Dust jacket by Ginny.
Title: I’ll Be There For You
Author’s Note: Happy Birthday Cassie!
Luke sat straight up in his bed. He squinted at the clock and saw that it was just after 3 am. He tried desperately to figure out what had just woken him. He wasn’t getting much sleep, that was for sure. He was supposed to be staying at the Dragonfly, but after Kirk’s escapade, he figured he’d do better for the few hours of sleep he’d get at his own place.
There it was. That was what had awakened him. It almost sounded like someone was trying to break in to the diner. With a groan, he swung out of bed, pulled on his flannel robe, grabbed a baseball bat and headed downstairs.
Instead of a burglar, he found Lorelai Gilmore trying to get into the diner. He laid the bat on the counter and opened the door, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes with one hand.
“Lorelai! What are you doing here at 3 am? How’d you even know I was here?”
Lorelai didn’t say a word, just pushed past him and walked up to his apartment. With a sigh, he locked the door again, picked up his bat and followed her.
He found her sprawled on his couch, bawling. Knowing he was unlikely to get any more sleep tonight, he walked over to his kitchen and started a pot of coffee before joining her on the couch.
He tentatively put an arm around her shoulders while stifling a yawn.
“Can you please tell me what is wrong?”
“It’s… Rory…” she got out between sobs.
Every nerve in Luke’s body tensed. Over the years, he had come to love Rory like a daughter. If something bad happened to her, he didn’t know what he would do.
“What’s wrong? Is she hurt?”
“No… she…. Oh God… I thought I raised her better.” Lorelai’s sobs slowed as her nose perked up. “Do I smell coffee?”
Luke gave her a thoroughly exasperated look, but walked over and poured her a cup of coffee.
As she wrapped her hands around the warm mug, she gave Luke a little smile. “Thanks. I’m sorry I barged in on you in the middle of the night, but I didn’t know where else to turn.”
Luke put his arm back around her shoulders. “It’s okay, but would you please tell me what happened with Rory? Is she okay?”
Lorelai sighed. “I went to the house to find out what was taking her so long getting the CDs and so she wouldn’t miss Kirk making an absolute spectacle of himself and found out that she and Dean were alone in her bedroom.”
Luke frowned. “Did they…” he let his question trail off.
“Yep. And she thinks that there is nothing wrong with it even though Dean is married now!”
“How did they end up…” Luke felt awkward discussing this with Lorelai.
“I have no idea. Apparently Dean stopped over for some reason and one thing led to another. She claims that he said he is not happy with Lindsay and that things aren’t working out, but when I asked her if there was a plan, she yelled that she hated me for ruining this for her. I don’t know what to do.” Lorelai began sobbing again.
Luke took the coffee mug out of her hands and sat it on his coffee table. He took Lorelai in his arms and held for a few minutes, letting her get her crying out. When her sobbing slowed to a few sniffs, he pulled away and looked at her seriously.
“Lorelai, as much as I hate to say this, Rory is an adult and there isn’t much you can do. She made this decision and she has to live with the consequences.”
“My head knows that, but my heart aches that she didn’t learn anything from the mistakes I made in my life.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I think Dean still loves Rory.”
“What would make you say that?”
Luke looked a little uncomfortable. “I probably should have said something sooner. But Dean and his buddies came into the diner during his bachelor party. He was wasted and I put him to bed here. In his drunken stupor, he was talking about Rory.”
“What was he saying about her?” An unfamiliar edge had crept into Lorelai’s voice.
Luke hesitated before answering. “He said ‘why didn’t she love me?’ and then passed out.”
Lorelai’s eyes dropped to the floor and she shook her head slightly.
Luke gently lifted her chin so they were meeting each other’s eyes.
“Hey. It may not be so bad. I think Dean and Rory have always loved each other. They’ve just let other things get in the way. Yes, I know Dean is married but I think he only did it because he couldn’t have Rory. There is nothing you can do to change anything. What’s happened has happened. Rory is going to need your support no matter what the outcome of this mess. I understand why you’re upset with her decision, but sometimes we do things without regards to the consequences.”
A single tear rolled down Lorelai’s cheek. “You have always been here for me and you always know the exact right thing to say.”
Luke gave her a half smile. “I will always be here for you. I may not always know what to say, but I’ll always be here. Even at 3 am.”
“I’m sorry I barged in on you like this. I just didn’t know where else to turn.”
“Don’t worry about it. I am wondering how you knew I was here though.”
She gave him her famous Lorelai grin. “I own the inn, remember? I went looking for you there, saw you were gone, figured you probably came back here after getting Kirk settled.”
Luke shook his head and put his arm around her. Lorelai laid her head on Luke’s chest and they sat together, enjoying the silence for a few minutes, both lost in their own thoughts.
Finally, Luke broke the silence.
“Come on, we need to get some sleep.” He stood up, took Lorelai by the hand and walked toward his bedroom.
Lorelai got a mischievous glint in her eye. “Are you asking me to go to bed with you, Luke Danes?”
Luke’s face immediately became bright red.
“I need to sleep Lorelai. I have to open my diner in,” he stopped and looked at his watch, “just over two hours. And you need to sleep. You have an inn full of guests who will need your love and attention in the morning. So we’re going to sleep.”
“We’re sleeping together?” she couldn’t help but joke.
Luke rolled his eyes. “If you don’t shut up, I’ll make you sleep on the couch.”
Lorelai put up her hands. “I surrender.” She leaned over and kissed him. “Thanks for being you, Luke.”
They fell asleep, in each other’s arms, with smiles on their faces.