A/N: Whoo, final part is here! Sorry, it's a day later than I told freecityy it would be, but I was out till 11 last night at that stupid dinner and then I had to study for French and, well, yeah. ;D
WARNING: This mini-series contains spoilers UP TO THE END OF SEASON 5. DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED. You've been warned.
**This was written before Tuesday, so the aired episode of 520 has not completely been incorporated into this chapter.
The Big Picture
Part 1 / Part 2
The Jeep pulled into the extravagant driveway and Lorelai threw the car into park, turned off the ignition, and then said, “Last stop, everyone out.”
“We’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s,” Rory stated, clearly confused.
“You’ll see. C’mon, let’s go. Logan, you, too.”
The two of them climbed out of the Jeep and hesitantly followed Lorelai to the door. She rang the doorbell three consecutive times. After a moment, they heard rustling from within and the door opened, revealing a very shocked Emily Gilmore. “Lorelai, Rory… what are you two doing here?”
“Hi, Mom! I have a small matter to discuss with you and Dad. Is he around?” Lorelai asked, looking around the foyer.
“Yes, I’ll go get him.” Emily gave her daughter a suspicious look. “What did we do now?”
She plastered a fake smile onto her face. “Just get Dad for me, will ya?”
“All right, all right.” Emily paused and looked at Rory and Logan. “Oh, Logan, I didn’t see you there! It’s just wonderful to see you again. Come in, sit down; Richard and I will be out in a moment.”
“Thank you, Emily.”
Logan and Rory sat down on the couch, while Lorelai tried to act casual as she sat in one of the armchairs. After a moment, Emily came out with Richard tagging behind her, looking peeved. He poured himself, Emily, and Lorelai drinks, and then handed cokes to Logan and Rory, before sitting down beside Emily.
“Now, what is this all about?” he asked moodily.
“Mom, Dad, I have an announcement to make.”
“Mom…” Rory warned.
“What’s that, Lorelai?”
“Logan and Rory got arrested tonight! Cheers!”
Four pairs of eyes stared at Lorelai in disbelief as she took a large gulp of her wine. Emily recovered first, demanding, “What?”
“Yes, they decided to steal a Yacht and they were arrested.”
“My!” boomed Richard, “That was a stupid thing to do!”
“We know, Grandpa.”
“I’m very sorry, Richard.”
“I’m shocked at the both of you!” He sighed and shook his head. “Well, kids will be kids… just don’t be that stupid again.”
Lorelai’s mouth almost fell open in shock. “What? That’s what you say to them? I left crayons on your desk when I was six and I was punished for a week!”
“Well, Logan and Rory are generally very well-behaved. I see no reason to punish them for one bad decision.”
Lorelai sighed. “If only it were that easy. Do you know why they stole the Yacht?”
“To go away on a trip!”
Richard turned toward Rory. “You know you could’ve just asked us for money…”
“I know, Grandpa,” she replied softly.
“But this was more than just a little trip, Dad. They wanted to go away now, for a few months!”
“Now?” Emily questioned.
“For a few months,” Lorelai repeated. “During school!”
“Wow. Well,” Richard said slowly, “if it’s really that important to you two, then might I suggest taking a flight to Europe? It’s quite lovely to see, especially with your significant other. Emily and I would know.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Emily, exchanging a smile with Richard.
“What? You’re – you’re encouraging this? I came here to tell you this because it’s your money paying for her schooling - as Rory so eagerly pointed out before – and she’s just going to throw it down the drain and you’re okay with it!”
“It’s a good experience for the two of them to have. Calm down, Lorelai… everyone takes time off from college. We have the money, Lorelai,” he added sternly.
Lorelai could hardly breathe at this point, let alone speak coherently. “I know you do, but the future, her career…”
“It’ll all still happen,” he assured her, “if Rory wants it to. Perhaps, it will just be a year or two later than she had originally planned. A little spontaneity can be good, every once in a while.”
“Okay, who the hell are you and what did you do with my parents?”
“Once in a while,” Emily clarified, “does not mean all the time, like you, Lorelai. You have to use good judgment.”
“Like stealing a Yacht,” she mumbled under her breath. Richard and Emily ignored that comment.
“Rory, Logan, just let us know if we can do anything to help you out, all right? Oh, and say goodbye before you leave this time, Rory? I must get back to work; it was lovely to see you again, Logan, Rory… Lorelai.”
“Will do. Bye, Grandpa.
“Thank you so much,” said Logan, as he rose to shake Richard’s hand. “Goodbye, Richard.”
After he left, Emily turned toward Logan and Rory and said, “Why don’t you two go back to school now?”
“Sure, I’ll get Frank to pick us up,” Logan said as he took out his cell phone.
“Good. So, Rory, tell me: where were you planning to go in the Yacht?”
Lorelai rose from her chair with a groan and refilled her drink.
After Rory and Logan left, Lorelai glared at her mother. Emily ignored her and began to putter around the room instead, mumbling something about incompetent maids.
“Mom!” Lorelai finally declared, starling Emily.
“My God, Lorelai, you almost gave me a heart attack.”
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“You and dad encouraging Rory to take off like that!”
“Like your father said, a little fun can be good for a girl. She’s worked hard…”
“I know she has.”
“So she deserves a break.”
“I know that, too. But she has almost four months of a break coming up this summer; she can be patient, like the rest of the world.”
“But she wants to take a break now.”
“So what? She’s in school!”
“School will be there when she gets back.”
She let out an exasperated sigh, dropping onto the couch as she did so. “You’re not seeing this from my point-of-view, Mother.”
“But aren’t I? You want Rory to stay in school because it’s been the plan. You’ve always wanted her to get through school in four years and then go on to be a famous journalist. Well, Lorelai, how does it feel to have your daughter do the exact opposite of what you want?”
“You’re trying to control her, Lorelai, just like you accused me of doing to you. Don’t you see? It’s the same.”
“Ha, no… it’s not the same, Mother.”
“But it is, Lorelai. She has disappointed you, hasn’t she? You had this whole elaborate plan for her future, and suddenly it’s all gone to hell. Tell me, Lorelai, how does it feel?” Lorelai merely stared at Emily, biting her lip to keep from screaming. “I thought so. You’ve always hated it when I’m right. But there it is, yet again. We’re more alike than you think.”
Lorelai placed her glass down on the coffee table and then, without another word, left the house, slamming the door in her wake.
It was the neon sign that caught her attention. Barney’s Tavern seemed to draw her inside, despite the weak, albeit present protest in her mind. Cigarette smoke hung heavy in the air as the music matched the beating of her pounding heart. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she saw Luke’s concerned face, but ignored it. Instead, she remembered what he did, what Rory did, and what her parents did, and suddenly felt very alone.
She still felt lonely after the first margarita. She felt lonely and giggly after the third. She felt lonely, giggly, and numb after the fifth. That was good enough for her.
She was very aware of Luke’s presence in her home as she stumbled through the doorway. His hands were on her waist within moments and she started to laugh because she knew they would be. He supported most of her weight as he walked her into the living room, before setting her down on the couch. He then looked at her and frowned.
“Lorelai… did you drive home like this?”
She laughed vacantly. “No, I took a cab. My car’s in Hartford somewhere… I think.”
“Okay, well, we can get it tomorrow morning… uh, if you want.”
His tone was not admonishing, like she had thought it was going to be. Instead, it was soft and caring, with a hint of anxiety tied within it. Suddenly, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. All the sadness, all the hurt, all the confusion poured out of her in waves as she sunk to her knees beside the coffee table and began to sob uncontrollably. Within seconds, Luke was by her side, holding her, kissing her, telling her it would all be okay.
“NO! It won’t be okay!” He pulled back slightly, shocked by her outburst. “Rory’s dropping out of school, I’ve turned into my mother, you’re keeping secrets from me, and I’m NOT pregnant!” she wailed, pounding her fists against Luke’s chest angrily.
Luke’s eyes widened as he watched her, completely unsure of exactly what she had said and how much of it was, in fact, true. Instead, he grabbed her flying wrists and pulled them down to her sides, and she immediately buried her face in his chest, soaking his flannel shirt with tears. She smelled the mixed scent of fried food and his soap on his clothes and she cried even harder because she realized how much she needed him, despite his mistakes. His hands wrapped tightly around her waist and she wished she could just lie in Luke’s arms forever, forgetting all the pain that her loved ones had caused. But it was late and she could hardly think straight, so she pulled away with a sigh and shook her head.
“I need to sleep.”
“I’ll be here.”
She nodded silently, biting her lip as they stared at each other. Luke seemed less worried now, but he was studying her with an intensity that she had never seen in him before. Suddenly, she was overwhelmed by the desire to hold him again and tell him how much she loved him, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She knew she would, but not now… not like this. Instead, she tore her eyes from his and, without a second glance, dragged herself up the stairs.
Sleep, however, did not come easily.
When she stumbled down the stairs the next morning (or afternoon, really) with heavy limbs and a pounding head, she found him sitting on her couch, dozing. She watched Luke for a few moments, before turning to go into the kitchen to make coffee and find some pain killers. She wasn’t surprised to find Advil, water, and a thermos of coffee on the table, but it caused tears to prick at the corners of her eyes, nonetheless. The gesture was so simple, and yet, at the same time, so unbelievably grand that she had to wake him up and get everything out on the table. She owed him that much.
Lorelai sat down beside him on the couch, staying far away enough so that their bodies didn’t touch, and Luke’s eyes snapped open. He blinked rapidly and rubbed the back of his neck, before letting out a hoarse, “Hey…”
“I don’t even know where to start,” she whispered, “and don’t say the beginning because I don’t know where that is. How’s Sookie?”
“She’s doing good,” he replied, rubbing his neck harder as he shifted to face her. “Yeah, she had a girl.”
“Oh, good. She really wanted a girl. I hope she’s not mad at me.”
“She’s not mad. She’s just concerned.”
Lorelai nodded and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “Good. So, Rory was arrested.”
He turned toward her sharply. “What?”
“Yeah, that’s where I was going when you saw me here yesterday afternoon.”
“Is she okay?”
“Of course. I bailed her out because it seemed like the right thing to do.”
“Well, it was.”
She shook her head. “No, it wasn’t. She’s not a little kid anymore. I need to let her fight her own battles.”
“Lorelai, she can’t do everything alone.”
“See, that’s where you’re wrong; that, my friend, is being controlling. We’re both guilty of that.”
“Oh yes. I’m controlling because I want my daughter to finish off her sophomore year of college. You’re controlling because you’ve planned my future without me.”
He gave her the utterly confused look that he reserved just for her. “What are you talking about?”
“Yeah. I mean, I know we’ve been together for what? Seven months? Six? I can’t remember right now… the hangover’s impairing my already terrible math skills. But we’re pretty serious about this relationship. I mean, we’re all in, for crying out loud!”
“But see – now this is just my interpretation; we might be using different texts – I thought the beauty of a relationship was both parties involved made the decisions.”
“It is,” he replied, baffled.
“Really? Then what’s this I heard about the Twickham House?”
“What about it?” he asked hastily.
“That you’re planning on buying it!”
Luke sighed. “I tried to tell you, but –“
“Tell me? You tried to TELL ME? I’m sorry, but telling me is not enough! Asking me, suggesting it to me… that’s okay! But telling me? No, doesn’t do it!”
“I just wanted to surprise you with it, that’s all! You said you loved the house!”
“Yes, I did. That doesn’t mean I want you, oh strong provider, to go out and GET it for me!”
“Lorelai, I don’t understand…”
“Actions are only good to a certain point, Luke. I know you don’t like to talk, but sometimes you just have to! Look, you got mad at me when I withheld information about Christopher and now I’m getting mad at you for withholding information about this so-called future you’ve planned. You don’t even like Old Man Twickham!”
Luke looked down at his shoes. “I’m sorry, Lorelai. I mean, I thought it would be… nice. I didn’t realize… I didn’t think…”
“No, you didn’t.” She shook her head sadly. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Don’t say that, Lorelai!” he replied desperately. “I’ll withdraw my bid as soon as I go back to the diner, I swear.”
“Okay?” Lorelai nodded. “Okay,” he breathed. “So, uh, what happened with Rory? Is she okay?”
“Rory’s great. She hates me, but she’s great. I’ve turned my only kid, my best friend, against me.”
“Hey, she’s just going through a rough time right now.”
“She stole a Yacht to go away… instead of finishing school.”
“Yeah. And you know what the best part is? My parents are encouraging this!”
“They say it’s up to her and it’s good to take some time off from college to relax. And, of course, they have enough money to put her through Yale for another seventy years… no, probably more than that, so that’s not an issue.”
“But her future…”
“She’ll plan it herself.” She sighed. “I can’t be mad at you for doing the same thing that I did to Rory. I thought I was doing what was best for her, but I was really just driving her away from me.”
“That’s not true…”
“It is, Luke.” She took a deep breath. “Rory’s not sixteen anymore. She has a home of her own, away from me. I’m just there, in the background - the woman who went through hours of agonizing labor for her and gives her good make-up tips. It’s the cycle of life, isn’t it?
“It won’t be for you two. She just needs to find herself.”
“Yeah. I hid her real self from her. I made her into a ‘Mini Me’. She’s finally rebelled.”
“No, you made her into a kind, intelligent, successful, and confident woman who is perfectly capable of thinking on her own. She’s just confused right now.”
Lorelai nodded. “I’ll miss her.”
Luke scooted down the couch and wrapped his arm around Lorelai’s shoulder. “I know.”
“She said I’m just like her.”
“No, my mother. She’s right. I am just like her.”
“I hardly think that.”
“No, really! I did the same thing to Rory as she did to me. I tried to control her.”
“You didn’t control her. Every parent plans for their child’s future.”
“No, not like me. I had every single detail planned, down to the last moment. Did you know I even have a guy picked out for her? Well, not a guy, per se; just an image of one. He’s a photographer and he travels with her. I always liked that… that way, I knew Rory was being looked out for. But now there’s Logan and he’s everything I ran away from. He treats Rory well right now, but I don’t know. He toyed with her for so long and now he’s just turned his life around for her… I don’t buy it. I don’t think it’ll last. I just don’t know if Rory’ll see that.” She shook her head. “Rory told me that, when she went to his parents’ house for dinner, Logan’s mom and grandfather said that she would hold him back. Funny; I see it the other way…”
“Logan is bad news,” Luke agreed. “It’s not really possible to change a guy. I mean, you can make him dress differently or whatever, but deep down, no matter what you say, he’s still gonna hate it.”
“Yeah, you’re living proof of that.”
“You’ve never tried to change me.”
“No, I guess I haven’t.” She turned to look at him. “Don’t ever let me do that, okay?”
“Okay. Right back acha.”
Lorelai laid her head on Luke’s shoulder as she tried to work up the nerve to tell him the rest of the story. After a moment, though, Luke interrupted her thoughts. “You’re not your mother, you know.”
“No. I mean, just because you might have possibly done something like she did, you did it for completely different reasons. And hey – look at you now. You’re here, willing to get this all out in the open and deal with it, even if it means letting Rory go out on her own. Your mother never did that for you. Even now, she still tries to control you!” Lorelai nodded slightly, looking down at her lap as he spoke. “Look, Lorelai, would I be in love with you if you were your mother?”
“Lorelai…” he sighed, but grinned at her, nonetheless. “You’re kind, Lorelai. You don’t judge people by how much money they have or how well-educated they are; you give everyone an equal opportunity. Hell, I was terrible to you most of the time we knew each other.”
“You were never terrible, Luke.”
He shrugged. “You are, without a doubt, one-of-a-kind, Lorelai. You know how to cheer people up and you put everyone else before yourself, especially Rory. You’re great and I love you.”
“Thank you. I just…you’re just… I love you, too.” She paused for a long moment before saying, “Luke… I –“ She chocked back a sob. Better to just get it all out in the open now. “I thought I was pregnant.”
His body stiffened at her abrupt change-of-subject. “Huh?”
“Yesterday. That’s why I disappeared after the hospital. I went to take a pregnancy test. Don’t worry,” she assured him off his shocked look, “it was a false alarm.”
“Uhh… wow, I mean, what made you think…?”
“I was craving apples,” she replied as if that was completely logical.
“Does that scare you?”
“You craving apples?”
“No. Me, pregnant.”
“No, but… if I had been…”
“I would’ve been happy.”
“Really?” she asked, surprised. “You’re not just saying that ‘cos I’m not? Pregnant, that is.”
“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it. I mean, the house…”
“You thought of a family?”
“Mmmhmm.” He sought out her eyes. “A family with you.”
“Does that scare you?”
“A little. But not as much after everything that happened yesterday. I mean, I didn’t want to be pregnant because it’s not the right time, but… I don’t know…”
“You liked the picture?”
She turned toward him, shocked at how well he could read her. “Exactly.”
“I like the picture, too. We’ll have it, sooner or later.”
The two of them remained silent for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company, just as they had during their walk the previous morning. That stroll around the Twickham House felt like ages ago. Finally, Lorelai broke the silence by whispering, “Luke?”
“Hmm?” he mumbled, as he kissed the top of her head.
“Don’t withdraw the bid.”
Luke quickly searched her blue eyes for some sort of sign to show she was joking, but she just stared back at him determinedly. “What?”
“I want that house.”
“Luke, look at this! Look at us, right now! At the end of the day, you’re the only one who’s here for me. You made a mistake, but you admitted you were wrong and… tried to fix it. And now you’re here and I’m completely hung-over and you can hardly respect me for that, but –“ she exhaled sharply - “I want the house. I want that picture, someday, and the house is part of that. I need it and…” She took a deep breath; this was hard for her to admit: “I need you.”
“I need you, too, Lorelai,” he replied softly, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. “Okay… we’ll get the house then, if you’re sure.”
“Okay, we will get that house, even if you have to kick Kirk’s ass to get it,” she added with a small smile.
She pulled him to her lips for a deep kiss. "Very good,” she assured him with a genuine smile.
Yes, that'll never happen, but oh well. ;) Thanks you so much for reading!