Boxes

Her hand hesitated on the cold brass doorknob. She desperately tried to move away from the door, to put that particular chapter of her life out of her mind (and file it away in the increasingly full box labelled "mistakes") and cut Jess Mariano out of her life completely before she did something even more stupid.

Her feet seemed to have developed a mind of their own, however, and refused to shift even slightly from where they were already fixed.

Her thoughts raced, dragging her back through her turbulent relationship with Jess. From that first meeting, she had known that there was something special between then, some spark of excitement and danger. A forbidden bond of attraction that had seemingly defied all odds and remained with them both. She could still taste him on her lips. That last kiss, which had sent her flying so guiltily through the very door that she still couldn't tear herself away from.

He didn't deserve it-the way she had treated him. She knew she should go and keep herself away from him. She had done enough damage. But he hadn't been sorry that she'd turned up in his life again.

"It is what it is. You. Me." That's what he'd said.

He didn't care that she'd hurt him yet again. She was reminded of the Firelight Festival a few years before when he had turned up out of the blue. She thought it was her right to be hurt, after all, he'd left her, but he had chased her through the town and stood there while she railed at him, all to tell her that he loved her, and she had just stood there, saying nothing. She had done the worst thing imaginable and yet he had still turned up at her dorm room, begging her to go with him anywhere. He loved her that much.

Every time something good had happened to her, she had wanted to call him. Tell him. Let him know that she still cared. That she still loved him. Every time something bad happened, she wanted to cry on his shoulder and have him wipe her tears away and tell her that it would all be ok.

Without thinking, she whipped her cell out of her jacket pocket and flicked through the caller IDs until she found the number she was looking for. She hit the call button.

"Hello?"

"Logan? Is that you?"

"Yeah, Ace. No need to sound so serious! What's up?"

"We need to talk."

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"Huh?"

"Well that's how most break-up conversations start. Or so I'm told."

"I…I…"

"Spit it out, Ace."

"I…I'm still in love with Jess. There. I finally said it."

"What? You mean that publisher jerk? How long has this been going on, Rory?"

"It hasn't. I've seen him twice. Once when you met him and then again today. I went to see him in Philadelphia. That's where I am now."

"What happened?"

"Nothing…I…We kissed, that's all."

"Why are you telling me this? So you can make me feel guilty for what I did?"

"No. I'm telling you to be honest. I don't want to hide everything. But this has made me realise what I should have known all along. I love him."

"Logan? Are you still there?"

"Your stuff will be in the hallway when you get back. If something's missing or you need to discuss anything else, ring Colin or Finn. Have a nice life, Ace."

The phone line went dead.

She turned to face the door, turned the handle and went in.

"Rory? What are you still doing here? Is someone blocking you in?"

She crossed the room in just a few steps and was in his arms.

"What…?"

"Shh."

She looked closely at his face, tracing the outline of his features with her hand. He leaned towards her touch.

"Sad boy. I wish I could make you smile again."

"You can."

He bent his head down and brushed his lips against her but she had been away from him so long that her hunger for him took over. The last thing she remembered before she fell into a trance was his warm breath tickling the strands of her hair as he whispered in her ear.

"I love you, Rory."

~*~

The morning light sparkled in through the flimsy curtains as she turned over. There he was. Her miracle. Lying there with his arms wrapped around her, moulded to her as though he was made to belong to her. She slowly untangled herself from the rumpled sheets and picked up her clothes.

She looked back at the bed to Jess' sleeping form.

Was this closure or something more?

As she pulled on her t-shirt, she thought about his visit to Yale. She had had the opportunity to have this adventure with him a long time ago amidst the boxes that contained her life during her first year at college. She could've gone anywhere with him. Started fresh. Instead she had chosen the path that led to Logan and heartbreak. But, she reflected, it was better this way. Now there were more boxes, outside Logan's apartment but they weren't so hurtful. Everything with Jess led back to boxes and yet she couldn't pack her feelings away.

She carefully wrote out a note for him and stuck it to the nightstand. It simply read:

"I will always love you."

The door clicked shut softly.