UNDER THE SAME ROOF
Summary: They are not together, but they live together. There is a thin wall between and 1000 miles separating them. But still, when it's cold outside and they want to keep themselves warm they go to the same place. It's just a few feet away, but there they are together...even if it's only for one more night. LIT
A/N: Huge thanks to my wonderful beta Charli Lee who edited the whole re-written version of this story. Also thank you for all those who read and reviewed.
Later that day, when he leaves to go to work she gets up and goes to the shower. While the steaming hot water burns her skin she can only think about how she will be able to live without him. No matter how crazy their relationship is, deep down she always knew no matter what he was there for her. But now it was about to change. She knew what their earlier conversation meant no late night meeting in the living room, or comfort of any kind. They would be barely friends from now on, since they didn't know how to be anything less intimate than they were. It was all or nothing and he had just told her it would be nothing.
She steps out of the shower ignoring the tears that ran down her cheek with the water drops from the shower. After quickly putting some clothes on, she decides it was time for her to take a break, and started packing a light bag. She wrote him a brief note to let him know she is going to Stars Hollow and that she'll probably be back sometime by the end of the week. Looking around the living room a last time, she leaves the note on the coffee table and closes the door behind her.
Rory was in her PJs on her couch, eating ice cream and watching re-runs of The Nanny, when Lorelai got home.
"Hey, baby! How was your day?" Lorelai asked, sorting through the mail.
"Great. Re-runs of Seinfeld, then re-runs of Dawson's Creek followed by re-runs of The Nanny. What about yours?"
"I've made Michel curse. In French and English!" she says excitedly while walking into the kitchen and coming back with a mug of coffee.
"Good for you!" Rory cheers but doesn't move from the couch.
Lorelai comes to sit on the couch next to Rory and presses mute on the TV. "Hon, you know how much I love you and how happy I am that you decided to spend some time here in Stars Hollow with me, right?"
Rory nods silently, knowing there would be a 'but' coming really. And she isn't disappointed.
"But, you've been here for almost a week. You barely left the house and you're wallowing, watching TV and eating junk food for the past few days. I know you're a grown woman and that's why I haven't bothered you about it so far, but I guess if things are still bad after a week I have the right to pull the 'mom card'."
Rory smiled at her mother's rant, "It's okay, mom. I'm fine. Nothing's wrong. I guess I just needed a break from school."
Lorelai looks at her suspiciously, "So this has nothing to do with a certain dark haired, broody, monosyllabic guy, right?"
She feigned confusion, "What are you talking about?"
"Hon, I may have said nothing, but I'm not stupid. If you weren't comfortable to talk to me about Jess, then I wasn't going to push it. I always thought you'd eventually come around, but you never did, so I just thought you were dealing it in your own way. But now I'm starting to think you weren't dealing with it at all, and I'm guessing that's what brings you here."
"Mom," she sighs, "me and Jess…"
"I know, I know. You're not dating, right?" Rory nods. "And now he is with the blond chick." Rory looks down and nods again.
"And it's killing you," Lorelai states. Rory looks up suddenly but says nothing.
"It's not what you think…" Rory begins.
"So you weren't screwing Jess for the last couple years while you two are roommates."
She bites her lip and looks away, "Okay, so it is a little like what you think."
Lorelai gets a cushion and puts it on her lap tapping on it. "Come on, tell mommy what happened."
Rory smiles and lies down, resting her head on her mother's lap and telling her everything that has been going on between her and Jess for the last couple of years. All the while, Lorelai listens quietly, stroking her daughter's hair as Rory finishes her story, "So now he says that it's too late, that it's over and that we should let the other be happy."
"Well, hon, although I never thought I'd say this, he is right." Rory sits up. "From what you've told me you've been playing with the boy for two years, pushing just to pull away. Rory, I know he had the whole 'bad boy' thing going on back then but he has changed. Every now and then he comes and visits Luke and he always calls to check up on him. Sometimes I talk to him on the phone, when he calls and Luke isn't home, and then he lets me know how you are doing because you just don't call as often anymore," Lorelai pauses and Rory looks at her hurt. "That's beside the point. What I'm saying is that he is a good guy now and he has been there, right next door, waiting for you for two years while he watches you going on dates with other guys.'
"It's not like he doesn't date either," she defends herself.
"Okay, you're right. Now just tell me, how long did it take for your rendezvous' to start happening after you two moved in together?"
"About four months."
"And for you to star going on dates with other guys and bringing them home?"
She looks down, "Two."
"And did you stop seeing other guys after these meetings with Jess started?"
She shakes her head, "No."
"Okay, and the final question: how long did it take him to start going on dates with other girls and start bringing them home?"
"Mom, I don't know… It's not like I kept counting-"
Lorelai gives her a pointed look and she looks down, defeated.
"Six months," she says in a small voice.
"Do you think it's fair to him to keep suffering in this 'thing' you two have while he knows you won't give him a second chance anyway?"
"I suffered too!" Rory screams frustrated.
"I know, I was there," Lorelai reminds her. "But now he has suffered just as much if not more than you."
"Do you think I like to see him with these other girls? Hear him at night? Have to be nice to them during breakfast?"
"Rory, you're my daughter and I love you, but sometimes you can be so dense. During all that time you could just say the word and have him back. You knew the ball was on your court and you chose to do nothing. You knew he wanted to be with you and it was not by his choice that you weren't together, but by yours. Now he finally got a girl that really likes him and he thinks he can like her to, and that's when you decide to want to try something?"
Her eyes water and a few tears slip down her face, "I really love him, mom. I can't have him being someone else's boyfriend."
"Well, finally you figured that out. So what are you going to do?"
"What can I do? He has already made up his mind."
"I'd say you could go talk to him and this time maybe you could be, I don't know... honest?"
"Mom, he won't-"
"Maybe he will, maybe he won't. I just know that I wouldn't be married to Luke if I hadn't told him I loved him when I did," she says, before standing up and leaving the house, letting Rory think about what she had said.
Rory opened the door to her apartment noticing nothing has changed. It's still afternoon and Jess is probably still at work, which gave her a couple of hours before she had the talk. She walked to her room, and only then she notices movement in his room. Carefully, she moved closer, peeking inside. There she finds him folding clothes and putting them into a duffle bag, some of his books and CDs already in boxes; he doesn't own much more than that.
"What are you doing?" she asks before she can think.
He turns around. "What does it look like?"
"You traveling?" she asks quietly.
He chuckles at her childish way of denial. "No, Rory, I'm moving."
"But… why? Where?"
He sighs. "I'm staying at Ben's for now. Cathy mentioned something about moving in together… I don't know," he says, shaking his head.
"You don't have to move out, you know."
He looks at her as if she were crazy, "Well, thank you for letting me stay in my own apartment, but I think I'll pass."
"What?" he asks harshly than he means and she freezes.
"Please, don't go."
"Rory, don't start this now," he pleads.
"I'm serious. Please, don't go. I can't be without you."
"But you have been for all these years! What? Do you think that being my roommate was having me? All we did was fuck when you wanted and by your rules!" he yells frustrated and tears fall from her eyes. "And worse of all, I let you. I let you do whatever you wanted to me 'cuz I thought someday we'd be good again. But I'm tired of waiting for something that will never happen."
"We can have it now," her voice is shaken and broken.
"Now? After all you put me through? After I finally made up my mind you want to be with me and expect me to just say 'okay'?"
"No! I know I screwed up, okay? But can we at least talk about it?"
"Talk? Rory, you ran away a week ago just because you didn't want to see- much less -talk to me!"
"It wasn't like that. I just didn't know what to do…"
"And now you do?"
"Maybe. I'm not sure. All I know is that I won't let my pride or my hurt get in my way anymore, and I think that's a good start."
"You talked to Lorelai," he states, taking a deep breath.
"She told me the day I decided to move on, this would happen," he pauses. "Your mother is a wise woman."
Rory nods again.
"What did she tell you?'
"She said…" she sobbed and took a deep breath. "She said that I couldn't try to make you hurt just because you hurt me. That we've both suffered and we're even now. And also that I couldn't just want to try to have something with you now that you found someone that is good to you, that it wouldn't be enough. That if I finally I figured out how I feel about you, then I'd have to be honest," she pauses. "I guess it means I have to tell you that I love you. 'Cause that's the truth. And that I'd do anything for you to give me a second chance."
He closes his eyes, tired.
"Jess, say something," she begs.
"I don1t know if I can do this," he says, his eyes still closed.
"Just one more chance," she cries. "Please! If it doesn't work for you just say the word and I'll be out of your life for good, but please..."
He opens his eyes and looks into her watery blue ones. "If we're gonna do this, it'll have to be different."
She nods forcefully, a smile slowly crossing her lips.
"No more of your stupid rules or late night meetings in the living room. We're even now and I'm done with bringing back old ghosts and accusations. And it's not an 'open relationship' or a 'thing', cuz it's sure as hell that I'll ever see or hear you at night with any other guy!"
She nods enthusiastically, "Yeah, sure. Whatever you say."
"So, we're together?" she confirms.
"That's what it seems."
"And you're my boyfriend," she steps closer.
"That would be the logical thing to say," he gives her a crooked smile.
"So, it'd be okay for me to kiss you now, right?"
"Maybe in half an hour, after I break up with Cathy?"
She closes the space between then pressing her lips to his but doing nothing more than that. He holds her by the waist and she steps back. He glares at her but she can't stop smiling.
"Just one chaste kiss," she defends herself. "I couldn't help it! Now go break up with your ex-girlfriend so we can celebrate."
He rolls his eyes at her but complies, grabbing his jacket and heading to the door.
"And Jess," she calls more sober, "when you come back, I'll be waiting in my room."
He smile and nods, understanding that she really means it when she says it'll be different this time around.