AN: Are you still there, dear readers? I'm so sorry it took me this long to update but life always finds a way to get in your way... Right as I was preparing to go on vacation, literally the day before, I got the news I had to move out of my house, or get a significant rent increase. Fun times! So I did go on vacation, I loved it and rested a lot, but I also always had in the back of my mind that I had to find a house asap. That's what I've been doing since, basically, and writing just hasn't been on my mind at all, unfortunately. So this is not exactly the chapter I wanted to deliver, but it is what came out. I was feeling bad for not writing for so long after saying I was taking a short break... I hope you are still with me and you still enjoy the chapter and the story. I do have some things outlined for the future of this story but I really don't have the mindset to sit down and write it now, so I'm not promising again when I'll be back, but I will be back and this story will see an end :)

I also forgot to acknowledge last time that I've gotten over 100 reviews of this story! This is bonkers! I'm not a writer... I started this story over a year ago in the middle of a lockdown because I had nothing to do and now I've written over 50.000 words and gotten over 100 reviews! How is this possible?! Thank you! A million times thank you!

PS: I got the house I wanted. I'm buying my first house *.*

So far, the time spent in Stars Hollow had helped Rory rest and relax. As expected, Harper was going from house to house with the whole town volunteering to babysit in turns. This granted Rory time to rest, read, and spend time with Lane and recharge for September. She and Lorelai had kept an apparent peace, no one really being able to detect any bitterness between the two, but they knew things weren't peachy keen between them.

The awaited day of shopping and talking had finally arrived. Mother and daughter had driven Lorelai's car to Hartford and had spent the morning hopping from store to store. It was now lunchtime and the anticipated conversation couldn't be delayed anymore. The girls were sitting in a small Italian restaurant's courtyard, nibbling on garlic bread, and sipping their coffee, while they waited for their meal.

"So, I thought you wanted to talk… we've been to a thousand stores and still no talk. Did you forget?" Lorelai's tone was harsh. Having spent most of their time together pretending that everything was fine after their talk when Rory had arrived in Stars Hollow had made a dent in her humor.

"No, mom, I didn't forget. I still want to talk, but shopping and talking didn't seem very productive, don't you think?" Rory's tone was in contrast very calm. She didn't want to start the discussion with a screaming match, mostly because she knew that it was where this was all headed more likely than not. "You know things have been weird between us… I don't want that."

"Well, with Logan back everything chan…"

Rory didn't let Lorelai finish. Logan wasn't the issue between them. "No mom, it's not Logan, Logan has nothing to do with this."

"How can you say that? He's been keeping you in New York since he came back. You don't come back home as much anymore; I don't get to see Harper as much as I did… How is this not his fault?"

The younger Gilmore took a deep breath before taking on her mother's attack. "Mom, I'm not going to apologize for my daughter having a dad, a present dad. He should have been there from day one, and I took that from him. So, he is going to get as much time with Harper as he needs, as they need. He is her dad; I can't change that. And I don't want to. I know it was always us, the two of us, but now I have my own 'us' to think about. Me, Harper, and Logan."

"How are you an 'us' if he's not even talking to you?" Lorelai was showing no signs of backing down. All her guns were pointed at Logan, as they were always pointed at something.

"And that's my fault, not Logan's. Have you realized I hid Harper from him, I hid his daughter from him for years, like a dirty secret? Can you imagine finding something like that out, mom? Can you for once put yourself in his shoes?"

Lorelai opened her mouth to answer but was interrupted by the waiter bringing their food to the table. As soon as both plates were set down in front of them, both women lowered their heads and picked up their forks but neither started to eat their meals. Rory lifted her head a few times, waiting for Lorelai to restart the conversation, but she showed no signs of wanting to answer her.

"Mom? You know Logan's not at fault. You know things have been different with us for a long time. For years. Long before Logan or even Harper. I know I was more around when I was pregnant and when Harper was a baby, but I've had my life away from here and from you for a long time… I love you, mom, but I like my life. I like New York, I liked to travel for work when I was doing it. I'm sorry I'm not living next door to you, but that's just not me."

"You always came to me, Rory. You still always came back to me. And I don't know that you do anymore. I find out things about you by chance, you don't come to me. I don't know what I did wrong…" Lorelai had now calmed down and her tone was much softer. She felt that as long as there was a target she could blame, she didn't need to look inside.

Rory extended her hand and caressed Lorelai's hand across the table. "You did nothing wrong mom, I just grew up. I built my life… I became a mom. It's just life. Nothing happened, just life."

"You chose to move to New York, alone. You also chose not to tell Logan… and then you chose to do everything but move back in with him. He rejected you. He married someone else. I don't get why you give him everything when he gives nothing in return. And I'm here, I've always been here. I've always done everything for you, and now he's back and you pushed me aside."

"You're right. I chose all of that. Mom, I did. I made those decisions; they were the right decisions for me. Can you understand that? Wasn't leaving Hartford the right decision for you? Breaking up with dad, over and over again… Moving to Stars Hollow… those were your decisions, mom," Rory emphasized 'your' on her speech, "these are mine, and they are the right ones for me. I know you never really got me and Logan, I'm not sure I ever did either, but it is what it is. I can't change what I feel, what we felt. I think if you gave him a chance, a real chance, maybe you'd get it. Logan is much more than this crystalized image you have of a rich party boy, he was always so much more than that… You've seen him with Harper, come on… he's not this demon you make him out to be."

"A leopard never changes its spots…"

"You're right, it doesn't. But it so does happen that Logan isn't a leopard and your binoculars are broken. And I've told you, this isn't about Logan… You can choose to accept having him around and live with it or not, I'm not going to change my family life because of that…"

"Your family life…" Lorelai said snidely as she rolled her eyes.

"What, mom? You don't think we're a family? We are. We might not be a conventional one, but we are one. And right now, my biggest focus is working on that relationship. I love you mom, but you can decide if you want to be on my side or not, and right now I think not. I don't have the mental energy to do that and at the same time having to think about you. I'm sorry, but I don't." As frustrated as Rory felt, she was determined to keep the conversation civil and to find a resolution for this. She couldn't make Lorelai understand her side, or accept Logan with open arms, but she would do her best to try and make that happen, even if it took one hundred more lunches like the one they were barely eating at the moment.

"He married someone else. He didn't choose you; he chose her." Lorelai said looking into Rory's eyes as if she was going for the jugular.

"I told him to do that, mom. I did. I said I didn't want to be serious. I said he should follow the plan. It was me, okay? I pushed him away and I didn't tell him I loved him and that I wanted to be with him. I was afraid. I was afraid you'd hate me for getting back together with him. I was afraid his family would think I wouldn't be good enough; I was afraid you'd talk me out of it. I wanted to be with him, and I chose to walk away. And when I had the golden ticket, I chose to stay under the covers. I blew it. He's it for me, mom. He's everything you don't want for me, and yet he's everything I want. And I blew it, I don't know if we'll ever recover from what I did, but I'm not done fighting. This is what I want. Can you be on my side? Can you give me the benefit of the doubt?" Rory surprised even herself when her confession came tumbling out of her mouth. She had yet to admit to anyone, not even herself, all of this. "Right now, I'm done talking about Logan and me. This was supposed to be about you and me. Mom, I am not you. I love you and we could have been the Shining twins in another life, but I'm not you, I'm not your mini-me. We like different things; we want different things… we've been fighting over this since I started Chilton… you know that. You know what has slowly pushed us apart, and you're the one doing the pushing. I'm not less your daughter because I like to go to grandma's dinner parties, because I have rich friends or because I host DAR meetings. I'm still the same, I'm still me. That's me too. I'm the basket bidding in Stars Hollow and I'm also Grandma's Christmas Party. That is all me. The sooner you realize that and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we get back to being us. I miss talking to you. I miss coming to you with my things, but I just feel that I can't anymore because you're always going to judge me. That's what's keeping us apart, it's not Logan."

Rory had watery eyes as she ended her speech and Lorelai was looking at her daughter attentively. "Oh, honey… I… I'm sorry…" Soon both pairs of blue eyes had shed a few tears onto their barely eaten pasta dishes. It seemed something had clicked with Lorelai. Maybe she was doing this the wrong way, maybe she was being much more like her mother than she would ever admit. She was judging Rory for her choices, just because they were different from her own. And as much as she thought she knew guys like Logan, she had to trust her daughter, and she was judging him by his cover, just like her parents had judged Luke by his cover. It seemed both girls had reached a silent understanding. Maybe things weren't solved completely, but they could feel something had changed between them.

Logan was drawing spirals on his notepad since the meeting had started. He had heard a few words here and there but if he hadn't checked his calendar before entering the meeting, he would have no idea what the topic was. His father was there, and this was not his department, all he had to do was sit there and nod his head once or twice. As soon as the meeting was over, he gathered his things and made a motion to leave the meeting room he was stopped by Mitchum.

"Logan, could you please stay?"

"Sure, dad." Logan sat back down but kept his things on hand ready to leave.

"So, what do you think?"

Logan felt like he was 15 years old again. He had no idea what was discussed or decided at the meeting. And he knew his dad had noticed, otherwise, he wouldn't have asked. He never asked for his opinion on anything that wasn't related to his Marketing and New Media department. "About what?" Logan tried to look composed and aware of the topic.

"About Phillips' proposal." Mitchum could see his son squirming.

"I don't know if I have an opinion yet. I'd like to look into it more." The younger Huntzberger said, feeling triumphant.

Mitchum laughed which left Logan bewildered. "You didn't listen to a word that was said, did you?"

"Ah… I…"

"It's fine, Logan. Phillips didn't propose anything. He never does. We just went over last quarters' report and projections for the next one. I barely heard any of it myself. This guy's a snooze, he always was."

Logan was annoyed at his dad. He never missed an opportunity to make him feel uncomfortable. It didn't matter if he was 15 or 35, his father could always make him feel like this.

"Rory hasn't been at the park lately, everything okay? Is Dixon overworking her at The City?" Mitchum had been tagging along a few times to the park. He was Harper's favorite swing pusher, and he always did it willingly which puzzled the little girl's parents and aunt, whenever Honor happened to tag along. Mitchum sounded genuinely concerned and Logan didn't know how to deal with that. He wondered if his father was messing with him. His memory went as far back as he remembered, and he couldn't place his dad's worried face in any other moment of his life.

"Yeah, everything's fine… we… we decided to do more things on our own with Harper."

"That's it?"

"That's it, dad." Logan said convincingly.

"Okay. Listen, Logan… I wanted to ask if you had thought about Harper's name…"

"What about Harper's name?"

"Having it changed. To Huntzberger."

"No, dad, I didn't think about it. I told you that was not an issue. She's mine and she doesn't need my name to prove it."

"I know all that, Logan. But don't you want her to have your name?"

"What's wrong with Gilmore? I thought Richard was a dear friend, why can't his name be passed on?"

Mitchum looked embarrassed. "Nothing's wrong with Gilmore, but you're her dad. And Rory already made all the decisions. Maybe she should give you this."

"Rory doesn't owe me anything. And I really don't care about that, dad. Why do you?"

"I see so much of Harper in you. I know I was not a present dad, but we had some good moments. You wouldn't let anyone else push you on the swing either if I was around. And you carried a ton of books around just like she does. It just seems right."

Logan looked intrigued at his father. He barely remembered him at home when he was growing up. At least he didn't remember it fondly. All Mitchum seemed to do was scold him. First for leaving his toys around or not sitting properly at the table. Later on, for not applying himself at school. And before he started working, about all the crazy stunts he pulled with his friends.

"She has all of that. Why does she need a name?"

"She doesn't need it, Logan. I would just like her to be a Huntzberger. And I think you'd like that too. Wouldn't you?"