DISCLAIMER: The lovely ladies are from a concept from Amy-Sherman Palladino and produced by Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, Hofflund Polone, and Warner Bros. Television. The lameness of 90210 and how stupid Dawn Ostroff was to lease the CW Sunday night to people who would usually run a pyramid scheme and instead ran a bad drama about the payday loan business and a third rate version of Cupid? Nobody wants to own those things. Or dare to tell Shanae Grimes to eat a cheeseburger. Or act. Gah, who finds such lousy actors and puts them on television?
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I hope this turns out to be a chapter that you really enjoy, it brings things further to a head with a plot thread that I'm sure I wasn't going to really touch except from a distance, but ended up really plugging away from. Let's just say that for once, I'm glad that a certain parallel plot in real life is finally coming to an end and on January 20 we can begin to put a few things behind us. Then again, some things remain the same and will never change. Thanks so much to Danielle for making my mind my tenses and commas and making sure that this story didn't get too out of control. Without her I swear that this story would have unexpectedly crossed over with Camp Rock or The Suite Life on Deck without my realizing that I did so. Though if they did, hopefully it would because Paris bought Camp Rock and put it right out of business because "we don't need any more untalented triple threat artists and horrid singing, and umm, electric guitars don't belong in a camp! Now get out, I need to make this place a nature preserve for the Girl Scouts who won't put these boats to waste! Leave now, Nick Jonas, or be arrested for trespassing and crimes against my ears for your horrid so-called 'music'! Oh, and your hair sucks. Hey! Stop crying, you idiot!" Ahh, how I love turning around bad story ideas and awful bands... I couldn't have timed this to come out at a better time, because it happens to be at the end of the road for my recommended story, Chelle Storey-Daniel's One Heart Too Many, which you can find either on her fanfiction LiveJournal or under the same name on ff.net. I won't even claim I'm in the same league as she is because in forty chapters she managed to take a plotline that was treated like a joke by a bunch of far-sighted assholes at ABC, the relationship between Callie and Erica in Grey's Anatomy (how's that whole Sadie thing and the Izzie/Denny necromance working out for you, ABC?), and turn it into an amazing piece of work which goes beyond just fanfiction or anything else of the sort. This is exactly why I write, so I can meet talented writers like this who think beyond the show, beyond canon and into how characters would be in real life. Her story is amazing and beyond words, and I urge you to read it, if not for just the femslash, just what a writer can do with characters seen as 'limited' in the regular sense when they put their minds to it. I enjoy it when stories take us beyond the show, and that's how I write. I think it's more than that for Chelle, it's a passion for her, and just by going by comments coming in from the end of her story, it's not just a story that should be shrugged at by anybody at all. You know the deal ff.net'ers...this has ladies doing naughty things to each other. If you don't like it, don't read. And please, if you do read, please review and give me feedback, I love it lots.
SPOILERS: Mostly for the Francie situation in early season three, but not set around a specific episode as it takes place in an area of the timeline where no episodes occured.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Longing With a Cherry Tomato on Top
By Nate

Chapter Nineteen
Darkroom Encounters & Non-Booty Calls


Rory's POV, 9:00pm

Have you ever had one of those days you just never wanted to end? That you went into thinking as you got up from bed that it was going to be gloomy and grey, and that you'd spend most of it brooding and grumpy, but it became wonderful because of some kind of event occurred?

Usually, that never happened at Stars Hollow High. If there was one thing that took us out of the classroom, it was assembly. Or as I think of it, an hour of silent torture while most of the teachers hung out at the corner, smoking and venting about their students while a skeleton staff hoped whoever was on stage kept us occupied enough.

Let me say something right now. Assemblies in Stars Hollow might be the lamest things ever. You'd think they'd be fun. But they never were. Tortuous puppet shows about stranger danger, theater company rejects warning us about cocaine, corporate video presentations that make me dread the day I have to enter a newspaper's auditorium and watch the Up with People-like sexual harassment videos. And then the speakers...the freakin' speakers! My principal had horrible taste in speakers and picked out people who mumbled their words, robotically went through the topic like they had with every high school in the Valley, and just did not light any kind of fire under my ass.

I hated assemblies in Stars Hollow. At least at Chilton, we get the high-ticket assemblies with people who actually give a damn, knowing if they suck, the students of Chilton will boo them off the stage instead of snooze through them. We're paying big bucks to be in this school, and you better have a damned good reason to put our asses in those seats.

OK, I'm not making the assembly point because say, Derek Jeter came to our school and spoke about something. There was no assembly today at all. But I love fun things. Fun and surprising things that you would never expect to occur. Especially when they turn a dull day into a bright day.

Wait, did I just admit I have a crush on Derek Jeter? Ohh boy, I guess he has a cute butt. But if I ever told Paris that, she would certainly disown me, her family having held Fenway season tickets since the 20's. Luke wouldn't mind, being the Yankees fan that he is.

What, I may be a lesbian, but I still have plenty of fun things to say about guys. I just don't want them sexually, that's all. Hey, if Par can still proclaim her somewhat secret want for that Canadian guy on Whose Line?, I can still crush on a boy.

Great, everything was going well until I admitted that. I am so dead now.

Although if Paris were to have killed me tonight, I think it would've been more from overwhelming desire than anything else. I mean, oh my God, I woke up, and it was just Tuesday. That's it. Nothing more than that. Three days after I became the lucky recipient of that lovely blonde's v-card, I was feeling the let down from the euphoria of that night. I had a heavy homework load last night, I got an invitation from the Springsteens for a second dinner that I had to beg myself out of, and to top it all off, I nicked my left leg pretty badly trying to shave it in the shower pretty badly.

Remind me when Paris has to do her spa day next week. I will come with her and hopefully she'll treat for leg waxing.

She was also quiet on the way up to Hartford on the ride north. Eerily quiet. I thought at the time she was also in a grumpy mood.

I forget how sneaky Paris is. Instead of having one of those odd and cold days...well, let's just say she made me feel very warmed and loved. Oh, this is going to be fun to tell, and certainly it tops any boring old assembly I've ever had.

I also now have a new appreciation for closed in spaces. Along with slinky lingerie and how fucking wet she makes me when she gets pissed.

It's too bad there's only twenty-four hours in a day. I wish this one could be much longer. Maybe like, 240 hours long.

Then again, that might be too much of a good thing. But good things come to those who wait.

And I've waited a long time to have a very wonderful night like this.

You'd think she'd be timid and cautious around me, a hair trigger trying not to go off as she just looks at me from afar, trying to hold back her thoughts and remain innocent.

But what was a slow tide to begin with, rolling gradually towards the shore, seems to have become a tsunami since the Formal. The subtle touches from her are more drawn out, the insinuations peering over my shoulder much broader, less hidden. The confidence that built up last week is finally manifesting within her, and the shy academic of old is still there, but she's becoming a bit more open about where she wants to stand in this relationship.

At lunch, she's actually taken to stealing a bit of my salad and even the carrot cake that comes as dessert. She'll distract me with a leg brush or some kind of question, reach over with her fork and stab a bit of cherry tomato and lettuce onto it, then just eat it as if she had permission already. It's blatant and wrong of her to assume, but what can I really do? Her hand is beneath my skirt and I can't object to that!

That, and dressing on her lip...very distracting. She licks it off blatantly, no blotting it with her napkin or anything, just running her tongue along the ridge of her lip. I get warm just thinking about that.

So many little things are getting to me with her: when she bends down to push up her sock, or a strand of hair falls out from behind her ear, even her style of debate within a classroom. I had to hold myself back as she argued vehemently about Dostoyevsky's style of prose to Mr. Mercurio in class Wednesday morning. Her eyes bulged out a bit as the teacher tried to shoot her down, and she stood there, arms crossed and tossing her hair back as if she was offended he was fighting back.

"I'm trying to challenge myself, but I fail to see how this author's experience is relevant to my generation, sir," she argued. Heads turned towards her as I watched Connecticut's top debater totally own the school's worst teacher. "I can't stand this damned book! Maybe in the 1860's it would make Oprah's book club quite easily, but seriously, the writer is so earnest and melodramatic that the names of the characters make their roles so transparent that there's no getting out of them. And six different branching parts? Really? If this guy were a writer for Law & Order the show would get lower ratings than some fishing show on NESN! I love complicated. I enjoy long, complex plots. But I shouldn't need to consult Mapquest to know where I am in a story." She argued a couple other points, and by the time she sat down you could tell that Mr. Mercurio was put in his place. I watched her from my seat. My heart was thumping hard in my chest, my eyes totally trained on her, and I sucked at my tongue, a sudden need in me to show her how much her commentary was appreciated. I closed my eyes and didn't even need to touch her the rest of the period because she was so dead-on about the book and brought me to a point where I couldn't stand the hard wooden seat against my ass.

I don't know what suddenly has brought her to be so bold and erotic with me. During paper meetings she brushes her leg against mine, while she comes over to my station often and writes little notes in the margins of my articles with her red pencil. Standing over me while her breath drifts across the back of my neck, she quickly scribbles what she needs to quickly while her hair falls down to graze my ear. They're usually just nudging corrections, grammar and prose like she usually touches on.

Today though, on what should be a long and trudging Tuesday, her notes seemed to have nothing to do with the articles. Her knuckles brushed across my fingers as her tall script flowed from the graphite and shielded it from view with her palm.

"Keep an eye on this. I won't tell you again, Gilmore," she purred, and then pulled away to leave me to read her notes.

I never thought I'd use editor and sexy in the same sentence, but I have many times to myself this week. I read her writing and felt flustered by her text.

A paler pink next time. Today's was nice, but it didn't blend in like I thought it should. - A

Oh God. She was talking about my choice of underwear for the day and with her shorthand 'A' to remind me of the ride into Hartford! I thought it looked nice, but I'm learning that her preference is that I contrast my skin with what I wear under the uniform. Something that's innocent is still cute to her, but she seems to enjoy me more in patterns that are interesting and bold. I smiled, and took it in mind.

The notes continued through our work forming the draft layout with everyone else, small things being listed on them, like her mention that she was drawn to the scent of my perfume. The slight highlighting in my hair also got to her, while the tone of my voice is better during an argument when I'm ready to argue my points rather than just going into the fight unplanned. I expected a note once everyone had left except for Ms. Peters and I could unbutton my sweater. Three minutes later, Paris came to my side and scribbled lines across a couple of lines of overwritten prose. Her nose touched the top of my head, while her right hand drifted across my shoulder. She hurriedly let her tall cursive overtake my writing in red, taking a bit more time than usual.

I was surprised by what she told me as she pulled away.

Might need a 2nd opinion on hose. Dreamt last night you wore them...took me back to old times. - A

I stopped her before she could leave, startling her. Moving towards the bottom of the sheet, I quickly scribbled a response.

Thigh highs? Full hose? Need to know further. I give her a look, and she shook her head. Putting her pencil next to my text, she communicated further.

Stockings, definitely, love peeling them off. That one hot day last June in DC? Liz Taylor in 'Hot Tin Roof' has nothing on you.

I stood still, in place. God, that heat wave towards the end of the month was miserable, and I still remembered it. Rather, my legs remember sticking to the leather of a chair in Kennedy Center as we waited to see some sub-Mark Russell political satirist. We had to dress very nice and humor the guy that he was funny, but the auditorium was hot and the AC was on low, so by the time we got back to Howard we were both sticky and sweaty. Paris got the shower first, leaving me to undress...

Which I thought I did in private, until then. My heart skipped a beat, the idea of her perving over me so early spinning me around. I darted a look towards her and responded in kind.

Once you got in that shower I got myself off hard. Thinking of you in that damp blouse. You sweated through it and...I wish you were heated up like that more often.

She turned to the next page, her response written fast.

Through my panties too...had to peel them off. Letting that dress slide above the garter, how dare you? - A

I felt myself tighten up...

Sucks that it's winter. I bet you get slick when the temp's above 80°.

Thank goodness Ms. Peters doesn't monitor the computer screens from afar. The written foreplay was quickly overpowering the article...

I naturally moisturize in any condition;, temp doesn't matter.

I decided to get gutsy and whisper my thought.

"How wet are you now?" I husked softly, shielding my voice so Ms. Peters couldn't hear us across the room. Why I was bringing myself into her game, I have no idea. I closed my eyes, ready for Paris to come to her senses and walk away angry.

Instead, she brought herself closer, letting her nose brush across the back of my head. Her voice was tight and shaky as she tried to dull our progress.

"No kissing at Chilton." She pulled away, and I knew her aversion and non-answer wasn't just a reminder of our self-set rules.

Before she could disengage herself from me, I brought her attention back my way, pulling the keyboard towards me and touch-typing a quick response to the non-answer.

I'm gonna ruin the seat in the Jag. I stare at the words as I heard her breath hitch at the insinuation. I felt her nails dig into my shoulder. She hunched back over me and scribbled another note onto the sheet of paper.

I think I can smell it coming from you. Making me aware of that, G-d. We have rules between us!

I thought for a moment as her fingers scraped across my bra strap. I felt so shaky, going into the unknown. What should be said was instead written and whispered. I crossed my legs over, beginning to warm, sensing her heat. I held down Enter for about ten lines and let the Tahoma text flow onto the screen.

Rules were meant to be broken, I typed. I feel daring, incredibly bold. Staring straight at the screen, I heard her breath hitch, a hard tap of her shoe against the hardwood. Bending back down, she scribbled a response, the lead of her pencil quickly dwindling as the details of the words softened on the sheet.

You're playing w/fire Gilmore. This round, she didn't pull away, and I could tell I was lighting her up. Down two more lines as my self-censor screamed at me to not hit Option+S...

Madame Editor, you're the one who started it. The question is; how are you going to put it out? I struck the enter key with force, waiting for her response while feeling my walls close in on themselves. I almost forced out an accidental moan as my slickened lips pushed against my hardened nub.

There was a history behind the Madame Editor name of course; it was what the other paper staff called her behind her back. In their hands, it pissed her off.

In mine though, it was a high compliment that pushed her ego to new heights not even seen by Maureen Dowd. She pushed provocatively against me, heat wafting from her as she used the last of her lead to put in the last word. My eyes totally focused on her handwriting, my cheeks warm and...well, Dean stacking soup cans at an end cap never did as much for me as Paris's proof-flirting.

Peters leaves in 15. If you can stand to wait that long, there are a few snaps in the darkroom I have to examine and you have to look at w/me. Punctuating the finality, she slammed a hard, deep dot atop of the last lower-case I in the sentence, and I saw the lead fracture.

"Damn it, I have to sharpen this," she cursed as she ran the implement up my arm before she slipped it into a pocket. Her voice was commanding and deep, filled with hidden lust veiled by the everyday task of writing a school newspaper. I closed my eyes, letting her have her wicked way with me.

Oh God! I was stone still in my chair panting heavily as I realized that I had just extended a wanton invitation to her, and she had not only taken it, but dared me to flout our self-governance about our relationship.

"Hopefully you'll take my notes in mind, Gilmore." Moving to hover dead center over me, she slid her right hand onto mine, guiding the mouse and hard-clicking the button as she pushed the cursor up to highlight all the text. "This won't work anymore. You need to redo this all over." After highlighting all that dirty text, she dared to stretch over me one more time and struck the backspace key with her middle finger.

A movement I didn't even notice as her mouth grazed the back of my scalp. The text blanked out and she pulled away as if she just pushed a reset button on me, Small Wonder robot girl-style. I heard her retreat, and whatever the story was, I completely blanked out on the topic and the details.

Fuck, I didn't even know how to do a simple byline at that point. My mind was only on one thing. It completely blanked out, and I spent an inordinate amount of time watching the cursor blink on and off, completely lost to the article I was intending to write. Even if I remembered the darn thing, it would've all come out written in lorem ipsum.

Ten minutes later, I heard the door to the darkroom open and close, and then the red light flipped on. Three minutes later, as I made a feeble attempt to write something...

"Have a nice evening, Rory. Don't forget to let Paris know to lock up." I looked up to see Ms. Peters ready to leave.

"She never forgets," I assured, and after some other pleasantries, our faculty supervisor left, as I felt nervous about entering the darkroom. I logged myself out of the network and put the computer in standby, pushing in the chair and wetting my mouth with Diet Coke. Slowly I approached the door and knocked, knowing if I did not I was signing my death warrant.

"Come in," she said, and I opened the metal door, expecting to see her actually working in some form.

Oh, if there were so many ways I was dreaming of the moment 'no kissing in Chilton' was broken, this was the one possibility I thought of the least, but was the hottest version.

There was Paris, bathed in the glowing red light of the room, sweat reflecting off her glistening skin. A foot propped against a cabinet holding photography chemicals as she glared at me, hungry and wanting, her brown eyes reflecting black within the dim room. Her tongue poked in the right side of her mouth; she took me in as I took her in.

The stubborn woman I've always known was relaxed in that setting. Her sweater was draped carelessly over a stool on one side of the room.

Along with, surprisingly, her tie. I darted my eyes towards her, the missing items becoming exactly that after that point. She beckoned me towards her as I stuck the hook and eye lock onto the door to kill any interruptions. I couldn't help but stare at her as I watched the shadows shift with each step.

"I reordered," she said softly, drawing her eyes down. I moved with them, towards her blouse. She shyly smiled, feeling a bit self-conscious about finally finding the seductress within.

The blouse she wore, instead of being ill-fitting and clumsy, was cinched close against her bosom, now fitting tightly against her, putting herself on full display. I could trace the swell of her breast, where formerly it just disappeared into the tuck as she tried to mute herself around Madeline and Louise. She unbuttoned down two places and the effect of her looking like that was overwhelming to me.

I asked her how many new blouses she ordered. "About ten," she responded softly. "I was surprised they had that many, actually, or that they would fit so well. I kept a couple of loose shirts, and the rest I donated to the Uniform Fund." I walked towards her, my gait careful as I felt overheated. "Some fortunate student shouldn't have to pay $45 for something that's nothing on my step of the wealth ladder."

I focused on her, becoming slowly turned on further. I heard my steps echo in the room, the red glow of the light contrasting our clothing in such a way that I felt the lighting of the room take my mood from dead focused on the newspaper to just wanting her.

"I was that girl once," I confessed. "I had to wear a Uniform Fund shirt the first two weeks until Grandma could try to order 25 shirts for me. Somehow I managed to have her pare it down to twelve."

"You can't have too many shirts," she said. "I...I'm just realizing now that there's no longer any need to hide myself." Her lip quivered while she kept her voice soft and hushed. "I was always teased for the way my body was, and rather than doing something like defend myself, or do something drastic like starve, I've ignored it. What use is it to play up things no one notices?"

"Thus, huge shirts." She nodded as I went into my own history. "I used to be the same way. In part looking good for Dean played into it, but it's like, I don't want to play into everything about body image. So I have a bit of a stomach; does it hurt me? Really, does it make any difference to have ten more pounds on me? I look good. I feel good. You're the same way, I assume."

"I think what did it for me was last week." We were close together against the counter in the corner of the room. "It was such a small step, buying me that lingerie. I thought I couldn't carry it off. But because I never tried, I kept that self-opinion that I was meant to be dowdy and dull. Who could give me that self-validation besides myself? Until you came forward, no one." Her warm hands slid against my arms, unbuttoning the cuffs of my blouse. "I never felt comfortable in a loose blouse, really. But I didn't know what else to do."

"We're both coming into our own, together," I surmised, my hands at her waist as she bent me against the edge of the steel counter. "Our self-censors are off around each other. For a long time myself I didn't gussy up, or bother with it. But we're human, beautiful, red-blooded vessels with hormones here. Eventually we have to capitulate to those inner desires we hold in because what would people say if either or both of us were sexual."

"Like your desire to have text sex on Sunday night with me?" The twinkle in her eye was mischievous and I shuddered while I recalled how I turned a boring and compulsory cocktail party she was forced to attend into something which made her a sopping mess. I grinned, seething as I untucked her blouse.

"You weren't complaining," I noted. "Better not, with such responses like I just bit into the cherry in my Temple...tastes familiar."

"A delicious cherry too," she recalled. "Nice and juicy."

I had to close my eyes, overwhelmed by her husky voice. I blushed, feeling myself color all the way head-to-toe. "I never thought you'd go for keeping the thread going for hours. I was just planning a hello and a little taste, but you went for the whole pie."

"What can I say? You can't just have a slice." I groaned as she slightly pressed against me, her eyes intense as a leg pressed against me softly. "Seriously, you're my levity now when it comes to these stupid events. Although I still think you timed that one message before Vance tried to lay his game on me to both piss me off and turn me into a dripping mess."

"How was I supposed to know?" I whined. "It was the truth that I still felt so weird about sleeping completely nude, that I had to stretch out. I...I didn't know it was that nice though."

"What did I tell you?" Her eyes roamed across my lips. "Wasn't it nice, waking up slowly from a dream about us in the library? You didn't have to bother with anything stopping you at all. Nothing was in your way."

"Nothing at all." I laid a soft kiss upon her lips. "To describe it while Sharon was describing you as the paragon young woman of Hartford society...a complete virgin, competent, compliant to whoever might marry you, loyal and unwavering..." I nipped her lip. "Which I'm sure is a carbon copy of how my grandmother describes me." I slid against her in a hug, our legs meeting as I tried to get out of my shoes. "But they're so wrong, aren't they?"

"Incredibly." She returned the kiss and soon we were entangled together, our bodies moving onto the cool surface in the middle of the room as she straddled herself against me, her right hand resting upon my thigh. She bit at the bottom of my lip, taking it between her teeth, rolling it back and forth. I breathed in deeply, feeling the innate urge to buck my hips against her when her hand wasn't near my core. "Bet you Summer would never think of doing this."

"Summer thinks?" My breath became heavy as slowly two fingertips slid across my thigh. "Oh, damn, Paris....God." I opened my legs a bit, heating up. "That...that's so good."

"Let me know, hon. I want to make you feel nice right now. Paper work is done for the day, we can finish tomorrow."

"What...about...no...kissing?" As I asked the question, she began to do exactly the negative of that statement, closing her lips around mine and giving me these slow and teasing busses which had just the slightest bit of tongue tease within. I felt her begin to settle against me, her body by far heated from so many close calls over the last four days. The buildup of our teasing was beginning to get to the both of us. Slowly, she pulled away and forced me into a sitting position onto the table. So little to keep me warm surface-wise...

"Fuck no kissing," she commanded. "Ever since you got into the Jag Monday morning I can't help myself, my wanting you. We're truly lovers now, and I'm tired of using self-invented rules to deny each other. My body just hasn't felt right since Saturday night."

"Tell me," I gasped out. "Please." I tasted vanilla on my tongue, the slight scent of spearmint within my nose.

"I...I really don't know how to describe it, to be honest. It's like this heat that radiates from within. I look at you and I develop some kind of blush that colors my face and seems to flow down from there." This was bare honesty she was sharing with me. "I try to brush it off, look serious and all that, but you get to me with those eyes and that smile. It's just...urrrgh." She shook her head. "I'm so besotted with you that I forgot to yell at Myra Canton about the many grammatical errors in her pep band article. I just couldn't do it!"

"Oh, Par," I soothed, "you can still be yourself around me; it's OK. You know I really enjoy when you blow your gasket at someone."

"I know, I just..." she blushed, laughing nervously. "I've gone so long without somebody that I don't know how it is to be in love. I'm still getting used to this, to us. I just don't know how to cope, to keep my edge. To..."

"Baby girl," I interrupted, lowering my voice to a growl. "I'm not going to let you get fully mushy on me just because we love each other. The girl I fell for shows no mercy and always gets her way. And I know that she wants a certain young lady to just fall apart with her right now."


I began to slide my hands up her shirt, above. "You must feel so hot, overheated. Just being able to browse at me from afar, be content with my slight touches in RN. It must be hard for you to know that I have to hold back doing so much to you from behind, like dipping my fingers below your collar." I let my voice just slide on out, my eyes focused fully on her as I pulled her against me, the building heat between my legs calling for a release. "I can feel it in your back muscles, how tight you are around me, the need for me to be around you. You've had a taste of me and you just want so much more, right?" She nodded as I kicked off my shoes, feeling awkward about pulling off my activities in such uncomfortable footwear. Paris already took the cue when I came in the room, her socks still on. "I want to feel you, how all of this affects you. Tell me...please, tell me."

"Force it out." Paris insisted on not giving out the details straight. I felt her against me, her left hand sliding up my skirt, flirting with the hem. She doesn't want this to go easy...this is going to be slow. Not like my first time, or in the depot. This was going to be sex, our first full time without all this pressure upon us, first stuff, virtues or no sense of our sensual selves, all of that. She wanted to be teased, to be riled up, know what buttons to push.

"What do you want me to ask?" I gave her a look of understanding, communicating that if she doesn't want to talk about something, it's OK.

But unlike everyone else, she isn't who she comes off to be. With me, she's Paris, my girlfriend, open, ready, unwilling to keep her heart closed off. She shook her head, picking at her skirt nervously, shifting her foot on the ground. I pushed my shoes beneath the table, my palms rested against the table. Her eyes seemed so warm and welcoming to me...

"Anything and everything," she responded, the bitter bite of her voice gone.

"Anything?" She nodded once again.

"I don't care. Rules are all off now. We are free to do, say, or ask anything we want to each other within the bounds of this institution."

"You declare that as student body president?" I smiled shyly.

"As long as you orally agree to it." Her eyebrow quirked up and I shook my head towards her.

"Well, when put it that way..." Once again, we both kissed, softly and without a rush to it. Slowly, each button of our blouses was undone, revealing just that much more of the each of us. I feel so warm for her, hungry for her. It felt so odd to undo a top on her that was so cinched against her bosom, but as I looked down, I warmed immediately, my eyes widening like saucers as to the effect I had on her.

"Well, I was going to ask if you physically arouse easily, especially your nipples. But I can see that I don't have to ask." Each one pushed against the material of the blouse and what was beneath it. She looked down, not shy at all about sharing her feelings.

"They...I don't understand it. Around Tristan I'd be aroused a little, but not to the point where I was showing off. But...um, there's probably a good reason for why they're so prominent."

"Why is that?"

"Take it down further." I did what she said, finishing off the last three buttons on the shirt and opening it up for her, sliding it off Paris very carefully, as if she was fragile. I wasn't going to get forceful, no matter what the darkroom setting was doing to me. In the deep and dim light of the room, I couldn't get my mind off from how sexually alluring the color red was, the romance of the hue. I felt less awkward, moonier with her in there as the blouse slid from her arms and onto the ground below.

I looked down once it was off, to be surprised by her also unsnapping her skirt.

For good reason, however. She wasn't rushing things at all, just to take off one layer for the sake of taking off a layer. As the soft sound of stiff school clothing dropped against the cool tile floor, I couldn't keep my eyes off of her at all as I took her in fully once again.

"I...I'm..." I tried to say something, but my train of thought had derailed. What do you say when you're looking at the woman you love in a state you'd usually associate with her Pied Piper friends or heaven forbid, some of the cheerleaders in the school?

Wait though. They would never look like this. Not in this day and age, because they couldn't pull it off in something modern. Paris has a classic and timeless beauty that cannot be duplicated, and only she could do what she did. I felt my heart pound as I took her all in, and my throat seemed to dry out.

"Damn," was all I could say. I was withering in her presence, feeling so much weakness in front of her as I felt numb, my cheeks warm and getting even more of a feeling that I was extremely lucky to have her. She settled her hands against my arms, pushing up the sleeves so we had skin-on-skin contact.

"I admit, it's downright anachronistic to dress like this, but it feels so nice."

"I'm sure it does." I was nervous about touching her. "You in a slip; it seems so weird. I don't know anyone my age who dares to wear one."

"You've just learned another secret thing I keep to myself," she said as I took in the cream-colored slip, no bra beneath, just fitting against her so well. I couldn't believe how alluring she looked in it, the garment smooth against her curves as if a second skin.

"If it's not a gym week, I try to wear a bra to school as little as possible. Ever since I was a little girl, I'd watch these old, vintage movies, all these women in thin undergarments and the like, how beautiful they were, and I yearned to be like them. But with Sharon in control of my wardrobe I have to sneak it through and be careful." I saw her face blank as she reminded me of the controlling nature of the woman, how I could never forget that if she got her way that she'd be stick-thin and sickly. "I just love the feel of the silk, how it doesn't irritate my skin at all. How even though I'm so stubborn and authoritarian, I don't mind being girly in some aspects."

I smirked at her, having at least one question answered. "Now I know why I occasionally find it hard to look for a bra strap."

"The question is," she purred, "you don't happen to mind this, do you?"

"Oh, not at all." I urged her closer, wanting to feel her warm body against me. "You look very hot right now, hon. I have to say, I'm glad you ignore Louise's advice to you, because you seem to do a pretty good job on your own."

"Actually, I may have had a little help," she confessed. "I did call Madeline this morning. It just felt like the kind of day to be a tease, and I asked her advice on whether to have my hair up or down. Having someone in my corner to give me some counsel really is helping. I don't know how she does it."

"Was she the one to tell you to go braless also?" I stared at her cleavage, prominent within the cups of the full slip. "Because if so, she has more than made up her apology to me."

"It's likely she did--"

I cut her off by moving my left index finger towards the dip of the V in the slip and began the slow teasing process that would start the dominoes falling. Four days of tension, all that unsaid want and blatant flirting, was about to come to a head. Using my fingernail I scratched lightly at the skin along the side of each portion of cleavage. I watered at her nipples in front of me, visible through the semi-transparent lace, the deep circles of pink flesh enticing. I felt an innate need to suckle against her, tease her. I always had an odd thing for nipples, even for guys, about how they're the same type of skin as that between our legs.

I wanted to experiment with something that I always wanted to try. As she moaned deeply while I teased her with my nails, I began to slowly plant the idea in her head of how I wanted to turn her on. The hard flesh drew me in, my eyes, magnetic to her as if my sense of feeding at infancy was returning, but instead for sexual fruition.

"Ror...ohh...ahh..."Her eyes tightened and I started to turn her on.

"Baby, what do you want?"

"You," she gasped out weakly. "Come on, please." Her breath shallowed as I eyed her up, tracing dot patterns with her thin freckling and prominent moles. I still am amazed that underneath it all, Par has all of these beautiful marks beneath her that add a character to her that some Neutrogena girl with nothing but clear unmarked skin can never compare to. The lace edging of the slip was beautiful and fragile, just barely edging the outside of each areole.

"Such a tease," I said, directing a stream of breath against her slip as my free hand traced her stomach through the thin fabric. "God, Paris."

"Not teasing," she gasped.

"Oh, but you are." I let my left hand drift down a strap, sliding fingers beneath it. "You have this hard front on you, but beneath it you're just beautiful." My voice softened as I took her in closely. "Your skin feels so warm to the touch."

"I know," she admitted. "I can't believe I'm doing this."

"Killing the 'no kissing at Chilton' rule?"

"Letting you get to me." She took a deep breath in, exhaling slowly as my finger dipped within her belly button. "I did not have anything on my mind coming into seventh hour today, seriously. I was actually going to go home early, hand the paper reins to you and decompress before we see my father tomorrow night."

"So you're saying something I did to you in life-sci got to you?" I couldn't think of anything before she hovered over my desk that was turning her on. "I guess I feel clueless about what."

"You shouldn't, because it was all just in my head," she said. "I've just had this feeling over the last few days, where it's like I can't seem to shake off our date on Saturday night. What we did, what happened, and how it affected me. I don't know if that girl at the shop lined my dress with love potion or what. But I've just feel so off keel since I left you in the bed."

"So pretty much, what you're trying to say in your long and complicated upper crust New Englander kind of way is," I smiled at her widely as she looked down towards me, and began to push the flirt even further. "You're in heat?"

"If you want to compare me to a common housepet, certainly." I laughed a bit at her analogy before she shot a menacing glare towards me. "I'm serious, Gilmore. I shouldn't be at this stage where my mind is filled with sexual thoughts of you in the middle of class, where I should be fully attentive. Instead I'm thinking of you laying kisses all over while you seem to give me limitless orgasms."

Oh, did she know what that was doing to me. Hearing her describe me as a seductress who had turned her on made me feel heartened and extremely useful, and I never thought I'd be able to get anyone to that point. There was a bit of pride floating within me that she was getting this off-track, all from nothing more than a stare. She was the only one who could make me feel this way. Dean never could, not once. My patience was always exhausted when it came to him. But with Paris, it's different. The teasing is there, along with the strong competitiveness that's always going to be a part of us. I know how both of us tick, that as I admitted my voice thing with her, she was hoping for me to feel a come that was out of control, sexual and beautiful. Using that drive on the mats I also did the same thing, trying to push against her and stimulate her in a way she had never felt before from her own hand.

We have give and take, and I was ready to give, and I had hopes she wanted to take of me. We stared each other over as my fingers curled around the slip strap, ready to push this idea of us beyond what we had done so far. I smiled at her, those serious browns wide open, prepared for what we were about to do.

The both of us were enchanted as we began the undressing, her first. I barely grasped the spaghetti strap of her slip as she took down the last few buttons on mine to expose the ribbed tank top, colored a light blue to match school colors.

"Limitless? I don't know if I could handle a girlfriend screaming every four minutes," I joked. I stared her over, rolling the silk material between my fingers. "I feel so daring with you, so naughty."

"I think it's always been there," she suggested as she stretched herself across me to do sort of a pinning move against the table. I released the strap, letting it fall and taking in the view of her above me, looking so intelligently sexy in just that one piece of lingerie. "You've always flirted somewhat to get your way with me."

"Huh?" I didn't understand. "Always? So you're saying even when I came to Chilton I gave off a sexual vibe? In what way? I don't think I have." I was lost on her line of thinking, though that was because the falling material of the slip was teasing me with a peek of pink, a Pavlovian reaction forming within regarding her breasts.

Pinning me down with her hands against the table, she worked the blouse from me by the sleeves as she explained. "You don't even know, because it's subtle. You kept saying that you didn't like me or found me annoying, yet you came back for more. I did everything I could to stop you beyond anything physical, and you still went after me. I just keep thinking that other women wither in my presence." She pushed herself closer against me, pushing out her cleavage just enough to create an allure that kept me in her clutches.

I was warming further as her voice became even more suggestive and breathy; her eyes just trained on me as if I was the prey. Her thumb pushed the sides of my blouse apart from each other, as I felt my undershirt tighten from her attention. "Just think about it, Ror. There you are, your first day, and I just turned you down cold. Never have you been brushed off so fast, as if you didn't exist at all. Even in the Hollow someone would listen to you, but not me, not there, where an F hung over my head like a cloud and I turned you down out of hand." Paris slipped her left hand further to get at the catch of my skirt. "I stared at you, thinking I got my way, that you'd never bother me again. I had no thoughts about you either way, but sitting at that desk, engrossed in a lesson you were lost on from being a month behind, you caught up quickly, your eyes open, taking in every fucking word that teacher said, your notes furious. Internally you're thinking that I'm a pain, that I've just committed scholastic suicide by turning you down. No matter that a week later you topped me in the exam with only seven days of study compared to my seventeen. You sit there, you think."

I brought myself two years back, into that classroom, Paris and I across that aisle, sizing each other up. My face colored red as I recalled my mindset, that this girl was pissing me off. I wanted to help, she didn't want me to, and it was fucking infuriating. Like I was back at Hollow High and about to be ignored all over again.

That entire class flashed before my eyes, the lectures, the notes, those jabs in the back by the guy sitting behind me. Add Tristan to the mix, and you probably would've walked out right in the middle of class if you were me, becoming alienated once again from the high school experience.

But leave it to Paris to bring out the undercurrent of my subconscious, licking her lips slowly, then going in for the kill with her description of my mind state. "The thing is, Madeline made me see things in another view. I have the clarity that's been missing for so long, so now I see that class for what it is. Your first move, unknown to me, was to lay down the gauntlet. To plant subconsciously that I would be thinking of you all the time, no matter how much I wanted to ignore you. The same on your end, as you were drawn to my stubbornness." Her finger dipped within the hem of my undershirt, near the catch of the skirt. "Answering the questions while I became infuriated with you, that was a subtle direction for me to pay attention to you. It was negative on the base level, the one we were at then. Subconsciously, however, the attraction began to build. The latching, our poles attracting, however you want to describe it." She motioned for me to sit up and prepare to take off the skirt. I pulled up, pushing against her as she untucked the shirt and took off my blouse the rest of the way. I found my focus distracted by her breasts, large, beautiful, defined. So natural, beautiful. In the state we were in, making me feel as if we were still in the school during the era before it went co-ed, sneaking a thrill before getting back to our boarding dorms.

Her light scent was intoxicating, drawing me in with subtle notes of perfume along her neck and down the plunge, her Star necklace resting softly against her clavicle. Her words were like honey to me, so beautiful.

"The attraction has always been there between us. We just never thought to do or say anything to acknowledge it." She wrapped her arms around me, taking me into a kiss that teased me, teeth scraping softly against my lower lip as she let herself get lost. Her voice took a softer tone. "I never had true sexual dreams of you before last year, but you figured within them somehow before then." I heard the rustle of fabric as the shirt fell from my arms. More kissing, slow, loving. Our eyes were closed as we got lost within each other. "Your eyes, they haunt me. Have for so long. That determination when you get all pissed at me, holding back words that are meant to hurt. I don't see you as you are, but this passionate girl." Kiss again...untucking my tank top, her hand on my stomach, mine on her arms, small wispy hairs dotting them. "I love your anger, your empathy, how nothing stops you. The determination, never to be stopped. Indulging me in the Puffs no matter how much you didn't want to get involved, but you stayed by my side, trying to keep me out of trouble." She became more frantic, blatant. The top was being pushed up to bare my stomach. "You're a true friend, there for me, kicking and screaming."

"I want to be there for you," I gasped, the bottom hooks of the skirt being pulled apart. "Always for you, the undercurrent to be empathetic."

"You know my pain, I know you do." Her breath was heavy, the words deep and soulful. "I may not have always wanted you, but I've learned that I have to have you."

"Me too, me too." Left hand brushing against the top of my stomach beneath my tank top, the other about to free me from the skirt. "Oh my God, I feel so tight."

"Tighter than usual?" I nodded, saying that I wanted her so much. "You feel a pumping, don't you? A want for something, a need for me. You want this, don't you?"

"Mmm." Another much deeper kiss, one that was involving our tongues. The gentle caressing of hers driving me further, I sensed the taste of her subtle lip gloss, minty and cool. My body became wracked with many more feelings as she let her hand wander inside my shirt, against the bottom of one of my breasts. I groaned within her mouth as the sudden touch went through me like a bolt. I couldn't stand the teasing, the rounding of a nipple with her thumb. A puff of warm breath came through her mouth; she pulled slightly away to take in a reaction that I wasn't in a bra. We were both going free in that moment, and it was like an inevitable destiny that we were internally prepared for this. A drip of saliva went down her mouth from our shared kiss, her eyes closed as she regarded me, afraid to stare.

"No laundry left?"

I replied in the negative. "Plenty of laundry, but I just didn't feel like throwing one on this morning."

Scowling, she gave me a dirty look. "And you failed to notify me of this, why?"

"You didn't ask," I reminded her while she began to push things further along. Her eyes roamed me over, my nipples pebbling within the fabric of the tank top. The room felt so hot, the red light forming an illusion that the room was warmer than it actually was.

Paris's voice deepened as she brought the both of us further in, farther from sanity. "You should've told me then."

Before I could stop myself, I made a quip. "So you don't believe in that whole policy?" She was thrown for a second, but quickly matched up.

"Certainly not. But right now I'm not wanting of a political debate." Paris smiled down at me, and with that closed off the conversation quickly. Her fingers flitted across my nipples, circling each of them and enjoying watching the building stimuli as she riled me up. I couldn't believe how she teased me, her other hand sliding between my skirt and panties, playing with the waistband at the fringe. I felt a rush of air drift in, a lump moving from right to left, her finger lifting both articles up to tease me. The air seemed to hit right where I least expected it as I pushed out a harsh breath.

"Ohhhh...ohhh dear!" I was so unbelievably wet from her teasing and I couldn't find my concentration.

"Rory, please...touch me." She felt a bit of anguish wanting to further things along. "Make me feel good."

I let my finger run against the strap of her slip, dipping slowly within the V just above one of her breasts. We soon began to work each other off in such an erotic and heated manner. I pushed down the slip to expose her breasts and began to kiss at them. At first I felt leery from the thought she might find it demeaning, but her rushed heartbeat and her gasps as I rounded each of them as I played suggested so much otherwise. She began to relax back and I concentrated on them, making up for the time she had been neglected. The material of my skirt bunched between my legs irritated my thighs as I clenched the material between them and felt warm. The skirt wasn't made for having sex by any means, and I wished for it off, but we were just buried into giving each other pleasure.

She cried out my name as I lathed one of her nipples, sucking against it as if trying to draw something out from it. I didn't feel odd and she didn't stop me at all, going so far as to encourage me to explore her further. I heard Paris's deep cries echo within my brain, no words really, more just random syllables. She tried to strip my tank top, but the only thing her feverish pulling was doing was stretching it in unintended directions. This continued on longer than we thought possible, sharing, kissing, passion...I couldn't help but think her hand up my skirt was so sexual and untamed, making me feel like that we were about to become true Chiltonians from going through sex in the school itself.

More clothes came off, our socks kicked off quickly, followed by my skirt, but a little too fast as she took the zipper off-track and separated the teeth. I didn't dwell on it (would you?), and soon I was lying against her in the pink panties which started this all to begin with. As I didn't plan for us to ever be sexual in Chilton and there was no gym, I let myself slip for today. I looked up at Paris, a bit scared as she connected the dots. She stared me down, her deep eyes taking me all in, the shirt bunched up to expose my belly button, my hair all astray, with the underwear just a bit beneath my hipbone. I felt a bit sloppy, freaked I was killing the mood.

Instead, her hand caressed my cheek, and she stared at me lovelorn. Then silently, she made a motion that she wanted me to lose my shirt with a push up at the back near the hem.

Yeah, that's one way to make myself match again. I felt so daring beneath her as she shifted the shirt up, letting her fingers wander up my ribcage. You can't see each rib thankfully (yeah, not a fan of visible ribs here), but she could feel each bone. She let her fingers take in each of the curved bones until she reached my sternum, and then moved back towards the next one. I was soon left only in my underwear, the tank top tossed onto a spare stool. Our shirts were on the table, spread beneath me so I wouldn't have to be cold from the steel surface. She slid off from the table in order to let her slip slide off the rest of the way down her body. I watched, sitting on the table with my knees bent as she let the article fall into a heap at her ankles. I felt the heat of the room build up as I took her in.

I was so turned on at the thought that we both went free for the entire day and I really wanted to touch myself as I looked at my Par-Bear bathed in red. Her skin glistened in the light, her curves standing out as she stepped out from the slip. Shadows falling, defining her small form further. Her nipples had that tiny shadow that cast against her breasts and the moles all over her body really stood out. I could have just stared at her for the rest of the evening, memorizing how her stomach curved as she stretched out, the way her hair fell exactly to shield her breasts and how her brown eyes in that photographic light took on a really dark shade, reminding me of erotic novels I read where the lust was expressed by black eyes.

She pushed herself back onto the table, bending down on her knees as she hovered over me. She was focused on wanting to please me so much. With each shift, her breasts had that small little bounce to them, and I felt the blood in my body pump faster and faster. I watched her hips shift with each move towards me, her movements like an animal. I really had to thank our girl at the Secret one of these days for recommending boyshorts to Par. The light blue underwear flexed perfectly with her body, reminding me why exactly this woman was in my dreams for so long.

I love the reality more though. This was beautiful and loving. The Paris above me was the same girl I knew sophomore year except she wasn't shy about her body.

I closed my eyes as she took me into her arms and kissed at my neck. I encouraged her to just kiss me, on and on, to not get enough of me. I could tell how hungry she was by her zeal. Her teeth, scraping against the hollow of my throat. I felt her hands moving lower and lower, down towards my panties. She cupped her hand against my crotch, and soon it was clear what she wanted. Her other hand was at my back and began to pull the fabric down. Moving her busses along the edge of my chin, I felt my core heating up. She didn't say a word. There were none needed, and soon we were both in that intimate lover's clench, necking and petting. My panties were peeled down and they stayed on near my knees as her fingers circled my clit, engorged and damp. I took in a deep breath, bumping my head against the table as she worked me off. I heard just our breathing, the humming of some appliance, while my eyes were filled with Paris's damp and reddened form above me.

Things went further and further. Skin met skin as we came ever closer. My girlfriend was very warm, the closed in and dark space heightening all of our senses, especially touch and scent. They mixed together and I felt my body become very sensitive to every touch Paris sent through me. She seethed through her teeth when I touched her breasts and let my hands wander her back, my nails scraping against it. Soon, we were reaching that point where we needed each other so badly. I wanted this...wanted this so bad. She slid her fingers in, and I tightened right against them. The same with her, and soon we were establishing this slow rhythm mixed with kissing and necking, the occasional grunt and gasp. Par was in heat, but I was going to cool her down in a slow and tenuous manner...make her beg for it, silently.

It was just wonderful, focusing on each other, all of this going on between us. We knew there was a chance that someone could walk in on us making love, Ms. Peters could come back for something or have the key to unlock the door. But with that pithy little red light bulb stopping anybody, we didn't have anything to fear. Photography was serious to Paris, and if someone ever ruined developed shots, they'd never work at any paper, pro or amateur. We were safe, a cushion between us, along with heavy metal walls keeping our lovemaking to ourselves.

We spent a half-hour in that room, doing nothing more than giving into our passions. My morals were stretched to the limits, my skin heated to the touch from both closeness and friction from my leg against her. Sweat dripped down onto me, her forehead dripping with the energy she was expressing from my want of her. Her voice was high as she rode the peaks and valleys of our sex. I no longer felt like I was before Chilton, like a little girl coming into a situation with the best and brightest of Connecticut. My heart swelled with each kiss, touch, stroke, caress. I was numbed, my body stretched in a thousand different directions. She would go down on me, and this time she stayed there; it wasn't a tease. My hands nested within her beautifully messy blonde locks and I opened up as she let her tongue stroke against my clit. It was slow and laborious, not at all what I was expecting.

But damn, was it awesome. All that tightness within me, through three days of not seeing her, it seemed to dissipate as she went further, tasting me and making me brace the table hard, biting on my lip with each new slide of the tip against my bud. I watched her below me, humming against my flesh, my eyes tightening up. I don't really remember each and every single moment after that, because it was just something where you can't describe it in mere words. It was just...oh God.

I can't find them. All I remember is about twenty minutes later, curled up against her as her fingers ran through my hair, both of us on top of our blouses. She was back in just the slip and the skirt, looking me over as I opened up my eyes to her. She kissed me softly upon my lips, and smiled in that subtle way of hers, going over the situation as she loved to do.

"You know, I keep thinking that I've found my sexual peak with you. But I'm surprising myself." She giggled uncharacteristically as she wrapped around me. She had slid back on my panties and had my tank top in her hand as she handed it over. "I don't know how long I've dreamt of doing it in the darkroom."

I rolled my eyes, smirking. "I knew you had this planned. How long?"

"The day I came onto the Franklin, except it would've been with Tristan and a bit more...dominated by him."

I cringed. "I mean with me, not him."

"Well if you're looking for specifics, since at least last May when you started to strip down during those hot days." I ran a finger across her lips, enjoying her closeness as my other hand took the shirt. "I would actually nod off during my practice editing for Ms. Peters. It turned out tougher than I thought and I stayed until 9 o'clock a few times."

"So you fell asleep on your keyboard and woke up in a cold sweat?" She nodded at me and I laughed. We talked a little more, got dressed, as she went on to explain that she felt fulfilled with the both of us in that darkroom. As she organized the room back into a somewhat non-messed up state and put back on her blouse (and might I add, untucked and without the tie? Yeah, very yum-o...), she explained that it was good luck.

"I heard rumors over the year that the darkroom is required to be sexually initiated by the new editor, sometime before the end of first semester. It doesn't matter with whom, just as long as it occurs." She blushed, trying to explain that indeed, she was hoping I would go for it. "We've had about eight or nine off years during the entire run of the newspaper. Some of those came during the war years, girls worried about the boys over in Europe and too busy to take their minds off. Not to mention we had to fit sixteen pages of news on eight because of rationing. The 80's also were kind of a dry run where the unauthorized pubs nipped at our heels. We had some very weak editors, giving into Headmaster Cameron when he was midway through his twenty year dictatorship as head of Chilton."

"Charleston is a breeze?" I was surprised. "I think he's stern."

"Cameron made everyone recite the Lord's Prayer after the Pledge, and no one, not even the few Muslim students, dared to mess with his authority. It finally took a news crew from Fox 61 shooting b-roll and deciding to expose him to get their news department started with a bang to end the practice. My father absolutely loathed him, very traditional, mean, backwards. If not for the union, he would've kept corporal punishment going past 1982." Paris is almost as deep a historian of the history of Chilton as anyone else you could find. She went on further to describe all of the other anecdotes she learned over the years about the Franklin. "The weak editors, you could tell right away from the archives. They don't print the critical letters, they barely delved into any school issues beyond lunch, and their stories never had a punch to them. It read like a small-town paper. Not your Gazette, but something very hollow, meant to fill a paper rack and put money in the owner's pockets. I think we're here because we want to break things, to be a training ground for the journalists of the future. Blogging, yes, that's only going to go up in the future and every Johnny-come-lately with a PC can state their thoughts. But newspapers, they'll still have a place. They need to."

She was passionate describing how much she had fallen hard for journalism, her cancer researching dream seeming to be in the distant past with each new day. "I looked at you and the first thing I thought was that you wouldn't have it, Gilmore." She sat down on top of a table in the newsroom, powerfully arguing how she saw things. "I really did think that. I'm sorry if it hurts, but I looked at you, and you didn't have that jaded view of the world, the one that takes you out of the excitement of a moment and brings you into a dull neutrality. You get excited about everything."

"I do not." I shrugged, throwing back on my blouse lazily and not even bothering to button it up as I put my sweater vest back on. "I didn't get excited for Dean's hockey playoffs."

"Who would? The NHL's been ruined by their ridiculous zone defense rules and it's passed down to the high school game." I watched her legs dangle enticingly as she eventually turned her opinion into a compliment. "But what I'm saying is you're not worn down by anything I throw at you. You look at the work and whatever it is, I can count on you to write a good report, keep it neutral and the writing to be top notch. You made me respect you so much last year by standing up to my stupid third-grade tactics and making it clear you weren't going to tolerate me giving you the lower tier stories." She tapped her fingers against the table as she stared at me, proudly. "I'm not just saying this as your girl, but you're doing me proud, Gilmore. You've built up a good mix of tools and you can pretty much switch-hit between writer, observer, and all of the writing styles and POV's. I might even see a couple of guest editorials in your future."

"Oh, Par." I blushed, because I'm not the type who really wants to be a columnist. A byline is like a comfy blanket to me, and I don't mind hiding under it. "I couldn't...I really don't think it's a good idea. What if I screw up?"

"You wouldn't, I'm sure of it." Sliding off the table, she felt the need to correct my assumptions. "You can be very persuasive and I know your passion. I know you like to underplay your time with Junior Leadership in DC, but you took on all comers in your debates and won them well. You argued the points crisply, your voice was even, and I no longer hear that soft little stutter you had to start out with."

"And I've improved my WPM?" I asked, hopeful. She smirked, nodding with a smile.

"You have indeed improved on that. Although we still need to work on the dairy addiction."

"I have been working on that!" I scoffed. "You told me to cut out milk."

"You ate a la carte cheeseburgers before a couple of debates. That is still dairy, my friend."

"We didn't lose, did we?" I argued, bending down to pick up my backpack, sitting next to my workstation on the floor.

"No, but we have to be prepared, no matter what. You know that." I huffed good-naturedly at her obsession with clean living as I picked up my safety yellow bag, and just smiled back at her. I think it's a pretty good point when my debate prep is the only thing she has to get mad at me about, right?

Little did I know I was about to put our relationship back on the line again. As I hefted a strap onto my shoulder, I didn't realize that the front pocket of my bag was still open from when I took a pencil out earlier. The zip was open, exposing the pocket holding my pens, pencils, diskettes...

Along with one other thing. I heard a slipping sound as I got the bag on my shoulder, one other thing I was afraid to bring up to Paris yet. The object fell out from being upside down for only a moment, but it was still enough time. I couldn't rescue it or do anything with it as both my hands were occupied with putting the bag on, so I had to watch in what seemed to be slow motion as the device slipped from the bag and down towards the floor.

The first words in my mind? Oh God, no.

Within my own speech? "Crap!" Paris's eyes darted over to the object immediately and she quickly made her way over the couple steps away from me to catch it. She dove a little bit, down to her knees, not caring that she would scuff her skirt with the dirt of the hardwood floor. All she saw was $50 about to break apart on the floor. I was hoping at that moment she wouldn't catch it, no matter that what was on the device was important in my attempts to undermine Francie.

She caught it just about a foot before it hit the floor and grasped the microcassette recorder in her left hand tightly. I didn't know what she was going to do next, but I knew I was likely caught.

For one thing, I am an organizer. I couldn't label the tape in the player with some fib label like 'fun stuff' or 'lecture notes', could I? No, I'm Rory Gilmore. I have to know what's on the tape. As she got back up, she didn't offer the player right back to me, because I knew her eyes immediately landed on the door of the player, which had a visible window onto the label and the amount of tape left.

Suddenly I was cursing that I was truthful and labeled the tape 'Conversations with Francie, week 10'. I prepared for the torrent of emotions to come, for her to feel a betrayal for me going behind her back in order to make these backroom deals to keep her government somewhat fluid. I knew I couldn't lie as she looked at me, her eyes dead focused on me as the expected words came from her mouth.

"What is this?" She asked the question neutrally, without a bit of anger. Not yet, at least. Any opportunity to lie was quickly extinguished as I felt my girlfriend-honesty side come out instead of the one that should be covering my ass.

"Hit play." I sounded defeated, totally giving up without a thought. She grasped at the player tightly, and I couldn't tell what she was thinking about at all. "I...I'm--"

She stopped me before I could make any excuses. "Fine." Then she hit that play button, after a few seconds of rewinding.

I was scared, frozen in place. I slid back into my chair, ready to cry, but feeling completely numb. I did this. All I could do was admit that fact and hoped to God she would still stay at the very least, my friend. I hated this, not letting her know about my sessions with Francie.

But I only did it to protect her. That's all. I was willing to take Francie's damaging barbs in order to spare her the abuse from the only other Chilton student who has ever bullied her. I know that, because Madeline told me last year after the Puffs debacle. Suffice to say and to keep it short, she was Paris's Sam Petersen, except with increased and hyperbolic gay-bashing, along with bitter loathing for her intelligence and sweeping of school offices.

Paris had never said a word as Francie tried to recruit me. But from that one conversation in April last year, I no longer regret that Charleston busted us in his office. If we had gotten in, our souls would have withered. Paris would have seen herself go from the strong and iron-willed girl she has been to nothing but an underling. Francie would have bullied her in any way she knew how and when I heard her pet name for Par from Madeline, for the only time I ever, I shocked even Mads with my language.

"She calls her...'that uppity blonde'...you know the word. It starts with C, ends with T, and has the United Nations initials in between." She was scared to say the word, going by that mnemonic to sound it out. I seethed and with only my emotions guiding me, I let it rip.

"Funny what she calls Paris, because she certainly isn't. Francie however, is a rotten cunt." I didn't have my self-censor on at all and the look on Madeline's pale face was shocking.

"Rory...my stepmom could've heard that." She shook her head. "Don't you think there's good in every one?"

"Fuck her, Madeline. A good Puff would have taken the blame for the whole group. But when the police came, she didn't speak one word. Not. One. Word." My anger level was high after hearing all the abuse heaped over the years on my girl from Francie. "If it wasn't for Lisa telling about how the group recruited me, her, and eventually Par, along with the other girls, Francie might have been able to keep the Puffs together. However, she found the courage to tell everything, and thank God she did. Once the school opened up the Puffs to scrutiny, they didn't see the group Sandra Day O'Connor joined; they found a hollow shell which used this entire secret crap to further their agendas and install their officers and horrid schemes in the school." My mouth trembled as I recalled the one thing I hated about it all. "If it wasn't for Francie's daddy donating $50,000 to the Hartford Fraternal Order of Poilce branch before the cops would have charged her with the break-in, she wouldn't be in school right now."

Madeline promised to keep the entire story secret, as only Paris and I knew because of privileged information for a Franklin investigation piece that was to be printed in the last issue of the paper last year, and that she worked on personally with a senior photographer and senior researcher that could push out of the way and deny everything when it was published. I was to contribute my own experience, and we were sure to have gotten much more than the Oppenheimer for it. It would have broken the secret sororities of Hartford area schools and UConn wide open, and what we found turned our stomachs, so much that we will not even consider pledging for any sorority when we get to college.

However, it would never be printed and not because of Headmaster Charleston's interference. We were sure he would have approved it without any second thought. Before we went to press, Ms. Peters received a gag order from Francie's attorneys, threatening libel and slander charges and a multi-million dollar lawsuit if we printed it. The language in the order was threatening, even frightening, to both Ms. Peters and Paris. Somehow, the lawyers had let slip in the wording, 'we will own you, ladies. Back off this piece. You won't win in court.'

So we never printed it. Currently the entire story sits on a local drive on Paris's computer, never to see the light of day. Ms. Peters told her to take it off the Franklin network and to keep it unprinted until the day Paris felt that she was strong enough to fight her worst enemy. "Keep a copy," she told the both of us. "I hate to say we can't fight this, but we have to back off. This threatens all of us, and no matter how much it hurts, this is something I will regret until the day I die. She may have wormed her way to senior class president, but I will not see her ruin my brightest pupils. I might be your adviser here and on student government, but I will defend you both. Screw impartiality; you will both win one day. Her threats mean nothing to me. She knew we got her, but one day, she will see that she cannot forever hide behind her lawyers. Her own mouth will get her into trouble."

In case you can't tell, Ms. Peters really loathes Francie, mainly because she never has respected the woman's authority in any way.

So that's the full situation. I've never felt like saying a word until now, but I have to show you why I was scared that Paris would react the wrong way to the tape. As she hit play, I felt my life flashing before my eyes and a humming in my ears. I was freaked as I heard the hateful words of her over the last two weeks come out harshly through the tiny speaker of the recorder.

I remember exactly where I was. Not in the bathroom this time, but in an empty classroom. Francie forced me to sit at a desk as she stood at the lectern in front and spat out what she wanted me to vote on, to approve and deny, and my attempts to return her fire. In this meeting, she wanted me to vote against extra promotion of the foreign exchange program, and tried to convince me of the evils of doing so with an extremely xenophobic and paranoid speech which involved multiple invocations on the theme of "9/11 changed the way we lived our lives. I realized then that I cannot live in a country where people from others are yearning to get in by any means possible." She went on to criticize NAFTA, said that the Border Patrol should begin shooting on sight, that outsourcing should be banned and the poor in this country should be forced to work those demeaning phone jobs. "You know what we get when the Indians take over our health care?" she asked me.

"A good health care system?" Hey, I have no problem with my doctors at all; my OBGYN came to America from Islamabad, for instance.

"You're not serious. You see how horrible their health care system is. They come over here, they'll start by taking our jobs, and twenty years from now our hospitals will look like something you see in a Sally fucking Struthers ad!" I was appalled by her rant, and then she went on to use racist words further, which I will not repeat. Paris and I heard it all, and I felt so nervous that she was going to hate me. The tape continued as Francie goes on to say what a great man Lou Dobbs is, and goes on to an abusive tirade from last Wednesday where she reminded me that my vote to deny funding to the Rainbow Triangles was important to her, no matter what the cost.

"I don't want to see those degenerates helping out anyone," Francie had spat at me, slamming the desk hard and causing a jarring sound against the microphone. "Nora Folsom is willing to do anything, including eating out the faculty to get what she wants. I know it. The way she looks them over with those sicko eyes, the way she kisses Mrs. Jackowski's ass. She is a power hungry tyrant and will not stop until she's not only fucked all the teachers and make them swing dyke, but she has RTS members take over positions of power in every other service club."

"You might be overreacting a bit," I reasoned. "She's actually shy from experience--"

"That's exactly how she strikes. She's a venus flytrap! One moment she's all 'oh, this'll be good for everybody,' and the next she's on her knees--"

"Francie, stop it!" I remember my jaw squared as I tried to make her see reason. "This is not helping to change my mind at all."

"Then how about this?" Her voice darkened as she laid in a threat to me and held my wrists over the surface of the desk. "You vote to extend their funding, I will make sure an anti-homo group is protesting in your town square on Christmas Eve day, night, and all the way into Mr. Christ's birthday." The glint in her eyes was evil, and I actually cringed. "I know the stats, six happy and gay couples in your little storybook bumfuck town, living in obscurity. Well, if you say yes to funding the RTS, we'll have them protesting in the town square. And you know what? You won't be able to do one single thing about it. Freedom of assembly, remember?"

"So you'd be willing to humiliate me based on one vote for what? An extra grand a year?"

She nodded. "That thousand has better uses. You will vote no on RTS or instead of Jingle Bells, the town will be hearing 'hey there, Hollow, these sicko homos have gotta go.' Repeat many, many times."

"What if I were to tell Taylor to deny your permit?" I asserted. "And all the churches downtown would never accept your protest, you hateful bitch."

"Well I guess that's your problem now, isn't it...Rory?" She spat my name hatefully. "I have my ways. My daddy has the money and influence. I mean...I could get James Dobson to drop everything and get the next flight to Windsor Locks for the right price. Wouldn't that be fun? The head of Focus on the Family blaming your pale little visage for making being gay OK in Chilton?" My blood boiled from her threats; she was playing far from hardball. She was aiming for the cranium at a batting helmet-smashing speed. "I don't care what good they do, it's wrong. The Bible says so. Everyone else thinks so. You might think your world is all happy, but the reality is, by voting yes on extending the funding, your ticket to Hell is assured."

And then she took a sickening pause to get in one last shot.

"You vote no, or Paris will find herself nowhere near Boston. I hear Montana State-Bozeman is beautiful around January, especially when those vicious Alberta Clippers swoop in and freeze everything in sight, including her as she walks to yet another class that will keep her a trophy wife forever. How would you like that on your hands?" She came close to me. "I will make sure she never sees Harvard. Guaranteed."

"We'll see," I said, turning away from her as I was finally escaping from her grasp. "If you're willing to carry out this vendetta for so long, you're pathetic. I'm over it. Paris is long over it. I hate what you're doing to us, and it's going to bite you in the ass one day, Francie."

"Yeah, when? While I'm laughing my way to election as governor of Connecticut?" The thought of her running our entire state chills my blood. "Get over it, Gilmore. You will lose. Moreover, if Paris ever learns about this, she'll hate you forever. You're fucked either way."

That's when the tape ran out, and I looked up at who was likely soon to be my ex-girlfriend with tears in my eyes, feeling like I betrayed her in the worst way possible. I wanted to run far away, to avoid the upcoming unfocused rant that was sure to come. The player clicked and began to rewind and the silence was unbearable as I heard the pumping of my heart in my ears. I wanted to say that I was sorry for going behind her back, that I hated that I was doing this to her. I began to collapse and slide down in my chair, looking down at the floor, as everything seemed to turn to black.

There was no doubt she hated me now. She would never touch me again...

And then she took my by the arms. Oh God, she was going to push me against the wall and try to shake some sense into me. What was Paris going to do? Tell me what I bitch I was, that I wasn't good enough for her? That maybe I should see if Francie wanted me and she was hiding her real sexuality under all this ranting...

I heard her inhale, slowly. She was about to speak. I was sure, with certainty, what the next words from her mouth were going to be.

"I learned about it, and she's wrong. I love you, Rory Gilmore." Instead of anger, her words came out in a soft, determined tone of voice that did not waver. "I love you, forever."

And she did push me against the wall, but instead of taking a punch, I took a hard, hot kiss where she slid her hands beneath my blouse and grasped at my waist for dear life as she went in for it. I felt suction upon my lips, grasped at tightly, our body heat shared while she made it clear that what I did wasn't wrong.

It wasn't wrong. It was, but in her eyes, it wasn't. I can't wrap my mind around that, but the way she kissed me, letting her lips slide across my jawline in small little flutters, it was jarring, but it gave me hope. I also felt wetness sliding down her cheeks; and she was crying.

It took us a bit to break apart, and we just stayed like that, still, stoic. Still together. Slowly, I broke apart from her, though she refused to let go of me, so I stayed with her. I knew I had to apologize, but I didn't know how to go about it. But soon she made it clear that the only thing I had to be sorry about was that Francie's lame blowjob took her competitor out of the race and threw me into her machinations in the first place. She settled herself down, the moment getting to her, that initial anger melting into indignation that her girlfriend would be stuck in this situation.

"You have absolutely no reason to apologize to me, Rory," she clarified before I said a word. "This is not your fault. I understand what you had to do, that you had to play the politics as usual game and undercut me in order to keep me protected from that flame-haired whore." The slur was said with all of the bitterness she could ever muster. "I...if this was last year and all of this would have gone on, I would have been pissed off at you, no doubt. Angered and hate-filled that you would stab me in the back like this." She pushed away and continued to voice out how she felt about the situation. "But you had no choice. No goddamned choice in the matter because you have this protective side for me that built up over the summer. You're tired of seeing me hurt, of me coming last, and I know every day you had to meet her, you were thinking that when I found out I would kill you. But if you hadn't done this...if you hadn't..." She had to clear her throat, squinting her eyes, trying to stop the tears. "I would've been pushed out by now. She would have attacked me at every possibility, and Ms. Peters couldn't stop it because of the rules of order. Everyone has to speak their piece, no matter how puerile, hate-filled, and furiously wrong-headed their words could be." I watched her come apart, trying to make sense of my having to meet her. "That she is willing to take me down over $1,000...not even a big deal to the treasury, but $1,000. That shows me that she will stop at nothing to bring me down. Nothing." Her eyes searched the room, then moved back towards the tape player, the one that was bringing out all of her anger.

"Please tell me that's not the only tape you have of her."

I took in a breath, still feeling a struggle to use my voice. "Everything since October. It's...at home...the other tapes."

She began to get into her blood and guts Patton mode as she felt enlivened from the discovery that her mortal enemy could be brought down. "I will drop you at home tonight. You bring out all of those tapes. Over the weekend, I will convert them to MP3 format and personally drive a disc with all of the recordings over to Ms. Peters's apartment. None of this 'put it in her mailbox' crap. Francie cannot know what you're doing, what we're doing." Her voice sneered as she felt her resolve to take her down start anew. "I personally made a promise to the Rainbows that their funding would be assured, and doubled, and there would be no opposition to it if they managed to strengthen the amount of good projects they've done for the community. They have done that, and more."

"You know that Francie is trying to relaunch the Puffs in her own making, right?" I thought it was new news to her, but she shrugged.

"I knew. Trust me, Madeline let me in on that fact months ago. I know that she intended last year's bell-ringing ceremony to be the dissolution of the Puffs as they were." I was shocked as she told me that I was an important cog in her plans, unknowingly. "They planted someone in the guidance office to suggest you needed to be more social, they told that to the counselor, and they knew I would be roped into wanting to be in the Puffs with you. It was an attempt to bring down the top students, and plant Francie and her cronies in positions of power in the school. We would have been forced to take the blame. But without Lisa, that little mouse of a girl, who was unafraid of them, Francie's plan fell apart." She sighed. "It's just too bad she had to go to Hillside when the ex-Puffs threatened her with violence."

"I know. I was looking forward to being her friend." I frowned, knowing that even if she was with our rival school now, that girl had the guts that both of us wish we could have sometimes. She had absolutely nothing to lose speaking out to Charleston about everything, and we both appreciated that she defended us both and stopped us from receiving any kind of suspension or record black mark. I looked at Paris, so determined now, ready for the fight that would surely be coming

"We won't say a word about this after Ms. Peters gets the disc. This is over for now. You are not in trouble with me, or the student government, in any way possible. You were just being lobbied, that's all." Her official wording was definitely getting to me in so many ways. "But I do want you to do one thing."

"What's that?"

"Please, stay away from her." For the first time, Paris sounded scared. "I am dead serious that you need to keep a wide distance. Walk in the middle of the hall. Get everything from your locker before life-sci so a yank into a room will be caught by a witness. If I have to, I will ask Madeline to go with you to the bathroom from now on. The way she sounded on that tape, she was not politicking at all. She was threatening, and there is no reason for you to have to tolerate that." Her cheeks were red, her eyes dimmed as she tried to keep me safe. "I'm not speaking as your girlfriend, but as your president. I know that you're trying to protect me, but I don't want to see you hurt from her."

"I know." I looked down, into her hands. They were shaking in fear, and I could tell that she hated to see me anywhere near Francie ever again. "I...I never knew how much she hated you. I actually thought you did like her when you were trying to get into the Puffs."

"I suppose I should have been a bit clearer." She brought herself close to me and we backed towards the edge of a table holding spare copies of the paper. "I loved the organization, what it stood for in the past. They pulled the levers to expand the dull curriculum away from what it had been in the '30s, and they supported the drive to go co-ed and fund women's athletics more once Title IX went through and also pushed early to bring in a Headmistress. The Puffs, when they were under the control of sane people, were wonderful. They were secret, but only because they had no cause to come out of hiding, they could do everything behind the scenes. Once other interests got control in the late '80s though..." She sighed, holding fingers to her temples, saddened at how others were trampling on the history of the school. "They became no different from the cheerleaders. The group became a mean girls clique, and the big reason I was hoping to get in was to take control, and maybe in the year I could be in there I could've turned them back towards service and community, instead of a funnel for the Life & Death Brigade at Yale. That's all were at the end, the Brownies version of that idiotic organization, nothing but a faction which gives the guys in that group their future trophy wives." I couldn't believe what I was hearing from her, that I would have joined such an asinine group and she would have too. No matter that I know she would have changed things. I was pale, hearing all this from her, this sadness that the group she lived for was one from the past, not of the current.

"That, and...RTS was an outgrowth of the Puffs. It was actually a sub-group that began in the mid-80's, because it was a barely veiled fact that the Puffs were supportive of the lesbians here, with the guy equivalent, the Fawkes Society, known for shielding the gay boys. Fawkes broke up in '88, and the conservative interests gained control of the Puffs the next year, pushing out those they thought didn't agree with their policies. Which meant the old-line thinkers. Many of them moved to new organizations and then slowly the pushed out Puffs and Fawkes merged together in the RTS, staying secret until the gays in the military controversy flared up. Then they came out. Cameron was against them, fought to prevent funding, while the teacher's union and ACLU fought for them. Two years later, they were a full school organization and Cameron had been pushed into what the press release called 'early retirement' by the Regents for how he dealt with the situation and his fight against the women's athletic department to cut their funding at the expense of lacrosse and other stupid guy sports only rich boys care about. That's when Hanlan came in, and since then, RTS receives full funding."

"Until now." I bit on my lip, the history lesson so engrossing to me. "Francie had no reason to go after them until she forced the disbandment and Lisa exposed them. Now we're in office, she has a vendetta, and we have to fight her."

"We do." I couldn't believe it. "And she made it personal to me by going after you."

"Par, please don't take it out on her because of me," I implored. "I'm sure if we fight--"

"Hon, we will fight. Next Monday we will talk to Nora Folsom, explain what's going on, and get them ready to defend them from Francie and her coalition."

"But...but what about..." I didn't want to say it, because I know even if she's coming out to her father tomorrow night, she doesn't want anyone to know about us yet.

"I know. We're in a complicated situation." She understood what she was looking at. "This started before we got together, and before November 10, you had absolutely no stake in the future of that club. But once you told me you liked me, it became different. I know it. I thought about the funding more too, the conflict to come. But I think we can do this. I trust Nora, and everyone else in that club, to keep us hidden as long as we need to. We will have to tell them that we are together, but that we've always been pro-RTS. Love or not, we would have both voted to fund them, and we will fight to keep their funding."

"I will too." I was determined to see this through although I still expected for her to be a bit disappointed that I gave in and supported some efforts of Francie's. "I'm sorry if I voted nay on things I supported, by the way."

"Only a couple of small things didn't get through." She smiled. "Francie thinks she got her way by getting to you, but she's horribly mistaken. Besides..." She backed her hand towards the hem of my skirt and hitched it up a bit in the back. "I do have to thank her for her small moment of sanity with the hemline issue." Paris grinned madly, letting her fingers wander a particularly ticklish spot on the back of my thigh.

"I remember how excited you were," I husked, and then imitated her animated voice at the moment she declared the 10-3 vote. "The ayes have it, you said, and then your eyes seemed to dart right towards me."

"They did not!" She scoffed, tossing back her hair and denying my claim. "I was not more enthused than I usually was about a vote."

"Sure, and that wasn't you calling Fran and having her rush your skirts to the tailor for re-hemming about ten minutes after." Paris gave me an evil look and let her fingers get frantic to tickle me a bit more. "I know...a bit...of Portuguese...don't you dare...hahaha...deny it...hee-hee...stop it, Par!" She was flitting her fingernails up my skirt and it was really getting me all riled up again.

"I did not call her to rush-hem my skirts." She shook her head, just giving me an evil little smirk that told me that yeah, she did. "I needed energy drinks." She continued to tickle me a bit more and I continued to shoot down her points.

"So hem meu saias até duas e meia polegadas actually translates...to...'I want some Red Bull'?" I then let her in a little secret that I knew. "You fudged the number on purpose. You're actually a quarter inch in violation of the rules. If the Headmaster found out, you'd be in so much trouble." I then swooped my hand down to cup at her knee. "I suppose I could tell him..." She stopped tickling me as I lingered the pad of my index finger along the fabric and her leg. "But then I'd have to mention all of the times in the last month that your extra quarter inch of leg has driven me crazy, made me wet in the middle of class as I took it in or daydreamed about it. I mean it's not that much, really. 6.35 millimeters if we're up North, not even a full centimeter. But it's just enough when you're dealing with a girl that, until now, I couldn't even see one millimeter of her naked neck within the walls of this school outside of gym class." Oh, I was about to get her all riled up again. My other hand was upon her bared pulse point and I could swear she was trembling against me. "Only a quarter of an inch out of your 63, but your little creative accounting really helped in the end."

"Rory..." her voice strained. "We just came off me finding about Francie. You should be scared, paranoid."

It made me take a bit of a pause. Was I really that ravenous that we would have a conversation like this, and within only a few moments, begin to flirt again? I have to step back from this, what am I doing? I thought, trying to get a bit of gravity into the situation.

"Umm...I'm sorry." I blushed. "Geeze, what is it about us and anger?"

"I have no idea," she answered, trying to recompose herself. "I should not be feeling this way after what we did in the darkroom. But," she took a pause to rewet her throat with a nearby Diet Dr Pepper, not her usual brand, but it was the only thing in the fridge. "I could have never dreamed three years ago that you, the girl I would never expected to say so much, have made a fierce enemy in Francine Jarvis. And crushed her so badly."

"I didn't crush her," I tried to argue. I knew the score because I hadn't won any argument. "If anything, we've just been yelling back and forth like cable talking heads."

"Rory," she said softly, moving her hands to my sides, along the top of my skirt. "If your tape sessions were a formal debate and we had a rubric to guide the discussions, you'd win, no doubt. She used lowball tactics to try to get her way and influence you, but you know well that arguments like that usually result in heavy deductions if you take the bait. So you guided it back your way, muted her harassment, and you won. You did well. I know when we get to the vote, you'll make your points well and keep the funding."

"And if we don't?" I would feel like a failure if I wasn't able to stop her.

"Then we think. If we have to, there are private donors that would be willing to help. We cut the funding and find creative accounting through small votes to get to the thousand. But we have a good government and we will both figure it out." She hugged me close, soothing me with fingers through my hair. "Francie cannot win."

"She said she would make you so pathetic you could only lead the Pledge of Allegiance. That's why I didn't want you to find out, because...because, you don't deserve that." I sniffled as I let my emotions guide me. "You've worked too damned hard to be reduced to so little. You give a fuck, and you care. Sure, you're a little power hungry at times, but who isn't?" I laughed as she gave me the death glare. "But you use that power for good, I mean."

"I am not power hungry," she disclaimed, smirking at me as we broke apart one more time to gather our things. "Sure, I might have asked for a few favors based on my position, maybe some better water than tap or a more comfortable chair to sit in at the table. Oh, and an easier locker combination."

"Wait, you can do that?" I was surprised. "I thought you were stuck with the one that came with the locker. Mine is pretty hard."

"I know, 7-39-28?" OK, I was just a little bit freaked out. I knew I had never divulged the digits to anyone at all. She shrugged. "As I said, Gilmore, I know everything about you. I've examined you closely through the years, and I can tell just by the spin of your hand what is the magic number to get in your locker."

"Of course you'd know my combo." I rolled my eyes towards her. "So I could get it changed as part of my privileges? Because now that you know it, I shouldn't exactly trust you?"

"Why's that?" She smirked as she guided her hand along my waist. "Afraid to move in with me?"

"I'd love to share a locker with you," I said, smiling. "But since we're right next to each other, it wouldn't make any sense, especially with all the textbooks we carry."

"Yeah, sometimes I wish I'd take that third floor locker just to find an excuse to locker share. But it's frowned upon, and I hate the third floor." Throwing her messenger bag on her shoulder after putting on her trenchcoat, I did the same with my backpack and we began to lock things up for the night. "I think we both have it perfect where we are though."

"Oh, definitely." Both of us took in each other as we headed out the door and into the hallway, continuing to talk about the situation I was in, and how I would avoid Francie for the next couple weeks. I probably have to meet her at least once alone, so I'm going to have to be careful and continue with the taping. I was surprised in the first place that she never caught on that I'm recording our conversations, but then again, she's not really very sharp. She knows how to run a group and keep me in line, but I've known girls like her in the past. They like to project power, to show that they're the alpha girls of the school. However, they have weaknesses, and that redhead's xenophobia might be just the one thing to dig her into a hole she won't get out of.

The drive home was quiet, as Paris didn't want to really go back over Francie. Not that I blamed her, as she had to concentrate on the 2"-3" of snow falling on the roads between Hartford and the Hollow. It was a perilous drive at times, a real test of her driving skills as she had to really slow down to take a couple of curves. Not helping was the traffic on the expressway, which seemed to range from snail-slow to racecar speeds, depending on how shy or cavalier the drivers around were. It was a good thing that I had my hand on her leg most of the time to keep her calm, as she had to deal with some slowpoke in a Kia for about five miles through the Cheshire area. By the time we got home, it was about 7:45pm, and Paris was sure to have just as long a drive home on the way back. I considered an invitation for her to stay overnight as I went in the house, but I didn't know if Mom trusted me enough with Paris yet. That, and I'm sure Sharon would have the National Guard over to town to retrieve Paris if she dared not to come home.

Mom wasn't home, which was a surprise to me. I checked the answering machine and heard her harried voice that a large bus group from a place in the South where the mere presence of snowflakes freak them out suddenly checked in and she wouldn't be home until midnight. "Sometimes I want to just be Supergirl and push these tourists all the way back to Mobile!" she said in the message as a couple of elderly gentlemen demanded that they receive a room in the next moment or so. "So Mommy's stuck in hell right now, and we've got leftover pizza in the fridge. I guess that means I've done my motherly duties. Hopefully--Michel, will you tell these people to back up a little? I can't breathe." And from there, you can just imagine Lorelai grimacing as our favorite desk clerk told someone to stick an object up someplace in French and my mom ended the message with an 'I love you, kiddo.'

I hesitated, a bit down that I wouldn't be able to talk to Mom tonight. But as Paris came back from using the bathroom and washing her hands, I guess I was ready to spend the rest of the night alone with my homework to...

...Damn, I don't have homework, I thought. One thing that Par passed down to me in our relationship was a fervor to do my work as quickly as possible, and that left me with nothing to do.

Great, I thought. Looks like it was going to be old movies or idle web surfing to keep me occupied. I went into the kitchen to throw my bag onto the table and drape my jacket across a chair, not feeling organizational. My stomach rumbled a bit as I reached into the fridge...

Then I felt two hands wrap around said stomach. That soft lavender fragrance so familiar from earlier moved up into my nostrils and I felt warmed as freshly washed fingers slid into the blouse and across the ribbed fabric of my undershirt.

"Ror, let me order something," she said in a whisper. "I haven't been able to treat you to dinner for a month."

"I'm fine, hon." In the food sense I was, but my hormones were another story. Her fingernails scraped across my belly.


"But you have to get home," I argued. "If you're not home by nine, Sharon's going to send out a multi-state search team to track you down."

"We just need to relax a bit before tomorrow night," she reminded me. "I can't go to my father being all stressed out and worried about Francie. So if my mom does get all snippy, I'll just argue that I was at the library. No harm to her."

"I know, I just worry." She smiled as I turned around. "You come all this way to pick me up and drop me off every day. After a while it must wear you out that I live so far away from you."

"Oh, God, do we have to go over this again?" She rolled her eyes with a small laugh. "Rory, you are not a burden just because you're not within Hartford's inner core. I figure the drives give me practice for after college when I get a regular job and have to commute in every day from an hour out. It's better to learn now when you can be looked at as a 'punk teenager' to get verbal road rage out than when you're a forty-five year old in middle management and mouth off to a cop." She brought me close to her. "I'm fine with giving you a ride every day. That is not going to change, and especially after I found out you've risked your very being to satisfy Francie's power lust tonight, you need all the protection that you can have."

"I'm so sorry again that I didn't tell you. I couldn't stand to see that pain when you found out I was going behind your back." Grimacing, I still felt like I hurt her. "I tried to get out of it. I hurt personally when she said the things that she says about gays and lesbians, and all her other targets. I...I just heard her words, she wanted to make you ineffective, and I--"

"She forgets though, there are checks and balances." She soothed me with her lovely assertiveness as we make our way back to the living room. "Every system, be it parliamentary, dictatorial, constitutional, even anarchy, there has to be at least the barest sense of control by someone. Sometimes it's ineffective, but most of the time, those tools usually hold disorder back. She may be second in line behind you, but you have several other people in that room that will stop her from taking the reins. Now I think I've been a little more hands-on, I know. I might seem like I'm controlling too much. But there are reasons for that. Ms. Peters and I see Francie as entitled, as too strong, and the big reason we have a faculty advisor is to keep us in line. She stops me from going too far and I appreciate that. And Francie will be kept in line."

"What if she catches on?"

"Then she does, and if Charleston catches on, she can't go further. But we will get this to a vote. She will debate us--cordially."

There were misgivings on my part that Francie wouldn't blow up like Bill O'Reilly though. "I hope she does."

"She will." Paris was very firm about how she saw things. "If she wants to stay in student government, she's gotta learn to govern."

With that note of finality, we then finally determined that we were both hungry. I threw on my pajamas as she ordered the food for the both of us, and after that she used the shower and changed into the spare clothes she had in her car, a pair of track pants and an old Harvard t-shirt from her father. We decided it would be best not to risk Sharon knowing we got close in the darkroom and were very close that afternoon, so much that I could still smell myself on her. I brought out the tapes while she was in the shower and crossed my fingers that she could get back home in time.

After the pizza came, I had about three slices of mine, and Paris had her cheeseless personal pizza, the both of us watching Larry King Live and wondering why this guy still has a television show after so many years. He was talking to some celebrity from years and years ago that only Mom would know about, and both of us were bored with the show. We flipped by the broadcast channels, and somehow we ended up on one of those horrible UPN sitcoms. That's pretty much it, since Paris refuses to watch Smallville because "Lana Lang's lack of intelligence about anything hurts my head". Thus, we're stuck on that visual noise known as The Weather Channel.

I'm just glad that we're still friendly, and that we're still in love, and that we didn't have a big fight about Francie. I thought we would, but I ended up having nothing to fear, so now we can move onto tomorrow night, where I really, really hope that Harold Gellar doesn't mind that I'm romancing his daughter.

His beautiful, lovely daughter, looking so attractive in his former shirt, with no bra beneath it. Her hair was loose and she was relaxed just watching TV with me. I didn't want her to leave but I knew that she had to pretty soon. I felt an urge for her to just wrap around me and she welcomed me into her lap as I curled against her, resting my head against the arm of the couch while she moved up the dial to Hannity & Colmes. They debated something, but we were both zoned out, too lovestruck to care about whatever they were going on about. She ran her fingers through my hair, curling her fingers around the strands.

"Your pajamas are extremely cute." The words from her mouth sounded extremely odd as she took in my clothing, blue with a smiling snowflake pattern. She took a deep inhale, the smell of the fabric softener comforting in her mind. "I think I understand a bit why you wear them; they must be so comfy."

"They are," I say, taking my voice down to a purr. "Of course it's a bit interesting if I'm sleeping and my psychosis decides to insert a dream within my REM state."

"A dream?" I smiled.

"Yeah, a dream." I felt slightly heated as I let myself relax against her body. "I really enjoy having dreams."

She's definitely curious about what goes on in my mind as I sleep. "What kind of dreams are we talking about?" Her chin was against the back of my shoulde, and her voice rumbled through my back. Oh yeah, that's so wonderful...

"Dreams of you with me," I confessed lightly. "Sleeping over, being focused on learning at first, but slowly, it evolved. We start out serious, but through the night we end up out of our uniforms and in our pajamas."

"We could also be in the Howard dorm." Hmm, that sounds a little bit better. More relaxed, less stuffy. "I remember we took on that team from the DFW Metroplex that thought they were the hottest thing to hit debate since Lincoln/Douglas. God, they were insufferable."

"But we were backstage beforehand, psyching ourselves up. Picturing them as the Cowboys while we were the Patriots. I was the Teddy Bruschke to your Tom Brady, defending you while you went on offense."

"They never stood a chance," she remembered, laughing. "When they slunk out of that room without so much as a handshake, we knew we had just assured them a year of being barked at by their insane coach while we were free to relax."

"Oh yeah." I let myself go back in time, recalling the fun memories of that hot July night. "I remember we did take out at that awesome chicken place just off campus. Good ol' southern fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, potatoes. What did we order again?"

"I think I would have ordered just a three piece, but we ended up with a twenty-piece meant for a family of six!" She shook her head, rolling her eyes at me good-naturedly. "It was well worth it though, despite all the grease. It was fun to just let go and relax, not worry about how my debate prep would be thrown off because that next team would be weak for sure after we beat DFW."

"Mmm, and you certainly dressed the relax part." I was in heaven as I recalled what she wore out loud. "So close to laundry day, so you were, as you called it, 'stuck' in some flimsy little black nightgown that Madeline bought for your birthday, but you never ever wore. And you hated her because she packed it in your bag in secret, along with a little note saying 'hope you get lucky this summer.' There you were, so mortified, and stuck in it for the night."

"I didn't feel comfortable in it, and there you were in a simple little blue tank top and pink sleep shorts. I felt like a fool. An idiot. Because really, you should've been in the nightgown and I should've been in your clothes." She groaned, pushing out a kink of pain caused by the couch of pain.

"Why? I thought you looked hot." I turned to face her and helped her work out the kink myself by massaging her back.

"I did not look hot. I looked like I got into Mommy's clothes drawer and came out with that playing dressup."

"You say that, but Par." I paused, letting my nose touch the tip of hers. "I did some staring. And by some, I mean a lot. All night." I saw her eyes wander down to stare down my shirt. "My control was a thin tether because I was horny most of that week." It of course happened to be the day I wrote that sex letter to Dean, and tried to expend the stress through it. But I struggled to get myself off, even in the shower.

That is, until I saw Paris in that slinky number of sleepwear. Suddenly, all thoughts of a boy helping me with my frustration were out the window.

As we recounted our summer experiences, I found myself flustered. I was confident Par felt the same way. The darkroom hardly sated us and I was sure she was still all hot from hearing me go off on Francie.

I wanted to take control, the rules be damned.

"Rory?" Stunned by my silence, she visibly shuddered at my intense gaze. I felt what I dreamt that night come back to me hard, the images, how heated I felt after writing the letter and then seeing her take down that Texas team. The barely-there nightgown, the sticky humidity of the Potomac matching that of the Chilton darkroom...

I couldn't believe what I was about to do. I feel her leg against my core, her body perfect against mine. Months ago with Dean, this would have been dangerous territory, and an act that would have only happened in 2017 if Mom had anything to do with it.

Somehow, I must be insane for having such an insatiable sex drive. For almost eighteen years, I've been able to keep myself in line, neutral, and when it came to Dean, almost compliant to him. My fingers sufficed just fine, so why would I need to flirt with him to get something I could do just as well manually?

Paris, though...she was below me, dressed like she is when she's building a house, and still I was thinking of her in that naughty nightgown that she would never usually wear. I looked down at her and took her right hand into my left, giving her that smile I only directed in her direction. My breath was shallow, and everything I shared with her in the last two weeks is coming to a head.

"I need to call my mom," I said, measured. I awaited her reaction and she seemed disappointed.

"Oh. Well, if you have to." She tried to get up but I wouldn't budge. "I don't want to stand in her way." I twined my fingers with hers, and with my other hand, took down my pajama shirt a couple of buttons. I straddled her and then suckled the tip of her nose with my lips, then left a little lick on it.

"I just have to check if she has the house key with her." I lowered my voice to a Bardotish purr. "See, I'm a little paranoid this evening. I have a girl in my house that is willing to get home very, very late, just enough sleep to charge her batteries, and the last thing I want to do is have her be caught while she's in my bed..." I kissed her lips. "As she lets me live out..." Another kiss. "What I want done to me." I began to slide off of her as she looked at me in shock. "And if I recall, she does have an extra change of uniform still in her car, panties, bra, and all." Grinning, I finish detailing what I want to happen. "I mean, you're gonna have to sleep on the couch. There's no way around that, and Lorelai will paste you to it with force. But I suppose that you could tell your mother that you've caught some odd cold and need to sleep the night off at Madeline's. Y'know, just a smidge of a little white lie?"

"Oh my God," she exclaimed. "Hon...um..." She got up from the couch and I took her into my arms. "I'll be fine--"

"I still want you." My entire body was warmed as I slid my hands beneath her sweatpants. "You're still turned on and I'm thinking of you in that nightgown right now, barely covering almost anything." I began to slide the pants down, to insulate her into the fantasy. "The way you dressed that night, it got me through at least about twenty days of fantasizing in the shower. Before then, I saw you nude at school in the shower, but I didn't have a second picture to go with it, like a naked paper doll getting the clothes with the tabs on the end. In that little thing though, I found the Par-Bear I dream about, the one who is stiff upper lip, all business in public, but in private..." I was pleased as the pants dipped down around her ankles, leaving her in those light blue boyshorts once again. "I will admit it now, baby girl. I stretched out to peek at all of you, all night."

She almost choked on her own throat. I love a girl who thinks that her intelligence far outshines her beauty, and it's always going to be a fight to tell her both aspects are equal. Her hands rested neutrally on my hips as she attempted to come off as unflummoxed. Her hair reflected the light from the infamous monkey lamp, her eyes taking that intense gaze that only I can seem to push out from her.

Her voice was incredibly shaky as I moved to guide her towards the kitchen, stopped to grab the phone, and let her go while I tried to that call I need to make. Her lips pursed as she tried to get herself together.

"So you did catch my cue." She looked me over, admitting that the nightgown wasn't exactly an error involving a lack of laundry. "My eyes caught your letter to Dean. Page four, as a matter of fact."

I was stunned in place. She...she...oh my God.

"You...you read?" I remember that I left out the letter on the desk, never expecting Paris to bother reading it. She made her way into the kitchen, reaching into her bag to pull out her cell phone.

"I did. Not more than that one page, but I had to figure any kind of experimentation to feel you out was good. See, the thing is, Gilmore..." Her eyes scanned my form. "I knew your showers weren't from the Washington heat. I heard you behind the spray. You never mentioned a name at all, and I could understand that. But within that cursive, it was clear that your words weren't meant for Dean to shoot ropes of cum onto his sheets. Not at all." I pushed my legs together, hot from the revelation that my fingering was known. "I did also notice you started the letter two days earlier than the day of the debate. So when I was out of the room that gave me a clue into one thing." Oh Lord, her words, that know it all smile, even the way she was stroking the curve of her phone near the speaker.

Paris knew I had a less-than friendly interest in me that long ago. Oh fuck.

"Your love letter wasn't to Dean. You didn't give a fuck what he wrote in response. Whatever he did, he was already dead to you, even with your conscience trying to guide your thoughts back towards him. It was done from the moment you learned we were going to Washington." I couldn't believe it. She was completely seeing things from the point of view of my inner vixen. "You wrote those words on those pages because like my voice, writing is erotic to you. You put something on the page and it gavs you that push." She dropped the phone onto the table after rushing out what I learned later was a cover text to Madeline so Sharon wouldn't get suspicious. "I remember what you wore before I left for breakfast. A softball jersey from your failed attempt to play organized sports locally two years ago, and a pair of 80's style soccer shorts that barely covered your upper thighs." Oh God, I had to figure something out quick. I felt my thighs pumping and my mouth drying. "Your right hand, writing on that page your darkest desires allegedly for Dean, while in your head, you saw my name instead. And with your left hand?"

In my left hand no longer, was the landline phone. Grabbed away from me, she hit redial, confident the last number saved was the Inn.

It was. And Paris, who I'm quickly learning is as much a vocal chameleon as Meryl Streep, succinctly explained to my mother that she was looking outside and the roads were horrible, so could she sleep on our couch this evening?

"I have clothes." She nodded. "No, my alarm clock is in my phone, I'll just set that if your usual 'Grrrrr, I need coffee!' doesn't rouse me awake right away." A pause. "No...no, that's how your daughter says you wake up. No, really, it is." She shields the mic. "Lorelai says she's not that dramatic about waking up."

"But it's the truth," I shot back, laughing. I tune out more conversation, and Paris redirected my way once again. "She says she's wounded and her feelings are hurt. You're also reduced to Taster's Choice for punishment."

"I'd rather drink yak blood." Paris cringed, and talked some more with Mom. And talked. And talked.

OK, she was into 'seriously annoying the horny girl' territory. Come on, blondie, let's go, I'm getting very impatient here. No, you are not allowed to talk about property tax assessments with my mom...wait, wasn't she busy about an hour ago? What could they have been really talking about? My feet hurt, so I sat in a chair while I waited for Paris to end her Leno-length dialogue with Lorelai.

Finally, a minute later, she hung up, setting the phone on the table and picking up her cell phone to go through the two minute call of death with Sharon, which of course was like Hillary Clinton trying to talk to Rush Limbaugh cordially. No need to recap beyond Paris gritting her teeth throughout like she was about to get a smallpox shot and trying to dodge her mother's veiled insults to her. Finally, it was on to Madeline for the excuse, and she reminded our friend of what she has to do. "If Sharon asks to talk to me, my throat is sore. Got it? You're sure. Definitely not. Do not give her a clue I'm coherent enough to talk." She walked around the room, and I enjoyed looking at her backside, disappearing into the bottom of her shirt. Just a smidge of her panties were exposed and I was drooling in anticipation of being able to touch her all over again.

Her mouth turned into a frown as Madeline went on to ask what she was doing at my house. "The snow...it's not as bad there? Well trust me, it's...no, I do not need Brad to look up the New Haven conditions on Weather Underground. Madeline...Mads...I have no idea what that means. What is a 'booty call'? I'm making a phone call to you!"

Oh dear; somehow I don't think Paris has ventured anywhere near UrbanDictionary.com. Or reality television. I struggled to keep myself in control from a hard laughing fit as Paris tried to learn about more slang she had no idea about. "Madeline, booty is pirate's treasure. No, it's true. It does not mean that...Oh my God! I...I...you mean that was what Burke Lightfoot meant at that party two years ago?" I shook my head, amused at how my learned girlfriend can name the states of both the American and Mexican unions by their exact admission date, but sexual euphemisms are quite beyond her expertise. I approached her slowly, giving her a intense stare as I slid another couple buttons out from my shirt. She looked at me a bit distracted, biting at the tip of her finger as she tried to understand the concept.

"Um...Madeline. I have to go." She dropped the call without any ceremony and shut her phone, setting it on the table and just hoping it hit the tabletop in the first place. She directed a stern look my way.

Oh boy, was I ever in trouble. Yet I giggled as if watching a clown seltzer himself in the face.

Oops, and there went that last button on my shirt, fully open and though each half is covering my breasts, my stomach was on full display for her to take in. She sucked on her lip, her eyes slitting with a stare I wasn't able to get a read on before. Across her mouth, a little smirk slid across her lips.

"So apparently," she said tightly, "I'm on a booty call." She shook her head, a small and bitter giggle emanating from her throat. "I was shocked to hear what it consisted of. Pretty much according to Mads's definition, it's too late in the evening for a romantic date of any kind, so we're in a situation where all we want is sex." I looked at her, focused on me intensely, reaching back behind her head while undoing a cloth band holding a hastily done ponytail.

She scoffed lightly as she shook the hair out from the knot. "Now I'm not sure this night meets those requirements. I think that we actually dated tonight. There was pizza, talking, a ride and a change of clothes involved. Now going by this 'booty call' decorum, if I would not have paused to eat, talk, or get the tapes and we just had sex, that's a booty call." A groan. "And I can't believe I just used that term twice in a sentence. It sounds so wrong, and a bit dirty, unclean, if you will." She kept backing me towards my bedroom door, and I was beginning to find the point of her little monologue about the certain term.

"She also said that...well, if I were to tell her that we did, it was also how I went about getting you in the darkroom today. We flirted through the notes and that meets that definition. But at the same time, I think it's just a bit too..." She paused for a moment to think. "Let's clear the air. We are two consenting adults, correct?"

I don't know why, but I felt the need to correct her. "Well, I am. You're fifteen days away from that state."

"Don't interrupt me with common reasoning or the semantics of the General Statutes of Connecticut, Gilmore." The bedroom door was closed and she pushed me against it, surrounding me with her arms around the frame. "Let's just say we are and be done with it. And we also love each other, right?"


"As far as I remember, I came here only to drop you off and acquire the tapes, right?"

"Yes, of course." Yeah, let's see Dean attempt to seduce Beth with the most obvious of conclusions, because Paris was there, pushing near me...Wow, she smells so good.

"I did not come in this house or ask before we came in if we could partake in each other, did I?" Lord, her voice. What was wrong with me? Why was I getting so hot over her rationalizing the difference between casual sex and normal girlfriendy duties? Is girlfriendy even a word, or should I use relationshipinal? No, that's not a word, I know that for sure.

But I shook my head, knowing that yeah, she was not intending to make a call for my booty, as it were. She smiled and slid her hands down towards...well, you know.

"It's not that you don't have a nice booty. It's far from nice. Divine, immaculate, incredibly curvaceous and very, very lovely." She was still in her serious Murrow mode, only she felt me up at the same time. "You have a wonderful ass, Gilmore. That is so not the issue here."

"No, it..." I coughed. "...certainly isn't." Not when her hands were moving into my pants, taking in my behind, while I feel her body very close against me. "Paris..."

"I think we need to voice this out," she rationalized. "Just to make sure. We're both insane in our own ways so we have to also allow that Madeline is also the same. She's dating Brad."

"She is."

"Not in her right mind." She cupped my right cheek as she moved her right hand out find leverage. "She knows we're dating. But not how hot and heavy we can get."

"The windows fogged my first time, right?"

"They would have if the defroster wasn't on. I'm very confident of that. Thanksgiving Sunday, you wouldn't call that a booty call, would you?"

Smiling, I was confident. "You didn't know. It's protocol that both in the coupling must know their booties are being called. You were unprepared, so it was just a casual meeting of the minds."

"And of our bodies." She began to slide my pajama top off, my nipples immediately constricting from the cool air exposed against them. "Our hot, incredibly needy bodies who missed each other for four days and would have gone insane had it not been for Thanksgiving night phone sex." The top falls to the floor and despite the boiler not kicking in, I was hardly chilly. "So we must agree there is not enough to merit this being a booty call?"

"At best it's a second wind," I rationalized, guiding myself towards the bed backwards. Rule number one of having Par in my house was broken with her violating click of the door lock.

Rule number two was sullied as I sucked in my stomach and let her pull the bottoms of my pajamas down. The pants fell to my ankles quickly, leaving me only in my...well, I'm leaving my Victoria's Secret spree for school and everyday use, but at night...

"A second wind in panties patterned with little Woodstocks?" She arched her eyebrows up, amused at my choice of cotton underwear with the cartoon bird in a random pattern. "See, if this was what Madeline said this was, we both would've probably been in our weekend best, but we're in our Wednesday worst instead." I stepped out of the pants, looking both ways to double check that my shades are fully drawn (yes they are!). The only light on is the lamp next to my bed, casting a dim glow as the back of my legs met the front of my footboard.

I was nervous, a little freaked out as my girlfriend continues this cutely aggressive and incredibly vocal seduction of me. I stuttered out my embarrassment at wearing the underwear I was in, but her attention was elsewhere, more on my breasts than anywhere else..

Then I tumbled onto the bed, and she came down with me. We were face-to-face, and nose-to-nose as she got between my legs and let her cold hand touch along my side. I sucked in a breath as I reacted, and things were coming to a head for sure. Her mouth was centimeters from mine, using every new word forming in her throat to get me wet.

"I'm finally in your bed," she identified, as I scooted myself up to rest my head on the pillow. "This time though, I'm fully coherent." She laid a soft buss upon my lips as I relaxed into the mattress. She released for another note on her part. "I'm not taking a boob compliment as an insult." A smile as she kissed me again, and slid her hands beneath my back. "Nor are my feet like concrete from dancing for almost a full day."

"Mine either," I answered back, nervously. My lip trembled as I took her in above me. This was more relaxed, less stiff than the darkroom. Certainly, more comfortable. She tucked some hair behind her ear, and she pulled herself up so that her hips are even to mine. My lips trembled as I tried to make sense out of how we got to this point. I took a deep breath while Paris cuddled closer to me. "I should've gone about the field hockey thing differently."

"What do you mean?" She was confused. "I look back on it fondly."

"I mean the shower. I fumbled the conversation a little."

"You did. But it worked out." Her fingers scraped just below my breasts as she kissed at my neck. I feel pressure on my shoulder, on my throat, and it is undeniably sexy. My hands are above her ass as I feel her up. "Worked wonders, I'd like to think." She moved her kisses lower and lower.

"Certainly," I forced out. She buttered me up by kissing along my neck and then eventually down to my breasts, as she teased me and played with my nipples with her hands and her mouth. She wound me up by applying pressure, suckling against them sensually as I pushed my legs together to build up the pressure building between them. There was no use staying calm as I got wet almost immediately from her flattery about my raw scent, my body, even about what shape my darker pimples could be traced in a dot puzzle. "Below your left breast, I can make out a candle, I think." Yeah, her shape descriptions needed work, but it was still cute, especially when she thought a birthmark beneath my right underarm underarm resembles some odd Chinese province's outline.

This is Paris Gellar, after all. I wouldn't be surprised if she would describe the arch of my foot as shaped like Delaware. Soon, I had her shirt off and all that was between us was air and those cute undies I'm glad she chose to wear. Her body was incredibly warm against mine, her curves seeming to melt into mine. I can't imagine why she would ever take anyone's advice to lose weight, because as she is, I don't want to lose one bit of her. Even her respiration sounded sexy, deep, throaty, lustful. She put everything she had into letting me know that my little taping of Francie wasn't at all a relationship breaker.

It only made it stronger. Especially when her nose played against my belly and she told me what her first true thought was of my comebacks with Francie.

"You know what I wanted to do after I heard you call Francie a bitch?" she asked, looking up at me. It was an odd position with her below my breasts, certainly one we've never had a conversation in. Pretty amusing way to talk.

I thought she was mad at me for cursing out Francie though. "Slap some sense into me for even thinking that was a good idea? I know, it was stupid, and--"

Instead, I felt her tongue slide around the ridge of my belly button to shut me up. Oh God, so not helping down there! I was getting damp again, and I couldn't stand it when she was being so naughty. She looked back up at me and shook her head, smiling,

"I wanted to do what I'm about to do. Do you realize that when you get pissed off, Gilmore, how fucking hot I get?" Her hands were upon my ass and she was in that position, legs bent, looking towards me.

"Uhh, no." I spread out for her unconsciously, getting ahead of her.

"No one has ever called Francie a bitch and lived to tell about it," she explained, divesting me of my panties in slow rolls. "Even Summer got slammed into a locker for just off-handing the word in everyday conversation as part of some poll. But to face off to her and call her that, it takes courage. Either that, or you have ovaries made of steel."

"Isn't...that balls?"

She shooks her head. "Nope. Ovaries. I don't know any boy in that entire school that would call her that name. I certainly wouldn't. But you did." Moving lower she licked her lips while her eyes traced the trail. "How did it feel, Gilmore? Did you like it? Were you thinking like I'd be in that situation?"

"I thought nothing of it. There were girls here in town that treated me worse." That's the truth: Francie might think of herself as the queen of Chilton, but she's really nothing. "I didn't even remember I said it until I played the tape. She left the room more flustered than I did." Her breath...oh, Lord. "Uhhhh..."

"Somehow I think she's learning not to fuck with you," she concluded. "I bet when I listen to those tapes, you start out weak and complacent. But by the end, you're laying into her, the stronger one, knowing you're holding her tubes in a vise." Fuck, I love it when she gets so aggressive with her words. "She thought she was getting a little chore girl in you, that would bow at her feet and worship the ground she walked on." She forced my legs further apart as she pulled the panties away from me. "She sees you as I did in tenth grade, dependent on others, solitary, meek and afraid." Closer...closer...

A small testing lathe against the top of my slit. God, I felt so damned tight and held in a tight whinny. "After two years, I can't think that anymore. The way you threw yourself at me, and into my heart, to prove that you wanted to be my friend, kicking and screaming, I opened up to you in a very, very small way. You jumped through that hole, and now, I can't imagine not having you by my side, Rory. I came onto your good side, ended up in your soul circle..." She kissed along each of my lips, and I vise-gripped the edge of the mattress for dear life.

I couldn't speak. God, I wish I could, but all I could do was massage her scalp in my hands. Her hands stroked my thighs, the ardor for her building.

"I love you. And I just want to make you feel good." Her nose grazed against me. "I guess I was wrong when I said you were going down that one time, wasn't I?"

And then...she's going down. On me. Right now. On her knees, her tongue is inside of me and giving me all this pleasure that makes my dreams truly pale in comparison. She's getting me off, her tongue on my clit, in a bed I've had since I was five and never had one dream about Dean sharing that didn't end up with my mother peeking in and/or mortification.

She's going down on me. And all I can think right now is that if there's one picture I was to send that smug redhead, it's this one. Of my girlfriend, the one that actually runs the fucking student government, so emboldened, so strong from hearing about what I did in those empty rooms, facing those lackeys, taking in all of those hateful words, expecting me to capitulate to her because she thought I would buckle to her.

That bitch expected me to cave, just to save a friendship she thought was only there because Paris was driven nuts and I was the filter taking in all of her anger. That she was nothing except a girl with an eagle eye towards Harvard and anyone who got in her way was to be pushed aside. Francie thinks Paris is heartless, unfeeling, without emotion.

I'm quickly learning with this woman, that the only reason she was that way was because she was stuck listening to heartless whores like Francie. Like Sharon. They only see her as a means to an end. Competition. A second chance to grasp at past glory, something to control through insults and hateful demands that would make anyone cower.

But I feel her. The heat seeping from me. The screams echoing through my bedroom. The sweat pooling against my brow, within the folds of my bent stomach. The wrinkles forced into my sheets. Everything that I have it is being focused in one place. My love for this woman, this force of nature, a girl who never thought happiness was for her.

She's going down on me. Two years ago, we would've barely said a word to each other. Two years ago, I was Farm Girl, she was the Cold Bitch. Two years ago, she swore to make my life a 'living hell'.

Right now, I'm in heaven from her instead. Her name is forced hard from my throat, and she is thanking me, in my bed, in my bedroom, for being her protector, her savior, someone who actually cares, who listens...

Who loves her, and not as the 85-pound waif with a low IQ Mommy Dearest wishes she was. She is 130 pounds, the smartest woman I know, and has feminine curves that I didn't even know existed.

She's going down on me. And damned if this day didn't turn out to be something to define us. Paris is done finding excuses to end our friendship. She is beyond a doubt in this for keeps, for better or worse, for the long run.

And she's doing things to my body I could never imagine. Because I think my brain just went numb from Ms. 180 WPM twisting that frisky lil' tongue within me in so many ways, even Mom would blush.

Fuck, Par. Fuck me harder, fuck me. Make love to me. Show me how you can't get enough, how our lives are twisted together. Oh God, thank you for this girl. Thank you for making her love me, and guiding her towards me. It was hard, I didn't like it, but she's a jewel. A beautiful jewel.

Fire and ice, that's Paris. My girlfriend. My love. My partner.

Mia bambina...

Paris's POV, 12:35am

Well. This has been a night.

A night. The time between dusk and dawn. Yes, that's what it is. A night.

Sorry if I seem aloof. I know usually I have everything together and my mind is where it should be. It's here, I know it. I'm just so, what's the word? There's one that defines going through a roller coaster in so many hours.

A whirlwind? That might be it. I remember having to spell that at the third grade spelling bee. Pathetic teachers, trying to throw a curve at me. Sometimes I still think I should've been just bumped right up to ninth grade when I was ten. I would've been ready, I know it.

Daddy kept me sane though. He explained that if I jumped so fast, I would be isolated and scared, being with the big girls. That I would be intimidated or worse, made fun of. I kicked and screamed when he told the Headmaster to just bump me up the usual grade, saying he wanted me to be as normal as I could be. Against Mother's advice (and ruining of her plans to globetrot after I graduated at fourteen), I stayed in my own grade. I never said it to him but I always resented being left back. Even up until 11th grade I wanted to jump right into Harvard.

No more. I forgive him, fully and completely. Because had I been at Harvard Med already, the only place I'd likely meet Rory Gilmore in that alternate universe would be an operating table after an accident in Kenmore Square.

Wait, too morbid. Horseplay at Fenway? Some dick make her smash her elbow into Pesky's Pole while he went for a foul ball? Much better. She wouldn't die from that.

Not thinking about it anymore, because she's safely in my arms. This beautiful young woman, a happy accident. I am in her small space of a bed, wrapping around her against her back, my hands stroking her stomach. She only wears the top of her pajama shirt for modesty. Nothing below. She feels so warm, is so beautiful, and within her, a fighter. Someone who, according to the vernacular, has 'got my back'.

And she actually did get my back. There are scratch marks on it. Along with hickeys on my breasts, between my legs and on my right shoulder blade, one pretty deep bite. Don't know how to explain that one, but I know I'm so glad I don't do sports, because my poor physician would be chagrined to learn this girl loves to get rough with me in bed.

Who would have even thought that my little fantasy in the darkroom would lead to so much ensuing in the space of so few hours? I'm looking up at the ceiling of this warm and inviting bedroom, my father's poor shirt stretched out in different directions and sweat-soaked, and I compare myself to how I would have reacted to hearing about Francie forcing Rory to meet her two months before.

For one thing, I would've blown a gasket. Screw how I would have reacted to Francie, because Rory would get all of it. I wouldn't look at things subjectively from her view, and would've jumped to extreme conclusions. I probably would have even thought her and Francie would be having an affair.

The thought of my lover and that bitch being intimate is enough to make me cower, possibly vomit. Let's get away from that thought and just say that Rory would no longer have been my VP, or my friend. I'm sorry to state it that way, but remember, that was me two months ago.

But as I listened to that tape, not one moment was I thinking that I hated Rory for going behind my back. I had my suspicions, feelings that she was voting with less than her heart on some resolutions. But I wasn't going to dwell on it. She was at my side, and that's all that mattered.

When I listened to that tape however, that was the first time I have seen Rory as more than just the girl keeping me sane in student government. I finally saw her as a worthy vice president, one who took the title seriously and was not going to let Francie get to her without a fight. I heard her in that tape, she wasn't going to give up. She was strong. Francie doled out so much abuse, and she let it slide off her like it was Teflon. In her voice, I heard a young woman who was in control of her own destiny, and only satisfying Francie to keep her happy.

I can't wait to dig into the rest of these tapes. To hear Francie dig her own grave will definitely be entertainment for a nice weekend. But more than that I cannot wait to listen to Rory get more defiant with each meeting. She told me that by the last meeting, she was actually giggling at Francie's 'big girl' lackey being all 'don't mess with me' serious, arms crossed and firm, not even threatened anymore by the presence of two other girls in the room while the redhead acted like she was an insane version of Fidel Castro who has no idea how to run a fucking thing.

I'm turned on by Rory being assertive, sure of herself. She seemed that way tonight as I ate her out, taking everything I dished out, enjoying it all, letting it was over her. Then when we made love together, I don't know if I imagined it, but her grasp felt stronger, while her eyes seemed to be an iridescent shade of blue that I just can't find a Pantone shade to compare to.

What I really enjoy about being with her though is how much she lets me go. She makes it known to me that her birth year compared to her mother's means nothing to her, that it doesn't define her in any way. It's just a number. She doesn't care if I mar her, bruise her from riding a hard orgasm out, that I get all tight-throated and dusky with my voice when I'm all wound up. Nothing matters, except that we connect at that very basic level, that we love each other. My wealth means nothing, just as long as she can be near to me.

To my surprise, what comes out of her mouth when she's in the throes would make her mother blush. I'm trying to adjust to her, because after knowing her for so long, I don't think of profanity as regularly in her innocent vocabulary. Tell me you can't imagine Rory screaming out "Fuck, ride my cunt, Par...ohh, ohh, ride my tight hole...oh, oh yeah, shit!" at all. I know you couldn't (and you're probably making sure your inner dialogue isn't replacing Rory's voice with Louise's), but she did when grinding each other, and it was incredibly hot to me to hear her talk this way to me. I'm getting off on her anger and her passion...I'm getting so wet thinking about it all over again.

I guess I can understand now why puberty never happens at a hard thirteen. I don't mean the physical changes, but mentally, how you learn to grow into your body and begin to feel love and a want of a relationship. I never thought of the concept as complicated, really. Looking at those that develop on the Guiding Light and within the hallways of Chilton, I thought it was easy. Just kiss, do the things couples do, give some gifts and talk occasionally. It seemed easy when I was thirteen. But by sixteen, off the date with Tristan being a flop and still acting like some Disney sitcom reject around someone of the opposite sex, I complicated it in my own mind. The divorce was of no help, and I learned to hate marriage because of it.

But then, there was the lifeline. The one Rory offered me in the dining hall after I spread the Medina item, the one that I never deserved. It should have been something to fracture us forever, to keep us in this conflict that would always rage.

If you want to talk. Those five little words, a peace offering on her part, something I claimed I'd never need. I didn't need friends and I was fine on my own. Rory was my rival. Rivals don't help other rivals. You never see Tim Duncan dropping a hint to Kobe Bryant about how he'll charge down the floor, do you? It's a simple fact of life.

Except when you have nothing to wear. Or you get into a panic about a 92. Maybe you just need a story idea to spice up the paper, or you need someone who looks great in a period dress and is able to tolerate kissing a menthol-smelling Tristan for five seconds. Maybe you need someone who can make you look less Nurse Rachet and more of a Rachel Green while you run for a student office position.

Not that I could ever pull off that character's hairstyle. I wish I was more of a Phoebe myself, a free spirit who doesn't care about anything but making people happy. But really, I'm a Monica. High-strung, stressed out all the time, a perfectionist.

OK, back to the point before somehow I end up trailing off-thought and comparing myself to Archie Bunker. Eugggh!

I've talked to Rory since that day. So many times. I took that lifeline and even as I threw it back a few times, it came back in my direction. I could swim on my own, but Rory saw in me that lost little girl who still struggles with being so intelligent but ignored and chastised because I do not want to be some kind of triple threat actor/singer/dancer girl. The dancing I can do, but I can't sing. Period. Don't even ask me! It's mortifying enough that I have to do it at temple when I'm forced to lead everyone in song.

Somehow, Rory understands me on that deep level, and we have this connection. She loves me for who I am and just that. I took her help, and as I lay here I can't deny that any longer. Whatever the issues we had in the past, they've somehow been all worked through. I knew as I listened to those tapes that if I reacted in the wrong way, that it would be regression. It wouldn't be progress, and not much different from how she reacted to Jamie a few nights ago. I admit the disappointment that she got roped in, but I'm not angry at her. Lobbying happens; it's a way of life. What she was lobbied for, that makes my blood run cold. All through it though, the first emotions I ran through, there was never that raw thought that she was going behind my back. I couldn't think that at all. Not after I had to beg her to listen to me in the town car and she felt like a low form of life for not listening to me as I tried to explain why Jamie was there.

I look at her, and just stare at the back of her head. I hear her soft snoring (very soft, like a pindrop, something I will never admit to anyone because it's too beautiful to divulge), her stomach against my hands. God, what have I done to deserve this woman?

I don't know. I don't think I really need to know, as long as...

As long as...

My eyes dart towards the bedroom door being opened, the knob twisting as look at the clock bedside. I was sleeping for about an hour, and I swore I'd make my way to the couch until Rory's warmth enveloped me and I felt like I couldn't move.

Crap, I'm doomed. That is no doubt Lorelai behind the door and she just realized that no, Rory does not own those grey sweatpants on the floor, or that cellphone sitting on her kitchen table.

Great, there goes my happiness, I'm dead now. Like shallow grave just outside of Haddam dead...

"Paris? Are you in here?" I hear the familiar kind whisper of Lorelai Gilmore, and I'm frozen in place, pulling away from my girlfriend, hoping that I can come off somewhat innocent. The light from the kitchen shines in my eyes as I dart up in the bed.

There's her mother, looking at me within the doorway, looking all worn out in her work clothes, shoes off, her hair frazzled and those blue eyes she shares with her daughter dimmed from having to work a sixteen hour day. I gulp, scared to say anything to her, lest she begin shouting at me. I prepare myself by trying to downsize the situation.

"Ms. Gilmore," I say calmly. "Hi." I laugh nervously. She's giving me a funny look, and I wonder when my time of death will be. Or if she'll be waking up Rory.

However, I'm surprised to see her smiling, and then whispering. "Are you decent?" she asks me. All I can do is nod carefully. "Good." I take that as her sign as I need to get out of bed and begin the rest of the night sleeping on the couch. I slide out carefully, giving Rory a good night kiss, hoping that Lorelai wouldn't be mad at me.

Thankfully, it turns out that I'm not in fear at all. I get out of the bed and walk towards Lorelai, before she ushers me out the door and then shuts it behind me. Then she turns her attention my way, and when I expect her to yell at me, instead she's cool and composed. Still whispering, she points to my sweatpants on the chair.

"I...I'm sorry." I begin to apologize, but she won't stand for it.

"If your next words are 'it isn't what it looks like', I'm afraid I know that it is." I grab the pants and we both head into the living room, where she has the couch all ready to go for me to lay down on. Guiding me towards it, she sat down next to me, and I was pleased to see plump pillows and a nice comforter draped over the couch to make me feel less like lying on a picnic table. She has on Conan and she let me get comfortable before beginning what I thought was another lecture from her.

I guess for once, I can be glad I was wrong.

"So how are things going for you two? You looked pretty comfy in that bed."

"They're going fine." I'm nervous. "I...I didn't mean to stay in bed, but I wasn't exactly up to switching places, or leaving." I have to be honest, no matter if I was digging my own grave. "It's just been a long day and she asked me to stay in bed with her until just before I got tired enough to move out here. But I didn't feel like it, and here we are." My hands shake nervously, while my eyes scan the room to look at anything other than Ms. Gilmore. I don't feel proud of myself in this moment, playing the role of the new guy in the leather jacket out to court Mallory Keaton or something. I'm out of it and uncomfortable with even grudging acceptance. I want to impress, and I hate that I still have this reputation as being a pain in the ass to everyone. I close my eyes, hoping for yelling.

"So you feel bad for being with Rory?" Lorelai asks seriously. "You shouldn't feel guilty about it, Paris."

"Why not? You told me I shouldn't do anything, and I broke the rules. I apologize for that. Next time I'll take more consideration into controlling my hormones." There's silence for a moment and I expect her to agree with me. After all, this woman spent so long making sure her daughter didn't repeat the errors of her past. I wish I could stop feeling like this, having this uncomfortable thought that I'm the 'silly little thing' between romances, like Ms. Gilmore was with Mr. Medina.

"Oh, Paris." I open my eyes to see her shaking her head, and directing towards me a wry smile. "I don't understand why you have to be so stuck to rules and regulations."

"Because you gave them out," I reason. She pats me on the shoulder, and sighs.

"That's when I thought you were just being experimental with each other and this would die down pretty quickly." She explains herself rationally. "The rules are there more for my own protection than they are for yours. It's just never been this way with Rory. I could count on her being reasonable and rational, able to consider my reaction to spite her happiness. But that was because Dean was such a crushing bore and he never felt the need to push further."

"I just don't want to be in trouble."

"You aren't." Lorelai gives me that parental look of understanding. "I'm trying to be open to this, to give you both the consideration and space that you need to work this out. I mean, it used to be when I came home, Rory would be ranting about how annoyed you were with her about something or another, and she just goes on and on about you. It was exhausting, and a bit overwhelming. But I guess I should've figured out then that you were more than just her personal Cordelia."

"Huh?" I'm a little bit lost on that reference.

"Oh my God. You poor thing." She shakes her head, her voice exaggeratingly dramatic. "How a teenager like you can get through life without watching Buffy, it's incredibly depressing."


"Don't be, actually. You'll catch up. It takes time to go from having to keep everything inside and not let yourself take in life beyond the walls of Chilton or your home." She gets up, stretching out as she explains further, how she sees me. "The thing is, I do trust you, Paris. You have not pissed me off yet, and if you do, you're not going to be like Dean and act like such a wuss. He took me extremely seriously when I disagreed about how he pursued Rory, and after awhile, it got more than a bit aggravating to see him let that paranoia sneak into the relationship. I mean, if Rory wanted to do something, fine. I trust her. If he wanted to bump things up a bit, I just wanted to know. Nothing more than that. Instead, he was chivalrous, and Rory suffered for it."

I want to tell Lorelai that there was more to it than that, but I was trusted by my girlfriend to not explain why. So I agree, and we talk a little more about how things are going. She vents with me about the annoying party that came into the Inn tonight and I try to listen, sympathetic to the problems that she has as an innkeeper. We talk a bit more about what she expects from me, and of how she doesn't find it wrong that the both of us are in love. I decide not to tell her about Francie, only ecause I don't want to worry her without Rory's permission, but also I'm just so tired and over it. It's at the back of my mind for now and I'd love to deal with it when I can breathe and face her down, when I'm at my best. I can plan and conspire all I want, but to face her down, to know that she was trying to get Rory to side with her, that anger and hate will build. I can get comfortable in my Le Pitbull guise and before that bitch knows it, she's going down.

For now though, I feel sleepy and thankful. As I cuddle into the blankets over me and realize that I haven't even thrown my sweatpants back on, I feel that sense of comfort with Ms. Gilmore I never though I'd have. I would have thought she hated me, but as she comes back into the living room with a glass of water, I know that there's no place I'd rather be than here right now.

"I don't know if I'll see you in the morning," she says. "I'm going right back in at six because the group is very demanding, but I do want to say that I hope everything between you and your father turns out well." She smiles, trying to hold back a yawn. "Whatever you might think of me, I'm in your corner, dear. My daughter loves you, and whatever things annoy me about you, compared to Dean, I think very obscure references, a Wizard of Oz fear and being combative vocally pale in comparison to how he tried to compromise with me at the expense of my daughter."

"Even if we...we, you know?" I feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic, but well, it has to be voiced out somehow.

"Yeah, even that." I can tell she wants to bite down on her lip, still a bit uncomfortable about the subject of us being here, doing more than kissing. "Just as long as you're not doing it in front of me."

"No plans of that, at all. We can't, we wouldn't." I feel like a fool. "I think Rory wouldn't want that to happen herself."

"You're right about that." Lorelai laughed. "When she was younger she'd get so dramatic when I kissed another man. Around Max, it was sooo awkward too. She tried to get into the habit of calling him Max, but it never stuck. I don't blame her for finding romance awkward. Now I just have to learn that with you, I guess."

"I can promise you right now that we'll be discreet," I proclaim. "There's a reason I picked that park--"

She stopped me before I could even elaborate. "I'm sure there is. I just don't need to hear about it." She headed towards the staircase as I cuddled up to the pillow. "Seriously, I'm fine. We're fine. Whatever you two did tonight, it doesn't need elaboration, and I'm fine with the both of you. Just don't let me see you get too hot and heavy, that's all."

"Promised." I shake my head, laughing. "Goodnight, Ms. Gilmore."

"Ms. Gilmore?" She rolls her eyes at me as she grasps the railing. "We've talked about this. I'm not Ms. Gilmore--"

Shoot. I always seem to forget that. "I know, sorry." I suck up my pride and redo the greeting. "Goodnight, Lorelai." I still feel so alien saying a first name to an adult.

"Goodnight, Ms. Gellar." She winks and turns it around on me and I groan as she laughs her way up the stairs. Damned woman knows how to make everyone crazy.

Yet, she's probably the sanest parent in all of Chilton. Laying down, I have to admit, Lorelai has to be one of the best mothers I've ever met, although Madeline's mother comes a close second, even though I've only heard about her since she passed away before Mads moved to Connecticut. She makes everything so fun and brings a calming influence to any event Rory takes part in, and the Chilton organizations Lorelai participates in have been much more lively with her in them than they ever have. I just enjoy knowing that when I have to make a presentation as student body president to the adults and Lorelai is there, I can count on her to argue exactly why it might be good or bad for the being of that group, rather than the flat or emotionless votes that had come before them.

I also enjoy that she accepts me, just as I am. Sure, the both of us probably would drive each other nuts alone (I could go on for hours about historic inaccuracies in the fixtures of the Inn), but we both love Rory. That unites us. We might have different forms of love, but in a way, having Lorelai on my side, and not only that, able to use her home as a refuge from Sharon calms me down. One of the main reasons I decided not to go after Rory was Lorelai and her reaction to a relationship. I didn't to tear Rory and her mom apart based on my own needs, and I would hate to see them apart. I'm thankful for her small acceptance of us, though I do worry that one day, I'll mess it up.

I think about myself messing many things up. My relationship with Daddy, for instance. I hope he accepts us. I hope that he likes Rory.

I hope that most of all, he doesn't hate me. I've spent so long thinking of my parents, not enough time thinking of myself. But for once I have to be selfish and show my father that Rory is who I want. Not anyone else, except her. If there's anything that would make me stop this, it would be him disapproving of me as a lesbian. No matter if he supports gay rights in his workplace or anything else he has done for the LGBT community in Hartford. Those are distant contributions. But this...this is personal. It affects his life.

I see him in my dreams rejecting me. Of him angered because his little girl can't walk down an aisle in an official ceremony, or sad because his daughter has gone on a different path in life. I've thought of his reaction in my mind many times over, of good and bad reactions. Seeing me as different or damaged because I fell for a woman.

Those negative thoughts have to stay in the back of my mind, though. Tomorrow has to go well. I cannot let myself get negative about the first family member I come out to.

I should just think about tonight. That I had Rory in the darkroom and the bed. Something I could have never considered as coming true only a few months ago.

See, I can think of things that way. We're making progress. We're doing OK. I have yet to screw up anything about it, and I've salvaged tense moments and somehow turned them into either sex or unexpected public masturbation from a girl I couldn't even picture doing anything less than touching her breast carnally a year ago.

Yeah, that's accentuating the positive. In my presence, Rory Gilmore has done more to make herself a sexual being than two years with boring ol' Dean could ever do.

And I didn't even need the help of Tristan at all. Oh, if I knew where he was and could tell him all this, he'd probably have a painful erection that would never be cured. Just imagining it now...

Dear Tristan,

So how's military school treating you? Probably bad, right? Well, I just wanted to write to tell you that boy, you should've never robbed that safe and got stuck in North Carolina. Why, you might ask? Because I'm living out all the dirty things you wanted to do to Rory all by my 'dateless loser' self. And boy, is she really getting into it. All those thoughts of her being a Mary in bed? Put them aside, because she's certainly not virginal in my arms. I've made her tremor...I've gone down on her...made her cum a mess on the seat of my town car just by the sound of my voice. Pretty much did the same to me in turn and got me to realize that I'm sexy, well endowed, and damned proud of my body, Mr. 'You could lose ten pounds.' So yeah, what I'm trying to say here is, thanks for fucking up, Tris. It might be the best thing you've ever done in your life.


Paris E. Gellar

P.S. - And she told me she loved me too, by the way. While we were nude. On the mats of Miss Patty's. Yeah, I know you're thinking about the both of us like that. Stand down, soldier.

P.P.S. - Oh dear, you've made a mess in your boxers. The drill sergeant's gonna have your head for ruining your pants, I'm sure.

P.P.P.S. - Nope, can't have her back. Once you go Gilmore, you always want more. And I'm feeling pretty gluttonous for her.

Yeah, I would totally write that letter to him. Thankfully I don't believe in karmic destiny. I can go to bed thinking about him thinking about us in bed, and it's putting a smile on my face.

Although if he's suffering some lower body pain from losing Rory to me, I certainly would be pleased...

Part 20

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