Chapter 3:"I couldn't love you more if you were my own son."

"She's so light," Rory said as she cradled her newborn sister in her arms.

"Six pounds isn't that heavy, Baby Girl," Riley said, "Pretty sure your book bag weighs at least twice that."

"Funny. I don't know. I guess I just never expected her to be so little," Rory said.

"She's a baby, they're always little," Riley said, "Now, do I get a turn or are you going to continue to hog the baby?"

"Yes, you can have a turn," Rory said, handing their sister to him, "I'm going to go get some coffee. Are you good here?"

"We're fine, just bring me back a cup," Riley told her, reclining his chair back so Sophie could rest on his chest, "Just you and me now, Little One. Everyone else has either gone home or passed out."

Sophia Grace Danes was now four hours old. After taking a few minutes to meet her, the grandparents and the rest of the family went back home to give the new family time to bond with her. Having been up since the middle of the night, Luke and Lorelai had fallen asleep in Lorelai's room along with April, while Rory and Riley were taking care of Sophie in the adjoining room Richard insisted on so they had plenty of room for any family and friends to visit.

"You're only a few hours old, but you are already so loved. You have so many people, family, friends, and friends as close as family that love you and are looking forward to watching you grow up into the incredible person I know you're going to be," Riley told Sophie as she lay on him, her tiny fist clutched tight around the front of his t-shirt, her clear blue eyes staring up at him, "As beautiful as they are I hope your eyes don't stay that way, Little One. Your Dad and I will have to lock you in the attic until you're thirty to keep the boys away."

"Try forty," Luke said, coming into the room, taking a seat in the chair next to Riley, "Sorry to interrupt, but I woke up and wanted to check on her."

"That's fine, Luke," Riley said, "Is Mom still asleep?"

"Yeah, but she'll probably wake up soon or I should wake her myself. I imagine Sophie will need to be fed soon," Luke said.

"Probably, it's been a few hours since Mom fed her," Riley said, "Do you want to take her."

"No, you look like you've got a handle on it," Luke said, "Besides, I'll get my turn when you're back and busy at school. Enjoy it while you can."

"True, and I am enjoying it. It's crazy how much I love this little girl, already," Riley said.

"I know, me too, but I felt the same way not long after I met you and April," Luke said.

"Really?" Riley asked.

"Of course," Luke told him, "I couldn't love you more if you were own son."

"Thanks, Luke," Riley said, "I love you, too, you know."

Over the next week, the Twickham House saw a lot of visitors as everyone in town and all of their family members wanted to meet and spend time with the newest member of their tight-knit group. Wanting to have some bonding time with their sister, Rory and Riley both moved into the house for the week so they could spend time with her, but to also give Luke and Lorelai a break every now and then.

"I can't believe that she is already a week old" Rory said as she waited for April to bring a bottle to her for Sophie. Since it was almost Christmas and they knew they would be surrounded by family the whole weekend, they talked Luke and Lorelai into going out for the evening. Rory told them that her, Riley, and April were perfectly capable of carrying for their sister for a few hours as long as Lorelai left milk for them.

"I know. It seems like it took forever for her to get here and now that she's here, she's growing too fast," April said, sitting next to Rory on the living room couch, handing her the bottle for Sophie.

"So, your first Christmas with a boyfriend," Rory said, "Are you and Jay doing anything special?"

"He's coming over tomorrow to spend the day with us and tomorrow night we're going to be enjoying my present for him," April said, "And then we'll pick him up to come with us to the Gilmore's on Sunday."

"He's not spending the holiday with his parents?" Rory asked.

"No, his family is a lot like Tristan's," April told her, "His parents aren't even home right now. His dad had a business trip in Europe and his mom went with him."

"And left their son all alone at Christmas," Rory said.

"Yeah, I don't like it either and Dad offered to let Jay stay either at the diner or in a guest room at the opposite end of the house from mine, but he said no," April said.

"That's so sad," Rory said, taking the bottle away from Sophie so she could lay her on her shoulder to burp her, "So, what did you get him and what's happening Saturday night?"

"We are going to the New York Philharmonic," April said, "He won't play for anyone else really expect me, but he loves the music so tomorrow when he gets here I'll give him the tickets and Dad has hired a driver to take us. He doesn't what Jay to have to drive to New York and back so late at night."

"That's great, April. He'll love it," Rory said.

"I hope so. What are you getting Tristan for Christmas?" April asked.

"A trip that he can take over spring break," Rory told her.

"A trip he can take? You're not going with him?" April asked.

"No and Riley is giving the same trip to Stephanie," Rory told her, "We're sending them to Chicago."

"Okay, cool, why?" April asked.

"We drove past a house in Stamford once that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Tristan mentioned wanting to go to Chicago so he could see his home there and the others he designed," Rory said, "There are dozens of houses all over the city that he designed. And Steph is dying to see some of the museums, The Art Institute, specifically. They have a huge photography section."

"Sounds great, but why aren't the two of you going with them?" April asked.

"Because we'll be in Atlantic City with Mom and Dad," Rory told her.

"What?" April asked.

"Ever since I was little my Mom had this idea for when I turned twenty-one. We would gotto Atlantic City and sit at a blackjack table just as it turned midnight the day I was born," Rory said.

"So you would be playing twenty-one when you turned twenty-one," April said, "That's sweet."

"And with Mom being pregnant when I turned twenty-one and us being so busy with school and the paper, that didn't happen," Rory said, "I told Riley about Mom's plan and he offered for the two of us to just go and celebrate together, but it wouldn't be the same since it was always Mom's plan."

"That makes sense," April said.

"Plus, Dad told Riley when he was a kid that he would either send him or take him to Las Vegas when he turned twenty-one," Rory said, "But Mom doesn't want to be too far from Sophie so we're sticking with our plan for Atlantic City, but including Riley and Dad in it."

"And my Dad is okay with this. The four of you, having this little family trip, together?" April asked.

"Yeah, he wasn't really thrilled with the idea when we first mentioned it, but he gets that it's important for us to have these family moments," Rory said, "So, we'll go to Atlantic City for the week and so they are not stuck here alone, Tristan and Stephanie will be going to Chicago."

"You know, I thought going to pick up the pizza would be faster, but I was wrong," Riley said, coming into the house just as Rory place Sophie in her bassinet in the living room, "Where's April?"

"She ran upstairs to put her pajamas on," Rory said, "What happened at Pete's?"

"Kirk," he said.

"Say no more," she told him, "Pick the first movie. I'm going to go change."

After all three had changed into their pajamas they sat themselves on the couch in the living room to enjoy their pizza and the marathon of holiday movies they chose for the evening. By the end of the second movie, Sophie had woken up, crying for another bottle and April had fallen asleep. When Luke and Lorelai returned they found all four of their kids asleep on the couch. Rory had her head against the armrest with April's feet in her lap while Riley had Sophie curled up on his chest with April's head leaning against his shoulder as he rested his head on the back of the couch.

"Keep quiet while I get a picture of this," Lorelai said before Luke could move to grab Sophie and begin waking the kids up to get them up to bed.

"We have to frame this and put it up in here somewhere," Luke said when he looked at the picture Lorelai took on her camera.

"I love how close they are and how much they adore Sophie," Lorelai said, "It's so sweet."

"I know. I'm really glad we didn't have to worry about any jealousy with any of them," Luke said, "Do you want to grab Sophie? I can take April upstairs."

"Yeah," Lorelai said, reaching down to grab her youngest from the arms of her oldest, "Riley?"

"Mom?" Riley mumbled when he felt movement in his arms.

"Yeah, sweets, we're home," Lorelai told, "You want to relinquish your hold on your sister so I can get her up to bed?"

"Yeah, where's April?" Riley asked, opening his eyes and seeing she was no longer next to him.

"Luke carried her up. Do you want me to wake up Rory or are you good to take her up?" Lorelai asked.

"I've got her," Riley said, standing up and going to the other end of the couch to pick up his sister, "Night, Mom."

"Night, sweetie," Lorelai said.

Christmas morning Rory was up early to go to Weston's to get several cups of their famous candy cane coffee before they closed for the rest of the day. Luke had begrudgingly agreed to let Lorelai have one cup since it was Christmas. She had toned down her coffee drinking throughout her pregnancy, but still had the occasional cup and decided to continue with it while she breastfed Sophie, but she had to have the candy cane coffee.

"I come bearing coffee," Rory said as she entered the kitchen.

"Oh, candy cane coffee, yum," Riley said, grabbing a cup.

"Is that Weston's?" Jess asked, coming into the kitchen when he entered the house, having spent the night in the diner apartment with Olivia.

"Of course," Rory told him, handing him a cup.

"Since when do you drink coffee?" Olivia asked him.

"I don't, except this, here," he said, offering her the cup to try, "I had a cup of this my first year here. I wasn't big on coffee, but it smelled really good and Rory insisted it was delicious."

"It's amazing," Olivia said, taking her own cup that Rory offered her, "Thank you."

"You know, of all the things I missed when I left here, I think I missed this the most," Jess said.

"Ouch, ex-girlfriend, best friend, future cousin in the room," Rory said.

"I'm kidding. I missed Luke, too," he said before quickly leaving the room as Rory threw a towel at his head.

"Not funny," she said.

Once everyone had their fill of candy cane coffee and had their presents open, Rory and Riley took Tristan and Stephanie to the gazebo to give them their gift. They both were aware of the plans to go to Atlantic City with their parents for spring break and had been wondering what they were going to do while away from them that whole break, but were shocked when they were handed the envelopes that contained vouchers for their plane tickets and receipts for their hotel rooms.

"Are you serious about this?" Tristan asked.

"Absolutely," Rory told her, "I know how much you want to see all those Frank Lloyd Wright houses and while I'm sure they're beautiful, I know I wouldn't appreciate them as much as you or Steph would."

"Same for me. I love art. The things I've seen at the museums in New York and when we went to The Louvre were incredible, but you and Tristan both have a lot more interest in that stuff than Rory and I do," Riley said, "So instead of the two of you sitting around New Haven while we're in Atlantic City…"

"We thought you would enjoy this nice trip to Chicago," Rory said.

"Thanks you guys. This is amazing," Stephanie said, giving Rory a hug before giving one to her boyfriend, "This is going to be so much fun. I can't wait."

"Me either, thank you," Tristan said, hugging his friend before taking his turn to hug his girlfriend, "This is great, Mary. Thank you."

"Of course. I love you, Bible Boy," Rory told him.

"I love you, too," he said.

A few hours later, everyone gathered into their cars and left for Hartford to have a big family dinner with the Gilmore's and the Hayden's. Rory and Riley stopped at Jay's with Tristan, Stephanie, and April to pick him up while Luke and Lorelai went on to the Gilmore's. Jess and Olivia left for New York after breakfast to spend the day with some of her family in New York since Liz and TJ had gone to Florida to work a renaissance fair.

Everyone was excited to see the youngest family member dressed her little red and green ruffled skirt and "My First Christmas" shirt. Sophie spent the whole night being passed around from one family member to the other as they were all anxious to hold her, most of her time being spent in either Emily or Francine's arms, that she was hardly able to keep her eyes open that night as Lorelai fed her just before bed.

"She had a big day," Luke said.

"Yes, she did. We all did," Lorelai said, "But it was a good day, too."

"A very good day," Luke said, leaning down to kiss his daughter's forehead before giving Lorelai a kiss, too.

"Merry First Christmas Sophia Grace Danes!"