This is the long overdue fic that I owe MissDeLys, who was kind enough to buy me during one of the Support Stacie auctions. Hope this was worth the wait.
Thanks to the lovely betas that allowed me to annoy them in order to get this done. lulu, Jewels, Java, and Robin: I owe you either a laptop or a Wii. If you get one in the mail, know it was from me. ;-)
Luke turned his head away in disgust from the little ballerinas staring at him. Her words resonated in his head, over and over. I was kind of thinking, and you don't have to, that maybe you could pull yourself away for a second. What was it about Lorelai Gilmore that he couldn't say no to? It wasn't what she said. Her words were no different than what anyone else used when they asked him for something. It wasn't the way she said it. While her voice had a uniqueness that had the ability to stop and start his heart, they never swayed his opinion.
He watched her dance around the square with her fiancé, her eyes bright with excitement. That's what it was. He could ignore her words. He could ignore her tone of voice and he could even ignore the way she leaned over the counter at just the right angle to give him that much more of a view of her cleavage. But he couldn't ignore those eyes.
So why did he always have to look at them? Luke shook his head, slumping further down on the bench. She was getting married. She was going to have the husband and the kid. All she needed was a dog, a white picket fence, and 1.5 more kids and she'd be living the American dream.
Luke stood up, stuffing his hands into his jean pockets as he walked slowly back towards the diner. He was such an idiot. Lorelai didn't want the American dream. If she did, she would have married Rory's father years ago. She wanted simple. She wanted someone to talk to at the end of the day about nothing. Someone to sit next to on the couch to use as a pillow while she watched her trashy TV. Someone who understood that sometimes she didn't stop talking because she didn't want to hear the silence. Someone to break that silence with.
He stepped into the diner and locked the door behind him. He sat down at the table by the window, out of sight from the party goers on the square, but able to see Lorelai as she continued to dance. If he was in a better mood, he would be able to sit out there with them. If he were in a better mood, he would be able to tolerate all the laughing and oooing and awing over the happy couple. But he wasn't in a better mood. He was… jealous.
Luke let out a frustrated sigh, yanking off his ball cap and tossing it on the table in front of him. He wanted what Lorelai had. He wanted someone to be able to go home to every night. A permanent dance partner.
He knew he wasn't the greatest catch. He didn't talk much, and was a pretty grumpy guy. He wasn't considered one of those sensitive romantics that liked walks on the beach like what most women were looking for. Then again, he wasn't looking for most women.
He glanced over at the square just as Lorelai leaned towards Max to place a soft kiss on his cheek. Luke exhaled slowly and absently scratched at the scruff on his cheek. He missed the feel of lips on his cheek. The feeling of holding a woman in his arms. The way she smelled. The way she shivered as his fingers traveled over her skin.
Luke rolled his eyes at his thoughts. Thinking about what he didn't have wasn't going to make it appear out of nowhere. He took one more glance out the window, picked up his hat, and started towards the stairs to his apartment. He could wait until after the party to finish what he needed to do in the diner. That stupid party only distracted him.
It was after midnight when Luke trudged down the stairs back into the diner. The party had ended a couple of hours ago, but he had waited until he was sure every last straggler had left before he came back down. He didn't want anyone to see him in the diner and think he'd open up for a late snack.
He filled his arms with the full ketchup bottles he had left on the counter and began to place each one on a table. Afterwards, he made sure all of the chairs were up off the floor and then went into the kitchen to drag out the bucket and mop. He was halfway through mopping the diner floor when he glanced out the window and saw someone sitting in the gazebo. While he could only make out the shadow of the figure in the darkness, he could tell right away who it was. When the form gave him a wave, he sighed and dropped the mop in the bucket as he made his way out the door.
He stopped right in front of the gazebo steps. "No one tell you the party was over?" He asked, leaning against the stair railing.
"Just waiting on the after party," Lorelai replied.
Luke noticed the lack of usual laughter in her voice. "You okay?" He slowly walked up the stairs to stand in the center of the gazebo.
"I'm fine," Lorelai said. "Nice outfit."
His eyes dropped down to his t-shirt with the sleeves cut off and his worn out shorts. "Yeah, the A/C is out in my apartment and it got hot, so –"
"You thought that wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and boots would be the perfect way to cool off?" Lorelai finished for him.
Luke rolled his eyes. "I grabbed the first pair of shoes closest to me. I didn't expect to see anyone this late at night."
"Always expect the unexpected, Burger Boy, especially when it's a full moon."
She was baiting him, but he could tell she didn't have her heart in it. He decided to play along anyway. He turned his head to check out the moon. "It's not a full moon."
Lorelai gave him a weak smile. "I know, I was just saying that you have to be especially aware of the unexpected when it is."
Luke shook his head, his attention falling back on Lorelai. "So…" Lorelai responded by raising an eyebrow, and he sighed and sat down next to her. He crossed his arms against his chest and stared down at his boots.
Lorelai watched him silently for almost a minute. "What are you doing?" She finally asked.
"Cooler out here than in my apartment." He made himself more comfortable on the bench. He could feel Lorelai's eyes on him, but he refused to give in and look at her. He knew she would talk when she was ready. He stole a look her way when he felt the bench shift slightly. Lorelai was adjusting her position so that she was more comfortable, and her face was out of view.
"Ever think about getting married?" Her voice dropped to almost a whisper. "Like really think about it. What kind of wife you'd have and how many kids and where you would live."
"Not really," Luke replied. He thought for a few seconds. "That's more of a girl thing, though, right? Dreaming about your wedding day?"
"No, not the wedding, the marriage."
The stress on the last word had him looking right at her, confused. "Marriage?"
"You must have thought about it," Lorelai said, continuing on as if Luke hadn't said a word. "I mean, you went on about banks and coupon drawers like you've wondered about it for a while."
"I wouldn't say I've thought about it all that much, just –"
Lorelai interrupted him. "So you've thought about logistical stuff. But what about the… other stuff?"
"Yeah, like sharing the bed, eating off each other's plates…"
He let out a relieved breath, having thought the conversation had somehow moved to something sexual. "Oh, that kind of stuff."
Lorelai rolled her eyes as she moved to face him and sit Indian style. "I'm sure those seem like small things to you, but they are a pretty big deal."
"They are." He figured it was best to agree with her. When Lorelai started on one of her thought rants there was rarely a way to stop her.
She began to speak so quickly, it sounded like one word was running into the next. "I've never really had to share my bed with anyone but Rory, you know? Sure, I've been in bed with guys," Luke's eyes darted back to his boots, "but I've never stayed in bed with them overnight. I've always gone home to Rory. And tonight Max wanted to stay over, and really, there was no reason for him not to, but it didn't feel right. And it if doesn't feel right for him to stay over now, when we're engaged, how is it going to be okay once we're married? What if he likes to sleep on the left side? That's my side! I've tried to sleep on the right side before, but-"
"Lorelai!" Luke's voice echoed throughout the square, and he could feel his cheeks get hot at the embarrassment. He took a calming breath. He wasn't sure what she was trying to say. He wasn't sure what she wanted to hear. He was definitely sure he wasn't the one she would get her answers from. "You should be talking to Max about this."
Lorelai's shoulders slumped, defeated. She slid off the bench and began to pace in front of him. "That's just it. We don't really talk about stuff like that."
Luke stretched out his arms on the now empty bench. He leaned his head back and stared up at the gazebo's roof. He waited for Lorelai to continue. After a few minutes, he felt the seat of the bench sink down a little. When he felt Lorelai's hair on his forearm, he turned to look at her.
"You just gonna sit there and say nothing?" she whispered.
"Talking isn't really my thing." He looked back up at the roof. He could feel her nod slowly against his arm. He sat silently, knowing that saying nothing at all was the best help he could give her at the moment. It wasn't until Lorelai stood back up that Luke dared to meet her eyes again. She held her hand out in front of him, and when he placed his hand in hers and she tugged, he stood as well. He was unprepared for the hug she gave him, and his entire body stiffened reflexively.
"Thank you," she said when she broke away.
She didn't answer until she had walked down the stairs of the gazebo. "For coming to the party tonight. It meant a lot." She gave him a small wave and walked home. It wasn't until she was out of sight that Luke realized he was still standing in the gazebo. He walked back to the diner slowly, wondering if that was all Lorelai was really thanking him for.
Luke sat at his kitchen table, a pile of papers scattered in front of him. He rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hands, and then pushed his chair back, stretching his legs out in front of him as he let his arms fall to his sides. He jerked in surprise when the phone started to ring. Deciding not to answer it, he stood up and attempted to straighten the mess of papers on the table. When his answering machine beeped, he stopped to listen.
"Luke? Hi, it's uh, it's Lorelai. I figured it was late for you, since you seem like the kind of guy to go to bed early… unless there's something good on TV, like maybe a flannel fashion show or something…"
He rolled his eyes at her words. Walking over to the phone, he started to pick it up, but stopped when she kept on talking.
"Anyway, I guess you're already in bed. I just…"
Silence from Lorelai was not something he was used to hearing. He pressed the talk button. "Hello?"
"Were you expecting someone else to answer my phone?" He listened to her breathe in slowly before letting it out.
"I guess not."
Luke was surprised there was no witty comeback. "Is something wrong?"
"Besides the fact that I've managed to disappoint my mother once again? No wait, that's normal for me."
"Lorelai, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
Luke sighed. "Did I do something to upset you?"
"What? Why would you think that?"
"You usually stop by at least once a day. You haven't been by in at least a week."
"You seriously don't know?"
Luke flicked the cap off his head and tossed it on the couch before he flopped down beside it. "The last thing I remember hearing from you was 'thank you'. You walked away, and over a week later I haven't seen or heard from you until now."
"Most people don't thank someone if that someone ticked them off."
He didn't hear her, starting to get worked up. "Come to think of it, you rarely ever thank me. You've offered me your next born, said you owe me one, but you almost never say –"
"What?" he shouted back.
"You didn't do anything."
Luke let out a relieved breath and slumped into the couch. "Then why have you been avoiding me?"
"I wasn't avoiding just you, I was avoiding everyone. I went out of town for a little while."
"Out of town?"
"No one mentioned it to you?"
"Does anyone ever tell me anything?"
"Luke, you work in what is probably gossip central of this town. Are you seriously telling me you have no idea what has been going on?"
"You seriously think I listen to anything that these nuts say besides what they are ordering? Why don't you just tell me what has been going on?"
"I broke it off with Max!" she shouted.
Luke had no idea how to react, so he responded how he always did when Lorelai confused him. He repeated what she had just said. "You broke it off with Max." He let the words sink in more. "The engagement?"
He heard a sniff come over the line. "Are you okay?" She didn't answer, but from the unevenness of her breathing, he assumed she was crying. "Lorelai?" he said softly.
"Yeah?" she stuttered.
"How about you start from the beginning?"
And so he listened as she talked about how she walked home that night after their conversation in the gazebo and thought about what they had said. About how as the sun started to rise, she decided what she needed to do. She described to him how she waited for Rory to leave for her summer school classes to call Max's apartment and leave a message telling him that the wedding was off. How after Rory came home, the Jeep was already packed and ready to go, but Rory said she couldn't miss her classes, so she left on her own for a week. After she was finished, he sat quietly for a few moments.
"Wow? I tell you all of that and all you have to say is wow?"
"Give me a few minutes to absorb everything." Lorelai broke off her engagement. After they had talked. What had he said that made her decide that she didn't want to be with Max? "You broke up with Max after we talked in the gazebo."
"We didn't talk all that much."
"We talked enough."
"I'm not so great with the talking."
"Neither were Max and I."
"Really? You never seem to shut up."
"You know what I mean."
"That was a joke." He heard her sigh. "Are you okay?" Lorelai's long silence was his answer. "You want to tell me what's going on?"
"Where have you been for the past hour? I've told you everything that's happened in the past week."
Luke shook his head. He picked up his hat and plopped it on the coffee table and then stood up to walk to his bed. He laid down and propped his head up by putting his free arm under his pillow. If Lorelai didn't say anything, he couldn't be expected to hold up the conversation. That was her thing, not his.
"We didn't talk."
"Hmm?" he mumbled.
"Max and I. We talked all the time, but we never really talked, you know?"
He was starting to fall asleep when she finally spoke again.
"And Luke? Thanks."
He shook his head to wake himself up. "Huh? For what?"
Luke cut off the TV at the sound of the phone. He picked it up on the fourth ring. "Hello?"
"What took you so long to answer?"
"It took me less than 30 seconds."
"Was the phone not right next to you?"
"Why would I have the phone right next to me?"
"So that you could answer the phone right away."
"Hey, you're the one that said you'd answer anytime. What if you were asleep? How would you hear the phone if it was on the other side of the room?"
"Can't argue with that logic," he said sarcastically.
"Good, then I win. What were you watching tonight?"
"What makes you think I was watching anything?"
"Because you've been watching something almost every night when I called."
"I flipped through the channels. Nothing was on."
"What? A rerun of Roseanne is on. Watch it with me."
"I'm not watching a show with you again."
Luke settled himself under his blankets on the bed and turned the lamp off on his end table. "Because I learned my lesson after watching that model show with you."
"This isn't reality TV. Come on, you'll want to mock it."
"I'm already in bed, and the TV is off."
"Fine, I'll turn the volume up and you can listen along with me."
Luke relaxed more into his pillow, the phone propped up to his ear with his shoulder. "Yes, because that would be much better than watching."
"Ooo, one with the other Becky! They say she's the same, but she's not the same."
Luke shook his head in the darkness as he listened to Lorelai's commentary.
"Were you asleep?"
Luke rubbed his eye with the back of his hand. "Nah, just lying here."
"You were asleep."
"I have an early delivery in the morning."
"Oh. Want me to let you go?"
Luke moved the phone to his other ear. "Nope, I'm used to it by now."
"I told you if you'd tell me when you have early deliveries, I wouldn't call you."
"And I told you it was okay."
"Are you sure?"
"Lorelai…" his voice trailed off.
"I finished that book."
"Yeah? Did you like it?"
"The book was so much better than the movie. You want to borrow it?"
"I don't read kids books."
"They are not kids books."
"What section of the book store did you find it in?"
"I bought it online."
"The section doesn't matter."
"Fine, it was in the youth section, okay? That doesn't mean adults can't read them. Harry Potter is a great series!"
"I don't read kid books."
"You just watch kid movies?"
"I've never seen one of those movies."
"I meant Star Trek."
"Don't even compare that show to some kid witch. They are totally different."
"I'm not falling into your trap again."
"Darn, I thought I'd get to hear the Luke Star Trek rant for a third time this week."
"Sorry to disappoint you."
"Oh, don't apologize. The night isn't over yet."
Luke rolled his eyes as he sat up to turn on his lamp.
"I'm not answering that."
"Come on Luke, inquiring minds want to know."
"You answer it first."
"That is not something a gentleman asks a lady."
"Heh, you answer it first."
"Let's see what's on TV."
"That's what I thought."
"… but Sookie said it couldn't be done. I had to prove her wrong."
"Oh, but I did. 27 in two minutes."
"You're just jealous."
"Of you being able to eat that many cookies in two minutes?"
"Yup. You only wish you could aspire to something so great."
"How long did it take you to throw it all back up?"
"I ate all 27 of those cookies."
"And you threw them back up…"
"About three minutes later. But that doesn't mean I failed! I still ate more than 25 in two minutes! Sookie totally owes me lunch for the rest of the week."
Luke could hardly hear what she was saying over his own laughter.
"We used to play in the house all the time. Especially in the winter. A lot harder to find a baseball in the snow, so we'd play in the garage. When it got too cold for that, we'd move it into the kitchen."
"I'm sure your mom loved that."
"Well, she wasn't supposed to ever found out. My sister came running into the kitchen and hugged my dad's knees right when he was trying to catch one of my throws. It tipped off his glove and broke the flower vase on the table. It was some handmade vase that my parents got as a wedding gift from some relative. My dad hated the thing, but my mom loved it. We glued it back together perfectly. You couldn't even see the cracks after my dad rearranged the flowers in it just right."
"So your mom never found out?"
"Oh yeah, she found out as soon as she came home."
"She always watered the plants when she came home. That vase turned into a fountain when she poured water into it."
"That's not a city."
"Totally is. It's in Japan, Burger Boy."
"Does Rory have some book with all the cities in the world listed?"
"You are a sore loser, Luke Danes."
"No, I just don't like to play games with cheaters."
"You could always answer that question that you refuse to."
"Oooo, good one!"
Luke rolled his eyes when he heard the rustling of pages.
"You know what I just realized?"
"You never answered that question I asked you."
"I already told you I wasn't going to answer that. It's personal."
"Not that one, although I will find out the answer one of these days. I meant the one about marriage."
Luke's body unconsciously stiffened at the sound of the word. "What about it?"
"Have you ever really thought about it?"
"I told you not really."
"That's not an answer."
"That's like pleading the fifth. It means you're answering but not answering."
"Do you hear yourself when you speak? I don't think you realize how often you don't make any sense."
He didn't answer. If Luke had learned anything from these phone calls it was that Lorelai called on nights when she couldn't stand the silence. There were topics that had been hashed and rehashed for what felt like countless times to him. Whenever she mentioned something he didn't want to talk about she would move onto something else if he was quiet for only a few seconds. He waited for the topic change.
"You still there?"
"You going to say anything?"
He said nothing. They sat quietly, only their breathing being heard over the line. Luke considered turning on the TV, but stopped when he noticed that Lorelai's TV wasn't blaring in the background like it usually did. "Why isn't your TV on?"
"You can't answer a question with a question. That isn't good form."
"Did you mute your TV or something?"
"Ever really think about marriage?"
"I thought you couldn't answer a question with a question."
"You can if the other person refuses to follow good form."
"Oh no, you can only use that answer for one question, and you've already used it on the first one you refused to answer."
"Fine, then it's… complicated."
"Does it involve math? Because I bet I'll be able to follow you unless it involves trigonometry or something."
"Yes, it involves trigonometry?"
"Yes, I've thought about marriage."
"What did you think about?"
"That's a second question. Did you mute your TV or something?"
"Yeah, I must have hit the remote. I didn't even notice until you mentioned it. Hang on… Oh look! Turn it to channel 7, there's one of those old Kung Fu movies on. We can make up our own dialogue!"
"Not even one full ring. The student will soon surpass the master."
"The phone just happened to be next to me. Did you finish watching that movie?"
"I've told you to always keep the phone next to you. And yes, unlike someone I know."
"What happened at the end?"
"Guess you'll have to rent it to find out."
"Just tell me."
"I told you last night that I wasn't going to tell you the end."
"And I told you that I didn't want to watch it in the first place."
"Then why did you?"
"Because I got tired of listening to your commentary and not knowing what the hell you were talking about. How did it end?"
"Oooo, it's Pop Up Video! Do you have VH1?"
"How did the movie end?"
"Then you'll never know."
"I'm not renting The Brady Bunch Movie," Luke growled, reaching for the remote.
"I would never imagine you to be that shallow, Lorelai."
"I don't think it's being shallow. I think it's just knowing what I want."
"You dumped a guy because… Ugh, I can't even say it."
"Like you've never ended a date early because you felt like it was going badly?"
"There's a difference between knowing that someone isn't your type and doing what you did. Besides, you had been dating him for a month."
"Lorelai. You broke up with a guy because you assumed that he was… not as endowed as you thought."
"Not as endowed? Luke, the man had a small –"
"Don't say it. I don't think I could stand to hear you say that word again."
"It's part of the human anatomy."
"I can't believe we're talking about this."
"You started it. I distinctly remember you asking me what my worst date was."
"I didn't think you would share something like that."
"That was my worst date! Besides, you haven't heard the whole story yet."
"I don't see how hearing all of the details could help."
"Let's find out. We were at his place watching a movie, and the movie ended, so we started to watch TV. We weren't really watching what was on, just kind of flipping through the channels."
"You mean you took the remote and were flipping through the channels."
"Shut it, Danes, I'm telling the story. So we started to talk as we were watching. He pulled that arm stretch move and his arm ended up around me."
"Oh, he's a pro," Luke muttered.
Lorelai ignored his remark. "One thing led to another, and then he kissed me. And it was like sandpaper on my lips."
"Not usually how someone wants to hear a kiss described."
"His lips were so dry. You'd think he would have heard of Chap Stick."
"I don't need all the details."
"You asked, so I'm answering. He's kissing me deeper, and surprisingly, his lips get more and more dry. It almost starts to feel like he's sucking the moisture out of my lips too, you know?"
"You dated the guy for a month and you didn't kiss until then?"
"He was a slow mover. I totally understood why at the end of the night."
"I don't want to hear the rest."
"Shh, I'm getting to the good part! So the kiss gets heavier and sandpaperier, and hands start to move around. My hand slips down in between his legs –"
"Lorelai, I don't want to hear –"
"- and at first I'm not sure what I'm touching. But then I realize it must be his… 'that which we do not say'."
"Well, feeling it through pants could be misleading."
"Are you defending a guy you've never met?"
"I'm not defending him, I'm just saying –"
"I get what you're saying. I agree with you. I figured he was at half mast or something."
"You don't want me to say 'penis' so I assumed you didn't want to hear me say 'not fully erect' either."
"Jeez, just finish the story."
"I'm trying to! So I subtlety move my hand away. After about five minutes or so he takes my hand in his and he places it on his crotch. He had to be pretty proud of his wares if he did that. Luke, my hand to his penis that it was no longer than my pinky… What's that thumping noise? Luke?"
"What was that thumping noise?"
"Me banging the phone against my head."
"And I now know to never do that again."
Luke wiped down the last table and tossed the ketchup stained rag on top of an empty plate on the counter. He scanned the diner, looking for any sign of a red stain on anything other than the floor. "I hate food fights," he grumbled to himself, stepping over a puddle of gravy on his way to the kitchen. He was just about to fill up the mop bucket with water when he heard banging from the front door. He stomped into the diner but when he saw who was on the other side of the door his glare turned into a small smile. He opened the door and stepped aside to allow Lorelai in. "Hey."
"Where have you been?" she asked as she walked past him. She stopped suddenly, the front of her flip flop just missing a streak of mustard on the floor. "What blew up in here?"
Luke chuckled as he headed back into the kitchen. "I've been here, and will probably be here all night cleaning this up. Food fight."
"Bootsy and Kirk were discussing –"
"Enough said," Lorelai held up her hand as she sat down on one of the few clean stools. "You closed almost two hours ago."
Luke rolled in the bucket and mop and walked to the back of the counter to turn on the coffee pot. He checked his watch. "They made a really big mess."
"I thought your apartment had a cordless phone."
"It does." Luke walked to the far side of the diner and began to mop up the floor. "Why?"
"You didn't answer when I called."
"I was probably down here."
"Well, I see that now."
Luke stopped what he was doing to look up at Lorelai. "Is everything okay?"
Lorelai gave him a beaming smile. "It's great, why?"
"You usually don't come all the way over here if I miss a call from you."
"You've never missed a call until tonight."
"Nope. You're pretty much a homebody and home every night by 10:30."
"Really?" Lorelai nodded. "Huh, never noticed." He went back to mopping. "So I miss one phone call and you decide to come all the way over here to check on me?"
"Well yeah… That and Rory got tired of me helping her study, so she asked me to leave the house for a while."
"Hey, I memorized a lot about history by pumping up the Go-Gos."
Luke rolled his eyes as he finished with the floor. "I'm sure you did."
"You about finished with that?"
Luke opened his arms wide. "About finished with all of this?" She shrugged. "I'll probably be here all night. I have to figure out how to get that," he pointed to a hamburger patty, "off the ceiling."
Lorelai looked above her head. "Wouldn't it have made sense to get that stuff off of there before cleaning the floor?"
"Crap, you're right." He leaned up against the counter beside her. "Stupid food fight."
Lorelai hopped off her stool and pulled on the bottom of Luke's flannel. "Aw, it's not that bad. We can probably stand on the counter with a broom and sweep most of it off. Hurry, the sooner we finish, the sooner we can see what's on TV tonight."
"I'm not watching TV with you again. I've told you that."
"Yeah, yeah, so you say, let's go!"
The diner didn't take as long to clean as Luke thought, once he gave in and allowed Lorelai to help. In just under an hour they had removed all the debris off the ceiling, re-mopped the floor, and put everything back in place. He sighed as he sat down to rest on a stool.
"What do you think you're doing?" Lorelai asked, pulling on his arm.
"Sitting down. I'm tired."
"Rest upstairs. Come on, we may be able to still catch the Nick at Nite summer marathon."
"Don't you think Rory is wondering where you are?"
"Rory is nose deep in her history. The only way she'd be interested in what I was doing right now is if I traveled back in time to the Russian Revolution."
She yanked harder on his arm, and Luke finally relented and followed her upstairs to his apartment. He opened the door and walked to the fridge as Lorelai walked past him to make her way to the couch. "You want a drink?" he called out to her.
"Sure," Lorelai said distractedly, picking up the remote and beginning to flip through the channels. Luke soon was sitting next to her holding out a bottle of water. "Thanks." She took the bottle without turning away from the screen.
Luke leaned back, resting his feet on the coffee table. "What the heck are you watching?"
"I think it's some sort of plastic surgery."
"Because I have no interest seeing the inside of someone's body?" Lorelai tossed him the remote. Luke stared down at it, balancing on his stomach. "What's that?"
"That, Luke Danes, is a remote."
"I know it's a remote. Why did you throw it at me?"
Lorelai rolled her eyes as she leaned against him to rest her feet up on the far end of the couch. "Find something to watch."
"You want me to pick the show? I never get to pick the show." Lorelai elbowed him in the ribs. "Ouch! Fine, just for that…" Luke changed the channel and grinned when Lorelai slouched against him. "You said I could pick."
"Here, you can change it." He placed the remote on her shoulder, and watched as it slid down to land on the couch.
"Nah, this is fine. Nothing else is on anyway, I already checked."
They watched in silence. At one of the commercial breaks Luke started to lean forward.
"What are you doing?" Lorelai pressed against him so he couldn't move.
"I'm going to take my boots off. Do you mind?" Lorelai stopped pushing against him.
"I was comfortable."
"I could sit on the floor, if you want the whole couch. You've pretty much taken up all of it anyway."
"No, I think I have just enough. Finished?" Luke nodded and Lorelai leaned back up against him. "How long does this show last?"
"An hour or so. Later at night it repeats and starts over."
"So it's already repeated a few times, huh?"
"No, it hasn't repeated at all."
"Sure feels like it."
Luke picked up the remote and pointed it at the TV. Lorelai took his hand and lowered his arm to the couch. He let go of the remote, but she kept her hand on his. He turned to look at her, but could only see the back of her head because of her position on the couch. He shifted a little in his seat, and Lorelai adjusted herself so she was right next to him, her right leg brushing against his left one, their hands still held together.
"Hi," she whispered.
He gave her a questioning smile.
She gave his hand a small squeeze. "You distracted me the other night, but I didn't forget that you never answered that question." She slid her hand up his arm to grasp his bicep as he tensed up. "The one about marriage." She grinned when his arm relaxed. "We can discuss that other one later."
Luke chuckled as he shook his head. "You don't give up, do you?" When she only patted his arm and rested her feet next to his on the coffee table, Luke sighed. "What did you want to know again?"
"What it was you thought about when you thought about marriage."
"Why are you so interested in that?"
"Why are you so secretive about it?"
"It's a weird question." He met Lorelai's determined eyes. "I guess I've thought about the same stuff every other guy has."
"You know, someone to hang out with. Talk to. Go on walks with."
"Are you describing what you want in a wife or a pet?"
"Aww, come on!" Luke jerked his arm away, surprising himself with his own frustration. He stood up, and stared down at Lorelai's confused face. He took his hat off and ran his fingers through his matted hair. He started to put his hat back on, but stopped when Lorelai stood and brushed the hair from his forehead and rested her hand on the back of his neck.
She leaned in close to him, her lips grazing across his ear as she murmured, "You're looking for a partner."
"Someone you can talk about your day with." She placed her other hand on his chest.
Luke met her serious gaze. "Yes," he agreed.
"Someone that makes you lose all sense of control when you're close to them, and all you can think about is their lips on your skin." Lorelai grasped his flannel as she flicked her tongue out to tease his earlobe.
"I've never actually thought about that," Luke gulped, "but it's definitely on the list now." He gently grasped her face with his hands, pressing his lips against hers. His knees began to buckle, so he slid his hands down to her hips to help brace himself. His thumb slipped under her shirt, and when Lorelai shivered, Luke moaned and pulled her closer.
Lorelai wrapped her arms tightly around Luke's neck, her fingers tangling in his hair. Luke's hands moved lower, cupping her ass and pressing her against his groin.
"You're not half mast," Lorelai gasped when they broke for air.
"Not now," Luke breathed, his right hand gliding under her shirt and up her back to unhook her bra. His tongue traveled from her lips to her neck, nipping at her soft skin. Lorelai encouraged him by raising her chin up to allow him better access. He let his fingers dance along her spine, just barely making contact with her skin. A smile formed on his lips when goosebumps rose on her skin.
"Luke," she panted, her grip around his neck tightening. "I need to know the answer to that question."
"I told you, it's personal." Luke unbuttoned her jeans and delicately pulled down her zipper.
"I think we're quickly getting past personal," she sighed, her fingers deftly starting to unbutton Luke's flannel. "If you don't tell me, I'll just have to look for myself."
"I'm not opposed to that," Luke said. He wrapped his arms around her waist and then quickly lifted Lorelai up and dropped her smoothly on the couch. Lorelai's squeal of surprise was stifled by Luke's mouth on hers.
"I knew it." Lorelai and Luke walked hand and hand up to her front door.
Luke only shook his head, smiling when Lorelai turned to face him and interlaced her fingers through his.
"Did I not say that you were a boxer brief guy?"
"And you definitely wear them well."
"Do you want to talk about this some more, or can I kiss you goodnight?" Luke leaned up against the front door and pulled Lorelai against him. Lorelai pretended to think, and Luke gave her a wink. When she started to laugh, he leaned forward and kissed her softly. "Will I see you in the morning?" he asked after he reluctantly pulled away.
"Are you asking to sleep over?"
Luke rolled his eyes. "I meant at the diner." Lorelai nodded, her eyes full of playfulness. "I'll see you then." He gave her one more kiss, and then stepped away from the door. He watched as she started to step inside. "Oh, there's probably something you need to know." She gave him a questioning smile. "I sleep on the left side of the bed."
"We'll discuss that when you take me to dinner tomorrow night."