bestkept - We will get to informing the elder Gilmores eventually. They will not walk around in the dark forever, but that's as much as I can say for now. Just keep on reading.
Candygal - Thank you, I am always happy to hear from new readers.
karose10 - I can't say Emily's intention was for Rory to end up in the class, more likely she was looking to help Rory make new contacts at Yale, especially contacts so close to the Hartford society as Cate.
Copop - lol, yeah, I decided to change the name because I go by 'Misskitten' pretty much everywhere else on the web, might as well make it more consistent. Unfortunately there already was a 'Miss Kitten' here, so 'Ms Kitten' it is. Sorry for teasing you, but I think you, too, have to admit that it's a bit too early for another baby. Not saying there won't be one eventually, but if so, it will have to be a little bit later.
- I swear, Mrs. Cassidy, Lorelai said for the umpteenth time that day. - I am on it. I called the plumber and they are fitting us in to have this problem fixed today, I promise. Are you sure you don't want me to move you to another room? ... Yes, I realize you are paying for the honeymoon suite, but we will of course compensate you...
Lorelai temporarily rested the receiver against her chest to catch a breath as the woman rambled on about the money she was spending, the level of service she was entitled to, ignoring the fact that Lorelai couldn't exactly pull a plumber out of thin air, that these things took time and there wasn't much Lorelai could do about that. She let out a sigh as she picked the receiver up for a moment to hear if the woman was closing in on the end of her ramble. No sign of that happening anytime soon, Lorelai lowered the phone once again, sending another pleading look to the rude French concierge to take the problem off her hands.
- It did not work an hour ago, Michel pointed out in his dry, monotone voice, not even looking up from his work. - What makes you think it will now?
Lorelai sighed and covered the receiver with her free hand.
- And here I thought Bridezillas were supposed to get nicer once the wedding was over and done with.
- Except the ones who have their honeymoons ruined by exploding water pipes, Michel pointed out as he continued sorting through his green and pink post-its, as if it was the most important task in the world.
- And it's not even noon yet, Lorelai muttered, lifting the receiver back up only to realize to her horror that the ramble had been terminated earlier than anticipated. - What? No, of course I was listening...
As she listened to the woman scolding her for not paying more attention to her rambling, Lorelai looked up to see Michel smirking at her. Before she could shoot daggers at him for enjoying her misery, she spotted a familiar face in the doorway. Kirk did not look himself as he was uncharacteristically dressed up in a suit two sizes too big for him, undoubtedly his fathers or one of his brothers', carrying a slightly worn briefcase containing God knows what. He looked to mean business, which could only mean one thing; trouble.
- Oh God, not today, Lorelai groaned, then realized she was still on the phone. - No, not you...
- Excuse me, Lorelai, Kirk said.
Lorelai quickly motioned for him to wait, while dealing with her current issue.
- Of course we appreciate your feedback, criticism especially, but I'm afraid that until the plumber actually gets here to tend to the pipes, there really is little I can do besides offer to move you to another room temporarily... No, I can't say when the plumber will be here exactly... Tell you what, if he hasn't arrived by four o'clock, then dinner for you and your husband, dessert included will be on the house... Okay, but I have another issue to attend to, I will come straight to you when the plumber arrives... Okay, bye.
Lorelai groaned and rubbed her temple, breathing deeply in and out a couple of times to gather herself.
- What can I do for you, Kirk?
- I have a business proposal for you, Kirk replied. - Well, you and Sookie, actually.
- A business proposal, huh? It's not another line of skincare products, is it? 'Cause we all remember what happened the last time.
- Not at all, Kirk assured her. - My days in the cosmetics industry are over.
- So, what's this new business endeavor of yours?
- Actually I was wondering if we could make this more of an official meeting.
- Official how, Lorelai asked, almost dreading the answer.
- How about lunch, Kirk suggested, then added. - On the house.
Lorelai silently shook her head.
- 'On the house' only applies to when you are the owner of the establishment, she pointed out. - Also, from a business point of view, making a prospective client pay for lunch is probably not the way of winning them over.
- I would offer to pay myself, but unfortunately mother has confiscated my wallet. It might take me a couple of days to get it back.
- Pitiful man, Michel muttered, only loud enough for Lorelai to hear it.
Trying hard to stay professional, despite of who she was dealing with, Lorelai sent the concierge a warning glance before turning back to Kirk. While she was curious to know why Kirk's mother had taken the wallet of her thirty-odd year old son, she knew asking Kirk for details was like opening a can of worms. And considering she didn't really have the time to hear Kirk out as it was, getting the whole story was currently out of question.
- Well, lunch here has been cut, anyway, so it doesn't really matter.
- There's always Luke's, Kirk suggested. - It does, of course, require you talking him into letting me have a tab, as I have yet to convince him, myself.
- I think that's beyond even my persuasive abilities, Lorelai pointed out.
- Damn, Kirk muttered. - Now where am I supposed to eat all my meals?
- At home, Lorelai suggested.
- Mother's on a diet, Kirk explained. - The fridge is pad-locked and I'm sadly allergic to broth.
- That's unfortunate, Lorelai acknowledged.
- Of course, I could maybe ask Lulu to bring something over when she sneaks in tonight.
- Sneaks in..? Um, never mind.
Lorelai noticed the light on the baby monitor flickering. Whatever it was detecting clearly wasn't loud enough for the monitor to transmit sound, but all signs indicated that her son would be waking up soon. Noticing that Michel was without a task, she looked to him.
- Sorry, no, I don't do babies, Michel replied, dryly.
- I can check, myself, but that will leave you to deal with Kirk.
Michel turned on the spot;
- I'll go, but if he needs a diaper, I am handing him back to you.
Lorelai checked the time on the inn's computer.
- Okay, Sookie's probably still swamped with clearing out breakfast, but aside from a couple of bus boys, the dining room should be clear, if you can pitch your idea inside of fifteen minutes, I can hear you out.
- I'm afraid I'm gonna need both you and Sookie present.
- Kirk, in case you failed to notice, we are running a very busy inn here, I can't just pull my head chef out of the kitchen on a moments notice. She has a job to do, and frankly, so do I.
- I understand, Kirk nodded, gesturing to the loveseat by the window. - I'll just go sit over here until you have a minute.
Before Lorelai had time to answer, the reception phone rang. Lorelai halfway expected it to be the Bridezilla calling once more to light a fire under her feet on the plumber situation, but answered it anyway;
- Dragonfly Inn, Lorelai speaking.
Fortunately the caller was just someone looking to book a room for September. Maybe her luck was turning? Hanging up, she received one more call, this time, too, just someone looking to book a room. Michel finally returned to the room, carrying a semi-awake William in his arms. For someone claiming to detest babies, Michel looked oddly comfortable with holding William, but then again, Lorelai had yet to see someone not fall head over heels with her son. He just had that effect on people.
- I am hereby handing over your offspring, he announced. - And informing you that the 'missing link' is still here and is staring at you.
Lorelai glanced over towards the window, seeing exactly what Michel was talking about. Kirk was sitting quietly in the loveseat, not doing anything besides looking at her, following her every move. It was very distracting, not to mention unsettling.
- Kirk? Could you please not do that?
- Do what?
Lorelai gave him a look.
- Oh, Kirk realized. - I'm sorry, it's just that will this take long? Because I borrowed this suit from my brother, Mick, and he needs it back by two o'clock.
Lorelai knew that giving in now would be like giving in to terrorist demands, but there was no way she could get any work done before Kirk was out of there. She pointed in direction of the dining room.
- You go set up whatever you need and I'll find Sookie. But fifteen minutes is what you'll get.
Kirk didn't need to be told twice and headed straight for the dining room. Lorelai turned to give Michel a look warning him from commenting on her giving in and then headed towards the kitchen, William snoozing in her arms. Like she anticipated, the kitchen was booming with life. The bus boys were carrying in stacks of plates, leftover food was being scraped off plates, tray by tray with plates, glass and cutlery were being run through the industrial dishwasher, the content then stacked back up into the cupboards, all ready for the next meal. Sookie was finishing cleaning the stove and going over the benches, when she spotted Lorelai standing in the doorway.
- Hey, she said, chipperly. - I thought you were battling the unsatisfied customers. Did the plumber get here already?
- I was, and no, the plumber is still MIA. However, Kirk stopped by with his latest business proposal.
- Oh no, Sookie sympathized. - You're in need of caffeine, aren't you?
- Yes, I am, but that's not why I'm stopping by. Because as it turns out, Kirk needs the both of us present to hear his proposal, and until we hear him out, he's gonna be in the reception, driving me insane.
- Okay, Sookie said, understandingly. - Well, I'm close to done here, anyway, so I can take a few minutes off. Why don't I make us some coffee, and maybe a mid-morning snack?
- Coffee, yes. Snack, no. I don't want to give Kirk the impression this is a lunch meeting.
- Got it, coffee coming up.
The coffee warm and in dangerous proximity to a sleepy, but way too curious William, Lorelai handed her son over to Sookie before allowing her to even pick up the mug. As they entered the dining room, they could see that Kirk had set up his presentation. It didn't give away anything, as it was merely called 'Kirk's Presentation'. Lorelai and Sookie each pulled out a chair from the neighboring table and made them face Kirk and the presentation before sitting down.
- Okay, Kirk, Lorelai said. - We're all ears.
- Right, over the past few weeks I've been observing Ms. Gilmore and Mr. Danes on their arrangement regarding the infant known as William Danes, then compared this to my observations on the Belleville's arrangement with the infant known as Davey Edward Belleville.
- Kirk, you've known us forever, what's with the formality?
- I thought it would sound better, Kirk stated, plainly.
- If creepy's better, then yes, Lorelai pointed out. - Just use our names, Kirk.
- As you wish, Kirk nodded. - Now, as I was saying, I observed each of you on the days you had custody of the baby; I logged work efficiency, level of service, number and length of breaks etc. and from there estimated how they compared to days where your partner had custody. In addition I polled a selection of customers on how they as customers experienced the impact of the baby's presence.
Lorelai now recalled having seen Kirk around more than usual in the past few weeks. However, her ability to tune the man out when needed had allowed her not to think much of it. After all, Kirk was Kirk, and there was no way of knowing what he was up to until he, himself, decided to elaborate.
- I have to say that Lorelai and Luke's arrangement with taking baby William to work every other day made my research a lot easier, Kirk pointed out. - I found out that on days where you or Luke had custody of baby William; your work efficiency dropped almost thirty percent, your total break time grew an astonishing four hundred percent. This was much easier detected at the diner, where customer mass and demands were more consistent. Sookie and Jackson's arrangement with Jackson taking the baby on most days made it harder for me to compare efficiency to that of Lorelai and Luke. I did, however, notice that fruit and vegetable deliveries took up to three times more time than any other deliveries. But this could also be due to Sookie and Jackson's romantic relations and not necessarily the baby. I also observed that any lunch breaks that included a baby lasted more than twice as long than those that didn't. This was pretty much consistent with Lorelai's lunch breaks.
Lorelai wanted to point out this was because that unless she had a lunch meeting of any kind, she and Sookie pretty much took their lunch breaks together. But she resisted the urge.
- When determining how baby Davey affected Jackson's productivity, I had to observe a competing, but single produce man over in Woodbury. Unfortunately he took my observations as expressing interest and issued a restraining order. This inabled me to complete my research, so without exact calculations, all I can determine is that Jackson was less productive in his day than his competition, which most likely was a result of having custody of the kid.
- Kirk, it's not that we don't appreciate being told how our performance is affected by our family ties, but where are you going with all of this?
- Yeah, Sookie agreed. - What's up with the meeting?
- What my research has concluded is that to uphold general productivity and efficiency there's a fundamental need for an organized institution for taking care of children while their parents work.
- Like a daycare, Lorelai concluded.
- Yes, exactly, Kirk nodded. - Which is where my business proposal comes in.
Kirk flipped a page on his presentation, revealing a picture of Kirk's mother's house with the title 'Kirk's Daycare Center' above it. Lorelai and Sookie's eyes met.
- I realize that Stars Hollow already have a preschool, which one may argue is very much like a daycare, but my incentive is that 'Kirk's Daycare Center' will not only cover ages three and up, but also open up for accepting children of toddler age and below as well. There will no longer be need for one parent to stay home or bringing the kids to work; Kirk's here to help! And being some of my first customers, I can offer you a great deal.
Lorelai was momentarily mute, not sure how to put it gently.
- Kirk, she finally said. - You realize you're asking people to trust you with their kids, right? Kids, as in plural? As in more than one?
- Don't you worry, Lorelai. I am well prepared, Kirk insisted. - I've taken a course in CPR, I have bought several books on child psychology and I have excellent recommendations from all my previous employers. I will, of course, also be hiring help. You already know Lulu, she's great with kids.
- You mean Lulu's gonna work there part-time, Lorelai asked. - Or is she gonna quit her job at the school?
- We haven't come around to discussing it, yet.
- But she's said she's interested, Lorelai prodded, having a hard time believing Lulu would give up her current job for a project so doomed to fail as this one.
- I haven't asked her yet, Kirk admitted. - But she's very supportive.
Lorelai and Sookie's eyes met once more, both of them desperate to find a nice way of saying no.
- Kirk, Lorelai started, ransacking her mind for the right words. - Choosing daycare for our kids, it's not something we can decide on a whim...
- Say no more, Kirk assured them. - I understand completely.
He opened his briefcase, from which he handed each of them a pamphlet.
- Take this home and read it, he told them. - On the back you will find contact information and an application form. You will see me in town all week, so if you have anymore questions don't hesitate to ask.
- Uh, okay, Kirk, Lorelai said, refraining on commenting on the last thing Kirk had said. - So, thank you for that presentation, but we really have to get back to work, and your brother probably would like his suit back.
- Thank you for hearing me out, Kirk replied, shaking both of their hands in a professional manner.
Sookie left for the kitchen as Kirk packed up his equipment. Lorelai was about to head back to the reception when Kirk called for her one more time.
- Hey, Lorelai, could I maybe leave some pamphlets in the reception?
- In case the guests like Stars Hollow so much they decide to move here?
- Bad idea, Kirk asked.
- Just a tad.