Dislcaimer: Hey, listen up and listen good... I don't own "Gilmore Girls." Shocking, eh?
She wondered if she should say something. They'd just walked over from his uncle's funeral and she'd been debating with herself over whether or not she should speak, or what she should say. Should she condole him? After all, the man was his uncle. Or should she make one of her funny jokes and try to play the situation off lightly? Unable to make up her mind, she simply looped her arm through his and walked in silence to his diner.
When they entered the diner, they took sight of all their friends gathering, dressed in black and eating and talking. Dozens of people that hadn't bothered to show up for the service, or to even stop to say they were sorry for the loss. Luke looked around with tired eyes.
"What is all of this?"
Lorelai shrugged, looking around in wonder, "I--I think its a wake."
His eyes clouded darkly and he shook his head. Before anyone could say a word to him, he'd disappeared up the steps to his apartment. Lorelai and the other townspeople stared after him and, after a moment, Lorelai followed.
"Luke?" She found him with his back to her, perched on the edge of his bed. His eyes were low, hands clasped together. "Luke," she said again, coming closer to him, "What's going on?"
"The nerve of them," he muttered to himself.
"What?" She shook her head and sat down beside him, "Luke, I thought you wanted people around today.You went on and on about how no one was showing up, and no one cared, and--"
"They still don't care, Lorelai!" He snapped. She drew back, frowning. He sighed and dropped his voice to a near-whisper. "They still don't care. None of them could stand Louie. They're all happy he's dead. They just came here for the free food and the conversation."
"Oh, Luke..." Lorelai's voice trailed off and she rubbed his back softly with her right hand, unable to think of anything else to say.
"And me," he continued with disdain in his voice, "What the hell was I thinking? I didn't like the guy, either. I didn't respect him, I didn't even want to be around him. But I did it anyway. For my dad."
She nodded, "Exactly. You did it for your dad."
"Its what he wanted for Louie."
"No, hon," she gave him a humourless laugh, "You did this for your dad."
He looked at her, confusion apparent on his face, "What do you mean?"
She moved to kneel in front of his sitting form, tilting her chin up to look him fully in the face. She waited for him to meet her gaze before she spoke. "He was your uncle. Your father's brother. He was a part of your dad. And when you were watching that coffin go into the ground today, it wasn't Louie inside, was it? It was your dad. You just wanted him to be happy."
The sincerity that bore from Lorelai's unwavering blue eyes was too much for Luke. He looked away, fixing his gaze on a pair of Jess's dirty, discarded socks. He knew she was right. He'd never gotten closure after his dad died, and watching Louie, another piece of his father, vanish...it was hard.
He snapped back, pulling himself out of thought. He smirked half-heartedly. "You're right."
She placed a hand over his knee and gave it a gentle squeeze, "What else is new, huh?" They smiled sadly at each other before Lorelai suggested they go back downstairs. When Luke declined with familiar bitterness in his voice, she shook her head. "Okay, so maybe they aren't here for Louie. They didn't like him or respect him, but guess what? They respect you. They care about you, diner-man."
"Hm." His fingers traced unconcious patterns on his down-comforter. "I still don't know if I can go down there."
She gave him a sweet stare and nodded, "Okay." She moved to sit next to him again, both hands on either side of herself.
He looked at her, "Oh, no, Lor--you should go downstairs. I'll be fine by myself."
She shrugged, "Like hell," and then looked straight ahead.
Luke watched her and realized that she wouldn't leave unless he went with her, or unless he kicked her out. He could see the tension in her face at worry of the latter. This realization was followed by that of, he felt exactly the same way she'd described to him weeks before. There weren't many things in the world he could count on to always be there for him. Even if the rest of the world changed, she wouldn't. She'd always be there for him.
"Hey," he put one large hand over hers and she looked at him, curious. His eyes were soft, and more vulnerable than she'd ever seen them. "Thanks." She gave him a comforting smiles and nodded. When she tried to tear her eyes away, he was still fixed on her, and she was caught. Before either of them had realized it, their faces were a bear inch from each other. Luke's lips brushed against hers so softly that she wasn't sure if she'd imagined it or not. She didn't more, and he hesitated. Slowly, he leaned back in, applying a little more pressure this time. She wasn't imagining it, after all. This was real. How did she feel about this? Slowly, she responded, kissing back with the uncertainty of a twelve-year-old.
Luke felt her nervousness and pulled away, willing back the blush that stained his neck. "Um, on second thought, maybe we should go downstairs."
"Right," she sputtered, "Because, you know, they're all down there, eating and talking and...waiting for you. So it would be--"
"Rude," Luke agreed. "Very rude. Gotta get down there." They both stood, avoiding looking at one another. Luke took the lead and led them to the door, but stopped with his right hand on the doorknob. He looked down at his feet and sighed. He looked at Lorelai out of the corner of his eyes.
"Am I like him?"
Still distracted, she asked, "Who?"
He closed his eyes, "Louie. Am I like him?"
She snapped to look at him, "Oh, Luke. We already went over this. No. No. A million tmes over, no. You are not him."
"I don't participate in town events."
"I'm not that busy."
"And," she pointed out, "You're not insane, like the rest of us."
"I'm not nice to people."
"Most people don't deserve it."
"I'm a loner, Lorelai!" He yelled, looking her full-on in the face. "I avoid people. I hate socializing. I'm not married--I don't even date! And I certainly don't have any kids. I'm just like Louie. I'm going to end up just like him. No friends. No family. I'm going to die, and no one's gonna be there!" He clenched his jaw, squeezing the doorknob hard, as if to crush it.
Lorelai's voice was soft, and she wrapped the fingers of her right hand around his bicep, "I'll be there."
Luke sighed and looked at her with a reluctant smirk, "I know you will."
Lorelai squeezed a little harder to comfort him. He smiled a little wider and remembered, for about the millionth time that day, that she cared about him. He put his left hand around her waist and took his right off of the doorknob to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. "All at once, adrenaline charged Lorelai's brain and she slowly lost the ability to form coherent thought. The only thing on on her mind was how good Luke looked, and how good Luke smelled, and how good Luke was. And, of course, the fact that he was right there; close enough to touch. She put her left hand around his neck, leaving the right on his arm. She drew his face closer until there were only centimeters between them. All he had to do was seal the deal.
"Lorelai." She almost growled in impatience. This was the wrong time to have a conversation! But, there was something about him breathing the words into her mouth that made the situation that much more intense. "Is this something you want, or are you just trying to comfort me?"
She would have smiled, but couldn't seem to make light of this, "Its a little of both."
"So, you do want this."
She gave the smallest possible nod and felt the tension drain from him, and he relaxed beneath her hands. Satisfied, he closed the distance and caught her lips in a gentle, yet monumentally passionate, kiss. Lorelai's eyes drifted close and she held on to him tightly. Then he pulled back, eyes on her questioningly. Her eyes snapped open and she searched him, trying to make herself hear his silent question.
"What is it?" She finally asked, running her fingers over the soft hair that clung to the base of his neck.
He sighed and pulled his arms from her. He grabbed her wrists and gently brother her grip on him. He hung his head, "I just--It shouldn't have been like this." He let go of her wrists and opened the door, vanishing from sight before she'd even completely heard his words. When it caught up to her, he mulled for a moment over what he could have meant. Unable to come to a reasonable conclusion, she rushed down the stairs after him. He spooted her as she came through the doorframe and quickly engaged himself in a conversation with Miss Patty, knowing that she'd never let Lorelai interrupt them.
Suddenly, every ounch of sympathy in her was replaced with a confused anger. She bit down on the inside of her cheek, shook her head, and started for the door. Rory reached out and caught her arm. "Mom, where are you going?"
"Screw this," Lorelai growled, jerking free and exiting the diner, slamming the door behind her. Everyone stopped and watched her stomp down the sidewalk. Rory caught Luke's gaze and he dropped his eyes guiltily before letting himself be drawn back into conversation with Miss Patty.
When Rory got home from the wake, Lorelai was already in her pajamas, sprawled out on the couch, watching reruns of "Melrose Place."
"Mom," Rory said from the arm of the couch, "Are you okay?"
"Are you sure?"
"No, see," Rory crossed her arms in front of her chest, "I think there would have to be something wrong with you to pull something like that."
Lorelai looked up, "Like what?"
"Mom!" Rory dropped on to the couch, barely missing her mother's feet. "Luke really needed you today. You are one of his best friends, and you completely abandoned him."
Lorelai sighed and turned her head back to the television, "You don't understand the situation, hon."
Rory picked up the remote and pressed the power button. The screen went blank and she said, "So explain it to me."
Lorelai was still staring at the screen, eyes glazed over. "Rory, please," her voice softened, "Its a big, complicated mess. Luke did something that hurt me. I don't think he meant to, but he did, and I just...I couldn't be there. I was so upset."
Rory bit her lip, "Oh." She turned to face her mother fully, "What'd he do?" Lorelai shook her head. "Okay. Well, are you gonna forgive him?"
Lorelai looked at her, "Yeah, I am. But some stuff just takes time, you know? This is going to take time. I'm just..." her eyes began to well and her voice became thick as she fought back tears, "I'm so confused, and I don't know what I should do or how I should feel or what I should say to him."
Rory leaned forward and hugged her mother. Lorelai clung to her and began sobbing into her shoulder. Rory's eyes went wide and she whispered, "Oh, Mom. It was really bad, wasn't it?" Lorelai nodded and continued crying until it was out of her system. Even after, Rory held her until the phone rang.
"Ignore it?" Rory offered.
"Nah," Lorelai wiped her eyes and forced a smile. "Go ahead; it might be Dean." Rory nodded and pulled back, reaching for the cordless.
"Hello?" Her face tightened, "Oh, hi...Luke." She looked at Lorelai, who shook her head frantically. "Um, no. I got home and she was already asleep...Yeah, me too." She forced a laugh, "I haven't seen her asleep before nine since, well, ever...Okay, I'll tell her. Bye." She clicked the phone off and turned to her mother, "He wants you to call him, or come back tomorrow."
Lorelai scoffed, then pinched the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger, "Like nothing's changed," she mumbled.
"Mom?" The question was on Rory's face.
"If I told you," Lorelai said slowly, with a sigh, "You'd say that I was overreacting. And, you know, maybe I am. In fact, I'm sure that I am, but still...what he did hurt me, and I just don't think you'd get it, and you'd say I was being stupid--"
"And you don't want to hear that right now."
"All right." Rory kissed her mother's cheek and stood up, "I'm going to finish up some homework. You gonna be okay?"
Lorelai nodded, "Yeah. I just need to think." Rory went to her room and Lorelai turned her attention back to the blank television screen, lost in thought.
She woke to the sound of pounding on the front door. She shot up into a sitting positon and realized she's fallen asleep on the couch. A glance at the wall clock told her it was a little after midnight.
"What the hell?" She got up and walked to the door. Just as she was about to open it, she stopped. What if it was Luke? How would she handle that? Deciding she had to face it eventually, she eased open the door.
"I can't sleep, and its your fault!"
"Jess?" Lorelai opened the door wide, inviting him in. "What are you talking about?"
He walked into the living room, Lorelai close behind. He dropped onto the couch and stretched his legs out to the arm. "Luke is driving me crazy. Mumbling in his sleep, 'mmph, Lorelai. Lorelai, I didn't mean it. Nnngh.'" He stuck out his tongue and threw his arms out like Frankenstein, then gave a bitter laugh and ran a hand through his bedhead. "Plus, he's tossing and turning and his mattress squeaks and I couldn't sleep there."
"Mom?" A half-asleep Rory stumbled into the living room and stood next to Lorelai. They looked at each other, "Are the waffles attacking?"
Lorelai shook Rory's shoulder, "Wake up, babe." Rory's eyes fluttered and Lorelai turned her attention back to Jess. "And by 'couldn't sleep there,' I can only assume that you mean..."
Jess shrugged, "I figured I'd crash here, seeing as its your fault and everything."
Rory finally came to a real awake, "Jess? What are you doing here?" She looked at Lorelai, "Did I hear something about waffles?"
Lorelai's eyes stayed on Jess, but she spoke to Rory, "Jess is gonna sleep on the couch tonight."
"Luke's drivng me crazy," Jess offered.
"And you came here?" Rory said curiously, "I mean, you are aware that she lives here, right?" She jerked her thumb at her mom, knowing she and Jess didn't get along too well.
"Rory, honey, you're real cute and everything," Lorelai put her hand on her daughter's head, "But go to bed." Rory frowned and turned, dragging her feet back to her room. Lorelai stared at Jess, who was smirking sleepily. She wanted to ask him if Luke had said anything else in his sleep, but kept stumbling over her words. She finally surrendered to, "Do you need anything? There's a blanket there, but its not very warm."
"Nah, I'm good." He covered himself up and closed his eyes, resting his head against the arm of the couch. Lorelai sighed softly and started up the stairs, "'I'm sorry.'"
Lorelai stopped at looked at Jess. His eyes were still closed. "Excuse me?"
Jess sighed and opened his eyes a crack, "He said, 'Lorelai, I'm sorry.'"
Her eyes widened and she could feel the tears coming back. Trying to keep te waver out of her voice, "Thank you," she went up to her bedroom and went to her window. She signed and let the tears come.
Rory woke the next morning to a delicious scent creeping through her door. She looked at her clock: 7:13. No way was it her mom. she stood slowly and stumbled into the kitchen. Jess was standing at the counter, in front of the waffle iron. he simultaneously poured batter into the machine and flipped an egg in the pan on the stove.
Rory smiled, "I must still be dreaming."
"I love that you dream about me," he teased. He looked up at her, smiling, and added, "Nice hair."
Rory's eyes went wide. She ducked back into her room and went about the practiced art of getting pretty. By the time she was dressed, hair done, and teeth brushed, Jess had finished cooking and was cleaning up.
Rory entered the kitchen again. She gazed at the selections spread out on the table. Waffles, eggs, bacon, toast, muffins. "Jess, what is all of this?"
He shrugged, filling the sink with water. "Though I'd see if you'd run scared when you saw the waffles. They might be attacking."
"Oh, my god. How did you know abou that?!" He just laughed. She calmed herself and gave him her serious face, "But, really. Why?"
"Why'd you do this?"
Jess sighed and turned off the water, "Don't laugh."
"And don't poke fun at me."
He frowned and looked at his feet, "I sorta, kinda picked up on the fact that your mom was upset and figured, since she let me stay here and all..."
"Aw," Rory smiled, "You're being nice to my mom!"
"I'm sucking up to your mom," he said pointedly, "So that she'll let me be nice to you." He shrugged, "I know that I've been sort of responsible for a lot of your fights lately, so I thought I'd, I dunno, put forth an effort."
She smiled wider, "You big softy!"
They heard footsteps on the stairs and Jess's face became serious, "Don't tell her." Rory nodded, but continued to smile, and began forking waffles onto a plate.
Lorelai entered the kitchen, hair messy and pajamas wrinkled, as if she'd tossed around all night. "Early!" She announced grumpily.
Jess poured coffee into a mug and handed it to her. "Magic potion make better," he said in a gruff, caveman voice.
She took a gulp and stared at him, "You may just be a decent person, after all."
He made a false-scared face, "God, don't go around saying that! People might hear you!"
Lorelai snorted and walked over to the table, "Wow, this is quite a spread. What's the occassion?"
"Jess felt like being sweet," Rory grinned.
He rolled his eyes, "You have the whole Webster's Dictionary, but you can't grasp the meaning of the word 'don't.'" He turned around and sunk his hands into the hot water and began washing dishes.
"Oh, Jess, don't worry about the dishes," Lorelai said passively, "I'll get around to them."
"My mess," he insisted, "And you know you won't."
She was quiet for a second, "Good point." She sat down next to Rory, "Waffles? Are they gonna hurt us?"
"Shut up," Rory whined.
"You, too," she tossed part of her waffle at Jess. It bounced off of the side of his head.
"Hey," he said grouchily, "I'm not sweeping, too."
"Bu-but, we're pretty!" On cue, Lorelai and Rory pouted at the same time. Jess rolled his eyes and went back to washing the dishes.
Lorelai bit into a waffle and her head fell back, "Oh, my god, that's good."
After breakfast, Jess was invited by Lorelai and Rory to watch television. Halfway through an insane episode of "Cribs," the phone rang. Rory got up to answer it.
"Rory!" She pulled the phone away from her ear. The voice was loud enough that they could all hear it.
"Is he there?"
"Okay, Luke, calm down." Jass was standing now. He took the phone from Rory.
"You little punk!" Luke's voice was loud, full of anger, but also worry. "I wake up, you're gone. I wait around for hours, you make no appearance! Where the hell could you possibly be?!"
"Um," Jess looked around the room, "Isn't that pretty obvious?"
"Don't be a smartass, Jess! Not now!"
Jess rolled his eyes, "Lorelai's. I'm at Lorelai's." Luke voice got quiet and now Jess was the only one who could hear him. "Yes, that's what I said...Um, around midnight...Needed a place to sleep...You kept talking in your sleep; it was annoying...Would you calm down?! She didn't mind." He looked at Lorelai, "You didn't mind, right?" She shrugged and shook her head. Jess rolled his eyes again, "Of course she's here; its not even ten. Okay, I got it!" He hung up.
"Wow," Rory muttered, "Luke's got pipes."
"Yeah," Jess sighed, "His pipes and I are well acquainted." He looked at the two girls, "I should probably go home."
Lorelai nodded, "Are you in trouble? I mean, should I--do you need me to talk to Luke for you?"
He looked at her, stunned, "Um...no, no, that's fine." He gave Rory a nod and let himself out. When he was gone, Rory plopped down next to Lorelai on the couch.
"Aw, you guys are friends!"
Lorelai was silent, lost in thought.
"Mom, are you sure?" Rory asked, matching her pace, "You're still upset."
"Honey, I'm gonna be upset until I do this." She pushed open the door to the diner. Jess was at the counter; he looked up when they walked up to him. "Hey, Jess," Lorelai said, looking around in a distracted way. "We'll have two coffees, two burgers, extra fries, and where the hell is your uncle?"
"$12.25 and upstairs."
"Never miss a beat. You're getting good, kid." She went to the stairs and walked up to Luke's apartment. she took a deep breath and began pounding on the door.
"Jeez," the door swung open, "Keep you--Lorelai." He took in a deep breath, "What're you--" He was cut off by her lips on his. He was taken off-guard, but responded quickly, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close. Lorelai's hands held his face so that she could control the kiss. She angled him so that she could kiss him deeply. She finally broke away, breathing hard. She moved her hands to his shoulders and rested her forehead against his.
"I wanted to do that before I--" she panted, "Before I asked you to explain yourself."
He swallowed hard. "Lorelai, yesterday--I didn't mean to upset you. Its just, when I thought about our first kiss, I always imagined something completely different. Something better."
"Better? Are you insulting my kissing skills?" She joked lightly.
"God, no," he laughed humourlessly, then his face hardened again. "And I panicked. I just...freaked out. Lorelai, I need you to know that I'm sorry."
She let out a breath and nodded against him, "I know. I'm sorry, too--wait. You thought about kissing me?"
"You said, 'when I thought about our first kiss.' You're thought about kissing me?"
He looked into her eyes, "You've no idea." He pressed his lips against hers, tightening his arms around her. She arched into the touch, sliding her arms around his neck, as to be closer to him. Suddenly, he pulled away again.
"Wait," he said, "Have you never--I mean, have you ever thought about kissing me?"
"Yes, and the reality of it was going really well until a second ago," she groaned in frustration, then leaned in for another kiss. This one was rough, fierce, and they clung to each other as if they were afraid that none of it was real, and they couldn't bear to let go and shatter the illusion.
Luke's tongue began to trace her bottom lip and she opened her mouth to him. When she felt his tongue against hers, exploring the contours of her mouth. She moaned quietly and dug her nails into the back of his neck, causing a shudder to run through his entire body.
"Can't breathe," she mumbled against his lips. She pulled back and panted for air, "Really can't breathe."
"Mm," Luke grunted in agreement, "Breathing. Definite must...Lorelai, that was--"
"And we just--"
She smiled at him, "I know."
He ran his fingers through her hair gently, "I don't want this to be a one-time thing."
"Oh, god, me neither." She rested her forehead against his shoulder and continued panting. Luke loved the feeling of her chest rising and falling against his. It was intoxicating, and he was drunk on it. Unable to think, to move, to feel anything but her against him. He just stood there, holding her.
Finally, Lorelai spoke, "Rory is downstairs, waiting."
"They both think I'm up here yelling at you."
He gave her a quick, light kiss, "Then I like the way you yell."
She chuckled and untangled herself from him, "I gotta get down there." She pulled open the door, "Coming?"
He nodded, "I'll be down in a minute."
Lorelai closed the door behind her and started down the stairs. Before she went into the diner, she licked her lips and straightened her clothing, leaving no physical trace of what had just happened, then she turned the corner.
Jess looked up first from the card game he and Rory had been engaged in, "You let 'im have it?"
Rory smacked him with a card, "Be blunt, why don't you?" Then to Lorelai, "You okay?" Lorelai shrugged and sat down.
Jess peeked into the kitchen and said something to Caeser, then appeared with a plate and handed it to Lorelai. "Rory insisted we keep it warm for you." He then fliped over a coffee mug and began filling it. "Oh, sorry," he held up the now-empty pot, "You got the drags." He started preparing another pot.
"Its fine; its coffee," Lorelai pointed out.
"Good point," he nodded. "It could be laced with arsenic, and you'd still drink it." He made sure Lorelai saw the crafty wink he gave Rory.
Lorelai stopped mid-gulp and looked into her mug, then, shrugging, she swallowed and took another drink. Jess and Rory laughed and went back to their game as Lorelai picked at her food. After a moment, Rory glanced at her, "Um, Mom? We were just kidding about the whole 'arsenic' thing."
"Arsenic?" Luke rounded the corner and gave Jess a stern look, "How many times do I gotta tell you to stay out of the kitchen? And what's this about arsenic?"
"I keep getting my food groups mixed up."
"Luke," Rory piped, "Is he seriously not allowed to cook?"
Luke nodded, "Yep. You just never know with him. Sorry," he added to Jess, who shrugged.
"But he's awesome," Lorelai chimed nervously, trying for a normal conversation. When they all looked at her, she spoke accusingly, "Luke, you should try to be a little more like your nephew. I mean, sure, you're the king of the fluffy pancakes, but Jess," she pointed to Jess, who had begun to smirk at her rambled teasing. "He's like the god of crisp 'Hello, Kitty!' waffles and fried eggs. Not to mention the coffee," sidetracked, she turned to Jess, "What coffee was that, by the way? Surely not something we had in the house?"
"Yeah, but I put cinnamon in it," he told her.
"Martha Stewart know about you?"
"Keep it up and the 'arsenic' thing will cease to be a joke."
"Right." Lorelai turned back to Luke, "So, other than the arsenic bit, you should really consider taking some classes from him."
"Would that make you happy?" She was shocked by the level of intensity his eyes conveyed.
She looked away before a blush could creep up on her, "Nah," she mumbled, sipping her coffee, "I like you fine enough the way you are."
Jess glanced at Luke and one eyebrow went up, "Whoa, Uncle Luke, what happened there?"
Luke rolled his eyes, "I told you to knock off that 'uncle' stuff."
"Okay, sorry...Whoa, Luke, what happened there?"
"Where?" Jess pointed to the back of Luke's neck. Luke reached up to touch it, then looked at the smudges of blood on his fingers. "Huh. Couldn't tell ya."
Jess examined the wounds, "Looks like someone came at you with a hole-punch. That, or--" he stopped short and started laughing and Luke's nervous expression. "Wow." He walked past him, shaking his head, adn went up the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Luke called, but Jess was gone. "Man, that kid makes me nervous sometimes."
Lorelai shrugged and went bck to eating her food. A few minutes later, Jess reappeared and walked over to her. Discretely, and with a wide smirk, he slid a pair of nail-clippers under her plate. She grabbed them and quickly shoved them in her pocket.
Jess gave her an apologetic smile and tapped Rory's shoulder. "So, your mom's about to kill me, and Andrew just got some new books in. Shall we?" Rory stuck the rest of her burger in her mouth and followed him out. When they were gone, Luke looked at Lorelai questioningly. She reached into her pocket and handed him the clippers.
"Ah, jeez," he blushed and put them under the counter. "When did you and Jess get so chummy, anyhow? Last I checked, you couldn't stand each other."
She shrugged and chewed on a fry, "He's having a good day. I mean, he made us this big breakfast this morning, and he's been sorta nice lately."
"Huh," Luke looked genuinly surprised, "Jess knows how to be nice? I'm impressed." He grinned nervously, the is face crumpled and he leaned closer, "I can't do this."
A fearful adrenaline rushed through her and her eyes immediately began to fill with tears, "Oh, um, but upstairs, you said--"
"No, no, god, no," he reached out and covered one of her hands with his, "I mean, I can't do this," he gestured around lamely, "Pretending to be normal, like nothing happened."
"Oh, my god!" She reached across the counter and smacked him, hard, in the arm, then covered her face with her hands. "Don't do that! You scared the crap out of me."
"You were scared?" He pulled her hands away from her face and stared into her eyes, "I want to be with you, Lorelai. That...all I want."
Lorelai smiled at him, goosebumps rising all over her body. She cleared her throat, "Um, so, are you doing anything tonight?"
He shook his head, "No. Why?"
"I thought, maybe we could do--I dunno--like a casual dinner. You could come over and we could order in. Watch some movies?"
He nodded, "Yeah, we could do that."
"Rory will be there."
He thought for a moment, considering the situation. "I'll bring Jess. That way, it won't be horribly awkward."
She smiled, "That's a good idea."
He heard the door open andlooked at the new customers, "Oh, work. So," he looked back to her, "I'll see you around seven? I'll bring all the food."
She raised an eyebrow, "All the food?"
He sighed, "Every last artery-clogging bit." She smiled happily as he picked up the order pad and walked away. Lorelai's eyes followed him, still smiling to herself.
"Mom, why are you getting all dressed up?" Rory asked from her mother's doorway. Lorelai was wearing a scoop-neck, brown sweater and her best pair of low-cut blue jeans. She was now attempting to simultaneously remove curlers from her hair and apply her mascara.
"I told you, Luke and Jess are coming over."
"I know--oh, jeez, let me," she began taking the curlers out her mother's hair. "But its just Luke and Jess, Mom. They've been here before." She pulled out the last curler and placed it on the vanity, "What's going on?"
Lorelai finished her eyes and began dabbing on lipgloss, "Nothing. Will you get my heel-boots out of the closet?"
Rory's eyebrows went up as she retrieved the brown boots, "These things kill your feet."
"They'll be fine," she ran her fingers through her hair and pulled on the boots. The knocking on the door came just as she'd finished zipping up the boots. She looked at Rory in a panic, "I'm not ready!"
Rory rolled her eyes, "You're a freak. Come on," she grabbed her mother's arm and dragged her down the stairs. Lorelai let out a nervous sigh and opened the door. Luke ws holding a paper bag in each arm and Jess stood behind him with a pizza box and a bag from Luke's. Luke's mouth opened slightly when he looked Lorelai over. She was wearing clothes that she'd normally wear, but there was something about her that made her seem much more beautiful. Jess glanced at his uncle and gave him a subtly nudge.
Lorelai, who'd been shifting nervously in the doorway, seemed to find her normal self beneath the nerves; she eyed the bags and perked up. "Ooh, gimme, gimme, gimme!" She grabbed the bags and led them all into the kitchen. Jess placed the pizza on the table as Lorelai and Rory began going through the contents of the Doose's bags.
"Ice cream!" Rory squealed, pulling out a carton of Ben & Jerry's.
"Malomars," Lorelai smiled, placing the box on the table, "So good."
"Oh, Mom" Rory said slowly, "Prepare yourself." Luke looked at Jess and they both stuck their fingers in their ears in unison. A second later, Rory pulled out a huge bag, "Red Vines!"
"Ah!" Lorelai screamed, grabbing the bag. "The perfect movie snack! Awesome!" After settling down, they unloaded the rest of the snacks.
"Well, boys," Rory said, "You did good."
Luke adjusted his baseball cap, "It was Jess, mostly. I can't even look at that junk."
"We're subtracting two points from you and giving them to Jess, then," Lorelai opened the pizza box. "Large with everything, plus two more."
Luke rolled his eyes, "Need I remind you that I did pay for all of this?"
"Aw, sad-Luke," Lorelai pinched his cheek. "Will plus-eighty-billion points make you feel better?"
"No." Unintentionally, she looked into his eyes and found herself unable to look away.
Jess looked at them, then at a confused Rory. He suddenly realized that she wasn't in the loop yet. He coughed loudly, drawing everyone's attention to him, "So what movies did you guys get?"
Lorelai looked at Jess and cleared her throat, "Um, we got 'The Awful Truth,' 'North by Northwest,' and 'Sylvia Scarlett.'"
"Got a Cary Grant thing going on, huh?"
Rory smiled, "Are you a fan?"
Jess raised his eyebrows and shoved his hands in his jeans' pockets, "Surprisingly, yes."
Luke groaned, "These aren't going to be those mushy old black and white romances, are they?"
Lorelai rolled her eyes, "No, no sugary romances." Jess and Rory headed for the living room with the pizza and the bag from Luke's, which Lorelai presumed to carry Luke's dinner. Luke started to follow, but Lorelai grabbed his arm and pulled him over to the refrigerator, "Bit if they were," she said lowly, "Would that be so bad?"
"Well, I suppose that," he pressed a kiss against her lips, "Yeah, it would." He smirked, "Sorry, but all that gush just disturbs me."
"Ah," Lorelai pulled away from him, 'No gush; got it."
He quickly pulled her back, "Okay, some gush is fine." He planted another kiss against her lips.
"Mom!" Rory called from the other room, "Are you coming?"
Lorelai pulled away from Luke again and licked her lips, "Yeah, just getting drinks." She reached into the refrigerator and handed Luke two beers, then grabbed two cans of soda, then led him to the living room. Jess was on the couch and Rory was sitting on the flood in front of him. Luke sat next to Jess and Lorelai sat next to Rory and handed her and Jess the sodas, then opened the pizza box.
"I declare the Cary-marathon in session...now!"
It was after midnight by the time they finished all of the movies. Lorelai pushed the stop button on the VCR remote and glanced to her left. Rory was asleep with her head resting on Jess's knee, and Jess, barely awake himself, was unconciously running his fingers through her hair. Lorelai smirked and ran her hand over Luke's knee. "Hey," she whispered, looking up at him, "Look," she nodded her head toward the teenagers. "Does that make this weirder?"
He yawned and rested his head against the back of the couch, "Not if you don't overthink it." He looked at Jess, "Jess, we should be going."
Jess's eyes didn't open. He just mumbled, "I don't want to move."
Lorelai smiled, "Aw, he's corny when he's asleep." She tapped Jess until he opened his eyes and looked at her, "Jess, hon, why don't you get her to her room?" He nodded and stood, keeping a hand behind Rory's head so she wouldn't fall backwards. He put his other arm under her knees and picked her up. She was a littl heavy for him, but he managed to walk to her room and lay her in her bed. He gently worked her shoes off and covered her with her down-comforter. Making sure no one had come to the doorway, he leaned over and pressed a featherlight kiss to Rory's forehead. She gave a happy little moan in her sleep and rolled onto her side. Jess smiled and went back to the living room, where Luke and Lorelai were in the same position as when he'd left. Lorelai looked up at him, "Hey, Mr. Warriner. Kiss her goodnight?"
Jess rolled his eyes, "We should go." Luke started to stand and Lorelai jumped up.
"One sec!" she ran over the Jess and put her hand on his arm. "Listen," she said quietly, "I'm really glad, for Rory's sake, that we've been able to get along today. If you keep it up," she glanced in the direction of Rory's room, "You might have a shot."
He tried to look unaffected, by couldn't quite pull it off, "You really think so?"
She nodded, "Bottom dollar." Luke came up behind her.
Jess looked between them, "I'll be out in the truck." He gave Lorelai a nod and left.
Luke put his hands on her hips and turned her around, "What was that about?" His face was painfully close to hers.
She draped her arms over his shoulders, "Oh, nothing much." She pressed her mouth against his, letting her tongue run over his lips until he parted them and their tongues began dueling. Lorelai moaned softly and pulled him flush against her. He let his fingers slip under the back of her sweater and dragged his nails up and down her spine. She shivered at the contact and felt adrenaline slamming through her veins. Luke broke away and began placing rough kisses against her jawline, then down her neck and collarbone. Lorelai bit her lip to keep from crying out, and soon tasted blood between her teeth.
"Mm, Luke," she said breathily.
"Jess--" she gasped when his lips passed over a particularly sensitive spot on her neck. "Um, Jess is waiting. Jess is outside. Jess it waiting outside."
"Dammit," he pulled back, resting his forehead against hers and breathing deeply. "I guess I'd better go."
"You'd better go," she agreed.
"I don't want you to go."
"But you have to go."
"Yeah." He finally slowed his breathing and opened the door. "I'll see you tomorrow." He gave her one last look of longing before he left, closing the door behind him.
In the truck, Jess looked at him from the passenger seat, "Hey."
"Hey," Luke grumbled.
Jess smirked, "Kiss her goodnight?"
Luke glared at him, "Shut up."
They drove in silence for a while before Jess suddenly let out a chuckle, "Crazy, isn't it?"
Jess looked at him, "We've got something in common, after all."
Luke glanced over, "Yeah," he said quietly. "We've both got a Gilmore girl."
Jess's gaze turned to the window and in a voice so small and so forlorn that it seemed so foreign, he said quietly, "At least you've actually got yours." Luke pulled into his parking spot in front of the diner and looked over at Jess. Unable to think of anything else, he rested his hand on his nephew's shoulder briefly and gave it a hard squeeze.
"You never know," he said simply. "I'm living proof of that."