Chapter 2: Baggage
For disclaimers etc see Chapter One.
Thanks for all the kind reviews.
While I don’t believe the actual capacity of the Independence Inn
was ever specified on the show, I suspect I have remodeled and enlarged it just a bit. In my defense can I just say, time was always a bit flexible on the show, and if time, why not space?
Chapter 2: Baggage
Patricia LaCosta, known in Stars Hollow, despite her many marriages, as Miss Patty, paced in her small house. She could feel them. Magical beings had entered the Hollow. Not evil, of course, not demonic or she would be feeling far more than a bit of unease. The spell may have weakened a bit, enough to worry her for the future, but for now the shield was still strong.
But whatever they were they were not pure white magic either. And one of them… one of them had real power, power like Miss Patty had never felt before.
Miss Patty had felt them arrive, the first one apparently by conventional means, just a ripple in her senses, now the others coming in little bursts of magic, teleporting probably. And now she could sense them moving, coming toward her.
Then she heard them, the motorcycles. She’d been hearing the motorcycles in town all evening, had had the pleasure already of three frantic phone calls from Taylor, but somehow she could tell these were coming to her. She composed herself and waited.
Miss Patty had come to understand her powers, such as they were, relatively late in life. Perhaps onstage she had used them from time to time without realizing it. It was only when she came to the Hollow and the old lady that ran the bakery, Fran, had given her a rum ball to try, that she’d first had an inkling. She’d eaten the rum ball with the old woman watching like a hawk, and done her best to compliment it, though, truth be told it had had a funny taste.
“So you’re a good witch, then?” Fran had said.
“If you were evil that rum ball would have swelled and choked you to death.”
Miss Patty would have stomped out in a huff, but she had the fatal weakness called curiosity. Plus Fran had offered her a big slice of Black Forest cake to clean her palate with. So she stayed and learned. In the end it it turned out Fran knew little about real magic, Miss Eva Ernst herself could probably have devoured the rum balls by the dozen with no ill effects beyond a little bit of queasiness and a slight headache. But she’d put Miss Patty on a path.
She’d gone home and begun to experiment a little. The first time the spell to clean the dishes worked was a joyous day indeed. She did some reading, she went to a few meetings, learned more about her powers, and her limits. The magical world, she’d learned, was not just a place of shiny clean dishes and dancing silverware. Power was always a two-edged sword and Miss Patty had hesitated, not sure if she really wanted to plunge into that life. And then the child had come and she’d had no choice. She’d channelled all her power into the one great spell and she’d kept the child safe, kept all of Stars Hollow pure and protected.
And as a by-product, kept herself isolated. And now, just as she was becoming aware of the cracks, the growing weakness in the shield, now for the first time in years she sensed the presence of other magical beings. Perhaps they sensed the vulnerability and had come to exploit it.
Or just maybe, she thought, they had come to help. In either case, they were here. Miss Patty went to the door and opened it wide.
There was a woman coming up the path, red hair pulled back, dressed mannishly in jeans and an Hawaiian shirt and wearing for some reason an eye-patch with the patch flipped up to reveal two perfectly good eyes. Patty could feel the power in her like a bonfire on an October night. Just behind her a smaller, slighter woman looking just a little awkward in the provocative black leather outfit she was wearing, but still emanating her own power, a lesser yet purer flame.
The redhead stopped at the bottom of the porch steps and bowed slightly as did her companion. Behind her four motorcycles lined Miss Patty’s white picket fence, more women in black leather, some men with eye patches…. It was hard to sense anything else with the redhead so close, but Miss Patty could still feel the presence of Others, beings not evil but edged with darkness … and something else she couldn’t begin to understand….she could tell only that it was …. green?
“Blessed be, sister,” the redhead said, “I am sorry to enter your space uninvited and unannounced, but I did not sense your presence until we arrived. We mean no harm. We are only passing through on a brief holiday.”
“Blessed be,” Miss Patty replied, “if you mean no harm then you are most welcome. “
The redhead bowed again, “Thank you. We will trouble you no further. Blessed be.”
They started away then, got halfway down the walk before Miss Patty impulsively called out,
“Willow,” the redhead answered. “I am Willow, this is Kaitlyn. Yes?”
“You really came here with no purpose?”
“Only a bit of fun, a sort of … party for a friend.”
“Oh. Miss. … Willow, you are obviously a witch of great power. I would be grateful if you could find time to have tea with me before you go? You might be able to… give me some guidance on a difficulty I am facing….”
“Of course. Is it urgent? We are in no great hurry now….”
“No, not urgent. I think perhaps if you a spend a day here you be able to give me some …. insights unbiased by my descriptions…”
“Of course. Shall we say Sunday afternoon then?”
“I would be most grateful, my dear.”
And then they were gone, she could feel their presence moving away, heading, of course, toward the Independence Inn.
Miss Patty went into the den and dug around in her dusty old roll-top desktop and found her rolodex, flipped through it, found the number and stared at it for awhile.
Then she made the call.
“Ah, Patty,” the voice answered without giving her time to identify herself. Showoff.
Or caller ID more like. “How nice to hear your voice,” said the voice, who hadn’t actually heard hers yet, “after such a long time.”
“Yes, yes,” Miss Patty replied, “of course you’ve just been sitting by the phone, pining away.”
“Oh, we both know who shut herself away. But of course you had your oh so noble reasons. Which are no doubt why you are calling, what’s happened? Did someone spit on the sidewalk? Was a homeless man seen on Main Street? Did your little angel go down on her boyfriend?”
“Ha ha….. No. I’ve just had a visit from a very powerful witch, she said her name is Willow….”
“What color was her hair?”
“It’s a simple question, woman. What color was her hair?”
“Ah, good.” The voice relaxed. “And why did the Red Witch come to see you?”
“You know her then?”
“I know of her, answer a question when it’s put, will you?”
“She said she was going to a party.”
“Well, that’s possible.”
“She had others with her, another witch and something else I didn’t recognize, beings with a different kind of power…”
“Yes. Some men, too but the magic was with the women.”
“Well, you needn’t worry, Patty, they mean you no harm.”
“So, you think they really are just going to a party?”
“Oh, probably. Either that or there’s an impending apocalypse nearby.“
“Lorelai Gilmore,” Emily Gilmore snapped, “What is it that you have between your legs that is so fascinating?”
“Mother!” Lorelai exclaimed, her face a mixed masque of shock and delight, “Dirty!”
“What do you mean dirty? I am simply asking why all evening you’ve been peering into your lap like a penitent schoolgirl, no offense Rory.”
“No offense taken Grandma.”
“Suck up,” Lorelai whispered to her daughter, then answered her mother brightly, “My cellphone.”
“What have I told you about bringing your cell phone to the dinner table?”
“That I should set it on vibrate and hide it in my lap so you didn’t know I had it with me.”
“Perhaps Lorelai is expecting an important call,” Richard Gilmore said placatingly.
“At eight o’clock on Friday evening? I don’t think so. It’s too late for a business call and no gentleman would call at this hour...”
“Of course, you’re quite right,” Richard said.
“Of course, with Lorelai’s taste in men anything is possible.”
“What’s that supposed to mean, Mother?”
“Oh, nothing. Finish your broccoli Lorelai, cook has made some lovely cherry tarts for dessert.”
“Ohhhh, I love cherry tarts.”
“Yes, I know you do, Lorelai.”
“Aren’t you going to make some comment about ‘You are what you eat.’”
“No. Why would I do that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Malice?”
“Don’t be silly.”
“So,” Richard said, “Rory, have you decided on a college yet? Are you still set on Harvard or you giving Yale at least a little chance?”
“Not yet, grandpa. Harvard is still my first choice, but I haven’t finished my pro-con lists yet.”
“Perhaps you will give me chance to add a few pros to the Yale side before you make your decision?”
“Of course, Grandpa.”
“What is it now, Lorelai?”
“My phone is ringing.”
“So it is a man, then?”
“Why do you say that?”
“You look happy. Well, go on then, if it’s so important, answer it.”
“Actually, it’s a text message from Michel. He says he is resigning because he cannot work where there are sword fights in the lobby.”
“Michel, that lovely man at the Inn? You can’t let him resign, I’m sure the whole place would fall apart without him.”
“Yes. He’s the glue. Not to worry though, let’s see, I have several other messages here. He’s resigned because having his bottom pinched is not part of his job description. He also resigned because helping Pedro the Waiter to escape to the potting shed is not part of his job description. …
“Is Pedro…” Rory asked.
“The really cute one, yes,” Lorelai continued. “Michel has also resigned today because helping Pedro the Waiter to escape from
the potting shed is not part of his job description. Also because too many brightly colored shirts hurt his eyes. Also because calming insane chefs who attack guests because they sent out for pizza is also not part of his job description. One day I expect he’ll resign because working is not part of his job description.”
“So,” Rory asked as the door to the Gilmore manse closed behind them and they started for the jeep, “how many times did Michel call tonight?”
“Oh, twenty-three or four.”
“I see. I thought you were enjoying the fish course a lot more than usual.”
Emily Gilmore waited until Richard had retired to the den with a cigar and a book, then she made her way down to the basement, slid the secret panel back, lit the candles and knelt before the vivarium, spoke the incantation, tapped on the glass. The Egyptian cobra shifted, raised its head and looked at her.
“I fed them the tarts, milord. They ate them without qualm.”
“Good,” the snake replied. “We are making progresss.”
“I think we need to do something about the inn, though. She is taking the most absurd circumstances in stride. Instead of causing stress it is providing stability.”
“Do what you think bessst. But sssstep carefully, Emily. I senssse a powerful force in the Hollow tonight. We mussst do nothing to draw itsss attention until we know itsss intentionssss.”
“And the girl?”
“Fine. Well done. I am pleasssed.”
“These are very strange peoples,” Michel said again, to himself, because by now he was the only willing to listen to his complaints, no matter how justified.
The door opened and more new guests came in. What a surprise. Women in black leather. Men with eye-patches and gaudy shirts. At least these women didn’t look like they’d gotten dressed with the assistance of two strong men and blacksmith.
The first couple came forward. Perhaps things were looking up, the man had the sense to appear to be almost as embarrassed as he should be, the woman appeared to be more amused than permanently aroused. He decided to dispense with the curt “Yes?” he’d been reduced to earlier and gave the full greeting,
“Good evening, welcome to the Independence Inn. I am Michel, how may I be of service?”
“Hey, Michel,” the man answered, “you got reservations for Al Jenkins and Charity Wigglesworth….”
“Al Jenkins and who?” yelped one of the other women who’d just come in, the one with the blonde hair showing under her slightly askew black wig.
“Yeah, yeah,” Charity answered, “Wes thought he was being funny.”
“Well, I’ll be. Who knew Wesley had a sense of humor.”
“Yes,” Michel said, consulting the reservations list, “here we are. Are you living or lifestyle?”
“You are here for the convention, yes?”
“Yes, but we’re… new to this.”
“Ah, I see. Well, apparently there are two factions. We have had some… altercations,
so we are putting one group in the east wing and one in the west. “
“And they’re fighting about… what exactly?”
“As I understand it, one faction believes that imitating this Xander Harris person, who, I must say, I have never heard of, is a way to make a living. Like Elvis impersonators, one supposes. The other side believes that emulating Mr. Harris is a way of life, a sort of religion even …” Michel paused. The man, who called himself Al Jenkins, though Michel was beginning to have some doubts about the authenticity of that name, had just closed his visible eye and winced as if in great pain while the little group behind him erupted in laughter.
Michel waited as Charity fought to control herself, wiped her eyes, said, “Lifestyle, Michel, gotta be lifestyle, the man is a god, who could doubt it?”
Trusting that that was a rhetorical question, and too grateful that he hadn’t had to suffer through a long diatribe on one side or the other to worry about whatever inside joke it was he was missing, Michel handed over the key and the convention packets. Charity took the still cringing Al’s arm, said,
“C’mon, L. Ron, let’s find our room, but don’t even think I’m gonna be washing your feet, ‘cause that shit ain’t happening.”
He checked in a giggling Anne and Alba Estate, who were sharing a room with an only mildly amused Zoey Halstrom. Then Anthony Bells and his rather cute friend Timothy Moscone. And just for variety, a woman
with an eye patch who called herself Bill Rose, and her friend Kaitlyn Granger. And a single room for an older Britisher, one Reginald Smythe-Smythe who seemed mildly annoyed with Bill Rose for some reason. But on the whole they were a quiet and reasonable bunch and Michel decide he rather liked them. They were almost normal.
He sat back and took a breath and commenced planning the terrible revenge he would have on Lorelai for convincing him to work this week-end.
Buffy Summers, AKA
F. Anne E., woke in a homicidal rage.
She had been in a soft and comfortable bed, drowsing, relishing the rural quiet, when her insane maniac of a sister, F. Alba E., had come back into their room, jumping up and down and squealing.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod Buffy, you have to some see this.”
“Can I come see it later?”
“No. You have to come now. You have to be there when Xander sees this. And Faith. I tell you, if you miss that you’ll regret it, now, and for the rest of your life.”
“Okay, okay, but this better be good.” She groaned and got out of bed, pulled on a robe and fuzzy slippers and, at her sisters insistence, the black wig. She allowed her self to be dragged out into the hall, down the main stairs, through the lobby and into a sideroom where Willow, Kaitlyn, and Zoey were already waiting, grinning like idiots.
“C’mon B---- Anne, open your eyes,” F. Alba insisted. She did.
“Ohmigod,” F. Anne E. said. “Where’s Giles. You have to get Giles.”-30-