How Revisionist of You: Part I
Disclaimer: You know the tune...sing along.
Summary: Is there anything you'd change if you just had the chance?
Dedicated to: Pig, for always being there playing in the background.
Oh, Isn't it Strange
She thought that she would notice a change if she ever saw one. She knew every nook and cranny of the place. She never paid much attention to detail elsewhere. It was the caffeine. It had to be the caffeine. It was the original source...of the caffeine, that is. She knew exactly where each display mug went (were they really for display only? that would be silly). She knew that some of the chairs came from Mrs. Kim's antique store and exactly which ones. The only other thing that changed over the years, was how far her daughter could see over the tabletops. Eventually, she quit needing the Hartford phonebook that she knew the proprietor still kept behind the counter for memory's sake. It was homage paid to the only child the man would ever like, much less love, enough to give his life for (or keep sentimental phonebooks for). All of this still added up to same conclusion: In this haven, in this sanctuary, change wasn't allowed. Ritual, consistency, the ever-fading paint: sacred.
Things were changing on the outside, however. The letter from Chilton, the parental wringer she'd been through as a daughter for her daughter. The emotional wringer she'd been through with her daughter as a mother. The roles that she had tried so hard to make distinct for sixteen years were blurring rapidly. When things build at her pace they unravel at her pace and she was losing it. There were boys in her daughter's eyes, guilt-trips and revenge in her mother's, thinly-veiled indifference with a side of disappointment in her father's. And just now, something new, something different in a friend's. All of this was unraveling in a mind so easily distracted by shiny objects (mostly shoes) that maintaining a witty conversation with her daughter was proving to be so trying and exhausting that coffee was becoming a quick necessity. Incessant blabbering seemed her roadblock to solution.
This two-way mirror that invisibly resided in the middle of the table amazed her and scared the crap out of her simultaneously. She was beginning to rethink this whole best friend philosophy when it came to raising her baby. It had worked so well in the pre-pubescent years. Those years full of slumber parties, movies, junk food and friendship bracelets. Suddenly, she was sixteen again and the things that had her climbing out of bedroom windows were there. There in those eyes that looked so remarkably like her own.
She was scared shitless.
So she turned away from the annoyed glare that was hiding the motorcycles in her daughter's eyes and beheld...the healing powers of a bath.
That was changing. The one thing that couldn't change. She could not take any more change. The consistency of this diner was the only thing tethering her to reality. She was doing all of this alone, just like she had vowed to all those years ago. The man with the missing headgear in a rare costume reminded her that she wasn't doing all of this alone and that she never really had. He had helped her. He had helped Rory. Sookie had almost sold her worthless car for her daughter's education. Babette and Maury baby-sat and sung lullabies (jazzy ones). She wasn't here alone because, most importantly, she had Rory.
That made her smile.
"Is something wrong with your coffee?" Grunted a voice outside of her periphery. She jumped. Her daughter giggled.
"Shut it you." She glared. "I don't know, I haven't sampled. Why? Did you do something to it? It's decaf. You gave me decaf. You're an ass." She glared anew.
"I didn't do a damn thing to your cup of crap. I was just amazed you hadn't blinked it out of existence yet. You've got a damn black hole where your mouth's supposed to be. That Hawking guy should quit looking at the damned sky." There was a grunt, a mumble and quick retreat into the back.
"Apparently the bath did nothing for his personality." She grinned. Rory giggled and the both looked to their respective mugs.
Lorelai, however, still had seen the change.
How We Move Our Lives For Another Day
Somehow, in the midst of the worst fashion emergency since her fourth month, the worst headmaster's office visit since her fourth month, and the worst Emily encounter since, well, Friday, she had caught the eye of a handsome man.
A man who had come all the way to her inn to ask her out. She was floating on a cloud (the sixth cup of coffee might actually be the cause of that). She was totally considering a post-China get together in spite of the schooling of his progeny. It had been a really long time for her. A long time.
She didn't have the time for it. She'd convinced herself that she didn't need some companion to chaperone her through life. She didn't need the man around because the men she'd had served no purpose, aside from knocking her up or berating her for getting knocked up. She didn't need one, except when her dry spells were starting to chap her lips and her underwear selections were starting to get risqué. It was a time when corduroy was unheard of due to excess friction and nearly every word spoken elicits a "dirty".
By the time she walked down to the diner she was strung up like a cello and had nearly lost all necessity for corduroy. The hum of the cello was becoming so overwhelming that one part of her mind was barely able to hold a conversation with Luke while trying not to think of the fact that she was near a "live one".
Somehow they ended up talking about the man that had turned on the creamy switch and it wasn't helping the matter at all. Luke was saying something about the Chilton Dad being old while Lorelai was just thinking about him being with a pulse.
Then, there it was again. That one look and the creamy which went up a notch. It was reassuring for her to know that he was concerned about who she dated or not. When she was really starting to mentally remove the baseball cap (among other things) her cell phone rang. Ah Babette.
Later that night while getting ready for bed, Lorelai was thinking about what Rory had said about not dating Luke. She suddenly had a series of surprising thoughts. Surprising thoughts always amused her because as she progressed her caffeine addiction demanded more attention. This situation was specifically heart-wrenching because her thought and the addiction were so closely linked that they were skipping off down the lane in her head. That wasn't the surprising part. Dating him was definitely not what she had been thinking about recently. Never once, when that gleam in his eye matched hers, was she envisioning dinner and a movie. She laughed out loud at the idea. Then she sunk further into her bed hoping that Rory hadn't heard.
As Lorelai kept thinking, She was beginning to wonder if she was insane. 'Of course you are' grumped a voice that was not her own. Her conscience had lost a voice of its own. This is bad. But this was not the generic "Lorelai, your insane" that she heard on a daily basis, but seriously off her rocker. She was a thirty-two year old woman who had no desire to hop into a relationship or a commitment, but every desire to hop into the sack with a man she'd known since Rory still required tooth fairy services and a Hartford phonebook.
Suddenly Luke was becoming the human manifestation of possible sexual relations for Lorelai. She had a feeling he would probably know a few things. Where she got this idea was beyond her; she'd never seen the man with another woman. No girlfriend. Not even a an obvious one night stand hobbling down the apartment stairs in the early mornings.
And the laughing was back.
Like Skipping a Beat
Dating was just another thing that scared her. All of these possibilities for change weren't acceptable. Why couldn't there be an easy way to self-gratification that didn't put her heart at risk? That didn't put Rory at risk. Something that didn't have her standing on a doorstep justifying a necessity for a feline funeral or defending the positive benefits of a good parent-teacher relationship to her daughter. And while she really would enjoy the companionship, passion and chemistry that Max seemed to be offering her, it was just too complicated. Sure, she'd practically gotten Rory's blessing and she'd gotten the promise of another try from the teacher, but she had not been promised that everything would stay the same. There was no guarantee that everything she'd worked so hard for over the last fifteen years wouldn't vanish the second she decided to drop her walls (or her pants, for that matter).
There was another small thing that was tickling the back of her mind throughout all the change or no change debates. She was still desperate to ease the continuously building sexual tension. She just wasn't sure she wanted her release to be accompanied by some sort of package deal with commitment and three-course dinner dates. She was getting enough of that with the endless Friday night torture sessions.
So now, with all of the inner turmoil raging, she was trying to forget it all by pounding the sidewalks of Stars Hollow in too expensive footwear. She felt as though she was paving the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City. The place where all her answers resided on the corner of Friendship Circle and Resolved Sexual Tension Lane. The place she affectionately called Luke's Diner. No, she hadn't forgotten the internal battle she'd waged with herself for weeks. She hadn't forgotten the intense dreams that had plagued her since that night that required a change in undergarments and a shower every morning. Not one of those dreams involved Italians. Not one of those dreams involved a candlelit dinner.
She had now turned the corner (among many) and was facing the sacred space of the diner. The unchanging, unfailing space containing a counter that resided as much in her subconscious as it did in this building. One step inside and she could have answers and solutions to her mounting problems. Or could step inside and maintain the status quo by sharing light-hearted ever-repetitive flirty banter while waiting at home for the phone to ring.
No matter what, it seemed that the first step would be walking through the door.
If a Great Wave Should Wash Us All Away
"We're closed." Gruffed a disembodied voice from the storage room.
"And…that usually means that I don't serve customers after the sign's flipped." The voice materialized solidly into man. They shared a look.
"The door wasn't locked, the coffee pot's still on. To me, that translates as not so closed as you let on. Expecting anyone?"
"Should I leave."
"Nope." Luke used the flats of his palms to hoist himself into a sitting position on top of the counter, facing away from Lorelai. The irony of the situation was not lost on her.
"Does this mean I have to get my own coffee?" Lorelai could see the ripple of his back through the flannel when her voice broke on the last word.
"Among other things." His voice got huskier the deeper he spoke.
Lorelai dropped her purse on the counter and her jacket on a stool and strode, more confidently than she actually was, around the counter to grab her mug and fill it with the pot.
"How'd you know I was coming?" She took a sip, avoiding eye contact.
"You're predictable." He caught her.
"I doubt that." Her chin projected defiantly.
"Wanna bet?" There was the briefest flicker in his eye that was reminiscent of the first Friday night dinner and bath inducing bank meetings. "So how long has it been?" Lorelai sputtered over her second sip.
"What?!" She glared.
"You heard me." He glared back.
Lorelai hopped onto the counter next to him, maintaining eye contact. She put down her coffee and instantly regretted it when she was overcome with the overwhelming need to fidget. He continued to glare at her and she knew he would continue to do so until she answered.
"Too long. You?" His glare easily transformed into a look of shock. He pushed forward and slid off of the counter. He bounced once on the balls of his feet and turned with a glance her way out of the corners of his eyes. He walked straight to the window in front of him and with a flick of his wrist shut the blinds with a snap. Without a backwards glance, he moved to the second set. Snap. He skipped the door and moved to the window next to it. This snap nearly made Lorelai jump. Why this one? She wasn't sure, but suddenly she was no longer in charge. She thought she would have to talk him to death, wear him down with words until he was a shivering mass of flannel. She thought she would be able to keep her options open until the very end when she would either walk out of the diner or be hoisted upstairs. Either way, it would have been her choice. Snap.
She was seemingly lacking in the choice department this evening.
The last snap led him back to the door where he paused to look back at her. Eyes caught. Burned.
"Entirely too long." Lorelai's breath hitched. Her heart rate doubled with the turn of the deadbolt. This was not going to plan at all.
He began a slow stride back behind the counter. Lorelai realized she had never seen this side of this man before. She also realized that if she had, this would not have been the first time she found herself in this situation.
When he reached the other side of the counter he faced her, leaning against the counter next to the coffee machine. Addiction by association. He crossed his arms, chin to chest.
"How'd you know?" She needed some answers here. How was this man suddenly the one with all of her answers? This was the first time in years that Rory was not that person for her. It was unsettling. Never had a man known her this well. She wouldn't let them.
"I told you. You're predictable." He gave her a half-cocked smirk.
"I didn't even predict this." She raised an eyebrow.
"I know." He reached out a roughened hand from under his arm to brush a thumb across her bottom lip. Her legs spread instinctively, an invitation to step between them. It was an invitation he took excruciatingly long to accept. Lorelai was near panic when he stepped forward.
"I don't think this means what you think it means," she said with a quaking voice.
"I know exactly what this means." The roughness of his voice hit the skip switch in her heart. The thumb tracing her lip moved across her cheekbone to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. It was an action she was so accustomed to doing herself that feeling someone else do it, someone who knew her that well, increased her tension ten-fold.
When she felt the scrape of his left hand on the denim covering of her knee, she felt the need to clarify. She was prompted further when the hand began the ascent to her hip.
"This can't change anything." Her voice was a bare whisper and it still seemed to echo in the dark quiet of the diner.
"Look around you, Lorelai." His right hand released the strand of hair and fell to her side, barely brushing the swell of her breast with his knuckles and sweeping down her ribcage to fall and grasp her other hip. "Does it look like I have anything to do with change?"
His hands pulled forward and contact was made. As soon as zippers clashed, mouths followed. It was the same rivalry that took place across the counter that was now happening on top of it. It was an intense fight for control. Lorelai grabbed the bill of his cap to remove it with one hand so she could palm the back of his head, forcing his mouth deeper, with the other. Control shifted in her favor. That is, until the wide span of Luke's hand allowed his thumb to brush the inseam of her jeans. Her gasp only furthered his domination as it allowed his teeth to graze her tongue and lower lip. She fought to gain control the only way she knew how.
"No one can know….ever." His free hand rose, much the same way that the other had descended. It crossed over her breast stopping in the middle of her chest over her rapidly beating heart. He applied the smallest pressure and she obeyed, falling back on propped elbows.
"'Cause I'm an open book to this town." He gave her a wry smile. She would have returned his smile if his hand hadn't chosen that moment to replace his thumb on her inseam and apply the same pressure that his other hand had on her chest. It followed the path of her zipper up to the button that, with a flick of his wrist, came undone.
He bent over her to claim her mouth again. He grabbed the hair at the nape of her neck and used it to further his cause of dominating her mouth completely. Her clouded brain barely registered the unzipping of her jeans, until he released her mouth and returned to standing position. He grabbed for her feet and removed each shoe. Once again, she felt the need to press the issue.
"And we stop as soon as anyone else comes into the picture."
He hooked his fingers into the waistband of her jeans and began to remove them slowly.
"Isn't there already someone else in the picture? Is he not teaching you anything?" Her jeans were off and Luke had tensed, but managed a teasing glint in his eye.
"How did you know that? And don't say I'm predictable." She felt the same tension, but matched the teasing glint. This could easily go beyond the boundaries of their hasty understanding.
"You and Sookie shouldn't talk so loudly in the middle of my diner." He was still running one finger along and under the waistband of her underwear and another over her clothed nipple, maintaining a level of tension and arousal she wasn't aware she was capable of. "You should also never talk to a strange man on your front porch with Babette living next door. You never know who could be watching."
Lorelai gave him a shocked look and then burst out laughing. Luke chuckled shortly.
"He's not technically in the picture. We haven't even been on a date," she justified. "If I decide to go out with him, we'll cool off." Though cooling off was the last thing on her mind as his thumb slipped under the leg of her underwear to brush against her rhythmically. Her hips bucked. She moaned. He chuckled again.
"Don't "if" it away, Lorelai. If he works for you, make it work. I pour your coffee, I fix your porch. I don't date." The lull of his voice seemed to somehow take away any consciousness of her own actions. She had his jeans undone, unzipped and over his hips before she realized it. Her hand disappeared into the fly of his boxers and she finally felt the silk of his skin. He moaned. She chuckled."
"I can't even imagine you dating." She thought back to her late-night internal struggle that led her to this moment and was reassured that he did indeed know what he was doing.
"Good. Don't." She arched her eyebrow and slid his boxers down with his jeans.
"But that's what normally leads people to this point." She grasped him tightly and he threw back his head gasping for air.
"And didn't I say that it had been entirely too long. Plus I don't recall ever being considered normal." There was a silent communication of agreement between them. "You know, I've fixed the door on your medicine cabinet enough to know exactly what is in there. Do you really need to question where I've been?" The glint in his eye was back. Lorelai knew this man well enough to know he hadn't been very many places.
"No." Without skipping a beat, fabric was swept to the side with adept grace and with a swift upward thrust she was completely full. Her head fell back between her shoulder blades, her hair brushing down her elbows to the stool below. She felt the coil that had been building tighten with each thrust.
"Suddenly I don't believe you," she managed to get out between pants.
His hand raised to cup her cheek and she shifted to press a light kiss to his palm as they both continued to play against each other. Friction built. They simultaneously moaned.
"Why?" Thrust. "Because I know what I'm doing?" Withdraw. "Or because you're still wondering how you got in this position?" Swivel. Thrust.
"I like this position." The hand on her cheek traveled magnetically down the slope of her neck to the hollow of her exposed throat to the unexposed valley of her breastplate. Lorelai's back arched to maintain the illusion of the magnetic connection.
"As do I." With a stronger thrust, the words caught in his throat and Luke's eyes squeezed shut.
"I always figured there was some hidden button that, once pushed, would have you talking in full sentences." Eyes opened, met. Luke smirked. Lorelai broke a full smile.
With another deep thrust, her moan caught on a gasp and ended in a grunt that so closely matched her partner's usual repertoire that she would have laughed. Would have, that is, if her inner coil wasn't delightfully coming undone.
"I think I found that button." Was his whispered reply as he quickened the pace to encourage her over the edge. Lorelai had never laughed mid orgasm before, and it only served to heighten the impact of release.
The staccato of her laugh flexed the muscles necessary to milk Luke's release. He tensed. Gasped. "Lore-" Thrust. "-lai."
Their heavy panting bounced off the silent diner's walls as auditory proof of the act that had just been committed. Only those wall were witness to what had just occurred, aside from the hyper-aware participants.
Luke groaned as they separated. Lorelai's body was unable to move after her long-awaited release of tension. She could barely wrap her mind around the fact that she had just had one of the most fulfilling sexual encounters with the least likely of partners.
With shaking hands spent of grace, Luke redressed himself and then her. It seemed Lorelai wouldn't be moving in the near future.
"So…" he was back to the single syllable grunting, it seemed.
"I thought I needed to get it out of my system. Instead, I think, it might have just integrated itself there." The corner of her mouth twitched. He frowned.
"I thought we were clear on that." He stepped back from the frame of her thighs, and would have leaned back on the opposite counter if her leg hadn't caught him with a heel on his ass urging him back. Denim met denim and scraped tension onto over-sensitized flesh. They both groaned.
"Crystal." She grabbed the line of buttons on his flannel and used it as leverage to pull herself into sitting position. "I didn't think that meant that I wasn't allowed to like it." He chuckled and pulled her in for a fierce kiss.
"I didn't say that," he murmured against her lips. "Like it as much as you want." Another kiss. "I did." And once again the kiss turned into a heated battle for control.
They separated and he moved away to grab a rag from underneath the counter. Lorelai hopped off and grabbed her shoes from the floor. She spotted a flat gray piece of cloth on the floor nearly underneath the counter. She grasped it, feeling the scrape of familiar canvas on her finger tips. Walking up behind Luke, she replaced his cap backwards on his head eliciting a small shiver from the man. She let her hand trail down his back then walked to the other side of the counter and slid into a stool, bringing her leg up to replace her shoes on her feet. He began wiping down the counter in front of her. He turned, grabbed the coffee pot and refilled her forgotten cup. He pushed the cup towards her. She took a sip after her shod feet returned to the wooden rung of the stool.
"That crap will kill you," he grunted.
"And yet you keep on refilling the mug. You tryin' to tell me something?" And with that they easily slipped into their assigned roles. Lorelai finished her coffee while Luke cleaned out the coffee pot and turned off the machine.
"Well, now is officially closing time." He nodded his head toward the door, indicating the sign.
"You kickin' me out?" She grinned.
"Isn't Rory waiting at home?" Lorelai's eyes widened. Oh god! She had completely forgotten her daughter. This was not good. Especially since her last talk with Rory involved some sort of teenaged blessing allowing Lorelai a love life. Well now she had one. Well, a sex life, that is. She nearly choked on her coffee at that thought. She and Luke had a freakin' sex life.
"Heh. I didn't think I was that good." He emptied the pastry case into a to go bag, effectively hiding a full grin he didn't want Lorelai to know he was capable of.
"Ease up, Burger Boy. I gotta run." She stood grabbing her jacket and purse.
"Take these." He handed her the pastry bag. "Knowing you two, she'll be so distracted by sugar and fried dough, she'll forget to ask what exactly you were doing." She took the bag.
"Don't you mean who?" She grinned cheekily and walked to the door, unlocking it and pushing it open enough to illicit a jingle. "Nothing changes?" She turned back and caught his eye.