StephieM- Thanks for being my 300th reviewer!
hp/dr fan- All is forgiven ;-)
Note- You guys have no idea how much you have meant to me these past few months. I've written fanfiction before, but this is the most acclaimed site I've posted at. And my first fic here, my first Gilmore Girls fic ever, I get this many reviews. I'm completely blown away by all of my readers support, even if they haven't been reviewing…I can still feel the love. A new story (literati, of course) is in the works, and I'm a little scared for it. This story just took off, and suddenly it had tons and tons of fans. I'm hoping the next one will have similar effects, but I don't really expect it- I'm not that good, and I know it. So thanks a thousand times for your support. Not that anyone's reading this paragraph anyway.
BTW, I hope everyone catches the Bronte references.
"Hold your horses, I'm coming!" Rory exclaimed as she dug through the couch cushions in pursuit of the ringing phone. She reached the last cushion, and still no phone.
"Fridge!" She scampered across the living room area to the kitchen, not even questioning why the phone would be in the refrigerator. He was right- it was behind a jar of honey mustard. She answered it just as it was about to give up, and go directly to the answering machine.
"Hello," she said, out of breath.
"Uh, 22?" she answered, recognizing her mother's voice, and guessing Lorelai was spurting off random numbers again.
"13 what, mom?
"13 years with Luke, and yet still single. Huh. Weird."
"Mom, please don't be allusive. I have four babies with colds, despite the fact that we live in extremely hot California, and I got little-to-no sleep. I'm too exhausted to read between the lines."
"Luke finally gave in and proposed!" Rory shrieked, causing her husband to come running.
"What's wrong?" he asked, his frantic dash from the bedroom, and his common cold-affected eyes making him look half-rabid.
"Mom and Luke are getting married! You did say 'yes', right?" she quickly asked for clarification.
"Mom and Luke are getting married!" Jess gave an exaggerated thumbs-up, before retreating down the hallway.
"Tell me everything!"
"Well, we were just sitting at the table, eating spaghetti, and talking about how much our jobs sucked. Even though we're both our own bosses, but never mind that. So then he goes, 'you still want to do that thing?', and I was like 'what thing?', and he got all nervous, and was like 'you know, the thing.' So I was all confused, and I'm sitting there like 'bungee jump from the statue of liberty? Because that was just a joke,' and he's getting all frustrated, and I'm getting all confused, and he finally just yells 'Do you wanna get married or not?'!" Rory screamed again, and jumped in place.
"And then you said yes…"
"And then I said yes, and he gave me a pretty little ring, and it was so perfect!"
"Oh my God, that's so great! When are you thinking of having the wedding?"
"Well, in a few weeks."
"You're kidding! That's soon!"
"I know! It's going to be pretty casual, and as small as we can get in this town, and since it's outside I wanted to do it just before it got too cold to go sleeveless."
"Wow, when do you want us to come out?"
"Anytime really soon, I need your help planning!"
"Done. Just let me wait until Jess and the girls recover, and we'll all be out there."
"Perfect! In addition to getting married and FINALLY getting to see what phenomenal present my mother has for me, I get to see my daughter and my granddaughters again!"
"And you son-in-law," Rory reminded teasingly.
"Bring him along if you have too…I guess the children will need a babysitter while you and me are out tasting all the yummy cakes, right?"
"That's why I'm making him come," Rory affirmed.
"Good. I gotta run, me and Luke are going to tell the town at the meeting, so we have to get going."
"Tell Luke I love him!"
"Will do. Tell your hubby he's not so bad either." They said affectionate goodbyes, and hung up. Even though there was a great physical distance between them, they still had managed to remain close. There hadn't been as many visits as planned, but they still talked often.
Rory trotted back to her and Jess's bedroom.
"We're going to Star's Hollow next week."
"You will behave."
"I'll turn into surly teenage-me."
"I fell in love with surly teenage-you," she teased.
"Yes, but now you're used to full sentences and commitment, and all that jazz."
"I think you can speak in full sentences for a week."
"I can't wait to tell the girls, they'll be so excited!"
"Can't see why…"
"Oh come on, weddings are fun!"
"I went to enough of my mom's weddings to know that's not the case."
"Oh yea? What about Sookie's wedding? Because that was a good wedding." He smirked at her.
"One exception. Weddings still suck."
"Liz and TJ's wedding. Mom and Luke got together."
"That was going to happen sooner or later anyway."
"OUR wedding. That didn't suck so much, did it?" She lay down beside him, praying she didn't get sick from the close contact. He turned to look at her, his eyes full of something she was familiar with, but never could find words for.
"That one was okay." He twisted so he was closer, and kissed her cheek before pulling away. Rory smiled at him, then stood up and went across the hall to check on their youngest daughter, Anne.
"Mommy," she stated pathetically when her mother walked in.
"Annie, sweetie, are you still sick?" She nodded and stuck her thumb in her mouth. Rory moved over to the bed, stepping over the pile of children's books on the floor. "Let Mommy take your temperature."
After about five minutes of squirming, Rory managed to keep the thermometer in the three-year-old's mouth long enough for it to register.
"99.7. Poor Annie, can I do anything to make you feel better?"
"Winnie the Pooh." Rory sighed, and went to the small TV sitting in the corner. She set up the desired movie and left the door ajar on her way out. A quick peek back into her own bedroom revealed Jess to be out like a light, so she continued upstairs.
They'd had the extra floor, housing three rooms and a bathroom, built during Rory's second pregnancy. The house was far too beloved, and held too many memories, to move out of. But they couldn't be a family of four in a two-bedroom home.
From the landing, there were four doors. One led to the kid's bathroom, one opened into Jess and Rory's study, a good place to write when the rest of the house was in child-induced chaos. The other two doors separated Emily and Charlotte Mariano from the rest of the world.
"Em? Can I come in?" she asked, knocking on the middle child's door. She heard a squeal, a mad dash across the room, and a flying leap into bed, followed closely by covers being yanked over one's head. She pushed the door open and entered the room, arms crossed.
"Did I just hear someone out of bed?"
"Huh. I thought I could have sworn a little girl named Emily was standing over here," she walked to where the sprint had started, "And when she heard something at the door, she ran across the room," Rory quickly moved from one end of the room to the other, "and then she…jumped into bed!" Rory landed next to her daughter, extracting a high giggle from her. She peeled the covers back, and looked into the smiling brown eyes.
"I think you're well enough to help me clean up." Immediately the girl started to cough.
"Sure you are."
"Well then, I guess I'll have the hidden pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream all to myself, seeing how it's only for non-sick people."
"I feel better."
"That's what I thought. C'mon, let's go eat." Happily, she scrambled out of bed, and ran downstairs. Taking one last look around the pony-inspired room and seeing toys everywhere, Rory wondered how long ago she'd felt well enough to get up. She looked in Charlotte's room on her way down, seeing her oldest sleeping peacefully. Blowing a kiss to the little girl, she closed the door, and descended the stairs.
Emily was waiting on a stool next to the kitchen island, the only place big enough for the five to eat at together in the house. She'd already gotten out two spoons and two bowls, which sat eagerly beside her. Grinning, Rory retrieved the snack from the back of the freezer, and began dishing it out.
"Wanna know a secret, Em?"
"Grandma Lorelai and Grandpa Luke are getting married!"
"And guess what else? We get to fly on a plane next week to Star's Hollow, and see their wedding. Isn't that neat?"
"Yea!" Rory handed the bowl over, sitting beside her daughter.
"I think a new dress might be in order." Emily was the girl-girl of the three, so she smiled.
"Charlotte won't like that," she giggled. She was right. Charlotte would fight tooth and nail not to wear a dress, but she'd forget about it as soon as she had it on.
"Grandma Lorelai gets a new dress too. It will be white, and long, and pretty."
"Yes, like Mommy's wedding dress from the pictures."
"Can I see your dress again?"
"Honey, the pictures are in a box under Mommy's bed, we can get them out later."
"Please?" Bottom lip out now. Rory sighed.
"Fine. But try not to wake Daddy up." The two crept into Rory and Jess's room. He was breathing just heavily enough that it could be called snoring, without actually being unpleasant. In fact, it was extremely comforting. Rory rummaged under the bed, feeling for a heavy book, while Emily climbed on the bed and proceeded to bury Jess in pillows.
"Leave him an air hole," Rory commented sarcastically as she emerged victorious. She patted the heavy, leather-bound book as she waved Emily out of the room. Just as she was about to leave herself, she stopped, and cupped Jess's cheek with her hand. Smiling to herself, she brought her hand back to her lips, kissed gently, and placed her fingertips on Jess's mouth. Then she followed her daughter outside, closing the door behind her.
Emily waited eagerly in the hammock, swinging her feet back and forth to rock it. Rory hopped on and opened the book. It started with a few old pictures of Rory and Jess. Old, as in when they were seventeen. There was one of her sitting at the counter in the diner and nursing a cup of coffee. Jess was standing directly behind her, running his fingers up and down her arm. Neither was looking at the camera, and she couldn't even remember who'd taken the photo. There was another photo of the two of them lying out on the Independence Inn lawn, him reading aloud and her staring up at the clouds.
A few pages into the book, and Rory's 'visit' to California was shown. Her and Jess writing in the sand, eating, reading.
Next was Emily's favorite part- the wedding. The ocean was a dark blue behind them, and the sand was glowing dully. The couple stood, hand clasped, in front of their small audience. An ancient priest, Jimmy, Sasha, Lily, Lorelai, and Luke. The women dabbed at their eyes as then men looked on proudly. Rory and Jess saw none of them, just stared into each others eyes. It was a windy day, which became evident in the way Rory's long and straight white dress was blowing. The material had been so soft, and light. It hugged at her upper body, while flowing over the bottom half. It was very basic actually, just some white fabric held up by spaghetti straps. Lorelai had made it for her. It had been perfect.
Not long after was her pregnancy with Charlotte. Mr. and Mrs. Mariano in Star's Hollow for one Christmas, her belly swelling and his arm around her. He was staring at her as if she was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen, while she laughed at the sailor jokes her mother was making. A few pages later was the hilarious photo of Jess's face while she was in labor. Pictures from the rest of their life after that one miraculous day when Charlotte had been born followed.
"NO!" Rory sighed and stared down at her daughter.
"Charlotte, you are not excused until you take three more bites."
"I don't wanna eat it, I'm sick! I'll barf it up!"
"Lovely. Jess, a little help here?"
"If I tell her to eat it, and then I myself refuse, does that make me a hypocrite and a bad parent?" He stabbed at the food on his plate with his knife, making a face.
"Never mind," Rory said exasperatedly. "Everyone, finish whatever you can. Then it's time for medicine and then BED." Four sets of brown eyes frowned at her. She simply brought her fork to her mouth, and continued eating her noodles.
After dinner, Jess attempted to give Anne a bath while Rory got the older two dressed, read-to, and in bed.
"Goodnight, Miss Charlotte," she said as she kissed the small forehead and turned the light off.
"Hall light, Mommy!" Emily yelled from her room. Rory complied, and then made her way downstairs. Anne was already fast asleep.
"Look at you, Superdad," she quipped as she picked up a towel in the bathroom. Jess came up behind her and snaked his arms around her waist.
"Huh. It looks like the kids are in bed early."
"Yes, it does, doesn't it?"
"Seeing how this never happens, we should take advantage of it…don't you think?" As Jess spoke, his hands crept upwards, and slid under her shirt.
"Honey, I love you, but," she stepped away from him, pushing his hands down to his side. "You're contagious." He huffed indignantly as she giggled and made her way into the living room to begin cleaning up the mess of dollies and books.
A few days later, they were piling out of Rory's beloved minivan (Jess had said 'No way are we going to be a minivan family'. Rory had said 'For the love of God, I'm pregnant! You do not want to incur my wrath!') at the airport.
"Okay, we're running late, so we need to hurry if we want to make our flight!" She glared at her husband, who stared innocently back at her. HE'D been the one stalling them, spending over an hour gelling his hair. 'I hope he gets plane-hair,' she thought bitterly as she hurried her family into the building.
Lorelai bounced up and down on the balls of her feet.
"We haven't seen Anne since she was potty-trained!"
"I love how the way you measure time revolves around bodily functions." Lorelai disregarded her husband-to-be, and continued to strain her neck.
"Do you see them yet?"
"They should be here by now! We've been waiting for over an hour!"
"That's because you insisted on getting to the airport an hour early. They'll be here on time."
"But what if they're not?"
"Then…they'll be here a little later. But they'll still be here."
"But what if they don't come? I mean, Rory's been really busy lately, what with a sick family and all, and maybe she overworked herself and then she passed out from exhaustion and Jess forgot to take her to the hospital so she died- OH MY GOD! MY BABY'S DEAD!" Luke looked heavenward.
'Please, make them come' he prayed silently. Perhaps as a wedding gift, his wish was granted. "Lor, there they are!" Instantly, his fiancée was sprinting towards the gate. Luke sighed, and followed her.
"Oh my God! You came!" Almost-Mrs.Danes grabbed Mrs. Mariano and engulfed her in a bone-breaking hug, which was eagerly returned.
"Of course we came! Why wouldn't we?" Lorelai pointedly glared at Jess, and Rory rolled her eyes.
Rory and the Mariano offspring crowded into Lorelai's new Jeep, this one blue, as she tried to convince Jess to go with Luke.
"We'll sit in uncomfortable silence for thirty minutes."
"Not a record for you."
"He'll try to break the silence, and end up saying something that pisses me off so much that I grab the wheel and steer us into a ditch."
"So don't grab the wheel."
"Dirty!" Both looked up at Lorelai as she grinned from the driver's seat.
"Don't make me go with him, Rory," Jess pleaded.
"Sorry babe, girls only!" She sat down shotgun to Lorelai and slammed the door.
"See you in Star's Hollow!" Throwing up his hands at the retreating vehicle, Jess didn't notice his uncle come up behind him.
"That was pathetic."
"Forgive me for not wanting to repeat our last visit's incident."
"All I said was 'She's a great woman'! You were the one who went ballistic on me and almost killed us!"
"It was the way you said it."
"Oh, and HOW did I say it? In what way could I possibly have complimented your wife that made you try to steer us off the road?"
"You said it like 'she's too good for you'. Made me mad."
"Yea, I figured that when we ended up in a ditch."
"How about we not talk on the ride back to Taylorsville?"
"Fine by me. And would you stop calling it that?"
At the wedding shower, the citizens of Star's Hollow fawned over their honorary princesses as Jess hung back and smiled to himself watching his daughters. A pair of hands covered his eyes, and he smelled a flowery scent overwhelm him.
"Come join in the festivities."
"I'm fine here, thanks."
"You're making it seem like you're not happy for them," Rory warned, sitting down on the grass and pulling him along.
"I'm not. In fact, I couldn't be more upset." She raised her eyebrows, surprised.
"Them getting married makes us step-cousins. That's a little too weird for me. I liked it better when Luke was afraid of commitment." Rory smacked his thigh, glaring at him.
"Take it back!"
"You touch my leg again, people will call it incest," he continued smirking, amused at her reaction.
"You know it's not. Admit it, you're happy for them."
"You are impossible."
"You married me."
"Believe me, that can be changed." Jess pulled her closer to him and kissed her head.
"You wouldn't get rid of me. Who else would get up in the middle of the night, drive into town, and buy you chocolate-chocolate ice cream just because the regular chocolate which we already had didn't meet your needs?"
"You did that once, and you act like I'm permanently stuck with you because of it."
"And that was just a normal night. When you were pregnant, damn, did I have to go on some weird food runs at weirder hours."
"Fine, you win. You're an angel," she granted, brushing her lips to his. He increased the pressure, and soon they were fully making-out in the middle of town. The only thing that stopped them was a cookie hitting Jess square in the eye. Both looked up sharply at Lorelai standing over them, grinning triumphantly.
"I knew that'd get your attention!"
"Did you need something?" Jess asked her sarcastically as Rory slid off his lap, straightening her jacket. Used to warmer climates, the whole family wore jackets or sweatshirts in the Connecticut spring.
"Actually, yes, we need more ice. I was going to ask you if you'd like to go over to the market and get some, seeing as you were looking a little bored over here by yourself, but never mind, I see you're now otherwise occupied."
"No, it's okay. He can go get ice," Rory answered, standing up.
"I didn't exactly volunteer."
"Really now?" A look passed between them, one that spoke pages in RoryJess language. He sighed.
"How much ice?"
Jess stepped into Doose's already experiencing bad memories. Rory confronting him after she got back from Washington. Running into Rory and Dean kissing on his way to buy Superglue (why had he needed Superglue in the first place? He couldn't remember any pranks involving the stuff, so why the dire need?). He couldn't remember a single good moment that had happened in the place.
He navigated his way through the deserted market, noticing that it hadn't changed much. The door opened behind him and someone came in, whom Jess ignored. He was on a mission, and he didn't want to be bothered by stupid townies.
"Jess?" He turned at the voice, groaning internally. It couldn't be…
"Well well. Dean Forester. Never made it out of Star's Hollow, did you?" Jess hadn't seen Dean on any of his previous visits, for good reason. Dean lived in Woodbridge now, had moved there after Lindsay finally divorced him. He came back Friday afternoons like this one, however, to pick up their son Trevor for the weekend.
"Actually I did. AND I told people where I was going." The jealous-boy turned jealous-man held himself rigidly, staring down his enemy.
"What are you doing here?"
"Getting my son from Lindsay."
"Didn't work out between you and Malibu Barbie? Pity. Then again, after Rory Gilmore, or should I say Rory Mariano, nothing really seems worth it, does it?" Dean locked his jaw, fuming. The exact same things that set him off years ago still did, apparently. Smirking, Jess grabbed a bag of ice in each hand.
"Ring these up for me, would you? Or do you at least have a respectable job now?"
"You're insufferable. I cannot believe Rory put up with you for this long."
"Seven years, bag boy." It was an answer he was proud to give, Dean was stung to receive, and the taller man couldn't find a retort to. Shaking his head, Jess headed towards the cashier.
"You're Lorelai's son-in-law?"
"These for her party?"
"Take 'em." Flashing a grateful half-smile, he exited the stuffy establishment, and returned to Rory.
"I just saw Dean walk into Doose's. There wasn't any bloodshed, was there?" she asked apologetically as he handed the bags to party officials. Kirk's boys.
"Only if he killed himself because his life sucks, whereas mine is perfect." He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind, resting his chin on her shoulder. She groaned.
"You were mean to him weren't you? Will you ever grow up?"
"Call me Peter Pan." She sighed exaggeratedly as he detangled himself to go retrieve Emily. The former dance teacher was already absorbed in conversation with the little girl, who was describing their life back in California.
"And I'm four and Annie's three and Charlotte's six and Mommy and Daddy write books and we live next to the beach and Aunt Lily comes to visit us sometimes and she cooks for us and Mommy can't cook but Daddy can cook and Grandpa Jimmy is silly and Grandma Sasha is fun like Grandma Lorelai and did you know Grandma Lorelai and Grandpa Luke are getting married and we were sick last week but not Mommy because she took all our tempetures and Mommy is reading me and Charlotte and sometimes Annie but not really cause she's just a baby Little House on the Prairie, and when she does Daddy pretends to cut up his wrists and then he read us a book called Slaughterhouse Five and Mommy got really mad and they yelled but they kissed and made up and Mommy let me have ice cream last week because I was better but I was just pretending to be sick and do you know my Mommy's Grandma is named Emily too…" She stopped to take a deep breath, and Jess took advantage of the lapse in constant conversation.
"Oh hi Jess, I'm just getting acquainted with your lovely daughter here."
"Yea. Em, we're going to Grandma Lorelai's parents for dinner."
"Okay, bye Miss Patty."
"Goodbye darling, I'll see you at the wedding. And your handsome father."
"Patty, I'd advise you stop staring at my ass. Rory may be generous, but she's not prone to sharing." Patty raised her eyebrows in an amused manner, and sashayed off with the internal confidence Patty always seemed to carry with her no matter how much she tipped the scale. It was how she'd roped in ex-husband number five.
"Let's go back to the Inn and get you dressed, what do you say?"
"You said the a-word."
"You're hearing things. When we get home, I'm taking you to the doctor so he can shine a light in your ear and find out why. It's probably all that television you watch."
"Can I have a piece of gum?"
"No, because you'll spoil your appetite, and I'm sure the Gilmores have something freshly slaughtered and baked in nut-flavored, expensive matter."
"But if I don't get gum, I might forget that you told me that I was hearing things, and tell Mommy what you said."
"Boy, I tell you. The parenting books never said anything about your four-year old blackmailing you."
"I like strawberry gum."
"And if I say no?"
"Mommy will cross her arms and stare at you like this." She imitated Rory.
"I like the fact that you're smart and someday you're going to kick everyone's BUTT in academics, but right about now, I wish you were a dumb kid."
"Gum." He sighed, reached in his pocket, and pulled out aforementioned bribe.
"You're going to get me killed."
"I love you Daddy." She took his hand and he guided them towards the Dragonfly, rolling his eyes every time she tried to blow a bubble.
The Gilmore/Mariano tribe ate in silence, observing each other. Luke watched Emily Sr. out of the corner of his eye, still wary of her twisted, self-centered plotting. She'd threatened his relationship with Lorelai before. And she'd never approved of the Jess/Rory union.
Lorelai likewise watched her parents, as the two of them watched Rory and Jess. What the couple had intended to be a small, secretive ceremony her grandparents had seen as a deliberate attempt by "Jess" (dragged out to a two-syllable word, and accompanied by a sneer on the 'ss' hiss at the end) to keep them away from one of the most important moments of Rory's life.
Jess watched Richard as he watched him, sending unspoken messages between the two of them. 'You know you're beneath her. You're beneath all of us.' 'And yet, she's with me. Not any Yale blue-blooded boy you tried to pick out for her.' The two didn't know each other well enough to read minds, but each knew each other's motives, and that was enough.
And Rory watched her girls, shooting them motherly glances whenever an elbow was placed on the table, or a face was made at the yellowy sweet potatoes.
"So, Lorelai. Who is your wedding party composed of?"
"Rory and Sookie."
"And Luke, who will attend you?"
"My brother-in-law and Sookie's husband."
"That's lovely. I've always thought that a properly balanced wedding party gave the ceremony a certain sophistication. At Sharon Corran's wedding, she had nine women and four men. A complete disaster, before the bride even walked down the aisle." Rory was the only one who pretended to look interested in her grandmother's story, while Jess scoffed loud enough that Richard could hear him. He shot the man an angry glance ('Would it kill you to act dignified in public?'). Rory sighed at both men, and glared at Charlotte.
The night before Lorelai's wedding, Rory sat on her mother's bed and brushed Lorelai's chestnut locks. They weren't grey due to the miracle of hair dye, but you could see signs of aging in the older Gilmore's graceful features. She was radiant, as always, and wore her age well.
The smooth silenced was interrupted only by the swishing of the hairbrush until Lorelai placed her hand over Rory's and stopped the brushing, and turned around.
"How do you do it?"
"Mom, you and Luke have been together more than a decade. He's been living here for years. This is just announcing to the world that you two love each other and are going to grow old together, there's nothing to know."
"Nah, there's gotta be a catch. How come you and Jess make it work?"
"It just…does. There's no formula, no rule book, no instinct. You just have to have faith I guess, and stick with it no matter what. If things suck, you have to know they'll get better."
"Is it hard?"
"Sometimes, I guess."
"That's not even a word."
"Rory, I'm trying to grasp the whole concept of marriage, so I can be 200 sure when I walk down that aisle tomorrow. You have a perfect marriage- pretty husband, pretty kids, pretty house. You're my reference."
She was expecting a smile or a hug from her daughter. Instead she got an un-ladylike snort.
"Please. No one has a perfect marriage, especially not me and Jess."
"You guys always seem good when I talk to you," Lorelai responded, surprised.
"We're not quite Whitney and Bobby, but we have our moments we're not so proud of. We're actually pretty together most of the time, but when things get ugly, they get REALLY ugly."
"But everything gets all good in the end, right?" Lorelai looked like an eager teenager, trying to confirm the ending to a movie she'd missed.
"Forgive, don't forget. I think I live by that."
"But everything will be okay?"
"Everything will be okay. That I can promise. Marriage is like…a roller coaster. I know that's a really bland and overused comparison, but it is. Sometimes everything seems so perfect, and the two of you are in perfect harmony, and nothing can come between you. Sometimes you're hiding in the bathroom because you don't want your children to see you crying. It's scary and exhilarating and sometimes really difficult. But the good always outweighs the bad." She set down the brush and both laid back against Lorelai's overstuffed pillows.
"Goodnight my pretty little bride. Tonight's your last night as a single woman." Lorelai smiled.
"I can't wait." The room was quite except for their slowing breathing.
"So Will and Jada fight?"
"Go to bed mom."
"Not when I just found out you and Jess are Mr-and-Mrs-Smithing it."
"We are not Mr-and-Mrs-Smithing it. Please sleep."
"Totally ruins the mental picture I had of you guys now that I know you're normal."
"No beauty sleep makes for an ugly bride." Lorelai's gasp was indignant as ever.
"I am offended to the highest degree of offense!"
"Lay your head down."
"Now that I know you're not perfect, I don't have to listen to you anymore."
"Close your sleepy-weepy eyes."
"Oh, I can hear it! 'Jess, I said get me a beer now, DAMMIT!'"
"One more peep and I'm sleeping in the living room." That shut Lorelai up for several minutes. Before Rory dozed off, she heard a tiny 'peep!' drift mockingly into the air. Lorelai lay on her back, facing the ceiling, wide awake. 'Everything will be okay' she repeated to herself. Her last fear extinguished, she joined her daughter in slumber land.
Lorelai was a beautiful bride. She stood at the tiny alter erected on the Dragonfly lawn letting the presence of loved ones around her seep through her sleek white dress and into her newlywed's skin. Well, she wasn't quite a newlywed, more like an almostwed. But in a few minutes, she'd be a newlywed. Like Jessica Simpson. Kind of.
Rory stood at her mother's side, beaming at the dark head she'd brushed last night. Watching Rory's form in her close-fitting pink dress was her husband, bored with the ceremony, completely focused on his wife's hips.
Rory caught him staring as Lorelai and Luke read the vows they'd written themselves. Luke had spent weeks agonizing over his. Rory had helped Lorelai finish hers the previous day. But both contained the same amount of commitment and devotion. Back to Jess, Rory shot him a look. When two people are together for a long enough period of time, sometimes words are no longer needed. In fact, they tend to get in the way. Jess practically heard Rory directing his eyes to the bride with one glance his way. He smirked back before turning and obeying her. She blushed as she caught the smirk in her blue eyes, knowing full well what it meant. They were at an Inn. They'd meet upstairs later.
The rings were slid onto the third fingers, and Mr. and Mrs. Diner Man kissed. The group applauded, and the group proceeded inside to eat a fabulous meal made by the famous Sookie. Toasts were made, cups were drained, and plates were practically licked clean. The bride and groom swayed on the portion of the inn designated for dancing (the living room, where chairs had been pushed aside), and sometime during the night Rory left the wedding party's table to venture over to her husband and their three stooges.
Placing her hands delicately on his strong shoulders, she squeezed briefly and he tipped his dark, messy head back to smirk at her.
"Patty, do you mind looking after the girls for a few minutes?"
"Of course not, honey. I'll take them for more than a few minutes. Have fun," she finished slyly. The Marianos' relationship reminded her of her third marriage.
Standing up silently and taking Rory's hand, Jess headed for the stairs.
"And just where do you two think you're going?"
"Up," Rory answered her mom.
"Only the bride and groom can do dirty things at the wedding!"
"That's not a rule."
"It is on 'Wedding: The Lorelai edition'."
"Ne me quitte pas!" Rory and Jess climbed the stairs, remaining hand clasped the whole time.
They reached the door of the room Jess and the girls had slept in the previous night. He dug through his pockets for the key as Rory impatiently leaned closer to affix her cherry lips with his ear.
"Ror, I can't find it if you're doing that." Ignoring him, she tilted her head to lick the tiny indent behind his ear while wrapping an arm around his waist. He abandoned his search, taking her face in his hands and joining their lips and tongues together in a dance of true and lasting love. Jess was completely unaware of Rory slipping her hand into the pocket she'd seen him drop the key in earlier. The door swung open after a brief struggle with the stubborn lock and Jess almost fell backwards, having lost that which was propping him up. He looked around wildly as Rory slipped out of his arms and into the room.
"How'd you do that?"
"I unlocked the door. I can teach you how, if you want."
"I couldn't find the key when you were doing that to me, how did you?"
"Apparently I have more self-control than some." He didn't object to that, just rolled his eyes and closed the door. Rory laughed as she turned towards the closer bed, and found it covered in nightgowns, footsie pajamas, and stuffed animals.
"I take it this is the communal bed?"
"Pretty much. I still don't see why they couldn't stay at Lorelai's house."
"Because Luke was in my old room, I told you that." Luke wasn't at his old apartment over the diner because it now served as an office, just like his Dad had kept it. And it helped house a portion of Lorelai's wardrobe.
"Okay then, I don't see why they couldn't stay in THEIR bed. Two beds, all three of them are in with me."
"They love their daddy."
"You're staying with me tonight, right?"
"Duh. Like I'd stay in that house with Mom and Luke upstairs in the thick of their wedding night!"
"Good." He placed a hand on each of her shoulders and steered her backwards to the untouched bed.
"Bossy," Rory commented as he gently pushed her down and followed suit.
"You know you love it." He finished the verbal part of their conversation as he slipped the pink straps off Rory's shoulders and bent his head to lightly bite the soft flesh.
Downstairs, Charlotte Mariano turned towards Miss Patty and pulled on her dress.
"Where are Mommy and Daddy?"
"They're busy, sweetheart."
Rory helped Jess with his tie as he ran his hands up and down her re-clothed body.
"Stoppit, you're making me loose my concentration," she whined. He smirked.
"What ever happened to little miss self-control?"
"Shut up." Finally satisfied with her work, she stepped back and began looking for her shoes. He looked down at his tie and the smirk got wider, remembering. She looked over at him and saw his face.
"What are you thinking about?" It was almost a groan. That was an evil, evil face he had on.
"Ties are very useful things."
"They make for good leashes, blindfolds, bindings." She blushed, hopping aboard the same train of thought. To hide her burning cheeks, she ducked down and began searching under the bed for her strappy heel. A pair of feet approached, and then she saw thighs as he lowered himself next to her.
"You're turning red," he teased. She loved when he teased her- she always felt like a naughty school girl. Of course, it may have been because he only teased her about naughty things. Liking the reaction he'd gotten out of her, he continued.
"Remember that time when we were visiting your mom, and we convinced her to take Charlotte and Emily for an afternoon out?"
"Yes I remember, no need to continue." She wanted him to continue, they both knew it.
"And we played 'high school' in your old bedroom?"
"I said I remember, Jess."
"And I actually got you to put your Chilton uniform on." He sighed, recollecting.
"Hey, if I recall, there was a leather jacket on the floor with the plaid skirt." Two can play at this game.
Her shoes forgotten, they sat on the floor smiling into each other's eyes for quite some time. Finally, Rory snapped out of her trance and glanced at the cat-shaped clock. And winced.
"We've been up here for like an hour."
"It's not like no one knew what we were doing when we went upstairs. We DID have to walk through the dance floor to get up here."
"I know, but we left Patty with the girls. I feel bad making her watch them for this long." He could have protested, saying Patty had obviously been happy to take them, but Rory evidently did not want to be away from her mother's wedding for too long, so he reached under the bed and produced a shoe.
"How long have you known that was under there?"
"If I told you, you'd be mad at me."
They returned to the reception, which was still in full swing. "Daughter!" cried Lorelai as she swooped in and took Rory from Jess. Jess approached Patty's table, where his daughters were coloring on pieces of colorful paper Patty had somehow procured.
"Nice hair, Jess," she said with a knowing smile.
Lorelai Danes was torn. She was completely thrilled that she was departing for her honeymoon the next morning, with her handsome new husband. But she was close to crying because her daughter and her daughter's family were leaving in a few hours.
"Move," she pleaded, following Rory around the kitchen as she tried to make coffee.
"We've been over this twice so far today mother. Grow up."
"Oh, well, since you said please…"
"I knew you'd see it my way!" She scuttled off to go throw some lingerie and juicy dresses into a suitcase for her honeymoon, making a mental list of all the reasons Rory should stay with her.
"California is dangerous!" she yelled down the stairs.
"I'm heading back to the Inn to get away from the insanity!"
"You can't escape it, it's hereditary!" she called back as she heard the door open and close. She grabbed a tissue and blew her nose as she dug through her sock drawer.
"That's one mean child I have…OOH, sexy!" She held up the pair of fishnets, Rory forgotten.
"Lorelai, you have to let go of her."
"No. Don't wanna." She tightened her hold on Rory, not wanting to give her daughter up.
"Mom, please. I'm having trouble with the inhaling and the exhaling." Admitting defeat, she backed off, and kissed each of her granddaughters.
"I love you, and I love you, and I love you."
"Plane's loading," Jess said in an annoyed tone of voice. He never liked goodbyes, especially the Lorelai brand of. They were too sappy.
"Take care of your family, Jess."
"Okay, I'm going because this is really hard."
"Bye mom. Have fun on your honeymoon." Loreali turned and headed towards the front of the airport while Luke said his final goodbye.
"Uh, what she said. Take care everyone."
"You too Luke." Rory pulled him into a hug, inhaling his scent. He had always smelled like Daddy. Luke had been the father Chris never could be. She pulled away, and walked towards the gates. Like ducklings, her children followed her. Luke stood alone with Jess.
He turned to his nephew. "She's a great woman, Jess." He smirked, resembling the younger man, as he shook his hand. "I mean it, no slight towards you intended."
"I know." Jess turned and followed his girls to the plane which would take them back to the golden land.