Disclaimer: I still don't own Gilmore Girls, although, I wish I owned Luke and Jess.
A/N: The final chapter (pauses until the crying ceases. Lol.) will be a series of small stories (titles will be in italics at the beginning of each story) spanning over the next few years and told in different characters' POVs. If that makes any sense at all, God bless you. Lol. Enjoy.
I decided what I was going to be a long time ago. When the other kids said they'd be doctors, police officers, fire fighters, and space explorers, I aspired to be a journalist. I always had a hunger for reading. I wanted to be a part of the adventures described in those books and being a journalist was the best way to do so I could come up with. Everyone in my life supported me. From the eccentric people of Stars Hollow to the guys in the Yale newsroom. But of all my supporters, there are two people that I owe most of my success to. They supported me more than anyone else. More than my grandparents, more than my friends, and even more than my husband. The two people I owe it all to are none other than my parents, Luke and Lorelai Danes. I know it sounds cliché, but it's the truth.
Lorelai Danes is more than my mother and namesake. She's my best friend. No matter what was going on in her life or where she was, she was always there when I needed her. She felt she needed to build a kind of mother-daughter relationship that was for the books because of her relationship with her own mother. For many years, Lorelai and her mother Emily Gilmore's relationship was more like tyrant and peasant than the buddy-buddy relationship I had with mom. Emily Gilmore was raised by old money in high society and tried to pass on that lifestyle to her daughter. That didn't sit too well with Lorelai. Lorelai wanted to decide what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted freedom. So when she was sixteen, she took it. She packed her bags- and me- and set out for a new life.
The only lives Lorelai ever saved were mine when I got myself into a bind I couldn't get myself out of and her husband's by falling in love with him. She couldn't play sports if her life depended on it. Her life ambition was to be a part of The Bangles, but she wasn't that much of a musician. You may not see her face on TV, hear her voice on the radio, or see her name in the paper often. She's a hard worker, a provider, a mother. She made boo-boos disappear with a kiss and scared away the monsters under my bed.
One minute I was her little girl and then she blinked and I was grown. The morning of my wedding, as she helped me with my wedding dress, she told me I was her life ambition. She started to cry. She said she wasn't crying because she was going to miss me, that they were tears of joy. Seeing her oldest daughter all grown up and moving on made her so proud it made her cry. When I walked down at the aisle, I spotted her and I gave her a smile that told her that everything was going to be ok. A smile that told her she gave me wings to leave the nest. She said in fifty years, when she and Dad were in a nursing home, I'd be her hero for coming by to take care of them. But until then, I give my mother a smile that lets her know that she's somebody's hero- mine.
If you knew Luke Danes ten years ago, you'd probably think I was crazy for saying he's the kindest, most gentle, loving man I know. Luke Danes was, is, and probably always will be a grumpy, bitter, ill-tempered, and- quite frankly- scary guy. That is, to the rest of the world. He hides his emotions from everyone but his family. He's the kind of man that would threaten to beat someone up for complaining about not having their eggs cooked at an insanely precise heat (cough, Kirk, cough) and be agitated the rest of the day, then go home to his family, laugh, smile, play games and read to his kids, and spent the rest of the night telling his wife how much he loves her. He's the kind of man that would do things for you he didn't have to. The kind of man that would feed you mashed potatoes when you have the chicken pox, read you a bed time story when you can't sleep and Mommy's still working, make you a coffee cake for your sixteenth birthday, go to your high school graduation when your biological father can't make it. He's the kind of man to build you a chuppah for your wedding even if you're not Jewish, but just because you asked him to.
He didn't have to do those things, but he did because he wanted to. He did them to make me happy, to see me smile, but more importantly, to show how much he cared. Luke knew what it was like to grow up without a parent. It was hard growing up without his mother since he was eight and he didn't want to see me struggle with the pain like he did. So he was there. When Mom and I met Luke, we went from something's missing to a family.
I asked him to walk me down the aisle, along with my biological father Christopher Hayden, on my wedding day and he happily obliged. Five minutes before the walked me down the aisle, he was sitting in a chair with his head between his knees, hyperventilating. He was more nervous than I was! And it was a reassuring feeling. I put my hand on his back and he looked up at me. I told him everything would be ok and flashed him my famous smile. Suddenly, he was fine. It's my belief that this world needs more men like Lucas Danes Sr. They need more men to stand up and do the right thing- to go above and beyond the call of duty. Luke didn't have to be there. He didn't have to raise me. He didn't have to care. And yet, he was and he did. He did a job that wasn't his. He was a man he didn't have to be and I couldn't ask for more.
"So?" I asked, breaking the silence that's fallen upon us since I handed them the article. "What do you think?"
"It's beautiful," Mom replied. I could hear the tears she was holding back in her voice.
"Dad? Do you like it?" I turn to Luke. He sat back in his chair and is covering his mouth with his hand as he rereads the article.
"Words can't describe what I feel right now," he manages to get out. "Thank you." Luke smiled and got out of his seat. "This is going up on the Rory Wall."
"Dad don't. Mom, please stop him."
"This is your first article. It has to go on the wall," Mom insisted.
"That wall is creepy. It's like a shrine for some wacko cult you two started."
"We're proud of you," Luke defended. "I'm just displaying my daughter's accomplishments so that when I'm old, I can look back and tell the world how great you are."
It's no use. He's going to do it whether I like it or not and there's nothing I can do to stop the insanity. Once I got past the weird, uncomfortable feeling, I actually felt honored. The fact that they would do something as creepy as make a Rory Wall lets me know how much they really do care. Who would have known that my first published article in a real newspaper for all the world to see would be about my parents? Ok. Maybe I did.
There's something about Sundays that changes people. On Sundays, the people of this insane town actually act normal. Normal in this town isn't calling a stupid town meeting to discuss the fact that Mr. Johnson's dog peed on Taylor's lawn again. Normal is not seeing Kirk run down the street naked, screaming at the top of his lungs because of a nightmare he had. Normal is…not this town. But on Sunday, they are normal. I've been going to Sunday service at the local church for quite a while now. I managed to drag Luke and Lorelai with me too. Luke's never been the church-going type, but my grandparents were so he went. He even had Will baptized in the church he- every Danes for that matter- was baptized in.
Today is the first Sunday in years I spend without Luke and Lorelai. As I searched my soul for what I wanted to do with my life, I happened to find someone. Her name is Joan. She's Dean's wife's cousin. I met her last year at Rory's anniversary party. We're getting married in a few months and we moved into my new house. Upon my graduation from Hartford Community College earlier this year, Richard Gilmore gave me a more than generous gift. He gave me the deed to my grandparents' house. I later found out that Luke had struck a bargain with the Gilmores. He and Lorelai would continue to come to Friday night dinner and occasionally host the event if Richard gave me the house.
It'll be the little things that I'll miss the most. I've become accustomed to going to work and coming home to them. I'll miss coming home after a long day at the paper or the diner and walking in on Luke and Lorelai on the couch watching TV. They'd hear me trying to sneak upstairs and ask me how my day was and if I wanted something to eat. I'll even miss the nauseating glances they share at breakfast and dinner. I'll miss playing with my cousin and smuggling him a cookie before dinner. But most of all, I'll miss Luke. For a very long time, he was the one person I could trust.
I contemplated not moving out. Luke and Lorelai would have been more than happy to let Joan and I live with them. That way, I didn't have to miss out on the little things. It could be just like it's been for the past four and a half years. I live with Luke and Lorelai, they keep me out of trouble. I planned to tell Luke I wasn't going to move out for a while longer after church one Sunday, when he suddenly decided to take me fishing.
It was a cool, beautiful Sunday when we set out into the lake in the boat Luke built half of. He only took the boat out onto the lake a handful of times after he finished itThe first was when he finally finished the thing. He packed a picnic lunch, put Caesar in charge of the diner, and took Lorelai, Will, Rory, and me out for an afternoon at sea, er…lake, for quality family time and fishing. I joked around with him about joining the redneck yacht club. And today, here I am again, in a boat with Luke, fishing in the boat my grandfather started and the only true father figure in my life finished.
"It's a good thing you're doing," he said suddenly as he cast out his line.
"What's a good thing?" I asked. I never know what he's talking about.
"You moving out."
"Gee Uncle Luke. Nice to know you'll miss me."
"I didn't mean it like that. I was trying to say that it's good because you'll get to grow. You graduated college, the doctor said you'll be going into remission with the way things are going, you have a beautiful fiancée, and you're settling down. It's a good thing what you're doing. I'm proud of you." He was proud of me. No one had ever been proud of me before. "We'll miss you around the house though."
His voice was getting shaky. Man, this must be really hard for him. "I'll only be a few blocks away and we'll see each other every day."
"I know. It's just Richard and Emily are in Europe, your mom and T.J. are moving back to New York, Max and Rachel are getting settled into the married life, and Rory's been traveling more lately. It's gonna get lonely at home."
"You still got Lorelai and the kids."
"I know. It won't be the same though." Luke lowered his head. "Don't be a stranger ok?"
I was completely confused. He wanted me to stay, he wanted me to go. I wish I knew what he wanted. I'll stay if he says he wants me to stay. I'll go if he wants me to go. I'm frustrated now. I turn to yell at him and demand an answer. But when I saw him, his head, I got my answer. He wanted me to stay, but at the same time he wanted me to go. It was complicated, but I understood. He was going to miss me, but he wanted me to have what he has with Lorelai- the whole package. I wasn't going to have the package until I moved out.
"Yeah. I'll visit a lot, but not too much." He reached over and patted my shoulder without looking up once. He didn't want me to see him like this- vulnerable. He may not know it, but seeing him like this only makes me think he's stronger. I turned back to the lake and cast out again. Who ever said grown men don't cry?
As a little girl, I often wondered what "perfect" was because I was definitely not going to find it in Richard and Emily Gilmore's home. When I was three, I had my first cup of coffee and I thought where ever this stuff came from was perfect. At six, I thought it was having a lot of dolls with pretty dresses that I was actually allowed to play with. When I was ten, it was- ironically- Yale. At fourteen, anywhere but the Gilmore house. At sixteen, Rory. At thirty-six, marrying Luke. Thirty-seven, baby Will. And thirty-nine, Emily Mia aka Emma.
It's this in front of me. A beautiful Sunday morning as I walk onto my porch. The warm sun hitting my face. I head to the porch swing just in time to dodge my two children who come running out of the house screaming. The fact that they're still in their church clothes doesn't stop them from chasing each other on the front lawn. I watch as four year old Will chases two year old Emma around.
"Will, play nice with Emma," I call out to my son.
He nods, but doesn't stop running. I'm about to jump out of my seat and run ti the lawn when Emma trips and falls.
"Help her up son," Luke tells Will.
The chubby little boy helps his sister up and checks of boo-boos. When he sees that all is fine, they resume their running. "Seems we have a little Butch in training," I tease Luke as he heads my way with two cups.
"Ah jeez," he groans. He sits next to me and hands me one of the cups. I inhale the sweet scent of the coffee. "Do you have to do that?"
"I just love the smell of your coffee."
"I'll remember that for our next anniversary. I'll get you coffee scented perfume."
I laugh and he puts his arm around me. "Want a sip of my coffee?"
"Want a carrot?"
"Why would you ask me that?"
"I don't know. Why would you ask me if I want coffee?"
I curl up next to him and drink my coffee. We sit in silence drinking our respective drinks and Luke reads his paper. This has become our Sunday routine. After church, Luke and I will sit on the porch swing, drink coffee/tea, and read the paper while Jess, Will, and Emma play. Then Rory and Logan come over with our one year old granddaughter, Lorelai aka Lori. But the routine has changed a little. Jess isn't here to play with the kids and Rory, Logan, and Lori are in Boston because of work.
"This is nice," Luke says.
"What is?" I ask.
"This. Us sitting on the porch, relaxing and enjoying the day as we watch the kids play with each other on the lawn. It's nice."
"How 'All American' of you. All you need to do now is put up the flag."
"I'm trying to tell you how much I love doing this."
"We're sitting on the porch, drinking coffee and tea, reading the paper, and watching Will and Emma play. We do it every Sunday."
"I know. I'm just saying…never mind. Forget it." He lets out an exasperated sigh and goes back to his paper.
I don't get it. We do this every Sunday. He's never said how nice it was before and now he does. What's so special about it now? I focus on my children. Will and Emma are holding hands as they pick flowers from the ground. When they're done, they walk up the steps and over to us.
"We picked these for you Mommy," Will says as he holds out a fist full of flowers.
"Aw, thank you honey," I smile. I give my kids a big hug. "I'll put these in a vase and they'll go on the table."
"Daddy like flowers?" Emma asks as she places three flowers on Luke's lap.
Luke folds his paper and puts it on the table next to him. "I love them my little cupcake," he states. "But not as much as I love you." He places a kiss on Emma's forehead.
Will and Emma bolt off the porch and go back to chasing each other on the lawn. I look at the flowers Will gave me, then turn to Luke. He's gone back to reading the paper.
"Hey Luke," I call.
"Yeah?" he asks.
I smile. "This is nice."
"You read my mind," he smiles. He kisses me gingerly on the lips.
I snuggle up beside my husband, getting naturally situated under his arm, close my eyes, and smile. Now this is perfect.
A/N:Wow. I can't believe it's finally over. And it only took me forty chapters. Lol. Believe it or not, this is the third longest story I've written. I wrote one that was 63 (long) chapters, some of which were cut into parts. And there's another that's on chapter 53 or 54. Can't remember. Hahaha. But yeah. I want to thank everyone that's stuck with this story and for the great reviews everyone left. I really appreciate the support and praise. For those who will be looking for a sequel, it's gonna be called Breakaway. It's not what you'll expect. Some things will be heart breaking to read. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next time and in the words of my good friend Tom: be safe, stay smart, and keep off the grass. Lol. Thank you and goodnight!