Chapter 1: Pink tutus

"Laila get your dolls out of the way, Sara remove your head from the table, Will stop playing with your football in here, sit down and eat!" Luke said, while he balanced two plates in one hand and picked up Sara´s jacket off the floor with the other. Emily had dropped them off at the diner after pre-school and kindergarten was over and now it was his turn to look after the kids.
Since another report about the Inn had come out a year ago, Lorelai was more than busy and was not able to look after the kids anymore during work. So Luke, Emily, and Richard had arranged a plan to look after the five year old William and his four year old sisters Sara and Laila.
After Luke placed the food in front of a customer he joined his children at the table and ate a sandwich while he listened to them.

"Daddy, today at school we drew a picture and then Mrs. Ellen said that we would learn how to write our name, but I already know that! So I told her and then Timmy said I was lying and I said I wasn´t and then he said I was again. Then I told him that he is stupid and should leave me alone and Mrs. Ellen said that she is not okay when I insult the other kids and I had to sit on a chair for half an hour! But he is stupid, daddy! I was not lying, I know how to write my name!" William said angrily and slammed his fist down on the table.

"I can write my name, too!" Sara yelled immediately.

"Me too! Me too!" Laila joined her.

"Hey! Quiet! And William, please don´t hit the table it´s not like Timmy has anything to do with it! Your drinks will spill if you slam your fist on the table!" Luke said calmly and handed William a napkin to wipe up the mess he had made.

"Daddy, please don´t make me go there again, Mrs. Ellen is stupid and she hates me!" William said and then took a bite of his sandwich.

"Will, you have to go to pre-school and I am sure Mrs. Ellen does not hate you!" Luke tried to calm him.

"Daddy, will mommy buy me the pink ballet-dress today?" Sara asked with a mouth full of food.

"Sara, don´t talk with your mouth full! First chew, then swallow, then talk! And I don´t think your mother has time for it. She doesn´t even have time to stop by and eat with us!"

"But she promised that she would go with us! Miss Patty said that we need the tutus! All the other girls already have them, we are the only ones without them!" Laila whined and started sniffing.

"Laila, I can´t change your mother´s busy schedule and I am sorry that you are the only ones without tutus, but there is nothing I can do! You have to talk to your mother!"

"But we are already asleep when she comes home daddy!" Laila was really crying now. She was the one who took it the hardest that Lorelai was so busy. She was a total mama´s-girl, while Sara was a daddy´s-girl. Before it had never been a problem, but now when Lorelai didn´t have any time at all, Laila was very difficult and whiny.
Luke took her out of her chair and placed her on his lap, hugged her, and tried to soothe her.

"I want mommy!" Laila cried.

"Sshhh, princess! I will call your mommy and ask her, okay?" Luke said.

"I wanna call her!" Laila sniffed.

"Okay, come on, we will call her right now!" Luke said and stood up.

"I wanna talk to her, too!" Sara said and jumped off the chair and ran behind the counter to the phone. Luke sat Laila down on the counter, then picked up Sara and sat her beside her sister, before he picked up the phone and dialed Lorelai's number.

"Dragonfly Inn, Michel speaking." Luke heard.

"Hello Michel, it´s Luke, can you please get me Lorelai on the phone?"

"She is busy!"

"Michel, it´s urgent!"

"She is very busy!" He said annoyed.

"Give me my wife! Right now!" Luke said, just as annoyed. It took some time before Lorelai picked up the phone and Luke was even more annoyed then, because he had had to listen to the horrible melody, while Michel had put the phone on hold.

"Dragonfly Inn, Lorelai Danes." She said and sounded exhausted.

"It´s me, your kids want to talk to you!" Luke told her and she could tell by his voice that he was annoyed. Luke handed Laila the phone.

"Mommy? Hello?" The girl said.

"Hello my princess? What´s up?" Lorelai was happy to hear her daughter's voice, because she hadn´t seen her kids awake in nearly two weeks.

"Mommy, will you buy us the pink tutus today?" Laila asked hopefully.

"Awww, I´m sorry my angel, but I am very busy today."


"I have a meeting tomorrow, I´m sorry! But you know what? Why don´t we buy them on... oh I have to call you back, Rory is on the other line. I'll talk to you later princess!" Lorelai said and hung up. Laila stared at the phone in her hand and tears formed in her eyes, then spilled.

"Oh, princess, what did she say?" Luke asked her and hugged his daughter.

"She has no time and then Rory called and she hung up!" Laila sobbed and Sara started crying also.

"But I wanted to talk to her, too!" She cried and Luke hugged her to him with his other arm.

"Ssssh, don´t cry!"

"But we will be the only ones without tutus! Mommy is a stupid liar" Sara yelled angrily through her tears. Luke didn´t say anything to that because he could understand how disappointed the girls felt; the kids weren´t the only one who suffered because of Lorelai´s lack of time. He missed her also. A lot.

"You know what? We will drop William off at his soccer training and then we will drive to the mall and get you two some tutus, okay?" Luke asked and hoped that they would accept.

"Thank you daddy!" Laila looked up and looked at him with adoration, something she normally only did with Lorelai. Then she snuggled close to him again and he put a kiss on each of the girl's heads.

"Come on, let´s finish eating!" He said and placed Laila on the ground while Sara jumped off the counter and ran back over to the table where William was still eating.

"Daddy, look there are the pink ones!" Sara yelled three hours later, while they walked into a store at the mall. They had spent one hour in there already and Luke was annoyed.

"Daddy, it´s boring in here! Can´t we go to Toys R us?" William whined and strolled behind them slowly.

"Can I have a white one?" Laila asked and tugged at his hand.

"I thought you said you need a pink one!" Luke asked her, while Sara had already picked out two tutus and held them against her in front of the mirror.

"Daddy, which one is better?" She wanted to know.

"Can I have a white one?" Laila asked at the same time and William was still complaining about why he had to come with them. Luke felt, that he was seconds from losing it and took a deep breath.

"Stop it and be quiet, all of you! Laila you said you needed a pink one, then get a pink one. Sara pick one, the one that fits and is cheaper if you ask me and William: just be quiet and don´t annoy me! You know I hate malls and your yammering doesn´t make it better!" Luke said harshly and all three kids looked shocked. Laila started to cry first, followed by Sara. William did not say anything.
Luke leaned down and picked up his daughters, soothed them again, and apologized.

"I´m so sorry. I didn´t mean to be so harsh! Don´t cry! It´s just... I don´t like the malls, the crowd of people in here makes me sick. But we will buy you two your tutus, okay? Laila, pick a pink one and then another one, I don´t care which color. The same goes for you Sara, okay?" He pulled back and looked at them. Their blue eyes were still clouded with tears, but they were smiling again. Luke was relieved and stroked over Sara's wild curls, which looked exactly like Lorelai's. Laila's hair was pulled in pigtails and Luke took the end of one and tickled her nose with it. The girls started to giggle and then both girls hugged him, before they grabbed his hands and dragged him to the tutus, so that he could help them choose and try them on.

When Luke turned around to where William was supposed to be waiting, twenty minutes later, to tell William that they would go to the toys store next, so he could pick out something also, the boy was not there.
Sara and Laila were at the register, wanting to pay themselves, but William was nowhere to be seen.
Immediately Luke´s pulse sped up. He ran through the store and looked for him, but he couldn´t find him. He called him, but got no answer.