all i wanted to do was sneak out into the night and disappear somewhere, and go and find out what everybody was doing all over the country. – on the road

when he leaves, she can't say she's surprised. "surprised" isn't really a good term for it -- though she isn't completely sure what she actually feels at the time. her thoughts are kind of a bundle and the first thing that pops into her mind is oh, i had a feeling. not a feeling that he would leave, because honestly? never in a million years did she think he'd do that again. but a feeling that something's about to happen, and something important. important doesn't always equate to good things, she reminds herself, and later on she reminds herself again, and the next day, and the next, and the next. and it takes quite a bit of reminding to actually feel whole again.

a week later, lane takes her to an art exhibit that neither of them wanted to go to. "nothing else to do," lane says, as an excuse, "and you're going to be leaving soon, right? just something to do." rory shrugs; she knows lane is grasping for straws and has been ever since jess left. so she goes.

the artwork is pretty basic -- a tree here, a chair there, an old woman in a chair next to a tree over in the corner. and then she turns a corner, and there it is. it's a tree (big surprise) but instead of leaves on the branches, there are thousands and thousands of dandelions. the dandelion seeds -- is that the word for them? she isn't sure -- are sprinkled in the sky like falling rain.

that night she finishes the book she's been reading for the past month, and she needs something new to read. she ambles over to her bookshelf, picks at random, and holds the book up to her face. on the road. fate made her laugh sometimes, and she almost chuckled at herself.

where was jess? was he on the road?

her eyes scanned the pages but her mind was elsewhere. she was thinking about the falling dandelions. she was thinking about her hopes with jess, and how they were sort of like the dandelions -- her hopes were high, she wanted so much to make their relationship work. it had potential. they were sort of perfect together, weren't they? she'd never met anyone who'd liked the same things as she did; not even lane had the same movie or literary tastes as she did. being with jess made her feel a little complete. not totally complete, because for some reason she had a feeling she'd never be a full circle. but for the time being... less of the circle was missing.

her hopes fell like the dandelions, falling, floating to the ground. slow motion. wind carrying them every which way. unsure of the landing spot. and then, crash.

she thought about dandelions, but she was thinking about jess.

author's note: i haven't written anything non-school related in so long. this is the first in months. i'll update "stay" eventually, i promise you.. but drabbles like this are chicken soup for the soul.