Summary: Rory has one condition to Logan proposing. Operation: Win Lorelai's Approvalis in effect, and what better way to accomplish this then during a time-honored Stars Hollow event?

Disclaimer: I don't own Gilmore Girls or its characters.


Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help?
---
Lorelei Lee, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

5:19.

Well, it was official. No matter how hard she stared at a clock, she couldn't speed up time. It didn't work. At least, not for Rory Gilmore and she had been trying for the last forty-three minutes. She'd been trying to will time to move ever since Logan had called and said he would be home at five-thirty.

Home. Rory ended her staredown with the clock to glance around the apartment she and Logan had shared since his graduation seven months ago. It was a perfectly blended combination of the two of them. Categorically cluttered. Classically quirky. Sophisticated junk. She couldn't help but smile as her eyes landed on the hand-me-down monkey lamp that stood on a Pottery Barn end table. She had been surprised at how easily their lifestyles had meshed together and any of the reservations she may have had about living together disappeared the first time she heard Logan utter the words, "Honey, I'm home!"

Yes. Rory Gilmore had melted at the most clichéd sentence she could think of, and proudly so. It was hard for her not to take satisfaction in the fact that she had done the unthinkable. She had kept Logan Huntzberger a one-woman man for seventeen months and counting, a feat that Finn and Colin would raise their glasses to every weekend.

And she loved everything that came along with the title of Logan's girlfriend. She loved the security and the comfort of their exclusivity. She loved knowing that they were, as cheesy as it was, simply perfect. It was what she had wanted all along. The leering monkeys seemed to taunt her as another clichéd statement ran through her head. Be careful what you wish for

Surely, it had to be five-thirty by now, Rory guessed as she turned her head back to the clock that hung over the fireplace. 5:22. The clock had joined forces with the monkey lamp.

For what very well could be the eight hundred and twenty-fourth time that day, Rory glared at the cause of sudden discomfort. How something so small could provoke such a reaction in her was beyond Rory's comprehension but here she was. She had discovered it while getting ready for class earlier this morning and it had literally made her heart stop. She had brought it into the living room, set it on the coffee table, and there she sat, knees pressed to her chest on the loveseat, staring at it. Class had been forgotten for the day.

How could he do this to her? Now, when the Holidays were coming up and finals were even closer? Her life already had enough stress in it, her stress levels were where she liked them, and now he wanted her to deal with this?

The sound of his key in the lock caused her to jump and she looked at the clock again. 5:26. He was early, not that she minded.

"Honey, I'm home!" The door swung open and he stepped in. "Aww! Greeting me at the door, how cu—" His impish smirk faded as he took in her appearance, noting that she was still in the same Hello Kitty pajamas she had been wearing when he left for work this morning. And as for the crazy look in her eyes, well there was no missing that. "Ace, what is it? What's wrong?" he asked, kicking the door shut and dropping his jacket on the floor next to him. He made a mental note to pick it up later, before she said anything about it.

"Are you serious?" she demanded, stepping closer to him.

"Am I serious? Yes, as a heart attack. Ace, what happened? Are you okay?"

"How could you do this? How could you do this now? I mean, timing is important, isn't it? Why would you even think that now would be a good time? Are you insane?"

He breathed a sigh of relief at the tone of her rambling voice. It wasn't anger, as he had been expecting, but sounded more incredulous. Which only confused him more. "Asks the girl who's rambling nonsense."

"Logan!" She stomped her foot and pointed to the coffee table where the offending object lie.

His eyes followed her finger and he swallowed nervously. Oh, that. "Where did you find that?" he asked, trying to keep his voice neutral.

"My necklace dropped behind the dresser and when I moved it away from the wall that" she pointed again. "was just sitting there in plain sight!"

"It wasn't in plain sight if you had to move the dresser to see it," he pointed out logically.

"Still, you call that hiding?" If her voice rose any higher she'd sound like one of the mice from Cinderella.

Logan's lips twitched as he tried not to smile. She wouldn't react well to smiling right now. "What exactly are you mad about? My poor hiding skills or the fact that I had this to hide in the first place? Or maybe it's my timing?" Didn't mean he couldn't tease her a little bit.

"All of it!" Rory exclaimed.

Logan nodded as he walked farther into the room. He bent down and picked up the small, square box. "Did you open it?" he asked.

"Of course I didn't! I don't want to see it until—"

"Well then how do you know what it is?"

"I…" She stared at him open-mouthed and completely speechless. For two seconds. "It's a ring-sized box from Tiffany's, what else could it be?"

He shrugged, slipping the box into his pocket. "Maybe it's the ring Honor and I got mom for Christmas," he suggested. "Or maybe it's something else entirely, that just happens to be as small as a ring. A thimble, perhaps?" He grinned now, fully enjoying the expression on Rory's face as he spoke.

She folded her arms in front of her and glared at him. "Who would you buy a thimble for?" she asked.

"You never know, a thimble is always very handy." He looked at her again. "I'm just saying, that you, as a reporter, should know that things aren't always as they seem, and seeing as how you didn't open the box, well…you shouldn't assume things about the contents of that box."

"Oh." He saw another flash of emotion flicker across her face and she fell ceremoniously into the chair next to her. Had it been disappointment? He couldn't be sure.

"Ace?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the coffee table in front of her. "Whatcha thinking?"

She brought her eyes up to meet his and her hands kept fidgeting in her lap. "It isn't an engagement ring?" she asked, her voice soft.

He smirked, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Well if it is, your little outburst hasn't given me the confidence I need to show you now, has it?" he asked, leaning closer to her.

She cheeks turned pink as she ducked her head sheepishly. "It caught me off-guard, okay?" she asked defensively. "God Logan, that was probably the last thing I expected to find. I think I would have been less surprised if I had found a bra that wasn't mine."

"Gee, um, thanks?"

She rolled her eyes. "I was just using it as an example of how shocked I was," she clarified.

"Oh okay." He rolled his eyes back to her. He sighed as he reached out and took hold of her hands. "But now, that you have found it, maybe we should talk about it."

Rory made a face. "Talking about it isn't going to make it very spontaneous and fun, is it?"

He sighed in frustration. "Neither does you finding it behind the dresser," he pointed out.

"So it is a ring!" she shrieked, her voice part accusatory, part gleeful.

"Hypothetically, let's say it is," he said. "Judging by the reaction you gave me when I walked into the apartment, I think it's safe to say we do need to talk about this." He held up his hand, still entwined with hers as she began to talk. "I'm not saying we need to make a pro and con list, but we could still talk about it a little. Maybe get used to the idea? Hypothetically," he added at the look on her face.

"Hypothetically," she repeated, looking at him. "Okay sure, we can do this. Hypothetically, you have a ring and want to marry me."

"Cutting right to the chase, okay wow." He ran his hand through his hair and nodded. "Hypothetically, I might have a ring and have been thinking about asking you."

"Why?" she blurted out before she could stop herself. It was a question they were both familiar with. As much as she hated it, she still constantly felt the need to ask why Logan was with her. Logan hated that she still felt that way more than she did, and while they both knew she knew the answers already, the question still popped up more often than not.

"You know why," he said carefully, squeezing her hand. He rose from his spot on the table and pulled her up from her chair, falling into it himself before bringing her down onto his lap. "Rory, I love you. I want to spend all of my time with you. I can't even think about spending my life with anyone other than you and to be perfectly selfish, I don't want you spending yours with anyone other than me. We've been together for almost two years and we've lived together for almost one. Let's face it Ace, you're never going to find anyone who finds your annoying little quirks as adorable as I do."

"Annoying little quirks?" she asked, raising her head from his chest to look at him.

"Sniff any good books lately?" he shot back good-naturedly.

"Point taken," she agreed, laying her head back down.

"As I was saying. All of those things are bound to drive anyone else crazy, and I'd never want you to change, which you wouldn't have to do with me."

"So you want me to settle?"

"Please save your comments until I'm done. This is the next step Rory. Our next step. Together. I think we're ready, and if you think about it, which you can't tell me you haven't, you'll agree with me." He twirled a strand of her dark hair around his finger and waited for her to talk but she stayed silent. "I'm done now."

"I don't have anything to say," she confessed. She felt his body stiffen beneath her and she lifted her head to see him staring at her in mock horror.

"Nothing to say?" he repeated. "I'm shocked. I did it. I actually did it. I rendered you speechless."

"I'll get you a cookie later," she said dryly. She twisted in his lap so that she was facing him, and she braced her hands on the armrests on either side. "You're right," she said readily. "The pros clearly outweigh the cons."

"We didn't make a pro and con list," he started to point out as she held a finger to his lips.

"Sweetheart, I'm always making a pro and con list, you know that. It's one of the many annoying quirks you love about me." She smiled as he nodded. "Like I said, you're right. It is our next step, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about it at all." She smiled at his smile. "I just didn't think you had been thinking about it."

"Well I have been," he confirmed. He covered each of her hands with his and brought them between them again. "So hypothetically," he began. "If I was to ask you, say, right now? Do you think that—"

"Don't you dare!" she screamed, tearing one of her hands from his to clamp against his mouth, the rest of his sentence muffled beneath her skin. "Don't say the words, don't ask it!" She waited until he nodded and she removed her hand.

"Hypothetical or not, that wasn't the reaction I was expecting," he admitted. "Maybe we're not on the same page here, but Rory, I thought you just said you wanted to ma-"

"Stop!" she cried, covering his mouth again. "I do, I promise I do, and I know that I sound like this crazy woman right now and you're probably more confused than ever." She smiled as he nodded. "I'll make it real clear for you, okay?" He nodded again and she uncovered his mouth,

"I want you to ask me, I really do," she began. "But Logan, when you ask me, I want to be able to say yes, and right now, I can't do that."

"Why not?"

"That pro and con list I have running in my head right now? There may be a lot more pros than cons, but there's one major con that we can't ignore."

Logan stared at her for a moment before realization finally dawned on him. "Lorelai," he said heavily.

Rory bit down on her lip as she nodded. "My mom hates you," she said.

"Don't hold back any Ror."

"That was holding back and you know it." She smiled sadly at him. "She wants to like you, she knows how much I love you, but she still doesn't think you're good enough for me, and Logan, we both know we can't do this unless she approves."

"Yeah, I know." Logan's face twisted as he tried to think. "Any ideas on how I can get her to give her blessing to us? Hypothetically, of course."

"Of course." Rory's brow furrowed as she too, slipped deep into thought. She was surprised by the quick kiss he placed on her lips and looked at him questioningly.

"You may have greeted me at the door tonight, but not with a kiss," he explained, his usual smirk back in place.

"Oh excuse me," she retorted. "My mistake, what was I thinking?" she placed her hands on either side of his face, running her thumbs over the light stubble. This time she was the one to lean in as they kissed and she felt the same fluttering in her stomach she felt every time they kissed. She tried to keep thinking of what they could do about Lorelai but her mind had other plans, deciding instead, to focus solely on being in Logan's arms and kissing him. Lorelai could wait, she decided as she kicked her feet over the side of the chair, lying across Logan's lap as his hands tangled in the bottom of her sweater, trying to find where it ended and she began. After all, she would be seeing Lorelai when she went to Stars Hollow for the weekend and she could test the waters and see what…

"That's it!" she exclaimed, pulling away from Logan suddenly and sitting straight up. She accidentally dug her elbow sharply into his stomach and he yelped. "Oh sorry," she apologized. "But I've figured it out. I know how you can get my mom to like you!"

"How?" he gasped as he waited for air to return to his lungs.

"Easy. You'll have to come home with me this weekend though. Which makes sense anyways, because I have to see your family at Thanksgiving, so the least you can do is spend this weekend with me and—"

"Rory." He loved her rambling, he really did. But sometimes, it needed to be nipped at the beginning.

"Right, so anyways." She offered him a grin. "You know how my town goes a little nutty with its festivals and whatnot, well, there just happens to be one Saturday."

"No Rory, I'm not going to participate in the town reenactment."

"Of course not silly! That's not this weekend and besides, outsiders aren't allowed to participate in that." She rolled her eyes before going on. "Anyways, Saturday is the 55th Annual Stars Hollow 24 Hour Dance Marathon."

Logan shook his head. "Rory, no. Whatever you're going to say, my answer is most definitely, quite assuredly no."

"So will mine if you don't do this," she pouted.

"What's your plan?" he relented with a sigh, and Rory laughed.

"Well, this year is different than the rest," she began. "You see, for some reason, the town actually let my mom and Miss Patty plan this year's event and they're doing things a little bit differently than usual. If you come with me, then you'll have the chance to spend twenty-four uninterrupted hours with my mother, and really, what girl can resist your charms for that long?"

"I bet Lorelai will give it her best shot," he grumbled. "But let me make sure I have this perfectly clear," he said. "If I go to this thing, and I get Lorelai to approve, you'll say yes?"

Rory smiled at him, her eyes glittering. "It'll be easier for me to say yes, if my mother is okay with it," she said, hedging the question. "Hypothetically, of course."

"Of course."

"Logan, it's the soonest we see her, and the sooner we see her, the sooner you can ask me, and the sooner I can see just how big this ring is!" she tried to dig her hand into his pocket as she spoke the last words, but he held her hands out of the way.

"It's still a hypothetical ring Ace," he said but she shook her head in a negative.

"It is most definitely not hypothetical anymore and you know it," she said triumphantly. She smiled as he kissed her again, proving her point. "Please, Logan? Say you'll come with me to Stars Hollow this weekend?"

He sighed and reached behind her to pick up the phone.

"What are you doing?" she asked, watching him.

"Calling for reinforcements, is that okay?" he asked. "Please say it's okay because I don't think I can spend an entire weekend in your town without some people who actually like me."

"It's okay," she said. "In fact, I think it'd be most entertaining to see the lot of you in Stars Hollow during one of our craziest times. Call away," she granted permission.

"Thank God!" he rolled his eyes as he dialed Colin's number and waited for him to pick up. As he talked, Rory kept trying to find the ring in his pocket but he kept her at bay. At his final sentence to Colin she looked up in amusement and waited for him to put the phone down.

"Operation: Win Lorelai?" she asked with a snicker. "Which one?"

Logan grabbed her around the waist, pulling her right against him as his mouth landed on hers in another kiss. His answer was muffled against her, but she still heard it.

"Both."