Author's Note: So obviously, I love Gilmore Girls. But one thing that has always bothered me is how, whenever Lorelai faces a problem, we never really get to see Rory's private opinion of it; instead, Rory is always selflessly there for her mother. Their conversation in "Road Trip to Harvard" (where Rory still thinks Lorelai loves Max and is running from her true feelings) is the only time I can think of where Rory was honest with her mom (well, that and the whole "You can't date Luke!" discussion at the end of "The Lorelai's First Day At Chilton"). In particular, I wish Amy Sherman-Palladino had spent more time focusing on Rory's reaction to the news of April...a reaction which is, in many ways, more interesting and complicated than Lorelai's. Thus, this drabble was born! I only spent twenty minutes on it, and I've never written a drabble before, so hopefully, it will suffice. ;) It's set after the winter festival in "Just Like Gwen and Gavin".
When her mother told her about April, Rory had been supportive of her. After all, that was what Rory always did. Whenever Lorelai Gilmore needed advice, Rory was willing to put her own feelings aside to help her. It was the least she could do. Lorelai had given up everything to give Rory a better life, and Rory owed her very existence to her mother's selflessness.
Besides, she had already been selfish enough the past year, with the pool house and going to her grandparents and refusing to see her mother's side of the story. Every time she looked at her mother, Rory still felt guilty. Every time someone alluded to the previous semester at Yale, she still felt a stab of confusion and remorse. Lorelai didn't deserve a selfish daughter, who was more concerned about her own feelings about Luke's daughter than the effects it would have on her mother and Luke's relationship. Instead, she deserved a daughter who was always there for her, in the same way Lorelai had always been there for Rory.
So she listened and told her mother about Gwen and Gavin and tried to get her mother to see the situation from a clearer light. Boys were stupid; she did not need a Doggy Swami to tell her that. Luke having a daughter wouldn't change anything, not really. It wouldn't change anything at all.
At least that was what Rory told herself.
But as soon as she got a free moment alone after the Winter Carnival, Rory hesitated. She found herself reaching into her jewelry box and pulling out her twenty-first birthday present from Luke-the necklace that had been too small for Liz's neck. She could still remember how touched she had felt at the gesture. Even during her mother's and her fight, Luke had still been unconditionally there for Rory. He had been the one to tell her about the engagement. He had even tried one of her disgusting "Rory" drinks. He had not taken sides, even though he was with her mother. He had loved her.
But fingering the smooth pearls on the necklace now, it occurred to Rory that there was another girl Luke should have given the necklace to…one that went by the name of April. Someone who was his own flesh and blood, his own daughter, not a random girl like Rory was. Surely, if Luke's mother could have had a say, she would have wanted her necklace to go to Luke's actual daughter, not some stand-in for the real thing.
She was surprised by the tears running down her cheeks. Rory had never spoken aloud about how much she loved and appreciated Luke, but she did. She did, so much. When Luke had used their kitchen to make mashed potatoes while she was sick with the chicken pox, Rory had pretended that Luke really was her father, and that this was his home, too; he was just a normal dad, looking out for his daughter, instead of the anything but normal guy that he was. A few years later, when Luke made his first coffee cake for her birthday, Rory had found herself wishing the same thing. Even when she was a foreign correspondent with children of her own, Rory knew she would never stop being grateful for Luke Danes' role in her life.
Still, Rory had never been able to voice her true gratitude about Luke aloud. After all, how she? It wasn't as though Rory was actually in the same situation as Luke himself, who still took a day off to honor his late dad each year. She wasn't one of those half-orphaned children, starving in Africa somewhere. She wasn't even Jess, who had not met his own father until he was eighteen-years-old. She did have a father-a father who, at the moment, was finishing paying for her college education. Yes, he had forgotten her birthday sometimes. Yes, he would probably always be much closer to Gigi than to Rory. Yes, he had failed her and disappointed her, countless times. But in spite of it all, he was her dad. It seemed disloyal to admit aloud just how much she really did care for Luke when she had Christopher, too.
And now, Luke himself had a daughter. Luke, the toxic bachelor of her youth, was the father of someone else. His first child hadn't been with her mother, as she'd always expected, but with another woman, a woman whose name Rory didn't even know. His daughter didn't have any Gilmore blood in her. Instead, she was someone else.
After hugging the pearl necklace close to her, Rory placed it back in her jewelry box. She felt empty without the pearls in her hands. She loved this necklace and all that it meant, but maybe it was time to let it go. The next time she saw Luke, she would ask him to give it to April. Or maybe she would she would sneak it to April in private, so that Luke would not be forced to choose between the two of them. After all, she knew Luke. He would want April to have the necklace, no matter how embarrassed he would be to admit it. Family always came first with Luke, and that was how it would always be.
Rory brushed aside another tear. She was the girl who put her own emotions aside for the sake of others, and that was how she would remain. Her mother's feelings were more important.