A/N: Happy birthday to SPA/AhGeez! Hopefully this will help to kick the holiday weekend off right. This chapter fits into Packaged Goods Chapter 71 - Psyching Up.

Negotiating the Storms

"I need you to do one more thing for me," he told her, looking straight into her eyes.

"What's that?"

"Believe me."

"Believe you?"

"Do you?" he persisted.

Lorelai blinked, taken aback by his softly spoken vehemence. "Believe that you love me?"

"All of it. Nothing's gonna change any of it. Don't think about it, just tell me. Do you believe me?"


Luke kissed her again, drawing her lips against his, fusing them together until they could both forget where one stopped and the other started.

His breath was warm and moist, caressing her cheek as he pressed his forehead to hers. "Jess called. He and Rory are moving back in two weeks."

"Back here? She didn't say anything about it when I talked to her."

Luke nodded, pulling back slightly. "Apparently, someone needs to be here to keep us in line," he said dryly.


"Yeah. Get ready, things about to change again."

Lorelai blinked up at him as lightning flooded the room. She turned, pressing her back to his chest and pulling his arms tighter. Thunder rolled in the distance, and lightning answered the call.

"Isn't it beautiful?" she whispered, admiring the power of the storm now that it had passed.

"Beautiful," he echoed, smoothing his hands over the thin cotton of an ancient t-shirt.

Lorelai glanced down. "I don't have a pretty gown anymore."

"You don't need one to look beautiful to me." Luke smiled, his lips tickling her ear. "Besides, there are three kids and a dog in our bed."

"Do we try to reclaim our spots, or should we move into the guest room?"

Luke snorted. "Our spots are long gone."

"Let's go be guests in our own home," she said, taking his hand and leading him away from the windows.

His fingers tightened around hers, cupping them in the warmth of his palm. They stepped from the darkened bedroom into the hall, and she paused to get her bearings. Lightning flashed, and in response she flashed Luke a smile over her shoulder.

"Got it," she murmured, leading him unerringly into the guest room.

Stopping beside the bed, she turned and extracted her hand from his. Luke reached for her, his fingers brushing over her hips just as she danced out of reach. She smiled again, extending one hand to him in a business-like manner.

"Hi. I'm Lorelai Danes," she said solemnly.

Luke blinked in confusion then took her hand. "Luke Danes," he replied gruffly, giving her hand a brisk shake. When she tried to pull away, he grasped her fingers, pulling her hand to his lips. A gossamer kiss teased her knuckles. "Nice to meet you."

Lorelai laughed, stepping closer as his lips curve against the back of her hand. She raised her free hand to cup his scruffy cheek. "Tell me a little about yourself, Luke."

He slowly straightened, his eyebrows lifting in surprise. "Me?"

She nodded and moved closer, her bare toes bumping his, causing him to widen his stance. Stepping between his legs, Lorelai raised her head, her lips skimming over the pulse that throbbed in his throat. "Tell me about you," she whispered into his ear.

Luke shivered. "I'm married." Lorelai nipped at the curve of his jaw, her teeth rasping against his skin. "She makes me crazy," he exhaled.

"In a good way?"

"In every way." He wound his arms around her, gathering a fistful of thin cotton in his hand and pressing her to his chest. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Lorelai pulled away. "Really?" When he nodded, she ducked her head to hide her smile. Trailing tiny, tender kisses along his prickly jaw, she whispered, "Tell me more."

"Four kids," he exhaled. "One grown, three getting' there too fast."

"Much too fast," she concurred, and took a nip at his earlobe.

"I own a diner. She owns an inn. Our lives are crazy." He tipped his head back, allowing better access to his neck and throat.

"You wouldn't have that any other way either."


His hands slid up her back, gathering into the dark mass of curls until they spilled from his fingers. He tangled his hands in her hair, giving it a little tug, urging her to lift her head. Lightning illuminated the room. His gaze locked on hers and then dropped. The sooty fringe of dark lashes could almost mask his thoughts, but the heat of his stare made her lips tingle.

"Tell me about you," he whispered, then cover her mouth with his.

The words trapped in her throat melded into a sigh. Her lips parted, instinctively reaching out so she could give them to him. The tip of his tongue brushed hers, a teasing, tempting assault on her senses. Her fingers rifled through his short hair, her nails pressing into his scalp as she pulled him closer. She opened her mouth, her tongue tangling with his, drinking him in greedily.

One hand fell from her hair. Letting her take what she needed, he grappled with the voluminous t-shirt, slipping under the hem to claim the smooth skin at the small of her back. His fingers splayed wide, the heat of his palm branding her flesh as he held her to him.

"Lorelai." Her name spilled from his lips with the last vestiges of oxygen in his lungs.

"Luke. My Luke," she murmured, trailing kisses down his throat as he gasped for air.

He grasped her shoulders, pushing her away as he took a step back. His chest heaved with exertion. His fingers bit into her muscles, kneading the firm flesh. He stared at her through heavily-lidded eyes, the arousal in them even more evident than in the tent of his boxers.

Breathless, Lorelai seized the moment. Allowing her gaze to fall to his toes, a small, smug smile curved her lips as she took him in. Muscular legs tensed and braced, anticipating the impact of her. His narrow waist sported the slightest bulge of excess flesh just above his hips. She pressed her hands to the taut muscles of his stomach, allowing them to glide slowly to his sides, caressing the love handles as she smiled up at him.

"I'm Lorelai. My husband says I'm crazy, but he's a crank, so it all works out."


"Our three littlest have taken over our bed, which is going to smell like dog now, anyway," she murmured.

Her hands cupped his ribcage, moving further apart as she framed the outline of his broad chest. Teasing one flat nipple with her thumbnail, she felt rather than heard his groan as it beaded.

"I wonder if it will feel different," she whispered.


"This. Me and you."

Luke's brow puckered in confusion, and she reached up, smoothing the worry away with her fingertips.

"I mean, we both just said we're different people now," she explained.

He shook his head. "Not different people. We're just not the same as we were."

"No, we're not."

She smoothed the springy curls of hair with the flat of her hand, pressing her fingers firmly against the thrumming beat of his heart.

"Who are you again?" she asked with a shy, teasing smile.

Luke chuckled as captured her wrist, pulling her hand away from his heart. He planted a soft, damp kiss to the center of her palm and then gently closed her fingers over it. "I'm the guy who loves you."

She blinked, a rush of emotion catching on the lump that rose in her throat.

His hand engulfed her fist, holding it for a moment before he began to unfurl her fingers. He pressed his palm to hers, aligning his fingers with hers, trapping the kiss between them.

"That's all I ever want to be, Lorelai. No matter what else I am, I'm always the guy who loves you." He paused for a second, studying her closely. "Even if you are crazy. You're my Crazy Lady."

She swallowed the lump in her throat, but her voice remained husky and soft, vibrating in her own ears. "Lock the door, Burger Boy."

His answering smile was slow and spine-tinglingly seductive. He backed up two steps, his gazed fixed on her as he swiped ineffectually at the door. She laughed, and he broke his stare with a grunt. Within seconds, the bedroom door was shut and locked, and Lorelai was back in his arms.

He propelled her back toward the bed. She fell, dragging him down with her. He swiped at the throw pillows carefully arranged along the headboard, scattering them.

Lorelai laughed again, wrapping her fingers around his biceps as the pillows tumbled to the floor.

"You sure showed them."

"Got somethin' to show you," he growled, the wicked grin on his face lighting his eyes with mischief.

She shook her head slowly and cooed, "Oh, no."

Without warning, Lorelai pressed the insides of his elbows, wrapping her legs around his as he collapsed. Using the advantage of surprise, she rolled him onto his back. Tossing her hair back as she sat up, she clamped her hands around his wrists.

The silky fabric of her panties brushed against the straining cotton of his boxers. A low, guttural groan seeped from his lungs, fueling the need that coiled low in her belly.

She rose, pushing his arms up over his head and holding them there. Breathless, she whispered, "Give?"

"I gave a long time ago," he reminded her, his voice deep and throaty.

Her fingers trailed over the tender insides of his arms. "Mine."


She continued her explorations. Luke tensed and flinched as she her delicate caress skirted his armpits, clamping his jaw shut as she teased his ribs.

She sat back, trapping his erection between their bodies. "You were wrong, you know," she whispered, smoothing her hands reverently over his chest.

"Fine, good, okay," he panted, circling his hips desperately.

Lorelai chuckled, moving her hips in time with his. He groaned loud and long, and she sighed. "I never had to think about loving you."

He blinked rapidly, trying to assimilate her words while catering to the urgent needs of their bodies. "Huh?"

Lorelai stilled, pressing against him as he continued to arch into her. "I never had to think about whether I loved you or not." Luke froze. "I had to think about Rory and how we'd feed ourselves if I screwed things up. I had to think about our friendship and whether I was willing to sacrifice it for the chance at something more. I had to think about what we'd do without you, if I … if we…."

"Okay," he said quickly, panicking when he saw her getting choked up.

Shaking her head adamantly, she planted one hand in the center of his chest and held him there, staring down into his eyes. "I didn't have to think about loving you. It was just there. Right there, all along. I just wasn't sure if I should or not."

"Lorelai, it's okay…."

"No! You don't get it. I didn't choose it either, Luke. The only choice I made was letting it happen."

His lips twisted into a wry smile. "Okay. Well, thanks for that. Letting it happen, I mean," he said gruffly.

"Dammit, Luke," she huffed.

He laughed, pulling her hand from his chest and raising it over his head.

She squeezed a grunt from him when she toppled onto his chest. Burrowing into the curve of his neck, she chuckled softly. "We're going to be bruised and battered tomorrow."

"I'll kiss 'em." He pressed his nose into the dark cloud of her hair and inhaled deeply. "I'll kiss anything and everything you want me to kiss."

Lorelai snickered soundlessly. "My ass?"

"Yes. I'd love to kiss your ass," he answered without hesitation.

"So…. We seem to be teetering on the brink here." She pushed up, tossing her hair back from her face. "Angry make up sex, or sappy?"

Luke lowered his arms and framed her face with his hands, threading his fingers through her hair. "Will it make me less of a man if I say I need the sappy?" he asked with a worried frown.

Lorelai slithered down, pressing her body the length of his as she framed his head with her arms. "Babe, you're such a man you couldn't be anything else."

His eyes narrowed. "That didn't sound like a compliment."

"I'm not sure it was supposed to be, but it's the truth."

Lifting his head, he pressed his lips to hers in a firm kiss, the perfect punctuation for her sentiment. "Tell me," he rasped, letting his head fall back and fixing her with a penetrating stare.

"I love you," she answered without missing a beat. "Even if you are a man."

He brushed her hair back from her face, gently tucking it behind her ears. "I love you, even if you are crazy." Luke plucked at the shoulder seam of the t-shirt she wore. "I'm gonna have to ask for this back now."

Lorelai grinned as she pushed up, straddling his hips as she pulled the shirt over her head. She let it dangle from her fingers, offering it to him. "Thanks for letting me borrow it."

"You're welcome." Luke took it and let it fall to the bed next to them. "I don't know what to do with you."

"You seem to do just fine."

He chuckled and cupped her breasts, his thumbs teasing the pebbled tips of her nipples until she moaned her frustration. When she arched her back silently begging for more, his hands slid to her throat, his long fingers molding to the curve of her neck.

"Sometimes I want to throttle you," he confessed, his voice raspy with suppressed emotion.

"I know."

"Sometimes I want to crawl inside of you, safe and warm." She hummed low and soft as he caressed the smooth curve of her shoulders.

"Much better than the throttling," she murmured.

Luke sat up abruptly, and she had to grasp his shoulders to hang on. The muscles in his back rippled as he wrapped himself around her, pulling her into the curve of his body. His hands raked over her back, the blunt tips of his fingers digging into her skin.

"Sometimes, I want to tear you to pieces with my bare hands," he whispered into her hair.

Lorelai felt her heart skip. Her breath came soft and shallow. "You do?"

He tilted his head back, looking up at her, his gaze wide and solemn. "I want you to hold me and kiss me. I want to kiss you and never stop kissing you."

Lorelai bit her lip. "Which way are you leaning at the moment?"

His smile came slowly. "Earlier today I wanted to throttle you."

"Yeah, I figured that one out."

"Then I got scared, and I wanted to crawl over the kids to get to you."

"Scared of the thunder?" she asked, surprised.

"Scared of everything." He pressed his hand to her cheek and she closed her eyes, leaning into his touch. "I saw you standing at the windows, the lightning, the storm," he whispered. "I wanted to tear you to pieces for doubting me, doubting us. I wanted to press you up against the window and make you remember."

"I'd never forget that."

"Not that, us. Sometimes I think you forget us," he corrected. His fingers slid down her cheek. He traced her cheekbone, the shell of her ear, and her jaw with the barest brush of the callused tips. "I don't know, maybe I do too," he murmured.

"I think sometimes you do."

Luke nodded slowly cradling the nape of her neck in his hand. "Don't let me, Lorelai. Hold me, kiss me, keeping kissing me and never stop kissing me. Don't let me forget," he whispered, his breath tickling her lips.

She kissed him tenderly, giving him every ounce of reassurance she could. When she drew back, his eyes remained closed.

"Don't stop."

"Open your eyes." When he complied, she framed his face in her hands, stroking the bristling stubble on his cheeks.

"See me," she whispered, keeping her eyes wide open as she kissed him again.

"Only you," he exhaled as they parted. "Always you."

He rolled back, pulling her down on top of him as she kissed him ravenously. Her tongue circled his, retreating coyly then surrendering fully as she angled her head, taking the kiss deeper. She fell into him, falling for him again.

His hands slid over her skin, restless, greedy and demanding. His body arched into hers, the unyielding planes of muscle seeking the solace of her soft curves. He covered her breast, his hand trapped between their hammering hearts.

Lorelai raised her head, looking down into his slumberous blue eyes.

Without a word, he relinquished his hold on her. His thumbs slipped under the elastic of her panties, pushing them over the curve of her hips.

His fingers stretched out over the curve of her bottom and she smiled at his easy distraction. She pushed back, her smile widening as he grunted his disapproval at her desertion. She shimmied out of her panties, kicking them from the end of the bed. When she reached for the waistband on his boxers, he covered her hands with his.

"Kiss me," he whispered into the darkness.

Lorelai curled her fingers into the elastic. "I will," she promised. She stripped his shorts off, and then climbed back over him. "I won't stop."

Stretching out on top of him, her hands slid up his arms, pressing them over his head once more. Her lips hovered over his, matching him breath for breath. The hard length of his cock pulsed against her belly. They blinked in time with one another. His fingers curled around hers, holding them tight.

"Lorelai." Her name was an aching plea, breaking the tension that arced between them.

"I love you, Luke," she answered. "I don't even have to think about it for a second."

She kissed him, her lips melting on his, her tongue stroking his tenderly. She poured every ounce of confusion, hurt, longing into him, knowing that he'd hold it for her and keep them safe from doubt.

They moved against one another, skin to skin, heart to heart – locked in a pact sealed with kiss after kiss. She grasped his hands, using him as leverage. He gasped as their lips parted then his breath hissed from between his teeth as she slid back down, the tip of his cock poised at her entrance.

Lorelai kissed him, swallowing the deep, 'Ahhh' he sighed as she parted for him. She kissed him, taking him inside of her and holding him tight.

Barely moving, she circled her hips, meeting his impatient thrust as he pushed off of the mattress. "My crank," she murmured against his lips.

"I'll get one of those giant butterfly nets if I have to," he answered, than kissed her ardently.

They moved against one another, his body surrounded by hers, their legs tangled, their lips clinging to one another's as their breaths came short and fast.

"I want to tear you to pieces with my bare hands," she whispered, picking up the tempo slightly.

"Do it," he panted.

"I want to crawl inside of you safe and warm."


She gasped, grinding against him as she felt the fuse of heat racing through her. She clutched his hands, her nails biting into his flesh. "I want to throttle you."


She pulled his hands down, slipping free of his grasp to clasp his head. "Hold me, kiss me," she whispered, lowering her mouth to his.

His hands found her hips, pressing her down onto him as he thrust hard and fast. Her heart raced, her blood pounding in her ears. He caught her cries, swallowing them, hoarding them for his own.

When she broke, he held her. When she called his name, he answered with hers. When they lay spent, they held one another close, reintroducing themselves with kiss after kiss.