20 minutes after the bathroom encounter and I'm sitting on the couch across from Mom, both of us facing the middle. My legs are folded underneath my body and I'm cradling a cup of hot ovaltine-and-decaf in my hands. I didn't even know we had decaf in the house, and I'm kind of disgusted by the taste of it (it's contaminating my ovaltine, damnit), but it'll never be said that I didn't do everything I could to keep the baby growing inside of me healthy. What if I drank regular coffee instead and it grew two heads and, when it came time to give the baby up for adoption, no one would take it? Not that I've decided to give it up for adoption, I haven't even had time to make a pro/con list yet, but still. I'm determined to do this pregnancy right, especially after getting sex so very, very wrong.

Mom is staring at me, unblinking, lost in thought. I let her be, mostly because I'm relishing the calm before the storm. She's been soft and quiet and everything opposite of Lorelai since I told her, and I really don't want to snap her out of it, because I don't think I can handle crazy Lorelai at the moment. I just need a few more minutes to prepare myself, that's all. I know that she'll eventually start running around screaming about condoms and Jess and eunuchs, and I want to relish the peace while it's available.

I take another sip of the dreaded decaf as I watch her eyeball my abdomen, no doubt planning to go buy the entire stock of pregnancy tests at a drug store far, far away. After all, I only took two, and one was defunct. It won't be completely real for her until there are fifty tests littered across the bathroom counter and a test result from the doctor in her hand. Rory being pregnant would mean Rory following in Lorelai's footsteps and Rory missing out on the same things that Lorelai missed out on, like a college life unencumbered by a baby. The idea of missing out on college at all hasn't crossed my mind, because there's no way that will happen, but I'm sure she's thought of it.

But, here's the thing. I'm pretty confident, now that I've calmed down a bit, that I can still make it through the rest of the Chilton school year and on into Yale. Now that I'm all rational and drinking coffee (even if it is decaf), I think that I can handle this pregnancy and all that it entails. I'm used to getting little sleep because I'm a freak about my grades, so that's a non-issue, and once school's over it'll be summer and there will be nothing for me to worry about except taking care of myself and the baby. Once Yale starts, yeah, that'll be difficult, but I really don't think that I'll be unable to handle it. It's not like I've ever had a wild party life, or anything close to it, and I do have, after all, the greatest support system on the planet: Mom, Lane, Luke, basically the entire town of Stars Hollow. . . Maybe even Jess, once I get around to telling him.

Jeez, it's only been three hours since I took the first test, and I'm not even sure I really am pregnant yet (except, really, I am sure), and I'm thinking about telling Jess about it. Just wait, Rory, wait. Once I've been to the doctor, and talked with Mom about everything that could ever pertain to pregnancy, and made one thousand and one pro/con lists concerning adoption vs. raising the baby, then I can call Jess.

Mom's coming out of her trance, now, and her eyes are darting back and forth between mine. I can feel the panic rolling off of her in waves, and, oh dear, she looks pretty damn scary.

"Okay, so let me get this straight. You and Jess went into a dark, empty room together, at a kegger, got frisky, and did the deed, sans condom. "

I'm really reluctant to answer her, because saying yes gives her ample reason for flying off the handle, but I've got to be honest and open with her, because that's just who we are. Gilmore Girls, together for life. I also just want to get to the part where she comforts me, because damn, do I feel like a cliché.

"Yes."

"Time, location, and partner aside, Jesus, Rory, didn't I teach you better than that? Especially given the circumstances of your birth, how could you possibly have had sex without a condom? Especially with Jess's - - experience - - how could you possibly have thought it'd be safe? What if you've got an STI?"

"You did, Mom, you really did teach me better. This is my fault, I know that! Please, please don't think that this has anything to do with you, because it doesn't. I made a mistake, I got carried away, and-"

Ooooh, she looks pissed.

"You got carried away! What about Jess, huh? Why didn't he stop and think about what you two were doing? Why didn't he, the experienced one, wait for just a fucking moment to put the damn condom on? And, oh holy shit, I think I'm going to be sick, because Jess, delinquent Jess, had unprotected sex with my baby and got her pregnant. That boy is dead, goddamnit, fucking dead!"

Shit, oh god, she's getting up. I know where she's going, and I can't let her go there, I can't let her go yell at Luke in front of everybody because she's panicking just like I knew she would, just like I was before she got home, and I really don't want the townies to find out this way. I need to calm her down, because I'm just a kid and I need my Mommy to help me buy pregnancy tests and call the doctor and hold my hand when they all say pregnant (like I know they will, because doesn't a mother always just know?) and now I'm freaking out even more because STI's? I didn't even thing about those.

"Mom! Mom, please, stay on the couch with me. I know I screwed up, I know Jess screwed up, and please believe me when I say that I'll call him and tear him a new one. . . IF I'm pregnant." I'm tearing up again, and I know I look pathetic with my mug cradled against my cheek my eyes all red and puffy. "I need help because I'm scared and I don't want this to be happening and it is and I'm really nervous and I need you!"

I can tell that she's calming down a bit, because she's the best mom on the planet and if I need her she'll never let me down. She takes a few deep breaths, thinks for a minute, then grabs the hand not holding the mug, clasping it between both of her own and looking into my eyes. All I can see is the comforting blue so similar to my own, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

"Okay. Okay, here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna drive in the direction opposite Hartford and stop at the first drugstore we see after 45 minutes, and we're gonna buy as many tests as we can fit in the basket. While we're doing that, I'm going to call the doctor and make an appointment for as soon as we can get in, okay? Then we'll come home and take all of the tests. If some of them say positive, we'll hold out hope that you're pee is mutated and you're really not pregnant, okay? We'll also hope that karma really isn't a bitch, and that you've got perfectly healthy lady bits. It'll all be okay, baby, because I'm your mom and I say so."

She says exactly what I knew she would and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, because I want to take all the tests we can carry and have the test result from the doctor in my hand before I believe that I'm pregnant, too. But here's the problem; I know I'm pregnant, because I'm a mom now, too, and mom's always know.