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The Best Of It

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Part 4

“Stop me if I’m overreacting—” Lorelai begins.

“You do that?” Luke says.

“What shocking news,” Emily says.

They give each other one of those little smirky-smiles that are basically the Emily-and-Luke equivalent of fist bumps. Rory is happy that Grandma and Luke wound up getting along somehow, partially because Emily’s vendetta against Luke made it really hard to like her all the time, and partially because watching Lorelai go nuts over it is pretty amazing.

This time, Lorelai spares a few seconds for a disgusted glare, then finishes, “—but I think I wouldn’t be wrong in dubbing that a veritable Piepocalypse.”

Everyone takes a moment to glance around the Gilmore(& Danes) kitchen.

“It is,” Richard says, “fairly Piepocalyptic.”

Rory still doesn’t totally understand how this much flour has gotten everywhere. All over everything. Including everybody. They just didn’t own that much flour! She sneaks a glance at Paris, who is streaked with white all over and glaring at the oven, her arms crossed grumpily, like she’s prepared to go to war with whatever comes out of it.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” Rory says, patting her on the grumpy arm.

“It’s a pie,” Paris scowls. “Half of the people in this room are Ivy educated. We can make a pie. It’s not that hard. You!” She turns on Luke. “You make pies professionally. It’s your vocation. Your true calling. Your big special destiny. What do you know that we don’t, huh?? What are you hiding under that baseball cap? What’s your secret?”

“I remembered the sugar?” Luke offers.

“La dee da, Baseball Cap. Thanks for the diabetes.”

“Paris,” Rory says, and gives Paris another sanity-restoring arm pat. “No one should be that angry when they’re wearing an oven mitt.”

“Too much?”

Rory nods grimly.

Paris glares down at the oven mitt.

“Well,” Emily says, straining for regality. “I think it’s time for me to go freshen up.”

“You sure, Mom?” Lorelai asks. “I think the whole attacked-by-a-kitchen look is very elegant on you.”

“Ha ha ha,” Emily deadpans.

“I thought you guys said you baked together, like, regularly,” says Katy the sound girl.

“Katherine!” Nigel chastises brightly. “We are here as observers, not interferers.”

“You talk all the time,” Katy points out.

Nigel conveniently ignores that one.

“It’s more like we eat pie together regularly,” Rory improvises.

“Yes,” Emily says. “Pie.”

“And lots of it!” Richard says.

“We just thought we’d give it a try this time,” Paris says. “See how the pie-making half lives.”

“But I,” Luke says, “will make all the pie from now on.”

“That’s why I married him,” Lorelai says. “Pie.”

Luke stares at her.

“And love, obviously,” she adds, defensive.

“But mostly pie,” Luke deduces.

“Mostly pie,” Lorelai admits.

“Just delightful!” Nigel says.

Katy, Rory can’t help noticing, doesn’t look all that impressed.


+


Rory sneaks out of kitchen cleanup duty and finds Paris rummaging through the storage closet. When she sees Rory, she demands, “Do you have any craft supplies?”

“What?”

“I’m stressed,” Paris says sharply, “and Terrence isn’t picking up, so I’ll just have to follow his very strict instructions about what to do in these kinds of situations. When stressed, craft.

“I think we might have a glue gun somewhere,” Rory says, straining to remember. “And some puff paint from around 1995. So, you know, vintage. Although I can’t guarantee we put the caps back on the puff paint ...”

“Rory, always put the cap back on! That’s the number one rule for puff paint maintenance. Also, toothpaste maintenance.”

“You know what? You just sit. I’ll make you a cup of tea and then I’ll go buy some craft supplies. Do you want crayons? Do crayons count as craft supplies? I could definitely do crayons. John Tesh said that if you’re ever in a bad mood, all you need to do is color for five minutes and poof! Bad mood gone.”

“Like I’m going to take advice from someone who’s collaborated with Yanni.”

“I can even get you a baby barn yard animals coloring book,” Rory says tantalizingly. “I know a guy.”

“That does sound soothing,” Paris admits after a pause.

“So soothing,” Rory cajoles.

“Will you make sure there’s baby ducks?”

“Make way for ducklings,” Rory promises.

“How about chamomile?”

“Chamomile ducklings? I don’t know. It’s a tall order.”

Paris rolls her eyes. “Be less cute.”

Rory sighs mock-wistfully. “I try and try, but I just can’t swing it.”

Paris lets Rory shut the closet door and steer her outside. A little fresh air and porch-sitting will probably do the lady good.

“Thank you,” Paris says sincerely.

Rory smiles. “Always.”


+


Five minutes later, Rory has a cup of chamomile tea all ready. She throws in a little plate of chocolate chip cookies too. They’re gluten free, so no one else in the house will eat them. (Lorelai doesn’t trust gluten freedom and Luke doesn’t trust cookies.)

Her mom and Luke are cleaning the Piepocalypse-struck kitchen. Well, Luke’s cleaning the kitchen. Lorelai is performing an impassioned monologue from the point of view of the sponge she’s holding, which apparently has a cocaine problem. To be fair, putting her in the same room as flour probably wasn’t the best idea. Luke and Rory exchange that look that can only be exchanged by people who have lived in the same house as Lorelai Gilmore for a considerable amount of time.

“Grandpa, could you get the door for me?” Rory asks over her mom’s anguished squeaks.

Richard has been standing around staring at the flour on the floor like he knows he should do something about it, but he’s had a maid too long to understand exactly what. Rory can’t help but take pity on him.

“Of course. Tea for the missus?”

“Never a minute’s rest.”

Richard chuckles. “I’d imagine.”

Out on the porch, Paris isn’t alone. Nigel and the crew are filming her. Rory stops; she’s not sure if Nigel’s even capable of getting grumpy, but it seems best not to interrupt.

“I never really set much stock in family,” Paris is saying. “I mean, thanks to my parents for my existence and my trust fund; not too shabby. But I never really had anyone who ... cared about me, or whatever. My nanny, sure, but she was paid to do it. That’s a little too The Secret Garden meets Pretty Woman for anyone’s taste, right? But Rory ... Rory cared. And it took me awhile to adjust to that. But once I did, well. I hope that I’ve been good at caring back. Because Rory’s my family.”

Well ... God.

“That’s good,” Rory mutters to Richard after a moment. “The viewers, they’ll like that, right?”

She doesn’t know exactly what to expect from him, but it’s not silence. But that’s what she gets: really silent silence. Feeling nervous for definitely no reason, she glances over at her grandfather.

“She’s a keeper, that one,” Richard murmurs. Rory doesn’t know what to do with the look on his face. All wise, like she should believe it. He nods at her, leaving Rory feeling suddenly very obtuse when it comes to nod language, and excuses himself back into the house.

She turns to look at Paris again.

“Oh look! The lady herself!” Nigel exclaims.

Rory makes herself smile – big smile, performance time – and goes over to them. “I come bearing tea and cookies.”


+


FULL TRANSCRIPTS OF INTERVIEW SEGMENTS – PARIS & RORY’S MODERN STARS HOLLOW FAMILY - EPISODE 3: “FAMILY MATTERS”

INTERVIEW – Richard & Emily Gilmore

RICHARD
I like them together.

EMILY
Of course. We’ve just loved the girls together ever since Rory first brought Paris to dinner to meet us, oh, years ago. Paris is such a good fit for Rory: they share the same interests, the same education, the same social background – more or less. There was that unfortunate business with Paris’s parents, of course, but Paris didn’t allow that to keep her down. She’s an extraordinary young woman. And our Rory deserves nothing less than extraordinary.

RICHARD
Do you know, Emily, you’re right.

A long pause.

EMILY
Richard?

RICHARD
Emily?

EMILY
What are you doing?

RICHARD
Just agreeing with you, my dear. Like always.


+


Rory doesn’t mention it until that night, when the camera crew’s gone back to the Dragonfly and Paris is camped out on the living room couch. She’s sitting up with a pillow in her lap and the remote in her hand, flicking through channels.

Rory sits down next to her. Paris shifts slightly to make room.

“I heard what you said earlier,” Rory says. “About me being like your family.”

“Yeah, well,” Paris says to the TV. It’s in that too-Parisy voice that Rory knows not to fall for.

“I thought it was really sweet.”

“It’s not sweet. It’s just true. Don’t go all hearts and flowers.”

Rory almost doesn’t say it. In fact, she doesn’t really understand why she does, but suddenly, boom, speaking: “My grandpa says you’re a keeper.”

“Yeah, well, he’s a smart guy. In addition to being a mustachio’d silver fox. It’s funny. Usually men get looks or brains, but—”

“Ew,” Rory informs her. “Ew forever.”

“Just keeping it real,” Paris says with an innocent shrug.

“I hate you,” Rory declares, and steals the remote. She tries not to pay attention to Paris’s fingers brushing hers. Paris’s fingers have probably brushed hers a million times before. She never paid attention then.

She wonders if Paris is paying attention.

There’s the jingling of collar tags and then Paul Anka jumps up on the couch in between them, planting his head in Rory’s lap. It’s the perfect disruption.

“Ooh, Duck Dynasty!” Rory says, switching the channel. “Paul Anka’s favorite. After Once Upon A Time. But we don’t hold that against him.”

Paris grimaces. “We’re not watching Duck Dynasty.”

“I like Duck Dynasty!” 

“That’s because you’re deranged.”

Rory glances at Paris’s hand as she digs her fingers into Paul Anka’s fur. Honestly, it’s pretty tempting to agree with that assessment.


+


Rory is sleeping. That is, until there’s a knock on the bedroom window. Which is terrifying.

It’s not Dean, so at least there’s that.

But still.

“Kirk!” Rory hisses, clambering out of bed to wrench the window open. Sure enough, there’s Kirk. Just hangin’ out in the bushes in his flannel pajamas and clutching the most gigantic Acer laptop Rory has ever seen. It is basically a desktop PC. “No! What have I told you about midnight visits to my bedroom window?”

“They’re weird,” Kirk says, dejected.

“They’re very weird!”

“I know it, Rory, and I respect it,” Kirk says gravely. “But we have an emergency on our hands.” He squints around into the room. “Where’s Paris?”

“We don’t actually sleep together, Kirk,” Rory says impatiently. “It’s a fake relationship, remember??”

“That’s right,” Kirk says. He looks a little disappointed. “The fanmixes just make it seem so real.”

“I know, buddy,” Rory says. She reaches out the window to pat him on the shoulder. “So what’s the emergency?”


+


Three minutes later, Paris is awake, Kirk is inside (Rory let him in through the front door, but don’t think that means he didn’t try to climb through the window. He really, really did), and the three of them are sitting on the living room couch. 

“There’s fanfiction,” Kirk announces.

Rory would choose not to believe him if she could, but it’s hard to argue when said fanfiction is blaring at her from a twenty five inch laptop screen.

“Um,” Rory says.

“Is it good?” Paris says, undaunted.

“Why does that matter?” Rory asks.

“Fan interpretations of public personas matter, Rory,” Paris says. “Do you think the Jonas Brothers would have been around for as long as they were if 70% of the internet hadn’t convinced itself they had some incestuous threeway arrangement going on?”

“Okay then. It’s official: fanfiction’s scary.”

“When we were at Chilton you spent like all of your lunch periods in junior year writing ‘what if?’ stories about Jane Austen characters. There were volumes. Volumes in fuzzy pink notebooks, but still.”

“That was a homework assignment!”

“The first one was a homework assignment. You’re the one who decided to reach a page count that would make Tolstoy go, ‘whoa freak, settle down.’ Even I thought you were going overboard. Me. Paris Geller.”

“Oh my God,” Rory realizes, gasping. “It was fanfiction. Why didn’t I put it on the internet? It’s all just in notebooks! Should I type it up? Do you think people would like it?”

“Don’t quit your day job.”

“I think Jane would like it. I like Mr. Darcy as much as the next gal, but Jane would not have wanted it this way! Why are all the sequels about Mr. Darcy? Tell me more about Charlotte Lucas. Now, there’s a lady whose choices were dictated by the restrictions and expectations of the repressive society in which she lived, am I right?—”

“Not the time right now, darling,” Paris says dryly. “Someone wrote porn about us. It is porn, right?” she adds expectantly to Kirk.

“It has an E rating on Archive of Our Own.”

“E for everyone?” Rory says hopefully.

“E for explicit,” Kirk says.

“Yeesh,” Rory says, and reminds herself that blushing would be stupid.

“Read a lot of explicit fanfiction, Kirk?” Paris asks, folding her arms in front of her chest.

“Only for research,” Kirk answers, totally unabashed. “Lulu appreciates it.”

“God,” Rory says sadly to the throw pillow she’s clutching. You know. The way you’re supposed to clutch airplane seat cushions when the plane goes down in the ocean.

Paris is, as usual, less subtle about the grossness of the information. “Tell me, Kirk. Can you research how to selectively remove pieces of information from peoples’ brains so they’re not forced to throw themselves off bridges?”

“That sounds like more of a rated-G-to-T premise,” Kirk says. “Too much P to be PWP, if you know what I mean.”

“What are the odds both those P’s don’t stand for penis?” Paris asks.

“I’m not liking ‘em,” Rory replies.

“Great,” Paris grumbles.

“So what’s it about?” Rory asks. She doesn’t want to stare at the fanfiction for too long. It’s hard to shake the feeling that it might attack her. “I mean, besides ... E-type things.”

“It chronicles your first date at the Bangles concert,” Kirk reports. “As well as the steamy aftermath.”

“There was no steamy aftermath,” Rory protests. “We went home.”

“Archive Of Our Own user vitasackvillebest begs to differ,” Kirk says solemnly.

It seems pretty impossible to even know what to do with that. Luckily, there’s the sound of somebody coming downstairs.

“I heard voices,” Luke says, stepping into the living room. “Is everything all right down h—Kirk.”

Uh oh.

“Luke,” Kirk says placidly.

“Nuh uh,” Luke says, brandishing a finger at Kirk. “It’s two in the morning. It’s you. In our house, on our couch, with a dying spaceship!”

“It’s a laptop.”

“Are you sure?”

“Fairly. Besides, Luke, I’m here on business. It’s important.”

“As important as me not picking you up and throwing you out the front door?”

“You couldn’t lift me.”

“You sure about that?”

Kirk stares at Luke for a long time. Luke really looks like he’s in the mood to throw a grown man out a door.

“Ladies,” Kirk decides, standing and bowing awkwardly. “We’ll continue this discussion later.”

“Thanks, Luke,” Rory says.

“No problem.” Luke lifts his hand in a sleepy wave and disappears back upstairs.

“So that’s just a thing here?” Paris says. “Weird townspeople breaking into your house at all hours to show you porn?”

“Not just porn! Sometimes it’s garden gnomes.” Paris’s face doesn’t change very much from when it was porn. “You judge now, but just wait ‘til it’s your turn to be the weird townsperson. Then it’s highly advantageous.”

“It’d be a lie to say I don’t like the sound of that,” Paris admits. She reaches for her laptop. “Well, I know what’s on my reading list.”

“Seriously?”

“Why not? It’s not really us.”

“Right,” Rory says, crossing her arms primly. Then she uncrosses them. This is not primness! Just sanity. “You’ll just have to tell me how it is, because I’m not looking at it.”

“You mean you’re not at least a little curious?”

“Nope,” Rory says firmly. Time to go. “Well, I’ll leave you to your weirdo pseudo-biographical smut reading.”

“I wonder if I’ll puke,” Paris says thoughtfully.

Trust Paris to start talking about puke when all Rory wants is to go back to sleep. “What?”

“I distinctly remember saying once that I wanted to be able to read a biography of myself in later years and not puke.”

“Well, don’t get your hopes up. And don’t facebook message me all the weird parts like you facebook message me everything else that’s weird.”

“Since when do I facebook message you everything that’s weird?”

“That thing about the soy sauce! Why would you think I needed to know that a guy drank a whole bottle of soy sauce and almost died?”

“I’ve seen you eat. It’s depraved. Drinking a bottle of soy sauce would have happened, Rory. It would’ve only been a matter of time.”

“I’m not going to—!”

Paris gives her a pointed look.

“The chocolate sauce was different,” Rory grumbles.

Paris holds up a hand, vow style. “I solemnly swear I won’t facebook message you any you-and-me smut, no matter how hideously degrading or ineptly punctuated. There. Are you happy now?”

“Giddy. Goodnight, Paris.”

“’Night,” Paris says. She pauses for just long enough that Rory thinks she might be safe, and then: “Mary.”

Rory loses her footing. Just for a second.

“I can hear you blushing,” Paris informs her.

“Go to bed, Tristan,” Rory retorts, and slams her bedroom door behind her.


+


Oh, of course Rory reads it. It’s reading. It’s what she does!

And. Well. She doesn’t puke.


+


“Someone wrote porn about you and Paris?” Lorelai puts a hand to her heart like she’s watching baby animal videos on youtube.

It’s early enough that it’s still dark out, but Luke is already gone to open the diner, which means Rory is partaking in the classic pastime that is invading her mom’s bed and waking her up at a ghastly hour. Considering all the times Lorelai has done this exact same thing to Rory, Rory can’t feel too guilty.

“Someone wrote porn about me and Paris,” Rory confirms.

Lorelai looks almost as proud as she did at Rory’s graduations. “And how was it?”

On second thought, maybe discussing this with your mother isn’t really the best move.

... Nah.

“Not bad,” Rory says fairly. “As far as porn about me and Paris goes.”

“Was it all – all ooh la la, laters baby, my inner goddess was doing the hokey pokey and turning her bad self around?”

“There was no inner goddess-ing,” Rory says impatiently.

“Aw, man.” Lorelai fake pouts. “When will the literary elite recognize that the inner goddess deserves to become a valid trope ASAP? Someone needs to alert David Foster Wallace.”

“When will you stop making 50 Shades of Grey references?”

“Never. Because there’s simply no way I will ever wash 50 Shades of Grey out of my memory. I’m beginning to suspect the Stars Hollow Book Club might be a very shady institution, by the way.”

“I still think it’s mean that you invited Grandma to that meeting.”

“Please! She loved it!”

“You said she almost rolled her eyes out of her head at Miss Patty and Babette’s dramatic reading.”

“I think it was the accompanying interpretive dance that truly threatened to pop out the eyeballs of Emily Gilmore. But when they asked her to read a particularly saucy passage, she went for it. Disturbing stuff, by the way. I think Mom is tarting up in her advanced age. God. Have you ever heard your mother talk dirty?”

“Um, only when she’s talking.”

“Well, that doesn’t count. I’m a cool mom.”

“You sure are, Amy Poehler.”

“So, what did Paris think of your little fanfiction romp?”

“Oh, there’s no way I’m telling her I read it.”

“Why? You afraid that life might imitate art?”

Yes, says some awful and clearly delusional impulse in Rory’s brain.

Which, that is just so ... not even remotely ...

“Gross!” Rory says, and she’s not sure if she’s talking to her mom or herself. Either way, it needs to be said.

“I don’t know, honey, this is a very elaborate and exhausting charade. You might as well get something out of the deal.”

And, okay, it’s one thing when the internet is crazy – that one is kind of a given – but her own mother??

All right, it’s a given when Lorelai’s crazy, too. But not about this!

“Mom.” Rory thinks she must feel like Emily Gilmore at a 50 Shades of Grey book club meeting. “It’s Paris.

“I know it’s Paris,” Lorelai says, and the worst part is that she suddenly doesn’t seem a hundred percent jokey anymore. “It’s just—I overheard Grandma and Grandpa talking earlier, and it got me wondering—”

“Grandma and Grandpa? They’re old! They’re senile! Don’t listen to them! I’m pretty sure the word ‘dotage’ could be used right now and it wouldn’t even be that hyperbolic.”

“Wow, uh, okay. If you think I’m not telling them that, you’re wrong. And guess who’s going to be the favorite at Friday Night Dinner next time? They said it could never happen, but oh, it’s happening—”

“Grandma and Grandpa think that Paris and I are – are actually—”

“Grandpa seemed to think there was something to it,” Lorelai verifies.

Damn it. Rory knew that Grandpa nod earlier meant nothing good.

“Rory,” Lorelai says, and suddenly she’s got Loving Supportive Mom Face. Gone is the unapologetic mocker. Rory misses the unapologetic mocker. Where is the unapologetic mocker?? “If there is ever anything you need to tell me, you know you can, right? It’s part of the whole cool mom thing. And if you and Paris – I mean, I get it. I’ve done the whole BFFs-for-years-oh-wait-I’m-crazy-in-love-with-this-person! bit. Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit Luke. And after a few bumps in the road, that’s turned out really great. I understand falling for your best friend. In fact, I’d recommend it. Especially to Holmes and Watson. How many times can Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law almost kiss and then leave us high and dry? Not to mention Babydoll Crumplecakes and Bilbo.”

“It’s Benedict Cumberbatch,” Rory says numbly. It seems like the most logical response. The only logical response.

God.

“I know that; it was an artistic reinterpretation. Rory. Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“It’s not like you and Luke,” Rory says firmly. “Paris and I are just friends.”

She tries not to think about the one billion times her mom gave that speech about Luke back in the day.

“Okay,” Lorelai says easily. “Just thought I’d check.”

It goes quiet. If given the option, Lorelai will be asleep again in approximately 18 seconds. Maybe she’ll wake up later and forget this conversation even happened. Rory likes that idea.

And yet there’s still this stupid part of her that has to ask: “You don’t really think I would just be ... in love with Paris, do you?”

“Rory,” Lorelai says solemnly, “my firstborn, my only born, my dearest, darlingest kid. I bore witness to your 1993 quest to check all the books out of the Stars Hollow Library and start operating a new library out of your bedroom because, and I quote, ‘I love them more than the library does.’”

“And it woulda worked too, if it weren’t for those darn librarians.”

“They still fear you there.”

“Right?” Rory says a little proudly.

“Kid,” Lorelai says and leans over to kiss the top of Rory’s head, “believe me when I say I think you’re capable of anything.”

And Rory really doesn’t know what to do with that one.