Mar. 9th, 2011

marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 2/24
Author: Marsabi
Summary: Noah remains blind, and he abandons Oakdale and Luke. Luke is left feeling guilty and lost, so he decides to focus on the foundation and PR work. Luke moves the foundation to Rome and avoids America. However, two years later, his family in Oakdale has been pressuring him to visit, and when an old friend calls him with a problem with her medical organization’s image, Luke agrees to fly to Miami. But can he turn their best doctor into a media star? As the cameras roll, Luke soon finds himself in a “pretend” relationship with Dr. Oliver …
Warning: Sexually explicit content (some parts)
Rating: PG- NC-17 (depends)
First of all, a big shout of thanks to the amazing rhiannonhero! Thanks also to traciamc

A/N
Without Medical Borders (WMB) is a fictional organization, but is modeled loosely on Doctors Without Borders. Most of these places in South Beach really do exist.



Chapter Two

Jessica and Luke had lunch on Lincoln Road in South Beach. Luke loosened his tie and took in the sights. A man on roller blades , wearing nothing but skimpy bike shorts, passed him with a low whistle. Another couple walked their poodle right into the restaurant and gave it a burger, while they shared a smoothie and kissed each other’s bearded lips. Jessica did not seem to even notice all these openly gay sights- they were normal here. Luke smiled. He had never seen things like this growing up in Oakdale.

At lunch, Jessica could not stop bragging about Reid Oliver.

“Oh I know he’s a bit of …an acquired taste, but he’s an amazing surgeon.”

“Has he been with WMB long?” Luke asked, interested despite himself.

“A few years now,” Jessica nodded. “He helped run our camp in North Darfur. And then in Moldova. “

“Wow,” Luke said, reluctantly impressed.

“Yes, even though he lives here, Reid’s still always willing to fly to any of our camps at a moment’s notice.” She grimaced, “It was this command performance that he isn’t too thrilled about.”

Luke laughed, “So I gathered.”

“Luke,” she added, “I really hope you’ll look past Dr. Oliver’s poor people skills and see the great work he’s doing, and you continue to support us here with the foundation. But, I have to tell you again, I just can’t see Reid becoming the poster boy for WMB. “

“It’s going to be more a challenge than I first thought,” Luke agreed. He smiled at Jessica, ”But I like a challenge.”

She nodded, knowing when to back off. They went on to discuss other, safer topics.

Afterwards, Jessica said, “Well, I can see you’re tired. Why not go to the hotel, check in, and relax the rest of your day? We’ll meet up tomorrow.”

“Sounds good,” Luke replied. He was actually less tired than he’d expected. For some strange reason, all his senses felt alert, wired even, but he just hugged her goodbye.

***
Luke decided to do some people-watching at his hotel. He settled himself near the piano bar with a ginger ale. There were lots of vibrant, colorful tourists buzzing around the room. Luke was the only person in a suit. He glanced around, suddenly feeling the eyes of another man resting on him. The man had shaggy brown hair and a fake tan. He was sitting at the bar, and he quickly nudged at the empty stool next to him. The man gave Luke a smile. Luke hesitated. It had been a long time. He looked like he had a decent body, but the man was no Dr. Oliver. The thought made Luke freeze for a moment. Where had that come from? Okay, he knew where. Luke pictured Dr. Oliver’s strong jaw and well-shaped lips. He pictured getting his hands on those scrubs, working them off of the doctor’s rock-hard body and…Luke shrugged the image away. Dr. Oliver couldn’t stand him. And this man was here and available. Luke considered it.

But then the man rubbed at his crotch suggestively, spoiling any chance of an encounter with the lewd gesture. Luke gave him a mock salute and promptly left the bar.

“Whatsa matter?” A voice called after him. Luke turned. The man had followed him out of the bar. He moved closer, his eyes now small and greedy-looking. Luke swallowed. This was exactly what he didn’t need.

“Long day,” He said casually, and gave the guy what he hoped was a regretful face, “Some other time.”

The man looked at him. Luke could see he was ready to argue. He quickly joined a group of people heading to the elevator and was relieved to go with them. The man just watched him as the doors to the elevator closed. Luke breathed a sigh of relief. Up close, there had been an ugliness in the man’s face.

It was a look Luke recognized.

So much for a night of simple fun. He should really just admit to Damian that he was a lost cause. Not everybody could be like his father, dating different women each night, managing relationships with no strings or baggage.

Luke headed to his room and threw himself on the bed. Exhaustion had finally caught up with him. He slept off his jet lag, not bothering to change. When he woke up, it was dark in the room. Luke sighed and shrugged out of his wrinkled suit and tie. He opened up the buttons of his collared shirt. Then he stepped out onto his balcony and breathed in the musky Miami air. It smelled like fruit and gasoline and something more sultry underneath. Luke gazed at the bright lights of the city. He could hear the nearby rumble of the ocean. He pictured lovers of all shapes and sizes on the beach, strolling hand in hand. With a sigh, Luke closed the doors of the balcony and went back to his room. He watched a bit of TV, ordered room service, and the picked up his journal and began to write.


I had a few drunken nights with strange men before I got sober, only two, really. The first man was a friendly thing, without much passion. The other man tricked me. He bought me drink after drink in the hotel bar, let me stumble my way upstairs, and then fucked me in all of two minutes. When I woke up a few hours later from a drunken slumber, he’d taken my cash and credit cards and tossed my wallet, under our used condom, in the trash. All I had left in the wallet was a picture of Noah, so I left it there. I hated myself after that man. I hated the causal indifference of the sex. But most of all, I hated waking up and not even knowing their names. Call me a sap, but I still think sex shouldn’t be without love. Noah hadn’t been good at sex, but I had thought he was good at the love part – until he proved me wrong. The problem is that, since Noah, I no longer trust love. Maybe just to find a person to touch and hold in the night, and still want to wake up to, maybe that would be enough.

***

The next morning, Luke met with Dr. Oliver very early. He was anxious to get started.
Dr. Oliver was waiting for him in his office, drumming his fingers impatiently on his desk.

“You’re late,” he greeted Luke.

Luke glanced down at his watch, “By five minutes.”

“Those are five minutes I could be doing my research or helping my patients. What, couldn’t get out of bed in time, Mr. Snyder? Had a late night party with Paris Hilton?”

“Ricky Martin,” Luke replied.

Dr. Oliver met Luke’s eyes. Luke felt a current of something again pass between them.

“I see,” Dr. Oliver said.

Luke bit his lip and looked him. “How about you? What kind of parties do you like?”

Luke could feel heat again rising to his cheeks and nearly cursed. How obvious could he be? He had no idea why he was flirting with Dr. Oliver. He couldn’t seem to stop his own words from stupidly coming out. Luke felt his stomach churning as he waited for him to respond.

Dr. Oliver didn’t answer a moment. “I don’t go to parties,” he finally said.

Then he gestured for Luke to come over to his computer. “Here are the latest procedures I’ve done. I can just read this to the press.“

Luke came closer over and leaned over Dr. Oliver’s shoulder to study the screen.

“You can’t just read this,” he told him.

Dr. Oliver scowled, “Why not?”, he said grumpily. “It highlights all my work.”

“It’s too technical. They won’t understand most of this.”

“Shall I get them a ‘Medicine For Dummies’ book ?”

Luke tried to ignore that. He also tried to ignore the way he could smell Dr. Oliver’s scent.
He didn’t know if it was a cologne or just his skin, but it was making Luke light-headed. It was a good thing Dr. Oliver seemed to already resent him so much; otherwise, this whole situation would be dangerous.

“Besides,“ Luke added, looking down at Dr. Oliver, his breath at his neck, “It’s dull. You need to jazz it up It doesn’t excite me.”

“Funny, I thought I was trying to educate you.” Dr. Oliver shifted in his chair.

“You need to do both. The press and the people reading about WMB want to see you as Indiana Jones or something. “

“Great, I’ll be sure to use my stethoscope as a whip.”

“A cute monkey wouldn’t hurt you either.”

“Isn’t that you, Mr. Snyder? Basically taking out your little organ grinder so the press can applaud?”

Luke shook his head at Dr. Oliver.

“Let’s back it up a little. Forget your speech. I’ll write one for you. “

“I’m contributing to my own speech,” Dr. Oliver insisted. “I’m not some dummy you pull the strings on. I want it to be my ideas. Not just from you.”

“Fine,” Luke said, “We can work on it tonight in the hotel. “

“Why not right now?” Dr. Oliver demanded.

But Luke no longer was listening. He eyed him critically.

“What?” Dr. Oliver glanced own at his scrubs.

“Give me your hand.”

“Not until you buy me dinner, “ Dr. Oliver joked. But Luke ignored him and took his hand to examine it. Luke had an idea about doing a photo spread of Dr. Oliver and showing his hands on the patients, his face looking concerned. Once he had his hand though, Luke couldn’t help running his thumb over his palm. Dr. Oliver stood still and endured it, still frowning. They were great hands. The fingers were long and lean. They looked like capable hands, the nails meticulously clean. He really didn’t need a manicure, just a buffing maybe.

A sudden urge to lick his tongue across it hit Luke in the guts. He released him. He had never been so, so painfully aware of another man before, not even Noah. Damian was right; he really did need to get a life.

Then Luke studied the Dr. Oliver’s face, his firm jaw. He had to smother the yearning sigh that almost came out of his lips. He pretended to be business-like instead.

“And what is your moisturizing method?”, he asked gruffly.

“My what?”

“How do you clean your face? “ Luke asked with forced patience.

“With soap!” Dr. Oliver moved away from him.

Dr. Oliver looked confused and angry. He was practically squirming to get away from Luke’s questions.

Dr. Oliver gave him a withering look, “I fail to see how my grooming techniques come into this ,” he snapped.

“Television is about beauty,” Luke answered simply. “We have to sell you in order to sell Without Medical Borders.”

“Terrific.“ Dr. Oliver groaned, “I always wanted to be Miss Teen USA. Are you going to have me come out in a dress and tiara too? “

Luke just grinned at him. This was starting to be fun. Maybe this was just what he needed, flirting with a man who despised having to be with him. There might be an attraction, but Luke was secure suddenly that Dr. Oliver would just ignore it and him as much as possible. He started to relax.

“I do have a few crowns stashed away at the hotel,” he said, tilting his head as if considering it.

“ Look at you trying to be clever,” Dr. Oliver drawled. “Be grateful you’ve money and good looks to fall back on.”

“You think I’m good-looking?” Luke asked demurely.

Dr. Oliver merely rolled his eyes.

“Back to your grooming,” Luke gave him a bigger, blinding smile. “Dr. Oliver, “ he said teasingly, “ever gone to a spa?”

***

They never made it to the spa that day. Just as Dr. Oliver was about to answer, his pager went off. Luke followed him to the top of the building and watched as they brought in a small girl. Doctors in her native El Salvador had discovered a hug brain aneurysm and had no way to treat her there. Dr. Oliver spoke to her the entire way down the elevator and into the OR. Luke didn’t know Spanish, but he understood a few words like nina and bonita that were similar to Italian. He listened in admiration to Dr. Oliver speak to her in the girl’s native tongue with a soft, soothing voice, and watched as the little girl responded to him and relaxed.

The aneurysm had to be treated quickly or it might burst. Jessica motioned for Luke to go up to the observatory and watch the procedure.

“What’s he doing?” Luke asked at one point, when Dr. Oliver made an incision near the girl’s groin.

“Reid helped to invent this,” Jessica told him proudly, “He inserts a catheter through the blood vessels down there and it travels all the way up to her brain. He can operate without ever making an incision in her skull.”

The entire operation took several hours. Afterward, Dr. Oliver had stayed with the young girl, watching over her. Luke left for a little while, but soon he returned to the hospital. He saw Dr. Oliver was again heading for the girl’s room and Luke felt drawn to following him down the hall.

He waited outside of the girl’s room, listening to Dr. Oliver and the other staff determine her condition. Dr. Oliver remained with her until she woke up, then he checked her over efficiently. A few nurses entered the room, one sticking a needle into her already bruised skin. Another was attempting to take away the stuffed bear that she held in her arms. “Sorry, “ the nurse told the little girl, “but it’s filthy, we need to wash it.”

“She has no family here,” Dr. Oliver barked at the cowering nurse, “ let her keep that.”

Then he opened up the door and crashed right into Luke.

“Watch it!”

“Sorry.”

“Why are you still here? “ Dr. Oliver asked rudely.

Luke shrugged. “We were going to work on your speech at the hotel, remember?” He couldn’t help adding, “You were amazing in that operating room!”

“I’m the best,” he shrugged. Luke realized that he was still standing in his way. He moved aside and Dr. Oliver impatiently went around him.

“Your modesty isn’t going to win over the press,” Luke told him, dogging his steps.

Dr. Oliver didn’t answer. He went into the break room and began to put quarter after quarter into the vending machine.

“She can eat junk food already?” Luke asked, puzzled.

Dr. Oliver picked up several bags of chips and held them to his chest, “These are for me.”

“That’s dinner?“ Luke asked.

“You don’t have to stay and watch me eat it,” Dr. Oliver replied, ripping into the first bag.

“Well, “ Luke said hesitantly, “you don’t have to eat it either. Let me treat you to dinner at the hotel. Then we can work on that speech.”

***

At dinner, Luke asked Dr. Oliver questions about the girl, Maya, and her operation.

“She should make a full and fast recovery,” Dr. Oliver told him, stabbing at his steak with his fork. “Since I didn’t have to cut, she can go home as early as tomorrow.”

“Wow.” Luke watched him devour more steak. “And the aneurysm’s gone?”

“Yep,” He chewed, “I mean she has to be monitored, make sure it doesn’t reoccur. “ Dr. Oliver went on to explain the medical techniques involved in the procedure step by step.

But Luke was distracted. The man from last night had walked into the hotel restaurant. He met Luke’s eyes mockingly and made another lewd gesture with his tongue and hand.

“Friend of yours?” Dr. Oliver said dryly, making Luke jump.

“Hardly,” Luke replied, uncomfortable. “Just somebody who doesn’t take ‘no’ well, I guess.”

Dr. Oliver glanced over at the man again, and then nodded to him. He then reached over and held Luke’s hand.

His palm pressed firmly into Luke’s. Their fingers connected together swiftly.

“What are you doing?” Luke hissed.

“Relax,” Dr. Oliver said. “The easiest way to get a guy to back off is usually another guy.”
He shrugged. “Now fake a big smile at me.”

Luke found that he couldn’t smile. Usually, he smiled all the time. But he felt suddenly choked up. Dr. Oliver’s skin was so warm, and he just wanted those fingers to linger on his own. When he met Dr. Oliver’s eyes, he lost all coherent thought. What was he supposed to be doing? Smiling, right. Luke opened his mouth, licked his lips nervously. Dr. Oliver’s eyes darkened as he followed the movement of Luke’s tongue.

He pulled his hand away, ”The guy is gone,” Dr. Oliver said crisply.

“Thanks,” Luke said in a low voice.

Dr. Oliver brushed his thanks aside, “Just buy me some dessert. We can celebrate this special moment in our lives with a cheesecake,” he said sarcastically.

Luke snorted, “Does your mouth ever stop?”

Dr. Oliver smirked, “Only when it’s full of something.” He reached for his food.

***

After dinner, they went up to Luke’s room to work on the speech. They had an early interview with ‘South Florida Today’, which was a local show, but had a steady audience. Hopefully, it would lead to bigger interviews and positive press for WMB.

Dr. Oliver sat on the edge of Luke’s hotel couch, a pencil tucked behind his ear, going over Luke’s words. The speech had gone through 2 drafts already. Luke wasn’t used to criticism with his writing, but he could respect Dr. Oliver’s need for the speech to feel right. Luke briefly wondered what he was like in bed. Did he expect perfection from his lovers too?

If so, Noah had always made it clear that Luke was far from perfect.

“Not totally useless,” Dr. Oliver said now, gesturing to the new paragraph Luke had added.

“Gee, thanks.” But Luke smiled.

Dr. Oliver gave him a barely perceptible lift of his lips and went back to the paper.

“But remember,“ Luke cautioned, sitting down next to him, their thighs accidentally brushing, “you need to be camera friendly. Don’t read this- just try and work the points in casually. “

“I already know them,” Dr. Oliver said, sliding his thigh away.

“Oh?”

He sighed impatiently, “Listen,” Luke’s mouth fell open as Dr. Oliver spit back all the points in his speech without looking.

“Photographic memory,” Dr. Oliver told him.

“Is there anything you can’t do? “ Luke joked.

“Nothing I can think of,” Dr. Oliver drawled. Then he shrugged, “Tolerate idiots? I can’t do that.”

Luke had to laugh at his ego. Dr. Oliver gave him a slow smile in return.

The air suddenly felt hot. A bead of sweat dripped down Luke’s face and he rubbed a hand at the back of his neck. Luke felt Dr. Oliver’s eyes on him then, and saw that his movement had caused his shirt to ride up and expose a patch of skin at his lower stomach. Luke quickly put his hand back down and stood up. He nervously walked over to his balcony to open it up. “Fresh air,“ he said, forcing his voice to sound upbeat.

Dr. Oliver didn’t reply. He just continued to watch him.

“So tell me in your own words what WMB means to you. Pretend I’m Molly Cranden from ‘South Florida Today’, “ Luke went back over to him, determined to appear casual.

“Okay, but you’ll have to get more teary-eyed,” Dr. Oliver said. Luke was puzzled, so he added, “From what I’ve seen of her, Molly Cranden cries at every show over nothing. “

“Just tell me.” Luke picked up a piece of paper and rolled it like a microphone, then he walked closer to Reid. “Hi doctor! I’m Molly! So great to meet you! Can you tell us all about why you got involved in WMB?”

“To meet perky people like you?” Dr. Oliver said.

“Oh, come on. Answer,” Luke demanded.

“That lead in was awful.”

“No,” Luke said to him, thrusting the pretend mic in his face, “ that is the way TV people talk. And I’ve lots more fake questions. “

“Fantastic.”

Luke drew in an exasperated breath. He counted to ten in his head.

“Are you counting?” Dr. Oliver asked, smirking.

“I’m treating you like my little brother, “ Luke replied, “with extra patience. ” Luke cleared his throat and got into his Molly routine again. He walked around the table, sashaying his hips in a mock-performance of the TV reporter.

“Now, Dr. Oliver, you were telling us about your experience at Without Medical Borders?”

He sighed. “Okay, but I can’t look at you. This is too ridiculous. “ He looked away. “Well, Molly, “ Dr. Oliver began in sarcastic tone, “I started volunteering my summers with WMB as a way to impress my Harvard medical professors-“

Luke snorted, “Oh great. A suck up- just the answer we need.”

Dr. Oliver turned and glared at him. “ You want to hear this or not?”

Luke sighed, then he answered in a reporter’s voice again, “Oh, yes! You’re so fascinating! Our viewers will love you!”

They started at each other for a moment. Dr. Oliver’s lips twitched, then he looked away. He took a deep breath.

“It started with my first trip to Moldova.” He said quietly, “ I’d never really traveled out of the country before. I think I was so innocent about it all, “ he mused, starting to get lost in thought. “ So much suffering was there, suffering over so many small things like water. And when I helped them,” Dr. Oliver’s eyes got a faraway look in them ,” it wasn’t like helping somebody here. It wasn’t about medical bills, insurance , and drugs or any of that …It was so human…” Dr. Oliver did not seem aware of the passion in his voice, but it drew Luke to him like a magnet. He leaned into Dr. Oliver as he listened, mesmerized.

“Go on,” Luke said, losing his Molly voice.

Dr. Oliver appeared lost in thought. “Every person there was so warm and thankful. I held a baby in my arms and she smiled at me, and most people never smile at me,” he glanced briefly at Luke, “ but she did. I was about to operate on her, and I was a stranger, and she smiled…”

“What?” Dr. Oliver asked suddenly, seeing the expression on Luke’s face.

Luke couldn’t help touching his arm, “You really care so much,” he whispered, feeling like he suddenly could see into Dr. Oliver’s soul.

Dr Oliver jumped back and gathered up the papers. “Yeah, well…” he stood up. “I guess that’s the kind of weepy thing that will work, huh?”

Luke felt his heart drop to his knees in disappointment. “Was that just an act?”, he asked.

Dr. Oliver just looked at him and didn’t answer. Their eyes connected, gazing at each other, probing and searching each other for clues.

“Look,” Dr. Oliver said finally, “ I think I’m ready for tomorrow. Thanks for helping me prepare. “ He nodded slightly at Luke.

“See you in the morning,” Luke offered him a small, shy smile in return.

Dr. Oliver just stared again, until Luke felt himself flush.

“Be on time,” Dr. Oliver finally added.

“Just don’t blow it,” Luke returned. Unable to resist trying again to flirt, Luke batted his eyes at him and gave him a saucy grin.

Dr. Oliver gave him a measuring look. Then he reached out and ran a finger over Luke’s lips. Luke’s whole body immediately reacted to the touch and he jumped back, surprised.

Dr. Oliver smiled wickedly, “I always blow it,” he said and left.

Luke closed the door. He practically fell against it, and had to take deep, calming breaths. Maybe flirting with Dr. Oliver had been a very bad idea.

Confused, Luke went to take a long, cold shower.

A/N: That medical procedure is real (a family member of mine had it done), but of course Reid didn’t invent it –LOL. Molly is not the actual Molly from the show here- that is why her name is changed- a parody.

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