A/N: OK, I know it's weird to be writing a Christmas story in July, but this sort of picks up where Things Left Unsaid leaves off, which ended during the month of November. No need to read Things Left Unsaid (though I'd love it if you would); all you need to know is that Lorelai and Luke are together and have been for about a three weeks now. The 6 months prior to them getting together, Lorelai spent dating Christopher. In the end Christopher screwed up royally, Luke saved the day, and everyone was there to witness it, so Richard and Emily are OK with Lorelai and Luke being together and Christopher being out of the picture. Rory has a boyfriend James. Dean is getting divorced. (Though I'm not even sure if Rory will appear in this, let alone Dean.) Richard and Emily are back together.

Things Left Unsaid had a rather complex storyline involving all the characters, and was rated PG only because of the use of the word "bitch" in chapter 1. This will be something different entirely: a simple storyline involving only a few characters, and it will definitely be a higher rating than PG.

"Explain to me again why killing a tree is a festive thing to do?" demanded Luke as he and Lorelai were driving in Lorelai's Jeep.

"Oh, be quiet you big Grinch," said Lorelai. "Didn't you have Christmas trees when you were a kid? Every kid loves Christmas."

"First of all, I'm not a kid. Second, not every kid loves Christmas."

"Santa, presents, Rudolph, candy..." prompted Lorelai.

"Crowds, gluttony, crazy relatives, cavities..." replied Luke.

"Wanna guess what I got you?" asked Lorelai, playfully.

"You don't have to get me anything," said Luke.

"Sorry, too late."

"Aww, geez, now I have to think of something for you," he complained.

"Please don't," said Lorelai. "I've seen your gift-giving abilities before. No cat potholders for me, mister."

"Well then just tell me what you want."

"That's no fun!" exclaimed Lorelai. "You're supposed to spend tons of money on something I would never buy for myself, and will probably hate when I open it but I'll act all happy with it, use it once, and then take it back and exchange it for what I really wanted."

"You're not supposed to take things back if they're used. And I thought you said you didn't want anything," said Luke.

"I lied," said Lorelai.

"OK, how about this. You tell Rory what you want and I'll talk to her, and then we'll all act like I surprised you with a gift of exactly what you wanted," suggested Luke.

"You've got yourself a deal," said Lorelai as she pulled the car up to the house and turned it off. She leaned over to kiss him, an activity which they proceeded to spend several minutes engaging in. Only when the wintry winds started to penetrate the car did they come up for air.

"We better get the tree inside," said Lorelai. They both got out of the car and Luke began untying the tree from the roof, while Lorelai went in the house and began digging out the decorations from storage. As she was dragging the box into the living room, she heard a thud and a cry of pain from outside. She went running out the door, to find Luke sprawled out on the front stairs, face down, with the tree lying on the ground at the bottom.

"Shit! Shit!" exclaimed Luke as he clutched his right knee in pain. "Goddamn tree, I swear it jumped up and tripped me on purpose."

"Are you OK?" asked Lorelai, sitting him up and examining his knee.

"Banged my head on the railing too," indicated Luke. "First I tripped on the tree, then I went flying and my other foot tripped on the step."

"I think they were in cahoots," said Lorelai.

"It looks smug. Just lying there on the ground, mocking me."

"Oh my God, you're right," said Lorelai, looking at the tree. "The tree is actually laughing at you. I bet it follows you home and hides under the stairs to the diner so it can trip up all your best customers."

Luke rolled his eyes as Lorelai helped him limp into the house and sat him down in one of the kitchen chairs while she went to get bandages.

"How the hell did you do this last year?" Luke called to her.

"What?" asked Lorelai, coming back into the kitchen with the first aid supplies.

"The tree and all. How did you get it cut down and in the house last year when I wasn't here to do it for you?"

"Oh, Rory and I did it," replied Lorelai nonchalantly.

"What? Why the hell am I doing this for you when you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself?"

"It's the Rule," replied Lorelai, in a tone that indicated that it should be as obvious as the blood currently running down his leg.

"What rule?" asked Luke.

"You know. The Rule," Lorelai repeated.

"No, I don't know. What rule?" Luke asked again, getting more aggravated by the second.

"The Boyfriend Rule," said Lorelai. When Luke continued to look confused, she continued. "It states that no heavy lifting or other such manual labor shall be performed by the female if the male is present to do it instead." Lorelai started to lift the leg of Luke's jeans in an effort to examine his knee.

"I wouldn't have been present to do it if you hadn't tricked me into it by telling me we were going for a nature walk," Luke groused.

"Ah, you should have been clued in right there," said Lorelai, still tugging at his pant leg.

"Anyway, I'm not your boyfriend."

"What?" asked Lorelai, looking concerned.

"I'm over 40. I'm too old to be a 'boyfriend.'"

Lorelai's face relaxed. "This is not working," she said, indicating the pants. "These are gonna have to come off."

Luke gave her a look.

"Hey, it's not my fault you insist on wearing tight jeans all the time," objected Lorelai. "But let's look on the bright side. I finally get to sneak a peek at your legs." Luke rolled his eyes and stood up, balancing against the table and his one good leg, in order to remove his jeans to reveal his boxers and his beaten and bloody knee underneath.

Lorelai began cleaning his wound as Luke winced in pain. "So why do you hate Christmas so much?" asked Lorelai.

"I don't hate Christmas," said Luke.

"Oh I'm sorry, I guess I got so distracted by your bitching and moaning about the tree I must have missed Festive Luke singing carols and saying 'God bless us, every one.'"

"It's just a huge hassle, buying presents, spending time with crazy family, the crowds, and Taylor is already on my case to decorate the diner..." objected Luke.

"'Already?' Luke there's only 3 weeks until Christmas. Most stores have had their decorations up for a month already. And you said 'not every kid loves Christmas.' I have a feeling there's more to this," prompted Lorelai. "Something happen when you were a kid?"

Luke sighed and paused for a moment. "My father," he finally said.

"Your father happened?"

"Well, after my mom died, my dad was...well I guess he was a little overwhelmed," began Luke.

"Understandably. I'm sure he never expected to be a single dad," said Lorelai.

"So on our first Christmas without her, he took me aside, told me there was no Santa Claus, and that he needed my help to wrap all the presents," Luke finally revealed.

"Oh Luke," Lorelai said softly as she finished bandaging his knee and moved up to the gash on his forehead. "What a lousy thing to do to a kid. How old were you?"

"Nine," Luke replied. "It wasn't his fault. He didn't know where else to turn. From that point on I was the official Christmas gift-wrapper."

Lorelai finished cleaning his forehead and applied a bandage to the gash. As she finished, she tenderly kissed the area. Luke reached up for her, placed his hands on either side of her face and pulled her down into a kiss. Lorelai leaned over, came around to face him, careful to avoid his injured knee, and returned the kiss, her hands running through his hair.

Luke deepened the kiss, playing games with her, tongue-to-tongue. Then he broke away and started exploring his way down her neck with his tongue and lips while Lorelai leaned her head back, continuing to finger through his hair.

"Shouldn't we get the tree...?" Lorelai interjected, but Luke took hold of her by the waist and pulled her down as he continued exploring her neck and face with his lips. Lorelai straddled him, sitting on his lap face-to-face. Her breath quickened as she felt his hands exploring her back, at first over her shirt, then he slipped them underneath and ran them up her spine, and then around front to gently caress the outer edges of her breasts.

Lorelai moaned as Luke began undoing her bra and exploring her breasts. She lifted his face up to kiss him, and saw his arousal through the loose fabric of his boxers. She began running her tongue along his lower lip as she caressed his face with her hands.

"Oh God, Lorelai," Luke sighed as she began unbuttoning his shirt slowly, kissing his chest ever lower as she undid each button. She gently slid backwards off his lap as she went lower, in order to reach his stomach area with her lips. When she reached the bottom, she sat back up on his lap and ran her fingers through his chest hair as she kissed and gently bit his shoulders.

"Wow," she whispered to him into his ear as he continued fondling her breasts. "Luke, are we—"She stopped speaking as Luke's right hand made its way to her face. She reached out with her tongue and met his index finger, which she began swirling her tongue around, and then sucking on, causing Luke to let out a low moan.

"Lorelai," Luke sighed softly into her ear, breathless.

Lorelai came up for air. "Luke," she said, softly kissing his cheeks and neck.

"Do you want – I mean we haven't yet – "Luke stammered.

Lorelai gazed deeply into his eyes. "Are you ready? Do you think we're – "

"I'm ready," he stated definitively.

"I'm ready," she countered. "But this chair has got to go. Come on." Lorelai slid off his lap and helped him up as Luke leaned on her for support and limped along, favoring his good knee. They slowly made their way into the living room.

"Luke," Lorelai protested as his weight began to be too much for her. Luke took another hop on his good leg and tripped on the rug, causing him to fall crashing down to the floor, pulling Lorelai down on top of him.

"Are you OK?" she asked, giggling.

Luke gasped for a moment. "I think I just totaled my other knee," he said, wincing. He rubbed it and the pain gradually passed. Finally he started to laugh. "I think you're doing this on purpose."

"Oh, that's what you think I'm into?" Lorelai said playfully as she straddled him on the floor. Luke reached up and pulled her down into a deep, slow, passionate kiss as he explored her mouth with his tongue. His hands wandered back under her shirt and he began lifting it up. They broke the kiss in order to lift her shirt up over her head, and Lorelai also slipped her bra off. She pressed herself down on top of Luke, both of them savoring the sensation of skin against skin.

"Oh, God, please," Lorelai moaned as Luke ground himself up into her. Luke pushed her up into a straddle position in order to access her pants. He began unbuckling her belt, unbuttoning her jeans, and he was just unzipping them as the phone rang.

"Let it ring," he told her, but just then there was also a knock at the door.

"I'll get the door, you get the phone," she instructed him, jumping up and quickly pulling her shirt over her head.

"Geez Lorelai, I can barely walk," he reminded her. She grabbed the cordless and tossed it at him as she zipped up her pants and ran to the door. She could see from inside the door that it was Babette, so she opened the door and quickly slipped out onto the porch so that Babette would not see Luke who was still partially undressed, sitting on her living room floor.

"Hey, sugar, I just noticed your tree lying here and I thought you might need some help," Babette told Lorelai, indicating the Christmas tree that was still lying on the ground at the bottom of the stairs.

"Oh, thanks Babette, but I've got it covered," Lorelai informed her.

"It's no problem, honey, I'll just grab this end..." Babette said as she picked up the trunk of the tree.

"Actually I was going to leave it there," Lorelai said, flustered. "Don't you think it looks good there? I thought I'd share it with the neighborhood, you know, spread the spirit of Christmas, joy to the world, or joy to Stars Hollow anyway..."

"Now sugar if you can just grab the top..." Babette said, ignoring Lorelai's speech.

"Actually Babette, I don't have the tree stand ready yet, so let's just leave it on the porch for now," said Lorelai. The two of them carried the tree up to the porch and leaned it against the front of the house. "Thanks," Lorelai said.

"No problem, sugar," said Babette. "Hey, Morey and I are having a little get-together next weekend. Nothing fancy, just some cookies, we'll sing some carols, make some mulled wine, but we'd love it if you could come."

"Oh, that sounds great, Babette," Lorelai replied.

"And make sure you bring Luke along too," Babette added, winking at her as she went back into her house.

Lorelai went back into the house and found Luke on his feet, slowly limping towards the couch. "Who was on the phone?" she asked him.

"Your mother," he replied.

"And what did the Ruler of All Things Judgmental have to say when she heard you answer the phone?"

"Actually it was me she wanted to talk to," Luke informed her.

"Luke, are you having a secret affair with my mother?"

"Oh yeah," he replied. "We've been having quickies in the back of my truck."

"OK, there's a visual I really did not need. The mood has officially been killed," said Lorelai. "Actually it was dead the moment you mentioned my mother."

"I'm invited for Friday night dinner next week," he informed her.

Lorelai gasped. "Today, my friend, you become a man," she said as she grabbed a magazine, rolled it up and touched his shoulders with it as if she were knighting him. "I dub thee Sir Luke the Ornery, Bearer of Coffee and Ruler of All Things Flannel."