disclaimer in part 1

Choices of the Heart
by Gemini0123@aol.com

_ _ _


Two weeks later (Saturday)

Rory suddenly got a crazy idea to clean out the hall closet, so she
and I sat on the hallway floor surrounded by junk. "What is the
purpose of keeping this?" she asked, holding up an old broken can
opener. I shrugged. "Toss it." She put it in the garbage bag.

I took the lid off an old shoe box and looked inside. "Ooh, here's
our collection of plastic cutlery from random fast food places."

Rory made a face. "Toss it. We can afford real silverware now."

"But it's sentimental." I pulled out a fork. "This one is from
Wendy's. Mmm. They have good burgers."

Rory repeated, "Toss it." I frowned. I put the fork back and tossed
the box in the garbage can. As Rory went through a box of old dish
towels, she said, "So where are you going tonight?"

I picked up an old pair of shoes and threw them in the garbage
can. "Oh, to the movies. Where are you going with Dean?"

Rory picked up a towel and smelled it. She made a face, then threw
the whole box of towels away. "Dinner and miniature golfing with Lane
and Henry."

"Ooh, that sounds fun." I said. "Wow, so Mrs. Kim must really like
Henry huh?"

Rory smiled. "Yeah, she loves him!"

"Hmm. And that doesn't bother Lane?"

"Nope. She thought it would, but it doesn't."

I smiled. "Wow, that's great."

"Yeah. They're so cute together." She picked up an old phone
book. "This is from 1996. I think we can update to a newer one." She
tossed it in the garbage can.

"Oh, it's getting kind of full. Let me switch the bags." I stood up
and smushed everything down. Then I lifted out the bag. It was really
heavy. "Rory, hold the garbage can so I can pull the bag out." Still
sitting on the floor, she grabbed the handles. I tugged the bag hard
and it finally lifted out. "Ow!" I exclaimed, dropping the bag on the
floor. I put a hand on my neck.

"Mom! What happened?" Rory stood up and walked over to me.

"My neck. I pulled something in my neck."

"Let's sit down." Rory walked me to the couch. "I'll get you an ice
pack."

"No, I think I need something hot. Bring me a towel soaked in hot
water."

"Okay." Rory walked into the kitchen and returned a minute later with
the towel. I wrapped it around my neck and lay back on the couch.

"Ah. Thanks."

"You're welcome. You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah. I just need to relax. Just throw all that junk back in the
closet. We'll finish it another day."

"Okay." Rory walked towards the closet, and I heard her putting
everything back. A few minutes later, she came and sat next to
me. "Mom? Are you okay?"

"Yeah, it feels better already."

She smiled. "Good. I'm gonna go get ready."

"Okay." Rory walked into her room. I reached over and grabbed the
remote and started flipping channels. Twenty minutes later Rory came
out of her room. She walked over to me and gave me a kiss on the
cheek. "I'm going now. When are you leaving?"

I checked my watch. "Oh, in about an hour."

"Okay. Bye."

"Bye. Have fun."

Rory left. I turned off the TV, then I went to heat up the leftover
Chinese food for dinner. When I was finished eating, I went upstairs
to get ready. I put on a pair of cutoff denim shorts and a button
down sleeveless shirt. Then I grabbed a sweater in case the movie
theater was cold. I pulled my hair into a bun, sprayed on a little
perfume, and went downstairs to wait for Luke. He was going to walk
to my house to pick me up and then we were going to walk to the
movies.

Ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door. I jumped off the
couch and ran to answer it. Luke was standing there in jeans and a T-
shirt, smiling. I greeted him with a kiss.

"You all ready?" he asked.

"Yup. Let's go." I walked out and pulled the door shut behind me. He
held out his hand. I grabbed it and we started walking to the
theater.
As we got near the center of town, Luke and I could see people
smiling at us. We looked at each other and smiled. "I still don't see
why everyone is so enthralled with us." I said.

"I know. Let's give them something to talk about though." He leaned
over and gave me a kiss. He smiled. "That should keep them talking
for awhile."

I smiled. I glanced towards the dance studio. I saw Miss Patty and
Taylor looking at us and talking. They smiled and waved at us. I
smiled back and we continued to the theater.
-*-

Luke and I sat in the back of the theater, trying to prohibit any
people from sitting behind us and talking about us. We shared popcorn
and a jumbo soda with two straws. About halfway through the movie,
Luke reached down and put his hand on my knee. He looked at me
cutely, as if seeing if I was okay with it. I smiled and gave him a
light nod. He smiled and started moving his fingers in a circling
motion on my knee. I laughed. He removed his hand and looked at me
questioningly. I whispered. "That tickles." He smiled and
whispered, "Sorry." He put his hand back on my knee and left it there
for the rest of the movie.

When the movie was over, we walked to the diner. We went inside, got
two cups of coffee, then went upstairs to his apartment. I hung up my
sweater on the doorknob and slid off my sandals, and then we brought
our coffees over to the couch and just talked. After awhile, I leaned
over and rested my head on his shoulder. "Ow!" I exclaimed. I sat up.

"What? What's wrong?" Luke asked, concerned.

I rubbed my neck. "Ow, my neck. I pulled it earlier today, and now it
hurts again."

"Aww. What can I do? How about a massage?"

I raised my eyebrows and smiled. "You give massages?"

He smiled. "Only to you." He stood up and held out his hand. I
grabbed it, and he pulled me up and led me to the bed. "Here, lay
down on your stomach." I gave him a curious smile, but I complied. I
felt weird on his bed, since even though we'd had six dates already,
we hadn't done anything more than intense kissing. We had both
decided not to rush into anything.

I lay on the bed near the edge and he stood next to the bed. I rested
my head on his pillow. He started massaging my back, and an electric
chill ran down my spine. The feel of his hands on me made my heart
race. He slowly moved up to my shoulders and neck. "Mmm," I
said. "That feels nice. You're surprisingly gentle for such a manly
man."

He laughed. "Yeah, well, don't tell anyone." He continued around my
neck and shoulders for a few minutes. Then I lifted up my head a
little and said, "Luke?"

"What?" he said, as he kept massaging.

"Who really picked out your curtains?"

He laughed. "I did, okay?"

I rested my head back down and started giggling. I started
singing, "Luke likes frilly curtains. Luke likes frilly curtains."

"Hey. I know something about you."

I stopped singing and looked at him. "What?" I asked curiously.

He smiled, held up his hands, and said, "I know where you're
ticklish." He started tickling my knees. I screamed and started
laughing. "Stop! Okay! I won't make fun of your curtains. Stop!" He
laughed and stopped tickling me.

He resumed massaging my shoulders. After a few more minutes, I
couldn't help it. I started giggling again. "Okay. That's it." he
said. He started tickling me on my waist. I laughed and rolled over
toward the other side of the bed so he couldn't reach me. He crawled
onto the bed towards me and kept tickling me. I kept wiggling around
and laughing. "Stop!" Tears were running down my face from laughing
too hard. I reached up, grabbed his head and pulled him towards me
and kissed him. He stopped tickling me to return the kiss. As he
pulled away, I said, "There. No more giggling. No more tickling.
Deal?"

He smiled. "Deal." He leaned down and kissed me again. I wrapped my
hands around his neck, pulling him tightly towards me. We were lying
right next to each other on our sides, and as the kissing started to
get a little more heated, he stopped and looked at me. "Do you want
to?"

I nodded. "Do you?"

He nodded. We smiled at each other. I slowly reached towards his belt
and started unbuckling it. I slid the belt out of the loops and
dropped it on the floor. He stared into my eyes as he started
unbuttoning my shirt, starting at the top and slowly making his way
down. After he undid the last button, I slid off the shirt and rolled
off my side onto my back. He leaned over me and kissed me, first on
my lips, then down my neck. I closed my eyes as I felt his warm lips
move down my chest to my stomach. Then he stopped. I opened my eyes
to see why. He was staring at me. I propped myself up on my
elbows. "What's wrong?"

"I just want to make sure you're completely ready."

I smiled. I sat up and hugged him. I whispered in his ear, "I am."

As I leaned back onto the pillow, he smiled. He slowly reached down
and unbuttoned my shorts and slid them off. I sat up again and kissed
him. I grabbed the bottom of his shirt and pulled it up over his
head. He stood up and slid off his jeans, then crawled back onto the
bed. We paused for a moment, each of us down to just our
undergarments, and stared into each other's eyes, almost sort of
recognizing and thinking about what was about to happen. We smiled at
each other as I leaned back against the pillow and pulled him on top
of me.
-*-

Several hours later, I woke up with my head on Luke's chest with his
arms around me. I smiled to myself, then looked up at him. He was
awake, just staring at me. "Hey," he said, smiling.

I smiled. "Hi. What are you doing?"

He kissed my forehead. "Watching you sleep."

I smiled. "What time is it?"

He glanced over to the nightstand. "Almost 2."

My eyes widened. "Oh my God! Rory's probably worried sick!" I jumped
out of bed with the sheet wrapped around me. I looked around the
floor for my clothes. "Where are my all my clothes?"

Luke sat up in the bed. "Whoa, honey, calm down. Rory called here
when you were asleep. I told her you fell asleep and I didn't want to
wake you."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, okay, good. Thanks. I still better
get going."

"Okay, I'll drive you." He stood up and started getting dressed. I
gathered up my clothes and went into the bathroom. A few minutes
later I came out and found him waiting by the door, holding my
sweater. He helped me put it on. I slipped on my sandals and we
went downstairs to his truck.

As he drove me to my house, I said, "Luke. I had a really great time."

He smiled. "Me too. I'm glad we took our time with everything. That
made it more special."

I smiled and nodded in agreement. "Exactly. Wow. Luke, I
just. . . .this is just the most. . .magical relationship I've ever
had. Who would've thought everything could be so perfect?"

He smiled. "I know. I think about that everyday, and I just. . .I
can't remember what my life was like before we were together."

"Me either," I said. He pulled up to my house, and opened the car
door for me. He walked me up to the porch. "Thanks Luke. I love you."

"I love you too." We kissed goodnight, and I walked inside smiling. I
walked right to Rory's room, where she was fast asleep. I tapped
her lightly on the shoulder.

"Hmm," she groaned, turning towards me and opening her eyes slightly.

"Rory," I whispered. "Rory, I'm home now."

"Mmmkay. Night." She turned back over and went back to sleep. I
tiptoed out of her room and went upstairs.

Two weeks Later (Friday)

As we got out of the car and walked up to the front door of my
parents' house, I grabbed Luke's hand. "Are you nervous?"

"A little," he admitted.

"They're really nice," Rory said, walking ahead of us.

I looked at Luke and shook my head. He smiled. "And they just called
you yesterday out of the blue and told you to bring me along?"

"Yeah. It shocked me too." I said. We were standing on the porch,
Rory in front, with Luke and I behind her holding hands. "Wait Rory."
I turned to Luke. "Here's a tip. If there's a lull in the
conversation, just compliment something. Anything, like a portrait or
a fork or even a toothpick. Everything, and I mean everything, has a
story. That will fill dead space easily."

He nodded. "Okay, got it. How do I look? "

I looked him up and down. I smiled. "Absolutely perfect." His black
suit was perfectly creased, his face clean-shaven, and his hair
freshly cut. I leaned up and gave him a kiss. "Okay, Rory. Go for it."

Rory reached over and rang the bell. I took a deep breath as I waited
for the door to open. When it did, both of my parents were standing
there smiling.

"Hello!," my mother said, "Come on in."

Rory walked in and stepped to the side. Me and Luke walked in. "Um,
Mom, Dad, this is Luke Danes."

"Nice to see you again Luke." My mother said, extending her hand. He
shook it and said, "Yes, nice to see you too."

"Yes, we've heard so much about you." My dad extended his hand and
Luke shook it. "I've made martinis. Let's have a drink before dinner."

My parents led us into the living room. My mom sat on the couch. Rory
and I sat on the couch across from her while Luke helped my dad hand
out martinis. They handed them out to me and my mother, then got some
for themselves; then my dad handed Rory a coke and sat down next to
my mother. Luke sat down next me on the couch and I laced my fingers
through his. We sipped our drinks.

My father said, "So, Luke, we've heard a lot about your diner. You
own it? That must be a big job."

"Oh, yes sir. It used to be my father's hardware store. Several
years ago when my father passed away, I remodeled it into a diner.
It's been great working in the same place that brought my father so
many years of happiness."

"Hmm." My father nodded appreciatively.

"That's very nice," my mother said. "And you must have wonderful
food, since these girls eat there everyday."

Luke laughed. "Oh yeah, they are what's kept me in business for so
long."

"Yeah, Luke makes the greatest burger, Grandma," Rory added. "You'll
have to try it sometime."

My mother smiled. "Yes, that would be nice."

There was a brief silence. Then Luke cleared his throat and
said, "That's a beautiful lamp you've got over there." My parents
turned around to look at it. I looked at Luke and we smiled. "Good
one." I whispered.

My mom turned back smiling. "Thank you. We got that in Paris several
years ago. Remember Richard?"

"Ah yes," my dad replied. "It was the last one in the store, so you
insisted we buy it right away, and then we had to carry it with us up
the Eiffel Tower." Both my parents laughed.

"Ah, it was worth it," my mother said. "It has gorgeous
craftsmanship, very intricate details."

"Yes. A fine piece of work." my father added. "Well, what do you say
we head to the table?"

"Oh, that's a good idea," my mother said, standing up. She and my dad
walked into the living room ahead of us. Luke, Rory and I slowly
stood up and looked at each other.

"So far so good," Rory said. "See, they're not so bad?" Rory headed
to the dining room.

"So, how are you holding up?" I asked Luke.

"Pretty good so far. Do you think they like me?"

I smiled. "I think they love you." I kissed him. "I know I do."

He smiled. "Okay. Let's go eat." He took my hand and we walked to the
dining room. My mom and dad sat at their usual places at either end.
Rory was on one side, and Luke and I sat across from her. We were
served our meals, and we started eating. The dinner conversation went
very smoothly. Luke asked my dad about the insurance business and
his travels. My mom asked Rory about how she's spending her vacation
time. Rory asked my mom about her new candlesticks, which my mom was
thrilled to talk about, but surprised the heck out of me. I don't
know how Rory always seem to notice new things in that house, but
she's become a pro in spotting them.

After we finished dinner and dessert, my dad invited Luke into the
library for brandy. Luke gave me a kiss before standing up and
following my dad out of the room. I smiled as I watched him walk out.

"My, Lorelai," my mother said. "You certainly look happy."

I smiled at my mother. "That's because I am, Mom."

"Grandma, it's so cute!" Rory said. "You should see how they act when
they think no one is watching. They're like teenagers."

I laughed. "We are not!"

Rory smiled. "Oh, yes you are."

"Well, I think that's wonderful Lorelai," my mother said, "It's great
that you're so happy."

"Thank you Mom." I said. "I just can't explain it. I've got an
amazing kid and an incredible boyfriend. And I. . .well, I guess I
just never knew how great life could be until these past few months."
Mom and Rory both smiled at me.

We moved into the living room and talked for awhile. It was actually
very nice, just the girls. Rory talked about Dean for a bit, and my
mom suggested she bring him to dinner sometime. I talked about Luke
some more, and my mother even recanted her story of the first time
she met my father. I don't remember ever sharing a moment like that
with her. It was as if all the pieces of my life were finally coming
together.

A little while later, Luke and my dad came into the room. I stood
up. "We should get going."

"Oh. I suppose it is getting rather late," my mother said. She walked
over to Luke. "Luke, it was a pleasure seeing you again." They shook
hands.

"The pleasure was all mine. Thank you for dinner. Everything was
great." Luke turned around to shake my Dad's hand. "And thank you
sir. It was nice to see you."

My dad smiled at Luke and said, "You too Luke. Please come again any
time. You're always welcome here."

"Thank you sir," Luke replied. We made our way to the door. Rory and
I said goodbye and soon we found ourselves safely on the front
porch.

"Oh my God. That was almost fun." I admitted.

"Yeah, you and Grandma were talking like regular people," Rory said.

I laughed. "I know! I couldn't believe it!"

Luke laughed. "Lorelai, your parents are so nice. You had me worried
for nothing."

"Trust me, they're not always like that. What did you and my Dad talk
about that whole time?"

Luke smiled. "Oh, nothing much. You know, work, investments, normal
guy stuff."

I smiled. "Sorry I missed it."

"I'll reenact it later for you."

I laughed. "Great, thanks."

We walked to the Jeep and Luke drove us back to Stars Hollow. We
drove to the diner first. He got out, and I got out to get into the
drivers' seat. We stopped in front of the Jeep, and I gave him a kiss
goodnight. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight," he said. He walked into the diner, and I climbed into
the driver's seat. I sighed. "Rory?"

"Yeah Mom?"

I smiled. "I think these are the best days of our lives."

She smiled and nodded. "I would have to agree with you there."

One month later

On Saturday morning, I had just gotten out of the shower when I heard
the phone ring. I walked out of the bathroom with a towel around
me, "Rory!" I yelled down the stairs. "Can you get that!" I went into
my bedroom. The phone stopped ringing, so I assumed she had answered
it. I got dressed and walked down the steps. Rory was standing in the
kitchen next to the table.

"Hey, what's up?" I asked her, pulling a mug out of the cabinet.

"Nothing." She walked over and grabbed my mug. "Oh, mom, why don't we
go to Luke's for breakfast, okay? My treat?"

I shrugged. "Sounds good to me."

She smiled. "Great, let's go."

We walked to the diner, and since it was a weekend, it was pretty
busy. Of course, the first thing I did was look around for Luke. "Do
you see Luke anywhere?"

She glanced around. "Nope, no where. He's probably in the back, Mom."

She led me to a table and we sat down. "So, what are you gonna get?"

"Oh, definitely pancakes. You?"

"Same here," she replied. I continued to glance around looking for
Luke. I saw several other waiters walking around, but not Luke. After
a few minutes, Ceasar walked over to us and took our order. We gave
it to him, and before he walked away, I asked, "Um, do you know
where Luke is?"

I saw him quickly glance at Rory, then he said, "Oh, I think he had
to run an errand. He'll be back later."

"Oh. Okay thanks." Ceasar walked away. I smiled at Rory and shrugged.

A few minutes later, Ceasar brought us our coffee, and then about
twenty minutes after that, he brought us our plates. We started
eating, and I noticed Rory kept checking her watch. "You have
something to do today hon?"

She finished chewing and said, "What do you mean?"

"Well, what's with the constant watch checking?"

She paused briefly. "Oh, nothing. I just really like how it looks on
me."

I narrowed my eyes towards her. "Uh, yeah, it is nice."

"Thank you." She continued eating. I shrugged to myself and continued
eating my breakfast. When we both finished, Rory walked over to the
counter to pay. I saw her talking to Ceasar, and I wondered what they
could possibly be talking about. I waited for her by the door. She
finished paying and walked over to me. We both walked outside.

"Were you just talking to Ceasar in there?" I asked her.

"Um, yeah. He asked me how are meals were."

"That's all?"

"Yup. That's it. Nothing else."

"Looked like you were talking about something else."

"Nope, nothing else."

"Okay. Ready to go home?"

I saw her check her watch. "Um, no not yet. Why don't we walk around
town for a bit first."

I looked at her curiously. "Um, all right." We walked towards the
gazebo and sat down inside it. We looked around at the townspeople
walking around. "So, how's everything? How's Dean?"

She smiled. "Oh, he's good. He's great. Just great. How's Luke?"

I smiled. "Perfect. Everything has been going so well with us. The
past few months have just been a thrill. He makes me so happy."

She smiled. "I can tell."

"What about you?" I asked her. "You like Luke right?"

She laughed. "Are you kidding? I love Luke. He's so great. He's
always been like a dad to me."

I sighed. "Yeah. Good. I'm glad you like him."

Rory checked her watch. "Ooh! So, you wanna head home now?"

I gave her a curious look. "Sure. Trying to catch something on TV?"

"No. Uh, let's go home." We stood up and started towards the house.
As we walked up to the porch, Rory said, "Oh, I need to get something
out of the car. You go on in."

"Okay." I pushed open the door and walked inside. I walked towards
the living room, intending to sit on the couch and watch TV. I
stopped dead in my tracks as I looked around the room and found it
covered with daisies. Yellow daisies everywhere. On the couches, on
the chairs, on the coffee table, on the stairs, on the television, on
the desk, on the floor, on the fireplace, everywhere. Yellow daisies
covered everything. I looked around with my mouth wide open.

"I heard you like yellow daisies," a familiar voice said behind me.

I turned around and found Luke standing behind me. "Oh my God. Luke,
what is all this?"

Luke smiled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a jewelry box.
I clapped a hand over my mouth as I watched him get down on one
knee. Tears welled up in my eyes and slowly started trickling down
my face. He held my hand and said, "Lorelai, when I'm with you, I
feel like there's nothing in the world we can't do. I have never felt
so much love for one person before in my entire life. I love you with
all my heart and all my soul. Will you marry me?"

With a constant stream of tears falling down my face, I smiled and
nodded. "Yes! Absolutely, positively yes!" He smiled and put the ring
on my finger. He stood up and wrapped me in a hug, picking me off my
feet and spinning around. I laughed as he put me back on the floor.
He looked me in the eyes and smiled. "I love you."

I smiled back through my tears of joy. "I love you too. And I want
nothing more in this world than to marry you." We leaned towards each
other and kissed. It was one of those soft and gentle, yet intense,
magical kisses that you can only have with your soul mate. As our
lips slowly broke apart from each other, our faces stayed close
together, our noses touching slightly as we smiled at each other and
stared into each other's eyes. "Hey." He whispered. "Let's go out
front."

"Why?" I asked curiously. He didn't say anything. He took my hand and
led me to the front door. He opened the door, and gestured for me to
go out first. I walked onto the porch. I gasped as I saw Rory and
half the town standing outside. Sookie, Lane, Dean, Babette, Morey,
Taylor, Patty, and Kirk were all in front of the large crowd that was
standing on my lawn. I stood on the porch, looking at them oddly.
Luke stood next to me and raised up my hand with the ring on it. "She
said yes!"

Everyone immediately started clapping and cheering. Rory ran up and
gave me a huge hug. I laughed. "You knew about this? Everyone knew
about this?"

She smiled. "Yeah. I had to keep you out of the house for the
morning. And we gathered everyone together to have a party.
Everything's ready at Babette's." Rory gave me a kiss, and then she
and the townspeople started heading over to Babette's.

I turned to Luke and smiled. "Boy, you're pretty lucky I said yes, or
you would've had a lot of disappointed fans out here."

He laughed. "Yeah, well, that was a risk I was willing to take."

He put his hands on my waist, and I rested my hands on his shoulder.
I exhaled loudly, "Wow. So we have a party to go to."

He smiled. "Yes. A party in your honor. You ready?"

I nodded excitedly. "Yup. Let's go celebrate!" We held hands as we
walked towards Babette's house. I stopped him on the porch. "Luke?"

He turned to me. "Yeah?"

I smiled. "Who's going to clean up all those daisies?"

He laughed. "I told Kirk he has to do it or I wouldn't serve him at
the diner anymore."

I laughed. "Good plan." We walked hand in hand into the house to
celebrate our engagement. For once, all the townspeople were right.
Luke and I really did belong together. And now we would be, forever.

The End


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