Title: Margin Writing
Date Started: 4-5-08
Date Finished: 4-13-08
Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls. It all belongs to Amy Sherman-Palladino and the folks at the WB. The title is in no way affiliated with the song by U2
Summary: A reeling sensation; a feeling that you are about to fall. Rory. Jess. Post California. Sequel to Margin Writing.
A/N: I think this will set better as a second chapter rather than a sequel. Please review after reading.
Chapter Two: Vertigo
Her eyes were wide and almond shaped, like twin robins eggs, floating on the creamy porcelain surface of her skin. He swallowed, habits emerging out of nervousness, the level plane to which he had grounded himself was now defunct. Reeling, Jess did what came most unnaturally to him, he looked her in the eye.
"I . . . " She started, taking a small step and then retreating. Almost a half-step.
He felt his jaw clench and unclench. Tight and then relaxed. Jess held his hands in his pockets, unsure of what to do with them. The air was thick with hand-written promises, conversations that could have stretched days but only graced pages.
"I missed you."
Her full, pink mouth had opened up and completed her earlier statement. He felt his body soften, adrenalin lapping at his fingertips while branches of possibility sprang from her words.
Jess's expression was strong and subtle, small flecks of gold peaking out behind the warm brown of his eyes. He could see past all her surprise and foolishness.
Dizziness. His chest tightened, suffocated by the words he wanted to show her. What would be an adequate response? I missed you too? You're beautiful? I couldn't stop thinking about you while I was away–I need you–I want you to be with me–I want you to love me–I love you and you alone–
A tear slid down her cheek, followed soundlessly by another. Silence. A gesture they both understood.
She surrendered, miserably, literally, physically. "Jess." He stoked her hair, pulled her shivering body into his like a wolf claiming it's mate. Self-conscious in every situation, Rory pressed her face into the fabric of his clothes. She was ugly when she cried.
He liked to think alone. Perhaps it was a side-effect of growing up in a city of noise and chaos, but Jess took solace in bouts of self-imposed loneliness. It was sort of a coping process. In every flare up of his moods or his anger he could sense his weak spot; after eighteen years he was well-versed in vulnerability.
California was a blinding mix of wayward alternatives and sickening reality. When he'd been younger Jess had made up lies about his father. When people asked about his dad he would tell them something different every time. That his dad was dead, that he was a spy for the government, and–at the impressionable age of eight–he had once claimed that his father was a gangster.
In hindsight Jess saw his earlier actions as his first form of storytelling. Lies. Word of his deception rarely made it's way back to his mother. Liz was a separate entity from her son, moving in the opposite directions from the being she had created. What did young girls do when they had boys? Play dad? Replace what wouldn't fit? Husbands one, two, three, and almost four did little to curb Jess's obvious hunger for change. The older he got the more deceived he felt.
Half was still half, no matter what age. To Jess, a teenager in a city of ageless strangers, every deal felt raw and pre-meditated. Every fight and every insult and every shitty thing that happened to him felt like a personal Fuck You from the unseen Control Freak that was God. Fuck You for trying. Fuck You for expecting. Fuck You for believing when you knew otherwise.
With Rory on the other side of the continent he was able to look at his life realistically. The Pacific sun blanketed his movements as Jess stood still and transparent next to his father.
The water was frothy and blue from reflection, highlighted by crashing white caps that curved and melted into the sea. He felt small and dominated by nature.
The only words he understood where the ones he wrote himself. Every letter was composed with a clear stream of narration; writing got to be easy, easier than stringing thoughts together on their own. Jess would speak to her through landscapes of relationships, he would paint the dynamic that was emerging between him and his father. Everything penned like a quasi confession. For Jess, making up his losses was misery, a process that burned with dishonesty and a sense of irreconcilable damages.
"Can I . . . ?" He reached to take her hand. They sat on her little twin bed in her shared dorm room, it's cubicle-like floor-plan was easily disguised with books and other academic paraphernalia. Rory smiled in spite of herself, slightly embarrassed by her scene before.
Her hand covered his. "Jess, you don't have to ask. I mean, I thought you knew about, oh jeez," she was nervous and largely terrified of being rejected after months of waiting and over a year of guilty truths. She glanced away from his face.
Jess tried to keep his tone neutral but calming. "You mean," he started, "you mean you still want–"
Rory's voice was small, quiet and explorative. She looked up at him through her lashes.
Soberly, Jess laced their hands together. "Ok."
Jimmy kicked a weathered stone over the cliff-face, both men losing track of it's decent into the tumultuous ocean. Beside him, Jess kept his distance from the edge but maintained his cool; the wind skipped off the waters surface, working it's way into Jess's hair and throwing it away from his face.
"If I pushed you in, would you swim?"
Jess remained passive, his face a patched mask of indifference; he had grown accustomed to Jimmy's off-base interrogations. Ever since his arrival in Venice Beach his medically-bound "father" had attempted to get the feel of his personality. Jess felt apprehensive about the close scrutiny but refrained from commenting. If Jimmy felt the need to subject his long lost son to disguised analysis, Jess had no room to protest.
"It's not like I'd have much choice."
"You know how to swim?"
Those kinds of questions had initially grated on Jess's nerves but he grew to numb his annoyances. Holding a grudge against his father–for abandoning him, for never taking the time to observe these discoveries as they occurred–would be the anti-thesis of his current goal: to make amends with his past.
"Yeah, I can swim."
The pair walked down to the beach in amiable silence. The Redwoods towered over them, casting a cool blanket of shade over father and son as they traipsed through the maritime forests of Northern California. The drive had been long and sticky with heat, minus the humidity that Jess knew intimately from his time on the East Coast. It was a break from Los Angeles, one of the last official weekends of summer before students from UCLA would start up classes, before Lily timidly entered the third grade, and before Jess felt like he was really losing time.
Jimmy sat at the base of a towering Redwood. "Who do you write to all the time?"
Jess imitated his action. "A friend of mine."
"Just the one?"
He tore a blade of grass, letting the pieces fall between his fingers. "Yes. Her name's Rory."
"You're writing letters to a girl who lives across the country, in a state you despise. Any story behind that?"
Normally he would have told Jimmy to lay off the twenty questions, most likely delivering his grievances with an attitude or an indifferent expression. But he was grasping at straws, turning and figuring a way to piece together what he wanted with the means to secure it. There were promises he'd made to Rory that he intended to make good on, things he understood in theory alone.
"Please don't say it's a long story."
Jess arched one of his fine dark eyebrows. "Well, if you insist . . . it's more than long. I don't even know how to explain it orally. I feel like I'm in one of those old-English tragedy-fated love stories where happiness is reached in the second generation while the first suffers in an unmarked grave somewhere . . . "
"So write it down."
Jimmy slept, Jess smoked; the Earth spun on it's axis while more rocks fell into the sea.
"It's a book." Rory flipped through the ink-stained college ruled pages. "This is amazing."
"Technically, it's a notebook." Jess toyed with a strand of her hair, watching serenely while Rory's expression went from awe to intrigue.
"I can't believe you're writing. I mean, this is, actually I can believe you're writing. Oh, I bet it's really good. You're probably a great writer–"
"Well maybe you should go to the beginning," he turned the pages for her, "and see for yourself."
She smiled, all soft lips and apple cheeks. "Thank you for letting me, you know, read this."
Her face lit up like a flame, dancing, colored with wonder, her cheeks tinged with a faint pink blush. He felt loose and relaxed, sedated before the final injection, feather light before the fall.
He slept with his face buried in her hair. Her bed was small, twin sized and not made for two people, but they managed. The curved slope of her back was pressed against his torso, the back of his hand lightly brushing the underside of her breast while his arm encircled her waist. He couldn't bring himself to remove his clothing in front of Rory, not when they'd never even kissed–save once, over a year ago, an occasion that was savored but forgotten for both their sakes.
Far away on the arid coastline of California, he'd thought about her, about how different she was from the blond bikini girls that littered the beaches and the boardwalk. Rory, with her dark silken hair, her face like a Rembrandt painting.
Whenever he looked at her he saw damp lace, it's form softening with moisture and age; the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath.
A reeling sensation; a feeling that you are about to fall–
It was more than sex–a need that surpassed and transgressed and took a shape of it's own–all that he wanted from her. With her body tucked into his, arms soft and curved but still defined, he could think clearly–pointedly–his mind diffusing through what was now and what was past. It was the crescendo, a true resolve, they had reached the final score.
Rory gulped down her glass of water, her mouth suddenly dry and tinged with nervousness while Jess dug around behind his bookcase. His apartment was small but not uncomfortably so. Two rooms mainly, a bedroom–it's presence visible through marred French doors–and a general living area: a couch, books stacked in a corner on second-hand shelves, a desk that bore signs of his writing, and a small kitchenette that she supposed he rarely used.
"Ah, here it is."
He made his way back over to the couch, holding a definite rectangle wrapped in cloth.
"I hid it. If this thing got lifted from my apartment I'd never forgive myself"
She watched, wide eyed and expectant, as Jess uncovered the faded spine of an archaic book. The side was black–now a charcoal gray due to age–and labeled in fine, gold print: Wuthering Heights.
Rory touched it's battered cover, the fabric that had once been green was now a strange cross between yellow and decay. "I wouldn't suggest writing in this one."
Jess gave a half-smile. "I found it in a throw-away box at a used bookstore. It only cost me three dollars. Crazy woman didn't know what she was selling."
Checking the title page, Rory's eyes widened at the sight of Emily Bronte's pseudonym. "How old is this?"
Jess answered while Rory flicked through the pages. "I got it checked out, and apparently it's a first edition. It's not in the best condition," he admitted, "but it's still worth a ridiculous amount."
"You're selling it?"
He scoffed. "'Course not."
Yes. "A little."
He chuckled, running the pads of his fingers over her flat stomach. "You are."
She quivered beneath his touch, her hair spread around her like a sunflower. "Maybe."
Rory sat up slightly so Jess could remove her bra, "Don't be."
It had been a slow seduction, spanning the length of years and states and circumstances. Jess let the straps fall from her shoulders, kissing her hungrily.
He had fallen into a state of mind that had lasted many months, a point in which he had doubted everything. His worth, Rory's feelings toward him, even the prospect of success that he had formally expected. In that period he saw Rory as unattainable, her virginity like a shield.
"Jess," she whimpered, dragging blunt nails across his scalp, pulling him fully on top of her.
He traced the line of her femininity with his mouth, "Yes Rory?" His voice was eerily calm compared to hers. His hand was between her legs, cupping her over the thin fabric of her panties, just holding her.
She squired. "Please, just . . . "
He cupped her breasts, her spine curving like a rod of hot metal. "Patience, Rory. Be patient."
Her chest rose and fell in sharp little intakes of breath. The gap between her legs was widening on instinct. He pressed his weight against her, enough to ease some of her tension but not so much that it pained her. She moaned with every trace of contact; the space being filled, her hollow emptiness soft and slick at the edges, the blossom of virginal lips–
May you not rest, as long as I am living. You said I killed you–haunt me, then.
A/N: This is the end. I hope all of you enjoyed reading Margin Writing. Reviews are always appreciated.