Rory ignored the bright red sign informing her that the diner was closed as she approached the door to the diner, her gaze was instead fixed on the surly looking man behind the counter. His back was hunched over slightly as he leant forwards, his attention focused on the book between his hands.
Her heart sped up a little when she saw him, but it wasn't because she was interested in him that way. No, not at all. She just really liked the book he was reading, Dostoevsky –and he made it sound like he didn't read! No to mention, she could see a full pot of coffee just behind him. Dostoevsky and coffee! Whose heart wouldn't race? That had to be why her stomach flipped when she knocked on the glass door, not to mention the hitch in her breathing as he looked up and met her eyes with some surprise. She didn't like him… right?
"Hey." He said when he opened the door, looking at her curiously as he let her inside
"Hey." The only reason her cheeks were heating was the change in temperature between outside and in. It had nothing to do with his gaze.
"What happened to Edina and Patsy?" Jess asked.
Rory shrugged, smiling slightly, "I really felt like some ice cream?"
Jess smirked teasingly, "I know just the place." He turned and walked into the store room, leaving her in the diner alone, "So, you like ice cream in a cone, right?" He called in between rooms.
"It's the best kind." Rory answered.
"Great, just a sec then." Glancing around the diner, Rory's eyes once again landed on the thick book that had been discarded on the counter.
"Dostoevsky, huh? You know you're Russian Alphabet too?"
She heard a small chuckle escape him, "Just whack a –ski on the end of every word and you're practically fluent."
"It's a good book." Rory commented.
"You've read it?" He asked, emerging from the store room with a pair of keys.
"Yeah, I wasn't lying when I told you that I read a lot… you on the other hand." She sent him a pointed look as he shrugged on his jacket.
"I wasn't lying. I was just… over simplifying." He said carefully.
Rory laughed, "Now there's a whole new level of creative license."
"Come on, let's go." He said, shaking his head as he lead her out the door of the diner.
"Where are we going?" She asked.
"To get ice cream." He answered slowly.
"Everywhere is closed." She pointed out.
"Ah, but I have these." He dangled the keys before her eyes and nudged his head pointedly in the direction of the Soda Shoppe.
"Are those the keys to Taylor's shop?" Rory asked, shocked.
"Yep." Jess raised his eyebrows as he backed away in the direction of the doorway.
"That's a crime mister! How'd you get those anyway?"
"Luke's the landlord, he has a copy. Relax, I'll pay for them after. Just live a little." Jess urged.
"The last time someone told me to live a little I ended up jumping ten stories." Rory muttered.
Jess smirked, "Well I hope my company's not that painful."
Rory huffed a little, "Fine, but this better be some good ice cream."
Jess held the door open for her, fighting the urge to laugh. "Ladies first."
Smiling with amusement now, Rory slipped past him. His scent made her head light, but that was just a common side affect of… uh… cologne? Yeah. That must be it.
"So, what'll it be?" Jess asked, strolling behind the counter as if he did this everyday.
"Uh… Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate." Rory answered.
"So… three scoops of chocolate?" Ok, so maybe he hadn't done this before.
"No, it's actually called Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate." Rory grinned as he nodded in understanding and proceeded to scoop the substance into two waffle cones. "More, please." Rory said, flashing him another smile as he tried to hand her the cone. Quirking an eyebrow, he filled the cone to her satisfaction and handed it over before beginning to make his own.
Rory let out a low hum of satisfaction. Jess swallowed thickly to clear his now dry throat, "So, uh, I take it you like ice cream?"
"Like? No. Love, worship, adore? Yes. Ice cream is a staple in my diet." Rory grinned.
"Huh." Jess nodded, avoiding watching her innocently lick her ice-cream as he scooped his own, "So what do you do?" He asked.
"What do you mean?" Rory asked looking up at him.
"For work, or are you still in school?"
"Nope, I graduated college already. I'm a journalist."
"Ah, so I'm fraternizing with the enemy." He teased, walking across the room to take the seat next to her.
"No, not the enemy. I work on Barrack Obama's campaign bus. It's the VJs you've got to watch out for."
"I'll keep an eye out."
"Do you really get a lot of attention like that?" Rory asked out of curiosity.
"I try and stay out of the spotlight… but yeah, people love a story."
Rory laughed, "I thought all actors were begging for the spotlight."
"Eh, acting was just… there. It actually freaks me out when people run up to me screaming." He shrugged.
"If acting's just there, then why do you do it? I mean, most people act because they love it. It's a tough industry."
"You know when you're good at something, but you hate it? It's so easy to just go along with it that no one even notices. I mean, I don't hate acting. It's alright, I just don't care for it." He said lightly.
"History." Rory nodded in understanding.
"I'm sorry… what?" Jess chuckled, amused by her random exclamation.
Rory blushed, "History. I was really good at history in high school, and everyone assumed that because I was interested in journalism and History is an essay based subject, I must love history too. I couldn't care less about history, but I still chose it as an elective –even at Yale. Not even my history teachers noticed my lack of enthusiasm."
"So what did you like then?" He asked.
"English. I love reading, and writing." She answered.
Jess smirked, "So you're a fan of great writers like Tolstoy and Hemmingway then?"
Rory pulled a face, "Excuse me? Did you just call Hemmingway great? Are you high?"
"Hey," Jess defended, "That man was a genius."
"Yeah, he invented a cure for insomnia alright."
"You have no taste." Jess teased lightly.
"I have taste! I just have a more refined palate. Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand! Now they, were the real genius'."
"Rand was a total nut job! And Sylvia Plath? I can't stand her, I mean, come on! Just say it already!" Jess rolled his eyes.
"Typical guy response. God forbid you should pick up some Charlotte Bronte or John Donne." Rory sighed, although she was smiling.
"Hey! I've read Charlotte, and I think she did unjust to her sister, but John Donne? No thanks. Poetry never did it for me."
"Is that why you're so anti Sylvia Plath then?" Rory asked.
"Yep." Jess nodded.
"That's totally unfair –I mean, the Bell Jar wasn't poetry. You have to read that!"
"Some woman droning on about her life problems? No thank you. I gave up when she started walking around with blood on her face."
"Yet I bet you loved A Catcher in the Rye." Rory laughed.
"Salinger is one of the great American Writers of all time." Jess nodded.
"Read the Bell Jar again. It's depressing, but at least she doesn't chain smoke throughout the entire thing."
Jess smirked, "And what will you do for me?"
Rory blushed, "I'll, uh, I'll read Hemmingway! I'll just have to make sure I'm over caffeinated first."
Jess chuckled, "It's a deal."
-Some enjoyable conversation later-
"No way!" Rory protested, she had been having a great time just hanging out with Jess, neither had bothered to reflect on the fact that their ice creams were long since devoured.
"I don't really get what all the fuss is about though." Jess shrugged, "I mean, my nose is crooked from being broken one too many times in fights, and I try to be as unapproachable as possible yet the gawking continues."
Rory laughed, "It's the whole bad boy appeal. Though I'm not sure it warrants jumping in front of your car. Once I couldn't walk past an ice cream shop near my apartment at Yale without on of the attendants chasing me with free ice cream and asking for a date."
Jess laughed, "Did you go out with him?"
"Nah, I had a boyfriend at the time. I did take the ice cream though."
"It's be a shame not to." Jess glanced down at his watch, "It's late."
Rory, glancing at her own watch, agreed, "I should probably get back." She said, coming to a stand.
"Sure, um, I'll lock up… so I'll see you tomorrow?"
The air was awkward now for the first time that evening, "Sure. Tomorrow. I'll need breakfast. Yeah, bye." With a slight wave she slipped out the door, beginning the short walk home.
"Rory!" Lorelai cried when the front door swung open, "You're alive!"
"Of course I am." Rory grumbled.
"Woah. What's up with you?"
"It was a perfect 'date', I had a lovely time, we talked, we laughed we discussed Faulkner and that was it! Nothing, nada, zilch! No kiss goodbye, no hug! Oh my gosh! I didn't even take the photo! Dan was just sitting there while I made pointless chit chat and waved my way through a goodbye so tense you could cut it with a knife!" Rory raved.
"Oh thank god!" Lorelai sighed.
"What?! It was horrible! He was supposed to be all romantic and then I could honestly have a kiss like in the movies –movie guy and all!"
"Honey," Lorelai started, "Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing…"
"What do you mean?" Rory asked.
Lorelai led her into the lounge room, pointing to the array of magazine pages that had been ripped out and placed strategically across the coffee table. "That's what I mean."
Each picture was of Milo Ventimiglia, and each picture had a different girl.
Don't even pretend to hate me, I know where I'm going with this P! So I wanted to do the whole cliché Hemmingway debate, but I decided to incorporate other book discussions that took place throughout the seasons and mesh them all together with my own twist to create something (vaguely) unique. I hope you liked it. Now Jess and Rory are getting to know each other… but the path to love is seldom easy as our (star-crossed?) lovers will soon find out.