NINETEEN.

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(hello! i never update this early! what a change! you know what hasn't changed? the fact that i'm lazy and haven't edited this yet

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(hello! i never update this early! what a change! you know what hasn't changed? the fact that i'm lazy and haven't edited this yet. hope you enjoy! love u all tons! -mags)

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THEY'RE IN THE same city, but only one of them knows it.

They haven't spoken since the night of the fight. Marley sent him her essay the Wednesday of her second week at Penn. Jess sent her the excerpt from The Subsect the day before he moved to Philadelphia.

Neither of them know that his letter never got to her. Jess' drugged-out ex-roommate saw the envelope with Jess' chicken scratch stuffed back inside his mailbox with the words 'RETURN TO SENDER' written on the side and tossed it out before the garbage truck came that day. Todd hadn't even given it a second thought.

They both know it's ridiculous that it's gone on for this long, but it takes other people scolding them for it to really sink in.

For Jess, it's a whispered conversation with Rory at Emily and Richard Gilmore's house. It happens when Rory asks where he's living. He tells her he's in Philly, to which Rory asks, "With Marley?"

He feels foolish when he says no.

He feels even more foolish when Rory looks at him in disbelief, the frown on her face getting deeper as he gives her the CliffsNotes of the fight. Her brow is drawn, stern. As if she can't believe he's dumping yet another relationship down the drain. "But she's at Penn, right?"

Yes.

"And you don't see her? You haven't tried to make up with her?"

No.

"Oh, Jess..."

It's the disappointment in her voice that hits him. The realization of it all comes in a tidal wave and crashes on top of him so quickly that he has to change the subject to keep from drowning. Stupid. God, so stupid. What had he been doing for two years? What had they been doing for two years?

For Marley, it's five words that Luke says to her over the phone. They're five words she's heard him say many, many times before (especially the first year that Jess was in Stars Hollow), but for some reason, they held a different meaning now.

Much to the chagrin of her boss, Marley had promised weekly calls to the diner and in almost two years, she'd only broken the promise once. Luke was obviously exasperated when he picked up the phone and became even more so when he realized it was Marley that was calling him. He asks her what she wants and she replies with some smart, snark answer that makes Luke sigh and glance to the outside window where Jess' clunker is parked.

"Jess is here."

Her blood runs cold. She says nothing.

"Do you want to talk to him?"

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