PAIRING: Luke/Lorelai
RATING: PG-13
SUMMMARY: Luke helps out when a field trip goes wrong.
Author's Note: This story takes place right after "Christopher's Return".. so Luke's resturant is painted. ;-) This is my first Luke/Lorelai fanfic, so I appreciate any comments! :-) I hope you enjoy! A shout-out to all my Java Junkie buddies out there!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


Bits and Pieces

by Jane

Part One



"I feel like I stepped into an alternate universe," Rory blinked as she stepped into Luke's diner. His walls were "spruced" up, a darker shade of blue.

"Pretty, isn't it?" Lorelai smiled and patted the seat next to her for Rory to sit down.

"You didn't..."

"I did! Painting is fun!"

"This is where you were last night? At Luke's?" Rory raised an eyebrow.

"Here was I! I stayed up and painted. Drank lots and lots of coffee. But shh, Luke doesn't know I snuck into the sacred coffee bean stash," Lorelai giggled.

"Why are we 'shhhing'?" Luke asked, pouring coffee for the both of them.

"She's a witch!" Rory blurted out.

"A witch?" Luke frowned and looked at Lorelai, who shrugged. Lorelai snuck a look at Rory and gave her a look, mouthing 'a witch?'.

"Yes... a witch..." Rory gulped down her coffee.

"I'm not even going to ask," Luke sighed. "Burgers?"

"Uh.. duh," Lorelai shrugged.

When Luke left, Lorelai gave Rory a what-are-you-thinking look.

"Sorry... I have witches on my mind."

"Yeah, ok. And I have a mix of Brad Pitt and plastic lawn slippers on my mind right now. But no witches," Lorelai laughed.

"It's because I'm going on a trip for History,"

"A trip? Ooh, to where?! The Big Apple? Mount Fuji?"

"No, to Salem. Where the infamous witch trials were held, hence "you're a witch". I'm in Paris', Madeline's, and Louise's group. Madeline's older sister's our chaperone."

"Huh. How old is this older sister of hers?" Lorelai grew worried.

"Mom, we're going to Salem, not the Strip," Rory laughed.

"Hmm... very funny," Lorelai frowned.

Luke came around with two burgers and set them down on the table.

"All right! Brain food!" Lorelai smiled. She bit into her burger, only to spit it out again. "Ugh! What was that?"

"What?" Luke asked.

"What did you do? Leave this buddy cooking overnight? This is more burnt than "Disco Inferno". I demand a new burger!"

"No," Luke shook his head.

"No? No?!" Lorelai gasped. Luke shook his head again. "Hmm... ok.. let's say.. by accident, this burger happens to fall to the ground and I become burger-less. Do I get a new burger?" Lorelai nonchalantly nudges the burger with her elbow and the burger falls to the floor.

Luke looks from the burger to the Lorelai, who pretends shock.

"My burger!! The agony..."

"Ok, ok. I'll get you a new burger. Geez," Luke grabs the fallen burger hastily and walks away.

"Do you always get your way?" Rory laughs.

"Only when I want to get my way,"

"But you always want to get your way..."

"I know," Lorelai winks.



"I can't wait to get there. To actually be at the place where the lives of so many people were changed, where justice was cruel... I mean, wow!" Rory smiled excitedly as she climbed into the car with Paris, Madeline, and Louise.

"Yeah, this should be somewhat cool," Paris shrugged, but was just as excited as Rory is.

"More than you can imagine," Madeline smiled mischievously, exchanging looks with her older sister and Louise.



"You have a phone call," Michel thrusted the phone at Lorelai, irritated.

"Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Hmm... I wonder if they do that in France," Michel glared at her. "Ok, never mind that." Lorelai smiled.

"Hello?"

"Lorelai? Thank goodness I reached you,"

"Emily. How great to hear from you. I thought you and dad had written me off by now," Lorelai rolled her eyes.

"Don't remind me. That is one night I don't want to relive ever,"

"What do you want mom?"

"Did you know that Rory is on a field trip with a 20 year old?"

"Oh no! What?! I had no idea that my daughter was away... all this time I thought she was tucked tightly in her bed. Damn, I could have sworn I locked that chain around her door," Lorelai said sarcastically.

"Do you think that is funny?" Emily gasped.

"Yes, I know Rory's gone. And the 20 year old is responsible, I just met her when she came to pick up Rory. They're probably being hanged right now,"

"What?!" Emily gasped again.

"Salem. They're going to Salem,"

"Oh right. Well I'm unsure about this... you should have talked to their teacher,"

"Look mom, Rory's fine. I'm sure. Rory is a big girl, she can handle herself," Lorelai reassured her.



"We're not in Salem. And it's almost night. Shouldn't we have reached Saleem by now?" Rory asked, worried.

"Salem?" Madeline's sister, Kate, questioned.

"Yeah, the place where you're suppose to be driving us," Rory pointed out.

"Chill out, Rory. We're not going to Salem," Louise said.

"What?!" Both Rory and Paris gasped.

"Salem is boring. Who wants to go to there when we could go to a college party?" Madeline smiled excitedly.

"Let me repeat: What?!" Rory shook her head in disbelief.

"Kate's taking us to her dorm hall... there's a huge party and all the frat guys are going to be there. Gorgeous frat guys. I can't wait to get my hands on a college man," Madeline twirled her hair around her finger.

"I can not believe this," Rory sighed, slumping in her seat.

"You can say that again," Paris mumbled.

"I can not believe this," Rory repeated.



When the girls reached the party, Madeline, Louise, and Kate left Paris and Rory as theywent off to flirt with the cute college guys. There was really loud music blarring from the speakers and crowds of people mingling. A tall blonde with an piercing through his nose came up to Rory.

"Hey there, sweetie," He grinned, handing her a cup of what seemed to be beer.

"Umm.. no thanks," Rory pushed the cup away and tried to move away.

"Do you want to dance?" He asked.

"No, I don't want to dance. I have a boyfriend, you know. And his name is Dean. Yeah, Dean. And he's tall, taller than you and he can beat you up! In fact, he's here. He'll be here any second because..."

"Ok, geez... I get the hint," The guy frowned, turning away.

"We need to go," Rory pulled Paris aside.

"Nobody's home at my house," Paris pointed out. "Who are we going to call?"

"My mom. Lorelai would come and pick us up," Rory nodded. Paris handed her the cell phone and Rory dialed the inn's number. The phone was busy.

"It's busy," Rory sighed.

"What are we going to do?" Paris questioned, searching for any site of the others.

"Luke! I can call Luke," Rory quickly dialed Luke's number and prayed for him to pick up.



Putting the dirty dishes in the sink, Luke decided to close up early since there were no customers for the past half hour. Locking the door, he went to sit behind the counter and finally really looked at his walls. It was weird for them to be painted; weird for a change. He shook his head in disbelief that Lorelai actually came in the middle of the night and painted his diner. It was just those little bits and pieces that made him love her more and more each day. It didn't make any sense really. Lorelai irritated him to the breaking point, but he couldn't stop thinking about her. About the way she smiles, the way her eyes light up... just little bits and pieces. If only she felt the same way about him.

Luke sighed, wiping the counter. Lorelai was his friend. And that was that.

Just then, the phone rang. Luke went over to pick it up.

"Hello?"

"Luke!" Rory exclaimed.

"Rory?! Where are you? What's the matter?" He frowned.

"Luke, could you get here? Please?" Rory cried out.

"Where are you? I'm coming right now..." Luke threw on his coat and fumbled for his keys.

As Rory gave him vague directions, Luke reassured her that he'd be right there. As he locked up the diner again, Luke rushed to his truck and hoped Rory was all right.

-------

Part 2



He checked his watch, only to find that it had only been a minute since the last time he checked it. Luke parked his car in the parking lot of the college campus and desperately looked around for Stevenson Hall. No such luck. However, the loud music in the building across from him was a dead giveaway. Rory.

"Hey!" He called out, knocking loudly on the door.

"I've got it!" Louise rushed to the door and swung it open. She found Luke motioning for her to move aside as he entered the room. "Uh oh." She grimaced.

"Luke!" Rory cried out, waving frantically in the moving crowd of people. Both Rory and Paris made it through the crowd to Luke.

"I thought your mother said you were going to Salem," Luke whispered.

"Are we going?" Paris asked.

"Wait, going? What do you mean?" Louise asked, confused. "You can't leave!"

"The hell they can," Luke glared. "Where's that chaperone? I need to have a little talk with her."



"Thank you," Rory said.

"You said that already," Luke pointed out.

"Well thank you again," Rory repeated.

After lecturing Kate what responsibility was, he made sure Kate immediately brought home Louise and Madeline. He was driving Paris and Rory back to the Gilmore house.

"Where was mom? The phone was busy," Rory asked, confused.

"Here. I've got a cell phone," Paris handed Luke her cell phone from the back seat.

"I never thought I'd use one of these," Luke muttered. Dialing the inn's number, the phone finally picked up.

"Indepedence Inn,"

"Lorelai?"

"Luke? Why are you calling?" Lorelai frowned.

"I've got two kids in my truck, one of them your daughter. I'm taking them back to your house, okay?"

"Uh.. that's reassuring!" Lorelai gasped. "What in the world happened?!"

"They took some sort of detour and ended up at a frat party instead of Salem,"

"Oh my god, Luke! I'll be right there!" Lorelai hung up the phone abruptly and ran out the door.



Lorelai sat on the couch, nervously flipping through one of Rory's books without looking at it. How could this have happened? Lorelai bit her lip in frustration. Did this make her a bad mother? Of course this made her a bad mother... what kind of mother would expect normalicity? She should have taken percautions. Maybe she should have driven them. Maybe Roryshouldn't have gone. Maybe she should chain Rory's door. Maybe...

"Mom!" Rory burst through the front door, dropping her bag to the floor.

"Rory!" Lorelai rushed to Rory, hugging her tightly. "Don't ever scare me like that again. You'll be one sorry kid."

Rory laughed softly. "I won't. Hey, where were you? Paris and I tried calling you and calling you and it was busy."

Lorelai groaned and slapped her head. "Emily. She called me and told me it wasn't safe for you to travel with a college student. I hate it when she's right."

Luke shut the door softly behind him, and watched wordlessly as the mother and daughterhad their moment. "Hey, do you want me to drive this one home?" He pointed to Paris.

Lorelai turned around to see Luke standing by her door. A warm smile lit up her face. "Luke. You have no idea..."

"Yeah, yeah. I was just looking out for Rory. I wouldn't want her spiraling down like you did," Luke shrugged. Lorelai laughed softly and walked over to embrace him in a warm hug.

"Thank you," She whispered. He could feel her breath on his cheek and prayed that he could hold her like that forever.

"No problem," He answered airily, hugging her back.

Rory and Paris gave each other looks. "Well, it's a step up from dating Mr. Madina," Paris said smugly.



"What do you have?" Lorelai asked, peeking into Rory's bowl full of ice cream.

"Stawberry Cheesecake," Rory smiled, digging in.

"Too Cheesy." Lorelai shrugged. "I've got Rocky Road. Now that's ice cream." They both plopped down on the couch and tugged a blanket over their feet.

"Thank goodness Luke was there today," Rory piped up.

Lorelai smiled slowly and ate her ice cream. "Yeah, thank goodness."

"He's a really good friend," Rory pointed out.

"That he is," Lorelai nodded.

"And he makes really good coffee," Rory smiled.

Lorelai nodded a little too enthusiasticaly. "Amen to that, sister!"

A silence fell over them as they continued to eat their ice cream.

"You really like him don't you?" Rory asked quietly, putting down her bowl.

"W..what?! Are you serious?" Lorelai laughed out loud.

"Uh huh. Luke is a great guy," Rory nodded.

Lorelai rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I can't believe I'm hearing this from my own daughter. The person I gave life to."

"Mom, I'm serious here! You can't hide things from me. That silver bracelet? Found it under a collection of punk '80s music,"

"What? Damn," Lorelai sighed, defeated. "That was a really good hiding spot."

"So..."

"So..." Lorelai took in a deep breath. "You really like Luke don't you?"

Rory nodded. "He's a great person. And he makes a great burger. The whole town knows that he's in love with you."

"That's crazy. You," She waged a finger at Rory. "... are crazy."

Rory rolled her eyes and smiled. "Ok, I'm off to bed. Partying with frat guys has made me tired. Good night mom,"

"Good night... no more crazy talk!" Lorelai winked.

As Rory left to go to sleep, Lorelai sat lying on the couch feeling like she was the one that was crazy. It had never been so difficult to figure out her feelings before. The minute she saw Christopher and that bike of his 16 years ago, she knew she loved him. And she fell head over heels. But when she sees Luke... what was that suppose to mean? He was her friend, and herfriend only. Throughout the years at Stars Hollow, he was always someone to depend on. He was so... unlike Christopher. Christopher would be here one day and leave the next. Luke would be here. And most importantly, for Rory. Just knowing that Rory trusted him made Lorelai want to sort out these conflicting feelings towards Luke. Wait, did she have feelings for Luke?

She remembered hearing about Rachel and feeling jealous. She didn't want to admit it, especially not to Sookie, but she did. It was just little bits and pieces that made her wonder if there was something there. The way he always makes her smile, his dependability, even the way he wears his hat.

Lorelai groaned, unable to sleep now. She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch again. She tried turning on the television, but all she could think about was Luke. And coffee. But those two were related anyway.



"What in the world?" Luke frowned. It was early the next morning and Lorelai was sitting, half asleep on the doorstep of his diner.

Lorelai squinted and saw Luke standing in front of her. She rubbed at her tired eyes and gave a meek smile. "Good morning!" She thrust her empty coffee mug out at him.

"No," Luke shook his head, pushing the mug away.

"Aww come on, Luke! You can't do this to me! I got up extra early just to have your coffee. I couldn't sleep at all last night," Lorelai cried out.

Luke opened the diner and stepped inside with Lorelai trailing behind him.

"Please?" She begged.

"No!" Luke repeated.

"Ahh you are mean!" Lorelai grumbled, sitting down on a chair.

"You should get some sleep," Luke advised.

Lorelai laid her head on the table and stuck out her mug at him again. "I told you I couldn't sleep!"

"Why not?"

Lorelai took in a deep breath and rubbed at her tired eyes again. "You."

Luke brew up a batch of coffee and almost burned himself when he heard that word. He turned around and gave her an odd look.

"Come again?" He shook his head, confused. Luke poured coffee for Lorelai as she spoke.

"I couldn't sleep because... I was thinking about you. I was up all night thinking about you and I couldn't sleep. At all. And now I'm grumpy."

Luke gaped at her in shock. He was so out of it that he managed to pour coffee out of the cup and onto Lorelai.

Lorelai shrieked, now wide awake. "It burns, it burns!" She laughed, hitting Luke repeatedly.

"I'll get a towel," Luke rushed to get a towel and comes back.

"I'm never ever getting coffee from here again..." Lorelai trailed off quietly, breathlessly watching as Luke slowly soaked up the coffee from her sleeve. Slowly, their eyes meet. All the confusion, all the doubts, disappeared as Lorelai reached up to touch his cheek. Luke felt her touch, felt her staring at him. Without thinking, Lorelai kissed him. Luke kissed her back fully, hisarms protectively wrapped around her waist. Out of breath, they pulled apart, their lips still lingering on each other's.

"More... coffee?" He blurted out, unsure of what to say.

"Of course," Lorelai smiled broadly. "Just later." She added as they found each other's lips again.

end

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