Disclaimer- Gilmore Girls and the characters associated with the show are not mine.
Chapter Twenty One: Meet Me on the Bridge
California was me running. From my past, from my future. From it all. It didn't take long for me to see there was nothing there, and I couldn't run from her. She followed me everywhere, no matter where I wandered. New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut. Always she follows me. Still. Now. Forever. She is my reason. The reason I have a relationship with my parents. The reason I'm free to love and can keep friends. The reason I can hold my head up around others. The reason I can look in the mirror. The reason. For everything.
Meeting Luke and the rest of the groomsmen in the parking lot, Jess was shocked by the size of his wedding party. How was the bridge going to hold everyone? Hopefully all those fundraisers had been put to good use. Were they even for this bridge? His thoughts were chaotic as he was stunned to see not only Matt and Chris in formal attire, but also Tristan, Richard and Ray. Stopping in mid-step he almost fell.
"As your best man I would like to lodge a formal protest," Luke said, catching Jess by the arm, "Rory got his contact information from Tristan and called him. This wedding will be a bit different. The groomsmen and bridesmaids will walk toward each other from both sides, till we reach our spots. We practiced last night without you. He's going to escort you forward, past us, to meet your bride. He's giving you away. Rory thought it was fitting. Christopher is giving Rory away. It'll be interesting at least. I'll try not to push him in the pond. Christopher or Ray. Oh, and Tristan searched Ray, and made his entourage stay in Hartford. Here's a note from Rory," Luke said, handing the paper to Jess.
In thinking about the groomsmen and the bridesmaids, I made choices for you which you may not have made for yourself. Or maybe you would have. Hopefully, you'll agree with them. One more thing, by now you've seen Ray (and Luke has expressed his dismay). I have one thing to say about Ray giving you away. It's right. Give Grandma a thumbs up when you're ready. See you at our favorite spot. ~P.S. Grandma had the swan captured for the night, so you'll be safe!
Chuckling, Jess walked forward with Luke. Rory had called Ray. Rory had talked him into being in the wedding. He was amazed. Of course, she'd read his book. So she knew. If anyone knew how he felt about Ray, she did.
"So you're giving me away?" Jess asked Ray, who had come forward and was fixing Jess's tie.
"Your bride is persuasive. I tried to tell her you might not appreciate it, and some of your friends and family really wouldn't, but she promised no one would push me into the water," he said with a look at Luke, who shrugged. "She said she was grateful to me, for saving you, for helping you when you needed it. Momma's here too," Ray added, taking the boutonnière from Luke and pining it on Jess's lapel. "Rory has a generous heart, Jess. She and I talked last night, cleared the air a bit. I like her, she has spunk." Jess nodded, agreeing and understanding. Rory had given Ray a bit of hell, deserved of course, but then she welcomed him too. He was happy Ray and his mom were here. Sure, the meet meant more in terms of Ray's word, but this confirmed it, he was free. Plus what Rory was saying was, to some extent, Ray could be in their lives. Probably not Godfather to their unborn children, although the thought made him smirk, but maybe lunches when they visited New York.
"Are we ready? It looks like everyone's seated," Jess said, before giving a thumbs up to Emily, who sent Sookie and Lane's children to push lanterns into the pond. Doula and Gigi were next as they moved forward to drop flower petals across the bridge and into the water. Taking a moment to look around, Jess was impressed with the decorations. The bridge was beautiful with the lighted flower garland, and white runner. The trees all around the lake were lit with twinkle lights, and the pond had the floating lanterns. There were a few strategically placed spotlights, since the sun was setting, but the bridge was well lit. The whole area was filled with white and blue flowers. Emily and the town had gone all out on this warm May evening.
Turning to face Matt and Chris together, Jess smiled. After several long conversations, with Matt threatening to kick his ass multiple times, his friends had let his abandonment of Truncheon go. Although the digs didn't seem to be letting up.
"You guys have been through a lot with me. I'm glad you're here to see this."
"Yeah, we love you too, Mariano. Truth is though, we'd do anything for Rory, and her dad said we could keep these cool tailored suits," Chris said, moving forward at the same time as Lilly to the sounds of an orchestra playing The Clash. Jess laughed as he recognized the song White Riot, he had to admit, it sounded pretty, and those were words he never thought he'd say. The Clash sounded pretty. Matt smacked Jess in the arm.
"Her organizational skills are outstanding. I tried to get her to marry me instead, but she wasn't going for it." Jess smirked at Matt's comment and watched as he headed to a spot opposite April. Standing at the end of the bridge, Jess guessed the bridesmaid dresses were nice; they were light silver evening gowns in different styles, and they glinted in the lights. Tristan approached next.
"I am so glad I didn't have to kick your ass tonight. I wasn't going to put up with you letting her get away, even if I had stand behind you with a shotgun."
"Yeah, I saw the 'gentlemen' getting ready to open my door. If I would've known they were out there, I could've had help with my cufflinks. I guess I appreciate your enthusiasm for my impeding nuptials. Too bad you're on this end of the bridge, you would've looked good in a silver dress," Jess smirked, before thumping Tristan on the back and pushing him onto the bridge toward his spot across from Paris. Who was glaring at Tristan for holding up her walk down the makeshift aisle.
"Jess, I wanted you to know, I couldn't be happier with Rory's choice of you as her husband," Richard said, shaking Jess's hand before moving out onto the bridge at the same time as Lane. He was glad Rory had picked Richard to be in the wedding. All her choices had been meaningful, both to her and him.
"I'm proud of you Jess, and I'm damn glad you came tonight. Not that I doubted you. I'll see you out there," Luke said as he walked forward, giving Jess an awkward hug before moving towards Lorelai, whose ear to ear grin coaxed a smile onto Luke's face in response. Ray brushed a speck of fluff off Jess's shoulder.
"You look happy, Jess. You finally look happy."
"I'm glad you're here Ray, this giving away thing is bizarre, but I'm glad you're here," Jess said. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were in position with Luke and Lorelai in the center, leaving only enough space for the bride and groom on either side of Reverend Skinner. It was a beautiful scene. This evening was so perfectly Rory. Elegant with a touch of crazy, Jess thought as the music changed tempo and what vaguely sounded like the Distillers began to play. Jess watched the photographers snap pictures, and waited for Rory.
"I've been instructed to double check with you, to make sure, this is what you want. Rory is worried she pressured you into this, and wants you to know you can still leave," Ray said showing Jess a text.
"She's texting you? During our wedding? Tell her I'm not giving her the same option and I expect to meet her in the middle," Jess said, smirking while Ray sent the message. Seeing Rory move into position in her floor length, strapless trumpet styled wedding dress, Jess's smirk turned into a real smile as he began walking forward with Ray. Rory matched Jess step for step with her father. Meeting in the middle, Ray shook Jess's hand and kissed Rory on the cheek.
"Take good care of my little brother's heart, he's loved you since he was seventeen," Ray said before turning and heading to his seat. Christopher kissed Rory on her cheek.
"Take good care of my girl, I haven't always been there for her, but I know you will be from now on," he said, and put her hand in Jess's before turning the way he came and going to sit down. Reverend Skinner began the ceremony, and while he was speaking, Jess whispered to Rory.
"Please don't tell me I was supposed to write my own vows."
"No, I went classic. Now pay attention, we're trying to get married here," Rory whispered back. Jess stared into her laughing eyes, and although he knew he repeated everything at the right time, placed the ring on her finger, and received one, he was surprised when he was told he could kiss the bride. Sliding his hands onto her waist, he dropped his forehead onto hers.
"This kiss makes me yours forever. Are you sure?" he asked, voice rough with feeling, as he tugged her closer.
"Kiss me, Jess," she said, smiling at him.
"As you wish. Always, from here out, as you wish." Tugging her lower lip forward with his teeth, he teased his tongue across it before slanting his mouth over hers. Kissing her deeply. Pulling away, he laughed down at her bemused expression as their friends and family cheered.
A/N-Thank you for reading! And for letting me know you did by reviewing! Don't forget to let me know if I made the connections for such an off the wall plot to work! Also- on youtube there are strings version of the Clash and the Distillers. The Clash is actually pretty!