AN1 - In terms of the technicality of what Francine was going to do did try and look into it but it's incredibly complicated so I slightly chickened out and went with they are looking into it. Essentially I want for her to have a controlling share of things like where Gigi goes to school and things like that, you know since she essentially is raising her. I'm glad you all liked the party, needed to have a last visit to the Hollow before the end :)

And so here it is the final chapter, when I started writing this back in January I was convinced that this story was going to take me the best part of a year to write, I never imagined it would come out so quickly! Thank you so much for reading, I've hoped you have enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy this last chapter. In terms of a sequel I have several ideas but nothing fully formed and I'm about to descend into revision hell for an exam in June so we'll have to see how things goes, but you know ellipses ;). For those of you that review anon (particularly Nancy and Chloe) thank you so much, if you post a signed review (is that the right word) I'll message you in return. I would love to know what you think both about the last chapter and the the story as a whole. Thank you so much for reading, Enjoy x

Chapter 50 - The End of a Chapter

Luke gripped the steering wheel tightly as he tried to focus on the road. The music was blaring, the twins were 'singing' along in an incoherent babbling screech and April was sat in the back of the minivan was talking over them with Lorelai who was in the passenger seat in the front. It had been like this for the last hour of the so far 3 and half hour car ride that he had had to endure from Hartford on their journey to Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. The trip was at the request of Richard, the Gilmore patriarch had decided that it was a last chance for the family to be fully together before everyone moved on to their next stage. With April joining Chilton and the new weekly arrangement of her switching between theirs and Anna every Sunday, Rory due to go off to New York at the end of August and Richard similarly due to entrench himself in academia with his Masters. It had seemed a great idea at the time, it just hadn't quite occurred to him just what it would be like to transport the entire family almost 200 miles. Rory had had the better idea of travelling with her grandparents. Feeling his patience reach its limit he jabbed the radio off. There was a momentary lull in volume in the car as the female residents got used to the silence and then the twins started to whimper. "I just can't," Luke muttered, casting a pleading but angry look at Lorelai.

"Kay," Lorelai turned back. "Hey Bubbas, no tears. April can you get the book in the bag?" she nodded towards the bag in between the twins. "Kitty Willow, Apricot's going to read to you." Crisis with the twins averted she turned her attention onto Luke's tense frame. "Sorry Hun. I should have realised. But we're nearly there, can't be more than a few minutes."

"I don't see why we are doing this? Why New Hampshire?"

"I have no idea, but Dad's bought this place and he wants to share the holiday home with us. Apparently, the lake is safer than the ocean and there will be less tourists. He also mentioned something about the house in Hartford as just theirs and that bordered on territory I don't want to think about." Lorelai reached and lovingly curled a piece of his hair round her finger. "Does it not bother you the peak in the back of your neck from the headrest?"

"Nope."

"My big brave boy," Lorelai teased him lightly. "Look they're turning off," she pointed at the jaguar in front as it turned off the main road onto a smaller tree lined one. As they drove Lorelai kept up her gently curling of Luke's hair.

As her fingers worked his hair Luke felt his tensions beginning to melt away. "This must be it," he muttered as the Jaguar turned off the road onto a single track driveway and he followed, guiding the minivan down the track after them. His eyebrows rose in surprise as they made their way down the tree lined track which finally opened up onto a large paved area with a double garage on one side and the house in front of it. "This looks huge!"

"Blame my Dad for understating it," Lorelai let out a low whistle. "It looks beautiful just from here. What do you reckon the other side will look like?"

"Spectacular," April sounded from the back. "Though it can wait I kinda need to use the bathroom."

"Me too," Lorelai called as she climbed out of the minivan and opened the door so she could get the twins and release April from the back. "Car ride over Kitty Willow. Yay!" she grinned as the twins clapped their hands in delight and she began to unbuckle Willow as Luke opened the other side to get Kitty. "I'll race you for it," Lorelai poked her tongue out at April as she lifted Willow onto her hip.

"I bet it has more than one," April grimaced slightly as she clambered out of the car.

"More than one what?" Emily appeared round the back of the minivan with a faint smile on her face.

"Bathroom," April gave her a meaningful look.

"There are eight," Emily told her lightly. "How was the ride?"

"Long, we are in need of a stretch." Lorelai bounced Willow as she closed the door and nodded for Emily to lead her to the house. "So eight bathrooms Mom, one for each of us."

"Yes," Emily nodded and gestured towards the house. "6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a family room, two fireplaces, a wraparound porch. All on 4.5 acres. Go in, Richard has just unset the alarm."

"Wait Apricot, what's an acre?" Lorelai tugged gently on April's ponytail before the teen made a move towards the house.

"An acre is 43,560 square feet, so, 4.5 acres would be just under of 200000 square feet." April gave a faint smile and dashed up the steps and into the house.

"So just a small bolthole Mom?" Lorelai teased lightly as she stepped up the porch and entered the house. "Wow!" she paused in surprise at the simple elegant grandeur of the building. "Wow!" she moved further in and came to a complete standstill as she took in the double height floor to ceiling window that framed the lake view. "Wow!"

"I thought so," Richard told her with an ebullient smile. "The Gilmore family compound," he gestured around the property. "We even have our own beach."

"You have a beach?" Lorelai's eyebrows rose in surprise. "You two really are the king and queen of understatement, 'we've bought a little lake house bolthole'. This is a palace!"

"Wow!" Luke joined them staring up at the ceiling and then moving to take in the view. "This is…Wow!"

"That would appear to be the general consensus," Rory muttered coming back from another room. "This place is beautiful!"

"It is," Emily agreed moving to stand beside her with a warm proud smile on her face. "Just the most perfect place for us to all come together and get away from our daily lives."

"And very much worth the car ride," Lorelai lowered Willow to the ground. "Ok Mom, where is another one of the eight bathrooms?"

"Through there," Emily held her hands open encouraging Willow to walk to her. "Now let us all get unpacked and get settled so we can do some exploring."


xXx

Luke looked up as he heard the shuffling scuffing sound that always preceded April when she was ready for bed. He turned just as April entered the room draped in some obscure band t-shirt, grey knee high slipper socks with her right pant leg of her bright blue with Koala print pyjamas pants tucked in, the left leg dragging on the floor. Her hair was piled up on her head in a messy bun, her thick glasses slightly steamed from her shower. "Good shower?"

"The best, it's like being stood in a waterfall." April flopped down onto the couch beside him. "Grandma wanted me to tell you dinner will be here in fifteen minutes."

Luke gaped at her. "You spoke to Emily dressed like that?"

"Yeah," April nodded with a wry smile. "I spoke to her before I had my shower and asked her if it was OK if I wore something casual. She was distracted by the fact that she has had to order pizza for us to eat because apparently Grandpa forgot to load the cooler with the tonight's dinner in. So we either had breakfast for dinner and nothing tomorrow morning or she had to order in and the only menu that was here is for pizza," she giggled excitedly. "Anyway she told me I may as well wear my pyjamas, Lorelai and Rory are getting changed into theirs." She chuckled as Luke winced. "It's fine Dad, Lorelai says we'll just distract her with Willow is she gets snippy."

"I guess," Luke looked at her warily.

"It will be fine," April assured him. "Dad."

"Yeah."

"Do you think that maybe we could go for a walk just us while were here. I could study the local plants see if there is difference to home but you know just spend time together," she gave him a hopeful smile. "Also, look," she got up from the couch and crossed to the cabinet opening it up to reveal board games, videos and DVD's. "Grandma got Bill Nye," she pulled a tape out of the cupboard and held it up to him. "We could watch it together, with the twins. I have to claim my stake in their possible future development."

"Sure," Luke smirked as he took the tape from her. "But don't you know all of these by heart now."

"Nope," April slumped down onto the seat. "Most of it, but I always find new stuff."

"We can watch it, we can go for a walk, or several walks," Luke raised his arm encouraging her to nestle in beside him, "and we can do that at home, even after you start splitting your time between me and your Mom."

"I just wanted to do what was fair," April told him quietly. "I love living in Stars Hollow with you and Lorelai, but I love Mom."

"That's why we asked you what you wanted," Luke kissed her forehead.

"I know," April smiled at him. "I liked that, it's smart too, this way they only person I can get mad at is me," she gave a soft sigh. "I have realised a flaw in my plan though."

"What's that?" Luke looked at her with concern.

April gave a heavier sigh and peered at him over the top of her glasses. "At Chilton I have to wear a skirt."

Luke snorted in laughter. "Something we didn't think about."

"Everyday!" April giggled. "I'm gonna have to be ladylike."

"I'd ask Emily for help on that one," Luke gestured at his wide legged seated position and his rugged clothing. "I don't think I'm any help on that one."

"Not your skill set," April giggled resting her head on his shoulder. "Do you think Grandma and Grandpa will eat the pizza with a knife and fork?"


xXx

Rory scoffed in surprise as she padded into the lakehouse's kitchen in the morning, her grandmother was stood at the stove cooking. "Grandma?"

"Good morning Rory," Emily turned from the stove and greeted her with a wide smile. "Get yourself some coffee. I'm making scrambled eggs."

"I see," Rory nodded and moved over to the coffee maker studying Emily curiously. "I'm sorry Grandma I didn't know you could…" she trailed off and gestured to the pan.

Emily blushed self-consciously. "I can just about manage eggs," she scrunched her shoulders upwards awkwardly. "There is very little that can go wrong, as long as I pay attention."

"I won't distract you then," Rory gave her a warm smile.

"That is probably wise," Emily turned her attention back to the eggs. "Go and help your grandfather, he's in with the books, apparently they have been sorted all wrong, though I don't see what the issue is, it's not like this is a library using a duodecimal system."

Rory did as she was advised, wandering slowly through the large property until she found her grandfather hunched over a pile of books. "Hey Grandpa, Grandma's sent me to help you."

"Is she still cooking?" Richard looked up warily. At Rory's nod, he gave a grimace. "She's on her third batch. She's never yet made me ill but they are often inedible. I was hoping Luke might be up for a little cooking. Emily didn't want a maid interrupting things all the time while we were here, which may have been a mistake, so we simply have a cook coming for evening meals."

"We can all pitch in, well maybe Luke and April, but I can chop stuff," Rory moved to stand beside the bookcase. "What are you doing?"

"Whoever your grandmother hired to unpack our things had no respect for books. They were just dumped, it's outrageous!" Richard mumbled at her angrily.

"How did they get packed in the box?" Rory asked curiously.

"Badly," Richard shook his head. "Look at that," he held up a book with a frown, indicating the crushed spine of the hardback book. "This volume is 37 years old, it should be retreated with respect," he gave a heavy sigh. "I'm being silly aren't I?"

"No," Rory shook her head. "I agree, books should be treated with respect," she lifted a volume and frowned at the crumpled pages. "This is outrageous."

"Dickens," Richard shook his head sadly. "But we can fix it."

"Definitely, perhaps a project for when it gets too hot," Rory studied the large book case, "Or if it's raining."

"That sounds a good idea," Richard gave her a beaming smile, "a chance to spend some time together."

"I'd like that," Rory returned the smile.

"You'll have ensure you spend the same amount of time with your grandmother though," Richard gave her a knowing look. "She doesn't like it when I monopolise you."

"I can distract her with Willow. My little usurper has her uses," Rory chuckled slightly, "but I'd like to spend as much time with both of you as I can."

Richard gave her a proud slightly tearful smile. "We'd be very glad of that. We're immensely proud of you Rory," Rory shifted her weight self-consciously. "Don't be embarrassed," Richard rested his hands on her shoulder. "We are. You've worked tremendously hard and you deserve your success. I'm just so glad that we've had this opportunity to spend time with you these past seven years."

"Me too," Rory sniffed slightly.

"Now, Now, I think perhaps we should save our tears for the abomination that will be your grandmother's eggs," Richard joked as he squeezed her shoulders.


xXx

"That was a really long day," Lorelai yawned as she nestled into Luke's prone form. "The bambinos are flat out. I never knew walking so slowly was so tiring."

"I think they take about ten steps for one of mine," Luke sleepily pulled her tight to his torso, his arm lazily stroking her back. "Why do they keep stopping to touch things?"

"It's how they learn. Touch is a major way they do it, that and eating everything in sight," Lorelai sighed contently. "They loved the beach. Rory always hated the beach. She hated being barefoot on anything except for carpet. I think Willow could have done without eating the sand though. That's a photo to taunt her with in later life."

"They're all different," Luke yawned. "You OK with me trying to take Willow into the lake tomorrow? She kept making a break for the water."

"I'll make sure the camera is ready," Lorelai repositioned herself and then gave a soft sigh.

"If she likes it. I can handle all the swimming so you don't have to," Luke cuddled her tighter.

"It's not like I'm going to actually swim, just go in deep enough for her to splash about," Lorelai poked him teasingly.

"Yeah I know it's just… aren't you, you know, this week? Doesn't it get all complicated with going in the water?" Luke vaguely gestured downwards.

"Well yeah it does, but it might not …" Lorelai whispered and then trailed off. She squeaked in annoyance as Luke sat up dislodging her and making her land awkwardly on her side.

Luke stared at her wide eyed a smile "Are you…I mean how… do you think?"

Lorelai sat up and gave him a nervous smile. "I might be. I'm a couple of days late, my breasts feel weird and I feel tired, or more tired than usual. It might not be anything. I could just be tired because of the drive and with the extra twin wrangling. Being late doesn't really mean anything, the stress of getting everything ready could have done that and the boobs could be because I'm about to start," she shrugged and then raised her arms, looping them around her neck and then clasping her hands behind his neck. "It might be nothing, let's not get our hopes up. I wasn't even going to mention it until I was sure."

"But you might be?" Luke grinned at her.

"I might be." Lorelai gave him a faint smile.

"You were carrying cases," Luke frowned at her, "and should you carry the twins."

"Until we know anything for sure, we just carry on as usual. As much as I like protective Luke, please just be cool, especially in front of the parents." She gave him a tender kiss and then a wide smile. "If we are I would like to keep it just us until you know, and if I'm not it will only alert Mom to the fact we are trying and then she will nag me consistently."

"She won't."

"I'm sorry have you met my mother? She is very particular about her grandchildren; if she catches a whiff of potential for a new one she will be relentless until she finds out," Lorelai brushed Luke's hair out of his face.

"She's a lot better than she was," Luke pointed out, smiling widely at her.

"Oh she's a hell of a lot better than she was but Grandbabies, big and small is a whole other ballgame," Lorelai released her hold on him and leaned back against the pillows.

"I guess," Luke lowered himself down onto the mattress on his side, his head propped on his arm, and his eyes fixed on her stomach. "Maybe huh?"

"Maybe," she smiled excitedly at him. "If I am you have pretty good shooting skills," she giggled. "Look at how proud you are, we don't even know."

"Yeah but Maybe."

"Maybe baby."


xXx

"I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you," April pretended to chase Willow as the baby 'ran' away from her.

With a squeal Willow launched herself behind Richard's long legs and grabbed them screeching. "Api, Apa," at the top of her lungs.

Richard chuckled and bent down hauling the baby onto his lap. "I've got you Willow."

Willow threw her head back in a fit of giggles and mumbled "Api, Apa" again.

"Is that April, do you think?" Richard looked up at April as she knelt down on the floor beside Kitty who was patiently studying a toy block.

"I think so, Api, at least. I think Apa is her trying to say Grandpa though," April told him with a faint smile. "But it could be apple, but going by context it's probably Grandpa. Their vocabulary is quite limited but they can mimic noises quite well."

"Are you saying Grandpa?" Richard bounced Willow making her cackle in delight. "Does she say Grandma?"

"I think that Am ma," April noted, she looked up as Luke came into the room holding a backpack while Lorelai followed holding two bottles for the twins. "Hey Dad, are you ready to go?"

"I'm ready," Luke nodded.

"You got sunscreen on?" Lorelai asked as she handed a bottle to Richard and then bent down to give Kitty hers. She smiled indulgently as the toddler shoved the bottle in her mouth and began to suck insistently.

"It's on," April assured her jumping to her feet and giving her an excited smile. "We'll see you later."

"Later," Luke kissed Lorelai softly as he walked past her. "Get some rest."

"I'm fine," Lorelai waved her hand dismissively at him and kissed him again. "Have a good time."

Luke nodded and followed April out onto the porch and Lorelai turned to look at Richard.

"And then there were four," Richard smiled pleasantly at her. "Do I need to hold this?" he gestured at the bottle.

"No just give it to her," Lorelai moved to join Richard on the couch and tweaked Willow's nose, "don't be lazy Missy."

Willow gave her a beaming smile and then grabbed the bottle from Richard as he offered it to her. She wriggled slightly leaning back into his arms and putting the bottle into her mouth copying her sister and sucking intently.

"We're working on the sippy cups," Lorelai muttered as she watched her younger daughters, "they've not quite mastered it yet, or they don't seem to drink enough so," she shrugged and then smoothed her hand over Willows wild curls. "Enjoying your holiday Dad?"

"Immensely," Richard gave her a bright smile. "I'm very pleased with my purchase thus far. You know, you and Luke can use it whenever you would like."

"I'm sure we can schedule it in," Lorelai nodded appreciatively. "Everyone is having a great time."

"I'm glad," Richard looked down as Willow pulled out her bottle and studied it for a moment before resuming her drinking. "I'm enjoying spending time with these two. They're very affectionate."

"They do like their cuddles and snuggles," Lorelai grinned at him. "Enjoy it while it lasts. I'm waiting for them to discover No."

Richard gave a mock shudder. "You loved that once you found it," he shook his head in amusement. "I think at one point it was the only word you said for an entire week, running around with a big smile on your face, everything your mother and I suggested greeted with a loud yell of No!"

"How'd you get round it?"

"We bribed you with chocolate," Richard gave her a jovial yet slightly shamed look. "We tricked you into saying you didn't like it and then you cried for four hours until we gave you some," he sighed, "the joys of parenthood."

Lorelai snorted in amusement, "we've got our hands full, that's for sure."

"Mama," Kitty muttered holding out her half empty bottle.

"You done Kitty Kat?" Lorelai held out her hands. She smiled as the toddler ponderously got to her feet and staggered the few paces and dropped the bottle into Lorelai's lap.

Kitty stared up at her for a few moments and then fixed her attention on Richard, studying her sister. After a moment of intense consideration the toddler walked over to Richard and tried to pull herself up onto his lap. Richard gave a chuckled and hauled the toddler up, holding her in his other arm, while Willow wriggled to regain her comfortable position.

"Don't think you need to do much bribing with these two," Lorelai grinned setting the bottle to one side "Don't tell Grandma that your Grandpa's girls," she whispered to them in a silly voice.

"Oh I know I'm second place to Grandma. I'm sure if she was here they would be fighting for her lap." Richard waited for Kitty to get settled.

"She is surprisingly good at the hugs," Lorelai grinned as Kitty gave her a soft wave. "Hi Bubba."

Richard peered at Lorelai over Willow's head and gave her a sad smile. "Your mother has always been good at hugs, she just never gave them very freely."

"Yeah," Lorelai sighed heavily, "but I'm glad these two have warmed her up a little."

"It's more than just these two Lorelai," Richard told her softly. "Having you and Rory back in our lives has meant a tremendous amount to her, and these last few years have…well I've never seen her so contented."

"Yeah," Lorelai mumbled with a soft sigh that hung with consideration. "I guess so."

Richard studied her for a moment and then bounced the twins. "I think Willow might learn to swim this holiday."

"Yeah," Lorelai brightened slightly. "You're the water baby aren't you?" she smoothed her hand over the tot's curls once more making Willow look up. "Am I talking about you?"

"Mama," Willow offered her bottle out, throwing it away and then wriggling to out of Richard's grip to crawl across the couch to get to Lorelai.

"Oops, sorry Dad," Lorelai gave him a sheepish smile as she pulled Willow onto her lap.

"I have this one," Richard cuddled Kitty more closely, "the benefit of two of them."


xXx

"What's so interesting about plants growing on plants?" Rory wrinkled her nose in confusion as she watched April give a delighted yell and beckon wildly to Richard and Luke who were stood at the edge of the path in conversation.

"I have no idea," Lorelai shook her head. "I try and get the science but it goes over my head. My science is the fiction kind and even then I'm lost. I know you are smart but April's something else."

"Uuh," Rory trilled in protest. "Different type of smart, she's science, I'm linguistics and literature."

"Excuse me Miss Graduated Magna cum laude," Lorelai poked her tongue out at Rory. She dissolved into giggles as Willow on Rory's lap copied her. "Uh oh!"

"Uh oh," the twins both copied and then joined in with the giggles.

Rory joined in the four of them giggling at nothing really in particular only calming down as Emily approached with a tray of drinks. "What's so amusing?" Emily asked hopefully as she set the drinks on a nearby table.

"These two are echoes and mimics," Lorelai repositioned Kitty's hat. The toddler screeched and tried to pull it off and then pouted and stared up at Lorelai with annoyance.

"You have to wear it poppet," Lorelai told her repositioning it once more. "See," she collected her own hat, tucked at her thigh and put it on. "Mommy's wearing a hat."

"Grandma also has a hat," Rory pointed at Emily's large straw hat. "Only silly old Rory who's not got one."

"She's very silly," Lorelai nodded insistently. "Even if she did graduate from Yale with distinction."

"Are you ever going to be able to get Luke to take that sign down, it's been up for a month now," Rory looked at her hopefully.

"What sign?" Emily asked sitting in the chair beside Rory and trying to join in.

"He's got this big sign up in the diner," Rory sighed self-consciously. "Rory Gilmore, Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale. It's like huge," she gestured at the size, indicating the sign to be about the size of a poster.

"He's proud of you," Lorelai pointed out.

"I know he is but it's huge!" Rory shook her head, "and everyone keeps asking what it means and then it's this big hoopla and…"

"Take your props," Lorelai told her with a smile.

"I know," Rory gave her an amused smile, "but you are working on it right?"

"I'm working on it," Lorelai nodded. "You speak to Spencer? Is he still OK for coming up tomorrow?"

"He's coming straight after work so he should be here sometime between 8 and 9, traffic dependent," Rory gave her a pleased smiled. "He said to let him know if we needed anything."

"I can't think of anything," Emily shook her head. "The guest room is all set up."

"Grandma's house, grandma's rules," Lorelai quirked her eyebrows at Rory.

"Well," Emily pressed her lips together. "I don't think your Grandfather needs to know that," she shifted awkwardly.

"That's OK Grandma I understand," Rory smiled at Emily before looking down at Willow who was pointing at April in confused interest. "I don't know?" Rory shook her head as she turned her attention to April who appeared to be peeling something off the tree. "Science is weird."

"Science gives us cellphones and sunscreen, TV and microwaves so it's also awesome," Lorelai chuckled slightly. "Where would we be without those things?"

"Somewhere I do not want to think about," Rory shook her head. "We should plan a movie marathon before I got to New York, All the classics one after another."

"A movie marathon?" Emily interjected. "You don't mean to tell me that you sit and watch movies one after another?"

"I do indeed," Rory nodded sending a knowing look at Lorelai. "It's a staple of ours from when I was little."

"Best we managed was in 02 I think," Lorelai considered. "27 hours wasn't it?"

"Yeah, we only stopped because Sookie rang and then we decided we were hungry so went to Luke's," Rory giggled. "We should try and beat that."

"You watched movies for more than a whole day?" Emily gaped at her daughter and granddaughter in surprise. She shook her head in disgust "You cannot be serious?"

"Deadly," Lorelai nodded. She repositioned Kitty on her lap. "Maybe you could babysit the twins Mom. They wouldn't sit through that."

"Yeah. Need to work up to that level of binge watching," Rory giggled.

"I suppose I could," Emily studied the twins for a moment and then sighed heavily trying to look annoyed but a faint smile on her lips. "While I don't condone you two behaving in such a slothful manner, it would be nice to look after the twins."

"The sloth is our spirit animal," Lorelai teased her.

"No…It's the cheetah because we're lightning quick," Rory snapped her fingers three times. "Whoosh you can't keep up with us."

"No," Lorelai shook her head. "Unicorn, because we are unique and beautiful and magical."

"Right," Rory nodded. "Unicorn, I forgot."

"Honestly, you two sometimes," Emily shook her head in amused dismay.

"Give it a few years and these two will be at it," Lorelai nodded at the twins in turn.

"It's no good I need to know what they are doing," Rory shook her head as April gave a yell of delight down in the trees. She got up with a sigh. "Here Grandma," Rory unceremoniously lowered Willow onto Emily's lap and trotted down the steps to join April, Richard and Luke.

Lorelai and Emily watched her move away, both cuddling the toddler on their laps. The two women sat in easy silence punctuated only by the soft babbling of the twins.

Emily studied Lorelai for a moment as she cuddled Willow to her and smiled down at the baby before looking across at the group under the trees. "Your father is very happy you are all here,"

"He seemed quite a happy chap this morning," Lorelai nodded studying her father from a distance. "Retirement agrees with him this time,"

"So far," Emily nodded in agreement. "But it is more than that. It's you all being here, him being able to share this house with you."

"It's a beautiful house," Lorelai bounced Kitty slightly. "Yes bird," she agreed as the toddler pointed and made a noise that she understood to be the child's version of the word bird.

"Lorelai don't be obtuse," Emily frowned at her. "You know what I mean."

"I do know what you mean Mom, but I'm trying to prevent some sentimental conversation," Lorelai looked sideways at her. "You two are being a touch too touchy feely for my liking. She's only going to New York it's not like she's dying, touch wood," she knocked the arm of the wooden chair she was sat in and then tapped her forehead, giving a little disgusted shiver, "but there is lots of misty eyes coming from both of you."

"I wasn't talking about Rory," Emily sighed sadly. "I meant all of you and especially you."

"You hear that bubba?" Lorelai kissed the top of Kitty's crown. "Especially me."

"Why are you so grumpy today? We're having such a lovely time," Emily huffed slightly.

"Sorry Mom, I'm just feeling a little off," Lorelai closed her eyes as the words flowed out before she realised.

"A little off?" Emily's eyes narrowed in scrutiny.

"Watch the necklace Mom, Willow's about to garrotte you," Lorelai sent a look of gratitude at her youngest.

"No she's not," Emily deftly moved her necklace out of the way of little fingers and smiled fondly at Willow. "She's just curious," Emily allowed Willow to stand on her thighs before repositioning the child so she was sat on her lap facing Lorelai. "Is the reason you're feeling a little off the same reason Luke is watching you like a hawk with a very large smile on his face?"

"Oh boy," Lorelai mumbled, she grimaced as Kitty copied her vocalising the noise and intonation. "Scuppered by my little echo," She cast a sideways look at Emily, rolling her eyes at the demanding look on her mother's face. "It's nothing, maybe it's something. I don't know yet OK."

"Maybe," Emily's face lit up, "maybe another…" she trailed off and settled back in her chair with a large smile on her face. "We'd very much like a grandson."

Lorelai rolled her eyes. "No guarantees."

"Of course not," Emily reached out to touch Lorelai's shoulder, pulling her hand back at the last moment as Willow started to shift about. "Oh Lorelai."

"Nope," Lorelai shook her head. "It might be absolutely nothing OK, and I don't want you needling me about it so just chill Mom."

"Chill?" Emily looked at her blankly.

"Cool your heels, hold your horses, just, you know, don't say anything," Lorelai sighed heavily. "Just don't get your hopes up."

"Alright, I won't," Emily acquiesced, she gave Lorelai a sideways look, "but you're trying."

Lorelai nodded. "We are letting nature take its course."

"Well I hope nature is kind to you," Emily gave a contented sigh. She studied Lorelai closely. "I think it has been."

Lorelai cringed and frowned at Emily. "Mom."

"Oh don't Mom me," Emily tutted slightly. "I just want you to be happy swe…I just want you to be happy and baring the awful December I have never seen you this happy and content."

"Uh huh," Lorelai mumbled distracted by Kitty as she made a chortling sound.

"Well are you?" Emily looked at her insistently.

"Am I what?" Lorelai look around at her gently rocking from side to side as Kitty began to fuss.

Emily studied Lorelai closely. "Happy, you look happy, actually you look very happy."

"I am."

"Because of…?"

"No," Lorelai shook her head, "yeah but everything."

"Everything, as in Rory?" Emily looked out across the grounds of the lake house estate towards her eldest granddaughter.

"Yeah," Lorelai nodded distractedly.

"Lorelai!"

"How does that get a Lorelai?" Lorelai frowned at her mother.

"You keep giving me one or two word answers, be more expansive," Emily looked at her imploringly. "We're trying to have a conversation."

Lorelai rolled her eyes good naturedly. "Alright Mom. Everything is Rory being fulfilled and her being all honeymoony with Spencer. Anna being chill over the custody so April and Luke aren't super stressed out. You and Dad with your new stuff. These two," Lorelai nodded her head down at Kitty and then jerked it towards Willow, "amazing me every day with their awesomeness. Luke just because he's Luke. Everyone in my life is in a good place right now. And also just me, I've figured a lot of stuff out, it all helps with the happiness factor."

"That's wonderful sw…" Emily swallowed and gave her a wide smile. "I'm very pleased for you."

"Uh huh," Lorelai muttered again. She lifted Kitty to stand on her lap allowing her daughter to look over the edge of the raised porch down at her father, grandfather and older sisters. "Mom?" Lorelai mumbled distantly

"Yes Lorelai?" Emily lifted Willow onto her lap in a similar manner, letting her granddaughter to look over the edge. "Yes Precious, that's Daddy," she nodded as Willow pointed at Luke and mumbled dada.

"I think that I'm Ok with you calling me Sweetheart. If you want to I mean," Lorelai whispered staring resolutely down at the rest of her family.

Emily's face lit up and she lowered Willow to stand on the wooden porch, keeping one of her granddaughter's hands she turned to face her daughter. "Really?"

"Yeah, Mom, Really."