Gut Instinct

Inspired by Episode 4.05 - The Fundamental Things Apply

LORELAI: Yeah, but dating is how you get to know your potential partner. It's the only way.

LUKE: There's the gut. I can tell if I'm comfortable with someone within seconds of meeting them. I feel it here. I felt it with Rachel. I felt it with Nicole. I was immediately relaxed.

Description: A conversation about Luke's "gut instinct" takes a surprising turn when Lorelai asks what his gut told him about her.


Lorelai hung up the phone, leaving Rory to her date. She and Luke were in the middle of watching Casablanca when her daughter had called, freaking out that she didn't know how to behave, and wanting advice for how to make sure the rest of the date wouldn't be a total disaster.

Lorelai had relayed her advice, and Luke's, and was reasonably satisfied when Rory hung up the phone that her progeny would do just fine. She might not marry the guy, but she had to figure out the rest on her own. It was a rite of passage.

"I wouldn't trade places with her for the world," Luke said as Lorelai returned to the couch.

"Really? You wouldn't want to go out with a boy named Trevor? You might want to wait and see his picture," she teased.

"I mean dating. It's a horror."

"It's the only cure for the singleness thing, barring ordering a spouse off the internet."

"I missed nothing by not dating."

"Not true," Lorelai disagreed.

"If I had dated a lot, I'd still be single. I'd just have spent a lot of bad nights at Tony Roma's."

"Yeah, but dating is how you get to know your potential partner. It's the only way."

"There's the gut. I can tell if I'm comfortable with someone within seconds of meeting them. I feel it here," he gestured to his abdomen. "I felt it with Rachel. I felt it with Nicole. I was immediately relaxed."

"You've got the gut thing."

"Well, it's just knowing that someone will let you be. That's a gut thing."

"So what did your gut tell you about me?" she asked.

Luke huffed a laugh. "Run away, as fast as you can."

"No, really," she pushed.

"I don't know, Lorelai. It was a long time ago. Besides, I've known you long enough that it doesn't really matter anymore."

"Of course it matters," she insisted.

"Why?"

"Because I want to know how I stack up."

"Stack up against what?"

"Against your all-knowing gut instinct. Did you like me?" she asked.

"I didn't know you," he attempted.

"Hence the gut," she needled.

"Right," he agreed.

"So?"

"So… I don't know what you want me to say," he said, hoping to get off the topic.

"Just tell me what you thought of me when you first met me," she urged.

"I guess… I thought, 'here's a crazy lady going through caffeine withdrawal'," he finally said.

"That's not a gut instinct, that's an observation," Lorelai pointed out.

"What's the difference?"

"You're the one who swears by his gut, you should know the difference."

Luke sighed. "Lorelai, do you remember the first time we met?"

"Vaguely. It was at Luke's, right?"

"It was at Luke's, it was at lunch, the place was packed, and you came tearing into the diner in a caffeine frenzy."

"Sounds like me," she agreed, a smile playing on her features.

"I was with a customer. You interrupted me, begging for coffee, so I told you to wait your turn. Then you started following me around, talking my ear off. So finally I turned to you and said, 'you're being annoying – sit down, shut up, I'll get to you when I get to you'."

"You know, I bet I took that very well," she said with mock sincerity.

"You demanded to know when my birthday was. Wouldn't leave me alone until I told you. Then you snatched the newspaper right out of the hands of Old Man Hopper, opened it up to the horoscope page, wrote something down, tore it out and handed it to me."

"Oh my god, I forgot all about the horoscope!" Lorelai exclaimed in laughter, pieces of their first interaction coming back to her.

"So I'm looking at this piece of paper, and under Scorpio, you had written, 'you will meet an annoying woman today. Give her coffee and she'll go away'."

"And you gave me the coffee," she finished the story for him, finally recalling their meeting all those years ago. "But I didn't go away."

"Nope. You swindled me the first time we met, and you've been doing it ever since," he concluded, amusedly.

"Hey, didn't I tell you to keep the horoscope for luck?"

Luke laughed. "Yes, you did."

"Man, I will say anything for a cup of coffee."

"And you have," he confirmed.

"So what does it say for your all-knowing gut that you kept me around after my dazzling first impression?" She jabbed him in the side, feeling confident that she had made her point.

Luke eyed her for a moment, as if making up his mind. Finally, he dug in his back pocket and produced his wallet.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

He pulled something out and handed it to her.

"I'd say my gut was right on," he told her. She took the proffered square of aged paper and regarded it, recognition coming over her face.

"You kept this?" she asked, looking up at him for confirmation, despite the evidence in her hand. He shrugged and held his hand out to take the slip of paper back, but she held on to it. "Why did you keep this?"

"I don't know. I guess I forgot it was in there," he told her, casually. She regarded his outstretched hand another moment before relinquishing the paper. He tucked it back into its spot and tossed the wallet onto the coffee table. "You want to finish the movie?"

"Uh, yeah, sure," Lorelai stammered. Luke picked the remote up and turned it back on, studiously avoiding her gaze as she continued to watch him.

"What?" he asked after a long moment.

"Nothing," she said quickly.

"Quit staring at me."

"I'm not staring."

"Yes, you are."

"I'm just… thinking." Luke sighed and paused the movie, turning to look at her.

"Thinking about what?"

"What does it mean?" she asked.

"Are we talking in an existential sense, like what does it all mean, or in a concrete sense, like why are we still talking?"

"The horoscope, Luke. What does it mean?"

"Nothing. It doesn't mean anything. I told you, I forgot about it," he maintained.

"It's been there for seven years," she said, matter-of-factly.

"You're just lucky I never clean out my wallet."

"Because you would have gotten rid of it if you had?"

Luke sighed. "Why are you asking me all these questions?"

"I just want to know."

"Lorelai, I don't know. I put it in my wallet, we became friends, I left it there. I guess it was a nice reminder."

"Of our friendship?" she questioned.

"Yes."

"Like a bracelet? Or a necklace we each wear one half of?"

"Okay, this conversation is over," he said firmly.

"No, Luke, I want to know." More nervously, she asked, "Do you… did you… like me?"

"Of course I like you," he told her.

"Not 'let's go to a ball game' kind of like. Like like," she clarified. Luke took a long breath and let it out.

"Lorelai…"

"You can tell me, you know. If you had a crush on me, it would be okay," she said.

"A crush?" he mimicked, sarcastically.

"Yeah."

"I didn't know you. How can you have a crush on someone you don't know?" he asked.

"It happens every day."

"Not to me."

"You're being evasive," she said.

"Well, I don't want to answer the question."

"Because you did have a crush on me?" she pushed.

"Because there's no right answer," he told her.

"The truth is the right answer."

"No, it isn't," he said. "If I tell you I had a crush on you, you'll read into it. If I tell you I didn't have a crush on you, you'll wonder why the hell not. There's no right answer, so I'm not answering."

"I won't feel bad if you didn't," she offered up.

"And if I did?" he asked.

"I would be okay with that too. It was seven years ago, right?"

Luke sighed. "Right."

"So just tell me."

"No."

"Ugh, you're frustrating!" she exclaimed.

"I'm frustrating?" he asked, shifting in his seat so he was facing her more fully.

"Yes!"

"You're the one pushing the issue. Just let it go."

"I don't want to let it go," she said, petulantly.

"Why not?"

"Because I wanna know."

"Why?"

"Because I'm curious."

"Why?" he asked again.

"Because… I don't know, I just am," she finished, lamely.

"Now you're being evasive," he turned it around.

"I'm not being evasive, I just don't know."

"Well, I'm not answering your stupid question, so can we just drop it, please?" he begged. Lorelai studied him for a moment, before continuing.

"I have a proposition for you," she said. He eyed her nervously.

"A proposition?"

"Yes."

"Which is…"

"You tell me what I want to know, and you get to ask me one question that you're dying to know, and I have to answer it," she explained, finishing with a smile.

"That's not much of a proposition," he groused. She raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, sorry, were you hoping I was propositioning you?"

"Ah, geez." She smirked at her ability to get a rise out of him.

"You in?" she asked.

"You're ridiculous," he told her.

"That's well established."

Luke sighed heavily. "You wanted to know if I had a crush on you when I first met you?"

"Yes."

"You want the God's honest truth."

"Yes!"

"I did not have a crush on you," he said, firmly. Lorelai reared back.

"What?" she asked.

"What?" he shot back.

"You didn't?"

"No."

"But… with all the avoidance, I thought…"

"You thought what? That I was going to declare my undying love for you?" he teased.

"No!"

"Then what? You wanted the truth. That's the truth."

"But…" she fought for a moment to land on her next words, "Why not?" she finally asked.

"Because you were annoying," he told her plainly. "You called me 'Duke' for two years. You came into the diner like a tornado, demanded all of my attention and tormented me."

"I wasn't that bad," she sulked.

"You were that bad. You're still that bad, I'm just used to you now," he told her.

"So you never had feelings for me at all?" she asked.

"Did we agree to follow-ups?" he asked, rather than answering the question.

"I'm just asking."

"Well, it's my turn," he said, sidestepping her query.

"Fine, go ahead," she agreed.

"Did you ever have feelings for me?" he asked, turning it around on her. He figured if she could play in unchartered territory, so could he.

"Ever? Like any time in the last seven years?"

"Yeah."

"Yes," she said, easily. His eyebrows shot up at her admission.

"Yes, you had feelings for me?" he clarified.

"Yes," she confirmed.

"When?"

"Uh uh, no follow-ups. Your rule," she dodged, pointing a finger in his direction.

"Well, change the rule. I want to know," he demanded.

"Why?"

"Why?" he asked.

"Yeah, why do you want to know?" she pushed.

"Because I do."

"My my, how the tables have turned."

Luke rolled his eyes at her self-satisfied smirk. "You know what? Never mind. If we're not finishing the movie, I gotta get home." He started to push himself up off the couch, only to have Lorelai reach out and stop him with a hand on his arm.

"No, no, Luke. We can do follow-ups. Don't go yet," she said in a rush.

"Why not?"

"Because I want to finish the conversation."

He settled back into his seat with a heavy, put upon sigh. "Fine," he agreed.

"But you have to answer my follow-up before I answer yours," she told him.

"What was your follow-up again?" he asked.

"Did you ever have feelings for me?"

"Sure," he told her with a shrug. She blinked at him, at how easily he answered the question.

"Sure?" she asked, hoping she had heard him right.

"Sure," he confirmed. "I've known you a long time. You're a beautiful woman. Of course I've thought about it."

"Just thought about it, or really wanted it?" she asked.

"You have to answer my follow-up first if you want me to answer your follow-up to the follow-up." She rolled her eyes, but chose to play ball. She had been the one who asked him to stay, after all.

"You wanted to know when I had feelings for you?" she asked. He nodded. "I guess they popped up from time to time," she said honestly. "You'd make my kid a birthday cake, or repair my house, or build me a chuppah, and I'd feel it, on occasion."

"I really wanted it," he responded. Her brow furrowed. "Your follow-up. I really wanted it. I didn't just think about it," he confirmed.

"When was this?" She tried to ignore the nerves bubbling in her stomach at this unexpected turn.

"Same as you, I guess. From time to time, feelings pop up." Such a simple answer, so many possibilities. She had to know more.

"Still?" she asked.

"You're kind of taking over the follow-up game here," Luke said, shifting uncomfortably. She shook her head to try and dislodge some of the questions, but they weren't going away.

"Sorry, go ahead," she said, quietly.

"When was the last time?" he asked. She looked at him confusedly, and he elaborated. "You know, the last time you felt… that way, about me."

"Oh man, that's not as easy to answer," she said, stopping to think. "I guess, when you told me you got married."

Surprise registered on his features. "Really?"

"I mean, it wasn't like a jump his bones kind of feeling. It was just… disappointment," she explained.

"You were disappointed that I got married?" He couldn't help but feel a hint of guilt.

"Disappointed that you were off the market, followed by intense relief that you weren't," she explained.

He swallowed against the lump that was forming in his throat. "That's recent."

"Yeah, I guess it is." She let out a breath, somewhat relieved to have come clean. "Your turn."

"I still feel it, sometimes. I try not to," he told her.

"Why?" He sighed, feeling himself coming back down to Earth.

"Because you're my closest friend, and the thought of messing that up is really not okay with me." His voice was quiet, timid.

Lorelai frowned. "So you wouldn't ever act on your feelings?"

"Isn't it my turn for a follow-up?"

"Just answer the question," she pushed.

He watched her intently for a moment, trying to read her body language, but she was incredibly guarded. He chanced a response. "Do you want me to act on them?"

She shook her head. "I don't know."

Luke felt the lump in his throat crash down to his stomach, leaving it twisting cruelly.

"Well then, where does that leave us?" he asked hesitantly.

"I don't know," she said again. Her gaze dropped to her hands in her lap. Luke took a deep breath, hoping to calm his frayed nerves, but there was no use. He glanced back at the television where Humphrey and Ingrid were frozen in time.

"We could just watch the movie," he offered her an out, which she quickly rejected.

"I don't want to watch the movie."

"Then what do you want?" he asked softly. She looked back up at him, a little more sure.

"I want to keep talking," she said.

"That's risky," he told her.

"Why?"

"You know why," he said, frustration clipping his tone. She watched him quietly for a moment before voicing her next thought.

"Do you want me right now?"

Luke ignored the alarm bells going off in his head, opting to answer her truthfully. "Yes."

"In what way?" she asked.

"In every way," he told her. Lorelai met his gaze as she turned this information over in her head.

"Can I ask you one more question?" she asked. Luke nodded. "Do you think we'd be good together?" she asked. Luke's brow furrowed, trying to suss out the connotation of her question.

"In what way?" he asked, to be safe. Lorelai eyes widened as she ran the question through in her mind.

"Oh, that sounded dirty, didn't it?"

"Extremely," Luke chuckled, relieved at the slight ease of the tension. Lorelai shared his amusement, just briefly, before rephrasing her question.

"I just meant, as a couple. Do you think it would work?"

"I think we could make it work," he admitted. "But I'm worried about what happens if we don't."

"Me too," she agreed. She caught his eye, meaningfully. "I don't want to lose you, Luke."

"I can't lose you, Lorelai." She could hear the tinge of emotion in his voice, and knew that he was struggling to maintain his composure. That was fair, she supposed. She was in much the same boat.

They had said so much – admitted to things they had kept hidden for so many years. It was time to decide whether they could continue putting this off for the sake of their friendship, or if they just needed to take a chance and let chips fall where they may.

She'd never been one to risk the things that mattered to her. This just seemed inevitable. Their friendship couldn't stop the tide from coming in, and she wasn't sure she wanted to try and hold it back anymore.

When she finally spoke again, she did so slowly, taking the time to enunciate every word. "I don't want to let fear stop us from doing what we both want to do."

"I've let it win this long. I can probably go a while longer," Luke hedged.

"But do you want to?" she asked, nervously. He shook his head.

"Not really."

"Then, I guess I'm all out of questions," she concluded.

"Thank God," he said in an exhale. The pair watched each other from where they sat on the couch, neither moving a muscle. Lorelai saw his eyes dart down to her lips and back up again. The butterflies in her stomach kicked up a ruckus.

"Are you going to kiss me?" Her voice shook as she asked.

"I thought you were out of questions," he shot back, although his voice betrayed his own nerves.

"Luke…"

"I'm thinking about it," he interrupted.

"And?"

"Shouldn't I take you on a date first?" he asked.

Her brow furrowed. "Why?"

"Because that's how it's done," he said plainly.

"I've never been big on tradition," she argued.

"I've never done it any other way."

She grinned. "Think you're getting lucky tonight?"

"I didn't mean it that way," he said quickly, looking away. Lorelai laughed lightly, showing him she was just teasing.

"I know," she allowed. They both felt some of the tension dissipate, and Luke finally met her gaze with a small smile playing on his lips.

"Do you want me to kiss you now?" he asked, less timidly.

"Desperately."

"Well, if you're desperate." He tossed her a smirk.

"Will you shut up and kiss me, please?"

Luke closed the distance, meeting Lorelai's lips in a soft, tentative kiss. He pulled away a quickly. It took her a few seconds to open her eyes, and when she did, she fixed him with a glare.

"What the hell was that?"

"A kiss?" he asked, a little nervously.

"That's how you kiss me?" she demanded "After seven years, and all of this build-up… that's it?"

Luke rolled his eyes. "I didn't want to presume."

"Well aren't you the consummate gentleman," she huffed.

"What do you want, Lorelai?" he questioned.

"I want you to kiss me like you mean it," she said, defiantly.

"Fine." He took her face in his hands and kissed her again, deep and long. Lorelai responded immediately, her hands grasping him by the forearms and holding him in place as she kissed him back with fervor. As he began to pull back she went with him, slinging a leg over his so she was straddling him.

The kisses came hot and heavy as Luke's arms wound around Lorelai's body, trapping her against him like steel girders. She moaned into his mouth and he took the opportunity to slip his tongue between her lips, tasting her for the first time. Lorelai's tongue slipped around his as they duelled for dominance over the kiss. She knocked his hat off his head and tangled her hands in his hair, holding his mouth to hers, unwilling to break their connection.

Lorelai's legs slipped open wider and her hips made contact with his. She could feel him becoming hard in his jeans.

"Lorelai," Luke whispered in between passionate kisses. His hands swept down her back, coming to rest on her hips and pulling her against him, pushing his hips upward to meet her. Lorelai moaned into his mouth, feeling a buzzing of pleasure beginning between her legs.

Lorelai's lips left Luke's in search of the stubbled skin of his neck. She peppered kisses along the way before taking up residence over his pulse-point, sucking at the skin there, finding it sweet and salty. She inhaled deeply and hummed at his scent.

"Mmm, you smell good," she moaned in between kisses. Luke chuckled, his tone low and gritty.

"I smell like the diner," he informed her. She pulled away to meet his gaze.

"That's like one my top five favourite smells," she informed him. He rolled his eyes good naturedly, a smile playing on his lips. Lorelai ground down a little harder and his eyes fluttered before opening back up.

"God, you feel good," he told her. She grinned and ground down hard again, putting her hands on his shoulders to give her leverage as she set up a steady rhythm, re-enforced by his firm grip on her hips. They watched each other intently as they moved, eyes heavy with arousal, but refusing to break the gaze.

"Ung, Luke," Lorelai said, feeling another shot of desire course through her. "I want you."

"I want you too. You have no idea how much I want you," Luke ground out, pushing up to meet her. She leaned in and kissed him again, only to have him react more forcefully than expected. His hands left her hips and groped for her hair, holding her to him as his tongue swept insistently into her mouth. Her hips stilled as all focus went to the searing kiss, tongues battling in her mouth as she fought the urge to suck his deeper inside. She wanted any and all of him. No connection had ever felt so real, so personal.

She pulled away, just enough to meet his gaze. "Upstairs," she said, firmly. It wasn't a question. The pair fumbled off the sofa and ran for the stairs, Lorelai pulling Luke along by the hand.

They made it to the first landing when Luke turned her around and backed her into the wall, his hands grasping her shirt at the waist as he kissed her again. His whole body made contact with hers, and it was all she could do to raise her hands over her head as her shirt was pulled upward. Luke stepped back to yank the offending garment off before diving back in for another kiss, and then migrating south to kiss her neck and the newly exposed skin of her shoulders.

Lorelai's hands tangled in his hair as he went lower, his lips teasing the skin above her lacy black bra, hands groping up her sides and coming to rest just below the soft curves of her breasts.

"Oh, Luke," Lorelai exhaled, wanting, needing him to go further. She could have cried from relief when he pulled the cup off one of her breasts and replaced it with his tongue, slipping circles around her hardened nipple, then taking it in his mouth to suck the sensitive nub. She moaned as his other hand teased her still-covered breast, tweaking and circling it through the thin material. She wanted this, and so much more.

Luke pulled back and looked down at her, his eyes clouded with arousal.

"Upstairs?" he asked. Lorelai nodded, wordlessly, but didn't move from where he had planted her. Instead, she reached for the buttons on his shirt and began fumbling her way down the line. She was halfway through when Luke grabbed both his undershirt and flannel and whipped them over his head, tossing them over the railing into the front hallway.

Lorelai looked over his form, finding herself nearly salivating at the skin he had exposed. His chest was broad and dusted with fine, dark hair. His arms were muscular, long and lean. She wanted to lick every part of him, and wondered briefly if he would stay put so she could do just that.

"Upstairs," she said, once again. She made a break for the next set of stairs before her mind could be changed. She needed to get to their final location, or else there was a good chance Rory would walk in after her date and be confronted with Luke's bare ass as he railed Mommy. Not a great way to break the news of their evolving relationship.

Luke followed Lorelai closely, just a step behind, as she ascended the stairs. She reached behind her and unhooked her bra, tossing it down the steps as she went, desperate to get to the main event. At this point, she was pretty sure she would spontaneously combust if she didn't have Luke buried inside of her within a matter of minutes.

As they made it to her bedroom, her pants had been undone, and she was frantically shoving them off her hips, along with her Hello Kitty underwear. Luke stopped in the doorway and took in the sight of her fully undressed, his mouth dropping open at the vision before him.

Lorelai stepped into his body, her hands finding his chest. She caught his eye as she stroked downward slowly, sensually, until her hands found the clasp on his leather belt. Luke swallowed heavily as her gaze then followed the path her hands had taken, and she began working on getting him out of his pants, finally.

He let them fall to his ankles in a heap, and did nothing to stop her as she pushed his boxers down to join them.

When she looked back up at him, he could see pure want reflected in her eyes. It was enough to push him into action, as he claimed her mouth again, quickly becoming addicted to her kisses. He stepped out of his jeans and shorts, toed off his socks and backed her up until her knees hit the bed. Lorelai went down first, and Luke quickly followed.

The pair made their way to the pillows before their lips connected again, briefly. Luke pushed Lorelai down into the mattress and hovered over her, resting on his elbow beside her and allowing a hand to run over her body. She shuddered under his feather light touch as his fingertips swept over one breast, then the other, circling her nipples as he went. Then lower, over her ribs and abdomen, teasing her belly button, and then sliding into the dark curls between her legs.

Lorelai let her legs fall open, silently granting permission for him to explore further. Without another word, Luke leaned down and sucked her nipple into his mouth as his middle finger slipped inside of her. In the silence of the room, Lorelai could hear just how wet she was as Luke extracted his finger and pushed it in again, this time joined by his index finger. She groaned as he set up a moderate pace, while his thumb came up to circle her clit in time.

Lorelai's eyes fluttered closed as Luke brought her body to life with his mouth and hand. She could live in this feeling, she was sure, but with every passing second, her need grew more and more acute. She had to know what he felt like.

"Luke," she whispered, her voice thick with desire. "I need you, now."

Luke placed a kiss to the breast he had been working on, just above the nipple, and let his hand slip out of her heat. As he got into position, he spread her wetness over his erection, making him slick as he placed himself at her opening.

Lorelai inhaled sharply as he sunk into her. She could feel her walls stretching to accommodate his size, not uncomfortably. When he was finally fully sheathed, he waited, and she idly thought that she had never felt so full, and not just in the physical sense.

Luke held himself over her on his forearms as he pulled out slowly, and then sank back inside. Lorelai sought to steady her breathing as he moved, wanting to really experience all of the sensations his motions brought with them, not wanting to get lost in the absolute pleasure that threatened to consume her over stimulated body at any moment.

"Luke," his name left her lips in a breath. He leaned down at captured her lips for the hundredth, or thousandth time that night, both needing to feel that incredible connection at every point. He sped up his pace as their tongues moved in tandem, his hips crashing into hers every time he filled her to the hilt.

She knew she wouldn't last long as her hips began moving up to meet each of his thrusts. She grabbed him by the hips, and felt every movement from the inside out, loving the experience of this man, her friend, confidant, and now lover, claiming her over and over again.

When she finally flew over the edge, it was a long and sustained climax that burned through her, leaving her crying out into their kisses and tingling from head to toe. Luke pulled his lips away from hers to watch the aftershocks. Her eyes were too heavy to keep open, so she let them close. Her breaths came in hard puffs from her parted lips. Her face was contorted in pleasure. It was all so beautiful, so erotic, that he had no choice but to follow her into the abyss.

Lorelai could feel Luke tensing on top of her, hard grunts coming from his chest, the heat between her legs overflowing as he filled her with his release. She wanted to watch him come apart, but she couldn't pry her eyes open, they were too heavy.

When he finished, she felt him slide out of her and fall to her side. She went willingly as he pulled her into his chest, and let her head rest on his broad shoulder. The last sound she heard as glorious and well-earned sleep began to overtake her was the hideous blaring of her alarm.

Lorelai startled awake. Her hand came down to silence the awful buzzing noise a little harder than absolutely necessary. She blinked, trying to see in the pitch-dark of her room, and turned to her clock. It was 4:30 in the morning, and she was alone.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, only to be assaulted by images from the dream she'd been having. It was so realistic, she could hardly believe it hadn't really happened.

She pushed herself up and kicked the twisted sheets off her feet, slipping out of bed and padding out of the room. As she descended the stairs, she could make out a large lump on the couch, a low, steady snore emanating from the mass.

Luke was still there. He had fallen asleep during Hard Bodies and she didn't have the heart to wake him. Instead, she set her own alarm for 4:30 a.m. so she could get him up on time for work.

She watched his sleeping form for a long minute, the memories of her dream assaulting her. It left her with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment to know that what her mind conjured wasn't reality – a knowledge that left her confused and frustrated. Although it wasn't her first sexual dream starring the Diner Man, it was one of the most intense and realistic, and one of the few that left her wanting more upon waking up.

She sighed and stepped forward, giving Luke's shoulder a shake.

"Hey, Luke," she whispered. He startled a little and looked up at her. It was clear he was confused.

"Lorelai?"

"Time to get up, Sleeping Beauty," she told him. He pushed himself up and looked around, getting his bearings. She watched as recollection dawned on his features.

"What time is it?" he asked.

"A little after 4:30." He sighed and grabbed the blanket, tossing it over the back of the couch.

"Thanks for waking me up," he said, gratefully. He got to his feet and stretched his arms over his head, wincing. "Ugh, I'm too old to sleep on the couch," he groaned.

"I would've let you share my bed, but you were dead to the world," she joked lightly, hoping he couldn't hear the spark of truth in her statement. He smiled down at her, sleepily.

"Now that, I would have woken up for," he teased back. He nodded toward the door. "I should get going."

"Yeah, sure," Lorelai said, distractedly. She followed Luke to the entryway and watched him don his shoes and pluck his keys from his pocket.

"Thanks for letting me crash," he said. "And, you know, for putting up with me. I know I've been a little cranky these last few days."

"You're always cranky," she informed him. He huffed a small laugh. "Seriously, Luke. It's no problem. You're always welcome here, you know that."

"Yeah, well. Thanks anyway." He pulled opened the door and turned back to her. "I'll see you in a few hours?" She smiled.

"I'm gonna need lots of coffee after the 4:30 wake-up call." He nodded.

"I'll make it strong for you. Bye, Lorelai." He stepped out and headed down the porch steps. Lorelai watched from the door as he got in his truck and started it up, only closing it when he pulled out of the driveway.

She sighed and turned back to the stairs, hoping to get a few more winks in before she had to get up for the day. She idly hoped for a dreamless sleep, if only to avoid the emotions that came with the other kind. It was too damn early to open that can of worms.