Disclaimer: I do not own Gilmore Girls.
Rory's statement was followed by a charged pause, both mother and daughter's emotions caught in a whirlwind.
Shock raced through Lorelai's body, quickly followed by a mixture of happiness and doubt. Her piercing blue eyes looked into Rory's troubled ones as she asked, "Are we happy about this?"
Rory ducked her head, blinking away tears that threatened to spill. A million thoughts raced through her mind, each one leading to looming question that made her want to hide away in a good book.
"Hun?" Lorelai's hand gently reached out to touch Rory's shoulder, concern lacing her voice. "Gotta give your mom a clue here. You know I'll be your number one supporter either way."
Her mother's words comforted a dark worry deep inside that Rory hadn't known existed until now. She turned to her, a trembling smile on her face. "Yeah, we are happy about this mom. Terrified, but happy."
"Oh kid," Lorelai laughed, embracing Rory's slight form, "And here I thought we'd have a day full of pro and con lists ahead of us."
"Of course not!" Rory replied, her grin growing. "I'm not the one who demands the spotlight, that's your role."
Merry lights twinkled around the town square, illuminating the lively party beneath. An inebriated Miss Patty clung to an equally boozy Babette as they attempted to match their show tunes to Hep Alien's music. A grinning Steve and Kwan were recording the event on a smartphone, winking at their parents as they did so. Lulu and Kirk slow danced around the dance floor, a softly grumbling Petal strapped in a baby carrier attached to Kirk's wiry frame.
"I guess this means I'll have to stop chasing after Luke!" Carrie's harsh voice was heard complaining to a giggling Liz. "You hafta respect their marriage, even if ya don't respect your own." TJ said knowingly, raising his beer before taking a swig. Liz's howls of laughter threatened to drown out the music at that point.
Emily stood at the buffet, her infamous death glare strangely missing as she peered in their direction. She sipped her drink, turning her attention to a lanky preteen pile hors d'ouvres onto a small plate. "Doula!" An older girl - young woman, Emily corrected herself- joined the younger one, smiling toothily. "I have so much to tell you about Germany.."
A glowing Lorelai dragged Luke onto the dance floor, her entire being radiating joy. Luke enveloped her in a tender embrace, and they begin to sway together, lost in their own bubble of happiness.
Rory sat underneath a tree at the edge of the party, feeling unnaturally tired. She watched her mother and Luke dancing together, tears of joy gathering in her eyes. They were in a world of their own, a world they had worked so hard to create.
"They finally found each other." Jess's quiet voice startled Rory out of her trance. She graced him with a small smile and nodded her head, a lock of hair falling loose from her elegant bun.
"Mind if I sit?" He gestured at the space next to her, feeling disjointed at her unusual silence. Though he tried not to be, Jess was as drawn to Rory as he had been the first day he saw her. She had been acting strange for the entire after party, and something within him demanded to know what was wrong.
"They deserve this." She finally broke her silence, "It's fitting, you know? The entire town knew what was going on before they did, rooted for them, and finally.. They made it. Now the whole town gets to celebrate their love." Rory trailed off and took a sip of her water.
Puzzlement furrowed his brow. "I thought you'd be out there, celebrating with them. You are after all, the darling of Stars Hollow." Jess quipped, attempting to draw a smile out of her.
Rory faked a yawn, which was quickly followed by a real one. "I'm just tired today - I guess the excitement of the envelopment got to me." She said, finally meeting his piercing gaze. "And, you know, I've been cranking out that book. I bet I'll beat you to publishing it before you finish your sequel."
Jess laughed, "That much confidence Gilmore? I'll drink to that." He raised his glass, the warmth in his eyes contagious. Rory clinked her water to his drink in a jovial toast, her melancholy chased away by his good-natured ribbing.
"Are you staying in Stars Hollow long, or will The Truncheon fall apart without you?" She asked quickly, tucking her stray lock behind her ear. Jess never missed much, and Rory could see the question on his lips at her choice of beverage.
"You know me, can't stay in this town too long. I have an assignment to check on a writer in Hartford, then it's back to Philadelphia." He answered, touching lightly on the subject of their past. Though their once passionate relationship had morphed into a solid friendship, they kept the more hurtful events of the past unspoken of.
"If it's not too much trouble, will you make some notes on the chapters I've finished?" Rory asked eagerly, morphing into full-writer mode. "I'll have mom's place to myself since they'll be on their honeymoon. Let me know when you want to swing by."
"Geez, looks like you are a true writer." Jess smirked, feeling proud at how quickly and passionately she had dived into this project. "Got me at your beck and call now."
Rory opened her mouth to protest but was cut off by the appearance of Lorelai and Luke. Lorelai was practically bouncing up and down with excitement as she whispered conspiratorially, "Let's go to Luke's!"
"Lorelai does know that there was food at her party, right? From Sookie no less." Jess said, not sure whether to be disgusted or awed at the sheer amount of food the Gilmore girls had consumed throughout the night.
He was helping Luke brew coffee, watching with amusement as his uncle automatically went through a routine to make sure everything was clean and locked up.
"Caesar already did that!" Lorelai hollered from her bar-stool, swiping two doughnuts and handing one to Rory.
Luke sighed, hiding the curving of his lips from his wife. Wife. Boy, that sure did sound right. "I've learned to go with it." He replied to his nephew, gripping his broad shoulder briefly before pouring coffee into large mugs.
"Thanks Luke." Rory said, inhaling the scent of her coffee before taking a sip. "Sookie may be a world-renowned chef, but she doesn't hold a candle to Luke's coffee."
"Wise words." Lorelai nodded her agreement as she gulped her coffee down. "Besides, I could see Rory nodding off from the dance floor. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't properly dose her with caffeine?"
A firm knock on the diner door cut off Jess's snarky response. They all looked at the front door to see a glamorous Emily staring back at them.
"I will never get used to that sight." Luke said as Rory went to let her in.
"Thank you Rory." Emily said fondly, stepping into the diner. She paused and said, "Lorelai, Luke.."
Lorelai winced and braced herself, expecting to be upbraided for ditching her own after party.
"Congratulations. I think we can all attest that it was about time you two made it official." She smiled at Lorelai's stunned expression. "It was a lovely, quirky event. Perhaps not the Romanov dream.. But more fitting. Berta's husband is here to take me back home. Remember - two weeks at Christmas."
Just as quickly as she had entered, Emily embraced Rory and stepped out, leaving the diner.
"Pinch me." Lorelai breathed, words escaping her. "Did I just - get my mother's approval? Without any hidden barbs?"
It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.