Disclaimer: Jake belongs to me, everything is not mine.
A/N: so, long time no see, right? I'm sorry if any of you had been waiting for my return. This year has been one hell of a ride and I didn't get the chance to write much. But it seems that my muse is finally back. So I present to you the fourth installment in the 'Ridiculous' series. I hope you'll enjoy. Please don't forget to review.
A/N (bis): This one goes to pamhalliwell because I can't imagine without her anymore and to Marlycook because she inspired me to write again. Thank you guys.
A good man.
"So… Are you guys going to be alright?" Lorelai asked, eyes shifting between Jess and Rory. The tension was so thick at the moment; she was sure it could form a bubble around them that wouldn't let anything get in or out of it. Luke couldn't even look at them. He quickly put his jacket on and went to say good bye to Jake and Doula in the living room.
Rory tried to smile but she didn't fool anyone. Her stiff posture and the tightness of her lips were making it hard for Lorelai to believe her.
"We'll be fine, Mom. Don't worry, everything will be alright," the younger Gilmore said coming closer to her mother and embracing her tightly. Sensing her daughter's distress, Lorelai looked over at Jess to try once again to figure out what the matter was. However, it was to no avail. He was stubbornly looking ahead, refusing to even glance at them. Luke came back then and it seemed that he couldn't get out of here faster.
"Let's go, Lor'. We have a long trip ahead of us," he said awkwardly, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
"Okay," Lorelai nodded and let go of Rory. Mother and daughter exchanged a look and it took every ounce of Lorelai's will power to not cancel their trip. She couldn't do that to her husband, though. They really needed some time alone. He had been working so hard lately, he deserved some peace.
"Have a nice trip, guys," Rory said, her smile a little more genuine this time.
"We'll try," Luke grumbled.
"If you need anything…"
"I – we'll be fine, mom. Go and do not worry."
Lorelai nodded. "Bye Jess," she added. He nodded.
"Drive safe," he simply replied and she smiled.
Five minutes later, Lorelai had said good bye to the kids one more time and they had departed. Rory and Jess glared at each other in the entry hall, the tension now crackling in the air around them, ready to explode.
"I have work to do," she said between clenched teeth.
"Whatever," he said with a roll of his eyes and stepped into the living room, letting himself fall on the couch.
"Are you and Rory fighting?" the little girl asked.
"For two people to fight, they have to actually speak to each other," he replied crossing his legs at the ankles and folding his arms above his chest tightly. Doula looked up puzzled and he sighed. "No, squirt, we're not fighting," he assured her but it was not hard to see that she didn't believe him one bit.
The next couple of days were the most excruciating mix of heavy silences and awkward moments. If Jess had to describe them, he would compare them to a Friday night dinner at the Gilmore mansion with Kirk as special guest. Rory slept in her old bedroom; the kids shared Luke and Lorelai's bed while he suffered on the couch. The couple would spend their days thoroughly ignoring each other, exchanging turns in entertaining Doula and Jake. In between those moments, they'd either eat or work.
Jess only spoke twice directly to his girlfriend and it was only because he had no other choice; Doula was becoming more and more annoying. If it wasn't for the amount of hurt and his wounded pride, he'd have made peace with Rory just to avoid another questioning look from his too observing sister. He wished he could just leave, put some space between them in order to take some perspective but he couldn't leave her alone with the kids. Plus, he had promised his mother he would be spending as much time with Doula as possible. It was just his luck that his mother and her douche bag of a husband decided to leave town the same week as Lorelai and Luke did. And now, on top of this whole mess, he felt guilty for wishing to be away from Doula.
What really tore him apart though were his regrets. He regretted the week that might have been if they were talking to each other. He regretted a future that might never happen. He regretted her silence four days ago and most of all he regretted not being able to keep his big mouth shut.
They were in her bed; their legs were entwined while her head rested on his chest and the sheets were thrown casually over their sweaty limbs. Jess had his nose buried in her neck, the scent of her strawberry shampoo making him silly and dizzy. She was softly tracing complicated pattern across his chest with her pinkie, her face relaxed in a peaceful smile. He took a deep breath and the air he released through his nose tickled the soft skin between her neck and her shoulder. She squirmed a little but when he nibbled on that part of her body she sighed happily. He whispered something in her ear; something that would have made Emily gasp and stomp her foot but that made Rory giggle softly and kiss his chest.
They had been together for six months and he could shamelessly say that he had never felt more content in his life. She meant more than words could possibly describe and that was saying a lot; words were his life. He simply wanted to feel that way for as long as possible. Supposedly there was nothing wrong with that.
"Marry me," he whispered. There was no doubt in his mind, no fear, just bliss. He realized how easy it was. He couldn't have predicted her reaction, though. The silence that followed his proposal carried on for so long, he could have believed she fell asleep. Suddenly, he really wished that sleep had indeed taken her. He would have preferred that to the tension he could feel in every one of her muscles.
"Be serious," she finally said, plainly, without emotion, before rolling off of him. That was when his old friends fear and doubt came to pay him visit. He had never felt colder before.
"What?" He asked his voice hoarse with incredulity. His heart sank so low in his chest, he was sure it would never get back in place.
"Jess, you… you can't just say stuff like that," she stammered almost angrily. He didn't understand why she was so upset. "You can't joke about something so important. You-"
He interrupted her. "I just asked you to marry me and you think I'm joking?" He felt like his anger was much more justified than hers. "What is wrong with you?" he spat. Before she had time to move or even react, he jumped out of bed and into his pair of dark jeans. He was out of the apartment in less time than it took her to reject him. The worse part of it all was that she didn't even try to stop him.
When they were faced with each other for the first time after that night, it was in the Danes' entry hall to say good bye to his uncle and her mother. The anger and humiliation were still making his head spin so he chose not to think about it but that was so much easier said than done. He just couldn't understand why she had thought he was kidding. Who does that? Didn't she know that even if some people did, he never took such matters lightly? Wasn't she aware that she was his world? And why in the hell was she angry? She shouldn't be angry, she didn't earn that right. For once she was in the wrong, not him.
He knew the only way to solve this and to get the answers to those questions was to talk to her but the hurt was too real, too fresh. He could barely look at her anymore. She had to come to him, that was the only outcome conceivable for him. He was always the one cuddling her, trying to be better, mending the heart he had broken a lifetime ago. If she really wanted him, she would have to come to him. He knew being stubborn wasn't going to lead him anywhere, because his pride's only match was hers but his broken heart wouldn't let him act any differently. So he waited, he sulked, he hoped and he waited some more.
On their third night in the Crapshack, Jake and Doula set up a movie night. Blankets and cushions were laid out on the floor, a mountain of junk food sat in the middle of the room and Ratatouille was ready to be inserted in the DVD player. The only dark note was the forlorn looks that Jess and Rory shared. They were all in their pajamas, their pillows in their arms and were trying to determine their sleeping partners. After five minutes of watching the adults stare stubbornly at the floor, pouting like giant babies, Doula grabbed Jake's hand and led him to the very left of the blankets. They laid there looking up at Rory and Jess, waiting. The internationally famous author glared at his little sister and let himself fall on the floor next to Rory's brother. She rolled her eyes but followed them, seating next to her boyfriend, Indian style. It took her a few seconds to realize that her left knee was grazing his right thigh. She shivered but quickly moved away, not daring to look at him. It had been their first physical contact in five days and he felt a jolt of electricity run through his entire body. In all the turmoil he didn't even pause to realize that he had been missing her. But now he was forced to realize that what hurt the most was her absence. His need for her was intense in that moment that he almost forgot why he was so mad and so sad.
He looked at the side of her face for a long time, trying to understand, trying to make her look at him but it was in vain. The only thing he managed to do was make her blush a pretty pink. She remained still for the rest of the night. She didn't move, only clutching her pillow to her chest. When the kids finally fell asleep, she got up, covered them carefully and placed a sweet kisses on their cheeks. He watched her as she cleared up the living room and made her way to her room. At the door she paused, one hand on the door frame and he held his breath.
"Good night," she murmured. He closed his eyes, acute relief coursing through his vein. Her small acknowledgement was like a cold glass of water after a marathon. Pride be damned, he was just glad he heard her voice again.
"Good night," he replied just as softly, his eyes still closed. He heard her intake of breath and his eyes shot to her form. He was stunned to see her shoulders shaking with silent tears. He was up and by her side in a matter of nanoseconds. He hesitantly reach his hand out, afraid that he would scare her off.
"Ror," he said softly and before he could say anything more, she had thrown her arms around his neck. Surprise quickly vanished and he hugged her tightly to him, really breathing for the first time in five days. Her head was buried in his shoulder and he could feel her moist lips kissing his neck sloppily. She cried soundly then. Sobs overtook her petite form so he quickly swept her off her feet and carried her to her room. He lead them to her bed and shortly after that they were back in that familiar position, limbs tangled, cheek to chest, nose to neck. He felt alive again. He knew much needed to be said but as he held her and let her cry her heart out, he felt a sense of purpose again. She could reject him as many times as she felt the need to, in the end he was her glutton for punishment. As long as she chose to cling to him in her moments of despair.
They fell asleep like that, fully closed and exhausted but together.
He woke up in the middle of the night with that familiar feeling of her eyes watching him. He slowly opened his and looked up at her shinning blue eyes.
"Sorry," she whispered. His lips tugged upward at the sound of her raspy voice.
"Why are you up?"
"I miss you," she replied simply. He nodded.
"I missed you too."
"No you don't understand, not in the past tense. I miss you," she said in a little voice. He frowned confusedly. "Even when we're together I miss you. It's like I can't get enough of you. Sometimes, I love you so much, I can barely take it."
He knew that feeling. It was a terrifying feeling to be so dependant of someone else. He felt like his love for her could easily fill up a castle. It often weighed down on his chest, blocking his airways. He watched her then, with her disheveled hair, puffy cheeks and scared bright eyes and he felt it, all around them.
"I'm sorry I hurt you," she said then kissing his forehead tenderly. "I wasn't expecting it. You caught me completely off guard. I mean we aren't even living together," she tried but he rolled his eyes at that. It wasn't official but they were living together. He spent so much time in her apartment, her neighbors called him by his first name. She understood she had to give him something real. Something that justified the hell he had been through these last few days.
She took a deep breath, "And sometimes, I'm still afraid you'll realize that you are meant for greater things than me and Hartford. I'm scared shitless of waking up one morning and finding you gone. I'm not sure I'd survive it this time," she admitted brokenly, her voice shaky with unshed tears. Her words cut him so harshly that he actually looked down at his chest to make sure he wasn't bleeding. She grabbed his chin and made him look back at her. There was a different intensity in her eyes now. Something fiercely possessive. He shivered.
"I am yours Jess, you have to know that. Nothing can change that. Not my silly insecurities and certainly not your stupid pride."
"I'm sorry," he said after a pause.
It was her turn to frown. "Why?"
"Because my past self ruined what should have been one the most important moment of our lives," he answered. She shook her head and offered him a breath-taking smile.
"Can you imagine what our 17 year-old selves would say if they knew what was happening?" she asked with a smirk similar to his. He laughed; feeling like the weight of the world was being taken off his shoulders.
"Barely," he answered and she giggled.
"Well, no matter how fond of 17 year-old Jess I am, it's you I love. I watched you the last three days and I think you will be one hell of a father," she said kissing his lips. He was surprised by her observation. He had spent so much of time thinking about her since the proposal that he couldn't understand how she had arrived to that conclusion. He had been a robot, only responding when spoken to. He had tried to be more alive for Doula and Jake but he felt like he had failed miserably.
She must have seen the doubt reflected in his eyes because she elaborated, "You don't see how Doula looks at you. Like you invented Christmas or something," she added with a chuckle. He looked away, his chest tightening. "And yesterday Jake forbade me to break up with you. Forbade me! That little brat, taking your side without even knowing what was going on," she finished with a little pout. He almost smiled. "You're a good man, Jess. I'm so sorry I let the past come between us," she said her eyes pleading. As if he hadn't already forgiven her. As if he could be anywhere but here, with her.
"Marry me?" he asked again, locking his eyes with her. The tears that she had been trying to hold finally broke free.
"Yes," she agreed in a relieved whisper before he captured her lips in a fervent kiss.
Three days later when Lorelai and Luke arrived home late in the night, they found the newly engaged couple asleep on the couch. A book had fallen on the floor and in its place on Jess' chest; Rory's left hand was sparkling with true love.
A/N: there you go. I know it was slightly more angsty than my previous works but I've had this idea in mind ever since I started writing this series of one shot. A review would make me very happy.