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The Gilmore Gays

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It was September, the air was just beginning to chill. The leaves were starting to show hints of red, orange, yellow, and brown. Fall was just around the corner. School had been in secession for close to a month now and everything was good. Roman smiled as he walked through town, he was in a pristine white winter coat with a crimson red knitted scarf and a gold hat. He walked down the sidewalk, passing the town's sign on his way to get coffee. The sign was an old faded blue with gold lettering reading, “Stars Hollow Founded 1779.”

Roman crossed the street, going into Virgil's diner on the corner. It used to be a hardware store before the owner, Virgil’s father, died and Virgil turned it into a diner. Roman walked inside and grabbed a mug off a table before going up to the counter with a wide grin on his face as he waited for Virgil to turn around. Virgil Danes was a grouchy and solitary man. He wasn't one for conversation and always seemed to find the darker side of everything.

Virgil turned around to find a cheery faced Roman who grinned at him with the mug held between his two hands. Despite Virgil's purple colored bangs covering his eyes, Roman could still see the raised eyebrow as he noticed Roman. “Hi, Virgil!” Roman exclaimed. Virgil stayed silent, waiting for the inevitable. Roman realized he wasn't going to get anywhere with Virgil so he just cut to the chase. “Please?” He asked. “Please, please, please, please!”

“How many cups have you had already this morning?” Virgil asked as he pulled the sleeves of his purple and black plaid shirt over his hands. Roman caught a glance of his black Panic! At The Disco tee shirt underneath the flannel.

“I've had none, I swear!” Roman exclaimed.

Virgil rolled his bright blue eyes. “Plus?”

Roman groaned. “I've only had five! But yours are better!” He whined.

Virgil grabbed the mug from Roman and poured him a cup of coffee as he said, “You have a problem.”

Roman grins. “Yes I do.”

“Junkie,” Virgil replied as he placed the coffee pot back where it should be.

“You're an angel!” Roman cried out as he moved back to a table. “You've got wings baby!” Roman sat down to wait for his son when a man walked over.

“You make that coffee look really good,” he told Roman who raised an eyebrow as he smiled at him.

“Oh! It really is. The best coffee in town!”

The man nodded. “I'll have to get a cup then.”

Roman nodded as he sipped his coffee. “That is a good plan.”

The man nodded. “Yeah. I've actually never been here before. I was just passing through on my way to Hartford.”

“You're a regular Jack Kerouac.”

The man's face twisted in confusion before he acted like he understood what Roman was talking about. “Hey, can I sit here?”

Roman shook his head as he let out a discrete sigh of annoyance. “Actually I'm waiting for someone….” Roman trailed off as the man sat down anyway. “And apparently you're deaf,” he muttered to himself.

“I'm Joey.”

“Okay.”

Joey frowns. “What, you don't have a name?”

Roman refrained from rolling his eyes. “No, I actually have a name it's just I really am meeting someone so…..”

“I guess that means I should get going?”

“So soon?” Roman asked, faking a gasp.

“What?”

“I'm just messing with your mind. Enjoy Hartford.”

“Enjoy your coffee mystery man.” Joey gets up and leaves as Roman sips his coffee.

The bell above the door rings as Emile walks in, his red rimmed glasses sliding down his nose slightly. Roman smiles as Emile sits down across from him. “Hi, Dad. It's freezing out there. Anyways, do you have lip gloss?”

Roman's face lit up. “Aha!” He pulled out his makeup bag out of his bag. “Okay so, I have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and toasted marshmallow.”

Emile rolled his eyes slightly as he straightened his blue tie.
“Is there anything that doesn't resemble ice cream?”

Roman nods. “Yes!” He quickly pulls out another bag. “It doesn't have a smell but it changes colors with your mood.”
“Oh goodness! Not even a makeup guru needs this much makeup!”

Roman raised an eyebrow. “Great Zeus, you're crabby.”

“Sorry, I lost my Steven Universe CD and I need caffeine.”
Roman looked down. “Oh uh…” He chuckled. “I have that.” He pulled out the CD and handed it over to Emile.
“Thief,” Emile snickered as he took his CD and placed it in his school bag.

“Forgive me!” Roman cried out. Then he grabbed a mug. “I apologize! I shall get you some coffee!” He stood up and walked over to the counter. Virgil raised an eyebrow at him once he noticed him.
“What?!?” Roman exclaimed. “It's not for me! It's not for me! It's for Emile! I swear on my honor!”
Virgil shook his head as he poured the coffee. “You are absolutely shameless.”

Roman chuckled. “Look, Marilyn Monrose, he's right over there! At that table over there!” Roman turned and pointed at Emile. He frowns as he noticed Joey talking to his son. Virgil raises an eyebrow. “Oh, he's got quite the pair, this guy! Thanks!” Roman got up and walked back to the table as Virgil watched on.
As Roman walked over, he overhead Joey telling Emile that he had never been there before. Roman scowled before putting on a smile. “Oh! You have too!”

“Oh! Hi!” Joey exclaimed.

“Oh, you really like my table do you not?”
“I was just…”
Roman placed his hand on Emile's back as Emile glanced up at him with a smile. “Getting to know my son.”

“Your….” Joey's eyes widened as he glanced back and forth between the two.

“Are you my new daddy?” Emile asked in a baby voice.
Joey raised his eyebrows. “Well...you do not look old enough to have a child. And you,” Joey pointed to Emile. “Do not look like a child.”
“Aww, that's very sweet. Thanks!”
“I'm traveling with a friend,” Joey added as he pointed to a man behind him.

Roman had to stop himself from wacking him aside the head.

“He's sixteen.” Joey and his friend quickly left as Roman and Emile smiled. “Drive safe!” The father and son shared a laugh as they went back to their coffee.

----
Roman walked through the lobby of the Independence Inn, passing a bellboy as he hands over a set of keys on his way to the front desk to where Joan is talking on the phone as they sort through mail. “Independence Inn, Joan speaking.” Joan pauses and Roman walks behind the desk as he works on somethings behind the desk while listening to Joan's conversation. “No, I'm sorry, we're completely booked...We have a wedding party here.” Roman raised an eyebrow as he listened. “No, there really is nothing else we can do.” Joan let out a silent sigh as they listen to the person on the other end of the line. “Yes, I'm sure….Positive...No, I don't have to look,I---” Joan rolled their eyes. “Yes, of course I will look.”

Joan sat the phone down as they continued to sort the mail. After a few seconds, they picked the phone back up. “No, I'm sorry we are completely booked.”
Roman looked up as the harp player, Talyn pushed through the crowded lobby as they move their harp. “Oh, no, don't move. Let's just ignore the tiny human pushing around the 200-pound instrument,” they muttered. They had to stop when a customer bent over to tie their shoe in front of them. “Oh, that's it, tie your shoe now! Oh, don't worry, I'll wait.” Roman moved over to Talyn as they set up their harp.

“Hey, Talyn, I'm sorry about all this. Maybe we could work out a way for you to be able to move the harp without people getting in your way?”

Talyn sighed as they ran a hand through their brightly colored hair and sat down. “Yeah, I'd really appreciate that, thank you, Roman.”

Roman smiled. “No problem, Talyn.” Roman walked back over to the front desk where Joan was still on the phone.

“Madame, you have no idea how much I would like to help, but I'd have to build your room myself and I am unable to do so. So, I suggest you please try for another weekend.” Joan paused as the women on the line told them something. “Ah, the twenty-first. Hold on and I will look.” Joan flipped through the reservation book before coming to a stop. “I'm sorry but we're completely booked.” The women hung up. Joan pulled the phone away from their ear as they raised an eyebrow at it.
Roman chuckled before he became “businessman” again. “Has the plumber attended to room four?”
“She was here and she did nothing. It's a hundred dollars.”

Roman rolled his eyes as he picked up the phone and dialed the plumbers’ number. “Hi, Mary, it's Roman. So, about room four, what's wrong with it?” Emile walked in while Roman was on the phone and blew a kiss hello. “Mmm, I thought you replaced that already.” Emile walked behind the counter and began searching through the drawers. “Well, because you told me you did and I never ever forget anything, so this one is on you, right?” Roman paused before smiling. “Pleasure doing business with you.” Roman hung up as Joan gave him a pointed look.

“What is your offspring doing?”

“I need stamps. Can I have these?” Emile asked as he pulled out the stamps.

“No.”
“Take them. And have Joan take a look at your French paper before you go.”
“Excuse me?” Joan asked as they shot a glare at Roman.
“Oh! That would be spectacular!”
“No.”
“Come on Joan! Please!”

Roman watched as Emile gave Joan the puppy dog eyes and he slowly wore down Joan. “Fine. I'll take a look at it.”

“Thank you!” Emile called out as he left to go to school.

----
Emile walked to school as he followed his friend inside the high school. He smiled as Ben pulled a rock n’ roll shirt on over his long sleeved blue sweater. “So, when are you going to tell your parents that you actually listen to the evil rock music. I mean you are an American teenager.”
Ben sighed. “Emile, if my parents can still get upset over the “obscene” portion size of American food, I seriously doubt I'm gonna make any inroads with Eminem.” The two stopped by one of the bulletin boards as Ben put his jacket back on. He pointed to the one flyer on the board that read “Teen Hayride”. “I have to go to that.”

Emile glanced at the poster. “The hayride? Are you kidding?” He looked back at Ben and raised an eyebrow.

Ben nodded. “Yeah. My mom set me up with the daughter of a business associate. She's going to be a doctor.”
“How old?”

“Sixteen.”

“So she'll be a doctor in a hundred years.”

“Yeah. My mom likes to plan ahead.”
“So you have to go on the hayride with her?”
“And her older sister.”

“You're kidding?”
“Oh, Koreans never joke about future doctors. I'm guessing you're not going.”
“No. I'm a little fuzzy about what is fun about sitting on the cold for two hours with a bundle of sticks up your butt.”
“I can't clear it up for you,” Ben explained as they walked into the school and past a guy standing on the steps outside the doors, watching them as they went in.  

-----
Roman talked to one of the bellboys as he worked behind the counter. “So, I need you to take Mrs. Langworthy's bags up to 314. Oh! And make sure the drapes are closed and there's extra soap and she wants her pillow mints now.” The bellboy nodded and walked away as a loud crash sounded from the kitchen. Roman jumped and raced into the kitchen to find his friend on the floor with pots and pans surrounding him. “Patton!” Roman exclaimed as he rushed forward to check over his friend to make sure he was okay.
“I'm okay! I'm okay!” Patton exclaimed as he watched Roman fret over him.
“What did you do now?!?!?! You need to be more careful!”
Patton sighed as he ran a hand through his curly blonde hair. “I know. But I fixed the peach sauce!”
Roman pulled Patton's hand towards him. “You're bleeding. That's blood. Why are you bleeding?!?!?”

Patton glanced down at his hand. “Oh, my stitches opened,” he said nonchalantly before getting excited again. “I was using too much maple syrup! It was strangling the fruit!”

“When did you get stitches?!?!?!” Roman exclaimed as his eyebrows jumped into his hairline.

“Friday night. Radish roses.”

“Alright! Stop moving!”
“You have to taste the sauce! Taste it while it's still warm!”
“Okay, Patton, I need you to be way more careful. I need there to be fewer accidents!” Patton rolled his eyes playfully as he picked up the spoon and got a spoonful of sauce and fed Roman the sauce.

Roman's eyes widened as he stared at the pot of sauce. “Oh my stars that is magnificent!”

“I wanna put it on the waffles tomorrow for breakfast!”

“I wanna take a bath in that sauce!”

“I'm gonna make more!”

“You know, someday, when we open our own inn, people will line up to eat this sauce!

“Won't that be great!”

“Yeah, but the key to opening that inn is for you to stay alive long enough to make it come true!”

“I know,” Patton pouted.

“Okay, on the count of three we're going to get you to the doctors. One...two...three!” Roman helped Patton up but stopped when Patton yelped. “What?”  

“I stepped on my thumb. I'm fine!” Roman shook his head as he stood up, helping Patton off the floor.
----
Emile and Ben walked into Kim's Antiques. “Mom! We're home!” Ben called out as the two attempted to navigate through the “store”. Everything was stacked up on each other. Tables and chairs and other kinds of furniture were all towering above them as they tried to move through the store. “Mom! Are you here?!?!”
“We're open! Everything half off!”

Emile raised his eyebrow at Ben. “It appears we have made contact.”
“Mom!”
“Ben!”
“Mom, where are you?”
“I'm by the table!”

Emile laughed as he glanced at the other tables all around them. “I'll meet you in the kitchen!”

“What?”

“The kitchen!” Emile called out.

“Who's that?!?!”

“It's Emile, mom!”

“Oh.”

“I can hear the disappointment from here.” Emile muttered. Ben rolled his eyes. The two walked into the kitchen to find Mrs. Kim, Ben's mom cleaning a cup. “Go upstairs. Tea is ready. I have muffins-no dairy, no sugar, no wheat. You have to soak them in tea to make them soft enough to bite but they're very healthy. So, how was school? None of the children drop out?”
“Not that we know of.”
Mrs. Kim nodded when the bell above the door rang. “Hello?” A voice called out.

“We're open! Everything half off!” Mrs. Kim cried out.
“Where are you?!”
“I'm by the chair!”
“What chair?!” Emile and Ben shared a look as Mrs. Kim walked away.
----
Patton was chopping vegetables as Roman ran into the kitchen excitedly. “Patton!” He shouted. “It's here! It happened! He did it!”
Patton turned to find Roman practically vibrating in his shoes waving a folded letter around. “Okay, I kinda need a longer sentence.”

“The Chilton school! Emile got it!”

Patton's eyes widened as he squealed. “Oh my goodness!!”

“I know!!!” Roman exclaimed as he jumped up and down in his red converse. Then he looked down at the paper. “‘Dear Mr. Gilmore, we are happy to inform you that we have a vacancy at Chilton Preparatory starting immediately. Due to your son's excellent credentials and your enthusiastic pursuit of his enrollment’- I offered to do the principal to get him in- 'we would be happy to accept him as soon as the first semester's tuition has been received.’”
“This is so exciting!!!” Roman giggled and the two hugged tightly.
Roman pulled back with a wide grin. “This is it!!! He can finally go to Harvard like he's always wanted! He'll get the the education I never got and get to do the things I never got to do and then I can resent him for it and we can finally have a normal father-son relationship!”
“Oh good.”
Emile walks in as the two giggle again. “Dad?” Roman just grinned. “You're happy.” Roman nodded excitedly. “Did you do something slutty?”
Roman shook his head. “I'm not that happy. Here.” Roman handed Emile a bag.

Emile raised an eyebrow before pulling out a dark blue blazer. “Uhh,”
“You're going to Chilton!” Patton exclaimed.
Emile's eyes widened in disbelief. “Dad?”
“You did it. You got in!”
“How did this- you didn't..with the principal, did you?” Emile asked.
Roman laughed. “No, that was a joke. They have an open spot. You're starting on Monday.”
“Really?!?”
“Really.”
“I don't believe this! Oh! I'm going to Chilton!” Emile celebrated as he jumped forward and wrapped Roman in a hug. “I have to call Ben! I love you!”
“I love you!” Roman calls as Emile leaves. “My kid's going to Chilton!” Roman exclaimed as he left the kitchen.

Patton grinned as he turned back to the fridge. “I think i'll make him some cookies to celebrate.”
----
At the front desk of the Independence Inn, the phone begins ringing as Joan ignores it. Roman raised an eyebrow at his friend. “Joan, the phone.”
“Mmm. It rings.”

“Could you answer it, please?”

Joan shook their head. “Nope. People are particularly stupid today. I can't talk to them any more.”
Roman rolled his eyes. “You know who's really nice to talk to. The people at the unemployment agency.” Joan picks up the phone with a sigh. Roman smiles as he opens an envelope and pulls out a letter only to gasp as he reads it.
----
Roman stands in front if the fireplace in his house as he talks on the phone. “Uh, hi, my son Emile has just been accepted-yay. Thanks, and, I'm, I got the invoice for your enrollment fee. Yikes! That's a lot of zeros behind that five. I was wondering if you could take part of it now, just to get him along. Well. He starts on Monday. It just doesn't give me a lot of time to pull a bank job. I was kidding.” Roman paused as he sat down. “No, a bank job is robbing a bank-uh. No no no no. I don't want you to give up his space. Okay, thank you. It's been a real treat talking to you. Yup. Bye.”

----
“What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” Roman cried out as he paced on the front porch.

“You can have anything I own! My car! You can sell my car!” Patton piped up as he watched Roman.
“No one wants your car.” Patton went to argue but then stopped. “There's something I haven't thought of. Something out there staring me in the face. I just…haven't thought of it.”
“You could consider calling your par--”

“No.”

“It might be your only option.”
“There are several chapters from a Stephen King novel I'd reenact before I'd resort to that option.”
Emile ran out in his Chilton blazer. “What do you think?”
“It makes you look smart!” Patton exclaimed.
“You look amazing!” Emile grinned.
“Thanks!” Emile ran back inside. “I love being a private school kid!” He shouted. Roman smiled as he followed before stopping in the foyer to look into the living room. He walked over to the mantel to see an unhappy looking boy in a ridiculously stuffy outfit standing in front of a house that closely resembled a castle. He let out a sigh as he resigned himself to his fate.
-----
Roman sat on the runner of his jeep drinking coffee as he waited in front of the driveway of the long imposing house from the picture. After gathering his courage, he stood up and walked up to the front door and rung the doorbell. “Hi, Mom.”
“Roman, my goodness, this is quite a surprise. Is it Easter already?”
Roman laughed nervously. “No, uh, I just finished up my business class and I thought I would stop by.”
Roman's mom raised her eyebrow. “To see me?” Roman nodded. “Well, isn't that nice. Come in.”
“Thanks.” Roman stepped inside the house and glanced around as they walked to the living room. “The place looks great,” he commented as he sat down on the couch opposite his mother. Everything was pristine and everything was expensive. This was not a place you would find anything costing less than at least 50 dollars.
“It hasn't changed.”
Roman smiled nervously. “Well, there you go. How are the girls at the bridge club?”
“Old.”
“Well…..good.”
“You said you were taking a business class?”
“Yeah, mmm. I'm taking a business class at the college twice a week. I'm sure I told you.”
Roman's mother smiled smugly. “Well, if you're sure then you must have.” The two sat in silence for a little bit before she spoke again. “Would you like some tea?”  
“I would love some coffee.”
The two turned as another voice called out from another room. “Emily? I'm home.”

“We're in here,” Emily, Roman's mother, called out as the man, Roman's father entered.

“Hi, Dad.”

His father started a bit, slightly surprised when he noticed Roman.

“What is it, Christmas already?”
“Roman was taking a business class at the college today and decided to drop by to see us.”
“What business class?”

“Well, he told us about it, dear, remember?”

“No.”

Roman bit his lip before cutting in. “Well, I'm, actually, I came here for a reason. Dad, would you mind sitting down for a minute?”

“You need money?” Richard, Roman's father said as he poured himself a drink.

“I have a situation.”

“You need money.”

Roman sighed. “Dad, will you please just let me get this out, alright? Um, Emile has been accepted to Chilton.”
Emily gasped. “Chilton? Oh, that's a wonderful school. It's only about five minutes from here.”

“That's right. He can start as early as Monday. Uh, the problem is that they can they want me to put down the enrollment fee plus the first semester's tuition and I have to immediately or he loses his spot.”
“So, you need money,” Richard commented.
Roman nodded. “But it's not for me, it's for Emile. And. I intend to pay you back every cent. I don't ask for favors, you know that.”
“Oh, yes, we know,” Emily replied, a bit annoyed.
“I'll get the checkbook.” Richard went to leave with a smile on his face.
Roman felt like crying. “Thank you, so much. You have no idea. Thank you.”
“On one condition,” Emily said, putting her hand up to stop her husband from leaving the room quite yet.

Roman sighed as mumbled to himself, “So close.”
“Since we are now financially involved in your life, I want to be actively involved in your life.”

“What does that mean, mother?”

“I want a weekly dinner.” Roman started. “Friday nights, you and Emile will have dinner here.”  

“Mom….”
“And you have to call us once a week to give us an update on his schooling and your life. That's it. If you agree, you'll come to dinner tomorrow night and leave here with a check. Otherwise, I'm sorry, we can't help you.”
Roman closed his eyes and sighed before opening them again. “I don't want him to know that I borrowed money from you. Can that be between us?”
“Does seven o'clock work for you?”

Roman forced a smile. “Perfect.”
-----
Emile walked down the hall beside Ben with a box full of his books as they talked. “So I told my mom you're changing schools.”

“Was she thrilled?”
“The party's on Friday. I gotta go. I've got a pre-hayride cup of tea with a future doctor. How do I look? Korean?”
“Spitting image.”

“Good. Bye.”
“Bye.” Ben left as Emile dropped a book and a few of his papers. He sighed before bending down to pick them up. As he turns he jumps as he sees a guy right behind him. “Oh goodness! You're like Ruth Gordon just standing there with a tannis root! Make a noise!”
Not Rosemary's baby,” the boy comments. Emile stops as he stands up and gets a better look at the boy in front of him. He has a small scar on the side of his face and he wears a black jacket with a yellow tee shirt underneath.

“Yeah?”
“Well, it's not a great movie. You've don't have good taste. Are you moving?” The boy asks.
“No. Just my books.”
“My family didn't just move here from Chicago.”

“Chicago. Windy. Oprah.

The boy laughs. “Yeah, that's not the place. I'm not Dean. And I don't speak in lies.”

Emile pauses then jumps as he realizes Dean is waiting for him to respond. “Oh, Emile. That's--that's me.”
Dean laughs. “Well, I better not go.” Emile nods. “I don't have to look for a job.”

“Oh good,” Emile comments as Dean starts to leave. “You should check with Miss Patty!”
Dean turned back around. “What?”
“About the job. You should check with Miss Patty. She teaches dance. She was actually on broadway once.

“I...I do like dance.”
“No. She just knows everything that's going on in town. She'll know if someone's looking.”
Dean smiled. “Thanks. Uh, what are you doing now?”
“Nothing.”
“Maybe you could show me where Miss Patty's is?”

Emile felt a smile blossom on his face. “Yeah, I uh, yeah, let's go.” Dean bent down and picked up Emile's box of books and the two walked out of the school and down the street.
“So, have you lived here all your life?” Dean asked as they walked.
Emile nodded. “Pretty much. I was born in Hartford through.”
“That's far .”
“Thirty minutes with no traffic. I timed it.”
“Wow,” Dean breathes, shocked as Emile nods. They walk past a bakery promoting Emile to try change the subject.
“Do you like cake?” At Dean's raised eyebrow, Emile continues. “They make really good cakes here. They're very….round.”

Dean chuckles. “I won't remember that. So, how are you liking Moby Dick ?”
“Oh! I really like it. It's my first Melville. And I know it's cliché to choose it as your first Melville but- wait, how did you know I was reading Moby Dick ?”
“Uh, I haven't been watching you. N-not,” Dean gritted his teeth as.he tried to force out the truth. “Not like in a creepy way. I've just haven't noticed you and how you don't like books.”
“Oh.” Emile smiled as the two continued walking. “Did I ask if you like cake?” Dean nodded and Emile blushed. “Oh, well they just have really good cake back there.”
-----
Roman watched as Emile pushed his food around his plate as they sat silently in Virgil's dinner. “So, you were late getting home.”
Emile jumped slightly as he glanced up at his dad. “I went to the library.”
Roman nodded as he kept an eye on Emile. “Oh. I forgot to tell you, we're having dinner with your grandparents tomorrow night.”

“We are?” Roman nodded. Emile furrowed his eyebrows. “But it's September.” Roman raised his eyebrow. “What holiday is in September?”
Roman frowned. “It's not a holiday thing. It's just dinner.” The two went silent at Roman's slightly annoyed tone as they pushes around the salad on their plate.

Virgil walked over with two plates of hamburgers and fries. “Red meat can kill you. Enjoy,” he told them as he set the plates down and left.

The two remained silent when sudden Emile burst out, “I'm not sure I want to go to Chilton. The timing is bad, the bus ride to and from Hartford is thirty minutes each way, and it's probably costing you a lot,” Emile raced out.
Roman rolled his eyes as he muttered to himself, “Oh, you have no idea.”
Emile continued on as if he hadn't heard Roman. “I mean all your money should be going towards buying the Inn with Patton and we're not sure I can't get into Harvard where I am now.”
Roman shook his head. “Okay, I appreciate the concern but I've got this covered.”
“I still don't want to go.”

Roman breathed in deeply before grabbing his things as he stood up and threw some money on the table. “I have to leave.” he left as Emile stood up and grabbed his things before following after Roman. As the two are walking, they pass the hayride wagon where Ben sits in the back in between two Korean girls. Emile shoots Ben an apologetic smile as they ride away. As they walk past Miss Patty's dance studio, Miss Patty calls out from where she stands in the doorway watching over a class of little girls while she smokes.
“Oh, Emile! I might have found a job for your male friend. They needed a stock boy at the supermarket. I already talked to Taylor Doose about him. Just send him by tomorrow! He's very cute. You have good taste.” Miss Patty turned back to her dance class as Emile mutters a quick thanks before speed walking away from a shocked and slightly annoyed Roman.
“What male friend? You're going to have to walk faster than that to get away from me! You'll have to turn into the Flash to get away from me!”
----
Emile entered their house and slammed the front door as Roman followed. “This is about a boy? Of course! I can't believe I didn't see it! You got a thing with a guy and you don't want to leave the school.”
“I'm going to bed,” Emile mutters as he walks into the kitchen to get to his room.
“Gosh! I'm so dense! That should've been my first thought!” Roman exclaimed dramatically as he follows Emile. “After all you're me. Throwing important life experiences out the window for a romantic partner? Yup! Sounds like me to me!” Emile groaned. “So who is he?”
“There's no guy!”
“Dark hair, romantic eyes? Looks a little dangerous? Tattoos are good too!”
“I  want to change schools because of what I told you. Good night.”
“Does he have a motorcycle? ‘Cause he better if you're going to throw your life away!” Roman cried out as he walked into Emile's bedroom.
“Thanks for the knock.”
Roman sighed. “Okay, how about we start all over. You tell me about the guy and I promise to not let my head explode! Emile? Please talk to me.” Roman paused as he sat down on the bed in front of Emile. “Alright, I'll talk. You've got a crush. Crushes are nice. I'm a huge fan of crushes. You don't get someone knocked up at sixteen being indifferent to crushes or romantic feelings. But school is important. Crushes are always going to be there. School isn't. So it has to be more important.”
“I'm going to sleep.”
“Emile, you've always been the sensible one in this house. I need you to remember that feeling now. You will kick your own butt later if you blow this.”
“Well, it's my butt.”
“Good comeback.”
“Thank you.”

“You're welcome. Come on Emile.
“I don't want to talk about this. Please just leave me alone.”
Roman frowned as he sighed and stood up from the bed. “Okay, fine. We've always had a democracy in this house. We never did anything unless we both agreed. But now I have to play the dad card. You are going to Chilton whether you want to or not. Monday morning, you will be there, end of story.”

“We'll see.”

“Yeah, we will.” Roman slammed the door as he left and Emile turned on the radio to hear How Far I'll Go start playing. Out in the living room, Roman turned on the same song before falling back onto the couch.
-----
Roman and Emile stood on the front porch of The elder Gilmore residence, staring at the door. “So do we going or do we just stand here reenacting The Little Match Girl?” Emile asked.
Roman sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Okay, I know you're still mad at me but can we at least act civil through dinner. Then you can pull a Menendez on me on the way home.” Emile rolled his eyes but nodded as they rung the doorbell. Emily opened the door with a wide smile.
“Hi, grandma!” Emile exclaimed
“You're right on time,” Emily says as she opens the door for them.
Roman smiles. “Yeah, no traffic at all,” he replies as they walk inside.
“I can't tell you what a treat it is to have you boys here.”
“Oh, we're excited too.”
Emily glances at the coffee cup in Roman's hands. “Is that a collector's cup or can I throw it away for you?” Roman looks down and starts to throw it away in a wastebasket nearby before Emily stops him. “In the kitchen, please.” She then turns to Emile. “So, I want to hear all about Chilton.”
Emile smiles slightly. “Well, I haven't started yet.” Roman watches as two walk away before dropping the cup into the wastebasket and following them into the living room where Richard is sitting, reading a newspaper.
“Richard, look who's here.”
“Emile!” Richard exclaims as he looks up. “You're tall.”
“I guess.”
“Well, what's your height?”

“5'7”.”

“That's tall. He's tall.”
“Hi, Dad,” Roman says as he walks in.

“Roman, your son's tall.”
Roman nods. “Oh, I know. It's freakish. We're thinking of having him studied at M.I.T.” Richard frowns slightly as he goes back to reading his paper.
“Champagne, anyone?” Emily asks.  
“That's fancy,” Roman comments.
Emily smirks slightly, not enough to notice if you weren't looking. “Well, it's not every day that I have my boys here for dinner on the day the banks are open.” Roman frowned. “Well, let's sit everyone. This is just wonderful. An education is the most important thing in the world besides family.”
“And pie!” Roman piped in. The room went silent, everyone turning to look at Roman, who shifted nervously. “It was a joke.”
“Ah,” Emily said. An awkward silence filled the room. Richard handed Emile a section of the newspaper, who glanced around slightly before taking it.
-----
“Emile, how do you like the lamb?” Emily asked  the four sat around the long rectangular dining room table eating dinner in a slightly uncomfortable silence.
“It's good,” Emile replied.
“Too dry?”

“No, it's perfect.”

“Potatoes could use a little salt, though,” Roman chimed in.
“Excuse me?” Emily asked as she raised an eyebrow at Roman. Emile's eyes widened slightly as they rushed to change the subject.

“So, Grandpa, how's the insurance biz?”
Richard sighed. “Oh, people die, we pay. People crash cars, we pay. People lose a foot, we pay.”

“Well, at least you have your new slogan,” Roman commented.

“And how are things at the motel?” Richard asked.

Roman barely contained his groan of annoyance. “The inn? They're great.”
“Roman's the executive manager now. Isn't that wonderful?” Emily conversed.

“Speaking of which,” Richard spoke up. “Christine called yesterday.”
Roman frowned. “How is that speaking of which?”
“She's doing very well in California. Her internet startup goes public next month. This could mean big things for her.” Richard turned to Emile. “Very talented woman, your mother.”

“He knows,” Roman cut in.

“She always was a smart one, that girl.” Richard  looked at Emile. “You must take after her.”

Roman huffed. “Speaking of which,” he said semi-cheerily. “I'm gonna get a coke,” he stood up. “Or a knife.” Roman stormed into the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, he goes over to the sink and begins scrubbing at a dish violently. The maid comes in and raises an eyebrow at him. Roman turns to him and gives him a smile. “Hi, how are you doing?”
----

Emile glanced at the door to the kitchen before starting to get up. “I think I'm going to go talk to him-”
Emily shook her head as she wiped at her face with a napkin. “No, I'll go.” She placed her napkin on the table before standing up. “You stay and keep your grandfather company.” Emily walked through the doorway to the kitchen and found Roman finishing up the dishes. “Roman, come back to the table.”
Roman shook his head. “Is this what it's going to be like every Friday night? I come over and let the two of you attack me?”
Emily rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “You're being very dramatic.”
Roman's eyes blew wide. “Dramatic? Were you at that table just now?”
Emily nodded. “Yes, I was, and I think you took what your father said the wrong way.”

Roman barked out a laugh. “The wrong way? How could I have taken it the wrong way? What was open to interpretation?

-----

Emile glanced at the door that led to the kitchen as he overheard Roman and Emily arguing. He sighed as he waited for the argument to end.

----

“Keep your voice down,” Emily hissed.

Roman huffed. “No, Mother. I can't take it anymore. Tonight just seems like a nightmare. Why do you pounce on every single thing I say?”

Emily frowned. “That's absurd. You barely uttered a word all night.”

Roman's eyes blew wide. “That's not true!”
“You said pie.”

“Oh, come on!”

Emily shook her head. “You did. All I heard you say was pie.”
Roman sighed. “Why would he bring up Christine? Was that really necessary?!?!?”
Emily shrugged. “He likes Christine.”

Roman rolled his eyes as he crossed his arms over his red and black dress shirt. “Oh! Well, isn't that interesting? Because, as I remember, when I got Christine pregnant, Dad didn't like her so much.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. You were sixteen. What were we supposed to do, throw you a party? We were disappointed. You both had such a bright futures.”
Roman groaned. “Yes. And by not getting married, we keep those bright futures.”
“When you get someone pregnant, you get married. A child needs a mother and a father.”

Roman sighed. “Do you think Christine would have her own company right now if we'd gotten married?!?! Do you?!?!”

Emily nodded. “Yes, I do. Your father would have put you in the insurance business and you, Christine, and Emile would be living a lovely life right now.”
Roman almost screamed. “I didn't want to be in the insurance business!!! And I am living a wonderful life right now!”

Emily's eyes blew wide. “That's right! Far away from us!”
Roman threw his hands in the air. “Oh here we go!”
“You took that boy and completely shut us out of your life!”

“You wanted to control me!”

“You were still a child!”
“I stopped being a child the minute the strip turned pink! Okay! I had to figure out how to live! I found a good job!”
“As a maid! With all your brains and talent!”
“I worked my way up! I run the place now! I built a life by myself with help from no one!”

Emily rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah! You were always too proud to accept any help from anyone!”

Roman huffed heavily. “Oh! Well I wasn't too proud to come over here and beg you two for money for my child's schooling! Was I?” In the dining room, realization dawned on Emile's face.
“No, you certainly weren't. But you are too proud to tell him where you got it from! Fine! You have your precious pride and I have my weekly dinners. We both win!”

Emile sighed. He couldn't believe it. His dad went out of his way to pay for his schooling and he had practically told him that he didn't care. He glanced at his grandpa only to find him sleeping in his chair.
-----
Outside, as the door shut behind them, Roman leaned against the wall as he sighed. Emile looked at Roman. “Dad?”

Roman closed his eyes. “I'm okay. I just…..do.I look shorter? ‘Cause I feel shorter.”
Emile bit his lip. “Hey, how ‘bout I buy you a cup of coffee?”
Roman nodded. “Yeah. You drive though, okay? Because I don't think my feet will reach the pedals.” Roman handed Emile the keys as they walked to the Jeep.

-----
“So, nice dinner at the grandparents’ house,” Emile commented as he walked with Roman to Virgil's dinner.
Roman nodded. “Oh, yeah. Her dishes have never been cleaner!”

Emile nodded. “You and Grandma seemed to have a nice talk.”

Roman groaned. “How much did you hear?”

Emile's eyes widened. “Oh, not much. You know, snippets.”

“Snippets?”
“Little snippets?”

“So basically everything?” Roman asked as he glanced uneasily at Emile.

Emile nodded. “Basically…” He hesitated. “Yes.”
Roman sighed. “Well, the best laid plans.” The two walked into the diner and sat down at a table.

“I think it was really brave of you to ask them for the money.”
Roman sighed as he placed his head in his hands. “Oh, I so do not want to talk about it, at all.”

Emile nodded. “So…..how many meals do you think it'll take ‘til we're off the hook?”

Roman chuckled. “I'm pretty sure the deli spread at my funeral will be the last one.” Roman paused. “Wait...does that mean..”

Emile nodded with a soft smile. “Can't let a perfectly good blazer go to waste.”

Roman smiled. “Oh, honey, you won't be sorry.” The two looked up as Virgil walked over to the table. Roman did a double take. Virgil was wearing a deep purple button down shirt and a pair of nice black dress pants. “Wow, you look really nice Virgil. Really really nice.”
Virgil rolled his eyes, not believing the words coming out of Roman's mouth. “I had a meeting earlier at the bank and they liked collars. You look nice, too.”
“I had a flagellation to go to. “
Virgil rolled his eyes. “So, what'll you have.”
“Coffee! In a vat!” Roman exclaimed.

“I'll have some coffee as well. And chili fries, please!”
Virgil rolled his eyes as he scribbled down the order. “That's quite a refined palate you got there,” he muttered as he walked away.
“Behold the healing powers of a bath. So, tell me about the guy.”
Emile sighed as he thought of a way to get out of it. “You know what's really special about our relationship? The total understanding about the need for one's privacy. You totally understand boundaries!”  
Roman had a huge smile on his face. “So tell me about the guy! Is he dreamy?”
“Oh, that's so Nick at Night.”
“I'll find out if you don't tell me.”
“How?” Emile asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“I'll spy.”

The two looked up as Virgil appeared with their order and places it down in front of them. “Coffee...fries.” He pauses. “I can't stand it. This is so unhealthy! Emile, please, put down that cup of coffee! You do not want to grow up to be like your Dad!”
Emile smiled with a twinkle in his eyes. “Sorry, too late!” The two smiled at each other ad Virgil sighed and walked away.
“So, tell me about the guy.”

“Check, please!”
“No. Really! What is it? Are you too embarrassed to bring him home?”
Emile rolled his eyes. “I'm not embarrassed.”

Roman gasped. “Does he talk?”

“Emile rolled his eyes. “No, Dad, he's a mime.”
The two continued to chat happily as they ate their food. Overall, things were looking good.