Chapter 9: It's Time To Go

Recap: Lorelai sings Luke to sleep and talks with Mia.

Disclaimer: Gilmore Girls belong to the WB and I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Gilmore Mansion

When Lorelai and Katie got home, her mother pounced on her, yelling, "Where were you Lorelai?! Mitzi Huntzburger from Ladies' Guild was over today and wanted to see my new grandchild. Do you have any idea how humiliating it was for me that you weren't here and I couldn't even tell her when you'd be back? I thought we had resolved this just a few days ago. Your memory can't be that bad!"

"Mom, I left you a note this morning that Katie and I were going to a funeral and that we'd be home by dinnertime," she retorted, struggling to keep her temper in check.

"Nobody died that I know of," Emily huffed.

Lorelai sighed, figuring that it wouldn't make any difference anyway, but said, "That friend's mom that was in the hospital died the next day. It was her funeral that we went to."

Emily's eyes flashed. "And I told you to stay away from them!" Honestly Lorelai, are you that incapable at following direction?"

"Only when it makes no sense," she shot back, adding, "There was no logical reason for me to skip the funeral. And us being there made a lot of people feel better. Katie was quite the charmer."

"Except you and Victoria were supposed to be at home," she insisted, determined not to concede her daughter's point.

The argument would have continued but for Richard's timely interruption and the maid's announcement that dinner was ready.

For the next week Emily overwhelmed her with demands of appearances and outings. Finally, Lorelai hit her breaking point and saw that if she didn't get out of there soon, Katie would end up with a childhood just like hers; complete with dresses she couldn't play in or get dirty playing outside with friends. To make things worse, her mom and the DAR women refused to call her 'Katie' but insisted on 'Victoria' because that was her proper name.

One night, she decided to ask Sookie if she could see if there were any jobs available in Stars Hollow. She knew leaving meant she'd have to make her own way. While she wasn't entirely sure how that would work, she knew she had to try. Sookie promised she would and said that she'd see if Mia knew of anyone.

The next day, Lorelai got a call from Mia herself. After explaining all that had been going on the past months and especially since the funeral, she told Mia, "I just can't do this anymore and I refuse to make Katie go through it. I've been thinking about it and I'm starting to believe that it might be the right time. But honestly, I don't know how much of that is just frustration at my mother."

Mia secretly agreed with her, but also felt that it was important to help the girls out in case things ever did improve with her parents and they wanted a real relationship. At least this way, they'd be safe and nearby. She decided she had to tell her the truth.

"Lorelai, there was something that I think I should have told you Saturday evening." At Lorelai's prompt, she went on, "When Katherine died, she woke up momentarily and said a few final things to me and Luke."

"Yeah, Sookie told me that she was able to say goodbye to you," she encouraged.

Mia took a deep breath. "One of the things she said seemed kind of odd at the time, but after our talk at the Inn, it made a lot more sense. She grabbed my hand and gasped out, 'It's time to go.' I now think she meant for me to pass the message along to you," she finished in a choked voice.

She regained her composure and suggested to Lorelai, "I could always use extra help at the Inn and we could make part of your salary be room and board."

Lorelai started to object, but Mia insisted, adding, "I know this is selfish of me, but you and Katie mean a lot to me already. I would love having you nearby."

She sounded so loving and wistful that Lorelai couldn't fight it and quickly agreed. "Alright, but the way my mother has been acting this week, I'll have to sneak out. I'll put our bags near the end of the driveway where they will be hidden by the bushes. Then if you can be here at say, 2 o'clock, I'll be able to get away."

"While I don't really like the idea of you virtually running away, I'll trust your judgment when it comes to your parents. But please promise me that you will leave them a note, stating that you are alright and will talk to them soon," Mia pleaded.

Independence Inn

After their talk, Mia started to plan what to do. She knew that Lorelai would prefer the freedom of living on her own, but wouldn't accept outright charity. She hadn't lied about the job though; she really could use a fill-in worker. It seemed that a day wouldn't go by without them needing extra assistance somewhere in the Inn. That just left a place for them to stay.

She and Sookie talked about it when the young girl came by the Inn later and couldn't come up with a solution. Then the landscaper came in with a question about the grounds. When they went out to look at the problem, Sookie noticed the old potting shed. She asked Mia, "This may sound weird, but what about the shed over there?"

Mia seemed surprised by the possibility, but agreed that it wasn't a bad idea. They went to look at it closer. "You're right, Sookie. We'll have to put some plumbing in for a tub. But the designer was clever when she suggested that the groundskeeper should have a private place to clean up so he wouldn't disrupt the Inn's guests. That makes things much easier for us. It needs to be cleaned up a bit and maybe a few other touches, but not a lot. Plus, this gives me the excuse of having Lorelai and Katie stay with me for a bit," she confided.

"You really do care a lot about her, don't you?" Sookie asked, although not terribly surprised by it. She saw how Mia doted on Katie during the wake. It wouldn't shock her at all if she tried to talk Lorelai into staying with her permanently.

After Sookie left, Mia's thoughts turned to the other hurting child in her life. It had been a couple days since she had seen Luke and he didn't really look that good then.

That night, after Lorelai left, they had cleared the library quietly as Luke slept. When he woke up, he found Mia and apologized for leaving her alone. But he hadn't said anything about Lorelai so Mia didn't bother to mention her either.

She tried to check in on him every couple days, but he'd brush her off and say he had too much to do with the diner. She did manage to get him to promise to come to dinner that weekend.

A impish thought crossed her mind and she considered trying to put the two of them together. Mia considered what her old friend would think of the match. She almost swore she heard Katherine whisper her approval in the night air.

But then she decided that things were too chaotic for both of them right now. And their individual emotional states were not in the right place for a new attachment, even if it was a good one. Maybe when their lives settled down some she could encourage them. She left the Inn absently whistling the lullaby.

A/N: I picked the names Mitzi Huntzburger and Ladies' Guild because they sounded like Gilmore-ish things. I have no clue if there was a Mitzi or not, but thought it would be fun to stick the name Huntzburger in the story.

A/N2: I'm evil and I fully admit to that. But this actually seemed like a good spot to finish this story. If there's enough interest, I'm planning on doing a series chronicling Luke and Lorelai's relationship and how it changes over time.