|Gilmore Girls Fanfiction
||[Nov. 2nd, 2008|12:16 am]
Title: Haptic Blue
Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls. It all belongs to Amy Sherman-Palladino and the folks at the WB. The chapter title comes from a song of the same name by The Sex Pistols.
Summary: The idea that a teenage boy wouldn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to her was slightly wounding. Rory saw it as arguable proof that she was unappealing as a female, an inferior example of what girls where supposed to be. Season three, slightly AU.
Rory tugged her fingers through her hair, smoothing down the few chestnut strands that hung around her face, neatening her ponytail. The bus ride from Chilton Preparatory to Stars Hollow was long and uneventful. A paperback novel was balanced on top of her knee, her navy tights worn thin and almost translucent. Settling against the plastic bench-seat, Rory flipped open her copy of Les Miserables to where she had left off and continued reading.
Her day had been strenuous, a basic test of time management. She’d had an oral presentation in French IV on castles in the Loire Valley, a cumulative test in AP Calculus, a research paper for her Sociology class, and a pop quiz on her summer reading list. She’d breezed through the questions on Oscar Wilde and Leo Tolstoy, pulling back the knowledge she’d absorbed in the humid, sticky months of summer.
She tugged on the sleeves of her pale blue oxford button down, feeling the damp cloth at her wrists while she left the bus and started her journey home. It was hot for early September, especially for Connecticut. Her saddle shoes felt heavy and cumbersome laced to her feet.
Oak trees lined her street, shading the sidewalks and neat bands of curbing. She was grateful for the change in temperature and the slight breeze that began to pick up as she neared her front lawn.
It had always been difficult for Rory to imagine the blue two-story on the corner of First and Chestnut as her home. Curling, violet wisteria had wrapped itself around the awnings and porch railings; it hung from the shudders around her window and the latticework next to the stairs. It had grown rapidly over the summer; Luke would have to trim it back before the onset of the cooler months.
The house was empty. Despite the fact that she had to sit through a thirty-minute bus ride, she usually made it home before Jess. Her mother, Lorelai, was most likely working at the Inn and wouldn’t be back until half-past six. Rory dumped her backpack in her bedroom and retreated to the kitchen for a coke. Inevitably, her mother had left her a note on the refrigerator: Working late tonight, be back by seven.
She crumpled the piece of paper in her pale fingers and tossed it in the trashcan. Moving to the cabinet to get herself a glass, Rory glanced out the kitchen window into her backyard.
Jess was home, she noted, very much at home. Her face stung with embarrassment along her cheeks and ears. Jess was with his current girlfriend, kissing on the back porch. Rory ditched her empty glass and grabbed her coke can, silently working her way upstairs.
It wasn’t the first time that Rory had accidentally stumbled across Jess and one of his girls. Every now and then she’d hear a stray giggle in the early hours of the morning, a sound that slipped between the aged boards of their restored home. Each time something of that nature occurred she was consumed with unquelled curiosity. Rory and Jess were the same age but there were distinct periods where she felt as if she were years behind her pseudo-relative.
When Rory was eleven her mother had married for the first time, ending years of prolonged loneliness. She had always felt partly responsible for her mother’s situation; the thought reoccurred to her vehemently over the course of a decade that, if she had not been born, Lorelai’s life would have been drastically different. She had spent the majority of her life with one parent. Rory spoke infrequently with her biological father, Christopher. His presence in her life had been a continual question mark, a mark that had been gradually altered by the presence of Luke.
At twenty-seven her mother had married Luke Danes, a gruff but subliminally amiable man who had taken the time to build up a friendly rapport with her before making the segue into parenthood. It was difficult for her to imagine Girl Scouts and camping trips without Luke. They weren’t terribly close, a fact that had become painfully obvious in her teenage years, but she did not resent him for it.
A little over a year ago Luke’s nephew had come to live with them. Jess had been sent somewhat unwillingly, a point that had been the cause of great internal query to Rory. She couldn’t imagine being sent away by her parents, especially her own mother. In the first few months of Jess’ residency they talked very little, if at all. It was unavoidably clear that they traveled in different circles, ran with different crowds. Rory spent a small fraction of her time trying to get to know Jess, but they were both very solitary beings that were more prone to entertaining themselves. After nearly a year of living in the same house they still maintained a distant politeness. She spent little thought on the matter. The way she interpreted it, if they weren’t meant to be companions then there was no reason to force any sort of relationship.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like him, she had repeated that same statement to herself countless times, it was just that he was so unapproachably—she always searched for the word—aloof. He regarded her with a detached, almost uninterested laziness that, under normal circumstances, would have annoyed her endlessly. The idea that a teenage boy wouldn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to her was slightly wounding. Rory saw it as arguable proof that she was unappealing as a female, an inferior example of what girls where supposed to be.
During the humid months of summer she would wander into their conjoining bathroom for a glass of water and hear faint sounds of activity. A small strip of light would shine underneath his door late into the evening. She would hold her breath carefully and press her ear to the hinges, pausing, straining to catch the almost inaudible scratch of his pen on paper. She liked to listen to him writing. It was a quiet secret that she kept for herself.
Whenever she was feeling particularly brave she would wander into his bedroom and poke through his bookshelf. Literature was one of the few subjects on which they held a common ground. Before checking the library or investing in a copy of something herself Rory would comb through Jess’s collection to see if it could be borrowed instead. In those snatches of time she would take inventory of his bedroom, spotting his cluttered desk and nightstand, his unorganized closet—door ajar—and his open window. The only neat area of Jess’s room was his bookshelf, mainly due to Rory’s frequent sampling of his collection.
It was where she’d gotten her current read, Les Miserables. She’d been surprised to find it crammed into the back corner of his bookshelf, stuck between a copy of Siddhartha and Cider House Rules.
She heard a knock on her door, the elastic sound of knuckles on hard wood. Startled, Rory moved from her desk to turn the handle.
Jess leaned with his elbow against the doorframe, casual, his stance depicting a boy completely at ease. “Hey yourself.”
Rory crossed her bedroom and turned back to her books. She had French homework.
Seeing that silence was Rory’s version of an invitation, Jess sprawled out on her neatly made bed, disturbing the hospital-definition corners and precise blanket placement. Rory tried not to wince.
“How’s Victor suiting you today?” He rolled over on his stomach, arms crossed.
She tucked her hair behind her ears self-consciously. “It’s a lot better than I thought. When I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame I didn’t like it all that much, but Les Miserables . . .”
“Is infinitely superior?” Jess supplied.
He nodded. Flipping on his side, Jess asked, “Were you talking to Dean Forester today?”
Rory was once again reminded of Jess’s utter lack of segues. “Yeah.”
She could see that he was suppressing a laugh. “Nice catch.”
Her eyes were trained on her conjugation sheet. Rory made an inconsequential reply. “How’s Stella?”
“Needy,” Jess answered distastefully. He gave Rory a discrete once-over. “You’re not thinking of going out with Dean, are you?”
“Why do you ask?” She leaned back in her desk chair and turned to face him, interested.
“Well, for one, he’s not your type.” Jess said easily.
“Pot and kettle.”
Rory gave Jess a shrewd look. “How can you lecture me about my ‘type’ while your—“
“While I’m what, Rory?”
“—With Stella Lemoke.” She finished.
Jess shrugged. “There’s a difference between trying and settling.”
Rory pulled the inner volume of her bottom lip between her teeth, her eyelids lowering.
A pregnant silence followed. Jess could see a frown etched on Rory’s delicate, girl-doll features. Her cheeks looked like they’d been covered with soft fabric.
She returned to her assignment. When she looked back up at the clock it read five-fifteen, shadows growing longer outside her window and on her pale green walls. Jess had quietly excused himself while she studied.
Dean Forester picked her up on Friday evening. Brief introductions were made between Dean and her mother, a situation in which Rory had threatened tear gas and waterboarding if Lorelai were to purposefully embarrass her. He had borrowed his dad’s car, a 98 Honda Accord, and driven them out to Hartford for dinner and a movie.
She rarely went on dates, a stark contrast to Jess who almost always had some sort of relationship going, even if it was only a mere flirtation. Rory knew that his interactions with the opposite sex weren’t nearly as chaste and coy as her own. However, she didn’t see Jess in a negative light because of it. By teenage standards, he was normal. She was the freak.
Dean held her hand and bought her movie ticket for her. He opened doors and made polite conversation, all of it as a means of flattery. She couldn’t tell if he was doing it because he liked her or because he treated all girls that way. Rory decided not to think about it too deeply.
The brief heat wave that had lasted the duration of the week had dissipated into a chilly, autumn evening. Dean walked her to her front door and kissed her sloppily. She bent her neck back and held still while his fine, brown hair hung in her face. He held her hands and pulled away slowly, the palpable scent of laundry detergent and Dove soap strung between them like prom-night crepe paper. Rory tried not to show signs of protest or eagerness. She wasn’t sure what actions would offend the delicate ego of a seventeen-year-old boy, so she kept quiet and let Dean kiss her again, shorter this time.
“I’ll call you.”
She turned and unlocked the door; talking from the threshold, “See you later”
Rory turned abruptly at the sight of a pair of legs climbing out of her window and onto the gently sloping roof. It was late and chilly and the leaves on her favorite oak trees had just begun to turn slightly golden-orange in some places. It was her custom to sit on the roof just outside her bedroom window when she wanted to think or to simply be alone. Rory pulled her down blanket around her more securely. She wore nothing save a thin, cotton nightgown and her under-things.
The rest of the figure joined her. “Jess,” she said, relieved. Rory had feared that her mother or Luke had discovered her hiding spot.
Jess was, unlike her, fully clothed. She had forgone shoes whereas Jess still wore his. The night air was cool and thick enough for her to get a good look at him without being completely obvious.
He caught the sight of her bare legs peaking out from beneath her blanket. They were so pale they almost appeared blue. He sat slightly closer to her. “How was Ken Doll this evening?”
Rory didn’t take offense to Jess’s wording; she knew he didn’t mean much by it. “Needy,” she said tiredly, mocking him.
“Aw,” he said sarcastically. “That’s just too bad.”
She shrugged. “It was just one date.”
“Yeah,” Jess fiddled with something deep in his pant pocket. “But one date with Dean Forester is basically like allowing yourself to be pissed on repeatedly by some sort of bitch dog. I hope you aren’t too wet.”
The words he spoke were meant to be delivered in a cynical, condescending tone. But Jess put little emphasis on the things he said. Emphasis wasn’t required. The fact that he was saying them held emphasis enough.
Rory tried not to laugh. She shook her head. “Jess,” she chuckled. “You shouldn’t judge people you don’t really know.”
“Who says I don’t know Dean?” He said lightly, with a faint trace of a smile.
“Forget it,” Rory pulled her knees against her chest, shying away.
He stretched out on his back, arms folded behind his head. “You don’t date much.”
“Excuse me?” She asked.
Jess shrugged. “Nothing. Just, you don’t go on a lot of dates. That’s all.”
He sat up again. “Not that that’s a bad thing,” Jess elaborated. “It’s just something I noticed about you.”
She didn’t say anything. Their shared silence was compatible, unlike the awkward pauses she’d suffered through with Dean earlier that evening.
Rory turned and looked over at Jess, who was busy fumbling with something, the contents of his pocket, she assumed.
“What are you doing?”
He held up a cylindrical configuration of herbs and paper. “Share with me?”
Upon first inspection Rory thought he held one of his hand-rolled cigarettes that he was prone to carrying in his smooth, silver case. But the paper was a different color and they held a different smell. Rory knew little about drugs or the interworkings of their consumption, but it was quickly apparent to her that Jess was not smoking tobacco.
“Oh,” she watched Jess light the end with his Zippo. “I’ve never . . . “
He offered it to her. “It’s not hard. Inhale and hold it in. Nothing to it.”
She took the lighted joint from his pale fingers. “Alright then.”
She had spread the blanket out on the rough shingles, her slightly exposed back pressed against the soft down. Jess lay beside her, their bodies detached.
“Why’d you . .?” She lost the tail end of her sentence.
“Get you high?” He said.
Rory nodded. “Yeah.”
“Because you looked completely miserable. Plus, I’m a good sharer.”
She giggled at that. “Sharer,” Rory mocked.
He’d thrown his denim jacket over her legs earlier because she’d complained about the chill. Being slightly taller than Rory, Jess peaked over her shoulder a little, looking down the soft expanse of her neckline. Her young breasts were full and natural against the thin, white cotton. The cool air had caused her nipples to harden, a sight that was easily visible to Jess. He felt a pang of lust creep into him. She was all dark hair and blue eyes and milky skin, and he felt nothing but sickness over it.