Curing Your Ridiculous Obsession With Love
"I join the queue on your answer phone
And all I am is holding breath."
-Frou Frou, "Hear Me Out"
Many nights still, she wakes up in a cold sweat, her covers wrapped haphazardly around her legs, shaking uncontrollably from the same dream she's just had. It's always the same thing. Always the same person. And so there's really only one remedy for it.
She turns over and forces herself to fake sleep until morning comes.
The month after Chris leaves, she knows how awful she looks. She'd like to be able to blame it on Chris, too, but she can't. It's not him that she's such a mess over. It's Luke.
She has dealt with heartbreak before—indeed, she seems to be a magnet for relationships that will only ever cause it—but her heart has never ached the way it does now. There isn't a day (hour, minute) that she doesn't think of him. He is in every cup of coffee she drinks, every ridiculous thing she buys, every "dirty!" she utters. When she attempts (and fails) to make brownies, he is there, telling her to sit down before she hurts herself. When she walks into the Dragonfly, he is there in all the things he helped fix and the porch where they shared that first (amazing) kiss. When she looks at her daughter, she sees all the things he's ever done for both of them.
Inevitably, it one day gets to be too much. She needs him—needs to hear his voice, needs to feel his arms around her one more time. Even if it's just one last time.
Without thinking about it, she picks up the phone and dials his number like a madwoman.
"Hello, Luke's," he says as he picks up the phone. She doesn't answer.
"Hello?" he asks again, and she melts at the sound of his voice. "Hello?"
"Hey, Luke, it's me," she wants to say. "Listen, I know this is a little selfish and stupid but I was wondering if maybe we could meet later for coffee? Except that now my mind has been returned to me and I remember that you hate coffee. But maybe we could grab lunch or something because I…I really need to talk to you. I miss you. And I—I love you so much. And I know that I don't deserve another chance, but… Just listen to me, Luke. I'm a mess. I need you. I never thought I'd ever really need anyone but myself, but I need you."
But she doesn't say it.
Instead, she just lets him hang up.
She doesn't drink coffee so much anymore. She knows it worries Rory because Lorelai Gilmore simply cannot function without her ten cups of coffee a day minimum requirement, but functioning is hardly the point, anymore.
She thinks Luke would find it ironic that she's (almost) stopped drinking the stuff now rather than when he was begging her to.
Everyone else in town thinks she'll get over it because she's the queen of the bounce back. But they don't understand. Nothing can compare to Luke's coffee.
And no one can ever compare to Luke.
Sometimes, she wishes she had told him that.
She only ever watches romance movies now and never the happy, Audrey Hepburn kind. She only watches the tragic, you-jump-I-jump kind. (Because those always make her feel a tiny bit better for a moment.)
When she watches Moulin Rouge!, she bawls harder than she thinks she ever has in her entire life—and long before it ever gets to the cry-worthy parts. (She's glad Rory isn't around to see her this way.) She watches as Christian and Satine are thrown together and pulled apart, and she damns whatever force does that to people.
Staring at herself in the mirror late that night, she mutters, "Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love."
She tries her best to avoid walking by the diner most days, but sometimes it simply can't be helped. Thursday afternoon, she realizes she's out of Poptarts, and there will be serious consequences if she doesn't have any when Rory comes home the next day. And walking to Doose's means passing Luke's.
She's prepared for it. She just isn't prepared for passing Luke himself.
They lock eyes as they cross the street, each other in opposite directions. A million unspoken words that need to be said come to mind. She knows that she—they—need to say something, anything. She stops. So does he.
"You really hurt me."
"I should have said, 'yes,' but I've never been too good at that."
"I should have waited. You waited eight years for me."
"I hurt everyday you're not here to make me smile."
"You were the One."
"Why didn't I say, 'I love you' more often?"
"I used to think you hated me. I used to think I hated you, too, but I don't think I've ever loved anyone else."
"Why Christopher? Why him?"
"There's this ache in my chest that doesn't ever seem to go away. I'm no sure it ever will."
"I miss you."
"I really wanted to be part of April's life, but mostly I just wanted to be part of yours."
"I love you."
But neither of them speaks. Their eyes simply meet, and everything passes between them silently.
She knows as she walks away that she'll always regret that.
After a perfectly disastrous Friday night dinner, she finds herself sitting on the steps of the diner, just like she used to. She doesn't go in though, because things are different now.
A half-hour later, Luke appears.
"You gonna sit out here all night?" he asks. "Or are you gonna come in and get a cup of coffee?"
She almost tells him she doesn't drink it anymore, but instead she asks, "Am I allowed?"
"You're always allowed in here."
And she does go in, and he does give her a cup of coffee, silently, and she does sit in the diner and drink it. He finishes cleaning up, and she can feel his eyes on her every once in a while. And it occurs to her that it will always come back to this—sitting in the diner, drinking his coffee while he watches her from afar. It has always been that way, and, in this moment, at least, she knows it always will be.
"I love you," she says quietly, staring at her half-empty cup of coffee.
"I know," he answers.
And for the first time in months, Lorelai Gilmore smiles.