A/N: Wow, you're all really great people. I'm just taking a minute to thank you, here. All my readers, all my reviewers...you all stuck with me. You put up with me complaining about spelling, you left great reviews that I probably don't deserve, you read my new stories, and you waited while I took more than a month to give you an update. I'm sorry that it took so long, I was (writer's) blocked. But you are all what pulled me back and what got me through it. Thanks to everyone, everyone out there, everyone reading this. You're all more than I deserve. You're the best people in the world, and you're so sweet. This is for you guys. And don't worry, this story wasn't ever abandoned. If I ever decided to take a break from it...I would tell you.

(Special thanks to all the stars-hollow. org kids, jerseygirl318, kyra and Nicky)


[Cut To: Independence Inn, dining room, LORELAI and RORY walk over to JOSH and CRAIG]

Lorelai: (angrily)Josh, hi.

Josh: (smiling smugly)Hey, Lorelai.

Craig: Hi.

Josh: Oh, this is Craig. Craig, this is Lorelai and her daughter, Rory.

Craig: I know.

Josh: (with mock astonishment)Do you two know each other?

Lorelai: Yeah, Josh, we do.

Josh: Wow. What a small world, huh?

Lorelai: Oh, tiny.

Josh: Aren't you gonna sit down?

Lorelai: I was thinking maybe I could talk to you first? Over there?

Josh: Now, Lorelai, that would be rude to Craig, don't you think? Sit down.

Lorelai: (she and RORY sit)You wouldn't happen to have any food-related allergies, would you, Josh?

Josh: (laughing)This one. Always a kidder.

Craig: She's very funny. Were you-

Lorelai: If you're about to ask whether I was an ugly child, stop now.

Craig: Okay, never mind. (LORELAI glares at JOSH, JOSH smiles. Silence)So, Lorelai?

Lorelai: Yeah?

Craig: Um...how old are you?

Lorelai: Twenty. You?

Craig: Seventeen. But I'll be eighteen in January.

Lorelai: Huh.

Craig: How old's the kid?

Rory: Three. (silence)

Craig: So...your name's Lorelai?

Lorelai: Yup.

Craig: That's a weird name.

Lorelai: I'll tell my mom you said so.

Craig: (laughing)You're funny.

Lorelai: Thanks.

Craig: And her name's Rory?

Lorelai: Josh, I really need to talk to you.

Craig: Go ahead, I'll watch the kid.

Lorelai: (picking RORY up, to JOSH)Let's go. (they walk out into the lobby)

[Cut To: Independence Inn, lobby]

Lorelai: Josh!

Josh: You should see your face.

Lorelai: You've got five seconds to explain to me why he's here, and it better be good.

Josh: His house caught fire and he didn't have anywhere else to go. He's a mess. His mom's upstairs, crying, falling apart.

Lorelai: (softening)Really?

Josh: No. I just did it to screw with you.

Lorelai: Josh!

Josh: Lorelai, come on.

Lorelai: No!

Josh: Just get to know him.

Lorelai: This isn't funny.

Josh: This is hilarious.

Lorelai: I am going to kill you!

Josh: Well that won't make a very good impression on Craig.

Rory: Mommy, I'm hungry.

Josh: She's hungry, Lorelai. Are you going to starve her? (he takes RORY, to RORY)Let's go get some lunch, huh? (they walk back into the dining room and LORELAI follows after a minute)

[Cut To: Independence Inn, dining room, JOSH, CRAIG, LORELAI and RORY have all sat down]

Craig: Where'd you live before you came here?

Rory: Hartford.

Craig: Did you like it?

Lorelai: It was fine.

Craig: I've been to Hartford twice. I really liked it there.

Lorelai: It's nice, I guess.

Waiter: Hey, Josh. What do you want?

Josh: Just bring out one of everything. We'll share. And lots of coffee.

Waiter: Got it. (he leaves)

Lorelai: Thank you, Mr. Take Control.

Craig: Are you more of an independent person?

Lorelai: I don't know. Uh...sure, yeah.

Craig: (thinking)My mom doesn't like independent women.

Lorelai: Okay...

Craig: And your boyfriend, Chris?

Lorelai: I don't want to talk about Chris.

Craig: I understand. He's gone, you don't wanna be reminded of him.

Lorelai: (confused)Gone?

Craig: Yeah, he left a few days ago.

Lorelai: What?

Craig: (unsure)At least, I think he did. Maybe I'm wrong. I could be wrong.

Lorelai: He left.

Rory: Daddy's gone?

Craig: I didn't mean to make the kid sad.

Rory: I'm not sad.

Lorelai: Uh...okay. No, that's okay. We don't care.

Craig: If you want to-

Lorelai: Drop it, Craig.

Craig: Okay.

Josh: (leaning over, whispering to LORELAI)You sure you're alright?

Lorelai: I...I just don't care anymore. He's the one missing out on something really great. (she looks at RORY)

Josh: Yeah. Two really great things. (LORELAI smiles)

Craig: (clearing his throat)So...uh...

Rory: (putting her book in front of CRAIG and pointing)I don't know this word.

Craig: (confused)Oh. I'm...sorry about that.

Rory: Well?

Craig: Well what?

Josh: Let me see it, Rory. (she passes him the book)Secretive.

Rory: Thanks, Mr. Josh! (she gets the book back and keeps reading)

Waiter: Okay, here. (he puts down six plates of food and a pot of coffee)That's a lot of food.

Josh: She can handle it.

Waiter: Whatever. Is that it?

Josh: That's it. (the WAITER leaves and they all serve themselves and start eating, LORELAI gets RORY's food for her)

Craig: How was the movie?

Lorelai: What?

Craig: The movie you stole? How was it?

Lorelai: I didn't steal it.

Craig: You took it without paying.

Lorelai: Yeah, well.

Craig: Was it good?

Lorelai: It was good.

Craig: Didn't you think it ended strangely, though? I mean, what happened to Baby after the talent show? Did she run off with Patrick Swayze and keep dancing? Did she go back to her family and her old life, only seeing him during the summer and never having things really be the same? If she was so afraid of not feeling happy again after she left, did she do anything about it? They make such a great storyline about how a girl who never really thought anything was wrong with her life could find out that all along, something was wrong, and something was missing, and she finally found it, but then we never get to see the end.

Lorelai: Wow, I...

Craig: Is this going to be a story of what you can find when you aren't even looking, and how to break away from an oppressive household and life, or a cautionary tale of what happens when you hang out with low-life dance instructors?

Josh: (teasing)Liken yourself to Jennifer Grey, Craig?

Craig: Shove it.

Josh: (to LORELAI)I told you he hated this town.

Craig: I don't hate it, I just really, really want to leave.

Lorelai: Then why don't you?

Craig: My mom won't let me.

Lorelai: Well, you're going to go to college soon, aren't you?

Craig: No.

Lorelai: Why not?

Craig: She doesn't want me to leave.

Lorelai: You're going to let your mother talk you out of higher education?

Craig: You should talk. You aren't even in college.

Lorelai: I'm gonna let that little insult slide because I really wanna know how an almost-adult can let his mom have that much control over his life.

Craig: I can find another out.

Lorelai: This isn't just about finding an out! College is important. It's a big deal.

Craig: Well, I can't go.

Lorelai: Do you get good grades?

Josh: Yeah, he does. Four-point-one GPA.

Lorelai: Do you play sports?

Josh: Football. And he's great at it.

Lorelai: Are you serious? You're crazy not to go to school! You're the ideal college student!

Craig: I can't.

Lorelai: Your mother is no excuse!

Craig: I'm not using her as an excuse, I'm just saying.

Lorelai: Yes, you are. Why don't you want to go?

Craig: My mom-

Lorelai: Don't tell me that! Your mother is not the reason why you won't go to college. She's the reason you tell everyone, but I'm not buying it.

Craig: What, just because you ran away and left your mom, everyone else is supposed to, also?

Lorelai: I left because that's what I needed to do. That's what was right for me.

Craig: Well I'm not willing to leave my parents and my family behind while I go off and do whatever the hell I want to.

Lorelai: This isn't 'whatever the hell you want to'. This is what you're supposed to do, this is what people do after high school-they go to college!

Craig: Not me!

Lorelai: Do you want to go? (CRAIG doesn't answer)Do you?

Craig: It doesn't matter, because I can't.

Lorelai: Craig-

Craig: Okay, how about this? I'm not gonna talk about Chris and you're going to drop this college stuff.

Lorelai: (sighing)Okay, fine.

Craig: Thank you.

Rory: Mommy?

Lorelai: Yeah?

Rory: Can I talk now?

Lorelai: Oh, sorry. Sure.

Rory: When am I getting my pony?

Lorelai: Excuse me?

Josh: You're getting her a pony?

Rory: Because you said I could have a pony and I don't have a pony and I was wondering when I could get that pony.

Lorelai: Honey, I never said that.

Rory: Yeah-huh!

Lorelai: No, I didn't.

Rory: I asked and you said yes. You said I'd get a pony and you'd get a Camerio.

Lorelai: (laughing)A Camaro, sweetie.

Rory: So when?

Lorelai: Oh, honey, we can't get a pony right now.

Rory: But you said!

Lorelai: I...I didn't mean it. It was just a joke.

Rory: (shocked)It wasn't funny!

Lorelai: Well, I can't be funny all the time.

Rory: Mommy!

Lorelai: I'm sorry, I thought you knew I was kidding.

Josh: Hey, how about this? I know somewhere where you can go ride a pony. Would that make you happy?

Rory: Kind of.

Josh: Okay, then we'll do that.

Rory: Thanks!

Lorelai: (muttering)Thanks.

Josh: (looking at his watch)I'd demand a sincere response, but it's almost noon, and you still need to change. We gotta go. Bye, Craig.

Lorelai: Bye.

Craig: Bye, guys. (LORELAI and RORY get up and leave, and JOSH walks into the kitchen)

[Cut To: Independence Inn, kitchen, JOSH catches the eyes of some of the other workers, and they all gather in a corner]

Waiter 1: Well, did she break him?

Worker 1: Did she?

Josh: No, not yet. Really close, though. She's almost got him.

Worker 1: Come on, Josh, you said she could do it.

Josh: She can.

Waiter 3: When, exactly?

Josh: It can't happen in one afternoon, we haven't gotten anywhere in years.

Waiter 1: I saw them yelling, what was that about?

Josh: That was her getting to him.

Waiter 2: Listen, Josh, be honest. Can she do this?

Josh: Yes.

Waiter 1: We just want what's best for him. If this isn't what's best...

Josh: It is.

Worker 1: Are you sure?

Josh: He'll be filling out applications in no time, I promise. She can do it.

Waiter 3: If you say so.

Josh: I do. It'll be fine.