Welcome to Wonderland Chapter 16: Lookin' Like a Seven Layer Cake

Rory walked into the Rygalski home on Peach Street, and found Joey and Alice curled up on the couch. "Guys?"

Alice looked up and gave a half-hearted wave. "Hi."

"What's going on?"

Joey frowned. "Mom is holding Emma's hair back while she throws up."

Rory glanced from one teen to the other.

Rory sighed as she glanced from one five year old to the other. "You can't stay up all night."

"Mom," Alice whined. "Please?"

"Please?" Joey repeated. "Mom and Dad haven't come home yet and I wanna see them when they come home."

"You'll see them in the morning," Rory told him.

"Not soon enough," Joey replied. "Nope, nope."

Rory sighed and shook her head.

She sat down next to them on the couch, next to Joey who rested her head on her shoulder.

A moment later, Lane walked down the stairs, looking weary, and, for the first time since Rory had known the rocker, old. "Hey, Rory."

"How's Emma?"

"Drunk."

"Other than that?"

Lane looked up in thought. "Nope. Just drunk." She headed for the kitchen. "Do you want any coffee?"

Rory got up and followed her. "No, thanks."

"Of course you want coffee, you always- did you just say no to coffee?"

Rory nodded.

Lane stared at her. "Does no mean yes?"

"No means no," Rory grinned.

"You're happy about turning down coffee."

"Well, I am pregnant."

"You're what!"

Rory smiled widely. "Knocked up with a bun in the oven."

"Oh, my god!" Lane squealed, throwing her arms around her best friend. "Congratulations!"

"Thanks." Rory hugged back tightly and then pulled back. "So, Emma got drunk."

Lane nodded.

"What about the other kids?"

"Brian picked Molly up right from the party," Lane replied. "She was sober. And Joey and Alice apparently didn't have any."

Rory's eyes widened. "Emma got drunk by herself!"

"At a kegger," Lane pointed out. She sighed. "Joey told me Mike left town again a few days ago."

"We should call her parents."

"They'll flip!"

"Maybe that's what Emma needs," Rory shrugged.

"To be yelled at and screamed at?" Lane asked.

"We're not her parents," Rory said. "It's not up to us."

"Dean is going to fly off the handle."

Rory gave a wry smirk, leaning against a counter. "And you wouldn't if this were Joe? I would have if Alice had gotten completely drunk."

Lane nodded slowly.

"I'm calling Lindsay."

"That's a bad idea, Rory," Dave said as he walked into the kitchen.

"Oh?"

Dave nodded and leaned against the kitchen table in front of Rory. "You call, and this becomes a bigger mess than before."

She looked down. "This has nothing to do with me."

Lane frowned sympathetically. "But if you get in the middle of this, they'll make it have something to do with you…they might blame Alice…" She sighed. "I'll call."

Dave nodded and pursed his lips. "Hey, Rory, you mind if Joey crashes at your place?"

"That's fine," she replied. "I'll go tell them to get their stuff together."

"I'm sorry, Rory," Lane said gently. "I know you want to help out with this…"

Rory smiled weakly. "I shouldn't get into fights now anyways…bad for the baby."

Dave gave a confused look. "Baby?"

Both women giggled.

-----

Jess woke up the next morning to the sounds of yelling, and sighed. He recognized the voices coming from the kitchen. He threw on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt before heading down the stairs to where the noise was coming from.

Sure enough, there was Dean Forrester, standing in his kitchen, screaming at his wife.

"Hey! Shrek!"

Dean stopped yelling and turned toward Jess.

"What's with the yelling? It's eight am."

"Apparently, it's our fault that Emma got drunk and then got sick last night," Rory informed her husband.

"Huh," Jess nodded. "Wish I'd known…"

"You think this is funny?" Dean snapped. "Your daughter pressured mine into drinking!"

"Then…why wasn't Alice drunk, too?" Jess asked. "She came in last night stone sober."

"Way to cover for her."

Jess gritted his teeth and pointed an ornery finger toward the front door. "Out."

"You can't just-!"

"This is my house! I sleep here! I eat here! I…do other things here! I pay for it, and contribute to keeping it nice! Not you! You're…You just…Get out of my house!"

Dean glared before storming out.

Jess sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

Rory smiled. "My hero."

He glared. "I'm going back to bed."

-----

Alice looked up from cleaning the diner's counter. There was a lull in the lunch rush and she was taking advantage of it to get some sprucing done.

Until Emma walked in the door.

"Hiya, Drunky," Alice smirked.

Emma sighed. "That's my new nickname, huh?"

"Drunky the clown," Alice nodded.

Emma sat down at the counter. "I'm sorry. I screwed up."

"Yeah, but you played a mean set," Alice replied. "I always thought inebriation affected one's ability to do shit, but you play pretty good for a Drunky."

"The clown," Emma added.

Alice nodded. "The clown."

"Am I forgiven?"

"Only if you cut it the fuck out," Alice replied.

"You should watch your mouth, young lady," Taylor said as he approached to pay his bill.

"Heh bleh bleh," Alice mocked as she took his receipt and payment.

Emma giggled. "Seen Joey around?"

"Not since this morning," Alice replied. "Probably digging for music theory books at the bookstore again."

Emma nodded. "You think I should let him stew before I talk to him?"

Alice considered. "Yeah, you might wanna…Meantime, grab an order pad, we've got more people coming in."

Emma smirked.

-----

Emily had invited them to lunch on Sunday, but only Alice and Lorelai decided to show up.

Alice raised an eyebrow from her seat across from her great-grandmother. The woman had just gone on a long tirade about white dresses and fan dances. "So let me get this straight...you think that dressing me in a big, poofy dress and showing me off to a bunch of aging socialites is going to make my mother forgive you for being psychotic and mean?"

Richard cleared his throat warningly.

"Hey, you weren't here for the floor show, and the subsequent waterworks."

"It is a Gilmore tradition for the young ladies in the family to come out to society," Emily said.

Alice nodded slowly. "How do I say this...I don't care."

Richard sighed. "It can't hurt."

"No...nothing except my pride, dignity, self respect and possibly my feet."

Lorelai shook her head. "Guys, if she doesn't want to-"

"Of course she does," Emily cut in. "Every girl wants to be a princess for a night."

"Princess of what?" Alice snapped. "The fan dance? No thanks."

Emily's jaw set. "Alice Lorelai. you will participate in the debutante ball this year."

She snorted. "In your dreams."

-----

2 hours later...

Alice stood in front of the full length mirror in Emily's walk-in closet. She was wearing quite possibly the poofiest dress in existence.

"I look like a seven layer cake."

Emily grinned. "It's a wonderful dress."

"Cake."

"Alice."

"I probably taste delicious."

"Oh, please."

"Slap some icing on my head and serve me up with some coffee."

"Don't be so dramatic."

"Let me take this off or I'll eat it."

Emily sighed. "Fine..."

Alice scrambled out of the overly poofy frock and sighed.

Emily sifted through the rack of gowns she'd had sitting in wait. "I'd have you try on the dress your mother wore but your breasts are much smaller than hers were."

"Can we leave my boobs out of this?"

"I'm merely saying..."

"Small boobs. Check. Next dress."

Emily handed her a dress. "This is a Versace."

"It's poofier than the last dress!"

"Oh, it is not."

"Fine. You put it on."

Lorelai sighed as she leaned into the closet doorway. "Mom, why don't I make her a dress?"

"These are perfectly nice," Emily replied.

"But she hates them."

"There has to be one dress here she likes."

-----

Alice sighed as she stood on her grandmother's stool, letting the older woman take her measurements. "Thanks for the major save."

Lorelai smiled. "No problem. I didn't get to make your mom's…Emily insisted she wear my old one."

"Is it true you didn't have a debutante ball?"

"It's true," Lorelai replied. "I was busy being pregnant with your mom."

Alice stared at her grandmother thoughtfully. "Do you with you had?"

Lorelai shrugged. "Not really…mostly because I totally got something much

cooler than a ball…"

"But sometimes?"

Lorelai nodded. "Yeah. I guess sometimes I wish I had done it…you know, the little sixteen-year-old and me wishes for that one night in the spotlight."

"Were you excited about it? I mean…"

Lorelai nodded. "Yeah. I was, a little. You?"

Alice shrugged. "I've never done anything like this before."

Lorelai grinned. "Believe me. Nothing is really like this. We've got a lot to do before you can go out there."

Alice raised an eyebrow.

Lorelai just shook her head.

"Was your escort gonna be Grandpa Christopher?"

"Yup," Lorelai nodded. "We were gonna suffer through it together. Fan dance and all." She looked up at the younger girl. "Gonna ask Tristin?"

Alice smiled a little. "Yeah. I think I might."

-----

"I can't believe you think flouncing my daughter around like a piece of meat is going to make me forgive you!"

Emily sighed. "It's a chance for all of us to at least pretend that we're happy again."

"When was this imaginary time when all of us were happy?" Rory asked. "Someone was always upset about something."

"I don't understand why you aren't pleased," Emily said, ignoring her granddaughter.

"Because this is not Alice! It wasn't even me!"

"Well, it's too late now," Emily replied. "I've already registered her.

"Fine!" Rory snipped. "Just…just fine!" With that, she hung up.

Jess watched Rory and blinked. "What was that all about?"

"Alice is coming out."

Jess gave her the strangest of looks.

"NO! Not out of the closet! She's coming out to society!"

Jess blinked and then slumped down on the couch. "Even worse."

Rory sighed and patted him on the shoulder. "Come on. We've both got work tomorrow. We should get to bed."

-----

Joey opened up the front door to his house to find Emma standing there, holding a bouquet of flowers.

"Em, what?"

"I'm sorry," she pouted. "I know I was a bad Drunky the Clown…and I threw up on your shoes." She held out the flowers to him. "Forgive me?"

He grinned.

-----

Tristin sighed and scratched the back of his head awkwardly that Monday. "You want me to be your escort for the Deb ball?"

Alice nodded. "That's the gist."

"Yeah..."

"I mean...we're dating and all, so-"

"It's not really my thing."

She closed her mouth. "...Oh." Alice looked down. "It's not my thing so much either. Emily kind of badgered me into it. It can be not our thing together."

"I don't think so."

She nodded. "Okay. Forget I asked."

"Alice..."

She leaned over and pecked him on the lips before walking off.

Tristin sighed and watched her go while shutting his locker.

"Man, are you stupid."

Tristin glared at the taller boy in front of him.

"A chance to spend the night with a decked out Alice Mariano on your arm, and you turn her down cold."

"Don't do it, Huntzberger."

Mitch gave him an innocent look. "And leave one of my oldest friends high and dry without an escort?" He walked past Tristin with a grin. "In your dreams."

"So, Alice is taking part in the deb ball this year," Lorelai informed Luke as she hurried into the diner, holding a couple of bags. "Help me pick out fabric for her dress."

Luke squinted. "Me?"

"No, the other burley diner man," Lorelai grinned. "Yes, you! Come on!"

He sighed and walked over to the counter to help her look. "Man, it doesn't seem that long ago that Rory was getting for her thing."

-----

Lorelai smiled. "I know…but it was a long time ago…that was just after I broke things off with Max…"

Luke nodded.

She bit her lip. "Speaking of…I ran into him in Hartford, after I dropped Alice off on Friday night."

Luke looked up. "You did?"

Lorelai nodded. "He's good."

"Well…where'd ya run into him?"

"At the CVS," she replied. "It was all very awkward."

"What kinda awkward?"

Lorelai blinked. "What?"

"Was it…weird awkward or…romantic awkward or-"

"You've lost it," Lorelai nodded.

"And if you were flirting with him-"

"Whoa! Who was flirting?" Lorelai asked. "We ran into each other. We said hello, and made superfluous small talk. It was no big deal!"

"You used to be engaged to the guy!"

"Like…twenty years ago!" She shook her head. "Stop freaking out and help me pick out the fabric."

"I gotta work," Luke snapped. "You pick the fabric." He walked off.

"Wh…Luke!" Lorelai sighed and shook her head. "That man is insane…"

-----

Mitch slid into the desk behind Alice in English class and leaned forward. "Heard Tristin turned you down for the Deb ball."

"Not talking about it. Don't bother mocking."

"Who's mocking?" Mitch asked. "I was gonna offer up my escort services."

Alice snickered. "For how much?"

"A free batch of fries from Luke's."

"Serious?"

"As a Baudelaire Poem."

She turned and smiled at him. "Deal."

-----

Logan opened the door to the Mariano house without knocking and stepped in, followed closely by Madison, Mitch.

"Hello!" Rory smiled, rushing to the front hall to meet them. She kissed Logan and Mitch on their cheeks and hugged Madison tightly.

"Lookin sharp, Ace," Logan grinned.

Rory rolled her eyes and smoothed out the red dress she was wearing. "Madison, Alice is upstairs getting ready if you wanna go up."

"Where's Jess?" Logan asked as Madison made her way up the stairs, and Mitch walked over and sat on the couching in the living room.

"Pouting about his tuxedo," Rory smiled.

Logan grinned. "Poor man doesn't get to look scruffy for once in his life."

"I may be scruffy-looking, but I'm still more attractive than you," Jess said as he walked down the stairs.

Logan grinned. "Jess."

"Logan."

"How are you guys, anyways?" Logan asked. "We haven't talked lately."

"I'm pregnant," Rory replied.

Logan stared. "Jess, you dog."

Jess shrugged.

Rory snickered. "Come on, boys. Let's go wait for the girls to get ready."

-----

The arrived at the country club and Madison and Alice were herded away from their families into a large dressing room with many other girls, all dressed in white.

Alice sighed as she touched up her make-up in the mirror.

"Mariano," Kayla smirked as she sat next to her.

"Twiggy."

"All set?"

"Yup."

Kayla looked her up and down with a quirked eyebrow. "That isn't your dress, is it?"

Alice turned to her. "That depends. That isn't your face, is it?"

Kayla winked. "See you out there."

"Must be my lucky day," Alice muttered.

Kayla got up and brushed past Madison, nearly knocking her over.

"Hey!"

"Better watch where you're going," Kayla grinned. "You wouldn't want to trip."

Madison turned red and crossed her arms.

"Don't listen to her," Alice said as Kayla left. "You're hotter than she is."

Madison smiled a little and sat next to her to touch up her own face.

-----

"Madison Huntzberger. Daughter of Logan Huntzberger and Paris Gellar."

Madison gripped Logan's arm tightly as they walked down the stairs. When they reached the bottom, Charlie walked up, bowed, and took Madison's hand.

"Alice Mariano, daughter of Jess and Lorelai Mariano."

"Don't trip," Alice muttered.

Jess nodded. "Don't trip."

They reached the bottom of the stairwell and Alice let go of Jess and took Mitch's hand as he came up from his bow.

"Way to not trip," Mitch muttered.

"I'm amazing," she smirked.

Mitch grinned. "You won't hear my arguing."

Alice blushed a little.

"Kayla Johnson. Daughter of Mark and Tara Johnson."

Alice watched the busty blonde walk down the steps on her father's arm and down to the arm of another blond.

Mitch squinted. "Ali...isn't that...?"

Her jaw clenched as she stared. "Yeah."

Mitch glared. "That little bitch."

-----

Rory, Logan and Jess stared from the bar as Tristin took Kayla's hand.

"Son of a-"

"Oh, no," Rory lamented.

"Wow. What an ass," Logan added. "Even I'm not that big an ass."

Emily rushed over. "Isn't that-"

"Yup," Rory nodded.

Jess glanced over to where Lorelai, Luke and Richard were sitting. "Luke's gonna tear that kid's head off."

"Well, good," Rory hissed. "He told Ali he wasn't coming."

"Cool down, Ace," Logan said.

"No."

"Hormones," Jess told the other man. "She gets snippy when she's pregnant."

Emily fumed. "We have to do something."

"She's always snippy," Jess added. He turned to the two women. "Plot his death now, carry it out later."

----

"So…thanks for being my escort."

Charlie smiled as he danced with Madison. "Hey, no problem…I'm glad you

asked me."

Madison smiled and danced more confidently, until she spotted Tristin dancing with Kayla. "Why is my best friend's boyfriend dancing with the Queen of Slut Town?"

"One, you really need to stop watching old Buffy reruns," Charlie chuckled. "And two, because he's a douche bag."

She frowned, but kept dancing.

-----

"Next move?"

"To the left," Alice replied as she danced with Mitch. "It's a waltz."

Mitch sighed. "I mean...about Tristin."

She shrugged. "I'm thinking silent treatment. You know, this might very well get me out of the fan dance."

"Alice..."

"What do you want me to say, Mitch? What do you want me to do?"

"Kiss me to make him jealous."

Alice nodded. "Nice try."

He grinned. "Couldn't resist...and...you know, I've always wanted to kiss you."

She sighed. "Mitch..."

"No pressure."

Alice frowned. "I'd really like to go home."

Mitch nodded. "Follow my lead."

"I am."

"Well, keep at it." He began to lead them off of the dance floor and to the table where their families were sitting.

"Hi," Alice said.

"Hey," Rory replied. "Say the word and Mommy will take the rusty hedge clippers to Grown Boy."

"You're scary when you're pregnant," Alice told her.

"What brings you to our humble table?" Richard asked.

"I want to go home," she said.

"Done," Jess nodded.

"Not done," Emily snapped. "What about the fan dance?"

Alice's jaw clenched. "Fuck the fan dance."

"Alice!"

"Fan dances are for evil, bitchy whores."

Lorelai gave her a sympathetic look. "Sweetie..."

"I'll be in the car." With that, she took off.

-----

Tristin watched Alice leave from the dance floor. "Kayla, I should..."

She rolled her eyes. "Please. It's not like she gives a damn about you."

"What?"

"She doesn't care about you," Kayla shrugged. "Not like I do."

Tristin frowned and looked toward the door. Still, they kept dancing.

----

Mitch frowned as he sauntered out of the country club for some air. He enjoyed watching his sister having fun and wear her poofy dress, but the nagging thought that Alice at home, sulking (the Marianos had left promptly after her exit) was tugging at him.

He sighed and turned to go back in, but stopped when he saw Tristin walk slowly out.

"Hey! Dugrey!" Mitch said, walking up to him.

Tristin looked up, just as Mitch threw a left hook in his face.

-----

"Gonna answer that?"

Alice didn't reply. She merely kept strumming her acoustic guitar as he cell phone kept ringing. Her gown was stuffed into the waist basket in the corner of her bedroom.

Jess nodded and walked over, lifting it up. "I'm gonna go put this away."

"Whatever."

"Need anything?"

"No."

Jess sighed. "Maybe you should just talk to the guy."

"You hate him."

"You don't."

She frowned.

-----

"I told you."

Tristin rolled his eyes as he dialed Alice's number again. "Shut up, Charlie."

"Fine. But I told you it would blow up in your face."

Tristin shook his head. "It wasn't anything."

"Like the kiss at that party. Or the kissing in the locker room."

"Shut up!" Tristin cried.

"You screwed up!"

"I know!" Tristin growled. "I've got the black eye to prove it."

-----

The next afternoon found Tristin following Alice as she made her rounds with the coffee at the diner.

"What part of 'leave me alone' don't you understand?"

"The part where I leave you alone."

She rolled her eyes.

"I'm sorry! I thought I was doing the right thing!"

"Bullshit," Alice snapped.

"Such language," Taylor said.

Alice glared at the old man. "Suck it."

"My word!"

"Alice-"

"Go home."

"I didn't cheat on you with Kayla."

"Still lied to me."

"And it was stupid."

"Ya think?"

"You can't just shut me out like this!" Tristin cried.

"Why not?"

"Because...because I love you."

She glared. "What do you think I am?"

"He's in trouble now," Kirk muttered.

Tristin glanced at him and then back at Alice.

"Do I look like some sappy, simpering, airhead to you?" she asked.

"What-"

"Oh, you love me," Alice mocked. "First of all, that fixes nothing. Second of all...Bullshit! We've been dating two months! You don't fall in love with someone after just two months! And third of all…third of all, if you did love me, you wouldn't have lied to me and then let that whore monger hang off your arm in the first place."

"She begged me!"

"Oh yeah? What did she do? Pout? Did she promise to...to make it worth your while."

"Hey! She's still my friend, you know!"

"With benefits, right?" Alice asked. "That's how these things work, right?"

"For god's sake, nothing happened with Kayla!" Tristin cried. "Just..." He took a step toward her. "One more chance."

She stared at him.

"I screwed up," he admitted. "I did. But nothing happened. And I'm sorry."

Alice crossed her arms.

"One more shot," he said. "Please? I'll...do...anything."

She looked down.

-----

"I can't believe you got back together with him," Molly said.

"One more chance," Alice replied as she, Joey and Molly worked on the used sound equipment they'd bought. "Everybody deserves a-"

"He's a jerk!" Molly cried.

Alice sighed. "I have to do this…I…I do care about him…"

Joey nodded as he turned a couple of dials. "So just…see what happens…but if he pulls bullshit again…"

"He's gone," Alice nodded. "He knows."

Joey frowned and nodded back. "Come on, let's see if this thing actually works."

They got back to work.