Disclaimer: Gilmore Girls, its contents, characters and situations are the property of WB, Amy and Daniel Palladino, its writers, directors and producers. The fanfic situations used are borrowed from within the series and are not meant to be spoilers. Hope you enjoy the story!


Breakfast has become a routine in the crap shack. It felt like old times: when Chilton was a ways to a means and the Independence Inn was standing in its full glory. Fast forward to reality: Lorelai was procrastinating getting to work and Rory is still sulking from the DuGrey sleepover. Both are mulling over what tragedies may fill their day over their cups of coffee. They hope none of their fears become reality.

Lorelai pondered whether the inn could sustain itself until the end of the year. Rory contemplated her argument with Tristin and her phobia bumping into Dean.

"Hey sourpuss, you gonna be keeping me company today?" Lorelai Gilmore asked.

"Hmm, maybe later," Rory responded.

"Sookie's going to be making that wonderful pasta dish you love so much," Lorelai bribed.

"I said I'll be there later," Rory reiterated. Lately, she was getting irritated with her mother's attempts to con her into getting into town.

"So..." Lorelai said, "are you ever going to tell me anything about last week or will that be a topic I will be reading in your journal once you've become Barbara Walters and have written and sold your tell-all biography?"

"Ha," Rory responded. "Nothing happened, mom. Tristin and I just caught up with our Chilton past and college present. Boring... Like watching paint dry on a wall boring."

"You're hiding something from me and I'll get to the bottom of it," Lorelai promised. She squinted at her daughter. Rory just stuck her tongue out at her mother.

Then the phone rang.

"If it's for me, tell them I'm at the inn. If it's Brad Pitt, tell him that I will be perky and ready in ten minutes," Lorelai instructed as she gave Rory a peck on the cheek as she ran out the door.

"Ew, TMI! Bye, mom!" Rory called out after her mother as she picked up the receiver.

"Hello?" Rory responded.

"Good morning, Rory, it's your Grandmother," Emily Gilmore identified herself.

"Grandma! How are you?" Rory asked, feigning interest.

"Fine as fine can be," she said. "I want to inform you and your mother that Friday dinner is going to be suspended indefinitely," Emily announced.

"Really? Why?" Rory asked.

"Oh, ask your Grandfather. He decided that we shouldn't have Friday dinners since the Dragonfly incident," Emily said dryly. "Your mother should be happy to hear that."

Rory flinched as her grandmother brought up the Dragonfly incident. Her mother was just trying to help her parents spend some quality time to air out their differences. They misconstrued the event as Lorelai's attempt to have them exist in self-deprecation.

"Grandma, I don't think mom meant any malice in having you and gramps stay at the honeymoon cottage," Rory explained to her grandmother.

"It's water under the bridge, Rory. And your grandfather has made the decision. So we should leave it at that," Emily responded, with a sound of defeat in her voice. "Anyway, the Friday dinner is only part of the reason I called. Do you remember Graham Sullivan?"

"Yeah," Rory admitted. "We had a good Saturday orphan outing after finals," Rory lied.

"Well, his family has invited us to join them for a weekend at the Catskills. It's a little formal gathering that they put together every two years or so," Emily explained. "Anyway, with the current situation your grandfather and I are in, we think it would be inappropriate for us to attend when we are not in the best of terms with each other," she said, trying to explain the current separate living arrangements she and Richard arranged.

"Well, that's nice and dandy, grandma. But what does it have to do with me?" Rory asked.

"I told the Sullivans that you're going to be our stand-in during the function. They thought it was a wonderful idea for you to show up since you've already been acquainted with Graham. It keeps him out of trouble and it saves the Gilmore name from slander," Emily concluded.

"Grandma, that's blackmail!" Rory wailed.

"Lorelai Leigh. I will not tolerate whining. If you know what's good for you, you will take this invite and go," her grandma chided.

"I don't even know where he lives!" Rory said.

"They live in upstate New York. There's a train that stops at Stars Hollow on the way to the Catskills. Graham will pick you up from the train stop. Unless you want to drive to upstate New York..." Emily stated.

"I'll take the train," Rory said in defeat.

"Splendid. I will make arrangements with the Sullivans in a moment. Graham should give you a call by the end of the day to give you all the details. By all means, do not mention that your grandfather and I are not in the best of terms," Emily instructed.

"Yes grandma," she said in resignation.

"That's my girl. Goodbye, Rory," Emily stated before hanging up.

"Ugh!" Rory responded as soon as she heard her grandmother hang up. She immediately speed dialed the Dragonfly Inn.

"Dragonfly Inn, Michel speaking. How may I assist you?" the French accented voice vibrated in her ear.

"Hi Michel, it's Rory. Can I speak to mom?" Rory requested.

"I'm sorry but don't you already live with the obnoxious woman? What on earth can you still talk about when you are rarely apart from each other?" he asked.

"Please, Michel. Just for a second. I promise not to bug you anymore," Rory swore.

Michel sighed on the other end of the line. He swore in French under his breath as he passed the phone to her mother.

"What's up?" Lorelai asked.

"I got drafted," Rory said with dramatic flair.

"As in the Bush letter kind?" Lorelai inquired.

"I wish!" Rory exclaimed. "This is strictly Grandma's kind."

"Cough up details," Lorelai instructed.

"Do you remember when grandma set me up with Graham the weekend of my last finals?" Rory asked.

"And you had that Dean/Jess thing afterwards?" Lorelai inquired.

"One and the same day," Rory confirmed.

"What about it?" Lorelai asked.

"Well gramps and grandma were invited to the Sullivan's little soiree in New York and since they're in the outs with each other, I have to attend the event as their diplomat," Rory explained.

"Oh that sucks! When is it supposed to be? Do I have a say in this since you are my daughter?" Lorelai said.

"I think you have to pick that bone with grandma because I am not going to," Rory admitted. "I think it's also her payback for you trying to play peacemaker between her and gramps."

Lorelai remained silent on the other end of the line.

"Anyway, I'm supposed to be hearing from Graham today to go over some logistical arrangements so I'll have something more definite by tonight," Rory said.

"This is one of the reasons why I told you that you should've not taken their money," Lorelai chided her daughter.

"Mom, too little too late?" Rory said. "Besides, Graham wasn't all that bad. It also gives me an excuse not to hang around Stars Hollow."

"I thought that was what last week's road trip was all about," Lorelai pointed out. "You know, I still am going to hold it over your head that you still haven't spilled the beans on me yet."

"I know," Rory mumbled.

"I guess I really can't undo anything now. Will you give me a ring as soon as you hear from Graham?" Lorelai requested.

"Will do. Bye mom," Rory said before hanging up.

Rory let out a sigh of defeat. She pulled out an empty suitcase and opened it. She opened her closet and stared at her collegiate outfits. Nothing looked suitable for an elitist outing. These are the times Rory wished her mother taught her the ways of a socialite.

"Knock, knock!" a familiar voice called out from the foyer.

"Over here!" Rory responded with a smile emerging on her face. Rory was thankful for Lane's visit.

"What are you up to? Planning another getaway?" Lane asked.

"This time, it's not of my own volition," Rory said.

"That sucks... Wait, before we tackle this subject, you haven't told me why you left town last weekend. Rumor had it that you and your mom got into a big argument and you went to Boston for some cooling off period," Lane reported.

"They were talking about me?" Rory whined.

"You left ammo for everyone to use when you disappeared from the inn's dry run," Lane pointed out.

"Oh, this place is so messed up!" Rory exclaimed.

"So, are you going to give me the 411?" Lane asked.

Rory hesitated. She stared at Lane who was making herself comfortable on her bed. Then she broke eye contact by staring back into her half empty closet. She wanted to tell Lane everything about her indiscretions but she was afraid of how it might affect their friendship. Rory decided to tell her an edited version of the truth.

"To be honest with you, I just stressed out after finals and I needed some breathing space away from this place," Rory said with vagueness in her tone.

"Hmm, good start but you're lying, Rory," Lane called her bluff.

"Oh Lane, I am just so frustrated! Tanna got me thinking that I am some loser who can't score a boyfriend and I wigged out. I started fantasizing about Dean and one thing led to another and I just had to take off and end up somewhere other than Stars Hollow," Rory confessed.

"Whoa, back the horse up, Charlie. You're telling me that you're still in love with Dean?" Lane asked.

"I don't think I ever did stop loving him," Rory admitted.

"So this 'one thing led to another' thing..." Lane pursued.

"I had to find another distraction," Rory commented. "I wished you were in town but you had that gig in New York so I decided to head to Bean Town. But, my trip was cut short when I ran into a Chiltonite."

"You did? That's cool," Lane said. "Wait! The only people you associated with at Chilton were those conjoined twins Madeline and Louise... and Paris, of course. Paris isn't back from England, is she?" Lane asked.

"Nope. I ran into Tristin," Rory confessed.

"Tristin," Lane responded, her tone dropping to her serious voice. "As in PJ Harvey, almost had a fistfight with Dean, broke of with someone in the party where I met Henry and was your non-Romeo in your school play Tristin?"

"You got it," Rory confirmed.

"This I got to hear!" her friend said.

"There's not much to tell," Rory said. "He ran into me and he let me spend the day at his dad's place. We chatted about things we've done and I came home."

"It can't be that boring," Lane emphasized. "I mean, I thought this guy was crazy for you? Or was he seeing another girl? Hey," Lane asked, "You didn't sleep with him, did you?"

"On the first night, we slept in the same room," Rory admitted.

"So that's it? I thought I was supposed to live vicariously through you," Lane said with disappointment. "I remember him looking hot. Is he still hot?"

Rory broke into a blush.

"He is? Oh god, he is," Lane said squealing.

"He hasn't lost any of the cuteness factor, if that's what you're referring to," Rory clarified. "He unfortunately hasn't lost any of the annoyance factor, either."

"Well now that you're unattached, maybe you guys can start actually bartering your barbed comments for a more couple-oriented banter," Lane suggested.

"You're joking, right?" Rory scoffed.

"Well... Yes and no," Lane confided. "He was, correction, is cute and I seriously think he really was into you."

Rory stared at her best friend like she grew a third head.

"... You were just a little preoccupied with Dean at that time," Lane said.

Rory sighed. It all came back to Dean. Rory ran her fingers through her hair and was torn. Should she confide her adulterous affair to Lane now or should she wait until she has figured out a way to deal with the situation first?

"I wasn't that dense, was I?" Rory asked.

"Rory, I love you like a sister and you know I would never lie to you," Lane said. "Yes, you are oblivious to matters of the heart... or horniness."

"Hmm," Rory pursed her lips. "I guess I am a little predictable, aren't I?"

"Understatement of the year," Lane confirmed.

"Anyway," Rory said, "You just don't know how happy I am to see you. I want to hear someone else's melodrama. How's the band?"

Lane pondered. "I guess it's okay. Gil's trying to get us a couple of gigs closer to home so he can get to some of his kids' summer camp games." Lane looked away and started blushing.

"Okay," Rory interrupted her friend. "Unless you've started developing a neck rash whenever you mention Gil's name, you're keeping something from me. What gives?"

"I think I'm falling for Zach," she said.

Rory was shocked. "Now that's different. Does Dave know about this?" Rory asked.

"Let's start with 'Does Zach know about it?' He's so involved with the whole groupie concept that I think he forgets that I'm a girl. Scratch that. He knows I'm his girl roommate and therefore I fall into the "mom" category. You know, the feed me, don't touch my things kind of affection. Dave's been out of the loop for a long time. Since I've moved out from mama's, I think the thrill of eluding her disappeared," Lane said in a depressed tone. "He hasn't called me in a long time. I think we've broken up."

Rory paused mid-thought. "I would have never pegged Dave to be the kind that would not break up with you face to face. Next dilemma: aren't Dave and Zach like best friends?"

"Hmm," was all Lane said. "I don't think they've kept in touch since he's left for Cali."

"That says it all, I guess," Rory responded. "So this crush... Is this the Rich Bloomingfeld kind or the Henry kind?"

"It's the 'I don't want any skank touching him' kind of crush. Maybe it's more than a crush... And by the way, talk about the past there. Last I heard of Rich, he was managing a Star Trek convention booth," Lane said thoughtfully.

"He sure got to some distant galaxy, didn't he? Well, Lane, I hope for your sake that you and Zach can figure something out. Heaven knows what would happen if you usurp Gwen Stefani in the 'I'm-band mates-with-my-ex' department," Rory added.

Lane just made a face at Rory.

"Anyway," Lane continued, "Where's Jack Kerouac headed for this time?"

"New York," Rory said.

"Ooh, can I come?" Lane asked.

"You want to be with some stuffy rich people?" Rory asked.

"Is it like one of your grandmother's functions?" Lane asked.

"I'm assuming. This will be my first outing with the Sullivan Company," Rory said.

"On second thought, I don't envy you and your commitments," Lane commented.

"Trust me, if I can get away from it, I would," Rory admitted.

"So why don't you?" Lane questioned.

"Family obligation," Rory responded.

"Again, sucks to be you," Lane said as she got off the bed. "Well, I'm headed to band practice. Wanna come? You haven't checked us out in a while and we have some new material," Lane suggested.

Rory deliberated. She knew she was risking an opportunity of accidentally bumping into Dean.

"Maybe another time. I need to get this bag packed or else I'll end up looking like a hobo in the Catskills," Rory declined.

"Alright. Give me a ring if you need anything," Lane said before giving her friend a kiss on the cheek and a hug.

"I will. Have fun for me!" Rory said as she returned her friend's gesture.

Again, Rory was left to her own devices.