...Mightier Than the Sword
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Coffee Psychology


by Mystic
mysticxf@aol.com
Gilmore Girls and its characters belong to Amy Sherman-Palladino, the WB, the actors and everyone else who owns whatever, I'm just having fun during my spring break hoping this'll be done by summer... Enjoy!
Ah, here's a little diddy I've been DYING to write only I needed a surrounding story to the one scene I had in mind. *evil grin* I don't know where this fits into the timeline, somewhere before the finale, but I don't know where I started to write it...somewhere right after the Breakup Pt II.




Emily Gilmore sighed as loudly as she could, but it didn't stop her daughter from continuing on the rant she'd been on for the past ten minutes. She knew she should have learned long ago to give up on trying to get Lorelai to keep her mouth shut, it was just an impossibility once she got started. Throwing a glance at Richard, she saw his eyebrows were knitted together in confusion, but unable to say a word as he stared at his daughter. Rory looked embarrassed. Emily felt for Rory and would have tried to send her to another room once diner was over, but Lorelai hadn't stopped, not even for air.

"And then, Luke has the audacity to tell me that I'm stubborn, which, granted, is true, but the guy could keep his mouth shut about it. I don't need him re-hashing the fact up to me over and over like I'm oblivious to it. Besides, not like I'm just gonna admit it to him, it's more fun to fight with Luke. So I told him that he could be just as stubborn, to which he threw his hands up in the air and retreated to the back like a defeated army, triumphed by the Gilmore platoon that is me."

Then she fell silent.

Lorelai smiled, watching the faces of her family stare back at her. "Obviously this has flown way over some of your heads. Maybe I should repeat it..."

"NO!" Rory and Emily shouted in unison.

Richard raised a hand, "Who's Luke?"

"The ice man," Emily offered.

Richard eased back in his chair, "Oooooh."

Lorelai lowered her eyebrows, "Oh. Oh? What's 'oh' supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, it's just 'oh', can't a man say 'oh'? I believe it was the best response I could give to your little story." Richard threw a hand up at her, as if to dismiss her.

Rory glanced from her mother to her grandfather, "So, Chilton is having a renaissance fair this weekend, I thought it might be fun if..."

"No, dad, what's the 'oh'? What did mom tell you about Luke that has you all 'oooooh' like there's something bad, or secretive, or just something." She snuck a glance at her mother, knowing she'd admitted to her, and her alone, that she had feelings for Luke.

"Very articulate," Emily sighed.

Lorelai's eyes darted to her mother again, "Because there's nothing to tell about Luke. He's my friend, so what if we argue every once in a while? It's all for sport."

Richard sat up, "It's just that it seems you give this man a very hard time and he's done nothing but good things for you and Rory."

"I think there was a bug in my steak," Rory started to say picking at what was left with her knife, trying desperately to get them all to stop fighting. That's all she'd need, another stinkin' fight, and this one about Luke. Of all people for them to be fighting about.

Emily nodded her head towards Lorelai, "He's right, you know."

"Always," Lorelai smiled. "Why wouldn't he be right, and why wouldn't you agree," Lorelai added, sarcastically.

"I'm just saying you should lay off the man," Emily suggested as Richard nodded.

"I'm not laying on the man," Lorelai's eyes went wide before she chuckled. "Mom, it's Luke, if I don't bother him, my day's not complete. Not bothering Luke is like not having coffee. You know how I am without coffee."

"So you can't live without Luke, is that it?" Emily teased.

Lorelai gave an annoyed look, "No, that's not what I'm saying."

"That sounds like what you're saying."

"Well, it's not."

"I'm just saying, that's what it sounds like. You can't live without coffee like you can't live without Luke."

"Stop putting words in my mouth, ma, I didn't say that."

"Richard, isn't that what she said?" She glanced at her husband.

"It's not what I said," Lorelai said quickly before Richard could respond.

"So, how 'bout those Mets?" Rory asked, sinking into her chair.

Lorelai gave her daughter a sideways glance before continuing, "Besides, it's not like he doesn't bother me right back."

"Bothers you?" Richard asked.

"Yeah, weren't you listening to me? I tease him, he snaps back. It's this whole repartee we've got. We're thinking about taking it on the road, makin' a few bucks, whaddya think?" She smiled.

Richard shook his head. "You're obviously not being serious."

"As a heart attack," Lorelai grinned. Richard started to smile. Lorelai knew he at least understood that she was joking. Emily was a different matter.

The elder Gilmore woman folded her arms over her chest, "It wouldn't kill you to be polite to the man. He does make almost every meal you two eat."

"I am polite," she pouted, "And occasionally I cook."

"Yeah, we had this great Hamburger Helper the other night..." Rory sat up, trying again to gain their attention.

Richard gave a small laugh, "Polite? In the last diatribe alone you called him several bad words, insulted his manhood twice, and at least once had him on the verge of tears."

"Well, I exaggerate," Lorelai said with a wave of the hand. "Luke doesn't cry."

"Either way, this is not the proper way to behave in a dining establishment, especially one that you frequent as often as you do," Richard stated harshly.

"Well, normally, she strips to exotic music on the front counter," Rory whispered sarcastically. The three turned to stare at her as she played with her blouse. Rory glanced up at them, at their wide eyes watching her in shock. "Oh THAT you hear."

"Rory!" Emily spat.

"What, you guys were going on and on about something that's stupid. Mom and Luke fight just like you and grandpa, it's not a serious fighting thing. They don't hate each other."

"Damned straight!" Lorelai chimed in.

"So sure, mom instigates most of the teasing and fighting with him, but it's more flirty and fun than evil and vindictive. Lighten up."

Richard and Emily exchanged a glance before simultaneously leaning back in their seats. Richard spoke first, "You mentioned a renaissance fair at Chilton?"

Rory smiled, knowing that as long as they weren't talking to her mother, everything would run smoothly.




Stars Hollow
Monday Afternoon


The bus stop was oddly quiet and Rory had the uncomfortable feeling of emptiness in the pit of her stomach as she felt the bus come to a halt. It'd been a week and she was starting to think that her mother's definition of "It takes time," meant a whole different thing in her world than it did in Rory's. She wanted that feeling in her to go away. She wanted that place in her brain that was searching for Dean to stop and realize that he wasn't gonna wait for her at the bus stop anymore.

It felt like she was dragging herself off the bus and she stood on that sidewalk while the bus drove off and she watched it. It looked lonely driving off with no other cars in the street. Rory had a momentary vision of two busses riding off into the sunset, happy and together. Blinking herself back to reality she looked around at the busy streets and wondered why so many people didn't work. With a sigh, she adjusted the straps of her back pack and started down the sidewalk, occasionally glancing around, just hoping he'd be standing outside of Dosey's Market taking a break.

It was sick, she knew, sad more like it, she corrected, that she'd still be wanting to see him. She should be getting over him. She'd wallowed. Wasn't that what her mother had said, everything would feel better after she finally let herself wallow? Well, she'd wallowed and she didn't feel any better, she just wasn't ready to cry anymore. Rolling her eyes, she stopped looking and quickened her pace.

Rory slipped into Luke's and took a seat in a far corner of the place. She didn't want to sit with the crowd, just wanted to blend into it, hoping no one would notice her. Of course, she knew that wasn't possible in this town. Everyone noticed

"And stupid," she added with a nod.

"I know."

"And I want my coffee and muffin."

"Coming right up," Luke said quickly, rushing to the back.

Rory shook her head, pulling her Chilton jacket off her shoulders and setting it on the chair. It was weird, being here without Dean in the afternoon. Shuddering at her own thoughts, she looked out the window at her side and smiled when she saw Lane approaching. It'd been a long time since she'd come home from school and gone straight to see Lane and just Lane. After school was generally reserved for Dean. She watched Lane enter and come rushing over to sit with her.

"Hey," Lane said with a smile, "So guess who's bangs got singed off during a science experiment?"

"I thought they'd banned Sookie from the school," Rory asked, her eyebrows knitting in confusion.

Lane sighed, letting her head fall slightly to the side, "No, not Sookie," she paused, waiting for Rory to smile at her own silliness, "Marlena Scuzzini."

"The girl with the pierced nipples?"

"Should I even ask how you know that?"

"Last winter, it was cold, she wore a tight white cardigan. Ouch."

They both made faces of disgust before laughing. Lane wave a hand, "Anyway, we were doing this experiment, heat and chemicals, and she started playing with the gas lever and..."

"Boom."

"Big Boom. No bangs. Screaming, blood, smoke, chaos."

"It's moments like this that make me miss public school."

"Ah, Chilton, school of no scandal."

Rory pursed her lips and leaned her head back a bit. "Oh there's scandal alright. William B. Bonveu the third was caught in the eraser room with Mary Elizabeth Stottum."

"Wow, were they making out?"

"No, they got locked in while trying to get the audio/visual equipment from underneath all those erasers."

"Your school keeps the erasers with the audio/visual equipment?" Lane wrinkled her nose.

Rory shrugged, "Who knows, that's just how the story was when it got down to me, and we all know where I sit on the Chilton Totem Pole."

Lane smiled. "What about the Renaissance Fair you guys had, I thought you said that looked like fun."

"Big fun if you're into horrible productions of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marlowe, history lessons on Queen Elizabeth and fencing lessons against Bruno, three time wrestling champion... don't ask. Otherwise, big bunch of boredom."

"Alliteration."

"Allotasnoring."

Lane giggled, "Well, at least the food was good."

"I dunno, it was all either rare or still had a head."

"Yuck."

"Exactly." Rory nodded her head. "So, new CD's?"

"In my backpack."

"Stereo at my house."

"Told my mom we'd be studying," Lane faked sadness.

Rory folded her arms on the table, "Who says we can't study Trig and French to the beat of The Bangles."

"Rock on, sista!" Lane thrust a fist in the air as Luke arrived with Rory's muffin and coffee. He looked from one girl to the other.

"Study night?"

"Exactly," Rory said with a smile, momentarily forgetting about a certain floppy haired boy who happened to be watching her from where he stood outside of the Market taking his break.




Independence Inn

Lorelai jotted down several notes into her folder and then looked at Michel who was talking on the phone. He seemed angry, but she could never tell most days, he always seemed angry. Smiling, she crossed her legs, pulling herself onto the stool beside her, watching him.

"Sir, no, sir, I explained this to you when you called before, there is no nude sun bathing."

Lorelai made a surprised face.

"No, sir, not even at midnight."

"Which defeats the purpose of *sun* bathing," Lorelai said quickly.

Michel turned and pointed a finger at her, narrowing his eyes.

"Oh, the evil eyes of Michel, promising to do many horrible things to me for making fun of phone calls that obviously make him upset."

Michel pursed his lips, "Sir, this is Connecticut, there are no nude bathing colonies."

"I dunno, you might wanna confirm that with Miss Patty first."

"Sir, no, sir, Sir!" Michel clasped a hand over his eyes, tilting his head back as he gritted his teeth. Then he suddenly smiled, "My manager, of course, hold on." He swung the phone into Lorelai's face. "He wants to speak to you."

Lorelai took the phone and pointed at him.

"Have fun," Michel said, "I'm going on a break," he waved a hand at her, walking towards the bathroom as Lorelai put the phone to her ear with a sigh,

"What can I do for you, sir?"




Gilmore Residence

Lane swayed to the music coming out of the stereo for a moment. It was light, funky, and she was really glad she bought it. Rory watched her, her pencil poised in her hand, ready to take more notes on a chapter she already had three sets of notes on. It was the best way to remember anything, she'd figured out when she was young, was to take several sets of notes on one thing. It seemed stupid to everyone else, and her mother had oft called her a freak, but in that loving way that made her know her mother approved.

"You know, I missed this," Rory said, letting her pencil fall into the crack of her open book.

Lane stopped rocking and looked at her friend, "Watching me groove to the music?"

"Just hanging out, with nothing else to think about."

"Like all that stuff you're thinking about now?" Lane questioned.

Rory frowned, "That obvious?"

"Oh, you've got 'what's Dean doing now?' etched across your forehead."

"Oh man, I'm pathetic."

"No, you're not."

"Then how do you explain this?" She pointed to her head.

"What?"

"The etching across my forehead."

"Rory, I was kidding."

"But the implications of your jesting, the whole me obviously thinking about Dean when I should be upset with him and moving on."

"But you're not upset with him."

"And I'm not moving on," Rory sighed.

"Well, you wallowed, and the only guy actively seeking you is Tristan..."

"Who's a jerk!" Rory pointed at her.

"Exactly," Lane smiles. "This is normal."

"Why does everyone keep telling me that things that are insane are normal? I'm starting to think I live in Bellevue."

"Rory, it's taken you sixteen years to come to that conclusion?"

"No, it's taken me sixteen years to escape the denial."

Lane laughed. "Look, we'll study for another hour, then go to Luke's for burgers, cokes, we'll talk, we'll argue, we'll bury our spoons in mile high strawberry ice cream."

Rory nodded her head, "It's a date."

"Good, now go back to that fat book you're reading."

"Yes, ma'am."

"And don't call me ma'am," Lane said with a shudder, "The last date my mother set me up with kept calling me ma'am, it was scary, really."

Rory laughed and it felt better.




Independence Inn
Afternoon


Lorelai stepped into the kitchen and finally let the sigh she'd been holding for the past hour slip out between her lips as Sookie rushed forward with a spoon full of noodles. Lorelai held a hand out, blocking, "Whoa, Sookie!"

"Try it!"

"Do you know who I just got off the phone with?"

"No, try this," she thrust the spoon forward again.

"Todd McBranaugh, he wanted to know if he could sunbathe in the nude."

Sookie went back to her pot, putting the spoon in and watching someone else take over the cooking as she walked towards her friend.

"Nude sunbathing!" Lorelai repeated as if it were the craziest thing in the world.

"Well, it's Spring."

"Sookie, fat old man, naked."

She wrinkled her nose.

"He calls every year asking if we've added nude sunbathing, gets upset that we haven't, then re-books his room after canceling and acts like nothing's happened."

"You know, one year he's gonna just strip and wag his salami all around the pool."

"Oh Sookie!" Lorelai scoffed, "That's just gross."

Sookie giggled. "So, how was the fair this weekend, diner with the parents, fill me in, I haven't talked to you since Friday afternoon."

Lorelai looked up, acting like she was thinking, "Ok, well the fair was really boring. Even Rory was bored, and when Rory is bored at a literary and historically accurate event, then I have the right to exclaim that I'm boring very loudly."

"Diner with parents?"

"Oh, them, yeah, they want me to be nice to Luke."

"You talked about Luke?"

"Yeah, freaky, isn't it?"

"Why were you talking about Luke?"

Lorelai grinned, "I told them about Friday morning..."

Sookie nodded, "Retreated to the back like a defeated army, gotcha."

"Exactly," Lorelai said, "And my dad said he didn't understand why I'm so mean to Luke. I'm not meant to Luke. On occasion, I'm mean to Michel, but that's because he's often snide, but I'm not mean to Luke."

"I dunno..." Sookie trailed.

Lorelai gasped, "You agree with my parents!"

"I didn't say that."

"Oh my God! You think my dad's right. Oh, someone please pinch me because I'm either dreaming or I've gone to hell."

"Hon, I didn't say I agreed with them, I'm just saying that it wouldn't kill you to make an effort every once in a while."

"An effort!?"

"Yeah, you know, make nice-nice with him."

Lorelai tried not to look shocked, "What are we five?"

Sookie shrugged.

"You know what? I'm leaving."

"Lorelai, don't be mad."

She laughed at her friend, "Why would I be mad? I'm not mad." She smiled widely, "See, totally over it, of course, now I feel compelled to go bother Luke just because my parents don't want me to do it. They've reduced me to a stubborn ten year old, next thing you know I'll be sticking my fingers in the electric sockets just 'cause they told me not too."

Lorelai giggled at the thought and then headed for the door, "Bye Sookie."

"Go easy on him."

Lorelai grunted a response and left.




Luke's
Night


Lorelai walked straight up to the counter and sat. "Am I mean to you?"

Luke shrugged, "That depends on your definition of mean."

"Luke..." She trailed, slapping her purse on the table in front of her.

"I don't know. No."

"See."

"What?" He asked.

"Coffee..." she signaled.

"What?" Luke asked again, filling a mug and handing it to her.

"I'm not mean to you."

"Well, I said I don't know, sometimes you can be."

"Like when?"

"When you're mean to me."

She tilted her head to the side, "That doesn't help."

"When you want coffee and I won't give it to you."

"Hello, that's because I'm having caffeine deficiency problems, besides, you're in business here and part of your business, all of your business, is making your customer happy, which means serving them because this is a place of food, so when I ask for an item and you refuse to give it to me because you feel compelled to save me from my eating habits, I cannot be held responsible for the drabble that escapes my mouth in the corresponding response."

Luke shrugged. "Fine, but you like to tease."

"It's fun," Lorelai said with a smile.

"Sometimes you like to tease a little harshly, sarcastically."

"It's my nature, you're used to it."

"Fine, possibly true, but it's not always necess... you know what, this is a seriously odd conversation, how did we start talking about this?"

"I told my parents about yesterd..."

"Oh, I'm not getting into that again!" Luke raised his hands, starting to turn away.

"I'm not asking you to."

"Fine."

"Fine."

Lorelai gave a grin, "But you know I was right..."

He pointed a finger at her, "You were not."

"I was too."

"What's up?" Rory asked, coming into the diner.

Lorelai turned, "Just telling Luke I was right."

"Oh no," Lane and Rory said simultaneously.

Luke nodded, "And I was just telling your mother that she was wrong... again."

Looking back towards Luke, Lorelai leaned closer and crossed her arms over her chest, "Luke, admit it, I'm right."

"Not perpetually."

"But often."

"Less than that."

"Luke!"

"No."

"Come on!"

"Hey!" Rory shouted, "Beatrice, Benedict, back to your corners."

Luke looked up, "Who?"

Lorelai cringed, "What?"

"It's a Shakespeare thing," Lane supplied.

Lorelai made a 'so' gesture and asked, "And again I say, what?"

Rory pointed between them, "You two, it's like cats and dogs."

Lorelai smiled, "Am I the cat, or the dog?"

Luke made a face, "Judging by the size of the yap..."

"Shut up!" Rory shouted.

Lorelai stood up, "Hey."

Lane got serious, "Rory?"

Rory shook her head, "No, grandpa was right, this is getting ridiculous. We come in here every day, can't you two find some middle ground?"

Lorelai shrugged, "But the top and bottom ground are so fun."

Rory rolled her eyes, "Ok, here's the deal: Mom, for the next twenty four hours you will be nice to Luke, no more cracks; no more stupid comments."

Luke smirked, "You're severely limiting her vocabulary."

Rory turned, pointing a finger, "And you! Luke, no responses, no denials of coffee, no pleading to eat healthier."

Lane gestured a finger between the two, "Rory, you're leaving them speechless."

Rory shook her head, "No, I'm going to teach them to be nicer to each other."

Lorelai feigned shock, "Oh, come on, we're nice."

"We haven't killed each other anyway," Luke added.

Rory opened the muffin tray and removed two, with her hands, then put two dollars on the table, "I'm leaving now and you two are going to have a civil conversation."

Lorelai gave an evil smile, "But how will you know? I mean, you could walk out that door and we could go right back to what we were talking about and you wouldn't..."

Rory thrust a finger forward again, "I'll know."

Lane smiled, "She's got spies."

"This is Stars Hollow," Rory said slowly, suspiciously, but with a small hint of a grin that made Lane laugh. Then the two walked out of Luke's, leaving Lorelai and Luke staring at them.

"My kid is weird."

Luke started to nod, "Well, we all know whe..."

Lorelai turned, "What?"

He shook his head.

"You were gonna insult me," Lorelai pointed.

"Was not," Luke said with the tilting of his head.

Lorelai gave him a smug grin, "Well, if we're gonna talk about weird, then..." she stopped herself.

"What?" Luke asked.

"Nothing."

"You were gonna insult me," Luke pointed, repeating her previous motion.

"Was not," Lorelai said, shaking her head. She turned, looking at Rory and Lane, who were across the street. "I'm going to go now," she said suddenly.

"Wouldn't wanna..." Luke started.

Lorelai turned quickly, "What?"

"Nothing," Luke said, watching Lorelai stand.

She backed towards the door, coffee in hand, "Bye."

"Bye," Luke said, rubbing his hands together nervously.




Independence Inn
Morning


Lorelai gripped her purse tight to her chest and walked into the kitchen with her eyes half closed and her shoulder slumped over. "Oh God, Sookie, please tell me we have coffee. If we don't have coffee I'm going to be forced to drool all over the kitchen until an adequate batch, and by that I mean the largest vat of coffee ever produced, is made."

"We have coffee," Sookie responded triumphantly, pouring her friend a cup.

Taking it, Lorelai drank it quickly, leaning against a chair. "Coffee is my friend," she said, goofy grin set on her face.

"What's the matter?"

Lorelai pouted at her friend. "My kid's a sadist."

"What?"

"She's evil."

"Why?"

"She won't let me see Luke."

Sookie's eyes went wide. "You're seeing Luke?"

"No, I'm not seeing Luke," Lorelai said, refilling her cup.

"But you just said..." Sookie pointed a finger behind her.

Lorelai waved a hand at her. "Last night, Rory walked in on one of me and Luke's conversations and she told us she was sick and tired of us bickering back and forth like nasty little people and that for twenty four hours we had to be all nice to each other or she'd poke our eyes out."

"She said that?" Sookie's eyebrows knitted together in confusion.

Lorelai shrugged, "Well, not exactly, but I can't go to Luke's."

"Why not?"

"She has spies."

"What?"

"Rory."

"Rory's got spies?"

"All over Stars Hollow and if someone sees me and Luke doing anything that looks remotely like fighting, she's gonna hear about it and we'll be punished."

"Did she say what she's gonna do?"

"No specific repercussions were discussed, but it's Rory, she's smart, she'll think of something."

"Like the time she took away your Madonna tank top for two weeks because you started a wave at a parent-teacher night when she was in middle school."

Lorelai's eyes widened, "She'll do worse. She's older now, who knows what's going on in that older, more sophisticated, complicated brain of hers."

Sookie giggled. "I don't see what the problem is, you said it yourself, you're nice to Luke."

"Yes, but my interpretation of nice and Rory's interpretation of nice could differ on the grand scale of niceness, which they probably do, and I don't want to risk that."

"So you're just not going to Luke's."

"Until 10:09 tonight."

Sookie shook her head and went to her cooking.

"What?" Lorelai asked, trailing he friend.

"You."

"What about me?" She put a hand on her waist.

Sookie looked up at Lorelai, "You honestly think you're gonna last that long before you're craving for coffee."

Lorelai pointed, "We have a coffee maker."

"But it's not Luke's coffee."

Lorelai looked concerned, "You have a point." She raised a finger, "I'll send you to get it!"

"I'm not going to get your coffee for you."

"You're not a good friend!" Lorelai pouted.

Sookie giggled, "Come on Lorelai, you can go over there and have a civil conversation with Luke, I know you can."

"Yeah, I can," Lorelai said, sounding a little more confident.

Sookie smiled, "Yes, you can."

Lorelai's shoulders slumped, "No, I can't. It's no fun without the teasing."

"Lorelai, go to your room," Sookie pointed towards the doors that led to the front desk. "Just try not to think about coffee," she said as her friend pushed open the door.

"HA!" Lorelai shouted back at her.




Kim's Antiques
Afternoon


Rory pushed open the front door and Mrs. Kim approached her, then made a face and shouted over her shoulder, "Lane, Rory's here."

"Hello, Mrs. Kim," Rory said as politely as she could.

"Hello Rory."

"We're going to study in the kitchen, if that's alright with you."

The woman seemed to contemplate her for a moment, then nodded, "Only studying. No talking about boys, or kissing, or boys and kissing."

"Yes, ma'am," Rory said saluting. She raised an eyebrow when she swore Mrs. Kim half smiled before turning away from her and going back to a customer in the back. Lane passed her mother and they exchanged Korean words to which Lane nodded, then giggled, walking towards Rory.

"My mother says she's no soldier, stop saluting," Lane said with a smile.

Rory nodded, "Explain that if she wants me to stop saluting, she could stop barking orders like a commando."

"You know I can't tell her that."

Rory shrugged, "Fine, but if she suddenly says, 'drop and give me twenty,' you're in trouble."

Lane smiled, "So, Chemistry?"

"Good idea."

The two went to the kitchen and pulled out fat books. The only difference between the two was Rory's was brand new while Lane's was busting at the seams. The joys of private school, Rory thought to herself as she flipped through the book.

"How do you think your mom's holding up?" Lane asked suddenly.

"What do you mean?"

"That whole thing with Luke last night, you realize that you basically dared your mom not to bother Luke for twenty four hours, which she'll do just to prove she can. So she probably hasn't had the amount of coffee she's used to because the only way to not bother Luke is to not go back in at all."

Rory shrugged, "I'm sure it's fine, haven't heard anything from anyone and usually when they have silly conversations, I hear about it."

"Maybe we should drop by the Inn to make sure, get the scoop from Sookie."

Rory smiled, pulling out a cell phone, "Already done."

"You took your mom's phone."

"Yes, and I hid the coffee pot."

Lane gasped, "You didn't."

"Sookie was freaking out when I left."

"That's just wrong."

"Yeah, but it's kinda fun."

"Chilton has turned you evil!"

Rory started laughing, "Chilton has made me a mad scientist," Rory smiled, pulling a sheet out of her backpack, "I'm documenting how we set ourselves into patterns and by changing just one tiny thing on that pattern, we can throw off our whole universe."

"You're using your mom as a science project."

"Actually, it's for psychology."

"That's sick."

Rory nodded.

"That's awesome!"

Rory high fived Lane and the two went back to their Chemistry books.




Independence Inn
Afternoon


Lorelai sat at the front desk and she flipped through the mail, trying not to think about coffee. Trying not to think about anything else but the mail. Letter from the water company... no, bill. Bill from the light people. Bill from the flower people for the wedding in a week. Bill for food. Opening. Jesus Almighty! Mental note to tell Sookie that Caviar is a delicacy and should not be ordered by the pound. Slamming food bill on table as a form of punishment.

With a loud sigh, Lorelai continued. Magazine for food, Sookie's magazine. Magazine for hotel management, mine baby! Magazine called French Females and their Naughty Habits? Note to self, smack Michel over the head when you see him. Ah, the Chilton newsletter forwarded by one Emily Gilmore. Thank you mother. Freak. Mental note to actually read the one at home to make sure I'm up to date on Friday night. Telephone bill. Pretty letter from Party Co. wanting to be our new balloon supplier. Thinking not likely considering their last balloon order came incorrect and we had to re-order a thousand balloons from Balloons Balloons and they were great. Coffee.

Pulling the sheet to her face, she sniffed it wondering why she was smelling coffee and not any coffee, but Luke's coffee. The one with nutmeg and cinnamon, filled to the rim with just enough sugar and a spot of milk. Oh God, Lorelai slapped the mail down on the table and looked up at Michel, who was standing on front of her with a brown paper cup from Luke's. He took a long drink.

"Hello," he said, evilly.

"Sookie told you," Lorelai said, angrily.

He shrugged, "Word travels fast."

"So I've heard."

Michel took another long sip. "It tastes... what the word I'm looking for... um..."

"Amazing," Lorelai said for him, her voice wavering.

He smiled, his eyes widening, "Yes, it is."

Then she frowned, "Michel, you don't drink any coffee but what you bring from home."

"To see the look on your face, I'll make an exception."

"Michel, to see my fist in your eye, I hesitate not."

He lowered his eyebrows and walked away towards a back room, grabbing his magazine before he went and Lorelai almost giggled. Almost. The smell was still there and she inhaled several times before jumping up and leaving the front desk to go to the kitchen. She grabbed at the coffee pot and yelped when it wasn't there.

"SOOKIE!" Lorelai took several short breaths before shouting again, "SOOKIE!"

The woman ran out from the back room, a small can of peaches in her hand, "What?"

"Coffee pot. Where's the coffee pot?" She pointed frantically.

Sookie bit her bottom lip, "I don't know."

"Ok, you remember it right? Little see through glass container, cute brown handle on the side, silver ring about an inch from the bottom. It had little numbers on it that measured this pretty dark liquid inside that made beautiful smoke that smelled like heaven?" Lorelai stared at Sookie.

"Don't panic," Sookie said softly, putting both hands out.

Lorelai almost screamed, "Don't panic!? There's no coffee pot. There's no coffee. It's freakin' coffee prohibition in here and I'm not supposed to panic?"

"I'll find the coffee pot."

Lorelai threw her hands down, "I don't have time for this." She started walking towards the door, huffing all the way. "I can do this. It'll take five seconds, I'll be right out."

"Where are you going?" Sookie asked.

Lorelai turned, "I'm going to get coffee. This is ridiculous. Rory is wrong."

"Honey, Rory's never wrong."

"Ha!" Lorelai pushed through the doors.




Outside Luke's
Afternoon


Lorelai paced the sidewalk, occasionally looking into the diner. She could walk in and just order coffee, it was possible. Possible in another dimension. She was so sure of herself when she'd left the Inn seconds ago and now it seemed weird, like she knew the minute she walked in, she'd say something stupid and that's it, Rory would win. I will not let Rory win! Lorelai sighed and gripped her hands into balls, then began to walk towards Luke's.

She could already see him behind the counter. He was serving Miss Patty. Great, Lorelai thought, that's all she'd need, Miss Patty overhearing everything they said so she could tell it all to Rory. Dammit, Lorelai grunted at herself and then held her head straighter, thinking about just how crazy she must look, not that anyone would ever think different, she knew.

The front door made that distinct dingling noise when it opened and it seemed like everyone in the place was looking at her. Luke stopped serving Miss Patty and gave her a half smile. She smirked in response and moseyed on over to the front counter, sitting down slowly, getting a feel for this new territory, a territory in which she must control every word that flashes through her brain so that they didn't make it past her lips unfiltered.

"Hello," she said slowly.

"Hey," Luke responded, his hands on his waist.

Lorelai had the urge to ask him if he'd ever seen an old western movie. Where two guys were obviously having problems so they go out in the middle of some scary dirt road with guns and blow each other away. That was the odd feeling she was having at that very moment. With her hands held out in front of her on the table, she felt like she had to keep the peace. She could almost hear that weird western whistle, probably because she whistled it.

Taylor Dosey started whispering to some woman next to him and Lorelai turned, throwing him a nasty look before looking back at Luke. "I need a cup of your finest," she said softly.

"That'd be coffee?" He asked in response, his smile spreading.

She narrowed her eyes, "You know what I mean."

"Maybe I don't."

"Coffee." Lorelai stopped. "May I have a large cup of coffee... please."

The room gasped.

Luke didn't turn as he grabbed the coffee pot and a cup and then poured it in front of her, slow, agonizingly slow. He pushed the lid on and replaced the coffee pot before pushing it forward towards her with both hands. "Is that all?"

Lorelai let the money that was in her hands fall onto the table and she stood, taking her cup gently, "Yes... thank you."

Small gasps escaped Miss Patty and the Troubadour.

She started to turn as Luke opened the register, placing the five dollar bill in it's proper place. He looked up at her, "You're forgetting your change," Luke said, his voice low.

Lorelai turned to look at him again, holding her cup with both hands. She smiled wide and told him quickly, "Consider it a tip."

"That's a lot for a tip."

"You give good service."

"Is that a compliment?"

"Yes, it is." Lorelai said, squeezing her cup.

Luke nodded his head once, "Thank you."

Lorelai turned when Taylor raised a hand to his chest, looking faint. She wanted to say something, she really did, but if she started in on Taylor, Luke would defend him and she'd turn on Luke and then Rory would hear and ugh... Lorelai just looked back at Luke. "You're welcome. Later."

"Later," Luke responded, walking back towards Miss Patty.

Lorelai bit her bottom lip and turned, walking out of the diner.




Gilmore Residence
7:09PM


Lorelai stomped her foot impatiently as she stood next to the coffee machine, waiting for the stuff to start pouring. Screw pots, she'd placed a large mug underneath the flow, just waiting. Of course, today, she knew, it'd take longer than usual. Not that it would actually take any more or less time, it would just feel like it since she hadn't had a cup of coffee in two hours. Lorelai grinned as the first drop plopped into the mug.

"Bring it on!" She challenged, watching it start to flow.

"You're sick," Rory said, entering the kitchen.

"And you, my dear, hid the coffee pot."

"How did you know?" Rory asked, cocking her head to the side.

Lorelai turned, pointing a finger, "I didn't until now. I mean, I had my suspicions after Sookie told me it disappeared around the time you visited her to spy on me, but you've given your admission of guilt and now it's time for your punishment!"

Rory acted like she was scared, "No, please, mother!"

"I called Mrs. Kim. You're having diner with them tonight."

Rory's eyes flashed wide. "You've got to be kidding."

"Oh, you think you're the only one here who can play these little torture games?" Lorelai said with a smile, "I'm the queen, baby."

"Mom, no, Mrs. Kim serves Tofu and not the flavored kind either. It's bland and they want you to clean your plate. I remember this one time..."

Lorelai wagged a finger in front of her, "Ah, ah, ah, no complaints remember? Isn't that one of the rules? No complaining." She glanced at her watch, "And you'd better get changed quick, I told her you'd be there at seven thirty sharp, which means you have about half an hour."

"Mom!" Rory pleaded.

"Rory, sweety, I love you, but payback's a bitch," Lorelai gave her her best smile and then took her mug into the kitchen to watch television.

Rory tossed her bag into her room. "Ok, this is all a big joke, right?"

Lorelai glanced up from the couch, "No joke, hon. Now get moving."

"I don't believe you."

"I miss my coffee," Lorelai said to her mug.

Rory grunted, going into her room to change. She knew there was no getting out of this one and she knew, or at least a small part of her knew, that she deserved it. Then her grin grew as she snuck back out to grab the can of coffee, taking it into her room and shoving it into the backpack she was going to take to Mrs. Kim's with her.




Gilmore Residence
9:45PM


Lorelai opened everything in the kitchen again, leaving it all open so she could stare at it from the doorway of Rory's room. "I'm not going insane," she assured herself out loud. Then she took a step forward, "Opened this cabinet. Took out coffee can. Filled coffee maker. Put coffee can back right here," she slapped her hand on the empty space and then pouted.

Ok, she thought, these things don't just get up and walk away. They get taken away. They get stolen. They get hidden. Lorelai smiled, turning to look in Rory's room. "Ok you little clepto, where'd you put my coffee." Lorelai rummaged through the closet, looking everywhere that a coffee can would fit, then she turned and started opening Rory's drawers, tossing clothing everywhere.

The phone rang and Lorelai grabbed it, then grimaced, "Hello?"

"Lorelai, is everything alright?" Her mother asked.

"Oh just peachy."

"You sound upset."

"It's just. I lost something," she admitted.

Emily paused, "Why not call Luke, he's good at finding things."

"Mom," Lorelai said angrily, then laid on the floor, looking under Rory's bed. "Dammit, nothing. Where the hell did you put it you little...."

"Lorelai, who are you talking to."

"My imaginary daughter."

"What happened to your real one?"

Lorelai sat up, leaning on the bed. "She ran away with the circus, having succumb to her natural talents as a tight-rope walker."

"Seriously."

"Oh, I'm dead serious," Lorelai said with a smile. After a moment's silence, Lorelai sighed, "She's having diner at her friend Lane's house."

"Lane's house? What's wrong with your house?"

"It burned down," Lorelai huffed.

"What's the matter with you?"

"I haven't had an adequate amount of coffee today, I'm grumpy, and I'm sorry," she said honestly.

Emily nodded, "Why don't you go see Luke?"

"That's the thing. Rory told me to be nice to Luke, thanks to you two."

"Don't pin this on us, you brought it on yourself."

"Yeah well, Rory told me to be all nice for twenty four hours, which is over in about an hour, but I've just been trying to avoid going to Luke's."

"So basically, you're not even trying."

"Basically," Lorelai nodded her head vehemently, "It's easier."

"You always did take the easier roads."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh you know what I mean, Lorelai."

"Hey, I didn't take the easy route with my kid."

"A fact that I commend you on, but talking with this man, being nice to this man, should be so much easier than that. Don't you like him?"

Lorelai nodded, "Yeah."

"Then just go to that diner and get your coffee," Emily smiled, thinking about just how silly her daughter could be.

Standing, Lorelai bit her bottom lip, "Yeah, shouldn't be so hard, I went in once, I can do it again."

"That's the spirit."

Lorelai started to say good-bye, then paused, "Hey, what were you calling for anyway? Did you need something?"

Emily smiled, "Just wanted to know how my girls were doing." She paused, "Good bye Lorelai."

"See you Friday," Lorelai said quickly, then hung up the phone.




Luke's
10:00PM


Lorelai ran across the street when she saw Luke locking his front doors, "No, PLEASE, WAIT! Rory stole my coffee and I really need some before I go to bed."

Luke turned, "That makes no sense."

"I'm a quirky person," Lorelai supplied.

He started to answer, but clamped his mouth shut.

"You were about to say something naughty, weren't you."

"Ok, so yes, I was, so what?"

"You would have lost." She pointed a finger at him.

"Lost what?" Luke pointed his key back at her, "There wasn't a bet, it was just an agreement to not insult one another for twenty four hours."

"Then please, don't shut down."

"All the machines are off."

"Oh what, it takes an hour to warm up the coffee machine?" She hunched her shoulders in defeat, knowing it was either get his coffee or die. She wouldn't die, but she'd wouldn't be able to sleep well.

Luke sighed, "Fine," he unlocked the door, ushering her in and flicking on the lights, "But only because we have to be nice."

"Yay for Rory," Lorelai smiled and clapped her hands diabolically.

She walked up to the counter and sat, laying her purse on the counter. "So, good day?"

"You trying to make small talk?" He turned to her as he clicked on the coffee pot.

She shrugged, "Maybe I am. Good day?"

"Relatively quiet."

"See what happens when I'm not around."

"I know, peace and tranquillity, it was weird."

"Weird good or weird bad?"

"Not sure yet."

Lorelai grinned, "Admit it, you missed me."

"Admit it, you missed my coffee."

"I missed you," Lorelai half-whispered, staring at her hands.

"Come again?" Luke said quickly.

Lorelai looked up, "Ok, so I missed talking to you, is that a crime? It's not like you have coodies, although if you do, I'd like advance notice so I can get the playground witch doctor to cure you."

"You're odd."

"You're... odder," she stammered, then grinned.

Luke shook his head, going to fix up the coffee machine, then he turned back to look at her, "Should be about five minutes."

"I can wait."

"You want anything else, fries?"

She waved a hand, dismissing the offer, "Nah, thanks, you're going through enough trouble just for the coffee."

"It's no trouble, really."

Lorelai smiled, "No, thank you."

Luke nodded, "What happened to your coffee maker?"

"Coffee maker's fine. It's one sixteen year old girl who's gonna be in trouble when I find out where she hid the actual coffee."

Luke chuckled, "Rory hid the coffee."

"I swear, if it weren't for her age, I'd think she were trying to set us up!" She laughed.

He lowered his eyebrows. "You don't think..." he trailed.

She stopped laughing and stared at him, "Rory would never do something like that, at least not without giving me some kind of heads-up about it, like with her fourth grade teacher." She paused, "He was hot, but she told me the night of parent-teacher night that he was hot and I immediately knew she was gonna try something. With you, she's more, 'just be nice 'cause he's our friend'."

He nodded. "Ok," then he turned to fill a cup with coffee.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"No, you sounded upset."

"It may sound silly, but it's depressing that I'm not... well... a hottie."

"You're Luke."

He gave a laugh.

"I mean, you're this guy we come to for food. You're the guy we make jokes with and talk about behind his back. You're the guy who helps us with stuff when we won't go to anyone for help. You're Luke."

"Good description."

Lorelai took a sip of her coffee when he handed it to her. "Ok, you're cute."

He grinned.

"Are we gonna get into this again?"

"What?"

"The whole, we're nine years old and can't compliment each other without A insulting each other or B getting all goofy."

"So if I told you you're beautiful, you wouldn't get all embarrassed."

She slurped her coffee.

"See, it makes you nervous."

"No," she shook her head, "It makes me anxious."

"Anxious."

"Yeah, see, I'm still trying to adhere to Rory's no bad behavior rule, which means I can't just joke it off and make a fool of you. I have to be nice and being nice makes me really consider what you said and that makes me anxious."

Luke lowered his eyebrows and watched her a moment.

"Ok, you, not making it better."

"Sorry," he turned away. "I just didn't think anything made you anxious."

Lorelai let out a laugh, "Everything makes me anxious."

"Maybe you'd be more calm without coffee."

"Are you making fun?" She narrowed her eyes at him.

"No," he smiled, "Just making a point."

"That I'm hyped up on caffeine?"

He nodded.

"So?" She smiled, "So what if I am?"

"You're cute when you're hyper."

She blushed, then turned away, "You're gonna be in a world of hurt if you say that again."

"You're cute when you're threatening," he challenged.

Lorelai stood, "Ok buster, I'm crossing over that line that separates the in-front-of-the-counter from the behind-the-counter and I'm kicking your ass," she grinned.

Luke remained, opening his arms and with a nod of his head, he gestured for her to approach him. Lorelai went around the corner and shoved him. He laughed, "You realize that I could so easily toss you over this counter."

She shoved him again, "And you know I'd get back up."

"Yeah, you're resilient like that."

"Yes, I am."

Luke grabbed her arms, pulling her closer. "I don't want to fight right now though."

"You know, I'm thinking it's not a good idea either."

"I don't want to leave either."

Lorelai shook her head, "No, that wouldn't be nice. You'd leave me all alone in here."

"Good, you need company."

"Yeah."

Lorelai smiled, "Luke."

"What?"

"Shut up already."




Stars Hollow
10:10PM


Rory shuddered as she walked with Lane down the street. She wished she could be mad at her mother, she really did, but there was no way she could be mad with all she'd done to her that day. She knew when she got home there was gonna be a little fighting and then a little smiling and they'd just go to sleep, truce drawn. There was no winning in the Gilmore household, only truces. At least between them. Rory didn't even want to think about what would happen if Emily Gilmore were forced to spend the night. Rory was sure that would be a night without a truce.

"Is your food still moving in your stomach?" She asked Lane.

Her friend touched her belly, "Not sure, it's either that, or the acids are recoiling in disgust."

"I think we should submit your mother's food for study at like MIT or something."

"Yeah, get them to figure out just what's in it 'cause I'm pretty sure it's something wicked rotten."

Rory turned, "Wicked rotten?"

"What?"

"What's with the 'wicked', you never say wicked."

"I say wicked."

"When?"

"When I just said wicked."

Rory rolled her eyes, "Don't make me laugh, the food is making a comeback."

Lane laughed. "I believe mine's down for the count."

Rory nodded, "Good for you." Then she added, "Remind me to feign illness BEFORE consumption next time."

"I don't think next time you'll be feigning."

"No, and remind me never to challenge my mother and her coffee."

"I didn't really think it was a good idea to begin with."

"No," Rory shook her head. "Are you feeling faint?"

Lane shook her head, "I've become immune. You however, should lay down."

"Hey," Rory said suddenly.

"What?" Lane asked, looking at her friend.

"Luke's closes at like ten most nights, right?"

Lane nodded, "Not like I'd know, you're the one who practically lives there."

"Yeah, unless it's like a holiday, or Friday night, he generally closes at ten."

"So?"

Rory pointed, "So why are the shades drawn like he's closed, but the lights are on?"

"Maybe he's not done closing yet."

"You think he'd let me hurl and then make me a burger?"

Lane's eyes lit up, "Can I do that too?!"

"Let's get anorexic!" Rory smiled.

Lane shook her head, "Well, technically..."

"Don't argue technicalities right now Lane, the tofu just poked me!" Rory joked, beginning her quick walk towards Luke's. As they approached the door, Rory glanced in, "No one's there."

"What?" Lane asked, trying to move through the door.

Rory giggled, holding her friend back, "I have an idea."

"Should I be worried?"

Shaking her head, Rory told her, "No, but Luke's probably just upstairs or in the bathroom. We can go in quietly, sneak around the counter and when he comes out, we can scare the crap out of him."

"That's not very nice."

"I know, but I'm sure without my mom, he's been missing that whole not-nice part of his day."

Lane nodded her head, "Ok, but if he gets angry, it was your idea."

"Yeah, I forced you to play along."

"Threatened to take away my favorite Sam Phillips album."

"You have a favorite?" Rory asked as she was about to open the door.

"No, they're all my favorite, that's why it's so threatening."

Rory put a finger over her lips, then pushed open the door, reaching up to hold the bell off the door before it made that dingling sound. She quietly closed the door and watched Lane try to contain her giggles as they walked slowly to the counter. Rory's eyebrows fell when she saw her mother's purse. She suddenly wasn't feeling so sneaky, just confused. She cautiously made her way around the counter and gasped when she saw her mother and Luke sprawled on the floor.

"MOM!" Rory's jaw fell.

Lorelai's head snapped up and she turned slowly to look at her daughter, "Oh no..." she said slowly.




Luke's
10:14PM


Rory felt like her head was spinning as she watched the two scramble to get up. She remembered a million movie scenes that started like this, two people getting caught doing something they shouldn't be doing by someone who really shouldn't have witnessed it, but she had no idea what she was supposed to do or say. She definitely couldn't walk back out and pretend she hadn't seen it. She couldn't just ignore it and not say anything, but there weren't words in her head. She'd blanked on everything she would have wanted to tell them.

"Oh my God," she said quickly, the only thing she could say and she touched her forehead, which she knew was tomato red and turned away.

"Honey..." Lorelai trailed.

"Oh my God," she repeated as her mother buttoned the top buttons of her shirt.

"Rory..." Luke said slowly.

"Oh my God!" she exclaimed when he rebuckled his belt.

Lane stared at the three feeling oddly out of place and wishing she'd just walked Rory straight home because now she knew her mother was gonna want to know why they stopped at Luke's and what took so long. Lane wouldn't even know how to explain.

"It's not what it looks like," Lorelai said, "Which, I know, cliché, but it's not."

"And what else could it be!" Rory shouted, "You were making out with Luke."

"I was being nice, didn't you want me to be nice."

Rory swallowed hard, "Nice as in making small talk..."

"Which is how this started," Lorelai said, pointing a finger.

Rory closed her eyes, not wanting to hear her mother, "Not nice as in groping."

"I wasn't groping." Lorelai shook her head.

"She wasn't groping," Luke said quickly.

"You're not helping!" Rory shouted at the two of them.

"Well, how can we help?" Lorelai asked, knowing she couldn't joke her way out of this one. She approached her daughter, wanting to hug her.

Rory shook her head and turned away from them, shoving off her mother's hands. "Just... just leave me alone."




Independence Inn
Next Morning


Lorelai had already been to Luke's. It was an awkward forty six seconds in which she asked for coffee, he poured her a giant cup and she left her money, speed walking out of the place, leaving all of the people inside confused and gossiping. What else is new, she thought, pushing into the kitchen and glancing around for Sookie. Of course, she was smooching it up with Jackson near the back door.

"Hey, yeah, the plums are great, thanks Jackson!" Lorelai shouted. Jackson jumped, as did Sookie and then they giggled at her.

"See you tonight," Sookie said with a smile.

Jackson nodded, "Tonight." Then he looked up at Lorelai, "Bye."

"Bye," Lorelai said waving. When Jackson had exited, she turned to Sookie, her whole body sagging down as she said, "Emergency."

Sookie walked quickly to her friend, who was squeezing her coffee cup. "What's wrong, sweety?"

Lorelai placed her coffee cup on the table as she sat on a stool, "Rory caught me and Luke kissing yesterday."

"Oh, that's horr... What?" Sookie stood up straighter, her eyes widening.

Lorelai nodded, "It's bad."

"You were kissing Luke?"

"Totally not the point!"

"Oh," Sookie said slowly, "What's the point?"

Lorelai looked up at her, "Rory caught us."

"What happened?" Sookie said, looking confused.

"We were kissing," Lorelai started to smile.

"No," Sookie waved a hand, "How were you and Luke kissing? I need all the details to give you the right advice here."

Lorelai smirked, "No, you need all the details 'cause you're nosy."

"That too," Sookie giggled.

"I went over to get coffee 'cause Rory hid the coffee at home and when I got there, we were making small talk, nice talk, and then we were kidding around and then we were kissing and then we were on the floor and then Rory..."

"What?"

"Rory walked in."

"You were rolling around on the floor?"

Lorelai made a shocked face, "No, we weren't rolling around on the floor, not like that, although had Rory not walked in..."

"Lorelai!"

"What? Who knows!" She said, defending herself, "Anyway, Rory caught us and she looked none-too-thrilled."

"Well, have you ever walked in on your parents going at it."

Lorelai stood, taking a step away from Sookie, "YUCK! Ack! For that split second I got a nasty visual and will now have nightmares for weeks, thank you!"

"Exactly."

"What?"

Sookie nodded her head slowly, "Think of how Rory must feel."

"She didn't walk in on her parents having sex..." Lorelai paused, "We were just kissing, it was me and Luke, kissing."

"On the floor..." Lorelai nodded at her friend, "Presumably with tousled hair and clothing..." Lorelai nodded again sheepishly, "Whatever you were or weren't doing, think of how it looked to her."

"But Luke's not her father."

"But you're her mother, it'd have been the same as if she'd walked in on you and Max making big smoochies, or any other guy for that matter."

Lorelai sighed, "I just don't know how to approach her, it's not like this's happened before."

"Approach her like you do any other thing."

"Smack her arm and say, 'you're it'?" Lorelai smiled.

Sookie shook her head, "Lorelai."

"Oh, I know," Lorelai said, making her way towards the door.

"And you should really talk to Luke."

Lorelai stopped dead in her tracks, "Why?"

"'Cause I'm sure he's as confused at Rory."

"Why is it when things happen, I'm supposed to talk to everyone. This isn't my fault."

"No," Sookie agreed.

"It's Rory's," Lorelai surmised, walking away.




Gilmore Residence
Afternoon


Rory opened the door with a sigh, feeling the weight of a very long day being lifted. She'd woken up before her mother and taken the early bus to school, finding a quiet spot under a tree to read until her first class. She just needed to think it all through and realize that it wasn't a big deal, she was sixteen, not five, and kissing wasn't a bad thing, she knew from first hand experience. It's just that it was her mother, she knew. It made the situation weird.

She turned, seeing the woman planted on the couch, her hands folded in her lap. "What are you doing here?" Rory asked.

Lorelai smirked, "No hello?"

"Hi, what are you doing here?"

"I ditched work, I couldn't concentrate with you like this."

"Like what?"

"You weren't there when I woke up this morning," Lorelai said, staring at her skirt..

"I went to school early, so?"

"So it's not normal behavior and while this has been the year of irrational behavior for you, it's just not like you to take off when something's bothering you. But as I stated before, year of irrational behavior for you..."

Rory took a step into the living room and let her bag fall on the floor. "I just don't understand how that happened."

"What don't you understand?"

"What were you doing at Luke's last night?" Rory shot.

Lorelai's eyes widened, "You stole my coffee, I had to get more."

Rory nodded, "Ok, fair enough, but kissing? You go to Luke's for food, not kissing, not fooling around, not unbuckling his belt while he undoes your top."

"He didn't undo my top."

"Oh My God, you undid your..." Rory waved her hands in the air.

Lorelai stood, "Ok, whole story?"

Rory nodded, closing her eyes a moment to try and breath. "Whole story."

"I like Luke," Lorelai started, pausing a moment to gauge her daughter's reaction, "Only I don't know if I like him in that way, you know, the whole...."

"Rolling around on the floor of his diner with him way? That way?"

"Yes, that way."

"So why then?"

"Because you told us to be nice, and when we were being nice, suddenly that flirty thing we do, it wasn't for fun anymore it was for serious and we started kissing."

"So when did all the rolling start?" Rory asked, not sure if she really wanted to know.

Lorelai smiled, "When my heel got caught in one of the groves of the floor and we fell over and it was cute 'cause he had his pen stuck in his... um... that part doesn't matter. What matters is if it makes you uncomfortable, it won't happen again."

Rory took another step forward. "It's not that I don't want you to be with Luke, or whoever you wanna roll around with, it's just, it was shocking is all. I mean, it was you and Luke. I've known Luke for so long, he's my friend. It'd have been the same is if I were walking in on Lane making out with someone like that, it's just weird."

"I get you babe, I totally do, and trust me, it's not like that was planned, and I don't think it'll be happening again anytime soon."

Rory looked confused, "Why not?"

"It's Luke."

"So?"

"So, like you said before, friends... I don't know if I wanna be testing that. This was probably just a fluke, a non-coffee induced fluke."

Rory smiled, "You know, I wouldn't be opposed to it if you and Lu..."

Lorelai waved her hands, "I've had my coffee this morning, seen the look on his face, trust me, total fluke."

"But you like him."

"Yes, I do."

Rory shrugged, "What's the problem?"

"Max."

Rolling her eyes, Rory went to the couch and threw herself in it. "Again?"

"He calls and I swoon."

"Yeah well, stop swooning."

"You prefer Luke?"

Rory grunted, "I don't have a preference, whatever makes you happy mom, it's just that Max is so here and there, he's not stable, or maybe you're not stable, but you guys, you need to pick a course of action and stick with it!"

"Ay Ay Captain! Full speed ahead." Lorelai saluted.

Rory laughed, thinking of Mrs. Kim's reaction to her same gesture and she waved her mother over to sit on the couch. "Do you have a preference?"

"What do you mean?"

"Luke or Max, do you have a preference."

"Luke..." she trailed, "is a great guy. He's an amazing guy, but he's my best friend. He's the male Sookie, only without the spastic need to blow things up. Max, Max is just so..." she smiled, "smart and sexy and Max."

"Interesting answer, remind me not to call on you for my AP essays."

Lorelai playfully slapped her arm. "So, what do you think I should do?"

"You're asking me?"

"You're the Chilton student."

"That doesn't make me an expert on love."

"Makes you a smart kid, my smart kid who, by definition, must do what I say, so I'm telling you to advise me, oh wise one."

"I say do what your heart says."

"My heart is as confused as my brain."

"There's a shock."

Lorelai let her jaw drop, "I cannot believe you just said that."

Rory giggled, leaning against her mother, letting her embrace her. Rory knew her mother was torn and at this point it was probably gonna be whoever makes the first big move. She just wondered which would be better for her mother.




Luke's
Night


Lorelai opened the door and smiled at Luke as he wiped down the counter. "I know you're closing in a few minutes and I know I'm probably the last person you wanna look at right now considering what happened yesterday, but despite whatever you, or I, feel right now, we need to talk."

"I know."

"'Cause what happened yesterday, that was a big thing. That was a major thing. It means a lot and it implies a lot and I don't know if I wanna..."

Luke grinned, "I know."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

"I know what you wanna say, so you don't have to say it."

"But I do."

Luke placed his towel on the counter and walked around. "No, you don't."

"Luke, I owe you that."

"I'm not gonna fight you on this one."

"But I'm right," she said quickly.

He shook a finger at her. "I'm not gonna get into who's right and who's wrong on this one. You don't have to say anything 'cause I already know and it's alright."

"You don't know what I was gonna say."

He nodded his head. "You're gonna tell me that last night was a fluke, that it was a caffeine deficiency fluke and that you're brain wasn't functioning properly, but now it does and you don't see me in that kind of way. I understand."

"But it's wrong."

"I didn't say it wasn't."

"You're obviously hurt."

Luke smiled, "Lorelai, it's not like I won't get over it. I've been hurt before, at least with you I know it wasn't intentional."

"How do you know that!" She challenged.

"Was it?" He asked, sitting on his stool.

She shook her head, a playful grin growing on her lips, "No, but it was nice."

"It was certainly different."

"Different is good."

"Just not now."

She shook her head, "Not now."

"Lemme guess... Max."

Her mouth fell open, "How did you know?"

"He's right outside walking towards the place."

"WHAT?" Lorelai turned and saw him jumping up on the curb.

Luke stood, going back around the counter, "So, you need anything, 'cause you know, I'm closing up here and unlike last night, I'm not letting anything deter me."

Max opened the door and went to kiss her gently, "There you are, I went to the house and Rory told me you'd probably be here."

"Yeah," she smiled, then looked back to Luke, "Coffee."

"You'd figure one day the order would get different," Luke told him with a grin.

Max laughed, "Things never change with Lorelai."

"You're telling me," Luke chuckled, filling a cup. "You want anything?"

Max shook his head slowly, then looked back to Lorelai, "What are you doing here so late anyway?"

"Coffee," she pointed towards the cup.

Max lowered his eyebrows and looked from the cup to her to Luke, then nodded his head, "Ok then, I'll walk you home."

She took her cup, starting to dig into her purse for money, "I'll meet you outside," she told Max. He watched her and then looked at Luke, and swallowed hard, feeling an odd pang of jealousy within him before going to wait for her back on the curb.

Luke touched her shoulder, "It's ok, it's on me."

"The coffee..." she smiled.

"And only the coffee," he added, leaning away from her.

"Thanks Luke." Lorelai walked towards the door, then turned. "For understanding."

He nodded his head, watching her leave before flicking off the coffee machine and going to turn out the lights. "Just 'cause I understand it doesn't mean I like it," he said to the empty room as he locked the door. Luke stared out the window at Max with his arm around Lorelai and he sighed loudly knowing there'd be no one to hear him.




I really need to stop finishing things weeks after I start them because the endings never carry the same feel as the beginning and then I feel all weirded out, like it's not good at all. Ugh. ;) Anyway, hope you enjoyed.

Mystic
mysticxf@aol.com


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