Who Lies Beneath?
Disclaimer: If there has been one consistent thing about this story, it would be the fact that I have never owned anything.
Summary: LL. "There's only one thing that can stop me." She told her best friend...She's made many mistakes before, but which ones the mistake this time? The wedding or the night before?
Authors Note: I owe everyone a very big apology! It's taken forever to get this, the last chapter up. I'm so sorry and I know that seems like nothing but it's taken a lot to get this chapter out of me! Plus I was gone for a week (in Canada, meeting my fabulous partner herself, Annick) and it would have been cool if we could have actually written together but no, that didn't work, haha.
So here it is for you. The last piece of this crazy puzzle. We never warned anyone that the next chapter would be the last but surely, it is. I figured if I didn't just write this as one big chapter, it would probably take another three months for you guys to hear from us so here it is.
Seriously, you guys have been amazing readers this whole time! Never mind the fact that it's taken just about five months to write seven chapters, you guys have been awesome from day one. The feedback and reviews were amazing, we were both truly blown away! Thank you for everything, trust me when I say it means a lot and if it weren't for you, I would have zero motivation whatsoever to write. Heh, I sort of feel like I won an award and this is my speech. Okay the shutting up will begin any second.
So thanks again for everything, enjoy the last chapter and please leave a review to let us know what you thought.
Look back soon for another story from us (soon!) written by Annick this time. ;) It will be posted under the fanfiction login catfightsproductions.
And Annick, you already know how much I fancy you.
Read & Review? Merci beaucoup!
Maybe it's just me, but you seem finally happy
I don't think I've seen your face just glow like a neon sign.
And maybe we should be alone for ever after
Cause even though the nights are long
At least I'll make it another day.
Cause I can't live if you're not happy
I can't live if you cry
But I can live without you if it makes you smile.
Where we left off...
Before she could finish her sentence, Max had walked out of the room and left the house, slamming the door behind him which resulted in Lorelai crying even harder.
She looked up and stared at her daughter who looked like she had been torn into a thousand pieces. Rory didn't know what to do or say. Lorelai held her stare for a long while before Rory got up and left the living room, slamming the bedroom door behind her.
She knew no matter how much she tried, she wouldn't be able to stop crying tonight. And it wasn't as if the hard part was certainly over. She had to tell Luke the truth. She suspected it wouldn't be as bad as this, at least she hoped.
She leaned back against the couch, silently crying to herself.
In between gasps of air, she was able to make out one word to herself. "Luke," she mumbled quietly, "Luke." She repeated, as her hair fell into her face as she held herself tightly.
There was no point in feeling sorry for herself.
She knew from the first night she kissed Luke Danes, life would never be the same again.
The second their lips touched, she was positive nothing good would result from this.
Well, sure some good things would be a result. That being every second spent with Luke. But she knew she was married and it couldn't possibly be healthy. Or right.
What struck her (probably Rory, Max and Luke too) as odd is that she never, not in a million years, would have suspected herself to commit something such as an affair.
But the word affair is so very Jerry Springer. She likes to think of it more as...clandestine meetings? Well they never agreed on times or places.
She thought of it more as her own special sanctuary. Being with Luke was a feeling that took over her body, mind, and head. Despite the way he made her feel, she was still disgusted with herself.
So as she sat there crying in the sleeves of her now damp, long sleeve shirt, there was no feeling bad for herself. She knew what she did was wrong and quite frankly, she knew the consequences the whole time.
But then the secretiveness was always a safe feeling. Up until this moment, she had never mentally imagined what today, the day of confrontation, would look like. She never scared herself away by the thoughts of her family slamming doors on her, not being able to listen to one more measly apology that to them, meant nothing.
They didn't want to hear her apologies. Not right now. It was a lot to take in, and she wanted to accept that. She wanted to give both Max and Rory time to themselves to adjust to the news but patience was never something Emily Gilmore taught Lorelai. It was never something taught by a friend, a teacher, an idol on television, nobody.
And though she wanted to respect their wish for time (though it was never officially stated that they need it, at least for now) she couldn't. She wanted to apologize and most of all she wanted forgiveness though she knew that was a hell of a lot to ask out of either of them.
Her breathing decreased from the rapid speed it flowed out of her mouth. Tucking her hands within the tear-stained sleeves of her shirt, she lifted her right hand to her eyes, wiping underneath the both of them in attempt to clear away some of the blotted mascara.
She closed her eyes, clenching her teeth tightly, subconsciously forming fists pointing towards mid-air, pointing at nothing in specific.
She knew if she wanted to get up, that it would certainly be a challenge. She gripped onto the side of the couch, holding on as tight as possible for support to keep her from falling. Standing perfectly still and tall (though right now she felt like the shortest person in the world) in the air, she paused before attempting to walk. Her legs grew weak at the mere thought of making short strides through the kitchen, to the back room. What has been and still is, Rory's room.
Opening her eyes, would be a good thing, she figured. She took the first step towards the right direction. As she slowly walked towards the kitchen, she felt like she was walking on quick sand. Each step felt like she was seeping lower and lower into the millions of grains of sand. They were her new calling and trying to trap her at any given point.
She reached the door of her daughters room, resting her hand quietly on the knob before beginning to open it. She told herself not to open the door. Better just to knock. But she didn't have the strength to lift her arm up and knock lightly on her daughters door.
Instead she reminded herself about the time issue. She removed her hand from the door, pressing her back against the wall closest by.
She leaned all her weight against the wall, sliding slowly down the scratchy form of concrete. She bundled her face again against her hands, hoping her daughter would come out of her room soon.
She didn't want to fall asleep in this position, though sleep probably wasn't going to be an option tonight.
It felt like hours as she sat pinned up against the wall. She was a mess and she knew it. There were rarely any times she was like...this. Right now, she couldn't think of any other times, probably cause there weren't that many times she was this bad.
She had tuned a lot of things out in the past...well, the past being however long she's been out here. Tuning out sound was one of those things but she did look up when she thought she heard a door open.
Sure enough, Rory was standing a mere few inches away from her broken mother sitting against the wall.
"Mom?" She questioned, "are you okay?" What a silly question to ask at a time like this.
"Rory." She said, hardly above a whisper. She wanted to talk to her, to apologize, and knowing that she had the time, she wasn't going to throw it away.
Rory didn't need to say anything. She offered a hand to her mother and pulled her up on to her two feet, holding her hand for a minute while Lorelai waited for her weak knees to grow strong.
Lorelai, still holding on to Rory's hand led them into her room. Lorelai sat down on Rory's bed, clutching tightly onto a pillow as Rory stood above her mother, waiting for her to speak.
She probably wasn't in the best state to talk but she figured her apology would be most meaningful when she was in this sort of condition.
"Rory, I..." her voice, scratchy from all the crying, stung like a steaming cup of coffee swallowed down the wrong tube in her throat, "I don't know where to begin."
Rory sat down on the foot of her bed staring at her mother, waiting for her to speak. She was furious. She was upset. She was sad. She was mad. But she couldn't help but feel bad for her best friend, her mother, as she watched her sit on her bed trying to apologize to the best of her ability.
"I know." Rory offered.
"No, you don't know Rory. I don't even know where to begin. I don't know what I can say or...or, what I can do to...I just, I don't know."
Rory paused, looking for the right thing to say. "We don't have to do this now, mom."
"Yes we do," Lorelai wiped away the remainder of her tears, trying her absolute hardest to look strong and determined, ready to give Rory this speech of forgiveness.
"I feel...horrible. I feel, disgusted, terrible, just...absolutely...horrible that I was the one who tore apart a family."
It sounded somewhat lame. It did. But it was the truth. And it was only just the start.
"I never...intended to hurt anyone. Not you, Max...not Luke. And that might sound like the wrong thing to say right now but I didn't picture this coming from me. I didn't. I'm not...I'm not the kind of person who would do something like this but there are just some things in life that you really cannot explain. I don't know what has come over me these past few months. I loved Max. I was so happy to marry him. But I just spent one night with Luke and...I hate to say it now, but it changed everything. And it changed everything after it was all too late. And, I know, I screwed up, I mean, we're calling second place right after getting pregnant at 16 but look at how you turned out. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter, smarter, more beautiful daughter than I have. And, I'm not saying mistakes are all about a wonderful outcome. I'm not. But Rory, you have to understand that what I did was unintentional. I didn't mean to hurt you, I didn't mean to hurt Max. And I know, this all sounds so repetitive. And I could go on and on about how sorry I am and how I didn't mean for any of this to happen but I've got to face the truth. What happened, happened and I know it's probably painful for you. It's painful for me just knowing I caused you to hurt. And I know this hasn't covered everything, and I haven't talked about everything with you but...I don't know."
She took a deep breath, clenching her hands against the pillow. She looked back into her daughters eyes.
"You know, as I was sitting against that wall earlier, I was thinking about how badly I wanted you to forgive me. I wanted you to...understand, and adapt easier then you probably will but up until now, I never once thought about how selfish that was of me." She closed her eyes, fighting the tears from pouring out. "I want you to forgive me. One day. For lying, for...betraying you and this family, for everything. And you are a wonderful kid. I have no doubt in my mind that one day this will be behind us no matter how horrible it may be but I don't need anything from you now. I just...I think, I should give you time. It's been a long night. And I should probably go find Max and say all the same things to him but I don't know where he is and..."
"You're probably not in the best state to drive in, either."
They were both quiet, Rory unable to come up with something to say. She knew her mother wanted to hear something. Anything, really.
"You know, I don't hate you."
Lorelai laughed pathetically, "I hope you don't."
"I know...I know you didn't mean to do this. And I don't know, I almost feel as if I am being...mean to Max when saying this but...we'll get over it. It's not the end of the world. I guess it's just...so very unexpected. Never mind all the details, being when it started, how long it lasted...specifically who it was with," she said referring to Luke, "but...things happen. I'll be fine mom, I know I will be."
"I know you will be."
"But I don't know about...," she pointed her head towards the door of her room somewhat indicating she was speaking about Max, "...but, just give it some time."
Lorelai shook her head understandingly, letting go of the pillow and leaning over, wrapping her arms tightly around her daughter, enveloping her into a hug.
"I love you, Rory." She whispered into her ear.
Rory tightened her grip around her mothers shoulders, whispering back, "I love you too, mom."
Whether it be their best friend instinct or their mother-daughter bond, Rory could never hurt her mother knowing simply because couldn't forgive her. She felt almost as if she was betraying Max but whenever she thought about that, she thought about the person who was there for her since day one. The person who raised her to be the understanding, forgiving person she is in the first place.
They didn't say much more before Lorelai went to her room. Lorelai knew what she said was enough. It was Max she should be giving the apology to. But she did owe her daughter something to and she figured she got that much done. It was the first step to...well, to wherever this was going.
She knew that Rory would forgive her for her actions. Sure Rory didn't say much in return to her speech but what she said was enough and she appreciated the things that she did say.
Lorelai, laying restless in their bed, had no idea where Max could be. She wasn't sure where he was, who he was with, or when he'd be home. She didn't even bother calling his cell phone. It was late and he wanted to be alone. She knew at least that much.
She tried closing her eyes, hoping she could get some rest because the days activities had eaten her alive. But every time she closed her eyes, she saw him.
He would be mad too.
She lied to him as well.
And she knew she had to tell him soon enough.
But when she closed her eyes, she saw a happy Luke and it killed her to know she'd have to let him down one last time.
She wasn't sure where things would go from here. She couldn't stay with Max. She wouldn't stay with him. She knew that she had ruined any chance she had to be happy, at least for now. She broke her husbands heart and it was too late and things were too deep to be fixed.
The word divorce rang loudly through her head. It hurt her to think about it but at this point just about everything did.
She just didn't expect Max to question her. She had no idea he was suspicious about anything. She was going to tell him, she was, but it wasn't supposed to happen like that.
She was going to sit him down, alone, probably somewhere private too. She was going to tell him she was sorry, that she never planned on anything like this happening, that she would take it back if she could.
But then it hit her, hard and painful, that she probably would not take it back if she could. Would she have stopped it if she saw it coming, probably. But would she take it back after everything had already happened? Probably not. She was too involved with Luke. She experienced a side of him that not many people got to experience. And most of all, she got to experience a side of her she had never before seen.
She didn't know when she'd talk to him next though. Right now, she didn't really want to confront him. She wanted to talk to Max first, explain to him how things had gotten so messed up (though to be honest, she wasn't necessarily sure) and figure out where things were going to go from here.
She knew Luke wouldn't be her quick rebound man, despite the fact that they have history pre-splitting up with Max. So maybe rebound wasn't the correct word but she felt almost too embarrassed to run straight to Luke after everything ended here.
Taking it one day at a time was a good idea, she thought.
She tried her absolute hardest to fall asleep that night, hoping she wouldn't be haunted with either one of their faces during her sleep. If you want to call it that.
It was about 7 when she woke up the next morning. As soon as she opened her eyes, she closed them again tightly, hoping that when she'd open them again she'd see Max in the bed with her, signaling that everything that happened last night was a nightmare. She opened her eyes shortly after though, things in the same way as they were when she opened her eyes a moment before.
She looked at the clock, the red solid numbers blinking 7:02. She sat up, looking out her bedroom window to see if Max's car was pulled into the driveway but it wasn't. She leaned against the headboard, grabbing her cell phone from her night stand.
Clicking the four digit password for her voicemail, she pressed the phone to the side of her ear, butterflies in her stomach already.
"Hey Lorelai, it's me. I'm sure you're still sleeping but I was just calling to let you know that you left your glasses here a few days ago. I forgot to bring them down to the festival last night but I figured you'd want them so...you know, you can stop by whenever is good for you to pick them up. I'll see you soon. Call me."
She pressed seven, informing the friendly voicemail services to delete the message. His voice hit her heard, making her head dizzy. She figured she needed to get out of this daze sooner or later, sooner being the better option.
She pulled the covers off of her, wobbling into the bathroom before walking down the hall to the kitchen. Rory was in the kitchen, clad in her uniform, eating breakfast before on her way to school.
"Hey," Lorelai said quietly, walking into the kitchen, pouring herself a cup of the already made coffee.
"Oh, morning," Rory smiled softly.
"Ready for school?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
Lorelai looked around the house, searching for Max though she knew very well he wasn't there. She sat down across from Rory, taking a large sip of coffee. "So, uhm, you haven't heard from...have you?"
Rory shook her head.
"Okay, well, do you need a ride to school today?"
"I'll take the bus, I'm ready a little early and everything..."
"Are you sure? Cause I can just take you whenever you're ready."
"No, it's fine. I'm fine."
Lorelai nodded her head, not bothering to persuade Rory differently.
"So I'll see you after school?"
Rory got up from her chair, placing her bowl and cup into the sink. "It's newspaper layout night. I probably won't be home until 9 or so."
"Oh okay, well call me when you want to be picked up, okay?"
"Okay, mom." She walked towards Lorelai, giving her a hug goodbye.
"Thanks babe." She whispered.
Deciding to be productive for the day, Lorelai cleaned the house to the best of her ability. She did the dishes (by hand - she never did learn how to use this dishwasher), did a few loads of laundry, vacuumed every room in the house, and finally put away her clothes that had been in a chair in the corner for a few weeks now.
She of course, still heard no word from Max. A small part of her wanted to call Rory and find out if he was at school. Max never missed a day of work. In all her time being with him she never once recalled him taking a day off or missing a day because he was sick.
She hoped he would be there, the status somewhat telling her that it wasn't as big of a deal as she thought it was even though she knew the circumstances were larger than she wanted to admit.
She looked at the clock, it was noon. If on cue, right as she glanced up to look at the time her cell phone started ringing, the obnoxious, once funny ring echoed through the now clean kitchen.
His name flashed across the front screen, her fingers on the edge of lifting open the folder of her phone. She wasn't sure if she wanted to answer right now. She didn't think talking to him would be a good idea but she knew she couldn't avoid him forever.
She pressed the button on the side of her phone, indicating the phones silence. She set it back down on the counter before taking a seat in the wooden, rather uncomfortable chair.
She waited a few minutes before she grabbed her phone to see if Luke had left a message.
'Hey it's me again...I was just wondering what you were doing, just making sure you got my message from earlier. Call me when you can, hope everything's fine with you. Talk to you later.'
'To erase this message, press seven now.'
'Next voice message.'
'It's me...again. Listen, if you have time to stop by today that would be great. I want to show you something so just come on over if you're around.'
'To erase this message, press seven now.'
If it weren't for Luke's consistency, she probably would have slept face down on the kitchen table straight through the whole day.The phone rang loudly in her ear as she tossed her hand on the counter, searching for the ringing phone.
"Hello?" She mumbled into the phone, not bothering to look at who it was.
"Finally, you answer your phone."
Lorelai opened her eyes, lifting her head up from the kitchen table. She took her free hand and gently massaged the back of her neck which was now in pain from her little cat-nap on the rough table.
"Oh, hey Luke," her voice was quiet, giving off vibes of suspicion.
"Are you okay?" He lowered his voice, backing into the storage room away from the customers, "you sound like something's wrong."
"Is everything okay?" He pestered.
She took a minute before answering. She wasn't sure how long she could, or even wanted tokeep this from Luke. She figured now was as good a time as ever.
"Actually, it's not."
"Are you okay?" He asked quickly.
"I'm...well, no I'm not. I actually need to talk to you."
"I have time, you can talk."
"No, no, I need to...talk to you. I need to talk to you in person, Luke."
He felt his stomach drop, afraid of where this was leading. He had no idea what was coming but he knew it was bad from the tone of her voice.
"Well, I'm free whenever you need me to be. Do you want to go to the diner? Do you want me to meet you somewhere?"
She scanned the room looking at the small numbers on the microwave. 1:03. "I can come to the diner," she said apprehensively, "is now okay?"
"If it's okay for you."
"Okay then I'll see you soon."
"Alright, bye Lorelai."
She pressed end, instantly regretting the fast paced conversation they just had. She had to go to the diner. To see Luke. She looked like crap, eyes swollen and even a little red from all the crying she had done and lack of sleep she received.She had no motivation to put on something cute or make her face look a wee bit more presentable.
She went upstairs to her room, nervous to do just that much, and opened the closet slowly. She pulled out a zip up sweatshirt, throwing it on over her tee-shirt. She kept the yoga-like pants she was wearing on and put on a pair of flip-flops, throwing her hair back into a knot.
She almost felt numb. Totally and completely numb. It was as if her mind was trying to black out. She tried not thinking, because thinking too hard was the last thing she needed at a time like this. If she actually thought about things, like whatto say to Luke for instance, she would probably scare herself out of going to see him. And she knew she had to do at least that much right about now.
The drive to Stars Hollow was longer than usual. Maybe because she was driving five under the speed limit or maybe because she just told herself to try her absolute hardest to delay the car ride. She didn't want to practice lines out in her head. She didn't want a speech. She simply wanted to go there, tell him the truth, and apologize.
She didn't know where things would go from here for the two of them. She knew, deep in her heart what she wanted. She wasn't afraid to admit it to herself either. She wanted Luke, and she wanted him more than anything. But she was afraid that by telling him the truth, he would back away from her. He would take himself out of this...calling, this...game, and tell her he can't deal with it anymore. She was afraid that by actually being able to have him, without being 'with' someone else, was too much for her.
It sounded stupid, that she knew, but she didn't always have the clearest more educated thoughts. She was terrified that by being able to have him, she'd fail him. And most of all, she'd be the one to fail them as a couple.
Despite how much her heart told her she felt for him, she still had these feelings that she couldn't control.
She pulled into the back alley of the diner. She wasn't in the mood to see anyone she knew. She parked in her secret parking spot, slowly getting out of the car, not bothering to lock the door behind her. She leaned against the door of her car before making her way to the back door of the diner.
There were two doors actually. One led directly into the kitchen, the other into the small hallway that led to the case of stairs that led up to his apartment. She went through that door, the one further on the left, trying to be as quiet as possible.
Though nobody else heard her, Luke did. He was expecting her and was absolutely positive it was her when he heard the door shut. He told Caesar ahead of time he would be heading upstairs soon and that if he needed anything to simply knock on the door.
He met her in the small hall, silently taking her hand and leading her up the stairs. The curtains blocked the view of the many loud and nosey customers.
He closed the door behind himself, watching her pace back and forth in the kitchen.
"Hey," he offered, placing his hands in his back pockets.
"Hi," her voice was weak, quiet, and scratchy from the painful throat-ache she was experiencing. If she didn't know the reasoning, she'd think she was catching a case of strep throat, "sorry to come on such short notice."
"It's not a problem, really."
The whole time she had been looking down. Down at her feet, down at the floor. She slowly averted her eyes to his, a confused face staring at his. Her brow creased drastically, she examined the way his day old stubble and small bags underneath his eyes characterized him to his fullest.
He knew something was wrong from the second he first saw her face. Well he knew way before, when he talked to her on the phone first, too. He knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant visit and the anticipation was thick in the air.
"So tell me, what's the matter?" He asked, breaking eye contact with her.
A long pause drifted through the air as Lorelai tried to come up with the right thing to say. "I...I have something that...that I need to talk to you about."
"Are you okay?" The way she was talking almost seemed as if she was...dare he say, drunk. The still confused face she wore was worrying him even more so.
"Luke, I lied to you."
He bit his lip, his reaction settling in as he stared at her. He wasn't sure what she was talking about but he knew it wasn't something good.
Well, of course.
"What do you mean?"
"I never told Max." She said quickly. A little too quickly. "Well, no, that's not true. I mean, I did tell Max. But, I...well, crap, this isn't how this was supposed to go either." She said, more or less to herself.
"What are you talking about, Lorelai?"
"Remember when I came to your apartment that afternoon. I told you that I told Max, that he knew about us."
"Well, I lied. I never told him. I wasn't sure when I was going to tell him either--"
"You didn't tell him," he repeated.
"No, I didn't. Well, he knows now but--"
"Because you finally told him?"
"Well he sort of...found out. I mean he didn't know-know anything, but he had suspicions and I ended up telling him last night, after we got home from the festival actually..."
"Huh." He mumbled, looking down at the floor before looking back up at Lorelai. "Why did you lie?" He asked, his voice still calm.
"I...I don't know why Luke."
"You could have just told me he didn't know, you know that right?"
"Of course I know that."
"So why didn't you save yourself the pain, never mind me or Max or anyone, and just tell me the truth." He didn't mean for the things he said to come off as harsh. He tried to be civil with her, truly interested in what she had to say.
"Sorry, I didn't know you were such a fan of Max." She barked, commenting on his last sentence.
"I don't know what came over me Luke. I was just...I just thought it would be better if I told you that I told Max. And I mean, it wasn't like I was planning on keeping it from him forever. I was going to tell him, and soon. But I just...I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready to tell him. I didn't know how to let him down. I didn't want to hurt him," the sentence lingered on her tongue, "I didn't want to hurt anyone."
Luke stayed quiet, not sure what to say. He knew if he had any shot of being with her in the long run, he couldn't just blow up in her face. "What did he say?"
She closed her eyes, trying to hold back the tears. "He was...furious. He was hurt, and...and sad, and mad at me. I haven't seen him since he left the house last night."
"And I mean, I don't know. I don't know where anything is going from here, Luke. But I wanted you to know that I'm sorry for lying about it in the first place."
"I just don't understand why you had to lie about it."
She was leaving something out, she knew she had to say. But she wasn't ready to say it yet. She wasn't ready to put the last puzzle piece into place. She had something important to say, something that would solve all of his questions.
She'd say it soon.
A moment later, someone knocked on the door.
"Boss? I need you to come downstairs. It's getting crazy down there." Caesar shouted from the hall.
"Alright, I'll be done in a minute."
"Okay, come as soon as you can."
They listened to hear Caesar leave the hallway, walking back down the stairs into the diner.
"I should get going, he sounded like he really needed me."
"I'll talk to you later," he opened the door, holding it open for her to walk out. She knew it was her time to leave and she knew she had missed out on saying the one thing that could have potentially fixed things more than they both knew.
She walked down the stairs, not looking back to see or say something to Luke. She had nothing left to say anymore and right now, it was all about missed opportunities and waiting till the next time.
It was close to four forty five when she heard somebody rattle with their keys in the front door lock. She knew who it was and it brought hardcore flips and tumbles to her stomach. She glanced at the clock, acknowledging the fact that it was his normal time coming home, when he was at Chilton.
She was sitting on the couch in the living room, the first room on the left when you walk into the house. She knew there was no way he could avoid her.
It felt like an eternity before he was in her view. He looked bad. He looked like he didn't get much sleep and she instantly noticed he wasn't wearing very school appropriate clothes. She figured he was though, noticing his tie in tact. He always kept a spare pair of clothes in his trunk, just in case there was a mishap with the clothes he was wearing. She figured that was the outfit he had saved away and somewhere along the way, it had gotten a little wrinkly.
It almost seemed like a scene straight out of a movie. He stood at the entry looking straight at Lorelai in the same position she was in when he left the house not even twenty four hours ago. She held his gaze, afraid to say something and scared she had nothing to say all at the same time.
"Lorelai," he acknowledged her presence first, nodding his head in her direction.
She got the shivers from simply hearing his voice. It made her nervous just to hear him speak.
"Max," he could tell by the way she spoke that her voice was shaking, "you're here." Way to state the obvious.
"Yeah, I am." His voice was cold but you could tell he wasn't purposely trying to talk like that. His face showed things differently. She could tell by looking at him that he had just as bad a night as she did.
Part of her wanted to give him a hug. She knew it sounded silly but it didn't stop here from feeling that way. She knew though if she even tried to do that, it would come off as some sort of pity invitation. That he understood she felt horrible but things still hadn't changed.
"Rory's still at school. She has newspaper until nine."
"Yeah," she said softly, "she told me that this morning."
"Yeah, just reminding you. You know, in case you forgot."
"No, no. I didn't forget." This was awkward, she thought. She figured their shouldn't be anymore beating around the bush. She should just talk to him about things and now seemed like a good time. "Max, uhm, could you sit down?"
"Why not." He walked over to the chair across from the couch and took a seat. He figured being away from her was better for him.
She studied his face before speaking. "Max, I...I am lost on things to say."
"You don't have to say anything, really."
She knew that wasn't what he wanted to hear; nothing. He wanted to hear everything, she knew it, and she was going to give it to him.
"You know that's not true. I owe you...everything, Max. It's just, this is hard for me. And I'm sure it's hard for you to sit here, waiting to hear what I have to say also. It's just...I've never imagined myself in this kind of position, you know?"
"Yeah, I never pictured myself in this position either. Especially not with you." Being brutally honest was the correct thing to do right now.
"I get that. And I think that's why it's so hard for all of us. It's just, this isn't very Lorelai-like. And I know, I am a woman of many surprises, but Max...despite how I feel about...him, this still is unacceptable. And yes, I'm incredibly aware that...that means just about nothing right about now, but I want you to know, I know what I did was wrong. I do."
"I'm sure you know very well that what you did was wrong, Lorelai."
"It's just that...I feel like there are only so many things I can say before you get bored and start rolling your eyes. I mean Max, I cannot even begin to apologize as much as I should be. You know that I never, ever meant to hurt you. I was so happy to marry you, I was looking so forward to finally have somebody who I could always depend on and all because of one single night, everything, all my wishes for the future that we'd bring as a family, that was all ruined. And I didn't even ruin it for me worst of all, I ruined it for you and Rory too. And it kills me to know that I made such a large mistake, that ruined everything."
Max folded his hands in his lap, leaning against the back of his chair thinking hard about what to say in return. "I understand."
Lorelai looked at him dumbly, waiting for him to say something else but he didn't. "That's all?" She asked, confused.
"What do you mean?"
"All you have to say is you understand?"
"Well it's better than I don't understand, isn't it?"
"That was too easy. Max, you should be...furious at me. You should have more to say. Really, don't hold back on my account.
And maybe things get weird, after all that went down
Things were oh so clear that I could never get this right
So tell me what your plans are
And tell me what you're doing
The only thing I hold against me is a picture of you tonight.
Cause I can't live if you're not happy.
I can't live if you cry.
But I can live without you if it makes you smile.
"Lorelai," he leaned forward in the chair, leaning in closer to her, "I had the wildest wishes for us as a family. I couldn't wait to marry you. I am crazy about you, I have been since the first day we met at Chilton, and I think you know that very well. But just because I'm not screaming at you right now, screaming obscene things I would probably regret saying later, doesn't mean I'm not upset. I am crushed, I really am. But just as unlikely as it is for you to be doing something like is, is just as unlikely for me to overreact and scream and put up a fight for you. Yes, I know that yesterday I sort of did blow up, and as crazy as it may sound to you, I did feel bad yelling and demanding answers like that. But I thought last night, about a lot of things. And one of the things I realized is that...as much as I want to put a stand up for you, to fight for you to see what I see, I know that's never going to happen. And I think, I've just got to accept it. Just like you have to accept the fact that you chose Luke at the wrong time instead of sitting here, feeling sorry for me, Rory, Luke...and even yourself. I love you Lorelai, you know that, but I don't think this is something that should have to drag on. Because as much as I'd love to be with you, even for the smallest amount of time that I could get, I know it's not going to happen. And I know that there's no point in even trying, and now that I know that, I think that I'm just going to accept it. You chose him over me and I understand that."
A small tear rolled down the corner of Lorelai's face. She instantly tried to prevent any other tears from escaping her eyes. She looked down, wiping her eye quickly.
"I just...don't want you to think that I ever regretted being with you. We were engaged for a while, dating even longer before that, and during those times, I did nothing but thoroughly enjoy our times together. And you know what, I'll be honest with you, I don't regret being with Luke. But I do regret hurting you in the process of discovering how I feel for him. And I know I keep saying it but I just want to make sure you understand that I am deeply sorry for messing things up and inflicting any type of pain on you."
"I understand that."
"And...one day in the future, I hope that you won't hate me. I know people always say this, usually after a highschool breakup but if being friends, maybe sometime in the future, was an option, I would like that very much."
"That would be nice. One day, maybe."
"And for the record, I don't hate you. You're Lorelai, I could never hate you."
"You have all reasons to hate me, believe me."
He smiled sadly, nodding his hand before standing up. "Well talk, you know, about things."
Things that happen next, she knew. And that was okay with her. Just like him, she was planning on learning how to accept it.
And I can't live if you're not happy
I can't live if you cry
But I can live without if it makes you smile.
"This lamp was bigger than I remember." Lorelai said, removing a lamp from a huge box.
"We were just in the store two hours ago. How much was there to remember?"
"I thought it was smaller, that's all. It looked smaller on display."
Rory rolled her eyes. "If you say so."
"I do say so. So, you sure you don't want this in your room?"
"Mom," Rory said annoyed, "you got that for your room. I told you I didn't want that in my room the second we laid eyes on it. It's...it's worse than the monkey lamp."
"Hey, you loved that monkey lamp!"
"Yes, I did, but does it have any class? I wouldn't say so."
"And since when does class have to determine whether you want something or not. After all, you're dating Dean."
"Mom! You love Dean."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I couldn't think of anything else to say."
"Go put the lamp in your room."
"No but's. Now go."
Lorelai hauled the lamp up to her room which was gradually being filled more and more each day. She carried the awkwardness up the stairs to her room and set it in the corner where her dresser once was.
It's nice to be back. She breathed in deeply.
Consider it fate that the house wasn't ever put up for sale. Lorelai and Rory had ideas of selling it sometime in the near future but it happened to be that they weren't ready to sell it as soon as they moved into Max's house. It was their house. It had been their house since they were both young and rather immature, Rory with a reasonable purpose for that.
They had been back for almost four weeks. It was a very odd feeling, being back in their old house. Everything felt different. Sure they had to bring all of their belongings back to the house and had to start from scratch with something's but it was an effort they were willing to make.
It would have been nice, starting from scratch. But the two of them had such an attachment to that house, it was almost silly. If it weren't for Max's job location (which happened to be, yes, Rory's school also) Lorelai and Rory would have tried to get him to move into their house. They had so many memorable moments in that house neither wanted to forget.
The gossip mill had been strong lately. But it wasn't as strong as it probably could have been. Reason was, Lorelai hadn't seen or spoken to Luke since she left his apartment four weeks ago, when Caesar had interrupted their feud.
She had wanted to talk to him, to see him, to tell him what she needed to tell him but fear stood in the way of that. She was too nervous to let everything in. She knew from the first time she was with Luke that she wanted to be with him. But sometimes, after such a long haul, getting the thing you want turns out to be more frightening than imaginable.
The night before Lorelai and Max's wedding, Lorelai felt thousands of emotions. Mainly, she felt guilty for all the wrong she had committed. She wanted nothing more than to erase what had happened and forget anything was ever wrong. She didn't want to tell Max and receive forgiveness, she didn't want to just pretend it never happened, she clearly wanted to take it back.
But as the time passed, more and more thoughts clogged her head. She had changed her priorities. She knew more than ever what she wanted, but knew there was no physical way to receive it. To receive him. For a long time, she never once imagined Max finding out because she was too caught up with feeling so wonderful because of Luke. But once Max finally found out, a switch went off in Lorelai's head alerting her that he was all hers.
At least that's what she thought.
But when she went to his apartment nearly a month ago, it seemed like he wanted nothing to do with her. Sure, he had probably been hurting, and sure she should have probably said more to him but they didn't have time to talk and knew that their conversation wasn't going anywhere because nobody was saying anything differently.
She meant to call, she did, but she realized after a while that if he wanted her back, he would call.
And he did. He called non-stop for two weeks, the first two weeks she was back in Stars Hollow but she was too scared to answer. She knew she would have to face him sometime, and though it hurt her so much not to be with him, she figured a little break wouldn't hurt.
Plus, she needed time adapting. She needed time getting used to being back in Stars Hollow where the talking never ended. She needed time getting used to being single and unattached. She needed time to get her life in gear and figure out what exactly it is that she wants.
She had a pretty good idea on that last thing, getting what she wants, but that didn't avoid the fact that she had no idea how to go upon getting it.
A few nights ago, she attempted sleeping. It had rained all night and she felt the moist air pour in through her windows. Instead of sleeping, she studied the pattern on ceiling. White paint with small grooves everywhere. She stayed up for over two hours trying to figure out the name of those little grooves, the exact title for the design on her ceilings but couldn't think of them whatsoever. She turned her head away from the wall and glanced at the clock, not interpreting the red blinking numbers that read 3:42am. Instead, she reached right past the clock for the phone and dialed the first six digits of Luke's phone number, hanging up right before the seventh. She was surprised by her actions, almost weirded out that her first instinct would be to call Luke at nearly four AM just to ask what the design on her ceiling was.
That was when she realized she has to talk to him.
And the more and more time that went by, the more and more she missed him. She figured they had been separated long enough. If he still felt anything like the way she did, hopefully this wouldn't be so tough.
So you could call it hopeful that he would just so happen to be at Doose's when she was.
"Hey kid, I'm running to Doose's real quick. Do you need anything?"
"Besides the toilet paper we've been needing for a week, I don't think so."
"Great, T.P., got it. I'll be back soon."
She grabbed her keys and headed towards the car. She decided to park somewhere near the front of the diner, hoping that Luke would see her. She was nervous, that's for sure, but lately, she's realized nothing more than how badly she needs him. She knew that since the last time they talked and would still know that till they finally talked.
She got out of the car and walked slowly past the diner in the direction of the store. She glanced in the diner as discretely as possible and saw Luke taking an order for a younger woman. Her stomach tossed and turned at the race of a roller coaster. She walked towards the door of the grocery store, head down, losing hope that he would see her and come out to approach her.
Plus, who did she think she was thinking he would be the one to approach her first. After all, she was the one that had up and ditched him. Real smart.
She was almost too distracted to notice the bells ringing on the door across the way. It wasn't until she heard his voice that he finally had her attention.
"What are you getting?" He asked blandly, trying not to show any type of emotions. Something Luke would definitely do.
She turned around quickly, making eye contact with his blue eyes. They looked rather dark today, she noticed. She glanced over him, admiring the scruff he wore on his face, the backwards baseball hat (like that was anything different) and her favorite blue flannel shirt.
She bit her lip, half smiling in his direction. "Toilet paper." She shrugged.
He glanced over her, taking in all the things he had missed so much in the past four weeks. She had no idea how much he missed her. Everything about her. Her smell, touch, looks, quirks, just...everything. He sighed heavily, looking at her almost amazed she was actually in front of him. It was almost too good to be true.
"Do you think we could talk?" He said, cutting to the chase.
Taken aback, Lorelai stared at him oddly. "Me?"
"I'd like to talk to you."
"Oh, well, I've...I mean, yeah, I think I can.
"Is my apartment okay?"
Lorelai glanced up at his apartment, taking in the fact that shortly, she would be up there, again, alone, again, with Luke. Her heart beat rapidly before she nodded her head in his direction.
He walked towards the diner as she followed along behind him. They both walked straight into diner, not glancing at one person in the crowd, walking up the stairs to his apartment.
He held the door open for her as she walked into his apartment, the familiar smell making her stomach hurt. He closed the door behind them, the quiet noise echoing through the room.
"Would you like something to drink?" He asked genuinely. "Coffee?"
Coffee. She thought. She hadn't had Luke's coffee in over a month. She had craved it most everyday (okay fine, so that was an understatement) but never could get her hands on it.
"No thanks, I'm fine." Did she honestly just decline that pure heaven?
"Okay. So, you want to sit?"
The both walked over to the couch, awkwardly sitting down next to each other. Luke bent over and rested his head in his hands, adjusting his cap before looking up at her.
"So," she started slowly, "what's up."
"I don't know, you tell me." He asked, still civilized.
The look he was giving her almost broke her in half. His eyes were begging for some sort of answer. He needed to hear something from her, he needed her to talk to him, all in hope for some sort of future together. She could have cried if she stayed looking at him for much longer, but she tore her eyes away from him and glanced down at the coffee table.
After a few minutes of nobody speaking, he spoke again. "The last time I talked to you, you told me you had just told Max."
"And you had told me that you didn't understand why I didn't just tell you in the first place."
"I still don't."
For some reason, that simple line caused Lorelai to explode. She jumped off of the couch and paced back and forth around the coffee table.
"What do you mean you don't understand why I didn't just tell you earlier that I never told Max? Do you honestly not understand why?"
"It's not even that you didn't tell me. It's just that if we had to wait any longer without telling him, I felt like I would have exploded. I couldn't live under those circumstances any longer, Lorelai. I know that technically you were married to Max but I felt like, when you were with me, you were with me. And I wish I could have felt like that forever but the truth is, I was beginning to get annoyed with the whole thing. It wasn't all your fault that you hadn't told Max and I can see why you were putting it off more and more but to me, it was too much. I couldn't stand watching you be with me but going home to him. I just couldn't take it anymore."
"Which is exactly why I lied, Luke!"
"What do you mean?"
"Luke, what was our conversation about, the one night before I lied to you about telling Max?"
Luke thought hard for a moment before answering, "I told you I didn't think that I could go on anymore under our conditions."
Man, if she didn't know he was the kind of guy that could distinguish the title of the grooves in her ceiling, she would seriously consider him a stupid guy.
"Do you really not get it, Luke? Do you not understand why?"
"Because, Luke!" She practically screamed. "How do you thing it feels to being this close to losing the man you are in love with? I was going to loose you Luke, you were going to give up all because of one more stupid thing I had messed up on. I'm not saying that being with you all those times was stupid, believe me, I am saying far from, but you know me Luke," she laughed pathetically, "I mess up, a lot. Hell, I had a kid when I was sixteen, ran away and started with nothing whatsoever. Believe me, the list could go on and on with mistakes I've made but if I could have stopped one thing from happening, it would be losing you because I simply couldn't live without you, Luke. And I know, I've done a damn good job making that previous statement seem like a lie because it has been about a month since we last talked but it just hurt to know that all this time that I could have been with you, I was only losing you more and more."
Luke looked at her, taking in the idiocy that filled his mind. How could he not realize that? Sure he wasn't the smartest guy to put two and two together but hell, he knew you got four. He felt stupid, blind, almost insane that he hadn't realized all this time, she was trying to keep him from leaving.
"I didn't want to be selfish, but you and I, we were in this together. You knew that you were the one I've wanted all along, but I just needed time before everything could come together. And to know that you were going to leave, that hurt me Luke, that hurt like hell. I thought you would stick on my side all this time until everything finally was unraveled. Call me selfish, I don't mind, but that is honestly what I thought. And when I realized I was wrong, it scared me even more and I didn't know anything better than to lie. It worked, at least for a little while, but maybe it was fate that you should have known the truth. That way, I could have worked things out myself and let you know when things could finally be normal with us. But all this time, I've had this vision of us doing this together, and I'm sorry if how I feel has nothing to do with how you really do feel, but all I'm saying is that's how I felt."
She took a huge breath, her throat stinging slightly because of the speed and tone she was speaking in. She finally stopped pacing and stood still in front of Luke, looking down at him. He looked confused, but like he knew what he had to say - if that made any sense. But with Lorelai, obviously not much did.
"You should have counted on me, Lorelai."
She looked at him, encouraging him to continue.
"I told you the day before your wedding that I would stick this out with you. We were in this together, even if it was your marriage you were ruining - though I wish I could trade places with you - because it wasn't until a few minutes that I realized just how hard this probably was for you. I just think, it was so hard for us. And I'm not very good with words, you know that Lorelai, but this has made me realize a lot of things. I just think that this whole thing has been one crazy experience and the both of us feel so strongly about each other that it's hard to imagine us apart. And I think just as much as you wanted to keep me, I wanted to be with you, but it was hard knowing that even though you were with me, you still weren't mine. And I know, that's a lot to ask for, especially considering how long I have waited for you Lorelai, and I'll probably regret saying all this later because I'm sure you'll find some way to mock me, but I just want you to know I understand. I understand that you were hurting, I understand that you were scared, and I want you to know that I feel the exact same way."
Lorelai sighed deeply, holding back the tears from flowing out of her eyes. "I should have told you sooner. I should have told you four weeks ago when we last talked."
"Told me what?"
"That I'm in love with you."
Luke grinned, hell, he smiled, because he could hardly believe he was hearing those words coming from her, Lorelai Gilmore's,mouth.
"I wouldn't think you don't if you tried that hard to keep me."
"Still, I want you to hear it from me."
He smiled, reaching out and pulling her down onto the couch with him. She held onto his hands, shivering because of all the rage. He rubbed her arm slowly in attempt to warm her up. After a few moments, he pulled her on top of him and kissed her slowly, savoring every moment.
He pulled away and brushed a strand of her hair back behind her ear.
He leaned forward, half a centimeter away from her ear, "well get through this Lorelai," he whispered very quietly, "together. Cause that's what you do when you're in love." He went in the extra mile and kissed her ear softly, not once but twice sending shivers through her whole body.
She wrapped one arm around his waist, pulling him as close as possible to her, the other one behind his head, around his neck.
She let out a small gasp, his breath tickling her face. She arranged herself halfway straddling his lap. She pressed her forehead against his, kissing him every few seconds.
"You know," she kissed him, "you're the only one," she moved down to his chin, kissing him softly, "that I would go through," she continued down to his neck, "this with." She ended with a kiss on his lips.
He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Cause you're the only one that's worth it."
Cause I have fallen in love with you
No never, I'm never gonna stop falling in love with you
Close the door, lay down upon the floor
And by candlelight, make love to me through the night
Cause I have run away, I have runaway, yeah
I have runaway, runaway, I have runaway with you.
first group of lyrics were to the song, "Maybe it's Just Me" by Butch Walker and the ending lyrics were to my favorite song ever, Runaway by The Corrs.
So weird to say it's over.
"...and, uhm, okay, so goodbye. That word sounds really lame and stupid right now, but there it is. Goodbye."
Thank you so much for reading - have you realized a trend with these WLBers? You get your happy ending! You all rock, please review and you'll have my 3 forever (though you all already do cause you guys are the best readers ever.)
Arrow down to the leeeeft and press 'go!' ;)
See you all next time!