"…and right through that door is the kitchen, where our wonderful chef does her wonderful work…"
Lorelai smiled and nodded as Mia gave them a tour of the Inn. It was a gorgeous place, with so many things working all day long. Mia seemed so proud of it as she walked through, showing Lorelai the rooms, the lobby, and, most importantly to Lorelai, the maid closet, where Lorelai would get her supplies and help clean.
"It's just a beautifully homey place." Lorelai said. "My parents always vacationed on Martha's Vineyard, and I always wanted to stay in one of the Inns there. But this…" She looked around the lobby of the old Inn. "It's just perfect."
Mia looked around and smiled, "I would agree."
Lorelai switched Rory to the other hip that she was carrying her on as Rory started to pull at Lorelai's hair. Her little fingers, now void of their game, began tracking the lines of Lorelai's coat.
"Eat." Rory's little voice said. "Mommy. Eat."
One thing of fruit snacks left that Lorelai had put into her coat pocket was fished out and the package torn open, Rory clapping her hands with excitement and squealing a little. "Ok, Rory, here you go."
Rory grabbed the bag, so hungry she didn't even ask her color questions. Her little fist shoved the snack in her mouth, and she said, "Mmmmmmm…" And then ate another one with the same sound effect showing how much she loved them.
"Lorelai," Mia said, as she looked at Rory, "We need to discuss where you're going to stay."
Lorelai just shook her head and said, "I can try to find a room to rent in town? Something cheap? We would only need one room."
Mia shook her head, a smile on her face as she said, "Darling, the only room you would be able to rent would be one from me, and, honestly, I don't think you can afford one of the rooms here."
Of course. The voice of reason. The words from her parents came flashing back to her.
"And where, Lorelai, do you think you're going to find a place to live with a handicapped baby for something that you can afford?" Her mother said haughtily. "You don't understand the real world."
Her father put his dollar in, "You grew up in high society. You have no concept of what it means to have a job and pay bills and live on your own." He just shook his head in a derogatory way as he looked down at her, "Lorelai, you're dependent on us."
Her mother's voice affirmed, "If you think you can just leave, you're sadly mistaken."
"You can't leave, and that's final." Her father shot back. "And since you live here, you will abide by what we say."
Lorelai shook her head, and said, "I will live anywhere on earth, in whatever situation I have to. I won't let you give my baby away like she's some gift you're bestowing on others."
"Lorelai?" Mia's voice pulled her out of her mind. "Honey, I didn't mean to discourage you."
Lorelai pasted a smile on her face and said, "No, I understand." Rory smacking her lips as she enjoyed her little snack distracted Lorelai for a second, but then she said, "I just don't have anywhere to go, so I need to find a place I can afford." Which was nothing. Lorelai literally had no money. Nothing. Her parents hadn't left her anything to take with her. And wouldn't her parents be so embarrassed that Lorelai was so destitute? They would.
Mia stepped over to Lorelai, and placed her hand on Lorelai's shoulder. "Please stop worrying. I thought about this." This woman's voice. So comforting. So positive. Something Lorelai hadn't seen much of in her life. "I have an idea."
A few minutes later, they were standing outside of this little shed. A little building that looked like something Lorelai would see in a movie where the garden tools were kept. The white paint along the wooden boards was peeling off, the window looked dirty and dusty. The one step up into the building revealed a door that was falling off of the hinges. Inside, there was a little corner that had a sink. The rest of the place was cluttered with rakes and shovels, a wheelbarrow full of potting soil. A few old rags littered the floor wooden plank floor, and she saw a few cans of paint tucked in one of the corners.
"It's not much." Mia said as they looked around the one room shed. "But it would be a place that Rory could play, and you could live while you worked at the Inn enough to save for a place of your own."
Her mother would have seen the dirt. The cobwebs littered throughout the entire place. The dust and grime on the windows. The one sink and nothing else. The wooden floors that were bare wood, no finishing on it. The door falling off of the hinges.
But Lorelai saw something to work on. Windows she could look out in the morning while she sipped her coffee and looked out into the beautiful scenery outside. The walls she could hang pictures on. A sink where she could, on her own, wash dishes in. A floor where Rory could crawl, learn to walk, where they could cuddle and read a book, snuggled up in a blanket. A door that would set their place apart from the world.
Throughout that day, Mia had some of the gardeners clear out the shed, leaving the room bare, but ready for work. While Rory napped on a small blanket in one of the corners, Lorelai got down on her hands and knees and scrubbed the floor clean – the first order of business when having a crawling baby. Her hands, red and raw from cleaning, felt clean for the first time in a long time. Once that was done, Lorelai moved on to cleaning and shining the windows, which seemed to always be so streaky until Mia came in, bringing sandwiches for Lorelai and Rory, and told Lorelai that using water to clean the windows wasn't going to be good. Mia then offered her the window cleaner, which had worked miracles. When Rory got up, she had crawled around the room, her fingers tracing between the walls and the ground, chattering in her baby talk that Lorelai just understood as her baby being happy. Mia had an old cot for Lorelai and a little playpen for Rory – which had been set up along one wall, with a few blankets from the Inn. A little rug from an old storage room had been rolled out in the middle of the room, where Rory could sit and play with toys that had also, mysteriously, been in the old storage room. By the time the sun set that night, Lorelai had a little lamp on a small table, a bed for her, the playpen for Rory, a few washcloths for cleaning dishes and/or Rory in the sink, and the promise that in the next two days, one of the old claw-foot tubs from this invisible storage room that Mia had would be set up in the corner by the sink.
Thanking Mia for everything she had done, and promising that she would show up for work the next day at eight am, Lorelai sat Indian style on the rug with Rory sitting on her lap. Lorelai would put the little wooden blocks up a few stacks, and Rory would find it with her hand and knock it down, giggling hysterically as she clapped for herself.
Lorelai looked around the room, looked at the work she had done that day, saw how happy her baby was, and she felt. Felt productive at how the room had been so changed in one day. Felt exhausted from the cleaning and scrubbing that she wasn't accustomed to. Felt a little relief at the fact that there was a roof over Rory's head that night. And she felt like maybe there might be a possibility that Rory would grow up happier than Lorelai had ever been.