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Once Upon A Time…

Life in New York City was a fairytale. Not an ordinary one, or one that really had the events leading up. It was a New York Fairytale, which meant it had to be different. She had escaped her insufferable and suffocating family and town and had gone to make her way in the big bad city. This included the rather unglamorous job of selling subway tokens at the Rector St. stop, but one day she'd move up. She was young, all of nineteen, and had ages before her to start living a more glamorous life. Right now, however, all she needed to do was make rent.

In fact, her roommate had promised to get her an interview at one of the shops in Rockefeller Center, which was a step up from living in the underground. But to look on the positive side of things, and she really did try, she didn't need to walk far to get to the subway to go home. All she had to do was step into another room. Life wasn't good, but it was all right for now.

She was a classic fairytale princess, all in all however. Her mother had died young, like most fairytale princesses, and had been left to suffer with a neglectful father and an overbearing brother. She had been left alone. Thankfully, however, her father had never remarried. He was far too absentminded and, in her opinion, asexual to ever date again, so she didn't have to deal with a wicked stepmother. But, at times, her brother Luke could be just as bad. Her coloring was like that of Snow White, she had been told many times by her mother before she had passed away. She was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the ebony frame in the Brothers Grimm's tale.

And then she met her prince. He wasn't the sort of prince you'd expect for a fairytale, but he was hers. She had met him one day when she was walking through Battery Park. She had asked for a hot dog and had met with the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever encountered. It had nearly caused her to choke on the hot dog he had just handed her. And when he spoke…well, she loved it when he spoke.

Jimmy Mariano. It wasn't a very princely name, but she loved the way his last name rolled off her tongue. Mar-ree-on-oh. She was giddily, foolishly infatuated and she didn't care. She had always been reckless, anyone who had ever met her could attest to that. But this was beyond that. Never before had she dared to flirt with any one of the thousands of random New Yorkers that she came across in a normal day. No store clerk or any number of customers that came to the window, or even the deli guy. She never dared go into the unknown, not with guys in this City. She was smarter than most gave her credit for.

But not that day. There was something in those blue eyes that made her flirt more than she had ever in her life. This was New York; this was her only chance to get to know the stranger. It was a rarity to see such a stranger twice in such a big town, and she only lived once. He was reluctant at first to talk about himself. He was very evasive, he told her about books he had read and movies he had seen.

No one read in her family, with the exception of her mother. So it was interesting to see someone speak of such things with such passion. If she even considered buying a book, or going to see a movie, her father would have gruffly told her that if someone- or something- wasn't real, then it wasn't worth a person's time or money. Anything she enjoyed seemed inconsequential to her father and brother.

Jimmy had come from Boston. He said he liked going from one big city to the next. He had been born in Chicago but left home three years earlier, at seventeen. Since then he had lived in Hartford (only thirty minutes from her hometown!), Philadelphia and then Boston. He had sold hot dogs in all three cities. Although, up until this little stand in Battery Park, it had all been at hockey games. Starting at the Civic Center in Hartford- and to think, she'd actually been there! It was romantic to speculate that they had been in the same place at the same time before but had missed by chance of fate.

He didn't like to spend a lot of money. He had been saving up since his first job- at sixteen- to have something to call his own, and he was almost there. He wasn't sure what it was yet, though, but he had joked that it would probably have something to do with hot dogs. She had giggled and told him that he made the best hot dogs in New York. What she didn't tell him was that the only hot dogs she had in New York were the ones by Oscar Meyer, made by her on her stove. She had decided already that it was fate that led her to try out her first vendor-made hot dog on this day, at this stand.

Jimmy had waited to ask her out just as she finished eating her hot dog. It was rather mean of him to keep her waiting in suspense for so long, but she immediately forgave him because he was so cute. He had stumbled over asking for her number, which she readily wrote down for him on a napkin. And, for her name, she opted for the more fun sounding 'Lizzie', rather than the more serious Elizabeth, or Liz, as everyone else back in Stars Hollow was wont to call her. Jimmy made her fun, and she liked being that way.

They made plans to see a movie at a six-thirty show at the discount theater the next night. Luke would have told her that she was moving too fast. But then again, a snail moved too fast for her older brother. She had watched him and Rachel for far too many years to think otherwise. Which was weird since Rachel seemed like the type of person that'd enjoy a fast life. Maybe Stars Hollow was keeping her from seeing that. Liz wasn't letting Stars Hollow keep her from anything any longer.

By nine-twenty the next night, they were having sex on his couch. It had occurred to her sometime between the time that her shirt had come off- but before her bra was unhooked- that maybe- just maybe- she was moving a little too fast for her own good. But then Jimmy kissed in such a way that she no longer cared. Who wanted to go slow when life was so good?

That being said, she still didn't expect him to call the next day. She had gotten her one magical night out of him, and she fully expected him to disappear into the sunset. She had even memorized their last conversation, spoken at four a.m. as she left since she had to be at work soon. But he called. It surprised her, and from the way he sounded- it surprised him too. But at 9:17PM the next day, he called. And they went out again. Soon after, life got into the way, and work was busy so that when they found time to spend together- it was spent underneath the sheets. But she didn't care. And she didn't care for the next three months.

Then, one August day, Luke found out. She and her roommate had parted ways the month before, and she had to move into a studio apartment down the street from her old one. So when he found a pair of Jimmy's boxers in the bathroom, it was difficult to talk her way out of it. So she ended up confessing to seeing someone. Someone who sold hotdogs out of a car in Battery Park. This, of course, did not please her older brother one bit. He said she was foolish, reckless and ruining her life. He asked her why she just couldn't come back to Stars Hollow and make their father happy. He wouldn't say what was happening to their father, so she could pretend that it wasn't happening. Someone would tell her if her father was dying, wouldn't they? And even if that wasn't the case- Luke would never get it. Stars Hollow was stifling. It stifled her. She'd go as far to say that it stifled him too, but she couldn't imagine Luke being happy anywhere. So may as well let him rot in his misery over there.

They parted bitterly, as they always did. There had to be a time when she and her brother got along in near perfect harmony. But it didn't seem like she had kept any of those memories. And it made her sad. Until she saw Jimmy again. He was like all the positive energy she ever needed in her life, rolled into one, nearly perfect person. He was the anti-Dad and Luke, and that's what she had needed her until life. He wasn't grumpy, he wasn't negative, he just was. Relaxed, and supportive.

Her father died three weeks after Luke's visit. The day before she found out she was pregnant. Both rattled her more than she'd ever care to admit. Fathers died in fairytales, but who'd ever heard of a fairytale princess getting pregnant before marriage? Her fairy tale seemed to be more unconventional than most, but that didn't mean that it wouldn't work. It was this thought that got her through telling Jimmy.

Jimmy reacted by a widening of his eyes, a stuttering upon his lips, and a bruise against the back of his knee, from when he backed up and hit the nightstand. He asked if she was sure, and if it wasn't just some sort of freak girl thing from the trauma of losing her father or something. She had made sure, and yes she was. He sat on the floor. She had waited a few moments before asking, "Well?"

"Well we're going to have to get married now," his eyes had shifted around the room before resting on her right shoulder. "Right?"

She didn't even get her fairytale wedding. They had married quickly, in a courthouse. Neither had the money for a church wedding, and her brother refused to participate in any of this 'foolery'. Not to mention his business with life after Dad. She didn't even get to wear a white dress since her best dress was a pale yellow number that brought out the gold specks in her brown eyes. Nor did she get a long, passionate kiss. It was a short, awkward one with Jimmy stuffing his hands into his pockets during the middle of it. But things were going to work out.

Being that she took most after her mother- obviously not after the two Neanderthals that were her father and brother- she did what her mother had once told her she had done during her pregnancy. She sat by the window of Jimmy's apartment, which was now hers as well, looked out at the evening sky and wished for a baby girl who was white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the ebony frame in the Brothers Grimm's fairytale.

Four months later, she began to wonder if she was a little too old to believe in fairytales. It began to hit her all at once. Her father and mother were both dead, her only living relative- her brother- and her did not get along, she was pregnant and lived in a tiny apartment in Greenwich Village, and her husband was gone all the time. Jimmy claimed it was because he needed more hours to make more money, to support the three of them. And she accepted it as such and forgave him for not being there all the time. But it still made her miss him. It still made her lonely.

Her brother came to the City for the birth. Luke grumbled and grunted, but he still came to be with her. It had been sweet, and she appreciated it, even though she never told him so. Neither Luke nor Jimmy was in the delivery room when she gave birth. She didn't want to embarrass herself in front of Jimmy, and Luke would probably drive her to murder. So it was best to let them stay out in the waiting room, together, and let them murder each other. She had never been the best at thinking ahead.

She did not give birth to a girl who as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the ebony frame. She gave birth to a boy of that description. It should have been the first indication that she was not going to get the fairytale. But, really, boy or girl- did it really matter? Jess James Mariano was perfect. She was perfect. Jimmy was perfect. Life was wonderful. And they lived happily ever after. The end.

Jimmy hadn't wanted to hold Jess in his arms. He claimed that he'd drop him, and Luke had agreed. But Jimmy ended up holding his son twice. Once, when Liz made him. And the second time, when Luke reluctantly handed his nephew back over to his father at Liz's insistence. Luke offered to drive Liz and Jess back to the apartment, and for once Jimmy readily agreed with his brother-in-law. He said they needed diapers anyway, and that he'd stop by to get them. Luke wondered why they hadn't thought to buy diapers before Liz gave birth, but then he had looked at who he was talking to and let the subject drop.

He never came back. She waited for him. Waited and waited for him. He'd have to come back, now wouldn't he? This was his apartment to begin with. His clothes were there, hell, his life was there. She even swallowed enough of her pride to ask Luke to go out and search for him. It was a stupid request, she knew, since New York City was so big. But like a good brother, he had gone out. And knowing him, he probably checked every single shop in the City that sold diapers, too. But it didn't matter, since it resulted in the same thing. Her prince was gone. He had abandoned her and their son.

She never moved out of that apartment. In fits of rage and temper, she had thrown his clothes out the window, along with a few other personal items of his. The photo albums he left behind got buried under her bed. Never taken to be taken out again. Jess wouldn't know anything about his father, other than his last name. In her most sullen moments, she thought that he didn't deserve to know him anyway; it was his fault that Jimmy had run away from her. It wasn't very princess-y of her, but she no longer cared.

And in her blackest moments, she regretted all that wishing about her child underneath the evening sky. What she really should have wished for was something much more deserving than her son. Rather, for her prince to have stayed with her. So there could be a happily ever after for her.

But she had to have learned the hard way. With Jess's existence, there could never be a happily ever after.

And Then There Was Only The End.