I was still smiling the next morning when I woke up. The feeling of Luke's arms wrapped around me lingered and his soft declarations of love vibrated through my body. I wanted to cling to that feeling, even though I could tell he had already left to open the diner. I was content to lie there in that feeling of complete contentment for a few more minutes, eyes shut tightly.
"Mom! Wake up!" Suddenly I could feel two hands violently shaking me.
"Whu-?" I asked groggily. I blinked my eyes open. Taking in the sight of Rory wearing her Chilton uniform startled me awake quicker than a bucket of cold water. "Rory!" I gasped.
"I have to get to school! Get up, get up!" I reached out, looking at my alarm clock. I was still trying to hang on to those feelings but they were quickly dissipating.
"What's today's date?" I croaked, dreading the answer that I knew was coming. Rory looked at me, her face growing more exasperated as time went on.
"The whole date, please!"
"January 6, 2003, common era, and if this morning's pop quiz is over, I would like to go to school now."
I pulled off the blankets and stumbled to my closet, trying to blink back tears. "No," I murmured. "No, no, no." It had been a dream after all. A wonderful, beautiful dream. Blindly, I grabbed the first thing I could find that didn't clash and dressed silently. Rory had already run back downstairs, and I followed her a few minutes later, pulling my hair back into an elastic. She shoved a Pop Tart and a thermos of coffee into my hands and headed out the front door.
Rory finally noticed that something was up with me after we drove past the Stars Hollow town limits. "Feeling okay this morning?"
"Yeah," I sighed. "Just a little bummed, is all." She looked at me, urging me to elaborate with a hand gesture. "I just had a really great dream last night, and it was so real. I felt like I finally had my life figured out. It was just a shock to wake up and have it not be real."
"Sorry, Mom," she said, giving my shoulder a squeeze. I smiled at her, and tried to shake it off, reaching over to turn on the radio.
After dropping Rory off at school, I drove to the same town where I had had my second meeting with Madam Zrak. But when I got there, the storefront wasn't hers; it was just a shoe store. Dejectedly, I walked inside, figuring some retail therapy might lift my spirits. I hadn't taken more than two steps inside when I saw them - those beautiful leather boots. I froze.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" asked the saleswoman, looking at me with concern.
"Those boots," I said, pointing. "I want those."
After I paid for them, I clutched my bag with the shoe box and sat down heavily on a bench outside the store. For a moment I just sat there, trying to reconcile everything. Had the dream been prophetic? Had I seen those boots before, and they'd just been featured in my dream? I opened the bag and pulled out the left boot. I examined it, turning it over. Something fell out from inside the shoe and fluttered to my feet. When I picked it up, I gasped. "Oh my god!" It was the tarot card for The Lovers.
The bells jingled as I walked into Luke's. I went straight for the counter and sat down. Luke's back was facing me, and he was busy making a fresh pot of coffee.
"I'll take some of that, please," I said, trying to keep my voice light, although all I wanted was to leap over the counter and tackle him. It had seemed so real. Watching his shoulders move under his flannel was stirring waves of desire in my gut, and I felt my heartbeat quicken. I could still feel his hands on my bare skin and his breath washing over me.
"Keep your pants on," he said, still not turning around. I tapped my fingers, waiting impatiently. He finally turned, pouring some coffee into a mug. Pushing it toward me, I met his eyes. There was no playful look, and no sexy smile. Just the same look as always. I took a gulp of coffee, trying to swallow past the lump in my throat. I had still been hanging on to some kind of hope that there was maybe a glimmer of truth to my dream, especially after seeing the boots. And that card. "You want anything to eat?" he asked gruffly.
"Can I see your wallet?" I asked abruptly.
He gave me a strange look. "Why?"
"My dad's birthday is coming up and I wanted to see what kind you had. Bifold, trifold, leather, synthetic. So many types. It might help to hold a well-loved one in my hands, just to get an idea of how it would withstand a lot of use." I held my breath. He rolled his eyes. After what seemed like an eternity, he reached back and removed it from his back pocket. He slid it across the counter.
"Don't take my credit cards," he said, then took the coffee pot around the diner. Barely breathing, I opened the wallet and looked inside, skimming over business cards and dollar bills. Then, I saw it. The carefully folded piece of newsprint.
You will meet an annoying woman. Give her coffee and she'll go away. I could feel the smile taking over my face. A laugh bubbled up and escaped through my lips. I didn't know whether to laugh from joy or cry from relief. I folded the paper back into the wallet, and set it on the counter. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face if I'd tried. Luke looked at me suspiciously as he came back around the counter. He grabbed the wallet and stuffed it back in its place, still eyeing me.
"What?" he growled. I smiled even more, if that was possible.
Playfully, I leaned forward. "Feeling lucky?" I asked flirtatiously. He looked at me curiously. I felt a surge of confidence after seeing the horoscope. "I'll be upstairs," I said, grabbing my cup. "You should come upstairs in a minute. I want to tell you something."
I wasn't up there for even five minutes before I heard him pounding up the stairs. He seemed a little breathless. "What's going on?" he demanded.
"Sit down," I said magnanimously, gesturing to one of his kitchen chairs. He was still giving me a look like he wasn't in the mood for my games. I grinned, hoping he was going to like this game. He sat, folding his arms across his chest, and glared at me.
"I have a diner to run, so get on with it," he said, scowling.
"Okay." I took a deep breath. "So, I've had some time to think lately -"
"That's never good," he interrupted.
"Let me finish?" He nodded. "Anyway, so I've been thinking about us."
"Are you going to let me talk or not?" I was getting exasperated.
"Fine, fine." He waved his hand toward me.
"So I've been thinking about how great we are together, and how I am so comfortable with you. You know, I can be myself with you, craziness and all. And I've always felt like I was a disappointment in everything. Until you." Luke was staring at me now, looking shocked and completely taken aback at the direction this conversation was going. "So, I told you before, that I only have a few people in my life. It's really hard to let people in, and take a risk, because I'm terrified that when people really get to know me they'll realize that I'm just a big screw-up."
"Lorelai..." Luke said softly, leaning forward, hands on his knees. I held up my hand.
"Wait, wait — not done yet. Like I was saying, it's hard for me to take that chance. Before, when Rory was little, I used her as an excuse, but you know, she's grown up now. Soon she'll be off to Yale — I mean, Harvard, or wherever — and I won't have her at home. Not that I just don't want to be alone, but I don't need to protect her from those risks anymore, either." I paused. "I'm not saying this right," I muttered.
"What are you saying?" he asked. I could see it in his eyes. He was hopeful. That small confirmation spurred me on.
"I'm saying that I'm in love with you." My eyes fell to my feet. I waited for a response, but none came. Oh god. What if I had misread this situation completely? It would be pretty embarrassing if I had been wrong, if the horoscope and all the moments preceding this one had been mere coincidences. When I finally looked up, he had an unreadable expression on his face. My heart sank. "It's okay, you know, if you don't feel the same," I said, starting toward the door. "We can just forget this even happened." I hadn't even made it halfway to the door when I felt him grab my arm. I looked at him, and there it was: the sexy half smile.
And then he kissed me.
The kiss started slow and sensual, but I quickly escalated it, falling into the familiar pattern that I had grown accustomed to. I began to unbutton his flannel shirt, but he pulled back slightly, covering my hands with his own.
"Lorelai," he mumbled softly, our lips still connected.
"Don't think," I whispered, reaching for his hand and placing it on my breast. He groaned, squeezing slightly, then pulled back. He was breathing heavily, and his eyes were heavy-lidded and dark with arousal.
"I want to take you on a date first," he said, closing his eyes. I could tell he was trying to maintain control.
"You've cooked for me every day for last 6 years," I said, stepping forward. "You've fixed probably 90% of my house. You took care of my daughter when she was sick." I leaned my body into his, reaching my arms around his neck. "We've been on a 6 year long first date, since the day I gave you that horoscope."
"You remember that?" he asked, surprised. His hands went to my hips and he pushed me back a little. "Wait, you saw the horoscope just a few minutes ago, didn't you? Is that what this is about?"
"Only in that it gave me the confidence to tell you how I feel," I said truthfully. "I choose you, Luke. I want a life with you. I love you."
He looked down, a broad grin spreading across his face. "I love you, too," he said.
We crashed together again, lips and tongues and hands. Clothing flew off, landing haphazardly across the small apartment. I giggled when Luke hopped around on one foot, trying to get his boots off. Finally, we stood up, completely bare in front of each other by the side of his bed, arms wrapped around each other. He reached back, and pulled the elastic out of my hair slowly, letting the messy waves fall around my shoulders. He ran his fingers through my tangled curls, taking care not to pull. The feel of his strong body against mine was dizzying. After a few more moments, I couldn't take it anymore. I pushed him onto the bed and clambered on top of him, straddling him, his growing arousal brushing against me. His hands went to my ass, gripping me, holding me steady as I gazed down at him.
"I want you so badly," I murmured, impaling myself in one movement on him.
"Oh god," he gasped. We were lost in each other after that, heavy breathing and gasps of pleasure the only sounds in the apartment. I came hard, the sight of Luke beneath me too much for me to take. He followed me with his own release, his hands tightly grasping my hips and pulling himself up flush against my body. He wrapped his arms around me, and I could feel his entire body throbbing. He kissed me, a long, slow kiss, only broken because of the need for oxygen. We were still tangled up together when we heard a brisk knock on the door.
"Hey, boss?" I heard Caesar call through the closed door. "Need some help down here!"
Luke swallowed hard. "Be there in a minute," he called back. He gazed into my eyes. "Are you okay?" he asked gently.
"Oh, so much more than okay," I said, a huge smile on my face.
2 years later - the real January 5th, 2005
"Luke!" I yelled, rushing into the diner like a bat out of hell. I skidded to a stop in front of the cash register. He looked up, eyes widened in surprise.
"Lorelai? What's wrong?" he asked, stepping around the counter to come directly in front of me.
"I've got news!" I crowed.
His eyebrows knitted in confusion. "And it was so important you couldn't wait until I saw you later at home?"
"I couldn't keep it to myself all day! And I have to tell you first, so there's no way I could keep quiet in front of Sookie and then I'd want to call Rory, so I just ran here so I could tell you first because I'm about to burst!" I cried out.
"What is it, then?" he asked, reaching for my hands. I grasped them tightly, and bounced up and down excitedly. I couldn't help it! I was so damn happy!
"I'm pregnant!" I shouted. The sound of plates and silverware clattering came from all over the diner, but all I saw was the look of disbelief and wonder on Luke's face.
"You're serious?" he asked. I nodded, and he let out a very uncharacteristic 'whoop!' sound. He picked me up, hugging me tightly, both of us sporting matching idiotic grins.
"You're going to be a daddy, Mr. Danes," I said, my cheeks hurting from how widely I was smiling.
"I love you, Mrs. Danes," he said, and he pulled me closer and kissed me, paying no mind to our audience, who were already talking excitedly and making plans for the newest addition to Stars Hollow.