"Luke. We're having a baby…"
Luke dropped his fork immediately, his mouth still open for a bite of salad that spilled across his lap. He looked back and forth between Rory and Lorelai, waiting for one of them to say something. Then he realized he was supposed to speak, but he didn't know what to say. How familiar.
"Well," said Luke. "That's a good thing, because umm…"
Rory and Lorelai looked at him oddly. He wished he could channel their chattiness for once, he always messed these things up. "I'm really surprised Lorelai. I'm also really happy. I mean it." Luke was surprised to feel tears trying to squeeze out of the corner of his eyelids.
Lorelai visibly sighed in relief, and she took a bite of her food with renewed appetite. "So, you don't have any… other feelings about this?"
"Well," Luke thought for a moment, "No, not really. I've always wanted to have a baby someday. I missed out on so many things with April."
"I'm so happy to hear you say that Luke! I was nervous about telling you all week. I wanted to tell you at the diner but then Lulu told Kirk-"
"Oh no," Luke said frowning, "Our baby will probably go to the same school as Kirk's."
Rory laughed a bit at this, "That wouldn't be so terrible. There's no way your kid could get bullied with a mini-Kirk running around."
"That's true," said Luke with smiling at her, "Are you okay with this Rory?"
"Yeah," Rory said (a little too quickly and brightly.) She hated herself for lying and not expressing her feelings, but why should she be selfish and bring down the mood? She could always talk to her mom later. Luke wasn't any good with feelings anyways. Rory stood up to dismiss herself from the table, she knew that Lorelai would never want her to leave, but this was really her and Luke's moment.
"I am going to go and put a dent in this book for my review," Rory turned to walk away.
"Hold up!" Lorelai shouted after her. "You finally get to review a book? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well you had your own things going on. It's not that big of a deal anyways."
"Rory, this is great! What book are you reviewing?"
Rory stalled for a moment, trying to think of a way to not tell her mom which book she was reviewing. Jess was always an uncomfortable topic between them. Lorelai usually didn't like Rory's guys, but Jess was special in the fact that she didn't approve of him at all. Jess had made sporadic appearances throughout the years. Rory always made sure to be out of town, and he had a civil relationship with Lorelai for Luke's sake… however Rory knew it wouldn't be a comfortable conversation.
She was about to reply with something lame when Luke's phone rang. He went into the living room to answer it, and Rory looked at Lorelai in shock. "Nobody ever calls Luke's phone. Especially at this hour."
"I know," Lorelai said with a smirk, "It's like the Twilight Zone."
"I hope nobody's hurt or anything."
"I'm sure it's alright. Liz probably needs Luke's help with something. So tell me about the book review."
Luke walked back into the room smiling. "That was Jess. They're shooting the movie here in Star's Hollow." Rory's heart stopped for a moment. How could she avoid Jess for the duration of an entire movie shoot? And why would Jess want to film his movie in Stars Hollow? He felt nothing but disdain for the whole town, which was mostly a mutual feeling.
"What movie?" Lorelai looked confused.
"The movie based on his new book. I think he said it is called Dodger. He said he'd bring me a copy, but I think I'll buy it myself, that way he can get the royalties."
"Wow, Hollywood is coming to Stars Hollow? Taylor is going to die."
"Don't get my hopes up," Luke said darkly.
Rory still could hardly speak. "I'm going to go now," she squeaked out. Her mom gave her an understanding nod, she knew how complicated things were with her and Jess. He was the one guy she never had any closure with. "I really need to start this book."
The next day Rory was almost certain she should call her editor to cancel the book review. She had stayed up until the sun started showing reading Dodger, and she was more conflicted than ever. She wasn't even halfway finished with the book, and she couldn't help but notice all the similarities between the characters of the novel, and the characters of Stars Hollow.
There was even one character named Beth, who was the main love interest of out-of-towner Jack. Beth was identical to Rory is physical description, and from what she had read so far the similarities didn't stop there.
She knew in her heart she'd never be able to write an objective book review, and it just wouldn't be fair to either of them if she tried. She also knew that she had to finish the novel, and the only way she could lie to herself about why she was reading it, was if she had to review it on a professional level.
It was weirdly fascinating for Rory, who had never been a vain person to read about herself. She always wondered how she was perceived by others, and had assumed it was mostly positive (you don't have the town try to reenact your graduation by being the town snob), but she also was surprised how much she didn't like a lot of the qualities of Beth.
Beth was humble to a fault, and never sought out anything she wanted from people. She was much too shy to truly initiate anything in her relationship with Jack, and she clung on to other guys that didn't understand her ways like Jack did. Rory wasn't comfortable feeling this way about the characters of the novel, because she had always thought that if any relationship was a mistake, it was probably her relationship with Jess.
He was always a free spirit, and she was the introvert who couldn't imagine a life outside of Stars Hollow. He never got along with her mother, which would never have worked for them, because she could never do anything her mother didn't agree with.
All of these thoughts were buzzing through her brain when she finally decided to call her editor. She had moped around all day, and when Luke and Lorelai finally left for work, she decided now was the best time to turn down the assignment, and put all of these complicated feelings to rest.
Her heart was racing with every ring of the phone, and finally it went to his voicemail. She was cursing her bad luck, but she knew if she didn't do this now, she would never work up the courage to give up her one shot at reviewing books.
"This is Eugene. I'm far too busy to answer the phone right now. Leave me a message, and I'll call you back."
"Hey ummm.. Eugene," Rory said awkwardly. "I need to speak to you about this book assignment. I don't think that I'll be able to do a review. Please call me back so I can give you my explanation, and I promise you won't be mad at me."
Rory hung up the phone, and she knew Eugene wouldn't be mad at her anyways. He was a reasonable man, and a good editor. The Courant's integrity was far too important to him. Rory finally put her copy of Dodger with all of her other books in her old room, far out of reach, and hopefully far out of mind. The only person mad at Rory was herself.
Luke decided to cut out of the diner a bit early. Thursday lunch wasn't particularly busy, and the dinner was ever slower. Caesar would be more than alright to run the diner by himself, and Luke needed to go pay a visit to Liz and TJ anyways.
The good thing about Stars Hollow was that you could be anywhere in about five minutes, and that was if you decided to walk. Luke always drove his reliable truck (less time for chatting with the local lunatics) anywhere he went. He pulled up to Liz's house, and sighed at the mess that was her lawn. TJ always left his half-baked ideas unfinished. Sometimes he would go back and work on these projects, but most of the time they were long forgotten. In the corner of the yard by the tool shed Luke saw the guillotine that TJ insisted they needed for their medieval festivities. Lorelai thought their lifestyle was cute, quirky, and charming. Luke thought it was embarrassing, and borderline white-trash.
The door flew open before Luke was out of his truck, and Doula came rushing out past her mother. She was almost four now, and she was a hefty happy-go-lucky girl. Luke swept her up in his arms, and carried her back into the house for Liz.
"Well howdy big brother, what brings you to my neck of the woods?"
"Just thought I'd drop in and say hi," Luke sat Doula down, and the little girl raced out of the living room in a blonde blur. "She's getting big, and heavy… and fast."
"Yes she is," Liz said, walking to her kitchen to fetch beverages. "Big and heavy she gets from TJ, I think her speed she gets from her Daines blood. Maybe she'll run track like you did?"
"Well it would be better than being a female pro-wrestler huh?"
"Don't let TJ hear you say that," Liz returned with two beers.
"Where is TJ?"
"He's out at his brother's house for the night. He should be back tomorrow morning."
"I see. Did Jess tell you his news?"
"Yes," Liz smiled from ear to ear. "He called this morning. His others books were great, but this Dodger really seems to be something else. Did you read it yet?"
"No," Luke said. "I don't really read though. Especially not Jess' novels, that a little too touchy-feely or something you know."
"I guess," said Liz shaking her head in mock disgust at Luke's masculinity. "I think you should read this one though Luke. It feels almost like an autobiography. It's really interesting."
"Is that right?" Luke thought to himself for a moment. "It's weird, if this book is like an autobiography, that it would be filmed here in Stars Hollow isn't it?"
"Maybe a little," Liz said. "Then again, you did leave quite an impression on him."
"So did someone else from Stars Hollow."
"Is that why you came to visit me big brother? To tell about Jess' movie? Or do you have some news of your own?"
"Jess told you that to? I told him not to tell anyone." Luke wasn't really angry, but he was a bit surprised.
"Well he had to tell me your news before he told me his. You guys are a lot alike you know? It may be weird, but I kind of consider you to be Jess' dad."
"That is weird," Luke said (trying not to think of the implications of that statement.) "No, I'm more like a big brother."
"No Luke, you're my big brother. You're Jess' dad more than I am his mother. You really should read his novel."
"I'll think about it," Luke said trying to get her to drop the subject. "What do you think about me and Lorelai having a baby?"
"That it's about damn time really. I'm excited for you big brother. You missed out on a lot with April. You get to have your own Doula!"
"I think there's only one Doula."
"No, I mean like a do-over baby. I missed a lot with Jess, and you missed a lot with April. Now we both get to experience those things. The first steps, the first day of school… it's just really nice you know?"
"I haven't even told April yet."
"April is going to be excited. She'll be a great big sister."
"Yeah she will be."
"Do you want to have a boy or a girl?"
"I haven't even thought about that yet. A boy might be nice you know, even the score around here a little?"
"Yeah, that would be nice."
"I'll be happy with anything that Lorelai gives me though."
"That reminds me," Liz suddenly shot up. "I have something for Lorelai to wear on Saturday. Could you give it to her?" Liz ran off to go to her workshop in her garage. She brought back a tiny black jewelry case. "Now don't you open this, you don't want to spoil your anniversary!"
"Liz, I don't think peaking at Lorelai's earrings will spoil my anniversary."
Liz swore, "How did you know it was earrings."
"Because Lorelai loves your earrings," Luke sat the box. "I promise I won't peak at them though alright?" Luke stood up to leave, and Liz pulled him into a tight hug and kissed his cheek.
"I love you big brother, I know you're going to be the best dad ever. I'm so proud of you… and I think Dad would be proud too."
"I think Dad would be proud of both of us," Luke patted Liz on the back and walked out the front door.
Lane was sorting the vintage records in the back of Sophie's music, when she felt a familiar and eerie tap on her shoulder. She turned around to face (to no surprise Kirk.)
"Hi Kirk! Congratulations on the upcoming baby."
"Thank you Lane, that's very nice of you."
"So… are you looking for something?"
"Yes, I'm looking to buy a guitar."
"Kirk I didn't know you played!"
"I don't, but it's never too late to learn. None of my other careers are getting my anywhere, and now that I have a baby on the way I want to be a successful singer-songwriter."
Kirk gave her a blank state, "Who's Jewel?"
"A forgotten singer-songwriter," Lane sighed to herself. Just like my hopes and dreams she thought to herself. "What kind of guitar did you have in mind Kirk?"
"Oh, I don't know. What kind would you recommend? What is the best kind?"
"Well that's kind of based on opinion."
"Well what is your opinion? You're not really selling here. Let me help you a little bit, I have years of experience in sales. You should recommend me the second most expensive guitar, but then slowly steer me for the most expensive model you have."
"Alright then Kirk, let me show you our second most expensive store model." Even on days like this Lane loved her job. It was too bad she would have to give Sophie the bad news today.
Rory's editor didn't return her call until that evening. She was on the way to Luke's Diner, and stopped at the town Gazebo to answer. Her throat felt like she was choking when she answered the phone. "Hello," she barely croaked out.
"Rory, this is Eugene. I just got your voicemail. You said I wouldn't be mad once you explained yourself, so I think I will allow you to do so. However, let me remind you, that you didn't have to accept this assignment in the first place. You made it abundantly clear in the past that you desired nothing more than to review books instead of movies. Now, here we are on your first book review, and you're trying to tell me that you want to terminate your assignment not even a full day into it? I read reviews from other writers on this book, and I cannot imagine it is that bad-"
"Eugene," Rory said smiling, "You seem a little bit mad."
"Maybe a little," Eugene laughed a little on the other end. He was a nice editor, but he had the tendency to be long-winded, and once he stated talking, it was hard for him to stop. "I would like to hear your explanation though."
"Well you see, there's a conflict of interest." Rory took a deep breath, "I know the author. Not in passing either, I know him pretty well. His uncle is my stepfather, he used to live in my hometown, and we even dated for quite a while… before he broke my heart."
"I'd say that is quite a conflict of interest." Eugene seemed to be almost out of words for once.
"It wouldn't be fair. If some competing newspaper found out all that information it would potentially hurt both of our careers. It's a wonderful book though, it's really well written. You should definitely do a review of it; I just don't think I should be the one to review it."
Eugene was quite for a moment, but she could still hear his breathing on the other end of the line. "You know what? I think you should review it. In fact, this will give The Courant a quite unique spin on a book review. Someone who knows the author's insights into the novel, perhaps you will find the source of the novel's inspiration, and you can help the fans separate the facts from the fiction."
Rory couldn't believe what she was hearing. She hadn't expected to be told that she should still do the review, not only that but Eugene seemed interested in this review in a way that he never had been before. Now she had no excuse not to read Jess' novel, and she would have to continue to visit that painful place.
"If you think it will make a good article Eugene, then I'll do it."
"I don't think it will make a good review, I think it will make a great review."
Lorelai was fixing to leave the Dragonfly for the day, but decided to and visit Sookie in the kitchen before she went home. It had been a hectic day at the Inn, and she hadn't gotten the chance to catch Sookie up on the latest developments. Michel was signing out for the day, and he nodded to Lorelai on the way out.
Sookie was putting the finishing touches on her deserts for tomorrow, and finalizing her breakfast menu when Lorelai came in.
"Any coffee left?"
"I saved you a little." Sookie put down her pen, and sat down on one of her small stools in the kitchen. "So how did it go last night?"
"Good," Lorelai said. "No drama at all. He seemed happy."
"I knew he would be," Sookie said smiling at her, "Luke's pretty predictable. So does the rest of the town know?"
"Not yet, but I plan on telling Babette tonight when I get home. The whole town should know tomorrow."
"Yeah, that'll do it. How did Emily react?"
"You mean Queen Sheba? I haven't told her yet."
"How do you think she'll react?"
"Badly, we'll probably have a huge fight."
"Yeah, probably… but maybe she'll be happy though."
"Maybe, but I doubt it. I think it's going to be terrible. Like the last Charlie's Angel's terrible."
"The movie or the television show?"
"Either one really," Lorelai said. "No, I will tell her on Friday Night Dinner, then we can have our tradition Friday Night Fight, and make up in a week or so like we always do. I'm not dreading it exactly, but I think that it won't be pretty."
"Well we'll know tomorrow for sure."
Lane was closing up the store, and had just flipped off the lights when Sophie came out from the office. "I see you sold Kirk that fancy guitar," she winked, "Good job Lane. You're really good at this."
"Thanks," Lane said. "I really enjoy working here. It's not even work really, it's like sweet freedom."
"I'm glad you enjoy it so much."
"I really do," Lane began crying before she could stop herself.
"Why are you crying? I didn't even yell at you once today."
"No, you've been great. It's just that… my life is always out of my control. Mama Kim is retiring from the antique business, and she fully expects me to take over the store. I don't want to do that though Sophie, I want to stay here and work with you."
"It's a good opportunity for you though," said Sophie. "Not many young women get to run their own business."
"It will never be my business. Antiques are not my passion, my passion is music. This store is my passion. I will never be happy running Kim's Antique's."
"Maybe you could rename it or something? Antiques Lane has a good ring to it," Sophie wasn't good with human comfort, but at least she was safe to talk to.
"It seems like every time I make something for myself, every time I stop and think, 'Hey this is nice, I love this. This is what I want,' that something or someone rips it away from me. I had a brief window of freedom when I married Zack. I had the perfect man, and I was in a really great band. We were headed somewhere. Then I got pregnant and had the twins. I have never regretted it Sophie, not one single day… but sometimes I just think why couldn't I have a little bit more freedom? Why can't I be Hep Alien's drummer and set the world on fire like they are?"
"I'm so jealous of them," she continued, "I feel terrible about it. I love my boys more than anything in the world, more than I thought possible… but my life isn't turning out right. I just want to work here for a while longer. That's all I really want… then maybe I'd be open to the idea of Antiques Lane, or whatever… but I just want to have some control over my life for once."
"Then take control Lane," Sophie said. "Go all Mick Jagger on your mom and tell her how it's going to be."
"I wish I could Sophie, but I don't think I can."
"Well, change that Lane. If you really want something, you have to fight for it. Nobody can make it happen but you."
"I can't make it happen for myself either. I never have been able to."
Sophie patted her on the back, "You have to someday Lane. Just don't wait until it's too late. Don't be like Guns N' Roses."
"Hey now," Lane said wiping the last of her tears away, "Slash and Axel will work it out someday."
Rory was eating her cheeseburger and mulling over her editor's decision. She wasn't sure how she felt about anything, but she was tired of being so unsure all the time, of being so introverted… she was tired of being Beth.
Mr. Patty and Babette came by to see her while she was eating. They sat down at her table, and began questioning her about her job.
"Are you waiting for Lorelai?" Ms. Patty asked her.
"No, not today, we've both been a bit busy. I'm working on a review, and she's got… other things going on."
"What kind of other things?" Babette asked hungrily.
"No comment," Rory smiled at her, "I'm sure you'll hear about it shortly. How is Maury doing? I haven't seen him in a while?"
"He's alright. His arthritis has him in agony today, but he's hanging in there."
"That's too bad! I'll have to come by and see him later."
"He'd like that sugar, its real good of you to be so nice to old birds like us."
"Oh it's nothing; you guys are some of my favorite people."
"So Rory," Ms. Patty said in her most seductive tone. "Do you have any boys in your life? Lorelai said you don't, but I just can hardly believe it. There has to be someone."
"No, not at the moment, I try to stay busy you know."
"Oh honey," Ms. Patty seemed disappointed. "When I was your age I was already engaged to my second husband. These are the years when you need to live a little bit."
"I'll find the right guy someday Ms. Patty; I'm not in a hurry."
"You should be," Babette cut in, "Your ass won't look that good forever."
Rory felt her face reddening, and quickly fell silent. "Well be that as it may, I'd like somebody to not be with me just because of my… butt."
"Oh honey, your hearts in the right place I guess," Ms. Patty left the diner after giving Rory a hug, and Babette followed her.
Rory was finishing up her burger when a voice behind her said, "I don't know what they were talking about. I'd say your ass has a couple more good years."
Rory spun around and nearly choked on her burger, she wasn't exactly surprised, but she was definitely caught off-guard to see Jess Mariano standing behind her.
"How was Liz?" Lorelai asked Luke as she walked through the door. Luke helped her get her work paraphernalia squared away before they sat down on the couch.
"She was good; TJ is staying at his brother's, so she seemed to be enjoying the quiet.
"She still has Doula right?"
"Yeah," Luke said smiling, "You've never stayed with TJ for a full day though, Doula's a breeze compared to him."
"I'll take your word for it," Lorelai laid down with her head across Luke's lap. "I'm tired, and I'm dreading tomorrow. I'm just going to get it over and tell Mom about the pregnancy."
"It won't be that bad," Luke began. Lorelai gave him a shocked look, "Yeah, it will probably be terrible. At least it will go better than last time."
"How do you figure that? She's bound to go full Trunchbull on me. She may put me in the chokey."
"Just don't wear pigtails and you should be safe. Well at least you're not sixteen this time."
"I feel sixteen," whine Lorelai.
Luke ran his fingers through her hair, "You know what Lorelai? I don't feel worried about any of this. I think that everything is going to be just fine… everything seems alright in the world."
"That's exactly when everything starts to go wrong," Lorelai sat up and began taking her work shoes off, kicking them about across the living room.
"I'll find some wood and knock on it real quick."
"Dirty," Lorelai winked at him.
Luke ignored this as usual, "That reminds me. Liz wanted me to give you this." He pulled the jewelry box out of his pocket. "And no, I didn't peak at your earrings for our anniversary!"
"I can't believe she told you it was earrings!"
"She didn't, it was just a good guess." Luke walked into the kitchen laughing. He had made spaghetti with meatballs for dinner, and he began preparing their plates.
"You dirty sneak! I can't believe you tricked me. I was totally going to do the Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti, but that ship has sailed my friend."
"Jess called earlier," Luke pulled the garlic bread out of the oven as he said this. "He should be coming to town soon. They start filming next week, but he wanted to get here a bit early. He's staying with Liz tonight."
"Wouldn't have anything to do with Rory being down here for the weekend would it?"
"Nah," Luke said unconvincingly. "I don't think so anyways. I think he's moved on. Not that it would be such a big deal right? Rory is an adult now."
"No," Lorelai said as she retrieved some cups from her cabinet. "You're right, Rory is an adult, she can make her own choices. I am completely neutral on the whole thing."
"I'm sure you are."
"No really," Lorelai said defensively. "Jess has changed… a little. He's successful now, and he doesn't seem quite as demented anymore. If Rory did decide she wanted to be with him-"
"Rory is not getting with Jess," Luke said bluntly.
"What makes you so sure?"
"She has no interest in him right? She has avoided like the plague for the last three years."
"Just because she avoids him doesn't mean she's uninterested. You just don't get women at all.
"How are…things?" Rory asked lamely.
"Good," Jess smiled at her. He looked really good. His hair was cut short, in an almost militaristic manner, and his face had a little bit of stubble… just enough to look slightly dangerous. His muscles were pretty well toned even through his grey sweater he had on. Not that Rory noticed. "I'm a major Hollywood sell-out now."
"I'll alert the paparazzi that you're hear," Rory tried being witty.
"I'm a writer, they could care less. That's the great thing about being a famous writer. Nobody recognizes you, or cares what you're doing, as long as you write your books."
"Look at you, a famous writer." Rory was happy to see him despite herself.
"Yeah," Jess said. "Not quite famous, but I'm not terrible either."
"No," Rory said, "You're certainly not."
Jess looked uncomfortable for once, "You read my books then?"
"No," Rory said too quickly. Jess looked a little offended, and Rory realized how rude she sounded. "I really want to; I just want to get time off of work before I do. I don't think I could put it down if started reading."
"Where are you staying at?" Rory was afraid (and kind of thrilled) to think he might be staying at her mom's house.
"With Liz tonight," Jess frowned. "TJ is out of town. He's alright for Liz, but he kind of grinds my gears. I'll probably go to a hotel or something tomorrow night."
"You could stay at The Dragonfly, probably for free."
"Lorelai would probably burn it down before she let me stay there."
"Nonsense, that's all in the past. She's your Aunt now."
"Which makes us cousins," Jess teased her. Rory felt herself blushing again.
"I have to go," she said suddenly. "Mom's expecting me home any minute now."
Lorelai was getting ready for bed when Rory came bursting through the front door. She was clearly flustered, and she ran off to her old room. Lorelai followed her in there.
"Well hello to you to," Lorelai said lightly. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know what's wrong with me," she said. She pulled a book off the back of her shelf. "This is the book I'm reviewing."
Lorelai looked at the author, "Well you obviously can't review this book."
"That's what I thought, but when I told my editor he just got excited. He said it made for a great story."
"Well are you going to review it?"
"I have to," Rory said, "As much as I like movies; I don't want to be the next Roger Ebert. I want to review books."
"Well, I see your point there. Are you sure it won't be too weird?"
"Oh, it's definitely weird. It's even weirder now that he's back in town, and I just ran into him."
"Imagine that," Lorelai said mostly to herself. "Not even in town for an hour and he just happens to bump in to you?"
"Mom don't be like that!"
"No Rory," Lorelai said, "You're doing well, and Jess comes into town like a hurricane and you're already upset and doubting yourself."
"That's not Jess' fault, his movie is shooting here."
"I'm sure he had no control over that right?"
"He's changed mom, he's successful now. I don't think he's as wild as he used to be."
"People like that don't change Rory, not deep down. He's still the same leather jacket wearing Jess from years back. Don't let him fool you."
"I don't think he is, and I don't think he ever was as wild as you think he is. You act like he's the devil."
"You act like he's so tragically misunderstood!"
"Mom I am an adult now! You can't tell me what to do or think, or who I can talk to."
"You're right Rory, but I don't want to watch you make my mistakes either!"
"Well mom, I'm well past sixteen now. I don't have any kids running around do I? I think I'm doing pretty well. I think I've shown actually good judgment. You try to tell me what men I can talk to, like you're one to preach? How many times did you let Dad burn you before you had enough?"
Lorelai stepped back in shock. "Fine, if you think you're so much smarter than me, then see whoever you want. If you like Jess so much then why don't you run off and marry him."
"That's real mature mom! You act like I just jumped into bed with Jess. His name comes up and you go on the attack! I don't even think we'll get together, so how about you quit attacking me. I just wanted to talk to you about my problems… but obviously that's not going to happen."
Rory sat down on her bed with her back to her mom, and Lorelai sat beside her. "Rory," she began, "I'm sorry, I just want what's best for you… you do know that right?"
"Yeah Mom," Rory sighed, "We'll talk tomorrow alright? I know you have a lot going on."
"You're not mad?"
"Yeah, but all the best people are."
"See you tomorrow kid."
Lane was in the middle of telling her boys about Green Eggs and Ham, when Zack came in the room.
"Oh man," he said, "I missed green eggs and ham! What a bummer! Good night Steve, good night Quan." Zack left their bedroom.
"Can you read us another story mommy?" Steve asked sweetly; anything to avoid bedtime.
"Which story would you like? I've already read three," she kissed his forehead.
"One of Grandma's stories!"
"Which story would that be?" Lane was afraid to hear the answer.
"The story about Jesus," Quan piped up.
"I don't have any stories about Jesus," Lane said frowning.
"You should," said Steve, "They're really good."
"I'll get some alright? Now you boys go to bed, it's already past your bed time."
"Alright mommy," they said in unison. "Love you."
Lane smiled as she left their room. She loved this life as well; she just didn't see why she couldn't have total happiness.
Rory, Luke, and Lorelai stood side by side outside of the Gimore's manion.
"You go in first," Lorelai said to Luke.
"They're your parents!"
"Exactly my point, they have to be nice to you."
"No, they have to tolerate me," Luke replied, "Which they barely do."
"Rory you knock! They're your grandparents!"
"Fine," Rory rolled her eyes. She was looking forward to seeing her Grandparents anyways. She had talked to them on the phone, but she didn't make nearly as many Friday night dinners as she would have liked. She knocked on the door quietly, and it promptly flew open.
"Rory!" Emily answered the door. She pulled Rory into a tight hug. "It's been too long, look how much more mature you are!"
"Hello to you to mother, I'll let myself in," Lorelai acted offended, but she enjoyed these occasions. The nostalgia was nice, Luke just hung back awkwardly.
"Richard!" Emily called into the living room, "Come say hi to Rory!"
"Hello Rory," Richard called out from the other room. Emily sighed to herself, and waved everybody to come in the dining room. Richard was looking quite unhappy sitting in his usual seat.
"Grandpa how are you, did you enjoy that book?"
"Well I'm still reading it," Richard said brightly, "But I'll be finished soon, I quite like it so far."
"I knew you would," she hugged Richard tightly. "I didn't get to see you after the ceremony, but I wanted to speak with you. I'm finally getting to review a book!"
"Oh that's great!" Richard smiled at her. "This calls for a celebration."
"No alcohol though," Emily cut in sternly.
Richard scowled at her, "Emily, I am a grown man, and if I want to celebrate with a glass of wine, then I will do so."
Richard shuffled out of the room to retrieve the bottle of wine, and Emily mumbled something to herself.
"Mom what's going on?" Lorelai asked her quietly.
"Richard thinks that I treat him like a child, and he's throwing a little tantrum about it. This is the nicest he's been in days."
"Is he okay?" Rory asked worried.
"He'll be fine," assured Emily. "He's just upset about retiring again. He's happy to see you though, keep cheering him up."
"I'll try," said Rory sadly. Richard came back into the room carrying a tray with wine glasses, and a bottle of wine. He began to pour some for everybody.
"I propose a toast," he said as he passed the glasses out. Emily took hers scornfully. "To my granddaughter, Rory Gilmore-"
"Hold up Dad," Lorelai said. "I've got something else to toast about myself."
"Now?" asked Luke.
"To hell with it," Lorelai said smirking. "Mom…dad…. I'm pregnant."
The room went completely quiet. Lorelai looked at her Mom who was still looking scornful. She looked at Rory who looked nervous… Luke was trying to support her.
Then she saw Richard, who was looking at his arm in fear. "Oh no," he mumbled. "I…uh-"
"Richard!" Emily screamed hysterically. Richard fell to the ground with a loud crash, his glass shattering, his wine flying across the carpet.
"Grandpa?" Rory looked down at Richard, his whole color was wrong, he was ghostly white, and his hands were an unnatural purple.
Luke ran over the phone, "I'm calling 911. Hang in there!"
Note: I think I'll bump the rating up to Teen. Thanks for all the kind reviews, and please leave more. They're very nice to read.