A/N: Sorry its taken so long. This chapter is short, but its better than the last, I think. For those of you who requested some flashbacks. This chapter has one — It's in italics. My favorite dialogue is Lorelai's — it's just fun. I hope you like this chapter as much as I do! R/R.
Peace and Love — Caroline.
Disclaimer: We've already been through this!
There was a long, pregnant silence as the two walked from the Independence Inn to Dana's home. He had been casually glancing up from his shoes to her face every so often, hoping to receive some type of acknowledgment, begging to be back in her good graces. He'd apologized and she had forgiven him; however, Jess sensed that they were still playing this one-sided game of freeze-out.
"Dana, I told you I was sorry!" He exclaimed, breaking the bitter silence.
Her face remained stoic and her shoulder cold. "I know." And she was practically refusing to look him in the eye.
He hadn't spoken with Rory since the wedding. She had left very quickly after seeing the expression on Dana Forrester's face. It was obvious that Dana's strong dislike for Rory had quickly bolted into blind hatred.
"Can't you talk to me?" Jess pleaded, moving from her side to walking backwards in order for her to see his face.
She sighed loudly, dramatically. "I love you, but you kissed another girl! And, now, after a little apology, you think that everything is rainbows and butterflies? Right . . .Sure. You'll be kissing my ass for quite awhile, Christopher Jess!"
"I'm willing to do that." And he was. He wanted his girlfriend back. One that he would know for sure that she was his.
She crossed her arms. He could almost sense the harsh comeback she was spinning in her head.
"But you weren't willing to stop hanging out with her when I asked."
This was true. He wasn't and he hadn't, but he and Rory were friends . . .sort of . . .maybe. They were friends who just so happened to have kissed — twice. That he would keep to himself. Nevertheless, Dana was going to bring it up, which just poured more salt into his already opened wounds.
"We are friends, but I love you and if it's what you really want." He cringed as the words escaped. Rory was not something he could give up cold turkey. She was his habit, his miracle drug.
She nodded. "Yes, I wanna go back to the way it used to be. It will be difficult, but I wanna try. I really do."
He smiled, "I do too." He leaned in and lightly brushed her cheek with his lips, just before falling back into a much more comfortable silence. He bit his lip as they continued to walk. He knew Dana's request was going to be strangely difficult, and that scared him.
His mother had sent him on a coffee run. Thanks to Lorelai, it was Johnny Depp night at the Crap Shack, which meant Edward Scissorhands, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, and Pirates of the Caribbean. And as a young Leonardo DiCaprio was climbing the fire tower, Lorelai had a craving, which meant Jess had to journey to Luke's. When he arrived, a familiar face was wiping down counter-tops and chairs.
"Hey." She greeted, going behind the counter and pouring him the mug she knew he wanted.
"Can we talk?" He knew Rory wasn't much of a talker. And she knew that no good could come from a conversation that began with those words.
She then leaned on the counter, resting her chin on her fist as if in a conversational position. "Shoot."
He was extremely nervous. "At the wedding, I . . .uh."
"Kissed me. Go on." Brutal honesty. That was one of the things he loved most about Rory. She never chose to beat around the bush.
"Yeah," He began, dragging out the syllables in a skittish manner, "And I shouldn't have."
Her facial expressions read that she was obviously perplexed. "At the wedding or New York?"
"Both." His clarification, however, was not good enough.
Because she was angry. "Really! How so?"
"Because I have a girlfriend whom I love and would never want to hurt again."
She pursed her lips. "Huh?"
"It's kinda comical. You kiss me. Twice. I put myself out on a line for you, and now, you run back to your future Stepford Wife? That's rich, Jess! He could hear the biting sarcasm and disgust in her voice, each word painful to say.
"I'm sorry," And he was. "Dana and I have been seeing each other for far too long to end it now."
"Son of a bitch." She muttered mostly to herself and then hissed. "Whatever."
She yelled to Luke upstairs that she was going out, grabbed her leather jacket, and walked out the door, the door bell clanging loudly from the force behind it.
The walk back home from Luke's seemed like miles, every time his sole hit the pavement another sinful thought came to mind. He was actually considering going back to apologize, knowing fully well what the consequences would be. When he arrived in the living room, he found his mother watching the extras on the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD — rewinding the Johnny Depp commentary over and over again; He was her eye candy.
"Can't you just appreciate his acting?" Jess asked, shoving a fistful of popcorn into his mouth.
"Never!" She exclaimed adamantly, waggling her eyebrows as if having scandalous thoughts.
He grinned, as they walked into the kitchen for more red vines. "Dirty!"
Lorelai looked down at his coffee-less hands and then up to his distanced eyes, then frustrated that she hadn't taken notice sooner. "What happened at the Diner?" She tried to sound nonchalant.
He ran his fingers through his hair and tapped his foot nervously. His eyes darted around the room — Tonya Roberts in the sink, one of Lorelai's boots inside the oven, the monkey lamp in the living room, the singing Rabbi. When his eyes fell on his mother's Bunny Ranch tee shirt hanging on the back of one of the chairs, his thoughts fell in the gutter, and he cracked.
"I kissed Rory!"
She raised her eyebrows. "Again! At the Diner!"
His voice was calm and rational, unlike his mother. "No," He counted numbers in his head for catharsis. 1. Breath. 2. Breath. 3. Breath . . . "In New York."
Her brow furrowed. "What! When! First of all, when did you go to New York?"
"This past week. The day of the Harvard interview."
"What?" Her eyes dilated. "So, the wedding kiss was just the finale that could be dramatized by Michelle Kwan and Rudy Gullindo doing some triple toe, sow cow thing-y on ice. Thank God you rehearsed it first!"
He rolled his eyes and sighed. "Mom, please don't be like this."
"Be like what, Jess? You kiss another girl . . .twice. And I'm pretty sure you haven't filled Dana in on lip-lock #1. An I'm also pretty sure that, if she hadn't witnessed it, you wouldn't have told her about lip-lock #2 either. That's crappy, and frankly, I thought better of you."
"It was really spontaneous." And that was all he could come up with.
Lorelai shook her head. "Really? 'Cause the last time I checked you were still Mr. I-Plan-Everything-Including-What-Breakfast-Cereal-I'm-In-The-Mood-For. Let's see . . .Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms . . .Hmm . . .that's a tough one! I think I'll make a pros and cons list to help me decide. Okay, one has fun-shaped marshmallows and the other has . . ."
"FINE!" He out-bursted. "So, I'd thought about it before!"
"Uh-huh. That's what I figured. Again, that's beyond crappy. Take it from a woman who knows, Dana deserves your full attention. If you don't think you can give her that, then it should end."
They sat there in silence, Jess mulling over his mother's words, and minutes passed by and neither said a word. He knew she was right. They way she had looked into his eyes said all.
"Jess," Lorelai finally broke the silence, "one of them is going to get hurt, but that's the price you're going to have to pay. Pat Benatar might write a song about you, but you'll be okay."
He smiled. Because she was joking, he knew everything was okay between them. He then padded into his room and took his "Dana" box down from the closet. His mother would never let it go if she knew he'd kept one.
Cornstarch, of all things. She was new to town and beautiful. She had immediately picked up on his "Rosemary's Baby" line and liked the Pixies. Taylor had offered her a job as the market check-out girl, and she gladly accepted. Jess had been coming in the market everyday, watching her like Jennifer Anniston in a smock.
"What are you doing?" Dana asked, scaring him out from behind a rack of Ramen noodles.
He jumped. "Oh, nothing. Just picking up a few necessities." The first thing that was in view was a box of cornstarch, and he reached out and grabbed it.
Dana just chuckled when she saw the item in his grip. "And here I was thinking necessities were milk and bread!"
His face was already blushing. "Not in the Gilmore household."
She cocked her head. "Uh-huh. Right. Says the guy who eats out for every meal!"
How did she know this? Had she been watching him? Both were interesting questions? However, the only thing he could think of to do was kiss her. And he did.
As they pulled apart, she blushed, and he was like a dear in headlights. He looked into her eyes, then ran out the Market door . . .with the cornstarch still in hand.
He took the cornstarch out of the box among other things. A copy of Moby Dick. The tie he'd worn to the winter formal. A copy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As he thought back to the day of their first kiss, was he really willing to give it all up? Give up everything he'd gained in the past two years for a literate, brunette New Yorker with a navel ring? He wasn't sure. He needed to make a pros and cons list first.
This morning, like every morning, the Gilmore's headed to Luke's for breakfast. Due to his present circumstances, Lorelai tried to convince her son that a pop-tart at home would be better, but Jess replied that he didn't want to appear weak. As they sat up at the counter, engorged in their usual witty banter, Luke poured their coffee. And even though his eyes wanted to dart around the room looking for Rory; his eyes just rested on the mug Luke had put in front of him.
"So, we're starting our beginning of summer movie marathon this evening correct?" Lorelai confirmed.
Jess nodded. "Right. Start with Lord of the Rings, and the supplementary DVD stuff. Then, The Godfather — I, II, and finish it off with Sophia dying. Third on our agenda we said we would do a category — music or food?"
"And the musical category would consist of . . ."
"Empire Records, Syd and Nancy, Spinal Tap, et cetera."
"And the food . . ."
"Well, we made up the food category simply because we could only find one movie that would apply and that was Willy Wonka. And you said to keep it because it deserved its own category."
"And it does!"
Luke, who had been listening, finally spoke, "The things the two of you find amusing astound me sometimes!"
Jess chuckled. "That's why she's a nihilist."
As the two smiled, Rory came down the stairs and a guy entered the Diner. Jess remembered him to be Shawn. His last name she couldn't quite remember. Then, Shawn padded towards the counter, only stopping to meet Rory . . .lips first.