AN: I know it's been a while, I apologize I just hit a block. This chapter will serve to catch you up with all the characters. But don't worry I will finish this story. I already have my ending; I just have to get there.
Luke adjusted his tie and gripped his folder tightly. He and Richard had finished the business proposal and today was the day. Richard told him to bring Lorelai, but Luke claimed he wanted to surprise her. In reality he feared that Lorelai would witness him fail. Luke knew that Richard had helped him to achieve a very professional presentation, but it wasn't a sure thing by any means. The bank made him so nervous he feared he'd be struck dumb before he got a chance to present his case.
"Mr. Danes, please have a seat."
"So you have a proposal for me today for a small business loan, is that correct?"
"Yes sir. Umm here is the prospectus. I have cost projections, revenue breakdown, a plan of the necessary renovations, a copy of the deed to the building, and an insurance quote from a reputable agency."
"I see. You already own this building?"
"Yes sir, it's a hardware store now."
"Hmm," he turns the page.
Luke was starting to sweat. Richard had warned him about this. They'll keep you on the edge of your seat without cracking a smile or a frown.
It seemed like an eternity before the man looked up…and smiled. "This is quite a comprehensive plan Mr. Danes. The loan board will look it over and make a decision later this week."
Luke smiled tightly and smiled, "Thank you sir."
Luke extended his hand to the loan officer, "You're welcome, expect the official notice to be mailed in a few days."
Lorelai had been twitchy all day. She'd spilled coffee on the reception desk, knocked over a maid carrying fresh towels and broken a clock in the library. The inspiration for Lorelai's spastic behavior was the piece of paper burning a whole in her pocket.
The mail had arrived shortly after Luke had left for the day. Usually an actual letter (I.E. not a bill) addressed to her is a joyful event. Except when that letter had Christopher's lazy scrawl across the front. Inside was a copy of a letter bearing the Yale insignia. "Dear Mr. Hayden we are pleased to inform you of your acceptance to…" After that the whole day had been…off.
Lorelai was smart enough to know that Christopher was going to keep popping up. But she'd hoped that after a few unhappy greetings he'd get frustrated and leave. Just like after I said no to his proposal. But going to Yale…he'd be right there. A few scant miles away, full time. She'd spent the whole day expecting him to pop around a corner.
She couldn't fathom how he'd gotten in to Yale. Straub had gone to Princeton so it couldn't be a legacy thing. But then again the Haydens knew positively everyone (of their station) in Hartford so it wasn't too far-fetched to imagine Straub and Francine chatting up the dean of admissions at the club.
And if the letter itself didn't scare her enough then the simple note penned on the bottom did. "I've committed to them for four years. What are you committed to for the next four years?"
Richard had been in the insurance business for 20 years. He was an executive; he'd brokered some extremely lucrative deals all over the world with total confidence and ease. He was, to say the least, a seasoned pro. Despite all of this he was on the edge of his seat waiting to hear about Luke's bank meeting.
He assumed it was the entrepreneurial spirit inside him. Richard was well and truly set on his course, there would be no new career for him. But Luke was starting something new, a new exciting venture and Richard couldn't help but get caught up. It seemed inevitable at his age that he'd find himself living vicariously through his child. It was the same reason he always wanted Lorelai to attend Yale. He would get to relive the best years of his youth, through her.
He was so terribly disappointed, for them both, when that never came to be. And the disappointment lingered until he was sitting in her apartment reviewing loan applications with his pseudo-son-in-law. Why was I so excited to go back? To relive something that already passed? Looking around he realized for the first time that Lorelai's decisions offered him a unique opportunity. The chance to experience an entirely different path that he'd never get to try otherwise. And as an unexpected bonus to having a teenaged mother for a daughter…he'd be young enough to experience Rory's path too.
Luke had called right after the meeting to give Richard a recap. Now they were just waiting for the bank. Damn slow-moving bureaucrats.
Emily had always been good with details. In college she took the clearest notes and had amazing recall for dates and figures. Even her handwriting was fluid and precise. It had served her well running her house these past twenty years.
She doubted that even Richard knew what she did to keep this place running. She came up with the schedules and weekly budgets for the staff. She handled all their correspondence. She didn't think Richard had signed his own name to a card or letter in twenty years. He probably wouldn't even recognize his own signature.
This talent had also served her well in her plan to reunite her family. Though her typing was a little rusty, it took forever to type that letter to Yale for Christopher. Personalized letterhead was extremely powerful.
Emily just knew that given the proper advantages Christopher could excel. What better motivation than the chance to get his girls back? And Emily was helping him get his start. Four years from now Lorelai with thank me for fixing this so well. I am a patient woman I can wait for her gratitude.
William had been enjoying his retirement for the most part. He missed the work, but not as much as he thought he would. He had a workshop in his garage He'd started work on a swing set for Rory. Luke and Lorelai didn't have a yard yet but they could always move it from his yard once they did.
He'd spent quite a bit of his retirement babysitting. Lorelai had her job at the Inn and Luke was working like a dog on the diner. He hadn't gotten word from the bank yet but he was spending all his time doing cost comparisons on appliances and suppliers. He'd even signed up for an accounting class at community college. William had never been prouder.
William would go over in the morning and watch cartons with Rory while Lorelai ran around like a headless chicken gathering her things. Then they'd go to the park and hang out a 'pop's house'. And William had to admit, that made him proud too. After Liz left home he worried he hadn't done right by his children after their mother's death. But he was doing pretty well with this grandpa thing. And he thought he was being a pretty good dad to Luke…and Lorelai.
It was Lorelai who worried him the most these days. She seemed nervous and distracted. She was still wonderful with Rory and she was still constantly beaming at Luke. But whenever she had a second to herself she seemed…jumpy. And, though he wasn't her real father it was his duty to try and get it out of her.
"Lorelai, why don't you sit a minute and relax".
"I should be saying that to YOU. You've had Rory all day, let me make you some tea. Though how you Danes men haven't discovered the joy of coffee is beyond me it's really-"
Lorelai did as he asked and settled uncomfortably into William's old sofa, holding Rory on her lap. "Now sweetheart, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. It's just been a long day at work that's all."
William shook his head, "You were twitching at 7:30 when I picked Rory up. Are you and Luke fighting?"
"NO! I mean no, Luke is wonderful."
"Please Lorelai let me help you. You're family," William patted her hand gently.
Lorelai sighed and reached into her pocket, "This came in the mail yesterday."
William opened the crumpled letter and read it silently, "and this boy is Rory's real father?"
William smiled at Lorelai's obvious offense to the word 'real'. "So why is this making you nervous?"
"I feel like he's lurking around every corner. What if Chris keeps popping up and Luke gets frustrated?"
"Don't you think telling Luke will ease your nerves and give him a heads up for any future 'pop ups'?"
Luke arrived home exhausted from his day of business planning. But opening the door to find Lorelai, Rory, and take-out made it much better. "Hey girls"
Lorelai smiled shyly, in a manner Luke hadn't seen since their first few dates. "Hey babe."
Luke walked over and dropped a kiss on Rory's head and Lorelai's lips. They three ate together just like always but the quiet from Lorelai's end of the table was disconcerting. "Lorelai?"
"After Rory's in bed, okay?"
Luke nodded fearfully, never a good phrase for a man.
An hour later Rory was tucked in to her crib sucking on the ear of a fluffy brown bunny her grandpa Richard had brought her.
Lorelai changed into some sweats taking the letter from the pocket of her dress pants. She handed it to Luke while she fussed around folding things over chairs and arranging knick-knacks on her dresser.
Luke unfolded the paper and stared at the insignia for a moment. She applied to college? Then after a few seconds his eyes panned down and he saw the rest. It flashed before him in bits and pieces, 'Christopher'…'accepted'…'four years'. He swallowed hard and looked over at Lorelai. "Oh."
"I'm so sorry Luke. It just showed up in the mail the other day. I haven't seen him or talked to him. I don't know what it means really, maybe nothing just that he's going to be nearby. I'm sorry."
"Lorelai-" Luke attempted to interrupt her ramblings.
"No, no really. I wish you were Rory's only dad, I wish he wasn't around. I don't think he even cares about being her dad, he just wants me back or something or thinks this is what he should do. I guess that doesn't make you feel better. I'm sorry; if he comes around I'll tell him to go. But I don't want to contact him before he contacts us, just in case he's bluffing. I'm sorry I-"
Luke clamped his hand over Lorelai's mouth to stem the tide of words. "Lorelai…it's fine."
Luke chuckled lightly and removed his hand from her mouth. "You can't stop him from going to college, nor should you. Look maybe he is doing it to…get you back," Luke choked over the idea, "or maybe just to be a pain in the ass. But he doesn't seem like the most…reliable guy around maybe he'll flunk out. Or maybe he'll meet some ditzy sorority girl and start following her around."
Lorelai giggled and wrapped her arms around him. "I don't think they have ditzes at Yale, but I'm sure they've got a few cute girls. How can you be so wonderful about this?"
Luke sighed. He wasn't being so wonderful. Emily Gilmore's words were spinning between his ears, 'She will miss it you know', and a Yale education can certainly help buy a big house. Luke was desperately trying to keep his nerves from overwhelming them both, so he just shrugged. "What else can we do?"
Lorelai exhaled and kissed his lips warmly.
Luke grinned, a little uncomfortably, "I should have known… 'After the kid's in bed' is never a good phrase for a man."
Lorelai had a devilish look in her eyes, " Now that's not entirely true. If you'll follow me to the bedroom I'll demonstrate the proper meaning of 'after the kid's in bed'." Lorelai got up from the couch and slowly strutted to the bedroom.
Luke sat staring at the letter on the coffee table for a few moments. Shaking his head he got up and followed Lorelai into the bedroom.
AN 2: Okay this may seem like filler but it sets up a number of chapters since we have everyone's POV. So I hope this keeps you involved in this story and proves I haven't given up just yet.