RATING: PG, kissing
SPOILERS: "Love, Daisies, and Troubadours"
SUMMARY: Lorelai POV, focusing on Lorelai/Max/Luke, in the days and weeks immediately following the finale.
DISTRIBUTION: Anyone, but please tell me first.
DISCLAIMER: "Gilmore Girls" and its characters are owned by Amy Sherman-Palladino and the WB.

Choices of the Heart

by Gemini0123


I looked up and saw her down the street walking towards me. We smiled at
each other and then started running towards each other. I couldn't wait to
tell her my news. As soon as I reached her, I could tell that she had some
great news too.

"You first!" we said at the same time.

"Me first!" Rory said. "Dean and I got back together, and I told him that I
love him!"

I gasped. "Oh my gosh!" I gave Rory a hug. "That's awesome. I'm so proud of
you." I gave her another hug and she said, "What's your news?"

I smiled. "Max asked me to marry him!"

Rory smiled and her eyes widened. "Oh my god! What did you say?"

"Nothing yet!" I laughed excitedly.

She gave me a hug. "Oh my God Mom, that's so great!" We started laughing and
jumping up and down in the middle of the street. As soon as we stopped, Rory
said, "So are you gonna say yes?"

I smiled and shrugged. "I'm thinking about it."

Rory smiled and gave me a hug. "Wow, Mom, I can't believe it. Wow. So,
what do you want to do now?"

"Well, I want you to tell me exactly what happened today with Dean."

She smiled. "Okay!"

We started walking home as Rory told me what happened at school. She
explained about Tristan and how he tricked Paris and her friends into hating
her again, but that she doesn't really care because she's back with Dean and
is too excited to think about anything else.

"Rory, I haven't seen you this happy in a very long time. I'm so happy for
you. 'I love you, you idiot.' That's a quote for the ages." I laughed. She
smiled. We had reached our house, but instead of going in we sat on the
front porch and continued to talk.

Rory said, "So tell me about your day, tell me exactly what happened!"

I told her about everything that had happened the day before, how Max
proposed but it wasn't for the right reasons, and then I told her about the
beautiful daisies that covered the Inn's lobby.

"Oh my god! One thousand daisies??" Rory was shocked.

I nodded. "Yeah, the guests weren't too happy about it, so we had to move
them out onto the front lawn. But they are so beautiful." I smiled.

Rory smiled and said, "You really love him, don't you?"

I nodded and said, "Yeah."

"So isn't he expecting an answer soon?"

"Well, he told me to think long and hard about it, so I am." We sat for a
few more minutes outside under the nighttime sky. When we started getting
attacked by mosquitoes, we finally walked in the house.

"Luke still hasn't picked up Bert?" Rory asked, walking by it into the
kitchen.

"Well, he came over to get it, but I guess he forgot it. . . ." My voice
trailed off. I stood there staring at Bert, remembering the night before when
Luke and Max were bantering with each other in the hallway. 'Why did they
do that?' I said to myself. 'Well, obviously, Max did it because he was
jealous of Luke. . . but why did Luke do it? Was he. . . jealous of Max? Why
would Luke be jealous of Max?'

I slid off my purse and hung it up. Then I walked into the kitchen and sat
down at the table. Rory came out of her room, now comfortably dressed in a
T-shirt and jeans. She smiled at me, and I noticed she had a certain glow
about her. I watched her walk to the fridge and pull out the iced tea. She
saw me staring and said, "What?"

I smiled. "Nothing. You just look so happy."

Rory smiled back. "I am." She poured herself a glass of iced tea and sat
across from me. She looked at me for a second, then asked, "Mom, are you
okay? You don't seem so happy anymore."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, before you were really giddy and happy, but now you seem like, I don't
know, less happy. Have you been thinking about the proposal?"

I sighed. "A little bit. I'm still really happy and excited, but I don't
know if I want to get married."

Rory sat down at the table and said, "Do you wanna talk about it?"

I shrugged. "Well, here's the thing. I love Max. I do. He's great, and
sweet, and smart, and cute, and, also, not something I'm judging him on, but
on the plus side, is that he apparently has a high credit card limit because
1000 daisies is not something you pick up at 7-11 on the way home from work."

Rory smiled. "Okay, so he's nice, smart and rich. Got it."

I laughed. "I don't know. I just. . .well, what do you think about him?"

"What do I think? I think he's a great teacher and a nice guy, and I think he
makes you very happy, and that's all that matters to me."

I smiled. "Thank you. I just . .well, I have to give this a lot of thought
before I decide anything."

Rory nodded. "So, did you eat? Wanna order pizza?"

"Okay. You order it while I go change." I stood up and headed towards the
steps.
-*-

The next day was spent in a daze. I did a lot of thinking. As I explained to
Sookie why there were daisies all over the lawn, I thought. And as I
explained to her that I haven't decided anything, I thought. As I waited at
the bus stop for Rory to get home from school, I thought. And all the
thinking led me to one conclusion: too much thinking makes my head hurt.

As Rory stepped off the bus, I greeted her with a hug. "Hey!" she said.
"You're out of work early."

"Yeah. I finished up early. I thought we could go to Luke's for a bit."

"Okay, but I have to meet Dean at 4." She said, checking her watch.

I smiled and said, "Ooooh. Okay, well, we'll have to drink out coffee fast."

We walked to Luke's and sat down at a table. A few moments later Luke
emerged from the kitchen carrying 2 plates. He delivered them to the table
next to us, then came over to our table.

"What can I get you?" he asked, without looking at us.

"Two coffees please." I replied. I waited for a lecture, but he said
nothing. I shrugged as he walked away.

Rory said, "He seems more grumpy than usual today."

I nodded. "Yeah, I got that impression too."

He returned a few seconds later with the coffee. He placed the cups and the
check on the table and walked away without saying anything. Rory said, "Wow.
He looks really sad."

"Yeah. Maybe this whole Rachel thing has finally hit him. Poor guy." I gave
a sympathetic glance towards him before taking a sip of coffee.

Rory nodded. We sat there, drinking and talking for about 20 minutes before
Rory stood up to go meet Dean. "So, what time are we leaving tonight? 6:30?"

I stared at her with a questioning look.

Rory smiled. "Tonight's Friday, Mom. Did you forget?"

I slapped my forehead. "Oh shoot! I did forget. Dinner. Right. Yeah,
6:30."

"Okay, I'll be home by then. Bye!" She gave me a kiss goodbye and headed out
to meet Dean.

I glanced over to the counter at Luke, who seemed oblivious to the fact that
I was patiently awaiting a refill. I stood up and walked over to the
counter. He was staring at his order pad, so I placed my empty mug in front
of him and cleared my throat. He looked up at me, then looked at the mug,
and turned around to get the pot. He poured the coffee, put the pot down and
continued staring at his pad. I stared at him, concerned.

"Luke? You wanna talk about something? You don't seem too happy."

He looked up at me. "No, I'm fine."

"You sure?" I placed my hand on his arm. "I'm here if you wanna talk."

He pulled his arm away. "I said I'm fine." He grabbed his pad and walked into
the kitchen. I stood there, a bit surprised, wondering why he seemed so
upset. I walked back to my seat and sat down.

Despite the pounding migraine I had developed, I started to think some more
about Max. I had called him earlier in the day and told him that I was still
thinking about the proposal. I thought he would be upset that I was thinking
about it so much, but he didn't seem surprised at all. He encouraged me to
take my time and think about if for as long as I needed. I finished up my
coffee as I sat and thought.
-*-

Later that evening, Rory and I pulled up to my parents' house and walked to
the front door. Rory reached for the doorbell, but I said, "Wait."

She looked at me and said, "What?"

I sighed. "Well, I thought about a lot it in the car, and I decided that I
don't want them to. . . .well, just don't mention the proposal okay?"

Rory nodded. "Sure, okay. . . . Ready now?"

I nodded. Rory rang the doorbell. My mother answered it a few seconds later,
and we walked into the living room. While I fixed myself a drink, my mother
told us that my dad was in Germany again. I sat down next to Rory, and after
listening to my mother and Rory discuss her schoolwork for a few minutes, I
said, "So Rory has some big news Mom."

She raised her eyebrows. "Oh really? What kind of big news?"

I looked at Rory and smiled. She smiled back, but then I noticed that she
was blushing. I whispered, "Do you want me to tell her?" She nodded.

"So, Mom, Rory and her boyfriend Dean just got back together yesterday."

My mom smiled. "Why, that's wonderful Rory. Congratulations."

Rory smiled shyly. I patted her on the back. I thought this would encourage
her to talk about him, but she didn't say anything. My mother, however,
didn't let the silence last long. "So Lorelai, what about you. Are you
seeing anybody these days?"

I stole a quick glance towards Rory, who was staring right back at me with a
sympathetic look. I cleared my throat. "Well, actually, yes, I'm dating
someone. It's no big deal. So, um, Rory's boyfriend is 6'2". Can you believe
that Mom?"

She ignored my subtle change of topic. "Really? How long have you been seeing
him?"

Rory, looking uncomfortable, stood up and walked over to the mantle and
looked at the porcelain figures on it. I took a sip of my drink and said,
"Well, mom, I've been seeing him off and on for a few months."

My mother's eyes widened. "Really? You've never mentioned him before."

I shrugged. "So?"

"So. . .who is he?"

I sighed. "Uh, mom, I don't really want to talk about it."

"Well, why not? I would think that. . ."

"Uh, Grandma, is dinner ready yet?" Rory interrupted. I shot her a thankful
glance.

"Yeah, I'm starved. Let's go see if dinner's ready yet." I stood up and
started towards the dining room. Rory followed my lead.

My mother, not used to being ignored, followed us to the table and continued
with the questioning. "Lorelai, why do you constantly try to keep me out of
your life? You say that I never try to get to know you, but when I do try,
you shut me out. I just want to know about your boyfriend. Is that so
terrible?"

Rory and I sat down at the table. My mother stood next to her chair staring
at me with a somewhat hurt look. I sighed. "No, mom, that's not terrible.
It's nice. I just don't want to talk about it right now. Maybe later. Okay?"

She gave a slight smile and sat down. Oh god, I shouldn't have said that. Now
she thinks I'm gonna talk about it later. Oh geez. 'Eat fast and leave. Eat
fast and leave.' I told myself over and over.

During dinner, the conversation between my mother, Rory and I was rather
light and not very exciting; the highlight was the in-depth discussion about
the abnormally cool weather we'd been having lately.

After dessert, I forced a yawn. "Man, I'm tired. We'd better get going Rory.
I might fall asleep at the wheel."

Rory nodded. "Thanks for dinner Grandma. It was great." She stood up and
walked towards the front door. My mother said, "Good night Rory."

I started to get up from my seat, surprised about how easy this getaway was,
when my mother said quietly, "So Lorelai, why don't you tell me a little
about your boyfriend before you go?"

I shut my eyes briefly and exhaled loudly. I sat back down in my chair. I
looked toward the hallway, where Rory was waiting for me. I said, "Rory, my
keys are in my purse. Go start the car. I'll be right out."

"Okay." Rory walked away, and a few seconds later I heard the front door open
and close. I put my elbows on the table, rested my chin on my hands and
stared at my mother. "Okay, mom, don't get used to me saying this, but what
would you like to know?"

She smiled. "Well, who is he? Is it the ice man?"

"Excuse me?" I said, confused.

"The man who brought ice to Rory's birthday party? Is it him?"

I rolled my eyes. "Luke? No, mom. It's not Luke."

"Oh. Well, what does he do?"

I paused. "Um, well, he's a . . . . teacher."

She raised her eyebrows. "A teacher? Hmm. Where did you meet. . ." She
stopped mid sentence. "Lorelai, please don't tell me this is the same teacher
you kissed at Rory's school."

I shut my eyes and put my hands over my face. God, why does she have to
remember every little thing? "Why, yes Mom, actually, it is." I opened my
eyes to see her reaction. It wasn't a positive one. She sighed and shook her
head. "Lorelai, I just don't . . ." She stopped. "Never mind. It's your life."

Somewhat surprised that she stopped herself, I said, "Yes, mom. It is my
life. Now, Rory's waiting for me, so if you'll excuse me." I stood up and
walked to the door. She followed me and held it open. "See you next week
Mom." "Goodbye Lorelai," she replied. I walked out and she closed the door
behind me.

I walked to the jeep and opened the door. Rory was listening to the radio.
She lowered the volume, and said, "So, what happened?"

I climbed in and said, "Well, I didn't mention the proposal, but she looked
none too happy with the fact that my boyfriend is the same guy I made out
with in your school."

Rory said, "Oh." She paused. "Well, I think it's good that it's the same guy.
I mean, you've been with the same man for a long time. Well, off and on, but
still, with the same guy. It shows commitment."

I smiled. "Yeah. I guess you're right. We're committed. Although we were
both with other people during the off-time, but still. . .it didn't mean
anything."

"What?" Rory asked.

"What?" I said.

"What do you mean you were with other people during the off time?" she asked.
"You both dated other people?

I nodded. "Yeah. Never mind. It's no big deal. We discussed it already."

"But I don't remember you going out with anybody else. Who did you . . ?"
She paused for a few seconds. "Oh, do you mean Dad?" I nodded. "Oh." She
sat quietly. I pulled out of the driveway and drove us home.

-*-

The next morning, Rory went over to Dean's house. She was a little nervous
about meeting his parents, but I helped her get ready and was able to
convince her that they would love her. I sometimes feel bad that her shyness
permits her from having a lot of confidence in herself, but luckily she's
starting to become more outgoing.

While Rory was over Dean's, I sat on the couch and did some more thinking.
So many questions went through my mind: 'Am I ready to make Max a permanent
part of our life?' 'How would this affect Rory?' 'How would this affect Max's
career?' 'Where would we live?' I thought about these questions, and many
others, for hours. Then I finally made a decision. I checked the clock. Wow.
It was 3 p.m. already. Rory had been gone for a very long time.

I stood up and walked to the phone to page her. A few minutes later the
phone rang. I picked it up. "Rory?"

"Yeah, Mom, it's me. I'm at the mall with Dean and his family. Sorry I forgot
to call."

"Dean's family?"

"Yeah, they are so nice Mom. I can't wait for you to meet them. I'll be home
by 5."

"Okay, see you then. Bye."

"Bye!" I hung up the phone. Then I picked it up and dialed a number. A voice
on the other end said, "Hello?"

"Max?" I said, "I made a decision."
-*-

Two weeks later

On Friday afternoon, I pulled open the door to Luke's Diner and went inside,
looking around for Rory. I walked over to the table, smiling. I sat down.

"Why so happy?" she asked, with a curious smile.

"Um, no reason." I said, subtly waving my hand in front of myself.

Rory screamed and grabbed my hand, staring at the diamond engagement ring now
resting comfortably on my left ring finger. "Oh my God! Mom, it's beautiful!
When did you get that?"

I laughed. "Just now. He just gave it to me. Isn't it gorgeous?!"

"Yes! I love it! Wow. I can't believe it. Now it's like you're officially
engaged!"

"I know! I just keep staring at it. I almost crashed like 5 times on the way
here because I kept trying to stare at it while I was driving. Let me tell
you, that's not a smart idea."

Rory laughed. She stared at it for a few more seconds before I finally said,
"Okay, can I have my hand back please?" She smiled and let go.

"So, did you have a nice lunch?" Rory asked.

"Yeah, it was great. First we ate salad and lasagna, and then we had
cheesecake for dessert. I'm telling you, I don't think I can eat for the enxt
few days."

She smiled. "So when did he give you the ring?"

"Oh my God. It was so sweet. After the cheesecake, I sat on the couch and he
put on some music. Then he walked over to me, and instead of sitting down, he
got down on one knee, and took the ring out of his pocket, and officially
proposed."

Rory gasped. "You're kidding!"

"Nope. It was so great." My cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling, but I
just couldn't seem to stop.

Rory laughed. "Wow, that's three proposals from the same guy in one month."

I nodded.

Rory smiled. "Wow, Mom, you are totally beaming."

"Ah! I can't help it! I'm too excited. What time is it?"

Rory checked her watch. "It's quarter to 4."

"Okay, well, let's get coffee to go. I have some things to do at home."

"Okay."

We stood up and walked over to the counter to order our coffees to go. Luke
was at the counter, staring at us as we walked towards him.

"What can I get you?" he asked. "As if I don't know."

"Two coffees to go please." Rory said.

Luke rolled his eyes. He walked to the coffee machine, and returned a few
seconds later with 2 cups. I handed him some money and said, "Keep the
change." He smiled and said, "Thanks." I smiled and said, "Bye Luke."

Rory and I walked outside and started towards home. Rory said, "I'm glad
Luke's feeling better. Remember when he was really grumpy for that whole
week?"

I took a sip of coffee. "Yeah. How could I forget, it was just last week."

Rory paused. "So do you think he knows about you and Max?"

I shrugged. "Well, since Miss Patty knew two weeks ago, I'm guessing everyone
in town knows."

Rory asked, "But he hasn't said anything about it to you?"

I shook my head. "Nope."

"Weird. Maybe he doesn't know."

I shrugged. "He probably does. I just. . .well, I just don't think he likes
Max. So, I don't know. . . ." I shrugged. Rory and I walked home.

-*-
Later that night, we went over to my parents' house for our weekly dinner.
Surprisingly, my dad answered the door. "Lorelai, Rory, hello. How are you?"

Rory and I walked into the foyer. "Wow, Dad. We're fine. Where's Mom?"

"Oh, she's on the phone, so she asked me to get the door. Can you believe
that? She employs 35 people, but asks me to get the door. Hmph." Rory and I
glanced at each other and smiled. He led us into the living room, where he
sat on the couch, and Rory and I sat on the couch across from him. A few
seconds later, Mom walked into the living room.

"Hello girls." My mom said cheerfully.

"Hi Mom."

"Hi Grandma."

"Well, I think dinner is just about ready. Why don't we go sit at the table?"
Mom walked into the dining room, and we all followed her. We sat down and Mom
asked, "Do you girls want something to drink?"

"Coke please." Rory said.

"Same." I replied.

Dad asked. "Oh, would you like me to get them too, since you seem to think I
am another servant you employ?"

Mom said, "Richard, answering the door is not some great act of servitude of
which you should be awarded for doing. If I had known it would be so
difficult a task for you to complete, I wouldn't have asked you. Now I know
for next time. Excuse me, I will get your drinks." As Rory and I glanced at
each other smiling, Mom walked into the kitchen. She returned a minute later
with the drinks, followed a few seconds later by the maid with our dinner
plates. She served us and we started eating.

A few minutes later, during a lull in the dinner conversation, my mother
said, "Lorelai, what's that?"

I finished chewing my food, and said, "What's what?"

"That ring. Is that new?"

I looked slowly down at my hand. Shit. I had meant to take it off. I was so
not ready to tell my parents about the engagement yet. I wanted Max to be
with me when I told them. "Uh, this? Um, it's just a new ring I got."

"Well, it certainly is gorgeous. Is it a real diamond?"

"Um, yeah it is."

"Goodness. That must have cost a fortune, a diamond that big." My mom picked
up her drink and took a sip.

"Well, Mom, actually. . ." I looked at Rory, who was just staring at me. I
glanced at my Dad, who was still eating, not paying much attention. I sighed.
"Actually Mom, it's an engagement ring. I'm getting married." Almost
simultaneously, my parents started choking. My dad on his food, my mom on her
drink. They both started coughing and they both picked up their napkins and
put them over their mouths.

"Grandma, grandpa, are you okay?" Rory asked.

"Fine, thank you." Dad replied. "What did you say Lorelai?"

"Yes, what did you say?" my mom asked.

I looked at Rory, whose encouraging smile made me feel better about the
unplanned announcement. I smiled. "Mom, Dad, I'm getting married."

My parents looked at each other, as if asking each other silently, 'Did she
say what we think she said?'

"To who?" my mother asked. "The teacher?"

"Yes. To Max." I smiled. "He's a wonderful man. You're both going to love
him."

"Yeah, Max is great." Rory added. I gave her an appreciative smile.

My mom, who seemed surprised, yet sincere, said, "Well, I didn't realize you
two were that serious." She smiled. "Lorelai, that's wonderful.
Congratulations."

"Yes, congratulations. That's terrific news." Dad said. "We should
celebrate." Dad stood up and walked away. He returned a few minutes later
with a bottle of champagne and some glasses.

While Dad poured champagne for us, I stared at Rory. My mother was asking her
about Max, and she looked genuinely happy. And I knew it wasn't only just
because she was with Dean. She had told me that she was happy I had said yes
to Max, and now I could truly see it in her face. It was then, sitting at the
table, staring at my beautiful daughter, that I became one hundred percent
certain that I had made the right decision.

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