Lorelai didn’t want the anxiety to return and rushed back to the kitchen to get some more food.
It saddened her that she knew she didn’t deserve the attention but was confused that she didn’t get the usual tightening in her chest if men paid her attention.
She usually felt an overwhelming urge to get away and hide in her house, but those two men didn’t do that to her.
The officers’ order came up and she brought their food and some more treats for the dog on a tray and sashayed her way to the table.
She gently laid the food in front of the men and then bent down to pet Thor and give him more biscuits.
“Anything else, Officers?” she asked rather shyly after standing up.
They both agreed that they were good and Lorelai nodded, promising to come back and check on them in a few minutes.
Aaron watched her walk away again before starting on his food.
“You gonna keep staring at her or do something about it?” Steve asked.
“I really want to ask her out, but there’s something about her that makes me feel…nervous or almost skittish, you know?”
“I get that feeling with her too. Just be careful, Aaron, I know it’s been a while for you, but you don’t know anything about her.”
He heeded his best friend’s advice. “I will… Speaking of it being a while, I saw Hannah last week at the gym. She’s pregnant again, due soon.”
Steve heard the edge of pain in the man’s voice. “How was that? She say anything?”
Aaron shrugged and swallowed his burger. “She said hi and I said it back. She said I looked good and I congratulated her on the new baby. She thanked me and I started to walk away when she apologized to me again.”
Steve smiled weakly. “Well, that was nice, I guess. You good?”
“Yeah, it was weird seeing her pregnant with some other guy’s baby again, but it is what it is.”
The men went back to eating and Lorelai brought them another round of drinks. Steven went to the bathroom after Aaron settled the bill, leaving her a nice tip.
She went back to the table to clear it off and pocketed the slip of paper and the cash and loaded up the bin with dirties. She stopped short when she heard footsteps behind her and felt the presence of someone.
She stiffened and waited for the flight or fight response to kick in.
“Lorelai, I was wondering if you maybe wanted to go out sometime…” the hot cop asked her.
She slowly turned and looked at him, waiting for her palms to sweat and the irrational fears to race through her head.
“Ah…go out? Like on a date?”
He smirked at her. “Yes, that’s usually what that means.”
Lorelai realized that she was staring at him again before she heard the whine of Thor; it shook her out of her own thoughts. “But you just met me today…”
“I know that. But I would like to get to know you better, hence asking you out.” Aaron smiled adorably at her.
Lorelai bit her lip while thinking about him and his request, desperately wanting to say yes.
Aaron could see that something was holding her back; the feeling that she was hurt or scared of something became more evident. He was going to suggest an alternative to going out alone when she spoke again.
“Um, I just met you today…but what if we see each other again somewhere, then I will have met you twice, and then I will say yes. Is that okay?”
Aaron grinned and raised an eyebrow at her, just getting ready to agree when her face fell.
“That’s the dumbest thing you have ever heard, isn’t it? Oh God, I’m sorry. I understand if you want to just forget it. I am such an id—”
“Lorelai, stop, I get it; I think it’s a good idea. Next time I see you, I’m asking you out again and you have to say yes,” Aaron said, reassuring her again and smiling broadly.
She nodded and hid a shy smile as he turned to leave with a wave. Thor rubbed against her leg briefly, then followed his human out of the patio. Lorelai stood there and watched them get into the marked SUV and drive out.
She knew she needed to check her tables again. and as she was putting dishes on the dishwashing counter, the realization of what happened—or not happened—hit her.
She didn’t have a panic attack, her heart didn’t race in the way that made her want to run, and she agreed to go out with him. Sort of. She didn’t know what to make of it and needed to talk to someone about it.
She glanced at the clock and knew she had about an hour left before she could leave and go to her rock, her best friend. She went back out and worked hard, trying to turn her brain off as she finished up her shift.
With seventy-eight dollars in her pocket from tips to go in her ‘adventure jar,’ she hugged Uncle Lou when he came in. Then she left, racing to her destination. She knocked on the door as she opened it and called out, “Hey guys!”
Alex poked his head out of his office and smiled. “Hi sweetie, how was your shift?”
“Why?” Alex asked with a furrowed brow. “Did something happen?”
“Yeah… Can we talk?”
“Of course! Let me get JJ,” he said and yelled down to the basement where JJ was in his office.
Joel heard his husband yell for him to come up and he jogged up to see his best friend from kindergarten in the living room. He scooped her into a big bear hug. “Hi Lor! What’s up?”
“She needs to talk, something happened at the restaurant,” Alex said as he sat on the couch.
Joel was concerned and steered her to the couch between them. “What happened? Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I’m fine, I think… It was just weird. There was this guy—”
“WHAT GUY?” Joel asked with a growl.
“Calm down, babe! Jeez!” Alex scolded as he rolled his eyes. “Let her talk.”
Thankful for his support, she patted his knee and continued on her story of meeting the hot cops. After she finished the story, Joel and Alex looked at each other with hopeful eyes.
“So, no panic attack? No sweaty palms or running out? No breathing into a paper bag?” Joel asked, trying to clarify everything in his head.
“No, none of it! I mean my heart started racing, but with anticipation, not from being scared. What do you think it means?”
“I think it means that you are healing, Lor! I think all the hard work you have done for the last four years is paying off. Did you talk to Dr. McCormack?” Joel said.
“No, I came straight here to talk to you guys. Do you really think I am getting better?”
“I do, Lorelai. This is really good! I am so proud of you, we are so proud of you! I know your parents and Evelyn will be so happy for you too!” Alex said, squeezing her hand.
“What will you wear? For the date I mean,” Joel asked.
Lorelai giggled. “This is a big town, JJ, do you honestly think that I will see him again to get to say yes? I am just happy that this happened so if anyone ever asks me out again, I will be ready.”
“So, you don’t think you will see the cop anymore? What if he comes into the restaurant again and you are helping out?” Joel asked.
She shrugged. “I don’t know when I will be there again, but we’ll see.”