Okay, so this fic is sort of my in-between piece while I work up the energy to write the follow-up one-short for "ll This & Stay Tuned, Kids!" This little fic is all fluff, and very...chick-flick, if you will. I wrote it at 0200, when my level of inspiration had reached its bear minimum. So, if its sugary-sweetness really sucks, I apologize! I can do better, and I will!

This fic was partly inspired by the song "Cavanaugh Park," by Something Corporate. They only had one album that I like--all else was crap--and this is my guilty pleasure. I'm so ashamed of myself. Anyway, lyrics to be posted at end of fic. And onward!

Disclaimer: I do not own "Gilmore Girls." However, I went on a shopping spree today and now have the hair, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and attitude to be a Lorelai Gilmore stunt-double! I'm so badass.

-big dashes-

Lorelai laughed just out of shock; a quick, sharp "ha" before she was once again staring right into Luke's eyes. Trying to make light, she added, "God, I can't believe you bought a boat in a day. It used to take you a week to buy a t-shirt."

Luke shrugged in typical Luke-fashion and looked right at her as he said, "Yeah, well...things change."

Before she could stop herself, Lorelai took in a sharp breath and her mouth dropped open. She could fill a swelling within her tearducts and a tightness in her throat, so she stared at him, silent, knowing that if she said even one word, she'd begin crying. Luke, the man she'd spent nearly two years with, the man she'd known since her daughter was a pre-teen, the man she had planned on marrying and spending her entire life with happily, had just given her the first clue into her realization that she wasn't in his life anymore. He wasn't going to try and win her back; he wouldn't show up at her door and kiss her as an apology like he did before. He didn't love her anymore, at least not the way she wanted him to love her.

The way I want him to love me? Lorelai thought absently. How did she want him to love her? How did she love him?

He gave her a confused stare and then cleared his throat, "I'll see you inside?" She nodded slowly as he turned and started up the steps, bringing two fingers up to her lips and pressing hard, desperately trying to hide any evidence of her doubt. Luke, suddenly realizing the weight of his words, turned quickly, his eyes wide and frantic, "Oh, my god, Lorelai, that's--"

She put a hand up to stop him. She turned and gave him a wan smile and forced herself to speak, her voice cracked and wavering, "Its fine, Luke. Don't worry about it."

"But its n--"

"Luke," she said, a little more firm, a little more harsh, "Could you just--go inside, okay? Go see Lane. I'm gonna--" she gestured around aimlessly, "I left something at home." She turned and started walking down the sidewalk.

"Lorelai," he sounded so helpless.

She shook her head and kept walking, never breaking her pace. This was it. Surely this was the end of the life she'd shared with Luke. To the untrained eye, it definitely seemed as if she'd moved on faster; getting married, starting a new life, then abruptly ending it. Smiling at everyone. Pretending everything was right in her world. Luke, on the other hand, had sulked about the diner for the past months, snapping at customers, falling back into the sour disposition he'd so reverantly held before loving Lorelai. He hadn't dated, or even looked at a woman since then. But there he was, at a baby shower, of all things, telling her that he, indeed, had moved on faster. He didn't want to be with her anymore; didn't love her anymore. Things change, he'd said. Lorelai just hadn't kept pace with the progress.

Soon, Lorelai was standing on her front porch, staring her front door down like a nemisis. She couldn't go in, not when she'd been walking up to a room that she'd remodeled with Luke, to make space for Luke, to share with Luke. She couldn't sleep in a bed she'd shared with him, on a pillow she'd so many times pressed her head back into when he kissed her the way he did, under covers that held every intoxicating chemical of his scent. She sighed and put her keys back in her purse, then walked to her jeep and started to drive.

Where could she go? Everyone she might be able to stay with was at the baby shower, and she didn't want to pull anyone away. She didn't want to have to explain to them that she wasn't desired anymore, and have the news spread through town faster than Oprah's weight fluxations. She could go to the Inn, were it not for the fact that it was completely booked; for once in her life, she cursed herself for being so successful. Finally, defeated, she drove the only other place she could think to go, and she really, really didn't want to go there.

One ring of the doorbell and two knocks. "Hi, Mom."

Emily's eyes went wide with confusion, "Lorelai, what are you doing here? Its late."

"I know," Lorelai nodded, her voice almost a whisper. "I just--I'm sorry. Were you in bed? You were probably in bed. I should have called; I'm sorry." Her bottom lip quivered and she bit down to hide it.

But Emily Gilmore noticed everything. Her voice softened in a way that Lorelai had only heard maybe three times in her life. "Lorelai, is everything all right?"

And she broke. The sluiced behind Lorelai's eyes crumbled and she put one hand to her forehead, the other against her stomach, sobbing uncontrollably. "Mom," she said, barely understandable. "I didn't know where else to go."

"Come in." Emily put a hand on her daughter's elbow and led her inside, into the living room. When Lorelai was on the couch, still sobbing frantically, Emily fixed her a glass of water and went to sit next to her, unsure of what to do in this sort of situation. Lorelai had always been the strong one; so sturdy and put-together and independent, unwilling to let anyone see her during a weak point. But here she was, crying onto her mother's expensive carpeting. Luckily, Richard found his way down the stairs just then.

"Emily, what's--" He stopped when he saw his daughter and was immediately at her side. He was a stern and no-nonsense man, but he always seemed to handle these things better than Emily. He slung an arm around his only child's shoulders and hugged her to him. Lorelai turned and pressed her face into his cotton bathrobe, her cries unrelenting in strength. When Richard looked to his wife for answers, she shrugged and shook her head helplessly, an unimaginable level of worry in her eyes.

"Lorelai," he started gently, "Can you tell us what's wrong?"

She shook her head against him, still sobbing. "Can I," she hiccuped, "Stay in my old room tonight? Would that be okay? Just for tonight?"

"Of course," Richard said immediately.

Then Emily added, "For as long as you need."

Lorelai nodded and drew back from her father, standing. With her parents close behind, watching her with concern, she made her way up to her childhood bedroom and closed the door behind her. She immediately collapsed onto her bed. For once, she was grateful that her mother never let her choose how her room was decorated. Nothing in this room reminded her of herself, or her life, or him. She was sleeping in a stranger's room tonight, and she slept better than she had in months.

--

After talking it over with her husband, Emily went to the phone in the study and dialed a number.

"Mom?" A panicked voice answered.

"Rory, its your grandmother."

Rory continued on frantically, "Grandma, good, I was going to call you. I can't find Mom. She was here, and then she was gone, and she's not at home. No one's seen her and I'm seriously starting to freak out. I don't know what to--"

"She's here," Emily interrupted. "She showed up about half an hour ago, and she's sleeping now. Rory, do you have any idea what happened?"

"Something happened?" Rory still sounded frightened, but less so, now that she knew where her mother was. Now, most of her fright was concern for her mother's mental health, "How do you know?"

"Well, she showed up here," Emily stated obviously, "For starters, but then she completely broke down. She cried so hard you could barely understand a thing she said. I've..." Emily's voice faltered, only briefly, "I've never seen her like that before."

Her granddaughter sounded sympathetic, "And she didn't say what was wrong?"

"Not a word," Emily sighed. "Maybe you should come here. She'll talk to you."

Rory agreed, "Yeah. I'll be there soon, Grandma."

When Rory hung up, she went to Lane and told her she'd found her mother and had to go to her. On the way out, she saw Luke standing by the door, staring at his shoes with a guilty look on his face. Unable to stand seeing her mother hurt anymore because of him, Rory marched up and glared at him until he looked up. When he finally did, she hissed, "I don't know what you did, but trust me, I know you did something. Know how I know?" Without waiting for him to answer, she pressed on, "Because you're the only person she ever cared about enough to let hurt her so much." As soon as the last word left her lips, she turned and ran to her car.

--

Lorelai woke some time in the night and felt another warm presence behind her. When sleep still clung to her mind and she was unsure of the time or date or her location, she smiled widely. Luke, one word echoed through her mind, and she couldn't remember a single word ever sounding so good. She turned and frowned when she saw a smaller version of herself sleeping next to her. She sighed and reached out to shake her gently.

"Rory, babe," she said groggily, her voice raspy from crying herself to sleep, "What are you doing here?"

Rory's head popped up, eyes wide open. At first, they were filled with relief and sympathy, but soon replaced with anger, "What the hell were you thinking? You just up and left, no call, no note, no 'hey-babe-seeya-later.' I didn't know where you were or when you'd be back, or if you'd be back. I mean, god, Mom, what was so bad that you had to scare your only kid half to death?"

Lorelai closed her eyes and pulled the comforter up to that it rested against her chin. Then, in a small voice that was almost childlike, she whispered, "I still love Luke."

Rory's face crumpled and she lay her head back down, "Oh, Mom, of course you do."

Lorelai shook her head, her voice--if possible--smaller and more frail than before, "I'm still in love with him."

"O-oh," Rory stuttered, taken aback. "You mean, you--"

"Still want to be with him," Lorelai nodded. "Still want to marry him, still want him to be your stepdad, still want him to be there every morning when I wake up."

Unable to come up with anything else to say, her daughter just said, "Does he know all this?"

Lorelai rolled her eyes, "Yes, Rory. I told him at the shower and he said he felt the same way and the only thing I could think to do was crawl to my parents' house and weep for joy in my father's arms." She sighed when she saw the hurt look on her daughter's face, "I'm sorry. Its just that...I didn't even know I still wanted to be with him that way until just now. At the shower..." she took in a deep breath, "He and I were talking, and he said 'things change' and had this look on his face that just told me--" Her voice broke again and a few tears slid sideways from her eyes, onto the pillow, "Told me that he didn't feel that way about me anymore." There was a long silence. "Rory?"

Rory brought one hand up to cover her mother's and squeezed tightly, her own voice full of tears, "I can't say anything, because I can't stand to think that's true. I don't want to believe that Luke could ever not want you anymore. So I'm not going to say anything. Just that...make sure, okay? Before you put yourself through all this, make sure that its justified."

Lorelai sighed and rested her cheek against the upside of her daughter's hand, "Yeah, babe. I hear you." Within a few minutes, they were both back asleep.

Lorelai was the first to wake the next morning. A glance out the window told her it was extremely early, as the sun had barely begun to peek over the horizan. Carefully slipping away from her daughter's side, she scribbled something down on an envelope she found in her purse and left it on the pillow, then crept down the stairs. In the living room, she left another note to her parents, then got into her jeep and started the drive back to Stars Hollow.

She saw Luke through the window as she parked in front of the diner. He hadn't opened yet, still busy pulling chairs from the table tops. He had a focused look on his face that was more than required for this particular activity, and Lorelai could tell he was deep in thought. It took her several long minutes and numerous inner-pep-talks before she was finally able to gather herself and open her door. When both of her feet were on the concrete, she mentally applauded her progress. Were it not such a serious situation, she would have physically bowed and thanked the audience in her head. But as it was, she simply sighed and pressed on until she was standing at the door of the diner.

It took Luke about three minutes to realize he was being watched and when he looked up, he saw her angelic face framed by the early daylight, just beyond the door. Her eyes were fasted on him, and he knew she was still thinking about the night before. Dammit, Lorelai, he internally scolded her. After sending her coded messages for years when he was trying to get her to see him, she chose now to start reading into the things he said.

Realizing he'd have to talk to her eventually, he stopped his work and went to the door, unlocking it and opening it to let her in.

But she didn't move.

"Lorelai?" He said softly, curiously.

She deep a deep breath and tipped her chin up to look him in the eye, "I don't want you to not love me anymore." She meant for this to sound strong and informative, but it had only come out brittle and pleading.

Luke sighed and let his head rest against the side of the door, "I don't want to not love you anymore."

"Oh." And then he mentally kicked himself. In his head, the things he said were innocent, but out loud, they sounded so cold and full of hidden meanings. A crushed look curtained Lorelai's face and Luke had successfully beaten inner-Luke into submission.

"No," he said quickly, shaking his head, "God, why do you do this to me?"

She sniffed, "Do what?"

He adjusted his black cap with one hand, "You come around, and nothing comes out the way its supposed to. Everything sounds so..." He gestured around, unable to find the word. Finally, his hands fell limply to his sides and he found her gaze again and sighed, "What I meant was, I don't ever want to not love you anymore. I wouldn't be able to handle it."

She took in a deep breath and looked down at the ground. "Me neither," she whispered. She knew that she had to talk to him, to tell him everything she'd confessed to Rory the night before, everything that everyone close enough seemed to know, even Christopher. When she looked up, Luke was studying her calmly, sensing she had more to say. She loved that he still knew when she had something to say. "Luke, I..." she paused, arranging the words in her head. "I'm sorry...about everything. I shouldn't have asked you to just take that dive. I should have been more patient. But more than that, I should have realized...earlier...that the last thing I wanted to do was be with anyone that wasn't you. Chris was right. I was marking time. He was the rebound, and I was still--am still--I..." she trailed off, unable to breathe anymore. It was too much. It was going to hurt too much to hear him reject her, but she had to keep going. "I love you. I never stopped loving you, as cliché as that sounds. And not in the way old high school sweethearts still love each other but don't want to be in a relationship. I still love you in the...want-to-be-in-a-relationship, wake-up-next-to-you-every-morning, get-married-and-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you...kind of way."

He just stared at her in that silent, stoic way he did so well, and she wrung her hands together, waiting. When he didn't say anything after a while, Lorelai's eyes dropped back to her shoes. "Um, okay," she said, forcing a smile. "You know, that's totally cool if you don't--I just thought I'd let you know." Even as she drove away, he was still standing there, staring. She cried the whole way back to her house. It hurts so damn much.

Now Lorelai stood in the middle of the kitchen, not really sure of what to do with herself. She hadn't been home five minutes before she heard three sharp knocks on the door. She walked to it, hoping it wasn't Babette coming to grill her about her disappearing act the night before. When she swung the door open, she found Luke standing on the porch. He was wide-eyed and breathless, like he'd been that night, a long time ago. And, like that night, he didn't say a word or make any movement outside of the few quick steps forward, the arms around her back, his lips against hers. And, like that night, she responded immediately. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled, urging him closer, afraid that if she let go, she'd lose him again.

But eventually, they had to pull back for air.

"Luke," Lorelai whipsered breathlessly, her cheek pressed against his, "Why are you--"

"I screwed up," he confessed.

She pulled away as quickly as he'd pulled her to him, backing away until she hit the wall, her eyes wide. He hadn't meant to kiss her. He'd just come to tell her that he was sorry, that he didn't feel the same anymore. A pity kiss. He'd given her a pity kiss.

"No, god," he closed his eyes and shook his head. "See, this is what I'm talking about. Nothing comes out right." He opened his eyes and reached for her again, wrapping his arms around her waist, "I mean, back then, that night. You asked me for something, and I couldn't think fast enough. And then you walked away. It was the biggest mistake of my life," he met her gaze squarely, "Not coming after you. I wasn't about to do that twice."

She could feel herself shaking all over, almost afraid to ask her next question, "Do you mean that--"

"I love you. I want to be with you. I never wanted anything else." She accepted this answer happily and fell against him, kissing him with such an urgency that it shook him to the core of his being. This was Lorelai Gilmore, the woman he never thought he'd have, then had. The woman he lost, and never thought he'd have again, then had again. The woman he lost again and was certain was gone for good, who then came back. She was there, and she wanted him, and she was kissing him in a way Nancy Reagan would strongly disapprove of. When they pulled back, Luke rested his forehead against Lorelai's and smiled, "Some things never do change."

-big dashes-

Yeah, it sucks. I told you it would! Anyway, here's those lyrics I promised...

"Cavanaugh Park"

At Cavanaugh Park
Where I used to sit
All alone in the dark
And dream about things
That I cannot say
You always said denstiny
Would blow me away
And nothing's gonna blow me away

At Cavanaugh Park
Where you used to take me
To play in the sand
And said to me, "Son, one day you'll be a man.
"And men can do terrible things."
Yes they can

And there was never any place
For someone like me to be
Totally happy
I'm running out of clock and that
Ain't a shock
Some things never do change
Never do change

At Cavanaugh Park
We used to get high
Watching teams as they fought
They loved my friend Adam
But he always got caught
Man, that kid made fucking up look cool
Aren't we all so cool? No, No...

And there was never any place
For someone like me to be
Totally happy
I'm running out of clock and that
Ain't a shock
Some things never do change
Never do change

Never do change
Never do change
Never do change

At Cavanaugh Park
Where I used to think
That this life would be good
And I would do things
That I thought that I should
And no one's going to tear me down

And there was never any place
For someone like me to be
Totally happy
I'm running out of clock and that
Ain't a shock
Some things never do change

And there was never any place
For someone like me to be
Totally happy
I'm running out of clock and that
Ain't a shock
Some things never do change
Never do change
Never do change
Never do change