He'd always known that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Rory Gilmore. Almost from the first moment he met her Jess Mariano found himself believing in things he had disregarded before: namely the belief that there was one person out there that's meant to be with another person. He'd spent the first part of his life thinking that this belief his mother held onto was a bunch of bullshit. Then he had met her, and if he was some sort of girl that and had sat down and made a list of the perfect person then she would have been the top of his list.

But the problem was this: Timing is everything and they just never seemed to have that on their side. Ever. Even when they were together nothing ever seemed to be timed right. They took turns putting themselves out there and getting their hearts crushed and destroying the people around them in the process. Timing was everything and it never seemed to work out for them. She was with Dean, then she was with Dean again and then that jackass Logan. Damn he had thought he hated Dean and then he'd met Logan – boy did Rory know how to pick them, but anyone would say that about him, so what leg did he have to stand on?

He could remember the last two times he had kissed Rory. The first last time stuck out in his mind even if it shouldn't (he was ignoring that time at that party with Lane Kim's band because he liked to pretend that that moment didn't exist). She'd just gotten off of the bus from school and she was worried about studying for some test she'd have the next morning, so she'd popped into Luke's begging for a cup of coffee and that was it, he had handed over the coffee cup and she'd kissed him quickly before hurrying out the door. That was it. It had happened a million times before, a habit, the moment had been easy and simple like it was going to happen a million times again. It didn't.

The last time she had kissed him it all been wrong. He had thought that that was their moment, that they could finally get over the past, that they had put in enough time, that he had fixed his life enough to finally deserve her. He'd been wrong again. Shocker. Actually it was though, he'd hoped that they would finally get a shot but she was still with that douchebag with the Porsche. So that had been that and he'd honestly tried to just let her go, he had his life on track and it was time to accept that they were never going to be together.

Really it had been easier then he would have expected. At first anyway. His life in Philadelphia was good and he finally had a girl that was finally on the same time frame as he was. There were no douchebag recent exes or boyfriends hanging around. She was cute and smart and he couldn't bring her home for Christmas. He'd tried, honestly, he'd spent days working up the nerve to ask her to go to Stars Hollow with him for the holidays but he couldn't bring himself to ask her. The idea of taking her to Stars Hollow: introduce her to Luke? Introduce her to Rory? The very idea of it was ridiculous and made Jess realize that maybe he wasn't as over Rory as he liked to believe.

Seeing Rory again just brought all of that back. They had spent the couple days they were home (because let's face it Jess had lived a lot of different places but Stars Hollow was home) catching up, talking about what they had been reading and what they were both working on and it felt as right as it ever had. Shit, he was relieved to hear that she had turned down Logan's proposal of marriage he couldn't picture her as a the high society wife she would have been. He was even more relieved to find that it was a decision she didn't regret. (She regretted hurting Logan, she said, but ultimately it had been the right decision for her)

So that had put Jess back in Philadelphia at the start of the new year with nothing having changed, well except for the fact that he was finally being honest with himself and he no longer had a girlfriend. As usually they weren't exactly in the right place at the right time but it was a start. He didn't know where her head was at but he did know, finally, how he felt and it was the same conclusion he had come to years ago. If he was going to be with anyone forever then it was going to be her.

Then she had showed up at his apartment and she was talking the instant that he pulled open the door. For the most part he could keep up with her mile a minute dialogue but the shock of actually seeing her at his apartment was making his thought process slower then usual (or maybe, if possible, she was talking even faster). But she was talking about Luke and Lorelai (it sounded like the engagement was back on but again he couldn't be completely sure) and then she was talking about cousins and marrying cousins. His brain just wasn't able to process all of this but then he realized that had less to do with him and more to do with the fact that the speech she was going on about wasn't actually in full sentences.

"Come in," Jess pulled her into the apartment and shut the door behind them thankful that his roommates weren't home at the moment. "I know slow isn't really a speed for you but what's going on?"

Rory offered a sheepish smile as she started pulling off the jacket and scarf she wore, "sorry, I jut came from my moms."

He got her settled on the couch and out came the story. Luke and Lorelai had decided that they were just going to skip the whole stupid process of dating and getting engaged all over again. Luke admitted that he had been an idiot and Lorelai didn't want to have to go through and plan another wedding. So they were getting married in two weeks, in Stars Hollow in front of all of their friends and their family and Rory was so excited for then. Then he understood the cousin part, and jokingly or not they were going to be cousins.

"I want to be with you Jess. I know that we've been through a lot, and I know Luke mentioned that you had a girlfriend but that never stopped you from showing up and asking me," she gave him a wry smile. It was the truth and she had every right to speak it. "So here's the thing, I know that in the past the time has never been right for us, and I know right now we are leading totally separate lives but I've always thought that eventually were were going to get another chance. The thing is, though, in two weeks were going to be cousins, step-cousins I know and that doesn't really matter but really..." She stopped speaking and took a long deep breath sot that when she's speaking again it's not the coffee addicted speed he's used to, but it's calm and collected and very sure.

"What I came here to ask you is, will you be my date to my mom and Luke's wedding?"

There it was. She wasn't saying it but they both knew what this meant, it was now or never. They were starting their new lives and they couldn't hold onto a relationship that had existed in high school it was now or never. Now was what they both wanted, it was written all over her face and he finally knew exactly what he wanted and he could have it. Jess Mariano was a lot of things but idiot was no longer one of them. They'd take things slow, rushing things was not going to help anyone out but this was it, end game.

"Maybe we could grab a coffee between now and then. Like now, for instance, there's great place just down the street that I think you'd love. If you have the time."

She beamed at him and Jess knew that the point had made it's way across, "I have all the time in the world."