Pairing: Rory/Paris, ft. pretty much the entire Gilmore Girls ensemble
Word Count: Part 3 - 5,300
Summary: Paris outs herself and Rory during a televised argument with Michele Bachmann. Peskiest of all is the fact that Paris and Rory aren't actually dating. A documentary crew wants to make Paris And Rory's Modern Stars Hollow Family anyway. Meanwhile, Rory goes slowly and quietly nuts. (And doesn't like Paris like that -- why would you even suggest such a thing?? Not that ... anyone did.)
Author's Note: Aaand we're back from an itty bitty several-month break! Here's facts: I haven't done much proper GG watching in the past several months, and haven't seen the last season in years, so it is very possible -- indeed, probable! -- that there are some canon contradictions in this that I'm just not aware of. Because I am about to start school and don't really have time to devote my every hour to Gilmore Girls rewatching (though how I wish I did!), I'm just going to roll with it. It's fanfiction, right?
Also: oh my God I love everyone in
Part 3: The Epic of Gilger, Beowulf's Long Lost BFF
FULL TRANSCRIPTS OF INTERVIEW SEGMENTS – PARIS & RORY’S MODERN STARS HOLLOW FAMILY - EPISODE 2: “HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS?”
INTERVIEW – Paris Geller & Rory Gilmore
So Paris, Rory. You two have known one another for twelve years now.
Oh, God. Have we?
You came to Chilton on October 9, 2000.
How can you remember that? I didn’t even remember that, and I was the one switching to a new school.
People who just ignore minutiae about their sworn enemies don’t usually make it far in life, Rory.
So you committed the day you met me to memory ... forever?
Can I help it if my brain is tremendously well-equipped to retain information?
Oh, I decided your brain was far beyond help a long time ago.
Would you look at that! Not even thirty, and you’ve got the old married couple rapport down cold already. Then again, you did begin dating soon after you met, correct? That’s what you said, Paris, during your appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher. And yet from what I’ve heard from the good people of Stars Hollow, Rory has quite the collection of ex-ladyloves under her belt. Figuratively speaking, of course.
But – I – three! Not tons! Just three!
Deenie, Jess, and Lauren.
Yeah! ... Those ... were their names. And besides, Paris and I weren’t really, um, official for awhile.
And yet before, you said—
You know what? Paris tells this story much better than I do. Why don’t you tell the story, Paris?
Thank you, Rory. I’d love to.
I thought you might.
You see, Nigel, Rory and I suffered from a long, drawn out case of what the kids are calling unresolved sexual tension. UST, if you will.
Do the kids call it that? I don’t think the kids do.
While, yes, there was an instant spark of attraction between us from the get-go—
Rory bursts into a sudden coughing fit.
Are you all right?
Um – fine, fine, just fine. Don’t mind me. Spark of attraction. Yep. You just keep going, babe.
PARIS (after a moment’s pause)
The point is, the pressures of attending an upper crust and in many ways conservative private school kinda put the kibosh on us linking pinkie fingers in the hallway. Of course, discrimination doesn’t exist in Hay Bale Utopia, so Rory felt much more free to date around than I did.
Hey, it’s not like you were Miss Pines-a-lot for years and years! Don’t forget about Jamie! And ... Asha.
Rory, this doesn’t seem like the best of times to bring up Asha.
You know how Paris met her? Through my grandparents.
Rory, can we not?
It seems only fair. Considering all my ex-ladyloves are out on the table. And it sure is hard to forget about Asha, you know, considering!
I don’t quite understand. So this Asha was ...
Absolutely distinguished. Somehow it’s so much easier to be distinguished when you’re old, huh?
She was barely mid-sixties. It wasn’t Romancing the Octogenarian. Grow up.
Oh, I bet you’d like that, huh?
I was a freshman in college. I had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and new experiences. And unlike some people, I wasn’t bound by narrow-minded hang-ups over age differences.
So, what happened?
... She died, okay? Fine. Are you happy?
She – died? While you were ...?
Oh, for [expletive]’s sake. Why does everyone always think that?
Because when you’re knocking boots with senior citizens, people are always going to think that. Accept it, Paris.
Shut it, Rory. And no, Nigel. The great woman was not brought down by my vagina. Or my tongue, or my fingers, or any external accoutrements, or whatever you might imagine would work a woman of slightly advanced age to such a frenzy of Sapphic ecstasy that her heart would give out.
I wasn’t even there when she died. And, for the record, I’ll always stand by that relationship. She had a magnificent intellect, and an English accent, and quite a perky set considering those girls were three times my age. I’ll be real with you, Nigel: it was some straight up Helen Mirren magic at work. If Helen Mirren asks if you want to tap that, you don’t say no.
So about Deenie—
Oh, there’s nothing interesting about Deenie. Especially when we’re talking Paris’s exes already! Why stop now? Don’t forget Doily and your erotic Krav Maga sessions on our living room floor!
That was survival, not eroticism. Can I help it if the two aren’t always mutually exclusive? And if you’re going to bring up that one time you walked in on us again, I can only say ‘I’m sorry’ so many times.
‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t further the invention of brain bleach!
So, er, Paris. About your earlier assertion that you and Rory had been together since high school—
Well. It took us awhile to get our asses in gear. But I – (A long pause.) I always knew what I wanted.
Right. Obviously. Me too. For you, I mean.
After a moment, they exchange a quick kiss.
Aw. Well, that’s just lovely. And don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be able to edit out the more, er, unseemly bits. (A pause.) Your girlfriend’s name was Doily?
Shut it, Nigel. I don’t judge your life.
“What the hell was that??” Paris demands, slamming Rory’s bedroom door behind them. Nigel & Co. are staying at the Dragonfly, so it’s not like there’s even any chance of them being overheard, but apparently there’s no such thing as being too covert. Besides, sometimes you just need a good door slam. Rory’s kind of jealous.
“I’m sorry!” she says, and collapses onto the bed. “I hate this! I wasn’t expecting him to know about Dean and Jess and Logan, okay? It totally threw me.”
“He didn’t know about Dean and Jess and Logan. He knew about Deenie and Jess and Lauren.”
“Oh, yeah, because that’s so much better,” Rory scoffs. Paris flops down beside her. Rory makes sure their arms don’t touch. “It’s just – Paris, we are such liars. It can’t be hard for someone to look into this, right? There must be secret CIA security footage of me and Logan somewhere! We stole a boat! Oh, God, we stole a boat. There’s no way that’s not on file. And it’s not like Logan will be able to pass for a girl in the CIA’s secret boat footage.”
“Eh,” Paris says, making an ‘I’m not entirely convinced’ face.
“Paris! Shut up!”
“Fine. Absolutely. Logan wasn’t girly at all. He was a strapping young lad. He graduated with honors from the school of Lance Bass Heartthrobbery.”
“Aren’t you worried? This could all go so, so wrong.”
“I already told you I didn’t think it through as much as I might have beforehand.” She sighs, frustrated. Rory watches her breathe in and out, and then decides to look at the ceiling instead. “I acted on instinct, Rory. And while that’s led to many of my most brilliant moments, it’s also resulted in the occasional fumble.”
“How could I be so stupid? How could you? Smartness, that’s always kinda been our thing! We’re supposed to be its poster girls, right?”
“We were bound to slip into insipidity sooner or later. I mean, look at the world we live in.”
“You need pep talk lessons,” Rory decides.
“Meh,” Paris replies.
There’s a long silence. Rory can hear her mom and Luke talking in the living room.
“I’m sorry I mentioned Asher,” she says then.
“It’s okay,” Paris says flatly. “I’m over it.”
“No, I mean it,” Rory insists. She reaches over to pat Paris on the arm. “That was awful of me. I don’t even know why I went there. You just—” She remembers to pull her hand away. “—you make me a little crazy sometimes.”
“I know,” Paris says. She sounds kind of proud. Weirdo.
Rory listens to the sound of her mom laughing; it’s more muffled than it should be, on account of the whole closed-door thing, and for an entirely stupid split-second she kind of feels like they’re in high school and she smuggled Paris in here for secret smoochies. There’s a whole weird ‘any second we could get caught!’ vibe that she has no idea what to do with. Get caught at what? Staring at the ceiling? It’s not like that’s exactly the stuff HBO programming is made of.
Rory sits up quickly and grabs a pillow to hug. “So, what are we going to do?”
“Damage control,” Paris replies, sitting up too. Her hair is a little tousled. Rory reminds herself that reaching over to smooth it would be many levels of strange and unnecessary. “Bake a few pies, hire the town troubadour to serenade each other, hold hands and giggle and pick out future baby names. All we have to do is stick it out until the Fairytale Festival—”
“Oh yes, because that sounds much less like Taylor Swift came up with it. My point is: let’s just make it ‘til then. After that, no more documentary.”
“But you’re in the public eye. And won’t it just prove the point we’re trying to argue against if we, you know, break up?”
“We hang out together all the time anyway. Who’s to say we broke up?”
“But what about when you actually meet someone you really like? You know, somebody man-shaped.”
Paris snorts. “I don’t have time for man shapes right now.”
“But what if I meet a nice man shape? I mean, I think he’d probably be a little turned off by the fact that I’ve pledged my troth to another girl.”
“Please. Have you ever met a man?”
“I’m just saying,” Rory retorts, smacking Paris lightly with the pillow.
“Well,” Paris says, sounding so nonchalant that it’s kind of unsettling, like Rory can’t bring herself to believe it all the way, “I don’t care if you don’t.”
And it’s like: of course Rory cares. It’s not like boyfriends are everything – she’s been enjoying singledom just fine for awhile now – but at the same time, she doesn’t exactly want to waste away into spinsterhood just because the whole world at large believes that Paris is her one and only. That would just be – bad. So many shades of bad. But it’s not the biggest bad thing at hand right now, so. “Fine. We’ll sort that out when we get to it. Let’s just make it to the Festival.”
Paris smiles, a little gleam of that familiar scary triumph in her eyes. “Agreed.”
“Oh, and Paris?”
“You can’t really hire the town troubadour. He just is.”
“I swear to God,” Paris says, rolling her eyes, “if one of these days you Stars Hollow freakshows go all Wicker Man on me, I won’t even be surprised.”
“I don’t like that guy,” Luke mutters the next day after Nigel has been in the diner for approximately five seconds. Turns out, you can do a lot of ‘But this is charming! So absolutely charming! Do mine eyes deceive me? Is that toaster vintage?’ in five seconds. He’s currently examining the menus at one of the tables by the window with utmost delight. Rory’s a little worried that discovering the salt and pepper shakers will be the end of him. Meanwhile, Camera Guy Rick is trying to film some stock footage of the diner, which is made difficult by all the mugging for the camera Miss Patty keeps doing. Every time Rick tries to move on to someone else, she stops him and flutters her eyelashes some more. And then there’s the part where Taylor keeps trying to convince him that Luke’s is a poor representation of Stars Hollow life, and for real small town charm, Doose’s Market is the place to be.
“Really?” Lorelai replies. “Because newsflash, beautiful: I’m pretty sure he likes you.”
Luke sneaks a glance Nigelward. Nigel must have a sixth sense when it comes to feeling the weighted gazes of grumpy diner owners, because he immediately looks up and waves giddily.
“Rory,” Lorelai says, “just how gay is this little adventure going to get? I thought you and Paris were the limit, but now—”
“Oh, jeez,” Luke groans.
“I’m just saying, hon,” Lorelai says innocently, “if you’re going to have a late-in-life awakening about your sexuality, it might as well be with Nige. He’s a special guy. I get a good vibe off him. And besides, who would make a better tragic and stalwart beard than me? Sigh! I vowed to stand by my man those many years ago, and no matter how high the price, I’ll stick by those words—”
“You are deranged.”
“Aw, sweets, I love you too. But I am wise enough to know that sometimes, if you really love something, that just means you have to let it go—”
“Hey, Nigel!” Luke calls. “Whaddya say to some vintage toast?”
“Sounds delectable, Lucas!”
“Uh, never. Have you met me?”
“I have. And yet, for some reason, I married you anyway.”
“That you did, pal. It’s okay. Neither of us could have seen this Nigel thing coming.”
Luke sighs, and makes the (probably smart) decision to ignore Lorelai in favor of toast-making.
“Where is Paris, anyway?” Lorelai asks, turning her attention to Rory. And coffee. “I can’t believe that the two of you can bear to be apart this long. Long distance footsie is such a drag – and yet if anyone could make it work, I have all the faith in the world it’d be you two.”
Rory rolls her eyes. “Oh, ha ha.”
“What?” Lorelai says innocently. “Can I help it if I’m invested? I’m your mom, and as such, your happiness is the most important thing in the world to me. And since your happiness is basically embodied in the package that is Paris Geller—”
“I just want to harp on this relationship a whole damn lot.”
“Luke!” Rory attempts.
“Nope,” Luke says to the toaster. “Not going there.”
“Speaking of, you guys probably need to pick out one of those celebrity couple names, right? I mean, you are basically a celebrity couple. Naturally, I’ve been doing some brainstorming.”
“Oh,” Rory sighs, “naturally.”
“So I’m thinking – wait for it – Pory.”
“What? Why ew?”
“It sounds like something you’d hear in the ‘before’ part of a Proactiv commercial.”
“Well, fine. If you’re going to shoot me down with that – okay, totally valid criticism, then so be it. Don’t worry. I brought more.”
“Of course you did,” Rory says.
“Of course she did,” Luke agrees.
“How about – Raris?”
“Nah,” Luke says.
Lorelai whirls around to face him. “Oh, so now you’re in this conversation?”
“I’m just saying: ‘Raris’ doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. It doesn’t have that thing.”
“You know, that thing. Where it sticks in your brain, all annoying, forever. Like ‘Brangelina.’ Raris is no Brangelina.”
“Please. Brangelina is so 2005. Which, in all honesty, is a pretty cutting edge reference for you. Gimme some sugar.”
Luke obediently leans over the counter to kiss her.
“I love it when you talk nearly-relevant pop culture references to me,” Lorelai fake-purrs.
“Crazy person,” Luke says fondly, and goes back to breakfasting.
“So now we have no choice,” Lorelai says, very grave as she turns back to Rory. “We’ve got to move on to the last names.”
“I know, kid! Believe me, I know. But you haven’t really left me with a choice here. How about – oh, okay, this is the one, I can feel it – Gilger?”
“That’s horrible,” Rory says. “That sounds like Beowulf’s long lost BFF.”
“Well, as established long long ago, I wouldn’t know, since my five-minute foray into trying to read Beowulf ended in tragic defeat. As far as I know, Beowulf could be about Beowulf and Gilger skipping around Narnia riding sparkly dragons and opening up a quaint tavern-slash-B&B. Plot twist: they adopt Grendel.”
“And you got it in one!” Rory says.
“I’ve always had keen literary intuition,” Lorelai says modestly.
“And where did you get the second ‘g’ anyway? ‘Gilmore’ and ‘Geller’ would not smoosh together like that.”
“Oh, so you’d rather it was Giller? Boring much? Get your head in the game, Rory.”
“Yeah, Rory,” Luke deadpans. “You’re really dropping the ball here.”
“No Pory, no Raris, no Gilger, no Giller,” Rory says firmly. “We’re just Rory and Paris. That’s it. That’s all.”
“Aw, fine.” Lorelai frowns. “But I hope you know you’re no fun at all.”
“It’s a cross I’ve learned to bear,” Rory says sagely.
“And—what was my original question again?”
“Oh, right. So. Where is that crazy chick?”
“She said something about ... damage control?” Rory says weakly. “We got into a little bit of a fight in one of our interview sessions yesterday, and now she’s determined to fix it by making us extra adorable for the camera from now on.”
“Oh yikes,” says Lorelai.
“Exactly,” says Rory. “She’s being very Paris about it, too. She was talking about hiring the town troubadour for serenades.”
Lorelai gasps. “Does she know what she’s talking about? You can’t hire the town troubadour. He just is.”
“Don’t I know it,” Rory says ruefully, shaking her head.
“If you want something – romantic or whatever,” Luke says, “April’s school production of Romeo & Juliet’s this Friday. Everyone’s invited. I mean, it was just me and your mom, because she didn’t know you were gonna be around, but I’m sure she’d be just fine with having you along. You and Paris and your camera crew. That way, it’s something romantic and cutesy, but you don’t have to do much.”
The idea of sitting in the dark for a few hours watching high schoolers stumble over Shakespeare has never been more irresistible. “That sounds perfect, Luke! Thanks.”
“No problem,” Luke says, and pours a little extra coffee into Rory’s cup. Aw.
“Hey,” Lorelai says, her eyes lighting up in a way that can be good for nobody, “remember in high school, when you and Paris did Romeo & Juliet?”
“No,” Rory says quickly.
“Rory,” Luke says, “I’m sorry.”
“I bet that with some finagling, we could dig up some footage of that fine production,” Lorelai carries on giddily.
“It’s okay,” Rory says to Luke. “You couldn’t have known.”
“And then the episode can have a montage! Oh, man – I can see it now—”
“Did somebody say Romeo & Juliet??” Nigel says, suddenly right there. He beams at Luke. Luke gives him a smile that is actually a grimace and then mumbles something about needing to get some pancakes out of the storage room.
“Pancakes!” Nigel exclaims. “You’re a very lucky woman, Lorelai.”
“Oh, Nigel,” Lorelai replies sweetly, “I’m sure we could work out some sort of timeshare deal.”
Rory kicks Lorelai.
“Ow!” Lorelai pouts. “Nothing.”
“Just lovely,” Nigel says happily.
‘Damage control’ doesn’t catch up to Rory until that afternoon at the Dragonfly Inn. Nigel is hopping around, Rick and Katy trailing behind him, and in between paroxysms at the quaintness, he’s interviewing Lorelai, Sookie, and Michel about the all-American success story that is the Inn’s origin.
Well, Lorelai and Sookie.
When it gets to Michel, it’s more like:
“It wasn’t a yes-or-no question.”
“No,” Michel says again.
“You’re a very disagreeable person,” Nigel says, like he can’t quite come to terms with the fact that disagreeable people exist.
“Yes,” Michel says. “Oh look, I have agreed. Now, leave me alone.”
“Of course, of course! But before I do, just real quick here: tell me just a little more about Michel, my friend.”
“I am not your friend. I do not know you. I do not like your glasses, I do not like your bouncing, and your name is stupid. If you question me, I will continue to insult you. Do you understand?”
“Rory and Paris: world’s best couple? Whaddya think?”
“Rory has always been a little ray of sunshine. God help Paris. Also, your shoes are giving me nausea. The end.”
“Hey, Nigel,” Lorelai pipes up, breezing over. “I have it on good authority that Kirk and Lulu are having a hula hoop battle out on the front porch!”
“Charming!” Nigel cries, aaaand he’s off.
“Excellent diversion, Mom,” Rory says.
“Sadly, that was just a simple statement of fact,” Lorelai answers.
“Michel, how can you not want to be on TV?” Sookie demands.
Michel perks up a little. Suspiciously. “Who said anything about TV?”
“Um,” Sookie says, and points at the retreating camera crew, “camera. Hi.”
Michel cranes his neck to look at said camera crew. “You mean this isn’t for some inane school project?”
“Michel, I haven’t been in school for five years,” Rory reminds him.
“Michel, I told you all about this a few days ago,” Lorelai says impatiently. “Documentary crew, coming to Stars Hollow to do a miniseries about Rory and Paris and their fake gay love?”
“You tell me about a lot of things,” Michel drawls. “It’s made me very good at selective listening.”
“Great,” Lorelai says sarcastically. “Well – documentary crew, in Stars Hollow to do a miniseries about Rory and Paris and their fake gay love. It’s going to be on ABC.”
Michel’s eyes light up. “Like Dancing With the Stars,” he says rapturously.
“Exactly like that,” Lorelai says.
“Time to bust a move, champ,” says Sookie.
Michel needs no more encouragement. He’s off, calling in that freaky non-grumpy Michel voice that always fills Rory with fear, “Oh, Nigel! I will answer your insipid questions now!”
“Fantastic!” Nigel cries heartily.
“Aw, look,” Sookie says, beaming. “Now they’re all chummy.”
“Yeah, well, hopefully not too chummy,” Lorelai says. “Luke’s got dibs.”
“Where is Paris?” Rory says. Stars Hollow shenanigans are all well and good, but she hasn’t seen Paris since she left the house this morning. When she left, Paris was still in her pajamas, hunched over her laptop with a look of frenzied intensity on her face. Rory decided it was best not to interfere. Mornings have proven they’ve got high enough awkwardness potential as is. (Paris is sleeping on the couch, of course, because it’s not like they’re just going to cozy up together in Rory’s bed every night, but Rory still feels absurdly guilty about it, which is ridiculous because it’s a nice couch, and besides, they’re not dating.)
“Isn’t she on her way?” Lorelai asks.
“So she said,” Rory says anxiously.
“Well, you know Paris,” Lorelai says (but Rory definitely doesn’t miss the sudden apprehension in her eyes). “The girl knows how to get it done. By any means neces—seriously?”
Rory follows her mom’s gaze over to the front door – and oh, look, it’s Paris and her grandparents.
Not only that, it’s Paris and her grandparents in some sort of cuddly nightmarish alternate universe, because there’s no way Emily Gilmore would ever, ever cuddle up to anyone in this one. And yet! Paris is squeezed in between Richard and Emily, arms all linked, looking like they’re off to see the Wizard.
Nigel and his camera crew posse immediately swoop over to them. Michel looks livid.
“Mom! Dad! What – the hell!” Lorelai sputters.
“Lorelai,” Emily replies, perfectly tranquil. “To think that anyone else might have ended that with ‘a pleasant surprise.’ What a waste it would have been.”
“Well, of course it’s a pleasant surprise,” Lorelai says, “in addition to being, you know, a surprising surprise. And you’re with Paris!”
“Of course we’re with Paris,” Richard says ever so affably. “You don’t think we would ever turn down the chance to spend some time with our granddaughter’s beloved, now do you?”
“Of course ... not?” Lorelai tries.
“Darned right,” Richard says. He and Emily and Paris dissolve into hokey, congenial laughter. Rory’s head is starting to spin a little.
“She invited us over to your house for an afternoon of pie-baking,” Emily announces with one of those perfect socialite smiles.
“Pie-baking,” Lorelai repeats flatly.
“Yes, Lorelai,” Emily says. “Pie-baking. I believe you’ve heard of the concept before. Lord knows you’ve prattled on about the end result.”
“I wasn’t aware you were such an enthusiastic pie baker, Mom,” Lorelai says, still eyeing Emily like she’s expecting her to attack at any moment. “Or that you’d even had the talk.”
“Yeah, you know: ‘When flour and sugar love each other very much, and then invite a can of cherry filling to the party—’”
“Oh, Lorelai, really.”
“It’s just that you’ve never shown much interest in the technicalities of food preparation before.”
“Nonsense,” Emily says graciously. “Baking with Rory and Paris has always been one of our favorite activities.”
“Oh,” Lorelai says, stilted, “yes. How could I have – forgotten that fundamental life truth—?”
“We just love getting to spend whatever time we can with our girls,” Richard announces jovially.
“Aw,” Paris says, and cozies up to him. “You’re the best, Gramps.”
The sentence Hot men run in packs suddenly looms large in Rory’s brain, coming back to her from those early days when Paris decided it was an A+ life decision to have a love affair with a professor who was buddies, not to mention age twins, with her grandfather.
“Let’s go bake some pies!” Rory shouts, and hurries over to bust up the love fest. When Paris is involved, you can never be too careful. Never. “Quick!”
Kirk has somehow snagged himself a chauffeuring gig with the camera crew, which means that they’re being pulled in a cart pulled by Kirk’s bicycle back to la casa de Gilmore (& Danes).
It buys a bit of non-camera time. Naturally, this means stopping in at Doose’s for pie ingredients. Even with Luke living in the house now, the Gilmore (& Danes) residence still isn’t anywhere near prepped for any possible culinary situation that could come up. It would just be unnatural, after so many years of candy and take-out. The cupboards would come alive and shout out in protest.
Taylor is waiting for them at the door, all giddy and twitchy with anticipation. “Hello, welcome to Doose’s– Really, Lorelai? Where’s the camera?”
“We’re off the grid right now, Taylor,” Lorelai reports.
“Well, that’s very insensitive of you,” Taylor huffs. “If I were a lesser man, I’d neglect to tell you that we’re having a two-for-one sale on acorn squash.”
“You’re a prince, Taylor Doose,” Lorelai says, and blows him a kiss.
Taylor grumbles to himself.
Rory can’t quite give all her attention to typical Stars Hollow banter shenanigans at the moment, though. She’s too baffled.
“Pie-baking with my grandparents?” she demands, grabbing Paris’s arm as they slip down an aisle.
“What can I say?” Paris retorts. Rory is 100% sure no one has ever stridden with so much purpose in Doose’s before. “I’m in it to win it.”
“How did you even get them to agree with this? I don’t know if my grandmother has ever seen a bag of flour in her life. And the way they’re being all – all smiley, and nice to you! That was cuddling, Paris. Cuddling. They barely ever cuddle me, and I have it on good authority that they like me a whole lot!”
“Of course we like you a whole lot, Rory,” Emily says, popping up behind them out of nowhere. “Why else in the world would we be doing this?”
“You really don’t have to—”
“Yes, we do,” Richard cuts in firmly. But kindly, which is a big old relief. “The last thing we want is for our brilliant granddaughter to face any negative repercussions for this admirably meant, if haphazard, choice she has made. And while your involvement in the whole charade is something we’d rather have avoided, well, now that you’re in it, so are we.”
“Grandpa—” Rory begins, a pesky lump in her throat. Behind him, Lorelai turns into the aisle, clutching an acorn squash in each hand. She’s got this look on her face that makes it clear she caught the beginning of the speech.
“We’ve learned a thing or two about cutting family out of our lives just because they make a decision that we don’t happen to agree with,” Richard concludes. “And I think I speak for both of us when I say that we don’t intend to do it ever again.”
“He certainly does,” Emily says a little stiffly. Her eyes have gone suspiciously bright, and Rory is pretty sure it’s not the florescent lights’ fault.
Lorelai’s looking a little shiny-eyed too. Then, in one abrupt movement, she rushes forward and puts her arms around Emily. It makes Rory’s heart do a funny and entirely welcome little leap.
“Augh! Lorelai!” Emily jumps. “What on earth?”
Lorelai makes a face, pulling away. “Oh, I don’t know, Mom, just surprise attacking you with squash. You know me. You’re next, Dad. Look out.” She brandishes an acorn squash Richard’s way. Richard chuckles.
“I’m sorry,” Emily says tersely, although Rory can see the slightest hint of a touched smile trying to sneak through. “You don’t hug me very often.”
“And man oh man, do I wonder why,” Lorelai mock-ponders.
“Thank you,” Emily says earnestly after a moment.
“Sure, Mom,” Lorelai replies, starting to smile.
“This is one wonky clan I’m marrying into,” Paris surmises in an undertone to Rory, taking in the scene.
“And you’re only getting this now?” Rory says, because it seems like a safer reply than, Wait, since when is fake marriage on the table? She guesses it’s always been implied, it’s just – eep.
“You guys,” Lorelai says, recovering pretty admirably from her brush with Emily Gilmore and affection, “I know grocery stores are a brave new world to you, but you’re not actually going to find anything related to pie preparation in the pet food aisle.”
“Might Paul Anka be interested in these?” Richard asks meanwhile, holding up a bag of dog treats. Richard and Paul Anka have formed quite a special bromance over the years.
“Paul Anka’s more into the people food,” Lorelai replies. “You could get him some baby carrots. That dude is crazy into baby carrots right now.”
“I think I will,” Richard says, looking rather delighted at the notion.
“Richard,” Emily tsk-tsks, “is that really the priority?”
“Oh, Emily,” Richard responds very solemnly, eyes dancing, “Paul Anka is always the priority.”
“Thank you, my dear.”
Rory wonders absently why all the stable couples in her life seem to spend all their time being affectionately exasperated with each other. It’s a thought that drags her eyes right to Paris. Paris gives her a ‘hello Rory’s eyeballs; what gives?’ look in return. Rory’s not really sure what gives, exactly, so she just smiles a little. After a second, Paris gives her a little smile back. Rory will never be quite immune to the power of Paris’s real smiles – the ones that are less about victory and vanquishing the peons that stand in her way, and more about simple things like happiness and being nice and ‘I like you’.
(Not like-like, but – you know.)
“Next stop,” Lorelai announces grandly meanwhile, “baking aisle. That is, if you can handle it.”
“Very well,” Emily says. If it weren’t vulgar to show one’s elbows willy-nilly, she would totally be rolling her sleeves up right now. Rory can tell. It’s just that kinda moment. “Let’s do this.”
To be continued!