What it Means to be a Father
Rating - K
Disclaimer - Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino have created an exceptional cast of characters and a wonderful world which they inhabit. I am merely borrowing them for my own warm and fuzzy feelings.
Author's Notes - Still technically Father's Day somewhere (Hawaii, maybe?) but only 7 minutes left in my neck of the woods. As I was standing around bored at work today, I was suddenly struck by this story. It had written itself out in my head; all I had to do was put it on the computer. A nifty little oneshot about Father's Day in Stars Hollow.
It was a well-known fact in Stars Hollow that you didn't go into Luke's Diner on the third Sunday of June. Since the death of William Danes nine years earlier and the conversion of his hardware store into a diner, the town knew better than to get near Luke Danes on that particular day. Even though the diner was technically open for business, it stood empty while Luke found various ways to occupy himself.
On this particular Sunday, Luke was going through his ordering books preparing for next couple of weeks. He was fully engrossed in his bread order that when the bell on the door jangled, he jumped and his head snapped up to see Lorelai Gilmore looking at him wild eyed.
"Just a sec and I'll get your coffee."
"No, no coffee. I just wanted to say beforehand that I had absolutely nothing to do this, and my child is acting on her own."
"What?" When Lorelai refused coffee there was usually something up. Add to that the fact that she was babbling about something that Rory was doing, all was not right in the Gilmore house.
"I told her that it wasn't necessary but then she insisted. She's like mule!"
"I can't! She's lost her mind. The Gilmore house has officially become Bedlam." Lorelai quickly crossed the diner so that she was belly up to the counter where Luke stood. "I told her that she should start shopping for a nice padded cell or give it up completely, but no, she still wants to do it! Arkahm Asylum for the Criminally Insane is more grounded than she is!"
"You were a comic book junkie as a kid, weren't you?"
"Lorelai, what's going on?" Luke asked, choosing to ignore her bait.
Before Lorelai could answer, the bell jangled again. This time Rory walked in holding a large blue gift bag with white tissue paper poking out of it. She smiled widely at Luke while Lorelai slowly began to back away. "Hi Luke!"
"Hi Rory," he said. "If you wait just a sec I'll have your coffee."
"Oh, no coffee for me," the girl answered as she walked up to the counter. She hefted the bag up and pushed it towards Luke. "For you."
"What's the occasion?" Luke asked, now even more concerned since Rory was declining the coffee.
"Well," Rory said slowly, "I was doing some research on Father's Day and since a lot of kids don't have fathers present in their lives, they celebrate a close male instead. It could be their grandfather or their uncle, or sometimes it's a really good friend. So, happy Father's Day Luke."
Behind Rory, Lorelai was gesturing to herself and then "no," further stressing that she had no part of what was currently happening. Luke looked at the bag and then at Rory, and embarrassed flush spreading across his cheeks. "Aw, geeze," he mumbled. "You didn't have to."
"I wanted to!" Rory said. "I mean, you're the closest thing to a father that I have so I felt like you should get a little credit." She smiled brightly at him while batting those Gilmore blues. Luke instantly melted.
"Thanks, Rory." He reached in the bag and pulled out a book. Turing it over, he saw that it was book of wood working projects. "Wow, this is great."
"I was looking for my summer reading and found it and thought of you. Since you're always building stuff around our house, I thought you might like it."
"I love it," he answered honestly. "Thank you, Rory." He stepped out from behind the counter and tentatively gave her a hug.
When they moved apart, Rory was beaming. "Well, I'm gonna go see if Andrew has my backorders in! Bye!" With that, she was out the door leaving Luke and Lorelai alone.
"You really had nothing to do with this?" he asked, nodding his head towards the book that was lying on the counter.
"I swear," Lorelai said. "I was helping her pick something out for Christopher and then all of a sudden she went off on how she wanted to get something for you."
"But why?" Luke asked as Lorelai sauntered back towards him. "Why me?"
"Why you?" Lorelai asked in surprise. "Come on, Ward, the Beaver absolutely adores you! Who helped her with her birdhouse project for art class last year?"
"Who helped her learn how to play softball so she wouldn't look bad in P.E.?"
"Who helped her make a casserole for her creative cooking class final?"
"I guess I did."
"Exactly. The things that a normal kid could go to dad for, she went to you."
"I would hardly say that she came to me."
"Okay, she'd bring it up in front of you, and you being the nice guy that you are would volunteer to help her out."
"That sounds about right. So, um, what does this make us?"
Lorelai knitted her brows together. "What about us?"
"Well, you are her mother, and she obviously sees me as a father figure…" Luke trailed off, hoping that Lorelai would pick up on the hint.
"Oh!" she gasped, a light blush covering her cheeks. "Oh. Wow. Hadn't really thought about that. I suppose we are where we are."
Luke let out a small sigh. "Right. We are where we are."
"Of course we-" Lorelai was cut off when the bell jangled and Kirk walked in and sat down at a table. The moment was over, the spell was broken, and Luke and Lorelai remained server and customer.
"Hey, I really am flattered," he said as Lorelai headed towards the door. "I like being part of your lives. Rory's a good kid and it's too bad that her own father isn't here."
Lorelai felt a lump forming in her throat. "You're right. She's really lucky that she has you in her life." With that Lorelai left the diner in search of Rory.
Looking back at the counter with the book, Luke considered himself lucky to be part of the lives of the Gilmore Girls.
It is a truth universally acknowledged by all Gilmore Girls fans that Luke is more of a father to Rory than Christopher ever was or will be. That said, I had to wonder if Rory ever gave Luke something on Father's Day. And thus this story was born. The rough time frame is the summer of 1999, and Rory has just finished off her last year of middle school and is about to start her freshman year of high school. Oh, you want an age? She's fourteen (almost fifteen) and Lorelai's thirty-one.
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