Episode 9.01 "Unhitched and Unhinged"
by Jewels12 and Robinpoppins
Authors' Note: Hello, readers! It has been our pleasure to kick off a new season of Virtual Gilmore! We hope you stick around for the ride. It promises to be an exciting one, full of fun, family and true Gilmore moments. Many thanks to sosmitten and Filo for their invaluable guidance in writing this episode. Thanks to the entire writing team, without whom, there would be no inspiration. And thanks to all of you for joining us on this journey. Your continued support means the world to us!
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"I'm home, I'm starving, and if there's no coffee, I'll kill you both when I off Michel for being obnoxious and French," Lorelai called from the front door of her house as she crossed the threshold, one arm wrapped around her laptop. "I watch Dexter, and believe you me, I know a place. They will never find the bodies."
It was dark and quiet, strangely so, with only the hum of the television breaking the silence and casting a soft glow on the walls of the foyer.
"Rory? Luke? I wasn't actually serious about the murdering and burying thing," she clarified as she toed off her heels, her free hand using the wall to balance. "Well, at least where you're concerned."
"Lorelai?" she heard a muffled voice from the living room call out. Kicking her shoes under the hall stand, she made her way into the room. A hatless Luke sat up as she entered, and he sleepily rubbed his eyes.
"Hey," he said, his voice hoarse and scratchy. "You're home late."
"Hey yourself. Did I wake you up?"
"Mmmm," he muttered with a slight groan. "I was watching the game and waiting for you. I must've drifted off. What time is it?"
"Jeez," Luke remarked as he made room for her on the couch. She sat close to him, and he wrapped his arm around her, kissing her forehead.
"Reading in her room."
"Ah," she said as she nuzzled his neck. "You smell good."
"What did you say when you came in?"
"Oh, you know, the usual babble. Food, coffee, triple homicide. Trying to figure out where to bury the bodies."
"Taylor's rose garden?" he asked, one eyebrow raised.
"No, but that's a good one."
"But, maybe a little obvious," he said plainly before swiftly swinging his legs onto the couch, making a move to lie down. He pulled her with him, and she giggled as she ungracefully flailed her arms to keep her balance, before her head hit his chest with a soft thump. He grunted.
"Work sucks," Lorelai remarked after they both adjusted their bodies to make themselves comfortable.
"Tell me about it," Luke said with a slight snarl.
"Claire, the night manager, called in sick, and Michel, being the generous soul he is, volunteered me to work the first half of her shift, while he worked the second half, thus ensuring that he would have tomorrow off. Plus, it's been busy."
"I mean, between the spa opening, and all the guests, I feel like— don't know, like a wind-up Liz Lemon on hyper speed."
"I have no idea what that meant," he said, kissing her.
"Eh, I don't think I know either...What about you?"
"Ran out of eggs. Kirk. Caesar started a grease fire," Lorelai gasped. "Its fine, we got it out, but it was during the dinner rush, so we got backed up on food orders."
"When was the last time we were able to do this?" Luke commented as he rubbed her back.
"Yeah, that sounds familiar," he remarked, eyes closed. "We should take a weekend off."
"That would be nice," Lorelai said with a wistful sigh.
"What about next weekend?"
"Next weekend? You got big plans, mister?"
"Nah. Just miss you."
"I can be occasionally," he said, and she could sense his grin, even without looking at him. "We could go to the lake."
"Mmm, or the beach. It's perfect beach weather."
"We could take the boat out."
"That would be nice. We haven't been able to take it out in awhile."
"We could drive up to Maine."
"Even with all the rain?"
He laughed. "We-"
"We could get married," Lorelai blurted out, the sound of her voice surprising her. She could feel the breath catch in Luke's chest, and he let it out slowly. She couldn't bring herself to look at him, now that all her cards were laid out on the table like that.
And just when she started to regret suggesting it, she felt him take a deep breath and say, "Okay."
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"Okay," Rory said, her full concentration on the list in her hand. Lorelai steered her by the elbow, helping her to narrowly avoid bumping into a lamppost. "If you take half and I take half, we should get this all done by Friday?"
"Friday is perfection, because it has to be Friday. Sunday is D-Day. Or W-Day, I guess."
They weaved in and out of the crowd, Lorelai still grasping Rory's elbow, as they passed rows of boutiques and chain stores on their right. Rory folded the list in half, creased it, and carefully tore the paper, handing her mother a piece.
"Friday it is, then." She looked up, perhaps the first time since she stepped out of the car, and took in her surroundings.
"What exactly are we looking for?"
"I don't know. Decorations, favors, dresses. Something that doesn't scream wedding. This will be the most non-wedding wedding you have ever seen."
"There's a Hot Topic a few stores back," Rory suggested with a shrug, pointing behind her.
"Funny. You know what I mean. Something simple. But nice. Nothing you would typically find at a wedding, like bubbles, or color-coordinated M&Ms with 'Luke & Lorelai' printed where the M should be, and if you ask me, that is an abomination in itself, because what's the point of having M&Ms if you take off the M. It's nothing. They are suddenly 'Luke & Lorelais' and frankly, that probably cost a lot of money to print on a package."
"Actually, it would probably be 'L&Ls' because I doubt 'Luke and Lorelai' could fit on an M&M," Rory commented as she directed Lorelai to a quirky boutique across the street. "And you are hyper."
"I'm exhilarated," Lorelai exclaimed, linking her arm with Rory's. "It's just— don't know. I feel good. This feels right. I mean, when I suggested it, I never thought Luke would be on board. I don't think I was even in a right frame of mind. But, the minute it came out of my mouth, I knew it had to happen this weekend. It's perfect, because it's Memorial Day, which means three-day weekend. Call me crazy."
"Yes, elaborate on the logic of this, because my brain wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders when you woke me up at 1AM to tell me."
"I think the logic is that there is no logic."
"Care to navigate around that peninsula of insanity, Magellan?" Rory asked incredulously as they walked into the store and were greeted by the cheery ding of a bell. "I mean, it seems like you and Luke are fine where you are. You guys are happy and more... stable, I guess. You told me that you didn't need to get married to know that Luke was it."
"I know. I know what I said."
"Is it because you guys are... trying?" Rory awkwardly asked, picking up an intricate pill box with a furrowed brow.
"I don't know. I guess that's part of it. It is a nice idea, in the 'first comes love, second comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage' scheme of things. But, I think there's more to it than that," Lorelai said with a small smile, as she took the pill box from Rory's hand and put it back down on the shelf. "It's always been there, under the surface, and now? We're ready for it to happen. No distractions, nothing standing in our way."
"Very Perfect Strangers in that sense."
"Exactly." Lorelai said, picking up a strand of lights with colorful, round bulbs. "These are nice."
Rory nodded. "I get what you're saying. I guess I'm just confused about why it has to be this weekend."
"I doesn't have to be this weekend, I suppose, but why not? When have Luke and I ever done things the way they were supposed to be done? It's like we are the perfect bra," Lorelai began, snapping her own strap to reinforce the point.
"Oh-kay," Rory said, her eyes wide with confusion.
"Oh, trust me, this is going to make sense eventually," Lorelai said, holding up one finger. "You spend your entire life searching for the perfect bra. And sometimes you know right away it's not the perfect bra, or even a good bra, and sometimes you think you've found the perfect bra, but after awhile, it digs into your shoulder, or you outgrow it, or the strap falls off, and you definitely haven't found it yet."
"I think I'm deciphering something from this Rosetta Stone of analogies."
"Exactly what I was hoping for," Lorelai commented, and they made their way to a display of linens in the back of the store. "But, then you do find it. And it really is perfect. It has great support, and the straps don't dig, and it's comfortable as hell. It was like it was made for you, or you were made for it, and it just feels like it's supposed to be there. There might have been a few missteps, like maybe there was a tear that threatened to destroy the whole thing, or maybe you switched to a not so perfect bra for awhile, just because you wanted to preserve what was left of the perfect one. With me?"
"I think so," Rory said with a nod.
"But you never really let it go. It's still the perfect one for you. So you mend it, and you're back to wearing it whenever you can. And really, the only problem is that it doesn't match any of your panties."
"Aaaand now you've lost me again."
"Hold your horses, Roy. I'm almost there." Lorelai picked up a table cloth from the stack, but immediately put it back down when she caught sight of green-eyed kittens frolicking around the hem. "You try some, but the colors are off, or the patterns clash. But, there's this one pair that you know is in your drawer somewhere. Maybe you find it from time to time, and maybe you pull it out of your drawer and you think, 'tomorrow you two are going to get together,' But then you do laundry, or you hit the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale, and it's not that you forget about these panties. It's just that you have other panties taking up top-of-the-drawer space right now. But, you just know that one day, you are going to wear the perfect bra with the perfect panties and the idea of the whole thing is just so... great."
"Who is the panties, again?" Rory said after a long pause, refolding the tablecloth Lorelai had picked up earlier.
Lorelai picked up the linen under it, a bright magenta with a gold Indian design. "What do you mean? No one is the panties."
"Then who is the bra?"
"Luke is the bra."
"I thought you were the bra."
"We're both the bra."
"How is that possible?"
"I don't know. One of us sits in each cup?"
Rory sighed. "I still don't know what the panties are."
"The panties are a symbol of our marriage," Lorelai gestured, exasperated.
"We really need to work on your metaphors, before this becomes one of the worst versions of 'Who's on First?' ever witnessed."
"But you get it, right?" Lorelai asked, straightening the pile of linens.
"I do. It's finally right, and you don't want to wait," Rory said, looking her mother in the eye.
"Yeah... And you're okay with all of this, Luke and I getting married? Because it's okay if you're not. I mean, it's not that long since your dad and I-"
"Mom, you know I love Luke," Rory interrupted, sincere. Lorelai nodded. "But, really, I'm happy when you're happy."
Lorelai smiled, and pulled Rory into a hug. "Aw schmoopy!"
Rory laughed and patted her mother on the back. "Yeah, yeah, you're schmoopier."
Lorelai grinned as Rory pulled away, and took a look around the store they had entered, as if for the first time. "So, what are we doing in this store again?" she asked as she stared at the linens again.
"I have absolutely no idea."
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Monday morning, Lorelai breezed into the Dragonfly kitchen, her broad smile brightening the already glowing room. Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' resounded from the CD player on the shelf above Sookie's workstation, and there wasn't a still body in sight.
"Lorelai, hey!" Sookie shouted over the music as she continued slicing up
mushrooms, her accident-prone hands moving in time with the beat.
Lorelai's worried glance appeared to go unnoticed by Sookie, so she hurriedly made her way towards the dancing woman and adjusted the music volume to a more chef-friendly level. "Just came through to grab a refill," she said, gesturing to her empty mug. "Oh, and table four needs a dozen muffins."
Sookie dropped her knife to the cutting board. "Another dozen?" she asked, dumbfounded.
"Apparently." Lorelai shrugged as she poured coffee from the decanter into her awaiting mug. Her eyes shifted to the tray of fresh muffins on the counter. "These the blueberry pomegranate?" Sookie nodded in confirmation. Lorelai picked up a muffin and took a generous bite.
"Blueberries and pomegranates are fruit, you know?" Sookie needled.
"I know," Lorelai forced through a full mouth.
"So, what do you think?" Sookie asked after a moment.
"I think we need to start charging more for these things," Lorelai admitted, much to Sookie's delight. She lightly grasped her friend's shoulder and added quietly, "Hey, got a minute?"
"Sure." Sookie nodded. "Manny, box up another dozen for me?" she called as Lorelai pulled her by the sleeve towards the pantry.
"Another dozen?" he questioned in amazement.
Sookie popped her head out of the designated chat room and shouted, "I know! Like gangbusters these things!" Lorelai cleared her throat gaining Sookie's attention. "Sorry," she giggled in apology. "What's up?"
"You free this weekend?"
"Um, let me think...Davey's got an appointment with Dr. Breyer. Oh, but that isn't until Monday. And Martha has a recital thing, oh, and Wanda needs to...with the other thing, but that leaves Jackson-"
"Wedding!" Lorelai blurted in an effort to silence the rambling woman.
"Luke and I, we're getting married." Lorelai took a deep breath as she waited for a response. When a minute had passed and she still hadn't received one, she pleaded in concern, "Sook? Sookie, say something."
With that simple invitation, the gushing gates opened. "Oh my God! You! And Luke! You're...oh my God! When are you...?"
Lorelai chuckled. "This weekend."
Sookie's entire body was shaking with excitement. "Oh my God! Okay, I just...um, when is it again?"
"This weekend," Lorelai repeated.
"Oh my God! This weekend?"
"Yes," Lorelai said through laughter.
"Can I have that in writing?" Sookie asked pointedly, her tone suddenly shifting to one of doubt.
"Give me a pen and I'll write you a sonnet," Lorelai shot back.
Seemingly satisfied that this was the real deal, Sookie embraced her friend in a congratulatory hug. When she stepped away, her eyes popped open with the promise of a new wave of excitement. "Lorelai!" she gasped. "Are you...and Luke..."
Picking up on Sookie's meaning, she quickly dispelled the notion, "No, no, Sookie, we're not-"
"Are you sure?"
"I'm not pregnant, Sookie," Lorelai affirmed.
Sookie's grin faded slightly, but her parade of questions continued marching on, "So, what did Richard and Emily say?"
"You haven't told them yet, have you?"
"Uh, no. Don't you know about my hierarchy of sharing good news?" Lorelai asked. "I tell Rory first, then Luke, you, Belinda Carlisle, Sandy Hanson from fourth grade...and in between George Michael and Taylor Doose, are Richard and Emily Gilmore.
"When are you going to tell them?"
"I'm calling them as soon as I get to my office."
Sookie aggressively ushered Lorelai out of the pantry. "Go. Now," she demanded.
"Okay, okay," Lorelai surrendered, grabbing a muffin in her haste to escape Sookie's condescending eyes. She entered her office a moment later, collapsed into her chair and sighed, staring at the phone. The heavenly aroma of her muffin permeated the room, making it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything else. She separated the top from the bottom, and took a bite of the better half, smiling as she chewed. Clasping the phone with renewed confidence, she anxiously waited for someone to pick up. "Top of the muffin to you!" she chimed into the phone. There was no use trying to explain the greeting to Emily.
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Lorelai's feet were propped up on her desk and she leaned back tiredly in her
chair. Her mother's nagging voice coursed through the phone line hitting her
sharply in the eardrum. "Yes, okay," Lorelai sighed. "I didn't mean that
A quick knock on the door and some impatient shuffling soon revealed Sookie who obviously decided to let herself in.
'Emily,' Lorelai mouthed to Sookie as she gestured to the phone anchored to the right side of her face.
"Again?" Sookie said.
Lorelai nodded in confirmation.
"What does she want this time?" Sookie asked as though Emily wasn't currently on the other line.
"What does who want this time?" Emily barked at Lorelai. "Who are you talking to?"
"Oh, it's J-Lo. She's going to be my wedding planner."
"Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got."
"Rocks? Lorelai, what in God's name are you talking about?"
"Love my life and my public. Put God first and can't forget to stay real. To me it's like breathing."
Emily huffed, "Well, you're obviously not in any mood to have a serious discussion."
"Because you've called me eighty-three thousand times today," Lorelai explained.
"Oh, forgive me, Lorelai. I suppose it's my fault that you decided to plan a wedding a week ahead. One week, Lorelai! Are you trying to kill me?"
"That was a rhetorical question, right?"
Ignoring Lorelai's statement, Emily pressed on, "Now, there's a church on Marchment Street that can squeeze us in. And I've found a few banquet rooms that can accommodate our party. I'll have to inspect them first. God knows what I'll find inside. Any place that can slot us in on such short notice..."
"Mom," Lorelai interrupted. "We don't need any of that."
"Oh God. Don't tell me you're eloping," Emily cried in obvious distaste.
"No, Mom. We were thinking we'd get married at your rental place...on the Vineyard. The backyard would be perfect."
"You want an outdoor wedding?!"
Lorelai covered her mouth to keep from chuckling. "You should hear her," she whispered to Sookie who was now perched on the chair across from her, following the conversation to the best of her ability. "Oh, wait for it," Lorelai said, pressing the magic button to put her mother on speaker phone. Sookie gave her the thumbs up in appreciation.
"This is ridiculous," Emily admonished, clearly unaffected by the goings on from Lorelai's end. "This whole thing is completely ridiculous. This is not how you do a wedding. A proper wedding takes months to plan."
"Mom, there is very little planning involved here," Lorelai reasoned. "Luke and I just want a really low-key wedding. The entire ceremony and reception can be held at the vineyard. It's one day. Half a day, really. I mean, you subtract showers and meals, it's like twenty minutes."
Emily released a heavy breath. "I can't talk about this right now. I can't think about any of this. I need your father to be home. Where the hell is your father?" she shouted to no one in particular.
Lorelai and Sookie exchanged an amused look. "Okay, Mom. I guess I'll talk to you in... ten minutes then?"
"I suppose you can use the vineyard," Emily continued in a softer tone. "I'll have to buy a dress at the sporting goods store down at the mall."
"Thanks, Mom," Lorelai answered, smiling.
"Fine. We'll talk more about this later. Goodbye, Lorelai," she finished sharply.
"Bye...polar." Lorelai clicked her phone shut and shared in Sookie's laughter. "I don't think she heard me," Lorelai said. "I'll know soon enough, though."
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On Tuesday morning, Lorelai entered the Dragonfly with her hand wrapped
tightly around a to-go cup of Luke's coffee. She downed the remainder in one
gulp, just as she reached the front desk. "Morning, Michel," she said to the
Frenchman as she tossed the container into the garbage.
Michel snorted in response.
"Uh oh. Did somebody wake up on the wrong side of his memory foam mattress?"
He narrowed his eyes in annoyance.
Lorelai sighed. "Michel, please don't get on my case. I already have Emily breathing down my neck every hour on the hour. She's like the weather channel from hell."
"Yes, it must be so terrible for you to have someone trying to help you plan your wedding," Michel returned bitterly.
"You know about the wedding?" Lorelai asked, surprised. In all the chaos, she hadn't had a chance to share the news with him yet.
"Of course I know about the wedding!" Michel snapped. "Sookie won't shut up about the stupid cream cake that she's making, and she keeps taunting me with the icing. And when you turned off your phone yesterday, what do you think happened?"
"I saved a couple bucks?" Lorelai offered teasingly.
"No! Your mother called the front desk. Over and over and over again, until finally I had to take the phone off the hook."
"Ooh, well played!"
Michel frowned and said in a barely audible voice, "You could have told me."
Lorelai bit her lip, her expression filled with guilt. "I know, Michel. I'm so sorry."
He cleared his throat and pretended to type in some random keys on the computer.
"Listen," she told him gently. "I need you to take charge of things this weekend. We have two groups coming in. One is a society of women who wear nothing but velvet, the other is a pretzel-tasting organization."
Michel gave her a questioning look.
"If you can make it through those two days with less than twelve complaints against you, I'm going to take you out to dinner at your favorite restaurant."
His eyes lit up. "Le Central?"
Lorelai nodded, plastering on a smile. "I'll even let you order an appetizer."
"Two appetizers," Michel bargained.
She rolled her eyes. "Two appetizers."
Michel smiled in satisfaction. "Enjoy the wedding."
Lorelai shook her head in amazement. "Why do I feel like I lost this round?" she asked aloud as she trudged towards her office.
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"Yeah... Uh huh... Yes," Lorelai heard as she walked in the front door of her house that night. She walked into the living room to find Luke sitting at the desk, phone held about two feet from his ear. She heard squealing on the other end, and raised an eyebrow.
"Liz," he mouthed, and he rolled his eyes.
Lorelai set her purse down next to the phone carrier, and promptly sat in Luke's lap. He gave her a quick peck on the lips.
"If I keep saying variations of the word yes," he whispered, holding the phone even farther from his ear, "it seems like I'm still involved in the conversation.
"Liz," he said, bringing the phone back to his ear. "Lorelai's home, I gotta go." Another loud squeal could be heard on the other line, and Luke winced as he jerked the phone away from his ear. "And there goes my hearing," he told Lorelai, switching hands. Lorelai laughed.
"Ah, but just think of all the peace you would have if you were hard of hearing," she teased softly.
"Don't tempt me," he grumbled. He pressed the phone to his "good" ear. "She wants to talk to you."
Lorelai made desperate cutting signals at her throat. She stuck out her tongue and rolled back her eyes, gagging.
"You know she can probably hear that," he hissed, covering the mouthpiece with his hand. "You just missed her," Luke said into the phone. "She went upstairs... Okay... Okay, I'll tell her... Yeah, love you too... Bye."
"Aw," Lorelai said as he placed the phone back in its cradle. "You love your sissy."
"I take it she's thrilled?"
"You couldn't tell from the sheer decibel level?"
"Oh, is that what that was?" she said with a wink. "They're coming?"
"Good. What about Doula?"
"T.J.'s brother is going to watch her, apparently."
"And that's safe?" Lorelai asked as the memory of his brother came to her.
"My sister has never been known for having the best judgment."
"But you're glad she's coming."
Luke let out a sigh. "Yeah, I am. But the real trick is trying to convince her to leave T.J. home with the kid."
Lorelai shook her head and grinned. "Did you get a hold of Jess?"
"Yeah. He said he's going to see what he can do."
"What does that mean?"
"I have no idea, but I'm taking it as a maybe."
"He'll come," she said, jetting out her chin with certainty. "He may complain a lot, but he'll come because you asked him to."
"Hope so," Luke said, wrapping his arms around Lorelai tighter. She leaned down to kiss him, moaning as he deepened the kiss. When he broke away, he said, "I heard from Anna today."
"Yeah?" she asked as she took off his hat and set it on the desk, running her fingers through his hair. She reached down with her other hand and undid the top button of his shirt. He brought his hand up to still hers.
"April's good to go. Anna was a little worried since she was just here, and it's such short notice, but turns out she had a free ticket April could use to fly out here and maybe stay a couple weeks."
"But what about when she's comes in July? Will your time with her be cut short then?"
"No, we worked it all out. Anna was surprisingly understanding."
"That's good... So she's settled."
"Yes, she is. What about your family?"
"I got Rory, I got Sookie and Jackson, and I got Vader and Emperor Palpatine... I'm good."
"Please don't refer to your mother as the Emperor this weekend."
"You may have to remind me," Lorelai said sexily, as she unfastened another one of his buttons.
"It's probably a good rule of thumb not to call your mother by any nickname."
"You're taking her side," she playfully pouted.
"I'm just trying to keep the peace."
"And that's what's going to make you a great husband," Lorelai said, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"I like the sound of that," Luke smirked, before pulling her in for another lingering kiss.
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The diner was nothing short of a nuthouse on Wednesday afternoon. Caesar was
dropping orders at the window faster than Brian and Zach could pick them up for
delivery. It soon became a battle between the two based on who could deliver the
most meals. When they started wrestling over Kirk's meatloaf, Luke intervened,
drawing an imaginary line down the center of the building and instructing the
boys to stay on their appropriate half. The noise level was so high that Luke
couldn't even hear the phone until the fifth ring. He expertly dodged around
plates and over feet to avoid any collisions on his way to retrieve it.
"Luke's," he answered impatiently.
"Luke?" the strong, masculine voice questioned.
"Richard Gilmore here."
"Oh, Mr. Gilmore...er, Richard, hello. Um, what can I do for you?" Luke asked nervously.
"What's going on there, Luke? Sounds like you're in the midst of a Yale football game."
He chuckled and answered simply, "Lunch rush."
"I've just called to inquire about the dress code for this weekend."
Luke scratched his head. "Dress code?"
"What will the gentlemen be wearing?" Richard clarified.
"Well, for starters, what will you be wearing, Luke?"
"Oh, I see." There was a brief pause, during which Luke was certain he could hear a shuffling of papers on Richard's end of the line. "Ah, here it is. Luke, I'm going to set up an appointment for you with my personal shopper at Neiman's."
Richard continued undeterred, "Then I should be quite able to coordinate accordingly."
"Mr. Gilmore," Luke interjected. "I really appreciate the offer, but if it's all the same to you, I'll just stick with my suit. It's a really nice suit."
"A man only gets married once in his life...well, figuratively speaking," Richard corrected.
Luke cringed at the seemingly unintended insult. "Again, thanks for the offer-"
"But you're going to stick with your suit," Richard regurgitated for him. "I understand, Luke. I suppose it's not my place to argue with the groom. We'll make something work, I'm sure."
Luke was more than a little concerned by the the 'we' part of that statement. "So, we're pretty busy here. I should probably get back to work."
"Oh, yes, of course. We'll see you at the wedding."
"Yes, see you at the wedding," Luke replied, returning the phone to its cradle. He turned around in time to see Kirk and Gypsy exchanging a look. He could have sworn there was a slight twinkle in Gypsy's eyes. Suddenly both parties rose from their seats, gave each other one last challenging look, and took off for the door. "I heard it first!" Kirk cried as Gypsy nearly tackled him to get outside.
Luke shook his head at the display. Richard was right about the football thing.
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Luke was in the middle of cleaning out the register the next day when Lorelai
entered the diner, took one look around, and gave him a curious look.
"Salmonella outbreak?" she asked.
"This place is dead," she needlessly pointed out.
"Like deader than dead."
"I know," Luke repeated.
She walked up to the counter and took a seat on the stool across from him. "But it's noon. On a Thursday. Where's the lunch crowd?"
"Fasting?" he supplied.
Lorelai smiled. "Strange, very strange." She watched as he mechanically began filling up three to-go containers with coffee. "Hey, Luke?" she asked after a moment.
"Is it bad that we aren't telling people?"
He shook his head. "Nah, they'll just try to stick their noses into everything."
"I was more worried about them feeling excluded."
"It's not like we can cart half the town to this thing."
"True," she agreed. "But these people don't like hearing the word 'no'. To them, nothing is impossible. Give them a week, they'll build you an Ark."
He placed the three coffees on the counter in front of her and said, "We'll bring them back a nice collector plate."
Lorelai chuckled. "I gotta run, Rory and Sookie are waiting in the car. Kiss," she prompted him, leaning across the counter. She smiled through the prolonged kiss, both of them taking advantage of the unusual privacy in the diner.
"Send me some good dress vibes," she told him as she pulled away.
"Nothing too fruity."
She smirked. "Where have I heard that before?"
"See you tonight," he said, smiling.
"And every night for the rest of your life," she threatened playfully, and blew him a kiss as she exited.
Luke leaned against the back counter and sighed happily. His thoughts revolved around the impending wedding, and it amazed him how close he and Lorelai were to taking that proverbial last step. It wasn't long before his thoughts were interrupted by the shrill ring of the wall phone. He didn't remember it having such an obnoxious ring before. "Another perk to having an empty diner," he muttered to himself as he picked up the receiver. "Hello?" he answered.
"Luke?" Richard asked.
"Luke?" a second, painfully familiar voice echoed.
Luke's face turned a shade of white that would have made a clown envious. "Richard, Emily...hello," he managed to get out.
"Luke," Emily began, "Richard told me about your talk yesterday."
Richard cut in, "And Luke, about the suit..."
"Not this again," Luke mumbled.
"Richard!" Emily shouted. "Forget about the suit!" She breathed a sigh into the phone and continued in a softer voice, "Luke, Richard and I think the best solution here is to postpone the wedding. There just isn't enough time. It's ludicrous to think anyone can pull off a wedding in a week."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Look, Lorelai and I set a date, and we're sticking to it. If you guys don't want us at the vineyard, then we'll find another place. But the date is not negotiable."
"Of course we want you at the vineyard," Emily barked. "This isn't about the vineyard, it's about ignoring every principal of proper wedding planning."
"Oh, Emily," Richard muttered. "You and your planning. You couldn't even go to the mall without a blueprint."
"You're the one who wanted to talk about suits!" she shot back.
Out of desperation, Luke interrupted, "I'm sorry, I can't really talk right now. I've got customers."
"It doesn't sound very busy in there," Emily said in an accusatory voice.
"Oh, it's busy," Luke lied.
"It's much quieter than yesterday," Richard agreed with Emily.
"People are just, uh...chewing more today," Luke offered in explanation.
"Fine. We'll talk to you later," Emily resolved.
"Yes, goodbye, Luke," Richard added.
"Bye," Luke said. This time he didn't return the phone to its cradle.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Friday evening, Luke was on his way back to Stars Hollow with April after picking her up from the airport. She sat with her back to him, staring out the window as familiar scenery began to pass by. From the moment he picked her up at the airport, she had been hitting him with a barrage of questions about the wedding, and although he has missed his daughter and was enjoying his time with her, he found that is was much easier to let her continue talking without making an attempt to answer her questions.
"Hey, did Lorelai already pick out her dress? Is it white? For some reason, I don't see her wearing a white dress. She's non-conformist like that. Did you know that in biblical times, Jewish brides wore blue for their weddings because that was considered a symbol of purity?"
"Huh, that's interesting. I didn't know that."
"Yeah, there is a wide assortment of wedding facts out there. I was bored during computer class the other day, and I found a ton of information by just googling. Like, Scottish women used to have to be pregnant for the wedding ceremony to take place. You guys aren't pregnant, are you?" April asked, turning toward him with one eyebrow arched.
"I was kidding, Dad."
"Oh," Luke said, laughing nervously.
"You should've seen the look on your face," she chuckled.
Luke pulled onto Main Street, making his way to the town square. April
resumed her position looking out the window, and the car was engulfed in a
momentary silence, that Luke was a little grateful for.
"You know what else is funny? The origins of a lot of the things we see in weddings every day. Like garters."
"You know, what the bride wears on her leg and the groom has to toss it to the eligible bachelors at the reception."
"Oh," Luke said. "Yeah, I know what those are."
"Well, apparently, in order to make sure that the bride and groom... consummated their marriage, they had a witness in the room with them, and when it was all over, the witness would bring the garter out as proof that they had done it."
"April!" Luke exclaimed, shocked. "You found this on the internet?"
"Oh, come on, Dad. It's not that bad. The school's firewall allowed me to see it."
Luke came to a stop at the stoplight in front of a diner and he noticed the door was open at Miss Patty's and could see several people crammed into the room. Distracted, he let April's comment slide as he squinted to attempt to see what was going on.
"Is there something going on at Miss Patty's tonight?" April asked, as if she read his mind.
"I have no idea."
"It's not a town meeting, right? Those usually happen every other Thursday, unless the town selectman calls an emergency meeting. And then, if the town selectman calls one, town bylaws state that this person has to inform every voting member in town of the meeting."
"When did you study the town bylaws?"
"They're on the Stars Hollow website," she said with a shrug. Luke looked at her with a furrowed brow. "I get bored in my computer class a lot."
Both turned when they saw Kirk, Gypsy, Taylor, and Bootsy walk out of the building, each with a sheet of paper in hand. Kirk caught sight of Luke's truck, made eye contact with Luke, and bolted back into Miss Patty's, pulling Taylor with him. Gypsy and Bootsy quickly followed, and the door was pushed closed.
"That was weird," April said when the light turned green and Luke turned left onto the next street.
"Yeah," he said, still confused. "Very."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Opening the front door of the house seemed a near impossible task to Rory, considering her arms were weighed down with several bags. After bringing one knee up to support the weight of the bags, and awkwardly contorting her body to turn the knob, she managed to push open the door and walk inside of the house. The delicious aroma of dinner instantly awakened her senses, and she dropped the bags in the foyer and made her way in the kitchen. She found Luke standing over the stove stirring vegetables in a skillet, a dishtowel draped over one shoulder.
"Hey," she called out over the hiss of the pan. "Where is everyone?"
Luke turned and shot her a quick smile in greeting. "I sent April over to Sookie's house, so that she could help your mom finish a couple things. April already put some of her stuff in your bathroom. I hope you don't mind."
"Oh, not at all. What's mine is hers in this house."
"I wouldn't give her that option," Luke playfully cautioned.
"Need help with anything?"
"Nah," Luke said after giving the items on the stove a once-over. "I think I got it covered."
"Okay. I think I'll finish up the gift baskets for everyone, then," she offered, as she picked up a laundry basket of favors, ribbon, and cellophane from her room. She sat down at the kitchen table, and arranged her articles on the counter. An egg timer on the counter dinged, and Luke leaned over to check on the rolls in the oven.
"Thanks for all your help this week," he said to her, pulling the pan out of the oven and setting it on the counter. "I know you probably had some work-related things that you needed to do, but I don't think we could've pulled it all together without your help."
"Nope, nothing work related. And, even if there was, I would drop it for this."
Luke turned and smiled. "Good to know."
They worked in silence for a few minutes, as Rory put together a basket for Sookie and Jackson with the gifts she and
Lorelai had picked out earlier that week. When she had finished and picked up the label to tie on the basket, she caught sight of Jess' name on the next label.
"Hey, Luke?" she asked, picking up the label. "Did you ever hear from Jess again?"
He was quiet for a second as he added bits of chicken into the skillet with the vegetables. "No, he didn't call back."
"So, you don't think he's coming?"
"I don't know. Probably not." He didn't turn around as he spoke to her, and he seemed disappointed by this. "It's short notice, and he's busy."
"But, he should make time. You're his uncle." She was a little surprised that she had this kind of a reaction to this news.
"It's okay, Rory. He's writing and running the bookstore still, so I get that he can't just take the weekend off."
"I guess. I'm just... I don't know. It would be nice if he came," she replied, setting the label back down on the table. "Or at least called you back."
"Yeah, I guess it would have."
♫ ♫ ♫
After dinner, Rory sat in her room, her laptop open. She had been quiet throughout the meal, only partly listening to her mother's animated recap of her numerous conversations with Emily that week for April's benefit. When the table had been cleared, she excused herself and exited to her room, claiming she needed to pack. But she had packed a few days before, her suitcase already sitting by the door and her dress for the wedding in a garment bag and hanging on the outside of her wardrobe.
She was still fuming about Jess, not entirely sure why it was bothering her so much. She kept going back to the thought that he should be there. It wasn't right for him not to be there for his uncle's wedding, the very person who had done so much for him in the past. She had picked up her phone several times, wanting to call him and give her a piece of her mind, but every time stopped herself after she dialed.
She was glad that her email was at least a little distracting as she vacillated about calling Jess. There was a letter from Patrick and a sale alert from Urban Outfitters, and it was enough to keep her from picking up the phone for a few minutes. But, when she resorted to checking an email account she hadn't used in awhile, and an email from Jess' bookstore popped up in the inbox, she had finally had enough. Determined, she picked up the phone, and punched in the number firmly. She drummed her fingers on the desk as she listened to the dial tone, growing angrier as she waited out each one.
"So, rumor has it that we are going to be cousins soon," he said upon answering the phone, apparently having seen her name on the caller ID.
"No. No being cute. I'm not in the mood," she spat back, dramatically closing her laptop.
"No hellos? No, 'gee, Jess, it's been awhile. I'm doing great. How about you?'" he responded, amused.
"I think it's really awful of you not to come to the wedding. You have partners that can work for you. You can afford to not write for a weekend. You really have no other excuse, other than the fact that you don't want to."
"You keeping tabs on me, Sam Spade? What other skeletons in my closet did you manage to dig up? Because you seem to know an awful lot about my schedule for not talking to me in months."
"I just don't understand how you can't make time," she continued. "It's not like it's that hard. And it's for Luke. You remember Luke, the guy that took you in when your mother basically kicked you out?"
"Scruffy? Flannel shirt? Blue baseball cap? That guy?"
"And my mom!" she exclaimed, ignoring his comment. "I know you two weren't exactly setting up each other's fan clubs, but she never throttled you like she threatened to several times. And believe you me, she wanted to."
"You have anything else you want to accuse me of while you're all fired up? Might as well keep going while you're on a roll." He sounded like he was about to laugh, and the fact that he wasn't taking her seriously unnerved her.
"I, uh... don't know," she huffed, out of breath from her verbal tirade. "It's just.. It's not right. You should be there. You owe it to Luke."
"You done?" he asked after a pause.
"I'm in Boston."
"You're what?" she asked, unsure of where the conversation was going at this point.
"I'm staying with a friend in Boston. I was planning on heading to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow."
"So you're... coming?"
"I left a message with Caesar to let Luke know, but Screech must not have passed it on."
"You are coming," she repeated, suddenly embarrassed by her verbal lashing.
"I'm coming," Jess said, letting out a small laugh.
"I, um... Good. That's good. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then."
And she hung up the phone before Jess got another word in.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"Didn't there used to be a floor somewhere?" Luke asked as he walked into the hall upstairs, garment bag in hand. Suitcases, plastic sacks, and boxes joined the piles of clothing Lorelai usually had lying around the bedroom, covering every nook and cranny. Luke surveyed the room from the doorway, seemingly attempting to determine the best way to make it to the bed. Lorelai sat at her sewing machine, Paul Anka curled up at her feet, ripping out the seams on the hem of the dress April had planned on wearing to the wedding.
"I think maybe carpet. Carpet sounds familiar." She pushed her glasses back up on her nose with her forearm, her complete concentration on the dress.
"How the hell did you get in here?" He gently nudged a box that took up space by the door with his foot, only to find that it wouldn't budge.
"Oh, you know. Roundoff over the box, back handspring to that wall over there, and then I had to do a crab walk to get over to the sewing machine. Blindfolded, of course."
"Of course," Luke said, playing along. He finally stepped over the box in the doorway, and nearly tripped on the pile of clothes he met on the other side. "Found the suit."
"Yeah, where was it?"
"Closet next to the kitchen, behind the boxes of Christmas decorations."
"Oh yeah, now I remember putting it there," Lorelai stated absently, as she pulled out a particularly stubborn thread.
"I have a closet up here, if you remember. Actually, half a closet, since your coats now take up the other half."
"Marriage is all about compromise, baby," she muttered with a small smile.
"Hmm," Luke muttered, finally reaching the bed, and ungracefully plopping down on the mattress. "Weren't those the boxes you had me put in the attic when we took down the Christmas decorations?"
"The boxes in the closet downstairs."
Finished taking out the seam, Lorelai picked up a bobbin and began to thread it. "Oh, those? Yes."
"Then how are they back downstairs?"
"Elves?" she said with a shrug, making eye contact.
"Magical box-moving elves?" Luke asked, blindly groping for a pillow as he lay sideways on the bed.
"The lawn reindeer were getting crushed," she finally relented. "I noticed when I put your suit in there, after I bought the green plaid coat and needed more room in your closet, and so I moved them up to the attic, and brought the boxes down."
"The boxes that you apparently couldn't lift in January," Luke said, slightly amused.
"Well, love allows you to do extraordinary things," she mumbled, as she cut the thread with her teeth. "Like lifting up cars, or solving complex mathematical problems, or, uh... getting a good Guitar Hero score."
"Uh huh," he said, closing his eyes. "God I'm tired. I feel like I haven't stopped moving all day."
"Mmm. Me too," she replied, pressing her foot on the pedal, and filling the room with the whir of the sewing machine. Paul Anka, disturbed by the sound, belly crawled until he managed to squeeze under the bed.
"What exactly are you doing?"
"Fixing April's dress. She mentioned that she didn't really like how long it was, so I thought I would fix it."
"C'mere," he called over the noise.
"What?" Lorelai asked, and the machine stopped.
"Come here," he repeated, patting the spot on the bed next to him.
"Mm, can't, gotta finish this before we leave in the morning."
"Lorelai, you can finish in a minute. I want you to take a break."
"Ooh, demanding," she said, standing. "I like it."
Lorelai tip-toed around a few boxes, and then crawled onto the bed next to Luke, instantly molding herself to his side.
"See," she said, feeling her eyes droop. "This is the exact reason why I haven't stopped moving before. Sleepy."
"Yep," Luke said, groggily.
"So, the whole planning a wedding in a week thing... my idea?"
"Huh... We must be crazy."
"But worth it."
Lorelai smiled, and Luke kissed her on her forehead. She felt herself starting to drift off, so in an effort to keep herself awake, she spoke again.
"So, did I tell you that I think Taylor is in on whatever the epidemic is that has swept through the town?"
"Well, I was in Doose's, and he was talking to Andrew in the back, so I went
over to ask where the Pop Tarts were, and..."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫  It was Saturday morning, and Luke's head was buried in the trunk of the jeep, trying to organize things in a way he hoped would accommodate every bag and body. He looked up in time to see Lorelai walking down the porch steps carting a gigantic suitcase behind her, the cloth fabric thudding against each step.
"I told you to let me carry the heavy stuff," he reminded her.
She walked the remaining distance to the jeep, the wheels of her suitcase crunching against the stones on the driveway. "This isn't heavy," she assured him. "See?" she demonstrated, lifting the bag with little effort.
Luke tested the weight for himself and looked at her puzzled. "What's in there?"
"Paper cups and cotton balls."
He raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
She shrugged her shoulders and said in an innocent voice, "Dirty lingerie."
Luke chuckled. "A whole suitcase worth?"
Still smiling, he grabbed the suitcase and hoisted it into the jeep.
"Wow, no questions asked? I didn't even have to fight for that one."
"I'm more worried about the four bags of toiletries you have hidden in Rory's room."
She stared at him, mouth agape. "I did no such thing!"
"Rory and April will barely fit in here by the time you're done."
"Well, we still have the whole back of the truck that we haven't used yet," she pointed out.
"Uh...not exactly." He led her around to the truck bed where the chuppah was securely tied down. "This okay?" he asked nervously.
Lorelai lit up in a smile. "Luke," she said softly.
"I figured you might want it there, you know, for the big day."
"I absolutely want it there," she told him. "It's perfect."
"Good," he said, pulling her into an embrace. A sound coming from the neighbors' house stole their attention. They both looked over to see Babette and Miss Patty stepping out onto the porch, layers of tulle draped around their necks. "I got some more tulle in the shed. Just watch out for the guillotine," Babette told Patty. "Morey and I keep our holiday props in there. And other props, too, if you know what I mean," she cackled. A snicker from Lorelai caused the two women to turn around. They gasped, and without so much as a 'hello', scurried back into the house and slammed the door behind them.
"That was weird," Lorelai remarked, giving Luke a perplexed frown.
"This town is getting nuttier by the day."
"Perfect time for a vacation."
Luke smiled. "Hurry up and get ready before they turn into zombies."
She laughed. "If I wasn't marrying you already, I would so marry you after the zombie comment."
"Good to know."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai and Luke pulled into the driveway of her parents' rental house and parked behind the jeep. Lorelai opened the door and yawned, using the door to help stretch her legs, while Luke pulled two of Lorelai's bags out of the bed of the truck.
He looked around the property, his eyes wide as he took in the faded blue clapboard house with black shutters, and a pristine manicured lawn. "Wow."
"Yeah," Lorelai responded, the same awed expression on her face. "It's bigger than I thought. It was definitely smaller in the pictures."
Rory and April walked up to the couple, both with bags in hand. "Is this the same house they usually stay in?" Rory asked, biting her lip as she stared at the house.
"According to Mom, yes," Lorelai said, putting her hand on her daughter's shoulder.
"I smell the ocean," April commented, sniffing as she looked around. "It's near, right?"
"Richard said their house was close to the beach," Luke stated.
"Wow," Lorelai said, shaking her head. "This is incredible. I have no words."
"Yeah, I'm completely at a loss," Rory said. "Why is it that we never took them up on their offer to join them in the Vineyard?"
"My mother would have a bedroom down the hall. There are not enough martinis in the world, sweets."
"Shall we?" Luke asked, placing his free hand on Lorelai's back to direct her to the house.
"Might as well," Lorelai said, looping her arm through the bag strap on his shoulder to fit around his waist.
The four of them walked up the driveway, and paused when they approached the door.
"Someone going to ring the bell?" April asked after a moment.
"Oh yeah, right," Lorelai said, detaching herself from Luke. "Sorry, force of habit when I enter a Gilmore lair."
But, before Lorelai got a chance to ring the doorbell, the door swung open and Emily stood on the other side.
"Good, you're here," she said curtly, ushering them inside.
"And hello to you too, Mother," Lorelai said, rolling her eyes at Luke. Emily went ahead of them, leading them into the kitchen.
"Today has been a complete disaster," Emily moaned. "I met with the Justice of the Peace today, and he is a dolt. Honestly, he had absolutely no idea how to put together a proper ceremony. It took us hours this morning. Hours. And don't even get me started on the caterers and the crab cakes."
"Great tour," Lorelai said to Rory under her breath.
"I guess this is the kitchen," Rory whispered, and Lorelai snorted.
"We're having crab cakes?" Luke asked quietly, joining the conversation.
"Mom, you did tell him that we didn't want to make a big deal, right? Because it sounds like you completely changed everything he and I talked about over the phone. Vows, rings, done. A 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' type of ceremony."
"Please tell me that was a joke," Emily pleaded.
"Yes, Mom," Lorelai said with a sigh. "It was a joke. I didn't tell the Justice of the Peace to say 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' in the ceremony. But, Luke on the other hand..."
Luke nudged her in the ribs, shooting her a look.
"Um, Mrs. Gilmore?" April said, shifting her heavy bag to her other shoulder. "Is there a place where I can set my bag down?"
"Oh, just set it down over there," Emily said, absently pointing down the hall. "Marisol will put them in your room."
As if on command, a Latina woman who Lorelai assumed must be Marisol emerged from an unknown room.
"Grandma, we can put our stuff in the room ourselves," Rory said, setting her own bag on the floor.
"Nonsense. That's her job."
"Look who's here," Richard said, his booming voice carrying in the kitchen. He entered the room, and was followed by a wide-eyed Jess.
"Oh, hey, Jess is here," Lorelai said.
"Huh," Jess said, acknowledging their presence with a nod.
"I see that some things never change," Lorelai muttered to Rory.
Luke walked over to his nephew and pulled him in to a manly hug.
"How long have you been here?" he asked, lowering his voice so the others wouldn't hear.
"Three hours," he said, sounding exhausted. "Thank God you're here."
When they pulled apart, Lorelai shot Jess an apologetic smile and mouthed, "I'm so sorry."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
As the Sunday afternoon sun beat down, preparations and decorations were being finalized, and the backyard of Richard and Emily's vineyard home was rapidly transforming into a dream wedding scene.
The catering company that Emily had hired was carefully setting up a serving
area along the stone patio. Every move they made was being heavily scrutinized
by an unusual suspect. "No, I wouldn't bring those out until later. I've had
European training, I know what I'm talking about! That is not how you use a
chafing dish. What is happening with these salads? Garnish is your friend,
people!" Sookie's hypercritical voice traveled across the lawn.
Lorelai and Richard were talking only a few feet away and exchanged an amused smile. "Looks like Sookie's right at home here," Lorelai remarked, chuckling.
"Well, I'm just relieved that your mother isn't leading the remonstration for once," Richard admitted.
As if on cue, Emily's sharp voice rang out, "Listen to what Sookie says or you people won't get paid!"
"Ah," Richard sighed contentedly. "I was beginning to worry."
Lorelai laughed, glancing around the yard to see the changes taking shape.
"She just wants the best for you, Lorelai," Richard spoke softly, regaining his daughter's attention. "We both do."
"I know, Dad," Lorelai told him. "Thank you," she managed to add, her eyes watering slightly at his words, and the way he looked at her with such warmth and devotion.
They both noticed Rory approaching, and Richard used the opportunity to excuse himself. "See you inside," he said, gently squeezing her shoulder.
"See you, Dad."
"Okay, so the candles and lanterns are ready to go, the ribbons and bows have been tied around every available object, and the chuppah is in position," Rory announced out of breath.
"No dancing midgets?" Lorelai poked.
"They have a 'No Emily' clause in their contracts."
Lorelai smiled. "You really took charge of the grounds crew. I'm impressed."
"What can I say? I know how to flirt."
"That's my girl!"
"So, what'd I miss?" Rory asked.
"Oh, you know, Sookie and Emily tag-teamed the catering company, TJ spilled punch on his pants, Jackson and Luke talked about the architecture. Same old, same old," Lorelai quipped. "I'm just hoping TJ doesn't break out the air pants."
Rory chuckled. "I'm with you there."
Lorelai wrapped her arm around her daughter's shoulder. "Thanks for all your help, kid."
Out of the corner of her eye, Lorelai noticed Jess and April seemingly attached at the hip. "Looks like someone made a friend."
Rory nodded. "She's been tailing him ever since we arrived."
"Oh! Oh God! Lorelai, someone, please!" Sookie shrieked from the patio.
Lorelai shook her head. "This is her fifth freak out. Man, that's even more than she had at her own wedding." Rory laughed.
"Lorelai!" Sookie wailed for the second time.
"Coming!" Lorelai called back. "Do me a favor and find some Prozac for Auntie Sookie," she urged Rory on her way to aid the panicked woman.
"Tell me that I brought the decorative flowers!" Sookie clutched her heart, struggling for her breath. "How could I let this happen? Oh, I feel sick."
Lorelai was in awe at the item causing Sookie's state of unrest. A beautiful, three-tiered white cake covered with hand-painted fruits was sitting on the table in front of her. "Sookie, this cake is beautiful," she said.
"But I wanted flowers! You love flowers, and I love flowers. And this cake...this cake loves flowers."
"Sookie, forget about the flowers."
"I just wanted it to be perfect."
"I know, Hon. I know. You suffer for your cake."
Sookie nodded helplessly.
"But Sookie," Lorelai began, "I think it's perfect just the way it is. So please stop worrying."
"Okay," Sookie said, continuing to fiddle with the cake.
"And stop touching the cake," Lorelai demanded.
"Lorelai, what on earth are you still doing out here? For God's sake, come inside and get ready!" Emily barked from the kitchen doorway.
Lorelai shook her head and started walking towards the house. "Sookie, stop touching the cake!" she called over her shoulder.
"I'm done!" Sookie promised.
♫ ♫ ♫
The waiting was the hardest part of the day, Lorelai decided. Emily had wanted the ceremony to start right before sunset, or "the golden hour," as she had called it, and since Lorelai had been pretty adamant about everything else in the wedding, she had decided to give her mother this small victory.
She stood in the kitchen with Rory, attempting to drink a glass of iced tea without spilling it on her strapless silk dress. The dress was light blue, so light that it almost looked white, and it stopped right before it hit her knee. She could tell that Rory sensed she was nervous just standing there, knowing that her family and Luke's family were all outside waiting for her.
"You sure you don't want a cup of coffee or something?" Rory asked, tapping her fingers on the counter. "I know where Grandma hid the stash."
"I'm dying for coffee," she said, starting to pace around the room. "But, I guess it's not exactly appealing for the bride to have coffee breath during the ceremony."
"Very true." Rory stood up and walked to the window. "Grandma's coming," she told Lorelai.
Emily opened the door, but paused before entering the room completely. "Are you ready for the ceremony to begin?" she asked, giving Lorelai's outfit one final inspection.
"Yeah," Lorelai said, letting out a breath. "I think so."
"You look lovely, Lorelai."
She grabbed Rory's hand as they walked outside, marveling at how beautiful the garden looked illuminated with the lanterns and candles. But, as she got closer to the chuppah, and Luke came in to view, everything else became a blur. All she saw was Luke.
She didn't remember the Justice of the Peace starting the ceremony. She didn't remember laughing at some of the jokes the Justice of the Peace cracked early on, even though Rory later assured her that she had. She took her cues from Luke, and his smile, and his eyes, since she was at a loss to look anywhere else.
It was like she had fallen under a version of highway hypnosis, knowing what she was doing, but not entirely sure how she had gotten there in the first place. She knew to be quiet when she saw his lips move, completely attuned to the cadence of his voice, and she knew when to repeat her vows by the way he squeezed her hands.
Everything was moving quickly, and Lorelai was so wrapped up in this trance, that she hadn't looked at anyone else until Luke placed the ring on her finger. Her parents looked proud, Sookie and Liz were sniffing, and it made her smile. She had managed to hold it together the entire ceremony, but when the Justice of the Peace handed her Luke's ring, she caught a glimpse of Rory, tears streaming down her face, and she felt her own eyes well up in response.
And, before she knew it, it was over, and she was pulled into Luke's embrace, feeling his lips respond to hers.
♫ ♫ ♫
The reception was proceeding with full vigor; people were eating, dancing and
Rory noticed Jess walking alone along the edge of the property, so she excused herself from a conversation with TJ, and walked casually towards him.
He looked up and smiled when he saw her approaching.
"You're alone," Rory teased.
"Yep, finally lost the shadow."
"How'd you manage that?"
"I gave her five bucks. She took the bait. Smart kid."
Rory smirked. "Good story."
He nodded. "Glad you liked it."
"So what really happened?" she pressed.
"Richard borrowed her for a dance. Remind me to thank him later."
Rory smiled. "She likes you. Her special cousin Jess. Aw, so cute."
He rolled his eyes. "Stop."
They walked slowly in step with one another, the sound of the music adding a nice backdrop to their conversation.
Jess stopped walking after a moment and sat on the cool grass. He patted the spot next to him in invitation. "C'mon, Gilmore. This is the cleanest grass you'll ever sit on."
Rory laughed and soon joined him, straightening her legs out in front of her and leaning back on her hands. She played nervously with the hem of her dress. "So, you came to the wedding," she unnecessarily pointed out.
"So, you quit your job," Jess shot back.
She looked at him in surprise. "Oh, yeah. Around December. How did you know?"
"I went looking for your articles and I noticed they stopped printing them. Just put two and two together."
"I hated quitting, but I was burnt out. I couldn't see myself surviving that disconnected, vagabond lifestyle. And there was so much pressure, it felt like nothing I ever did was good enough. You probably think I'm pathetic."
"No, I think you're the same Rory I've always known. You tried something new and different, and it didn't work out. You never know until you try, right?"
"So where are you now?"
"Well, I had an article published by Salon, and I've got a proposal on the table with them right now. They're just waiting to see how their backlog of articles shakes out."
"What's this proposal about?" Jess asked, sounding interested.
"I met these really inspiring people a short time ago. They're part of a new youth culture: college graduates competing for minimum wage jobs, at the same time dealing with economic, social and environmental issues. You either get in line with the masses, or you find your own inspiration and passion. These guys found their passion in documentaries. My original plan was to follow them and write a set piece about their experiences. But Salon wasn't too keen on all the travel involved, so I offered to shift my focus to local grads. Anyway, the proposal is still out there, so it's not a for sure thing yet."
"You sound pretty excited," Jess noted, smiling.
She laughed. "I am."
"Well, good luck. Can't see them turning you down."
"And maybe next time you could tell me when you're quitting a job. Might save me some googling."
"Are you asking me to keep in touch?"
He smirked. "Something like that."
"Okay," she agreed.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"If you had let me plan activities, Lorelai, we wouldn't have to resort to this for entertainment," Emily said as she walked in the sand, gripping Richard's arm and taking exaggerated steps.
The entire wedding party walked in small groups on the beach, Luke and Lorelai seemingly in the middle of it all, arms around each other and barefoot. Rory, Jess, and April led the pack, with Sookie, Jackson, Liz, and T.J. trailing behind them. Night had fallen, the beach was only illuminated by the moon, casting a silver light on the waves.
"You didn't have to come, Mom," Lorelai replied, resting her head on Luke's shoulder. "Luke and I just mentioned that we wanted to go for a walk. It didn't have to be a group thing."
"There's sand in my shoes," Emily stated, aghast. She stopped, took off one of her crocodile pumps, and dumped the sand out with an annoyed expression.
"Just take your shoes off, Grandma," Rory called back to Emily.
"But then I'll get sand all over me."
"Well, aren't you in a conundrum," Lorelai said with a smirk.
"The stars are beautiful," Liz exclaimed, looking up at the sky.
"Yeah," Luke said. "They really are."
"There's the Big Dipper," Jackson pointed out.
"I'm so bad at finding constellations," Sookie said. "I can't pick out patterns in the stars."
"I'm an Aries," Lorelai announced, her chin pointed up so high that one false step might send her backwards. "Where's Aries?"
"We probably won't be able to find it without a telescope," April said. "The stars of Aries are dim and rather hard to see. But, Teegarden's Star in the constellation is one of the Sun's closest neighbors."
"Huh," Jess said, catching Rory's eye. "Learn something new every day."
"Ya know what I like about stars?" T.J. bellowed. "They are just like when you stare at a light bulb for too long, and then wherever you look, you see all these dots. Except these dots never go away."
Luke shook his head and rolled his eyes, and looked at Lorelai thoughtfully. She leaned in to kiss him, as they continued to walk.
"This is nice," he admitted quietly when they pulled apart.
Lorelai nodded. "It's perfect."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"Lorelai?" Luke asked impatiently from the driver's seat of the truck. It was
late Monday night and they were on the outskirts of Stars Hollow.
"Yes, husband?" she responded innocently.
He shook his head. "Are you ever going to stop with the husband thing?"
"Well, what would you prefer? Hubby? McHubby? Hubster? Hubba Bubba? Hubbell?"
He sighed. "Husband is fine."
"I kinda like Hubbell," Lorelai told him, grinning mischievously.
"Husband is fine," Luke repeated with enthusiasm.
"Good answer," she said, leaning back in her seat. "Ooh, I should check my voice mail." She rummaged through her purse and retrieved her cell phone. She passed quickly over the stream of desperate Michel messages and stopped when she landed on a frantic one from Sookie, left earlier that day. "Oh, jeez," Lorelai muttered. "I'm so sorry! They got it out of me! Sorry, sorry, sorry!"
"Huh?" Luke asked, perplexed.
"That's the message Sookie left me," Lorelai explained.
"What's she sorry about?"
"I have no clue, but it doesn't sound good...and oh my God!"
Lorelai pointed out her side of the window. "This can't be for us," she tried to reason, marveling at the spectacle in the town square. The gaudy decorations were a surefire sign that a celebration was in full swing.
Luke slowed the truck down to a crawling speed and rolled his eyes. "This wasn't supposed to be a big deal," he huffed. "We were going to wait until our first anniversary to have a party."
"I know," she agreed. "But explain that to them," she said, gesturing to the mass of townies spread across the square.
After coasting a little further, Luke finally put the truck in park. "I'm not staying long," he grumbled.
Lorelai smiled. "Aw, you're a good husband." She opened her door and waved at Rory and April in the distance, sparklers in their hands.
The warm night air enveloped them as they walked slowly towards the assemblage. "So, how do you feel?" Lorelai asked him, playing with the ring on his finger.
"You really want to know?"
"Yes," she said, curious.
"I feel like I did when I first opened the diner. I'm starting a new chapter in my life, and I'm nervous, anxious, excited...and ultimately confident that I made the right decision."
"Wow," she breathed.
"Yes, wow good."
"How do you feel?" he asked, turning the tables on her.
She thought for a moment. "I feel like I did when I first moved to Stars Hollow. I'm nervous, anxious, excited...and ultimately confident that I made the right decision," she repeated his words.
Luke smiled, squeezing her hand tight. "It's good to be home," he said softly.
"It's very good to be home."
To be continued...
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