A/N: This is the third time I've attempted to write a full-length Gilmore Girls story. For some reason, I'm just so self conscious about it. Hopefully this will be as good as I've been hoping it is. Please read with an open mind. Lyrics in the summary are by Paramore ('For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic.') This story is AU. Post season 3 with spoilers, especially for 3.21, "Here Comes the Son," and 3.22, "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio." Takes place after Rory discovers Jess in 4.21, "A Family Matter."

The title is based on some of the aforementioned song, and also on a random trailer I made and posted on Youtube. If you want to check it out, my username there is LizzehMarie

Oh, and I don't own anything. Obviously.

Summary: I put my faith in you, so much faith, and then you just threw it away. Post season 3, AU in some of season 4.

Stay

Why is he back?

Why would he bother coming back all this way for a stupid car?

Why is he so idiotic?

Why is he still so gorgeous?

And it's true. Jess is as beautiful as he ever was, if not more so. He looks more mature; his hair is longer, there's some hair on his face, and his 'devil-may-care' attitude seems to have been multiplied by a thousand. Rory wants to run away right now, get out of this house, this town, this state. She always liked the quaintness of Stars Hollow and small-town life, but now it seems oppressive and suffocating and far too small for so many people.

She curses the day she ever met Jess. She curses his mother for sending him in the first place. She curses her mother for inviting him that one day for dinner. (Didn't she know what would happen? How stupid was she, anyway?) She curses Luke for shoving them together so often. And most importantly, she curses herself for ever falling in love with him, ever giving a damn that he existed.

She curses him for being so beautiful and tempting and seductive and…

"You okay, Rory?"

Rory nods, then reconsiders the nod and shrugs instead. Her mother knows her well enough to not take that as an answer.

"It's okay if you're, you know… I don't know, weirded out by everything," Lorelai says slowly.

Rory shrugs again. "Why would I feel weird? I'm fine. He left me and I moved on. I don't have feelings for him anymore. I mean, it'd be pretty stupid if I did, right?"

"Right, yeah, sure," Lorelai says unsurely. "…So, why would that be stupid, exactly?"

"Well. Because," Rory answers. "I'm not one to pine. I don't pine. He didn't want me. That's fine, not everyone has to want me."

Lorelai smiles sadly and reaches out to touch Rory's shoulder. For some reason, Rory moves away from the touch and yawns unconvincingly. "I think I'm going to bed," she says, and before her mother has any time to reply, she's gone to her room with the door shut behind her.

Once in her room, she's unsure of what to do. Part of her wants to fall to the floor and cry, and another part of her wants to take a blowtorch and set fire to Jess' car with Jess still sleeping inside of it.

She wonders briefly why he's here and then tells herself that she doesn't care. He'll be gone soon, he'll be gone soon, he'll be gone soon, and then she could focus on other things.

Rory feels jumpy and collapses on her bed, laying there for a few seconds before sitting up again. She looks at her bookcase, because thinking of Jess reminds her of reading. She's in need of a good distraction. Maybe a mystery, or a horror novel, or even a drama would suffice right now. But the last thing she wants to read is a romance with happy endings. She'd like a good murder and an unhappy ending with tears and sorrow.

She closes her eyes, points her index finger towards her bookcase, and then waves it around. It's a game she used to play when she was little and had read everything and just wanted to look over a book she'd already seen. Whatever her finger lands on, she has to read – it's the rule. She stops after a few minutes and opens her eyes, then steps closer to observe the book she has chosen.

No, God, what the hell is wrong with me? She thinks to herself as she throws the book on the floor.

Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is not what she wants to read right now.

She feels stupid and idiotic as she kicks the book, imagining it as Jess' head. She sits on her floor and begins to write one of her many essays due, and falls asleep before getting to the second paragraph.

When Rory wakes up, she's annoyed and aggravated and has a killer pain in her neck and back. When she goes into the kitchen, Lorelai frowns at her appearance: the apparent rings under her eyes, her knotted hair, and her constant neck-rubbing only make her more concerned for her daughter's wellbeing.

"Don't," Rory says, seeing her mother open her mouth. "I'm fine. I stayed up late doing an essay and fell asleep on the floor."

"I wasn't going to say otherwise," Lorelai replies cautiously, putting two plates on the kitchen table.

Rory raises an eyebrow. "What are you doing?"

"Giving you breakfast," she replies simply, putting pancakes on the plates.

"…Who are you and what have you done with my mother?" She stares at the foreign food for a few minutes, as if waiting for an explanation.

Lorelai grins. "They're from Luke's."

"Oh, thank God," she breathes, cutting the pancakes and gulfing them down.

"Come on!" Lorelai says, "My cooking isn't that bad."

A pointed look in her direction gives Lorelai her answer.

"Okay. So maybe it is." She smiles for a minute and then sits next to her daughter. "What's on the agenda for today?"

Rory shrugs. "I need to go to the bookstore and get a couple of things, and then I was thinking about just, you know, hanging around the square." She says this so simply, so easily, as if she isn't at all worried about bumping into Jess.

"Right," Lorelai says slowly. "And you think that's a good idea?"

"Yes," she says simply. "Thanks for the breakfast; I'm going to change and then leave."

Lorelai nods as her daughter shuts the door behind her, and after a few moments, she decides to follow her inside.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Lorelai asks carefully. "It's okay if you want to just pull a hermit thing today. I'll fully understand. I'll even get you some pizza and I'll get the books for you so you don't have to leave."

Rory sighs. "I told you I was fine, mom."

"Yes, yes you did."

"So believe me, okay?"

"But –"

"Mom! Just believe me! I'm not worried, I'm not uncomfortable. This is my town. He'll be gone in no time. In fact, I'm sure he's already gone by now. He was just passing through."

"But…" Rory glares at her, so Lorelai finishes her thought in an alternate way. "…is not an appropriate answer right now, because I know you know what you're doing."

"Thank you."

Lorelai takes a deep breath. "And I also know you'll tell me if you're uncomfortable, or feel like relaxing in the comfort of your own home. And I will totally understand."

"Right," Rory answers while grabbing her backpack. "Thankfully, you won't need to worry about that. Bye, mom, I'll see you later!"

Rory leaves the house with such a lack of confidence that it frightens her. As she walks through the streets, she feels like everyone is watching her… and truth be told, they probably are. Everyone knows Jess is back, and everyone knows that Rory still loved Jess when he left. It's like everyone is waiting with bated breath for the explosion to occur when they finally talk to each other after all this time.

But there won't be any explosion, she tells herself, because if I see Jess, I'm running, just like he ran from me.

She enters the bookstore without a second thought, chattering lightly with the owner before looking through the shelves for a particular book. By the time she gets to the shelves, she's forgotten what book she was looking for, and wanders around trying to think of the title. As she observes one particular bookshelf, she hears a noise behind her, and quickly turns around to see Jess huddled up in the corner, holding a copy of the exact book she was looking for.

Jerk! She thinks to herself.

"Rory," he starts, getting up to explain himself, or maybe to give her the book, or maybe to leave. Whatever he's about to do, Rory decides she doesn't care. She's through caring, and she's been through caring since he left her without saying goodbye again.

"I'm leaving," she says simply, turning on her heels and walking towards the door.

"Rory, wait…"

She leaves. Just like he would have, if she had given him the chance.

Back at home, her mother is sitting on the couch, reading an old issue of Jane magazine when Rory comes back. Lorelai is surprised that she's home so early, and before she gets to ask her anything, Rory cuts her off.

"Can you pick me up something from the bookstore?" she asks quietly. "And… and a few things from the market?"

Lorelai doesn't have to be asked twice, and she leaves with a list of things to buy. Rory is thankful for her mother, and takes back what she thought about her earlier.

She's still mad at everyone else, though, including herself. Because the first thing she thought when she saw Jess in the bookstore was 'God, I wish he'd kiss me.' And for a second, she wondered if he thought the same thing about her.

She turns on the TV and tries to find a good episode of Cold Case or one of those Saw movies – she really wants death and destruction – but all she can find is Shakespeare in Love.

A/N: Okay, that's it, the first chapter. Hope you enjoyed it. Please review! – Liz