Author's Note: Okay, I am officially off my rocker. Writing a story about Gigi and Christopher, probably two of my fellow Java Junkie's least favorite characters (with the exception of Anna Nardini)? Believe me, I didn't intend to do this, either. I'm assuming that due to this subject matter, I'm either going to have lots and lots of readers, who are weirded out by the premise, or none at all. I'm betting on the latter.
This takes place when Gigi is thirteen and is a companion fic to my other story, "Blue Eyes and Coffee" (which in turn is set in the same universe as my other fics, "Where There's A Will" and "Star's Cross Lovers"). Let's call it "Torturing Lorelai's Exes: Part Two". Naturally, this one is all about Christopher, but also Gigi. I admit, I had entirely too much fun writing the cynical, priviledged teenage girl. I know we all hated Gigi for being the spawn of Christopher (and come on, would we really like a little monster screaming bloody murder and drawing on our floor with permanent marker?), but you also have to feel bad for her. Think about it: she has a mother who abandoned her, who lives in Paris; a crazy, stuck-up grandmother, far worse than the elder Gilmores; and Christopher for a father (enough said). Her first four years of live certainly weren't a piece of cake, which this story gets into.
This is going to be about three chapters long. It's a little late for Christmas, but as Sherry might say, "C'est la vie." Ha (ignore that corny French reference!). Once again, I am using my little JJ spawn, Will and Lucy. Although Rory probably WOULD be married by now, for the sake of this story, we're going to pretend that she's been so focused on her career that she hasn't yet. I make a reference to her dating someone serious, but I'm not going to mention "who" that is. Jess, Rogan, an OC, Dean or Marty, I don't care! I don't really want to get into Rory shipping wars, so you guys can put her with whoever you like.
Oh, and I've never been to the NYC Fao Schwarz-nor do I know what it will look like in the future. So forgive me if the layout of the store is completely wrong.
And no, I don't own Gilmore Girls. I own Lucy and Will, but not their parents or their family. And I don't own the Haydens (thank God!) either.
Fao Schwarz was flooded. New York City's most famous toy store was filled to the brim with children, so crowded that it was difficult to move around. It was no wonder. The date was December twenty-third, and many families had decided that it was a perfect day to do some shopping. Those who weren't doing last minute shopping were treating their children or getting last minute gifts by observing what toys their children were interested in and sneaking out to buy them when their children's backs were turned.
Only one girl, not including a few crying babies who were too young to be impressed with toys, didn't look so happy to be milling about. She had long, thick blonde hair that was tied back into an Alice in Wonderland half pony, and narrowed blue eyes. She wore more blush, lipgloss, and eyeliner than was necessary at her age, a bright pink sweater, and Abercrombie skinny jeans. Swung over her shoulder was a pink Louis Vuitton purse. A scowl was plastered on her face.
She was almost fourteen, far too old to be shopping in a children's store, and all she wanted was a chance to go to Bloomingdale's and Macy's. She had already told her best friend, Natasha, all about her shopping opportunity, and besides, she was going to Paris next week. She didn't need her mother to get into yet another rant about the clothes she was wearing. Although she never minded getting a chance to shop (especially in Paris, of all places!), she was sick of her mother picking on her father. No matter how flawed her father was, at least he had not abandoned her when she was less than two years old.
Then again, at least her mother, who had remarried, had been smart enough not to date a younger woman, with possibly the brattiest children on the planet.
The girl cringed when her father turned to her. He was holding a stuffed puppy dog in his hands. The dog had brown and black spots and was made of soft plush fabric. "Gigi, what do you think? Bradley likes dogs, doesn't he?"
"It's okay," Gigi said flatly. She hated her name. Though "Gigi" was certainly better than her full name, "Georgia," (what kind of parents would name their kid after a state?) she still hated how perky and unrefined the name sounded. Last year, Stephen Yarrington had told her that her name reminded her of a French poodle, and Gigi was inclined to agree. It was clear that even before she was born, her mother had been plotting her French escape.
Her father frowned. "You sure? Do little boys like stuffed animals or is that a little girl thing?"
Gigi resisted the urge to roll her eyes. God, can he be anymore clueless? He was a little boy once, and I wasn't, so how am I supposed to know what little boys like?
"I don't think it matters," said Gigi, reminding herself that the sooner they got presents, the sooner they would have a chance to shop for her things. "Give them both stuffed animals. They won't care."
"But Jane told me that Brie specifically requested one of those brat dolls. I was hoping you could help me pick one out."
"Let's just get them both stuffed animals and go. Brie could stand not to get her way all the time. The way both of those kids whine whenever they don't get what they want is obnoxious. They sound two screeching banshees or something." Her friend Caitlin, who was Irish, had told her all about banshees, and Gigi had never heard a more awful sound than Bradley's or Brie's screams.
Too late, she realized she had said the wrong thing. Her father's gaze was so intense that she knew a lecture was on the way. "Georgia Hayden, need I remind you how good to you Jane has been? She didn't have to invite both of us for Christmas, but she did. She even invited your grandmother, and even though she isn't coming, we both know Jane most certainly didn't have to do that. She bought you a birthday present last year-which you didn't even thank her for, I might add-and I can tell you now that she went to great lengths picking out a Christmas gift that I know you'll like. The least you can do is talk nicely about the woman who might become your future stepmother."
"If you propose to Jane, I'll move to Paris," Gigi said. Deep down, she knew it was an empty threat, because there was no way her own mother would want her daughter-the very reason for her first failed marriage (Gigi had done the math)-to come live with her and ruin her perfect life. Their week together during the Christmas holidays, occasional week during spring break, and six weeks during the summer were enough. Still, Gigi would rather die than live with Jane and her two monsters.
Her father had met Jane about a year ago during a business trip to New York City, and the two managed to see each other every time her dad visited New York City. Fortunately, Gigi did not have to come with them every time. There was an advantage to having a live-in grandmother, even one as conceited and judgmental as Francine Hayden. When Gigi was five, her father had decided to move back to Boston, after a year in Hartford prior to failed marriage number two, and Gigi's grandmother had come with them. She had protested at first, but she had managed to find the same snobby society that she had left behind in Hartford. That was where she was now, spending her days at various holiday parties and functions. Apparently, it was incredibly bad manners to miss the Edward's annual Christmas party. If only Gigi had also been invited.
Her father let out a sigh, speaking in his "You're being irrational" voice. "Gigi…"
"I will. I'll ask Mom when I visit her next week. I mean it. There's no way in hell that I'm living with those two spoiled monsters. God, someone needs to get those kids on medication. I'm serious."
"Gigi, language. And need I remind you what you were like as a child? You weren't a perfect angel, either."
"Well, at least I didn't scream bloody murder until I got my way."
"No. You just screamed whenever you felt like it."
Before Gigi could retort, her father's cell phone rang. She only had to look at her father's face to see who it was. "Gigi, I need to take this," said her father, as the phone rang once again. "I'm going to be outside. Can you find some gifts for Bradley and Brie while I take this? I promise I'll come find you the moment I'm done."
"But…" Gigi said, knowing how long her father's phone calls for work took. Her father leaned down to kiss her head, picked up the phone, and left the room, without giving her a chance to finish.
Gigi wandered around the toy store, bored. She was still carrying the stuffed dog, as she was not about to take the effort to find Bradley another gift. It was odd to see everyone in such a festive spirit. She was indifferent as far as Christmas went. Once-upon-a-time, Gigi had enjoyed Christmas, but those days were long over. Now, Christmas was just another over commercialized holiday that forced her to spend time with not one, but both of her parents. In fact, the only Christmas she had really enjoyed was Christmas of 2006, and that was pretty pathetic, considering it was during her father's sham of a marriage, number two. Honestly, less than two months was pathetic. What kind of idiot married their daughter's (who had been conceived at the grand age of sixteen) mother, no less than twenty-two years after the said daughter had been born? Gigi snorted. Probably the same idiot who apparently didn't know how to use a condom. Evelyn Ward had snuck a condom to Natasha's fourteenth birthday party, and it certainly didn't look very hard to use. Not that Gigi planned on being in a situation where she would be required to use one for a long, long time. Her grandmother had been pushing Princeton for Gigi's entire life, and Francine Hayden was not the kind of person someone disobeyed. Condoms or no condoms, Gigi was not about to have sex and risk being the second person to insult the Hayden's family name.
She had just succeeded in walking in circles around the stuffed animal section two times, when Gigi found herself being tapped on the arm. Looking down, she found herself staring at a little girl, around six or seven, with brown curly hair and blue eyes. Her hair was tied back into two pigtails, illuminating her round face. She was kind of cute, Gigi guessed. Cuter than Brie, who was about the same age, at any rate. God, why in the world did her father have to date a woman, a good fifteen years younger than he was?
"Where did you get that?"
It took a few moments for Gigi to realize that the little girl was referring to the stuffed dog, still in her arms. "Oh, it was over there, but never mind-you can have it." She tossed the dog to the little girl, who looked up at her wide eyes. She had pretty blue eyes. Certainly better than Gigi's average ones, at any rate.
"Are you sure?" said the little girl in a hushed voice, still staring at her.
"Positive. I don't need it. I'll just have to find something else, but hey, little boys probably don't want stuffed dogs, anyway."
The little girl frowned, but Gigi was saved from answering by the appearance of a tall, brunette woman. She was holding the hand of a boy, perhaps a few years older than the girl, who had tousled brown hair. The woman's and little girl's hair and blue eyes were identical, giving Gigi reason to suspect that the woman was the little girl's mother. She seemed almost familiar, but Gigi could not place why. Anyway, if I had seen another grown woman, my father's age, with a shirt with a giant Hello Kitty on it, I would have definitely remembered. The last time I wore Hello Kitty shirts, I was this little girl's age.
"Lucy, were you talking to this girl here?" said the woman to the little girl. When the little girl-Lucy-nodded, the woman sighed. She turned to Gigi, causing Gigi to wonder again why she looked so familiar. "I'm so sorry about that. I hope my daughter wasn't bothering you. Lucy still hasn't learned not to talk to strangers. God knows, everyone has been trying to teach her better, but when you're a small town girl who happens to be one of the children of the 'best romance our town has ever seen,' according to Babette and Miss Patty, and you've inherited your mother's outgoing nature, I guess talking to strangers is pretty inevitable."
"It's okay," said Gigi, amused by the woman's antics. "She wasn't bothering me at all. My dad's girlfriend's kids are about her age, and your daughter isn't anything like them. I know what bratty little kids are like, and your daughter doesn't come anywhere close."
"Well, having seen my share of bratty children, I'll definitely take that as a compliment," the woman joked, pulling both of her children close to her. "I definitely wouldn't want anyone to categorize Lucy or Will in the 'bratty' category." Gigi found herself cracking a smile, wondering if the woman had dealt with kids as bratty as Bradley and Brie.
The woman looked down at Lucy, who was hugging the stuffed dog close to her. "Lucy, where did you get that? I didn't see you holding that earlier."
"That's what I was asking the girl about," said Lucy, with an air of impatience. "She was holding the dog, and when I asked her where she got it from, she gave it to me! I've decided I want it to be my early Christmas present."
The woman studied Gigi for a few moments. Gigi squirmed, uncomfortable under the intensity scrutiny of her gaze, but she was rewarded when the woman began to smile. Turning to her kids, she said, "Lucy and Will, do you mind if I steal, um-" She waved her hands, clearly not knowing what to call her.
"Gigi," Gigi supplied.
"Gigi," the woman repeated with a slight laugh. "God, I haven't heard that name used in a long time."
"I hate my name," Gigi informed her, used to this reaction whenever she told people her name. "It makes me sound like a French poodle or something. Whatever you have to say about it, don't feel bad."
The woman chuckled. "Well, if it makes you feel any better, you're not the only 'Gigi' I've come across. Hey, do you know there's a musical movie called Gigi? You're in good company, my friend. There's even a title song with your name in it."
"I've heard of it, but I haven't actually seen it."
"Well, make your parents rent it. Believe me, I'm sure at least one of your parents has experienced the wonder that is Lerner and Loewe. And if they haven't, they are seriously deprived."
"I love My Fair Lady," Lucy said, as her brother rolled his eyes.
"My daughter is a little Broadway star in the making," the woman explained to Gigi's confusion. "My son and husband, not so much, but that's okay, we'll make two Broadway babies out of them." She turned back to her children. "Anyway, do either of you mind if I steal Gigi for just a few seconds? I'll be back soon, I promise."
When both of her children shook their heads, the woman led Gigi behind a rack of plush rabbits, several feet away. Gigi frowned, wondering what the woman was getting at. In a hushed voice, the woman asked, "Do you have any experience with babysitting?"
"Well, yes, I do it back home, and I've had to babysit the brat children I told you about before," said Gigi. She studied the woman's expression. "Why?"
"Do you think you could look after my kids-my daughter's name is Lucy, and my son is Will-for just a few minutes?"
As Gigi continued to stare at her, the woman sighed. "See, while I know it is completely and utterly irresponsible to leave Christmas shopping for the Eve of Christmas Eve, I really don't have a choice. I bought Will's lego castle and Lucy's Barbie Dream House, but what do you know, my parents beat me to do it. Damn their tradition of having an early Christmas party and thus giving their gifts two weeks early, or else it would have my parents suffering, not me. I swear, I think they do things like this on purpose. Anyway, I've been planning on sneaking here to do some shopping while we visit my eldest daughter in New York City, but what do you know, my husband accidentally reveals my destination, and suddenly, I've got two kids begging me to go with me. I think Will's pretty much figured out that since he's here, he might get an early peek at his Christmas gifts, but I told Lucy I was shopping for her cousin, and she's so blinded by toys that that she didn't ask any further questions. Anyway, I would have said no, but see, as my husband so helpfully reminded me, it is pretty darn hard to say no to the pout that both kids happen to have inherited from me, though Lucy's is far, far worse, and well, that's where you come in. I was wondering if you could keep Lucy and Will preoccupied for a few minutes, while I sneak out their presents to the register, get them gift wrapped, grab Lucy and Will, buy the gifts I promised them for now, and go about our merry way."
Gigi struggled to take in this story. "Do you have any idea what you're going to get them?" she said finally.
The woman nodded. "I'm getting Lucy a horse stable and horse to go with it, and Will an electronic car. Assuming I can find them here, I mean. With my luck, everything's sold out." Seeing Gigi's hesitation, she made her eyes a little wider. "Please? I'm really in a fix here. I normally trust Will to look after Lucy, but since we're in a big city, that's not something I'm really comfortable with. I promise to compensate you or something; is five dollars good?"
"It's really fine," Gigi said, snapping out of her mood. While it was true she had anticipated a quieter stay at Fao Schwarz, sulking was not about to do her any good. "As long as your kids aren't bratty, I don't need any compensation. Maybe your son can even help me figure out what to buy Bratty Child Number Two. Brie, the girl, wants a Bratz doll, but I have no idea what to get Bradley, the boy. My father suggested the stuffed dog I gave to your daughter, but now that I have a real life little boy to help me, I can find something better."
"Well, as long as it's even trade, then we'll let the money go," the woman said. "Really, thanks for doing this. You're a life saver." As they began to walk towards Lucy and Will, who were checking out another rack of stuffed animals, the woman turned to Gigi again. "By the way, where are your parents? You're not alone, are you?"
"I'm not, but my dad is outside taking a business call," Gigi said. "He left finding the presents to me. He won't mind that I'm looking after your kids, though. He'll probably think that spending time with other random kids means I'm ready to bond with Brie and Bradley."
"Well, as long as your dad's cool with it, I am too," said the woman. By now, they had reached the rack the children were standing out. She motioned to Will and Lucy, who were looking at them. "Will, Lucy, this is Gigi. She's going to look after you, while I do an errand, okay?" Seeing that Will's eyes had narrowed, she added, "And don't you dare think about following me. I'll meet you back here when we're both finished."
When the woman left, Gigi turned to Will and Lucy, hoping to distract them. Though she knew such observations were snobbish, she was taken aback by the simple jeans and winter coats they were wearing. It had been a long time since she had come across children who didn't wear clothes that had been imported from England or France.
Shaking these thoughts aside, she motioned to Will. "So, Will, I was actually hoping that you could do me a favor. How old are you?"
Lucy spoke before Will had a chance to. "He's eight, and I'm six, almost seven. My birthday's in February."
"Well, six and a half is a great age to be," said Gigi. Will had begun to glare at his sister, who gave him a wide smile in return. "Anyway, Will, about that favor. I need to buy gifts for those two kids I know. The girl, Brie, who's seven, wants a Bratz doll, so Lucy, you don't need to help me there, but I'm not sure what to get the boy, Bradley, who's four. Since you're a boy, I was hoping you could help me."
Will nodded thoughtfully. She was quickly seeing that though Lucy was clearly the outgoing one in her family, Will was more studious and reserved. "Well, you could always buy him a train set. I started to like trains at that age."
"That's a good idea," said Gigi. "Could you take me to find one?"
She prayed fervently that the trains weren't in the same direction their mother had disappeared off to, but to her relief, Will pointed to the opposite direction. "It works too, because Mom promised us we could both pick out one early Christmas present, and I still need to find mine," he told her. "I wasn't about to find one in one of those girly aisles, anyway."
"Hey!" said Lucy, sticking out her tongue. Will stuck out his back.
As they made their way to get the toy trains, Gigi found herself increasingly charmed by the brother/sister pair. Brie and Bradley mostly fought whenever she was around, but despite normal sibling rivalry, Will and Lucy actually seemed to enjoy each other's presence.
She sometimes wished that she had another sibling. Though she did have a half-sister, who was eighteen years older, that was very different than a live-in sibling. Besides, she rarely saw Rory, anyway. Even though Rory lived in New York City, they were not even visiting Rory this time around. Gigi was sketchy on the details, but she suspected Rory was either visiting her mother and her family or the other way around.
"We're here," said Will, when they reached the section with the toy trains. "There are cheap plastic ones and more expensive, real looking ones. Probably since he's four, you want to pick out one of the plastic ones."
"That's a good idea," said Gigi. "Pick out whatever one you think he'd like." Will took a few minutes before selecting a yellow train set, which he handed to Gigi.
"Hey, you know as long as we're here, I'm going to pick out some more tracks for my trains," Will said. "I'm beginning to run out of them."
"That sounds good," Gigi said. "Take as long as you need. Your sister and I will be right here."
As Will struggled to find the right train tracks, Lucy turned to Gigi. "Where are your parents?" Lucy asked. "Did you come here all alone?"
Gigi flinched. Even after years of being asked this question, answering had not gotten any easier. "My dad's taking a business call outside. My mom lives in Paris."
"Paris!" The little girl's eyes widened. "Do you hear that, Will? Gigi's mom lives in Paris!"
"I heard," said Will distractedly, his back still towards them as he continued to pick out train tracks.
"You're lucky to have gone to Paris," said Lucy. "Ever since I saw The Aristocats, I've wanted to go. My mom says there are lots of poodles in Paris, and I love poodles. I want a poodle, but we already have a dog, and my daddy says we can't have another one. I still want to see the poodles in Paris, though. My mom a, um, saying about poodles, and I've always wanted to say it."
"A saying, huh?" said Gigi, privately thinking that she had never seen that many poodles in Paris. "What is it?"
Lucy puffed out her little chest before she spoke. "'Oy with the poodles already.'"
Gigi blinked. "'Oy with the poodles already.' That's a very, uh, interesting saying."
"Our mother is crazy," said Will, without turning around.
"She is," said Lucy, giggling. "That's why I'd have to travel to Paris to say it-Mommy says it for no reason sometimes, but then people look at her funny. I usually say it whenever we see Kirk at his dog walking business, but it doesn't make sense, cause Kirk has no poodles. If we ever get a poodle, I want to name her Mimi. It was Mommy's suggestion, and I like it. Either that or Belle, cause that means 'beautiful' in French, which is why Belle the princess is named that, and it makes sense for a poodle to have a French name."
"That it does," said Gigi. She looked around, hoping that her father or the children's mother would appear, but neither did. Biting her lip, she turned her attention back to Lucy. As much as she was enjoying the little girl's enthusiasm, it was tiresome keeping up with her.
"Do you speak French?" Lucy was asking.
"Un peu," said Gigi. When Lucy frowned, she said, "That means 'a little'. My mother is teaching me French, and I'm taking it in school, but I'm not fluent yet."
"I can say 'hi' in French," Lucy said. "My mom taught me after saw The Aristocats."
"Really?" said Gigi. Lucy nodded and raised her neck.
"Bonjour," she said importantly.
Gigi's heart skipped a beat. Something about that little phrase-Bonjour-was familiar, somehow. She had heard the word at least a thousand times, but some combination about Lucy being taught the word by her mother and Lucy's American accent made her head spin. God, what in the world was she trying to remember? And what about this time had triggered the memory, when saying "Bonjour" was as natural to Gigi as saying the word in English?
You're being ridiculous, she told herself. It's just a simple word. That's all.
Luckily, before Gigi had more of a chance to process this, Will finished picking out his train tracks, and they moved on to picking out Brie's Bratz doll. With the help of Lucy, who did not have a Bratz doll herself and was very fascinated by the doll's huge lips and eyes, Gigi picked out Chloe, since Brie was also blonde. They then made their way back to the stuffed animal section, where they had agreed to meet Will and Lucy's mother. Evidently, their mother had had a harder time finding gifts than she'd anticipated, because she was not yet there.
"Do you live in New York City?" said Lucy, while they were waiting.
Gigi shook her head. From what Lucy's mother had said, she'd deduced that Lucy and Will were also visiting New York. "I live in Boston, Massachusetts."
"What are you doing here then?"
"My dad's girlfriend lives here." Realizing how strange that sounded to two children whose parents were probably together, Gigi added, "Actually, my older sister lives here too. Well, half sister, really. We have the same dad, but not the same mom."
"Oh, Will and I have two older half sisters too," said Lucy. "One of them is our dad's daughter and the other is our mom's. We're visiting Rory right now."
Gigi almost choked. She felt a thousand butterflies squirming in her stomach, as she looked at Lucy. "What did you say?" she asked softly.
"We're visiting our older sister," Lucy said, clearly not understanding Gigi's reaction. "Why?"
"No, I mean-your older sister, the one who you're visiting now-what's her name?"
"Rory," said Lucy. When Gigi coughed, she peered at Gigi closer. "Are you okay?"
"I'm-I'm fine," said Gigi, placing her hand to her cheek and realizing how warm she'd gotten. "It's just that my older sister is named Rory, too."
"Ooh, that's weird," said Lucy, but Will had met her eyes. In an expression filled with more depth than she would have expected from an eight-year-old, Gigi realized that Will understood, too. Lucy might have remembered things like her mother's favorite saying and how to say "hello" in French, but Will clearly remembered more important information.
Like, for instance, the name of his older sister's other half sister.
All at once, Gigi realized three things: one, why their mother looked so familiar. Two, the reason for her flashback after hearing Lucy say the word "Bonjour".
And three, that though she had never seen Will face-to-face, in a way, she had met sort of met him before.