Greetings, creatures of Earth. Behold my first Gilmore Girls fic! I am not the authority on the series (I've only seen parts of Seasons 2 and 3, and maybe the occasional outside episode), so preemptive apologies if I break from canon. For instance: not sure whether Luke is Jess's LEGAL guardian, or just like an extended babysitter. I have a feeling it's the latter, but, you know what? Tough noogies.
Yep, so, you know the drill. Please pleasepleasePLEASE reviewwww. Even if you hate it, even if you get two paragraphs in and can't stand to read another sentence (that would be right about now, I guess). Let me know. It does no good if only the people who LIKE it tell me so. Be mean! Be ruthless! Tell me I will never make it as a writer and will die sad and alone with naught but my sixty-seven cats to keep me company!
Right. R&R. Enjoy. Or don't. You know, whatever.
K. Without further ado: DA STORY.
Jess pushed open the diner door. He briefly noted the cold glare from his uncle behind the bar but paid it no further acknowledgment. He flung his backpack onto a stool and made for the stairs.
With an eye roll of such magnitude it nearly wrenched his head from his shoulders, Jess turned around.
Luke finished drying a glass and tucked it onto a shelf, eyes glued to his nephew. He stooped to reach under the bar and came up with a small black velvet box. Jess did a double-take, and the expression on his face went from surprise to anger in the span of a second and a half.
"Where the hell did you get that?" said Jess.
"We need to talk. Get upstairs."
"You went through my stuff?"
Jess groaned loudly before turning to jog up the stairs.
Luke was right behind him. He shut the door and rounded on his nephew. "You know, it's funny. This looks almost exactly like that necklace from Jason's Jewelry you've been drooling over all week."
"That is funny. Know what else is funny? Invading other people's privacy."
"Don't change the subject. Where did you get this? More importantly, how did you get it? Because the last I heard, you wouldn't have enough money to buy this necklace if you didn't spend a penny for a year."
"I was exaggerating."
"Oh, so you bought it?"
"What is this, an interrogation?"
"Be glad it's me and not the police!"
"You know, I'm getting really tired of everyone accusing me of everything all the time!"
"I haven't accused you of anything. I want you to tell me in your own words, before I jump to any conclusions."
"Right, because you certainly haven't done that yet."
"Tell me where you got it."
Jess hesitated. He fiddled with his shirt collar and bounced on his heels. "You're really gonna make me say it, aren't you?"
Luke spread his hands expectantly.
"Fine. I took it. You happy?"
"No, I'm not. As a matter of fact, I'm considerably angry right now. What the hell is the matter with you?"
"I wanted it, I didn't have the money, so I took it."
"And the fact that you committed a felony is no great grievance to you."
"Wouldn't be the first."
"I didn't hear that."
"Well, what about you? Last I heard, it was a felony to root through someone else's things."
"You're thinking of 'breaking and entering,' and since you're a minor under my care, that particular law doesn't exactly apply."
"So am I entitled to any privacy at all?"
"You rescinded that privilege when you stole a thousand-dollar necklace."
"You didn't know I stole when you were snooping around my room!"
"Well I guess I got lucky, didn't I?"
Jess ran his hands through his hair. "I can't believe you were just up here going through my stuff."
"This isn't about me, Jess." He pointed at the door behind him. "You are gonna walk out that door and return that necklace to the store."
Jess pulled an incredulous face. "No!"
"That wasn't a request."
"I'm not giving it back! It's mine now."
"Only because you stole it. What happens when the police get involved? You've been hanging around that store every day for a week and a half, and you don't exactly have the cleanest track record."
"But nobody saw me take it."
"If they have reason to think you did, they can come in here with a search warrant. And if you think they won't be as thorough as I was, my friend, you are very sorely mistaken."
"Well by then it won't be here anymore."
Luke cocked his head. "Oh, really? Where will it be?"
"With Rory," said Jess. "It's her birthday present."
Luke stared at him for a full thirty seconds before he trusted himself to speak. When he did, his words were clipped and spoken through clenched teeth. "You mean," he said, "you're planning on giving that—a thousand-dollar, stolen necklace—to someone you care about, just so you can have a flashy birthday present?"
"Well I wasn't going to wear it."
Luke grabbed him by the lapel of his coat and dragged him to the sofa, pushing him down. He leaned over and jabbed a finger at his nose. "You are not giving that necklace to Rory."
"Yes, I am!"
"And what happens when she wears it out, and someone sees it? She's not going to keep it locked up in her room. What happens when someone asks where she got it?"
Jess took a moment. "She'd never tell on me."
"So she'll end up taking the blame herself?"
Jess swallowed. It was clear he hadn't thought this far.
"You need to take it back, and you need to take it back now."
"So, what, I just waltz in there, say, 'Hey, Jason, here's your necklace back I stole from you! No hard feelings, huh?' And then he smiles and pinches my cheek and sends me on my way?"
"So what happens?"
"I don't know."
"Gee, Legal Guardian, thanks a million."
"Well, I'm sorry, but I've never stolen anything before."
"Not even a pack of gum from the grocery store checkout line?"
"It was one Reese's cup. Well, it was two Reese's cups, technically, but they were in the same package. But that's entirely beside the point."
"Did your daddy make you bring it back?"
"I ate it before anyone could find out."
"Hey, brilliant idea! I'll melt it down and sell it for cash! Thanks, Luke!"
Jess hopped off the sofa and pushed past his uncle. Luke caught him by the arm.
"The only place you're going is—"
Jess twisted. "Let go of me!"
"The only place you're going is to Jason's to return that necklace!"
"Okay, fine, I'll return it!"
"Oh, that's real convincing!"
"Well what do you want me to say?"
"Say you're going to return the necklace!"
"I'm going to return the necklace!"
"You had just better be, young man!"
Luke released his nephew, who adjusted his jacket with a steely glare, snatched the velvet box, and stormed out the door. Luke heard him pound down the stairs two at a time and imagined him shouldering his way through the diner. He found he was breathing heavily, and his hands were balled into fists. He relaxed them and sat down at the table, holding his forehead between his fingers.
He wished he hadn't lost his cool like that. Somehow, he didn't think Jess was headed for any jewelry store. This wasn't the kind of thing Luke could just let slide. He needed a way to get through to Jess. It was obvious the kid didn't respond to aggression—not the level Luke was operating at, anyway—but when just talking didn't work, what else was he supposed to do? What would a regular parent do?
He steepled his fingers in front of his face. He knew exactly who he had to talk to, and the idea didn't appeal to him in the slightest.
Luke got to his feet. He lifted his cap and fixed his hair underneath. "Sorry, pride," he muttered, and he headed for the stairs.