Hey everyone; and here I am, busting out of the Jess/Rory closet. I apologize to the trory fans that appreciated me, but to me, writing is only good when it has a passion behind it. Trory no longer had anything for me, so I move on. And personally, I really like the Jess/Rory combo; the idea behind it is worth exploring. To starz, isabelle, anonymouse writer and all those who came before me; way to pioneer the field. I know this board is mainly trory, but...you just have to read this before deciding!!!!
Anyway, here, without much ado, is the story. I hope you enjoy.
little disclaimer; i only own the story bit, sue me and you'll get some shit.
take my work under your name, i'll crush your hard-drive and your fame :-}
She was the kind of girl that I remember seeing at the corner store once; hair in her face, picking up bottles of milk carefully, getting a cup of coffee, innocent blue eyes piercing the world with their cynical sincerity. she had looked at me with a passing glance, and I had despised her for her naiveté, but only because her eyes seemed to belong in a different world, one I was not a part of.
That had been a long time ago, when I had lived in Brooklyn. I had wondered secretly what was the marvelous thing she was holding, the intangible warmth I had no part of. Quietly, she disappeared, and I never remembered her until now.
When I saw Rory Gilmore.
I wiped a countertop and stared; a strange shiver ran through me and I recalled some famous words that passed through my head at a glance.....
"she was an odd girl, so beautiful that she was ordinary.......and her eyes smiled at me when she frowned."
Struggling to recall which book that was from, I went back to the countertop. But inside, the seed had been planted, and I felt the thin shiver of need slice through me cleanly, and disappear as soon as it had come. Puzzled, I poured a customer some coffee, and went to the back.
I've always been tortured by something. Or rather, lack of something. And I had this strange feeling from the start that she had that something I missed. Craving quietly, I went back to my work, trying to put her easy grin out of my mind.
I missed home.
I missed the way the heater kicked in when I woke up, and the house was freezing; outside on the windowsill, a completely iced over pigeon would fall off the ledge and splinter into ice cubes on the pavement below. I'd laugh, and hop out of bed, miserably shivering. Throwing my stuff in a bag, I'd race to catch the R2 on the corner. Sometimes I'd have to wait at the bus stop bench, amidst the scrawled graffiti and broken pavement, and I'd read. Sometimes I brought a book. Other times I read what people had scratched into the plastic.
Nina and Pancho
Puerto Rico; boricuas for life
233-546-8905, Majo come home.
I love Shakeita.
Silent testimonies to love, misery, and longing, written out by people with not enough courage to scream them outloud from the rooftops. There they clung to the worn plastic, sad reminders of emotions dead or long lost........
Shootings happened on our street once in a while. It wasn't uncommon. Sometimes when I was little my mama told me it was a car backfiring. When I was 9 I found out it never was true. I had almost got hit by a bullet before, but that had cured me of being afraid. You couldn't be afraid if you were going to live. You had to learn a way of walking, standing, glaring, and where to smile and where to not in order to survive. The safest was not to smile at all. Sometimes you'd smoke some weed if everyone was, sometimes you wouldn't; it all depended on your mood. Me and Robbie and Tony Cruz would sell sometimes, but no serious traffic. Just a way of making lunch money. We'd all hole up at Luis' place when we got looked for, and his brother would make some vicious taquitos with rice and beans; or we'd hide out at Terrell's apartment once in a while. His mom would make macaroni and cheese and then shuffle back to her bedroom to lay on her bed and watch Oprah. She'd always wear the same old stringy bathrobe, and Terrell's eyes would be full of something deep and hard when he shut the door behind her.
I used to think it was pain.
The city was cold in winter, unforgiving; the hallways with their stained walls and cool cement echoed with the steps of students, all miserable and crowded into the small spaces. Cracked windows, dirty with grime would glow translucent in the gray winter mornings; there was a sweet poetical misery in it, a degradation and filth that screamed out of thousands of lost histories among it's unfeeling walls.
It wasn't until we got busted for the 10th time that I got sent here.
The police station was cold as ever. The front desk knew my name. The same man with crinkly gray hair and cold eyes looked at me, and said, "welcome back, son."
The 10th time.
Bail was posted, miraculously, not because I deserved it. Rightfully, I should have gone to jail. But it was a hard up year at the station, lack of government funding causing heat shortage and a general shabbiness to the place that wore hard on the eyes. So they took the bail, and used it for God knows what.
The first moment I found myself here I though I had entered a different world.
It was morning, and rolling over in my sofa bed, I felt sick.
Terrell's face when I said goodbye. Luis' eyes, and the way Robbie and Tony had given me their awkward last glances. The cool smoginess of the station. The sound of the ever moving traffic. The way all our faces said sorry, but our mouths just said goodbye.
Rolling out of the bed, I managed to get into a shower. I felt a little better, but.....not much.
I guess I did do a lot of stupid things since I came here. Back home, they would have been little normal acts of vandalism. People wouldn't even have noticed. But here, they're public business, they're terrible, horrible moral sins. Everyone comes to see, everyone comes to talk. It's sickening, the lack of smarts here. The way you don't have to walk a certain way. Or to look. The sheer infuriating homeyness of it all, like some big Martha Stewart commercial. People decorate, people just walk around for no reason, people smile too much. Thinking of the city and the dirty tile floor at the 7-11 on the corner where we did our work, my stomach heaves. Not because of the 7-11, but because of this place.
I hate it.
It's maddening. She's maddening. She belongs in the little fairy tale world these people have constructed so carefully. They wouldn't last a day in the city, them with their tall tales and festivals and gnomes and twinkly lights. They'd be crushed on the metro. They'd get shot on the street.
Everything I know how to do well is useless here. Like protecting myself. Like protecting others and being real with my friends. Like cooking things on a hot plate and kicking the heater to make it work and stealing so easy that even when they see you they don't believe you did it. All these things are useless, and I'm a fish out of the water, not knowing how to live or how to make do.
Not knowing how to talk to her.
Because I need to show someone and have them understand. I'm dying to be understood. I'm a goddamn typical psychological community center counseling reject. Except, I think I might be frighteningly intelligent.
Bitterly, I throw down a cleaning rag into the laundry basket and head back into the front.
And there she is, at a table by herself, and there's something wrong with her. I can see it at first glance. Her eyes are dazed, and her cheeks are flushed and liquid is hovering under her eyelids, making her stare glassy and trembling. She's upset, and her fingers tap down on the table nervously. I can see she's waiting for her mother, and something's happened.
Suddenly, I feel a small pang inside my heart, a small pang of disillusion at the shattering of a perfect life. Her life, not mine. I never had a perfect life. In a way it hurts me, because I had begun to believe that you could be as lucky. But I should have known better. Pain is inevitable in this world.
Grabbing a napkin, I quickly take a pen and scribble down something. Picking up the coffee pot, I head to her table.
Her head is bent, and she does not look up at me. I know it's more than she can handle right now. I'm not the easiest person to talk to, and I've probably hurt her in the past without knowing it.
So I just set down a mug, fill it to the brim, and then leave it on the table with the napkin.
Walking back to the counter, I feel a tiny sense of satisfaction as I see her eyes boring holes into the back of my head, burning with that strange fierceness she has sometimes.
She knows, and when I look up at her slyly, out of the corner of my eyes, her cheeks are tinged with red and her lips are in a tiny smile, as if saying thank you.
But the way they look at me, I can tell they're searching me deep.
If the street has taught you one thing, it's to never let somebody read you. I can see her puzzlement as she manages to get no feel of my emotions, no grasp of what I am or what I'm thinking. She's used to doing this, something that can easily be done with these open small town people.
Not me. Confused, she looks back down at her napkin, her expressions longingly curious.
Maybe someday she'll know.
I watch her lips slowly mouth out the words, beautiful in their simplicity and hidden meaning.
We will go
Nowhere we know.
We don't have to talk at all.....
She smiles at me again. The bell tinkles quietly as she walks out the door, but I know I've planted the seed of discontent.
It's only the beginning.
The words stared up at me from the napkin, crude and exciting in their simplicity, vulgar in their innocence, underlaid with deep tremors of unspoken words. I looked towards him, trying to read him, to see what he meant, but his face and actions gave away nothing. He had been trained well; he was the only person I've never been able to read. His face was a completely calm exterior, so realistic I had to fight to remind myself that it wasn't real. His eyes stared at me quietly when he looked up for a split second, completely calm and emotionless. He went back to wiping the countertop, and then started making more coffee.
I mouthed the words to myself again, tasting them, turning them over and over inside my mouth. They were beautiful. Simple. An invitation, but to what? A request, but for what? Go where? Why?
Frustrated, I looked at the simple little poem again. Suddenly, I realized it didn't matter which meaning I used. It was all the same to him. When I looked up again at him, he smiled a small smile; he recognized in my eyes that I had discovered the meaning of his little game. Still smiling, I got up and left.
Now that I think about it, I should have said thanks.
We fought again; me and Dean.....I didn't think it would happen, but out of nowhere with a frightening regularity, the bickering started. This time it was a full blown fight. Miss Patty's headline would have read: Trouble in Paradise-Perfect Couple Rocks Sleepy Town with Interpersonal Discord. I don't understand what's happening, things that I believed were right now seem wrong. Things that didn't seem to matter now become subjects of arguments, and everything strangely annoys me. I get irritated so easily......and I don't know why.
There's tiny part of me that says, it's because of Beck over there quoting his poems to you; can't you leave well enough alone? But there's a tiny part of me that longs for something else, for a fresh story, for a new book to explore. I don't want to hear again Dean's little story of growing up here and playing Little League. I want to hear how the Brooklyn Bridge looks in the morning when it's frosted over, I want to understand the melodious, twisted language the Puerto Ricans mix with English, I want him to tell me of nights out on corners, of fights, of cold, of hunger, of all those things I wouldn't know or understand. Beck; that's what I secretly call him now, and I don't know why it's secret. Almost like I don't want to admit to myself he is in my head.
He knows things I want to know. And I'm not allowed to know them with Dean standing on my right arm, and this causes a mild but persistent irritation that Dean can't understand. Is it my fault? he asks, and I have to shake my head for the thousandth time. No Dean, it's not you. Sorry for bickering. I'm being grouchy. I'll be Donna Reed.
Before he left, I took one last glance at my secret enigma. There's a cool air of mystery that surrounds him, a worldly knowledge of the terrible and unknown; the knowledge of pain, of passion. Of deep capacity for friendship and love, buried and hidden inside. His sleeves are rolled up, sinewy arms with muscle bound tightly to bone in a lean, casual way work their way across the counter, and it's not hard to see the definition of his arms and chest as he lifts the heavy crates with ease. His fingers are long and slightly rough, with surprisingly clean and well-formed nails, cut short and smooth; they look sensitive and artistic, but worn by the work they've had to do. Dark, messy hair and deep smoldering eyes rest above the slightly twisted mouth; they reveal no secrets. He has a surprising definition to his jaw line that speaks stubbornness, and suddenly, I realize...he's looking at me.........
I leave immediately, but not before thinking twice of the quiet, sullen figure that's looking at me with a gaze so intense I'm afraid I'll break under it. I think he knows, he knows I want to know more. But he won't ask me. He'll wait, wait for me to come to him and ask him to translate....
Heading for home, I think about this enigma. Sometimes, the shadows hide him, but I know he's there, cigarette smoke curling around him, his eyes smoldering and guarded , watching me. A rebel without a cause. Or maybe just a lost poet in a great, miserable city, seeking for something he'll never find. Now he's here, and I wonder, if this is what I've been waiting for. Someone who understands. Someone who could spend a whole day curled up in a dusty study, reading and making notes, having an intelligent conversation, sharing some coffee......
Ashamed, I enter my house. It's this kind of thinking that gets you in trouble in the first place, Rory, I reminded myself. Be cool. Don't let him mess this up for you. You've got what you want.
"Hey babe, home already?" came the cheery voice from the living room.
"Unfortunately," I muttered, hanging up my coat.
"Where's the floppy haired wonder?" grinned my mom, peeking her head around the corner.
"Somewhere sulking," I told her, and headed for the coffee pot.
"Oh, poor girl, did you two have another squabble? What was it this time? The weather? The brand of chapstick he uses? You know, polls say the majority of girls prefer Strawberry chapstick on their boyfriends rather than Medicated. Is he using medicated? Cause if he's using medicated, you could always tell him to change. Unless it's about the weather."
"I don't know what it was about," I groaned, frustrated. "He was telling me about flunking some test, and I was telling him to be responsible, and from there it just went straight to 'you smart, me stupid? what you say! Bah! I hit you with club and carry you to cave! bad concubine! bad!'"
"Oh Jesus," moaned my mom. "Maybe the hair hides the empty space, that's why he keeps it long. Sweetheart, maybe you should avoid the academics topic with Dean. He's not exactly the most academically oriented person I know. He works at a grocery market."
"I'm sick of having to avoid topics! There's too much stuff I don't dare talk about. I'm sick of hearing him say stuff like "you'll go to harvard and I'll work at the coffee shop across the street" and other junk like that. For God's sake, I'm tired of avoiding things."
"Like what? Other guys?" grinned Lorelai.
"Mom!" I hissed. "You're making me sound like a hooch. I don't want to get with anybody else. I'm just feeling penned in."
"The day I'd hear you compare yourself with a sheep."
"Maybe I'm comparing myself to a pig. Pigs can be penned in."
"Ok, Babe. Isn't that what I call you anyway? Alright, then it's Miss Piggy. Or Wilbur. Are you saying you're a pig?"
"No! I'm just saying sheep is a cliche when you say penned in. Sheep aren't the only ones that wander." I said, frustrated and confused.
"Yeah well, I think you should be a sheep cause you've gone astray."
"I'm not an animal. Ok? And how am I going astray?"
"You're straying from the kitchen, Donna. Your Narcolepsy Boy is waiting for you to bring him his slippers. March."
"Ok, that's it. No more talking to you."
"Except to tell you to stop that."
"Hey back! No child of mine talks to me like that. Or sheep of mine." grinned my mom.
I stomped upstairs muttering, thinking about what she said. As nonsensical as our conversations are, she does speak a lot of truth. I always find the answer in them. And this particular conversation told me that she was right; I was penned in, sheep or not. Ruefully, I looked at the problem again, and let it drop. It was too much for me to handle.
It had turned evening by the time I was done with my homework, but I was in no mood to call Dean.
"What do you talk about?" Jess had asked me. I mean, Beck.
Now I looked back at his words, and truly wondered. What did we talk about?
I couldn't remember one substantial thing. Always going back to the same old jokes. Always discussing events. Always talking about other people or things. Never discussing school, or books, or greater dreams, or our histories, or our feelings. The conversations were light and passed easily, and I always ended up feeling like......instead of eating I had swallowed air and realized too late I was empty.......
"Going for a walk!" I yelled to my mom, who sat on the couch doing bills.
"Don't be too late. And don't wander too far from the herd." she replied absently.
"Har har har, funny. I'll be bout half hour." I said pointedly, and marched outside.
The cool autumn air enveloped me, reminding me that snow was almost here; bundled up in a coat and scarf, only my cheeks were a little cold. I started walking down the main streets, wandering past the familiar buildings, until I reached a bench. Sighing a little, I remembered the kisses Dean and I shared on a bench once. The peaceful days.....
"Hey," interrupted a voice.
The first thing I smelled was faint cigarette smoke. I knew it was him immediately, before even looking up.
"Put that thing out," I said, wrinkling my nose in disgust. "Cigarettes are an addiction you should get rid of. They hurt your lungs."
"And coffee is an addiction you should get rid of. It makes you short and gives you weak bones, and is technically a drug like nicotine."
I looked back in surprise at his immediate and sarcastic reply, suddenly feeling warm. He was fighting back.
"I don't see coffee patches and chain coffee drinkers and coffee recovery centers. Methinks your problem is a tad more serious than mine."
"Fine, whatever you say, future midget. When Ringling Bros comes calling don't whine to me."
"Oh I won't, you'll be dead of lung cancer by then."
"And you'll be a nervous wreck that's too short to look up into my casket to bid me farewell." he replied, grinning.
"Who says I'll come to your funeral?" I answered, delighted.
"Oh, you will because they always have coffee afterwards when everyone stands around and gossips about the deceased. You'll probably bring your boyfriend for moral support and to hold your IV tubes." he answered gamely, not offended.
"At the rate things are going, my boyfriend's gonna be needing IV tubes if he starts one more argument." I muttered, immediately sorry I had.
"All things not well in Lollipop Land? Are things suddenly altering from the Disney Script?" he asked innocently.
"I should have never opened my mouth," I sighed, and crossed my arms.
"Sorry," he finally said, and we sat in a short silence.
"It's ok, it's not your fault. I'm just stressed. Lately, we haven't been......connecting much."
"Sounds like an Oprah line if I ever heard one."
"Great. Since I'm such a great guest, why don't you be the host. Let's resolve my problems in a half hour with commercials." I replied sarcastically, but he looked at me, eyes suddenly gleaming.
"Hello, hello everyone!" he replied in a earthy, feminine voice. "So glad to see you! Let's start in right away on today's subject, Rory! Rory sweetheart, why don't you tell us what's wrong?"
Bursting in a fit of giggles, I looked at him incredulously, and then decided.
"Well, Oprah," I replied in a sad, whiny tone. "Me and my little dream of a boo-boo have been having some communication problems lately. I just feel like he's not letting me in on his emotions."
"Get counseling and lose weight like I did! Thank you very much! That will be all for today's show! When we come back, sleazy to classy; makeovers of the century." he finished, with a feminine laugh and an affected wave.
Laughing quietly, the two of us sat on the park bench, just letting it all go.
"Why can't you be like this all the time?" I suddenly asked out of the blue when I'd managed to control my giggles.
"Like what?" he asked, in that tone that sent those tiny shivers through me.
"Like.....not sullen and sarcastic and grouchy and in trouble and morose and -"
"Alright, I get it, I get it," he sighed. "Maybe I'm having a good night. Maybe you should just enjoy the coincidence."
"I don't think it's a coincidence," I said softly.
His eyes glistened dark underneath the pale silver streetlight, and he ran a hand through his dark, tousled hair. His curiously shaped mouth opened a little, a tiny wisp of steam dissapearing into the cool night air when he exhaled. Fascinated, my gaze locked on his lips for a strange moment before I realized what I was doing. If my cheeks weren't already red from the cold it was guaranteed they were crimson now.
He smirked, not a mean smirk but a tiny acknowledging smirk.
"How would you know?" he asked, and I truthfully didn't have an answer.
"Shh....don't say a word. Thanks for coming out. I didn't think you'd get it." he answered quietly, and stood. I jumped to my feet, facing him, the steam from our warm breath evaporating in tiny clouds, like a silver fog under the streetlight.
"Get what?" I answered, suddenly awkward, suddenly feeling numb.
"The poem, Beck," he said simply and walked off.
I watched him enter the diner, watched him as he took his coat off inside the golden lighted room; a slight tingle in my fingers.
Must be the cold.
My mind feverishly whispered the words of the poem again, my lips mouthing them in the silver fog; my eyes watching his figure in the window, his lean and powerful outline in the glassed warmth. He turned one last time, meeting my gaze and holding it steadfastly. We stared at each other from across the street for a second, and then I turned and fled.
Whispering the words all the way home, I ran, the tingling in my fingers reaching up my arm, my mouth forming them over and over again; realizing the impossible, feeling my heart speed up, and then drop. I felt sick, then dizzy, then deliriously happy; I wanted to giggle, but the thought seemed ridiculous, I felt something inside me soar......
Dazed, I walked in through the front door , took off my coat and plopped on the couch.
One eyebrow went up from my only spectator.
"From the dazed look in your eyes, I think the sheep has gone astray."
Mute, I ginned at her, my smile wide and senseless. I went upstairs and laid on my bed a long time, wanting of sleep.
Sorry it was so long, I just had to get off on the right note. For all those who read, even if not a jess/rory fan, feel free to drop a line or a little review letting me know what you thought, be it good or bad. I'd appreciate it much.......