Rory is washing her hands in the Chilton bathroom, when all of a sudden--
"I'm sorry I didn't kiss you."
Yep, that's right: from (tranquil, bubbly) zero to (crazy, crazy, and did she mention crazy?) Paris in no seconds flat. Rory doubts she'll ever be able to really get used to Paris's ability to randomly appear by her side out of nowhere, but at least she's starting to react with a little bit of poise. And by 'poise,' she mostly means she didn't jump and cry out 'God! Paris!' this time.
"What??" she asks instead, all dignified. Well, as dignified as anyone can be responding to a declaration that is, no doubt, a double question mark-er.
"In the play," Paris says, like Rory's the one being confusing. "Romeo and Juliet. Last week. Act five. You were Juliet, Tristan was unreliable (surprise, surprise), I was forced to stand in as Romeo--"
"I know, Paris. I was there. Dead, but there."
"Well, if you were there, then you understand: I should have kissed you. I mean, it says it right there in the text. God, how much more amateur could we have been? It's not 'Thus with an awkward interlude of staring at your face, I die.' It was basically slapping verisimilitude in the face with a glove. Or, hell, dumping some poison right down its gullet. That keeps with the theme, right?"
"Let me get this straight," Rory says. "You're worried about verisimilitude's ... gullet?"
Rory pretends to ponder this. "Nope. Then again, I'm happy-go-lucky that way. It's always been a problem."
Paris doesn't seem to find this even remotely adorable. Which is fair, Rory supposes, and it's not like it's exactly one of her life goals to convince Paris that she's adorable, either. That would just be silly. And ... weird. "I commit, Rory. I get the job done."
"I have noticed that about you."
"I gaze down at the mewling masses of average achievers from my throne of academic supremacy and laugh. Ha! Ha!"
"You do know how to rock a chuckle, Bertha," Rory says with an obliging nod.
"Why did I choke? Is it because we're both girls? Because that's completely irrelevant. It's not like it was a big het fest in Shakespeare's day, either! If Richard Burbage could man up and smooch a prepubescent dude in a wig, why couldn't I?"
"I will gracefully ignore that whole dude-in-a-wig thing," Rory says diplomatically. "Paris, you're not exactly RSC. I think you're being too hard on yourself. We still got an A+--"
"Well, yeah, did you see our competition? That A+ was completely relative. It means as much as a degree from Evergreen."
"And -- really, don't worry about it. The whole ... 'thus with a kiss' thing. I'm glad you didn't kiss me."
Paris stiffens. "Oh, so you find me repulsive."
Rory suddenly gets how sitcom husbands feel. "What? No! Sort of. But -- that's purely mental and emotional revulsion, and that's only sometimes. Physically, you're ... fine."
"Gee, thanks," Paris grumps.
Rory suddenly doesn't want to look right at her -- that way lies madness! -- so she kinda sneaks a look at Paris's reflection in the bathroom mirror instead. She does look sort of genuinely hurt, and in spite of herself, Rory's heart does a twisty and inconvenient 'aw, poor Paris' thing. It's just -- Paris is a lot of things, but Rory's not so sure if happy (or liked) is one of them. And that seems, somehow, like such a shame.
She wonders how often Paris gets told she's pretty.
"You're more than fine," Rory says, as gently as she can. Don't spook the horses, and everything. "You're pretty, Paris, and smart, and terrifying in a way that's even good sometimes. And I'm sure Juliet-Rory would find Romeo-you an absolute catch. We're talking big nonstop smoochy fest. Cue the Sixpence None The Richer. Danes and DiCaprio will be put to shame."
Paris smiles -- not a scary 'throne of academic supremacy' smile, but this shy little one that looks like it doesn't get to go out all that often. For once, she looks like a teenage girl. Rory feels sort of dorkily proud, knowing she can coax that out to the surface. "Well. Thanks."
"Any time," Rory says, which is kind of a lie, because obviously she's not going to wax rambly about how all right she is with the idea of kissing Paris any time, and she's not all right with it, anyway, out of the realm of English class Shakespeare plays. She has a boy. A Dean, to be specific. (Not a Jess. Just in case you were wondering. Which no one should be, because, nope.)
The absolute last thing she needs is a Paris.
Paris leans forward all of a sudden, her hair swishing in a way that's a little hypnotic, and for a second, Rory absolutely knows that oh gosh, oh jeez, she is about to get kissed by Paris Geller; her heart starts thumping like crazy, and she knows that she should probably flee, but instead she just sort of waits for it to--
Oh. Right. That makes sense.
"Don't think this means I'm not going to destroy you someday, Gilmore," Paris says, but she sounds a little too soft to mean it, her breath light but there against Rory's neck.
"Rightio, champ," Rory says, and pats her awkwardly on the back. (Don't spook the horses.)