Luke pulled open the front door of the bed and breakfast so hard, it nearly tore it off its hinges. He lunged forward, gripping the edges of the desk and pulling himself forward. The woman standing behind the desk paled, but straightened her shoulders, as if preparing for a brawl.
"I'm looking for Lorelai and Rory Danes," he said, breathing heavily with exertion and nerves. The petite woman raised her eyebrow, then dragged her finger down the Cheshire Cat's register. This was the twelfth place he'd checked, and he had been starting to get discouraged until he spotted their car in the parking lot of this cutesy little place. The decor was so un-Lorelai, he'd almost overlooked it. He hadn't showered, had barely slept, and was running on fumes. People kept sneaking glances at him, but he ignored them.
"No one by the name of Danes has checked in," the woman said shortly. "Now please leave. You're scaring the guests."
Luke whirled around, craning his head in all directions. "I'm not scaring anybody. And you're lying. I know they're here."
"I said, no one by the name of—" Luke yanked the register out of her hands and she yelped.
"Damn it," he growled, as his eyes lit upon GILMORE, LORELAI AND RORY written neatly in the book. His heart began to beat erratically. Things really were that bad, he realized with a sinking feeling. He practically threw the book at the woman, who tried shakily to hold herself up.
"I'm calling the police," she said, reaching for the phone.
"No! Please," he begged, then took two long strides toward the stairs. "Lorelai!" he yelled. "Lorelai, come down here, I need to talk to you!" He swallowed hard. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! And your prison guard here is about to call the cops on me but before they haul me away you need to hear me out!" He gripped the end of the bannister tightly, feeling his heart pounding like crazy. "Lorelai, please!" he called out, his voice cracking on the words.
"Luke?" he heard her say softly, and his head snapped up. She was walking toward him, dressed in a Harvard sweater and Harvard sweatpants with a Harvard ballcap on her head. He smiled despite himself.
"Thank god," he said. He pointed toward LaDawn. "Please tell her not to call the cops."
Lorelai descended the stairs carefully. "It's okay," she said to LaDawn, who continued to hold the cordless phone to her chest like it was a lifeline. She turned her attention to the disheveled man in front of her. "What's going on?" she asked quietly. "Why did you come here?"
"I've been doing some thinking," he blurted. "And you're right, you're so right. I've been holding back, keeping you at arm's length. This whole time. And I can't do that anymore. You and Rory, you're my family now, and I can't screw that up. I— I love you. Both of you. You're mine. You belong to me, and I belong to you, and it took almost losing you to figure that out."
"Luke," Lorelai breathed, her hands covering her face in surprise.
"And if you want to have a baby, we can have one." He shrugged, somewhat talking to himself by this point. "We can have a dozen kids, do some weird Von Trapp family sing song or make a baseball team, or whatever weird fantasy you have cooked up in that crazy brain of yours." He reached for her hands, holding them tightly in his own. "Come home," he whispered. "Please."
"Okay," she said simply, and he grinned in relief. He pulled her closer and kissed her, trying to pour all of his love into that one kiss.
"I'm so glad you both worked this out," LaDawn said, "but I'd rather you didn't start on those babies right here in my foyer."
"Luke?" he heard a timid voice call from the top of the stairs. He pulled away to see Rory crouched up there, looking so hopeful it made his heart ache. What had he been thinking?
"Come here," he said, holding out his left arm, leaving space for Rory to join the embrace. "I want both my girls here."
She beamed, and practically flew down the stairs and into his waiting arms. He crushed both of them to him, kissing the top of Rory's head and nuzzling Lorelai's neck.
"Let's go home," he said.
Rory hadn't wanted to be more than reaching distance from either of them once they were reunited with Luke, and so, after a quick dinner, she'd insisted on sleeping in between them in the double bed, before they'd depart for Stars Hollow in the morning. As Rory's breaths deepened and her little snores filled the room, Lorelai rolled away from her, and crept into the bathroom. She had so many emotions roiling through her, she knew sleeping would be impossible. She sat down on the thin rug by the bathtub, and pulled her legs up to her chest.
The tears began to steak down her cheeks unbidden, and she felt like she could collapse under the relief and confusion that she was feeling.
"Lorelai?" his hoarse voice was a whisper as he slipped in through the door, letting out as little of the light from the bathroom into the main room as possible. He fell to his knees in front of her. "Lorelai, what's wrong? Talk to me," he pleaded, his warm hands reaching up and cradling her face.
"I'm just so…" she whispered, sniffling. "I've been so confused."
"Confused about what?" he asked, looking slightly worried.
"God, Luke, I've been hurting this week," she said, looking up into his eyes. They stared at each other.
"I'm so sorry," he said softly.
"Is this real?" she asked, bracing herself.
"Very real," he reassured her. He slid over to sit next to her, and held her while she finally let out all of the tears that she'd been holding inside for so long. He whispered soothing things into her hair, holding her close. By the time she's cried her last tear, she felt like a rag doll. Luke helped her up and slid her into one side of the bed. He moved to flank Rory's other side, but their hands met in the middle.