This is the final chapter! Well, this has been quite a ride. I want to thank all of your for your support throughout the entire process. Please know that I loved all of your reviews and I hope you will be exicted about the next big story I have coming up.
Oh and I hope you've realized by now where the title of the fic is from. The titles of the chapters are from a song I mention in this chapter that very much reminds me of Luke and Lorelai.
Chapter 21: I'm Still Loving You
It's twilight now in Stars Hollow. The sky has turned from the brilliant blue of the day to the pale reds and pinks and light purples of the evening. The air is still breezy and cool, but she has yet to make up her mind to go inside and get a jacket. As she looks up at the sky through the top of the chuppah, she can almost imagine that the first stars are glittering down at her. And she smiles to herself, leaning back against the leg of the chuppah, closing her eyes. The white dress covering her as a blanket, wrapping her in her memories, warming her against the cool of air.
"Mom!" she hears Lucy call from the porch and she glances over there, startled. Lucy, Rory and Loren are relaxed on the porch swing, a blanket covering them as they cuddle together. Seeing that she's caught her mother's attention, Lucy points to her right. Lorelai looks over, down the driveway and sees three figures walking towards the house and her breath catches in her throat.
"It's the darkest hour," she mutters and picks up the dress from off her, placing it back in the box. Pressing her hands into the ground, she slowly stands up with a groan, having been sitting on the ground for hours. She brushes her clothes off and glances up to see three approach.
April's the only one to take her eyes off of Lorelai as she glances over at the girls on the porch and waves. "April!" Loren exclaims, running down the steps. The two girls hug having not seen each other in awhile. Luke stops, watching his daughters's excitement. He glances over at Lorelai, who is also eyeing the girls warily.
"Hey Lorelai," April says, as she lets go over her sister. Hesitating only a moment, she walks over to Lorelai, whose lips curve into a soft smile.
"It's nice to see you again there April," Lorelai responds. April grins and the throws her arms around a surprised Lorelai, who hugs back with a little uncertainty.
"Thanks for the book," April whispers in Lorelai's ear before she lets go. Lorelai winks, dropping her arms back to her sides.
"I thought you might be wanting a new copy."
"Well Loren ate the 8th page of my old one."
"Today?" April giggles.
"No, when she was one," April replies.
"I'm just saying, you Danes's eat some pretty weird things. Salad. Vegetables. Anything that Adkins would approve of," Lorelai jokes.
"And Nicolas?" April asks, glancing over her shoulder at her brother. Lorelai's smile disappears and her lips tighten. She looks over at her son, her heart beating rapidly as she worries about what's going on in his head. Lorelai glances back at April and fakes a soft smile.
"I'm glad you came to visit," Lorelai says lightly patting April on the shoulder as she walks over to Nicolas, folding her arms over her chest. She stares up at her son, suddenly realizing for the first time that he's taller than her. Glancing between him and Luke, she notices the similarities, more than height and their noses, but the way they're built, the way they stand. She doesn't know why it wasn't obvious to everyone the moment they met that the two were father and son, maybe they knew and just didn't want to see it. Her chin trembles as tears form in her eyes, just waiting for a word or two from her son, like the verdict was about to come down in her murder trial.
"Mom, I wish… I wish I could be mad at you. I wish I could be angry. I wish I could yell and scream. I wish…" Nicolas sighs, knowing there was only one true thing he really wanted. "I wish I had known all along." Lorelai nods.
"Yeah, I wish you had known him all along," Lorelai answers softly. "I'm sorry I kept you from him. You would have loved having him as a father." Nicolas nods.
"You had your reasons?" Nicolas asks. Lorelai nods, not taking her eyes off of her son. Nicolas wraps his arms around Lorelai, as she does the same, crying softly on her son's shoulder. "I love you Mom. Nothing could ever change that." Lorelai smiles to herself, through her tears. She reaches up with one of her hands, feeling the curls of hair on the back of Nicolas's neck, curls she used to run her fingers through late at night when she would climb in bed with her young son, holding him to her, trying to feel his father's love beating through his soft skin, trying to fill the broken heart that beat inside of her.
"You know, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young said that I shouldn't need you to tell me that, I should just know it," Lorelai jokes. Nicolas frowns.
"Bill Cosby and who?" Nicolas asks. Lorelai laughs.
"Oh Nicky, I love you too. Everything I've done. Everything, since I first knew I was pregnant with you. Everything was for you," she whispers in his ear, holding him tight.
After a moment, Nicolas lets her go, knowing his sisters are going to tease him if he hugs his mother any longer. He kisses Lorelai's cheek. "Thank you for that. Thank you for putting your dreams aside for me," he says. Lorelai nods. Nicolas glances over at Luke. "I think my father wants to talk to you." Lorelai bites her lower lip as she looks over at Luke, who hasn't taken his eyes off of her the whole time.
"Go say hi to your sister," Lorelai tells Nicolas, patting his arm and glancing over at the girls. "I mean…" She chuckles. "Your eldest sister." Nicolas smiles, a quiet smile on his face, the same one she'd seen on Luke all those years before, reminding her that it was the fact that Nicolas was so much like Luke that got her through those fifteen years when she thought Luke didn't love her anymore. Then Nicolas walks over to the porch, leaving Lorelai alone in the middle of the yard with Luke staring at her. A look passes between the two, a look with such intensity, such electricity, it could light up Shea Stadium, possibly all of New York City. For a moment, it's almost as if she can hear the song once again.
Then you love me?
I suppose I do.
And I suppose I love you too.
It doesn't change a thing, but even so, after twenty-five years, it's nice to know.
The feeling that shot through her all those years ago backstage at the elementary school musical, when she finally allowed herself to realize that she loved him but couldn't tell him because they were broken up. It's still the same. "After twenty five years, Luke. After twenty five years." Luke nods, having been thinking the same thing, that it really had been twenty-five years since they had first met.
"I'm still loving you," he says softly. She breathes in fully through her nose, taking a few steps towards him, decreasing the space between them to less than a foot.
"Well, at least the Scorpions taught us something," she jokes. He nods. "So you took your time. You thought things over. I – I didn't push this time, did I?" Luke shakes his head.
"No, no you didn't. But I didn't need it, Lorelai. The moment you set the ring down on the table and walked out, I knew exactly what I was going to say at this moment." She folds her arms over her chest, looking up at him expectantly. "Sometimes the past has to stay where it is, in the past. Even if it screws up the future."
"So you want to forget everything?" she asks, her heart aching.
"I want to forget everything that we did to hurt each other. You know, the best revenge is a life well lived," he comments. She nods.
"I don't think I got my revenge."
"I didn't either." She smiles softly. "Lorelai, I wouldn't give up April or Loren for anything, not even our June 3rd wedding all those years ago. But I let you go. I let you go and it's hurt every moment that I thought about it. And I'm not doing it again. We had a son together, and though we didn't raise him together, he's still our son."
"He really is," Lorelai agrees. "Nicolas is the sum of the two of us." Luke nods, reaching out and touching her elbow.
"And he deserves to have a family. We can give him that."
"I'm sorry I never told you."
"Forget it. It's over. We're moving on. No turning back, remember?" Lorelai nods. "Then Lorelai, we can have our ending, if you just answer this question…" He reaches in his pocket pulling out the ring box. Lorelai gasps, biting her lower lip. On the porch, Lucy squeals, hugging Loren.
"Luke…" she whispers, looking into his eyes then down at the box and back. He opens the ring box.
"Lorelai, will you marry me? Will you be with me for always?" Through her tears, she tries to smile, her chin trembling.
"Yes," she answers, cupping his face in her hands and pulling his lips to hers, kidding him soundly.
"At least Babette and Patty aren't going to call me a wuss again," Luke murmurs against her lips. Lorelai laughs, as she pulls him back, kissing him again.
The scene is how everyone would have imagined it, but never thought it would come true. On the freshly cut lawn in front of the new large blue house, big enough for the whole family, paid for in part by the bride's mother and in part by the bride and groom themselves, is a large gathering. Chairs have been set up on either side of a long white carpet which ends at the base of the tall wooden chuppah made years before for a different wedding but with hopes of this one. Around the legs of the chuppah are large vases of white lilies and purple lilacs.
Morey sits at the piano to the right of the chuppah, waiting for his moment. All the guests quickly seat themselves. The groom's sister, husband and one of his two nephews sit at the front one side with his elder daughter's boyfriend and his elder nephew's wife and son. Opposite them sit the bride's mother, son-in-law and three grandchildren. The reverend stands on the far side of the chuppah, giving the attendees a chance to get ready and letting the guests just a few more minutes of squabbling over seats, knowing these are people who like to talk and banter. Finally he glances over to his left at the groom, who walks up to stand in front of the chuppah, and to his right at Morey, who begins to play a sweet melody.
All in the audience turn to watch the younger daughters of both the bride and groom walk down the aisle in long lilac colored dresses, with their shared brother, the only child shared by the bride and groom, between them. The groom can only stare at his son, seeing so much of his mother in him, seeing so much of himself in him. Though not knowing his son for most of his life, the groom is still as proud of him as any father would be. He moves his eyes from his son to his younger daughter and future step-daughter, both alike in style and personality, like his future wife, but so different in the same ways. Each of them having a little in them of their lost parents. As they reach the front, the groom winks at each of them. The girls make their way to one side and the boy stands next to his father, who receives a pat on the shoulder from his son.
Next the groom's elder nephew and elder daughter head down the aisle arm in arm. All are amazed to see how grown up the young man is, seeming tall, although not quite six feet, but finally seeming to fit his age of 35. The look on his face is one of wisdom, as if he had always known this day would come. His cousin on his arm, who seemed so mature at the age of 12, seems to glow as she takes each step. One who saw her next to her father on the street, would know that they were parent and child by looks, but marvel at how their conflicting personas mesh so well together. She winks at her father before he can, knowing exactly what he was about to do and joins her sister and future step-sister on one side. The young man nods to his uncle and walks over to stand next to his cousin.
Finally all stand as the bride walks up to the end of the aisle. A glittering tiara shimmers on top of the long dark curls that surround her face. The wedding dress of long ago is no longer as she had let go of that with all the other painful memories of years ago. In its place is a white strapless satin gown, bunched at the waist and a simple trail of etched flowers down one side, so very simple but seeming fit for a queen on the gorgeous bride. Wrapped around her arm is the arm of her elder daughter, wearing a dollish suit. After spending days coming up with different ideas, the bride realized there was no one more fit to give her away, to let her go from her old life of a mother at sixteen to her new life as the wife of the love of her life. Though it may seem a little odd to many who don't know them to see two women walk down the aisle, all who are there see it as the only fitting way for this to happen. As when most had met the bride, the only other person in her life had been her young daughter, now grown into a woman of 36, wife, mother of three, and political journalist.
When they reach the end of the aisle, the daughter takes her mother's hands in hers, kisses her mother's cheek and winks at her future step-father. Then turns her mother to face her future step-father, placing their hands together and walks over and stands next to her sister and future step-sisters. The bride gazes up at the groom, their blue eyes matching color for color as if completely in sync in both mind and body. She squeezes his hands as he takes her in, shining in the white dress he sees before him. "You look…" and he trails off, unable to get the words out.
It's – you're – perfect.
Really? Have you seen the back? I think the train's a little weird. And I can take it back if you don't think-
"Perfect?" she asks softly. He grins.
"Took the words right out of my mouth," he answers, leaning in and giving her a soft, illicit kiss before they finally become man and wife.