Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing. Not Lorelai. Not Rory. Not Luke (wipes away a tear). Nothing.
Chapter 16- Like father, like daughter
It's instinct for a mother to be afraid for her children's well-being. It was natural for her to want to protect them from any harm and take the pain away with a simple kiss on their boo-boo. But today, no amount of kisses or his or toys would help Lorelai. Today her son, her little baby boy, was being wheeled into an operating room. She sat in the waiting room beside her husband clutching Richie's favorite teddy bear- the one with the broken ear.
When Richie was two years old, Luke took him to the toy store to buy any toy he wanted. They had been searching for nearly fifteen minutes when they came across the damaged teddy bear. Its ear was torn from the edge half way in. The other children would push the poor bear out of the way in search of a "perfect" one.
"Luke," Lorelai scolded, "it's ripped!"
"I can see that Lorelai. He wanted that one. I tried to get him to pick another one. Harry gave me a discount for it. He likes it and that's what matters right?."
Lorelai sighed and bent forward so she was eye level with Richie. "Sweetie, do you want Momma to fix your bear's ear?" she asked and signed at the same time.
Richie's eyes widened as he clutched the bear for dear life. "No fix!" he yelled.
"Son, his ear's broken. Momma can fix it for you," Luke said and signed.
"No fix! No fix!"
Lorelai sighed and stood. "He's not going to give me the bear is he?"
"Why does he insist on having a broken teddy bear? You couldn't you switch it with a normal one when he wasn't looking?"
"He would have noticed. The bear's ear is sliced."
Luke felt a tugging on his pant leg and looked down. Richie looked up at his father with his bright blue eyes. "Teddy broken Poppa," the little boy said.
"I kn…" Luke was interrupted by his son.
"Like me." Luke and Lorelai froze. "See. Teddy ear broken and my ear broked too. He no hear good like me. No one like Teddy because he broked, but I like Teddy."
Lorelai shut her eyes as the memory floated through her mind. Richie had always been a bright child. In something as innocent as picking out a new toy, he had seen the cruelty of the world. He, like the teddy bear, was "damaged." He too was treated differently. People were cautious around the little boy and he received "special treatment." His parents tried to steer clear of such ways, but at times would accidentally treat him differently. What Richie did that day in the toy store was what very few adults could do, he chose the imperfection and saw it as perfect.
Luke put his hand over his wife's and gave her a reassuring squeeze. "He's gonna be fine," he said. "Whether this operation is a success or not, he's perfect. He always has been and he always will be."
"I know," Lorelai said with a sniffle. "I just…"
"I know. So am I. But we need to believe everything's going to be ok." Luke held Lorelai as she began to cry. "Lorelai, there's something I need to tell you."
Lorelai looked up at Luke. She could tell by the tone of his voice, it was serious. "What is it?"
"Lorelai, I've been meaning to tell you this for a while now."
"Honey, whatever it is you can just tell me. You shouldn't be afraid to tell me."
"I know. It's just…" Luke took a deep breath. "Ok. Um. Lorelai, I have…"
Right that second, Dr. Moore walked into the waiting room. "Mr. and Mrs. Danes?" he called, unknowingly interrupting Luke. Luke and Lorelai stood.
"Is everything ok? Did something happen to Richie?" Lorelai asked, holding onto her husband for dear life.
"Everything's fine," Dr. Moore smiled. "The operation was a success." Luke and Lorelai both let out a sigh of relief. "His eardrum was repaired and should be functioning properly. Now he's going to have to stay here overnight for observation, but he'll be able to go home in the morning. The noise needs to be minimal. He'll need time for getting used to the new volume level. He'll also need to stay at home until the end of the week."
"Oh he won't be happy about that," Luke laughed. "He loves going to preschool."
"Can we see him?" Lorelai asked.
"In a minute," Dr. Moore replied. "They're just getting him settled into a room and you'll be able to see your son. He'll be in room 304. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call."
"We will. Thank you Dr. Moore," Luke said, shaking the doctor's hand.
Luke and Lorelai headed down the hall toward their son's room. Just as they were about to walk into the room, Lorelai stopped. "Wait," she said, grabbing Luke's hand and turning to him.
"What? I thought you were excited about seeing Richie."
"I am. I forgot. Weren't you going to tell me something?"
Luke had completely forgotten he was planning on telling Lorelai of his heart condition. He smiled sweetly at his wife. "It doesn't matter," he said.
"You sure?" He smiled and nodded. She gave him a quick kiss. "Ok. Let's go see our baby."
Luke allowed Lorelai to drag him into the room as that damn voice in the back of his mind nagged at him, repeating those three word: Just tell her.
Hope and Lana giggled and ran off to the jungle gym. Rory smiled as she watched the girls catch up to their friends and jump and play around. She looked into the stroller to make sure Nate was still sleeping. She took out her book and started reading.
She would look up to every five minutes to make sure Hope and Lana were safe and still in sight. She'd make sure Nathan was still asleep and comfortable before going back to her book. Suddenly there was an overcast, blocking the sunlight from her book. She looked up and sighed when she saw Tristin.
"Do you mind moving? You're blocking my light," she stated.
"Lovely day don't you think?" he asked, completely ignoring her request.
"Tristin, you're blocking my light."
"It's been nearly…what…twenty-one years?"
"What do you want Tristin?"
"You haven't changed much have you? Still got your nose stuck in a book."
"And yours is still stuck up your…"
"I'm hurt. We haven't seen each other in two decades and I don't even get a 'hey, how ya doin?'. This hostility doesn't suit you."
"It hasn't been two decades. We saw each other last weekend remember? I kicked you out of my parents' house."
"Your parents. Oh that's right. Your mom married that guy that works at the diner."
"My dad owns the diner."
"Your dad," Tristin laughed. "That's cute." He peered into the stroller at Nathan. "Cute kid."
By now, Rory was very annoyed with Tristin. "Tristin…"
"I'm sure the diner man really like you calling him 'dad' even though you're not his kid. I wonder if your husband will feel the same way about your next kid."
Rory's head snapped up and she stared at Tristin with a shocked expression. "What did you s…"
"I always knew some things would never change, but this… this is a major change. I never, in my wildest dreams did I think you would be so scandalous."
Rory immediately started gathering her things. She looked toward the play structure for Hope and Lana. "Hope! Lana! It's time to go!" she yelled.
"But Mom! We're still playing!" Hope whined.
"Yeah Mom, they're still playing," Tristin taunted.
"Shut up Tristin!" Rory spat. "Hope! Lana! It's time to go! Now!"
"I never thought you of all people would be one cheating on your husband."
Rory froze. "What?"
Tristin took a step closer to Rory and spoke in a low voice. "Don't play dumb Rory. I overheard you and the diner man's nephew. You told him about the pregnancy first. You went to him to be comforted. You asked him to go with you to your appointment. Now why would you ask another man, a recent widower, to accompany you when your husband could take you?"
"You have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh I think I do. I wonder what Logan would think of this. I always thought he was supposed to be the playboy. But Rory Huntzberger, his beloved trophy wife, is the one having an affair."
"Hey guys," Dean interrupted as he came down the path with Oliver. "Hey Ollie, why don't you go run off and play with Lana and Hope?"
"Yes Uncle Dean," Oliver said before running off.
"Cute kid huh? Lindsey and Joan were really close. Jess and his boys are practically family." Dean took a step closer to Tristin with a threatening glare. "Took me a while to realize it, but Jess is a good guy and Rory's an honest woman. If you continue to try to ruin their good names, you're gonna find yourself in some big trouble."
"You're threatening me? You gotta be kidding me," Tristin laughed.
"Do you really want a man like Luke Danes coming after you welding a sledge hammer? I think it's time for you to go Tristin."
After a few moments, Tristin took two steps backwards before turning around and heading down the path. Rory let out the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding.
"Dean, thank you so much," Rory thanked, putting her hand on Dean's arm. "I owe you."
"Don't worry about it," Dean said, not looking up at her. "I should get Oliver home."
She knew what he was thinking. He had heard what Tristin said- well, enough to ruin her reputation as a faithful wife. She caught his arm and stopped him from walking away. "Dean, about what Tristin said, it's…"
He put up a hand to silence her. "You don't have to explain it to me."
"Seriously. I don't wanna know. Oliver! Come on! Your dad's waiting for you!" Oliver ran back over to Dean. "See you later Rory."
"Dean…" Rory didn't even get to finish her sentence. Dean was already headed down the path with Oliver. It was a mighty deep hole being buried for her. This situation was ready to blow up in her face and chances were, it was going to be very messy. Well, like father, like daughter.
Emma and Lori stepped off the bus listening to Will chatter on and on about how happy he was to be back at school.
"Gee Will, are you happy your suspension is over?" Lori teased.
"I never would have guessed!" Emma laughed.
"Hey, you were stuck in that house with Mom and Dad for two weeks, you'd be doing the same thing," Will said. "You guys know what you're singing for that concert Doose's putting on?"
"I was thinking the small world song," Lori joked.
"I've got the Crazy Frog down to a notch!" Emma joked.
"Fine, mock me," Will said walking faster.
"Ok, ok, we're sorry," Lori laughed as they caught up with Will.
"We won't mock," Emma said. "I'm not sure what I'm singing."
"I've got a few ideas in my head but not all necessarily about this concert thing." Will and Emma stared at their niece. "What can I say? I am my grandmother's granddaughter."
"Yeah, you are," Will said. "Coffee addicted."
"Always hungry," Emma added.
"Paranoid at times."
"Ok so it's ok to mock me?" Lori interrupted.
Emma and Will started to crack up. "Ah come on Lor, you know we're just joking," Will laughed putting his arm around his niece. He glanced at his watch.
"Hey guys," Lena greeted with a smile as she walked up to her friends. "Oh Will, do you have that book I was asking you about the other day?"
"Yeah. It's somewhere in my house. Swing by later and I'll find it for you," Will replied
Lori had known about Will and Lena for a week and she already picked up on their signals and this was one of them. She suddenly felt nauseous.
"Lori? What's wrong? You look sick," Emma remarked.
"I'm fine. Just my stomach," Lori replied.
Will glanced at his watch. "Ah jeez. I gotta get to the diner. Hopefully Lane won't tell Dad I was late…again," he said. "Alright ladies. I will see you later." With that, Will headed to the diner.
The three girls headed down the street toward Lori's house.
"I love how the guys at Chilton started treating us like lepers again," Emma laughed.
"I know! Stupid Will. He just had to come back to school," Lori joked.
"He did say he was really bored being stuck at home," Lena remarked.
"He was," Emma admitted. "And when he wasn't at home, he had to be at the diner. With Dad. All d…" Emma suddenly trailed off.
"Em?" Lori called. She saw Emma's face had gone pale. "Em, what's wr…" Lori looked across the street to see what had stricken her aunt. Tyler Doose was across the street…holding Terri Banyon's- the Banyon boys' only sister and Emma's worst enemy- hand.
"Emma, I'm sorry," Lena said. "It only happened today. I didn't…I wasn't sure how to tell you. She found out you turned him down and she pounced on him."
"We can use Grandpa's truck to run her over. We can run him over too," Lori said, half-joking.
Emma wasn't sure if she was angry or if she was sad. No more than a week ago, Tyler had been following her around and had asked her out. He starts acting like a jerk, she calls him on it, and suddenly he's with another girl? It didn't make sense to Emma. Now she was mad. No. She wasn't mad. She was furious. Damn boys. Liars. That's what they were. The only men she could trust were the ones she was related to.
Then it hit her. A brilliant plan for her to get back at Tyler and let him know what an asshole he really was. She needed to get back at that bitch too. And she knew just the way to do it. She quickly turned on her heel and headed to the diner with Lori and Lena right behind her.
"Emma," Lori called. She saw the look in Emma's eye. She knew that look. It was the look that said 'I'm gonna make them pay.' "Emma."
"Emma, calm down," Lena said. "We know your mad, but you don't wanna do something you're going to regret."
"I'm not going to regret this at all," Emma said as they walked into the diner. "Will!"
Will looked up from behind the counter. "Em? What's wrong?" he asked, concerned. Lori pointed out the window toward Tyler and Terri. Will instantly knew what was wrong. "Ah jeez sis. I'm sorry. If there's something I can do, let me know. You deserve better than that jerk."
Will hadn't noticed Lena and Lori motioning him not to offer to help until it was too late. The smirk across Emma's face told him he shouldn't have.
"Actually big brother," Emma said. "there is something you can help me out with."
Next time on "Breakaway":
Holden to Lorelai: I need to talk to someone and I didn't know who else to go to.
Lorelai: What's wring?
Holden: It's about Dad
Luke to April: You must be Richard's new assistant. I'm Luke.
April: April Nardini.
Will to Emma: Sometimes I feel like I'm expected to live like this.
Emma: Like what?
Will: Like Dad. You and I- we're never gonna be our own person. We're always going to live in Mom and Dad's shadow.
A/N: I decided to change the Emma-Tyler part. I wanted to wait on that story line and go ahead with another. It's gonna start picking up from here and I warn you, Will's going to become a real jerk in the next few chapters. And Luke's only going to get worse.