"Kate get your butt down here now," I yell from downstairs. Kate or Elizabeth technically, was our eldest daughter, she was sixteen.
"Dad," Kate says to me on her way down. "Don't use the word butt, seriously."
"Fine, where's your sisters?" I ask her.
"Hell if I know," Kate replies with a smirk on her face.
"Don't let you mother hear you using that language," I warn her as I pull her into a hug.
"Elizabeth," Rory says coming down the stairs.
"You've done it now," I tell Kate.
"What?" Kate asks Rory nervously.
"Did you tie your sisters up?" Rory asks her and she just smirks back, she really was too much like me.
"Maybe," Kate replies. "And my name's Kate, not Elizabeth."
"See we should have called her Katherine," I tell Rory amused. "Kate is short for Katherine."
"Jess go upstairs and untie our other daughters," Rory tells me sternly. "You were the one who taught Kate how to tie knots after all."
"I'm sorry mom," I hear Kate apologize behind me as I make my way up the stairs. "Didn't you ever want to tie up Ryan and Nate? This is just the same as that."
"Hello?" I ask as I knock on my girl's bedroom door.
"Dad," I hear there muffled screams from behind their makeshift gags and let out a small laugh.
"Erin what did you do to get into this mess?" I ask my second eldest daughter as I pull the gag from her mouth.
"Nothing daddy, I swear," Twelve year old Erin replies smiling up at me.
"And you Emma?" I ask my youngest next, she was only eight and she had her strong morals like Rory, so I knew that she would answer me truthfully if I asked her. "Why'd Kate tie you up?"
"Because Erin read her diary," Emma tells me as I begin to untie them. "She read it out to me. Nate and her went to some party with alco…ma-hol."
"It's alcohol sweetie," I tell Emma as I finish untying her hands, she always had trouble saying that word, but she always tried to say it, she never avoided it, and I loved that about her.
"You're not mad?" Erin asks me confused. "But Uncle Finn told us all those stories of drinking, Kate shouldn't be allowed to drink, it's bad for her."
"You said Kate went to a party where there was drinking," I tell them. "That doesn't mean that she was drinking, and if she was then your mother and I will deal with it accordingly."
"I'm free," Emma rejoices as she stands up.
"Come on," I say to them. "We're heading to the diner for lunch."
"Is Ryan back yet?" Erin asks me excitedly.
"Yeah, I heard he came in this morning," I tell her as I lead them out of the house. "He won't be staying for long though."
Ryan was twenty-three. He finished college with a degree in psychology and was currently living in New York. He was helping troubled teens there, which was completely ironic with my past and all, but I'm sure that if I had someone like him to help me out back when I was sixteen then maybe I would have had a better childhood.
"Daddy move your butt," Emma tells me pulling me towards the diner. "You're a slow poke today."
I looked ahead and noticed that Erin was already in the diner.
"Emma," I tell her as I pick her up. "You know better than to call daddy names," I tell her jokingly as I put her on my shoulders.
"Daddy!" She shrieks holding onto my head tightly. "Don't drop me."
"Never," I promise her as I spin around in a circle.
"Daddy!" Emma says whilst laughing. "Put me down, please."
"Alright, alright," I relent as I put her down on the diner steps, and usher her inside.
"Jess," Ryan greets me outside the diner.
"Hey," I respond as I turn around and make my way back down the steps. "Nate, Happy Birthday, eighteen right?"
"That's right," Nate replies nervously.
"I hear you took Kate to a party," I say to him. "I hope that there was no drinking involved."
"I'm not going to lie to you," Nate tells me and then stops.
"How many?" I ask him knowingly. "For the both of you."
"Hmm Kate had one I believe," Nate replies regretfully. "And I lost count somewhere along the line, but your girl looked after me, never let me out of her sight."
"You're her uncle," I reply trying to get it all to sink in. "You should have been looking after her not the other way around."
"Jess," Ryan says putting a comforting hand on my shoulder to calm me down. "Nathan we'll discuss this further later."
"Whatever," Nate replies going into the diner.
"ELIZABETH KATE MARIANO!" We hear Rory yell once the door opened, hopefully Kate had come clean to her. I looked up to the door and Nate was trying to leave without any of them noticing.
"Get in there," I tell him.
"Come on Jess," Nate pleads from the doorway. "You cannot feed me to the lions."
"You thought that it was a good idea to take her to a party," Ryan says to his younger brother. "So you have to deal with the consequences."
"Fine," Nate huffs. "But when I turn twenty-one I'm out of here."
Ryan let out a small laugh.
"Don't you laugh Mr. Egotistical Eight's," I mock him.
"Do you have to keep on bringing that back up?" Ryan asks me.
"You know Emma's eight," I tell him. "And she's an angel."
"I'm sorry," Ryan says. "I've psycho analyzed myself and the only thing I can come up with is that I was a dick."
"And is that your professional opinion?" I ask him sarcastically. "Did you put all your degrees and knowledge to work to figure that one out… I could've told you that, Rory could've told you that."
"Alright settle down," Ryan tells me. "Don't want you to have a hernia."
"Well it's good that I've got a doctor with me then isn't it?" I question him. "So how's New York treating you?"
"Good," Ryan replies a big smile on his face. "And thank you for recommending Washington Square Park, it does seem to be more peaceful than Central Park."
"Out now!" Luke yells as he pulls Nate out of the diner. "I can't believe you."
"Dad," Ryan says going over to him. "Let me handle this please."
"Sure," Luke gruffly replies. "Beat him if you have to, I want him to realize that what he did was wrong."
"I said that I'm sorry dad," Nate pleads. "It won't happen again."
"Come on Nathan," Ryan says as he puts his arm around his younger brother. "We'll be back."
"So how's it going in there?" I ask Luke concerned.
"Kate told Rory the whole story and she's been grounded her for a month," Luke explains. "Stick by Rory when you go in there Jess, don't let Kate's sulking get to you."
"Of course," I agree with him and then enter the diner and sit down next to Rory.
"Did you hear what happened?" Rory asks me.
"I did," I answer and then turn my attention to Kate. "I hope you know that it was wrong, and that you should always tell your mother and me where you are at all times."
"I know it was wrong, but I went to look out for Nate," Kate tries to explain. "Someone needs to look out for him when he goes to these parties."
"You're right," I agree with her and Rory gives me a warning glance. "But that didn't mean that you had to drink and that still didn't mean that you couldn't have told us where you were. Your punishment still stands and no cell phone for a week, hand it over."
"Come on dad," Kate pleads and I give her my 'you don't want to mess with me look'. "Fine," She relents and then hands her phone over to me.
"Thank you Jess," Rory whispers in my ear.
"She needs to learn," I whisper back to Rory simply as I grab her hand in mine. "Now Erin and Emma," I start on them two now. "No more reading of Kate's diary, that's her personal thoughts and I don't want either of you going anywhere near it."
"Okay," They agree.
"Thank you dad," Kate says to me. "And I really am sorry mom."
"I know," Rory replies. "Just learn from your mistakes."
"I will," Kate agrees happily.
"Oh this is good," Finn says coming into the diner, book in hand, my first book to be exact. "It says here that you two talk in your sleep." He says to Rory and me.
"I remember that," Lorelai says suddenly. "Luke never did tell us what you two said."
"I'm sure it was nothing," I tell them. "Rory and I were sharing a bed, that's it, I'm sure Luke was just trying to get something to hold over our heads."
"You're wrong," Luke says from behind the counter. "I remember now, and you weren't just talking in your sleep you were in a full blown conversation, I would've thought that you were awake, but you wouldn't have said the half the things that you said."
"What are you talking about?" Kate asks confused.
"Ooh, tell the story Luke," Lorelai says excitedly. "It was so long ago now."
"Fine," Luke relents and then begins. "So Jess had gotten into a little incident down at the old bridge and had to go to hospital, when he was recovering Rory helped him out, kept him company, all that. I settled into bed one night after finding them in bed together, and I'll admit that it was hard to get to sleep, Rory was like a daughter to me, and Jess was… trouble. Anyway I stayed awake and not long later they began talking in their sleep, Rory first, but then Jess started conversing with her."
"I thought we agreed to keep this buried," I tell Luke pointedly.
"No I want to hear this," Rory says excitedly. "I want to know what we said all those years ago."
"Do we know yet?" Lane asks excitedly running into the diner. "Did you tell them yet Luke?"
"No, not yet," Luke responds.
"Thank god," Lane says taking a seat. "I've been waiting so many years to find this out. As soon as Kirk said Luke, and Talking in their sleep, I just ran for the diner."
"Lane, breathe," Lorelai tells her and she relaxes slightly. "Now Luke please continue."
"So as I said it started out with Rory…" Luke explains.
"I want a turtle, a big turtle," Rory mumbled in her sleep.
"I'll get you a turtle," Jess quickly responded.
"A big one?" Rory asked him.
"Sure whatever you want love," Jess answered.
"Turtles live over a hundred years," Rory proclaimed. "Do you think that we will be together then Jess?"
"Without a doubt," Jess responded confidently.
"Jess?" Rory questioned.
"Yeah," Jess answered.
"Do you think that we love each other as much as we do love each other?" Rory mumbled incoherently.
"No," Jess answered.
"No," Rory said in shock. "No?"
"No," Jess agreed. "Because there is no way that you love me more than I love you."
"Okay," Rory accepted. "Jess, do you think that we will get married and have children?"
"Marriage, yes, children, no," Jess responded.
"Okay," Rory agreed. "Whatever makes you happy Jessie."
"Don't call me Jessie," Jess told her. "Well at least not in front of anyone."
"Mmm K," Rory responded nearly fully asleep now.
"Wow," Lorelai says. "There is so many things there that I can mock."
"I know," Lane agrees. "Jessie."
"Hey," I quickly defend.
"Where's my turtle Jessie?" Rory asks me expectantly.
"We're not getting a turtle," I tell her seriously.
"I want to address the issue of no children," Kate says to her father. "What do you have to say for yourself, huh?"
"That I'm sorry," I tell them. "And that I love you all… I was asleep after all."
"But it was your subconscious talking," Ryan tells me, he must have come in sometime during the story. "So technically that is really what you were thinking."
"Ryan," Luke warns. "Don't forget that you're not allowed to analyze the family."
"I don't see why I can't," Ryan replies. "I could actually make our family normal if I sat down with each one of you."
"We don't like normal son," Lorelai tells him proudly. "And you are by no means normal."
"Please," Ryan says. "I'm the normal-ist one here."
"Oh no," I say clearing my throat. "I am with no doubt the normal-ist one here, I always have been."
"Let's look at this logically," Rory says. "I'm the normal-ist one."
"No one is," Finn tells us. "And do you know why? Because you all seem to think that normal-ist is an actual word when it isn't."
"Maybe Finn's the normal-ist one," Erin says excitedly.
"Hang on a minute," Ryan says. "I'm the only one here with their PhD, so I think that I have ruling here."
"Go ahead," Lorelai says happily. "Who is the most normal one here? And don't forget I love you son."
"Oh yeah butter him up," I say to Lorelai. "Oh RyRy remember who loved you and looked after you when you were little."
"This is so unfair," Emma says from her spot. "No one's normal, you're all crazy."
I sit back in my seat and watch my whole family argue. I look at my three girls and I couldn't be more proud of them. I look at Rory and I couldn't imagine living my life with anyone else. It's hard for me to believe that when I moved to Stars Hollow I had the notion of not letting anyone into my life for the fear of getting hurt, but I'm glad that I met Rory in that record store on that fateful day and that Rory decided to pursue me, because if I never let anyone in then I would have never realized how special each one of these people were. They are my family, and I couldn't imagine my life without them.