Disclaimer:I don't own Gilmore Girls, or much of anything, really. Eh, except perhaps the plot.

Don't waste your touch, you won't feel anything
Or were you sent to save me?
I've thought too much, you won't find anything...
Worthy of redeeming

–The Leaving Song Pt. 2, AFI

The Art of Imperfection

I.

Mistake Number One.

This is so far from anything she would have picked out. She isn't supposed to be meek and unimaginative when it comes to her future, even if it's her future in relation to sex. This whole situation is laughable. And she would laugh, too, except there's nothing really funny happening here at all and she knows it.

She's seen that look on her mothers face before. She knows this is bad because that look has never been directed towards her.

It's like a scene out of a Lifetime movie, really, the blundering joke about condoms and her mother's questioning about Dean and Is He Going To Leave Lindsay and What Was She Thinking and lots of other things but her head feels heavy and thick with stupidity.

II.

Mistake Number Two.

Being walked in on was the last thing she would have asked for. Especially by every parent-type adult within her immediate family. Chris. Lorelai. Luke. Luke, God, she can't believe the embarrassment.

Unconsciously, she thinks that this is the type of thing that Jess would laugh at, mainly because he isn't the type of boy who gets caught, ever. Obviously covert operations aren't Logan's specialty.

Maybe this is just something that weddings do to her, like some sort of chemical balancing problem that her brain can't correct. Perhaps it's a shot of loneliness. She can't really be sure, mainly because Lorelai has that expression that she's slowly getting used to seeing at all the wrong moments.

III.

Mistake Number Three.

It's late into summer and she still has nothing to do with herself. Hell, it's not even summer anymore, it's nearly her twenty-first birthday and for some inexplicable reason she doesn't want it to come.

She can feel the looks her grandfather gives her, disappointed but forgiving all at the same time. It's then that she looks quickly away, feeling guilty and deceitful because she knows there's everything to hide.

At first she doesn't notice when it's just her grandmother trying to shlep her around, showing her off in her classy little black dress that she picked out for her, neat and pressed, something to go with the sparkling twenty-one of her birthday cake. She suddenly notices that her grandfather isn't there.

And there's Logan, kissing her cheek, saying: Happy Birthday, Ace. It takes her a couple of seconds to respond, the undertow of guilt pulling her below the placid surface, her grandfather's face–expression–is burned into her for one brilliantly conscience moment.

Now she knows what that look was supposed to mean.

IV.

Mistake Number Four

By now, she really should know better than this. Than lying. To Logan, to her mother, to herself. It's helping no one, least of all her, but the truth would sound so ridiculous that she doesn't bother to mention it.

When Logan asks her what she did while he was in Costa Rica, she doesn't answer, not really. What would be the point in telling the truth? Instead, she shrugs her shoulders, flicks her hair, grabs her purse, vaguely wondering when she became such a bitch.

I went to Philadelphia, she wants to tell him, to throw it in his face. I went to see Jess. They had talked and laughed and he had asked her to dinner and she had accepted, missing him more than she ever would admit. Years ago she told herself that she wouldn't pine and now it's taking every ounce of her dignity to stand by her declaration. But it's not really hopeless longing that she's feeling, just a paranoid sort of nervousness that there will come a time when Jess stops trying to surprise her with visits and his own personal improvement and everything that she's been missing out on.

As she's leaving, Logan asks her when she'll be home. The way he asks implies that he expects an answer. She says nothing, just shuts the door quietly on her way out.

V.

All Apologies

He really is surprised to see her. It's late afternoon on a Saturday, nearly six, but still light enough to see his shocked expression from his second story window. She'd been throwing rocks for nearly twenty minutes before he noticed the tap, tap, tap at his window. The idea alone is enough to make her blush.

She scoffs her flats against the sidewalk, looking around, feeling a little like a awkward teenager but trying to look like she knows what she's doing. Faking confidence.

Jess is, thankfully, pleased to see her. She sees this as a good omen, and chides herself for being silly but feels better all the same.

It's warm for June, or maybe it's just the shot of freedom that she's feeling with school done for now and no one expecting her home or present for anything, even if it's just a place an their arm; she has no ties, no prior commitments.

He takes her out again, to someplace quieter this time, and they talk and order drinks and pick around their food to have something to do with their hands. There's nothing to hang over them now, and the electricity has charged the air between them, hands brushing with hidden smiles and lots of leading statements.

She goes home with him with everything feeling new and unnaturally sensitive. And she's remembering Dean and how his hair hung in her face and how he didn't really touch her afterwards and Logan and how he would tell her touch it like this andput that there, always the boss of her, and she's looking at Jess and suddenly forgetting everything except him and now and this.

Memories rush past her, out and away and forgotten as Jess carries her, bride-like, beyond the threshold of her past.

Stories are always remembered by their endings. It's what defines the piece, the work of art. She never could have planned this, listed it, written it down as a possible outcome, but it's the finale she always wanted, dreamed of, hoped for. What you'd call imperfect perfection, everything starting out wrong but changing into something she never would have been brave enough to ask for, into Jess kissing her mouth, neck, stomach, breasts, owning her and showing her what Intimacy is, into making the choice she wants to make and having it right by extension.

He takes her once, twice, and then again, giving her that look that means forgiveness, and perhaps other things. What others would call love, he gives without words. And she gets it, knowing that it's more than enough.