Episode 9.03 "Property Virgins"
by DiehardJavaJunkie and wounded
Authors' Note: We'd like to thank Robinpoppins and
Jewels12 for their awesome beta help, and Jenepel for her
feedback, too. Thanks to all the readers for making VS8 so successful and
allowing us to do this again for another year.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"What are the odds that you can find an affordable apartment with a rooftop
pool?" pondered Lorelai.
Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Emily and Richard were seated around the dinner table, Rory and Lorelai discussing Rory's options for an apartment. The conversation seemed to have stuck on that topic, and during bouts of silence, all that could be heard was the sound of Lorelai and Rory leafing through their respective newspapers, as well as Emily's occasional sigh.
"Very slim," replied Rory.
Rory had been looking for an apartment for over a week, had yet to sign a lease, and was growing slightly frustrated. She'd seen every available apartment in West Hartford and was still waiting on a phone call in regards to one particular apartment, so she was back to the task of searching.
"Well, you definitely need two bedrooms for when I come to visit," Lorelai told Rory, as she looked through the listings in the Hartford Courant.
"Sure, so long as you pay a per night fee during your stay," Rory told her, looking up from her own newspaper.
"Lorelai, Rory, please, no newspapers at the dinner table table," Emily said for the third time that evening.
Lorelai ignored her a third time. "But I am your mother!" she gasped to Rory in mock horror. "I gave you free room and board until you were 18!"
"Which was your legal duty to do so," Rory added.
"And this is how you repay me?"
"Mom, I can't afford a two-bedroom," Rory told her. "I'll make do with a one-bedroom. Even a bedroom-kitchen-living room combo if it comes to it." She heard Emily shudder at that.
"Lorelai, she's being practical," Luke told her, smiling at Rory before returning to his meal.
"I agree. Why, when I moved into my first post-college apartment," Richard recalled with a faraway look. "I had to adjust to not having a servant, only one washroom and no game room for my billiards table. I must say, it was quite the sacrifice, and it is a sacrifice that Rory must go through as well, and I am very proud of her," he finished, smiling at his granddaughter.
"I don't think that's exactly the same thing, Dad," Lorelai told him before turning her head back to the paper, her dinner ignored.
"Well, I for one am just appalled," Emily announced. "Rory, you clearly just stated that you cannot afford a suitable place to live. You should not move out until you are financially stable. After all, you are in-between freelance articles at the moment and will not get paid until your next piece is published. How do you expect to live? To pay your bills? Now, if you really want to get away from your mother—"
"Um," Lorelai interjected. "I don't think the reason she's moving is to get away from me..."
"You can live in the pool house," she continued excitedly. "Rent-free! Which will allow you to save up your money."
"That's sweet, Grandma, thanks," said Rory in earnest. "But I have a bit of money saved up from working at Weston's and the bookstore, so I should be fine until my next paycheck gets in. I just need to scrimp a little, that's all."
"Oh, hey!" Lorelai exclaimed, interrupting the conversation and pointing her finger to a spot in the newspaper. "Here's a place: One bedroom, one bath, a kitchenette and living room, low noise, great view..."
Rory leaned over the table. "Oh, let me see!" she said excitedly, snatching the newspaper from Lorelai's hands.
"Hey, you have your own copy!" Lorelai protested.
"Girls, this is not the time to peruse the classifieds!" Emily said, exasperated.
"It sounds great," Rory said after reading the description. "Fair price, but it's in South Windsor."
Emily's ears perked up. "South Windsor? But I thought you were looking at West Hartford."
"I was," Rory admitted. "I mean, I am. But I thought I wouldn't limit myself, waiting to hear back from just one place."
"That's practical," supplied Richard.
"But it's rather far. Is it not?" Emily continued, turning to look at Lorelai as if she were somehow to blame for that revelation. She then contorted her face in disgust. "Plus, it's South Windsor."
"Gee, Mom, tell us how you really feel."
"It'll be fine, I promise," Rory told her assuringly. "Actually, I think I'll visit the apartment tomorrow. Would you like to join us, Grandma?"
As Lorelai heard that, she glared at her daughter, and Rory glared back, mouthing "Be good" to her.
Lorelai sighed. "Yeah, Mom," she said feigning enthusiasm. "Join us!"
Emily smiled for the first time that evening. "You know, I think I will," she said with a smile. She turned to look at Lorelai and then at Rory. "Now put those papers away and eat your dinner, or I will make sure Agnes forgets to provide you both with dessert."
Lorelai and Rory both pouted and obediently folded up their papers, while Luke and Richard snickered in the background.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
The next morning, Lorelai walked into the diner and took a seat at the counter. It was too early. Rubbing her eyes, she looked around the busy diner to see where Luke was. He was busy serving a group of people that were obviously extremely overenthusiastic tourists. Lorelai glared over at the tourists. They were awfully cheery for an early vacation morning. She folded her arms on the counter and buried her head into them, letting out a sound that somehow resembled both a groan and a yawn. It was far too much thinking for such an early hour.
The plan to stop by the diner that morning was solely for the purpose of coordinating schedules. Suddenly, the idea seemed stupid. As Lorelai tried to get rid of the early morning drowsy feeling, she heard Luke moving around behind the counter.
"I see you woke up on the right side of the bed this morning," Luke teased as he started the coffee pot.
"It's just far too early to deal with my mother," Lorelai replied as she sat up. "It's too early to do much of anything that doesn't involve a REM cycle. I need coffee more than you could ever imagine."
Luke made change for a customer and walked over to the table directly behind Lorelai. "You need coffee like a fish needs a bicycle. You're going apartment hunting today?" he asked, taking the empty plates away as he changed the subject.
"Rory is doing the hunting, I'm doing the assisting, and I think my mother will be Lorelai hunting. The only camouflage item I own is in the wash, so I'm the prime target this morning, my friend."
He rolled his eyes. "It's not going to be that bad."
"Really? Wanna bet?"
"You do realize that what's mine is yours now, right? So when you're betting, even if you win, you don't really gain anything," Luke pointed out, placing a third plate on the top of the stack he was carrying.
As Luke brought the cleared plates back into the kitchen, Kirk took a seat to Lorelai's right. She stared at the coffee pot, almost hoping that her telekinetic powers would make it brew faster.
"Hey, how are you doing?" Kirk asked.
Lorelai was startled out of her thoughts about her coffee intake. "You would think that after all this time, I would anticipate something like this to happen daily," she muttered under her breath. She turned to face Kirk, and didn't bother disguising her slightly annoyed tone. "I'm doing just fine, Kirk, and how are you doing?"
Kirk shrugged, staring directly in front of him. "I'm doing great, thanks."
Lorelai leaned to her left to try to catch a glimpse of Luke in the kitchen. She saw Luke stirring something by the stove. She groaned, knowing that he would never be able to see her from his angle, and tried clearing her throat to get his attention.
When that didn't work, she reached for a napkin and balled it up, thinking about how to get it to travel far enough to reach Luke. She needed to be rescued, and fast.
"So, what are your plans for the day?" Kirk asked.
Lorelai grabbed the edge of the counter, glaring at Kirk. "That's the second time in about thirty seconds you've startled me out enough to cause some serious damage, Kirk. Do you realize that?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
She shook her head in disbelief, trying to think of a good excuse to get Kirk kicked out of the diner as Luke placed a fresh cup of coffee in front of her. She grinned and dragged the coffee mug by its handle. "At last, we're reunited," Lorelai said, looking down at the hot coffee inside.
As she raised the mug to her lips, Luke started over to serve Kirk, but stopped in front of Lorelai. "Be careful, it's..."
But it was too late. Lorelai quickly swallowed the coffee, grimacing as she realized that it was far too hot to try to drink at that moment. "Okay, I think my tongue has swollen to about three times its normal size now, thanks to you."
"Hey, I tried to warn you, I did my job."
"You didn't do it very well," Lorelai insisted, opening her mouth and attempting to fan her burnt tongue with the air from her moving hand.
"How many places do you have lined up for Rory today?"
"You seem to have forgotten the part where I said that I'm now in severe tongue pain," she said, continuing to wave her hand in front of her mouth.
"And you seem to have forgotten the part where I said that I was sorry."
"You didn't say that."
"Exactly," Luke said, taking a rag and wiping down the counter.
"Anyway. Back to the subject. What were you asking me before you so carelessly allowed me to scald my tongue on my liquid heaven?"
He adjusted his baseball cap. "I asked you how many places you lined up for Rory to see today."
Lorelai shrugged. "Rory's the one who's looking for the apartment. She figured all of that out. I just kind of sat back and let her do the finding and the circling and the mapping and the planning. The mocking and the complaining and the annoying the landlords is my job."
"Do you think you'll be home for dinner?" Luke asked.
She nodded. "We should be. Is April going to be around tonight?"
"I have no idea. She mentioned getting together with a few friends while she was here, but I'm not sure what that entails."
"What time does her flight get in?"
"One-thirty," Kirk interjected, concentrating on his attempts to fold a napkin into a smaller size.
Lorelai looked at Luke, then at Kirk, and at Luke once again. "How did he...?"
"He didn't, her flight gets in at noon," Luke snarled, reaching over and pulling a small object out of Kirk's ear. "He's talking on the phone."
"Hey!" Kirk yelped, reaching for the device that Luke held in his hand. "I'm in the middle of a very important call!"
Lorelai reached across the counter and pulled Kirk's Bluetooth from Luke's hand. She gasped when she comprehended the entire situation. "Luke, you have to throw him out! He's on a cell phone!"
Kirk looked at Lorelai for a moment before trying to grab the earpiece from her hand. Lorelai held it just out of his reach. "It's not even technically a cell phone. It's a headset."
Luke took the earpiece from Lorelai's hand and walked over to the door of the diner. He pulled it open and stood there for a moment. "Get out, Kirk."
"It's not a cell phone, Luke! If it was a cell phone it wouldn't look like that!"
Lorelai tried to hide her amusement by holding her cup of coffee in front of her face, but she wasn't doing a very good job. She watched as Luke and Kirk went back and forth about what made a cell phone a cell phone for a few minutes before she could tell that Luke was about to lose it.
"Is there a person on the other line?" Luke asked, raising his voice.
"There was a person on the other line," Kirk admitted. "But..."
Luke glared at Kirk. "And you were talking to this person, were you not?"
Kirk looked at Lorelai, and she fought back laughter as he tried everything short of begging to be served. "I thought he was talking to me," she said, putting her now empty mug on the counter.
"So you were talking back, then?"
Luke ignored Kirk's last protest and flung the headset out the door. He stood and watched as Kirk immediately ran outside to locate it. Lorelai's eyes widened as she saw Kirk running into the busy main road to grab it. After he seemed completely satisfied that Kirk wasn't going to return, Luke walked behind the counter once again.
"That was weird," Lorelai said, breaking the silence.
"That was Kirk," Luke said. "Shouldn't you be going?"
Lorelai looked at her Hello Kitty watch. "Oh, yeah, I should have met them about ten minutes ago. So, I guess we'll see you and possibly April tonight," she said, leaning over the counter and giving Luke a quick kiss.
"See you tonight."
♫ ♫ ♫
"Where are you?" Lane muttered, as she dug around underneath the kitchen sink.
It had been a week since it had last rained, and their roof had suffered. The water spots here and there on the ceiling looked ominous but stagnant, but it was that morning that they had decided to do their damage.
Lane finally found what she was looking for. She grabbed a few buckets and proceeded to walk around the house, listening for the sounds of drip, drip, drip and the sight of puddles on the floors. She placed buckets around the apartment, a temporary solution to their leaky roof problem until they figured out a game plan.
They were lucky that there weren't any leaks on the ceiling above Steve and Kwan's cribs, but Lane knew that they could not live like this much longer.
♫ ♫ ♫
"I'm not so sure about this place," Emily said warily from the back seat of Rory's Prius.
"It's fine, Grandma," Rory assured her.
Emily, Rory and Lorelai were driving to South Windsor that afternoon to check out the listing from the night before. It sounded reasonable when she read it, so Rory didn't think she'd lose anything by having a look.
Apartment-hunting wasn't an easy task, Rory had soon realized. In her life, all living arrangements had been ready-made for her and didn't require much effort on her part: her room at home, her dorm at Yale, the pool house, Paris's dingy apartment, Logan's loft...
While the process of going from apartment to apartment, from town to town, was frustrating, time-consuming, you name it, she wouldn't change it for anything in the world. For the first time in a long while, she actually felt like an adult. Plus, having the help and support of her mother and grandmother made it all the more easier.
As Rory maneuvered throughout the streets, admiring the shops, the buildings, the townhouses and the locals going about their business, she figured she may like this place after all. Granted, it was farther away from Stars Hollow than she had anticipated, but she'd make do.
Emily, meanwhile, was staring out the windows, gawking at a homeless man peddling people for change in front of a McDonalds restaurant.
"I really don't like this place," repeated Emily. "There seems to be a large amount of homelessness in this area."
"Mom, you saw one guy asking for change," Lorelai commented with an eye roll. "You are aware that there are way more homeless people in Hartford."
"There most certainly are not!" Emily said, indignant.
"Actually, Grandma," Rory chimed in as she finally found a parking spot and began easing the car into it. "Hartford's poverty rate is the second highest in the United States."
Lorelai laughed, while Emily just looked at her sternly. "Well," she began, at a loss for words after Rory's statistics. "There aren't any poor people where I spend my time!"
The girls exited the car—Emily double-checking to ensure that the doors were properly locked—and proceeded to look for the apartment building.
"Where's it at?" Lorelai asked, peering over Rory's shoulder at her note in-hand.
"Okay, we're at 500, so this'll be a bit of a walk." Lorelai said, inwardly chastising herself for wearing her heels. Lorelai turned to Emily. "You think you can handle it, Mom?"
"Oh stop, Lorelai," Emily said, clutching her purse as they walked past the same homeless man as earlier.
"This is a real cute town," Lorelai observed. "Very hip."
"I know!" Rory exclaimed. "And I hear that Ulysses S. Grant used to live here."
"I highly doubt one of our finest Presidents used to live here," Emily muttered.
After a while, the girls stopped in front of an apartment building, where a trio of twenty-something men were sitting on the stoop. They hooted and whistled as they walked by. Emily's face contorted in horror.
"Is this 909 Ellington?" she asked Rory, even though she knew as much by looking at the number on the front door.
"Yep!" said Rory excitedly, following Lorelai who was already walking towards the building, smiling at the attention the men were lavishing her with.
"Rory," she whispered to her granddaughter in a desperate tone as they walked up the steps to enter the building. "Please reconsider this town. My offer to move into the pool house still stands," she added temptingly.
Rory just laughed. "Nice try, Grandma," she said, putting her arm around her and leading her into the building.
♫ ♫ ♫
"So they hold my bag up in the air, and they ask who it belonged to. I went over and claimed it, and they basically took everything out. They asked me if I had any water bottles in there, and I told them that I didn't. I honestly couldn't think of anything that I had in my bag that would be considered a threat to our country," April said, continuing the story of her flight in from New Mexico.
Luke nodded as he motioned toward a set of bags coming through the baggage claim area. "Those yours?"
April shook her head. "Nope, mine have green tags. So, anyway, they searched my entire bag. I don't know what I could have possibly done to harm anyone with anything I had in my bag. I put all my makeup in a plastic bag like they told me to online. None of my bottles of liquid were bigger than three ounces. Just like the website said. I checked it about a dozen times before I left. So they pull out my hand lotion. They dump it because it's a liquid, and it was over three ounces, which I totally disagree with. If it was a liquid it wouldn't be called lotion. It would be a spray or something. But apparently they thought I could do some serious damage with this amorphous lavender scented substance, so it was confiscated."
"Wow," Luke replied, watching the unclaimed bags pass by him once again. "I'm sure Lorelai has something you can use. If not, we'll buy you something to take back with you."
She raised her eyebrows. "Just to get it confiscated again? No thank you," she said, rolling her eyes. "But I will take you up on the offer to borrow something from Lorelai. I wonder if she has something that smells like vanilla. I love the smell of vanilla. It reminds me of the smell when someone's baking cookies. Will you make cookies when we get to the house?"
Luke nodded. "Sure, I think we could manage that. Is that your stuff?"
"That's my stuff," April confirmed. She leaned over and grabbed one suitcase as Luke grabbed a very heavy duffel bag. She quickly counted the bags that had been added to the pile with her carry on luggage. "That's it."
Luke looked at April in disbelief as he tried to lift the bags. "How much stuff did you bring?" he asked, putting the duffel bag down and readjusting the other bags in his hands.
"It's only the necessities, don't worry, Dad. I had to cut back, actually. I think I packed quite conservatively, considering what I was thinking about bringing with me," she explained, grabbing her purse and counting everything once again. She stepped over the duffel bag at her feet and checked the tags to make sure that all the bags they were going to walk away with were, in fact, her bags. "This is all of them. Want me to get something?"
He reached for April's bags and let out a groan as he lifted them. "No, that's okay. What did you pack in here?"
April shrugged. "You know, books, clothes, other essentials."
"More books. I wanted to get some of the summer work I have out of the way, and I didn't know how many textbooks I'd need as references. I left all of the books I'd read for fun at home. I knew I could borrow one of those from Rory, if I really needed to. And if I happened to be in the middle of it by the time I left, they wouldn't confiscate it on the way home."
Luke nodded. "Right. You thought this out, then."
"Of course. And I checked my list about five hundred times to make sure I had absolutely everything. I don't think I forgot anything this time," April insisted. "Do you think I forgot anything?
Adjusting the bags in his arms, Luke sighed. "I highly doubt it."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
It was just slightly after lunchtime and Lane was already exhausted.
She'd woken up early that morning to tend to the leaky roof, as well as Steve and Kwan, and didn't even get the chance to shower. So her morning was filled with diaper changes, feedings, laundry, and more diaper changes. And to top it off, Steve and Kwan were puttering around the apartment, pushing around Lane's strategically-placed buckets, showing off their newfound strength.
Zach wasn't too much of a help, as he had been playing Guitar Hero all morning, but he did manage to grab the twins' attention with his guitar skills long enough for her to mop up the floor.
"Hey, Lane!" he shouted at her as she maneuvered around the linoleum and hardwood floors with the mop and bucket. "In about 10 years, we're going to have ourselves some new bandmates. These dudes are so ready to rock!"
After the boys were finally put to bed for their afternoon nap (and Zach, too), Lane had some time to herself for a relaxing shower.
As Lane disrobed and stepped onto the cold ceramic floor, she shut the curtain and turned on the water. Hoping to be met with a nice, warm stream of water, instead she was hit with cold, freezing water.
"Gah!" she yelped, fiddling with the knobs, trying to get the water to a reasonable temperature. Nothing.
The exhaustion, piled on top of having to live in a place with holes, cracks and imperfection, drove Lane to the edge.
"Zaaaaaach!" she shouted, not caring that her husband was resting peacefully. "We. Are. Moving!"
♫ ♫ ♫That evening, Lorelai walked into the living room and dropped her purse next to the couch. She stopped short in order to avoid tripping over one of April's suitcases. She stepped over the suitcase and made her way through the randomly placed luggage as she attempted to take off her shoes. After almost losing her balance, she plopped down on the couch. As she attempted to get comfortable, she realized that she was sitting on a stack of April's clothes.
She stood up and looked around the living room at the suitcases April brought. Most of them were halfway unpacked and still opened. As she maneuvered her way around random stacks of books, she saw Paul Anka with his head buried into one of April's duffel bags. She crouched down and patted him on the back, causing him to run upstairs.
"Aw, Paul Anka, it's just April's stuff. It's not going to come alive and pull a Chucky on you," Lorelai called out, watching as he disappeared into the bedroom.
"Lorelai?" Luke called from the kitchen.
"I would say the one and only but that's technically not the case," she replied, walking into the kitchen. "What happened out there?"
Luke sighed. "She started unpacking. Then she got a call from one of her friends and stopped unpacking in the middle of sorting her clothes and her books and stuff."
"How long was Paul Anka doing his duck in the pond impression?" she asked.
"I don't know, I was cooking in here," Luke said, stirring the sauce in the pot in front of him.
Lorelai shrugged. "Well, the good news is, I don't think Paul Anka will be emotionally scarred for life for this one. He'll be afraid of things that zip up for awhile, then he'll be afraid of purses, bags, whatever. Eventually he'll get over it. So thanks for being so concerned about his well being."
"Not a problem," Luke replied sarcastically. "Hand me that bowl over there?"
She picked up the bowl and peeked inside it. "What's that green stuff?" she asked, crinkling her nose in disgust as she watched Luke add it to the sauce. "And why is it going into that sauce?"
"It's going into the sauce because it's part of the sauce," he answered. He looked in the oven to check on the status of the rest of the meal when April came running down the stairs. "Oh, hey Lorelai!"
Lorelai opened her arms for a hug. "Hey, April, how was your flight in?"
"Don't get her started on the flight," Luke warned.
"Why can't I get her started on the flight?"
April rolled her eyes. "What would you classify a lotion as?"
Lorelai leaned against the sink, crossing her arms and looking to the ceiling in a sort of thought process. "Uh, I would say that it could be classified as too smelly, too runny, too thick, or just right. The Goldilocks classification system always seems to work for me. Why do you ask?"
"I meant to ask if you thought it was a liquid."
She shrugged. "I wouldn't say it's a liquid. I'd say it's more of a cream of some sort. Did you get detained because of your lotion?"
"No, I got it confiscated, though. Oh, that's what I meant to do, Google the chemical formula for lotion to try and figure out if it is, in fact, a liquid!" April walked out of the kitchen, got to the doorway, and turned around once again, returning to the kitchen. "Oh, I meant to tell you. A couple of friends wanted to see a movie tonight, so I was planning on walking over to the movies with them."
"I thought we were all going to try to have dinner together tonight," Lorelai said, looking at Luke.
"Do you think Rory will be around tomorrow night? A couple of my friends are going on vacation starting tomorrow and this is the only day we'll all be able to get together. We've been planning this for awhile. Please? I swear, I'll be at dinner tomorrow," April said.
"We can do it tomorrow night," Lorelai nodded. "Why not?"
April smiled. "Sweet. I'm going to get ready."
Luke looked at Lorelai. "Don't you and Rory have some more house hunting to do tomorrow afternoon?"
Lorelai put her hands on her temples. "Oh, no, that's right. And you're running the night shift the day after that, aren't you?"
"Caesar asked me for the next few nights off," Luke said.
"And you gave them to him? Why on earth would you actually be a nice person and a nice boss and do something kind for another human being? This is disgusting," Lorelai teased. She brushed a hair off of her sleeve and looked at Luke. "Well, I guess we'll all get together when we get together then. We'll pull it off."
Luke nodded. "Is Rory going to be around this whole week?"
"I'll ask her. If she isn't, I'll make her be."
"And you thought letting Caesar take a few nights off was disgusting," Luke said, rolling his eyes. "You sound upset."
"Upset? Me? No. Why?"
Luke shrugged. "You just sounded a little doubtful when you said we'd pull it off."
"Pull what off?"
"Getting everyone together to eat," Luke replied.
She sighed, taking a seat at the kitchen table. "I'm not upset. I want April to be able to visit with her friends. She deserves a social life. I don't know what Rory's schedule at Weston's looks like this week, but I really do want to try and get everyone to sit down and spend time together. That's part of the whole 'being a family' thing, but without the new maids every week."
"I can see if Zach could take over a shift for me this week," Luke suggested. As soon as the suggestion came out of his mouth, he cringed. "Okay, maybe not. Maybe I can get him to cover for me, and I can cook for everyone at the diner. That way he won't burn the place down."
Lorelai smiled. "Well, as someone very wise on some old Nickelodeon show once said, 'Where there's a will, there's a way. Where there's a dog, there is poop'."
"You're disgusting," Luke insisted, rolling his eyes.
She gasped. "Oh, speaking of dogs," she said, running up the stairs. "I have to make sure that Paul Anka isn't having a panic attack. Paul Anka!"
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"Bridgewater?" Lorelai whined, as she trailed behind Rory and Emily. "Are you purposely trying to move as far away from me as humanly possible?"
"Yes, that's exactly my plan," Rory told her dryly.
The next morning, the Gilmore girls were yet again off in their search for a suitable apartment for Rory. And her daily perusal of the apartment listings had led them to Bridgewater, a town that, Lorelai constantly reminded Rory, was completely dry.
"It's not going to work, Missy!" Lorelai said as they walked past a cute-looking cupcake shop.
Lorelai eyed a woman exiting the building with a chocolate-covered treat; she licked her lips and suddenly realizing how hungry she was. "You know, I may just follow you here myself."
"Remember, Mom," Rory said with a grin, throwing her mother's favorite fact back at her: "It's the last remaining dry town in the country."
Lorelai waved her arm. "I'll just hide my liquor in a flask. Maybe even open up my own speak-easy masquerading as a pet shop by day."
"Luke would definitely support you in that," Rory said sarcastically.
"I think the fact that it is alcohol-free is wonderful," said Emily, admiring the town's charm, its cleanliness, its people, and nodding at a handsome man in a suit and briefcase in hand as they walked passed.
"Well, it has your grandmother's stamp of approval," Lorelai told Rory. "Clearly, you can't live here."
"I think you're mistaking me with yourself, Mom," Rory told her, beaming at Emily. "I appreciate Grandma's opinion."
Emily smiled back. "Why thank you, Rory."
"Hey hey," Lorelai said, offended. "I can take my mother's opinion on things!"
Emily arched an eyebrow. "Oh, really? When was the last time you took my word on anything?"
"Um," Lorelai thought, racking her brain hard for an answer. Lorelai never took her mother's advice on fashion, love or decor, so all that she could think of was...
"Oh! Oh!" Lorelai exclaimed excitedly. She cleared her throat, smugly looking at Rory and her mother before announcing proudly, "I took your advice on opening the spa. So there!" she said and kept on walking, feeling as though she had won, leaving a flabbergasted Emily and Rory to trail behind her.
♫ ♫ ♫
"So, what kind of house are you looking for?" asked Brian.
After Lane's mini-breakdown, she and Zach had sat down to discuss their living situation, and they had both come to the conclusion that it was time to buy their own home. They were young with a growing family and it would be a good investment as well.
They summoned Brian that morning. He was still working for Century 21, so they knew he'd be of help.
"Something small, but still spacious," said Lane. "Two rooms would be enough, I think."
"Yeah," chimed in Zach. "Oh, maybe a third room for band practice? Or even a garage, kind of like we had at Lorelai's house." He paused. "Hey, Lorelai's house isn't by any chance for sale, is it?"
"Zach!" she cried, swatting his arm. "We are not going to take Lorelai's house. Besides, it's definitely not available." She looked at Brian and lowered her voice. "Wait, is it? Are Luke and Lorelai moving?"
"They're not," Brian told them. "An even if they were, with the renovations a few years back, you guys can't afford it."
"Bummer," said Zach, leaning back into the couch.
"Speaking of which, what is your budget?" asked Brian.
"Well, we have a meeting at the bank tomorrow to see what mortgage we can afford," Lane explained, inwardly worrying as to whether they'd be approved and what type of house they'd be able to afford. But she and Zach had been able to save up a bit over the last couple of years, so they felt they were in good financial shape.
"Cool. And what areas are you looking into? Bridgeport? Litchfield? Hartford?"
Lane took Zach's hand and squeezed it. He squeezed back.
"I think it's best we stay in town," she said, and Zach nodded.
"Alright," said Brian, putting away his papers. "I'll do some research based on your specifications, and I'll keep you posted if I find anything."
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫"You have to see this," Sookie insisted, grabbing Lorelai by the arm and pulling her toward the dining room.
"I'm sorry, sir, you'll have to excuse me," Lorelai said, craning her neck to address the guest she was working with. She then turned to Sookie. "Sookie, I'm with a guest right now."
Sookie shook her head. "This is more important."
"More important than the people who give us the money to keep us in business? Wow, do they have secret service detail, too?"
The pair stopped by the dining room entrance and Sookie let go of Lorelai's arm. "Look around. What's wrong with this picture?"
Lorelai looked around the dining room. Everything seemed to be running smoothly that afternoon. The waitstaff were doing their job, the guests seemed happy, and there was no mass pandemonium like Sookie had led her to believe. "Is this a sick and twisted game of 'Where's Waldo?' I was never very good at that game."
"No, look closer," Sookie insisted, gesturing toward the lunch rush in the dining area.
At a second glance, Lorelai spotted Kirk sitting at one of the tables and eating lunch with Lulu and an unfamiliar blonde woman. He was wearing a yellow hard hat and taking notes in what looked like a small reporter's notebook. "You're talking about the hard hat?" Lorelai asked, staring at the table ahead of her.
"Yeah. That's exactly what I'm talking about," Sookie said with a nod. "He's been wearing that hat since the other day, and he keeps meeting people for lunch. He said something about going to the construction site later."
"He told you this?" Lorelai asked, raising her eyebrows.
Sookie shrugged. "I asked him what the hard hat was for, and that's what he told me. It was obvious enough, but when I asked for more, he wouldn't tell me anything."
Lorelai crossed her arms. "Huh. Well, let me see if I can figure out what he's up to. He's been walking around with the stupid earpiece in his ear, talking to people on the phone, when people in his 3-D world think he's talking to them. Now he's got a hard hat on. I have a feeling that he isn't looking to get a Village People type band together, but something is definitely going on."
"Everyone's been talking about it," Sookie replied, standing on her tiptoes to get a better look at what Kirk was doing. "Jackson mentioned the headset thing. I wonder what he's up to."
"I'll be right back," Lorelai said, making her way toward Kirk's table in the dining room. She stood behind the waiter as he took everyone's orders, and tried not to look suspicious when he left. She started toward the kitchen behind the waiter, hoping that either Kirk or Lulu would notice her.
"Lorelai!" Lulu called from her seat at the table.
Lorelai turned around, pretending as though she had never seen them in the first place. "Hey, you two," she said. "I don't believe I've met your friend, here."
Lulu smiled. "Oh, this is Kirk's business partner. They're having a business meeting. I feel really important being here while my guy makes all sorts of important business deals," she giggled, patting Kirk's arm as she spoke.
"Ooh, wow, that's pretty exciting. Kirk, what kind of business are you, uh, conducting?" Lorelai asked, rocking back on the heels of her shoes.
Kirk held up his hand. He glared at Lulu, who bit her lower lip and shot Kirk an apologetic look. Kirk turned to Lorelai and folded his hands on the table. "She can't tell you. It's confidential. Lulu, you signed the agreement!"
Trying not to laugh, Lorelai turned to face Kirk. "You had Lulu sign a confidentiality agreement?"
He nodded. "I may need to have Michel sign one too, depending on how much of the conversation he heard as we were walking in. Your waiter was asked to sign one, just as a precaution. One can't really expect him to ignore the table he's serving, right?" Kirk turned to face Lulu again. "Sorry, but I had to make you sign it. You just get so excited about things and you have to tell everyone."
"I almost forgot I signed that," Lulu said, taking a deep breath. "I'm glad you interrupted me! That would spoil everything you've planned. I would hate to see your hard work go to waste!"
Lorelai smiled. "Well, I'll let you get back to your business meeting. Make lots of... deals," she said, her confusion evident as she started to walk away. "Bye, guys."
Lulu gave Lorelai a wave. "Bye, Lorelai, it was nice to see you!"
As Lorelai approached the entryway, Sookie's eyes widened. She waved her hand as if to tell Lorelai to come over faster. She picked up the pace at Sookie's request. "And?" Sookie asked.
"Whatever it is, it's extremely confidential. I haven't gotten a word out of him, although Lulu almost slipped."
Sookie nodded. "You know what? I think I may have an idea of what's going on."
♫ ♫ ♫That Sunday evening, Brian was at Doose's, as he had run out of milk and cookies while playing Guitar Hero.
He was waiting in line, impatient to get back to his game, when he noticed Mrs. Kim behind him with a basket of fruits and vegetables.
"Hello, Mrs. Kim," said Brian cordially to her, as he genuinely liked her, and feared her.
"Ah, Brian," she responded in kind, her lips forming a tight but genuine smile. "How are you? How is work?"
"Oh work's fine. Not many people are buying due to the economy, I'm afraid. But a lot of young married couples are taking the plunge. In fact, Lane and Zach approached me; they're thinking of buying.
"Lane is moving?" she asked, shocked.
"Yes," continued Brian. "Their current place is small and there are plenty of problems, so they figured it's time to move on and find a new... Mrs. Kim? Where are you going?"
She had dumped her basket to the floor and was out the door in a flash.
"Next!" called Kirk from the register, startling Brian, and he moved forward to pay for his groceries.
♫ ♫ ♫
Lorelai reached across Rory to the communal French fry appetizer plate and grabbed a handful. "So, April, what are your plans for the summer?" she asked, shoving a few fries into her mouth as she spoke.
April shrugged. "I don't really know. Besides my summer assignments for my classes, there are a few books I want to read. Other than that, I'm probably going to just relax, get in some time by the pool, and take the rest as it comes."
"You know, I should have done that," Rory said, taking the salt from the center of the table and sprinkling some on her fries. "I planned out my summers too much, I think. Mom had to make me leave one day a week open to be spontaneous."
"Yes, I had to force you. You would have planned out every day from the time you woke up until the time you fell asleep if I hadn't. You should thank me."
"Mom? Have I thanked you lately for getting me up at four in the morning to see how long it would take us to drive from one end of Connecticut to the other? Thank you," Rory teased, rolling her eyes.
April's eyes widened. "You did that?"
Lorelai nodded. "I don't know why she's sounding so ungrateful now, she and I had a blast listening to the Spice Girls the whole way there and back."
"We did not listen to the Spice Girls the whole way there and back. Remember who ran over the tape with the Jeep?"
"Oh, crap, you're right, I did do that. Oops," Lorelai admitted, taking a gulp of her coffee.
"Well, we're glad you made time for us in your schedule," Rory said, turning to face April.
April smiled. "I am too."
As the girls chatted, Zach made his way over to the table. "Hey, was Luke supposed to join you tonight?"
Lorelai nodded. "He said he would if he could, why?"
Zach shrugged. "I dunno, I guessed by the fact that he's on the phone with the stove guy that he probably won't be able to eat with you guys. Oh, hey, April, what's shakin'?"
"Hey, Zach," April said.
"So, do you ladies want to wait for Luke, or are you ready to order your meals?"
"I think we are three very hungry women who wait for no man!" Lorelai said. "Unless he's making pie, which we shall wait for."
"No pie, unfortunately," Zach said apologetically.
"Okay, food it is!"
Before Zach could take down their order, Mrs. Kim stormed into the diner, pointing her finger at him.
"You!" she bellowed. "What's this I hear about you and Lane moving?"
"Oh," said Zach, his fear abating that he had done something wrong that warranted him being called a dog again. "Well, our current place is, pardon my words, a craphole," he explained, proud to share with his usually-disapproving mother-in-law that he was taking care of his family and was going to be a homeowner. "So Lane and I decided that we'd be purchasing our own place! How awesome is that?"
"But why?" asked Mrs. Kim, leaving Zach perplexed with her lack of enthusiasm. "You not man enough to fix home up yourself? No hot water, you call plumber; you have wiring problem, you call electrician. Or you go to Home Depot and repair everything yourself!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said Zach, noticing that she was getting more and more agitated. "Lighten up, Mrs. Kim. I would've thought you'd be happy for us."
"Happy?" she spat out. "Happy that you take my daughter and grandsons away from Stars Hollow? You think that makes me happy?"
"But..." he began, realizing her fear was perhaps fraught in misunderstanding, but she was out the door before he could get a word out. The whole diner, including Lorelai, Rory, and April, sat there with their mouths hanging open.
"Whoa," said April, looking up at Zach, then at Lorelai and Rory.
"I agree with that statement," said Rory.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
"My lady, your chariot awaits," Lorelai said, taking a seat next to April. "Do you have your friend's address? My new shiny pink Garmin will get us there."
"I have the address," April replied.
Lorelai grinned. "Good. But I have to warn you, this GPS thing is like the commercial. You know, when the guy says 'I love you' to the Garmin, and she ignores him as 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' plays in the background?"
April gasped. "Ooh! Yes, I have seen that one."
"Yes, well, she likes to keep it professional too. The only thing is, I couldn't seem to find my Bonnie Tyler CD, so I have the 'Grease' soundtrack ready if needed."
April giggled. "Okay, that's good. Hey, you came just in time."
"And why's that?"
April simply pointed across the diner. Kirk had taken four of the nearby tables, grouped them together, and rolled out a very large sheet of paper on top of them. He let go of the paper and it immediately rolled up. Kirk unrolled the paper, oblivious to Lorelai and April's stares. He reached for a pencil behind his ear and let the paper go in the meantime. After repeating the process of unrolling the paper, he reached for a nearby pepper shaker with his left hand. He put his right arm on top of the paper to prevent it from curling up.
Lorelai giggled. "Right hand blue, Kirk," she teased.
Kirk looked over at the girls and sighed. "A little help here?"
"You know Luke's going to make you stop this when he comes out from the kitchen, right?" Lorelai asked, getting up from her seat.
"I need to get these blueprints approved!" Kirk insisted, accepting the pepper shakers Lorelai handed him.
April followed Lorelai over to the area where Kirk had spread out all of his belongings. "Blueprints? For what?"
Lorelai rolled her eyes and turned to April. "Be careful, he's probably going to make us sign a confidentiality agreement as it is," she teased, nudging April's arm. "We could be a threat to his top secret project. I'll bet he has a SWAT team covering the diner right now, watching us and recording what we say."
Kirk straightened up. "Fine. If you must know, I've purchased my first fixer upper. I plan on remodeling it and selling it for a profit."
"Oh, dear god," Lorelai said. "You're a house flipper? Like that guy on TV who has the girl with the dog help him flip the houses?"
"My business partner does not have a dog," Kirk insisted.
April giggled. The look on her face turned quickly from amusement to confusion. She turned to Kirk. "Would people actually trust you enough to buy a house from you? Especially one that you remodeled? Are you qualified to do something like that?"
Kirk sighed. "I don't necessarily do the entire project myself. That would be extremely time consuming and irresponsible. And I don't do the construction. I would end up not making anything off of the house."
Just as April was about to reply, Luke came out of the kitchen. He stood behind Lorelai and April, watching as Kirk worked with the blueprints. "What the hell are you doing, Kirk?"
"He's becoming a house flipper. He's got his magic blueprints and he's... you know, looking at them," Lorelai explained. "And then he's going to get his business partner with the white fluffy dog to boss all the people around for him. But that's after he reworks the blueprints on your tables."
April laughed. "Wow, you know some stuff about flipping houses."
"Yes, I do. When I first heard the term, I thought it meant, you know, giving a house the bird, until someone explained it to me. Suddenly it became clear to me that I didn't know much about what a house flipper does. So I decided to watch the house flipping shows on TV instead of watching infomercials for Proactiv. Let's be honest, here, Jessica Simpson is way less entertaining when her lines are scripted. I prefer to watch her decipher the differences between chicken and tuna. Oh, and her quest to figure out whether buffalo wings were really buffalo amused me. Anyway, I gave up Jessica Simpson infomercials to learn all about the wonder that is the house flipping business."
"Wow, that's dedication," April said with a giggle. "And what have you learned?"
Lorelai put a strand of hair behind her ear as she peeked at the blueprints Kirk had on the table. "Well, I learned that they have assistants with dogs. They let the dogs run loose on the property. Then they steal their assistants' dogs and try to teach their assistants a lesson. The house flipping process can be like a soap opera at times."
April nodded, intrigued by Lorelai's amusement. "I'm going to have to research this more. I think I'll watch some of those shows with you while I'm here, if you don't mind. I feel rather ignorant. I know the basic idea, but now I'm really fascinated."
"If it makes you feel any better, before the idea was brought up to me, I thought it was exactly like it sounded," Kirk said, looking up from his work. "Apparently houses aren't made to be flipped on their roofs."
Lorelai and April watched Kirk work on the blueprints for a moment, before Luke pushed his way in between them to talk to Kirk. "Separate those tables and roll up your blueprints, or get out of my diner," Luke insisted.
Lorelai tilted her head to the side. "Well, now that we know a house flipper doesn't flip houses over, would you please explain what the hard hat is for?"
"The hard hat is to protect him from the brain damage that he may sustain when I forcibly remove him from the diner," Luke replied.
"I'm really wishing I had popcorn right about now," Lorelai said as Luke and Kirk argued.
April nodded in agreement. "How about a French fry as a stand in?" she asked, walking back to the table and returning with a plate of French fries.
"That would be perfection," Lorelai said, taking a handful from the plate and watching as Kirk once again refused to leave the diner. "Hey, didn't you have somewhere to go tonight?"
"Oh, no, you're right," April said, putting the fries down on the table once
again. "It's like missing the end of a movie!"
Lorelai put her arm around April. "Don't be disappointed. I've seen it, the ending is so cliché," she teased.
♫ ♫ ♫
When Zach had come home from work the night before, he had confided in Lane that her mother had shown up at the diner unexpectedly, visibly upset that they were moving.
"Did you tell her that we're not thinking of moving too far away?" she had asked him.
"That's the thing," Zach said. "I think she thinks we're leaving Stars Hollow."
Lane knew her mom was sensitive, and they still had issues to solve between them, so that's why she found herself standing on her mother's front porch that afternoon.
She quietly knocked on the door and waited until her mother greeted her.
"Hello, Lane," Mrs Kim said coolly.
"Hello, Mama," she said with a smile. "May I come in?"
"Very well," she replied, letting her in and leading her through the furniture store into the back kitchen.
"Would you like some tea?"
"No, Mama," Lane answered nervously. "I'm fine."
"I have earl grey; your favorite," she pressed.
"Okay," she agreed, even though she did not really want tea, and sat down at the table.
Mrs. Kim poured cups for the both of them and sat across from her daughter.
"So, Mama," Lane began, taking a spoon and stirring her tea, even though there was no milk, honey or sugar, as Mrs. Kim didn't feel that tea didn't need any embellishments and was best at its most plain and natural. "I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Would you like a flaxseed muffin with your tea?" Mrs. Kim interrupted, already halfway out of her chair.
"No, Mama!" Lane shouted a little bit too loudly. "I mean, sorry. Just, please sit."
She nodded and did so.
"Zach told me that you showed up at the diner last night, upset that we were moving. I just wanted to apologize that we didn't inform you of our decision earlier. It's just that we decided on this spur-of-the-moment and are still in the very early stages of the process."
"Well," Mrs. Kim responded. "I was surprised to hear the news from Brian and not you."
"I know, Mama," Lane admitted. "And I am sorry for that because our relationship has gotten better these last few years and I enjoy sharing this stuff with you. But I think there was another reason you were upset."
Mrs. Kim arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Mama, I hope you are aware that Zach and I are looking for homes here in Stars Hollow." Her mother didn't say a thing, but Lane was able to see signs of relief that only she could notice after 19 years under her mother's roof. "There really is no better place; you made a great decision all those years ago to decide to come to Stars Hollow to raise me. It's a great community, good schools, clean parks."
"I don't recall taking you to any parks," Mrs. Kim told her.
Lane laughed sadly. "Oh, I am very much aware of that, Mama. But that's besides the point; everything I know and everyone I love is here; particularly you. I just... Zach and I aren't thinking of leaving here anytime soon. I just thought you should know."
Mrs. Kim nodded and smiled. "That is very good to hear, Lane," she said. "But I spoke to Brain again this morning and he told me what you were looking for, so I looked into houses and found great homes in close proximity to my house, as well as church." Mrs. Kim turned to a pile of papers on the counter and handed them over to Lane.
"We look now?" she asked, the look on her face eager and hopeful.
Lane sighed, but smiled. "Sure, Mama."
♫ ♫ ♫Rory and Lorelai entered the diner that night, looking around for April. After an unsuccessful day of apartment hunting, they were absolutely starving. Rory was completely exhausted thinking about the way Emily ran the show. With just Lorelai, the two would have stopped for snacks, checked out the proximity of the local coffee shops, and done a little people watching in the process. The day was over, yes, but knowing that they seemed far from finished made her dread another outing.
Rory spotted April sitting at a table in the corner, reading a book. April looked up and waved to them as they walked in.
"Hey, April," Rory said, taking a seat.
"Hey, how was apartment hunting? Did you find a place?" April asked, folding down the page on her book and putting it aside.
Lorelai sat down next to Rory. "We tried to, but I think my mother scared every prospective landlord away."
"Really?" April asked.
Rory giggled. "She was a little nuts today. But this was nothing compared to some of the stuff she can pull off if she feels like it."
"A little nuts?" Lorelai asked. "A little? If that was a little, I'd like to see a lot. Mondo nuts. Super sized nuts."
"Okay, so dirty," Rory said, holding up her hands in an effort to make Lorelai stop.
As the conversation continued, Luke brought some coffee to the table. He placed a mug in front of Lorelai and poured her a cup of coffee, and brought a mug to Rory's side of the table and filled her mug as well. "How did it go today?"
"We're keeping all crossable body parts crossed," Rory insisted, taking a sip of the coffee that Luke had just brought.
"Thank you, I really needed this," Lorelai insisted. "It always tastes just that much more amazing after a day like I had today. And for the record, please don't cross your eyes. A girl I went to high school with did and her face stuck like that. I kid you not."
"That's just a myth, it's not scientific fact. There's a study out there that said it was good to exercise your face like that, actually," April pointed out.
Lorelai threw her hands in the air, pretending to be offended. "Sure, sure, just come in here, steal my thunder about my high school friend whose face really did stick like that, when I'm trying to explain just how cracked my mother is. Have I told you how nutty she is? Well, if I haven't, I can start from the earliest possible memory. Now I have to think what that would be," she mused.
April laughed. "She's really that crazy? Seriously? She seems a little intense sometimes, but she doesn't seem as insane as you're making her sound."
"Who's really that crazy?" Luke asked, taking a seat at the table.
"Grandma," Rory replied, taking a sip of coffee. "Mom is telling April that Grandma is really as crazy as she's making her sound."
Lorelai gasped. "Rory, you're making it sound like it's not true! April, just ask your father, he will have no trouble agreeing that she is, in fact, certifiably insane."
April turned to look at Luke, who looked as if he did not want to be part of the conversation. "Is that true, Dad?"
"Ummm," he drew out very slowly. "Emily and I have had disagreements in the past, and Lorelai certainly has her stories to share, but Emily can be a nice person at times."
"Puh-lease!" said Lorelai, aghast. "Tell her about how she reacted to you congratulating her on her vow renewal."
"Or when she called your truck rustic," Rory supplied.
"And what about the time when she tried to get you to wear a hairnet in the kitchen?"
Luke grimaced but seemed determined to maintain his stance. "Yes, but those happened in the past and we actually have a good relationship now."
Lorelai looked perplexed. "What are you talking about? The hairnet thing happened just last week. Right Rory?"
"Yep, I was there."
"Well," he stuttered. "She merely suggested it as a sanitary thing for the overall health and satisfaction of my clients. That was very considerate of her, and I seriously took her comments into consideration," he told April.
"Uh-huh," said Rory, unimpressed.
"Suuure," said Lorelai. "Didn't you call my mother a crazy psycho—"
Luke tried to get Lorelai to stop, and just stared at his stepdaughter, normally his only allie, accusingly. "Rory, you like your grandmother," he reminded her.
"Oh, I love her," she agreed. "And while Mom can over-exaggerate at times—"
"I lived with her for six months," she reminded them all. "She can go a little overboard. Just admit it, Luke."
He crossed his shoulders over his chest. "I refuse."
"Fine," Lorelai said. "Well, I guess I can pick up a few hairnets for you to wear starting tomorrow. Wouldn't that be fun, babe?"
"Sure," he agreed with a gulp.
"And Taylor!" Lorelai continued with a smirk, winking at both April and Rory. "He'd so be on board with this! He'll get every establishment that serves food to do the same. And he'll attribute it all to you, and hang signs and posters across town, and even have a party in your honour—"
"Oh, my God!" Luke shouted, evidently admitting defeat. "Yes, fine, your mother's a lunatic! I don't need a hairnet; this hat sits on my head for 6 hours straight. A hat is a fine substitute for a hairnet, I don't care how much she hates it!"
Luke sighed, done with his mini-rant, watching the women in his life giggle with glee. "Happy now?" he asked Lorelai.
Amidst the laughter, Rory heard her voicemail ding on her cell phone, and realized she'd missed the call.
She excused herself and headed outside to check her voicemail. She typed in her password and was told she had one new message in her inbox:
"Hello, I'm calling for Ms. Rory Gilmore. This is Evelyn Myers, and this is in regards to the apartment you viewed last week in West Hartford, 1220 Main, #3B. I'm happy to tell you that it is all yours, so if you are still interested, please call me back. You have my number, but if you need it again, it is—"
"Yes!" Rory shouted loudly, startling a couple walking past her and into the diner.
Rory excitedly shut her phone, thrilled and that a great apartment in the town she wanted was available and now hers! She clapped her hands in glee, and headed inside to share the good news with her family.
To be continued...
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