Author: R. M. Jackson
Rating: PG-13 / T
Word Count: Approximately 2,500 for chapter twenty-one.
Summary: Rory and Jess have been friends since Jess came to town when he was eight years old. When the two friends start to be torn apart by other friends and members of the opposite sex, how will they keep their friendship alive?
Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls.
AN: Alternate Universe
Status: In progress
“You know what Friday is, don’t you?” Jess asked as he stopped kissing Rory’s neck.
Rory ruffled his hair and leaned over to nibble lightly on his ear lobe. “How could I forget about Prom?” she asked delicately.
“Don’t know,” he asked, smoothing back her hair. “We’ve been so busy for the past two weeks that I almost forgot.” Jess ran his hands over Rory’s shoulders and carefully moved aside her thick tank top straps.
“Hey, Jess?” Rory asked lightly as she traced a sloppy circle on his stomach.
“Hmm?” he asked, not taking his lips away from Rory’s shoulder.
“Can we talk?” As soon as she said it, his mouth left Rory’s shoulder and Jess pulled his shirt over his stomach. He collapsed down next to her on the bed and waited for her to speak. Nervously, Rory scratched the back of her neck.
“What’s wrong?” Jess asked.
“You know how on Prom night, it’s…” Rory paused to search for the right words. “You know…” she trailed off at a loss and wrung her hands.
“You need to give me more to work with, Rory,” Jess requested, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.
“Okay,” she murmured. “Everyone has sex on Prom night, and I…” She paused to wring her hands again. “I don’t want to do that,” she admitted meekly. “It’s too…cliché for us.”
Jess nodded. “I understand. I wasn’t going to seduce you in a hotel room or anything.” He chuckled at the thought and pushed a section of hair out of his eyes. “I love you, Rory.”
A thin blush spread across the apples of her cheeks before she leaned over to kiss him. “I love you too.”
“Now all I’m worried about is the limo,” Jess said.
“Why?” Rory asked, turning on her side.
“Because it’s Paris. The fact that she’s even going to Prom blows my mind. I mean, why would she even want us to be in that limo? Half the time she can’t even decide if she hates us or not.”
“Paris is…a complicated person,” Rory said. “She’s been nice since we picked up the slack on the sports article.”
Jess rolled his eyes and sat up. “What if we drove to Prom?”
“In a car?” Rory asked, cocking her head to the side.
“Yeah, a car. My car.” Jess smirked and leaned against the headboard.
“Is off suspension. Last week,” Jess answered.
“But what about the car? It looks like crap,” Rory admitted honestly.
“Luke spotted me some cash to get it cleaned up. We’re getting it painted black. Nice and sleek…new interior and everything.” Jess smiled. “It’s almost like getting a new car.”
“Well,” Rory hesitated, “I would prefer the privacy of your car to a limo with Paris. If it really does look good, let’s opt out of the limo.” Jess swooped down to kiss Rory and parted her lips with his tongue. “You and Paris are really on the outs, aren’t you?”
“You have no idea,” Jess said, kissing her collarbone.
“Look at you getting all dolled up for Prom,” Luke teased as Jess fumbled with his shirt. He had buttoned it crooked and was trying to figure out which button he missed.
“Ha. Okay. Go ahead and make fun of me,” Jess said, threading his belt though the loops on his tux pants.
“You’ve never worn a tux before. It’s actually pretty amusing.”
“Thanks. You know, I can do this in the bathroom. I didn’t realize I would have a spectator.” Jess buckled his belt and reached for the silk tie on his bed. Luke didn’t say anything as he observed the struggle with the filmy material. Scowling, Jess turned away from Luke and adjusted his tie. Luke peered over the top of his magazine and watched Jess button the matching vest. “You’re not taking pictures,” Jess warned as he uncapped his hair gel and slid his fingers through his hair.
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Luke said. He watched Jess spike the front of his hair before turning back to the magazine. “Rory liked the car?” he asked.
“She didn’t like riding the bus to and from Hartford, but the paint job made it up to us.” Jess capped the bottle of hair gel and disappeared into the bathroom to wash his sticky hands. “Guess I’m off,” Jess said finally, shrugging on the tuxedo jacket. As an after thought, he grabbed the corsage off his dresser.
“Don’t get in any trouble,” Luke warned, looking up from the magazine again.
“I’ll be back late. Don’t wait up,” Jess said before reaching for the doorknob.
“How late?” Luke questioned before Jess was able to open the door.
“Tomorrow late,” Jess elaborated, opening the door.
“Before you wake up,” Jess said quickly, escaping through the open door.
When Jess rang the bell at the Gilmore residence, Lorelai answered. “Jess, wow,” she commented. “You clean up nice.” Smirking, he followed Lorelai into the living room. “She’ll be down in a few minutes. She’s upstairs getting ready.” Lorelai sat at one end of the couch and Jess sat at the other end. Jess wrung his hands nervously in his lap. He had tried avoiding Lorelai since the incident in Rory’s bed. This time, he just had to suck it up. “She’s growing up and I know that. I just…wanted to let you know that I trust you.”
“You do?” he asked cautiously.
“Well, more than any other eighteen year old boy ready to steal my daughter’s virginity.” Lorelai noticed that his face paled as she spoke. “But don’t worry;” she said quickly, “I don’t want to talk about that.”
Jess nodded. “Thanks.”
“We’ve had our differences in the past, but I like you. You’ve always been Rory’s best friend,” Lorelai continued.
“Mom!” Rory shouted from upstairs, breaking through both of their thoughts.
“Hang on,” she said briefly before starting up the stairs.
Jess was left in the living room, grasping the corsage box. Craning his neck, he could hear the process of picture taking. Lorelai stomped back down the stairs with her new digital camera.
“Say cheese!” Quickly, she snapped the picture as Jess flung his arms over his face. “Aw, you’re no fun.” Lorelai pouted as she directed her attention to the clinking of high-heeled shoes at the top of the stairs.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” Rory said as she started down the stairs slowly.
Jess stood to watch Rory advance down the stairs. She was wearing a blue dress that clung to her upper body before flaring into a wide skirt. Rory’s chestnut curls were twisted up elaborately with tendrils of hair bouncing by her face. A smile graced his lips and Lorelai slyly snapped a picture of him. He rolled his eyes at her, but didn’t stop smiling. “You look…wow,” he said softly as she placed her hand over his. “Gorgeous,” he corrected himself as soon as he rediscovered his voice.
Lorelai snapped picture after picture while Jess secured the corsage on Rory’s wrist and Rory struggled with the boutonnière, stabbing Jess in the process. The candid photographs multiplied as Lorelai snapped as many of wounded Jess as possible, and Rory snapped pictures of Lorelai struggling and stabbing Jess with the boutonnière. Finally, after snapping a picture of Jess adhering his own boutonnière, and a full memory card, Lorelai gave them a slight push out the door.
“Have a good time!” she called after them. “Don’t stay out too late.”
Rory hacked into her chicken before it rolled off the plate and on the floor. “Shit,” she cursed under her breath. Beside her, Jess chuckled good-naturedly.
“Here,” he said, stabbing the fork into his chicken and setting it on Rory’s plate. “You would think Chilton would let us use a better knife than a butter knife,” he said, studying the dull piece of cutlery. “You’re going to try the same approach?” he asked, watching Rory attempt to hack the second piece of chicken. “I can’t pull another one out of my pocket.”
Rory giggled and surrendered her utensils. “Like you’re going to do any better.”
“Take this fork and stick in the there,” he instructed. Jess stabbed the other fork in the opposite end of the chicken and attempted to saw it into pieces. “Better?” he asked, extracting his fork.
Rory nodded. “Much better. Thank you.” She leaned over and planted a chaste kiss on his lips before digging into the chicken.
“Interested in Prom court at all?” Jess asked as he directed his eyes up at the microphone.
“Nah.” Rory shook her head and scooted her chair closer to Jess.
“Rory Gilmore!” Rory’s head shot up from the plate.
“What?” she whispered to Jess.
“I, ah, think you’re Prom queen.” Jess shifted in his chair as they called Rory’s name again.
“Come with me,” she requested, knowing that they would have the dance floor all to themselves after Jess was announced as her king.
Jess stood off to the side as Rory was presented with a crown. Smirking, he noticed the blush creep across her porcelain cheeks.
“Joining Rory Gilmore as Prom King of Chilton…will be Tristan DuGrey!”
Jess backed away as Tristan breezed past him. “Jessie,” he said with a smirk.
“Now please join your queen and king on the dance floor!”
Tristan reached for Rory’s hand and she reluctantly took his. “Mary,” he greeted her. “What a pleasure.”
Irritated, Jess raked his fingers through his hair and headed back to their table. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Tristan sweep Rory into a friendly embrace.
Rory noticed Tristan staring at her. “What do you want, Tristan?” she demanded as she placed her hands on his shoulders. They still stood a few inches apart, and Tristan had yet to secure his hands below her waist.
“You’re really with Jess, Mary?” Tristan asked.
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business, but yes.” Rory peeked behind Tristan’s shoulder to catch a glimpse of Jess, but he had gotten up from the table.
“He’s the kind of guy that likes sex, Mary,” he said snidely.
Rory scoffed. “You have no right to judge Jess. If you don’t remember, you cheated on me,” she reminded him.
“Just looking out for you. Warning you that he might get tired of sweet, innocent Mary.” Tristan smirked and let go of Rory’s waist.
“Go away, Tristan.” Rory broke away from the dance floor in search of Jess. Removing the toy crown, she tossed it on the table. She held the skirt of her dress up as she glanced around the lobby. Leaning outside the window was Jess, and he was nursing a cigarette. Rory slid back the glass door and joined him on the dark patio.
“You done?” he asked, breathing smoke out of his nose and mouth. His tone was icy, and Rory had never heard him speak like that.
Rory snatched the cigarette from his fingers and tossed it over the balcony. “There’s nothing going on. Tristan was just being his usual condescending self.” Jess lowered himself on the bench and Rory stared at him. “Come on. Let’s go back in. There’s still an hour and a half left.” Rory tugged his arm and he willingly stood back up.
“Hey, can we go outside?” Rory asked suddenly.
“Outside?” Jess asked.
“To the car.”
“I thought you didn’t want to leave.” Jess cocked his head to the side questioningly.
“I don’t. I just want to go outside.”
Shrugging, Jess swept Rory aside to the parking lot. “Okay. Car. Now what?”
“Back seat,” she requested.
Jess didn’t question, but he did unlock the car and slid into the backseat. Before he could say anything, Rory leaned over to kiss him. For a moment, that was all they did. Jess felt Rory’s cold fingers snake between the buttons on his shirt. He swatted her hand away, but it gravitated back to start working apart the buttons. “Hey, hey, hey.” Jess wrenched his shirt free from Rory’s fingers as one of the buttons snagged. “What are you doing?”
“What do you think I’m doing?” Rory asked as she reached for his belt buckle.
“Whoa, Rory. Come on. Wait a second.” Jess held Rory’s wrists tightly and looked her straight in the eye. “What’s going on?” he demanded softly.
Rory looked up at Jess before ripping her hand free. “I don’t want to have sex in your car,” she said suddenly.
“I don’t either!” Jess exclaimed, straightening his shirt. “What made you think we were going to have sex tonight?” he asked. “We promised, not on Prom night.”
Sighing, Rory sunk down next to Jess. “I don’t know.”
“It was something Tristan said, wasn’t it?” he demanded.
“No,” she denied quickly.
Jess cracked his knuckles and flung the door open. “I’m going to kill him.”
“No…no. Jess, wait.” Rory tore after him as fast as she could in heels. She had seen Jess angry before, but never like this. He was small compared to Tristan, so if he really did fight him…
Jess was standing by the entrance to the ballroom when Rory finally caught up to him. “Who the hell was I kidding?” he said. “I’m not going to fight your ex boyfriend.”
Rory smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly. “Now, can we please go back and enjoy the rest of Prom?”
“After you,” he requested, slinging his arm around Rory’s bare shoulders.
“Tonight has been really nice,” Rory said as she let her head fall on his shoulder. Neither was impressed by the music, but they still swayed on the dance floor. Jess had long ago abandoned his jacket and vest, and Rory was wearing his tie loosely around her neck.
Jess moved his hands lower on Rory’s waist and tucked her closer. “You’re right. This is nice.”
“And the thing with Tristan?” she asked nervously as she felt his fingers stiffen at her waist.
“Completely forgotten,” he answered. “Maybe we can even skip the party and go out.”
“Out?” Rory asked. “There’s not going to be anything open after midnight.”
“Well,” Jess started, “what about a drive through window? We can sit and talk. Burger and fries…”
“Sold,” she said. “Now shut up and kiss me.”
“As you wish.”