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18+ Language

Chapter 4: The Gilmore Guy and Mariano Girl

by DottieSnark


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

Summary of the previous chapters: Lorelai's troublemaker but genius of a son, Jess, has been accepted to the prestigious prep school, Chilton. She hopes it will straighten him out. Despite being estranged from them Lorelai went to her parents for the tuition money and struck up a deal to attend a weekly Friday Night Dinner with them.

The new school is harder than expected and Jess already feels overwhelmed. Former teen mom and runaway Lorelai has found a new runaway and vowed to help the girl, Rory. 

~~~~

The first big assignment Jess needed to concentrate on was a Shakespeare paper for Mr. Medina's class. Plays are very boring to read, so Shakespeare was actually quite the blind spot for the literati. Jess hadn't read any of them, other than Romeo and Juliet during ninth grade English. The rest of Medina's class had spent the first month of school bulking up on Shakespeare's plays, reading them, analyzing them, and even acting them out a bit during classes, then doing a close reading of the lines. On the other hand, Jess had a week to read them all, dissect them and write ten pages of a comparative analysis.

By the end of this Jess would never want to see another script again.

When he arrived home from school on Tuesday Lorelai had apparently decided to start her audition for the most annoying mother award.

"I think tonight is the night we take on the entire chicken column at Al's. I know we've talked about it for years, but I say we go for it!" She was stretched across the couch in the living room, reading takeout menus as Jess came in through the front door. He had planned to go straight to his bedroom but detoured into the living room to let Lorelai know he couldn't deal with any of her nonsense tonight.

His arms were full of binders that wouldn't fit in his tightly stuffed backpack. There were just too many books! His backpack couldn't even zipper all the way shut.

"They finally release the Pentagon papers?" Lorelai asked.

"School. Order whatever you want but leave me alone tonight." Jess rushed down the hall to his bedroom.

"Don't even want to know when dinner's here?" Lorelai called after him.

He responded with a slam of his door. It was rude, but Lorelai wasn't a person to take hints. It needed to be established early and clearly that he wasn't messing around. Jess placed the various binders on his bed and found the one from Medina's class. Sitting at his desk he opened the binder and skimmed the table of contents for the relevant pages.

There was a knock on his door and then Lorelai entered before Jess could give permission. Why did moms always do that? What's the point of knocking in the first place?

"As much as I'm loving the work ethic, it's the second day of school. Don't you think you're overdoing it?"

"I transferred in late," Jess said without looking up. Page 72 was the start of A Midsummer Night's Dream's notes. He flipped to the page. "I'm behind and have to catch up. Paper due on Friday."

Lorelai lingered by the door.

"Could you close the friggin' door and go away?"

"Hey, watch it! Don't give me that attitude." Her voice suddenly got softer. Maybe she could see how stressed he was. "Let me know if you need anything, okay?" Lorelai shut the door.

Jess went back to work. He skimmed the notes so he'd have a guideline of what to pay attention to, then opened his copy of the play. He read about Theseus and Hippolyta discussing their wedding, but by the time they move on to discussing Hermia's wedding Jess's concentration was waning like the moon. He tapped his pencil against the desk. Then the beat slowly morphed into the Dead Kennedy's "California Über Alles". From there a pencil rendition consisting of the Clash's "I Fought the Law", the Sex Pistol's "God Save the Queen", and a mish-mash of various Ramones songs—let's be honest, they all have the exact same beat—were played out.

Right as he was humming along to "I Want To Be Sedated", or maybe it was "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" or "Rock & Roll High School"—who could tell—Jess realized his lapse in concentration.

"Shit," he mumbled to himself and got back to reading.

The problem was plays are so boring. They are meant to be seen, not read. He thought about asking his mother to act them out with him, but just knew she would love that too much. Not only did she love being asked for help, she had this thing about wanting to be needed, but his mother was just the kind of person to really get into it and overact, funny voices and all. No, he didn't have time for her nonsense. Besides, it would be much faster if he just read them. He just needed to concentrate.

A half-hour later Jess had unbent all of the bobby pins Lorelai had somehow left in his room, reorganized his CD collection, and unraveled a knit hat, but he still hadn't gotten past the first scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream. What the Hell was wrong with him?

This was getting ridiculous. Jess got up and started packing anything that could distract him into a box: his playing cards, his magic trick props, every knick-knack that was in arm's reach. Only after the box was full did he realize this was just another procrastination technique. Goddammit!

Jess put the box onto the ground and tried to rethink this. He just needed to sit down and read. This shouldn't be so hard. He loved reading.

Jess went back to his desk and read a few more lines. Then Lorelai opened his door again. "Hey Jess—"

"Jesus H. fucking Christ, what do you want?!" Jess yelled at her.

Lorelai froze in place in the doorframe, her eyes wide. "Wooow," she said slowly, drawing out the O. "I don't know what I did to piss you off so much, but you better take it down about five thousand notches and watch the language."

Jess leaned over his desk and rested his head in his hands. He couldn't take this anymore. He had a fucking paper due at the end of the week but he couldn't get himself to sit still and actually read the material.

"Are you okay?" Lorelai asked. She walked across the room and sat down on the chest at the foot of his bed.

Jess sat up and turned on his chair to face Lorelai. "I'm fine. Just stressed."

"It's the second day of school."

"I already told you I have a paper."

"That's not an excuse for yelling at me like that."

"I know. Can you just lecture me after Friday? Please? I have to get back to work."

Lorelai seemed to mull the idea over for a few seconds. For once she moved the subject along. "Sookie just called my cell. She fell—she's okay but she pulled a muscle in her back. Says she doesn't need to go to the hospital. She made a mess falling to the ground though, knocked over like a whole bunch of jars of stuff. I'm going to go over, clean up, make sure she takes a pain pill and get her to bed. You gonna be okay here alone?"

"Will the sixteen-year-old be okay alone in his own room? Yeah, I think I'm good."

Lorelai reached over to tussled Jess's overly gelled hair. He ducked out of her grasp as soon as he noticed.

"You're not sixteen yet, kiddo. There's one more thing. An employee of mine, new girl, name's Rory, she's coming over here. She's kind of in a bad place. Actually, I'm letting her stay in the potting shed."

The potting shed. His first home, the first one he could remember at least. Jess didn't like to get sentimental, but still, that potting shed meant something to him. It'd only been about four years since they moved out, after all. Not that Jess didn't appreciate the upgrade, the potting shed had gotten quite cramped by eleven.

"So I'm giving her some of my old clothes, hand-me-downs if you will. She'll be over soon to pick them up, so I need you to let her in. Clothes are in a basket on my bed. And Jess, she's really fragile so no attitude. Be nice to this one, okay?"

The girl living in his potting shed. He wondered what she was like, why she had to resort to a crappy shed in back of the inn for shelter? Who was she and what was her story?

"Sure, sure. Now can you go away?" He hadn't meant for his words to come out so harshly but sometimes Jess didn't think before he spoke. What he meant to say was that he would be nice for once. This girl was in a similar predicament to the one they were in fifteen years ago, after all. He could empathize with that, at least.

Lorelai let out a heavy sigh, signally her disappointment in his rudeness, and then finally left. He frowned. After his last outburst he really wasn't trying to be a jerk, but it still came out that way. Sometimes Jess couldn't help it, and he hated himself for that.

Miraculously after Lorelai left Jess finally hit his groove. He was just coming up on act IV when the doorbell rang. Another unreasonable flash of rage went through him. He had finally settled into studying and someone was disturbing him. Knowing himself, once he was distracted it was going to be Hell to get back into it.

Jess went to the front door and opened it with a little too much force. "Yeah?" he asked.

Before him stood a pretty teenager with bright blue eyes and long brown hair. She wore a maid's uniform from the Independence Inn. Obviously Rory.

"Um...Lorelai said she had a few things for me to pick up."

Jess stared her up and down, inspecting her. She really was pretty, more than pretty, she was stunningly beautiful. In fact, she was exactly the kind of pretty that would never talk to him if she wasn't being forced to. Something inside of Jess told him to reject her before she could reject him. Jess forgot about his promise to his mother to be nice.

"Come in," Jess finally said.

Rory timidly followed him inside. "Is Lorelai home?"

"Out." A one-word answer. She didn't need to know the details of their lives. Besides, she was just cutting into his studying time. He had wasted enough time today already.

"What's your name again? It starts with a J, right?" Rory asked, making with the small-talk.

"Jess," he said. He couldn't help the second bout of anger he suddenly felt. "Did my mom talk about me?"

"N—no. She just said she had a son."

"That means she talked about me."

"I—I guess."

As she stuttered Jess began to regret his tone. He didn't mean to scare the poor thing, he just wanted to finish the interaction as quickly as possible. He prayed she didn't break into tears. He had a terrible shoulder to cry on. Besides, it was stupid to get so upset about Lorelai. Of course she talked about him, he was her son. That's what mothers do.

"She said the stuff's in her room," Jess said, trying to move things along.

"Why isn't she home?" Rory asked as she followed Jess upstairs.

Jess shrugged. "Something about Sookie."

He brought Rory into Lorelai's room. There was a basket of neatly folded clothes and a few other miscellaneous objects on the bed. Jess picked up the basket and shoved it into Rory's hands. "Here." He walked out of the room.

Jess didn't even walk her to the door. He just went back to his room and let her find her own way out. Damn, he was a jerk, and he knew as soon as Rory told Lorelai about the interaction he was going to get an earful. He couldn't help himself, though. Everyone hated him so what was the point of trying to be nice? He started his study session back upThe first big assignment Jess needed to concentrate on was a Shakespeare paper for Mr. Medina's class. Plays are very boring to read, so Shakespeare was actually quite the blind spot for the literati. Jess hadn't read any of them, other than Romeo and Juliet during ninth grade English. The rest of Medina's class had spent the first month of school bulking up on Shakespeare's plays, reading them, analyzing them, and even acting them out a bit during classes, then doing a close reading of the lines. On the other hand, Jess had a week to read them all, dissect them and write ten pages of a comparative analysis.

By the end of this Jess would never want to see another script again.

When he arrived home from school on Tuesday Lorelai had apparently decided to start her audition for the most annoying mother award.

"I think tonight is the night we take on the entire chicken column at Al's. I know we've talked about it for years, but I say we go for it!" She was stretched across the couch in the living room, reading takeout menus as Jess came in through the front door. He had planned to go straight to his bedroom but detoured into the living room to let Lorelai know he couldn't deal with any of her nonsense tonight.

His arms were full of binders that wouldn't fit in his tightly stuffed backpack. There were just too many books! His backpack couldn't even zipper all the way shut.

"They finally release the Pentagon papers?" Lorelai asked.

"School. Order whatever you want but leave me alone tonight." Jess rushed down the hall to his bedroom.

"Don't even want to know when dinner's here?" Lorelai called after him.

He responded with a slam of his door. It was rude, but Lorelai wasn't a person to take hints. It needed to be established early and clearly that he wasn't messing around. Jess placed the various binders on his bed and found the one from Medina's class. Sitting at his desk he opened the binder and skimmed the table of contents for the relevant pages.

There was a knock on his door and then Lorelai entered before Jess could give permission. Why did moms always do that? What's the point of knocking in the first place?

"As much as I'm loving the work ethic, it's the second day of school. Don't you think you're overdoing it?"

"I transferred in late," Jess said without looking up. Page 72 was the start of A Midsummer Night's Dream's notes. He flipped to the page. "I'm behind and have to catch up. Paper due on Friday."

Lorelai lingered by the door.

"Could you close the friggin' door and go away?"

"Hey, watch it! Don't give me that attitude." Her voice suddenly got softer. Maybe she could see how stressed he was. "Let me know if you need anything, okay?" Lorelai shut the door.

Jess went back to work. He skimmed the notes so he'd have a guideline of what to pay attention to, then opened his copy of the play. He read about Theseus and Hippolyta discussing their wedding, but by the time they move on to discussing Hermia's wedding Jess's concentration was waning like the moon. He tapped his pencil against the desk. Then the beat slowly morphed into the Dead Kennedy's "California Über Alles". From there a pencil rendition consisting of the Clash's "I Fought the Law", the Sex Pistol's "God Save the Queen", and a mish-mash of various Ramones songs—let's be honest, they all have the exact same beat—were played out.

Right as he was humming along to "I Want To Be Sedated", or maybe it was "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" or "Rock & Roll High School"—who could tell—Jess realized his lapse in concentration.

"Shit," he mumbled to himself and got back to reading.

The problem was plays are so boring. They are meant to be seen, not read. He thought about asking his mother to act them out with him, but just knew she would love that too much. Not only did she love being asked for help, she had this thing about wanting to be needed, but his mother was just the kind of person to really get into it and overact, funny voices and all. No, he didn't have time for her nonsense. Besides, it would be much faster if he just read them. He just needed to concentrate.

A half-hour later Jess had unbent all of the bobby pins Lorelai had somehow left in his room, reorganized his CD collection, and unraveled a knit hat, but he still hadn't gotten past the first scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream. What the Hell was wrong with him?

This was getting ridiculous. Jess got up and started packing anything that could distract him into a box: his playing cards, his magic trick props, every knick-knack that was in arm's reach. Only after the box was full did he realize this was just another procrastination technique. Goddammit!

Jess put the box onto the ground and tried to rethink this. He just needed to sit down and read. This shouldn't be so hard. He loved reading.

Jess went back to his desk and read a few more lines. Then Lorelai opened his door again. "Hey Jess—"

"Jesus H. fucking Christ, what do you want?!" Jess yelled at her.

Lorelai froze in place in the doorframe, her eyes wide. "Wooow," she said slowly, drawing out the O. "I don't know what I did to piss you off so much, but you better take it down about five thousand notches and watch the language."

Jess leaned over his desk and rested his head in his hands. He couldn't take this anymore. He had a fucking paper due at the end of the week but he couldn't get himself to sit still and actually read the material.

"Are you okay?" Lorelai asked. She walked across the room and sat down on the chest at the foot of his bed.

Jess sat up and turned on his chair to face Lorelai. "I'm fine. Just stressed."

"It's the second day of school."

"I already told you I have a paper."

"That's not an excuse for yelling at me like that."

"I know. Can you just lecture me after Friday? Please? I have to get back to work."

Lorelai seemed to mull the idea over for a few seconds. For once she moved the subject along. "Sookie just called my cell. She fell—she's okay but she pulled a muscle in her back. Says she doesn't need to go to the hospital. She made a mess falling to the ground though, knocked over like a whole bunch of jars of stuff. I'm going to go over, clean up, make sure she takes a pain pill and get her to bed. You gonna be okay here alone?"

"Will the sixteen-year-old be okay alone in his own room? Yeah, I think I'm good."

Lorelai reached over to tussled Jess's overly gelled hair. He ducked out of her grasp as soon as he noticed.

"You're not sixteen yet, kiddo. There's one more thing. An employee of mine, new girl, name's Rory, she's coming over here. She's kind of in a bad place. Actually, I'm letting her stay in the potting shed."

The potting shed. His first home, the first one he could remember at least. Jess didn't like to get sentimental, but still, that potting shed meant something to him. It'd only been about four years since they moved out, after all. Not that Jess didn't appreciate the upgrade, the potting shed had gotten quite cramped by eleven.

"So I'm giving her some of my old clothes, hand-me-downs if you will. She'll be over soon to pick them up, so I need you to let her in. Clothes are in a basket on my bed. And Jess, she's really fragile so no attitude. Be nice to this one, okay?"

The girl living in his potting shed. He wondered what she was like, why she had to resort to a crappy shed in back of the inn for shelter? Who was she and what was her story?

"Sure, sure. Now can you go away?" He hadn't meant for his words to come out so harshly but sometimes Jess didn't think before he spoke. What he meant to say was that he would be nice for once. This girl was in a similar predicament to the one they were in fifteen years ago, after all. He could empathize with that, at least.

Lorelai let out a heavy sigh, signally her disappointment in his rudeness, and then finally left. He frowned. After his last outburst he really wasn't trying to be a jerk, but it still came out that way. Sometimes Jess couldn't help it, and he hated himself for that.

Miraculously after Lorelai left Jess finally hit his groove. He was just coming up on act IV when the doorbell rang. Another unreasonable flash of rage went through him. He had finally settled into studying and someone was disturbing him. Knowing himself, once he was distracted it was going to be Hell to get back into it.

Jess went to the front door and opened it with a little too much force. "Yeah?" he asked.

Before him stood a pretty teenager with bright blue eyes and long brown hair. She wore a maid's uniform from the Independence Inn. Obviously Rory.

"Um...Lorelai said she had a few things for me to pick up."

Jess stared her up and down, inspecting her. She really was pretty, more than pretty, she was stunningly beautiful. In fact, she was exactly the kind of pretty that would never talk to him if she wasn't being forced to. Something inside of Jess told him to reject her before she could reject him. Jess forgot about his promise to his mother to be nice.

"Come in," Jess finally said.

Rory timidly followed him inside. "Is Lorelai home?"

"Out." A one-word answer. She didn't need to know the details of their lives. Besides, she was just cutting into his studying time. He had wasted enough time today already.

"What's your name again? It starts with a J, right?" Rory asked, making with the small-talk.

"Jess," he said. He couldn't help the second bout of anger he suddenly felt. "Did my mom talk about me?"

"N—no. She just said she had a son."

"That means she talked about me."

"I—I guess."

As she stuttered Jess began to regret his tone. He didn't mean to scare the poor thing, he just wanted to finish the interaction as quickly as possible. He prayed she didn't break into tears. He had a terrible shoulder to cry on. Besides, it was stupid to get so upset about Lorelai. Of course she talked about him, he was her son. That's what mothers do.

"She said the stuff's in her room," Jess said, trying to move things along.

"Why isn't she home?" Rory asked as she followed Jess upstairs.

Jess shrugged. "Something about Sookie."

He brought Rory into Lorelai's room. There was a basket of neatly folded clothes and a few other miscellaneous objects on the bed. Jess picked up the basket and shoved it into Rory's hands. "Here." He walked out of the room.

Jess didn't even walk her to the door. He just went back to his room and let her find her own way out. Damn, he was a jerk, and he knew as soon as Rory told Lorelai about the interaction he was going to get an earful. He couldn't help himself, though. Everyone hated him so what was the point of trying to be nice? He started his study session back up.

~~~~

Wednesday was just like Tuesday. And so was Thursday. Jess struggled to take notes in class, and then spent hours at home attempting to study, though honestly most of that studying time involved working on his sleight of hand and practicing a new card trick.

On Thursday evening, around six, Lorelai called the house, telling Jess to meet her at Luke's for dinner so he packed up his books and headed there. There wasn't a second to spare, he needed to study through dinner. Jess scouted a quiet table by the window and overtook it with his notes while he waited for his mother.

Luke walked by to take his order and looked down at the mess of papers shuffled haphazardly across the table. "How am I supposed to put a plate down?" Luke asked.

Jess didn't take his eyes off the table as he wrote down a note he wanted to add to his essay. "I'll find a spot."

"This school's really giving you a run for your money, huh?"

Jess crossed out his note. His teacher didn't care if he recited facts about what happened in a play, he expected an analysis comparing and contrasting the plays. "Yep, private school will do that."

He opened his backpack and fished out his copy of Taming of the Shrew. There was in this moment in that play that reminded him of another in Much Ado About Nothing…but maybe he was grasping at straws. Jess threw his book across the table. It landed onto a mess of his papers.

Luke sat down across from Jess. "Anything I can do to help?" he asked.

"I don't think your degree in Flipping Burgers from the University of Trade Schools is going to be much help."

Luke's smile dropped off his face. That was too mean and Jess knew it. He had tremendous respect for Luke. Why would he ever say something like that?

Luke stood up.

"Sorry," Jess muttered under his breath.

Luke didn't sit back down. He stayed standing by the table, making Jess feel uncomfortable with the size and power dynamic. Jess peeked a glance up at the older man, trying to figure out if he was pissed, but Luke looked more sympathetic. His eyes studied Jess, looking him up and down. Jess looked away. Things would have been easier if Luke was just pissed.

He didn't always use to feel weird by how much Luke seemed to care for him. When he first met Luke five years ago Jess was intimidated by the man. Luke was so large and burly and looked like he could easily beat anyone up. He took a big interest in Lorelai and Jess resented how much she seemed to like him back. He'd heard stories at school about kids getting stepparents and then new little siblings and then getting all but forgotten by their parents. Jess didn't want that. He had already lost Mia, who had recently moved to Santa Barbara, and Chris was rarely around. He couldn't lose Lorelai too.

Then Chris finally left for good and moved to California. Chris hadn't really been around much during Jess's childhood, but at least he had been close by. Before there was always the idea that if they really needed him he could come by. Not anymore.

That's when Jess realized Luke wasn't there to take his mother away, but to replace his absentee father. Right at the point when Jess had been abandoned by his own flesh and blood, Luke, someone who had no reason to care, reached out to Jess and doted on him like Chris had never done. Jess had never played a sport so Luke taught him how to play baseball and convinced Lorelai to sign Jess up for Little League. Jess wasn't very good, but it was fun, and it was where Jess met Dave, who was also terrible enough to usually get stuck on the bench. Luke did other things for Jess too. He took Jess fishing and camping on the occasional weekend. He taught him to work with tools. He did all the things Chris never even offered.

Then Jess got older. He got angrier about Chris's abandonment and guilty for taking up all of Luke's time. It'd been a while since the last time Jess and Luke hung out.

Jess tapped his pencil on the table and waited for a reaction from Luke. Why wasn't Luke telling him off already? Maybe he was just going to drop it and walk away. Jess wasn't worth the effort of a confrontation, right?

"You're not okay?" Luke asked.

No such luck.

"I'm just..." Jess looked around as he tried to grasp at the word. Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Never going to catch up? He looked back up at the man. "I don't think you're stupid, you know that, right? I know it takes a lot of brains to run your own business."

"It's no…" Luke picked one of the texts off the table and read the title out loud, "…Analysis of Shakespeare. Good luck with that."

"You know anything about Shakespeare?" Jess asked.

Luke shook his head.

"You're a smart kid. Half the stuff you talk about goes over my head. More than half. And I always see your head in a book."

Jess frowned. He wished he had that type of confidence in himself. "I hope so," he said.

"Your mom wouldn't have sent you there if she didn't know you could do it."

Jess sighed. Living up to her expectations was another issue. He almost mentioned that to Luke, but he couldn't bring himself to open up that much. Would Luke care? Probably, and that's why he couldn't talk to him about it. Luke shouldn't have to deal with Jess's struggles.

There was a long pregnant pause as Jess kept quiet. Finally Luke broke it. "You want me to put in an order for you?"

Back to business. Good. It was easier that way. Emotions and bonding just made things messy.

"I'll wait for mom," he muttered and opened up another book.

Luke walked away.

Jess scribbled out another note. Comparing the downfall of Julius Caesar to the downfall of Macbeth was trite and obvious. Jess tapped his pencil again. An apple pie suddenly appeared in front of him. Jess looked up. Luke had set it down.

"Old study tip. Pie helps concentration."

Jess didn't believe that, but his rumbling stomach wasn't about to argue. He picked up his fork and had a huge bite. The flakey crust broke apart, sprinkling his shirt and notes with crumbs, but he didn't care. It tasted so good. Finally, Jess pushed aside some of his books and let himself just enjoy his pre-dinner dessert. Luke always knew what was best for him.

~~~~

Lorelai finally arrived at the diner. She had gotten helped up at the inn due to a towel shortage crisis, but that was all solved now and she needed Luke's freshest cup of coffee to soothe her headache. Luke was wiping down a table by the door when she arrived, while Jess sat at a table that overflowed with books and papers. He munched away at a slice of pie as he read one of his textbooks.

"He's eating pie? Did he even have dinner?"

Luke shrugged. "You raised him. I just serve."

Lorelai frowned. She did raise him and raised him on an all junk food diet too, but it never really seemed to take. Jess wasn't exactly Euell Gibbons, but he had never seemed to take a liking to her eating habits before. Eating pie before dinner was something she'd do, not Jess.

Lorelai went over to Jess's table, but couldn't find a way to sit there and eat. Luckily there was an empty table to them. She slid it over next to his table and sat down.

"Seriously?" Luke shouted across the room. He always hated when she rearranged the diner furniture, but what was the big deal? There wasn't a big dinner rush going on right now.

Lorelai ignored him. "Lot of homework, huh?"

"It would appear so," Jess said.

"You want something to eat—other than pie, that is?"

"Burger, I guess."

"Fries?"

"Sure."

"Coffee?"

"Coke." Jess didn't pry his eyes away from his books once during the conversation.

Lorelai had a feeling dinner was going to be a lot more of that tonight. She couldn't really give Jess grief, though, she knew how stress he'd been all week about this paper. He'd even been working hard on it all week, instead of procrastinating until the last minute like he usually did. She was pretty proud of that. She just wished he hadn't been so closed-off and aggressive with her every time she came near him. Jess didn't deal with stress in healthy ways. He either shut you out or screamed at you.

Lorelai walked over to the counter and put their order in. "Two burgers with everything, a coffee, a coke, a large fry, and another apple pie—pie served first."

"So now you don't have a problem with dessert first?" Luke asked.

"I'm not going to let my kid out-junk-food me." Lorelai was the junk-food champion, after all, and she would not be dethroned so easily by an armature like Jess.

Lorelai turned to walk away but Luke told her to wait. He handed the order to Cesar than leaned over the counter and asked in a low voice, "Is he okay?"

Lorelai snuck a peek back at Jess. His nose was buried into another book. Jess had always been an avid reader, but this was more intense than usual. "Why? Did something happen?"

He'd been giving her an attitude all week and she hoped he hadn't given one to Luke too.

Luke seemed hesitant to respond. Finally, he said, "He was just a little snippy. He apologized right after. Said he was stressed over school. Everything okay at the new school?"

It felt like Luke was holding back something else, but Lorelai let it go. "Chilton is…intense, I guess. I know I should've expected this, that's what private schools are like after all, but he's just so smart that I kind of just figured it'd be more of the same. I've never seen him stressed over school before."

"He's a smart kid. Everything has always come easy to him. I'm sure he'll figure this out too. It's only his first week, after all."

Right, that's what she was telling herself too.

Luke reached out and squeezed Lorelai's hand. She looked over at him and smiled. Luke always knew the right thing to do to comfort her. She squeezed the hand back.

"He won't talk to me about this. I tried to help him with his work the other night and he just screamed at me. He's been wound so tightly all week. I've been walking on eggshells at home. It's driving me crazy. You know how I don't like to watch what I say."

"That's true."

"Hey, I insulted me. No need for you to add on."

"Sorry."

Lorelai let out a huge sigh. She needed help, and though Luke already helped her with Jess more than his fair share, she needed more. "Could you just…I don't know, look out for him, I guess? He likes you more than me. He'll talk to you about what's going on with him."

"Don't say that. Jess loves you. He's just a teenager. They never say the words."

"I know he 'loves' me like all kids 'love' their parents, but he also can't stand me like all teenagers can't stand their parents. He likes you though. He actually talks to you. Could you just…keep me in the loop? Let me know if something is bothering him that I can help with. I just feel so helpless right now, standing on the sidelines."

"Of course," Luke said. "Don't I already always do that?"

"I guess I just needed the reassurance," Cesar called out from the kitchen that the order was ready and Luke started to bring it over to the table. She sat back down with Jess, her worries barely alleviated.

~~~~

Jess pulled an all-nighter on Thursday night. Back when he attended Stars Hollow High he occasionally had to pull an all-nighter after a bout of procrastination, but he'd never had to pull one after genuinely putting in effort all week. Or at least trying to put in effort. With all the hours of studying Jess had put in during the past week, he had spent even more time getting distracted over nonsense. Though he had read every Shakespeare play synopsis he could get his hands on, and a handful of the actual scripts, he had spent even more time reorganizing his CD collection, bookshelf and closet. Hell, his room was clean for the first time in years, but sitting down to write this Goddamn paper was impossible.

Tonight was the last possible night to finish. He had a pile of papers filled with his notes, and a few attempts at paragraphs on Microsoft Word, but nothing concrete. It was going to be a long night.

Just like she had been doing all week Lorelai voiced her concerns about his over studying before she went to bed for the night. It caused another argument and ended with Jess locking himself in his room to finish his work while she went to bed. At around midnight he realized how many more hours of work were ahead of him and went to the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee. Then he brewed a second batch a few hours later.

By then his paper was nearly done, all the information was there, it just wasn't written very coherently, and his citations were a mess. He really needed to learn to cite as he wrote instead of saving it all for the end.

He must have been louder than he thought because Lorelai came downstairs while the pot was still filling. Lorelai rubbed her eyes and squinted at the coffee pot while Jess sat at the kitchen table. He had moved into the kitchen around the time he brewed the first pot. His laptop was open but pushed aside and he was reading through a freshly printed version of his second draft, crossing out huge sections of it with one of Lorelai's colorful pink pens, the one with a fluffy, feather at the end. A normal red pen would have been preferable, but Jess had to work with what they had.

"As much as I'm loving the confirmation that you are in fact my kid, what with the coffee at," she glanced over at the clock, "three in the morning?! Oh my God, Jess, get to bed."

"In a minute," Jess said, not actually listening to her. He circled a paragraph and drew arrows to another part of the paper.

"Jess," Lorelai said and snapped her fingers in front of his face.

Jess came out of his trance and stared up at Lorelai. "What?!" he growled. What did she possibly want? Couldn't she see how stressed he was?

"It's three in the morning," she repeated.

"So?"

"So it's three in the morning. You're supposed to be up in four hours and instead you're making coffee."

"This is not the first time you've caught me doing an all-nighter."

"It's the first time I've caught you doing an all-nighter three nights in a row."

"I haven't pulled three all-nighters in a row."

"Yeah? When did you go to bed last night? Because I know I've gone to bed before you all week. I assumed you were staying up a little late, not brewing coffee at three in the freaking morning."

"I didn't brew coffee at three in the morning last night…I went to bed at three."

"That's still too late."

He knew she was right. Jess hadn't gotten a single full night of sleep all week. The perpetual state of exhaustion these long hours were causing certainly wasn't helping his concentration either.

"I just need to do a couple more drafts," Jess said.

"A couple?!"

"You know how I work. I write, then completely rewrite. The first draft is always shit."

"Can I?" Lorelai reached for his paper. Jess pulled it away.

"No, it's terrible. It doesn't make any sense, there's no flow, it's a total mess."

Lorelai's brows wrinkled. "You're always your harshest critic."

"What do you know about writing? You dropped out of high school!" Jess snapped. As soon as the words tumbled out of his mouth he realized how horrible of a thing that was to say. And twice in one day, first to Luke and now to Lorelai, just because they were trying to help. He didn't even know why he was attacking people over their education. Intelligence doesn't require education. Bill Gates dropped out of high school, for Christ's sake. "I didn't mean—"

"I dropped out of high school because I was pregnant!" Lorelai snapped.

"I know."

"With you, thank you very much."

Jess felt a pit in his stomach. He always knew she secretly hated him for ruining her life. "I didn't ask to be born," he said, gripping his pen so hard his knuckles turned white. "I didn't ask for you to keep me."

Lorelai gasped. "Jess!" Lorelai's voice cracked. "You don't actually think like that, do you? That I didn't want you? Jess look at me."

Jess looked up. Lorelai had started to cry. Why did he always make his mother cry?

Lorelai reached across the table and squeezed Jess's free hand. "There was never a moment I felt any regret. There was a moment of 'Oh shit, my parents are going to kill me' but no regret. I knew from the moment the strip turned pink that you were mine and how much I was going to love you. I never even considered any other options."

Jess doubted that very much. No teenager gets pregnant and doesn't consider abortion or adoption. Lorelai just didn't have the guts to go through with those better alternatives. She would have been much happier if she had.

"You were supposed to go to Vassar."

"I didn't want to go to Vassar, Jess. Maybe a state school, but not some private all-girls school—could you imagine me at an all-girl school?"

"Vassar's co-ed."

"It wasn't back then."

"Pretty sure it was, actually."

"That's not the point! Jess, could you just listen to me? That's not the life I wanted. That was the life my parents wanted for me. I really don't know what I wanted, but I know I didn't want that. But with you, the instant I realized I was pregnant—once I got over the shock of how fat I was going to get—I knew for the first time in my life what I wanted. I wanted you, Jess. Don't think for a second that you ruined my life, because you made my life worth it."

It was a good speech. Too bad Jess didn't buy it. She could pretend all she wanted that she didn't resent him, but Jess knew the truth. She didn't want him. She had only convinced herself that she did in order to shield herself from the guilt over destroying her own life.

Apparently Lorelai couldn't tell what Jess was thinking, because she went back to addressing Jess's original comment without any more reassurance about loving him. "Besides, I think I've done pretty well for us, all things considered. I have my GED. I'm in college—community college, sure, but still, college. I'm not a clueless idiot, Jess. Heck, I can probably help with school better than any of your peers' parents. I have to write papers just as often as you do."

"I know," Jess said. "I shouldn't have brought up dropping out. I know you didn't have a choice in it. I don't know why I said it."

"I'm still not hearing an I'm sorry."

"I am. Sorry, that is. I don't think before I speak."

"I'm getting a little sick of that excuse every time you decide to act like a jerk."

Jess looked down at his paper. "I've still got edits to do."

Lorelai sighed. "Fine, one more draft—no coffee—then bed. And don't think this discussion about your behavior is over. I'm cutting you a little slack here because I know you're stressed about finishing up this paper, but we're going to talk about this more tomorrow, after school. Get it?"

"Got it."

"Good…is there anything I can do to help?"

Jess took a moment to respond. He hadn't given his mother half the credit she deserved. She was right, she was a college student. She probably could have helped him with this paper days ago. "Could you help me with the citations?"

Lorelai frowned. "I hate citations."

"Me too, that's why I always wait until the end and it's the worst. I've got the in-text citations, with the author and page number, but I need all the other info for the works cited page."

"MLA?"

Jess nodded.

"Fine, hand me the books and your laptop. I'll type them up for you."

Jess turned the laptop over to Lorelai and handed her each of the books. While she formatted the citations he finished editing his latest draft. When he took the laptop back from Lorelai to update the document he took a moment to circle back to the discussion about his behavior. "I really am sorry," he said. "I'm really not trying to be a jerk…I said something pretty terrible to Luke today too."

Lorelai frowned. "He said you got snippy with him, but that you apologized. He's really concerned about you, just like I am."

That only made Jess feel more guilty. "I shouldn't have taken it out on Luke. I shouldn't bother him at all with my problems."

Lorelai shook her head. "Hey now, that's not what I said. Luke adores you. I know he's been busy lately and hasn't had time for camping—"

"I told him I didn't want to go camping anymore," Jess said.

"What?"

Jess shrugged.

"But I thought you liked going camping with him."

Jess did like camping with Luke. Not that sleeping on the damp, cold ground was his definition of fun, but he liked spending time with Luke. Luke would teach Jess new things, like how to build a fire and cast a fishing line. The problem was Jess also hated wasting Luke's time. "He doesn't want to go camping with me, Mom. He's just trying to be nice."

"Trust me Jess, if he was just being nice he wouldn't invite someone who uses as much Axe as you do to sleep in the same tent."

"I don't use that much Axe."

"Every morning when I walk into the downstairs bathroom it feels like I'm being teargassed."

"Well that's because I have to get the smell of your scented candles off of me!"

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Back to my point, Jess, Luke likes you. He likes spending time with you. Please don't think you're a burden to him. You're not." Lorelai reached over the table and squeezed Jess's hand once more. "I really hate that you feel this way about yourself. I know you feel like a burden a lot, and I wish you didn't. I'm serious when I say don't regret getting pregnant for a moment. The circumstances, sure, but not you. You need to stop thinking like that. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me, kiddo."

There was a lump in Jess's throat. She was back to reassuring him that he was loved. Why was it so hard for him to just believe her?

"I have to finish typing up these rewrites," Jess said, changing the topic again.

"Oh, okay," Lorelai said, taken aback. "Well, I'll let you get to it."

Jess began typing up the new draft, trying to focus on the words instead of his emotions. Lorelai was constantly telling him how much she loved him and wanted him and had no regrets. With the constant reassurance there was no reason for Jess to doubt her words. So why did he? Was what wrong with him that he couldn't just believe her?

He really did try to believe her, but a voice in the back of his head was louder. It kept telling him that she was lying. All mothers say they love their children unconditionally, but that couldn't possibly be true. It was a statistical impossibility. Some mothers had to hate their children, especially the ones who had no choice in the matter of parenthood. There was just no way Lorelai really loved him. He wasn't lovable. Why else did everyone else always leave?


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751 Reviews


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Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:39 pm
ExOmelas wrote a review...



I can't decide if Jess's rejecting her before she has the chance to reject him is a bit expositional. I'm unsure how you'd hint at that but it does feel a bit unnatural to have some very deep complicated issues spelled out like that, especially since Jess is probably unaware of this process.

Uhhh are you aware the first section happens twice?

and then spent hours at home attempting to study, though honestly most of that studying

The "honestly" here is a bit weird because it sounds like the narrator is speaking directly to the reader, which hasn't been the voice so far.

Luke's smile dropped off his face.

Are you telling me Luke was smiling in the first place? :P

The explanation of Jess and Luke's relationship is a bit much all at once.

Jess wasn't exactly Euell Gibbons

hehehe i see what you did there

This was probably my favourite chapter so far. I'm not saying it's because you have the freedom to write your own original plot now, but you certainly seem to be doing very well at that. I bet this probably is the stuff Jess would struggle with. Rory got on easily with Lorelai, with much less friction, so it was probably always pretty easy to believe that Lorelai loved her, since she could immediately see how happy they made each other.

The stuff with Luke is interesting. I think the way he would have been with Jess growing up is believable if a bit of a jump from what I was expecting. He naturally didn't like children at all, so at some stage he probably had to get past Jess being at the "jam-hands" stage. He seems pretty nice in general in this, which actually now that I think about it, he kind of does soften a bit after he meets April. So maybe that's what the effect of Lorelai having Jess instead of Rory.

One little thing I wanted to mention: there's a lot of lines in the previous chapter that are direct quotes from the show. I think it might be worth putting a disclaimer in somewhere about how much is yours how much is from the show, just so it doesn't stray into plagiarism. You're probably beyond that point by now, and maybe even for chapter 3, but definitely for the first two.

Hope this helps,
Biscuits :)




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Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:15 am
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Dreamy wrote a review...



LEAVE? Who left?! what?! o:

I really liked this chapter. This is definitely my favourite of the four. We really got to know more about Jess and Lorelai except for the cliff hanger bit at the end. The conversation between Lorelai and Jess flowed so well. So well-written, you can actually take the part out and make an episode out of it without changing anything.

Some typos:

Lorelai reached over to tussled Jess's overly gelled hair. He ducked out of her grasp as soon as he noticed


...tussle...

signally her disappointment in his rudeness


...signalling...

He started his study session back upThe first big assignment Jess needed to concentrate on was a Shakespeare paper for Mr. Medina's class.


I was reading this and then I realised that this feels familiar.

Jess didn't even walk her to the door. He just went back to his room and let her find her own way out. Damn, he was a jerk, and he knew as soon as Rory told Lorelai about the interaction he was going to get an earful. He couldn't help himself, though. Everyone hated him so what was the point of trying to be nice? He started his study session back up.


You've cut+copied the same thing twice. >.< You've got to edit that out.

Luckily there was an empty table to them. She slid it over next to his table and sat down.


...next to them...

Lorelai had a feeling dinner was going to be a lot more of that tonight.


I quite can't understand the meaning behind the sentence. It reads like there's going to be a major reveal of some sort but it's only Jess stressed with school stuff which you've been establishing for quite some time. And I have a feeling that it'll read well if, "...feeling that dinner..."

but he'd never had to pull one after genuinely putting in effort all week. Or at least trying to put in effort. With all the hours of studying Jess had put in during the past week, he had spent even more time getting distracted over nonsense.


I thought the sentences had too many "put in" I feel this bit needs some editing.

Was what wrong with him that he couldn't just believe her?


"What was wrong..."


If I'm honest, I am definitely invested in this story. I like to know how the story would move on and how the characters will pan out. I have a feeling that Jess and Rory are going to be a thing (DUH!) But I'm excited to see how that'll come to. How they'll come to. I just can't wait!!

Keep up the good work!

Keep writing!

Cheers! :D




DottieSnark says...


Thanks again for this review. It really does mean so much to me. I see I have less typos and more just wonky sentences this time (and oh I can't believe I have the same paragraph in there twice!)

I'm glad you're invested in the story. Your reviews have meant the world to me and I'm really thankful that you're helping me shape up this story. I want it to be the best it can be. Thank you!

I haven't been around much the last week or so. I've been working on a prompt challenge for another site, but as soon as that's done I'll be back to uploading more content for this story. Once again thank you for reading and reviewing.



Dreamy says...


Aw, it was my pleasure reading them. Good luck with the prompt thing. And keep the chapters coming. :D




He began to wonder why he had felt uneasy at all. It was like a man wondering in broad daylight why a dream had appeared so terrible to him at night.
— Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart