A/N: I began writing this a couple of weeks ago and it is based on the spoilers I knew about back then for the 2nd half of the season. Does not follow the show past 7.13.
I appreciate any and all feedback!
"It's going to be ok."
Lorelai hugged her daughter, closing her eyes in silent prayer that her words were true. The two girls remained standing with their arms wrapped around each other, Rory sniffling softly, taking comfort in each other. Lorelai couldn't help but think these moments between them were fewer and farther between. She feared the coming years when Rory would officially be on her own and the physical miles between them would be greater. She feared the days when talking once a week or even once a month would become the norm. She sighed and squeezed her daughter a little tighter. Their quiet moment came screeching to a halt, however, as they heard raised voices coming from down the hall.
Lorelai pulled away slightly and shook her head. "I do believe that Emily Gilmore has arrived on scene," Lorelai spoke, trying to keep her tone light.
Rory gave her a smile but said seriously, "Be nice, mom."
"Excuse me? I am always nice," Lorelai said, feigning innocence. She draped her arm across Rory's shoulders and steered them towards the disturbance.
"Of course," Rory said wryly. "My mistake."
They rounded the corner to come face to face with a frantic Emily Gilmore and an exasperated nurse. "Is this hospital run by a bunch of moronic imbeciles? I see not much has changed since I was here last!"
"Mom," Lorelai called out to her. "What are you yelling about?"
Emily turned to them in surprise. "This…idiot will not get a doctor out here to tell me about my husband. I demand to know what is going on!"
"Mom, come sit down and let this very nice lady do her job, ok?" She turned to the frazzled nurse, gave her an apologetic smile and guided her mom to the row of chairs down the hall. Emily was having none of it and pushed Lorelai's arms off her shoulders, standing firm.
"I don't want to sit down, Lorelai! I want to know what is going on!" Emily turned and once again headed towards the nurse's station.
"I will tell you what is going on if you SIT DOWN," Lorelai said.
A few people passing by gave her looks of suprise but she ignored them, focusing on her mother. Emily stopped and turned back to them. She and Lorelai stared at each other for a tense moment before she sighed and stalked off to the row of chairs. Emily sat down in between Lorelai and Rory and stared expectantly at Lorelai. Her hands were white, tightly clinched together in her lap, her back rigid and straight. When Lorelai didn't immediately speak, she impatiently snapped, "Well?"
"Alright, sorry. As I told you on the phone, Dad collapsed this morning during Rory's class. They rushed him here and according to the doctor we spoke with a few minutes before you arrived, Dr...Sampson? Samuels? Oh man, it was S something..."
"Dr. Saunders," Rory supplied.
"Yes, that was it!" Lorelai cried.
"Lorelai! Who cares what his name was for God's sake! Tell me what happened!" Emily yelled.
"He had a heart attack, Mom," Lorelai said quickly, her voice cracking with the admission. She looked down at her hands in her lap. Emily inhaled sharply but her composure stayed in check.
"It was bad," Lorela admitted softly. "I think he lost consciousness for a bit." She glanced over at Rory for confirmation since she was the one with him when it happened. "They're prepping him for surgery now. He said he'd be back out with more information before they went in. They're still waiting on test results or something. That's all we know right now. I'm sorry."
Emily stared at her daughter in silence, her lips a thin, straight line. She didn't move or speak for several long minutes. Lorelai glanced over at Rory who was looking at her grandmother with concern. She reached a hand out and lightly touched Emily's shoulder. "Grandma," she started to speak when Emily snapped out of her trance.
She shot up out of her seat and began walking back down the hall. Lorelai got up to go after her, yelling, "Where are you going?" She barely dodged a couple who were coming down the hall towards them, apologizing quickly as she ran past.
"I want to see him," she stated, not even bothering to turn around or slow down.
"Mom, you can't see him right now. They're taking him into surgery!" Lorelai and Rory hurried after her.
At that moment, Lorelai saw the doctor from earlier come around the corner. "Mrs. Gilmore, I presume? I'm Dr. Saunders." Emily stopped short and turned to face him. Lorelai saw the nurse from earlier sigh in obvious relief before hurrying off down the hall in the opposite direction. Run while you can, she thought with a hint of a smile before turning her attention to the doctor.
"I want to see my husband," Emily stated to the doctor in front of her, ignoring his outstretched hand and instead crossed her arms over her chest.
"I understand that. But I'm afraid we've already got him in the OR. I'm on my way there now but wanted to come talk to you first, let you know a little about what is going to happen."
Lorelai came up next to her mom with Rory close behind. "Is he going to be ok?" she asked.
"I'm afraid it's too early to tell. We'll know more after the surgery. What you can take comfort in right now is he appears to be in excellent health overall. That's always very important in these situations. But I understand he's had heart trouble in the past?"
"Angina," Emily elaborated. "A few years ago. They said it was no big deal. We changed his diet as instructed. He's had regular check ups and the very best doctors. He's not had any problems since!"
"That's good," Dr. Saunders said. "That's very good. We ran a number of tests and x-rays and what we've found is Richard has a couple of blocked arteries. We need to open those up as quickly as possible, which is why surgery is necessary. Nothing can be guaranteed. There is always a risk with surgical procedures, I'm afraid. With that said, the chances are very good he will come out of this fine."
The trio stood quietly, listening as the doctor continued to explain the procedure and what was about to happen. They all nodded their understanding when he finished even though Lorelai wasn't sure she had heard anything after "Chances are good he'll be fine." He shook each of their hands and with an encouraging smile, he headed back to the elevators. They watched him go in silence.
Lorelai was the first to break the silence. "Well, now we wait, I guess. Can I get anyone some coffee?" She turned to her mother, who was staring down at the floor. "Mom? What would you like? Something to eat maybe? I can't promise gourmet cuisine can be found on the premises but I bet I can round up some Ding Dongs and a Pop-Tart or two."
Emily looked up at Lorelai blankly and said, "No thank you, I'm not hungry."
Lorelai smiled sadly at her mother's lack of reaction to her attempt at humor and looked over at Rory.
"I could use some coffee. I'll stay with Grandma," she said quietly.
She gave her daughter a grateful smile and said, "Ok, I'll be right back."
She watched as Rory ushered her grandmother back to the waiting room before turning back down to search out the vending machines. She walked slowly, grateful to have a few minutes to herself to think. Or not think, as the case may be.
She walked mostly on autopilot and before long, she found herself standing in front of a row of vending machines. She had no idea how she had gotten there. It was true what they said. It was like dogs and high-pitched noises — Lorelai had always had a nose for junk food.
She stared numbly at their contents, her hands shoved deep into her pockets. Her eyes glanced over each of the items and to anyone observing it would seem as if she were weighing the choices, simply trying to decide which she wanted the most. However, had she been asked to describe what was directly in front of her, she never would have been able to list even one of the items.
She wasn't hungry in the least, she decided. She headed over to the coffee machine and began digging for her change. "Dammit," she mumbled when all she came up with was a measly eight cents. She'd spent the cash she had on her earlier that morning when she'd taken Gigi to get ice cream after Chris had stormed out.
Gigi. Lorelai sighed and dug out her cell phone. She pressed a few buttons and sat down on a nearby chair. Her foot tapped impatiently on the floor as she listened to the rings. When she got the hated voice mail for the fourth time that day, she couldn't control the anger that washed over her. She slammed her phone shut, without leaving a message this time, and sat fuming for a few long minutes. She knew her husband was immature, but this was taking it to a whole new level.
When she was able to get a little control over herself, she picked her phone back up and dialed a second number.
"Hi Babette, it's Lorelai," she said as cheerfully as she could muster. "Just checking in, seeing how things are going."
"Oh, hi there, doll. Things are going just fine. How's things with your dad? Is he gonna be ok? What happened?"
"He had a heart attack. He's in surgery right now. We're not sure," Lorelai said, fighting the tears that had been threatening to come since Rory had first phoned her several hours prior. "But the doctor sounded hopeful. So that's a good sign, I think."
"Sure is, sugah."
"Thanks for watching Gigi on such short notice. I hope she's not being too much trouble?"
"Oh no, she's just fine. She and Apricot have really taken to each other. Hang on a sec…Gigi, no sweetie, don't pull his tail! MOREY, GET OVER THERE!" Lorelai winced a little at the thought of the poor cat but stifled a laugh at the same time. Paul Anka had taken to hide anytime the child was near. "Sorry 'bout that, sugah. I'm back. Now, don't you worry 'bout a thing, ya' hear? Morey and I got it all covered. You just take care of yourself. And don't you worry if you're not able to get back tonight. I'll sleep on the couch over at your house so Gigi has her things around her. That's important to a little girl, ya' know."
Lorelai smiled into the phone. "Thanks, Babette. I owe you one. I'm still trying to get hold of Chris so hopefully you won't have to do that. But I appreciate that you're willing."
"Chris at work or sumthin'?"
"Yeah," she said quickly, "he's at work. He can be hard to reach there sometimes." Lorelai sighed, rubbing her forehead a little at the developing tension. "Can I talk to Gigi for a sec?"
"Of course," she said, and then Lorelai had to pull the phone away from her ear as the older woman's scratchy voice screeched, "GIGI?! Come here, sweetie!" Babette's voice became muffled and she heard a slight scuffling and then Babette screaming for Morey and the whereabouts of their cat.
"Oh God," Lorelai muttered, briefly worried about what tortures her stepdaughter was inflicting on her neighbor's precious animal. She couldn't help but entertain visions of yet another wake she'd be attending soon for the cat. What was the appropriate consolation gift for a beloved pet that she was indirectly responsible for killing?
"Here she is, doll," Babette said and seconds later she heard Gigi's voice say a quiet "Hi."
"Hey there kid. You having fun with Babette and Morey?" Lorelai made a conscious effort to keep her voice light and carefree.
"Yeah," Gigi said. "Where are you?"
"Well, I'm at the hospital."
"My father is sick. The doctors are with him, trying to make him better."
"So I may have to stay here tonight. Will you be ok with Babette? She's going to stay with you until I can get home but it might be after you've gone to bed."
Lorelai knew that question was coming and yet she still cringed. "He's at work, sweetie. And then he probably needs to come help me out up here when he's done, so it's better if you stay with Babette for now, ok?"
The little girl didn't reply. "Gigi? You still with me, kid?"
"Yeah," she said quietly.
"Ok, well, I need to hang up now. But if you need to call me, for anything, you can. Anytime of the day or night. Babette can help you with the phone."
"Why can't I come there with you and Daddy?"
"Aww, sweetie, you don't want to be at the hospital. Lots of sick people all around. And no toys or fun things to play with at all. Trust me, babe, you will have lots more fun at home. And we'll be there as soon as possible."
"Ok," Gigi replied but Lorelai could hear the hesitance in her voice. Poor kid, she thought. She really had been through a lot in her few short years.
"I'll call you again if were not going to be home before you go to sleep. And do whatever Babette and Morey tell you to do."
Gigi promised she'd be good and then handed the phone back to Babette. They spoke a few minutes more and Lorelai hung up and leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes. She felt the tears stinging the back of her lids but she pushed them back. She checked her watch and realized she'd been gone too long. She pulled herself together, running her hands through her hair quickly trying to make herself presentable, and headed off to rejoin her family.
"Mom!" Rory called when she saw her mother coming down the hall. "Where have you been?"
"Sorry, had a few phone calls to make. I needed to check on Gigi."
"Oh, sure." Rory looked at her for a second and then said, "Where's the coffee?"
"Coffee?" Lorelai asked blankly. "Oh, coffee! Sorry! I don't have any cash on me. Can you imagine?" Her accompanying laugh was a little shaky. "I'm sure there is an ATM around here somewhere. I'll find it."
She started to walk off when she heard a voice speak up behind Rory. "Don't worry about it. I'll get it. Just sit down."
Shocked, she stopped in her tracks. Her heart did a quick dive into her stomach and she forgot to breathe for a second. It wasn't possible, she thought, closing her eyes before turning back around.
"Luke," she whispered, her eyes wide with shock. "What are you doing here?"