The wind whipped Lorelai's hair as she leaned on the railing and looked out over the water. It was a beautiful day. This trip with Luke had been worthwhile after all, if only for the scenery—emerald forests with the bright colours of cottages, houses and towns buried within; and far beyond, blue hillsides sweeping upwards. It was refreshing to look at scenery instead of being the mute third party in an animated conversation between Luke and April.

Neither she and Luke had expected April to come along, but at the last minute she'd decided she'd rather be with her dad than at a science camp. Of course, she'd tried to turn the whole boat trip into a science camp. But that was April. She and Lorelai were getting along surprisingly well, all things considered. Actually, they were like old friends. But Luke and April…

Luke and April were like father and daughter. Lorelai sighed. The sky was clear except for the faintest threads of cloud, and the sun was dazzlingly bright without being over-warm. Below her feet, the water flowed turquoise-blue and sparkling. In the background, she could hear the hum of the boat's motor—and voices. They grew closer, approaching her.

"And Dad, you should see the orthoptera specimen I collected. If I just add nine more insects I'll beat Chris Peterson."

"Who's Chris Peterson?"

"A boy in my class. He's really smart. He has the biggest bug collection you have ever seen. He's even got a tarantula hawk wasp."

"Sounds like an impressive collection."

"It's a superlative collection. But mine is gonna be better."

"Of course it is."

"Except, I just need one thing."

"Should I get out my bug spray? Or do I need bee-keeping gear?"

"Oh, dad. I'm not going to put us through an aparian operation. Bees scare me."

"So what are we after then?"

"Can we go on a hike? Please? Because I hear that they have some great coleoptera here. And maybe I can even get an indigo dustywing. They don't have those in New Mexico."

"Fine, we'll go for a hike. You can collect bugs, and I'll test you on your wilderness survival skills."

"Ha, for your information, I read that whole booklet you gave me. I am ready to send out flares and stomp out forest fires. But dad? You can't use my predilection for insects to make me try out all the edible insects on the trail."

"What, you like bugs but you don't want to eat them?"

"Ew, dad! Just because I like something doesn't mean I want it in my digestive system."

"Okay. Just don't make me chase green and brown butterflies through the forest all afternoon."

"Deal. You're the best, dad."

"So meet on deck after lunch?"

"You bet."

April scampered away, and Luke approached the railing. Lorelai half-turned.

"So, you're going bug hunting."

"How'd you know?"

She pointed to her ears. "These are handy devices, you know? Pick up sound waves from yards away."

"You want to come along?"

"I'm not big on small things that crawl."

"So no bug hunting."

"I think I'll skip out this time."

There was a pause, while they both leaned over the railing, watching the water flow past and admiring the lush coastline beyond. The loud thumping and whirring of a helicopter above was a welcome sound in what would otherwise be uncomfortable silence. Finally Lorelai spoke.

"So, the trip's almost over and it feels like you and I are always doing different things."

"I know. I know. Uh…okay, we'll compromise. April and I will go for our hike in the morning, and then we'll do what you want to do in the afternoon."

"No, go ahead, do your thing for the whole day. You wouldn't be crazy about the Newport Jazz Festival anyway."

"No, no, it's world famous, right? I can get into jazz. April likes music, she'd probably love it. I'll go ask her. April, sweetie!"

"Luke, really. You don't have to put on an act for me."

"I'm not acting. I want to spend more time with you. It doesn't matter if it's jazz or Beethoven. We'll be listening to it together."

"You used to mock the stuff I liked. Go ahead, mock. I can take it."

"I don't feel like mocking. You want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you listen to what they have to say."

"Babe, you don't even understand what I say when I say it. Take the other day, when April said she wanted to go to San Francisco and I told her, make sure and wear some flowers. You had no clue what I meant."

"No, I knew you were quoting some, uh, poem by some guy from a hundred years ago."

"See, see, you had no idea! Why didn't you just come out and say it instead of standing there and nodding like you were the only toddler at the Summer of Love?"

"Music, movies, it's your thing. I go along with it."

"But you don't like it. You camp, you cook, occasionally you read a book. See, that rhymed! And you are grimacing."

"Okay, okay, I don't like rhymes, I don't like riddles, I don't need all these cultural references. It was cute when you'd come into the diner every day, it was cute for a while when we were dating, it isn't cute now."

"Why not?"

"Because we're planning a future together. We're going to spend every day of our lives together."

"Oh, that suddenly makes my banter D-listed? You liked it when we were dating."

"Look, there's a lot of things that I like that I don't want to live with every day!"

"You used to think it was cute. You'd tease me about it."

"You used to like my teasing."

"You used to like my cooking."

"I do like your cooking. It's just that when they made the seafood compartment in my stomach, they made it about a tenth the size of yours and sensitive to anything with gills."

"We're on the water, there's fish in the water. It's what you eat when you go on a boat trip."

"Maybe I don't like boats."

"Look, we'll be on dry land soon enough and you can go to your show-whatever-thingy and April and I will tag along."

"Or maybe we should just call it a day."

"What? It's 10 in the morning."

"Luke. I'm not talking about this trip."

There was a brief, stunned silence on Luke's side.

"You're giving up? I mean, I thought we were going to try to make this work. I thought you wanted that."

"So, it's what you want?"

"I just want you to be happy."

"And you're happy, right?


"Totally content and a-okay with going full-steam ahead, all flags flying?"



"I see it now."

"Nice as the water looks right now, it's not going to be smooth sailing and balmy sunshine all the way through."

"We've changed, huh?"

"You have April. After one year she gets you better than I ever will."

"She's my daughter."

"Yup, a carbon copy of bluntness and sarcasm with a heart of gold underneath."

"So do you think we would have made it if she hadn't shown up?"

"We probably would have sailed off into the sunset on June 3rd. We would have just seen the choppy water a little later."

"Yeah. Do think we would have made it if I hadn't been such an idiot when I found out?"

"Maybe, if I'd stopped my Marcel Marceau act a few weeks sooner."

"You think we would have had a chance if I hadn't run to Christopher?"

"The odds weren't great, but I would have given it my best shot."

"And now?"

"You don't want it. I don't want it."

"I think our chances are about a thousand to one."

"We changed."

"April changed you. In a good way. You're a dad, a great dad. You and April, you just click."

"You changed too. You and Christopher, the two of you click."

"Luke, Chris and I are over. I'm over him."

"I know, I didn't mean that. I just meant...sometimes he understood you better than I did."

"He was my first...boyfriend."

"I know. If I had come along first maybe things would have been different."


"Or maybe we wouldn't even have noticed each other. Maybe the only reason we got together is because we were both stuck in this crazy town and we were lonely and we were there for each other."

"It's a possibility."

Lorelai's face was turned away from Luke. He shifted awkwardly.

"Hey, hey, don't cry. Uh—'cause I don't have the biggest supply of Kleenex on this boat and what there is, is probably soggy."

"Yeah. You've, ah, you've got something in your eye."

"Yeah, that salt water really irritates the eyes."

"Maybe you need to wear goggles."

"Yeah, yeah, maybe I should buy some when we get to the next town."

"That would be a good idea."

The water lapped against the boat, a sound that seemed loud in the silence. Even Lorelai's next words were barely audible.



"Thanks for being there for me."

"Oh, it was, it was nothing. I'd do it all over again. You was worth it."

"So, do I still get my caffeine fix every morning? 'Cause I understand if you don't…"

"That depends on if you ask nicely and don't insist on a triple helping of fries afterwards."

"Only on rainy days or days when my mom calls twice."

"Yeah, and if you try to sweet-talk me, your coffee might just get cold."

"You won't let it get cold. You never do!'

Luke grinned faintly, apparently thinking of a retort. There was a gleam of humour in his eyes—but also the glimmer of tears. Lorelai realized they probably mirrored her own. But she also realized, to her faint surprise, that the tears probably wouldn't last long.