A/N: So, anyways, I'm kinda sorta in the middle of another story right now, but this idea was screaming to be written down. I dunno, I was studying for my algebra final (ironically) and all I was focusing on was this fanfic. The AA meeting, why she was there, why he was there, where it was, everyone's reaction, who knew, when does it take place, ect. Ultimately, I have no chance in hell for my final unless this is put out into our spammed internet universe for the general public to critique.
Disclaimer: We can always wish, can't we?
The whole room smells like sweat, old McDonald's cheeseburgers and stale alcohol.
Rory Gilmore sits on the diner-style vinyl and metal chair whose plastic was slashed, letting a generous amount of fluff-ish resembling stuff to hang out. Of course, she herself does not notice the condition of the seat nor the nose-wrinkling odors, seeing as she's concentrating a whole lot of energy on biting on her lower lip in a vain effort to make everything disappear.
There are seven chairs in something that resembles a circle, a person sitting on every single one. There's the lady with dark blonde hair who is fumbling with a cigarette lighter despite the crooked sign on the cracked glass panel door that requests that she not smoke, the waif of a kid gorging on a fast food item in a greasy yellow wrapper and the obese man with the coffee stained shirt who is wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, yet at the same time trying not to stare the waif of a kid.
They're the drunks.
Yet, naturally, there are also the people like Rory in attendance.
There's the man with the comb over and the Rolex, constantly checking the time and drumming his manicured fingers one the knee of his Armani suit pants, the young brunette bouncing a kid on one knee as she texts somebody on her cell phone and the bottle-blond, disgusted housewife who is squeezing a dollop of hand sanitizer onto her hand, the expression on her face something in strange resemblance to a six year old girl who has a dead ant waved in her face by the school bully.
They're the alcoholics.
When the door with the sign that says "Please Do Not Smoke" is shoved open by a harried looking man with dark hair that needs a trim, Rory doesn't notice. The man rushes over to the brunette with the phone (who now looks relived), hugs her, kisses her forehead, tells her that he's sorry, and picks up the toddler. He also adds an eighth chair to the circle.
Rory doesn't notice any of this because she's staring that the light pink and green linoleum tiled floor; everything wasn't disappearing like it was supposed to.
The attendees are scooting their chairs backwards, causing a hollow sound to echo throughout the basement of the church. The basement also doubles as a soup kitchen between the hours of one and seven p.m.
A ninth chair is brought forward by a woman with bad teeth, frizzy gray hair and a clipboard. She's the only one in the room, besides the toddler, who has a smile on her face.
She announces that her name is Maria and requests that everybody in the circle say their title and 'admit to what they are.' Rory notices that the young man-- whom she just realized was in the room --was not exempt from this preliminary exercise. She thinks he looks relatively familiar, but her brain is throbbing so bad from her sudden alcohol induced migraine. She can't quite place him.
The man with the stained t-shirt's name is Joe. Joe is doesn't know what he his until Maria decides for him. Cheeseburger Boy's name is Luther and he's twenty years old...he forgot what he was.
The man with the Rolex's name is Alexander Price IV and he is 'fucking irritated'. The brunette says that her momma named her Amanda Lynn (but everybody can call her Mandy) and that she's an alcoholic.
Maria gives Mandy a pack of gum.
Rory feels her sweaty hands start to stick to the rough fabric of her jeans when Betty says that she needs a new box of cigarettes. The stench of burning tobacco in a paper roll makes her headache worse and the back of her eyes start to pound. Her throat burns as she struggles to hold in the vomit that's climbing up from her stomach as she mumbles that her names is Rory Gilmore and that she's an alcoholic.
Jess Mariano stands in a second hand bookstore, a tattered copy of Oliver Twist held between his hands. He flips idly through the pages, not expecting much but suddenly, his own hand writing jumps out of the margins, staring him in the face. No...he thinks, staring at the words; the familiar crunch of his teenager self's text.
Who...? He wonders, confused. Jess knows it can't be his book, seeing as he has this particular installment of Charles Dickens' writing sitting on his shelf in his apartment. It can't be. No, there's no way. She wouldn't. She would never.
Even though he is now positive that he knows whose property this is, Jess turns back the front cover, seeing Rory Gilmore's name written neatly in the corner.
A pure act of impulse, he walks to the front counter and pays for the book, the whole time mulling through the files of his brain, completely lost to the reason why Rory would be brought to discard one of her books. Sighing, he runs his hand through his hair and exits the establishment, her book tucked in the back pocket of his jeans.
In the front of Bailey's Already Read Novels, there is a set-up and a rack of books, somewhat of a sample of what this Bailey character sells. Jess bends down, taking a one last look, thinking that he might find something—
"This is insanity..." he mumbles to himself, dumping out a huge box of books, short stories and novels on the sidewalk, people staring at him as they walk by. He checks all of the front covers, seeing Rory's name in their respectable corners. All of her favorite Russian authors are there, the classics she loves and the non-fiction yarns about the foreign countries that she wants to visit before the age of thirty, "What happened to you?" he asks himself, feeling his stomach lurch, "What made you do this?"
Jerking him out of his thoughts, his pocket vibrates; a text (most likely) from Mandy. Jess flips open his phone, irritated, and even more so when he finds out that she's springing one of her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on him and wants him to pick up Jack.
Quickly, he places all of Rory's books back in the box, bursts back into the store and requests that the cashier holds them for him, that he'll be back later that afternoon.
He bounces Jack on his knee, waiting for the group advisor to arrive. Jess, more than anything in the world, wants to get back to the store.
"Hey," Mandy hisses at him, "you're going to give our kid friggin' shaken baby syndrome or some shit like that if you keep it up."
"Will you relax?"
"Jess, you're the one that needs to 'relax'," she mutters, turning back to her phone. Lord, she is pissy today.
He tries to calm down, but his mind keeps racing in a multitude of directions all streets ending at a dead end. He hasn't spoken to Rory since that day in Philly at his bookstore a little more than five years ago. Jess has no idea what she has done with her life or what paper she ended up working at; the calls from Luke stopped a few months ago. He's tried to call him himself or even visit, but the calls came un-answered and Jack is always shoved in his face during Jess's only spare time. When talking to his mother, he never gets a straight answer. Whenever the topic even comes close to Lorelai or Rory, Liz wanders around the subject and neatly avoids talking about them.
However, Jess is sitting in one of eight (nine, now, actually, a disgustingly cheerful lady just joined the group) chairs, taking no particular notice of the occupants. He doesn't care about them at all. He just wants to get out of there.
"Hello, everybody, I'm thrilled that all of you showed up!" the lady announces, causing several people to jump, "My name is Maria and we're going to start off this little shin-dig with an exercise." Oh, God, Jess groans to himself. "I would like all of you state your name and what you are." What the hell is this? The church basement has a constant something-is-rotting-in-here smell to it and is dingy and unpleasant to exist in. "We'll start off with you, sweetie," Maria says, pointing to Jess.
"Uh, no, no!" he says waving his hands, "I'm not a...um, an alcoholic."
She narrows her brow at him, "Then why are you here?"
"I have to baby-sit," He mumbles, pointing to Jack.
"Oh," clearly she is very perturbed at this, "Well, then, sir, what is your name and what are you?" she repeats this whole 'what are you' thing with a tad bit more gusto than necessary and turns to the fat man with the stained shirt.
"I'm Joe Cladwell...I—" he breaks off, dissolving into fits of laughter, "I-I dunno what I am, ter be honest, ma'am."
"Okay...you're an alcoholic, Joe, that's why you're here," she says sweetly, giving Jess a death glare at the same time. She looks at the greasy kid, "You, little boy, what's your name?"
"I'm twenty," he drawls, balling up his McDonald's wrapper, "Then name's Luther and," he grins, "I forgot what I am."
"Alright, then," Maria sighs, fed up already, "Who're you?" she points to the rich guy with the briefcase under his chair.
"Alexander Price IV and I'm fucking irritated."
"My momma named me Amanda Lynn," Mandy says, smiling, showing off her white teeth. Jess rolls his eyes. What a suck up, "But ya'll can me Mandy. I'm an alcoholic."
"Thank-you, Mandy," Maria says, and tosses her a pack of Big Red, "Congratulations," she mutters under her breath, definitely a huge mood swing from when she first walked into the room. She turns to the lady who is smoking, "Who're you?"
"Nevermind..." she turns to the girl sitting next to her, "Who're you?"
Jess feels his whole body jolt when the girl looks up from the floor she was staring at. I'm dreaming...I have to be fucking dreaming...
She hasn't changed a bit. Although, however, her clothes don't scream "D.A.R affiliate!" anymore and she looks very pale. The kind of pale that makes people back away from you for fear of being hurled on. Her hands are grasping her knees so hard that he can see that her knuckles are white...
"My name," she squares her jaw even though her voice is shaking and looks at Maria square in the eye, "is Rory Gilmore and I'm," No, Jess prays to himself, squeezing his eyes shut. No, Rory don't say it. Please don't say it... "an alcoholic."