Disclaimer: I do not own nor do I have any association with the Gilmore Girls or any of its characters. Dreaming about them is a totally different thing…

Chapter 29- Two Birds with one Stone

Present Day

Luke Danes was never a man of words. It was safe to say he kept to himself and let others know very little about the man in the flannel shirt and backwards baseball cap. He was a damn good cook and coffee supplier and a loving father and husband. That's all people needed to know. But Kelly Danes wasn't people. She was Luke's daughter. She felt she had a right to know her father's past, but rather than asking him she decided to Nancy Drew it.

Earlier in the day, after story hour, she dragged her sister upstairs to their old, dusty attic. No one ever went up there. It was where the bad memories were packed away and forgotten. Some of Danny's things had found their way up there to rest in a box beside the one marked "Dad's stuff" written in their father's shaky handwriting.

"We shouldn't be up here Kelly," Rory whispered to her sister. "What if Mom and Dad hear us?"

"Relax," Kelly said. "Jess is gonna go down there to distract them in a few minutes."

"You're trusting Jess as our backup? Ok, we're gonna be in deep trouble."

Kelly rolled her eyes. "Hey, you're the one that trusted him enough to bring him into a house full of people that hate him." Rory glared at her sister. "Sorry. Strike that from the record."

"What are you looking for anyway?"

"I don't know," Kelly replied as she rummaged through a box. "Something, anything that'll tell us something about Dad."

"Why don't you just ask him what you want to know?"

"Because this is much more fun."

Rory rolled her eyes and noticed a box tucked away beside a big brass coat rack Emily had given Luke and Lorelai for Christmas one year and under the coffee table she had given them for their anniversary a few months later. It was a fairly small box so it wasn't surprising they would have looked over it on their first sweep of the attic. Rory gently pulled the box out from it's hiding place. It seemed older than the other boxes. Much more fragile. It hadn't seen any kind of light in twenty years. When she opened it, she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"Hey, what's that?" Kelly asked as she walked over to Rory.

"I'm not sure," Rory replied, still in shock. "It's a box of…Harvard stuff."

"Harvard? But you go to Yale."

"Thanks for the update Kel."

"I'm just wondering why we have a box of Harvard stuff. What's in there?"

"Shirts, sweaters, sweats, jackets, hats, banners, pamphlets…oh my God. There's baby Harvard stuff in here!"

"Maybe Grandpa Will was a Harvard man."

"No way. Grandpa never went to college."

"What about Dad's cousin Paul? Or Jim?"

"Why would we have Paul and Jim's stuff in out attic?"

"I don't know."

"I know I wanted to go to Harvard for a really long time, but I've never seen this stuff before. It looks…older."

"Yeah. I mean look at those designs! Are those pictures?"

Rory picked up a stack of pictures. They were of Luke and Lorelai and another couple sporting Harvard shirts and caps. Rory and Kelly had never seen the other couple in their lives, but they looked so familiar. As Rory neared the end of the box, she found three pieces of paper at the very bottom. She picked them up, reading each to herself. Dear Lucas Danes, we're proud to announce you have been accepted into Harvard University. Rory's jaw dropped. It was Luke's stuff. He had been a Harvard man! She looked at the next paper and it was an acceptance letter from Yale. The last was from Princeton. He had been accepted to three ivy league colleges and his own kids didn't even know. But why would he hide something like that? It was something he should have been proud to have gone to Harvard or Yale or Princeton.

"Oh man," Kelly said, looking at the back of the picture of her parents and the other couple.

"What?" Rory asked as she stood up.

"Take a look at this." Kelly handed Rory the photo, showing her what was written on the back.

Feb. 1985- Luke, Lorelai, Kev, and Sarah

"Oh my God. That's Kevin Gleason and Sarah Millar! Those were Mom and Dad's best friends growing up. But look what I found." Rory handed Kelly the acceptance letters. "It seems Dad was accepted to Harvard and Yale and Princeton."

"Our Dad's an ivy leaguer? Which did he go to? And why would he pack all this stuff away?"


1985

Luke sat silently beside Lorelai as she chatted away with the other girls, Andrew, Jackson, and Kirk. His mind wandered from Lorelai to his father to the three big envelopes in his backpack. He had gotten them this morning, but quickly stashed them away before anyone knew they had arrived. He didn't want to think about them- although, he had made up his mind already.

"Luke," Lorelai called. "Hey, for the fifth time, Luke. Pay attention to me or I'm telling them about our…bedtime stories."

"Huh?" Luke asked, still not fully paying attention to his girlfriend. He was still stuck in his own little world.

"I need paper. Can I get some out of your bag?"

"Uh huh."

"So who's the candidates for prom queen this year?" Sookie asked.

"Does it really matter? Everyone knows it's gonna come down to two people- Rachel and Anna Nardini," Gypsy remarked.

"It's like a cat fight from Luke's little black book," Jackson laughed.

"Luke's little black book?" Lorelai asked, putting down Luke's backpack. She turned to Luke and raised a brow. "Why didn't I hear about this 'Anna' woman?"

"Ah jeez," Luke groaned. "It's not important."

"If you're hiding her from me…"

"I'm not hiding anyone. She's an ex. That's all. Drop it already."

"So Luke!" Sarah jumped in. "Kev and I are renting a limo for the night. Do you and Lorelai wanna ride with us to prom?"

"I'm not going," Luke mumbled as he looked down at his hands.

"What? Why not?" Lorelai asked.

"Because I don't want to."

"It's your senior year, you have to go."

"I don't have to do anything Lorelai. I don't wanna go."

Lorelai stared at Luke. She had no idea what had gotten into him. He'd been acting really weird the past few days. "Fine. We won't go." She went back to digging through Luke's bag for paper.

Just then, Kevin walked over to the group. "Hey guys, what's going on?" he asked.

"Luke's being a jerk," Andrew teased.

"Shut up," Luke barked.

"Temper, temper Butch," Jackson joked.

As Luke and the other guys continued to argue about Luke's mood, Lorelai started digging through his backpack in search of paper. When she opened the main part of the backpack, she noticed three big envelopes stuffed inside. She didn't want to be a nosey girlfriend, but they were right in front of her and Luke did give her permission to go through his bag. She glanced at the return address stickers at the top of each envelope.

"Oh my God," she gasped, not realizing how loud she was.

Everyone stopped to look at her. "What's wrong?" Lulu asked.

"Um, nothing." Lorelai glanced at Luke, giving him a knowing look about the envelopes. His eyes widened begging her not to bring it up.

"What's that?" Sarah asked, peaking into Luke's backpack. "Those look like admission letters."

Luke sighed and lowered his head, shaking it slightly. He was hoping no one would see them and now he was busted. He gave Lorelai a look telling her to go ahead and take them out.

"They are admission letters!" Sarah said as Lorelai handed her one of the envelopes.

"Harvard," Lorelai beamed as she read the return address aloud. Then she pulled out another envelope, confused why it would be there. "Yale? Princeton? Luke, I didn't know you applied to Yale and Princeton."

"I didn't think I was gonna get in," Luke sighed. "I was offered a scholarship to Harvard. I didn't think Yale and Princeton would want a pending Harvard scholarship student. Turns out they're gonna give me scholarships too if I choose to go to one of those schools."

"Which one are you going to go to?" Sookie asked. "Harvard. I bet you pick Harvard!"

"I'm not going to Harvard," Luke stated.

"You're not?" Jackson asked. "Oh. You're gonna go to Yale. Closer to home. I get it." Luke shook his head. "You're not going to Yale?"

"Princeton? You chose Princeton over Harvard and Yale?" Liz asked.

"No," Luke said standing up. "No. No. No. I'm not going to Harvard. I'm not going to Yale. And I'm not going to Princeton!"

"But that doesn't leave any other choice," Kirk remarked.

"Exactly," Luke sighed.

"Luke, these are big envelopes. They're not 'we don't want you' envelopes. They're 'we'll hit a baby seal in the face to get you' envelopes," Andrew said.

"One, you're sick. That's a horrible thing to say. And two, I don't care if they want me. I'm not going. Anywhere."

"What?" Everyone asked.

"Why?" Sarah asked. "You always talk about leaving this place."

"I'm just not going, so drop it," Luke said. He took the envelopes and put them in his backpack.

"Are you that stupid? You just got accepted into three of the best schools in the country and you're passing them up?" Kevin noticed the quick glance Luke gave Lorelai, but not the one to Liz. "I get it now. This is about her." Everyone looked at Kevin then at Lorelai.

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"I should have guessed it. You're a complete idiot. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"Shut up Kevin."

"They are begging you to go to their schools."

"I'm serious Kevin, shut up."

"You're gonna pass up something great for that slut!"

Everyone was shocked by Kevin's statement and Luke was furious. "That's it!" he dropped his backpack and tackled Kevin to the ground.

The entire school heard the commotion and gathered around to see what was going on. The girls were screaming at Luke and Kevin to stop as Jackson, Andrew, Kirk, and a few other guys that came over tried to pull the two men apart.

"Fuck you!" Kevin yelled at Luke.

"Fuck you too!" Luke yelled back. "We're over! Sixteen years of friendship- over!"

"Fine by me! I'm not the one throwing my life away for some whore!"

Luke let out another growl and struggled against the men holding him back. "Don't talk about her like that!"

"It's the truth!"

"No it's not! She has nothing to do with my decision not to go to college."

"Liar! No one in their right mind would pass up three of the best schools in the nation! Give me one good reason why you would if not her!"

"Because my father's dying!" The entire courtyard- heck the whole school- went silent as they stared at Luke. The men holding him back released him and stepped back as he calmed down some. Luke looked to Lorelai and Liz. They were shocked more than anyone. "He didn't want anyone to know. I'm not going to college because I can't leave my father."

Luke picked his backpack up off the ground and headed to his truck, leaving nearly half the town shocked.


Present Day

"I don't see what the big deal is," Luke remarked as he leaned against the kitchen counter top.

"The 'big deal' is you said yes Luke," Lorelai sighed as she shut the refrigerator door and headed across the kitchen.

"Well what was I supposed to say?"

"You weren't supposed to say anything."

"Oh and that wouldn't have been suspicious at all."

"Then you should have said we would think about it."

"They have it in town records Lorelai," Luke nearly laughed as he took another swig of his beer. "We stood in front of the whole town twenty years ago and told them that on our twentieth anniversary, we would renew our vows. How would it have looked if I said we needed to think about it? Red flags would have been going up all over the place!"

"I don't care what they would have thought."

"Then what about Kelly? She was sitting right in front of us Lorelai. If I didn't say yes or if I had hesitated, she would have known something was up."

Lorelai looked up at Luke. "That's not fair."

"What?"

"You cannot use our daughter as a scapegoat!"

"I'm not using her as a scapegoat!"

"You are too!"

"Oh come on Lorelai. Most couples renew their vows after twenty years of marriage, not sign divorce papers."

"I knew it," they heard Jess say. They turned their heads to see Jess standing in the doorway. "I knew something wasn't right. You two were at each other's throats when I first got here and then you were all lovey dovey. It was an act."

"Jess, you misunderstood…" Lorelai said.

"Drop the act already. You're busted."

Lorelai glared at Luke. "Good job loud mouth."

"If you had left well enough alone I never would have said it," Luke remarked.

"If you hadn't said yes, I wouldn't have been fighting with you."

"If you…"

"Cut it out!" Jess said. "I can't believe you two have been lying to your families about something like this. How long has it been going on?" Neither Luke nor Lorelai replied. "Hey, I asked a question. How long?" Luke mumbled a response. "What?"

"I said a year," Luke confessed.

"Six months," Lorelai corrected. "We decided to separate six months ago."

"Well everything started a year ago."

"Don't you dare."

"Don't I dare what?"

"Don't you dare blame this on Danny's death."

Luke stood up straight, his facial expression turning quickly to anger. "I am not blaming this on Danny! Don't act like I don't miss him!"

"Oh yeah. Drinking until you pass out really helps."

"He was my son too! I miss him just as much as you do!"

"I never said you don't miss him! Don't put words into my mouth!"

"Enough!" Jess yelled. "Jeez! If you two have been separated for a ye…"

"Six months," Lorelai said.

Jess rolled his eyes. "If you've been separated for six months, why are you sleeping in the same bed?"

"We haven't been," Luke said.

"Don't," Lorelai said.

"I've been sleeping in the guest room."

"Luke!"

"What? I have been!"

"I didn't kick you out!"

"I never said you did!"

"You're making it sound like I did!"

"I am not!"

"I said enough!" Jess yelled. "You can't keep hiding this from your kids. They deserve to know."

"No," Luke stated. "Not now. They're finally moving on?"

"Are they really Luke? Do you honestly think they're ever going to get over losing their little brother? Are you ever gonna get over losing a son?" Luke and Lorelai lowered their heads. "I thought so. The longer you wait to tell them, the worse the outcome will be." Jess turned to go back to the living room but stopped for a second. "Oh and by the way, Rory and Kelly are in the attic going through that crap you tried to hide. I think they found your Harvard box."


1985

Lorelai snuggled closer into Luke's bare chest, placing a soft kiss on it. He had released the tension from the past few days in bed with Lorelai in the last two hours. She knew he still had a burden on his shoulders and his fight with Kevin earlier in the day hadn't helped at all. She looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back and she leaned up to kiss him.

"Hi," she said softly.

"Hey," he said back.

"How you feeling?"

"Worn out." She playfully slapped his chest and he laughed. "I feel better than I have in days."

"Good." She hugged his waist. "You scared me earlier."

"What? When? Why?"

"Earlier when you were…" Lorelai trailed off and took a deep breath. "When you were fighting with Kevin. I'd never seen you so angry. It kinda…scared me."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get so mad. He was just…he said those awful things about you and I snapped. I just hit him and I couldn't stop myself. I didn't mean to scare you."

"I don't think you know how strong you really are."

"Lorelai…"

"You could have killed him if those guys didn't stop you."

Luke let out a sigh and sat up. "Lorelai, come here." Lorelai sat up, facing him. "Listen to me- I am never going to hurt you. I'd never raise a hand to you."

"What if you're really angry and…"

"Never, Lorelai. Never."

Lorelai let out a breath and nodded. "Ok. I'm so sorry. I know you'd never hurt me. I was just…I was scared."

"Hey, you never have to be afraid with me."

"Promise?"

"I promise."

"Luke?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm scared for Dad."

Luke hugged Lorelai tightly. "So am I, Lorelai. So am I."

"Tell me we'll be together forever."

"We'll be together until the day after forever."


Next time on "The Broken Road": Lorelai has the same problem in 1985 and the present day, but the fear becomes a reality in one.

A/N: Ok, seriously sorry for the long wait on an update. School's been tiring and I've been looking for a new job. I'll try not to take as long with the next update. Oh and the ending my seem useless, but remember- everything is in here for a reason.