"That ain't me, is it?"
"What are you talking about?"
"What Taylor said about me being like Louie, a loner, never being married and stuff. I mean, I am getting crankier as I get older, he's not so far off."
"You are not your uncle. I mean, would Louie ever build someone a chuppah, or help fix things around someone's house without being asked, or make a special coffee cake with balloons for a girl's sixteenth birthday?"
Lorelai didn't have to help him out. She didn't even know Louie. But, as dumb as it sounded… Luke was glad Lorelai would always be there for him like she was when he needed it. She reserved all those rooms for his family at the inn, even though his family hadn't bothered to show. She helped out in the diner, and as annoying as it was that she decided to use diner jargon, he was real glad she was there. To the world, she was one person, but to Luke Danes, she was the world.
Once the funeral and the wake were over, Luke loosened his tie as he walked in the door. Jess was off somewhere, exactly where wasn't worth thinking about, he'd never figure it out, anyway. He took the tie completely off, dropping it on the floor, and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator. He took a seat at the table, letting out a heavy sigh. He hated being compared to his uncle… he'd always wanted more in his life.
Despite the jam hands comments, despite the grumpy diner man façade he put on for the whole world… he was a softie. He'd hoped to be married someday, maybe with a family (a small family, but a family at that). He'd always hoped to be remembered as someone who was there for other people, no matter what they needed or when they needed it, not a loner who scared everyone away with his gruff persona and his lack of sympathy for others.
He took a sip of the beer when he heard a knock at the door. He wasn't expecting anyone, and if someone decided that it was time to talk about Louie, he wasn't going to be cordial. He opened the door and there was Lorelai, wearing a slightly worried expression on her face.
"Hi," she said.
"Hey, come on in," he said, opening the door wider and inviting her in.
Lorelai entered the apartment slowly. As Luke shut the door, she turned to face him. "I just came by because I wanted to see how you were. I was kinda worried about you today, saying all that 'I'm like Louie' crap," she said, giggling awkwardly. She gave Luke a sympathetic smile and changed her tone. "You doing okay?" she asked, almost whispering.
He nodded. "Yeah, I'm doing okay. Have a seat."
Lorelai obliged, sitting at the table across from where Luke was sitting. She let out a sigh and pulled her chair in closer to the table. She watched Luke as he took a sip of beer. He looked stressed, upset, nervous… so not Luke.
"You aren't Louie, you know. You're Luke. We love you and we all care about you. You're loved and respected by this town, Luke," Lorelai insisted.
Luke brushed his finger against the condensation of the bottle. He'd been thinking about the comparisons for awhile. When he heard them said out loud for the first time, he brushed them off angrily, ignoring them and repressing the mere thought of being anything like Louie. After awhile, though, they seemed to get under his skin. Things never usually bothered Luke, and if they did, he wasn't going to share them with anyone. He wasn't the type of guy to pour out his deepest feelings to someone. And he wasn't going to suddenly change that.
Sensing that Luke was slightly uncomfortable, Lorelai continued awkwardly. "Luke, you've fixed things because you cared about us, not because you were going to get paid. You made Rory a coffee cake, because it was her birthday. No ulterior motive, no secret mob-like plans. You do these things for us, without being asked. Okay, maybe in the repairs department, you've gotten the occasional loving nudge from me, but you still do it. You made me a chuppah, Luke. I didn't ask for that. But you did it. I seriously doubt that Louie would do any of the above."
"You mentioned all those things to me earlier," Luke said softly.
Lorelai moved the chair to Luke's right. "You want me go into more detail? I could talk about the caterpillar funeral and the beautiful wooden casket he got… or the mashed potatoes, or the taking Jess in… Luke, I just want to make sure you know that I appreciate you, and you're always going to have a special place in our hearts. Okay?"
Luke looked at Lorelai. He needed the reassurance occasionally, even though he pretended he wasn't concerned at all. He let out a sigh, a long sigh of relief that almost seemed to release every doubt he'd had. "Thanks," he said, giving Lorelai a half smile.
She gently put her hand on his forearm as she got up from her chair. "Let me know if you need anything, okay?"
Luke nodded, getting up and walking her to the door. It was good to know that he meant something to Lorelai Gilmore, because she meant a lot to Luke. Watching her walk down the stairs, he somehow knew he wasn't going to turn out like Louie, after all.