SPOILERS - All of the previous episodes up to the Bracebridge Dinner. It also helps to remember that there is a guitar propped up against the bed in Luke’s apartment and that Scott Patterson used to be in a band before becoming an actor
SUMMARY - Jess shows Rory (who in turn shows Lorelai) Luke’s ‘other life’
RATING -PG
PAIRING OR CHARACTER - L/L, R/J
DISCLAIMER - I own the rights to none of the characters, situations or places or anything to do with Gilmore Girls. They are owned by the WB and Amy Sherman-Palladino.

Feedback: I would greatly appreciate it – this is my first fanfic!

Let the Music Play

by Sandra


Thursday afternoon in Stars Hollow at the bus stop

Rory gets off the bus from school to find Jess hanging out on the bench

Rory: What are you doing here?

Jess: I just thought you might like to know a secret…(he says with a smirk)

Rory: That you are the person who drew the chalk outline in front of the market? That you were the one who wrecked the fancy snowman? I think I’ve got you figured out…

Jess: Actually, it’s about Luke.

Rory: (sensing there’s something interesting like maybe he’s got some insight about how Luke feels about her mom): And what would that be?

Jess: Meet me at the diner later and I’ll tell you.

Rory: I don’t know about that…

Jess: What, is your mom going to want to come along?

Rory: No, she’s got class tonight, but I’ve got a lot of homework to do. Why can’t you tell me now?

Jess: Even better that she won’t be around – it’s something I have to SHOW you, not tell you, and I can’t show you until later tonight.

Rory (intrigued at this point): Oh come on, what is it???

Jess: You’ll have to come by tonight and find out…about 9 o’clock. (he walks away)

Rory stands there for a minute, stunned and curious, wondering why Jess would want her to come to the diner that late, certain that Luke would be closing by then and he might not even be there, since Jess has been closing the diner for the past few weeks instead of Luke…

 

Later at the Gilmore House

Lorelai: Hey kid, I’m leaving for school now. There’s money for pizza or Luke’s on the table.

Rory: Okay, thanks. (walking into the living room). When are you going to be home tonight?

Lorelai: Why? What’s my curfew? I don’t know, probably around 11:30 or so, my class is getting broken into work teams tonight so we are going to have a team meeting after class is over. What’s up? Do you need to talk or something?

Rory: No, no, nothing. Just wondering…

Lorelai: Is Dean coming over?

Rory: NO! Oh no, not that, I’m going to do homework tonight, really!

Lorelai: (looking at her suspiciously) Are you sure? It sounds like you are fixing to sneak out or sneak someone in here or something!

Rory: (dismissing the comment and hoping to end the conversation) Oh no, don’t’ be ridiculous. Nothing is going on, just a typical night of study, study, study….hey, don’t you need to go? You don’t want to be late for class!

Lorelai: Hmm…maybe I should stay home tonight, hang out with my best pal…

Rory: NO! No, a mind is a terrible thing to waste…

Lorelai: Maybe you’re right. See you SOON!

Rory: See you later, mom.

Lorelai gets in her jeep and drives off, wondering why Rory is acting so strange.

Rory flops onto her bed with her books, but her mind is elsewhere. She looks at the clock – only 5:30…. That’s an eternity from 9:00… should she go? She shakes her head and tries to get the idea out of her head and tries to go back to her homework, but she can’t seem to concentrate. Maybe she should have told her mom about the conversation with Jess? Nah, then her mom would start kidding around about her cheating on Dean with the new kid in town. But is that what she is doing if she meets him at 9? She buries her head in her pillow and lets out a small scream of frustration.

 

Nine o’clock at Luke’s Diner

Jess is wiping down the tables as the last customers leave. There’s no sign of Luke in the place. Jess looks up as the door jingles and Rory tentatively walks in. Jess smiles (more like a smirk)

Jess: I knew you would come. Curiousity got the best of you, eh?

Rory: Well, I was all through with my homework, and I thought I could humor you for a little while at least…

Jess: Oh, thanks for the pity party! (Jess throws his rag out gallantly and bows).

Rory: Okay, okay, so what’s the big secret?

Jess: Let me get my jacket.

Rory: Where are we going???

Jess: Hartford.

Rory: No way! You didn’t say we would be going anywhere for this secret!

Jess: Oh come on, where’s your sense of adventure?

Rory hesitates and Jess grabs his jacket and takes her arm to lead her out the front door. He turns off the lights and locks up and turns to Rory.

Jess: So, you up for this or what?

Rory: I don’t know. My mom would really be upset if I didn’t let her know about this…

Jess: She’ll never know. What time do you expect her back?

Rory: 11:30 or so.

Jess: We’ll be back in plenty of time…come on, let’s go.

Rory: How?

Jess leads her around the back of the diner, where a motorcycle is parked next to where Luke usually parks his truck.

Rory: Oh, I don’t know about this….

Jess: Come on, live a little. (He says as he hands her a helmut, puts his own on and straddles the bike. It starts up with a roar and Rory jumps a little. Rory reluctantly climbs onto the back of the bike)

Jess: You might want to hold on. I promise I won’t try anything – I WILL be a little busy maneuvering the bike, you know.

Rory reluctantly puts her arms around his waist and laces her fingers together as the bike roars out of the parking lot and out of Stars Hollow.

 

 

Jess and Rory pull into a parking lot in downtown Hartford and Rory notices a crowd of people milling around the entrance of a bar/nightclub. Jess pulls into a space and shuts off the engine.

Taking off their helmuts, Rory is completely confused at this point, but she must admit that she really enjoyed the ride to Hartford, and really enjoyed having her arms around Jess for the last 30 minutes, without having a verbal sparring with him.

Rory: What are we doing here??

Jess: You’ll see.

Rory: There is no way we are going to get into this place – look at all the people, and we’re UNDERAGE!

Jess: Ahem, there’s no reason to announce that to the world – and the guy at the door - okay? Just try to look older – think ‘I’m 21, I’m totally mature’ – you’ll see, it’ll work.

Jess and Rory walk up to the door of the bar and Jess turns totally cool in front of the doorman.

Jess (to the guy at the door): I’ve got a reservation for two – Jess Danes at 9:30?

The doorman looks them over scrupulously, Jess hands him something and the doorman lets them in.

Doorman: Have a nice evening, kids.

Rory: How did you do that?

Jess: Do what?

Rory: Get us past that guy?

Jess: Nothing a $20 bill in the pocket wouldn’t fix…

Rory: Wow, I think I’m impressed (Rory looks around the place – it’s pretty small and a band is set up in the front of the room on a stage with a small dance floor in front of it.)

Jess: What’ll you have to drink?

Rory: I guess coffee is out of the question here?

Jess: This is not exactly a coffee kind of place…

Rory: I guess a soda would be nice, then. Should we sit down at a table and then the big surprise will appear?

Jess: Yeah, sort of.

Rory takes a seat over against the far wall of the club, looking nervous. Jess goes up to the bar and comes back with a soda and a beer.

Jess: So….

Rory: What’s the big secret? I’ve come all the way here – without my mother’s knowledge or permission – what’s going on here tonight?

Before Jess could answer her, the band members start to make some noise and a familiar voice came over the microphone.

"Welcome to the Leo’s – I’m Luke and this is my house band"

Rory just about spits out her soda and spins around to see Luke standing center stage.

Rory: Oh my GOD! Luke is in a band? The guy who grunts the few words that he says at the diner? Oh my GOD!

With that, Luke shoulders his guitar and starts to play and sing "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen. He’s wearing a tight black t-shirt and jeans with black biker boots (no hat!) Jess sits back and takes a swig of his beer, giving Rory a sly wink.

Rory: Oh my God, Jess, I have to tell my mom! I have to get her here – she won’t believe this! He’s really good!

Jess: Well, I think there’s a payphone in the bathroom – but are you sure you want to call her and risk the wrath of Lorelai that you’re out at a bar in Hartford with ME of all people?

Rory thought about it for a moment. Damn, this is a side of Luke that no one in Stars Hollow has ever seen – and maybe if Lorelai knew about it she might actually realize that Luke is the right one for him – Rory has known it that all along.

Rory: I’ve just GOT to tell her!

Jess reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of change and sets it on the table. She reaches over and collects the change, then takes Jess’s beer and takes a swig of It as a means of gaining courage – makes a face in disgust over the taste – then marches off to the payphone. Jess smiles and sits back in his chair.

The band is still pretty loud in the bathroom, but fortunately there aren’t too many women in there, so she has a little peace to make her phone call.

Rory: Mom? It’s me. Um, I’m sorry to bother you in your school group, but I just have to tell you about something!

Lorelai: Rory? Where the hell are you? It sounds like you’re in a nightclub!

Rory: Um, where am I? Well, that’s an interesting question…You see, Jess told me that he had a secret and…

Lorelai (interrupts): You’re with Jess at a nightclub? Where?? What the hell are you thinking?

Rory: Wait, wait, mom, calm down. We’re right here in Hartford. At a place called Leo’s. Over on Riverside. You have to come here and see this, you won’t believe it!

Lorelai: (Gasping in amazement) Okay, so you’re at a bar in Hartford on a school night with a juvenile delinquent and you want me to join you? That’s just great!

Rory: No, no, you don’t understand. Can you break away from your group and come here? You just have to see this!

Lorelai: I’m leaving right now – this had BETTER be good and I had better get a damn good reason why you’re where you are with who you’re with!

Rory hangs up the phone, a little more nervous than she was before. Maybe Lorelai won’t be as surprised, amazed, enlightened as Rory is to see Luke up on stage, singing with a band. Maybe she’ll just be so pissed off at what she’s done that she won’t even notice! Oh, jeez, did I make a big mistake even going to see Jess tonight?

Rory gets back to the table and Jess looks happy to have her back.

Jess: So? What’s the verdict? Grounded for a year and I’m subject to a jail sentence?

Rory: I guess we’ll find out. She’s on her way over here. She didn’t seem too happy about where I am, though.

Jess: Ah, welcome to my world. Wait until Luke realizes that we are both here – I doubt that all will be alright in the Danes house tonight either…

With that said, they both sat back and watched Luke and his band singing their hearts out. It was amazing. Luke was so great and so animated. Nothing like he behaves at the diner every day. Rory keeps her eye on the door, waiting for Lorelai to bust into the place, with guns blazing.

Both Jess and Rory were watching the door when Lorelai walked in, looking concerned and confused. Jess quickly finished his beer and set it on the floor behind him. Rory waved Lorelai over to the table and she rushed over, completely ignoring the crowd of people and the band playing.

Lorelai: Rory! Jess! What is going on here? How did you get in? Why?

Rory: Mom! Jess said he had a secret about Luke and he had to show it to me, and now he’s showing it to me!

Lorelai (still looking confused): What? What on earth are you talking about? Luke?

Rory: Look! (She turns Lorelai around and points to the stage – Lorelai can’t believe what she is seeing – it’s Luke, the guy she’s known forever, the guy that she always leans on in troubled times, the guy she THOUGHT she knew inside and out. And he looked so gorgeous! She sank into a chair at the table, her mouth hanging open in a shocked position.)

Lorelai: I don’t know what to say. How long has he been doing this? My God, he’s really good, too! (Lorelai suddenly feels sad, like Luke has been hiding something from her)

Jess: He’s been singing and playing the guitar for years, but he started playing with the band I guess around the time when you got engaged, at least that’s about the time that Luke said he started…

Lorelai just sat there, staring at Luke, completely speechless.

Lorelai: (She blurts out) I need a drink. (She stands up and heads for the bar)

Jess: Do you think she’d be willing to get me another beer?

Rory: (Shaking her head) At this point, anything is possible. I think we stopped existing in this room the minute she looked up on the stage!

Jess: Then maybe we should sneak out and go back to Stars Hollow and she might forget that we were ever here?

Rory: Not likely in this universe, but a good suggestion nonetheless.

Lorelai comes back to the table with a Long Island iced tea and takes a long sip and lets out a sigh, still not taking her eyes off of Luke.

The band finishes its set and Luke puts his guitar in the stand and heads over to the bar. Lorelai bolts out of her chair, nearly knocking it over. Both Rory and Jess jump at the sudden explosion of energy and look at each other in amusement. Lorelai saunters over to the bar with her drink and casually walks up behind Luke.

Lorelai: Hey, you in the belt…(she says melodically)

Luke just about jumps out of his skin and spins around in complete shock.

Luke: What are you doing here???? How long have you been here?

Lorelai: A while….and guess who called me and got me here? (Luke looks at her quizzically) Your dear nephew and my dear daughter, who happen to be sitting right over there! (she points over to Rory and Jess, who are cowering in their seats, trying to magically become invisible. Luke snarls at Jess and gives a disappointing look at Rory).

Luke: What the hell are THEY doing here?

Lorelai: Well, it seems that Jess lured Rory here to let her in on a little secret about you. But the joke was on me, I guess, because this is a pretty huge secret, and I didn’t even know about it!

Luke: Well, it’s just something I’m not comfortable sharing with the town…

Lorelai: (interrupts) And I’m the town?

Luke: You know what I mean, you’ll tell Sookie, and Rory will tell Lane and Dean, then they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on, the next thing you know Miss Patty will be asking me to accompany her three-year olds ballet class and Taylor will have me singing the National Anthem at the Stars Hollow baseball games!

Lorelai: You’re really good, you know.

Luke (looking embarrassed): Thanks.

Lorelai: I wish you had told me about this! I’m your biggest fan already, you know. Now I can start your fan club and make buttons and …

Just then, a 20-ish blond girl walks over and taps Luke on the shoulder and giggles – "Hey, you’re really good! I hope to see you here more often!" and giggles away with her girlfriends. Luke looks at Lorelai with an amused smile

Lorelai: (Looking jealous) Oh, and I can also to help fight off the groupies!

Luke: Really? (He grins looking proud and gives the girls walking away a second glance. One of his band mates then comes over and taps Luke on the shoulder and gives him the sign that the break is over)

Luke: Lorelai, I’ve only got one more set to do. Will you stay and talk to me after the show? (he says this as he finishes his water and starts to walk through the crowd back to the stage.)

Lorelai: I’ll wait for you as long as I have to. (she says pointedly, then realizes what she has said and puts her hand over her mouth, as if to draw the comment back in).

Luke: Huh? (he said loudly since he didn’t hear what she said because he had started to walk away).

Lorelai: Um, nothing….I’ll be here. (She heads back to the table with Rory and Jess.)

While Luke and Lorelai were talking at the bar, Rory was craning her neck to see what was going on. She didn’t even notice that she had moved her chair so that it was right against Jess’s. However, he definitely noticed and was enjoying the closeness.

Rory: What is your assessment of the whole situation so far?

Jess: It’s getting better and better if you ask me, Rory.

She suddenly snaps out of her attempt to see what’s going on at the bar and realizes that she is face to face with Jess. Jess takes her hand in both of his and gently strokes the top of it with his thumb. Rory can’t believe what she is seeing in him. He looks so loving, so vulnerable. Not what she is used to seeing in him. She laces her fingers into his and drops them below the table as Lorelai approaches as if to hide them.

Lorelai: Okay, guys, hands above the table please.

Rory and Jess look at each other and place their intertwined hands on table. Lorelai looks surprised, but not shocked.

Lorelai: Okay, then, carry on. (She sits back down at the table)

Jess: Hey, I think I’ll go get another drink – Rory, do you want another soda? Lorelai?

Rory flashes her eyes at him – after all, mom would go crazy if he came back here with another beer! – but Jess half closes his eyes and makes a face to dismiss her thought.

Rory: Yes, please. That would be great. (Lorelai doesn’t say anything but is dividing her time between watching Jess and Rory and staring at Luke. Jess pulls Rory’s hand up to his lips and kisses the back of it before walking over to the bar. The band starts playing a Pearl Jam song).

Lorelai: So, what’s going on with Jess??? Holding hands? When did this all happen? What about Dean?

Rory: Well, um, you know how you always talk about those magical nights in the winter when it snows? Do you think they can happen in May -- without snow?

Lorelai thinks for a minute, then looks up on the stage and sees Luke. He smiles at her and she smiles back.

Lorelai: Yeah, I think it’s possible for it to happen even without snow. I guess it’s snowing somewhere in the world right now, right?

Jess comes back to the table with two sodas and another Long Island iced tea for Lorelai. She gives him a look for a minute, but then brushes it off and thanks him for the drink. Jess sits back down next to Rory and this time it’s Rory who makes the first move and takes Jess’s hand. Jess smiles.

The band finishes their song, and launches into "Arms Wide Open" from Creed. A couple of people wander out to the small dance floor in front of the stage to slow dance. Luke is still watching Lorelai as he sings. Jess motions to Rory to get up.

Jess: Come on, let’s dance.

Rory: Um, okay, sure (She looks back at Lorelai who understands what Rory is thinking and agrees to the fact that the whole situation is surreal)

Jess and Rory make their way around the tables and find a spot on the dance floor and put their arms around each other. Rory can’t believe that she is at a nightclub, with her arms around Jess, while Luke (of all people) serenades them – it’s just too weird to be true.

When the song is finished, they head back to the table and listen to the rest of the set.

Now it’s almost midnight, and Luke turns to his band and has a few words with them, followed by them turning and looking directly at Lorelai and smiling. Luke trades off his electric guitar for an acoustic and pulls a bar stool from the side of the stage and takes a seat in front of the microphone.

Luke (to audience): Well, last song of the night, everybody. And I’d like to ask my number one fan to come up here so that I can sing to her, if that’s okay with everybody… (the audience all claps and hoots)

Lorelai sits there stunned and doesn’t know what to do. She stands up at the urging of Rory and Jess and makes her way around the tables to the stage and sits on it with her legs dangling, a few feet from Luke’s stool.

Luke (to audience): I had to change the words a little, but I think John Lennon will forgive me.

(He starts strumming the guitar and begins to sing the Beatle’s song "Julia").

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Lorelai

Lorelai, Lorelai, oceanchild, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Lorelai
Julia, seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Lorelai

Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering,
In the sun

Lorelai, Lorelai, morning moon, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Lorelai

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind, Lorelai

Lorelai, sleeping sand, silent cloud, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Lorelai
Hum hum hum hum...calls me
So I sing a song of love for Lorelai, Lorelai, Lorelai

Luke ends the song and looks at Lorelai, who is sitting there looking at him with tears in her eyes. He whispers sweetly:

Luke: I love you, Lorelai.

Lorelai: (whispers through the tears) I love you too, Luke.

She stands up on the stage, completely oblivious that there is anyone else in the room but her and Luke, and puts her arms around his neck and kisses him. All of the built up passion and love for him pours out of her in a single kiss. Luke tries to get his arms around her but finds it awkward since he still has the guitar strapped to him. Luke has tears in his eyes too

The other band members take that cue and call out "Good night!"

The crowd is now on their feet clapping, including Rory and Jess who are enthusiastically hooting. They stand there and hold each other for a few minutes, just enjoying the moment. Eventually the crowd dies down and starts to disperse, as the band starts to break down their equipment for the night.

Luke and Lorelai go back to the table with Rory and Jess, each pair holding hands and feeling very much like they are on a different planet, not just 30 minutes from Stars Hollow.

Lorelai (to Luke): You know, if it wasn’t May, I’d swear it was one of those magical winter nights when it snows and wonderful things happen that seemed impossible…

She glances at Rory who smiles

Luke: Like this? (He leans over to her and kisses her gently.)

Lorelai: Yes, exactly like that. You never cease to amaze me, you know.

Luke: I haven’t even started. (he says and raises and eyebrow at her)

Lorelai: (trying to snap out of her love-induced trance by looking over to Rory and Jess) HOWEVER, I think we’re contributing to the delinquency of two minors here, don’t you?

Rory and Jess look at each other and shrug their shoulders at the thought.

Lorelai: You both have school tomorrow and it’s past midnight!

Rory: I think we’ll survive. I guess we should get going soon, though, before they kick us out or something. Mom, do you want me to ride back with you, or can I go back with Jess?

Lorelai: Why don’t you go back with Jess. We’ve still got a few things to talk about here (she winks at Luke)

Rory (to Luke): Okay, but don’t keep her up too late. And if you’re in our house in the morning, I expect you make coffee before I have to leave for school! (she winks at Lorelai)

Luke (to Jess): How would you feel about opening the diner for me tomorrow before school?

Jess: No problem, Uncle Luke! (Trying to act a little more mature and responsible. Rory smiles, knowing that she might be just the right influence on him. )

 

 

Jess and Rory walk out of the club into the cool May evening air. Rory is walking in a daze like her mom, being guided by Jess’s hand in hers.

Jess: You’ve got to admit, it was a pretty magical night, right? Rory? Strange night? Hello?

Rory: Magical, hmm?

Jess: You know, Luke and your mom… (he hesitates for a minute and then stops her) …and then there’s US…

Rory turns to Jess but before she can say anything he moves closer to her and gently kisses her lips. Rory doesn’t pull back, but returns the kiss. Jess puts his arms around her and pulls her closer. They stand there in each others arms for a few minutes, both out of breath from the excitement of it all, but not wanting to stop.

Rory: Oh yeah, and us. (They kiss again and break apart only long enough to get their helmuts on and get on the bike. Rory draws her arms around Jess tightly now and presses the side of her face in his back, snuggling him. Jess smiles and pulls out of the parking lot, heading back to Stars Hollow.)

 

 

Back in the nightclub, Luke is packing up his two guitars while Lorelai sits on the stage cross-legged and watches him closely.

Lorelai: So, it sounds like Rory has given permission for you to stay over tonight – so, are you interested?

Luke stops what he’s doing and looks over to her, disbelieving what he is hearing.

Luke: I’d be insane to say no! Saying no to you OR to Rory isn’t possible, is it? Especially since Jess seemed almost enthusiastic to open the diner for me tomorrow!

Lorelai: I think that Rory is going to be very good for Jess. And…. (she gets up and walks over the Luke and puts her arms around him) …I think that I will be equally as good for you!

Luke smiles and gives his signature nod:

Luke: Oh, you think so, do you?

Lorelai: Absolutely. (She pulls him close and kisses him again [this time without a guitar between them] and Luke presses her against him so close that she can feel his heart beating rapidly through his t-shirt. When they finish their kiss, she runs her finger down the side of his arm, quizzically tilting her head).

Lorelai: So when did you get this tattoo and how come I didn’t know you had one?

Luke: Well, I’ve had it for a long time, and I’m guessing that you’ve never seen me with this little amount of clothes on before…

Lorelai: We DEFINITELY have to remedy that!

Luke (laughs): Whatever you say, dear.

Luke says goodnight to the guys in the band and he and Lorelai head out the door towards Luke’s truck. Luke puts the guitars in the passenger side of the truck and comes around to unlock the driver’s side.

Luke: So I guess I’ll meet you at your house?

Lorelai: Race you there! (She says excitedly)

Luke: Are you sure about this? (Looking concerned)

Lorelai: More sure about it than a lot of things lately…(She says with a smirk)

Luke: I’m glad to hear that. (he hesitates) Listen, while I seem to be on a roll here and…I don’t seem to be having a problem with my nerves around you anymore…

Lorelai: (intrigued) Yes? What’s up?

Luke (hesitates again, looks down, then takes a deep breath): Will you marry me? And I’m not saying it to shut you up this time. Would YOU like to be ‘Mrs. Backwards Baseball Cap’? Hey, you already have a hoopa that we can stand under to get married, don’t you?

Lorelai (grinning from ear to ear): I thought you’d never ask!

Luke: So is that a yes?

Lorelai: Yes! (She runs to him and throws her arms around him. Luke picks her up and with the momentum spins her in a circle. They kiss again and Lorelai strokes her hand through his hair.)

Lorelai: Let’s go home now.

 

The end.

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