Author's Note: This story was written for the Support Stacie Author Auction. Boston4 made a very generous donation in TrueLovePooh's name for this seven chaptered fic. Thank you both for being so patient with me, I'm sorry this is so late. Thank you also to everyone who helped make the April Auction such a success.
Pooh's prompt for this story was: I would like to see you write a Mothers day sort of fic, it doesn't have to be around Mothers Day really. It would have Emily, Lorelai and Rory in it. Maybe a Friday night dinner or something like the road trip, set anytime. With the 3, I would like to see them pair off (Emily and Lorelai, Rory and Lorelai, Rory and Emily)and all together. Lots of talking and banter and good old fashioned Gilmore fun!
Quick message to those of you anxiously awaiting a LMMV update – I promise you it will be coming soon and that it will be well worth the wait. Unfortunately RL things like moving and job interviews have rudely interfered with my writing schedule. Rest assured that I'm still here and I haven't forgotten you. :)
Thank you to my awesome beta, and fellow Canadian Jewels12.
Chapter 1: West-Bound
The clanking of silverware and fine china rang through the silent dining room. Lorelai and Rory shifted the dark green vegetables on their plates, between tentative bites of an unidentifiable meat-like substance. Emily ate robotically as she stared wistfully at Richard's vacant seat. She'd barely said three words all evening and Lorelai and Rory were both beginning to feel concerned.
"Grandma?" Rory asked tentatively.
All she received in response was a sigh. Lorelai and Rory exchanged a confused glance before Lorelai took a try.
"Mom?" When no answer was forthcoming, Lorelai placed her hand on her mother's arm. "Mom, what's wrong?"
Emily shook her head as though she were ridding herself of her thoughts. "I'm fine, Lorelai. Eat your dinner."
Dissatisfied, Lorelai tried another tactic. "Where did you say Dad is tonight?"
"I told you, he's in London, setting his dear Trix's affairs in order," Emily responded bitterly, just as the phone rang. "Please excuse me, I need to get that." Emily placed her cutlery on her napkin and strode from the room.
As soon as she was gone, Lorelai and Rory started chattering. "What is this?" Lorelai gestured to the greyish object on her plate.
"I don't know, but it's revolting." Rory pierced it with her fork and held it up, her nose wrinkled in disgust.
Lorelai peered around the room. "Maybe we can hide it in a plant or something."
"Eww, no. Besides, Grandma would know."
Lorelai settled back into her chair sulkily. "That's true. Her sense of smell is almost as good as Mrs. Kim's."
Rory giggled. "No one smells better than Mrs. Kim." She frowned. "That sentence didn't sound as good as it did in my head."
Before Lorelai could respond, Emily marched back into the room, a grim smile pursing her lips. "That was your cousin Marsha. You remember her, don't you, Lorelai?"
Lorelai shook her head. "Um, no. I don't think so."
Emily sighed exasperatedly. "Of course you do. She's my cousin Cecily's daughter. The two of you used to play together all the time when you were young."
"I really don't remember, Mom."
"She idolized you. She used to follow you around everywhere. It was cute."
"Oh my God, do you mean the one who always insisted on wearing pink, ruffled dresses?"
"Yes. That's her."
"I hated her. She was so annoying. Always going on and on about this party and that cotillion." Lorelai grimaced at the memory. "Didn't she move to Canada?"
"She did." Emily nodded. "Cecily's husband got a job working for a big company in Vancouver. I haven't seen her in years." She meticulously cut off a chunk of meat and chewed it thoughtfully before continuing. "Anyway, Marsha was calling because she's getting married in Victoria next week and she'd like us to be there."
Rory frowned. "Next week? Isn't that kind of short notice?"
Emily rolled her eyes. "Extremely. Apparently the wedding itself is rather last minute and there isn't time to mail invitations. I would have thought that Cecily of all people would follow proper social conventions. This is not the way to plan a wedding."
"Wait. You said 'us'. What did you mean by that?" Lorelai asked wearily.
"I meant the three of us." Emily gestured between Lorelai, Rory and herself.
"But what about Dad?" Lorelai's voice was frantic. "Shouldn't he go with you?"
Emily stiffened at Lorelai's question. "He wasn't invited," she said brusquely. "You were. Marsha specifically said she wanted you there."
"But, I can't leave right now. There's so much to do with the inn opening next month."
"Surely you need a break." Emily studied her daughter. "Look at you, you've got circles under your eyes. A vacation would serve you well."
Emily cut her off. "No 'buts'. You've been invited and it would be rude not to attend." She turned to Rory. "And you said earlier that you didn't have plans for Spring Break, so there's no reason you can't come too. It'll just be us girls."
"Mom, she still has papers to write and tests to study for."
"Nonsense. They have Spring Break for a reason, Lorelai. Students who work as hard as Rory deserve to have some time off. A trip will give both of you a chance to rejuvenate. Besides, I hear Victoria is beautiful in the spring."
Rory's eyes lit up. "Oh, I've always wanted to visit Victoria. They apparently have an amazing museum. I'll have to google it when we get home."
Emily beamed, thrilled by Rory's excitement. "Perfect. I'll make all the arrangements. We'll leave on Monday." She returned to her meal, a satisfied look on her face.
Resigned, Lorelai resumed eating her own dinner and changed the subject. "So what kind of meat is this, anyway?"
"Sheep's liver. It's good for you." Emily took another bite.
Lorelai and Rory both shuddered and exchanged horrified looks of disgust, their cutlery clattering to the table.
Monday morning, Lorelai was tearing around her bedroom, frantically tossing things into her suitcase, while Rory sat calmly on the bed with her laptop.
"I've never been to Canada before. What does one wear in Victoria? A parka? A beaver hat? A mountie uniform?" Lorelai pulled a pair of jeans out of her closet. "They must wear jeans."
"Mom, stop panicking. They wear clothes in Canada. Plain, ordinary clothes. It's April, and this site says to wear light layers, because sometimes it can be cool, especially near the water."
"That's another thing. We're going to an island? Canada's huge and yet we're going to a teeny, tiny, island. What if I fall off? I don't do salt water."
"It's not that small." Rory clicked on a link from google and pulled up another web page. "Apparently it takes over seven hours to drive from the southern-most point of the island to the northern-most point."
Lorelai dropped the sweater she was holding. "Really? You can drive across all of Connecticut in less time than that."
"Exactly. It's an island, but it's big." Rory pointed at the closet. "Now, keep packing. Grandma will be here any minute."
"Yes, Ma'am." Lorelai quickly scooped up a handful of clothes from the floor and began shoving them haphazardly into her suitcase.
Rory rolled her eyes and returned to her computer screen. "Oh. Too bad we're not going in August. Apparently they have a huge, free, outdoor concert every summer. It's called Symphony Splash. They set up a barge in the harbour for the symphony to play from and then people sit anywhere they can find room: nearby lawns, the harbour side, the street --"
"The street? People sit in the middle of the street? Canadians really are insane." Lorelai closed the lid to her overflowing suitcase and began to tug on the zipper.
"No, they're not. The roads are closed off. It's a huge event that thousands of people attend every year. Oh, and get this, they always end with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, complete with canons and fireworks."
"Canons? You're kidding."
"Nope, it's true. Look." Rory turned her laptop so Lorelai could see.
"Unbelievable. Taylor would be sooooo jealous. That sounds almost as nutty as some of our town festivals."
"Totally, except our festivals don't usually have 40,000 people in attendance."
Lorelai's jaw dropped. "There are 40,000 people there?"
"More than that. It's a big island, remember. Wikipedia says the population of the island is about 650, 000 and about half of that number live in the Victoria area."
"Wow. Who knew?" Lorelai finished zipping up her bag. "Ta da! All packed."
Rory closed her laptop and hopped off the bed. "Perfect timing. I think I hear grandma's car coming. Let's go." Rory bounced out of the room. Lorelai followed, lugging her giant, overstuffed suitcase behind her.
Emily walked gingerly down the rickety, metal steps of the small, eighteen-seater aeroplane that had marked the tail end of their journey to Victoria. Never had she been more relieved to set foot on solid ground. The last twenty minutes had been some of the most horrific in her life. First, there was no first class section on this plane, so she had been forced to sit next to a balding gentleman who smelled of pickles, while Lorelai and Rory chattered happily in adjacent seats across the aisle. Second, the flight had been bumpy and turbulent and Emily had believed with absolute certainty that she was going to die.
She waited at the foot of the stairs for her daughter and granddaughter who finally emerged, arm-in-arm and giggling.
"Wow, that was beautiful. Did you see all the tiny little islands Grandma?" Rory asked excitedly as they reached the tarmac. It was a bright, sunny day and she was forced to squint at her grandmother through the glare.
"No. I did not. I couldn't see a thing through the head of that oaf beside me." Emily began to follow the other passengers across the pavement to a wooden, glassed in corridor that was connected to the small airport.
"Mom," Lorelai hissed as she hurried to catch up, "you can't say things like that. What if he heard you?"
"So what if he did? People really should bathe before they get on aeroplanes."
"Grandma!" Rory gasped.
"I'm sorry, Rory. But it's true. That's one of the reasons why your grandfather and I always fly first class."
"Really? I thought it was because of the stick u--" Lorelai began.
Rory interrupted her mother with a sharp jab from her elbow. "Do not finish that sentence," she whispered. "We're here for a whole week and the last thing we need is for you and grandma to be fighting the whole time. Now smarten up and let's get moving. I can't wait to see Downtown Victoria!"
They walked through two sliding, frosted glass doors into a large, open waiting area. People were seated on fabric covered benches as they waited for their loved ones to arrive. Overhead, a large, golden, pendulum-like object dangled from wooden rafters. Signs directed them to their right for baggage claim, and soon Rory and Lorelai had joined Emily in the throng of people waiting for their luggage to arrive.
"Oh, there you are," Emily sounded relieved. "I already secured our vehicle." She gestured toward the various car rental counters behind them. "So once we have our bags we can go straight to the hotel. I'm ready for a nap."
The luggage belt began to move and the three women searched for their bags. Several minutes later, they were walking across the parking lot, Lorelai pushing a cart that was loaded with all of their belongings. Once the trunk of their rental vehicle was packed, Rory returned the cart, and Emily handed the keys to her daughter.
"You drive. I hate driving in foreign cities. Just be sure to obey the speed limit. And don't forget that everything is in kilometres here."
Lorelai took the keys eagerly. Unlike her mother, she loved driving in new places. It was like an adventure. Emily climbed into the passenger seat just as Rory returned and took her place in the back.
"You're driving?" She eyed her mother sceptically through the rear view mirror.
"What's wrong with my driving?" Lorelai started the car and carefully backed out.
"Nothing is wrong with your driving, it's your navigation skills I'm worried about. Grandma, is there a map?"
"I have a map of the area near our hotel." She fished the map out of her purse and handed it to Rory.
Rory studied it, her brow furrowed. "The airport isn't on here. It looks like it's just the immediate area around the hotel." She sighed.
Lorelai pulled onto the main road, an excited grin on her face. "Don't worry, hon, I'll try not to get us too lost."
Rory buried her head in her hands. "Oy with the poodles already."