Disclaimer: Lorelai, Max, Rory, and all other recognizable Gilmore Girls characters belong to Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and the WB. No infringement is intended.
Summary: In those two months that Max was away between 2x2 Hammers and Veils and 2x3 Red Light on Wedding Night, Lorelai started to question things.
Proofread by: Schuyler Lola
Like Some Kind of Poetry
LORELAI: Aw, so come on then. How can you stand to leave all this for two months? Do you think Toronto's gonna make you into an ice sculpture? I don't think so.
MAX: I wish you'd come with me.
LORELAI: I have to work.
MAX: Well, two months is a long time.
LORELAI: I know.
MAX: Will you still want me when I got back?
LORELAI: I think there's a very good possibility that I will be just as infatuated with you then as I am now.
That first day that Max was gone in Toronto, Lorelai called him four separate times. She actually left Post It notes all around the inn, reminding her of Max's new landline number. The notes were covered with little swirly hearts and the wordscall your loverscribbled inside so as to annoy Michel and to cause Sookie to squeal.
She went into her office and twirled her hair and fingered the phone cord and did all the things a fiancée in love was supposed to do. Max smiled and said he loved her, and he knew it to be true, and it was all very romantic and very Shakespearean, exactly like the stories Max spent the day lecturing about while he was away.
And it was enough.
She called him three times, and he called her twice. Cue hair twirl.
She spent the night watching movies with Rory, who seemed a little exhausted from her continuing source for the perfect non-wilderness-skill-required volunteer activity. At eleven o'clock, Max called her cell phone, and she could practically hear him wince as he apologized for calling so late.
She said it was fine, that she was up anyway, and besides, he was her fiancé, so it was practically his duty to call her late at night and picture her lying in bed.
Even miles apart, she could picture the blush making its way across his face. And moments later, she blushed when he responded with some non-dirty, perfectly respectable, romantic quote from some poem.
Neither of them mentioned that she had forgotten their nightly dinner phone call, and that was why he had called so late in the first place.
He told her about his classes, and she told him about the newest set of RSVPs for the wedding. It was beautiful and magical, and they were very much in love.
Days Five through Fifteen
Nothing of significance. That didn't bother Lorelai at all.
(It wasn't as though they were experiencing what was supposed to be a very romantic time in their lives, that mystical time before the wedding when everything was shiny new and exciting, along with their star-crossed separation.)
That didn't bother her at all.
Lorelai only called Max twice.
Max only called Lorelai once.
Lorelai went to Luke's with Rory three times on the eighteenth day without Max. At breakfast, when Luke made some grumbling remark about her food habits, she snapped at him. "So not in the mood, Luke."
He exchanged a look with Rory and then backed away, promising to put extra whipped cream on her pancakes.
"He'll be back before you know it, Mom," Rory said.
It had been over two weeks without Max, so Lorelai guessed she should be missing him. But the truth was: she had gone entire weeks without talking to him in the middle period of their relationship; it had only been in the two or so weeks before he had proposed that they had progressed to the daily, hair twirling phone calls.
And it had been weird enough waking up next to him at his place anyway.
And so she refused to pine. But she did eat an obscene (and this was by her own measures, not Luke's) amount of whipped cream on her chocolate chip pancakes.
That night, at Luke's, he didn't grumble at her and gave her a coffee refill before she even asked.
Not pining. Not imagining waking up next to him. That's what she told Rory when she asked, and when Rory groaned and said no dirty details, she said she wasn't thinking anything dirty anyway.
Day Thirty two
The days had passed, and Lorelai really wasn't pining anymore. She and Max still talked to each other most every day, and she still thought about him every once in a while, but it wasn't this aching need anymore.
It was a boyfriend - fiancé - away on a trip, and she could survive that.
She came across one of the Post It notes from the first day and wondered if there was something weird about the fact that she needed to be reminded to call him.
Then she got distracted when she realized it was seven o'clock. It was time for their dinner phone call. Right on schedule.
Day Thirty Seven
It wasn't weird that she hadn't daydreamed about him or the wedding in a while. It wasn't.
Day Forty Five
"I love you, Lorelai," Max said. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Max," Lorelai said warmly, hanging up the phone and sighing romantically.
Lorelai stood up from the table in the kitchen and glanced at Rory, who was lying on her bed and reading a book. Her bedroom door was wide open.
"Max is good?" Rory asked, and Lorelai told herself she wasn't weirded out by her daughter calling Max Max.It wasn't strange that Rory didn't call him Mr. Medina. He was going to be her stepfather after all.
(It would be weird if Rory wanted to call him Dad, though. Lorelai couldn't be bothered denying that.)
"Max is great," Lorelai answered.
"You two sound lovey-dovey," Rory said, flipping a page of her book and barely looking up.
"Do we really?" Lorelai asked, and she supposed she came across as giddily in love and not questioning, because Rory paid her no mind.
He had told her he loved her and goodnight. She had told him goodnight.
Her wedding dress was pretty and fitted her just right. It had been one big, hellish cotillion flashback getting it, but once they had gotten that out of the way, it was actually pretty cool to see herself in a wedding dress.
She tried it on twice in the store and once more at home for Rory and Babette, who had seen them come home with a garment bag and darted right over.
She put the dress away in her closet and didn't think about it again for a while.
Day Fifty Three
"I love you, Lorelai," Max said, and his voice sounded like a goddamn poet's.
"I'll be home soon," he continued.
"Goodnight," he finished. God, he sounded sexy.
Day Fifty Four
Nothing happened. They talked. She worked, and he worked, but none of it worked.
Day Fifty Seven
He was so nice to her. He was a good, great, amazing man. He was sexy and smart,and he was good to Rory.
And her life wasn't all that miserable being apart from her fiancé for fifty seven days.
Lorelai's mother had once told her - soon after she had refused to marry Christopher - that Chris was her last shot. That if she didn't marry him, no one would want her, because who would want to get involved with someone who had been a teen mother. When the lecture had been repeated in recent years, she had said Lorelai was getting older, and Rory was a teenagernow. (That was even worse, apparently.)
Lorelai was running out of time.
And Max was a wonderful man.
Day Sixty Five
"I love you, Lorelai Gilmore."
"Welcome home, Max," Lorelai said. And she was getting older, and he was a good man, and she had missed him for a while, and he cared about Rory, and he was just so sweet and romantic and wonderful, and she certainly wasn't perfect, and it wasn't as though she hadn't thought of him at all, and she was finally going to be a wife, not just another single mom, and he loved her, and - "I love you."
Road Trip Day
Rory was lying next to Lorelai on the uncomfortable bed in their room in the creepy bed and breakfast. She wanted Lorelai to explain where it had gone wrong.
Earlier, "I didn't want to try on my wedding dress every night," had summed it up fairly well, but Lorelai knew Rory wanted more than just I wasn't in love with him hidden behind some fancy, family symbolism. She wanted the catalyst, the explanation for how Lorelai was sure. (Because Rory was affected by this too, and if she was going to be reasonable and not upset, she needed a reason why she should be understanding. Lorelai owed her that much.)
Since she had called Max two hours after talking to Luke (and an hour and a half of those two hours had been spent staring at the phone), she figured she could say it was the chuppah and the conversation and the fact that you only have one wedding.That Luke was the catalyst would sound pretty and romantic, like fate or some kind of poetry, that her friend had delivered a present and a speech, and she had instantly cancelled her wedding.
But even though she had entertained the idea of Luke and her being… something, that wasn't why, not really. Because a cancelled wedding wasn't about pretty, happy, poetic moments, it was about this crushing disappointment and lives that were (temporarily, at least) destroyed. It was about heartbreak and pain, and it was about two months in which Lorelai didn't think about jumping on a plane to see him. Not even once.
It was about "I love you" and desperation and thinking it was true, but knowing that even if she was getting older and in this stupid marathon with time - and she had never been good at sports, so of course she was losing - she wanted to know it was true, not just think it.
Two months in a (supposed) exciting time of their relationship. They were planning a wedding and kept apart, but keeping in touch. There were daily phone calls, and Max had even had roses delivered back in the first week he was gone. And there were passionate whispers and poetry recitations.
And throughout all that, there was only one reciprocated "I love you," and that was in the airport, when he was already home.