*****UPDATE: The sequel to this story, It Still Works, is now up!*****
AN: This is the last chapter of That Part Always Worked. I knew when I first wrote Fifteen Years Gone nine months ago that I wanted to write the story of how Rory and Jess got to that point, but I never imagined the love and support this story would get. If you ever go back and read this again, I did make a small change to chapter 32. I originally was going to have them leave from Philadelphia to go to Spain as I planned to have them visit another LOVE statue in Pennsylvania, but on further research I changed my mind so I changed a few lines in chapter 32 to account for them leaving from Connecticut for their honeymoon instead of Philadelphia.
Chapter 35: "I think that's the best idea you've ever had,"
Though they were exhausted from their long night of lovemaking, having needed to make up for the past week of abstaining from sex as they waited for their wedding night, Rory and Jess were up early Sunday morning.
"Okay, we're on the road and we're heading north. There are only a handful of places within reasonable driving distance so I could easily figure out where we going," Rory said as Jess continued to refuse to tell her of their destination.
"I know you can and will not be one bit surprised when it comes to you and you start screaming your excitement," Jess told her, giving her hand a squeeze before kissing the back of it as well as her ring finger.
"Wow, even when we're married, you're still so mean to me," she said, taking her hand back and crossing her arms with a huff.
"You can't seriously be mad that I want to surprise you?" he asked.
"No, I'm not mad, just annoyed," she told him, "I hate surprises."
"Yeah, yeah, broken record," Jess said, leaning over to kiss her cheek as they stopped at a stop light, "I love you."
"Eh, you're okay," she said before running her hands through his hair and kissing his lips, "I love you, too."
It turned out to be easier than Jess thought to keep the trip a surprise for Rory. They went to bed so late and had gotten up so early after just a few hours of sleep that she had fallen asleep just after they hit the Massachusetts state line and slept almost the entire two hundred mile drive to their destination.
"Rory," Jess said, running his hand up and down her leg to wake her up, "We're almost there."
"There? Where is there?" Rory asked in a slight whisper, wanting to go back to her nap.
"Why don't you open those pretty blue eyes and see," he told her.
"Humph," Rory groaned, but opened her eyes anyway and saw the sign Jess wanted her to see, "Middlebury, Vermont?"
"Yep," he said, "Are you awake enough to figure out why we're here?"
"The college," she said after a few minutes, "Middlebury College has a LOVE sculpture! Have I told you how much I love you today?"
"Today? No, can't say you have considering you slept the whole way here," Jess said.
"Well, I love you. More than I could ever imagine myself loving someone and possibly more than anyone has ever loved anyone before," she told him.
"I think you're exaggerating a bit on that, but thank you," he said, "I love you, too."
After arriving at the college they walked around the campus a bit before stopping to take their picture in front of the LOVE sculpture. They took a few of them kissing and Rory even asked a student to take some of them so they could be sure their wedding rings were present in them.
"So, where to now?" Rory asked when they got back in the car.
"Now we go to the hotel or rather the inn I've booked us in for the next couple of days," Jess told her.
"Any plans beyond the inn?" she asked.
"No, I was kind of hoping we wouldn't leave the room until we have to leave Tuesday," he said, "What do you think?"
"I think that's the best idea you've ever had," she told him, leaning over to kiss him, "Let's go."
It was just a short drive to the inn from the college. Rory and Jess didn't let go of the others hand the whole way.
"Oh, Jess it's beautiful," she told him as they pulled up to Waybury Inn, "It looks familiar, too, but I know I've never been here before."
"True, but you have seen it, just not in person until now," he said.
"Not in person so a picture, maybe. No," she said thinking about it, "Oh, on TV. Oh my God. This is the Stratford Inn from Newhart."
"The very same. At least on the outside anyway. They painted it and used the exterior for show," Jess said, "You like it?"
"I love it," she told him, kissing him as he took her hand and lead her to the front door to check in.
"Are you seriously going to do this everywhere we go?" Rory asked Jess as he carried her over the threshold of their room, room number nine, The Robert Frost Suite.
"Maybe. I had to do it yesterday since we just got married and since this is the first official day of our honeymoon I felt like I had to do it again and when we go home I'll carry you over the threshold of our apartment, but I haven't decided if I'll do it everywhere we go," he said.
"This room is amazing," Rory said after Jess put her down, "This bed is beautiful and did I see a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom?"
"You did," Jess said, joining her on the king sized bed, "But do you want to hear the best part about this room?"
"What's that?" she asked, laying her head on his chest as he wrapped his arms around her.
"You see that desk over there?" he asked.
"Well, it has a secret compartment that for decades guests who've stayed in this room have filled with notes of life and love."
"Yep, and we can read them and write our own to leave behind for someone else."
"I'd like that."
For the rest of the day and all of Monday, Rory and Jess barely left their room, leaving once just to explore the rest of the inn. They had all their meals delivered to them whenever they found themselves hungry after hours spent in the shower or jacuzzi and of course the bed. They did spend a couple hours clothed as they read through the box of letters the previous guests had left behind, many of them newlyweds like them writing their hopes and wishes for their marriage and a few from couples who had been married for years offering their advice to the newlyweds who stayed in the room.
"This is so much better than that guest book at The Cheshire Cat," Rory told Jess.
"The Cheshire Cat?" Jess asked.
"This inn in Portland that Mom and I stayed in once. The room we stayed in had this crazy flowery, foil wallpaper and it had this guest book for people to write in about their stay in the room," Rory said.
"And I'm guessing the things people wrote were ridiculous," Jess said.
"One person said the room made their soul soar."
"Exactly my thought."
"So what did Lorelai write in it?"
"Satanic forces are at work here."
"Yeah, but I changed it a bit before we left."
"I sat and forever am at work here."
"That makes no sense."
"Which is why we hightailed it out of there as quick as we could when we checked out. That place was insane."
"Sounds it, so are you ready to write our own letter?" Jess asked.
After checking out of the inn Tuesday morning they drove back to Stars Hollow to meet up with Luke and Lorelai. After saying a quick hello to a few people in town, they drove them to the airport in Hartford so Rory and Jess could catch their flight to Bilbao, Spain where they would spend a few hours touring the city and visiting another LOVE sculpture before getting on another flight to Lisbon, Portugal where they planned to spend a few days before flying to Milan.
"You know, it's a good thing we packed light," Rory said as they walked into LX Factory after visiting Lisbon's LOVE sculpture. It was the first stop they made after checking into their hotel.
"True, this is just bookstore number one on our European vacation. Depending on what we find after a few stores we may need to buy another suitcase just for the books," Jess said.
"That is a definitely possibility," Rory said.
After Lisbon they went to Milan which housed another LOVE sculpture, but also another bookstore they wanted to check out. From Milan they went to Paris. Paris didn't have a LOVE sculpture, but it did have the Shakespeare and Company bookstore as well as a restaurant Jess was excited to check out, Les Deux Magots. It was a restaurant famous for its celebrity patrons. Many writers and artists had visited the restaurant or referenced it in their work, but Jess was most excited to see it because Ernest Hemingway had visited it and even wrote about it in The Sun Also Rises.
The last stop for Rory and Jess on their tour of Europe was London. They had a list of a dozen independent bookstores they wanted to see before they went home. Rory was nervous being in London with Jess after having spent so much time there with Logan, but Jess insisted it was fine and though he knew her memories of her relationship with Logan at that time were good one's, he was looking forward to the two of them making new memories together because the two of them, they always worked.
AN: And that's it on That Part Always Worked. I will be writing a sequel. It will start up one year later with Rory and Jess celebrating their first anniversary and reflecting on their first year of marriage. I want to be able to devote more time to my story, Ready For Anything for a little while so I don't know when I will get to work on the sequel or what I will call it just yet. Thanks so much for reading, reviewing, following, and favoriting. For someone who a year ago was strictly a reader and had only begun to write her first fanfiction, your support is incredibly appreciated. Thank you!