DISCLAIMER: The show ended five years ago. Gossip Girl is getting creamed in the ratings by ABC Family and has ratings only the outdoor channels would love. Yet, there's Warner Bros. Television still telling me Gilmore Girls isn't mine, along with Hofflund-Polone. Oh, and Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions/Amy Sherman-Palladino is over there giving me the side-eye, like 'don't profit off this, bub'. No fears, guys, money shall not be made off this at all. All products mentioned within are the property and trademarks of their respective owners, and no disrespect is meant or implied. Note that I have tried to research Boston "T" lines as much as I could to Brookline, but the MBTA's website might be one of the most complicated sites I have ever known, so apologies for any errors in routing or such (and if there is an easy train or bus there, we can call the scene dramatic license). Thankfully the Amtrak site has an easy PDF to follow the Acela route, so that was much less a problem (outside the likely schedule tweaks between the last ten years). I used a website named "celticsbeagle.net" to look up the actual scores and rundowns of the Celtics games mentioned within this story, and thank them for helping me because I'm a stickler for accuracy.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Can it be? Will I get a chapter out in under five months for the first time since the early portions of this story? Yes, I have finally found some good encouragement to help this story along, the most important being the purchase of a new laptop to replace what was literally my old laptop bought four years ago coming apart at the seams. I had already shipped it off once for repairs, but now with it coming apart, I used duct tape to keep it together as long as I could. With that, writing was discouraging and my current work situation had not been conducive to writing. But that has changed, and now I'm writing more thankfully (though that's more to forget about work, but I digress). Thank you to everyone who's stuck by this story for years, and those who keep following me through every social media channel. Without you, this story would have ended long ago. There are more author's notes, but as I don't want to ruin anything, those are at the end of the chapter (no peeking...hey, hey, move your fingers away from the End key please! Don't ruin the surprise.) Also, ff.net, 23rd time...ladies are in love, if you hate it, why have you been reading it for so long? Isn't there some Vampire Diaries/Beauty & the Beast 2012 crossover where Katherine tells the new Beast guy "Uh, yeah, you have a scar dude. You're not a beast. Get over yourself and get some sunlight" out there to read (and if there is...we need more English funding in schools because BATB2012 is terrible)? Finally, 'Sherrie' is spelled the way it is because that's how her name was rendered in the closed captioning of the season two and three episodes we saw her in, not the later show spelling of 'Sherry' in other online sources. Because I started this story so long ago and revising it in each place I have posted it would range from complicated to impossible, I have chosen to retain the 'ie' spelling for consistency and simplicity, along with the aesthetics that 'ie' looks better than 'y' in reading. This is the same reason the spelling of Paris's last name of 'Gellar' has remained across all of my stories despite it tilting to 'Geller' in later seasons and after the end of the series; I write how I experienced and interpreted the show as a fan, not how the studio did after it ended. Chapter title inspiration partially from Sarah McLachlan's "Home" and a connecting thread that seemed perfect to title the chapter. Again, she comes through with the title inspiration!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Longing With a Cherry Tomato on Top
By Nate

Chapter Twenty-Three
Releasing a Burden, Tossing a Lifeline


Rory's POV, 1:00am Sunday

Coming into this weekend, I thought I knew everything about my father that I could. That he was a good guy, just a little misunderstood, someone who tried to find his niche but just wasn't able to because he's like a vagabond, a guy who just travels on and on until he finds something he loves.

I thought one day that my dream of Mom and him marrying would come true, that I would be able to say I have parents rather than just one parent who raised me, and another who visited when they could between projects. I had brought myself into the kind of thinking where my dad was just this being that existed to show that yes, I did have a father, he was cool and though he wasn't around, he loved me for who I am.

Sure, he got his credit rejected for trying to buy me a huge dictionary. He must've just had a problem with his card he could work out, right?

Yeah, he didn't come to my birthday parties or send me a card because he was busy. No big deal, because Christmas was two months away and he could make it up then.

Of course, so he got a few suspensions in high school for being a bully and mouthing off at his teachers--

Hold on, that's not a good thing. That isn't, right? Mom and I have gotten by our entire school careers without much trouble. I served detention for my ill-advised revenge on Samantha and learned from it; that I never want to be that bored in a classroom after school again.

I also know that despite the annoyance I've shown to my girlfriend at times, I've never been to the point of....how did he put it?

Telling her to 'get the fuck out of my way'.

Nor do I parade in after 1am coming back from the Red Sox or Celtics game with my buddies, stomping in and having a few beers while his beloved struggles to sleep, nor do I treat my book collection like the true love of my life instead of my lady.

How is it that Sherrie is pregnant with his child, but he gets angry and annoyed at her when she decides to dust off his CD and vinyl collection?

Which is all encased in jewel cases and cardboard sleeves? At least they're protected; the only thing keeping Sherrie from early labor is a bubble of fluid surrounding my future sister.

Oh, and he could carry on trying to delude my mom into thinking he was unattached when he let Sherrie go and leave her heartbroken and Sherrie stuck having to father his child? And not telling her about it at all?

As you can tell, I'm not happy with Christopher Hayden at all. I was excited a few short hours ago, but now I'm just clenching my fists and wishing I never came up here.

I never thought the words 'shit list' would ever come to my mind. Or as a lover of lists, I'd never had any names contained on said list. Because I love everyone. I'm able to find the good in everyone I've ever met.

Heck, I found good in Tristan DuGrey. Tristan, who pretty much admitted to pleasuring himself to me daily in his teasing! At least he's still young and if I swung in his direction I might like him to ravish me like a rich millionaire who--

Oh, God! Mom had this terrible romance novel with S&M she was reading and I keep coming back to it! God, I hope something like that never becomes a bestseller.

But yes, Tristan is good. He stood by Paris. When someone put her down, he would fight for her honor. Or mine. Despite how much of a jackass he was, there was still a little light in his soul that I hope has expanded in North Carolina.

Otherwise, right now, yes; I do have a 'shit list'. Dean of course, #1. Never going to forgive him, and to rub salt in the wound, guess who's visiting from Chicago over the holiday season?

I'll give you a hint; the name starts with 'B' and ends with 'eth, that stupid whore who stole him from me and thank God because she can have that boring idiot'!

No, I'm not bitter at all, why do you ask?

Anyways, he was the only one who had ever earned that honor. A list of one. One I could easily maintain and forget.

As of 2am on Sunday morning, December 15, 2002, there are now two other names on it. And if I had this written down on a yellow legal pad, this is how it would be written angrily with a blue Papermate pen;

#1. Dean Forrester. Cheating bastard, chauvinistic dimbulb, pretend reader of great fiction who couldn't even get through Ramona Forever without getting bored. Also, his friends make Spicoli look like a Rhodes Scholar.

And now; two new entries;

#2. Christopher Hayden. Claims to be my father; now in my mind a mere sperm donor. Disowned me for my sexuality, told me a little masculinity in my life would have kept me straight. His parents regard me the same way they do The Elephant Man; an abomination that ruined their perfectly planned lives. I would rather drink battery acid than inherit one penny from them. Also, continues to try to get my mom long after her interest in him is gone. Mom now considered 'cockblocker' in his eyes. Also really doesn't want to be a father a second time and treats the mother of his child like complete crap.

Finally, we get to the part of the night I'd like to call the 'thank God I wasn't there' setting. The one where I uttered multiple obscenities after I got off the phone. The one person on this 'shit list' I would be willing to take a lethal injection for snuffing out their acrid excuse of a life from this earth.

I'm kind, they say. Chilton's "Mary". Wouldn't hurt a fly and dresses with birds in the morning.

Guess what? Dorothy killed a witch with a house. A house. And the film showed she brushed off the guilt eventually of killing said witch because it ended up for the public good.

Trust me, a house wouldn't be enough here. I'd drop the Empire State Building on this one. No guilt, no fucking remorse for doing so. I would click my heels three times and unleash hell if it got rid of them.

Here we go, before this written record is used against me in a court of law;

#3. Sharon Gellar. A worthless excuse for a human being. Cares only for herself. Would've aborted Paris if she hadn't discovered her pregnancy later without a care to her husband's opinion, or splattered her against a Jersey barrier when she was four, shit-faced drunk. Criticizes her daughter for every imperfection. Hates that she is a strong-ass feminist. Probably has had more work than Joan Rivers. Snuffed out her daughter's sexuality via a private eye. Called her a dyke for being in love with me. Tried to kill Paris for who she was in love with. Has my girl scared for her fucking life. Has me looking up the state's self-defense laws and praying the 25th comes soon. Lower than plankton on the food chain. If she dares come within my personal space...she really doesn't want to. Just trust me. Bitch. Cunt. Heartless.

Yes, that is in my head. I, Lorelai Leigh Gilmore have thought this, obscenities and all.

And there's gonna be no 'take it back and grovel' like I did after I got back from New York. This...this is truly how I feel about her. After having to hear all that Paris had gone through this morning and to know this strong woman I love, who I know could make the Headmaster wither and my grandfather reel back with her acumen for everything...that she was reduced to just this small shell of a girl, retracting from her strength, hiding in a corner of her room holding a Care Bear tight as if willing it to come to life and protect her.

If you were telling me a few months ago that I was going to feel like defending Paris Gellar from her mother as if Buffy Summers was holding back her friends from a horde of vampires, I would've looked at you as if you were crazy.

But now, I know I love her. When I said those words to her in Miss Patty's, I still felt a little unsure, scared, shocked that in the space of a month I had gone from just dancing with Paris, to being her partner in all aspects.

I love her. I love Paris.

And also, I love Sherrie Tisdale for being here for me tonight. From showing me that I should stick to my guns and whatever happens, it is good. Soon, she's going to give me a sister I get to guide through life, and now, God willing, I'm going to have a reason to go to Boston for more than a school.

I'm proud of what we did tonight. She stood up to a man who had been trying to take her down silently, nitpicking her and abusing her in not a physical, or a mental sense, but in a questioning manner that almost made her regret ever telling him she was having his child.

I also did the same thing. But I did more. I stood up to the mythology he had built up in my head for so long, of this 'good guy' who had just caught some bad breaks in life. Never mind the abandonment of my mother. The brush-offs of requests to come home to Connecticut for more visitations when I was younger. For just a mere letter once in awhile. And of the phone calls my mother hid from me, where she was told no birthday present was coming my way because 'he was a little short'.

Too many things to deal with tonight. The Rory of two years ago would have just crumpled up and ran away, or went silent.

All I want to do is go home. To give Paris the comfort she needs. But she knows Sherrie needs me here too, to make sense of everything.

I look at this woman who has somehow come into my life, a perfectionist and compulsive like I am. She planned to have a child at 38, not 32, when she made partner. She would have chosen a better father.

But now, like me, she's in unexpected circumstances. Planning to be a single mother if Christopher doesn't come back. Doing all she can to assure her kid gets the life she deserves, no matter the bigoted views of the child's father and its paternal grandparents.

Somehow though, I think we'll hang in there. It's going to be long and rough for both of us; her with Georgia, me with Paris. But if my mom can make it to manage an Inn, I can definitely be just as strong.

I'm going to get this all out, but whatever the case, I know my father is wrong.

Because this 'fucking dyke' is going to prove him and the Haydens wrong. I don't need his help.

And I certainly the hell don't need Sharon Gellar either...

Saturday, 12 Noon

It had been a long day. After getting off at South Station I had been very hopeful for this visit. Sherrie was stuck at the apartment on doctor-ordered bedrest, which left Dad to take me around town before getting back to his apartment. I felt pretty good, a cheerful conversation with Paris before I left keeping my spirits high when it came to my girlfriend, and my mom being thankful for a nice weekend being able to trust me all alone again. I was relieved; after the bus trip to see Jess I thought for sure I was going to be grounded from going on this trip, but I promised Mom deeply that I wouldn't do anything to upset her.

"So you'll stay on the train? You're not going to run off with some guy you meet on there, right?" I rolled my eyes.

"Yes, because I'm sure Paris would love that," I returned back. " I'm going to be too distracted to do anything else."

"Wait, not even a glance out the window?"

"It's a two-hour train ride through the boring part of Connecticut. I have too much to do," I argued. "Besides, I had a dream about Par--"

I laughed as I knew Mom's reaction; a cringe and a quick wave of her hands. "I need not know the details of your dreams, young lady! You just keep that to yourself!"

"See, I have plenty to distract me."

"And that's what scares me," she said, quickly coming back. "I still can't believe I grabbed her bra Thursday night after you two made out while I was gone. I really thought it was yours when I was getting the laundry together."

"Well it's hard to take off and--" I stopped myself, not wanting my mother to know how I manage to do things with Par even with my bedroom door still open. "She knows now, remember where it is! Boy does she know."

"Aww, my daughter is so cerebral and brainy when it comes to planning a makeout session," she said, teasing me as we got into New Haven Union Station. "How'd you talk her into it?"

I scoffed. "I'm not telling you that!" I raised my eyebrows. "Geeze, I thought having a girlfriend would reduce my sexual scrutiny."

"Oh, Rory, you should know by now, I'm going to me a nosy woman forever, man or woman." She laughed as I shook my head, all the while my brain filled with the image of Paris in the Stars Hollow High gym class t-shirt required for that godforsaken hour of hell where the aftermath was the girls in my class leering at me for being plain and abnormal. I bought it in an extra large size as I had no intention of showing off my body to the pervs in that school. Worked quite well, but after I left I had no use for it at all.

That is, until I saw it on my closet on Wednesday night trying to find my 'Thursday night home date' outfit, for the 'night of fun' I promised her. Suddenly, the wheels in my mind turned and before I knew it, I had a way to bring us back from the sadness of our Monday night post-RTS debate...

Mom was still at the Inn, stuck for awhile there while she had to deal with the rush of filling out the reservations, which had opened up to lottery for Christmas and New Year's weeks for the few that had cancelled out their trips because of other circumstances. I had everything planned as Paris came into the house, putting down her messenger bag next to the bed as I got in and got off my blouse as soon as I could.

"You really will never like the blouse, will you?" she observed wryly as I tossed it into the laundry, leaving me in a blue cami purposely picked out to make my eyes stand out. "One of these days you're going to be cold and keep that on once you get in your room."

"Well, tonight's not that night." I smiled at her, sighing as I felt the lovely chill of the pre-boiler kick in give me that lift I needed. "And now you need to change out of your uniform." I wagged my eyebrows, knowing I'd receive a huff and an eyeroll from Par. "Come on, I have something for you."

"No...I have clothes in my bag," she said, pointing at it, and reaching for it before I slid to get in her way. "Rory, I do."

"I mean it, Gellar, I picked out...something special for you to wear." I lowered the tone in my voice, and grabbed at her hand. "Come on..."

"Oh, God. Rory, I refuse to play 'Fashion Plates' with you," she said. "My style of lesbianism is serious, not meant to emulate that which would be comfortable being sold by Caboodles or the Deb Shop."

"Well, we'll see about that," I argued, closing the door to the absolute limit I could get away with and drawing the shade. "Now..." I pushed her towards the closet on the other side of the room and pulled at the tail of her blouse to untuck it. "Tonight, I'm not gonna feel you up in a turtleneck. I wanna see your neck."

"Oh...kay." Her brown eyes slitted. "You're kind of scaring me here." She looked down at my chest. "And...you're wearing your black bra."

"I...am?" I looked down at the lovely article which flattered my breasts the best beneath my top. "Well, look at that. I meant to wear something else today."

"No wonder you were so perky and vivacious," she cracked, still unnerved at how she knew that Blackie always gave me a little more...ahem, 'bounce'. I let my fingers linger along the skin lining along her skirt, feeling an immediate retraction of her stomach inward. "You're not going to dress me like a hooker, are you?"

I licked my lips. "Paris, Paris, Paris. Do I look like I would ever wear 'hooker garb'? I'm not Louise."

"She once said you had a perfect stripper name. You never know."

"The only stripping I do is with you, Par-Bear," I said soothingly, moving my lips to meet hers and loving the little cringe the nickname forced in her. "You have the better stripper name though. Paris sounds classy."

"Well, it was, until you told me that." I began to unbutton her blouse excitedly, taking it from the bottom part until I undid her collar and tossed the tie aside, continuing to kiss her a few times as I got her undressed. "Rory, the rules..."

"Oh, I know the rules", I demurred, giggling in delight that she had made an additional sojourn to a certain store I made a lovely adventure to on Black Friday. She took off the shirt, blushing deeply at wearing a crimson lacy bra that was displaying her in a way that had me crossing my legs slightly. I bit down on my knuckle. "But again, there are plenty of loopholes. Especially when my mom isn't around."

I could tell I was making her nervous, but in a good way. "You know, for a Mary, you're acting more the Magdalene than the Blessed."

"Hey, I never acknowledged what type of Mary I was," I admitted, wrapping my arms around her slowly. I giggled lightly, bending down to kiss at her neck. "Anyways, the Blessed Mary train left the moment you got down to your skivvies and thought of me in Washington."

"Oh God..." she shook her head. "Let's get away from the Biblical references before I have to sit Shiva for every shred of my innocence."

"Mmm, love it when you get into the Hebrew." I felt odd saying that, but it was enough to calm her down a little. I bent down to kiss her, peppering her face and then licking around her lips to stimulate and plump them. She was quick to react and soon my fingers were along her back, rubbing in circles as I soothed her into the seduction I had planned. Pulling at the band holding her French braid at the back I found a little resistance.

"Nobody touches my hair," she warned.

"I do...all the time," I corrected, picking at the band lightly with my fingernail. "You seem to love it."

"Mainly because you don't bitch about my lack of bangs." A little smirk. Finally I was getting somewhere. "And your fingers know it better than most everyone I know."

"I'm undoing your braid," I said. "Then I'm taking off your bra. Then your skirt. Then your socks and your shoes. And I dare you to say no."

"Oh, are you?" Suddenly I felt her lift up my undershirt, and I quickly complied to get it off to leave me in my bra. "You can't resist me, Gilmore. I know you can't; when I brushed your knuckles at lunch when you gave me that cookie, I could feel your hands shake."

"It was more than my hands shaking," I suggested coyly, undoing the braid like I promised, and starting at the top of her head to unlace it, earning a deep moan from the pull of the hair. Once I finished it, she did a toss which caught my heart as her hair came loose, a slight bit of static causing the hair to stick up a little, but shield slightly against her bra. "You're beautiful today."

"You're just saying that because it's Thursday," she joked, shaking her head. "Maybe I did dress up a little because of that."

"And now...I'm going to dress you down," I whispered. I brought my hands to the band of the bra to unhook it, her usual shyness flagging up.

"Umm, don't I have to be dressed?"

"Yes, but I plan to dress you in my own way, which requires a dressing down."

"It requires the lack of a bra though?" She shuddered. "Are you sure?"

"As long as we're dressed, we can do all we want. And we are changing out of our Chilton clothes. Mom just didn't say how long it had to take to switch between school and home clothes."

I earned an eyeroll with that one. "You should be an attorney."

"Only if I could kiss Calista Flockhart," I said, feeling no shame as Paris slitted her eyes. "What? That show made me feel lesbianism was a valid life choice."

"It also had on-and-off writing and a character with a throat flesh fetish."



I gave a sly smirk. "This bra is coming off, whether you like it or not."

"Part of the plan?"

"Oh, yes." I laughed and slid it off, loving the usual 'bump' as her held-in breasts came down. I tossed the article backwards towards the door not caring about my aim and gave Paris a once-over before getting the skirt off, leaving her in a pair of maroon panties that were leaving little to the imagination.

I had Paris Gellar nearly naked in my room. Still within my mom's rules. And she wasn't going to be back for another hour.

As long as Babbette and Morey didn't walk in, and they wouldn't due to the locked doors, I was free to give Paris a makeout session to remember.

We began a slow progression, Paris slowly getting over her nerves as she began to work me out of my own clothes. Her fingers slid against the catch of my skirt and she teased me slightly by my thinking that she was taking down my underwear with my skirt, undoing the catch and then dipping a finger against the top of my cleft before letting the plaid fall to the floor as she took in my reaction.

"Mmm, you're mismatched again," she whispered. "You gotta stop violating the uniform code, Gilmore. Everything has to match." I shuddered at the stern schoolmarm tone. "And these panties are cut too short. I can almost feel your slit from the waistband!"

"I've been...growing?" I said, trying to make an excuse for the thinness of my underwear.

"You're wearing them a size too small. Gilmore, you're going to get a--"



"If the next words out of your mouth mention something cured by Monistat, the mood is ruined."

Expecting a reel-back, instead she smirked. "I was going to say a bunch of affection from me. Let me finish my sentences, Ror." A little chuckle from her and I was blushing. "You always assume the worst."

"This from the girl who told me to suck an Altoid before a sudden play scene was sprung on her." I felt overwhelmed with the passion I felt for her. "Now...I think I get to tell you what you wear."

"I've been dreading this," she surmised as I headed over to the closet to grab the old gym t-shirt from its hanger and tossed it over to her on the bed. She looked at it for a moment and raised her eyebrow.

"I can't wear this," she argued. "I've never gone to school in Stars Hollow, so it would be erroneous to declare myself as such."

"But it's a shirt I wore for two years of hellish physical education. I sweated in that every day. I thought it would be sweet," I said, as she went over the fabric and took in the scent of my perspiration and pheromones that still overwhelmed it despite who knows how many washes. "Put it on."

"What if it doesn't fit?" I shook my head.

"If it doesn't fit...well, I have plenty of other things to have you wear from my closet. I just wanted you to have a piece of me if you decide to sleep clothed one night." I smiled. "Try it on for me?"

She looked at the tag and let out a small groan. "Don't tell me you picked this because you connected the size of the shirt to the size of my breasts." I laughed softly at her wry tone.

"A complete coincidence. I didn't want the boys at the high school to earn a gander at me," I admitted. "Wasn't really easy to be in a gym class when you wanted to be anywhere else but there."

She sighed. "How do you explain your proper sizing at Chilton then? When we were doing the field hockey unit I had to catch myself from pulling your shirt off."

"Well, that's different. I'm more comfortable there. Less awkward. Yes, I change privately like you do, but there, the stakes are higher with a suspension, so the girls keep to themselves. It was 'she said-she said' in the SHH locker room." I felt nervous admitting all these fears, thinking they were all in the past. "And he said-she-said in class. I had a junior boy on the baseball team get away with a boob grope when we were doing a flag football unit.'

I could tell just from the word 'grope' Paris was interested to learn more. "I hope you gave him his own squeeze which...wait, this is your old high school." A cringe of recognition. "No, he'd like that."

"I just didn't say anything. No need to. My teacher didn't care because I put in very little effort in the class to begin with. Although..." I pointed to the remains of what had been a floor burn just near the top of my right thigh. "I once played volleyball and went for a serve too fast. The floor there isn't wood, but that bouncy rubber stuff they have on the practice court at Chilton. Hurt for a week." I winced remember the slide, and how I completely missed the ball in the end.

Paris nodded, understanding again why only our passion seemed to bring out our sporting sides. "I can understand why then." She slid her finger onto the burn, which now was represented by an odd dime-sized scar that had healed over into a white patch of skin...

Like her accident scars. I sucked in a breath, feeling a sudden bit quiet. "Do...do you still get, um, the phantom pains?"

"From the accident?" Her brows loaded as she twisted around her lips. "I don't talk about it a lot. As in, at all. But if this is just between us..." She then looked up at me.

"I still do get some pain. If I sit too forward I will get a shock through my nerves that throws me off because there's this small bit of my ribcage that's chipped and they never were able to locate the shard in surgery. I've learned to live with it, but it's a lingering reminder. Some headaches too, it seems like my hairline scar also gets in a bit of anguish." She continued to rub at my burn. "I haven't even told my doctor I feel it, ever. If it had gone into my permanent medical record, even when I was young I knew there was no way my dance school would have taken the risk on letting me in. I wanted to dance as a challenge to myself, to prove what Mother did to me was only just a hurdle to get over."

I nodded, feeling so much empathy for my girlfriend for sharing all of this. That I was given this information was more special. But I had to know more. "I guess I'm amazed by you. That you went through all of that, yet you're in the peloton of the valedictorian race...it's heartening. I'm glad you made it."

"I also had to wear a back brace for six months after," she said. "It was a very long process. All through it I still did my schooling, but only if I could match my peers. I don't do home school. That's for weaklings and the lazy. I was still on top of my kindergarten," she proclaimed proudly.

"Isn't that like celebrating being a preseason champion, a little presumptuous?" Paris shook her head and narrowed her eyes.

"The 1972 Miami Dolphins were not perfect, unlike the narrative the NFL would love you to believe. They were 1-3 in the preseason. Yet they still get this 'perfect season' bullshit. You get on your game early and often, and you'll be a champion. I don't care if you're playing Savannah State or the Lions, or God forbid, the Jets, you just keep scoring and leave them in the dust. Even in K I knew if I put on a sob story and got sympathy, it wasn't going to get me far when I healed completely. So I stepped on the pedal that first day in August 1989 and never looked back." She continued to look at me, completely serious, but I could feel that she was quite warm to me. "You never stopped even when I raged at my worst. Even if you had a ridiculously late start at Chilton and all of the crap you dealt with involving the schools here, I think you're the same."

I was surprised by how authentic she was. It was rare for her to give me these kinds of compliments, and I felt my throat tightening at her monologue. I stumbled, feeling a little odd about how a mention of a minor burn turned up this way.

I stared at her, bringing my gaze from her breasts and up to her eyes, hooded by tendrils of her hair. I felt my breath catch at the sight of her talking like this.

Even more, without the pretense of clothing. I had nearly forgot she was just about nude in my room talking about her injuries. I breathed through my nose, taking it all in.

I also forgot the shirt, still draped in her lap. I could sense between us that we needed some kind of break before I just pushed her down to the bed and...

'Geeze, I'm not better than Tristan', I thought to myself, knowing my mind had wandered a bit too much.

"Paris," I mouthed, barely able to vocalize her name. "I...I'm...I..." I felt a blush against my skin as her fingers moved up along my thighs. Eventually my hands. I shuddered from the contact, and how I was examining her down to the freckles she had wanted to hide on her nose, but I couldn't help but find one of the sexist things I've ever known.

Then she slowly released me, grabbing the shirt at her side. And then...

She smiled. An honest to goodness, not sardonic or sarcastic smiled. Lips curled upward, teeth bared, her small form standing on her lithe legs.

"Well, the way you're looking at me..." she curled, the sex dripping from her ragged voice. "I guess I shall partake in your fantasy, Farm Girl."

The name used to be hated, an insult to living in a small town from an insufferable prat of a girl who lived to see me unhappy. Now though, she held the grey tee with red and white lettering in her hand and did another hair toss.

She turned around to show me her back. Curved beautifully, this petite hellfire was a work of art. I saw her sharp shoulder blades, the curvature of her spine and multiple moles and marks peppering the dark flesh she never revealed to anyone at all. And then to complete the picture, her underwear pulled down just enough to give me a little view of the split of her peach-shaped ass.

Pulling up her arms she opened up the shirt at the hem and then slowly ran it down her body, smoothing it down her torso. She turned around just before she began to slide it below her breasts. I panted like a dog at the sight of her in that way...blatant, sexual. She wore that little sideways smile, her mind definitely saying that this was going to stick with me during Russian Novels for sure, that I will know every part of her and see her clothing as a hindrance.

She then makes the shirt fall down and straightens it and her underwear, being seductive all the way through.

Yes, I just said it. Paris 'I'm not genetically set up to date' Gellar is seductive. And very dateable.

And fu--

"So, Gilmore, how does this fantasy play out?" My mind was broken as I took her in this...this shirt. A school shirt that's sized for a linebacker or a very shy intellectual. 'Stars Hollow Physical Education' across her breast, and my name in the little white space in laundry marker between the two lines. Which I can block out. She came towards me as I lay slightly on the bed, feeling very, very hot.

Also, very wet. Certainly I didn't expect to be this wound up.

"Um..." Here came my shy side, as I bit on my knuckles, my voice seeming to be so lost I think it was back at Luke's. "I...I actually didn't think you'd put that on. Or that you...um...shoot, I know um, isn't an answer, but um..." I shook my head. "Sorry to swear here, but...fuck."

"Good fuck, or...the other kind?" She had that nervous giggle going on as she moved back towards me. The shirt was a little looser than expected, hanging off to one side and drooping off her right shoulder, while I could tell that the boiler was taking a long time to cool the room.

I think. Or Par was just that turned on, because her nipples peaked against the fabric. Unconsciously I tucked in my legs closer as a surge of warmth caught between my thighs.

I've seen Dean shirtless. I learned about how to feel good from a ravishing redhead of mystery down at the pond. Yes, I've even ogled Jess a few times.

None of those experiences compare to seeing Paris in my old gym shirt, casual and caring for me.

"It depends...on your interpretation of those words," I suggested with a knowing smirk.

"I think I know what it is, judging from your blush, Gilmore. You're like a tomato right now." I bit on my lip as she came closer. "Just a question though; do you have matching shorts with this?"

"Umm, I do. And sweatpants. But I don't know where they are." I felt a bit embarrassed for a moment. "Shoot, I'm sorry, I didn't know if--"

"Not for now," she whispered, coming closer, her legs bared for me to shamelessly ogle. "Later, when your mother gets back so we can skirt the 'clothed' rule as close as possible. For now though, I'm still technically changing." She moved onto the bed, her right knee first as I suddenly found myself moving towards the headboard. "Said changing may involve a bit of touching...caressing, a little accidental brush of fingers against your flesh. Or a leg." She laughed in that way that gets to me every time. Damn, she's getting smart about this. "And of course there's that hand which may wander where it doesn't usually go."

Oh God, I couldn't believe it. So Miss Overregulation didn't mind getting in trouble if it benefitted her. She moved in closer...closer. I could just smell her so deeply above me, those brown eyes focused on one goal. I panted deeply, wondering how I could put myself out of my misery...

Then she did it for me. Laying straight on my bed, head on my pillow, I whimpered as I felt contact with her thigh against mine, my other leg still beneath because I could feel the pressure warming me, building like a tea kettle.

Her left hand slid up my right thigh. I gasped, knowing I needed this...some kind of release. I closed my eyes, feeling her bear down on me as the drape of the shirt touched my stomach.

"You promised me fun tonight," she whispered, her lips above mine, breath buffeting the small hairs just below my knows. "Fun we shall have." The hand purposefully drifted to the side of my mound, brushing past it before cupping my breast from below. "My oh my, Gilmore, you're so wet. And you're shivering. You're going to catch a cold in this damp lingerie."

God, she was using the 'mocking voice'. Another trigger that's become a turn-on. I shuddered at the lightest of contact with her fingers. "I should remove it."

I flirted back. "But then I'd be in violation of the rules and my mother would ground me for a week," I said weakly.

"Yeah...there is that." She kept circling her thumb around my nipple as she 'thought' about what to do. Her tongue poked out against her cheek, her nose wrinkling cutely as she sighed.

"Bah, well, I don't want our playtime here to be terminated because we broke the rules." She smiled. "I'm going to go get something to drink while you go change into something...more comfortable." With a small kiss, the moment was broken up for a little bit. "I'll be back in a couple minutes."

She left the room and for the first time in about twenty minutes, I could breathe again. I sat there for a few moments, stunned that we were this way. In this relationship we've jumped over nearly everything that we've established in our own heads about timelines, romance, our sexual fluidity. Everything. It was amazing, but at the same time, it was scaring me.

How was it I was soaking my panties just at the sight of her in my shirt? I didn't understand it. I don't understand plenty about my attraction to Par, except that it's become all-consuming. I think about her all the time. It's not just that silly crush any longer; this is all real and human and everything about it...

I don't know. I just don't. But Paris...it's amazing with her. I feel a shudder as I get up from the bed and quick slide down my underwear and toss off my bra.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I see that somehow I've left an actual wet spot on my bedspread. I damn myself and try as fast as I can to throw on a thin tank top with a matching striped pair of blue panties which I had originally worn God knows how many times for date nights with Dean where he never got the clue.

'Paris has to be different', I thought to myself as I flopped back onto the bed as Par came into the room with two bottles of Poland Spring, still looking seductive and come-hither to me. She smiled in appreciation at my new outfit as she tossed me the cold bottle.

"Wow, and I thought the panties you wore today were daring. You barely have a waistband there," she cracked as she flopped down next to me. I shrugged.

"These are just...I only wear them on dates," I demurred. "Though you're the first to see them on me at all."

"Now I feel special," she purred, running teasing fingers along my thighs. "You consider this a date?"

"Well, I guess it is. Sort of. I mean, you did just bring me a drink." I sipped the water. "Paris?"


"I...I guess I'm a little nervous. I left a spot on the bed and that was just from talking." I tried telling my brain to shut up; secretion of fluids does not make for a conversation meant for sexual teasing! "I guess I'm a bit more turned on than I thought."

"Then we're doing it right," she said, her fingernails scratching against me. "I should admit I needed more than water out there. The girls were getting a little scratchy from not having a bra or silk against them."

"They did look kind of tender and aroused," I observed. "Scratching your nipples, not very sexy."

"It's not your fault though, I'm glad to wear this. To get my scent all over it and make you feel good and happy, like it's a private thing that has you smiling," she told me, still grinning, still touching me. "I love that I get to look at you and you're not feeling shy at all." Her gaze wandered to my stomach, where the tank rose to bare my belly. "Stop it."

"Stop what?" She sighed.

"Stop having that cute little knot in your navel!" she confessed. "Besides your eyes and your loving spoonfuls it's the thing that sticks in my head the most!"

"We're calling my boobs the loving spoonfuls now?" I quipped. She rolled her eyes.

"I'm trying to create appropriate euphemisms so I don't have to repeat 'breasts' or 'boobs' or the T-word too much. That's beside the point however." She smiled, moving her fingers along the ridge of my belly button, causing me to gasp deeply and then make this whimper I've only remembered making a few times when I've felt the need to...you know. "You're also showing through said loving spoonfuls in that top."

I looked down and found a blush building furiously across my cheeks. I had forgotten that it was a top I had worn for years and washed so many times I could never wear it anywhere but in my bedroom, as even looking down I could see the outline of my nipples pretty darned well. "Oh God. I uh, didn't intend to--"

"I know," she stated deviously. "I know real well it wasn't in the plans. I just threw the great listmaker off her seduction plan a little bit." With a little laugh Paris slid a few of her fingers along the most sensitive part of my abdomen, making me gasp. "However...I don't think that top fits you." Then as I tried to say it did (barely)...

I was stopped. She pushed over me, pawing up my side, pulling up the top slightly so it was over my stomach and just barely along the curve of my breasts. I felt all my blood flow rush southward as I saw this woman just become a whole different kind of being. Somehow she was putting all of her passion into making me feel good instead of doting over a project.

Now I know that when I crashed into her that first day, breaking the castle might as well have been on par with orgasm denial!

Her right hand teased at the underside of my breast as she let her bare leg move just above my knee, providing non-sexual friction, nails scratching and fingertips pinching, sending me into a mess of shudders, 'Oh God' exhalations and begs of her to do more of that. Her eyes scanned me as if she was silently taking notes as to what makes me feel good. Paris's left hand was barely idle at all, cupping my right breast and taking in the consistency of the thin cotton while at the same time testing just how far she could send my nipple erect with slow tortuous circles around the outer periphery of my areola, moving inward to scrape at the edge of the tender bud that was my nipple.

I make a shrieking noise in an octave I didn't know was possible. She applied more friction against my leg, teasing me by knowing I wanted it closer to my trunk.  I began to lightly rock with her movements, gasping as the triple sensations were managing to scramble my mind beyond what I had expected. I really did expect lovemaking, but not this intense, even to start.

Her hand slid beneath the flesh under my breast and that was nearly it for me. I didn't even feel comfortable touching it because it was overly tender in my experience, taking the worse of underwire and harsh fabrics rubbing against it every single day.

Paris though made it feel heavenly. She just seemed to know where it always throbbed the worst for me and soothed away all the still lingering pain of wearing Blackie all day. My lip trembled as her left hand eventually moved to rub at the flesh until it was like a full breast massage. 'This is new', I thought as she slowed down the tempo, just for awhile and reduced down her rocking slightly to just a relaxed push and pull that brought down the pressure.

Her eyes remained above me, nothing but amazement within those deep mahogany pupils, amazed that she had me catatonic to her in a way that didn't involve academia.

I was indeed, all hers. I don't think I could've moved from that spot at all. The massage, just two fingers, circling softly around my breasts.

It felt amazing. But I knew it was hardly the only thing I'd be doing on that bed. I shuddered as I really hoped that envelope I was pushing was made of strong rubber--

Oh, who am I kidding? I didn't give a damn about the rules at that moment, I just wanted to have Paris take me like she never had before!

She began to move her knee up a little more, slowly inching it up until the best part of her thigh was up against me, and she clutched the bottom of my shirt to begin to get me off. I clenched my jaw as I began to build up a rhythm, mewing as I tried to hold myself back and then...

Suddenly I felt pressure against my breast. Unexpected pressure that I never really knew. It was like...like...

I didn't even know what was happening until I looked down to see that Paris had pulled down the top for not only leverage, but to bare skin just above my nipple.

Skin that she was suckling and nipping at like she couldn't get enough of me. But I didn't pause. Didn't even flinch. I just grabbed her by the neck and encouraged her on. There were no words or permission to be had and I knew that the top was becoming a flimsy excuse to keep the rules up.

Very flimsy, as I heard it tearing as she yanked one of the shoulders down below it and then  claim my breast in an animalistic manner for her own to a unshielded shriek.

I could feel the bed begin to rock, something I hadn't done since I was eleven and jumping on it for the first time. One hand at her neck encouraging her, uttering phrases like 'mark me' and 'ruin me'. I couldn't feel anything. I felt her apply suction against my nipple and I snarled that I needed a bruise there. I couldn't believe myself, how I was getting, but there I was, too far gone to turn around and go back to just necking in the back seat.

Soon I had my shirt pushed up, all ceremony gone. A check of the clock; still plenty of time for us. Thank God there was plenty of time. I felt myself building, almost ready to burst, my eyes closing tight as I felt light-headed, demanding to come. I needed this, wanted this, like a target to attain. I could feel her nails down my back, holding me tight as I pushed against her thigh with all I had, panting heavily and hoping for relief soon. I was getting there, getting there...

Almost there, oh God...

And then suddenly I felt the wind knocked away from me as she brought everything to a halt. A sudden and just jarring halt. She broke apart, kissing my lips and giving me this serious look that chilled me suddenly. I had been in bliss but suddenly it was pulled out from under me as she stopped, her eyes looking down my body.

I was uncharacteristically mad at her. "What the hell?!" I bellowed. "Par, don't stop, come on!" I was feeling anger inside at not being fulfilled as she took away her thigh. I pulled at her to come back but she didn't and now I was stuck needing and wanting her. "Come on!" I whined.

She just tut-tutted and continued to look down. "You wanted me to ruin you, is that correct?" she said in that tone I remember from her Shakespeare intimidation. "I can't ruin you this way."

"I was pretty damned well there!" I crowed. "Fuck, Paris! Please, get back to it!" Yes, this was my new low; begging Paris Gellar for sex. She just shook her head and poked out that damned tongue of hers. "Please!"

Yet her eyes kept looking down. I didn't know why. I could feel my eyes burning with desire to get this done. Another tongue-playing game, this time a lick of her lips.

"If I'm going to ruin you," she said, her voice steady as a rock. "I am going to do it in a way where the words 'Dean is hot' cause your brain to trigger a vomit reflex. Or the idea of any man in love with you." She narrowed her eyes. "Pretty much, you're going to think of them as a cheap thrift store bike with no brakes."

"I'm like my Ducati," she suggested, the confidence in her voice so haughty I could hear classical music in my mind's background. "because once you ride me, you don't go back. The hum of that engine, the impact of small insects hitting your facemask at 140 mph and brushing off like they were never there...the clench of your thighs as that Harvard crimson 996 holds 122 horses between your legs...let's see the Deanmobile try to do anything but reenact a fucking crash test video without the dummies flying two miles off target!" She continued. "Oh yes, I've done 140 on the test track. Good feeling. Still, not like making love to you in any way, which is why I have something to ask you."

I rolled my eyes. "Well, you're acting like DuGrey right now, so the--"

"Oh, Gilmore. That's so cute, comparing me to Tristan. He's not here, remember? I am. And I'm about to fulfill a wish that if you grant it, every guy who likes you has wanted since you decided to start dating. Only they aren't getting it now."

Now I was chilled. Threatened. Feeling a smidge intimidated. "And...and if I don't?"

"Oh, you will." God, her voice...I was tempted just to self-fuck to the sound of it, yet I kept in control. "You want it. I want it. It's the holy grail between us."

Then with that damned secret smile, she stated it.

"You know what I want, Gilmore."

"Uhh, your Xanax? You're a little off here," I barked. She shook her head negatively.

"Of course not." Her eyes lowered downward, lower....lower...

Then in a barely perceptible whisper...

"I want to know how you taste."

That screeching sound you heard somewhere there? That was the last of my child-like wonder which somehow stayed fully intact until Tristan started his banter at sixteen, completely breaking apart as I realized the eyeline of where Paris was staring.

The simplest of geometry, scale and an 'as the crow flies' line suggested where she was going with this.

Into her mouth. Licking me. Sucking my clit. Stirring out the little woman in the canoe. I went down on her a few weeks ago, but this is different; I'm the one being taken, in my room this time!

Her gaze was...down below. It felt odd; she had seen me naked and worked me both with fingers and friction, so this...this...

"This is my bedroom," I mouthed, with my shyness somehow butting in. "If Mom finds out--"

She used her index finger to close my mouth at my chin. "I'm dressed. You're dressed--barely. The door is not closed. We are following every single rule she has given us. Except she is not home to mete what we can and cannot do. For all she knows we're discussing how we shall replace the ass-backwards Electoral College with a more equitable system of voting by the 2008 election cycle. She will not know."

I shook my head. "This is my bed though! In my bedroom!"

"Ahh, so Farm Girl can dish it out but she can't take reciprocation?" She knew we were flirting, just having a fun little argument where we both knew the inevitable. "You told me we would have fun tonight. Well, I choose that going down on you is fun." She stated it as if it was an indisputable fact that I did too.

Which was true. But my mind was in control then over my heart; I had to fight to bring it in control.

"Umm, I am--"

"Rory, look at me. Don't look down at yourself or anything else. Just me." I did, feeling a little adverse. "If you're uncomfortable with this because you don't feel ready, I understand completely and I won't do anything you don't want." Her voice filled with concern, I did look at her direct, pushing hair away from my eyes and whimpering because I had to confront this.

I knew where I was. In my bedroom with the door barely cracked open and still trying to be in the bounds of rules I agreed to so Paris was never caught again compromised with me. But I knew my timing. I had more than enough time. The day had been insane, filled with too many close calls around the school. I remembered her giving me this glance when we were at the lockers between third and fourth, a stare in her eyes she had never directed at me before, just for the mere act of giving her a compliment of how she handled a complicated question in first period.

Paris has always been intense. It's a fact of life. But there's this focus on me where I can feel her undressing me with her eyes. It has me throbbing all day and salivating just looking at her, knowing she's mine. With Dean, I never felt that sense, especially after Beth's return to his life in retrospect.

She may still be combative in class and argue me down from how I think the paper should go. But she sees me as an equal in so many ways.

I knew though that the most intense sexual fantasies and dreams I had since my first feelings for Paris arose have been of going down on me. I wanted it. My pussy pulsed when I imagined nesting my hands within those blonde locks, guiding her mouth, hitting me right there, where I felt it...

"Fuck, Par." I unconsciously let out the words in my mind as I pictured her pleasing me orally. I panted, thinking she was already getting the lay of my...situation, shall we say. "I...I..." My eyes looked at her.

Then I admitted the one fear I had. "Wh...wh...what if you don't like it?"

"Like it?" Paris eased my fears. "You're being a little ridiculous. I've tasted you before. In front of your family. I have the same parts as you do, though with a little less projection than your catapult of a vagina." A pause, and then with full seriousness in her voice...

"I am going to love eating you out. I dream of it. I am so far in love with you that nothing at all could ever make me stop experimenting further." Blatantly, she eyed me up again, looking me over from top to bottom, then at my crotch again. "Besides, I think your pussy is begging for it."

"Huh?" I looked down a little at the attention she was giving me, and...

She was right. My lips puffed against my panties and a thin stripe of arousal built between them. I never understood how I could only get this way with Dean a few times when we were together. Now I have a much heavier pile of whites at the end of the week.

"I wouldn't say begging," I corrected. "More I think it's yearning for attention." She began to move down to the foot of the bed. "It's strange. What happened to 'Ice Age slow' for us?" I laughed nervously. "Now it's just 'anything goes'."

"Behind all of our refinement, charm school ways and quality educations there's just two girls in love with each other," she surmised calmly. "And I could have never known you had this raging idea of me as a girlfriend floating around for so long."

"That's true." She was right; I could've been how I was with Dean around her, but what would be the point then? I loved her for who she was and how she got my hormones raging, not just because it was convenient and aesthetically pleasing.

"So..." She seemed to probe for my attention back. "Do you want this? Or, we could--"

I was surprised by how fast I answered. "Yes!" Paris was even startled by the speed as it seemed like my inner vixen took over my body, opening up my legs.

She gave me an odd glance. "I never know where you want to go, Gilmore." She got onto her knees and hooked her feet at the board to give herself some leverage. "Remember, I've never--"

I sighed. "You're going to be fine. We'll learn together and...come on. You do 180 WPM. That's about...340 movements of your tongue per minute if I'm calculating right."

Leave her in that moment to poke her tongue from her mouth, making me gasp at the very sight of it. "I don't plan 340 movements of my tongue per minute," she stated confidently. "Wouldn't want you to explode all over the room." With a raised eyebrow I felt myself clench at her words as I felt the anticipation build up between my pelvic muscles. I've gotten used to these small orgasms I give myself or when Paris and I are just making soft love, but I know it's the big ones I remember for days.

Soon she had started, calming me down by placing her hands on my lower legs and kissing along the inner portion, then along my knees. I was eager to find out how she would please me, very methodically and I'm sure enough to drive me up a wall.

Man, I was right on that. She gave me time to get used to her below my waist, making sure I was completely comfortable before she moved any further up. She lathed my inner thigh for awhile with kisses and rubs of her nose against my legs, and I could hear her whispering to herself how to go further. I felt anticipation bubble up as my pelvic muscles tightened up, her breath drifting ever further and just making me dizzy.

She continued to tease and I tensed up further, shivering and biting down on my tongue, commanding her to move up ever more slowly. I could feel the time drift by in a sort of fog I couldn't even make sense of. I just knew it by Par inching her way..

Then I felt it. Her mouth, just right there. Right there, her lips just on the side of my panties. 'Oh God, she's really going to do this,' I thought. I felt everything stand up on end as I looked down the bed.

Her body compressed in the bed, her ass up so I could see my shirt sliding down her to show off her underwear. Five feet of curves compressed within a three foot space, and ending with a mess of dark blonde hair between my legs. I snarled at the sight of her about to go down on me, a silent prayer that Mom hadn't gotten out early. I didn't want this moment to be ruined.

Thank God for the holidays and so much distraction time for her. I knew she wasn't about to show up, and I quickly backed the thought into the recesses of my mind as a sudden shock went through me.

A nip through the fabric. Just a small nip, it was enough. I cried out a surprised "Oh my God!" and then immediately got a quick little glance, Paris staring up at me as she knew my abnormal sensitivity.

"Shhh." She shook her head at me. "Hold back as long as you can, Gilmore. I refuse to allow you to cum yet." In that stern tone, she was setting down the ground rules.

Orgasm denial. I could do that. I was only dreaming of this moment for about over a year. What was twenty more minutes?

A long time, actually.

It's hard enough stroking yourself and not falling into the temptation to finish yourself off and get that feeling after only three minutes. Actually having another person on the end is another thing altogether.

I grasped the end of the bed, even the headboard not enough as I went through all of this. Pushing myself back I opened up my legs a little more to give Paris easier access. An attempt to place a hand in her hair earned me a light scolding.

"I think I know what I'm doing," she told me. "Now lie back and think of...Curacao. A good place, beautiful white sand beaches, blue waters. Just let yourself think...wouldn't it be beautiful to be taken like that under the hot equatorial sun on a private beach?"

So I did. I closed my eyes and just focused on keeping my hands away from her, letting her do the work of making me feel good. Nipping, licking, I whimpered as she kept up her work. She was actually very surprising, finding a perfect balance between stimulation and helping me to relax.

My body began to sense how turned on I was. She seemed to not have a problem with me stretching out a little more and moving my hands to my breasts, feeling how stiff and peaked they were as I pulled the shirt up to behind my neck, just going with the idea I needed to feel cool air against my skin as she went down on me. I needed this, wanted it and I ran my fingers along the undersides of my breasts, knowing I was going to end up at some kind of limit of pleasure.

It went on and I could feel her tongue soaking along my middle, between my lips. My panties were still on, not even moved aside yet and still I felt more pleasure than I had the few times Dean rubbed himself against me. I could hear her sniff and moan, wondering how I'd react to her ministrations. I kept nearly quiet, not wanting any words to ruin this. I had completely forgot where I was after this point; it was just Paris and I on a bed, nothing more specific than that.

Glad I did too, because there was even more that was surprising about how she gets me off.

It started with the warm-up through my panties, but then, she used her fingers. Just two or three, nothing unusual. But combined with her mouth, it was more than I had ever handled before. As someone who has gotten by near completely manually through her sexual history (a vibrating back massager just can't target much vaginally), to have more than fingers down there...it's interesting. One of them coaxing at my clit to unhood, while the other opens up my lips, and her lips and tongue just below, testing that sensitive skin where I had never ventured outside of some shocks while washing up after a particularly swampy day in Washington.

It went on and on. The teasing, the need and build-up towards the part where I would find my ride towards the promised land. I couldn't wait for her to push aside my panties, but the damned stubborn girl just wouldn't give me that relief. She seemed to concentrate on getting me turned on until I felt my clitoris pushing against the fabrics. It actually stung, and I didn't know much longer I could hold out without an orgasm. I panted and whined, knowing I needed to just come soon.

Somehow Par saw it differently; it looked to her that I needed to be stretched beyond my limits. I never knew how I could feel this good. She stroked me slowly, ignoring my pleas to rush things along. I kept looking at her rocking back and forth on her knees as I kept sliding my thumbs and fingers along my breasts until it somehow became too painful to keep even that up. All my bloodflow had seemed to concentrate around my core as she worked me into a tizzy that had me raising myself in the air.

"Paris, please...God, come on, I need to cum." I felt sweat dripping down. "Please."

She shook her head in response, continuing to circle my clit with her fingers. "Getting there, Gilmore. Be patient."

How could I be any more patient? I didn't make her wait when I went down on her. But I know this is different; she's in control. She thrives on the idea of it in near every circumstance possible.

Especially in the bedroom. She took me further, to the point I was nearly crying. I can feel arousal beginning to drip towards the back of my underwear. She massaged where my G-spot was over my panties.

I was getting there, maybe this wasn't so bad, being taken so slow...

And it wasn't. Not at all. I had gone into this opposing slow oral sex. It should just be done. That's how Dean treated it (or didn't), because God forbid that he actually get a gander at my pussy. When he caught me naked one morning while getting dressed, Dean was in nothing but apology mode for the next two weeks, dwelling on how sorry he was that he saw my butt stark naked and then got a glance at the goods when I turned around.

Never mind that I was fine with it and shrugged it off after minutes.

Par and I have seen each other naked in the locker room and in bed though. Along with that one shower. It's nothing unusual. We just don't like others to look at us.

I felt her move her hands onto my waist and then set aside my underwear, keeping me 'clothed' despite all of my parts out there to see. She slid her tongue in effortlessly, as I was so slick I was dripping onto the bed.

It was like a fire exploded inside of me. I hoarsely screamed and immediately stilled. I was now completely complacent to her as she licked at my flesh, the hair below keeping me shielded and stiffened on end as she went down on me.

Finally! She had stroked me, rubbed me, fingered me. Everything else except the one thing I knew would break the floodgates of our relationship open.

I couldn't believe it. I had relived this dream almost non-stop for months on end. Practiced it with saliva-coated fingers. Had so many dirty thoughts about her tongue. Hell, I got off to her talking about the names of private parts! Who does that, seriously?

Well, I do. I do, I'm weird, and being gone down by the girl of your dreams...

I have no words. God, do I not have any words.

All I know is that Paris Gellar knows more about the human mouth than the entire profession of dentistry. Where to put her tongue, how fast to circle it, which direction, and how deep.

I ended up holding the headboard and bending my back so she could use her skilled tongue to fuck me intensely. I always thought sex like this was supposed to relax me, but it was wearing me out! Her tongue circling my clit, fingers against my g-spot, she continued to be slow, methodical and needing of me to have an orgasm that would pretty much fulfill me for a long time.

As much as I remembered details about the seduction, her ministrations down below are a little bit of a blur because of how intense they were. She...I just know that she knows how to work me somehow. The only things I remember are the clench of my muscles, the bounce of my breasts as I ride her mouth and how sexy she is at this. I also remember lots of profanity and a stray thought hoping the neighbors wouldn't come to rescue me.

I feel out of my body as she just applies suction against my clit, licking and sucking it and amazed with how aroused it could get. I felt myself tightening further, begging for release and she finally began to bring me on home.

"Par, fuck me!" I pleaded hoarsely. "Make me cum for you please!" I felt my heart pump faster and my shrieks come closer and closer. I was getting there...oh, God, getting there so nicely. Nothing could stop me...

Nothing did. She released for a moment to stroke me and then go back to licking me out. I felt her just open me up completely, and it was so good. Nothing like I had ever experienced. She encouraged me with deep hums against my cunt and I looked down the bed to see her ass fully in the air, the outline of each side very obvious as I could tell she was aroused herself and...

That glance did it to me.

Because she had her left hand down her own panties getting herself off. The idea of fucking me with her tongue was making her fuck herself.

Anyone else would think that was selfish. To me though, it was hot. Stroking herself in my shirt, going down on me.

I encouraged her, my voice hoarse as I called her 'Baby' and told her to save herself so I could see her finishing herself off. I wanted her to feel like this was good, that there were no taboos, rules be damned. Ever since I heard her in the dorm room I just love the idea of catching her being human, red-blooded.

Beautiful. There was this creak in her throat as she concentrated on the two tasks on hand...and in mouth, to turn a bad pun (Sorry!).

"Fuck us both," I husked. I stretched down to see dark blonde hair peaking from her underwear and salivated over the sight as she worked me off. It was unexpected, but I loved it. Loved everything.

I  began to spasm and gasp row after row of 'yes' and 'gonna cum so much' phrases, and other assorted profanities. I just wanted to ruin my bed, to smell Par in it when I woke up, got home, studied, and went back to sleep. I could feel my walls stretch out as it had that damned need to capture the 'load' about to spill into me that didn't exist.

Last thrusts, circles with the tongue...

"Gonna, cum...outta the way." I expected her to avert away just in case.

She didn't, working my tongue until she hit the spot with her finger...just right.

So very right. All I could remember in that moment is a sudden grab for a pillow to muffle my screams and this emission that rippled from my pelvis and left me breathless to near the point of fainting. She continued to lick through more and push until I could muster no more and I just collapsed into a heap on my bed, my lungs struggling for some breath in the heated atmosphere of my bedroom.

My muscles were beyond relaxed, while everything else, I was sure I wasn't going to be able to have more sex for days, it was that good. I whimpered as I felt the orgasm slowly dissipate. Too good, maybe too powerful for my own good. Even though I had been intense with her, this was something different. She moved up from between my legs, slowly easing the panties to where they were supposed to be, then my shirt back down.

Paris was panting heavily from her own come and collapsed against me, resting against my breasts, looking up at me like she was the calmest person in the world despite her hair being all out and her chest rising and falling rapidly. There was nothing to say for a few minutes as we calmed down. I felt very damp and was a little flustered at yet another underwear change to come. But that was for later, because I needed a little cuddle time with my Par-Bear.

Finally I looked down at her. She felt like she was purring and her eyes were slightly closed. I kissed her forehead and sighed, my voice barely able to say anything. But I did.

"You know me," I told her, brushing my fingers through my hair. "Wow...there's no easy way to say this, but you wore me out." I chuckled as she sighed. "You did, and you rendered me speechless."

She shook her head. "You wore me out too," she mumbled. "Never thought an orgasm could stretch that long!"

"You told me to be slow," I reminded her, just as I noticed she could barely talk. Her voice was light as she tried to recover her facilities. "Just following instructions."

"I meant to be more lenient. Now I won't be able to talk normally for the next day." She smiled up at me, looking worn out and beautiful in my shirt. I couldn't help but feel like she was just so beautiful like this, away from the stresses of school.

"You feel good though?"

"Mmm, yes I do." She relaxed and we stayed like that for what seemed a long time, just talking and getting back to normal before we finally had to get up from the bed, the both of us unable to stand normally from our lovemaking.

I got her into the matching gym sweatpants and changed my clothes, finding a loose top with shorts to get by for the rest of the night, but we couldn't keep ourselves from each other, still kissing and touching as we waited for Lorelai to come home. She did, and I was thankfully that she didn't notice much of what Paris and I did when she wasn't home.

Well, almost. Later after Paris had left after having a night of burgers and a catch-up of Charmed for our Lorelai-approved "fun night" (and changed into the clothes she had so Sharon wouldn't be the wiser), she sent me a text which seemed to be furiously typed out.

"I can't find my bra! Where did it go?! - Par"

It was then I noticed that Mom had gotten my laundry together as we ate and didn't realize she was in my room. And I found out about ten minutes later what happened to her bra...

"Rory?" She cried my name from the laundry in the basement. I ran downstairs, thinking she needed the spare dryer sheets we came upstairs...

It wasn't that. There was Mom, shaking her head and cringing.

"You have not grown to a new larger cup size in the last week, have you, kiddo?" She held the bra in her hand and I wanted to faint from embarrassment right there! "Or were you having a little unsupervised fun earlier?"

"Uhhh..." If there was a moment to melt away, this was it. "She was changing...and forgot?"

"Yes, I'm sure the Mensa folks would love to hear that...Paris Gellar can remember all the Russian states, yet she forgets about her bra." She smiled. "Honey, if you're going to do things I don't want to know about, that's OK. Just..." She gave me a glance. "Next time, make sure she has everything before she leaves? Also, I changed your plug-in, it was pretty ineffective."

"Oh my God!" I shuddered; she knew! "Mom--"

"Like I said, I don't need to know," she singsonged, putting the load of clothes in the dryer. "Just don't do it when I'm home. I know I don't have to worry about...certain things, but we still both live here until August. I don't want to have to make you both uncomfortable."

"You aren't, I just want to make sure the rules are followed." She set the basket on the top and shrugged. "As long as you're confined to your room, your shade is drawn and you're both not making a ruckus, it's fine. I do trust you two kids. I'm just watching out for your heart here, kid."

I could see where she was coming from; she still thought Paris was going to come back eventually and hurt me. Yes, I'm scared of that too, but not as much as I was last month. "Mom..." I came up to her and hugged her. "She's good, honest to God. I don't see her breaking my heart anytime soon."

Mom glanced down at me and held me tight. "I know she won't, I'm just not ready to think of you yet no longer so innocent and growing into adulthood. It's just gonna take awhile to get all the way into it. Especially if I'm grabbing your girl's bra accidently." I snorted, then laughed. "What? I've never been anywhere near a double D, it's a little scary!"


"I'm serious, we could both fit into that thing--"

"Oh my God, if Paris hears about this she is going to have my head!" I ran upstairs with a horrible blush across my cheeks. "Her bra is not a comedic prop!" Mom ran up after me and I could feel the routine continuing despite my utter embarrassment.

"Honey, I'm teasing! She has me jealous too; she can buy you a car that has actually gotten past the Insurance Institute!"

"That is true, though I wouldn't accept it." I grabbed a piece of pizza from the counter on the kitchen. "And she really is a great girl. I didn't think she'd be so open at this point, you know?"

"And happy, which she is." I could tell Mom was warming to her despite her first impressions. "Her watching and mocking Entertainment Tonight? That was gold how she took down George Clooney a few steps. I never thought she'd even know about the first E/R he did."

"Or how she can only handle Mary Hart in caption form?" The cringe on Paris's face as she couldn't stand the host at all was something to remember. "She is extremely cute when she wants to be."

Mom paused for a moment and then looked at me. "Yeah. You picked a good one, kiddo." She rubbed my back and smiled. "She keeps up with your intelligence and she's quick with the wit."

"You like her then?"

My mother nodded and handed me the phone. "Yes. Enough to tell her you didn't realize her bra got in the wash you did. Don't say a word that I handled it or cracked wise."

"Got it." I happily texted the information her way and relaxed for the rest of the night, glad for Paris in my life, despite feeling like jelly and mortified about my mom's interest in my sex life.

It could be much worse though. At least I have a cool mom to share this relationship and get embarrassed about my sexual life about, so a little teasing from her like she did with Dean?

Yeah, I can handle it...

"Hello, hello?" I felt a shaking on my shoulder as I wondered where I was. I looked up to find an older man in a conductor's outfit looking down at me.

"Young lady, we're at South Station, end of the line." He was kind about it as I looked at the emptying train car. "Boston. I called out the stop four times."

I looked around. "We're in Boston already? What time is it?"

"Ten to noon, right on time. You looked like you were somewhere else all through the trip."

"Trip?" It was then I realized that I was only dreaming about the last two hours all over again. "Oh yeah, trip! To see my dad up here. Oh, God, I'm so sorry." I hurriedly got up...

And felt uncomfortable. In the process of passing the time by reliving Thursday night in a row where I was thankfully alone, I had an...ahem...emission. I wasn't about to tell anyone else that though, and I quickly retrieved my large carry-on bag for the trip and made a quick stop at the bathroom to change, feeling flustered all throughout.

I couldn't believe it; I had spaced an entire trip from New Haven to Boston dreaming about Paris! It was a first for me, that's for sure. Although I was mortified, at least the time went quickly thinking about her.

5:00pm Saturday

I put on a large smile, ready for what was to be a good weekend trip with my dad to hopefully catch up and see how he was doing.

Getting everything together, I picked up something to eat at a food stand and made my way to the front to wait for Dad to come around, ready to go hopefully. I expected him right outside of Atlantic Avenue waiting for me in his Volvo like he said.

Only, he wasn't out there. I didn't see him at all. Waiting ten minutes, I was ready to go at any time, but he never pulled up. I paced the sidewalk, but he never arrived. Eventually I called his cell to find out if he was in a parking garage somewhere else in town.

When he picked up the phone though, I could tell that even though we had talked about the planning for me to come up to Boston for weeks, apparently he forgot.

"Sorry kid," he said. "I was planning to pick you up, but I got Celtics tickets at the last minute at the Fleet from work. I had a few beers last night and just got up." I was ready to lay into him, but I was taught to respect my elders.

"Are you going to pick me up? I've been waiting for fifteen minutes."

"Hold on..." After two more minutes, he came back. "Sorry, you're going to have to take the T into Brookline. I'm feeling a little under the weather." I could tell in his voice he was a little hoarse, and I was...

Well,  I was on my own. "Fine. I'll be there when I can eventually get there," I told him, and soon I was struggling to make sense of how to get to my dad's apartment, knowing Sherrie was under strict orders not to leave home. Holding a few maps from the kiosk near the train stop, I had to make sense of a transport system I had never used before! Not expecting this, I hoped for the best; all I had was the Brookline address to guide me, and because there was no way I would leave this station without something to defend myself, a rape whistle I picked up at the newsstand.

It took me an hour to get there after getting the Red Line to Harvard, transferring to a bus, then another bus, walking a few blocks, going through completely unfamiliar neighborhoods, and having to stop in a couple of bodegas before I finally found tall red bricked brownstone on Browne Street in a quiet neighborhood. I was finally thankful to get there and was worn out from my long and unexpected commute from downtown. If I had any sense of anger I would have given my father a piece of my mind.

But at that moment I thought he honestly did forget. I buzzed in the hall towards the Tinsdale apartment on the fourth floor.

Immediately, I made one observation; most of the names on the apartment roster were printed and attached onto the buzzer panel with one of the newer labelmakers where it came out from a laser printer.

However, Sherrie's last name was done up in that red tape stuff you had to press down to make the letter with and was faded to a sort-of pink, which meant she had to have lived in the apartment for awhile. My dad said he had just moved into a 'new apartment' with Sherrie.

Seeing as I had never seen her apartment in the first place I wasn't sure if the 'new' part wasn't true.

"Hello?" I heard a male voice come out harshly from the speaker. "Kid, is that you?"

"Dad, I'm here," I replied. "Buzz me in."

"Welcome home, Rory. Come on right up." I pressed on the door as the open signal was sent and headed into the lobby, relieved there was an elevator for me to use so I didn't have to use the stairs going up. After a minute-long trip up, I was at the door, knocking.

I had expected my dad to answer. Instead, I was presented with the woman officially known by Paris as 'the cockblocker'.

"Rory, hello!" The woman greeted me brightly, and I was in shock.

"Hey!" I was a little perplexed. "Um...aren't you supposed to be on bed rest?" I looked over the woman who had looked slim the last time I saw her over the summer, but was now definitely preparing for her baby. "I didn't expect you."

"Well, I was up anyways. I have to get the rocker seat I got from the baby store website together." She hugged me, and I kind of welcomed it, though with a little aversion because for a woman seven months pregnant, she sure had a lot of energy. "Your dad is in the bedroom talking about a deal from work."

"Oh." Again, color me surprised. "I thought he was free this weekend."

"He is." She told me why he was distracted. "The boss called for him to log onto the company intranet and check on a few things for his new proposal." I was guided into the apartment by Sherrie, who hovered her hand above my shoulder in order to keep me comfortable. "I'm sorry you didn't get your ride in," she said apologetically. "I wanted to remind him last night but he got last minute tickets to the Celtics/Cavs game with his work buddies. Skybox seats. So when he got home I was out like a light."

"It's OK," I said, assuring her it certainly wasn't anything she could do anything about. "Just a little longer trip. I got my first experience with the T because of it. It's...interesting." I felt a little easier with her than I did earlier in the year; she was a lot less intense, a little more welcoming. "Is Boston transport always that complicated?"

"He didn't give you directions?" Sherrie was a little troubled. "I should've given you my cell; I know my T routes pretty well." She shook away the thought as we went into her living room, which overlooked a back garden with a beautiful picture window and a slight peek of the Boston skyline through the sky-high oaks behind the building. "So, Rory, I should ask how you're doing? I was excited when you called to say a few weeks ago you'd be making the visit up here. I had my maid service clean extra well this week."

"Maid?" I wish I knew more about her to wonder how she could afford a maid. "You didn't have to do that."

"Christopher says it's a waste, but worth every penny." Sherrie flopped down onto the couch and whined from the exhaustion of getting up as I saw the rocker seat in the corner partially assembled. "Especially need it now when I can't leave the house or exert myself and annoy my doctor. I swear, she thinks I'm carrying the second coming of Jesus."

"My mom was the same way; she wanted to do so much but because of her age she was told to take it easy. Not that you or my mom could really match experiences since you're older, but it makes sense."

"It's more out of caution after I had a false labor a few weeks back," she said. "I was planning for a baby shower that I would have invited you and Lorelai to, but I couldn't pull it off." She eased herself onto a back pillow, feeling relief from the pain the baby was placing on her spine. "That, and my mother and grandmother had a history of pregnancy complications. I was a four-week preemie, while my brother was a month early; sis was the only one in the ballpark, off a week. I just want to actually get in the full nine with this one."

"I can see why you'd want that. Good luck." This time, Sherrie was trying to get me comfortable rather than be 'my second mommy', and I felt more at ease. "I saw the ultrasounds you emailed out over the last couple of months. She looks good. How is she kicking?"

"Actually she's been a soft one so far; the worst I feel is when she rolls over. That's why I had to go on bedrest, because my OB/GYN noticed Gigi was a little unsettled and didn't want her to wrap the umbilical cord around her neck. Well, that and my schedule was too crowded for a mother-to-be." She smiled uneasily. "It's hard when you're used to nothing but work to take yourself down to only checking in enough to keep your sub appraised of your cases."

"It's a good sacrifice though."

"I guess." Sherrie shook her head, feeling a little uneasy with my response. "I had fast-tracked my way to partner and everything comes to a halt..." She wandered off, looking towards the shut office door where my father was. She turned the conversation away, and I could tell it wasn't because she wanted ti. "So, how are you, Rory? I've missed hearing from you since I found out I was pregnant."

"Everything's been good. Going well." I went on about how well I was doing in Chilton and most everything else except for Paris and my dating life, along with things with the town. She nodded and seemed happy to have someone to talk to that was in the same room or wasn't a co-worker.

"So, what happened to that Dean fellow? You two still going out?" I uneasily shook my head in response, not wanting to get too far into it.

"We broke up a couple months back. It just wasn't working any longer. We're different people than we were two years ago." I spoke neutrally hoping that would leave things like that.

"That's...good. You don't want to have to stay together when it's not working." I saw something in Sherrie's eyes that I found hard to place as she talked. I didn't know what it was, but in her words I could trace something. Could she be having...regrets? I thought to myself. She didn't seem as outgoing as she was in the past, a little off from how she had been at the debate. She brushed back her hair and turned away when she saw my stare. "You probably did the right thing," she said.

"I do know. I have no regrets." She slid back on the sofa and she raised her hand slightly, about to say something...

The door from the office squeaked and my father came out of the room in jeans and a blue shirt opened down a couple places. "Rory! I'm glad you got here!" He had a wide smile and I got up to hug and kiss him, though still a little mad he didn't pick up. "How was the ride in?"

"Complicated," I responded back. "Is the T always that confusing?"

He gave me a confused look. "I wouldn't know, I don't take any trains or buses." Now you tell me. That information might've helped a couple hours back, I said internally. "Sher, you good for us going out today? I want to take Rory to the Museum of Science."

"Hold on," I said. "I want to catch up with you both and see how things are going--"

Sherrie stopped me kindly. "No, you two go off, have fun. I have some stuff to catch up with on the TiVo and eventually get a nap in inevitably. Without a Trace seems to be the show that does that." She smiled, and out of the corner of my eye I caught Dad stilling up surprisingly. "We can talk tonight, hon, plenty of time until tomorrow night."

"You're sure?" She nodded, and even though I had no interest in the Science Museum (I had been led to believe Dad would take me on a Freedom Trail tour), I got ready to go with Dad. I could tell something was wrong though when he kissed Sherrie on the forehead and she didn't seem to be really enthused about it as she had in the past, saying a quick 'I love you' and grabbing the remote to watch her shows.

As Dad walked out the door, I glanced towards the screen and then back to Sherrie, who I thought let out a silent swear as I couldn't see Without a Trace or the CBS logo at all on the TiVo menu, but plenty of stuff of NESN, ESPN and some action movies from other channels. She threw it on to Lifetime and I walked out the door, knowing there was something that she wasn't telling me.

I was beginning to think she was home for more than doctor's orders. She was withdrawing, and with all the time Dad had to still had fun, she was suffering. Not wanting to say a word though, I was complicit as I left with him for what I hoped would be a fun afternoon.

It wasn't to be. At first it was fun at the museum, at least until his second companion joined us in his cell phone. As I tried to read the text off an exhibit in the nanotech section...

His phone rang. "Shhh, I have to take this." Soon, I was cast off as him and the person on the other side of the line discussed business and sports. Even though it was in a hall that had a sign banning the use of phones, he raised his hand and passed off the sign's wording as merely a suggestion rather than a rule. Eventually he got off the phone and we were able to talk.

If I thought it would be about Sherrie and Gigi though, I was wrong.

Instead, most of the conversation was about probing me for answers about Mom. "What has she been doing?" "How is the Inn?" "Is she doing okay, I'm sorry I haven't seen her lately." "Does she talk about me?" "Is she excited about me coming for Christmas?"

That last one set me off a little bit. "I don't know, Dad. Are you planning on coming for Christmas? I would think seeing the Tisdales would be a little more important because of your pregnant girlfriend." I didn't care if I sounded a little bitter; after a half-hour of him trying to ask about Lorelai, I wanted to hear one bit about him and Sherrie.

"Hon, she's fine," he said. "Seriously, she doesn't mind if I come down to see you this Christmas. She understands I'm trying to rebuild my life with you. I missed so much of it." I showed on the outside that I was fine with him. "Really, she'll be with her family at Christmastime, I'll be with mine, your grandparents."

On paper, I thought angrily. In real life I'm just the hated required heiress in their will when they eventually die. Dad had tried to get me to the see my paternal grandparents in a better light than that first time, but I just couldn't. That first impression and the words they used, along with Grandpa almost taking out Straub from what he said? I don't care at all for them.

"Are her parents OK? What about her brother and sister?" I asked.

"They are, but I just don't get along with them. Differing views on things."

We continued to tour the museum and I was in awe, talking to him about how excited I was about Gigi. I found it very odd that he didn't really respond about his own feelings, instead going on about his job and things involving it I really didn't care about at all. Like he had when his Internet venture was strong and he called Mom from California, it was all he seemed to be able to talk about, along with the new friends he was making in Boston.

It began to seem like he had no interest in Gigi to speak of. By the time he got back to talking about me, he wanted to wonder why I dumped Dean, which Mom talked to him about a few weeks ago. I told him the same thing I did Sherrie, that it just wasn't working.

"You sure? You put everything you could into the relationship, right? I'm sure Dean wanted to try." Yes, he pulled out the 'think of his side' card. "You should get back together with him. From what your mom says you're buried in schoolwork and Paris keeps pestering you about your college interviews and SAT results."

Yes, I heard that conversation, only it wasn't pestering. Mom had stated neutrally that Paris and I were closer friends than ever and we kept commiserating about our Harvard interviews (which were moved up during break because Paris feels her rhythm is off a bit, and I feel the same way) in the hope we wouldn't blow them. The only pestering Paris has done lately is the usual editor/reporter battles at the Franklin that came with the job.

"I just don't have time to date," I lied. "There's too much to do in these last few months."

"Surely you could skip a day of school and come up here or go out with Dean--"

"Dad, I've lost interest! I don't want to date him! Would you leave it alone, I don't want to talk about it!" I felt embarrassed he was making an issue of my dating life in the halls of a museum where I just wanted to enjoy the day with him and hear about his new kid! "Besides, you have a daughter to think of, aren't you getting nervous yet?"

"A little." He seemed to shrug. "But if something happens your grandmother is ready to come up here and help out until we can get a nanny."

"But you're going to be there in the delivery room, right? You have a bag packed, the doctor's number programmed in, taking their advice?"

"Sherrie has it in control," he told me, patting my back and completely brushing off the question. "I'm sure everything will be fine."

Yeah, Dad, I'm sure she's fine, stuck at home before she delivers for three months. Something is going on that he's dancing around completely. "OK," I said. "I'm just worried for her, stuck at home--"

"She's fine," he insisted as we finished our browsing of the museum before heading out into the chilly December air to head towards downtown for a quick driving tour as he continued to go on about how much he missed me.

I was beginning to think this trip was a bad idea, like I was some kind of third wheel in his life and that I was there solely to give an apparent reminder to my mom that I had a father that still wanted to see me.

He always came around at the most inconvenient of times, and it seemed like this was yet another one. I flipped on the radio to have some music to distract me and tooled around the FM dial, only to find him suddenly bark at me.

"No Rory!" he said, startling. "I don't do any of your kind of music. It's either 'BCN or 'EEI." He flipped the station to the most annoying thing I have ever known.

Sports talk radio. Ugggh, there's nothing more grating than hearing men go on and on and on and on about games and players and all that stuff. I didn't understand the outburst at all and stayed still in the seat as if I was toddler caught playing with a cell phone and dialing out to Russia. Turned out to be WEEI, and a bunch of hoarse guys going on about something called the Motor City Bowl that seemed to involve Boston College somehow; I think they were playing football? I wasn't sure with the braying laughter from the hosts and stereotypical Bostonians I needed a translator to understand.

I could handle that. But what came next was a forewarning of what was to come.

Sherrie called on the cell phone to ask Dad to pick up something for dinner. They seemed to argue for a bit before he acquired to her request to pick up some pizza from a pizzeria she really loved. I could tell at least there Sherrie and I were kindred spirits, as she wanted a pie packed on with the works. Including anchovies. Though I shuddered, I still understood how she wanted to give as many nutrients to Georgia as she could get in before her birth.

"I'm not going to do anchovies. No, Sher." He argued with her when I really didn't mind at all; I could just pick them off. "You keep asking for them and they stink up the house...yes, I know you pay the rent and you're stuck there. Fine, whatever, go back to talking to him, what do I care? I'll get your pizza but you owe me." He hung up the phone without an 'I love you' and tossed it onto the dashboard. "Christ, she's so needy," he said under his breath. I wanted to ask what was wrong, but he seemed to be in a bad enough mood that I didn't want to bother him any longer. As he drove on through the Back Bay, the guys on the radio began to talk about the Bruins, which I at least knew from Paris always mentioning them with an expletive and going on about how she's still bitter the Whalers left for North Carolina and switched her allegiance to the Devils because 'the Rangers are run by a cable guy with bipolar disorder', which isn't funny to people with it, but from a paper she wrote about his company for her business marketing class, seemed to be completely true.

My dad hates hockey. I don't mean like 'ignore it like it doesn't exist' hate. Just...bitter hate for the sport. His parents tried to make him go out for it as his varsity sport at Hillside and from what Mom told me, on the first day of practice he slammed three of his teammates into the boards unprovoked and mouthed off at his coach to get thrown off the team and took a week suspension from school to make his point. He thinks it's uncouth, uncivilized. I could make the same argument for basketball (squeaky shoes, bouncy balls, the dopey shorts and all those endless fouls? Drives me crazy!), but he's mad about that sport and baseball (he also cast off football because apparently the Jets are cursed).

So the guys go on about the Bruins and something about divisions, major penalties, and a bunch of stuff I could probably understand with Paris's help easily. A guy named Sal from Lowell (which sounded like 'loll' coming from him) asked the hosts about how they would do against the Islanders next week.

"Oh good lord, shut up!" Suddenly Dad flipped the station to the rock station he liked, where Metallica was playing, much to my utter displeasure.

It was at that moment where the perfect picture cracked of Christopher Hayden. For all of these years he had been able to display an image of himself as a carefree guy who did care about me in some way and would send gifts, like he was a Santa Claus who could give me what Mom wasn't able to. All these years he was able to maintain it.

But with a few simple words, I knew my father was no better than he had been when he was a sixteen year old who regarded wearing a condom as 'unmasculine'.

Forgetting I was in the car completely, not even putting on the filter he usually kept around me, he said something I never expected from him.

"I hear enough about hockey from Sher's fag brother, I don't need to hear it from these morons!"

I only include the last part to complete the sentence. But all of that was nothing compared to the first part of that statement.

The word echoed through my mind in an ugly manner. That f-word, the one I would never say, not even as part of a debate transcript, had been uttered by my father. He had no shame about saying it.

Immediately, I tried to make sure it was a mistake. "Dad!" I said, speaking out. "Don't say that!"

He looked right at me...

"Well, it's true, he likes guys and he won't shut up about how manly they are compared to the Celtics! It's annoying."

"No, don't--"

"Rory, I can have whatever opinion I want. Her brother and his 'partner' annoy me. That my kid is going to have to call him an uncle...between you and me I'm tempted to tell him he doesn't have the right to that."

I couldn't say any more. I couldn't. I just stared at him for a moment and turned around to look out the window. I know he expected a laugh or a crack in response, but I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction at all.

He said...that word. My blood boiled as I went over it for any kindness or if it was just some kind of odd 'bro nickname'.

I knew the truth though. It wasn't. Christopher hated who would probably be his future brother-in-law because of whom he chose to love in life.

He finally shot off a weary "Whatever" and put his focus back to driving as I considered what I was walking in on.

Coming into this weekend, I had expected to see my future stepmother-in-law glowing about being pregnant and my father excited for the new arrival, and that my love for Paris would be accepted with open arms.

It was different now though. I walked in on a woman I was sure was miserable and unsupported in her pregnancy, while dealing with a man I was becoming convinced was still in love with my mother and was using Gigi as a reset button to wipe away all the problems with his parents, actual love for Sherrie be damned. He was also back to how he used to be, a hanger-on who used his business degree to glide through life and didn't care about the people he worked for in the least as long as he got his perks like a Volvo and basketball tickets.

I was starting to see why Lorelai is adverse to him ever getting back together with him; it seemed like he really did find me to be a ball and chain that ruined his happiness when Lorelai chose to go forward to having me.

As we went through downtown, I also began to question the timing of why he was at the Inn for the wedding when he barely knew Sookie to begin with...

Oh my God, I thought to myself, connecting the dots. Why would he come into the Hollow to see my mom when Sherrie was there and then she found out she was pregnant when he left...

I had deluded myself long enough. Too fucking long.

Mom hadn't told me and I hadn't asked. But the timing was true.

Sherrie was at four weeks when she called him at the Inn to come back. She's at 32 weeks now, seven more to go until her due date...

I was sitting next to a cheating bastard who was doing the bare minimum to take care of the mother of his child. I looked the other way.

I am not stupid; I knew exactly what Chris came to Stars Hollow for, and it wasn't to give his good wishes to Sookie, because my mom was busy with 'wedding prep' all night.

Probably a shameful 'wedding prep' once she was told he had to go back to Boston.

I was going to be sick. Now instead of that dumb kiss with Jess that failed at confirming I was heterosexual, these events were now the worst thing to come out of Sookie's wedding day.

I wasn't going to say a word though. I couldn't ruin this trip with some kind of unfounded accusation against my father. I just needed to get through the weekend, get back home and vent to Paris. I could take the high road.

At least I hoped that I could. Somehow I knew my father would find some way to turn this ugly. He always has, every visit. Usually with my mother, but only rarely with me.

Looking in the distance at the new bridge going up near Bunker Hill, I knew I was going to have another tough night on my hands.

But if I could face up to my grandmother, surely my father wouldn't be a problem, right?

At least, I hoped so.

9:00pm Saturday

The evening seemed to go slightly better for us as we got back to the brownstone and ate as Sherrie still seemed a little pained lumbering around the house, though thankful she did get her beloved anchovy pizza, which without them was pretty darned good. I was beginning to push off the things that had occurred during the afternoon, self-convincing myself that it was a rare moment of anger.

At least in that moment. We had to eat dinner and it was funny to see a culturally refined woman like Sherrie go back for seconds and thirds, which I did enjoy. I sighed in contentment knowing that my baby sister at least was eating well. So eating...fine.

The film? That was a little different, unfortunately. Sherrie had wanted to get Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood on-demand, which I would have loved to see, but somehow Dad got his way and rented Dragonfly, a very, very dull film about near-death experiences that I swear both Sherrie and I mocked completely, much to his annoyance. The only thing that was good about it was seeing this girl in a hospital scene who looked just like Paris, I swear; she was a dead ringer. But she was gone quickly as we had to discover whatever mental demons plagued Kevin Costner, one of which was self-indulgent writing and over-reliance on CGI.

"Guys, will you stop it? I'm trying to watch this seriously," he told his mid-way through the film as the film's protagonist goes to South America to 'find himself' or his dead wife or his career. Sherrie and I only snorted and laughed.

"Face it, this isn't the film you were expecting," I told him. "It can only be improved by a good old fashioned Gilmore mocking."

"Yeah, that would be fine usually, but I'm trying to enjoy it," he told me. "Now quiet down."

"Chris, don't be ridiculous. You picked a dud, hon," Sherrie cracked as she sprinkled cheese powder on her popcorn. "Costner has been coasting on Dances with Wolves for waaaay too long."

"Finally, someone agrees with me!" I laughed. "Mom actually loved Waterworld, but all I could keep thinking about was 'he drank his own pee!' It's gross!"

"Oh, God, this guy I was dating in the mailroom took me to see that opening night out in Peabody." I could sense a little 'Bawston' silpping into Sherrie's accent. "Theater was only a quarter full and it went on for so long I needed three bathroom breaks to get through it."

"My worst experience was dragging my mom to the Thumbelina film because the songs sounded good," I said, cringing at the memory. "That was the only good thing. I put her through hours of Rugrats when I was a kid taped off her friend's TV because we didn't have cable, and I actually wore out the tape."

"Reminds me of the stage where I wanted Charles in Charge of me." I laughed at her dirty allusion within the title, but we both were startled as Dad cleared his throat.

"Is this how it's going to be all night? You two talking?"

Sherrie shook her head. "What's the problem? My friends haven't been here for awhile and Rory's welcome here."

"Well, I wanted to show her what I got in my record collection," he said. "You have time to talk later."

Sherie nodded. "Oh yeah, while you were gone, I dusted off the tops of your record and CD shelves. Looked like it kind of needed it. Really, hon, you--"

"You did what?!" Suddenly he hit the pause button on the remote hard. "I told you to keep your hands off of that rack!" I turned to see that his eyes were flaring with anger at her.

I failed to see what she did wrong in any way. "Dad, she's helping you out. It gave her something to do."

"Rory, you don't understand. I have $14,000 invested in those albums and shelves and they must be in exact release and alphabetical order. If she happens to jar one loose and one of them drops to the ground, I lose most of the value put into it. I still remember having an original White Album and the cover being ruined because the movers screwed up in their shelving of my bedroom when I moved to college."

I wearily shook my head. "My friend Lane knows a lot about record preservation. You have them shelved on metal racks; that is not good for albums at all. She prefers them in wooden shelving to prevent scratching, and to put the end thinner albums next to buffers. Besides the point though; dust is bad for vinyl and compact discs, but if it's on the top it can't really do anything. Sherrie--"

Dad held up his hand, accusing Sherrie of...well, I'm not sure. "What if she ends up bumping into a shelf and takes it down entirely? The very act of dusting is something that must be taken with care!"

"Honey, I had no intention--"

"You didn't, because you know nothing about storing music. You can't just go to Sam Goody's, buy a cheap shelf and call it done."

"Well, I'm sorry," she said. "I would have rather bought that Bumbo seat on special at the baby store, but God forbid your Dylan collection be exposed to the elements, so it's placed on its own velvet-lined shelf."

OK, that sounded a little absurd. Surely, my father wouldn't be so stupid--

"The man is a musical genius. He deserves his own place of honor above all my albums."

Never mind. He is. Also, missing in this argument so far was any attention to the mother of his child, or his child, would his badly-shelved music collection tumble down.

"Christopher, I do not want to do this while we have guests," Sherrie said, trying to end the argument. "Let's put this aside--"

"The doctor said not to over-exert yourself. Why are you even worrying about my record collection?"

"Because someone decided to mass-delete all the programs off the TiVo I pay for, which was keeping me sane. Christopher, I have given you latitude to record your sporting events. But what's a Pardon the Interruption? From what I saw it was two guys whining about sports for a half-hour. Do you really need to record Rambo when it's in the DVD collection already? Why would you record the Cavilers/Celtics game last night when you were there watching it in person?"

"I could have been on TV!"

Sherrie pinched her temples. "You were in a skybox. You know the business people in Boston usually buy those because the sports channels don't put them on TV unless the company wants them to?"

"You never know." Suddenly, he whipped around back to me. "Did you hear Rory dumped her boyfriend?"

"Yes, I did. They broke up because they were different," she stated. "Is there a problem?"

He looked at me. "Honey, I don't understand why you didn't want to stay with him any longer. He seemed to treat you fine."

I groaned. "Again, Dad, not everyone is going to be together forever. I didn't see my life with Dean further than we went."

"So you gave up on him." Whoa, where did that come from? "What was wrong with Dean?"

"Attacking my friends for one thing!" I told him. "And I don't feel like I have to divulge much more than that."

"You hardly talk to me anymore," he said. "I'll call and you'll be out with that Paris girl for something or another, or you just want to talk to Sherrie."

"Because she's having my sister! Girls are kinda hard-wired to know how that's doing," I explained, trying to calm myself down. "And when I do talk to you it's all about business or you just want to talk to my mom more about things."

"She is your mother."

"So?" I knew Sherrie was in the room, but judging from the crazy CD dusting track Dad went on earlier she was drifting towards my corner. "I'm your daughter. I'm the only one you should be caring about. My mom is fine and has been for years. At least until you come around."

I held a hand to my mouth as soon as the words came out of my mouth. I had no idea why I was looking for a confrontation. I saw him narrowing his eyes suddenly at me. "Crap," I mouthed. Sherrie immediately tried to jump in to defend me.

"Hey, hey. Christopher, she's a senior in private school, she's under a lot of pressure--"

"Sherrie, stay out of this!" He moved to sit across from me in a way intended to make him feel intimidating. "I provide plenty for you and her, so don't say anything about me not doing anything."

I didn't want to take the bait. I wanted to stay quiet, but I began to think judging from his lording of the TiVo and her cleaning of the house I could see why my mother was never comfortable with Dad being around long-term.

But I did. I had wanted to talk under kinder circumstances, but I seemed to have hit some kind of nerve in my dad I wanted to ease down. I took a deep breath and hoped I could continue things on a calmer track.

"I am under pressure, Dad," I said, acknowledging Sherrie's point. "I have to get interviews done next month, and in between that all I have my debate schedule with Chilton, scholarship apps, graduation things months down the line and just living. There's so much to do, not to mention coming up here for Gigi."

"Well, relax, it'll all work out. Get away from Paris once in awhile; I swear she's cramping your style." What is it with attacking Paris? Stop it.

"Her scheduling techniques are keeping me from just giving up right now," I admitted. "It all works for me."

"But what about fun, screwing around, taking some time off? Surely you can relax--"

Here we go again. "I have time off. I have vacation. But I'm not at Stars Hollow High waiting for the next secret kegger. I'm at Chilton, I'm running 1-2 at the top of the class, I do paper editing, I'm VP of student government and trying to maintain a good GPA." I gave him a look straight on. "I am going to Harvard. If I step on the brake once and have to settle for an ACC school, that is failure."

I noticed Sherrie nodding in complete understanding. "She's right. When I was pushing for Dartmouth I almost blew it with an idiotic party with underage drinking and I don't blame my father for his disappointment."

"That's different though; your family is middle class. Rory can step off because if she needs to, my parents will save the day," he said, suddenly interjecting something that sounded like an insult, and rightly so.

Was he saying that Sherrie was an over-achiever, and I should relax because money solves everything? I still don't understand how we got into this debate, but now I understand why Mom said he barely got into Princeton. I could see the woman across from me narrow her eyes and prepare for battle.

"Are you saying that Rory is stupid for putting in effort she doesn't need to?" The lawyer was completely stunned by Dad's idiotic argument. "And that my effort is expected just because of my income bracket and my work for student loans and scholarships? Also, correct me if I'm wrong, Rory, but you're trying not to settle for family hooks to get the money for Harvard, right?"

"Exactly!" Oh my God, she gets it. How does this woman get it, but my own father can't? "Also, might I remind you, Dad, that I don't care what those two offer me at all?"

"They're offering a free ride--"

"Yes, in turn for my soul, my complete subservience to society life and having to tolerate them as my grandparents. Geeze, were you in that room with me two years ago where they basically cut me down to ruining their perfect plan of wedding you and Mom and her being a trophy wife? I don't need their support!"

"That's not what I'm saying. I can make it--"

I shook with anger. "So what, Dad? So I can know I'm using blood money to get through college that I was only offered in a rather sad attempt to butter me up to see them as more than the 'aberration' they never cared about?" I couldn't even look at him. "I don't want to argue with you, so as always, the answer to having your parents support me, is no. It always will be."

"And if you don't get into Harvard you don't want me to have them pull a few strings?"

"Absolutely not!" I said defiantly. "Dad, please settle down, Sherrie needs to take it easy. Please, stop arguing with me."

"You're hiding something," he claimed. "I don't know what it is, Rory, but you need to be open about it." I don't know what I was showing beyond my usual stubborn streak. "Usually you're not this defiant to me or your grandparents."

"Whom I've met once and want nothing to do with me unless it means grinding away every moral I've held for years," I stated. "I would rather die than have to acknowledge I have the same blood as Francine Hayden."

He raised his hands up at me. "Just take the damned help so you can let off the gas!"

"No!" I kept my tone even while his kept increasing. "This conversation is over, now let's get back to the movie."

"It isn't over," he said, voice raised, Sherrie seeming to wonder why he was pushing this as far as he could. "You're still hiding something from me. You leave a good guy like Dean. Why?"

"I'm not getting into this with you. I have told you I don't want to talk about it." I set my hand on Sherrie's and could immediately feel that her blood pressure was increasing at her pulse point. "You need to stop; she's getting stressed out."

I knew from my mom he could get into these streaks of stubbornness, I just never knew how deep. "He did everything for you. He built you a car!"

"A car which earned me a broken arm from hitting a squirrel and was deemed unroadworthy after the cops looked at it. It wasn't even titled out." I hoped I was calming Sherrie down by rubbing the end of her thumb. "Dean was lucky that Luke didn't sue him into the ground because his nephew thankfully escaped injury." I tried again to hope for an end for the conversation, but my dad seemed to be on fire.

"He presented you as a debutante and the thanks he gets is you ending the relationship? You didn't try at all." Yes, this was my father, giving me relationship advice. The irony could be cut with a knife.

"Oh, I tried. Again, it just didn't work out," I stated with finality, spacing out the words so hopefully he understood this was a closed topic. "I don't want to keep up a losing relationship."

"You have to make it work--"

Finally, I let it out, feeling more stressed than I had around him in my entire lifetime. "How do I make it work when he's not in it at all? When he's still in love with his ex in Chicago and pushed me aside. You know why I'm not with him anymore?" I boiled. "Because he cheated on me. He cheated on me with his ex. I saw the proof. I know the proof. And I have to deal with seeing her around town this Christmas!"

That was also enough for Sherrie as she could feel my anger. "That is enough, Christopher!" She gritted out. "You see why she gave up? For a very good reason. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a relationship like that, as the second choice."

I gasped silently as I remembered what I had surmised earlier in the day and could feel the hurt in Sherrie's voice that I would be driven to having this argument with my father. She's me right now, I thought to myself. Mom is his Beth. The one he went back to when he didn't want to make it work with this good woman.

I couldn't say anything because I had no ill intention to break them up. That's not what I wanted. But I think it took all the wind out of his sails as he finally gave up on haranguing me.

"Oh..." He shook his head. "I...I'm sorry, kid. That had to hurt."

I wanted to be sarcastic, but I just went with a "it did", and the talk thankfully faded out for a little while as he finally resumed the movie that I knew I wouldn't remember except for the Paris clone within moments of the credits coming on.

I was shaken though. This weekend trip was turning out to be much more troublesome than I thought it had been originally. At the time I hoped that with the damage of Dad's idiotic line of questioning regarding my breakup with Dean would mute my coming out to him later.

How wrong I would be proven.

The movie had ended and Dad had put away all of the food and cleaned up, though not without some cajoling from Sherrie to do so. While he was in the kitchen, Sherrie shifted around a few cushions on the couch to make herself a little more comfortable, a pain in her back as she looked for any kind of distraction to mute it.

"So..." she smiled at me. "How are your friends? I know you mentioned Paris earlier. That girl scarily reminds me of how I was at her age up in Medford." I averted my eyes, not wanting to insult her, but she responded with a laugh. "Rory, it's true. I had like 14 things going on before I got into college. I know how it is; high school can be just the most intense thing, even more so today."

"So you thought college admissions staff was out for blood with you too?" I asked, wistful as I remember Paris's complaints about the process. "She thinks they have spies in Chilton."

"Same thoughts here. I thought Dartmouth was gonna disqualify me because I scored a 95 in a pop quiz for a subject nowhere near my major! I also had an interview where I was too intense. The entire thing, I'm sympathizing with you both right now and how you keep her as a friend is a miracle."

"I don't even know," I said honestly. "The trip to Washington probably saved everything; without her push to have me as her VP I don't know where our friendship would be right now."

She cringed at the mention. "I still feel horrible about the after-debate thing by the way." Sighing, she pushed back against the pillow and finally felt a little comfort. "I should've probably invited her along so she still got to celebrate with you."

"We eventually smoothed it over," I said, trying to downplay it. "It's like after a sporting event. You get all that adrenaline and there's a big letdown if you can't celebrate the way you'd like."

She wrinkled her nose. "Rory, I don't think she was mad because she didn't get to celebrate. I think she didn't like that I took you away from her." I felt a sudden urge for diverting the topic far away. "Like...now, I don't want to say anything that would be a little off, but does Paris have anyone she likes?"

Oh dear. Attempt to play it down... "Well, she had this boy, Tristan, but he got in trouble and hasn't been back to Connecticut in a year. They had a love/hate relationship."

"Before that, then. How about now, or then, at the time?"

"There was another boy, Jamie. They just didn't have chemistry when they met in Washington, or when her mom set her up with him to take her to the Winter Formal under her nose."

"Hmmm..." She was silent for what seemed to be a long moment and all I could hope was she came to the conclusion that Paris was just plain uninterested in dating.

However, Sherrie Tinsdale, is a lawyer. A darned great one too. I might as well have been on the witness stand. "Nobody else?"

"Er, no one else." I laughed nervously, really hoping for some kind of distraction. Or even a phantom labor pain.

"She must have a crush on you then," she said, as if the observation was as natural as breathing air...

Which I was now finding hard to do. She was giving off a smile which suggested she certainly didn't doubt her observation.

"Uhhh, why would you think that?" I asked her, hoping she had very faulty gaydar. "I have never seen her...express interest in women."

"Rory, my brother Devon is gay." I nodded, wondering how she could tell. "I know all of the signs of disinterest in the opposite sex. She exhibits many of the ones I saw in my brother before he came out when he was twenty."

"Wait...you think you know she likes me?" I at least wanted to hear this, especially based on a three-hour impression when she was having a day of emotions filled with bipolarity.

"Just the way she looked at you during the debate for one. Everyone else, she respected; the other team, the moderators, your coach. With you, it was like her attitude was this...different thing that I see with Devon and Ian together. Like, she behaves differently around you."

"Of course she does. She's my teammate and my best friend," I said.

"No, not just that," she said, holding up her hand. "When you were on the stage arguing your side, I don't know. I remember observing teammates in my forensics competitions and most of them only listened to the words. With you, she also observes your emotions and body language. Usually I know debate instructors do want you to look at that. Just not in ways where she's looking at you in more than a friendly manner." A smirk. "She was staring at your butt, Rory."

I shook my head. "Sherrie! That can't be true!"

It is. Paris does ogle me in debates.

"She also had these facial expressions which suggested contentment at both hitting your mark, and a part of your voice that hits her pleasure center."

"You can't really think that." I shook my head, wondering where all of this was coming from. "Also...pleasure center? Really?"

"I keep thinking I ruined some deep plans that she had for that night. I didn't think she'd be so angry about it, but I hit some kind of nerve with her."

"But she's always like that," I argued. "She has everything planned to the second and--"

I saw her shake her head. "Rory, I knew you wanted to go with her instead. Like I pulled you out of this happiness bubble you had so you could 'meet the new adult' because your Dad told you to." Sherrie gave me a serious look and I could swear she was somehow burrowing into my soul.

"I really think she likes you," she said, not a hint of irony or sarcasm at all in her voice.

"Uhhh...OK." What could I do with that information unless I wanted to spill the beans right away. "I guess she does."

 "I'm not...making you feel uncomfortable right now, am I?" She scooted herself a little bit. "I mean, for all I know you're the type who is flattered but has no interest, and I feel like I should have probably let her take you out, but I was told by Chris to get to know you."

"No, no, it isn't that. You're a great woman and I'm glad you're giving me a sister," I said. I debated for a minute what to do, but it seemed like this woman just wanted to know me and had no malice of any kind. She was apologizing for breaking Paris's plans; that was something unexpected.

I looked around the room and heard Dad still putting away the dishes. I figured I could be a little safe and pushing aside my fears, I figured that with Sherrie confirming that she had a gay brother, I could be kindred and she wouldn't be offended.

"Rory?" She nervously felt like she broke the wrong topic. "I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it."

Closing my hand into a light fist I slid over close. "I have to tell you something. After I whisper it into your ear, don't say a word about it to Dad. I need to say what I have to without feeling fearful."

"Is it bad?" she wondered, I shook my head and reached over, whispering quietly so that only she could hear it in any way.

Here goes nothing. "She does like me," I admitted. "I also like her back. We've been dating for the last month quietly and I'm going to tell my dad in a little bit." I paused. "You kind of pushed things into motion and made me realize I should've gone with her."

I pulled back, expecting to see some kind of shame or annoyance that I had just outed myself to her. I even thought she would tell me to get out.

Instead...she squealed lightly and reached over to my own ear to respond back.

"I thought I was on-target. You two fit so well...I'm glad I wasn't imagining it." She pulled away and mouthed 'you have my support' towards me. Just in time, as Dad came back into the room with ice cream and cake...

Oh dear. It wasn't fresh ice cream and cake either. I could see on the slices he brought out read 'grats Myrna' and '35 yea' on them.

Yup, he was treating us to dessert stolen from a company retirement party.

"Here you go ladies!" He presented it as if he was a hero, but Sherrie knew it was just him putting in minimal effort.

"Honey, you brought this home on Wednesday and I can only eat the ice cream or my sugar levels shoot up," she complained. "I can't have the cake slice."

"Eat, it'll help the baby," he implored, under the assumption that any calorie was a good one during pregnancy.

"It's plum flavor. Cake should never be any flavor but chocolate or vanilla," she said, pushing aside the cake to attend to the ice cream and saving me what would probably be the worst dessert experience of my life.

I ate my own ice cream, noticing that my dad was just becoming gruffer as he was disappointed his daddy-daughter weekend was instead turning into a bonding session between us ladies. It troubled me because I thought the point of coming up to Boston was to get to know Sherrie also and how they lived. She made quick work of her dish, as did I, and we had the cake still completely on both of them unconsumed, never to be touched.

I could tell the tension was picking up. I wasn't behaving like I did two years ago, just excited my father came to town on his motorcycle. This was different, chilly. Whatever the office world had done to him, it made him completely different, and I was getting a vibe from him that he was realizing something he was just beginning to know.

He had missed my childhood. Dad's decisions to leave raising me to Mom were now coming back to bite him. Instead of having success with her in his corner, he had a long line of gliding by that had left him to be a different man than he had been in the past, who knew that I was a young adult looking towards the future, towards college.

Dad had challenged my reasons for ending it with Dean. I hadn't expected that.

What else I didn't think would happen? Seeing Sherrie like this. I knew how she was in February was her real personality, not false at all. She was always this cheery and happy.

She was a lot different now, stuck in bed and really hoping for the best, but not sure she was going to get any support with her pregnancy.

I had told her about Paris, and like I expected, there wasn't even any argument. It was normal to her. Her brother had been out for years and I could tell she would defend him, his partner, and their children.

Knowing that now, beyond he was just her gay brother that Dad suddenly had these nasty words for with no reasoning except for prejudice, it made that outburst all the more chilling.

I had to be careful. I hoped for the best.

It was a half-hour later after we finished eating and he had gone off into his study for work as I helped Sherrie into bed. She was very worn out and it took awhile to get her in. I averted my eyes as she changed from her Dartmouth t-shirt and jogging pants into a loose maternity nightgown that made her look ethereal. I was a little concerned with my revelation to her that she might see me as somehow flirting with her, which of course is a silly thought to have about a woman having your half-sister, but there is my brain trying to juggle things.
However, she kept it loose. After sliding into bed, she laughed at my shyness and let her eyes wrinkle in humor towards me.

"Rory," she said. "You're a lovely young woman, but I have no designs on you. Relax!" She patted the bed and I sat next to her. "She's your one and only, isn't she?"

I thought about the question, asked seriously. I knew I was gay, but was I for all women, or just Paris? I thought for a moment, remembering only a few attractions here and there and my Miss Peters crush, but really, it was true.

"I hope she is," I whispered softly, closing my eyes. "Are you sure you're OK with this?"

Sherrie nodded strongly, grabbing her book from the nightstand and giving me a smile that told me that I could certainly do this. That there would be no problem.

"I think you're a good kid with a head on her shoulders. Who you love doesn't matter to me," she said with finality. "It didn't matter when Devon came out. We can discuss that when you talk to your dad." She slipped beneath the blanket and sighed as she got comfortable with a pillow against her back. "I hope it goes well."

I nervously batted away hair from my side. I concurred my hope of my revelation being for the best and wished Sherrie a good night, softly closing the door and hoping for time with Dad all by myself.

This was becoming a pattern, sadly. There was Dad, on his laptop chatting to work buddies with the Celtics game in the background. I was beginning to think Mom had thankfully dodged a bullet, but Sherrie had taken on the miserableness in her place.

"Dad, I--"

"Rory, this is almost over. I want to see if they get over 110.  Hold on." Even not knowing not much about basketball, looking at the score on the screen this wasn't football where a touchdown would put the other team back in the game. The green players (I assume the Celtics from Paris telling me their uniforms were green) were at 105, and the other team in white from New York was at 80. It looked like Boston had well won.

"But they're winning by a lot."

"Not enough though," he grumped. "If they bump over 110 I get $250 from Jake in HR on Monday. I bet the score with him, he was convinced the Knicks would win by 18. How wrong he was."

"$250?" I sat down to watch basketball and continued to find it confusing. At least when Paris describes hockey or football it's pretty much artistic and in detail about the importance of a formation or 'power plays'. Here though, it was just 'guy in white fouls guy in green, green guy shoots two times at the hoop, white shirted guy gets ball and tries to score', and repeat that over and over.

How Dad could bet so much on a game was puzzling, but on one that was already won, even more so. The announcers even said it was 'garbage time', which apparently means the professional basketball players decide to play like Chilton's 0-9 junior varsity team, which from seeing a practice one day where even the JV cheerleaders were taunting them about their awfulness, were our school's athletic embarrassment.

Somehow, two minutes in basketball time is fifteen minutes and has commercial breaks. The game finally ended with the Celtics winning over the Knicks 113-90, to my relief and Dad's, who apparently wouldn't have to go into work on Monday and pay his co-worker money for betting wrong.

After the post-game show and some chatting with his work buddy, he finally got to me after twenty-five minutes as we went out to the kitchen for a snack with his laptop.

"Hey, so what did you want, kid?" he said as he closed up his computer.

An acknowledgement that I'm your daughter? My inner vixen grumped, which I thankfully ignored for that moment to bring out the 'birds dressed me' side of my personality.

"I...I wanted to talk to you about something," I said. "I did come up here for Sherrie and you, but there is something else."

He nodded at me. "OK, lay it on me." I sat next to him and tried to psyche myself up for it.

OK, Gilmore, you can do this. You have done this. Though not usually in this way; Mom caught you making out and Madeline found out through my little jealousy routine, and Grandma and Grandpa, well that went 50/50, but still, she's not talking to me. He's in a good mood, he just won a bet and his kid's on the way. Lead in with Harvard...

"Well, I'm going to be coming up for interviews at the start of the month in Cambridge, and I was wondering..." I paused, remembering even if I did get rejected, Paris's dad offered his Back Bay house to us to stay in. "Would you be OK with Paris and I here the night before?"

I wondered what the response would be. I prepared for almost anything he would say and hoped it would be for the best.

"Why does Paris need to stay here? Can't she get a room downtown? She can afford it."

OK, I didn't expect complete snobbery just because of her income bracket. Redirect.

"It's not that," I said. "We want to go over our interviews the night before."

He shook his head. "You do remember that Paris almost tumbled you into a locker that night, right? The force of how she shoved that boy, why would you want to associate with someone that mean and vicious?"

"Dad, the boy forgave her. And she was in a bad mood because you came and I had to go off with you instead of celebrating our debate victory with her. She was just frustrated that night and no, Paris doesn't regularly shove people." Internally I giggled, remembering even how angry she was that she just had incredible upper body strength for a woman of her size and build.

"She also wants to lecture about everything," he reminded me. "And she'd probably steal your answers too. You realize she's your competition in Chilton and Harvard?"

"That, she is. I understand. But she's also my friend and when all of this admissions rigmarole is over we won't have any reason to be enemies any longer. It's silly to have an enemy just to compete for some arbitrary number."

"You shouldn't be friends though. You should be socializing with others, getting into peer groups...maybe find a good guy in Chilton, put yourself out there." OK, why was Dad suddenly showing an interest in my love life two months after I hit legality? "If you stick with Paris and her friends, you're going to be stuck in a limited peer group that isn't 'cool'."

Oh God, no. Dad, you are seriously not playing the 'outcast card'. You're not...

"Dad," I huffed out. "I'm at Chilton to learn, and it doesn't matter if I'm part of the in crowd or anything. I don't want to be part of them. If I get to the point where I'm stealing a yacht, please, jail me." I made a mention to try to up Paris's rep. "Besides, she is a motor connoisseur like her father and already into fast cars and motorcycles like you are."

"Oh, geeze, don't defend her. She likes imported crap; all I buy is finely crafted American machinery."

"Dad...your Volvo is from Sweden," I reminded him.

"Sourced with American parts and owned by an American car company. It still counts."

"What I'm trying to say is there is more to Paris than meets the eye," I said. "She isn't just all intense studying and a bloodlust for winning. She has vulnerability to her and she needs a friend who understands her. It's taken awhile to get to the point where we can even be in the same room without being in constant debate with each other, but once you get to know her...she isn't that bad."

"I knew kids like her in high school," he claimed. "They all eventually burned out or turned to drugs because rote learning doesn't mean squat in the real world. You need to have the knowledge of the real world to get through it, and Paris--"

I narrowed my eyes in frustration. Trying to justify my friendship to a man who knew her for a grand total of two hours and trying to make excuses for her? It was growing annoying.

"Paris is going to be just fine. We have an agreement where we won't steal each other's questions, and she will make it out there."

"Yeah, because Daddy Warbucks will give her anything she wants. She doesn't get her way she'll just throw a tantrum. You know her dad will just buy her way into Harvard, right? She could probably get lazy at this point and get in comfortably, while screwing you over!"

The way my father was talking about her was so casual, so uncaring that it was actually making me angry. So her father buys her nice things. What was the point he was trying to make here?

"There is no screwing over going on here," I said firmly. "We are both going to get in on our own academic merits."

"Yeah, you say that now!" His voice was building up volume. "Rory, she might be your friend now, but by the time March comes along you're going to regret it. Stay friends with girls like Lane who don't have ambition--"

And there was some whiplash, saying Lane wasn't competitive? The hell? "And you know my best friends how, Dad? How? I talk to you about Lane as someone hoping to get out from her parents but now all the sudden because she doesn't have Ivy ambitions, that's a reason to stay friends with her? Because she's not going to Cambridge with me?"

I shook, trying to hold my back as deeply as I could from dropping an obscenity. "Paris is my friend. She is the one keeping me from phoning it in at Chilton. Without her, I would have been gone by January my sophomore year, back to Stars Hollow High, back to being bullied, back to being belittled for being there to learn and not giving a damn about who's sleeping with whom. I'm there to learn and Par is keeping me on the line, keeping me away from becoming yet another society robot that only cares about Birkin bags that look like overpriced laptop cases and makeup! Lane is my best friend. She always will be. But I have plenty of my room in my heart for Paris, who is a good woman underneath all those layers she needs to protect herself from all the hurt in her life."

"Hurt?" He challenged me. "Oh my God, she's had so much hurt, getting her fast little cars and motorbikes and making your life a living hell. Face it, Rory, you're enabling a bully and becoming her lackey. You dumped a good guy because of this stupid need to satisfy her--"

"I dumped him because he was having cybersex with his ex!" I thought we had covered this already. "He didn't really love me and was a territorial jerk who thought Luke's nephew was a threat to his manhood! And thanks, really love the being called 'stupid' for wanting to have goals." I wrapped my arms around my chest, feeling primed for argument, every single bit of Paris's advice about conflict strong in my mind at that moment. "It's pretty clear you don't know her at all. That you don't know me. I am more than just your daughter, I'm a young woman with a life, with a purpose, and she is the same way, Dad. I wouldn't have chosen to befriend her if she was a complete bitch. But she isn't. She never has been. And I would appreciate you not cutting down our friendship."

If I thought that was the last word, I was wrong.

Very wrong. I thought I would have the halo effect into coming out to him, but he made sure I would have to do this riled up.

"You need to end it with her, Rory," he said. "I don't really like this side of you. Combative, disrespectful, angry. I'm your father and you need to show respect to me."

"Respect, huh?" I wrinkled my nose and took in a deep breath. "The same respect you showed my mom when you left her at the Inn during the wedding with her heart broken once again. When it suddenly wasn't working out with Sherrie, so the moment you were free you once again came back into our lives hoping for a hero's welcome from the both of us." I lowered my voice, intending to be as cold as I could be. "Only when reality slapped you in the face, to run back to Boston, not a word, or an explanation. Just gone, Dad. You don't have the foresight to ever think ahead--"

"That's enough!"

"And it's always the moment! Always your time, never anybody else's. We have to fit our schedule around the time you feel like coming into town!"


"No!" I snarled, feeling built up. "I'm sorry, but I'm not just the happy girl glad you came in! I know now that you and Mom aren't going to happen, are never going to be married, and we will never be a happy family. That dream is gone because you have a kid coming, Dad. You have a living, breathing child that you are going to have to be responsible for, and from what I've seen so far this weekend you're acting the same way you did when Mom was pregnant, trying to deny the reality." I held up my hand to keep him from responding. "You bury yourself in work so you don't have to deal with it, think Sherrie is annoying for asking for things she needs, and going off to basketball games? And when I came in today she was trying to assemble a baby chair! Why is she doing that? Why does she have to do anything at all? She is pregnant with your child and you're treating her like a second prize of some kind."

"You don't know us," he growled, as I felt the anger that only my mother knew. "You come in here and you have no right to judge us at all."

"You started this argument," I reminded him. "All I asked was if Paris could room here during interviews and you took it to this place--"

"Oh, God, will you shut the fuck up about Paris?! It's like you love her or something!"

I shrieked as he let out the curse word and pretty much demanded I stop talking. I felt caught and I knew my eyes would give me away. Quickly I remembered her advice about rubbing my palm with my thumb and did that. I needed it, really needed it.

All I could think in that moment was this is going to get very ugly. With my dad outright talking about my friendship as if I was forced to under threat of death, it was wearing me out. I had to stay strong, push through this, try to at least keep some kind of sliver of my relationship with him going.

I knew I could lie and back away at this point. I could easily do that.

Instead, I went full force into the admission, taking a calming breath.

"Now that you mention it," I said calmly, "there was another reason I came up here this weekend."

Here we go. Gathering every piece of courage I could, I did what I had to do.

"I was hoping I could say this in a peaceful mood, but I'll have to say it in this manner." Closing my eyes for a moment, I felt my heart constrict as I let the words out.

"I am a gay woman, Dad." I never wavered my gaze from him, looked him straight in the eyes. "I am dating Paris, and I am in love with her."

There was a moment of stern quiet between us as I felt my stomach clench from the revelation. The biggest part of me was hoping that Dad would understand, would see why I was so combative about defending her and completely. He looked at me and...

"That's funny," he said. "OK, that's a hilarious way to end an argument."

Alright, he was going with denial of this as a big joke.

"I'm serious. I've been with her for a month and I don't think I'll know a better relationship. She gets me, and I think she knows I get her. When she's with me, her sharp edges retract and she's whole different person." I was steady with my voice. "I know that this may be shocking to you, but I've always seemed to know that I just don't feel more than friendship with men."

"Paris can feel?" He said under his breath, giving me this neutral stare that was scaring me a little.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, she can. She has told me so much about herself that nobody will ever know. It got to me. There are things in her life that make her much more human than she projects. She is also a very beautiful woman and I cannot think of anyone better to hold my heart. My girlfriend has treated me with more kindness and respect than Dean did in the time I was with him, and in turn, she treasures me for treating her as an intelligent and vulnerable woman, instead of just someone in the way to Harvard."

"I hope you can understand why I'm this way, Dad." I was respectful, I was calm, and I would not be pushed into anger over this. He could take me or leave me from this point forward.

I expected some support, maybe some aversion. Or for it to go the way it did with Grandma; an argument, but yet an acknowledgement I was my own woman and she needed time to process how to go forward.

This is Christopher Hayden we're talking about, though. Who cuts out when he fails. Wants everything his way.

He looked at me, narrowed his eyes...

"My daughter is a fucking dyke." He spat it out softly, yet it still had the full force of heated hate behind it. "Unbelievable. That's why you came up here this weekend? To tell me that you like to fuck girls? And a girl like her?"

I nodded simply, refusing to take his bait. I sucked in a breath at his words, playing with my thumbs. I didn't think it would result in...this. I was chilled and nervously wondered how the rest of this would go.

"I told you--"

"Yes, you told me." He got up from his seat. "You told me you were gay, and why." I began to sense him moving towards me. "And I can't help but feel massive disappointment in how Lor raised you." Shaking his head he bit into a cheese stick from the microwaved plate in the center of the table, and continued to talk. "I was hoping I would have a daughter with good morals and a sense of right or wrong. Obviously that didn't happen, because--"

"I still do have good morals," I argued, "and I know right from wrong. Mom is good--"

"Not good enough!" He interrupted. "She failed in raising you because you're dating an insufferable bitch who is lording over you because she can't find a guy with the stomach to date her."

He was going to play low, and I had to tell him he was wrong. "It's the same with her. She did have a boy who liked her, but it didn't work out. She doesn't feel anything for men herself." I tossed back my hair, not knowing what to say.

"I'm sorry if you disagree with this--"

He stopped me. "Disagree, are you kidding me? Rory, this is the absolute wrong thing for you! You aren't a lesbian! You're an all-American girl who should be finding a good guy to settle down with, not a tyrannical snob who is only something because of her money. Trust me, if you were the one in that house and she was stuck in the Hollow with your mom, you wouldn't care about her at all, because she would be nothing. Ignored, hated, and best of all, not able to spend her way into Harvard."

I didn't know where this came from. Paris only used her money for fun things. Never for influence. Outside of her townhouse up here, she has the same college advisers as everyone else. The same interview dates. Like me, she has refused any attempt at line jumping. I was pissed, especially at the turnaround that if she was Mom's daughter and acted the way she does nobody would like her at all.

"I love her," I said again, repeating it firmly. "She is not the way you think she is, at all. Obviously, you don't know her. She cares. She pushed through money for the LGBT alliance at school, and I helped her with it. The Franklin is an excellent newspaper in her hands, and she keeps me driven in that place!"

"Your school has a GSA?" He was incredulous. "If we had that in our day the other schools would have laughed at us!" He scoffed at the idea of progress. "I don't even want to look at you right now. You and your mother should be ashamed of yourselves."

"Why my mother?"

"Because!" He growled deeply. "My parents had a plan for everything so you'd be well taken care of. Everything was sorted. But no, your mom is a feminist, your mom has to be strong and have her own spirit! So I get stuck travelling the country after my degree while you get raised as an eventual lesbian by her!"

"Hey, this was all my decision!" There was no way Lorelai was going to be blamed for how I lived my life. "And you know Mom would have never been able to live with Straub or Francine around daily. You saw them when I met them; they want nothing to do with me."

"You know that's untrue--"

"Oh, do I? The only way they would is on my terms, as a trophy wife with no goals or aspirations to speak of and with every single shred of my creativity burned away until I was just a society girl. I will not have you demeaning Mom, my life in Stars Hollow, or Paris, in any way. There isn't any way I'd switch the life I have to have you and Mom miserably married in society life."

"You're going to regret this. Lor is going to realize soon that she made the stupidest mistake of her life in letting you be a lesbian, and when Paris dumps you, don't come crying to me and saying I was eventually right, because I've just warned you, Rory; you're making a serious mistake."

I hadn't even been able to muster a tear. Any sadness I could muster from my dad saying I should be ashamed by my sexuality had evaporated by his complete disdain for how I was. He just looked at me as if I was foreign, kind of ugly. I didn't understand why he was so against this at all. It's not like he cared about my love life in any form before this evening.

"Well, guess what?" I shook my head. "It's my life, and if I want to screw it up, I will, though I didn't feel like I screwed it up at all." The best thing to do was remain neutral. "I'm disappointed that--"

"I'm not disappointed, I'm pissed. Had I knew this is where your life was gonna lead I would've stayed with Lor!" He pointed his finger towards me. "I guess I can safely say I don't want Paris here for the interviews."

"In fact," he slurred, "I would like you to leave. That you would come here and bond with Sherrie and then reveal that you're in love with a woman. My child doesn't deserve to know you."

"What?" Now I was angry. "Hold on a second! You cannot deny me access to Gigi!"

"I have, and you will grab your crap and leave now." I saw the anger in my father's eyes. "And when you get back to Stars Hollow you can tell your mother I'm mad that she didn't feel the need to stop this. You are unwelcome here from now on."

"I would think that's Sherrie's choice." I smirked, remembering the labeling of the address block downstairs. "As far as I remember, she's the one who pays for this apartment, and she's still the mother of my half-sister. Because of my age, you have no say on whether I cannot visit Gigi or not."

"You're testing me, Rory. Get out!" He raised his voice louder. "I am not going to repeat myself. If you hadn't turned eighteen, I would have started a custody battle right this moment so I could get you--"

"Get me to what? Stop being gay?" I felt offended. "Guess what, Dad? I was born like this! My biology is bent towards an attraction to women, and obviously a certain type of woman. I can't just flip off a freakin' light switch and declare 'I don't like girls', and all of that stuff about praying away the gay is mostly ineffective." I pursed my lips. "Besides, where am I going to go? It is Boston at 8:30 at night."

"Go to a hotel, I don't give a shit." I stood there, willing him to get me to leave. I wasn't leaving without a fight. "Rory, leave, now. You're going to stress Sherrie out."

I stood firm. "It's her apartment. I'll leave if she asks me to."

"Rory..." I could tell I was getting to him, but I didn't care. He had just proven I didn't need him in my life. He moved closer. "I will take you out of this house with force."

"Go ahead and do that," I challenged. "You make me come up here, put in the barest effort possible in being hospitable, and now I see that she's miserable?"

"She is not miserable. Don't you dare come into my house and criticize my relationship."

"As someone who is your daughter, I think I have a right to." He approached me.

"Rory, I swear to God." He raised his hand, and I held back my flight or fight response as he began to make clear he would do something to me. "Leave. Now."

I narrowed my eyes and scoffed at him. "Why should I listen to you when you won't even respect me, you bigot?"

Yes, it was stupid to say it. But it was damned true. He came closer.

"That's it you little bit--" Just as he was about to slap me...

"I wouldn't move another muscle. She is right, you are a bigot."

Unnoticed by the both of us was that Sherrie had gotten out of bed to use the bathroom, and then sat down in a chair in the living room to hear our argument. She had assumed things would be fine, but once she heard us both raise our voices I suppose she knew something was going on. So as I pleaded with Dad to understand, she was there, listening to everything I had to say.

He tried to play it cool. "Oh...Sherrie, honey. I'm sorry, you don't need to listen to this--"

If I had expected Sherrie Tinsdale, seven months pregnant, under doctor's orders to rest and keep calm, to be complacent, I was dead wrong.

"I don't need to listen to this?" She spoke up strongly, her 'lawyer tone' in full force. "I love that you get to be my proxy and say I would like Rory out of the apartment and would deny her access to her sister! That is not happening."

"Sherrie, if I could explain what happened." The smaller woman held up her hand.

"She came out of the closet. You're supposed to support that. Instead, you go off on her for no reason!"

"Being gay is wrong, Sher, you know how I feel about that!" He was so out of his element he had forgotten about Devon.

"Oh, I guess I didn't. I assumed that you were fine with Devon, but with this outburst, shaming your own daughter like this because of who she loves, I don't even know how you feel about him. But that's besides the point, because she came up here to be honest and you react like this?"

"You don't know our family. Hartford society is insular, traditional and they are going to shame Rory--"

"Does she look like she cares?" Sherrie pointed out. "Your daughter just admitted one of the toughest things any teenager ever has to do, and the only thing you can think about is 'how are my parents and buddies going to react'. Christopher, you need to accept this."

"I don't have to do anything!" He growled. "You can't defend this. She's in love--if you can even call it that, with a power-hungry tyrant of a girl."

The woman shook her head and rolled her eyes, feeling like she was being spoken down to. "Because you can make that one assumption based on a few hours of knowing her."

"I know my daughter!"

"You didn't know her enough to give her freakin' T directions or a taxi here this morning!" She raised her arms up. "I reminded you multiple times this week, be ready for Rory, she's coming to visit. I wrote it down in your calendar and yet you still couldn't roll out of bed to pick her up!"

"You don't get to lecture me!" I was just watching this like a ping-pong match now, wondering if I would have to go or not.

"I get to do whatever the hell I want to you! I've been carrying this child of yours for seven months, two of which are about to be used, instead of advancing my career further, to dissertate the crap out of One Life to Live! And to tell Rory that she can't see her sister solely because of who she loves?" She listed a few things with her fingers. "I do not tolerate bigotry, I do not tolerate homophobia, and I certainly do not tolerate you denying the simple act of sisterhood."

"Well, maybe she should have thought of that before she decided to become a lesbian." He pointed at me. "You don't get to come in here and lecture me about how I live my life." He tried to push her aside, only to find her match him move by move. "Get the fuck out of my way!"

Then, Sherrie brought down the hammer on him. Staring daggers into the taller man, the pregnant woman just did the thing that would make it clear that she would no longer be an annoyance in my life, or Paris's.

"She can do what she wants; choosing to stay out of her life for so long, you don't have much right to control her, Chris." Giving him a stare that would make anyone shudder, she continued on, arguing her case.

"I love how she finally got out of her funk and realized my suspicions that when you left me before I found out I was pregnant, you went right back to Lorelai. Just...no thinking on that. Went back and played with her heart and crushed it anew when I told you about Gigi. How the hell could you do that? Just...cut out and go right back to her and think it was over with us? And yes you did the responsible thing by coming back, at least you thought so. But I didn't want you to come back."

Then, wrenchingly she admitted what happened in that week after Dad left. "The only reason I did call was to inform you I was going to terminate it because of your wishes not to have new kids, something we talked about when we first got together. But...you had to look good to your parents, get a little more guarantee on your inheritance. You had to satisfy them, so you came back and said you'd be there for me. You moved back here, and tried to respark things, when it was damned clear your heart wasn't in it. You pushed me into something I didn't want, and although I will love Gigi deeply as my child, it should have been longer down the line, like I planned."

"Hold on, are you blaming me--"

"I am!" She stomped down her foot. "You were embarrassed that you were going to lose someone to pass down the Hayden line because Rory wanted nothing to do with it, so you jumped on my pregnancy. At first, you were kind, benevolent, caring. Then month five once I started getting complications, you withdrew into the office and just took any damned opportunity you could to stay away from me." Sherrie continued to cringe. "For crissakes, Chris, and I apologize Rory, you won't even have sex with me! Am I that repugnant?"

"Sherrie, I think we can talk about this later--"

"NO! We're talking about it right here, right now!"

"Honey, calm yourself down, you're going to stress out the baby."

All I could think in that moment was that my dad just didn't get it at all, and Sherrie took that as the exact opportunity to finish tearing him down.

"'I can take it," she declared, then pointed at her bump, "and she can take it." Purposefully she made a move to get in front of me, as if to say 'you're in my corner, let me take care of you'.

"You really want to defend her? She came in here and declared something I heartily disagree with!"

"Tell me, Christopher, what do you think of my brother then? Tell me, please. You seem to have no problem with him, but your own daughter, somehow it's much different."

I watched his eyes, wondering if he would tell the truth. He seemed nervous, confronted, wanting to just weasel out of confrontation like he's done every day since his first loitering ticket when he was twelve. A moment of slience. He opened his mouth.

"I don't have to say." Yes, he was chickening out. Big surprise.

So I decided to answer for him.

"You said enough earlier when you called him a 'fag' in the car," I said, defiantly, my voice with so much disdain it was hardly my usual tone. "You hate that Devon will be Gigi's uncle."

"I never said--"

"Is this true?" Sherrie asked firmly. "Did you actually, in front of your lesbian daughter, use that hateful slur to describe my brother, my flesh and blood?"

"Hon, you don't understand. I was just talking about how he goes on about the Bruins and I don't like hockey."

"No, cut the bull, Chris. You hate my brother. That he's happy with Ian and the kids. You can't even stand to look at them when we see my parents." She leaned against the table. "You were just being a polite bigot. Once you got into the car with a daughter who you thinks worships the ground you walk on, you thought you could unload and it wouldn't get back to me."

Her words cut him with deadly precision. "I will say this right now to you; Georgia Maria Tinsdale will not be raised in a hateful home. She will have her Uncle Devon around all the time spoiling her to the nines. And her sister Rory will always be able to visit her, along with her wonderful girlfriend Paris. I don't give a crap if as if this moment she is disinherited from the will of the Hayden estate. The way your parents treated Dev and Ian when they were up here last month, I intend for them to be very distant grandparents who will have absolutely no say in how Geeg will be raised."

Dad firmed up. "And if I disagree? I intend for my daughter to know her grandparents, on my terms?"

And then, the death blow. Trained as one of Boston's best lawyers, Sherrie finished what in the Suffolk County Courthouse, would be a killer cross-examination.

She grabbed the cordless phone, waved it in front of him in a death grip. Even without the elegance of a power suit or killer figure, Sherrie proved herself in front of me.

"I pay every cent for this apartment, Christopher. Don't agree to my terms, and you can walk out that door. If you continue to deal in these abhorrent views, I intend to have you arrested for trespassing, because I don't want you here. Not in the form of a gay-bashing, mother-hating, overindulgent and selfish jerk who would throw his own daughter out on the street just for who she loves. Rory will be staying here tonight and will be meeting Devon and Ian tomorrow, as previously planned, and probably will be able to have plenty of catharsis with them after having a coming out I'm sure she'll describe as 'her worst hell' later in life. Meanwhile, you have plenty of work buddies to stay with, so I suggest you make a call to them and get a bed for a lengthy period.

"I fell in love with a good man. Not a hateful asshole. You ever mutter another homophobic slur in this house, and you will lose your manhood, in every single way possible."

Instead of feeling pushed down, he persisted in his ignorance. "You would not have the guts--"

"I would," she said. "And I know there's no way you will apologize to Rory, so cut your losses and get out."

Then, he made another fatal move. Wearing a grin that just oozed sleaziness, he tried to play the 'man card'.

"And if I leave, who's gonna protect you, Sher, Rory? What'll happen if some asshole breaks in and wants to have his liberties with you, or a freak of a woman comes in and cuts Gigi out?" The way he was sounding was almost psychopathic, and filled with delusions of grandeur.

Any other woman, even Paris, may have taken awhile to respond.

Not Sherrie.

"Cut the bull," she told him. "You really think I'm that stupid? Without your dumb ass not realizing that you should never trust a condom machine in a Southie bodega, you would've never given me a glance again if I didn't have your child."

And then, the Mortal Kombat special move...

"Besides, you forget I pack heat; at least until I had to stop target practice, I was the queen of the pistol range. And even pregnant I know my goddamned self defense enough. I am not a poor, defenseless woman, you lout. As you've proven the last couple months, I don't need you to protect me. Also, the crime rate in this area is among the lowest in the city, and the building has security cameras. Only an idiot would dare to commit a burglary here. So kill the damsel in distress excuse, because we don't need you here." She handed him the phone. "Now call someone, grab the crap you need, and get out." She turned over to me. "Rory, my bedroom until he leaves."

I could only nod; no way I was going to disagree with Sherrie. "See you in there." I headed in and closed the door, the conversation ended between my father and I without a single word.

While behind the door, I heard other things said, like he now had an official ban from the TiVo, and that he would not be welcomed back without apologies to all of us. Sherrie was the only one to say a word as my father was completely emasculated. He left with a hard slamming of the door, and like that, with a whimper, I had come out to my dad, and probably lost him.

Still, through all that, even through all the silence and time to think, I couldn't even get sad. I still felt anger that wouldn't dissipate until I got home, and I felt good that I was able to bring out the thoughts I held out for so long. I hated being such a bitch, especially to my father, but when he brought Mom into it, that was it.

I've had a good life with Mom, in the Hollow. There is nothing he can do to take that away from me, and I refuse to let him ruin that, or strip away the happiness I felt with Paris. I looked down at my hands and went through my mind.

I had made the right choice coming out. Probably no matter what, it wasn't going to end well. I had even heard a rumor in the Hartford grapevine that he had been let go from a good software job he held a few years back for bullying an underling, something that he had tried to smooth over with Mom as just 'not a right match for the job', but there was a good reason no one would ever hire him in Hartford without Straub getting involved somehow.

I nervously pondered whether I had caused damage to Sherrie's dreams. That I caused a rift.

What was telling to me was Sherrie saying she would have Gigi, but only because Christopher would be with her. That he pressured her away from having an abortion.

What he did and not following up on his promises is what was making Sherrie miserable. I knew she loved Gigi now, but in that period when she told him, it was a choice she had to make, and if she had been able to decide on her own, things would have been fine for her.

Somehow though, I knew Straub and Francine. They are heavily anti-abortion, and that thinking definitely was passed on to my father.

What hasn't been told is although I know my mom didn't consider the choice of abortion, it wasn't because it was her choice, or the choice of my grandparents.

From what I know and has been whispered in the past, when my mom found out, she was basically confronted by those two and told if she even ventured anywhere near Planned Parenthood, even for pre-natal care, they would use some kids they knew at Hillside to spread even more salacious gossip about her. Not just involving her, but untruths that would have ruined my grandparents in society beyond repair. It was a threat made away from my grandparents, after school one day.

It chilled her. Somehow, I knew my father had used the same logic on Sherrie to scare her away, and now she was becoming depressed from isolation. If I didn't support her and she had Gigi without much help, there was a high possibility for her to have post-partum depression that would make her do rash things I don't even want to think about.

My father doesn't understand that. He laughed through my mom's two month case of PPD, where she felt hopeless about her life. It was something she only talked about during an extreme low in our lives around 1995, when her first attempt to buy a home failed because of some computer and credit mix-ups that took awhile to fix. If not for the nanny at the time Grandma hired to take the stress off Mom, who knows what would have happened?

Whatever the case though, what was done was done. Sherrie came back into the bedroom and left the door open, shaking her head and sighing as she made her way onto the bed, cringing and knowing the doctor would have a field day with her the next appointment. She groaned as she hit the bed and took in a deep calming breath. I didn't know what to say because I was afraid she'd last out at me.

Thankfully the silence was short-lived.

"Well," she said, breaking the ice. "It's nice to know how your father really feels now. When you told me and went out there I expected him to be kind and understanding. Not all of what he just said."

I shook my head, taking in a deep sigh. "I guess I really don't know my dad after all. God...I'm sorry you had to go through all that."

"Don't even apologize, Rory. Please, don't." She set a hand on my shoulder and grimaced, going over everything in her head. "It just helped me understand a whole lotta things about Chris I've been trying to figure out since he zig-zagged back up here in June. He told me he had gone to see his parents after we broke up." With a bitter laugh she seethed as she realized the truth. "I should've realized that he'd go right back to your mom. But he promised me that he wouldn't."

"Sherrie, the first thing you know about my father; he doesn't do promises well. If he did, my mom and he would be married, I'd have been in Chilton years ago and the proud owner of a Compact Oxford Dictionary. That last one still gets to me because he claimed there was a problem with his card, when he was just plain broke." I looked at Sherrie and saw there was no sadness in her eyes either, the both of us having come out above him. "When he said that about your brother I wasn't sure whether to tell you or not because I didn't know anything about him."

"You didn't have to. Dev's heard so much worse; we are in Boston after all, cradle of loudmouth bigots spouting off daily on 'RKO. But it's not a shock. When I first saw your grandparents back a couple months ago and told them about him, they were polite, but I could tell they weren't happy that I was completely accepting of him. It's not even an issue in our family, but I can understand how being who you are in that setting, it isn't easy."

"All I wanted was acceptance," I said, laying it out as simply as I could. "I was just expecting 'that's cool, kid' and then moving onto something else. But it didn't happen like that and I can't figure out why. How could he just be that cold and mean to the both of us?" I looked at her. "To you. Is this how it's been since he came back? Closing up the gates and trying to push you down."

With a slight frown, Sherrie was finally able to let her feelings known without the intervention of a friend telling her to 'buck up, things will be better soon'. "He really doesn't listen to me, what I want or need for Gigi. I just wanted a little support when he said he was committed to this, and frankly...I am a little scared. I have support, but I'm not a 'child person'. I expected to have one a lot later on. Part of the plan, you know? And I expected to have a choice in most everything about this."

She whimpered as she recalled the call of the revelation. "When I told Chris I didn't intend to continue the pregnancy, I swore he became panicked. Like, there was this change in his voice because he suddenly realized he'd have to go to those moralistic parents and confess he let the woman choose to cut everything, including the pregnancy. He guilted me out of it, and then promised so much. He was good the first month back. And then since I started to show, it's like I'm not the Sherrie he began to date, I'm--"

"Someone else," I said. "Like my mom all those years ago."

It was then I came to a revelation about why his timing of coming back into Mom's life had always seemed a little hinky. My eyes widened at the shock of finally coming to the conclusion that had been in front of me for so long.

"That...that's why he waited so long to come back," I said. "Their relationship plunged after Mom had me, and all the sudden I'm going to college and Mom's got an empty nest?" Knowing this now, I shuddered in horror. "I think we're beginning to find out a few scary things we didn't know about him tonight."

"I'd say." There was silence for a few more moments, as I slid my hand into Sherrie's.

"Hey," I said. "If you ever need something, call me, please? I know this all has to be tough on you and I don't want to see you down the line down about all this." I thought about PPD but didn't say the actual words about it. "You have me here, no matter what, and I know after tonight when I tell my mom what happened, she won't take my dad back if he tries to cut and run."

"Rory, to be honest, right now..." She paused nervously, wiping her eyes. "I am scared of him being a father. If he treats his records better than me and still acts like a bachelor going out to basketball games when I need him here taking care of me, what's to say he won't stop? I'm even afraid I might have to take more than my maternity leave. He won't even go to birth classes with me. Just the one for the introduction, but then he said he did it before, so he should know what to do."

"He doesn't know anything; he almost fainted in the delivery room at the sight of my crowning head." The time to think of her was overbearing was over; I knew if I didn't support her, Sherrie and Gigi would have a rough few months. "We're going to get through this, with him or without him, OK? This is all going to be fine." I wondered if it was true, but it was something I did have to say. I couldn't let my sister down, and that had to include her mother, in turn. She was hurting and I wondered about a few things.

"What's going on with your friends, by the way? Why don't they want to come over here?" I wanted her to open up to me about what happened. "You said you had to cancel the baby shower because of your health, but shouldn't they be helping you out and surrounding you because of that?"

I expected that it was just life picking up and there were problems with schedule coordination that made her friends stay away. After a minute of silence though, Sherrie averted her eyes to answer.

"It's because...'cause I'm an idiot." Her eyes were sad and downcast as she told me why. "Most of my friends say he's not good enough for me. That he puts on a fašade. There was even...oh God." She quieted herself for a moment to build up her courage. "There were a couple incidents. I shut them out of my mind because I wanted to think the best of him, that he wouldn't do that. But I...I guess I don't know any more."

I encouraged her to tell me, take her time, hoping to understand why she was so adverse. She closed her eyes, licked her lips and let it out after another minute.

"My best friend Rebecca...she...I denied it for so long. But I can't hold it back any longer."

"Chris eyes her up. He makes her feel extremely uncomfortable, especially after he's had some drinks. I haven't seen it all that much, just the looks he gave her and my other friends. But a couple months back when we got back from shopping out in Natick for baby things, something happened where she told me she doesn't want to be around him. And when he confronted her on it...he told her if she didn't like him, she couldn't visit me. She ignored him at first and came over, but then behind my back, he just...I've denied it for so long, but eventually she began to beg out of coming over. Then when I was bedridden, there was no way she wanted to come because I'm stuck in my room, he could..." She wandered off.

"He could say anything he wanted to her and you'd never know." I shook my head; somehow my father had never changed. "Well, we need to change that straightaway." I began to feel the wheels of progress turn. "He's not coming back this weekend, as long as I'm here, right?"

"I don't expect him to come back until tomorrow night, if that." A pause. "Why?"

"Well, because we're going to make you feel a little less lonely, a lot more supported. How does your brother and his partner feel about baby showers?"

"Rory..." she laughed. "A shower is supposed to be a surprise to me! Inviting people over misses the point entirely, and at--"

"No, Sher, you can't lay down for the next two months miserable over a warm TV and with your friends scared my dad's hitting on them. We're doing this; give me your phone." I suddenly felt all of my planning skills come right to the forefront. "We are calling your friends, your family and we are going to celebrate you and show you how loved you are."

"I don't know. It's Saturday night, what if everyone has something to do--"

"I'll turn on the charm," I said. "Leave it all to me." She gave me a look and soon with a shake of the head, she handed over her phone.

"You do have a good way of turning on the charm; that's why you won that debate," she observed. "Go nuts." I smiled at her and looked at all the numbers and names she then gave me to call, along with her brother, sister and family wondering how much luck I'd have.

It's been a couple hours after all of the fallout, and putting myself into planning a baby shower on less than 18 hours of notice seems to have been just the exact thing I needed to distract myself from everything that went on today. I thought it was going to be hard to pull things together, but Sherrie and I were pleasantly shocked at how much response I was getting. Though everyone was thrown off by someone they didn't know talking to them about Sherrie, most everyone except three people who absolutely couldn't get out of their Sunday plans would be able to come over; her sister would call in from her home in Mesa, Arizona. When I called Rebecca, she was unsure about whether to come over.

"I'm not sure," the woman said. "I just haven't felt comfortable there lately and I'll be honest, Christopher--"

"He won't be there," I told her firmly. "We sort of had a row and he won't be back this weekend. I assure you it's just going to be between us girls. And a couple of boys."

"And Sherrie really misses me?" I looked towards her as she slumped in her bed, wearing glasses and going over her guest list.

"Misses you hard, Becca. She really needs the confidence boost, especially because Christopher had his way with the TiVo--"

"He recorded sports and crap on it, didn't he? I bought that for her so we could have TV marathons!" She huffed, her strong accent coming through the phone with fire. "I'm clearing the schedule and calling the rest of the girls, and if they don't come tomorrow, there's gonna be so much shunning around the office. Consider this an official go...um, uh--"

"Rory. It's Rory."

"Right, Rory!" She squealed happily. "Yes! Gah, thank God I kept my gifts otherwise this would be a packed Sunday out at the mall. Especially with Christmas coming. Oh boy..." She wandered off for a moment. "Getting on the horn with everyone right away; some of these girls might have to CVS their shower gifts since we have to have them by noon tomorrow!"

"Go, go, go, then, we want her and Gigi spoiled!" Talking to everyone there was so much excitement building, and though we didn't mention exactly why Dad wasn't going to be there, I think everyone knew that him and Sherrie just didn't work that well to begin with.

Yes, I know cheering her up with a bunch of consumer overindulgence and party games really isn't the best way to brighten someone's spirits, but I think it was going to work out. I also noticed a lack of Christmas decorations around the apartment too, so thankfully when I shouted over the phone that it could stand to look more like a holiday in there while Sherrie was on with her brother and sister on a three-way call, she was told Christmas cheer was on the way, tree and all.

All was coming together now. I had pushed down the anger a little, though I knew I would need to vent a little later, and soon Sherrie was ready to finally go to bed for sure, feeling so much better than she had since the doctor 'delivered' the news.

Yes, shut up, I made that pun on purpose. And I'd do it again, get that shifty look out of your eyes!

I knew soon I would have to talk to my mom about what happened today, and I wondered what we'd discuss when I talked to her on the phone in a little while. As I said goodnight to Sherrie and headed into the nursery to call Lorelai, I calmed myself, ready to have a conversation that hopefully would be cathartic and non-confrontational.

Little did I know that things were going to go much different than I planned.

Nor that fate was having its way with Paris and I this evening.

11:00pm Saturday

It's late. I know I need to be up in eight hours to get things ready for the shower, but I guess you can say this day has pretty much had every emotion you can have thrown at someone. It's ridiculous really how one moment you can be pleased as punch, and the next you wish there was a way to be in two places at once.

I just really don't know how to describe my mood honestly. A part of it is happy, one portion is spurned because of Dad's non-acceptance, and then there's the other side. The one I didn't expect to feel tonight.

When I called home I expected to have a heart-to-heart with Mom and ask her how to plan a party in less than a few hours. Eventually I had to steer towards the elephant in the room, but I could get there towards the end.

Instead, when the line picked up, I heard a familiar voice. One I didn't expect to hear.

At first, I thought I misdialed. I hung up and redialed, and again it was her. Now I thought there had been a sudden brain tumor in my mind, so instead of redial I tapped out the number manually on the keypad and waited for Mom to answer.

Nope, it was Paris, questioning exactly how I was able to somehow get Chilton tuition for not having the simple logic to wonder why if I dialed three times to the same number that was right, it was probably the right number.

And she was right, sadly. If I dial out to 'Home', it's not going to become 'Paris' suddenly. I should know that. Still, I was thrown about why she was answering the phone at my house, and where I expected conversation and ranting about Dad to my mother, I was now completely thrown off.

Also, I knew Paris's telephone voice as a bit nasally and strong. But she sounded different somehow, like she had laryngitis. She tried to ask me to call later when I was able to talk to my mother.

However, I knew we had to talk. I wondered why. And then I began to realize...did I really want my mother to be the first to learn this?

Paris was right there. I didn't know why, or how. But she was there. It was because of her I was up in Boston this weekend, to tell my father...

Just the memory of his cold words began to take over my mind again. With space between the hours, I was able to buffer the pain away for a little while. My thinking was I could compress everything down and when I talked to Par on Monday morning at school, it would be much easier to deal with.

But she was there, her biting wit asking if I could leave a message for my mother to call back.

In that moment, I froze. My mind spun in circles on what to do. I could avoid the truth, but what good would it do? It was just avoiding the inevitable.

There was that. Then there was the fear if I talked to Mom first, she could let nostalgia overrule her and think I went too far in my reaction to what my father said about her and Sherrie, along with my sexuality. With Paris I could just lay it out raw and not have to hold back for the sake of my mother's past.

Without a thought about how I would sound, it was decided. I would tell Paris about my father's reaction.

It was indeed, raw, and full of profanity, as I just let go of all of my frustrations, telling her everything about the night. It was odd because for once, she was the one trying to keep me from going too far.

"Hey, hey. Gilmore? Let me listen to what he did first before I decide he was indeed only worthy for providing the material needed to merely fertilize your egg."

I cringed at the picture presented. "I really don't want to think of the process of my mom and dad...doing that. Or his material."

"Just concentrate though. Don't let yourself get too buried in the hate you're feeling right now."

"How can I not? He dropped so much homophobia on me he might as well be a card-carrying American Family Association member."

"Just, think of your words. Let your emotions into the telling, not the aftermath."

She was right; I had to calm myself after having such an outburst. I never let my emotions out in such a heated manner, so the best thing I could do was go through it without having too much rage in my voice.

I closed my eyes and told Paris everything I could remember, leaving out a few things because they didn't really add much to what I had to say. It was just about me telling, her listening and being my soundboard. To be able to talk to her without having to hold back certainly helped in calming me down considerably.

Going through all of it I also had an opportunity like I had in the past to second-guess my behavior. When I've been in trouble I always do it when I apologize. This was the time I was going to do it, telling my girlfriend what happened.

Only I couldn't find any way to not justify my attitude. I did get angry and said a few words that I might want to take back in the future, but for now, I really don't. It all felt right to me how I told it, how I behaved and just let my dad dig the hole for himself, especially after Sherrie came in. Paris pretty much asserted I was right in how I acted and going over everything with her made me feel better that I only used a few barbs to attack him rather than went full force when he didn't accept me.

We finished talking about my night, and now I had to wonder why Paris was there. My assumption after she answered was she was over to pick up a few things and look over my notes, which I gave her permission to do even while I was gone because I trusted her. I really did think that for some reason her and mom were having a 'getting to know you' night without me, something I had encouraged them to do to reduce what tension there was left between them, especially after the 'awkward bra' incident. My hope was that, nothing unusual, nothing awful. Her just stopping into Luke's for a bite after her day at the library on the way home.

But her voice sounded unusual, not at all how it usually was, ragged and a bit wounded. She was deeply affected by my confession and thought I did it the right way. That Sherrie was justified. But there was a tremor I heard in her tone, one that I had never been able to trace.

I wondered what was wrong as she spoke and reacted to my words. It sounded as if despite all I went through, she was relieved. Not that I had lived through coming out to my father, but just that I was there at all. I kept thinking of other reasons she would be at my house. It didn't make sense. Unless she was swiping my answers, which she wouldn't do, there wasn't a clear-cut reason for her to be there.

Her voice though...I kept coming back to it. Eventually I had said everything I needed to and gotten that strong reassurance I was in the clear, and I could get to it.

So I asked, making a joke about her smoking. Which is crazy; this is Paris after all, who think milk provides a material weakness to the 'debate voice'.

Her response was it wasn't for fun. Then, without warning...

The bomb came.

"I'm going to be here awhile."

The last word hit my brain stem. Awhile. It's one of those weird compound words that came into the English language, no matter how many grammatical experts wanted to fight it.

Awhile. It means a long and undetermined period of time. This wasn't just a few hours. Not overnight.

For a time. Paris said she would be at my house. For awhile.

Why awhile? Why not just a little bit. I asked again, hoping it was something little.

Then she responded.

And at the end. After ten minutes of this beautiful girl pouring her heart out to me, her voice wracked with tears, emotions all over the place, her mind so muddled that any other being would have needed to isolate themselves from humanity for years.

What stuck out to me the most was this.

"I told her she had no say and...and..."

I could feel her in my arms, shaking, sobbing. My girl, taken down to being a withering bundle of shivers and pain. From Boston, all I wanted in that moment was to be there to kiss her senseless and take her away from this all.

"Rory...she tried to kill me. She...she strangled me, stomped m-m-my foot, slapped me, shoved me d-d-d-down. I know if Nan-n-n-y wasn't there...you'd be b-b-b-b-burying me...now!"

In that moment, I knew one thing. As she detailed was her mother did to her, pushing her out of the closet by tearing away every goddamned civil liberty Paris and I held with those pictures.

Really, I didn't give a crap about the private eye. He was on public property and didn't catch us making love. He indulged the wishes of that crazy woman and got his assignment out of the way. All he needed was us together and some bonus pictures meant he wrung all he did out of her. The guy was smart.

What I felt in that moment was a thought I had never had about another human being ever before in my life. Even when Paris was at her worst and Francie threatened a goon on me, or Samantha Petersen was again brining out her worn cracks about my mother, I never did.

Not even tonight with Dad.

Now I did though. My blood turned ice cold and I know if I would have seen my eyes in that moment, my irises would not be iridescent blue, but a deep and dark black which matched the shade of Sharon Gellar's soul.

If I ever lay eyes on her, I shouted in my mind, I will kill her where she stands. She ever fucks with my girl again, she will be sorry. She will get boiling coffee splashed in her Bakelite face. She will suffer.

Especially hearing about how she had wished Paris had died in the accident, Sharon just guaranteed I'm never going to joke with her again. That one sneak down to the kitchen a few weeks ago will be the first and last happy moment I share with Paris's mom.

Or should I say, mere concubine. Paris shouldn't have to acknowledge that woman as her mother, and I will make it clear if that woman dares to cross the town line into the Hollow.

I'm done. Paris has my heart, and I'm going to do everything I possibly can to protect hers. To know my girlfriend pretty much had to be convinced by my mother to seek safety in my house rather than be stuck in a hotel for a month.

That had me emotional. Paris is so broken, she thought it would be an inconvenience to come to my house and my mother to seek protection. It's screwed up and I was thankful Lorelai took her in.

That she even has to question the rules at this point and thinks I'm going to keep her out of my bed or would throw her out of my house. How she's been pushed down and shoved over the years, having to take all of this abuse, it's amazing how she's been able to push through.

Still, I didn't cry. I couldn't, because I was too angry to muster a tear. I'm sure there will be plenty when I get into New Haven tomorrow evening but for now, I couldn't cry.

Paris undoubtedly was shocked by me just casually letting go on a string of profanity. But after all I went through today, I couldn't hold it in or "Major League on TBS" any of my emotions. I had to let them out, raw, and let her know her sadness becomes my strength. That I will shield her and protect her with my love. Thankfully I was able to calm down later with a description of Sherrie's support with us, though I didn't go into the baby shower because I forgot to mention it in the heat of the moment. I just needed to hear her voice and assure her that we were going to be fine and she was going to heal with my help.

We got to talk about how Madeline supported her and of Brad's unexpected anger over her mistreatment.

"I think...I underestimated him. By a lot. That is the first time I saw him so mad." She sighed over the phone. "And Madeline too. I went there to expect...some calming down, Mads being hopeful. Not so much support."

I smiled. "Hey. But you want that, Par. You need people in your corner. True friends who understand you and have your back. If there's anything that comes out of this besides our love, that Madeline and Brad are strong allies who will support you. You need that. Don't even think about finding it odd; you know life changes. How you are one year isn't going to be your station in life forever."

"Still, it's...Madeline. I swear if Sharon had walked in, she would have done something rash. I...I have so much support. I just haven't drawn on it." A pause. "And I feel guilty because I treated her pretty crummy for...so long."

I nodded, understanding how Paris saw it. For so long, Madeline was merely a group parrot, and to see her coming into her own in such a short time, it's a shift for the both of us.

"She's still there for you though. Madeline knows you don't have malice, just so much to hold back."

"Yeah." She was nervous, and I could sense she was shaking wherever she was in the house. "Everything will be OK, right? Please...tell me it will."

I was quiet, having to hear this strong woman admit she was scared and wanting to hide.

"Eventually, it will. But for now, we have to be strong. Don't let Sharon get to you, please. I know it seems hard, but she's not there. She can't do anything to you at all. Just...stop thinking of her." She was quiet and I knew I had to keep her from going to the darkest of her thoughts. "Remember, you're a girl who brought a sword to school. Which was just laying around your house and you shrugged it off. That is the girl I love."

"O...O-kay." She then told me about how we'll be seeing her therapist on Monday night. Any other night and I'd probably have turned it down because I'm not the type of girl who usually needs therapy.

After this evening though? It's probably the only way I'm going to be able to calm myself down. I'll be glad for the time to be able to talk to anyone, even someone who is paid to listen to us and work through the problems we have with everyone else.

I was relieved to hear that she was defending our love and not running away, and I made clear I was coming home for her tomorrow. Hanging up the line after we had finished having a deep and emotional conversation, I was glad that for now, Sharon was out of the way.

But I wasn't done fearing her. With her and my dad now knowing about us, we had a big target on our backs. One word gets back to Francine Hayden...

Yeah, Sharon can do some damage, but the divorce settlement she wrangled pretty much made her a castoff in Hartford society. Even though Francine is more in the circles involving Hillside rather than Chilton, it will be easy for her to spread gossip about her 'estranged granddaughter' that will head into Chilton easily. I didn't want to say a word to Paris about it because she was already shaken up enough, but there's no way my father is going to hold this back. Not with his sudden interest in how Lorelai could raise me to like girls.

Both of us are going to have to be careful. It's not going to be like Grandma, who had it out with us and then swore to let us have time to come out on our own.

I keep going back to that every day. There hasn't been one word about us in Hartford society. So at least there, a small hope exists that my grandmother will come around or is waiting to sneak attack a meet market on me one of these holiday nights. That I can live with; it's Emily Gilmore being Emily Gilmore and though she can be exhausting, at least she hasn't bumped us out of the closet.

That's not going to happen with my father or Sharon, though. Not getting their way is going to bring them out of the woodwork, and it will be ugly.

But I'm not thinking about that now. Instead, I have a new ally in Sherrie and her brother.

Good came out of this, and that outweighs all of the bad that happened today.

I also officially have Paris as a semi-permanent houseguest. A beaten and hurting version of her, but I pledged to love her to the ends of the earth, no matter how everything went.

Hopefully it can work for us. That she can settle in without all of the toys she has at the Manor, and maybe this will be just a week or two.

Something though tells me that I might be having a live-in girlfriend for the near future, however.

1:00am, Sunday morning

You know, for being nearly volcanic earlier this evening, I'm in a better mood than I ever thought I'd be after a botched coming out to my father.

This night, it's not one I'm going to remember with much happiness. It's probably going to be one of those 'before/after' days like the start of the Gulf War or when we moved into the house. I know now that I'm going to remember that motorcycle with disdain...

And now I know my dad's call for Mom to take off her top wasn't a witty inside joke, but the mutterings of a sexist pig. Able to have vented with Paris, I called Mom at midnight to talk about everything that went on and expected her to defend him in some small way.

"So...you're out to him," she said, sighing. "And he wants out of your life?"

"That's basically it," I told her. "He didn't even want to consider any of the positives. All he saw was a threat to his masculinity and a ridiculous assertion that homosexuality is hereditary."

"And then he made fun of Gigi's uncle and dropped the 'f' word on him?"

"Was not his finest moment." I could hear my mom trying to find an excuse for his behavior and quickly failing.

"He hasn't changed a bit then. I would have thought seventeen years of distance may have given him a better outlook, but he's still..." A sigh. "I should've warned you."

"Warned me?"

She then gave me more of a window into her high school years. "Kiddo, the threat to break up with him was the only thing between him and more trouble at Hillside for being a jerk to gay kids. His gym teacher had to actually have him go to the locker room five minutes early so he wasn't able to antagonize a few shy kids who didn't know where they stood in the world. There was towel snapping and jokes about them having to put in tampons. It was puerile and...after I told him there was no damned way I would continue to go out with him if he didn't stop being a homophobe, that's what made him stop. But I guess he never did."

"I never heard him this hateful," I told her. "Mom...do you think...could this be why he was cast out of California? He said it was 'personality conflicts' in the past, but I'm beginning to suspect people just can't handle him after awhile."

"I heard rumors, though I'm not sure. His last dot-com venture ended suddenly. Too suddenly. I did hear one of his partners indeed had a partner and then the money 'suddenly dried up' according to him. So wherever he's working now must have a macho culture going on."

"Considering he was too drunk to pick me up this morning, I'd call that a definite." I moved on to talk about his criticism of Mom's parenting and I expected her to take it in stride. But it was obvious she wasn't happy, at all.

"You know what? I didn't hear his second opinion when I left Hartford. Or he graduated college. Or he just sufficed sending a goddamned card for fifteen years every Christmas and birthday, if he bothered to remember. He had plenty of chances to come back and assert his 'manliness' with the both of us. But he didn't."

Firmly, she told me what she thought of his opinion was of parenting that apparently left me liking women. "I have always been a feminist, and I will remain so to my grave. Now that he's basically discounted you as his daughter just because of both your existence and sexuality, I have zero reason to ever consider sharing a bed with him again, much less a zip code." She fumed deeply. "That he would take advantage of both of us, and Sherrie. I feel guilty now for making fun of her perkiness. And...I regret ever sleeping with him again. God, if I didn't have the best birth control good insurance could buy, the Gilmores and the Tinsdales would be an epic mess right now."

"She isn't mad at you if that's what you're worried about," I assured her. "She's much more pissed at him for lying about his whereabouts when he left, and especially about her brother."

I heard her pause and gather her thoughts before speaking up. "Just tell her, I'm never stopping her from coming down here. If she needs a room at the Inn, the charge is waived. From what you told me tonight, Christopher is up to his old bag of tricks again. It's funny how I did have a whole bunch of friends before we got hot and heavy back at Hillside, and I left there without anybody on my side."

As we spoke, I think Mom was also getting a dose of reality. "God, how many times did I ignore all the warning signs that he was this type of person? How could I still love him? I feel like an idiot."

"Join the club; I feel really stupid worshipping him for so long when he was only interested in me in his visage, not what I became. We're not idiots, just able to hide a few things from our mind's eye until they ripped forward this evening." Looking towards Sherrie's room as I sat on the couch, I was glad for how it all turned out. "At least we caught onto Sherrie's sadness before it...it got worse."

"The Sherrie Tinsdale Story movie-on-Lifetime bad?"

I nodded. "It was that bad. Now that we're doing the shower tomorrow though and her friends can come back without having to give Dad dirty looks when he eyes them up, she'll be a lot better, I'm sure." We talked a little more before I got to the topic of most concern.

"Mom..." My voice trembled. "Is Paris going to be OK? She sounded terrible tonight." I could hear footsteps and then the familiar creaking of my door as I could tell my mom was going into my room. "I don't know what to do."

"Well, she took a sleeping pill and it seems to be working. She's lying in your bed with a Grumpy Bear and the chicken...she seems OK. Better than she was when she came tonight in the town car."

"If I would have known Paris's mom would act like that--"

She interrupted my stream of thoughts. "I know you did. But it would have been ugly with the both of you in the room. Honey, she almost killed Paris. I know it doesn't sound like it on the phone, but she has a tough road ahead. She got lucky when her head hit the wall it didn't cause any brain damage. Just a little off, this would be a whole different conversation."

"Oh God." Paris didn't tell me she was shoved into a wall. "And she's bruised badly?"

"Getting her into bed wasn't pretty at all. I talked to Paris's doctor after she went to bed and she's convinced she might need her foot casted and crutches, so I'm bringing her in tomorrow before we head down to New Haven to pick you up. I'm also staying downstairs tonight just in case she has a bad dream." She paused softly. "I know she'll be relieved she comes with me to pick you up tomorrow night."

"I will be too." I let a few tears fall. "Thank God she has people in her life who care about her besides me. And you. I didn't think you'd do that."

"You doubted me?"

"Not doubted. Just, we don't have lots of room and I know how you feel about someone in the sewing room--"

Suddenly she broke in unexpectedly. "Hon, she can share your room. It's going to be on an air mattress and there's going to be a few restrictions on getting too naughty, but...no. I'm not putting her in the sewing room. She can sleep in the same room with you. I can handle it."

"But...Thursday night, the bra thing." I stuttered some of my words. "Surely you're a bit concerned!"

That's when reality hit me again. "Rory, she's not going to be up for more than talking and massaging for the next couple of weeks. Remember, Sharon?" I felt a bit stupid. "And more than that, it's because she fears her mother will come to town and try to kidnap her. It's why I'm down here tonight too with the umbrella ready to wail on her if she dares to enter my house. Hon, she can't be alone. I'm scared if she is...she might feel that guilt Sharon builds in her for being defiant and...go back to her."

I sniffled back more tears, feeling sad that my strong girl could be taken down to that level, scared her mom could ruin her happiness. "The sad thing is I could really see that. Paris hates defying authority, even her mother, and that guilt may build up if somehow she's taken off her track." I took in another deep breath, looking down at my fingers. "I'm scared for her. Especially going back on Monday. There's no way she is going to skip, is there?"

"She told me she felt guilty for skipping her library session," Mom said. "I don't foresee her skipping myself. She's working under the assumption she'll be back on the horse in a couple days."

"I love her," I reminded myself out loud. "But she's stubborn as hell."

"Kiddo, you'd probably do the same thing if your experiences were reversed today. You had the fear of God put into you after the bus trip to New York. And this is Paris we're talking about. She would go in a plastic bubble if she caught German measles."

"And the sad thing is, that is no exaggeration." I shook my head in wonder at the lengths Paris would go for her education. "She'd probably hire the teachers on a freelance basis to come in wearing spacesuits if she was ever quarantined."

"You know what though? Paris isn't going to let this get to her," Mom predicted. "She's down now. But in a week from now? It won't even be remembered by her except as the day she reached the breaking point with Sharon."

"I hope so." I took in a deep breath and sighed. "When she talked to me it felt like...like I was talking to a whole different person who was beaten down. What her mother said to her about wishing she could've killed her in that car accident...it was offensive. It angers me."


"No, you're not defending this! There's no way to defend this! Can you imagine Paris not in this world? That I would've come to Chilton and my big competition would've been somebody else? That woman's gotten away with too much for too long, making Par feel miserable and not human!" I was too far gone to stop. "She almost was killed! For loving me? How the fuck am I any kind of threat to Paris at all outside of making her feel human and in love? Treated as an equal? That is all I've done! I could never bear to hurt my girlfriend."

"Hon, I know it's hard," my mother told me, hoping to calm me down. "I want my hands on her throat myself and to shake the hell out of her for being so cruel and heartless. But we can't do that. We can't sink to her level. You, especially. If there is anything Paris wants you to be right now, it's what you've been doing; killing them with kindness. Like you did to Francie, and tonight with your dad. It's how you made Paris fall for you in the first place; you numbed through the walls her mom built in front of her, proved that what you did was much more powerful than any violence you could ever come up with.

"You're a pacifist at heart, Rory. I know this. You don't need to see that woman, because you already proved Paris deserves your heart more than she does. I think she would find it a bit too much if you went off on Sharon with actions rather than just words."

"I want to though...I really want to." I clenched my open fist and bit down on my lower lip, then took a calming and deep breath before settling down. "But I won't. I'm not that way. You're right. Treat Sharon like I did Francie, just hash it out with words."

"There's my girl. And if you've survived all these coming outs so far, it should be a snap, right?"

"A snap. I wish it would all be. But right now she doesn't even have full rights until a couple weeks from now." I looked around the room and brushed my lap. "That's when she can leave and do whatever she wants. Even get her own apartment." I paused. "Not that I'm saying--"

"No, no, I know you're not moving in with her," Lorelai hurriedly said, obviously in a small panic. "For one thing, how would you get Luke's in the morning?"

"And another, who would be your alarm clock?" I joked. "Mia would fire you in a week without me in the house."

"Oh, man, I'm going to have to hire a waker when you head off to college, aren't I? See, you can't leave, or else I'll become Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!"

I laughed. "You can't, Mom. You don't have the breasts to pull off those dresses she wears!"

"Oh, but I could. For I have more cheesy movie knowledge than Elvira, and I could just use my legs and--"

I shuddered. "I'm ending this conversation thread before therapy with Birnbaum becomes a whole lot more complicated Monday night!"

"See, I told you one day you'd have to see a therapist. Just...didn't know it was going to be someone else's therapist." She paused. "You nervous?"

"To be honest? I'm not scared of it. But I hardly know this woman. But if she keeps Paris sane...I trust her."

She put in her own opinion. "It wouldn't hurt to have someone else besides me to talk to either. Miss Patty you can't go to with much, and no way you go into the bedroom things with me. She doesn't care about what's the haps in Stars Hollow, so it'll be better for you both to be there rather than just depending on family and friends."

"I think you're right, Mom. It definitely will do Paris good, but I think I'll get something out of it for sure." Honestly, I didn't really know what would happen. I only knew the little bits of what Paris divulged of her therapy sessions, and I didn't know Dr. Birnbaum's style at all. I'm sure of one thing though, and that she's always there for Paris.

Slowly, the conversation ended up petering out and I finally found my eyes weighing down with sleep. With a shower in ten hours, I need all the sleep I can get.

"I have to go, Mom." I couldn't wait to get home, but I was also excited to have an official celebration of my sister for the first time. "What do you want me to tell Dad if he comes back?"

"Actually..." I heard a smile in her voice. "Tell him nothing. I have his work number and I plan to have quite the ass-reaming of him on my lunch break on Monday. Suffice to say, to him? Lorelai Gilmore is closed for business and has his NSF check and picture posted at the door. After I talk to him, unless there's a complete change of heart, he's done. There is no way to get out of calling my daughter a 'dyke' and thinking nothing will come of it."

I smiled, relieved that my mom was going to be a great advocate for us. Taking in Paris and supporting us being in the same room together? This is why I keep a great relationship with her; it would be heartbreaking to lose our unique bond. "And Sherrie is OK with you?"

"Tell her, please. I will be there for her if things get rocky," she promised. "There's no need to feel hopeless. She has too many great people surrounding her to give up now."

"I'm glad it she didn't. She is a great woman. Kind of Paris-like, but a little more..." I searched for the word. "OK, she's about the same. Like Paris would be if she was 33." I looked at the clock; 12:47 am. "OK, Mom, I really do have to go if I hope to pull off a self-planned baby shower in less than ten hours' time."

"Good luck, kid. Umm...break a...rattle? I don't know how successful baby showers come off."

"It'll be awesome, I'll be sure of it." I smiled. "Tell Paris I love her."

"I will. Night sweets, love you."

"Love you too." I set the handset on the table and headed into Sherrie's guest bedroom/nursery to prepare for bed. I shucked off my jeans and crawled into the small twin bed, the assembled heirloom crib (with modifications her brother made to make it safe to modern children) on the other side as I plopped my head on the pillow.

But I couldn't sleep right away. The doubts about everything raged on and it kept me up a little later than I expected. I got out a book to read and it helped to weigh down my eyes, but then worries about Dad popped up again.

He was going to tell Francine and Straub, no doubt. They would spread it through the school, knowing exactly who to go to and how to let it out. I knew winter break was going to be a relief, if only for the two weeks away from school. I also worried about helping Par through new fears of her mother. If she could do all of this in the space of only three minutes, what was stopping her from confronting us outside the school and doing the same to me?

But I forgot something that I just realized now about people like my father and Sharon.

They do talk a big game. Sure, they made us both feel terrible today. But that's all they can do from here on out. They can spread rumors and try to stir things up, but they left us. They cast us off.

They're done with us. Whatever they do in the future, it won't affect Paris or I at all. They can try to bring us down, but since they've disowned us, we need not take one piece of their advice.

Also helping is they're both the shame of where they are. Sure, Dad has his buddies at work, but you know damned well the Boston gossip grapevine is very tight. Once Rebecca finds out exactly why Sherrie's boyfriend is gone tomorrow, it's eventually going to get into his office as she spreads it down the line.

By next week, he can say goodbye to Celtics tickets and bets with his buddies. Unless they're the most macho company in Boston and don't give a crap, plenty of those colleagues aren't going to accept a bigot in their office. There might be a small chance of him getting back to Sherrie, but the damage is done. Mom is done with him, and certainly the rest of the Tinsdales aren't going to be forgiving of someone who would use such a terrible term to describe Devon.

As for Hartford? Tomorrow I can hear the Hartford DCW members struggling to figure out why the hell their president beat the crap out of her own daughter, and how that woman isn't exactly the best one to fundraise for them. Sharon is going to be respected by the fire and brimstone crowd there, but I don't see her getting much support from many other people. There is no way that she continues to run the DCW, or much of anything else.

If anything, Chilton will be glad to be rid of Sharon. She never helped and only seemed to be there to put down Paris and make her feel like less than she is. Remembering back to that day when she was told she wasn't taking her acne regimen seriously, I look back now on it in anger.

And a bitter sense of sadness.

Paris didn't need any of those products. I don't think I've ever known her to have a pimple on her. In fact, when she dropped the regimen in the summer and went with just the usual cleansing with a beauty bar, I think she didn't need it after all. Her face took on a more natural complexion I couldn't help but want to touch. I think in the anger of that summer and the bitterness we shared before Tristan's intervention forced us together in the Romeo & Juliet scene, the one thing that guided me through was Paris did have a beautiful complexion, one I wished I could have.

Now I have her. And I know now that I found her beautiful from the outside.

As I've learned to love her though, her inner beauty is shining through in a blinding manner, and I love being one of the few she trusts to see that.

When I get into New Haven tomorrow, I'm going to hug her. Be there for her. Fight for her. Make sure that she knows that Mom and I will protect her from Sharon.

And up here in Boston, I'm going to make damned sure that Sherrie has all the support she needs to get through the next couple months, and beyond. How she defended me made her more than just the mother of my sister, but a powerful ally who has a brother who knows the process of coming out, and will help us through it.

Paris and I may have been shamed and disowned tonight, each by half of our parentage. But together, we'll stay firm. And all the hurtful words and violence that can be thrown at us will never change that.

I love Paris, and nothing will stop that. I just hope tonight she feels at home in Stars Hollow.

God willing, she will find that I will be her shield, the one to keep her on track. Her centering influence, keeping her calm from the rage within her soul.

I will be her home, and my heart is always open to her.

Part 24

Ending author's note - I don't usually include a note at the end, but I wanted to say why I had Sherrie mention that she wanted to end the pregnancy early. In the later seasons I was severely disappointed that somehow, the network and producers could not bring Madchen Amick back to the show (or even do a recast if Amick was unable to come back), and instead wrote Sherrie out in the appalling manner they did, with her fleeing to Paris without a care involving Gigi, and solely to use Gigi as a plot device to bring Lorelai and Christopher back together (never mind said plot came solely because of the failure of the actor's sitcom and him wanting to come back to the show). I theorized in season three at the time that Sherrie was unsure about her pregnancy, and the later retcon of her leaving suggested a horrid case of post-partum depression that was waved away (undoubtedly by network notes) in such a casual manner by the writers which angered me. The show never explained the circumstances and I feel like writing this, some things can be changed so that Sherrie would be in a much better position later on with Rory in her corner.

Also, very few stories in this fandom (mainly on ff.net, much less off that site) seem to acknowledge that women have a choice, with the Girls choosing to carry through without a mention of any options at all. Looking at all three seasons of the Sherrie plotline, Gigi was an unwelcome surprise and Sherrie put on a good front to seem excited about having her, but when reality set in, she was overwhelmed because her boyfriend really wasn't happy about being dragged back into a situation he didn't want. Christopher turned out to be a horrible parent to Gigi and without Lorelai's intervention, would've probably looked at giving up custody to Sherrie's parents (who were never, ever mentioned as an option, which seems kind of both suspicious and didn't put in any gravity to the situation Sherrie was in). I think of Sherrie as a progressive who had a plan and would have probably chosen another option after Christopher left her, but who acceded to the wishes of Christopher and the elder Haydens. And as the product of a teenage mother, Rory would be naturally sympathetic to hearing all of what Sherrie thought about. Including the possibility of abortion. I think it had to be mentioned, and there was no way to sugarcoat it, especially in the way Christopher regards her and Rory in the world of Longing.

For the years I've had this story plotted out, the confrontation with Christopher has been foremost on my mind, and naturally I had to include this. Also note that I changed major things about the living situation of Christopher and Sherrie; he moved into Sherrie's apartment with his things, and her friends don't consist of the vapid characters pictured in "Take the Deviled Eggs" because I couldn't stand setting a story around women like that, and they didn't seem like "real friends" Sherrie would keep. This needed to be a chapter where two women show support for each other, and I wasn't going to do it with female characters I knew I would never mine sympathy from.

If you have any concerns about my portrayal of Sherrie or Christopher, feel free to let me know. I know my feelings about him are quite strong, but especially for the purposes of this story, I needed Rory to have both an obstacle and her own emotional hurt to give her a boost to show Paris how much she cares for her, and with Francie numbed for now, it had to be Christopher because of the many complications of their relationship.

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