Episode 10.09 "Some Get It, Some Got It, and Some Never Will"
by Mags and Olivia Jane


Authors' Note: A big thank you that includes wet, sloppy kisses to the lovely Jewels and Robinpoppins for their assistance on this episode, especially due to Olivia's wanderlust, and a gall bladder that refused to be ignored on Mags' part. Much love for your guidance, as always.

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"It's good, I swear it is," Lorelai said, struggling with the eyedropper of medication she was trying to get Ellie to ingest. "It's like... liquid strawberry Pop Tarts, only with amazing ear infection healing abilities."

Ellie gagged and let out a screech of protest, but Lorelai finally managed to get the medicine in her mouth. "Okay, I lied," she confessed as Ellie coughed and rubbed her face with her balled up fist. "It tastes like medicine with a side dish of medicine. So sue me. Just wait until the time comes when I lie to you about where babies come from. It'll leave you scarred for life." She laid Ellie back in her arms and carried her upstairs, wincing at the baby's weak cries.

Upstairs in the baby's bedroom, Lorelai paced the floor, swaying Ellie gently from side to side. "Aw, I know, baby," she whispered when Ellie whimpered and squirmed in her arms. She lifted Ellie to her shoulder, frowning when the girl tugged on her ear and whined more insistently. "I know it hurts, but soon all that yucky medicine Mommy keeps making you take will make you feel so much better."

She slowly crossed the room and lowered herself into the rocking chair. "How about a song?" Lorelai asked as she made herself comfortable and began to rock back and forth. Ellie let out a pathetic sounding sigh. "Sure, sure, everyone is a critic," Lorelai murmured. She settled for humming, instead, and eventually the sound of Ellie's steady breathing replaced her desperate attempts to stay awake, despite her miserable state.

Lorelai closed her eyes and laid her head back, still rocking. The only sounds now were the gentle creaking and pops of a house settling in the night. "Always the last one standing," Lorelai whispered to the sleeping girl. "No rest until the daddies and babies are all safe and snug in their beds. A mommy's work is never done."

Lowering her face to the crown of Ellie's head, she inhaled softly. "All worth it when I get to catch one last whiff of baby before I go to bed," she said, smiling. "Who needs the fountain of youth when you have a pretty little Ellie all of your own?"

Convinced that Ellie was sleeping soundly enough to put her down, Lorelai rose to her feet, careful not to startle the little girl. She pressed a gentle kiss to her daughter's forehead and laid her in her crib, watching her sleep for a moment. Lorelai reached for the light blanket lying crumpled at the foot of the mattress and tucked it around Ellie, then trailed her fingertips across the child's rosy cheek. "Good night, angel," she whispered, and crept out of the room, turning off the light behind her.

Stealthily, Lorelai tiptoed down the hall and into her own bedroom and saw Luke laying on his side with his head propped up by his hand. He grinned when she came to a halt. "You're up," she said, surprised. "I thought you were asleep."

Luke shrugged. "Couldn't sleep. Thought I'd wait up for you. She go down okay?"

"She's snoozing away finally," Lorelai said, crossing the room and crawling into bed. "Medicine makes baby go night-night."

"Good medicine," Luke murmured, rolling toward Lorelai.

"Somebody is getting frisky," Lorelai said, giggling as Luke wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close. She moaned appreciatively as he lowered his head and pressed a soft kiss to her neck. "Why, Mister Danes, are you trying to seduce me?"

"Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Luke asked, nibbling on her ear. "I like to call it 'trying to get some quality naked time with my wife.'"

"I like your version better," Lorelai gasped, trailing her fingers through Luke's hair. "What do you have in mind?"

Luke raised his head and smirked. "Many, many things. We've got all night, after all."

"Yes," Lorelai said, pressing herself up against Luke. "All night..." She groaned as the sound of snuffling carried over through the baby monitor. "Oh no," she whispered.

Luke dropped his head to her shoulder. "Please tell me it's just a fluke. She's just... rolling over, right?"

A loud wail pierced the air. "Not a fluke," Lorelai sighed, gently pushing Luke away. "Wanna flip a coin for grumpy baby duty?"

Luke sat up and scrubbed his face with his hands as the baby's cries grew louder. "No time to find a quarter. I'll take this call."

"Thank god," Lorelai groaned. She grabbed a pillow and threw it over her head as Luke slid out of bed. "Gonna be a long, lonely night," she sighed.

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Late Monday morning, Rory leaned closer to her monitor, her brow puckering with concentration as she read and re-read the article that she was proofing. The telephone rang, and without taking her eyes from the screen, she reached for it. One click of her mouse marked her spot in the document as she mumbled, "Rory Gilmore," into the receiver.

"Ms. Gilmore?" a brisk female voice asked.


"One moment, please."

Rory reared back and glanced curiously at the receiver as she was promptly placed on hold. A moment later a vaguely familiar voice boomed, "Rory Gilmore?"


"Mitchum Huntzberger," he announced.

"Oh!" Rory's eyes widened as she sat back in her desk chair. "Mr. Huntzberger."

"How are you, Rory?" he asked genially.

Her brow furrowed a little deeper. "I'm fine," she said slowly. "How are you?"

"Wonderful!" he blustered on without missing a beat or bothering to reply to her polite inquiry. "Rory, I was hoping that you and I could have lunch this week. Are you free tomorrow?"

"Lunch? Tomorrow?"

"Let's say one o'clock at the Hartford Club?"

"You want to have lunch with me at the Hartford Club tomorrow?" Rory repeated in a shocked tone.

"One o'clock?" he prodded brusquely.

"Mr. Huntzberger..."

"Ah, now Rory, we know each other better than that. Call me Mitchum. I'll see you tomorrow?" he said, his voice suspiciously jovial.


"We can talk about it tomorrow."


"See you at one o'clock," he stated firmly, and then hung up.

Still clutching the phone, Rory slowly lowered it from her ear. She gave it a puzzled scowl and then placed it back on the cradle before slowly releasing the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Giving her head a slight shake, she muttered, "Don't miss dealing with that."

Resolutely, she turned back to her monitor and sat with her fingers poised over the keyboard. Her eyes strayed from the screen and back to the phone. Her bangs ruffled as she sighed in defeat and snatched her cell from the desk, turning her back to the computer while she dialed.

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Lorelai pressed the pump on a bottle of lotion and a large pool formed in the center of her palm. "Ooh, too much," she muttered as she promptly rubbed her hands together, smoothing the excess up her arms to spread it out. 'I Gotta Feeling' began to play, she rummaged around on her desk, desperately trying to locate the source. Snatching her cell from under a pile of papers, she pressed the call button, fumbled the phone, and it shot from her grasp.

"Hang on!" she called as she ducked under the desk to retrieve it.


"Hey," Lorelai said breathlessly. "Hand lotion. Slippery phone. Damn lanolin."

Rory chuckled softly. "Hi."

"Hey." Lorelai pushed her hair back from her face and settled into her chair again, gripping the phone securely. "What's up?"

"Uh, Mitchum Huntzberger just called me and invited me to lunch," Rory said in a rush.

"Mitchum Huntzberger?"

"The one and only."


"I have no idea. I was just sitting here and my phone rang and before I know it, he's on the line asking me to have lunch with him tomorrow at the Hartford Club."

"Wow. Mitchum Huntzberger," Lorelai murmured. She wrinkled her nose as she asked, "What did you say?"

"I didn't really say anything," Rory answered, clearly frustrated. "I was so stunned that I just sat here like a dolt."

"And he didn't say what he wanted?"

"Just that we'd talk about it at lunch."

"Weird." Lorelai picked up a pen and began to twirl it through her fingers. "Do you suppose it's about Logan?"

"How should I know?" Rory asked defensively.

"Okay, well, calm down," Lorelai said firmly. "Maybe it's professional. You know that the paper isn't being sold. Hmm. Maybe he wants to lure you away from the Courant," she proposed.

"Why? Why would he want to do that? I don't have it, remember?"


"It! It! Mitchum said that I didn't have it!" Rory said impatiently.

"Oh, 'it.' Yeah, I do remember that," Lorelai muttered, chewing distractedly on her pen. "Well, maybe it is about Logan. Have you talked to him lately?"

"I used to get an occasional email, but I haven't even had one of those in months. I don't even have him on my Facebook."

"Ah, well, I think that everyone should have their exes on Facebook. It makes the stalking so much easier."

Rory snorted softly. "I'm thinking of deleting my page. Way too much information shared, if you know what I mean."

"Oh yeah?" Lorelai asked, perking up a bit. "Like what?"

"Where to start?" Rory murmured. "Let's see... Madeline Lynn is engaged. Oh! Louise Grant has accepted Jesus Christ into her heart, which shouldn't be surprising because I think he was the only man she hadn't hit on yet," she said factually.

"Louise? Boy crazy Louise is born again?"

"It seems that way. Jess is working and writing, but you probably know that. Paris likes to post arcane medical facts, and Doyle uses his status updates as an editorial forum."

Lorelai snickered, leaning forward to prop her chin on her palm. "I'm not shocked by that."

"You want shocking, try this on for size... Tana Schrick? She posed for Playboy six months ago."

"No!" Lorelai exclaimed as she sat up straight in her chair.

"Yep. I think layout was called 'Brains and Bosoms,' or something equally repugnant," Rory said solemnly.

"Did you look?"


Lorelai smirked as she sat back. "I totally would have looked."

"Well, that's the difference between you and me," Rory muttered.

"That and the fact that I'm not having lunch with my ex-boyfriend's father tomorrow." She picked up the pen and began to tap it against a stack of invoices on her desk. "Are you going to tell Kevin?" she asked in a low voice.

"Why wouldn't I?" Rory snapped.

"I'm just asking, Sweets."

"I'm going to tell him," Rory said firmly.

Lorelai nodded slowly. "Good. I think that you should."

"I guess there's no point in worrying about it, really," Rory mused. "I'll find out soon enough, right?"


"Okay, well, I should get back to work."

"It'll be fine. Just go there, listen to what he wants to say, and then leave."


"And Rory? You do have 'it', kid. You've got tons of 'it', and everyone knows it - even Mitchum Huntzberger."

"Thanks, Mom."

"Any time," Lorelai said softly. "And don't forget to order the most expensive thing on the menu," she added sternly.

"Don't worry, I won't forget."

Lorelai grinned. "That's my girl."

"Bye, Mom."

"And call me the minute lunch is over," Lorelai ordered in a rush.

"I will."

"If I tell you to knock him dead, will you take that literally or figuratively?"

"Maybe a little of both."

"Knock his socks off, then. No one looks good in those orange jumpsuits."

"Socks it is," Rory confirmed.


"Bye, Mom," Rory repeated.

Lorelai nodded and checked the display to be sure her daughter had ended the call. Tossing the phone back onto the desk, she sat back in her chair, absently rubbing her hands together as she stared at the framed photograph of Rory, April, and Ellie. Giving her head a little shake, she sat up and glared at the piles of paperwork she had yet to attack. She reached for the invoice on the top, cocked her head, and ran the fingers of her left hand over the smooth skin on the back of her right.

Giving a small grunt of satisfaction, she picked up the invoice and murmured, "Lovely lanolin," while she peered at the bottom line.

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"Come on, now," Luke said, pleading with Ellie as she turned her nose up at the spoon he held before her. "Carrots are good. You like carrots."

"I think Ellie disagrees with you, babe," Lorelai said, laughing as Ellie pushed the spoon of carrot mush away and strained toward the side of her high chair furthest from Luke. She growled in frustration as her father bypassed her arm and held the spoon to her mouth again.

"Did she just growl at me?" Luke asked, nonplussed.

"Bite him," Lorelai whispered conspiratorially. "Show him who's boss." Ellie laughed in response, but still avoided the orange muck waiting in Luke's grasp.

"Don't encourage this," Luke sighed, giving up and dumping the spoonful of carrots back onto her plate. "The kid is being contrary."

"She's just in a bad mood, what with the raging ear infection," Lorelai said. "She'll be back to her carrot-loving ways soon enough. So," she said, turning her attention back to April. "What were you saying about the football... stuff?"

"Danny said that at the awards ceremony last year, they had their choice of pizza or chicken kiev," April said, passing the bowl of mashed potatoes to Lorelai.

"Well, that's a truly odd choice of meals," Lorelai said, spooning a heaping serving of potatoes onto her plate.

"That's what I said." April paused while she considered the bread options, finally selecting a wheat roll. "I mean, chicken kiev versus chicken cordon bleu, I can understand, but throwing pizza into the mix? Bizarre."

Lorelai nodded, snatching a roll for herself from the basket. "Keep it in the same family," she agreed. "Otherwise, it's madness."

"Lunacy," April laughed.

"Says the pair eating Shake N' Bake chicken and spaghetti," Luke sighed.

Lorelai took a bite of baked spaghetti. "Hey, it's not my fault Babette felt that an ear infection garnered a casserole delivery. We're just trying to eliminate leftovers before they go funky in the fridge."

April nodded. "Nothing worse than a pile of funky baked spaghetti," she chimed in. "I bet Danny would approve of the combination, though."

Lorelai arched an eyebrow at April. "Who is this Danny, by the way?"

"Oh, he's in my science project group," April said, waving her hand dismissively. "We're dissecting a frog this week, and since Kelly and Jennifer keep going the animal cruelty protest route and holding things up, we have a lot of time to talk."

"Didn't you already do the frog dissecting thing?" Luke asked, giving up on the carrots and moving on to strained peas for Ellie.

"No, but we talked an awful lot about doing it," April sighed. "My strengths are being squandered in this class, let me tell you."

"Can we change the topic?" Lorelai asked. "The frogs are ruining my mashed potato buzz, here, guys."

"But I didn't even get to tell you what we named the frog," April protested.

Lorelai held up her hands in surrender. "Okay, well, what did you name it? Kermit?"

April rolled her eyes. "That is so 1980."

Lorelai snorted. "Sorry. So?"

April smiled. "We named it... Fidgel."

Luke grimaced. "That's the best you guys could come up with? Fidgel?"

"Well, Danny said that for a frog, it looked an awful lot like a penguin, which is ridiculous considering a frog and a penguin look nothing alike. But the more I looked at the frog, the more I realized he was right," April said, her words spilling out in a rush. "Seriously, I really need to take a picture of this frog. His head is shaped funny. It really does look like he has a penguin beak. So I said that 3, 2, 1... Penguins! was a great show, and Danny started naming the penguins from the show and..."

Lorelai cocked her head to the side, watching curiously as April spoke. "So Danny mentioned Fidgel?"

April nodded. "Yep, and that was that. This frog is definitely a Fidgel."

"Well, if you guys say so," Lorelai said, glancing over at Luke to gauge his reaction to the multiple mentions of Danny. He was too absorbed in trying to get Ellie to eat, however. Lorelai smirked. "So tell me more about this penguin show," she said to April. "Sounds like something I should look into."

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"Is Ellie asleep?" Luke asked, his shoulders slumped as he stood before the stove, listlessly scrambling eggs in a frying pan.

Lorelai yawned as she shuffled to the kitchen table and dropped into a chair. "Yes. Finally. Thank god."

Luke glanced up at the clock. "She didn't get more than an hour's sleep at a time last night. I hope she catches some real shut-eye."

"Yeah," Lorelai said, laying her head on the tabletop. "Otherwise Mommy might snap."

Luke chuckled, then stifled a yawn of his own. "I was thinking more along the lines of her getting some rest. She needs the sleep."

"She isn't the only one," Lorelai said. She pushed herself back upright and inhaled deeply. "I smell food. I smell coffee."

Luke glanced over at her. "Grab a cup and drink it before you go comatose. I don't have the energy to drag your unconscious body up to bed."

"Good thinking." Lorelai pushed herself to her feet and walked over to the counter. She pulled a coffee mug from the cabinet and filled it to the brim with coffee. "Mmm," she hummed as she took a sip. "Strong."

"I figured for once, it was justified," Luke said, scraping the scrambled eggs into a bowl and turning his attention to a pan filled with frying bacon. He rolled his eyes as Lorelai downed even more coffee. "Come up for air, at least," he pleaded.

Lorelai shook her head, finally lowering her mug from her mouth. "Air bad. Coffee good," she sighed. She smirked as Luke fumbled the spatula in his hand, and dropped it to the floor. "Looks like somebody needs to reconsider the healing powers of caffeine."

Luke shook his head as he bent over to retrieve the spatula. "What I need is eight solid hours of sleep." He walked over to the sink and washed the utensil thoroughly, then headed back to the stove, shaking the spatula at his wife. "My motor skills are starting to suffer."

"God, that smells good," Lorelai said, leaning forward and inhaling the aroma of bacon. "Hey!" she exclaimed when Luke swatted her on the rear end.

"Technical foul," Luke growled. "Back off from the bacon and let me cook."

Lorelai laughed. "You can't use the spatula on me. We're not having a spat." She grasped for the spatula, but Luke quickly pulled it out of her reach.

Chuckling, Luke continued to hold it up in the air. "I think whoever controls the spatula controls the rules of the game."

"Spatula hog," Lorelai whispered, setting her coffee cup down on the counter and wrapping her arms around his waist. "Make love, not war, remember?" She pressed soft kisses along Luke's jawline, and he lowered his arm to pull her tight against him.

"I knew those hippies had some good points." Plunging the fingers of his free hand into her hair, Luke kissed her deeply, pulling back when he felt her wrench the spatula from his hand. "Cheater," he growled in protest.

Lorelai spun away and wielded the spatula like a sword. "I can't believe it," she crowed, poking Luke in the stomach. "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders—the most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'—but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go against a Gilmore when bacon is on the line'!"

Luke rolled his eyes and folded his arms across his chest. "So you're saying you're choosing bacon over a little..."

Lorelai lowered the spatula and looked suspiciously at Luke. "A little... what?"

"You know." Luke smirked, taking a predatory step toward her.

She took a hesitant step backward. "No, I... Oh, that."

"Yes. That." His hand darted out, snatching the spatula from Lorelai's hand. Pulling her back against him, he reached behind him and turned off the burner.

"I'm so happy I married a dirty, old man," Lorelai whispered, giggling as he lowered his head and nibbled on the flesh below her ear.

"You've only begun to scratch the surface of how true that statement is," Luke murmured, backing her toward the kitchen table and reaching for the knot holding her robe closed.

They froze as the telephone began to ring. "Ignore it," he whispered, pulling more insistently at the knot.

"What if it's..."

"Ignore it."

The phone continued to ring. With a groan, Lorelai pushed Luke away and ran toward it. "This had better be good," she answered impatiently.

Luke watched her closely, his hands on his hips. She covered the receiver with her hand. "It's Michel," she muttered crossly. "Apparently the housekeeping staff is incompetent. Yes, Michel, I'm listening," she said, uncovering the receiver and slumping against the wall.

With a loud sigh, Luke stalked back to the stove and turned the burner under the frying pan back on. He held out his hand, and Lorelai slunk toward him, passing him the spatula. "Well, yes, Michel, I can understand your frustration," she said, heading to the kitchen table and dropping into a seat, her head down. "God knows that pillow mint ordering is a complicated science, after all."

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Rory sat still, keeping her eyes fixed on the water glass in front of her, but the fingers on her left hand twitched. Drumming them lightly against her thigh, she heard a small commotion near the entrance of the dining room, and looked up to see Mitchum Huntzberger heading her way with the maitre'd following close in his wake.

"Rory, I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting," he said as he neared. "I hope you'll forgive my tardiness," he added with an ingratiating smile. He took her hand between both of his. "I had a meeting with my CFO. The man is a veritable pit bull once he gets a hold on me."

"I understand," she said, returning his smile coolly.

"You look well," he said as he took his seat across from her. The maitre'd deftly shook out the heavy linen napkin and draped it over his guest's lap as a waiter appeared at his elbow. "A drink?" Mitchum asked Rory.

"The water is fine," she answered.

The waiter nodded and promptly disappeared as Mitchum picked up the leather bound menu and began to peruse the lunch selections. "The chicken is delicious, and the salads are wonderful here."

Rory cocked one eyebrow and ducked her head to study the menu. Their waiter reappeared a moment later with a cocktail tray with a glass of scotch. She watched as Mitchum leaned back in his seat and ordered a chef's salad with his usual economy of words.

"I'll have the rib eye, please," she said when the waiter turned his attention to her. "Thank you," she murmured as he wordlessly took her menu from her hand.

Mitchum chuckled. "I had forgotten about your appetite."

Rory looked away for a moment. A faint blush rose in her cheeks as she turned back to him. "I usually have a sandwich at my desk." He nodded and then took a sip of his drink. "Um, how's Logan?"

His eyebrows rose markedly as he placed his glass on the table. "Logan is doing well. He's still in California. He seems to like it there," he said with a barely repressed shudder. "How are Richard and Emily?"

"They're well, thank you." Rory tried to smother back the edge of bitterness in her voice. "And Shira?"

"Shira is in Switzerland at the moment, having god knows what injected into god knows where," he said with a humorless chuckle. "Honor is having a baby in June."

This bit of news earned a genuine smile from Rory. "Really? That's wonderful."

"It is." Mitchum nodded and folded his hands on the table. "Now that we have all of the polite chit-chat out of the way, I'm sure that you're curious as to why I called you."

"I am," she answered, keeping her hands knotted in her lap.

"I've been following your work, Rory," he said with a pleased smile. "I'm impressed."

"You are?"

"You are concise, factual, and fair, and still your writing retains a little of your own flair. That isn't easy to do, particularly in the newspaper business," he said as he toasted her with his glass.

"Thank you."

"I wanted to speak to you because I have a job opportunity."


"As you may or may not know, I have recently joined the board for the New York Times, which owns the Boston Globe, and there's an opening for a particular brand of journalist."

Rory picked up her glass and took a sip. "What would that entail?"

"Basically, I need a journalist who would look at political and social issues and how they affect New England. It's based out of Boston but there would be quite a bit of travel involved. Domestic travel, but travel nonetheless. As I recall, you wanted to travel, didn't you?"

"I did. Do," she corrected quickly.

"I thought of you, because this is a different type of news reporting. Yes, it will deal mainly with distilling the facts, but I don't want something that I can pull off of the wires. I want something—someone—with style."

A wrinkle bisected Rory's eyebrows as she looked up at him. "What does this have to do with me?" she asked at last.

Mitchum blinked, seemingly taken aback by her question. "Well, I thought of you."

"Me? Why would you think of me?" she asked skeptically.

He laughed, lounging back in his chair as he eyed her closely. "You know that you're a damn fine journalist, Rory."

"Yes, I do, but I didn't know that you knew that," she shot back. "Is it because I'm no longer dating your son?"

"This has nothing to do with Logan." Leaning forward, Mitchum braced his elbows on the table. "I want youth, a fresh perspective on things. I don't want some jaded newsroom hack who wants to work the cocktail party circuit. I want someone who will keep her ear to the ground and then go out and chase down a story even if she has to scour the country from sea to shining sea to get to the heart of the matter," he said evenly. "I've been following your career, Rory, and I think you might be that person."

When she didn't respond, Mitchum settled back in his chair once more, watching her reaction carefully. "I thought you might be the person for the job, but I've been wrong before. Not very often, but it has happened."

Rory tipped her chin up and stared back at him challengingly. "It has, hasn't it?"

"Yes, it has."

She paid no heed to their approaching waiter as he narrowed her eyes at the man who had almost derailed her dreams. "I have 'it'," she said quietly. "I have more of 'it' than you'll ever know."

"Prove it," he said as he moved his drink aside to make room for his salad.

"What are you offering?" she asked as their lunch was served.

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Lorelai took a huge bite out of a fudge frosted brownie and moaned her appreciation. "Oh, that is so what I needed."

Sookie looked up from the pot she was stirring with a saucy grin. "Good for what ails ya."

"So, anyway, all through dinner April keeps dropping this boy's name. Danny this and Danny that. Danny lassoed the moon a la George Bailey, you know?"

"Ah, yes," Sookie said as she sprinkled a little seasoning into the sauce.

"He's her boyfriend," Lorelai whispered.

"I gathered that much."

"No, I mean he's her boyfriend," Lorelai reiterated with a meaningful glare. "Not a crush, a boyfriend. Her first boyfriend."

Sookie's dimple winked in her cheek. "So exciting."

"I know," Lorelai sighed and then popped the remainder of the brownie into her mouth. She glanced down as she chewed, and began gathering the tiny chocolate crumbs that scattered over the plate with her finger. "I didn't tell Luke," she said in a low, muffled voice.

"You didn't?" Sookie gasped, her head snapping up.

"I didn't know if I should. I mean, April hasn't really said anything to him, and I kept thinking that he'd pick up on it, you know? Like I did."

"But he didn't."


Sookie snorted. "Men. They're so dense sometimes."

"Most of the time," Lorelai corrected. "I should say something, right?"

With a small grimace of distaste, Sookie nodded. "You'd better, but break it to him gently. Maybe after you guys, um, you know," she added with a leer.

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Well, then it might be a while."

"Really?" Sookie asked interestedly.

"Sick baby, new house, old businesses, grown and half-grown kids...."

"I see." Chewing her lip, Sookie began to shake her head. "You can't tell him now," she said decisively.

"You just told me that I should tell him."

"Yeah, but that was before I knew that he'd be edgier than usual. Sex first, then break the news to him later."


"You can't tell a guy who is already naturally cranky that his teenage daughter is getting more, uh, play than he is, if you know what I mean. His head will explode!"

"So, what you're saying is that I need to seduce him, wait until he's half-asleep, and then whisper it into his ear?" she asked derisively.

"Yes," Sookie confirmed with an emphatic nod. "Maybe eat a vegetable or two at dinner before you seduce him, just to hedge your bets."

"I just need to tell him," Lorelai stated flatly.

"After sex. And the vegetables," Sookie asserted, sticking to her guns.

"Maybe he won't go off the deep end. I mean, she's old enough to have a boyfriend now," Lorelai mused as she turned to look out of the window. She spotted Michel standing on one of the brick walkways engaged in a heated debate with their elderly gardener, Simon. Her eyes widened when she saw Michel pick up a trowel. "What is Michel doing out there?" she asked as she moved to get a better look. She gasped when Michel began to gesticulate wildly with the trowel and Simon took a step back.

Sookie glanced up and then shrugged. "He hates marigolds."


"Simon planted a border of marigolds because they're supposed to keep insects away," Sookie explained as she moved to the sideboard to retrieve the cubed beef for her stew. "Michel hates them because the reason that they keep insects away is the fact that they stink."

Lorelai's eyebrows shot up as she saw Michel lean in, obviously trying to intimidate the wizened, old gardener. "Oh no...." she said as she jerked open the back door.

She rushed down the steps just in time to catch the last of Michel's tirade.

"Filthy, vile smelling weeds," he hissed. "I insist that you remove them all at once!"

"But Taylor said at the last town meeting that this is going to be a bad year for mosquitoes. I want to get these plants in so that they can fill in nicely before summer."

Michel leaned in and Simon reared back as the Frenchman spoke to him through clenched teeth, "Take them out."

"Hey, what's going on here?" Lorelai called as she grasped Michel's arm and jerked him away.

"I told this man that I did not want him to plant his smelly, little seedlings along the border," Michel insisted. "They emit an odor that is most displeasing!"

Lorelai flashed Simon a nervous smile. "I think they look pretty here."

Michel rolled his eyes. "Of course you do. I suppose that you also think that the color of that hideous dress does not make you look sallow, but you are wrong," he sneered as he eyed her outfit critically.

Lorelai jerked on his arm a little harder. "Michel, Simon is in charge of the grounds. He has been a professional groundskeeper for longer than you've been alive," she hissed. "He was good enough to come here with us from the Independence Inn, and we want him to stay," she whispered, shooting Simon a reassuring smile. "He doesn't rearrange your post-it notes, so why don't you leave him to do his job the way he sees fit."

Michel sniffed. "Fine, but when your guests complain about the noxious odor, do not expect me to offer them a gas mask before they set out for their hike!" With that, he spun on his heel and stomped back to the inn.

Lorelai turned back to Simon and smiled. "Sorry about that," she offered weakly.

Simon nodded his understanding. "That's okay," he assured her. Glancing down at the neatly planted border of marigolds, he shrugged. "They do have an odor."

"Better a little stink than a raging case of West Nile virus, though. Right?"

"Right." The older man turned away, his eyes scanning the grounds as he cracked his knuckles. "I've been meaning to talk to you, Lorelai."

"Oh. About Michel? I promise that we'll up his dosage."

"About retiring," he said with a gentle smile. "Martha wants to buy a place in Destin so she can be near her sister, and this last winter..."

"Was a doozy," she finished with a sympathetic smile. "Well, we'd really hate to see you go."

Simon nodded and then shrugged. "One of the Petes could do a nice job for you."

Lorelai sighed. "Yeah, they would, but the Petes are scared of Michel. I guess I'll just have to stock up on quinine. For the Malaria outbreak," she added with a tremulous smile. Hooking her hand through his arm, she nudged the older man and asked, "Did you try one of Sookie's new brownies yet?" Simon shook his head, and Lorelai nodded to the back door of the inn. "You deserve one. I hear they're good for what ails ya."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Rory stood just inside the foyer of the Dragonfly, her eyes scanning the lobby area for her mother. The kitchen door swung open, and she heard Lorelai laugh, but the smile faded from her mother's face the moment the door swished shut behind her. She looked up and noticed Rory. "Hey!" she cried as she hurried over. "How did it go?"

"Fine. It went fine," Rory said distractedly.

"I was waiting for you to call, but this is even better. So, what did old Mitchum want?" Rory glanced over her shoulder nervously, and then shot a glance at the older couple Michel was speaking to at the desk. Lorelai leaned closer and whispered, "Is he having you followed?"

Rory jerked her head toward the parlor, then grasped Lorelai's arm, pulling her along urgently. "Oh, he's been following me, all right."

"Uh, I was kidding. Please tell me you are too," Lorelai said as Rory led her to the sofa. When she sat down, Lorelai gave Rory a puzzled look. "What happened?"

"He told me about a job."

"A job?"

Rory nodded. "Not just any job, a dream job. A political and social writer. It's based out of Boston, but I'd get to travel all over the country to investigate the stories."

"Cool," Lorelai breathed, her eyes opening wider.

"Yeah, I know." Rory shook her head a little. "I'd have to interview for it, but I still can't believe it."

"Well, I can." Lorelai slipped her hand into Rory's and gave it a squeeze. "It's about time someone copped a clue to how great you are."

Rory smiled gratefully. "Mitchum Huntzberger, of all people."

"Yeah, that's kind of a shocker," Lorelai admitted. "So, wow, huh? That's quite an offer. What do you think? Are you going to go for it?"

"I don't know."

"But you just said it was a dream job," she argued.

"It was. I mean, it is. I mean, you know I always dreamed of getting to do something like that," Rory said with a sheepish smile. "But things are different now. I did the 'on the road' thing with the campaign and we all know how that worked out. I just got settled here. I'm finally comfortable somewhere. I have... I have more here than just my job."

Lorelai nodded her understanding. "What did Kevin say?"

Rory gave her another sheepish look and winced as she said, "I haven't told him. I came right over here."

"Oh, right. He's still at school."

"I didn't tell him about the meeting."

"You didn't?"

"I just didn't want to get into it all if it was nothing, you know? I mean, he knows about Logan and me, and I've told him about the stuff that happened," she said with a shrug.


"He thinks it's cool that his girlfriend is a convicted felon," Rory said with a wry smile.

"It does give you an air of danger," Lorelai gravely interjected.

"It's always hard to tell how he's going to react to things. He's so laid back about so much, but then he gets all worked up about the strangest things. Like that whole thing with his sister living with their parents—it was weird to see him act that way."

"Well, there's probably a lot of history there," Lorelai said slowly.

"And there's history with me and Mitchum Huntzberger," Rory said flatly. "Aside from the fact that he's a rich, arrogant, jerk, he's also my ex-boyfriend's father. My ex-boyfriend who wanted me to marry him," she added solemnly.

"And you think Kevin would be jealous?"

Rory paused for a moment before answering. "I think he might not be so laid back about that."

Lorelai sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. Rory waited, knowing by the way her mother pursed her lips that she was processing the situation. "I think," Lorelai began slowly, "that it would be best to tell him right away. True, he may not react well to the whole situation, but it's better that you get that out of your way now."


"And this is a huge opportunity," Lorelai continued. "If he doesn't react well, then maybe it's better that you know that now."

Rory's eyebrows shot up. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that if he's not going to support you one hundred percent with your hopes and dreams, maybe it's better that you find that out now," she said bluntly.

"Before it's too late?" she asked in a melodramatic tone.

"Before you invest more of yourself in someone who doesn't truly believe in you and what you can accomplish."

"Wow. You really think Kevin wouldn't support my decision?" Rory asked, taken aback.

"No. You're worried that he won't," Lorelai corrected. "I think he will, but you obviously have some doubts."

"I don't have doubts."

"You didn't even tell him about the meeting."

"Maybe I just wanted to wait until I knew what it was all about."

"Maybe you're afraid of how he'd react," Lorelai countered. "I don't blame you for being afraid, sweets, but remember how badly Luke and I managed screw everything up because we were too afraid to talk to each other."

"Oh, Mom," Rory said sympathetically.

"You have to talk to him. You have to be honest with him and honest with yourself about what you want and what you need, otherwise it won't work for either one of you."

Rory nodded. "I know."

Lorelai offered her a small smile and said, "It sucks, knowing that you're on the front line. If it makes you feel any better, you're not alone there. I have to go home and somehow break it to Luke that April has a boyfriend."

"She does?" Rory gasped.


"Uh oh," she murmured.

Lorelai heaved a gusty sigh. "I know."

Rory flopped back against the cushions and turned to look at her mother. "Maybe we should have Luke move in with Kevin and I'll move back home with you."

Lorelai smiled. "I'd like that, but I'm used to having him around. Plus, he never borrows my sweaters and stretches them out."

Rory rolled her eyes. "You are totally bigger than me."

"Now maybe, but not then. I blame your sister."

Rory blinked and then smiled. "I guess we have to just do it."

Lorelai nodded and reached to pat Rory's knee as she rolled up off of the couch. "Put on your Nikes, kid, we may need to make a run for it."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

After collecting her purse from the office, Lorelai pulled the door closed behind her, waved to Susan at the front desk, and started for the front door. As she passed the stairs, she heard the faint whisperings of a heated argument in the upstairs hallway. She paused, cocking her head for a moment, and then took a step closer to the door.

"You must bust the dust!" Michel insisted, his rising voice carrying easily down the staircase.

Lorelai groaned and let her head fall back. Staring up at the ceiling, she heard a muffled reply, and then Michel's shouted response.

"The bunnies under the bed in room six were biting off carrot sticks and asking me for directions to Albuquerque!"

Lorelai snorted and then turned resolutely toward the stairs. The argument continued as she climbed steadily higher. Finally, she was able to place the second voice as Julia, their senior housekeeper.

"Hey, what's going on?" she asked, interrupting Michel before he could unleash another barrage.

"What is going on is that our housekeeping staff does not believe that sweeping beneath the beds is a part of keeping the house," Michel retorted stiffly.

"Really?" Lorelai asked, turning to look at Julia.

"He's overreacting. He was spying on me as I straightened room six. The only reason that I didn't sweep under the bed is because Sammi is out today and I'm running behind," she said apologetically.

Lorelai nodded. "Michel, you know that we're short-staffed today. If you have enough time to watch someone clean, perhaps you have enough time to actually help someone clean," she said as she plucked a toilet brush from the housekeeping cart.

Michel's eyes widened as he stared at the bottle in horror. "You do not expect me to scrub commodes in a Hugo Boss suit!"

"Then maybe you should find a better way to occupy your time," she suggested.

Michel opened his mouth to say something, and then quickly clamped it shut. Muttering under his breath in French, he stormed down the stairs as Lorelai turned back to Julia.

"Well, I guess you know that I'm going to need you to sweep under the bed in room six now," she said with a sympathetic smile.

"No problem," the maid replied with a tired sigh.

"Thanks, Julia," Lorelai said as she turned to leave.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Hello?" Rory called into the apartment as she kicked the door shut behind her.

"Hi." Kevin popped up on the couch and she jumped, pressing her hand to her heart. "Sorry," he said with a sheepish smile.

"Hi. What's wrong?" she asked as she eyed the rumpled clothes he had worn to school that morning.

"Nothing, I just have a headache. Bunsen burner overload."

"Ah, I've heard of them. They're a cover band for Bachman Turner Overdrive, right?" Rory leaned over the back of the couch and pecked a soft kiss to his lips. "I brought dinner," she announced as she held up a large brown paper bag with handles.

"You are a good woman," he said admiringly. Swinging his legs down from the couch, he stood up and followed her to their tiny dining area. "I'll grab plates."

Rory caught his arm and pulled him to a chair. "You sit. I'll get them," she said as she gave him a gentle nudge.

"Wow, dinner and table service." He smiled as Rory disappeared into the kitchen, and then his smile turned into a suspicious frown. Reaching into the bag she began unloading carton after carton of Chinese food. "And enough food to feed an army. Are you breaking up with me?" he called after her.

Rory laughed. "Do you want a beer or a soda?"

"Avoiding the question, Ms. Gilmore?" he asked under his breath. "Beer, please."

She reappeared a moment later with two plates, a bottle of beer, and a can of soda tucked beneath her arm. "Did they give us chopsticks or do we need forks?"

Kevin rose and peered into the bag as he withdrew a handful of sauce packets. "Forks, I guess. I'll grab them."

"I'll get them," Rory insisted as she set the plates down and grabbed his hand, wrapping his fingers around the beer bottle, and nudging him back into his chair.

Rory grabbed two forks and some large serving spoons and returned to the table. "There we go," she said as she finished arranging their place settings. "Oh! Napkins."

Kevin's hand shot out and he caught her wrist, holding her in place. "Are you breaking up with me?" he asked urgently.

Rory blinked and then shook her head vehemently. "God, no. Why would you think that?"

"I don't know. You're acting a little funny."

"I am?"

"Well, you don't usually do the whole geisha thing."

"Geishas are Japanese. This is Chinese," she said as she gestured to the food.

"Rory," he pled.

She shook her head again. "No. No," she added emphatically.

Kevin eyed her speculatively. "You just felt like waiting on me tonight?"

"I should have put my pearls on, like Donna Reed."

His hand slipped from her wrist to cover hers. "I can live without the napkins," he said gruffly.

Rory bit her lip as she nodded. "I had lunch with Mitchum Huntzberger today and he thinks I'm the right person for a position that's opening up," she blurted. When Kevin's eyebrows shot up, she added, "A dream job."

"Wow. Okay, uh, what is it?" he asked as he slowly withdrew his hand.

"Some kind of political writer thing based out of Boston. He wants someone to follow national stories on the ground instead of pulling stories from the wires. It would involve a lot of travel too. I'd go out to various places around the country to find out how issues are affecting people in that area," she went on in a rush.


"I know." Rory sat back, watching as Kevin assimilated the information.

"And he just called you today out of the blue?"

"Well, he called yesterday, but I didn't know what he wanted until I met him for lunch today."

"I see. And this is your dream job?" he asked quietly.

"Well, kind of like it. I told you that I used to want to be Christiane Amanpour," she said with a tentative smile. "I don't think that there are any foxholes to jump into, but yeah..."

"Yeah, well, that's good," he said with a slow nod.

Rory watched as he sat still for a moment, and then reached for the large container of rice. "Rice or lo mein?" he asked as he began to fill his plate.

"Uh, rice, please," she answered, startled by the abrupt change in topic.

"So, did you take it?" he asked as he handed her the container, only a slight quiver in his voice betraying the cool indifference in his tone.

Rory stared at him, puzzled by his reaction to the news. "I told him I need to think about it. Besides, I'm sure I would have to interview for the position still. It's not like Mitchum will hand it to me on a silver platter." Kevin nodded and opened a container of sweet and sour pork. "What do you think about it?" she prodded.

He covered the pristine bed of rice with the virulently red concoction and shrugged. "Sounds cool. Very cool. Congratulations."

"I haven't said I was going for it," she objected.

"Still, it's cool," he said with an absent nod. "Did you get egg rolls?"

Rory gaped at him for a moment, and then reached for another container, handing it to him without another word.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"You look beat," Luke commented as Lorelai slid in between the sheets beside him.

"I am, babe." She yawned and snuggled up against him, nuzzling his chest with her nose.

"Anything I can do to help?" Luke tossed the newspaper he was reading aside and slouched down on his pillows, lazily running his fingers through Lorelai's hair.

Lorelai smiled up at him. "I'd say ravage me, but frankly, I can barely feel my own toes. I can't expect you to curl them for me if I can't do it on my own."

"That sounded dirty," Luke murmured, pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead. "But I'd be more than happy to try anyway."

With a half-tired, half-interested moan, Lorelai moved onto her back, running her hands across Luke's chest as he rolled to hover over her. "You're so pretty," she whispered, her eyelids drooping wearily.

Luke kissed each eyelid, then the tip of her nose. "Just relax," he said soothingly, reaching for the top button of her pajama top.

With a sigh, Lorelai raised her hand and traced a path down his stubbled jaw. "I love you," she said quietly.

"I love you, too," Luke rasped, complying as Lorelai wrapped a hand around his neck and pulled him to her chest.

She lowered her hand to his, interlacing her fingers with his and giving it an affectionate squeeze. "April has a boyfriend," she said, almost apologetically. She felt Luke stiffen, but he didn't move. "It's long overdue," she added. "It's time for her to have a boyfriend."

Luke sighed heavily. "She can't."

With a laugh, Lorelai released his hand and circled her arms around his shoulders. "You don't get a say in it."

Luke raised his head and glared at Lorelai. "Wanna bet? I have lots of say in it."

"It's part of growing up," Lorelai said, massaging his tense shoulders. "Besides, if you're thinking of getting a shotgun, there's a waiting period. You couldn't get to him in time to prevent anything."

"She's too young," he said, slumping in defeat. "She just... she can't... Really? She really has a boyfriend?"

Lorelai nodded. "Let's try to avoid the crazy father scenario and meet him first. I'll talk to April, tell her we'd like to meet Danny."

Luke stiffened again. "Danny? She's dating a guy named Danny? I'll kill him."

"That's illegal," she reminded him. "Especially if the only reason you can muster for killing him is having a name like Danny."

Luke rolled away from Lorelai onto his back. "I knew a Danny or two in my life. They're always up to no good."

"Like making out with girls under the bleachers?" Lorelai teased. "Because, last I heard, that was a very Butch kind of thing to do."

Luke growled and jabbed his thumb at his chest. "I'm a guy. I know what guys think. No good can come of this boyfriend stuff."

Lorelai shifted to her side and ran her fingers across his brow. "Let's meet this boy first. Then we can decide if it's curtains for him, okay?"

Closing his eyes, Luke let out another growl of frustration. "Fine," he said. "We'll meet him. But one false move, and I'm getting the noose. Got it?"

"Got it," Lorelai said solemnly.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai stumbled into the diner, her eyes wild as they swept the empty dining room. "Luke!"

He barreled out of the kitchen. "What? What's wrong? What happened?" he asked as he rushed to her.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong," she assured him as she grasped his wrist and began pulling him toward the curtain.

"Where's Ellie?" he repeated, allowing her to drag him along.

"She's with Kirk and Lulu. Kirk said they needed the practice before little Tabitha gets here."

"Tabitha? Who's Tabitha?" he stammered as she yanked him into the store room and kicked the door shut.

"Tabitha is the name they picked out for a girl," she informed him as she shoved him up against the door.

"You left our kid with Kirk and Lulu?" Lorelai began kissing his neck. "What are you doing?" he asked as he tried to push her away.

"We only have twenty minutes," she said, grabbing two fistfuls of flannel and pulling him to her. "Get with the program." With that, Lorelai took full advantage of his gaping mouth by kissing him ardently.

When they came up for air Luke gasped, "You left Ellie with those two nuts?"

"They were ready, willing and able—and so am I," she asserted, reaching under his shirt for his belt buckle.

"Stop that," he hissed, batting her hands away.

"No, Luke, the clock is ticking." Pressing her body up against his, she cupped the back of his head. "Kiss me."

"Lorelai, it's the middle of the day."

"Never bothered you before," she murmured as she nipped at his ear.

Luke tried to squirm away. "You gave our kid to Kirk."

"I'm kissing you and you're thinking about Kirk?"

"I'm thinking about Ellie!"

"Not much better unless you're thinking about how Ellie was made." She rocked back on her heels and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring up at him. "Fifteen minutes."

"Lorelai, I...."

"Unless that sentence is going to end with 'want you so bad I can't stand it,' I'm not interested."

"You know I do."


"But you left our kid with Kirk and Lulu."

"Lulu is a teacher."

"Yes, I know. Hey, why isn't she in school?" he asked with a scowl.

"In-service day."

"In-service by babysitting our kid?"

"Ugh!" she grunted, throwing her hands up in the air.

Luke pushed away from the door and reached for her hands. "Lorelai, come on."

"I was trying to come on, but you aren't playing," she pouted.

"I just... you ran in here like something was wrong, and Ellie wasn't with you, and then the whole Kirk and Lulu thing... Tabitha?"

"Beats Esmerelda."

"True." He gave her hands a gentle squeeze. "I'm sorry."

Lorelai blew out a frustrated breath. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry too."

Pulling her hands to his chest, he held them against his strumming heart. "Let me take you out this weekend," he suggested in a low voice.

"Take me out?"

"On a date. We'll get a sitter. A real sitter," he amended sternly. "Dinner, just the two of us."

"For once, I wasn't worried about my next meal," she said petulantly.

His lips curved into a smile as he raised her hand to his mouth and kissed it softly. "I didn't say where we'd have dinner," he murmured in a low, husky voice.

Lorelai swayed toward him. "Mr. Danes, are you trying to seduce me?"

He nodded imperceptibly and then pressed a kiss to the inside of her wrist. "Find a sitter; anyone but Kirk and Lulu."

"Got it," she said with a nod. "I'm on it."

"Good. Now go get my kid before they do any permanent damage," he said as he released her abruptly and opened the store room door, tugging his flannel down as he left.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"I need advice, and I need answers, and I need it now," Rory blurted out as Lane answered the phone.

"Well, hello to you to," Lane chuckled. "The boys are fine."

"Sorry," Rory murmured. "How are Steve and Kwan?"

"They're loud, annoying, and becoming frightening clones of their father," Lane said. "Steve got a bucket stuck on his head yesterday."

"A bucket?" Rory asked, surprised.

"Believe me, I'd much rather discuss whatever drama you're experiencing right now," Lane said. "All that really matters is that we found out the hard way that Crisco unsticks kids from the most embarrassing predicaments. Now then, what's up?"

Rory quickly filled Lane in on Mitchum Huntzberger's offer.

"Oh my god," Lane said. "Hold on a minute."

Rory waited, listening to muffled thuds and thumps. She heard a 'pop,' the sound of tearing paper, and then Lane returned. "Got your chips?" Rory asked, amused.

"Ready," Lane confirmed, crunching on a Pringle. "What did Kevin have to say about all this?"

Rory groaned. "See, that's just the thing," she said. "He didn't say much of anything. He just kind of congratulated me, and then blew off the topic all together. He was much more interested in the eggrolls than my potentially life-altering career move."

"Mmhmm," Lane said, downing another chip. "Maybe he's like Zach. You know, slow to process things? I'll bet it took Zach a month to finally digest the news that the Easter Bunny wasn't real."

"Maybe," Rory agreed. "I mean, I guess it is a lot to take in."

"Well, sure," Lane said. "Or maybe he was just trying to play it cool while inside he was slowly dying. Guys can be such drama queens."

"That's a bit melodramatic," Rory said. "But then, maybe you're on to something. Maybe he was just trying to play it cool."

Lane crunched away on her chips. "You guys seem to be doing so well. I'm sure it had to throw him for a loop to realize you're going to move away."

Rory paused. "Wait, I didn't say I'm going to move away," she clarified. "I'm just considering the options. I haven't even interviewed for the position yet."

"But you're going to take the job, right?" Lane said. "I mean, come on, Gilmore. This is everything you've been working toward since you were in elementary school. The rest of us were playing four squares or hopscotch, and you were running around the school yard with a hairbrush, interviewing the guys playing kickball."

Rory moaned. "I know," she said. "I know. It's the chance of a lifetime."

"Is there a 'but' I hear lurking around there?" Lane asked. She was greeted with silence. "Wow," she breathed. "You've really got it bad for him, don't you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You're considering passing this up for Kevin."

"I don't know," Rory said. "This was my dream job. This was what I always wanted."

"Was?" Lane asked.

"Wow," Rory said, after a moment. "I really care about Kevin. I... I don't know if I want to choose my career over him."

A loud crunch sounded over the phone. "Wow," Lane parroted. "Rory Gilmore is having the classic 'your man versus your dream' crisis. I wish I was recording this. This is fascinating. Is he worth it? You know, is he worth giving up the dream?"

"I think... " Rory said slowly. "I... think maybe yes. I mean, I think maybe the dream isn't quite the same as it used to be."

"So, you're staying?" Lane asked breathlessly.

"I don't know yet," Rory said. "I have to think about this. But I think I need to really factor in the part where I'm happy. I'm very happy right now with the way things are."

"But will you be happy with things once you say no?" Lane asked.

"That remains to be seen, I guess," Rory murmured. "God, I wish I had some Pringles right now."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Damn it," Lorelai cursed, snapping her phone shut and heading for the coffee maker in the Dragonfly's kitchen.

"What is it, Sweetie?" Sookie asked as she grabbed a knife and began to chop up a tomato.

"Nobody, and I mean nobody is available to babysit this weekend. What is going on?" she asked, narrowing her eyes as Emily breezed into the room. She bit her lip, watching as Emily filled a coffee mug.

"I'm sorry, honey," Sookie sighed. "You know I'd take Ellie in a heartbeat, but Jackson..."

"What's the matter with Ellie?" Emily asked, taking a sip of her coffee. "Is her ear still bothering her? Have you been giving her the antibiotics properly?"

"No, mother, I'm experimenting. I want to see if her ear will fall off without medication," Lorelai sighed.

Sookie giggled. "Lorelai can't find a babysitter," she explained.

"Oh," Emily said. "What do you need a babysitter for?"

Lorelai groaned. "Well, I thought we could just leave Ellie in her playpen for a few hours alone while Luke and I went out for a while, but it turns out that even if we put plenty of toys in the playpen, it's still considered child abandonment."

"I certainly hope you're joking," Emily said, glowering at Lorelai.

"Yes," Lorelai said, blowing out a frustrated breath of air. "It just turns out that everyone in a five hundred mile radius has plans for a Saturday night. Everyone but my husband and me. Everyone else gets to have fun, and we get to just sit at home and rot. Isn't that a great joke? I find it hilarious, personally."

"Aw, hon," Sookie said, reaching for a cucumber. "What about Sunday? I'm sure that we could at least take Ellie off your hands for an hour or so."

Lorelai held up her hand. "No, that's okay. I just need a real night out for a change. I should know better."

"Lorelai," Emily admonished. "What on earth is the matter with you? You're being incredibly rude to Sookie."


"Oh, she isn't," Sookie said. "Believe me, I understand her frustration. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt." She chopped the cucumber in half and began to cut it into slices.

"What frustration?" Emily asked.

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Just trust me on this, Mom. I'm frustrated. Luke's frustrated. We're just one big, happy ball of frustration. Friday night dinner is going to be a real hoot, let me tell you."

"Well, you don't have to have an attitude about it," Emily murmured. "I thought we were past the constant digs about what a chore Friday night dinners are for you."

Lorelai shook her head. "I didn't mean that," she moaned. "I just have needs, you know? And I'm tired of meeting everyone else's needs when nobody's meeting mine. I just want one night alone with Luke. Is that too much to ask?"

"What needs?" Emily asked, frowning. "You have a new home. You have three happy, well-adjusted girls. Your father and I offered assistance, but you shot that down rather soundly. What more is there?"

"I just need to... well... I need to get..." Lorelai stammered.

"What?" Emily pressed. "What do you need to get?"

"Gah!" Lorelai exclaimed, slamming her coffee mug to the counter. "Some, Mom." She stared meaningfully at her mother. "I need to get... some."

Emily returned her stare with a blank look, glancing over her shoulder as Sookie tittered behind her hand. "I don't... Oh," she said, her eyes widening. "Oh my."

"Well, you asked," Lorelai muttered, folding her arms across her chest. "And frankly, I'm getting desperate." She let her head droop forward. "I miss Luke," she whimpered.

"I see," Emily said softly. She put her coffee cup down and cleared her throat. "I think we could cancel our dinner plans. You could leave Ellie with Richard and I and... Luke could take you out to dinner."

Lorelai whipped her head up to stare at Emily. "Really?" she whispered. "You'd really give us a night to ourselves?"

Emily frowned. "Of course," she said. "Honestly, Lorelai, you give me no credit. All you had to do was ask, and your father and I would have been happy to make time for a night with just Ellie."

"I'm sorry. And thanks," Lorelai sighed, closing her eyes. "I am forever indebted to you for this, Mom. You have no idea how much we need this."

"I have a much better idea than you think I do," Emily said, smirking and pouring herself a fresh cup of coffee.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai strode into the diner, a triumphant grin on her face. "Hook me up with a cheeseburger with the works, Burger Boy," she announced as she slid onto a stool.

Luke arched an eyebrow. "What's the occasion?" he asked. "Wait, let me guess. It's Wednesday."

"Oh, I have a much better reason to celebrate than it just being Hump Day," Lorelai said. She cocked her head to the side, deep in thought. "Actually, Hump Day is a most appropriate name, all things considered."

"What the hell are you yammering about?"

Lorelai beamed. "You. Me. Friday. Prime Rib at Sniffy's. Champagne. Strawberries. Little black dress that will be discarded as quickly as humanly possible. Be there, or be square."

"I'll be there," Luke said, a slow smile spreading across his face. "And I'll have your food up in a minute." He leaned over the counter, kissing her quickly before disappearing into the kitchen.

Lorelai remained at the counter. She picked up a spoon, breathing hot air onto it then trying to affix it to her nose. After three attempts, it stuck. "Aha!" she proclaimed to the nearly empty diner. "Yuri Gellar's got nothin' on me." She jumped when the bell over the entrance announced a new arrival, and the spoon fell clattering to the counter.

"Playing with your silverware again?" April asked, standing behind Lorelai.

"Busted," Lorelai laughed, spinning to face her step-daughter. With raised eyebrows, she drank in the sight of April's companion. "Danny, I presume?" she asked, sticking her hand out in greeting.

"That's me," Danny said, shaking Lorelai's hand while April officially introduced them.

"And that's my Dad," April said as Luke came out of the kitchen with a cheeseburger and fries for Lorelai. "Dad, this is Danny, Danny, this is my dad, Luke."

Luke nodded at the boy, but said nothing.

"Hey," Danny said.

"Hey yourself," Luke muttered, staring at the boy.

April glanced at Lorelai, her eyes sending a silent plea for assistance.

"Soo," Lorelai said, interrupting the uncomfortable silence. "I've got a cheeseburger. What's your poison, guys?" she asked the teens.

Danny frowned. "Uh... poison?"

April laughed. "She's just being Lorelai. She jokes a lot. She means what do we want to eat?"

"Oh," Danny said. "Um, can I just get some cheese fries?"

Luke nodded slowly and glanced at April. "What about you?" he asked curtly.

"I'll have cheesefries, too," she said brightly.

"Coming right up," Luke muttered, and stalked off to the kitchen again.

Lorelai grabbed her plate and stood up. "Well, if you don't mind watching me eat my burger, we can go take the corner table and chat while Luke cooks up your fries." She led April and Danny across the diner and the trio sat down. "So, Danny," Lorelai said, nibbling on a French fry. "I hear you're a big football star. Any plans to grow a mustache and be just like Burt Reynolds?"

"Huh?" Danny stared blankly at Lorelai.

"Never mind," she said. "See, Burt Reynolds was in The Longest Yard. It was a weak comparison at best."

Danny blinked, still lost. "Oh. Yeah," he said, glancing at April.

"Don't worry," April said, patting Danny's arm. "You have to have hours of research on the Internet Movie Database under your belt to catch most of Lorelai's references." She grinned at the dark look Lorelai shot her. "It's a compliment," April argued. "You're the master of the under-the-radar movie reference."

"And don't you forget it," Lorelai said, taking a massive bite out of her cheeseburger.

Luke headed for their table, his arms loaded with plates. "Cheese fries and cheese fries," he pronounced, sliding a plate in front of each teen, then setting a salad in front of an empty chair for himself. He went back to the counter and retrieved two glasses filled with soda, and a glass of water, then returned. Once everyone was served, he sat down and began to eat his salad without saying a word.

Lorelai glanced at Luke, then shrugged at April who was staring furtively at her silent father. "So how is the Fidgel the Frog dissection going?" Lorelai asked half-heartedly.

Danny brightened considerably at mention of the project. "Fidgel is pregnant," he announced proudly.

Luke stared at Danny, his forkful of salad stalled mid-way to his mouth. "Since when do frogs get pregnant?" he asked bluntly.

April cleared her throat. "Actually, Fidgel is just full of eggs," she said. "Turns out we should have named it Fiona or something."

"Yeah," Danny said. "Pregnant. With eggs."

April smiled obliviously. "Close enough," she declared.

"That's not..." Luke began, glaring when Lorelai reached over and touched his arm lightly. He sighed heavily and ate the forgotten forkful of salad. He swallowed and wiped his mouth with a napkin. "So, Danny," he said, his voice heavy with resignation. "What, uh... position do you play?"

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Rory glanced up from her laptop when Kevin walked into the apartment. He nodded at her, but averted eye contact and headed into the kitchen. Rory sighed and set the laptop onto the coffee table, then followed after him. "Hey," she said, watching from the doorway as he pulled a soda from the refrigerator and popped the top.

"Hey yourself." He closed the door behind him, drinking deeply from the can. "Thirsty," he gasped when he lowered it away from his mouth.

"I can see that," Rory said, crossing her arms over her chest. "We need to talk."

"Yeah," Kevin said, putting down the soda and jamming his hands into his pockets. "We do."

Rory turned and headed back into the living room, feeling Kevin coming up behind her. She sat down on the couch and patted the seat cushion beside her. Taking her cue, he sat down and cleared his throat.

"You're going to go after the job," he said blandly, staring ahead at the wall.

With a shaky sigh, Rory began to speak. "I put a lot of thought into this," she began. "This is the job I've always wanted. I've dreamed of it since I was a little girl. I've worked so hard since then, thinking that eventually somebody would take notice. They would see my dedication, my drive, my desire. I've worked so hard for this, Kevin."

Kevin nodded slowly, lowering his head. "You've earned it," he said softly. "You deserve this job. I shouldn't have been so surprised when you hit me with the news of your lunch with Huntzberger, but I was. I didn't react very well."

"Actually, you didn't react at all," Rory clarified. "Mostly, you blew me off."

"Yeah." Kevin sighed. "Inside, though, I was a mess. I wasn't ready to lose you, I guess. I didn't want you to see that."

Rory leaned closer to him. "That was probably the most important time to show a girl how you feel about her. Just for future reference."

"Man." Kevin flopped back in his seat and covered his face with his hands. "I don't know what to say. I mean, I'm happy for you. I am. I just was pretty damn happy about how things were. But I guess things change, right? That's just a fact of life. Things change, and you roll with the punches."

"Usually," Rory said.

Turning his head toward her, Kevin frowned. "Usually?"

Rory nodded slowly and stared down at her lap.

"What?" Kevin sat up straighter. "Rory, you have to take the job. You said it yourself, it's your chance of a lifetime. You can't stay. You can't pass up the one thing you've always wanted."

Rory shrugged. "Dreams change," she said. "The fact of the matter is, I realized I'm happy. I'm happy with how things are, and I don't want them to change. I want to stay here. I like my job at The Courant, and I like... well, I like you. I like us. I don't want to mess that up."

Kevin groaned and grabbed Rory's wrist, pulling her close. "Good god," he gasped. "You'd stay here for me?"

"Yes," Rory laughed. "I really would."

"You're insane," Kevin said, cupping her face with his hands and kissing her firmly. "And you're taking the job."

Rory pulled back. "No, I'm not."

"Yes," Kevin said. "You are. See, I looked into things. I have a lot of options in the Boston area. I could find a job in commuting distance easily. This guy has a skill set that's in high demand, believe you me." He scratched the back of his head and offered Rory a sheepish look. "In fact, uh, I've been scoping out some of the districts in the area, and I've already gotten a couple of nibbles on the old resume."


Kevin nodded. "Nibbles, interviews scheduled. You say po-tay-to..."

"I say po-tah-to," Rory murmured. Tilting her head to the side, she stared curiously at Kevin. "You'd really uproot your life just so I could take this job? You really thought this through?"

"I did." Kevin nodded. "I like my career. I like doing what I do, but I can do this anywhere. What I can't do is replace you, okay? All right, I sound like a spineless loser for saying it, but I'm not ready to lose you right now, Gilmore. I just got you. Call me selfish, but I've got dibs on your bony butt."

"Spoken like a true romantic." Rory beamed. "I knew I liked you for a reason, Jamison."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai walked into the Dragonfly Inn and paused. She turned toward the front desk and groaned in frustration as the sound of Michel's clipped French accent drifted toward her. "Not again," she muttered as she walked over to mediate what was obviously yet another argument.

"I have told you time and time again," Michel was bellowing at Matthew, the desk clerk. "This spreadsheet is not to be used unless you are adhering to the strict color-coding guidelines I have set up."

"I was just looking at it," Matthew argued. "I wanted to make sure today's check-ins were all..."

"Do not lie to me," Michel sniffed. "I saw you using the mouse. You were going to do something to ruin the entire system."

"Hey, guys," Lorelai interjected. "What's going on, here?"

"This man..." Michel began, pointing accusingly at Matthew.

"I had the audacity to scroll without permission," Matthew interrupted. "I needed to see the information in cell forty seven, and the screen only showed up to cell forty one. Apparently that qualifies as sabotage now. Can I take a break? It's either that or I throttle Gerard Depardieu, here."

"Yeah," Lorelai said, smiling weakly. "Go take a breather, Matt." She turned her attention to Michel, who was obviously fuming. "Michel, what is your problem?" she asked, exasperated. "Matt wasn't doing anything wrong. He's more than authorized to view any spreadsheets he needs to look at to do his job."

"You," Michel huffed. "You are my problem. You are always defending the delicate sensibilities of your precious help, yet you never take my side. Always quick to defend the scullery maids, but never me."

"That is not true!" Lorelai exclaimed.

"Oh, really?" Michel sneered. "Name one occasion where you ever came to my defense in any dispute."

Lorelai narrowed her eyes. "Do you really want to go there right now, Michel? You're the one who always starts the disputes in the first place. Did you ever consider being an adult and talking things out rationally? No. You just attack. So don't expect a pity party from me right now, okay? You need to relax and learn to be more professional, then maybe people will start taking you more seriously.

Michel looked taken aback. "Well, I never," he gasped.

"Oh, you always," Lorelai shot back.

Michel slammed his pad of post-it notes to the counter. "I do not have to take this abuse," he seethed.

Lorelai sighed. "This isn't abuse," she said. "This is just reality."

"Your reality, not mine," he pouted, drawing himself up to full height. "I quit."

"Oh, you do not," Lorelai said, rolling her eyes.

"Actually, I just did." Michel stared at her for a moment, then turned and strode out through the front door. Lorelai could only watch as he stormed out of the inn, her mouth agape.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"It was nice of Mom and Dad to offer to keep her for the night," Lorelai said as they pulled away from the Gilmore mansion.

"Yeah," Luke answered automatically.

"But she's still not sleeping well."


"Maybe it would be best if we pick her up," Lorelai said with a nod. "I'm not sure that my parents are up for the ear infection routine anymore."


Lorelai glanced over at him. "You okay?"

"I'm fine," he said with a shrug. When he glanced over and caught her eye, he sighed. "That schmuck April is dating..."

"Here we go," Lorelai whispered.

"I mean, come on. The guy is as dumb as a box of rocks."

"He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed," she reluctantly agreed.

"What can she see in him? I mean, she's so smart and he's so... not."

"He's handsome and popular and everything a sixteen-year-old girl wants," Lorelai said gently. "She isn't worried about his GPA, Doll."

"Yeah, but how can she even stand to spend any time with him? I had a hard time figuring out if he was supposed to be Beavis or Butthead," he ranted.

"Tough call. I think that if we just give it enough time, April will figure out which one he is and let us know."

"If he hurts her..." Luke growled, his hands tightening on the wheel.

"There isn't a damn thing you can do about it," Lorelai finished the sentence with a sad smile.

Casting a sharp look in her direction, Luke caught her steady gaze and then visibly deflated. "I know."

"She's young. Try not to worry too much. You and I both know that hearts don't really break, they just bruise a bit."

Luke exhaled loudly and then gave her a sheepish smile. "Yeah."

"It won't last forever, believe me." Lorelai turned and stared out at the passing scenery. Luke reached for her hand. "I can't believe he quit," she said softly.

"He'll come back," he said reassuringly.

"I hope so," she murmured as he turned off of the highway. "Where are you going?"

"I promised you a date."

"I thought that was a polite euphemism," she said, cocking one eyebrow at him.

"It was, but that doesn't mean I can't feed you first."

"Wow, a twofer?"

Luke smiled as they cruised along the deserted county road. "Plus, I figure it's been a while since we dropped in on Maisy and Buddy."

"Ooh! Sniffy's!" Lorelai grinned. "You didn't forget. I hope they haven't changed the menus."

Luke rolled his eyes. "Even if they did, the story would still be on there."


"Uh oh," Luke grunted with a puzzled frown.

Lorelai glanced over at him as the car began to slow. "Bad?" she asked as she saw his eyes scanning the gauges on the dash.

"Aw, jeez," he groaned.

"What? What's wrong?"

Luke steered the car to the shoulder of the road. "Outta gas," he muttered.

Lorelai's jaw dropped. "Out of gas? That's the oldest trick in the book, Luke. Did you plan this?"

"No, I didn't plan this!" he shot back.

"Easy, I was just joking, Cool Hand," she said soothingly.

"I can't believe this."

"Don't freak out, this is why God created triple-A, right?" she said as she dug for her cell phone.

"I meant to fill it up this afternoon, but then things got crazy..."

"Life is crazy these days," she said sympathetically. She pulled the phone from her purse and then scowled at the screen. "No signal."


"I have no bars. Do you have bars?"

"If you don't have any, I won't either," he said as he pulled his phone from his pocket. Luke frowned at the dark screen. "I must have forgotten to charge it," he said in a bewildered tone. He tossed the phone down on the seat and hit the steering wheel with the heel of his hand. "Damn it!"

"Okay, okay, don't panic," she said quickly. "We'll just walk until we find a house or something." Luke cast a dubious glance at her precariously high heels and Lorelai looked down. "Okay, we'll walk slowly."

Leaning across her, Luke jerked open the glove box. "I can't believe this," he muttered as he groped for the flashlight he had stashed there. Turning it on, he nodded when a dim beam of light appeared. "Stay put," he said, and threw his shoulder against the door.

"What? What do you mean?" Lorelai asked as he slammed the driver door. "I'm not staying here alone!" she said, twisting in her seat. When Luke opened the back hatch she called, "If you think I'm staying here as bait for the maniac with the hook, you're crazy!"

Luke rummaged around in the cluttered cargo area and shook his head. "You'd out-crazy the crazy guy with the hook." He tucked something under his arm and slammed the door. A moment later, the passenger door opened and he held out a pair of flower patterned flip-flops.

"Oh." Lorelai took the sandals and kicked off her pumps. "Aren't you glad I never clean out the car?" she asked with a saucy grin.

"At the moment, yes."

He offered his hand and she took it, sliding down from the seat to the sloping grass at the side of the road. Lorelai giggled and wrapped her arms around his torso to steady herself. "This could only happen to us," she said, pressing her forehead to his shoulder.

Luke reached up and began to stroke her hair. "I'm sorry."

"Not your fault." She tipped her head back to invite a kiss and Luke obliged.

"I won't let the maniac with the hook get you," he promised.

Lorelai's lips curved into a smile as she traced the collar of his shirt with one fingertip. "It's getting dark and we're all alone in the middle of nowhere. Are you sure you didn't plan to run out of gas?"

"At the moment it isn't sounding so bad," he admitted gruffly.

"You know, we could wait for a little while, see if anyone comes along before we take off."

"You think?" Luke frowned dubiously as he turned to look in each direction.

"And if we wait, we should probably make sure we're warm enough," she said softly.

"Warm enough?"

"Well, it's a little chilly out. It's important to conserve body heat," she said as she slid one hand from his chest to the curve of his neck. "We should get in the back seat."

"Ah," Luke hummed as he glanced back at the car. "You think?"

"Yeah, we definitely should."

Luke turned and yanked on the door handle. Lorelai giggled and moved to scramble up into the back seat of the car. "Crap. Baby seat."

"Got it," Luke said as he hurried to the other side of the car. "This is nuts," he muttered as he began unbuckling Ellie's safety seat.

Lorelai giggled. "This is fun." She tossed her purse to the floorboard as Luke shoved the car seat over the back of the seat and let it tumble into the cargo area before climbing into the car. "Feel seventeen again?" she asked breathlessly.

"I don't think I did this at seventeen." Luke pulled her closer and kissed her heatedly. Lorelai giggled again as he pressed her back against the seat, and pulled him down on top of her. "This is so crazy that we'd probably scare the homicidal maniacs," he grumbled as they tried to rearrange their tangled legs.

"Show me your hook?" As Luke reared back and glared at her, her cell began to ring. "Bars! We have bars in the backseat!"

"Good to know." Luke nodded. The phone went unanswered as he bent to kiss her again.





To be continued... 




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