Author's Note: This feels momentous for me, even though we've got one
more episode after this. It's the last one I'm writing though, so I just wanted
to take the opportunity to thank everyone who's been following the Girls in our
virtual season. It's been a long haul and a lot of work, but I'm really glad we
were able to pull it off. I hope that you've had as much fun reading it as
we've had writing it.
I had tons of help getting this episode through production. I had amazing beta help from Avery, Jenepel, Lula Bo and wounded, and also lots of plot suggestions from our team of writers as I pulled the storyboard together. Just like our whole season, it's truly been a team effort and we couldn't have done it any other way.
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"Lorelai, I've thought of something else," Emily said, cutting through the
quiet clatter of silverware on china. Rory glanced wearily at Luke, who
sighed. It had been a losing battle all night. With the spa due to open in a
few weeks, both Emily and Lorelai were in high-stress mode and it had been
virtually impossible to steer the conversation away from construction details
and beauty products.
"Yeah, Mom. What is it?" Lorelai asked.
Emily went on, "Did you check with Tom—"
"Grandma," Rory cut in, attempting yet again to change the subject, "did I tell you that the Grand Rapids Press is interested in my article?"
"Yes, I think you did mention that. Have you heard back anything definite from them yet?"
Rory let out a defeated sigh. "Well, no, but I'm going to call the editor back first thing on Monday."
"I do hope that you do hear something positive soon," Emily said sympathetically. "Now, Lorelai, about those touch-ups..."
Emily continued, listing minor flaws she'd noted while Lorelai, who finally seemed to be tiring of spa talk herself, nodded mutely. Rory looked up at Luke again, who shrugged and mouthed, "Nice try." In response, she plopped her chin into her hands glumly.
Emily's verbal list-making drifted to plans for the opening party for the spa. Rory picked at her roast and inwardly groaned, wondering if this was going to carry on right through dessert.
From the end of the table, Richard cleared his throat. "Ladies," he paused, "and Luke. I don't believe I've mentioned that I've started singing with my barbershop quartet again."
Emily looked almost mortified. Lorelai crinkled her forehead a moment then smiled in sudden recognition. "Oh, with the sparkly vests, right?"
Richard nodded patiently. "Yes, Lorelai. We wear period clothing."
"And which period is that, exactly?" Lorelai quipped.
Richard leveled his gaze at Lorelai for a moment, but then went on as if she hadn't spoken. "Yes, well, in any case, I mentioned it because it sounded as though you were having trouble securing a musician for the party. I believe the quartet is available that night."
Rory glanced over at her grandmother, who was hiding her horror well. "Richard, that's an...interesting suggestion, but we don't want to spend our entire evening with those kinds of details. Lorelai and I will talk it over another time." She looked over at her daughter, who only nodded in confirmation as she struggled to keep a straight face.
"Excellent!" Richard responded. "I can provide you with some recordings if that will help in your planning."
"Yes, of course. That would be...most helpful," Emily said in a rush, "but really, these are details better saved for a business meeting, not decided at the dinner table."
Rory almost sputtered out loud in an attempt to keep from pointing out that they'd spent the entire night listening to details better discussed during the work day. She looked up just long enough to catch Luke tipping his head toward Richard in a congratulatory gesture and to see her grandfather's knowing nod.
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Rory glanced at the clock, then eyed her phone with dread. 'First
thing' Monday morning was fast approaching mid-day. For a while, she had
justified her procrastination with the argument that newspapers didn't operate
on traditional business hours, but the longer she waited the less legitimate
that argument became. Finally she picked up the phone and dialed, giving
herself a mental pep talk as she waited for the line to connect.
The phone rang only once and was answered with an impatient 'hello.'
"Uh, Jack," Rory asked, startled by the brusque tone.
"Yeah, who's this?"
"It's, uh, Rory. Rory Gilmore," she clarified with a slight question in her voice.
"Right. Rory. How are you?" His response was warmer by a degree and she felt a small level of relief as they made pleasant small talk for a few minutes. Before she could sense his interest begin to wane, she said hesitantly, "So, I was calling to find out if you'd had a chance to look over the latest draft of my article that I sent last week?"
"Yeah, and the changes look good," he answered in a noncommittal tone. "I need to talk to the political editor to see if we'll be able to make space for it."
"Oh, okay, if there's space." She paused for a moment, disappointed. "Are there any other revisions you would suggest?"
"Nah, it's good in that respect. I can give you a call when I know more."
"Sure, that would be great," she responded, her voice sounding falsely enthusiastic to her ears. "I guess I'll talk to you..."
"Yeah, if you don't hear from me in a few days, give me a call back."
She started to say her goodbye and hang up, but stopped and steeled herself. "How about if I plan to call you first thing Wednesday?"
He hesitated, as if surprised by her sudden insistence, but said, "Sure, I'll talk to you then."
They exchanged polite goodbyes and Rory snapped her phone shut.
'Yes, you will most certainly be hearing from me,' she thought with newfound
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The following morning, Lorelai hurried into the kitchen just as
Luke was about to crack an egg into his favorite cast iron skillet.
"Coffee's done," he said, tipping his head toward the coffee maker without turning around. "Eggs will be ready in just a few minutes. I hope sunny side up are okay."
"Oh, hon, I don't have time for breakfast." She grabbed her travel mug from the counter, tipped sugar in from the sugar bowl, then filled it from the waiting coffee pot.
Luke sighed, turning from the stove. "You have to eat."
"I'll grab something at the inn, but my mother is showing up at nine and before she arrives I've got to make about 45 phone calls, go over the touch-up list, and figure out why our linen supplier didn't get paid." She got more and more frantic as she ran through her mental list. "Why on earth did you let me do this?"
Luke scoffed. "Let you? As if I could have stopped you."
She felt her shoulders sag as she let out a long breath. "I just don't know what I was thinking."
He took a step toward her, and rested his hands on her shoulders until she looked up. "You were thinking, quite logically, that the inn is very successful due in large part I might add, to your management skills and that an expansion would be a good business decision."
"It's only a good business decision if it actually opens without destroying the rest of the inn in the process. The construction schedule is behind, we already closed down half the inn, and had to cancel reservations," she said, her voice shrill with emphasis. "And according to my mother I can't do anything right. I just don't know how we're going to get everything done."
"You will," he said insistently.
"There are days I'm not sure."
He frowned, shaking his head. "I don't understand. You've done all this before."
She looked up at him grimly. "Not with my mother I haven't."
"Look," he said, grabbing her hands and shaking them gently for emphasis. "You will. And if it will make you feel better now, go work on your to-do list, but sometime this week I am going to make you a real dinner and you are going to sit down long enough to eat it."
"Yes, sir," she answered with a weak smile.
He grinned, putting her travel mug into her hand and steering her toward the door. "Now go. Build yourself a spa."
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"You're welcome," Emily said before disconnecting and dropping her
phone onto the table. It was the third item on her to-do list that she'd done,
only to find out that Lorelai had already done it, or made it unnecessary.
She was looking over the remainder of her list when she heard, "More tea, Mrs. Gilmore?" from the waitress.
"Yes, please that would be fine." Looking up she added, "Two sugars, please. And clear those vacated tables right away. The dirty dishes are very unsightly!"
Cowed, the waitress mumbled, "Of course, Mrs. Gilmore," and scurried away.
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Wednesday morning, Rory had grown frustrated with waiting, and she was ready to
face the music, whether it turned out to be sweet or painful. She called just
after nine, no longer interested in procrastinating.
Jack answered quickly in the same rushed voice he'd used the other day. "Hello?"
"Hello, Jack? It's Rory."
"Rory." She could tell immediately from the flat way he said her name and the pause that followed that good news wasn't forthcoming. As disappointed flooded her, she waited for his explanation. "It's just that all of our political coverage right now is focused on last night's Pennsylvania primary results and we need to see how that plays out before we know how your article will fit in."
Rory took a breath and responded in what she hoped was a calm voice, "Several of the anecdotes in my article took place in Pennsylvania."
"Yes, but your article is more general and right now we're focusing on how this particular primary is affecting the whole race," he replied, undeterred. "I just don't think it's a good fit in this moment."
She paused, thinking through her options. Finally, emboldened by her irritation, she laid it all on the table. "I edited this to your specifications with the assurance that you'd try to publish it, but I can't tell if it's going anywhere. I've been waiting for confirmation and I can't afford to wait much longer." He didn't respond so she gave one more push. "You know, I've submitted the article to other publications..." She let the comment hang there, feeling slightly guilty about the implied threat.
He exhaled a long breath before speaking and his voice was firm but kind. "I'm sure you did. You'd be stupid not to. And you're not stupid," he clarified. "But you and I both know that if anyone else had expressed serious interest you wouldn't be so eager to talk to me." Chastened, she kept silent as he went on. "Look, Rory, I am still very interested and I really do want to help you out, but we need to see how the next few days play out."
She sighed. "Okay, well I do appreciate that you're considering it."
"I'll be in touch, Rory."
"Thanks, Jack. I'll look forward to hearing from you." Closing her phone, all she could do was wonder why she kept thanking him for making her put her life on hold.
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Rory sat on one end of Lane's sofa, her legs folded up against her
chest and her arms clasped in front of her knees. "I just want to know, you
know. If it's run of the mill drivel, I wish he'd just tell me rather than keep
asking for revisions."
"Or maybe it's not the crappiest thing ever and he just wants to find exactly the right time and place to fit it in," Lane suggested.
Rory sighed, dropping her chin to her knee. "Maybe."
"You're not convinced," Lane said, defeated. "I am sucking at the supportive friend thing."
"No, you're not. I'm just being whiny." Rory paused. "I'm beginning to think that waiting around for someone else to tell me what's next is not the right approach."
"But you don't have to be in a huge rush either. A few months isn't going to kill you."
Rory gave a wry chuckle. "I don't know. After three weeks of decorating Easter cookies I was beginning to have nightmares about being attacked by mutant bunnies with mis-shapen features and missing limbs."
"I guess the royal icing got it's revenge then for the sad chartreuse incident?"
"And then some," muttered Rory. She silently picked at the edging on the sofa as Zach walked into the living room, shutting the bedroom door behind him silently.
Lane glanced up. "They out?"
"Filled up, emptied out, and dead to the world. You should have a few hours at least before they get up."
Lane smiled graciously. "Thanks babe. You're the best." Zach leaned over to give her a kiss as he passed and Rory watched with a pang as he laid his hand against her cheek and Lane gave it a gentle squeeze before he stood back up and headed for the door.
Lane saw Rory looking at her and blushed. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize. I just kinda miss that."
"Yeah." She paused. " Just having someone, I guess."
"You miss Logan?"
Rory stopped and thought for a moment. "I don't know. Not Logan necessarily. I mean, I've had a while to get used to the fact that we weren't in the same place at the same time. But I miss knowing that there's someone around who cares about me."
"I get that."
They were silent for a moment, then Rory said meaningfully, "And...well...it has been a while since..."
Rory gave her a knowing glance.
"Oh," Lane said, realizing. "Sex."
"Yeah," Rory said longingly.
"Well, you're talking to the mother of one-year-old twins. It's not like I'm getting much on my end." She smiled dreamily. "Though Zach does make sure we both get the most out of our limited time."
"Lane?" Rory said.
"Yeah?" Lane answered, having been pulled out of her reverie.
"A little too much information there."
"Oh sorry, the sex part of the girl-talk sharing thing is still a little new."
"It's fine. You've got me thinking though."
"Thinking about what?"
"It's too bad there aren't any eligible men in Stars Hollow."
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Emily's completed her Thursday morning errands unusually quickly. Between that,
and the light traffic, she arrived in Stars Hollow with time to spare before her
meeting with Sookie. What she really wanted was to sit and relax with a cup of
tea for a few minutes, but she had learned quickly that spending time with
Sookie in the Dragonfly kitchen was anything but relaxing.
Luke's seemed like a reasonable alternative, especially since she'd been informed that this was the time the diner experienced a mid-morning lull. True to the definition, there was only one other person—someone she recognized but didn't know—tucked away at a corner table. Glancing around, she decided, for a change, to sit at the counter. Luke wasn't immediately visible so she pulled out her clipboard and began making a few notes. Having a checklist was a necessity for a meeting with Sookie, whose talent for the tangential rivaled her legendary cooking skill. She could go from duck á l'orange to citrus groves in Florida to the NASA spacecoast to the Mars lander to her favorite candy bar before you could say 'with a side of steamed broccoli.' It helped explain Lorelai's micro-management, though Emily didn't like bearing the brunt of it.
She'd known that even though Lorelai had delegated the task of updating the menu to Sookie and Emily, Sookie was going to run it by Lorelai before printing. She supposed it was reasonable to do so, but it rankled that Lorelai had met with Sookie without including her mother.
"Emily?" Luke's voice took her by surprise, and she glanced up to see him looking at her uncertainly, as if trying to decide whether to apologize for making her wait or to ask for an explanation for her random presence in the diner.
Instead, she just said, "Oh hello, Luke. Could I have a cup of tea, please?"
He clearly hadn't expected such a straightforward response; he stared a moment before answering, "Of course."
He moved efficiently, gathering the water, a selection of tea bags, as well as milk and sugar.
"Thank you," she murmured when he placed the mug in front of her. As she unwrapped the tea bag and dangled it gracefully into the water, he asked, "Is there anything else I can get you?"
"No, thank you."
He nodded. "Let me know if you change your mind."
She nodded back. It was pleasant to sit calmly. She didn't want to admit it, but she was dreading her meeting, worried that they'd have to make drastic changes to the menu, of that even worse, Lorelai and Sookie would have redone it entirely. Sighing deeply, she pushed back her sleeve to check her watch.
Luke looked over at her. "Are you meeting someone here?"
"No, I'm going to the inn soon." He didn't ask, but she clarified anyway, "It's nice to have a cup of tea in peace. It can be very chaotic at the inn."
"I would imagine."
She paused, taking a few sips of her tea. "I had no idea how exhausting it would be just to keep track of that many details. I've organized functions, hired staff, but this...every decision is accompanied by lists and questions..." She smiled grimly. "And usually an argument."
Luke gave a sympathetic chuckle. "Well, you can stay here as long as you like."
"Thank you, but there are so many things to do. It's hard to believe we'll actually have a full-service spa open for business in just a few weeks."
"It will all come together," he said reassuringly.
"You're probably right." She fiddled with her teaspoon for a moment before lifting her mug for another sip. "Lorelai does have quite a talent for this business."
"You both do," he answered matter-of-factly as worked his rag across the top of the counter. The compliment took her by surprise and she stilled long enough for him to notice her reaction. Shrugging, he added, "You and Lorelai are two of the most capable people I've ever met." He looked her in the eye. "And the most determined."
She couldn't help but flush at that. Finishing up her tea, she stood and gathered her notes. "Well, thank you, Luke, but you need to get out of Stars Hollow more often."
He lifted his eyebrows, smiling. "You might be right, but I don't think it will change my perspective."
Unsure how to respond, she said simply, "Thank you for the tea," and headed for her car with a slight spring in her step.
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Rory balanced her laptop in the crook of her arm while taking bites of an
apple fritter, her latest Weston's addiction. She had only a few minutes
between her bakery and bookstore shifts to run home, check her email, and sneak
in a snack. As the computer slowly woke up, she put down the fritter long
enough to skillfully load the coffee maker one-handed. Just before she shoved
the coffee into the coffee maker, her Gmail notifier alert went off, signaling
new messages. Holding the coffee filter basket with three fingers, she scrolled
to her inbox with her thumb and remaining finger, imagining what inventive kind
of spam might be waiting there.
When the page did open she was so startled that she stepped back, tripping on one of the kitchen chairs and falling backwards onto it. The sudden movement jostled the coffee grounds out of her hand and into the air before they spilled down around her like a chocolate brown, coffee-scented snowstorm.
In her rush to hold onto the computer, she pressed several buttons and the display changed abruptly. Rory stared at the screen in horror and confusion, finally placing the computer on the table, muttering, "No, no, no. Please tell me I didn't just imagine that. It was right here. It was here in the inbox, I swear. I did not just do that."
It finally occurred to her to check her trash folder, in case she'd accidentally deleted it. "Stupid 'delete' button. I take it back, Gmail. I don't want a 'delete button," she whined. She took a breath before she clicked, then her jaw dropped open when when she realized that she hadn't been dreaming—there really was an email from Salon.com. Opening it she read the brief note:
Dear Ms. Gilmore,
Thank you for your submission. Now that the Pennsylvania primary is over with virtually no change in the race, we're looking for more in-depth campaign and candidate pieces to bring some of the issues into the discussion. It looks like your piece fits our bill and we'd like to publish it in the next few weeks. Please contact us to confirm your continued interest.
Assistant Editor, Politics
"Holy Headline, Batman!" she said aloud. "Holy Salon dot freaking com."
She sat and read through the note over and over, trying to quell her fear that she'd somehow read it wrong and it was actually a very confusing rejection. After the twelfth read, she finally sat back and let loose a huge grin, which faded as soon as she glanced at the clock. "Oh, crap!"
Heading into her room to put down her laptop and gather her keys and phone, she noted that her phone was registering a missed call. Checking, she saw Jack Kramer's number most recently listed. "Oh, so now you're interested. What, are you guys all telepathic, or something?"
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Lorelai sat in her office preparing the instructions for the printer who would be producing their menus as well as the service offerings of the spa. She'd been pleasantly surprised by the menu, which was neither as lavish nor as obscure as she'd feared. Sookie and her mother had also managed to include many healthy dishes that also sounded surprisingly good. The three of them had agreed wholeheartedly when embarking on this project that they were going to promote the quality of the food as a way to attract clients to the spa and that there would be no crazy food restrictions, and absolutely nothing made from mung bean sprouts. The result looked like a perfect marriage of their goals, and Lorelai smiled to herself as she thought about the compliments that would be forthcoming about their food.
"Good news?" she heard from the doorway, and looked up, startled to see her mother standing there, arms crossed over her chest. She wondered briefly how long she'd been standing there.
"Just continually amazed at the ways that Sookie can make lettuce—or even spinach—sound appetizing."
"She does have a way with vegetables," Emily agreed, then paused a moment. "The menu then, seems appropriate?" she asked casually.
"It looks fabulous." She tipped her head to the side and smiled. "You and Sookie did a wonderful job, Mom."
"I'm glad it met with your approval," Emily said formally, but looked pleased nonetheless. She smiled in confession. "I did go to lunch at that spa we went to ages ago so that I could make off with one of their menus as a guideline for what not to serve."
"Emily Gilmore, having you been stealing menus again?" Lorelai asked,
mockingly stern. "I am so proud!"
Her mother just shook her head. "I did have an actual question for you. Shall I come back later, when you're finished encouraging criminal behavior?"
"Encouraging? I was just congratulating actions you chose to take on your own!" Lorelai protested.
"Whatever you'd like to call it, do you have a moment?"
"Sure Mom, what's up?" Lorelai asked, gesturing toward the other chair.
She waited as Emily got herself seated and took a breath before speaking. "Your father asked me again about the barbershop quartet singing at the spa opening party." She emphasized 'your father' so as to make it sound as though it was Lorelai's fault he had suggested singing at all.
"I think that sounds like a reasonable idea," Lorelai said.
Emily's eyes widened. "You do?"
Lorelai shrugged. "We'll need some entertainment anyway, since you wouldn't let me go with that troupe of acrobatic clowns that I suggested." Besides," she added, smiling conspiratorially, "they probably won't charge us, right?"
Emily rolled her eyes and asked, "But are you sure it's appropriate?"
"Do you really want to tell Dad that we don't want them to sing at the party."
Emily's lips pulled together grimly. "No, of course not. I don't want to tell him that."
Lorelai looked at her oddly, "Then what's the pro—" She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "No. No you don't. If you don't want them to sing, you tell him, but you are not putting this on me."
Emily sighed deeply. "Lorelai have you ever actually seen a barbershop quartet perform?"
Pinching her face in thought, Lorelai racked her brain. "Maybe?"
Her mother leaned forward, whispering, "There are costumes!"
"I know! That's the best part."
Emily shook her head. "Your father was right."
"You really do have no taste."
Lorelai pretended to be offended and was working on an appropriate retort when her phone rang and Cookie Monster's voice rang out, "C is for cookie..." Emily groaned, gesturing toward the phone as evidence. Lorelai just said, "Excuse me, my tasteless self needs to answer my phone. Hey bakery girl, what's up?"
"Mom, hi. I'm on...way...bookstore...don't have much time but—"
"Hey slow down, you sound all out of breath."
Rory ignored her, continuing in a rush. "Salon...article...read 12 times."
Lorelai wrinkled her brow in confusion. "They read it 12 times? Is that good?"
"No, I read it."
"Your article?" Lorelai asked, still confused. "Of course you read it."
"Mom," Rory said in exasperation. "I read the email 12 times to make sure, but I think Salon wants to publish my article!"
"Wow, Salon," Lorelai said in awe.
From across the room Emily asked, clearly impatient, "Salon?"
"It's Rory, Mom," Lorelai explained.
Emily gave her a confused look. "Does she need to go to the salon?"
"No—uh, sorry hold on Rory—Mom, Rory's article is going to be published in Salon!"
"Oh, that's wonderful!" Emily said, her eyes lighting up with pride.
"Oh," Rory said, "if Grandma's there you're probably doing work."
"As a matter of fact, we were just trying to decide whether to have Dad's quartet sing at the party," Lorelai said with a nod toward her mother.
"Oh please yes! I so want to see the vests!"
Lorelai grinned, looking over at her mother and pointing at the phone. "Rory wants to see the vests."
"Of course she would," Emily muttered.
"Apparently that renders you a heathen," Lorelai told her daughter.
"She doesn't like the vests?"
"I'm working on her."
"Good luck with that," Rory laughed.
"Thank you, I'll need it."
Rory's voice softened into concern. "But seriously Mom, you can't say no to Grandpa."
"I know sweets, we're not. We're just working out the details."
"We'll have to limit the choreography," Emily said thoughtfully.
"Choreography?" Lorelai asked her mother. At the small nod, her smile grew wider and she said, "Rory, there's choreography!"
"Choreography? Like dancing?" Rory's words had the awe of a small child and she could almost hear her daughter clapping in delight. "Grandpa dancing in a glitter vest? And you're debating this?" she asked in astonishment.
Lorelai glared at her mother grimly. "Well, your grandmother seems to have become a newly inducted member in the, uh, what church does Mrs. Kim go to again?"
"Seventh Day Adventist."
"Right, that's it. No dancing, no glitter, no fun," she pouted.
Emily responded with an irritated look of her own. "Lorelai, we do really need to resolve this."
"Okay," she gave in. "Rory, Madame No Fun over here wants to continue this discussion, but can we meet up for celebratory pie later?"
"Yeah, that's fine. I'm on my way to my bookstore shift anyway. I'll see you around 3:00 at the diner?"
"Sounds good," Lorelai agreed. "And Rory?"
"Congratulations," she said softly. "I'm so proud of you."
Rory's voice grew shy, "Thanks, Mom. I'll see you later."
Lorelai closed her phone and set it on her desk before turning back to her mother. "So, where were we?"
"Well, I have a CD that your father gave me. Perhaps we should listen to get an idea what we're in for," she said ominously.
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"There's my little up and coming journalist!"
Rory shook her head in embarrassment as Lorelai blew in the diner and threw herself around her daughter before plopping down into the seat next to her.
"So Salon huh? You're in the big leagues!"
"I don't know about that," Rory said shyly. She laid her head on her folded arms and looked sideways at her mother. "I'm not sure what to do about Grand Rapids Press. I got a call back from them right after I heard from Salon."
Lorelai waved her arm casually. "Oh, kick 'em to the curb." When Rory eyed her skeptically, she went on, "They toyed with you, tempted you with that little bit of catnip right out of your reach. Then someone came along and just laid a whole bunch of it right on the ground in front of you. You do what anyone would do..."
"Catnip, you're talking to me about catnip?"
"That metaphor got away from me. My point is, you didn't promise anything to anyone and you told that guy—"
"Okay, Jack. You told him that you'd submitted it elsewhere. He just didn't act in time."
Rory frowned thoughtfully. "I don't want to burn any bridges."
"Who needs a bridge to Grand Rapids when you're in Salon?"
Luke chose that moment to bring over a mug for Lorelai and fill it with the coffee pot in his other hand. "Salon?" he asked, clearly bewildered.
Lorelai nodded enthusiastically, tugging on Luke's arm with one hand while gesturing toward Rory with the other. "My kid's getting published on Salon.com! Isn't that fantastic?"
His eyes widened in confusion for a moment before he caught himself. "Rory! That's great! Congratulations!" He leaned toward her, hesitated a moment, then gave Rory one of those trademark awkward hugs that Lorelai had always thought were adorable.
Rory looked up at him when he pulled away, saying, "Aww, thanks Luke. I'm really happy about it. I've just got to—" She jumped up suddenly and raced out the door, calling, "Lane!"
Lorelai looked toward the window just in time to see Lane and the twins be accosted by her daughter. She grinned then turned back to Luke, whose gaze was also directed outside.
Frowning, she gave him a light punch in the stomach. "You big fat, fibbing faker. You have no idea what Salon.com is."
He glared at her. "I assume it's a website."
Lorelai just smirked. "But you've never heard of it, right?"
He sighed in defeat. "Should I have?"
"It's only like, the Walter Cronkite of online publications."
"And that's good?" he asked.
"Of course it's good!"
"But wasn't she talking to someone at a newspaper about having them print it on, you know, actual paper?"
Lorelai waved casually, chuckling. "Newspapers are so 20th century. We're in the digital age now."
"Okay," he said slowly, still clearly skeptical. "So this is good?"
Lorelai smiled warmly, touched by his concern. Leaning against him, she felt his arms wrap around her, and she answered, "Yeah, it's good. It's very, very good."
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A little while later, they were each on their second slice of celebratory pie
when Rory asked, "So did you decide about the party?"
"The spa opening. Is Grandpa going to be showing off his glitter vest?"
"Ah," Lorelai answered, finally making the necessary mental connections. "In the great barbershop compromise of 2008, Dad's quartet will be singing at the party, though sadly, sans vest."
"No vest!" Rory cried. "But seeing Grandpa in that costume is pretty much the reason to have them play at the party."
"Well, I know that, and you know that, but your grandmother has different ideas about what is 'appropriate.'" Lorelai shrugged. "Apparently they have more standard formal wear for elegant occasions."
Rory nodded sagely. "And this is an elegant event."
"Yeah," Lorelai sighed. "As much as I try, I haven't been able to convince my mother to go along with the 'Saturday Night Fever' theme."
"Well, at least we can look forward to Grandpa's debut." Rory smirked at her mother. "You know, I did a little searching and I found the chorus that his quartet is connected to. Get this, the Hartford Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America is named the 'Insurance City Chorus.' How appropriate is that?"
"I think I lost you somewhere between preservation and encouragement."
"Well that's okay because you can just call it SPEBSQSA."
"SPEBSQSA?" Lorelai asked in amazement. "My dad is in an organization called SPEBSQSA? Oh, I am going to have so much fun with this!"
"I'm sure it's people like you who are responsible for them going mainly by the 'Barbershop Harmony Society'," Rory said wryly.
Lorelai shook her head. "That's not nearly as interesting as SPEBSQSA."
"How many times are you going to say that?"
"Until it stops being funny." Grinning, she grabbed Rory's arm. "There's got to be a t-shirt. Please tell me there's a t-shirt."
"I can do you one better. There's a whole website full of Barbershop themed merchandise." Rory gave an evil grin. "They even have—get this—a reversible ladies poncho."
"Poncho, as in rain poncho?"
"No, like an actual poncho, with fringe."
"Really? And it's reversible?" Lorelai asked, smiling opportunistically. "When is your grandmother's birthday again?"
"Mom." Rory pulled a mock straight face. "Consider what you're suggesting. That might be the end of Friday Night Dinners forever."
"Something to keep in mind then."
Rory shook her head. "You are truly evil."
"Well then book me passage on the Hell train, because I would love to see the look on my mother's face when she opened that."
"Yep, pure evil." She shook her head. "You know, they also had the cutest little t-shirt."
"Ooh, t-shirts!" Lorelai said, rubbing her hands together eagerly. "Tell me!"
"It's got a picture of two little kids sitting on a bench and one is leaning over and whispering, 'My Grandpa's a barbershopper too!'"
Her mother's brow furrowed. "And you want to add this to your birthday wish list?" Lorelai asked skeptically.
"No," Rory hissed. "Not for me. For the baby."
Lorelai look around uneasily. "Uh, hon, you're getting a little ahead of yourself there."
"But you told me that you and Luke were trying."
"We are trying, very ambitiously I might add, but—"
Rory waved her arms. "Okay, ugh. I got it. So sorry I asked." She sighed, saying under her breath, "I really need to figure out what I'm doing with my life so I can get my own place like a real grown-up."
"Oh, don't worry," Lorelai said airily. "Luke won't let us 'try' while you're in the house."
"Luckily you have 27 jobs..."
"I do not need to know this. Subject change please," Rory begged as Luke approached the table to refill their coffee. "Maybe you could get Luke's opinion on your birthday idea for Grandma."
He gave Rory an accusing glance. "Now why do you have to bring me into this?" Sighing heavily, he turned to look expectantly at Lorelai.
"Okay here goes," she started as he watched her warily. "On the one hand we have Friday Night Dinners with my mother for the next 75 years. On the other hand we give her the SPEBSQSA reversible poncho for her birthday and we're never allowed to step foot in her house again." Lorelai held her hands out, palms up, moving them slowly up and down as if weighing the two options. "What's your vote, Luke?"
He stared at her, bug eyed, then turned to Rory. "Can I please go away now and pretend that I didn't just hear your mother speaking in tongues?"
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai walked in the front door of the house, plopped her keys on the table in the entryway and kicked off her shoes on her way into the kitchen. "In the name of all that is artery clogging and diabetic coma inducing, that smells amazing, babe."
To be continued...
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