“She likes Jess, doesn’t she?”

[Lorelai pulls up to the house and finds Dean sitting on her front porch]

LORELAI: Dean.

DEAN: She likes Jess, doesn’t she?

Dean has done what Lorelai suggested, and only sent Rory one pager message in two days – presumably the one she gets as they drive into Stars Hollow is to ask how the Business Fair went, and he is considerate enough to wait until Rory is likely back from her grandparents’ place.

Lorelai suggests that Rory should call Dean back, as a tacit reward for his “good behaviour”, but Rory says she’ll call him the next day. She’s heading over to spend time with Lane, and they might even sneak out to Luke’s. Mrs Kim is away at an antiques fair, and Lane’s grandmother, who must be Mrs Kim senior, her father’s mother, is babysitting, but conveniently goes to bed at 6 pm – this might explain other times Lane has mysteriously been able to go out late at night, such as Madeline’s party.

Lorelai returns home alone to find Dean sitting on their porch, waiting for Rory. (So much for not turning up uninvited any more!). Seeing that Rory isn’t with her mother, a depressed Dean gives voice to his worst fears as he says, “She likes Jess, doesn’t she?”.

He understands what Rory has not given herself permission to feel. And yet, despite knowing that Rory’s affections are now otherwise engaged, he continues to try to hold onto her, in exactly the same way that Lorelai told him he shouldn’t.

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