"Remorse, Regret, and other Annoying Emotions"

By Ellie

(Java Junkie Entry)

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Not mine

Pairing: Luke/Lorelai

Author's Note: I wrote this about, um….two (?) years ago for a "Java Junkie Contest" where, no- I didn't win. ;)

It takes place after the car accident with Rory and Jess and the huge fight that Lorelai and Luke get into over it. (Mainly Lorelai blaming Jess, and then blaming Luke because Jess is HIS responsibility.) The challenge was to make them resolve the fight (as friends or romantically) in less than three pages or something... I wrote this the night I read the challenge and then sent it a couple of days afterward. The writing is okay. I noticed a couple of things that could definitely be better, but hey- this piece is dead. I figured I might as well post it since it's just gathering dust on my computer… =) Waste not want not, and all that jazz. So here it is- don't feel shy- let me know whatcha think! ~Ellie

Lorelai Gilmore was tired. She had tried again and again to rekindle the easy-going friendship between herself and Luke, but he either blatantly ignored her efforts or erected a wall of indifference to stand between her words of apology. It was sapping her of her timeless energy, and more than once she felt the overwhelming need to just slug the man. But no matter how much the thought appealed to her, she knew that it was Luke's right to hold it against her. After all, what she had said was more than a little unfair. Ok! So it was COMPLETELY unfair. But everyone says things they don't mean; everyone makes mistakes. Right??

It was then that Lorelai sighed, because deep down she knew that she hadn't just made a mistake- she had severed all bonds of trust and friendship in one furious comment.

Rubbing her temples in an agitated motion, Lorelai swept out of bed and began to run a hot shower. As the tiny bathroom filled with condensation she felt her eyes echo the motion, but only inside the shower did she allow herself to cry. The warm droplets from the showerhead mingled with her tears as they gurgled down the drain- they weren't the only thing to follow that path lately.

* * * *

Luke was frustrated and it was evident in his cooking. The eggs were just a little too scrambled, and his pancakes looked battered from the rough flipping that he had administered them.

"Anything wrong?" The cool sardonic voice only increased the irritation swirling in Luke's mind.

"Nothing's wrong." He growled sullenly at Jess.

Raising an eyebrow, Jess responded in kind, "Of course not." After calmly meeting his uncle's eyes, he gestured to the omelet waiting to be taken to a table. "So you just figured you'd stir the eggs so hard that the whisk fell apart because you needed more wrist exercise?"

Luke could practically taste the sarcasm that oozed from that one. "You watch it mister," he replied while poking a finger at the air in front of his nephew's chest. "I'm going to go deliver this omelet, and when I come back this subject had better be closed- understand?"

Jess raised his hands in mock surrender.

Satisfied, Luke grabbed the plate and made his way to one of the occupied tables.

"I think she really is sorry you know." Jess' voice carried through the chattering to Luke's ears swiftly, and it wasn't long before the early-morning bustle had faded to a deliberate hum, the people in the diner were clearly gauging Luke's reaction to that comment.

Luke swung around slowly and met Jess' eyes before continuing in a hard voice, "Case closed."

Slowly, the volume began to rise back to its normal level, and several customers winced after meeting Luke's gaze.

The case was closed for now.

* * * *

Lorelai was dressed and ready for battle. In fact it wasn't a bad analogy, considering her current destination.

"Mom, are you coming in or what? Because I'm kind of hungry, and watching everyone ELSE eating on the other side of this glass door isn't helping." Rory allowed a tiny hint of whine into her normally collected voice.

Lorelai took a deep breath before steeling herself and forcing her traitorous feet forward, "Sorry sweetie, I'm just a little out of it." She tried for her smile to be reassuring, but the tensed shoulders sported by Rory were making her think that it wasn't turning out the way she wanted it to.

* * * *

There she is- Enter the object of my constant irritation. And don't forget constant pain! A tiny voice responded from deep in his subconscious. If Luke were to be truthful to himself- he would know that the voice spoke the truth. Under all that anger and irritation, was pain. Raw pain that Lorelai could even THINK that he would endanger Rory, pain that she actually went as far as accusing him, and then there was the unthinkable torment of her accusations regarding Jess. Of all the people in this town, he never would have guessed that Lorelai would join the masses of 'Jess-haters'.

Sure, some of the people in this town had justifiable cause for disliking Jess- but Lorelai's betrayal was like a knife protruding from his back. A constant stabbing ache that Luke could not forget. Maybe the reason it hurt so badly was that he had always thought that Lorelai would be there- backing him up, believing in him- and those that he loved. As terrible as it was not having her in his life- he wasn't sure if he could bring himself to open up to this type of pain again.

And he wasn't just thinking about the general betrayal either- because that was just icing on the cake, compared to what was truly killing him.....How do you deal with the pain of having the woman you love accuse you of something so terrible?

The fact was, Luke still didn't know.....but he had to do something fast, because if you don't tend to your wounds- they may just scar.

* * * *

After watching Rory's darting eyes, and seeing the glazed robotic movement of Luke's, Lorelai found that she was angry- truly angry at the position everyone she loved was in. Rory, Luke, Sook- wait! Luke?!?

Looking back up to the face she knew so well, it registered that he wasn't wearing the hat that she had given him. That thought seemed to push everything over the edge. Lorelai's vision swam as warm streaks of anger began to crawl through her stomach, and before she knew what her own intentions were- she was standing, and ungallantly ushering everyone out the door.

"Move it people! Everyone's leaving! I really don't CARE if you haven't finished your waffles yet- EVERYONE OUT!" Lorelai felt her chest heaving as people began to file through the door, muttering things about indecency and impoliteness.

"Um, Mom? I kind of need to go to school..." Rory's sentence trailed off as she recognized the look on Lorelai's face.

Forcing her expression to look a little less crazed, Lorelai reached into her pocket and calmly handed Rory the keys to the jeep. "Go ahead and drive- don't forget to be safe."

Rory's eyes held uncertainty as she gazed around at the abandoned room, and took in the shell-shocked look on Luke's face. "Are you sure?" She asked hesitantly.

Lorelai's face tightened as she noted Rory's unease. "I'm staying here all day if that's what it takes." She answered, raising her voice slightly so Luke would be sure to overhear.

"The HELL you are!!!!"

Lorelai turned and began to stalk towards the furious Luke.

"I don't have to take this! First you ruin my business and then you threaten to stay here?!? Who do you think you are? Never mind, don't answer that!" He began to stride towards the door leading to the apartment.

"Oh no you don't!" Lorelai retaliated by grabbing his shirt and using his momentum to throw him off balance and wheel him back towards the tables.

Rory gave one last glance at the pair before grabbing her backpack and preparing to flee. As she straightened, Jess appeared and grasped her elbow, effectively leading her out the door. "I think I'm just going to head off to school myself." He said confidently, but Rory saw the concern in his eyes and when his shoulders flinched as a new wave of yelling seemed to pound off the walls.

Once outside the pair breathed in a large gasp of air. "Was it just me, or was that room starting to get smaller?" Rory asked with a small wavering smile. Jess smiled back, but it didn't reach his eyes, "It wasn't just you."

* * * *

"Damn it Luke! I'm sorry! I've BEEN sorry!" Lorelai was close to tears, but she wasn't about to back down.

"You can't know how it felt to have someone you trust try and blame you for a terrible accident. You know I'd do ANYTHING for Rory! I'd NEVER try to hurt her in any way! And I know Jess, and I know that what happened that night was NOT his fault! Even RORY knows it!" He continued on, "You can't know how it feels-"

Lorelai cut in desperately, "I KNOW it wasn't your fault Luke! I was just scared and I needed someone to yell at- someone to blame. I'm so sorry. I couldn't deal with the thought of Rory being in danger so I blamed the first person I could.....and I was wrong! Even while I was saying it I knew I was wrong!"

Luke continued as if Lorelai had never spoken-"To have the woman you love accuse you of endangering the life of someone who as is close to you as a daughter."

Tears of frustration began to slide down Lorelai's cheeks. "I KNOW. I'm sor- Love? LOVE?!?" Lorelai's face took on a dumbstruck look as Luke's words registered. His eyes were bright with tears of his own as he answered her- so gently that she could almost hear the silence of the diner pressing in on her-"Yes. Love."

His palms brushed away the track of her tears as he cupped her face and slowly, lowered his mouth to her own. As the stubble of his chin brushed against her skin, Lorelai felt herself melting into the sweetness of his kiss- and found herself doing the only thing she could....holding on.