A/N: This story is the sequel to "Losing Luke". If you've read that story, great! This is the next story from yours truly that you can enjoy. If you haven't read "Losing Luke," I suggest you do. It takes place before this story, therefore it would be less confusing to you if you read the first part first. And don't be confused by the titles of either story, I'm a JavaJunkie for life. So, I don't own anything, and read, review, and enjoy!
The welcoming small town atmosphere and the fresh, crisp air were a welcoming change from the gargoyles and stone walls he had been staring at all day. He found himself walking, almost pacing, the town square, asking himself over and over why he came. It wasn't like he really came as a tourist, as he'd been there before, and he had no business there... it was a good question. Why did he bother going to Stars Hollow?
He'd heard great things about how Rory's career had advanced since he last saw her. Rory was a topic gracefully broached in his place of work. There was a lot he didn't know, as so much time had passed since he'd seen the Gilmore women he'd gotten to know so well. But he had heard that she'd graced Yale University with her writing talents as well as her presence. She reigned as editor of the Yale Daily News, and graduated to find herself in the midst of a whirlwind Presidential Campaign. No doubt she'd do well, and the online magazine was lucky to have a writer like Rory Gilmore.
As these thoughts ran through his mind, he began to think of Rory's mother, Lorelai. It had simply been too long since he'd heard from her. After thinking about it a long time, Max Medina came to the conclusion that the countless metaphorical basketball players that stood in the way of him seeing Lorelai Gilmore were just too painful to handle. He knew very little about what Lorelai was up to since they last spoke. How was she? What was she doing? How was she handling the fact that Rory was now a grown up, facing the world and conquering it journalistically, one article at a time?
Running his hands through his dark hair, he came to the conclusion that he had arrived in Stars Hollow because his curiosity had gotten the best of him. Max really wasn't a curious guy, but Lorelai could do that to people. Curiosity and fleeting thoughts mixed with some residual pain and other feelings would always get Max into trouble.
Lorelai Gilmore had broken Max's heart, but somehow he was still being pulled to Stars Hollow once again. He was sure she still had the same phone number, but seeing her in person seemed to be the only logical panacea to the strange feelings and thoughts he'd been having lately. But he had to keep in mind that she broke it off so soon before the wedding, with no apparent reason. The meanings of the feelings and thoughts were still to be determined. Did he still love Lorelai? Was he going to try to get her back? How would he react when he saw her, for the first time in years? How would she take the news that he came back to see her? More fleeting thoughts.
He stopped his pacing suddenly as he caught sight of Luke's Diner. His mind painfully flashed back to the night during which he and Luke engaged in a verbal quest for Lorelai Gilmore's undying love. Though she swore that it was nothing, and that it wasn't obvious to her, it was obvious to him that something was going on.
There was a chemistry there, and it was blatantly obvious. That scared Max Medina.
Usually, Max wasn't intimidated by other men, especially those who worked in a diner. But somehow, he felt threatened, like his territory was invaded by this 'friend' of Lorelai's. So he proposed not long after, spending a large sum of money on the one thousand yellow daisies, attempting to ensure that Lorelai wouldn't be strayed by the feelings she'd avoided expressing.
And now he stood in the Stars Hollow town square, watching and wondering. He was beginning to get colder and colder. He stared into the diner, watching the hustle and bustle of the town around Christmastime. And he remembered the magical town with the quirky and loving residents that he had hoped to get to know a little better, that is, until Lorelai Gilmore broke off the engagement.
He breathed a heavy sigh, shaking his head and trying not to repress the painful question in his mind again. Repression wasn't getting him anywhere. Denial wasn't helping him move along in his life. Standing out in the cold, watching Lorelai at the counter, drinking coffee and laughing, all from the outside, wasn't going to heal his wounds.
In a moment of bravery, he made the trek across the street and into the diner. The bells seemed to cause a general, automatic reaction of curiosity. Had it always been that way? That's right, this town might as well have paparazzi staked out at every resident's door. Every patron in the diner jerked their head toward the door, wondering who was the next to enter.
As the diner grew silent, Lorelai turned to the door. "Max?" she asked, softly, almost in disbelief.