A/N: Another challenge response! Woo hoo! This challenge was presented by me. The challenge was to write a story that depicts how Lorelai is really feeling when Luke is with someone else. This takes place right after Rachel comes into the picture, in Season One. I don't own anything. Sad, I know. Read on, and review, please!
When Lorelai said she was going to harbor animosity to anyone who said 'Hey, how's it going?' she wasn't intending to have to follow through on her comment. She'd actually intended it as a joke at first. But when she saw Rachel walk into the diner, her heart sank. She'd heard the Rachel and Luke saga. She knew they had a history… and she was aware that Luke had missed her, a lot.
Lorelai Gilmore was never one to share her innermost feelings with just anyone. She often whitewashed her disappointment or disapproval with humor, because it was the only way she knew how. If she didn't, she'd be blubbering on and on to anyone who'd listen. She had always been a little overemotional. She'd learned to do it at the disapproval of Emily, and she liked turning the negative around to be a positive.
It had been a few years since Lorelai first walked into Luke's diner. Stars Hollow legend has it that from the moment she sipped the coffee, her life wasn't the same… and she kept returning. In truth, Lorelai loved the coffee, yes, but she loved the man who made her coffee more.
She wouldn't think about telling anyone this. She felt slightly guilty for telling Rory, but if Rory knew, it might slip out to Lane, and Mrs. Kim, and then to Miss Patty and Babette. Her secret would be out. It would shatter the classic perception of Lorelai, the sweet, coffee-addicted chatterbox of a single mom that came to Stars Hollow with a baby on her hip, looking to make it in a world away from the oppression and resentment she felt in the Gilmore Household. And the strong and independent side of her that she presented to the outside world was the side she liked best. The sappy, secretly smitten Lorelai was a Lorelai she wasn't yet ready to share.
But the rollercoaster of emotions she felt upon Rachel's return weren't helping her hide the secret Lorelai. Lorelai by nature was a woman who was personable, witty, and a little flirtatious, and when Rachel came around, no one seemed to notice anything different. No one, that is, except Rory. Lorelai had been a little touchy lately, giving Rachel lots of glares and almost forcing herself to talk nicely of her and to her.
Three in the morning wasn't normally a time when Lorelai was even thinking of opening her eyes. But somehow she found herself on the couch, eating some late night mallomars and watching a sappy movie. She had to snap out of it, and wallowing was the only thing she could think of that would allow her to shake this Luke thing off and return to the normal Lorelai.
Rory would never contemplate getting out of bed this early, for any reason other than an emergency or the first snow of the season, but she heard noise coming from the living room, and decided to investigate.
"Mom?" Rory asked.
Lorelai jumped. She sniffed and wiped her eyes, trying to hide any evidence of tears, and turned to her daughter. "Hey, sweets, what are you doing up? Oh, did I wake you?"
Rory grabbed the remote and turned off the television. "Spill," she demanded, taking a seat next to Lorelai on the couch.
Lorelai shook her head. "It's nothing, sweets, I'm just… a little emotional tonight. It's just PMS. See? Mommy's just going to eat her Mallomars and all will be well."
"Mom, it's not just PMS. Please tell me what's wrong?" Rory asked.
Lorelai put the box of Mallomars down on the coffee table. She turned to face Rory, whose genuine concern was appreciated. "Well, hun, I… have to tell you something. It's going to sound really, really stupid. But I know you won't think it's stupid, because you're you, and uh… I don't know, this isn't me. Forget it. Lorelai's happy, the world's happy, I love you, and good night."
Lorelai took a deep breath, conceding to Rory's power over her. "Fine. You know how everyone's been talking about Rachel?"
Rory nodded. "Of course, it's all anyone can talk about. Why?"
"Well, uh, it's just… kind of weird for me to admit this to someone… I'm kind of upset she decided to come back to Stars Hollow," Lorelai admitted.
"Why's that?" Rory asked. "I thought you liked her."
Lorelai took another deep breath, giggling because of the awkward situation. "Promise not to tell anyone?"
"I swear… what is it?"
"I think I like Luke. Okay, scratch that, I have liked Luke. For… awhile now," Lorelai admitted.
Rory smiled. "That's it?"
Lorelai nodded. "Why are you smiling? You're supposed to help me be rational here. Max is who I'm supposed to be thinking about right now, not Luke!"
"Mom. Come on. I see how you two look at each other every day. I've always wondered how long you'd go without telling me. Although you didn't need to tell me, Master of the Obvious, it was pretty self explanatory. You should tell Luke!" Rory raved. Once Rory had an idea in her head, it was impossible to stop hearing about it until she'd moved on. It was becoming clear that Rory wasn't moving on anytime soon.
Lorelai shook her head. "I can't, really, because you know what happens when Luke and Lorelai have a fight. Alternate routes, crappy coffee, and hunger pains ensue. And that, my friend, is Armageddon for the Gilmore House. It's not prudent."
"You get my point. I don't want to starve my beautiful Harvard-bound offspring. That would be bad. It's the Golden Rule, Rory, if I don't want to starve or have bad coffee, why would I do that to my wonderful daughter?"
Rory rolled her eyes. "It's not about the coffee or the burgers, or the alternate routes. I know you well enough to know that. It's all about you… and you're getting nervous that Rachel is here permanently and that Luke will fall in love again. I suggest you let him know."
Lorelai sighed. "Is there a 'Rory is always right' magnet on the fridge? Because somehow, I can't argue with you, you always outsmart me!"
"It's why Chilton loves me so much," Rory teased. "But you are going to do it, right? Tell Luke?"
"Ah, sure, I'll pick a day that's good for both of us. Let me check my planner."
Rory shook her head. "No, Mom, you're doing it tomorrow. This pining stuff is not fun for anyone!"
"What if I enjoy observing from afar? I wouldn't consider it pining," Lorelai insisted.
"It's pining. You're telling him tomorrow, if it's the last thing you do. Got it?" Rory demanded, pointing to Lorelai and shaking her finger.
Lorelai sighed. "Fine. Fine. I'll… tell him."
Rory smiled. "Imagine Luke's coffee, here, in the kitchen!"
"First of all, your imagination is getting the best of you. I should never have played all those pretending games with you when you were little," Lorelai joked, "And second? Who's to say things will work out?"
"Think about what you're going to say… good night, Mom," Rory said, walking back to her room.
Lorelai put her chin in her hands. And the observing from afar had worked so well!