A/N: I wrote this an age ago and just realised I haven't uploaded it onto this site. It's not your graphic full-on slash story, more a little playing with characters. I've started a crossover slash story with Lorelai as my focus, I should be getting that up in a few weeks for anyone with interest. As for this piece, it may contain spoilers up to the end of series three and may I sadly confess that I do not own these characters, as much as I'd like to. Thanks!
Emily Gilmore sighed as she readjusted her gardening hat to shield herself from the glare of the sun. Tending to her precious plants was about the only task in the household she preferred not to delegate to the hired help, she found it soothing and something to do when Richard wasn't around. Which was a fair bit of the time, she admitted to herself grudgingly. It wasn't that she was beginning to resent her husband's new firm and lease of life, it was just that, however much she'd grumbled at him being retired and having too much time on his hands to irk her, she'd gotten used to having him around a little more. Now he was jetting off round the globe as he had been most of his working life. That left her with extra time on her hands. And there was only so many times a person could prune a tomato plant without it resisting.
Checking her watch, she realised Rory would be getting out of school soon. What better to fill her day than an unscheduled meeting with her beautiful granddaughter? It was certainly better than arguing with the new maid, Clara, about the correct method to make beds for the fifth time that afternoon. Being British the woman didn't appear to know anything about standard practice.
About half an hour later she'd managed to change, choosing suitable attire for an informal meeting with her granddaughter. Walking the few minutes to Chilton she felt suddenly revitalised. It was amazing what just getting away from the monotony of life in Hartford could do to a person. Though she adored her life- her meetings, her society friends, not to mention Richard and Rory- there occasionally seemed an edge about it all, as though she'd done the entire thing previously. Which, she smiled to herself, she actually had.
As she neared the school she caught sight of a car parked crudely at the side of the road. She loathed such sights. A visitor to the town could easily get the wrong idea about the type of school which preached to their students that the road belonged to them. It most certainly did not and Emily was about to tell the young girls exactly that when the passenger looked forward for a second. It was none other than Rory!
Reigning in her thoughts about road-decency, Emily did one thing she'd always prided herself on being able to resist, she forced her body behind the nearest bush.
There was definitely something untoward going on. For starters, it was at least five minutes before scheduled classes ended which indicated rather heavily that neither of the girls had been to their last class if any that day. Taking a peek around the finely-kept leaves, she stole another glance at the girl with her granddaughter, realising with a jolt that she recognised her most fully. Paris Gellar, fellow Chilton student and excelling pupil. Why on earth would two such talented students be skipping school with finals fast approaching?
Watching for a few more minutes, Emily saw her granddaughter was utterly comfortable with the situation, a shock if ever there was one. As Paris moved to start the car Rory reached out a hand, placing on her friend's shoulder. The conversation was as inaudible as the rest but Emily could sense a shift in the atmosphere, something was certainly going on. A couple of minutes later Paris finally started the engine then turned back to Rory, leaning over and... and kissing her intimately on the side of the mouth.
Emily watched with growing horror as the car sped past her. What on earth was that?
'Richard? Richard, are you there?'
'Yes, Emily, I'm here.' Her husband sounded irrate, how did he presume he had the right to be? After all, she was the one who'd sifted through hotel after hotel in Rome because he hadn't had the foresight to leave a number. 'What couldn't wait until I get home on Saturday?'
His voice immediately changed as she had known it would. 'What about Rory? Is she ill?'
'No, she's...' Emily struggled with the words. 'Oh, Richard, she's a lesbian.'
There was complete silence on the other end of the phone.
'Richard, did you hear me?'
'Yes, I heard you.' He sounded rather shocked, rightly so too. 'Did Rory tell you this herself?'
'Well, no, not exactly.'
'Right.' His tone took on the condescending pitch she recognised from too many occasions, a good majority of them involving his mother. 'Emily, you're fully aware that I return in four days, yes?'
'Of course I am. Don't patronise me, Richard.'
'Did you not consider this conversation could wait until then?'
'I thought, silly me, that you'd be concerned about the welfare of your only granddaughter.'
'It seems to me you've merely jumped to conclusions again. We'll discuss it when I return.'
'Emily!' he interrupted. 'I must go. The time difference is astronomical, I need to sleep.'
'Yes, alright. I understand.'
After a farewell she put the telephone in its cradle, her eyes resting on the drinks tray Clara had mistakenly left out. She'd been planning on berating her about it at the very least but at that moment it seemed a godsend.
The next day dawned brightly, a Wednesday. The previous night had been a restless one for Emily, thoughts of Rory and this... this girl rushing through her mind for hours on end. Though she hadn't come to any firm conclusions she'd certainly tried.
Her first instinct was to blame Lorelai. If the best example in a young woman's life was a mother who believed that running away from her problems was a marvellous idea then how was she supposed to know better? What Rory was doing was running away from her lack of success with boys. After all, she'd chosen a would-be mechanic then a boy whom manners seemed to bypass, why wouldn't she be disillusioned? Though falling into the arms of a girl wasn't how everybody reacted to bad choices. It was through bad examples set by irresponsible people like Lorelai.
Self-preservation managed to creep into Emily's consciousness despite some rather valiant efforts to concentrate on Rory alone. Look at how the Hartford set had reacted to Lorelai's pregnancy seventeen years ago. Yes, time had passed, the shock had worn off, standards had even been relaxed ever so slightly yet the spectre of public disapproval remained. A lesbian in the same family as a teenage pregnancy? You couldn't write a book about it. Never had Emily heard of such a scandal in Hartford, if Lorelai had raised eyebrows all those years ago then Yale-bound Rory would send them rocketing.
It was selfish, Emily knew, to even think of herself at a time like this though she couldn't quite stem the thoughts. Her own feelings towards homosexuals were non-committal. She didn't accept it as a natural occurrence nor failed to believe how someone could regard it as a life-choice. Yet as long as it wasn't in her face she could ignore it. That wouldn't be possible if it was Rory now would it?
Though a significant part of Emily was relieved. Rory believing she had feelings for this Paris girl at least meant there wouldn't be a repeat of what had happened with Lorelai and Christopher. The boys she'd dated were never fatherhood material whether Rory had been seventeen or forty-seven, it was almost hilarious to think of silent Jess being a good role model for a child, likewise with Dean the aspiring mechanic. At least Paris was an intelligent Hartford girl, on par with Rory one could claim. Someone of equal intellect was just what she needed.
But a girl!
'Clara, what is this?'
'Crispy bacon, Ma'am.'
Emily picked it up with her knife, looking at the fatty liquids underneath. 'Do I own such a thing?'
'You didn't until I bought it,' Clara informed her placing down a glass next to the plate. 'Freshly squeezed juice.'
'Thank you,' Emily said slowly. 'I think perhaps I ate too much last night. I feel a little faint.'
'Really? Well, this'll soon perk you up.'
'Honestly, Clara. Can you bring me the phone please?'
After reiterating that, no, she definitely did not want to eat that concoction, Emily dialled the number for the Independence Inn.
'Hello?' Lorelai answered.
'I really wish you'd start answering the phone in an appropriate manner for a business.'
'Mom!' The voice was so falsely happy. 'What can I do for you?'
'If you get a moment today, could you pop over?'
'It's a simple enough question, Lorelai.'
'Mom, I've got a lot on today, you know. Work and... work.'
'Three o'clock will be fine.'
'Why couldn't I get out of this?' Lorelai muttered to herself as she pulled her car into her parent's drive. 'I've had enough practice dodging her. Why couldn't I be having my leg amputated? Or my head! No, no one would let me be that lucky.'
The door opened as she approached it. A young blonde woman barrelled out of the door. Not missing a beat, Lorelai held out her hand. 'Lorelai. Daughter.'
The blonde shook it briefly and spoke in an English accent. 'Clara. Leaving.'
After the woman had rushed off Lorelai went through the open door seeing her mother kneeling on the dining room floor sweeping up china. 'Aw, Mom. She seemed nice.'
'Nice?' Emily brandished a jug handle. 'This was priceless.'
'It was insured though, right?'
'That's not the point, Lorelai.'
'No, of course it isn't.' She let her eyes wander to the table. 'Ooh, bacon.'
'Don't touch that, it's been there since breakfast.'
'How could you not eat this?' Lorelai answered as she crammed the crispy food into her mouth. 'I have to say, this is gorgeous. Who's the chef?'
'Clara,' replied Emily as she stood.
'Oh, Mom! Great! Better make the most of this then.'
'Enjoy yourself, Lorelai. It wasn't as though I asked you here for a reason now, was it?'
It was a choice between devouring the bacon then being devoured by her mother or giving up the crispy goodness. Reluctantly, she pushed the plate away. 'Alright, Mom, what's up?'
Emily indicated for them to enter the living. Annoyingly, she waited until the room was eerily silent before she spoke. 'It's about Rory.'
'What about her?'
'You could at least show some concern, Lorelai.'
'Of course I'm concerned but...'
'You don't think I could tell you anything about your daughter,' Emily interrupted. 'Is that it?'
'Have you any idea how arrogant that sounds?'
'What? I have a good relationship with my daughter.'
'Oh, of course, I wouldn't know about that.'
Lorelai pasted on a smile. 'Back to Rory!'
'No,' Emily repeated. 'You obviously don't think what I have to say is important so I'm not telling you.'
'Mom, if it's about Rory...'
'I'm sure you already know.'
Lorelai groaned. 'Mom!'
Emily Gilmore stood. 'That will be all, Lorelai.'
'Okay, now I feel like the hired help,' she quipped. 'Come on, you drag me all this way and you don't tell me anything?'
'If you didn't like the distance perhaps you shouldn't have moved to Stars Hollow in the first place. Then again, you weren't anticipating coming home much, were you?'
Somehow it always got round to that. 'We were talking about Rory.'
'We were,' agreed Emily. 'Now you're leaving.'
'Yes, Ma'am. Anything else, Ma'am?'
From her position lounging on the sofa examining her toenails she heard the door open and close. 'Rory?'
Her daughter came through, school bag slung over her shoulder. 'Who were you expecting?'
'Well, I invited Taylor over for a secret rendevous. Suppose I'll have to cancel.'
'Ew, Mom! Mental images here!'
Before the youngest Gilmore managed to leave, Lorelai pulled her feet back to the floor. 'Rory, honey?'
How best to phrase? 'Have you er... killed anyone lately? Or upset someone really important or... You're not pregnant, are you?'
'What? No, no and no.'
'Pretty sure. Mom, what's going on?'
'Nothing, nothing. Just someone trying to terrify me, that's all.' She should have known it was nothing from the start, she and Rory shared everything, how could her mother know anything before she did? Still... 'You would tell me?'
'If I killed someone?'
'Yeah. Or any of the other stuff.'
'Sure. Can I go now?'
'Yes. That will be all.'
Friday morning found Lorelai at a bit of a loose end. She'd given herself the day off figuring she could do without Michel sniggering at her for one morning that week. It would be wrenching but she could survive. Then she'd realised she had nothing to do. Alright, the bedroom could do with a bit of a clean and there was the guttering that was hanging over the kitchen window but there was nothing that she wanted to do. After a little daydreaming about food she had a brainwave.
Grabbing the phone from the table she dialled her parent's house.
'Hello?' Emily answered it.
'Since when do you answer the phone?'
'I haven't found a replacement for Clara as yet. Did you want something, Lorelai, or were you just investigating my telephone system?'
'Oh, I was just wondering if there were any special arrangements for dinner tonight.'
'What's that supposed to mean?' Was it just her imagination or was the voice a little panicked?
'You know, just checking if I was supposed to use the back door tonight. Thought you might want me to go straight through to the kitchen.'
'Very amusing, Lorelai. Now, did you actually want something?'
'Well, um...' Thankfully, she was a quick thinker. 'I just wondered whether Dad was going to be there tonight.'
'No. He's still in Rome. I thought I told you that.'
'Did you? My memory, you know? Okay, then, bye.'
'Lorelai, wait. I want you to be on time this evening.'
'Is something going on here? I'm never on time.'
'You will be tonight.'
'That sounds suspiciously like a threat.'
'I don't threaten. I encourage.'
'Of course you do.'
'I've got a really bad feeling about this,' Lorelai complained as she stopped the car.
'You say that every week,' Rory answered unfastening her seatbelt. 'I'm sure everything will be fine.'
'No, you didn't hear her. I know that tone, she's planning something.'
'Rory, don't mock me. I brought you into the world, you owe me.'
'Okay, you can't keep that one hanging over my head forever.'
'Why not? Someone's been doing it to me all my life.'
It was eery sometimes how Rory looked like her grandmother. 'You behave, okay?'
'Yes, Captain. Anything else?'
'I'll let you know.'
Lorelai's trepidation was starting to return as she rung the bell. It was opened instantly by Emily, as though she'd been waiting for them. More eeriness abound. 'Hey, Mom.'
'Lorelai.' Emily nodded curtly then welcomed her granddaughter into a hug. 'Rory, how nice to see you. It's been a while.'
'Er, a week, Grandma.'
'Well, it feels like an age.'
'Hi!' Lorelai waved. 'It's great to be here.'
'You're creating a draft. Kindly shut the door.'
Watching her mother and daughter disappear into the living room, Lorelai contemplated walking straight out of the open door, ending up in Canada perhaps. No, it was a little chilly up there. Then again, compared to Emily Gilmore the South Pole was a live wire.
'Paris?' Rory's voice shook Lorelai from her daydreaming.
Hurrying into the living room she found Chiton's version of a dictator sat on the sofa. 'Paris?'
'Yes, Lorelai,' Emily said indicating for them all to sit. 'We've established that.'
While Rory took a seat next to Paris (still looking confused, admittedly), Lorelai stared. 'Sorry, am I missing something?'
Her mother smiled, one of her satisfied smiles. 'Perhaps you are.'
Paris appeared a little unsure, that was good. As long as she didn't know what was going on it couldn't be a combined Gilmore/Gellar effort to brainwash Rory into something. On the other hand, that could be an act- they could be planning a surgical strike any moment. On the other foot (since she'd run out of hands), Paris was never one to sit quietly. No, if she had something to say, they'd have heard it twenty times already.
So Lorelai decided to err on the side of politeness. Smiling, she took a seat. 'Hey, Paris. How are ya?'
'Good, thank you. And yourself?'
'Me? Dandy. Just dandy. Don't you feel the dandiness?'
'Sorry, Mom, what?'
'Can I see you in the kitchen?'
'You're setting me to work after all, huh?'
'Now, Lorelai.' Emily was already well on her way.
She stood. 'Sorry, girls. Duty calls. If you want my advice, the window's quicker than the door. But she might have them alarmed so look out.' Receiving another glare from her daughter, she shrugged, heading off into the kitchen. 'So, where's the chopping board? Sorry, maybe I should ask what I'm cooking first.'
Her mother shook her head. 'Everything's a joke, isn't it?'
'Lorelai, there is a reason I invited Paris Gellar here tonight.'
'I didn't doubt it for a second.'
'Now, you may not believe me but I assure you I'm telling the truth.'
'Rory's a lesbian.'
Was the world spinning faster or did it just feel like that because she was laughing so much? 'That's a good one.'
'I'm serious, Lorelai.'
Emily didn't flinch. 'I am.'
Finally, the idea that her mother might be sincere started to sink in. But it was impossible, wasn't it? Not that there was anything wrong with it, it just fell into the category of 'big life events', the type she'd always prompted Rory to share with her. 'How do you..?'
Suddenly, Emily had managed to turn into a caring mother, putting an arm around her daughter's shoulders. 'I saw her. With Paris.'
'Lorelai, I know this is a shock but I think we have to accept it.'
Despite her disorientation she looked curiously at her mother. 'Sorry, who are you?'
'I can be perfectly reasonable, you know.'
Ignoring that, Emily went on, 'I invited Paris here to demonstrate that we would all accept the relationship.'
'We will?' Lorelai shrugged off her mother's arm. 'You know, I might have been prepared for this if you'd bothered to tell me the other day. But, no, you had to get one over on me, have something that I didn't know.'
'It was nothing like that.'
'No? Then why didn't you tell me?'
'I wasn't sure how you'd react.'
'How I'd react? God, this is my daughter we're talking about. I'm not going to disown her for something she wants.'
Emily's face hardened. 'I don't appreciate you constantly bringing that up.'
'It's always between us, Mom, you know that!'
'Well, this isn't about us, is it? This is about Rory.'
'Yes, it is,' Lorelai nodded decisively. 'And I'll take it from here.'
'You will not ruin this dinner.'
'I'd say this beats dinner wouldn't you?'
'No, I would not. Now you will go back into that room, sit down and not say a word about this.'
'Come on, that didn't work when I was six, what makes you think it'll work now?'
Her mother smiled. 'You don't want to see this backfire on you, do you?'
After opening her mouth to speak, Lorelai found it closing again. Much as she didn't want to admit it, Emily Gilmore was right. While she wasn't entirely sure how truthful this so-called information was, it could be a joke or even a joke on her mother, she wanted to make sure Rory wasn't keeping anything from her. One thing she prided herself on was her relationship with her daughter, if that was being put in danger by something she wanted to know about it. Even if it was just a little thing like Rory being gay.
'That's settled then.' Emily took off back into the living room, Lorelai on her heels. The girls were talking in whispers; funnily enough, they quietened when the door swung open. 'I think we're ready to eat.'
Once the quartet were settled at the table, Lorelai in her father's usual seat, she remembered something. 'So, what are we eating, Mom? Since you, you know, sacked the brilliant chef.'
'I thought I should push the boat out, this is a special evening, after all. So I ordered from Chez Peron.'
Rory looked up. 'Why's it special, Grandma?'
'It's because of you and Paris,' Lorelai jumped in under her mother's disapproving glare.
Paris was instantly attentive, more so than she had been since they'd arrived anyhow. 'Pardon?'
'Oh, well, it's a celebration of your friendship, isn't it? Two years ago you hated each other and now look at you.'
'Sorry, what are we supposed to be seeing?' asked Paris.
'If you don't know that, I can't tell ya.'
Rory looked around the table. 'Mom, what's going on?'
'We know your secret!' Emily burst in before Lorelai could program the question. Wow, that woman was fast. Yes, and completely disregarding of things she was told.
'The secret,' Lorelai tried to elaborate but their blank faces were a bit off-putting. 'We know.'
'Lorelai, please!' Emily glared her daughter out. 'What your mother means, Rory, is that I discovered it. On Tuesday.'
Paris bowed her head. 'I'm sorry, Mrs Gilmore, Ms Gilmore. I was stupid, I couldn't control myself.'
'I've heard that before,' Emily said glancing disdainfully at Lorelai. 'Rory, what do you have to say for yourself?'
'I'm sorry,' she said sheepishly. 'I never skip school but Paris was upset and I...'
Lorelai raised her hand. 'Wait, your big secret is you skipped school?'
'Of course,' Paris answered. 'What else would it be?'
'I thought you were a couple!' Emily burst out loudly.
The table went quite, the only sound being Lorelai trying not to laugh through her nose. The look on her mother's face was priceless. Not only had she managed to make herself appear like a complete fool in front of Rory she'd managed to show Paris she was crazy too. Wouldn't that just be all round Hartford by the next morning? Then she berated herself for thinking such things about her mother. Then she carried on.
'Um, Grandma, where'd you get that idea?'
'I saw you kissing.'
Rory exchanged a glance with Paris. 'Friends kiss, Grandma.'
'Well, this seemed more... intimate.'
'I can assure you, Mrs Gilmore,' Paris took the initiative. 'I have not been taking advantage of your granddaughter in any way.'
As ever, it only took Emily Gilmore a minute to regain her composure. Sometimes her daughter wished it took longer given the expressions on her face. 'That has made me the happiest person in the world. I mean, not that there was anything wrong with...'
'Oh, no,' Lorelai added. 'Perish the thought.'
'Okay, then,' Rory nodded. 'Can we eat?'
Emily beamed. 'Of course, my darling. Anything you want.'
Walking Paris back to her car parked on the street, Rory couldn't help but laugh. 'That was spooky.'
'Mmm,' Paris agreed. 'Parental consent for a relationship. Who'd have thought?'
'Not us, that's for sure.'
'Nope, definitely not us.'
'So,' Rory linked their arms as they hit a particularly dark patch beneath the shadow of an oak tree. 'Should we have been a little more honest?'
'I was partly honest. I'm fairly sure I haven't taken advantage of you at all. Anyway honesty's overrated in my opinion. When are the politicians honest? Or parents for that matter?'
'It was a brilliant opportunity, Par.'
In the dark, Ms Gellar stopped suddenly, turning to Rory who could just see her eyes gleaming mischievously, something she'd begun to adore when it happened, which admittedly was rarely. 'Are you questioning me, Gilmore?'
'Good.' Paris leaned forward to tease her tongue over Rory's lips, the latter relishing the attention until her girlfriend pulled back. 'We need to be more careful.'
The pair started walking. 'You were the one having doubts. You made me skip school.'
'So I outed you to your grandmother, I thought we handled it pretty well.'
'Yeah, me too.' Rory grinned. 'And on the plus side? At least when we do tell them we know they'll be fine about it.'