Mrs. R.J. "Ride My Broomstick" Lupin (moonlite_fading) wrote in tasty_breeze,
Mrs. R.J. "Ride My Broomstick" Lupin
moonlite_fading
tasty_breeze

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Inching Closer; Pt. 3 - LL

Title: Inching Closer
Pairing: Luke/Lorelai (some Rory/Logan subplot)
Rating: PG-13, possible R for later chapters.
Genre: Romance/Angst
A/N: Waiting for beta... Thanks, yenni_babie; as always, you rock my socks off! (And thanks to _lashingoutloud, too, 'cos you were gonna beta, but I ended up having two offers for beta and... well, next chap? I love you, babe!) (WARNING: Logan's in this chapter... if you're like me and don't like him, well, watch out. ;p)


Inching Closer
Chapter Three
Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four / Part Five

VI.
“Lorelai!” Sookie greets enthusiastically from her seat on her porch. Lorelai smiles and waves, jogging up the stairs to reach her friend. Her smile broadens when she notices the bundle in Sookie’s arms.

“Oh,” Lorelai breaths, bending forward to examine the baby closer. “She’s already gotten bigger, and I just saw her yesterday!”

“I know! They grow up too fast.”

“You’re telling me,” Lorelai replies with a catch in her voice. She looks sharply toward Sookie, but, luckily, Sookie is too enthralled in her daughter to notice Lorelai’s sudden bout of emotion. This is Sookie’s day, she reminds herself, attempting to push away all thoughts of her estranged daughter. Estranged, she thinks bitterly. That’s one word she never thought she would associate with her daughter. “So,” she attempts, “what’s it like to have two kids instead of one?”

“Tiring! Let me tell you, last night was pure hell. First, this one –“ she gestures with her chin to the baby on her lap – “cried every half an hour! God, I’ve forgotten what that’s like. To top it off, Davey’s not used to the crying and, I don’t know, it bugs him or frightens him or… something, because then he started crying! Whose idea was it to have two in two?”

“Beats three in three.”

“Yeah,” Sookie breathes, “good point. Want something to drink?”

“Nah, I’m good.” Lorelai sits down on a chair beside Sookie and reaches out to stroke the baby’s cheek. “She’s adorable.”

“Yeah, she really is. Can I tell you a secret?”

“Hmm?” Lorelai asks, somewhat distracted by the feel of the soft skin beneath her fingertip.

“I’m really, really glad this one’s a girl. Now I have one of each! And, you know, it’ll be a lot easier to bond with a little girl, I think. I can teach her how to bake chocolate chip cookies and coconut cream pie and – oh! I just found this great new recipe for beef soufflé!”

“Maybe you should focus on the ABC’s first,” replies Lorelai with a chuckle.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Besides, you can do all that stuff with Davey, too. Some of the best chefs are men, you know?”

“Yeah, yeah. But… I don’t know, I always pictured it as me and our daughter cooking while Jackson took our son out to cultivate the new spinach crop…”

“That’s, uh, quite some picture there.”

“Too idealistic?” asks Sookie with a grimace.

“Well…” Lorelai pauses contemplatively, thinking back to her own dreams of a family. Sure, they have only recently taken form, but sometimes, when she lets her guard down, she unwittingly imagines what life would be like with another child or even… children. At night, in the moments between waking and sleeping, Lorelai often pictures she and Luke taking their children to the park. Luke pushes their daughter on the swing as their son, the older of the two, sits on the swing beside hers, kicking his legs up and down, squealing for Lorelai to watch as he flies higher and higher…

“Lorelai?”

“Huh?”

“You okay? I think I kinda lost you for a second…”

“Yeah,” she replies distractedly. Perhaps, Sookie is being too idealistic. However, if that’s the case, than Lorelai is guilty of the same offense. The thought makes her dizzy. She pushes it away. “Yeah, I’m fine, just tired.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, you know, they were showing Flash dance, Footloose, and Saturday Night Fever on TV last night and I just had to stay up and watch! The perfect combo…”

“Uh huh. So it has nothing to do with your current Rory situation?”

“Not you, too,” Lorelai cries, covering her face with her hands. “You’ve been in the freaking hospital for the past three days and you already know.”

“Gossip travels fast ‘round here.”

“So I’ve noticed.”

“So… it’s true, then? Rory dropped out…?”

“Yes.”

“…And is living with your parents.”

“Unfortunately.”

“That’s insane! I mean, it’s Rory! Why would she do this? Oh! It’s that Logan kid, isn’t it? You know, I knew he was bad news as soon as you told me about the limo incident! If I get my hands on him, I’ll ring that little ne –“

“Sookie! You’re setting a bad example for the baby.”

“Sorry. I guess I got a little carried away…”

“Just a tad.”

“It’s just so crazy! I mean, this is Rory.”

“I know…”

“Rory doesn’t do this kind of thing.”

“Well, she’s going through a rough time right now. I can’t go into detail, but, you know, she’s questioning, well, everything. Her career path, her past accomplishments…” Lorelai sighs. “She’s not really herself right now.”

“Why? Why would she even question –?”

Lorelai shakes her head. “I can’t… I can’t say.”

“Right.” She nods. “Right, okay. Send her my love next time you talk to her, will you?”

“Sure,” she promises, careful to avoid mentioning the fact that she and Rory are currently not speaking. “I’ll do that.”

“Good.”

“Good,” Lorelai repeats. “So –“ Lorelai turns around to glance inside the window – “where’s the hubby?”

“Oh, he and Davey are up to something.”

“Something no good, I assume?”

“Naturally. Speaking of men… how’re things going with Luke?”

Lorelai gives Sookie a sidelong glance. “Great connection there.” Sookie shrugs innocently in return. “Things are great. Why do you ask?”

“Good! I mean, it seems like they’re good. You know, moving forward and all.”

“Yeah, I guess…” Lorelai shuffles in her spot, suddenly very suspicious by this uncomfortable conversation. “What exactly do you mean by ‘moving forward’?”

“Well, the house!”

“The… house?”

“Yeah, I know that you didn’t want anyone to know and all – or at least, that’s what I’m assuming since you didn’t tell me about getting the house and, as your best friend, I assume I’d be one of the first to know you’re moving – but, as I said, this is a small, small town and news travels fast around here…”

Lorelai is used to Sookie’s fast-paced, often reckless way of speaking, but, right now, nothing is adding up. Instead, she merely gapes at her friend, trying desperately to follow the words coming out of her mouth. A house? What house? She’s moving? “Sookie, what in the world are you talking about?”

“The Twickham House! Are you upset that I know? I’m sorry, don’t be mad, it’s just I overheard Miss Patty and at first I told her she was being crazy, but –“

“Sookie,” Lorelai interrupts in a stern voice. “I need you to tell me, slowly and clearly, what you’re talking about because I’m not following.”

“Luke put a bid on the Twickham House…” She freezes, suddenly putting two and two together. “You didn’t know about that… did you?” Lorelai merely shakes her head. “Oh, no. That… can’t be good.”

“No,” Lorelai whispers.

“I’m sure he’s gonna tell you soon. I mean, he did buy it for you two.”

“Did he?” Lorelai wants to sound accusatory, wishes she could believe Luke was trying to, in some way hurt her, but she just can't. If there’s one thing in her life she can be sure about, it is that Luke would never intentionally hurt or humiliate her.

“Well, he told Taylor, when he was trying to win the place, back when it was being auctioned off, that he wanted it for you two to… start a family.” She pauses and regards Lorelai carefully. “I think that’s a pretty good sign, don’t you?”

“Uh… yeah,” she finally manages.

Sookie tilts her head. “Lorelai?”

“What? I’m fine. I’m totally and completely, uh, fine. I’m just gonna… go.”

Lorelai struggles to stand, but, before she can do so, Sookie exclaims, “No, don’t go! Here –“ She thrusts her daughter into Lorelai’s arms – “Now you can’t get up, unless, of course, you want to take the baby with you.”

Lorelai rolls her eyes and readjusts her hold on Sookie’s daughter. “I’m fine, Sookie. I just need to, you know, talk to Luke.”

“Oh no. No, no, no. You can’t talk to him now!”

“Why not?”

“You’re upset –“

“No, I’m not.”

“You’re vulnerable, you’re shocked… you might say some things you’ll regret.”

Lorelai sighs, knowing that Sookie’s right, but too torn between feeling betrayed and just plain angry to care. She doesn’t need someone to plan her life out for her! After all, that’s what she has been fighting against all along – struggling to become independent. She has always believed Luke would be one of the only people who wouldn’t try to take that right away from her. Perhaps, she had been misled. “Look, it’s just… why would he do this? Why wouldn’t he ask me first?”

Sookie shrugs. “He wanted surprise you?”

“Surprises in Stars Hollow? C’mon, Sookie, Luke’s smarter than that,” Lorelai grumbles.

“Okay, okay… but look at it this way. Luke could’ve kept a secret that’s much worse than this!”

Lorelai snorts. “Like what?”

“Like that he’s secretly collaborating with terrorists or, um, your father.”

“Gee, thanks for the help.”

“He could’ve been cheating on you.” Lorelai tenses. “But he’s not! I’m just saying, that’s something worse…”

“I guess.” Sookie raises her eyebrows. “Yeah, okay, you’re right. But that doesn’t change that he’s been hiding something from me!”

“And you’ve never hidden anything from him, Lorelai?”

“No,” Lorelai scoffs. Sookie’s knowing tone makes Lorelai apprehensive. She doesn’t know, Lorelai reminds herself. She can’t know about the pregnancy scare. It’s just not possible.

“Need I remind you,” Sookie continues, “of the Great Christopher Incident of ’05?”

Lorelai stifles a relieved sigh and, instead, forces herself to look guilty. Sookie is right, of course; she has hidden things from Luke before, with Christopher. Moreover, when the truth came out, the results had been catastrophic. Lorelai inwardly winces, remembering the pain of their temporary break-up. But this is different; her pregnancy scare is just that – a scare. If she actually had been pregnant, then she would have certainly told him. But, in this situation, the line is hazy – it was a false alarm. Lorelai chose to keep it a secret, not to scare him away. I’m doing him a favor, she convinces herself. After all, what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him. “Fine,” she finally replies, “but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m angry.”

“Okay, but –“

Suddenly, a crash coming from the inside of the house is heard. Sookie jumps up, startled, and, just as she opens her mouth to yell at Jackson, he hollers, “Just a little mishap, don’t worry!” out an upstairs window.

Sookie finds Lorelai’s eyes frantically, and Lorelai shrugs. “I would worry…”

“Yeah,” Sookie breathes. “I’ll be right back.”

Lorelai nods as Sookie dashes into the house. Lorelai stifles a laugh when she hears Sookie screaming up the stairs. She then looks down at the baby, as she began to drift off to sleep in Lorelai’s arms. She smiles and cradles the baby closer to her.



VII.
Rory places the key in the pool house doorknob and opens it. Upon entering, she throws her purse on the couch and heads straight for the coffee maker. She’s fairly tired from a long (and, although she would never admit it, incredibly dull) day at her grandfather’s work, but she still wants to get some reading in before she falls asleep. It isn’t until she’s walking back toward the living room, coffee cup in hand, that she realizes there’s a suede coat lying on the arm of the couch. Rory approaches, thinking that the coat looks vaguely familiar, when she hears a loud, “BOO!” from behind. She whips around, frightened, and collides soundly with Logan, causing them both to tumble to the floor.

“Oww,” he complains. “Did you have to do that?”

“Logan!” Rory yells, jumping to her feet. “What are you doing here?”

“Came for a little visit,” he replies casually, as he picks himself up off the floor. “Surprised?”

“Scared out of my mind, is more like it. You shouldn’t be here.”

“Well, you’ve been kinda MIA lately; what was I supposed to do?”

“You could’ve called me!”

“I did call you… at least five times a day! You haven’t been answering your phone, Rory.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Bullshit!”

“Logan…”

He sighs and collapses onto the couch. Rory frowns and, after studying him for a moment, follows suit.

“I know you’re going through a rough time right now, Rory. But do you have to cut me off completely?”

“I wasn’t –“

“I mean, I’m your boyfriend… I should know what’s going on with you, where you’re living, what you’re doing… that you’re dropping out of college.”

Rory grimaces. “You heard about that?”

“Yeah.” He smiles apologetically. “I know people.”

“Look, things are really tough right now and I didn’t want to get more people involved. I’m just trying to resolve everything… alone.”

“It’s about what my dad said.”

“Logan…”

“Isn’t it?”

“Well, partially.”

“Damn it, he always ruins everything! Look,” he says, grabbing Rory’s hand. “Don’t listen to him, okay? He thinks he’s better than everyone else.”

“Well, isn’t he?” she grumbles.

“More experienced, maybe. Lucky… probably. Better?” he mutters, as he strokes the top of her hand with his thumb. “Absolutely not.”

“Thanks,” she whispers with a small smile.

Logan nods in response and then slowly leans forward. He cups Rory’s face in his hands and brings her close to him, touching her lips softly with his own. However, when Logan’s hands drift up to tangle in her hair, pulling her closer, for a more intense kiss, Rory shakes herself free of his grasp and slides to the other side of the couch. Logan swallows audibly, watching Rory with unbridled shock as she struggles to catch her breath.

“Not now,” she finally manages.

“Rory…”

“Not here.”

“But –“

“My grandmother gave me specific orders not to have any guests in the pool house. And, well, when she said guests, I’m fairly sure she meant you… I mean, who else would visit me, anyway? Okay, I guess some people would, like Lane or maybe Paris, but it’s you she was referring to - I know it! And, I mean, it’s one thing to sleep with you in the dorm, but here… in my grandparents’ house… after they’ve taken me in without question? I couldn’t do that to them! I can’t, I mean… I don’t –“

“Rory, calm down.” Logan scoots down to her side of the sofa and attempts to grab her hand, but she pulls away. “Rory… we don’t have to do anything. We can just talk.”

“You have to leave,” Rory demands, looking around the room nervously. She knows that she and Logan are alone, but she cannot help but worry that, perhaps, her grandmother has planted bugs throughout the pool house. Sure, it seems illogical, but it is, after all, Emily Gilmore, and, well, Rory is not quite able to think logically with Logan in the room, to begin with. “You shouldn’t be here,” she repeats helplessly.

“Don’t worry, I won’t stay long. They’ll never know.”

“But –“

“Do you want me to stay?”

“Of course, but…” she falters, “you can’t…”

“If you want me here, then I’ll be here. They’ll never know,” he repeats. “I promise.”

Rory sighs and bites her lip, watching Logan closely as he gazes eagerly back. He should not be here; her conscience will not let her forget. Yet, she really, truly doesn’t want Logan to leave. She gets lonely in this apartment, alone, at night, and Rory is not used to living without her mother’s crazy stunts or Paris talking her ear off. She has never lived alone before, and the stark emptiness of the place unsettles her. So, she smiles at Logan and crawls along the couch, toward him, closing the space between them. He immediately wraps his arms around her and she presses her lips against his neck, reveling in the comfort his warm body provides.

As soon as Rory pulls her head up, Logan’s eyes seek hers. She takes advantage of his hesitation, reaching up to kiss him square on the lips, with more passion than she had ever thought possible. Logan hesitates at first, caught completely off guard by her attack. However, he quickly adapts, drawing his arms tighter around her as he slides off the couch, pulling her after him. Rory breaks the kiss, smiling teasingly at him as she grabs his hand and leads him toward the bedroom.

As soon as they enter, Rory busies herself with pulling his tee shirt up and over his head, forcing herself to think of anything but the fact that she has yet to move her box of painful Newspaper things out of the bedroom, and that she hasn’t been able to sleep in this room because of it. Logan pulls her own shirt over her head, and then locks eyes with her. Sensing his hesitation, she eyes him questioningly, brushing her fingers reassuringly over his bare shoulder. He envelops her in his arms, placing a kiss on the top of her head.

“I’ve missed you, Ace,” he whispers, and then lowers her onto the bed.

She wants to respond, to tell him that she has missed him, too, but cannot seem to the words. The truth, however, is that she hasn’t really allowed herself to think of Logan; she hasn’t allowed herself to think of much of anything, these past few days. Thinking leads to longing and Rory does not want to long for her old life. It’s over, that part of her life is finished, and her current task is to build a new foundation, find a new path.

Instead, she focuses on the sensation of cool sheets against her bare back, remembering with a mixture of self-loathing and disgust that her grandfather has once slept on this bed. She is violating his trust, betraying the man who took her in, unquestioningly – something even her own mother wouldn’t do. Yet, another voice, weak albeit persistent, in the back of her mind, reminds her of how utterly alike she is to her mother, at this very moment. Like her mother, she is unable to resist the comfort of a steady embrace, the dizziness of a lust-laden kiss. If she cannot be with her mother, then, she figures, she might as well act like her mother, instead.

It comforts her.



VIII.
Lorelai begins to walk up and down the length of Sookie’s porch, whispering softly to the slumbering baby. The feel of the warm bundle in her arms, the soft and steady breathing against her chest, lulls her into a sense of calm. She does not even realize that her thoughts begin to drift. She imagines that she is holding her own baby, that she looks up and notices Luke’s loving gaze fixed upon them. Will she ever have this? Time is flying, but, for a while, things seemed to have been going down the right track, steadily approaching that goal. But now? Things have changed, and she cannot be sure whether she is closer or farther away to having a family with Luke.

The baby begins to cry and Lorelai quickly snaps out of her reverie. She rocks the baby in her arms, whispers soothing words, places a delicate kiss on the baby’s soft cheek. As the girl’s cries subside, Lorelai thinks of Rory as a baby, remembers how it felt to hold her daughter against her chest possessively. Although Rory had quickly grown up, that fierce desire to protect her daughter had not left her as quickly; in fact, it has only intensified with each coming year. Her daughter no longer depends on her for basic needs; could no longer be held tightly in Lorelai’s arms. She had to let Rory be free. She wishes desperately that she knew where Rory was headed, alone. Thinking about her lost daughter causes her to long for their younger days, and she wishes she could somehow re-create the enviable bond that the two of them had shared, so much stronger than that of mother and daughter.

But their relationship has not been like that for years - not since before Yale, before the Dean fiasco, before… everything. Lorelai had stubbornly held onto the memories of their past relationship, how it used to be; only now, after spending so much time apart, can she finally contemplate the possibility that she and Rory have grown up and apart, chosen different paths. No, she mutters. This is only temporary. She is going to have to call Rory, soon. But not yet… not until she deals with the Twickham House.

She idly remembers what Sookie had said just minutes before. Luke had wanted to buy that house to start a family. Luke wants to start a family with her! Suddenly, it all makes sense; his secrecy, her own secret, the engagement… they both want the same thing! They’ve both been afraid to find that the other wanted something else, something less, but all that worrying and hiding has been completely useless. Luke wants a family with me, Lorelai thinks gleefully. Despite her Rory situation, this is too huge. She isn’t going to mess it up, and, if that means hiding it from Rory and her parents, then that’s what she’s going to have to do. She will not let anything get in the way.

Lorelai digs in her purse with one hand, balancing the baby against her body with the other. When she retrieves her cell phone, she flips it open and dials one-handedly.

“Hi, Mike Armstrong, please? Oh, hey, it’s Lorelai Gilmore. Yeah, I’ve made my decision…”
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