b Chapter 10 – Epilogue /b
i As summer wraps up, I have read many stories that are wrapping up as well, all ending the turmoil from season 6 with a wedding. So, if any of this seems similar to something else on this site, I apologize. I have read many excellent stories this summer and have been thrilled that I got to throw my two cents in.
I want to thank everyone who has read this story and reviewed, everyone who has had this bring a smile to their face, and everyone who is just a fan of Gilmore Girls. I can't tell you how much color this show has brought to my life. For someone who does not watch a lot of TV, that is saying something.
I am so glad that I got to spend part of my summer, in between teaching two classes and preparing to teach two more this fall, with Lorelai, Rory, Luke, the Gilmores, and the whole cast of characters that makes up Stars Hollow. I am hoping that the inspiration that gave birth to this opus will follow me into my non-GG fiction writing. /i
The next morning, after her surprise baby shower, after her night with Luke, after finding out that the nightmare that had been the past few months was for all intents and purposes over, Lorelai Gilmore followed in her daughter's footsteps and made a list.
i Certainties in This Life:
That I love Luke Danes more than I could ever say.
That Luke Danes returns said love.
That we're both finally all in.
That this child is definitely Luke's (no coffee in months!).
That I have a fabulous, beautiful smart daughter and stepdaughter who are about to have a sibling who is just as beautiful and smart as they.
That life works everything out in spite of us. /i
She wanted to add more about her parents, but, after the support and understanding they had expressed over the last few months, she had a hard time finding something critical to say at the moment. Perhaps, she thought, as life brought changes to her life, her parents would be among those changes. They would probably never be as close as she was with Rory, but they did not necessarily have to be her nemeses.
As she was making her list, pad resting on her belly, Luke roused next to her. His back was to her so he turned toward her as best he could, resting a hand on her leg.
"Morning," he mumbled.
"Morning," she returned, smiling at him.
Luke began to get up, heading toward the bathroom no doubt. As he walked by, he mumbled "Coffee?" at her.
i "No." /i she said, somewhat indignant about it.
Luke stopped in his tracks and turned to look at her, fully awake now. "Are you serious? You, Lorelai Gilmore, are turning down coffee. I figure you would be so full of caffeine by now that the kid would come out with two heads or something."
"Well, in reality, this is very much your child. He won't let me have any coffee. I've been drinking lots of tea recently. I've got a huge box of all kinds in the kitchen so help yourself."
Luke continued on to the bathroom while Lorelai continued looking at her list. As she waited for him to come out, she was hit with a sudden urge to use the bathroom herself and stood waiting outside the door, her legs crossed in an effort to hold the urge in.
Lorelai blew past Luke when he walked out of the bathroom, closing the door loudly behind her. Luke laughed and sat back down on the bed, lying back with sleep threatening to take him again. When he put his hand down, he felt the pad of paper that she had been writing on. He saw her list of certainties and smiled, seeing his name on there, seeing that she knew that he was all in and that she was as well. He knew that they still had much to talk about and work out, but this time they would do it and this time it would stick.
As she came out of the bathroom, he saw her, purple pajama pants and big Yale t-shirt. She tucked a bit of hair behind her ear and looked at him looking at her. "What?" she asked, brow knitted a tiny bit, a smile playing at her lips.
Luke stood up and took her by the waist, pulling her toward him in a way that left no doubt about his feelings for her. The kiss that followed woke the baby in her belly up and she felt him flip in her stomach. She gasped at the activity and put her hand on her stomach. Luke followed, his hand on her stomach as well. He swore that he could feel the baby move even though he had read that it wasn't yet possible. Hands clasped on top of her stomach, they kissed again.
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The amniocentesis results came in before Lorelai's next visit to Dr. Conway. She and Luke sat in the exam room, anxiously waiting for her to appear. Lorelai paced, then Luke, both cutting the same swath through the small room that Lorelai imagined other couples had done. Surprisingly, getting pregnant had not been that hard; it had been nearly effortless. What had not been so easy was being pregnant. Her age created more questions than ever, but the key to answering them all was the amniocentesis. At least, she hoped that was the case.
The doctor walked into looking totally relaxed which Lorelai took as a good sign. She sat down her usual rolling stool, Lorelai seated on the examining table and Luke in a chair by the door. He stood up and put his hand on Lorelai's when Dr. Conway mentioned the amnio results.
"Well, I've got the results from the amniocentesis we did on Lorelai here a couple of weeks ago. I know you two have been waiting anxiously to see if anything unusual is going on so I'm not going to drag this out any longer." Lorelai and Luke were both holding their breaths. Dr. Conway saw this and laughed. "Everything is fine. You two can breathe now."
Luke and Lorelai both smiled wanly at her, then hugged. Luke sat back down and took his hat off for a second to run a hand through his hair before putting it back on and turning his attention again to the doctor.
"Now, before I do another exam on Lorelai, do you two want to know the baby's sex? The amnio can tell us conclusively what you guys are having."
They looked at each other in questioning contemplation for a moment. They had already had this conversation before this particular visit. i Do we really want to know /i passed their lips several times. They discussed the advantages and disadvantages of knowing and not knowing. Decoration schemes, names, and more came to mind each time they discussed it. And each time they had decided that they had to know. After ten long years of dancing around each other, after two years of their up-and-down relationship, they both could not wait any longer to know what their love had brought.
"Yes," Lorelai said quietly. "We want to know."
"OK." Dr. Conway checked the results one more time to make sure she was giving them the right news. "It's a boy."
Lorelai gasped, a tear already escaping down her cheek. "William," she said, looking at Luke.
"William," Luke confirmed.
They left the office that day, Lorelai chattering excitedly over the knowledge that they would both now have one of each, a boy and a girl. Rory, April, and William, or Will, as they had decided to call him. Luke just let her talk, her face flushed with excitement, plans and questions fluttering rapidly from her lips. He watched her, answering when he needed to, but choosing this moment to take her in. He had almost lost her. i Correction, /i he thought, i we almost lost each other /i and now Will was going to be cement them together permanently. What a sweet way to celebrate a love that had been so long in coming. Luke, his arm around Lorelai's shoulders, kissed her on the cheek, prompting her to stop her nonstop chattering for a moment. Standing next to someone else's car, she leaned into kiss him. He playfully backed away for a second, but she reached out for him and pulled him closer to her, at least as close as the bump would let her.
"Will you just stand still?" she said smiling, those five words loaded with more meaning than anyone would ever know.
Luke stood still for the moment, his arms enveloping her and his lips meeting hers much as they did that night in front of the Dragonfly.
In her womb, Lorelai could feel William Lucas Gilmore Danes doing cartwheels.
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The months between their reconciliation and Will's anticipated birth seemed to fly by for both Luke and Lorelai. As she grew bigger, Lorelai began to plan how the Dragonfly would run without her for those first few weeks after the baby arrived. Luke did the same, contemplating hiring another person temporarily so he could be away from the diner as much as he needed to be. At the same time, he was trying to figure out what to do about their living situation. They couldn't stay in her townhouse; Lorelai wanted to move back to Stars Hollow, but, with her old house sold, they were both looking for new digs for the two of them, plus the baby, Rory, and April.
Lorelai's second baby shower, this one thrown by her mother for all of her socialite friends, solved that problem for them. The last two gifts both solved problems, actually. Emily handed Lorelai a small box, which her daughter promptly shook, trying to guess what was in it. To her surprise, she found two sets of car keys in there and the whole crowd of women, led by Emily and Lorelai, walked out into the Gilmore's driveway to find a new SUV sitting in the driveway. It was midnight blue, could hold up to five people, and had a big cargo area. Lorelai started to protest the gift saying it was too much, but accepted it after being told that Luke, Rory, and her parents were all involved in the selection of the vehicle. Lorelai knew that if Luke and Rory were in on it, then it must be all right.
The last gift that she got was from her daughter. April handed it to Lorelai with a big smile on her face and Lorelai giggled at the sight of both Rory and April sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for her to unwrap the box.
What she found was a framed picture of the Crap Shack. Lorelai's face dropped a bit in sadness at the thought that the house was no longer hers. She figured the picture was just a memento.
"Turn it over." Rory told her.
On the flipside, she found an envelope. In it was the deed to the Crap Shack. Lorelai's jaw dropped.
"What is this?"
"The house is yours, Mom. All yours, lock, stock, and barrel."
"How? How did you do this?"
"Let's just say it's a baby gift from me and Logan."
Lorelai stood up and hugged Rory tightly. "You shouldn't have done this," she whispered in her daughter's ear.
"But I needed it and so did you. I grew up there and now my little brother will too. It's the least I could do for him."
Lorelai, for once in her life, was struck speechless by the generosity of both her mother and her daughter.
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About two months before Lorelai's due date, she and Luke found themselves at the hospital, waiting for Liz to deliver hers and TJ's first child. After a breezy delivery, helped along by an epidural for Liz and some smelling salts for TJ, Genevieve was born.
Luke and Lorelai stood in the room with a groggy Liz and a moaning TJ, holding the baby and marveling at the miracle of it all.
"She's so perfect." Lorelai said as she watched Luke hold her.
"You bet your ass she is," TJ chimed in from the chair next to Liz's bed. He then moaned again because talking apparently made his head hurt.
"This is just amazing. I'm so glad we were here for this." Luke said, enamored of his niece. He was quietly holding her hand and swaying back and forth with her.
Lorelai recognized the silence. "Wishing you had had this with April."
"Yeah, just a bit. I know I can't have that time back, but it still hurts to think about what I missed with her."
"You have her now. You have this one on the way."
"Yeah, I know. For that, I'm glad." Luke kissed Lorelai on the cheek and then handed baby Genevieve over to her.
Lorelai cradled her future niece in her arms and began to tell her all about her cousin, who would be joining her soon. Luke walked over to Liz and took her hand.
"You did good, sis."
"So did you. You looked like a natural holding her."
"Well, it kinda comes naturally now. I just want to take her in as much as I can."
"Yeah, I know. Just think, though, if you feel that way about her, imagine how you will feel about your own."
Liz and Luke watched Lorelai, who paced about the room still talking to the baby.
"You guys are going to be awesome parents."
"I can't wait. I never imagined this would happen to me."
"I knew it would. You just needed some time to figure things out and find the right girl."
"I've got her, that's for sure."
Liz punched him in the arm. "You better keep her too."
"Don't worry, I will. We're not going anywhere."
When Jess arrived later, Luke and Lorelai left the little family with promises to return the next day. They drove home together in companionable silence, each contemplating the changes their own new little life would bring.
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In her ninth month, when everyone around her was freezing their tails off, Lorelai laid in bed absolutely sweltering. Luke had taken to wearing a heavy sweatshirt over his t-shirt to ward off the cold that the open windows in their bedroom brought. Lorelai was wearing a t-shirt and only had a thin layer of sheet and quilt draped over her in bed while Luke had folded two quilts in half over his side. In addition to being hot, her abdomen was feeling tight and uncomfortable. Lorelai sighed as she lay in bed, waiting for sleep that just wouldn't come.
Luke, however, was pretending to sleep tonight. He had checked the weather forecast for that night from all of the local news stations as well as the weather sites just to make sure that the skies would be clear and tonight would be a full moon. He knew that Lorelai would be awake as she had been these last couple of nights so he decided to make tonight special for her.
She had gone to see Dr. Conway the day before and, though, she was a week shy of her due date, Lorelai was already three centimeters with Will sitting low in her pelvis. The doctor pronounced them both ready to go virtually anytime now. After the doctor's visit, Lorelai had taken on a look of patient misery. She was trying so hard to enjoy this experience, realizing that this could be the last time she was pregnant, but it was difficult for her not to feel or look miserable with seven pounds of baby sitting on her bladder and pelvis. She was hot, she was cranky, and damn she missed coffee, something she reminded Luke about at least six times a day. Luke could only squeeze her hand or give her a hug, knowing that there really was not a whole lot he could do about her situation except be ready when she said it was time.
Tonight, though, he was determined to take her mind off of everything and he thought he had the perfect way to do that. He sensed her restless in the bed next to him and rolled over to face her.
"I can't sleep," she moaned, her eyes still closed, but a grimace splayed across her face. She opened her eyes and cupped her hands around her stomach. "This kid, he's pressing down on me. I can feel him. It's like he's ready to dive out of me, his hands resting on my cervix. Any second now, he's going to come bursting out of my body, do three flips and land gracefully in front of us."
Luke sort of grimaced at Lorelai's description, wishing that she didn't feel the need to be so graphic. Despite himself, he was finding it hard to reconcile the idea of where the baby was going to emerge from with the previous meaning of that area of her body. He was afraid if he thought about it too hard, he might not be able to go there ever again and Lorelai would be unhappy about that. "Why don't we go downstairs and watch a movie or something? Maybe that will help you relax and go to sleep."
"The relaxing sounds good, but I'm not sure about the sleeping. I have the feeling that I won't be doing much of that tonight."
Luke helped Lorelai out of her bed, pulling her up when her muscles couldn't bring her all the way to standing. Though she didn't look nine months pregnant and kept a mostly svelte figure despite her pregnancy, Luke watched her waddle out of the bedroom and down the stairs. He closed the windows behind her, still shivering from the cold air rushing in.
When Luke came downstairs, he found Lorelai standing in the doorway of Rory's empty room. "What are you doing?"
"I remember when Rory and I moved in here. I was so happy that I could finally make a home for my child. It was something I had been looking forward to doing since I held her in my arms for the first time."
Luke smiled. "You did a great job making a life for her. We will do the same for this baby."
"Hmm, I'm sure. I just can't believe this is happening. It seems like we just moved in here and now Rory is practically on her own and I am having another child finally."
"I'm glad that she had the forethought to hold onto this place for you. She knew how much it would mean for you to have this baby in this house."
"Me too." Lorelai sighed and then started toward the living room. "What movie should we watch?"
Luke took her hand and led her toward the front door. "Why don't we sit outside?"
"But it's freezing."
"Well, you are already cold from the windows being open in our bedroom. Are you sure you want to go outside and get colder?"
"That's what they make coats for." Luke pulled Lorelai's coat down and helped her slide it on. He then put his own old green military jacket on along with the fingerless gloves and opened the door for her.
Gingerly, Lorelai sat down on the front steps. The pressure on her pelvis/bottom area made it hard to sit for long but getting up was harder so she had to be careful sitting down in the hopes that she could sit for awhile without discomfort or pain. Luke sat next to her, his arm around her to keep her warm. Really, she was keeping him warm more than he was doing that for her, but she was gratified for the close contact. He kissed her lightly on the lips and then looked up at the sky.
"Wow, the full moon is beautiful." Lorelai said. The moon seemed to shine brighter in the cold air, as if the freezing temperatures crystallized the air, magnifying the moonlight. The stars twinkled the same way and Lorelai smiled, wondering how long it would before she would get to enjoy a night like this again.
Luke was quiet next to her and she turned to him to point out the full moon and their chances of enjoying another one for awhile. When she looked at him, he was grinning from ear to ear at her, a rare sight for him. Luke never smiled like that, his whole face caught up in the exercise of it. She had only seen that a few times, usually associated with April or herself and Rory.
"What?" She got shy all of a sudden just looking at him smile like that at her. "Why are you smiling?"
She noticed that his left hand was sitting out of sight and watched him bring it into view. In his hand was a ring box and Lorelai's jaw dropped.
They had talked about this over the last few months. After the ultimatum and all of the turmoil that had accompanied that time, April's running away, Lorelai's move, the pregnancy, they had decided that they still wanted to get married, but admitted that setting a time table for that was something that might put more pressure on them than they needed. Will's impending birth was enough upheaval. They were not quite sure how that would go so perhaps getting married was something best saved for when life quieted down and they could concentrate on being themselves again. So imagine Lorelai's surprise when she saw Luke holding a ring box and opening it to reveal a beautiful diamond ring.
"Oh my—" she said, a hand covering her mouth.
"You know, we have been through a lot these past ten years or so. You ran an inn, lost it, and then worked to build a new one and made it one of the best in Connecticut. You almost got married once and then went through several other relationships before coming into this one. I had one old girlfriend leave me, another one tell me that I was a father of a child I had no idea about, and married a woman I barely knew. You had the child you had at sixteen grow up and go out on her own, watching her make mistakes along the way. I took in my troubled nephew and then discovered a daughter that I never knew I had and had to get to know her and make her a part of my family. With me through all of it was you. We have had our rough patches. God knows we have caused each other enough pain and heartache to last a lifetime, but I wouldn't have it any other way. You are my one, Lorelai Gilmore, and I would be honored if you would be my wife."
Tears formed around her eyes, but she held them back as Luke slid the ring on her finger. It was not the original ring; they had discussed what to do with that one and Lorelai left it up to Luke as to its fate. Instead he had put the value of the original ring toward the price of this one. It was an emerald cut diamond set in an ornate antique pattern. The diamond rested in a crown type setting, with smaller diamonds running down the sides. The band was engraved with a Celtic-type pattern. She nodded yes as he slid it on.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Yes," she managed weakly, swallowing a sob. She admired the ring again and again, looking at Luke in between. She looked around for a second and then looked him in the eye. "I really wish I had something wonderful to say right now."
"You don't have to say anything. You've already said yes."
"For the second time."
"Yes," Luke laughed. "For the second time."
Lorelai took his gloved hand and looked at him solemnly. "I wish that I had paid attention to my feelings and yours earlier so that we could have done this earlier. But," she stopped Luke, who was about to respond, "I'm glad that it has happened this way. You have given me more than I could ever have asked for. I am honored to be your wife."
They kissed again, this time deeper and longer. Lorelai felt warm from her head to her toes as their tongues continued to dance. Suddenly she realized that the warmth she felt was more than just what Luke's kiss could bring. She felt something warm and wet between her legs and she gasped.
"Luke! I think my water just broke!"
Luke's eyes widened and he jumped up. "What?" he looked at her in a panic. "Your water broke? We need to get our bags. And I need to warm the car up. I need to call Rory and Sookie. And then we should call the doctor."
"Luke!" Lorelai looked up at him. She found herself unable to stand up on her own. The contractions had not started yet, but the pressure of the baby on her lower body was enormous. Luke shook his head and smiled an apology, reaching out his hands to help her up. Once inside, he began to scramble around the house as Lorelai stood in the doorway, breathing through the contractions that had started as soon as her water had broken. She watched him in strained amusement, listening to Luke's slightly panicked spoken reminders to himself about what needed to be done before they could go.
By the time they were on their way, Luke had warmed up their car and thrown their luggage in the back; called Sookie and Rory, who were to meet them at the hospital; called Dr. Conway, who would be in within the hour; called Babette, who was to alert the town to the impending birth and take care of Paul Anka; and woke Lane up from a sound sleep to ask her to open the diner. He would call the Gilmores and Liz and TJ as soon as they were settled in at the hospital.
Lorelai tried to relay her thanks to Luke for his efforts, but found herself breathing through ever quickening contractions, remembering what twenty-two years of distance had allowed her to forget. Luke saw the wildness in her blue eyes and whipped the car out of the driveway and onto the road toward the hospital.
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With Will asleep finally, the two exhausted new parents sat on the Crap Shack's front steps, their bedroom window wide open and baby monitor next to them so they could listen for the belting cries from their son. Lorelai crossed her fingers that he would stay asleep. Putting her hand on Luke's leg, she wished once again that his mother was here so that she could ask her questions about the baby that Luke was. After an exhausting conversation with her mother about herself as a baby, she had finally come to the conclusion that Will was virtually a clone of Luke because the child was nothing like Lorelai. Luke saw her deep in thought and smiled. "He is your child too, ya know."
"So you say, but after talking to my mother about me as a baby, I'm thinking this kid is all you."
"He's three days old, Lorelai. We have no idea if he is really like this or if he is still adjusting to this life. He's been cooped up in your body for the last nine months."
"Regardless, I'm just thrilled that I can enjoy a cup of coffee again. The moment that hot black liquid hit my lips was about as heavenly as the epidural I had giving birth."
Luke just rolled his eyes. "Just enjoy it because I'm putting you on decaf tomorrow."
"No, you're not. The doctor said that I can have caffeine as long as I drink it after I nurse rather than before."
Luke leaned over to her and whispered, "We'll see." Lorelai punched him in the shoulder and he caught her arm before she punched him again and pulled her closer to him. With his arm around her waist, she snuggled up closer to him and smiled. She shivered and pulled her jacket tighter around her.
"Yes, it is, but it feels nice to be outside after being cooped up in that hospital for the last couple of days."
"True, true." Lorelai touched his face, which was cool beneath her fingertips. "You did great, Luke. You were everything I needed to make it through giving birth and relearning breastfeeding."
"Oh, man, Lorelai, I can't tell you how unbelievable an experience it was. It was just amazing to see that, to hold him. You did such a good job. You were just so patient with everything that was going on. I think you calmed me down, amazingly enough."
"Well, there was that moment with the Epilady comment."
"Did you have to say that to the male nurse?"
"He seemed to take it in stride. I had to do something to remind me of Rory's birth."
"Lorelai, you asked him if you could use an Epilady on him. Aside from the fact that I'm not sure whether or not those are still around, he freaked me out when he started talking about the bikini wax that he gets every month."
"Yeah, I'm sure we could have done without that knowledge."
A tittering from the baby monitor quieted the conversation for a second. When nothing followed, they both breathed a sigh of relief, continuing their quiet moments on the front steps.
"Hey, do you remember when Sookie and Jackson had their first date and you asked me to marry you?" A smile played at Lorelai's lips.
"What? Where is this coming from?"
"I've been thinking about you and me these last couple of days, you know with the proposal and giving birth and all. So much has happened between you and me and Will is the culmination of that. I just thought I would ask about this since I have been wondering about it."
Luke dropped his head for a second and smiled shyly. "To answer your question then, yes, I do remember that."
"Were you serious when you said that?"
Luke scrunched up his face and then looked at Lorelai. "Kind of."
"We were playing poker and watching the beginning of Sookie and Jackson's relationship. I got sentimental for a moment and let my feelings outrun my inhibitions for a moment."
"Just for a moment?"
"Just for a moment. I meant it, though, in a way. There was something on your face even then that told me that something was there, but I couldn't allow myself the chance to try."
"I don't know. Perhaps I was still protecting myself after everything with Rachel. Perhaps I needed to go through what happened with both Rachel and Nicole to appreciate who you are. At the time, though, I just played it as a joke because I could tell it wasn't the right moment."
Lorelai kissed him and then ran her hands through his capless hair. "As much as I am sorry that we caused ourselves so much heartache over the years, I think you're right. I think we needed to have those experiences to make us appreciate each other." She shook her head. "God, I sound like one of your books."
"Yes, your books. I saw that you still have them."
Luke blushed. "You know, I can't get rid of them. Look what I gained after reading them." He touched her chin and then buried his face in her hair, breathing in her scent. "What about you? What were you going to say when the Reverend walked in on us breaking the bells?"
"I remember that. I remember the look on your face. You were challenging me and I wasn't sure what to say. I knew that I felt something I had not before, but I just could not put it into words."
"Could you now?"
"Yes, I think I could. You bring it out in me, Luke. You have taught me about expressing myself. With the number of words that come out of my mouth in a day, you would think that something substantial would be in there. You could see through it, though, whenever I was covering something up. You knew and that made me have to say what was on my mind finally."
"Some of the time."
"Yes, granted, there have been times in these last couple of years when I did not talk as much as I should have, but, for the most part, I have you to thank for changing my life the way you have."
"You are welcome." As he kissed, really kissed her, which warmed her up in all sorts of ways, another sound emanated from the baby monitor. Both broke the kiss instantly, staring in anticipation at the monitor's speaker. Another coo and everything went quiet. Lorelai yawned and laid her head on Luke's shoulder.
"I am amazed at how someone who weighs less than eight pounds can bring two adults to a standstill with just a small sound."
"It's worse when we try to sleep. Every little noise and my eyes are open and I'm up looking at him."
"You must be getting up and looking at him when I'm not. I do that, but, when I do, it seems like you're asleep."
"That's because I've just gotten to sleep when you wake up."
"Oh, I see. So he's got you whooped."
"He has me whooped."
"He has me whooped too, you realize."
"Yes, I do."
"But I was whooped when he was merely weeks old in my body. You, however, are a recent convert."
"I take my whooping gladly."
"As do I."
Luke yawned. Lorelai shivered. "Let's go to bed."
Quietly they crawled into bed, the bassinette merely five feet from them. They slid into the cold covers, clinging to each other for warmth. Each reveled in the heat of the other as they quickly fell asleep, the happy exhaustion of parenthood driving them there.
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Luke roused from sleep reluctantly, soft whispers and tiny baby sounds greeting his ears. When he allowed one eye to open, he saw that the light of early morning played at the windows, shades of pink, orange, and purple framing the idyllic image of Lorelai nursing their son.
Her eyes shone with sleep, heavy lidded but happy. Luke looked at her with his own heavy lidded eyes and smiled slightly. She met it with one of her own.
"What time is it?"
"It's about five-thirty."
"Is this the first time you've fed him all night?"
"No, wouldn't that have been nice. I got up with him about midnight and then two-thirty."
"I don't remember you getting up."
"That's because I'm stealthy. I got him before he could make too much noise and wake you."
"Lorelai, you gotta let me get up with you sometimes. It's not fair for me to get sleep when you can't."
"Luke, I am the milk truck. While I appreciate the offer, you can't quite do my job. I will start pumping soon and you can feed him with what I have stored. That way, we can take turns."
"OK." Luke groaned into his pillow, but then looked up at her again. "You look beautiful."
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Sure, I do. I'm bloated from being pregnant, I haven't slept much in the last four days, and I can't remember the last time I brushed my hair."
Luke got up and managed to shuffle toward her. He kissed her on the top of her head. "Well, I think you're gorgeous sitting here feeding our son." His fingertips brushed the soft hair on Will's head. "He's pretty special too."
"Yes, he is." Lorelai echoed Luke's love, brushing the baby's face with her fingers.
"I'm going downstairs to make breakfast." Luke kissed her again and started shuffling toward the door.
"Now? Don't you want to go back to sleep?"
"Coffee is involved as well."
"OK, please go make breakfast. I will see you downstairs soon."
About fifteen minutes later, the smell of bacon and eggs drew Lorelai toward the kitchen. She shuffled in, babyless, and saw the slightly disappointed look on Luke's face when she came down without their son. She knew that look had nothing to do with her, but came from the desire to stare at the baby for hours on end. She kissed Luke, murmuring appreciations for the yummy food and coffee smells that brought her down. She poured herself the one cup of coffee she could have that morning. She sat down with the coffee, the slight smile of satisfaction on her face as she brought the cup to her lips. Luke knew that smile; he had seen it when they were wrapped up in bed together, that smile playing at her lips whenever he was about to do something she liked.
"How's the coffee?"
"If I say orgasmic, will you be offended?"
"Concerned maybe, offended no. I know how in love with coffee you are."
"It's not love so much as vital codependency."
Luke laughed and scooped eggs and bacon onto Lorelai's plate and then his own. He sat down and picked up his fork, ready to dive into the food when he saw Lorelai's hand wrap around his wrist.
"Thank you for the breakfast, hon. It looks and smells delicious."
"You're welcome. You need it and I need it. We're going to need to fortify ourselves for today."
Lorelai laughed. "Has the seven pound wonder gotten to ya already?"
"I never knew I could be this tired. My respect and esteem for you moms has increased at least tenfold since we brought him home. I don't know how you did this with Rory when you were just a teenager."
"You do it because you have to, but also, you will discover, that you want to, despite the exhaustion."
The pause afforded Luke a chance to bring something up that he had been thinking about since they had brought Will home. After they had reconciled during the summer, he had virtually moved into the townhouse with Lorelai as she contemplated what to do next. She wanted to move back to Stars Hollow, but her house had sold and she was going to have to find a new one. Rory's surprise gift of the Crap Shack had solved that problem, but now that they had brought Will home, he realized that they needed even more room than the original renovation had created. He knew that Lorelai would want to keep Rory's room her own so that she would have a place to stay when she came to visit. But when April had come to stay with them overnight a couple of times, she had had to sleep in Rory's room because that was the only place she could be. Now that they had Will, between the two of them they had three children, but the house had only two bedrooms and one bathroom. Will would stay in their room for now, but he would need to be in his own room soon and they hadn't the room for that. Luke had an idea about what to do next, but he wasn't sure what Lorelai would think about it.
"You know, I've been thinking about our living situation."
"Well, between you and me, we now have three kids. This house has two bedrooms and one bath. Though Rory doesn't live here, I know you will want to keep her room the way it is. She doesn't live here so April can sleep in there when she stays over, but I'm sure she would like to have her own room here. Will can't sleep in our room forever so we're going to need a room for him. Plus we'll need a second and maybe a third bathroom. Perhaps an extra room could serve as your sewing room instead of the attic…"
"What are you thinking about doing?"
"I was thinking about adding on to this house. It's built well enough where it could withstand an addition."
"But if we add on that way," Lorelai pointed toward the living room. "We could run into Morey and Babette's property. If we expand that way," she pointed toward the garage, "then we'll have to move the garage."
"We could expand that way," Luke pointed toward the backyard. "We would have to move the washer and dryer temporarily, but it can be done. I could have an architect draw up some plans."
"Or," Lorelai grinned deliciously. "We could just buy a new house."
"You would do that? What about this place?"
"Well, we could sell it or we could rent it. I'm sure that Lane and Zach would love to have all of this room."
Luke shook his head. "I can't imagine doing that. Let's just expand it. It might be inconvenient for a while, but it will be worth it."
"Why, Luke Danes, look who's attached to the Crap Shack now!" Lorelai referring to her desire the year before to stay in her house and make it theirs.
"I don't know. It's like the apartment. So much happened in that apartment over the diner that I can't bear the thought of someone else living in there. That was where many of our milestones occurred. Same thing here. How many times did I come here to fix your railing or work on your oven? I proposed to you out there on the front porch. You went into labor on that same spot. Rory grew up here. You have watched countless bad movies and TV shows on that couch. This house is like a scrapbook of our lives. It's totally yours now. You have no mortgage. Whatever money we would have put into paying that, we can now use to add on here. What do you think?"
Lorelai bit thoughtfully into a piece of bacon, watching Luke the whole time. He was waiting for her answer, the anticipation evident on his face. Lorelai looked around the kitchen and, behind her eyes, she could see the many times they had been together in this kitchen. The dream she had had where they were together and expecting twins. The dinner she had organized for Jess his first night in Stars Hollow. The countless nights she watched Luke hover over her stove, cooking a meal for them. She tried to imagine where they could put at least three more rooms, but knew that was a quest best left to an architect. Lorelai really began her life here with Rory. This was their own place. It wasn't a mansion in Hartford or a potting shed behind the Independence Inn. It was their home. Now it was not just hers or Rory's, but Will's and Luke's as well. As the baby began to wail through the baby monitor, Lorelai looked at Luke and said "Let's do it."
Luke smiled, kissed her on the cheek, and bounded up the stairs. Moments later, he came down cradling Will in his arms, handing him off to Lorelai, who sat at the table feeding their son while she and Luke continued to discuss expanding their home.
center b /b /center
The night before the wedding, Luke awoke from his restless sleep to find Lorelai's side of the bed empty. He called out for her, but heard no response. He grumbled out of bed and walked stiffly toward the stairs.
Downstairs, he found her standing in the new rooms they were adding to the house. In the few short months since they had decided to add on, four new rooms had been added to the back of the house. The builders had cut a hallway from the living room to the new rooms in the back, a hallway that ran next to the stairs. The hall then turned left in an L shape. The first room was Will's bedroom, the next was April's; in between both was a bathroom that could be accessed from the hall or the two bedrooms. On the very end was a large room that was going to be Lorelai's sewing room/office/playroom for Will. The rooms were almost done, still needing finishing touches on the walls and lacking flooring, paint, and light fixtures. Lorelai and Luke had finally compromised on Will's décor, going for a funky pattern with reds, blues, and greens and accent pieces with planes, trains, boats, and cars. April was in her full-blown teenage girl mode, with berries and purples picked out for her room. Rory was helping Luke and Lorelai select office furniture and computers for their new office. Out of sight was the expanded garage, to which they had added a large room so that Luke would have more workshop space for finishing the boat and doing the woodwork he promised Lorelai he would do more of.
When Luke put his hands on Lorelai's shoulders, she turned toward him. "I can't wait for all of this to be done. We will have the house we really wanted for the family we really wanted."
"Yeah. I think it was a good decision to add on to this house rather than buying a new one. I can't imagine living anywhere else."
"Me either." Lorelai walked down the hall, peeking into each room. Luke followed her, doing the same. "Just imagine. In a few hours, this place will be bustling with activity."
"I won't get to see it. I'm relegated to the apartment above the diner, remember?"
Lorelai smiled and put her arms around his waist. "Only for good measure. It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding."
"We're having pictures made before that, remember?"
"OK, then it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before pictures."
"I'm surprised that no one insisted that I stay in the apartment tonight."
"My mother started to, but I told her that April and Rory were staying here tonight so we wanted this to be a family night."
"Thank you for that. It was nice to have some time with the girls and Will before tomorrow."
"Especially after the rehearsal dinner. I don't think that I got to eat much of anything that Sookie made for us tonight. I had way too many people asking me questions and playing with Will."
"Actually, I had Sookie make you up a thing of leftovers so that you can have them tomorrow for lunch if you got hungry."
Lorelai kissed him on the cheek as a thank-you for that, but sighed. "Unfortunately, I'm into sure if I will be able to eat anything tomorrow. I have to fit into that dress, you know."
"You're the same size you were when you got pregnant. Looking at you, no one would have thought you had a baby eight months ago."
"Yes, but wedding dresses and their undergarments are not so forgiving."
They both turned when they heard shuffling from the living room. Rory and April, who looked surprisingly wide awake, stood there, both with arms crossed. "Go to bed, you two!" Rory said.
Luke and Lorelai looked sheepishly at their daughters. "Sorr-ee," Lorelai said as she and Luke walked up to the girls. Rory and April hugged both of them again and then shook their fingers at them. "Go to bed," April echoed Rory's earlier admonishment. They watched Luke and Lorelai creep up the stairs toward their bedroom. Lorelai heard Rory's 'Sheesh' as the girls walked back to Rory's bedroom.
"We're a family," she whispered as she continued climbing up to their bedroom, sliding silently between the covers with Luke so they would not awaken a sleeping Will.
center b /b /center
"Oh, no, don't even think about it!"
Rory ran over to Lorelai, tissue in hand, and began to blot around Lorelai's eyes. "We said no tears yet, remember?"
Lorelai smiled and breathed in deeply a couple of times. "I know, but I can't help it. If I stop for just a second and think about today, I just get all choked up."
Rory sighed and put a hand on her mother's shoulder. "Mom, this is so unlike you. I don't think you got this emotional when you dropped me off at Yale for the first time."
"Rory, I just gave birth. I'm still hormonal."
"You gave birth eight months ago! That excuse does not fly anymore!"
"All right, all right. I'll try not to cry anymore today. So if you see me walking around, my arms flailing madly, it's because I'm not crying."
"OK, not crying." Rory pointed at her mother.
Just then April burst into the living room and ran up to Lorelai, throwing her arms around her future stepmother's midsection. That prompted more tears from Lorelai, to which Rory just threw up her arms.
"Lorelai, I'm so excited!"
Lorelai looked at her future stepdaughter and smiled through the tears that she was wiping away carefully. She gave April another hug. "So am I, kiddo. So am I."
Just then Emily Gilmore arrived with a crew of beauty experts behind her.
"Lorelai, where can we set up? We need to get all of us ready and we will need plenty of space for that."
"What? Mom, who are all of these people?"
Rory tapped Lorelai on the shoulder. "Oh, yeah, by the way, Grandma is coming with a herd of beauty professionals to help us get ready."
"Rory, you have to tell Mommy these things."
"Sorry, with everything going on this week, it kind of slipped my mind."
"Lorelai," Emily was starting to get impatient. "Where can we set up? We don't have all day and pictures are in a few hours!"
"Mom, how nice that you guys are here. You know we had appointments with my hairdresser in town and then we were going to do our own makeup later."
"Lorelai, today is your wedding day. You cannot go to just any dresser. Neither should you do your own makeup. Jacques, Kellie, Nadine, and Tory are here to help all of us. Now just point them in the right direction and we can get started."
Lorelai sighed and scrunched up her face, realizing that she really didn't want to argue with her mother on her wedding day. "Thanks, Mom. I appreciate this."
"It's my pleasure. My daughter only gets married once," Emily's smile stiffened. "I hope."
Rory ducked in between her mother and her grandmother to deflect her mother's reaction to her grandmother's statement. "Grandma, let me show you where the bathroom is. The new rooms are not finished yet so we will have to work upstairs."
Rory showed her grandmother around the house, suggesting rooms to set up in. The hairdresser and makeup artist took over the bathroom and the bridesmaids' dresser took over Rory's bedroom while Lorelai's own dresser took over the master bedroom.
After settling her crew in, Emily found Lorelai sipping coffee in the kitchen. "Where's the baby?"
"Wow, Mom. Feel the love. Are you just so excited about today?" Lorelai fluttered her eyelashes over the cup of coffee.
"Of course, I'm excited. You're getting married today! I want to see my grandson first."
"Will's asleep in his unfinished room right now. I'm hoping he'll sleep for a couple of more hours while we get ready. I want him to stay happy through pictures and the ceremony. I'll probably give him to Babette during the reception so she can put him to bed."
"As long as I get to have a dance with my grandson before he goes to bed, I'm happy." Emily smiled, reveling in the excitement of being the mother of the bride as well as a new grandmother.
"OK, Mom, I'm sure you will get that in, among the many other things that will be happening today."
As Emily smiled her way out of the kitchen, Sookie burst in the front door, squealing. She found Lorelai in the kitchen, smooshing her in a big hug. Lorelai put her coffee down and squealed along with Sookie. "You're getting married today!"
"I know! I'm so excited!"
The two friends were then joined by April and Rory, who had both been working with the hairdresser. Compliments flew as Sookie and Lorelai admired the girls' hairstyles. As they continued to squeal and coo over each other, Emily came in and grabbed both Lorelai and Sookie by the arms, dragging them up the stairs to the hairdresser's waiting chairs.
center b /b /center
Above the diner, Luke tried tying the white tie again, but found himself suddenly ignorant of how to tie a tie. He threw his hands up in frustration. "I'm all thumbs today. I'm never going to get this thing tied."
"Here, let me." Jess walked up to Luke, who turned toward his nephew. Luke tried to stand still patiently while Jess worked on the tie, but found fidgeting even more.
"Luke, you have to stand still or else this tie will instead become a noose."
"I know, I know. I'm just finding it hard to stay still at all. I don't know what my problem is."
"You're getting married. You're excited. It's understandable. Now, if you can swing it, can you hold still about thirty seconds longer so we can move a few steps closer to getting you married?"
"Yeah, I think I can do that."
While Jess was working, he looked up at his uncle. "You two are going to have a great life together."
"You think so?"
"Yeah. She changes you. Not in a bad way, but she does bring out something in you that few things can. You smile more, you laugh more. I've seen it." Jess finished the tie and tucked it into Luke's vest. "This is a good thing, Luke. A very good thing."
"Thanks, Jess." Luke found himself unable to say more.
"Of course, now I'm going to find it weird to think that I dated my stepcousin." Jess said, a smile playing at his lips.
Luke laughed. "Just think what it would be like if you two were still an item."
As Jess contemplated Luke's comment, TJ burst in, already dressed and ready to go. "You know, Luke, air pants would have been a better choice. I'm sweating in this penguin suit."
"Sorry to disappoint you, TJ. I vetoed tights early in the planning process."
"Ah, you're missin' out. They're so comfortable."
Jess and Luke rolled their eyes. "What time is it?" Luke asked.
"It's about 1:30."
Luke walked over to the window and saw the crew of volunteers from Miss Patty's studio were busy setting up everything in the town square. They were nearly done, which was a good thing because pictures were set to start in half an hour.
"Nervous?" Jess asked.
"Me. I'm not nervous. I've been waiting for this moment for quite some time now. I'm just ready for it."
"Two and a half hours until I do." TJ said in sing-song. "Want to split? I got my truck downstairs ready to go."
Luke looked at TJ in annoyance. "No, TJ. I'm planning on staying." He turned to Jess. "All right. Let's find the photographer and start rounding up people for pictures."
Jess patted Luke on the shoulder as the three men descended the stairs towards a closed Luke's Diner and the wedding scene outside.
center b /b /center
Milling around in the square were the stuff of families, both blood-related and friendship-formed. Jackson played with Martha and Davey while Sookie looked on, careful not to let her rambunctious children soil her dress. Rory and April stood with Richard, who was chatting with the girls about a new book that he was reading. Logan stood hand in hand with Rory, but was having a different conversation with TJ, Luke, and Jess, who had learned to tolerate Logan, though he still looked at Logan with suspicion as he felt he would always do with whoever Rory was with. Emily stood holding her grandson next to Liz with Genevieve while Miss Patty and Babette cooed over the dark, curly haired doll and sweet blonde-haired angel while regaling the mother of the bride and sister of the groom with town gossip. Around them buzzed a photographer, shooting candids as they all patiently waited for the last piece of puzzle to fall into place.
In addition to the herd of beauty professionals Emily had hired for the day, the Gilmores had contributed a horse-drawn carriage to the wedding festivities. The carriage would bring Lorelai to the ceremony area and then provide rides around Stars Hollow for guests during the reception. The assembled crowd heard the clip-clip of hooves and turned to see the bride, radiant in her veil and gown, pull up to the curb. The driver climbed down from his seat and helped Lorelai out of the carriage. In her hand was her bouquet. Her eyes sparkled and she glowed with the same happiness that propelled Luke through the crowd toward his bride.
He greeted her first, the crowd content to step back and watch the moment unfold between them. Carefully, their lips touched and his arms snaked around her, trying so hard not to muss lipstick or pull on her veil. She wore a beautiful A-line sheath, with a sash the same copper color as her bridesmaids' dresses around the waist and trailing behind her like a train. At the end of the sash were embroidered the same tree that was on Will's crib, a feat arranged by Emily's seamstress. In her hands, she held a bouquet of Gerbera daises, the reds, oranges, and golds matching the fall colors they had selected for their fall wedding. Her hair rained down in soft curls with the sides gathered up just enough to provide support for the veil that cascaded down her back. Luke tried to take her in, knowing that he would relive this moment in his head for many years to come and could only manage, "Perfect."
Lorelai smiled and kissed him again, waving one hand furiously afterward, trying so very hard not to cry. Luke had never looked more handsome or regal than at that moment. Clad in his tuxedo, white vest, white tie, and patent leather shoes, he was everything she had imagined he would be. She touched his cheek and whispered, "Handsome," a word he greeted with an even bigger smile. He kissed her hand, took her arm, and led her toward the awaiting crowd.
Will shrieked gleefully when he saw his mother. She kissed him and Genevieve and then exchanged hugs with everyone there. To her surprise, her parents stood to the side of everyone, both looking teary-eyed and awed by the sight of their daughter. She hugged them both and then kissed her father on the cheek. He stammered something about how beautiful she looked and she thanked him. Her mother, always one with a ready tongue, simply held her daughter's hands and gave her a gentle hug, complimenting her on how wonderful she looked. Lorelai just basked in it all and as she took Luke's hand, as the photographer began to corral them all into position for pictures, Lorelai could not help feeling as if her life were finally complete.
center b /b /center
Every year, the changing of the leaves in New England is always accompanied by the influx of tourists there to observe Mother Nature's change of cloak. Stars Hollow was no exception. In fact, the Dragonfly Inn had become a staple for some leafers, as they made its homey charm a part of their yearly ritual. When some of the guests heard about the wedding of one of the Dragonfly's owners and the local diner's proprietor, they made a point of walking through the town about four o'clock so that they could catch a glimpse of the festivities.
Anyone walked around the town square at that moment on October 20th would have seen the most anticipated event of Stars Hollow's last ten years. Practically the entire town was in attendance, each, at one time or another, having eaten in Luke's or at the Dragonfly, all privy to the friendship and then romance between the couple at the center of everything. They watched with teary glee as the bride's best friend and groom's brother-in-law and then the groom's nephew and newly found daughter sailed down the aisle, the ladies clad in copper and holding the smaller versions of the bride's bouquet. With oohs and aahs from the crowd, the bride's oldest daughter pushed her half brother down the aisle in his silvery white carriage, his face mirroring the same smile that his big sister possessed. When the bride's music began, they all turned toward the end of the aisle and saw the bride, a vision in white and copper, walk in time with her father, her face beaming, her eyes swimming, down the aisle towards the groom, who stood at the front of it all, grinning himself silly. Those in attendance saw the bride and the groom stand inside the chuppah that the groom himself had made for a different wedding all those years ago, a wooden reminder of a love then unspoken that today would be sealed with vows and a kiss.
As vows were exchanged, peppered by tears and the noises from the couple's youngest child, something magical happened in Stars Hollow. The entire town was overwhelmed, even if for just a moment, by the feeling that all was right with their world. Luke Danes and Lorelai Gilmore had come full circle and all of them had been there to see it. When Reverend Skinner told Luke that he could kiss his bride, he swept her up in an embrace that had all of the feelings of the last decade behind it. The kiss lasted several moments, accompanied by whistles and applause as everyone around them, the bridal party, the guests, and the bystanders celebrated this moment. Lorelai took her bouquet from her oldest daughter and marched back down the aisle with her husband, throwing her arms around him at the end of it. As the bridal party made their way back down the aisle, the couple greeted them with handshakes and hugs. Luke gathered April under one arm, Lorelai pulled Rory to her, and, in the middle, they held Will as the photographer preserved the moment for their lives to come, a picture that would forever grace the homes of all involved.
"We're a family," they said to each other and finally it was true.
center b /b /center
Late into the night, the crowd danced and ate, enjoying carriage rides around the town while the bride and the groom tried to make their day last as long as possible. They weaved in and out of conversations, stopping to kiss each other when they heard the tinkle of silverware on crystal. They waltzed their way around the dance floor between cutting cakes and throwing things at their assembled guests.
center b We're finally where we belong
True hearts together
No storm or misfortune too strong
For us to weather /b /center
Lorelai's head rested on Luke's shoulder as they wound their way around the dance floor.
"Ready for the honeymoon?"
She smiled and sighed. "Yes! A whole week on Martha's Vineyard, just you and me."
"Just the two of us. No crazy townspeople."
"No panicked phone calls about wedding plans."
"I don't know. You might miss them as soon as we're gone."
"I'm not bringing our kids on our honeymoon."
"Not even Will?"
"No, let your parents enjoy spoiling him for the week. They've been holding him all night. They wouldn't even let Babette take him back to the house. They did it themselves."
"I'm glad that they are enjoying him so much. They didn't do that with Rory."
"The situation was different then."
"True, true." Lorelai kissed Luke once again and laid her head back on his shoulder.
center b We found the life we've been dreaming of
A world of our own and a real love /b /center
"Do you think we'll ever get tired of doing that?"
"Kissing? No, I don't think I ever will."
Luke laughed softly and kissed her hand.
center b I feel like I've known you
For a hundred million years
We were lovers back then
Will be again
World without end
Always /b /center
"So we're married," Luke said softly.
"Yes, we are," Lorelai put a hand on his cheek.
"Happily ever after?"
"How about another kid?"
"What? We just had one. He's eight months old. Remember him?"
"I don't mean right now. Maybe in another year or so. One more before we close up shop due to old age."
"Old age? Speak for yourself. I'm as lovely and charming as ever."
"And modest too."
"You're lovely too, you know. Especially tonight."
"Just think about it."
"Luke, how could I not?" Lorelai's eyes began to swim again. "I have been waiting for this all of my life. How could I not want to share it?"
Luke wiped a tear away. "Good."
center b Always you
Beneath the sky of blue
Forever I'm on your side, whatever you do
Our love is tried and true
The good life is ours now, after all we've been through /b /center
As the night drew to a close, Lorelai was sad to see all of the festivities come to an end. She hugged her daughter, stepdaughter, and nephew as they retreated to their house so that she and Luke could have the apartment above the diner for their wedding night. She walked once more around the square, taking in the sights and the sounds of her wedding day before they were all gone. When she was done with her sojourn, Luke took her by the hand and led her toward the diner. He unlocked that familiar door, the bell ringing their presence in the empty diner. He took her up into his arms, carrying her up the stairs to the opaque glass door of Luke's old apartment. She opened the door and Luke carried her across the threshold into their new life.
The apartment was lit by candles everywhere. Yellow daisies sat in a vase on the table and the sounds of quiet jazz played in the background. Champagne (and beer) sat chilling in a bucket on the table, two plates with wedding cake sitting next to it. She took in the setting and turned to Luke.
"Did you do this?"
"I set it up, but I think Jess and Rory readied it for us."
"This is amazing."
"I'm glad you like it."
"Of course, I do." She looked at him, standing there with hands stuffed in his pockets, and took him by the arm, pulling him towards her. "I love you, Luke Danes."
"I love you, Lorelai Danes."
In the still of the night, when all of the world was dark and quiet, Luke "Table for One" Danes and Lorelai "I'm sorry; can I get an industrial forklift for my emotional baggage" Gilmore laid in bed together, celebrating the love and life they had both been waiting for.
How does one end the unendable? By remembering that somewhere, in the hearts and minds of all near and far, the story still goes on.