Something New

Set about six months after Lorelai stopped calling Luke 'Duke'. They're friends, but not really good friends yet.

Lorelai rushed from the inn to get her fix of coffee. That morning Sookie decided to go hazelnut with the coffee which made it undrinkable for Lorelai and she was out of the precious liquid at her house. So at eleven-thirty-five in the morning she had been without coffee for twelve hours and the headache was already forming. As she scurried down the sidewalk she heard Patty call out, "Lorelai, dear, Luke's is closed today. You're going to have to get your caffeine at Weston's."

She pulled up short and looked at Patty dumbstruck. "What do you mean Luke's closed? He never closes! Why today of all days is he closed?!" she whined.

Patty smiled, "Well dear, I wouldn't know why he's closed. I'm sure it's for some good reason though."

She chuckled as she left and Lorelai felt there was a lot Patty knew but for some reason was playing it close to the vest today. She narrowed her eyes as she continued to Luke's. Maybe she could just go in and talk him into making a pot of coffee. She didn't really like Fran's any better than Sookie's and since she'd waited this long for coffee it had to be great! That meant only one man's coffee was going to please. As she reached the diner she could see Luke through the window. Ha! She could talk him into one pot of coffee!

She approached the door as he went behind the mysterious curtain. Ignoring the 'Closed' sign she cautiously turned the handle on the door. Smiling as it turned she gently pushed in and startled as the bells jingled overhead.

"We're closed!" Luke bellowed from behind the curtain and Lorelai started towards the counter.

"Coffee, coffee, coffee, Luke! Please let me have some coffee!" Lorelai gave him her best smile as he came out from behind the curtain. His frown never left his face as he stood with his arms crossed and he shook his head with great force.

"No coffee! I'm closed! Didn't you see the closed sign? Even Kirt stays away when the closed sign is out!" Luke frowned as he wove just a bit.

"Yes Luke but he's not in desperate need of …did you say Kirt?" Lorelai looked at him a little closer, his eyes were red and he was weaving just a tiny bit. She sniffed and Oh yes! There was the smell of beer and it wasn't even twelve in the afternoon.

"No I din't say Kirt! I said Kir-K. All that coffee's gettin' to your hearing." Luke leaned forward just a bit and Lorelai was shocked that he was so obviously drunk. What was going on here?

"Ok, so you din't say it," Lorelai smiled. "Luke are you drunk?"

Luke snorted, "I'm not drunk! I don't get drunk! I just had a beer, a few beers that's all."

She was getting concerned, this wasn't like the Luke she knew, although she'd only known him for a couple of years and that was mostly him being her coffee pusher. Lorelai smiled and nodded, "Ok, well what's the reason for the few beers?"

Luke swayed just a bit as he smiled sarcastically, "I'm celebratin'."

"Ok, what're we celebrating?" Lorelai felt like she was pulling information out of a five year old.

"Rachel left today. Just picked up her carry-on and walked out the door." Luke again smiled without any feeling behind it, at least not happiness.

"Oh, Luke. I'm so sorry, that's terrible… Now who's Rachel again?" Lorelai was perplexed, she hadn't heard of a Rachel, at least not one who lived in Stars Hollow.

Luke snorted, "My girlfriend. Or I guess now you would say my ex-girlfriend."

He started to weave again as he poured coffee mostly into a cup for Lorelai. She drank deeply trying to make sense of this bit of information. Luke had a girlfriend? How'd she not known that he had a girlfriend?

Of course she really didn't know a lot about Luke, she looked at him with new eyes she could see that some women would find him handsome, ok, even comatose women would find him handsome. And those eyes, those pretty, when they weren't blood-shot, eyes framed in lush dark lashes. She held his gaze as much as she could with him weaving until she realized that she was staring. Luke however was also staring and along with his lack of impulse control said what she herself was thinking.

"Y'know Lorelai, you're really a beautiful woman. I bet you hear that all the time tho' huh? Bet you have men telling you how beatu..teeful you are every day." Luke swayed a bit at the counter and Lorelai was hypnotized by the movement.

She swallowed and lowered her eyes as she shook her head, looking deep into her cup of coffee she barely whispered, "No, no Luke, I don't have anyone telling me I'm… pretty." She smiled into her cup unable to form the exact words he'd used.

"Pshaw! I said beautiful Lorelai. Flowers are pretty, a rainbow trout is pretty, you…" he pointed a weaving finger at her. "You…are beautiful. From the first day you barreled into my diner I thought, 'man that's a beautiful woman.' Too bad you're so addicted to coffee and crappy food." Luke wove out from behind the counter to drop into a chair at a table.

Lorelai laughed out loud, to relieve the tension but also because he'd just told her that he wasn't interested in her and her bad habits. She slid off the stool with her coffee and sat at the table with him. "Yep, good thing for you that you're repulsed by my bad habits, huh? Saved from that siren's song."

Her heart broke just a bit, even though she'd never thought about Luke as a boyfriend before, now she knew that he wouldn't want to date her at all. His gaze wandered as she looked at her coffee cup, so she was startled when he reached out for her hair and ran his fingers through it. "Yep, any other woman have your bad habits I woudn' look twice. Why 'sit I can't get you outta m'head Lorelai? I should be really upset that Rach left, but I knew this time when she came back, I wouldn' care when she left. 'Cause she always leaves, ever since I knew her she jus' leaves. You gonna leave me Lorelai?"

Lorelai was mesmerized by his soft rant as he ran his fingers through her hair as she whispered, "No."

Why she made that promise she had no idea, they weren't even dating and she's promising him she'd never leave. She began to think that Luke was the one with the siren's song. She was really taken aback as he leaned forward and gently kissed her. Sweet, soft lips grazed hers, and he captured her bottom lip as he pulled away. A soft smile formed on his lips as a sigh escaped hers.

"Good." Lorelai thought for a moment that he was talking about the kiss, which she would have put several notches above good. Her head was spinning, he'd just broken up with his girlfriend and now he was kissing her. What did it all mean?

"I'm gonna go upstairs and take a nap, this day is a bit over… over… much for me. I'll see you t'morrow?" Luke stood slightly unsteady as Lorelai could only nod.

"Good," he said again. "I s'pose you want to see some God awful movie?" he nodded not waiting for her response.

"Maybe day after tomorrow? I think I should stay open a bit longer tomorrow so the townies aren't as upset. Say seven o'clock?" Luke was swaying towards the curtain and Lorelai wasn't sure what was going on. Was he asking her out? Would he remember anything about today tomorrow?

She just nodded as he got to the divider. "Good, let yourself out ok? There's a key over the door frame and you lock the diner when you go? Ok. I'll see you tomorrow." With a half wave he disappeared behind the curtain to somewhere only known to him, and probably Rachel. Whoever she is.

Lorelai sat at the table for a few minutes as she tried to wrap her mind around what just happened. Did she have a date with Luke? Surely he wouldn't remember tomorrow, he'd been really drunk, hadn't he? By the time she got up to leave she had convinced herself that Luke wasn't going to remember anything in the morning and she'd just come in with Rory to prove that. Slowly she stood and let herself out the door.

That day and night she stewed and fretted about going to Luke's in the morning. Rory looked at her she tried to laugh it off saying she was just concerned about her job. Rory wasn't quite buying it, but she didn't want to go into the whole ordeal incase Luke didn't remember it. Which as it turned out was a good thing. In the morning she and Rory got to Luke's at the height of the morning rush when the man himself came over to get their order. Lorelai looked at him shyly, but he looked annoyed and a bit hung over as he waited for their order.

"Uh, pancakes, eggs and sausage. Oh and coffee," she smiled up at him as he rolled his eyes.

"Have I ever forgotten the coffee?" The look he gave her in no way held the softness of the previous day and Lorelai stammered to answer him.

"Nnnoo, but there's always a first time huh?" She smiled at him as he again rolled his eyes and took Rory's order.

Lorelai tried to keep her mind on her pancakes as she heard Patty and Babette talking about Rachel leaving. Apparently Rachel had been a Stars Hollow high girl who everyone thought Luke was going to marry her. Lorelai felt suffocated as she pushed money into Rory's surprised hand and choked out, "Rory sweets, I have a meeting I forgot at the inn. Could you pay Luke?"

With that she got up and ran out of the diner. When she got to the inn she locked herself in the office as she felt the tears start to fall down her face. How stupid did she feel crying over a date that never was? Luke may care for her on some level, but surely he was locking that part of himself away. And how could she argue with him? She was a basket case because he didn't know they had a date tomorrow night. Or didn't have a date. With that she dropped her head on her desk and let the tears fall.

The next morning she had put any thoughts about Luke away in her 'nice but not gonna happen' compartment and took Rory to Luke's for breakfast again. This morning it wasn't as hectic, but again Luke acted as though nothing was different. Lorelai sighed as she got up to pay. She put the money on the counter and started to turn to leave when she felt Luke grab her wrist. Her eyes flew open as she looked at him in shock. He smiled and lowered his voice.

"So I'll pick you up at your place at seven, alright?" The shock she felt must have registered on her face because Luke chuckled and continued, "I wasn't drunk Lorelai, just a few beers. Do you want me to give you an out?"

She saw his concern cross his face and even though her mind was a jumble she shook her head and whispered, "Seven's fine."

As his grin spread from his face to hers he gave her a sharp nod and again lowered his voice, "I wouldn't be adverse to you wearing that little black dress you have."

She giggled, "Like that do you?"

He smiled in return and she nodded, "I can do that. So I'll see you then."

She returned to the table with a huge grin on her face and Rory whispered, "What's going on Mom?" Lorelai waited until they were out the door before she answered her.

"I think I'm dating Luke."

Rory swung her head first at Lorelai and then towards the diner and exclaimed, "What!?"

A/N In response to a challenge by AKarana. I'm not sure how well it answers her parameters, but hopefully it suits. Reviews are always welcome.

Something new by AKarana

Summary: I'd like to have something new. Give me a Luke/Lorelai story that has never before been written. I don't want to read a happily ever after, no kids, no scene or episode continuation or alteration. Write something suspenseful, enthralling, exciting or fascinating... get those two kids together in a way we've never seen before. Please no crossover, no death, no illness.... Good luck!