SIXTEEN.

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(well, it's been a whirlwind of a day

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(well, it's been a whirlwind of a day. thought this chapter had deleted, but i found a way to get it back. thank god. rewriting this chapter would have been a pain in the ass.)

(anyway. this chapter is a doozie. a lot going on. a lot happening. all good stuff though. absolutely not edited. hope you enjoy. love u tons.) -mags

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AT THE MOMENT, Jess Mariano had three things on his mind.

The first was the hope that his car wouldn't breakdown on the freeway. The last time he'd driven this far was when he'd come down to celebrate Penn with Marley, where he had ended up staying the entire weekend. The drive back home was much less enjoyable than the ride there (not only was his car making ungodly noises, but he kept smelling gasoline and Jess knew enough about cars to know that was never a good sign) and was filled with anxiety rather than anticipation.

Second, the words that Luke had spat out at him at his shithole apartment back in New York had continued to stick with him, and he didn't like the feeling of it whatsoever. He'd heard similar things from his friend weeks ago, but it had resonated with him more when Luke had verbally assaulted him. And besides, this seemed really important to Luke. After everything that he'd done for him and everything that had happened between them, he figured he owed Luke this.

The third was the possibility of seeing Rory Gilmore after he had had that moment of confession with her last winter. God, he felt so stupid for even thinking that that was a good idea. He'd just dropped the bomb on her and dipped (as Marley had so elegantly put it). He honestly didn't know if he could ever speak to her again without dying of embarrassment.

Jess nearly slammed his forehead on his steering wheel just thinking about it. He did not want to be driving. He did not want to be going to this wedding. He did not want to be going back to Stars Hollow.

His eyes were drawn to the necklace that hung off his rearview mirror as he used it to look behind him before he merged lanes. It was a simple gold necklace that had a small sun charm attached to it. Marley had left it there the night before he went back to New York, when she had finally agreed to drive in his car and they had ended up sitting and talking in the small parking lot down by the dock. She had taken off her necklace and clipped it around his rearview mirror in an attempt to prove to him that making a car look nice, even one that looked like it could fall apart at any minute, wasn't a waste.

Once he'd seen the stupid necklace illuminated in the moonlight and the small, stupid smile on Marley's face, Jess knew there was no way he would let himself argue with her about it.

He'd had found himself doing a lot more of that lately. If Marley had seemed as though she really wanted something (that he had no true objections to, of course), he would try to find a way to make it happen. Jess honestly didn't know where this almost intrinsic want to make her happy had come from, but he assumed that that was one of the perks of having a friend who you actually cared about. He'd never really had one of those. Sure he had friends (if you could call them that), but he'd never had a relationship with somebody like the one he had developed with Marley.

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