A/N: Many much thanks go to a special group of ladies for their encouragement, support, and help. You know who you are! Many, many much thanks to the queen of ideas, my wonderful beta, Jewels! Also, to Pink for her generosity and patience!
After Lorelai left the diner, Luke sat in the same spot and contemplated his good fortune. Did he really just make out with Lorelai, and now had the opportunity to go on a date with her tonight? He thought it must be a dream, so he pinched himself and winced at the pain. No, he was definitely awake.
Luke observed Carrie coming through the curtain finally dressed. He made a quick decision to jump out of his seat and find somewhere to hide, but unfortunately, she was too fast for him and chased him down. She grabbed his arm halting his escape.
She slithered up next to him and drawled, "Where are you running off to so quickly, handsome?"
"Trying to get far away from you," he grumbled.
He forcefully removed his arm from her grip and continued on his way to the storage room to 'stock' with the door locked and maybe even a table pushed up against it for extra assurance Her brand of crazy was frightening to him. What had possessed her to pursue him like this? He knew that there was trouble at home, but stalking another man wasn't going to do anything for the marriage except kill it.
He decided, since he was in the storage room, he would be productive. He took his exacto knife, and ripped open some boxes, grabbing the jars, and placing them on the shelves. He was a patient man. He would wait her out. After a half hour, he was going to check to see if the coast was clear. She had to be gone by then.
Lorelai was at home getting ready for her big date with Luke. She had a constant smile on her face, and she was whistling as she dug in her closet for something to wear.
Rory walked into her mom's bedroom and stood there staring at her.
"What's with you?" Rory questioned curiously.
"What do you mean?" Lorelai asked still smiling..
"What do you mean, what do I mean? You know what I mean."
Lorelai's only response was to giggle, which made Rory laugh in return.
"Fill me in here as to why we're laughing."
"I have a date tonight," Lorelai squealed, jumping up and down.
"A date? I assume it's with the diner man."
"You assume correctly, my dear." Lorelai beamed.
"Now there are no more questions as to whether or not you're dating him because you are dating him. You are dating him, right?" Rory asked with concern.
She sighed. "Nothing has officially been declared, but that kiss said a lot."
"Wait, did you just say kiss?"
"Yes, kiss. And it was earth moving," Lorelai said dreamily.
"I can't believe you kissed Luke and now you're acting like you're in junior high," Rory said amused. "Oh, he's so dreamy," she mocked in a high-pitched voice.
"Mock if you will, but I have a date tonight, and I'm not going to let it bother me," she said saucily. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get ready."
"Be my guest," Rory said as she moved out of her way.
Lorelai closed the bathroom door behind her and took a shower. She put on something dressy casual. She hoped she was dressed appropriately since she had no idea where they were going. For some reason, she didn't think to ask Luke before she left the diner. She was in too much of a daze to worry about it. She's amazed that one kiss could make her feel so jumbled. She still felt his lips on hers and his hands on her bare back. It was such a pleasant feeling, and she wanted to repeat it.
She finished with her hair and makeup and heard someone at the door. She grabbed her boots on the way down the stairs, almost tripping over herself trying to get to the door quickly. She opened the door visibly panting from the exertion. She gestured for Luke to come in, turned around, and saw Rory standing in the hall snickering at her. She stuck her tongue out at her and proceeded to walk into the living room to put on her boots with Luke trailing behind.
"Where are you taking my mom tonight, Luke?" Rory asked.
"Out to dinner and a movie."
Rory gave him a serious look. "Uh huh, standard date night activities. Are you sure that's it? Are you going to be doing any snogging?" she teased.
Luke shifted from one foot to the other suddenly nervous under Rory's scrutiny. He wasn't sure how to even answer her.
Lorelai finished putting on her boots. "Leave the guy alone. He probably doesn't even know what snogging is, but I can guarantee that our snogging will put the Hogwarts students to shame," she said grabbing Luke's arm and pulling him toward the door.
"You brought it up, sweets."
"Have her home at a decent time!" Rory yelled after them as they left.
Luke followed Lorelai to the passenger side of the truck and opened the door for her.
"What a gentleman," she commented with a smile.
He grinned at her in return.
"So, we're going to dinner and a movie." She looked over at Luke waiting for confirmation. He merely shook his head yes. She was hoping for more information so she prodded him, "And where are we going for dinner?" She stared at him awaiting a verbal response.
Luke glanced over at her with a smirk, knowing full well that she was one of the most impatient people he had ever known. "Somewhere you'll like."
"That's it? That's all I get?" she asked not so calmly. "Am I at least dressed appropriately?"
Luke glided his eyes slowly up and down her body and nodded in approval. "You look good," he said in a low voice.
For some reason, she felt like he was undressing her with his eyes, and her cheeks flamed in response.
As they were driving to the restaurant, Luke noticed a car driving very close to the truck. He looked in his rear view mirror trying to figure out who the idiot was. A thought occurred to him, but he shook his head dismissing the notion. She wouldn't do that, would she? He wanted to have a good time with Lorelai and not be worried about whether or not they were being followed.
"Is everything okay?" Lorelai said concerned. She noticed that he was constantly looking in the mirror and he wore a semi-panicked expression.
Luke smiled over at her. "Everything is, uh, great." I hope, he thought.
They pulled up to Silvano's and parked.
"You stay right there," he commanded Lorelai as he got out of the driver's side and walked around to open her door.
She winked at him as she slid out of the truck and stood next to him. He slammed the door shut, and she linked her arm with his, pressing into his side as they walked toward the restaurant.
Before they entered, Luke casually looked around the parking lot, and didn't see anything suspicious, so he figured that he was just being paranoid.
The waitress quickly seated them at a table for two toward the back of the restaurant.
"This is nice," she said, looking around, noticing the ambiance. "It's very romantic. I haven't been here very often and never with a date." Smiling at him, she reached across the table, and squeezed his hand. "I'm so glad we're here, together."
Luke turned his hand over and returned the squeeze. "Me too."
They ordered their drinks and food. The meal and the conversation moved along smoothly until something caught Luke's eye. He cocked his head to the side, trying to be nonchalant as he got a better look. There, sitting two tables away from them, was Crazy Carrie, and if looks could kill, then Lorelai would be dead.
Luke felt anger bubbling up within him. Before he had a chance to react, Lorelai grabbed his arm, rubbing it softly. She looked him in the eye and said, "Don't worry about it. She won't try anything in a public place."
"You have more confidence in her self-control than I do. Is your memory that short? Don't you remember what happened just this morning in the diner?" he said pointedly. "Are you ready to get out of here and away from that insane person?"
Lorelai gathered her things and stood up in answer to his question. Luke paid the bill, left a nice tip, and stood up to follow her out. He refused to even glance in Carrie's general direction. With his hand on her lower back, he pushed her quickly along until they were out the door.
Luke held his breath until they were both safely in the truck with the doors locked. He scanned the parking lot for any signs of Carrie, but everything seemed quiet.
He exhaled slowly, starting the engine. He was afraid to continue the date if Carrie was going to show up everywhere they went.
As if she was reading his thoughts, Lorelai said, "Stop thinking about Carrie, who I'm going to rename Scary Carrie. She doesn't need to ruin our date. Where to next?"
"I thought we would go to Black & White & Read. They are showing A Streetcar Named Desire, and I figured it would be a movie you'd like."
"I love that movie," she confirmed, grinning at him.
Luke drove quietly the short distance back to Stars Hollow, continuously glancing in the mirrors to make sure they weren't being followed. He decided to park at Lorelai's house and walk back into town, so that if Carrie came looking, she wouldn't know where to find them.
Luke slid his hand into Lorelai's as they walked. He looked over at her to affirm that she didn't mind the gesture. Their eyes locked like they had so many times in the past, but this time something was different. Neither Luke nor Lorelai were guarded. The barriers that kept their thoughts from each other were gone. It was a comfort to see many of the same emotions in the others' eyes that they felt themselves.
Lorelai beamed at him and brought her eyes down to watch the ground as they walked.
Coming to the theater, Luke grumbled as he bought Lorelai all the junk she needed to sustain her throughout the movie. He shook his head at her appetite and wondered why her eating habits continued to surprise him.
It appeared that all of Stars Hollow wanted to see the movie, so it was challenging to find seats. Miss Patty had two seats beside her that were empty, so they sat down. Patty waggled her eyebrows at them suggestively muttering under her breath that it was about time. Luke rolled his eyes in return.
He nervously peeked over his shoulder, making sure that Carrie wasn't there. He constantly felt like someone was watching their every move.
Luke placed his arm around Lorelai which got a lot of winks and nods from the people around them. She leaned into his side trying to get as close to him as she could without actually sitting in his lap.
The movie played and nothing out of the ordinary happened. They were getting comfortable with the thought that maybe Carrie was going to leave them alone. Little did they know that someone was waiting to pounce at the right moment.
Luke followed Lorelai out of the bookstore putting his hand on her back protectively. As they reached the streetlight, they saw Carrie in the path holding a large bottle of wine. She was grasping the neck of the bottle in one hand and slapping the bottom of it against her palm
"You need to stay away from him!" Carrie shouted, gaining the attention of all those within hearing distance.
Lorelai glanced around the square noticing that everyone was staring at them. "Carrie, put the bottle down," she stated calmly. "You have to leave Luke alone and go home to your family."
Carrie's volume increased as she screamed, "I won't say it again, get away from him or you're going to be sorry!" She lifted the bottle by the neck in a menacing way.
Lorelai's eyes grew large, fear gripping her as she realized what Carrie was going to do with the bottle. The freak is playing off the movie, she thought.
Carrie lunged at them, striking the bottle against the streetlight. Lorelai quickly ducked out of her way as the glass hit the metal and shattered, the wine splashing down the front of Luke's sweater.
Luke cast his eyes over his body and then raised his head to look at Carrie. She stood there with the neck of the bottle still firmly clasped in her hand, pointed toward Lorelai.
"What the hell was that for, Carrie?" Luke asked heatedly.
"So that I can twist the broken end in her face," she hissed, gesturing to Lorelai with the glass.
"Tiger, Tiger. Drop that bottle top! Drop it!" Lorelai yelled, walking backwards away from Carrie.
Before Carrie had a chance to move after Lorelai, Luke grabbed the arm that held the bottle and snatched the glass out of her hand. He held tightly to her arm as Coop approached, handcuffs by his side.
"Get this out of my sight," Luke said, pushing Carrie away from him. He spun around, leaving her cowering in front of Coop.
Luke went in search of Lorelai. He found her standing still right where he left her. Her eyes were fixated on the spot Carrie had just occupied. He noticed that she trembled slightly, and he gently brushed her arm with his fingertips, trying to make her aware of her surroundings. She finally realized that Carrie was no longer standing in front her. Her eyes moved to Luke. She shook her head, clearing her mind, and gave him her full attention.
"Wow," she said, taking a breath.
She regarded Luke and noticed how wet his sweater was.
She took his arm pulling him toward the diner. "Let's get you up to your apartment so you can change."
As Luke and Lorelai left, the crowd quickly dispersed in pairs whispering about all that happened.
Lorelai followed Luke into his apartment, turned her back to him and closed the door. "Thank you for..." her words trailed off as she turned around to face him.
She sucked in her breath at the vision before her. Luke stood with his wet sweater dangling from his fingers. She was mesmerized at each breath he took. As in a trance, she glided over to him. She felt a gravitational pull from the bare chested man in front of her.
Tentatively, she stuck out her hand touching him lightly. She felt his muscles contract in response which emboldened her. Her other hand joined in the investigation. She bit her lip in concentration as she explored every ripple and hair on his chest. She brushed her hands over his pecs, journeying down to his abs. He held his breath the lower she got. Her hands skimmed the edge of his pants, around his waist, moving slowly up his back which brought her up against him. Her head rested on his chest, and he shivered as her warm breath washed over his skin. She reached his shoulders, grazing her hands over his biceps. She marveled at the muscle definition and the solidness of his body. She concluded her tour at his hands and remained still and quiet resting against him.
"Lorelai," he said with no reaction from her. He tried again a little louder, "Lorelai."
Her head jerked up at the sound of her name. The spell was broken. Embarrassment seeped into her consciousness as she became aware of her actions. She dropped her hands and took a step back.
Luke wanted her heat back so before she could step completely away from him, he pulled her back by her waist. Her eyes met his and widened in wonder as he stooped his head down to kiss her.