"Good evening everyone! I'd just like to bid you welcome to Chilton's Parent's night. My name is Max Medina, and I teach English Literature, but of course you know that from this your schedules and your children's horror stories about me." He smiled for a moment as the parents tittered nervously at his last remark.
58-year-old Max Medina laughed quietly to himself as he took in the group of parents sitting before him. Not much had changed in their general appearance since his career began well over twenty years ago. They were still all a very tense group of doctors, lawyers, and prominent businessmen. The only noticeable difference was that a few of them had been rude enough to remain plugged into their cell phones.
"And so, though we began the year with Milton, I can assure you that we will move onto Shakespeare in due course…" Max continued with the same speech that he always gave once a year, comfortable with the routine that had been established over time. He was in the middle of his discussion of the AP exam when all of his comfort washed out of the room with the late entrance of two late-comers.
"Crap, I told you we were going to be late!"
"Well, I couldn't come to the school wearing my diner clothes, could I?!" The couple froze in the doorway. They were about five to ten years older than the rest of the parents in the class, but this was ignored by Max who knew them immediately for a different reason. He'd had a feeling that this might happen, after seeing the girl with bouncy raven curls and bright blue eyes sitting in the first row of the classroom every day. Her eyes were ones that had also been in the classroom twenty years ago, and the ones that he had once thought he would wake up to every morning. He'd had a feeling this encounter would happen, but a part of him from twenty years ago was trying to deny that it was actually taking place.
"H-Hi," was all Lorelai managed to get out, trying to keep her eyes focused on the other parents.
"We're, um, late, so we'll just sit…continue," Luke said, trying to hurriedly sit in a seat in the back.
"And, I'm gonna follow him," Lorelai added, pointing and taking the seat next to her husband. Max nodded and continued to the best of his abilities, trying, like Lorelai, not to stare at one area of the room too much.
He couldn't help but notice that the years had been extremely good to the pair of them. With the exception of a few streaks of gray in Lorelai's hair and faint but existent wrinkles around her eyes, she seemed just as ravishing and energetic has her remembered her to be when he first saw her. Her blue eyes were exactly the same. He sighed internally. They were precisely the same eyes that he was forced to look at every day when he called out the name, "Danes, Amy" from the roster.
As soon as Max had finished speaking, Lorelai tugged on Luke's arm and gestured that they stand up. Luke finally spoke as the parents started to mill about the room.
"So, I guess that's Max twenty-something years later?" Luke asked.
"Guess so," Lorelai answered as she poured herself a cup of coffee. She took one sip and made a face. "Ugh. The coffee here still sucks. Some things never change. And then…some things change a lot." She smiled at Luke.
"Yeah," Luke said. "Why d'you think Amy never mentioned him?"
"I dunno," Lorelai shrugged. "Maybe she has a weird older-guy crush on him? But it is weird…we've heard about all of her other teachers and classes non-stop."
"I guess we're supposed to go to her classes now?" Luke suggested.
"Yeah, sure," Lorelai agreed reluctantly.
"Or you could…"
"Yeah, actually, would you mind if I…just to talk…it'll only be a few minutes," Lorelai said. "I can meet you after the next class."
"'Course," Luke said. He gave her a one-armed hug and a quick peck on the cheek before heading out the door into the hallway. Soon, the last person to leave shut the door, leaving Max and Lorelai standing in the room together. Lorelai noted that Max also looked pretty good for his age. Though clearly less fit than he had been in his prime, his size seemed to have remained consistent and he still exuded the same energy. Finally, Lorelai took a deep breath and said, "Hi Max."
"Hey Lorelai," Max said calmly. "So…things are going well, I assume. Married?"
"Yeah, finally. Sixteen years a few weeks ago."
"Really? Congratulations." Lorelai nodded. "Thanks."
"So how's Rory?" Max asked after a brief pause.
"Oh, she's good. She's really good. She's a columnist for the Washington Post, as you've probably noticed," Lorelai said.
"Yes, of course. She publishes under Rory Gilmore-Mariano, right?"
"So she's married. And she changed her name."
"And did you?"
"Marry Jess? I considered it but figured it would've been too awkward for Rory," Lorelai joked.
"Change your name," Max clarified, unable to resist a grin.
"No. You know, I really seriously considered it, but I was just so used to Gilmore that I decided not to," Lorelai explained.
"And do you have any other kids besides Amy?" Max asked.
"No…and Amy wasn't really planned, we only got married after I found out. And I was already getting a little old, so we just decided that one was fine. Rory's got three, though. Lucy's nine, then she's got twin boys named Hayden and Patchett who are turning five and a half next week. They called last night to remind me," Lorelai grinned. Then she grew more serious. "So what about you? Kids, wife, big, colonial house where you study and smoke a pipe?"
"Well, knowing you I'm better off not asking what that might be a reference to, but I am married and have a son who was just accepted to MIT, full ride scholarship," Max said with a tone of great pride in his voice.
"Wow…that's great! Congratulations!"
"Yeah, thanks," Max said.
"But Max," Lorelai paused. "I don't-you don't really know me…I'm a completely different person than I was twenty-something years ago. And I'm just so, so sorry about everything. I should never have treated you the way that I did, but I didn't know what else to do. I knew that I couldn't marry you but I did love you in a way and I just couldn't deal with it. So I panicked. And I hurt you and I hurt Rory and I hurt myself and it just took a while for me to realize it." Lorelai paused to take a breath. Max stood quietly, waiting for her to finish. "And it was all so long ago," she added uncertainly. "Another lifetime, almost."
"I entirely concur," Max agreed with a smaller smile. There was another lapse in the conversation.
"Amy's a really, really great kid," He mentioned.
"Yeah. Whatever you're doing with her, you're doing it absolutely right."
"Thanks. Yeah, we're kinda crazy about her. She was a long time coming," Lorelai smirked.
"Her full name is Emily Amelia," Max said. Lorelai froze for a moment.
"Yes," She said slowly.
"So how are things with them?"
"They're all right. Amy's only here because they're paying her tuition. Dad's been having some serious heart problems and Mom's really worried, but of course, the Friday Night Dinners carry on," Lorelai joked. She took a deep breath and said, "I feel like we ended badly. I did like you…you were, and no doubt are, an amazing guy who I'd love to know, and be friends with."
"So dinner one night –"
"With the spouses would be lovely."
"Luke's a week from Saturday? I can get him to close early."
"That would be…great. I suppose I'll see you then."
"Yeah. Bye, Max…see you later."