This, she knows, is not going to end well. Spoilers up to episode 6:22 - Partings.
"God, I love your mother."
Rory looks up at this, breaking away from Logan, and glances at Finn. His words are slurred, but then, they always are, and he's looking at her intently through an empty glass.
If she had a drink of her own, she would have choked on it.
"I'm sorry, what?" she asks, not because she didn't hear him, and not because she needs clarification - by now, she's used to the way guys, even guys her own age, look at her mother - but because, what?
Beside her, Logan laughs, and she wants to glare at him, but she can't look away from Finn. He puts his glass down, sliding it across the table, and tilts his head as he holds her gaze.
"Is she single?"
Rory does splutter at this, and Logan strokes her hand. Colin, obligingly, reaches for Finn's glass and refills it.
It takes her a minute to realise that he's actually waiting for an answer.
"She's engaged," she answers, and takes the drink that Logan hands her. She drinks quickly, willing the liquid to burn away the last two minutes, because really, this cannot be happening.
"How do you even know Lorelai?" Logan asks, and Rory would kick him under the table for prolonging the subject if she wasn't pretty sure she'd miss.
"Lorelai?" Colin's brow furrows, and he looks at Rory. "Isn't that your name?"
Finn shakes his head, and leans forward. "You're Rory, aren't you love?"
"It's short for Lorelai," Logan supplies, and Rory shakes her head.
"She named me after herself."
Colin nods, like the explanation is perfectly reasonable, and Finn still looks like he's trying to figure it all out. She rolls her eyes.
"We met her at the jail," Colin says, and Rory looks up, confused for a moment until she remembers Logan's question. "After you two ..."
Stole a yacht, dropped out of Yale and moved out of home. That wasn't exactly what he was going to say, of course, but Rory frowns, and motions for a refill. Not that her glass is empty yet, but it never hurts to be prepared.
"Do you think she'll actually get married?" Finn asks, and Rory shakes her head again, then stops as she realises what she's doing.
"Drop it, Finn," she warns.
She really shouldn't have been surprised when Finn offered to help her move her stuff.
But it wasn't like he hadn't done it before, and she had a lot of things to move; not things she needed, because Logan's apartment wasn't going anywhere, and she had enough things at home to last her through a summer, but things she wanted with her. So she'd agreed, and Colin had shaken his head, and Finn had agreed to get up before noon. She'd been blind to miss the warning signs.
It isn't until they're almost at Stars Hollow that she realises, and she kicks herself when Finn speaks.
"Do you think your mother will be home?" he asks, and Rory barely resists the temptation to turn the car around and go back. Because this, she knows, is not going to end well.
"Finn," she says, a note of warning in her voice. He glances at her, and looks away.
"All right," he says. "I was just asking."
Lorelai is home, and she's about as happy to see Colin and Finn on her doorstep as Rory thought she would be.
"Honey, we're home," Finn calls out, and Rory rolls her eyes. She's barely got the door open when her mother appears in the foyer.
Lorelai smiles at Rory, and looks questioningly at the men behind her. Rory touches her arm, ushering her into the kitchen as Finn and Colin struggle with her books.
"They offered to help," she explains, and it sounds almost like an apology. "Sorry if we're intruding."
Lorelai smiles again, and there's something not quite right in it, but Rory isn't sure exactly what. "You're not intruding," she assures her. "It's fine."
Are you? Rory wants to ask, but this really isn't the place. So she follows her mother back out to the living room to help with her things.
"Where can we put these?" Colin asks, and Rory mumbles something as she points to her bedroom. Finn doesn't say anything, but he winks at Lorelai as he walks past. She doesn't seem to notice.
It doesn't take them long to unload everything. Finn hangs around like he's waiting for a tip, and for a moment, Rory considers giving him one. But Lorelai hasn't said anything about the two men in her house, doesn't look like she's going to say anything, and Rory thinks it'd be a good idea - an even better idea - for them to leave, right now. Colin helps, which makes it easier; a few choice words about Cabo and ill-advisedly cheap tequila, and they're gone with only a few backwards looks.
"Are you okay?" she asks finally, once Colin has called whatever car service they're using to get back to New Haven and they're gone from the front yard. Lorelai doesn't say anything for a minute, but eventually she shakes her head, looking down at the kitchen floor.
"What ..." Rory begins, and doesn't quite know how to finish. What happened? she wants to ask; is it Luke? But she doesn't, because something tells her that silence would be better.
"Luke and I broke up," Lorelai says finally, and it breaks Rory's heart that she's half been expecting it. She steps forward, and bites her lip; she has so many questions, and she doesn't think any of them is the right one.
"We need ice cream," she says finally, because this, at least, is what they do. She fishes some spoons out of a drawer - plastic, of course, and extras in case they break - and opens the freezer. "Oh." Oh.
"We're out of ice cream," she says slowly, because she doesn't know exactly what her mother is thinking - not any more - and this could be a low blow. "I'll get more." Her voice is bright; too bright, but Lorelai still isn't speaking, and she feels like she has to fill the space between them.
She spares a look behind her as she leaves; Lorelai still hasn't moved.
Finn's back sooner than she expected; which is obvious, really, because she hadn't expected him back at all. She would call Finn a lot of things - has called him a lot of things - but tenacious isn't usually one of them.
He breezes into her house like he belongs there, Colin trailing a few steps behind, and settles down on the couch.
"Darling," he says by way of greeting, and Rory rolls her eyes.
"What are you doing here?" she asks. It's mostly directed at Colin, and he shrugs. Finn puts his feet up on the table.
"She's not here," she says, and Finn shoots her a look that's probably supposed to be innocent indignation.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," he says.
Rory stares at him until he turns away.
"All right," he admits finally. "But we're going to have to work on your attitude, young lady. When I'm your stepfather -"
Rory stops him there, because that still stings. She still doesn't know what happened, except that they get their coffee from Weston's now and her mother avoided Doose's for a full week before she forgot and ran in to get red vines. Rory hasn't spoken to Luke, and she isn't sure if she's supposed to. Sometimes, she'd kill for a really good cup of coffee, but some things are more important.
"Can you get him out of here?" she asks Colin. He nods understandingly, and tries to pull Finn off the couch.
"Is that any way to treat a guest?" Finn asks, and Rory glares at him.
"Out," she says.
Finn gets up slowly, and points a finger at Rory as he leaves.
"I'll be back," he tells her, and she believes it.
When he comes back again, he brings enough alcohol to keep Miss Patty in punch for a week. Colin shrugs apologetically at Rory as she lets them in, mostly because she thinks it would probably be more trouble than it's worth to try to get him to leave. She steps aside, and Lorelai comes out of the kitchen, raising her eyebrows.
"What are you doing here?" she asks Finn. He tries his best to look offended.
"Thanksgiving, darling," he says, and carries the box to the kitchen table.
"Thanksgiving's over, Finn," she tells him, not trying too hard to keep the irritation out of her voice.
She sighs. "Christmas isn't for another three weeks."
He rolls his eyes like she's completely missing the point. "Well, then it's for Arbor Day."
"Arbor Day's in April."
He smiles as he pulls out a bottle. "It's never a bad time to celebrate trees."
Rory knows when she's fighting a losing battle, but she takes the bottle from him and puts it back in the box, anyway. "And it's nine a.m."
Finn pouts, but he doesn't argue. Instead, he takes a seat at the table, looking for all the world as if he's done this before. "I'll have some coffee, then," he says.
Rory rolls her eyes at Lorelai, who looks more amused than anything. She grabs the coffee pot, filling a mug unceremoniously.
"Coffee?" she asks Colin, who nods. She hands him a mug, and fills a third for her mother, who leans against the kitchen bench.
"You have a very nice house," Colin offers, and it sounds mostly sincere. Rory shakes her head, and they settle into something like silence for a minute until Lorelai pulls her towards the living room.
Lorelai looks at Rory, but Rory doesn't think she looks mad.
She shrugs. "They're lonely," she says, by way of explanation. "It's the holidays."
"Don't they have their own homes to go to?"
Rory bites her lip. "Not really," she says, and it's actually the truth. "I don't think they really know where to go."
Lorelai's tone is sharp, but it doesn't match her expression. "Shouldn't they be on some life or death trip?"
"Mom ..." Her tone says it all; please be nice and that's Logan you're talking about, too and they haven't been on one of those trips since he nearly died. Apparently, it works, because Lorelai shrugs, and Rory thinks she almost smiles.
"All right," she says, trying to sound put out but not quite succeeding. "They can stay. But if they drink all the coffee ..."
"It's just the Death Brigade, got it," Rory agrees, smiling. When they walk back into the kitchen, Colin and Finn are flicking cards at each other, and she doesn't bother to wonder where they got them.
"What time is it?" Lorelai asks, and Colin glances at his watch before answering.
Lorelai sighs. "Good enough," she says, and reaches across the table for the tequila.
It really is very bad tequila, Lorelai reflects. In fact, she isn't sure if she's ever had alcohol this bad before. Even when she was nineteen, when she would drink whatever she could afford and whatever she could get her hands on, she doesn't think she drank anything quite this awful.
It's refreshing, really; after a few drinks, she finds it almost endearing. (Almost.) And it does the trick.
They're halfway through the second bottle by lunchtime, and she's almost forgotten to care that there are two strange men in her house.
She's also really hungry.
"I'll make us something," Finn offers, and Lorelai laughs. He looks at her like that's a strange reaction, but after a few minutes of hunting through her kitchen, he seems to understand.
"There's no food in this kitchen," he says, like he expects her to be surprised. She raises an eyebrow.
"We don't keep food in the house," Rory explains. She's slurring her words, and Lorelai wonders when it became socially acceptable for her to get drunk with her own daughter on the living room floor. She doesn't bother to reflect that maybe it still isn't; it's something her parents would definitely approve of, so that probably makes it okay.
"What do you do when you get hungry?" Finn asks, coming back to sit on the couch.
"We go out," Rory says.
He stands back up again. "Well, then, let's go out."
Lorelai's surprised at how bright it is outside; it seems so much more wrong to be drunk in the daylight. Rory stumbles against her as they walk down the porch steps, and she laughs.
"Doose's?" she asks, when they get to town. Rory nods, and Lorelai tries to keep a straight face as they enter the store. They grab a basket each, filling them with anything they don't have to prepare themselves; she wouldn't risk using the oven under the best circumstances, and this is probably not them.
Bonnie is behind the counter when they get to the checkout, and Lorelai rolls her eyes. "This is going to take forever," she says to Rory.
Rory shrugs. "You can go outside, if you want," she offers. "I can pay."
Lorelai doesn't bother to argue, because fresh air sounds really good right now. She leans against the side of the store once she's outside, trying not to make direct eye contact with anyone passing by.
As a plan, it works all right until she doesn't notice Luke walking towards her.
"Lorelai," he says, and she looks up. His face is impassive, his voice friendly but not warm, and she really, really hates the way he looks at her now. She'd almost rather he hated her; at least then, she'd know he felt something.
"Luke," she says, willing her voice not to catch. "Hi."
"Hi." He shuffles a little, puts his hands in his pockets, and she pushes her hair back from her face. "So, how's it going?"
"Fine," she says, and it's the truth; everything is just fine now. "How are you?"
"Good. Fine. I'm fine."
She would laugh if it were anyone else, because the awkwardness is more painful than the part that's actually supposed to be. But it isn't anyone else; it's Luke, and it's her, and so she smiles without meaning it and says nothing.
"Lorelai, darling, I'm dying of old age in there." Finn stumbles out to stand beside her, and cringes. "I think I'm actually starting to sober up."
Lorelai lets out a breath as Luke glances from her to Finn, and she can see his expression tighten. "Luke," she says, but he's already walking away, and she doesn't try to stop him.
When Finn drapes an arm across her shoulders, she doesn't shrug it off. "Friend of yours?" he asks.
"We were engaged," she says, and she's surprised at how even her voice is.
"Were engaged," he repeats thoughtfully, and nods. He looks up as Rory and Colin come out of Doose's, and lets his arm drop.
"Come on, love," he says, taking one of the bags from Rory. "The tequila isn't going to drink itself."
By the time the sky begins to darken outside, the bags of food they bought are half empty, and Lorelai doesn't bother to check how much of the alcohol is gone. Rory is passed out on the couch, her legs propped up on Colin as he gestures with a mostly empty bottle of something she didn't care to try.
"And that's why it's ridiculous," he says, and Lorelai's already forgotten the beginning of the story. "But they're completely unreasonable. Still won't let me back in the country."
Finn laughs, and Lorelai suspects it's more out of familiarity than amusement. She rolls her eyes, because she's sure that's what she should be doing at this juncture, and takes another drink.
"So," Finn says, sounding for all the world as if he hasn't been drinking for the past eight hours. "What do we say? Strip poker?"
Lorelai laughs, and doesn't bother to answer; she thinks he probably wasn't expecting one. When she reaches for the bottle again she accidentally knocks it over, and decides, belatedly, that it's probably time for coffee anyway.
"Coffee?" she asks, when Finn follows her into the kitchen. He smiles and leans forward, one hand beside her waist on the kitchen counter.
"You have gorgeous eyes," he says, and she laughs again, because the entire day has been surreal, but this might just take the cake.
"Never gonna happen," she says, and pours the coffee.
She's wrong, of course; but then, she usually is.
She doesn't know how many times he's been over by then, but she's stopped thinking it's strange. He brings coffee, and she thinks maybe he's actually starting to get to know her.
"Ethiopian," he says, brandishing a bag. "Apparently my father owns a plantation there." He shrugs like it's no big deal, and she thinks, not for the first time, that his life is really nothing at all like hers. But he brought coffee, so she's willing to overlook it for now.
He brews it hot and strong, and she closes her eyes as she takes the first sip.
"This is really good coffee," she breathes, and he smiles as if she knows that's not something she says lightly.
"I've got plenty," he says. "I'll bring over some more."
She considers telling him not to bother, but it is really good coffee, and that's one thing she always misses. So she smiles, and takes another sip as he watches her.
They talk about Rory, and Logan, and what he's going to do with his life now that he's graduated (he's thinking about opening up a coffee plantation of his own, he says, and she knows he's lying). By the time they're both on their third cup, the coffee's almost gone, and she licks the last drop from her bottom lip.
He smells like coffee as he leans over her to put his cup on the counter, and his hand brushes her hip when he steps back. She only pauses for a moment before leaning into him, and he puts his hands on her waist as he leans down.
He tastes like coffee, too, and she bites his bottom lip softly as his hands move to her back. This is probably wrong, she knows, but she's surprised at how little she cares. She's definitely surprised at how much she wants this.
She lets out a breath as she pulls away, and he takes a step back. He doesn't look like she thought he would, all smug and satisfied, but when she smiles, he smiles back.
"I still want the rest of that coffee," she says, and kisses him again.