Luke leaves and Lorelai panics.
That’s the only logical thing to do after a fight, at least, in her mind. Never mind that it hadn’t been a spectacular blow-out that would end their relationship, just a simple matter of playful bickering gone a bit too far, and he had growled something about needing to cool off before he grabbed his coat and slammed the door behind him. It didn’t matter, though. It’s enough. Enough to possibly end their relationship. Enough to make her think she’s ruined everything, that she’s, "panicking for nothing."
If she hadn't been thinking about all the things she did wrong, every word said the wrong way, every misstep in the delicate waltz of a relationship, she might have heard his truck shut down before he pulled out of the driveway. She might have heard his heavy boots on the steps, the heaving sigh as he catches his breath on the bench outside the door, and she definitely would have heard his keys in the lock, the way his copy catches right as it clicks open. But, she hadn't, and now that she realizes that he's here, that he's back, she feels selfish for making him deal with her being curled up in the fetal position on their couch, after earlier.
"Y'know," she sniffles, bringing a hand up to wipe her eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. "I don't think you're supposed to come back in less than an hour after a fight."
"Well, y'know, you're also supposed to leave..." he returns softly, dropping his keys and hat on the table by her phone. Lorelai's eyes widen and she tugs her bottom lip between her teeth. He hadn't left at all. Instead, he's here, cotton and denim sinking into the couch at her feet, hand reaching for hers. "C'mere, crazy lady."
It's not easy being in a relationship when you're Lorelai and healthy relationships were never your forte, so to have a man who refuses to leave because of a fight that won't matter in the morning, that's different for her. "You didn't leave."
"It was just a silly fight." he adjusts for her long, lean frame curling in his lap. The way her head finds his shoulder, wet face pressing into his neck, arms crossed on her bent legs. He rests one hand on her thighs and sinks the fingers of his other hands into her dark curls. "Nothin' worth leavin' over."
"But - " a thousand protestations leap, ready to fling themselves out in the abyss of what is sure to be a heavy conversation, but are restrained by a stronger-willed Luke, unwilling to back down. He won't let her wallow in how selfish she thinks she's being, even though, he can, and is, just as much at fault this time. He's been selfish, too.
"We're going to fight, Lorelai." his mouth moves against the top of her head."It's normal. Healthy, even. Sometimes, I might need to walk away and cool down."
The tension gives way and sinks a little deeper into him, letting her body fill his arms in that way she does when she needs to feel whole, again. When she's tired and stressed and everything feels wrong and he's the only one who can make it right, again. "I've never had a healthy relationship." Lorelai takes a deep breath in hopes of composing herself. "Me and Christopher were terrible for each other and too blind to see it. Max was great and even Jason to a certain extent but they didn't take care of me the way you do."
"I'll always take care of you, Lorelai." it's a promise he's made several times, and will continue to make for as long as she needs to hear it. "My track record isn't much better. One ex is a flight risk, one was never sure who her daughter's father was, and the last ex was a real piece of work. She had a new man before the ink was dry on the divorce papers." he tightens his hold, keeping her tucked close. "But, that doesn't mean one fight is going to sink us. We're not doomed to failure because of that, Lorelai. All couples fight, even the perfect ones like Sookie and Jackson or Babette and Morey."
"I don't know, I try not to think about them." Lorelai breathes him in.
"Trust me, it's normal." she tries not to whine at the loss of warmth on her thigh but it melts into a sigh of content when he cups her cheek, thumbing away the remnants of her insecurity. "I'm still all in, Crazy Lady. We aren't defined by who we were with in the past. We're different."
"I hope so."
"We are. Hey," his soft voice has her lifting her head from his shoulder to look at him. "You know, I'm different with you. Everyone in this god-forsaken town knows I'm different with you." his hand shifts, again, this time to the back of her neck. "I love you, Crazy Lady."
But, Lorelai's smile still doesn't reach her eyes so he readjusts until he's able to catch her in a kiss. He's found that the simplest way to handle Lorelai's various emotional states is to be tactile with her, a soft kiss, a gentle touch. Very rarely does she want space in a relationship. Luke's found it often de-escalates a situation before she loses herself.
"I'm not leaving, okay?" he mumbles against her mouth, "I'm always right here."
And, hell no. It wouldn't be easy. They were both passionate and stubborn and closed off and they'd always know how to rile each other up and they'd never know when to back off. But, as long as he stays and as long as she knows he's there, then they just might have a shot in hell.
If only because nobody else can call her crazy lady without risking life and limb.