The next Friday night dinner at the Gilmore mansion was so much less stress on Lorelai, and on Luke. Upon their arrival, Luke and Lorelai were shocked to see the pleasant manner in which they were greeted and escorted into the house.
"Would you like your usual drink, Lorelai?" Richard asked.
"Yes, please," she said.
Richard prepared the drinks, and Emily politely carried on conversation. "Luke, what's the capacity of your diner?"
Luke cleared his throat, bracing himself for an intense tongue lashing about his diner. "Well, it's pretty small, I guess about a hundred or so at best?"
Emily nodded. "I was correct, then. A friend of mine stopped by a few weeks ago, telling me it was much smaller than it actually was. Then again, she always has been an incorrigible pessimist."
"You and your friend had a debate on what size Luke's was?" Lorelai asked, downing some of her drink.
"I recommended it to her, actually. She was on her way through Connecticut, traveling from Maine, and she was attempting to get to Florida. She likes cozy establishments like the diner, and she likes lots of local color, so I suggested it. I can speak ill of it instead if you wish," Emily said haughtily.
Lorelai shook her head. "No, no, it was just… nice," she said.
"Is your friend very tall, with brown hair, she wore gloves and wiped the seat down with a handkerchief?" Luke asked.
Emily laughed. "That's definitely Rosaline. She has an inability to blend in. I'm sorry for any trouble she may have caused you, Luke."
"She was no trouble, Emily," Luke replied.
Lorelai shot Luke a glare and began to laugh out loud. As she laughed, Emily gave her a stern look. "Lorelai, do you find it polite to laugh at others' tendencies? I could laugh at your inability to dress appropriately, but I have decorum."
Lorelai rolled her eyes and sighed. "So, Rory's coming home tonight!" she said, trying to change the subject.
"We are all aware, Lorelai," Richard added, "You've mentioned it three times tonight, already."
"Well," Lorelai let out a nervous laugh, "I just wanted to make sure everyone was as excited as I am."
As Emily began to open her mouth again, the maid came in and announced that dinner was going to be served. Emily and Richard made their way into the dining room and Lorelai pulled Luke aside. "Luke!" she hissed, "They like you better than me! What is this, grade school?"
"Grade school?" Luke repeated.
Lorelai sighed. "When everyone wants to be the teacher's favorite, Luke, seriously, you have no idea what I'm talking about?"
"I don't, but I can tell you that your parents will be a little more frustrated with you if you don't go to dinner," Luke said, gently leading her to the dining room.
Lorelai and Luke seated themselves at the table and dinner was served. Lorelai made a face at what was placed in front of her. "Spaghetti?"
"Honestly, Lorelai, must you insult every dish I serve at Friday night dinner?" Emily huffed. "It seems as though you can't be pleased with anything but Fruity Pebbles and chocolate milk."
"Ooh, that sounds really good right now," Lorelai said, properly twirling her noodles onto her fork. She turned to Luke and gave him a smile. "On the way home we have to stop at the store, I need Fruity Pebbles and chocolate milk."
Luke rolled his eyes as he took a bite of his pasta. "That sounds even more disgusting than your concoction last week, which I will refrain from mentioning at the dinner table."
Emily buttered her roll as she looked at Lorelai. "Just when you think she's outdone herself…"
Richard sighed. "So, Luke, I hear you're a baseball enthusiast," he offered.
"Yes, sir, I am. I didn't know you were interested," Luke replied.
"Why, of course! I grew up watching some of the greats… I was present at Ted Williams' final game," Richard recalled.
Luke nodded. "Must have been some game," he replied. "My father was there as well."
Emily smiled. "It's a small world, isn't it?" she offered.
"Ooh, what if they were sitting next to each other, and they didn't know it, but someday, their children would meet and fall in love… it's a great story," Lorelai mused.
Richard ignored Lorelai's comments. "You should come to my study after dinner. I have some memorabilia I think you'd enjoy taking a look at."
Luke's eyes widened. "Sure. That would be great."
After the dinner was over, and Lorelai endured about an hour of painful chit chat with her mother, Luke emerged from Richard's study with some items in his hands. As they walked back to the Jeep, Luke shook his head. "Your dad basically just gave me all of this."
"Is it worth any money? Maybe you can sell it and we can buy a penguin!" Lorelai suggested.
Luke shook his head. "We're never getting a penguin, and no, we're not selling this stuff. I have a place for it."
As they arrived at Lorelai's house, there was already a car in the driveway. Lorelai quickly parked the Jeep and ran inside, leaving Luke far behind. She quickly opened the door to the house and called for Rory. "RORY!"
Rory came downstairs and the two hugged, laughed, cried, and talked for what seemed like an eternity. Rory motioned to the door as she saw Luke bringing a big box in from outside. "What's with him? Is he moving in?" she asked with a smile.
Lorelai turned to face the door. "Not that I know of. But, he got all sorts of loot from your grandpa tonight, I'm sure that's what it is."
"Loot?" Rory asked. "All I can think of is bank robbers in black masks with the bags full of money that have the big dollar sign on them."
"Well, you could say that this is Luke's version of that," Lorelai said, plopping herself down on the couch.
Rory smiled. "I know what he's doing…" she said, trailing off to peak Lorelai's curiosity.
"He bought Paul Anka a sibling?" Lorelai guessed.
"He bought me a coffee fountain?"
"Mom, really, would Luke promote this more than he has to?"
Lorelai sighed. "You're right, you're right. Hey, boyfriend of mine, what are you doing?"
Luke emerged from the kitchen holding a big box. "Remember that box you and Rory made?"
Lorelai nodded. "Yes, yes I do."
"Well, I wanted to… sort of… make one for all of us. The four of us, you know? You, me, Rory, April?" Luke started.
"I knew it," Rory said.
Lorelai got off of the couch, and knelt down in front of the box, digging through it. He had put the menu and most of the other things from the original box inside, plus some of his baseball memorabilia.
"We can leave it open until April finds something she wants to put inside," Luke reasoned.
Lorelai got up and walked around the box to Luke. "This was such a good idea. It's a new and improved box. I like it," she said, planting a kiss on his cheek.
"Good. I'm glad you like it. And I'm actually glad you found the original. Even though it was a crazy idea in the first place, I guess it wasn't so bad in the grand scheme of things," Luke replied.
Lorelai jumped up and down. "So you just admitted one of my ideas was good! We can add that as part of the box's contents, Rory, get started on the 'do not open' note?"
"Aye, aye cap'n!" Rory replied.
"You're insane," Luke insisted.
Lorelai shrugged. "Well, it brought us back together, sort of, didn't it? And I seem to recall this box being YOUR idea."
"Point taken," Luke consented.
As Lorelai ran around the house in search of things that she wouldn't notice were gone, Rory sat with a notebook and pen, trying to write the note Lorelai insisted that she write. "You know, I think she likes her new and improved box?" Rory asked.
"I do, too," Luke replied.