Authors' Note: First and foremost, we'd like to thank sosmitten and LulaBo for their excellent betaing and editing skills; their help was really appreciated, up until the final hours! You guys are amazing. And big ups to all the readers and supporters of VS8: keep on giving the love!
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai pulled her lips from Luke's. "I thought you'd appreciate the wake up call." She slid to a more comfortable position on Luke's chest and initiated another kiss.
"Lorelai Gilmore, are you trying to seduce me?" Luke asked when they finally broke apart for some air.
"What do you think?" Lorelai whispered as she nibbled on his jaw. Her hands began to wander below the sheets.
Her lips moved down to his neck. "Rory already left for the inn."
"Well in that case..." Luke pulled her into a searing kiss. He broke the kiss when Lorelai started to giggle. "What's so funny?"
Lorelai tried to stop giggling as she rolled off his chest and onto her side. "I just can't get over the fact that you won't do it with anyone else in the house."
"It wasn't just anyone else, it was Sookie and Jackson's kids! And 'doing it'? Can you not think of anything better to call it?" Lorelai gave him a mischievous grin. "Don't answer that. Besides, you didn't seem to have the energy to do anything anyway."
"Those two little ones can take a lot out of you! Fine, you have a no sex rule when kids are in the house. What about last night? There were no kids in the house and you still wouldn't put out."
"Rory was here."
"Rory is an adult."
"She's still your kid."
"Right. My adult kid who knows that we have the sex. Besides, she was all the way downstairs. It's not like she would have known."
"Oh, she would have known."
"Pretty sure of yourself, aren't you, burger boy?"
"I'm not a boy." Luke pulled her back onto him. "And I'll prove that right now."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Rory stood at the front desk at the inn, using the computer to check her email and do some random Googling. It was a way to spend the early morning lull; the only excitement available was the construction workers wandering about as they built the addition to the inn. She was used to her new routine; working at the inn was how she was spending her days until she figured out her next move.
She looked up to see Todd,
one of the bellhops, walking in through the door holding some guests' bags, a
look of horror on his face.
She looked at him quizzically as he set the bags down and scurried off, until she saw who was right behind him.
"Paris?" she said. "What are you doing here?"
"Nice to see you too, Rory," she responded sarcastically. "Doyle and I made a reservation. Dr. Graham had the nerve to cancel today's lecture to attend a relative's wedding or funeral or something. Unprofessional hack... Anyway, Doyle suggested a weekend away, so here we are."
As if on cue, Doyle appeared through the door. "Hey, Gilmore," he said, surprised. "What are you doing here? I thought the campaign trail was in Ohio at the moment."
Caught off-guard, and realizing she had never thought of how she was going to tell Paris about quitting her job, she decided to just pull the band-aid off: "Actually," she began nervously. "I, um, quit my job. It wasn't for me, so I came home after the New Hampshire primaries."
She could see the looks on both their faces, trying to process it. Rory knew she was going to get bombarded about questions as to the hows and the whys, and what her next move would be.
She stood there, waiting for it, until Paris just shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, that's nice. Can we have our key? The drive from Cambridge was long. People shouldn't be on the I-91 if they're too afraid to drive above 80 miles per hour."
"Um, the speed limit's 65," said Rory.
"That's a suggested speed limit," said Paris. "Now, the key?"
Rory looked at Paris oddly, then at Doyle, who seemed as confused as she was. Deciding not to say anything, she checked them in and gave them their key.
"Wow, Rory. I sure hope inn-keeping isn't your calling," said Paris, looking at her and then at hers and Doyle's luggage. "So are we supposed to bring up our own bags or what?"
Rory sighed and called Todd back again.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Luke pulled his jeans on as Lorelai slid the sheets up to her chest. "Hon, stay for a little while longer. You said you didn't have to be anywhere until ten. That's over an hour away."
"I know, but I need to go back to my place to shower and change."
"But you could do that here. Which means you could spend more time in bed. With me." She raised her eyebrows suggestively.
"I've only got flannel here."
"It's a bank meeting so I need a shirt and tie. All that stuff is at my apartment." He buttoned up his flannel and sat on the bed to put on his boots.
"You should leave a dressy outfit here from now on. Then you wouldn't have to go back to your place to change for meetings and stuff."
Luke focused on getting a knot out of his laces. "Uh huh. I only have a few dressy outfits to begin with."
"Then you should bring all of them over here."
"How about I just bring all of my stuff over here so I don't ever have to go home?" he said jokingly.
Luke looked up from his boots. "What?"
"Bring all your stuff over."
"You want me to move in?"
She answered without hesitating. "Yes."
"Move in with me."
He climbed up onto the bed and gave Lorelai a kiss. "Okay."
Luke ran his fingers through her hair as he looked her in the eye. "Yeah."
"Good. You do realize that you're going to have to get over your no sex rule, right? Because there's no way I'm going without the Luke lovin' just because Rory's here."
"We'll talk about that later."
"Come on, babe, it's not like I'm asking you walk around the house naked and free! Not that I would be opposed to that."
"I gotta go." He gave her one more quick kiss and then rolled off the bed. "You'll tell Rory about this?"
"I'll tell her when I get to the inn." Luke nodded and Lorelai smiled as she watched him leave with what looked like a spring in his step.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"Hey, look at the lil' dudes!" said Gil, as he finished tuning his guitar and approached Steve and Kwan as they sat on their bouncy chairs, wearing their iPoo'd t-shirts, facing the band's practice area. "They look just like my babes at their first show!"
Lane and Zach had finally found some time away from the diner, so they recruited Gil and Brian to get Hep Alien together again.
"I know!" said Zach. "My boys are going to be the rockingest babies at the Gymboree, I'm telling you." He ruffled the hairs on both Steve and Kwan's tiny heads.
"Right, babe?" he called out to Lane, who was rifling through her bag, looking for her drumsticks.
"Totally," she said absentmindedly, peering through her bag until she pulled her sticks out triumphantly. "Found 'em! Okay, who's ready to rock?"
"These dudes totally are," said Gil, pointing at the twins. They all then took their places.
"So, what do we begin with?" asked Brian.
"Dude, I play a mean Hey Diddle Diddle," suggested Zach. "We can definitely roll with that."
"Um, I was thinking something along the PG-13 variety," elaborated Brian.
"The Clash never let us down," suggested Lane.
"Alright, Hateful it is, then!" said Zach. "1, 2, 3..."
The band began to play, and Lane peered over her drums to look at the twins. She saw them bouncing in their chairs, genuinely having a good time. She smiled.
They were on the second round of the chorus when the door burst open and in walked Lane's mother, staring at the band angrily. They all abruptly stopped playing their instruments.
"I knock five times, and no answer!" she shouted. She then turned and looked at the twins, swinging her head back to glare at Lane and Zach.
"What's this?" she demanded. "How can you play this loud music in front of the children? Babies have very sensitive ears!"
"Mama, they're fine," Lane assured her.
"Really, Mrs. K," agreed Zach. "Loud music does no damage to kids, I swear. I mean, my dad used to take me to rock shows all the time as a tot before he bailed, and look how well I turned out!"
Lane saw her mother's face blanch at that.
"I am taking the boys out right now!" her mother decided. "Lane, where is their stroller?"
"Mama, you really don't have to," Lane began.
"Lane, the stroller!" she demanded.
Lane recoiled a bit at her mother's voice. "In the bedroom," she whispered.
"Good," she said. "You may continue playing once the boys and I have left."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Rory was spending her morning checking a few people in and out of the inn and took down a couple of reservations, all the while keeping a close ear on Paris. She had heard about the last few times Paris had had lunch at the inn, so she felt it her duty while Lorelai wasn't there to make sure she didn't scare off any of the guests. She and Doyle were having breakfast in the dining room, and there were no incidents thus far. Rory was relieved at that.
Rory was done checking out the Lee family when she saw her mother walk in.
"Hey, hon," she said.
"Hey, Mom. You're here earlier than I expected," she noted.
"Yeah, sleeping in isn't that fun when your significant other has to rush off to a bank meeting," she explained, Rory noting the pouty tone in her mother's voice. "So I thought I'd spend some time with you!"
"Well, that's sweet," Rory said. It really was nice to be able to spend some extra time with her mother. After 7 months away, seeing her mother and hanging with her was more satisfying than the distance and the phone conversations here and there. Working at the inn for a while may not have been her plan, but working alongside her mother was a plus.
"So what's going on here?" she asked. "Are Tom and the gang staying out of trouble?"
"It's all going okay. There's a whole lotta nothing going on here, really. It's been a pretty uneventful morning. Oh, except that Paris and Doyle checked in earlier!"
"No way!" said Lorelai, her eyes twinkling. "Has the staff been alerted?"
"They're all hiding out in the kitchen until told otherwise."
"Excellent!" said Lorelai. She then changed subjects: "Listen, Rory, I have to talk to you about something."
"Sure, Mom, what's up?"
"It's about me and Luke," Lorelai began seriously, yet excitedly. "We had a bit of a talk this morning, and, well..."
"Well?" Rory pressed, suddenly curious.
"He's going to be moving into the house," she announced, a huge grin on her face. "Ta-da!"
"Oh," was all Rory said, surprised at how not excited she actually was. She should've felt relief and joy, right?
"I'm just running this past you," Lorelai said. "But you're okay with it, right? I mean, you were cool with it the first time around. Luke just wanted me to ask."
"Well, that's great of Luke," Rory said, flinching at the sarcastic tone of her own voice.
Her mother seemed to notice. "Rory?"
Rory was unable to answer, as a commotion in the dining area interrupted their conversation.
"Oh, that's great!" shouted Paris. "Your thumb is on the edge of my plate! Why don't I just eat my breakfast out of the palm of your hand, buddy?"
Jeremy then appeared from the dining room a few seconds later, and stopped in front of Lorelai and Rory.
"I quit!" he told them. "At least until that girl has checked out!" He exited the inn.
Lorelai and Rory just stared at each other.
♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai had been trying to find Rory to finish their earlier discussion. She finally found her in the kitchen getting a mug of coffee. "There you are. I've been looking for you since this morning."
"You know I'm almost always in the kitchen," Sookie replied, not looking up from her cutting board.
"I meant Rory."
"Oh." Sookie looked up and started to bounce in place. "Honey, I'm so excited for you! You two are going to be living together. Cohabitating. Shacking up. Living in sin."
Lorelai noticed Rory stiffen. "Uh, thanks, Sook. Could you guys give me a minute alone with Rory?"
"Sure. We'll be in the dining room. Let's go guys!" Sookie called out to her kitchen staff. They all hesitated. "What are you waiting for? Let's move!"
The staff seemed to slow in their movements. "Are you sure you want us to wait in the dining room?" one of them asked.
"What's wrong with waiting in the dining room?"
"Well... It's just that..."
"What?" Sookie snapped, obviously beginning to get irritated.
"They want to avoid that insufferable girl out there who is biting everyone's head off every thirty seconds," Michel called out from the pantry.
"What girl? You mean Paris? And what the hell are you doing in my pantry, Michel? Get out of there!" Michel stomped out of the pantry and joined the kitchen staff.
"Guys, I just need a minute. I'm sure she can't take you all out if you band together. We'll be quick, I promise." The staff grumbled as they all started towards the door. Michel was the last to move, pouting in Lorelai's direction. "Just don't look directly into her eyes and you'll be fine." Lorelai smirked as Michel passed by.
"I hate you," he cracked as he left the kitchen.
Once everyone had left Rory took a deep breath. "What's up?"
Lorelai walked over to the coffee pot and poured herself a mug. "Are you not okay with Luke moving in?"
"Why would you think that?"
"It just doesn't seem like you are."
"Well maybe that's because I'm not."
Lorelai put her mug down, visibly upset. "Why not?"
"I just... I'm out in limbo, you know? I don't know what I want to do with my career... Or my life... It seems like now I'm not even welcome in my own home."
Lorelai sighed and rubbed Rory's arm. "Hon, you know the Crap Shack will always be your home. Luke being there isn't going to change that."
"Just him being there changes everything!" Rory stepped out of Lorelai's grasp. "Are you doing this as a way to push me?"
"Is this your subtle way of trying to force me to get a job and move out?"
"What? That's crazy!"
"Whatever. I'll see you at the house." Rory walked out of the kitchen as Lorelai watched her with a frown on her face.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai sat in the diner having lunch and catching Luke up on her conversation with Rory. "It ended with a 'whatever, I'll see you at home,' so all in all I think it went really well," she finished sarcastically.
"Maybe we're rushing into this."
"You can't be serious —"
She was interrupted by Kirk before she could finish her statement. "Luke, could I get a refill?"
Luke refilled Kirk's drink and then turned his attention back to Lorelai. "Maybe we should wait until Rory is back on her feet and has moved out."
"Luke —" She jerked at the sound of the diner door being flung open.
"Sugahs, I just heard the news! Congrats to both of you! Glad to see you two finally taking the next step."
Lorelai turned to face Babette and replied, "Thanks Babette. We're both really excited."
Luke crossed his arms over his chest. "Yeah, ecstatic, thanks," he grumbled, clearly irritated by the interruption. "I'll be over to get your order in a minute." Babette nodded and headed over to a table. He turned back to Lorelai. "Okay — "
The bells rang out again as Patty glided into the diner. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the two little love birds who are finally going to be nesting together. When's the move in date?"
Lorelai and Luke glanced quickly at each other. Lorelai spoke up first. "We actually haven't — "
"What's going to happen to your apartment? Are you going to rent it out?" Kirk interjected.
Luke took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Why do you care, Kirk?"
"I just think it would make a great office."
"It does make a great office. My office." Luke turned to Patty. "We were just discussing the move when you came in. If you'd let us finish?"
"Sure doll, don't let me interrupt." Patty headed over to Babette's table.
"You were saying?" Luke asked.
"I was just thinking that I could use a little personal space for myself. I mean, I love Lulu — " Kirk answered.
"Not you Kirk! I was talking to Lorelai!"
"Babe," Lorelai interjected before Luke raised his voice even more. She gave Kirk a hard stare and he returned to his meal. "Look at me." Luke's gaze softened as he tore his eyes from Kirk to focus on Lorelai. "Rory really is okay with this. She's just dealing with her own stuff right now and is feeling overwhelmed. She's okay with this. More then okay with this. All right?" Lorelai said, trying to reassure herself as well as Luke.
Luke sighed. He nodded and opened his mouth to respond when the diner bells rung out. "Ah good, you're both here."
"What do you want, Taylor?" Luke growled.
"I hear you two are planning on moving in together, is this correct?"
"Yes," Lorelai responded.
"Well, I hope you're sure you're ready for this. It's a very serious step in your relationship. I'm sure I don't have to warn you about the ramifications this could have on the town if you two break up. Again."
"And we appreciate your congratulations, Taylor," Lorelai snarked. Taylor huffed and went to join Patty and Babette. Lorelai turned to look back at Luke. "Where were we? Rory, right. She's fine with this."
"Good. I'll see you tonight." Lorelai stood up and leaned over the counter to give Luke a quick kiss. Luke watched her walk out of the diner and then turned his attention to Kirk, who was clearing his throat. "What now, Kirk?"
"If you need any help moving let me know. I've still got all of the moving supplies from when Lulu and I moved into her place. She said she'd only live there until we found a bigger place so I kept everything... " Kirk continued to talk as Luke stormed into the kitchen.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lane was cleaning up the remnants of the band's post-practice snack. She had been slightly pissy during practice after her mother had swooped in and taken the boys. Now that the guys had gone and Zach had left for his evening shift at the diner, she was left alone to ponder as she waited for her mother to return with Steve and Kwan.
It wasn't that she was angry that the twins were spending time with their grandmother. On the contrary, she encouraged it, despite the differences she and her mother had.
However, it had been over a year since the band's last practice, and she had been hoping this would be something the boys could witness; that she and Zach could share their passion for music with their kids. And her mother had to come in and ruin that.
Shortly after, there was a knock on the door. Putting on her angry face, she opened the door, letting her mother come inside with the stroller.
"Hello, Lane," she said, not noticing her daughter's look of disapproval. "The boys and I had a wonderful time!"
"Yes," she continued. "I took them to see the Reverend, and then we went for tea at your Aunt Jun's home. She said to pass along her compliments: 'despite your history, they seem like well-behaved boys'." Her mother paused. "Her words, not mine, of course."
Lane snorted. "Of course..."
"Is something the matter, Lane?" she asked. "You seem irritated. I think it is the lack of soy in your diet. You were less temperamental when you were living with me and getting 3-5 soy servings per day."
"Yes, Mama, I am irritated," she finally let out. "And I am an adult, and if I choose to not eat soy, then so be it!"
She saw her mother look at her oddly, but didn't say a thing. Lane continued, "and if I want my boys to listen to rock music and watch their parents play said music, well, I'm an adult and that is my decision!"
"So, you are angry that I took the boys out for the day?" Mrs. Kim concluded.
"Yes, Mama! Zach and I wanted the boys to see our first practice, make it a family thing."
"Oh, I see," said Mrs. Kim, and Lane noticed the look of hurt and disappointment that she'd seen a thousand times before. "You want to have family time with the boys, and that does not include me. Very well then. Goodbye, Lane."
Lane's heart sunk. "Mama, wait..."
Her mother was already out the door, the door shut gently behind her. It was at that moment that Steve began to cry, followed quickly by Kwan.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Rory exited the Black, White & Read theater, after a cathartic Bogart/Bacall double-feature. She wasn't ready to go home yet, or face anyone, so she thought a movie would ease her nerves.
While there, she bumped into a former Stars Hollow High classmate, Cynthia Phillips. She was working part-time at the theater while she was working on her Masters degree at the University of Hartford. Rory felt even more useless: she, Stars Hollow's golden child, left SHH for Chilton, went to Yale... and was now bumming around in her hometown, living in her mother's house.
Everything was changing, everyone was moving forward... As Rory walked through the town square headed home, the town seemed the same, yet still felt so different to her. She wished things hadn't changed: she wished she had some knowledge of where she was headed, what she wanted; she wished she and Lane were as close as they use to be; she wished she hadn't fought with her mother...
Rory inwardly chided herself for her behavior. She truly was happy for her mother, and really did want to give her and Luke her blessing about moving in together. It was just that everyone, including her mother, had their lives in order and was moving forward while she was just standing still.
As she walked passed Miss Patty's, she noticed her and Babette having a chat on the front steps.
"Rory, dear," said Miss Patty, waving her arms. "Come here, sweetheart!"
Rory obliged, and climbed up the steps towards the two women.
"Hi, doll!" Babette rasped. "Oh, look at you!" She engulfed her in a hug.
"I may have said this a thousand times already, but it's good to have you home, sweetie," continued Miss Patty. "For however long you're planning on staying."
"Thanks, Miss Patty," Rory said.
"Your mom must be thrilled to have you here," noted Babette.
"Well," Rory said uncertainly. "I wouldn't say, thrilled, per se."
"Oh, no, honey," Miss Patty assured her. "I overheard her talking to Luke at the diner a few days ago, and she was saying how great it is to get to see you more often!"
That warmed Rory's heart, and made her feel even guiltier about her earlier behavior.
"Speaking of your mom and Luke," Babette began and winked at Rory.
"Oh, yes!" Miss Patty agreed. "You must be so happy for your mother. Moving in together is a big step."
"It sure is!" Babette said. "They're definitely in a better place than they were two years ago. Don't you agree, sugah?"
"They really are," Rory admitted.
"And your mother is radiant and so very happy," added Miss Patty. "Lorelai really deserves some happiness, don't you think?"
"I'm right there with you, Patty!" agreed Babette.
Rory was unable to say anything; their words really hit her hard. Who was she to deny her mother's happiness when her mom had given her so much?
She had to find her mother.
"Miss Patty, Babette, I have to run. It was nice talking to you both."
"Okay, sweetie," said Miss Patty. "You have a good night."
"You, too," said Rory hastily as she ran down the steps and towards home.
♫ ♫ ♫
Rory made it home in record time, and called for Lorelai the second she entered the foyer.
"Mom? Mom, are you home?"
"Rory?" she heard a male voice coming from the kitchen. "Is that you?"
Rory walked to the kitchen to find Luke looking at-home sitting at the kitchen, fixing the toaster that had been causing trouble for the past week.
"Hey, Luke," she said. "Oh, I see you're fixing Poppy."
"Yeah, your mom was on my case to get it working again," said Luke.
"Is Mom here?" she asked.
"No, she must still be at the inn. She should be here in a few minutes, though."
"Are you okay, Rory?" he asked, and she noticed the concern in his voice and his eyes. "Anything I can help with?"
Luke sighed. "Listen, Rory," he began. "Your mom spoke to me today, and you know I would never move in here if you weren't comfortable with it, right?"
Rory pulled out a chair and sat next to Luke. "I know that, Luke. And I'm not uncomfortable. It's just..." She sighed.
He prodded gently, reaching out an arm to touch her shoulder. "Just?"
"I'm so happy for you both, Luke," she assured him. "Mom is so happy with you. That's just it, though. Everyone is growing and moving forward and doing something big: Paris and med school, Lane and the twins, Cynthia Phillips and her M.A., you and mom... And I don't know what I'm doing and I feel so out of place here."
"And you wish things could stay exactly the same?" he supplied.
"Kinda," she admitted, somewhat ashamed at what she perceived as childish. "Being out there in the real world? It's kind of scary. And definitely not what I was expecting."
Luke paused a bit before he spoke. "I know a lot of people have these expectations of you. You just have to decide whether you want to please others or keep yourself happy."
"I know," she said, looking down at her lap. "I just don't want anyone to be disappointed in me."
"I can't imagine anyone being disappointed in you," she heard him say, and looked up to face him.
"You're really smart, Rory," he said. "You'll be great at anything. Maybe you just need some more time to figure things out than others."
Rory smiled. "Since when did you get so knowledgeable about the world, Luke?" she teased him.
"My old age," he said and laughed. "I've picked up a few things."
"Thanks for letting me vent, Luke," Rory said genuinely. "And you know, if you're still interested in moving in, I'm okay with it. Really."
"That means a lot, Rory," said Luke. "Thanks."
"No problem. Besides, it'd be great to have the diner right in my own kitchen, 24/7," she teased.
Luke sighed and shook his head. "Exactly like your mother," he said and went back to his toaster.
♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai walked through the front door of her house with her shoulders hunched over and a frown on her face. She was just about to kick off her heels when she heard voices. Recognizing them as Luke and Rory's, she froze in place as she listened to their conversation. Her brows furrowed when she heard Rory talking about feeling out of place and wanting things to go back to how they used to be. When she heard Luke tell Rory how great she was and how it would all work out she smiled. As their conversation started to wind down she opened the front door and closed it loudly. "Hello! Anybody home?"
"Kitchen," Luke called out.
Lorelai walked into the kitchen and was greeted with a kiss from Luke. "Hiya babe," she whispered. She looked over his shoulder at Rory and smiled. Rory returned the smile as Luke walked over to his toolbox.
"I'm gonna go check up on the diner."
"Okay." Lorelai turned to watch Luke leave and then turned back to look at Rory.
"So... I just need to change and then we can head over to your grandparents."
"Mom, I'm sorry."
"Aw babe, it's okay. I understand."
"No, it's not okay. I was a total brat. I'm so happy that you and Luke are together and that he's going to be moving in." Rory shrugged. "There are just a lot of changes happening in my life. It's a lot to take in, you know?"
"Yeah, I know, but it'll all work itself out. But no matter what you know that this is your home right? I never want you to feel uncomfortable here, and you are always welcome here. You know that right?"
Rory smiled and walked over to Lorelai to pull her into a tight hug. "I know, Mom. I know."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
The Gilmores sat in their respective places at the dining room table, Emily and Lorelai discussing the inn as Richard sat quietly, obviously bored. "So how is Luke doing?" he asked as soon as there was a pause in their conversation.
"He's great. He would have come tonight, but he didn't have anyone else to cover the diner. He said to tell you both hello."
Richard quickly jumped in with another question. "So what else have you been up to this week besides the inn?"
Lorelai glimpsed at Rory who gave her a slight nod. "Well... Luke and I are moving in together."
"Well that's..." As Richard paused trying to find the right words, Emily jumped in.
"Are you sure you're ready for that?" she asked.
"What do you mean, Mom?"
"Well, it just seems like you two are rushing into things."
"I doubt two years is rushing into anything."
"But you've just reconciled."
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "We got back together over eight months ago."
"So what else do you have planned?"
"I guess just me harassing Luke for the rest of our lives."
"So you two are engaged?" Emily asked.
"Well, not exactly."
"What exactly is it then?"
"It means that Luke and I know we're going to spend the rest of our lives together. We're not engaged in the strict definition of the word, but our relationship does meet the spirit of the definition."
"'The spirit of the definition'? You can never answer a question with a simple yes or no, can you?" Emily didn't wait for a reply. "Does this mean you're never going to get married?" she asked, shocked.
"Don't worry Mom, we don't have any desire to be like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. We've just already done the whole engaged thing, so we figured we'd skip it this time around."
Emily's face showed her obvious displeasure. "Who doesn't get engaged but plans on getting married? Besides people in Las Vegas who decide at the drop of a hat to get married because the allure of having Elvis officiate the ceremony is too great. And what about Rory? What kind of example are you setting for her? That it's okay to live with someone without being married to them? Really, Lorelai—"
"Grandma," everyone turned to Rory. "Luke has been a part of our lives and our home since before the two of them became involved. That house is probably already partly his based on all the repairs he's made over the years alone. Mom and Luke may not have professed their commitment in the eyes of God, but it's clear that they are committed to each other, and that's all I need to know." Lorelai couldn't hold back her smile as she looked at her daughter. Rory returned her smile with a wink. She looked at her grandmother to see if she had a response, but Emily's eyes were on her plate. Rory turned to her grandfather. "So, Grandpa, what have you been up to this week?"
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
The next morning, Lane and the band were at the apartment, setting up for their second practice. The boys were in their usual seats, bouncing around as though they could feel the excitement in the room.
"The crowd's getting restless," Zach joked.
There was a knock at the door, and Lane answered it. Seeing her mother at her door, she was relieved that her mother wasn't too angry from last night to show up and pick the babies up for church.
"Hi, Mama," Lane said coolly.
Mrs. Kim ignored her daughter's greeting. She looked at Steve and Kwan instead, in nothing buy socks, diapers and t-shirts. "What are the boys wearing? They cannot go like that to church!"
Lane smiled. "I agree; they're not going to church."
Mrs. Kim's head snapped to look at her daughter. "Lane Kim," she warned. "You may have broken ties with the church, but as their grandmother, I cannot let you do the same to them! Besides, we agreed that Saturday was my day with them."
Her mother was right: despite their relationship, she would never deny the kids their time with their grandmother.
"It is, Mama," she said. "You're not going to church, either."
Mrs. Kim's eyes widened, and Lane tried her best not to laugh, as her mother asked, "Excuse me?"
"I don't know, I thought that maybe we could have a family day today, just this once."
Her mother's eyebrows narrowed. "Lane Kim, in my 25 years as a practicing Seventh Day Adventist, I have never missed a day of church."
"As someone who's been there with you for 19 of those years, I will not dispute that. But there's a first for everything." She reached out her hand and held out a pair of ear plugs for her mother. "Whaddya say, Mama? Just for this week."
Lane noticed a faint smile playing on her mother's lips. "Fine," she said, taking the plugs and sitting in the empty chair next to the twins. "Zachary, your guitar wasn't properly tuned yesterday. Make sure it sounds better today."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Rory, Paris and Doyle were having breakfast together at the inn's dining room, a nice meet-up before Paris and Doyle headed back to Boston.
"So," Paris was going on about medical school. "My advisor is telling me that he doesn't think I should go into pediatric oncology, particularly because he thinks that I don't have the patience or personality to deal with cancer-ridden children. I sure told him where to stuff his Oxford medical degree..."
"Wow, Paris," Rory said, unsure of what to say, fearing for the well-being of those poor children. "Um, so Doyle, how's work going with you?"
"Work's going well, Gilmore," said Doyle, smirking. "It can be frustrating, of course, but I won't quit my job over it."
Rory never had any qualms about knocking Doyle down a few pegs, but was surprised when Paris beat her to it.
"Doyle, lay off her, you tactless jerk," she told him. "Go to the kitchen."
"Because this incompetent staff hasn't refilled our water glasses in 20 minutes, and I need hydration. Go!"
Doyle scurried off, and Rory stared at Paris, her mouth hanging open.
"Don't look at me like that, Rory," she said and then took a bite of her eggs.
"No, sorry," said Rory. "It's just, thank you. Out of all people, I thought you'd be on my ass about quitting the campaign. You've been surprisingly cool about it. So thanks."
"Don't forget, Rory," warned Paris. "I'm not impressed with you up and quitting the way you did. But you've been calling and whining about your job over the past few months, so I'm glad I don't have to listen to any of that anymore."
"I'll take that as you supporting my decision and being happy for me," replied Rory.
"Take it any way you want. I can do a complete 180 if you prefer," Paris offered.
"Nah," said Rory with a smile. "I just like to think you're turning into a softy."
"Can it, Mary!" she said.
Rory backed off, but still smirked. "And with that, I need to run. Have something I need to tend to. Say goodbye to Doyle, and it was real nice seeing you again."
"I'll keep you posted when I'm back in town," said Paris.
They hugged. "Bye, Paris."
"Bye, Rory. And, hey, tell your mom to spend less time with her boyfriend and more time tending to her inn. I've already filled out 5 customer complaint cards."
Rory was at a loss for words. "I'll tell her you said hi," she said and exited the dining room.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"Tape please," Lorelai called out. Luke handed her the tape and she watched as he returned to his dresser to pack more clothes. She stood up after taping the box and looked around at the rest of the apartment. "I'm really going to miss this place."
"It's not like it's going anywhere."
"Yeah, but it's not going to be the same. It won't be your home anymore. No more of you making me dinners up here. No more waking up in the middle of the night and sneaking down to the diner for a snack. This place has always felt like a second home to me."
"Yeah?" Luke questioned, clearly touched by her statement. Lorelai nodded. Luke walked over to her and rubbed her arm. "I've always felt more at home at your place." Lorelai beamed. "And I'll make sure to keep a pie in the fridge at the house in case you have the need to rot out your insides in the middle of the night."
"You are the best," Lorelai sighed as she leaned into him for a kiss.
When their lips separated Lorelai hugged him around the waist and rested her head on his chest as Luke glanced around the apartment. "I guess this will go back to being an office, like it was always meant to be. Or I could rent it out like Kirk suggested. No way I'd rent it to Kirk though."
"Well I think it should be an office. An office with a bed. I think the bed should stay. Just in case we ever feel like some sky rockets in flight."
"You know, in case we're craving a little afternoon delight?" She started to bounce up and down. "Oh! This would totally solve your no sex rule!"
"Ha ha," Luke deadpanned.
Lorelai pulled him in closer before he could break from her hold. "It's perfect! We can just sneak over here in the dark of night —"
"Hey, what are we going to do with April's stuff?" Luke interrupted as his eyes focused on April's side of the apartment. "Where are we going to put her?"
"Uh, I guess we have a couple of options. She could share a room with Rory. Or we could expand the house. Or maybe later on we can get a bigger place?"
"Rory's room is kinda small. I'd hate for them to have to share it... But we can figure all that out later, right?"
"Right." Lorelai leaned up for another kiss. Just as the kiss began to get heated there was a knock at the door. "That's probably Rory," Lorelai mumbled through the kiss. Luke stepped back and Lorelai shouted, "Come in!"
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
It was late in the evening, and Lorelai, Rory and Luke were pretty much done moving all of Luke's stuff into the house.
"So where does this go?" asked Luke, as he pulled out an item from one of the last remaining boxes.
Lorelai pondered the item thoughtfully and then said, "Um, the garage."
"I thought you said some of my stuff would be, and I quote, 'prominently placed around the house'," Luke said.
"But the garage is part of the house," she explained. "Besides, that rule was made before I realized you were going to bring that singing "Be Happy" bass with you."
"I thought you liked my singing "Be Happy" bass!"
"In your apartment, far away from my home, yes, I did."
Rory had to break up their squabble. "Hey, I know! Why don't we hang it in the foyer, by the entrance."
She saw Luke smile at that. "Thank you, Rory."
"You are not my child!" Lorelai cried.
Rory's cell phone rang, and she dug through her purse to retrieve it.
"Hey," she heard her mother ask Luke. "Since you live here now, how do you feel about cooking dinner tonight?"
"When has my living situation ever played a role as to whom cooks dinner at night?"
"I'm just saying, as our first night living together, I thought it'd be nice."
"You know what's nice?" Luke replied. "You cooking something on that stove for the first time ever..."
"Okay, so we order pizza?"
Luke sighed. "Pizza it is."
Rory smirked as she flipped open her phone. "Hello?"
"Hey, kiddo," responded Christopher. "It's me. What's this I hear about you quitting your job?"
To be continued...
Feedback greatly appreciated! Review at our LJ community!