Rating: PG
Characters: Luke/Lorelai, baby Rory, Miss Patty
Summary: This story takes place some years back, when Lorelai has recently moved to Stars Hollow. It's basically on the lines of how Luke and Lorelai first met. :-) Happy reading!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


by Jane

Her tears had soaked through her pillow and her hair had grown wild and tangled. She could hear Rory crying for her, loud and ringing in her ears. Lorelai rubbed at her puffy eyes and felt her body ache as she reluctantly got up. "Ok, baby... I'm coming," Lorelai called out, stopping at the bathroom to splash water on her face. She stared back at her reflection, then turned away. As Lorelai walked over to Rory's room, her wave of self-pity disappeared. Rory was holding onto her stuffed turkey. Lorelai found a smile involuntarily stretch across her face. Rory turned to look at her mom and smiled back.

"We don't need them, do we? It's just you and me, babe," Lorelai picked Rory up and hugged her. Rory squirmed and reached for her stuffed turkey.

"Let's find mommy some coffee, what do you say?"

"Coffee!" Rory chirped as she held onto Lorelai's hand.

"I've trained you well," Lorelai laughed.

"Lorelai!" Miss Patty called out. It was a beautiful sunny day in Stars Hollow when Lorelai and Rory went out in search of some coffee. Lorelai smiled, squinting in the sun.

"Hey Miss Patty. How's the dance studio going?"

"Fine, fine. One day you should send Rory to dance. She'll be a prima ballerina!"

"Ah, I don't know about that..." Lorelai laughed skeptically.

"Sure she will!" Miss Patty reassured as Rory spun around to show her mom.

"See?" Rory spun around again, growing dizzy.

"Today's the day!" Miss Patty remembered, clasping her hands together excitedly.

"The day? The day for what? Spring cleaning?"

"No, no. Luke's opening up his own diner!" Miss Patty exclaimed.

"Luke?" Lorelai never heard of a Luke.

"Ever since his father died last year, that boy has been working hard to make his father's hardware shop into a diner. Marvelous, isn't it? I tell you, that boy can cook! And you know what they say about men who can cook," Miss Patty nudged Lorelai and winked.

"A man who cooks? I love him already!" Lorelai joked.

"He's a catch all right. Too bad his heart is broken," Miss Patty shook her head sadly.

"Broken?" Lorelai asked, confused.

"Snapped in two... poor man,"

Lorelai was just about to question what she meant when Miss Patty cried out, "I'm late to my own class. Those prima ballerinas are probably bouncing off the walls. Lovely seeing you and little Lorelai."

"You too, Patty!" Lorelai waved and decided to head over to this new diner.

The sign atop the store, "Williams Hardware" didn't change, and for that matter nothing else did. Luke liked it that way. Change never went well for him.

That was probably why he was standing there pouring coffee completely content with a broken heart. Had it already been a year? Two? More? He had lost count since Rachel left. It was easier not to think about it, about her. He just couldn't understand the need to leave Stars Hollow, the place where he was born and raised and planned to stay. No, change didn't go well for Luke at all. But business most certainly was. Customers poured in for his grand reopening, replacing tools and hammers with first-rate burgers and coffee. Luke couldn't think of anything better.

"Huh. Hardware," Lorelai smiled to herself, holding Rory by the hand. From yards away, Lorelai could smell the aroma of coffee drawing her in. Lorelai opened the door for her and Rory, surprised at the crowded room full of noisy people. A young man with a baseball hat on backwards nodded to her.

"Hey there. You must be the notorious Luke," Lorelai smiled, eyes twinkling.

"That would be me," He reached over to shake her hand, then shook Rory's when Rory stuck her hand out.

"And you?"

"Coffee, please," Lorelai said matter-of-factly.

Luke laughed. "Your name."

"Right!" Lorelai laughed, rolling her eyes. She grew serious. "Hello. My name's Lorelai Gilmore. And I'm a coffee addict."

"Good to know," Luke poured her coffee. "Is this your sister?"

Lorelai shook her head slowly, used to the familiar question. "Umm.. my daughter actually. Rory's her name, short for Lorelai. Which is my name. But you already knew that, didn't you? But I'm not egotistical. I just thought, men name their sons after them with the whole 'junior' and 'the Third' nonsense, so why can't women? So, I named her Lorelai. Well, actually that makes her Lorelai the Third. But I call her Rory so that no one gets confused, so that I don't get confused! 'Cause I often get confused."

Lorelai laughed, then realized she rambled when Luke gave her a confused look of his own.

"Sorry about that,"

"Don't worry about it. I'm sure coffee addiction does that to you," Luke winked.

"Yeah, well..."

"She's a beautiful kid," Luke smiled. "Takes after her mother."

Lorelai raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Say thank you," Rory whispered in her mom's ear.

"Thank you," Lorelai said genuinely, finishing off her cup of coffee.

"My god, you make some good coffee. Could I have some more please?"

"What?" Luke frowned.

"Pour. More. Coffee. Please,"

"Are you serious?"

"No. I'm just kidding. Of course I'm serious!" Lorelai laughed, waving the coffee mug in front of Luke. "Please?"

Luke frowned, reluctantly pouring more coffee. "I have never seen anyone drink coffee that fast. Ever."

"Well, aren't you glad you met me then?" Lorelai grinned.

Luke stared at her, watching her finish off her second cup of coffee.

"Welcome to Stars Hollow,"

"Thank you," Lorelai smiled.

"Just don't start Rory on coffee," Luke warned.

"I won't," Lorelai shook her head. She hid her crossed fingers and snuck a mischievous grin to Rory.

With her shift off from the Independence Inn and Rory trying out her first dance lesson at Miss Patty's, Lorelai finally had some free time to herself. She was glad to take a break from washing sheets and making beds over at the inn. It wasn't the best job, but it was something.

"Nice apron," Luke smirked as Lorelai walked in. Lorelai took off her uniform apron and sat down.

"Just pour the coffee, please,"

"I'm putting you on a two cup limit," Luke warned.

"Ha!" Lorelai laughed loudly. People turned around to stare at her. She mouthed 'sorry' and lowered her voice to Luke. "You'll cave in."

"So what's with the apron?" Luke asked.

"I work at the Independence Inn," Lorelai said nonchalantly. She stared at Luke, watching him scribble orders. He was handsome all right. Not exactly Richie Cunningham, like Christopher, but more homely in a way. She could tell that from his baseball cap.

"So what's with the baseball hat?" Lorelai asked, echoing Luke's question.

Luke breathed in deeply, not responding to her question. Rachel had given it to him a long time ago, at a baseball game he was playing at. He had made a home run hit that day. The only home run hit in his life. Funny thing, he had totally forgotten that Rachel had given him the hat.

Instead of answering, Luke opted to change the subject. "Where's Rory today?"

"Probably stepping on her feet over at Miss Patty's," Lorelai smiled, unaware that Luke had changed the subject. "She's a smart one, but not exactly inclined for dancing."

Luke smiled and poured another cup of coffee for Lorelai. "If you don't mind me asking..."

Lorelai shook her head, since she already knew what he was going to ask. "I don't mind." Lorelai paused. "Let's just say, marriage wasn't in my cards just yet. Then again, neither was having a kid at sixteen." She paused again. "But I'm glad I did. Rory's a great kid, and I'm really lucky for that."

They smiled at each other before Lorelai spoke. "Well, I'd better get going and pick up Rory. It was nice talking to you."

"You too," Luke nodded.

"Ah, don't look too sad... We'll be back in a few hours for dinner," Lorelai winked and left the diner.

For a moment there, as Luke stood wiping the counter, he completely forgot about Rachel.

"Lorelai Gilmore," He whispered, shaking his head and laughing. As irritating as she could be, he couldn't be more glad that she had stepped into his life.

The End