Title: Just To Hear You Say You Love Me
Spoilers: Wedding Bell Blues
Summary: Lorelai finds Luke after the mess her mother created at the Wedding renewal.
Written For: hayseed_42
Request: Luke/Lorelai, how do they behave when no one else is around?
Author's Notes: (1) I was fantastically uninspired for this assignment for some reason. I found the beginning of this fic on my hard drive and worked with it to fit the request (I hope)! (2) Much love to danamulder and storydivagirl for assuring me that it doesn't suck and for their beta feedback! (3) Sorry it's late!!
I'd climb right up to the sky
I'd take down the stars
Just to be in your arms, baby
I'd go and capture the moon
That's what I would do
Just to hear you say that you love me
Just to hear you say that you love me
- Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
The moment the photographer said they were done, she grabbed her purse and left the reception.
“Lorelai!” Her mother called. “Where are you going?”
She gave her mother the iciest look she possessed. “I am going to try to save my relationship with Luke. You have gone too far this time. I will not be at Friday night dinner anymore, I will not answer the phone when you call and if you show up at my door, I will slam it in your face.” With that, she turned and left, determined to find Luke and convince him that she wanted nothing to do with Christopher, that she only wanted to be with him.
Tears spilled down her cheeks as she drove down the dark highway, speeding for Stars Hollow. She loved Luke and tonight had brought that all home for her. All the years she had spent afraid to commit were out the window and she knew as she walked up the aisle and winked at Luke that someday in the near future she wanted to be the one in the white dress with him waiting at the front of the church. But once again, her mother was determined to ruin her life to suit her own whims and Lorelai wasn’t going to stand for it any more.
The sound of "Baby Got Back" jarred her from her thoughts. She rummaged through her purse with one hand, fishing out her cell phone and praying it was Luke.
“Mom? What happened? Where are you? Why did you leave? Are you mad at me?” Rory’s words practically tripped over themselves, the distress obvious in her voice.
“No babe,” Lorelai said, a wave of disappointment flooding over her that it wasn’t Luke on the phone. “It had nothing to do with you. It had to do with your fascist dictator of a grandmother and your drunken fool of a father.”
“What happened? Grandma has looked very upset since you stormed out and Dad took off right after you.”
“Your grandmother decided that Luke was not a suitable mate for me and told your father that it wasn’t too late to get me back. Your father told Luke he had no right to yell at Logan because you’re not Luke’s daughter, Luke argued that he’s been there for you more than Chris has and that he’s with me now and Chris said For Now and when Luke asked what that meant, your father told Luke that he and I are meant to be together and that your grandmother told him it wasn’t too late. Luke stormed out and now I’m trying to find him to explain that I had nothing to do with any of this and that I certainly don’t want to be with Chris.” By the end of the story, Lorelai was crying again.
Rory was silent on the other end of the phone.
“You still there, kid?”
“I cannot believe that grandma and dad would do that. I told dad that you were happy with Luke and I told him to leave you alone. And grandma doesn’t even like dad!”
Lorelai sighed, her sobs subsiding. “She may not like Chris, but he has proper breeding,” she affected a snooty tone, mimicking Emily.
“Aw mom, I’m sorry. Do you want me to leave and try to find Luke too?”
“No. You don’t have a car and you’ve been drinking.”
“You’ve been drinking too. And what are you driving? We came with Luke.”
“I took your grandmother’s car,” Lorelai confessed.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures. Look, are you going to be okay getting home? I left in such a rush that I didn’t even realize I was stranding you.”
“Yeah, I’ll get Logan to bring me home.”
“We still need to talk about that.”
Rory sighed. “I know it was terribly indiscrete of me and I’m sorry. I’m even sorrier since it’s apparently what set off dad and Luke and put you in this situation. But don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything stupid, I promise.”
“All right, you know I trust you.”
“I love you, mom. Good luck finding Luke.”
“I love you, too, kid. Be careful tonight.”
Lorelai snapped the phone shut and started to put it away, but changed her mind and flipped it back open and speed dialed Luke’s cell phone. It rang once and sent her to his voicemail, so she knew he had it turned off. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she tried his apartment and the diner with no success. She realized she was going to have to find him in person and hash this thing out. She knew she’d do whatever it took to fix this. Luke was the one constant in her life for the last eight years and she couldn’t bear to lose him.
As she pulled off the exit for Stars Hollow, she was horrified to realize that she had never even told him that she loved him.
Luke cracked open another beer and took a long guzzle. He flopped back on his couch, mad at himself for being so stupid. He had known Lorelai for more than eight years and he’d seen her run from countless relationships in those eight years. She was incapable of making a commitment and sticking to it and he should have known better than to think it would be different with him.
‘But it was different,’ a small voice insisted in his brain. He took another pull from his bottle, hoping to silence that voice.
All the times she’d defended him and their relationship to her parents, all the times she’d insisted that she was all in and that she wanted to make this work, all lies. It always came back to Christopher. He supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. They were childhood sweethearts. They had a child together. But after Christopher had married Sherry and had another daughter, Luke honestly thought Lorelai had given up the reunited family dream. Obviously he’d thought wrong.
‘But she said she had no idea what he was talking about,’ the little voice popped up. Three beers hadn’t managed to shut that voice up yet, so he went with it. She had seemed genuinely surprised by Christopher’s declaration. There’d been something in her voice when she asked him to give her a chance to explain. Maybe he hadn’t given her enough of a chance. Tensions were high because of catching Rory with that guy. Plus Christopher had been drunk. Luke wondered if he should turn his phone back on and see if she’d called. Maybe he should give her a chance to explain.
He patted his pockets and couldn’t find his phone. Pushing aside the beer-induced fuzz in his brain, he remembered that it was in his coat pocket and he’d left his coat down in the diner. With a groan, he made his way carefully down the steps to retrieve it. Suddenly it had become very important for him to know if Lorelai had tried to call.
He walked to where his coat hung and dug through the pockets for the phone. He was distracted by someone knocking on the door of the diner.
“We’re closed!” he called, finally freeing the phone from his pocket and fumbling to turn it back on. The knocking grew louder.
“We’re closed!” he shouted louder. “Read the sign!”
The phone finally sprang to life and he waited anxiously to see if the missed call indicator would beep. He stared at the phone for several long minutes, willing the indicator to beep. The knocking on the door persisted. He realized that she hadn’t called and didn’t care and figured she was probably off somewhere rekindling her romance with Christopher. The knocking on the door got louder and more frantic. He walked over to give the persistent person a piece of his mind.
He flung the door open without looking. “We’re closed, can’t you read?”
“Yes I can read, but we need to talk.”
Shocked, Luke finally looked up from the phone and saw Lorelai standing there. “What are you doing here?”
“You turned your phone off,” she accused.
“You didn’t even try to call me,” he countered. “There aren’t any missed calls.”
Lorelai rolled her eyes. “You only get a missed call indicator if you have your phone on and don’t answer it.”
“How do I know you’re not lying to me?”
“How would I have known you turned your phone off if I hadn’t tried to call you?”
Luke thought about that for a moment and realized she was telling the truth. He stepped back and let her in to the diner, locking the door again behind her.
“Can we please go upstairs and sit and talk about this like adults?”
He shrugged and headed up to his apartment, assuming she would follow. He was still shocked to see her. He’d managed to convince himself that she didn’t care and that she was willing to throw away their relationship and now she was here and he had to get himself together quick.
Lorelai followed Luke to his apartment. There was something off about the way he was acting, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was.
“Sorry, the place is kind of a mess,” he apologized as soon as they got to the living room. He grabbed a few bottles from the coffee table and walked towards the kitchen to throw them away.
Suddenly, his behavior made sense. Lorelai stopped him and looked at the bottles. “You’ve had three beers already?”
He gave her a sheepish smile. “Yeah.”
“Luke,” she sighed. “I want us to talk but we can’t have the conversation we need to have if you are drunk.”
“I’m not drunk.”
“You’ve had three beers in less than an hour. And that’s on top of what you drank at the renewal.” She shook her head, for the first time in her life hating alcohol. It had caused her nothing but trouble tonight.
“Lorelai,” Luke said, standing right in front of her. “I promise you I’m not drunk. I was just really surprised to see you.”
“Why were you surprised, Luke? Did you think I was going to let you get away with running out on me without allowing me to explain?”
“I… well… never mind, it’s complicated. I should have given you more credit.”
Lorelai was a little confused, but pushed it aside because she had come here for one reason and she wanted to get it out before anything else side tracked her.
“Listen, Luke, I came here for one reason tonight. There is something I need to say to you and I realized tonight that I should have said it a long time ago.”
Luke closed his eyes. ‘Here it comes,’ he thought. ‘She can’t handle this and she’s ending it.’
“This is really difficult for me and I need to know that you’ll just hear me out.”
Luke wasn’t sure how he was going to handle it if she told him that she was going to try to make a go of things with Christopher now that Sherry was in France.
“Luke, you have been there for me for eight years. You’ve supported me through some of the hardest things in my life, you’ve been like a father to Rory and you’ve always taken care of both of us. You watched me make mistake after mistake with Max and Jason and Chris and who knows who else. And you still managed to see something in me that you cared enough about to put all that aside and date me. And these last few months have just been incredibly wonderful. You’ve put up with all my quirks, you bought a TV for your bedroom so I could watch my late night talk shows and you made me an ice skating rink in my front yard. But this whole time I’ve been completely blind to my feelings and everything that happened tonight finally showed me the error of my ways.”
‘Here it comes,’ he thought. ‘I’m a great guy, but she’d rather only be friends.’
“Luke, I love you. I think I’ve probably loved you from the first moment we met. It took me eight years to see how fantastic you are and to realize that you treat me a thousand times better than I probably deserve to be treated. But I realized tonight that I love you and I just needed to make sure I had the chance to say that to you. I realize that I kept a secret from you, a big one, and I realize that my mother totally overstepped her bounds and has tried to ruin our relationship and I can understand if you can’t forgive me, but I had to tell you that I love you.”
‘What? Did she just say what I think she said?’
“Luke? Some kind of response would be nice here.”
Luke closed his eyes and blinked a few times to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“Luke, are you okay?” a concerned tone crept into Lorelai’s voice.
“I’m fine,” he finally managed.
“Are you sure?”
He couldn’t contain the smile that spread across his face. “I couldn’t be more fine.”
“Okay.” Lorelai bit her lip. “Um, were you listening to me before?”
“Yes. You said you love me.”
She nodded, a tear forming in the corner of her eye.
“I thought you were going to break it off. I thought you were going to tell me that you decided you wanted to give it a try with Christopher again.”
“I thought we were done and I was bracing myself to hear you say it.”
“Oh, Luke,” she started sobbing. “I’ve been a horrible girlfriend.”
“No you haven’t,” he insisted, taking her in his arms. “You’ve been wonderful. Too good to be true, in fact. That’s why I thought it was over. I thought it was too good to last.”
She wrapped her arms around him and held on tight. “I love you, Luke Danes and you can’t rid of me that easily.”
He pulled back slightly so he could look her in the eye. “I love you, too, Lorelai. I have since the moment you shoved that horoscope in my hand all those years ago.”
They shared a smile.
“So where do we go from here?” she finally asked.
“It doesn’t matter, as long as we’re together.”
“Well I never expected to be doing this when I said it didn’t matter what happened as long as we were together,” Luke said.
Lorelai giggled. “I wish I had a camera.”
He gave her his best scowl but she only started giggling harder.
“Okay, you have to stop giggling because it’s making you move and you moving is making this way harder.”
Luke sighed. “Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, if you want me to finish painting your toenails, you need to stop squirming or you’re going to have polished toes.”
“I can’t help it, Luke. I never thought you’d agree to paint my toenails. Luke, the tough guy, the flannel wearing, never leaves home without a baseball cap, can only crack one smile a day diner guy is painting my toenails!” Her eyes lit up at the end of her statement and she reached for her purse on the table next to the couch.
“What are you doing?”
Luke snatched the purse out of her hand. “You are not going to tell Rory, or anyone else for that matter, about me painting your toenails.”
“But Lu-uke,” she whined. “It’s so cute. You’re like the manliest man in the land and you’re painting my toenails. It’s entirely too cute for me to keep to myself.”
“Lorelai,” his voice had that edge that made Lorelai know she was pushing the limits.
She pouted. “Okay, Luke, fine. I won’t tell anyone that you painted my toenails.”
“Thank you. And thank you for sitting still for more than three seconds. I’m done.”
Lorelai looked at her feet and wiggled her toes. “They look great! You’re the best boyfriend in the whole world, Luke Danes!”
He rolled his eyes, but looked proud of himself. “So what kind of reward do I get for being the best boyfriend in the whole wide world?”
“Gee, I don’t know,” she said using her best innocent voice and batting her eyelashes. “Nothing that will mess up this great polish job on my toes. You know, if you ever decide to get out of the diner business, you could open a salon.”
He groaned. “I’m never going to live this down, am I?”
“You’re lucky I love you.”
“I am the luckiest girl in the world.”
“I’m glad you came over last night and made me talk. I don’t know what I would have done if we hadn’t made up right away.”
Lorelai’s eyes widened. “I don’t even want to contemplate it. It’s too horrible to consider.”
“How long does it take that stuff to dry anyway?”
“I have some ideas of how you can pay me back but I don’t want to mess up your toenails because I know you’ll just make me repaint them.”
“It’s speed dry nail polish. It’s only supposed to take sixty seconds to dry.”
He stood up, grabbed her hands, yanked her to her feet and started dragging her up the stairs.