Lorelai woke up the next morning, absolutely sure that Luke wasn't going to be in the best of moods. She promised not to bother him but so much that morning. She'd thought of things she could do to make him laugh on the way over when she realized that Luke very rarely laughed. It wasn't like she hadn't noticed it before, but when trying to think of times he had, there was maybe one time that stood out. She'd jokingly referred to him as one of the Buckingham Palace guards before, but she hadn't realized the extent to which it really was true! She'd make him crack. She would. How to do it was the question.
She continued to contemplate as Rory and Lorelai sat across from each other at the table. Lorelai sipped her coffee while Rory scanned her notes. Lorelai was deep in thought about a conference at the inn when she heard Rory's book slam shut.
"I didn't know you had that sort of strength in you this early in the morning! What did he ever do to you?" Lorelai teased.
Rory sighed. "Mom? I need entertainment. I really, really do. Please? I've studied way more than I can handle and I think my knowledge is oozing out my ears. Entertain me before I go insane?"
Lorelai smiled. "Taking a break? Good girl," she said, sipping her coffee again. "What do you need? I'm a great stand up comedienne, I'm an excellent song stylist…"
"Yes, Rory?" Lorelai smirked.
"Can we play 123?"
Lorelai smiled. "Fine. But if I end up with Andrew this time…"
Rory giggled, looking out the window. "Maybe George Clooney will walk by and you'll be so mesmerized that you just fall into his arms…"
"Reality escapes you this morning, doesn't it? Can we just determine my fate already?" Lorelai teased.
"Wow, someone's impatient this morning. One," Rory said, pointing to a short gentleman with a goatee.
Lorelai leaned in to see the man. She looked at Rory and shook her head. "Nope. I'd rather not travel to Munchkinland, to meet his parents, thank you very much."
Rory took a bite of her bacon. "Aww, you don't think he's a cute little munchkin?"
"Not so much. Two, please?"
Rory looked out the window and gasped. "Two," she said, unable to control her laughter and breaking into a fit of giggles.
"Taylor? Rory, please, you've got to be kidding me," Lorelai groaned, rolling her eyes and shoving a bite of her breakfast in her mouth.
Rory grinned. "You can wear matching cardigans… he can have you co-officiate town meetings."
"Stop right there. Seriously. Number three had better be handsome or I'm staying single for the rest of my life," Lorelai declared, shuddering. "Taylor? Eew. And I beg you, stop before another word comes out of your mouth."
"This is really making me feel so much better!" Rory gushed. "If number three is Kirk, this could reach a whole new level of cool."
Lorelai downed the rest of her coffee. "If you value your life you will conveniently not see Kirk when he passes by."
Rory and Lorelai stared out the window for a moment, waiting for man number three to pass, until Luke reached over to grab Lorelai's empty plate. Rory raised her eyebrows at Lorelai and held up three fingers. "So, Luke, uh, how's it feel to be number three?"
"I have a feeling I will never know what you're talking about, and I also have a feeling that I don't really want to know," Luke grumbled, grabbing Rory's plate as well.
Lorelai glared at a giggling Rory, rolled her eyes, and pulled out her chair. She walked up to the empty counter and took a seat. Watching as Luke wiped down the counter, she pondered whether or not to say anything about Rachel. She folded her hands and put them on the counter, tilting her head to the side.
"What?" Luke asked, finally noticing that she was staring at him.
"Sorry about Rachel," she said.
Luke looked up at her, stopping what he was doing. "How did you know about Rachel?"
Lorelai bit her lip, searching for an answer. "Small town," she said, nodding gravely.
"Word does travel fast," he conceded, walking to the cash register.
She moved down a few stools to be able to talk to Luke. "If it makes you feel any better? You're now my eternal soul mate. You were the winner. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Whoa, I suddenly just got really hungry again."
"Want to rub this in some more? Go ahead," Luke muttered.
"Huh? What are you talking about, Luke?"
"You're rubbing it in!" he hissed.
She rolled her eyes. "I most certainly am not! Drama queen."
"You're sitting here, telling me about some stupid little game you're playing, and you know what happened last night. You're finding this really amusing, aren't you? You just LOVE rubbing your happiness in my face at the perfect times, don't you?" he ranted.
Lorelai walked around the counter, pulling a ranting Luke outside the diner. "Okay, come out here," she insisted.
"What the HELL are you doing?" he demanded.
"This is between you and me, not all of them," Lorelai countered, crossing her arms. "You'll thank me at some point."
Luke looked around. "What, this is better?" he asked, gesturing to the town.
"Just say your peace, please," she urged him.
"You're rubbing it in. Rachel already left because she thought I liked you, so why not just keep raining on my parade, huh? You and Max loved to do it that night when it was snowing, just acting all lovey dovey in the middle of town while it was snowing, right in front of me," Luke ranted.
Lorelai scrunched up her nose in confusion. "What are you talking about? And on a side note? I love how you just said 'lovey dovey'."
"You knew I had a thing for you. I know you knew. Everyone knew. Even Rachel knew. That's why she left. So, I walked over to the table, purposely attempting to be that third person, seeing what you'd do. And there you go, just mocking me and continuing to rub this whole thing in my face!" he said, his face turning red with frustration and anger.
"Whoa, not exactly painting a very pretty picture of me there, Picasso," Lorelai offered.
Luke rolled his eyes. "Oh, come on, don't play that game with me."
"Luke, the first time we played this stupid game, I took it a little too seriously! I had a huge epiphany, Luke! I thought about what kind of guy you were in a romantic way for the first time since we met!"
"What are you talking about, since the first time we met? You make no sense!"
Lorelai took a deep breath. "The first day, I was really flirting with you. I did the best flirt I could imagine, because in addition to a great need for coffee, I found you extremely attractive. I almost left my phone number on that horoscope, but I figured you wouldn't really want to stop by the potting shed. We hadn't quite moved into the house yet. I decided against it, and I figured you had no idea I was flirting, so I let it go. But the other day, Rory and I were playing this game, and you were number three!"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"You were number three, and for the first time in a long time I thought of you romantically. I thought of you in a way I was scared to think of you before. And I jumped on the idea, but you were still with Rachel. I flirted, and nothing. I broke up with Max thinking I had a chance with you, Luke, and I'm never, ever that flighty!" she ranted. "And at the Firelight Festival? And the picture of the inn? Come ON, Luke, that's one of those things you unintentionally rubbed in MY face, too."
"Well, I guess we're even then," Luke insisted.
Lorelai gasped. "And what made you so mad about my momentary happiness, anyway? Seriously! Why were you so upset when I was with Max? You didn't want me to be happy?"
"Lorelai, you've rubbed every relationship you've ever had in my face! You don't consciously do it, but you rub it in my face! I remember…"
At that moment, Lorelai tuned out. Why were they fighting? Sure, they were always very poor communicators, but why were they fighting about their feelings for each other? She impulsively leaned in and kissed him, ending his rant altogether. She finally stepped back and Luke looked at her, stunned.
Lorelai nodded. "Yeah, I wondered the same thing."
She giggled. "Ah, I've left you speechless. All in a day's work."
"What does this mean?" Luke asked.
"It means anything you want it to mean," Lorelai said with a wink, starting for the door. "Ball's in your court."
"Wait," Luke said, holding out his hand as though to try and stop her.
She turned to face him. "Yeah?"
"Would you like to… have dinner sometime?"
Lorelai smiled. "I'd love to," she said. "And after all, I should give number three a shot for once. Number three isn't always the one you're 'stuck' with."
"Good to hear," he said, opening the door for her.
A/N: Another Java Journey comes to an end! I want to wholeheartedly thank all of you for reading and reviewing. I have two more works in progress now and once those are stable, I should be putting out a new chapter fic. Keep an eye out! Thank you all again for your support!