A/N: I have yet to read a story like this one. So I wrote it myself. I am leaving it on a cliffhanger. Please let me know if I should continue! I would appreciate it!
"Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, I demand to know where you've taken that child!" Her mother screamed into the phone, causing a sobbing Lorelai to pull the payphone away from her ear.
It was cold. The little girl clinging to her hands was crying. Quietly, as always. Never loud.
"Mother, I just couldn't…"
Her mother's stern voice interrupted her. "You have no idea what you are doing with that child, young lady! She needs help! Something you can't give her!"
Lorelai put the phone to her chest and leaned down to wrap her arms around her little girl. "I know, Rory. Shhhh. We're going to go somewhere soon." Standing back up and again talking into the phone she said in a shaking voice, "I won't let you send her away! She's my baby and I don't care what you say, you can't take her!"
"It's for her own good, Lorelai." Her mother yelled.
Lorelai could hear her father's voice in the background. "You tell that girl she is being completely selfish with that child. She is thinking only of herself and not what is best."
"NO!" Lorelai cried. "I don't care what you think. Rory is my daughter. And she's going to be with me." And she took a deep breath before she said, "I just wanted to tell you that we are safe and not to worry." And then, right before she hung up the phone, she said, "Goodbye."
Lorelai stirred from her sleep at the voices right outside the door.
"What do you mean, you found her?" A man's voice. Young. Lorelai shifted against the soft blankets around her, careful of her toddler, who, even in her sleep, clung to Lorelai's arm.
Another voice. Woman. Older. Recognizable. "I was walking home from Luke's when I saw her huddled in the phone booth." It was the woman. From last night. So sweet. "She said she was looking for work. Didn't have any money. Thought she would bundle up and sleep there."
The man's voice. "In the phone booth? In this weather?"
What else was she supposed to do? Find a bridge to sleep under? It was so wet outside, with the snow falling. There was no way she could sleep outside.
"I don't know what she was going to do. So I told her she could come stay here for a few nights and we could…"
The man interrupted. "You've got to be kidding, Mia." That was the woman's name. The woman who rescued her from the cold night. "You offered to let her stay here for a few nights? You don't even know this girl."
Lorelai began to feel the weight of her situation. She was willing to work. But she would need some help. Unless she wanted to spend the cold night shivering outside with Rory wrapped inside her coat.
"William, she has a little girl."
She had a little girl. Lorelai brushed her lips across her daughter's soft hair, still in braids from the day before. Rory hated her hair in her face, so it was always kept pulled back in braids or a ponytail. Yes. Lorelai had a daughter.
The words outside were quieter. Less intense. The man, she assumed was William, said, "Oh. Then you did the right thing, Mia. Taking her in like that." Then he put on a more gruff tone and asked, "Do you know where she's from? Why she's alone in the winter with a little kid?"
"I'm going to go in and try to talk with her." Mia said, her soft voice still ringing from the night before when Lorelai had looked up to find a woman standing outside the phone booth. "I'll let you know how it goes."
William coughed, and then said, "I brought you some coffee. Luke made it and told me to bring it by."
"Tell him thank you."
And then a soft knock on Lorelai's door.
Lorelai tried to pry Rory's hands away from her arm, but Rory just clung, even in her sleep. So Lorelai just laid there as she watched the older woman walk into the room. Her hair was a light blond color, something Lorelai hadn't seen last night because she had been wearing a hat. Because it was cold. A smile big on her face, Mia looked at Rory and winced, turning around to leave. Probably to come back later.
But Lorelai needed to know now. And Rory wouldn't sleep much longer anyway. She never slept in late. Rory always had trouble sleeping, since she was just a few days old.
So Lorelai just said quietly, "No, come in." And she sat up, back against the headboard, bringing Rory's little body into her lap, laying Rory's head against her chest while she rubbed the girl's back.
"I didn't want to wake her, poor thing." The woman said, moving to the end of the bed and sitting on the edge.
Lorelai knew the woman didn't mean anything by the remark. That she was just referring to a sweet child sleeping after being in the cold last night. But to Lorelai, hearing anyone take pity on her daughter – it felt wrong. Like they were confining Rory to something that wasn't going to be the case. Lorelai tried to push it out of her mind.
Looking down at her sleeping child, Lorelai just said, "She'll be fine." And then, without hesitating, Lorelai let her known habit kick in. "I'm so sorry for making you feel guilty and take us in. I can do some work for you around here to pay off letting us sleep here. I can pay for food for Rory if you had any, and you don't have to feel like you have to let us stay at all. I don't want to be a burden, and I know with…"
Mia just shook her head, a smile on her face. "My god, you sure can talk." Her mother said that to Lorelai all the time. But not in this tone. It was like Mia liked it. That was odd. No one ever liked that rambling part about her. "Darling, you are not a burden. It would have been a burden I wouldn't have been able to sleep through the night knowing I left two girls out in the cold like that."
Speechless at the woman's kindness, Lorelai just said, "Thank you."
"Now, I don't mind letting you stay here for a little while." What? Really? That couldn't be the case. Lorelai didn't want her to take pity on them. Although, after sleeping so long outside, Lorelai wondered if even pity would do to help Lorelai keep Rory warm. The woman continued, "And I run this Inn, and might be able to get you a little job to help with your expenses and stuff."
"What?" Lorelai asked. "You don't even know me and you're offering me a job?"
Mia nodded, a knowing smile on her face, "I think you're a good kid. I have a feeling."
A feeling. Was enough to open her house to a strange girl and her child. What other world had she walked into?
"I'm a hard worker." Lorelai said. "I mean, I haven't had a job before. But I will work hard for you." Did that sound stupid? Like she was trying to butter the woman up?
Rory began to stir in her arms, and Lorelai immediately said, "Shhh.. baby, it's ok."
But, as was always the case, Rory woke up crying, tears falling all the time as she searched for Lorelai's face with her hands. The little fingers that first found her eyes, then ran down the bridge of her nose, and then to her mouth – the finished their search and then Rory quieted, grabbing onto Lorelai's hair and then leaning her head against her chest as the crying ceased.
Lorelai looked up to find Mia looking at Rory with confusion. Because, as Lorelai had been told so many times by her mother, her father, and anyone else in the room when Rory got scared, that wasn't normal. It wasn't something a two-year-old child would do.
But that was Rory. And Lorelai just continued, as if nothing was wrong. "I can start work as soon as possible to work off staying here overnight."
Mia shook herself out of shock as she then returned her eyes to Lorelai. "How about tomorrow? Give you a day to settle in before you start."
"Mama. I hungry." Rory said sleepily. "Tummy go ow."
Lorelai looked around for her purse. And the small suitcase she had packed Rory's things in. There were some fruit snacks she had bought at the grocery store in Harford before she bought the bus ticket to the little town of Stars Hollow. Finding it at the foot of the bed, Lorelai said, "I'm gonna get the food out of the bags." And she set Rory down in the middle of the bed, her footy pajamas bringing out the blue in her eyes. The only color Lorelai cherished. She stood out of the bed, her muddy jeans and Metallica t-shirt the only clothes she had brought with her. It was either diapers or her clothes. So, of course, diapers. Reaching around Mia, she grabbed the little purse and put her hand in, never taking her eyes off her daughter, and, when she found the little pack of treats, turned and sat down beside Rory again.
And she found Mia just watching Rory. Something Lorelai had watched countless people do as they tried to figure out what was different about this little baby. Well, Lorelai had to stop thinking about Rory as a baby. She had turned two almost a month before.
Lorelai sat down on the bed, and Rory's hand immediately turned towards Lorelai when Lorelai started opening the package. Her little fingers opened and closed and she said, "Pwease. Want some."
But she never turned her head.
Lorelai handed the bag of snacks into Rory's outstretched hand, and watched as Rory's bottom fell onto the bed and her fingers felt for the opening of the bag. Like a pro, she found her snack and brought it out, holding it out in front of her. And asked. "What color?"
Lorelai looked. "Pink." She hated it. She hated her parents for this.
Rory's little fist enclosed around the snack and brought it to her mouth, hitting her chin first, and then moving her fist up until she popped the little flower snack into her mouth. Then she reached down and grabbed another snack. Holding it up, she asked, "What color?"
Lorelai looked. "Purple." Her parents. Insisting on teaching her daughter colors. That it was part of development. That she needed to know what color things were. Now her daughter couldn't eat the snacks without asking the question that her grandparents had drilled into her. She, of course, didn't understand the game, so she just asked the question.
This time, when Rory raised the snack into the air and asked the same question, Lorelai didn't look but said, "Blue."
And Mia looked at Lorelai and said, "She's so precious. Just a little doll."
Lorelai agreed. "She's my little girl. She's…" So special. Her life. "…my reason for waking up in the morning."
Lorelai looked at Mia while she absentmindedly said, "Green." And when Mia's face looked from Lorelai to the snack that was pink, Lorelai knew she had to explain.
But before she could, Rory reacted to the woman at the end of the bed. The fruit snack bag discarded, Rory crawled over to the woman, her hands finding Mia's shoulder first, and, using that as a guide to balance herself as she pulled herself too her feet on the wobbly bed.
Lorelai reached to pick her up, but Mia just said, "Oh, no. She's fine."
And Lorelai watched as Rory reached up and, with her little hands, found Mia's chin, and curled her fist around it. Lorelai felt so uncomfortable, knowing how her daughter greeted people "Rory, be gentle." But even a gentle touch from Rory's invasive hands was still uncomfortable to most people.
Rory's hands made her way from the chin to the top of the woman's forehead, touching almost every part of Mia's face with her hands before she then plopped down beside the woman.
Lorelai couldn't ignore it anymore. Lorelai took a deep breath and looked at Mia and said, "I'm sorry about that. It's how she sees who people are."
A knowing smile came to the woman's face.
Lorelai just had to say it. "Rory sees with her hands. Because she's blind."