Story Title: The Seven Deadly Sins: A Series of Lit Vignettes
Chapter Two—Greed: The Pursuit of Money in the Face of Happiness
Rating: T, for some possible language
Summary: A series of looks at moments we were robbed of in Season Three. A look at Rory and Jess being Rory and Jess.
AN: Thanks for the lovely reviews, and the generous response. It's nice to see so many Lits still lurking out there.
Rory sat at the counter, with her feet not quite touching the floor, her Calculus book open, and a notebook that had been erased within an inch of its life. Normally she didn't make this many mistakes, but she couldn't concentrate tonight. She'd had dinner at Luke's Diner, which was a growing normality in her life. She and her mother had always made a habit of eating at that specific establishment, but since she started dating the owner's nephew, it seemed to be more of a home away from home. She ate there even when her mother didn't join her, as was the case tonight, and she had her own stool.
At least, Jess always slid a cup of coffee in front of the same stool whenever he saw her coming in. It was right on the end, where he could easily walk around and touch her. It was the best invitation, like he was encouraging her to stay and keep him company. Tonight, however, he hadn't touched her. He'd barely looked at her. So she sat, with only her differential equations to keep her company as she bounced her eraser off the counter, hoping more for some attention than for a correct answer.
"Need a refill?" the voice of her boyfriend caused her head to snap up. She smiled at him.
"Yes, please," she reached out and put her hand on his wrist after he poured. "When's your break?"
He shifted, uncomfortably, his eyes not looking at anything but the quickly filling cup. "I have a lot of tables to turn over."
"You should still get breaks," she urged.
"I took one," he shrugged.
"When?" she demanded.
"Before you got here. Besides, you're doing your homework."
She frowned. "When do you get off, then?"
He checked his watch. "Half hour."
Instantly her face brightened. "I'm almost done here, and my English paper isn't due 'til next Tuesday. You wanna take a walk when you're done?"
Another shift of weight. He was uncomfortable, but he was forging ahead anyhow. "Can't. I have work."
She sighed. "Again?"
"They only pay me when I show up. It's kind of how it works."
"I know how a job works, Jess. Geez, is Luke charging you rent?"
"No," he turned briefly to put the coffee pot under the drip and grab the decaf pot.
"So, call in sick," she tempted.
"Rory," he turned and leaned on the counter with his elbows. "We're on for Saturday, right?"
She looked down, shrugging her shoulders slightly. "Yeah."
"So, what's the problem?"
She looked up into his chocolaty brown eyes. He really saw nothing wrong with their system. "I hate seeing you once a week."
"I see you every day," he pointed out.
"Been peeping through my windows again?" she cocked an eyebrow, teasing him.
"I had a peep hole installed in your shower," he corrected, his face almost brightening with a smile.
"How old school."
"I'm seeing you right now," he stressed, as he was growing weary of this particular conversation.
"This isn't a date," she chastised. "This is me eating dinner and you working. Watching you work isn't a date."
He leaned in. "I didn't realize you were watching me. Want me to put a little strut in my step?"
She glared, but the smile on her face was insuppressible. "Jess," she sighed.
"I get off at midnight," he said, his tone low enough for only her to hear.
"So?" she pretended not to know why he was telling her this.
"So, maybe you should go home and take a nap," he leaned forward to kiss her forehead, a brief thing that involved his lips brushing over her skin instead of pressing in.
"That was a one-time deal," she pulled back and bit her lip. She still couldn't believe they hadn't been caught by either her mother or neighbors as he climbed in her window after his shift at Wal-Mart last week.
"Why? It's not like I'll be too tired."
"Because money gives you energy?" she pouted.
"You give me energy," he wiggled his eyebrow at her.
"I can't," she protested, though weakly.
"Because I want to see you during normal waking hours. I'm not dating a vampire," she pointed out.
Now a smirk came over his lips. "You sure about that? I do like to suck on your neck at night," he teased her.
"Jess!" she used her harshest whisper and looked around. No one had heard him, save for her. "I can't believe you!"
"Calm down," he shook his head at her reaction. "Your reputation is in tact, along with your maidenhood."
"Can we please not discuss my maidenhood?" she shifted on her stool, mostly just afraid of having that particular conversation with him. They never talked about whether or not they'd have sex. He assumed she wasn't ready, and she was sort of relieved. She thought about it more and more these days, and she was afraid she'd say yes. More reason to avoid it at all costs, if you asked her.
"Look, if you want to see me, it's going to have to be late."
She pouted. "You're working more and more."
"Yeah, well, I can't ride this gravy train forever. I'm gonna have to move out, pay rent, buy food. Especially if you come to visit, I get the feeling you'd eat me out of house and home."
She stuck her tongue out at him, but considered what he was saying. "So, this is your big plan for what happens after high school?"
He checked on the coffee pot and wiped down the counter around her mess of books and cleared her pie plate. "I didn't say that."
"So, what is your plan?"
He sighed. "Rory, come on."
"What is your plan? To make money?"
"You've seen Wall Street. Greed is good. Besides, not all of us are going to Harvard."
"Just because you're not going to Harvard doesn't mean you can't go to school."
"School also takes money."
"True. How much do you have saved?"
He looked at her and shook his head. "You want a ride home on my way to work?"
"Jess, come on. I bet you have enough saved for at least the first semester of a community college. And if you do well enough there, you could get a scholarship to a better school," she encouraged.
"I really don't want to discuss it."
"Fine," she huffed, looking back down at her books.
He let out a breath and took the pot of coffee off the machine before coming around and standing behind her. His arm snaked over her shoulder, and coffee poured out into her cup. His lips lowered to her ear, and his breath tickled the short hairs on her neck. "What about that ride?"
She turned on her stool to look him in the eyes. Now they were so close that normally they'd ease into a kiss. At least, if they were alone and not in the middle of a packed diner. Many pairs of eyes were watching them, or at least, she operated under that notion unless they were behind closed doors. Every time she kissed a boy in public, her mother heard about it. And every conversation about Jess they had lately had prompted some kind of warning about being safe on Lorelai's part and a lot of eye rolling on hers.
"I should get going now," she looked down, from his eyes to his lips, almost able to feel them on her neck, as he'd alluded to earlier.
"Oh," he started to step back, realizing that his workaholic nature really might be taking its toll on his their already rocky at times relationship. Not that it would stop him from going into work tonight, or any other night of the week for that matter.
"If I'm going to have to get up at midnight, I should take a nap now."
She said it without trying to stop him, without looking at him. He stopped, however, just hovering at her shoulder. She felt heat generate in him, and she hoped the desire to skip work altogether. He paused, and she knew his eyes were on her. He was experiencing disbelief, a rare moment for him. She reveled in providing him with these moments, the briefest of pauses, where he ceased to function while his brain caught up with this new reality she provided him.
She knew he wasn't going to argue with her, to ask if she was sure or run the risk of her changing her mind. He was smarter than that, and his desire for such things was greater than to allow him to question it and talk his way out of what he wanted.
"It'll be more like twelve-thirty."
She smiled and shut her book. "Okay."
"If this is you trying to get me to stop peeping through your window," he teased.
"It's your choice," she stood up and faced him. "You can look at me through the glass, or you can come in for a better view."
"Giving me options?"
"You always have a choice," she slid her books into their bag and put her arms through the loops. "See ya later."
He reached out for her arm, pulled her back, and kissed her. It wasn't a 'nice to see you' or a 'see you later' kind of kiss. It was a kiss that promised that he would be by later, no matter how tired he was, and there would be much more where that came from. Her lips were tingling, along with other parts of her body, and her blue eyes were shining when he pulled back. He left no chance of her finishing her homework or taking a nap—only sitting uncomfortably in wait, trying to find something to take her mind off of that kiss and the fact that he'd be back for more.