A/N: Sorry I've been MIA. Got a new foster kid. I hope you're still interested. I may update less frequently but I am committed to seeing this through. I'll probably do 20 chapters total to wrap this one up. Maybe down the line, I'll do a sequel but I'll make sure to leave it where you don't feel ASP AYITL level Shanghai'd by a cliffhanger. :)
It was one hour until date time and Whitley was more nervous than she'd ever been. The sleepover got her mostly unhelpful advice on first dates and one good piece of advice from Lorelai, "He already likes you for you so just don't put on a face. It's not worth your time to make someone like you for who you're not." Of course that advice was followed by "Also, you're a solid 10.5 and he's a 7 on a good day which gives you the upper hand. It's important to be hotter than your date. A guy who knows he doesn't deserve you will always try to please you." And while funny and a confidence boost it was no help.
She had just stepped from her shower and was wrapped in a big towel working on her hair when she got a text that put her at ease.
Brian: Hey, just wanted to say I'm really excited for tonight. Lane says your dress is gorgeous; can't wait to see for myself.
She replied with a smile emoji and continued to ready herself enthusiastically.
What seemed like an eternity and no time at all passed as she finished getting ready. Brian was perfectly punctual and she was glad because against Lorelai's advice to be 15 minutes late getting ready, she was ready 5 minutes early and just sitting in her kitchen.
She opened the door and Brian froze up within seconds. At first she thought he might turn tail and run, but he picked his jaw up off the floor and managed "You look… beautiful."
Her resulting smile put him at ease. "Thank you. You look nice too… Are those flowers for me?" she gestured to his hands.
"Oh, um yeah, I got you a bouquet and also a corsage. You said you'd never been to prom so I thought you might like the experience."
"Really?" Brian nodded. "Oh, Brian, that's so sweet! Thank you." She hugged him and then grabbed the bouquet of pink lilies. "Let me just get a vase." She busied herself with the task and he watched her in awe of her fluid movements in heels and a dress that accentuated her curves but still somehow had an air of modesty.
Brian grabbed her wrist and gently placed the corsage. The skin contact sent chills up both of their spines in the best way possible. Instead of releasing it, he slid his arm around and locked elbows with her then escorted her down the stairs in a true gentlemanly fashion. The biggest surprise was the white limousine waiting outside with a man named Frank driving. Brian asked Lane who asked Rory who pulled strings with Logan to get Frank's services for the evening. While the event was in town square, they took a ride around the town.
She expected him to sit right up on her like Alex would have, but he gave them a whole passenger's worth of space. Even still, it felt intimate. They spoke very little but were just very drawn to each other's company. Alex never looked at her like he did. Brian's gaze made her feel as though she was a renaissance statue at a museum, being studied and admired, appreciated and reveled in. It was an unfamiliar yet calming feeling.
When they arrived in the square, they were seated to their steak dinners and were finally comfortable enough to make conversation.
"So why the bass guitar and not electric or lead?"
"Well I actually play both bass and electric but I don't like being the center of attention. It's better for me being in the background. What about you, play any instruments?"
"Oh, no. We couldn't afford an instrument or lessons. I did do school choir though and can play a mean recorder or triangle. I was the best 8 year-old in my class," she bragged sarcastically making Brian laugh. His laughter egged her on. It made her want to hear it again. Most of her friends back home never got her jokes or thought she was just stuck up. It was nice for someone to just get it like he did.
"You're really funny. So you sing though?"
"Only when I breathe. But not in a professional way. I just find myself doing it when I'm really busy or stressed. Sometimes people compliment me, but I'm like you; center stage was never really my thing. Being the angel at Christmas nearly tore my nerves apart."
"I getchya. So, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure, you can ask about Jazz. Yes, I was 16. No, I wouldn't do it again. No, I wouldn't give up having Jazz for anything else in the world. No, I wasn't with multiple boys. Yes, I get how to use a condom and birth control now," she said dryly.
"Oh well, um that's all good and dandy, but I was just going to ask, um, what's the deal with her dad? I mean… you don't have to tell me, I was just wondering if you're over him? Not over him as in you don't want him around Jazz, but just want to make sure that you're um, you're ready to maybe… um… you know… date me? I just want to know what I should expect."
Whitley blushed. "Oh, Alex."
"Alex is her dad's name? Yeah, I was just wondering, but like I said, you don't have to."
"Oh no, it's fine. I just wasn't expecting that, although I guess it makes sense. Alex and I were never really in love I don't think. We just dated out of convenience because all of our mutual friends were dating and then we kind of used them as our monitor for where we should be in our relationship. When they kissed, we kissed, when they had sex… well so did we. We ended up one-upping them though because we went on to have a baby. Alex, he's not a bad person but I couldn't really stay there. I was doing everything by myself and instead of helping me, his family made it harder. He's not ready for Jazz, and to fully answer your question, he's not the one for me. Can I tell you something that might freak you out?"
"Yeah, um, sure."
"This is my first date and I already like you more than Alex. You make me smile and you listen to me. You probably know more about me than he ever did. I don't… I don't want to scare you, but I already really like you."
Brian's eyes started to glean with joy. "That doesn't scare me at all. I really like you too."
They shared a smile and for a second it felt like it was only them.
"Um, Brian, I should probably tell you something else. I don't think you'd pressure me, but I just wanted you to know that I'm not… not ready to do what I did to make Jazz again. I just wanted to let you know in case that's a deal-breaker. I don't know when I'll be ready."
"Hey, of course it's not a deal breaker. I'm not really ready for that right now anyway. Let's just agree to talk about if and when we're ready, ok?"
Whitley let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. "Deal."
"Hey, want to dance? I'm not good or anything, but I'll shake around."
Whitley giggled. "I'd be honored." He grabbed her hand and led her out as a slow song played.
Now that I've worn out, I've worn out the world…
Meanwhile at the diner, Lorelai was helping Luke close when she heard the song coming from the square. "Babe! It's our song! Dance with me," she ordered.
"I'm not going out there."
"There's plenty of space to dance right here!"
Luke groaned slightly, knowing that resistance was futile, he raised his hands and she accepted his gesture, pressing herself tightly to him as they glide
I'm on my knees in fascination.
"This is the best song. Our lucky song. Maybe it will be for the younger couples too," she mused as she took in the woodsy diner smell of her flannel-clad man."
"No such thing as luck," he tried to protest.
"Says the man who kept a horoscope in his wallet for 8 years. I do recall it was pretty lucky for you that night mister," Lorelai said flirtatiously.
"I take it back, I'm the luckiest man in the world," he conceded.
"I never thought I'd be so lucky as to start a family with you Lorelai. Now here we are starting a new year with a new child on the way. This isn't better. It's the best."
"There you go, trying to get lucky again."
"With you… always."