Spoilers: Takes place after "Afterboom," before "Luke Can See Her Face."

Disclaimer: The Gilmores and Stars Hollow don't belong to me, and I didn't think them up. But I sure do love them.

Author's notes: This is my first fanfic ever. Ever, ever. Please read and respond, tell me how I'm doing. Thanks.

In the Dark,
By Lula Bo

The wind picked up as Lorelai walked to the house. She moved at her own, regular, hyper-caffeinated pace, but even she had felt hurried, pushed by the steady hand of the wind at the small of her back. She picked her way up the walk and the porch, gesticulating wildly, "all right, already, all right, already!"

She thought vaguely, as she fished for her cell phone in her purse, clutching a stack of mail under her chin, and opening the door simultaneously, that the air smelled of rain. But there were too many other things pressing on her brain at the moment, too many other concerns squabbling with each other for her attention, all declared in that loud, imperious voice she'd come to loathe whenever she thought of something else to do. "Laundry! Call Rory! Tell Tom the doorknob to the bathroom in the honeymoon suite is loose!" She thought dully that she'd been multitasking for so long she was no longer capable of doing one thing at a time.

She struggled to still her thoughts for a moment, stumbling over the pile of shoes by the door. Squaring her shoulders, she hit the light switch on the way to the computer and made her worries march to her orders, rather than weary herself marching to theirs. There was plenty of time for that, she thought, pushing smaller concerns—whether or not she had remembered to get the oil changed in the Jeep last month, where her pretty black thong (not the one with the tear in the elastic or the one with sequins or the one with "hottt!!!" in pink letters on the waistband) had gotten to, whether or not Jason had found an appropriately dank hole in which to while away his sad and tiring existence for the rest of eternity, when her father would look her full in the eye again, coffee—to the back of the line and calling up the greater ones for immediate attention. Immediately, she revised: coffee first. She hit the power button on Rory's old blueberry laptop and went to fill the carafe for a fresh pot in the kitchen.

The coffee perked while she fired up her browser. She'd long ago given in: no matter how she'd protested, how she'd said she liked to walk around, dance, make a sandwich, and play all she wanted, dial-up ceased to be amusing when Rory left for Yale and email became ever more important. And, because she'd never really made herself a sandwich anyway, she'd taken the financial bullet for broadband. She could pull the belt tighter by forgoing take out for some fresh food (as much as she'd tried to avoid it) and she could cinch it again by downsizing cable if it meant she could send Rory twenty annoying emails a day rather than the ten she could fire out on the dial-up.

She deleted three immediately, all from Michel, all complaints, and nothing he hadn't already told her when he'd chastised her for not checking her email before she'd come to work, immediately detailing what exactly each had stated. One, she knew, was devoted solely to the ways in which her Inn was eating into his time with his puppies. A few from Rory, to be read later, one from the decorator, asking again for another photo session for her portfolio… Lorelai put her hand to her forehead: they were all in this vein, nothing she couldn't put off for another few days, nothing that would send the opening to a screeching halt, and nothing she'd really had to come home for in the first place. She kicked off her heels and wandered to the kitchen, grabbing her cell from the couch where she'd dropped it.

"Hey, babe," she said, "me again. Just wondering what you were up to. Hey, did you know it's possible to get not only your own hand stuck in a sink drain, but the hands of two other people as well? I know, sounds unlikely, but Sookie once again proves that which is unlikely is not impossible. Call me when you can."

She took a moment after pouring her coffee in the kitchen to listen to the wind. It wailed under the eaves and whistled faintly in the loose frame by the back door. Unbidden came the commanding voice, telling her that she should get Luke to come over and fix it. She told the commanding voice to shut it. She was sick of it. Although, she thought, leaning into her cup, letting the steam wake her up again, there were a couple of other things she could use Luke for around the house—the faucet upstairs was making a disturbing noise like a choking kitten whenever she turned it on and she had a light bulb on the stairway that kept popping whenever she hit the switch, plus the window frame and besides, she could use a shoulder in the middle of the night when the worries woke her. A shoulder, among other things. She rubbed the space between her eyes with her fingertips, wondering where that last thought had come from. The cell rang.

"Mom, I just missed you. Hand in the drain?"

"Oh, honey, you don't even know. Three hands in the drain. Hey, where are you? I'm hearing suspiciously un-Yale-like noises there. Did you finally get that band of back-up singers you've always wanted?"

"Mom."

"What are they wearing? Did you get Robert Palmer girls and not let me watch the auditions?"

"Actually," and she drew out the word the way people do when they preface something that won't necessarily be welcomed to the listener, "I'm at Lane's."

"You're at Lane's."

"Tanna and Janine and everyone are packing up and we discovered we had three microwaves and none of us need them for the summer, so I thought I'd bring them down for Lane since, you know, she's without all the amenities at her new place. Just dropping in for a minute. I was going to come see you at the inn, I swear," Rory said.

"Rory, that's fine. Whatever, Lane needs three microwaves, Sookie's got her arm in a sling, Michel's dog-obsessed, the roof may or may not come off in this wind, and my head is threatening to start spinning full circles like Linda Blair before it pops off my body altogether. The sky is dark at three in the afternoon and the world is coming to an end. It's going to be very War of the Worlds, I hear," she said. "If you get a chance to stop in, I would love to see you. If you don't, I'll see you soon anyway."

"You have time for a cup of coffee at Luke's, later?"

"Rory. This is Mom, here. I always have time for a cup of coffee at Luke's."

"—reat. I—eet—ere—a—r?"

"What? Rory, you're cutting out. You're like… something that's cutting out." She paused. "And that was lame. I'm tapped."

"—om?"

"Rory?"

"—an't hear you. L—s—r?"

"L—s—r, right, Rory, honey, just call me later."

As Lorelai spoke the phone cut out, the lights flickered three times and died. She stared in horror at the phone in her hand and looked around the house, her mouth agape. She stamped her foot, just once. "No, no, no," she said. "Not happening, too much to do!" She ran in stocking feet towards the living room, knocking into the end table and tripping over her shoes, stopping short in front of the dead face of her laptop. "Oh, this is bad, this is bad, this is bad, I've got things to do, too many things to do!" She put her forehead in her hand, leaning forward. "Okay, Lorelai, take it down a notch, you're edging on Rainman territory here: you've got things to do, meaning what? Letters to write, for which you need a computer, which currently you don't have and the laptop battery is crap because Rory's a workaholic and wore it down, so you need power and the power's out, so what do people do when the power is out to get the power to be not out?" She took a breath. "They get a generator—who do you know with a generator?" Her head shot up with realization and she was up the stairs, tearing off her thin, pretty (pretty) black blouse with the embroidery and unzipping the skirt before she'd made it to the top stair, stepping out of her skirt as she passed through the door. She tripped over the pile of jeans by the bedside table, falling into the bed and jarring her elbow against the table top.

"Fuck, fuckity, fuck fuck fuck!" she crowed, dropping to her knees and cupping her elbow in her opposite hand. "Fuck." She grabbed the first pair of jeans available and hiked herself into them, trying to ignore the pain. She hurtled herself over the bed and grabbed a tee out of the closet and a pair of flip flops—the air smelled like rain, the wind was at a terrible pitch, but chances were she could sprint into town before the storm began or got too heavy. She ran back down the stairs, pausing to hop and loose whatever was suck in the left leg of her jeans. She stooped to pick it up—there was the good thong. Without thinking, she jammed it into her pocket and grabbed her keys on the way out the door. Damned stupid idea to leave the Jeep at the inn.

As Lorelai rounded the corner, the rain began to fall.