Disclaimer: If I owned “Gilmore Girls,” I wouldn’t have thrown any wrenches in the Lorelai/Luke ship. If I owned “The Cape,” I wouldn’t be attempting necromancy on the fandom.
“What’s wrong, babe?” Lorelai Gilmore’s voice was full of concern.
Her daughter, Rory, had been worked up when she called. Rory Gilmore, Yale graduate, had been writing for the Palm City Herald for the past two and a half years.
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong,” the brunette began.
“GILMORE! In my office, now!” Rory’s editor, Arthur Hartley bellowed.
The newsroom didn’t come to a standstill, but heads did turn in her direction, her curious co-workers wondering why the chief was upset (and grateful that they weren’t being targeted).
Not sure what the problem was, Rory walked into the editor-in-chief’s office, ignoring the butterflies that had flitted into her stomach.
“You wanted to see me, Chief?” Rory asked calmly, closing the door behind her.
“What the hell is this, Gilmore?” Hartley demanded, tossing a printout at her. Rory recognized the piece she had recently e-mailed to him.
“It’s my op-ed on ARK Corporation—”
“You know I can’t print this!” he hissed.
“You can once you’ve seen my exposé. I should have it finished by—”
“An exposé,” Hartley repeated, “on ARK Corporation.”
“Yes, once you’ve read that you’ll understand why ARK cannot be allowed to become the city’s private police force. Besides the fact that the PCPD is far better equipped to hunt down that mysterious serial killer…”
“I don’t remember signing off on this investigation.”
“Well,” Rory’s brows furrowed. “No, I suppose I didn’t mention it.” Was that why he was mad, because she hadn’t run it by him? “But I put a lot of work into it and it paid off. The article is fully supported by my research. If you give me a minute I can send you my notes and the draft, although I wanted to spend a few more minutes polishing—”
“You found sources that would speak up against ARK? Against its CEO?” he interrupted her.
“On condition of anonymity, yes,” Rory replied. She’d been fed information from some blogger calling himself Orwell, but the leads had been good. She’d verified everything she’d learned. Hartley probably wouldn’t want to hear about the informant though. Many considered Orwell to be a laughingstock, at best.
Perhaps he’d already guessed the source’s identity. It might explain his refusal to print what she’d written.
“Rory,” Arthur sighed. “You should’ve run this by me first,” he said, in a gentler tone. “I can’t publish any of this.”
“Why do you keep saying that? ARK’s CEO, Peter Fleming, practically has the mayor eating out of his hands. The city is one disaster away from delegating the police force’s duties to this private security company. The public deserves to know what we’d be signing up for!”
“Rory,” Arthur’s expression was somewhere between pained and resigned. “Peter Fleming happens to be the majority shareholder of the Herald.”
Rory stood there, frozen, finally realizing what was going on.
“We’re going to scrap this,” Hartley went on, his gesture encompassing the op-ed piece as well as the still incomplete exposé, “and never mention it again. I want you to go find another story to work on…”
“Oh, sweetie,” Lorelai wished they were having the conversation in person, so she could offer her daughter a hug.
“Mom, I quit,” Rory told her, her blue eyes flashing as she paced her apartment. “I can’t work like this. I can’t work for a paper that’s going to be censored by some stupid shareholder!”
“Rory, I know where you’re coming from. But there’s going to be censorship at other papers…”
“Not like this! You don’t know what I found about this guy’s company. And I checked and he’s the majority owner of all of Palm City’s news outlets.”
“All of them?” Lorelai repeated. How much money did this guy have?
“He owns all the major ones, anyway.” Fleming obviously had yet to silence every last blogger. “I think it’s time I left this town. Hartley was actually really polite about accepting my resignation. He’s giving me letters of recommendation. I’m going to go out and find a job in another city—oh, maybe New York! Or Los Angeles or Chicago! Mom, think of the possibilities!”
Lorelai stayed silent, resolutely not mentioning the possibility of unemployment.
“But first,” Rory continued, “I thought I’d drop by Stars Hollow.”
“Well, I could reserve you a room at the inn,” Lorelai teased, referring to the establishment she co-owned with her best friend.
“Mom, that’s not funny.”
“What’s wrong with the inn? I thought you liked it. It’s a lovely place—”
“Mo-om,” Rory whined.
“Or, if you’re dead-set against the inn, I suppose you could stay with us. Luke and I will be happy to have you around.”
“Thanks. How is Luke?” Rory asked, referring to her stepfather.
“The way he usually is. Hard at work at the diner now, or I’d put him on the phone.”
“Give him my love.”
“Will do; bye hon.”
Author’s Note: I thought I’d end the story before the Palm City Police Chief’s murder could act as the impetus for Peter Fleming getting his way.
Story title from a poem by Arthur Chapman entitled, “Journalism in Cactus Center.”