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"Hey," Luke says. "It's fine, you don't have to drink it. I'm just going to put it away right there, okay?" And Helie nods harder than she means to, yes yes, but he doesn't take his eyes off her, just reaches back to put it somewhere she can't see, slow and careful like she wouldn't run if he did it easy enough.

"I –" Helie starts.

"Is that her?" someone says. Helie closes her hand around the edge of the seat even harder. She has to turn and look, but she doesn't dare to take her eyes off him. "Lorelai, this is ridiculous. The child is filthy. Did it not occur to either of you to let her take a shower?"

"No, Mom," Lorelai says. She still sounds nice, like before, but now she also sounds like when Frank is making fun of Gee and dad, and like she's a little angry. "We don't think about things like showers. Didn't you know all hippies believe dirt is the best vaccination?"

Luke squinches his face like he's in pain for a second. He takes a deep breath. "Hi, Emily. I didn't know you were stopping by."

"Neither did I," the voice says. "I was under the impression that I was picking up my daughter and going straight to meet Rory. But since apparently the new attraction in Stars Hollow is children wandering around with no adult supervision, I suppose we have to make do."

Someone touches her shoulder. Helie jumps; she doesn't mean to, it just happens. Her knee knocks against the counter, and Luke starts saying something, surprised, and a few steps away a woman with an unhappy face starts saying something too, and Helie almost falls and her knee hurts and she doesn't know where she is and she's so afraid. There's nowhere to run here, and they know Luke and they might know Korse, too, and she shouldn't at all, but she throws her arms around Lorelai and hides her face against her arm and lets it all out.

"Oof!" Lorelai says. She sounds surprised, too. She doesn't sound like somebody who'd help anybody like Korse. She doesn't hug like somebody like that, either.

"Now, what I'd like to know –" the other lady starts saying, though Helie can barely hear her over how loud she's crying. But then there's a loud noise, a lot louder than both of them, and when she raises her head the wall sort of waves just like it did before, and then Helie's dad is standing there, his hair like it is when he's scared and angry, and she yells and slips to the floor and runs to him before anyone can say anything more.

The wall starts waving again even before she gets there, and by the time his arms close around her (nobody hugs like her dad, nobody, not even Gerard), everything's already starting to fade, just like before, all the colors somehow greyer and brighter all at the same time, and she didn't know how scared the light made her until it's right again, strong and yellow on the sand.

Behind her, she can just hear someone say, "What –" and another voice say, louder, "Really, Lorelai, these things could only happen to you."