A/N: I didn't intend to be working on this story till I was further into my other ones but I was reading my outline for it that I wrote a year or so ago and I'm not really sure how it happened but I accidentally wrote the first seven chapters. This story takes starts out after "Concert Interruptus" and will make it's way through the later half of season one. The first chapter is shorter than most of them but let me know what you think of it so far, if it's something worth continuing I'll probably update weekly being I already have the whole thing outlined. Enjoy!
Luke stood in the Woodbridge hardware store as he flipped through his small notepad, double checking the measurements he had taken early. He placed the notepad in his back pocket then reached out grabbing several pieces of flat shelving from the store shelf. He turned placing them into his cart gently not to cause them any harm then he stepped over and gripped the carts handle as he walked, once he reached the end of the aisle he stopped quick to avoid an oncoming cart.
"Oh." The women pushing the cart said, stopping hers just short of a collision. "I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going."
"That's alright." Luke said before looking at her, he squinted his eyes slightly as he came to realization of who the women standing in front of him was. "Anna?"
"Luke." She said surprised.
"Hi." He said, not knowing what else to say at the moment.
She chuckled. "Hi, how's it been?"
"Good, good. How have you been?"
"I'm great." She answered kindly.
"It's nice seeing you again, you got your hair cut."
"Yeah, many times actually."
"I mean it's shorter than it was, you always had that long hair." Luke said awkwardly. "It looks nice."
"I'm sorry, I'm just not really sure what to say."
"You're doing fine, it's been a long time."
"The last time I saw you," Luke paused, taking a moment to remember when. "Must have been eight years ago."
"Sounds about right."
"Well it was nice seeing you again." Luke said getting ready to depart, already feeling he had made things weird enough. "I think I might have already said that."
"It was nice seeing you too, Luke." Anna said, as Luke was walking around her a little girl with glasses ran up blocking his way.
"What do you think of this color for my room?" She asked raising up light purple colored swatch. "Or is it out there?"
"It's out there just enough, I think it would look perfect."
The little girl turned to Luke, noticing he had been standing there the whole time. "Who is this?" She asked bluntly.
"This is my old friend, Luke."
"Hi." Luke said well he observed the girl closely, something about her seemed so familiar. He glanced away and towards Anna. "Your daughter?" He asked.
"Yes, this is April." Anna said, placing her hands on April's shoulders.
"Hi." April said sweetly.
"Pretty name." Luke said.
"Well I was born in April so it makes more sense than calling me May."
"That does make more sense."
Anna chimed in. "We should probably get going, we have to finish shopping so April can get home for bed."
"Right." Luke looked down at April. "You probably have school tomorrow."
"Yes, we are learning about the life cycles of plants in science class and our teacher is letting us plant a seed into a cup of dirt and watch it grow." April answered excitedly.
"Well, you wouldn't want to be tired for that."
"Bye Luke." Anna said.
"Bye Luke, nice meeting you." April said with a same wave.
"You too, bye." He said then he watched them as they walked away.
The day went on and Luke couldn't help to think about what he had saw, his former girlfriend with a daughter who closely resembled him, at an age he could only guess was fitting to the timeline they were together. But it couldn't be his daughter, that would be crazy, if it had been Anna would have told him. He thought even more deeply, would have she? He knew things didn't end so well between the two of them, maybe she didn't want him involved. Lost in thought he didn't even notice the diner door fling open or the customer taking a seat next to the counter, he just continued to stare at the rag in his hand.
"Cheese burger, fries and whatever pie you have." Lorelai said while setting her purse down on the counter, when he didn't react to anything she had said she looked over at him while he stood behind the counter with a distant look on his face. "Luke, Luke?!" She raised her voice the second time getting his attention.
"Geez, what are you yelling about?" Luke said, throwing his rag aside.
"I was talking and you ignored me."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to." He said apologetically. "What were you saying?"
"I was ordering a cheeseburger-"
Luke cut her off. "Fries and whatever pie I have." He said as he wrote it down and slipped the order back to Caesar.
"You were listening."
"No, I just know you well enough to know what you are going to order."
"I don't know if I believe that, maybe you just have very specific premonitions."
"You think I have a psychic ability about what food you are going to order?"
"Hey, I don't hear you denying it."
"You got me." He said sarcastically. "It's far more believable that I have Lorelai ordering premonitions, instead of knowing what you order every single day after five years."
"I knew it!" She said triumphantly earning a small grin from him. "So, what were you so deep in thought about?"
"Oh nothing, just thinking about some stuff."
"Stuff?" She asked curiously.
"Yeah, I ran into an former friend today. It got me thinking about some things, things that happened back when I knew them."
"Ah ha, was this a good friend?"
"Yeah, we knew each other a couple years."
"Why'd you stop hanging out?"
"We broke up."
"Oh." Lorelai said as she got that strange feeling she had any time Luke brought up another girl, the feeling she denied as jealously. "It was a girlfriend?"
"Yes, her name is Anna."
Lorelai looked down at the counter and nodded. "How did you two know each other, like how did you meet?"
"I meet her at a party."
"Why can I not imagine you at a party?" She asked, grinning ear to ear.
"It really wasn't my thing, a friend of mine talked me into it because I was having a bit of a rough time after my old girlfriend moved away again."
"Rachel?" He nodded. "Well that's one good way to get over someone."
"It wouldn't have been my idea to move on that quickly, but when you mix in moonshine your decisions don't always come out the same way."
"Luke Danes drinking moonshine, that is something I would have paid to see." She said with a laugh.
"That was the first, and last time I ever did."
"How old were you then?"
"So you went to a party, drank moonshine and hooked up with her."
Luke winced. "Please don't say hooked up."
"Sorry, so you had se-"
He cut her off before she could finish. "Stop.. We did, but after that I took her out and got to know her before we really started dating."
"Why did you break up?"
"She wanted more from me than I was ready for at the age, and I didn't feel like I would ever want anymore with her anyways so I broke it off. A little while after Rachel came back to town, and even though I knew she would leave again I got back together with her. We had this connection I had never felt with anyone else, every time so showed back up I would fall for her all over again. But when Anna found out she got really mad at me, in a way I had never seen her get mad at me before. She kept saying I was only breaking up with because of Rachel and then she stormed out, that was the last time I ever saw Anna until today."
Lorelai looked at Luke amazed. "You have quite a past."
"It sounds more exciting than it was." Luke said, they were interrupted by Caesar handing a plate of food out to him. He took it and set it in front of Lorelai just as Rory came into the diner and took a seat next to her.
"Hey, you ordered without me!" Rory said offended.
"You were taking too long." Lorelai defended.
"How long did you wait to order once you got here?"
"A really long time, right Luke?" Lorelai looked to Luke.
"Yeah, you actually waited till you got to the counter this time."
"Hey, not helping."
"Hey, not trying."
"I can't look at you right now, I'm going to a table." Lorelai said, picking up her plate and walking to a nearby table. "Bring some coffee over."
"Couldn't you drink something other than coffee for once?"
"Sure, bring over some of your moonshine."
He chose to ignore her then he glanced over at Rory. "What can I get you?"
"The usual." She said, Luke wrote it down and handed it to Caesar as he walked by. She stepped away from the counter to walk away when Luke stopped her.
"Rory?" He asked.
"Yeah?" She answered, glancing back at him.
"What grade did you learn about life cycles of plants?"
She looked at him oddly but answered anyways. "First grade I think, we got to grow our own plant in a cup."
He wrinkled his brow. "Not kindergarden?"
"No, Kindergarten was really only basic stuff like learning to write or add."
"Okay, just wondering. You can go to your table now."
"Alright, don't forgot the coffee." She said as she walked away, Luke took a breath before getting back to work.
Later that night after Lorelai and Rory finished eating and doing a fair share of annoying Luke they headed back home. Lorelai kicked her shoes off as soon as they walked in the front door and found her way to the couch, Rory followed behind sitting next to her in their living room.
"What was up with Luke tonight?" Rory asked, pulling off her coat and setting it on the arm of the couch.
"What do you mean?" Lorelai asked.
"Well the whole time we were there he seemed out of it, and he had asked me something about learning the life cycles of plants in school."
"What, why would he ask you that?"
"I don't know, he asked what grade I learned it in."
"Did he give you a reason why he was asking that?"
"He said he was just wondering."
Lorelai crinkled her nose in wonder. "That is weird."
"So you have no clue why he was acting so different?"
"I know why he was acting different but it didn't have to do with plants."
"What was it then?"
"He ran into an ex today, and I guess it put him in kind of a weird mood."
"Oh, sad." Rory said sympathetically. "Were they really serious?"
"They dated two years then he broke it off because he didn't see it going anywhere."
"You think he is regretting his decision now that he saw her again?"
"I hadn't thought about that, the way he was acting about everything, it would make sense."
"Yeah, poor Luke." Lorelai said as she started getting that same feeling from earlier back, the one she isn't calling jealousy.
The next day seemed to come as slowly as possible for Luke, maybe it was because he couldn't sleep thinking about the possibility April could be his kid. The thought alone was enough to make him go crazy, half way through his work day he decided he couldn't wait any longer and he looked up Anna's address then drove to her house. He didn't know what he would say or how he would take it if he did find out she was his but he knew he had to know and he had to know now. He walked the steps of her porch and left a hard knock on her front door, a few moments later the door opened.
"Luke?" Anna said, surprised to see him at her house.
"Is April seven?" He asked immediately.
"Yes, she is."
"We broke up in August, I remember because we had just been to the beach and a bunch of kids were having an end of summer event. We got into a fight because I wanted to leave and you said you wanted to stay and that I was being frigid."
"That was eight months before April was born." Anna nodded. "Is she mine?"
"I thought about telling you, I came by the diner to see you and you were there with Rachel. That wasn't why I didn't tell you but then we got into a that fight and I never really thought about telling you again after that."
"Why wouldn't you tell me this, Anna?" He asked angrily. "She is my daughter!"
"You couldn't be a father Luke, I had two years of proof in that matter."
"Why do you think I wouldn't be a good father?"
"You hate kids."
"I don't hate kids." Luke defended.
"We couldn't go the movies before ten o'clock at night in case there were kids in the theatre."
"Well, kids talk during a movie. And they throw crap around, they run up and down the aisles. They're animals."
"We would move tables in a restaurant if they seated us near a family."
"Only if there was something crying or spitting up."
"You would flip out if you saw a woman breastfeeding in public, you couldn't stand to watch diaper commercials and you had an unnatural hatred of Macaulay Culkin."
"Okay, fine!" Luke stopped her. "I hated kids, but I'm not that guy anymore."
"Eight years ago, you were that guy."
"It doesn't mean I would have been like that with my kid, I could be a father."
"You couldn't have been a father back then, I don't think you could even be one now."
Luke puffed a breath of air out. "What makes you think I couldn't be a father now?"
"You haven't changed at all since the last time I saw you."
"I have, what makes you think I haven't changed?"
"Luke, I still have friends in Stars Hollow. I ask them about you so I know if one day April found you I could know that you would be ready, and let me tell you I don't think you are ready. And I can't have you involved in my kids life if you are the same guy you were eight years ago."
"April is my kid too, and I have changed."
"How have you changed? As far as I know you are still the same man living in his dad's office, hiding from the world and repeating the same failed relationship with Rachel over and over again."
"I changed." Luke said sternly.
"How? Tell me how and we can talk about you being involved in April's life."
Luke stood silent a moment, not being able to come up with a way he had changed then he said the one thing he could think of to make it seemed as if he did. "I'm engaged."
"Really?" Anna said shocked.
"Yes, I'm getting married."
"Why haven't I heard anything about this? I know Miss Patty would have spend this news all over town if she knew."
"We didn't tell the town, they don't even know we've been dating, but we are talking about telling them now that we know it's permanent."
"Yes, neither of us have had successful relationships and we didn't want the town looking over our shoulders waiting for us to screw it up so we waited and we hid it."
"What's her name?"
"Lorelai." Luke blunted out, saying the only name that came to mind.
"How long have you two been dating?"
"A couple months, but we have been close friends for five years now."
"Are you still living in the office above the diner?"
"Only till we tell the town about us then I'm moving in with her and her daughter."
Anna raised her eyebrows. "She has a daughter?"
"Yeah, her name is Rory and she's sixteen. I was actually at the store yesterday getting stuff to build her a bigger book shelf with, she loves reading."
"Wow, I can't see you willingly dating someone with a kid."
"Well Rory is a great kid, her dad is really never around so I always felt like I should be another person she could depend on, other than her mother. I mean her mother would be more than enough of a support system because she's like some superhero when it comes to parenting, but I know it's always nice to have more than one person to lean on."
"It seems like you have matured a lot since we knew each other."
"I have and I can tell you that I would always be there for April, no matter what."
"I'm still not ready to let her know, I'd like to give it a little time. Maybe get to know the person you have become and make sure you are really ready to be apart of her life."
"I gotta get to work but you can give you a call later this week, we can discuss things further."
"Alright, I'll talk to you then." Luke said as he started to leave.
"And Luke, good luck telling the town about your engagement, I'm sure they will be very happy for you."
"Thanks." Luke said then walked to the front door. "Bye, Anna."
"Bye Luke." She said and he let himself out, he stepped outside closing the door, he leaned back against it and took a deep breath.
After he got into his truck he took the way back to Stars Hollow, once he was in town he drove over to Lorelai's house parking in the driveway behind her jeep. He stepped out of his truck and walked to her front door, knocking a few times while the whole time asking himself what he had done. He heard some fumbling around inside then the door flung open.
"Luke, hi." Lorelai said with a sweet smile.
"Hi." Luke said then stood there without saying another word.
"Did you just come over here to say that?"
"No." He shook his head. "Ah, is Rory home?"
"No, she is at Lanes." Lorelai answered. "Why?"
"Do you mind if I come in?"
"Sure, come on in." She said, holding the door open enough for him to walk inside. When he got into the foyer she shut the door behind him, after standing there another moment he spoke again.
"Can we sit?"
"Yeah." She walked to the kitchen and he followed behind her before they both took a seat at the on dining chairs. "What is it, Luke?"
"You know how I told you about seeing Anna yesterday?"
"Yes, I seem to recall the conversion we had yesterday."
"Well, I didn't tell you everything about when I saw her again."
"Oh god." She said with a grimace. "Did you break out the moonshine again?"
"No, we only saw each other at the store." Luke paused. "But she wasn't alone."
"Was she with another guy, is that why you are freaking out?"
"No, she was with her daughter. Seven years old, brown hair, cute little glasses, my nose."
"Wait a second, did you just say your nose?" She asked and Luke nodded. "She is your daughter?"
"She is my daughter."
"Oh my god, you have a kid." Lorelai said in disbelief.
"I have a kid."
"And you never knew about her?"
"Anna didn't think I'd be a fit parent so she didn't tell me about April, that's her name, April."
"I can not believe this, how could she keep your kid away from you like that?" Lorelai asked defensively.
"I don't know, she thought it would be best."
"How? You deserved a chance to be apart of your daughter's life and April deserved to have a father in her's."
"She didn't think I could have been a father back then."
"That is non sense, you would be a great father."
"Would I have been though?"
"Don't you doubt that." Lorelai said placing her hand on his arm. "Since the day you met Rory you have always been there for her and you had no obligation to do so."
"I really want to get to know my kid."
"You know now, so get to know her."
"It isn't that easy.. Anna didn't plan on letting me be involved because she didn't think I have changed enough to be a good father, she doesn't think I am mature enough to handle it."
"But you have changed, haven't you?"
"No." Luke said, standing up from his chair. "I haven't changed at all, I'm still doing everything the same way I did eight years ago. I live in the same place, work in the same place and I fall for Rachel everytime she comes back into town only to be disappointed again when she leaves. I am the same exact person I was, only older."
"So she isn't going to let you see your daughter because of it?"
"She wasn't going to."
"Wasn't?" Lorelai paused. "Did she change her mind?"
"She said she would consider it now that she knew I had changed."
"I'm confused, you just said you didn't change." Lorelai said, losing track of what was going on.
"But I didn't tell her that." He took a seat across from her again. "I sort of panicked when she said I couldn't see April."
"What did you tell her?"
"I told her I has engaged." Luke paused, taking a deep breath. "To you."
"You said what?" Lorelai asked shocked.
"I was standing there freaking out and I kind of blurted it out, I had you on the mind because I told you all that stuff last night and I knew you having Rory might help win her over a bit, show her I could be a father figure." Luke explained. "I'm so sorry, I just didn't know what to do."
"It's okay, Luke." She said, trying to calm him down. "If you had to tell her that so you could see your kid, then that's what you had to do."
"That isn't the worst part, Anna used to live in Stars Hollow and she still has close friends that are here that hear all the town gossip and tell it to her. She almost didn't believe me because she didn't hear anything about us being together, so I told her we kept it a secret till we were sure it was serious and now that we are engaged we are going to tell everybody."
"Tell everybody?" She asked, Luke nodded. "Like the whole town? Miss Patty, Babette, Sookie, all these people?"
"Yes, but I know we can't do that so I don't even know why I said it. I was saying all this crazy things, and more and more stuff just kept coming out of my mouth and I don't know where it was coming from, hell I even gave us a backstory."
"What was our back story?" She asked, wanting to know more.
"We don't have to talk about this, Lorelai."
"No, I'm curious."
"I said we started dating two months ago because I heard you and that teacher broke up then I didn't want our fake relationship to overlap with your real one.. And I said how we were close friends for five years and how after we told the town I was gonna move in with you and Rory and we were gonna get married." Luke stopped and looked at Lorelai. "I must sound so insane to you right now."
"You do not sound insane, you sound like a guy who would do anything to be apart of his kids life."
"But this isn't me, I don't lie, I don't make up fake stories. One time my dad caught me stealing a candy bar at the store and I lied and said I must have been sleepwalking when I stole it. Five seconds later I caved and told him the truth, I still feel guilty everytime I see a butterfinger."
Lorelai chuckled. "You should make up fake stories, you seem pretty good at it."
"Lorelai." He warned.
"No seriously, if I had your story telling capabilities dinner with my mom would be a breeze."
Luke shoved his face into his palms. "I don't know what I'm going to do, now not only will she know I haven't changed she can now add big fat liar to the list."
"First off, you are not a big fat liar, you are a tall muscular liar. And second off, you don't have to tell her you lied."
Luke looked up at her surprised. "What?"
"We will tell the town we are engaged, her nosey friends will hear and tell her then she won't think you lied."
"Lorelai, I can't let you do that, I'd be making you lie to everybody."
"I don't mind, you have done so much for me and Rory so the least I could do is help you get a relationship with your daughter."
"Even if I did let you do this, what is the point? Everyone will find out it isn't true eventually."
"How will they know?"
"They might figure it out when there isn't a wedding to go to, unless you plan on having a fake ceremony then pretending we are married the rest of our lives."
"Engagements don't always work out, we play along with it and make people think we are together long enough for you to get to know April before we break up, pretend break up that is."
"This is way too much."
"No, it isn't." Lorelai said, putting her hand on her chest. "I promise you, we can do this."
"If we do this you can tell Rory and Sookie, I don't want to cause trouble between any of you."
"That sounds good to me."
"Are you sure we can do this?" Luke asked, still kicking himself for bringing her into this.
"I know we can, I'm gonna make sure you can see April."
"Thank you so much for this, you don't know how much this means to me." Luke said sincerely.
"Hey, what are friends for."
"Well not this, that's why I'm thanking you." He said, they both smiled at each other before he stood up. "I need to get back to the diner, I sort of ran out on my shift earlier so Caesar is probably pretty upset with me by now."
"Okay, I'll see you later than."
"How about you and Rory come to the diner later for dinner, fake fiance's get everything on the house."
"Damn, if I would have know that I would have gotten fake engaged to you sooner."
"Bye, Lorelai." He said with a smile as he walked out of the kitchen.
"Bye, cupcake." She teased and he turned around to face her, giving her an odd look. "Just getting into character."
"Pet names aren't necessary."
"Okay.. Sweet cheeks."
Luke shook his head as he turned to leave again. He thought about how he definitely had ideas in the past about being married to Lorelai but this one way wouldn't have crossed his mind in a million years, not that they would really even be married. He still wasn't sure if it was a good idea getting Lorelai involved in his lie but he felt as though it might be the only way to get to spend some time with his daughter, no matter how embarrassing it had already proven to be. He was stuck in this lie he had formed and there was no way to back out of it now, the only thing he could do was go on pretending.