A/N: Okay, this is a one-shot at the moment, but I might make it into a series. I have some thoughts... but it gets confusing and I'm not sure anyone's going to want to give it much effort. Italics are memories (also written in past tense, in contrast with the rest of the piece). That's where you all come in! Thoughts? [Post-finale]
He’s ranting. She’s looking at him strangely. He stops ranting and looks into her eyes. “What?” he asks gruffly.
And there’s a split second to make the decision…
“Will you just stand still?” he demanded.
She was shocked – was he about to do what she thought he was going to do? - but, for once in her life, she stood still. And then he was kissing her and – oh! She hadn’t been expecting it to feel this… right. All she could hear was the blood thumping in her ears. She had never felt so nervous about a kiss before, but this wasn’t just any kiss. It was a Luke kiss! She had never experienced one of those before; it was completely uncharted territory. But it was wonderful and comfortable and – why hadn’t they been doing this all along?
“Will you just stand still?” she whispered, moving forward, reveling in the tingling feeling that pulsated through her body.
Nothing had ever felt so right before, and she wanted to hold onto that feeling forever. So she kissed him again...
“Luke… will you marry me?”
His eyes widen and she’s reminded of a picture of a deer that she saw in one of Rory’s old National Geographic magazines the other day, as she was cleaning out the magazine rack. She almost laughs at this. Deer are graceful and, well, Luke –graceful? Not quite.
She meets his eyes, a silent challenge greeting her in his gaze. He’s shocked, that’s for sure, but, well, who wouldn’t be? Just moments ago, he had been plotting how to kidnap her daughter and now, suddenly, she’s asking him to marry her! That’s quite the non sequitur, even for Lorelai’s standards. Lorelai stands up and slowly makes her way toward him, never breaking eye contact. When she stops, she is only centimeters from his face; she can feel his heavy breathing against her cheeks. It gives her chills. She’s never been so sure of anything in her entire life.
“Marry me,” she repeats confidently.
His mouth opens and closes a few times; he’s struggling to find words. She allows her lips to brush his cheek softly, soothingly, before pulling away and studying him again. His forehead is crinkled in thought. She bites her lip, waiting for the crease to disappear. It doesn’t.
“Look, Luke, I know there’s a lot to think about. I mean, I just sprung this question on you and, well, you hate surprises.” She begins to pace. “I mean, that time I put sugar in your tea instead of honey – WOW! I thought it was gonna be the apocalypse! So, you know, take some time… think about it. I mean, I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently – a lot, a lot - which probably scares you shitless – hell, it scares me shitless, but then again, I don’t exactly have the best track record…” She chuckles uncomfortably. “But yeah, sooo… think about it. I’ll go home and… you stay here and – think. About it.” She had been hoping he would cut her off at some point, but he didn’t. Instead, she continues, “So… take as much time as you want, you know where to find me…”
She regards him carefully. Finally, he nods and, satisfied that he’s at least responding, Lorelai grabs her purse off the table she had been sitting at earlier and heads for the door. She opens it halfway, but suddenly stops, and turns around. “Uh, I know I said take as much time as you want, but, if possible, can you maybe decide soon? I’m kinda dying to know the answer.”
With that, she leaves. Luke stares at the door for a long time. Then, he looks around the diner and he’s shocked that it can be so tidy when Lorelai has just dropped the mother of all bombs. So, he takes her advice and thinks. He thinks for a long time.
As soon as Lorelai opens her eyes, she feels the weight of all her problems bombard her. Had she really slept? It doesn’t feel like her mind ever really shut off. Rory, parents, no Yale. Luke… when did things get so complicated? God, she needs some coffee. No, she needs a keg of coffee. ‘Or maybe a bathtub full of coffee!’ she thinks. ‘Mmm, that sounds good. How about a bath, with lavender bubble bath? Oh! How about a bath with Luke?’ No, she can’t do that – at least, not right now. He’s still thinking. Stupid complications. Was she moving toward the coffee yet?
She groans and pulls the comforter over her face to block out the morning sunlight. She wants nothing more than to wake up wrapped in Luke’s arms, but, of course, he’s still thinking. Why does he have to think about it, anyway? However, immediately following that notion, she scolds herself for being so bitter. After all, marriage is huge and life changing. It deserves to be contemplated carefully. Sure, she has been thinking about it a lot lately, even before the Pregnancy Scare of ’05, but Luke, on the other hand, obviously has not. She sighs, her stomach in knots. Everything is too crazy right now.
She sits up and rubs her temples. He’ll say yes - she’s positive of this. After all, he loves her. What else does he need? Of course, she knows she can convince him to do anything, if she tries hard enough. After all, she has some very enticing modes of persuasion…
“So, tomorrow night…” she purred, shifting closer to his side. “Thoughts?”
“How about dinner and a movie?”
“Uh, reverse that and go in what you’re wearing right now, and you’ve got yourself a deal, stud.”
“So… movie and then dinner.”
“Yes. Now, where do we stand on Naked Luke making an appearance?”
“Maybe next time. I’d rather not go to jail right now.”
“Aww, but maybe you’d get to be someone’s bitch!”
“I’ve got enough on my plate, what with being your bitch and all.”
Lorelai laughed loudly, delighted. “Dear diary,” she began. “Today is a monumental day! Yes, that’s right – I got Luke Danes – monosyllabic, flannel-wearing diner man, Luke Danes – to admit that he’s someone’s bitch. My, my, how far we have come…”
“Lorelai…” he warned.
She smirked and ran her hands up and down his chest, knowing fully well that it would drive him crazy. Luke’s lips quickly found their way to her neck as he began to kiss and lick the soft skin there. Lorelai cupped his stubbly face and lifted his head for a breathless kiss, before pulling away slightly and nibbling on his earlobe.
“Luke…” she whispered against his ear.
“Will you go to the town meeting with me before the movie?”
‘No,’ she realizes, ‘that won’t do.’ She wants Luke to marry her because of what he feels in his heart, not in his pants. She sighs and falls back against the bed. Why did she have to ask him to marry him now, during such a crazy time? As if she didn’t have enough on her plate to begin with! She really is great with timing.
Suddenly, she hears a sound through the open window, coming from somewhere in the vicinity of her front yard, breaking her from her train of thought. Crunch. Branches cracking under heavy feet. Her heartbeat increases as she heads downstairs. She opens the door and smiles broadly.
He skimmed the huge book in the library, desperate for anything to pop out at him and scream ‘Lorelai!’ Well, he reasoned, nothing would actually scream at him, but, if it radiated Lorelai, he was fairly sure it’d come pretty damn close. So far, all that came to mind was the word “flashy,” and, well, a word wasn’t going to get him far. He had no idea what he was looking for, but he knew he needed a gift. Something to show her how sorry he was for being so negative about her engagement. Well, sure, it was abrupt, and, yeah, thinking about it made him feel as if someone had repeatedly kicked him in the gut, but he was her friend before anything else and he didn’t want to lose that… even if it killed him.
Damn Rachel for leaving. Damn her for leaving and planting those irrational thoughts in his mind!
Just as he was about to give up and bribe a little girl to give him her fuzzy Hello Kitty pen (now that really did scream, ‘Lorelai’), he found it - the perfect gift. A Chuppah! He skimmed the page excitedly. So, neither of them were Jewish, but, hey, there wouldn’t be a rabbi at her ceremony or anything, right? He studied the structure - he had picked up basic carpentry skills along the way (mostly from his father) and the book was pretty detailed. Huh, maybe he could make this for her.
Was it over the top?
If she wasn’t going to marry him, she should at least think about him while she married another guy under his Chuppah. It was only fair. After all, he’d be thinking about her…
Yeah, the thought of being with Lorelai could convince him to do just about anything. He knows this, but he can’t quite bring himself to say yes. He wants to marry her – God, more than anything else! - but he can’t quite shake the feeling that something’s missing. Something important. Like a candlelight dinner, a moonlight stroll along the beach, or at least one of those sickingly disgusting baked goods from Weston’s that her life revolves around.
But, as he stands under their Chuppah and studies the plants that have begun to grow all around the structure, he realizes he doesn’t want to wait anymore. He had built this Chuppah for her, years ago, and yet, he had built it for him, too. He had always imagined their marriage under this Chuppah. Yes, he’s wanted this for as long as he can remember. Only an idiot would decline the opportunity of a lifetime.
He turns around, intent on heading straight up the stairs, into Lorelai’s room, and waking her up to tell her that he’s made up his mind. Instead, he is surprised to see Lorelai standing just a few feet away. She smiles and joins him under the Chuppah.
“How long have you been standing there?” he asks, a hint of admonishment in his tone.
“Just for, like, a minute. I heard rustling out here… thought it could be a burglar or something.”
“Sorry to disappoint you.”
“Eh, maybe next time.” She grins at him and he wraps his arm around her waist. “So…”
“So…?” he repeats mockingly. She smacks him lightly on the shoulder. “I took your advice.”
“Did some thinking, huh?”
“Oh yeah? And what did you decide.”
“Well,” he says, attempting to keep the mood light in order to counter his pounding heart, “this Chuppah never did get much use, did it?”
Lorelai looks around, gazing at the brass as it shimmers in the early morning light. “No, it didn’t. Poor thing.”
“Uh-huh, my thoughts exactly,” he replies sarcastically.
“Well, I thought to myself, ‘this beautiful woman – the love of my life – just asked me to marry her. It would be stupid for me to say ‘no,’ wouldn’t it?”
Lorelai blushes and smiles at him, biting her lip as she does so. “You never did strike me as a stupid man, Luke Danes.”
“Well then, I guess my answer has to be ‘yes’.”
“I guess so.”
They grin hugely at each other, and, as they do so, Luke searches her eyes for any indication that this is some sort of dream or sick joke. Yet, he sees only sincerity and love within her gaze, so he leans forward and plants a soft kiss on her lips. Lorelai reaches up and wraps her arms around his neck, drawing him closer to her. After a minute, Lorelai pulls her lips from his, but keeps her arms around his neck as he rests his hands on her waist.
She moves her lips to his ear and whispers, “So, do I have to buy you a ring?”
He shakes his head and draws her closer, taking in the scent of her shampoo as he buries his face in her hair. Yet, even as they hold onto each other, feeling safe and whole, neither can avoid remembering the Independence Inn lobby, bursting at the seams with one thousand yellow daises.