticed, could really care less. He looked less than elated to be there. Lorelai looked slightly wary of Jess's presence, and Rory (Soup-For-Brains), looked sufficiently shocked. Dean (Jam-For-Brains) looked angry... then again, Dean always looked angry where Jess was involved.

He sat through the town meeting.

The ENTIRE thing.

He felt he should get some sort of prize for listening to Taylor talk, and talk, and talk... and talk...

Finally, finally said the magic five words Jess had been waiting for.

"Is there any new business?"

Jess's hand rose, and Taylor glared.

"What, Jess?"

He got to his feet with a smile. "I have new business."

"You don't love here anymore," Taylor pointed out.

"I am here for the week, and feel it is my civic duty to bring up new business."

"Fine," Taylor snapped. "but it better be good."

Jess gave a curt nod and then addressed the townspeople. "As most of you know, two of your numbers have renewed their long-terminated relationship."

Rory blushed.

Dean glared bloody murder.

Lindsay looked at him as if he were crazy.

Jess sighed. "I must protest on these grounds: one, one of them is very married."

Mutters arose from the gathered.

"Two, their heights are too damn different. They're disproportionate, and it looks weird."

Dean got to his feet, but Rory pulled him back down.

"And three," Jess continued. "It's gross! They flaunt it everywhere! I keep losing my lunch and the puke is gonna eat holes right through my stomach. Now, I don't have the cash to pay for the kind of medical attention that requires!"

Lindsay giggled, and Dean turned and glared.

"So, to recap: it's cruel to the legal significant other of the married, cheating party; it looks funny, and it's causing me some serious physical harm."

Lorelai shook her head. "That is one mean kid."

Luke just gave a small grin.

"It is kind of gross," Lane muttered a bit loudly.

Rory whirled around to stare at her best friend. "Lane!"

"I'm sorry!" Lane cried. "It's just... weird."

"Hey!" Lorelai snapped. "Lay off my kid!"

Jess rolled his eyes. "Please, don't tell me you're completely fine with your little princess screwing a married guy."

Lorelai faltered slightly. "That's... none of your business."

Rory started in shock. "Mom...?"

Lorelai sighed and leaned against Luke.

Jess turned to May, and scratched the back of his head. "Mrs. Forrester?"

She looked down. "I have nothing to say."

"Mom!" Dean cried.

Jess nodded and then turned to Taylor. "There's no way in hell you approve of this."

Taylor's eyebrows rose. "Well... extra-marital affairs a dirty business..."

Jess gave another nod, and glanced at Rory, who was glaring at him.

"You brought this up, Jess," Patty chimed in. "What do you want to do about it."

"I think," Jess said thoughtfully. "For the good of all parties involved, including the whole town... we should put a ban on their public displays of affection."

"What?!" Dean cried. "That's ridiculous."

"So is your relationship," Jess snapped. "If you can even call it that. Chances are all you do is have sex."

"Out of order!" Taylor cried. "Jess, if you have a point to make, make it civilly."

Jess nodded.

Taylor eyed the young man warily. "You want to put a ban on Rory and Dean's public displays of affection."

Jess gave another nod.

"All in favor?" Taylor asked.

Most every hand in the room shot up.

Rory shook her head and stared blankly at Jess.

"This is ridiculous!" Dean cried.

Taylor sighed dramatically. "Mr. Forrester, extramarital affairs in Stars Hollow have always been kept under wraps. Jess is right, as much as I hate admitting that, for you to be parading yours around town is just unacceptable. The town has voted. The ban has been set. A fine of ten dollars shall be given for every time the two of you show affection in public." He banged his gavel. "Meeting adjourned."

The townspeople got up to leave, and Jess shrugged and walked out.

Rory stormed after him, rushing up to get in front of him.

They stared at each other, the electricity of anger, and perhaps passion in the air between them.

And then Jess remembered that her brains now consisted of hearty chunks of chicken, mushy noodles, and broth.

All electricity dissipated.

"What Rory?"

Her expression turned sour. "How could you do this?"

He remained completely calm. "You did it to yourself."

More silence followed his words, before the palm of her hand made contact with his cheek, and the sound of the slap echoed down the street.

He watched her storm away to where her mother was waiting with open arms.

He turned to head to the diner, and was face-to-face with Lindsay.

"Hi," he said softly.

She smiled and leaned over to place a kiss on his cheek where he'd been slapped.

He gave her a confused look.

"You're crazy," she told him. "But... thank you."

He smirked and nodded, and watched her walk off.

Here goes.




"Hey, Lindsay."

She turned to look at him.

"You wanna cup of coffee or something?"

A slow smile spread across her face. "I'd like that."

Jess nodded. "Good."

She walked back over, and they headed towards the diner.