A/N: This story is dedicated to Schuyler Lola. A line in one of her stories inspired me to write this fic... so I hope I make you proud, Lola!
Lorelai looked up from the latest issue of In Style magazine. "Yeah, sweets?"
"You know how you always told me there was a Gilmore Handbook?"
"Yeah, the sacred handbook of life, I remember."
"Where is it?" Rory asked.
Lorelai sat on the floor, trying to get on ten-year-old Rory's level. "Well, it's all up here," she said, pointing to her head.
Rory nodded. She returned to reading her book for a moment, and suddenly jerked her head up once again.
"So it's not written down somewhere?"
Lorelai shrugged. "When you become a journalist, you can write me my own copy. Until then, we can write out our own temporary version, how's that?"
"Cool!" Rory said, enthusiastically. "How many rules will we have?"
Lorelai bit her lip. "Well, how many do you want? What's the highest number you can count to at this very moment?"
"Um, a million."
"How about… uh… 43 rules?" Lorelai said, throwing out the first number she could think of.
"43 sounds good. It's a big number, and it's a lot of rules," Rory replied. "I'll get paper."
Lorelai folded the page of the magazine she was reading. She knew she'd be spending her day off creating a book she'd be bound to for the rest of her life. Rory wouldn't ever break a rule… in fact, she'd probably commit them to memory. Rory was like that, she always had been. Lorelai decided to go along with Rory on the plan, and besides, she'd probably enjoy it later.
"What color crayon should the cover be in?" Rory asked.
"You can draw the cover, sweets. I have another project," Lorelai replied.
Lorelai grabbed a piece of paper and wrote "The Gilmore Code" at the top, underlining each word individually in green crayon. She accented each letter with a pink outline and drew a multitude of blue stars around the heading.
"The Gilmore Code?" Rory questioned, leaning in to see the paper.
"Yes. I'm writing out a promise… we both have to sign it, then we have to follow the rules and the promise. Sound good?"
"It sounds… well, it sounds important!" Rory smiled, thrilled to be a part of something so official.
"Good. Because you always have to keep the promise you sign your name to," Lorelai insisted.
Rory handed Lorelai the red crayon. "What's the promise going to say?"
Lorelai sighed, realizing she hadn't yet thought that far ahead. "Ah, well, it will say… I Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, and I Lorelai Leigh Gilmore, do solemnly swear on… Luke, that we will abide by the rules of this book at all times. If we do not… abide… by the rules, then…" Lorelai was suddenly at a loss for words. "We have to eat broccoli!"
Rory scrunched up her nose. "Broccoli? Eew," she replied.
"I have taught you well, my dear daughter."
The promise page was constructed and signed, and a table of contents was next. Rules 1-43 were written and the book was bound together with ribbon. It was to be consulted whenever necessary, and five blank pages were left at the end to provide room for amendments if need be. It held a prominent place in the Gilmore Magazine rack upstairs.
"And that's how we made the Gilmore Handbook, which I present to you here, to peruse and enjoy," Lorelai smiled.
"You made a Gilmore Handbook?" Luke asked, scratching his head.
"Yes, and if you want to marry me, you're going to have to abide by every rule in this book. At all times. And I think I'm going to make you sign it, too, but then again, you can't swear on yourself…"
Luke rolled his eyes. "Aw, Jeez. Lorelai, I don't know if you're aware, but I'm not a Gilmore. Therefore, I am not obligated to follow any of these rules."
"None? You haven't even heard any of the rules yet," Lorelai whined, cuddling closer to Luke.
"Fine, for the sake of… well, I'm in a good mood today, I think I'll humor you," Luke said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and playing with a piece of her dark, curly hair.
This wasn't something Luke normally did, allow Lorelai to explain a foreign culture to him, but he realized that he was in for a lifetime of obscure references and back and forth banter if he was going to marry Lorelai. The diamond ring that was placed on her finger weeks before glistened in the sun, almost telling him that yes, he was in for it, but somehow it wouldn't be so painful.
"Okay, are you ready? What rule are we starting with?" Lorelai chirped.
Luke sighed. "How about we be daring, and start at… one?"
"One it is, then, get comfy," Lorelai giggled.
"It's a long book?"
"Uh, yeah. I have to explain to you a time when I had to follow each rule, Luke. Is old bluey blocking blood flow to your brain?" she teased, gently lifting the cap off of his head.
"Give me my hat back," Luke insisted, reaching for it.
Lorelai shook her head. "Nah, I think I'll hold it ransom, until you're done listening to me."
"Here we go," Luke moaned under his breath.
Lorelai cleared her throat. "Luke, you have to get ready. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally… you're not zen, Luke."
Luke twisted his face into a confused expression. "Zen? Lorelai, when have I ever been Zen?"
"True. You're not Zen. Maybe you need yoga," she said, playfully poking him in the arm.
"Rule number one?"
Lorelai opened the book, prepared to explain rule number one to Luke.