A/N: A huge thanks to the amazing Jewels for her patience and help!
Lorelai glimpsed the New York City skyline through her window. She usually enjoyed going into the city, but this trip was not for pleasure. She would have rather gone shopping than to follow the path this trip was taking her.
The reason for this journey was to make a wrong right. She was going to New York to eat crow. Crow was not easy for her to eat. She knew she was stubborn. She had a really hard time admitting when she was wrong. She wanted to fix this situation more than anything, so she formulated a plan that she hoped would prove how remorseful she was.
As the scenery passed by her window, her mind drifted to the last conversation she had with Luke in the diner.
"So, this is how it's gonna be with us now, huh?" she said sadly, hanging her head.
"No idea what you're talking about," Luke said nonchalantly.
"You're pulling a Mr. Freeze on me."
"I'm not pulling a Mr. Freeze on you."
"Please," she said sarcastically. "I'm gonna need snow chains just to get out of here."
"I assume you want coffee with your donuts," he stated.
"I'm sorry, Luke. It was a bad night. I completely freaked out. I said some things. . .did you get my note? I wrote you a note," she implored.
"Got your note."
"You got my note. Did you read my note?" she asked.
"Read your note."
"It was very well-written."
"That's it?" she said with exasperation
"I also enjoyed the Garfield stationary. That's one funny cat," he said with a smirk.
"I said I was sorry, Luke."
"Yes, you did."
"I said it like a million times."
"You said it four times, but I understand you're embellishing for dramatic effects," he grumbled.
"Stop," she said emphatically.
"Oh, stop this robot talk. If you're mad, just act like you're mad at me," she said in frustration.
"I'm not mad at you."
"You're being really, really unfair. Rory was in the hospital," she rationalized.
"Lorelai, what is it exactly that you want me to do? I'm not mad, I'm not holding a grudge, I heard your apology, I feel I'm being polite, I listened to your donut bit, I got you your coffee. What would make you happy?"
"I want Luke back," she pleaded.
"He's standing right here," he said noncommittally.
"No, he's not," she said with conviction.
That conversation was what inspired this trip. She was very upset after she talked to Luke, and she couldn't figure out why he was being so obstinate. She apologized several times for yelling at him, but then it occurred to her that telling him to go to hell was only a small part of the issue. She didn't apologize for the right reasons. She was in denial of her culpability in Jess leaving. She didn't consider Luke's relationship with Jess or even Jess himself.
Luke was a family man. He put his family above all else, and Jess was his family. She knew in her heart that Luke considered her and Rory to be family as well. He was probably in anguish over what he should do.
On the one hand, he had two people that he had grown close to over the years. People that he would do anything for, and had proven it on numerous occasions. He may not have told them he cared, but the fact that he was there whenever they needed him demonstrated his affection for them.
On the other hand, there was his nephew. A blood relation of whom he was guardian. He had an obligation to take care of him and make sure he was safe.
She jumped down his throat for showing concern for a boy that needed guidance. Jess had had a rough time, and he needed someone just to give a damn. She failed Luke, and she failed Jess. Not that she had any responsibility toward Jess aside from the fact that he was Luke's nephew. But that should have been enough reason to care.
She accused Luke of not caring about her or Rory when she knew that he would give his life for them. She cut him with her words and shoved his devotion in his face. Because of her vehemence that it was Jess' fault and Luke's by extension that Rory got hurt, he chose to send Jess back to New York, and it obviously caused Luke to resent her for it. He really shouldn't have had to choose.
Lorelai tried to concentrate on navigating around the city with the directions Rory printed off the computer for her. She was thankful that Rory had been in contact with Jess so she would know where he could be found.
After many twists and turns, she finally saw the number for Jess' apartment building. She drove around the block for a few minutes trying to find a parking space.
Locking her car she walked toward her destination and what also felt like her doom. She could feel her stomach do somersaults and her heart hammering in her chest.
She entered the building and located the apartment number Rory gave her. She stood in front of the door having to consciously make the decision to breath in and out.
She knocked before she could change her mind, and waited. She heard heavy footsteps coming toward the door, and in an instant, the door was open.
Jess looked as if a stiff breeze could knock him over. "Wha...what are you doing here?" he stuttered. "You are the last person I expected to see on the other side of the door. You're not concealing any weapons are you?" Jess eyed her suspiciously.
"I left my AK-47 at home. Is there somewhere we could go to talk?" Lorelai asked, bracing herself for the worst.
"I really have nothing to say to you, and frankly, I don't want to hear what you have to say to me, so I suggest you turn yourself around and go back to where you came from," Jess sneered, slamming the door in her face.
Undeterred by the closed door, Lorelai knocked again. She had come too far to just give up now. This was where her obstinate personality served her well.
"Go away!" Jess yelled, his voice muffled through the door.
She knocks again. "Come on Jess, I need to talk to you."
"What could you possibly have to say to me that I would want to hear?"
"I want to apologize," she said meekly.
The door swung open again, and she was face to face with a very skeptical Jess.
"You, the second most stubborn person I know, want to apologize?" Jess said with his eyebrows arched in question.
"Yes, I would love to be given the chance if you would be willing to listen. Can I buy you lunch somewhere so that we can talk?"
"I guess it would be stupid of me to pass up free food," he conceded.
"Well, since you know the area, lead the way."
Lorelai silently followed Jess out of the building and down the street where they walked into a little sandwich shop. They placed their orders and took a seat.
They sat there awkwardly for a few minutes as Lorelai collected her thoughts.
She looked at Jess and saw a hardened exterior, but Rory for some reason believed that he was a good guy under all the roughness. She wanted to see what Rory saw, but had a hard time seeing past the stone wall that he had built up.
"Jess, I want you to know that I believe that you didn't hurt Rory on purpose. It took me a while to come to that obvious conclusion because of something you so kindly pointed out, my stubbornness. I wanted you to know that first before I delved into my apology because if you are anything like your uncle, you probably blame yourself." She took a breath to continued "I have had this intense disapproval of you since practically our first meeting. You aren't going to like it when I say this, but I can see myself in you." She stopped and watched for any reaction from him.
Jess just sat there silently absorbing what she was saying. He nodded at her to affirm that he was listening and wanted her to go on.
"The difference between us is that I didn't shun the people that were trying to help me. It took me coming to the end of myself to be able to turn my life around, but I could only do it by accepting the help and guidance that was offered me." She paused trying to organize what she was thinking to put in coherent sentences. "I am sorry that any offer of help on my part was short lived. I should know better than anyone that persistence is the key with people like us. I also apologize for directing all the blame for the accident on you and for my part in Luke sending you away."
He looked at her now and studied her for a few seconds to see if she was really sincere about what she was saying.
"What do you want from me?" Jess asked not sure how he should respond. "I mean, you drove all this way to tell me this when you could have just written a note."
"A note can be left unread, so this way I'm assured that you heard me."
"Why does it matter? I'm gone from Stars Hollow for good. What do you possibly have to gain from coming here?" Jess questioned, his eyes boring into her soul as he tried to discern the truth.
"I want you to come back to Stars Hollow. I want things to be right again for all of us. Luke is distant and not talking to me. Rory is sad because I know that she has found a friend in you, and she knows the accident wasn't your fault. I am miserable in my own stupidity, and I really think that Luke is good for you. I really believe that if you would just accept the security and guidance he is offering you, you would feel at home, and maybe even be happy."
"I don't know if I can come back. You are under the assumption that Luke even wants me back."
"I have known Luke a long time, and I can see that this is killing him. He feels like he failed you, and I know he would want to be given another chance," Lorelai said with certainty.
Jess looked at her and said with honesty, "What makes you think that this wouldn't be a waste of anyone's time? How do you know that I'm not already a lost cause?"
Lorelai pondered what he was saying, and was struck by the fact that right now he looked like a scared little boy instead of the stoic, sarcastic Jess that she had come to expect.
"I believe there is potential in everyone. Rory and Luke have seen this potential inside of you, and I would put a lot of stock in what those two believe. Please, Jess, just think about it okay? Here is my number." She scribbled it down on a receipt and handed it to him. "Call me anytime, and I would be willing to pick you up or whatever."
"I'll think about it, and uh, thanks," he said quietly.
"Yep. See ya around, Jess," she said as she got up to leave, taking her sandwich with her..
Lorelai meandered toward her Jeep engrossed in her thoughts. She hoped what was said would make a difference. She was glad that Jess seemed to really hear her and that he lowered his defenses. She wasn't sure if he was going to come back to Stars Hollow, but at least she knew she tried.
Would Luke ever forgive her? That was the question that plagued her mind. Her heart sunk in her chest as she realized that if Jess didn't come back, nothing would really be fixed.
Lorelai knew that she wanted Luke in her life as more than her coffee supplier. She depended on his friendship more than she ever realized. She missed her Luke. The Luke that humored her and went along with her bits. The Luke that listened to her as she ranted about her parents. The Luke that gave her a hard time about the food she ate only because he cared. Luke was a solid fixture in her life, and she wanted that back. Her heart ached for the relationship that was damaged because of her typical acting without thinking routine.
Lorelai managed to get to her car, opened the door, and fell in. She banged her head on the steering wheel and started sobbing. The lightheartedness she felt after talking to Jess was gone, and in it's place was regret and sorrow at the thought of losing Luke.
She was startled out of her reverie by her phone ringing. She looked at the caller id, and tried to sound cheerful as she answered it.
She cleared her throat before she flipped her phone open. "Hey, sweets."
"Hi. How did it go? You answered your phone, so I guess you survived," Rory said.
"It went well. It really did. I'm just not sure if he will come back."
"I think he will, Mom. I really think it will all work out," Rory assured herself as well as her mom.
"I so want you to be right," Lorelai said, unconvinced.
Rory detected some sniffling coming from her mom. "Mom, you did the right thing, and Luke will come around."
"Time will tell. So did you call just to check up on me?" Lorelai asked.
"Yes and no. Dad called wondering what he should wear to Sookie's rehearsal dinner. I told him to wear clothes."
"He is such a girl sometimes. I'll call him on the way home. I'll let you go so I can navigate myself out of here."
"Okay. See you in a while. Drive safe," Rory told her.
"Will do. Thanks, hon. Bye," Lorelai said closing the phone.
She pulled out of her parking spot and onto the road heading back to Stars Hollow. She heard her stomach rumble and realized she hadn't eaten her lunch. At least she had the forethought to bring her sandwich with her. She grabbed it while trying to keep her eyes on the road.
While eating and driving she decided to stop thinking about Luke and put her thoughts on things she needed to get done for Sookie's wedding. She was glad to have the distraction of the wedding to keep her mind off of things.