"Lucaaaas!" The familiar voice of Lorelai Gilmore rang out as she waltzed into the diner, the bell over the door jangling in her wake.
I raised an eyebrow from my post behind the counter. "Don't call me that," I grumbled.
"It's going to snow today," she said. She slid into a stool in front of me, beaming.
"How can you tell?" I asked, pouring the requisite cup of coffee and pushing it toward her.
"I can smell it," she replied, nearly bouncing from excitement.
"You can smell it?" I repeated skeptically.
"Can't you?" Lorelai replied, gulping down half the cup in one go.
"No, I have not developed that ability," I replied dryly. "What does snow smell like?"
Lorelai set down the cup, looking at me nearly starry-eyed. She shrugged a little. "The air is crisper, there's a sharpness to it, and it's almost sweet, like something good is coming."
"You're cracked," I said, filling her cup again.
"Obviously something is right in the world because you just gave me a refill without me having to beg for it," she replied, and I cleared my throat. I was so distracted by her snow thing that I'd forgotten to rag her on her over-consumption of coffee.
"Merry Christmas," I grumbled, before turning away.
"Christmas isn't for 6 days!" she called out. I waved her off before disappearing into the kitchen.
She flounced in again later, ignoring the Closed sign on the door, snowflakes melting on her hair. "Ha!" she shouted, leaning forward against the counter, nearly nose to nose with me. "Ha, ha, HA!" she cried, poking me in the chest. "See? I told you!"
I backed up, brushing her finger away. "Yeah, yeah, you're the Sylvia Browne of snow." I picked up the coffee pot, swishing around the remains of the black liquid. "You having coffee?"
"I really can't stay," she said, "I just came to gloat."
"It's cold outside," I replied. I hesitated, then rolled my eyes, feeling somewhat indulgent. "Coffee to go?"
"Sure," she said. "But…" she trailed off, her lips curling into a sly grin. The same grin I see whenever she's about to plead for an extra favor.
I brace myself. "What?"
"Can you make more? I want some for Rory, too."
"You want me to make another whole pot just for two to-go cups?"
"Make it four and I'll be your best friend," Lorelai replied, with an exaggerated wink.
"Fine," I said. I turned around and began pouring grounds into the filter.
"More!" she piped up, and I turned to direct a glare at her, but she just smiled brightly. I sighed heavily, but dumped more in anyway. As the coffee began to drip down through the machine into the carafe, I leaned against the back counter, looking at her. When I saw the flakes beginning to fall outside, I'd hoped that she'd drop in. Even if, as she said, it was just to gloat. She smiled again, and clasped her bare hands in front of her to wait.
"Wait a second," I said, pointing at her hands.
She looked down. "What?"
"You don't have gloves?" I demanded.
"What?" she asked again, looking somewhat defensive. "I didn't walk here. I parked across the street and ran in. I was only going to come brag about my superior sense of smell and leave, you're the one that dangled the coffee carrot in front of me." I reached forward and closed my hands over hers, hissing slightly when I felt how ice cold they were.
"Your hands are freezing cold!" I said. "You're going to get pneumonia!"
"I hardly think I'll get pneumonia for being outside for, like, five seconds," Lorelai replied, rolling her eyes.
My eyes drifted over to the window, and I pointed at the snow, which was coming down much harder than before. "Might take you more than five seconds to cross the street in this mess," I said.
She turned her head, and gasped. "Holy shit," she said.
"You should give it a few minutes," I continued, turning to look at the coffee machine, which was almost done dripping into the pot.
"And wait for it to get worse?" she asked incredulously.
I got out the to-go cups and lids, and arranged them on the counter. "Or for it to let up a little."
"Ugh," Lorelai groaned. "Rory's going to wonder where I am," she said.
I jerked my head toward the phone on the wall. "Call her."
"Really?" she asked.
I looked up from the coffee pot. She looked way too excited at the prospect of using the diner phone. "No prank calls," I said sternly. She rolled her eyes.
"I wouldn't do that with you right there," she said, like it was obvious. She pushed away from the counter and walked around to stand next to me, picking up the phone and punching in the numbers. She held the phone to her ear, and tapped her foot impatiently. Eventually, she hung up. "No answer," she said, and I noticed a line of worry creasing her forehead.
"Did she have study plans after school?" I asked. "I haven't seen her since this morning."
"I'm not sure," Lorelai said. She walked back over to the counter, and began to dig around in her purse. "Maybe she paged me." She lifted up the pager, and exhaled. "Ah, she's staying with my parents. I guess the roads are bad in Hartford and the busses stopped running. Bummer way to begin her winter break."
"She was able to fit all that in a page?" I asked. I looked down at the still empty coffee cups. Noticing where my gaze landed, Lorelai grabbed two of the cups and thrust them toward me.
"The entire thing was 'In Hartford no bus much snow', I just filled in the blanks." I filled the cups and pushed them back toward her. She fitted the lid on the first one and took a small sip. "Delicious," she said with a grin.
"Come on upstairs," I said, flicking off the coffee machine and pushing a lid onto the second cup.
"But, I should get home," Lorelai said, and we both looked out the window, where the snow appeared to have doubled its efforts to completely bury Stars Hollow by morning.
"Well, I'm not digging out your Jeep," I said firmly, "and you're not walking home, so you might as well wait it out. I've got the heat on upstairs."
She paused, holding the cup in her hand. Together, we watched the snow steadily pile up on the sidewalk and the few cars parked on the street, including the Jeep. There wasn't a soul out in the town square. Finally, she nodded. "Okay, but you and Jess have to be nice to me."
"Jess isn't here," I said, walking over to flick the lock on the door.
"He's not here?" she asked. "Did he go visit his mom or something?"
"Nah, are you kidding?" I snorted. I pulled the blinds, hoping to maybe keep some heat in the diner, to avoid my electrical bill going sky high. "No, he's working at Wal-Mart tonight. By the looks of it, he won't be coming home."
"Where will he sleep?" she asked, following me up the stairs to the apartment.
"Well, if he's stupid, in his car," I replied.
"And if he's not?"
"I don't know, I'm sure there's a couch he can crash on in the furniture department." I opened the door and Lorelai followed me in. As I'd told her, the apartment was fairly warm from turning the heat on an hour before. It was supposed to dip far below freezing and the heater sometimes took awhile to get going. The building was never really meant to be a residence. I could hear the heater still going, blowing hot air into the apartment, and I could tell Lorelai was glad to finally start to feel warm again.
She set the second cup of coffee down on the table, and peered out the window over the sink. "Geez, it's really coming down out there," she said, standing on her tiptoes.
"Your super nose didn't tell you we were getting a blizzard?" I asked, adjusting the heat on the thermostat.
"It's more of yes or no kind of thing, not a how much," she replied. "I should have gone home right away instead of coming here to gloat. That's what I get for being cocky."
I shrugged. "What else were you going to do?" I asked her. "Without Rory, you'd be bored out of your mind."
She gave me a slight smile. "You're probably right." She sighed a little, then walked over to the couch, and collapsed down onto it. She held up her cup and shook it a little. "All out!" she called over. "Gimme my other one."
"Sure," I said. I grabbed a bottle of bourbon from the cabinet and made myself a drink with ginger ale, then after a moment's consideration, I added some of the bourbon to Lorelai's drink. It wasn't tequila, which I knew from one particular Quaker festival was her drink of choice, aside from Founder's Day Punch, but I figured it would be appreciated.
I walked over to the couch with our drinks, setting hers down on the coffee table in front of her, and taking a swig of my own before sitting down. "You can turn on the TV," I suggested.
"Really?" she asked, sounding surprised. I gestured toward the remote and she grabbed it quickly. She started clicking through the channels before I even had a chance to take a second drink. She stopped on some Christmas movie and settled into the couch, tucking her feet underneath herself. She took a large gulp from her coffee, and made a confused face. "What's in this drink?" she asked, looking over at me.
"Jim Beam," I replied, holding up my own glass in a toast.
"Nice," she replied, taking another drink. We watched the TV together, and I could feel the alcohol beginning to warm me up. I vaguely wondered if Mrs. Slutsky saw Lorelai come in, or noticed her car outside.
"Babette's going to see my car here tomorrow morning and make assumptions," Lorelai said, and I looked over in shock, wondering if I spoke out loud. "What?" she asked, seeing my expression.
"I was just thinking the same thing," I said, chuckling. "Except, I was thinking about my neighbor."
"Ah, Mrs. Slutsky," she said knowingly. "She always looks like she's silently judging me."
"Well, Babette might not even be able to tell it's your Jeep. It'll probably be completely buried by morning."
"Oh, she'll know," Lorelai replied. She took another drink. "I swear, one time Rory and I went shopping in New York City and got a little carried away, so we spontaneously decided to spend the night. When we got back, she told us that she'd called the cops. The cops!"
"Concern in this town sometimes tends to end up in stalker territory," I said.
"You said it, mister," Lorelai replied, standing up. "Hey, do you have any more of this stuff?" she asks, tapping her cup.
"Yeah," I replied. I pointed to the kitchen table, where the mostly full bottle of bourbon sat. "The coffee is probably cold already."
She shrugged. "I can warm it up. You have a microwave, right?"
"Yes," I said, shaking my head in disbelief, hefting myself up off the couch. "You're going to be wide awake all night."
"I'll just add a little extra hooch," Lorelai said with a grin. I held the door open for her, and we went back downstairs into the diner. I warmed the entire carafe in the microwave, and then poured her two new to-go cups.
She peered between the blinds, looking outside into the street. "The snow's stopped," she announced.
"Still damn cold," I replied, pouring a liberal amount of bourbon into both of her cups before securing the lids on. "And you have no gloves."
"It's beautiful, though. Come look."
I picked up one of the cups and came toward her. She had a serene smile on her face, and although she wanted me to look outside at the snow-covered street, I was captivated by the sight of her. Her eyes were almost glowing from the reflection of the snow and moonlight. She turned to look at me, and there was a moment when it seemed like both of us were completely breathless. Her face was framed by strands of dark hair, and her lips were still red-stained from the lipstick she wore that day. But just as quickly as the moment came, it ended, and she turned back to face the window.
"I should try to drive home," she said.
"No," I replied, "it's too cold, and you'll freeze. And I'm not digging your Jeep out for you."
"Why not?" she asked, affronted.
"Because my shovel is at your house!" I said indignantly. "And, if you didn't hear me the last dozen times, it's cold outside."
"It's at my house?" she asked.
"Yes, I lent it to you two years ago," I replied, handing her the cup. "And you might as well come back upstairs, take off your hat and coat, and stay awhile."
Lorelai's hands went to her head, still covered in her blue knit hat. "Ugh, I'm going to have horrible hat hair," she groaned.
"I'm sure it'll be fine," I replied, rolling my eyes.
"Easy for you to say," she said. "You never take yours off!"
I grabbed the bill of my hat and tossed it onto the empty counter. "There, happy?"
"Yes," she said, smirking. Gingerly, she pulled her own hat off, patting her hair.
"See, your hair looks fine," I said.
"Yeah?" she said, still patting it self-consciously.
"Yes, now come on. It's warmer upstairs than it is down here." I took the bourbon and the second cup of coffee up the stairs, and she followed, finally shrugging off her coat.
I poured myself a second glass of ginger ale and bourbon as Lorelai returned to the couch. She was tapping her fingers nervously to the side of her cup.
"Is something wrong?" I asked.
"No, nothing," she said, smiling brightly, and I lowered my eyes at her. She wrinkled her nose and huffed. "Fine," she said, "I'm thinking about Rory and hoping that she's okay."
"She's with your parents," I said. "Why wouldn't she be okay?"
"I don't know, maybe they're filling her with all this nonsense about cotillion and debutante balls and Yale and all of that."
"Rory's smart, she knows that stuff is ridiculous."
"I used to think that she would be like me, you know, and reject it, but she's into it. I can tell." She stood up and started looking around the apartment. It made me nervous, watching her catalog all the things I owned, like she was filing away observations about me.
I stood up and stretched, my limbs feeling a little loose from the alcohol. I didn't know if I would be opening up the diner in the morning, but I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. "So, I'll take the couch," I said, and Lorelai looked up from her reverie.
"What?" she asked, looking confused.
"I'll take the couch," I repeated. "You can have the bed."
"No, no, no," she said quickly, setting the cup down on the table. "I'm not staying."
"Well, where do you think you're going?" I asked patiently. "I'm not letting you walk home, not that you'll get very far in knee-deep snow, I can't dig out the Jeep, and I'm fresh out of helicopters, so you'll have to spend the night."
"Look," she replied, and she looked a little nervous, "I really appreciate you letting me hang out here, but I can't spend the night."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because," she stressed, "people will talk. And I know you hate people gossiping about you."
"Since when do you care about stuff like that?" I asked.
"Luke," she said, and tilted her head slightly. "They're going to be harassing both of us. Me and you, snowed in here together, overnight."
"So what," I said. "Does it bother you that people might think we slept together?"
"A little," she said.
"Why?" I asked. "As long as you and I know the truth, what does it matter?" My tongue was apparently as loose as my limbs, because the next words shot out before I could stop them. "Am I so undesirable that it'll hurt your chances with the next GQ Ad that shows up in town?"
She stepped back, and looked hurt. "Luke, that's not what I meant."
"Well, what did you mean?" I asked, my voice getting a little softer. "It really doesn't bother me what people say or think. I care about you freezing to death out there. I'll just ignore them."
She flushed slightly, then nodded. "Okay," she said. "But I'll take the couch, you take the bed." I raised my eyebrows at her in surprise. "That is, unless you feel strongly about giving me the bed, in which case, I guess I'd feel obligated."
"Take the bed," I said, and went over to the closet to get out some clean sheets.
"Do you have anything I can wear?" she asked. "Like, something pajama-like?"
"Uh, yeah," I said, pausing a moment. I dug around in my drawer for a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeved shirt. "It's gonna be big on you," I said, "but the pants have a drawstring so they should at least stay up."
The folded clothes were in my hands and Lorelai reached out to take them from me. I felt her fingertips brush my hand as she took them, and I didn't know if it was the alcohol or the snow or just Lorelai in general, but I felt a spark.
She slipped into the bathroom to change into the borrowed clothes, and I took the opportunity to change my own. I was just tucking in the sheets into the couch when she stepped out. I straightened, and the sight of her in my clothes was almost more than I could take.
"What?" she asked, looking self-conscious. "Do I look stupid?"
"No," I said, my voice sounding low to my ears. I cleared my throat. "No, you look… uh…"
"I look?" Lorelai repeated questioningly, tilting her head.
"Great," I finished lamely.
"Great?" she asked, almost incredulous. "I'm wearing sweatpants."
"But they're my sweatpants," I said, and once the words were out I wished I could snatch them out of the air and put them back in my head.
"Your sweatpants are special?" she asked.
"No," I said, trying to backpedal. "It's just that, you're here, and in my… Aw, never mind," I said, waving my hand, hoping that she would crack a joke and we could get back to our normal banter.
"Luke?" she asked quietly, and I heard her taking soft steps toward me, and I was wishing she wouldn't. Neither of us were drunk, I didn't think, but we'd had several drinks between us and we weren't thinking clearly.
"Ah," I said, as she gingerly touched my arm. I stood up in front of her, and we gazed at each other.
"Why do you care so much about me going out in the snow?" she asked, and I looked into her eyes, bright blue and beseeching, and I didn't know exactly what she wanted me to say.
"Because I care about you," I replied hoarsely.
"I care about you, too," she said. Her hand was still on my arm, and she fingered the material on my t-shirt gently.
"How much?" I asked, once again, the words slipping out nearly unbidden. I cursed myself for drinking when I had known early on that I would be insisting that she stay. Part of me wondered if I didn't rush her out the door immediately once the snow started on purpose, so that I could have her here with me all night long.
"Not as much as Rory," she said with a slight grin.
"Understandable," I replied. "She's your daughter."
"But," she said, and she straightened her spine, drawing herself up. "Just below Rory, I'd say."
"Really," I said. "Lorelai, what are we doing?"
"I don't know," she said. She stepped closer. "Could you ever be, you know, interested?"
"Never mind," she said, and began to step away, but I caught her arm. I bent my head down and pressed my lips to hers.
I was kissing Lorelai Gilmore. I could taste the faint traces of coffee and Jim Beam on her lips, and when she opened her mouth, the flavors mingled even more sweetly. I swept my tongue over hers and nearly groaned from the exquisiteness. She clutched my shirt in her fists and pulled me into her, and our bodies were flush against each other for the first time.
She stepped backwards and pulled me with her, and we staggered in the direction of my bed. I pulled back, breathing hard. "We can't do this tonight," I said, trying to calm myself and act responsible, and not get swept up in the lust-filled passion of our embrace.
"Why not?" she asked, and I could tell she was trying to catch her own breath.
"We've been drinking," I said, "we're not thinking straight. I don't want you to regret anything in the morning."
She waited a few breaths before answering. "I've thought about this before. Haven't you?"
"God, yes," I said. "But you… really?"
"Oh yeah," she said, sliding her hand from my chest toward my neck. "I mean, honestly, there probably isn't a red-blooded woman in Stars Hollow that hasn't." She laughed a little, her voice still breathless. "I just never wanted to ruin my friendship with you. But if you…"
"Oh, I do," I said. "But I can wait."
"I don't want to wait," she said, looking up at me. "You and me, this is right, isn't it?"
My knees buckled. "So right," I said, wrapping my arms around her and giving her another deep, soul shattering kiss. She gave as good as she got, and right then, I knew that all my fantasies over the years about her had been dead wrong. The reality was so much better. She wasn't passive, sultry, or teasing. She had fire and passion, and she pushed me back against the bed before I knew what was happening. She climbed on my lap, forcing me down, her lips and her body claiming me.
I'd barely got my bearings when I realized she'd pulled off my pants, my dick springing up to meet her grasp. "Yes," she murmured, taking me in her mouth.
"Guh," I managed to gasp. She hummed around my dick and I knew it was going to be over before we started if she kept at it. "Not yet," I panted, and somehow she understood, releasing me slowly, her tongue making a final twirl around the tip. I sat up on my elbows, looking at her. She looked smug, her cheeks pink and her hair a little mussed. Leaning forward, I curled my fingers around the edge of her shirt, and looked up at her, asking for permission. She nodded, and I slowly lifted it, miles of creamy skin slowly unveiled until I got to the round curve of her breasts. I almost abandoned removing the shirt in favor of getting acquainted with those perfect mounds, but I kept going until the shirt was off, and I tossed it aside.
Slowly, I pulled her closer, resting my hand on her back, pressing a tentative hand to one breast, gently caressing the underside, and bringing my thumb around to the pert nipple, rosy red and begging to be tasted. When I pressed my lips to her, swirling my tongue around the stiff peak, I felt her melt against me. I sucked harder, eliciting the most perfect gasp from her. "Beautiful," I murmured, and she sighed.
I pushed back the blankets and we slowly migrated from the edge of the bed, my hands and lips getting acquainted with as much of her body as possible. I shucked off my shirt and she pushed down those sweatpants, and pulled her on top of me, our bodies notched together as if we had been made to be a perfect pair.
"Condoms are in the bathroom," I mumbled as she ground her wetness against my throbbing dick.
"I'm on the pill," she said. "And it's been awhile." She bent down and kissed me. "I trust you," she whispered, her lips right next my ear, and her words sent shivers through my body. I nodded, and she slid down, sheathing me inside of her, inch by inch. My heart pounded as we just enjoyed that first moment of connection. I lifted my hand, cupping her cheek, and we shared a look of heat and something I couldn't name. Not yet.
With unspoken agreement, we began to rock against each other. She moved slowly and languidly. Her cheeks were flushed, and both of us were breathing heavily. I wanted to make it last, but I didn't know if I could. Her eyes fluttered closed, and I wanted to get her there before I exploded. My hand snaked between us, and I circled my thumb around the tight bud of nerves. She gasped, and the sound was almost enough to end it right there. Her rocking grew more erratic, and the sound of our panting filled the room. When she cried out, I nearly wept from relief. I circled my arm around her relaxed form, switching our positions so that she was laid on the bed under me. I gathered her hair with one hand and kissed her, as I pumped my hips into her. She wrapped her legs around me and hung on as we rode together towards my orgasm, finally spilling into her with a gasp and a groan.
I shifted over to my side, pulling her close next to me, both of our hearts pounding against each other. I nuzzled her neck with my lips, wishing that the moment would never end.
"Rory's not going to believe it," she murmured, sounding lazy and sated.
"Hmm," I replied noncommittally. I tried to push down some panic, that maybe it was a one-time thing.
"Good thing she's going to off to college soon," she continued, reaching her arms out to hold me more tightly.
"Why do you say that?" I asked, holding my breath.
"She won't want to hear us rollicking like that," Lorelai said. I opened my eyes, and saw the whisper of a smile on her lips. I felt myself relaxing into her embrace.
"No, she won't," I agreed, and closed my eyes, thanking the snow for dumping all over Stars Hollow.
Dawn came sooner than either of us would have liked. The sun was peeking around the mostly snow-covered windows, sending beams of yellow into the apartment. I shifted slightly, pulling Lorelai's naked body more tightly against mine. With a sigh, I realized I should probably go downstairs, and see if there was any point to opening this morning. It had been a long time since it snowed so much that I didn't have at least a few stragglers banging on the door, wanting coffee and scrambled eggs. But when I attempted to slip out of the bed, Lorelai's grip on me tightened.
"I have to go downstairs," I mumbled into her hair.
"No, baby," she said softly, holding me to her. Her feet moved to tuck between mine, our skin still hot from being pressed up against each other all night. "It's cold outside."