Mar. 11th, 2011

marsabi1: (Default)
Title: Without Borders 3/24
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)
A big shout of thanks to the amazing rhiannonhero! Thanks also to traciamc

Without Medical Borders (WMB) is a fictional organization, but is modeled loosely on Doctors Without Borders.
Previous chapter: http://marsabi.livejournal.com/25995.html

Chapter Three

The next day, Reid met Luke in the green room of ‘South Florida Today’, and he actually looked pleased when Luke offered him a latte.

“Ah caffeine,“ Reid sighed and breathed it in. Luke smiled.

“It’s early,“ he agreed. “I didn’t know what you like, but I like the flavored lattes, so-“

Reid nodded at him, “Fine.” A smile played across Reid’s lips, making Luke catch his breath and turn away.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked Reid, fiddling with his coffee cup.

“Sure,“ Reid answered, “bring on the inquisition.”

“You’ll be fine,” Luke said. He automatically reached out and touched Reid’s shoulder. Reid’s eyes followed the movement. He looked down where Luke’s hand rested. Luke abruptly removed his fingers from Reid, feeling like his gesture of good will had become provocative. He focused on his coffee cup again.

After suffering through the makeup girl, Reid was brought onto the show and seated as the cameras started rolling . Molly and Mick, the two hosts, chatted inanely about the weather and sports first. Then they gave an ecstatic caller a trip to the Eden Rock hotel for the night. Luke motioned to Reid from backstage – he was yawning on camera.

Reid rolled his eyes at Luke and Luke again frantically motioned him to stop. He pointed to the cameras.

“Now,” chirpy Molly was saying, “We have our first guest. He is the genius behind our local Without Medical Borders facility, and is here today to share with us some of their new goals and dreams. Dr. Reid Oliver!”

“Dr. Oliver, “ Molly said with enthusiasm, “ have you been at Without Medical Borders long?”

“Didn’t you check?” Reid said annoyed, “I’ve been there ten years. “

“Wow! What a long time!”

“In TV time, I guess. How long has this show been on the air? Ten minutes? I guess you have your five minutes more left.”

Molly was starting to look uncomfortable, she turned to Mick.

Luke, meanwhile, was trying to catch Reid’s attention from off stage. None of this was what they’d rehearsed.

“So, Dr. O, can I call you that?” Mick asked.

“No.”

Mick shifted in his seat, “Oh. Okay, Dr. Oliver…Tell us what’s up next for the WMB? Planning to save more lives?’

“Are we planning…What?” Dr. Oliver pinched the bridge of his nose. “No, we’re thinking about playing a game of chicken with the patients. You know? This one lives or this one dies. “

Molly gave a loud, tittering laugh, “Oh, what a kidder!” She gave Dr. Oliver’s arm a mock punch. ”But really can you answer the question?”

“When you ask something intelligent, “ Reid replied, “’I’ll answer.”

Molly laughed again, “This must be your first –“

“Moment of insanity?” Reid interrupted.

“ - Interview, “ she finished.

“Tell us about WMB,” Mick encouraged him.

“Well, Dick,”

“Mick.”

“If you say so.” Dr. Oliver paused. “ Tell me what you know about WMB.”

“Not much,” Mick chuckled, “I’m more an NBA guy than a WMB,” he laughed at his own joke and so did Molly.

“You’re so funny, Mick!”

“Gee, thanks Molly!”

“Do you two want a moment alone?” Dr. Oliver asked.

“So tell us, WMB is about…what? In your own words?”

“WMB is on the internet, doesn’t anybody do any research here? –“ Reid started to complain.

Luke couldn’t take a second longer of watching Reid ruin his words and ruin WMB’s chance for redemption. Before anybody could stop him, Luke ran out in front of the cameras.

“What Dr. Oliver is saying, “ He told Molly, sitting down next to a stunned Reid, “is that the WMB is a great organization , one that truly cares about people.”

“And you are?” Molly asked.

“I’m Luke Snyder, I’m Dr. Oliver’s partner – “

Luke started to say his partner in the WMB campaign, when Molly interrupted.

“His partner,” she gushed, “hear that everybody? Well, that is so sweet.”

“No,“ Luke tried to correct her, “we work together and –“

“Aww, partners and co-workers. Lovely. We have a lot of couples like you two here in South Florida, “ she glanced down at her phone. ”Oh, in fact, we all love you two already! Our phone lines are lighting up.”

Luke looked around helplessly, as Reid remained glued in shock to his seat. This would be a huge disaster, they’d look like liars and it was worse than anything, unless…

Luke took a deep breath, put a hand on Reid’s knee, and gave the camera his most charming smile.

***

“Just hear me out!”

“No! Of all the stupid, brainless – “ They were back in Luke’s hotel room.

“Listen,” Luke held up his hand near Reid’s chest. “I had to do it. Otherwise, WMB was about to have another scandal. “

“I don’t think-“

“We’d have to admit that I was helping you and you would no longer appear sincere. And maybe this will actually be good for the PR process,” Luke mused.

“How is turning us into a couple good?” Reid demanded.

“Gay is hot,” Luke said, “Think Modern Family? Will and Grace?”

“Those are sitcoms!”

“And this is South Beach. You heard the callers. They wanted to know all about how Without Medical Borders works and about us. They were curious. Hooked. Trust me, gay is hot right now.”

Reid looked so pained that Luke suppressed a smile.

Reid’s eyes narrowed at Luke.

“What does it matter to you, right? You fly off to wherever in a day or two, but I live here.”

“Look, in a week, nobody will remember our part in this whole thing. But meanwhile, this can help the public forget the scandals and focus on something else. And we can educate them on WMB at the same time. It’s just for a few more days, five at the most. “

“Fine,” Reid said slowly, “ I’ll do it, but only if you live up to your hype.“

“What do you mean?”

“I mean show me the money! You’re loaded, right? So I need new equipment, new operating tools, hell…” Reid’s eyes gleamed with challenge, “Why not give me a whole new neuro wing?”

Luke pursed his lips together a moment. He knew Reid was just trying to rile him up.

“Fine,” Luke agreed, “but that means you go in front of the cameras again and we act like a couple.“

Reid’s mouth fell open. “You- you agree?”

Luke shrugged, “You know us rich folks – what’s a few more thousand –“

“Millions.”

“Millions then. It’s for a good cause, right? We can save WMB and build that wing.” Luke paused, “But I have some conditions.”

“Conditions?” Reid folded his arms across his chest.

“You have to be willing to do this right. Take a few days off from work and be with me. I’m sure Jessica will understand. And I want a seat on the board at WMB. Most of all, you have to make a serious effort here, not like your interview today. “ Luke glanced at him. ”We have to practice.”

“Practice?” Reid said warily.

“Learn things about each other. In case they question us. Where you live. When’s your birthday. That sort of thing.”

“So, in other words, if you learn I’m a Pisces and yet ironically allergic to shellfish, people will believe we’re lovers?”

Luke could feel heat rising to his cheeks. “Well, maybe we should also practice, um…you know.” He looked away and tugged at his ear a little.

“Do you want to do that now?” Reid asked softly, stepping closer to him.

“No!” Luke stepped back,” I –I mean we have time to talk all that over.” He could see amusement in Reid’s eyes and frowned at him. “So we agree.” Luke said, changing the subject. “ Tomorrow we can go out early, and then meet up with Mick and Molly for another interview at some hot spot.”

“Fine.”

Luke bit his lip. “Where should we go?”

Reid shrugged, “I don’t know.”

Luke looked at him, “Well, you live here. What’s good?”

“I don’t know,” Reid repeated indifferently.

“Do you ever go out?” Luke asked him. Then he shook his head, “Poor Reid. All work, no play.”

“What can I say?” Reid agreed, “I’m a dull boy.”

Luke laughed, “Fine, I’ll plan the date and then set something up with Molly. Some place that doesn’t serve shellfish, right? “

“It was an example, Einstein. I’m not allergic to anything except stupid people.”

“Are you even a Pisces then?”

Reid stared at him. “Oh, no. I’m starting to itch.” He scratched at his chest with both hands.

Luke blew out a puff of air. “You might be the world’s most brilliant doctor, but as a human being? I have my doubts.”

“Now you’re getting it.“

Luke sighed. “If we’re going to pull this off, then I do need to know things for real.”

“Just don’t forget I want the neuro wing plans in a contract too, and we’ll be fine.”

“Okay, I’ll get my lawyer on that. So…” Luke studied him, ”Deal?”

“Deal.”

Luke stuck out his hand. Reid looked at him, hesitated a moment, and then shook it.

***


I’m average, give or take. Yes, I have money, but for me it was just background. Life still caused me confusion and pain. I’ve seen my parents screaming at each other in the hallways of mansions. I’ve felt like I was starving for something surrounded by opulence. I’ve had my money thrown at me like it could solve all the upheaval and drama my family constantly created.

I met Noah when I was young and desperate to be loved. During my family’s divorce and my mother’s latest mess with my two fathers, I wasn’t skilled at hiding my need. Like a lot of people when they are still teenagers, my emotions were often raw and full of undisguised despair. I craved Noah’s approval and it was like a scent he picked up on with distaste - like my loving him was sour. I didn’t know I could demand anything from him in return. I just groveled until I hated that part of myself as much as he did, but I couldn’t help it. Every moment with Noah was an apology, even before I made him lose his sight.

Once he was blind, I couldn’t save him, and my money was useless. I was so guilty. I wanted to be elsewhere and not staring into his angry, unseeing eyes, his burnt face. He pushed me away in a series of shoves, like he was trying to chop me in half, the way I once chopped at worms as a boy. I used to cut them into pieces just to see them wriggle. He did that to me. Cut me. Sliced me. Watched me squirm. When everybody else said “Poor Noah,” he was severing my heart in two.


Luke shut the journal. He’d been thinking about the way Reid had saved that little girl. Despite their crazy deal, Luke was still impressed with Reid. Thanks to him, Maya would recover and hopefully, live a full life. If only Noah had been that lucky, Luke thought suddenly, so much might have turned out differently. Or would it have mattered at all?

He tossed and turned in bed all night.

***

The next day, Luke picked Reid up in front of WMB building for a lunch to talk strategy. Since he’d need to stay in Miami longer than planned, he’d rented a car.

Reid’s eyes widened as he saw the red Lamborghini.

“Slumming it, are you?” He asked as he opened the door.

Luke grinned and started the engine. He looked at Reid’s face as he the car purred to life.

“Careful, Reid. You’re drooling over the seat,” Luke answered dryly.

“Rich boys,” Reid complained, buckling up.

“My father and I both love cars,” Luke chatted as he drove. “Especially Italian ones.”

He stepped harder on the gas, weaving in and out of traffic.

“So I see,” Reid shot him a look. He held on as Luke took a sharp turn onto the highway.

“Why did I pick you up at the hospital?” Luke asked. “I thought you planned a few days off?”

“I did. But I wanted to look some last minute things over. “

“If we are going to pull this charade off, I’ll need to know more about you. Like where you live!” Luke laughed. Seeing his exit at the last moment possible, Luke shifted and quickly turned.

The car roared.

Reid’s face became white. His knuckles gripped the dashboard.

“Slow down!”

“Sorry,” Luke slowed a little. He took his eyes off the road a second to look over at Reid.

“Keep your eyes on the road,” Reid instructed him.

“Boy,” Luke said, “for somebody who flies all over the world and goes into violent locations, I’m surprised a little fast driving bothers you so much.”

“Just keep your hand on your stick,” Reid grumbled.

“Thought you’d never ask,” Luke teased.

Reid shook his head, “Really? Do you want to play double entendres with me? Should I bring up blowing your tires or burning rubber?”

Biting his lip to hold back a laugh, Luke turned on Collins Ave. A few moments later, they’d arrived at the parking lot of the restaurant. He got out and tossed Reid the keys.

“What’s this?” Reid asked as he caught them in one hand.

“You’re reward. If you do some prepping with me over lunch, I’ll let you drive.”

“Really?”

“Sure. You can even go under the speed limit like all the other elderly people in Miami.”

“Brat,” Reid said, “at least I’m old enough to shave.” He reached out and stroked Luke’s smooth cheek. “Do you even get stubble on that skin?”

Luke looked down at the ground, fighting a blush. He jammed his hands into his pockets. How could one quick touch cause his heart to hammer so strongly? His knees to almost buckle? Luke tried to shake off the tingling feeling.

He forced his eyes to meet Reid’s.

“Let’s just get to work,” Luke said.

***

They ate at the Big Pink, which was a South Beach landmark. A greasy diner that served all kinds of eclectic food, the Big Pink lived up to its name with its bright, neon pink walls. Reid ordered the enchiladas and a milkshake. Luke had the chicken pot pie and a latte.

“Okay,” Luke told him, waving his fork in the air for emphasis,” We meet Mick and Molly in just hours at a dinner and dance place. We need to be ready.”

“I don’t dance,” Reid said flatly.

“Then eat.“ Luke eyed Reid’s already half-finished plate, “I can see you have no problem eating.”

Reid grunted in agreement.

“I told Molly we’d just be having dessert and drinks there, but feel free to have another meal.”

“Finally,“ Reid joked, “something to look forward to.”

Luke bit his lip, trying to ignore the surge of hurt he felt at Reid’s words. It was so stupid to feel hurt. Luke knew this wasn’t a real date; it was just a meeting to plan their public appearance later. He shook his head and tried to focus .

“Why the pout?” Reid asked.

“What?” Luke frowned, “I’m not pouting!”

“Yes, you are.”

“No. I don’t pout,” Luke told him, attempting to relax his lips.

“Whatever, “ Reid said.

Luke wanted to change the subject. He looked at Reid sternly.

”Let’s get back to the basics. We need to know things about each other. And by the way, remember to use my first name.”

“I haven’t been calling you Mr. Snyder.”

“I know but we should still practice. “

Reid just rolled his eyes.

“We should get used to using our names- it should come naturally.”

“Fine, Luke, pass the hot sauce.”

Passing the bottle to Reid, Luke couldn’t help liking the way he said his name. Reid had a deep, sensual voice.

“Where are you from originally?” Luke asked.

“Here and there.”

“Do you like Miami?”

“It’s fine.”

Luke drew in a breath and tried to be patient.

“Are your parents nearby?” Luke persisted.

“No.”

Luke scowled at him. “I really could use more than monosyllabic answers.”

Reid chewed his food a moment. “They died. A car accident. “ He looked down at his plate. “My uncle raised me.”

“Oh.” Luke felt horrible now, remembering Reid’s reaction to his driving. He reached over impulsively and squeezed Reid’s hand. “I’m so sorry.” He gave another warm squeeze.

Luke looked deeply into his eyes and offered Reid a sweet smile of real sympathy.

Reid appeared startled. His eyes darted from their hands back to Luke’s face. Luke smiled at him again.

Reid shrugged, “Long time ago.” But he allowed Luke to hold his hand a second longer, before he pulled away.

There was an awkward pause.

“What about you? “Reid asked slowly, “You mentioned your father?”

“Yeah,” Luke’s face softened. “He lives near me in Rome. But I also have parents in Oakdale, where I’m from…Brothers and sisters there too. Cousins. Grandmothers. “

Reid raised one eyebrow, “Yet you don’t live in Oakdale?”

Luke rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m going for a visit when I’m all done here.”

Reid continued to just look at him, waiting for more. Luke shifted in his chair. “Family’s great,” he said finally, “in small doses.”

“Like taking medicine,” Reid offered, eating again.

“Yeah,” Luke agreed laughing, “just like that.”

“How far along is this relationship?” Reid asked him, ordering an apple pie for dessert.

“Um, what?” Luke nervously sipped on his latte.

“Well, we have to fake a history there too. Are we lovers or just interested in dating at this point?” Reid asked smoothly, biting into the pie. “We should try and generate some sparks or whatever.”

Sparks shouldn’t be hard, Luke thought, considering he felt on fire every time Reid looked at him.

“We’re dating, “ he nodded, “taking it slowly.”

Reid looked him up and down. Then he shook his head. “Bullshit,” Reid said simply. “There would be no way I wouldn’t have hit the sack with you by date one or two. No way.”

Luke just stared at him. “Really?” He asked at last.

“Have you seen you?” Reid flashed a smile, “I’m not that patient a guy.”

Luke felt his heart start that ridiculous beating again. He took a giant gulp of his latte.
He had no idea what to say.

He gazed into Reid’s eyes. His whole body felt flushed with sudden heat.

“You have some whipped cream on your upper lip.” Reid said huskily. He leaned over with a finger and wiped it off. Then he sucked on his finger and gave Luke a wicked smirk, “Guess faking chemistry won’t be a problem, “ he said.

“Right,” Luke said, his own voice a bit high and squeaky. “We act like lovers for them.”

“Works for me,” Reid smiled.

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