Disclaimer: This is an original story based upon the characters of Gilmore Girls. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit will be made from this story.
Author's Note: And so another story ends. I am sad to see this one go! I have so enjoyed your feedback. Thank you so much for your support. I hope you enjoy this last installment of The Story of Us.
Elizabeth Reynolds was a tall woman, very thin and with tight cheek bones. We used to be good friends, but we never saw each other now that Joshua was retired except for the annual hospital benefit. I could tell she knew there was something on our minds as she ushered Richard and I into the living room and called for Joshua.
"Emily," she said, taking both of my hands in hers. "I'm so glad your granddaughter was brought back to you safe and sound."
"Thank you Elizabeth," I said. "We both feel very blessed."
"Emily, Richard—hello," Joshua said sweeping into the room. He always entered rooms as though he was headed into a trauma.
Richard extended his hand and Joshua took it and gave him a firm handshake. Then he kissed my cheek and motioned for us to sit down.
"Can I get you anything?" Elizabeth asked.
"No thank you," I said and Richard shook his head. We sat for a few minutes, awkwardly staring at our feet and suddenly I wished I had asked for a drink—what was it Mia had said all those years ago? "Tea usually makes things like this a little less awkward, there are things to hold and stir."
"Emily, Richard," Joshua broke the silence, "Elizabeth and I were praying for you during your crisis," he said as he reached over and took Elizabeth's hand.
Richard reached over and put his arm around me, "Thank you Joshua," he said. "That means a great deal to us,"
Again there was another awkward silence between us until I finally looked up at him and said it, "I remembered Joshua."
I know I didn't need to tell him what I was talking about, whether it was Lorelai's kidnapping or loosing the baby. He sighed and gave me a sympathetic smile, "I was wondering if all of this would jog your memory. I'm so sorry Emily," he said.
I swallowed hard and looked down at my hands. Suddenly he came and knelt down in front of me.
"Emily, I know what you came here to ask. And the answer is I simply don't know. Did you loose the baby because of the trauma you were going through? I don't know. It's possible," he place a hand on mine. "Let me tell you what I do know," he continued. "I know that I have never seen a woman who was more excited to find out she was carrying life than you. I know that child would have been loved and cared for. Let me tell you what else I do know Emily. This was not your fault. This was the actions of a mad woman and there was nothing you could have done differently. What if I had been there? What if Richard had known? What if Richard and I had told you to stop searching for Lorelai? Would it have made any difference? You would have snuck out the window in the middle of the night if you had to. I was there when Lorelai was born. That girl is your life. There was nothing that could have stopped you from searching that night."
Tears were starting to slowly fall down my cheeks again. I looked up at him. "But I still sacrificed one child's life for another," I whispered. Richard brought his hand up to my back and smoothed it back and forth
"But there was no way you could have known that," Joshua countered. "That's what I'm saying Emily. You did what you had to do. It was awful, and it wasn't fair, but it happened—it just happened."
I looked up at him again and swallowed hard.
"I know that isn't much consolation," he said. "It was still your child."
"Yes, yes it was," I said, unconsciously brushing my hand over my abdomen where I had housed two babies. "Thank you, Joshua," I said, placing a hand over his. "It does help."
"Maybe I have something that would help as well," Elizabeth said. She walked away into her room and about ten minutes later she came back. In her hand she held a small yellow stuffed dog. She walked towards me and placed it in my hands.
"This has been in the bottom of my cedar chest for thirty-seven years," she said, cupping her hands over mine as I held the little dog. I bought this for you the day you told me you were pregnant. I was the only one you had told before you left for Paris. I kept it all these years—just in case you ever remembered and you needed something tangible to hold, to remind you of the baby."
"Thank you Liz," I choked out as I held on to the soft furry creature. We ended up staying for lunch and left with a promise to stay in touch. The small dog was placed on the mantle at home, never to be removed again
Seven months after Alicia came home, Lorraine Shetford was found guilty on a charge of kidnapping—Lorelai's case, accomplice to kidnapping—Alicia's case, and attempted murder. I was there in the courtroom as I watched them lead her out in her orange jumpsuit—away to the prison where she would spend the next thirty years of her life.
She turned around and faced me as she was about to walk through the door and the hatred in her eyes burned intensely. The policeman jerked her head back to the front and once and for all, Lorraine Shetford walked out of my life. We were walking through the courthouse when suddenly I saw George standing quietly by a window, overlooking the city.
"I'll be right there," I said, placing a hand on Richard's chest and he nodded. I hurried over to George and then quietly stepped up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm so sorry George," I whispered.
He turned to me and smiled. "Emily, I'm the one who should be saying that to you,"
"George," I said. "I have to know something. Why? Why me? Why did she hate me so much? I thought we were friends. Was there anything…anything at all that I did to make her hate me so?"
"Emily—it doesn't matter. Nothing justifies what she did, what she taught my kid to do, to believe. She's got a twenty year sentence—my kid, she's going to almost be in her sixties by the time she's out"
"George, please. I have to know."
"It was the party," he said hesitantly after a few minutes. "The party you threw when you were pregnant with Lorelai."
"What do you mean? What party?"
"The rose garden party—the one where you had the hundred candles in the back yard, lighting up the roses. You were serving lemonade and those English cookies you had brought back with you from London—the lemon wafers. She wanted to be invited to that party more than anything else in the world. She waited and waited for days for her invitation. It never came. That night of the party, she sat up in her window and watched the party and cried. She never felt like she fit in Emily, she felt awkward and wanted so badly to be dainty and elegant. She wanted to be included so badly. That night she kept saying over and over how badly she had wanted one of those lemon wafers," he stopped and suddenly his voice was shaking. "From that day on she was convinced that you hated her, you were a snob, and it escalated from there. It wasn't just that Emily, she was a sad person, she hated me as well. I guess that when she found the cult she 'found some meaning' and now thirty-seven years later, here we are. It doesn't justify anything Emily. Not anything."
I didn't say anything, just put my hand on his shoulder and then reached up to kiss his cheek. "Take care of yourself George," I said. "Come by and see us," and then I turned and walked out to where Richard was waiting.
My mind was spinning all the way home. I hardly remember that party—let alone why I had not invited Lorraine. What if I had? Would it all have been different? Richard kept one hand on the steering wheel and one hand placed firmly on my knee, as we drove silently to the house.
"Emily," he said as we pulled in to the driveway, "I don't know what he told you, but nothing…and I mean nothing that you said or did to that girl in the past justifies what she did."
I turned towards him and patted his cheek then I slowly walked inside and sat down in the living room. My eyes were focused on Lorelai's family picture on the mantle piece and the small yellow dog next to it. The next thing I knew I was picking up the phone and calling Royal Bakery, who occasionally got in imported cookies from England.
I asked them if they had lemon wafers and they did.
Then I asked them to send a box of them Hartford Correctional Facility
I didn't know if they would let her have them.
I don't know to this day if she ever got them.
But that wasn't the point.
With Lorraine and April behind bars, Detective Stevens's job had become easier. In order to get a lighter sentence, April Kelly had ratted out the names of several members of the cult. But there are still many more out there, and we always must take precautions. We had an alarm system installed in Lorelai's house and ours, and whenever we are out, we never let Alicia out of our sight.
Just after Alicia's one year old birthday, Missie Bates remarried. Richard and I flew down to California to attend the wedding and during the congratulations, I thought I saw a familiar looking man and woman, watching me intently from the corner of the room. I turned to look at them and mouthed, "She's just fine." The woman smiled, and her husband put his arm around her and led her out the door.
Three months after Alicia's first birthday, I heard a knock at my door and since I was closer than the maid, I went to answer it. To my surprise there was no one there, just a delicate tea cup with small blue flowers on it. Inside were two bubble gum cigars, one pink and one blue. I picked it up and looked around curiously, and then noticed the note in the tea cup. I pulled out and read the all too familiar handwriting…
"Light the cigars and pass the tea. Here comes grandchild number three"
It was shortly after that that Lorelai and Luke took there first vacation since Alicia was born and left her with us for the weekend. Richard and I were delighted. We moved Rory's old crib out of the attic and into our room—there would be no nannies this time around. It took an hour before Lorelai and Luke could finally leave, promising that they were going to call us every hour on the hour. After about seven hours, they finally realized that they could relax…and called every two hours.
The first night she was with us, I laid awake and listened to the sound of her breathing, slowly relaxing into a deep sleep. A few hours later I woke up and wrapped an arm around Richard…and to my surprise, my hand hit his feet. I woke up and saw that he was lying on his stomach, his head on the end of the bed, resting on his folded arms, and he was looking intently at Alicia. I smiled and shifted down to the edge of the bed to join him.
"Richard," I whispered, "She's not going anywhere,"
He smiled and put his arm around me, kissing the top of my head. I snuggled into his embrace and together we just laid there and watched out baby sleep. We had been lying there for about thirty minutes when suddenly she stirred and started crying. I hurried of the bed and lifted her out of her bed.
"It's alright, Sweetheart," I cooed. "Grandma's here. Grandma's right here."
Suddenly Richard stood up and walked over to me. He took Alicia in one arm and then with his free hand, he took mine and brought me close to him, gently sandwiching the warm baby between us, Richard began to dance with me. I laughed slightly as he began to sing.
"Bill, I love you so, I always will."
I sang along with him and all wasas it should have been in the beginning.
As our girl fell quietly to sleep, resting in her grandfather's strong arms, Richard leaned down and kissed me.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," I said.
Life was beautiful