This is a Oneshot that I wrote a while ago, but I think there'll be two chapters all in all to this story (I'll explain more about that at the end of the story!)
Read and enjoy and pretty please review!
"Are you Rory Gilmore?" Rory looks up at the question, seeing a blonde woman standing next to her, impatiently tapping her foot as she waits for some sort of confirmation.
She's effectively cut off when the woman reaches out her hand and slaps her across the face.
Stunned, Rory lifts her hand to her cheek, staring at the woman in confusion. "Wha-What-What are you doing?" She asks, trying hard to remember if she has ever seen this woman before, but her mind comes up blank. She's stunningly beautiful – not the kind of person you'd ever forget meeting.
"What am I doing?" The woman asks, scoffing. She laughs a bitter laugh and Rory wonders if the woman might actually be crazy. Either that or she has confused her with someone else.
The woman shakes her head and slumps down on a chair across the table from Rory. "You walked away" She says slowly, stressing every syllable as if they were all equally important, while fixating Rory's eyes with her. "You gave him up"
"Who?" Rory asks, confused.
She hasn't been dating for almost two years. Not since she turned down Logan's proposal. Not that she didn't want it or that she was too hurt, but the campaign had been taking up too much of her time.
The woman rolls her eyes. "Who?" She asks, her voice incredulous.
"I'm sorry" Rory says in a soft voice, trying not to further upset this woman who must obviously have lost it somehow. "You must have confused me with someone else"
"I don't think so" She sounds certain. "You are Rory Gilmore, right?"
She nods. "Yes, but–"
"I saw you" The woman states calmly.
Rory looks down at the table, a hint of who the conversation revolved around creeping into her mind.
"It isn't fair" The woman continues and something in her voice forces Rory to look up at her. Her eyes are glossy and red, unshed tears filling them to the verge of spilling over. "You gave him up" She repeated her previous statement.
"I know" Rory answers and feels her own eyes stinging from tears as well.
For several minutes the two women sit in silence, both trying to gain a hold of their emotions and prevent their tears from falling.
"You know Chris is gonna tell him you came looking for him" The woman suddenly says and meets Rory's eyes again.
Rory doesn't know how to answer to that, so she doesn't say anything and a loud sigh is heard from the woman. "When you walked out on him the last time I really let myself believe that this was all over"
Rory stirs, feeling more than a bit uneasy at the mentioning of her last visit to Philadelphia. "How…How long have you known him?"
"Since he came to Philadelphia" The woman smiles faintly at the memory. "We – eh – we we're neighbors before he moved in with the guys at Truncheon" She laughs shortly. "It was this really shitty run-down apartment complex, but it's was kind of cozy, you know?"
Rory nods. "That's a long time"
"Yeah" The woman's face hardens. "And I never walked away, I never gave up on him. I watched him pine for you. I watched you break his heart and I…" Her voice falters and she clears her throat before she continues. "…I couldn't understand how you didn't realize how fucking lucky you were"
She feels the tears she's been fighting to hold back finally spill over and make their way down her cheeks. "I didn't" Rory whispers.
"Is that why you're back?" The woman asks, her voice low and soft as her tears are spilling over as well. "Because he…" Her voice breaks and it takes several moments for her to regain control of her voice. "When you left he finally decided to move on, and he…he…" Her voice breaks again and she leans her face in her hands.
Biting her lower lip, Rory watches the woman, unsure of whether she should say something or whether she should wait for her to continue.
The thought of Jess having someone in his life had never crossed her mind. She hadn't thought that much about his life in Philadelphia at all. She had tried not to think about him at all. Somewhere deep inside she had known all along that she made the wrong decision by choosing to stay with Logan – but she hadn't wanted to investigate her feelings any closer.
It feels weird, knowing that there was someone else out there that also loved Jess. She wondered why this woman loved him, if it were for the same reasons she did. She wondered what they talked about, how she felt when he kissed her – how he felt when he kissed her.
"The first time we slept together…" The woman starts talking, interrupting Rory's train of thoughts. "…he told me beforehand that it couldn't lead to anything serious. He didn't say why, but I sensed there was someone else"
"When…When was that?" Rory asks, surprised at herself for asking the question, but somehow she felt like she had to know.
"About four years ago, he'd only been here for about two months and I thought I could do the whole 'friends with benefits' thing" She sighs and continues with a distinct sound of bitterness in her voice. "How many women in the history of mankind have fooled themselves into believing that?"
Rory nods, trying not to show the shock the woman's statement put her in. Four years. She had been with Jess for four years. Well, not really been with in the relationship kind of way – but still, she had been in his life – and in his bed – for four years. "When did…" She hesitates, not knowing how to formulate her question. "…when did your…relationship change?"
The woman shrugs her shoulders. "About three months after your visit at the open house"
Rory nods again, trying to wrap her mind around this new information. She had known there was a possibility that Jess had moved on – in fact, that had been a constant thought on her mind ever since she decided to go see him again. But not like this, she could never have imagined this.
"I was there that night at Truncheon" She continues and her statement makes Rory's head dart up and meet her eyes. "Do you have any idea how much it hurt seeing his face light up when you walked through the door?"
Rory's eyes yanks away from the woman's and focus on a spot of spilled coffee on the tabletop. She slowly shakes her head in response to the woman's question. She didn't have the slightest idea.
The woman sighs. "I left shortly thereafter. I just couldn't stay"
Rory's voice is filled with surprise over what the woman's words are hinting at. "Did he tell you about me?"
She nods and looks down at her hands that are resting on the table. "When he…when he came back from promoting his book he was really…moody and acted all weird so I asked him about it and I don't know why, 'cause he's really not the heart-to-heart kind of guy, but he told me. He told me about you and your history together"
Rory listens to her explanation in amazement. She couldn't picture Jess spilling his heart out to anyone.
"When he told me about how he kept going back, trying to make you understand that he had changed and that he really loved you my heart literally shattered to pieces…" She looks up at Rory again and her eyes are dry, but they're filled with uttermost pain and hurt. "Can you imagine how it feels hearing the man you love pour his heart out about another girl? To hear him tell you how much he loves her?" She sighs and lets her head drop down again. "…but I held it all back, because those moments when he opens up and talks, you know really talks, those are so rare that I didn't dare to do anything to make him creep back into his shell"
"You know" Rory starts, not really believing what she's actually about to admit. "He never really talked to me that way"
The woman looks up at her, surprised. "No?"
"No" Rory shakes her head.
They fall back into silence and Rory can't help but feel disturbed over the fact that Jess had talked – no really talked – to this woman, and how the woman had assumed that she and Jess had shared those moments of him really opening up and talking as well.
Maybe Jess really had changed and she had been too afraid of getting hurt again that she missed it all. She had been too wrapped up in Logan and her own life that she hadn't taken enough time to really notice the change in him; a change that was more than a steady job and a published book.
"He proposed" The woman suddenly says, holding her hand up and showing a small, but very tasteful, engagement ring. "Two weeks ago"
Rory looks at the ring, completely lost for words. Her mouth feels dry and she reaches for her coffee and takes a big gulp, only to realize that it has gone cold. She forces the cold beverage down her throat.
"I…" Rory starts, but she doesn't know how to continue. She had come here because she wanted to tell Jess that she was finally ready for them to be together and now…she feels stupid and embarrassed. Of course he had moved on – she hadn't expected him to sit around and wait for her, had she?
She's ashamed to admit it, but that's exactly what she had thought. He always had.
She's startled out of her thoughts when the woman starts talking again, her voice muffled with tears. "But now you're back and…and I'm afraid he's gonna change his mind and take it back"
"I…I'm sorry" Rory offers, not quite sure she really means it, but she had wanted to say something to comfort the woman; she looks so vulnerable.
"Are you?" The woman's head darts up and her face looks hard as she examines Rory's face.
"Um…I…" Rory looks down at her hands and swallows, trying to get rid of the lump that seems to have settled in her throat.
"Do you love him?" The woman interrupts Rory's mumbling attempt at an answer with yet another question, her face still motionless and stern.
"I…I think I do" She all but whispers, looking down at the table.
The woman sighs. "I know I do. I love every bit and piece that makes him who he is" Rory looks up at the woman with a sorry look on her face, only to be met with a pair of challenging green eyes. The woman has put her hurt and sadness aside; this is a woman fighting for her man. For her love. "I love the way he only genuinely smiles when he thinks that no one's watching. I love the way he smirks instead of really smiling when he know someone's watching"
Rory opens her mouth to tell her that she knows that about Jess as well. Even though she never really thought about it; she knows that about him as well.
But the woman continues before she has a chance to say anything. "I love how he always carries a book in his back pocket and how he within two seconds can get the book out and become so completely engulfed in it that he doesn't notice anything around him"
I've noticed that as well – we have that in common! On the inside, Rory's screaming those words, but not a single one of them leaves her mouth. Without really wanting it, she's intrigued, she wants to know the reasons why this woman loves Jess. She wants to know if she loves him for the same reasons she do or if there's something more – or something less. Somehow she hopes that it's less – that there's at least one side of Jess that she loves that this woman doesn't. That way she wouldn't feel as terrible as she does right now.
"And I love how he, at times, uses that as a cover. How he hides behind his book, pretending to be engulfed in it, but really he's watching the world around him" The woman smiles absent-mindedly before she continues with that same stern look as before on her face. "I love how he tries to hide his vulnerability behind that tough façade, behind his sarcasm and plain rudeness"
She sighs and closes her eyes for a few seconds and they're once again filled with tears when she opens them. "And I can't help but love him for how he didn't give up on his love for you. Even though you turned him down, even though you were with someone else – he didn't give up. He kept fighting until you stood face to face with him and told him you were in love with someone else"
Rory rips her eyes away and yet again looks down at the coffee stain on the table. Suddenly everything felt so hard. She had come to Philadelphia filled with hopes and dreams for the future – a future with Jess. Now, even if she got that future, it would be on the expense of someone else's happiness.
She looks up again when she hears the screeching sound of a chair being pushed over the floor. The woman has gotten up from her seat.
"I have to leave" She says and looks down at Rory, who simply nods in response. The woman starts walking away, but stops after only a few steps and turns around. "I'm sorry I slapped you"
"It's okay" Rory says, trying to make her voice sound reassuring. With that the woman nods, turns around and starts walking again, not hearing the words Rory whispers while staring, without really seeing, at the empty coffee mug on the table. "I would have too"
A/N I wrote this Oneshot a while ago, but I never really finished it, because by the time I got to the end I didn't know whether I wanted Rory and Jess to actually be together. I kind of felt sorry for the woman that I never even gave a name.
But today when I read through it, the thought crossed my mind that I could publish this and then let you guys decide how I should finish it.
Do you want the pairing in the end to be Jess/Rory or Jess/Unnamed woman? Please let me know in a review or a PM!
I have a plot line for both scenarios, but I can't for the life of me make the decision!