A/N: Hopefully this doesn't end up being too confusing, but I really want to add some back story to our favorite characters, so there will be some small flashbacks that will be in the chapters, along with the 1st person narratives of the Next Gen kids. I believe all of these characters below shall be making an appearance at some point. The story will mostly follow Emeline, William, Miki and Caleb. The ages of all of the kids are as follows:
Sookie and Jackson
Lorelai and Luke
Rory and Logan
Liz and TJ
Lane and Zach
Christopher and Sherry
Hartford, CT- September 2007
"I can't do this," Rory said into her cell phone. Her mother was on the other end and attempting to be comforting, but Rory was too keyed up for anyone to calm her down now. She should have made a list. She should have called first. Showing up out of the blue like this after four months of being broken up was no way to handle a situation like this.
"Just breathe," Lorelai answered. "You need to practice that anyway."
"So not the time, Mom."
"Sorry." There was a brief pause on the other end. "It's not going to get any easier, kiddo."
Rory wiped the sweat from her palms onto her pants. She had taken time off of Obama's campaign trail specifically for this purpose. She just hadn't expected it to be so difficult. "I'll call you after," Rory said into the phone before pushing the end button and dropping it into her purse.
Rory knocked on the door of the apartment that she used to share with Logan Huntzberger. She learned from Logan's sister Honour that he would be in Hartford that weekend packing up the remainder of his things for his move out to California. She could hear movement inside the apartment and took a step back from the door as it swung open.
Logan stood on the other end, hair disheveled, shirt unbuttoned with nothing but boxers on underneath. "Rory?" he questioned, pulling the door closed so she couldn't see into the apartment. "What are you doing here?"
She took a deep breath. She had to tell him.
"Who is it, babe?" a female voice called from somewhere inside. Rory froze. Her emotions got the better of her and she turned and headed for the stairs before he could see the tears.
"Rory!" Logan called behind her. He reached out and touched her arm. Rory stopped, but she didn't turn. "Tell me what's going on," he said softly. But Rory's words wouldn't come. Everything she had planned to tell him was wrong now. About how she was wrong to turn him down. About how she wanted him to be there…
"I'm pregnant…" Rory blurted out. She glanced back, seeing the stunned look on his face. Rory was sure it was masking the horror he must be feeling. She fled down the stairs, feeling nauseated. She wasn't sure if it was from the encounter with Logan or morning sickness, but right now it really didn't matter. Because even when she stopped at the base of the stairs, Logan didn't come after her again.
Stars Hollow- July 2024
"How was your weekend, Em?" Mom said as we made our way back to the house. There were boxes scattered everywhere. Nana and Poppa had bought the house behind theirs several years ago. Mom and I used to spend summers here when I was younger. I've always loved it because Poppa built a tree house for Will and I between the two houses. We used to sneak out late at night and stare up at the stars and make plans for our lives when we grew up. Sometimes we do sneak out and meet up there with Miki and Caleb, but for a different reason.
Mom and I moved into the house for good a few weeks ago when she finally quit her job to become a freelance writer. Everyone knew Nana wanted us to move to Stars Hollow for good and I was excited to be starting school with my friends in a few weeks. But none of that answered the question that was still looming before me.
"Remember when you made me watch The Hunger Games? It was like that, and I was one of the tributes from a losing district."
"I'm sure it wasn't that bad," Mom answered.
"He cancelled our tickets to Wicked."
"I'll kill him."
That made me smile. Mom always knew how to pull me from a mood. Nana did too, but usually that was just because she was quirky and would make things up until you smiled. "But then who would get custody of your favorite daughter?"
Mom thought for a moment. "Good point. Nana has rubbed off on you too much already." She pointed to the overflowing closet of clothes and raised a brow.
I shrugged. "Dad gives me his credit card when he has an 'unexpected meeting'. I can't help it that he feels guilty."
Mom sighed. "Yeah, I know all about that." She did that sometimes and I knew that she was talking about Grandpa Chris. She didn't talk about him a lot, but Mom always sighed when she talked about him. I think that's how I know Grandpa Chris was like Dad is with me. It makes me glad that she has Poppa now. Family is more than just whose blood runs through your veins. I plopped down on my bed and let out a long sigh.
"You know what we need?" Mom asked after a long moment of silence.
"What?" I asked, perking up.
"I think it's time that you were inducted into the Gilmore Girls Movie Night."
My eyes grew wide at the thought of it. I had no idea what it was, but if it had something to do with Nana, it was bound to be a good time. "What's that?" I asked, scooting to the edge of the bed.
"Only the greatest assault on eating and movie etiquette combined."
A smile spread across my face, finally making the connection. I had heard stories of the legendary movie nights of the Gilmore Girls, but we had never had one. From what I had heard, they generally included staying up all night, badmouthing movies, eating a ton of food that was bad for you, and a lot of girl talk. And after the weekend that was supposed to include my dad and barely did, it sounded like the perfect fix. It was strange to me that so many girls that I went to school with didn't get along with their mothers. My mom and I were super close and I couldn't imagine it any other way.
"What do we need?" I asked, feeling like this move to Stars Hollow just might be the best thing in the world.
"We always said our kids would grow up together," Lane said with a smile. She and Rory sat at the counter at Luke's. Rory had a vanilla milkshake, pancakes and a bowl of dill pickle chips sitting before her and her swollen belly was proof that she was well into her third trimester. People in Stars Hollow probably thought that something was in the water since half the town seemed to be pregnant at once.
"Yeah," Rory answered. "I just never expected we'd be like the moms of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants… four of us all due at once."
"I think it will be great," Lane answered. "I would be so happy if our kids were as close as those four girls."
"If my son wears either of your girl's pants," Sookie chimed in, causing both girls to turn around. "We're going to have some issues."
Rory and Lane laughed. Sookie took a seat with them and her phone jingled. Her eyes met Luke's briefly as he pointed to the sign hanging behind the counter. Sookie narrowed her eyes.
"I'm pregnant," she answered. "I'm not following your stupid rule and I'm not going outside." She glanced at the phone. "Besides, it your wife on the phone." She picked it up. "Hey Lorelai."
"Looks like it's the fourth in the sisterhood," Lane said with a grin.
"Which is not at all strange considering Sookie and my mom are having boys," Rory laughed.
Lane shook her head, holding back a laugh. "In this town? Not even a little bit."
Some people call our family weird because my niece and I are the same age. But what family is 'normal' anymore? Em and I can't help that Rory and my mom got pregnant around the same time. Besides, Mom had Rory when she was sixteen years old. She's allowed to have more kids after that.
So yes, Emeline is my niece, even though we are the same age. We don't think of it that way anyway. We're just family. But more importantly, we're friends.
Em and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. Well, four of us have been best friends our whole lives, really: Emeline Gilmore, Miki Van Gerbig, Caleb Belleville and myself, William Danes. Mom and Dad named me after Dad's father. Mom thinks names should be meaningful and special to a person and they couldn't think of anyone Dad loved more than his father. (Well, besides Mom… but she already named Rory after herself, and I don't really look like a Lorelai anyway.)
"Willie?" Mom called from the living room.
I scoffed and dropped my book to my lap, looking toward the door where she was no doubt going to pop into my room any minute. She only called me 'Willie' (which I hated by the way) when she wanted something. Generally it was to settle an argument between her and Dad. They probably made a wager on something they saw on TV and she wanted me to tell her which one was right.
Her head poked into the room that used to be Rory's off of the kitchen, where my queen size bed now sat in the far corner surrounded by books and movie and band posters.
"Must you call me that?" I asked with a sigh.
A smile crept across her face. "Thirteen hours of labor means I can call you what I please."
I rolled my eyes. "What do you think Dad is wrong about?" I asked, a hint of a smile breaking through my attempt at seeming uninterested.
"The jingle from that song from the commercial that I get stuck in my head. He thinks it's made up for the commercial, but I think it's the guitar riff from that song, you know the one with the good guitar riff?"
"I do, but apparently you do not," I said with a laugh. It wasn't difficult to drive my mother crazy, and a vague response should just about do the trick.
"Why must you torture your mother?"
"Thirteen hours of labor," I answered with a shrug. "Torturing you just kind of became habit I guess."
"No books for a week!" she squealed, stalking into the room, trying to grab the book from my bed.
"He said I was right, didn't he?" Dad called from the living room.
I laughed. Okay, maybe our family really was a little crazier than most. But most people didn't know Lorelai Gilmore. Mom found a way to simultaneously be hilarious, wacky and often times downright insane. But she was my mom and I wouldn't trade her for anything.
"You are right," I said finally to Mom. "And the song is Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas."
She leaned over, ruffled my hair and planted a lipstick stained kiss on my cheek. "And if you ever even think about going wayward yourself," she said sternly. "You'll have your grandmother to answer to."
I smiled at that. Mom and Grandma had an interesting relationship. I heard it used to be really cold and frosty between them, but things changed when Rory got pregnant with Em. Grandma and Grandpa stayed in Europe for a couple of years but finally got tired of staying away. Em says it's because her baby pictures were just too cute to pass up, but I think it had a lot to do with Grandpa's heart attack. I think it was a wake up call for the whole family that we need to be nice to each other and enjoy the years we all have left as a family.
"Noted," I answered just as seriously.
She skipped lightheartedly from the room making up a song with the lyrics "Told you I was right," all the way back to the living room.
I picked the book back up. Rory had suggested Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I knew it would be in the curriculum for school either next year or the following, but I thought I would give it a shot. Most kids hate English and reading, but it has always been one of my favorite things to do. Maybe my older sister has just had too much influence over me, I'm not sure.
A few minutes later, a knock resounded on my door again and I looked up as Dad stuck his head in. "Your mom's going over to Rory and Em's to have a world famous Gilmore Girl's movie night. I thought we could head down to the creek and fish for a while if you were up for it."
I smiled. Fishing and getting up early on Saturdays to open the diner were two things that Dad and I had always done together. And ever since he let Lane be a part-time manager at the diner, we've had more time together as a family. People around town often say that they never thought anything could get Dad out of his diner… anything except Mom. And she finally did about 10 months before I was born.
"Sounds great," I answered, hopping from the bed and pulling on my boots. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and pulled it out to see a text message from Em waiting for me.
Our spot at midnight. It's adventure time.
I laughed quietly to myself as I slipped the phone back into my pocket. Em and her wild adventures. It was amazing none of us had gotten caught or injured over the last eight years. A smile crept across my face as I headed for the door. Em was back.
The summer is probably my favorite time of the year. Partially because for most of my childhood it was the only time I saw my best friend. But also because this year my mom and I planned a concert tour of all of our favorite unknown bands. It will be the first time that we have done anything big like this without the boys. Sometimes I kind of envy Em for the way she and her mom are. They're close. With my mom working full time at Luke's plus band rehearsals and gigs, sometimes I feel like we don't ever have any girl time the way Em and Rory do.
But that is all going to change. Because tomorrow we leave for a two week girls only trip from Connecticut to North Carolina and back. We are going to see California Reeve, Broken Clearly, The Heavy Bricks and The Baseball Constituency. Most people have never heard of them, and that's exactly how I like my bands to be; amazing and underground and unknown. When bands make it big they tend to sell out; they change their style so it fits with what their label wants. But unknown bands are able to just be themselves and do whatever they want to do.
"Meek?" My mom called from downstairs. "Are you packing or dancing?"
My feet stopped moving around the floor and I glanced at my suitcase. Still empty except for the printed photos that I wanted to have signed by the bands. "Umm both?!" I called back. Okay, so we may not be as close as Emeline and her mom, but mine still knew me pretty well.
"We're leaving bright and early," Mom called back. I heard her footsteps on the stairs as she came to check on me. I dropped some clothes into my suitcase and spun around as she knocked on the door and pushed it open. "Make sure you don't forget your undies."
"Mom!" I scoffed. "I'm not the twins. I know how to pack for a trip."
She laughed at this. My brothers were seventeen and still needed to be reminded of essentials when they had to go overnight on trips for basketball. Kwan and Steve were the best older brothers a girl could ask for. They were protective but not overly so. They even watched out for Em when we all went anywhere together. And they never treated me like a little kid. I know some people don't get along with their siblings, but I don't know how that's possible.
"Well I want to get the car packed tonight, so if you can manage to pack while you dance around to California Reeve, please do."
I smiled as she left. I knew that I had to get packed, but I was secretly hoping that I could sneak over to Em's and raid her closet before we left. I just hadn't heard from her yet to know if she was back from her trip with her dad.
My phone vibrated on the dresser and I almost squealed when I read the message from Em. She was finally back in town and she and her mom had finally made my dreams come true and moved to Stars Hollow. For the last several years they had been living in Stamford and spent the summers at the house behind Will's. Her message must have been to Caleb and Will too since it involved our clubhouse.
I almost wished I wasn't going on this road trip with my mom so I could hear all about Em's trip to New York City with her dad. For all of the places that I'd been to so far, New York City wasn't one of them. I knew the road trip with Mom would be great and maybe, just maybe, I could convince her to stop there on the way back.
You know how TV and movies always make things look better than they are? Like a small suburban life, the youngest child of a vegetable farmer and local celebrity chef. Everyone always expects me to be happy with my life the way it is. But I'm not.
I got a lot of crap growing up from my brother and sister. Dave is off at the Culinary Institute of America now, following in our mom's footsteps and Martha (or Mar as she decided to be called starting her freshman year of high school) is set on owning her own night club. Everyone in my family is involved somehow in the workings of this quirky town. Everyone except me.
I am often looked at as the black sheep in the family. With so much of our lives dedicated to food, mostly its growth and preparation- it was hard to find something that I enjoyed. Mom and dad will tell stories all day long about Dave and Mar playing out in the garden as kids, helping dad on his journey to cross-pollinating a peach and strawberry to finding the perfect mixture of soil to grow the zucchini that became Mom's staple diet when she was pregnant with me.
My childhood wasn't the same. My mind often wandered, attempting to figure out the internal makeup of the new inventions on the cover of Popular Science or overclocking Mom's new laptop in order to up the speed. By the time I was eight I could get past the parental controls on the computer and was hacking most of the servers in Stars Hollow before I was a teenager.
None of those things changed the fact that as far as my parents were concerned, Dave and I were going to inherit the family farm and probably slave our lives away in the kitchen at the Dragonfly Inn. Dave might share some of the dreams of our parents, and even Mar might want to be involved in some aspect, but that didn't mean that I had to love it just because they all did.
Now that Dave was off at school, most of the veggie responsibilities fell on me, especially during the summer. Each day consisted of weeding a new section of the garden, spraying with fertilizer and water and finding anything that needed to be picked. You may not think it would take that long, but you haven't seen the size of our garden. My entire mornings are spent digging around in the dirt. Most of my afternoons are spent at the Inn as Mom's sous-chef. Finally after an incredible dinner, I am able to do whatever I want with the rest of the day. Generally it consists of hanging out with Will, who tends to be a good influence on me. He keeps me from trying to hack into anything that will get me into too much trouble… usually.
However, tonight was a special night. Everyone once in a while, Emeline Gilmore would come to town, generally during the summer, and she, Miki, Will and myself would all get together at the old tree house that Will's dad made. It was on the property line behind Will's house and Em's summer house and growing up became a club house for the four of us. Since our mom's were all close when they were pregnant, it kind of became a thing for us to hang out together. Em, Miki and Will were like my second family… which made them all the more special to me, since they liked me for who I actually was… instead of my real family who tried to make me into something that I wasn't.
Tonight was going to be the first time the four of us have gotten together in almost a year. And I've overheard my parents talking about how Em and her mom were moving back to Stars Hollow, which means that my summer just got infinitely better.
You know how some people just 'get' you in a way that you never expected? Well, Emeline Gilmore is one of those people for me. I know that some people think that she is spoiled because her dad never has any time to spend with her, and he thinks that money will sate her desire for a relationship with him, but Em isn't really like that. She's caring and compassionate and the most quirky, crazy person I know. She forces me outside my comfort zone but she does it in a way that always feels nonthreatening. Like even though I may fall flat on my face, she would never judge me or treat me differently for it.
The thought of an adventure with Em was more excitement than I could handle. I found myself in the garden all afternoon with Dad pulling weeds just to keep myself busy. I was still waiting for my new software to be delivered so there wasn't much I could do with my computer besides get into trouble.
I can't wait. I texted back. Midnight could not come soon enough.