Disclaimer: This is an original story based upon the characters of Gilmore Girls. No profit will be made from this story and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Thank you to all who have read and reviewed this story. I feel a lot like I did when I finished History Repeats. Stories become your children in a way and it's hard to finish them and move on. Writing this story has been a learning experience for me—thank you to all who were willing to share in the journey! I have really enjoyed your comments. Thank you. I hope you enjoy this final chapter. BTW, if the end confuses you, go back and read the first chapter.
That morning, when Luke and I came down the stairs for breakfast, we found Dad at the table staring in to space. I asked him if there was anything wrong and he said he had had a very strange dream about Mom, he had been walking through a snowstorm, ended up at the house where Mom had given him some hot chocolate. He had spilled it and she had tried to wipe it up. He had knelt down beside her and together they had scrubbed the stain until it was gone. Then he had held out his hand for her, and standing up had enveloped her in his arms, holding her, telling her how much he loved her. He looked up at me and we both had tears in our eyes.
"She said, 'I know Richard. I know. I love you too," he said smiling. I kissed him on his cheek. "We should talk later Dad," I said smiling.
It's over three years later now. It's May, and as I sit in my folding chair, I am looking around at the trees in full bloom. It's beautiful. For the minute, I'm alone—well, there are a few other parents around me, but none of my family is here yet. Its here, it's actually happening. I can't help remembering back to her graduation from Chilton. "We never thought this day would come," she had said in her valedictorian speech. All of us share her sentiment this time around. It's really happening—the day we have dreamed about for twenty-six years.
Two months after Mom died Rory started going to counseling. She said she needed to talk to someone. At first she wouldn't tell me about the sessions, but after awhile she'd invite me to come with her. Sometimes Dad would come too and after awhile, some times it would just be Dad and I. Sometimes the sessions were very hard, and there were a lot of times I wanted to run, but it was the best thing that could have possibly happened. The Gilmore family learned to talk to each other and we learned to really listen. That summer at a family dinner, Rory announced she would be returning to Yale. It was a long hard road getting back in. She enrolled at a community college nearby and reapplied three times after she was turned down. I'll never forget the day she showed up on my door step with the acceptance letter in her hand. We jumped up and down and screamed longer than we had the first time.
"Hey," a voice from behind me said, and I felt a firm hand on my shoulder. Luke sidled past me, carrying the video camera, the digital camera, and the diaper bag.
"Where's Colton?" I asked, smiling at him trying to balance himself out. He pointed his thumb behind me and I turned to see Dad coming up the isle, carrying my little Colton Luke Danes. He had one of Colton's tiny hands in his large one and was pointing out some birds that were flying over head.
"Dose big birds Drandpa!" Colton said in amazement. I watched delightedly as Dad nodded.
"Yes, those are big birds Colton. Are you ready to watch Rory graduate?" Colton clapped his hands at the mention of his adored big sister.
"Rory gradulate!" he shouted gleefully and then proceeded to inform everyone around him, "Rory gradulate!" he said to everyone that walked by.
"Okay Mister," I called, holding out my arms for him. He wriggled out of Dad's arms and ran over to me.
"Rory gradulate Mommy!" he shouted again.
I nodded and smiled, "That's right Sweetheart," I said, hugging him to me.
"Where's Jared?" Dad asked as he sat down next to Luke.
"He's coming. I'm sure he's smooching with the graduate." I replied smiling.
Sookie and Jackson arrived next with Davy and Martha. More and more people started coming, filing in their chairs. I still can't believe this is happening. I am so excited I can hardly sit still.
"Dared!" Colton shouts excitedly and I look up to see my very handsome six foot three son-in-law making his way over to me.
"Hi pal!" Jared says, swinging Colton up in the air and putting him on his shoulders.
"Hi Mom," Jared says to me, putting his hand on my shoulder.
"How's she doing?" I ask. "Is she nervous? Is she barfing? Does she have her running shoes on—because that stage is like sixty miles long! This is going to last until my fiftieth birthday if they expect us to wait for every graduate to walk across that stage!"
Jared chuckles and says, "She's fine." She told me to send you a message.
"What?" I asked. He bent down and made a face sticking out his tongue.
"Oh my son, my son, we must tutor you in the art of making faces." I said in pretend disapproval. He shook his head and smiled and then took his seat by Dad, with Colton still on his shoulders. I watched him for a few minutes, and wondered if I could have picked out a more perfect man for my daughter.
Rory had been walking on campus one day when she had seen Jared, at a table advertising a photography club. I'll never forget the day she came home and told me she needed to learn how to take pictures with something other than a Wal-Mart disposable camera because she had joined the photography club. After I almost went into labor because I was laughing so hard, she showed me a picture of the photography club's president. I never questioned her again. Rory did learn how to take pictures outside of disposable cameras. She got so good at it that down the street there is a newly built little shop with "Rory" painted all fancy in the window. There is a bunch of fancy photography equipment all in boxes, waiting for the new photographer to start business. She's already booked for three weddings.
Lane came next, still single and loving playing with the band. Then Paris and her husband Jack came and sat down. I looked back at the two of them. Each had a baby twin in their arms. The newly graduated Dr. Paris Stevens had been told when she got married to her cardiologist husband that they couldn't have children. I guess somebody didn't tell that doctor that no one ever says, "You can't" to Paris Gellar. Just four months ago, she and her husband had adopted little Marc and Cleo. (Paris had been reading about Cleopatra and Marc Antony when they met). I never really imagined Paris as a mother. I have to laugh—they look like Frasier and Lillith.
Five minutes before the graduation started, Chris came running down the aisle, pushing a complaining Gigi. He ducked into his seat and forced the little girl to sit on his lap. I looked over at him and pretended to be furious, pointing to my watch. He smiled and simply shrugged. Some things never change.
Suddenly the music started and we all looked towards the front, waiting for her to walk in.
"Can you see her?" Luke asked, scanning the sea of black for Rory with the video camera.
"No," I replied, trying to see over the people in front of me.
Suddenly Colton cries out, "There's Rory! Hi Rory! She's gradualating! Look Drandpa! Rory's gradulating!"
Luke grabbed him from up top Jared's shoulders and there were a few chuckles around us at his outburst. Rory turned to us and waved. She seemed to glow. She was the Rory of the old days again. I started to cry as I watched her walk across the grass and take her seat. Her robes almost cover up her large stomach—almost. She's only six months along but so far she's showing to be like her mother, absolutely huge when she's pregnant. She had an ultrasound two months ago.
It's a girl
and I have a feeling I'm going to have another Emily in my life.
The ceremony starts and a little of my attention is on the speakers and most of it is on my children. One sitting down in front getting ready to graduate from Yale, the other noisily munching on cheerios he takes out of my hand. I am the luckiest woman in the world. Finally, the speakers finish and they read the graduate's names. I see her row stand up and prepare to take their places.
"Hannah Kristine Archer," the speaker reads in a monotone voice, "Julia Marie Bagley," I hold my breath as Rory steps up to the top step. Here we go.
"Lorelai Leigh Gilmore Baker," the announcer reads and all of us—even Dad are standing and clapping widely. She walks across the stage, gets her diploma and turns to us. For a minute, our eyes are locked on each other. We're too far away to say it, but I know we are feeling the same thing,
We did it
She then walks to the end of the stage and looks up into the sky. The next graduate's name has been called, and it looks like one of the ushers is motioning for Rory to hurry along. But she just stands there, looking up into the sky. The tears come again as I watch her blow a kiss up to Heaven and then walk down the stairs and sit back in her seat.
The graduation ends, and we stay for a while after the graduation taking pictures, and then Rory says she has to go get changed. There is a massive party in Stars Hollow tonight for her.
"Just a minute," I say and taking her by the hand, I lead her away from the group.
"Mom," she protests, "I'm not going to carve my name in Yale!"
"Just come with me," I say, scanning around for a place with no people. Finally we find a place up small grassy hill.
"Mom, six months pregnant here!" Rory whines as we climb.
"I wanted you to see it from up here," I reply.
"See what?" she asks impatiently.
"That," I reply as we reach the top.
Arching across the top of the sky is a beautiful rainbow.
Rory smiles, and puts her hand on her stomach. Here we are, the four Gilmore women. One of us has gone, and one has yet to make her appearance.
When the next Gilmore woman comes she will be loved and respected. I will rock her and sing to her about sunshine. When she is little I will put on the magic pink hat and make it snow. Every year on April 22nd, she will come over for dinner and we will have dinner using the silverware set and she will hear about Emily Ann Haines.
And some day, when she is old enough, I will show her the things in the cedar chest and tell her who her great-grandmother Emily really was.