A/N: Title taken from the song that inspired this fic, "Those Sweet Words," by Norah Jones. All comments appreciated. Thanks for clicking, hope you enjoy.
She took a deep breath and walked up the stairs to Luke's apartment. The familiar sound of her high heels clicking against the floor with each step she took made her a little less nervous.
After all, years ago, it wouldn't have been a problem going upstairs to Luke's apartment. Lorelai got to the door and put her hair behind her ears, making one last attempt to look nice before she went inside. She cleared her throat nervously, put her hand up as if to knock, and took it back down, crossing her arms and shifting her weight.
They'd agreed to start things off in a low key setting… Luke's apartment seemed like the place to do it. No one could send spies to eat at the restaurant to sit and watch them eat, no one could walk up to their table at a restaurant and try to join them. This was a 'Luke and Lorelai only' date.
Knocking on the door, she took a deep breath. She heard Luke coming toward the door, and when he opened it, she flashed him her signature smile. "Hey," she said. She may have been completely nervous, but she hoped she was a great actress.
"Hey, come on in," he said, opening the door wider for her to come inside. She did so, and stood awkwardly in the entryway until Luke invited her to sit down. "Do you want anything to drink? I got a bottle of wine," Luke offered.
Lorelai tried to stifle a giggle. He looked so handsome, and he was offering her wine. It was suddenly obvious how nervous Luke was, and how hard he was trying to impress Lorelai. So much for a 'low key' third first date. "I'm good for now, thanks," she replied.
She couldn't help but smile as she took a seat. He looked really… nice. Trying not to make it obvious that her eyes were wide as golf balls, she stared at her shoes, then back at Luke. She'd read somewhere that the 'dress shirts and jeans' fad was out, but she decided that whoever said that was an idiot. Her eyes travelled from the stove where Luke was cooking to the bookshelf in the corner.
Out of nervousness, she'd looked around at the changes he'd made to the apartment. There were obvious changes, such as the marks April had so stylishly made, but she suddenly seemed to notice every little thing in the apartment that she'd never noticed before. "I like the changes," she said out loud.
He wiped his hands on the dish towel nearby. "Thanks. Most of it's April's doing. She found lots of boxes I had packed away, and she organized the stuff for me. The place was a mess for weeks, because she took the scenic route in cleaning, but she ended up doing a really good job. I'd give you a tour or something, but it's all… kind of in one spot."
Lorelai smiled knowingly. "No problem. What are you making?"
"You can look around while I'm finishing up, if you want. It should only be about five more minutes or so."
Lorelai got up from the couch, obviously trying to make Luke feel good about her interest in what April had done with the place since she'd last been in it. She slowly walked toward the bookshelf she'd been eyeing earlier. She took a look at the object leaning against it. It was a guitar.
She'd sworn she'd never seen it before. It probably sat there for ages, and she never noticed. For a moment, she thought about asking him why it was there, but then she decided it was better to wait a little while. Maybe she'd bring it up during dinner, depending on how things went.
She looked up at the top three shelves, full of old records. Her jaw dropped at the collection. "Were these your parents' records?" Lorelai asked, turning to face Luke.
He turned around, looking at the shelves Lorelai pointed to. "Yeah. They were really into music and musicals and stuff like that."
"May I?" she asked, gesturing to the shelves.
"Sure. Just put them back where you found them, or April may pace a hole into the ground out of frustration while thinking about what to do to prevent it from happening again."
Lorelai smiled, taking a random record from the shelf. It was Lynyrd Skynyrd. "I'm guessing this musical taste doesn't necessarily reflect yours?" she teased.
He shrugged. "I like a little of everything. You obviously uncovered that I like a song or two by Jimmy Buffett, right? I am entitled to like different things."
"Okay, I can accept a diverse taste," she conceded, putting the record back where she found it. "I just never expected you to be a 'My Fair Lady' type of guy."
Luke rolled his eyes. "That was my mother's."
"I presumed that," she said. "It was just fun to tease." She took out the next album, and opened the jacket. "Sonny and Cher, huh?"
"My parents got tickets when they came to the area," Luke explained. "They weren't really into them, until they went to see them live. That was the beginning of the explosion of Sonny and Cher records."
"I love hearing the stories behind your records," Lorelai said, putting the record back on the shelf. "God, that chicken stuff smells amazing."
Luke placed a plate on Lorelai's side of the table and pulled out her chair. "Well, I hope you enjoy it."
She smiled, taking her seat. "Aren't you quite the romantic?" she asked, giggling and fingering her earring nervously.
He shrugged. "I try."
"And you definitely succeed," Lorelai said, raising her eyebrows.
Luke poured Lorelai a glass of wine. "Well, that's good to know."
She took a sip of wine and watched as Luke sat down. "So I can't hold the question back anymore. What's with the guitar?"
He chuckled. "I went through a phase in high school. I wanted to learn, really badly, to get my mind off of my dad being sick. So, I picked up extra shifts at the hardware store and saved to buy a guitar. I eventually had enough money, bought the guitar, and taught myself to play."
Lorelai nearly choked on her chicken. "Really?"
"Yeah, I mean, I haven't touched it in years, but it just kinda sits there, holds the bookshelf up," he teased.
"I never knew you had that talent," Lorelai said, putting her fork down. She was genuinely interested in Luke's ability to play. "Would you play for me sometime? I don't expect you to serenade me or anything, I just wanted to… I don't know, experience it."
"Maybe sometime," he replied, taking a sip of his wine.
Lorelai smiled, and picked her fork up. It had been forever since the two of them had a conversation that was as personal, yet easygoing, as the one they'd just had. Thankful for the brief moment of comfort as well as the knowledge she'd gained about Luke, she continued to eat and didn't press the issue any more.
As curious as she was, she turned the conversation to April. "How is April adjusting to New Mexico?" she asked.
"She's doing really well, she likes it a lot. She's really thrown herself in there," Luke started. "She misses it here, but she's liking New Mexico."
"I knew she would. She's a great kid, she gets along well with pretty much anyone. It's nice to know the transition hasn't been so rough after all," Lorelai replied.
"How's Rory doing?" Luke asked. "She's been on the campaign trail for a few weeks, right?"
Lorelai nodded. "She really misses home. She's thinking a local position may be more her speed. I never saw her as a traveler, so it makes sense to me."
"Makes sense to me, too, growing up here, going to Yale, and suddenly she's moving constantly. I can see her coming back soon," Luke added.
She smiled, looking down at her nearly empty plate. "I hope so. I miss her a lot. You know how it is, you miss April, too."
"I know how it is. Don't think I don't miss Rory as much as you do," he replied, taking a bite of his food.
She looked up at Luke. "You do?"
"I watched Rory grow up. Rory's a big part of my life, too, and you know I care about you and her more than I care about myself."
"I do know that. I just…"
Luke sighed. "You didn't expect to hear it from me, too?"
"No, I didn't," she said.
"Did I upset you?"
She shook her head. "Now I feel better. I know someone else misses Rory. Okay, the whole town misses Rory, but not like… I do. And you're the next closest, and you've got the next closest feelings to mine, so it's nice to know that you… feel similar."
"Glad I could help," he said.
She cleared her throat, trying not to get upset at the thought that Rory was so far away. "Dinner was great," she insisted, motioning to her clean plate.
"Well, I'm glad."
"Is there dessert?" she teased.
"Yes, there is dessert. I made you something," Luke said, taking Lorelai's plate.
She smiled. "I can't even imagine."
Luke placed a piece of chocolate cake in front of Lorelai. The piece was huge, and it was covered in chocolate and nuts. "There. How's it look?"
"Like poison, let me taste it to make sure you won't die when I give you a bite," she teased, digging her fork into the cake and shoveling it into her mouth. "Mmm," she said, swallowing the cake. "Amazing. Try some."
"No thanks," Luke said. "You enjoy your cake."
She rolled her eyes. "Indulge? Just a little?" she pleaded, reaching out and offering him a forkful of cake.
He obliged, eating the cake off of the fork. "Happy?" he asked, brushing a crumb off of his bottom lip.
"Yes. I am. Thank you," she replied, grinning and eating more of her cake.
"You can bring your cake out here, and we can watch a movie," Luke suggested, motioning to the television.
"You have movies?"
Luke shrugged. "Mostly April's movies. I have a few John Wayne movies, but I'm guessing that's not a Lorelai movie night choice."
"I can deal with one of April's movies, if you can," Lorelai said, bringing the plate out into the living room again.
"The DVD's are right below the records," Luke pointed out.
Lorelai placed the cake on the coffee table and was once again compelled to look at the records. She pulled out another record, only to find that it was a Dolly Parton record. At the sight of the cover, she knew what song was on it. She saw that the record had "A. Danes" written in the top right hand corner and turned to Luke. "Your mom was a big Dolly fan?"
Luke shook his head. "Nah."
"She had a Dolly record, with her name on it," Lorelai said, pointing to the corner.
"She only liked one song," Luke said, looking at the cake on the coffee table.
Lorelai sat next to Luke on the couch. "So you think she had a little something to do with… us?"
"I don't know," Luke said. "But I know that… I heard every word you sang that night…"
"You walked in when I was in the middle of it," Lorelai giggled.
Luke shook his head. "No, I meant… I heard the words… and it's always nice, to know you care."
She looked at Luke, a soft smile on her face. "I always did care."
"Then why did you go to Chris?" Luke asked, his voice cracking, as though he were afraid to ruin the moment.
"Because it's the only way I knew how to deal with losing you," she admitted. "But of course, I didn't think of a hobby or something. You dealt."
"I dealt by blaming it on you, and that's not good, either," Luke started.
Lorelai leaned her head on his shoulder. "Let's postpone this talk for a little while? We need to have it, but… just not now. Right now I need to hear you say you care, too."
He leaned in and kissed her. "I care, too. I love you, and nothing's going to change that."
"I know you do. I love hearing it occasionally. Can you hand me my cake?" she said with a smile.
"You're impossible," he said, handing her the cake she'd neglected.
Lorelai took a bite of cake. "Ah, but this cake is proof that you are amazing. I like to be shown I'm loved, too."
She raised her eyebrows. "And other things."
"Ah, jeez," he said, turning red.
She finished the cake and put the plate in the sink. "So, we should have another 'low key' date soon," she said.
Luke nodded. "I'd like that. Can I walk you back?"
"I'm fine. See you tomorrow?"
"I'll be here," Luke said, leaning in to kiss Lorelai again.
She smiled as they broke apart, grabbing her purse and giving Luke a small wave . She walked down the stairs and back to her house. If the first date was that good, the second, third, and every one after that would be even better.