Summary: Sequel to Secret Desires and Nameless Fears. Lots of changes are in store for Stars Hollow's favourite family: Luke and Lorelai finally tie the knot, Rory starts her new job, and someone in town is facing a big move. Second story in the Good Things Come in Threes series
Lorelai sat in the diner, picking at the fries on her plate as she watched Luke tend to his overflowing client base. Her cell phone rang and she pulled it out of her pocket, glancing at the caller ID. She frowned as she recognized her parents' phone number. Luke breezed out of the kitchen, his hands laden with plates. He paused in front of her and growled, "Take it outside."
"Don't worry, Luke. I wasn't planning on answering it." She tossed the phone onto the counter and sighed.
Luke set the plates down in front of the customers seated at the other end of the counter, then returned, raising his eyebrows at her. "Okay, I'll bite. Why weren't you planning on answering that?" he asked, jabbing his finger toward the abandoned cell phone.
"Because it was Emily," her voice was calm and emotionless, but Luke knew that it was all a facade for the hurt she was feeling.
His eyes narrowed in concern. He took a deep breath, knowing she wouldn't like what he was about to say. "Don't you think maybe it's time to start talking to her again? It's been over a month now and we're getting married in two weeks."
Lorelai glared at him, and Luke gripped the counter top, bracing himself for the inevitable tirade. "Yes, well, she should have thought of that before she decided to accuse me of only marrying you because I'm having your baby." She lowered her voice on the last word, glancing around nervously before continuing. "Emily Gilmore made this bed, now she has to lie in it."
"She's your mother, Lorelai. She should be there." Luke placed his hand over hers reassuringly. "Do you really want to have this fight hanging over you on our wedding day?"
Lorelai met his eyes, studying him for a moment before shaking her head. "No, I don't want this hanging over me. But I don't know how to fix it."
Luke nudged the phone closer to her. "Calling her back would be a start."
Lorelai stared at the phone, twisting her face into an expression of horror. Finally she picked it up, holding it between her thumb and forefinger as though it were contaminated.
Luke rolled his eyes at her familiar antics. "Lorelai," he warned.
"Fine. I'll do it..." She pointed at her mug. "...After another cup of coffee. And the real stuff this time, not the decaf."
Luke growled softly. "It's not good for the babies."
"I know," she whispered. "But talking to my mother without caffeine in my system isn't good for the mommy, which in turn isn't good for the babies." He looked at her skeptically so she pulled out the big guns, puckering her bottom lip and looking at him mournfully. "Please Luke? Please, please, please?"
"You promise you'll make the call?" Luke had already turned to grab the coffee carafe.
Lorelai beamed at him. "I promise, babe. You're the best."
Luke filled her mug. "I bet you say that to all the guys."
She took a sip of her precious elixir before responding, "Only the ones I plan to marry." Their eyes met again and this time the look they exchanged was filled with love and desire. Lorelai set her coffee down and tried to lean over the counter to kiss him, but her expanding waistline made it difficult for her to reach him without popping a button. She settled back on her stool, grumbling into her coffee mug.
Sensing her frustration, Luke quickly came around the counter, and placed his hands on her cheeks. "This what you were after?" he whispered, kissing her tenderly. He lingered for a moment, tasting the coffee and salt that flavoured her lips. When he pulled away, she closed her eyes, committing the moment to memory.
She opened her eyes slowly, smiling broadly. "Thank you, Luke. That was exactly what I needed," she said softly. Suddenly she clasped her hand over her mouth, stifling a giggle. "I think you'd better get back to work though, Taylor looks like he's going to slap you with a stupid town ordinance if you don't serve him soon."
"I'd like to see him try," Luke snapped, shooting a threatening look in Taylor's direction.
"There's the grump I know and love." Lorelai laughed, patting him on the shoulder before he reluctantly shuffled over to see what Taylor wanted. She turned her attention back to the first real cup of coffee she'd had in weeks and sipped happily. Her cell phone beeped, notifying her that she had a message and she glanced at it guiltily for a nanosecond before shoving it from her mind. Coffee comes first, the firing squad can wait.
Emily stared at the phone in her hand with distaste. She didn't understand why Lorelai still refused to talk to her. She had apologized to her daughter and her scruffy diner man. She was planning to attend the wedding. What more did Lorelai want?
"Is there something unusual about that phone, Emily?" Richard's voice startled her, and Emily jumped, dropping the phone onto the hard, marble floor where it shattered.
She glared at the debris as she shouted for the maid de jour, "Lolita!"
A waifish looking girl with long dark hair dashed into the room. "Yes, madam?"
"Bring the broom and clean up this mess," she snapped before turning to her husband, who was gawking at her.
"What is it, Richard?" she asked irritably.
"You seem upset," he said plainly.
"Of course I'm upset. The phone is ruined, and our daughter won't talk to me." Emily's voice rose as she spoke. At her final words, Richard calmly draped his arm over her shoulder and led her into the sitting room.
He didn't say a word as she sat down and he fixed her a drink. Richard handed it to her and sat across from her. "Is this about your fight with Lorelai?"
Emily placed her glass on the coffee table and glared at her husband. "What else would it be about? I still don't understand why she's so upset. I admit I was a bit rude to Luke, but I was distressed. How could she Richard? How could she keep something like that from us? Why wouldn't she want us to know that she was pregnant?"
Richard stared at his hands for a moment, contemplating the best way to respond. "Perhaps she was thinking about the last time she told us she was pregnant. As I recall, it wasn't a very pleasant conversation for any of us."
"She was sixteen! We had every right to be upset." Emily shook her head regretfully. "Throwing her life away like that." There was silence and then, "But she's not a child anymore; this time it would have been different."
Richard caught her gaze and held it. "Would it? Can you honestly say that the minute she told you the news you wouldn't flash back to that awful time?"
Emily paused, and then sighed. "No, I can't. She was a baby, Richard. A baby having a baby. And she wouldn't let us help her."
Richard moved to sit beside his wife. He pulled her into a hug and kissed the top of her head. "I know. But things have been better. She's in our life again, she's a successful businesswoman and she did a great job raising Rory. She's not the same person that left this house 19 years ago. "
Emily rested her head on Richard's shoulder. "I overreacted, Richard. I overreacted and I drove her away. Just like I drove her away before."
Richard just held her, knowing there was more.
"I attacked her relationship with Luke, and I accused her of marrying him because of the baby even though I knew it wasn't true. I'm a horrible mother." She buried her face in her hands.
"You are not a horrible mother." Richard insisted. "You made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes."
"You know what's ironic?" Emily raised her head. "I'm actually starting to like Luke. I think he's good for her, even if he isn't the kind of person I'd imagined her being with."
"He's not Christopher, you mean?"
"No. And thank heaven for that." Emily sat up a bit straighter. "As more time passes, I'm beginning to see just how wrong Christopher would have been for our daughter. Sure, he comes from the right background, but you have to admit, he's never been able to get it together. Luke is different."
Richard nodded. "Luke will give her a good life. He loves her. And she loves him. That's a solid foundation to build a marriage on."
Emily stood up, her jaw set with determination. "I'm going to fix this. If she won't accept my calls, then I'll go to her and apologize in person. I can't let her get married thinking we don't approve of her husband."
Richard rose. "Would you like me to come with you?"
"Thank you, but no. I think this is something I need to do alone." She leaned up to give him a chaste kiss on the lips. "I'll be home soon."
Richard took her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. "Good luck."
Lorelai finished her coffee just as Rory came bounding into the diner.
"Daughter!" She grinned holding her arms out.
"Mother!" Rory hugged her as tightly as she could without squashing her siblings-to-be. "How are Thing One, and Thing Two?" she whispered as she sat beside her mother.
Lorelai glanced around to make sure no one was within hearing distance before replying softly, "Good. They've stopped making me nauseous every time I get near coffee." She gestured at the cup in front of her. "For which I am very grateful."
"So people still don't know?" Rory smiled at Luke who had come over to pour her a cup of coffee.
"No, but I think Patty suspects. She keeps winking at me." Luke grimaced and wandered off, leaving his girls to continue their whispered conversation in privacy.
Rory giggled. "When are you going to tell them?"
"I'm hoping to wait until after the wedding to tell the town, but I was actually planning to tell Sookie today."
"Yeah. I'm heading over there in a bit to see Martha and Davey and to discuss the menu for the wedding."
"Cool." Rory frowned as she noticed Luke shooting her mother a pointed look from the other side of the room. "Why is Luke looking at you like that?"
Lorelai sighed. "Because I promised to call my mother back if he gave me coffee."
Rory's eyes widened in surprise. "You're going to make up with grandma?"
"Correction: I'm going to attempt to make up with grandma."
Rory grinned. "Oh, I'm so glad. Friday Night Dinners are just not the same without you."
Lorelai wrinkled her nose. "Friday Night Dinner wasn't part of the plan," she whined. "I agreed to a phone call, that's it."
Rory rolled her eyes. "You know grandma will expect you to come again."
Lorelai sighed. "Yes, I know. But let me live with my delusions for just a little while longer."
Rory laughed and grabbed Lorelai's cell phone off the counter. She thrust it toward her mother. "Call."
"Now? But I'm communing with my only daughter."
Luke returned to the counter and promptly jumped into the discussion. "Call."
"No fair, ganging up on a woman in my delicate condition." Lorelai pouted.
"Call!" Rory and Luke said in unison.
Lorelai made a big show of sighing and snatching the phone from Rory's hand. "Fiiiiiine. But for the record, you're both mean." She quickly punched in the familiar numbers and listened to it ring. After about twelve rings, no one had picked up and Lorelai frowned. Usually the maid answered if no one was home. Although, knowing Emily, she'd fired the maid and hadn't yet replaced her. Lorelai snapped the phone shut triumphantly and beamed at her daughter and Luke. "There's no answer."
Luke narrowed his eyes. "Fine," he grumbled, "but you're trying again later."
She crossed her arms in front of her shoulders, and nodded her head while saying, "Yes, Major Healy," in her best Jeannie voice.
He ignored her and turned his attention to Rory. "You want anything to eat?"
Rory brightened. "A cheeseburger. With onion rings. Oh! And extra pickles."
"Coming right up." Luke disappeared into the kitchen.
Lorelai shoved her phone in her pocket and turned back to Rory. "So, tell me how work is going."
Rory sighed. "Swell."
"That was sincere." Lorelai searched her daughter's face for a moment. "Is that Greg guy still giving you a hard time?"
"You mean Jeffrey?"
"Whatever. Ugly Orange Shirt Dude."
Rory stifled a laugh. "He really does have horrible taste in clothing. Yesterday he was wearing a lime green t-shirt with florescent yellow lettering that said 'i heart clash'."
"Great band, awful colour combo." Lorelai winced at the image.
"I know, but when I asked, he didn't even know who they were."
Lorelai gasped. "Crime!"
"Yeah, well, fashion desecration is the least of my worries." Rory sipped her coffee. "Work has been rough," she admitted after a moment.
Lorelai softened. "Aww, hon, I'm sorry. Tell me about it."
"Well, Jeffrey is still annoyed that I was hired too, and he's doing everything in his power to make my life at work miserable. He's not even giving me a chance." Rory sighed heavily. "It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't expected to work as partners."
"So he's like the male version of Paris?" Lorelai enquired, inwardly snickering at her own joke.
"Ugh, I wish. He's worse, if you can believe it."
"He makes Paris look like the Martha Stewart of social skills."
"Oh boy is right. I swear, he was the kid who failed Kindergarten. And he totally skipped the lesson on sharing. He's written every piece we've been assigned so far on his own. He won't even give me a chance to help. And then, if the editor doesn't like it, he blames it on me."
"Can't you talk to him?"
"I've tried, but so far it's been ineffective. Anyway, I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's too depressing."
"What's too depressing?" Luke asked as he brought Rory her food. He poured her some coffee and Lorelai held out her mug hopefully. Luke ignored her, instead, placing the coffee pot back on the burner.
"World hunger, war, Taylor. You know, the usual," Lorelai quipped.
"Uh huh," Luke's tone was doubtful. "Shouldn't you be getting to Sookie's?" He pointed to his watch.
Lorelai grabbed his hand and twisted it awkwardly so that she could see the time. "Crap, you're right. Thanks, babe." She released his hand and blew him a kiss before sliding off her stool and giving Rory a quick hug.
"Good luck," Rory said between mouthfuls of onion rings. "Let me know how it goes. Oh, and don't forget to try Grandma again."
"Ugh, don't remind me." Lorelai made a face. "I'll see you Saturday?"
"Of course. I have to make sure you didn't change the bridesmaid dresses. Again."
"Hey, I only changed my mind twice." Rory looked at her pointedly. "Okay, four times. But how was I supposed to know that Sookie was going to have an allergic reaction to the lace?"
"Yes, that was rather unexpected."
"See? Not my fault."
Rory rolled her eyes. "That time."
Lorelai just grinned. She missed this. Bantering with Rory had always been one of her favourite pastimes. Luke cleared his throat and pointed at his watch again. "Right. Well, I'm going to go rock the Casbah. Later, sweets."
Emily pulled up beside Lorelai's Jeep and parked the car. The heel of her Givenchy shoe sank into the moist grass and she silently cursed her daughter for the lack of a proper pathway. She pulled it out and continued to walk toward the house on tiptoe. She rang the doorbell and tapped her foot impatiently as she waited. No one answered, so she rang the bell again, assuming her daughter was upstairs and hadn't heard her. After a third ring with no reply, Emily frowned and tried the handle.
The door swung open easily and she stepped inside, calling, "Lorelai?"
"Lorelai? It's your mother."
Emily sighed and walked further into the house, but there was no sign of life. After several more failed attempts at calling her daughters' name, she realized that no one was home. She closed the door behind her and trudged carefully back to her car. Lorelai must be at the diner, she thought as she pulled out of the driveway and turned toward town. She was determined to find her daughter and settle this whole debacle once and for all.
Lorelai marvelled at the array of cookies, cakes and pastries that dotted every surface of Sookie's kitchen. "Wow, Sookie, even for you this is impressive."
Sookie beamed as she pulled another batch of triple chocolate chip cookies from the oven. "It's not everyday my best friend gets married to the man who secretly loved her for eight years."
Lorelai pretended to consider this. "Well, yes, it is pretty rare." She broke into a huge smile. "He's some kind of wonderful, isn't he?"
Sookie finished laying the cookies out on a cooling rack and laughed as she watched her friend snag some cookie dough from the bowl. "You don't have to convince me, sweetie. I've been telling you that for years."
"That's true." Lorelai licked her finger, savouring every delicious mouthful.
Sookie suddenly spun around. "Davey!" she snapped, swatting the little hand away from a tray of brightly coloured cakes. "Mommy said 'no more'. You go finish building your tower." Davey pouted and shuffled back to the living room. There was a loud thud as he knocked over a pile of blocks and Sookie quickly added, "Don't you dare wake up your sister!"
Sookie collapsed into a chair. "Why didn't you tell me this parenting stuff was so hard?" she said accusingly.
"Me?" Lorelai asked incredulously. "Jackson was the one who wanted four in four."
Sookie groaned. "Oh, don't remind me. Two is a lot harder than I thought it would be."
Lorelai gulped nervously, thinking about how challenging twins was going to be. Deciding that this was as good an opening as she was going to get, she took a deep breath. "You think your two are tough? What the heck am I going to do with two of them at once?"
Sookie's forehead furrowed in confusion for a moment as she processed Lorelai's words. Something clicked in her brain as she recalled noticing that Lorelai had gained a bit of weight recently. Her chest was looking fuller these days too.
"Oh my God!" Sookie squealed, launching herself at Lorelai. "You're pregnant?" Sookie was squeezing her so tightly that she couldn't speak. Instead, Lorelai nodded emphatically. Sookie pulled away, her face overtaken by a radiant smile. "Wait. Did you say two? As in twins? You and Luke are having twins?" She paused. "They are Luke's, right?"
Lorelai laughed. "Of course they're Luke's. Who do you think I am? Samantha Jones? And yes, the doctor suspects that we're having twins."
Sookie squealed again, louder this time. "Oooo, this is wonderful. You're getting married, you're having twins. It's all so romantic. You and Luke are going to have the most beautiful babies." Lorelai tried to respond but Sookie kept talking. "Oh, I just had the cutest idea. I can make duplicate versions of everything for the wedding. We'll just make everything smaller and serve them in pairs. It will be so cute. Can't you just picture it?"
Lorelai grasped her shoulders. "Uh, Sook? Slow down for a sec, hon."
"People don't really know yet. I mean, Rory knows and Luke, of course. And my parents."
"Your parents? Wait. Is that why you and your mother aren't speaking?"
Lorelai nodded. "She cornered Luke at the engagement party and forced him to tell her. Then we had the biggest fight we've ever had. She said some awful things to me." Lorelai's eyes misted over at the memory.
Sookie gasped. "That's terrible."
"It's just par for the course when Emily Gilmore is your mother." Lorelai shrugged. "Anyway, the town doesn't know yet, and we'd rather they didn't know until after the wedding."
"No twin broccoli stems?" Sookie looked crestfallen.
"I'm sorry. And since when are we serving broccoli?"
"Since Luke asked me to make sure there was something green on the menu."
"And green frosting wasn't a viable option?" Lorelai gestured to the sweets that surrounded them before dipping her finger into the cookie dough bowl again.
The sweet concoction was halfway to her mouth when Sookie shouted, "Stop!"
Lorelai blinked in confusion as Sookie grasped her wrist. "What are you doing?"
"Preventing you from poisoning the unborn." Sookie pointed to Lorelai's tummy. "There is raw egg in cookie dough. It could harm their foetal development."
Lorelai lowered her hand. "Really? But I ate it when I was pregnant with Rory and she turned out okay. Hey, maybe it's what made her so smart."
"You know that's not true." Sookie took a paper towel and pried the cookie dough from Lorelai's fingers.
Lorelai sighed dejectedly. "You're right. Man, this pregnancy thing sucks. First, I can't eat or even drink coffee for fear of recreating that scene from Problem Child 2, and now I can't eat cookie dough? How am I going to survive another 6 months of this?"
Sookie patted her back. "You'll be fine. You survived at sixteen under your parents' roof. And this time you have Luke to hold your hair when you start barfing."
"That was very eloquent." Lorelai snorted.
"Sorry, I have two young children, I don't have time for niceties anymore." As if on cue, Martha started screaming. "See? The baby's awake already. She never seems to sleep longer than 20 minutes."
The wails got louder and Lorelai stood up. "You sit and relax, I'll go get Martha." When Sookie started to protest, Lorelai rubbed her stomach. "It'll be good practise."
"Thanks." Sookie leaned back as Lorelai started to leave the room. "Did I mention how happy I am for you?"
"You did. Thank you." Lorelai smiled, then quickly left to rescue the screaming infant.