A/N: Thank you all for your patience in my sporadic updating! I love you for it. And I need to thank R.M. Jackson for pointing out the stupid mistakes I made in this one, because I'd have laughed at myself if I'd posted it and let you all read it... I'd be humiliated that I missed it, and that I let you read it! So, Reggie, thanks for saving me from the double pathetic! Reviews are like free french fries at Luke's (or are they wink-winkers?)
Rory grabbed another handful of popcorn and absently placed a few pieces in her mouth while her eyes remained on the television. Lorelai sporadically reached for the bowl of popcorn, but she couldn't concentrate on the movie. She wanted Rory to explain why she was home. Lorelai knew it was for a reason other than a random surprise, she could tell by the way Rory was acting. She felt guilty for questioning Rory's motives for coming home, and tried to tell herself to ignore her gut instinct and hope Rory was just visiting, but thoughts of a career move kept entering Lorelai's mind.
Maybe she was wrong. Maybe Rory just needed to be home for a little while, for one reason or another. She rolled the edge of the bag of Red Vines as far as it would go and then released it before repeating the process. Lorelai had no idea what was going on with Rory, and it was killing her.
She watched as Rory continued to focus on the television without a word uttered. Lorelai was getting antsy. Finally, Lorelai grabbed the remote control and paused the movie. She brought her knees to her chest and turned to face Rory. "So you want to tell me what's going on with this visit home?"
Rory gave a nervous smile. "You knew it wasn't just for a visit, huh?"
"Sweets, you have many gifts. Lying is not one of them, unfortunately."
Rory toyed with the end of the throw pillow on the couch, turning to see Lorelai better. Lorelai pushed herself against the arm rest to allow Rory more room to get comfortable. She made sure she was calm on the outside and on the inside, because whatever it was that was bothering Rory was obviously a big deal; Rory seemed nervous to talk about it.
"I, uh, resigned," Rory said softly, looking down at her chipped toenail polish.
"You resigned?" Lorelai repeated. She was shocked.
Rory nodded. "I resigned. I wrote an article on Senator Obama's chance of clinching the nomination. They thought it was a poor reflection on him, and asked me to change it. Mom, I can't change the facts. I worded them differently, but they still didn't like it. I told them that they were a journalistic disaster to the level of Pompeii and the Titanic if they wanted me to make up stories. Then, after I collected myself, I wrote a letter of resignation and asked for my vacation time before I trained my replacement."
Lorelai could sense Rory's disappointment. She opened her arms and Rory leaned over. The look on Rory's face was crushing. Lorelai stroked her daughter's straight brown hair as she listened to her rant.
"I mean, that's not fair. I write facts, Mom. I don't write what's not true. I could get sued for that. I could lose my job. But apparently, this time, I lost a good opportunity for doing what's right."
"You did the right thing, sweets," Lorelai insisted. "This will all be okay. You have a degree from Yale. Someone's going to want you on their staff."
Rory sat up. "I've already applied at the Boston Globe, the ProJo again, and the Chicago Sun Times. I'm thinking about the Courant, but I'm not sure. I'm so sorry, Mom. I shouldn't have gone away unless I was sure that this was what I wanted. Things were working out for a long time, but I guess it just went downhill as they kept asking me to manipulate my work."
"You don't have to justify this with me, Rory. You're an adult, you make your own decisions. I trust you."
Rory sighed. She looked at Lorelai and continued her catharsis of frustration. "I don't know, Mom, I mean, I knew this wasn't for me. But I swore I'd finish what I started and stick it out, for your sake, for my sanity, and because I wanted this on my résumé."
Lorelai leaned her elbow against the back of the couch and rested her head in the palm of her hand as she listened. She smiled at Rory, trying to alleviate her daughter's concerns. "I understand."
"You did what you had to. You stood up for what you believed was right. Plus, I'd rather not see the silver bracelets they call handcuffs on your wrists for writing stuff that wasn't true."
Rory let out a soft giggle and ran her hand through her hair. She glanced at Luke, who was still in the kitchen. "Is he okay in there?"
Lorelai smiled as she looked in the kitchen. Luke was doing the dishes from dinner. She loved how Luke gave her some alone time with Rory, but knew when to include himself in conversations. Lorelai was thrilled that Luke was becoming more comfortable with the entire situation. Turning back to Rory, she shrugged. "We were having a serious chat when you walked in. It's no big deal, really. He's just stepping back and letting me interrogate you. We'll have to pick it up later."
"A serious chat? Is everything okay?"
"Oh, everything's fine. It was the, uh, reproduction talk," Lorelai said, hesitating for a moment before finishing her sentence.
"Did you use the 'stork' bit or the 'when two people love each other very much' line?"
Lorelai snorted. "Luke's actually more of a "hands on" type of learner himself, so I figured…"
"Oh, mom, GROSS!" Rory said as her hands instinctively flew to her ears to block out the unwanted information being offered by her mother.
Reaching over to move Rory's hands, Lorelai shook her head and laughed. "I won't say anything else, I promise."
Rory placed her hands back on her ears once more, covering them and making loud noises to avoid hearing anything that Lorelai said. "La la la! I don't believe you! La la la!"
"What do you want me to do, swear on the bible?"
"Do we even have a bible in this house?" Rory asked, scrunching up her nose as part of her thought process.
Lorelai laughed. "Mrs. Kim got us one as a housewarming gift. I have it in a box somewhere."
Rory nodded. "So anyway. You guys had the reproduction talk? What did you decide?"
"It was an extremely tentative yes, but we didn't get around to going deeper into the conversation."
Lorelai laughed. "You came through the door and scared the hell out of Luke. He swore that you were Kirk, practicing his karate skills."
"Kirk does karate?"
"He's terrible at it. He's been trying to chop anything made of wood in half. He's broken his hand already."
"Poor Kirk," Rory said. "I'm sorry I interrupted your talk, I should go unpack and let you guys talk some more."
Lorelai put her hand on Rory's shoulder to prevent her from getting up. "I think we're kind of in an agreement. I don't think there was really any doubt, I just think he wanted confirmation."
"This is something you guys need to plan, though," Rory insisted. "It takes lots of planning… and I'm officially out of this conversation now, because it's taking a very disgusting turn."
"We'll talk eventually," Lorelai replied. "We're just glad everything's okay, and we're also glad that you weren't Kirk."
"You said 'we'," Rory pointed out.
"I like that you're starting to think as a unit. It's nice," she said.
Lorelai smiled. "Thanks, sweets." She reached over and pressed the 'play' button on the remote control. She wasn't going to let the 'reproduction' talk linger, but tonight wasn't the night to finish it. Her mind was lost in thoughts of Rory going far away again. She grabbed a Red Vine and chewed it as she thought. Was secretly hoping that papers located more than a few hours from Stars Hollow were not hiring… wrong?