Part 3

Rory couldn't decide who she was angrier at, Logan or Jess. Logan for reading her mail, hiding it from her, and returning it at a rather inappropriate time or Jess for writing her a love note out of the blue. It had to be Logan, he had no right. Seriously, did he not think she was capable enough to decide for herself what she was going to do with the letter? Did he not think their relationship was stronger then a silly love letter could destroy?…

But it wasn't a silly love letter, it was a beautiful love letter… and now Rory's petty debate in her head— which she conjured up to not think about anything else— had dissipated and she was down to the main issue, the letter. So much was said on just the front and back of a single sheet of notebook paper. Even after his death, Jess had made her think about her life and love more then she had in a long while.

Had she really changed as much as he had said in the letter? Rory thought back to her last visit with Jess as she drove in a mindless direction on the freeway. In hindsight, she couldn't believe she had really gone their just with the intention of cheating on Logan to get back at him. That was wrong in so many ways. First, she shouldn't be in a relationship where she was vindictive enough to have the need to cheat on her boyfriend to retaliate. Second, she shouldn't have strung someone along to meet her ends, especially Jess, who at one time she really cared about. Thirdly, she was disgusted at herself for what she had almost done.

That wasn't the part that got Rory though. Jess had confessed his love to her and not for the first time. Even after she was a total jerk to him he was still in love with her. She knew from experience he wasn't the type of person who laid his feelings on the line like that. When he said it, it meant something.

Rory glanced over at the letter which lay opened on the passenger seat of her car. She had more than once needed to pull over to reread it. She knew the next part by heart because it taunted her so, "P.S. I fear you may not want to speak to me again after reading this, but can you please just tell me that you did and that it meant something."

This was were the giddy feeling of being told she was loved, even though she wasn't sure she returned such feelings, melted away to leave guilt and glumness. She contemplated the post script over and over again in her head. She tried to place herself into the mind of Rory of almost a year ago. Would she told Jess that she that she read the letter? How would she have felt then, with Jess still being alive? Would it have meant something?

Her cell phone buzzed in her purse for the umpteenth time but she ignored it. It was either Paris, her mom, or Logan, none of which she was up to talking to at the moment especially the latter. She glanced at the road sign and her gut twisted, she can't believe she had driven this far and to here of all places.

With a mixed sensation of giddiness and shame, she pulled onto the exit ramp that would lead her into the heart of Philly as if she had meant to come here all along. On second thought, deep down, maybe she did.

It seemed only moments later she pulled into a parking space right outside of Truncheon Books. And the next she was inside, standing uncomfortable and unsure right in front of the closed door.

Just then one of Jess' friends from that she saw at the funeral came down stairs from what she loosely recollected Jess mentioning was his and a few co-workers' apartment. He went directly to behind the desk by the opposite walled and was rummaging frustrated through some papers. Rory took a tentative step forward and cleared her throat.

The boy glanced up, eyes widening in surprise.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, although no harshly but more curiously.

Rory shrugged. "I don't even know."

"Well," he said, walking around the desk and approaching her, "I don't think we were ever properly introduced. I'm Matt." He extended a hand.

Rory accepted it. "And I'm Rory Gilmore, but you already know that."

"Yeah," he argues bashfully, but said nothing more.

"I— guess I want to ask you why you said what you said at the funeral. When you said you 'got it now'?"

"Oh, well Chris had tried to explain it to me, he saw you the day of the open house and how Jess looked at you like—" Matt didn't finish.

Rory nodded in understanding, encouraging him to go on.

"When I saw you I got why Jess was crazy over you."

"Oh," said Rory, crossing her arms over her chest, unsure of herself. She hadn't known what she expected as an answer.

"And it's more then just the way you look," Matt proceeded to explain, catching Rory off guard. "You just like he described, 'an innocent confidence.'"

"Described me when?" asked Rory, eager to know for some reason she couldn't quite pinpoint.

"In his book—"

"That's not in The Subsect," Rory cut him off defensively. She read his book many a time.

"No, in his new one."

"He wrote another book?" said Rory in amazement, eyes lighting up.

Matt nodded. "Yeah. Me and Chris had been on him for a while to write more, but he said he didn't have an inspiration or some dumb writer excuse like that. He started after the open house, a month or two later that he started drinking…" Matt lowered his head to evade Rory's eyes. Guilt laced his voice as he spoke next, "We thought it was normal. We had all drunk before and most of the great writers drank, it didn't seem like a big deal. Then we found him…"

Rory was glad Matt didn't finish. She didn't want a detailed account of how Jess was found unconscious in the apartment.

She had half a mind to place a comforting hand on Matt's shoulder even though she barely knew him. However, her mind was running in a different direction.

She took another step forward. "Please, tell me what it was about."

Matt knew she was referring to the book. He looked up at her. "From what I can figure it's a semi-fictional account about him falling into utter despair after he losses the most important person in his life." His stare was enough to tell Rory who that person was.

She pursed her lips together and nodded, trying to hold back threatening tears. "Okay," she answered, her voice cracking as she stepped back.

"We're still goin' to publish it. I think he would have liked it that way." Rory nodded again, but the large display room started to feel very claustrophobic. She wanted to run. Somewhere, anywhere but here. Her eyes strung, but no tears fell. She wanted to say something but her voice was caught in her chest.

She briefly remembered a muttered goodbye and long car drive, but her mind was somewhere else. She was unsuccessfully trying to convince herself that Jess didn't start writing his second book because of her betrayal at Truncheon's open house and that it was just a coincidence that Jess began the bad drinking habit that eventually cost his life was not because she never replied to his letter. She wanted to believe that it didn't all connect so she didn't have to feel the overwhelming guilt that everyone else had felt early this very day at the funeral, but she couldn't.

She wanted to be mad at Jess for putting himself in a situation that depended solely on her actions. She wanted to be mad at Logan for the many things he did that turn helped her hurt Jess. She wanted to be mad at Matt for the way he looked at her that made her want to die from shame. She wanted to be mad at the town full of people that told her that Jess was never good enough for her in the first place. She wanted to, but the only person she was mad at was herself.

Mad because she knew, even if she didn't want to admit it, that if she had gotten that letter a year ago, she wouldn't have left Logan, she wouldn't have ran into Jess' open arms, and that she wouldn't have replied to the letter or if she had she would have broken his heart. She was also mad because she was so blind before… and that she never gotten the chance to…

The funeral had been mid-morning, she had left Logan's at noon, reached Philly several hours later, and now was back in Stars Hollow where she began. It was evening now, the cloudy sky blocked most of the moonlight. Here she was, with a million unanswered messages on her cell phone from a million people asking her where she is.

She didn't care.

Nothing

Nothing matter right now but him…

She collapsed to her knees on the freshly dug dirt, not caring she was still in her nice clothes or that water was soaking threw to her knees. She stared at the head stone, but didn't read it or even see it. It all felt so fake, so artificial, yet so painfully real.

Barely audible sobbing began wracking her body. She curled in the fetal position, her hands grabbing painfully at her hair. Tears rolled down her cheeks and neck to dampen or collar, some ran to the tip of her nose before dripping to the already moist ground. A cold breeze blew over her, but she didn't care. She didn't even feel it.

And for the first time since she heard the horrible news Rory cried as she whispered the same four words over and over again in unexpected insight and dreadful despair.

"I love you too," she sobbed. "I love you too."


Aki- Wow, this ended more depressing then I thought it would. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed.