You Say Tomatoes, I Say Doritos, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off (Or Not)
In which Luke likes spinach, Lorelai obstinately digs her junk food, and bickering runs rampant. Very, very rampant.
"Oh, thank God," Lorelai whispers in a not-100%-whispery manner when Luke (finally) shuffles across the aisle and sits down next to her, arms full of snacks. "I thought I was going to have to watch the previews while not shoving food in my mouth - which, by the way, suddenly strikes me as potentially horrifying. Like, okay, yeah, I'm probably not going to throw popcorn at Nicolas Cage's big freaky head, but I like to have the option, so sue me, and Luke, what have you done?"
"I got popcorn, soda, and candy," Luke answers, with nothing at all resembling the shame he should be feeling at this moment. "Like you asked."
"Uh," Lorelai says, "you got plain popcorn, clear soda, and - oh my God, is this dark chocolate?"
"Yeah," Luke says. Still shameless.
"Why? Have you vowed to swear unholy vengeance against me and this is me just now finding out about it? Did I miss that memo?"
"Is 'did I miss that memo' really still a relevant quip?" Luke wonders, unbothered.
"Uh, not the point, Brutus!"
"Brutus: also kinda dated."
"Luke Danes, explain yourself."
So he does. "Popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack when it's not slathered in an artificial substance that, newsflash, probably resembles butter about as much as I resemble her-" He gestures toward the screen, where Megan Fox is doing something slutty without even trying; "Sprite doesn't have any caffeine in it, which means you won't be up all night-"
"You do realize me not being up all night is a bad thing for you, right? Like, sure, maybe I had some other plans goin' before, plans of a, how do I say, rock-your-world nature, but now: pretty sure I'm going right to bed. Maybe I'll even have a headache."
"-and dark chocolate is candy that's actually good for you."
"Uh, in what universe is blending Red Vines, Sour Patch Kids, and Hot Tamales in one delicious handful not good for you?"
"Here," Luke says, shoving the popcorn at her.
"Yeah right," Lorelai grumbles.
"You two really should be quiet," comes a voice from behind them. "This is a movie theater."
"Shut up, Kirk," they say in unison.
"I bet Kirk likes Nicolas Cage," Lorelai adds darkly.
"I always found The Wickerman to be highly underappreciated," Kirk answers sagely. Then, because he's Kirk, he yells, "KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GODDAMN HONEY!"
Lorelai groans. Luke pats her on the arm, then helps himself to a handful of (plain, naked, yumminess-devoid) popcorn. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
"I'm just saying, don't you ever get at least a little curious?"
"But Luke! This coffee is legend. This coffee is perfect. This coffee makes the nectar of the gods taste like three-day old flat diet ginger ale in comparison. This coffee is very possibly the reason that I fell in love with you in the first place. How can you not even be a little bit intrigued by this coffee?"
"I like tea," Luke says simply.
"Maybe you just think you like tea," Lorelai proposes, her eyes sparkling.
Luke stares pensively down into the mug. Lorelai lifts the cup a few inches off the counter and moves it in small circles; the dark liquid swirls. It is a little mesmerizing. That's not really a surprise. Making stuff inconveniently mesmerizing: kind of Lorelai's thing. Always has been.
"Drink meeeee," she intones in a tiny voice that is supposed to be, Luke guesses, what coffee sounds like. "Drink meeee, Lukeeee!"
"Nah," Luke decides, and heads back into the kitchen.
Lorelai throws a napkin after him, but it doesn't get very far.
The chunk of donut succeeds in colliding with his head, though.
"Uh, Luke. There's something wrong with my burger."
"I don't think so."
"Surely, surely you must be kidding me. Look at it."
Luke looks at it.
So does Lorelai, some more. The sight hasn't gotten any less weird. Generally, there's maybe one, two pieces of lettuce on a Luke's burger. This one has like twenty. It's a freak burger. She thinks there might be meat on it somewhere, but she can't know for sure. That is how extreme this situation is.
"You put a tower of lettuce in my burger, Luke."
"I maybe put a little extra-"
"A little? It's more verdant than the freakin' Lost island." (She makes a mental note to text Rory later and let her know she worked 'verdant' into everyday conversation.)
"Leafy greens are important," Luke says, finally getting that Pre-Luke-Rant edge in his voice. In spite of the general horror of the situation, she feels a little instinctive thrill of giddiness. "There are essential vitamins in there that I guarantee you, you never get. You know, there are green foods that exist outside the M&M family!"
"Paul Anka's scared of broccoli, Luke! There are certain sacrifices I have to make to be a responsible pet owner-"
"You're more scared of broccoli than Paul Anka could ever be, and he's way more enthusiastic than you are about peas! Admit it."
"Oh my God," Lorelai says, appalled, and pulls a stringy stretch of dark green from the burger. "Is this spinach?"
"I do this because I care," Luke declares, crossing his arms irritably. "You know that, right?"
Lorelai pouts. "Can't you make me another Santa burger?"
"It's July," Luke points out.
"Man," Lorelai grumbles, "romance is dead."
"You know what," Luke says, "I've never seen anything grosser than this. Maybe I thought I had at the time. Maybe TJ in his wedding tights really seemed as bad as things could get, in that special warm and fuzzy 'dear God no' way. But I was wrong. This is worse."
"Maybe," Lorelai says, grinning wickedly, "we should get some."
She tosses the can of Easy Cheese into the shopping cart. Luke jumps back a couple feet. He can't help it. Self preservation instinct.
"Why?" If there were a humanly possible way to say it with more emphasis, he would.
"I dunno," Lorelai says innocently, "maybe we could use it to spice things up in the bedroom, wink wink." She nudges him.
"We don't need to spice up anything."
"Oh really? What makes you so sure about that?"
"You seemed pretty damn okay with the current state of things last night."
"Yeah, well, not the point, stud. Imagine it, if you will: me, draped across the bed, clad in nothing but strategically sprayed Easy Cheese. Like the world's hottest human nacho."
"Yeah," Luke says, "'cause I'm sure there are plenty of contenders for that title."
"Shh. Visualize the future here, Danes."
"I can't believe you're trying to seduce me into eating junk food off you."
"You can't?" Lorelai says, brow furrowing. "How long have you known me?"
"You are so vanilla," she declares, dropping a kiss on his cheek as they turn into the chip aisle.
"You know what's spicy?" he says. He'll admit it, revenge can be pretty sweet on occasion, and dealing with Taylor his whole life has made him pretty damn good at it. "Organically grown radishes."
Lorelai freezes. "Oh, God. Stop. Stop right there."
"I've got a blender."
"LA LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
"I bet they grind up into a real nice paste."
"Sorry, I have to go. Wash my hair. Get my teeth cleaned. Call my mother."
"Sure, it lacks the convenience of Easy Cheese, but that doesn't mean-"
"Shut up, shut up, shu- ooh, Doritos are on sale, score."
"You," Luke says wearily, "are unstoppable."
"Well, yeah," Lorelai replies, chipper, and tosses a few bags of Doritos in assorted disgusting flavors into the cart. She does grab a bag of Baked Lays for him, though. So that's okay.
Luke doesn't usually get sick, on account of his freakish diet and his belief in preposterous things like healthy living, but then one day, he does. He wakes up achy and feverish and stuffed up and Lorelai has to remind him that people don't really like having their food sneezed in so that he'll stay home. She gets him situated on the couch with all the boxes of tissues she can find in the house (which are ... three, all of which are almost empty. Oops), some Saltines (which are probably about the same age as Rory, but he doesn't have to know that, right? It's better if he doesn't know), the remote, and an impractical number of pillows. Paul Anka curls up dutifully on the floor next to him, and even though she's not really sure whether Luke is aware of the world around him or lost in some state of feverish delirium, he still pats him on the head and mumbles, "Hey, buddy. Good dog." It's one of those If it was possible to marry someone five hundred times, I would moments.
She sneaks out of the inn on her lunch break and stops by Doose's, then comes home.
"Hey, sweets," she murmurs, sinking down onto the coffee table, "how're you feeling?"
"Urghhhhh," says Luke.
"Well, at least that's an upgrade from earlier," Lorelai says, "where I believe the consensus was 'neurghhhffffffughglghglhhhh.'"
"Didn't need to come home," he says, eyes still closed. "You sh'd be a' work."
"Aw, sure I did," she protests lightly, pressing her fingers against his burning forehead. "I had to check up on my poor invalid."
"Dying," Luke reports. "Slow, though. Not enough tissues."
"Well, never fear, 'cause I got you some more," Lorelai replies, "and some tea with a name that I cannot actually pronounce, but I can sound out enough to suspect that the words 'ick' and 'yuck' both derive from it."
"Echinacea," Luke mumbles.
"That's the one," Lorelai agrees. "And some sorbet, which I always figured was, like, the Jan Brady of the ice cream family, but the last thing you need is dairy right now, Mr. Sniffles, and it's peach and I think I remember something about you liking peach, so. And some dried fruit, because I always want to eat candy when I'm sick and I figure it's like candy but, you know, no fun, and really expensive. And - by the way, dear God, I hope you're delirious enough that you won't actually retain this information for more than five minutes - just in case you're feeling up to eating later, in which case I can throw a salad together: some spinach."
"Spinach?" Luke repeats blearily. He actually opens his eyes all the way. Such is the power of his incredulous gaze.
"There are essential vitamins in there," she informs him fondly.
He laughs a little. It sounds like Nicole Kidman coughing in the last twenty minutes of Moulin Rouge, but it's still sweet.
"You bought spinach," Luke marvels. "World is ending."
"Yeah, yeah." She kisses him on the forehead. "Go back to sleep, hon."
"Love you," he mumbles, eyes closed again.
"Love you," she echoes, smiling faintly.
She sneaks a couple dried mangos on her way out. They're not so bad. Which, for the record, is the kind of information she's takin' to the grave.
It takes her longer to find them than he'd expected. But then, one evening, right when they're on their way out of the house to dinner at her parents' (which he thinks might turn slightly less searingly painful one of these years; at least they seem to have accepted the fact that he's not going anywhere)-
"LUKE DANES, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE."
He smiles to himself, then stops smiling, then goes into the kitchen.
"We're gonna be late," he informs her, pulling his coat on, "and as much as your parents like blaming you for things, they like to blame me more, so-"
"Poptarts. There are poptarts in my cupboard."
"And that's unusual because ...?"
"I didn't buy poptarts! I was out! There were none! And now - that means - Luke. You brought poptarts into my house. Poptarts. You. Poptarts. You, and poptarts. Poptarts and you-"
"Will you please stop saying 'you' and 'poptarts'?"
"This is amazing," Lorelai raves, holding the box like it's made out of gold or something dumb like that. "Surely it must be some cruel trick! Like, it looks like poptarts, and-" She pulls the box open and takes a pack out, "-they feel like poptarts, but really when I pull open this shimmery silver package of beauty and wonder, out will come a perfect poptart replica constructed entirely of tofu."
"No tofu," Luke promises.
Because she's Lorelai, this isn't enough to convince her. Nope, she has to open the package. Out comes-
"A poptart! A real poptart!" Jeez. She's like Tiny Tim on Christmas morning. "Strawberry - conservative, but a solid choice. A classic."
"There's no frosting," Luke points out to her. "I can't be okay with frosting."
"Not yet," Lorelai agrees absently.
"Oh, Luke!" Lorelai sighs, giddy. "You bought poptarts! You are my perfect man. The one I've waited for. I suspected as much, but I never truly knew it 'til this moment-"
"You didn't?" Luke says, frowning.
"Well, I did," she amends, "but now I know it more. You know what? I have to eat one. Right now. To commemorate this magic moment."
"Then you won't be hungry at dinner," Luke reminds her, "and there's no way your mom will like that."
"Iiii know," Lorelai says happily.
Luke rolls his eyes.
"Hey," she says, with an excited little gasp. "You wanna split it?"
And, well, since it's such a big deal to her. A big, ridiculous, crazy person's deal.
"Oh, what the hell," he sighs.
Lorelai beams, and breaks the poptart in half.