Forever...

or

When Eventually Comes

Jess wrapped his arm around her waist as the walked down the sidewalk together. She was chatting good-heartedly about books and crazy things happening in town. He wasn't really paying attention to the words, rather the sound of her voice, the expression on her face, and her exuberant hand motions. The little things. He wanted to absorb it all so he could make up for lost time as though if he memorized her every more it would replace all the time he missed.

Rory sighed and leaned her head on Jess shoulder. "It's a beautiful day." Jess silently agreed. The sky was baby blue with fluffy cotton-ball clouds hanging in it. It was the perfect spring day with birds twittering around and flowers were just opening up, but to Jess nothing compared to her beauty. Her wearing comfortable form fitting jeans and a baby doll t-shirt. Her long dark brown hair fell lazily into her eyes. And she was wearing barely any make-up, just a touch of mascara and blush. In Jess opinion she didn't need any.

The two ending up wandering to the gazebo and sitting there. Jess took Rory's hand and interlaced his fingers with hers. He had a fear that if he ever go of her he would lose her forever. He couldn't stand that, it would kill him. He had got a chance to be with Rory again and he would be damned if he messed it up again.

Rory was in her own thoughts though. "Remember the day we got back together?"

Jess nodded. Of course he did. It was one of the best days of his life, just behind the day he met Rory.

Rory recalled it to. She had just gotten home from her trip to Europe to visit Logan for Christmas. It was all wrong though. Over the months apart they had both changed. She knew it wasn't going to work if they had to continue to be apart for a half of year more, maybe even despite anything. She didn't want to admit it because the thought frightened her. Everything in her life for so long had depended on him. She was friends with him, she dated him, she fought with him and kept this estranged long-distance relationship with him, hanging onto every phone call, e-mail, and package sent on the mail like life itself.

It wasn't right though. Not anymore.

The next day she got the call.

"You promised me an eventually," he said. His tone was rough and bitter, but Rory knew him so well that she could hear the desperation behind it.

"I…," Rory was qt a loss for words. She didn't know what to say, hell, she didn't know how to feel. She didn't get the chance to say anything though, the line went dead.

Jess felt like an idiot. Probably because he was one. When did he become such a desperate and bitter romantic that he just called Rory up like that out of the blue? Oh yeah, the day he fell in love with her.

He didn't want to be like this. He regretted making that call. Making a fool to himself. Letting his heart be controlled by her whims.

But he called her anyway, despite all of his determination not to. He still called her. He hung up too, hung up like an imbecile. And where did that get him…leaning against outside wall of Truchen books with a cigarette in his hand. Pushed outside in the cold due to his friends new no smoking policy for inside. Damn them.

"That's a really unhealthy habit, you know." Jess couldn't help to smile to himself. He knew that voice.

"Well, I am a rebel," he commented without missing a beat as he turned to see Rory, wrapped up in a black wool coat, shivering slightly as he loose hair brew into crazy tangles in the wind.

Jess took one last drawl from his cigarette before dropping into on the ground and putting in to with the heel of his shoe. He meandered slowly over to Rory who stood under the lone maple tree that sat in front of the building that the city had planted god knows how long ago.

"Why are you here?" asked Jess. He knew what he did to get her to travel to Philly, but he wanted to know what she wanted from it.

She cocked her head to the side as though she couldn't believe he didn't know the answer. "For eventually," she answered.

Jess said nothing, making Rory a little worried that maybe she shouldn't have come. That maybe his call was just on a whim and he thought better of it now. She reached her hand towards his face, but her fingertips barely brushed his cheek before he intercepted her hand with his own, refusing to let go. He placed his other hand on the back of Rory's head, meaning to pull her into a kiss, but she put her hand on his mouth.

"No kissing me while you have smoky breath," she warned teasingly.

"Fine," muttered Jess, making a mock disappointed and upset face. Rory concealed a chuckle.

Neither mentioned Logan. It was understood. If they had mentioned him that would bring up the past and all of their faults and how they had both repeated hurt each other. If they wanted this to work, really work, they had to start clean. It would be hard, but not impossible.

The two rested their foreheads together. Jess pulled Rory closer as she shivered when cold wind struck to keep her warm, though Rory suspected he had another motivation behind it.

Then Rory had a feeling. Not a tingling of infatuation or lust. Probably not even love. It wasn't quite something she could explain. It started in her gut, came to her heart and finally reached her brain, 'This was right.'

"Stay with me," whispered Jess hoarsely as the two sat together in reminiscence.

"I'm right here, Jess," replied Rory, with slight concern in her tone, squeezing his hand reassuringly.

"No," continued Jess, looking into Rory's eyes, "Not now, for forever."

"Are you asking me to m-,"

"No," repeated Jess, putting his free hand to Rory's lips to silence her, preemptively answering her question. "Not now. Just promise me forever."

"How can I promise something so…limitless, indescribable?"

"Please-,"

"Ask me for today, or tomorrow. Ask me for the rest of my life. Forever…I can't understand."

"You once promised eventually," said Jess, with a bit of irritation in his voice, "Now promise me forever."

Rory cocked her head to the side like she had done on that day not so long ago. She observed him. His face so neutral and apathetic appearing. To the untrained eye he would seem such, but not to her. She knew where to look, his eyes. They always gave him away.

He wasn't joking. On the contrary, he was being dead serious. He had hung everything on the line asking a question so deep and committal at this fragile stage in their relationship. But he needed it. He needed it more than anything. He wasn't desperate, but, rather, passionate. For a moment Rory wished she could decipher more of his emotions. That was before she realized she had all she needed. He was for real this time. He was all in, so should she be.

Rory smiled a clever smile before answering Jess in an ardent and throaty whisper, "Eventually." Then she leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips