Episode 9.11 "Nothing Says Funny Like a Funeral"
by Jewels12 and DieHardJavaJunkie


Authors' Note: We would like to sincerely thank our coordinator, Robinpoppins, and our beta, sosmitten for their invaluable guidance and wisdom. And we thank you, the fans for your unfailing support. Enjoy!

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Lorelai returned from the kitchen with a heaping bowl of popcorn in her hands and a giddy smile on her face. "You get the movie set up?" she asked Luke, dropping next to him on the couch.

"Yes," he sighed. "I still don't know why you're forcing me to watch this." He blatantly checked his watch. "At 11:25 PM."

"Because you promised me a midnight margarita, and since I can't have real alcohol, this is the next best thing. Press play."

"I did not promise you a midnight margarita," Luke grumbled. His eyes scanned over the DVD case. "Practical Magic," he read out. "What is this, some kind of witchy movie?"

"Witchy?" She smirked. "Fast forward to the good part," she told him.

"The good part?"

"When they dance around the counter while drinking margaritas. I've explained this to you," she said, becoming agitated.

"I never knew you were such a lush," he said teasingly.

"Things become much more desirable when you can't have them anymore. Like Rosalind Shays falling down the elevator shaft." Luke stared at her blankly. She patted his leg. "Start the movie, Hon."

He groaned softly, only to be interrupted by the shrill ring of the telephone. "Someone is calling us at 11:30 at night?" he asked, stunned. "Who the hell calls someone at this hour?"

"Phone sex operators, for one." Lorelai shot him a pointed look as she rose tiredly from the couch and padded over to the hall table, picking up the receiver. "Hello," she answered.

"Lorelai?" Richard's deep voice replied. "Yes, hello. It's your father calling."

"Hey, Dad. What's going on?" she asked worriedly.

"Oh, nothing too concerning," he said, his tone casual.

"Nothing too concerning?" she repeated. "He says this at 11:30 at night."

Richard was silent for a moment. "I'm sorry, did you just say that it was 11:30 at night?"

"I did say that. It's 11:30. Do you know where your children are?"

"Oh dear. I had no idea how late it was. I must have lost track of the time. There was a fascinating documentary on the History Channel about Andrew Jackson. Did you know that he was orphaned at fourteen?"

"I did not know that."

"Anyway, the reason that I'm calling you, Lorelai, is to inform you that dinner this Friday night is canceled." Her eyes lit up. "Your mother and I will be attending a wake for Floyd Stiles."

"Floyd Stiles? As in Jason's father? The Magnum PI of the insurance biz?" she asked, watching Luke's head snap around in interest.

"He passed away two days ago," Richard confirmed. "Brain embolism."

"Wow. I'm... I'm sorry, Dad."

"Yes, well, these things happen."

She nodded solemnly. "Um, when is the funeral?"

"Saturday morning," Richard said. "You're not expected to attend, Lorelai," he added. "This was just a courtesy call."

"Oh, yeah, no, I know." She glanced briefly at Luke. "But I think, well, maybe I should go."

"That's completely up to you. Your mother and I are going to both services. It's proper business etiquette, of course."

"Sure, of course."

"I can give you directions if you'd like," Richard offered.

"Oh, um, I'll get back to you on that. Thanks."

"Very well. Goodnight, Lorelai."

"Night, Dad." She gently placed the phone back in its cradle, and paused for a moment, pressing her thumb to her chin.

"You thinking of going?" Luke asked, his voice interrupting her from her thoughts.

Lorelai turned and walked back to the couch, resuming her position next to him. "Do you think I shouldn't?" she countered, trying to gauge his feelings on the subject matter.

He shrugged. "I think you should do what you want to do. It's your decision." His eyes shifted to the floor briefly, before returning to her. "If you do decide to go, though, I mean... I could go with you."

She nodded her head and smiled at him genuinely. "I'd like that," she said.

Luke wrapped his arm around her and breathed deeply, sinking further into the couch. "Tired," he murmured.

Lorelai nudged him. "You have the morning off. Start the movie."

He reluctantly obliged, rolling his eyes at the first sight of a cauldron. "I knew this was a witchy movie," he grumped.

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Lorelai dropped her coat and her purse off in her office and checked the clock. She had arrived just in time to welcome the clown convention to Stars Hollow. As she walked into the lobby, she saw Michel standing at the computer, smiling and laughing to himself as he typed. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the phone was ringing. Lorelai rolled her eyes and walked toward the phone. As she moved around the desk, Michel quickly clicked out of the window he had open.

"Dragonfly Inn, would you please hold? Thank you." Lorelai hung up the phone and turned to Michel. "You couldn't possibly think I didn't see the match.com logo in the corner, right?"

"I do not know what you are talking about," Michel huffed, bringing up the reservation calendar with a few clicks of the mouse in an attempt to further disguise his motives.

"Yes you do, l'homme bombe," Lorelai teased.

"For your information, that is no longer my user name," Michel shot back.

Lorelai raised her eyebrows. "Ha! So you admit that you still have a user name."

"That could mean a number of things. It could mean that I no longer have a user name at all. You are so quick to jump to conclusions," Michel replied sarcastically.

"You might as well just let me see it. You think Google searching will yield nothing?"

"If you do not know what to search for, you will get no results."

Lorelai nodded. "Ah, yes, but if you weren't doing something concerning your profile, you wouldn't have hidden it so quickly when I came around."

Michel sighed. "I have nothing to hide."

"Oh, really? Well then, I'll just bring up this internet window," Lorelai started, reaching for the mouse.

Michel's hand instinctively scooted the mouse away from Lorelai's hand. He cleared his throat and sighed. "I was here first," he said stubbornly.

"I know how to find the internet history, so don't think you're getting away with something."

Michel rolled his eyes and maximized the window containing his match.com profile. "There were so many commercials for the dating sites on television. And all the people looked so happy! As December turned to January, I realized that inevitably, January turns to February, which means that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I refuse to be alone and endure the world's mocking for another year."

Lorelai pulled at the sleeve of her sweater, trying not to laugh. "You know the people on those commercials are obviously actors, right?"

"Do not mock me! At least I am taking charge of my love life, before all the beautiful women are claimed by undeserving men with poor fashion sense."

She gently put her hand on Michel's shoulder. "So things didn't work out with Tasha?"

Michel turned to Lorelai and muttered under his breath in French, ignoring the question entirely. Lorelai leaned forward and started to read. She giggled as she noticed several changes to his profile page. "I don't know where to begin! So much to mock! And so many changes!"

"You know, you could begin by taking care of the customer on hold."

"I almost want l'homme bombe back. At least he didn't copy and paste parts of other people's profiles to make himself look good."

"I have no idea what you mean," Michel said, starting to walk away from the desk.

Lorelai grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back to the computer. "First of all, the formatting of the text right here is totally different. And have you read your profile out loud, just to hear how it sounds?"

"Why would I do that? No one will read it out loud; they read it to themselves and choose to speak to me if they are interested."

"Your profile says that you're seeking a mate who loves movies, going to car shows, and working out. Then you throw in your love for chows and shopping, and suddenly it's back to manly things. Handiwork, sports, and... wait. Oh my God. Dancing?"

"Is that so hard to believe? You must include some truthful information, no?"

"Uh, hang on a second. The Paso Doble? Seriously? The Viennese Waltz?"

Michel cleared his throat, looked at the floor, and then straightened up. He turned to Lorelai, stuffed his hands in his pockets, and took a deep breath. "And hip-hop."

Lorelai gasped. "Oh my God, this is getting more mockable as we go! I can't even picture you listening to hip hop. Dancing to it is another story entirely."

"Ha, ha, very funny. Learning different types of dance is a perfectly legitimate interest, Lorelai."

"For someone who isn't putting it on their match.com profile just to snag a girl," Lorelai insisted.

Michel rolled his eyes. "I am simply trying to get to know some new people."

"Well if you want to go fishing in a new pond, you should use the right bait, don't you think?" Lorelai asked, scrolling down the page.

He took his hands out of his pockets and balled them up into fists, becoming visibly annoyed. "I seriously doubt that you have never told a lie to a man before."

"This has nothing to do with me."

"And when you told that lie, you told it so he would be interested in you, no? That is obviously the goal of the website, is it not?"

She sighed. "Michel, telling the truth is much easier. What happens when you find a girl on the website? You really like her, and you go on a date. Things go well, and before you know it, she wants to go dancing? And asks you to teach her to do the Paso Doble?"

"Lorelai, anyone who tells the truth on these websites will end up alone. The point is to sound interesting. If you tell the truth, and you don't sound interesting, then no one will even contact you. That is how relationships on the internet work. In real life it works in a similar manner."

Lorelai snorted. "Yes, because every successful relationship that begins outside of a computer screen is based on lies, too."

Michel shook his head. "I do not appreciate you mocking me!"

"Well, then, next time, don't get on match.com during work, Maître d'amour. Every time I'm here when you are, I will be watching you. Now, I won't be here on Saturday, but I have spies and informants."

He nodded. "Did you realize that you still have someone on hold?"

Lorelai gasped and frantically reached for the phone. "Thank you for holding, this is Lorelai speaking," she said as Michel brought up the reservation screen on the computer and walked away.

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That evening, Luke sat on the couch watching ESPN while Lorelai fought with the printer. She finally won the battle, removing the papers from the printer tray and walking into the living room. Lorelai seated herself on the couch, dropping two pieces of paper in Luke's lap as she passed. "I didn't like the directions my dad gave you to the funeral, so I MapQuested instead. And you should thank me, because the printer nearly ate my hand while I was doing so."

Luke muted the television. "There was nothing wrong with the directions he gave us, Lorelai."

"He's just a very vague directions giver," Lorelai replied.

Luke shrugged. "I understood them."

"Fine, then. I guess we should go shopping for some golf clubs tomorrow, because you and my father are best friends now."

Luke was about to respond when April walked into the living room, holding a piece of paper in her hand. "Lorelai?"

"That's my name, don't wear it out," Lorelai said, patting the arm of the couch to encourage April to sit. "What's up?"

"I was wondering if you knew off the top of your head if Rory had any of these books," April said, handing the piece of paper to Lorelai

Looking over the piece of paper, Lorelai raised her eyebrows. "I have no idea. She may have a few of them, but if she does, they're most likely at her apartment."

April nodded. "I should call her and see if she knows where they are. Or maybe I could take her up on her offer and drop by to hang out sometime."

"Did you look through the boxes in the garage?" Luke asked. "There's a bunch in there."

"No, I didn't. Thanks," April said. She started to walk away, but turned around. "Do you think you could bring me over sometime? Rory did mention an open invitation."

Lorelai smiled. "Okay, what's the deal? Do you two have hot guys to go on a double date with? Are you TP-ing someone's house? Or are you planning on inviting some other girls over and freezing their bras?"

"Nothing like that," April said, shaking her head. "I've just been really anxious to hang out with her. Every time we talk, she makes her place sound fabulous. It would be fun to spend some time with her."

Luke turned to Lorelai, and then to April. "Did you ask Rory about this?"

April shook her head. "No. Well, at least, not really. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago, but in more of a hypothetical sense."

"You think she'll care?" Luke asked Lorelai.

"Nah. As long as she has enough time to hide her Hello Kitty underwear before April gets there, I'm sure she won't mind."

Luke rolled his eyes. "Ah, jeez."

"What? She lives on her own, who knows if she puts her laundry away after she does it?" Lorelai said.

He sighed. "I'll tell you what. We're going to the funeral on Saturday morning. We'll drop you off on the way and I'll pick you up on Sunday afternoon."

April grinned. "Really?"

"If it's okay with Rory," Luke insisted.

"Fabulous! I'll call her." April ran around the couch and grabbed the telephone.

"I guess we don't need these anymore," Luke said, picking up the papers from his lap and tossing them on the coffee table.

Lorelai looked at Luke and groaned. "You don't know how to get there from Rory's place? Please don't make me look at MapQuest again! I like both of my hands. And my fingers!"

"If your hands came that close to the printer, you're doing something wrong."

"Remember that when you come to me complaining about how much you miss having a pinkie finger," Lorelai teased, pointing at Luke as she got up from the couch.

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On Friday morning, the southeast table of the diner was occupied by four prominent women who sat huddled together, having a very hushed conversation. Three of the women were Friday gossip session regulars, however one, was relatively new to the club, and she currently held the spotlight.

"So I decided to take a leap," Gypsy concluded.

"And..." Lulu asked leadingly. "Have you met anyone exciting yet? Any potential matches?"

Gypsy shrugged noncommittally.

"C'mon, Gypsy! Give us a little somethin'!" Babette pleaded.

Patty placed her hand on Gypsy's arm insistently. "Most importantly, dear, let's talk about your screen name. If we need to work on that, I can cancel my afternoon belly dancing class."

Gypsy leaned in a little closer and said through tight lips, "If any of you repeat this, you'll be blacklisted at my shop." Her three tablemates nodded, encouraging her to continue. "BackseatBabe," she finally whispered.

"Fabulous," Patty gushed. "You'll have your pick of an entire breed of ill-mannered men." Gypsy rolled her eyes.

"What about your profile?" Babette asked eagerly. "Your interests?"

"Well, originally, it was all about cars, but most guys are intimidated by chicks that know their way around a carburetor. So then I thought of some other stuff that vaguely interests me."

"Like what?" Lulu wondered.

"Like movies, crocheting, baking, kickboxing... shopping," Gypsy added the last item under her breath.

"Sweetheart," Patty began, shaking her head, "you're missing the most important point."

"Sex?" Babette supplied.

"Sex," Patty affirmed, her eyes shifting to Luke as he made his way to their table, coffee pot in hand.

"Anyone for coffee?" he asked tiredly.

"How much did you hear?" Gypsy demanded.

He frowned in confusion. "Nothing. I heard nothing."

Gypsy eyed him carefully, then slowly nodded her head. "Good. Now get out of my space."

"I own this space," Luke returned sharply. "See that mug in your hand? I own that, too. Do you want a refill or not?"

"Man, it must be a real treat to play Monopoly with you." He glared at her. She glared back. Realizing that he was in a losing battle, he sighed and retreated.

"Tough as nails," Babette commented, chuckling. "Don't put that in your profile," she continued seriously.

"No," Patty agreed. "What's the opposite of tough?" she considered aloud. "Ah, easy," she noted, lifting her eyebrows in amusement.

"You people need to stay far away from my profile," Gypsy said as she rose from her chair. "Gotta get back to the shop."

Lulu pouted. "But I thought you had an hour-long break."

"Well, I, uh... need to check on a few things," Gypsy stuttered.

"You need to check your email," Patty replied knowingly.

"Fine, I need to check my email," Gypsy conceded. "It's been fun, ladies. Breathe a word of this to anyone and you'll find water in your gas tanks."

The bells signaled the arrival of another patron. Andrew scanned the diner, his eyes instantly landing on the corner table.

The three women chuckled at Gypsy's retreating form. "Such a sweet talker," Babette rasped. They watched as Gypsy quickly nodded to Andrew in passing, and made her exit.

Andrew took a seat at the counter and gestured for Luke. Luke dropped the coffee pot back onto the burner and stood impatiently in front of Andrew. "So, what was that all about?" Andrew whispered conspiratorially.

"What was what all about?"

"You know, the 'girl talk'," he said, using air quotes.

Luke nodded in understanding. "Oh, you want the scoop."

"Yes." Andrew smiled appreciatively.

Luke propped his elbows on the counter and whispered, "I don't scoop." He stood up again, a smirk on his face. "Did you get that?"

"Got it," Andrew said, deflated. "Hey, any pancakes left?" he asked a second later. Luke nodded. "I'll take a stack."

"Coming right up."

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Luke and Lorelai slid into the fourth row of seating in the crowded Hartford funeral chapel. There were clusters of loud-talking business men spread throughout the room, handshakes of condolences being exchanged and subtle deals being made, while their wives formed social circles of their own.

Lorelai turned to Luke, noticing him pulling nervously at his collar, and adjusting his tie. "You okay?" she asked softly.

He continued to fidget. "I just feel really out of place here," he admitted gruffly.

"I know, so do I. We don't have to stay long. We'll just pay our respects and get out. In fact, why don't you go start the truck so we can skip that step afterward," she said teasingly.

"If I go outside, I'm not coming back in. It's like a maze in here," he said, gesturing around them.

"Suits in every direction," Lorelai agreed. "I really hope my funeral looks nothing like this. I don't want people wearing suits... well, at least not business suits. Maybe clown suits."

Luke chuckled. "I wonder if Bozo does funerals."

Lorelai smirked, turning her head to scan the crowd once more. She recognized a familiar face out of the corner of her eye. Jason, who was caught in the middle of a very boisterous group of gentlemen, nodded in greeting to her from afar. She smiled, amused by his obvious lack of interest in the conversation that swirled around him. Richard and Emily entered in the next moment, and Lorelai quickly snapped her head forward.

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A little over an hour later, the room looked very much the same as it had when Luke and Lorelai first arrived. The service had been surprisingly moving, with several family friends, business associates and the like sharing cherished memories and humorous anecdotes about Floyd. When things finally seemed to be breaking up, Jason and his mother, Carol, took the podium.

"Excuse me, everyone," Jason announced. "For those interested, we'll be having a reception at the Stiles' residence. Food, drinks, comfortable seating, all these can be yours. If you need directions, I'll be happy to assist you. Thanks." He patted the microphone in conclusion and took his mother's hand as he helped her down the steps.

Lorelai chuckled, feeling a rough hand pulling on her arm. She turned to see Luke wearing a panicked expression. "You wanna take off?" she asked him. Luke nodded vehemently. "Okay," she said, moving with him to the least congested aisle.

Another hand latched onto her arm, this time from the opposite direction. "Mom?" Lorelai asked, reading an identical expression on Emily's face.

"I need to talk to you," Emily said urgently.

She glanced apologetically at Luke and allowed her mother to drag her away for a minute. "What's the matter, Mom? You having blood sugar issues?"

"Lorelai, I don't feel comfortable around any of these people, and of course your father insists on going to this gathering. You have to help me."

"What do you want me to do? Hide you under my coat? That might be difficult considering I'm already bulging out of it thanks to little junior in here." She rubbed her stomach for emphasis.

Emily sighed. "I want you to come with me."

"Come where?"

"To the reception!" Emily said, exasperated.

"That's a lovely idea, Mom, but it's not gonna happen. Luke is about two seconds from pulling a Marie Osmond in the aisle. There's no way I can get him to agree to this."

Emily's face tightened into a look of pure desperation. "Lorelai, please!"

She huffed. "Fine. I'll see what I can do."

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Rory saw that April was excited when she first arrived at the apartment. Once Lorelai and Luke left, however, April seemed less chatty than usual, and she was hesitant to make herself comfortable. Rory wanted April to feel at home, so she pulled out a board game, hoping that April would let loose a bit.

"Okay, this is officially not fair," Rory insisted, crossing her arms as April handed her the final score. "I have never lost Scrabble by one point before. I've lost because of extremely long words, and I've lost because an extremely short word with a high scoring letter landed on just the right space. But I have never lost by one point. One point!"

"There's a first time for everything," April teased, gathering the letter tiles and placing them back into their bag.

Rory sighed. "Well, I guess it's official, then."

April folded up the board. "What's official?"

"Now we have to have a rematch sometime soon. Come prepared to lose."

April smiled. "Thanks for the invitation. And I would come over even if it wasn't another opportunity to watch you lose. I love your place."

"I'm glad you like it. I think it's great. It's pretty quiet, which is good when I need to get some work done. I could give you the grand tour, but that's pretty self explanatory. Kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom. Nothing too exciting or scandalous there. There were no famous celebrities that did anything X-rated here, and it isn't haunted, but I think it's a nice place just the same."

"Are you near any interesting places?"

"What do you mean?" Rory asked, putting the cover on the Scrabble box.

"What is there to do around here? What do you do for fun?"

Rory took the game and walked it over to the shelf. "Well, there's a bookstore nearby that I go to a lot, and there's a music store around here, too. Other than that, I just really haven't had the time to explore much. I started when I first moved in, but then I think I realized that I had unpacking to do and stopped."

"Unpacking does that to you," April replied. "We could do some exploring if you want."

"Ooh, that could be fun. Am I going to need my binoculars for this? For some reason I picture binoculars when I hear exploring. And I think we may need more explorer-like names."

"Definitely," April said with a nod. "I want to get the full experience."

"Well," Rory started, walking toward the kitchen, "we need to be sure that the bookstore is our last stop before we head home. We don't want to carry everything around while we explore."

April grabbed her jacket off the chair. "Good point. Do you want to be back by a certain time?"

Rory grabbed her keys and her cell phone. She opened the phone briefly to check the time, and placed it in the pocket of her coat. "We have about an hour or two before I would start suggesting takeout. We can take our time. It will give us a chance to talk some more."

"I like that idea. Do you know the area pretty well?"

"Everything's within walking distance," Rory explained as she walked out into the hallway. "We may be a little chilly, but we'll get where we need to go by foot. It gives us a version of the 'knee deep snow with no shoes' story to tell."

April giggled. "I like the sound of that."

The girls walked outside and were met with a gust of freezing air. "And it will also give us an excuse to stop for a hot, caffeinated beverage."

April put her hands in her pockets. "I wonder if Lewis and Clark had coffee on their trips."

"The little known story of Lewis and Clark is that Sacagawea gave them coffee. So they didn't freeze to death. Man, it is cold outside!"

"Okay, maybe exploring the area wasn't the best idea on a day like today," April admitted.

Rory shrugged. "Well, there's still the tour I can give you," she said, starting out into the crosswalk. "This is the street I live on. I have a neighbor who is obsessed with Rent, so every time you pass his building, you can hear "Seasons of Love" blaring from his window. Eventually, you learn to bring your iPod, but it gets stuck in your head the first few times you're out here."

"Is that the only song he knows from the show?" April asked.

"I'm not sure. That's the only one I've ever heard him playing. And he lives two blocks away from a music store. You would think he'd have new soundtracks by now."


"The music store is closed for inventory today, otherwise I'd bring you in there. But when you come over next time, after you lose at Scrabble, I'll be sure to buy you a consolation prize," Rory teased.

April shook her head. "You mean buy yourself a consolation prize?"

Rory shivered. "It's freezing out here."

"You've mentioned that a few times. Is it time for the hot, caffeinated beverage yet?"

"Sure. That's two streets over, in the other direction, though," Rory said.

"As long as my nose doesn't fall off in the meantime, let's go," April replied.

Rory smiled. "I can't guarantee that your nose will not fall off, but I can guarantee that we can stop for coffee."

Rory and April walked to the coffee shop. They took a seat and decided to warm up while they enjoyed their drinks.

"It's sad that we were in the cold for five minutes and we resort to this," April said.

"It's not sad," Rory insisted. "It gives us a chance to appreciate being warm."

April grabbed a napkin and placed her mug on top of it. "So, it must be really cool to have your own apartment."

Rory took a sip of her coffee. "I love having my own place. It gives me some independence, but I'm not far from Stars Hollow. It's a nice compromise. Sometimes I miss the Crap Shack, but it's almost like I still live there since I'm so close."

"That's good. Thanks for having me over and letting me experience a day in the life of Rory."

"You're thanking me like our time together is through," Rory teased. "How could you?"

"I just wanted to make sure you knew that I'm glad I got to stay at your place. I mean, I know I'm probably not as cool as some of your friends that you could be hanging out with on a Saturday night."

Rory shook her head. "I'd rather have this kind of Saturday night every week. Relaxing, doing a little book shopping, watching movies, and eating until I explode are all some of my favorite pastimes. I've had a great time with you this afternoon."

April smiled. "I'm having fun, too."

Rory smiled as April continued to chat. She finished off her drink and tossed the cup in the trash, hoping that their next stop could give them another opportunity to catch up. "Are you ready to head over to Knowles Books?"

"Absolutely," April replied. "It sounds fabulous."

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A more manageable assembly of people were happily imbibing and socializing at the Stiles' residence. Lorelai marveled at the décor and its infinite similarity to the Gilmore household, and essentially any well-to-do household in Hartford. What captured her attention even more, were the chafing dishes lining every wall, containing an assortment of hors d'oeuvres.

She curiously eyed a woman that walked past her holding a plate of food. "Ooh, cocktail weenies!" Lorelai squealed. "I love cocktail weenies. I can't believe they have cocktail weenies. Must have been a catering mishap," she said to Luke.

"Must have been," Luke deadpanned.

Luke and Lorelai stood near the outskirts of the main room. Richard and Emily were conversing in a small group a few feet ahead of them. Periodically, Emily would shoot a pointed look in Lorelai's direction, before returning to her conversation. Lorelai wasn't aware of any exit signals, so she simply shrugged it off. She saw another plate pass by, this time in the hands of an older gentleman.

Lorelai beamed. "Oh my God, are those sausage rolls?" The man glanced at her and nodded in confirmation. "Luke, they have sausage rolls!"

Emily had now resorted to fake coughing to get Lorelai's attention.

"Oh boy," Lorelai groaned.

"What?" Luke asked.

"My mother needs rescuing. And therapy." Lorelai frowned, rubbing her hungry stomach. "Can you get me a plate of food?"

Luke rolled his eyes and sighed. "Be back in a minute."

"Aw, you rock. And don't skimp on the weenies!" she called after him. She grinned at his retreating form, admiring the way he looked in his suit, especially from the back. Unbeknownst to her, the space that Luke had vacated was now being occupied.

"Should I even ask?" came a voice from behind her.

Lorelai turned around and chuckled nervously. "Jason. And no, don't ask. Just give my mother the contact information for your catering company."

He smiled, taking in her appearance. "Good of you to come," he said.

"How are you holding up?" Lorelai asked.

"I'm doing okay. My father only said two passive-aggressive things to me in the last month. That's progress. Truthfully, I'm more upset about Cyrus."

"Cyrus?" He nodded.

"Oh no. Did he..."

"Two weeks ago," Jason revealed.

"I'm so sorry," Lorelai said. She was quiet for a moment as she considered things. "Are you, uh, sure Cyrus is even dead? He was very statuesque. I don't know how you would have been able to tell the difference."

"I couldn't," he admitted. "He died standing up. It took me two days after the fact to realize that he was no longer of this earth."

Lorelai gasped, "Jason, that's horrible!"

"Yeah." He shook his head, smirking. "What kind of dog dies standing up?"

"One trained by the Monks of New Skete," Lorelai replied without missing a beat. They both laughed.

"So, how are things with you?" Jason asked, changing the subject. "I see you've moved on to greener pastures."

"Luke is great. We're both doing great."

He glanced down at her protruding belly. "I can see that." She smiled, holding her stomach proudly.

"How's business?" Lorelai asked.

"Well, I started up a little company from scratch in San Fran, and I'm building a client base there. I'm no longer playing the partner game."

Lorelai smirked. "That's probably wise."

"How's the Dragonfly?"

"We've expanded. We have a spa now."

"I'm sure Emily must be thrilled about that."

"She should be. I hired her." She laughed as Jason's eyes widened at the thought.

As if on cue, Emily's nagging cough returned with a vengeance. Lorelai sighed. "I'm sorry, my mother doesn't seem to realize that the fake cough is the oldest trick in the book."

Jason shook his head and said mockingly, "I'm shocked that Emily Gilmore would stoop so low."

"I should..." Lorelai gestured to the group of people that her mother was currently alienating.

He nodded in understanding. "Take care, Umlauts."

She grinned. "So long, Digger."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Rory and April arrived back at the apartment, each carrying a few bags from the bookstore. April walked over to the couch and took a seat. She removed the books from their bags, inspecting her purchases as Rory brought hers directly to her bookshelf.

"I never knew there could be such interesting science books in the discount section," April mused.

"Knowles is the Holy Grail of used books. It's rare that you walk away with a purchase like this anywhere else. You got a lot of them at a really good price, all in great condition. Usually, if you shop at another store, the covers are falling off, or they're all written in, and you leave empty handed. I usually check the bookstore once a week to see what they have in their dollar section. Give me a list of titles and a budget and I'll see what I can do," Rory replied.


Rory nodded. "I'm in there enough as it is. The least I could do is make my trip productive."

"Thanks! That would be awesome. I'll think of some and get a list to you."

"Sure, no problem. Hey, you want to get some food? I'm starving." Rory opened the top drawer of her desk and pulled out a stack of takeout menus.

"Wow. You have a lot of menus," April said, straightening up on the couch.

Rory split the pile and gave April half. "My first few weeks here were a sort of trial and error period. Mom helped me with the official decisions of which menus were allowed to be put in the drawer. We eliminated ten restaurants in three nights."


"And I can safely say that these are the best. Anything you order from any of these menus is great."

April looked at the papers in her hand, and then back at Rory. "Where do I start?"

Rory laughed. "I ask myself that question every time I decide I want to eat out. There's too many choices, and I hate having to just close my eyes and pick one all by myself. I always end up choosing the same one, and then I have to repeat the highly scientific process all over again."

"Well, I don't want to order off of a different menu than you."

"Why not?" Rory asked.

April shrugged. "I don't know. My mom's usually really picky about ordering out. We have to order from the same place. It's something about the tip? Gas, maybe? Or the fact that we'd get the food at different times."

"Order whatever you want from wherever you want. My only rules for takeout are that it must be plentiful, and it must be delicious. If you don't know if it's delicious or not, you either take a recommendation from someone else or you risk it."

"You have a very random approach to takeout," April pointed out.

"Well, takeout is an art form. I don't play a sport, I'm not a particularly crafty person, and I don't do video games. This is something I can invest some time and energy into."

April scanned a takeout menu and turned to Rory. "How's Mike's?"

Rory's eyes widened. "April, do you value your life?"

"Very much," April replied hesitantly.

"If you do, you will give in and order from Mike's. They have the most amazing mozzarella sticks you will ever taste."

"Oh, no!"

Rory glanced over April's shoulder at the menu. "What's wrong?"

"You had me so convinced that it was going to be the worst restaurant ever! I was ready to order Chinese food, but now I can't decide."

"Order both," Rory declared, grabbing a pad of post-it notes and a pen from the side table. "Write down what you're ordering from which place. I'll call it in."

"You are really excited about this takeout thing."

Rory sighed. "It's really rare that I have a reason to eat something other than ramen. I'm very excited about treating myself. I have been saving some money for a couple of weeks now, hoping I'd have an occasion to order some takeout without feeling guilty about depleting my stash."

"How am I going to eat all of this?"

"I have a fridge. Luke and my mom have a fridge. No one would object to you taking your leftovers back with you."

April smiled. "I like the way you think," she said, jotting her order down onto a post-it note.

"Well, if you like that, tell me what you think of this. I'll order the food and then set you up in the bedroom. You can check out what's on TV tonight. Any movie that sounds incredibly stupid, was given one star, or stars someone who gained fame from the Disney channel, is fair game. I also have some DVDs in that cabinet."

April nodded. She looked at the TV, and then back at Rory. She nervously fidgeted with the post-it note in her hand. "I don't know if this is a deal breaker or not, but there's a documentary on Animal Planet tonight. It's a rerun of the first showing that I missed, and I was really hoping to catch it."

"Really? What's it about?"

"It's called The Vanishing Frog. It's supposed to be about how amphibians are disappearing, and Clorox is supposed to be the sponsor. I figured if nothing else, we could count the Clorox commercials if this isn't as exciting as I thought it would be." April handed Rory the post-it note.

Rory laughed. "There's also the mockability factor of the documentary itself. The voice of the narrator, the seriousness of the subject, blatant Clorox advertisements in the show... get your PJ's on, we're about to have a viewing party."

April grinned. "This is going to be great. I'll be right back."

When the food arrived, Rory and April brought it into the kitchen and began to serve themselves. Rory dug through the bags and set all the food up buffet style on the table while April grabbed the silverware, plates, and glasses. The girls filled their plates and headed out toward the living room.

"Should I get the lights?" Rory asked, setting her plate on the coffee table.

"Is that a good idea with food around?"

Rory nodded. "Good thinking. I'd hate to have spaghetti sauce on my jeans. Or soy sauce, for that matter," she said, motioning to her plate.

"You got the paper to tally the Clorox ads?"

Rory held up the fuzzy pink pen and the pad of paper sitting by the lamp on the end table. April grabbed the remote and turned the channel as Rory made herself comfortable on the couch. Two hours later, their plates were empty and the pad of paper was filled with tally marks.

As the documentary ended, April walked to Rory's freezer and pulled out a pint of Ben and Jerry's for herself. "Want anything?"

"You're learning the rules of eating at Rory's so fast, I'm quite impressed," Rory teased. "But note that you never need to ask if I want ice cream. The answer to that question will always be yes."

"Noted," April said. "Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby?"

"I think there's a Cherry Garcia hidden somewhere in there, too. Grab that one for me?"

"Oh, I see it." April grabbed the carton and a spoon and handed them to Rory.

Rory accepted the spoon and the ice cream, putting her feet on the coffee table. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

"What's that from again?"

Rory gasped, pretending to be offended. "Get in my DVD cabinet right now and pull out Casablanca. I hope you didn't want to watch anything else, because your schedule has officially been cleared."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

When Michel was mostly finished with his duties at the Dragonfly that evening, he took a quick scan of the area, making sure the coast was clear. Satisfied, he made a beeline for Lorelai's office, closed the door and locked it tight. He chuckled at his genius as he relaxed in her chair and fired up her computer.

He went through the practiced motions of logging in to his desired site, and waited impatiently for some activity.

Michel sighed, drumming his fingers against the desktop, rolling his eyes at the collection of Rory pictures that encircled him. Finally, he heard the magical sound that signaled a message. He smiled giddily, waiting a beat before he responded; he didn't want to appear as desperate as he felt.

With his hands in position, he typed: "Bonsoir."

BackseatBabe: "What's up?"

Maître d'amour: "Finished working. Boss isn't here. Using her office."

BackseatBabe: "LOL. So you're a bad boy?"

Michel chuckled, blushing lightly at the suggestion. He thought for a moment, then replied with: "I can be. Depends who's asking."

BackseatBabe: "What do you like to do for fun?"

Maître d'amour: "Talk to you."

BackseatBabe: "Smooth."

Michel stood up briefly and removed his blazer, getting more comfortable. He settled back into his chair and quickly typed: "What about you?"

BackseatBabe: "I'm really into cars. I think they're sexy."

Maître d'amour: "Cars are like women."

BackseatBabe: "Smoooooooth."

Maître d'amour: "Tell me more about cars."

BackseatBabe: "What do you wanna know?"

Maître d'amour: "Everything. What's your favorite part?" He cringed after he pressed 'send'.

BackseatBabe: "LOL. That's a tough question. So many to choose from. Hood lift... fuel pump... ignition coil..."

Michel stared at the computer screen, mouth agape, as his companion continued to type, the words becoming increasingly indecent.

BackseatBabe: "expansion tank... clutch... driveshaft."

He tugged at his collar, the temperature in the room reaching unbearable levels. Several minutes of silence passed.

BackseatBabe: "Did that get your motor running?"

Michel swallowed hard, answering simply with: "Yes."

BackseatBabe: "Does your engine need servicing?"

Michel's breathing was labored as he again typed the three-letter word: "Yes." His finger hovered over the 'send' button, and suddenly, he was met with a black screen. He gasped, lifting his eyes to see Sookie staring back at him, the electric cord in her hand.

"How did you get in here?" Michel hissed.

Sookie grinned triumphantly. "I have a master key. Lorelai told me to keep an eye on you. Michel, Michel, always up to no good."

"You are a vile woman."

She moved to the door and held it open for him. "Pack it up, Romeo. Time to go."

"I hate you," Michel spat, as he obediently followed her command. "I hate this place, and I hate you." He stormed out the door and down the hall.

"He's the looooove master," Sookie called after him.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"How was your weekend?" Luke asked, putting some of April's things into the back of the truck.

April placed the bags of books she bought next to the rest of her belongings. "It was great. Rory's so fun to hang out with."

He walked toward the drivers' side of the truck. "I'm glad you had a good time."

"Dad, this was beyond just a good time. She told me that if I made her a list, she would keep an eye out for the books I was looking for. We watched The Vanishing Frog last night and she found a way to make it really entertaining. That's a documentary. We watched a documentary at a sleepover, ate tons of food, and we had a blast. I didn't think that was humanly possible."

"Well, I'm glad that was possible, then."

"And the thing about her is, she wasn't mad that I was tagging along and ruining her Saturday night. I kind of invited myself over at first, and then I got a little worried that I would cramp her style or something. But she kept telling me over and over how much fun she was having and how I should come back again really soon," April gushed.

Luke smiled. "Rory's pretty laid back. You wouldn't have messed up her plans."

April shrugged. "She's got her own apartment and her own life. We don't really get to hang out that often, you know? It was so cool to have someone that easy to talk to and that willing to change plans so I would feel comfortable and have fun. And this is going to sound random, but you know what? I got the best sleep I've ever had last night."

He chuckled. "That came out of nowhere."

"Dad, she has the best sheets. She told me that she got them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so we definitely need to bring Lorelai and go shopping there. And she also said that her pillows are special pillows for people who sleep on their side. You know, I'm glad I ended up forgetting my pillow, because I don't think I'll ever be able to use a normal pillow again!"

"And here I was, thinking you'd be so exhausted from last night that you would say nothing the whole ride home," Luke said.

"We went to bed really early, too," April continued. "Not early, early. But we went to bed around midnight and we slept in until ten. Seriously, I've had ten hours of the best night's sleep of my life. And I had coffee this morning, too! Did you know that Rory's coffee maker is pink?"

"Aw, jeez, you can't be serious."

"Yes, it is a pink coffee maker," April confirmed.

"I'm more concerned with the consumption of the coffee than the color of the coffee maker."

"It makes really good coffee. I don't even like coffee that much. I probably won't have it much. Unless I'm at Rory's. Rory's coffee maker is fabulous. When I go off to college, I need a coffee maker just like Rory's. And the sheets. And the pillow."

"Noted," Luke replied, half-listening to April as he made a right turn.

"And she has this drawer full of takeout menus. I had the best food last night. We ordered from this place that had the best crab rangoons in Connecticut. Apparently we also ordered the best mozzarella sticks Rory has ever had. I'd say it was a pretty productive takeout night."

Luke nodded. He was glad to see that April was acting more like the April he knew. "Well, that's good."

"And did I tell you about the "Seasons of Love" guy that lives down the street?"

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"The Eggs Florentine is delicious, isn't it?" Emily asked Richard as she gently dabbed a napkin against the corner of her mouth.

They sat on opposite ends of the dining room table, Richard still in his robe, his eyes focused on the newspaper that was splayed open in front of him.

"Yes, it is," Richard agreed distractedly, pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.

"I'll have to give my compliments to Hyacinth."

"Mhmm," Richard mumbled. "It's a lovely print."

Emily sighed, giving up on conversation for the time being. She instead concentrated on the last bites of her breakfast, swirling her fork around her plate.

Richard released an abrupt chuckle and folded up his newspaper. He removed his glasses, placing them on the table beside him, and sat up straighter, commanding attention. "Emily," he began seriously, "I've reached a decision."

"Oh?" Emily asked. "I wasn't aware that there was a decision to be made."

"I've given this a great deal of thought," Richard continued, "and I've decided to leave the insurance business entirely."

Emily dropped her fork and leveled her eyes with Richard. "What do you mean, leave the insurance business?"

"I've really only been a figurehead since the heart attack. The industry has changed. It's a young man's game now. It's dog eat dog, and I'm getting too old for that."

"So what exactly do you plan to do, Richard? You've obviously thought this through, without any input from me," she said, her voice infused with irritation.

He sighed. "Emily, this isn't meant to be a contentious issue. My interests simply lie elsewhere now. I'm going to run things past the Yale Economic Department and inquire about taking on one or two more classes. I might even look into other options, such as coordinating a seminar series, or acting as an advisor for students who are doing internships."

"And you just assume that all these chips will fall into place?" she asked dubiously. "You've worked your whole life in the insurance business, and suddenly you want to just walk away completely? Cut all your ties? Surely you can see how imprudent that is."

"Emily, you were at the funeral," Richard said, his voice rising in frustration. "You saw the men there, who couldn't let an hour go by without trying to manufacture a deal of some sort. That isn't me anymore. I don't have anything in common with those men. And I'm not going to wait around for another heart attack—"

"Richard," Emily interrupted.

He held his hand up to discourage her from continuing. "I don't want to be a statistic," he said softly. "I don't want to have any regrets. I've lived through the humiliation of being phased out of a company that I had a hand in building. And I re-established myself, and came back stronger than ever, earning even more respect from my peers. I'm going to leave with my head held high, feeling healthy, and worth something."

Emily nodded quietly.

"I have a passion for teaching. That is what I want to do."

"Then Yale will be fortunate to have you," Emily told him genuinely.

He smiled. "I think this is a good move, Emily."

She returned his smile. "So do I."

"Good." Richard nodded. "I'll telephone Yale this afternoon."

"Fine," Emily said.

Richard picked up his fork and took a bite of his cold breakfast. "The Eggs Florentine is delicious, isn't it?" Emily rolled her eyes.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Monday afternoon found Gypsy relaxed in her office chair, her feet propped on top of the desk, and her hands busy typing on the keyboard that rested in her lap.

Maître d'amour: "I was looking at your profile again today.

BackseatBabe: "Oh yeah?"

Maître d'amour: "It says you like shopping."

Gypsy cringed, mentally scolding herself for fluffing up her profile to attract the opposite sex. She thought for a minute and typed: "Sure."

Maître d'amour: "Where do you like to shop?"

BackseatBabe: "Um... I've been to the Mall of America."

Maître d'amour: "Really?! What was it like?"

In a panic, Gypsy pulled up the website and quickly scanned the contents. Her eyes widened at the sight of the colossal death trap. She responded with her first thought: "It was big."

Maître d'amour: "I've heard that."

She smiled in relief as she found another interesting fact worth mentioning: "It has a wedding chapel." That response was met with several minutes of awkward silence.

BackseatBabe: "You still there?"

Maître d'amour: "Can't talk long. Boss is on to me."

BackseatBabe: "Ah, gotcha."

Maître d'amour: "Sorry about the other night."

BackseatBabe: "What happened?"

Maître d'amour: "I had an altercation with an imbecilic chef."

Gypsy smirked. She realized she didn't know much about this guy's work life, but what she'd deduced from their conversations, was that he worked at an inn of some sort, and a local inn at that. He'd mentioned being familiar with the town of Stars Hollow. She wondered briefly if it was possible that she knew this man. Pushing the thought aside, she finally typed a response: "So, you like handiwork?"

Maître d'amour: "So, you like baking?"

BackseatBabe: "LOL. Is your profile full of lies, too?"

Maître d'amour: "They're not all lies. The dancing part is true."

BackseatBabe: "But you've never been to a car show, have you?"

Maître d'amour: "No."

Gypsy laughed, her eyes moving to the entrance of the shop. Andrew had just walked in, wearing a timid expression, and carrying a pink box in his hands. She groaned, looking mournfully at the computer screen. She brought her feet to the floor and typed: "Gotta go. Duty calls."

Maître d'amour: "Talk to you later?"

BackseatBabe: "You bet. We'll see if we can finally get that engine serviced. *wink*"

Maître d'amour: "Femme fatale."

She grinned, exiting out of the site just as Andrew poked his head into her office. Her smile quickly faded. "What's with the box?" she asked, gesturing for him to come inside.

He sat down opposite her and opened it up, revealing an assortment of doughnuts.

Gypsy gave him a questioning glance. "Is this a bribe?"

"No," he said, shaking his head. He placed the box on the desk and leaned forward in his chair.

"What's broken? I don't swing deals here," Gypsy insisted.

"I'm not here on business... I just thought you might... I mean, I wanted to bring you something..." He nervously reached into the box and removed a honey cruller. "Doughnut?"

"You feeling all right?" she asked, accepting the offering.

Andrew smiled uneasily. "I'm fine. Um, I, uh, haven't seen you around much lately."

"Been working," Gypsy said through a full mouth.

"Doesn't look too busy in here," Andrew boldly commented.

She glared at him. "Looks can be deceiving."

"Good doughnut?"

"Not bad."

"Great. Well, see ya," he said, jumping to a standing position and rushing out the door.

"Guys are stupid," Gypsy muttered to herself, grabbing for another doughnut.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

When Michel returned from his lunch break, Lorelai excused herself and walked to her office, shutting the door behind her. She sat down at her desk, sighing as she leaned back into her chair. She kicked off her shoes and reached for the phone when she noticed that her desk had been slightly rearranged. She picked up the phone and dialed Rory's number as she placed her items back in their proper spots.


"Do you remember when you were five, and we went to Mia's, and that Gremlins movie scared you?"

"Of course. I'm still not convinced such a thing doesn't exist," Rory teased.

Lorelai placed her picture frame back in the corner of the desk. "Well, with the rearranging done to my desk while I was at the funeral on Saturday, they just might."

"Gremlins rearranged your desk but failed to destroy the rest of the inn?"

"Fine, I guess I'll just chalk it up to the cleaning crew. It's less exciting, but it's much more realistic."

"How was the funeral? It must have been really awkward."

Lorelai giggled. "It was a little awkward at first. Luke wasn't thrilled with the idea of being there, and neither was your grandmother, but I have so many funny stories to share with you as a result."

"Sure, because nothing says funny like a funeral," Rory scoffed.

"What? A mother isn't allowed to share amusing anecdotes with her daughter?"

"I never said that," Rory started. "It just seems highly irreverent that you would do so about a funeral."

"Well, the stories aren't related to the person who passed away, so they're fair game. Well, the person the stories are about is related to the person who passed away. But you get the idea."

"It must have been weird seeing him again."

"It was a little odd. There was some laughing, then some awkward chit chat. But the real interesting stuff had nothing to do with the awkward chit chatting."

"You are going to explode if you don't tell me about this, aren't you?" Rory asked.

Lorelai opened one of her desk drawers. "Well, allow me to set the scene first. Picture a whole bunch of people in the Stiles home, carrying on in hushed tones and paying their condolences. Suddenly, I saw a ray of light out of the corner of my eye. The hallelujah chorus sounded, and I saw a woman pass by with a plate of food. Guess what was on it?"

"Waiting with bated breath."

"Cocktail weenies. Of all the things they could have possibly served, they served cocktail weenies."

Rory giggled. "Were you in charge of planning the menu?"

"I was shocked, too! I told Luke that it had to be some sort of menu mishap. I was heading for the sausage rolls when my mother started using the fake cough to get out of a conversation of some sort."

"You would think that by now Grandma would have come up with a more sophisticated 'save me' signal," Rory pointed out. "But the image is priceless. And sausage rolls? Are you absolutely positive that you had nothing to do with the serving of the food at this gathering?"

"If you think that's funny, then get this. Do you remember the story I told you about Cyrus?"

"Jason's dog? Freakishly quiet, could win a staring contest with no effort at all? That Cyrus?"

Lorelai nodded. "That's the dog. Apparently he passed away, and Jason had no idea until 48 hours after the fact."


"Oh, yes."

"Did he tell you how he... discovered this?"

"Nope," Lorelai shook her head. "But I can only imagine that there was still some doubt after the poke test."

"You're clearly mocking the deceased now," Rory scolded in a teasing tone. "I'm sorry, but this is where I draw the line!"

"Well sit back, then, because there's plenty more irreverence to share."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Excuse me, Mrs. Gilmore?"

Emily looked up from the book she was reading to find the maid standing beside her. "Yes, Hyacinth, what is it?"

"You asked me to let you know when Mr. Gilmore came back," Hyacinth replied, looking at the floor. "He just went into his study."

"Ah, yes, thank you." Emily placed her bookmark between the pages she was reading and left the book on the table. She walked down the hall and arrived at Richard's study, knocking on the door and listening for him to invite her in.

"Yes?" he called.

Emily entered the study. "Hyacinth told me that you had arrived. Were you at Yale?"

"I spoke with Tom Jensen today," Richard confirmed. "He's the head of my department. I explained my situation to him. He seemed quite pleased that I wanted to meet with him. In fact, he was so pleased that he offered me one more class to teach this semester."

"Oh, really?" Emily asked. "This is wonderful news!"

"He was in need of an instructor for a few basic introductory courses," he continued. "One of the professors had to drop some of his."

"Isn't it awfully close to the beginning of the semester to start planning this? In fact, if I'm not mistaken, one of the women at the DAR mentioned that classes were already in session."

"It shouldn't be a problem. I was given a roughly constructed syllabus for the class to look over and make changes if I desired. It shouldn't be too difficult to make any changes. Today would have been the first day the classes met, but they chose not to meet until they found a solution."

"Well, then, your timing was perfect," Emily said.

Richard chuckled. "Why, yes, it was, wasn't it? They provided me with all of the necessary materials so that I could begin looking them over. The class won't meet again until Thursday, so I also have all day tomorrow to work towards completing the catch up work I have to do."

"Thursday? Richard, that's not a lot of time. Are you sure you won't overwork yourself?"

"Nonsense, Emily. It's mostly logistics. I just need to map out the exam dates. Most of the work has already been done for me."

Emily nodded.

"Tom also asked me if I would be interested in serving as co-moderator for the one of the honor societies on campus."

"Would you be able to take all of this on at the same time?" Emily asked. "Richard, honestly, you still have things to finish up at the office."

"The club meets for an hour once a month. It sounds quite fascinating, from what I understand. It's not much of a time commitment on my part, and I hear it's enjoyable for both the students and the faculty who run it."

"I don't know, it seems like a lot to take on straight out of retirement," Emily said.

"Everything will work out just fine. I assure you. Tom insisted that if things begin to get too overwhelming, he'll assign me a teaching assistant to take over the grading work."

Emily sighed. "All right. If you're sure you won't be overextending yourself."

He shook his head. "I won't be, I promise."

"You know, I believe Rory gave me a brochure about all of the honor societies on campus when she was still at Yale. It may be a little outdated, but I believe I saved it, in case you were interested."

"That sounds like it could be helpful," Richard agreed enthusiastically. "I'm sure nothing has really changed about the honor societies since Rory graduated. If you happen to locate it, I'll be glad to take a look, but I should begin constructing my syllabus."

Emily smiled. "Ah, yes, of course. I'll leave you to your work. Hyacinth will let you know when dinner is ready."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai swiveled on her stool at the counter and craned her neck as she attempted to listen to the conversation taking place a few tables over. Patty, Babette and Gypsy were in the midst of a discussion, all three women sporting wayward smiles.

Luke dropped a fresh cup of decaf in front of Lorelai, then moved to the cash register to ring out a customer. She watched him expectantly, waving him over when he was finished. "Any chance there's a burger back there with my name on it?" she asked him.

"No," he answered gruffly without looking up. "Ground beef shortage."

"Not funny, Luke. Baby needs meat."

"Baby had meat. You ate a burger for lunch," Luke pointed out.

"I don't remember that."

"I do. I cooked it."

"Huh. Could have sworn it was Caesar."

"Yeah, uncanny resemblance there."

She frowned. "Fine. I guess I'll have a sandwich... grilled... with cheese."

"You can have a salad. I'll make you a salad."

Lorelai rolled her eyes as he walked away. "That salad better have a cheeseburger on top, buddy!" she yelled after him.

"Hey," Andrew said, sliding onto the stool next to her.

"Oh, hey, Andrew," Lorelai replied, eyeing him curiously. "Can I, uh, help you with something?"

"Hmm?" he said. His eyes were focused intently on the table with three women.

Lorelai smiled. "Ah. Just here for the scenery," she remarked quietly. She picked up her mug and took a sip, her ears tuning in once more to the gab session.

"His screen name is Maître d'amour," Gypsy divulged to Patty and Babette. "I think it means 'master of love'."

Lorelai choked on her coffee. "Michel?!" she blurted. Every head in the diner turned to her. She chuckled nervously. "Uh, Michel stole the cookies from the cookie jar," she tried in vain to cover her slip-up.

Gypsy stood up from the table and stomped over to Lorelai. "What about Michel?" she demanded.

"He might—and this is a tiny, miniscule might—have that screen name. But, there's probably like a thousand guys with that screen name. And you two may not even be on the same dating site," Lorelai reasoned.

"Match.com?" Gypsy asked.

Lorelai cringed. "Okay, so it's the same site. But I'm sure this is just a freaky coincidence."

Andrew's jaw dropped open in shock. "Michel?! You've been talking to Michel?"

Gypsy threw her hands up in frustration. "I didn't know!" she shouted, storming out of the diner. There was a hush that followed, that was only broken when Babette dropped her spoon on the floor.

"Sorry," she whispered in apology. That seemed to restore conversation.

Lorelai watched in amusement as Andrew's face went through an entire range of emotions in the span of thirty seconds. She gently put her hand on his arm and nodded her head toward the door. He followed her gesture, and smiled as realization dawned. He took off in a sprint and was halfway down the sidewalk before the door closed behind him.

Luke finally came out of the kitchen and asked, "What was that all about?"

"Well, let's just say, if Andrew plays his cards right, he may save the world from surly, pig-tailed children," Lorelai said, smiling.

♫   ♫   ♫  

Andrew caught up to Gypsy, gasping for air. She shot him a quick glance and kept right on moving forward.

"Gypsy, wait!" he shouted.

She took a heavy breath and turned to face him. "What do you want?" she asked impatiently.

"I just... I want to know about Michel. Do you have feelings for him?"

Gypsy nearly laughed. "No, I don't have feelings for him. I didn't even know I was talking to him!"

Andrew frowned in confusion. "So you guys aren't dating?"

"No," Gypsy insisted. "Why do you even care?"

"Does the past mean nothing to you?" he asked instead.


"Last spring, in the book store... there was a moment."

At this point, a crowd had started to form around them.

Gypsy rolled her eyes, embarrassed by the scene they were creating. "What exactly do you want from me?"

Andrew pressed his lips together and looked at Gypsy determinedly. "I, uh, want to know if... I mean, I would like to... Are you... Would you, um, maybe want to go out sometime... with me?"

"Yes, fine," Gypsy answered almost instantly. "Just please stop talking."

Andrew stared at her for a long moment, grinning like an idiot. "Okay," he eventually said, patting her shoulder awkwardly as he turned to walk away.

"Show's over," Gypsy said to the crowd, walking in the opposite direction, a smirk on her face.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Lorelai entered the living room, carrying a bag of potato chips. She seated herself on the couch and rubbed her hands together, grinning at Luke. She pulled the bag open and ate a chip before she spoke. "Okay, I'm ready."

"Do you have to eat those? They're covered in grease."

She shrugged. "Well, we were out of popcorn. And besides, you can't do the tongue trill when you say popcorn. Now spill it. The previews are over, and it's time for the feature presentation."

Luke rolled his eyes. "What do you want me to say?"

"I don't know, but starting with what happened may be a smart idea. Chip?" she asked, turning the bag toward him.

He cringed, pushing the bag back in her direction. "All I know is that Gypsy walked into the diner today, sat down at a table, and Andrew came in about ten minutes later. He stood in the doorway for about a minute and a half, debating which chair would be the farthest from Gypsy's."

"Aw, it's true love!" Lorelai giggled. "Did they give each other flirty looks?"

"Actually, Andrew tried not to look at her the entire time. He turned his back to her at one point, but he could see her reflection in the window."

"Priceless. Absolutely priceless! And I thought Michel's reaction was hysterical," she said, shaking her head in disbelief.

"This is the weirdest love triangle in the history of mankind," Luke declared. "And to make things even more complicated, I heard Gypsy mention that they were going to see a movie Friday night."

"Well, I can only imagine that this will become more complicated as things progress," she mused. "Gypsy and Andrew: Part Three. Stay tuned. Same bat-time, same bat-channel."

"I think I can do without more complications," he insisted. "Don't you get enough of the stupidity with Michel all day?"

"Luke, today was hysterical. You should have seen it. Michel was furious. I'm helping a guest today with check out, and I turn around to get their statement from the printer. Next thing you know, Michel's at the computer. He goes to match.com, deletes his profile, and starts ranting in French. I caught about half of that—"

"If it was in French, how did you understand it?" he interrupted.

"Well, when Michel ranted, he used a lot of dirty words," she explained, popping a chip into her mouth. "The dirty French words were the most entertaining to pick up."

"Of course. I should have guessed," Luke sighed.

"Anyway. So he deletes his profile, starts ranting, and then proceeds to dump all the internet history. Then, he pulls up the defragmenting program, just to be sure it's completely clean and free of any and all compromising evidence. I swear, if he could, he would have dumped a bucket of bleach on the computer."

"I take it he wasn't thrilled with the big reveal."

"Not at all. He walked around the inn all day, muttering about deceitful, dirty mechanics," she explained. "He wasn't a happy camper."

"Let's just hope that for our sanity, no one else in this nuthouse of a town decides to hook up."

"Imagine if some grumpy Stars Hollow citizen said that a hundred years ago. Where would we be? Who are you to stop true love?"

"Well, obviously we're here," Luke said. "So whatever he said must not have been that important."

"If you think about it, Luke, we are just as guilty as they are. On a nutty scale of 1-10, we're a 12. That's nuts times nuts. Nuts squared."

"Yeah, you're definitely nuts," Luke agreed.

"Mmm, nuts. Ooh! Peanut butter!" she said excitedly, leaving the bag of potato chips on the couch beside Luke as she quickly made her way into the kitchen.






To be continued... 




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