The throbbing headache Lorelai was experiencing was hard, but the first full day without Rory home was going to be harder. This wasn't like Yale. This was like Rory moving across the country and not knowing when she was coming home. Lorelai sat up, realizing that she'd fallen asleep on Rory's bed, and slowly walked into the kitchen. Rubbing her eyes, she was surprised to see Luke preparing her breakfast.
"Hey," he said softly.
She gave him a half hearted smile, planting a quick kiss on his cheek and taking a seat at the kitchen table. He placed a plate of chocolate chip pancakes in front of her and she looked up at him, touched. The chocolate chips were in the shape of a smiley face. "Luke," she started.
He sat down with her, placing his plate of eggs in front of him. He put his hand on hers. "It's okay."
"Thank you," she said softly, almost afraid to cut up the pancakes staring back at her. She finally cut the first pancake, putting a piece in her mouth, and looked at Luke again. "What did you do this for?" she asked.
"I figured you'd need a little push to get back on your feet. Everyone does," he said, taking a sip of orange juice.
Lorelai put down her silverware and pulled her chair in closer. "I have this really weird way of dealing with pain," she started.
"We've experienced that," Luke replied.
She looked down at the partially eaten pancake and sighed. "We have. And I just want to warn you ahead of time, that this pain is going to be really weird. I'll be fine sometimes, and other times, I'll need some support."
"I can do that," Luke reassured her.
"As of right now, I'm good. I'm dealing with the pain through constant motion. Don't stop, keep yourself busy, don't cry, because you're going to miss out on something, you know?"
Luke nodded in response. Lorelai appreciated the fact that he was being the good listener that he always had been. She needed him right at that moment.
"And at some point soon, I'll need to be alone, cry it out for awhile, I guess. Who am I, predicting my own emotions? I've always known that even I can't take my predictions to the bank on those," Lorelai scoffed, taking another bite of her pancake.
"Everyone deals with it differently," Luke reassured her. "Just let me know what to do and I'll do it."
Lorelai grinned. "Dirty," she said as the telephone rang. Her eyes widened and she sat frozen in her seat, not wanting to face the reality that Rory was working. Luke gave her a caring look, almost saying 'answer it, I'm here,' and she took a deep breath, standing up and walking to the table where the phone sat. "Hello?"
"Mom!" Rory's enthusiastic voice nearly shrieked from the other line.
"Hey, sweets, how's the big bad world?"
Rory giggled. "I haven't met any wolves in disguise yet, I'm okay."
"That's always a good thing. They're awfully sneaky, those wolves in Grandma costumes. Metaphorically and in real life."
Rory sighed. "Mom, I'll be fine. Don't worry about me, okay?"
"Impossible. Mothers give birth and they put this worrying elixir into the pain medication," Lorelai teased.
"But really, make sure you're taking care of yourself. I'm on vacation. Think of it that way," Rory explained. "And not like 'Great Aunt Gertrude took a long vacation', okay?"
Lorelai gave a soft chuckle. "You got it, kid," she replied.
"I have to get on the bus now, I'll call you tonight," Rory insisted.
Lorelai nodded, feeling a lump forming in her throat. "Okay, sweets. I'll be here."
"I miss you already. And Luke's coffee. Tell him I said that. I know he's nearby."
"You're good, kid," Lorelai said, walking to the couch. "You're too good for me."
"Well, Luke's a good guy. If he knows what's best for him, he'd be over there, that's for sure," Rory continued. "Love you."
Lorelai cleared her throat. "Back atcha, sweets." She hung up the phone and the tears began to fall. Before long, she heard Luke's footsteps coming from the kitchen and she felt an arm pull her in close. He held Lorelai close, and she was finally able to cry. She had some tears in her eyes as Rory left, sniffled on the car ride home, and fell asleep soon after she got home from bringing Rory to the airport. This was the first time she'd really cried. She sat up after awhile, wondering how long Luke had sat there comforting her.
"You going to be okay?" he asked.
She nodded. "Have I kept you from going to the diner? Oh, man, they could have pitchforks!"
Luke shook his head. "I took the day off, in case you needed me."
"Oh," she said softly, wiping her eyes. "Well I'm okay for now."
"You going to stick around here today?"
"I was thinking of going into work," Lorelai said, standing up from the couch. "Get my mind off of things for a little while. I won't stay for the whole day."
He nodded. "Whatever you need me to do, let me know."
She put her hand on his arm, rubbing it gently. She gave him a teary smile, knowing that she would have to lean on him for support, changing her way of dealing with things that were rough in life. She now had someone she could trust, someone she loved more than anything in the world, and someone who was always, always around. "Thank you," she said, leaning in and giving him a quick kiss.
"You're welcome. If you need me…"
"I know where you live. And work," she said, laughing at the last part.
He left, and Lorelai stood in the middle of the living room, willing herself to get upstairs and take a shower. She opened the cabinet and took out a towel. Constant motion, she told herself. It's the only way you're going to survive this. She took a deep breath and hung the towel over the shower curtain rod, repeating what was going to be her mantra for the next few days.
Constant motion. Wouldn't be easy, but it was a start.