Chapter 29: "You might be able to convince me after a few drinks, Steph, but not likely,"

"Wow, sure is a full house in here tonight," Lorelai said, walking into the living room of her parents house and taking a seat on the sofa next to Rory and Riley, looking across the room at the Hayden's sat on the loveseat and to her right at Christopher seated in the chair next to them.

"With finals starting tomorrow and the studying we still need to do to prepare for next week's finals, we asked Grandma if we could all do dinner tonight so we have the whole weekend after tomorrow's test to prepare," Rory said.

"It's been a long time since we've all been together like this," Lorelai said, accepting the martini her father offered her as he and Emily continued to hand out drinks, "Thanks, Dad."

"Yes, we've all certainly come a long way since that first Christmas we had together here," Richard said.

"It's nice to all get together," Straub agreed.

"Who knows when we'll be able to again, if ever," Francine said, "You kids are graduating and going off to start your lives. It could be ages before we all have a chance to spend an evening together again."

"Grandma we're not going away forever," Riley told her, "We'll make time to see each other."

"And it's not as if they're moving across the country, Francine," Emily told her, "New York is hardly that far. We'll see tons of the kids."

"Well, actually, Grandma," Rory said, "I don't know for sure if Tristan and I will be in New York."

"Why wouldn't you be in New York?" Emily asked, "It's where The Times is, after all."

"That's true, but I won't be working at The Times," Rory said, looking down as she felt Riley's hand in hers as he squeezed it for support. Neither of them had told their family the results of the letters they received. Riley was excited to tell them he got the internship, but was waiting for Rory to be ready to tell them she hadn't, "I didn't get the Reston Fellowship."

"Oh, Rory, dear, that's terrible," Francine said.

"You didn't tell me that," Lorelai asked, "When did you find out?"

"A few days ago. Our letters came in not long after you showed us your new car," Rory said, "You were excited about it and I wasn't ready to say anything."

"Rory, you didn't have to...wait you said letters," Lorelai said, "Riley? You heard back as well?"

"I did," Riley said, looking over at Rory before saying anything else, "I got my letter as well and I got it. I'll be interning at The New York Times."

"That's wonderful, Riley," Emily said.

"We're so proud of you," Straub said.

"Very proud," Francine said, "It's such a shame though that you both couldn't…"

"It's fine Grandma," Rory told her, "It's very competitive and they only choose a few people so it was a long shot for even one of us to get it. I'm very happy for Riley. He'll do great. He deserves this."

"Thanks, Baby Girl," Riley said, pulling her to him to hug her and kiss the top of her head.

"Wherever you end up, my dear, I'm sure you'll do great things there as well," Richard said, "And Congratulations, Riley."

"Thanks, Grandpa," they both said.

"Dinner is ready, Mrs. Gilmore," Alexandra, their maid said, walking into the living room before quickly returning to the kitchen to begin serving.

"Two finals down, another three to go," Riley said, walking into Rory and Tristan's apartment, finding his sister on the couch with her feet up, a pint of ice cream in her hands. He walked into the kitchen to grab a spoon for himself before joining her, "What's up?"

"I got a letter from the Chicago Sun-Times today," Rory told him, taking another spoonful of the ice cream, "They're not hiring."

"I'm sorry, Baby Girl," Riley said, digging his spoon into the carton.

"I've sent out resumes to a thousand places and all I've got to show for it is two rejections," Rory said.

"You'll hear from other places soon, I'm sure," Riley told her.

"I called the Pro Jo to see if that job was still available, but they already filled the position," Rory told him, "Why did I turn that job down again?"

"It wasn't your dream. Yeah, the Pro Jo is good paper and working there would have been a good stepping stone to other opportunities, but it wasn't the job you've dreamed of since you first started writing and imagining yourself as the next Christiane Amanpour," Riley said, "You want more and that's okay. You want a stepping stone that you're going to love and want to say yes to the moment the job is offered to you. That's why you turned the Pro Jo down in the first place. You knew you wanted The Times so you held out for that."

"I didn't get that though, so now what?" Rory asked.

"Now you wait. We're fortunate enough that finding work immediately after college isn't necessary," Riley said, "We have family that can help provide for us if we need it and you have Tristan."

"I don't want to just be a Hartford housewife, though, Ry," Rory said.

"I know that and you won't be," he told her, "It just may take a little longer than you planned to get that dream job, but it will come."

"I hope so," Rory said, handing the ice cream carton to Riley and moving so she could lay her head on his shoulder.

"You've worked too hard for other papers and job opportunities not to take notice," Riley told her, leaning his head on top of hers, "Just give it time. The perfect job will find you, probably when you least expect it."

"We did it," Stephanie said, raising her glass along with Riley, Rory, and Tristan, "Our four years at Yale are complete."

"Yep, finals are done, classes are over," Riley said.

"Next stop, graduation," Rory said.

"And the rest of our lives," Tristan added, the four of them clinking their glasses together as they celebrated.

"So, anyone brave enough to go up?" Stephanie asked, gesturing towards the stage where Babette and Miss Patty were in the middle of their third song. Deciding to break away from the crowd of people that would be celebrating at the pub in New Haven, the four of them chose instead to go to K.C.'s in Stars Hollow and surprise to them it was karaoke night.

"You might be able to convince me after a few drinks, Steph, but not likely," Rory said.

"Oh, come on, Mar. It could be fun," Tristan said, "We could do one together."

"You want to get up there and sing karaoke?" Rory asked.

"Yeah, why not? We could find something to sing together," he said, "What do you say?"

"I'll think about it," Rory said, taking a sip of her drink, "If Steph and Ry do one, too."

"I'm in," Stephanie said, turning around in her seat to grab the book of songs from the table behind them, "Let's start picking."

"Are you really dragging me into this, too?" Riley asked.

"Yep. If I'm going to get up there and humiliate myself in front of the town than so are you," Rory told him.

"Great. Let's pick a song I guess, Steph," Riley told her, scooting closer to her to look through book of songs.

Another hour later, Babette and Miss Patty had finished their set of fifteen songs. Kirk had also taken a turn with his rendition of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and Gypsy took on "Love is a Battlefield." Enjoying a few drinks as they looked over the lists of songs, they were ready to take their turns, having now picked out songs to perform.

"You're sure you want to go with this one?" Riley asked, walking towards the stage with Stephanie.

"Of course. It's a karaoke classic," Stephanie told him.

"But Sonny and Cher?" Riley asked.

"It's a good song," Stephanie told him, taking her place at the mic to begin the song, "They say we're young and we don't know. We won't find out until we grow."

"Well I don't know if all that's true. 'Cause you got me, and baby I got you," Riley sang, smiling at Stephanie as he said the words, "Babe!"

"I got you babe. I got you babe," they sang together, getting into the feel of the song and enjoying the townspeople's reaction.

"I got you to hold my hand," Riley sang, nearing the end of the song, taking Stephanie's hand in his.

"I got you to understand," Stephanie sang.

"I got you to walk with me."

"I got you to talk with me."

"I got you to kiss goodnight," they sang together, Riley placing a kiss on Stephanie's cheek as hid did, "I got you to hold me tight. I got you, I won't let go. I got you to love me so. I got you babe."

"I got you babe," they repeated as the song faded out, receiving cheers and applause from the audience.

"You guys were awesome," Rory said as they walked back to the table, "I never knew you could sing so well, Ry."

"Me either," Riley said, "That was actually really fun."

"You're next," Stephanie told them.

"Do we have to?" Rory asked, "You guys did so good. No way can we follow that."

"If you really don't want to get up there Rory we don't have to," Tristan told her, "We can just enjoy a few more drinks and watch Kirk try and sing some more before calling it a night."

"It did seem like Steph and Ry were having fun once the song got going," Rory said, "and we can pick something I really know the words to so it's easier."

"Up to you," Tristan said.

"Let's do it," Rory said, grabbing the book from Stephanie, flipping through the pages quickly before settling on a song she liked, "Got it."

"Really? This is a song you really know?" Tristan asked.

"Yep, every word," Rory told him, closing the book and walking towards the front so they could let the DJ know their song choice.

"So, when you think me and karaoke do you really see me performing as a seventy year old country singer?" Tristan asked, "Because I definitely don't see you as a sixty year old buxom blonde."

"Well, technically Kenny Rogers was only forty-five and Dolly wasn't even in her forties yet when they released this song," Rory told him.

"Okay, but you seriously know this song?" he asked again.

"You don't?" she questioned.

"I know of it. I've heard it a few times, but you clearly have more knowledge of country music than I ever knew," Tristan said.

"Not all country music, just Dolly's," Rory told him.

"Really?" he asked.

"Yep. And if I were brave enough I could perform more songs than Babette and Miss Patty did," Rory told him.

"How?" Tristan asked.

"Mom," Rory told him, "She's always wanted to go to Dollywood."

"You don't need to know the owner's entire discography to be allowed entry into the park."

"I know that, but we Lorelai's like to go big. If we do something we go all out."

"Okay. Well, let's karaoke, Dolly," Tristan said, following Rory up onto the stage, taking his place as he awaited the lyrics to appear on the screen.

"Good luck, Kenny," Rory told him.

"Baby when I met you, there was peace unknown. I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb…" Tristan began the song.

"I can't live without you if the love was gone. Everything is nothing if you've got no one," Rory sang as they got to the middle of the song, "And you just walk in the the night. Slowly losing sight of the real thing."

"But that won't happen to us, and we got no doubt. Too deep in love, and we got no way out," they sang together, facing each other, their mics in their hands, holding onto each other with the other, "and the message is clear, this could be the year for the real thing."

"We start and end as one. In love forever. We can ride it together, uh huh. Making love with each other, uh huh," Rory and Tristan sang, nearing the end, several people in the audience joining them as the chorus repeated, "Islands in the stream, that is what we are. No one in between, how can we be wrong. Sail away with me. to another world. And we rely on each other, uh huh. From one lover to another, uh huh."

"Baby Girl you were amazing," Riley said, standing up from his chair to give his sister a hug when the applause at the end of their performance died down and they made it back to their seats.

"Thanks, Ry," Rory said, "That really was fun."

"I told you it would be," Stephanie told her, "You want to do one with me now?"

"I think I'm good," Rory said, "Once was enough. There's not enough tequila in Connecticut to get me to go up there a second time."

A few days after their evening of karaoke at K.C.'s it was graduation day. Walking through campus together in their caps and gowns Rory and Riley reflected on their last four years as they awaited Stephanie and Tristan to join them after they greeted their parents.

"It's crazy, you know," Rory began, walking without any direct course in mind, "All my life I saw Harvard as the goal. It filled my walls, it filled my mind. It was the dream."

"Princeton was the same for me. The first time I went their with Grandpa Straub I was probably six or seven," Riley said, "He pointed out all these places he walked, sat, ate, everywhere on the campus he has spent his youth and I looked up to the man. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to walk where he walked."

"And yet we both ended up here," Rory said.

"Exactly here," Riley said, pointing up at the building their feet had led them to while their minds wandered.

"My freshman dorm," Rory said, looking and the plaque next to the door that read 'Durfee,' "It's where we first met."

"For the second time anyway," Riley said, opening the door so they could walk in, allowing Rory to walk in before him.

"Does this hallway seem smaller to you?" Rory asked, stopping in front of her old suite.

"Considering my first memory of this hallway, I've tried not to pay attention to it too much," Riley said, "Whenever I came over I had my eyes focused on just getting to your door and ignoring that spot over there."

"While he may not be your proudest moment, it was the moment that brought us back together," Rory said, "I've never been more thankful that I couldn't get to sleep that night."

"I'm thankful that I snored and that you had sweatpants you let me borrow," Riley said, "It could have been a nightmare if someone else had found me."

"Yeah, imagine if Paris had come out instead of me," Rory said.

"I think I would have gladly suffered the public nudity charge and ran," he said.

"Probably the better option," she said, pushing her sleeve back to check her watch, "We should probably head back towards the quad."

"So this party tonight, are you ready for it?" Riley asked her, holding the door open for her as they left the dorm building.

"It's going to be huge. Bigger than any of our birthdays or the Gilmore Christmas party," Rory said.

"Yep. They're probably going to be family there we've never heard of, let alone met," Riley said, "And they'll likely announce to everyone that I'm going to be interning at The Times."

"The grandparents are proud of you, Ry, of course they will," Rory said.

"Well, do you have an answer of what you're doing after graduation to give them to go along with it?" he asked.

"I do. Tristan and I made our final decision last night," Rory told him, "He's making a call today to secure where we're going to live and than we'll let everyone know."

"I don't get a hint?" Riley asked.

"Nope, sorry, Big Brother. Nothing until it's final," Rory said.

"Fine, but can you say something right away? As soon as you know?" Riley asked, "Because I kind of have an announcement of my own to make tonight."

"Like what?" Rory asked, "You are Steph aren't engaged cause one or both of you would have told me already if you were."

"We're not engaged," Riley said, "Yet."

"Yet? Are you going to propose at our party?" Rory asked.

"If it's okay with you since it is your party, too," Riley said.

"Of course it's okay," Rory said, hugging him, "Ry, this is amazing. I'm really happy for you, Big Brother."

"Thanks, Baby Girl," Riley said, "I just hope she says yes."

"She'd be crazy not to," Rory told him, "She loves you."

"You know when I decided to go to Yale to find whatever it was my subconscious was telling me to look for," Riley said, "I never imagined I find sister, have her fall in love and get engaged to my best friend, and find the girl of dreams."

"Yale's been good to us, Ry," Rory said.

"It was a great four years," he said, "I'm glad I got to share them with you."

"Me too," Rory said, "Let's go graduate."

A few hours later, the Gilmore-Hayden's, Tristan, Stephanie, and Paris all had their degrees in hand and were mingling amongst friends and families of the Gilmore and Hayden families as they celebrated Rory and Riley's graduation from Yale. In between receiving congratulations on her commencement from Yale, Rory was also receiving best wishes from her relatives on her impending marriage to Tristan. She had been able to skirt the topic of what her future held career wise once they saw her ring and learned she was engaged to a DuGrey.

"Hey, Mom," Rory said approaching her and Luke as they spoke with Christopher and Sherry, "Can we talk to you all for a moment?"

"Sure, hun," Lorelai said.

"Is everything alright, Rory?" Christopher asked.

"Yeah, Dad. Tristan and I just have something to share before the grandparents make their speech," Rory told them.

"Alright, kid we're all here. What's the big news?" Lorelai asked once the four of them had followed Rory and Tristan into the study where Riley and Stephanie were already waiting.

"We're going to tell the grandparents in a bit, but we wanted you all to know first that we've made a decision on where we will be living once our lease is up at the end of the summer," Rory said.

"You got a job, then?" Riley asked, "Where?"

"Well," Rory began, "You all know Logan had that trip to San Francisco."

"Yeah, he met with some people and made some other contacts," Riley said, "But, he's never said anything further if it resulted in anything."

"No, not to everyone at least," Tristan said, "He only came to Rory and myself when he got back. He had a job offer for me and a potential one for Rory."

"In San Francisco?" Lorelai asked.

"Palo Alto, technically," Rory told her.

"And you're going?" Riley asked, already sensing the answer.

"Yes, we're moving to Palo Alto," Rory said.

AN: I've had this chapter in progress on my computer since November. I've been adding to it and changing things a bit at a time, trying to make it what I wanted. I also spent a lot of time trying to plan out Rory's future. I had my idea of what I wanted her future to be career and living situation wise. Once I decided on Riley getting the Reston I knew I wanted Rory to end up somewhere else and going to Palo Alto like she would have in the show had she accepted Logan's proposal seemed like the place to go, but I just couldn't quite figure out how to make it happen and for it to make sense. But after weeks of thinking and some research of Palo Alto I found my answer! I should have that next and final chapter up soon. Thanks for sticking with me everyone. Happy reading! And Happy New Year!