Afterward

Had someone suggested to Rory Gilmore, even a year ago, that Jess Mariano would have planned some of the key points of his wedding, and done it so perfectly, she would have possibly burst out laughing. Most assuredly she would have argued against the thought.

But she'd have been wrong, because here they were. The chuppah stood over the bridge, flowers and ivy intricately entwined in the wood. Hundreds upon hundreds of lights, white and twinkling, were strewn through the trees, turning the park into a fairy-tale kingdom. Chairs sat off to either side of the bridge, and a white runner led the way to the chuppah, while musicians were situated just behind the congregated guests.

And the ceremony had been beautiful, with Lane serving as Rory's maid of honor, and Paris and April as bridesmaids. Luke was handsome in his tux, performing his best man duties perfectly, and Alec, a friend of Jess's from Truncheon, had walked Paris down the aisle with ease, ignoring her jabs and arguments that he was going too fast, smiling like a seasoned professional.

Liz had beamed, and gone on and on to anyone who would listen about how it was just like her own wedding, in the very same Stars Hollow town square. And it was charming enough for even Emily Gilmore to be appeased that Rory and Jess had rebuffed her offers of a giant society wedding, free of charge.

Dinner was accompanied by the same musicians that had played the ceremony, but once that was over, Maury had kicked things up and manned the DJ booth. In shock, Lorelei and Rory watched Emily and Richard dance with glee to "We Are Family."

"You're married," Lorelei noted to Rory as they tried to recover.

Rory glanced down. "That would explain the dress."

"And it's a hell of a dress."

"Says the woman who made it."

"I have to toot my own horn when the opportunity arises."

"Amazing how often that really is," she teased her mother, but then had to agree, "It's a hell of a dress."

And it was. Emily's only insistence, one that she had stuck through with admirable steadfastness, was that Rory's dress be traditional, i.e., white. It was a small price to pay, and one that Rory had already intended to honor. Letting Emily believe she'd swayed her granddaughter had helped smooth over bucking other traditions. And Lorelei had never created a more beautiful or well-suited ensemble.

The dress was simple, because Rory, while housing a complicated brain, had simple features. Delicate. The strapless dress hung straight from the waist, with a slight amount of tulle underneath for balance and only the simplest of detailing along the bottom. From the front, it was practically plain. But the back was astounding, with satin gathered to the point of ridiculousness (but not crossing that line), and seed pearls and rhinestones sewn into the bustle so that it glinted with each sway of fabric. Lace came up in an inverted V from the bottom to the waist, emphasizing the bustle. No veil, just a simple, loose bun that hovered just above the nape of her neck, and which was dotted lightly with rhinestones had made Rory appear absolutely angelic, taking away the breath of everyone when she had appeared at the entrance to the bridge.

It was then that Jess had felt the tears come to his eyes. She was so beautiful, so lovely. His gorgeous Rory. Finally his Rory.

"You're married."

"Are you hoping it will stop being true if you keep saying it?" Rory asked.

Lorelei grinned wickedly. "I just can't believe it. Twenty minutes ago you were six, getting the chicken pox and throwing up all over Dr. Monahan's pants."

Rory blanched. "Nice, mom. Your only daughter gets married and that's the memory you come up with?"

Lorelei shrugged and sipped her champagne. "Well, times like these make me nostalgic."

They watched the dancers for a moment when Jess removed himself from a conversation with his step father, crossed the square, and captured his bride. "I think we're supposed to dance."

"It's our wedding, we don't have to do anything we don't want to do," she told him, slipping her hand in his.

"Let's dance," he requested, and tugged her out to the floor. "I haven't talked to you for more than two minutes since we were standing at the altar," he complained. "If dancing is the only way I get to have you alone, so be it."

She smiled at him, wrapping her arms around his neck as they swayed. "Is dancing really so bad?"

He cocked his head and kissed her softly. "Not so bad," he murmured against her mouth. "When can we ditch everyone so I can get you out of that dress?"

She chuckled. "Soon. Promise."

"Better be."

"You have me for the rest of your life, a few hours won't kill you."

"Don't blame me for being eager to get started. You're gorgeous in that thing."

"Then why do you want me to take it off?"

"I'm curious what's underneath it," he grinned devilishly.

Laughing, she gave him a coy glance. "So little it's sinful," she confided.

He stared at her and swallowed hard. "You're killing me, Gilmore."

"Mariano," she corrected.

Jess blinked. "Hey…yeah," he realized, then kissed her again. "I like that."

Leaning her forehead against his, she grinned. "Me too."

"Lane's looking for you," he noted a moment later.

Rory glanced over her shoulder. "Ah, yes. I think I'm obligated to do some drunken girl dancing stuff."

"You're not drunk."

"Technicalities."

"Time for me to exit, then."

"Aw, come on. Be one of the girls and dance with us," she pouted.

"Nope, sorry. Guy code forbids me from doing anything that involves slides or ducks or boots that scoot."

"What are you going to go do?"

"Let people toast the bride and groom and eye some of the gifts. I think one of them is a cappuccino machine," he told her conspiratorially.

Rory rolled her eyes. "I love you," she told him.

That stopped him long enough to give her a deep kiss. "I love you too."

He turned to walk away, but spun around again. "Hey," he called.

Rory looked up, a quizzical expression on her face.

"How sinful?" he asked casually.

It took her a moment, but in a second a saucy smile played on her lips. "You might cry."

Jess closed his eyes. "God help me."

/fin