Word Count: 707
Spoilers: set during season 3
Summary: A book sale, banter, and one of those rare moments where Jess Mariano seems like the world's actual greatest boyfriend.
Author's Note: Heh, I am supposed to be vacationing right now, but every girl needs the occasional writing break! Especially when the alternative is sunshine. (How ghastly!) This is in response to lalumena's prompt 'Rory/Jess, Juliet.' :)
Also, a moment of disclaiming: I think I stole one of Jess's lines from Xander Harris. It happens.
Rory always gets giddy when the library book sale rolls around, but she's not sure she's ever enjoyed one quite this much. After two hours and fifteen minutes of guilt-free browsing, she and Jess head over to check out each carrying a pile so high that it would make Cheech and Chong feel pretty lame in comparison, if, you know, it was the same kind of high. Maybe an Empire State Building reference would have worked better. Anyway, they even get an awed "Whoa" from Morey, who lowers his sunglasses to look at them and their findings. Rory feels pretty proud.
She buys an old copy of Romeo and Juliet when it catches her eye at the last minute because -- because it's sunny out and she has a new boyfriend she's crazy about and that's the kind of stuff that you get to do when you're young and happy and madly in like.
She forgets sometimes how much Jess isn't Dean. (Poor, dutiful Dean, who sat for longer than she wants to remember on the library steps waiting for her last time and tried so valiantly not to look bored.) But in a good way.
"Kids are stupid," Jess says as they walk back toward Luke's, his bag of books in his left hand and Rory's bag in his right. Little acts of one hundred percent unexpected chivalry sneak up on her sometimes, with him. "And then, 'cause humans are stupid, they make it into some big love story, when really, the moral of the whole thing is: people are dumbasses."
"When Paris and I did it," Rory acknowledges, her lips quirking at the memory, at the animation in his voice, "we were pretty stupid. Or maybe that was just Paris's Romeo wig. No," she decides, "it was us."
"Man," Jess says, "I'm sure bummed I missed that." Rory sends a scrutinizing glance his way. "What??"
"I can't tell whether you're being sarcastic or not."
"Yeah, me either," he admits. He makes a little face. Makes her laugh.
"I don't know," Rory sighs, "if you aren't willing to die for me, I may have to rethink this relationship, mister."
"I might die from you," Jess points out. "Especially if I have to keep lugging all your books around. Does that count?"
"Nope," she says brightly.
"Damn," he mock-mutters.
"Besides, half of those are yours, and I'm not the one who went for the hardcover Ulysses."
"It was a quarter," Jess protests.
"I'm not complaining," Rory tells him, holding up her (unburdened-by-bags-o'-books) hands in defense. "I'm looking forward," she adds happily, "to when you try to put it in your back pocket so you can carry it around town with you."
"Ha ha, very funny," Jess says, in this tone that sounds grumpy but (Rory is beginning to find out) means I think you're swell, in its own special Jess way.
"Back to the subject," she orders.
He nods, fake-obedient. "Yes ma'am."
"What's your Shakespeare of choice, then? It's Hamlet, isn't it? You broody boys have to stick together."
"I'm not broody," Jess retorts, offended.
Rory scrunches her face up, contemplating. "You're a little broody."
"Hey, Dean's way more broody than I am."
"I dunno. Dean was pretty cheery for a way-more-broody-than-you guy."
"A Midsummer Night's Dream," Jess says defiantly.
"You want Shakespearean dumbasses in love, that's leaps and bounds better than all that Romeo, Romeo crap."
"You like A Midsummer Night's Dream," Rory tests.
"It has fairies."
"My boyfriend loves fairies," Rory declares, because it's not like she's going to pass up on that opportunity. (My boyfriend, my boyfriend.)
"What fools these mortals be," Jess accuses, elbowing her lightly.
"Fairies, fairies, fairies," Rory sing-songs.
"You're kinda nuts," Jess declares.
"You're kinda sweet," Rory returns.
"I won't tell anyone if you won't," he proposes. Warmly, for him.
"Deal," she says, pulling the door to Luke's open and holding it, in the name of equal-opportunity chivalry. Jess gives her this quiet little smile as he slips past, his body brushing hers for a second, and it's not like she's going to o happy dagger! it up anytime soon, but she kind of gets how Juliet felt. At least in the first few acts.