Summary: They are fact mixing with fiction, making her bones ache and her heart beat faster.
Rating: R (sexual content)
Word Count: 1,200
Disclaimer: I do not own anything. Title from Dodie Smith's novel I Capture the Castle.
Author's Note: Written for Porn Battle XIII using the prompts books, library and stacks.
Jess scrawls in the margins of her books, comments on characterization, tone and the trustworthiness of the narrator. Sometimes she agrees; sometimes she disagrees. Rory makes note of his chicken scratch, the way he never finishes his e’s and doesn’t dot his i’s, tries to remember the notes she wants to discuss the next time she sees him in the diner.
It’s always easier to remember the comments she doesn’t want to discuss, the ones that don’t seem to have anything to do with the text at all. He writes sparse sentences about blue eyes and brown hair and private school girls. His sentences dot her books, and she searches for them whenever he hands one back, as though they’re clues. If she just puts them together right she’ll get the answers she wants (and the ones she doesn’t want).
Rory thinks about writing them out in sequence to see if they tell a story, if it helps her stop wondering about it when she’s lying in bed, thinking about what it would be like for a New York mouth to brush over her clavicle instead of a Chicago one.
She doesn’t write them out on a sheet or paper or in a notebook, of course, even as her fingers itch every time she holds a pen.
Instead, she reads them, over and over again until they’re pressed into her memory like a favorite poem.
Rory thinks about having her back pressed against the stacks in the library, dust floating around them as the spines of the books try to mold to the arch of her spine and shoulders. They are the great love stories of Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Cleopatra and Mark Antony. They are tragedies.
She dreams about his hands bunching up her shirt, trailing over her stomach, his fingers nudging at the edge of her bra and the button of her jeans. She imagines him reciting the things he’s scribbled into her books, words he used to write himself into her life, arching his hips because he wants her as much as she wants him.
They are fact mixing with fiction, making her bones ache and her heart beat faster.
Rory is not quite the heroine, but Jess has never been a hero.
Dean breaks up with her because she is too scared and selfish to let him go.
Jess’s tongue sweeps against the inside of her cheek and he tastes bitter, his hands splayed against the small of her back. Rory is reminded that she lost something, but she has gained something, too, even if she doesn’t know what it is.
Desire fills her bones like marrow, pumps through her body like blood. This is new, and Rory feels scared and selfish, still. She buries her hands in Jess’s hair, gasps when his lips find a sensitive spot below her ear. Her eyes flutter shut and her knees buckle under her weight. She breathes his name and tries to stay afloat.
Rory likes bickering with him, likes the way his jaw tenses and how his hands jerk, as though he wants to use them to get his point across. She likes the way his voice rises and falls, the cadence of his speech when he gets frustrated, smoothing out and then becoming a rapid staccato.
Mostly she likes the way it ends with his palms on her cheeks, his leg shoved between her thighs, his hips pressing her body into the couch, her breath hitching and his voice getting lower and raspier. They are give and take, push and pull.
She hates it when they fight.
He shuts off, squares his shoulders and walks away.
She is left feeling cold, watching her feet step on each crack in the sidewalk as she walks back to her house alone, dirty remains of snow revealing the dead grass underneath. The stars hide in the sky, colored more black than blue.
Tears threaten to fall but she blinks them back, biting her lip and preparing to tell her mom that she has homework to do, that’s why she’s back early.
She is not alone but she feels likes she is.
She loves him.
She wants the verb to be past tense, wants it to be a ‘could have’, pretends that’s what it is even if it makes her entire body flinch at the lie. She wants to hate him but she doesn’t know how. Heartbreak and anger she can do, indifference she can fake, hate is harder.
He comes back.
Everything she has spent so long burying, pushing down until it was just a dull memory she thinks of sometimes when reads (she couldn’t read when he left, couldn’t bring herself to open a book, the fear of his scrawl marking the pages hanging over her) starts to resurface. Memories of his knuckles counting the notches of her spine, his knee knocking into hers, and his mouth dusting over her ribcage swim in front of her eyes, hurt like her wrist does when it’s about to rain.
She closes her eyes, breathes and steals herself.
There are nights when Rory tosses and turns, her sheets tangling around her ankles, sweat soaking her pillowcase. She thinks about him, about his hands cradling her lips, his teeth nibbling at her ear, his words embedded into her skin. The memory of Jess pulses through her, low in her abdomen. She can feel his lips ghosting over hers, the taste of his tongue, and the calluses of his hand against her palm. It’s like he’s there, a ghost hovering above her.
It stings and tears pool in her eyes. Sometimes, when the night is quiet and Paris isn’t snoring or talking about politicians in her sleep or in the room, Rory lets them fall, warm and heavy on her cheeks.
They fuck twice, after.
(After what, Rory doesn’t know, exactly. After Yale, after Logan, after she gets her first byline on the front page.)
The first time is quick, sharp, hungry. She bites his lip, he digs his fingers into her sides, and they both try to find a scar, something from a past Jess has moved beyond and Rory is too exhausted to try forgetting. It feels strange and familiar all at the same time, like they’re picking up where they left off, but like they don’t know where that was (when his lips were sealed on the bus, when he told her he loved her, when she said no, when she read his book).
The second time is slow, languid and sad. Rory closes her eyes, feels Jess’s gaze acutely. She grips at his back and shoulders. He kisses a trail down her body, from cheek to collarbone to stomach to thigh. His mouth is hot against her center, his tongue strong inside her. Her toes curl and she clenches the sheets in her hands. Her entire body tightens and relaxes.
They dress, he makes her a cup of coffee and they talk about the things they avoided before (before they slept together, not before before. Some things Rory’s not still not strong enough to face, always scared and selfish).
When she’s on the subway she pulls out her copy of The Subsect, paged earmarked, the cover worn. His handwriting in the margins is familiar, the ink fresh.
Under the dedication it reads, I love you.
He never says goodbye.
Rory stops wanting the words.
She has the ones she needs.