A/N: This will be the final chapter of Rules of Engagement, simply because they are no longer engaged! Take heart! It's a long one.
I do plan to continue with a third story eventually, but Mr. Mags is demanding that I take a hiatus. I think he's lonely. Of course, he doesn't know about Dirty!, because he is extremely Luke-like and would be completely ruined if he knew that I would post such things in a public forum – wink, wink!
Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. I have enjoyed writing these stories so much more because of your kind reviews and messages. It is much more fun when I know that someone is reading and enjoying it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
A Very Receptive Audience
Luke broke the kiss when Lorelai shivered. "Come on, Nutso, let's get you inside," he said as he took her hand and they scampered for the door.
Once inside, Lorelai grabbed Luke's coat from Jess' arms and slipped it on for additional warmth. "Just give me a minute," she said as she huddled into it, breathing in the smell of Luke mixed with the wool.
Luke rubbed his hands together rapidly and placed them on her arms, rubbing her through the coat to warm her. "We'll probably catch our death," he mumbled.
"Just think, in two days, we'll be sipping umbrella drinks on the beach," she said through chattering teeth.
Emily approached them with two snifters of brandy. She handed one to each of them and said, "Sip this."
The brandy did its job, and a few minutes later, Lorelai shed the coat, tossed it over a chair and said, "Okay gang, let's party!" as she danced her way toward the dining room. She glanced back over her shoulder and saw Emily draw a piece of paper from her purse and try to slip it into Luke's tuxedo jacket without him noticing. She stopped and raised an eyebrow at them. "You coming?" she asked.
"Coming," Luke said as he gestured for Emily to precede him. When she stepped ahead of him, he reached into the pocket and felt the paper there curiously.
Lorelai saw it all, and grasped Luke's arm when he reached her. "Did she slip you her digits?" she hissed into his ear.
Luke shrugged and said, "I don't know. Maybe she has a thing for married men," he teased.
Emily turned back to them and said, "Wait here. I'll have them announce you." She paused and pointed a finger at them as she said, "Be sure to circulate."
When she disappeared into the room, Lorelai plunged her hand into his pocket and grabbed the paper. "Hey!" he said snatching it from her fingers. "That's mine."
"Well, read it, I'm dying to know!" she urged.
Luke smirked at her and asked, "You really want to know what your mother writes in her love letters to me?"
"I've always suspected she had uncharted depths to her depravity," Lorelai deadpanned. "Come on, hurry," she said, glancing nervously into the tent. Luke unfolded the paper and smiled broadly when he saw what it was. "What? What?" Lorelai asked. "Is it dirty?"
"Very dirty," Luke said with a grin. He held it away from her as she tried to snatch it back. "Dear Lucas," he said in a prim and proper voice, "I have always wanted you…"
"Luke," Lorelai whined.
"You are so much more of a man than Richard could ever be," he continued in his 'Emily' voice.
"Luke!" Lorelai said, stamping her foot.
He laughed as he turned the paper to face her and said, "Apple tarts."
Lorelai gasped, pressed her hand to her heart and whispered, "She is in love with you." She looked at it carefully and said, "She really gave you the recipe," in a voice tinged with disbelief.
"It could be a fake, to try to throw me off," he said with a shrug.
"No, you're family now," she murmured. "Will you make some tomorrow?" she asked excitedly.
Luke laughed and said, "Not if you want me to be ready to take you on a honeymoon."
"When we get back?" she asked.
"When we get back," he said with a nod and a kiss. They looked up when they heard Mia's voice over a microphone.
"Ladies and Gentleman," she called. "May I have your attention, please?" She waited for the chatter to die down before she said, "Thank you. It is my privilege to tell you that our bride and groom have finally decided to join the fun. Friends, I give you Luke and Lorelai Danes," she said as she gestured to the doorway and led a round of applause.
Both Luke and Lorelai gave awkward waves as they dove into the crowd, their fingers firmly entwined. They ran the gauntlet of hugs and kisses, with a few pinches added in for good measure, as they made their way to their table. Luke surreptitiously rubbed his backside as he said, "I swear to God, Patty followed us all the way here." He looked around cautiously and asked, "What are the odds of getting to the bar in one piece?"
"In that get up?" Lorelai asked, gesturing to his tuxedo. "Slim to none," she said as she placed her small purse at her chair and looked around for Rory.
"She's over by Lane," Luke said gesturing to the other side of the room.
Lorelai smiled gratefully and said, "Come with me, then I'll protect you on the way to the bar." She unhooked her stole and draped it over the back of her chair.
Luke looked at her hungrily and purred into her ear, "Who's gonna protect you from me?"
"Behave," she admonished with a giggle. "At least for a little while," she flirted over her shoulder.
"Then don't look at me like that," he grumbled.
"Come with me, sweet pea," she cooed.
"Moment lost," he groused as he followed her.
"Mom!" Rory cried as if she hadn't seen Lorelai in months.
"Daughter!" Lorelai squealed as she hugged Rory. "I did it kid, I bagged you a good 'un," she said with a grin as they rocked back and forth.
"Daddy!" Rory squealed as she hugged Luke tightly.
"Cut it out, you two," he said with a smile as he patted Rory's head awkwardly.
"I'm so happy for you," Lane said as she wrapped Lorelai in a hug.
"I'm so happy for me too!" Lorelai said in a girly voice. "I am happy you're here. Did your mom come?" she asked.
"She came for the ceremony. She said that I could stay for the debauchery, but I would have to pray extra hard tomorrow. Oh, and I must not, under any circumstances, eat cake," Lane told her with a grin and a roll of her eyes. She looked over at Luke and said, "She said to tell you that it was a lovely wedding and she is very happy for you both."
"Tell her thank you," Luke said with a nod. "You girls catch up," he said waving his hand at them. "I'm going to brave the bar," he said, pecking Lorelai's cheek.
"Bye doll, I'll miss you, call me!" she squealed as he walked away.
"You're overwrought," he said flashing a mile over his shoulder.
Lorelai turned back to Rory and Land and asked, "Isn't my husband ever-so dreamy?"
Luke spied Richard and some of his cronies at the bar on the opposite side of the room from where Patty and Babette were sitting, and made a beeline for it. He clapped Richard on the shoulder and asked, "What does a guy have to do to get a beer around here?"
"There he is!" Richard said with a smile. "Get in here," he instructed Luke with a smile. He turned to the bartender and said, "The groom wants a beer, stat!" He turned back to Luke and said, "You know Simon, of course," as Luke shook the man's hand. "This is Elliot Van Ness, it's his place in the islands you're staying at," Richard said jovially.
"Mr. Van Ness, thank you so much," Luke said sincerely. "I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to it."
Elliot laughed and said, "It's Elliot, and with such a beautiful bride, I don't doubt it," he said with raised eyebrows. When Luke glanced at Richard uneasily, Elliot chuckled and said, "Sorry, Richard."
Richard waved it off and asked, "So, how are you holding up?"
Luke grinned and said, "I was fine once my heart started again."
Richard smiled proudly and said, "She was breathtaking, wasn't she?" He chuckled and said, "I almost blubbered like a baby when I saw her."
Luke smiled as he took a long drink of beer. He sighed as he lowered the glass and said, "I'm famished."
"I'll bet," he nodded his head toward Luke and told the other men, "too nervous to eat today."
"Be glad you didn't," Elliot said with a laugh. "You should have seen Richard when he married Emily!"
"I heard," Luke said with a smile. He saw Emily approach and said, "Uh oh, I'd better mingle, I see Emily coming. It was good to meet you, thank you for coming," he told them politely.
Luke drifted over to a table where Reverend Skinner and Rabbi Barans were chatting with Trix. "Sorry to interrupt," he said with a smile. "Mrs. Gilmore, can I bring you anything?" he asked solicitously.
Trix smiled up at him and said, "I want for nothing. These fine men have been entertaining me with tales of the saints and sinners of your fair town," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
Luke smiled at Archie and David and said, "I hate to tell you this, but these two men of the cloth are well know for their, uh, embellishments."
"Huh," the Rabbi said. "Archie, I believe Luke is implying that we can't be trusted."
The Reverend shrugged and said, "He's probably right."
"True, true," the Rabbi muttered. "Hey Luke, for a minute there I thought we were going to have to break out the defibrillator," he teased.
Luke patted his shoulder and said, "Me too, Rabbi, me too."
"We wouldn't have needed it, Taylor's here. He could have just called up God on his God phone and saved the day," Archie said with a laugh.
David chimed in and said, "Yeah, but then we would have to proclaim it Taylor Doose Day and have parade and a ribbon cutting ceremony."
Luke winced and said, "I think I would choose the heart attack over being indebted to Taylor for my life."
"Who is this Taylor man I hear so much about?" Trix asked.
"Ooh, we'll point him out for you," David said searching the crowd. "Do you see him?" he asked Luke and Archie.
The Reverend strained his neck and muttered, "So hard to spot him without the cardigan."
Lorelai walked toward Luke when she saw him break away from Trix, Rabbi Barans and Reverend Skinner. "Hey big boy," she breathed into his ear. She nodded her head toward her grandmother and asked, "How's Trix?"
"Ba dum dum," Luke deadpanned her snare roll.
"Thank you, I'll be here all week," she said with a grin.
"She's fine, the Rabbi and the Reverend are in rare form. Do you think they really arm wrestled?" he asked as they moved through the crowd smiling and greeting people.
Lorelai grinned and said, "Probably, but not over us." She glanced at him and said, "I'm starving."
"Me too, when's dinner?" he asked.
"Seven," she answered. "Have you seen any hors d'oeuvres?" she asked.
"I've seen trays, but every time I try to get near one, someone stops me to talk," he complained.
"What time is it?" she asked.
Luke looked at his watch incredulously and said, "How can it only be six thirty? We took pictures for seven hours!" He groaned and said, "I'll never make it."
Lorelai looked at the crush of people laughing, chattering, eating and drinking and said, "Come with me," as she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the dining room. Emily spotted them leaving the tent and began to follow them.
When they stepped into the dining room, Lorelai spotted a waiter with a tray and called, "Joe! Thank God. What do you have there?" He held the tray out for her to see and she gasped and squealed, "Crab puffs and stuffed mushrooms!"
"Sold," Luke said reaching for one.
Lorelai swatted his hand away and said, "You think too small." She grinned and took the tray and said, "I'll take this, thank you, Joe!" She nudged Luke toward the bar that had been set up, but as of yet undiscovered. "You grab us something to drink," she instructed.
Luke asked for two bottles of beer and followed his giggling wife toward her office. When she reached for the doorknob, Emily's voice rang out. "Stop right there, what do you think you are doing?" she demanded.
Lorelai sighed and said, "We can't get anything to eat or drink in there."
"Lorelai," Emily said in a warning tone.
"Mom, I swear, if we do not at least get a snack, you'll have a passed out bride and groom on your hands. Ten minutes, please," she begged. "You can stand here and watch us if you want," she offered pleadingly.
Emily's face softened sympathetically as she said, "Ten minutes, if you aren't back in there by then, I'll come looking for you," she threatened with a smile.
"They'll never know we were gone," Luke promised.
Emily smirked and said, "Probably not. Go ahead, just don't take too long."
"Thanks Mom," Lorelai said as she opened her office door. She turned back to Emily and asked, "Wanna hide out with us?"
"No thank you," Emily said with a smirk.
"Crab puff?" Lorelai offered holding out the tray.
"Don't mind if I do," Emily said as she took one and popped it into her mouth as she walked away.
"Nicely done" Luke complimented as she set the tray on her desk and they fell on it like wolves.
"I feel like I'm fifteen again," Lorelai said with her mouth full.
"She just wants everything to go well," Luke said as he chewed.
Lorelai looked at him and said, "Stop chewing, no time for chewing!"
"But plenty of time for choking," he said dryly.
"I adore you," she said as she popped another mushroom cap into her mouth.
Luke took a drink from his bottle and said, "I'm pretty fond of you too."
"You want to fondle me too?" she asked with a sassy grin.
"Yes, please," he said, perking up.
Lorelai leaned over and kissed him thoroughly. "Later," she whispered.
"Always the promise of later," he said with a smirk.
"It was hard enough to get out of there to eat," she said rolling her eyes. "How do you think this would fly? 'Mom, Luke and I are really hot for each other, so we're just gonna slip out for about fifteen minutes or so, okay?' Yeah right," she said with a smirk.
"Fifteen minutes?" he asked doubtfully.
"It could work," she insisted.
"Well, yeah, but hardly enough time to make it count," he said with a shrug.
Lorelai smiled at him and said, "That's why I said later."
"Later," he said with a sigh. "This has been the longest day of my life."
"I know! Of course, it didn't help that someone woke me up before dawn," she said with another eye roll.
"Sorry," he said with a small smile as he stared at his bottle.
"Don't be, it was perfect," she said softly.
He glanced at his watch and said, "We'd better get back."
When they entered the dining room hand in hand, they literally ran into Patty. "Ooph! Sorry Patty!" Lorelai said with a laugh.
"That's okay dear," Patty said as she reached to steady Lorelai. She looked at them speculatively and asked, "And where have you been?" in a knowing voice.
"Kitchen," Lorelai lied. "Checking on the dinner service."
"Uh huh," Patty said with a smirk.
Luke rolled his eyes and said, "Yeah Patty, we slipped out for a quickie. Have you met Emily Gilmore?" he demanded.
Patty pursed her lips, upset at having her impure thoughts dashed. "Well, I wouldn't blame a girl for trying," she purred. "Lorelai dear, your husband looks positively delicious tonight," she said, hoping to make Luke blush.
She got her wish as Lorelai grinned and said, "I know!" She looked back at Luke's red face and said, "We have to get back. We'll see you later, Patty."
As they re-entered the tent they found that the guests were beginning to take their seats as the wait staff poured champagne for the toasts. "Let's work some tables on the way there, get it out of the way," Lorelai whispered into Luke's ear.
He nodded and took her hand as they approached a table holding Babette, Morey, Gypsy, Andrew, Mr. and Mrs. Cassini, Fran and an empty chair for Miss Patty. "Hey guys," Lorelai said with a grin.
"Sugah! Oh my God!" Babette said as she scrambled from her chair to hug her. "So gorgeous!" she screeched as she rocked Lorelai back and forth.
"Thanks Babette," Lorelai said, gasping for breath.
Babette turned her attention to Luke and said, "And what a hunk!" as she grabbed him and squeezed him tightly. "I almost fainted when I saw you in that tux! So handsome!" she squealed as he gently pried her arms from his torso.
"Nice wedding, Lorelai." Gypsy called from her seat. "Classy."
Morey nodded and said, "Very cool."
"Thanks," Lorelai said with a grin.
Mrs. Cassini grinned and said, "Tillie is gonna be so mad that she won't have the scoop."
"Anything for the cause, ladies," Lorelai said with a wave.
Fran stood and hugged Luke delicately. "Congratulations, Luke."
"Thank you," he said with a smile. He looked over as Andrew rolled his eyes toward Gypsy and nodded with satisfaction. Luke smiled and said, "We have to get to out table, we'll see you guys later," as he took Lorelai's hand again.
As they walked away Lorelai frowned and said, "I thought Gypsy wasn't coming. Her response card said zero."
Luke smiled at her and said, "She's Andrew's date."
"No!" she said swatting his arm. "How did I not know that?" she asked. When Luke shrugged she asked, "How do you know that?"
"Bachelor party," Luke said shortly as they approached another table and greeted more guests.
When they moved on, Lorelai saw Kirk sitting at his table with a girl with straight brown hair and said, "Uh oh, I hope Kirk's mom doesn't see him talking to that girl."
Luke looked over and said, "Oh, that's his date."
"Date?" Lorelai asked. "You mean he didn't bring his mother?" When Luke shook his head she whispered, "When I saw two on the response, I just assumed he was bringing his mother. Kirk has a date?" she asked uncomprehendingly.
Luke smiled at her disbelief and said, "I know. Her name is Lulu and she's a teacher."
Lorelai stopped and stared at him in amazement. "How do you know all of this?" she asked.
Luke shrugged and leaned in to growl in her ear, "I know all."
She giggled and asked, "More bachelor party talk?" When he nodded, she said, "You boys are worse than 'Hello!' magazine over there," as she gestured toward Patty, Babette and Mrs. Cassini.
As Luke led her to their table he told her, "Kirk, Andrew and Caesar were disappointed that your father hadn't hired a stripper for me. They wanted to know if we were going to watch porn instead," he said with a smirk. "We told them that we were just playing cards and drinking, but it was okay to talk about girls," he said with a grin.
"I would have paid cash money!" Lorelai said with a gasp.
Luke grinned as he pulled out her chair and said, "That's how I got the scoop on how your mother stole your father from Pennilynn Lott."
When he sat down next to her, Lorelai asked, "What did you say about me?"
"You'll never know," Luke said with a small smile.
Lorelai shook her head and focused on the occupants of their table. "Hey kids," she said to Rory, Jess, Sookie, Jackson, Liz and T.J.
"Having fun?" Rory asked with a grin.
Lorelai opened her eyes wide and said, "Your step-father is a treasure trove of information."
"Really? How so?" Rory asked.
Lorelai leaned forward and said, "He knows everything that is going on here in our little Peyton Place."
"Ooh!" Rory said excitedly.
Luke laughed, looked at the guys and said, "Andrew and Gypsy are here."
"Together?" Jackson asked.
"Yep," Luke said with a nod. "And, Kirk brought that Lulu girl, not his mother," he informed them.
"No!" Sookie shouted, turning in her chair, bobbing and weaving, trying to catch a glimpse.
"Love is in the air," Jess sang rolling his eyes.
"Yep, Miss Patty and Babette have been dethroned!" Lorelai cried excitedly.
"Wow! We'll get to know everything first," Rory said clapping her hands. "Proximity to the power lines," she scoffed. "We have Luke!" She leaned toward him and asked, "What else do you know?"
Luke sat back and draped his arm over Lorelai's chair. "Jackson thinks Sookie has the cutest dimples," he teased in a girly voice.
"Oh, thank you sweetie," Sookie said leaning over to kiss her Mushroom Man.
Jackson perked up and pronounced in a strong voice, "And, Jess will never fall in love."
Lorelai leaned in and said to Rory, "Your grandmother stole your grandfather from another girl."
"No!" Rory exclaimed.
"It's true!" Sookie said excitedly. "Emily told us at the bachelorette party!"
"Where was I?" Rory asked.
"In your room with Lane," Lorelai answered. "See what happens when you ditch out of the party early?" she asked. "Grandpa told the guys at the bachelor party that he was practically engaged to this girl!" Lorelai said in a scandalized voice.
The gossip was suddenly halted when they heard Richard's voice amplified by the microphone. "If I may have your attention," he called. When the room quieted, he said, "I was going to start the toasts with a long speech I had written out, but standing here now, I can't seem to bring myself to do it," he said with a chuckle. "Today was one of the happiest days of my life. The happiest being the day I married my Emily," he said, sending her a loving smile. "The day Lorelai was born was a close second, until today."
He paused and cleared his throat a bit. "Today I watched my little girl marry the man she loves. A good man, a fine man, who loves her just as much as she loves him. What more can any father ask for?" he said with a helpless shrug. "Please raise your glasses and join me in wishing Lorelai and Luke much happiness together," he said as he saluted them.
After everyone drank their toast, Richard said, "And now, I must give way for our Best Man, Jess Mariano," as he held the microphone out in Jess' direction.
Jess smirked and stood up to go to the front of the room. When he took the microphone, he winced slightly and said, "Um, hi, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Luke's nephew, Jess. I came to Stars Hollow to live with Luke about a year or so ago. Um, those of you who do know me know that I kind of got off on the wrong foot here," he said hesitantly. He laughed a little and said, "I met Lorelai the first night I was here, when she invited us over for dinner. I had a bad attitude. I was angry about being sent to this tiny town. Luke and everyone else were bending over backwards to make me feel welcome and I was being a real jerk," he said ruefully. "Lorelai, of course, was the only one to call me on it. It was a rocky start, and it took a long time for us to become friends, but eventually, we did."
He paused to clear his throat and rubbed his neck nervously. "Lorelai, I am so glad that you finally saw how pathetically in love with you this poor schmuck was, is" he said softly, drawing chuckles from the crowd. "Otherwise, he would be even more unbearable than he is already. Congratulations," he said as he lifted his glass to them.
As Rory approached, Jess handed her the microphone and breathed, "Good luck," as he dashed back to the table.
"Hi!" Rory said with a shy wave. "I guess most of you know who I am," she said with a giggle. "Um, I decided that I wasn't going to talk about Mom. Mainly because you all already know how I feel about her, plus I refuse to stand up here and cry. So, I'm going to tell you all a little about Luke. Now Luke, he can be a little cranky," she said with a smile as the crowd laughed at her understatement. She held up her hand and said, "But, Luke has never been anything but great to me. I think I got to know him before Mom did," she told them. "Actually, Mom annoyed him to death, so I'm pretty sure he liked me better than her," she added with a laugh.
"It's true!" Lorelai called out, squeezing Luke's hand while he nodded.
Rory laughed and said, "Anyway, for those of you who don't know Luke, he doesn't usually look as spiffy as he does tonight. He's usually a little scruffy and wears these plaid flannel shirts every day, summer or winter. He always has a backwards baseball cap on his head, and he usually wears a scowl, if you can imagine," she said gesturing to his smiling face.
She looked at him fondly and said, "But I always knew that beneath all of that, Luke was just a big softy. When I was younger, my pet caterpillar died, and I invited Luke to the funeral, do you remember?" she turned and asked him. When she saw Luke nod, she told the guests, "Not only did he leave work to come to the service," she said with a smile, "he also built a tiny little casket and brought fresh baked cookies for the wake. That's the kind of man Luke Danes is," she said softly.
Rory's eyes grew a little misty as she said, "I'm a very lucky girl. I have a mother who is not just my Mom, but my best friend and biggest fan. I have grandparents who support and encourage everything I do. I live in a great town full of people I love, who care about me and Mom. And now," she said as she paused to draw a deep breath. "Now, I have a great step-dad. Someone who has been so much more than a friend to us for so many years," she said blinking rapidly unable to tear her eyes from Lorelai and Luke. She gave them a watery smile and said, "I love you both very much." She turned back to the guests and laughed as she raised her glass and said, "To Luke, may he survive the crazy lady he married."
"To Luke," the guests echoed as Rory rushed back to her table.
Luke stood up, opened his arms and enveloped her in a hug that didn't hold any of their usual awkwardness, while Lorelai watched, blinking back tears. After resting his chin on her head for a minute, Luke rubbed Rory's hair gently, and set her back from him. He smiled at her and whispered gruffly, "Enough of that, let's eat," as he led her back to her chair and held it for her.
The salads were just being served when the clinking began. Lorelai's head shot up to try to spot the culprits and was not surprised to see Patty and Babette standing up, hitting their glasses with their salad forks. Luke looked at his salad longingly as the noise increased. He sighed and mumbled, "We're never going to get to eat," as Lorelai turned to look at him with a grin. Luke smiled slightly and leaned over and pecked her lips chastely.
The clamor died down, but Babette remained standing. "Aw, come on Sugah, you can do better than that!" she yelled as she began clanging her glass again. "Ya gotta give it a little something, honey!" she called with a bawdy laugh as the others joined in again.
Luke heaved a huge sigh and leaned over to kiss Lorelai again, lingering at her lips as his ears burned with embarrassment. When he pulled away, she stroked his smooth cheek and said, "Sorry, forgot about this part."
"I guess I blocked it out," Luke said with a laugh as he picked up his salad fork again.
"That was some half-assed kiss, honey," Patty catcalled from across the room.
"Surely a big hunk of man like you can set the girl's toes on fire, come on Luke, kiss her would ya?" Babette screeched.
"Kiss her, Luke!" Andrew shouted.
"You want me to kiss Lulu to show you how it's done?" Kirk said jumping from his chair and pulling his date up with him.
"Sit down, Kirk!" Luke yelled, sending Kirk back to his seat immediately.
The other guests started calling their encouragement. "Kiss her!" people called out. "Lay one on her!" they told him. "Like this!" the men said as they kissed their wives or girlfriends.
"Oh my God," Luke whispered, resting his head in his hands as Lorelai tried to rub his back soothingly. "This is a nightmare," he grumbled.
Lorelai tried desperately to wave them off, to get them to stop before Luke exploded, but the guests paid her no heed and kept calling for Luke to kiss his bride. Finally, Richard turned around, his face alight with laughter and said, "I'm afraid you're going to have to kiss her, son."
Frustrated, Luke shoved his chair back, tossed his napkin on the table and yelled, "Fine!" He took Lorelai's arm and pulled her up with him. He looked at the crowd, his face red and stormy, and told them, "This is it. One kiss and then all of this madness stops. No more clinking! No more catcalls! No more! Got it?" he asked.
Someone in the back shouted, "Then you'd better make it a good one!" in a snotty tone.
Luke sneered and yelled, "Oh, it'll be a good Taylor!" as Lorelai finally cracked up and doubled over laughing.
Luke turned to her and said, "Stop laughing." Lorelai tried to clam up, but had to press her lips together to control herself, making it impossible for Luke to kiss her. "Lorelai, please," he said, mortified by the whole thing. She just held up her hand as she tried to control the giggles. "Would you please just let me kiss you and get it over with!" he hissed at her.
Lorelai drew three big gulping breaths to calm herself. Smiled at her groom and said, "Wow, take me now sailor."
Luke couldn't help but smile when he realized how he sounded. "You ready?" he asked.
Lorelai grinned and said, "Bring it on."
He looked down at her smiling face, and forgot about the audience. "Come here," he growled.
She stepped into him and tilted her head up as he wove his fingers into the curls at the nape of her neck. His eyebrows twitched devilishly as he leaned down and caught her lips with his. Lorelai wound her arms around his neck and plowed her fingers into his hair deepening the kiss. She parted her lips slightly as his slid over hers and Luke was lost. The guests hooted and cheered, and a piercing whistle rent the air, but they didn't hear it. His arm tightened around her waist and pulled her flush against him as Lorelai moaned softly into his mouth. When the tip of her tongue touched his, Luke groaned and broke the kiss, but still held her tightly. He stared into her eyes, breathing heavily and asked, "Can we go now?" as the guests applauded wildly.
"Later," she whispered.
Luke rolled his eyes and held her chair as she sat back down. He looked directly at Patty and Babette and saw them dissecting every detail of the kiss. "Hey! How'd I do?" he called to them.
Babette laughed and yelled, "Perfect doll! Perfect!"
Patty smiled and called, "I'm not sure. Come here and I'll give you my expert opinion!"
Lorelai reached up and jerked his jacket, pulling him down into the chair next to hers. She looked at him and said, "You stay right here by me." She kissed him lightly and said, "Now, eat your salad like a good boy."
After they finished their entrees, Luke helped Lorelai from her chair so they could go to cut the cake. "Please don't smash cake in my face," he asked desperately.
Lorelai looked at him sympathetically and said, "I won't. I hate that. It's a horrible waste of perfectly good cake!" she said indignantly.
"I never thought I'd thank God for your love of cake, but I am right now," he said as they posed holding the knife over bottom of the five tiers of Sookie's quest for perfection.
"It's almost too pretty to cut," Lorelai murmured.
"Almost," Luke said teasingly.
Lorelai turned her head and smiled up at him. "Have I ever told you how much I love cake?' she asked innocently.
"Almost as much as pie?" he asked.
Lorelai nodded and said, "But sadly, the pie is now running a distant second to you."
Luke smiled and asked, "Does that mean you'd stop eating pie if I asked you to?"
Lorelai laughed and turned back toward the camera murmuring, "Not a chance."
They finally cut a sliver of cake and cut it into two bite sized pieces. When the photographer signaled them, they opened their mouths and cautiously fed it to each other. When Luke's fingers touched her lips, Lorelai unthinkingly drew one into her mouth and sucked the mocha icing off of it gently. Luke's eyes widened for a moment, and then darkened immediately as his blood pulsed in his ears. "Lorelai," he growled a warning.
She immediately released his finger and giggled. "Oops, accident, I swear," she said holding up her hand.
"Uh huh," he said advancing toward her menacingly.
"Icing! Coffee flavored!" she said backing away from him. "There was icing, that's all," she said innocently.
"Hold still," he told her as he snaked an arm out to capture her waist. "There's icing on you lip," he said as he kissed her soundly.
Lorelai smiled when he lifted his head. "Oops, I think I dropped some down your pants," she teased.
Luke grinned back and whispered, "Later!"
They stood looking around the room while the cake was swept away to be cut and served. Lorelai pointed to a corner of the dining room where the staff was working several coffee and cappuccino machines and laying out a selection of sweets and asked, "What's all that?"
Luke grinned at her and said "My idea. It's a coffee bar and dessert table," he said proudly.
Lorelai looked at him wide eyed. "Really?"
"Yeah, your Mom thought I was nuts, but I knew you'd like it. Fran brought most of the sweets," he explained.
"Let's check it out," she said as she made a beeline for the dining room.
When she reached the table, she happily accepted a cup of coffee and sipped it greedily. She gasped and said, "It's yours!"
"Of course," Luke said with a smile.
"You gave someone your recipe?" she asked incredulously.
Luke smiled and said, "I made the blend and entrusted it only to Juan in the kitchen."
"Juan?" Lorelai asked. "But, he only speaks Spanish."
"Precisely," Luke answered with a smug grin.
"You are brilliant," she said as she took another sip. "Let's go see what Fran sent over," she said as she moved to the dessert tables. She perused the selection and saw that there were slices of wedding cake, as well as cookies, brownies and apple tarts on silver trays.
"Ooh! Apple tarts," Lorelai said as she snagged one. She bit into it and stopped chewing suddenly. "These are Mom's," she said with a full mouth.
"Huh?" Luke asked.
She swallowed quickly. "These are Mom's apple tarts," Lorelai insisted as she popped the rest of her tart into his mouth. She set her coffee down, and looked around, trying to spot Emily in the crowd as Luke chewed thoughtfully.
"You think your Mom made apple tarts and brought them to the wedding?" he asked.
"I know those tarts," Lorelai said emphatically. "Those are Mom's," she said as she picked up her skirt and began to weave through the crowd. Luke followed, hot on her heels. When she spotted Emily standing in a knot of friends, Lorelai rushed up to her and grabbed her mother's arm saying, "Tarts!"
Emily blinked at her and asked, "Do you have Tourette's?"
"You made me apple tarts!" Lorelai said with a grin. "Apple tarts and it's not Christmas anymore!" she said excitedly.
Emily smiled and said casually, "Well, Luke said there would be a dessert table, and I knew you liked them."
"I love them!" Lorelai said hugging Emily.
Emily shook her head and said, "You'd think I'd given you a bag of gold."
"Better," Lorelai insisted.
"I'm glad you like them," Emily said with a smile. She checked her watch and said, "I think it's time for the dancing to start, don't you?"
Lorelai smiled at Emily's not so subtle change of subject and said, "Lane is all set up."
Emily nodded and said, "Well then, let's get you out there so this party can get started." She gently ushered Lorelai and Luke back to the dining room, and nodded at Lane to signal her.
Lane nodded to Kirk who took the microphone and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bride and Groom will now share their first dance as a married couple."
The opening strains of Etta James' 'At Last' filled the room as Luke offered his hand to Lorelai. She placed hers gently in his and followed him to the center of the dance floor. "Nice song choice," he complimented.
"Seemed appropriate," she said as she gazed up at him. "You're so handsome," she whispered.
"Stop," he said as he led her around the floor. A moment later he whispered, "I'm having a hard time even looking at you. You look like something out of a dream." Lorelai shivered as his warm breath washed over her ear. "I love you Lorelai Danes," he murmured as he pressed a soft kiss to her temple.
She sighed, pressed closer to him and said, "I love that, and I love you." As they finished the dance, Luke leaned down and kissed her tenderly as the guests applauded.
Richard stepped forward as the next song started and offered his hand to Lorelai saying, "I believe the next dance is mine."
Reluctantly, Luke let Lorelai go, and scanned the crowd gathered at the edges of the dance floor. He walked across the floor and offered his hand to Emily. "Emily? May I have this dance?" he asked politely.
"Of course," she said placing her hand in his as Frank Sinatra sang.
As Luke led Emily around the floor she smiled up at him and said, "You dance very well."
Luke returned the smile and said, "Thank you."
"Have you had lessons?" Emily asked.
Luke shook his head and said, "My mother. She liked to dance. She and my dad would dance in the living room sometimes. One day, I asked her to teach me how," he told her softly.
"I'll bet she adored you," Emily said with a smile.
Luke blushed and said, "Well you know, mothers and their sons."
Emily laughed and said, "Boy, do I!"
Luke chuckled and said, "Thank you for the recipe."
Emily tried to play it off casually. "I guess you're my best bet for passing it down."
"I'll make sure that it is," he said gently. "You did a beautiful job with the wedding," he complimented.
Emily laughed and said, "I was half afraid she'd be angry."
"I know what you mean," he agreed. "You did well, though. It's exactly what she wanted."
"Thank you," she said.
When the song came to an end, Luke smiled and said, "Thank you for the dance," as he offered her his arm to lead her from the floor.
"Not so fast," Richard said behind them. "I'll take her, if you please," he said as he reached for Emily's hand and the dance floor began to fill.
Luke stepped to the side as he watched the couples swaying to the music. Lorelai shot him a weary look over Elliot Van Ness' shoulder as she made polite chit chat while they danced. Luke looked around and saw Rory leaning over the CDs with Lane. He walked over with his hands in his pockets and asked, "What's up next?"
Rory looked up and smiled at him. "We're debating. One more slow one, or do we get this party moving?" she asked.
Luke shrugged and said, "One more slow one."
"Slow it is," Land said as she popped the next CD into the deck.
"You having fun?" Rory asked him.
Luke smiled and said, "Yeah." He studied the dance floor as he said, "Probably running purely on adrenaline, but that's okay."
Lane punched the buttons and another slow song began to play. Luke looked at Rory and held out his hand wordlessly. She smiled and placed hers in his as she followed him to the dance floor.
When the music sped up, Luke made his escape. He ducked back into the tent and went to the deserted bar for a beer. He looked over and saw Jess sitting at a table reading a book that he probably had stashed in his pocket. He signaled to the bartender with two fingers and waved off the proffered glasses. Grabbing the bottles by the neck in one hand, Luke unbuttoned his jacket as he made his way over to Jess. When he set the two bottles on the table next to his nephew, Jess looked up in surprise and asked, "You're giving me a beer?"
Luke slung his tuxedo jacket over the back of the chair next to Jess and said, "I'm just setting my beers on the table." He sat down and grabbed one as he said, "Probably only drink one, though." He unhooked his bow tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, stuffed the tie into his jacket pocket and heaved a gratified sigh as he sprawled on the chair. He held up his beer bottle as a signal to his nephew. Jess picked up the other bottle and Luke clinked his against Jess' before taking a long swallow. "Why aren't you out there shaking your groove thing?" Luke asked with a smirk.
"Same reason you're not," Jess said as he smacked his lips and put the bottle back on the table.
"You're too sexy for your shirt too?" Luke asked with a smirk.
"Exactly," Jess deadpanned.
Luke spun his bottle around and picked at the label a he said, "Thanks for doing this."
Jess smiled and said, "Wouldn't have missed it."
"Sorry about earlier," Luke said gruffly.
Jess shrugged and said, "Everybody wigs sometime."
"Good way to think of it," Luke said with a nod.
Jess sat back and studied his uncle carefully. "I guess I don't have to ask if you're happy," he said dryly.
"Nope," Luke answered. "Probably pretty obvious."
"Where's you wife?" Jess asked with a smile.
Luke chuckled and said, "When last seen, she was 'vogue-ing' with Michel."
Jess shook his head and said, "Priceless."
Luke nodded and said, "I made sure there would be photos before I escaped."
"There you two are!" Liz exclaimed as she spotted them.
"Uh oh," Jess muttered.
"Damn," Luke whispered. "Hey sis, what's up?" he asked as she approached.
Liz danced over to them and said, "It's a party! Why aren't you dancing?"
Luke smiled at her affectionately and said, "We just needed some down time. I promise, next slow song, I'll come find you."
"I'll hold you to it," she warned as she danced away from them.
When she was out of earshot Jess muttered, "Way to throw yourself under the bus."
Luke clapped Jess on the back and said, "Anything for the team," as they each took a long gulp of their beers.
They danced and then they danced some more. But, as the guests gradually started to leave, Luke and Lorelai found themselves spending more and more time in the parlor, thanking people for coming, and juggling stacks of white envelopes. Luke leaned over to Lorelai and asked, "What's with the cards?"
"Money," she whispered back.
"Why?" he asked.
"Presents," she said as she smiled at another departing guest and thanked them as she was handed yet another white envelope.
When they moved away, Luke gestured to the mountain of gift wrapped boxes stacked on tables in the parlor and asked, "Then, what are all of those for?"
"Gifts to go with the money," she whispered.
"Huh?" he asked. "If they brought a gift, why are they giving us money? We don't need their money, or their gifts," he hissed in her ear.
Lorelai smiled at his chagrined face and said, "It's not about need, it's just what they do."
"That's nuts," he said shaking his head.
"Chill," Lorelai said softly. "If it makes you uncomfortable, we'll just donate it to Greenpeace, The Sierra Club or the Save the Baby Gnus Fund or something."
Luke wrapped his arm around her waist and Lorelai sagged against him. "Tired?" he whispered.
She looked up at him, grinned and said, "Ready to get my husband alone."
He smiled back and said, "Ready to be gotten."
Emily walked over to them, still looking as fresh as a daisy. She smiled and said, "Make a break for it."
"What?" Lorelai asked.
"Now's your chance, go," she said with a nod.
"But, the guests," Lorelai said as Luke cut her off.
"I'll grab your stuff," he said as he dashed for the tent to retrieve her bag and stole as well as his jacket and tie.
"Smart man," Emily said with a smirk. She turned back to Lorelai and said, "No one expects you to stay to the bitter end." She looked around and saw that it was mainly townies and guests who were staying at the inn still partying. "You'll see most of these people tomorrow. Mia and I will handle everything down here. It's time for you to call it an evening," Emily said gently.
When Luke reappeared out of breath, Lorelai smiled and said, "Thanks Mom. We'll see you in the morning."
"See you in the morning," Emily said as she waved them toward the stairs.
Lorelai and Luke dashed up the stairs as quickly as her gown would allow. When they reached the upstairs hallway Lorelai stopped and said, "Wait! Rory!"
Luke smiled and said, "She and Jess were hanging out by Lane. I caught them and told them we were bailing out. She said to tell you that she'd see you at brunch."
"Oh good," Lorelai said with a sigh. As Luke started to head toward the room he had used to change, Lorelai grabbed his arm and said, "Hey, wait. You have a choice to make."
"I choose you," he answered quickly.
"I choose you too, " she said with a laugh. "I meant, we can either take the honeymoon suite down there," she said as she pointed to the right. She fished two keys out of her tiny handbag, "Or, we can take room sixteen."
Luke paused and asked, "Room sixteen?"
"Room sixteen," Lorelai said with an encouraging nod.
The light dawned. "Oh! Good old Room sixteen," he said with a fond grin.
"Well?" she asked.
He smiled down at her and said, "Well, room sixteen was good to us before."
"Yes it was," she said with a cheeky grin.
"Seems a shame to abandon good old sixteen for a bigger, fancier room," he said as he bent to nip at her neck.
"Not our style," she agreed. "So, sixteen it is?" she asked.
"I think so," he mumbled against her skin.
"Good, because I already had them put our bags in there," she answered with a grin.
Luke snatched the key from her hand and pulled her along, eating up the hallway with long, impatient strides. He unlocked the door and threw it open wide. When Lorelai went to step in, he held her back and swept his arm under her legs and lifted her into his arms. "I have to carry my bride over the threshold," he said solemnly.
She clung to him as he entered the room, and placed her gently on her feet. "Nicely done," she complimented him.
"Thank you, it's a talent," he said with a modest shrug. "Would you like a fire?" he asked.
"Yes, please," she said with a huge smile.
Luke bent to light the fire laid in the grate. He looked up at her and said, "We've been here before."
Lorelai pointed to a log and joked, "I remember that tree." She moved to her suitcase and started to drag it toward the bathroom.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
She looked down at her gown and said, "I need to change."
He shook his head as he looked up at her. "No, don't," he said softly.
"But I have something special for you," she protested.
Luke stood up and said, "Save it for the honeymoon." He laced his fingers through hers and said, "All night long, I've been thinking about you in that dress, and how badly I wanted to take it off of you." He chuckled and said, "Now that it's time, I'm not ready to let it go."
She cupped his cheek in her hand and whispered, "So sweet."
Luke pulled her closer, hi s hands still twined with hers and kissed her deeply. "Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight?" he asked in a whisper.
"Yes. Did I tell you how handsome you are?" she asked.
"Yes," he said as he kissed her again.
Lorelai laughed and said, "Well, I'm glad we got that out of the way." She freed her hands and let her fingers slip into the open collar of his shirt. "We could start a mutual admiration society," she teased.
"I guess it's good that we don't find each other repugnant, it would make for a long honeymoon," he said dryly as she began to unbutton his shirt. He looked down, watching her nimble fingers slip the studs out of the holes. "Careful," he cautioned. "Your dad gave me those," he told her.
Lorelai's eyes flicked to his as she asked, "He did?" Luke nodded and smiled softly. "Wow, tuxedo studs and apple tart recipes, you were quite the hit tonight," she said with a grin. "You're the favorite," she teased.
He shrugged and said, "I'm nicer than you are," causing Lorelai to snort with laughter as she pulled the shirt from his pants and finished the job. She ran her hands up his stomach and over his t-shirt covered chest. "Can you feel my heart?" he asked. She placed her hand over it and smiled as she felt it beating rapidly. "I'm nervous," he admitted with a rueful smile.
Lorelai returned it and said, "Me too. Feels like the first time," she whispered. She cocked her head and said, "In a way it is, I've never made love with my husband before."
Luke kissed her gently and said, "I'm looking forward to making love with my wife." He bent and blazed a trail of kisses down her neck and across her nearly bare shoulder.
His hands slid down her arm and she grasped his left hand and brought it to her lips. She kissed his ring and said, "We're married."
"Finally," he said as he bent to kiss her passionately.
"At last," she sighed as she rubbed her cheek against his.