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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

College Experience
By mirage


"Sorry, sorry." Lorelai mumbled as she bumped into two customers as she tried to enter Luke's. She gave the two women one glance, noticing that they weren't residents before she squeezed herself past them and into the diner.

"Coffee," she ordered even before she had reached the counter.

"They're definitely gay." Kirk who sat next to her told Babette, sitting at his other side. "I have a gaydar." He informed her and Babette nodded eagerly.

"If heard one of them is from San Francisco." Babette raised her eyebrows and Kirk raised his right hand in a gesture of 'I told you so'.

"My cousin Dick lives in San Francisco." Kirk added and both nodded again.

Lorelai had listened to them, but waited till she had gulped down half of her coffee before she asked, hoping she wouldn't regret her question. "Whom are you talking about?"

"Did you see the two women who just left?" Babette asked, leaning forward on the counter so she could look at Lorelai.

"They're gay," added Kirk.

Lorelai's head turned to the door, hoping to get a glimpse of the two women, but they were already gone. She hadn't paid attention to them when she had entered, only remembering that one had been a brunette and the other blonde, but she definitely couldn't tell their sexuality from the brief encounter.

"Stop pestering my customers." Luke interrupted as he refilled Lorelai's mug, earning a thankful smile in return. "How do you even want to know they're gay?"

"I have a gaydar," Kirk repeated his earlier statement. "And I have seen L-Word." He folded his napkin to place it next to his plate.

"Kirk, that's ridicules." Lorelai chimed in. "I've seen L-word too, but I couldn't see anything that would point to them being lesbians. And even if, that's none of our business," she added.

"Today sexuality is fluid. Aren't we all a little gay inside?" Kirk asked his eyes directed at Luke. "I'd go for him."

The comment caused Luke to jump back and raise his arms in defeat. "Out Kirk, now."

The other man just looked at him, his head slightly tilted. "Are you discriminating gays?" he asked offended, placing his hand on his hip.


Lorelai didn't stop when she heard Taylor calling out for her. Whatever it was, she was sure she didn't want to know. She knew the excited tone in Taylor's voice, the underlying urgency it held.

He had one of his ever so great ideas and she didn't want to be part of it.

She walked a little bit faster, hoping that the age and the extra few kilos Taylor was wearing would prevent him from following her down the main street.

Lorelai came to an abrupt stop when suddenly Kirk jumped in front of her, blocking her way successfully. She tried to walk around him, but Kirk mimicked her movement, hindering her to get away.

Threateningly she looked at Kirk, but her expression turned into astonishment when she noticed Kirk's outfit, tight pink pants and a t-shirt that normally should be filled out by muscles, but was instead covered in buttons with slogans like 'gay's do it better'.

He was trembling from the cold, his lips already blue. He opened his mouth to say something, but his teeth were chattering too loud to understand him.

"Kirk, get a jacket." She shook her head.

"Lorelai," Taylor wheezed behind her and she had to turn around to face the panting mayor. "Didn't you hear me calling?" He asked between erratic breaths, his hands on his knees to steady himself.

"Sorry, Taylor."

He waved at her, not really interested in her explanation. "I'm sure you heard about the lesbians." Taylor started.

"We don't even know if they're lesbians."

Taylor ignored her interjection, but motioned Kirk to hand her the pink shopping bag he was carrying. It took him a moment before he had freed it from his stiff fingers.

Suspiciously Lorelai looked into the bag, only to shut it again. "They're our first official lesbians. We have to make them feel at home. I expect you to decorate your hotel." Taylor admonished her.

Lorelai shook her head, her dark curls flying. "I won't decorate the Dragonfly Inn with rainbow flags and I definitely won't wear one of those buttons." She grabbed one button from the bag, shoving it into Taylor's face.

"Lorelai, this is very important for our town. Gays are rich and they like to spend their money. This is our chance to get a part of this, it's important for the wellbeing of our community. We have to show them that we welcome them." Lorelai looked around, noticing that she hadn't been the first on Taylor's list. Every shop was covered with rainbow flags. Relieved she noticed that at least Luke had refused to be part of this.

"Gays are organized in networks, they know each other. Maybe they even know Rosie O'Donnell or Ellen. If they tell their friends how nice and gayfriendly our town is, others will follow."

Taylor raised his finger to appeal to her. "There's a town meeting tonight I expect to see you there." And before Lorelai could object, he was already gone with a still freezing Kirk in tow to talk to his next victim.

Lorelai looked the main street up and down, the rainbow flags omnipresent everywhere and she even spotted a few residents wearing the buttons or rainbow-colored scarves. She shook her head, this town was going too far this time.

Not an hour later Lorelai was confronted with a nervous Sookie, rearranging once again her menu. "Why didn't you warn me?"

"About what?" Lorelai ask as she reached for the coffee pot to pour herself a fresh mug of coffee.

"About the lesbians?" Sookie attacked an eggplant, chopping it into small pieces.

"Not you too." Lorelai exhaled and rubbed her forehead.

"Lesbians are vegetarians, aren't they?" Sookie asked, looking around her kitchen, every surface filled with fresh vegetables. "I don't have any tofu." Her hands flew through the air in a panic attack.

"You have enough vegetables." Lorelai's hand waved over the kitchen. "I'm sure you can make something out of them."

"Guacamole!" Sookie sped through her kitchen in search for avocado. "I've once read they like self-made guacamole." Her enthusiasm died down, when she remembered something else. "Guacamole isn't a main dish. I still don't have a main dish."

A very annoyed looking Michel entered the kitchen. "The butch one asked if we have vegetarian menus." His accusing gaze went to Lorelai. "I'm a Receptionist not some garcon."

Lorelai looked at Sookie for support, but found there accusation too. "See, vegetarians."

"And lesbians." Michel added. "One of them is a cop from New York." Lorelai looked from one to the other, feeling like they suddenly all spoke a language they didn't understand.

"Is it the water?" she asked, earning only confused glazes. "Why does suddenly everyone knows so much about lesbians?"

"Television?" Michel helped out and Lorelai just rolled her eyes.

She left the kitchen and headed over to the reception; where a lot of bills waited for her to be paid. She stopped when she heard voices from the dining room, obviously arguing and stepped to the door to see what was wrong.

There were only two people in the dining room and she recognized them immediately. The two women everyone in town was talking about.

The brunette obviously wanted to leave, but the blonde had grabbed her wrist, holding it tenaciously. "Don't go." She asked softly as the brunette stared down at the hand around her wrist. "I'm sure they have a vegetarian menu."

The brunette shook her head and freed her hand form the deathlike grip. "I'm not hungry."

"You're never hungry." The blonde's words caused Lorelai to examine the brunette closer, noticing that she looked thin, really thin, like model unhealthy thin.

"And you promised no pressure if I agreed to this trip."

"It's not pressure when I'm concerned about your weight, your health." They stared at each other, fighting wordlessly until the brunette broke the contact and lowered her head. "I'll go for a walk." She mumbled and this time the other woman didn't try to hold her back.

Lorelai blushed as the brunette turned to the door, knowing she had been spotted, but the brunette didn't seem to care as she passed her without acknowledgment. Her gaze returned to the dining room to find the blonde's eyes resting on her. She looked tired as she rested her head in one hand, the other wiping over her forehead. "I'm sorry, we didn't mean to cause a scene."

"Don't worry." Lorelai shrugged and stepped into the room and to the table where the blonde was seated. "Anything I can do for you? Something to eat or drink?"

The blonde thought about her offer, but then shook her head. "No, thank you. I think I should lay down for a while."

"Call the reception if you need anything." She was already by the door when she once again turned around and offered her hand to the other woman. "By the way, I'm Lorelai Gilmore."

The blonde accepted the offered hand. "Sofia Curtis, nice to meet you."

She met Sofia Curtis four hours later when she came down from her room.

"Slept well?" Lorlai asked her even though she saw that the dark circles under her eyes hadn't vanished.

Sofia Curtis hesitated, tilting her head from one side to the other. "Your beds are great," she finally answered elusively. She turned around, obviously searching for someone. "Have you seen Sara?" Then she remembered that Lorelai couldn't know her friend. "Sara Sidle, the woman I'm with here."

"No, she hasn't come back yet." She saw the other woman's face fall, the disappointment visible. But there was something else, something that Lorelai Gilmore could only describe as concern or even fear. "If you want, I can find out if she's been in Stars Hollow."

For a moment Sofia Curtis seemed tempted to accept the offer, but than she shook her head. "No, I need to trust her. I promised her." She didn't seem satisfied with her decision.

The door opened and the blonde raised her head, hoping to find her friend entering, but her hope was crushed when an old couple, other guests, stepped into the Inn. "Maybe I should go for a walk myself. " She smiled sadly. "Clear my head."

"If you give me your cell phone number I can call you as soon as she comes in." Lorelai offered and Sofia gave her a thankful smile.

It was getting late and finally after finishing her paper work Lorelai prepared the Inn for the night. She checked every room and turned off the lights while making her round around the Inn. Sara Sidle still hadn't returned and even though she didn't know the other woman she was worried. Her friend Sofia had been crushed when she had returned from her walk. She had twirled a tooth stick between her fingers, nervousness etched into her features.

Without her knowing Lorelai had made a few calls and had found out that Sara Sidle had stayed the first two hours at Luke's. Normally he was 'happy' about every customer who didn't share the normally cheery spirit of Stars Hollow, but the brunette had managed to even make him nervous with her brooding mood. After that she had been seen walking down into the direction of the Inn and suddenly she had vanished. Sara Sidle had to be good to vanish in a town where every resident was interested in her and paid extra attention.

Lorelai was feeling something else too. She was angry at the brunette for causing her friend and lover, as far as she knew, so much pain. It was selfish to vanish and not answering your phone when there were people who cared about you.

She turned off the light at the reception and switched on the small light outside over the door for Sara Sidle to find her way back. She closed the front door behind without locking it.

She nearly had a heart attack when she turned around and found a dark figure hovering outside the light of the lamp, a cigarette smoldering in the dark.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." Sara Sidle stepped out of the dark and into the light.

Lorelai waved her hand, still trying to catch her breath.

"Your friend is worried about you, you should go in." She said when her heart was beating in a normal rhythm again and her voice had returned.

Sara Sidle looked as if Lorelai had considered a visit at the dentist.

"I know, I just want to finish my cigarette." She stepped back to the brink of the light, the upper part of her body once again swallowed up by the darkness.

Sara gazed up at one of the dark windows in the first floor, the one where she and her friend were staying. "She tries to save me." The brunette took a last drag from her cigarette before she threw it onto the ground. She watched the smoldering butt for a moment before she stepped down on it.

She stepped closer into the illumination of the door and Lorelai was once again able to see her face.

What drew her in most were her dark brown eyes, so deep and full of sorrow. At that moment Lorelai could understand the want of Sofia Curtis to save her.

"Does it work?"

Sara stared at her, obviously surprised about her question. Then she laughed, the sound chilling Lorelai more than the cold winter air.

She shrugged and buried her hands deep into the pockets of her jeans. "I'm afraid I'm past the point of saving." She seemed so lost and for a moment Lorelai considered to give the other woman a hug, but she reconsidered her first impulse. Sara Sidle didn't seem like someone who liked to be touched.

"It's cold." The other woman changed the subject, shuddering obviously.

"You should go in."

Sara shook her head. "No thanks, I'm just not used to it; I spent too long in the desert." She snickered, probably to some private joke.

She began to put Lorelai at unease, but then the other brunette smiled apologetically. "I must sound crazy to you."

At that Lorelai shrugged. "I live in Star Hollows, I'm used to craziness." It was a white lie. She was used to happy innocent craziness, not to this form, not to the desperation she saw in the other woman's eyes.

Another laugh this time one that made Lorelai wished to hear more of. "I noticed that this town is" Sara searched for the right word, finally settling on "unique."

"Yeah, I'm sorry they overdid it with the whole rainbow flags and the gay support thing." She kept to herself that Taylor had even suggested a parade. "It's just you are our first gays, well except for old Hank Malroy, but he never came out and I always suspected Miss Drewster the sport teacher." Again there was this soft smile for a split second. "You two are a cute couple."

"We're not." Sara lowered her head and looked down at her boots, pawing the ground. "We're just good friends." Her head went up and once again she stared at the window at the first floor. "Well I'm not sure if that's still the case." She looked down at her boots again. Even though she avoided Lorelai's gaze the other woman knew from the sniffing sound and the way Sara hugged herself that she was trying to hold back tears. When she looked up again and at Lorelai, her lips were pressed together and her eyes were brimming with tears.

"You had a fight?" Lorelai asked even though she already knew. The possibility was high that the whole town knew and the fact made her feel even more protectively for the two women.

"It's all we do lately." Sara lit another cigarette, offering one to Lorelai, but the other woman declined. "I should have never agreed to go on this trip."

"Why did you?"

"Because Sofia can be very persuasive." There was a genuine smile softening the hard lines on the brunette's face before her gaze was once again drawn to the window above them. "And I don't want to lose my best friend again."

"Not being able to talk to a person you love is very painful." Lorelai remembered when she and Rory hadn't talked for months. It was the most hurtful experience she had ever had.

"She thinks it's her fault." At Lorelai's confused gaze she continued. "We worked together and then" she searched for the right words, finally settling on a very vague description "something happened to me."

Lorelai wanted to ask what had happened, the pain and desperation radiating from the other woman, but she knew that it wasn't her place.

"The last time I saw her, I was still in hospital." Sara took another drag from the cigarette, a moment to collect her thoughts. "She was hurt, because I hadn't told her that I've had a relationship with my supervisor for over a year." Lorelai sat down on the top step of the staircase, motioning the other woman to sit down next to her, but Sara Sidle shook her head.

She needed her space to tell what she wanted to tell.

"She was gone the next morning." She twirled the cigarette between her fingers before she flicked it away, the end glimmering but vanishing in the darkness. "She didn't say goodbye." Her voice was trembling, if from the cold or emotions, Lorelai couldn't tell.

"What happened to you was it her fault?"

Sara's eyes grew wide and she shook her head vehemently. "No, it was work related, but Sofia thinks that if she had stayed." She stopped, leaving the rest unsaid and rubbed her left arm, clenching and unclenching her fist like her arm was giving her problems.

"She's wrong and I keep telling her that over and over again, but she doesn't listen." Her hand brushed over her hair in a desperate gesture.

"She really cares for you. She was worried when you didn't show up for hours."

"That's the problem. She cares for me." The brunette huffed. "I can't even take care of myself how should I take care of anyone else? I don't have anything to offer, to anyone."

"Right now I'm afraid I don't feel anything at all." She added in a soft voice. She was fumbling with her cigarette pack, opening and closing the lid. "I was engaged." She looked up, meeting Lorelai's gaze. "I thought I was in love, that it was the happiest time of my life, but looking back, I'm not sure." Sara opened the pack again, took a cigarette and lit it. She took a first drag and exhaled slowly, watching the fume ascending into the air. "I'm not sure, if it was really love or just another ghost." Her gaze returned to Lorelai. "I have a lot of ghosts. I left Las Vegas to get rid of them."

"Did you get rid of them?"

"Do I look like I did?"

For a moment Lorelai stayed quiet, searching for the right words. "Sometimes you can't fight them alone."

"I've always been on my own."

Lorelai thought about the blonde, surely still waiting for the brunette to return. "Too late, you aren't any longer and no matter what you try you won't get rid of her. She sticks to you like chewing gum to your favorite jeans, like Brangelina."

"It's scary."

"Brangelina? Definitely." Her answer elicited a throaty laugh from the other woman.

"I can't believe I'm talking to a woman who's comparing my situation to Brangelina."

Lorelai shrugged and wiggled her feet. "They're better than Bennifer."

Another laugh. "They definitely are." Sara turned serious again and finally with a sigh she sat down next to the other brunette and rested her head in her hands. "Why am I telling you all this? I don't even know you."

Lorelai shrugged. "Because I'm safe. Tomorrow you'll leave and you'll never see me again." The woman next to her nodded, it probably was the best explanation. "And I'm a very good listener, people ask me for advice all the time." She added with a smirk and a little nudge. "I have a lot of life experience. Having a daughter at sixteen will do that to you."

"What's her name?"

"Rory, she went to Yale." Lorelai answered, pride coloring her voice like always when she talked about her daughter. "She could have gone to Harvard if she wanted."

Sara shrugged. "Harvard is overrated."

"I never went to college. That's the only thing I regret." A pang of regret was heard in Lorelai's words.

"Yeah, college is a great experience. Interesting seminars, the science, the challenge of the mind, all the experiments they offer." Sara chimed in with excitement.

Lorelai looked at her as if she had lost her mind. "I'd only go there for the partying and the experimenting." She grinned. "I never tried pot or kissed a woman." She blushed.

"So now your daughter's living that dream of yours?" Sara asked with a wry smile.

"Rory?! She's a good girl; she always brought home the best grades. She wouldn't do any experimenting." Lorelai searched in her purse. "You like to see a picture? I have lots of pictures."

Before Sara could answer there were at least five pictures in her lap, all of them showing a brunette girl at different ages. "Nice girl."

The next ten minutes went by with stories of Rory growing up.

"You have a good life." Sara finally interrupted her.

Lorelai frowned, surprised about the odd statement, but thinking about it Sara was right. "I think I have, but it….." Lorelai stopped mid-sentence and began to sniff the air, turning her nose up, like a rabbit smelling the most delicious carrot.

A big smile emerged on her face. "Do you smell it?"

Sara inhaled deeply but then shook her head. "What should I smell?"

"The snow. It's going to snow." She snapped the other woman's hand and pulled her up and into the driveway where she stopped to look up into the sky.

A skeptical frown was directed at her, but Lorelai ignored the unvoiced question and pointed up into the sky. She could smell the snow, felt it tingling in her veins.

She heard an astonished intake of breath when the first snow flake slowly made its way down, landing in Sara's outstretched hand.

"How?" she asked looking from the melting flake to Lorelai.

Lorelai shrugged. "It's a gift." A snowflake landed on the tip of her nose and she wrinkled it with a grin. "We're old friends." More and more snow flakes surrounded them and Lorelai remembered how she had once read to Rory the fairytale of mother Hulda and smiled.

In silence, their breaths the only sounds, they watched the falling snow and for a moment Lorelai thought she could even hear when the snow hit the surface, a soft crackling sound.

Sara smiled at her and for the first time Lorelai noticed the gap between her two front teeth. She seemed carefree and innocent for the first time. "I had forgotten about snow."

"It's magic."

"Yes it is." Sara breathed out. "Thank you." She said before her smile turned into a frown. "I don't even know your name."

"Lorelai Gilmore."

"Sara Sidle." She looked at the snow and back at Lorelai. "I wish, I could give you something in exchange."

"You don't have to."

There was a mischievous smile on Sara Sidle's face as she had an idea how to pay Lorelai back. "I have an early Christmas present for you. I'm going to give you a college experience."

Lorelai's face lit up. "You have pot with you?" She asked psyched, clapping with her glove covered hands. "I'm actually going to smoke pot. There are no risks, right? I won't get on a bad trip with hundreds of Emily Gilmores like in Being John Malcovic only with Emily Gilmores 'Gilmore, Gilmore,Gilmore'." Lorelai tilted her head from one side to the other, rolling her eyes at the same time.

"Lorelai." Sara's hands on her shoulders stopped her.

She was slightly dizzy, but sobered up quickly when Sara's face came closer. "Actually I have pot with me, but I don't think you should ever try it. No, I have another College experience for you." She came even closer, their lips only inches apart. "I'm going to kiss you Lorelai Gilmore." She announced, giving Lorelai the opportunity to withdraw.

"Oh, oh. Okay." Lorelai mumbled before Sara's lips covered hers.

It was an innocent kiss, nothing with tongue or a whirl-pool like on MTV, but a woman was kissing her and it felt great.

Lorelai blinked twice when Sara broke the kiss and stepped back. "Wow." She licked her lips. "That was good."

"I get that a lot." Sara said smugly, but then her teeth began to chatter and she rubbed her hands and breathed into them to get them warm.

"You really should go in." Lorelai rubbed her hands over the other woman's arms, noticing how thin the material of her jacket was. "You're going to get a cold."

Sara nodded. "Just a few minutes longer." She looked at the surrounding snow. "Don't worry, I'm not avoiding Sofia," she said when she saw Lorelai's narrowed eyes. "I know we need to talk, but I just want to watch the snow for a little while longer."

"Don't stay too long." Lorelai squeezed the other woman's arm and Sara's hand caught hers, holding it in place.

"Thank you." She whispered.

Lorelai nodded, suddenly lost for words as she watched the other woman.

The snow seemed to have transformed her, her hair now slightly curled by the moisture and her eyes no longer sullen but filled with light and delight.

Sara Sidle looked like a small excited girl.

She left her and the snow alone to retrieve her purse from the staircase where she had left it when they had chased the snow. When she came closer she realized that the door wasn't closed anymore, but half open. She squinted her eyes, only seeing the figure there when it moved. She was about to call out when the person stepped into the light.

Sofia Curtis placed her finger over her lips, telling Lorelai to stay quiet.

"It's not." Lorelai started as she walked up to the door and Sofia. She was nervous, fearing that Sofia might misunderstand the kiss she just had shared with the other woman. Her worries were gone when the blonde engulfed her in a hug.

"Thank you." Sofia whispered. "Whatever you did, thank you."

"No problem, it's included in the price." She smirked and waved her hand nonchalant, suddenly embarrassed by the deep gratitude the blonde showed her. "I just showed her how beautiful snow can be."

Sofia's eyes were directed at the brunette, rotating with her arms stretched out, her head turned back the face upward against the dark sky. Her eyes were closed, but the smile on her face grew with every snowflake that landed on her face.

"Yes it is." She whispered breathlessly and Lorelai knew that she wasn't commenting on the snow. Maybe Sara didn't know about her feelings, but Sofia Curtis knew exactly what she was feeling for the brunette and it was far more than friendship.

"You should join her."

"I don't know. I don't want to hassle her."

"Don't worry." She gave the blonde a little push, sending her tripping down the staircase, the noise alarming Sara to her arrival.

The two women looked at each other, never breaking the contact as Sofia walked closer, slowly as is she was afraid to scare the brunette off. Lorelai couldn't hear what was said, both whispering, but it had to be the right things Sara told Sofia, when the blonde took her in her arms, her hand stroking tenderly over the other woman's back.

They fit perfectly.

The moment broke when Sara tackled the blonde to the ground and covered her face with snow.

She watched the two women chasing each other in the snow, their laughing clear and carefree in the silent night. Lorelai smiled, proud of herself. She decided to stay a little bit longer and prepare the chimney and some hot chocolate for the two, wondering if they would like small marshmallows in it. They would need it, their clothing not even nearly warm enough for the cold winters of Connecticut.

But before she got started there was something else she had to take care of first. "Rory?" she asked as soon as a very sleepy Rory answered her cell phone. "I just kissed a woman."

The End

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