Disclaimer: ASP's creation not mine. Don't own anything! If I did, I would want to own Luke Danes. ;p Also, if I did own GG, there would be no such existence of the Nardini's, and LL would be happily married at the end of S6, while making Lorelai's dream in S3 become a reality in S7.

Authors Note: Sorry, I know this update took a bit longer than expected, hence the reason I made it a little longer than usual. I had the chapter done a few weeks back, but it just didn't seem right. It felt super out of character, and like I had slipped out of groove again with these characters, so I decided to take a step back and gave it some time to settle. I came back, and found that I had much editing to do, so overall, I'm glad I waited to post. Hope you all agree!

P.S.

Have you all heard Scott Patterson's new podcast called I Am All In yet? I don't know about y'all, but I am holding out hope that he has Lauren on (or more like Lauren accepts if he asks her – which if he's in his right mind, he better). I hope to God that he gives some long awaited juicy details about some scenes between him and Lauren. I just love how he gushes and praises her so much. *squeal* Totally fan-girling! :)


Vital Company

Chapter 13: Discourteous Disruptions

According to heathline PhD researchers; Hallucinations are sensory experiences that appear real, but are creations invoked by a persons mind. They can affect all five of your senses. For example, you might hear a voice that no one else in the room can hear, or see an image that isn't actually real. In most situations auditory hallucinations are the most common, and in Luke's case, that was exactly the circumstance.

True to his word, Luke had stayed back and assisted Ceaser with the breakfast rush. Every so often he'd pause abruptly and look off in a non-direct location – seeming to be focused in search of something – as he bustled around the diner in a blurred daze. He did however manage to deliver most of the orders to the right customers, he even correctly refilled some of the drinks, and he only gracelessly bumped into one of his other workers a mere three times.

He couldn't help it. Periodically, an image from one of his nightmares or a snippet from one of his memories about Lorelai would unconsciously sneak into his mind and cause his brain and body to involuntarily shut down. Some had him struggling with deciphering the difference between his nightmares and reality.

He found himself slowly slipping into frightening territory, when he swore that he kept hearing his name being distantly called. He would look around, but come up short with a culprit, before he would rush towards the kitchen – if he was serving on the floor – and look at Ceaser expectantly as he'd impatiently ask him what he wanted, only for the man in question to look at him as if he had two heads as he denied beckoning him at all.

On about the fifth time he barked at Ceaser, Luke was about to protest his rebuttal, but the bell above the entrance jingled loudly, causing him to forego his argument, and return back onto the floor to attend to the new customer.

"Hey, big brother!" Came the cheerful rasp of his sister as she bounced her way over to a stool at the counter, "Man, the weather has been total bonkers for the past – whoa!" She stopped to exclaim lowly as she took in Luke's wretched form, "You look terrible." Liz added as she peeled off her raincoat, before she sat down.

"Nice to see you too, sis." Luke dryly greeted as he managed to plaster a half smile onto his tired looking face, "How was Providence?" He asked as he quickly tried to steer her attention away from his haggard appearance.

"It was amazing!" She gushed happily, allowing her brother a small pass – for the moment, "My jewelry was a hit. I made a crap load of money, but now I don't know what to do with it. Not a clue." She told him as she shrugged, still furtively scrutinizing him.

Luke raised an eyebrow at her naivety, "How about you put it in a bank?"

"There's a thought." Liz nodded at the suggestion, before she remembered why she was there, "Oh, hey, I almost forgot. I wanna tell you my big, exciting news." She smiled up at him.

"Uh oh." He joked weakly, attempting to keep up a normal persona in front of his sister.

"No, it's not an uh oh. It's good." She assured him, "Well, unless you don't like babies, in which case it's probably not so good."

His mouth hung open as he gaped at his sister's news, "You're pregnant?"

"Aw, it was supposed to be a surprise." She furrowed her brows slightly, "Who told you?"

He permitted a small grin to cross his face at his sister's aloofness, "You just did."

She shook her head, "Wow, blew my own surprise."

"That's great, Liz!" Luke congratulated, struggling to hold his grin as he desperately tried to bludgeon the minuscule, but piercing pang of resentment he held at the thought of even his sister getting her life together before he apparently could, "It's great, right?" He asked warily, refocusing his attention back on his sister news.

"Amazing!" She nodded her verification, "I'm over the moon." Liz confirmed enthusiastically, "I'm gonna do better this time. I mean it. I'm gonna take care of myself and do all the healthy stuff too." She promised.

"Good." Luke smiled, genuinely happy to hear his sister's determination to do right by this kid, "So where's TJ? I bet he's thrilled about this." He commented, knowing his nutty, anomalous brother-in-law would be in the same boat as his sister.

Liz quickly averted her eyes, and picked up a menu as she replied breezily, "Ah, he's gone."

"Gone?" Luke reared his head back in confusion, "You mean gone out of town?" He said more than asked, knowing TJ definitely couldn't be that stupid.

"He's gone, the big gone out of my life." She waved her hand, before she looked up from her menu and asked, "Oh, hey do you have any Canadian bacon?"

Luke couldn't believe what he was hearing, "What? Liz, no!" He shook his head obstinately.

"Okay, fine." Liz closed her menu as she held her hands up a little in surrender, "I'll just get a Denver omelet."

"I mean, 'No, T.J. can't be gone.'" Luke shook his head again, not willing to accept that information, "He's your husband." He tried to reason.

Liz snorted as she gave Luke a look that said 'and?' as she replied, "Since when does that keep guys from leaving?"

Luke's mouth fell open in shock, "He's left you?" He asked in disbelief, his voice swiftly beginning to rise.

"He's left." She answered offhandedly, not interested in continuing on the subject.

"How can you be so calm about this?" He asked, feeling his anger quickly boiling within him, "You're so calm."

"Luke, it's no biggie." She tried to pacify, "I got my new come-what-may philosophy. It's about accepting what comes your way, whatever it is." She explained with a small smile as she held out her arms in welcome, "If a bus is heading right at you, let it come. If a piece of space junk comes hurtling down at you, let it come."

Luke felt his eyes bug out of his head as he listened to his sister's half-witted thought process, "Or you step out of the way." He retorted, still having trouble grasping his sister's coolness on her situation.

Liz nodded in agreement, "You know, that's probably better, and when I said what I said now, it felt wrong."

"Did he know you were pregnant?" He asked heatedly, bringing her back to the urgent topic as he pointed towards her stomach.

"I'd just told him." She shrugged easily.

"So he ran out on his wife and child?" Luke growled in anger, causing some of the customers in the diner to turn towards them.

"Luke, you're getting mad over nothing." She said still sounding unaffected, "I need you to stay calm, because right now it's all about the baby," She pointed to her stomach, "and it's all good. Really." She confirmed as she shot a smile around at the other customers.

"All right, fine. Whatever. It's all good." He shook his head as he waved his hand once, now adding yet another thing onto his plate of worry.

"It is." She smiled at him, knowing that she had succeeded in winning that battle. She tilted her head to the side a bit as she quickly formulated her plan to return back to her brother's problem, "Now, it's yours and Lorelai's turn to start having some adorable babies," Immediately at hearing those words, Luke's eyes darted up to hers as his heart rate readily quickened with excitement, "so our kids can grow up together, just like we did." Liz supplied with a sly grin, knowing that Luke wouldn't be able to weasel his way around this subject.

Luke fleetingly averted his eyes down towards the floor as he squeezed them shut with a heavy sigh. He knew he would love nothing more than for Lorelai and himself to start a family of their own, – to have Lorelai's dream that she had impetuously spilled to him three years ago, to come true – and for their kids to grow up with his sister's kid. But at the absence of Lorelai by his side, he inhaled a weak staggering breath as he continued to look down in shame.

He dreadfully attempted to hide his poorly concealed guilt from his sister's diviner skill, however unfortunately for Luke, Liz being the very observant soul that she was, didn't miss the sullen look that instantly washed over her brother's face.

Liz watched him in silence for a moment, before she finally regained his attention, "So, you gonna tell me what's going on with you guys, or are you gonna wait til I try to pry it out of you?" She smiled knowingly.

Luke snapped his eyes up towards his sister, cursing her in-tuned observational ability, "What are you talking about?" He tried to brush off as he aimed to distract himself by writing her order down on his pad, "You want toast with that?" He asked, striving to turn the conversation elsewhere.

"Yes, please." Liz laughed lightly at his feeble effort, "And don't play dumb, Luke. You know exactly what I'm talking about." She retorted, not keen to letting her brother off the hook so easily.

Luke ripped off her order and deposited it into the window for Ceaser to start, before he returned to stand in front of his sister. He looked up and saw that she was still glaring at him expectantly.

He exhaled tiredly, "Liz, I really don't want to talk about it." He spoke low as he casted a quick glance around the still overflowing diner, before he added. "Especially here."

Liz skimmed back at the full diner's patrons, before she returned her gaze back towards her brother as she nodded, "Okay fine." She conceded, "How about you make my omelet, then we go upstairs, and talk there?"

Luke began to shake his head as he attempted to object, "Liz–"

"Either we talk down here, while I eat my omelet, or we go upstairs and talk, while I eat my omelet." She swiftly cut him off before he could even utter another word, "The location doesn't really matter to me, bro. Either way you will talk, and baby and I will have our omelet." She finished as she sternly fixed Luke with a challenging glare that was dangerously comparable to their late father's.

"Fine." Luke sighed heavily in defeat, knowing that this was yet another battle that he wouldn't win against his sister, "Go on up, and I'll be there once your order is ready."

Liz flashed him a huge smile as she got up from her stool, and made her way towards the curtain, but stopped in front of the donut case, "Hey, bro?" She pointed at the casing; "I think my baby wants a donut, while we wait."

Luke shook his head as he gestured towards the napkin dispenser, "Yeah fine, but don't make a mess." He told her, before he turned and headed into the kitchen to work on her order.


Studies have shown that over-analyzing and depression go strongly hand in hand with each other. Both tend to deplete your energy and your hope of having a positive outlook on life. For that exact reason, Lorelai kept herself as busy as she possibly could.

She had gotten up that morning feeling a sense of appreciation. She was thankful that her mind hadn't allowed herself to conjure up any sort of coveted future dreams last night, which allowed her to bypass having to wake up yet again feeling like a failure for not being anywhere near achieving those highly desired pending life goals.

For the first time in a little over two months, Lorelai experienced a dreamless sleep, and because of that, she willingly powered her way through her workload. She was on a roll that morning; she was able to finish all of her tasks for the day, and it just hit fifteen minutes til noon.

She compiled each of the documents that were scattered all over her flask drives into labeled and organized folders. She was able to check her emails and review Emmett's – the overnight manager – on duty report, and was relieved to see that there hadn't been any problems that developed during the night shift.

She looked over the departing guest checkout times as well as the new guest check-ins. She was also able to answer a couple of questions that Adam – her daytime assistant manager – had brought to her attention. He started off his email with an apology, telling her that he knew he should've gone to Michel with his concerns, but unfortunately he hadn't been so generous with giving out his help.

She lastly reviewed the operational reports and invoices, before she made a few phone calls to a couple of the Inn's vendors and suppliers – confirming the delivery time and dates of the needed inventory for the Inn to restock.

Once she got off the phone with Hank – the Dragonfly's hygiene product supplier, her stomach let out a soft growl, notifying her for its need of sustenance. She quickly wrapped up her last email to Michel, before she made her way into the kitchen in search of lunch.

Lorelai strolled over to the refrigerator and swung the stainless steel double doors open. She allowed her eyes to scroll over the contents that were displayed on each shelf, but to her dismay, nothing seemed to come across as appealing to her. She twisted her mouth in thought as she grabbed a water bottle, before she shut the fridge doors.

She padded over to the pantry and scanned the shelves there, desperately looking for something to fill her grouchy stomach with. The pantry was also loaded to the gills with food. Each shelf was littered with neatly stacked canned goods, while one section had been dedicated solely for snacks.

Lorelai leaned over in the snacks direction as she quickly plucked a box of Nilla Wafers from the shelf. She closed the pantry door and made her way into the living room, but just as she was about to plop herself down onto the big comfy couch, she heard a phone ringing in the near distance.

She looked around the room, her brows deeply furrowed, knowing that it was impossible for the ring to be coming from her cell, because she knew for a fact that she had turned her phone's ringer off last night, and had yet to turn it back on.

She quickly deposited the box of cookies, and water onto the coffee table that sat in front of the couch, before she went in search, and followed the sound of the ring. After the third ring, she finally located the noisy receiver perched on the slim hallway table. She retrieved the handset and pressed the green TALK button.

"Hello?" She answered tentatively, unsure of who might be on the other end of the line.

"Hello, Lorelai," The cool voice of Emily Gilmore came over the receiver, "it's your mother."

Lorelai let out a small breath, "Oh hi, Mom." She answered as she took the phone over to return to the couch, and sank down onto it.

"For goodness sakes, Lorelai," Emily pressed her lips, "the least you could do is pretend to be remotely okay that I called." She retorted, bristling slightly at hearing Lorelai's sigh.

Lorelai's brows shot up in surprise at her mother's tone, "Oh no, mom, really. That wasn't a bad sigh; it was actually a good one." She spouted hastily as she went on to explain, "I thought I was gonna have to call Detective Teddy Daniels when I heard the phone ring. I knew it couldn't be mine, since I turned my cell's ringer off last night, so I kind of thought I was losing it. But thank, God I found this phone on the hallway table, but as I was about to answer, I realized I didn't know who would be calling here, so I was just relieved to hear a familiar voice and not a stranger's."

"Why on Earth would a stranger be calling you on this phone, Lorelai?" Emily questioned with little patience, seeing as the conversation she was currently having with her daughter was swiftly steering off course.

"I don't know, Mom." Lorelai shrugged at a loss, already feeling like a toddler being chastised, "I guess, someone that might be calling to talk to the previous owners?" She supplied unsurely.

"No." Emily shook her head, "I doubt that will be the case for any future callers, seeing as I had that phone installed right before you got there. It's also a new number as well."

"Oh, well okay." Lorelai nodded, storing the information, "Now I know."

"Yes, well, I'm calling in regards to your phone call I received last night. It was rather placed later than I had expected, but you did remember to call nonetheless." She alleged in her usual patronizing tone, clearly unable to turn it off completely.

Lorelai rolled her eyes, "I'm sorry, Mom." She droned, "I was getting settled in, and I guess, I must've lost track of the time."

"I see, well I suppose I understand." Emily accepted, while Lorelai softly pinched the bridge of her nose, "Anyway, I wanted to return your call, and see if everything was to your liking?"

"Yeah, everything is great so far, Mom." Lorelai dropped her hand into her lap as she nodded, "I just can't get over this house. It really is amazing. I still can't believe that you and Dad were the ones who found it."

Emily held a small, but proud smile on her lips as she replied, "I'm glad you like it, Lorelai."

"I love it." Lorelai corrected eagerly, knowing that her mother would surely use that to her advantage in the future.

"That's wonderful to hear." She began, before adding, "I know you only planned on being out there for a week or two, but I don't know if I mentioned that your father and I already purchased the house."

"Wait, what?" Lorelai's eyes grew wide, "I thought you guys were just renting it or taking it for a test-drive or something?"

"Lorelai, don't be absurd, you don't take houses for a test drive, you buy them. I told you before, this house is very special–"

"Yes it is." Lorelai agreed.

Emily continued unfazed, "and because of that, it is also extremely highly desired, so for that reason, one obviously mustn't hesitate when the opportunity comes along to purchase it. It may not still be available later, so I talked to your father the night I had you driving me around, and we made an offer the seller's could not possibly refuse."

"Oh my God." Lorelai breathed out softly, truly stunned.

Emily allowed Lorelai a moment to intake the news, before she resumed, "I know that right now it may be a bit overwhelming, but I should tell you – the house is in your name… well, Luke's and your name."

"What?" was all Lorelai could mutter.

"Now, I know that you love your house, but honestly Lorelai, like I said before, it surely won't be big enough for your family, especially if you and Luke decide to have children together." Lorelai squeezed her eyes shut as images of the two beautiful children from her dreams flashed in her mind.

Emily forged on, "I know that you've worked hard for that house, and I won't underplay that it will be difficult for you to leave your home, but I think in the end you'll come to see that it was for the best, and you all will be much happier in this new house. Your house may have been suitable for you and Rory, and maybe Luke for a short time, but it's just not big enough for the four of you…" Emily rationalized, attentively including April into the family count, "or if any additions come along down the road." She added smoothly, "I also hope that once you and Luke are able to reconcile, and fix whatever may be problematic in your relationship, it may take a lot of convincing, – especially on Luke's part – but your father and I are confident that with your help, you'll both respectfully accept the house as our wedding gift to you."

Lorelai sat silently for a minute, for once, not knowing exactly what to say.

"You don't have to decide now, but I presumed that I should tell you, so while you're there, you can get a feel of the place, and see if you can envision Luke and yourself building a life there together." Emily clarified, "If not, we can always sell it – probably for double what we paid." She added casually.

"Wow…" Lorelai softly cleared her throat, "I'm – I don't know what to say. Thank you, Mom." She whispered, still unable to wrap her head around her parent's unprompted kindness.

"Of course." Emily nodded shortly, "Now that that's settled. How are you doing?"

"Oh you know…" Lorelai inhaled loudly, inwardly allowing a moment for her to think of how she should answer her mother, "Hanging in there."

"It'll be alright, Lorelai." Emily consoled, but paused after remembering something her daughter mentioned from the beginning of their conversation that caused her to narrow her eyes in thought, "Why do you have your cell ringer off?" She questioned suddenly.

Lorelai slightly furrowed her brows at the abrupt topic change, "What?"

"You said before, that you turned your cell phone ringer off last night. Why would you do that?" She questioned meticulously.

Lorelai's eyes widened at her mothers ability to not miss a thing, and after a quick internal debate with herself of whether to lie or not, shockingly Lorelai opted to go with the truth as she answered, "Before, I tell you, you have to promise not to use any of this information I'm about to tell you, against me later."

"I promise." Emily answered quickly.

"Mom, I'm serious." Lorelai checked again, making sure Emily understood her clearly.

"I said, I promise, Lorelai." Emily shook her head as she huffed out an impatient breath, "Do you need to me to sign a confidentiality agreement?"

"Well, now that you mentioned it," Lorelai raised her brows and nodded, "that's actually not a bad idea–"

"Lorelai!" Emily snapped edgily.

"Okay, okay…" She inhaled a steadying breath as she began, "Well, before I left, I kind've told Luke that we should try out this theory that was suggested to me by a good friend. Basically, Luke and I are to have no contact whatsoever with each other for a minimum of one week. No seeing one another, no talking to each other… nothing." She informed softly, the thought of her situation swiftly beginning to darken her mood, "We go through the seven days, and experience the full effect of what it would be like without the other in our life. I know we've survived without each other before we met, but it's different now–"

"Of course it is." Emily confirmed without delay.

"We've had the chance to know what it's like to be more than just friends. Luke has always played a major role in mine and Rory's life, but ever since Luke and I finally got together, even more so now, he's been an essential piece to my puzzle. I can't picture my life without him…" Lorelai's voice faded as she covered her eyes at the horrid thought, "And I don't ever wanna have to." She added softly.

Emily's heart truly broke at hearing her daughter's distraught, and weakened tone of voice. She always knew that her daughter had exceptionally strong feelings for Luke, and it only grew with each passing day, and even more so once they became an item. This shell of a woman wasn't her daughter at all, and it made Emily feel helpless as she sat silently, knowing that nothing she could think to say or do, could possibly make her daughter feel better.

"Anyway…" Lorelai sighed sadly into the handset as she uncovered her eyes, "That's why I know we have to do this. It's a way to give us both some time to get our priorities straight, and help Luke and I to think about what's going on between us, and what we have to do to fix it… I mean if we want to fix it." Lorelai finished faintly, unintentionally voicing her fear to her mother.

"There will be no if, Lorelai." Emily hurriedly assured, "From what I've come to know about your fiancée, is that he may lack decent knowledge of fashionable wear, he also isn't someone that can speak more than a few words as an answer, and Lord knows it may take him an unreasonable amount of time to mull something over," Lorelai silently rolled her eyes at her mothers unwanted digs at Luke, "but, he is undoubtedly and so very clearly in love with you – and has been for what seems to be an extremely long time. I highly doubt that the man wouldn't stop at moving Heaven and Earth to be with you."

Lorelai felt the corners of her mouth lift upward at hearing her mothers earnest words, "I really hope so."

"Like I said, Lorelai; everything will be alright."

Lorelai nodded, "Thanks, Mom."

Emily cleared her throat, placing herself back into her usual proper role, "Well, I should let you get back to your day. I believe I've taken up enough of your time. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to call your father and I."

"I will."

"I'll check in again sometime later this week." Emily informed her.

"Okay, Mom." Lorelai gave a small smile even though her mother couldn't see it, "Thanks again." She said sincerely.

"You're welcome. Goodbye, Lorelai."

"Bye, Mom." Lorelai replied as she hung up.

She exhaled loudly as she permitted her eyes to scan her atmosphere. She looked out the front window, and noticed that although the sun still hadn't made an appearance, the sky was still dark, and filled with heavy gray clouds, but it only let out a light trickle.

For some odd reason, she suddenly felt like a contradiction after the long talk with her mother. Her mind pleaded to be shutdown, but her body requested to venture. She glanced towards the box of Nilla Wafers that still sat untouched on the coffee table next to her bottle of water, and quickly sprang up onto her feet.

She darted up the staircase and made her way into the master bedroom as she easily opened the huge closet to retrieve a light rain jacket, and her sneakers. She went over to her designated side of the dresser and pulled out a pair of socks as she easily slid them on, before she slipped on her shoes, and made her way back downstairs.

As she reached the bottom, she looked over to the fireplace, where Paul Anka lay snoozing in his big doggy bed.

"Hey boy," She cooed softly, rousing Paul Anka awake as he lifted his head from where it rested on his paws, "you wanna go for a walk?" She asked him as she grabbed his leash that hung over the lounge chair that was tucked in the corner of the living room.

Paul Anka leapt up, and trotted ahead of her as he eagerly waited for his master by the front door, "Okay, I guess that's a yes." She joked as she hurriedly retrieved her keys, then began to make her way towards the back of the house, "Come on, boy, this way." She called to let him know to follow her somewhere else.

They easily walked down the living room hallway that led them pass the spacious library that sat peacefully between the other two bedrooms that were directly across from each other. They made it pass the laundry room, and exited out the door that guided them onto the extensive back porch.

Lorelai took a minute to observe the aesthetic outdoor furniture that resembled the furniture that sat on the front porch. She knew it had to be her mother's doing, because it looked brand new. She marked it down as one more thing she was grateful for, that was done by her mother.

She walked over to Paul Anka, who patiently sat waiting for her as he stared out into the distance from the top of the stairs, "Hey, did you change your mind, boy?" She asked as she stood next to him.

Paul Anka jumped up onto all fours as he let out a small bark, while removing his eyes from the scenery in front of him, and refocused his attention on his owner, "Okay, I guess you're still in." Lorelai said as she cleverly clipped the leash onto his collar, before she pulled her hood from her jacket up over her head.

Lorelai made a move to descend the stairs, but was brought back, by the leash being pulled taut. She looked back at Paul Anka and lightly shook her head, "Dude, you need to make up your mind." She walked back up and scooped him into her arms as she carefully made her way down the stairs and onto the grass, "Okay, so just so we're clear; front porch stairs; good, back porch stairs; bad?" She recounted as she laughed softly at her quirky dog.

She finally allowed her eyes to take in the scenery before her. The sight caused her pure excitement, "Wow…" She breathed softly, literally blown away by the massive yard.

She knew the property was three acres, but she didn't really put much thought into the number, and just how big that actually was – seeing as she was too busy being captivated with the house itself – but the pictures didn't nearly come close to doing the actual setting its rightfulness.

The neatly manicured, moist green yard extended at least a little under two acres back, and was marked off with a beautiful white wooden fence that ran along the properties perimeter. She saw a gray stoned path that led to a large, cozy looking fire pit with four double-seated wooden chairs.

She gazed at the inviting area, and a glimpse of what it would be like roasting marshmallows with the two children from her dreams, alongside Luke, Rory, and April flashed before her, but Lorelai immediately shook off the image as she redirected her feet to stroll further out, some sort of unexplainable interest drawing her further outward.

She made it a little more than halfway, when she noticed a gated door to her left. Like a puppet on a string, the door pulled her closer. There was a padlock, which latched the door shut tight, and a dead bolt that sat right beneath it.

Lorelai frowned, causing a small crease to form between her brows. She pulled out the set of keys from her jeans pocket, and carefully assessed each of the keys that hung from the small ring. There were a total of five keys, three being completely different, and two being identical. She presumed that the two identical keys were for the front door to the house. She saw two smaller keys, and logically assumed at least one had to be for the padlock on the gate door.

She plucked one and tried to place it into the keyhole, but to her surprise, it didn't match. She let that key slide out of her hand as she placed the other tiny key into the lock, only this time she heard a click as the latch from the lock popped open.

She smiled in triumph as she replaced the key ring back into her pocket, and tucked the padlock along with it. She twisted the dead bolt, before she pushed the handle to the door down and pulled it towards her. The heavy door slightly squeaked, as it swung open.

Lorelai looked down at Paul Anka and smiled as she said, "Let's go, boy."

She stepped out as she shut the gate door behind Paul Anka. She looked up, and saw a wide dirt trail that wound around and up a hill through a small open picturesque forest. They effortlessly followed along the path as they silently took in the magnificent backdrop of red and yellow oak trees that separated the various birch trees.

Lorelai felt as if she had stepped into some sort of fairytale book. The mixture of dampened dirt and sodden grass enveloped her senses as they leisurely made their way up the hill. After trekking for a little over twenty minutes, they eagerly welcomed the cool calming breeze of the late spring air, and the shade of the gray clouds that waded overhead as they drew nearer to the hilltop.

She forged onward as she spotted the short, battered manmade stairs up ahead. She began her ascent with Paul Anka close behind, but at the fourth step her foot made contact with a slick moss patch.

"Whoa!" She yelped as she luckily caught herself, and resituated her footing, "That was a close one." She said as she looked at Paul Anka who watched her curiously.

They cautiously climbed the last step, and immediately took notice of a deteriorating old wooden bench that sat between a clearing through the trees. As they approached the bench, Lorelai warily tested the chairs strength. Upon thorough examination, she deemed it safe enough to hold her weight. She slowly eased herself down onto the bench, and let out a breath of relief when it didn't come tumbling down.

She finally casted her eyes out to observe the hilltop's view, only to gasp in shock, "Oh my God…" She marveled in complete awe.


Just as Luke walked out of the kitchen with Liz's plate, the bell over the diner's entrance chimed. He glanced up at the new customer, only to be surprised at seeing Anna.

Luke's brows creased together slightly in confusion at her presence, "Anna, uh, what–" He began to question, but she rudely interrupted him.

"I need to talk to you. In private." She said firmly, her face holding a stern glare.

"Um, okay." He replied guardedly as he motioned for her to follow him past the curtain and up the stairs.

He stopped her as they made it to the hallway outside of his apartment, "Hold on a second." He told her as he slipped into the apartment.

"Here." He said to Liz as he set the plate down in front of her on the dining table, "Anna's out in the hall. She said; she needs to talk to me." He quickly explained.

Liz nodded easily as she picked up her fork, "Okay."

"I'll be back. It shouldn't be too long." He told his sister as he retreated back out the door, shutting it softly.

"Sorry about that." He briefly apologized to Anna as he crossed his arms over his chest, "So what's up? Is April okay?"

"April's fine, Luke." Anna held her frown as she waved his concern off, "I can't believe you did this?" She spat with disgust.

Luke reared his head back at her ominous tone, "Did what? What are you talking about?"

"You said you wanted to throw April a party, Luke. You." She informed him shortly.

Luke's brows creased in confusion, "I know, and I did."

Anna shook her head vehemently, "No, Luke, you had your girlfriend throw her a party - a girlfriend I don't even know, a girlfriend I've never even met. This was not our agreement."

"Hold on a second here." He said as he held his hand up at her, not liking one bit how she was attacking him and Lorelai, "First of all, Lorelai is more than just my girlfriend, she's my fiancée. Second of all, I did throw the party. Lorelai did me a huge favor, and helped me out. She dug me out of a hole after I saw what a disaster April's party was when I tried to throw it by myself. Lorelai wasn't even here at April's birthday party, but like I said before, yes, she did help me out… a lot."

"Helped you out?" She questioned, unconvinced.

"Yes!" Luke confirmed.

"Well I find that hard to believe, when my kid comes home and continuously mentions the name 'Lorelai'." Luke tilted his head at that information as he crossed his arms over his chest again, "All week long, all I heard was Lorelai this, and Lorelai that. At first I thought it was one of her friend's nicknames, until I finally asked her who Lorelai was, and what a surprise I got, when she said Lorelai is Luke's fiancée."

"I don't understand. Did April not like her party?" Luke inquired, clearly not catching what the problem was, and her reasoning for being upset.

Anna shook her head, "No, of course she enjoyed her party, but that's not the point."

Luke shot her an exasperated expression as he questioned, "Then what is the point, Anna?"

"The point is, Luke, if I can't trust you, this arrangement is not going to work. April is not a sweater that you can just pass around."

"I know that." Luke roared furiously, his anger quickly rising to the forefront.

Anna continued on, "She's my kid. I have to know where she is, and who she's with always. What am I supposed to tell the other parents if their kids are talking about this mysteriously great, Lorelai, huh?"

"You won't have to tell them anything," He retorted as his glare grew more menacing, "I can talk to them. It shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure they'll understand."

Anna narrowed her eyes in aversion as she shook her head, "You know what? I'm so mad. I can't even look at you." She said holding a hand - palm up - towards him as she stomped away.

"Son of a-" Luke muttered through clenched teeth as he shook his head.

His chest heaved as he tried to intake a few unsteady breaths, before he turned on his heel and trudged his way back into the apartment, allowing some of his anger to be copiously displayed as he slammed the door shut, causing the glass to rattle.

"What the hell did you do?" Came Liz's admonishing voice from the dining table behind him, causing Luke to whip around to face her as he scowled deeply at her.


Lorelai allotted her eyes to soak in the remarkable landscape below her, which revealed the most spectacular view overlooking none other than her small town of Stars Hollow. She wondered if her parents had any knowledge about this magnificent bonus feature.

She could practically see every part of town. She saw the Dragonfly's side profile tucked in the farthest left corner. She spotted the top of the gazebo smack dab in the middle of town, and across the street from there, she could clearly make out Luke's diner.

She sighed deeply as she thought of the diner owner himself. She missed him more than she cared to admit, not that missing him was a bad thing, but it was only day two, and a part of her felt severely homesick for Luke.

Lorelai tried to taper down those fluttering wings that flapped uncontrollably in her stomach as she turned her attention further down to her left, and saw her adoring house. It looked so small from where she sat. She directly thought of her mother's words from their earlier phone call.

"I know that you love your house, but honestly Lorelai, like I said before, it surely won't be big enough for your family, especially if you and Luke decide to have children together."

Yes, she did love her house, but she couldn't help it that she had instantly fallen in love with this new house. It was perfect in more ways than one, and she constantly envisioned various possible future milestones being fulfilled there, the biggest being the two tremendously desired children from her dreams. She hadn't even met them… they didn't even exist, and yet that didn't stop her from craving more of them. She didn't really know much about them, except for the fact that one was talkative, while the other wasn't, but she knew for a fact that they were the most beautiful children she had ever seen – along with Rory, of course.

"I know that you've worked hard for that house, and I won't underplay that it will be difficult for you to leave your home, but I think in the end you'll come to see that it was for the best, and you all will be much happier in this new house. Your house may have been suitable for a short time, but it's just not big enough for the four of you… or if any additions come along down the road."

Lorelai had to give it to her mother for her cleverly logical excuse to nudge the more children topic. She and Luke had talked briefly about having more kids together on more than one occasion, but ever since Luke found out about April, all future related conversations came to a smashing halt.

It broke her heart, because with every passing day, Lorelai felt her perfect image of her whole package slipping further and further away. More and more of her dreams were filled abundantly with the two stunning children, and it literally pained her to wake up, knowing that in her conscious world, they still didn't exist. She came to the distressing solution, that it was better to be drained and stay awake, rather than dream those wonderful dreams – that way she wouldn't know what she was missing out on.

She constantly felt like a dark cloud was inescapably looming over her, and the weather hadn't made her think otherwise, for although she did often come to love days like these, she couldn't help but think that it was oddly equivalent to her dejected disposition. She slowly allowed her eyes to slide shut as a memory came flooding to the forefront of her mind.

"I'm coming down in my wedding dress." Her voice drifted as she called down to him from upstairs in their bedroom.

She could hear the panic in Luke's voice as he replied, "What? No!"

"Yes!" She replied unfazed.

"It's bad luck for me to see the wedding dress." He told her, quickly trying to get her to rethink her decent.

"I know, but I need you to see this dress. There's something not right up here. It was too easy. I can't be objective anymore." She called down, her voice full of worry.

"But–" He attempted to protest again, but was swiftly cut off by Lorelai.

"Coming down." She warned, ignoring his reservation.

"But I don't…" Luke's objection came to an abrupt end, as he stood stunned at seeing Lorelai's breathtaking appearance easily float her way over to him in her wedding dress.

Lorelai visibly fidgeted under his silence, "Well?"

"It's... you're perfect." He whispered, clearly mesmerized by her presence in front of him in her beautiful dress.

"Really?" She questioned, still not able to shake the doubted feeling in the pit of her gut, "Have you seen the back? I think the train's a little weird, and I can take it back if you don't think–" She ticked off.

"It's perfect." He firmly assured her as his eyes bore deeply into hers.

"Are you sure?" She asked again, her voice dripped with uncertainty, but she was instantly cut off mid sentence by Luke's soft lips pressing lingeringly against hers, "Okay." She said, smiling as she pulled back to look at him, "It's not bad luck if it's under five minutes." She added, before she darted back up the stairs.

It was bad luck.

It was definitely bad luck, and she caused it. Superstitious or not, she knew that was a huge mistake on her part. She should've listened to Luke. She actually thought about the dress, something did feel off. Everything came together so easily, too easily. She should've known that something else was bound to go wrong. Nothing in her life that was worth having, came easily for her.

She knew it had nothing to do with Luke, hell, they waited over a decade to finally get together, so if anything, they worked exceedingly hard for that, and earned the right to be together, but the wedding itself literally came together within one day – that kind of thing was next to impossible.

She thought about her dress, and how it was right there in front of her as she walked into the bridal store. She didn't have to do any digging or hunting around for it, which was practically unheard of. She allowed her mind to think of how it was magically her size, and on sale for that matter. The more she thought about it, the more she thought it was insanely bizarre; the invitations, the catering, the church, and even the pastor; that kind of stuff didn't just miraculously fall together in place.

It was a spontaneously strange sort of life test, and she knew she most definitely failed miserably.

Lorelai couldn't help but inwardly castigate herself at her more recent inability to read her fiancée. Granted, she knew that Luke used to have this insane capability to read her like an open book. When it came to her, Luke held some kind of superpower, but ever since April entered his life, he sadly lost that gift.

However, Lorelai had fallen short to notice that she too held the same phenomenal ability. When it came to anything that had to do with Luke, she was intensely in tuned, but similar to Luke – that talent of hers had unknowingly vanished alongside with his.

She obviously couldn't read him anymore, hence his succession in keeping April a secret from her for two months. If they were on track, no way would Luke be able to get away with a secret for longer than a minute once Lorelai took one glance at him. Their mutual instinctive connection was buried under loads of undisclosed words, and hidden feelings.

Lorelai knew it wasn't just Luke's fault. She too had gone astray and had unconsciously turned into a completely different person - one she couldn't even identify - but in her mind, in her situation she had no other choice. She knew from personal experience exactly what happened if she pushed Luke too hard on something. She didn't want to lose him again – even if she didn't really have him now. The only thing she was sure of was that she needed Luke in her life, and in order to keep him, she needed to stay quiet, and let him take the lead.

What good that did her though, because she was still sad, she was still alone, and she was definitely still not married to Luke.

She boiled some of the blame down to her curse of bad luck. She allowed Luke to see her in her wedding dress, before the wedding day, and now she felt the dress was indeed forever cursed. She may not fully believe in superstitions, but she knew for a fact, that no matter how much she thought at one point that the gown she chose was the perfect dress – there was no doubt in her mind, that it had to go now.

She peeled her eyes open and unintentionally permitted a stray tear to roll down her cheek. She initially did love her dress, but now the mere thought of it, made her cringe. She needed to start over. She needed a new dress she told herself, one that Luke hadn't seen her in yet. She thought of how she planned everything with the wrong best friend. She had three, and the best friend she knew she should've been planning her wedding with, was the one she desperately wanted to marry.

Luke had voiced before that he wanted to help, that he was interested in contributing his thoughts on the wedding, but Lorelai ignored his comments, assuming he was just being chivalrous, and typical, kind-hearted Luke – offering his help even though he secretly didn't want to, but she should've known better. Luke wasn't the type of guy that said things that he didn't mean. After a decade of pining for her, of course he would want to take part in this epically significant moment. It was after all his wedding too.

She knew she had to talk to Sookie about things. Now that they had almost indefinitely postponed the wedding, Lorelai tried to not focus on the negative, and tried to direct her attention on the unexpected, but fortunate second chance she was presented with. She was determined to redeem herself from mistakenly cursing their wedding.

She was given a fresh start, and she was adamant about not messing it up this time, no matter how long it took to get Luke to wake up… although she prayed that it would be sooner rather than later. She wanted Luke to be fully in it, so although she knew it would hurt her to do, she told herself that she needed to take a step back.

Lorelai came to the heartbreaking conclusion that she needed to allow Luke his space to figure things out with April. She had to put herself in his situation, nothing would be able to stop her from putting Rory as her top priority, and even though it would continue to be a hard pill to swallow for a while, Lorelai knew that it should be the same with Luke and his kid.

So, with that being said, Lorelai made the tragic decision to remove herself from the big picture. She needed to give Luke a chance to form a strong relationship with his daughter, without her in the back of his mind. She hoped that when he finally figured everything out, then maybe they could talk about marriage again, but if not… as devastating as it would be for Lorelai, she knew she would have to let him go.

She sniffled softly as she wiped away the remaining tears that escaped her eyes as she resumed her gaze towards the view of Stars Hollow. She made a grab for her phone to check what time it was as she suddenly remembered a tidbit from Rory's message last night, saying that she'd call her around noon. She furrowed her brows as she frantically patted her pockets, but still came up empty handed. She softly smacked a hand to her forehead, realizing that she forgot her phone upstairs at the house plugged in the charger on her nightstand.

She inhaled a slow breath as she calmly stood up, and stole one last look at the scenery below, "Come on, boy. It's time to go." She beckoned to Paul Anka to follow.

They made their way to the short staircase, and quickly began to descend the steps, but as Lorelai's right foot made contact with the second step from the top, it came directly into contact with the slippery moss patch. Her momentum pulled her body in two different directions. She stretched her hands out in back of her to catch herself from falling, but as her hands made contact with the ground, she heard a deafening snap as her arms buckled under her weight, causing her to crash down hard onto the stairs as her head hit the solid ground upon impact.

"Ow!" She exclaimed loudly in anguish as she slowly sat up, rubbing the back of her head with her right hand, "Stupid moss." She reprimanded as she looked towards the green culprit.

Paul Anka anxiously let out a bark as he licked Lorelai's face.

"It's okay, boy." She attempted to reassure her dog, and lifted her left hand to pat his head, only to immediately regret it as an immense amount of pain shot through her left arm, "Ow, ow, ow, ow, owwww!" She shouted out in misery as she sharply sucked in an agonizing breath through clenched teeth.

She tried to examine her wrist, but the pain was too fierce to handle. After a minute she carefully stood up, and instantly felt the wind whip an unsuspecting sting to the inside of her right forearm. She gradually dipped her head to inspect it, and gasped as she saw a pool of blood swiftly forming on the torn sleeve of her cotton jacket as it dripped down her arm and onto the old wooden stairs. She looked down at the stairs to see what could've cut her, and she spotted an old rusty nail sticking up from the wood.

"Great." She mumbled, quickly feeling lightheaded as her feet stumbled to keep her balanced, which caused Paul Anka to bark out in concern, "Let's go, boy." She called as they hastily made their way back down the trail as she tried to cocoon her left wrist from being jostled too much.

Lorelai had to stop a couple times as she tried to gain her bearings. Her head felt fuzzy, almost as if it was floating away from her body. The hike back went faster, all thanks to the adrenaline rush due to the incident. They finally made it back to the gated door, and she hurried Paul Anka through the entrance as she shut, and replaced the heavy padlock behind her.

She darted her way to the back door, and frantically tried to locate the keys with her right hand. By the grace of God, she was able to get the correct key to open the lock on the first try. She let Paul Anka in before her and told him she'd be back as she dashed out to her jeep.

She cautiously climbed into the driver's seat, and by some sort of superlative energy, she drove herself to John Skinner Hospital.

The jeep came up onto the Emergency Room's curbside with a screeching halt as she put the car in park, and slowly began to exit her vehicle. She held her left hand close to her torso as she stumbled over to the nurse's station. Her vision had been blurry, and the pain in her head and in both arms, were the only things that kept her conscious.

"How can I help you, ma'am?" The distant sounding voice asked Lorelai, clearly not in a rush to help her as she saw that Lorelai wielded no visible threats.

"I need…" Lorelai breathed softly as she struggled to hold onto the counter of the nurse's station, "…help." She managed to finish as her hands lost their grip on the edge, causing her to experience the sudden feeling of falling into an endless abyss, before everything went black.


Authors Note: Since I know I won't be back before Sunday, Happy Mother's Day to all you rockstar moms out there. Cheers to another year of being a super hero! Oh, and reviews fuel me... a lot – the good, the bad, and the in between. ;) -KISF