Summary: AU. Liz moves her little family to Stars Hollow for a better life.

A/N: hehehehehe... The title song is by Green Day, and the chapter title song is by Ben Folds.

And big thanks to Mai. She rules.

Timeline: Season 1... post Cinnamon's Wake.

Spoilers: Anything is fair game

Welcome to Paradise Ch 1: Rockin' the Suburbs

This sucks.

No, this more than sucks. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my whole damned life.

"Hey! Read! Come help me get this couch off the moving van!"

I glare at my step-father, and keep reading on our new front lawn.

Who needs a lawn, anyways? They're giant burdens if you think about it. You have to mow them, and some people water them, and they're useless. And green. Not a big fan of the green these days.

"Jess?! Go help TJ!"

My mother.

My sweet, perky, cute mother, who decided it'd be 'a great step for this family' if we moved from our nice, little apartment in Manhattan, to this... this... Suburb.

No, it's not even a suburb. It's half a suburb. A third- No! A twelfth of a suburb.

This is hell.

Elvis Costello song. Probably other people who've written songs called "This is Hell" too, but they aren't coming to mind.

I have been in Stars Hollow for less than a day, and I already hate it.

Doesn't that say something? Doesn't that tell you that you should probably leave? Something.

Mom walks over to me, and lies next to me. "Hey, there."

I don't look up. I don't answer. If I keep reading, she doesn't exist. Good philosophy? I think so.

"You mad at me?"

Still not paying attention. Take the hint. God.

"You're mad at me. I know you didn't want to move here, but it's a good opportunity. And you were getting into so much trouble in the city..."

Trouble? Trouble?! All I did was drink a little!


Okay, so I did a lot while I was drunk on said drinks that I drank a little... I did moon a cop... I thought he was a clown! Sue me! I was drunk!

I'm really not helping my case, am I?


"I think you'll really like it here once you get used to it," Mom goes on. "It's a nice place to live... and you can get a job, and make some nice, new friends, and there's a nice little book store here. Independent, just like you 'em."

Independent bookstore?


No! Do not be seduced! You hate this! You hate this place, you hate this house, you hate-

"Read! I'm waiting! Don't make me come over there!"

You really, really hate TJ.

Mom gives me a smile, and I glare harshly as I get up, leaving my book behind to help move furniture.

The next thing I know, all the furniture is in the house (a happy place! Wooden floors! Big windows! Please kill me!), and Mom and I are on our way into town.

Into town?

I feel nauseous.

I take out a pack of cigarettes and begin to take one out, when the pack is snapped from my grasp.

I glare at my mother.

"You're quitting," she tell me.

My glare becomes much more intense.

She sighs and stops walking. "Don't you wanna make a good impression here?"

"I don't care," I tell her. The first words I've said to her since we got in the car to come here.

"You should," she says firmly. "This could be a great new start for you."

"May I have my cigarettes back, please?"

She rolls her eyes and hands them back to me. I pocket them and keep walking.

We pass a flower shop, a coffee shop; across the street is some kind of dance studio, with the name "Ms. Patty" on it.

We walk up to an establishment and I look up to see that the sign says "William's Hardware." I give my mother a quizzical look and she just smiles as she pushes open the door.

The place isn't too big. It's a diner, not a hardware store... well, actually there are tools and shelves lining the walls... it's weird.

Standing behind the counter is the only member of my family that I can actually tolerate. I walk away from my mother and sit across from him.


Uncle Luke looks up and smirks. He gives my hair a tousle. "Hey, Jess. Didn't know you guys were in town already."

I shrug. "You know now."

Mom runs behind the counter and latches onto Luke like a leach. "LUKE!"

He stiffens a little and hugs back lightly. "Hey, Liz. How was the ride?"

"Not bad," Mom nods. "My boy here gave me the silent treatment the whole way here."

"She deserved it."

Luke shook his head. "How do you like Stars Hollow so far?"


"I knew you were gonna say that," Luke replies. "How's the house?" he asks Mom.

"Oh, it's great!" she cries. "Wait'll you see it."

"It sucks, too," I mutter, taking my book from my back pocket to crack it open.

"You'll get used to it, you sourpuss," Mom smiles.

"Hungry?" Luke asks.

I shrug.

"You still like those disgusting onion rings, right?"

I smirk and nod.

He smirks back. "Comin' right up." He disappears into the kitchen, and my mom gives me a stern look.

"You be nice to Uncle Luke."

"I am."

"Don't be mean to anyone in town."

"No promises."


I keep reading.

She stands in silence (thank god!) for a moment. "Hey... I got something to tell you."

"TJ was crushed by the couch while rearranging the furniture?"

She smacks me upside the head and I flinch. "Hey!"

"I enrolled you into school."

I roll my eyes. "I knew that."

"I enrolled you into Chilton Prep," she says quickly.

I look up in shock. "You what?"

"I enrolled-"

I stop her with a hand. "Why?"

"Because you're smart enough, and you need some direction, and if you go to public school, you'll just skip!" she rambles. "It'll be good for you."

I blink. "Uniforms."

She nods.

I go back to reading just as Luke walks out.

Mom pouts. "He's not speaking to me again."

"Why?" Luke asks, setting down my food.

"I enrolled him into Chilton Prep."

Luke sighs. "Liz..."

"What?! It'll be good for him!"

"He's not the prep school type."

"He's smart!"

Luke shakes his head, and two brunette walk into the diner.

"LUKE! We need coffee!"

I turn and blink.

They're either sisters or mother and daughter. The older one looks on the young side and the younger one looks my age.

She's not bad-looking, either.

I turn and go back to reading.

Luke sighs. "Hey, Lorelai."

Mom smiles and lets out one of her annoying giggles. "Is this your girlfriend?"

"No," Luke shoots quickly. "She's a friend... Lorelai, this is my sister Liz... and that's my nephew, Jess. They just moved here from New York"

I keep reading. I don't want to talk to these people. They're... townies.

"Jess, Liz, this is Lorelai and Rory," Luke says. "They're the unhealthiest eaters I've ever met in my life."

I take an onion and chew it loudly in my uncle's face. He moves to swat me upside the head, but I dodge to the side and avoid his hand.

"Hi," says a voice behind.

I turn a little and nod at Rory.

She holds out a hand in greeting and I study it. Small.

"Shake, Jess," Mom orders.

I roll my eyes and shake her hand roughly. "Woof. You want me to go fetch your paper, too?"

"Ha!" she cries. "I got you talking to me again! I knew you couldn't resist the lure of a witty remark."

I roll my eyes and go back to reading.

"Hi, Liz," Lorelai smiles, holding a hand out to her. "Welcome to town."

"Thanks," Mom smiles, shaking her hand immediately. They start talking, with Luke throwing in remarks as he pours them coffee, and Rory sits next to me.

"What are you reading?" she asks.

I lift the book and show her the cover.

"Oh, gross," she says. "Hemmingway?"

I roll my eyes yet again, and go back to reading.

Out of the corner of my eye I see her pull out her own book.

Ayn Rand.


"Political nut," I remark, turning a page.

"What?" she asks.

"Rand. She's a nut."

"She's genius!" Rory argues.


"Hemmingway is boring."

"He is not," I argue.

"Oh, good comeback," she smirks.

I sigh and go back to reading. I can't believe I've actually found intelligent life.

"See? That wasn't so bad."

I don't reply as we walk back to the house. I merely light a cigarette.

"That Rory's kind of a looker."

I roll my eyes and take a drag.

She wraps an arm around me and kisses my cheek. I give a sour look to the pavement.

"I know this is hard."

"You know nothing," I mutter.

"I didn't like this place when I was your age, either," she tells me.

"So why did we move here?" I ask loudly, exploding a little on our way down Orange Street. Orange Street. Can you believe it? Jeez...

She sighs. "Because I want what's best for you. I want you to have a good life that doesn't involve jail bail."

I don't reply.

"Please give this a chance," she half-begs. "Please?"

I sigh. Yeah, I am giving in. She's good at making me do that.

We walk through the front door of the house to the sounds of TJ's off- key singing to The Righteous Brothers.