...Mightier Than the Sword
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Silence is Golden


by Mystic
mysticxf@aol.com
Gilmore Girls and its characters belong to the WB, Amy Shermin-Palladino and anyone else they might belong to. I'm borrowing for the purpose of having fun. Lots of fun. =D Read and enjoy and please, don't forget to send me a note telling me what ya thought. I'm very interested in your feedback. :)




Gilmore Residence
7:01PM


Lorelai ran excitedly up the steps and burst through the front doors. While she'd normally be upset about getting home so late and having to have Sookie, who drives as well as she walks, giving her a ride home, today was different. Her being late wasn't due to work, it was due to a nice little present she had for Rory. Lorelai smiled, loudly letting her bag fall to the ground next to the kitchen table. She figured her daughter would come out of her room, but she didn't.

"Honey, I'm home!" she shouted. She pulled off her coat and hung it on the chair closest to her and she held the back of the chair as she continued, "Wow, you know, if you were a wife, you'd suck at it right about now 'cause when a spouse gets home they expect to be greeted, even if with a grunt and a scowl."

Lowering her eyebrows, a bit angry, she walked towards the closed door and pushed it open, seeing her daughter at her desk with several books open and headphones on her ears. Rory's head was bopping to some tune Lorelai recognized as coming from Rory's Smashing Pumpkins collection and Lorelai shook her head, walking over to the radio and flicked it off. The girl pulled off her headphones and looked up at her with a smile.

"Hey momma, when did you get home?"

"Just now. To a quiet house and an oblivious child."

Rory stood and went to hug her.

"Ah, now that's better."

"How was work?"

"As well as can be expected."

"Sucked, didn't it."

"Oh, yeah." Lorelai rolled her eyes. "But that's besides the point, how was Chilton."

"As well as can be expected."

"Sucked, didn't it."

"Oh, yeah." Rory repeated her mother's gestures and then went to close her books.

"Big test?" Lorelai asked.

"Not really, just studying."

Lorelai looked disgusted, "Ugh, what pod did you come out of?"

"Why?" Rory laughed.

"Studying and there's not even a test. It's just not right."

"And how would you suggest I learn the material."

Lorelai crossed her arms, "Listen in class. Isn't that the point of having class? To learn these wonderful things they're overcharging for in that stuffy gargoyles-for-decoration building that insists it's an institute for higher learning."

"Mom..." Rory smiled.

"Seriously. You spend all day penned up in there learning stuff and then you get home and amazingly there's still stuff to learn?" Lorelai went to her desk. "Ok, where are you hiding the porn? These books can not be as interesting as they looked to you when I walked in here."

"Mom!"

Lorelai turned and hugged her daughter. "I know, I know, Rory thinks porn is gross and immature, but you also used to think the Weathers boy had cooties and that the boogey man really lived in the closet."

"Why do you continue talking?"

"Because I just got home and I want to talk to someone who's not talking about reservations and preparations and all that other hokey hotel crap I listen to all day."

"Well, it's late, I'm hungry, we're going to Luke's."

"And then we can talk?"

"All you want."

Lorelai gave an evil smile. "Promise."

"Until my ears fall off." Rory grabbed her coat and started to leave, but stopped when her mother didn't follow. "What? I thought you were all, talk talk talk and go go go."

"First, I have a surprise for you."

"Uh-oh." Rory's shoulder's tensed.

Lorelai looked confused. "Why do you say that like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like this has to be a bad thing."

"Because seldom is a surprise coming from you completely good."

"Well, ok, if you consider bodies slamming on you, the smell of cigarettes, and screaming little girls a bad thing..."

"What?"

Lorelai walked past her back into the kitchen and went to her bag, pulling out a small envelope. She handed it to Rory who opened it slowly, cautiously. She pulled out two concert tickets and looked up at her mother, a grin spreading on her face.

"What's this for?"

"Alright, I'll admit it. I've been sent by the study police to curb those naught over-studying habits of yours. You must go to this concert with me and have fun for one night."

"And when is that night?"

"Tonight."

"So we don't get to eat?"

Lorelai snatched the tickets, "I line you tickets for a Barenaked Ladies concert and you're gripe is no food? Hon, there are vendors at the concert." She paused to watch her daughter's expression shift from slightly confused to extremely happy.

"We're going to see Barenaked Ladies!!"

"Please don't say that too loud, neighbors might overhear and get REALLY confused."

Rory laughed, "Mom."

"Ah, mantra of the night."

"Mom!"

"There it is again." Lorelai smiled, waiting as her daughter rounded the table to hug her. She knew she'd be tired as hell in the morning, but you just didn't pass up a chance like this. Pulling her daughter off, she smiled, "Hey, we gotta get going, it's in Hartford."

Rory nodded, watching her mom pull off the dress jacket she had on as she walked into Rory's room to find a different shirt to change into. "So, how did you get these tickets?" Rory shouted into the room.

"I had to sleep with the old guy in 34."

"Mom."

Lorelai emerged from the room, "Seriously?"

"Yeah."

"I can't tell you."

"Mom."

Lorelai walked past her, pulling her purse over her shoulder again as she went. Rory followed, repeating, "How did you get these? This was sold out and I know you didn't have them yesterday."

"I stole them."

"Mom!"

"What?" She laughed, exiting the house.




Gilmore Residence
next morning


Lane danced excitedly to an illegally recorded Barenaked Ladies concert while Rory pulled her Chilton jacket on over her white dress shirt. It was a weird experience to her, to be putting on the same clothes, morning after morning, while Lane came in with her exotic wear and her happy attitude. Rory wondered, at moments like this, why she wanted to go to Chilton and Harvard so badly. She wanted to be plain ol' Rory, who listens to rock music and doesn't care about school. She wanted to be normal. Rory sighed, she knew that would never happen. As her mother had told her, she was conceived special. Not even born special, but conceived special.

"I can't believe your mom snuck a tape recorder into the concert," Lane said, popping the tape out to place it on Rory's desk. She let her finger trace the edges of the ticket stub and then grabbed a t-shirt, smelling it.

"I can't believe she body surfed and ended up on stage," Rory countered, rolling her eyes.

"Your mom is so cool."

"No complaints here." Rory gave a wide grin.

"Yeah, my mom has set me up on yet another disaster-in-the-making dates with a future orthodontist." Lane grunted. "Just once I'd like to go out with a future chair maker, or bread baker. Something that doesn't end with an 'ist' or involve a medical, engineering, or astrological profession in their future."

"And I'm dating the bag boy."

They laughed. Rory grabbed her backpack, "And I'm leaving for private school in ten minutes."

"Is it just me, or does it seem I should be dating the bag boy..."

"Leave Dean alone," Rory shook her finger playfully.

Lane put her hands up in the air. "Not even thinking about it, but seriously, you're the private school girl, you should be dating the future doctor?"

Rory lowered her eyebrows. "I don't want to date a doctor."

"Ah, there's the difference between you and I."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, you get a choice."

"I'm sure your mom'll lighten up."

Lane shook her head, "No. She found one of my Thrasher CD's, and thinks I'm going the way of the devil if I don't date someone who'll straighten me out pronto."

"Why doesn't you mom just do the straightening herself?"

"I don't think she's capable."

"What about your dad?"

"He's very much in avoidance of my mother right now. Where I go, so goes mom, so runs dad in the opposite direction."

"Yeesh."

"Correctomundo." Lane nodded. She looked at Rory's clock, "We've gotta get going, or at least you do and I need to leave you to your bus catching." She picked up her bag and began walking. "So, tell me one more time, concert awesome?"

"The best!" Rory widened her eyes.

"Screamed a lot?"

"Not more than my mom..." Rory tapered off, trying to suppress a grin.

Lane lowered her eyebrows, "What's that mean?"




Independence Inn
morning


Lorelai walked through the front doors with a tight lipped smile as she walked past Drella who immediately stopped playing Led Zeplin and changed to a Mozart tune Lorelai didn't recognize. She nodded at the woman, acknowledging that she knew she'd changed the tune and Drella shrugged. Lorelai continued past the customers who were walking around the lobby and she went straight to the front and smiled at Michel.

He looked up at her and narrowed his eyes suspiciously, "What have I done? It's not even ten in the morning yet, which just prompts me to tell you that you're late."

Lorelai nodded.

"You're late and you've got bags under your eyes." He waited for her response and when she didn't, he watched her walk around the counter and grab at the mail, removing items for her. "I don't want to admit this, but I'm worried."

She lowers her eyebrows at him.

"You're not going to crack a joke or say something extremely stupid?"

Lorelai shook her head.

"What is wrong with you?"

She shrugged her shoulders and walked away from him. She turned back and looked at Michel, a devilish smile on her face as she clapped her hands to gain his attention. Michel turned and looked at her, annoyed and Lorelai stuck her tongue out at him. Her facial features looked as though they were about to laugh as she silently walked to the kitchen. Michel rolled his eyes and went back to his work.

"Silly woman."

Lorelai pushed through the kitchen doors in time to watched Sookie trip over a box of fruit and fall backwards. "I'm gonna kill that moron!" Sookie shouted, looking around for the man who delivers the fruits. He wasn't around her and she mumbled a couple more things before looking up. "Lorelai! How was the concert?"

Lorelai gave her an OK sign.

"Was Rory excited?"

She nodded her head, looking happy.

"Did you get to meet the band?"

Lorelai gave an evil grin.

"Did you sleep with the band?"

She shook her head, helping Sookie up. The two looked at each other for a moment, then Sookie lowered her eyebrows.

"What's wrong?"

Lorelai sighed and whispered, "I can't talk."

"Obviously you can." Sookie giggled.

Lorelai shook her head and spoke, "No, Sookie, I can't." Half of her words came out in squeaks and the other half in whispers and Sookie's eyes widened. "Damn, that concert was good."

She nodded at her friend, "Sure was," she whispered, "But I lost my voice. I can't speak louder than this."

Sookie laughed.

"Don't laugh at me, it's embarrassing."

"I know what'll make you feel better."

Lorelai smiled, "Coffee..." she sighed.

"See, you're feeling better already."

Nodding, she took a seat on a stool near the kitchen counter an waited as Sookie poured her a mug full of coffee. Lorelai took a drink and smiled, giving her the thumbs up.

"So, this really was one hell of a concert, what happened?"

Lorelai took a deep breath, "We went, we saw, we conquered."

"Ended up on stage, didn't you."

"Yup."

"Good for you."

"Rory was embarrassed."

"Well, her mother was on stage."

"But the boys were cute."

"They're a band, they're supposed to be cute."

"I got you some numbers, they was very interested in a chubby woman who can cook," she pulled the small paper out of her pocket and handed it to Sookie who giggled in delight.

"Lorelai, you're insane."

"I know, I'm also mute."

"Mute? Who's mute?" Jackson asked.

"YOU!" Sookie turned and pointed a finger.

"Me... what did I do?" Jackson looked perplexed.

Sookie pointed towards the box of oranges on the ground, "You left a crate of fruits in the middle of the floor. I damn near broke my neck tripping over it!"

Jackson shook his head and his hands, "Uh-uh, I didn't do that, you put it there, I watched you."

"Why would I do a silly thing like that?"

"'Cause you're a silly woman. Now, you said you wanted a box of Kiwi?"

Sookie huffed for a moment and then nodded her head, "And don't bring me those half-ripe ones that you brought last time."

"They weren't half-ripe, they were perfectly fine."

"They were not."

Lorelai stood between them. She pointed at Jackson and then at the door. Then she pointed at Sookie and to the stove. Sookie smiled, "Jackson go; me cook." Lorelai nodded.

"What's up with you?" Jackson asked.

Sookie smiled, "She can't talk, lost her voice."

"So you're mute."

"Exactly," Lorelai whispered.

Jackson sighed and walked out. Sookie fumed back to the stove, "You know, I'm gonna get him one day and ring his neck?"

Lorelai made a 'why' gesture.

"Because he brings me fruit that aren't ripe yet, or he brings fruit that have too much water in them, or... haha... he brings the wrong fruit!"

"Then why do you keep calling him?"

"I need this fruit."

"Wow, that didn't sound like a junkie..."

Sookie gave her arm a playful slap, "Why don't you go back to work."

"Work, yeah, talk to the customers," Lorelai squeaked.




Chilton
10:19AM


Rory had been to concerts before. If she went through her baby albums, she would find photos of her starting at about two years of age where she'd been taken into a concert. Her mother had told her a story once about how they'd gone in to see a concert and been given admission when Lorelai lied and said the baby left her pacifier in the bathroom. Rory knew her childhood was probably one-of-a-kind and she loved it. Now she stood in front of her locker wanting desperately to get home and tell Lane all about what happened after her mom was hoisted up on stage. The singing, the dancing, the police escorts...

Lorelai Gilmore definitely wasn't going to live a boring life, she smiled, and thankfully she was along for the ride. Of course, tonight would be dinner with the grandparents and they'd want to know if what they saw on the evening news was actually what they saw. Rory could only hope that it hadn't ended up on the news. That's all she'd need, her grandparents to come in and start yelling at her mom for what happened at the concert. It's not like they were kicked out. Just moved to another seat where her mother continued to shout at the top of her lungs until there was nothing coming out of her mouth. Smiling, Rory removed a book for her next class and slammed the locker shut. That's her mom, never to be outdone.

"What are you smirking at?" Paris asked, passing with her friends. The trio stopped and stared at Rory. She hated when they stared at her, it made her feel like there was something very big, stuck on her forehead.

"Just happy, what's it to you?"

"You're Lorelai Gilmore, what is there to be happy about." The three laughed.

"I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert last night."

Paris stopped and stared at her, "You can't be serious."

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"You went to the concert? That was sold out."

"My mom slept with the guy in 34."

"What?"

Rory smiled, "Nevermind, bad joke. I gotta run."

She started to walk away, "Wait, it was your mom then."

"What?" She turned.

"Your mom was the one up on stage, I knew she looked familiar."

"Yeah, my mom was on stage, so?"

"So, she got that drum stick."

"Yeah, so?"

"So, I want it."

"You're a Barenaked Ladies fan?" Rory was confused, which didn't surprise her, she spent much of her time in Chilton confused.

Paris nodded, "How much for the stick?"

"Look, the stick's not for sale."

"Why not? Everything's for sale."

"Not this stick," Rory shook her head.

"What's so special about it."

"My mom has this collection of drum sticks hidden away from all the concerts she goes to."

"Mom's a concert freak?"

"No, she just likes bands."

"Band freak, what a weirdo."

"This from a girl named Paris."

"That's not funny."

"Neither is you insulting my mother." Rory was serious now. Hey, if she got kicked out of Chilton for kicking this chick's ass, so be it.

Paris gave a tight-lipped smile. "Look, sorry, I like the band."

"So you've stated."

"And I want to see the drum stick."

"So you can snatch it, I don't think so."

"What if we meet on neutral ground?" Paris offered.

"What's so damned important about this stick?"

"Where shall we meet?" Paris ignored her.

Rory sighed, "You know where Stars Hollow is?"

"Why do we have to meet in your town?"

"My stick; my town." She wanted to point out that this conversation was not only ridiculously stupid, but pointless. She had the thing in her back pack to show Dean when he picked her up at the bus stop, but she wasn't going to admit that now.

"Fine."

"There's a place called Luke's, meet me there at five."

"Fine," Paris said quickly, turning on her heel and walking away.

"God," Rory huffed.

"Shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain."

"Why's he gonna spank me?" Rory turned and stared into her teacher's chest and she fell back into her locker, "Oh damn!"

"Not the response I was looking for," Max laughed.

"Hail Mary?" Rory mumbled, her eyebrows shooting up.

"In my classroom," he pointed and she took several long breaths as she walked into the empty room, knowing students would be entering soon.

"I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to say that, I was just have one of those weird experiences where you're just like, 'what the hell...' sorry, 'what the heck just happened here?' you know those situations? And I was thinking aloud, which I shouldn't do because my thinking process doesn't normally make sense when I'm confused, as does my sentence structure..."

"Rory!" he interrupted.

"What?" She stopped talking and looked up at him.

"You're rambling."

"I know, I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize."

"I'm sorry." She closed her eyes and slapped a hand to her head, "Ok."

Max crossed his arms on his chest as he leaned against his desk, "Now, I was going to ask you how your mom was, but now I'm concerned about whatever this 'situation' is."

"It's nothing, really. Mom and I went to a concert last night and Paris is like obsessed with seeing the drum stick."

"Paris is a big drum fan, has been for a while."

Rory cocked her head slightly to the right and smirked. "How do you know about this?"

Max laughed, "We talked once. It's about the only thing you can get her talk about where you don't feel like she's on the attack."

"Oh, ok." She paused a moment, staring down at her feet feeling awkward. "My mom's fine, a little sore in the throat from the screaming, but other than that, she's fine, probably not gonna be fine tonight when grandma asks about the voice thing, but until then, ok."

"Good to hear. How about you, you adjusting well?"

Rory smiled, feeling a little more comfortable. "I think it'll be ok. Shaky at first and some things still freak me out, but I'm doing a lot better now than before. I just needed to get my schedule rearranged to fit the Chilton lifestyle."

"Which means..." he prompted.

"More study time, more reading time, more study time..."

"You said that," Max pointed at her.

Rory gave a shy smile. "Yeah, I know, but I have to study a lot."

They both laughed.

"So, you're doing well," Max said.

Nodding, Rory tugged at the straps of her back pack, "Yup."

"Good then, tell your mom I said 'Hi.'"

She backed her way to the door, "Will do."

"And I'll see you in class."

"Sure thing."

Rory turned and walked out of his classroom with the oddest feeling in the pit of her stomach. For some strange reason she didn't like Max Medina anymore... it was probably the fact that she knew he wanted to put the moves on her mother. Rory shuddered, wanting to run from the school, but knew she had many more classes to attend. She looked down the hallway, which seemed to grow longer as the day progressed and headed towards the stairs.




Luke's
2:10PM


Luke watched the two old men read and re-read the menu and he sighed, standing over them with his pad ready to write, only they couldn't make up their minds. The old man with the two inch thick glasses and the plaid jacket was shaking his head while the old man with the bright green Dolphins hat and the flat ugly nose was nodding. Luke bit his bottom lip and tapped his pencil against his leg, looking around at the few other customers.

They had just finished their lunch rush, but he was still in rush mode. Luke groaned wondering how Lorelai could function on so much coffee. He didn't drink coffee at all and he was always on edge, but Luke figured some people just were what they were and she was immune to coffee. He leaned forward when the one in the glasses looked up, pointing at the menu.

"Yeah?" Luke asked.

"Is this fresh water fish or from the sea?"

He pointed at the item, "I believe the term Sea Bass explains it all."

The one in the hat waved a hand at Luke, dismissing his statement, "Nowadays with these health conscious morons running around screaming about the environment being all bad for ya, you have everything grown in a lab so it can be sterilized and it tastes horrible."

"Is this Sea Bass sterile?" The other old man asked.

Luke wanted to scream, he really did, but he couldn't. There'd be no real use for it, except maybe these two old men wouldn't come in on Friday afternoons for their late lunch to bother him. "The Sea Bass is caught at sea and no, it's not sterile."

"Oh, ok, lemme look it over then," the one in the glasses said, looking back down at the menu.

Luke pried the two menu's out of their hands, "Guys, you order the same thing every time you come in, why don't I just bring that out to you?"

"We do?" One looked at the other, "What do we order?" They looked up at Luke.

"Look, I'll surprise you, how's about that?"

"We don't like surprises," the one in the hat said quickly, "Remember Cecelia's wedding, when that man jumped out of the cake..."

"Oh yeah," the other nodded, "I thought Harry here was gonna lose his new pacemaker!"

The both of them laughed and Luke smiled slightly, "Trust me..." he started walking away mumbling, "with what they order, that cake jumper isn't the only way they could lose their pacemakers..."

He went into the kitchen and shouted their orders, then turned to the front counter where he found Lorelai sitting with two dollars flapping in her hands. "No," he told her. She pouted. "I'll give you herbal tea."

She waved a hand and gave him the two dollars.

"You're not going to fight with me?"

"No," she whispered.

"What?" Luke asked, leaning forward.

"Bring me the freakin' tea," she tried to look annoyed, but with her voice as it was, it just didn't work. Luke started laughing at her as he took out a small tea bag and filled cup with hot water.

"You went to that concert."

"I told you I would, why would I ask for the tickets?"

"Did Rory enjoy it?"

Lorelai smiled, "Yeah, thanks again."

"Hey, who knew the one minute I'd call a radio station..." he trailed, dunking the tea bag several times. "I'm just glad she had a good time."

"Yeah, but thanks for thinking of her."

"I've known Rory since she was practically a baby..." Luke looked up at her and she nodded.

"Yeah, scary as the thought is, you're the closest thing to a dad she has."

"Not so scary." Luke defended himself, handing her the cup.

"Nah." Lorelai took a drink and made a face, "Know what she said when I told her you were the one that gave me the tickets?"

Luke looked away, wanting to look as if he didn't care, "What?"

"She said, 'Wow, cool.'"

Luke started laughing. "So, how'd you lose your voice?"

"Went to a concert, figure it out." She took another sip of her tea as Luke wiped a glass clean, looking over her head.

"Um, Lorelai, your mom lives in Hartford, right?" He asked, giving her a confused look.

She lowered her eyebrows and looked up at Luke, "Yeah, why?"

"'Cause she's walking towards this place right now."

Lorelai's eyes widened as she straightened up and shook her head. When Luke didn't waver, she turned and stared at her mother who was, sure enough, opening the front door to Luke's and staring back at her. When her lips parted to try to smile, her mother shook her head and warned,

"Don't you even think about grinning at me right now."




Luke's
2:15PM


"Mom, what are you doing here?" Lorelai squeaked, trying to sound as horrified as she actually was. It didn't work too well since her voice was practically gone and somehow her outside didn't match her inside and she remained straight faced. Her mother lowered her eyebrows and looked at her, touching her own throat a moment before waving a hand in the air, dismissing her.

Emily Gilmore straightened the lapels on her peach colored suit and stared at her daughter. She couldn't believe that she could be so calm. Her daughter was always so calm, it was her way of being. "You were all over the news last night. Going to that concert with Rory and jumping up on stage."

Lorelai was angry that she couldn't shout, could only whisper in defense, "I did not jump up on stage," as her mother shook her head.

The older woman made a noise of disgust. "Oh no, you just let yourself be carried onstage by a bunch of butt-groping new age hippies."

Luke's eyes widened, "You let yourself get carried onstage?"

Lorelai turned to him, "Oh, not you too."

"Lorelai, these are teenagers," he shot.

"Not all of them." She rolled her eyes.

Luke grunted in anger, "When I gave you the tickets..."

"YOU gave her the tickets?" Emily spat.

He ignored the older woman and continued, staring at Lorelai, "I gave them to you for you and Rory to have a good time."

"And we did," Lorelai said with a smile.

"Yeah, but body surfing?" He turned to her mother, "And she was on the news?"

"Apparently these Barenaked Ladies are a big deal."

"They're a good band," Lorelai agreed.

"And how does Rory feel about your body surfing," Emily asked, watching the man leave them alone as he went to serve his tables. He was obviously upset and Emily was glad.

Lorelai cleared her throat, "She got a drum stick out of the deal."

Emily crossed her arms over her chest, "And what use has she for a drum stick, or has Chilton opened a new club I'm unaware of."

"Mom, it was fun."

"Even the burly man agrees you shouldn't have done what you did."

"Mom, it was fun."

Luke mumbled, "I'm not burly."

"Yes, Luke, you are, and manly, now get back to waiting those tables!" Lorelai said with a hint of a smile. He turned and shot her an angry look that meant, 'We'll talk later,' and she cringed, not thinking he'd be this upset. It was weird, she thought, to have Luke actually mad at her. It wasn't like she slept with the band or anything.

Emily pulled her purse higher on her arm.

"Is that all you want mom, to come her and publicly embarrass me, 'cause lemme tell ya, this routine only works for a private audience. This is my town, I have no shame here."

"Obviously you have no shame anywhere." Emily said quickly, and loudly, "Now, I came by to pick up an antique rocking chair for a friend of mine, decided I'd stop in for a cup of tea, but now my stomach's all turned."

"Actually," Lorelai whispered, "Tea'll make that all better."

Emily shook her head, "Lord knows how I got through your teen years." She walked towards the door, gripping her purse tightly as she went.

"Prozac," Lorelai mumbled, "Lots of Prozac."

Luke came around the counter.

"And what's your problem? You know me. Give a girl some concert tickets and girl's gonna end up in the mosh pit."

"Yes, Lorelai, a single, young woman without a sixteen year old daughter in her presence. Rory's gonna think this is acceptable behavior."

She stood, grabbing her tea off the counter, "Luke, Rory's not an idiot, she knows my behavior is anything but acceptable." Lorelai started to walk away, grinning evilly.

"Still, your mom has a point."

"What?" She turned, "You're taking sides with my mother. You haven't earned that right buster," she threw him a smile to show she was kidding.

Luke lowered his head. "You do know that girls are sexuall..."

"Don't finish that sentence, Luke," She said, throwing one hand in the air, all her fingers thrust out in a 'stop' gesture. "Later, we'll discuss later."

"Yeah, maybe when your voice is back we can have an all out screaming match."

"I'll bring the popcorn."

Luke watched her leave. She didn't even look both ways before crossing the street, he noted. That woman, he shook his head, was going to get herself into a heap of trouble one day. Then he laughed, like she couldn't get out of it just as easily as she got into it. Turning back to the two old men who were eating their sandwiches and quietly discussing the pros and cons of dentures, he sighed, at least Lorelai could say she had a life.




Bus Stop
3:54PM


Rory stepped off the bus and smiled when she saw Dean was waiting for her. He had a book in his hands and was sitting at the bus stop engrossed. She knew it was something she'd lent him and she quietly went and stood in front of him. "Hey, you're standing in my light," he said softly.

"Fine," she responded, "I'll just leave you here..."

His head snapped up and he smiled. He had a great smile, Rory thought instantly, smiling back at him as he stood, closing the book. "Enjoying the read?" She asked.

Dean nodded his head, shoving the book in his back pack as Rory started walking down the street. "So, good day?"

"Weird day," she responded.

"Hmph," he thrust his bottom lip out slightly in that sexy way he had. "So weird is definitely better than bad."

"Yup, bad entails bad stuff, weird is just weird."

"So, tell me about this weird day."

Rory gripped her back pack, "Well, last night I went to the Barenaked Ladies concert."

"How did you get those tickets?"

"Luke..."

"The guy who owns the restaurant, Luke?"

"Yeah?"

"Why would Luke get you tickets?"

"He won them on the radio."

"I thought he didn't like the radio?" Dean stopped and she turned to look at him.

"Don't know details, mom just said he gave her the tickets, now moving on..."

Dean lowered his eyebrows, starting to walk again, "Moving on... it's just weird that the guy who owns a small diner would just give you tickets like that."

Rory tugged on his jacket a bit, "The guy's known me since I was really little. He's sorta like a cool uncle, or a really big brother, or a..." she hesitated, "Dad, sort of. Not really, just occasionally."

Dean nodded, "Ok, so he got you the tickets, hence beginning the trail of weird events..."

"Yeah, where mom got body surfed on stage."

He laughed and she turned and grinned.

"And then the drummer gave her a drum stick," she reached into her bag and pulled it out, handing it to him, "Signed and everything."

"Wow!" He examined it, "How did she top that?"

"Oh, then she got their numbers," Rory added quickly.

"Seriously?"

She nodded enthusiastically, "Yup."

"You know your mom is insane, right?"

"Don't I know it." She rolled her eyes, heading toward Luke's.

"So, what's the plan for this afternoon."

"Oh yeah, the weirdness."

"Oh that, continue...." he trailed, trying not to laugh.

Rory took the drum stick back and tapped it on her left hand, "You remember Paris?"

"Took her cousin to the formal?"

"Yeah."

He nodded.

"Apparently Paris is a big music fan, wants to see this drum stick because I guess she either went to the concert and wasn't able to get it, or she wasn't able to go to the concert at all and couldn't get it, but either way, she's obsessed with seeing this drum stick so we're meeting at Luke's."

"Why there?"

"She said neutral area."

"That's not really neutral."

She glanced up at him, "Hey, who's side are you on?"

"It's the most neutral spot on earth," he said, bending down to kiss her.

"Is this like an apology?"

"No, this is telling you who's side I'm on."

"Ah, ok." She pushed open the door to Luke's and went behind the counter where Luke was preparing a sandwich.

"Hey, no one behind the coun..." he started, then he looked up and saw Rory approaching. He gave her a smile and started again, "You know the rule."

"I know," she smiled, "But I can't do this from the other side." Rory wrapped her arms around Luke's neck, stepping up on tip-toe. Luke held her awkwardly remembering a time long ago when Lorelai had a bathroom run and had practically tossed Rory into his arms. She'd only been five and he'd been so afraid of dropping her that he hadn't let her go until Lorelai emerged from the bathroom to take the child back.

She let him go with a kiss on the cheek and then started walking away. "What was that for?" Luke asked.

Coming around the counter, she gave him a big smile, "You know, Luke. Thanks, we had an awesome time."

"Yeah, a little too awesome, from what I've heard," Luke mumbled, going back to the sandwich he was making for Miss Patty, who was seated in a booth with another woman talking rapidly about the Spring Fest they were arranging.

Rory smiled, "Not like she had a choice in the matter, some guy dared her."

"So, if I dare your mother to go without coffee for one day, she'd do it," Luke challenged.

Thinking about it, she bit her bottom lip, "I don't know, that'd be a tough one. She only takes dares she can accomplish and I think if my mom spent a day without coffee, she'd go into withdrawal."

Dean laughed, "It might be fun to try."

"Nah, too painful to watch," Luke decided. "You guys want anything?"

Rory went to the counter where Dean was seated and hopped up on the stool next to him, "Two hot chocolates."

Dean nodded, "With Marshmallow's."

Luke shook his head, "Rory wouldn't have it any other way."

Rory turned to Luke, "So, Paris is going to meet us here at four in the afternoon to see this drum stick and we're all going to feel weird and silly and then we'll go home and talk or something."

"Ok," Dean smiled.

Luke gave them their drinks and went to attending the other customers. Rory took a sip, "Hot."

"Yeah, I think if it were cold, it would defeat the purpose."

She nudged his shoulder with her own and laughed at him. He gave a shy smile back.

"How quaint," Paris mumbled.

Rory turned, "Want some hot chocolate?"

"No," she said looking around.

"The place is sanitized."

"Answer's still no." Paris took a seat next to Rory, "So, can I see it?"

"Depends," Rory smiled, holding the drum stick, "Do I have to barricade the doors?"

Paris threw her an angry look and Rory shook her head, handing her the drum stick. "Your mom got this?" Paris asked and Rory could see the excitement in her features.

Rory rolled her eyes, "Yeah, I think we went through this. Now, I've got things to do with my time, so look, enjoy, and hand back so I can be on my way trying to forget this happened."

Paris started to say something back, but stopped herself and half whispered, "My mother heard about my little outburst at the formal and she wouldn't let me to go the concert."

"For that? Yeesh, talk about harsh."

"Yeah," Paris repeated, looking up at her. "Heard you got into a heap of trouble yourselves."

Rory glanced up at Dean, "For a couple hours, then it was all explained and gone."

"Must be nice," Paris said softly.

"What?" Rory asked.

"Having a mom who listens." Before Rory could respond, Paris stood, holding the drum stick up, "Now, seriously, how much for the stick."

Rory snatched it, "I'm not selling this stick. My mom wants it back for her collection."

"Fine." Paris crossed her arms over her chest. "Can I see the collection?"

"You mean come over to my house."

"If it means that, then yes."

"What's wrong with you?" Rory stood, grabbing her hot chocolate. Dean stood behind her.

"What's wrong with you?" Paris remained standing in front of her, almost demanding.

"You want to come to my house, fine, follow me." Rory started walking and she glanced up at Dean before walking through the front door. He held it open for Paris and then ran to catch up with Rory, wondering what the hell WAS wrong with this other girl that seeing a set of drum sticks could be so intriguing.




Gilmore Residence
4:20PM


Lorelai walked through the front doors with a smile on her face knowing that her daughter would be waiting and she could forget about her mother and Luke and all their stupid comments for a little while. But only a little while because there was family diner tonight and then there'd be after-coffee at Luke's for a little venting and Luke would want to talk about her actions and it'd be all weird.

She was used to having conversations with Luke about what she ate and what she gave Rory to eat. He never liked her choice of food, constantly told her it was going to lead her into an early grave. It always made her wonder why he didn't just change the menu if he wasn't happy about the items on it, but she knew he'd never do that, he'd go out of business. Lorelai knew Luke too well, she smiled, taking off her long coat and placing it on the couch.

Glancing around the living room, she looked for Rory's books, but didn't find them and lowered her eyebrows, suddenly growing worried. Shouldn't have worried her, but for some stupid reason it did. She knew she wasn't over Rory falling asleep with Dean, even though she believed Rory completely. Staring up the steps, she started hearing her daughter's voice and she smiled, thinking Rory was talking with Lane in the "big girl" room. She stepped into the room though and found Rory in the box of drum sticks in her closet.

"This one is from the time we snuck into a Van Halen concert a couple years back. They threw the drum stick into the audience and mom made me cry so the biker guy who caught it gave it to me. Then there was this one where we convinced the lady who caught the stick that this was my first Third Eye Blind concert and she gave it to me."

"But how do you get them signed? I mean, they're all signed." The other girl asked. Lorelai watched the two on the floor and spotted Dean sitting on the bed with his back turned to her, watching the girls. His body language suggested that he was not completely comfortable with the situation and Lorelai wondered if he was uncomfortable about what was happening, or the fact that he was sitting on Rory's mother's bed.

"That's the tricky part," Rory said with a smile. "The times mom makes it on stage, she has a Sharpie in her pocket, but mostly we run around back and when the band comes out they sign 'em. Usually they're cool about it."

"Usually?" Paris asked, giving a hint of a smile.

"Yeah, when we went to see Limp Bizkit..."

"You saw them?!"

"Yeah, last summer, it was wild." Rory's eyes went wide as she dug through the sticks and found the one she was looking for. "Afterwards, I guess they were just tired or pissed or high or something and they guy almost didn't sign it. Then mom put on the charm."

"The charm?"

Dean laughed, "Yeah, she has this way of just getting what she wants."

"And right now I want to know what's going on in here?" Lorelai said loudly, making all three teenagers jump into the air.

"Mom!" Rory shouted, "Um, Mom, this is Paris."

"Paris... ah, the one who took her cousin..."

Paris shot a look at Rory.

Lorelai smiled, leaning against the door. "Oh honey, it's not that bad, in some states, it's considered the best date of the lot."

The three stood; Dean stiffer than the other two.

"Relax, Dean."

"Ok," he replied, but didn't look any more relaxed.

"Rory told me about your drum stick collection," Paris said quickly.

Lorelai looked at her daughter, "Wow, glad we got that cleared up, now can we move the show-and-tell to the living room, I'm much more comfortable with you all there."

They all mumbled a 'yes' and Rory took the box with her to the living room, Paris and Dean following. As Lorelai closed the door to her room, Paris smiled, "This is understanding."

"She wasn't being totally serious," Rory smiled.

Dean shrugged, "Rory, you have to admit, sometimes it's a little difficult to tell the difference between your mom being playful and your mom being serious."

"You've talked to her all of, what, three times..." Rory grinned at him, sitting on the couch beside Paris.

"They've been deep discussions," Dean smiled.

Paris pulled the box to her, "So now, where's the drum stick from the KISS concert and how the hell did you manage that?"

Lorelai stood at the top of the stairs in a pair of jeans and a long sleeved blue t-shirt with a cartoon kitten in the middle. "First I had to get the tickets, which meant taking a seven year old Rory down to Hartford overnight so we could sleep on a sidewalk. Then, tickets obtained, it was all a matter of stealth."

"And agility..." Rory pointed.

"See, we got into the place, but we had to get closer to the stage, so first Rory moved ahead, wiggling between the crowd members..."

"Then mom come in shouting about her kid getting lost and she'd find me ten feet ahead as soon as the guard would let her through."

Lorelai smiled, "Eventually we were front and center with the band directly above and it didn't take long before I was up on stage."

"You have some serious luck," Paris said quickly, glancing at the stick that Rory pulled out of the stack to show her.

"It's not luck, it's skill." Lorelai walked down the stairs. "Now, what's up with the drum stick memory lane game?"

Rory pointed at Paris, "She's a big drum stick fan."

"You've got a collection?"

Paris nodded, "But not as extensive as this."

"Well, I've been around longer," Lorelai pointed out.

"Not much," Paris mumbled.

Lorelai lowered her eyebrows and had it been anyone else, she might have bitched them out for it, but she knew that Rory and Paris had not been getting along and figured shouting at the poor girl wouldn't help matters any. "Yeah, at least sixteen years if I remember correct, right Rory?"

Rory bit her bottom lip. She started to respond when the phone rang. Lorelai picked it up, bring it to her ear slowly. "Yeah." She cringed her face and Rory knew immediately that it was her grandmother. "Yes we're going to be there, that's the arrangement. Yes, Rory's coming. She's here with friends." She listened for a couple of seconds, "Dean... yes, that Dean. No. Yeah. Mom!" Again she was silent. Dean looked away and Lorelai felt bad for him. The boy hadn't done anything wrong and already Emily didn't like him. She thought he was just like Christopher and as long as Rory was going to be with him, she was going to end up just like Lorelai. "Paris." The girl looked up, but it was just Lorelai talking to her mother, "You know her parents? Mom, I don't think so. I don't think so. Mom. Mom. No mom. MOM!" Suddenly Lorelai slammed the phone down and looked at Paris, then at Rory.

"No," Rory started.

"She's calling to make the arrangements right now."

"Why?" Rory whined.

"What?" Paris asked.

Lorelai looked at Paris, "You're coming to diner with us."

"What?" The three shouted.

"Dean, don't think you're getting out of this, she wants you to come too?"

"What? The three shouted again. Lorelai looked at their dumbfounded faces and would have laughed, could have, but she knew what was in store and she was afraid for them all. Mostly though, she was afraid for herself.




Luke's
4:35PM


Lorelai stepped through the front doors and went straight up to the coffee machine and poured herself a tall mug, clicking open the register to stick her money in. She didn't even wait until she was back outside to drink it either, she stood right behind the counter and drank it whole. Luke walked in and watched her, then walked up to her and gave her a nudge to move. She put a hand on his chest and shoved him away, then poured herself another mug full. Luke yanked the coffee pot away from her.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He shouted.

Lorelai looked up at him, her eyes half closed as she responded as angrily as she could, "Drowning my sorrows."

"Yeah, well do it elsewhere," Luke grunted. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but he was mad at her and he wasn't even sure why anymore. Why would he expect anything more from her than to go to a concert and run rampant on stage. Though right now he was more angry with the fact that she was drinking a second serving of the biggest mug size of coffee and looking for thirds.

"No, I'll do it here," she replied.

He took her mug away from her and she tried to get it back, but he raised it above his head and sighed, knowing how silly it looked, but it couldn't be healthy to have that much coffee at once. Lorelai rolled her eyes and started jumping, then stopped and leaned against the cash register, "Oh what, we're back in elementary school? Luke, give it."

"No," he spat, leaving it above his head. He could see other customers looking at the two and he tried to ignore them. He knew they knew this was a normal occurrence. This wasn't the first time he'd had to hide coffee from her. She was a freak, he thought.

"Come on, I'm upset here, can't you see that?"

He brought the coffee down, behind him and leaned in so close their noses almost touched as he grunted at her, "Yeah, fine, but you can't just help yourself to the coffee, you have to wait to be served."

Lorelai raised her eyebrows and answered quickly, "If I wait for you to give me coffee, I'll be here too long and I need it now."

"Why?" He practically shouted. One day he was going to have to go through this addiction with her and figure out what started it and how he could either get rid of it, or lessen it because it was really starting to wear him thin to have to continue playing these games. He knew he should probably just let her be, but he couldn't. He actually gave a damn about her health and he didn't want to see her end up in a hospital with an ulcer because she burned a hole in her stomach's lining with how much coffee she ingested each day.

She gave a small smile and poked his belly so he'd straighten up. "So my body can be full of the happy juice and I can live through this day."

Luke lowered his eyebrows and watched her cross her arms over her chest as she completely gave up on getting the coffee. "That bad?"

"Worse than bad."

"How bad?"

Lorelai pouted, "My mom's invited Rory's sworn enemy to diner."

"The girl that was here?" Luke questioned.

"Paris," she gave the name as thought it were a bad word and Luke smiled, starting to ask,

"The one that invited her cousi..."

She pointed. "That one."

"Harsh," Luke gripped the mug.

She glanced up at him. "It gets worse."

"How could it get worse?" He looked confused.

"She insists I bring Dean."

Luke handed back the mug. "Trouble."

"Thanks." She took another long drink.

Luke grabbed the coffee mug and poured until it was full again. Sure, it was gonna hurt her, he thought, but he knew this was definitely worth the hurt. He couldn't imagine what it would have been like to have someone you don't really like having to meet someone you really like.

"Thanks." She continued to drink. "So you understand?"

"Rory's enemy and Rory's boyfriend, who she happened to fall asleep with, in your mother's house, who you don't tend to get along with anyway. I foresee big problems."

"And much word play," Lorelai nodded. "I just don't see how this happens. I mean, you have a normal situation, or at least as normal as it gets in this town, and suddenly my mom comes into the equation and suddenly everything equals craziness."

Luke half smiled, "Lorelai, with you everything equals craziness."

"Not true."

He cocked his head.

"Ok, so it's true, but still. How does my mom do it? How does she manage to screw things up so much worse than they already are? And how the hell does she manage to stay all prim and proper through it. It's like she doesn't even realize what she's doing."

"You realize you've just inhaled three cups of coffee," he said quickly, knowing she'd ignore him completely because she was on a rant.

"She just goes on about life like nothing happened. No, mom, you didn't just destroy three teenagers Friday nights. No, mom, you didn't just send me into convulsions. No, mom, it's ok, I'll be great."

"And yet, you're asking for more," he gestured to the outstretched coffee mug.

"Luke, I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't need it."

"Have you ever tried Yoga?"

She smiled and said as happily as she could, "Yeah, I bruised three ribs and ended up kicking myself in the back of the head. It wasn't a good experience."

He tried not to look as disturbed as he was. He wasn't sure what she was trying, but the image of her leg over her head was making him feel weird. "What about just relaxation techniques?"

Lorelai rolled her eyes and gave him an exaggerated sigh, "All that breathing mumbo jumbo couldn't help me through child labor, I doubt it's gonna help me with my mother."

"Your mother is this bad?"

Lorelai bit her bottom lip and then pointed at Luke as though she'd just discovered him, "She called you an idiot."

"I think she was goofing," Luke sighed, waving a hand at her, dismissing the words. Though secretly it had bothered him since that night in the hospital.

Lorelai stared at him, and then said slowly, "No, see, if she called you an idiot, then she thinks you're an idiot."

He fumbled for words a moment, trying to figure out why the fact that those words were probably harsher than he'd thought they were was bothering him. Then he wagged a finger at her and stated quickly, "Well, she called you an idiot in the same breath that she called me an idiot."

She nodded her head, and grabbed his finger, pushing it away from her face, "Ah, then she was being nice."

He gave a sigh of relief and when she gave him a curious look he took her mug. "Look, close your eyes and take several deep breaths," he suggested.

"Luke," she whined.

He set the mug and coffee pot down, then took her arms and shook them loose from where they were crossed on her chest so that they fell at her sides, "Seriously, close your eyes and take several deep breaths."

She stared at him for a moment, then closed her eyes and took three long breaths. After a moment, Lorelai laughed and recoiled away from him, "This is ridiculous. I'm going to go outside and scream for a little while."

He raised an eyebrow at her and pointed at her throat and tried not to laugh as he told her, "You don't have a voice to scream."

Lorelai smiled and told him, "I know, that way I can't disturb anyone."

"You'll look like an idiot," he pointed out.

She gave a wide smile, "Yes, but according to my mother, that's what I am. And hey, you're an idiot too, why don't you join me!"

He shook his head and looked around the place at the few that were seated trying to ignore their extremely loud conversation that was now being shouted from across the room. "Got customers."

She nodded and waved a hand around, "Ah, that's right. Go back to the customers. Don't worry about me. I'm nothing, no one, no problems here."

"Lorelai," he started.

She interrupted, "I know, you'd close the place for me, but really, I'll be fine." She looked away when he turned red and she noticed for the first time that day that he was wearing the blue hat she bought him. She actually looked around for a long time to find the best hat for him. She figured most of his plaid included blue and his eyes were blue. Shaking her head, she waved a hand at him before pushing through the front doors.

"That woman's insane," Miss Patty said, taking a bite of a slice of cheesecake.

Luke turned and pointed at her, "You're still here?"




Gilmore Residence
4:35PM


"I think I'm going to hyperventilate," Rory said quickly. She couldn't believe that her grandmother just invited Dean and Paris over to diner and there was nothing her mother could do about it. Of course, she knew even if her mother wanted to do something about it, her grandmother wouldn't hear it. Her grandmother got what she wanted and Rory knew her grandmother wanted to have a word with Dean. Rory took a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying not to fall over off the couch. She felt Dean's hands rubbing her shoulders as she leaned forward on the couch.

Paris continued looking at drum sticks and looked up at the other girl, saying calmly, "I don't see what the problem is, Emily Gilmore is a great woman."

Rory opened her eyes and stared at Paris as if she were insane, "She's not your grandmother."

"So?"

Rory looked at her, "Ok, remember that little blurb about you not so much liking your mom 'cause of the non-listening thing?"

Paris nodded.

"Grandma can be ten times worse than that. And you're gonna be there, which'll prompt comparisons and cat fighting between us. Then there's Dean. She's not thrilled with Dean these days, not that she was ever thrilled with the idea of a Dean being in my life."

Paris turned away and mumbled, "Who would be after what you guys did?"

"We didn't do anything!" The two of them shouted at her.

Paris stood, "Fine, do you have water?"

Rory pointed to the kitchen, "Yeah, cups are above the sink."

Paris remained where she stood.

Rory looked up at her after a moment and scrunched up her face at the other girl, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with her. "What, need a map?" Rory shot.

Paris grunted and went into the kitchen.

"She expected me to get it for her. What do I look like, a maid?" She asked Dean.

He shook his head and tried not to laugh at her. Dean found all rich kids like Paris amusing. He'd known some back in Chicago and hated most of them. They didn't know how to do anything for themselves. Dean hugged her tightly and could feel her heart pounding under his arms, "Rory, it won't be that bad."

"Won't be that bad, he says before the lions come to devour him," Rory laughed as she turned to glance at him.

He shrugged his shoulders and said softly, "I'm sure it'll be fine. Your grandmother just wants to be involved in your life. She wants to know about your friends and your boyfriend." He smiled, "She just wants to be in the know. Every parent wants to know what's up with their kids. Doesn't wanna be left out how she was with Lorelai."

Rory nodded, knowing he was right. Grandma only wants to know what's going on with you, she told herself. It was just weird, having someone other than her mother, Sookie, Lane, or Luke getting to know the people she hangs out with. She huffed, Luke and Sookie barely knew Dean and her grandmother's gonna come first? It didn't feel right. She looked at Dean, "Yeah, but it's just too soon and Paris isn't my friend."

"Couldn't you pretend?" He looked into the kitchen to see if she was listening. "She doesn't seem so bad, a little weird, but not so horrible that you couldn't be civil for two hours and don't worry about me, I can charm my way out of anything."

Rory turned and looked at him, biting her bottom lip, "Remember when you came to pick me up the night of the dance and grandma started to interrogate you?"

He nodded.

"That was her being nice."

"Ok. I'm not sure I understand."

"Remember that feeling of panic that came up from your gut and pounded you in the head when she started talking?" She waited for him to gulp slightly, "She doesn't like you."

"Doesn't like me," he repeated, still not sure of what she was saying. He was used to having parents love him. Lorelai seemed to like him enough, but for someone to hate him. He shook his head and unwrapped his arms from around Rory, suddenly feeling creepy that he'd been doing it in her house. If her mother had walked in again, it would have been really weird.

Rory nodded, starting to stand. "She has an extreme dislike of you right now because she thinks you're gonna get me pregnant."

He lowered his eyebrows. While he wouldn't mind doing so when she was older and out of college, he didn't seem to understand why that would be a concern now. But he did know and he knew Rory was going to remind him many times before that day actually came.

Rory took a step backwards, towards the kitchen. "She thinks that me being with you I'm going to become my mother."

"Your mother's a responsible woman who's raised a wonderful child." Dean smiled triumphantly, but Rory remained serious.

"That's not what grandma sees." She turned and walked into the kitchen where Paris was searching through cabinets and drawers. "I said above the sink."

Paris gave her an annoyed look before pointing up at the cabinets and exclaiming, "There aren't any cups above the sink."

Rory pulled open the cabinet above the sink and brought down a pink plastic cup with Key West imprinted on the side in green. "Here. Need help with the water too?"

Paris grunted and yanked open the fridge, taking out a jug of water. "So, what's the big deal, your grandma hate you?"

"Not me."

"Then what?"

"My mom."

"Huh?"

"My mom got pregnant at sixteen and my grandmother thinks it's her fault for some reason and she's all afraid that I'm going to do the same thing, which is why she hates Dean."

"So why did I get pulled into this?"

Rory watched Paris sit at the table and she remained standing, staring down at her, "Because you're actually the good part of the situation. See, she probably thinks, with friends like you, that I'll end up all snotty and rich and great."

"What's so bad about that?" Paris flipped her hair behind her shoulders.

"The snotty part." Rory turned on her heel and went back into the living room, leaving Paris sitting at the table with her jaw hanging open and the glass of water in her hand.




Richard & Emily Gilmore Residence
7:12PM


Lorelai looked at the group she stood with. Paris's parents thought it only proper she arrive in her Chilton outfit and Rory, God bless her heart Lorelai thought, didn't want Paris to feel out of place, so she stayed in her own and Dean, poor Dean, had been rubbing his hands together the entire trip. The three looked frightened and Lorelai wanted to laugh at them.

"Relax," she huffed at them.

"Mom, it's a little difficult to relax right now. Grandma's already pissed over the concert, Paris and I don't exactly get along and Grandma hates Dean!"

Dean tapped her shoulder, "Hates? I thought you said she had an extreme dislike!"

Lorelai waved a hand, "It's not that bad."

The door swung open, "Ah, you're here."

"Um yeah, been standing here a good long while too," Lorelai smiled.

"Sorry, I was upstairs, didn't hear the doorbell ring the first time."

"Or the seventh," Lorelai said with a laugh.

Emily clenched her jaw, but ignored her daughter as she looked at her guests. "Paris! It's so lovely to see you again and don't you two look darling in your Chilton uniforms. Lorelai?"

"Yeah, they look great."

Her mother shot her a look and she pretended to be serious. Emily looked back at Rory, "Ah, you brought Dean."

"You told me to bring him," Lorelai said quickly.

"I figured he'd be working."

"No ma'am," Dean said softly. "I have Friday's off." Lorelai was shaking her head and looking scared as the words were exiting his mouth and he looked confused.

"Ah, now I know." Emily smiled widely, "You'll have to come back one night when Richard's home, that's Rory's grandfather."

"That'd be my dad also," Lorelai smiled, "And where is dad, I thought he was gonna be here tonight."

"He's away on business in Chicago." Emily stated and Lorelai could hear the tone of discomfort in her voice. Lorelai could imagine how it would feel, only weeks after he'd been in the hospital, if her husband took off to another city by himself.

"I'm from Chicago!" Dean said, a little more excited than he was trying for. He looked aside, feeling like a dork and suddenly knew what Rory felt like those first few days he'd been 'stalking' her. It was odd.

Emily nodded, "Lots of bad people come from Chicago," she muttered, walking into the house. Lorelai followed quickly with the three teens following her. Rory and Dean exchanged a look and Rory smiled, trying to reassure him by holding his arm with her own. Paris rolled her eyes and went after them.

"Mom, that was just mean," Lorelai whispered over her mother's shoulder.

"It's a known fact. They have a high crime rate."

"Yes, but you said it to imply that Dean was a bad kid."

"I did no such thing." Emily turned quickly.

Lorelai didn't look at the three when she said, "You three, get comfortable at the diner table. Mom, in the kitchen."

"Oh, this again."

"MOM!" She squeaked, then pointed and waited until her mother had gone ahead of her into the kitchen. As soon as the door shut behind them she shook her head slightly and whispered, "Dean's not a bad kid and I didn't bring him here to be bashed by you. I brought him with the hopes that we could enjoy a civilized diner with Rory's boyfriend now if you're going to go back into that room with the intentions of ridiculing him for the night, tell me now so I can take them all to McDonalds. At least there the smile is free."

Emily's eyes widened, "You really like the boy."

"Yes."

"And it's not because he's just like Christopher?"

Lorelai closed her eyes, "Mom, he's a good kid. Leave him alone." She cleared her throat, trying to get as much of her voice back as possible, "Now, Paris is the one giving your granddaughter hell, why don't you pick on her."

"Oh, so you have no problems with me ridiculing that girl?"

She started to nod, then stopped herself, "There will be no ridiculing at the diner table, is that understood," she pointed a finger at her mother, "There will be no jokes, no snide remarks, no references to the night Rory fell asleep with Dean. If you can't say anything nice, don't open your mouth."

Lorelai started to turn and then her mother stated, "I assume this is a reciprocal command?"

"What?" Lorelai spun around.

"You, you're not to crack jokes, no snide remarks, no references to the night you feel asleep with Christopher and ended up pregnant. If you can't say anything nice, don't open your mouth. But wait, you've barely got a voice to utter anything nice..." she started to walk away.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, you've lost your voice at a concert, that's all it meant."

"No, you're trying to say that I never say anything nice."

"Oh, Lorelai, I'd say no such thing." Emily walked out of the kitchen, leaving her daughter with those making the meal.

"Oh you would," Lorelai whispered, moving to exit the kitchen after her mother.




Richard & Emily Gilmore Residence
8:01PM


Lorelai was shocked, her mother had actually been civilized for almost a whole hour now. Both teens not normally at the diner table were starting to get the color back in their cheeks and Rory was smiling. Rory smiling was always a good sign to Lorelai 'cause she knew her kid. Rory didn't smile if she didn't mean it. Emily looked from Paris to Rory and then asked,

"So, you're both in the English class with Mr. Medina, aren't you?"

Lorelai held her tongue, and bit her lip, knowing what was come. It was inevitable. She just braced herself for impact. The two girls nodded.

"And Rory, is it odd for your mother to be dating the teacher?"

Rory's eyes flashed wide open and Lorelai cringed. Paris turned quickly to Lorelai, her face showing an odd mix of confusion and disappointment. Great, Lorelai thought, now everyone can tell everyone at the school and she can be labeled the PTA Slut.

"Um," Rory started, looking from her mother to her grandmother. This would be a totally different conversation if anyone in the room was isolated, she knew. With Dean she'd be able to tell him that it was completely uncomfortable and she hated it, besides that, she got the impression that Max Medina was a smooth talker and was suckering her mother into the sack, but she couldn't say that to her grandmother or her mother. And Paris, she'd deny it if she was just with Paris, but there was no denying it now. Paris would flaunt it through school and laugh and point. Rory looked back at her grandmother and said quickly, "Mom needs to date and the guy's got a Ph.D."

Lorelai smiled, knowing from the looks that ran across her face that she wasn't as ok with the whole idea as she'd lead on a couple weeks before. It made Lorelai's stomach knot, knowing her daughter lied to her. She didn't want her dating Max. Her thoughts were brushed aside by her mother's eyes staring directly at her.

"So, how serious are you two?"

Lorelai opened her mouth and the doorbell rang. She jumped up and pointed, then vanished from the dining room. Emily gave a sly smile, knowing she'd hit a button, but she hadn't said anything harsh, hadn't joked or ridiculed. Play by the rules, that's how their relationship went. Never push too hard and never go too far, just enough to get the feathers ruffled. It was funner now though, she knew, than when Lorelai was sixteen and the cards that had been dealt looked like three lives had been ruined by one night of fun.




The walk from the dining room to the front door seemed longer to Lorelai. The doorbell was ringing and all she could think was, 'please, oh please, be an ax murderer.' Her mother had to bring up Max. How the hell did she find out about Max? Lorelai started to think of all the conversations they'd had in the last couple of weeks and she couldn't even start to remember a moment when she'd mentioned she was going to date Rory's teacher. Of course she'd bring it up, anything to get to me, Lorelai thought with a grunt. And she couldn't even defend herself properly because if she'd opened her mouth, bad things would have come out. She swung the door open and stared at the man who turned and asked,

"Can I use your... Lorelai?!" Luke's jaw fell open slightly and he stopped rubbing his hands on the old cloth he held and pointed at her. "What are you doing here?"

"This is my mom's house, what are you doing here?"

"My truck broke down just outside the gate."

Lorelai smacked a hand on her head and wanted to scream. "Oh God, this is the night from hell."

"What?" Luke asked.

She looked at him and pleaded, "Run away with me?"

"What?" He had the urge to check her temperature, but he knew this was typical Lorelai and he also knew that if her mother was inside, she was going to be manic. More than usual anyway.

"I want to get away from here, right now. To anywhere, who cares, just not here. Take me."

"I can't, trucks broken remember?"

"I don't care, we'll run."

"There's a foot of snow out there."

"Then we'll run slowly."

"Come on, it can't be that bad."

She sighed, "Mom just blabbed to Dean, Rory and Paris that I'm dating Max Medina..."

"Rory's teacher..."

"Yeah... how did you know that?"

"Saw you with him."

"When?"

"The first day it snowed."

"Oh," Lorelai said, lowering her eyebrows, wondering why he hadn't come to say hello. Then again, Luke wasn't exactly big on social gatherings, and she was sure he wasn't going to interrupt their date to say Hi. That'd be something only she'd do.

"So, what's so bad about them knowing?" He stared at her, trying not to look angry at the fact that she was dating Max. "They didn't know?"

"Rory knew and she said she was ok with it, but when Emily said it, I could see she wasn't ok with it and Paris is going to tell the whole school and I can just see it, I'm going to be called 'School Slut', which shouldn't be anything new, but it bothers. I didn't exactly want everyone in that school to think bad of me 'cause it'll reflect on Rory and you know I only want the best for Rory."

"Yeah," he said quickly, "I know."

"And Dean's all confused and they're probably all in there talking about how bad I am and how this is a bad thing and God, Rory lied to me. She said she was ok with it. Why would she lie about that, Luke? Why would she say she's ok with it when she's not ok with it... you're not ok with it."

"What?" He looked up, suddenly realizing he'd been grinding his hand into the cloth.

"You're not ok with it. Why are you not ok with it?"

"He's Rory's teacher," Luke spat.

"Oh good, now you're mad at me too."

"I was mad at you before this."

"Huh?" She stared at him, wanting to smack him in the head. What was with people being all upset with her and not saying anything. "When I'm upset with you, I tell you."

"When you're upset with anyone, you tell them."

"Yeah, exactly, so why can't I expect the same?"

"Because if I told you that I was mad at you, you'd want to know why and you'd want to talk about it and I'm not all into the talking thing."

"Fine. So you wanted to use me?"

He looked shocked a moment, "No, I came to ask to use the phone, so I can call a tow truck for my truck that's broken. Outside of the gate," he reminded, nervously.

She smiled, "Fine, come in."

"Lorelai, what's taking so long?" Emily asked walking in and looked up at Luke who'd just entered, "I didn't say to invite the whole town."

"Well, I figured as long as you were inviting everyone who was in my house..."

"Hi," Luke said quickly. "My truck broke down, I just need to use the phone."

"That is not the prope..."

"Mom," Lorelai raised a hand, "No digs on Luke."

"Why, you like him as much as you like Dean?"

"More 'cause he gives me coffee," Lorelai smiled, taking Luke's arm, "Come on, phone's here."

"Lorelai, why doesn't he join us for diner?" Emily asked, her grin growing wider. She'd sensed something between those two at the hospital and now that she's brought up Max, she knew she was moments away from a Check Mate with her daughter.

"Um, no thank you," Luke said slowly, "I, uh, need to get going, pick up some stuff I special-ordered in the Corner Market in Hartford tonight and be back in Stars Hollow."

Emily gave a tight lipped smile, "Luke, I'll call my mechanic, he'll pick up what you need in Hartford and then come here to fix your truck." She said truck as though it were a bad word and then went into the other room and picked up the phone.

Luke started to speak again and Lorelai quickly put a finger on his lips, "Don't say another word, if you do, you'll be severely reprimanded."

"Hey, I'm not part of this. I don't want to be part of this."

"Too late," she started to say, but her voice wasn't there.

"What?" Luke asked.

She opened her mouth and tried to speak again, but nothing came out. Lowering her head a moment, she pulled him by the arm into the dining room and sat him where her father would normally sit. The three teens looked up and Rory's eyebrows fell,

"Luke, what are you doing here?"

"I've been kidnapped by your mom and grandmother," he grunted angrily.

"What?"

Luke folded his hands on his lap, almost afraid to touch the table cloth for fear he might break it or stain it or something. He'd heard about Emily Gilmore, he'd seen her in action, she didn't seem the type to like that her lovely tablecloth was being destroyed by him. "My truck broke down and now they won't let me leave. It's like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone."

"Tell me about it," Dean agreed.

Paris stared at the older man, "You're the one from the diner. Luke's, you own that place?"

"Yes," Luke said quickly.

Lorelai raised a hand as Emily entered the room. The elder Gilmore called out a name and a woman appeared. "I need another table setting," she pointed at Luke. The woman nodded and left into the kitchen and a moment later reappeared with two others who quickly set down a full meal in front of him.

"Really, this isn't necessary," Luke insisted.

"Nonsense," Emily said, "You're obviously important to my daughter and therefore you're important to me."

"Important to Lorelai? I give her coffee and hamburgers, she pays for it. If anything, I'm helping lead her to clogged arteries and a neurosis problem."

Rory laughed and Lorelai smiled.

Emily nodded, "You closed your diner to bring her to the hospital."

"She needed to get there, I don't think that's a big deal."

Lorelai nodded and touched his arm.

"I'm feeling really out of place here."

Emily shook her head, "Remove your hat."

"I never remove my hat."

Rory nodded, "Yeah, you did for the bankers."

Lorelai smiled and knew if it hadn't been for the fact that her voice was completely gone, she'd have laughed out loud at the memory.

"Bankers?" Emily asked, "Is your establishment having monetary problems?"

Luke shook his head and took a sip of wine, "This is good."

"Thank you."

"And no, Luke's is fine, I just have a meeting with them every once in a while to discuss how things are going." He cut into his chicken and took a bite. "This is good too. Needs a little lemon though."

Emily gave a small laugh, "I could get some for you."

"No, thanks, it's good," he started.

Emily looked at Lorelai, "Well, aren't you going to say anything?"

Rory shook her head, "Mom's voice is gone."

"How horrible," Emily said quickly. "Speaking of which, Luke, what on earth possessed you to give Lorelai those tickets?"

Luke put his utensils down, "I didn't know she was going to body surf on stage. They had some nut on the radio talking about how the environment was going to hell no matter what do, so I called in to give the guy a piece of my mind only it was a pre-recorded thing and I ended up winning those tickets."

"You're an environmentalist."

"Please, not at the table," Rory insisted. "It can get ugly, trust me, mom's gone down that road with him before. While it's amusing to watch people get flustered, I'd prefer not right now," Rory smiled at Emily and she nodded.

"Go on about the tickets," Emily prompted.

"Anyway, I was gonna decline 'em, but I figured Rory might like 'em, so I took 'em. Then I called Lorelai to come get 'em and that's that. Now, if I'd known Lorelai was gonna be hoping on stage and flirting with the band, I would have let some other kid win the tickets instead."

"I wasn't flirting with the band," Lorelai mouthed. Dean and Rory laughed.

"What's so amusing?" Emily asked.

"Mom said she wasn't flirting with the band," Rory said.

"Oh, so their phone numbers materialized out of thin air," Paris shot.

The whole table turned to look at her.

"Phone numbers?" Emily questioned.

"They were for Sookie, I swear," Lorelai mouthed.

"Sookie," Rory said.

"What the hell does Sookie need with their numbers?" Luke questioned.

Lorelai pointed a finger at him and then looked at Rory and pointed at the door. Rory looked confused and Lorelai started making walking gestures with her fingers. "We need to go for a walk?" Rory asked.

Shaking her head, Lorelai looked at her mother and just shook her hands, mouthing, "No More. We're gone."

"But dinner's not over."

She pointed at the empty plates.

"Your friend Luke isn't finished with his meal."

Luke stood, "I'll be fine, ma'am."

Lorelai pointed at Dean and Paris and waved a hand, starting for the door.

"This is rude, Lorelai," Emily started, but Lorelai whispered in Rory's ear and Rory nodded.

"Mom says she can't defend herself, so she's taking a 'game delay', we'll reconvene next Friday night, same bat time, same bat channel."

Emily nodded her head, "Fine, Lorelai. Paris, your parents are coming to get you here, so you'll keep me company."

Lorelai watched her eyes widen a moment and she was tempted to laugh, but she couldn't, simply gave her a sympathetic look before putting an arm around her daughter and going outside. Luke looked a bit flabbergasted as he walked towards the gate and he turned back, "Where's my truck?"

Emily stood at the doorway and shrugged her shoulders, "Jimmy towed it to his shop, I guess. You could wait here until I know something else."

Luke looked at Lorelai and she waved an arm at him, towards her jeep and he looked back to Emily, "Have your mechanic call Lorelai when he's all finished. I'll catch a ride to Hartford to pick it up."

"Alright," Emily looked upset. Were they that afraid of spending a little time with her? She wanted to pull Lorelai aside and admit, honestly, that she was lonely without Richard around, but she knew that would be admitting a fault, and she never admitted to any faults.

Luke started towards the jeep and then turned, "Thank you, by the way, for the mechanic, and the chicken." He turned back, awkwardly to the jeep and jumped in.

Lorelai turned and saw her mother give a slight smile of delight and she shook her head, letting Dean and Rory into the back before climbing in the front next to Luke. She stared at him a moment as the car warmed up and then looked back up at her mother who was walking back into the house.

"I'll drive you to Hartford," Lorelai said quickly.

"What? But you've got to get Rory home and Dean and..."

She laughed, "When we get back, when Jimmy calls, I'll drive you. I owe you that."

He started to say something then paused, "Hey, you got your voice back."

She nodded, "I know, got it back before dinner."

Dean leaned forward, "Then why didn't you just use it."

"Nah,"

"Any excuse to delay," Rory sang.

Lorelai shook her head, "Nah, she's just got too much ammunition at the moment, and there were to many witnesses," she laughed. Putting her jeep in drive, she raced back to Stars Hollow to drop Dean off, then drove home quietly listening to Rory, Dean and Luke discussing some poet. Entering the house, she phoned her mother who said the truck was ready and she motioned to Luke to follow her.

The drive back to Hartford was another silent one and it was beginning to make her uncomfortable. When she spotted the mechanic's shop, she pulled into the drive way and slapped a hand on Luke's arm as he began to exit. "We needed to talk?"

He shrugged, "So you body surfed, I should have known you were going to do that?"

"Yeah, but what's the big deal?"

"It's just odd."

Lorelai lowered her eyebrows a moment, wanting to laugh at him, knowing he'd probably never been to a concert before. "What is? It's what you do at a concert."

"No, you listen to the music," he said with a shrug.

"Well, some people body surf," she informed him, nodding her head.

"I just didn't think you'd be one of those people."

"Luke," she raised an eyebrow.

He huffed out a short breath and stammered, "Ok, so I knew you'd be one of those people, it's just sometimes I'm surprised by the things you do. Especially in front of Rory."

"Yeah, but isn't that better than predictability?" She smiled.

He gave her a teasing smile. "I don't know. Predictability is stability. I couldn't imagine what it'd be like to date you, never knowing what you're going to do or say..." Luke trailed.

Lorelai remained silent a moment. "What's wrong with Max?"

He looked away, at the mechanic exiting his shop, walking towards the jeep.

"What's wrong with Max?" She repeated, turning in her seat.

"He's just not right for you," he said quickly.

"And how would you know what's right for me?" Lorelai laughed. For some reason she enjoyed watching Luke squirm at unbelievable simple questions. She grew serious when she realized that's what her mother did, watched people squirm for fun. "I'll see you tomorrow, Luke."

He turned and looked at her, "You know those guys, the ones who smooth talk girls and get them to go out and then they get them to invite them in. Then they get them to the bed and then they dump 'em soon after?"

Lorelai nodded slowly.

"That's what kind of guy this Max strikes me as." Luke stared at the floor, not wanting to make eye contact with Lorelai. It was either he said that, or he just outright said that he didn't want anyone but himself to date her. He just needed to work up the courage to actually ask her.

"But you've never met him," Lorelai pointed out.

Luke glanced up at her. "Guys know guys."

"He could be totally different," she chuckled.

Luke shrugged, "Could be."

"Then why the long face?"

"I'm just not getting a good vibe," Luke said, turning away from her again.

"Good vibe? What, you're psychic as well as a good cook?"

He laughed, "Look, you do what you do and I'll pretend it's all ok."

"That's the thing, Luke, I don't want you to pretend."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Be honest."

"Don't date him."

"What?"

"You heard me. This is me being honest. I don't want you to date him."

"Why?"

He shook his head and stepped out of the car, "Thanks for the ride, and thank your mom again for me next time you talk to her."

Lorelai smiled, "Why don't you want me to date him, Luke?"

"I'll see you tomorrow morning with a big pot of coffee ready, no complaints."

"Luke, you're avoiding the question."

"I'll even serve you seconds within the same ten minutes without holding a grudge."

"Luke, you wanna date me?" Lorelai sang, leaning her head on her shoulder.

He slammed the door and stomped towards his truck. She watched him begin talking with Jimmy and they started looking under the hood and she pulled up next to them, "Luke?"

"I'm ignoring you Lorelai."

"Silence is Golden?"

"Exactly," he huffed.

"Is the truck ok, or has it officially gone to the parking garage in the sky?"

Luke gave a small laugh, "It's fine, he's showing me what he did, is that ok?"

She nodded, "Just making sure you won't be stranded."

"I won't be. Go home."

She saluted him and watched Jimmy laughing. Then she shouted, "Love You Luke!" as she drove off quickly, watching him turn in the rear view mirror and watch her drive off. Sometimes, she smiled, it was so easy.




End. Um, yeah, this wasn't what I expected... but whatever. Hope it was ok. Please write me, I love comments.

Mystic
Mysticxf@aol.com
http://www.crosswinds.net/~padmex/
http://www.crosswinds.net/~gilmoregirls/


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