Title: Matriarchs And Medical Mishaps
Fandom: Gilmore Girls
Category: Angst, General, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Series
Characters/Pairing: Lorelai & Emily with Luke, Sookie, Rory, Michel, Jackson & OCs
Warnings: None, unless you have major issues with your mother.
Summary: Emily has broken both her hips and moved in with Lorelai. There has to be a way to get through this that doesn’t involve murder/suicide, right?
Word Count: 5,933 words.
Date Written: Fall, 2016.
Disclaimer: Amy Sherman-Palladino owns the show. I wrote the fic.
Beta’d: Thanks to the awesome liptonrm for helping me get this turned around before the new series starts!
Author's Notes: In counseling, I made a comparison to my relationship with my mother and that of the mother/daughter relationships on Gilmore Girls. Turns out, my counselor is a fan of the show. We talked a lot about how when I was younger my mother thought we had the relationship of Rory-Lorelai. I began to agree, but while she thought this was true because of our friendship, I thought it was because we had an unhealthy codependent relationship. As we have aged, I think we’ve become more Emily & Lorelai. After my mother moved in with us because of medical problems, my counselor suggested I write a Gilmore Girls fic to work on the boundary issues I was having, as well as taking a different perspective. I tried to make Emily 3-dimensional and not just an exaggerated bitch, no matter my frustrations with my own mom. LOL, this was a good exercise though. Hopefully, I don’t get Jossed when the new series comes out.
Dedication: To Sarah. Thanks for keeping my head above water during the past year. I’ll miss you!
This was how she was going to die.
Not how she’d imagined - not in a volcano tornado, or at the hands of a serial killer in a Richard Nixon mask, or drag racing a ‘67 mustang down the strip with her cool boyfriend in a leather jacket. No, like this. In her house, by her own hands in a murder/suicide.
She’d leave the house to Rory, of course, but Lorelai doubted her daughter would want it, what with the amount of blood splatter there would be when Lorelai got done murdering her own mother.
“Is it always this cold in here?” Emily said and then pushed off the blanket that Lorelai had just brought her.
“If you’re cold, Mother, maybe you should keep the blanket on,” Lorelai said, unsuccessfully hiding the eye-roll from her mom’s still somehow keen eyes.
“I saw that, Lorelai,” Emily chided. “And what is the point, one blanket isn’t doing me any good.”
“So you’re just going to give up on all blankets then, just because this one turned out to be a disappointment?”
“I have decent blankets at my home, you know.”
Lorelai sat herself down on the edge of the coffee table, looked at her mother laying pathetically on the couch, blankets squished up around her ankles, clutching her brown sweater closed at the top to hold off the supposed cold air.
“You can’t go home, Mom. The doctor said you need round-the-clock care for at least six weeks.”
“Well,” Emily said and picked at non-existent lint on her sweater, “I don’t know what sort of care I will get here.”
“I explained this. Twenty-four hour care is too expensive, even for you. You can stay here and I can at least help you for a good twelve of those hours and an aide is coming for the rest.”
“I am perfectly capable of caring for myself,” Emily said. “I am not that old, Lorelai. Don’t talk to me like a dementia patient.”
“Okay, well, you are eighty years old and you got both hips replaced. Do you know why you had to have them replaced, Mom? Because you broke them both trying to trim the hedges outside your second story window.”
This time she managed to hide the eye-roll.
“Well, if the man who had been doing it had been even the least bit competent, I wouldn’t have had to, now would I?”
“Nevertheless, here we are. Now would you like me to bring you another blanket before I head to work?”
“I don’t see the point,” Emily said and fussed at her pillows. “Just leave me and go.”
Lorelai dropped her head into her chest and sighed. “Okay, Mom, okay.”
Instead though, she went and brought her mother every blanket in the house, including the comforter from her own bed and then went to work.
In a strange twist, work had become her sanctuary.
Lorelai plunked herself down dramatically in the chair in the receptionist lobby of the bed and breakfast. Michel looked up at her from a stack of papers and for a brief moment in time, Lorelai thought she saw his expression change from its normal air of disconnectedness.
It must have been an illusion of the eyes though, because when he approached her with her mail, he still looked as unfazed as ever.
“How is it going with your mother?” he said, his smooth French accent making him sound even more disinterested than he looked.
“Fantastic,” Lorelai chirped. “Today she accused me of freezing her to death and still insists she doesn’t need help and that it’s all the landscaper’s fault for being incompetent. I swear, one more…”
“I don’t actually care,” Michel said, interrupting what was about to be the tirade of the decade. “I was just trying to score brownie points with the boss.”
“Well, you’re doing a terrible job of sucking up, interrupting me and all.”
“I got bored.”
“Hey,” a voice said from behind her and Lorelai lit up, because she knew that voice. She loved that voice.
She turned around to see Luke standing there, his regular blue baseball hat on backwards, wearing a tool belt and holding a hammer in one hand.
“What are you doing here?” Lorelai asked and leaned in for a quick peck. It was the polite, public way to greet your husband, after all.
“I came to fix your pipes,” he said.
“Oh yeah you did,” Lorelai said and waggled her eyebrows at him.
“Don’t do that,” he told her. “It looks like your eyebrows are being yanked around by a puppet-master.”
“Hey, I am having a crappy day, you be nice to me!” Lorelai protested.
“Sorry. Your eyebrows are gems. How’s your mother?”
“She’s all…” and Lorelai stopped to mime choking someone and added, “Ughrawrblagh.”
“So, good then?” Luke asked and slid his free hand to the small of her back, stroking lightly with his thumb.
Lorelai let out a long sigh and let herself push back into the touch.
And then her cell phone rang. The Caller ID, unsurprisingly, read ‘Mom’.
“Third time since I left the house. That’s three in twenty minutes, if you’re keeping track,” Lorelai said to the room.
The room consisted of Luke, Michel - who had wandered off already - and one lone guest who looked up from his book perplexed.
“Want me to get it?” Luke asked, but he didn’t look too keen on the idea.
Lorelai couldn’t blame him.
“Oh, honey, no,” she said and patted his shoulder. “If one of us is going to kill my mother, it really should be me. I’ve earned the right, after all.”
“That you have,” Luke said and kissed the side of her head. “That you have.”
She could hear her mother talking as soon as she walked in the door.
“Well, I’d have to ask my warden. You do know I’m a prisoner here, right?” Emily was saying into the phone.
Lorelai clenched her fists together until her nails bit into her skin. The doctor had arranged for her to go to a care facility, but it was Emily who had refused. But if she didn’t want to be here…
“Well, tell that to your mother, Rory. I’m living on a couch.”
Lorelai let out a sigh of relief. She actually felt her shoulders relax downwards. If it was Rory on the other end of the phone, then at least she wasn’t buying into this ‘prison’ nonsense.
“Let me talk to her,” Lorelai said and held out her hand for the phone.
“She’s home now, she would like to speak to you,” Emily said and handed off her cellphone to her daughter.
“Hi, hun, how’s everything?” Lorelai asked her own daughter.
“Where did that girl go?” Emily started muttering to herself. “That girl can’t stay in one spot for a minute, can she? What if I needed something?”
Lorelai slipped away from her mother to the kitchen, letting the sound of Rory’s voice wash away her stress and there, at the kitchen table, she found ‘that girl’.
She was dressed in scrubs, wearing a nametag that said ‘Christy’, and was well into her forties. Lorelai was going to give her mother that one though - when you’re eighty, all women, regardless of age, must seem like a ‘girl’.
“Is this going to bother you?” Lorelai asked, motioning at the phone. Christy had a book in hand, so maybe she’d like some quiet space to read.
“No, no,” the aide said, waving her hand at Lorelai. “It’d be nice to hear some normal conversation for a change.”
Lorelai could still hear her mother muttering to herself in the next room and she suddenly wanted to pat the woman’s arm in sympathy.
She didn’t, of course. That would be weird.
Instead she sat down and let Rory talk about her day at work, the latest political scandal that had all the young interns in a tizzy, and the way the sunset had looked from the top of the office building last night, purples and golds washing the skies’ troubles away for the night.
Maybe Lorelai should start watching more sunsets.
In the next room, her mother was yelling, “Christy, I am still cold!”
“Maybe we could go to Luke for dinner, instead of making him come to us,” Lorelai suggested hopefully. She was used to meeting Luke at the diner each evening and they hadn’t done it once since her mother had come to stay. Despite leaving the house every day for work, Lorelai was starting to feel trapped in her own home.
“What are you thinking, Lorelai?” Emily chided. “I can’t have people see me in a wheelchair.”
Emily said the word ‘wheelchair’ like it left a bad taste in her mouth. Of course, that may have been because she hadn’t brushed her teeth all day.
“No one cares about a wheelchair, Mother. Look, I’ll even brush your hair and do your makeup for you before we go,” Lorelai said with earnest.
“I can do my own hair. It’s my legs that are broken, not my arms.”
“Well, maybe you’d feel better if you spruced yourself up a bit. ‘We look good, we feel good’, after all.”
“What’s the point, if this is my life now?”
Lorelai sighed. It’s not that she didn’t appreciate the very understandable situational depression her mother had going on. It’s just that she was starting to get her own situational depression from having her mother live with her.
And they’d only just begun.
“Look, I’m going to the diner for dinner. You can come or you can stay.”
“I can’t be left alone!” Emily said with defiance, despite consistently using the phrase, ‘Just leave me,’ over the last few days or so.
“I’ll leave you the phone, in case of emergency, and I’ll bring you back dinner,” Lorelai said. “Here, here’s the remote,” and she chucked the television remote at her mom.
This time it was Emily’s turn to sigh.
“Fine then, if I must, I will go with you to dinner. But you make sure people know I am not in a wheelchair because I’m old and feeble. It’s because the gardener is incompetent.”
“Yes, Mom, I’ll make sure they know. Damn that Julio and his twenty years of experience, messing up your hedges exactly how you told him to.”
“The sarcasm is not appreciated, Lorelai.”
It never was.
Her Facetime app rang in at 2am.
Lorelai flew out of bed, despite the phone being right next to her head on the pillow. Luke forbid cellphones or tablets to sleep in bed with them, but he had fallen asleep first, so ‘nahnahnahbooboo’, Lorelai had thought and set her phone on her pillow.
It was Rory.
“What happened, are you okay?” Lorelai burst out, in place of a normal ‘hello.’
“I’m fine, just getting off work, thought I’d check in with you. Why? Wait, what time is it?”
“It’s two in the morning, Rory,” Luke grumbled from his side of the bed. “Some of us have to be up to take the bread delivery in two hours.”
“Hi, Luke!” Rory said. She sounded way too chipper for this time of night, morning, whatever. Clearly the girl had some sort of caffeine IV running through her veins. “Sorry, Luke. How are you?”
“Sleeping, Rory,” Luke answered and then, “Go to bed. That’s an order.”
“Yes, sir,” Rory said, with a lilt of laughter to her voice.
“Sorry, babe,” Lorelai whispered and kissed the only part of him visible under the covers, his left ear. “I’ll go in the hallway.”
Lorelai slipped out of her room and into the hall, where she settled on the floor, legs crossed, her back against the staircase railing.
“So, what’s new, pussycat?” she asked her daughter.
“No, no,” Rory said, “I’m calling to check on you. I get the distinct impression you and Grandma are in a battle of the ages. Fight to the death! Roman gladiator style. But with nitpicking instead of swords and stuff.”
“Only one of us can be Russell Crowe,” Lorelai said.
“Does that make the other one Joaquin Phoenix?”
“I call dibs on Russell.”
“I bet you do.”
Lorelai laughed. A real laugh, like she hadn’t in days. It felt good.
“I don’t know, Rory,” she said into the phone. “That woman is never happy. I don’t just mean like ‘unsatisfied.’ I mean she is never happy.”
“While I agree that Grandma is hard to please, I also think she’s in a situation that makes it hard to muster a smile.”
“She could fake it,” Lorelai muttered, but she had to concede, Rory was right about this one. Two broken hips was no fun time in Vegas. Certainly no one was going to wake up accidentally married.
“Mom, you need boundaries,” Rory said.
“Say what now?”
“I learned this one through a long and demanding path - it’s okay to say you need some space for yourself.”
“Well that sounds fake, but okay,” Lorelai said. “Now, how do I do that?”
“You attend to her needs when you get home and then excuse yourself to go up to your room and read a book.”
“Read a what now?”
“There you go.”
“You don’t have to be at her beck and call every ten minutes,” Rory said. “It’s not healthy for either one of you.”
“But I am at her beck and call every ten minutes. If I went upstairs, she’d just decide she needs something else and call me back down.”
“Then tell her ‘no.’”
“Tell my mother what?”
“Just make it clear that you aren’t coming back down for forty-five minutes and she better be sure she doesn’t need anything before you go upstairs. Then refuse to come back down,” Rory said.
It sounded so logical.
“How did you get so smart?” Lorelai asked her daughter, part defeat, part pride.
“I read a lot of books.”
“Read a lot of what now?”
Lorelai headed up to her house - work behind her, but more work in front of her. Her mother waited on the other side of that door.
She turned the key in the lock and went inside.
“Hey, Mom,” she called out, coming in through the front door.
Then she stopped abruptly. There was a man in Lorelai’s house.
He was in his fifties, tall, lean, bald. Cute in an Anthony Edwards kind of way. He was wearing khakis, a polo shirt, and a nametag.
Today’s aide then.
“Hi,” he said, flashing Lorelai a smile. “I’m Rick.”
“Hi, Rick,” she said, setting down her bag and purse. “I’m Lorelai.”
“Oh, you’re the daughter then.”
“That’s what they tell me, Rick.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said, brightly.
“From my mother?” Lorelai asked and choked a little on her own tongue. “It’s all a lie, I tell you.”
“She says you own a bed and breakfast?” Rick went on, ignoring Lorelai’s snark all together. “She seems quite proud.”
“Are we talking about the same person? Emily Gilmore?”
Rick flashed her another smile. “She’s a delight.”
“Oh no,” Lorelai said. “What did she do to you, Rick? What did she put in your food?”
Rick laughed. “I get that. My sister and mom are the exact same way.”
“Where is she?” Lorelai asked, looking from the empty couch back to Rick. Clearly this man was unstable and now her mother was missing.
“In the kitchen. She has to stand for a certain amount of time each day, so I got her to do it at the table while we play gin rummy. Your mother is a card shark. Did you know that? If we were playing for something more than nickels, I’d have lost my kids’ college funds by now.”
“Huh,” Lorelai said. “That doesn’t surprise me actually. She’s very clever.”
“Rick,” Emily called from the kitchen, “Are you going to get in here and try to win your money back or are you afraid of a little competition?”
“Mother, I’m home!” Lorelai called out.
“Oh good,” Emily said. “You can meet Rick.”
“Already met him,” Lorelai answered, stepping into the kitchen. “He’s everything I imagined he would be.”
“The tone isn’t appreciated, Lorelai.”
“I know, Mom. I know.”
Rick chuckled from the doorway. “Yeah, just like my mom and sister.”
“I suppose you have to go now,” Emily said with a sigh.
Lorelai raised an eyebrow. Her mother couldn’t wait for the aides to get out of the house. ‘Incompetent, the lot of them,’ she always said. Of course, thinking the help was incompetent was how her mom had gotten into this mess into the first place, so maybe she was rethinking her stance on the whole thing.
“I think I’m on your shift again in three days,” Rick said. “And I expect to win my money back.”
“Well, we’ll see about that,” Emily said and winked at him.
Rick laughed and then excused himself. “Nice to meet you, Lorelai.”
“You too, Rick,” she said and then turned to her mother as soon as she heard the front door click behind him. “He’s gone now, Mom. You can sit down.”
“Rick said I need to stand for as long as I can,” Emily told her and made no move to sit.
“Oh, Rick says,” Lorelai teased.
“Did you know he worked in a veteran’s hospital?”
“No, Mom, I just met him, how would I know that?”
“Well, maybe it came up while you two were visiting in the foyer.”
“It did not come up in the thirty seconds we were introducing ourselves, no,” Lorelai said and went to put some coffee on.
“He didn’t wear a uniform though. But he was a physical therapy assistant, so he really knows his stuff.”
“Rick says the best way to motivate your own recovery is to have goals.”
“Okay, so what’s your goal?” Lorelai asked. This was the first time her mother had talked about her own healing process in any sort of hopeful manner, so Lorelai wanted to keep it going, if she could.
“You mean besides getting home to my own house?”
“Yes,” Lorelai said. “Besides that. That’s a good one though.”
She really tried not to have a tone when she said it.
“I’d like to be able to shower again. I’m tired of just washing myself up on the damn toilet.”
“You know you can shower, right, Mom? The aides can help you with that.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Lorelai,” Emily scoffed. “I’m not having some person help me shower.”
“Okay, perhaps an alien then. Or a pony. If not a person.”
Then she went ahead and bit the inside of her cheek to keep from going any further. She had a lot more in her pocket though.
“So, why don’t we get you one of those shower seats that hangs over the edge of the tub, so all you have to do is just sit and slide? Is that what Rick suggested?”
“Heavens, I didn’t talk about showering with Rick.”
“Of course, how silly of me.”
There was a long silence and then Emily said, “A shower seat like that would probably be best.”
Lorelai tried to hide her smile. If her mother thought she was mocking her in any way, she might change her mind, and this was actually progress. So Lorelai did her best to keep her face in check.
“I can pick one up this weekend and have Luke put it together.”
Emily nodded her head, which was as close to a ‘thank you,’ as Lorelai was going to get.
“So,” Lorelai said, “You want to deal me in?”
“If you like losing money,” Emily replied, not a bit of cheekiness in her voice. She was serious.
“I let you into my home and this is how you repay me?” Lorelai scoffed.
“Rick says there is no family when it comes to cards.”
“Oh does he?” Lorelai asked, a smile biting at the corners of her mouth. “Is that what Rick says?”
“He used to play in poker tournaments in college. Nothing big, but they took it very seriously.”
“Mom, you got a little thing for Rick?”
“Absolutely not! Lorelai, you behave yourself,” Emily chided.
“Uh-huh,” Lorelai said. “Sure thing, Mom.”
“Honestly, Lorelai, I can’t take you anywhere.”
“Valid,” she answered. “Just remind me to show you a little TV series called ‘ER.’ I think you’d really like Dr. Greene.”
This time Lorelai didn’t hold back her grin. Not even a little. She had earned this one.
Luke left to go back to the diner after dinner every night, which left Lorelai with a big chunk of time with just her and her mother.
“Boundaries,” she muttered to herself, while washing up the dishes.
Luke had broken her household habits and now she found herself mostly cleaning up after herself as she went. The living room barely even looked like anyone was currently living on their couch, which was something, considering the amount of junk her mother seemed to clutter up around her. How could someone who could barely walk make such a mess?
“Boundaries,” she whispered, steeling herself in the kitchen doorway.
“Hey, Mom,” she said, “Is there anything in particular you need right now? I want to head upstairs and take a shower and maybe watch an episode of my TV show.”
‘Shouldn’t have said ‘maybe,’ need to be authoritative,’ Lorelai thought, but it was too late - the ‘maybe’ was out there.
“I don’t need anything, I am just fine,” her mother said, though Lorelai could plainly see she was just sitting there on the couch, balling her blanket up in her hands.
“A drink? Another blanket? Your cellphone? Because once I go up, I’m not coming back down for an hour, when it’s time for your next pain pill.”
“Well,” Emily said and this time there was exasperation underlying it. “That’s fine. If I need anything, I’ll just fend for myself.”
“You don’t have to fend for yourself, Mom. That’s why I’m asking you right now if you need anything.”
“I don’t need anything right now, Lorelai. But if I do, I guess I can’t count on you.”
“Mom, that’s not fair. I’m here right now.”
“It’s honestly fine, Lorelai. Just leave me to stare at the wall.”
Lorelai sighed. “Maybe this weekend you’ll let me pick you up a tablet too.”
“A what?” Emily asked.
“Like a Kindle or an IPad. You could use Facebook on it, or play Candy Crush, or read, or watch TV on it.”
“There’s a TV right there,” Emily said, pointing at the television directly across from the couch. “In fact, you seem to have a TV in every room of this house, except the bathroom.”
“Luke won’t let me have one in the bathroom,” Lorelai said, forlornly.
“Good for him,” Emily said.
“Here,” Lorelai told her and brought her the crossword puzzle book that was sitting on the end table. “Exercise your brain for a while.”
“My brain is just fine, thank you very much,” but she took the book and pen Lorelai was offering.
“Last chance, sure you don’t need anything?”
“Just go, Lorelai,” Emily said.
Lorelai sighed, but did exactly what her mother told her.
She just went.
She stayed in the shower longer than she had meant too, reminding herself several times that this was her time for herself and she wasn’t going to get out just to check on her mother.
The spray was hot and Lorelai washed quickly, so she could stand there, just stand there, and let the water run off her.
When she got out, she wrapped a towel around herself and looked in the bathroom mirror.
All she could see was steam. ‘We really have to upgrade the bathroom fan,’ she thought, refusing to acknowledge that it may have been her twenty minute sauna that did the trick.
Lorelai cracked the bathroom door to let the steam fade out and that’s when she heard it.
The sound of her mother’s voice, coming from far away and crying, “Lorelai, Lorelai, oh my goodness, Lorelai!”
She secured the towel around herself and darted, barefoot and dripping wet, out of the bathroom, down the stairs and into the living room.
That’s where she found her mother, laying on the floor, beside the coffee table.
“Mom, oh my god, what happened?!”
“I wanted some coffee.”
“That’s not an explanation. Is anything broken?” Lorelai asked, bending down to check on her mother.
“I don’t think so,” Emily said. “Don’t you fuss about it though. You go back to your television show or your shower or whatever you do up there.”
This was a completely opposite sentiment from a few minutes ago, when her mother had been crying her name.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Mom. Okay, I’m going to lift you straight up from under your arms, but I’ll need you to put your feet under you for balance. I’ll hold your weight, just get your feet under you once I have you up.”
“Just leave me here,” Emily said.
“Do you honestly think I’m going to leave my eighty-year old mother with two broken hips laying on the floor of my living room? Now I can do it or I can call the firehouse and get some hot firemen over here to do it, your choice.”
“Fine, just do it already,” Emily said.
Lorelai lifted - and wow, her mom weighed more than she thought she would. Emily cried out, but Lorelai still lifted, holding all the weight on herself. Her mom got her feet under her and Lorelai very carefully steered her back to the couch.
“There,” she said, breath coming in short bursts. “You’ve been saved.”
“It’s not funny, I could have died. All while you were up there taking a dip.”
“It wasn’t a dip, it was a shower, and I asked you if you needed anything before I went up there. Mom, what were you thinking?”
“I just wanted some coffee. I would have done it myself just fine, if I could have gotten to that stupid walker, but the coffee table was in the way.”
Lorelai sighed, got up, and pushed the coffee table - stacked with her mom’s various junk as it was - across the room and against the far wall.
“There, all better.”
“Now I can’t reach my things.”
“I’ll bring you a Tablemate.”
“What in the Sam Hill is a Tablemate?” Emily asked. “It sounds illicit.”
“It is, a little,” Lorelai said and plopped down on the couch next to her mother. “But you wait, you’ll fall in love. You don’t even know the wonders of the 2am infomercial products, Mom. It won’t even be work to convert you. I converted Luke, I can certainly convert you.”
“I never understand you,” Emily said and pulled her blanket back up over her lap.
Lorelai was starting to suspect that particular blanket had become a bit of an emotional security for her mother. She couldn’t blame her for that though - she may be the most passive-aggressive person that ever lived, but she was still dealing with a pretty scary turn of events. Though it was probably the Rory-voice in Lorelai’s head making her feel empathy after that ridiculous display from her mother just now.
“Listen, Mom, this is gonna be hard. For both of us. Living together is not our strong suit.”
“I seem to recall us living together for sixteen years just fine.”
“And I seem to recall running away.”
It was a harsh place to go, but Lorelai felt it needed said.
There was a long silence following, but her mother didn’t look angry, just contemplative.
“I suppose you want to run away from me now as well,” Emily said at last.
“A little,” Lorelai admitted. “But I’m not going to.”
“I find that hard to believe,” Emily scoffed.
“Well, I’m not sixteen anymore. I’m not young and scared. I’m an adult. And so are you. So no matter how scary this all is right now, neither of us can run away.”
“Is that a ‘cripple-joke’? I can’t run anywhere,” Emily said, but then sighed, like she was letting it out.
“I’m not running away, Mom, but you’ve gotta let me have some ‘me-time’ once in awhile. Rory calls them ‘boundaries.’”
“Hmm,” Emily said and then, “Rory is quite bright, I suppose we should listen to her.”
“Good,” Lorelai said, with as much perk as she could muster. “Now, I’ll promise not to run off on you - no climbing out windows and whatnot - if you promise me one thing.”
“What thing?” Emily asked, suspicion lacing her voice.
“No more getting up off the couch without your walker in front of you.”
“If I must,” Emily said, but she sounded a bit less forlorn about it.
“Excellent,” Lorelai said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m not wearing anything but a towel. And while my husband likes this look, it is rather cold under here.”
“And you’re dripping on my bed,” Emily said, but she was almost smiling.
“Ooohhh,” Sookie crooned, “Margaritas.”
“It’s Girls’ Night, baby,” Lorelai said and pulled down the margarita glasses from the high cupboard.
“Remember those giant, giant margaritas we had at that place in New York that one time?” Sookie asked, fondly.
“I do. I remember having to call Jess to come and get us and take us to his apartment because we couldn’t remember where our hotel was.”
“Oh,” Sookie said, as if she was just remembering that part of it. “Yeah. That happened.”
Lorelai laughed and set three margarita glasses down on the kitchen table.
“Wait, why are there three? Who’s joining us?” Sookie asked, staring at the third glass like it had just killed her cat.
“I thought I’d ask my mom to join us,” Lorelai said, trying for casual, similar to the time she’d had to admit that maybe the movie Volcano wasn’t that realistic after all.
“Yeah, I mean, having her here is obnoxious and sometimes it brings up stuff that I’d rather not be dealing with, but we’re trying this new thing where we, like, get along.”
“Whoa,” Sookie said. “Maturity is a weird look on you.”
“I know,” Lorelai said. “I feel kind of icky with all this grown-up-ness. It’s all strange and foreign.”
“Well, always good to try new things,” Sookie said, brightly. “Let’s do it!”
Lorelai led them to the living room, where Emily was watching Jeopardy and squeezing the stress-ball Luke had bought her - it was a woman’s head and just happened to have long dark hair.
‘Not funny,’ Lorelai had told him.
‘We all have stresses, babe,’ he had replied and then winked at Emily.
Lorelai had almost been proud of the two of them for bonding, except that her mother was now squeezing a stress-ball that looked eerily similar to Lorelai’s own head.
“I’m not trying to jump all over you as soon as you come in the house,” Emily said, like she had been practicing this statement of compromise. “But you are an hour late giving me my pain medication. Hello, Sookie.”
“Hello, Mrs. Gilmore,” Sookie said.
“I have something better than pain meds, Mom,” Lorelai said and handed her the third margarita cup.
“What’s this for?” her mother asked.
“Lorelai, I’m on narcotics. Are you trying to kill me?”
“Yes, Mom. And like any good villain, I have revealed my plan to you ahead of time. Drat, I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.”
“I thought we’d skip the next few doses of Norco and try some Girls’ Night fun instead. Whaddya say?”
“You want me to join you and Sookie for shenanigans?”
“Better then shenanigans, Mom. I have season one of ER.”
“Season one of what?” Emily asked, while Sookie just clapped her hands in excitement.
“ER, Mom. It’s going to change your life.”
That may have been an exaggeration, but Sookie was still clapping her hands, so Lorelai just went with it.
“Let Girl’s Night commence!” Lorelai cried and plopped the margarita mix down on the floor in front of the couch.
“Hooray!” Sookie cried.
Emily just stared at them both.
“He does seem to be the only sensible one in that whole emergency room,” Emily said and then took a sip of her drink.
“No, Mom, you can’t take a drink until one of the things on our drinking game list happens.”
“Oh, right,” Emily said. “I forgot, I forgot,” and she abruptly set her drink down on her Tablemate.
“Yummy,” Sookie said, as Benton came on the television screen. “Though I do like him better in later seasons, when he starts to soften up.”
“I don’t believe that man ever learns to soften up,” Emily told her. “But now tell me more about Dr. Greene. How many seasons does it take for him to leave that nasty wife of his?”
“Mom!” Lorelai exclaimed.
“Rawr, Mrs. Gilmore,” Sookie said.
“Well, she is,” Emily insisted.
“Oh, oh,” Lorelai cried. “They just asked for O-negative blood. Take a drink, take a drink!”
They all took a swallow of their margaritas.
“Now that’s yummy,” Emily said, but when Lorelai looked over, her mom wasn’t talking about the drink. She was looking at the screen. “Tell me his name again.”
“That’s Dr. Ross,” Sookie said. “He’s the bad boy.”
“Oh, I can tell.”
“He’s my man,” Lorelai said, dreamily.
“I don’t doubt it. He’s totally your type,” Emily told her, mild judgment lacing her voice.
“Hey now, I seem to recall you stealing Dad away from another woman,” Lorelai reminded her mother.
Emily just shrugged. “What can I say, your father was clearly attracted to the ‘bad’ type as well.”
“Aw, snap,” Sookie said.
“Wait, wait, Dr. Bad Boy just said the word ‘kiddo,’” Emily exclaimed. “Everyone take a drink!”
Lorelai found herself grinning into her margarita glass, while beside her, her mother chugged down a swallow as well, and then laughed.
Emily Gilmore actually laughed.
“But Sookie…” Lorelai said, half into Luke’s shoulder.
“Jackson’s got her,” Luke said, hoisting his wife up closer to his side.
“Well, Jackson has her in his arms,” Jackson said from the doorway. “Whether or not he gets her to the car is a whole other thing.”
“Goodnight, Luke, you big softie, calling my husband, you’re so cute,” it was one long stream of consciousness rolling out of a very drunk woman.
“Goodnight, Sookie,” Luke said.
“Goodnight, Luke,” Jackson said.
“Goodnight, Jackson,” Luke said and used his foot to shut the front door behind them.
“Goodnight, John-boy,” Lorelai said and giggled to herself.
“Up we go,” Luke told her, edging her up the stairs towards their bedroom on the second floor.
“My mom though…” Lorelai said and tried to take a step towards the couch instead.
“Nope, nope, this way,” Luke said, steering her back towards the stairs. “Your mom is fine, she’s sound asleep already.”
Lorelai looked over to see that, yes, in fact, her mother was passed out cold on the couch, under her favorite blanket.
“Awww, you tucked my mom in,” Lorelai said and then started crying.
“Knock it off,” Luke told her sternly. “None of that. Everything is just fine.”
“It isn’t,” Lorelai said into his shoulder, leaning on him as they went up one step at a time. “It isn’t fine.”
But she sighed and relaxed into Luke’s hold.
“But it is a little bit better. Just a little bit better.”