Epilogue-By Claire Kennedy

I did it all for her. As much as I would like to deny that fact…as much as I would like to just think that I did this for my own betterment… I know deep down that it was for her. After she came to me that night, I realized that in that moment I could have had her. I could have completed the equation. Life in order. Check. College. Check. Money to offer her. Well, kind of a check there…after my loans are paid…so, obligatory check. And then I had an epiphany, staring at her and wanting so bad just to give into those eyes again, I suddenly knew it wasn't right. It didn't feel right. "It can never be about us," I believe were the words that escaped me and I am still stunned that I could even voice some self respect in her presence. What a fool I have been…

Dean dropped his backpack in the entryway of his apartment and moved into the dungy inner sanctum of the residence. His roommate was chowing down a piece of old pizza and watching a cheesy low budget horror film on the sci-fi channel. Dean leaned over the couch to watch the horrible acting and disgraceful special effects.

"Want some?" his roommate offered up an overly re-heated piece of pie.

"Uh, I'll pass," Dean laughed and headed for the kitchen.

"I put your mail on your desk?" His roomie added.

Dean headed through the small kitchen, glared at the stack of dirty dishes, and opened the puce green fridge. Wrinkling his nose at the fact he would have to eat two week old Chinese food or actually stomach something his mom had dropped by a few weekends ago, he decided on neither and went for an almost, but not quite mealy apple on the counter.

The first thing he noticed was the rather profligate and overly extravagant off white envelope on his desk. It was embossed with silver cursive and all manner of floral designs. He picked it up and stared at it like it was some kind of alien creature. The name in the return address also caught him off guard.

"Gilmore," he sighed. Now it was all making sense. The embossment, the fancy envelope, and the first contact he had with a Gilmore in ages. Should he even open it? He already knew what was inside.

He sunk down onto his tattered orange arm chair and ran his fingers over the engravings. He had remembered these envelopes. The kind you spend hours arguing with your future spouse over rather engraving cutesy cupid butts and hearts into the envelope was worth the cost of your first down payment on a home. But who the hell cared. It was your wedding. It only comes once…well into today's society…
And Rory…was it really Logan she was tying the knot with? Well if it was, she could definitely afford all the embossment and engravings she wanted.

He tore it open and read the lacey, pearl encrusted parchment that fell out. Something about Rory and Logan. Something about June. Something about their lives would be 'oh so perfect' if he would jot down their humble affair on an ink blotter or calendar.

He replaced the letter and stared at the clock above his bed. 10:00pm already? He still had to write that paper. Night classes were definitely inventions of the devil. He was about to get up when his roommate's Jack Russell terrier, incongruously named Jack, leapt up into his lap. The dog stared at him anticipating to be petted. The poor creature was an attention whore. Dean laughed and petted its head.

"I'm pretty pathetic, Jack," Dean said. "Do you think it is time for me to move on?"

Jack barked and wagged his tail. "Yeah, I'll get right on that. Maybe bring some girls back to the apartment. A nice poodle for you."

Jack tilted his head, cocking an ear. He was staring at the invitation.

"Here," Dean said handing the envelope out to the curious quadruped. "Chew on it. Bury it, I don't care."

Jack sniffed it and sneezed. Then wagging his tail he grabbed the invitation and ran off. Dean sighed and grabbed a Criminalistics book and the apple and fell down onto his bed.

Yeah…time to move on. Time to find out who I am. It's just…time…

"Mariano!" Jess looked up from his book and stared up into the metal catwalks above. His boss was looking over the railing with an incredulous look on his face.

"What do I pay you for?" He asked, not really asking the question. "It's a book bindery, Floyd!" Jess shot up. "I sit here, I pull that lever over there, it takes absolutely no brain cells."

"Just get to work," he ordered, mumbling a 'smart ass' as he walked away. Jess shoved his book in the back of his pants and got up from the stacks he had been 'lounging' on. He stood beside the lever and waited. Nothing was coming down the assembly line, but of course, that didn't matter to old Floyd. He considered going back to the stacks of paper to read again, but then decided against it. Floyd had after all, allowed him to publish his first book and its sequel. If the man wanted him to stand next to a lever and stare at it all day, then it was fine by him. This wasn't going to be his life forever.

Already he had some positive feedback on 'The Subsect.' He was going to be doing a few readings at some local bookstores, and he had even received some calls from some large scale publishers and distributors. This wouldn't be his life forever.

"Jess," came the familiar voice of his fellow apartment dweller, John.

"Yeah," Jess said, turning to greet him.

"Why aren't you reading?" John asked.

"Cause Floyd said to work," Jess shrugged. "And as you can see, if I don't stand here, the fate of the whole factory could be in utter ruin."

"Floyd is just messing with you. He actually just sent me back to tell you that we are done for the day. No new clients."

Jess shook his head. He would kill Floyd…after he got something to eat.

"Oh, I picked up some of your mail with mine," John apologized, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a small stack of envelopes.
Jess picked through them, nothing but bills, credit card offers, and…what was this?

Jess held up the envelope and furrowed his brow as he looked over the name on the return address. "Gilmore," he breathed, exhaling the name with uncertainty. His last meeting with her had been less than favorable. He had wanted to say so much to her, and then it came out in all the wrong ways. He was never very good at expressing what he felt. That was why he made a good writer. Pen and paper don't care what you rant about. He knew what the envelope would hold. Some crap about holy matrimony and witnessing vows and would you like chicken or beef? Beef actually sounded good to him right now.

"Wanna go to Leo's, grab a burger?" Jess asked. John nodded and they continued to walk out of the building. Jess took the letter out of the envelope. The invitation looked like a damn bakery good perched on a doily. He folded the envelope with her name and address up and put it into his jacket pocket, and as they walked past the shredders, he tossed in the invitation.

Yeah…time to move on. Time to find out who I am. It's just…time…