Title: Shelter From The Storm.

Summary: "In starting over we could get some place different." What if Lorelai had found her way to Stars Hollow before Rory's birth?

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of Gilmore Girls. I am in no way connected to Gilmore Girls or the WB. I also have no connections to Billie Letts or Twentieth Century Fox. This story idea is mostly my own, although it is inspired by the movie/book Where The Heart Is. (I always thought that there were several similarities between Lorelai and Novalee)

Authors Note: This fic starts about a month before Rory is born. In places I may skip ahead a few weeks, months or even years. This fic is still a work in progress and I will definitely still be making Next, on Gilmore Girls... my priority.
I want to thank LukeLorelai4EVER for supporting the idea of this fic when I first asked her what she thought of it. And thanks to everyone at stars-hollow.org who has read and reviewed this fic and been so positive about it. *hugs*

*~*~*~*

"Our lives can change with every breath we take." - Novalee Nation - Where The Heart Is



It had started out as an adventure. He had honestly believed that it wasn't going to change his life as much as everyone told him it would. Maybe things would have to change a little, but why couldn't it be for the better? This was something new and it was apparently one of life's miracles. It was something to be celebrated and enjoyed, not something to fret and worry over.

Although it may sound it, he wasn't unintelligent, or even naïve really. When she had told him he was going to be a father, he'd looked at it in the same way his father looked at a new business venture. It was an opportunity.

It was a baby.

It was just like a puppy, right? Sure, it didn't have fur. And ok, so maybe it'd be a little more clingy and needy. And it'd definitely be more expensive. But at the end of the day, he could leave it with the nanny and go back to his friends. No, things wouldn't have to change much at all.

He'd asked her to marry him. It was what their parents wanted after all, and he really did love her. He had often thought that they'd be married one day, anyway. After they had graduated from high school they would probably go their separate ways, and enjoy their college experiences to the full extent. Without having to deal with the responsibility of each other. He would go to Princeton and she would go to Yale, the way her father had always hoped she would. And one day, probably when they were fresh from college life, their paths would cross again at some social gathering. Their eyes would meet across the room, and memories would engulf them. They would reminisce every rebellious act committed together. They would still feel the excitement of every clandestine kiss in a quiet corner at a dinner party. They would see clearly, all of the late nights on the balcony of her bedroom.
And they'd realize that in their many years apart, they had never experienced anything as electrifying and passionate as their relationship with each other.

He was certain they would have been married one day. The baby just gave them a reason to move a little faster.

But she never actually accepted the proposal. They would sit and listen to their parents plotting their futures out for them, and her expression would darken. Her eyes would glisten with tears and assume a far away look. This wasn't her place and these were not her plans. She was never supposed to be the flawless debutante her parents had wished for. She was never meant to settle down, or settle at all.

The procedure they insisted she follow had never sounded as appealing to her as it did to him.

He'd never gone with her to the doctor's appointments. She'd never asked him to. She'd never asked him for anything. That was, until she had asked him to get her out of there. Out from behind the walls around her parent's home. Insurmountable walls, that seemed to grow higher with each day.

Out of that world where all she was and all she did was frowned on, where she could no longer breathe.

So they had packed some clothes, and some of the many items purchased by her parents for the baby, and they'd fled. They had some money, but not much, and they weren't sure where they were going. He thought that maybe they'd go to California. He'd always wanted to go to California. Maybe they'd get an apartment overlooking the ocean. Just them.

And a baby.

Now, something in him snapped. It had happened suddenly. Too suddenly for him to pin point the exact moment it had started. The only thing he could pin point was the emotion coursing through him at that moment. Fear.

They had been thirty minutes from Hartford, when she had declared her urgent need to use a bathroom. Those needs were becoming more frequent and more urgent with every passing week.
So they'd found their way to the nearest town, and driven around looking for somewhere that seemed as if it might have a public restroom. They had eventually come across an Inn. He couldn't remember its name.

As he watched her pick her way through a group of businessmen, and up the steps to the building in front of her, all he could think about was how wrong he'd been. A baby was nothing like a puppy! What was he thinking? Clingy and needy were understatements, to say the least.
He was only 16. He wasn't ready to be a father. He was going to fail, and Christopher Hayden never failed. It wasn't in his genetic code. It wasn't something he'd been taught to do, or something he was familiar with. The closest he'd come to failure was the day he'd gotten his Chemistry exam back and found a big red 'D' staring him in the face. This wasn't a Chemistry exam.

It was a baby.

It was a tiny person. A person who would be depending on him to feed, clothe and bathe it. A person he had to raise and take care of. How was a child supposed to prepare another child for the world? He wasn't even prepared for the world himself!

He could feel the moisture on his fingertips as he opened and closed his hands around the cold steering wheel in front of him. His palms were sweating. Itching.

They would be better off without him. If he knew anything, he knew that.

He continued to rationalize and justify his decision as he unloaded her belongings and the baby's things. He pulled out his wallet and hastily transferred half of its contents to her backpack.

This was better for her. Better for him.

Better for the baby.

To be Continued...