Epilogue - Our Little Corner of the World
An exhausted Rory groaned at the sound of her alarm clock going off, its blaring screech forcibly yanking away whatever she'd been dreaming about. She raised her head to regard the alarm clock and briefly wondered why on earth it was set for five o'clock in morning before calmly hitting the snooze button. She glanced at the prone form laying on the opposite side of the bed, a tired smile tugging at her lips at the sight of a snoring Marty.
That smile widened when Rory suddenly remembered the reason for setting the alarm for so early on a Saturday morning. She was still somewhat groggy making her way out of the bedroom and down the hall. After arriving at her destination Rory clumsily entered another room and lumbered towards the bed situated near the window, lazily pushing the bed's current occupent aside until there was enough room for both of them.
"Morning, baby girl," she whispered into brown locks. "Guess what day it is?"
The girl whispered back. "Is it Christmas?"
"Nope, try again."
"Is Dad up yet?"
"No, but he'll be up soon," she promised. "Now, keep guessing."
"Is it my birthday?" the girl whispered.
"Yes, it's your birthday, baby girl," confirmed Rory, her arms now wrapped around the girl's slight frame. "And it was on this day, eight years ago, that..."
"Here we go," her daughter sighed, all too familiar with the coming tale.
"...your grandfather Luke rushed me to the emergency room after my water broke during Thanksgiving dinner," she continued like her daughter hadn't even spoken. "And, boy, was that ever the most eventful Thanksgiving my grandparents ever had, let me tell you!"
"You always do."
"Anyway, your father was out of town on business but raced back when your grandmother called him to tell him what was going on."
"Oh, I like that part."
"Of course, you do, sweetie," smiled Rory, the memory of that day still fresh in her mind. "Now, where was I?"
"Grandma Lorelai just called Dad 'cause you ruined Thanksgiving dinner."
Rory chuckled. "Right, thanks."
"Well, to make a long story short..."
"Too late," quipped her daughter.
"...ten hours and fifty-six minutes later at five thirteen in the morning," she concluded, once again ignoring the eight year old's attempt to throw her off. "We welcomed the newest addition of our family into the world. And that would be you, Winifred Lorelai Harrison."
"Yay, me," the girl yawned.
"Go back to sleep, birthday girl," she whispered into her daughter's dark brown hair. "We'll come wake you up when it's time to head over to meet your grandparents for brunch."
"Okie dokie," mumbled the eight year old in a tired voice. "Mom?"
"I love you, too. Sweet dreams," Rory added with a kiss to the girl's temple before slipping from under the covers so she could return to her own bed down the hall. Her tired mind barely registered that her husband was no longer in their bed, the sound of rushing water from the open bathroom door indicating where Marty was and what he was doing. While tempted to join her husband in the shower, Rory instead plopped onto her side of the bed with the intent of resting her eyes for only a moment. It was an undeterminable amount of time later that she awoke to the sound of two wonderfully familiar voices in the hallway outside her open bedroom door.
So tired, she groaned into her pillow, not wanting to get up. Her bed was so comfortable. It would be a crime to get up now. She was vaguely aware that one of the two people who'd been whispering was now gone while the remaining person softly padded into the room.
"Go away," whimpered Rory, not much caring that her words were most likely muffled by her pillow. All she wanted was to sink back into the sweet, sweet oblivion of sleep.
"Nope, Dad said you need to get up," her daughter replied, shaking her shoulder. "So time to get up, Mom!"
"Shh, trying to sleep here," she mumbled.
"Mom! Get up!"
"Nope. Too comfy."
"Don't make me do the thing," the eight year old warned, to which Rory could only grunted in response. "Okay, you asked for it." She listened to her daughter take a deep breath before the girl began shaking her shoulder while repeatedly shouting out; "Mom! Ma! Mom! Mama! Mother! Mommy! Mom! Mom! Mother! Mommy! Ma! Moth-"
"All right, all right, I'm up, I'm up," Rory cried in submission. If there were any doubts that the grinning eight year old was a member of the Gilmore clan, that grand display of being annoying definitely dispelled them. She narrowed her eyes at her daughter with a mock glare. "You know, this is why some mothers in the wild will devour their offspring."
"Good thing this isn't Wild Kingdom then."
"You're definitely part Gilmore," sighed Rory, sitting up in her bed. After releasing another yawn, Rory smiled at her only child. "Good morning, Fred."
"It's Winifred, Mother," the girl huffed, bright blue eyes narrowed. "Fred is a boy's name."
"Yeah, yeah," she began only to pause at the powerful and sudden feeling of deja vu that washed over her just then. Huh, weird.
"Ah, Mom? You okay?"
Rory glanced at her daughter's concerned expression, then ruffled her curly brown hair. "Of course, baby girl. Why wouldn't I be?"
"I dunno," she shrugged. "Anyway, Grandma called and wished me happy birthday. She's waiting for us at the diner. She said Uncle Jess and Aunt Clara are there! So it means Abby's here, too, right?"
Okay, no wonder why she's so excited, Rory smiled. It had been nearly two months since Jess had moved back to Philadelphia to take over Truncheon as its sole owner, logically taking his wife and daughter with him. Needless to say, Fred had missed her close friend and cousin. "Is this your way of telling me to hurry up?
"Ten minutes and I'll be ready," she promised. "Now shoo, baby girl. I need to change. Or do you want me to show up there in my pajamas?"
"Fine. You have ten minutes, mother," sighed Fred, dramatically throwing her arms up before leaving the room.
"Thank you, Emily!"
After having a soft chuckle at her daughter's expense, Rory stumbled out from bed and, as quick as her tired body would allow, got ready for their annual birthday brunch held in Fred's honor at Luke's. Well, annual since they had moved here from Hartford when her daughter turned three years old. Had it really been that long since they moved to Stars Hollow?
"Ma! Please hurry!" Fred implored from downstairs, the young girl's plea breaking Rory from her reverie. "Aunt Lane just phoned and said everybody's already there!"
"All right, all right, keep your pants on," she laughed, rushing down the stairs where both her husband and daughter were waiting. "Jeez, you're an impatient one, kiddo."
"I'm sorry, but Aunt Lane said that everybody's there already," apologized Fred. "Even Milan and her mom showed up!"
"Paris actually showed up?" Rory asked, surprised. It wasn't often the busy doctor could find time in her hectic schedule to visit Stars Hollow. "Wow. This is definitely a special occassion!"
"That's what Dad said," her daughter sighed, exasperated.
"Except I said it with more sarcasm," her husband chimed in.
"Can we go now?" Fred whined.
He frowned. "Winifred."
"Sorry," the girl looked down.
"Look, I know you're excited to see everybody but that's no reason to be rude," Marty admonished their only child. He looked over at his wife with a smile. "You look stunning, by the way."
"Flatterer," she grinned up at her husband.
He held his hand out to her. "Shall we?"
"Yes, we shall," Rory took his hand, then tip-toed to share a gentle kiss with him.
"You two are gross," the birthday girl complained like she always did when forced to witness her parents display affection for one another.
"Your daughter is full of sass this morning," Marty remarked.
"She gets it from my mother," complained Rory dramatically.
"You're killing me here, guys," pouted their daughter.
"Okay, okay, let's go," laughed Rory. With her daughter's hand grasped in one hand and Marty's in the other, she guided them out the door.
As Rory led her small family down the street towards Luke's to meet their gathered family and friends, she briefly remembered the recurring dream that had plagued her back in Chicago. No matter which of the many happy little variations the dream had taken, it was always around this point, where she was feeling the most blissful, that the reporter would wake up alone in her apartment. When the moment passed without incident though Rory let out a small chuckle before hurrying their pace, all the while blithely ignoring the bemused expressions on both her husband and daughter's faces.
I should've warned you that it was hokie. Sorry about that. Anyway, it was such a fun (and often frustrating) experience writing this story. You have no idea how much I appreciate those you who have read and reviewed this fic through its entirety. Thank you for your continued support and impressive patience, good reader. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
That all said, stay tuned. Even though Kismet is officially COMPLETED, I still have the alternate ending to post plus the eventual sequel.
Until then, stay awesome.
P.S. - Special thanks again to RyanPFW for recovering of this fic from the depths of nothingness. Now and forever, you the real MVP, buddy.