"It's Still There – part 26"
. . . . .
Shortly after five on Monday morning, Joshua woke up crying and Luke got out of bed to take care of him. After feeding him, changing him, and keeping him entertained in the nursery for a little while, Luke brought him into the master bedroom.
Lorelai was curled up on her side of the bed asleep, and Luke sat down next to her with Joshua, who was starting to whimper. "Shh, it's okay," Luke whispered to Joshua before kissing him on the cheek. "We're gonna wake up your mom." Luke ran his hand over Lorelai's back. "Lorelai?"
"Time to get up. I gotta get ready for work."
Lorelai groaned into her pillow. "What time is it?"
"Almost six," Luke replied. "And someone wants to see you."
Lorelai opened her eyes and rolled onto her back, and she smiled when she saw Joshua. "Hi there, handsome," she cooed as she stroked his chin. "How's Mommy's boy? Did you have a good sleep?" Joshua's lips curled up into a tiny smile, and Lorelai's eyes widened. "Aw, he just smiled at me!" She sat up and took the baby from Luke.
"He's smiled before," Luke reminded her.
"No, those were just little random smiles that didn't mean anything. This was a smile at me, a smile of recognition, a smile that said, 'hey, I know that lady, that's my mommy.'" Lorelai kissed Joshua on the cheek, then sighed as she hugged him to her chest. "I remember the exact moment when Rory first gave me that smile." She bit her bottom lip and gave a pondering glance toward the clock.
Luke shook his head. "Don't do it."
Lorelai narrowed her eyes at him. "Don't do what? You don't know what I'm thinking."
"You're wondering if it's too early to call Rory."
Lorelai wrinkled her nose. "How do you do that?"
"Trust me, I know you better than you think. And I doubt that she's up yet, so wait 'til later."
Lorelai sighed. "Okay, fine."
"Good. And by the way. . ." Luke leaned forward and kissed her. "Happy anniversary."
Lorelai smiled and pulled him closer for a deeper kiss. "Happy anniversary." He ran his hand affectionately over her face, and she leaned her cheek into his palm. "You know, at this exact time last year, I was. . ." She paused and glanced back at the clock. "Well, I was sleeping. But a few hours later, I was getting ready for our wedding. It's hard to believe it was a whole year ago when I remember it like it was yesterday."
Luke smiled. "I know. Been a pretty interesting year, huh?"
"Very," Lorelai agreed. "And I wouldn't change a minute of it."
As Joshua started to become fussy, Lorelai kissed his head and rocked him gently in her arms. "Is he hungry?"
"Nope," Luke replied. "I just fed him and changed him."
"So he's bored."
"Okay, here." Lorelai passed the baby back to Luke. "Let me go to the bathroom real quick, then I'll take him." She climbed out of bed and walked to the bathroom, and when she returned to the bedroom a few minutes later, Joshua was crying loudly.
Lorelai's eyes widened. "Geez, what did you do to him?"
"I didn't do anything," Luke replied. "He's just not in a happy mood right now."
"Clearly." Lorelai took the baby from Luke and rocked him in her arms. "Shh, shh, shh, it's okay, calm down." She brought Joshua up to her shoulder and rubbed his back, softly singing, "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants! Something and something and yellow is he! Spongebob Squarepants! If blah blah blah blah blah is something you wish. . ."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Why don't you sing a song that you know the words to?"
Lorelai nodded toward Joshua, whose cries had lessened. "It worked, didn't it?"
"It's still annoying," Luke muttered as he walked over to his dresser.
Lorelai shrugged. "Okay, fine, then I'll go sing to him downstairs, but that means I won't be able to tell you about the very important decision I made about tonight."
Luke eyed her curiously as he pulled on a pair of jeans. "What decision?"
"Can't tell you. Gotta go downstairs. . ." She turned around and started to walk out of the room.
"Get back in here," Luke said sternly.
Lorelai turned around with a sly smile. "Oh, now me and my annoyingness can stay?"
"Yes, now tell me what you're talkin' about," Luke said as he walked toward her. "What decision?"
Lorelai shifted Joshua to her other shoulder, then stroked Luke's stubbly cheek with her fingers. "Well, I was thinking that. . .I think I'm ready for us to recommence the beautiful act of physical intimacy that we used to be oh-so-good at."
Surprised, Luke's eyes widened slightly. "Oh. . ."
"Yeah. . ." She pressed her lips against his and kissed him deeply. "And I was thinking with it being our anniversary, tonight might be a good night for us to get back into the groove. You know, unless you've grown fond of the whole temporary celibacy thing and wanted to make it permanent."
Luke smirked. "Not particularly."
He put his hands on her shoulders and slowly slid them down her arms to her waist. "You sure about this? I mean, I want you to be completely ready. . ."
"I'm ready," Lorelai said with a nod.
"I mean, I don't want you to do it just because it's our anniversary and you think that's something we should do," Luke continued.
"Luke, I'm ready, trust me," Lorelai insisted. "I wouldn't say I was unless I really, really was." She kissed him. "But you'll have to be gentle."
"I can be gentle," he assured her.
"And we'll have to take it slow."
"Very slow," he agreed with a nod. "Slow and gentle, I promise."
Lorelai smiled and patted his chest. "See, now aren't you glad I shared my decision with you?"
"Good." She nodded toward the doorway. "We're gonna head downstairs." Luke nodded, and as they left the room, he walked back over to his dresser to finish getting dressed.
. . . . .
That night, Lorelai was curled up on the sofa talking on the phone with Rory.
"So you're just spending the night in?" Rory asked.
"Yup, we're gonna eat dinner and hang out here, maybe watch our wedding video or something. You know, just a nice relaxing evening at home."
"Where are the boys?"
"Josh is sleeping in the baby swing, and Luke's cooking me dinner."
"Aw, that's sweet. The perks of being married to a chef, huh?"
"Yup." Lorelai smiled at the vase of flowers sitting on the coffee table. "And he brought me home the most beautiful roses. . .red ones and white ones and pink ones. They smell incredible."
Rory smiled. "That Luke sure does know how to treat a gal, huh?"
"Yes, he does," Lorelai agreed. They talked for a few more minutes before hanging up, then Lorelai headed to the kitchen. Luke was peering into the fridge, and Lorelai walked up behind him and ran her hands over his back. "Whatcha looking for, stud?"
Luke reached into the back of the fridge and pulled out a bottle of wine, then turned around to face her. "This."
Lorelai smiled. "Ah, nice." As Luke shut the refrigerator door and set the wine on the counter, she gestured to the table, which was already set for dinner. "And that looks amazing. I love the candlelight. Decided to let Romantic Luke out to play tonight, huh?"
Luke shrugged. "Figured our anniversary was a good time to let him to make a rare appearance."
"I agree." She kissed him, then pulled back and locked her eyes with his, a content smile on her lips.
Luke eyed her curiously. "What's that look for?"
"It's for you," she replied. "It's an 'I'm reflecting on what a great husband you've been over the past year and how happy you make me' look."
"Oh. I thought it was your 'I'm craving chocolate' look."
Lorelai smiled. "If it was the chocolate look, it would've been accompanied by a sliver of drool running down my chin."
"Ah, right, should've known."
"Not that you don't make me drool," she added. "'Cause you do, especially when I'm thinking about how sexy you are. But right now I'm thinking about how great you are in the supportive, caring, loving husband way, not in the 'Oh God, he's so hot, I need to do him right now' kind of way."
Luke nodded understandingly. "Got it."
"Good." She ran a finger slowly over his soft lips. "I don't think I tell you that enough." Her voice was soft, almost apologetic.
"Tell me what? That you wanna do me?"
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist. "No, that you're an amazing husband. That I never imagined I'd love someone as much as I love you. That my eyes light up when I see you or hear your voice or think about you. That I can't imagine my life without you in it." She sighed and shook her head disappointedly. "I mean, these are things that a wife should mention once in awhile so that her husband knows how much she loves and appreciates him, but I don't do that enough, so I suck. I'm sorry."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Are you kidding me? You're fine at it. I'm the one who sucks with stuff like that."
Lorelai gasped. "You do not suck at it, Luke."
"Well, neither do you," he assured her, rubbing her shoulders. "And all that stuff about. . .ya know. . .your eyes lighting up and not imagining life without me. . ."
"Well. . .ditto." Luke brought his hands to her face and stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. "Every day I think about how lucky I am to have you."
Lorelai smiled. "Yeah?"
They kissed passionately, then Lorelai rested her head against his chest. "I like when we do this. I mean, to just take a few serious minutes away from our usual sarcastic teasing of each other to say, 'hey, you know what, I love you a lot'. . .it feels good. Doesn't it feel good?"
"It feels good," he agreed.
"We should do it more often."
"Okay, then, it's settled," Lorelai announced. "There will be more mushiness in the Danes household from now on."
"Okay, good, I'll make a note of that." Luke kissed her, then gestured to the table. "Let's eat before it's get cold."
. . . . .
They were almost finished with dinner when Joshua woke up crying, and Luke walked into the living room to retrieve him from the baby swing. He calmed him down, then changed his diaper on the couch before bringing him into the kitchen.
Lorelai had just finished making a bottle, and she smiled as they entered the room. "Hey there, handsome boy," she cooed to Joshua. "Did you sleep well? Come to Mommy." She set the bottle on the table and held out her arms toward Luke, who passed Joshua to her.
Lorelai kissed the baby's cheek and rocked him in her arms. "I love you, little boy. And Daddy loves you, too, and if you were trying to think of a good way to maybe return the love to us, you can try to go to bed a little early tonight so Mommy and Daddy can have a little alone time, okay? What do you say?" Joshua gurgled, and Lorelai smiled. "Good boy."
Luke picked up the bottle from the table. "Okay, you wanna feed him or wash the dishes?"
"The dishes can wait." Lorelai took Luke's arm and pulled him toward the living room. "Let's feed him together."
"But the kitchen's a mess," Luke argued.
"The mess can wait, Luke," Lorelai insisted. "There are only a few hours of our anniversary left."
"So, if you only had less than four hours to live, would you spend it doing stupid chores or would you try to spend as much time as possible with your family?"
Luke narrowed his eyes at her. "The best analogy you could think of on our anniversary involves me dying at midnight?"
Lorelai wrinkled her nose. "Okay, that probably wasn't the best one, but I'm just saying. . .let the chores wait until tomorrow so we can spend the rest of our anniversary together." She fingered the collar of his T-shirt. "Plus, doing the dishes will waste precious energy that could be put to better use later tonight."
Luke raised his hands in defeat. "Fine, you win."
Lorelai smiled and tapped her finger on Luke's nose. "I always do, hon." She sat down on the couch. As she positioned Joshua in her arms to be fed, she said, "Why don't you put on our wedding video? We'll watch that while he's eating." Luke complied, then sat down next to her on the couch.
. . . . .
Almost two hours later, Luke had the baby in his lap while Lorelai held out a rattle in front of him, watching Joshua's eyes follow the small toy wherever she moved it.
"He looks like he's finally starting to get tired," Lorelai commented. She put the rattle down and reached for a book from the coffee table. "Let's read to him some more, then I'll take him upstairs and rock him to sleep."
"I can rock him," Luke offered.
"Nah, I'll do it," Lorelai replied. "It'll give you a chance to go clean up the kitchen since I know you've been sitting here for two hours thinking about the mess we left in there."
Lorelai smirked and cocked her head to the side. "I heard you start to clean up when you went in to get our drinks."
Luke scoffed. "I wasn't cleaning up, I was moving the dishes from the table to the sink."
"Which is otherwise known as cleaning up," Lorelai pointed out.
Luke pointed to the book in her hands. "Just read."
Lorelai proceeded to read a few pages aloud until Joshua started to squirm in Luke's arms. "Looks like he's tired of that book," Luke commented.
Lorelai closed the book and tossed it aside. "Good, 'cause I'm tired of reading about Big Bird looking for his stupid teddy bear. We gotta find some more interesting kids' books." She stood up and held out her hands for Joshua. "Here, I'll take him upstairs and put him to bed."
Luke stood up and handed the baby over to Lorelai, then kissed Joshua on the forehead. "'Night, little guy."
"I'll be down in a little bit," Lorelai said as she headed for the staircase.
. . . . .
Luke cleaned up the kitchen, then sat down in the living room to watch television while he waited for Lorelai. After half an hour passed by, he went upstairs to check on her. He walked into the nursery and found Lorelai still rocking the baby.
"He's not asleep yet?" Luke asked quietly.
"Yeah, he is, but I wanted to make sure he was in a deep sleep before I put him in the crib," she whispered. "I'll put him down soon."
Luke went into their bedroom and sat on the bed. He was absently flipping through a sports magazine when Lorelai walked into the room a few minutes later.
"Okay, he's down," she whispered as she sat down next to him on the bed.
Luke tossed the magazine aside. "Okay, good."
"So here's the game plan." Lorelai kissed him. "I'm gonna go freshen up in the bathroom real quick. . ." She kissed him again. ". . .and then we can commence with the slow and gentle lovemaking." She kissed him a third time, longer and deeper than the others. "Sound good?"
Luke nodded, but the look in his eyes showed some hesitancy. He ran his hand down her arm. "You sure about this? I don't want you doin' anything you're not ready for."
"I'm promise you I'm one hundred percent ready," she assured him.
"You sure? I mean, I can wait as long as you want. No rush."
Lorelai smiled and rolled her eyes. "Please, I know how anxious you are. I half expected you to be lying in here naked waiting for me."
Luke smirked. "Yeah, well, I wanted to, but I exercised some restraint."
Lorelai patted his leg. "And for that I'm very proud of you." She kissed him. "I'll be right back." Luke nodded, and Lorelai left for the bathroom.
. . . . .
The next afternoon, Lorelai walked into the Independence Inn kitchen cradling Joshua in her arms. "Aunt Sookie, we came to visit you," Lorelai called in a singsong voice.
"Hm?" Sookie looked up from the vegetables she was chopping and smiled when she saw her visitors. "Oh, hey!" She wiped her hands on a dishtowel and walked over to them. She gently squeezed Joshua's arm. "Hey there, little boy. You're getting cuter and cuter everyday, do you know that?"
"Yes, he does," Lorelai replied. "And frankly, I think it's starting to go to his head. I mean, it's good to have confidence, but some days he'll just sit there for hours and hours talking about how adorable he is."
Sookie giggled. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, and I don't want him to grow up to be shallow, you know? So we've removed all the mirrors from the house to try to get him to focus on the more important things in life."
"Yeah, but then yesterday I found that he had snuck a spoon into his crib and was trying to look at himself in it, so it'll take some time to completely reform him."
"Well, I wish you the best of luck," Sookie said with an amused smile. She gestured toward the back door. "Wanna sit out back on the porch for a few minutes? I could use some fresh air."
"Yeah, absolutely. It's beautiful out today."
After Sookie told the kitchen staff she'd be right back, they walked to the back door and stepped out onto the porch. They walked over to a bench and sat down. "How are you feeling?" Lorelai asked. "Ready for him to come out yet?"
Sookie nodded as she rubbed her stomach. "I'm way past ready. I can't believe I still have two months to go."
"Don't worry, the last two months go by the quickest," Lorelai assured her.
"Really?" Sookie asked hopefully.
Lorelai wrinkled her nose and shook her head. "Well, no, they seemed to last forever for me, but maybe they'll go fast for you."
Sookie smirked and rolled her eyes. "You're so comforting, thank you."
Lorelai smiled. "No problem." She shifted Joshua in her arms and kissed his forehead. "Hey, did you tell Aunt Sookie that we saw your sister today?"
"No, he didn't mention it," Sookie replied. "You went up to Yale?"
"Yeah, we had a few more dorm things to drop off," Lorelai replied. "And I am happy to report that my little freshman is loving college life so far."
"That's good to hear," Sookie said. "She hasn't been involved in any campus drug busts or beer brawls so far?"
"Not yet, but it's only been a few days. Give her time to fall in with the wrong crowd."
"Okay, I'll check back next week. How'd your anniversary night go?"
Lorelai grinned. "Fabulously romantic. We had a candlelight dinner with wine, we watched our wedding video, we spent some time with this little guy. . ." She patted Joshua's arm. "It was perfect."
Sookie smiled. "Aw, good. It sounds like a nice night."
"It was, it was really nice," Lorelai confirmed.
"And about what you mentioned on the phone yesterday," Sookie said. "About you guys. . . for the first time. . .did you?"
Lorelai nodded. "Yeah, we did."
Sookie gasped. "You did? How was it?" She grimaced and prepared herself for the worst. "Was it horrible? Did you cry? I've read so many articles in baby magazines that the first time after childbirth is really uncomfortable and the woman cries because there's so much pain and then she can't imagine ever doing it again."
Lorelai let out a surprised laugh. "Sookie, calm down."
"Just please tell me it wasn't like that."
"It wasn't like that," Lorelai assured her. "I promise."
Sookie let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, good."
"But every woman's different," Lorelai continued. "Just because some women in some articles had a bad experience the first time doesn't mean that you will. Just remember to wait until you're completely ready."
"And take it slow," Lorelai told her.
"Right, slow, got it," Sookie noted. "So it wasn't bad?"
Lorelai shook her head. "No, it wasn't bad at all. Not even close to bad. I mean, sure, it was a little uncomfortable at first, but Luke was really gentle and. . ." She paused and shook her head. "And he hates when I talk about personal stuff like this, so I shouldn't say anything else about it."
"Just don't worry about it," Lorelai told her. "I'm sure you'll be fine."
Sookie nodded and dropped the subject. "So, did you see Michel when you came in?'
"Yeah, but he was busy talking to the staff about something, so I didn't wanna interrupt. He seems to be enjoying his tenure as temporary manager, huh?"
"Oh, yeah," Sookie replied with a nod. "He loves that people actually have to listen to what he says."
Lorelai smiled. "It's a whole new world when you have that kind of power." She took a deep breath. "But it's good to hear, because I guess this means he probably won't mind if I don't come back to the inn right away."
"Oh, you're gonna take some more time off?"
"Yeah, it's something Luke and I talked about."
"How much more time? Like a couple weeks?"
Lorelai nibbled on her bottom lip. "Um, longer."
"A month?" Sookie suggested. Lorelai waved for her to keep guessing, and Sookie gasped. "Longer than a month? Really? Like a couple months?"
Lorelai exhaled slowly and ran a finger across Joshua's forehead. "I was considering the possibility of kind of staying home with him for awhile. Like. . .I don't know, a year or two."
"A year or two?" Sookie exclaimed. "Are you serious? You're gonna quit work and be a stay-at-home mom?"
Lorelai nibbled nervously on her bottom lip. "Maybe. Possibly. Okay, tell me what you think, really. Because some days I think it sounds like the best idea in the world and other days it sounds so insane that I should be locked up in a mental institution for even considering it. So tell me, does it sound completely crazy?"
Sookie shook her head. "No, it's not crazy at all. I'm just surprised because I didn't even know you were thinking about it. But if that's something you wanna do and you can afford to do it, I think it's great. I'd do it if I could."
"That's the thing, we don't know if we can afford it," Lorelai said with a sigh. "We might have to apply for a loan from the all mighty Bank of Gilmore."
"Wow, you must really wanna stay at home if you're openly considering that option."
Lorelai smiled and nodded. "I do. I love being at home with him, spending the day with him, being there for all his firsts." She kissed Joshua's forehead. "I don't wanna miss anything." She sighed and glanced up at the inn. "But on the other hand. . .I'm gonna miss this place. This is where I grew up, where Rory grew up. It'll feel weird to not work here anymore."
"Well, you'll still be able to visit it," Sookie pointed out. "It's not like you're leaving town and you'll never be able to see it again."
"True. Another option Luke and I were talking about is me working just part time. A few half-days a week, or maybe just the weekends. That way I'll be able to spend a lot of time with Josh, but it'll break up the monotony of being home all day everyday. That way I won't fall into that stay-at-home rut that some parents fall into, you know?"
"Yeah, I've read a lot of articles about that rut," Sookie said. "That'd be one of my worries, that I'd just get tired of being home all the time."
"It's definitely something to think about," Lorelai agreed. "But we'll see what happens. Luke and I still have to talk it over some more." She nuzzled her nose against Joshua's head and inhaled the baby scent that she loved so much, then shrugged toward Sookie. "And I still want us to open our own inn someday."
"Maybe we'll have time in a couple years when our boys start preschool and don't need as much full-time care."
Sookie smiled and nodded. "Sounds like a plan."
They talked for a few more minutes, then Lorelai and Joshua left the inn and drove to the diner. As they walked inside, Luke immediately walked over to them from the counter. "Hey."
"Hey you." Lorelai kissed him, then held Joshua out toward him. "Someone wants to see you."
Luke took the baby and cradled him against his chest. "Hey buddy. You being good today?"
"'I'm always good, Daddy,'" Lorelai replied for Joshua.
"Good. What'd you do?"
"We've had a busy day so far," Lorelai replied. "We went shopping this morning, then took a little trip to Yale, then stopped by the inn for a visit." She let out a small yawn. "Now we're heading back home for a nice long nap."
"Can I get another soda, Luke?" Kirk called from the table in the back corner.
Luke turned and shot him a look. "Kirk, who am I holding in my arms right now?"
"Uh. . . that would be your son Joshua," Kirk replied nervously.
"And who's standing next to me?" Luke asked.
"Um. . .Lorelai."
"And what did I tell you about bugging me when I'm with them?"
"Um. . .don't do it?"
"Yeah, don't do it," Luke repeated sternly.
"I'll be there when I'm done." Luke turned back to Lorelai. "Sorry. So you're just heading home?"
Lorelai nodded. "Yeah, we're gonna go take a nap, then I'm gonna teach him to sing just in case they ever come out with a baby version of American Idol."
Luke rolled his eyes. "I wouldn't be surprised if they did."
Lorelai patted him on the chest. "You should practice, too, 'cause you never know – American Idol, the Sexy Flannel-Wearing Diner Guy version might come out someday, too."
"Yeah, I'll start preparing for that right away." Luke handed Joshua back to her. "I'll be home around six. You want me to bring something for dinner?"
Lorelai thought for a moment, then replied, "Pizza and cheesy bread."
Lorelai lifted Joshua's arm to wave at Luke. "Bye Daddy."
Luke kissed Joshua's tiny fingers. "Bye, kid. Be good." He kissed Lorelai. "You, too."
Lorelai smiled. "I'll try. See you later."
. . . . .
On Friday night, Rory was waiting by her car in front of Emily and Richard's house when Lorelai, Luke and Joshua arrived.
"Hey you," Lorelai greeted Rory with a hug. "Have you been here long?"
"Nope, just got here," Rory replied. She walked over to the truck where Luke was getting Joshua's carseat out of the back. "Hey Luke."
Luke set the carseat on the ground and hugged Rory. "Hey kiddo. How's it going?"
"Good, everything's good," Rory replied. She knelt down next to the carseat and rubbed Joshua's chin. "Hi, baby brother. Remember me?"
"Considering the fact that he's seen you almost everyday this week, I think so," Lorelai replied. "He hasn't had any time to forget you yet."
"Good." Rory stood up and grabbed the handle of the carseat. "Ready to go in?"
"I can carry him," Luke offered.
"It's okay, I got it," Rory insisted. "Let's go."
They walked up to the door and rang the doorbell, and the maid let them in. She led them to the living room where Emily and Richard were sitting on the couch talking, and they both stood up when they saw their guests.
"Hello, hello," Emily greeted them cheerfully.
"Come in, sit down," Richard added.
"Hey Mom, hey Dad," Lorelai said as she and Luke sat on the couch.
"Should I take him out of this thing?" Rory asked as she set Joshua's carseat on the floor.
"Yes, of course," Emily replied, walking over to her. "I want to hold him."
Rory unbuckled Joshua from the carseat, lifted him out and handed him to Emily, then took a seat in an armchair. Emily sat down with Joshua on the couch as Richard took drink orders and walked over to the beverage cart.
"First things first," Richard announced. "Someone here needs to fill us in on her first week of college."
"I'm not positive, but I think that's directed at you, hon," Lorelai said to Rory.
Rory smiled. "Yeah, I figured."
"Come on, tell us how you like it so far," Emily said.
"Yes, tell us everything," Richard said.
"Is it everything you imagined it would be?" Emily asked.
"How are your roommates?"
"How do you like the – "
"Whoa, guys, let her talk," Lorelai interrupted. "I've learned that conversations go smoother when they're not set up like an interrogation."
Richard walked over with a tray of drinks and handed them out. "I apologize, Rory. We're just anxious to hear about everything."
"That's okay." Rory took a sip of her soda. "But there's not really much to tell yet, I've only been there for a week."
"But you like it so far?" Emily asked.
"Yeah, I love it," Rory replied. They talked about Yale until the maid announced that dinner was ready, then they moved to the dining room table. Lorelai put Joshua in his carseat and placed it on the floor next to her chair.
They began eating, and after only a few minutes, Joshua started to become fussy. Lorelai tried to quiet him down by shaking his rattle, but he continued crying. She put her silverware down and wiped her hands on her napkin. "I think he's getting hungry. I have to warm up a bottle for him. Luke, can you. . ." She gestured to Joshua as she stood up.
"Yeah, I'll get him," he replied. Lorelai headed to the kitchen as Luke removed Joshua from his carseat and calmed him down. "Shh, it's okay, your bottle's coming." Luke rocked back and forth until Joshua's cries lessened down to a whimper.
Lorelai returned with the bottle and extended her arms for Joshua. "Come here, honey. Let's go eat."
"I can feed him," Luke offered as he reached for the bottle. "I don't mind."
"Take your time. We'll wait for you to return," Emily said.
"Yes, we'll wait," Richard agreed, putting down his silverware.
"I'll get Maya to keep the food warm," Emily added.
"No, that's okay," Luke insisted. "I don't know how long it'll take. You guys should finish up."
"Well, then I'll at least get Maya to keep your plate warm," Emily said. "How's that?"
Luke nodded appreciatively. "Great, thanks."
Lorelai kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks, hon. Call down if you need anything." Luke nodded and headed out of the room, and Emily called for the maid to take his plate to the kitchen.
. . . . .
Almost ten minutes later, Luke was rocking Joshua up in the nursery when Lorelai walked into the room. "Everything okay?" she asked.
"Fine," Luke replied. "He's done eating, now he's trying to go to sleep."
Lorelai sat down in the armchair next to the rocking chair. "My father just asked me how much longer my maternity leave is."
"Really? What did you say?"
"I just said that I wasn't sure of the exact date, but that it ends pretty soon." She became quiet as she glanced down and examined her fingernails.
Luke eyed her expression. "What's up?"
Lorelai shrugged. "I'm just thinking."
Lorelai exhaled slowly. "I think I finally made a decision about work."
"Yeah. I think I definitely wanna try to arrange a part-time work schedule."
Luke nodded. "I think that'll be good."
"Me, too," she agreed. "But that means that you and I would have to coordinate a little so that you'd be able to watch him for those few hours that I'm at work."
"Not a problem," Luke assured her.
Lorelai nibbled nervously on her bottom lip. "Are you sure? I don't want this to cause all kinds of scheduling conflicts."
"It won't be a big deal," Luke said. "We'll work something out. Don't worry about that."
Lorelai smiled and nodded. "Okay, good."
"You think we should tell your parents that we'll probably need to borrow money for Yale?" Luke asked. "I mean, we might not need to for awhile, but if we tell 'em now, we'll have time to find another option if they say no."
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Please, it's for Rory's school. When have they ever said no to anything involving Rory?"
"Hm, good point. I guess we're safe."
"Very safe." She smiled and ran her hand over Joshua's back. "Our boy's sleeping."
"So I guess we'll have to wait until next week to give him a tour of the upstairs of Gilmore Manor," Lorelai said. "Now, when we show him my old bedroom, should we introduce it as 'the room where Mommy and Daddy first saw each other naked' or 'the room where Mommy and Daddy first did each other'?"
Luke smirked. "Your call."
Lorelai tapped her finger on her chin, pretending to think it over. "Hm. Well, the nakedness led to the doing of each other, so maybe we could combine the two."
"Sounds good." Luke walked over to the crib and gently set Joshua in it. Joshua squirmed a little, and Luke was very still as he waited for him to settle back down. Once he did, Luke walked quietly toward the door, beckoning Lorelai to follow him. She turned on the baby monitor, grabbed its cordless counterpart, then followed Luke into the hallway, gently pulling the door closed behind her.
"Whew. Think he's down for the night?" Lorelai asked.
"Until we move him from the crib to the carseat to take him home," Luke replied. "But then he'll probably fall back asleep during the car ride."
Lorelai nodded in agreement. "Definitely."
Luke laced his fingers through hers. "Rory's coming home tonight, right?"
Lorelai smiled and nodded. "Yeah, we're gonna watch a movie and eat lots of junk food and cry about how we never see each other anymore."
Luke shook his head amusedly. "Need I point out that you've seen her everyday this week?"
"Excuse me, I didn't see her yesterday," Lorelai reminded him.
"Well, you talked to her on the phone four times, that's practically seeing her."
Lorelai poked him in the chest. "I seriously hope you're not mocking my relationship with my daughter. . ."
"I'm not, I'm just commenting."
"Good." She pressed her lips against his and kissed him deeply. "Because people who have mocked it in the past have faced serious repercussions."
"Yeah. Like eight years ago, when I was dating Conan O'Brien. . .I told you about our little fling, right?"
Luke smirked and shook his head. "I don't think you mentioned it."
Lorelai waved it off. "It didn't last very long. Don't worry, I don't have any lingering feelings for him. It was a purely physical relationship."
"Anyway, we were out on a date and I called home a few times to check up on Rory, and Conan made some snide remark about it. . .I don't remember the exact wording, but you know how he is . . ." Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Always trying to be funny. Well, it got me a little annoyed, so when we went back to his place that night, I made him wait a good twenty minutes before I slept with him."
Luke gave her an impressed nod. "Wow, you showed him."
"Yeah. So, you know. . .you better watch what you say."
"I will." Luke clutched her waist and pulled her into a kiss. "You're completely insane."
Luke kissed her again. "I love that about you."
Lorelai smiled. "I know that, too."
"Good. Quick question for ya. . ."
"Yes, Conan's a natural red head."
Luke shuddered and made a face. "Oh, God, Lorelai."
Lorelai giggled. "Oh, was that not your question?"
"No, it wasn't," he replied, shaking his head in disgust. "Ugh."
"Sorry. Want me to flash you my boobs so you have that mental image in your head instead of Conan?"
Luke took her hand and let her toward the stairs. "No, let's just go downstairs before they send up a search party for us."
"So what was your question?"
Luke shrugged and shook his head. "I don't even remember now."
"Must've been real important," Lorelai commented. They walked down the stairs in silence until Lorelai smiled and nudged his shoulder. "You're thinking about my boobs now, aren't you?" Luke gave her a sly smile and put his arm around her as they continued toward the dining room.
. . . . .
The next morning, Luke was in the kitchen making breakfast when Rory walked out of her bedroom. "Morning," Luke greeted her.
"Morning, Luke," Rory groggily replied. "Is there coffee?"
Luke gestured to the coffeepot. "Yup, just made some."
"Great." Rory poured herself a cup and sat down at the table. "Is Mom up?"
"Yeah, she's upstairs changing Josh," Luke replied. "They'll be right down."
A few minutes later, Lorelai entered the kitchen cradling Joshua in one hand and her video camera in the other. "I just got the cutest video of him in the crib," Lorelai announced.
"What was he doing?" Rory asked.
"Just lying there, but it was really cute." She set the camera on the table, then held out Joshua toward Rory. "Here, hold him. I don't have any shots of you with him from this week."
"Uh, do we have to do this now?" Rory asked, gesturing to her robe. "Can't it wait until I don't look like a zombie?"
"Oh, please, you look fine," Lorelai insisted, and handed Joshua to her. "Nobody'll see it but us anyway."
"Yeah, I bet that's what Tommy Lee told Pamela Anderson."
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Trust me, the tape of you holding Joshua in your pajamas and robe is not going to make its way across the internet."
"It better not," Rory grumbled.
Lorelai frowned. "You haven't even said good morning to him."
"Sorry." Rory shifted Joshua in her arms to make him more comfortable. "Good morning, Josh. I didn't mean to ignore you, I was just conversing with our annoying mother."
"Hey, be nice, I'm starting to tape," Lorelai warned as she turned on the video camera. As she filmed the two of them, she narrated, "And here's Rory and Joshua enjoying a little sibling bonding time bright and early in the morning. . ." She panned the camera down to Rory's legs. "Let's get a good shot of Rory's Scooby Doo pajamas so we can remember them for years to come."
"Mom!" Rory hissed.
"Sorry." Lorelai giggled and aimed the camera at Luke. "And there's DaddyLuke cooking breakfast. What are you making, hon?"
"Pancakes and bacon," Luke replied.
"Looks good," Lorelai commented as she zoomed in on the pan. "Ooh, we should pretend we're on a cooking show. Tell us what you're doing now, Chef Luke."
Luke rolled his eyes. "I'm turning the bacon."
"That's right, folks, you must turn the bacon regularly until it gets to the crispiness of your liking," Lorelai narrated to her imaginary audience. "And what are you doing now, Chef Luke?"
Luke sighed and pointed his spatula toward Rory and Joshua. "Do me a favor and direct the camera that way, okay?"
Lorelai frowned, but panned from Luke back over to Rory and Joshua. "There they are, my two kids, still doing the sibling bonding thing. How's it going over there?"
"Just fine," Rory replied. "He thinks my finger's a toy."
Lorelai smiled. "Aw, look at that." She zoomed in on Joshua's tiny hand curled around Rory's finger. "That's so adorable."
"Breakfast's ready," Luke announced as he started dishing out the food.
"Ooh, okay." Lorelai held the camera out at arms length, aiming it at herself. "This is Lorelai Danes, signing off from Stars Hollow, Connecticut." She turned the camera off and set it on the table.
"Do you end all of your taping segments like that?" Rory asked. "Because it's kind of weird."
"No, sometimes I say, 'we'll be right back after a word from our sponsors,'" Lorelai replied.
"Oh, good, that's less weird," Rory commented sarcastically. She nodded toward Joshua. "What should I do with him while we're eating?"
"I'll go get his carseat," Lorelai replied. She retrieved it from the living room and set it on the kitchen floor, and Rory placed Joshua in it.
Lorelai squeezed a small plush baseball and 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' played. She set it on Joshua's lap. "There ya go, buddy. Be good while we eat."
Rory smiled. "Aw, that toy's so cute. Let me guess. . .Luke picked it out?"
"You are correct," Lorelai answered. "He's trying to instill a love of sports into him as soon as possible."
"That's right," Luke said. "He's gonna be an active kid, not one of those lazy kids who sits around watching television all day. Being involved in group activities is good for a child's development. I read that somewhere. He'll be making friends, learning about teamwork, developing his hand-eye coordination. . ."
"Whoa, okay, he's a month and a half, Luke," Lorelai interrupted. "We should probably hold off on signing him up for sports just yet."
"Sorry, I'm just. . .I don't know. . ." Luke shrugged and let his voice trail off.
Lorelai smiled and patted his arm. "You're just excited about doing all those father-son male bonding sportsy things, I get it. I think it's adorable."
"Me, too," Rory agreed. "I think it's great that you're looking forward to that kind of stuff."
"Yeah, well. . ." Luke shrugged. "It'll be fun to teach him new things. And not just sports. I mean, I can teach him how to fish and how to play chess and how to – "
"Make a mean batch of pancakes," Lorelai interjected before she shoved a forkful into her mouth.
"Yeah, you can have little cooking classes at the diner and teach him how to cook," Rory suggested. "And maybe Mom can participate and try to pick up a few tips."
Lorelai shook her fork at Rory. "Hey, you're one to talk. You're just as kitchenly inept as I am."
"Kitchenly inept?" Rory asked with an amused smile.
Lorelai frowned. "You just mocked my cooking skills, now you're mocking my made up words? What's this, Pick On Mommy Day?"
"No, but we can formally make it that if you want," Rory replied with a grin.
Joshua started to whimper, so Lorelai reached down and squeezed the stuffed baseball to start the music over again. "Hang on, honey. Mommy'll pick you up as soon as she's done eating." Lorelai gently rocked the carseat until Joshua became quiet. "Good boy."
"So what's on the agenda for today?" Rory asked.
"I don't know," Lorelai replied with a shrug. She glanced out the window. "Looks pretty nice out. We could take Joshua for a walk to the park and hang out there for a little while." She glanced down at Joshua. "Sound good to you, little guy?" Joshua stared up at her obliviously with his big blue eyes and Lorelai smiled. "I think he likes that idea."
"I need to stop at the hardware store and pick up some new hinges for the garage door," Luke said. "I wanna get that fixed before the weather starts getting cold."
"Is Sissy's still having that back-to-school sale?" Rory asked.
"Ooh, yeah, I think tomorrow's the last day," Lorelai replied. "Okay, how about this – first we take a walk to the park and completely ruin our appetites for lunch by getting double scoop ice cream cones. . ."
"Sounds good so far," Rory commented.
"Then we can head toward the shops, and the boys can browse the hardware store while the girls check out the shoe sale," Lorelai continued. "Then we can meet back up, get some lunch, maybe stop at the market to pick up a few things. . ."
"We're getting low on diapers," Luke interjected. "And baby formula."
"Okay, someone write that down before we forget and consequently get arrested for depriving our baby of major necessities," Lorelai said.
"Don't worry, I'll remember," Rory said.
"Good. Then we can come back here and hang out 'til you go back to school," Lorelai finished. "There we go, the day's all planned."
"I wanted to stop by and see Lane at some point," Rory said. "So if we can work that into the plan somehow, that'd be good."
"I'm sure we can squeeze that in somewhere," Lorelai assured her. "What time do you think you're gonna head back to school?"
Rory shrugged. "I don't know, probably like seven-ish. I wanna try to get back while it's still light out."
"Good idea," Luke said. "I don't like the idea of you walking around that campus in the dark. Who knows what could happen."
Lorelai frowned and smacked his arm. "Okay, Mr. Positivity, let's not put scary thoughts into the already-concerned mother's head, okay? I'm sure the campus is safe."
"If you say so." Luke stood up from the table and walked his plate over to the sink, then leaned against the counter. "Wouldn't hurt to carry a can of pepper spray or something, though. Ya know, just in case. . ."
Lorelai gasped. "Luke, stop it, you're freaking me out."
"Yeah, me, too," Rory added with a frown. "Now I'm gonna be paranoid all the time."
Luke held up his hands innocently. "Okay, sorry." He walked over to the carseat and picked up Joshua. "Let's get outta here before Daddy says something else that gets him in trouble."
"Good idea," Lorelai said as Luke and Joshua headed toward the living room. She frowned at Rory. "You okay?"
Rory nodded as she ate her last piece of bacon. "Yeah. I'm gonna go take a shower and try to forget that conversation ever happened."
"Think of the Chili's baby back ribs commercial," Lorelai suggested. "Once you get that song in your head, you won't be able to think of anything else, I promise."
"Thanks for the tip." Rory walked out of the kitchen, and Lorelai finished up her breakfast.
. . . . .
That night after dinner, Rory packed up her things to head back to Yale, and Lorelai, Luke, and Joshua walked her out to her car to say goodbye.
Rory kissed Joshua's cheek. "See ya, little guy. I had fun spending the day with you." She hugged Luke. "You, too."
"Ditto," Luke replied. "Drive safe."
"I will," Rory promised. She stepped over to Lorelai and hugged her. "Bye, Mom."
"Bye, sweets." Lorelai kissed her on the cheek. "Call me tomorrow."
"I will." Rory climbed into her car and pulled away, waving goodbye out the open window.
Luke and Lorelai walked over to the front porch and sat down on the steps. "Well, it's just the three of us again," Luke noted as he shifted Joshua in his arms
"Yup." Lorelai linked her arm through his and leaned her head against his shoulder. "It's weird. . . when she's not here, sometimes it feels like she's just right around the corner, and sometimes it feels like she's a million miles away. If that makes any sense at all."
Luke nodded and rubbed her knee. "I know what you mean."
Lorelai was quiet for a minute as she took Joshua's hand and stroked it with her thumb. "What do you think he's gonna be like when he's older?"
"Kinda hard to say," Luke replied. "I bet he'll be smart."
"And cute," Lorelai added as she ran a finger over Joshua's cheek. "I mean, look at this adorable face. He's gonna grow up to be quite the ladies' man." She stared down at Joshua for a few seconds, then sighed softly. "I just hope he's happy, ya know? I hope that when he's older and he sits down to think about his life, he can say, 'wow, I've had a pretty good life so far.'"
Luke put his arm around her and pulled her closer. "I hope so, too. That's the main thing all parents want in life, for their kids to be happy." He was quiet a moment, then said, "You know, I always talk to him about you when you're not around."
Lorelai raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? Good stuff, I hope."
Luke smirked. "Mostly." Lorelai nudged him with her elbow, and he laughed. "No, I just tell him stories about us. . . about our life together, our wedding, you know, that kind of stuff. I mean, I know he doesn't understand it, but. . .I like talking about it."
Lorelai smiled and nodded understandably. "I talk to him about stuff like that, too."
Luke brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. "One of things I always tell him is that I hope he finds someone who makes him as happy as you make me."
Lorelai smiled. "Aw, that's so sweet." She kissed him. "I say that to Rory about you."
"Yeah. So I guess the conclusion we can draw from that is that you and I make each other very, very happy."
"Yup." He kissed her softly on the lips. "Love you."
Lorelai smiled. "Love you, too." She sighed contentedly as she stared up into Luke's eyes. That special glint. . .the one that made her realize for the first time that this man cared for her more than she'd ever know. . .it was still there.
And she knew it always would be.
. . . . .
Many thanks for reading the story, and for your continued support throughout both this one and its prequel, "It's Right There." Thanks to everyone for sticking by me these past two years as I attempted to play out all of my crazy Luke/Lorelai fantasies. Here's hoping that the real GG writers someday take the L/L friendship to the next level.