"I want a baby!" Lorelai exclaimed while letting herself fall on a stool, throwing her purse on the counter.
Luke thought for a second about saying "We don't serve them here". That would have been funny. He could have easily said "Right now? Ok! Let's go in the back!". But let's face it, that wasn't Luke. So he decided to be himself and go with the usual response.
"I want a baby so I can get rid of it in November..." she sighed.
"Oh, sure. Do you want coffee first?"
He had already poured a cup when she nodded her head, explaining her weird desire a little more.
"Miss Patty has this incredibly cool idea that she's gonna talk about tonight at the town meeting and..."
"And you need a baby to fully enjoy the idea?" he interrupted her, raising an eyebrow. "What's incredibly cool about that?"
"Shhhh. Lady talking here."
Luke rolled his eyes and wiped the counter yet again. She continued.
"Her idea is like... a HUUUUUGE concept! It's so exciting, it's..."
"Lorelai, you don't need to sell me the product, I already hate it," he interrupted her once more.
"Right, sorry. It's an All-Adults-Night..."
Cutting her out, Luke chuckled.
"An All-Adults-Night? What's that? A let's-rent-porn-all-together kind of thing?"
"Will you let me explain?"
Luke raised his chin and crossed his arms over his chest, looking down at Lorelai, trying to hide the smirk on his face. How cute was she when she was thrilled about something?
"I'm only telling you because I know you don't care which means you won't tell anyone. It's a secret until tonight's meeting, so I put my trust in you for 5 more hours, Luke. Don't betray me..." she warned him, narrowing her eyes.
"How do you know all of this if it's a secret?"
"Hello? Babette's my neighbor."
"Right... So Babette put her trust in you?"
Lorelai stood straight.
"Are you trying to make me feel bad?"
"Anyway! Do you want to know or not?"
"Whatever," he said.
"Great! So listen. In November, some volunteers are gonna take care of all the kids in town for a whole night. And I mean ALL the kids."
She shut him up with one of her looks.
"That's insane!" he said.
"It's pure genius!"
"How are they gonna take care of ALL the kids in town?"
"Uhm, Luke? We don't care about that part."
Luke sighed, put both his hands on the counter and leaned over to Lorelai.
"It's not safe," he said.
"So you're gonna volunteer to take care of the kids?"
"Okay, so what's the thrill in all this?"
Lorelai closed her eyes and smiled.
"Miss Patty is directing a play so the adults can enjoy a night for themselves at the theater, at the restaurant... at home aloooooone. No kids. With Rory in college, I don't need a night off. All my nights are off."
"That's why you need a baby?"
Her coffee was cold so she pushed the cup towards Luke and he filled it without even noticing it.
"Lorelai... I don't wanna ruin it for you, but even if you could get a normal night off, you'd still need... you know... someone to enjoy it with."
"Yeah, I know. What's wrong with this town? There's no good available prospects. Everyone's taken! How can we possibly meet someone?" she said looking out through the window.
"Yeah... we're like the only two attractive single people left in town..." Luke let out before biting his tongue. That wasn't supposed to come out. Not like that, anyway.
Lorelai jerked her head towards Luke, a smile playing on the corner of her lips.
"You think I'm attractive?"
"You don't think I'm attractive?" he asked, defensively.
"I never said that!"
"Then you think I'm attractive..."
"I... I never said that either!" She blushed.
"What are you saying, then?"
"Nothing! I'm asking you if you think I'm attractive."
"I don't know! You said... what's the point of this argument?" she asked, tilting her head.
"There is no point."
An awkward silence came between them. Holding her cup between her two hands, Lorelai studied Luke's fingers on the coffee pot. It sent shivers down her spine and she straightened her back to hide it. She looked at him, wishing for her smile to look normal as she felt her eyelashes battering slowly... Oh my God! She was flirting with him. She quickly sipped her coffee, thanking God for inventing huge cups that can hide your face while you drink. When she put it down, the bell jingled above the door and she turned to see who was entering.
"Now that's attractive..." she murmured loud enough for Luke to hear.
Luke looked at the tall, dark haired guy.
"Doug..." he whispered.
"I said nothing about dogs! Ewwww! You think I'm a pervert or what!" Lorelai looked up at Luke.
Luke pointed a finger at the guy standing in the doorway.
The new guy, who obviously knew Luke long enough to know his High School nickname, had a deep, low voice that Lorelai immediately qualified as sexy. Not out loud, of course. It seemed as if Luke had seen a ghost. If Lorelai used the word vibe she would have said that there was a strong one floating in the diner right this instant. But since it wasn't in her vocabulary, she just shifted in her seat, studying the scene.
Luke was still mute, his eyes slightly wider than usual when Doug went behind the counter. He playfully hit Luke on the shoulder and then, Luke finally decided to come back to life. They both hugged and laughed.
"I can't believe it!" Luke almost shouted. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm back to see my family... and you, as a bonus."
Lorelai had to jump in. She hated being ignored.
"Yeah, Luke's always a good bonus."
And with that stupid, confusing remark, she plastered a goofy smile on her face, feeling a heat of blush coming her way. Luke looked at Lorelai, uncertain of what she had meant, but since he knew her so well,he understood he had to introduce her.
"Doug, this is Lorelai Gilmore. Lorelai, this is Doug Whitman, my High School best friend."
They shook hands. Doug was still looking at Lorelai when he said, "You didn't tell your girlfriend about me, Danes? What a shame."
"Oh she's not..."
"I'm not taken," Lorelai's mouth let out. Man! She would have slapped herself in the face. "I mean... I'm not with him. Luke. I'm not Luke's girlfriend. I'm a girl and I'm his friend, but I'm not involved with him. Or anyone."
Well done, Gilmore. I think he gets that you're a desperate single woman.
"Good to know." Doug nodded slowly and smiled.
There could have been a moment between those two if Luke hadn't interrupted them.
"So! How's the acting business doing, Doug?"
"You're an actor?" Lorelai asked, impressed.
"Great!" Luke thought. Now I've made him even more attractive. I need to work on this.
"Trying to be," he casually said, taking a seat next to Lorelai. "I moved to New York after High School to start auditioning. I think it's going somewhere."
"You know, we're doing a play soon in Stars Hollow. I'm not sure how long you're planning on staying, but if you stick around for a while, we could definitely use someone like you," Lorelai said.
Doug seemed interested. In the play. And in Lorelai. While they continued to chat, Luke turned around and went in the kitchen. He wasn't hiding. He was doing his job. Right? Right. If this feeling of jealousy was taking over him, it was because he was tired. Or maybe it was because his High School best friend was back in town but seemed more interested in Lorelai than him. Nothing else. Realizing how stupid he was, Luke came back behind the counter. Doug was gone, but Lorelai was still there. She seemed lost in her thoughts, looking through the window, smiling to herself.
"More coffee?" Luke proposed.
"Uhm, no, thanks. I've got to get going," she said, taking her purse.
"Oh, he said he'd stop by tonight. He had to get settled in."
"Did he say where he was staying?"
Not at the Inn, please. Not at the Inn...
"With his family."
"Ok. So, I guess I'll see you later?"
"You're coming to the town meeting, right?"
They both knew he was not.
A little after 9 pm, Lorelai decided to stop by the diner to get some coffee and see if Doug was there. That guy was really intriguing. Well, anyone new arriving in Stars Hollow was kind of intriguing since it didn't happen so often, but this particular one was even more.
The diner was closed, but everyone knows Lorelai didn't mind at all. In fact, it was her favorite moment of the day. She felt special having the right to barge in whenever she wanted, when no one else was allowed to. Even though she would never confess this to anyone. Not even herself.
When she pushed the door open, Luke was sitting down at a table, laughing really loudly. Doug was too. There were a dozen of beer bottles laying around. They both turned to her when they heard the bell.
"Well, well! I'm not the only privileged one, I see," Lorelai said. She didn't know if she had to feel like the third wheel or not. The sure thing was, she felt as if her territory was being invaded. And that didn't felt right. She stood there, waiting for Luke to invite her in. But he just took a sip from his bottle of beer. She bit her lip and was about to wave goodbye when Doug stood up.
"Come on in, Lorelai!" he said, his sexy smile still on.
She made a move, but stopped instantly. Maybe Luke didn't want her to be here. He was catching up with an old friend, after all. She looked at him, waiting for approbation. He finally opened a beer, and handed it to her. She took it and sat down. After a big, long, refreshing sip, she felt more at ease.
"So, you went to school together, huh?"
Way to state the obvious, Missy.
"You must have a lot of dirty secrets on Luke, then."
"I guess," Doug said," but Luke isn't drunk enough to let me tell you."
Lorelai laughed and turned to Luke who still hadn't said a word. He was not the most talkative person in Stars Hollow, but she didn't remember him ever staying quiet this long. She felt bad. But just before she felt bad enough to leave, Luke opened his mouth.
"I'm not ashamed of anything, you can say anything about me."
Doug leaned forward to Luke.
"Even that you were in acting class with me?"
Luke! Acting! Oh my God. Lorelai almost spit out her beer.
"What!" she yelled.
Luke closed his eyes and Lorelai swore she saw him blush. Doug had a satisfied look on his face.
"You were into acting? Why don't you sign up for the play?" Lorelai joked.
"What's said in the diner after 9, stays in the diner," he said.
An embarrassed Luke looked up at Lorelai. Their eyes met for the first time that night. She held his gaze as long as she could, then Doug spoke and she looked at him, relieved. She hated being the one to break eye contact with Luke. She always felt weak and weird. Now she had a reason to look elsewhere.
"I have to say he took the class because he had lost a bet."
"That's more like it," she said. "A bet about what?"
"Rachel." Luke remembered.
The diner was suddenly really quiet. Lorelai pretended to be interested in her beer bottle, ripping off the tag on it; but she looked at Luke out of the corner of her eyes. Something in her gut happened every time Luke pronounced that name. Something unexplainable. Maybe because he had been so hurt by this woman. And she didn't like seeing a friend hurt. Yeah, she hated it. But Luke didn't seem to hurt right now. He seemed really fine, in fact, he was even smiling. Doug seemed lost in his thoughts, and kind of serious. But she didn't know the guy at all, so she couldn't tell, really.
Lorelai asked Doug, "You knew Rachel?"
"Yup," he said, taking another sip of beer. "It was always the three of us together."
She felt weird not knowing these things about Luke.
"Doug said Rachel had a thing for me and I didn't believe him. So we made a bet. I had to ask her out and if she happened to say yes, I had to take the acting class with Doug."
"So you got the girl and free acting lessons? That's fair," Lorelai said.
"Yeah, I guess," Luke replied. "So how did the town meeting go?"
"Everyone's really excited about Patty's idea. Kirk listed his name for three different parts. Even the mayor is thrilled. He's sure this play is gonna put Stars Hollow on the map. And I have to help out tomorrow with the auditioning process."
"What do you know about acting?" Luke snorted.
"Right, maybe you should help out," Lorelai teased back.
"You two are something!" he said.
Luke and Lorelai exchanged a look, both smiling knowingly.
"I just follow her lead," Luke explained.
And then, just with that, Lorelai felt special again.
"Well," Doug cut while getting up, "it's getting late. I still have a lot to do, so I'm gonna go. Thanks, Luke."
"It's good to see you, Doug," Luke said, picking up the empty bottles.
Lorelai got up also.
"You need help cleaning up?" she offered.
"Nah, thanks anyway."
Doug was holding the door open.
"I'll walk you home," he said.
Luke watched Lorelai smile, wave goodbye and walk away with his best friend. He should have let her help clean up.
Once outside, Lorelai put her arms around herself as if she was cold. She always did that when she was uncomfortable or intimidated; a way to protect herself. Doug didn't make her feel uncomfortable. In fact, he was an easy guy to talk to. But she was unexplainably nervous, even though he was funny and she loved the way he was looking at her. Especially right now... like he was amazed by everything she had to say. He listened to her incessant babbling all the way to her house and she loved being listened to. Like Luke always did. No wonder Doug and him were best friends. She didn't let it show but she was impressed and a little surprised when he stopped before walking in her driveway. Usually, guys that walked her home (which didn't happen very often... especially these past few months) insisted to walk all the way up to her front porch. He wasn't imposing himself, and it was a very good point.
"So, I'll see you around," he said, softly touching her shoulder.
"Definitely. Oh! And maybe you should stop by Miss Patty's studio for the audition tomorrow morning. I'm sure it'll be fun. Nothing glamorous or fancy... just a crazy bunch of crazy people with, probably, a crazy script." She stopped, paced around and rolled her eyes. "Okay, maybe I shouldn't have said that, I must have scared you off. Uhm... anyway. It'll be fun... and maybe the Emmy people will notice the talent we have in there."
"I don't know... I think I'd have to check with Luke first," he hesitated.
"With Luke? Why, is he your life coach or something?"
"If Luke wants a part, he only has to audition for himself!" she joked.
"I'll think about it."
"You do that."
She watched him walk away and suddenly started to laugh out loud. She just had this vision of Luke acting and was unable to keep from giggling to herself. And that night, she feel asleep with that image in mind.
She woke up the next morning with a huge grin on her face. It had been a while since she had a good night of sleep like that. She took a shower and dressed up with a black knee-length skirt, a white blouse and a black jacket. And even though the big red hat was too much, she did put on a long light scarf and traded her contacts for her glasses. She was going to take her job seriously. She smiled (semi-laughed) at herself in the mirror and thought she really looked like a theater-working-person. With the sound of her high heels clapping on the floor, she left for Miss Patty's.
Miss Patty was already there, smoking a cigarette (well, pretending to, anyway) and greeted Lorelai with her loud-cheery-voice.
"Look at you, Gorgeous! You look more like a movie star than Eva Mendes ever did!"
Lorelai twirled around and walked to Patty with all the moves she could put into her hips.
"This is gonna be fun," she said. "Who are we auditioning today?"
"The list is on the desk, sweetheart. But I know that we already are in trouble if Kirk is the only one applying for my male lead and for two other parts. The kid is sweet, but he's no superman."
The morning had been long. Most of the roles were assigned and Kirk was trying really hard to suck up to Miss Patty for the lead role. She was keeping the audition for that part last. And it was almost time. She called for a break and sent Kirk on coffee-duty.
Lorelai's feet were killing her. "How can your feet kill when you've been sitting practically all day long?" she thought. "And where's Kirk with my coffee!" She took her shoes off and lost them under the table, but didn't bother to look for them since she knew she was to stay in this chair for the next hour. Or so she thought...
That's when Doug decided to show up. Relaxed and casual, he walked through the door and smiled at Lorelai.
"So! Luke agreed, huh?" she said.
"I didn't ask."
"Good independent boy!"
They were still laughing when Miss Patty realized who was in her studio.
"DOUG!" she screamed. She almost jumped on him and nearly killed the poor guy.
"Miss Patty! It's so good to see you!"
"My, my! You're back! I hope you're here to audition!" she purred.
As much as she liked watching the both of them talking, Lorelai started to feel her caffeine withdrawal kicking in. Thinking that Kirk must have decided to get coffee in New York to impress Miss Patty, Lorelai, making sure she had time to, left the studio and made a run for Luke's. Her feet were in real pain when she entered the diner and realized that she had left her poor shoes all alone back there. Luke was pouring coffee to a customer close to the door and he immediately noticed her bare feet.
"Where are your shoes?"
"I'm a bad mother. I left my kids somewhere under a table. Coffee, please. Faster!"
"You left your kids...?" Luke was obviously confused.
"When you have them all morning long and they try and kill you, you'll leave them too, believe me!"
"Never mind. Coffee."
Luke stared at her and seemed to have no intention on giving her caffeine anytime soon so she went for it. She grabbed the coffee pot out ofhis hands.
"Hey!" he shouted. "You're not gonna drink out of it, are you?"
"Ooooh! Good idea! I've never tried this one before," she teased, pretending to bring the pot to her lips. Luke was ready to take it back when a loud scream interrupted every Stars Hollow citizens.
"I'VE BEEN ROBBED! I'VE BEEN ROBBED!"
That was Kirk, running around the center of town, crying out loud.
"I'VE BEEN ROBBED!"
The diner's door flew open so quickly that the bell didn't even jingle. And Kirk made his appearance.
"I've... been... robbed," he panted.
"We got that part, Kirk. What's missing?"
Kirk took a long, dramatic breath before answering.
"Doug Whitman... is back in town... and he... he... he stole the lead role from me. And when Patty said Lorelai was going to be... the female lead... I thought I was going to die. I wanted to play with Lorelai! That part was mine! MINE!"
And with that, he was gone spreading the news. Lorelai was in shock and wasn't sure if she believed Kirk. Luke looked at Lorelai, smirked and asked, "You auditioned?"
"I did not!" she defended herself. "I don't want to be an actress!"
Luke really was enjoying her horrified face right now. Just then, Doug and Miss Patty came in.
"Lorelai!" Patty sang. "We were looking for you. Did you get the news?"
"But, Miss Patty, I never said I wanted to..."
Doug cut her off.
"It was my idea. I think you'd be perfect for it."
Lorelai wasn't sure about that. And seeing Luke making fun of this situation didn't help. Patty begged. Who knew her puppy eyes could make someone cave in?
"You and Doug would be such a hot on-stage couple! And it's for the adults, so a little hotness won't hurt, right?"
Doug smiled at her. Patty winked. Lorelai was too shocked to protest... and they took that as a yes.
Lorelai turned to Luke, coffee pot still in hands. His smirk was gone. He went back behind the counter and she swore she heard him mumble, "This is gonna be interesting."