AN: Yes, yes! This is not an illusion, this is an actual update. I just got this back from my beta and I told her I was gonna post it this weekend cause I was too tired to do my ANs, but I figured why not just post it now.

I hope there are still people out there interested in this fic. Anyway, so, so sorry for the delay. Life just kind of got in the way, and then there was the little matter of being blocked. Thanks go out to my wonderful beta rh-fntc…who convinced me that it was good enough to post. I think it's a short chapter…but it's better than nothing:)

Hope everyone is well…Happy New Year, by the way!

And before I forget, I want to dedicate this to Corey. He will be greatly missed. I know my dad is looking out for you now:)

Oh! And if you reviewed my author's note on CH 23, before, then you won't be able to review this. If you really wanna tell me what you think, feel free to PM or email me!

Now, on with the story….

Disclaimer: I do not own Gilmore Girls. I also do not own "Always Something There to Remind Me" or Naked Eyes. Just borrowing them for this fic.

Recap Ch 22

He smirked as he sent her the text. This kiss was ten times better than their last kiss, and twenty times better than any dream he had. Ten minutes later, he got a text.

Muwah…tht'l hav 2 do till 2morow…cn't wt 2 kiss u agn!

He groaned again. "Yup, definitely the death of me!" he laughed to himself.

She grinned, and blushed as she sent the text. She couldn't believe she just said that. His reply caused her to blush more.

Tht's nt gud enough…2morrow…I'll mk sur its 1 u wn't 4get. ;)

She got warm all of a sudden. That boy could kiss, no doubt. She wouldn't be forgetting anytime soon.

2morrow…c u den ;)

He smiled. Tomorrow was definitely going to be interesting.

End Recap

Chapter 23

"She looked great!" Chris cried out indignantly.

"Pfft! Yeah, right! How is that possible?" Lorelai scoffed as they made their way into their home. "I just hope there wasn't any lasting damage."

"Lor! I do know how to dress!" Chris said, rolling his eyes.

Gigi just followed behind blissfully ignorant of her parents. She quietly made her way to her room and colored, while Chris and Lorelai made their way to the living room, still arguing.

"Seriously, what's the big deal?" Lorelai just looked at him with wide eyes as though he were an alien.

"What's the big deal?" She asked incredulously. "Are you serious?"

"Uh, yeah!" He replied crossing his arms.

"The big deal is that Tristan was here!" She said as though it were obvious.

"Failing to see the point, Lorelai." He said, unimpressed.

"Christopher. You're oldest daughter had a possible date with a gorgeous young man, and you chose her outfit! He may never come back again!" She cried out.

"Lorelai, I'm telling you, she looked great!" He said. At her look of skepticism, he continued. "I swear to you, Lor! And I'm not just saying it 'cause she's my kid! Besides, from the way he looked at her, she could have been wearing a trash bag, and he would have thought she was the most beautiful girl he'd met!"

"We'll see about that. I just hope there's still time to fix it." She said, seriously.

"Rory!" She called out.

"Hey mom! What's all the arguing about?" Rory answered, as she made her way down the stairs.

"Oh my poor baby!" Lorelai ranted, rushing to her daughter and pulling her into a tight hug. "It's ok, mommy's here. Was he mean?"

"Huh?" Rory asked, before getting the wind squeezed out of her. "Uh…mom…can't…breathe!" She choked out.

"Oh! Sorry." Lorelai said, releasing her grip on her daughter. "Your dad told me what he did." She explained, glaring at Christopher. He just rolled his eyes at her. Rory looked between the two, confused.

"Guys! What's going on?" Rory asked.

"I told your mother that I picked out your clothes for your date…" Chris started.

"It wasn't a date!" Rory interrupted.

"Right…" Chris replied, and then continued. "…for your whatever it was with Tristan, and she's upset cause she thinks I may have ruined things for you." He deadpanned.

"Mom, it was cool. What dad picked out was really cute!" She explained.

Lorelai just raised her brow. "Cute? Like something Gigi would wear cute?" She asked.

"No mom! Really…hold on…." Rory trailed off as she went back up stairs. Five minutes later, she came back down with what she wore while she hung out with Tristan.

"Huh." Lorelai stated looking at the outfit. "It's cute. Something I would have picked out."

"See!" Chris exclaimed. "I told you!"

"Yeah, ok, whatever…moving on!" Lorelai said, handing back the clothes and ignoring Christopher. "So what happened on your date?" She asked, sounding very excited.

"It wasn't a date mom." Rory said, furrowing her brow.

"Hey, kiddo." Chris asked. "What's the big deal if it was a date or not?"

"I don't know. We were just two friends, hanging out, ok?" She answered, starting to get agitated.

"Ror…I thought you were done with the denial. I thought you were going to give whatever is between the two of you a chance?" Lorelai asked, noticing her daughters look of despair.

"It's not that. It really wasn't a date." Rory explained, while Lorelai looked on in disbelief. "But…we do have a date tomorrow." Rory said with a smile slowly appearing on her face. Lorelai clapped happily.

"YAY! Evil child! Giving your parents a heart attack!" Lorelai reprimanded. Watching her mother do a happy dance, something suddenly clicked in Rory's mind, causing her to look up in surprise.

"Oh my god! We have a date tomorrow!" Rory said suddenly. Causing Lorelai to misstep, causing her to fall into Chris.

"Yes, Rory. You just told us that." Chris said, helping to get Lorelai on her feet, giving her a look clearly asking what was up. Lorelai put a hand up and watched her daughter slowly start to unravel.

"Oh my god. Oh my god." Rory began to whisper as she paced back and forth.

"Ror…" Lorelai began before she was cut off.

"He kissed me." Rory said suddenly.

"What?" Both parents exclaimed.

"He kissed me." She said in a soft voice.

"Ok…" Her parents replied at the same time, confused by her tone of dejection.

"That's good, right?" Chris asked. Rory just stood there.

"Well, was it a good kiss?" Lorelai asked.

"It was amazing." Rory answered, looking at her feet.

"So what's the problem?" Chris asked? "He seemed like a good kid."

"That's just it! He seemed like it. I don't know if he really meant it and now I can't stop thinking about how amazing the kiss was or how it felt when he held me…UGH!" She exclaimed, throwing her arms up in frustration.

Chris just looked at Lorelai in confusion. Lorelai realized what had happened.

"Rory, when did Tristan leave?" She asked cautiously, not wanting to upset her further.

"About thirty minutes ago." Rory mumbled.

Lorelai just nodded her head, and looked at Chris to let him know she'd take care of it. He nodded and made his way to the kitchen to make them coffee.

"Come over here." Lorelai said, sitting down on the couch. Rory trudged over and plonked down into the soft cushions, arms crossed.

"Ok. So let's start at the beginning…see if we can't see what happened, ok?" Lorelai asked gently.

Rory just shrugged her shoulders.

"Okay. So how did he look?" Lorelai asked. Rory just looked at her as though it was the dumbest question she'd heard. "Hey, you're the one not being forthcoming here!"

Rory just grumbled. "He looked amazing, ok? He was amazing. He was sweet, funny, and polite. When we went to Luke's, he was even respectful to him, and I'm pretty sure Luke liked him! Then we went to the gazebo and hung out and we almost kissed, but his sister called and told him his parent's wanted him home. Then when we got here, he said he wanted to kiss me, and I said okay, and he leaned in and…" She paused for a moment and closed her eyes, recalling the kiss she and Tristan shared earlier.

"God, mom. It just felt so good. It felt right." She said to her mom fighting off the tears.

"So then you're wondering why you're so scared, aren't you?" Lorelai said, knowing exactly what her daughter was going through. "You've been sitting here for the last thirty minutes on rewind; thinking about this afternoon, and then it suddenly hits you that you might actually really like this guy. When your father and I called you down, you started to think more, wondering if it was all real, if he liked you back, etc. This resulted in you over thinking, and it's starting to drive you crazy. Right?"

"I don't know mom. I just broke up with Logan, and here he comes bulldozing into my life. I haven't seen him in four years and suddenly I can't stop thinking about him! How is that possible?" She asked, clearly frightened by her feelings.

"It happens, sweets. I can't explain it. There's no science to it. You don't get to choose who you like or fall in love with." She explained, stroking Rory's hair, while it lay on her shoulder.

"I'm not in love with him." Rory quickly amended.

"Ah, but you could be." Lorelai said wisely. "Hun, I don't know if Tristan is the guy for you. He could be temporary; he could just be a friend. But wouldn't it be better to find out, than to always wonder?" She asked sagely.

"I suppose." Rory conceded. "I wish I wasn't so confused. He's just so…"

"I know." Lorelai stated knowingly.

"I just don't want to find out that it's some kind of joke." Rory choked out.

"Oh honey!" Lorelai said hugging her tight. "I highly doubt it's some joke. I really don't think he's that kind of guy. I actually don't think he was really like that when you were in high school either." Rory pulled her head up and gave her an incredulous look.

"What do you really know Rory?" She asked her daughter. "All you know is that he was a player, but did you actually hear anyone ever say he was cruel?" She didn't allow Rory to respond before continuing. "I mean, ok. He broke girl's hearts, but that was 'cause he broke up with them. Other than teasing you, did anyone ever really have anything bad to say about him?"

"No." She grudgingly replied.

"Ok then. Let's just say for now that he's a good guy, who didn't know any better when he was younger, until we learn otherwise, ok?" Lorelai said, in a teasing voice.

"I suppose." Rory responded, fighting to keep her scowl in place, but failing. "I guess I'll find out tomorrow, right?"

"That's the spirit!" Lorelai said, nudging her daughter with an elbow.

Rory rolled her eyes and tried not to laugh. "Alright, alright. I get it. Stop thinking so much!"

"Right! Come on. He can't be that bad if you accepted to go out on a date with him." Lorelai said, putting emphasis on the word 'date'. Rory rolled her eyes again.

"Yeah, yeah. Ok mom, I get it. I'll quit freaking out. I will." Rory replied.

"So then what's really bothering you?" Lorelai asked, giving Rory a serious look.

"How do you do that?" Rory asked, giving her mom a wide-eyed look.

"At the stage you and Tristan are at, you're still trying to figure out what's going on between you. So I know you couldn't be that emotional over it. So spill." She replied simply.

"Well, I guess it kind of has to do with Tristan. I mean, when we were talking today, he was telling me about Stanford, and that he and his roommate started a business together, and he's 5th from the valedictorian and he and his roommate are thinking of expanding the business already…" She said in an almost defeated voice.

"He's just so ambitious. He knows what he wants. And it's not just him. I mean, Logan's already doing great things with his dad's company, and already thinking of ways to branch off on his own…and Paris has applied to all these grad schools, and is applying for all these internships. I mean, when she showed me the schedule, and picked out internships and programs for me, I just laughed at her, but now I'm wishing I did it her way cause then maybe I'd have more to look forward to, I mean, I've only applied to the Reston Fellowship. I mean, it's the New York Times, right? My dream. But what if I can't get that. I didn't even think about getting a backup. Not only that, but what if there really is something between me and Tristan. I didn't even think to look at anything out where he's at…" Rory finally had to stop to take a breath, and Lorelai cut in.

"Babe!" She said when Rory opened her mouth to continue. "Slow down. Breathe" And she began breathing deeply, getting Rory to breathe with her.

"Ok." She said once she saw that Rory had calmed down a bit. "First of all, it's ok. You've got plenty of time to figure out what you want to do if things with the Reston don't work out." At Rory's incredulous look, she continued. "Rory, really. You've had your whole life planned out. It's ok, if right now, you don't know. It's part of becoming an adult. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true." She said reassuringly.

"I'm just so confused!" Rory said.

"I know, babe! You think I knew what I was doing when I was your age?" Lorelai said, looking at her daughter. She suddenly gave Rory a mischievous look. "Besides, if you had it all planned out and prepared for you, where would the fun in that be? Nothing to keep you on your toes. It would just be booorrriiiinnnggg!" She said, rolling her eyes.

"And as far as you and Tristan are concerned, don't worry about that. I'm sure things will work out. You worry about yourself and what you're going to do. Things with him will fall into place afterwards. He doesn't seem like the type to give up a great thing just because of distance." Lorelai said comfortingly.

Rory laughed, although she still felt uneasy, she felt a little better.

"Come on!" Lorelai yelled, suddenly pulling Rory to her feet. "Let's go eat! Your dad's taking us to this restaurant with these amazing chocolate soufflés! We gotta go before he changes his mind!" She said in all seriousness. Rory just laughed, and held on to her mom as she was dragged to the kitchen to collect her father and baby sister. For tonight, she could put her worries aside.

For tonight, it was all about her family.

"Honey, I'm home!" Tristan called out, when he entered the foyer.

"Where did you go? What did you do? Who were you with?" Trina yelled out as she ran down the stairs.

"Whoa! Whoa!" He said, holding his hands up in surrender as his sister stalked him. "What's with the interrogation?" Trina glared at him.

"Stop trying to change the subject mister!" She yelled, stomping her foot. "I want details, dammit!" Tristan laughed at his sister's aggravation.

Just as she was about to smack her brother upside the head, her husband walked in.

"Now, now, honey. That's no way to treat your baby brother." He said, catching her hand just before it made contact with Tristan's head, and kissing it lightly.

She huffed and gave Tristan a look that clearly said that he was lucky. She gave her husband a tight lipped smile, and then stormed off to the kitchen. Tristan and Michael both chuckling at her antics.

"Thanks, bro!" Tristan said, taking his brother-in-law's hand in greeting. "How was work?"

"No problem, man…and don't ask." Mike laughed, as they both headed to the living room. Tristan laughed along with him, understanding what Mike was talking about.

"So…" Mike asked. "How was Stars Hollow?" He asked with a teasing smirk that rivaled one of his own. Tristan just groaned.

"Not you too!" He whined. Mike just shrugged.

"Sorry dude, but it was all your sister could talk about. Seeing as I had to put up with her tirade while you were off on your little tryst, I believe I deserve the right to know." Mike said in all seriousness.

"It wasn't a tryst!" Tristan said with a slight scowl. "God! You make it sound so tawdry. It wasn't anything like that!" He pouted, crossing his arms.

Mike laughed at the look on Tristan's face. He held up his hands in surrender. "Dude! It was a joke. Lighten up!" Tristan's face still hadn't relaxed. Mike gave him a scrutinizing look. "She must be really important to you."

Tristan looked up wide-eyed, and his posture became stiff.

"Why do you say that?" Tristan asked, his voice cracking just a bit in surprise. Mike just grinned and gave him a knowing look.

"The look on your face says it all, bro." He said, giving Tristan a consoling pat on the back.

Tristan sighed in defeat. "She's really important. I've had a crush on her since 10th grade!" Tristan said, running a hand through his already messy hair.

"Looks like more than a crush to me!" Mike said, crossing his arms, giving Tristan a look of disbelief. Tristan just blushed.

"Maybe. I'm not sure. But I'm willing to find out." Tristan whispered. "Don't tell Trina ok?" He pleaded.

"Why?" His brother-in-law asked. "You know she'll find out." Tristan shrugged.

"I know, but I don't want her making a big deal out of it and raising my hopes up, you know?" Tristan said, sounding almost defeated. "I just don't want to be crushed, and as long as I have my feet on the ground, the fall back down to reality won't be too bad." He said, with his shoulders slumped.

Mike looked truly confused. "Tristan." He said soothingly. "You're looking as though you've already lost. You can't go into it looking for a defeat. You gotta be positive."

Tristan looked up, giving him a lopsided grin. "I know. I know. But Trina has a way of lifting me all the way up to the clouds man, and when it doesn't work, it's a long way down, you know?" He shrugged. "I know she means well. But I wanna do it my way. No expectations, that way, I'm not too disappointed. I'm not giving up already, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself either. And Trina is just motivating enough to get me to do just that."

Mike chuckled. "Okay, okay. I get it. I won't tell her." Mike agreed. "But you do realize you'll have to tell her something."

Tristan chuckled in agreement. "I know. I will. Just enough to get her off my back." Tristan smiled. "Thanks man. If I haven't said it before, I'm glad I have you as a brother-in-law."

"Ditto, kid." Mike said, giving Tristan another pat on the back.

"Hello!!" Trina said, getting their attention. "Will you guys hurry up! We've been waiting for you so we could start serving dinner!"

Both men stood at attention and saluted. "Yes, ma'am!" They both replied in unison, and shortly after broke down in laughter. Trina just scowled.

"Stupid boys!" She grumbled as she turned on her heel and headed back to the dining room. This just caused the boys to double over in more laughter.

"Come on, man!" Tristan said, wiping the tears from his eyes. "Let's go before she really gets mad!"

Mike just nodded in agreement. "Ok, let's go."

Mike walked ahead as Tristan followed.

He watched Mike approach Trina and spin her around giving her a hug, and whispering in her ear, before giving her a chaste kiss. Whatever he told her was enough to bring a smile to her face. She kissed him back and they both took their seats. He sighed. He wanted what they had. He wondered if he could have that with Rory. He shook his head of those thoughts, before he could go any further. It wouldn't do him any good to be thinking those things right now.

He looked over to the other side of the dining table and saw Ashley, and his parents, already sitting at their places. They were all laughing, chatting amiably and passing around dishes. He just took a moment to take in the scene before him.

"Tristan, you ok?" His mom asked, noticing him just standing in the doorway.

"Yeah mom. I'm good." He walked in and took his seat and looked around once more. He caught his mom looking at him in concern. He just gave her a reassuring smile. She smiled back, content that he was ok. Whatever concerns he had about Rory would be put aside for now.

Tonight was about family.

TBC

AN2: FINALLY! Whew! I hope you guys liked it. Now…

Sayanything – Don't worry, I haven't stopped. Just took a break. :) Glad you liked it.

LoganLover8128- Thanks so much. I hope you like this chapter!

princetongirl– Thank you:)

nemo123489- Thank you for your idea. I'm glad you like Trina. I'll see what I can do! ;)

allovertheplace - HUGS Thank you so much! I hope you are still reading this! You're one of my best reviewers:) Things have been well. Very busy. I won't be updating like I did before, but I'm inspired enough that it won't take me almost a year to update! I can't believe it's been that long! Anyway, I'm glad you've stuck with me this long, and I hope you'll be there at the end!

Joise – LOL…Ya, I liked that Rory saved his a too:) Glad you liked it!

Sum41rocks – Thanks so much! Means a lot coming from you! I hope you liked this last chapter.

LukeAndLorelai Brucas Fan – Long time coming I know…I'm assuming you're no longer sick? Thank you for staying up so late to read the last chapter. Hopefully you won't be up too late reading this one! I'm glad you liked those lines, and I'm glad I had you smiling even when you reviewed. I did my job!

rh-fntc – Ah…my best friend! Thanks so much for betaing this again, and for always encouraging me!

melako17 – Thank you so much

Myra – Girl! I wish the show ended with Rory and Tristan too! When the series ended I was just hoping they'd show something, anything to indicate Tristan had come back! Oh well…in my dreams:)

Holy Cross Baby – Hey girl! We've been through a lot the last couple years. It's 2008! Can you believe it? Good luck to you and the new house. Don't forget to send me pics. Give Brookie a hug for me. And I'll be betaing your chapters soon:)

RositaLG– Perfection? Really? I think I'm blushing:) Thanks so much!

Spreeaholic1 – Thank you! I know this wasn't anywhere near soon, but I didn't forget:)

Curley-Q– Glad you liked the kiss. I was really worried about it. Never wrote something or anything like this before, so you can understand my hesitation. But so far from the reviews its looking good! Thanks for your support!

LifeLookingDown – YAY! Thanks, so much! I'm glad you liked the kisses and the texting:)

Meg – I'm glad you liked the chapter. I'm sorry the texting bothered you. It bothered me too. But if you're driving, and texting…(which one should never do!) it's kinda hard to spell things out, plus, you're hitting the same key several times to spell things out. So it's actually not that easy. I did it just cause of that. For convenience. I didn't mean to offend. If the characters on my phone allowed me to text beyond 160 characters, I never would have learned to text the other way. Thank you for your review, and I hope you continue to read.

trorygirl – "And oh the kiss ... the kiss ... :sigh: ... so beautiful" Really? Thank you so much! That really means a lot from you! I'm glad the kiss moved you. I hope your patience paid off. See, I did update as I promised:)

xSweetAshesx– The wait is over! For now! LOL…I'm so glad you liked this chapter. And ya, with the series end, I really wanted Tristan to show up. Even for just a few seconds, to give us fans a visual of him coming back, you know? I hope you liked this chapter! Thanks for sticking around!

Logans – My friend! I'm back! Did you miss me? I hope you haven't written me off, and have eagerly anticipated my update! I'm really glad you liked this last chapter. Hope you liked this update.

FairyGirl03– LOL! I LOVED your reaction in your review. "Oh Hell No!" Had me cracking up! I'm so glad that you liked it! Hope you're doing well! This last chapter is kind of a filler, so I hope you're not too disappointed in it! Thanks for sticking around.

Mongoose 187– Thanks so much! I'm happy you're still reading this fic:)