A/N: Wow. Is it really time to post this already? It seems like just yesterday I started this story as an attempt to get over some writer's block. And now here I am posting the final chapter of part one of what is proving to be quite the epic. My sincere thanks to all of you who have been reading this labour of love faithfully each week. Your reviews and words of encouragement mean so much to me. Thank you all so much. This chapter is dedicated to all of you.
I'd also like to give a personal shout out to Alleycat86 (aka JavaJunkie86) who has become quite the cheerleader for this story. Thank you for reading and for always leaving such fabulous reviews. I look forward to your reviews each week. They never fail to make me smile.
Jewels,I promise to try not to make this too mushy but honestly that's going to be tough. Your enthusiasm and commitment to this story has got me through many a difficult moment both emotionally and creatively. I think you already know that you are far more than just a beta to me. Thank you for not running away screaming when this story turned out to be longer than either of us expected. *hugs*
I will be taking a bit of a hiatus from this tale after this chapter so that I can concentrate on a few other things for a while, but Luke, Lorelai, Emily, Rory and the yet to be named twins will be back - they're already kicking at my brain and pestering me with plot bunnies. For now, please sit back, relax and enjoy this final chapter of Secret Desires and Nameless Fears...
Emily mingled among her guests, playing the good hostess as she kept an eye on her daughter and Luke. She was listening to Mr. Horn tell a lively story about his grandson when she noticed Lorelai leap from her spot on the couch and rush from the room.
Emily excused herself from the conversation and followed her daughter, frowning pensively when she saw her enter the bathroom. As she added the peculiarity to the growing list in her head, she spotted Luke talking to Sookie's husband over by the drinks table. Sookie's husband wandered toward his wife and Emily watched as Luke took a swig of his beer before picking up an empty martini glass and placing two olives in it. She was about to turn away, when she noticed Luke reaching for the club soda bottle instead of the gin or vodka. Suddenly alert, Emily crept closer, pretending to socialize with various guests as she continued to spy on him.
Her suspicions were confirmed when Luke poured club soda into the glass. He started to walk toward the couch where Lorelai had been sitting when Emily decided it was time to put an end to the nonsense. She stalked over to him, blocking his path. "Is that for Lorelai?" she demanded, pointing to the martini glass.
Luke was startled by her tone and took a step back. "Uh, yeah."
"Really? So what's she having tonight? Vodka or gin?"
"Um, gin," Luke told her hesitantly, wondering at her sudden interest in Lorelai's drink.
"Gin? Really?" Emily stepped closer, causing him to take another step backward. "Why is the gin still unopened then?" she asked, pointing to the bottle in question.
"I don't know... I just..." Luke trailed off, his brain frantically searching for an explanation. He looked around for Lorelai, hoping she would rescue him, but realized that Sookie and Jackson were sitting on the couch alone.
"What's going on Luke?" Emily was relentless as she closed in on him and he continued to back away from her. "Why did you pour club soda into my daughter's martini glass?"
Damn, she must have seen me, Luke thought silently, internally kicking himself. He tried to come up with a plausible excuse. "Lorelai said she'd drive tonight so I could drink," he said quickly.
"That's never stopped her from having a drink before. What's really going on here, Luke? Why did Lorelai freak out when I offered to buy you a house?" Luke felt his back hit the wall. He glanced around for an escape but he was in a corner. There was no way to get past Emily.
"I don't know," Luke said.
"Yes, you do. Don't you want a nice home to raise a family in? We were only trying to help. You do want to have children, don't you?" She smiled smugly as she saw Luke's cheeks redden. Yes, she was pretty certain her suppositions were accurate.
"Emily--" Luke began.
"She's pregnant, isn't she? That's why the engagement was so sudden and why you want to get married in less than two months. That's why you're pouring her club soda and why she's suddenly running for the bathroom. I'm not an idiot, Luke. The only reason you're marrying my daughter is because you knocked her up."
Luke's eyes widened at the accusation and he looked around again, desperate for a way out of this mess. Lorelai was still nowhere to be found, and everyone else was occupied with their own conversations. "I'm marrying your daughter because I love her," he stated firmly.
"So you say. I don't buy it. Now answer the question. Is she pregnant?"
Luke couldn't breathe. Seeing no alternative, he finally nodded, cringing at the thought of Lorelai's reaction when she found out.
Emily promptly backed away, a broad, satisfied smile on her face. "Thank you, Luke," she said, spinning on her heel and marching away.
Lorelai returned from the bathroom and froze when she spotted her mother cornering Luke by the drinks table. Frowning, she watched as her mother said something and Luke nodded. Her mother walked off a moment later with a look on her face that made Lorelai's heart drop to her stomach. Emily was definitely up to something.
Before Lorelai could go to Luke to find out what had happened, Rory burst through the front door, her eyes shining and a huge grin spread across her lips. She saw Lorelai and ran to her, hopping up and down with excitement. "Guess what? Guess what?" Rory shouted, attracting the attention of nearly every other guest in the vicinity.
"What?" Lorelai asked, momentarily forgetting about her mother and Luke.
"I got it. I got the internship!"
"Oh, sweetie, that's wonderful news." Lorelai beamed at her daughter and pulled her into a warm hug. "Congratulations."
"Is that why you're 43 minutes and 12 seconds late?" a voice behind them inquired.
"Paris. You came," Rory said without looking at her.
"Of course I came. You invited me and I had nothing else to do. Well?"
Rory sighed. "Yes, that's why I was late. They called me in for a second interview of sorts."
"Rory, that's fabulous." Emily unexpectedly joined the conversation, causing Lorelai to jump.
"Yeah. Well, it turns out they really liked me, but they liked this other guy, Jeffery too. So they called us in this evening and after a bit of discussion they decided to offer both of us the position."
"Isn't there only one internship?" Luke asked, coming to stand next to Lorelai.
"Technically, yes. And Mitchum Huntzburger wanted to keep it that way. But Stuart Wooles really wanted me there, and he talked the rest of the board into broadening the position so they could hire us both. So basically, there is still only one internship, but we're sharing it."
"Is this the guy who was wearing the orange suit?" Lorelai asked.
Rory nodded. "Yeah, his fashion sense is certainly a head scratcher. Today he was wearing puce."
"Puce?" Lorelai was incredulous.
"Who cares what he was wearing. Obviously the guy has talent if they hired him alongside Rory," Paris declared.
"I agree," Richard said, joining the crowd that had formed around his granddaughter. "You are a very talented young lady. I'm glad this Stuart fellow recognized that. Congratulations, Rory, this is quite an accomplishment."
"I'm proud of you, Rory. Come with me to my office, I think I might have a little something for you." Richard took her arm and led her from the room as the crowd dispersed and people flittered back to their own conversations.
"Oh, Grandpa, you shouldn't have," Lorelai heard Rory say as she disappeared from sight.
Richard's response was muted as they walked further away. "Of course I should, your accomplishments deserve proper recognition."
Luke was relieved when Emily was lured away by some of her DAR friends. Once he was certain that no one else was around, he leaned down and spoke softly into Lorelai's ear. "She knows," he said plainly.
Lorelai spun around to face him, her face scrunched up in confusion. "Huh? Who knows what?"
"Your mother," Luke hissed. "She knows about the baby."
"What?" Lorelai's eyes widened in panic. "How do you know that she knows?"
Luke looked down at the floor, shuffling his feet and muttered, "I sorta told her."
Lorelai gaped at him. "Bu... wha... hu... yo..." she said nonsensically, trying to process this new information. Finally, she took a deep breath and dug her fingers into his arm. She glanced around the room, searching for a place with a bit of privacy and finally settled on the bathroom. She dragged him past a string of startled party guests and shoved him into the room, closing the door firmly behind them. "You told my mother? How could you?" she spat.
"No. You don't get to speak yet, I'm not done." Lorelai began to pace, her anger rising with each step. "You knew I didn't want my parents to know about this yet. You knew and still you told her? How could you, Luke? How could you betray me like that?" Tears had sprung to her eyes and she wiped at them furiously.
Luke placed his hand on her shoulder and she stilled, glaring at him intently. "Lorelai, listen to me for a second. I didn't have a choice. She cornered me with her endless suspicions. All I did was confirm what she had already figured out on her own."
"Of course you had a choice, Luke. Never tell Emily Gilmore the truth, it always comes back to bite you." She stepped away from him, crossing her arms.
"Lorelai, I'm sorry. She saw me pouring club soda into your glass and she must have filled in the blanks." Luke rubbed his temples, wincing as the throbbing in his head increased.
Lorelai's face softened slightly, remembering how she'd seen her mother talking to Luke earlier. She was about to speak when there was a knock at the door. "Lorelai? Are you in there? It's Sookie. Jackson's mother called, we have to go." Without saying a word, Lorelai breezed past Luke and left the room, leaving him alone in the overly fancy bathroom.
Lorelai bid her friend farewell and stood indecisively outside the bathroom, debating whether she should go back in to smooth things over with Luke. The decision was taken out of her hands when Emily swooped in. "We need to talk," she hissed.
"Now, Lorelai." Emily put her hand on Lorelai's shoulder and shoved her toward the stairs. "Upstairs," she murmured insistently, "And don't make a scene."
"Me? You're the one pushing." Lorelai stumbled as her mother propelled her up the stairs.
Once they were safely out of earshot Emily let go. "How could you, Lorelai?"
Lorelai frowned. "How could I what, Mom?"
"How could you do this to us again? After everything we've been through. How could you?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about."
"Of course you do. How could you be so thoughtless? It's bad enough we had to go through all of this when you were 16, but now? Do you have any idea what kind of scandal this will cause?" Emily glared at her daughter.
"Oh my God. This is about the pregnancy?" Lorelai turned away from her mother. "You're insane."
"I'm insane? You're the one getting married just because you were stupid enough to get pregnant with that red neck diner owner of yours."
Lorelai spun around, her face flushing with rage. "What? You have got to be kidding me, Mom. This is exactly why I didn't want you to know. I'm marrying Luke because I love him."
Emily snorted. "You love him? Come on, Lorelai, your history isn't exactly exemplary when it comes to men. Admit it, the only reason you are marrying that oaf is because he impregnated you."
"Mom, how dare you speak about Luke that way? I am marrying Luke because we are in love and we want to spend the rest of our lives together, and YES have more children. Besides, even if we were getting married because of the baby, I'd think you'd be happy about it. Isn't that what you and dad wanted me to do years ago?"
"Yes, but that was with Christopher. He came from a good family. You could have had a good life together. What does Luke know about raising a child and taking care of a wife? He's not good enough for you."
"Not good enough for me?" Lorelai was livid. "Not good enough for me? No one has ever loved me the way Luke does. Luke has been a better father to Rory than Christopher will ever be. Luke was taking care of us long before we were together. Luke is the only one who will ever be good enough for me."
Emily stiffened, realizing that perhaps she'd gone too far. "Lorelai--" she began, but Lorelai cut her off.
"I knew it. I knew you weren't happy about our engagement. All of this; the party, Friday Night Dinner, the house, it was all an act. You were just pretending to be happy for me, weren't you?" Tears were rolling down Lorelai's face as she screamed at her mother. "You were just waiting for an excuse to ruin this for me. I'm finally happy, happier than I've ever been in my life, and instead of accepting that, you practically assault my fiancée and force him to reveal news that I wanted to tell you myself... when I was ready. Why can't you just be happy for me, Mom? Why are you never happy for me?"
Emily cringed at her daughter's words. "If you're so happy, why did I see you drag him off to the bathroom in a huff?"
"You know why." Lorelai stared at her mother for a moment, something suddenly clicking in her brain. "You did it on purpose, didn't you? You knew that if you forced Luke to tell you the news, I'd get mad at him. What were you trying to do, Mom? Break us up again?"
"What's all this?" Richard came around the corner, a frown on his face as he watched his wife and his daughter screaming at each other. When neither one answered, he addressed his wife, "Emily? Is what Lorelai said true? We're you trying to break them up? I thought I told you not to meddle."
Emily scowled at her husband. "I didn't. I merely questioned the man and he confirmed what I had already deduced. Our daughter is pregnant. Again."
Richard raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Lorelai?"
Lorelai approached her father cautiously and nodded. "It's true, Daddy. Luke and I are going to have a baby. Two, actually." Richard's eyes remained fixed on his daughter's, a small smile playing against the corners of his lips.
Emily gasped. "You're having twins?"
Ignoring her mother, Lorelai closed the distance between herself and her father. "You're going to have two new grandchildren to golf with in about six and a half months."
Richard broke into a genuine grin and he impulsively pulled his daughter into an awkward hug. Lorelai stiffened slightly, not quite sure how to react. It was rare for her father to express himself so openly. When he released her, she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him lightly on the cheek before stepping away shyly.
Emily interrupted their tentative bonding moment by grasping Richard's arm. "Don't you see what this means?" she insisted.
"It means that our family is growing," Richard said plainly.
"No, Emily. You will stop this now. Can't you see that our daughter is happy?" He turned back to Lorelai, whose tears were now streaked across her cheeks. "Luke was looking for you. You should go find him."
Lorelai glanced from her mother to her father and nodded before twirling around and racing down the stairs.
Rory excused herself from her conversation with Paris when she saw her mother come tearing down the stairs. She met her at the bottom and whispered curiously, "What's going on?"
"Grandma knows about the babies," Lorelai whispered back distractedly, looking around for Luke.
"She does? How? Wait... did you say babies?" Rory did a double take and stared at her mother, open mouthed.
Lorelai smiled, despite the inner turmoil she was still experiencing from her argument with Luke and her fight with Emily. "Yes, I did. The doctor seems to think we're having twins."
Rory squealed and tried to hug Lorelai while bouncing up and down. "Wow. So have you thought of names yet?"
Rory's excitement was contagious and Lorelai found herself relaxing a little. "Of course, names are my thing."
"I know. So hit me with them. What have you come up with so far?"
"Donny and Marie, Thelma and Louise, Lois and Clark..." Lorelai trailed off as she spotted Luke across the room, trying to extract himself from Patty and Babette.
Rory laughed. "Interesting selections. What does Luke think of them?"
"Huh?" Lorelai pried her eyes away from her fiancée and tried to focus on her daughter. "He obviously doesn't get any of the references. Actually, Donny and Marie he got, and vetoed."
"Typical." Rory eyed her mom for a moment before changing the subject. "Hey, Mom? Before she left, Sookie said you asked her to be her Matron of Honour... I thought I was your Maid of Honour," she added softly.
"Oh, sweets, you are." Lorelai gave her daughter a reassuring hug. "I want both of you up there with me and I couldn't pick between you, so you both get the title. It was either that, or name you my best man, but dad already did that and copying him would be so cliché. You did look mighty fine in that suit though..." She searched Rory's face for a clue to what she was thinking. "Is that okay? I should have checked with you first."
"Of course it's okay, Mom. I just wanted to make sure. I still get to help with all the planning, right?"
"Definitely. I couldn't manage without you and your mad list making skills." Lorelai noticed Luke walking toward them. "We'll start finalizing plans this weekend, how does that sound?"
"Perfect. I can't wait, Mom. You're going to be a beautiful bride." Rory beamed at her mother as Luke joined them.
"Hi," he said shyly.
"Hi," Lorelai replied.
"Hi, Luke," Rory added brightly.
"Hi, Rory. Congratulations on the job thing. That's great news."
"Thanks. Well, I should get back to Paris, she gets crazier than normal if she's left alone too long in awkward social situations. See you at home." Rory shot her mother one last glance and took off toward Paris, leaving her mother and Luke alone.
"You disappeared," Luke said softly.
"My mother dragged me off for a chat." Lorelai gestured toward the stairs. "Sooo much fun." She rolled her eyes.
"That good, huh?" Luke said lightly.
"World War III would be preferable." Lorelai sighed audibly. "Can we go home?
"I thought you'd never ask."
Ten minutes later they stepped into the cool night air, having said their goodbyes and thanks you's and gathered their jackets. They walked to the truck in silence, Emily's words replaying in Lorelai's head over and over again.
Lorelai studied Luke as they settled into the truck and he started to drive. His jaw was tense as he focused on the road and she knew that he was worrying about their fight. A part of her wanted to apologize to him, but the part that was still angry with him and her mother was winning the battle.
As they neared Stars Hollow, Luke finally broke the silence, his voice faint and tentative. "Tell me what your mother said."
Lorelai cringed, the hurt evoked from her mother's words still raw as she slowly filled him in on Emily's accusations and insinuations. "It just hurts, you know? No matter what I do, it's never good enough, she's never happy for me," she cried as they pulled into the driveway of the Crap Shack.
Luke parked and climbed out of the truck, coming around to her side to open the door. As soon as she was out of the vehicle he reached for her and enveloped her into his arms. "I'm sorry," he said simply.
Lorelai leaned away from him for a minute. "I'm still mad at you," she told him.
"I know," Luke said patiently, cradling her head as she rested it against his shoulder. She cried silent tears, while Luke rubbed her back.
Finally, she sniffed, dried her eyes and took his hand. They were climbing the stairs before she spoke again. "She's wrong you know."
"Is she?" Luke held the front door open for her and waited for her to continue.
Lorelai pulled him into the house and held both of his hands in hers. She stared at them for a moment before elaborating. "I'm marrying you because I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life loving you. I want to raise our children in that love and I want to grow old with you." She looked up at him, more tears spilling from her eyes. "You're the one, Luke Danes."
At her words, Luke kicked the door closed and pulled her into his arms again. He captured her lips in a kiss filled with emotion and passion. Lorelai wound her arms around his neck, returning his kiss with a fire of her own. Luke backed her against the wall in the foyer, planting a trail of hot, wet kisses along her jaw. He paused for a moment, smiling as he gazed into her eyes. "I wouldn't have it any other way. I love you, Lorelai Gilmore." With that, he continued kissing her and proceeded to show her just how much.