Author's Note: First of all my apologies for being so late in submitting the story. Secondly many, many thanks to Mags and Pink Hammer for betaing. Believe me when I say, that if those two girls haven't laid their hands in the story some parts wouldn't make much sense.

This story is for Kasia who gave me the idea back during summertime and wanted to read about jealous Lorelai.

Also thanks to Katrin for encouraging me to write and heard me rant when the appropriate words wouldn't come.

Hope you enjoy the story.

***

They haven't talked for five days. She kept coming in the diner with Rory for breakfast but over these five days she had stopped her midday visits. During those visits with Rory they exchanged the typical customer- proprietor talk, but they haven't really talked. There was no banter, not since he gave her the cold shoulder after meeting that kid she dated.

She had asked him over and over again what was bothering him; even after Rory's performance in Romeo and Juliet; she had abandoned her company and gone to the counter trying to make him open up, to make him tell her if she had done something wrong. But how could he tell her? What could he say anyway? "You'll even date that kid but you won't date me?" He had played that scene over and over in his head; she would look at him like he was crazy and try to laugh it off. Sometimes, when he felt optimistic, usually after a beer or two, she would smile at him and lean over the counter and whisper that she had been expecting him to say something like that for a long time. He would smile back and lead her behind the curtain to continue their talk.

His reverie was broken by the bells announcing Lorelai's and Sookie's arrival. They seemed bummed about god knows what, but by the time he brought their food and offered refill to Lorelai's already empty mug, their faces had lit up again and plans were being formed. That's when he heard it.

"Hey, what about Luke?"

"What about him?" he asked, curiosity taking its toll.

"He eats, Jess eats - doesn't Jess eat?" Sookie asked.

"What's she doing?" he asked, turning to Lorelai.

"I think she is inviting you and Jess for dinner," she replied.

"Well Jess won't be here anyway, but I'll see if I can come."

He sensed his answer was wrong by the way Sookie's face turned red in a matter of seconds.

"I've got thirty pounds of aged beef, trays and trays of trout, mountains of prune tarts. I diced pumpkins until my hands turned orange. I've got pumpkin hands! And you tell me you'll see if you can come?"

"Sookie, breathe." Lorelai tried to soothe her now furious friend.

"How can you stay so calm about this?" she spat.

"Well, we have the whole town coming, so whether Luke comes or not doesn't make a big difference," she shrugged.

Was this revenge for his attitude towards her? Or did she have a new guy she wanted to hide? His thoughts were all over the place, but Sookie's freak out made him turn his attention to her.

"Well, too bad, it's not an option! You are coming and you are bringing someone with you!" she said adamantly, pointing a finger at him.

"Jeez! I already told you Jess isn't here. You know what? Leave me out of your crazy plans!" And, with those final words, he headed behind the counter to attend to the rest of his customers.

While Sookie's breathing returned to normal, Lorelai kept staring after Luke's retreating back, obviously lost in thought.

Sookie, seeing her friend's distraught face, commented, "So I guess the talk after Rory's play didn't go well, huh?"

"You think?" Lorelai replied, sarcasm dripping from her words. "I just don't get what his problem is!" Lorelai exclaimed.

"I told you, just look the guy in the eye, it's right there!" Sookie insisted.

"Right now his eyes are telling me he doesn't want anything to do with me." Lorelai heaved a heavy sigh and turned away from Luke.

"Hey, Luke!" Sookie called.

"What are you doing?" Lorelai hissed.

"What now?" he grumbled.

"Sorry for freaking out on you earlier, we were just planning this whole thing that got canceled due to a big storm in the midwest and then we came up with the idea to host dinner for the whole town to save all the food. Please come. It would mean a lot to me and Lorelai," she emphasized Lorelai's name, "if you would come."

He could never say no to Sookie, and after her earlier blow out, this time was no exception. "I'll see what I can do."

"Yay, thanks, Luke, you'll see, it's going to be great!" she enthused.

"Another night with the nut jobs of Stars Hollow? I doubt it."

***

After Lorelai and Sookie had gone, Luke was left thinking about what he could do to get out of going to this dinner. The last thing he wanted was to spend another night witnessing Lorelai and whatever inappropriate guy she chose to date. Sure, a dark, lonely apartment wasn't the best alternative, but it would be better than yet again being the pathetic diner guy who shows up with no date.

As if sensing his thoughts, Miss Patty approached the counter with a purpose.

"Hey, doll."

"Hi Patty, need anything else?"

"I don't, but I know someone who does need something."

Clearly misunderstanding her, Luke looked around trying to find a customer needing his attention, but he didn't find anyone. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you, and your need to find a date for this dinner thing at the Independence Inn. I know just the right girl!" she enthused.

Clearly humiliated by Patty's assumption, he turned away, trying to escape her.

"I don't need a date, and who told you I'd go anyway?"

"We both know you can't say no to a certain person, and what better way to stir things up than by bringing a date?" she replied.

Once again he turned to look at her and with a tone that suggested that she not bother him again with the issue he stated, "Even IF I decide to go, I don't need a date to 'stir things up' as you suggest." He even used air quotes to emphasize his statement.

"Okay, okay, I give up but I'll leave you her phone number just in case you change your mind." And with a knowing wink, she left the diner.

***

Days passed and the Bracebridge dinner, as they called the event at the Independence Inn, was quickly approaching. Luke still hadn't made up his mind about whether he should go or not. He still hadn't really talked to Lorelai. Sure, her visits where now more frequent, but the banter still hadn't returned. He figured that Lorelai wasn't the only one to blame, since he made no effort either, but in a way it bothered him that she had stopped asking him what was wrong or trying to badger a smile out of him.

During one of her lunch visits, he decided that it was time to stop giving her the cold shoulder. He had realized it was an honest mistake on Lorelai's part to date that kid and that she regretted it too. So he approached her with her cup full of coffee and with a smile on his face.

"Hey."

But, Lorelai had enough of his attitude during the last week so her response wasn't as enthusiastic. "Hi."

"So, how is the dinner party coming along?" he tried to start the conversation.

"It's coming…" she shrugged him off.

"Everything ready for tomorrow?" he persisted.

"It will be," she said shortly.

"Is something wrong? Need any help?" he asked, trying to coax her into conversation.

"Nope, everything is dandy," was her sarcastic answer.

"Okay that's it. Get up!" he ordered.

"What?"

"I said get up!" and he stormed off into the storeroom.

After a couple of minutes she followed him into the room and closed the door behind her.

"What's up?" she asked, trying to play it cool.

"I should be asking you the same thing!" he spat, his patience wearing thin.

"What are you talking about?" She pretended ignorance, but that infuriated Luke even more.

"Damn it, Lorelai, I'm trying to talk to you here, and you…"

"I what? Am I giving you the cold shoulder and you have no idea why? Because you're trying to talk to me and I answer too gruffly for you? Pretend that everything is fine between us although your… my," she quickly corrected her slip up, "behavior indicates otherwise? What, Luke, what?"

"Okay, yes, I figured my behavior this past week wasn't the best, but I'm making an effort here!" he pleaded.

"Explain the reason for your attitude this past week, Luke, because you forgot to send me the memo that we were having a fight!" she demanded, her voice rising.

She was answered with silence on his part, as Luke struggled to find a way to explain.

"And just because you woke up today thinking, oh it's a good day to talk to Lorelai again, I should comply, even though I have no idea what I did wrong in the first place?" She continued her verbal assault.

"Because of what happened…" but he thought better and stopped his sentence. This talk could lead to a place that neither was ready to go yet.

"What happened when?"

"Never mind." he said as he turned away from her.

"No! Tell me! I have every right to know what I did wrong and why you're giving me the cold shoulder!" she insisted, forcing him to turn and look at her.

His look was one she had never seen before; a mixture of anger, sadness and defeat. For a moment, she thought she should stop pressuring him but instead, she continued. "So would you care to let me in on what I did?" she inquired crossing her arms over her chest.

"I thought that maybe you understood, but I guess you didn't," he replied bitterly.

"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked, clearly confused.

"I told you, never mind!" His stubbornness was back.

"I won't leave till you tell me!" she insisted.

"It was the kid okay? Are you happy now?" he snapped.

"Paul? Seriously, what are you, my mother? You want to tell me who to date or not?"

He looked at her pointedly, clearly not taking the bait. "Everyone in this town is telling me the same thing. Everyone thinks that only a neon sign is missing to make it more obvious, but of course you are clueless again!" Luke yelled.

"Clueless about what?" Lorelai was still confused.

"See, this is the exact reason I didn't want to have this conversation. You are not ready for this, WE are not ready for this!"

Lorelai's mind was swirling with possible explanations for what he just told her. Had she heard right? Was he implying what she thinks he was implying? Of course she knew. How could she not? And it would be a lie to tell him that she hadn't thought about the possibility herself. But a lot was at stake; their friendship came first and was the most important thing.

A moment of deafening silence passed between the two, as they both processed what had just happened. Luke pretended that he hadn't just admitted what he had, and decided to make one last effort. "So, I'll see you at the inn tomorrow?" he asked, striving for a casual tone.

"I'm the hostess; I'll be there anyway, no matter who shows up." She hadn't had the chance to fully absorb what just happened or what he had admitted, so her tone was still cooler than the temperature outside.

"Fine!" he muttered, and he stormed out of the storeroom and up to his apartment. He grabbed the piece of paper Patty had left him the other day and with no second thoughts made the phone call.

"Hi, Stella? This is Luke Danes…"

***

And finally the day of the dinner party dawned. After Luke's call to set up his date with Stella, he had picked up that same phone over ten times to cancel, but each time he couldn't bring himself to go through with it. He spent the night contemplating whether he had made the right move by asking a complete stranger to go with him. He wasn't really sure what made him ask her in the first place. Sure, Lorelai once again feigning ignorance infuriated him, but why was his first impulse was to call that girl? Jealousy was what came to mind, but to make someone jealous meant that she cared, and from their earlier conversation, Luke was convinced that she didn't think of him as anything more than her coffee provider and Mr. Fix-it.

As the first rays of light started to enter his apartment he stopped trying to figure out what to do and decided he would go through with it. Worst case scenario? She was one of Miss Patty's lunatic friends and the night would be a disaster. But at least he would have seen Lorelai's reaction, whatever that would be.

***

They met at the diner, neutral territory and a great place for the first introductions, especially since everyone in the town was at the Inn and the diner was quiet.

She seemed like a nice person; not someone he would choose to date, but a person that would make the night pass by pleasantly. He tried to act like he cared, like he was actually giving this 'date' a chance, but just before they left the diner he caved and confessed his actual purpose of asking her come in this event. She was understanding, and to his surprise she admitted that she has just gotten out of a relationship herself and she wasn't ready to start something new.

They talked about failed relationships and by the time they got to the inn the conversation was flowing easily. Not that forced , 'I have to talk to a complete stranger and I have to be pleasant,' conversation, but like two people who knew that they could enjoy each other's company without further commitment.

***

Lorelai was in the lobby greeting her guests when Luke arrived with his date. She was so engrossed in her conversation that he didn't notice him at first. The first thing she did notice though was a blonde woman by his side. She quickly dismissed the idea "Luke isn't dating anyone. He would have mentioned something the other day", but when she saw him help her with her coat and giving it to the bell boy, everything became clear.

Luke was seeing someone. Of course Luke would be seeing someone; he is a single, good looking guy, ready to make a commitment. Who wouldn't want a guy who takes care of everything; the cooking, the errands and the repairs a house requires? Any girl would be lucky to have him. Then why was she so jealous? Why did she feel like going over there and claiming him as her own? Maybe it was because of their conversation the other night and the messages he was trying to send, or so she thought he was trying to send. Was he just toying with her now that he had someone? And if so, why was he so mad at her for dating Paul? With all those thoughts running through her head, she made her way to Luke and his date. All thoughts of being good hostess had fled the moment she saw them; she was determined to be as polite as possible, but failed miserably.

"Hi," she greeted them without a hint of smile on her face.

Luke ignored her obvious discomfort and proceeded with the introductions. "Hi. Nice turnout you've got here. Lorelai, this is Stella, Stella, this is my friend Lorelai, she's hosting this thing."

Stella, oblivious to the intense stares between the two, started making polite small talk. "This place looks wonderful; you've done a really great job with it, Lorelai. Luke was right when he told me that you've worked really hard."

Her tone was chipper and that got to Lorelai even more. "He did, huh?" she replied, still staring at Luke and not once glancing at his escort.

"Yep, he kept talking about you all the way over here." Stella was not oblivious about what was going on between the two and she was trying to help Luke, or so she thought.

"Well that's very nice of him." Her sarcasm wasn't lost on Luke. "Bob will show you to your room. Enjoy your stay!" And with that, she turned her attention to Rory and Dean who were in the lobby too.

Luke kept staring at Lorelai's retreating back when Stella's words made him focus on her. "So, that's her?"

"Huh? Who?"

"The girl you want to make jealous and that's why you asked me here," she stated as a matter of fact. "What's the deal with you two?"

"Well, aahh, our status is a little complicated," he managed to get out.

"From what I saw it's not that complicated. She wanted to claw my eyes out when she realized I was with you," she replied with a laugh.

"Nah, I don't think so, she never showed any interest in me. It was always me who waited around. I'm sure she is with someone here too," he mumbled while scanning the room to find her potential date.

"She sure seemed jealous to me."

***

After Lorelai walked away from Luke and his date, she pretended to talk with Rory for a little while before heading in the kitchen and to her always loyal friend Sookie. She, of course, had other problems.

"No! It tastes too twentieth century guys. It's gotta shout Washington Irving, not Irving my accountant. It needs something. Help me, what is it?"

"Beats me!" Lorelai answered. "Can I talk to you for a second?" She tried to get Sookie's attention. "Agh! Ew Rune what are you doing dressing in here?" Lorelai cried as she covered her eyes.

"Well the bathrooms are full and the lousy madrigal singers are Bogarting the supply closet." he complained as he hopped around with his pants half on.

"And you thought the kitchen was the next best option?" she asked, incredulous. "It's enough I have to deal with Luke and his date, I can't deal with naked Rune too!" Lorelai moaned as she fled the kitchen, leaving a stunned Sookie behind.

It took Sookie a whole minute to realize what had happened, but once she did she left the kitchen and went after her friend. She found her in the office looking at the ceiling, lost in thought.

Sure, they went right upstairs, not wasting any time. What could they possibly be doing up there this early? Don't they have some other place to do whatever it is they are doing? They had to come here to get it on? Rub it in my face?

"Hey, hon, what exactly happened back there?" Sookie interrupted.

Lorelai didn't reply and just stared at her friend.

"Lorelai?" Sookie tried again. "What happened?"

"HE happened?" she emphasized by pointing at the door?"

"Who? Are you talking about Rune?"

"What? No, I'm not talking about Rune! I don't care about Rune!"

"Then what's up, honey? What got you all upset?" Sookie asked gently, trying to make her friend open up.

"Luke got me upset!" she replied in a whiney yet frustrated tone.

"He didn't show up? I'll go to the diner and drag him here myself," Sookie said getting ready to go get him.

"No, he showed up. He brought someone too, just like you told him." Lorelai got up and started pacing the room.

"Who did he bring? Jess?"

"Do you think I'd be this upset if he brought Jess? No, I don't like that kid because he's trouble, but I wouldn't be that mad. He brought a date. A date, Sookie!" Lorelai was now in full ranting mode and her voice was getting louder with each sentence. "After he pulled the Mr. Freeze on me when he found out I dated Paul, and after our talk the other day when he said I was oblivious, he dared to bring a girl! And not just a girl! He has some blonde attached to his hip. She doesn't let him move without tagging along with him. Is she scared we're going to steal him?"

Sookie tried to hold back, but by Lorelai's last sentence, she couldn't help snickering.

"What is so funny, Sook? Please share, because I would love to be able to laugh too," she barked at her friend.

"Aw, hon, it's obvious! You're jealous of Luke and his girlfriend." Sookie stated.

"No, I'm not!" she denied.

"Oh yes you are!" Sookie insisted. "I just don't know why you both keep playing around. Why don't you just admit your damn feelings and get it over with!" Sookie declared with confidence.

Lorelai was silent, contemplating what her friend has just told her.

"After our talk the other day I was starting to think the same thing, and to be honest I was hoping to gauge his reaction tonight, maybe have some time alone with him, you know, to talk, but now he 's here and he has a date and that ruins everything," she complained.

"Seriously, you need to tell me what you discussed the other night. It sounds like it was important," Sookie prodded, eager to find out.

"It doesn't matter now anyway," Lorelai said, her shoulders slumping in defeat. "Come on, we have guests to attend to."

***

At the dinner table, Stella was sitting right next to Luke, who was sitting next to a very tipsy Bootsy. Lorelai made a huge effort to avoid eye contact with the 'happy couple,' but failed miserably. She desperately wanted to watch how they interacted with each other and whether this thing that they seemed to have was serious or just a fling. Bootsy was commenting on everything and everyone, from Rune and his beard to Jackson and the way he talked. Luke, who was sitting in the middle, was trying to let Stella know what Bootsy was saying so she wouldn't feel out of the loop. He figured it was bad enough that she had understood the reason he brought her here, the least he could do was make sure she had a fun night. So, he kept leaning towards her and whispering, which resulted in her bursting into frequent fits of laughter. Lorelai, of course, noticed all this and was fuming, which meant that she wasn't able to enjoy her dinner, which didn't go unnoticed by Rory.

"Hey mom, is everything alright?" Rory whispered so that no one could hear them.

"Sure, everything is fine, this night turned out to be a success," she answered, smiling at her daughter.

"Then why haven't you touched your food?" Rory pressed even more.

Lorelai's face immediately fell and nodded toward Luke and Stella. Rory turned to look towards the two and saw them whispering and laughing.

"Oh!"

"Oh is right!" Lorelai returned.

"But, what about the other day in the store room?" Rory asked, remembering how confused her mother was when she returned from the diner and how, after they talked, she was finally convinced that Luke had feelings for her.

"He was probably just messing with me now that he has someone," Lorelai muttered.

"No! Luke isn't that kind of guy," Rory was quick to defend him.

"We thought Luke wasn't that kind of guy!" she shot back. "But now we have proof of the opposite."

"Maybe she's a relative of his; you do remember how Sookie pressured him to bring someone. Maybe it's not what it looks like," Rory insisted.

"Oh come on! Look at them! They have that beginning of the relationship glow!" Lorelai said while stealing another glance at them. At that same moment, Luke looked towards her and gave her a small smile but she ignored him and got up to check on Sookie and dessert.

Rory saw Luke staring at her mother's retreating back and then he turned and gave her a confused frown. She just shrugged in return.

***

Lorelai didn't make it to the kitchen; she headed to the library and started pacing the floor, obviously very upset. Still fuming as she recalled their conversation in the diner in comparison to what she saw tonight.

Luke followed her when she left the dinner table and saw her heading to the library. There he remained in the doorframe watching her pacing the library.

When she let a frustrated groan, Luke decided to make his presence known. "What's up?"

Startled by his presence, she yelped with surprise. "Make a noise would you?"

"What's with the attitude tonight?" he demanded, getting straight to the point.

"Like you don't know," she spat.

"No, I don't. So, if you care to enlighten me…" Luke said leadingly, trying to remain calm.

"I think your date will be expecting you, so don't make her wait."

Luke let out a small chuckle. "So, that's what this is all about."

"Of course that's it! How dare you come here with her, after what happened the other day at the diner!" she ranted. "After not talking to me for almost a week after finding out I went on one lousy date with some other guy! I thought…" but she stopped herself.

"You thought what?" he pressed.

"I thought that maybe you cared, that everything I was hearing all over town finally came true. That…" but at that moment the door opened.

"Hey, hon," Sookie called, but she stopped short when she saw the looks between the two. "Sorry, didn't know you were in the middle of something," she stammered as she started backing out of the room.

"No, its okay, Sookie, come on in. You didn't interrupt anything." Lorelai said pointedly. "Luke has to go back to Stella," she added, almost choking on the name.

"I can come back later," her friend offered lamely.

"Sook, tell me. Luke was just leaving." she insisted as she glared at him.

Luke was hesitant to leave, especially considering where they left their conversation, but seeing her determined look, he complied.

When he closed the door behind him, Sookie started firing questions. "What happened in here? He was looking at you like he was about to plant a big one on you!"

"Yeah, right! He is with Stella, remember?"

"We don't know if he is WITH Stella. Sure, he brought her with him but we don't know for certain," Sookie pointed out.

"He didn't deny anything," Lorelai replied sadly.

"Aw, hon, I'm sorry. Your timing was always off. If you two just... gah!"

"Gah, is just about right, Sook." She sighed. "Now what was it you wanted to tell me?"

"Oh right, right! The sleigh rides are ready and we need to make the announcement, but I can make it, no biggie," she offered in a rush to relieve her friend from some of their duties.

"No, its okay, everything is fine. Let's go." She plastered a smile on her face, took her friend by the arm and headed for the lobby.

***

Everyone was settled in their sleighs and off to tour Stars Hollow. Lorelai even managed to convince her mother to join her father in a sleigh ride, in hopes that they could work out whatever was going on between them, and she and Rory could claim their room as their own. When there was one last sleigh waiting to be filled, she seemed to be the only one left behind. She hesitated for a brief second but decided to not let the opportunity to enjoy a ride through a snow covered Stars Hollow pass. She gave the driver the signal and she was off. Just before the horse picked up speed she jumped when she felt someone leap up into the sleigh and sitting next to her.

Startled, she turned to look at the stranger, only to realize it was Luke. "What are you doing here?"

"I heard the inn offered a tour around town, and I thought, why not?" he tried to joke to break the tension.

"Why aren't you with your girlfriend?"

"I saw you were alone, and I thought I would join you."

"Do you like to torture me? Is this your sense of having fun?" she asked, angry again.

"Is this so bad?" he asked.

"Under any other circumstances, no, it wouldn't be bad, but considering everything, I would say yeah!" she said adamantly as she turned to look at him.

"What? What's so bad about two people enjoying a nice night out in the snow?" he asked.

"Ahem, have you forgotten about a certain blonde who's probably waiting for you back at the inn?" She tried to remind him of Stella again.

A smile formed on his lips as he said, "She is not my girlfriend."

Lorelai was left with the mouth agape staring at him. "She… then why did you… She's not?" she finished after unsuccessfully trying to form the right question.

He shook his head, still smiling. "She is not my girlfriend," he repeated slowly so that she could comprehend what he was saying.

When she didn't reply after a while, he decided to give her the full story, or a version that wouldn't reveal too much anyway.

"Miss Patty saw Sookie's freak out at the diner, how she insisted I bring someone, and she thought she would help by giving me her phone number. I decided why not, so I called her and she accepted," he finished, waiting for the reaction.

"YOU," she said pointing a finger at him, "willingly called her and set up a blind date? Why on earth would you do that?" she asked.

He just shrugged, not wanting to reveal anything else.

After that they sat in silence. Lorelai had turned her eyes towards the town and seemingly she was enjoying the ride, while Luke kept staring at her waiting for her reaction.

When she felt him shivering, she lifted the blanket she used to cover herself and covered him too.

"The town looks beautiful," she stated with a wishful tone.

"Same as always," he replied.

"No, it's always different this time of the year, it's magical," she insisted.

"If you say so."

"Nice things happen when it snows," she stated and turned to look at him.

"Yeah?" he asked, half smiling.

"Yeah." She smiled back.

"So you only asked her to make me feel jealous? Revenge for Paul?" she asked, wanting to clear the air.

He turned away from her piercing gaze. He spoke after a while, almost whispering. "I just thought for once I would turn the tables." He looked timidly her way.

She nodded. "When I was in fifth grade I told everyone that Eric Estrada was my boyfriend. Wanted to make Jimmy look my way." She laughed remembering how badly that had failed. "Ever since that fiasco I never used another guy as a means to make someone jealous."

Luke didn't reply, instead he placed his arm around her shoulders and they continued the ride. Lorelai had blocked out every sense of cold she might be feeling; Luke's hand around her and how she fitted perfectly by his side made her forget everything and focus only on them. Ever since the other night, the idea of being with Luke was becoming more and more real. It would be a lie to say that she hadn't thought about him in that way. Over the years there were many occasions where the tension was unbearable, but the desired kiss never came. That night when they were playing cards and Miss Kim interrupted them, behind the counter when they wanted to chose colors to paint the diner, even the most recent one, after the Romeo and Juliet play where he was giving her the cold shoulder but his eyes were telling her otherwise.

"What are you thinking?" His soft whisper broke her out of her reverie.

"All these years and all these lost moments." she replied.

Luke couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was this finally their time? He turned to look at her, and the first thing he saw were her sparkling eyes, smiling at him. They were lost in each other's sea of blue. Luke made the decision; this was finally the time. He started to lean towards her. When their lips had barely touched, they felt the sleigh jerk to a stop and heard a familiar voice. With a groan of regret Luke pulled away from her but never broke eye contact. Only when Sookie, oblivious to the stares between the two, started squealing did they break eye contact.

"Oh Lorelai, wasn't this wonderful! Riding in a horse-drawn carriage, seeing the town all covered in snow and beautiful! It was just like in the movies!" she enthused.

"Yeah, Sookie, it was great." And with a meaningful look towards Luke she stepped down from the sleigh and followed her friend inside, but not before sharing one last glance with him.

Luke couldn't believe what had just happened. Finally, after 5 years of observing from afar and never daring to make the first move they were this close to a kiss! He could almost taste her lip gloss, that's how close they had come! He couldn't believe that someone had to interrupt them again!

He stayed outside, watching the snow fall, fuming inside at the interruption. The more he sat there thinking about the lost moment, the angrier he got.

When he couldn't hear voices from the inside, he assumed that everyone had withdrawn to their rooms and decided to go in before he froze and they pronounced him the snowman of the year at the annual competition that was taking place in the square.

The lobby was empty; no sign of Lorelai. He had hoped that he might had a chance to talk to her again, but nothing, so he decided to retreat to his room and rest. The moment he stepped foot into the room, he regretted his decision. He had forgotten all about his 'date' who was now peacefully sleeping on the king size bed. He closed the door quietly and with a sigh he went back downstairs.

He grabbed a book from the library and sat in one of the couches in the lobby. For a moment he thought about making himself more comfortable, but he decided not to. The last thing he could do was read. The scene from earlier kept playing in his mind. He wondered what Lorelai's reaction would be when they met. Would she pretend like nothing happened, would she want to try a relationship with him? Possibilities kept playing in his mind, from her being happy to pursue something with him, to her not talking to him again because she didn't feel the same way. If he could, he would go wake her up and ask what she thought about their situation. He was so engrossed in thought that he didn't hear her footsteps on the stairs.

With her mother hogging the room with her nightly rituals and her continuous complaints about her father and his decision to retire, Lorelai felt the need to escape the room, so she went to the lobby for some quiet time. Five steps before the landing she saw him sitting on the couch with a book on his lap but obviously lost in thought. Her first reaction was to go back upstairs and avoid the meeting. She needed more time to think. But then she remembered how she felt when Luke almost kissed her and she kept moving. She reached the back of the couch he was sitting on and still there was no acknowledgement of her presence, so she decided to let him know.

"Hey."

Luke was surprised. He turned to look at her in her pajamas, her hair still straight from earlier; she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He got up to face her. "Hi."

"Can't sleep?" She knew the reason that he couldn't go in his room, and to be honest with herself she was relieved, but she didn't want to push him into once again admitting the blind date he had.

"Nah, but I can't really go up there," he admitted.

"You can't?" she pressured since he seemed open to starting the conversation again.

"Yeah, Stella is sleeping on the bed and I didn't want to interrupt her. The least I could do is let her sleep," he answered ducking his head, embarrassed by his choice to bring a date he didn't know and having to admit the awkward situation he found himself in.

"Ah, yeah," she murmured as she acted like she had already forgotten about his earlier admission.

They were both silent for a while until Luke blurted, "I was going to kiss you." His face now a deep shade of red, he found himself unable to look at her.

"Yeah I kinda got that memo," she replied easily.

"Did you want me to?" he dared to ask.

When his question was met with silence he sighed heavily.

Misinterpreting her lack of answer he turned towards the stairs. "Ah, forget it!"

Leaping into action, she tried to stop him. "No, wait!"

"Why, so you can tell me that you don't feel the same way? That it will ruin our friendship? I'm saving you the trouble," he spat, turning to leave.

"I wanted to!" she shouted at his retreating back. He stopped dead in his tracks.

"Do you mean that, or are you telling me what I want to hear?" he wondered and looked her straight in the eye for any signs of doubt.

"What do you think, Luke? After the past few days and our talks? After my reaction to Stella?" she questioned.

Without a second thought, and with no one to interrupt them this time, he moved towards her and pulled her in his arms.

"If you have any doubts, now would be the right time to voice them because in about 10 seconds I'm going to kiss you."

"Why don't you just do it?" she whispered mesmerized by his intense gaze.

"Because I want to be certain that you want this too."

"I really, really do."

That's all he needed to hear. He took her face in his hands and closed the remaining space between them. It wasn't the romantic kiss he had dreamed of as their first one but it was full of passion and need.

He pulled back, ready to apologize for being rough. "Sorry," he mumbled, but not letting her loose from his embrace.

"Don't apologize," she whispered and this time she was the one cradling his head and kissing him with all she had. She opened her mouth and when their tongues touched for the first time the kiss intensified even more. They started moving blindly backwards, but they didn't make it too far. Lorelai's knees hit the couch and they both fell on it with a thud.

"Jeez, are you okay?" he asked, out of breath and concerned that he might have crushed her.

"More than okay," she admitted with a saucy smile moving to kiss him again.

Their position and the way their bodies touched made them even more frantic. Lorelai, with the advantage of having her arms free, started letting them roam over his broad back, enjoying the feeling of his muscles.

"Take it off!" she ordered.

He laughed, kissing her lightly on the nose "We're in the lobby. On the couch in the lobby," he pointed out.

"Everyone is sleeping, no one will know," she cajoled.

"Maybe next time," he answered again kissing her lightly.

"Okay, I can manage with your shirt on, but I know you can do better at the kissing part," she challenged.

"That I can do." He smiled and started showering her with kisses. First her eyebrows, then her nose, her cheeks and finally her mouth, where the heat again escalated. Tongue against tongue, breaths mingling and their hands exploring. He moved to her neck, sucking, but not so hard as to leave a mark, and she giggled when he hit a ticklish spot. "You are bad!"

"Lorelai?" her mother's voice echoed through the empty room.

"What are you doing on my daughter?" Richard was heard soon after.

Lorelai, in her haste to get up, practically knocked Luke off of her and sent him sprawling on the floor where he hit his head on the table. "Are you okay?" she asked, concerned.

"Lorelai, what do you think you are doing? For heaven's sake you are not sixteen anymore! How long has this been going on?" Emily demanded, clearly not affected by Luke on the floor.

"This is not how we raised you, Lorelai; sneaking around with some strange man!" her father added.

Luke felt the need to defend Lorelai, so he got up from the floor, checking the spot where his head had hit the table for any signs of blood. When he didn't find any, he moved towards Lorelai, placing his hands on her shoulders.

She was surprised by his action; she thought he would bolt, afraid of her parents' reaction, but no. He was Luke, and Luke was willing to stand for her, for them.

"Mrs. Gilmore, Mr. Gilmore, I know we didn't meet under the best of circumstances, and I take full responsibility for what happened, but I want you to know that I'm serious about your daughter. What you saw here was certainly wrong, but we got caught up in the moment."

Unaffected by Luke's admission, Emily continued with her questions. "How long has this been going on, Lorelai? Were you hiding yet another relationship from us?" she demanded.

"Mom, no!" she was quick to reply.

"Mrs. Gilmore, I can assure you that this is new for us too. We are not hiding anything," Luke once again spoke.

"I'm sure my daughter can speak for herself. Don't you think, Luke?" Emily said in a haughty tone.

Luke simply nodded in agreement.

"Mom, like Luke already told you, this is new for us too. As a matter of fact it just happened. Yes, we were swept up by the moment but it's not like we were making out in front of everybody. The lobby was deserted," she tried to reason. "And yes, I know it still is a public place and totally inappropriate on our part but I'm not sorry!"

"Lorelai, you are not helping!" Luke whispered harshly.

"I'm not sorry, because after all this time we finally acted on our feelings. Remember Rory's party? You told me he looked at me like a porterhouse steak? Or, that I looked like I wanted to give him a lap dance? I guess you were right after all," she finished, waiting for Emily's reaction.

"Well good," Emily said at last, surprising everyone in the lobby. "Like I told you at the hospital, you were both stupid. It was obvious that there was something between you, but you both chose to ignore it. Good night!" she added, and then she took Richard's arm and headed back upstairs.

"Did Emily Gilmore just accept you? Us?" Lorelai asked after she recovered.

"Seemed that way to me. Is your dad hiding any weapons in his suitcase? Do you think he just went to get them?" he joked.

"No weapons," she answered with a smile. "So, you're serious about me, huh?" she asked engagingly.

"Yep, very, very serious about you."

"It suits you," she stated cryptically.

"What does?"

"Smiling, I've rarely seen you smile like that."

"Now I have a reason to," he said with a shrug. Lorelai beamed at his answer.

For a moment they were lost in each other's gaze, warmed by the brilliance of their smiles. Lorelai placed her hand on top of his head, soothing his small injury. "Any better?" she asked.

"A little," he answered, playing along.

"Want me to kiss it and make it better?" she asked.

He leaned down and gave her a lingering kiss.

"I thought you hit your head not your face," she teased.

"This makes me feel a lot better!" he said as he pulled her back into his arms, intending to keep her there now that he finally had her.

THE END