Title: Storybook Crimes

Author: Celia Cawes

Genre: general

Rating: totally PG, sadly enough

A/N: I loved Rory and Jess together. In my opinion, when they broke up, it all went downhill from there. If that's not to your taste, browse on and read something else. This might be the beginning of a series, or it may be a stand-alone story. Please review and let me know which one you'd prefer.

In books, it's easier to pick up on which of the characters will be important in the story. The lovely pale maiden is doomed to be lovestruck (and tends to be doomed to die as well for that same reason). A longlost brother can't be mentioned without coming up later in the story. The bored wife cheats or commits suicide, inevitably. You can see the signs. You know why? Because in books, it all means something. There is never, ever a mysterious and dangerous newcomer that comes unexpectedly to town without turning out to be either the love of someone's life or a man come to wreak havoc and destroy lives.

In reality, mysterious people move into your town all the time. Just statistically speaking, some numbers of them are bound to dashing, dangerous and mysterious. That doesn't mean you will fall in love with them, accuse them of murder or save their lives. It doesn't even mean you'll meet them.

When I met Jess, I was writing. I want to be a writer, but I am a reader at heart. Like any good reader, I could feel the soft shifting hands of fate as I heard Mom call: "Rory, Jess is here…" and then, a presence, totally silent, behind my computer chair.

I turned and saw him, looking deeply bored and hot in that smooth, too-cool-for-school, the Fonz kind of way. Except I'd never been especially attracted to the Fonz and the second I saw Jess I felt a funny hum in my body, like it just received an electric shock or someone had gently opened my chest and flipped on a switch where my heart had meant to be beating.

Pounding, in fact. I was in love, you know. I was in love with Dean, my model boyfriend, who got along with Mom (not always an easy feat) and who did not share any of my interests but put up with school marmish, bookish ways. Just because he loved me. Dean, who made a car for me—from scratch. Any girl in her right mind would be in a constant state of heart-pounding, crazy, can't-get-enough-of-you love.

But I am my mother's daughter. And cool as she is, I know as well as anyone that the perfect guy isn't always right for her. Max was great for Lorelai, and she turned him down. I'll never forget what she said when I asked her why, how she could just blow off an engagement on a whim.

"Because I didn't want to put on my wedding dress every night."

At the time it didn't make much sense. My mom was crying, so I just started packing and saved the questions for later. It's not about perfection; it's about the perfect fit. And what fits with Mom, wasn't Max, no matter how nice a guy he was.

Dean was a guy like that. Nice. Good.

So why did this total stranger, standing at my window and inviting me to bail on Sookie's dinner ("Shall we?") make me feel so drawn in? His eyes looked right into mine and there was a curiosity in them, a dangerous spark that made me smile without having to force it. I had to make myself laugh when Dean made a joke about some jock I didn't know, or do an impression of Richard Gere in Autumn in New York that just wasn't funny. But when Jess was around, my face started hurting before I realized I was smiling.

Just like a character in a book, Jess had the knack for showing up in the dark, when you don't expect it. He appeared next to me out of the night, matching my stride. I shivered and it wasn't cold. Just like the murder suspect or the romantic hero, Jess stared at me, stared at me like he wanted to look inside my brain and take my clothes off at the same time.

Dean wanted to build me cars and Jess wanted to write in the margins of a book he stole from me. Dean was devoted and Jess was a charming, beautiful, dark and mysterious thief.

But the thing is I didn't want a car. I didn't want Dean to tell me he loved me on our anniversary. If I had to choose between no car and not hearing him say that, or a car and having to tell him I loved him when I just wasn't sure…it would've been the second option.

The notes Jess wrote were smart. He saw things I didn't in passages I had read a hundred times, books I had sucked dry of every interpretation. He underlined words that suddenly seemed to have double meanings. He wrote my name, asking me questions in light, scribbled penciled scrawl—

I wanted to read his notes in the margins more than I wanted to see Dean the next morning.

And when I saw him next, I tried to be angry with him. He wasn't making things easy for Luke, acting like a little Holden Caulfield wannabe. I saw his flaws, saw the chip on his shoulder—and I tried to find him a little less intrigueing, I told him Luke deserved better. I opened my mouth and words came out about the town hall meeting and how Luke was getting penalized for Jess's fake murder stunt. But what I was saying didn't matter.

His eyes, on me like two spotlights, the funny twist in his lips when he tried to supress a smile. I complained and bitched and acted like I hated as much as anyone.

"But did you think it was funny?" he asked, hitting on just the right note, asking just the right question.

He got me, right there, trying not to laugh in front of Doose's Market.

In retrospect, that should've been a sign.

Jess was obviously destined to be in my story.