One Night Changes Everything
Provider of Quality Fan Fiction
Special Thanks to Ms Kitten who talks me down from imaginary fan fiction ledges!
A/N Still working on that Home/work/fan fiction Life balance
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Would You Like To Play A Game?
Luke tried to get up out of bed, but he felt a weight on his left side, much like the night of their camp out in the living room. Luke looked to his side to find that Lorelai had rolled over and cuddled against him, grasping his entire arm, clasping his hand. For a moment, he could pretend that it was real, that they were really a couple, who cared about each other and having a baby out of love. However, that wasn't the case, and if Luke didn't act soon, he was going to be late for work. He hated to do it, but he had to wake Lorelai up.
Lorelai groaned, not used to getting up before dawn, "What?" she asked annoyed, her left arm rose from his forearm, and she swatted at the noise. When her hand came in contact with Luke's mouth and nose, then she raised her head and realized who she was with. "What are we doing?"
"Nothing, just sleeping," Luke informed.
"I rolled over, didn't I?"
"Yup," hiding his unease.
"I'm sorry," Lorelai yawned, absently settling back on his shoulder like a pillow.
"Um, I have to get up for work, so if you could," Luke gestured toward her side of the bed with his free hand, the other was still in her death grip.
"What? Oh, sure," Lorelai sleepily rolled over to face the other way, freeing Luke to get out of there before Rory woke up. Before he left the room, Luke saw that Lorelai had instantly fallen back to sleep.
Luke shook his head as he sat up. Nothing. No reaction, just "oops, I rolled over". Still, Lorelai had rolled over, maybe to be close to him. Luke knew he was going to drive himself crazy with this pining for her as long as they were living together. Nineteen years until the baby is in college.
In the evening, Luke habitually drove to his old apartment, a mistake he had made ever since the move. Only after parking his truck, removing his keys from the ignition, and unbuckling his seat belt would Luke then see the sign for Jefferson Avenue and then remember his residence had recently changed back to his childhood home. Re-buckling his seat belt and grumbling the short drive to his new/old house.
Luke came into the house and Rory immediately ran into the hallway to greet him with a book clutched to her chest; "Hi Luke!"
"Hey, Rory," He grinned, a little touched by her enthusiasm to see him, Luke hanging up his coat on the old coat rack from his apartment.
"Are you making dinner tonight? Or should we order in?"
"I can make something, if you want."
"Umm, Can I … help you?"
"Sure," and Luke headed to the kitchen to survey what they had available, "Where's your mom?"
"Umm," Rory delayed, "She's here."
A red flag went up in Luke's mind, eyeing the girl suspiciously, "Where?"
"Umm, upstairs?" Rory posed.
"You okay?" Luke eyed her up and down again.
"Why do you keep saying 'umm'?" Luke asked.
"I'm not" Rory straightened up defensively.
"Where is she?"
Luke looked to the ceiling, summoning patience while talking to the girl, "your mom."
"I told you, upstairs. She's, um… busy."
"Well, I want to talk to your mom for a second," Luke was about to head back into the living room to head for the stairs.
"You can't!" Rory said quickly. She tried to block his path which Luke found strange. "She's um..." Rory tried to think of something, but her mind went blank; Luke took the pause to head to the living room for the upstairs.
Luke entered their sparsely furnished living room, with Rory on his heels; "Hey, Lorelai, are you...?" he called up the stairs, and then stopped in his tracks when he saw Lorelai was sitting on the only furniture currently in the room, his father's old brown easy chair, with his father's old green army coat, the one Luke had just hung up, now resting in her lap. She had her sewing box at her feet on the floor and she appeared to be locating a green thread spool that would match.
Lorelai sighed in frustration, "Rory was supposed to keep you busy."
"I tried!" Rory defended herself with up turned palms and shrugged shoulders.
"Why? What are you doing with that?" Luke quickly crossed the room toward her, towering over Lorelai.
"I'm mending it!" Lorelai insisted.
"Did I ask you to?"
"No, I'm doing it because I care. Because there is a hole in the inside pocket, the hem stitching is unraveling which will lead to fraying, and I want to make this coat like new again. After all you're doing for us, please let me at least do this one thing for you, so this coat will last as long as it possibly can for you."
Luke barely felt the smile on his face, he wasn't used to people doing things for him, much like Lorelai hadn't been when he first offered to be there for the baby; "Alright," he finally said, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Lorelai smiled, and she finished threading her needle with the perfect green thread and began to sew the problem areas she had already identified.
"I'm sorry, Mom," Rory apologized.
"No worries, sweets; looks like we've worked it out."
"Am I excused?" Rory asked.
Lorelai nodded, "Yes."
"Yes! Time for Homework!" Rory raced upstairs to her room to try out her new desk.
Lorelai chuckled as she sewed, "Sometimes I wonder if she is really mine."
"You didn't have to fix my coat."
"I know how much this coat means to you. I wanted a … gesture… of some sort; you do so much for us. You assemble furniture," she nodded toward the new TV cabinet, looking odd in the sparse living room. "Do heavy lifting."
"Well, Andrew did help."
"You cook. You drive us wherever we need to go." Making sure Rory was in her room, Lorelai whispered, "I also wanted to thank you for staying with me, at night. I really think it helps me … sleep easier."
Luke nodded, "Do you feel better?"
"I do," Lorelai started to stitch, "I'm still getting used to this place," she looked around at their house tugging on her needle and thread to make sure the stitch remained tight and secure, "and I'm under a lot of pressure for this wedding; it's a family that has had multiple parties at our Inn, and so naturally we want their continued repeat business, so it's kind of a big deal."
Luke nodded, taking in what she had said.
"And the new living room furniture will be here tomorrow during the day, so I can wait for the delivery guys."
"What? Why? What about work?"
"I work tomorrow night in the dining room; I thought you were free to be with Rory."
"No, I am; it's just… I don't want you here alone, pregnant, with some strangers moving the furniture in. What if something happens?"
"Luke, it will be fine. It's Stars Hollow."
Luke tried to swallow his worry but failed.
Lorelai focused on the stitch she was making, a little pleased that he cared so much, "So we have a TV, a VCR, TV cabinet, the couch is on its way… before you know it, we can have movie night again."
Luke smiled thinking of the Gilmore Movie Nights they had at his apartment before the move. It gave him and Rory something neutral to talk about most of the time, and for two hours they could just observe someone else's story and not have to focus on the difficulties of their own. Luke stared at Lorelai concentrating so hard on her sewing, she seemed fine now, but Luke felt he had to pose, "So, tonight?"
Lorelai's head shot up and looked him dead in the eye, "We don't have a couch yet," she laughed.
"No, I meant tonight," Luke glanced upstairs, hoping Rory didn't overhear, "you'd want me… with you tonight, so you can rest… for the wedding?" Luke causally asked, looking back to Lorelai.
"Oh, uh, yeah; that would be great," Lorelai sighed in relief that she wouldn't have work up the nerve to ask him.
"So, what do you say… just for the next week, we have an understanding? I'll keep… you company until this wedding is over, so you can sleep, but then you have to try to be by yourself?"
Lorelai momentarily paused her thread pulling, she would have him with her until Sunday, "Sure, that sounds fair," Lorelai looked down and focused on her project.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, got to grow up sometime, right?" she tried to laugh it off, that her behavior was silly, "It's just this new house, it's a new place, I just have to get used to it. I'll adjust. You're right, I'm an adult I should be able to be unconscious for a few hours by myself."
"Okay, well, you will tell me or the doctor if you don't adjust, right?"
"Of course I will," Lorelai said focused on the stitch she was making.
"Good, cause you need your rest; you and the baby."
"I know," Lorelai nodded.
Luke eyed her, her rest and health were the most important thing for the baby.
"I don't know how I'm going to replace some of these buttons," Lorelai sighed, changing the subject from their sleeping arrangement.
"I saved them. They are in the right front pocket, the one that doesn't have a hole in it."
"Of course, you did," she grinned, fishing the buttons out.
"Hey, where is Rory going to be for the wedding? Because I have to work at Sniffy's this weekend."
"Oh, she usually comes with me; she helps with flowers, or the guest book. When she was younger, and the families didn't have a young relative, she would be the flower girl. We should call Guinness records because I'm sure she's got any claimed record beaten by two dozen."
"Well, some may say you have an unfair advantage. You are the coordinator."
"Aw, Mia volunteered her before I started coordinating, and I think she liked it. She got a new dress, and she likes the reception, the music, free food, the dancing."
"Just like her mother?" Luke asked.
"How do you know I like dancing?"
Luke chuckled, "Because we…" he trailed off, "That night we…"
"Right," Lorelai grinned, it was odd to reminisce about the Fourth with Luke. Lorelai spent most of her time trying to forget about it.
"The free food I can imagine, I mean, I've been feeding you two the last month," during his insisted upon dinners at his apartment.
"Yeah, I need to go shopping again; everything I have is getting too tight… I have to remember loose and flowy outfits."
Lorelai was home alone, waiting for the furniture to arrive while Rory was at school and Luke was at work. Luke had already called four times that morning to see if the furniture had come and if Lorelai was okay. It was kind of nice that he worried, but he was distracting her from her wedding planning at the kitchen table, the only work space available in the sparsely furnished home.
There was a knock at the door, finally, Lorelai thought; the next time Luke calls I'll have something to tell him. Lorelai opened the front door and saw "Mia? What are you doing here?" Lorelai asked.
"Thought I'd drop by and check out your new home?" Her elder friend smiled.
"Oh no, it's horrible now," Lorelai grimaced, "We've hardly unpacked anything; I'm waiting for the furniture now."
"I know," Mia gestured over the shoulder to men opening a moving truck with a logo from the store they bought their couches from. "Plus, I wanted to drop off my own housewarming gift."
"Mia, you didn't have to."
"Of course I did! But since you can't lift it and I can't lift it, I had it delivered here."
"I haven't gotten anything yet."
"Again, I know," Mia smiled warmly and stepped into the house, ushering the pregnant Lorelai aside to let the two delivery men suddenly making their way up the walk to the house. Lorelai recognized them from Kim's Antiques as they entered with their item; a white mirrored table with coat hooks and a drawer.
Lorelai gasped, "Mia, it's the one I wanted, from Kim's antiques"
"I know," Mia said again.
"But Mrs. Kim…she said she wouldn't sell us anything…because of…"
"I bought, not you; and apparently she doesn't know your new address yet."
"Mia you shouldn't have. It's too expensive."
"It's my money, and I wanted to get you something special for your new home," Mia's tone changed, "Also, Luke asked me to check in on you today."
"He did?" that flame in Lorelai's heart flickered at the mere mention of his name.
"Where do you want it?" one of the Kim's delivery men asked Lorelai.
"Oh, um," Lorelai thought, "Right here, by the door," she gestured, "Um, we can move the coat rack; it's from Luke apartment, only temporary anyway."
Mia grabbed the coat rack so the pregnant Lorelai wouldn't exert herself, and moved the rack for the time being into the living room and out of the way so the delivery men could position the new piece in the right place. "You heard the lady," Mia grinned, and the delivery men complied. "That's perfect; now Lorelai why don't you start some tea for us in the kitchen, and I'll direct the movers of the couch. And before they leave you can correct the placement; Alright?"
"Um, okay," Lorelai smiled, touched by Mia's generous gift and the subterfuge it took to purchase it since Mrs. Kim wasn't doing business with Luke or with Lorelai.
Lorelai filled the kettle with water, put it on the burner then went to help Feng Shu her new living room furniture. After placing their new TV in relation to the power outlets, and then ensuring the couch would have a respectable view of both the fireplace and the TV, the movers and delivery men left and Mia put her arm around Lorelai.
"Come Lorelai, let's have some of that tea," Mia said escorting her young friend into the kitchen. "I have many fond memories of this house; of William and Katherine."
"Luke's parents?" Sometimes Lorelai would forget that they had moved back into Luke's childhood home.
"Yes, they were very dear friends," Mia wore a sad smile.
Recalling her previous unanswered question, "You said that Luke asked you to check in on me?"
"Yes, he didn't want you here alone, pregnant, with strangers moving furniture around the house. Had I known beforehand, I would have been here sooner. What were you thinking?"
"Well, I had to work tonight? And I didn't want to inconvenience Luke's schedule so I had them deliver it when I was free."
"Oh Lorelai, I know you are a very independent woman, but you have to remember: right now, you are pregnant. You have to be more careful."
"It's Stars Hollow."
"Honestly," Mia shook her head, "don't you ever watch the news?"
"No," Lorelai said simply, as she turned off the burner when the kettle whistled.
"Well, I do, and so does Luke!" Mia sat down at the kitchen table, sounding her voice of authority, "Luke cares about you a great deal, for your safety and for his child's safety," Mia subtly hinted at her dearest wish that the pair would become a real couple and uncomplicated matters for everyone.
Lorelai got two mugs from the cabinet, "Has Luke always been so… protective?"
"Yes, I think so, and I've known him a long time. Family is very important to Luke."
"What was he like? Luke as a boy?" Lorelai asked curiously, as she reached into the cabinet for the box of tea Luke had bought.
Mia thought for a moment, "Well, he would help people carry groceries home."
"Really? That's so cute," Lorelai gushed as she poured the hot water from the kettle to let Mia's bag seep. Quite the boys scout.Lorelai imaged if they had a son, doing the same thing, in a little backward baseball cap.
"For a quarter a bag," Mia grinned.
"Oh," Lorelai frowned a little, her imaginary son vanished.
"He was never without his skateboard for a time."
"Was he any good?" Lorelai laughed, having trouble picturing Luke on a skateboard.
"He could hold his own," Mia smiled, recalling, "Although, once he took a bad spill and broke his arm, he gave it up."
Lorelai continued to chuckle and smile, "understandable."
"Then Luke made matters worse; his arm was itchy in the cast, so he grabbed a pencil, and tried to force it down the cast to scratch the itch," Mia closed her eyes as if seeing the memory before her again, shook her head while placing a hand over her heart, "Bad results," she sighed, "very bad."
Lorelai smiled, and then suddenly realized she must have seen the scar on his arm the night they were together, not knowing where it had come from, too focused on their alone time together to ask.
Mia continued with a proud smile, "Oh, Luke was a typical boy; he liked the outdoors, to climb trees, play sports, baseball, football with his friends. He ran track in high school, led them to the state championship; they won twice. He would go fishing and camping with his father; anything that William did, Luke wanted to do, too. Luke was William's shadow, and William was Luke's hero. Did you know that William Danes personally built eleven tree houses in Stars Hollow for various families," Lorelai shook her head "no", Mia grinned, "and Luke helped him with all of them over the years, including the one here in the backyard."
"There is no tree house in the backyard," Lorelai informed, offering Mia milk and sugar.
Mia frowned, "Maybe not anymore, probably taken down when Luke sold the house, the new owners ignorant to the hours of work and love put into that tree house by William and Luke. But when Luke was little, he spent a lot of time there," Mia solemnly recalled a particularly painful weekend for the Danes family where Luke spent day and night in that tree house, until it started to rain, and his father insisted young Luke had to come inside the house, "and he'd even let his sister up there from time to time."
"Were they close? Luke and his sister, I only know bits and pieces."
"Sounds to me like you two need to talk more," Mia grinned wryly.
"We're… working on it. Mia, please. I need to know."
Mia wasn't going to lecture that was the point of dating; you get to know someone before you sleep with the man, but Mia knew what was done was done, so if she could help nudge Lorelai in the right direction so the budding romance could truly take root, she was more than willing to share what she knew about the Danes family matters. "They were closer than they are now. Liz has… made choices for herself, chosen her own way, but Luke has always been a great big brother. One time I recall, some boys were teasing Liz; her mother had sewn Liz a new dress, Liz got to pick everything, the color, the lace, and Katherine customized it for her daughter. Liz loved it so much she wanted to wear it every day. Some little punks noticed and thought that was the only dress she owned; Well, naturally, Liz had started to cry, but then came her big brother, the hero, Luke punched the ring leader and scared the rest off."
"How old was he?"
"Ten, Liz was only seven, and frankly, those boys were merciless. They deserved what they got," Mia nodded her agreement to the judgment of Ten year old Luke.
Lorelai smiled at how protective Luke was of family, how important that bond was; it seemed engrained in him since childhood from his wonderful parents. Lorelai wished she could have known William and Katherine.
"William told Luke he couldn't just go around hitting people to solve a problem. I think that affected Luke most of all, the idea that he may have disappointed his father, but William gave him a wink, maybe a little proud that Luke would defend his sister like that. Pleased with how close knit they were."
"Now, of course she gets into bigger trouble, and Luke still is willing to bail her out and save the day. He never gives up on her. Oh, he can see her flaws clearly, and he lectures as well as the rest of us, but Liz, whatever her reasons, isn't ready to listen. Still, Luke can't give up on her; she's the only family he has left; her and his nephew. Luke got that from his parents… you take care of family, staying connected, staying close. No matter what, they were your home, wherever home was. Every summer the Danes would go up to a lake cabin, the four of them and have an adventure, come home closer than ever. They would enjoy every town festival as long as they were together…" Mia's voice changed, "that is, until Katherine passed away."
Lorelai watched Mia stir her tea for a time before asking, "How did she die?" Lorelai knew she could never work up the nerve to ask Luke himself, but Lorelai was overwhelmed with curiosity and sympathy for the father of her second child.
Knowing Luke wouldn't easily open up about emotional pain that had taken years to bury, Mia explained, so Lorelai would have a full picture of the man, like it or not, she was now involved with. "I was babysitting Liz and Luke that night. William and Katherine had gone out to dinner, to Sniffy's. On the way home, a drunk driver ran a red light and…" Mia paused, recalling the events, "crashed into their blue station wagon."
"Luke doesn't have a blue station wagon," Lorelai only knew the Green Hulk Truck that was his father's.
"Exactly, Lorelai," Mia sighed simply, "The impact was on the passenger's side; Katherine was killed. William survived."
"Luke stayed in that tree house," Mia was pointing toward the backyard of the house, "for three days together after the funeral, and Liz joined him up there on the second day. Luke didn't eat, as far as I know didn't sleep. Liz went up there to bring him a sandwich, then she stayed with him, preferring the tree house to the townspeople constantly dropping off casseroles for the grieving family. When it started to rain, Liz went in first, but William had to drag Luke out and back into the house. It was the only time they ever fought."
"William continued the family traditions they started with Katherine, including all the town festivals. Unfortunately, it only served to remind them that their family was now incomplete, that something, someone was missing. That's why Luke hates the town fanfare. It reminds him of how he lost his mother, reminds him of better days."
Lorelai only listened when Mia sighed again, "Years went by, Liz was acting out as only Liz could, I did my best to advise and guide her, but she was her own person. Her boy-crazy antics only made Luke and William closer than ever while they both worried where she was and what she was up to. Luke would prefer to hang out with his father than go out with the other boys his age. Then William got sick and it was a long struggle. Liz had already left town at this point, she had … gotten pregnant and eloped, some boy named Jimmy. Broke Williams heart, but there was nothing they could do, they were of age. The hardware store was already failing when the doctors gave William the news. William had survived that car crash only to have cancer take him years later." Mia frowned and shook her head; Lorelai figured she was wondering why bad things had to happen to good people, Lorelai was thinking the same thing.
Mia continued, "Luke used his college money to pay for William's treatment, since he wasn't going to school, Luke did his best with the Hardware store, wanting his father to focus on getting well, but Luke was young, he didn't know how to run a business." Mia let out a heavy sigh, "When William died, I was there with Luke when they buried him, a war veteran, and everyday hero to his only son. I tried to put a good face on it for Luke; I told Luke to be thankful; he had a few more years with William. He could've died with Katherine, but at least they are together now. That William got to see him grow up to become a wonderful young man. Luke didn't say much. He never really did since Katherine died, but he had been talkative and lively enough before mind you. Liz didn't even come home for William's funeral. On the phone Liz had said that her mother's funeral had been enough, she said she couldn't go through another one, and she had Jess to look after. Honestly, I think that's where Liz's problems stem from. Losing her mother so young, trying to escape any pain any way she could, which only leads to more problems, more pain; Which Luke always seems to have to keep fixing."
Lorelai hadn't realized she started crying until Mia offered her a napkin for her face.
"Lorelai, that's why I think the two of you, should put this family together; proper, for real. Since Luke met you, he's had a smile on his face and a spring in his step; he hasn't had that for a long time. He now has a … a purpose, somewhere, someone to belong to. I don't know what brought you two together, but it's clear you two care for each other deeply. Please… consider building on it. Build a family, so that man doesn't have to face this world alone anymore. Granted that is only my opinion," Mia clarified, "don't play games if you don't really love the man."
"Mia, Luke and I … we moved to fast."
"Obviously," Mia nodded, "but that doesn't mean you both can't catch up. Just think on it, Lorelai," and Mia took another sip of her tea now that it had a chance to cool.
Lorelai reflected on all she had just learned, on how she and Luke had been dealing as roommates, and she too took a sip of her tea. She was surprised by the refreshing mint flavor, "what is this?" looking into her cup.
"Peppermint tea," Mia chuckled, considering Lorelai has selected and prepared it, "Luke's favorite."
When Luke came home late that afternoon, and he saw the new table by the door. "Lorelai?" he called out.
"Hey," Lorelai met him in the foyer and forced a smile; Lorelai's heart swelled at the sight of him: ever since Mia left Lorelai had been anxious for his return. Mia had answered her questions and explained the history of Luke Danes, how he had lost his family one by one, until Lorelai's curiosity was satisfied. Lorelai had a new respect for Luke's need to be a part of his child's life; the desire to feel that family connection again, and to feel like he belonged somewhere and had someone to care about him again. Lorelai did care about him, as a friend, as the father of her second child. Sure, she was still attracted to him, hence the obvious pregnancy hormones distracted by the temptation, but she couldn't give the town the true fairytale they all wanted. Could she?
"What's this?" Luke gestured with his thumb toward the new mirrored table.
"Housewarming gift from Mia," Lorelai shrugged.
"Oh," Luke nodded, then as if to test it out, removed his newly mended coat and hung it up on one of the hooks, "It's nice."
"She got it from Kim's, since we couldn't buy it for ourselves."
"You like it?"
"Yeah, it's something that I wanted actually. Do you like it?" again trying to make him feel included in the decisions of their hybrid makeshift family.
"It fits. How about the rest of the furniture?" Luke went into the living room and saw the arrangement of new light blue couch, coffee table, light blue recliner and his father's leather chair. "You need me to move anything?"
"No, no, the delivery guys took care of all that; Do you like the way it's arranged?"
"Sure, it works," Luke nodded, "view of the TV…"
"And a nice view of the fireplace, in case we just want to watch that."
"Sure," Luke agreed, unsure of what circumstances would have them by a romantic fire. Luke thought fires were romantic; he suspected it was from seeing his parents sit by the fire, admiring their children as they played on the floor of their cabin in the woods. Luke's focus came back to the present and on the decorating topic at hand, "Although we may need some bookcases, how many books have you let Rory have? She's only eight!"
Lorelai laughed, "She's an avid reader. I suspects that stems from my early motherhood. I used to read her stories, because you know that was the cliché, you're supposed to read your kid bedtime stories," Lorelai stepped closer to Luke, but kept the new blue recliner between them, "I couldn't afford a TV, or movie rentals, so I just would borrow books from the library and read to her. Then she was learning how to read aloud, and then she just kept reading on her own."
Luke seemed to smile at what she had shared with him; Mia was right, maybe they should be talking more, getting to know each other better.
"When do you have to be at work?" Luke asked.
"Um, 4:30 actually, don't worry; Sookie is picking me up in a minute."
"So, where's Rory?" Luke tilted his head.
"Doing her homework, upstairs," Lorelai gestured with her head.
Luke turned, his inspection of the furniture placement completed, and finally he was face to face with Lorelai, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Given his puzzled expression, Lorelai must have been looking at Luke like he was some lost puppy that needed a home and a family to love him, and not like the man she was casually living with, even less like the man who had romanced her a few months back. Lorelai tried to hide her blush, "I don't mean to look at you any funny way."
Suddenly she was saved from further explanation due to the honking noise outside.
"Sookie, I presume?" Luke groused at the interruption.
"Yeah," Lorelai winced over the noise, "Um, thanks for being here with Rory. This is still a little weird, leaving her with you."
"Yeah, for me too," Luke looked nervous.
"But it's good! It's good you two can be friends," Lorelai wanted to state clearly, "and you know, she doesn't bite."
"I know, I just … don't know what to do with her," Luke shrugged.
"Well, practice with her of course. Just play it by ear. Um, you guys could unpack a few more boxes?" Lorelai suggested.
"All so you don't have to do it," Luke was on to her strategy.
"Well, we do have a TV now, so you could watch a game? She will probably do homework and read mostly."
The honking noise came again, more insistent.
"I have to go, I'm sorry," Lorelai grabbed her purse from the new foyer table.
"Sure, yeah, you've got work. We'll be fine."
"Call if you need help… or suggestions."
"Thanks," Luke forced a smile, at having to babysit an eight year old. Babysitting had been his sister's racket.
Luke and Rory shared a simple dinner with simple conversation about Rory's day at school, Rory talked, Luke listened. Afterwards Rory went to finish her homework in her room. Luke was in the living room, catching up on sports scores on ESPN, when Rory suddenly appeared beside him on the couch. She was as quiet as a church mouse, and startled him when she plopped on the opposite end of the light blue couch; "What are you doing?" she asked.
When settled his start, he sighed, "Looking at sports highlights for the games I missed."
"You like sports, huh?" Rory tried making conversation, kicking her feet aimlessly over the seat edge.
"Yeah," Luke felt nervous and uneasy.
"Most boys do," Rory casually commented.
It wasn't exactly the Spanish Inquisition, and there were no right or wrong answers, but Luke suddenly felt nervous. This wasn't going to the store with Rory, a set activity with a clear task or mission in mind; this was the two of them just hanging out, by themselves, with no set schedule or plan, and with no Lorelai as a go between. Luke felt guilty for selfishly watching the sports news; like he should drop everything and somehow entertain Rory until her mom got home. "Uh, do you want to watch something else?" Luke offered to Rory.
"Nah, you finish your program," Rory shook her head, slouching on her end of the couch. She just sat there patiently with him, letting him watch his show, but Luke still felt guilty, like he was ignoring the little girl now in his life. Being a parent meant having to put the kids first, didn't it? So Luke turned off the TV with the remote.
"Did you get all the information you wanted?" Rory asked, surprised a show would end at twenty minutes of the hour.
"Um, yeah, do you want to read or something?" Luke asked trying not to sound like he was shooing her away or that he was afraid of her.
Rory let out a bored sigh, "No, I've read a lot today; I think I need a break."
"Sure, I can see that, reading too much can be…um, bad for your eyes," Luke debated about turning the TV back on just to fill the unbearable silence. Thinking of Rory's massive book collection, Luke spoke up, "You know, we should really get you some bookcases, or I could install some shelves in your room; and down here too; since you have so many."
"That's a good idea," Rory agreed.
Luke looked around the living room trying to imagine how tall the bookcases would have to be for the amount of books Rory had.
Rory spoke again, "Luke?"
"Yeah?" he quickly turned back to Rory.
"Sometimes when Mom and I are alone, we play board games."
Luke figured his unease must have been evident and that's why Rory made the suggestion; she was an observant kid for eight years old, almost nine that is. Luke made a mental note to talk to Lorelai or Andrew about what to get her for her birthday. "Do you know where they are?"
"Yes!" Rory sat up; excited that Luke was game, so to speak, for the suggestion, "Thanks to my moving inventory list. I'll get them," Rory sprang off the couch and ran into the dining room, which was filled with the moving boxes they hadn't unpacked yet. Based on her "moving inventory notebook" and the numbers outside the boxes, Rory dragged a big box of games into the living room. Halfway to her destination, Luke stood and helped her drag it the rest of the way near the coffee table.
"This is why we picked this coffee table," Rory explained, "it has the shelf underneath to store the board games, and the top is big enough to play on or eat off of."
"You guys sure have a lot of games," Luke pulled out some of the familiar looking, familiar sounding titles from his childhood. He and Lorelai were about the same age, it would stand to reason that they had similar cultural references of childhood. Luke hadn't played board games in years; but he was willing to try anything to continue bonding with Rory, for the sake of her mother and to practice for his own kid someday.
"We've got everything!" Rory announced, "Sorry, Trouble, Life, Payday, Monopoly, Scrabble, H3..."
"H3?" Luke asked curiously.
"Hungry, hungry hippos," Rory explained with a smile, she and her mother had given it the abbreviated nick name, to which Luke nodded getting the joke. Rory continued, "Uno, Yatzee…I never got into Battleship though, I think it's because I'm a girl," Rory seemed to remember she was talking to a boy, "but I'd be willing to try for you?"
Luke smiled at the little girl's thoughtfulness; Rory definitely inherited a big, kind heart from her mother. That was a quality Luke couldn't help but admire in each of the Gilmore girls. "What do you want to play?" Luke glanced to the Game of Life box hoping she didn't pick that one; not that he disliked the game from what he remembered of it, but it would bring up more questions from Rory, questions about marriage and where babies came from.
Surveying the titles, Rory twisted her mouth as she thought, "Um… I think I'm in a Payday mood. We haven't played it for a while."
Luke was going to sit on the couch at the coffee table, but Rory insisted he sit on the floor catty corner to her so they both could reach the game board.
Rory offered him his choice of game tokens.
"Please, Ladies choice," he waved.
"Mom's right, you are a gentleman. I'll take red."
"Then I'll take blue," Luke nodded.
"Good thing mom's not here, she's always blue."
"Well, if we ever play with your mom, I'll be green then."
"Okay, I'm the banker," Rory announced, arranging the fake money in front of her, "Unless you want to be banker? Mom is terrible with money and math in general, so I'm usually the banker. She said it would help me learn math… and it did!"
Luke nodded, "You can be banker."
"If I'm the banker, then that makes you the loan officer," Rory handed him the special pad and pencil from the box.
"Okay," Luke accepted the office, not exactly sure what his duties were, "So, how do we start?"
"Well, do you want to play a long game? In which we could play twelve months, or we could do a quick three or six month game."
Looking at the board that resembled a calendar, Luke seemed to remember bits of this particular game. "What the hell, a whole year."
"Luke! Language!" Rory scolded.
Luke was used to hearing his fellow construction workers swear all day long; "Sorry, what the H-E-double hockey sticks."
Rory giggled at a grown man using the childish phrase, "You're so funny! Okay, we each start with $325 dollars," and Rory counted out two piles of play money for her and Luke's opening salary.
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Lorelai came through the front door, put her purse on the new foyer table then hung up her coat. The gift from Mia fit perfectly and functioned just as Lorelai imaged and desired it would. The house was quiet, very quiet, too quiet. Lorelai began to wonder if Luke and Rory had already gone to bed. Would she have to wake Luke up, so he would move into her room, or if Rory was already asleep, would he have gone to bed in Lorelai's room?
Lorelai noticed a light in the living room and peeked around the corner. It was an odd sight; Luke and Rory were sitting on the floor at the new coffee table, staring at each other, each holding a hand of playing cards, with the rest of the deck in a messy, face down pile between them.
Luke had an adorable grin on his face, like he was trying not to laugh at Rory's expression; Rory seemed to be making Mock-Serious faces at Luke.
"It's still your turn," Luke reminded the little girl.
"I know, I'm trying to read something in your eyes," Rory said in a playful tone that made her mother proud, and Lorelai did chuckle to herself at the odd situation the pair was in. Rory studied her hand, concentrating very hard, and then finally asked Luke, as if the fate of the world rested on this simple card game, "Do you have any threes?"
"Go fish," Luke chuckled to himself at how competitive Rory could be for such a sweet tempered girl.
"I will," Rory said, still mock serious, slowly reached into the "pool" of messy of cards on the table between them. She selected her card, and slowly added it with the rest of her hand, half smiling, half playfully scowling at Luke. It was clear to Lorelai, her daughter was having fun.
Luke glanced at his cards, "Do you have any sevens?"
Rory huffed in frustration, and handed over her two sevens, which Luke then added to his two sevens from his hand and made a little pile in front of him to go with his other matched set. Luke continued his turn, "Do you have any kings?"
"Go Fish," Rory said, happy to deny her opponent.
Luke "fished" and exhaled as he joined the new card to the rest in his hand.
Rory pursed her lips, making her choice with care, "Do you have any sixes?"
Luke rolled his eyes, made a little growling noise, but honor bound, handed over his three sixes to Rory's one, which delighted the little girl as she added them to her piles of matched cards in front of her. Lorelai then noticed Rory had a lead, three piles to Luke's two.
"Do you have any Aces?" Rory asked slowly.
Rory purposefully chose from the "pool" of cards on the table, and then nodded her approval at her selection when it joined the rest of her hand.
At that, Luke had to laugh out loud, his face breaking into a relaxed smile, a smile Lorelai loved to see. He was becoming part of their unique family unit; Luke didn't have to be an orphan anymore, be alone anymore. Lorelai felt another great pang of sympathy for him, and was pleased that her daughter could make him smile.
"Hey guys? What's going on?" Lorelai announced herself, as she stepped closer to the game.
"Mom!" Rory smiled excitedly, "I'm showing Luke my poker face! Want to see?" and Rory did her playful scowl in Lorelai's direction, the way she had been doing toward Luke.
"Very impressive," Lorelai smiled.
"We're not playing poker, we're fishing," Luke shook his head.
"I can still practice," Rory reasoned, "Mom, you have to sit between us… so you don't see either of our cards."
"Because you'll be tempted to signal one of us to the other's cards and that's cheating!" Rory insisted, pointing to the far corner of the couch away from the game, "You sit over there, and remain," Rory thought of the word she wanted to use, "…impartial, If you want to watch," happy she found a use for a word on her vocabulary list.
"Well, after this game you have to go to bed. It's a school night."
"I know, but I want to finish. We finished all of our other games."
"What else did you play?" Lorelai asked out of curiosity, wondering how the two co-existed without her as a go between.
"We did two whole years of Payday, two rounds of Trouble, a game of Monopoly, and now we've been fishing most of the night, he's won two and I've won two, so this is the tie breaker."
"It's my turn," Luke spoke up, kind of embarrassed he'd played board games most of the night with Rory, but the look on Lorelai's face showed she appreciated his effort and attention to her daughter. Luke had to remind himself to look away from Lorelai and focus on the game, "Do you have any Queens?" So much for focusing the game;he meant strategically to ask for another card, but as soon as he tore his eyes from Lorelai, the queen of diamonds jumped out at him from the cards before him. He felt self conscious with Lorelai watching him interact with her daughter, like he would fail some kind of test. If he couldn't handle an easy kid like Rory, what match could he be for a baby?
"Go fish," Rory smiled.
After Rory won the tie breaker, she wished Luke a good night, hugged him, and thanked him for a fun evening, and it was further relief for everyone that the two new friends could get along so well in Lorelai's absence. Lorelai took Rory upstairs to get ready for bed while Luke cleaned up the games and loaded the dishwasher with plates from his and Rory's dinner. As the girls brushed their teeth together, Rory told Lorelai all about her evening with Luke. "Then after dinner and I finished my homework, Luke was checking on his sports scores, but when his program was over, we started playing board games," unfortunately Rory's story telling was impeding the progress of her teeth brushing, she had a persistent ring of toothpaste foam around her mouth as she spoke, "I felt so bad for Luke, by the third month he was like ...5,000 dollars in debt," Rory shook her head with sympathy, "and he was the loan officer, he had to borrow from himself! Well and I guess me, too, since I was the banker."
"That's great sweetie," Lorelai chuckled as she spit into the sink.
Rory removed her toothbrush from her foamy mouth again, "No, mom, that's bad! If he can't handle play money, what's he going to do with our reel life bills? Should I be worried?" Rory furrowed her eight year old brow.
Lorelai soothed, "I can assure you Luke is very responsible with real life money and real life bills."
"Okay, benefit of the doubt, Luke did get a lot of bills in the mail those first few months," speaking of the game again, "he just kept landing on the mail boxes," Rory recounted how the game unfolded, "And he ended being a month behind me! It's like he kept rolling twos and threes."
"I'm glad you had fun with him," this was turning out better than Lorelai could have hoped for, "But we need more brushing and less talking for now."
"I'm sorry, but I just had so much fun. I think Luke and I are becoming great friends." Rory saw her mother's smile reflected in the mirror, "Hey, can we have another game night, with the three of us?"
"If you like," Lorelai nodded, liking the image of hanging out with Luke in a wholesome, friendly way.
Rory continued to neglect her brushing, "And you're right, he is such a gentleman, he let me pick the game pieces I wanted, and always let me go first, and if I forgot a rule he let me look it up."
Lorelai felt a warm sensation in her chest, like her heart wouldn't fit in her ribcage much longer if she kept hearing this high praise of her male roommate. Lorelai insisted, "Brush your teeth," Lorelai never had to remind her daughter before, but she figured this was special circumstances. Rory was so excited to be bonding with Luke.
"I'm sorry," Rory apologized again, shaking the game play from her head and focused on completing the task in her mouth.
After Rory had used her bubble gum mouthwash, Lorelai escorted Rory to her room to tuck her in, "Do you want to read together?"
Finally lying in bed, Rory's eyes were drooping, the little girl didn't realize how tired she was, Rory finally yawned, "I'm pretty beat, and it's late. I hope I don't sleep in for school"
"Luke and I will make sure that doesn't happen."
"Thanks, mom. Good night!" Rory sat up just long enough to hug her mother, and then plopped back down into bed.
"Good night, angel," Lorelai kissed her daughter's forehead; Lorelai turned off the light and slowly closed the door.
Luke had a reputation around town as not the most kid friendly fella, but he was proving everyone in town wrong with Rory.
In her own bedroom, Lorelai changed into her pajamas, and then went back downstairs to help Luke with the games. She found Luke on the living room floor again, making the collection of games fit on the second shelf of the coffee table as best he could. "How did you know that's where I wanted to put them?" Lorelai asked.
Luke looked up at her, "Oh, Rory told me. Although you have so many games, we may need to use some of the drawers of the TV cabinet."
"We like our games," Lorelai smiled, "That is the joy of having a kid in your life, gives you an excuse to relive your own childhood."
A sad smile flashed across Luke's face at that comment and Lorelai felt instantly guilty about the remark. She didn't have exactly a happy childhood either, but she didn't have to endure anything truly traumatic as Luke losing his mother as a boy.
"Hey," Lorelai stopped him from taking some of the game boxes to the TV cabinet. "You okay?" wondering if she probed he would suddenly open up to her.
"Yeah, just… Rory's a great kid," he shrugged.
"Anything else on your mind?" she pressed. She didn't know what she wanted him to say, Lorelai just wanted him to open up and offer her something. She didn't know what.
"Not really," Luke swallowed, wondering where these questions were coming from, "Um, do you want me… you know, with you tonight?"
Lorelai shyly looked away, a little ashamed of her fear as a young adult, "Yes, please."
"You are reliving your childhood," Luke seemed to tease with a one-sided smile.
"Well, I'm sorry you're my security blanket."
Upstairs, after Luke changed in his green room, Lorelai and Luke settled in her bed, Lorelai was on her back, the covers up to her chest, and she was unable to stop staring at him in the dark.
"Hey Luke?" she broke the silence.
Luke opened his eyes while facing her on his side, "Yes, Lorelai?" trying not to sound annoyed.
"Did you let my kid win?" she had to know for sure.
In the dim light from the street lamps outside, she saw a small smile spread on his face, "Well, I did win a few, to not raise any suspicion."
The little flame in her chest seemed to flicker and grew larger again. "You're going to be a great dad," Lorelai whispered encouragingly.
"Maybe," Luke shrugged and closed his eyes again, settling into his pillow yet again.
It was easy to ambush a sneak attack with his eyes closed, Lorelai rolled over quickly and kissed his cheek, which immediately made his eyes fly open as she returned to her side of the bed.
"Can't get mad, that was a thank you between friends, for being chivalrous," Lorelai quickly explained the settled on her side of the mattress again, "Good night, Luke," turning to face away from him until he fell asleep.
"Good Night, Lorelai," he whispered behind her.
As soon she heard his deep and relaxed breathing, Lorelai took his hand again, and squeezed it, silent reassurance for both of them. To remind herself that he was still there with her, and an unconscious signal for Luke that he didn't have to be alone anymore.
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For the remainder of the week, Luke would discreetly ask Lorelai if she wanted his "company" around bed time, always ask the question, away from Rory's ears, as to not be misunderstood, and just to be sure Lorelai really wanted him there. Lorelai would accept these offers, discreetly, and remind herself that once this wedding was over, that would be it. She would have to be an adult and be on her own throughout the night. Rory had no complaints about her sleeping arrangements, Rory was enjoying her own room, her own bed and Lorelai should follow her daughter's more mature example.
Lorelai had to buy a new dress because with her developing tummy, nothing she had just unpacked in her new closet would fit her size or the wedding occasion she was overseeing. Knowing how Luke felt about the shopping activity, Lorelai, Rory and Sookie had arranged to go shopping while Luke was working on another house in Litchfield.
On Sunday mid-morning, Rory helped fasten Lorelai's dress, "Thanks, honey," Lorelai stood up from the vanity chair.
"You look beautiful, mom!" Rory smiled in admiration.
"Thank you again. Okay, I have so much to do!" Lorelai exhaled to relax her nerves, "We have to leave in a few minutes."
"Why don't you go down and wait for me," Lorelai urged as she fastened an earring.
Downstairs, by the new mirrored foyer table, Luke had a loose black neck tie draped around his shoulders. He hated the uniform of black slacks, white collared shirt and tie Maisy made him wear whenever he was a server. Luke preferred cooking in the kitchen best, no customer interaction, just him and the food, and he could wear whatever he wanted; but both Buddy and Maisy insisted that the tips would help him save up for the baby, so they were giving him more shifts as a server. Maisy also advised if he wanted to flirt with pretty female customers to get a bigger tip for the baby's college fund that she wouldn't tell on him to Lorelai. His elder friends kept asking about Lorelai, how was Rory, how was the house. Luke wished he could tell them it wasn't real, but they were so happy now that they thought Luke had found someone to love. Maybe to love, he wasn't sure yet, but it didn't matter, because Lorelai did not love him back, didn't want him. He had to shake the fantasy from his head again, they were just friends; Friends who lived together, friends who were having a baby, friends who shared a bed every night, but still, just friends.
Luke was taken out of his thoughts when he heard Rory race down the stairs in her own new dress.
"Wow, you look great, Rory," Luke smiled.
"Thank you," Rory curtsied, "I got the lavender dress, but mom opted for dark purple, she said it was more … um 'fally'. And we still match because we are in the same color family."
"Where is she?" Luke glanced up the stairs.
"She's not ready yet," Rory sighed and shook her head.
"I can hear you, you know," Lorelai's voice came from the second floor, as she clicked around upstairs in her heels, "Luke, could you drive us to the Inn?"
"Sure, I've got an hour before I have to be at Sniffy's anyway," he called up the stairs.
"I'm almost done, jeez," Lorelai replied at his teasing jab.
Luke chuckled, then grabbed his keys to put in his right pocket, then focused on the mirror to tie the required fabric around his neck, he sighed in frustration at his reflection. He really hated ties. Luke then heard Lorelai's careful steps on the stairs; from the sound of it, no doubt she was wearing ridiculous heels. Why do women insist on wearing such stupid, painful footwear, he shook his head at his own reflection as he looped the fabric around itself for the knot, who was he to comment about stupid things people wore.
Luke was sliding the knot up to tighten the tie when he glanced up to check Lorelai's progress down the stairs and he was suddenly was rendered thoughtless. There she was again, the beautiful mother of his child, all dolled up in heels and a deep purple empire waist dress, with a deep V-neckline. It was like Lorelai was her own sun, she seemed to glow and radiate warmth and beauty.
That's why they wore the things they wore; because they looked damn good doing it.
"Rory, do you have everything?" Lorelai asked, while looking in her purse, stopping near Luke, forcing him to swallow the lump in his throat.
"Yup, I'm ready!" Rory grinned, holding up a purse decorated with flowers, the purse was large enough to hold her paperback book inside.
Lorelai's head came up and met Luke's stare, "What?" Lorelai challenged.
"Nothing, you look… amazing," words suddenly returning to Luke's mind, feeling on the spot, Luke didn't filter his comments.
"Thank you," Lorelai smiled, hiding her blushing by needlessly checking the contents of her purse again. She had too much on her mind to enjoy his eyes on her. Lorelai began muttering to herself again and running though lists in her head related to the wedding.
Luke swallowed, trying not to blatantly look at her cleavage, her breasts did look a little bigger, but he didn't dare ask that. He recalled a comment she made a while back about her breasts changing and increasing in size, but it would be inappropriate to ask. At least he'd have something pleasant to think about during work.
Lorelai's eyes caught sight of something on Luke's neck, her shoulders slumped, "What did you do?" her head canted to one side.
"Huh?" Luke asked self-consciously, looking down at his useless hands that had frozen in place as soon as he saw her.
"You made the knot too big," Lorelai scolded, "Rory, hold this," handing her daughter her own purse.
Luke suddenly realized since he had been admiring Lorelai, he may not have finished tying his tie. Lorelai was right there to undo the whole thing and fix it. Luke wondered how she knew how to tie a man's tie, but then again, she ran weddings at an Inn, possibly nervous groomsmen or ring bearers needed tie assistance from time to time from the wedding planner.
Rory saw it again, one of those moments where suddenly something was different between her mother and Luke. Something unspoken, the way he was looking at her, reminded Rory of those guys in romantic movies, pining for the girl of their dreams or her mother whenever she saw a cup of coffee. There was also something telling in the way her mother avoided looking into Luke's eyes, completely engrossed in the tie's knot like Rory with a book. Something different in the way the both breathed when they were that close to one another.
Rory spoke to Luke again, "Hey Luke."
"What?" tearing his gaze away from Lorelai's beautiful blue eyes and changing his focus to the little girl
"You want me to save you a piece of cake?"
"Uh, no thanks Rory, I guess that's a perk of your job."
"Yeah," Rory said, swinging her dress from side to side, "do you think you'll be back before us?"
"Maybe," Luke mused, looking to the ceiling, anxious for Lorelai to finish the knot, "depends on how busy we get or how late your wedding goes for."
Lorelai smoothed the tie straight down Luke's front, her unexpected touch made the hair at the back of Luke's neck stand on end. "There, all better," Lorelai smiled at her handy work, then took her purse from Rory again.
Rory mused speaking to Luke again, "Well, if you do, it's good to have some time to yourself; it gives you a chance to miss us."
At that comment Lorelai dropped her keys, suddenly paying attention again to what her daughter had said. Lorelai's eyes darted from her daughter to Luke, then back to Rory, "Um, we've got to go."
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Luke was asleep in his own room, when suddenly he got the sense someone else was in there with him, and he snapped awake, "What?"
"It's okay, it's just me," Lorelai grinned.
Luke blinked a few times; Lorelai was crawling into his bed, in his room, "What are you doing?"
"Well, you were already asleep; I didn't want to wake you, so I thought we'd sleep here tonight."
"But the wedding is over?" Luke reasoned.
"Oh," Lorelai seemed disappointed, "I thought you meant Sunday night would be the last night?" Lorelai explained.
"No, Saturday night would have been the last night before the wedding. Tonight your stress would be over."
"Oh, well," Lorelai pressed her lips together, "then can I sleep in here tonight?"
"Lorelai, this is so stupid," Luke sighed, falling back into his own pillows.
"I know, but it's my complex, so until I'm cured, you're my crutch."
"Lorelai," Luke merely rubbed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose; he had no threat behind her name. He didn't know if he should yell at her some more or just kiss her; whichever one would settle it once and for both of them.
"Luke, I can't help it; you make me feel… safe," Lorelai confessed.
Luke removed his hand from his face, and turned his head to look at her in the darkness, "Safe?"
"Yeah, male protector and all that, plus if the baby kicks in the middle of the night, you're right there," she poked his chest, "you said you wanted to be across the hall, not across town, well now, you're across the mattress, with in arms reach, you're even closer."
"But, we're not a couple. We shouldn't be sharing a bed at all," Luke complained, wiping his hands over his face completely.
"Well, we're going to be parents together, and it's not like," Lorelai gulped, "we're going to have sex again."
At the mention of the "S" word, Luke was immediately wide awake and on guard, every touch, kiss, every sensation flooded to the forefront of his mind. Luke had to speak to get his mind off the images in his brain, "Maybe we should move to your room."
"Why?" Lorelai asked, "I'm sorry I woke you up, but…"
"Look, I'm wide awake now, we usually sleep in your room, I get up before you do, and Rory is right next door to me; do you want her to find you in here in the morning when you sleep in?"
"Well, I suppose you're right," Lorelai's brow furrowed, she just thought this would be the easiest solution, climb into bed with Luke while he was asleep. "Okay, let's go," she shrugged, and eased up off the mattress.
"Yeah, good," Luke followed, reminding himself over and over again that they were not going to have sex.
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A/N: What do you think of the title? It takes a while to get to it in the story.
A/N: This "Payday" is a PRE-1994 revision version (repetitive redundant, repetitive redundant). I assume Lorelai had the 80's version that I grew up with. (Now-a-days you start with 2500 dollars a month, INFLATION! No?)
"Cause your memory it lingers and the time moves so slow, I've never been that good at letting go…" -The Massacoustics
R/R: PLEASE, I like to better myself. To quote The Princess Bride,
"...Remember this is for posterity ... so be honest."
Please be specific with R/R; name one (or as many as you can think of or want to mention…) At least one specific thing you liked
Please! It makes me feel good...inside (Dirty!)
Hence the Rant option below.
Insert Rant here V
A/N: if not completely satisfied with this chapter, please return unused portion for a full refund...