A/N: I want to thank all of you for your patience on this fic. I went through a really rough patch in real life for awhile and I wasn't in a good state of mind to update this fic. It had to take a backseat to what was going on and I'm sorry that I kept everyone hanging. The real thanks go to every single person who I asked about this fic, complained about how it wasn't working to, and the people who beta-ed it. Special shout out to R.M. Jackson for deciding to beta me to begin with, and to tracyEXPLOSION, flashforeward, and maryilee for letting me run random sentences past them. A super big thank you to Filo for really encouraging me to post my 'smut lite'. I can't say I'll write another just yet, but with her encouragement and kindness, I haven't written it off. Finally, finally, I present to you, the last chapter of the fic.
The sound Lorelai's red pumps made as she walked seemed to quicken the pace of her heart with each step. Luke was a guy; a guy wouldn't accidentally put his hands on a girl's hips and then turn bright red after a simple inquiry as to why he did it. Lorelai couldn't help but wonder what his motives were. After all, it could have been a subtle move that he was trying to make. She wasn't one to turn down one of those. She stopped at the third stair and adjusted her jersey. She brushed a hair off the white sleeve and buttoned one single button right below her breasts.
Lorelai gently rapped on the doorframe to Luke's apartment. She'd never been inside before, but she needed to make sure that he knew that she was thankful for what he did for Rory. The door was open, and she peeked inside to see Luke on the couch watching the baseball game.
"You're not sick of baseball for the day?" Lorelai asked.
Luke shrugged. "Nah. It's kind of something you don't get sick of."
"Well," she said, inviting herself into the apartment. "That's good. I just, uh, came by to thank you for all the help you gave Rory. She's home watching the game now."
Luke raised his eyebrow. "Are you two talking again?"
"You would consider it talking, it's a lot of grunting," she shrugged.
"Rory's watching the game?"
Lorelai nodded. "Yup. And she's taking notes."
"Taking notes?" he repeated.
"It's Rory," Lorelai said, taking a seat next to Luke on the couch. She slipped out of her pumps and placed her feet on top of the now empty shoes. Her toes were perfectly manicured to look like baseballs; she had almost forgotten that she spent all of that time on them. As Luke saw Lorelai making herself comfortable, he groaned.
"I swore you'd break an ankle in those today," Luke insisted, pointing to the discarded shoes on the floor.
She shrugged. "I made sure that there wasn't any running involved, so I took the necessary precautions."
He rolled his eyes. "Rory dressed properly, at least."
"She told me to change, but I figured I'd be more of the Geena Davis in 'A League of Their Own' type baseball player. Good, but still sexy at the same time."
Luke snorted. "She was a lot more covered up than you were today, that's for sure."
Lorelai didn't know whether to laugh or to defend herself. She looked down at her jean Capri pants and her baseball toes. The red pumps may have been a bit much, but regardless, she had covered herself up pretty nicely. She looked at Luke and rolled her eyes.
"Oh, please, you were going for second base when you were trying to show me how my hips were supposed to be in relation to the pitcher."
Luke turned red once again. "I was not, and I thought you would have forgotten all of the information by now."
Lorelai snorted. "Baseball has to be the sport with the dirtiest metaphors, so I was obligated to pay attention. Besides, the meanings of the 'bases' are kind of culturally accepted. Were you going for second base?"
"So what if I was? You were dressed… like you were dressed. And we had that, you know, moment in the diner."
"Moment? I don't recall a moment."
"You said I looked nice. When I made the crack about liking collars," Luke reminded her.
Lorelai sat for a moment, closing her eyes tight and willing the embarrassment she felt to go away. She remembered the moment. She wasn't sure if he was thinking of the same one, but, of course, he was. She opened her eyes. For a few seconds, nothing came out. She felt like she couldn't say anything that wouldn't embarrass her more or hurt Luke unintentionally.
Why had she shoved all the 'moments' over the years in the back of her mind? She recognized each one, processed it, mulled it over for a few days, and finally just let each one blow over. Why did she do that? And it took a school assignment for Rory to make Lorelai think something of the moments again? She looked down at her toes. She was completely embarrassed and stunned. "Luke, I…"
"I figured… I don't know, I guess I thought that you felt the same way," he protested. "But if you don't feel the same way…"
Running her hands through her dark curly hair, she took a deep breath. All those times she wondered if he liked her as more than a friend, all those times other people had tried to convince her that he was in love with her… everyone was right. She crossed her legs. Lorelai knew it was time to deny the denial. It sounded confusing, but at that moment, she knew it was so simple. "I'd have let you get to second base," she said with a grin.
Lorelai watched him take it all in for a moment, giggling at the slightly confused and slightly shocked expression on his face. Something inside her told her to take it up a notch. She had made him wait quite awhile with her denial, so she owed him. She scooted over on the couch, straddling Luke's legs by pressing her knees into the couch cushion. Leaning in slowly, she pressed her lips softly against his. Part of her was surprised by her boldness. After realizing that this kiss wasn't at all awkward, Lorelai allowed her tongue to slip in and make contact with his as she lowered her bottom onto Luke's knees. She pulled back, catching a glimpse of Luke's surprised reaction then leaned over and nibbled Luke's earlobe. "First base," she whispered, taking off Luke's baseball cap and tossing it behind her. Lorelai leaned back and gave him a devilish grin as she ran her hands through his thick brown hair. "First base coach is waving you on, Luke."
Lorelai giggled as she looked into Luke's blue eyes. There was more than a hint of desire present there.
"Someone learned something out of all of this," Luke replied in a hoarse voice. He leaned forward and kissed Lorelai, grabbing her backside and holding it to make sure that she didn't fall off of his lap as he pulled her closer. He was amazed at how right the kiss felt. Luke deepened the kiss when he recognized the taste of coffee on her lips, slipping his tongue into her mouth.
Lorelai wrapped her arms around Luke's neck and broke the kiss when she realized that Luke was toying with the button on her jersey. She unlaced her fingers and allowed Luke to unbutton the shirt and gently push it off her shoulders, exposing the red tank top. He reached up into her tank top, up through her shelf bra, and brushed his thumb against her nipple. Lorelai moaned as she scooted closer to Luke's waist. The hardness in his jeans made it obvious that he was looking for more than just second base.
She reached for his blue flannel shirt, resisting the urge to pull it off and send the buttons flying everywhere. Instead, she systematically unbuttoned the garment before removing it and tossing it aside. She paused for a moment to take in the sight of Luke in just a t-shirt. Luke was a man of mystery no more. Tugging at the end of Luke's t-shirt and pulling it over his head, Lorelai took a deep breath as she caught sight of Luke's toned muscles and ran her hands across his muscular chest.
"Crap," Luke muttered under his breath.
"I've got it taken care of if you don't. I'm… you know, on the pill," Lorelai said, putting her hands gently on Luke's face and leaning in for a kiss. He leaned forward and Lorelai interlaced her fingers around his neck once more. As she saw Luke standing up, she wrapped her legs around his waist.
"That's good," Luke panted as he walked toward the door and kicked it shut. "But that's what I was referring to."
She let out a laugh and pressed soft kisses to Luke's jaw line as he walked them toward his bed. He slowly sat down, ensuring that Lorelai was still straddling him. He reached for the button of her pants, and then the zipper, pushing the denim down and exposing her red lace panties. She lifted each knee, slowly dragging her pants down each leg until they were kicked across the floor. Lorelai reached for Luke's belt, undoing the buckle and quickly dragging it out of the belt loops. She tossed it aside and reached for the button on Luke's blue jeans.
"I'm guessing this means that I can keep going to third base, then," Luke teased, running his fingers across the elastic on her panties.
"God, yes," she moaned, tugging at Luke's jeans.
He assisted in the swift removal of his pants and his hands made their way to the hem of Lorelai's tank top. He pulled it over Lorelai's head and dropped it beside him. Lorelai attempted to pull at the waistband of Luke's underwear, but lost all mobility as Luke moved his hands to her panties. She tilted her head back and bit her lip as he reached inside the fabric. He slowly pushed his finger inside her, letting out a groan as she traced circles around his spine with her fingernails.
Luke inserted a second finger, watching as Lorelai shivered from the sensation.
"You're not stopping with just a triple, are you?"
He removed his fingers and quickly discarded his underwear. Lorelai rolled over, allowing Luke to tug at her panties and slide them down. She lifted her bottom, allowing him to completely remove them. "Lorelai," he moaned.
"All the way," she replied. "Don't… stop with just a triple."
"You really were paying attention today," he panted, thrusting into her as she arched up and met his hips.
As their pace quickened, Lorelai gasped for air. She could say nothing for a time before she finally heard a moan escape from her lips. "Luke," she said breathlessly as she grabbed the top end of the mattress for support. She finally let go, raking her fingernails down Luke's back. "Going… going… goooooone," Lorelai moaned as she took in the feeling of their simultaneous climaxes.
He stayed there for a moment, taking in what had just happened. He watched as Lorelai gave him a grin of satisfaction, then leaned in to kiss her before he rolled over to the other side of the bed. She grinned, sliding closer to Luke and allowing him to wrap his arm around her. "Wow," she said, giggling. "I schooled you in the other way to run the bases."
"Your terminology was a bit off, but I suppose I'll let it pass because of the other stuff," he said, running his fingertips up and down her arm.
She playfully slapped his bicep. "What do you mean, my terminology was off?"
"You can't say 'going, going, gone' if you're already running the bases," he replied.
Lorelai closed her eyes and let out a soft moan. "Whatever you say. If Rory passes gym this semester, I may have to ask you to help out more often. Then again, the helping led to this, so I may have to ask you for assistance much more than you'll ever realize," she said with a wink.
"If you insist," he said.
Lorelai arrived home later that night. The scent of buttered popcorn and chocolate chip cookies filled the air as she walked through the door. Taking off her shoes and walking into the living room, she found Rory cross-legged on the couch, an oversized popcorn bowl in her lap and the remote in her hand. She watched as Rory mindlessly flipped through the channels.
"Anything good on?" Lorelai asked.
Rory turned to face Lorelai. She turned off the TV, grabbed the bowl, and started for the stairs. It was clear that Rory wasn't in the mood to talk. Lorelai sighed. Who could blame her? Rory knew that Lorelai had started a dumb fight for no reason just as well as Lorelai did. Plopping down on the couch, Lorelai instinctively reached for the remote Rory had abandoned. After three cycles through the channels, Lorelai finally settled on a mockable Lifetime movie. Five minutes passed before she reached for the phone on the coffee table.
She carefully dialed the familiar number and was greeted by Sookie's chirpy, outgoing voicemail message. Frustrated, she pressed the 'end call' button and tossed the phone beside her on the couch. Sookie wasn't around, Rory wasn't talking to her, and she had no one to share the good news with. She turned off the television, turned it back on, and flipped through the channels once more, hoping that something worthy of watching would come on.
The fact that the big wedding for the bratty twins was the next day escaped her mind as the Red Sox game appeared on the screen. Lorelai smiled. Her mind immediately went to Luke, and the night they had at his apartment. She stared at the screen for a few moments before reaching for the telephone again, this time dialing a new number.
"Whoever you are, call back at a decent hour," the grumpy and groggy voice demanded from the other line.
"How do you go to bed when the game is in the fourteenth inning?" Lorelai asked.
Luke groaned. "It's the fourteenth inning?"
"That's what the guy said," Lorelai confirmed.
"I swear, it's the longest game in the history of the world," Luke muttered.
She smiled. He was totally out of it, and it was cute. Reaching over and picking up Rory's abandoned notebook, she flipped through the pages and came across a highlighted line of notes. "Actually, the longest game ever to be played with an actual winner lasted 25 innings."
"You're looking at Rory's notes," he said, the tone in his voice becoming more and more aware of what Lorelai was saying.
"Nothing gets past you," she giggled.
"Don't you have to get up early tomorrow?"
Lorelai groaned. "It's torture. Might as well tie me to a chair and make me listen to a never-ending loop of 'the song that gets on everybody's nerves.' I'd be happier."
"Some of us have to get up every day, earlier than the time that you have to get up tomorrow, to make a living."
"The great Oz has woken," Lorelai teased. "I liked sleepy Luke a little better."
"You're the one that woke me up in the first place," he deadpanned.
She closed Rory's notebook and placed it on the coffee table. "True. I just wanted to… call you, and uh… well, I'm not really sure why I called you."
"You don't have anyone to spill this to, that's why you called me. I'm no dummy," Luke replied.
Lorelai snapped her fingers. "Your alertness is making the conversation less fun and sweet like it was when you first woke up."
"Good night, Lorelai," Luke said.
She smiled. "Good night, Luke."
Lorelai's alarm buzzed the next morning and she frantically tried to get ready for the wedding. Rory had confiscated all of the jewelry she had planned to wear in the aftermath of their argument, a customary gesture to show that she was still angry and not backing down. After she deemed her appearance presentable, she waited for Rory in the Jeep. Rory was mad, but Lorelai knew she wouldn't back down on a responsibility.
After they arrived, Lorelai walked around the inn aimlessly, almost hoping someone would pull her aside and complain about something. But, somehow, everything seemed to be running smoothly. After all the hype, all the drama, and all the fights, the wedding was going extremely well. After the previous night with Luke, she was itching to talk to Rory about it. Well, sparing the details, but she wanted to tell someone.
She'd thought about it after she got home, but judging by Rory's lack of hesitation to leave the living room as she walked in the door told Lorelai that it wasn't the time to reconcile. That night was like torture for her. Lorelai really wanted to talk to Rory about the whole situation, but her insistence on figuring out what was wrong with Rory took her too far. She saw Rory sitting all by herself near the guestbook, and she took a seat next to her. "Hey, stranger."
Rory looked at Lorelai. "Hey."
Lorelai smiled. She was speaking to her. It was a good sign. "Good turnout?"
Lorelai sat for a minute, trying to think of a not so awkward change in conversation that would point to a reconciliation. "Do you want something to drink?" she blurted out.
Rory saw right through her mother's vain attempts to make polite conversation to lead up to an apology. "Are you trying to make up?"
Lorelai rolled her eyes. "No, I'm trying to hydrate you."
"I'm fine, thanks."
Lorelai couldn't take it anymore. She felt terrible for starting the fight, and she felt even more terrible that she couldn't share the piece of good news with Rory because of it. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Rory replied.
Lorelai wasn't convinced that she was fully forgiven. "A crazy evil spirit obsessed with bra size took over my body."
Rory gave her a half smile. "It happens."
"She's gone now."
"Good to know."
Lorelai sighed. That moment was over. They weren't fighting and she felt fairly confident that Rory had forgiven her. She had an urge to keep babbling, but she kept quiet for a few minutes. Once the awkwardness subsided, they would chat about Luke.
"What's Luke doing here?" Rory asked suddenly.
Lorelai cleared her throat. Her plan was foiled. Luke was making his way toward the table and Lorelai was speechless. She felt a poke in the ribs, but ignored it as she surveyed the clean-shaven and well-dressed diner owner who was approaching her. What was Luke doing there? She had to know. She stood up from the chair, crouched down beside Rory once again, and leaned in close to whisper in Rory's ear. "Um, long story, but I'll leave you with a Quentin Tarantino type 'ending at the beginning to make you wonder.' Luke and I… well, we have a thing."
Rory gasped, and with that, Lorelai walked around the table to greet him. She was finding Rory's surprised expression amusing, so she'd let her stew just a little longer.
"What are you doing here?" she asked with a smile.
"Felt bad for keeping you up all night. I came to apologize," he teased.
She playfully slapped his arm. "You did not; you just wanted to come check me out."
"I cannot tell a lie," he smirked.
Lorelai laughed. "You're awfully quippy when you want to be."
He rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in the pockets of his dress pants. "Don't get used to it." She leaned in and gave him a kiss, and as she began to deepen it, he suddenly pulled back. "What the hell are you doing? Rory can see us, everyone can see us."
She linked her arms around his waist. "Relax. I want Rory to see that I struck out after all."
Luke rolled his eyes. "You mean that you didn't strike out?"
"Oh, my! Did I give you the incorrect metaphor? I think you need to teach me some more, I'm clearly not up to snuff!" she said in fake horror.
"You're exhausting," he muttered.
She raised her eyebrows. "And you're pretty. Coach Danes, you need to teach me some more about baseball. How do you get to second base?"
"I think I have an idea. Can I show you inside?"
"Maybe I'll learn to get to third base today," she continued, in a high-pitched voice.
He leaned in and kissed her once again. "You don't ever shut up, do you?" he asked as she pulled away.
"I do when Coach shows me first base like that," she grinned.