Chapter Two
Later Early October 2007

There had never been a more tense or awkward silence than the once that descended when Rory gathered with her mother, grandparents and stepfather in the Gilmore Manor.

She looked around at them, her knuckles white from her grip on her wine glass. Might as well. "I went back to school, I have a job, I have a live-in boyfriend and I live in SoHo in a ridiculously overpriced apartment."

Emily looked vaguely concerned, "Do you need money?"

"No," she shook her head. "I just want you all to know that… I'm doing good."

Richard nodded, "It does seem so." He took a healthy drink of his scotch. "And what about this live-in boyfriend, what is his name?"

She cleared her throat, her answer hesitant, "Jess Mariano."

Luke, who had previously been staring at his drink in obvious discomfort, snapped his head up to look at her, "What!"

Lorelai rested her hand on his knee in an attempt to calm him.

Richard reacted only with slightly raised eyebrows and Emily's look of disdain deepened. "The one with the black eye?"

"He hasn't had a black eye in at least a month," Rory replied honestly.

Richard inquired then, "The one that crashed your car?"

"Only one of them," she insisted. "And it was an accident."

"Me nephew?" Luke hoped to clarify that Rory knew a different Jess Mariano with habitual black eyes and a tendency to wreck vehicles.

Rory nodded, "He'd probably even admit to it in a court of law. Maybe." She smiled at him, "He likes you."

Luke looked even more uncomfortable than he had previously before looking at Lorelai, "Your fine with this?"

"It's her life." She managed to keep bitterness out of her next words, "She's proven that time and time again." Quickly, Lorelai changed the topic, "So you're back in school?"

"Uhm, yeah. It's a joint degree program through NYU for my MA and my MBA."

Richard came to attention, "That sounds expensive. Are you sure you don't need any financial support?"

She shook her head, "I'm sure. Money gets tight, but we manage pretty well."

"Yes, well," Emily took a sip of her white wine. "If you do need any help, we would be happy to provide it."

"Thank you." She gave a small smile.

They all sat in silence for several minutes until the maid entered the room, "Dinner is ready."

They all stood and made their way to the dining room in awkward silence.


Written: October 12, 2005

Posted: October 28, 2005