SPOILER WARNING: Everything up to "Paris is Burning" is fair game.
RATING: PG-13 for mild sexual content
SUMMARY: Over coffee, Lorelai discovers something she's been too blind to notice.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the Gilmore Girls characters. Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and the WB do. No copyright infringement intended.
The bell over the door jangled and Luke looked up from his newspaper.
“Hey, Luke, can I get a cup of coffee?”
“You know my hours. I’m in the middle of closing, here.”
“Yeah, and you look so busy at it, too. Come on, Luke, just one cup of coffee. It won’t kill you. I promise.”
“Fine. What’s the matter?” Luke reached for the pot behind the counter and turned over a new cup for Lorelai. He slid the steaming brew her way and watched her take that first sip. It never failed. She had the same reaction every time she took that first sip of Luke’s coffee.
“Ahhhh. Honest to God, Luke, you should find some way to patent this. It’s heaven in a mug.”
“Uh huh. You were telling me the reason you’re in here on a Saturday night instead of out cozying up to someone on a date.”
“I was? Well, jeez, rub it in, why don’t you? Lorelai couldn’t get a date. Lorelai is all alone. Lorelai has to watch her own daughter get more play than she has in God knows how many years. Even Sookie... have you seen her and Jackson, lately, Luke? It’s disgusting! I mean, it’s sweet and they so deserve each other but dammit, it’s depressing.”
“Yeah, so what happened to this Max guy? I thought you and Max were supposed to be this hot couple. What’s the matter, you get caught kissing at Chilton and he dumps you?”
“For the record, I dumped him. Why are you being so bitter? You’re like a damned shrew. Just because...” Lorelai wasn’t about to make the same mistake she’d made with Sookie a couple of weeks back. Her friends were her life and she was not going to hurt this one, as well.
“You were saying?” Luke poured himself a cup of coffee and eyed Lorelai over the rim. It was as though he were daring her to speak her mind, daring her to bring up the fact that he hadn’t been on the dating scene for years.
“Look, I’m not going there, okay? Let’s just drop it.”
“So why did you come in here, tonight?”
“Do I need a reason? I thought you were a friend. I was looking for a little companionship, Luke. Is that so awful?”
“Oh, so now I’m the proverbial puppy dog?”
“You have a strange way of looking at things... Rover.” Lorelai covered her mouth but the giggles escaped, anyway. She sobered up, looking at Luke seriously. “Can’t we just talk like we used to? Can’t you just serve me coffee without giving me grief?”
“I’m sorry. I just... I don’t know.”
“Wow, Mr. Always-Ready-With-The-Advice is speechless. This has to be a first.”
“Now who’s being the shrew? I said I was sorry. I’ve just had a lot on my mind, lately.”
“Yeah? Okay, so let’s talk about that instead of my pathetic excuse for a love life.”
Luke sighed and turned away. Lorelai watched him, confused. He looked genuinely upset about something. She slipped off her stool and walked around the counter. Laying a hand on Luke’s arm she flinched when he wrenched his arm away. Luke fled to the other side of the counter and began wiping down tables that appeared to be spotless. Lorelai followed, hers brow furrowed, her lips pursed in a frown.
“I’d rather concentrate on your problems, Lorelai. We don’t need to talk about mine.”
“Luke, if something’s bothering you I want to know what it is. I can help you. Are you lonely? Is that it? You need a woman in your life.” Lorelai smacked a hand to her forehead as though she should have figured this out ages ago. Luke rolled his eyes in disgust and continued to fill napkin dispensers and saltshakers.
“You really should pay more attention to your own life, Lorelai. You’re so busy playing matchmaker to Rory and Sookie and God knows who else that you don’t see what’s right in front of your eyes.”
“I don’t understand. What’s to see? They have significant others and I don’t. End of story. I don’t exactly see men rushing up to spend time with me. I’m a single mother, Luke. That’s about as lethal as garlic to a vampire. No man wants a woman with that kind of baggage.”
Luke whirled around and glared at Lorelai. Again, she flinched under this non-physical assault.
“Do you consider Rory ‘baggage’, Lorelai?”
“Well, no, jeez, no. I just...”
“Did it ever occur to you that some men might see the two of you together and just know what an amazing mother you are? Did you ever think that they might see that as a real strength of character, something to be admired and cherished? Do you even know how many men in this town you have wrapped around your little finger and you don’t even realize it?”
Luke was breathing heavily. Once again he turned his back on Lorelai. She stood watching him, her mouth open, and her head shaking back and forth. She’d never known Luke to blast her like that. He seemed really angry. Walking up behind him, Lorelai wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her cheek against his back. She felt every muscle in his body tense as he let out the breath he’d been holding in one long whoosh. Neither of them said a word for a few moments as she held him close. Finally he plucked her fingers from around his waist and gently pulled away from her.
“Luke, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so...”
“Shhh...” Luke had turned around and he placed a finger to her lips.
“You just don’t shut up, do you?”
Luke’s eyes narrowed as Lorelai looked like she was about to speak again. Before she had the chance, he lowered his head and touched her lips with his own. Her gasp of surprise was quickly swallowed as Luke’s kiss became more possessive. Hungrily, he explored her mouth, eager to prolong this experience. It was his turn to be surprised when Lorelai grasped his head in both hands and began to kiss him back in earnest. Her mouth opened and she welcomed his tongue inside where it toyed with hers, darting and sliding, slick and warm.
With a groan deep in his throat, Luke slid his hands down Lorelai’s back, pulling her close. She whimpered at the close contact. Their bodies felt electric, passing a current back and forth that energized them, made their kiss more involved. Luke’s hands continued their roaming with a little encouragement from Lorelai’s rolling hips. His eyes nearly rolled back in his head as their denim-clad groins made contact. He cupped her small buttocks in his hands and ground against her. Luke broke away from her mouth to begin kissing down her neck. It was then they heard the noise from outside.
They both looked up to see half the town standing outside of Luke’s Cafe. The townsfolk were clapping and cheering. Sookie waved and gave the thumbs up sign. Rory was there with Dean. She had every right to be freaked out by the situation but this seemed so right. She grinned foolishly, grabbing Dean around the waist and hopping up and down in ill-concealed joy.
Lorelai pushed Luke away from her, scowling at him and turning to scowl at the audience in front of her. Luke, on the other hand, beamed proudly. He was right. She liked him, too. She couldn’t deny it after the way she had just reacted. He lifted the ball cap from his head, ran a shaky hand through his hair and placed the cap back down, firmly. Lorelai folded her arms across her chest and looked at the floor. Her face was a flattering shade of bright pink. She peeked at Luke, trying to hide the smile that played at the corners of her mouth.
“Don’t even try. You loved that and you know it!” Luke reached for the sign on the door and turned it to read ‘closed’. Wiggling his eyebrows evilly, he began to turn off the rows of lights in the small cafe. Lorelai tried to make a dash for the door but he grasped her easily about the waist and dragged her with him. The folks outside the cafe began to disperse.
“We’re never going to live this down, you know that, don’t you?”
“I don’t care.”
“What if my mother finds out? She’ll be furious.”
“I think your mother already knows.”
“What are you talking about? I...”
“Lorelai, shut up.” The last of the lights went out in the cafe and the room was bathed in darkness.