Author's Notes: I am so overwhelmed by the response to my little ficlits. You wouldn't believe how great it makes me feel that people seemed to have appreciated them! Joey's Angel asked for another's a final chapter... :)

"Tonight I Wanna Cry;" Be Here; Keith Urban; 2004.

No More Candlelight: To Hold a Broken Heart

Alone in this house again tonight…I got the TV on, the sound turned down and a bottle of wine…There's pictures of you and I on the walls around me…The way that it was and could have been surrounds me…I'll never get over you walkin' away…

I've never been the kind to ever let my feelings show…And I thought that bein' strong meant never losin' your self-control…But I'm just drunk enough to let go of my pain…To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain…From my eyes…Tonight I wanna cry…

Would it help if I turned a sad song on… "All by Myself" would sure hit me hard now that you're gone…Or maybe unfold some old yellow lost love letters…It's gonna hurt bad before it gets better…But I'll never get over you by hidin' this way…

I've never been the kind to ever let my feelings show…And I thought that bein' strong meant never losin' your self-control…But I'm just drunk enough to let go of my pain…To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain…From my eyes…Tonight I wanna cry…

I've never been the kind to ever let my feelings show…And I thought that bein' strong meant never losin' your self-control…But I'm just drunk enough to let go of my pain…To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain…From my eyes…Tonight I wanna cry…

"Umm," the out-of-towner, gestured for Lane. "I'm sorry, but I really need some new fries, these ones are cold and a little soggy. And while your at it, could I get some more coffee?"

Lane looked hesitantly over to where Luke was standing behind the counter.

"Miss? Did you hear me?" the man asked a little more loudly.

"Shh," Lane replied impulsively. "I heard you, but…"

Suddenly Luke stormed over, his eyes dark and cold as he roughly brought the man to his feet and shoved him out the door. He looked around menacingly.

"How's everyone else's fries?" Luke growled to the few remaining customers in his diner.

Frightened and startled patrons hurriedly assured the angry diner owner that their food was perfect. And when Luke stomped back behind the counter, many of them sighed quietly in relief.

"Luke?" Lane approached her boss hesitantly.

Luke turned to the petite girl, growling under his breath.

Just then, a smartly dressed woman walked through the door. "Oh good, you are open. I need coffee," she sighed.

"That's it," Luke growled. "We're closed, everybody out."

The newest customer opened her eyes wide, surprised at the diner owner's growl.

"You heard me, all of you, out!"

Lane rushed to help the startled customers up and out the door and the smartly dressed woman was caught up in the wave of fleeing diners. It only took moments for the diner to empty, the customers anxious to leave and avoid Luke and his irrational moods.

When everyone, including Lane and Cesar were gone, Luke locked the door and stomped upstairs to his apartment. Once he reached the door with its stenciled lettering, he opened it violently and slammed it shut with such force, that the glass rattled in its frame.

Without pausing, Luke headed over to the refrigerator and pulled out a dark bottle of beer. Beverage in hand, he stomped over to a chair and dropped into it. Quietly, he tipped back the dark beer, a brooding expression marring his handsome features. As he looked around his empty apartment, his eye caught at everything that reminded him of Lorelai. It seemed that everywhere he looked, painful memories lay scattered about the room.

Suddenly he rose, and with a grim determination, Luke began looking around for an empty cardboard box, finally finding one in his closet.

With a growl, he prowled the small confines of his apartment, gathering up things that Lorelai had left there; a pair of black high heels; a loose earring, a coffee mug. Once that was done, Luke started on the other things that reminded him of her. He ripped down the shelf that he had built for her in the bathroom, tossing her cinnamon toothpaste in the box. He moved the television from his bedroom and set it outside his door. He tossed the tie that he had worn to his sister's wedding in the box alongside a photo strip that Lorelai had somehow convinced him to take in a booth somewhere.

Suddenly in his wild orbit, he fetched up against a wooden chair. Hanging from the back, was the blue flannel shirt that Lorelai had claimed as her own. Luke reached out a trembling hand and lifted the shirt free. And then, unexpectedly, he found himself crying, something he hadn't done since his father had died so long ago.

He sat down heavily in the chair, the blue flannel still in his hands. With a sense of quiet despair, he realized that Lorelai's sweet and subtle scent still clung to the fabric of the shirt. He wrung the flannel in his hands, trying in vain to stop the tears that now fell inexorably from his eyes.

"Oh God," he whispered into the emptiness of his apartment. "Oh God."

He lay the shirt over his lap and brought his hands to his face. "Oh God, Lorelai," he gasped.

He had never thought that someone could hurt so much and keep breathing. It felt like he should be dead. It felt like somehow, he was missing the other half of his soul, and that surely should have killed him he thought.

"That's what happens isn't it?" He asked the still air. "When your heart stops, shouldn't you die?"

Suddenly the phone rang. Luke let it ring until the answering machine picked up.

"This is Luke Danes, leave a message," he heard his own voice announce on the tape.

"Umm, Luke?" Came a hesitant voice over the phone line. "It's Rory. Mom doesn't know that I'm calling, so don't think that she asked me to do this, okay? It's just, I don't know what else to do." Rory's voice paused as she took a deep breath. "I'm calling because Mom's pretty bad. I know that she doesn't want you to know that. She doesn't want to be that kind of girl with her ex-boyfriend. She doesn't want you to worry. But Luke," Rory's voice sounded hesitant and concerned, "I'm worried. I'm worried, because Mom's never been like this before and I don't know what to do. I mean, we're talking complete Ophelia here," Rory sighed. "I'm sorry, I can't believe I just said that. I just don't know what to do, Luke." Lorelai's daughter took another deep breath.

"She sent me away, Luke. She wouldn't let me stay. She said that Yale was way more important than her. So, well, what else could I do?" Rory took another hesitant pause, her voice carrying a heavy burden of guilt. "I know it's a lot to ask, but, could you go check on her. Please. You guys were friends long before you were…well you know. Please Luke, I know it's a big favor to ask right now, but just check on her for me, okay? I need you to check on her. I need to know that's she's okay, that I didn't just abandon my Mom." Rory's voice practically drowned in the sounds of her guilt and concern.

"Umm, okay. Bye," Rory's voice paused. "Oh, and Luke," Rory's sad voice continued. "I'm real sorry about what happened with my Grandma and my Dad and all that. I really wanted you and Mom to be happy. You seemed really happy. I hope you're okay."

Luke listened quietly as the machine finally clicked off, then got up and grabbed his coat…

"Lorelai?" Luke called as he opened the front door of her house when no one answered. "Lorelai, where are you? Lorelai?"

Luke started to search the house, growing more and more concerned when his efforts turned up no sign of her. He started to grow desperate when he couldn't find her in her bedroom, or the living room, or when even Rory's room turned up empty.

With a sinking feeling lodged in his gut, Luke made his way outside. He saw Lorelai's Jeep parked in it's usual spot in the driveway, it's lights on. He was making his way over to the vehicle, with the intention of turning the lights off, when he noticed the garage door. It hung open, and if Luke listened hard enough he thought he could hear something inside.

"Lorelai?" He called into the darkness, his stomach a knot of concern and sadness. "Lorelai, are you in there?"

He heard a slight sound and stepped into the dimly lit interior, letting his eyes adjust. With a sense of guilt and sadness, he realized that Lorelai had been right, the garage was very empty now that his boat no longer filled it.

He saw a slender, dim shape in the darkness.

"Lorelai?" He approached her slowly and carefully.

She sat, her knees drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them, and her head down.

"Lorelai? Baby?"

She looked up suddenly, her expression horrified as she realized that Luke was really there. "Oh God. I'm so sorry. You shouldn't have to be here." She gasped. "Oh God, Rory called you didn't she. I told her that she couldn't do that. I told her…"

"Shh, Lorelai, it's all right," Luke interrupted her.

"No, no it's not. You shouldn't have to… you shouldn't…I meant it when I said I didn't want to be that girl. I respect your decision, I do."

"Shh," he soothed as he stepped forward and gathered her up in his arms, lifting her from the ground. She wrapped her arms around him automatically, holding on as he started to carry her out of the garage.

"Baby, you're freezing," Luke said in concern. "How long have you been out here?"

"I don't know. I don't remember," Lorelai answered through chattering teeth as her body started to realize just how cold it was now that Luke's warm arms were around her.

He carried her inside the house and up the stairs. When he got to her bedroom, he lay her gently on the bed. Carefully then, he pulled the blankets up around her, tucking her in.

"I should go make you something hot to drink; some coffee or something."

Lorelai smiled slightly, her eyes wistful and haunted by an unspoken longing. And as she lay there, looking lost and broken, Luke felt his own heart aching in his chest. It moved him to sit down on the bed and start to remove his green coat and his worn boots.

Lorelai watched him, questions in her eyes.

Luke set the coat and boots aside. Then he removed his treasured blue baseball cap, the one that Lorelai herself had given him, and placed in on top of his other things. He slipped under the blankets with Lorelai. Tenderly, he pulled her chilled body to him, wrapping her up in his arms and sharing his warmth with her. She snuggled against him, her face pressed lightly against his chest.


"Shh," he said gently. "Sleep."

"Luke, you don't need to do this. I'll be fine," Lorelai said, her voice starting to sound a little drowsy.

"I know," he murmured.

He pulled her a little closer and gently began to rub some warmth back into her.

"I miss the boat," she said quietly after several minutes had passed.

"I think the boat may miss you. But…" Luke murmured, trailing off, uncertain.

"I…I understand," she said softly after several more moments of silence passed.

"I'm sorry," he replied.

"It's okay."

"Sleep now," he urged her softly, kissing her lightly on the brow.

As they started to drift off to sleep, wrapped in the comfort of each other, Lorelai murmured, "Luke?"

"Mmm?" he replied drowsily.

"Thank you."

He kissed her lightly on the brow in answer and held her gently through the night…

Fin(really this time :)