Disclaimer: Not mine. But, a girl can dream, right?

Little Spoiler for future reference; I've always been a closet Literati. (;

Oh, and Gypsy is a badass. I've always loved her.

AND, finally, please excuse any extreme OOC moments. I try to keep them in character as best I can, but I'm not as great as I like to think I am.

8.03 – The Dawn is Breaking, The Light's Shining Through


It had been just over two weeks since Rory Gilmore had departed from Stars Hollow and things were finally beginning to seem almost normal for Lorelai. She got back into her normal schedule (wake up, drink coffee, get ready for work, drink coffee, go to Luke's, drink coffee, and so on…) The only thing that was not quite back on track, that she fully intended to work on, was her relationship with the one and only Lucas Danes. In all the craziness of adapting to life without Rory as a constant presence, Lorelai had neglected her fragile, unconventional relationship with the love of her life. In the last two weeks it seemed to be based strictly on sex, and that just wasn't okay with her.

So, she woke up at seven o'clock, got ready for her day quickly and arrived at Luke's Diner promptly at eight, just after the early morning rush, and just before the mid morning rush.

"Luke, let's talk."

"Good morning to you, too." Luke replied, "Why the sudden urge to be so chatty at eight in the morning?"

"I'm sorry I've been so weird, lately. I am completely and totally devoted to spending as much time as possible with you to make up for lost time. I want to work everything out, Luke. I want us back. I want to wake up next to you, every day. I want us to get married in the perfect church, in the perfect dress, on the perfect date. I want you to help me plan the wedding and I don't want to rush everything this time. I want to agree on a time span. I just want my middle, Luke, and I want it with you. I know to you this probably all seems so out of left field, but I feel like I need to say it because I love you, Luke. I really, really love you. You're the only man I've ever actually been IN love with." Lorelai finished her tirade and then simply sat down on her stool.

Luke stared back at her for a moment, digesting all of the information that Lorelai had spat at him. Then when he finally spoke, all he said was, "I love you too, Lorelai. You know that I love you." He removed the signature blue baseball cap from his head to run his fingers through his tousled hair. "I just…" He began again, "I don't want for you to plan the wedding, get everything all set up and whatnot and then have to postpone again because Rory isn't here. You know as well as I do that you're going to want to wait for Rory to come home for us to get married. And her return is kind of up in the air right now."

Lorelai stared up at Luke, her eyes welling with tears at the thought of Rory's absence. "Then we'll take our sweet time and make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Hopefully Rory will be home soon, anyway." Lorelai smiled.

"If you're sure, Lorelai then we'll do this. But we're going to do it right."

"That's what I want."

"And I'm going to propose this time?"

"I'd like that."

"On my terms?" Luke asked.

"You're going to make me wait for it, aren't you?"

"You betcha." He replied, with a sly grin spreading across his scruffy face.

Lorelai stood up on her tippy-toes and kissed Luke once, "Cruel man." Then kissed him a second time, this time giving him a slightly sexier kiss, "But," she kissed him once more, "two can plan that game." She kissed him long and hard this final time, and just as she noticed him feeling the moment, she pulled back brushed a piece of hair from her face and began walking out towards the door. "Maybe I'll be back for lunch." She smiled.

"You better." Luke picked up his rag and started washing down the counter, and Lorelai walked out the door of the diner, and started her day.

--

In the two weeks that Rory had been on the Campaign trail following Barack Obama she'd been through four states, (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) and she'd learned a lot, about journalism and it's demands, about politics, and even more about Daniel. They had, in two weeks, become great friends.

"So, Rory I've told you everything about myself, and yet, I feel like I know nothing about you. What's your story?" He asked, they sat together in the hotel's lobby eating the cheap continental breakfast. It was 6:30 AM, they didn't need to be at their destination until 9, but they'd made a deal to meet for breakfast every morning. Rory was in no position to decline even considering the ungodly hour, because, she wouldn't deny it, she was incredibly attracted to Daniel.

"My story isn't that interesting," she laughed taking a bite of her bacon.

"I'm sure it is, come on. Tell me everything."

"Alright, my mom was really young when she had me, sixteen actually, and my dad wasn't ever really around growing up. He lived mostly in California and my mom and I stayed in Connecticut. So for most of my childhood it was just my mom and I, but she was really more like my best friend than anything else. I went to high school at Chilton, then Yale for college. That's pretty much it."

"Oh, come on, you left out all the juicy details!" Daniel exclaimed, leaning back in his chair.

"There weren't a whole lot of juicy details to my childhood," she laughed, "I was a good kid."

"What about boyfriends, I bet you had a lot of them." Daniel prodded, his journalistic interviewing skills clearly shining through.

"There were three." She said simply.

"Three serious ones, you mean?"

"Well yeah, but there were only three. Ever. I was never much into dating, I like relationships, and I like long term relationships."

"Interesting. Tell me about the first one."

"Are we playing twenty questions?" Rory joked.

"If we are, I've got 18 left. Now, answer."

"Fine," she smiled. "The first one's name was Dean. I was sixteen and we were together for more than two years. It was the whole blissful first love thing, kid stuff really. We broke up because we sort of grew apart, and wanted to pursue different interests." She took another bite of her breakfast. "I found a new boyfriend almost immediately, and he got married to the next girl he dated."

"Enter boyfriend number two. What's his name? What's his story?" Daniel questioned, clearly very interested in her past love life.

"Jess, who is ironically enough the nephew of my mom's fiancé."

"Scandalous, continue."

"He was your typical bad boy, leather jacket, didn't talk much, didn't seem to care much. My mom hated him, it really put a strain on my mom and Luke's friendship at the time." Daniel looked confused. "Luke is Jess's uncle, Jess was living with him at the time."

"So Luke is your mom's fiancé."

"More or less, yeah." Daniel looked confused, again. "That's a different story." He nodded. "Jess and I didn't date for that long, but I loved him, a lot. More, I think than I did Dean because we just… we didn't have to talk, and be all lovey to know that we cared about each other. We had the deeper connection that Dean and I didn't have. But, Jess being Jess, disappeared one day and I didn't hear from him for a really long time. Turns out Luke kicked him out because he wasn't going to graduate high school, so he fled to California to search for his dad."

"Tragic story of love lost, then."

"You could say that, but it's all for the best. My mom and Luke are perfect for each other, if Jess and I had stayed together, we'd be like… cousins and that's weird." They both laughed, for a moment.

"And magic number three?"

"What makes you think number three is magical?" Daniel shrugged and motioned for her to continue. "Logan and I met my freshman year at Yale and I hated him at first, he was the stereotypical wealthy asshole. He talked down to whomever he deemed was not on his level. But, he was exceptionally interesting. We had a no strings thing for a while, but I realized that wasn't what I wanted, so I sort of gave him an ultimatum. And he chose to be my boyfriend. We dated all through college and finally he asked me to marry him and I said no. Haven't spoken to him since."

"Why'd you say no?"

"If I had said yes, I would have had to give up all of my dreams and aspirations. And, I didn't want to move to California. Too far from my mom. We have a weird bond."

"Interesting. Do you regret it?"

"Not even a little. I'm way too young to think about getting married. Girls just wanna have fun." She smiled, flirtatiously.

"I'll drink to that." He raised his orange juice, Rory raised her coffee and they both drank and laughed.

--

Luke's Diner

In the midst of the afternoon lull, Luke was sorting through receipts, his least favorite past time when the bell above the door rang. Out of habit, he looked up to see Lane and Zach holding their two baby boys.

"Hey Luke!" Lane exclaimed, happily and bubbly as usual.

"Luke, man, what's up?" Zach added.

"Hey, Lane, Zach." He looked down at their babies, "Kwan, Steve. How's everything going?"

"Great, great," Lane said. "We just thought we'd drop by so I could ask you if you would mind if I took back my job? The boys are slightly less dependent on me, and Zach has some awesome opportunities with a couple of bands in New York, so he couldn't work nights any more. I miss it here!"

"Are you sure it's not too soon?"

"Absolutely! Look at them, they're not even crying! They're growing up so fast, man." Zach said.

"As long as you're ready to come back, I'm happy to have you."

"You're the best Luke!" Lane bellowed, "Do you need me tonight or should I come in tomorrow?"

"Why don't you come in tomorrow? I think I might close up early tonight for the town meeting. Lorelai will probably want me to go with her."

"Okay, good. See you tomorrow, Luke." Lane smiled brightly and headed towards the door.

"Hey man, I'm really happy that you and Lorelai are back together." Zach added, turning slightly away.

"Thanks Zach." Luke grumbled, and went back to his receipts. Not five minutes later, Kirk walked in and sat in the stool directly in front of Luke, staring at him expectantly. "Why are you staring at me, Kirk?" Luke asked.

"Because I'm hungry."

"Your hunger causes you to stare?"

"I walked into the diner to get food, you haven't asked me what I want yet."

"You just walked in, I was finishing what I was doing and hen I was going to get to you."

"But I'm hungry now."

"Kirk, you just got here, calm down."

"Aren't you going to ask me what I want?"

"Kirk, you're annoying me. Shut up, let me finish what I'm doing, and then you can tell me what you want."

"Okay, Luke. I'll wait." … "LUKE! I AM STARVING!" Kirk exclaimed. Luke put down his receipts and glared at Kirk for a moment.

"What do you want Kirk?"

"Coffee, quarter-caf and a cheeseburger please."

"What the hell is quarter-caf?"

"Luke, I order the same coffee every day."

"Kirk, I give you decaf everyday."

"But I ask for quarter-caf! One quarter caffeinated, three quarters decaf!" Luke turned around took one of his oversized mugs and filled it to the brim with decaf coffee. "That's all decaf." Luke hardened his glare. "I've had too much caffeine today anyway. Thanks Luke."

"Yeah. Your burger will be right up."

--

Dragonfly Inn

"Drangfly Inn, Lorelai speaking."

"Lorelai, it's your mother."

"Hi mom, what can I do for you?" Lorelai asked sarcastically.

"I wanted to remind you that it's Friday night, and we'll be expecting you here for drinks and dinner at six thirty. You may bring a guest if you choose, is Christopher in town? He's always welcome you know…"

"Mom, if you'd like to have Chris over for dinner that's your deal, but if he's there, I'd rather not be."

"I didn't say that he was going to be here, I simply asked you if you knew if he was in town or not. However, I can clearly see that you have no interest in having dinner with him, so I won't press the subject. You may bring a guest, though. If you so choose. Are you seeing anybody Lorelai?"

Lorelai had two options at this point, lie & say no and risk a blind date set up by her mother, or tell the truth and incur the wrath of Emily. "Yeah, I am." She said simply.

"Really? What's his name?" Emily asked, intrigued.

"Um, well, you know him pretty well, already I'd say."

"Do I?" Emily asked. "What's his name Lorelai?"

"Luke." She coughed.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you."

"Luke, mom. I'm seeing Luke again." Emily was quiet for a moment. "Mom? Are you still there?"

"Oh, yes Lorelai I'm here."

"Did you hear me?"

"Oh I heard you. I just hardly have anything to say about it. I'm not exactly surprised, Lorelai. But I'm not entirely thrilled either." She took an audible breath, "Will he be joining you at dinner this evening?"

"I'm not sure, I can ask him." Lorelai replied, growing annoyed with the conversation.

"Well, do. Then call me back and let me know if he'll be coming with you." Emily said, then continued, "and in a timely manner please. I don't need to be sitting around all day waiting for your call. I have to tell the maid how much food she'll need to prepare, and how many places she'll need to set at the table."

"I'll call him right now, and then I'll call you right back, mom." Lorelai replied sarcastically.

"Perfect, thank you Lorelai. Good bye."

"Bye, mom." They both hung up the phone. "Ughh." Lorelai picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number to Luke's Diner.

"Luke's." Luke picked up.

"Just remember that you love me." Lorelai said.

"Okay. What did you do?"

"My mother called,"

"Well that's never good."

"My mother called to remind me about Friday night dinner tonight, and then she practically grilled me about who I was dating, and finally I just told her that we were back together."

"That isn't so bad; why is that bad?" He inquired.

"That isn't what's bad, what's bad is that she asked if you were coming to dinner tonight and I said I'd ask you and call her right back. You don't have to go if you don't want to. I just told her I'd ask."

Luke thought about it for a moment, "Sure, I'll go. If you want me there, if you want to just have dinner with your parents that's more than okay but if you want me to go I will."

"Really?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Okay. Great, let me go call her back."

"Alright, talk to you later. Love you."

"I love you too, Luke." They hung up the phone, and Luke went back to work.

--

After yet another Presidential Campaign speech, Rory turned her phone back on and checked her messages, two from her mom, one from Emily and Richard. Then, she checked her text messages. Again, two from her mom "Hey sweetie," and "Call me soon xoxo". A few from Lane and Paris, and one with the heading 'Urgent'. Her heart began to race a bit, and she opened it immediately. It read,

"Rory, It's Hugo Gray from the magazine, and I've got some pretty grim news. If you could give me a call before you turn in your next article, it would be great. Thanks, Hugo."

So, she called him to figure out what was going on.

"Hugo Gray," He answered.

"Hi Hugo, it's Rory. Your text seemed pretty serious, I just turned my phone on otherwise I would have answered sooner."

"Hi Rory, this is really hard for me to tell you but, we have to shut down the magazine. Our sponsors are backing out left and right, and we can barely make the payments to keep the servers running. We've got you on the next flight to Philadelphia, that's the closest flight they had, all of the flights into New York and Connecticut don't head out until tomorrow and we just didn't want to inconvenience you any more. I'm so sorry, Rory. Thanks for all your great work so far."

"Oh, wow. Okay. When does the flight leave?" Rory asked, running her hands through her hair, nervously.

"You've got four hours or so before it leaves, we sent the information and everything to the hotel. Thanks again, Rory. I'll give you a call if we get everything back up and running."

"Thanks Hugo."

"Bye, Rory."

Rory hung up her phone and looked around at the stadium, she took in her surroundings thought about her experiences, and then she spotted Daniel, waving a cup of coffee at her from a couple of yards away. Not only was she going to have to give up her first real journalism job, but she'd also have to give up on any hope of a relationship with Daniel. When she was honest with herself, she couldn't decide which was worse.

--

TBC ~

More JJ on the way, I swear.

And this chapter was longer! :D