A/N: I was watching my season two DVD today and I decided that this needed to be written. It's based just after "A Tisket, A Tasket" and is through Rory's POV.

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Here in town you can tell he's been down for a while

I'm questioning my sanity at this point. I've been staring at the same page for ten minutes, fighting the urge to fall asleep. I can't believe I promised him I'd read Hemingway. What in the world is wrong with me?

"How's it going?" a familiar voice asks. I glare at him.

"I hate you."

"We had a deal," he says simply. I know this, we agreed on it that day at the picnic, and he held up his end of the bargain.

"I still hate you."

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, Rory," he chuckles. I can't help but smile. It's rare that the indifferent expression fades, and even more rare when I can get an actual smile out of him.

For some reason that smile always manages to make my heart race.

But my God it's so beautiful when the boy smiles

"Well I have Hemingway to do that," I say easily. He looks up at me from where he'd been wiping the counter and smirks.

"I told you he only has lovely things to say about you."

I'm blushing now, and his smirk widens. I don't understand why he has this effect on me. I have a boyfriend. A loving, caring, sweet boyfriend who is meeting me in about ten minutes for lunch.

He clenched his jaw when I suggested the diner.

I know they hate each other, and sometimes I wonder why. Jess and I are just friends. He knows that Dean and I are together and he is ok with that. I just wish Dean could be ok with Jess and my friendship.

I break away from my thoughts at the sound of the bell above the door. A second later I feel a kiss on my cheek and smile as Dean sits next to me at the counter.

"How long have you been waiting?" he asks. I pause for a moment before answering.

"Only a few minutes," I lie. I wonder why it doesn't upset me more that I'm lying to my boyfriend. In reality I've been here half an hour arguing with Jess over Hemingway and Rand.

But Dean wouldn't understand that.

"Sorry I'm late," Dean smiles. I smile in return and shove the book in my coat pocket.

"Don't worry about it," I reply, locking gazes with Jess for a split second.

Dean doesn't notice.

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I'm sitting on the bridge, no further along in the stupid book than I was this afternoon at the diner. The sun is starting to go down and I'm contemplating going home. I finger the flashlight in my pocket and sigh, lying back on the hard wood of the bridge.

Ever since the picnic, this has been one of my favorite spots in Stars Hollow.

I hear footsteps and decide against opening my eyes. Whoever it is has sat down next to me now and I realize it's him. Of course. He introduced me to this place, saying it was one of his favorite places in town. Idly, I wonder if that's why I'm here so often now.

"Hey," he says nonchalantly. I open my eyes and peer up at him. He's staring out at the water. I take a second to study his profile before sitting up.

"Hey," I return. We sit in silence for a while, and I'm amazed at how comfortable it is.

Silence is never comfortable with Dean.

I need to stop thinking things like that.

"Did you get any further?" he asks, nodding to the book lying next to me. I shake my head. He grins.

"It's so painful!" I complain. It's his turn to shake his head.

"Give it," he says, holding out a hand. I stare blankly at this outstretched hand for a moment before handing him the book. He opens it and asks if I have a flashlight. I nod, curious as to what he's trying to do. He asks me to hold it for him and he starts reading aloud.

I close my eyes for a second, smiling at the gesture.

Wanna hold him, or maybe I'll just sing about it

And suddenly it hits me like a ton of bricks.

I have feelings for Jess Mariano.

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It's been three hours since I got home. I listened to the answering machine only to find a message from Mom saying she'd be home late because she was stuck at the Inn.

I went to my room and lay down, staring blankly at the ceiling.

Three hours and still, all I can hear is his voice. He read to me, discussed certain passages with me, trying to make the process of reading one of his favorite authors less painful for me.

Dean called earlier but I told him I was tired and that I'd see him in the morning.

And to an extent, that wasn't a lie. I am tired; I just can't seem to go to sleep. I look at the clock. It's almost nine.

My actions in the next thirty seconds surprise me, but I complete them anyway.

"Hello?" I smile.

"Hey."

"Hey," he returns.

"What are you doing?" I ask nervously, sitting up in my bed.

"Nothing, you?"

"Nothing."

"Why'd you call?"

"I was bored," I reply. I bite my lip when I realize what I just said.

"Dean not home?" he asks, confusion betraying his usually indifferent tone.

"I don't know."

"Oh."

"Read to me?" I ask.

"Sure."

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The next morning I wake to the smell of burning toast. I groan.

"The toaster's broken!" I remind my mom, getting out of bed and making my way into the kitchen.

"Oh crap. I forgot," she frowns. I giggle. "Call Luke and make him come fix it," she demands.

"Luke can't even fix the toaster in the diner, remember? Jess is the toaster man." She considers for a moment. Then she sighs.

"Fine, then call Jess. Just make him come fix the toaster," she wines.

"Alright," I laugh, moving to grab the phone.

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Twenty minutes later, Mom has rushed off to the Inn because of some emergency that Sookie called about. Jess is standing in the doorway. I smile and invite him in, walking into the kitchen.

"Ok, Toaster Man, work your magic," I demand, pointing at the offending appliance. He stares at me as though I'm crazy.

"Toaster Man?"

"It's your superhero name," I shrug.

"Manly," he comments, moving further into the kitchen. I grin at him and he smirks. "By the way, I like the clouds."

I blush and look down at my pajamas. Pink clouds. I inwardly groan. Dean, I remind myself. You have a Dean.

"Too bad you didn't come over yesterday, I was wearing blue puppies," I joke, smiling at him. He rolls his eyes and goes back to fixing the toaster. I sit down at the table and study him, taking advantage of the fact that his back is to me.

I can see the way his muscles tense under the long black sleeves of his shirt and I shiver.

Dean.

Oh, shut up.

Dean. Dean, Dean, Dean, Jess. No. Dean.

Don't be stupid. You like Jess.

But I love Dean!

You realize you're arguing with yourself, right?

Shuttup.

Jess.

No, Dean.

Jess.

Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean!

Jess.

Fine. Jess. No, Dean!

My inner battle is cut off by Jess.

"Rory," he says slowly, waving a hand in front of my face. I jump slightly and blink at him. "You okay?"

"What? Oh…fine. Just tired," I smile weakly. He nods, but I can tell he doesn't believe me.

"Right. Well it's fixed, so your mom won't burn the house down next time she tries to make toast," he smirks. I nod.

"Ok. Thank you," I smile more genuinely and stand up, giving him a quick hug. He seems shocked at first but replaces it only a moment later with his usual mask of indifference.

"You're welcome. Are you coming by the diner later?" he asks as we make our way to the door.

"Do you still serve coffee?"

"Yes."

"Then I'll be there."

"Shoulda known. Bye, Ror," he waves slightly as he leaves.

I close the door and lean against it.

Jess.

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A/N #2: I am leaving this as a one shot, because I do have an idea for my own version of the end of season two, and this is not it. For anyone who is reading Break Me, I'm going to try and update it this weekend. Anyway, reviews are love.

By the way, the lyrics are from "Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick.