It's almost dark by the time she leaves the hospital. They were supposed to be released that morning, but the doctor was late, and by the time the examination was done and they were both given a clean bill of health, the sun was starting to set.
The street lights are just beginning to turn on, bathing the street in an odd, yellow glow. Lorelai hums softly as she stands inside the glass hospital doors, waiting for the car to pull up. She shifts the baby in her arms, pulling the soft blanket he is wrapped in more snugly around his tiny frame. He coos softly, his eyelids flickering, but doesn't wake up. Lorelai smiles, staring down at her son. She can't imagine a more beautiful baby boy.
When she sees the car drive up a few feet away from the doors, she goes out to meet it, but has to stop just outside the hospital to readjust the baseball cap she's wearing. She pushes it up on her forehead so that it's no longer slipping into her eyes and obscuring her view. She'd put it on before leaving the maternity ward to hide the horrible mess her hair has become after two days in bed and a severe lack of styling products. She likes the way it feels on her head: loose and worn and comfortable.
Lorelai climbs into the front seat of the car after securing the baby in the car seat in back with Rory, who's all too happy to spend the ride watching her new baby brother sleep. Rory murmurs soothingly to him and strokes his tiny fist when he fusses upon being placed in the carrier, and it's only moments before he's peaceful again. Lorelai smiles. She can already tell that he's going to be a quiet baby. Like father, like son, she thinks.
When she's situated in the passenger seat, sitting gingerly to avoid aggravating the soreness, she lets herself look out the car window. She gazes up at the hospital looming before them, easily picking out one special window on the third floor, the second one from the left. A faint light is shining from inside the room, a lamp left on, perhaps. Lorelai sighs softly, lost in memories for a moment.
It had been so hard that summer. The chemo treatments were vile and awful and changed Luke into someone she barely recognized. He got so thin that his jeans wouldn't stay up on his hips and she had to buy him a new pair three sizes smaller. He lost his hair, and even though he wore his baseball cap most of the time and insisted he didn't care what he looked like, she knew he felt self-conscious. He became discouraged and cranky when he got so weak he had to stop working, and he was hard to be around a lot of the time.
There were so many things that made it the most dreadful few months of her life. There were the nights after each dose of chemotherapy, when he'd shake and sweat, wracked with endless nausea. There was the way he'd get frustrated when he was too weak to do something for himself, the way he'd take it out on her, snapping at her until she'd be too hurt to stay and would end up driving around for hours in her jeep, trying not to cry and failing miserably most of the time. But she always came back.
There were the weekly doctors appointments, the constant fear, the knowledge that the next word out of the oncologist's mouth could be "relapse."
And then there was the night she came home from the inn and found him collapsed on the living room floor. After she'd frantically called an ambulance, she'd reached behind his head to prop him up onto a pillow and found blood from where he'd hit the coffee table on the way down. She'd stared at the red stickiness on her hand and felt such a rush of cold fear she had to put her forehead between her knees to keep from passing out herself.
Shaking her head slightly, Lorelai forces herself too look away from the window. She turns around in her seat to gaze at her new son. The knot that has formed in her stomach begins to dissolve as she watches the baby's tiny chest rise and fall beneath the thin receiving blankets. A warmth settles over her, a peaceful feeling she faintly remembers from a dream she once had.
Smiling softly, she turns to the man in the driver's seat. "Home, James," she says quietly.
He nods and rolls his eyes, though he's smiling back at her. "Yes ma'am," he replies with only a slight note of sarcasm in his voice. She can see him looking in the rear-view mirror at the sleeping baby nestled in the car seat, his eyes shining.
As they head towards Stars Hollow, their hands meet on the seat between them, their fingers lacing together comfortably. With her other hand, she reaches up and grabs the bill of the baseball cap, rotating it so that it's on backwards. There, she thinks with a smile. That's better.