Bedside Manner Part 4
Luke was up and walking within 4 days. He planned to be in the diner by the end of the following week, but he was more than happy to be back in there by the beginning of it. Everyone in the town was happy to see him back on his feet.
He had periodic visits from townies throughout the day.
Both Lane and Caesar were in the diner just in case his leg became any trouble for him, but he seemed fine as he fell back into his old routine. That's why as the day progressed, he sent them home. First was Caesar, then Lane followed a couple hours after that. It felt good for him to feel independent again. He was nearly in a good mood. That mood got undeniably good at around eight o'clock that night. There was no stopping the smile that lit up his face.
"Hey you," Lorelai said as she walked up to the counter.
He smiled even wider even though he tried not to. "Hey."
"It's good to see you back in your old stomping ground," she said as she took a seat.
"It feels good."
Lorelai smiled brightly and looked around. "Do you need any help?" She asked as she slid her jacket off.
"No, thanks. Lane and Caesar were here, but I sent them home a while ago."
"Oh, okay." They shared a smile. "Can I get a cheeseburger, please?"
"No thanks," she said quietly.
She smiled. "I'm not really in the mood for it."
"That's not possible."
"And, yet...it is."
Luke thought for a moment. "Come to think of it, you haven't drank coffee since I've been back around you."
"That's not true."
"Yes, it is true," he said, thinking back on it further. "I haven't seen you drink one cup of coffee."
"You know, I can come back there and make my own cheeseburger if you're not going to get it."
"Why haven't you been drinking coffee?"
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "Obsessive much?"
"I know you haven't had some sort of epiphany and realized how detrimental it is."
"Maybe I did. You always talk about it. Maybe I finally decided to listen."
"And, maybe you have another reason that you're just not willing to tell me about."
"Luke, drop it. Please."
"Why is it such a big deal? Just tell me why you're not drinking coffee."
She sighed loudly. "Because."
"Because you're here, Luke," she said exhaustedly. "You're awake. I made a deal with you. You're awake, so I'm not going to be drinking coffee for a while. It's no big deal."
"How long is a while?"
Lorelai paused. "Thirty-five weeks. Thirty-five weeks to go, at least."
Luke stopped what he was doing and looked at her with shock. "You're going to go thirty something weeks without coffee?"
"Hard to believe?"
"That's putting it mildly." He looked down thoughtfully. "What do you mean you made a deal with me? When was this?"
"When you were in a coma," she said quietly. He looked at her confusedly. She sighed and leaned forward. "Every time I would get ready to leave, I would make you a promise. I had faith that you would wake up soon." She paused. "I tried to have faith that you would wake up soon…so I started at 365 days. One year. And I counted down. I'd subtract a few days at first, then a week, then a week and a half. Every day that you didn't wake up, I'd subtract time."
"What, like an incentive?" He asked.
"Like an incentive," she replied with a shrug. She looked down. "I mean, I know how much you hate my coffee drinking, so I thought that it may serve as some kind of inspiration. The sooner you'd wake up, the more time I'd go without." She smiled suddenly. "You woke up right under 39 weeks." Looking up at him, she said, "That was the last day I drunk coffee."
Luke smiled. "And, who heard you when you made these promises?" He asked, assuming she had someone keeping track of her.
"Just me?" She nodded. "And, you're actually sticking to it?" He asked.
"A promise is a promise."
Luke dropped his head. "You didn't have to do that, Lorelai."
She watched him. "I was willing to try anything." He smiled. "A few more weeks would have had me giving up all fatty foods."
"Exercise, fruits, vegetables…all followed by a bout of depression." Luke chuckled. "But, it would have been worth it."
He stared at her for a minute with a smile pulling at his lips, and she smiled wider and cast her eyes down to her hands. Luke turned around and grabbed a mug and the coffee pot. He set it in front of her. "Consider this early parole," he said as he got ready to pour.
Lorelai pushed the mug away before the liquid touched the glass. "No, Luke, that's okay," she said immediately. He looked up and met her eyes. "Thanks, though," she said with a cautious smile.
"What's wrong?" He asked worriedly.
"Nothing. I just…I made a promise. I'm going to stick to it."
"It's okay. You made it for me." He smiled. "I'm telling you it's okay. I know this is like air to you," he said jokingly as he tried to pour again.
Lorelai shook her head as she picked up the mug and put it in her lap. "Luke, I said no," she said with seriousness.
His eyebrows furrowed as he stepped back. "What's the matter with you?"
She looked up at him and sighed. "I'm sorry. This just…it means something to me, okay? I made a promise. I exchanged my coffee drinking for your…well-being. I'm not testing the fates. And I know it sounds stupid to you, and that's okay," she said. "But, I'm not going to jeopardize that." She wrapped both hands around the mug and set it back on the counter away from her. "Thank you for the offer."
Luke stared at her for a few seconds before he dropped his eyes and backed away slowly. He leaned against the coffee table. "You're killing me," he said quietly.
She smiled. "What do you mean?"
He shook his head. "You're just…you're killing me, Lorelai."
"Well, in that case, give me that mug. No need for us both to suffer." She laughed as he gave her an exhausted look and then rolled his eyes. Luke set the pot on the heater slowly and turned back to her. "So, um, that was one cheeseburger?"
"Yes, please," she said delightfully.
"Here's something I never thought I'd be asking you, but, uh, what can I get you to drink?"
"Hmm," she pondered thoughtfully. "Ooh, do you have a drink menu?" She asked expecting him to pass her a menu.
"Yeah." He got a napkin and wrote all of his drink selections on it and slid it to her. "Here you go. Take your time," he said pleasantly as he disappeared into the back.
"You have menus, Luke!" Lorelai yelled after him.
"But, it's so much more fun this way," he yelled back.
Lorelai chuckled as she looked down at the fancy presentation of his drinks.
"Soda and Ice Cream?"
"Still closed." Luke finished in the back and came back out to where Lorelai was still sitting. "And, just to cut down on thirty more minutes of this, I'm closed and am serving nothing else."
Lorelai let her lip poke out.
Luke chuckled. He went to flip out the lights, and he stood by the door as he looked over at Lorelai. "Are you about ready to go? I'm officially finished with my clean-up. I know it was thrilling for you to watch." His hand rested on the doorknob.
Lorelai looked at him, then the door. "Not ready yet," she finally said happily.
He rolled his eyes as he stepped away from the door. "Okay, but this is the end of the road for me. I'm headed upstairs for the night."
"To bed?" She asked.
"To sleep?" She asked casually.
"What else would you go to bed to do?" He held up a hand as soon as the last word exited his mouth. Lorelai smiled from ear to ear. "Don't bother answering that," he said.
Lorelai shrugged in concordance as she stood up from her stool. "I miss hanging out with you," she said genuinely. "Do you miss hanging out with me?"
"Yeah, sure," he said casually.
She smiled. "Good. So, don't go to sleep yet. Let's play a game of Tonk or something. I think I've gotten better."
He started walking toward the curtain. "Still doesn't say much for your game. You were awful."
"Thanks for the love," she said as she stood in place.
"I'm here to help," he offered. He started walking up and waved a quick hand for her to follow.
"Your leg seems like it's a lot better," Lorelai said once they were inside his apartment. She followed him into the kitchen.
"Yeah, therapy's helping a lot. I'll still be going for another week or so."
"Well, that's good. I'm glad you're recuperating so quickly." She smiled. "My mommy said you were strong."
He turned back. "What?" He asked confusedly.
She shook her head. "Nothing."
He turned back to the refrigerator. "You want some juice or water or beer or something?"
"Sounds good to me too," he said as he grabbed a couple.
He went and grabbed some cards before sitting across from where she had made herself comfortable at the table.
"Ready to lose?" He asked as he shuffled the deck.
"Actually, I am. Already prepared for it, which means I'm not going to lose."
"Whatever thinking will get you through the next couple of games," he said casually.
"GIN!" Lorelai laid her cards down. "I win! Ha, ha, ha, haaaa, ha," she sung happily.
Luke looked at her with amusement. "You beat me," he admitted.
"You're darn tooting I beat you. I took it to the net, I knocked that baby out of the park. A hole in one? Yeah, got that too! Just take all the sports clichés and plop those bad boys right smack on this table and take your pick, Baby!"
Luke chuckled. "You're great at the trash talk, by the way."
"I know this, Mr. McLoser."
"And, it only gets better," he said to himself as he rounded up the cards. He started to put them back in the box.
"What are you doing? We have to play again."
"Lorelai, we've been playing cards for almost 3 hours." He laughed. "You finally won. Let's end on a good note. If we play again, you'll lose…again," he said smartly, "and we'll be right back where we started."
"You know losers can always think of an excuse so they won't lose again. Must be in the losery handbook—instructions for doing that."
"You should know. You probably wrote it."
"Ooh, zinged. That one actually stung a little bit." She kicked his foot lightly under the table, and he laughed.
She took her jacket off of the back of her chair and stood up. "Sorry I kept you up so late. When was the last time you stayed up until one in the morning?" She asked with a smile.
"Hmm, let me see," he said purposefully. "Could it be when you'd sit beside my hospital bed keeping me up until one, two, and three in the morning?" He replied with fake annoyance.
"And you loved every minute of it. Don't deny it," she said quietly as she slipped on her jacket.
"I wouldn't even try to," he responded as he came to stand in front of her.
Lorelai looked up into his eyes and smiled. "Are you opening tomorrow?" She asked.
"No, Caesar's going to be opening for a while. He likes morning hours. I owe him big time, so I'd probably give him a share in the diner if he wanted it." Lorelai smiled. "Don't tell him I said that, though."
"He won't hear it from me."
They looked at each other and ended up looking away with a timid smile. "Feeling ridiculous?"
"Extremely ridiculous," Luke deadpanned as he shook his head.
"Glad to see I'm not alone." Neither bothered to acknowledge anything beyond that. Luke looked down, and he brought his gaze back to her. "Thanks, Lorelai," he said shyly as he stepped close to her and kissed her quickly on the cheek.
Lorelai watched him come close and she watched as he backed up. She moved forward and placed her left hand on his cheek. She kissed him on the lips and stepped back. "You're welcome."
He stared at her. "Thanks," he said again for a lack of anything better.
They migrated toward one another and an instant deep kiss ensued. They separated after only a few seconds. Luke's hand pulled away from her hip as they stayed a respectable distance apart. They each breathed for a moment. "You have a good night," he said.
Lorelai nodded as they came together again. This kiss was just a little deeper, seconds longer. They pulled away again, finding themselves closer. "You have a good night, too," said Lorelai after a while.
Luke moved ever close to her. "You'll be safe?"
"I'll be safe," she answered as her lips connected to his. The kiss was far beyond passion, beyond want. They had each entered a level of crave, and Lorelai's hands rubbed over his back as his mouth dropped to her neck.
"What are we doing?" Luke asked as he lifted his lips just long enough to get the words out.
"I don't know," Lorelai breathed out as her eyes remained lightly closed.
He began walking her slowly back toward his bed. "You want to stop?" He asked as he slowed.
"Please don't," Lorelai whispered.
They reached his bed, and Luke lay her on it gently before lowering himself onto her.
"Tell me something that you've never told me before."
Lorelai smiled as she held her hand against his admiringly.
"I've told you a lot of stuff. Personal stuff."
Luke smiled and kissed her on the forehead. "I know. Tell me something else."
She moved closer to him. She wrapped her arm around his stomach and tossed a leg over both of his as they rested underneath his sheets. "I love to spend time with you."
He hugged her close. "Do you?"
"Yeah. What about you?"
"Oh, yeah. I love to spend time with me too."
Lorelai smiled. "I mean, tell me something profound."
Luke waited a beat. "You put to rest a lot of longing tonight." Lorelai smiled widely against his chest, but her face was hidden from his view. "Deep enough?" He asked.
He rolled his eyes. "Of course."
Her smiled faded as she drug her fingers along his hip bone. "It's just deep enough," she answered.
His hand moved against her bare shoulder, and he felt her shudder beneath his touch. He smiled. "This seems surreal," he whispered.
"Yeah, it does. A good surreal," she added quietly.
"A great surreal."
Lorelai pinched him gently above his pelvis.
"What was that for?"
"Just making sure we're not in dreamland."
"Pinch yourself, not me."
"Where's the fun in that?" Luke shook his head.
"I don't think pinching is meant to be fun."
"It's an excuse to touch you. That, to me, is fun."
Luke rolled his eyes. "Don't try to sweet talk me into letting you assault me."
Lorelai laughed gleefully. "This is great, isn't it?"
"This," she said. "Us. You don't feel it?"
"I feel it," he replied trying not to sound too enthused.
"It's a pretty strong feeling."
"It is at that."
"You sound happy," Luke mentioned softly.
"I am, Baby."
He chuckled. "Baby?"
"Yeah, you're right. Maybe we should come up with our own pet names. Ones that aren't so common."
"We have to keep it sweet, though. How about I call you…Pop Tart?"
"Or Caramel Macchiato?"
"That way I can just sample you when my coffee craving gets too high."
Luke paused. "Okay, we can go with that one."
Lorelai laughed. "What do you want to call me?"
"No, what's my pet name? My unique calling by my little Caramel Macchiato?"
He sighed. "Something sweet?"
"Apple? You want to call me Apple?"
"This is ridiculous," he said in exhaustion.
"Pick again, please."
He rolled his eyes. "Doughnut."
"Getting better. What kind of doughnut?"
"Plain. It's fattening enough."
"Did you just call me fat?"
"No, I—" He stopped at Lorelai's laughter. "Let's just go with something else," he said instead.
He paused in thought. "Strawberry Chantilly."
"Ooh, pretty. I like. You put thought into that one," she said, impressed. "Can I have an explanation?"
"Don't really have one. My mom made them a lot, and I always loved them."
There was a small silence. "Can you make them?"
"Will you make me some?"
He nudged her lightly. "For my Strawberry Chantilly?" She smiled. "Anything."
"You want to make them now?"
Luke looked over at the clock. "It's twenty past two."
"So, that's a yes?"
"Why don't we rest right now and I'll make them tomorrow when we wake up."
Lorelai turned so that she could see his face. "Are you sleepy?"
"Yeah, a little bit. I have to get up at seven."
She looked at him for a moment. "I don't want to see you sleep."
"You want to do something?"
"Like sleep?" He asked with a smile.
"Like…anything but sleep," she answered quietly.
He began to caress the skin of her back. "You know I'm fine, don't you?"
"Yeah, I know."
"I still don't like to see you sleep."
He thought for a moment as if he could find a way to get around it. "You know it's kind of necessary, right?"
"That's what they say. I think it's just a dirty rumor." He shook his head, a small smile playing at his lips. Lorelai closed her eyes and dropped her head onto his chest. "I know I'm being ridiculous," she conceded. "Don't pay me any mind," she said lightly.
"Hey." She looked at him. "I'll always…pay you some mind," he said with a smile. He stared into her eyes as he thought. "Okay, how about this?"
He slid his body to the side and moved toward her as he motioned for her to turn her back to him. Once she did, he pressed himself as close as he could get. Wrapping his arms around her body, he felt her relax contently into his body. "I'm definitely liking this," she said with a large grin. "What is this going to do?"
"This…" He said as he exhaled tiredly, "…is the most uncomfortable sleeping position known to man."
"Don't get me wrong. It's preferable, considering it's you that's in front of me. But, being in this position will pretty much ensure that any shut-eye I get tonight will be short-lived and will result in plenty of movement."
"I can see that," she said as she felt another part of his body already starting to rouse.
He ignored her. "It's too confined. And, a guy needs at least a little space." He sounded like he was rethinking the entire idea. "Come to think of it…" He started to pull away, but Lorelai tightened her grip on his arms.
"Don't you dare move, Mister."
He settled back down. "Alright. But, we have to think of something else after tonight. This isn't going to work for me for long."
"Don't worry, we'll think of something." She turned her head slightly back toward him. "Kiss."
He leaned up and gave her a passionate kiss that she wasn't really expecting. It went on for several long seconds. Lorelai broke it slowly. "You have to get up in few hours, Luke," she reminded breathlessly. He nodded and she settled back against him.
"From now on, let's keep the goodnight kisses a little more simple," Luke suggested as he pressed his face into her hair. "Agree?"
"Definitely," Lorelai said as she tried to calm herself down as well.
He took one final deep breath. "Goodnight, Babe," he whispered.
Lorelai smiled. "Goodnight, who?"
Luke rolled his eyes. "Strawberry Chantilly."
"Goodnight my sexy Caramel Macchiato."
Luke relished his position when he realized Lorelai had no way of seeing the goofy smile that spread over his lips. Sleep found them both within minutes.
Read it? Let me know something. Much appreciated.