Rory was feeling nervous as she waited for him to arrive. It had seemed like a great idea when she had it, but now, standing by the doors at Hartford Airport and waiting for him to come through, she doubted herself. She doubted that her Christmas surprise was really that good. Still, she found a smile came naturally to her face when at last she spotted him, a grin on his own face as he came towards her, letting go of the cart full of luggage to open his arms and hug her.
“How are you doing, princess?” he asked, squeezing her tight.
“I’m good, Uncle Jimmy,” Rory told him happily. “How about you? Was the flight okay? I know it’s pretty long, so that can be stressful.”
“It was fine,” he promised her, “but you’re not. You’re doing that talking a mile a minute thing, even more so than usual. That’s not a good sign.”
“I don’t know what’s bothering me,” she assured him, shaking her head. “I mean, I talked to Aunt Liz, she said it was okay to invite you. Everybody is cool with it, well, except for Jess, who isn’t supposed to know yet, and Tuesday, because...”
“As great as she is, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut about a surprise like this if you paid her,” Jimmy finished for her, nodding in understanding. “That’s my girl.”
Rory sighed with some relief. At least Jimmy seemed happy to be back in Connecticut and no less concerned about seeing his ex-wife than she was about seeing him. In the end, their divorce had been pretty amicable, they just hadn’t been physically in the same place for quite a while was all.
“Wow. I almost forgot that Christmas is supposed to come with cold and snow,” said Jimmy as he and Rory ventured out into the parking lot and he visibly shivered.
“It’s not California,” she said definitely. “I like it though.”
“Yeah, it’s not so bad,” Jimmy admitted as they loaded his bags into the car.
Forty-five minutes of slow and steady driving on Rory’s part brought them to Stars Hollow, Jimmy pointing out places he remembered and others that were so very different after his many years away. It was amusing to Rory to think that her uncle knew her home town before she was even born. She hadn’t thought about it much until now. Mostly, just lately, her mind had been all taken up with her surprise for Jess, and for Tuesday too, in a way, bringing their dad to Stars Hollow for Christmas.
“You know, I remember the day Luke opened this place,” said Jimmy now the car was parked outside of the diner. “It was your birthday, right?” he said to Rory.
“It was,” she agreed with a smile, “but I’m not the person getting a present today,” she said, staring in through the glass at Jess taking orders.
As if he knew she was looking his way, he glanced up then, raised a hand to wave to her and then stopped as he spotted who was in the passenger seat. The next moment he was rushing out into the street and Jimmy was scrambling from the car. Rory got out onto the pavement just in time to see father and son reunited, hugging each other and grinning like fools. They hadn’t seen each other in almost eighteen months, when Jess and Rory had gone to spend some of the summer with Jimmy. It was so great to see them together again now.
“You did this?” said Jess, turning to Rory with a smile. “Did you?”
“Merry Christmas?” she tried, squealing with surprise when Jess suddenly grabbed her and kissed her with enthusiasm - if she had to guess, she would say he very much liked his Christmas gift.