title: Crash Like Thunder
author: keren ziv
spoilers: "A House Is Not a Home"
summary: A wedding and a child (order optional). Written for the Luke/Lorelai ficathon for maybedarkpink.
Emily had begun sending letters in July. Lorelai figured that it was pretty inventive of her mother, but she still wouldn't read them. The first had been a surprise -- a letter from Emily Gilmore indicated an important notice. Her mother had sent them out on very few occasions to Lorelai: once when her mother's father died, another when a second cousin had married into the British Royal Family (a very distant Duke).
Lorelai had torn it open, fingers trembling in a way that made the thin stationary paper shiver with ripples. It had been handwritten in her mother's distinguished script, her address placed neatly, perfectly above the salutation.
"Lorelai -- " it had begun, and Lorelai had thrown it on the hall table. Her mother had started those notes prior with a simple but respectful greeting, never just using her name. For her mother, intimacy was not used with deaths and weddings. Curiosity had gotten the better of Lorelai then, but instead of picking up the letter, she had screamed Luke's name.
"What?" he'd called from the bathroom. "I'm painting in here, Lorelai."
"I realize that." Snatching the letter and envelope back up, Lorelai had crossed the distance from the front hall to the downstairs bath, a feat that took no more than two seconds. She paused just beyond the doorframe and angled her neck so that she could peek into the room. The shower curtain was missing, and the toilet was covered in clear plastic. "What if I have to go pee?"
"Use the upstairs bathroom," Luke said. "Lorelai, don't you think that you could have walked over here first, then begun a conversation with me?"
Two months later and she could have blamed the pregnancy and fear of fumes hurting the baby. However, she wasn't expecting yet (or even thinking of babies), and Lorelai had only shrugged in the doorway, "It smells funny in here. I don't want that in my hair."
Luke sighed. "What is it?"
"My mother wrote me. Will you read the letter?"
She knew that Luke loved her, but she also knew that there were times when she truly exasperated him. Lorelai suspected that this was a time as such. Luke carefully wiped his dripping brush on the edges of the paint can, then lay it smartly over the top.
"What do you mean, read the letter? You want me to read your mail to you?"
"Not to me exactly," explained Lorelai in a helpful manner. "I would just like you to read it and then gimme the gist of the situation. Sort of like defcon levels. I don't want to know why they're suddenly a different color, but I would like to know if they're orange or something."
"Is the letter addressed to me?"
"No. It's addressed to Mrs. Lorelai Danes."
She caught his eye. It had been just over a month, but she and Luke still shared the same giddy, secret smile whenever things like that occurred. There was something addictive in the pride of marriage that they could not stray from. Her eyes smiled more than her mouth when they shared these looks, and she would sometimes blush with a happiness that she hadn't tasted before.
Luke cleared his throat, his natural shyness interrupting the moment in a way that didn't feel like a disturbance. Lorelai felt nearly perfect then. Mrs. Lorelai Danes.
(And her mother would have said -- oh, Lorelai. Women get married every day. To which Lorelai would have replied, yes, but how many of them are me?)
"Do you see my problem here?" he asked. "I am not Mrs. Lorelai Danes."
She decided to ignore the problem with him being a missus when she was a perfectly good one standing before him in the doorway. There was only so must distraction that Luke would take from her.
"No, but you are Mr. Lorelai Danes. And as such a personage, it would behoove you to read your wife's mail and see if she's got to duct tape the windows or not."
"Gimme the letter," sigh Luke. Opening it up, he pursued it for several moments.
Lorelai tapped her foot five times in a row before raising her eyebrows and stepping into Luke's personal space. Eyes on him and not anywhere near the paper, she scanned his face briefly in inquisition.
"Blah blah blah, what's best for Rory, blah blah blah, you don't know what's good for the family ... oh, this is a good one. She's yelling at you for eloping. Says it throws a black mark on the family name."
"What does she say about you?" Lorelai was suddenly anxious. She dipped her head into the hollow of his neck and inhaled.
"Not anything bad," Luke said. She exhaled. "Just called me a good-for-nothing scoundrel for stealing you away. Oh, this is ripe." And he laughed a little bit before continuing. "She's angry about being invited to the reception but not the ceremony."
"I thought she just went through the eloping part of the letter," Lorelai said. Only Maisy and Buddy and Sookie and her family -- Jackson, Davy, and brand new Isabelle -- had been at the tiny little courthouse where she and Luke were married. "And she didn't even come to the reception. Dad and Rory showed up like thieves in the night, unescorted by Mrs. Emily Gilmore."
"This is your mother, Lorelai, not mine. Mine made more sense." He squinted. "And Emily has tiny handwriting! Ah, now she's berating you for 'successfully avoiding your only blood relatives in attendance all evening.'"
"In case you were too ill-bred to figure that out, it was a jab at you again."
"Caught that, thanks." Luke laced his words with the slightest hint of sarcasm. Lorelai wrinkled her nose and showed him the tip of her tongue between her lips. "Here, that's all that she's said. Why don't you read the letter yourself?"
Lorelai shoved the paper away as if it were a fruit cocktail.
"Me? Read the letter? No thank you! I will not maintain a relationship, even by post, with my mother."
"You play adamant very well, Lorelai, but I just read the letter to you."
"No, you recapped it. You were like Sars or Uncle Bob. I did not actually subject myself to the horror that is contact with Emily Gilmore. You did it for me. For that, I am grateful. You want I should kiss you?"
He dipped down for a kiss, and she marveled at how well their bodies matched together. It was if there were a Luke mold and a Lorelai mold that had both been made complementary to the other. They were fitted like pieces of a puzzle.
"Love you," she said.
For Lorelai, hearing the mushy from Luke generally came with a complimentary feeling of triumph. She had gotten through to Luke Danes -- had not only made him love her but had somehow stolen the words from him. Was it that she would have never loved him if he had not loved her first? Questions like that seemed almost irrelevant. Hadn't Luke built her a chuppah for her marriage to another man when he had wasting away with his love for her?
Of course, Luke wasn't exactly a waster-away, and Lorelai hadn't really loved Max, so there was that pesty moot point thing popping right back up.
She looked around at the house with a proprietress's pride that she had not felt since her first year as a homeowner when she and Rory had moved into the house that was theirs for a decade. Then too she had seen how much work was needed to make the comforts of a real home apparent, but they had been hidden behind creaky stairs and broken window-latches.
Here, the stairs weren't creaky (though there was several holes in the floor, some newer than others), and the windows had already been attacked by a silicon-wielding Luke. One of the nicer things about being married to him was that she needn't flutter her eyelashes so much as she'd had to get things repaired.
Of course, there was the trade-off of sex for painted walls that Luke seemed quite fond of.
"When are you gonna finish this house all up and pretty?"
Her smile was there to tell Luke that she was joking -- inviting one of those sexy rants that she raved about (rants, she had learned, were a very successful form of foreplay). Luke took the bait with an eye roll and returning smile hidden behind stubble and a put-upon air.
"How long have we owned this house?"
"Hmm, let me see," Lorelai said teasingly. "Since a week before our marriage."
That inevitable moment of pride was there before Luke continued to build his rant. Marriage and homeownership! They were an accomplished couple.
"And when did we get married?"
"June second, baby!"
The image of her wedding in the tiny courthouse, standing so close to Luke that she felt any bediamondment other than the band that had been Luke's mothers would have ruined her, flashed momentarily before her eyes. The contents of her mother's letter replayed, and she wondered if it had been as terrible as Emily seemed to think. A tiny little elopement never hurt anybody -- but Emily was feeling the pain of a snub.
She shook the thought out of her head. It had been a wonderful day; having her mother there would have been too stressful, especially as she hadn't wanted her there.
"Right," said Luke, drawing her back to the conversation at hand. "Now, what's today's date?"
"God, I wouldn't know the answer if I had a calendar to guide me."
"Today is July twelfth."
"The twelfth of July!" triumphed Lorelai. "That's the date. Two thousand five is the year."
"Now," said Luke, ignoring her addition to the conversation, "we've had this house for less than two months. I've repaired the holes in the living room floor --"
"Who knew that couch sex would lead to holes number two and three?" came Lorelai's rhetorical interjection. "I guess hole number three should have been a gimme. I mean, fool me once and all that."
"--and I'm almost finished painting the bathroom, after which I will remove this disgusting linoleum and tile it. I do this between the diner, sleeping, eating, showering --"
"--making passionate love to your really hot wife--"
"--and now, apparently, reading you your correspondence."
"I'm just that sexy in your flannel shirts, huh?"
"I'm thinking of buying checkered," Luke said dryly.
"God, no! Not the checkered shirt! What's next, a ten gallon hat and a full beard?"
She wondered for a moment on how Emily would have taken the conversation -- filled with wild ramblings and sexy banter. It was an inappropriate conversation if others were in the room, and Lorelai would have said it had there been a hundred guests standing round her and listening eagerly. Emily would have sighed and begged Lorelai to not be an exhibitionist for just one moment.
"Who ever heard of growing a beard in the middle of July?"
"Who ever heard of a man so desperate to desexify his wife that he would buy checkered shirts?" Lorelai asked. "I gotta tell ya, though, I look damn good in gingham."
"Removing of the sexy. Or removing of the clothes. I'll show you the second definition if you want. Got a powerpoint and everything."
"Not the in bathroom! I just painted in here."
"I was speaking of that place upstairs. You know. The one with its own bathroom, a fireplace, and, oh, yeah -- a bed."
Luke led the way.
When Lorelai had been four, she and an older child had engineered to remove the training wheels on her small, pink bicycle by themselves (how they had done it remained a mystery even to the murky mud of Lorelai's own memories). Taking it poolside where they distinguished a slight incline that was not evident on any later viewings, she had climbed atop the bike and pedaled.
Instead of flying swiftly like a bird, as the older child had assured her she would do, Lorelai had gone head first into a table, fallen off of her bike onto her arm in such as way as to break it, and slipped into the pool, getting herself absolutely drenched.
The smashing into the table was rather fun, the arm didn't hurt yet, and, if Lorelai had landed outside of the wading area, she had learned to swim the summer before. However, the bicycle was in shambles and the helmet that her mother had purchased for her last week was dented from where she'd landed on it. She burst into tears and noticed that it was best not to move her left arm.
The older neighborhood child had by this time rushed home by way of the side gate. How many minutes Lorelai had sat in the pool crying was uncertain, but Richard, who had found her, swore that it couldn't have been more than five. He was just on his way to answer the ringing telephone (which turned out to be a call from the mother of the older child, warning the Gilmores that their daughter had possibly drowned, and could they please send her own daughter's bicycle up the street once they had the chance?) when he heard Lorelai's choked sobs.
A sopping Lorelai was pulled out of the pool by her father in swift fashion. He said nothing, just gathered her into his arms, and Lorelai screamed.
"What's the matter?" Richard had asked.
Less than five seconds after her father had unwittingly jarred her arm, her mother came rushing out of the house. "A coincidence," Emily would say when relating the story later. "I was looking for Richard, but I didn't hear Lorelai until she squealed."
The insult disguised in there -- squealing was done by barnyard animals and not by girls -- was hidden from perhaps Emily herself, but every time the story was related (and in almost the exact same words), Lorelai cringed. She had behaved like a brutish little heathen, not a young lady.
Richard had driven them to the hospital; Lorelai rode, for the first and last time in her life, on the lap of her mother. Her mother had rubbed circles on the small of Lorelai's back, and she'd sobbed long after the pain had veiled itself in stillness. She had felt slightly guilty for dripping over the interior of the car and ruining her new helmet, but she wasn't going to relinquish the feel of her mother's hair in her face until she had to.
She had felt safe.