Author's Note: Thanks for the reviews and the wait for this last chapter. It's hopefully warm and fuzzy, but won't induce a sugar coma! Thanks for all the reviews! I still don't own Gilmore Girls...
Lorelai woke early the following morning. Much like a child on Christmas she was impatient and excited to get the day's festivities under way. She glanced at the clock and noticed that it was only 5 a.m. Despite the early hour she crept downstairs on cracked the door to Rory's room open. She silently crept through the door and gently pulled back the covers as she slid next to her daughter.
"Mom?" Rory said groggily, not opening her eyes.
"Yeah, it's me," Lorelai whispered.
"What time is it?" Rory asked.
"Five," Lorelai replied.
"I forgot there was one of those in the morning," Rory said sleepily. "What are you doing in here?"
"I'm getting married," Lorelai told her.
The excitement in her tone made Rory roll toward her mother and she finally opened her eyes.
"You're getting married today," Rory agreed. "Although you're not getting married for another 12 hours you know."
"I know," Lorelai replied. After a moment she added, "But in 12 hours I'm getting married. I only have 12 more hours of the swinging single lifestyle I've grown accustomed to."
"Mom, you've been with Luke almost every day for the past year and a half," Rory pointed out. "I hardly think that qualifies as a swinging single lifestyle."
"Well who asked you?" Lorelai said in mock anger.
Rory snuggled closer to her mother and began to fall asleep again. Lorelai sensed this and she nudged her to keep in her the land of the conscious.
"Hey, no falling asleep on my wedding day," Lorelai said.
"Just because you're awake doesn't mean I'm awake," Rory mumbled.
"But you have to be awake," Lorelai insisted. "I need to talk to you. I need to make sure you're okay with all this."
Rory decided, whether she liked it or not, that it was time to wake up. She was silently happy that Luke would soon bear the brunt of her mother's nocturnal talking habits.
"Does Luke know you like to have deep talks at 5 in the morning?" Rory asked crossing her arms over her chest.
"Yes, but I can't have deep conversations with Luke at 5 in the morning. He's more awake than I am," Lorelai informed her.
"He's lucky," Rory said dryly.
"So, you're really okay with this?" Lorelai asked as she turned to looked at Rory. "I mean I know you're almost 21 and you're grown up and hardly ever here, but I need to know that you're okay with this. From now on when you come home Luke is going to be here. All the time. He's never leaving, except to work, or fish, or run errands. I mean I'm not going to keep him chained up in the bedroom as my own personal love slave or anything," Lorelai babbled.
"Ew, "Rory said a little to loudly. "Stop! I am fine with you marrying Luke. I love you, I love Luke, I love that you're happy, but please don't ever talk about you and Luke and chains ever again."
"Deal," Lorelai laughed. "So you're really okay with this?"
"Everything is going to be basically the same," Rory informed her. "The only difference is I can get a Luke burger at home, which is very convenient."
"That is very convenient," Lorelai agreed. "I just don't want you feel like Mommy loves you less because she found herself a husband."
"You're being ridiculous," Rory said. "So are you excited?"
"Am I awake at 5 in the morning?" Lorelai asked.
"Good point," Rory agreed.
"Liz wanted me to tell you that they're almost ready," Jess said walking into Luke's apartment. Most of his things were already over at Lorelai's house. His bed was still there, some clothes and assorted odds and ends, but most of his belongings had slowly migrated to Lorelai's. The kitchenware was the first to make the trip and they never returned.
"Thanks," Luke called from the bathroom. "So that means I've got about a half hour right?"
"I'd say so," Jess said plopping down on the end of the bed.
"I'm glad you made it," Luke said to Jess as he struggled with his cuff links.
"Yeah, well you sounded so pathetic on the phone," Jess said.
"Thanks," Luke replied dryly. "I just meant I appreciate you standing up for me even though you don't really like Lorelai and Rory will be there."
"And you made me wear a tux," Jess added.
"Well, Lorelai hinted about how she'd love to see me in an actual tuxedo and since misery loves company I immediately thought of you."
"So you're sure about this?" Jess asked Luke as he approached him and helped him fix his cuff links.
"I'm positive," Luke told him.
"Because you don't have the best track record in the marriage department," Jess teased him.
"Jess," Luke said warningly.
"All right, all right," Jess said putting up his hands in mock surrender. Then he was suddenly serious when he said, "I don't hate Lorelai you know. If she makes you happy then that's good."
"Thank you," Luke said twisting his wrist and pulling at the cuff.
"You're welcome," Jess replied. "Now can talk about when you suffered a severe blow to the head?"
"Huh?" Luke asked confused.
"T.J. is in the wedding? Did he give you a good deal on an Etch-a-Sketch wedding portrait or something?" Jess said straightening his tie.
"You're hilarious," Luke said scooting past him and reaching for his jacket.
"Okay, but seriously, T.J?" Jess asked again.
"Jeff's wife went into labor on a trip in California so I was short an usher," Luke replied.
"But T.J.? I bet Kirk would have jumped at the chance to be your usher," Jess commented.
"T.J. makes your Mom happy Jess," Luke replied.
"So Liz put you up to asking him," Jess said knowingly.
"Just shut up and come watch me get married," Luke said tossing his coat on and straightening his tie one last time before he walked out of his bachelor pad forever.
Luke stood at the foot of the gazebo under the chuppah he had made for Lorelai such a long time ago. He remembered unloading it from his truck and placing it in her front yard. He hated that she was marrying Max and he hated that he couldn't muster happiness for her so instead he threw himself into carving out the chuppah for her wedding.
Luke remembered standing next to Lorelai under the chuppah all those years ago and even back then he had the feeling that it was right. Of course at the time he didn't know how right it was. Thinking back now Luke knew they weren't ready for each other back then. He wasn't ready to change his habits and perpetual bachelorhood for anyone back then. Lorelai wasn't ready to give up her independence either. Somehow, along the way Luke and Lorelai had grown dependent on seeing each other and being each other's greatest friend, critic, support until finally they became each other's everything.
Luke heard the music begin and saw Sookie and Davey walk slowly down the aisle followed shortly by Rory. He couldn't believe how grown up she looked. He remembered the first time she walked into the diner with Lorelai. She couldn't have been more than 12 and she was the quietest child, nothing like Lorelai. Luke soon learned that Rory didn't talk much until she knew someone. Once she got comfortable with the diner and with Luke he could tell that she was very much like her mother. And now, that quiet, unsure 12 year-old had turned into confident, out-spoken young woman. Luke couldn't help but feel proud of her as she inched toward him.
Rory smiled at Luke as she made her way down the aisle and the music changed. All the guests stood at attention waiting for Lorelai to walk down the aisle. Luke looked expectantly in the direction of the procession and he saw Lorelai coming toward him slowly. She had her father on one arm and her mother on the other. Initially Lorelai refused to have her father walk her down the aisle. She reasoned that she had been independent for most of her life and she didn't want to uphold the chauvinism of a father giving away his daughter. But after Lorelai's conversation with her mother she decided that the wedding was a new beginning. It was a new beginning of Luke and Lorelai, for Lorelai and Rory, but also for Lorelai and her parents. This wedding was a fresh start and with that in mind Lorelai decided to have both her parents escort her toward her future with Luke.
Lorelai took a deep breath as she inched toward Luke. She caught the smiling, happy faces of all her friends. Miss Patty and Babette smiled frantically while Jackson held little Colgate. Never one to contain himself Kirk was already openly weeping into Lulu's handkerchief. Lorelai looked straight ahead and saw Luke waiting for her at the end of the aisle. His blue eyes sparkled in sun and all his attention was focused on her. She couldn't help but notice how he'd actually rented a tuxedo just for her.
Luke watched intently as he watched Lorelai walk toward him. He knew now why she'd insisted on wearing her wedding gown as often as she did. The fabric flowed around her feet, but the dress hugged her in just the right places. She always looked gorgeous, even when she was traipsing around in her sweats or one of his old flannel shirts, but today she looked peaceful, regal even.
Luke swallowed hard as she finally approached him. Richard and Emily left their only daughter under the chuppah and Lorelai just smiled brightly as she gazed into Luke's eyes. Luke hated ceremonies and pageantry, but as he stood holding the hand of the woman he loved her felt a calm that he'd never felt before. For the first time in his life Luke felt like everything was just as it should be. He had nothing to rant about, nothing to pine over, nothing to complain about.
Lorelai couldn't remember ever feeling so light-headed and happy. She thought she had possibly felt the same euphoria when she got kissed for the first time, but it was nothing compared to the magnitude of what she was feeling now. Luke looked so content. It was a far cry from the Luke who had showed up on her porch yesterday. That Luke was unsure and nervous. This Luke looked calm and confident, and, if truth be told, more handsome than she had ever seen him look. She had dropped hints for weeks telling Luke how good he'd look in tuxedo, but he never said a word about actually wearing one to the wedding. She thought he'd just bought a new suit for the special occasion. She was pleasantly surprised to find that he had shocked her yet again.
The ceremony went by very quickly. Neither Luke nor Lorelai could remember the exact words that were spoken until they came to the traditional vows.
"I, Luke, take you Lorelai to be my lawfully wedded wife," Luke said.
"For richer, for poorer, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health," Lorelai repeated.
"As long as we both shall live," Luke said.
"Ladies and gentlemen I'd like to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Lorelai Danes," the reverend said. "You may kiss the bride."
Lorelai beamed as Luke leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to him while she pulled his face to hers with both hands. The crowd applauded as they continued to kiss until Luke realized he hated long public displays of affection, even at his own wedding. He pulled back and gave Lorelai a small wink as he took her hand and they walked under the chuppah and toward the horse-drawn carriage. At Emily's suggestion the guests threw rose petals at the happy couple at they walked.
Luke helped Lorelai into the carriage that was going to take them to the Dragonfly for the reception.
"So how about the dress?" Lorelai asked him with a gleam in her eyes.
"I think I finally understand why you were always wearing it," Luke said. "You look beautiful."
"Thank you," Lorelai smiled almost bashfully. "And you clean up very well Mr. Danes," she said tugging at his lapel.
Luke wrapped his arm around Lorelai and kissed her again as the horses started walking and pulling away from town square.
"I love you," Lorelai said wiping the lipstick off his lips.
"I love you too," Luke smiled.
"So no more nerves?" Lorelai asked.
"No more nerves," Luke agreed. "I wasn't crazy about the entire town staring at me for 20 minutes, but the pain was worth it."
"Oh yeah?" Lorelai laughed.
"Yeah, because now I've got you," Luke said.
"Oh yes, you've got me now, like a piece of property. You are now the proud owner of the diner, the building next door to the diner and me," Lorelai kidded him.
"You're absolutely right," Luke said lightly. "You better watch out, I'm power hungry now. I've already filed permits with Taylor to be known as the Over Lord of Stars Hollow."
"Well I've got news for you," Lorelai informed him.
"What's that?" Luke asked as the horses turned the corner.
"It may be official now, but you had me a long time ago," Lorelai said pressing her forehead to Luke's.
"Same here," Luke told her quietly.
Two hours later everyone was assembled at the Dragonfly and Hep Alien was gearing up to start playing. Luke and Lorelai had cut the cake and Luke had even taken an obligatory bite of the cake for Lorelai. He further surprised her by eating the entire piece. Of course Lorelai had Sookie to thank for making a carrot cake layer especially for Luke.
Luke and Lorelai were mingling with their guests when Richard pulled Luke aside for a moment and left Lorelai and Emily to themselves.
"Luke," Richard said reaching into his inner jacket pocket. "I know you and Lorelai are self-sufficient, but it wouldn't be proper for me to allow my only daughter's wedding to go by without contributing a little something."
Richard handed Luke an envelope and Luke opened it quietly. His eyes widened slightly as he caught a glimpse of the check that Richard handed him.
"Richard," Luke started to protest. "I can't—we can't accept this."
"Nonsense," Richard said waving his hand. "Don't think of this as wedding gift, think of it as making up for lost time. Lorelai didn't go to cotillion and she didn't have an 18th birthday party. I wasn't able to buy her an outrageously priced car for her 16th birthday so let's just call this making up for lost time. Enjoy your honeymoon Luke. Take care of her."
"I will Richard," Luke said.
Elsewhere across the room Lorelai and Emily were catching up.
"Thank you for inviting me Lorelai," Emily said.
"I'm glad you were here Mom," Lorelai said. "The rose petals were a nice touch."
"Thank you," Emily said. "Missy Harrington's daughter did the same thing at her wedding and I thought it made things a little more festive. I see you liked my idea of a horse-drawn carriage," Emily commented.
"My horse drawn carriage had nothing to do with executed Russian leaders Mom," Lorelai replied.
"You still liked the suggestion," Emily chirped happily.
"Maybe I did," Lorelai placated her.
"Well I have something for you Lorelai," Emily said as she reached over the gift table and picked up a large box. "It's heavy so be careful."
"Mom don't you open the gifts at home? Isn't that etiquette?" Lorelai asked.
"Well you've been waiting almost six years for this gift, I just assumed you want to open it now," Emily said.
"Six years?" Lorelai questioned. Suddenly it dawned on her that this was the gift her mother had bought for her wedding to Max. Emily had said she was going to take the gift back until Lorelai started to pester her about what she'd bought. She told Lorelai she was putting the gift away until she actually got married. Apparently she wasn't lying.
"This is the present you bought me six years ago? For another wedding? That's kind of tacky Mom," Lorelai teased her.
"I'll take it back," Emily threatened her.
"No, no, I want it," Lorelai said hugging the box closer to her. She took a seat at an empty chair and began to unwrap the gift. Lorelai noted that the box was very heavy and she popped the lid to the box open. She fished her hand inside and pulled out a wineglass.
"Crystal wine glasses," Lorelai said trying to be enthusiastic.
"They're Swarovski crystal," Emily informed her. "As entertaining as your plates of Charlie's Angels are you needed proper glasses for entertaining."
"They're very pretty Mom," Lorelai said.
"You hate them," Emily said knowingly.
"Luke and I just aren't wine drinkers. But they are lovely glasses. Thank you," Lorelai said.
"I suppose they'll be traded in for a profane vase or alarm clock," Emily sighed. "I knew it though. So I bought you this as well."
Emily handed Lorelai a letter-sized box wrapped in shiny paper and a large bow.
"Two presents?" Lorelai said excitedly.
"Yes," Emily said trying not to smile.
Lorelai ripped into the second package and opened the box to reveal a silver plated plaque with a tree engraved on it. Luke and Lorelai Danes was engraved in the trunk of the tree in a small heart. Their birthstones and birthdays were by their name and Rory's name appeared on a separate branch near Lorelai's name.
"Mom, it's beautiful," Lorelai said touched.
"Do you really like it?" Emily asked.
"No," Lorelai replied. "I really love it. It's the perfect present."
Both Emily and Lorelai stood for a moment suddenly very aware of each other and both suddenly bashful. Luckily the awkward moment was soon ended by an eruption from a small crowd by the stage.
"Luke Danes is a terrific man," Kirk's shrill voice yelled through the crowd.
Lorelai and Emily turned to see Kirk awkwardly embracing Luke as he fought back tears.
"This man," Kirk continued as he kept an arm slung over Luke's shoulder. "This man is my very best friend. He always helps me decide what to order in his diner. He gives me advice when I need it and he helped me find Easter eggs."
"Is this a toast?" Emily asked perplexed.
"I don't know," Lorelai said equally bewildered. "I think Kirk looks a little drunk though."
Lorelai stood up and placed the family tree back into the box. She walked over to Lulu who was trying to smile trough Kirk's loud and somewhat incoherent speech.
"Lulu," Lorelai said approaching her. "Is Kirk okay?"
"Well he had half a glass of champagne," Lulu explained. "He gets so emotional at weddings. I thought the champagne would calm him down, but I forgot he was on heavy allergy medication. I think there may have been an unintended reaction."
"Good to know Lulu," Lorelai said walking up to Kirk and Luke.
"Hi Kirk," Lorelai said extracting him from Luke's shoulder. "How's it going?"
"Luke is so lucky to have found you," Kirk babbled loudly as he leaned into Lorelai. "I know you and I have a history and I'm just grateful that you and Luke were able to overlook that."
Lorelai exchanged a glance with Luke as he took Kirk's other shoulder and they escorted him to the chairs.
"I mean, I asked Luke for advice on how to ask you out," Kirk continued. "He had every right to hate me because of the unspoken desire we shared."
Lorelai tried not to laugh as she replied, "But Kirk we never went out."
"We didn't?" he asked.
"No," Lorelai replied. "I thought it was better if we just stayed friends."
"Oh that's right," Kirk said as Luke and Lorelai deposited him on a chair. Lulu rushed over to attend to him.
"Kirk," she said quickly.
"It was a good speech right?" he asked her hopefully.
"It was," she lied.
"Oh no, I forgot one thing," Kirk said as he turned to watch Luke and Lorelai walking away. "I love you Luke Danes!" he yelled.
Luke turned horrified at Kirk's outburst. Lorelai patted his shoulder lightly as they waved Kirk off.
"So we have the honeymoon suite tonight," Lorelai said. "Should I worry about Kirk showing up?"
"Stop it," Luke said. "That guy…"
"Looks up to you," Lorelai finished for him. "As much as you hate to admit it."
"Maybe," Luke replied taking Lorelai in his arms as the music started playing again. "So your Dad gave me a gift."
"Oh yeah?" Lorelai said. "He's such a stickler for gift protocol. But I have to say those little white envelops are fun."
"Yeah, it was a quite a bit of money," Luke told her.
"It couldn't have been that much," Lorelai replied.
"Oh it could," Luke told her. "I'd have to look at the numbers but I'm pretty sure it could pay for the wedding, the reception and a quarter of the national debt."
Lorelai was surprised that her father had given them so much money. She knew she couldn't accept it but she wasn't in the mood to damper the evening by fighting over money with her father.
'We'll talk to him about it later," Lorelai said. "My Mom gave us crystal wine glasses."
"Well you know I'm more of a Chardonnay guy than anything," Luke replied.
"That's what I told her," Lorelai smiled. "So she also gave us a family tree. You and me and Rory all engraved together."
"That's sounds nice," Luke said. "I'm glad you two are talking again."
"You know what? I kind of am too," Lorelai admitted. "As nice as the silence was, I'd kind of gotten used to her meddling phone calls twice a week."
"So this was a good day?" Luke asked her.
"The best day," Lorelai said. "How about you? Good day?"
"The best," he smiled. "I can't say I loved the attention all day. Kirk's speech was loud and awkward, but thankfully you were around to save me."
"I'm a regular knight in shining armor," Lorelai replied.
"Hey, I thought that was my role," Luke said.
"No, I thought we agreed you'd play damsel in distress tonight," Lorelai kidded him.
"Oh jeez," Luke replied spinning her around the floor.
"But you do have a special present when we get back to the room," Lorelai whispered in his ear.
"Really," Luke replied intrigued.
"I worked very hard on it," Lorelai said.
"Does it have anything to do with Old Blue?" Luke asked.
"What?" Lorelai asked surprised.
"You know," Luke replied. "My blue and white flannel shirt. I know you call it Old Blue. It's missing."
"How can you possibly tell that Old Blue is missing?" Lorelai asked shocked. "You have eight million flannel shirts, four million of which are a shade of blue and white."
Luke just grinned slyly at her as they danced. "It's okay," Luke said. "I can wait to be surprised."
Lorelai and Luke danced for a while longer while the crowd of their friends and family watched them sway in perfect unison to the music. The unofficial king and queen of Stars Hollow had finally made it official. They started their new life as husband and wife, but they had also started a new family. Lorelai and her parents had never gotten along better and Luke and Lorelai had finally found the thing they'd always searched for—unconditional love, comfort and safety.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me on this sappy, holiday romance. Happy New Year to all!