"Oh, my God, Emalisa!" Lorelai rushed over to her. "Where have you been?"
"Hiding." Em answered simply.
Em's hair was a tangled mess. Her clothes were stained in blood and dirt. She appeared very pale and looked as if she could fall to her knees at any moment.
"Hiding?" Luke came up beside them. "Where? Why?"
"Different places…" Em mumbled. She swayed a little to one side and Luke reached out to steady her. "I didn't want them find to me…" She whispered weakly.
Lorelai gazed down at Emalisa's wrists. They were raw and bloody, obviously where she had wiggled herself free from the ropes. "Oh, sweetie…" Lorelai lifted up Em's hand but Em jerked her hand away in pain.
"We've got to get her to a hospital. Now." Luke replied forcefully.
"Should we tell everyone she's here?" Rory asked.
"Screw them." Lorelai replied harshly. "Let's go."
Together her and Luke carefully helped Em over to Luke's truck and drove off towards the hospital.
Em was taken straight back to the emergency room as soon as they arrived. Rory and Lorelai sat in the waiting room while Luke went out for some fresh air.
"Could you imagine rubbing your wrists raw from rope burns?" Lorelai asked.
"No." Rory answered as she stared straight ahead. "Could you imagine watching your brother shoot himself and his body falling beside you?"
"No." Lorelai answered just as blankly. "My God… That poor kid."
"What do you think this will do to her?" Rory looked over at her mother.
Lorelai shook her head, "I'm not sure."
"Seems like there would be some emotional damage…" Rory noted.
"Definitely." Lorelai agreed. She gazed over at Rory who was still looking at her. "Rory…" She paused. "Can we do this?"
"Do what?" Rory asked.
"Help her…" Lorelai clarified. "Fix her." She gazed down at her lap. "Do we really have the power to do that? Cause we keep saying we do…" Tears filled Lorelai's eyes. "But things just keep getting worse…"
Rory reached over and put her hand on her mother's shoulder. "We can do this, Mom." She said with certainty. "I believe you can do anything." She smiled.
"Thanks, kiddo." Lorelai smiled in return. "I just hope…. I just hope we see something good soon. I hope Em gets the second chance she really deserves."
"She's changed a lot… hasn't she…" Rory noted as she leaned back in her chair.
"Yeah. She has. But I guess we all have in some way." Lorelai leaned back as well. "I never would have imagined that Emalisa would ever play such a large role in my life." Lorelai dried away at the few tears that had entered her eyes as she calmed herself down again.
"It's kind of nice." Rory replied. "I mean, having someone else around. I bet we could have her drinking coffee in no time."
Lorelai laughed, "Emalisa on coffee? Are you sure that would be a good thing?"
There was a moment of silence between them.
"You're a good mom." Rory said softly. "And a good aunt."
"Not so much of a sister, huh?" Lorelai asked teasingly.
"You're an incredible sister." A voice from across the room answered.
Lorelai and Rory both looked up and saw Elisa standing in front of them. She slowly walked over towards them, tears running down her face.
"Em is here?" She asked. "She's okay?"
"She will be." Lorelai answered.
"I heard…" Elisa looked down. "Luke called me."
"Oh…" Lorelai replied unaware that Luke had done so.
"He's a good man. I very much misjudged him." Elisa looked over at Rory. "I've misjudged all of you." She added.
"Are Mom and Dad here? Bailey?" Lorelai asked.
Elisa shook her head, "No… no… I didn't bother to tell them. I wanted to come alone." She paused and then sniffled. "I wanted to see her…. And tell her how truly sorry I am." A sudden burst of tears streamed down Elisa's face. "I'm sorry… I'm just very upset right now." Elisa covered her mouth.
Lorelai stood and moved closer to her sister, "It's okay." Lorelai reached over and put her hand on Elisa's arm. "Em is going to be okay."
"Oh, Lorelai…" Elisa began. "Could you ever… ever… forgive me?" Elisa gazed up into Lorelai's eyes. "I wouldn't blame you if you said no…"
Lorelai was quiet for several seconds as she stared her older sister in the eyes. For the first time in her life, Lorelai saw Elisa as a sister rather than a enemy. She saw her as a woman who had lost everything. A woman who had been stripped of both of her children and was suddenly forced to behold a harsh reality she had refused to see for so long. Immediately, Lorelai's walls came crashing down. She could not hold a grudge any longer.
"Of course I forgive you, Elisabeth." Lorelai pulled her sister into a tight hug. "We'll get through this together, okay? The way sisters are supposed to get through things."
Elisa wrapped her arms tightly around Lorelai, "You know I've always envied you. Always."
"Shh." Lorelai replied. "None of that matters."
"You never deserved all that harsh treatment… or the bitterness."
"Let it go, Elisa." Lorelai replied as a single tear escaped her eye. "Don't carry that inside you…" Lorelai released herself from her sister's embrace. "Tell the nurse you're Em's mother. They'll let you go back to see her."
Elisa stood still for a moment and then shook her head to signify she understood. "Thank you, Lorelai. Thank you so much." Elisa's eyes fell back to Rory. "Thank you too, Rory." She slowly backed away from the girls and headed down the hall out of the waiting room.
Rory stepped over beside Lorelai. "Wow…"
"I know." Lorelai smiled as she stretched an arm around Rory. "Who would have thought?" Lorelai nearly laughed. Lorelai saw Luke strolling back into the waiting room.
"Hey." Luke smiled as he came closer.
"Hey." Lorelai repeated sweetly. "Thank you so much."
Luke nodded. "You're welcome."
"You're amazing, you know that?"
"I've heard it a few times here and there…" Luke smirked.
"Oh God, you two… get a room." Rory rolled her eyes.
"Rory!" Lorelai shockingly replied.
"What? She has a good point…" Luke joked.
"Oh, yeah?" Lorelai asked folding her arms.
"Yeah, only maybe instead of a room… we could get an entire house. With a garage… and a pool… and a dog." Luke eased closer to Lorelai. "Maybe a white picket fence and nice shady walnut tree in the back yard."
"Luke…" Lorelai gazed at him starry eyed.
He reached inside his shirt pocket and pulled out a tiny box. "How about it?" he handed her the box. "Will you start a life with me, Lorelai?"
Rory's eyes bulged from her head. She gasped as her mom opened the box to behold a stunning silver diamond ring. Lorelai swallowed heavily and was speechless for several seconds.
"Mom…" Rory nudged.
Lorelai immediately put the ring on her finger and then quickly wrapped her arms around Luke catching him off guard. "Yes… I will." She whispered into his ear as she hung onto his neck.
Luke gazed over Lorelai's shoulder and smiled and winked at Rory, who smiled a returned a wink of her own.
(2 months later)
It was the last day of September. Luke and Lorelai were sitting out on the porch swing enjoying one of the last of the season's warm evenings. Lorelai rested her head on Luke's shoulder as the steady swaying of the swing nearly put her to sleep.
Suddenly, the screen door creaked and Emalisa stepped out. Lorelai's eyes opened.
"Hey… where you going?" Lorelai asked.
"Rory said there's a college fair at the library. If I leave now I can still catch it before they pack up."
"A college fair?" Luke inquired.
"Yeah." Em smiled as she swiped a piece of hair behind her ears. "If I start looking, maybe I can get into a school for the spring semester."
"College? Wow… I didn't think you were interested." Lorelai smiled proudly. "Any thoughts of where you'd like to go?"
"Some place close." Em replied. "I don't want to get too far away from home. I'll be back soon." She took off down the steps and headed towards the library.
"She's going to make it..." Lorelai said softly as she rested her head back on Luke's shoulder.
"Oh, yeah." Luke added. "She's going to be fine."