First a note of explanation: This fic is the result of a conversation on the Vicious Trollops thread. It was suggested that someone write a story about what would have happened between Emily and Richard if the security guards had not shown up the night of the Dragonfly test run in "Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller." Since this fic by nature is AU, I decided to reimagine this universe to my liking. In my world Rory did not sleep with a married Dean on this same eventful evening.
After climbing through the basement window, Emily walked gingerly out of the shrubbery and onto the path. The cold air assaulted her stocking-clad legs and she pulled her sweater down in an attempt to cover herself.
Richard stormed out of the house in search of her. "Are you having an aneurysm or something? Get inside and put this on," he demanded.
Emily jumped at his sudden appearance and released her sweater. "Get away from me!" she yelled, retreating from him and making for the front door.
"Do you seriously think after thirty-nine years of marriage, I would resort to locking you in the basement?" he questioned following her.
"I don't know what you'd resort to," she countered then added with a note of sadness, "I don't know who you are at all."
"I knew the mental illness in your family would catch up with you eventually," he snapped.
Shocked at his personal assault, she whirled around and confronted him with a renewed intensity. "Aunt Cora was not mentally ill. She was athletic!"
Richard exhaled sharply. "Do you know what, Emily? If nothing else, this display tonight demonstrates that you are no longer the woman I married."
She quickly picked up the thread of his argument and turned it into her own. "The woman you married was your partner. You listened to her. You consulted with her. You respected her. So, you are right, Richard. I am definitely not the woman you married."
"Well the woman I married certainly would not stand in front of our house half naked. Now put this on," he thrust the black skirt at her, "and we'll continue this inside."
"Do not tell me what to do," she protested, crossing her arms resolutely across her chest, refusing to take the skirt he was still holding out to her. The lights of a passing car briefly illuminated her features.
Richard glanced around at the street and the neighboring houses for a moment then back at his wiffe's determined glare and shook his head. "This is ridiculous. We will continue this inside one way or another."
"Are you threatening me?" she asked in fury and disbelief.
"I don't make threats, Emily," he stated flatly as he bent over and hoisted her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry and strode purposefully toward the door.
"Richard Gilmore, put me down!" she yelled as she planted her hand against his back and raised her head up trying to turn and look at him. She struggled slightly but his grip on her held firm preventing her from moving very much. The thought of landing head first on the pavement was also a bit of a deterrent.
"I'll put you down as soon as we are inside," he replied, opening the front door with one hand and kicking it shut behind him. He stood in the foyer looking from the study to the stairs to the sitting room trying to decide where to go next. He settled on his study. It would be easier to keep her in that room until they resolved this once and for all.
"We are inside now. I demand that you put me down this instant," she seethed as he carried her towards the study.
"I intend to momentarily," he replied opening and closing the study door with the same method he had used on the one before.
"And stop kicking the doors! You're going to leave scuff marks," Emily reprimanded. "I swear I don't know what's come over you."
He deposited her on her feet in the middle of his study. "What's come over me is the idea that this has gone on long enough, Emily. We're going to sort this out here and now."
"Oh we are, are we?" she challenged her voice dripped with bitter sarcasm and her eyes blazed with fire.
"Yes," he replied mimicking her stance, shoulders squared and looking down at her.
She made a move toward the door and he shifted to block her path.
Through clenched teeth she hissed, "Richard, so help me God."
"We can't go on like this indefinitely, Emily," he announced.
"Maybe you can't, but I can," she replied her fury once again building.
"We've had disagreements before, but we've always been able to work through them," Richard reasoned with an air of stating the obvious.
"You think this is merely a disagreement?" she bit back, rising up as tall as she could and glaring at her husband. Then she huffed bitterly and, with a disgusted shake of her head, crossed her arms.
"I realize that you were upset about the whole mess with Jason and Floyd, but that seems to be working itself out and it didn't cause any undue problems with the girls," he replied as though that would be that.
Her hands balled up into fists and her arms dropped to her sides as she began to finally unleash her pent up frustrations. "It's not just what you did; it's how you did it." She began to gesture forcefully, her eyes everywhere but his face. "You completely disregarded my concerns and it's not just that spiteful business with Floyd and Digger." She turned her back on him and strode toward the desk. "You've been slowly shutting me out of your life for years." She began to pace back and forth, hands still flying. "You retired and didn't tell me, you used your pension as collateral to leverage the business and didn't tell me, you took Digger on as your partner and jumped every time that boy sneezed, then you went behind his back and made that deal with Floyd that destroyed him and could have driven Lorelai and Rory away for good and you didn't tell me." The words were said in a rush of anger and she paused to take a breath, eyes closed in an effort to contain some of the raging emotions she was feeling.
Richard stood frozen eyes glued to Emily's every movement. As the weight of what his wife was saying washed over him, he visibly deflated, his shoulders dropped, his head hung down slightly. It was all true and he had no defense, no counter argument, nothing to say to make it alright.
Now that she had given vent to some of her fury, Emily was left feeling drained and miserable. "This isn't even a marriage anymore," her voice barely above a whisper, her gaze fixed on something in the distance; she couldn't continue. The implications of what she had said were too much to give voice to and she blinked her eyes against the sting of tears that she refused to allow to fall. She needed out, out of the room and out of this entire situation.
Richard turned and watched as she walked past him. He started to speak, not knowing what he would say but knowing that if he didn't say something the effect would be irreversible. "Emily," he began quietly, it was enough to stop her forward motion. He took a deep breath before he went on. "Everything you have said is completely and utterly true and you've only given a partial list of my many transgressions. I have nothing I can say to you except, I am sorry." She turned her head fractionally toward him. He knew that she was listening, considering what he was saying to her. "I am deeply and sincerely sorry. I was wrong to have marginalized your part in our marriage. I cannot envision my life without you by my side. These past few weeks have been a living hell and I am willing to do anything you say to bring it to a close." He didn't even realize that he was holding his breath as he watched for her slightest reaction.
She turned, her gaze slowly shifting up to his face. His whole demeanor and look seemed to plead for her forgiveness. Her eyes still burned and it felt like her throat was closing in on her, but she refused to yield to weakness. She took a deep breath through her nose to steel herself and started slowly. "I need to know that it won't happen anymore," proud of how steady her voice sounded even if it was quiet, her confidence grew as she continued, her eyes flitted briefly up to his, "I want to be your partner again."
Richard took a half step toward to her. He was close enough to touch her, but his arms stopped the motion just inches from his sides. He wasn't sure if she would allow him physical contact yet and he didn't want her to close down now that they were finally talking. "I have nothing to offer you except my word."
She finally locked her gaze on him. With every fiber of her being she yearned to forgive him, to put all this behind them, but she wanted, needed more.
Her look was a mix of emotions he couldn't completely read. She wasn't talking, but she wasn't trying to leave either. She was just watching him intently, waiting. "You are my life," he saw the contradiction forming on her lips and quickly continued, "I know you're going to say that I have my work, and as much time as I devote to that, it means nothing if I can't come home and share it with you. Nothing has meaning without you, Emily. You are my heart. You are everything." He decided the time was right to reach out to her, and brought his hand up to rest on her shoulder.
She looked down for a moment unable to maintain the intense eye contact. In all their years together her husband had rarely spoken to her in such terms. Usually their relationship was quips and flirting, witty arguments that meant nothing, and an unspoken undercurrent of deep love and devotion which he had just put into words.
Richard lifted his other hand to her chin and gently tilted her face bfack up to his. "Do you have any idea how much I love you?" he asked, his tone a low rumble that came from deep in his chest.
Emily bit down on her bottom lip, her whole body seemed to quiver as she forcefully refused to unleash all the emotions threatening to overwhelm her. Unable trust her voice, she shook her head, the movement only barely perceptible.
He leaned his head down, closing the distance between them slowly, giving her the opportunity to stop him if she wanted; his eyes closed a fraction of a second after their lips finally connected. His kiss was tentative, gentile, a testing of the waters. She, on the other hand, felt the dam burst the moment their mouths came together. All the anger, the hurt, the sorrow, the passion of every kind that she was feeling came crashing to the surface and into the kiss which she quickly dominated, her hands wadding up the material of his suit coat as she tried to pull him impossibly closer. Her mouth opened against his, her tongue demanded entrance as it sought his and she sucked on it forcefully. His brain swam as it struggled to keep up. He wrapped his arms around her and attempted to draw her to him, but her body was already crushed against his.
Richard's hands began to roam her back. When one dipped down below the hem of her sweater and encountered her smooth nylon-covered behind he was quickly reminded of how little she was actually wearing. He moaned into her mouth as he squeezed the firm flesh. The touch of her husband's hands stoked the fire that was already raging out of control within her. Still firmly clutching in the lapels of his jacket, she quickly tugged it down his shoulders and off, dropping it to the floor. His lips trailed down the side of her neck and back up again. Once free of the jacket, his hands quickly sought her body once more. This time when his hands reached the bottom of her sweater he reversed direction and trailed them up underneath. When his fingertips grazed across her bare skin electricity pulsed through her body.
Emily's hands were not idle either. She had already opened his belt buckle and the fastening on his trousers and was quickly tugging his shirttail free. As Richards' fingers brushed against her ribcage, her breath caught in her throat. It was all she could do to concentrate on freeing the small buttons of his dress shirt. She started at the bottom and worked up. Richard kissed her on the forehead then gazed down watching the progress of her trembling fingers. When her hands traveled above eye level, she was confronted with his bowtie. Swiftly yanking it loose, she tossed it aside and finished the buttons of his shirt then shoved it down his arms. The cuff links gave way of their own accord one making a sharp ping as it collided with something in the room.
In contrast, Richard knew from experience he only had to undo two of the large buttons on her sweater before he could easily slide it off her shoulders. It dropped in a pool at her feet, her bra quickly followed, his undershirt close behind. The rest of their clothing was discarded rapidly as fingers and lips blazing trails across the newly exposed skin.
"Richard, I can't find my skirt anywhere. Are you sure you don't remember where you dropped it?" Emily asked, a pile of clothing gathered in her arms as she looked behind a potted plant in the corner of the study.
"We'll find it in the morning, Emily. Let's go to bed," he answered as he watched his wife. Her hair was decidedly mussed. She had donned his white dress shirt and only fastened one button about halfway down. He was transfixed by the play of the fabric across her figure as she moved about the room picking up the last few articles of their discarded clothing.
She spared him a glance as she continued searching behind his desk. He looked so smug standing there leaning against the doorway, bare-chested wearing just his trousers and watching her. "I will not have the maid finding my skirt down here in the morning," she replied as she moved in front of the sofa getting down on her knees to look underneath.
He shifted both pairs of their shoes to the arm holding his coat and walked over to her, dropping his free hand on her shoulder as she continued to look under the furniture. "Emily, I will personally come down here before the maid arrives and look for it, now…" he paused, waiting for her to rise up on her knees and make eye contact. He gave her a pointed look and said, "let's go up to bed." As he placed particular emphasis on the last word, his fingers traced circles on her back then up to and around her ear.
With a very pleased smile of her own, she allowed him to help her to her feet. As she stood up, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him steering them out of the room and up the stairs.
It was almost noon the next day when Lorelai's Jeep pulled into the driveway of her parents' home. She put the car in park and looked to her daughter in the passenger seat. "Why are we here again?"
Rory had already answered the question many times since her mother had agreed on their visit. "Because we feel guilty."
"Speak for yourself, missy," Lorelai replied.
Her daughter's only response was a stern look before she opened the door and got out of the car.
"Okay, okay, I feel guilty," Lorelai admitted also exiting the vehicle.
As Rory closed the door, she stared at her mother through the two open windows of the Jeep and continued with the flat tone of someone who has been forced to repeat themselves several times too many. "We're worried about Grandma and Grandpa and we want to make sure they're okay."
Lorelai rounded the car and walked towards the front door. "Want to take any bets on which one of them gets to use the house this week?"
"Stop it," Rory admonished.
"Last night my mother admitted that they are separated," she explained her tone becoming more serious. "I mean she actually used the word separated, as in not living together anymore."
"We are not going to assume the worst," Rory countered as she rung the doorbell.
Lorelai readjusted the purse on her shoulder and her gaze dropped briefly to the ground. A black bit of material was poking out from behind the flowerpot next to the front door. She bent down to pick it up, asking "What is this?" Then with another look she quickly answered her own question. "It's a skirt. It's my mother's skirt. What on earth is my mother's skirt doing out here?"
"Maybe it fell out of her suitcase," Rory offered. "You did say Grandpa packed their things and I would imagine he was in a bit of a hurry."
Lorelai continued to examine the skirt in her hands. "This looks like the skirt my mother hand on last night."
Just then the door swung open and revealed Emily. The shock at seeing her daughter and granddaughter standing on the doorstep was clearly written across her features.
A huge grin spread across Lorelai's face. It was all she could do to keep from bursting into laughter as she held up the skirt and asked. "Ah… Lose something Mom?"
Thanks: Notes: I need to express my gratitude to Cira for her marvolous beta and editing skills. You challenge me and I really like that. I also need to thank my personal cheerleaders and sounding boards UnaVitaSegreta and WhreofBabylon. Thanks for staying up until all hours with me. Your encouragement and suggestions are a fantastic. Any mistakes that remain belong completely to me.