The drive home to the Gilmore house had seemed extra long after the whirlwind day in D.C. Rory pulled into the driveway and parked next to her mother’s Jeep, grabbed her bags, dress and laptop out of the backseat of her Prius and started up the front porch steps. The porch light flickered on and Lorelei ran screaming from the house, nearly knocking Rory down.
“You’re here! You’re here! I have so much to tell you. You know you really should come home more often! Miss Patty has a secret man friend – we think he might be husband number nine or maybe it’s ten, whose counting anyway. I found Kirk sleeping naked on the couch this morning, apparently he had another night terror episode and ran screaming and naked through town and ended up here. Who knows how he got in! I tell ya, that Lulu sure is a lucky girl.”
“Not a dull moment in this town that’s for sure. I’m starving, do you have takeout?”
“Uh, would this be Lorelai Gilmore’s house if there wasn’t takeout in the fridge? I think not. Kid, you really have got to come home more!”
Lorelai heats up some Chinese food for Rory and sits down at the table with her while she eats.
“So, how was the inauguration? The drive?”
“Exhausting and exhilarating. I’m sad to be moving on but excited to see what New York has in store for me.”
” I got a call from Dean today.”
“Call him back?”
“No. Do you think he knows?”
“It’s a small town Rory, you know that. I’m sure Dean knows.”
“I guess I should call him back. Things are just so awkward anymore.”
“It’s been rough for him after the divorce. Lindsay moved away and I heard she got remarried. Dean’s really never dated anyone since. I don’t know why he stays in Stars Hollow.”
“He calls a lot. I never pick up. I just want him to move on, you know?”
“I know, Rory. But you’re a hard one to forget.”
Rory picks up her plate and sets it down in the sink.
“Thanks for the talk. I should get to bed – we’ve got a lot to do tomorrow and grandma and grandpa will be here and I want to go see Lane, Zach and the twins.”
The next morning after breakfast at Luke’s, Rory drove to a quiet spot in town and took out her phone to call Dean. After several rings, he finally picked up.
“Hi, Dean. I saw you called.”
“Are you back in town?”
“Yeah, I got home last night.”
“Can we meet? I’d really like to see you.”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea. I have a lot to do to prepare for the wedding. Grandma and Grandpa are coming down tonight and staying with us for the week. Paris and Doyle are in town. I really want to see Lane. You knew about the wedding, right?”
“Yeah. See that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Rory, I don’t think you should go through with it.”
“I still love you. I’ll always love you. Doesn’t that matter?”
“We’re not meant to be, Dean. I love someone else. You were the best first boyfriend I could have had. You know that. But people change – YOU changed. You married Lindsay and I messed that up but I’ve made my peace with what happened and moved on. You need to do the same.”
“I just wish it wasn’t him.”
“I’m sorry you’re still hurting, Dean. I really am. But I’m getting married and I’m in love. We’re moving to New York after the wedding and we’ve both got great careers ahead of us. The New York Times has offered me an editor’s position and his next novel will be out this summer. Things are amazing – the best they’ve ever been.”
“I don’t think we should talk anymore. I don’t want to strain my relationship with my new husband over someone from the past and I think it would be beneficial to you if we parted ways for good.”
“Nothing I can say will change your mind?”
“Then I guess this is goodbye, Rory.”
The phone on the other end clicked, ending the call. Dean didn’t even wait for Rory to say goodbye. She stared out the window, which was still fogged up from her conversation. A familiar car drove by and Rory wiped the condensation off the window to get a better look. Richard and Emily Gilmore had arrived in Stars Hollow.
Rory pulled her Prius in behind her grandparent’s car and ran into the house.
“Rory! So good to see you. You missed Friday night dinner,” said Emily Gilmore disapprovingly.
“I know, but I think I had a pretty good excuse.”
“We like to see you too, you know. You’re just so busy and you’ll be off to New York soon and you’ll never come to Friday night dinner again.”
“That’s not true, grandma. We’ll come from time to time,” said Rory.
Emily nodded in approval, then moved on to other subjects.
“So, how are things coming along for the wedding this weekend?”
“Everything is under control, grandma. Paris and Doyle are in town already. Mom is finishing up the bridesmaid dresses and Suki did a test run of the cake and reception food for mom last week.”
“He’s taking care of something out of town, but will be back early next week. He’s fixing the food for the rehearsal dinner.”
“Why you want to have food from a diner is beyond me,” said Emily.
“Suki can’t do everything and besides, Luke’s a great cook. We’ve been surviving on his food for years.”
“Grandma, I don’t mean to run off, but I haven’t seen Lane yet. I need to swing by the Dragonfly and see Paris and Doyle too, if you don’t mind.”
“Alright, Rory. Your grandfather and I will make ourselves at home and you do what you need to do. Richard! Rory is leaving…come say goodbye!”
After getting stopped by nearly everyone in town including Miss Patty and Babette, Rory finally got to spend some time with Lane, Zac, Paris and Doyle over dinner at Al’s Pancake World. Before she knew it, it was after 8 o’clock.
“Oh! I need to get home – it’s past eight now, ” Rory said.
“We need to go too – the twins won’t go to sleep unless at least one of us is there and I’m sure they are terrorizing my mother by now and no amount of reading from the Bible will help with that,” said Lane.
Everyone hugged and said goodbye for the night and Rory returned home to find The Gilmores crowding around the kitchen, eating pizza. Just as she was about to sit down and join them, the doorbell rang.
“Who in the world could that be at this hour?” said Richard.
“I’ll go get it – I’m already up and closest to the door anyway,” said Rory.
She walked through the hallway to the front door, turned the knob and a rush of cold air blew in from the porch.
“Hey, Ace. Good to see you again.”