A/N: Wow! Your response to Good At Dating was so overwhelming for me. I truly appreciate you all taking the time to review and let me know how much you liked it. I had a number of people asking me about a sequel, so I will attempt it. The ideas are not fully formed yet, so I may not update as fast as I did before (fair warning), but I did have some stuff rattling around in my head as I drove home from work today. So here goes nothing, I hope you like Rules of Engagement!
Oh, and just for the record, I own nothing. I owe everyone.
The Word Spreads
As Lorelai and Luke rode back to Stars Hollow that night, they were each lost in thought. As Luke held her hand loosely, his thumb kept brushing over the ring that he had slid onto her finger mere less than an hour before. Mine. He gloated to himself; Lorelai Gilmore is going to be mine, forever. He was almost giddy with joy. Almost, because Luke Danes didn't do giddy, it just wasn't in him. But if it were, giddy is what he would be. He couldn't believe his luck. This past year felt like a whirlwind. First, Jess came to live with him, upsetting the solitary bachelor life he had settled into. Then came Lorelai. Lorelai, his best friend, his worst enemy, his best customer, his gastric nightmare, his best kept secret, his most public confession, exploded into his life shining light into all of the dark corners. She brought him joy. She brought him laughter. She brought him passion. She made him live.
Not long after they began dating Luke realized that he hadn't been living for these past few years. He had been simply existing. He knew, even when they were just friends, that his life would be empty without her. That's why he kept his mouth shut. He couldn't risk losing her, even if he could never have her the way he wanted to. It was enough to be her friend, he told himself repeatedly. Boy, was I wrong! He mused with a rueful smirk, this was a thousand times better. Of course, if I hadn't stuck my foot in my mouth that day, I would have never had known the difference. Today, Luke was glad for his short temper. He was glad that he couldn't keep his lip zipped. He was glad she didn't bolt when she found out how he really felt. But most of all, he was glad that Lorelai loved him back.
Lorelai gazed out of the window as they sped toward Stars Hollow. Hurry, hurry, I have to tell Rory. I'm going to explode. I can't believe this finally happened! Oh! Now I can buy that stupid 'In Style Weddings' that was mocking me! She was gloating on the inside, but she was beaming on the outside. Ha! Screw you 'In Style Weddings'! I'm also getting 'Brides', 'Modern Bride', 'Martha Stewart Weddings', 'Weddings of the Wild West', Weddings for Weebles' and any other magazine I can dream up! She thought, turning to feast her eyes on Luke. My fiancée. My betrothed. My intended, My husband to be. My Luke. I am the luckiest girl in the world. I rock!
Finally, she spoke, "Can't this thing go any faster?" she asked with a whine.
He smiled at her and said "Look, I'm going as fast as I can. Relax."
"We're being passed by senior citizens." She complained. "Bye Grandma, bye." She waved out the window.
He laughed, and said "We'll be there in a few minutes." And squeezed her hand.
"I know, I'm just…" she grinned at him, knowing that she was being unreasonable.
"Me too." He said. They locked eyes for a moment, then Luke said "Okay, hold on. That Camaro is dust." as he pressed the accelerator.
They pulled into the driveway and Lorelai had the door open before Luke could come to a stop. "Hey!" he yelled after her as she sprinted for the front door.
She stopped and waved her arm "Come on, slow poke!" as he jogged after her. Lorelai burst through the door like a tornado, screaming "Rory? Rory, where are you?" at the top of her lungs.
Rory stepped out of her room, her eyes wide with panic, "What? What's wrong?" she demanded.
"Nothing's wrong." Lorelai said with a grin that would make the Cheshire Cat green with envy.
"Are you nuts?" Rory asked, "Why would you run in here like that? You nearly scared me to death!"
"Aw, sorry Sweets. I was just so excited to tell you. I couldn't wait! I made poor Luke speed all of the way home." She said hugging her daughter tightly.
"Tell me what?" Rory asked confused, and then she saw Luke studying his shoes intently, and everything clicked into place. She grabbed for Lorelai's left hand, and pulled it up to her face. Neither of them said a word for a moment, and then the squealing and jumping began. They were hugging and babbling and crying all at the same time.
Finally, Rory pulled away from Lorelai and launched herself into Luke's chest. He wrapped his arms around her to catch her, and felt her blubbering and blabbering into his shirt. "You did it! You really did it! I'm so happy!" she said in a voice that only dogs could hear.
Luke laughed and asked "You doubted me?"
"No!" she cried, "I mean it's just so cool! You're going to be my step dad!" Luke grinned at the thought. "Oh, Mom! Do you know what this means? Free pie!"
Luke laughed again and asked "Since when do you pay, anyway?" in a gruff voice.
Rory grinned back at him and shrugged, "But now, it's official!"
They all went into the living room where the girls sprawled on the couch talking a mile a minute. Luke sat in the chair and watched them affectionately as Rory asked about ten thousand questions about wedding plans. Lorelai finally had to hold up her hand and say "Whoa kiddo! We have just gotten engaged! We've been too busy making goo goo eyes at each other to even talk about this stuff!"
"I know." Rory said dejected, "But you have arranged so many weddings for other people. Now you get to do one for yourself. And Luke." she added as an afterthought.
"Thanks for remembering me." He said dryly.
"I know kid, but we have plenty of time. We'll figure it out, won't we." She asked the both of them.
Rory nodded and Luke simply said "You bet."
They talked for a while longer, then Lorelai suddenly jumped up and grabbed the phone. Luke asked, "Who are you calling?" hoping that she would say 'Emily', but instead she squealed "Sookie!" into the phone as soon as her friend answered.
After a few minutes of babbling, Luke heard her say "Okay, hon, we'll see you guys in a few minutes." before she hung up.
"They're coming over?" Luke asked, not really surprised.
"Yeah." Lorelai answered with a sheepish smile, "She just wants to see the ring."
"Hey Lorelai?" Luke asked cautiously.
"Hmmm?" she answered, looking out the window for Sookie.
Here goes, he thought. "Don't you think you should call your parents and tell them?" he asked in a rush of words.
"What?" she asked, turning from the window.
Luke shrugged, "Well, yeah. Isn't that what people usually do?" he tried to act innocent. Like a small animal scenting danger in the air, Rory hopped off of the couch mumbling something about a drink, and scurried to the safety of the kitchen.
Lorelai eyed Luke carefully, trying to figure out what was motivating this question. "I don't know, do they?" she asked in a carefully modulated tone.
"I guess. Didn't you tell them before, with Max?" he asked, trying to sound casual.
Lorelai narrowed her eyes at him and said suspiciously, "I think that you may know that I didn't."
"Yeah." He admitted quietly, "Your Dad told me."
"Is that what you guys actually do out in that garage, paint each others toenails, braid each other's hair and gossip?" she sneered at him.
Luke stood up and walked over to her. He rubbed his hands up and down her arms as she held herself stiffly, trying to resist him. "Lorelai," he began gently, "I know that you and your parents have a difficult relationship. I know that they have hurt you and you have hurt them back. But, I don't want his to be something that you guys use to hurt each other more, okay?" He paused and took a deep breath before continuing, "You only get one set of parents. Ever. They may not be what you want them to be, but they are all that you get. I can't tell you how much I would love to tell my parents about this." he said softly.
She stared up at him, her heart melting. "Man, you're good." She mumbled as she exhaled loudly. "You know, I hate it when you get all Mr. Spock on me and talk to me logically, I'm not a logical person." she said with a slight smile.
He smiled down at her and said, "I know. But, you know that I am right, right?" he asked gently.
"Yeah." she said hitting the on button 'on' the phone and dialing, shooting him a glare. "I'll do it, but I'm not going to like it." she warned. Luke held up his hands in mock surrender. Just then, there was a knock on the door. She hit the 'off' button before the call could go though, and said "That's Sookie and Jackson, would you let them in?" she asked while she headed upstairs for some privacy.
Luke reached the door only to find that Rory had already opened it, and was speaking to Sookie and Jackson in hushed tones. Sookie tried to make a casual slashing sign across her throat when she spotted Luke standing behind Rory, which made him laugh out loud, startling them all with the strange sound. The three of them looked at him wide eyed, and he said "Why don't you guys come inside so she can fill you in?" stepping back into the house.
They followed him into the living room, and Rory broke the awkward silence by asking "Where's Mom?"
"She went upstairs to call your Grandparents." Luke said calmly, settling back into the chair.
Rory and Sookie stared at him, their mouths agape. Finally, Rory whispered "He's magic!"
Sookie recovered enough to say "Oh, good. That's nice." as she sat down on the couch in a daze, distractedly patting the cushion next to her in an invitation for Jackson to sit.
After a moment of awkward silence, Jackson perked up and said "Hey! Congratulations!" to Luke, who inclined his head, murmuring his thanks with a slight blush.
Snapping out of her daze, Sookie jumped up and hugged him saying "I'm just so damn happy for you! You're not gonna die alone!" she babbled, "I mean, somebody will be there. Somebody will know. Somebody will find the body and call the police and…" Luke cut her off by throwing his head back and laughing. They all stared at him in amazement.
"Thanks Sookie." He said, gathering himself at last.
"Oh! I brought champagne!" she said rummaging around in her enormous bag for the bottle. She found it and pulled it out triumphantly, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat.
Rory nodded at Luke, amused by Sookie's enthusiasm, she said "Oooh. She's magic too!" with an impish smile.
Upstairs, Lorelai redialed the phone and twirled her hair nervously around her finger. Damn Luke and his damn logic she thought with a frown, if he didn't have such a damn fine ass, I'd dump him right now! Her train of thought was derailed when the maid answered the phone.
"Hello. May I speak to Richard or Emily, please?" she asked politely, "This is their daughter, Lorelai." She supplied helpfully. When she heard her mother's voice come on the line, she began to chicken out. "Hi Mom," she greeted, "how's it going?"
"Fine, Lorelai, just fine. Thank you for asking." Emily in a suspicious tone.
"Good, that's good." Lorelai responded, at a loss for what to say next.
"Yes." Emily said shortly, "Was that all you needed? Were you just calling to see how we were?" she asked condescendingly.
"Uh, no. Is Dad there?" she asked.
"Why yes he is, Lorelai. I believe that he is fine, too." Emily quipped.
"Good. That's good." Lorelai said awkwardly. "Could you put me on speakerphone, please?" she asked, "I have something that I need to talk to both of you about."
"Just a moment." Emily said with an impatient sigh, as she put Lorelai on hold. A minute later, she picked up again. "Okay, Lorelai, we're both here. What can we do for you?"
"Hi Dad." Lorelai said nervously.
"Hello Lorelai." He responded in kind, "Was there something you wanted to tell us?" he asked encouragingly.
"Yes." She sighed into the phone, "Tonight, Luke asked me to marry him, and I said yes." she said as quickly as she could. Her announcement was met with silence. "Mom? Dad?" she called to them worriedly.
"Oh, Lorelai." Emily said in a voice so soft that her daughter barely heard it. Lorelai's spine stiffened instinctively, preparing to do battle. What she heard next could have knocked her over with a feather. "I'm so happy for you." Emily said in a voice choked with emotion.
"Thanks Mom." Lorelai said in a voice filled with wonder. "We just," she started, feeling the tears spring up in her own eyes, "We just wanted to let you know." She finished softly.
Clearing his throat a bit, Richard said "Thank you, Lorelai. We are both very happy for you and Luke. Please give him our congratulations."
"I will." She assured them.
"Fine, that's fine." Emily said regaining her composure, "We will see you both on Friday, then?" sounding more and more like the Emily that Lorelai knew.
"We'll see you Friday." Lorelai confirmed, and hung up the phone.
Standing in Richard's study, Emily turned to her husband and buried her face in his chest. He wrapped his arms around her, and stroked her hair soothingly. "She called." Emily sighed with relief, and the tears began to flow. Richard smiled over her head and thought Good man, Luke. Good job.
When Lorelai came down the stairs, she met Luke on his way to the kitchen. She could hear Sookie and Rory chatting as they pulled glasses from the cabinet. She hugged Luke tightly, as she heard Sookie telling Jackson how to open the bottle properly, with no foam escaping. "Everything okay?" he asked, concerned.
She looked up at him with shining eyes and said "Everything's perfect." and kissed him tenderly. They began to walk toward the kitchen with their arms wrapped around each other, when they heard a knock at the door. Luke paused near the foyer as Lorelai went to answer it. When she swung the door back, she was shocked to find Babette standing on the porch with Morey hovering behind her. "Hey guys!" she greeted them, "What's up?"
Babette tried to peer around Lorelai as if she were searching for something. "Oh, hi doll. How are things?" she asked eagerly.
"Things are good Babette." Lorelai answered, amused. She pushed her hair behind her ear and asked "How are things with…"
"Oh my God!" Babette screamed, grabbing Lorelai's hand. "He did it! Morey! He did it!" she screeched staring at the ring intently. She pulled a stunned Lorelai into a hug and said "I'm so happy for you kids!" Babette then spotted Luke standing in the foyer, trying to decide if he should be angry or amused. She pushed Lorelai aside and made a beeline for him, she punched his arm a screamed "You did it! You finally did it you dumb son of a bitch!" she hugged him tightly, "You finally got in there and closed the deal! I told Patty that would be what it is, and it is!"
"Patty?" Luke asked confused, "How did Patty know? How did you know?" he demanded. Lorelai ushered Morey into the house and closed the door behind them, trying to hold back her giggles.
"Oh, well Kirk saw Sookie go into Doose's to buy a bottle of champagne. He was passing Patty's as he was following them over here, and he told her. She called me, and I told Morey that we needed to see if it was true, or if it was a false alarm, you know?" she looked around the foyer and tried to whisper "I think Kirk's still out in the bushes."
Lorelai glanced out the window to see Kirk running past Miss Patty on his way down the driveway. "Uh oh." She said softly.
"Oooh, champagne!" Babette said as she dragged Morey into the kitchen. Luke and Lorelai shared an amused glance before she went to answer Patty's knock.
Within thirty minutes, it seemed that the entire town had shown up, champagne in hand, ready to celebrate with them. There was much hugging, kissing, and one startled yelp from Luke. Lorelai shouted across the room "Hands off, Patty! He's taken." Luke turned seventeen shades of red when Patty purred back "You're a lucky, lucky girl!" which caused Lorelai to grin smugly. Lorelai saw Jess slip in the back door and sidle up to Luke unobtrusively. They exchanged words in low voices, nodding and smiling. Jess slapped Luke's back, and Luke grinned happily, puling his nephew in for a hug, roughing his hair a bit. After a few minutes, Jess caught Lorelai's eye, sent her a wink and a smile, and slipped back out of the door.
Finally, the toasts had been toasted, the huggers had been hugged, and good byes were called from the doorway. Lorelai and Luke stood on the porch, arms locked around each others waists, watching the last of the townies stumble for home. "This town." Luke said as he shook his head in wonder.
She squeezed his waist. "Yep. This town is our town." she said with a smile.