Summary: AU Season two. He shouldn't be allowed to touch her like this. But she stopped saying no a long time ago. Lit oneshot.
Disclaimer: I didn't own them in any of my other stories, and guess what? I still don't! Any and all of the characters, novels, poems, and authors mentioned in this story aren't mine either. Damn.
A/N: I find it impossibly funny that I get so many random ideas. And, since my brain has this horrible tendency to haunt me until I write those random ideas, here I am day after day after day. Poems recited within are written by Pablo Neruda, from the Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair collection. Drop me a review and let me know what you think.
Dolls were never of interest to her. Books were far more fascinating; far easier to lose her mind in. The other children she used to play with didn't understand her obsession with written words, and they had a tendency to ignore her when she was sitting in her seat reading a book. She didn't mind so much. She fell down rabbit holes in pursuit of Wonderland and flew with Peter and Wendy, whitewashed a fence for Tom Sawyer. Words held her attention, and that fact hasn't changed since she first learned how to read.
The difference is that now she can discuss her adventures. Because he gets it; he's cringed at the untimely, gruesome death of Cecilia and her sisters, tried to relate to Gatsby and stolen handkerchiefs with the Artful Dodger. He's seen more, knows more, has more experience than she, and she thinks that may be part of the intrigue.
So that's the way she justifies it, at first. She pretends that it is just friendship; a book club, of sorts, where they discuss novels with actual substance and have heated debates over the relative merits of Austen and Kerouac. When those debates just happen to cut into her sleeping time, her mother grows concerned.
And she explains it away with a simple excuse.
I was studying. Dean called; I wanted to finish that last chapter; I had a weird dream.
Lying has never been her strong suit, but apparently she's getting better. It might be his influence; it might be her latest books. To be honest, she could blame it on the vulgar language of Charles Bukowski, but that wouldn't be particularly fair.
Ring, ring, ring every night at ten to nine, and no, mother, it isn't Dean.
He spends hours on the phone with her, his voice lowering with each minute that passes, the scratchy, smoky quality of it intensifying with every breath. She gets a feeling, sometimes, between her thighs that makes her want to gasp. Not quite Lolita but no longer Alice, she's stuck in the middle of innocent and mature.
In her mind, they are at a stand still. Like an old western film, hands on their holsters, tumbleweeds gliding through the dirt as they stare at each other. She thinks it's insane, the way she thinks of him now. If it were up to her she'd jump back into the books.
But oh, wait. She's still in them, isn't she?
The Inn takes up so much time these days. There's a fire in the kitchen or a problem with the plumbing … it's not difficult to decipher when her mother will be gone. How long. Once she gets the general pattern down, she gets over the sudden mishaps and turns her attention to the stack of novels on her night stand.
Neruda; Wolfe; Flaubert.
All hers, at least technically. He writes notes in the margins and leaves them on her windowsill, and they make her think. Or smile. Laugh, frown, cry, blush.
The latter seems to be her most common reaction. Leaning into the Afternoons was her favorite poem before she met him. Simple, lyrical, incredibly pretty; when she told him her thoughts on the piece he gave her a small smirk and the next morning she woke up to find a well-worn poetry collection on her windowsill.
She likes to think this started with his notes in the margins. His notes about her.
But she knows it started long before then. More like the first time he ever said her name.
Her boyfriend doesn't know. It pisses him off that he has to compete with written words for her attention, and she knows that if he knew whose words she was reading he would probably blow a fuse.
Mornings, afternoons, evenings and eventually nights are spent in the diner. She drinks her coffee and argues with him over books, gets a tingling sensation when he smiles at her. It's a special smile, she knows, because no one else has ever seen it. Kind of sideways, a touch cocky, but his chocolate eyes light up and she knows that it's a gesture of enjoyment.
Luke doesn't say a damn thing when he catches her staring at his nephew. She's grateful for the fact but it makes her nervous, too, because she does it so often that it's become a routine. Jess knows, she knows he does, but it doesn't bother her because he does the same thing when her back is to him and her nose is buried in a book.
Eventually she gets tired of trying to interpret his notes and she makes marks of her own. Questioning, arguing, challenging him to tell her what he means by his enigmatic theories.
He smirks when she tosses the book back to him and she raises an eyebrow in return.
Ironic how the one night the power goes out is the one night her mother is at a last minute business conference in Hartford. She's alone for the weekend and Dean is at his grandmother's in Chicago. It kind of amuses her that Luke doesn't keep a flashlight behind the counter, but she's not one to judge since they don't even own one.
"Stay here, I'm gonna go find some matches or something," Jess grumbles. She grins in the dark and feels him brush past her, the sudden blackness heightening her other four senses. They're not as honed as they probably should be, but sight has always been her strong suit.
There's a clunking sound when he trips going up the stairs and she giggles brightly at the sound of his cursing at the steps. Jess tells her to shut up and Rory sobers quickly, running her fingers across the counter top easily.
It's a routine; being here, with him, when her mother is gone and her boyfriend is annoyingly chatty. The answering machine always has at least six messages on it when she gets home and she deletes them before calling Dean to assure him she's not dead, swearing she loves him with a rather forced smile, and saying goodnight in time for the phone to ring again.
"Luke is clearly a pyro," he comments as he descends the stairs. A small circle of light traces its way across the empty diner and she almost shivers at the eeriness of the dark. "I found about twenty industrial-size match boxes up there," he shakes his head.
"Maybe he's planning a life of arson," she shrugs. He rolls his eyes, and in the dark the gesture is extremely comical.
"Run for the hills," he deadpans. An armful of candles and matchboxes tumbles onto the counter when he drops his hands and the plastic of the flashlight makes a sharp thwacking noise when it hits the floor. He curses again and bends down to pick it up while she sorts through the various things sitting on the counter in front of her.
"I don't want to know."
"Luke's turning into a love machine; isn't he?" she teases. Jess glares at her.
"You just love to torture me, don't you?"
"Does he play the B-52s and dance around in his underwear?"
"Oh, yeah. Ever wondered why I grimace every time he talks to me? There you go," he returns sarcastically.
"You poor boy," Rory frowns sympathetically. "How ever do you survive in such a terrible environment?"
"With a lot of sleep."
"That's your excuse?"
"And I'm sticking to it," he rolls his eyes. She giggles brightly and lights a candle, flicking the match to the floor afterward. She lights another match and fails to get the wick to light, consequently burning her finger. She lets out a gasp and drops the match, watching as the flame distinguishes from the contact with the counter.
Jess is next to her in a less than a second. "You're not supposed to melt yourself with them," he shakes his head. "You aren't a model at Madame Tussaud's, Ror; it actually does hurt when you burn yourself."
"Must've missed the memo," she rolls her eyes. Wincing, she pulls her hand back from his and he sighs as he pushes his palm against hers, gently.
"Will you stop being a baby and let me get you some ice?"
"Kiss it better," she demands. He stares at her and she realizes with a start what she's said. "I mean-"
His lips close around the tip of her index finger and she loses her breath as sparks shoot through her veins. A harsh exhale makes her lungs ache and she desperately gasps in more air as he kisses her finger again, reverent.
"Yes," she breathes. Jess tangles his hand in the hair at the nape of her neck, tilting her head back as he leans in closer to her. The lights flick on just when their lips meet and she groans against his mouth, burnt finger aching as it tangles in his shirt.
She sinks into his mattress with a contented sigh. Cerulean eyes close as he kisses the outer edge of her ear and the power keeps flickering but it only adds to the stirring in her stomach. Lights go off on off on off on off on off.
"Where's Luke?" she whispers suddenly. Jess tenses at the mention of his uncle and then laughs, low, against her ear. His teeth nip at the tender skin as he tells her about his mother's frantic phone call and Luke's loyalty to his sister, his warning to keep the diner open while he's gone. Rory breathes out against his jaw line and relaxes into the mattress again.
The lights don't come back on and the storm rages on outside. Lorelai's not home waiting, Dean will call a million and one times, Luke is in New York with no chance of return until Monday. And this is a new sort of story for her, but she's okay with it him them this thing between them.
"…towards your oceanic eyes," he murmurs against her neck. She lets out a little whimper and a lump clogs her throat, almost causing her to choke as he traces his tongue along her neck. "There in the highest blaze-"
"My solitude lengthens," she gasps, arches her back, "And flames."
Jess trails open-mouthed kisses down her clavicle until the confines of her shirt stop his descent and he rests his forehead against the cloth between her breasts, arms shaking as he props himself up above her. "Its arms turning like a drowning man's," he whispers.
Rory tangles her fingers in his hair and pulls him back up to her for a needy kiss. His tongue feels like velvet when it tangles with hers and she shivers against him, threading her arms around his neck to hold him closer to her.
They separate moments later and she swallows thickly, her voice slightly slurred as she picks up the next verse. "I sent out red signals across your absent eyes," she whispers, smiles in the darkness of the apartment.
"That move like the sea near a lighthouse," he pushes her hair out of her face and kisses her forehead, lingering as he takes in the sharp, citrus scent of her shampoo. He crawls back down her body until he can kiss her again and she thinks she'd rather be Lolita than Alice now.
Marginal notes mean nothing compared to his mouth.
She frowns when Dean kisses her in greeting. He fails to notice and she shakes her head. Oblivious, as usual, but at least he's not branding her today. She half-expects him to pee on her leg, mark his territory to keep Jess away.
Oh, the things he doesn't know.
They wander into the diner and she ignores his scowl as she plops down at the counter. She snaps the book out of Jess's hands and marks his page before flipping the book over to read the back cover. Jess smirks and pours her a cup of coffee as he offers Dean the same courtesy.
"I'm fine, thank you," Dean grits out. Rory rolls her eyes behind the curtain of her hair and then glances up at Jess over the top of the novel.
"Dickens, Dodger?" she grins. Jess shrugs.
"Felt like re-reading," he explains. She smiles at him and flips through the book, eyeing the multitude of notes that grace the pages of the familiar story. Dean clears his throat and she looks at him innocently before setting the book on the counter and sliding it back to Jess.
"Are you sure you don't want anything to eat?" she asks. Jess rolls his eyes and pulls an order pad out of his pocket, pencil posed at the ready. Dean glares.
"I'm sure," he smiles at her. "My mom is planning a huge dinner for tonight."
"Sounds like fun," she nods.
"You can come," he offers. His eyes light up and he gets excited, nodding. "Yeah, you should come! You haven't been over in a while."
"I'd love to but I have a project to work on for school," she apologizes. "Rain check?"
Jess visibly tenses at the words and she closes her eyes tightly, combating images of the weekend before. Dean doesn't notice, but when she looks at him again his eyes have lost their spark of a moment before. Jess taps his pencil against the pad of paper impatiently, and when Dean kisses Rory on the cheek and promises to see her later, it snaps in half.
The words of Neruda burn themselves into her brain as she sits in her living room, reading them over and over again until she can repeat them with the book closed in her lap. His notes help … distract, sometimes.
She let him take the book back after that night at the diner and he added more comments to the margins before he gave it back. These new notes make her blush profusely because they're specific.
And when she reads some of them she can feel the exact way his hands touched her hip stomach arm neck breast.
It feels good and it makes her shiver, but it's nothing compared to the real thing and eventually she gets frustrated with her efforts to reclaim that night. The book lands on the living room carpet with a soft thud and she doesn't bother to grab a jacket despite the crisp spring breeze outside.
With a giggle, she collapses against the storeroom wall. Jess frames her ribs with his hands and kisses her again, pressing his lithe form against her squirming one as they simultaneously deepen the kiss.
Breaking away for the sake of air, he presses a kiss against the slight dip in her chin and closes his eyes. "Luke is out there," he breathes against her neck. Rory leans her head back, parts her lips.
"Then take me somewhere else," she whispers. Jess raises his head from her shoulder and stares at her seriously. Nodding, he leans down and captures her lips again, raking his teeth across the flesh gently.
They slip out the back door of the diner and he presses her against the wall. The sharp contrast of cold brick against her skin makes her shiver, and she gasps against his mouth when his hands etch calligraphy into her back.
He shouldn't be allowed to touch her like this. But she stopped saying no a long time ago, and she knows him, wants this, needs his touch. Almost like coffee: addictive, dark, bitter. She knows what she's doing, knows Dean would kill Jess if they were ever found out. Her mother would probably have a heart attack.
Jess presses his hand between her shoulder blades to pull her closer to him and she forgets about it all because for the moment this is all that matters.
Softly worn pages feel like cotton beneath her fingertips. Small, precise handwriting embroiders the paper and she closes her eyes with a sigh as she runs her hands across the words. The front door opens with a bang and she quickly closes the novel and tosses it onto the coffee table.
"Remind me never to talk to foreigners again," Lorelai requests. She's annoyed, hair slightly frazzled from her efforts at the Inn that afternoon and Rory listens to her story in amusement.
"You make it sound like Stalin came back from the grave just to annoy you today."
"Oh, no, my friend. Not back from the grave; just possessing this crazy woman!"
"But she wasn't Russian," Rory furrows her brow.
"German," Lorelai nods. Her eyes widen, "Hitler! She was possessed by Hitler!"
"Good thing we aren't Jewish."
"Oy," Lorelai grins. "I'm going to go and take a shower … you're still spending tonight with Lane, right?"
"Yeah, we're going to catch up on re-released albums."
She almost winces at the lie, almost wants to confess what she's been doing for the past three weeks. But her mother is in a bad mood already and she doesn't want to face the wrath of an angry Lorelai Gilmore.
"Michel claims that if I'm not back at the Inn in an hour he's going to call the cops and have that woman arrested for treachery," Lorelai grins as she ascends the stairs.
"Take lots of pictures!"
A door slams upstairs and Rory sinks into the couch with a heavy, guilty sigh. The book on the table teeters on the edge of the wood precariously and she watches as it falls to the ground. It's almost silent as it hits the carpet but she can still hear it.
For some reason it doesn't settle well in her stomach. But it's just a book. Just a book, just words, his words, it's fine.
It rains too often these days. That's not a metaphor, not an analogy; it's just plain fact as she stares out the window of the apartment at the dirty puddles in the streets and the quickly-increasing fall of water droplets from the sky. It is cloudy and moist and dim, yet she wants to put on a pair of tap shoes and splash through the streets.
The lock on the door clicks.
And she hears his footsteps as he wanders across the apartment to her, wraps his arms around her waist from behind. Rory sighs and leans against him, closes her eyes and arches her neck as he trails kisses around her pulse point.
"Tell me something," she says softly. Jess spins her around, looks at her curiously. She trails a finger down his chest and kisses him gently, lets her hand run through his hair as she pulls away.
"Like what?" he matches her volume and glides his fingers across her waist. Her breath hitches, she closes her eyes. He teases her mouth with light, wispy kisses until she gasps out his name and pulls herself closer to his body.
"Forge of blue metals," she prompts him, "Night of still combats." Her eyes find his in the musky air of the apartment and he slides his fingers between hers with a smirk.
"My heart revolves like a crazy wheel," he whispers. Their mouths meet a second later and she gasps against his tongue. Falling onto the bed, she pulls him down with her until he's completely on top of her and she pushes her hands under his shirt earnestly.
Too typical. It's her only coherent thought because she refuses to process this, the fact that her boyfriend just caught her kissing another guy. Could've caught them doing more if she had just tugged his shirt a little higher. It doesn't hurt, not really, but she thinks she might be bleeding anyway.
And Dean is shouting, on the verge of screaming, and Jess is standing in front of her with his jaw set and his eyes black.
Yet she can only think about Lolita and Alice and how she's not either of them anymore. Scarlett, maybe, but even that is glorification of her deceit.
Her mother wants to crucify him and the rest of the town wants to exile him. It's not Verona but nobody cares; as long as they're apart then all will be well in the world.
Romeo and Juliet; Rory and Jess.
It amuses her to no end that she can draw so many parallels between their story and others. Taylor uses phrases that she has read in countless books, phrases like hooligan and misguided delinquent.
But the language isn't colorful enough to hold her interest.
So she throws in her own little twist. "I initiated this," she swears. Lorelai stops her tirade and stares at her in horror, mouth gaping like a fish. Rory bites her lip and slumps down on the couch, takes a deep breath, nods firmly.
"Well you wouldn't have if Jess hadn't influenced you!"
The door shuts behind her with a resounding snap and the book in her jacket pocket feels heavy, though it is not. Howl. His first venture into her world, Stars Hollow, a Pleasantville redux but not. She pulls the small book out of her pocket and flips through it as she walks, and the rain stains the pages but she doesn't really notice.
It doesn't occur to her that she's crying until she looks up at the sun.
Jess is sitting on the bridge when she approaches and she lets out a breath when he stands and faces her. His brow furrows, she drops the book, and he wipes her tears away when her lips meet his.
Everyone adjusts. Not as well as she would like them to, but if she was the author of everyone else's lives then they would be incredibly boring. It's hard enough to mold her own story, so molding others would be far too much work. This isn't a fairytale, isn't a tragedy, or a comedy or a musical. It's not a triangle, not anymore, not for a while.
Not since that first touch, because after that no one else mattered.
She's never been one for creating her own words. She has her shelves for that, his notes and his confessions from his life before her. Lorelai still doesn't like him; Taylor still accuses him of crimes whenever he can. Luke ignores him, warns her to be careful, and she doesn't have to wait until the lights are out to touch him now.
She isn't Alice. She's not Lolita or Scarlett or Juliet, either, but she doesn't want to be. And his notes on Neruda's words don't even compare to the feeling of his hands lips arms.
It almost stuns her that life can be better than the books, but when he kisses her she feels like a magnet, and that's perfectly okay with her. Rory laughs against his mouth and Jess tugs her closer on the bench in the gazebo. His mouth finds that spot behind her ear and she digs her fingernails into his neck, breathless.
Speaking is too hard since her tongue is suddenly so heavy, and her mind refuses to function as he continues his assault on her neck. Words be damned.