Hey there!

Oh boy...I haven't reviewed in ages. I can't believe that it has been 5 months. Well, I could tell you that university got in my way, which however would only be partly true. I guess I just kinda have lost my inspiration for this story. Recieving however constantly these really sweet reviews asking me to continue made me pick up the story again. I'm not sure if this chapter is any good...but I try to find my old writing form again.

THANK YOU to all the amazing people out there who took their time for reviewing and for reading the story. You are awesome. Many many thanks. I just hope I still can live up to your expectations :-))

Lorelai's POV

In an unreal, trance like state I stumbled out of the stuffy courtroom and let myself slump hard against the nearest wall. I tightly squeezed my eyes shut while trying to control the agonizing speed of my seemingly uncontrollable breathing. The whole situation seemed so unreal…..it was as if I hadn't been myself these past four hours. It was as if I had been standing beside myself and watching a complete stranger. How come that I suddenly was the accused one here? How come that I was suddenly accused of lying and betraying? What was the matter with me anyways? Normally I would stand up for the things I believed in and speak my mind but in there, it was if some kind of invisible force had prevented me form doing so.

Instead I had let myself take all the blame and guilt over what had happened on my shoulders. The whole situation had just been so completely overwhelming that it had caught me totally off guard. When it came to the well-being of my daughters I could turn into a complete different person. And exactly this worry over Ella….this fear had consummated me so much the last couple of hours that I hadn't been able to catch a single, clear thought any more.

Now that I was able to think clear again, anger started to take over my body. I wasn't the bad one or the accused one here. I was the one, who had lost her daughter. I was the one, who had missed out on every single important event in her life. First steps, first words, first smile, first day at school. Things that are lost in time, which couldn't be brought back and I would never be able to witness again. These 16 years were never going to come back again. Time had been stolen from us and no punishment in the world would justice this fact or bring back the lost years. I honestly, didn't care about the extent of their punishment or the extent of their imprisonment, any more. All I longed for was, grabbing my daughters, going home and finally start a life without constant sadness and guilt in the back of my mind.

"Mom! Mom!" the voice of Rory broke my trance like state.

"Are you all right?" Rory tried again, but somehow the meaning of her words couldn't break through my current wall of self-pity.


"Hmm?" I shook my head lightly to ban the unpleasant thoughts out of my head, at least for a while. I had to be strong for Rory and Ella. That's what I had always done, it's what I was best at. Right now, however, I desperately longed for someone, who for once in my life was strong for me. Someone I could lean on to. Let myself fall, and not think about the consequences of my actions for once.

"I'm all right Hon….I just….I just need to be alone for a second!….I'll go out and get some fresh air" I quickly added, while giving her a quick agonized smile. I knew of course that she saw through my fake facade, but she also knew me better than anyone else. And when I said I needed some time alone she respected that.

"Okay…but if you need something…."

"You'll be the first person to know " I smiled gratefully and quickly headed down through one of the many court's hallways. As soon as I had rounded the first corner, I started to run. I ran like a lunatic through the building, not caring if I would ever find back again. The scene reminded me a lot on the day when I had found out about Ella the first time. Exactly like now, I had run like a mad woman through dozens of different hallways. Now the situation was different of course…..or maybe the situation wasn't so different at all. Everything was like a cruel déjà vu. Once again I was standing in front of the dreading situation of loosing my daughter. My mind of course told me that this was ridiculous, that this wasn't going to happen. But the fear would not let me catch a clear thought. Therefore, all I could do was running, running as fast as I could.

"Lorelai?" I suddenly heard my name ring throughout one of the corridors. The unexpected voice broke my rhythm of setting one foot in front of the other. And next thing I knew, I was lying flat on my stomach.

"Oh my God….Lorelai…are you allright?" the voice, who had stopped my crazy sprint, could be heard again. I felt someone kneeling beside me and the palm of a hand stroked gently through my hair and down my spine

"Lorelai…..are you hurt?" the male voice whispered worriedly as he carefully supported my body in a sitting position.

A veil of tears prevented a clear view on the person beside me but somehow deep in inside, I already knew who was sitting there beside me. His gentle hands on my skin, his breath on my neck, sent dozens of shivers all over my skin.

"Luke!" I whispered hopefully as I blinked a few times to get rid of the tears in my eyes.

"Yeah…" he murmured as he continued to support my weight in his hands, while running his fingers through my hair.

"What was he doing here?" I asked myself, while deliberately trying to avoid his eyes. I knew, that when my eyes would meet his, all the guilt and pain of how I have treated Luke, would come back in an instant of a second. I just couldn't bare to see the disappointment and pain in his eyes one more time. I couldn't bare to see the hurt written all over the one's person's face, who had always been there for me, who I loved so much. Therefore, I fixated my gaze on his hand, which was slung around my waist. Unconsciously, I started to play with the dip of his flannel shirt, which had an unreal soothing effect on me. How does it come, that when I needed him the most, he was always there?

"Lorelai?" Luke whispered questioningly as I could feel his warm breath against my neck, which made my heart race even more.

"Are you hurt?" he asked again, worry swinging in his voice. "What happened Lorelai?"

"What was he doing here" I repeated the question in my head again. "Why was he here?" Because of Avery? Because of Rory?

"What…what…are you doing here" the words finally found its way out of my mouth. Still, I kept my eyes fixed on Luke's hand. This way everything was so much easier.

"I…ahm….well…Avery's trial is today, right?…And I…thought…well…"

"He always starts to stammer when he is embarrassed" I thought, while a tiny smile appeared on my lips.

"Well…you know what I mean!" he mumbled.

"What?" I asked.

"She is a great girl you know…and….I…well. Ah Jeez! Of course I'm here. Avery is important to me…and I wouldn't have missed this day for anything else in the world" he mumbled the last part very quickly and nearly inaudibly. "And….because of you…of course"

Had I heard him right? Not only was he here because of Ella, which made me fall in love with him all over again. But he also was here because of me?

"Luke?" I whispered as I finally brought myself to meet his eyes. I questioningly searched for the truth, for some sort of confirmation of his words. Did he mean what he had said?

"I've been here like…I don't know…two hours? This stupid building consist of never ending hallways. Everything looks the same. Stupid bureaucrats! Have I mentioned that I hate lawyers and judges and….."

"Luke?" I quickly interrupted his words, by laying one finger against his lips.

"He always starts to babble when he tries to overplay his nervousness" I thought. It's funny that you observe little, seemingly unimportant things like that, not until it's too late. Was it too late?

Time seemed to stand still as our eyes finally met one another. Yes, it may sound like a typical cliché out of a sappy romance novel, but it's true, time seemed to stand still. People passed us and they may have asked themselves why two people were sitting in the middle of a hallway. But nothing but us mattered at that moment.

"So…was it to late to tell him that I truly loved him? Or had I, like so often before, scared him away? Had I hurt him too much?

"Lorelai….?" he tried again, my finger still resting against his lips.

"Luke!" I interrupted him with a shaking voice once again. My whole body was shaking and my heart was racing like jackhammer. It was now or never.

"Luke….I see you!" my voice nearly broke by my words.

"I see you!" I tried again. "Do you hear me Luke? I have seen you for a very long time….I….I…. see you !" I tried to hold back the tears that threatened to surface but somehow it wouldn't work.

"What?" he asked unbelievingly. Now, he was the one, who was searching my eyes for the truth of my words. And he would find nothing but the truth.

"You do?" he said more like a statement than a question. I nodded yes.

"I love you Luke!" I suddenly said. It slipped from my lips, like the most normal thing in the world, considering the fact that I had never said those three words before to a man and considering that I had said them in the middle of one of the worst days of my life. But what had I to loose? My heart was broken already. It broke when I had hurt Luke so much on that particular day. When he practically confessed his love to me and I did say nothing.

"I'm so sorry Luke. I never wanted to hurt you" I desperately tried to explain. "You know me Luke…when I'm afraid of something I start to run."

"Why are you afraid, Lorelai?" he asked, while taking my face gently into his hands.

"To loose you. What if it doesn't work out between us. Then I would loose a partner and a best friend at the same time. And I'm not sure if I could handle both of it" I explained with a trembling voice. "I couldn't bare it"

"That's not going to happen Lorelai" Luke firmly said, as he finally loosened his embrace and helped me to get up.

"How Luke! How do you know for sure?" I asked him expectantly.

"Because even if it wouldn't work out between us, I would still be your friend. I will always be there for you, Lorelai. Always. I love you way too much as to ever disappear out of your life" he admitted truthfully and next thing I knew I felt his lips against mine.

Ella's POV

"How do you feel?" Rory asked me as we stood in front of the courtroom in which the new trial would be held in.

"Nervous" I answered truthfully, as I thought about the things that still lay ahead. Thinking back on the trial before, I honestly felt like throwing up right here, right now. I so badly whished that everything would be over already but the harsh reality wouldn't let this happen of course.

"God….." I sighed. "Why can't things be easy for once?"

"Everything will be allright….you'll see!" Rory assured me soothingly as she embraced me in a tight welcoming hug. "It…..will be allright!"

I nodded thankfully while giving her a warm smile.

"I hope she was right" I thought. Somehow I had this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that something really bad was going to happen.

"Hey…I just rush to the restroom for a minute…okay?" Rory interrupted my thoughts as I nodded in answer.

"Yeah okay….I will wait here" I added before she headed down the corridor.

So…here I was….standing once again in front of a life changing moment. Something that seemed to have become an everyday occurrence in my life. I sighed heavily as I let my gaze drift over to the huge door of the courtroom. Strangely, the door stood about an inch open, which made me wonder if somebody was already in there. I slowly walked over and risked a peek through the door. I couldn't really see anything so I simply walked into the room to get a little acclimated….to see the surroundings, in which I would meet the one person that I dreaded and feared so much in my life. I let my eyes wander over the benches where the judge and the jurymen would sit, over the seats of the auditory and typists and finally over to the defendant's bench, which was just a few feet away from me. What I saw there however let my blood freeze and my heart literally stand still. My whole body began to shake as the reality of the situation hit me unprepared.

It was Hank…..clothed in a typical orange prisoner overall…his hands and feet chained to some kind of appliance, which I guess was specially constructed for chaining handcuffs to it. Now I also noticed the two police officers, who seemed to lead a heated discussion, on the other side of the room.

"Hello Sweetheart!" the voice, which constantly hunted my dreams, echoed through my ear.

"Happy to see me?" he grinned.

I wanted to run….my brain told me to run as fast as I could…out of the room….out of the building….simply run. But all I could do was stand there like a rooted tree.

I wanted to scream….my brain told me to scream….but no sound would come out of my mouth.

"Don't even think about screaming" he seemed to have read my mind or maybe he had just interpreted the expression of my eyes, which reflected pure horror.

"I tell you now something Avery….and I want you to listen very carefully. Do you understand?" he harshly whispered so that the police officers wouldn't hear.

I desperately gasped for air, while tears threatened to makes its way down my cheeks. I tried to gulp down the surfacing stream of water as a few tiny sobs escaped my lips.

"If you say one word…..just one single word, which the judge or the whole bunch of bureaucrats could hold against me….then your sweet little family will pay for this….do you understand me?" he practically spat into my face. "I have ways and means that could make the life of mommy a living hell. So….one single word….."

"Ms…..Ms…..you are not authorized to be in this room" the voice of one of the police officers suddenly rang throughout the room but I hardly took notice of it. My body was shaking and my feet just wouldn't move. Unshielded tears were spilling down all over my face.

"Stop crying…." Hank ordered me furiously and to my surprise I did as I was told without wasting one thought about it. Why did he still have so much power over me?

"Ms….you are not authorized to be here" the officer said again as he reached me. He quickly shooed me out of the courtroom, closing the door behind me.

"Hey you….where have you been?" Rory suddenly stood beside me while I winced at her sudden appearance.

"Are you allright?" she asked with raised eyebrows. "You seem…scared? Did you just come out of the courtroom?"

"What…I….no….no…" I lied shakingly. "Just….nervous" I gulped heavily, as I gave her a fake smile.

"But…."Rory started again.

"Hey there is Mom…" I interrupted her and headed over to Luke and Mom.

Lorelai's POV

"Luke…?" I asked as we headed back trough the hallways.

"Mmmmmhh?" he gave in reply.

"I…I'm….." I sighed in frustration.

"Hey hey hey….what's the matter?"

"I'm so very glad that you are Luke!" I said in a shaky voice. "Because….I'm just….I'm just so very afraid of what will happen. I feel so empty Luke….empty and afraid. I'm not sure what I would do if they would take Ella from me"

"Lorelai…" Luke started.

"No….I know….this sounds ridiculous…and I know that this isn't going to happen…but still I'm afraid. You know….my whole life I had to be strong.…and now I have come to a point where I….I just don't feel able to be strong any more….I feel exhausted." I explained.

"You don't have to be strong any more…at least not all the time" Luke said, while taking my hands in his and looking straight into my eyes.

"Because I have you?" I asked, mesmerized by his eyes.

"Yes…because you have me. Let me help you Lorelai….let me carry some of your burdens…allright?"

"Allright" I whispered, while burying my head in his shoulder. "I love you" I said the second on this day.

"And I love you" Luke kissed my forehead and stroking lovingly through my hair.

"Hey there are Rory and Ella." Luke suddenly said.

Ella's POV

"Next I want to call Ms. Avery Elizabeth Thompson into the witness stand" the attorney announced.

Slowly I got up from the seat beside my Mom and Rory.

"Don't be afraid Honey. We are here…everything will be allright…nothing can happen to you…" Mom said soothingly while giving me an assuring smile.

"But something can happen to you" I desperately thought.

"Ms. Avery Elizabeth Thompson. Do you swear to tell the truth? The whole truth? Nothing but the truth? So help you God?" the judge asked me with my hand positioned on the Bible.

"I….I swear" I choked out.

"Listen Ms. Thompson…we want to make this as easy and quick as possible for you…for we know that you were already part in another trial before….alright?" he asked.

I nodded, while swallowing hard as my gaze met Hank's cold eyes.

"I will read to you the bill of indictment and all I want you to do is say if the accusations are correct or not!" he explained.

I nodded once again and he started to read.

"Mr. Hank Thompson is accused of heavy physical as well as mental child abuse. He is accused of abusing Ms. Thompson with an iron rod, which resulted in several broken rips, bruises and concussions. He is accused of mistreating Ms. Thompson over ten whole years while the mental abuse dominated her life…." The advocate went on and on and on…..

After the first couple of lines I stopped listening. My eyes were fixed on the advocate. I saw his lips moving but no sound seemed to come out of his mouth. I was in trance…and everything seemed to be in a haze. Again my eyes drifted over to Hank, who stared coldly into my direction. An unbelievable fear swept once again over my whole body. And once again I asked myself why he had such an enormous power over me?

"All we need is your confirmation Ms. Thompson and we can release you out of the witness stand" the advocate finally finished, shaking me out of my trance.

"Are the accusations I just read out loud correct Ms. Thompson?"

I stared at him for a moment, before my eyes wandered over to Mom and Rory. I saw all their love and commitment for me and that's when I knew what I had to do.

I took a deep breath and answered: "No!"

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think! Greets.