By the time she gets dressed and leaves the house, she's painted on her mask along with her makeup, and the shell around her vulnerable heart has been lacquered shiny and hard once again. Today of all days, there will be no crack in the facade. She will be just fine with everything, and she'll save up her hurts and heartbreaks in a little box, ready to be taken out and examined, one by one, when he's ready to talk. Someday, she knows, he'll open his eyes again and see her in front of him, but every day that he doesn't is a day that pushes her one step closer to breaking.
But instead of breaking, she pulls on a red shirt with her black skirt,and finds a pink ribbon to tie around her hair. She will go all-out, dressing like a walking Valentine for the rest of the world to see, poking fun at her own tendencies to love the festival and ceremony of every single holiday, and as she walks down the street, she carries a small bag of cinnamon hearts with her, handing them out to everyone she walks past.
She takes a deep breath and enters the diner, and her breath still catches at the sight of him behind the counter. Especially after the weekend. Even after all this time. She knows him, inside and out, and every time she watches him work, move, interact, she falls in love with him a little bit more. And this, she knows without a doubt, is harder than breaking up, because she's not allowed to wallow the way she can during a breakup. This is love that grows deeper and hurts more every day, and that's so much worse than only being able to watch him from a distance.
When he kisses her, she turns herself off, just a little bit, so that he won't get any deeper and hurt her any more, and she hates herself for doing it, but she can't seem to stop.
On Tuesday morning, Luke goes about his routine, the same as always. Except that it's not. Or is it? He doesn't know what his routine is anymore. Is it staying at Lorelai's? Or is that the abberation from the normal? Is "normal" staying in his apartment and being able to stumble downstairs, only half awake, and slowly come to his senses while he goes through the daily chores of opening the diner? He hasn't done either on a consistent enough basis lately for it to be "normal."
Nothing is the same anymore, and Luke's not so sure he's comfortable with that. Sure, the change is good, but it's still change, and as much as he loves Lorelai and Rory, and as tickled as he is by April, it's hard to deal with so much at one time. In a life where so little has changed in so long, he's losing the knowledge of where he fits into his own skin, and he hates that feeling.
He pulls the chairs off the tables, cuts the vegetables for the day, brews the coffee, pulls bread from the freezer, unlocks the door. The red and pink of the ice cream shoppe mocks him through the window, and he winces to think of the disaster that was the weekend. How had things gotten so far out of hand that Lorelai was actually doubting whether or not he wanted to marry her anymore? Didn't she realize that she was the one stable thing in his life; the one thing that made him remember that everything was going to be okay? He doesn't know how to be a dad, and he doesn't know how to be a husband, and most men get to figure them out one at a time, not all at once.
When she walks in, he leans over the counter to give her a kiss, hoping to convey through it that everything is going to be okay--that he loves her more than she knows, and that he needs her. That he can't be who he's supposed to be without her beside him.
On Tuesday morning, Logan wakes up in a strange hotel, in a cold, sterile bed in a lavish suite that isn't home. Home is their apartment, which has only become a home since she moved in. He wants to call Rory as soon as he wakes up, but the stupid Atlantic is in between them, putting five hours' difference in their way. She won't appreciate a wake-up call at 2:30 a.m., so he flips open his laptop andwrites her an email instead--an email that can in no way make up for the way he left and the words they didn't say, but, he hopes, one that will reassure her on some level. Happy Valentine's Day... I miss you... I love you... We'll talk... It's going to be okay... I hate being here without you... All words, and they both know how insufficient words can be.
For two people who have built their lives and are planning their futures around the written word in some form or another, they are certainly good at not saying what they really want to say. When you're trying to live up to the words of the greats, though, you're confronted with the inadequacy of your own, and it becomes easier not to say anything at all.
He knew all along that he was just buying time. He knew that he would end up in London before the weekend was over, and he knows that he's not finished paying for this decision. Right now, though, he doesn't care. He misses her, andthey're still making up for lost time, rebuilding trust, reestablishing the parameters of "us." That's something that he doesn't want to walk away from, and he wishes there was some way to tell her exactly how much he hates the fact that his father took him away. Hates his father for it.
He'll phone her later, when he's on a lunch break, tugging at the tie around his neck, walking as many blocks away from the office as he can get in a half an hour. She'll probably be in class, though, and he'll have to leave a message, and they'll go for most of the day playing phone tag before they finally connect, late at night, when he should really be sleeping, but he won't be. He'll be talking to her instead, but he'll have to hang up far too soon, because even though she'll just be winding down from the evening, he'll be exhausted, and he'll be falling asleep on the line before their conversation is half over.
So he dresses and drinks his coffee in silence, because there's no one to talk to except for his father, and he'll be damned if he's going to say one more word than necessary to him. He sends the email, places an order, leaves a terse note for his father, and is out of the hotel an hour before he needs to be. He'll walk to the office--he needs the fresh air.
On Tuesday morning, Rory wakes up alone, wearing his t-shirt,in apartment that still only feels like home when he's there. Without him, it's empty, even though, between the two of them, they have enough stuff to fill a bigger place. She makes her coffee, eats her breakfast while she reads the paper with no fights. She can finish an article in peace, but the price for that luxury is far too high. She tries not to think too hard about the fact that she's alone, though, because she knows that he wants to be there, and besides, she has class and the paper to worry about, so having fewer distractions is a good thing. Right?
She phones her mother while her bagel toasts, and puts on a cheery voice. "I love you, Mom! Happy Valentine's Day." Tells her mother to convince Luke to color some whipped cream red and put it on top of her coffee. Compares notes and realizes that she truly is her mother's daughter--that they're both decked out in every red or pink piece of clothing, including earrings and hair ribbons, that they can find. "That's the least he can do for the woman he loves, isn't it?" Sends a Happy Valentine's Day to Luke, via her mom, who's being allowed (as a special Valentine's gift) to talk on her phone in the diner.
"But only to wish Rory a Happy Valentine's Day," she hears Luke say grumpily.
They talk for a few more minutes, and then Rory has to get to class, and Lorelai has to get to the inn, so they say their goodbyes, promising to talk more later, leaving unspoken everything that they want--need--to say about the weekend. That's best saved for coffee at Weston's, but who knows how soon they'll be able to do that. Of course, if Logan keeps being shipped to London, Rory may be able to make time sooner than she had thought.
There are flowers outside the door when she leaves for class, and she knows, despite her emotions that try to tell her otherwise, that it wasn't his idea to miss theirValentine's Day together, and it's a sweet gesture. He has even, somehow, managed to tuck a child's Winnie-the-Pooh valentine inside, with a picture of Winnie holding a honey-pot, a swarm of bees surrounding his head. "Bee mine," it says, and underneath, Logan has written, "Thanks for deciding to 'bee' mine again, Ace." It must have taken some sort of effort (and money) to get that from London to New Haven with the flowers, but she's glad he did it.
And the day goes on in its pink and red glory, and they remind themselves constantly throughout the day that they are not among the pitiable--they aren't the ones for whom Valentine's Day is a day to be dreaded above all others. They're part of that lucky cross-section of society that has someone to celebrate the day with. They're part of "a couple," and they don't need to be lonely.
And yet, they each go about their days fighting loneliness and doubt, wishing that they could just wrap their arms around each other and make it all disappear. Wishing that a weekend getaway could truly be a getaway, and that real life would just butt out and quit intruding on the possibility of romance.
They talk, they email, they say "I love you" more than once, but on Tuesday night, each one goes to bed alone. Lorelai hugs Luke's pillow close, finally letting the facade crack (it's been such an effort today that her face hurts), and she begins to cry because he, once again, decided to sleep in the apartment. Luke crawls into his bed earlier than usual and can't sleep, so he reaches for the remote that always lives on the bedside table on her side of the bed and turns on the TV, keeping the volume down low, letting the lights and the droning noise lull him into a restless sleep. Logan reluctantly hangs up the phone, after finally getting through to Rory after trying six times throughout the day, and crawls into bed, exhausted. The plane leaves early the next morning, and it would almost be better to stay up than to only get the four hours of sleep that he's going to get, but he's suddenly very, very tired, and he doesn't think he can keep his eyes open any longer. Rory changes into his t-shirt and a pair of his boxers as soon as she gets home, goes over some pieces for the News, talks to Logan, reads a textbook, and remembers none of what she puts in her head. It's just too quiet without him, so she finally leaves the apartment, gets in her car (with pink ribbons still in her hair, in her pyjamas), and drives around, going nowhere, talking as if he's sitting beside her,until the black sky begins to fade to grey and there's no time to sleep anymore--by now she's just going home to shower and change.
On Tuesday night, they each sleep alone, and they wait and hope that Wednesday will be different.