A/N: The prologue takes place a few months after Rory comes to see Jess at Truncheon. Luke and Lorelai's wedding is over Christmas, so Rory can be there. Also, I don't own Gilmore Girls. Thanks for reading!

"Are you coming to the wedding?"

The question sounded simple enough. Jess would have easily responded with a yes - he owed his uncle that much - had it not been for one factor.

"You know I don't really get into this mushy stuff." He still had to protect his tough-guy exterior sometimes.

"Oh, believe me, I know."

"Sarcasm is not becoming to you."

Luke snorted, but let the subject drop. Jess looked across the room of the small diner, where he often ate. It was similar to Luke's Diner, and though Jess would never admit it, it gave him a feeling of familiarity.

"So, uh, who else is coming?"

"Lorelai insisted we had to invite the whole town. I could have done without Taylor, but you know Stars Hollow. You invite one person, you invite the whole town." He paused. "TJ's the best man. Liz mentioned it, and once the two of them get an idea in their head…"

Jess was silent.

"She's the maid of honor."

He nodded slowly. He'd figured as much.

"You have to let go of her sometime."

"I know." He'd been trying to let go for years. Without warning, his mind flashed back to a few months before. She used me. No, she didn't. Maybe she was just caught in the moment. Maybe I just surprised her. Maybe…Jess rubbed his temples. He was tired of making excuses for her. Part of him longed to see her. The other part of him knew that it would only cause more pain.

"I'll be there." He would do it - for his uncle.

Luke stood up and clapped him on the shoulder. "Good. I'll see you in a few weeks."

She was breathtaking in her red dress, with her hair in ringlets just brushing her shoulders, as he observed from his seat in the back of the room. His entrance had been quiet - he didn't want to run into her by any means. Jess tried to focus on the wedding, but his eyes always seemed to wander back to where she was standing. He hated the fact that he was still unnerved by her. He supposed he'd always had a faint hope that they might someday be together. After she had rejected him at Yale, he had managed to suppress his feelings, and had done fine for a while without her. But when she came to Philadelphia, he had let all his past hopes grow stronger than ever, and for just a second, everything was right. Then, not only was he rejected again, but he had to listen to her ramble about how much she still loved Logan. That was what hurt him most of all.

"You may now kiss the bride."

Jess pulled his mind back to the present, as people all around him stood up. For a moment, he debated staying for the reception. He sighed. It would be nearly impossible to avoid Rory there. And besides, he had congratulated Luke before the wedding began. He glanced at Rory's beaming face one last time before slipping away. He told himself that he couldn't bear to talk to her again, not so soon after what happened at Truncheon. He walked to his car, trying to ignore his mind screaming at him that he'd always just been good at running away.