Title : A Past That You Forgave

Author : Melissa (a.k.a. CherryWolf713, or, Lyssa)

Summary : (this chapter) Rory follows Jess into town...

Pairing : Rory/Jess, Rory/Logan (an necessary evil...trust me, I no-likey Logan) Lorelai/Luke, Lane/Zack

Status : WIP

Disclaimer : I don't own the rights to GG, obviously, cause Jess never made an appearance in the finale...

A/N : I feel so stupid and oblivious since I just realized, like, two weeks ago that the dude that played Zack on GG is totally Terry on 'True Blood'!!! How I missed that I don't know...though I did keep saying to my husband that Terry looked familiar (and to which my husband just said "whatever. Do I really have to watch this vampire crap?") Anyway, yes, I'm aware this information has nothing to do with this GG fic but it was so awesome that I just had to point it out (the same guy playing both roles, not me totally missing that fact)

Chapter 08 - Old Fights & New Bets

Rory eyed the small silver car, noting the differences she hadn't seen from her bedroom window. While the car wasn't brand new, it was still in good shape, obviously having been taken care of. As she walked past the driver door she casually peered downward and through the window, taking in the lose cd cases piled up on the passenger seat and the paperback book stuffed down between the seats with a small smile.

Curious, she paused to reach in the open window, snatching the book. She felt Jess's eyes on her as she glanced at the cover and turned it over, starting to read the back. She had barely gotten through the first sentence when it was plucked from her fingers.

"Hey, I was reading that," she protested, reaching for the book once more.

Holding it away, Jess sent a mock-angry look her way. "Personal property Gilmore. Besides, I was reading it first."

"Bu-but I haven't read it yet and the New York Times raved about it last month."

Ignoring her attempts to catch his eyes to randomly flip through the pages of the book, Jess just shrugged. "Not my problem." He pocketed the book then continued the walk down the driveway, heading toward town.

"Fine," Rory glumly replied, following after him. "You get me all excited over a new book then deny me...mean..."

Rolling his eyes, Jess scoffed. "You got yourself all worked up after snooping through my car."

Letting go of the book for the more interesting topic of Jess's new vehicle, Rory looked over her shoulder once more at the fleeting car. Walking a few more feet, she placed her hands in her pants pockets and ever-co-casually commented, "so, new wheels, huh?"

"New wheels?"

Ignoring his mocking tone, she asked, "I take it the publishing business is going good?"

Jess shrugged then, not giving much away.

Rolling her own eyes now, she told him, "well, I hope it's going good. You seemed really excited about it last trip."

It was the first time either one of them had really mentioned his last visit and she hoped that by doing it casually it wouldn't be this whole big thing. Eyeing him from the corner of her eye, Rory noted that Jess didn't seem mad or upset over her comment, just thoughtful. Taking his lead, she walked quietly, taking in the normal sights of Stars Hollow. It never amazed her how much the town stayed the same; it was almost as if their whole little lives were enclosed in a bubble where time moved slowly, edging forward little by little, doing it's best to never disturb the peaceful atmosphere.

"So, Liz is pregnant," Jess said suddenly.

Rory's footsteps faltered slightly but she caught herself, eyeing Jess. "Wow...congratulations." When he didn't say anything else, she rethought her reaction and asked hesitantly, "no congratulations?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"Jess..." Rory reached out tentatively and placed a hand on his arm.

Looking more thoughtful he added, "she seems happy. I guess that should count for something."

"But you're not happy?"

"Doesn't really matter; it doesn't have anything to do with me."

"She's your mother, Jess. This has everything to do with you," Rory told him, stopping to stress her point.

"Me and Liz...are me and Liz, I guess. She was an ok mom for the most part but that's it."

The casual way he discussed the non-relationship with Liz unsettled Rory for some reason and she wanted, no needed, to lighten the moment. Starting to walk again, she made sure to keep her voice light as she questioned, "so you're not even the littlest bit excited about having a brother or sister? You could mold them into the perfect small-town hoodlum wanna-be."

"I guess it would be ok to teach them how awesome Hemingway is..."

Adapting a disgusted face, she shook her head. "I said mold them, not torture them."


The walk to town remained light-hearted, both Rory and Jess arguing their age-old beliefs on literature. By the time they had reached the corner of Stars Hollow's main street, Rory was invested in their conversation so that when he stopped and proclaimed they were 'there', she was started to remember what he was talking about.

"Huh?" she proclaimed dimly, looking around slightly. "You brought me to Doose's?"

Rolling his eyes, Jess simply pointed forward, prompting her to follow his finger and gaze down the street toward Luke's. Almost instantly Rory's eyes lit up and she grinned full-out.

"You are my new favorite person right now," she gushed, hugging her almost-empty coffee cup eagerly as she moved forward a few feet, angling for a better view. Luke and Taylor squared off in front of the Diner, both men red-faced and adamant in their argument, though Luke's towering form over Taylor lent the taller man more credit. That and the fact that Luke was practically spitting with rage.

It was turning out to be a great day in Stars Hollow.

"I said no, Taylor," Luke obviously repeated, his tone bordering on a growl filled with annoyance.

"You always say 'no', Luke," Taylor dismissed, like the very thought of the flannel-clad diner owner saying no was nothing new. "Wouldn't you like to say 'yes' just once-"

"No," Luke dead-panned but Taylor continued to talk right over him.

"-to the give the town the privilege and pride of being committed and united in our festivals."

"The only thing that needs to be committed around here is you, Taylor," Luke commented to a stuttering and offended Taylor, the sign that was clasped in this hands fluttering.

"N-now you hold right there..."

A few feet down the sidewalk Rory giddily sipped the last of her coffee before saying to Jess, who was off to her side and slightly behind, "this was so worth getting up for. Thanks for coming to get me."

"I live to serve," he told her finally, pulling his eyes away from her profile to come stand right beside her, his eyes darting back and forth between Luke and Taylor's antics to Rory, who was unaware of his appraisal.

"That's it!" Luke finally bellowed, his patience gone as the argument had continued on. "You want me to celebrate something? Lets do it then!" Taylor actually seemed to be starting to smile before Luke's next words slowly drained the grin and color from the older man's face. "How about I celebrate my 'un-grateful, loner ways' by closing the diner every day by 4? Or by painting the outside of the building black? And yes, Taylor, that includes your ice-cream place cause I own it. Or, better yet, how about I stand out here with a bullhorn during your precious little festival spouting my loner ways to all the good and wholesome masses?!"

"Hmm," Jess mused, his eyebrow raising at his uncles' outburst. "I'd buy him the bullhorn."

Leaning into him some, Rory opened her mouth to comment, her eyes never straying off of the entertainment in front of them, "would you offer your own loner rules? Cause that would really give the rally more clout."

"Actually-" Jess started, only to be put off by Rory who suddenly shushed him, earning an eye roll and smirk to be thrown in her direction.

"For crying out loud, Luke," Taylor admonished. "All I did was ask you to hang a little tiny sign in your window."

"Fine. Give me the sign," Luke growled.

"10 bucks says he rips the sign in half," Rory commented.

"20 bucks says Taylor doesn't give the sign up," Jess countered.

"30 bucks says Luke no only gets it, but rips it in half and stomps on it." When Jess didn't seem up to taking the bet, Rory goaded him on with, "chicken...buck-buck-buck..."

"Fine, you're on," Jess tossed out, turning to face her fully. "But, when I win, you also have to give up coffee for a week."

Rory gasped, opening her mouth to flatly turn down his demand, but then she saw the gleam in his dark eyes and her heart stuttered, making her pause. Making a decision, she squared her jaw and told him, "deal. As long as you agree to go to whatever festival is on said sign." She saw the hesitation on his face and grinned evilly, making Jess slit his eyes.


They turned simultaneously to finish watching the spectacle.

Taylor, having sensing Luke's nefarious thoughts concerning the sign, was refusing to hand over the flimsy cardboard. Luke, for his part, finally snapped and reached around the rotund man, snatching the sign and ripping it in half before tossing it up in the air.

"Huh," Rory mused, her attention turning back to Jess as the fire ceased rather suddenly with Luke storming into his diner and Taylor picking up the pieces of cardboard with a huff before walking off also.

"Now, I could be wrong, but I don't recall Luke stomping on anything..."

Hearing the gloating tone in Jess's voice, Rory looked up sharply, quickly pointing out, "But he did get the sign so you don't win fully either."

Dark eyes looked up in thoughtful consideration. "Draw?"

"That sounds fair..." Rory mused, her gaze thoughtful herself as she imagined all the coffee she would be drinking this week.

Jess nodded. "Fine. We both win." Then he turned to walk off, leaving a gawking Rory behind.

"Hey," she called out, "shouldn't that mean we both lose?"

"Nope," he answered, not even turning to look at her. "I'll have a fresh pot of tea waiting for you."

Rory mouth opened and shut more than once as she watched him saunter into the diner.

A/N2 : Ok, so I tried to make this chapter slightly longer than the last, I didn't manage very far. Truth is, I see this fic in little snippets so it's hard to drag my thoughts away from that mind-set...but I tried!! Sorry :(

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