AN: Hi! I'm back again with something new. If you've read my other stories, you know that I like to play the 'what if' game with Rory's life. In this story, everything up until Rory and Lorelai's fight at the end of season five happened. What happened after the fight and how I've changed things will all become clear soon. Happy reading!
Rory quickly finished her coffee and put the empty cup in the kitchen sink before stopping to stare out the window. It was raining, as usual, but that didn't change the beautiful view. Rory lived in a beautiful craftsman home on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. She'd been living in Seattle for the last twenty-five years and still loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute, if she was to be perfectly honest with herself. This time of year always brought back the reminders of the life she left in Connecticut.
Rory tried to forget what had happened between her and her mother, but every year in early summer, she thought about the one true regret in her life. She'd never really made an effort to patch things up with Lorelai, even though she could have gone back to Stars Hollow any time and Lorelai surely wouldn't have turned her away. She made sure Lorelai didn't know where she was after moving away, so Rory always felt it was her fault for never making up. It had been twenty-five years since they'd spoken. Rory didn't like to think about the details of the fight and how much her life had turned out as a result of her choices.
Shortly after moving into her Grandparents' pool house, Rory began looking for jobs and trying to figure out what her next move would be. She was shrouded in self doubt and her self esteem was at an all time low, so when an opportunity to work for the Seattle Times as a fact checker came across her radar, she jumped at the chance. Rory packed all her things and shipped them to Seattle before boarding a plane and leaving Hartford behind her. She knew her sudden departure hurt Emily and Richard. Rory hadn't had the courage to say goodbye, so she left a note in the pool house before she left. She needed to make a fresh start, and that she certainly did.
After arriving in Seattle, Rory quickly got to work and settled into a nice apartment in the city. Rory loved how the city felt; so fresh and young. Plus, it was home to Starbucks Coffee, which she'd quickly become a regular at the shops closest to her apartment and the paper. Rory couldn't help but love a city full of coffee. After a few months, she began to regret her decision to drop out of Yale. She knew she couldn't go back and she loved Seattle, so she enrolled in the University of Washington and went back to school full time spring semester.
Rory made several good friends while studying at the university. She quickly found herself a part of a tight knit group of friends who'd made it their mission to adopt her and make her feel at home in their city. At first, Rory thought the group was a rather odd mix of people, but she soon learned how well they all got along and enjoyed discussing their diverse opinions on politics, religion, and other matters. The group consisted of; Ellen Vincent, who had studied business and was working in a large department store, hoping to be a part of their corporate office; Wes Rogers, who worked at a large organic supermarket; Dave Fitzgerald, who was working as a barista in a small local coffee shop; Rachel Alexander, who was a kindergarten teacher; and Rachel's brother Joel Alexander, who had also studied business and finance and was working at a local hotel, similar in size to Lorelai's inn. Rory made a nice addition to the group and grew very close to Rachel and Joel. She became best friends with Rachel and felt like she was the sister she always wanted.
Joel and Rory started dating shortly before she graduated and were engaged several months later. No one was surprised at how quickly they got engaged because they knew Rory and Joel were perfect for each other. They were married in December at Joel and Rachel's parents' vacation home in the San Juan Islands. It was a small ceremony, but Rory and Joel felt it was a better reflection of who they were than a big fancy church wedding. Rory was a little sad that none of her family attended, but she just wasn't ready to face them yet. Joel tried to convince her that she should contact them, but Rory had made up her mind and that was it. Family was very important to Joel and he had a very close relationship with his parents and sister, so it was a little difficult for him to understand why Rory was so distant form hers. She explained the situation to him and he understood how she felt, but thought she would be better off in the long run to swallow her pride and at least call home. The subject eventually became something they agreed to disagree on.
Joel and Rory loved each other deeply, but were also best friends. They complimented each other well and enjoyed their lives together. Rory earned a promotion to staff reporter shortly after they were married and the couple moved into a house on Queen Anne Hill. Joel had made some good investments in his early twenties and was promoted to assistant manager of the hotel he worked at, so they bought a large house with a view of the city.
Rory was suddenly jolted out of her day dream by her cell phone vibrating on the kitchen counter. It was a text from Joel reminding her to meet him for coffee in a few minutes. Joel usually got to work early, but often met Rory for coffee on her way to work. It was a nice little routine that gave them a chance to talk and connect before the day got too busy.
Rory quickly took the phone and made her way to the front door. As she was putting the phone in her purse, she smiled at the framed picture in the entryway. It had been taken last spring at the Alexander family vacation home in the San Juan Islands. They often took trips to the islands on long weekends and summer vacations; it was a special spot for their family and held many fond memories. Joel was standing with his arm around Rory and the wind blowing his red hair into his deep green eyes. Next to Joel stood his and Rory's son, Ben, who was now twenty-one years old. He looked just like his father, but had his mother's eyes. Ben was currently going to school at the University of Washington like both of his parents and studying business. He dreamed to open his own coffee shop one day. Joel and Rory were both very proud of him. Next to Rory stood their daughter, Catherine, who was nineteen years old and studying at Yale University. Catherine looked a lot like Rory and even had her eyes, but her hair was red like Joel's. She also had a mile wide stubborn streak and was very intelligent. Catherine's dream was to go to an Ivy League school and obtain a law degree. Rory protested when Catherine applied to Yale, but she couldn't force Catherine to change her mind and didn't dare push the issue too far. Ben and Catherine knew about their mother's rift with her family, but the topic was rarely discussed around the house.
Rory's phone buzzed again and she quickly gathered her things and headed out the door to meet Joel for coffee.
Joel stood at the front desk of the hotel and smiled as guests came and went. He noticed a familiar looking woman enter the lobby as a younger man followed after her with what appeared to be their luggage. She walked up to Joel and his smile faded as he tried to remember where he'd seen her before.
"Is everything alright?" She asked.
"Oh, yes, it's just that you look really familiar. Have you stayed with us before?" Joel asked.
"Nope, this is my first time in Seattle. You must have me confused with someone else." She said politely.
"Could be." He noted as the young man approached the desk. "Are you two checking in?"
"Yes, but we have two rooms." She said.
"Ok, what's the last name on each room?" Joel asked.
"Gilmore-Danes and Danes"
"Ok" Joel said while looking their reservations up in the computer. "We've got you booked in rooms next door to each other on the fifth floor. Would you rather have connecting rooms?"
"No, that's ok." The young man, whom Joel now assumed was the woman's son, said quickly.
"Geez Patrick." She joked. "At least pretend that you want to be here with me."
"Sorry Mom, it's just awkward checking into a hotel together." He said.
"Should I go stand out on the street while you get our keys?"
"No, it's fine." He said and turned to Joel. "Sorry."
"Oh, it's no problem. I don't know that I'd like to check into a hotel with my Mom either. People always tend to assume things." Joel joked while handing Patrick their keys. "Ok Ms. Gilmore-Danes and Mr. Danes, here are your keys. Ms. Gilmore-Danes, you're in room 506. Mr. Danes, you're in room 507." He paused briefly as they took the keys from him. "Ms. Gilmore-Danes, you mentioned that this your first time in Seattle. If you'd like, I can give you several dinner recommendations and sights to see."
"Thank you and please, call me Lorelai." She said as Joel's eyes widened. "We're actually here for the Independent Hotel Association convention." She continued before stopping at Joel's strange expression. "Something wrong with the Independent Hotel Association?" She asked curiously.
"No, not at all." Joel said while his mind raced and he tried not to freak out in front of her and her son. "This hotel is actually a member of the IHA." He explained while recovering and trying to act professional. "The convention is being held over at the convention center downtown. Would you like me to get a cab for you?"
"Sure, that would be great." Lorelai said.
"Ok, I'll let you go up to your rooms first and have a cab waiting for you in a few minutes." He stated. "By the way, my name is Joel Alexander. I'm the manager here. Let me know if you need anything at all. I'd be more than happy to help."
"Thanks Joel." She said before smiling and turning toward the elevator. Her son followed with their bags before a bell hop came and assisted him. After the elevator doors closed, Joel had a co-worker cover the front desk as he went into his office.
Joel loosened his tie as he sat in his desk chair. He rubbed his forehead and tried to figure out if Lorelai Gilmore-Danes was who he thought she was. He looked at the clock and remembered he and Rory had a coffee date in a few minutes and quickly sent her a reminder text before taking a deep breath and standing up. "This is going to be an interesting coffee date" he said aloud as he straightened out his suit and walked out the office door before telling the staff to call a cab for Lorelai and letting them know he was stepping out for a while.
AN: Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think of this. This idea has been in my head for a while and I'm a little nervous about posting it. Should I continue with this idea? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.