A/N: First of all, I want to thank guys for the reviews. They're really encouraging. :) Secondly, I'm sorry I didn't get this chapter up sooner. I need to stop working on later chapters, and concentrate on the one I'm working on...plus, I had a midterm on Friday. Those things are not fun. :P Anyway, I don't own Gilmore Girls. Thanks for reading!
"Luke talked to the rebel without a cause yesterday."
"Yes, it is."
"Why are you so excited about that?" A thought occurred to her. "Mom. You didn't."
"Didn't what?" Lorelai said sweetly.
"That would be a yes, then."
"I might have dropped a hint to Luke that you two were…talking."
"Why is talking such a big deal?" She regretted the words as soon as they were out, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"Well, honey, when you and Jess talk, it always ends up being something more. Remember when you guys were 'just friends'? Oh, wait, I think the term you used was 'friend-ish'."
"Did Luke chew him out?"
"I don't know. But let's face it: That kid could use a good chew-out every once in a while."
"Why would you do that?"
"I just don't want you to get hurt. He's done it a few too many times before."
"It takes two to tango."
"Nothing." She bit her lip, hoping her mom wouldn't press her about it. "Look, mom, I know you don't want me to get hurt, and I appreciate that, but I've got it under control."
"Okay, hon. I'll take your word for it."
"Thank you." She tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. "So, what's this I hear about Kirk getting a goldfish?"
"…So cat Kirk kept trying to eat the fish. Lulu's still trying to get him to give one of them away. But by now, he's too attached to get rid of either one."
"Isn't his cat basically the animal version Bertha in Jane Eyre?" Jess said.
"That's the one."
"And why doesn't he get rid of it?"
"It's Kirk. That explains everything." She giggled. "Don't you miss Stars Hollow even a little bit?"
"Nope. That town was insane, and I'm pretty sure I liked Taylor just as much as Luke does. Same with Gypsy. We were never very fond of each other."
"Come on. There has to be someone you liked."
If she had ever had any doubts about the definition of deafening silence, they were cleared away in that instant. She heard him blow out a breath.
"Um, you don't have to - uh, never mind." She stuttered. Nice going, Rory. She dropped her head onto her desk.
"Sorry." She said quietly. "I didn't mean to -"
'Well, because this can't get any more awkward, did Luke happen to…"
"Have a conniption because I'm talking to you?'
"Yeah. Sorry about that. I promise, I did not put him up to it."
"I didn't think you did."
She believed him, but his voice sounded hard and distant. "Was it bad?"
"Have you seen Luke when he's mad?"
"True." There was a pause. "Jess?"
"Are you mad?"
He was silent for a moment. She held her breath.
"Just sick of people thinking I'm going to hurt you."
"I know. It's not fair to you."
"Can we drop it now?" His voice wasn't harsh, but the words still struck her. Why had she even brought it up?
She scrambled for a topic. "How are Matt and Chris doing?"
"Chris wants a dog."
"I thought you guys lived upstairs."
"That's the problem."
"Maybe he should get a goldfish." She snickered.
"I'll send him down to Star's Hollow to steal Kirk's."
"At least he'll have a good home."
"I'm not sure Chris fills that position."
"Kirk will be devastated."
"Cat Kirk won't."
"I think Kirk's more likely to cause a riot than his cat. He is on Taylor's good side."
"They'd probably have another town meeting. Yet another reason I don't miss living there."
"You have to admit, those were kind of fun."
She laughed. "Here we go again. Anyway, I should probably get to work on my article."
She was about to hang up when he spoke again.
He was silent. "Nothing. I'm sorry."
She frowned. "What?" Jess wasn't one to say that easily.
"Never mind. Good luck with your article."
"Thanks." She said slowly. She debated pushing the answer out of him, but shook her head. It had never worked when they were younger, and they were doing so well now.
"I'll tell Kirk to lock his goldfish up." She finally said.
"You do that." She could almost hear the traces of a smirk.
Rory set the phone down and poised her fingers over the keyboard. She could still hear his voice. A smile spread its way over her face, but she quickly caught herself. There was no way she was falling for him. She had meant to end things with him weeks ago, but now she wasn't sure what she had been planning to say to him in the first place. Soon, she thought. I'll wrap things up soon.
The ringing of her phone brought her attention back. She checked the caller ID and caught her breath when she read his name.
"Miss me that much?" She was grinning wildly now, waiting to hear his voice again.
"Did you say you're going to be in New York this weekend?"
"I want to see you. How much free time will you have?"
"You want to come to New York?"
"That's what I said."
She tried answer nonchalantly. "Um, okay. I'll have some time Sunday afternoon."
"There's a café near Washington Square. You want to meet there at 2:00?"
"See you then."
She typed the rest of her article in a daze, giddiness sweeping through her as she finished and promptly celebrated with chocolate.