"So… what do you think" he says, holding up an open, small black velvet box to her inspection. "Will she like it?"

"I have a feeling that she'll love it."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I do."

They sit in silence in the kitchen of the Gilmore house, sharing this secret moment together, both with different smiles on their faces, but thinking the same thing… finally.

"Rory?"

"Yeah?"

"Is this okay?... I mean, I don't think I ever asked you about this….but it matters to me and to your mom what you think about this whole thing."

"Luke, I'm not so much in the picture any more. I only have this summer and next at home, and after that, who knows where I'll end up."

"I know that, but I also know that you and your mother are freakishly connected, and she's going to want to know what you think, so I want to make sure that you're okay."

"Honestly?"

"Of course" he says getting a bit nervous.

"I don't think that I've ever really had the chance to tell you how much you have meant to me all these years. You've always been there for me and mom, and I can't say that about most people. Of all the people she's seen, I don't think that I've ever seen her as happy as when she's with you, and that means the world to me. You two are so perfect for each other, and have been for a long time, but you were too stubborn to tell her, and she was too stubborn to admit it. Now that you're together, I know that it's meant to be. As stupid as this sounds, I couldn't really see anyone as my dad but you, Luke."

"Rory…"

"No… it's true. I'm not sad about it or wishing that he was there more often, I'm just recognizing who the real family is. That, my friend, includes you, unofficially and soon to be officially." she says, shaking her finger in his direction and smiling.

"So you're good."

"I'm fabulous."

He laughs, and stands up from the kitchen table. Rory makes her way over to him and puts her arms around his middle, hugging him tight. He awkwardly returns the gesture, putting his arms loosely around her, but still smiling while doing so.

"So… when are you going to do it?"

"I'm thinking tomorrow night, after she gets back from the weekly dinner."

"Oooh! I'll stay by the phone!"

"Actually, why don't you come home for this weekend. That way you girls can get all of your giggling and screaming out of the way in person."

"I think I can manage that."

"Good…well…I better get back to the diner then."

"All right, see you later Luke!"

He waves as he goes out the back door onto the porch, clutching the small black box in his hand.

THE NEXT NIGHT (FRIDAY)

"ARRRRGGG… that woman makes me soooo mad!"

"Mom, calm down, you'll be fine."

"Well, I started coming back to these things to make an effort, and she's obviously not picking up on that idea."

"Just let it go."

"Easy for you to say. She only has nice things to say to you, you're the perfect one. Me on the other hand, I'm her untenderized meat."

"What?"

"You know, they've got those little hammers with the spikes… for the meat… and you pound…" she says, making a pounding motion on the steering wheel of the jeep.

"Umm.."

"I was watching Sookie cook today."

"And she was beating the meat?"

"Dirty"

"Mom!"

"Well, I need something to brighten up my evening…and a dirty certainly clears part of the Emily Gilmore landfill that currently resides in my brain."

"Well, I'm glad."

"I wonder what Luke's doing here." Lorelai says, pulling the jeep up their driveway, parking it and getting out of the car.

"Hey!" he says, walking up to her, giving a quick peck on the lips.

"What's up?" she says with curiousity.

"Hey Luke!"

"Oh, hey Rory! Do you mind if I steal your mom for a bit?"

"Sure, take her. Be careful though, cause she's feeling like untenderized meat."

"Ummm… okay…" he says, lowering his brow and turning to Lorelai. "Do I want to know what she means by that?"

"Emily"

"Ah, I see."

"So what are you doing here? Why are you stealing me?"

"Because I want to show you something, come on."

He grabs her hand in his, and they walk silently to the small lake in town, where he has a blanket laid out on the grass, and two pillows side by side.

"I didn't know that you were into outdoor sex!"

"Lorelai." he says in an annoyed tone.

"What, you bring me out here and I see a blanket and two pillows, and it's the middle of the night… I don't know."

"Come on, let's lay down."

As they lay down, they look up into the clear night sky, filled with thousands of stars.

"Pretty."

"Yeah, it's gorgeous here on a clear night."

"I don't think that I've ever really looked up at the stars on a night like this…is this what you wanted to show me?"

"Well, yeah… see, you have snow. You and snow have always gotten along, well save for this year, when you thought that it was trying to severely screw you over."

"You fixed that though…" she interjects quickly.

"yeah, well…anyways…my snow is stars. Everything that is good has happened on a clear night like tonight for me. The first time I actually let myself realize that my dad would have been proud of what I've done was when I was staring up at this crazy sky. So many other things…. and if you remember, when Liz and TJ got married and we had our first dance, it was on a night like this."

"Ah, the date that I didn't want to admit was a date, but most definitely was a date."

"Uh… sure, that."

"What else?"

"What do you mean?"

"What else has happened?"

As he lays beside her, he silently pulls out the box, opening it. He takes a deep breath, and says, "This…" and puts the box in her view, holding it above her.

"Luke?"

"Yeah?"

"Is that what I think it is?"

"Well, that depends… what do you think that is?"

"A big shiny diamond that's all for me…"

"In that case, yes…well, you have to answer some questions before you can have it though." he smiles, sitting up beside her, and turning to face her.

Sitting up, she slams her fists into the ground. "Damn it… I've always sucked at tests."

"I'm hoping that you pass this with flying colors."

"So am I."

"Lorelai, you know that I love you, right?"

"I'm pretty aware of that sentiment, yes."

"And you know that I would do anything for you in a heartbeat, right?"

"Also aware, yes."

"Well, I want you to know that I plan on loving you and being there for you for the rest of my life, and I really hope that you feel the same way…" letting out a shaky breath he pauses, and takes the ring out of its case. "Lorelai Gilmore, will you marry me?"

"Oh my God yes!" she says, with a tear sliding down her cheek.

He places the ring on her finger, and pulls her to him for a lingering kiss.

"Luke, I love you so much"

"I know Lorelai, I know…"

She sits herself up again, looking at her newly decorated left hand. "Oh my gosh! I have to tell Rory! Can we go tell Rory?"

"That was the plan!" he said, standing up, and putting his arms out to help her up.

"She knew about this!"

"Of course she did, that's why she's home this weekend. I wanted to make sure that the ring was sufficient, and I knew that you guys would want to scream together for a little while."

"You are the perfect man, you realize this, don't you?" she says sincerely, while standing up to meet his lips with her own.

"Well, I try."

After rolling up the blanket and pillows, the two walk arm in arm back to the house, where an impatient Rory is waiting on the porch.

"MOM?" She says, putting her book down, standing up quickly.

"Uh huh!" she shouts, waving her left hand, and starting to run towards her daughter.

"AHHHHHHHH!"

"AHHHHHHHH!"

The two met in the yard, hugging and jumping. Calming only for a minute while Rory examined the ring on her mother's finger.

"What the hell is going on out here?" came the hoarse shout from Babette.

"ummm…." Lorelai stops, looking to Luke for permission to tell her, which was just as good as screaming it all out to Star's Hallow.

Luke nods, casually throwing his arms in front of himself to let her continue.

"I'm ENGAGED!"

"What! Oh my God… Morey! Get out here!" Babette screams, running down to meet the girls. "Let me see the ring doll!"

Lorelai extends her hand to show Babette the new ring. "Wow, who knew that Luke had such taste!"

Standing at his truck, he casts a glance downward, blushing a bit at the compliment.

"Oh my Gosh, I have to call Sookie!"

The night went on, and after a lot of screaming, jumping, and hand waving, all were exhausted. Promised by Babette, the whole town would know by the time Lorelai got into the diner for her morning dose of Java.

As the week rolled by, everyone got wind of the Luke/Lorelai engagement, and the whole town had congratulated both of them, with the women practically pulling her arm out of the socket, and the men, being manly, offering Luke a hard pat on the back. All was well, and all were informed. Well…the parents weren't informed, but that was a completely different story. The plan was to invite them to Stars Hallow sometime soon to announce the engagement, however the date of this announcement wasn't something that Lorelai was particularly worried about. She didn't want anyone to spoil her fun, and Emily Gilmore's reaction to her marrying the "dinerman" was certainly going to be enough to spoil anything.