A/N from the Squid: QT!! Happy Birthday my dear friend. This is dedicated to you - now you finally know what BOOM and I have been up to all these weeks! I'm sure the curiosity has been killing you! Thank you so much for all that you do for me. This is one teeny way of showing my thanks and appreciation. I hope you enjoy it! Have a fabulous birthday, and I hope this brings a huge smile to your face. ~ Squiddy
Thank you to our awesome beta, DieHardJavaJunkie14. We couldn't have done it without you Java!
A/N from the Boomerengue: Happy Birthday to my pal, to my pal, to my pal. Happy Birthday to my pal, my pal Jewels!! I hope you enjoy this little bit of silliness! We love you! *hugs and smooches*
Thank you, Java, for kindly giving of your time and energy to help us out! You rock! *hugs*
Mexican Mechanics and Maniacs
Jason Stiles was convinced that he could win back Lorelai's affections. She was just being stubborn. If he could only get her alone again, they could talk, and he could convince her that they were meant to be together. He picked up a book and pretended to read it as he watched her say good night to many of her friends. The dining room was emptying at a rapid pace, and Jason kept trying to catch Lorelai's eye, hoping she'd see him and come over to talk to him again. Then he could get them back on track. Get things back to the way they were before the fiasco with his father. Jason heard footsteps behind him and looked up, expecting to see Lorelai. Instead he saw a man approaching cautiously, the one who worked in that diner Lorelai went to all the time. What was his name, Duke?
"Hey," the diner man said.
Jason set his book aside. "How you doing?" he said rapidly.
"Good, good. I'm --"
Jason cut him off. "You're Duke, right? From the diner?"
"Uh, actually it's Luke. Luke Danes," he said, offering Jason his hand.
Jason mentally kicked himself for messing up the man's name. "Oh, um, sorry, um I thought it was Duke, um, I'm Jason Stiles," he stuttered, taking Luke's hand and shaking it firmly.
"So, I see you had the pot roast." Luke gestured to the half-empty plate on the table beside Jason as he sat down.
"Yeah, very good." Jason settled back in his seat, holding his glass of wine loosely in his hand.
"All the food was great tonight. So, Jason Stiles, Jason Stiles. I'll tell ya, that name is familiar," Luke stated.
Jason had the impression that Luke was digging for information and he wondered why. He responded tentatively, "I'm a friend of Lorelai's."
"Yeah, me too. I own the diner in town."
"Yeah, she's mentioned you."
"Has she? Well, it's nice to be mentioned." Luke chuckled, as Jason casually took a sip of his wine. "So, uh, you know Lorelai from where?"
"Actually, we're dating."
There was a moment of awkward silence. Luke asked, "You're dating?"
Jason noted the shocked expression on Luke's face and said smugly, "Going on six months."
"You're dating now?" Luke clarified.
"Oh sorry, my mistake. I thought you two had, uh -"
Jason interrupted, "Well, we hit a rough patch, but we're working through it."
"Well, good for you."
"When it's right, it's right, and Lorelai and I are right."
Luke shook his head slightly. "Well that's great. I'm very happy for you."
"Thanks." Jason looked behind him and set his wine glass on the side table. "Hey, you have any idea where the men's room is?"
"It's back through the dining room." Luke gestured with his thumb.
"Thanks, it was nice meeting you." Jason said as he stood up.
Luke gave him a half hearted wave. "Sure, you too."
Jason found the bathroom and took care of business. He was pretty confident that he would be able to corner Lorelai, so they could have their talk now that most the guests had gone to bed. Walking through the bathroom door, he moved toward the foyer and promptly stopped in his tracks, stunned by the scene before him. His Lorelai was standing in the arms of another man and kissing him. Before he could react, he felt his phone vibrate. Reaching into his pocket, he took it out and flipped it open.
"This is Jason."
"Yes, Mr. Stiles. I'm at the office of your apartment complex, and we need you to get here right away. There is an emergency situation that needs your attention as soon as possible."
Jason frowned. He didn't recognize the voice on the other end of the line. "What kind of emergency?" he asked, as he reluctantly turned away from the scene in the hallway.
"There is a fire at the complex. It started in your apartment. Please come right away." Was that a giggle he heard?
"Uh, okay, I'll be there as soon as I can." As he snapped his cell phone shut, he heard a feral scream and thundering footsteps as someone tore down the stairs. Jason spun around in time to see the bare backside of a scrawny man as he ran between Lorelai and that diner guy. Luke sped off after the naked guy and Lorelai dashed to the front desk.
Jason heard her dialing a phone as he quietly slipped away and got into his vehicle. He wasn't quite sure what had just happened, but he didn't have time to stick around and find out. There was a fire at his condo and he needed to make sure that his dog, Cyrus, was okay. He raced out of the parking lot, wondering if the universe had it out for him - first his father swooping in and ruining everything with Richard, then Lorelai breaking up with him and kissing that ball cap wearing hick, and now his condo was on fire. What more could go wrong?
Jason's tires spun up the dust as he left the parking lot in a hurry. His mind couldn't focus on just one of the calamities that had afflicted him. His thoughts were a tidal wave of confusion and anger mixed with concern for Cyrus as he drove through the center of town. He was jerked away from his internal distress when something dashed towards his car. Jason swore and swerved as he rounded the corner and tried to avoid the skeletal form streaking towards him. There was a scream, followed by a crunch as the front wheel of Jason's car struck a park bench. The naked figure rolled out of a nearby bush and took off through the gazebo as Jason got out to assess the damage, trying desperately not to panic.
He circled his car, noting the damage in the front, and said out loud to no one, "This can't be happening. This cannot be happening. I have to get home." The magnitude of everything started to close in on him, and he started to hyperventilate.
"Whoa boy. Sit down and chill," a voice said.
Jason jumped and spun around to see a short woman with dark hair and pigtails inspecting his car with a frown on her face. He decided that sitting down was an excellent idea, so he plopped himself on the broken bench.
"It helps to breathe, or you're going to pass out. I won't be picking you up if you do," she declared.
Jason started consciously breathing in and out. His mind began to clear as his heart rate went back to normal.
The woman circled the vehicle, seemingly taking inventory of the damage as she muttered to herself; something about whether the cost of the repairs would be enough to send her on a cruise. "I can fix this for ya."
Jason looked at her, his brow wrinkled as he wondered why the heck this strange woman was checking out his precious car. "Who are you?"
"Oh, uh, sorry, I'm Gypsy. I own Hewes Brothers." She pointed to the garage down the road.
Jason looked relieved. Perhaps his luck was changing after all. "You can fix it?"
"Of course I can. but it'll take a day or so, and it'll cost ya. I won't be able to get Kirk out here to tow it until tomorrow morning at the earliest." Gypsy looked at him more closely and added, "Hey, aren't you the schmuck who was dating Lorelai? I recognize this car."
Jason ignored her inquiry about Lorelai and slipped back into panic mode. "Tomorrow? But I need to get home now. My condo is on fire. I have to get to Cyrus."
"Cyrus? Is that your kid?"
"No, Cyrus is my dog. What's the number for the cab?"
"I suppose, if the price is right, I could give you a ride," she said.
Jason knew that she was only trying to milk some extra money out of him, but he was desperate to get home. "That would be great. I'd be willing to pay anything if you'd just get me there quick."
"Follow me then."
Jason hopped up off of the bench and trotted after Gypsy.
Jason tried to relax as he settled into the passenger seat of Gypsy's car.
Gypsy started out in the direction of Hartford and was silent for a few minutes before saying, "You never answered my question."
Jason looked over at her, confused. "What question?"
"I asked if you were the guy who was dating Lorelai."
"Yeah. We're dating."
"You are? I thought that was history."
"No, we just had a little setback is all. Although..." his voice trailed off as he remembered what he had seen at the Dragonfly earlier.
Gypsy glanced at him quickly before refocusing on the road. "Although, what?"
"What do you know about her and this Duke guy?"
"Duke? Who the hell is Duke? I haven't heard of any Duke."
Jason shrugged. "Oh. I figured you might know him, he apparently owns the local diner."
Gypsy peered at him again. "You mean Luke? Him I know. He's a grump but he makes a mean burger."
"Damn. I knew that too. Sorry, I guess I'm just a bit distracted. Anyway, is there something going on between him and Lorelai?"
"Well, they've been friends a long time, and the town has always wondered if they had feelings for each other but it's never been confirmed. They've been different lately though. In fact, they were pretty chummy at Liz's wedding."
"Yeah, you know; laughing, dancing together and stuff. I think that was the first time I'd ever seen Luke dance."
"So are they like a couple now? They were kissing at the Dragonfly."
Gypsy looked surprised. "They were? Now that's interesting. I'll have to be sure and tell Patty. Very interesting indeed. It sounds to me like they're getting pretty coupley. I suggest you cut your losses."
Jason sighed. "I think I've officially lost her." He slumped in his seat. "God, I'm pathetic. My father despises me. I've lost everything professionally – all my credibility, my clientele, my money. My home is on fire. And now I've lost my girlfriend. And she was a really great girlfriend. I was even ready to try sleeping in the same bed as her. She could have been the one."
Gypsy shot him a perplexed look as she neared his building. "We're here," she announced.
The first thing Jason noticed when they drove into his complex was the lack of fire trucks. There were no blinking lights, no sirens, no type of EMS vehicle anywhere to be seen. He was clutching the door handle of the truck so tightly that his knuckles were white. Pointing Gypsy where to go, they soon pulled up in front of his apartment. He saw one little lamp glowing from the living room, and absolutely no evidence of a fire.
"Huh. I don't see a fire," Gypsy said, peering suspiciously at the building.
"Well, she said it was in my condo, I'll have to go check." Jason climbed out of the car and headed to the front of the building. He heard a second door slam and turned to see Gypsy following him.
He shot her a questioning look. "Hey, I'm coming to make sure you don't die in there. If you die, I don't get my money. And if I don't get my money, I don't get that cruise to Alaska."
Jason shrugged and quickly led the way to his apartment. He ran up to the door and let himself in. He glanced around to make sure nothing was amiss, and spotted Cyrus exactly where he left him. He walked up, and stood looking down at the placid dog.
"So, this is your dog?" Gypsy asked, walking up behind him. "Is he alive?"
"Yeah, he's just very well trained."
"That isn't a normal dog. He doesn't do any normal dog things. Most dogs would be yapping and jumping on you," Gypsy stated. "He isn't even wagging his tail. That is not a dog. It's a robot."
"I assure you he is a dog. He was trained by the monks of New Skete." Jason began looking around frantically for signs of fire. "I'll be right back." He told Gypsy before racing up the stairs.
As soon as Jason disappeared, Gypsy bent down to pat Cyrus on the head and looked into his large mournful puppy dog eyes. She was partially amused by the steadfastness of the dog, but most of her felt sorry for the little thing. He most likely wasn't getting the loving a little dog deserved and needed. She picked him up in her arms, and spoke to him softly as Jason re-entered the room.
"Poor little guy," Gypsy said, petting Cyrus.
Jason plopped down on the couch, placing his head down on his knees, and his arms over his head as if to ward off all the horrific things that were happening.
"Why me? Why has the entire universe conspired against me? Not just one miserable thing could happen to me, instead I get a whole anvil of Murphy's Law. Everything is gone. No woman is ever going to date me again," Jason said.
"Look at the bright side, at least your house isn't on fire." Feeling sorry for both the man and his beast, Gypsy decided to do something against her better judgment. "Hey, um, I'll go on a date with you," she announced before she changed her mind. Why am I doing this? she thought.
Jason raised his head to look up at her. "You would?"
"Er, yeah. But don't expect me to put out. I'm no slut."
"Um, okay. So a date then?"
"Yeah, I'll call you when your car is done, and bring it back. We can go on the date then," she said, doing a mental head slap and wondering what she was getting herself into. "It will probably take a few days and a large amount of money. I will expect payment on delivery."
"Sure, no problem."
Gypsy gingerly sat Cyrus back down, tickling his ears before walking out the door.
Gypsy stood in front of her closet pondering her options. Jason seemed like a fancy sort of guy and she was certain that nothing she owned was suitable. Somehow jean overalls and a sweater just didn't seem right. Finally, she dug a simple black skirt out of the back of a drawer and put it on, smoothing out the wrinkles. A bit more careful digging unearthed a plain red v-neck shirt that didn't have grease stains on it.
Deciding, she at least looked presentable, Gypsy stood in front of the mirror and pulled out her customary pigtails. She brushed her hair so it was lying straight and pulled on her boots before grabbing her keys and locking the door.
She slid into the leather seat of Jason's Jaguar and carefully drove to Hartford. For the millionth time since leaving Jason's condo a few days before, she pondered what on earth had possessed her to agree to this date. The man was annoying, and conceited, and he wasn't really her type. But she did like his wacky dog, and Jason was rather pathetic so she'd felt sorry for him. She sincerely hoped that she wouldn't regret this evening. She supposed it was always possible that it had just been a bad day and he was actually more interesting than he appeared.
Gypsy pulled up to the curb outside his apartment building and was disappointed to see him already outside waiting for him. She was kind hoping to be able to see Cyrus again. She sighed in resignation and walked toward him, handing him the keys to his vehicle. "See? She's good as new. Drives like a dream."
"I know," Jason replied as he gave the car a once over and was surprised to see that there wasn't any indication of his accident. "Wow, you did a great job."
Gypsy rolled her eyes. "Of course I did, this is what I do for a living."
"Right. Well, uh, thanks." Jason looked at her properly for the first time that evening and smiled at the worn cowboy boots and the wrinkled skirt. He was surprised to find that she was actually kind of cute. "You look nice."
Gypsy looked startled, clearly not used to such compliments. "Oh. Um, thank you."
"Well, we should go. I made us a reservation at this great Mexican place I know."
Jason parked right next to the front entrance of the brightly coloured restaurant. They walked in and were greeted with a cacophony of sounds ranging from excited chatter to the ringing tones of the in-house Mariachi band. Gypsy looked around at the eclectic collection of artwork that dotted the walls as Jason spoke to the hostess about their reservation. He returned, smiling. "They're ready for us. Come on."
As they followed the hostess to their table, Jason moved closer to Gypsy and gently rested his hand on the small of her back. "Hey, keep your hands where I can see them buddy," she told him, glaring. Jason promptly removed his hand and shoved it in his pocket.
As soon as they were seated at their quiet table in the corner, their waiter came over and plunked a giant sombrero with tassels onto Jason`s head. Gypsy tried not to laugh as the vibrantly decorated tassels dangled in front of his eyes. Jason made a face. He tried to take the sombrero off, but the waiter was insistent that he kept it on, gesturing around to show that every male in the restaurant was wearing one. Jason sighed in resignation and attempted to peer at the menu through the tassels.
"Everything looks good. I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for," she said, scanning the list of dishes offered.
"Choose anything you like. Dinner's on me."
She looked at him in question and stated, "I figured we'd go dutch."
"No date of mine will pay for her own food," he declared.
"What are you some chauvinist pig? I don't need a man to buy my food. Besides, you're going to be broke before the night's over," she huffed.
Jason held his hands up in surrender. "So, uh, this Duke, I mean, Luke, he's a nice guy?"
"Yeah, he's gruff, but a big softy. He doesn't want people to know that though."
"He seems outdoorsy. What would Lorelai see in him? She comes from a very affluent family in Hartford. She deserves jewels, and all that money can buy. He's a diner owner with an old truck. He probably wouldn't know a real diamond from a fake. He clearly isn't her type. I am," Jason ranted.
"Get over it already. You must not know Lorelai as well as you think. Luke is more her type than you are."
"But Luke owns a diner, he wears flannel, and he's merely a burger flipper. He's not good enough for her," he sneered.
"And you are? Please. Do I need to remind you that you have nothing now?"
"Thanks for the reminder," he said sarcastically.
The conversation quickly disintegrated, leaving them to look at everything and anything except each other.
They walked to the car in awkward silence, the tassels from the sombrero still dangling in his eyes. Jason opened his mouth to speak and Gypsy was certain he was going to ask her something cheesy, like whether she wanted a night cap at his place. She scowled at him and he quickly closed his mouth, unlocking the car door without a word.
Much to Gypsy's internal amusement, Jason tried and failed to make small talk several times as they headed out of town. She noted that he was driving much faster than the speed-limit and she clung to the handle above the door, rolling her eyes at the obvious display of machismo. He was such a ... boy.
As they neared Stars Hollow, Jason broke the silence, "So, uh... how much do I owe you?"
Gypsy glared at him. "For the date? Just who is it that you think you are dealing with here buster?"
Jason frantically shook his head. "No, no. For the car repair."
Gypsy relaxed against her seat, considering. "$1500.00," she said confidently.
"What?" Jason slammed on the brakes and nearly skidded into the bench he'd hit a few days before.
Gypsy struggled to regain her composure after her life flashed before her eyes. He was an even bigger idiot than she'd first thought. "Well, it was body work. That stuff doesn't come cheap. Also, you wouldn't believe how difficult it was to get Kirk's butt prints out."
Jason slowly began to drive again as he spoke, "Sorry. You're right, that price is perfectly reasonable for the repairs you had to do. I'm sorry. Normally I wouldn't even flinch at that figure, but with all the crap that's been happening lately I'm feeling kind of cash poor. I'll mail you a cheque tomorrow."
"That's fine." Gypsy's expression softened slightly as she began to feel sorry for the man again. Then she caught a glimpse of the tassels and all attempts to take him seriously failed.
Jason slowed to a stop beside Gypsy's truck and came around to open the passenger door. Together they walked mutely to her front step. Gypsy quickly unlocked the deadbolt, then turned to say 'Good Night'. She was shocked to see Jason standing directly in front of her, close enough that she could hear every intake of breath.
He closed his eyes and leaned in, clearly intending to kiss her. Gypsy took a step backward and made a fist. Her punch hit him squarely in the nose and his eyes flew open as blood began to gush from his nostrils.
"Ouch!" he cried, trying to catch the blood with his hands.
"You seriously thought this was a good enough date that I'd kiss you?" Gypsy asked incredulously. "What are you, a moron? No wonder Lorelai broke it off with you. At least Luke knows when to keep his hands to himself. Oh, and please refrain from bleeding all over my front step." With that, she snatched the sombrero off his head and slammed the door in his face, a smile of deep satisfaction teasing the corners of her lips.