A/n: Hey, less than a year, update time, not too shabby, huh? Thanks to all you beautiful people who gave me such lovely reviews. They make we wanna write more, so hey, it's a "win-win-win situation"! Enjoy the newest one-shot at getting my JJs together.
Chapter 3: Nag Hammandi's Where They Found the Gnostic Gospels
Loralei was strolling through the town looking for food. Anything, to satiate her and her daughter's appetites. The food at the fund-raiser thingy had been absolute crap. In fact, the whole fundraiser had been pretty much crap. The only good point had been her mother making her and Jason pretend that they were together. They had held hands, danced, made out in the coatroom, it was…fun. Come to think of it, this whole thing with Jason was pretty much…just fun. Somewhere deep inside her, Loralei's grown-up radar shot up at this. She wasn't exactly sure where this radar came from, maybe it was her innate Emily springing to life, but something felt wrong. She didn't love Jason, she was just having fun. Rory was at the age to be having fun, not her, right? It was about time she settled down. Just the thought of that made her cringe. There wasn't even anyone she could think of that she could possibly see spending the rest of her life with. Jason certainly wasn't…marriage material. Chris had a family now, for God's sakes, and he was the last relationship she had had before falling into bed with her father's paranoid, boat-tipping business partner. So where was this partner of hers, huh? Shouldn't he have found her by now?
She stopped, pondering this thought for a while. A few minutes passed before she realized she was staring intently at the fire. As she snapped out of her reverie, she heard the tail end of a conversation nearby, with one very familiar voice. As she walked over towards the voice she couldn't help but chuckle at the conclusion to this discussion.
"I was just trying to say that I assumed because my sister has a history with guys, you know, that, you know, you were like the others. But, well, you seem like a pretty good guy."
"Thanks. You're a dick."
She tried not to laugh too hard to Luke's face as she approached him. "So, I just heard the tail end of that conversation and I'm assuming you haven't changed your name to Richard?"
He laughed at this remark, which relieved her tension (which somehow had built up in the last two seconds). It was a good thing he was in a good mood, he had had a rough time of it since Jess came back to town. Making Luke feel useless and unappreciated, she thought, I oughta ring his punk ass little neck. She almost wanted to cry when she had walked in on drunken Luke. It was so odd at first; Luke was so responsible, he didn't just get drunk when his team lost or he had a bad day. Something had to be really really wrong for Luke to get drunk. She knew he had gotten hurt bad. By a punk half his age, nonetheless. And that really pissed her off. But she was glad that he was here tonight, and in a good mood. He must be feeling better, she thought. They laughed and talk for a bit, their usual banter with a side of tension, and then he pulled something sparkling out of his coat pocket.
Loralei gasped when she saw what he was holding. Earrings…gorgeous ones…okay time for some words now, Gilmore
"Pretty." Great. One word. All you can come up with is one word. Luke got you jewelry for God's sake, and all you can say is 'pretty'? You sound like a stammering idiot! Which maybe you have the right to be, because Luke bought you jewelry! Why did he do this? Why and how and when and…oh my God, they're beautiful….
Loralei pressed the pause button on the mental rant long enough to realize that Luke was speaking to her.
"Liz made them yesterday. She wanted you to have them."
Loralei's heart immediately fell and she was simultaneously saddened by his response and shocked at her reaction to it. "Oh, okay, great," she responded with a small voice. Why am I so upset about this? It was weird that I thought he bought them for me, right? He wouldn't have had them for me for any other reason, right? "Well be sure to tell her thanks for me."
Luke eyes got wide at this. What's wrong with her? She looks almost…disappointed. What, one minute she's saying pretty and now she's just staring at her feet?
"Loralei?" He questioned, wanting to know the reason for her sudden change in mood. "What's wrong?"
Loralei had been too busy consulting her inner Dr. Phil; trying to convince herself that she was NOT disappointed that Luke hadn't chosen these earring to give to her to hear that once again, she was being spoken to. She tore her eyes away form the jewelry and looked up into the eyes of the flannel clad delivery boy. "What?"
Luke restated his concern, adding a new level of self-doubt: "What's wrong, do you not like them?
Loralei gasped, not realizing her disappointment had been that visible. "Oh, God, no Luke they're beautiful! I just thought…" She stopped herself in a moment of self-preservation, trying to keep too much from coming out all at once, as was common with most of what she said in life.
But Luke was quicker than her self-preservation instincts. You can't know someone for eight years and not have some idea of when they say too much, or mean to say more than they do. "No, what is it? Because if you don't like them, I can just give them back to her, or give them to…"
Loralei stopped him before he took the beautiful things back, but not before catching on to what he was about to say. You can't know someone for eight years and not have some idea of when they say too much, or mean to say more than they do. "…Nicole." She finished the sentence for him and if it was possible, her heart dropped even lower. "Your…wife," she choked out the words.
Why did this bother her so much? It seemed they were both thinking the same thing. But Luke was the first one to vocalize his opinions.
"Yes, my wife." But her sudden change in mood and the thought of Nicole had only put him in a bad mood. "Why, what the hell is the matter with you? I give you a present and all you can do is get upset?"
"I'm not upset," she answered through somewhat clenched teeth. "And why didn't you give them to Nicole, anyway?"
And after his little talk with TJ that night, it didn't take much for Luke to snap. He snatched the earring out of her hands and started to walk towards the diner, ranting the whole way. "You know what, fine! If you don't want them, maybe I will give them to Nicole! Liz gave me the choice and maybe I made the wrong one! I just wanted you to have them, because…"
Loralei's eyes got wide. He had a choice. "Because why, Luke?"
Luke stopped in his tracks a few steps in front of the diner. Now it was his turn to stammer. "Because…because I uh…"
And continuing with the role-reversal theme of the evening, now it was Loralei's turn to rant.
"Because what Luke? Huh? What is it that makes you treat me like this, huh? To be completely sweet to me when you're taken so that it kills me just as much as it makes me happy because I know that I could never have you? You're married, Luke! That's a choice that you made, completely your decision, regardless of how much help you had from Jose Cuervo and Captain Morgan! So why then, what is it that makes you give me beautiful jewelry, when I know all it can mean is 'hey, you're a super friend, Loralei, can I pour your coffee sometime'? What is it, Luke?"
And he couldn't take it anymore. Seeing her standing before him like this, visibly displaying every emotion he had ever kept behind the counter of the diner, killed him, and yet somehow made him so incredibly happy. And he knew, somehow, that this was how it was supposed to be. Because finally now that he knew, this didn't have to go on anymore. He could stop the madness right now; the ball was in his court.
So slowly, he handed the earrings back to her, and as she turned her head up to look up into his eyes to see how this gesture could possibly remedy everything she had just shouted him, he took his jewelry-free hand and tilted her head up to kiss her with all the emotion she had just shown him…and then some. It was magical, due somewhat in part to the Firelight Festival going on behind them, but mostly in part to the fact that, as mind-blowing a kiss it was, something deeper was going on in their heads. They both realized something during that kiss, and for the first time in his life, Luke was the first to put it into words.
A/N: Hey, I know this ideas been done before, and with much flashier endings as well. I just want to show little get-togethers in some of our favorite JJ episodes. I hope you all enjoy reading them, even sans the declarations of love that other fics offer. Something in me just doesn't want them to say "I love you" in a fic before we see them say it for real on air. Ya know?