The ringing phone pulled Lorelai out of her deep sleep. What time was it? She extended her arm out to the dresser without picking her head up from the pillow, mentally chiding herself for leaving her cell phone on. She groaned. Who would call her at this time of night? On her day off, no less? She finally found the phone and opened it. "Hello?" she mumbled.
"Page 21 of the LL Bean Christmas Catalog," Rory's voice said from the other line.
"Your love of Christmas shopping has overpowered your sense of what time it is?" Lorelai groaned.
"It's eleven o'clock in the morning, Mom. And don't get me started on the 'time difference' thing, because I'm on the East Coast," Rory explained.
Lorelai grunted and forced herself to sit up. Where did she put the catalog, anyway? "Hang on, it's right here," she said. She reached for the catalog and opened it to the correct page, and six different colors of flannel shirts were on display. Lorelai sighed. "This is for Luke, isn't it?"
"No, it's for Paul Anka, I figured he might want to match Luke," Rory teased.
"Har dee har, Rory, it's early. Where did you get the catalog?"
"Eleven is not early, Mom. Just look at the catalog, will ya? There's even jeans with flannel on the inside on page 17," Rory replied. "And Maine is where LL Bean is pretty much the most famous, Mom. Seriously. The catalogs are everywhere."
Lorelai nodded. "I'll take a look," she said, stretching. "Talk later."
"I'll call you tonight," Rory said, hanging up the phone.
As Lorelai reached under her bed to grab her laptop, she smiled as she remembered her spontaneous Christmas purchases for Luke. She opened the laptop and pressed the 'power' button, placing the laptop on the bed. Opening the closet, she stood on her tiptoes to ensure that Luke's new tools were still there. They were, right next to his brand new tackle box and his new camping tent.
Trudging back to the bed, she went online and placed an order for all six flannel shirts, making sure that her spontaneous purchases were offset by completely predictable ones. She had to throw him off somehow, right? It was only fair to have him be completely surprised on Christmas. Five more days, she could do it. She would only have to wait five more days until she could finally give him the presents.
She always got impatient around Christmastime, for more reasons than one. The smell of snow that hit right around Thanksgiving was the first sign. Black Friday shopping was never her thing, because it always involved getting up early, which wasn't Lorelai's favorite pastime. Then there was decorating the Crap Shack, which was always an adventure, but Luke was there to help this year. The house, complete with one giant Christmas tree in the living room, was the most decorated in the neighborhood.
And then there were the apple tarts. Lorelai could almost smell them in the Jeep on the way to the Gilmores' annual Christmas soiree, and she couldn't help but smuggle a dozen out in her new purse. But the impromptu trip through the outdoors section was where Lorelai found the most success in her Christmas preparations that year.
It was purely accidental, more serendipitous than anything. She saw the tent, and immediately thought of Luke, who hadn't been camping in a long time. Lorelai also remembered Luke's tools, most of which were old and probably needed to be replaced. Why not get him a toolkit while she was there? After all, it was now her job as Luke's girlfriend to get him the best gifts.
She finished her order and put on her bright red bathrobe with the white fuzzy trim, a Christmas gift from Rory from the previous year. Looking under the bed, she found her reindeer slippers and put them on her feet, shivering as she tied her bathrobe. She pulled it tighter and walked downstairs, pouring herself a cup of coffee and walking into the living room. She sat on the couch, put her feet on the table, and groaned as she realized that the remote control was on top of the TV. She closed her eyes, not bothering to get up and turn the TV on, and pulled the blanket that sat on the back of the couch over her.
As Lorelai tried to relax, Luke opened the door. She sat up. "Hey, there, stud."
"Sorry to wake you," he said.
She shook her head. "No, no, you didn't wake me. What are you doing home?"
"Pipe's leaking in the diner, I just need to grab the toolkit from the bedroom closet," Luke said.
Lorelai shot up, following Luke up the stairs. "No, Luke, uh, let me get that for you!" she protested.
"I got it," Luke insisted.
Lorelai rolled her eyes, running up the stairs and into the bedroom. "No, uh, see, I hid Bert."
"The toolbox is right here," Luke said, opening the closet.
She sat on the bed, burying her head in her hands, fearing her surprises would be ruined because of her refusal to wrap them until Christmas Eve. She lifted her head, peeking through her fingers to see Luke pull the box with the tent out of the closet. "No, no, don't…"
"What's this?" he asked as he inspected the box.
"Well, that was your Christmas present," Lorelai said with a sigh. "I thought I'd hide it up there until Christmas Eve, when I'd wrap it and put it under the tree," she said, playing with the tie on her robe.
"Really? You got this for me?"
She shrugged. "I figured one day I'd be spontaneous and kidnap you, take you camping for a weekend."
"You? Camping?" Luke asked, still trying to comprehend the entire ordeal.
"Spontaneity doesn't always work out right. And if it didn't work, I'd just chalk it up to my lack of planning for such an occasion," she mused.
He leaned in and kissed her. "I'm sorry I ruined your surprise," he said.
She smiled. "Do you like it?"
"I can't wait to camp in it. It's a big tent," he said, analyzing the box and placing it up in the closet again.
"What are you doing?" she asked. "You might as well keep it down now that you know what it is."
"You can wrap it and put it under the tree, I'll pretend I never saw it," Luke said, humoring her as he caught sight of the new toolbox. He turned to her. "Should I forget about that, too?"
She nodded. "You never saw it."
"Saw what?" he asked, playing along.
"You are really good," Lorelai said, wrapping her arms around Luke's waist.
"I try," he replied, kissing her. "I'll be back later."
"You could give me an early present if you want to, you know, make it even?" she teased.
He rolled his eyes. "Jeez, Lorelai, you're shameless," he said.
"Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree, for me, been an awful good girl…" she sang, winking at Luke.
"I'll be back at close," he said, ignoring her.
"Santa baby, just hurry down the chimney tonight," she continued.
"I'm not Santa Claus, and last time I checked, adults usually don't believe in Santa," he grumbled, walking down the stairs.
Lorelai sang over him. "… I'll wait up for you, dear, Santa baby, hurry down the chimney tonight!"
"Are you finished yet?"
She bit her lip. "Yep," she said, giggling.
"Good. See you later."
She watched Luke drive off to the diner in the snow, and she suddenly realized that she was in the mood for more spontaneous Christmas shopping. After all, he had seen her other gifts… what would a few more hurt?
She liked this 'being spontaneous' thing, a lot.