A/N: Thank you for the kind reviews, you inspired me to a fast up-date (hint, hint – the next chapter might just magically appear for you the same way…). I'm really glad some of you liked it, and here you go with some more for that. Read if you wanna see what happens when they meet again. Review if you after reading have any thoughts at all. Now, here we go with the chapter.
She hesitated a moment before entering the café the next day. The possibility was that he was sitting in there, waiting for her. The possibility was also that he wasn't there today and that he would never come. Maybe he didn't want to see her again. She had to admit, it was a weird situation they had gotten themselves in. They had been so close once, and then there had been hatred or at least the pathetic attempts at it. Now the years had gone and the distance had grown and where did it all leave them? She had no idea. She wasn't even sure if she wanted them to be anywhere. But then again, she did, she wanted to see him again. She had missed him. It was just weird. Her conscience told her that she probably shouldn't be here, married. It could only end up in some kind of chaos. Still, she let her hand turn the doorknob and she walked in.
He caught her eye immediately as she entered. He had been looking, searching for her. It made her a little tingly inside and she had to force back a blush. She didn't show anything though. Over the years she had learned to fight off such displays of emotion, for most of the time at least. She instead just smiled at him, simply. Careful not to let it be too excited or admiring of his looks (but, God, wasn't he just more gorgeous than ever?) or whatever it could have been that it shouldn't be.
She sunk down in the chair next to him, as though it was the most natural thing still. And it almost was, at least for them. They both knew why they were there.
"You're here," she stated plainly.
"Guess so," he responded with an almost-shrug. No smirk was present at the moment and his eyes were serious. This worried her a bit. She wasn't at all certain what she did want out of this afternoon, but she had a feeling no good could come from being too serious about it all.
They ordered. She noticed as the wave of nostalgia hit him as she chose coffee along with the most sugary item she could find on the menu. She thought it looked like he was about to comment on it, but then he stopped himself and just ordered – tea and a sandwich. Taking the initiative, she instead chose to make a remark about his unchanged eating habits. "Still not one for the goodness of unhealthy pleasures?"
"After living with Luke and all his lectures, you kind of loose your appetite on that stuff," he responded, a bit uncomfortable about her bringing up their past so lightly. But that was what she wanted; to be able to just talk to him again. She wanted it to be that easy. Just talk. Maybe if she continued bantering he would get thrown off the track of whatever heavy business he might be building up the courage to get out in the open with.
"Yeah, I suppose that could be true. Not with my mom, though."
"Well, she always was resistant to whatever he told her. I, however, couldn't help listening," he told her.
"Aw, poor you. To loose hamburgers and coffee in your life, that really must be tragic."
He just smirked, seemingly not willing to prolong down that meaningless road of small talk. That never had been his thing.
They were eating in silence when suddenly he spoke, just as she had been anticipating. "Do you love him?"
There it was, and she had been right in trying to avoid it. However, she had not succeeded, and now it was out there. Four words, requiring an answer. An honest one? Or just the simple one? She blurted out what was easy, just a tad too quickly and defensive. "Yes. Of course I do." She nodded for emphasis. He said nothing. He just kept looking at her in that way that made her squirm. He didn't believe her. Those eyes were screaming disbelief and they were seemingly attempting to burn a hole through her skin so that they would be able to see the proof of their suspicion inside her head. She didn't even know if there would be anything for them to see if they did. She bit her lip, like always when nervous. "Stop staring at me like that, Jess," she pleaded. He said nothing. She continued. "Please, Jess. I married this guy. That has to mean something, right? He is my husband." She was getting frustrated now. "God, what right do you even have to ask me this – if I'm in love with my husband?"
He just kept looking. His eyes were not empty, but she was unable to categorize what she saw in them, what sort of emotions were flooding around there. A beat passed, then she sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm totally going off on you here for no real reason. Sorry."
He nodded quietly, accepting her apology. They were silent for a minute. She took a zip of her coffee. He waited, knowing more was most definitely to come. Sure thing, soon she spoke again, in a less confident voice. "I do love him. I mean, I – I think I do."
"Wow. Downgraded from unquestioned love to 'you think you love him' in two minutes. That's rough," he pointed out, taking a bite of his sandwich. His tone was the same as when he had been seventeen and sceptically questioning her relationship with Dean. However, his appearance was not the same. His eyes weren't as playful as they used to be. Not that she had ever seen Jess as innocent, but now that was the word that she used to describe what his eyes had lost – their innocence. She shook that thought away and focused on the present, where the right thing to do would be to glare in his direction. Possibly, she was supposed to say something angry back and maybe walk away too, but she didn't find anything to say and running wasn't what she wanted, at least not yet. She was way too intrigued to where this was going to end, so she just glared and waited.
"If you're not even sure you love this guy, then why'd you marry him?" he inquired. His behaviour feigned disinterest in her answer; he looked away and picked with his napkin. She recognized this. He wanted to know and she wouldn't be able to just shrug this off. She never had been able to lie to him, or at least not many times. (Memories of a 'no' now flooded over her, making her close her eyes a little longer than normal during a blink – that was the only time she had ever truly lied to him.)
"You want the truth?" she asked resignedly.
He just nodded and held her stare. She had to look away to tell him.
"I was pregnant."
"What?" he asked in disbelief.
She kept her gaze on the floor, feeling her cheeks redden still. This was not how this was supposed to go and she had no idea why she was suddenly telling him this. She forced herself to look up and meet the intensity of his presence – he had even leaned forward now and they were only inches apart. She fought to keep her voice from wavering.
"I was pregnant," she repeated.
He frowned. "But… you of all people. I mean, your mom – she didn't marry your dad."
"I know." She flinched at the reminder. "But just because she could do it alone doesn't mean I could have. I'm not her."
"Of course you're not her, but -" he began, but she interrupted him.
"She was stronger than me," she stated simply with a shrug.
"But, what, why -?"
She sighed. "I just always thought, that when I would have kids, it would be different. I mean, I know we had great times, just me and my mom, but I wanted a real family – the classic way. I didn't want to handle the pregnancy on my own. I wanted someone there to share it with me. Someone to run out on chocolate runs at four in the morning for me. I didn't want to be independent. I wanted to be someone's nutty girlfriend – or wife," she explained. "He was there. He proposed. It was so easy to just say 'yes'."
He listened to all of this and didn't speak when she stopped talking. This made her uncomfortable. She began fidgeting with her hair.
"Wow," he pronounced in a very outdrawn way after a moment. "I'm not sure what I should say to that," he admitted.
"No, it's okay. You probably shouldn't be saying anything to it," she concluded with a fake smile. "I shouldn't have told you that in the first place. Sorry. I better go," she said, suddenly rushing to get a hold of all her things.
"But, Rory – wait!" he said, completely taken by surprise by all of this; the confession, the sudden departure.
She was almost by the door now. At his words she turned back and shook her head sadly, plastered grin still in her features that looked so misplaced. And then she was gone. He just kept staring at the door in disbelief.
A/N: Remember: Reviews are always appreciated, no matter what they say. And they do make the chapters come quicker – pretty amazing, huh? With just a few sentences you'll be able to make me happy, and contribute to more of the story, faster!