Perhaps his plan was practical after all. Sunday, Lorelai and Rory appeared late and ordered a stack of pancakes from Lane. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, they stopped in for a quick breakfast and nothing more than the usual orders and chitchat. (Or, this being Lorelai, a ridiculous amount of calorie-laden food and a lengthy nonsensical running monologue.) Wednesday, they hadn't appeared at all.
And so when he closed up Friday, he exhaled deeply as he flipped over the 'closed' sign and semi-accidentally forgot to lock the door. He took his time wiping down the tables and cleaning out the equipment, and just as he reached the last tea-stain on the counter, he heard the familiar tinkle of the bells over the entrance. He reached beneath the counter for a coffee mug without bothering to look up.
"You're psychic." She smiled at him as she sat down on the nearest stool.
"Lorelai wants coffee. Tough to predict."
She wrapped her hands around the cup as he poured. "I have to stop doing this."
"I've been telling you that for years."
"Letting the Wicked Witch of West Hartford get to me?"
"Coffee goes well with pie."
"How did I know that was coming?" Her served her the last piece of pie and stood, arms braced against the counter, and waited.
He leaned on the counter. She poked at her pie. He stared at the counter. She stared at her fork. This was going well.
It was possibly the quietest Lorelai Gilmore had ever been.
"You kissed me." Luke nearly jumped at the sound of her voice.
He sighed. "I know."
"Twice." She continued staring at her pie.
"You kissed me the second time."
She nodded and, for once, didn't argue. "How long?"
"How long what?" He knew exactly what, and had no desire to answer.
"How long had you been wanting to do that?"
He must not answer. He must distract. A flash of inspiration hit. "You asked me out."
She gasped. "And I didn't even remember it! Tell me, Great Karnak, when did this happen?"
"Alright, you tried to ask me out."
"You were the one who didn't answer."
"You never actually asked." His voice was beginning to rise. "What was I supposed to say, uh, Lorelai, that thing?"
"We would have both known what you said!" Her voice was rising to match his.
"We would not have both known what I said and then we would have spent the whole week trying to figure out whether you actually asked me out and whether I said yes and whether we were actually going out, because things just weren't awkward enough. And even if we did understand each other, that's not how normal people communicate anyway! We use sentences!"
He smacked his palm against the counter for emphasis.
"So this is all about my bad grammar?"
"No, this is about you not asking people out and then kissing them."
"By 'them', Mr. Grammar, I suppose you mean I did this to more than one person, and if so I'd like to know how you found all these men I've been kissing and whether there's going to be some kind of class action."
Luke took a deep breath and spoke very precisely. "Fine, this is about you not asking me out and then kissing me."
"You kissed me first!"
"I know." He glanced down at the counter, back to Lorelai, back to the counter, and took a second deep breath, bringing his voice back down to a normal level. "How long had you been waiting to do that?"
"I asked you first." She shot him her best I'm-so-mischievous smile.
This was the part where he really could have cursed himself for speaking. Lorelai's the one who asks inappropriate questions at exactly the wrong time. Oh hell, she's already rubbing off on me.
"So why didn't you?" Before she could comment, he clarified: "Ask me out."
She poked at her pie. "I wasn't sure."
"And you are now?"
And this is why he is the one who shuts up and lets her talk. Talking inevitably gets you into trouble.
She put down her fork, looked up from her plate, and said three of the most shocking words he'd ever heard.
"I am now."
His eyes met hers, and neither of them looked away for a long moment.
"Me, too." His voice came out gravelly and far lower than he'd intended.
He leaned across the counter and kissed her a third time, gently, slowly. He was beginning to recognize the scent of her skin, the slight taste of coffee on her lips, the way she squeezed his arm more and more tightly, without even realizing she was doing it. It was genuine, and simple, and real.
When they broke away, he looked at her for a long moment and moved his hand to cover hers, still gripping his arm.
"Now you're supposed the ask the guy out properly."
Lorelai blinked. "Me? I thought the guy was supposed to do the whole properly-asking-out thing."
"Now you go for old-fashioned?"
"Luke, do you—"
"Lorelai, would you—"
They started at the same moment, broke off at the same moment, laughed at the same moment. Lorelai shook her head. "Five minutes in, and this is already getting scary."
He smiled. "Tomorrow good?"
"Tomorrow's good. What are we doing?"
"What do you want to do?"
"Oh, we are not starting this. One step down this path, and next thing you know, we're sitting across the table from each other refusing to decide on a movie and ordering nothing on the longest first date in history."
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. This would never, of course, be simple. "Ok, how about dinner?"
Another pause. Another long pause. Lorelai fidgeted in her seat. "I'm just gonna keep doing that whole awkward stare thing, if you don't mind."
She leaned across the counter and kissed him gently, quickly, one more time. She was off the stool and through the door without another word.
A grin crept across his face as he watched her go.
Turns out it didn't take a comet, after all.