Lorelai stood in front of her closet, in the exact spot she'd been in three hours ago. Sookie had made her take the week off. While she had protested, she knew that she really needed it. She was a mess. She had thought that she still had the whole summer to spend time with Rory. She had thought Rory would get a job in Hartford, and that they'd see each other every week at Friday night dinner. Lorelai had never expected that Rory would be traveling the country so soon. Yes, she was destined to be Christiane Amanpour, but not now. She wasn't ready to lose her daughter. Rory had only been gone for a few days, but it already felt like years. This morning, she had left her house for the first time since Rory had left. As she stepped into the diner, and begged for coffee, she almost felt guilty, like she shouldn't be there without Rory. She knew that she was acting ridiculous, after all, she had gone to the diner thousands of times while Rory was at Yale. Besides, Luke was in the diner, and if anyone could make her feel better, it was Luke. However, it was too weird being in the diner, and Miss Patty and Babette were shooting her sympathetic looks. As she was hurrying out of the diner, Luke lightly grabbed her arm, and asked her out to dinner that night. They had also discussed entering into a relationship with each other. So, of course, she went home, and, because she had nothing to do, she started planning her outfit. And, three hours later, she was stuck.
In frustration, she grabbed a whole rack of rejected dresses, and threw them on the floor. As she did so, an old cookbook fell off of the top shelf of her closet. Lorelai bent down, and opened the book in confusion. She hadn't even known that she owned a cookbook. She opened the front page, and read, in Rory's handwriting, I'm going to be a cook someday and I'm going to make my mom a pie. Tears swam in her eyes as she remembered the day they had bought that cookbook. Rory was four, and Lorelai had promised her that she'd buy her a book after going shopping for clothes, which had bored Rory at the time. There were many interesting books in the store, but all Rory had wanted was a cookbook, so that she could bake Lorelai a pie. That week, after many failed attempts at cooking, and them almost burning the house down, Lorelai had hidden the book in her closet, and brought Sookie over to help Rory make her pie. It was ironic that today was the day she found the cookbook. Lorelai took a deep breath. She would have to move on. Tonight, she would start a new chapter in her life. Hopefully, everything would work out between her and Luke.
Lorelai stared miserably at her closet. Normally, on her first-dates, she would ask Rory for help. But she couldn't do that now. She wanted to call Sookie, but knew she was busy at the inn. She knew that if she didn't find some help, she wouldn't be able to decide what to wear. It also didn't help that she wasn't in the mood to go anywhere.
There was one person who could help her out. Someone who knew about proper outfits, and what one should wear to a specific occasion. Even though she vehemently disapproves of all of Lorelai's outfits, she could still help her. Besides, she wasn't calling Emily Gilmore just for help picking out an outfit. If one person could relate to losing their daughter, it was her mother. Sighing, she picked up her phone and dialed the Gilmore residence.
Emily answered the phone, "Hello?"
"Hi, Mom, it's Lorelai, and I was just wondering if you could come over."
Emily sighed, "Lorelai, this is very unexpected. I have many things to do around the house, and there's a new maid, and…"
Lorelai interrupted her, "Fine, Mom. I don't even know why I called you. I just wanted some advice on what to wear to something, but I know you're busy, so just forget that I called, okay?"
Emily replied, "Don't be ridiculous, Lorelai. I can come over, I was just mentioning that I happen to be busy at the moment. I'll see you soon."
Finally, an hour later, Emily rang the doorbell. Lorelai answered it, "What took so long?"
Emily rolled her eyes, "I was about to leave when I saw a pile of balls in the yard. I went over to inspect the balls, and…"
Lorelai giggled, "Dirty!"
Emily glared at her, "Do you want me to continue explaining why I was late, or are you going to continue with your childish antics?"
Lorelai pouted, "Fine, go on."
"So I go over to inspect the balls, and they're baseballs. And I look over the fence at the neighbor's house, and there are all of those boys, staring at me, looking scared to death for some reason. So I hand them the balls, and they run away as fast as possible. It was very strange."
Lorelai remarked, "Sounds like they thought you were Mr. Mertle. All you're missing is a big, hairy dog to chew up the baseballs for you."
"Lorelai, what in the world are you talking about?"
Lorelai widened her eyes, "You mean you've never seen The Sandlot?"
"Lorelai, I obviously don't have the spare time that you do to go around watching every movie made."
Lorelai said, "I was only saying that they think you're a Mr. Mertle. Except he turned out to be nice in the end."
Emily rolled her eyes, "Lorelai, why did you call me? With the price of gas the way it is now, it had better be important."
"Well, you can blame your precious George Bush and his war for that."
Lorelai sighed, as they both sat down on her couch, "Fine, Mom, I'll tell you, because we all know that patience isn't your best virtue. I'm going on a date tonight. I've been sitting in front of my closet for hours, and I can't decide what to wear."
Emily looked pleasantly surprised, "Really? With who, may I ask?"
Lorelai had hoped that they would never have to come around to this question. She looked out her window, and pretended to be fascinated with Babette's cat, who was running around the yard. She said, "Oh, um, it's just Luke."
"Oh. Him again?"
"Yes, it is Luke again. And you don't have to pretend that you're happy for me, Mom, because I know that you're not. I don't even know why I called you."
Emily replied, "Lorelai, don't be so dramatic. I never said that I wasn't happy for you. I'm just surprised, that's all."
"What makes you so surprised?"
"You might think that I didn't care enough to pay attention, Lorelai, but I knew you were upset for the last few months that you were engaged to the man. I just didn't think that you wanted to put yourself through all of that pain again."
Lorelai decided that, if she was ever going to defend Luke to her mother, now was the time, "We're just going on one date. Besides, I was really happy with him. Yes, we had problems. He's the one man who really cares about Rory. He's always done everything to make sure that we were okay. I'm just hoping that the timing is going to be right for us now."
Emily asked, "He still has a daughter, doesn't he?"
"So, how do you know that the problems will be fixed? If April's still in his life, what makes you think that you can be happy again?"
Lorelai said slowly, "Because he wasn't the only one making mistakes in the relationship. We could've fixed things after I spoke up. I told him what I'd been feeling, and then I just ended things. I think that we both needed a do-over, and this is our only chance. This time we're going to be honest with each other, hopefully."
Emily asked, "Isn't this a bit sudden? You just got divorced from Christopher, and now you're talking about marriage with Luke?"
"Mom, I'm not talking about marriage at all! I'm talking about getting a chance to finally be happy. Can't you accept that?"
Emily sighed, "Lorelai, stop jumping at everything I've said. I just thought that it was too soon."
Lorelai shook her head, "Mom, you and Dad probably think that the breakup with Christopher was my fault, that I screwed up another part of my life. But I couldn't help it. I never loved Chris. And I never stopped loving Luke."
Emily nodded, "Fine. Then I support you. Just make sure that when you bring him over, he looks presentable, and doesn't look like he's just stepped off of a construction site."
Lorelai was too shocked at her mother's approval that she didn't even bother to counter the insults Emily had just given Luke. She said, "Really? You mean it?"
Emily stood up, "Of course, Lorelai, if I didn't mean it, then why would I have said it?"
They went upstairs to start looking for an outfit for Lorelai to wear. Emily saw Lorelai's room, and she shook her head in disapproval, "Honestly, Lorelai, how do even find anything in here?"
"It's not usually this bad. It's just that I haven't been up to cleaning ever since Rory left."
"That's ridiculous. Cleaning isn't something that one just feels up to doing, it's a necessity."
Lorelai wasn't listening, she was staring at the cookbook that was still on top of her bed. Emily walked over to the bed, and sat down, looking at the cookbook. After a few moments, she said quietly, "I know that it's hard, Lorelai, but everything will be okay. At least you know where Rory is. At least you know that she'll call, and that she'll eventually come home."
Lorelai looked up from the cookbook, tears in her eyes, "I'm sorry, Mom. If I had known that it hurts this much…"
Emily held up a hand to silence her. "Lorelai, I think that we've discussed this enough over the years. For now, you need to concentrate on your date with Luke. If it goes well, then we can talk about this later."
Lorelai nodded, "Thanks for all of your help, Mom. Maybe we could do this more often?"
Emily smiled. Maybe everything would be okay between her and Lorelai for the moment, "I'd like that. Now let's find you that perfect outfit!"
A few hours later, Lorelai was adding on her finishing touches of makeup. Her mother had found her the perfect blue dress to wear. It had fallen down with the cookbook, but Lorelai had been too preoccupied with the book to see it before Emily pointed it out. Luke rang the doorbell, and Lorelai grabbed her purse, and answered it. Suddenly, she was nervous. After all, it was a first date. She smiled nervously, "Hi."
Luke looked at her. She looked beautiful, but he could tell that she was still torn up over Rory leaving. He said, "Wow, you look amazing."
Lorelai laughed, "Amazing? Really?"
He shrugged, "Yeah, it's one of April's new words, and now she's got me saying it. You ready?"
Lorelai nodded, "Yeah, let's go." She wasn't sure whether April being mentioned in the first minute of the date was a good or a bad sign. Whatever it was, she knew that she and Luke had a lot to discuss.
As she got into his truck, she asked, "So, where are we going? Is it a surprise? Cause I love surprises. Especially if they're ponies."
He said, "I thought that we'd go to Sniffy's. If you don't want to go there, we can do something else, or…"
Lorelai smiled at him, "Sniffy's sounds perfect. But I want to discuss something with you before we go anywhere."
He nodded, "Sure."
"I need to know what this means, Luke. I'm not just diving headfirst into another relationship where we can't be honest to each other. I need to know if you're going to let me be a part of April's life this time around."
He nodded, "Absolutely. I don't think that I've apologized to you enough, but this time I'm going to be completely honest with you."
Lorelai replied, "I don't need you to apologize. We both made mistakes the last time around. But if you promise that things are going to work out, then I'm in."
He looked her in the eye, "I promise. And while we're on the subject, April's in town right now."
Last year, Lorelai would've offered to stay away from the diner. This time was different. She offered, "Luke, if April's here, then we don't need to go out. You should get to spend some time with her."
Luke shook his head, "No. I promised that I'd spend tonight with you, and that's what I'm going to do?"
"Can't I come back to the diner with you so that I can meet April again?"
Luke thought for a moment, "That's actually a really good idea. April would love to see you. Are you sure you don't mind?"
Lorelai said, "Of course I don't mind."
"But you're all dressed up, and ready to go out."
"Yeah, but none of that matters anymore. I'd much rather get to know April."
He nodded, "If that's what you want to do, then we'll do it." He started the ignition to drive them to the diner, "Are we good?"
Lorelai smiled, "I hope so."
Luke said, "Everything is going to work out this time, Lorelai. I promise. I'm not going to let you go."
They shared a short, sweet kiss, and then headed off to the diner. Lorelai was in a better mood than she'd been in all week. She got out of the truck, and walked into the diner. This new relationship with Luke was going to work. And she would slowly learn how to live without Rory. Everything would be okay.