AN: This story takes place a few months after Rory graduates from Yale. Rory and Logan never got back together after there initial break up at the Pub when Jess was in town. Rory went to Jess's bookstore like she did in "The Real Paul Anka" but with a very different result. When Logan and Rory's paths cross again, how will Rory decide between the men she loves? This will eventually be a Rogan.
Rory woke up, stretching her legs out and feeling them slide smoothly over the soft, silk sheets. She was content. She'd been through so many ups and downs the past few years but she'd finally found a way to make peace with it all. She owed much of that to the man lying next to her. She rolled over to look at her boyfriend and gave him a soft smile. "Morning," she greeted him.
Jess lifted his head and leaned towards Rory, softly pressing his lips to hers. "Morning," he replied back.
Rory's smile faded for a moment. The kiss had been sweet but there had been no passion. Shouldn't she feel passionate about the man she was living with? But the moment passed and she quickly remembered all the reasons she was with Jess. She felt safe with him; she felt free to be herself completely. With Jess she was never ashamed of whom she was- he loved her and he reminded her that it was OK to love herself. So perhaps there was no deep burning desire, no fire or lust. Passion was over rated. Passion could make you lose yourself, it could lead to making bad decisions, could lead to heart ache. Passion was something Rory could live without.
"Do you have to go to the book store today? Because I thought maybe we could spend the day together, have a picnic? I need to do a little research for a story I'm working on but it can wait until tomorrow." Rory asked as she rolled out of bed.
Jess sat up and looked at Rory. "I was going to stop in for a little while, but you know I can't resist a picnic with you, and since I'm the boss…"
"You make the rules." She smiled at him before turning and walking off towards the bathroom. She knew he'd never say no to a picnic if he could avoid it. One of their first dates had been a picnic, though it really hadn't been a date at all. Rory had still been with her first boyfriend, Dean, but Jess had outbid him for Rory and her picnic basket at a town fundraiser.
"So, what should we do this morning?" she asked over her shoulder.
Jess thought about it for a moment before an idea hit him. He smiled to himself for a second, it was a good idea. "Umm, actually…Maybe I should stop by work for a little bit."
"mut-wa-hat?" Rory poked her head out of the bathroom, toothbrush in mouth and gave Jess a quizzical look, indicating that she hadn't heard him.
"I said I should probably stop by work for a little bit. I uh…I think we're expecting a shipment in today. Maybe I can just go in for the morning to verify everything then you can pick me up around noon?" he said the last as a question.
Rory held up one finger and disappeared into the bathroom once more. After a few seconds she returned, toothpaste free. "Sure, I guess that'd be alright. If you have to go to work, you have to go to work."
"Yeah well, all play and no work makes Jess a very poor boy," he said as he finally climbed out of bed. "I'll be thinking of you the whole time."
"You better," she teasingly scolded him. "And in the mean time I'll whip us up a delectable treat for our picnic."
"So, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and potato chips?"
"It's my specialty."
It'll be perfect," he promised, smiling to her and to himself. Absolutely perfect.
"Hey! Almost ready?" Rory asked Jess as she walked into Truncheon Books.
"Just a couple of minutes," he told her, giving her a quick kiss. "I'm just finishing up some paperwork."
"Take your time." Rory scanned a nearby shelf as Jess walked away. She loved Jess's store; there were so many amazing books. The shelves were stocked with tons of up and coming new authors with amazing talent, and not a John Grisham novel in sight.
She picked a book off the shelf and sat down with it. Instinctively, she brought the book up to her face to smell the pages. She loved the smell of books, new and old.
"I'm sorry, excuse me, did I just see you smell that book?" The memory was short but vivid; she could hear the sarcastic tone in his voice and see the snarky smile he gave her. She pushed the memory out of her mind. That chapter of her life had ended a long time ago. She couldn't keep thinking of him, it hurt too much. It should have stopped hurting by now but it hadn't. Besides, she was with Jess now and he deserved her full attention. Rory opened the book and began reading, instantly captivated by the story within.
Jess returned from the back room a few minutes later. He looked over at Rory, completely immersed in some book. God, she looked beautiful when she read. She would get this look on her face, her eyes would squint slightly and her nose would crinkle up just the tiniest bit, the left corner of her mouth curved up in a tiny half smile. She had that look on her face the first time she had come to the bookstore, for the open house. She had sat in a corner, reading his book as she waited for him to finish up. That look for his book, it had been the highest compliment he had ever received. He hoped this day could be half as perfect as that one had been.
"You know, you don't have to read it again," Jess pulled a stool up to where Rory was sitting.
"I know I don't," she looked up from the book and flashed him a smile.
Jess sat down. "God, there are soo many things I would change in it," he said, half sincere, half trying to be modest.
"Like what?" she asked, turning towards him a little more.
"I'd keep the back cover, everything else goes," he told her with a flare of dramatics, flipping his hand away for emphasis.
Rory scoffed. "You know why I love your book?" She pushed her hair out of her face and smiled. Jess couldn't have been happier. This amazing, smart, beautiful woman who'd changed his whole life was sitting before him, praising him.
"Why?" Jess asked.
"It doesn't remind me of anything. It's not a rip off, it's just you." She loved the book, she loved that it was a piece of him. That gave him hope.
"High praise Ms. Yale Editor," he said, turning the conversation to her. He needed to find out if her being here meant what he hoped it did.
"Yeah well, I don't get to write as much as I would like. I'm mostly assigning and motivating, hand holding and re-writing," she complained but Jess could see in her eyes and her smile that she was happy.
"And you love it, every minute of it. Come on, tell me you don't." Jess leaned his body in towards hers just a tiny bit.
"I do, I do love it. It's exciting," her smile grew.
"You look happier than when I saw you last," Jess was finally moving towards the topic he was most interested in.
"I am," she said sincerely.
"So…you fixed everything?" he asked, slightly hesitant.
She wasn't a hundred percent sure what he meant but she knew what answer he was looking for and it was true for the most part. She was back in school, things were good with her Mother, and she was no longer with Logan. She didn't know if the last thing were good or bad but as far as Jess would be concerne,d it was great. "Yeah, everything's fixed."
That was the answer he needed. Jess leaned in even closer and looked Rory straight in the eyes. "I'm glad you're here," he told her
"Yeah, me too," she found herself losing her pain in his eyes. Maybe not being with Logan was a good thing. Maybe she could finally get over him; maybe Jess would be the one to get her there.
Jess leaned in for the kiss. Her lips were soft and he felt them part. He slipped his tongue into her mouth and reached his hand out to place it on her waist. He felt her hesitate for a moment and he was afraid she was going to pull away but instead she leaned into it and kissed him back.
When Jess pressed his lips to Rory's, every thought in her head disappeared. She relaxed and let him deepen the kiss. She loved the feeling of lightness that went along with the emptiness in her mind. Not thinking meant not thinking about Logan. It didn't last and as Jess's tongue pressed against hers, Logan's blond hair and chocolate brown eyes flashed in her mind. She started to pull back; she was still in love with someone else. But it didn't matter, she reminded herself. Logan was no longer a part of her life and she had to move on. Instead of pulling away she brought her hand up behind Jess's head and pulled him in closer.
Finally, they broke apart, catching their breath. Jess kept his gaze on Rory for a moment before his eyes quickly darted to the stairs leading to the apartment above. She had come all this way just to see him. When he kissed her, she kissed back. And it had all felt so right. This was definitely right. "Do you want to go upstairs?"
"What about your roommates?" she asked.
"They won't be back for hours," he promised her.
Rory paused for a moment, trying to think things through. She could see herself with Jess; she'd always been able to see herself with him. But would it be right to do this with him when a part of her was still in love with Logan? Would she just be using Jess as the rebound guy? Or was the love she had for Logan the kind that would always be there? The kind of love that would stay with her long after she'd moved on? And then she made her decision. She didn't want to think anymore. She was tired of analyzing everything in her life. She just wanted to stop thinking and start doing.
"Let's go." She stood up, grabbing Jess's arm and pulling him up with her. They kissed again and she began moving backwards towards the stairs, her lips still locked with his.
"How's the book?" Jess asked, looking down at Rory. Jess was sitting on the blanket they had brought and Rory was lying with her head in his lap. The sun shone down on them, warm with a gentle breeze. It was the perfect, late summer day. It was already September and this might be the last chance they had to enjoy the Pennsylvania summer before the cold and snow took over.
Summer was a good time for them. They had shared there first kiss in the summer, the day he had moved to Stars Hollow for the second time. And last summer, Rory had taken an internship in Philadelphia just so they could work on their newly renewed relationship. It had been an amazing summer and the only part Jess could remember hating was the part at the end when Rory returned to Yale. They had alternated weekends, traveling from Philadelphia to Hartford and vice versa but it wasn't the same as getting to see each other every day. When Rory graduated and was offered a job at the same paper where she'd interned, she immediately accepted the offer and moved to Philadelphia to live with Jess. Now the time had come for the next step and Jess was ready.
"It's amazing," she gushed over the book she had picked up at Jess's store earlier that day. "This guy is fearless, he doesn't hold anything back. Every feeling, every action, no matter how good or bad, no matter how shameful or private, he tells you all of it and makes you feel for him. He makes me feel like I'm actually in his head."
"So you're saying you like it?" Jess asked mockingly.
"Ha ha. What about your book, is it good?"
"It's…I have no clue. To tell you truth I haven't done much reading today?" he admitted.
"Why not?" she asked, looking up at him.
"It's more fun to watch you read," he said playfully.
"Oh, stop that." Rory sat up, her cheeks blushing slightly. "You know how self conscious I get when you stare at me."
Jess smiled at her without responding. "You're doing it again," she complained.
"Sorry….Rory," he said, suddenly sounding serious.
"Yes?" Rory asked, cocking her head to the side with interest.
"Today's been…perfect," he started.
"Not half bad," she agreed.
"It's just, I've been waiting for the perfect moment to do this and…I think this is it."
Rory's stomach tightened in anticipation and Jess reached for his jacket. "Jess…" it came out as a whisper as she watched him pull something from the pocket.
"Rory, I know this may seem soon considering we spent so much time apart last year while you were at school. But being so far away from you after finally getting you back, it made me see what I'm missing without you in my life. You helped me grow up and become the man that I am…I know how cliché that sounds, but it's true. I was so mixed up when you first came into my life. I didn't trust anybody, I hated the world. You made me love the world, but I love it a lot more when I'm loving it with you. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is…" Jess unveiled the velvet box he had retrieved from his pocket. He opened it slowly, revealing a sparkling diamond ring. "Rory Gilmore, will you marry me?