Author's Note: So, here it is! The full prologue to "Holding On."
This will be an AU fic. I hope you like this little taste!
Disclaimer: I do not claim to own the rights to "Gilmore Girls" or it's characters. No copyright infringement intended.
Holding On: Prologue
Why is it that every dramatic part of someone's life story contained a torrential downpour? Tonight was no different for the young girl standing under the awning that she had been under a thousand times before.
She had lost track of how long she had been standing there, staring at what was most certainly going to bring her to her demise. The last minute she calculated was twelve. Twelve minutes standing in one spot in the middle of the night, fumbling for the courage she needed to do what was right.
It had been just over a year since the last time she had passed under the awning that was now her only shelter from the monsoon, except she had been leaving- running to put it more accurately. That fateful night, she didn't even look back or think twice about her decision. (Coincidentally, it had been raining that day as well.) She was suffocating and she needed to get out. Running was the only way to break away from the future she was being forced into. It was a future she knew was wrong.
So here she stood, just fifteen months later, with so many things unsaid, trying to compel her body to move and having an internal battle with her thoughts.
Just one arm…a leg? Blink? Something, move something! She finally took a careful step forward and raised her arm, pausing again, and lowered her arm back down. It's just an inanimate object… Everything's going to be fine. She had moved on from feeling complete terror and was now trying denial. How much worse could it be? What's done is done, and…a year is long enough, right?
The confusion she felt was too much to handle and she started to lose the battle within her. Tears started to fall down her cheeks, mimicking the rain behind her. She turned on her feet ready to dart away once more when the bundle she was carrying finally stirred and let out a whine. Just a single sound from the daughter she loved more than anything else was enough to put her on the right path again. Walking back toward the object of her focus from before she closed her eyes and hesitantly pressed the glowing button in front of her (it's just an inanimate object), and let out the breath she had been holding.
The sound of the chimes from the doorbell sent chills down her spine. She had to do this, not for herself, but for the daughter that was her world. Her tears were still free flowing from her puffy, sorrow colored, blue eyes. The sound of grumbling and footsteps caused her to take in a sharp breath, as more tears fell. She wasn't sure if it was the pain of the last year or the fear she now had that was causing the water to drain from her eyes, but she couldn't stop it. She looked behind her, then back down to the sleeping girl in her arm. This is for you baby. No turning back now.
The footsteps stopped at the door and the sound of clicking locks drowned out the storm behind her. The door swung open with hesitation and she was met with eyes full of anger, sadness, and confusion. Taking in a ragged breath, she finally spoke through her broken, grief-strained voice, "M…Mom?"
Without words, the woman opened the door further, still gaping at her young daughter, silently inviting her inside. The two stood in one place, neither breaking eye contact until the younger Gilmore began to speak, "Mom…" The words were more difficult to puzzle together than she had anticipated. Another silence dragged on while she tried to piece a sentence together. With a cleansing sigh, she gave another attempt, "Mom, I-"
"It's late Lorelai, what are you doing here?" Emily Gilmore was well practiced at the art of indifference. She had her daughter to thank for that gift. The list of disappointments with Lorelai's name on top was sizable. The most recent blow, she was still recovering from. Waking up to find a note which informed her that her seventeen-year-old daughter had run away with her infant child threw even the great Emily off kilter.
Lorelai gazed toward her mother, stunned. She was left without her wit. A first for Lorelai Gilmore, from her recollection. Even when she had to tell her mother of her forbidden pregnancy she managed to make a few "Hester Prinn" jokes. She had even gone so far as to cut out a scarlett-colored letter "P" (for pregnant) from an old pair of sweats, offering to wear it so that Emily wouldn't have to endure the task of telling everyone they knew. Naturally, that plan didn't go over well, but even at what she thought was her lowest point, she had seen concern and love reflected in her mother's eyes. Tonight all she saw reflected in those eyes was a little sleep deprivation. She needed to find a way to break the ice, and why not dive in head first? Okay, maybe feet first, she thought. "Th-The place looks beautiful...mom. Really, I never knew that changing the stain on the floors could make such a difference. It's great. Really, really great." She carefully shifted the weight in her arms to tuck her damp hair behind her ear.
"Is that all Lorelai? It is twelve-thirty at night. This is highly inappropriate. If you've got nothing of importance to say, then I ask that you please leave so I might return to sleep."
"No, that isn't what I came her to say, I-" she was interrupted by the sob that escaped her chest. Through staggering breaths and muffled words she continued, "I left because I thought I knew what was best. You were trying to force me into a life that I'm in no way near ready for. I can't marry Christopher mom, we both need to figure out who we are alone before we try to make a life together." She paused trying to gauge her mother's reaction. She took the silence as permission to carry on, "I wasn't trying to punish you or dad. I just couldn't continue on the way things were going. I was Alice falling down the hole, except that there was no bottom to the madness." She let out a long breath. "I guess I just want you to know that I finally understand that what you were doing, although drastically old-fashioned, was still out of concern and love. Yes, all of Hartford will forever look at me as 'The Girl Who Got Knocked-up At Sixteen' but I don't want them to see us as a broken family. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for everything. I don't want my daughter to miss out on the most influential people in her life, and that especially includes her grandparents. I will not agree to marry Chris, but I want us to move forward. I want to feel like a family. If not for us, then for this innocent girl. She's so beautiful mom. I don't want you to miss anything in her life. Dad too. I want...I want to come-"
The deep voice from the stairs finished her sentence for her, "You want to come home." Richard walked towards the three most important women in his life, kissed Emily gently on her forehead and pulled Lorelai into his warm embrace while caressing the satin-smooth cheek of the sleeping child. "Come on Emily, let's get our girls to bed." And with those words, the Gilmore's walked up the stairs as a family. None sure of what Lorelai's return would change in Rory's life.
"Wait!" Lorelai whispered across the corridor to her parents. She ran into the room, her room, laid Rory carefully in the crib that remained from her last night here, and jogged back to the hallway, pulling two pieces of paper from a folder in her bag. She handed them to her father and waited, holding her breath for their reaction.
Richard's face took on a new color; he looked...warm, and passed the first paper to Emily while her face did the same and his eyes bugged out of his head from the second paper. "How?" was all he could speak.
"I doubled up my work load, took night classes, and had a lot of help. I didn't want to come back here until I knew I could make you proud...somehow. I finished high school and made out dozens of applications for college, determined to come back with something," a small smile of accomplishment appeared on her face.
Richard handed the second paper to Emily and pulled his daughter in for another hug. "Yale! Lorelai, is this a joke? Because if it is, I assure you, it isn't funny."
"No mom, this is real. I am going to business school at Yale, and someday, I'm going to own my own inn. I have to do this...I need to do this. For me, and for Rory. And I can't do it without either of you. Well, if you want to help..." she trailed off.
"I'll write the check for tuition tomorrow," Richard beamed, kissed his daughter's head and strolled back to bed with a silent Emily following behind.
Lorelai turned to head back to her room and laughed softly, "Who knew all it would take to make Emily Gilmore speechless was to do something right?" She continued to smile as she peered at the sleeping form of her daughter. She silently promised herself there that Rory would not have the same feelings she'd had while growing up in this house. Rory would always have choice where she didn't. She went over to her desk, and pulled out a piece of blank white paper and a dark red marker, still smiling to herself.
She carefully admired her artwork that she had securely hung over her daughter's crib and gave a chuckle. Maybe I would have gone to Harvard given the choice. She considered that for a moment still looking at the elegant letter "H" she had colored, and laughed again. That would have been a sure-fire way to torment Richard and Emily. It would have been so simple! But that doesn't matter anymore. The Gilmore legacy is still intact for now, and Rory will always have a choice. I'll make sure of it. And with those last thoughts, she lay on her bed and quickly went to sleep.
Author's Note: So what did you think? Worth continuing?
(If yes, there will be a small time jump so that the story will become more focused on Rory)
Please Review! Thanks!