Chapter: Jess, Wait!
Author: R. M. Jackson
Rating: PG-13 / T
Word Count: Approximately 2,400 for chapter nine.
Summary: She intended to block him out of her life when she fled. He needed to get away from the West Coast. And somehow, they collided in the middle.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls or anything pertaining to Boston, Massachusetts
AN: Alternate Universe
Status: In progress
“He kissed you?”
“And then I ran away!” Rory exclaimed, sinking onto her bed with the phone.
“Rory,” Lorelai started, “why is it you always run from the guys that want to kiss you?”
Rory sighed. “I don’t know, Mom. It’s just that…Jess! He ran off to California and then he ends up living like a mile away from me! It’s almost like he knew I’d be here or something and it’s driving me nuts! He starts off egotistical as usual, but then he turns into sweet Jess – the one that takes me to lunch, then to his apartment with his pantsless roommate and kisses me!”
“Whoa, honey. Slow down. Pantsless roommate?”
“Sully. Jess’s roommate. I don’t know how else to explain it other than to tell you he was bouncing on the couch in boxer shorts. But that’s really not the point, Mom.”
“But he was wearing something?”
“He was wearing something.”
“Oh. Okay. Carry on then.”
Rory sighed. “I’m done. He kissed me! And then I ran away!”
“You need to figure out what happened back in that room. This is Jess. The same Jess that broke your heart by running out west and just approached you on a red line train during rush hour.”
“Okay,” Rory said slowly. “I need advice, and I need you to be my best friend and not my mom when I ask you this. What should I do?”
Lorelai sighed and quickly straightened out her thoughts. “I think if you really want to be with Jess, you should at least give him the benefit of the doubt and let him in. Oh, and try to avoid running away if he leans in for a kiss. That usually turns a guy off. Not that I want you turn one on.”
Laughing nervously, Rory stood up and slipped her sneakers on. “Thanks, Mom.”
“I’ll talk to you later, Sweets. Keep me updated?” Lorelai requested.
“Of course,” Rory conceded. “Bye, Mom.” Flipping down the cover of her phone, Rory glanced around the room. It was empty, but comfortably so. She sighed and flipped through the library of numbers in her cell phone. The cursor passed by Jess’s name with the phone symbol and then with the house symbol. Rory scrolled up and down, passing both numbers on the tiny screen. Sighing again, Rory tossed the phone on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
She wasn’t sure what to do. Jess had just entered himself in her life again. Rory wasn’t entirely certain if she was willing to accept it. Not talking to him wasn’t doing her any good at all. Opening the phone, Rory scrolled past the numbers and selected the house line. She hit send and pressed the phone against her ear, but slammed it shut before it even started to ring.
“It’s ridiculous! I’ve thought of everything, and I can’t seem to think of what I managed to do wrong! I apologized, for one, which is something I never do under any circumstance. I apologized! Jeez! Imagine that! And then I tried to make it up to her with food, which is something no Gilmore can ignore. Food! And lots of it. We didn’t talk about our past…we barely touched on it! There was nothing standing in the way! She didn’t even hesitate when I asked her back to the apartment! And that fucking kiss. Jeez…that fucking kiss. You’d think it was her idea from the way she was kissing me! And then what does she do? She runs away! Why would she run away?”
“...Was it because I wasn't wearing pants?” Sully asked, scratching his head.
“NO! Why is everything about you?” Jess threw his hands up in the air and let himself fall back on the couch.
“Because I can’t understand you when you talk that fast. Or that much.” Sully looked over at Jess and then back at the television. “Did I tell you that…”
“Yeah. Curt Schilling signed with the Red Sox. Whoopdie fucking doo.” Jess flipped off the TV and tossed the remote aside.
“Hey! I was watching that!” Sully protested.
“Put some damn pants on and help me with my problem and I’ll let you control the TV.” Jess popped open the tab of his can of soda.
“That’s my friggin’ soda!”
“Not anymore it isn’t,” Jess replied smugly, taking a long sip.
Sully sighed and watched Jess chug the can of soda. “Okay. What do you want me to do?” He lolled his head in his friend’s direction as Jess placed the soda can on the coffee table.
“Man. We hang out here all the time. We should just go out and pick up some chicks,” Sully suggested, lunging for the remote.
Jess slapped Sully’s hand away and threw the remote across the room, breaking the battery pack in the process. “How’s that going to help me with Rory?” he asked.
Sully scratched his head and shrugged. “I don’t know. Get your mind off her?”
“I don’t want to get my mind off her.”
“Oh.” Sully contemplated the answer for a moment. “Well, then can I watch TV now?”
Jess shook his head and looked up at the ceiling. “We should go out.”
“Like a date? I don’t swing that way, man.”
Jess smacked Sully across the head. “No. Not like that. Like on Saturday nights.”
“But it’s Thursday,” Sully pointed out.
Sighing, Jess stood up and looked at his friend. “You know. Pool, underage drinking, pizza…” He paused in the hopes Sully would catch on. “You picking up chicks…”
“Oh. Okay.” Sully smiled faintly and glanced at Jess. “I’m going to…put some pants on.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
Jess straightened his leather jacket and smoothed his hands over his freshly gelled hair. “You look fine. Move over.” Sully gently pushed Jess away from the mirror and worked his own gel through his brownish red hair, spiking as he went along the roots. “You take so long to get ready, like a girl,” he said, capping the bottle of hair gel and placing it next to Jess’s.
Rolling his eyes, Jess pushed Sully out the bathroom door. “What’s with the compliments today? I feel so honored.”
“You know I was fooling, don’t you?” Sully asked uncertainly as he grabbed his leather jacket off the door hook.
“I know,” Jess responded, exasperated that his friend couldn’t see past his sarcasm after all those years.
Sully shut the door after them and they sauntered down the hallway. “The usual?” he asked.
“The usual works,” Jess said as they stepped outside and faced the brisk air. The typical five minute walk to the bowling alley was a longer, silent trip. Sully, always the older looking of the two, purchased two beers and grabbed a cue ball off the counter.
“You’re lucky they still take my fake ID here,” Sully said as he popped the cap off his beer.
“You’ll be twenty soon. What’s it matter?” Jess asked as he struggled with his own cap.
“Shove it,” Sully griped, grabbing Jess’s beer and popping the cap off it skillfully. “So this is good,” he said, placing the cue ball in the center of the table.
Jess took a swig of the beer and placed it on the side of the pool table. “It’s great,” he said. “You breaking?” he asked.
“I’m breaking.” Sully lined his shot up while Jess leaned against the wall drinking his beer. The balls cracked against each other and shot in different directions until the six dropped into the left corner pocket. “Solid,” Sully said as he lined up the next shot. Jess nodded and watched Sully pocket the solid red ball. The next shot was ill arranged, and the five bounced against the wall of the table.
Jess studied the table and circled around it twice. He propped his butt against the ledge of the table and positioned the cue behind his back.
“Oh, now we’re being fancy.” Sully took a swig of his own beer and watched as Jess pocked thirteen. “Hmm, fancy works for you.” He stood back and watched Jess work his way through the striped balls until he scratched.
“Shit,” Jess swore under his breath while Sully dug the cue ball out of the pocket.
“It’s about time I get a turn.” Jess was well aware Sully was much better at pool as he watched him pocket the rest of the solid color balls. “Smoked,” Sully said smugly as he pocketed the eight ball and blew on the tip of his cue.
Jess shook his head and hung his cue on the wall hook. “You want pizza?” he asked, already knowing the answer. Sully was a human vacuum cleaner. Because of their tight budget, they could only afford a pizza a week. Sully could easily eat a whole pizza in one sitting, as could Jess. Friday nights were the nights they coughed up the cash for take out, and Saturday nights where usually when they would work. They would grab a bite for free after the job, drink a couple of beers, and play some pool down the street.
“We have enough money?” Sully asked, opening his wallet. He brushed past the one dollar bills to find a five hidden in between. “I have ten.”
Jess fished through his own wallet with the knowledge that they would not be going out after work on Saturday. “Twenty. You paid for pool and beer. I’ll get the pizza and sodas.”
“Deal.” Sully shoved his wallet back in his pocket while they left the bowling alley for Mike’s. It was the main choice, considering they still had a discount after hours.
After ordering, Jess and Sully sat at their usual table while they sipped their sodas.
“You want to talk about Rory?” Sully asked as he glanced up at Jess. He noticed the hardened expression that crossed his brown eyes. “What?”
“What?” Jess asked.
“You. You just gave me that “shut the fuck up Sully I don’t want to talk about it” look. You were all up in arms about the chick earlier. What changed?” Sully folded his arms and waited for his friend to talk.
“It’s nothing,” Jess responded quickly.
“Doesn’t seem like nothing. She ran out of there like someone lit her ass on fire,” Sully reminded him.
Jess lowered his head to the table until his forehead hit the surface. He mumbled something and then looked back up at Sully. “I fucked up with her,” he said finally.
“Do tell.” Sully straightened up and smiled expectantly.
“Not if you’re going to be a smug bastard about it,” Jess said, turning away.
“Hey, that’s not how I operate.” Sully frowned. “Seriously, man. We’ve been friends for so long that you can’t push past this shit. We both fucked up, when you look at it. Nothing you did you did could have been that bad.”
“I flunked out of high school, fought her ex-boyfriend, and ran out on her and my uncle without a word. I promised to take her to prom, but it was never an option. Oh, and I tried to force her into sex even though she wasn’t ready.” Jess ticked each deed off on his fingers and then looked away glumly.
“Wow, uh.” Sully scratched his head. “Dude, that’s not too bad if you look at it…”
“I have looked at it. I’m surprised she even wanted to talk to me.”
“Sully!” Both friends jumped as the pizza hit the counter.
I’ll, uh, get that,” Sully said nervously.
They ate the pizza silently, as neither one dared to speak. When they were ready to leave, they both dumped the trash and continued silently to the apartment.
“Fancy meeting you here,” Jess said smugly as he looked up from his book.
“Oh, Jess. Hi, I just…” Rory shifted her bag nervously as she settled across from Jess.
“You just what?” Jess asked, snapping his book shut.
“I just,” Rory started again and then cut herself off. “Why are you always here?”
“Here? On this train? Or here with you?” Jess asked.
“I don’t know,” she said quietly. “But I just can’t get away from you.”
“I haven’t heard from you since you ran out on me Thursday afternoon. It’s Monday,” Jess said pointedly, crossing his right leg over his left.
Rory shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Why did you kiss me?” she asked.
“Why did you run off?” he shot back.
“Why did you kiss me?” she asked again.
“Why did you run off?” Jess repeated, raising an eyebrow.
Rory twisted her lips. “Why does it matter?”
“Because it does!” he responded, raising his voice. Standing, Jess held the metal railing and started for the doors that were about to open at Kendall Square station. “Forget it. I don’t have time for this shit.” The doors opened and Rory paused before collecting her things and barreling after Jess.
“Wait! Jess!” she yelled after him as he walked away.
He pretended not to hear her as he picked up the pace. If he had to leave the station and pay again to get back in, he would. All Jess wanted was to lose Rory in the crossfire.
“Jess!” she pleaded, starting to walk faster after him on the platform. He still failed to turn around. Rory processed her thoughts quickly as she broke into a run and pushed Jess against the wall. He looked in her emotionally charged eyes, but didn’t try to shove past her. Their eyes connected briefly before Rory leaned in and wrapped her arms around Jess, kissing him adamantly and holding him close. Jess kissed back and dropped his bag on the platform while Rory’s teeth tugged at his lower lip. Slowly, they broke away. The anger had flowed out of both their eyes, and they stood calmly against the dingy station wall.
He smiled crookedly at Rory before pulling her back in an embrace, kissing her until she felt weak in the knees and dropped her own bag with a thud on the platform.