A/N: Here it is, at last. Thank you all so much for sticking with me through thick and thin on this one. This final chapter was a lot harder for me than I ever anticipated. There was so much more to say. I know there were many of you who were waiting on the smut, and it is there, but probably not as much of it as you would have liked. The story just flowed a little to sweetly to dirty it up too much. Now that this is complete, I will turn my attentions back to Middle Management and Good at Dirty, so you can get your dirty! fix there. At least, until something else distracts me…

Thank you again. I truly enjoyed writing this one, even the icky parts. Funny how that turns out sometimes…

That Couple Life Begins

Lorelai smiled as she felt Luke reach over and place his hand on her stomach. She opened her eyes, but was not surprised to see that his were still closed, his breathing deep and even. She looked at him, marveling at how relaxed and almost boyish he looked in his sleep. She knew that each of them must do this very thing multiple times a night, every night. Reach out, a soft touch, the brush of a foot, a flicker of the eyelids, just to be sure that the other is still there. Really there. "I'm here," she whispered to him.

"Good," he mumbled without opening his eyes. "This had better not be bad luck," he warned in a rusty voice.

"We're making our own luck," she told him softly.

His lids fluttered open and his dark blue gaze fixed on her. "Hi," he said softly.

Lorelai smiled as she snuggled down into her pillow and whispered, "Hi back."

He looked at her steadily and asked, "You ready for this?"

"I was born ready for this," she answered.

Luke snorted sleepily and said, "Yeah, not so much."

"Okay," she conceded. "How about this? I want this more than anything else in the world," she said softly.

"More than a lifetime supply of coffee and Mallomars?" he asked.

"Yes," she said with a definite nod.

"Wow," he said as he stretched his legs, rubbing his foot against hers.

Lorelai nodded and said, "I know. Pretty impressive, huh?"

"I'm impressed," he answered.

"How about you?" she asked.

"More than I want you to stop swilling coffee and snarfing Mallomars," he said solemnly.

Lorelai turned and looked at the early morning sunlight filtering through the gauzy curtains. She turned back to look at him and said, "Looks like a nice day to get married."

"I think so," he answered as he pulled her closer to him.

"The girls are downstairs," she warned him.

"I'm aware of that. I just want you closer," he answered.

Lorelai reached over and smoothed his neatly trimmed hair over his ear. "Big day," she said with a happy sigh.

"The biggest," he answered.

"I feel," she started and then stopped, trying to put her finger on it. "I feel calm," she finished with a shrug.

Luke nodded and said, "Yeah. Eerily calm."

"Content?" she asked him.

"Perfectly content," he said, nodding against his pillow.

"I should probably get up. There are a million things to do yet," she told him. She laughed and said. "Sookie has probably imploded."

Luke nodded and said, "Yeah, and I saw the list that April and Rory had going down there."

Lorelai smiled at him tenderly and said, "The next time we see each other will be at the altar."

"Looking forward to it," he said in a raspy voice.

"A little pre-marital necking?" she asked.

Luke smiled as he rolled over, pressing her to the bed beneath him. "You just want one last cheap and easy thrill before taking the plunge?" he asked.

"You're not cheap and you are anything but easy," she said with a laugh.

"Hey," he said as he pulled back, affronted. "Wait. Was that an insult? I'm not really sure," he said as he thought about it.

"It was both a compliment and an insult wrapped up in one neat combo," she told him.

"You are very talented," he said with a nod.

"Thank you. I trained at the knee of the master," she said with a nod.

Luke kissed her lightly and said, "Speaking of the master, what time does your mother get here?"

"An hour or so. Now, give us a little thrill, Burger Boy, and make it a good one," she murmured. Luke kissed her tenderly, pouring his heart and soul into the kiss as Lorelai arched up to meet him giving hers in return.


It hadn't been easy getting there, to that sunlit room on a hot, hazy August morning, but it hadn't been as hard as they expected, either. True to his word, Luke was waiting for her on the porch steps when she got home from the airport. He stood up as she parked the Jeep, and sat still in the driver's seat for a moment. He walked over, opened the door and waited patiently until she turned to look at him. Her eyes were swimming with tears that had yet to spill over. Without a word, he opened his arms slightly and she fumbled her way out of the car and into his embrace. He held her there in the front yard, as she cried, mourning her baby's departure. Finally, he wrapped an arm around her waist and they walked hip to hip into the house and to the couch, where she curled up against him, her tears soaking through his flannel and the t-shirt beneath. He continued stroking her back soothingly even after she calmed, glad to be the one to comfort her, happy to be the guy to dry her wet cheeks with the gentle caress of his fingertips.

Lorelai held firm to her convictions, and that night after retrieving three boxes marked, 'General Studies Textbooks,' from the garage, Luke climbed into bed next to her and they fell into an exhausted sleep wrapped in the security of one another's arms. They allowed themselves a few days grace, just a few days to wallow in both the joy of their reunion, and the grief of Rory's departure. When Lorelai awoke the following Thursday morning she looked over to find him watching her sleep. "Hey," she whispered.

"Hi," he said as he brushed her hair back from her face.

Lorelai looked at him solemnly and said, "We need to talk."

"Yeah, I know," he said in a voice tinged with both fear and regret.

"It will be good," she promised him.

"You think?" he asked doubtfully.

Lorelai smiled and said, "Well, no matter what, it's not going to change the outcome, right?"

"Right," he answered with a nod.

"So, that will be good. To get it out there. To finish it off once and for all," she said encouragingly.

"I guess so," he conceded with a sigh. He turned his head and stared up at the ceiling as he said, "I really hate that TV."

"Then it goes," she said simply. She reached for his hand and laced her fingers through his as she said, "I think we should look for a new house."

"You do?" he asked, shocked that she was even considering it.

"We need room for April when she comes. And, I still think that kids would be good," she said quietly.

Luke turned to look at her and said, "So do I."

"Our house. That we pick out together. Move into together," she said firmly.

"Before or after we get married?" he asked her, letting her know that marriage was a foregone conclusion for him.

"Doesn't matter to me," she said with a shrug. "Depends on how soon you want to," she told him the calmness in her voice covering the pounding of her heart.

"Is it crazy to be talking about this so soon?" he asked her with a frown.

"Not as far as I'm concerned," she answered. "This is a done deal, you and me," she said as she rolled up onto her side and propped her head up.

"Yes, it is," he agreed.

"Are we going to talk about Christopher?" she asked.

"Not in bed," he answered tersely.

"Fair enough," she said with a nod. "Then we should probably talk about April and Anna when were not in bed too," she told him.

"I have to go to work," he said worriedly, reluctant to leave now that the conversation had started.

"We talk tonight?" she asked.

"Tonight," he said with a nod. He rolled over to face her and said, "I want to get married soon. I don't want to wait any longer than we have to."

"Well then, you should probably propose to me," she said with a smile.

"I probably should," he said, nodding as he grinned back at her.

"I still have the ring," she told him. "I gave it to Rory to give back to you, but she packed it away in one of the Luke boxes," she told him. "I found it in its box wrapped up in that blue flannel shirt I swiped," she said shaking her head.

"I'll take care of the proposing. That's my job," he said sternly.

Lorelai nodded slowly and said, "Fine. I'll let you take care of that."

"Thank you very much," he said dryly.

"It's in the jewelry box," she told him in an exaggerated whisper.

"Okay," he whispered back, unable to resist the urge to grin at her.

"Maybe we should eat out tonight, that way we can't yell and scream at each other," she suggested.

"I don't plan to yell and scream, but if you want to go out, we can," he answered easily.

Lorelai cocked her head and said, "I remember once you told me that you had decided to adopt a Zen attitude in dealing with Taylor. I remember how weird and funny it was. Very un-Luke," she said with a chuckle. She looked at him as she sobered and asked, "You aren't doing that now, are you? Getting all fake Zen on me? Because, if you are, I'd rather you yelled and screamed," she told him sincerely.

Luke shook his head and said, "No, no fake Zen for you." He sighed and said, "Lorelai, I've learned a lot about myself this last year. Some things that I didn't like and some that I know I can't really change. That's just who I am," he said with a shrug. "I just, you're right," he said a he gestured to her. "There's no sense in getting all freaked out about it. There's no reason to be mad anymore. I mean, I know we have to talk it out, and work on some things, but it doesn't really matter what we say. It's not going to change the way that I feel," he said simply. He smiled as he gave a rueful chuckle and said, "Believe me, if I could have found a way to hate you, I would have."

"I don't doubt that," she said dryly.

"But, the fact of the matter is that I don't hate you. I love you, and this is where I want to be," he said plainly.

"Me too," she said with a soft smile. "To all of it," she added.

"Give me the words," he teased.

"I don't hate you," she said soberly.

"Thank you very much," he said as he rolled over and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "I need to get ready," he said as he stood up and stretched, rubbing his stomach through his t-shirt.

Lorelai smiled as she watched him walk stiffly to the bathroom, twisting his back to loosen the muscles up as he went. "I'll wait until you're done," she said as she reached for his pillow and pulled it over on top of hers. She snuggled into it and closed her eyes as she breathed in the scent of Luke. She smiled to herself as he closed the bathroom door behind him and murmured, "Hmm, he does smell faintly of meat."


After having breakfast with Luke, Rory and April, Lorelai went upstairs, and lit the candle she kept on the bathroom vanity before running the water in the tub and dumping in a generous amount of bubble bath. She piled her hair up on top of her head and stepped into the tub. She sank back, letting the bubbles cover her as she stared at the pale pink polish on her toes. She had wanted to go red, but Rory and April have overridden her. She closed her eyes, thinking about the fun the three of them had had the previous afternoon.

Rory had dropped her off at the reception desk at the spa and given them strict instructions to rub her until she was roughly the consistency of Jell-o. She flashed Lorelai a big smile as she hooked her arm through April's and said, "We're going shopping and then we'll be back for mani/pedi time. Be a good Bridezilla," she called as they breezed out of the door.

The girls returned two hours later with a handful of bags and huge grins. Lorelai shuffled into the pedicure room as loose as the proverbial goose. "Hey," she said as she saw them lounging in their chairs comparing tabloids and waiting for their technicians.

"Hi, Mom," Rory said brightly.

April smiled at her and said, "You look much better now."

"I feel like a rubber band," Lorelai said as Rory moved over a chair so that she could sit in between them. "You guys have fun?" she asked lazily.

"Rory and I have decided that we each like having a sister," April informed her in her usual blunt manner.

Lorelai smiled as she looked from side to side, seeing the happy smiles on each girl's face. "You do, huh?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah. Tell her what the best part is," Rory said as she flipped through her magazine feigning disinterest.

"Oh, the best part," April said with a knowing smile.

Lorelai's head whipped between them and asked, "What? What's the best part?"

"Second best part, really," Rory said with a shrug.

"True," April agreed as she went back to looking at her magazine.

"Okay, now, you know if you don't tell me what the best part, or the second best part is, my bridal stress meter will go shooting off of the charts," Lorelai said dramatically.

"Oh, well, we can't have that, can we? Not after that lovely massage," Rory said as she shook her head.

"The best part is that you and Dad are finally happy," April told her.

"Finally," Rory muttered under her breath.

"Hey!" Lorelai said indignantly.

"I know," April giggled.

"Hey, kid, he may be your dad and all, but I have been waiting for this day a lot longer than you have," Rory said as she leaned over and shot April an arch look.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever," Lorelai said dismissively, wanting to get to the part she didn't already know.

"Whatever, she says," Rory said with a snort.

April acted like she was holding a phone and said, "Hey Dad? Yeah, well, you know Lorelai? Yeah, your fiancée? Yeah, well, I hate to tell you this, but she's just not that into you, you know?"

"Stop," Lorelai pled. "Tell me the best part of having a sister," she demanded.

Rory shrugged and said to April, "Take it little sis."

"Well, aside from the shopping and the girl stuff, which, let's face it, Dad sucks at, no matter how hard he tries," April said dryly.

"Did he try to braid your hair?" Lorelai asked in a sympathetic tone.

April snorted and said, "No. Thank God. The best part is," she said, pausing for dramatic effect. "Oops, we can't tell you," she finished.

"Uh!" Lorelai said, turning to Rory, who was busy snickering in her chair.

Rory giggled and said, "See, this is a classic example. Wait until we get a hold of Luke!"

"His head will explode," April said with a knowing nod.

"Stop being so mean to Mommy! She's a nervous wreck about marrying Daddy tomorrow!" Lorelai said pathetically as their nail technicians walked into the room, exchanging glances, which sent the girls into fits of giggles.

"Tag team parental torment!" Rory crowed through her laughter.

"I never realized how good it could be to have a partner!" April giggled.

"That's it? That's the best part of having a sister?" Lorelai demanded.

Rory tried to straighten up as she said, "Aw, come on, Mom. You would kill to have a sister to help you torment Grandma!"

"Oh!" Lorelai gasped as she clamped her hand to her mouth. "Oh! I'm so jealous!" she whined.

"Told ya," Rory said to April.

"Well, you have Dad," April tried to comfort Lorelai.

"Yeah, but he's no good for this," Lorelai said dismissively. "He crumbles, the big baby, kiss up," Lorelai sneered.

"I'm sorry," April said as sincerely as she could through her giggles. "He is a big softy," she said with a nod.

"Don't we know it," Rory said with a grin.

"Do you know what colors you want?" one of the technicians asked, anxious to get to work.

Lorelai nodded and said, "I'm the bride, so I want pale, pale pink fingers, and really trashy red toes."

"Mom, you're wearing sandals tomorrow. You cannot have trashy toes," Rory said firmly.

"But Luke really likes the red toes," Lorelai protested.

April held up her hands and said, "Did not need to know that!"

"Welcome to my world, kid," Rory grumbled.

"And the parental torment goes both ways. Remember that, ladies," Lorelai said as she hopped out of her chair and sauntered over to the display of polishes. She turned back and said, "Hop to! Pick your colors!"


Luke got home from the diner that Thursday night in May to find dinner ready and waiting on the table for him. He eyed it suspiciously as Lorelai handed him a beer and said, "Sookie made it for us."

"Ah, good," he said as he took the beer, kissed her lightly and swung his leg over a chair. He set the beer on the table and said, "I thought that you wanted to go out?"

"I changed my mind. We should probably have this conversation in private," she said as she spread her napkin over her lap and took a drink of her beer. She picked up her fork and started to load it with rice as she blurted, "I didn't go there to sleep with him."

Luke blinked and sat back releasing a woosh of breath as he muttered, "Wow, straight for the big guns."

Lorelai paused and said, "Sorry, but I don't want us to dance around it all night."

"Okay, yeah, well, uh, okay," he said as he folded his hands over his plate nervously and stared down at it. "If we talk about this now, I won't be able to eat," he said gruffly.

"Oh, sorry," she said as she set her fork down and reached for his hand. "I didn't think. I just wanted to, I don't know, point to the elephant in the room and say, 'There he is,' you know?" she asked quietly.

"You're right, you're right," he said with a nod. He looked up at her and said, "There he is."

So she talked, telling him about that night, what she was thinking, how she was feeling, why she had done what she did. He told her about his struggle to come to grips with fatherhood, his worries about Anna and the power she wielded, and finally, his own worries over whether he could do it. He wrung his hands and said, "Look at who my role model was," as he gestured to her. "I didn't want you to know what I mess I was. I didn't want you to see me fumbling my way along. I didn't want you to see that and decide that having kids with me wasn't such a great idea," he said as he glanced away, still afraid to meet her gaze.

"I failed so miserably with that stupid party. The wrong gift, the lame party, shutting you out, telling you that I could handle it, and then when I couldn't, begging you to help me. You saved the day, you swooped in and fixed it all, and April was so happy," he told her. He laughed bitterly and said, "And I got all of the credit, you know, from her." He looked up at her and said, "I was okay with that. I didn't want you to be the one to save the day, I wanted to be. I took the credit for April's happiness, and you took the blame for Anna's anger," he said bluntly. He shrugged and said, "And that was fine with me, as long as I got what I wanted." He took a deep breath and said, "I was so focused on April that I couldn't see anyone or anything else. I had years to make up for, years that I wanted back," he said as he pointed to his chest.

He took a deep breath and said, "It wasn't until I lost you that I finally understood that there was absolutely nothing I could do to get those years back. And it wasn't until I held Doula for the first time that I truly realized what I had missed," he said angrily. "That was when I finally opened my eyes and saw things for the way they really were. Anna had no intention of ever sharing April with me. She only went along with the bare minimum when it was convenient for her or when April insisted," he told her. "It was then that I knew that I had to fight. And then, that day outside of Doose's, when I saw you holding Doula, I," he stopped, shaking his head at the memory. "It was like a punch in the gut, you know? I wanted that so bad with you," he told her.

"And I only wanted it with you," she told him honestly.

"That was the day that I realized what I had thrown away," he said quietly. He looked up at her and asked, "Why did you marry him?"

"Because I thought I could never have what I really wanted. I just figured that I should take what I could get," she said bluntly. She sighed and said, "You know, Chris really isn't the bad guy in this. Yeah, he saw the opportunity and he took it. Yeah, he knew how to get me when I was down, but Luke, I did this," she said firmly. "I'm not trying to defend him or anything, I just want you to know that this was on me," she said with a nod.

Luke smiled at her ruefully and said, "I know something about marrying the wrong person for the wrong reasons." Lorelai nodded and chuckled to herself as she began to clear their barely touched plates from the table. "What's so funny?" he asked.

Lorelai shook her head as she scraped the plates and asked, "Do you remember the day you took the tour of the Dragonfly, you know, when Sookie tried to set me up with the chicken man?" she reminded him.

"Yeah," he said, remembering more of the way she had wrapped his arm around her waist and leaned into him.

"Your divorce had just gone through, and I said, 'At least you got married' and you said, 'At least you had a kid,' or something," she said with a giggle.

"You're thinking we're even now," he said with a laugh.

Lorelai smiled at him as she sat down at the table with two more beers. "You know me too well," she said with a laugh. She looked at him and asked, "How are we doing so far?"

"I think we're doing good," he said with a nod.

"Enough for tonight?" she asked.

"Probably," he answered with a wince.

"One more tough question?" she asked.

"Okay," he said cautiously.

"So, um, sex?" she asked.

"Is good," he answered.

"We haven't," she said as she gestured between them.

Luke nodded and said, "Yes, I've noticed that."

"Do you want to?" she asked nervously.

He laughed as he answered, "Oh yeah, I want to."

Lorelai blinked at his quick response and said, "Oh, okay."

"When we're ready," he said with a nod.

"Okay," she said as she digested the information. "Is now good for you?" she asked as she thought about it.

Luke smiled and said, "It would be, but considering what we've been talking about, maybe another night would be better."

"Tomorrow?" she asked.

"I'm fine with tomorrow," he said as he nodded along.

"About six?" she asked.

Luke laughed and said, "Why don't we play it by ear?"

"I want you," she said softly.

"That feeling is entirely mutual. I just don't want all of this stuff hanging over us," he said sincerely.

"You're right. We should talk it out first," Lorelai agreed.

"Yeah because once we cross that line," Luke started to say with a leer.

"There will be very little talking," Lorelai finished for him. She flashed him a saucy smile and said, "Unless it's dirty!"


Luke leaned against the counter, staring out of the window at the flurry of activity in the square. He'd been banished. By Michel, no less. As he watched the preparations for his wedding reception take shape, he had to grudgingly admit that the annoying Frenchman was in his element. He strutted around in a suit in ninety degree weather, clutching a clipboard and barking orders that no one could understand. Luke sighed as he went back to wiping down the immaculate countertop in his empty diner. He was lost in thought as he heard the bells above the door jingle, and jerked his head up to see his nephew lounging in the doorway. "You're letting the cool air out," Luke said gruffly.

"Good to see you to, Uncle Luke," Jess said with a laugh.

Luke smiled as he glanced down at the rag in his hand and said, "Thanks for comin'."

"Well, you said you needed a best man, and I could think of no better man," Jess said as he smirked at Luke.

"Me either," Luke answered as he looked up.

"Aw, well, this is going to be no fun if you're gonna be all mushy and sweet," Jess teased as he dropped his bag on a table and slid onto a stool at the counter.

"You look like crap. Couldn't you afford a haircut?" Luke snarled.

"That's better, and yes, I could, but I knew this would make you crazy," Jess said as he shook his hair back from his eyes.

"You see your mom and sister yet?" Luke asked.

"Not yet. I came straight here to drop off my stuff," Jess told him.

Luke nodded and said, "Well, you'd better call. Your Mom will freak that you didn't go there first."

"I'll call in a minute," Jess answered. "Can I score a Coke or something?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah," Luke said as he shook his head to clear it, hurriedly pulled out a glass and filled it with ice.

As Jess watched him pour the Coke, he said, "So, big day."

"Big day," Luke agreed with a nod.

"I see the whole asylum is pitching in," Jess said as he jerked his chin toward the square.

"Try to stop them," Luke growled as he set the glass on front of his nephew. He scratched his chin as he looked out at the square again and said, "Actually, it's good. This is how it should be," he added with a shrug.

"Look at you, Mr. Civic Pride," Jess laughed.

Luke just shook his head and said, "This has just been a long time comin'."

"A long time," Jess agreed. He toyed with his discarded straw wrapper as he asked, "Happy?"

Luke chuckled a little and said, "Very."

"Good," Jess said before he slurped down the Coke in three long swallows. He set the cup down on the counter and said, "I'm goin' up," as he slid from the stool.

"Okay, good," Luke said with a nod. As Jess picked up his bag and headed for the curtain, Luke said, "Don't forget to…"

"I'm calling her," Jess answered as he disappeared up the stairs.

Luke picked up the glass and carried it into the kitchen to dump it and load it into the dishwasher. As he was closing the machine, he heard the bells chime again. He poked his head out to call to the customer that he'd be with them in a minute, and saw Richard Gilmore standing in the center of the room, surveying it carefully. Luke stepped out, wiping his hands on a clean towel as he said, "Oh, uh, hi Richard."

Richard smiled and said, "Hello, Luke."

"Can I, uh, is there something you needed?" Luke asked.

Richard shrugged and said, "I just dropped Emily off at the house, and I was a little bit at loose ends, so I thought I'd come by here."

"Can I get you something to drink?" Luke asked.

"Iced tea would be wonderful," Richard said as he took Jess' stool at the counter. He looked around and said with a chuckle, "I suppose most of your clientele is out there."

Luke nodded as he poured the tea and said, "Yeah, they've been running in and out all day. I was told to come in here and leave them alone," he said as he placed the glass on the counter.

"Yes, Emily similarly dismissed me," Richard said with a nod. He took a sip of his tea and said, "Mmm, that's good."

"I brew it with a little lemon in it, rather than adding it later," Luke said with a nod.

"I'll have to remember to tell Emily that," Richard murmured. He looked up at Luke and said, "I don't suppose I have to ask if you're ready."

Luke smiled and said, "Well, I imagine Emily and Lorelai would chop my head off if I showed up like this, but in the bigger sense, yes I am."

Richard turned the glass on the countertop, unconsciously smearing condensation over Luke's pristine expanse of Formica. Richard cleared his throat slightly and said, "I am very happy for you, and for Lorelai. You've both had some difficult times, and it makes her mother and me happy to see her so, uh, happy," he finished lamely.

"Thank you," Luke said cautiously.

Richard nodded and said, "I realize that Emily and I have not always treated you fairly."

"Richard," Luke began to say, but the older man held up a hand to stop him.

"We both know it's true, so there's no point in sugar coating it," he said with a stern look. "I just wanted to come in here today and tell you that we are happy for you both," he said firmly.

"Thanks," Luke said in a more sincere tone.

Richard nodded as he finished off his tea and placed the glass on the counter. He slid from the stool and stood up to his full height. He looked down at the younger man and said, "Good, well, very good. Oh, and I also wanted to tell you that if you hurt her like that again, as her father, I reserve the right to break every bone in your body." He smiled at Luke and winked as he said, "Or hire someone younger to do it."

Luke nodded and crossed his arms over his chest as he said, "I consider myself warned."

Richard smiled as he said, "I'm not really worried about it. I've just always wanted to say something like that to someone."

"Glad to be of service," Luke said with a smirk.

As Richard walked to the door he called, "How's your golf game coming?"

"I hate golf," Luke answered bluntly.

Richard smirked as he turned back with his hand on the doorknob and said, "Ah, yes, I remember that now. See you in a few hours," he chuckled as he opened the door.

"I like old cars, though," Luke called out to him.

Richard stopped and looked back at his soon to be son-in-law and asked, "Are you any good with them?"

"I know my way around," Luke said as he shrugged.

"Well then, I'll have to show you my baby, then, won't I?" Richard asked.

"Yeah, I'd like to see it," Luke answered with a nod.

Richard smiled and said, "Don't forget to shave, or Emily will scrape it off with her fingernails."


"You tricked me," Lorelai said accusingly into the phone.

"How did I trick you?" he asked.

"You said that we'd be having sex tomorrow, which is today, and it's six, but there's no sex because it's Friday and I'm on my way to my parent's house," she whined.

"So you think I was trying to get out of it?" he asked with a laugh.

"I don't know. Maybe you're trying to hold out until I buy the cow," she said petulantly.

"Well, I did just finish reading The Rules," Luke teased.

"I knew it! You don't want me," she said pathetically.

Luke smiled and turned his back to the diner as he said, "You know that's not true."

"No! I don't know that," she said stubbornly.

"I never agreed to six o'clock," he reminded her.

"No, you wanted to play it by ear," she said snidely. "Ooh, ears," she breathed into the phone.

"Stop it," he growled in response.

"I want to nibble on your ears," she said breathlessly.

"I'm hanging up now," he warned.

"All day long I was thinking about you," she told him. "All day. That is, until I got home and heard my mother's voice on the machine reminding me about dinner," she sneered.

"And that's my fault?" he asked.

"If you had let me have my way with you last night, I wouldn't be in this pathetic state," she complained. "But no! Mr. Let's Show Some Restraint, Mr. Let's Clear the Air," she said in a mocking tone.

"You're the one that said that we needed to talk last night, and you're the one who came out blasting with both barrels," he hissed into the phone. "So, yeah, I wasn't in the most romantic mood," he said dryly. He sighed and said, "Now, I have to go. I'm in the middle of dinner here," he told her with a hint of apology in his voice. "Are sure you want to tell them tonight?" he asked anxiously.

"Yeah, I doubt they'll be surprised, Luke," she told him.

"You think?" he asked.

"Mom knows," Lorelai said with a shrug.

"Knows what?" he asked blankly.

"How I feel about you. What I want," she said simply.

"Your mother knows?" Luke asked incredulously.

Lorelai nodded and said, "Yeah, well, we've actually gotten a little better lately."

"Yeah? How long do you think that will last?" he asked.

"Until about the time that I tell them that we're back together," she answered nonchalantly. When he didn't say anything she said firmly, "It makes no difference one way or another, Luke."

"I'll be at the house by the time you get home," he told her.

"Good, bring pie, I may need it," Lorelai said with a smile. "Bye, Doll," she said into the phone.

"Lorelai, I lo…" he started, but caught himself up short as Caesar called that orders were up.

She smiled as she realized that he had almost declared his love in the middle of the dinner rush at the diner. "Yeah, I love you too," she said softly as they hung up.

Luke sat on the couch, freshly showered and wearing nothing but an old faded pair of jeans and a t-shirt as he watched the tail end of a ballgame on the stupid plasma TV. He snorted to himself, knowing that he was probably one of the few guys alive who wasn't ecstatic to have a high definition plasma TV hanging in the living room. He stared at the thing, ignoring the ballgame and figuring out how much repair he was going to have to do to the drywall after he took it down. He knew it was childish; he knew that the TV really wasn't going to make that much of a difference in his life, but he didn't care. He wanted it gone, Lorelai said okay, and this weekend he was taking it down and putting it in storage for Rory to take when she finally got her first apartment. He heard Lorelai's Jeep pull into the drive and quickly turned the ballgame off. He got up to meet her at the door, dreading her report on how the evening had gone.

"Hey," he said nervously shoving his hands into his pockets as she stepped through the door.

"Hi!" she said brightly. "Now this is a wonderful thing to come home to," she purred as she ran her hand over the soft cotton of his shirt and glanced down at his bare feet.

"How'd it go?" he asked quickly.

"It went fine," she answered as she dropped her purse and keys on the table.

"Fine?" he asked as he followed her into the living room.

Lorelai turned to look at him and said firmly, "Luke, it was perfectly fine. I told them, and they murmured that they were happy if I was happy, and then we spent two hours talking about Rory's e-mails, Rory's blog, which was funny, hearing my Dad talk about blogs, and Rory's phone calls."

"They didn't have anything to say?" he asked nervously.

"Nothing bad," Lorelai told him honestly.

"Okay," he said as he blew out a relieved breath. "I can go with you next week," he offered.

"You're volunteering for Friday night dinner?" she asked in surprise.

"We're in this together, right? They need to see us together," he said with a nod. He snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him. "Hi," he said in a throaty voice, coupled with a devastatingly naughty smile.

"Hello to you," she said with a grin.

"I've been waiting for you," he said softly as he bent to nip at her neck.

"Oh, thank you, God," she whispered to the ceiling.

Luke smiled as he continued to press wet, hot kisses to her neck and jaw. "I've been thinking," he said between kisses.

"Dirty things?" she asked hopefully.

"Well, kind of," he said with a shrug. He nipped at her ear and said softly, "I think we should wait until we're married."

"What?" she demanded as he eyes flew open. "Luke, no!" she said shaking her head adamantly.

Luke laughed and said, "Just kidding," as he pressed her up against the wall and kissed her heatedly. He pulled back and gave her a huge smile as he said, "Sometimes, you're so easy."

"Take me upstairs and I'll show you how easy I can be," she said as she grabbed a fistful of his shirt and yanked on it.

Luke continued to smile down at her as he growled, "And I'll show you how hard I can be."

"Yay!" she crowed as she threw her head back and laughed. "There's my dirty boy!"

Luke laced his fingers through hers and turned toward the stairs, pulling her docilely along behind him. They walked into their bedroom, and Luke turned to close the door, and when he faced her again, she launched herself at him, making him stumble back against the door as she rained kisses over his face. Her hands were frantic as she mumbled, "I have to touch you."

Luke caught her wild hands in his and murmured, "You will," as he raised them to his lips with a searing look in his deep blue eyes.

"Oh God, don't look at me like that," she said breathlessly.

"I was just going to apologize to you now," he said gruffly. "I'm afraid that this may not go as, uh, romantically as I'd like," he said as he brushed his lips over her knuckles. "I promise, I'll make up for it later," he said as he lifted his eyes to hers again.

"Okay," she said whispered, lost in his eyes.

"In case I get a little too caught up to tell you later, I love you, Lorelai Gilmore," he said in a husky voice.

Lorelai smiled beatifically and pressed their hands to her chest. "You almost said it in front of the whole diner earlier," she teased.

Luke chuckled as he nodded and said, "Yes, I almost did."

"Caught yourself," she said with a laugh.

Luke lifted her hands to kiss them again as he looked at her seriously and said, "I'll say it wherever you want me to say it."

Lorelai smiled at him tenderly and said, "Here is good. But if you slip up out there, I won't mind."

"Good to know," he said as he lowered her hands slowly, placing one on his chest over his heart, and pressing the other to the fly of his jeans. He watched as her eyes widened slightly in shock, and then deepened with desire. "Feel my heart?" he asked in a raspy voice.

"Yes," she said as her other hand began to massage him through the soft denim of his jeans.

"That's not my heart," he said with a chuckle.

"Sorry, distracted," she said as she stilled her hand. "Heart, heart. That was up here, right?" she asked as she patted his chest.

"I want you so much," he said in the barest whisper. "This is what you do to me," he told her. He laughed a little and said, "Hell, most of the time, you don't even have to do or say anything, and I'm like this." He kissed her softly and said, "You see, I'm having a kind of a problem right now."

"Doesn't seem that way to me," she said with a short laugh.

"My heart," he said as he tapped the hand covering his chest. "My heart wants to go slow, take my time, make it last forever," he said in a throaty voice. "But other parts, other parts are kind of overruling my heart right now," he said gruffly. "I want you so badly it hurts," he said in a raspy voice, his breath hitching as she began to massage the bulge in his jeans again. "I want to throw you down on that bed, climb on top of you and bury myself so deep inside of you that I'll never get out," he growled. "I remember it all, Lorelai. Every sound you make, how your eyes look when you're excited, how they look when you come," he said in a deep voice. "I remember what it feels like to be inside of you, body and soul," he told her, his eyes burning into hers.

Lorelai's was breathing shallowly, each puff of breath from her parted lips, tickling his as she stood gazing at him mesmerized. Finally, she licked her lips and whispered, "You talk so much now. Shut up."

"I can't. We can't. We can't ever stop talking. I have to tell you everything I'm thinking, everything I'm feeling," he said as he shook his head helplessly. "I need you to tell me, do I follow my heart or do I give in to the need?" he asked her raggedly.

Lorelai leaned forward and kissed him sweetly before she turned and presented her back to him, lifting her hair in her hands to give him access to the zipper at the back of her dress. He pulled it down slowly, parting the material reverently and sliding it from her shoulders as he stared hungrily at the ivory column of her back. When the dress slid to the floor, Lorelai stepped out of it and kicked it aside, along with her sandals. She turned back to him and said, "Keep going," as she gestured to the scraps of lace she called a bra and panties. Luke carefully reached around her back, unhooked the bra and removed it quickly, letting it dangle from his fingers for a moment as he drank in the sight of her, before it fell to the floor. "Keep going," she encouraged him as he slid his hands down her sides, brushing his thumbs over the curve of her breasts, down into the hollow of her waist, and over hips where he hooked his thumbs into her panties and began to drag them slowly down her long legs. When she stepped out of them, he swayed toward her gasping her hips in his hands, and digging his fingers into her soft skin. "Hey, up here," she said softly.

Luke clenched his eyes shut for a moment, resisting the urge to stay on his knees and press his mouth to her soft, damp curls. He looked up at her, the raw ache evident in his stare. He stood up slowly, his eyes drinking in every freckle, every curve, and every inch of her delectable skin. When he finally met hers again, she reached for the hem of his shirt and nodded for him to lift his arms. She stripped it off quickly, flinging it across the room as she skimmed her hands down over his chest, smiling as his stomach muscles quivered and jumped beneath her soft touch. She unbuttoned his jeans, unable to resist tracing the trail of hair that disappeared tauntingly beneath the worn denim. Luke drew in a sharp breath as she reached for the zipper and softly said, "Careful," as she began to lower it. Lorelai glanced down and saw that he had foregone his boxers after his shower, and looked back up at him in shock. He flashed a self conscious smile and said, "Seemed like a good idea at the time. These jeans are a little tighter now than they were before."

Lorelai blinked and said, "I guess so," as she finished lowering the zipper. "Oh my God," she breathed as she wrapped her fingers around his rock hard cock and began to stroke him.

"Oh my God," Luke said as he quickly yanked her hand away. "Sorry," he said he kissed the palm of her hand. "Tell me a good Taylor story and I'll be better in a minute," he said breathlessly.

"The Red Sox won today," she told him.

Luke laughed and asked, "How did you know that?"

"I have a radio," she said in an injured tone. "I have a boyfriend who likes the Red Sox, so I notice when they say that they've won," she said with a shrug.

Luke nodded and said, "Going with the tried and true, 'Distract him with baseball,' ploy."

Lorelai looked him straight in the eye and said simply, "I want the need, Luke. I know where your heart is."

"Okay, that was a whole other kind of distraction," he said gruffly.

Lorelai shook her head and began to push his jeans down over his hips. When she got them down to his knees, she sank to hers and held them as he stepped out of them. When she looked up at him with those amazing blue eyes, he was lost. He reached down and pulled her up, pressing her to him hard as he kissed her passionately, his tongue sliding sensually against hers as he walked her back toward the bed. He pushed her gently back onto the bed and covered her quickly. He felt her breasts brush against the hair on his chest, and pressed closer, cupping them gently and molding her soft body to his with a deep groan. The tip of his cock brushed against her curls teasingly as he closed his eyes and struggled against his urges. Lorelai watched him carefully, knowing every thought that was flitting through his mind. She shook her head as she shifted beneath him, wrapping on leg up over his thighs and lifting her hips up to meet him. Luke opened his eyes as he felt her moisture against his super sensitive skin.

She smiled and said, "Babe, I'm not sure there are enough grand slams in the world to stop this," as she grasped his perfect ass and pulled him to her entrance.

"I'm sorry," he said as he pressed into her, all control lost.

"I'm not. I need you like you need me. I want you like you want me," she said breathlessly as she arched her back encouraging him to fill her completely. She met his dark blue eyes as he hovered above her. Reaching for his hand, she laced her fingers through his and brought them up to rest beside her head. "I love you like you love me," she said gently. "Oh, God, I need you," she whispered as she squirmed beneath him.

In her words, he found the calm he needed. In her desire, he found the comfort he sought. In their entwined hands, he found the control he thought had snapped. He began to move inside of her slowly, letting every little sigh and whimper soothe him. He looked into her eyes and saw utter devotion, knowing it was reflected in his. "Lorelai," he murmured simply for the pleasure of her name on his lips. "Oh, Lorelai," he sighed as he began to move giving in to their mutual need.

"Luke," she whispered urgently as she felt her climax coiling within her and the rush of hot tears filling her eyes. He was here. He was inside of her, deep inside of her where no one else could ever reach them. She closed her eyes tightly, afraid he wouldn't understand, but the tears just seeped from the corners.

"Look at me," he said softly. When she opened her eyes he said simply, "I'm here."

Lorelai's entire body shuddered as he took her up, his eyes locked on hers. "Luke, Luke, Luke," she chanted as she clutched at his back, squeezing him tight within her walls, keeping him just where she wanted him.

When she broke, she took him with her. He emptied himself into her, unable to make even a sound with the intensity of his release until finally he collapsed on top of her, crushing her with his weight, and murmuring her name over and over as he pressed his lips to her cheek, her neck her hair, any bit of her that he could reach. He untangled his hand from hers, and blindly wiped at the tears that wet the hair at her temple. He shifted, lifting up so that she could catch her breath, and looking down at her, he lost his. "So beautiful," he panted. "I promise I'll do better next time," he told her earnestly.

"I think we were pretty perfect that time," she said with a tender smile.

"I hardly touched you," he said shaking his head.

"You touched every part of me," she answered as she pulled him down to kiss him.


Lorelai stared at her reflection in the full length mirror. Emily flitted around the church dressing room, pressing bouquets into Sookie, Rory and April's hands. Lorelai turned from her own reflection to look at them in the dresses she had sewn. Sookie, heavily pregnant, wearing an empire waist with a floaty skirt in a warm coral color that brightened her sparkling eyes. Rory, graceful and slim, looking like a fairy tale princess in her silver blue dress with the fitted bodice and a softly flaring skirt. April, in a plum sheath, that made her feel grown up and chic, but made her squeal like the girl she was when she saw the color. Lorelai looked at her mother, elegantly chic for a summer wedding in a teeny tiny hamlet. The champagne color of Emily's suit set off her hair in a beautifully understated way. When Emily carried Lorelai's simple bouquet of cream and white roses over to her, Lorelai smiled and said, "You look beautiful, Mom," effectively stopping Emily's flitting.

"Thank you, Lorelai," she said with a small pleased smile. "The dresses are lovely," Emily said as she gestured to the bridesmaids.

Lorelai grinned at them and said, "Yeah, the girls in them aren't too bad either."

Sookie pressed her lip together and shook her head as she said, "You made totally the right decision with the dress."

Lorelai looked down at the simple white strapless gown with the tiny pearls sewn over the bodice. She smiled and said, "Luke had said he wanted me in a white dress."

Emily smiled at her daughter and said, "And we all know that what Luke wants, Luke usually gets."

Lorelai laughed and said, "In this case, yes."

"I've called dibs on the pink one," April said bluntly.

Rory snorted in a very unladylike fashion and said, "You wish."

"Ask Lorelai," April said indignantly.

"Mom!" Rory called as she turned to look at her mother.

Lorelai smiled and said, "Play nice, girls," making them giggle. Lorelai rolled her eyes and said, "I realize that you don't have much time together, but could you try not to cram years' worth of sibling rivalry into this one weekend?"

Rory shrugged as she looked over at April and winked. "Sure, we can save some for next time," she said generously.

"Thanks very much," Lorelai said wrinkling her nose at them.

Richard poked his head in the door and asked, "Is the bride almost ready?" He took in the sight of her and sighed happily as he said only, "Oh, Lorelai."

"Isn't she stunning?" Emily asked as she fussed with the skirt of Lorelai's gown.

"Mom," Lorelai whined, trying to shoo Emily away from her dress. When Emily straightened up, Lorelai caught her blinking back tears. She caught Emily's hand and gave it a quick squeeze as she said, "You should let them seat you so we can get this show on the road."

Emily nodded quickly and said, "Well, yes, I suppose you're ready."

Lorelai smiled and said, "I was ready at seven this morning."

"Yes, I imagine you were," Emily said softly. "You look lovely," she said with a tremulous smile.

"Thank you, Mom," Lorelai replied with a warm smile in return.

"I'll see you after," Emily said with a brisk nod and then swept from the room.

Richard rubbed his hands together and said happily, "Left alone with a bevy of beautiful women. You all look lovely."


"Hey," he said as soon as her eyes opened one morning in early June.

Lorelai stretched like a cat and said, "Good morning," in a husky voice as she rubbed up against him.

"Don't start that. You know I have to go to work and so do you," he said pointedly.

"Then don't look so yummy in the morning," she countered.

"You busy tonight?" he asked.

Lorelai smiled and asked, "Why? You askin' me out?"

"I might be," he said with a smirk as he ran his hand over her naked bottom.

"Than I might be up for a date," she said coyly. "What did you have in mind?" she asked with a wicked smile.

Luke rolled his eyes and said, "One track mind."

"You have your hand on my butt," she pointed out.

Luke blinked and removed his hand quickly as he said, "Oh, so I do."

"Put it back," she said as she caught his wrist and tugged on it.

"Yes or no," he said stubbornly.

"You didn't answer my question," she said primly.

"Dinner," he said with an impatient sigh.

"Ooh, I love dinner," she cooed as she pressed her lips to his.

Luke chuckled as he asked, "So that's a yes?"

Lorelai nodded happily and asked, "Is it a dressy uppy dinner?"

Luke thought for a moment and then said, "A little, but not a lot."

"What does that mean?" she asked with a laugh.

"That means you can do better than jeans, but not as much as Friday night dinner," he told her.

"Got it," she said with a nod.

"I need to get up," he said reluctantly.

"Do you also need help washing your back?" she asked as he rolled off of the bed.

"Yes," he said succinctly as he walked to the bathroom completely naked. Lorelai scrambled from the bed and followed him, eager to be of assistance.

At six thirty that night, Luke sat on the edge of the bed in his black pants and an open necked blue dress shirt, tying his shoes. "How much longer?" he called to her.

"Almost ready," she answered in a sing song voice.

"You said that before I even got in the shower," he complained.

Lorelai turned out the light and walked into the room in the little black dress he liked so much. She smiled at him and said, "Yeah, but this time I meant it."

Luke looked up at her and stopped as he gaped at her. He lowered his foot and said, "Wow, you haven't used that weapon in a while."

"Well, you were being cagy, so I thought I'd need to use all of my powers of persuasion," she said as she sauntered toward him in the shoes with the sexy ankle straps.

"Yes, I'll be your backup dancer," he said in a hushed voice.

Lorelai smiled and held out her hand to pull him up as she said, "That was just what I was after."

She pestered him all of the way down the stairs, out the door, into the truck and out of town to tell her where he was taking her. Luke just smiled and said over and over again, "You'll know in a minute."

Lorelai stared out the window petulantly as she said, "See, now, that makes me think it's not the dress. You just want to be my backup dancer," she accused.

"Yes, that has been my lifelong dream," he said in a deadpan voice as he turned onto another county highway, purposefully taking her the back way, but soon enough, the building was visible in the distance and Lorelai gasped.

"Sniffy's?" she asked. "You're taking me to Sniffy's?"

Luke shrugged and said, "I was talking to Maisy the other day, and she was getting onto me about not bringing you here since we got back together, so I thought it would be a nice date."

"I love Sniffy's," she said with a happy sigh. She stiffened slightly as he pulled into the lot and asked worriedly, "How much do they know?"

"Not much," Luke answered as he parked the truck.

Lorelai turned to him and asked, "How much is not much? I would hate it if they hated me," she said as she bit her lip.

"They just know that I had a hard time dealing with the April thing, and that it all got to be too much for both of us," he told her.

"So they don't hate me, right?" she asked him.

"Oh no, they despise you, that's why Maisy wanted me to bring you by," he said sarcastically as he opened his door and got out to go around to her side. He opened her door and said simply, "They know we're together, and that we love each other. That's enough for them," he assured her.

Lorelai smiled as she took his hand and let him help her from the truck. As he ushered her inside with his hand firmly in the small of her back, she whispered, "I can't wait to read the back of the menu again."

Luke rolled his eyes and said, "You really don't need to do that every time we come here."

"Oh, yes I do, it's our thing," she insisted as the hostess led them to their usual booth and removed the 'reserved' sign.

Maisy approached with the champagne bucket in hand and said, "I saw you pull up. Lorelai, it's so nice to see you again. I'm glad this big lunk finally got his head out of his arse," she said jerking a thumb at Luke.

"Hi Maisy," Lorelai said as she got up to hug the older woman. "Unfortunately, it was a mutual case of arsiness," she said with a grimace.

"Yeah, but it's more fun for me to blame him," Maisy said with a wink. She tuned and yelled, "Buddy! They're here!" She grasped Lorelai's wrist and said, "You might as well stay up, he'll be out in a second."

Luke sat at the table looking up at them and said, "Funny, I bring you here and no one wants to hug me anymore."

"Big baby," Maisy said as she swatted his arm with the menus.

"You don't need to bother leaving those here, you won't serve us whatever we order," he grumbled.

"Oh, no," Lorelai said as she quickly snatched the menus from Maisy's hand. She smiled and said, "I haven't been here for a while. Something may have changed," she said as she glared at Luke.

"Nothing's changed," he said gruffly.

"Lorelai!" Buddy cried as he bustled from the kitchen. "You look beautiful," he said as he hugged her.

"Thanks, Buddy, it's so good to be back," she said as he released her and motioned for her to sit down.

"I'm just glad that dummy here wised up to a good thing," Buddy said as he slapped Luke's back a little too hard.

"Well you know, even Charlie McCarthy had an Edgar Bergen jerking him around," she tried to joke.

Buddy snorted and said, "In his case it's more like Mortimer Snerd."

"Hey!" Luke said, finally taking offense.

"Aw, cool your jets," Maisy said shaking her head. "Everyone knows it takes two to tango, Luke, we're just teasing," she said as she patted his hand. She nodded to Buddy and said, "We'll be back with your dinner in a little bit."

Luke rolled his eyes and said, "See? No need for menus."

"Ah, but I need my story," she said with a grin.

"I'm begging you," he said gruffly.

"Sniffy's Tavern: A Story of Love," she read aloud.

"Will you marry me?" he asked quickly.

Lorelai shook her head and said, "Trying to shut me up, it's not going to work this time, Buck-o!" She cleared her throat and started to read, "Maisy Fortner and Bertram 'Buddy' Linds met at a high-school basketball game…" She trailed off as she glanced over and saw the sparkling ring Luke held up between his thumb and forefinger.

When she stared at him mutely, he smiled and said, "Apparently it does still work." When she still didn't say anything, he swallowed nervously and asked, "Uh, do I need to ask again, or should I shut up?"

"Ask again," she whispered.

"Lorelai, will you marry me?" he asked gently.

"Yes, oh yes," she said in a breathy voice. He took her hand and slipped the ring onto her finger. Lorelai stared down at it blankly and said, "This is a new ring."

Luke nodded and said, "Yeah. I thought this was one part we should start fresh on."

"It's beautiful," she said in a choked voice. She leaned over and pressed her lips to his firmly as she stroked his cheek

"Do you really like it? If not, we can change it, or the other one is still in your jewelry box," he said with a shrug.

Lorelai looked down at the simple solitaire set in a platinum band and said, "It's perfect." She held it closer to the candle and watched the light bounce off of the large princess cut diamond.

Luke cleared his throat and said, "I talked to Rory this week."

"You did?" she asked, surprised.

Luke nodded and said, "She said she could get three or four days off in early August while April is going to be here.

"She can?" Lorelai asked.

"Will you marry me then? I mean, I know it's quick, but I think we can pull it off," he said, picking up momentum. "I mean, we can get married in the church or the inn or the square, for all I care. The girls will be here. Sookie is great with cakes, or we can order one from Weston's," he babbled.

Lorelai cut him off with another kiss and said, "Yes, I will marry you on the first Saturday in August. Even if we have to do it in the diner," she said with a nod. "Man, at least Mom could say she was right. Ketchup dispenser for a bouquet," she murmured.

"Huh?" he asked.

"As opposed to the Romanov's," she said with a shrug.

"I'm afraid you've lost me," he said shaking his head.

Lorelai stopped and looked at him seriously and said, "Nope, never again."

Maisy smiled as she watched Luke kiss his girl sweetly and pushed open the kitchen door. "Go ahead and add the garlic. It looks like he's finally gonna seal the deal," she called to Buddy.


Luke fidgeted nervously with the knot of his tie as he followed Reverend Skinner out of the little room at the front of the church. He glanced back at Jess, T.J. and Jackson and consoled himself with the thought that he hadn't had to stoop to Kirk to get three groomsmen. He looked to the aisle and saw Emily being escorted by Kirk to the front pew, and smirked as he thought, better her than me. He watched as Sookie appeared in the doorway, clutching her bouquet and moving as gracefully as a woman who was a week from giving birth could possibly move. She took her spot on the opposite side and sent him a saucy wink before turning her attention to the back of the church. Luke followed her gaze and saw his daughter moving toward him, looking terrifyingly grown up in the simple purple dress Lorelai had made for her. He swallowed thickly, knowing from her smile that she was as happy to be a part of this moment as he was to have her there. When she reached the altar she grinned like the teenager she still was and said, "Hi, Dad."

"Hi, Sweetie," he croaked in a hoarse voice as she took her place next to Sookie.

Luke pressed his lips together as he tore his eyes from April to watch Rory gliding down the aisle with a happy smile. She winked at Lane and Zach as she passed, her tight grip on her bouquet was they only thing betraying her innate nervousness in being watched by so many of her friends and family. As she approached him, her smile brightened even more as she whispered her usual, "Hey, Luke."

"Hi, Rory," he said with an admiring smile for the little girl who grew into his beautiful young woman.

He shifted nervously as the music changed and the guests rose to look to the back of the church. Luke stepped into the aisle slightly and held his breath as he waited for the doors to open again. When they did, Miss Patty stepped out of the way, and all he could see was Lorelai poised at the threshold, her hand resting lightly on Richard's arm as she began to move toward him. He felt his knees buckle slightly as Jess poked him and hissed, "Breathe."

Luke released the air he had forgotten he was holding and stared transfixed as Lorelai beamed at him, her eyes locked clearly on her prize. As they neared the front of the church, she sent him an awkward wink, and then immediately stumbled over the hem of her gown slightly. She gripped Richard's arm tightly as she giggled and made an embarrassed face at Rory. Luke's smile lit his face as Richard handed her over to him. Luke took her hand firmly in his, wrapping his fingers around hers tightly as he whispered, "That's my girl."

Lorelai looked up into his eyes as he led her toward Reverend Skinner and whispered, "My angel."

Luke smiled as he shook his head and said softly, "I'm just a junkie."

The End of the Beginning of their Middle