T h e i r S t o r y
She is a junkie, and he is her angel. He’s also her coffee pusher and food provider. She was his biggest weakness.
He asked her to marry him to shut her up, but really he meant it. The ice man cometh, and was met with a warm hug. It wasn’t her fault that he looked at her like she was a porterhouse steak. She teases, he grumbles, she prods, he retreats; but he always comes back for more.
They were friends, just friends. Emily Gilmore thought that they were idiots, the both of them.
At first, it was Luke’s coffee for her and her for him. But there were moments, so many moments when each of them thought maybe it could be more. Maybe it was because the more she knew of Luke; the more there was to love. He’d buy his kid a Barbie, no doubt about it and that was exactly why there was no way on earth she would have spruced that particular spot.
It was always her for him. Maybe it was because the brighter she smiled; the more he needed to see that smile. She was vibrant; drinking life in and spewing it back in a constant stream of chatter that he claimed to hate but secretly craved. She climbed out of windows to avoid boring set-ups, she forced him to pet the pretty pants, and she handed him a single bright yellow daisy; oblivious to the pain that fueled his relentless questioning.
No matter what anyone said, no matter what was implied, inferred or insinuated; they were friends, just friends.
But if you asked them what they thought about that, she would tell you that she didn’t have many people in her life who were actually in her life, permanently, forever. They would always be there for her; she would always be there for them. He was one of those people.
He would tell you that being her friend was nice. Nice enough to shell out $52.50 for two stale Pop Tarts and a Slim Jim. Nice enough to provide an edible lunch and share it with her in the shelter of the weathered old gazebo. It was nice.
But, there were times when it wasn’t so nice.
There were times when she wanted to smash a cream pie in his face, even though she would never waste a perfectly yummy pie that way.
There were times when she made him so crazy that he did stupid things; like buy buildings, give speeches at his old high school, or buy waffle cone sundaes only to dump them in the trash.
They were friends, just friends; so when they fought they knew how to hit where it hurt.
When she doubted his devotion to her and to her kid, he withheld his forgiveness to make her pay for his pain. She was haunted by dreams of cute nightgowns, Q-tips and microscopic twins.
He tried to ignore notes written on Garfield stationery by pulling a Mr. Freeze on her. An entire summer of polite silence stretched between them until Mimi met the guy from the Manhattan garbage union.
And they became friends again, just friends. And they both knew that being friends beat the hell out of being nothing.
He was her go-to guy with the to-go cups. He could fix everything from broken heels to broken hearts.
He taught her to fish to catch another guy, he let her have his bed when she wandered the streets, homeless, and he cried when her baby made her cry tears of pride and joy.
She was his sounding board. He could talk to her like he could talk to no other. He secretly cheered when his nephew got the Gilmore Girl he’d set his sights on, clinging to the ray of hope that one day he might too. She told him that he didn’t fail, and he almost believed her. She asked him not to get engaged in his dream, and he wished that he had listened to her, real or not.
Not that it mattered if he did; they were friends, just friends.
He got married and she felt her entire world tip on its axis. She wished that she could blame jet lag for her sudden inability to keep her legs under her, but she knew deep down that the International Date Line had nothing to do with it. When he said the word ‘divorce’ in the next breath, she exhaled a sigh of relief.
He got married and seemingly five minutes later, he was getting a divorce. He’d dreaded telling her. He’d dreaded telling her because he felt like the idiot her mother had long ago claimed he was. But what shocked him the most was how supportive she was. They were hardly any mocking comments at all. That is, until she found out that he had agreed to try to make his marriage work. Then all bets were off.
But they were friends, just friends. And married or not, they would remain friends. After all, she had his snow shovel.
When she showed up at the diner and asked him to help break the bells, he grabbed his toolbox and willingly followed her to the church. When he used the toe of his boot to kick the final nail into the coffin holding his sham of a marriage, she posted bail and followed him back to Stars Hollow, where he belonged.
They were friends, just friends, and they had been friends for so long that they had almost given up on the possibility of anything more.
And then, he saw her face. Her phone calls or visits were never unwanted or too long. He would most like to have her in his life to ward off moments of loneliness. If he wanted to travel, she would make his travels more enjoyable. When he was in pain, he wanted her to comfort him. When something wonderful happens in his life he tells her first. It was her face. Lorelai’s face.
It was right there. That was the look that Sookie had been talking about so long ago. This look. Her mind whirled as they circled the dance floor. She felt the heat of a blush in her cheeks; she felt the warmth of that steady blue gaze locked only on her. Luke. Luke can waltz. It was Luke that was making her feel like this.
But, they were friends, just friends, right?
She stood still. At least for a moment. She stood still and the earth stood still as Luke Danes pressed his lips to hers and his arms pulled her to him. She stood still, just for a moment, and then she wanted that moment back. And he stood still, reveling in the soft caress of her lips, marveling at the fact that he was kissing Lorelai Gilmore.
And suddenly, they were so much more than just friends. At last.
He was all in, and she was speechless.
He was everything she had been looking for; love, comfort, and safety. She woke him up before the dawn to smell the snow. There were head conks and breakfasts cooked by Luke but not at Luke’s. She read the manual while he slept soundly beside her and knew exactly how to fix his damn oven. She listened to his sister and brother-in-law fight inside his tiny bathroom, and he endured a torturous dinner with her mother and an endless round of golf with her father.
But then there were doubts. Seeds unwittingly planted and fed by jealousy and insecurity. He couldn’t be in this relationship, it was too much. She tried desperately to say something, anything to convince him that she was all in too.
And then they were nothing, not even friends.
Time ticked by unbearably, each of them stretched taut by the pain of their separation, each of them waiting, hoping, praying for a sign, a signal, or even a smile. And just when they both thought all hope was lost, he knocked on her door and swept her into his arms once more.
This time, they were more careful with what they had. This time, they knew what it was like to lose it. The fact that he bought a Reggae Fever CD confirmed it. Clearly, he was as lost without her as she had been without him. And when her kid screwed up and screwed up big, he was there with a plan. It probably wasn’t the sanest plan, but he had a plan. That’s when she knew. She knew what he seemed to have known all along. This was it; this was the whole package. She looked up into his earnest, worried eyes and asked, “Luke, will you marry me?”
He said yes without giving it another thought. They drank Zima and had sex, sealing the deal with many, many kisses. She said that kids would be good, knowing that they would be, as long as she could have them with him.
She adopted the world’s most neurotic dog and showered him with love. He held her when she cried, trying to soothe the ache in her heart that her separation from her daughter brought. They picked out wallpaper that wasn’t lavender, and skinny tiny molding for the closet, but they couldn’t pick out a wedding date. She wasn’t ready.
And then when she was ready, when Rory was home and all was right in her world, his was turned upside down by a girl in a ridiculous bicycle helmet who only wanted to pluck a hair from his head. And then everything fell apart. Spectacularly.
But to tell their story, you must know that even the most perfect loves are not perfect. When your heart is involved, it all comes out in moron, and moron seemed to be a language in which they were both fluent. For a year, they spoke moron, but not to each other. For a year, they suffered unendurable pain and heartache in silence. For a year, they lived lives of disillusionment, disappointment and deception. He was fine, she was fine, it just wasn’t meant to be, he just couldn’t give her what she needed.
But in the end, after a year of living the lie, it all boiled down to two simple truths. She was sorry, he was sorry.
And then they can be friends again, just friends. With maybe the possibility of more?
She will always love him, he will always love her, but somehow it just doesn’t happen. But she needs someone who can feel, someone who can show her how he feels, and he can’t do that. All he can do is plan a party for her kid, stay up all night sewing tarps and tents and raincoats together to make sure that it happens, and then look into her bright blue eyes and say, “I just… like to see you happy.”
And then, she’s in his arms once more. And then, her lips are on his. And then, everything was right again. It didn’t matter if it happened in minutes, hours or days. He knew, she knew, they knew that they could take all of the time that they would need.
Because in the end; they have all the time in the world.