Episode 9.06 "It's All About the Timing"
by sosmitten and DippersBaby

 

Authors' Note: We'd like to thank Lula Bo and Jewels for their kick-ass beta skills and each other for our kick-ass teamwork. Thanks also to the fans who keep this going. We hope you enjoy this installment!

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"You know, I'm not sure we really thought this through when we decided to do an amusement park trip in October," Rory said, flipping back and forth between the multiple tabs she had open on her browser. "I don't think that Hersheypark is even still open. And water rides are out, due to the whole hypothermia issue..." She scanned the page. "Wait! Hersheypark is open. They've got some sort of Halloween Hersheypark in the Dark thing going on."

"Okay, that's good. Hershey is good. There's chocolate." Lorelai glanced up at Rory. "There is chocolate, right?"

"There is definitely chocolate. And if we don't get enough at the park, there's always Hershey's Chocolate World."

"Chocolate World. That sounds good." Lorelai sighed and looked longingly toward the kitchen. "Hey, are there any more of those brownies you brought home from the bakery?"

"Mom! Focus," Rory admonished. "I think I've got a proposed itinerary."

"Okay, shoot," Lorelai said, as she lifted herself up from the couch. "Just speak loudly so that I can hear you from the pile of baked goods in the kitchen."

Rory groaned. "Mom."

"You can't expect me to sit here and talk about chocolate and not get hungry, especially when you brought Sunday brunch leftovers home from Weston's."

"Okay, fine," Rory sighed. "Bring me a chocolate chip cookie."

"Do you want milk with that?"

"Ooh, yeah. That sounds perfect."

"Well, that crosses over the limit of what I can carry, so you'll have to help me," Lorelai called over her shoulder as she headed to the kitchen.

"Of course I will," Rory grumbled to herself as she pushed up off the couch and followed her mother.

"So, what's the itinerary?" Lorelai asked as Rory walked into the room and took the cookie her mom held out to her.

"Okay, it looks like Saturday might be the best day for Hershey—check out Chocolate World during the day, then hit Hersheypark after that, then Sunday at Great Adventure and Monday at Six Flags New England. We can even do Lake Compounce on Friday."

"Lake Compounce? Seriously? We finally get to go on our big rollercoaster trip and we kick off the tour in Hartford? Whatever happened to Cedar Point? It's the rollercoaster capital of the world and it was pretty much the basis for the whole idea to start with."

Rory frowned. "I did look it up, but it's a ten hour drive. It would take a day of driving each way. And we've only got the weekend."

"Okay," Lorelai sighed. "So we'll kick off the East Coast Roller Coaster Tour of 2008 at the place where you first experienced motion sickness, when you made that poor ride operator stop the ride early and then threw up all over him anyway." She gave Rory a devilish grin. "Oh, I wonder if he's still working there."

Rory just glared at her mother. "You do remember that we're celebrating my birthday, right? I didn't think that public embarrassment would be a part of the deal."

"Oh, hon," Lorelai said, reaching over to give Rory a one-armed hug. "Public embarrassment is always part of the deal."

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The next day, Rory sat on the floor of her new apartment, her back against the couch and papers strewn on the carpet around her. She quickly skimmed a webpage, then checked it against one of the articles on the floor before flipping back to Word and finishing off the paragraph.

Letting out a relieved sigh, she set aside her laptop and stretched. After getting most of the cricks out of her stiff body, she grabbed the computer again and opened her Facebook page, eager for a much-needed break. She scanned a bunch of inconsequential notes from high school and college classmates with relative disinterest. One of her fellow Yale news reporters had a new cat and a Chilton acquaintance was discovering the wonderful world of TiVo. Doyle was... She clamped her hand over her mouth in a combination of shock and happiness as she read that Doyle McMaster was now engaged to Paris Geller.

It took her a moment to process, but then she noticed a link to his blog. Frowning, she clicked on the link and read a detailed account of Doyle's romantic proposal and Paris' acceptance. Glancing up at the date, Rory saw that it had been posted Friday night.

'Friday night!' she thought, fuming. Grabbing her bag off the floor, she rifled through it until she dug out her phone. Pressing the number she had programmed for Paris, she muttered, "She's coming off the short list."

Paris answered almost immediately, sounding rushed. "Rory! Love to talk, but I'm on my way out the door to class."

"Married? You're getting married and I find out on Facebook?" Rory squawked, ignoring her.

"Facebook?" Paris asked derisively. "Who has time for Facebook? You're on my list, Rory. I was going to tell you."

"On the list? I must be below Tanna and Brad Langford if you haven't gotten to me by now."

Paris sighed wearily. "We spent the weekend telling the families. Doyle's parents on Saturday and mine Sunday. And if you think that wasn't a chore, rounding everyone up—"

"Paris!" Rory cut in. "Facebook?"

"I didn't put it on Facebook. Why would I do that? This is news I want to share and gloat about in person."

Rory chuckled ruefully. "Well, Doyle's sharing and gloating all over cyberspace."

"But we agreed," Paris protested. "There's a system. A schedule. We worked it all out Saturday morning."

"Ah, therein lies the problem," Rory explained. "Doyle told the world Friday night."

"But that's—Friday night?" Paris asked anxiously. "But that was... we were... with the romantic dinner and the flowers and the down on his knee and the engagement sex—"

Rory winced. "Whoa, Paris. So much more than I need to know. But just add global newsblast to your list and it sounds like you've got it covered."

"But we..." Paris stammered. "After we... Facebook? Facebook! I'm going to kill him. Doyle!" she screamed. She paused for a moment. "Crap!" He's at work and I'm running late for my 12:30 class."

"It's 11:00 a.m.. I think you'll make it, Paris."

"You can't expect me to just show up when it starts, Rory. If I don't get there early I lose all that one-on-one time with my professors." She let out a frustrated breath. "Damn. I'll have to kill Doyle later. Sorry he messed up the whole news pipeline. I'll talk to you later. I have to go."

"Okay, but Paris wait."

"What?" she asked, sounding impatient.

"Congratulations," Rory said sincerely.

Rory could hear Paris' breath hitch before she answered. "Thank you, Rory."

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Lorelai had just settled comfortably onto 'her' stool in the diner and been passed a mug of coffee by Luke when her phone rang. She glanced at him muttering, "That must be the inn Rory found in Hershey." She rummaged in her purse frantically and started to get up, but Luke put up his hand, signaling her to stay. "Thanks," she mouthed to him as she pressed the button to answer the call.

A few minutes later she hung up, having secured reservations for Friday and Saturday night.

"You get it worked out?" Luke asked as he slid a burger toward her.

"Yeah, I think the trip is pretty well planned now." She smirked. "Complete with a sinful chocolate breakfast buffet."

Luke grimaced. "Is this where I say how glad I am that I won't have to witness that?"

"Spoilsport," Lorelai said with a pout.

He shrugged, but then looked away as he ran his rag haphazardly across the counter. "I am glad that you two are finally going on your trip."

She smiled broadly. "I know! Now that she's moved out it will be great to have some one-on-one girl time, even if it's a sad substitute for the full-on roller coaster extravaganza."

Luke sighed. "I promise that someday I will make sure you get to experience Cedar Point."

"Aww, you're sweet," Lorelai said with a smile. "Too bad you can't do the same for Astroland. Did you know that it just closed? In the time since we planned the original trip, they closed for good."

"Home of the hot dog. That does sound like a disappointment," he teased. "So this whole trip thing starts on Friday, right?"

"Exactly! At Lake Compounce, so you can come with us."

"Not a chance."

"But it's the mild part of the trip. You can totally handle it."

"I have no doubt that I can 'handle' it," he retorted, emphasizing with air quotes, "but I am not spending the day with you and Rory at an amusement park."

"Fine," Lorelai relented, resting her chin on her hands.

Luke bent down, leaning his elbows on the counter. "So..."

"Yeah?" Lorelai asked, lifting an eyebrow curiously.

"Your appointment is this week, right?" He paused a moment before clarifying, "You know, the one with the, uh..."

"Gynecologist is the word you're looking for, Luke." She gave him an amused grin. "It's a big word, but give it a try. I bet you can say it."

He just glared back at her. "When is it again? I just need to check with Caesar to make sure the diner is covered."

Startled, Lorelai looked up abruptly from her burger. "It's Wednesday at ten, but... you're coming?"

"Should I not come?"

"No, that's fine," Lorelai backpedaled quickly. "Of course you can come. I just figured you wouldn't want to. I mean, it's a gynecologist, Luke." She lowered her voice and whispered, "There might be an exam. You know, an exam."

He rolled his eyes. "I know what you're talking about. I'm not an idiot, Lorelai. And I'm also not afraid of your doctor."

"Uh, okay," she said hesitantly.

"The point of the visit is to talk about the, uh, having a baby thing. Find out if everything is okay, right?"

Lorelai nodded.

"I want to be there." He looked at her for a long moment. "If that's okay with you."

She looked back at him warmly. "You're right. We should go together. I'm glad you want to."

He tipped his head in assent and turned to pick up an order from Caesar, but stopped mid-step and turned back around, leaning in close to her. "But just to be clear, if the doctor pulls out that specula thing, I'll be in the waiting room."

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Rory opened the door of her apartment cautiously, not sure who would be knocking in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. "Paris?" She narrowed her eyes. "Was I expecting you?"

Paris stepped inside. "I came to do that whole girl bonding thing. That's what we do, right? We're supposed to look at dresses and flower colors and squeal. I brought magazines so we'd have some source material."

"Uh, okay," Rory said slowly. "I just figured you'd call before driving here from Boston."

"Well this is my only day off for two weeks and I know you're just sitting around doing free-lance stuff." Paris looked as though she'd had to restrain herself from using air quotes.

Rory glanced at the papers scattered on the floor, and briefly entertained the idea of mentioning Weston's before dismissing the thought and shrugging. "Pays the bills."

"At least you're not working at that diner." She gestured toward the door. "So, we need to go have lunch. I'm not sure about the protocol on this one. Do I take you out for lunch or is that one of those maid of honor responsibilities?"

"Huh?" Rory asked, puzzled until the words fully registered. "So... I'm the maid of honor?"

"Of course you are," Paris answered matter-of-factly.

"Okay. Well, thanks. I'd love to," she said pointedly.

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Paris handed off her menu to the waiter, then turned back to the table and trained her eyes on Rory. "So, how's the love life, or are you still playing spinster?"

"Whatever happened to bonding over wedding dresses?"

"This is girl talk. I haven't heard any details lately, so I was just asking. I didn't mean to make you all defensive." She shrugged as she picked up her roll and began buttering it.

Rory bristled. "I'm not defensive. I'm just wondering what happened to 'strong women don't need men to define them.'"

"It's not about defining you." She leaned in and spoke with an uncharacteristic note of concern. "Don't you get lonely? Sitting by yourself writing in your apartment?"

"It's not like that," Rory protested. "Besides, I just moved in. I'm still getting used to having my own place, but it's nice being on my own."

"You say that now, but wait a few weeks and you'll be playing garbage can basketball against yourself."

Rory shook her head. "I'm not that pathetic."

Paris spoke quietly again, unnerving Rory with her sympathetic expression. "You know what I mean though. You were living with Logan."

Rory sighed. "Logan and I are ancient history, Paris."

"I know and can I just say good riddance to that spiky-haired self-important playboy?"

"Don't hold back your true feelings on my account," Rory said wryly.

"It's not even about Logan." Paris shrugged. "It's just nice sometimes having someone to watch your back or talk you down off a ledge."

"Yeah, it probably is," Rory mumbled, conflicted, as she broke off a piece of her roll.

"Hey," Paris said helpfully, pointing at Rory, "you could always do one of those dating websites. Or speed dating. It worked for me."

"Exactly!" Rory said, eager to get off the topic of her non-existent love life. "So enough about me. We have some serious wedding talk to do. Didn't you say you brought some magazines?"

"Yes, well I wasn't sure which was the best publication, so I got a selection." She leaned down and pulled a stack out of her bag, which landed with an impressive thump on the table.

Rory stared at the pile containing at least ten different magazines and took a deep breath. "Well, I guess we've got our afternoon cut out for us."

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Rory breathed a sigh of relief as she left Weston's with her paycheck. As it had turned out, Paris had a much longer attention span for wedding conversation than Rory ever would have expected and she'd barely made it to the bakery before Susan had closed up for the evening. Walking back to her car, she tried to decide if she'd rather stop at the diner for dinner or check out more of the offerings in her new neighborhood.

Luke's was winning out of sheer convenience and hunger when she heard "Rory!" and saw Lane hurrying down the street, tugging Zach behind her. "What are you doing here? I thought you only worked on the weekends."

Rory gestured to the envelope in her hand. "Yeah, but I just came to get my check." She eyed Lane and Zach. "Where are you two off to sans twins?"

Lane grinned. "Date night. Never in my life have I been so glad to have my mother nearby. I love our little guys, but it really is nice to have a break once in a while."

"Totally," Zach agreed. "Especially after last night. Between Steve's fever and Kwan's new tooth those little dudes were up most of the night." He reached up and rubbed Lane's shoulder affectionately. "And Lane was so awesome taking care of them. She wouldn't even let me help."

Lane leaned into Zach, resting her head against his shoulder and shrugging bashfully. "You had to open and work all day today."

"And so the reward is?" Rory asked.

"Early dinner..." Lane chuckled dryly, "at the diner, so that we have time to make it to the early showing of The Rocker. She smiled up at Zach and added, "We're so pathetic. We can't even stay up for a late movie these days."

"Yeah, we gotta make sure we get a few hours of sleep in case there are any early morning wake-ups. It sucks when they wake up before we've even gone to sleep," Zach grumbled.

"That's why we tag-team them, and call in reinforcements every once in a while." She pointed toward the diner. "Were you going to grab some dinner? Do you want to join us?"

"Nah," Rory said, waving off the question. "I don't want to interrupt your date and I should probably get some writing done tonight."

"You sure? You wouldn't be interrupting," Lane said, gesturing between herself and Zach. "We see each other all the time."

Rory hesitated, but remembered her pile of research on the floor of her apartment. "I really should go work. I haven't gotten much done today. But you two have a good night."

"We will. Bye Rory, I'll see you this weekend." Lane waved as she and Zach turned to walk toward the diner door.

Zach called, "Bye Rory," as Lane slipped her hand around his waist and leaned against his shoulder. Rory watched them walk away, suddenly wistful.

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Emily was taking advantage of some quiet time after dinner to relax and catch up on some reading. It was only a few moments after she settled herself that she could hear the front door open from her seat in the living room, and knew it had to be her husband returning home from his latest business trip.

"Emily?" she could hear him call from the foyer.

"I'm in here, Richard," she answered as she placed a bookmark on her page and stood up to greet him. He entered the room and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

"How was your trip?" she asked as she returned to her seat.

"Oh, it was just wonderful!" Richard enthused as he made his way to the beverage cart and prepared himself a drink. "I don't know why we never visited Hilton Head before. Mild weather, beautiful beaches, outstanding golf courses..."

"Well," Emily cut in, "It sounds lovely."

"Oh, it is, it is," Richard confirmed. "One of the men I met with has a condo in one of the premier golf villages; white sand beaches, professional tennis courts, a forest preserve, fine shopping and dining. It's even home to a golf course used on the PGA tour! I think we should consider it."

"Going to South Carolina? That sounds like a wonderful idea! Especially if it's everything you've just described." Emily was getting excited at the prospect of a trip somewhere new.

"It's all that and more, my dear. Now, I've had a long trip and I think it's time I retire to the bedroom." He placed his glass down on the drink cart and turned to face his wife.

"Would you care to join me?"

"Why, Richard Gilmore," Emily said with a twinkle in her eye, "Are you trying to seduce me?"

"Is it working?" he asked as he took her hand to pull her up off the couch.

"I don't know," she answered coyly. "I'll let you know when we get upstairs."

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Wednesday morning found Luke and Lorelai seated across from Doctor Kravitz in her office. Since they were there to discuss their fertility concerns, the doctor thought it best if they have a discussion before jumping into hardcore testing.

"Remind me when you decided to stop using birth control," she said without looking up from Lorelai's chart.

"Well," Lorelai glanced nervously over at Luke, "all roadblocks went down about six months ago. That's why we're here. Should it be taking this long?"

The doctor looked up from Lorelai's chart. "Considering your ages and the fact that you were on birth control for quite some time, yes, it could take this long. I've seen healthy, fertile couples take up to a year or more to conceive. We could definitely do some blood work to be sure there aren't any underlying issues. I think it's too early for you to panic. Sometimes it just comes down to timing." She looked back down at the chart. "Did you leave a urine sample already?"

"Peed in the cup when I got here," Lorelai assured her.

Dr. Kravitz began to flip through the pages of Lorelai's chart. "I don't see the results here. Let me go see if it's been processed it yet."

As the doctor left to check with her nurse, Luke reached over and placed his hand over Lorelai's.

"You alright?" he asked gently.

"Yeah." She smiled at him. "I've just been afraid of what we might find out today."

"Well," Luke reasoned, "it looks like we have nothing to worry about just yet."

"And I guess we'll have to work on our timing," she said suggestively.

Luke didn't have a chance to respond since the doctor walked back into the office at that moment.

"Well, now," she started as she sat back down at her desk, "I'd say you two have nothing to worry about at all. Lorelai, you're already pregnant."

Luke and Lorelai both stared open mouthed at the doctor. Lorelai recovered first.

"What?"

"You're already pregnant," Dr. Kravitz repeated. "Taking into consideration the date of your last period, I'd say you're six weeks along."

"Six weeks?" Luke jumped in. "Wouldn't we have known by now if that were the case?"

"Only if Lorelai had been keeping track of her cycles carefully," the doctor replied. Both she and Luke turned to look at Lorelai.

"Well, I guess I should have realized I was a couple weeks late," she said defensively, "but I've been so busy, I guess I didn't notice. Are you sure? I mean, the test could be wrong, right?" She turned pleading eyes to the doctor as Luke shot her a confused look.

"Not a chance," Dr. Kravitz said. "Pregnancy tests screen for a hormone that is only present during pregnancy. It is possible to get a false negative early on in a pregnancy when the levels are still very low, but it is highly improbable you will get a false positive, so I would say you're definitely pregnant. Congratulations, Mom... and Dad."

"Thanks," Luke responded, shooting Lorelai a worried glance as she sat silently with an indiscernible look on her face.

The doctor stood up, gesturing for Luke and Lorelai to do the same. Luke stood first, and then pulled gently on Lorelai's arm when it seemed she wasn't going to get up.

"You'll need to set up your first pre-natal appointment," the doctor said as she led Luke and Lorelai toward the desk to check out.

They reached the check-out desk and Dr. Kravitz addressed the girl sitting there. "Please schedule an initial pre-natal appointment for Lorelai in a few weeks. Also, they need a new-parent package." She turned back to Luke and Lorelai. "Jeannie will give you a bag of information you'll need; coupons, samples of baby products and the like. There will also be samples of some pre-natal vitamins you can try to see which one you like the best. Do you have any questions?"

Luke glanced at Lorelai, who said nothing. "I think we're good for now," he said. "Thanks for everything, Doctor."

"My pleasure," she answered, accepting Luke's extended hand. "Congratulations again."

Luke quickly paid for their visit, waited while Jeannie scheduled their appointment and accepted the bag of new-parent items before steering a still uncharacteristically quiet Lorelai out of the office and to the Jeep. But once in the Jeep, Lorelai's silence was finally broken.

"I can't believe this! We were supposed to come here to find out if I could get pregnant, not that I am pregnant!" Lorelai went off. "The Dragonfly is getting ready to enter our busiest season, the spa is crazy and I was supposed to be going away with Rory for her birthday—to ride rollercoasters! How am I supposed to do that now?"

"Wait a minute," Luke interjected, "I thought this was what we wanted."

"It is! Just not right now. The timing couldn't be worse. You couldn't get your supersperm to back down for another couple months?" Lorelai flung at him.

"Now just a minute," Luke fumed, "don't you put this all on me. We're in this together. We both agreed to let it happen naturally, and it has. I can't believe you're acting like this. We should be happy, dammit."

Lorelai blinked at Luke as if she was seeing him for the first time that day. "Oh God, Luke. You're right. I'm so sorry, it's just, I wasn't ready for this news. I hate that I have to cancel my trip with Rory—again. And, I'm a little nervous. I haven't been pregnant in 25 years. Oh my God... I'm pregnant. We're having a baby—you and me." She looked up at Luke in wonder.

He smiled at her. "I know."

Lorelai smiled back and leaned in to kiss him. "I'm so happy," she said as she pulled away.

"You sure?" Luke asked.

"Absolutely." She nodded definitively. "I'm gonna call Rory," she said as she pulled out her phone and dialed. "Huh, weird," she said as she lowered the phone from her ear. "It went straight to voicemail. Do you mind if we just head to her apartment and see if we can catch her?"

"Of course," Luke said as he started the Jeep.

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Rory was sitting in front of her computer when she heard a knock at her door. It was the second time that week she'd had an unexpected visitor in the middle of the day. She knew it couldn't possibly be Paris again, so she was a little hesitant as she approached.

"Who's there?" she called out.

"Rory?" she could hear her mother's voice on the other side of the door, and without further hesitation threw it open.

"Mom! Luke! I thought we were meeting for lunch later at—" she started to say when Lorelai cut her off.

"Happy birthday! I'm pregnant!"

"What? Are you serious?" Rory looked back and forth between her mother and Luke.

"Just came from the doctor. You're going to be a sister! Again!"

"Oh my God," Rory said, slightly dumbfounded before shouting excitedly, "oh my God!"

She threw herself into her mother's arms and the two began jumping up and down and squealing like a couple of school girls until Rory pulled back.

"Should we be jumping like this? Will it hurt you?"

"I'm fine." Lorelai beamed at her.

"I'm so happy for you." Rory beamed back before turning to Luke. "For both of you."

"Thanks." Luke smiled as they shared one of their awkward-yet-endearing hugs.

"I can't believe this! Well, I guess we won't be going on our rollercoaster trip," Rory pointed out.

"I'm so sorry, Hon," Lorelai said. "I hate disappointing you."

"Are you kidding?" Rory replied. "This is a much better birthday gift."

"Really?" Lorelai asked hopefully.

"Absolutely."

"I was thinking you and I could have a day at the spa, just the two of us, this weekend. What do you say?"

"That sounds perfect, Mom."

"And we still have lunch this afternoon," Luke interjected.

"That's right," Lorelai concurred.

"No way. You two just found out you're having a baby. You need to spend the day together, just the two of you, so you can celebrate."

"But you're Baby Number One," Lorelai pointed out. "I can't leave you alone on your birthday!"

"Mom, it's okay," Rory assured her. "I'm not going to be alone. You forgot I'm having dinner with Dad and Gigi. Plus we'll have our spa day this weekend. Please, do this for me. Go celebrate with your husband."

"No!" Lorelai was adamant. "Luke and I have all night. Go get ready and we'll go to lunch right now."

"Are you sure?" Rory asked.

"Absolutely!" Lorelai said with conviction. "We have twice as much to celebrate. Right, Luke?" She turned to her husband for confirmation.

"Right," he smiled warmly at Rory. "We want to take you to lunch."

"See?" Lorelai turned back to Rory and smiled. After a moment, she reached out and pulled her daughter into a tight embrace. "I love you so much, you know that, right?"

"Just remember that I came first, okay?" Rory teased.

"Always," Lorelai promised. "Oh, and we have our first OB appointment in a few of weeks, so Luke and I decided not to mention this to anyone until we see the doctor and make sure everything is alright."

"I won't say anything to anyone," Rory swore. "But I do think you should tell Grandma and Grandpa."

Lorelai groaned. "We'll see how things go."

"Mom," Rory started to say, but was cut-off by her mother.

"You have to get ready, no time to argue!"

"Fine, but I'm going to Friday Night Dinner since we're not going on our trip. I think you should, too. You can tell them then."

"We've already gotten out of dinner. Why can't we just pretend to still be on our trip?" Lorelai whined.

"You don't have to go," Rory said reasonably, "but I'm going, and I can't be held responsible if I slip and say something."

"Have it your way," Lorelai huffed as she plopped down on the couch next to Luke. "But only because it's your birthday. I'll call them and let them know we're coming."

Rory smiled smugly. "I'll be right back," she called as she headed into her bedroom to change.

"Happy Birthday," Lorelai called after her.

Rory waved waved back before shutting her bedroom door and leaning against it with a heavy sigh.

"I'm going to be a big sister. Again," she said to the empty room before pushing off the door and heading to her closet to find something to wear to lunch.

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After an early dinner with her father and sister, Rory found herself sitting alone in her apartment in front of the television, flipping through the channels aimlessly. She hadn't made any plans beyond dinner with her father, and now had nothing else to do but sit alone and think about everything that happened over the past couple of days. Paris and Doyle were engaged. Her mother and Luke were expecting. And here she was, alone on her birthday trying to find something worth watching. But every channel she stopped on seemed to mock her with eHarmony or Match.com commercials.

Turning off the television with a disgusted sigh, she tossed the remote aside and stood up. She looked around for something that would take her mind off her current situation. After several minutes of wandering around her small apartment, she sat heavily in front of the computer.

"You are so pathetic, Gilmore," she mumbled to herself. She stared at the blank screen when a thought crossed her mind. Before she could think too much about it, she straightened up and placed her hands on the keyboard. She pulled up Google and hesitated for a moment before typing 'online dating' into the search box. Hesitating for a brief second, she took a deep breath and hit 'enter'.

Results came up reading '1 10 of about 56,700,000'. Rory's jaw dropped.

"There're 56 million online dating sites?" she said in disbelief. She scrolled down to the first one she saw that read 'free'.

"Free is good," she said to the empty room as she clicked on the link. Immediately, freaky pictures of leather clad people with fetish-filled descriptions popped up on the screen.

"Uh, I don't think so," she muttered as she quickly hit the back button to return to her search. She clicked on a few more sites, recognizing what was quickly becoming a Goldilocks dilemma—on this site the members are too old; on this site they're too young; on this site they're too weird. She was beginning to wonder if she would come across the site that was 'just right'.

"I can't believe I'm even doing this," she said to herself. She was about to give up, but decided to check out one more site. She clicked on it, and was pleasantly surprised.

The site seemed quite professional, and gave her the option of restricting who could contact her. There was also an online inbox so she didn't have to put any personal contact information on the site. She searched through some of the postings, and there seemed to be a good mix of different ages and backgrounds, and most of the people looked relatively normal. But the thing that got her was something written on the main page: Look, if you got this far you obviously want to meet someone. Sign up and give it a shot.

"Well, here goes," she said as she took a deep breath and clicked on the 'sign up' page.

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Lorelai flipped through the channels, waiting for something to catch her eye. She looked up as Luke came into the room and set down her coffee and his tea on the coffee table. He looked at her curiously. "What's wrong with the cake?"

"Huh?"

"I expected it to be half-gone by now."

She frowned. "But it's our celebratory cake. I'm not going to eat it without you."

"Of course," he said dryly. "That's why we got the triple chocolate mocha espresso cake. So that you and I could share it."

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Whatever. So, are you going to cut it already?"

He shook his head in exasperation. "Of course." He plated a sliver for himself and a generous slice for Lorelai before handing her a plate and settling back on the couch with his cake. "So, anything good?" he asked, gesturing at the television.

She took a break from the chocolaty goodness long enough to shrug half-heartedly. "I'm still looking." She continued channel surfing, pausing a few times for Luke to reject or mock her choice, which he did with somewhat less fervor than usual.

A few minutes later, he set his plate on the coffee table and stretched out, pulling her against his chest. She snuggled into him and continued flipping, eventually settling on a Law and Order rerun.

"Wow, there really isn't a time you can't find this show on cable," Luke said, running his hand down her side and resting it on her belly.

Lorelai turned to look at him. "That's it? You're not going to complain that I must have already seen this one five or six times? That if you hear that 'da-dun' sound one more time your head will explode?"

"Nah, I'll go easy on you this time." He grinned. "Watch whatever you want."

She narrowed her eyes suspiciously and said lightly, "And what if I start making eyes at Benjamin Bratt?"

"I will rest assured knowing that no matter how pretty you think the man in the box is, that you're sitting here with me." He lifted an eyebrow and gave her a cocky smile.

"Huh," she said as she turned back around and took another bite of cake. "You're pretty sure of yourself now that your swimmers have hit a home run."

"Can't hurt," he answered with a chuckle. He drew his fingers lightly across her belly, and when he spoke again his voice was soft and awed. "It's hard to believe that our baby is right here."

"Man, listen to you. You are a goner." She lay her hand over his and squeezed gently. "Just wait until this kid is born and can charm you in person."

He didn't deny it, just leaned in close and whispered in her ear, "I can't wait."

They sat there in silence a few moments before Luke said cautiously, "What about you? Are you sure you're okay with all of this? I know the timing isn't—"

She shook her head to cut him off. "The timing is perfect."

"But before... in the office?" he asked with concern.

"Was me being a crazy person." She pulled his arms around her in a tight hug. "I can't wait to have your baby."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"So, Lorelai, why was it again that you and Rory had to cancel your amusement park trip?" Emily asked.

Lorelai hesitated for a moment at the bar where she was pouring the drinks she'd insisted on serving. "Well, uh, Rory—"

The doorbell rang, interrupting her thought, and providing just the distraction needed to allow her to fill her martini glass with water. Emily disappeared into the foyer to usher Rory inside. When they entered a few minutes later, Rory was flushed and excited. "I didn't miss it did I?"

"Miss what?" Emily asked, eyeing the two of them carefully.

Lorelai cut in quickly. "Miss me telling you about Rory's third article being published, and contracts for two more!" She looked pointedly at her daughter. "And because Rory's swamped with editing we had to put off the roller coaster trip again."

Rory cocked her head to the side, narrowing her eyes at her mother, as Richard perked up at the mention of his granddaughter's accomplishments. "Well, that is most impressive, Rory. You should be very proud."

"Oh, yes, Rory. That's wonderful. Congratulations," Emily added.

"Thanks, Grandpa, Grandma," Rory said, flushing a bit at the praise, before walking over to Lorelai, and whispering, "So what happened to just telling them?"

"Shh, I'm looking for the right moment," Lorelai hissed back.

Rory looked over at Luke for support, but he lifted his hands in surrender.

♫   ♫   ♫  

Later, forks clanked onto the fine china as everyone dove into the lasagna that Rory had requested for her 'birthday' dinner. After a few bites, Rory asked casually, "So Mom, anything new going on with you? Or how about you, Luke?"

Luke looked startled at having been singled out. "No, uh, the diner's still there and uh... no, nothing new."

Lorelai glared at Rory, who mouthed 'tell them' less subtly than Lorelai was comfortable with. She glanced warily at her parents before deflecting Rory with a change in subject.

"Dad? You were on a trip this week, right? Weren't you at Hilton Head?"

"Indeed, and it was fabulous. Your mother and I are actually considering buying a place there."

Emily glanced up sharply. "Buying? You never said anything about buying."

"Of course I did, Emily." He gave her a long look as if to emphasize his point. "I told you a few days ago that a property had become available."

"But that was to visit, not to buy. What are we going to do with a place in Hilton Head?"

Lorelai eyed her mother and father while Rory and Luke looked on helplessly.

"We can spend a few months out of the winter there." Richard's voice softened. "The weather's mild and you can golf year-round—"

"Richard!" Emily said forcefully. "We can't just uproot ourselves for months out of the year. We have responsibilities."

"Well, I'm not teaching spring semester, and the rest of my consulting can be done from most anywhere," he reasoned.

"I'm not just referring to your work," Emily said crossly. "I have commitments too."

"Many of your friends winter elsewhere," Richard answered, his tone patronizing. "The social calendar will work itself out."

"I'm not talking about social events! My responsibilities include the Dragonfly now. I can't just—"

"Yeah!" Lorelai burst in. "She has a job."

"Yes, and I'm quite sure that Emily would be able to make arrangements with her 'boss.' Don't most of the events happen in the summer, anyway?"

"No!" Emily protested. "The spa has events year-round. Do you really think that I can just flit in and out of a job like that?"

"Oh Emily," Richard said with a small smirk. "We all know that you rarely flit."

"No she doesn't flit... or float, or fleetly flee," Lorelai piped up from across the table. Four sets of skeptical eyes trained on her, and she added softly, "or even fly."

"Really, Lorelai," Richard said sternly. "Is that necessary?"

"I don't know, the way you and Mom were shooting daggers at each other, I thought it might help," Lorelai said hopefully.

Emily shook her head. "Just eat your dinner, Lorelai." She looked around the table, making it clear the conversation was over. "Now would anyone like more wine? Why, Lorelai, you've barely touched yours. Is there a problem with it?"

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai, Luke and Rory walked out of the Gilmore mansion into the crisp New England fall night air.

"Well," Lorelai quipped, "that was fun."

"Coward," Rory shot without preamble.

"I am not," Lorelai said with wide-eyed innocence. "I was going to tell them, but then that whole Hilton Head thing happened and I just didn't see an opening."

"You could have diffused that whole Hilton Head thing by telling them about the baby!" Rory retorted.

"Luke," Lorelai pleaded, "help me out here. The timing was off, right?"

"Well," he hedged.

Lorelai's jaw dropped. "You think I should have told them!"

"I think Rory's right." He shrugged contritely. "Besides, you had plenty of opportunities to tell them before Hilton Head was even mentioned."

Lorelai stubbornly looked back and forth between her husband and daughter before letting out a defeated sigh.

"Fine, I'll call them in the morning, okay?"

"Fine," Rory said with satisfaction before turning to Luke. "Let me know if she doesn't call and I'll take care of it."

"Who are you, Rory Corleone?" Lorelai shot. "I said I'll call and I'll call. Happy?"

"Yes, I am," Rory said smugly as she climbed into her car. "I'll talk to you tomorrow... just to make sure." Before her mother could respond, she closed the door, pulled out of the driveway and drove off.

"Do you believe the nerve?" Lorelai said huffily.

"Yeah, I do," Luke said as he helped Lorelai into his truck. "She's just like her mother."

Lorelai shot Luke a look as she watched him walk around the truck and climb into his side.

"You're lucky I like you, mister," she said with mock heat. "Be careful or this one might be just like me as well."

Luke smirked but said nothing as he pulled out of the drive and headed home.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Emily set her knife down loudly on her plate and took a small bite of her croissant. Richard rustled his paper as he turned the page. Emily picked up the teapot, rattling the lid as she poured it. Richard folded his paper deliberately and adjusted his chair.

After another long moment, Richard cleared his throat.

"Yes, Richard, did you have something to say?" Emily asked sharply.

He responded, his tone officious. "I was wondering what you had planned for today."

"Well," she answered shortly. "I have a meeting at the inn with a national client who would like to use the Dragonfly spa and inn facilities as part of the route for a New England tour. It could bring in thousands of dollars for the inn." She looked up at him, her jaw set. "But if whatever you have planned is more important than my insignificant duties, I'm sure you'll let me know."

He flashed her an annoyed glare. "Emily, you're being unreasonable. Of course I don't think that your work is insignificant."

"You certainly were quick to disregard it when you made your ridiculous plans about where we should live."

"Yes, you've certainly made your feelings clear on that point. In the future, I'll be sure not to even suggest—"

He was cut off by the phone ringing, and by Emily abruptly tossing down her napkin and leaving the room. When she returned a few minutes later, he started sternly, "We were in the middle of a conversation, and Elsa is perfectly capable—"

Emily ignored him and said simply, "You need to join me in the study."

"Really, Emily, you are making a mountain out of a molehill."

"Richard!" Emily snapped. "Your daughter is on the phone asking to speak to us together on the speakerphone and while she may have thought she was being sly last night, it was perfectly obvious that she was not drinking." She paused to allow the information to sink in before turning on her heel and leaving the room.

Richard's eyes widened as understanding dawned and he followed quickly, joining Emily in the study just as she turned on the speaker phone.

"Okay, Lorelai. We're both here. What is it?" Emily asked impatiently.

"Hold on, Mom. Is Dad there?"

"Yes he is." Turning to her husband, she barked, "Say something, Richard, so that she believes you."

He smiled and said calmly, "Hello, Lorelai."

"Hey, Dad," she answered quietly. "So, I have something to tell—"

"Oh Lorelai, just say it already!" Emily said, cutting her off. "You're pregnant. You don't hide it as well as you think." There was silence on the other end of the line and Emily asked cautiously, "You are pregnant, right?"

After a moment, Lorelai answered, her voice teasing, "Gee, Mom. Way to steal the moment."

"But you are?" Emily breathed, confirming, as Richard slipped his arm around her shoulders.

"Yeah, Mom, I am," Lorelai said softly.

Emily took a deep breath and angled her head toward Richard, "I assume that will end all discussion of moving to Hilton Head."

"Yes, it most certainly does." Giving her arm a light squeeze, he said warmly, "Congratulations, Lorelai."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Sunday afternoon Lorelai and Rory were wrapped up in robes, relaxing on a couple of lounge chairs in the Dragonfly Spa and picking at a fruit plate.

"So, you told Grandma and Grandpa?" Rory asked as she popped a grape into her mouth.

"Yep," Lorelai said as she picked out a banana. "Looks like they're not moving to Hilton Head anytime soon. And don't say 'I told you so'."

"I won't," Rory said with a smug smile. "You know, I really am happy for you and Luke."

"I know, Sweets," Lorelai smiled fondly at her daughter, but noticed a sad look cross her features. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Rory quickly assured her, "it's just, sometimes I miss being in a relationship. You know, having that special someone to share things with."

"You have me," Lorelai reminded her.

Rory rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean."

"I know," Lorelai conceded. "So, no prospects?"

Rory shrugged. "Not really. It's not like I have a lot of opportunities to meet someone. I'm either in my apartment writing or here in Stars Hollow."

"What about someone in your new neighborhood?" Lorelai asked. "There are some cute little places around. Maybe if you got out a little. How about that bookstore?"

"I like it there, but I haven't seen anyone to be interested in."

"Ooh, I know," Lorelai said with mock excitement, "you could sign up on one of those online dating sites that Michel uses. Maybe you'll find out you're really compatible with him and you two will be matched. Wow, I can't imagine Michel as my son-in-law."

"Hey, at least he's getting out there and trying to meet someone," Rory said defensively.

"I can't believe you're defending him," Lorelai looked at her daughter in amazement. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you find it sad and a little desperate that he was looking for love on the Internet?"

"Maybe I did," Rory answered huffily. "But I've changed my mind. In the Internet age, it's a viable option for meeting someone."

Lorelai stared at her daughter in disbelief before realization began to dawn on her. "You signed up on one of those sites, didn't you?"

"Are you going to mock me if I say yes?"

"Let me get it out of my system," Lorelai said with delight, "Okay, so does your first date have to be at a cyber café?"

"Here we go," Rory groaned.

"Ooh, I know, first your little cartoon avatar thingies have to go out to see if you're a good match! Oh, oh, is there a special chat room where you're allowed to have cyber sex?"

"Ha, ha," Rory said sarcastically. "Are you done?"

"Wait," Lorelai giggled, "Um, okay, well... I'm out. I guess it's harder for me to mock you about online dating than it is to mock Michel."

"Glad to hear it," Rory grouched.

"Aw, Hon, I'm sorry," Lorelai said sympathetically as she tried to get her mirth under control. "What made you sign up on a dating site?"

"I told you," Rory sighed, "I miss having someone in my life. Besides, what's the worst that could happen?"

"Well, you could be matched up with a serial killer," Lorelai offered.

"Nice," Rory said with exasperation. "Anyway, I signed up but I haven't even been back to the site since. I'm not really sure if the online thing is for me."

"But you won't know unless you try, right?"

Rory looked at her mother skeptically. "I guess."

"Look, if this is something you are serious about trying, I will support you. No more mocking, I promise," Lorelai said sincerely.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Rory turned her attention back to the fruit plate and picked out another grape. "So, have you and Luke thought about names yet?"

"I was thinking Lorelai, seeing as it worked so well for you and me."

Rory shook her head and looked at her mother's belly. "Poor baby, you have a crazy person for a mother."

"You mean 'lucky baby'," Lorelai corrected.

"Whatever you say, Mom."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

That evening, Lorelai was going about her bedtime rituals. She came out of the bathroom in her pajamas, padded across the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. Looking down at her still-flat belly, she rubbed her hand across it and sighed, looking around the room. She spotted the bag she and Luke had received at the doctor's office. Realizing they'd never looked through any of it, she retrieved it and settled back on the bed. Luke walked in as she was pulling out all the samples, coupons and pamphlets. She looked up and smiled. He grinned back as he walked around the bed to stretch out next to his wife so they could sort through all the information together.

♫   ♫   ♫  

Back in her apartment, Rory stood staring her computer down before steeling herself, taking a seat and opening the online dating site she'd signed up on. She logged in and checked her inbox, only to find twenty-three messages waiting for her. A look of surprise crossed her face, but was soon replaced with a smile. Optimism and a bit of excitement began to take hold as she prepared to open up the messages and see what might be waiting for her out in the online dating world.



 

 
 

 

 

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