Episode 10.01 "Let's Go Fly a Kite"
by Filo and DiehardJavaJunkie

 

Authors' Note: We'd like to thank all the readers that have supported the VS since it started. Special thanks to Jewels12 and Robinpoppins for their flexibility, advice, and encouragement as we wrote this episode.

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Rory shut the door to her apartment and then flopped down onto the couch. She scrunched her nose and shook her head, almost dropping her cell phone in the process. "Mom, gross! I've changed Ellie's diapers before, remember? I don't need a description."

"Well, you asked what you had missed."

"I didn't mean you had to describe everything." Rory ran her fingers through her hair as she got more comfortable on her couch. "Other than Ellie and her eating, sleeping, crying, and pooping, has anything else happened since I left?"

"Hon, you were here less than 24 hours ago."

"Well, it's Stars Hollow. You never know when Kirk will try to climb a tree or Babette and Morey will be seen in the nude—"

"May that never happen again," Lorelai interrupted. "Nope, that is all the news that was fit to be shared. How about you? What's been happening with my first born?"

"Nothing much. I found out today that it is possible for peanut butter to go bad, either that, or it was the bread, but the bread was new, so I'm guessing it was the peanut butter."

"What an interesting life my daughter leads when she is away from the hustle and bustle of her small town. Did you ask anyone to give you a second opinion? Maybe your taste buds went out of whack temporarily."

"I have been spending most of my time there, haven't I?" Rory ignored her mother's question.

"Yes, it's almost like you had moved back in for a while."

"I was just trying to help out."

"But if you were here, you wouldn't have been able to see Kevin."

"Kevin?"

"Yes, the boy you kissed, or did you already forget?"

"Real subtle, Mom."

"I tried subtle with the second opinion on the peanut butter thing, and you ignored it. Are you ignoring Kevin too?"

"I'm not ignoring him; we've just been missing each other."

"Not hard to do when you are in a completely different town."

Rory sighed. "I thought you and Luke could use the help."

"And Luke and I appreciate that. We're already missing the sleep that we would have had if you had been here last night."

Rory stared at the blank screen on her laptop, which was resting on the coffee table. "I probably could have stayed. I can't seem to get a grasp on this article, and I could have written nothing there just as easily as I could have here."

"Ask Kevin for some ideas. I'm sure he'd be helpful."

"Mom! I will talk to him as soon as I get the chance, okay? Like I said, we've been missing each other. We're playing Post-it note and phone tag at the moment."

"Post-it note?"

"Yeah, we stick them on our doors if the person isn't home when we stop by."

"Rory, that isn't safe! People will know no one is home!"

Rory stifled a laugh, rolling her eyes as she leaned forward to close her laptop. "Yeah, well, I like to live dangerously."

"We'll see if you're still saying that after I tell Luke."

"Mom, no! Don't tell—" Rory pulled the phone away from her ear when Lorelai screamed out Luke's name.

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Luke finished changing Ellie for bed as he heard Lorelai alternate between shouting his name and talking to Rory on the phone. Rolling his eyes, he picked Ellie up and walked toward the bedroom, almost bumping into Lorelai on the way upstairs.

"Didn't you hear me calling for you?" Lorelai asked, tossing the phone from one hand to the other.

"Not the first eleven times, but the twelfth? Yeah, I definitely heard you," Luke grumbled.

Lorelai raised her eyebrows. "What's gotten into you, Mr. Grumpy McCrankypants?"

Luke sighed. "I've just got a lot on my mind right now."

"What do you mean?"

"I've been thinking about what to do with Larry's property," he said with a sigh.

"Well, what are our options?" she asked.

Luke thought for a moment. "We can try to fix it up and sell it. Or we could fix it up to rent out, or we could completely tear it down—"

"Wow, there are a lot of options," Lorelai mused. "And not one of them includes making it a giant Stars Hollow coffee plant. That's rather disappointing."

"Yeah, I've been thinking about it a lot," Luke answered.

"Well, that's definitely obvious. Luke, don't stress about it," Lorelai said, taking one of Ellie's hands in hers. "We don't have to decide on anything right away."

"But we can't let it sit there for forever, either," Luke countered, handing Ellie over and taking a seat on the bottom stair.

"We won't," Lorelai replied, trying to soothe a now crying Ellie. "The house isn't going anywhere."

Luke nodded. "Yeah, I guess that's true. You want me to put Ellie to bed?" he asked, standing up and holding out his hands.

"Sure. You get her all settled and I'll pick something for us to watch on TV," Lorelai agreed.

"Not that stupid VH1 dating show with the guy from Guns 'n' Roses," Luke warned.

"It's Poison, and I totally forgot that was on tonight! You're the best!" Lorelai squealed, darting toward the living room.

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Rory stared at her computer screen, her teeth tugging on her bottom lip. She leaned forward to reread one sentence, but jumped when her cell phone began to ring. She flipped her phone open and answered, her eyes never leaving her monitor. "Hello?"

"Rory! I've missed you!"

Rory checked the name on her phone's screen and read it out loud. "Paris?"

"Of course it's me! Have you've already forgotten who your best friend is? Doyle and I weren't away for that long."

"No, Paris, of course not. You sound... different."

"Must be the connection. Listen, Doyle and I are coming into town to visit our folks and we wanted to visit with you and Ellie too."

"Ellie? You mean my sister?"

"Do we know another Ellie?"

Rory lightly tapped her fingers on her keyboard, watching as a few random letters popped up on the screen. "No, I guess we don't. I didn't think you were really into babies."

"One of the couples we ran into on our honeymoon had a little two year old that was so cute. He would drag me around by my pinky and point out all the rocks in front of us. 'Rock. Dat rock,' he would say over and over. Cute kid. I miss him. So, can we visit?"

"You know that Ellie isn't two, right? She's a baby."

"Of course I know that. But kids are kids, right? All kids are cute. What's with you, Gilmore? I thought you'd be happy for us to come see you."

Rory leaned back into the couch, a look of utter confusion on her face. "Yeah, I'd like that. Um, Ellie would too, I think. I have to ask my mom when a good time would be for us to come by—"

"Perfect. You figure out all the specifics and then give me a call back. I've gotta go. Doyle seems to be incapable of untangling the cell phone chargers. Husbands," Paris snarked. "Bye!"

"Bye," Rory mumbled, right after her phone made a beep to let her know the call had ended. "I wonder if she fell on one of those rocks that kid pointed out to her," she thought out loud. She shook her head as she tried to figure out the reason for Paris' unusual cheery mood.

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On Wednesday night, Rory watched, bewildered, as Paris held Ellie up in the air and grinned.

"Can you say 'rock,' little Ellie? Ro-ck," Paris enunciated, and then frowned when Ellie only let out a thin line of drool.

"Whoops, let me get that," Rory said, grabbing a burp cloth to wipe the saliva from Paris' shoulder.

"Don't worry about it, Rory, it's just drool. Nothing detergent can't get out."

"This from the woman that tried to slap Doyle when he got cheese puff dust on our coffee table at Yale." Rory placed the cloth on Paris' shoulder. "You seem more like Cinderella than Cruella. You get too much sun on your honeymoon?"

"I stayed out of the sun. You know how easily I burn." Paris lifted Ellie up a little higher. "Doyle, are you sure you don't want to hold her?"

"I'm good," Doyle replied, leaning away from Paris. "I don't trust babies that can't hold their heads up on their own. And bring her down. The oxygen is thinner up there and she could pass out or something."

"Oh please," Paris muttered, but she lowered Ellie down and cradled her in her arms. "So finish catching us up, Rory. Besides the block with your article and this little jewel, what have you been up to?"

Rory crinkled her nose at Ellie being referred to as a jewel. "That's been about it. Ellie and the article have kept me pretty busy while you were gone."

"What about the wedding ruiner? He still in the picture?"

"Who?" Rory looked over at Doyle, who shrugged and shifted farther to the edge of the couch as Paris and Ellie moved closer to him.

"That guy who ruined my wedding by dragging you out onto a softball field. You kissed him, so I assumed you were dating."

"Oh, Kevin." Rory shifted in her seat. "We've been missing each other, so we haven't talked much."

"You haven't talked much, or you haven't talked at all?"

"Do Post-it notes count as talking?"

"Not unless he's marking the body parts he wants to—" Paris said.

"Not in front of the baby, Paris!" Doyle admonished.

"Right, sorry, Ellie." Paris nuzzled Ellie's nose. "Gilmore, you may have to make the first move."

"There is no move to make when you can't even get in touch with the guy, Paris."

"Then camp out in front of his door! Delaying love only delays the time you have to share with each other."

Rory shook her head slowly. "You sound like the inside of a rejected Hallmark card."

Paris sniffed the air and then held Ellie out in front of her. "I think Ellie here has left a different kind of jewel. That's all you. Auntie Paris doesn't do diapers."

"We've got a 'touched her last' rule, Paris. You touched her last, you change the diaper," Rory teased.

Paris scooted right up next to Doyle, who was frozen at the edge of the couch. She placed Ellie in his lap and then wrapped his arms around the baby. "Ellie, meet your Uncle Doyle."

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"Man, it's good to be back," Lorelai said to Luke, opening the door to Miss Patty's studio.

"It's good to be back? You've missed what, three town meetings?" Luke asked. "You act like you went on some sort of trip to Japan."

Lorelai shrugged. "I like keeping up with this kind of stuff. If I don't, I feel like I'm missing out on some important... legislative... happenings and..."

"You mean you miss watching the idiots in this town do and say stupid things while Taylor becomes increasingly power hungry with each meeting," Luke pointed out.

"Precisely," she nodded, standing on her tiptoes to search for two seats. The meeting had already begun, but Taylor was so engrossed in the matter being presented that Luke and Lorelai slipped in unnoticed.

Lorelai politely apologized and tried not to step on anyone as she made her way through a row of chairs, finding a place for the two of them to sit. She sat back, opened a bag of Cheetos, and smiled, listening to Kirk and Miss Patty arguing.

Taylor slammed the gavel on the podium, silencing both of them. "People, people, let's be civil here. We have other issues on the agenda for tonight. Kirk, if Miss Patty doesn't need an assistant for her Tae-Bo class on Wednesday, I'm sure she can offer you an assistant position in another class. Moving on!"

Despite Kirk's protests, Taylor closed the discussion and started organizing some papers as Lorelai opened a box of Junior Mints.

"How many snacks did you bring?" Luke asked. "You knew we were going to be late already."

"Sweet and salty, my friend, sweet and salty. Party for my taste buds," Lorelai replied, dumping a few of the candies in her hand.

Taylor got the crowd's attention once again and started on his new agenda. "We can't forget that Kite Day is approaching quickly. If you have not registered to fly a kite, you must do so by two o'clock on the day of the event, or you will not be eligible to participate. I will accept no excuses. Also, we need your deposits before we can release the kites to you."

"Deposits?" Babette shrieked. "You said this event was gonna be free!"

Taylor shook his head. "Unfortunately, the kite company left us with a hefty service charge for the mileage on their delivery truck. To break even, we need a ten dollar deposit from each of you."

"Aw, man, this is more of a ripoff than the time I went snowboarding in Vermont," Andrew grumbled as the rest of the onlookers joined in.

"Fear not, good citizens," Taylor assured the now agitated crowd. "All of the money we raise will either go toward paying the service charge or various other town beautification projects. This money is in good hands."

Kirk raised his hand. "Excuse me, Taylor. I was searching the internet for the weather report on Kite Day. Weather.com states that there is no wind in sight near Stars Hollow for that day."

"Kirk, I have the Farmer's Almanac right here," Taylor replied, holding up the book in his hand. "It specifically states that the winds will be plentiful and therefore, Kite Day will go on as scheduled."

"But what if it isn't windy?" Lulu questioned. "What if the Farmer's Almanac is wrong?"

"How do they choose the farmers who get to be in the Farmer's Almanac, anyway?" Lorelai added. "What if it's some guy dressed up in a straw hat and overalls who looks like a farmer, but isn't actually a farmer?"

Miss Patty shifted in her chair. "I've never thought about that before."

"I know that meteorologists control the website, but what about the Almanac? What if these farmers didn't get their proper farming education to be qualified farmers?" Kirk asked. "Let's talk to Jackson! Is he here?"

"Don't even ask," Jackson replied. "I have no idea."

"It's a conspiracy!" Babette shouted, throwing her hands in the air.

Taylor reached for his gavel once again, attempting to regain control of the crowd. "It is not a conspiracy, Babette. I assure you, the Farmer's Almanac is a tried and true method of predicting the weather. Kite Day will go on as scheduled."

Lorelai leaned toward Luke, poking him in the shoulder to get his attention. "Want to put down a deposit so we can fly a kite?"

Luke simply rolled his eyes.

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Rory looked down at Ellie resting on her shoulder, the baby's eyes barely staying open. "It's okay, you can go to sleep, little sister. You won't miss anything here," Rory said in a low voice.

"Paris, we should go so the baby can sleep." Doyle bolted off the couch without waiting for an answer and started for the front door.

"Guess that means we're leaving," Paris said, shrugging as she rose to her feet. She waited for Rory to stand as well and then patted Ellie on the head. "Bye, Ellie. I hope I get to see you soon."

Rory followed Paris to the foyer and then opened the door for the pair. "It was great to see you guys. Mom said to say sorry she missed you."

"Tell her I may give her a call. Us married people have a lot to talk about." Paris looked down at a colored flyer on the hall stand. "What's this?" she asked, picking up the paper.

"A town festival we're having this weekend," Rory replied.

Doyle stood on his tiptoes to look over Paris' shoulder. "Kite festival? How can they guarantee wind?"

"If Taylor Doose wants there to be wind, he'll have wind," Rory toned in mock seriousness.

"Are you going to be there?" Paris pulled a notebook from her purse and began copying the information on the flyer.

"Yeah, I was planning on it. What are you doing?"

"Writing the information down. Maybe we'll see you there." Paris returned the notebook to her purse.

Rory's bottom jaw almost fell to the floor. "You want to go to a town festival?"

"One thing that keeps a marriage fresh is the couple's willingness to try new things together. We've never been to a kite festival. Besides, it sounds romantic."

"Romantic?" Rory repeated skeptically.

"Kites dancing on the breeze. That's romance, Rory."

"Right." Rory opened the front door. "Uh, hope to see you there. Night!" She shut the door as soon as they walked off the porch. "Don't let that first impression of Paris fool you," Rory whispered to her sister. "She's normally not that... I have no idea what that was, but she's normally not like that at all."

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Rory and Tess were in Rory's apartment, slouched on the couch with their feet resting on the coffee table. Tess lazily held the remote in her hand, flipping through the channels as Rory shared her visit with Paris and Doyle.

"Did you really make Doyle change the diaper?" Tess dropped the remote on the couch and turned to face Rory.

"No." Rory chuckled. "I changed it. It was a false alarm." She looked up at the ceiling as if in thought. "It was creepy. Paris isn't normally that... I don't even know how to describe it."

"She did just get married. Wedded bliss, maybe?"

"You're probably right. Wow, I never thought Paris would be hit with wedded bliss." Rory shuddered.

"Wasn't she like that when she first met Doyle?"

"No, she didn't change that much when they started dating."

Tess shrugged. "Oh well. You know how relationships can be. Some people get hit with the bliss at the very beginning. For others, it takes a little longer for the bliss to hit. Bliss. When I hear that word a lot I think of that teacher from the earlier episodes of Saved by the Bell. Remember her?"

Rory gave a somewhat forced chuckle as she focused on the TV. "Yeah, the woman that played Pollyanna?"

"Or the teacher on Saved by the Bell who was named..." Tess prompted.

Rory stared blankly at Tess. "Patty Duke?"

"Bliss. The teacher's name was Bliss. Which is why the word bliss makes me think of her. Are you okay?"

"Oh yeah, I'm fine," Rory said quickly, picking up the remote. "Why?"

"I don't think I've ever seen you miss a TV reference. Especially one from the 90s."

"I, uh, think I'm still in shock about Paris." Rory dropped the remote back on the couch. "There is nothing on TV."

"I think I know what can get your mind off of Paris. You feel like going out tomorrow night?"

"Sure, where?"

"Kevin said something about a pick-up game of extreme dodge ball. I don't know what that really means, but anything that involves my brother potentially getting hit in the face with a ball sounds like something I need to witness."

"Uh, I don't know. Last time I went to a sporting event I got a black eye."

"You'd be a spectator this time around. Maybe karma will do you a little payback and Kevin would end up with a black eye."

"I don't want that..." Rory's voice trailed off as her eyes studied the buttons on the remote.

"I was only kidding."

Rory looked up at Tess' confused face. "Right, right. Sorry, I must be tired from Paris and driving back and forth from Stars Hollow so much."

"Yeah, must be. I'll let you get some sleep." Tess stood up. "Give you a call tomorrow to meet up? Maybe we can get dinner first or something."

Rory coughed as she looked down and walked to the front door. "Yeah, I'll give you a call if I can go. I need to make sure I get some... stuff done beforehand."

Tess nodded and stepped out the door. "Cool. Get some rest. Sweet blissless dreams!" She turned and walked down the hallway.

Rory shut the door and leaned up against it. "I have got to talk to Kevin," she muttered under her breath.

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"You know, I think I should have a midlife crisis. I should abandon the inn, give myself a new name like Lady Gaga, only better than that, and write odes to your cake," Lorelai mused.

"You're not getting another piece," Luke insisted.

"What if I wore a really tight leopard skinned unitard, painted my face, and tied my hair in a bow while I sang about your cake?"

"Nope," Luke replied, putting the cover on the cake container.

Lorelai sighed. "Man, there is no convincing you, is there?"

Luke shook his head. "Nope."

"You know, I realize that they say that brevity is the soul of wit. But number one, I do not stand by that statement, because I am the complete opposite. And number two, your 'nopes' are getting to me and they're hardly witty. Are you still stressed about the house?" Lorelai asked, scraping the remains off of her cake plate.

"I just don't like not knowing what to do with it," Luke said with a sigh, taking a seat at the kitchen table. "I'd rather have it off my mind."

"Well, then, let's get it off your mind," Lorelai agreed, putting her fork down. "What are your thoughts?"

"That's the thing," Luke started, "I have no idea what to do with the place."

Lorelai shrugged. "Well, even though we're talking about it, this doesn't mean we have to make a decision on it right now. But we can get the ball rolling to get your mind off of this."

"Well, then, what were you thinking?"

Lorelai moved her chair in closer to the table. "Well, at the very least, we can have Tom come over and check it out. Whatever we want to do with it, we need to know what kind of condition it's in, right?"

"That's true," Luke agreed. "I guess that's a pretty good start. You think he's available sometime this week?"

"I can give him a call and find out," Lorelai offered. "That way you can stop stressing about it for a little while, but we don't have to make any crucial decisions now."

"Okay," Luke consented. "That sounds fair enough."

"Good," she giggled, standing up from her chair and giving Luke a peck on the cheek. "I'm going to go find that unitard and see if I can't change your mind."

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The next morning, Lorelai walked into the kitchen holding the cordless phone in her hand. She opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of water, and then sat down at the kitchen table. Opening the water with one hand, she effortlessly dialed the phone with the other. "Hi, Tom, It's Lorelai. Did I catch you at a bad time?"

"Never a bad time if you are calling to give me more work," Tom replied.

"I think we can help you out with that. Luke and I wanted to get the Wong property checked out. You up for it?"

"I can work it in later on today, if you like."

"Let me ask Luke real quick." Lorelai held her hand over the phone and walked into the living room. She smiled when she saw Luke lying on the couch, Ellie on his chest, both asleep. She tapped Luke lightly on the shoulder. "Babe?" she whispered.

"Mmm?" Luke instinctively tightened his grip on Ellie as he opened his eyes.

"Tom says he can check out the Wong property later today. Will that work for you?"

Luke nodded and then closed his eyes. "Tell him that no one has lived in the house for a while, so it will probably take a while to walk through the place."

Lorelai nodded, putting the phone to her ear. "Tom, later today works. The house hasn't been lived in for a while, so the walk through may take a while."

"Okay," Tom said.

"And that we want to make sure to look for air leaks," Luke muttered.

"Luke mentioned something about air leaks," Lorelai said questioningly into the phone.

"Yeah, that's a standard thing to check for," Tom replied.

"Tell him we haven't checked any of the appliances." Luke opened his eyes once again.

"We haven't checked any of the appliances," Lorelai repeated, rolling her eyes as she sat down on the coffee table.

"I can check all that out, too. Tell Luke I know what I'm doing," Tom said.

Lorelai whispered, "He'll check all that. He knows what he's doing."

Luke waved her off and rubbed Ellie's back. "Tell him to bring a digital camera. And a digital pressure gauge. Oh! Make sure he knows that the insulation needs to be checked too, and probably the—"

"Do you want to talk to him?" Lorelai sighed, holding out the phone. Luke shook his head. "You sure? You sound like you want to." She pulled the phone back to her ear when she heard Tom's voice. "Sorry, what was that?"

"I was saying that things may go a lot faster this afternoon if you leave Luke at home."

Lorelai bit back a grin. "I'll see what I can do about that. Thanks, Tom. Bye."

"What did he say?" Luke asked.

"That you were very lucky to have me as a wife."

"Uh huh." Luke relaxed back into the couch. "We'll get there before him and I'll check some of the things before he arrives."

Lorelai just smiled as she joined him on the couch. "Ellie and I may stay here so you men can have your space."

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Rory grabbed her keys off the end table and opened the door to her apartment. She jumped, startled to see Kevin standing on the other side of the door, with a Post-it note in his hand. He looked up, almost placing the note on her face rather than the door.

"Well, hello there, stranger." Kevin smirked.

"Hi," Rory replied, opening the door and motioning for Kevin to come in.

"Well, I guess I don't need this anymore." Kevin entered the apartment, ripped up the Post-it note, and threw it away in Rory's trash can. "How's everything in Stars Hollow?"

Rory nodded. "Things are good. Everyone's happy and healthy and crazy as usual."

"Good, good. That's great."

"Yeah." Rory nodded, looking down at the floor. She took a deep breath, taking her hands out of her pockets to motion toward the couch. "So, I feel like we need to talk about stuff."

"Okay," Kevin replied hesitantly. He sat down on the couch and rubbed the back of his neck as Rory sat down next to him. "What kind of stuff?"

Rory sighed. "Just... stuff. I was hanging out with Tess yesterday and I realized that this whole thing is awkward."

Kevin raised his eyebrows. "What whole thing?"

"Don't get me wrong, I like the you-and-me thing. But the you-and-me-and-Tess thing needs some work."

"I'm confused."

Rory played with the zipper on her sweatshirt as she attempted to piece together a sentence. "Okay. So you and I need to tell Tess about us eventually. I was hanging out with her yesterday and her not knowing about this just seems weird. She's my friend and she's your sister. We have to let her in on this."

"Okay, then, why don't we?" Kevin asked.

"Because," Rory started, dragging the zipper up and down, "we don't know what to tell her."

"Why do we have to tell her anything right now? Why don't we just let it go and see how things work out? If they work out, she'll find out eventually, right?"

Rory shook her head. "I feel bad keeping it from her. We have to figure this out. We can't just tell Tess that sometimes we do XYZ and we don't know what we call it."

"XYZ? What's that?" Kevin smirked.

"Kissing! And other... stuff... that... you know what? That's not the point here! Stop trying to get me flustered," Rory huffed.

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. So, what do you think this is?"

"Well, I think we're two people... who have feelings for each other," Rory started.

"Thank you, Captain Obvious," Kevin interrupted.

Rory smiled. "I think we're... maybe... dating?"

Kevin straightened up. "Yeah?"

"But we would have to make it official by going on an actual date first. How about we go with that for now, and we figure out the Tess situation later?"

Kevin nodded. "I think that's fair enough."

The two stared at each other for a moment before Rory broke the silence. "So, what was on that Post-it?"

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Tom, Lorelai, and Luke were in the living room of the Wong property. Strips of wallpaper were pooled on the floor, yellowed with age. The hardwood floor had visible water damage, and some of the planks were warped. The few pieces of furniture scattered throughout the room had a thick coating of dust on them. Lorelai was leaned up against the wall with the least amount of damage as Luke and Tom were on their knees looking up into the fireplace.

"It doesn't look very sound," Tom remarked.

"It doesn't look that bad," Luke countered. "Replace the flue and then all you need to do is—"

"Rebuild the foundation of the rest of it," Tom finished. He stood up and wrote down some notes on his clipboard. "I thought you said you would leave him at home," Tom said under his breath to Lorelai.

Lorelai chuckled. "I tried. If it makes you feel better, I decided to come along against my better judgment to help you out."

"You mean to protect him."

"That too. I wasn't sure if you were going to bring your chainsaw."

"To walk through a house?" Tom asked.

Lorelai shrugged and then stepped forward to help Luke up. "So that's it, right? We can go now?"

Luke rolled his eyes. "We still have the entire rest of the house to check, Lorelai."

"Yeah, I was thinking that we could leave that to Tom."

Luke glared at Tom as he headed for the kitchen. "We need to make sure he doesn't miss anything."

Lorelai's shoulders fell as she dragged her feet behind the two men. "Right, of course. What are we checking out in here?"

"Gas lines will need some work." Tom marked his clipboard.

"You didn't even turn them on," Luke replied.

"I checked out the records before I came here. House hasn't been updated in over ten years. There are new codes for gas lines that will have to be met." Tom checked the window over the sink. "Air leak over here."

Luke inspected the window himself. "It's just not closed all the way." He tried to pull down the window. He stepped back quickly as the bottom part of the window broke and fell into the sink.

"Window replacement," Tom murmured, flipping to a new page on the clipboard to write.

"Babe, seriously, can we just let Tom take care of this?" Lorelai tugged on Luke's arm.

"No, he's fine. The more he helps, the more work he gives me to do." Tom gave Luke a wide smile.

Luke returned his smile with a glare. He checked his watch. "Ellie is going to wake up from her nap soon anyway."

"Perfect! Let's go pick her up from Babette's." Lorelai dragged Luke out of the kitchen before he could reply.

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Lorelai threw open the door to the diner, Ellie in her arms. She smiled when she saw that the diner was empty. "It's like the town senses when Mommy needs caffeine. They all went to bed early, didn't they?" She waved Ellie's hand in the air as she spoke in a high pitched child-like voice. "Daddy! Daddy! I need coffee!"

Luke walked out from the kitchen, wiping his hands on a rag. "Not funny. Come here." He reached out for his daughter. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and then sat down on a stool by the counter. "What are my girls doing here so late? Isn't it past your bedtime?"

"We're out of coffee." Lorelai plopped down on the stool next to him.

"Why didn't you call? I would have picked some up on the way home."

"Babe, we're out of coffee. As in I haven't had a cup in ten minutes." Lorelai gave him a knowing stare.

"Right." Luke handed her Ellie and moved behind the counter. He poured Lorelai a mugful of coffee, leaned against the back counter, and then pointed out the window. "What's going on out there?"

Lorelai finished her drink and then turned to look. "No idea." She stood and walked to the window. "Wow, those are some massive kites."

Luke joined her at the window. "Those are kites? I thought kites were diamond shaped with ribbons on the end of them."

"It's Taylor, Hon. He's not going to get regular, old, boring kites. Man, those are..."

"Huge? Way too big for a grown adult to be able to handle?" Luke guessed.

"Ugly. Those are some ugly kites. Is that supposed to be a rainbow?" Lorelai pointed to a kite Kirk was pulling out of a large box.

"Do rainbows have pink and black stripes?" Luke asked.

"In Taylor's world I guess they do. Is that supposed to be a unicorn?" she pointed to another kite.

"I think it's a horse with a cowlicked mane." Luke pointed at a kite to the left. "What is that supposed to be?"

Lorelai leaned closer to the window. "I have no idea."

"I think it's a rabbit."

"A rabbit with two appendages of the male persuasion as ears?"

"Lorelai!"

"What? Tell me those ears don't look like a male—"

Luke put his hand over Lorelai's mouth. "If I agree, will you not say it?" Lorelai nodded. "Then I agree." He gave her a kiss on the forehead as he removed his hand. "Take the long way home. If Ellie gets too close to any of those kites she may be scarred for life."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"I'm not so sure how I feel about this new Monopoly," Tess mused, reaching for the credit card Kevin had just tossed across her coffee table.

Rory sighed. "I still don't know how you two talked me into this. Monopoly shouldn't be played with credit cards. Las Vegas was definitely not on the original version. I feel like my childhood is being torn apart."

"Quit being so nostalgic and roll, would you?" Kevin insisted, handing Rory the dice.

"And what kind of dice are blue, anyway? Not to mention they're this shiny, see-through blue color, and I can probably look through them and see Tess sitting right there," Rory continued, accepting the dice and holding him in her palm.

Kevin reached for the instructions and opened them up, reading aloud as Rory stared into space, dice still clenched in her fist. Her thoughts were interrupted by Tess's hand waving in front of her face.

"Earth to Rory," she said. Rory looked up. "You want some coffee before we get too far into this game?"

"Definitely," Rory replied, straightening up and watching as Tess disappeared into the kitchen. She scooted across the carpet toward Kevin on the other side of the table. "We have to tell her."

"Ugh," Kevin muttered. "Things aren't awkward or anything, why can't we just tell her some other time?"

Rory snorted. "Things aren't awkward for you, maybe. But I've got a radar for awkward, and it's going nuts right now."

Kevin sighed. "Okay, so what do we tell her?"

"We've been through this!" Rory replied, frustrated. "I don't want this to be weird."

"Don't want what to be weird?" Tess asked, handing Rory a mug full of coffee.

Rory and Kevin looked at each other, searching for an appropriate response. "The game," Kevin replied quickly, motioning toward the Monopoly board.

Tess laughed. "No, come on, really. What's going on?"

Rory looked at Tess, and then at Kevin, and then at Tess again. "Kevin and I are dating," she blurted.

Tess stood for a moment without saying anything. Rory attempted to read her expression with no luck. Rory looked at Kevin, who simply shrugged.

"Is that... does that... are you mad?" Rory stuttered.

"No, no, I'm not mad, I'm just... surprised?" Tess started.

"Totally understandable," Rory agreed.

"It's a little weird. And it's kind of coming from nowhere, you know?"

"Hear you loud and clear," Kevin added.

"But it's cool at the same time," Tess decided. "You two seemed to mesh pretty well as friends, so I guess that can translate."

Kevin nodded. "We certainly hope so."

Rory took a deep breath. "So, you're okay with this?"

"Yeah, I'm cool with it. It's still fresh, but... it's cool," Tess said, sitting down at the table. "I'm happy for you guys."

"We get it if you need time to let it sink in," Rory insisted. "We haven't really let it sink in, either."

Tess giggled. "Yeah, this one's going to take some time to wrap my mind around. But it's not a bad thing, really."

Rory looked at Kevin and smiled. "Okay," she said, breathing a sigh of relief.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai walked out of the bathroom and smiled when she saw Luke in bed. "She's already asleep?"

Luke nodded, not looking up from the papers he was reading. "As soon as I put her down," he said. "Just like her mother."

Lorelai slipped into bed and smacked Luke lightly on the arm. "How does Tom think the Wong property looks?"

"Expensive." Luke turned to the next page. "Very expensive. The house would need a lot of work. And Tom's list of proposed improvements doesn't include the landscaping."

"Landscaping?"

"You can't fix up the house and leave the yard looking the way it is."

"So it's starting to add up."

"It would take a lot of time to get the house livable."

Lorelai leaned back against the pillows. "Is that something you want to do?"

Luke ran his fingers through his hair, tossing the paperwork on the end table. "Not really. I appreciate what Larry left us, but..."

"You aren't really attached to it?" Lorelai finished. Luke nodded. "What do you want to do?"

"Maybe we should clean up the front of it so it looks more presentable and then put it on the market as is."

"And then we could put the money aside for something fun. Like new clothes for Mommy!" Lorelai bounced.

Luke took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her palm. "Or a new house?"

Lorelai raised her eyebrows. "Yeah?"

Luke shrugged. "Maybe?"

"Yeah, maybe." Lorelai smiled and wrapped her arms around Luke. "But I still like the clothes for Mommy idea better."

Luke laughed as he turned off the lamp.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai fought to keep her hair out of eyes as the wind began to pick up. She leaned forward, looking into the stroller to check on Ellie, who was fast asleep.

"You know, you're sleeping through a very important lesson, kid. Never wear a skirt in the wind, because as cool as everyone thinks the Marilyn Monroe thing was, you can't replicate it. Take it from me," Lorelai instructed, unaffected by the fact that Ellie wasn't listening.

She turned the corner to head toward Luke's when she heard shouting in the town square. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Taylor and Kirk darting around the square, clutching several kites each and chasing others that threatened to escape.

Lorelai attempted to stifle a giggle, but finally gave up when she saw Kirk trip over his own two feet and fall face first onto the grass. Despite being tangled in multiple kite strings, he reached out for two square-shaped kites rolling away from him as Taylor barked commands from the other side of the square.

"Kirk, I told you not to let any of these kites out of your sight!" Taylor shouted, running after another drifting kite.

"I didn't let my eyes wander for a second," Kirk protested. "It was just hard holding them all at once. And then it got windyŚ"

Taylor motioned to yet another kite that threatened to float away. "Kirk!"

"Oh, no!" Kirk moaned, attempting to get up and chase after the kite.

Lorelai watched the events unfold for a few more minutes before she finally started to walk away. "Lesson number two for the day," she started, leaning forward in hopes that Ellie would somehow comprehend her next teachable moment, "it's great to laugh at Taylor and Kirk, but if you laugh too long, you'll find yourself helping out. And you want to avoid that at all costs."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai walked quickly towards the square, Luke pushing Ellie in her stroller behind her.

"Lorelai, slow down!" Luke called out.

"Luke, hurry, we don't want to miss anything!" Lorelai stopped short when she reached the center of town. The giant kites lay scattered all over the grass, as if they had been shot down. Children wiped tears from their eyes, their cries drowned out from the loud band playing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" in the gazebo. "Whoa." Lorelai brought her hand up to her mouth to block the laughter that threatened to escape.

Luke stepped up next to her and adjusted his hat. "What the..."

"People, people, please!" Taylor's voice boomed through a megaphone after the band stopped playing. "Just give it some time. I'm sure the wind will pick up in a little while."

"Pick up? Taylor, there's no wind at all!" Kirk cried out. He kicked a kite next to him.

"Kirk, you will pay for any damage to that kite!" Taylor bellowed. "The Almanac said there will be wind; we just need to be patient."

"Didn't the festival start this morning?" Luke asked.

"Yeah, and see everything we missed because you insisted that we not come until after lunch?" Lorelai pouted.

"What did we miss? There's no kite festival if there's no wind." Luke turned the stroller around.

Lorelai grabbed his arm to stop him. "Where are you going?"

"Home."

"Why?"

"Isn't the festival canceled?"

"Does it look canceled to you?" Lorelai waved her hand out in front of her. The band began to play "Let's Go Fly a Kite" again as Kirk made a futile attempt to get a kite in the air with a running start. The kite bounced lifelessly behind him, threatening to knock over anyone in its path.

"There will be another kite festival," Luke replied.

"The kites are rentals," Rory interjected, walking up to Luke and Lorelai.

Lorelai gasped. "Luke's about to leave the festival! Stop him!"

"At this point, I'm seriously considering going with him," Rory lamented. "I haven't had a moment to myself all day, and there are no ugly kites to mock."

"Aw, Sweets, there are kites, just not ones that fly. And you haven't had a moment to yourself?" Lorelai asked.

Almost as if on cue, Paris and Doyle approached the group. "Rory! We've been looking everywhere! We thought we lost you," Paris said.

Rory grimaced. "Well, now you most definitely found me."

"Hi, Lorelai, hi, Luke," Paris said with a polite wave before turning toward the stroller. "Hi, Ellie! Aw, she looks so cute in that outfit!"

Lorelai smiled. "She and I debated on it for a long time this morning, but the shirt with the kites on it won out because of the timing."

"It's so disappointing that the festival's a no go," Paris sighed. "The kids would have loved it. And I was looking forward to seeing the kites; I haven't been able to get a close up look."

Doyle nodded in agreement. "Taylor's trying to round them all up to prevent any damage."

"Aw, well, you guys should go get a kite-shaped slice of pizza to cheer you up," Lorelai suggested.

"Great idea! Rory, do you want to come with us?" Paris asked.

Rory nodded. "I'll catch up with you; I just want to talk to my mom for a minute."

As Paris and Doyle walked away, Lorelai turned to Rory and motioned toward the couple. Lorelai raised her eyebrows as she caught a glimpse of Paris holding Doyle's hand as they traveled through the crowd. "Did I just see what I think I saw?"

"You seed and you sawed."

Lorelai gasped. "Paris being lovey dovey?"

"There was lovey, and most definitely dovey," Rory agreed.

"Let's get out of here," Lorelai said, cringing as she looked over her shoulder, ensuring that Paris and Doyle were out of sight.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Please tell me you don't own a Snuggie," Rory insisted, rolling her eyes as she placed a bowl of popcorn on the coffee table.

Kevin sighed. "Well, I guess since we've been figuring out where we stand lately, I should warn you up front that I have that exact Snuggie," he teased, motioning toward the television. "It's sage green."

Rory simply stared at him, reaching for a handful of popcorn.

"What? This isn't a deal breaker, is it?" he asked. "Don't make me choose between you and my blanket with sleeves."

"If I ever see you in a Snuggie, I'm going to have to make you choose." She shuddered. "It's sad that the person who invented the backwards bathrobe is now a millionaire when my mom decided to try it years ago when she was bored."

Kevin reached for the remote and started to change the channel, coming across an old episode of Whose Line is it Anyway?. "I haven't watched this show in ages," he said.

"Oh, my God, I wish this show was still on! The hoedowns are the best," Rory insisted.

"You're not a fan of the Irish drinking song?"

Rory shrugged. "The hoedowns are always better. I love that Ryan Stiles has only won once in the history of the show; I think we have the episode on an old tape somewhere where he actually got to sit behind the desk."

"A very good episode. Five thousand points to you," Kevin said, taking a bite of popcorn.

As she watched the cast of Whose Line acting out their party scene, Rory pulled a throw pillow out from behind her back. She leaned against the couch and tried to get comfortable, kicking off her shoes and tucking her feet underneath her. Moments later, she found herself leaned up against Kevin, staring at his hand resting gently on her arm.

"Am I making you uncomfortable?" Rory asked.

"I have my... arm around you," he hesitated.

Rory giggled. "I meant is my head hurting you?"

"Oh," Kevin said, chuckling. "Nope, you're good."

"I... didn't want to lean on any important organs or anything," she said, feeling her face flush as the words came out.

They sat in silence for a few moments, watching the commercials without saying a word. Rory looked up at Kevin, who smiled back at her.

"So, does this count as a date?" he asked suddenly.

Rory sat up. "A date?"

"You know, we kind of mentioned that we should do the dating thing if we want to actually say we're dating," he confirmed. "This is a date, right? I mean, I thought it was. Just want to be on the same page here."

She thought for a minute before leaning up against Kevin once again. "Okay. It's a date."

"You know, most people usually decide that they're on a date before they actually have one."

Rory smiled, getting comfortable once again and reaching for the remote next to her. "Shh. You're going to make me miss the hoedown."

 

 

 

 

To be continued... 

 

 

 

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