Once, after a falling out, Elizabeth Cady Stanton teasingly asked Anthony if she wanted "a divorce" from her, then asserted stubbornly, "I shall not allow any such proceedings. I consider our relation for life so make the best of it."
-Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony In Her Own Words by Lynn Sherr
Rory thinks she might be dreaming this. Granted, as far as dreams go, it’s pretty tame. Taylor is wearing a Taylor sweater instead of a clown outfit; her mom doesn’t have two heads, the second of which has Anjelica Huston’s face; Kirk is, okay, juggling some eggs, but Rory figured out a long time ago that the weirder he is, the more likely it is that you’re just awake and it’s really happening. The Rule of Kirk.
So according to The Rule of Kirk, this is real life. Right here. Right now.
She’s standing in the town square, the bonfire red and gold and crackling a few feet away, and Paris is staring right at her. And – as if she hasn’t put Rory through enough crazy in the past two weeks – she’s holding a ring. And she has that face. That Paris Geller face that means she might back down, but only if you kill her first. And even then there are no guarantees. Paris would so be the ultimate zombie go-getter.
Rory’s scared for her own brains. And for the rest of her, too.
“Rory Gilmore,” Paris says, and the worst part of this is the way her eyes bore right into Rory’s, or maybe the worst part is that she sounds so much like Paris, to the point where Rory almost wants to believe (well, not wants to believe, definitely not ‘wants to believe,’ but – but something) that she means it, “will you—”
Two Weeks Earlier
Rory wakes up to twelve missed calls, twenty-eight new texts, and thirty-five emails. Which is weird. It’s not like she’s Emily Dickinson, or anything, but this much attention is not of the norm. She hopes her mom hasn’t started trying to watch Glee again. She’s not sure she’s ready for more limericks about how Will Schuester’s only redeeming feature is his butt-chin, and (on occasion) his arrogant and misplaced faith in his ability to rap.
She squints at the first text – she’s got grumbly Want coffee! brain and everything else seems like too much effort – and discovers that it’s not from Mom at all. It’s from Paris.
And what it says is ‘Stop freaking out, Gilmore.’
So not the time for this, grumbles her want coffee! brain.
Whatever this is.
This is …
Rory stares at the Yahoo headline. It reads ‘Self-Help Author Geller Starts Feud With Bachmann, Defends Lesbian Relationship,’ and above it is a tiny thumbnail of Paris looking at Michele Bachmann like she’s about to bite off her face.
Last Friday’s episode of the HBO series Real Time With Bill Maher got particularly real between guests Michele Bachmann and Paris Geller.
When the subject moved to the recent ruling on Proposition 8 and Bachmann espoused Rick Santorum’s view expressed in a recent Tweet (“7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage”), the audience booed in protest.
The audience wasn’t alone.
Geller, whose 2009 debut Get Off Your Asses, Assholes: What Med School Taught Me About Today’s Youth & The Decaying Corpse Of American Ambition dominated the New York Times Best Sellers List for much of that year, was quick to voice her disapproval. When Bachmann spoke up in favor of the sanctity of traditional family values, an incensed Geller revealed that she herself is in a happy long-term same-sex relationship with Boston Globe journalist Rory Gilmore.
“Do you really think those idiots who pop ‘em out like Twix from a vending machine on I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant are more qualified to raise children than two Ivy League educated, highly successful women with an incredible support system of love and respect? Seriously, Princess Westboro?” Geller said. “Rory and I have been together since high school, and we will power couple the crap out of any God-approved heterosexual twosome you throw our way. You and Marcus can bring it. Double date. How ‘bout it? I think everybody here would like to see that. You’re all invited!”
The rant was met with rousing applause. Geller declined to provide further information about her relationship with Gilmore, other than that their first date was at a The Bangles concert. This is the first time Geller has publicly acknowledged her sexual orientation.
Geller’s fourth book, One Day You’ll All Be Working For Me (Yes, Even You, Moron), will hit bookstores at the end of this month.
Video: ‘Oh, Cry More, You Misogynistic Douche’ – Geller Prompts Emotional Maher Moment
“But,” Rory whimpers to the computer screen, “why?”
Numbly, she clicks on her email. She’s not sure whether she’s capable of movement much more advanced than clicking right now.
The most recent one is from Paris. The subject line is ‘Freaking out.’ Rory clicks on it.
I know you are.
“Easy for you to say!” Rory cries. Then she realizes how ineffective this is, so she types it instead.
She uses a lot of exclamation points.
They progress to a phone call once Rory regains her ability to speak. Sort of. “Since when was that Bangles concert a date??”
“She’s a bigot, Rory. Are you really getting on my case for crusading against bigotry and inequality? Because if that’s the way you feel, I’m taking back that Susan B. Anthony action figure I got you for your birthday three years ago.”
“No! Of course not!”
“I’m sure she’ll be very happy to be reunited with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. If you ask me, it was a mistake separating them in the first place. They always did their best work together—”
“Paris! Shut up! Listen to me, okay? Bachmann’s views are gross and horrible and you know I’m totally on board for crusading. But we’re not lesbian lovers!”
“Really? That’s what you’re going to fixate on?”
Paris goes quiet for long enough that Rory starts to think maybe, just maybe, she’s escaped this conversation, and maybe it’ll be a good first step to escaping this whole situation. And then: “Rory. Do you love me?”
Coffee this morning, Rory abruptly realizes, was a mistake. What seemed, at the time, like the only way to get through any of this madness is actually going to result in the explosion of her heart. And her brain. Many, many biological explosions. And so she does the only thing she can do: quips. “Gee, Gabrielle, this is kinda sudden—”
“This isn’t the time for cutesy pop culture references.”
“You do realize who you’re saying that to, don’t you? You have met my mom?”
“And you’re Gabrielle. I’m Xena.”
“Fine, Xena,” Rory grumbles. “I think this question is weird.”
“Don’t go all ‘no homo’ on me, Gilmore,” Paris says with an aggravated sigh. “I’m not asking you to hold my hand and play with my hair while A Fine Frenzy spews out poor breath control and feelings in the background. Just, one human being to another. As the Susie B. to my Lizzy C.S.”
“Well then,” Rory says, her heart still doing stupid inconvenient jumps, “yeah. Yes. Of course. So?”
“And I love you too,” Paris says, brisk and untroubled, like it’s the easiest thing in the world. “So what you’re saying is you’re okay with someone telling us that our love doesn’t count? That it’s perverse and immoral and it’s somehow single-handedly destroying the glorious and eternal institution of marriage?”
“Our platonic love?”
“Rory,” Paris says – softly, for Paris. “I really thought you would be in this with me.”
Her voice does this thing, this little plaintive not-quite-break on ‘with me’, and just like that, Rory knows. She’s doomed.
“Oh, brother,” she sighs. “Yes. All right. Fine.”
“Great!” Paris says, abruptly chipper again. “Because there’s a documentary crew coming home with us to Stars Hollow to do a six-part miniseries on just how normal our love is.”
“What.” She can’t even summon the energy to turn it into a question.
“Paris Geller’s Stars Hollow. And yes, that is a stab right at Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Not that it needs it.”
“Paris. You aren’t even from Stars Hollow.”
“Maybe they’ll change it to Paris and Rory’s Stars Hollow. Paris and Rory’s Stars Hollow Wedding? Paris and Rory: A Wedding In Stars Hollow? There’s still time to brainstorm.”
Why, why, why is any of this happening. “How the hell did you get Michele Bachmann to appear with you on Real Time With Bill Maher in the first place? That’s like luring Lana Del Rey back to SNL.”
“I have powers, Rory.”
“No argument there,” Rory says. “I’m surprised Bill let you on the show again after you made him cry that time.”
“I tell it like it is,” Paris says. “Bill gets that.”
Her second phone call is, of course, to Lorelai.
“But it’s psychotic, right? It’s legitimately diagnosable.”
“Oh, it’s psychotic,” her mom agrees. Way too sympathetically.
Which can only mean one thing: “You printed the article out and it’s hanging on the fridge right now, isn’t it?”
“Aw, you know me so well.”
“You could at least admit that this is a horrible, horrible, stupid, crazy thing.”
“Rory, you’ve been hanging out with Paris for many years now. The girl has never been what anyone would call – you know, sane. Are you really surprised that this is happening?”
“Yes,” Rory says stubbornly.
Rory announces that she’s going to have to take a few weeks off at work. Everyone is very understanding. Occasionally too understanding.
“I just wanted to tell you that I think it’s really cool, what the two of you are doing,” Cute-Derek-from-the-desk-next-to-hers says when they’re alone together in the break room.
“Yeah, well, it isn’t exactly – it’s sort of just a publicity thing, more than a true thing—” She wonders whether she should be telling this to a journalist.
“It’s okay, Rory.” He gives her a somber pat on the shoulder on his way out. “You don’t have to hide your love anymore.”
“I went on a date with you, Derek,” Rory reminds him.
“Yeah,” Derek agrees, pausing in the doorframe. “This explains a lot about that.”
“Huh?” Rory says to the empty break room.
Paris is sitting on Rory’s couch when she gets home.
“I think we should talk about pet names,” she says. She’s got a yellow legal pad open in front of her with a heading that reads ‘POTENTIAL PET NAMES.’ Underneath, there are two columns: ‘Rory to Paris’ and ‘Paris to Rory.’
“Of course you think we should,” Rory says. She kicks her shoes off and collapses onto the couch.
Paris impatiently pushes Rory’s feet out of her lap without even taking her eyes off the legal pad. “Now, in terms of sheer popularity, ‘babe’ and ‘baby’ seem to be the frontrunners right now. You hear those everywhere. On the plus side, the creepy tendency toward eroticizing infancy at least goes both ways in this day and age. Guys tend to get it as often as girls.” She frowns, thoughtful. “I don’t know if I ever could have called Doyle ‘babe’ with a straight face. He was just too close to the real thing, you know? We had a good thing for a long time, but there’s no way around it, that was one petite man.”
“How could he have ever let you go?” Rory says with a faux-sentimental sigh.
“‘Dear’ is out. We’re not somebody’s grandparents. And even if we were, that would still sound stale.”
“Hey!” Rory pokes her arm. “My grandparents call each other ‘dear.’ And I think they make it work.”
“Your grandparents have atypical chemistry. They’re probably still having sex on the regular.”
Rory buries her face in a throw pillow. “Augh! Paris! Why.”
Because she’s Paris, that’s why. She just moves right on like she hasn’t said something traumatizing. “‘Sweetheart’ is a term of endearment that just begs me to barf all over it.”
“I dunno,” Rory says, “I kinda like ‘sweetheart.’”
Paris looks up at her. “You do?”
“I mean—” She feels suddenly flustered, “—as much as I like anything about this whole stupid crazy situation.”
She watches the pen hover over the legal pad.
“Should ‘sweetheart’ go into the ‘Paris to Rory’ or ‘Rory to Paris’ column, then?” Paris deliberates.
“I don’t know,” Rory says, twisting a throw pillow tassel between her fingers. “Would it make you more nauseous saying it or hearing it?”
“If you’re the one saying it,” Paris replies in measured tones, “I think I’ll be able to refrain from projectile vomiting.”
“Okay then,” Rory says. The silence around them seems … really loud.
“But what am I going to call you?” Paris turns her attention back to the legal pad.
“Mom calls Luke ‘Ron Swanson,’” Rory volunteers. “But maybe that’s just a them thing.”
“How about ‘darling’?”
Rory can’t help it: she bursts out laughing.
“What?” Paris says, annoyed.
“You – oh, gosh, Paris, I just – seriously? ‘Darling’?”
“What’s so funny about that?”
“I don’t know!” Rory says, trying to not be a jerk. It’s hard. “It’s just – you seem less like a person who says ‘darling’ and more like a person who punches people who say ‘darling’ in the face. That’s all.”
“Fine,” Paris says crisply. “There’s always ‘sugar tits.’”
“I hate you,” Rory decides.
“Right back at you, sugar tits.”
“One day I’m going to smother you while you’re sleeping.”
“You’re not doing much to dispel the Psycho Lesbian trope,” Paris remarks. “Lesbians hate that.”
“You’ve been researching,” Rory says. She can’t help but be delighted. Research Mode is one of her favorite modes for anybody, but especially Paris. There’s that whole sad widespread misconception that research is boring; she dares anyone to feel that way after being in Research Paris’s vicinity. “Autostraddle’s your new homepage, isn’t it?”
“I am developing a suspiciously strong emotional investment in Brittana,” Paris admits, “for someone who can’t watch Glee without wanting to stab my eyes, ears, and brain out simultaneously.”
“That’s my little overachiever,” Rory says, beaming.
When they come out of Starbucks the next morning, there are cameras. Like, the paparazzi kind. Blinding flashbulbs everywhere.
“How is this your life?” Rory demands.
“It’s yours too now, dollface,” Paris retorts.
“Oh my God, who are you, Vintage Harrison Ford?” Rory says. She can’t really follow the remark through to any Carrie Fisher or Karen Allen places, though, because Paris abruptly pulls her into her arms and – yeah, okay, Paris Geller is kissing her. With her mouth. Which is usually how that works, but seems somehow infinitely surprising in this moment.
Rory’s first instinct is to scramble away, but then she remembers about the bigots and the Bachmanns and praying the gay away and how ‘tis a far far better thing to aspire to a world without all of that in it. So okay. All right. And it’s not like kissing Paris is so bad, really – a little forceful, sure, but it’s Paris, so it’s not like that’s a surprise, and it’s not like forceful is necessarily bad either. Not in this context. It wasn’t great when it was Cute Derek, who also turned out to be I’m On A Quest To Choke You With My Tongue Derek. Paris’s tongue isn’t even involved, and thank God, because otherwise Rory thinks her brain might expl— yikes, okay, tongue, right there, just the faintest hint of Paris tongue. Her lips part in what is no doubt an attempt to cry out ‘WHAT THE HELL’ but Paris seems to take it as an invitation instead, and okay oh gosh—
Rory drops her coffee. It crashes to the pavement and spills all over.
Paris pulls away, looking flushed and fierce and pretty magnificent, and gives the photographers a mocking, wriggly-fingered wave.
“Take that, Adorable Navy Lesbians,” she mutters under her breath, sounding way too pleased with herself.
“Paris,” Rory says sternly, steering her right back into Starbucks while she obstinately ignores the fireworks going off in her veins, “we are not in a competition with the Adorable Navy Lesbians.”
“Do you think I should have dipped you?”
“That might have been a little much for a first kiss.”
“Second kiss,” Paris says absently, like she doesn’t even have to think about it.
“Second kiss,” Rory agrees. Because, fine, if Paris wants to count that long-ago spring break disaster, then let her. Rory’s definitely never counted it – that’s for sure – but times, they are a-changing. So Paris Geller has kissed her twice.
“You’re buying me a new coffee,” Rory lets her know.
“High maintenance,” Paris declares with an appraising glance over, “but I can work with it.”
Rory feels the stupid and totally inexplicable compulsion to blush.
Rory breaks it to the grandparents at a good old fashioned Friday Night Dinner. Tomorrow, the documentary crew and Paris are descending on Stars Hollow. Rory’s trying not to think about it too hard. Lest she die.
“Oh dear God,” Emily says, rolling her eyes. “As if the attention we’ve gotten from that article wasn’t bad enough.”
“Mind, Paris is better than some of the ruffians she’s dragged home in the past,” Richard says thoughtfully.
“That’s true,” Emily acknowledges.
“And it’s not like she’s really my girlfriend,” Rory reminds them.
“Certainly better than Dean.”
“Oh! Certainly. And I doubt she’d ever show up to dinner with a black eye, like that miscreant with the unisex name.”
“Jess,” Luke mutters.
“Did you guys hear that part about how she’s not really my girlfriend?” Rory tries to interrupt.
“Just let it go, sweets,” Lorelai says sagely, patting her hand. “Just let it go.”
Rory calls a top secret town meeting at Miss Patty’s dance studio in the dead of night. Everyone actually shows up. It’s pretty neat. When she was a kid, she never would have dreamed she’d have this kind of Stars Hollow power. Of course, she also never would have dreamed she was calling a meeting to tell her whole hometown to pretend she’s always been a lesbian. For the documentary crew that’s showing up bright and early tomorrow. Not for the first time, she thinks PARIS in a way that really makes her wish it wouldn’t be weird to shake her fists at the heavens.
“Thank you all for being here tonight.” It’s definitely surreal to be standing behind the podium. “Now, as you all know, Paris and I aren’t actually in love.”
“Are you sure about that?” Kirk. Of course.
“Um,” Rory says, “yes. Very sure. Any other questions—”
“Because the Fuck Yeah Paris And Rory Tumblr would beg to differ,” he finishes. “There was a photoset of you two kissing outside a Starbucks. 325,058 reblogs.”
“Ooh, our little Rory’s an internet superstar!” Babette says. “Can you believe it, Morey??”
“Pret-ty cool,” Morey says pleasantly.
“It sounds suspiciously pornographic to me,” Taylor says with a sniff of disapproval.
“Hey!” Luke barks. “Watch it, Taylor.”
“There are fanmixes,” Kirk reports. “How accurately would you say Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ encapsulates your relationship with Paris?”
“What is so great about Lana Del Rey??” Zack demands, anguished. “I just don’t get it.”
“I kind of get it,” Lane says, shrugging.
“Um,” Rory says, “not very accurately?”
“Tumblr user sapphistry16 put a Bangles song on the fanmix too,” Kirk says. “In reference to your first date.”
“Sweet!” coos Lulu.
“That was not a date!” Rory yelps. “My mom was there! Sookie was there!”
“We were there,” Lorelai confirms.
“There we were,” Sookie agrees.
“And a sweeter first date I never saw,” Lorelai sighs.
“I get teary just thinking about it!” Sookie flutters an imaginary handkerchief.
Rory glowers. “Not funny, you guys!”
“Hey,” Lorelai says, “you’re the one who called us here to tell us that we need to seem like we know all about you and Paris Ellen-and-Portia-ing it up over the years.”
“Oh,” Rory says. “Right. So – um, please do that, I guess. Everyone. If you would.”
“Now, now, now,” Taylor says. “Not so fast. There are serious potential repercussions here that need to be addressed. Such as: what if the Tea Party declares war on Stars Hollow?”
“Then it’s a good thing we’ve got such a valiant troop of Revolutionary War re-enactors!” Rory says as perkily as she can.
Taylor looks appeased by that.
“Oh, honey, don’t you worry,” Miss Patty says. “We’ve all got your back.”
“I know,” Rory says, and tries not to look too terrified out of her mind. Because really: that’s exactly what she’s afraid of.
When she gets back to the house, Rory throws herself into bed and decides to pretend she’s still sixteen. Her only problems are accidentally stealing boxes of cornstarch and getting hit by deer.
(Which are still pretty major, at least by Stars Hollow standards, but never mind that.)
Her phone buzzes: new message from Paris.
How did Operation: Secret Town Meeting go?
Just fine, Rory texts back. Stars Hollow’s as ready as it will ever be.
Buzz! Excellent. See you tomorrow morning, sugar tits.
I want a divorce, Rory texts.
Har dee har, answers Paris.